It is an age of darkness in the galaxy. For untold millennia, a war has been waged across the stars. Entire systems have been consumed in this conflict, their worlds burning in its wake. On one side, stand the noble Autobots. For well over a thousand years, their leader, Optimus Prime, has been entombed within the Temple of Knowledge on their homeworld of Cybertron. He is of the living dead, and writhes with a power long forgotten. His word is law, and his vigilance eternal. For him alone, countless millions live and die. Factory-worlds churn out weapons and armor for his legions. Great fleets cross the stellar distance, guided through the dark void by the shining light of his Creation Matrix. Armies of a thousand species fight in his glorious name. Greatest among his warriors are the Elite Guard, fanatical super-warriors of unmatched prowess. Opposing them are the Decepticons. They aim to subjugate, conquer, and destroy, driven by a blood feud with the Autobots whose origins are long forgotten. Led by the ruthless and brilliant Megatronus of Kaon, their war of conquest is relentless, and their march without end. To the Decepticons, the stars are their birthright, and theirs alone. All who stand in their way are to be destroyed. Their war has lasted for millennia, and there is no end in sight... The way of the warrior is found in death. Meditation on one’s inevitable death should be performed daily. A simple precept, yet a difficult one to wrap one’s mind around, Bludgeon found. It was even more daunting in practice. No-one sought out death. To do so was to go against the base, primal instinct of self-preservation. Such a thing made the mind cry out in agony. But breaking the grip such pain had on one’s mind was key to becoming a peerless warrior - the Ultimate Warrior. He clutched the hilt of his energo-saber tightly, and pressed the button that gave life to its disruption field. His foe stood before him with one foot before the other, amidst the tall, emerald blades of grass blowing in the wind. Her chalky white face bore the crimson markings of Caminus and a determined expression. “You shan’t leave this place alive, Decepticon.” With a growly voice, she gave voice to her threats. “I will cut you in twain.” Be ready to kill, when killing is right. The second precept. But who was in the right here, he wondered? “Very well,” He assented. In a galaxy where blood and Energon were the currencies that bought life, it was hazy and unclear. None could tell him why the galaxy was one giant battlefield. It just was that way. Bludgeon shifted his stance, holding his sword vertically above the right shoulder. Tonbo-no-kamae. He would make a swift strike. They circled around, each having their optic closely on the other. At the first sign of weakness, they would strike the fatal blow. “Pray tell, girl. Humor me.” He wheezed the last word, his death-mask face contorting. “What is your name?” “I am Windblade.” She answered defiantly. Her blade was held high overhead, and it glinted in the light of Plains World’s twin suns. Shomen-uchi. “Windblade of Caminus, warrior of the Way of the Flame and a loyal servant of the Eternal Prime!” “A fellow warrior, then. Good.” He nodded in approval. “Well met, Windblade of Caminus. I am Bludgeon. Bludgeon of Combatron.” Combatron. How far-off his lost home seemed now, in this grassy field on Plains World. Once, long ago, he knew no master but the King of Combatron, his beloved liege-lord. But that was long past, burnt away with the coming of Megatronus and his armies. How far he had fallen! He himself had led crack “liquidation” teams across the fields of this very world, seizing and killing the weak, spindly natives. Their thatched-roof buildings burnt so easily, and amidst the flames, his sword swung every which way, an unavoidable bringer of death. He could still hear the screams. “I killed those people,” He breathed. Windblade was aghast at what he was saying. “We killed them all. The women, the children. No-one escaped.” “You will pay for that.” With gritted teeth, she replied. “I know.” The two stopped circling. The moment of decision was here. Bludgeon made his in the space of seven breaths, as it should be. Windblade rushed forth, bringing down her blade upon him like some avenging angel. And so it ended for him. As Bludgeon fell to his knees with the world fading before him, he remembered the final precept. Fear not death.