Downward Spiral - Sequel to Ruined

Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by SPLIT LIP, Feb 6, 2021.


    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

    Oct 22, 2005
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    Bonecrusher and Blackout share a British accent, albeit slightly thuggish, though like Ironhide’s it’s not something that really comes across unless I spell it phonetically (which is not great but sometimes necessary) or use certain verbiage. (me lord instead of my lord/milord) Accents are never something I ever found a “right” way to do in text. Likewise Sky Lynx pronounced Lieutenant the British way but, well, it’s still spelled lieutenant no matter the dialect so you wouldn’t know if Ruiner didn’t point it out. :x
  2. Coffee

    Coffee (╭☞ꗞᨓꗞ)╭☞

    Mar 1, 2013
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    I think you've found a balance. There are times when spelling out an accent or manner of speaking within the dialogue can be effective in telling us more about what the character is like, but then there are also times when it's hammy at best and kind of ignorant at worst. The phonetic spelling of Bonecrusher's language lends to his thuggishness whereas if Sky Lynx were to have his dialogue written with spelling meant to convey Britishness it would make the character seem a bit more clownish. For Bonecrusher, the spelling of some of his words are kind of how you'd expect him to write it out, whereas there is no doubt in my mind that Sky Lynx would have superior spelling and grammar skills. Another interesting dabbling in phonetics that I can't remember where it came from is in this one short story where a simpleminded character uses the grammatically incorrect phrase "I would of done that." Obviously it should be "have", but when it's done intentionally like this, it manages to say something about the character without falling back on the narration as a crutch. So it's the difference between: "I would have done that," said Jack the idiot. VS "I would of done that," said Jack. I know that kind of strays away from the idea of how accents should be written, but the general idea is that manipulating the spelling or grammar for characters, accented or not, aren't a bad idea as long as it has a desired effect on the character's voice and/or attitude.
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    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

    Oct 22, 2005
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    Chapter Nine
    Throat of the World

    “No offense,” Ruiner began, crossing his legs as he leaned back in his seat. The Autobots occupied the passenger compartment of Sky Lynx’s shuttle form while Ultra Magnus and Blurr sat in the cockpit. Ruiner’s comment drew unimpressed looks, but he continued, “I appreciate the save and all, but I was kind of hoping when Cybertron would send reinforcements they’d send more than just four guys.”

    “Trust me,” Sky Lynx’s voice seemed to come from everywhere in the shuttle, “we are so much more than ‘just four guys.’” The seat Ruiner was in suddenly reclined, knocking him from his comfortable position, “it would not be too gross an overstatement to say we are surplus to requirements. I personally elected to lead this party and hand-picked my operatives based on their fields of expertise.”

    “Be respectful,” Spiral jabbed Ruiner in the side with her elbow, “you’re outranked, and by one of the most decorated officers in Autobot history.”

    “Speaking of,” Road Rage said, looking around the shuttle’s cabin, “I’m sorry we tracked water into your… insides.”

    “Heavens darling, don’t apologize,” Sky Lynx continued, “aide should’ve arrived to you long before now, but operations on Cybertron are turbulent.” Suddenly her seat reclined as well, albeit less suddenly, and air jets from the side began to dry her. Soon each of the Earthbound Autobots received similar treatment, save for Ruiner.

    “Hey, don’t I get to dry off, too?” He asked, and fans abruptly blasted him with harsh air, much to Spiral’s amusement.

    “We should talk strategy,” Ultra Magnus said as he turned his seat back towards the passenger compartment, “Galvatron’s bogus surrender, aside from violating the Pax Cybertronia, threw a real wrench in the gears of bureaucracy back home.”

    “Indeed,” Sky Lynx added, “his treachery is not exclusive to this world at all. Decepticon terror cells have coordinated an effort to keep us splintered across the cosmos. Luckily his grave affront to wartime law has galvanized previously apprehensive worlds to align to our cause.”

    “Even unaffiliated groups like the Night’s Templar know when enough is enough,” Depth Charge added.

    “Okay, I knew I recognized you!” Ruiner said, pointing as he leaned forward, “you were one of Scourge’s cronies!”

    “Ruiner be quiet,” Optimus said, then turned to Magnus, “Galvatron thinks pretty highly of this Nucleon stuff if it's worth the risk of causing an intergalactic incident.”

    “It is,” Blurr turned towards them, legs crossing as he leaned back, “Nucleon is energy formed and sustained by fission within a planet’s molten core. If the planet is too small, the core won’t reach the temperatures needed for it to form, if it is too large, the substance is rendered unstable and unusable due to the immense heat and pressure.”

    “So only planets in the habitable zone that strike that balance have it?” Road Rage asked.

    “Correct. Still, reaching it won’t be easy,” Blurr continued, “Nucleon destabilizes when it enters a gravity field more than that of the core,” he shrugged, “I don’t know how he plans to get it out without it being useless, but if Tyrus Five is anything to go off of, it won’t be pretty.”

    “You speak as though you’re an authority of the matter,” Botanica said.

    “I wouldn’t go that far,” Blurr said, “but the discovery made its way through the scientific community”

    “You’re a scientist?” Road Rage asked, “in what field?”

    “Temporal physics,” he remarked.

    “That means time science,” Ruiner whispered, and Road Rage gave him a look of utter contempt.

    “We need to adjust our battle strategy,” Magnus interjected, seemingly annoyed by the off-topic conversation, “Sky Lynx is good, but he’s just one ship. We’ll need to do a quick aerial insertion on The Revenge before the full force of its arsenal can take us out.”

    “We were planning a two-pronged attack,” Optimus explained, “but that plan is dead in the water.”

    “Didn’t you have a flight-capable member of your team?” Depth Charge said sternly, “ex-Decepticon?”

    “That’s not an option,” Optimus said, “Jetfire is… elderly. He’s not up for something like this.”

    “But he’s an asset nonetheless,” Depth Charge said, “shouldn’t you be using all available tools?” Optimus gave the aquatic Autobot a harsh glare, which was returned in kind, followed by a moment of tense silence.

    “Even if it was an option,” Optimus said calmly, “at this point it’d take too long to go back. Speed is most important now that they know we’re coming.”

    “I agree,” Magnus said, “we’ve run capital ships before. Galvatron will know by now his interception failed.”

    “We’ll reach our destination in mere minutes,” Sky Lynx said, “my hasty arrival gave me little time to calibrate my systems for this atmosphere, otherwise I could’ve hot-jumped there.”

    “It also saved our butts,” Road Rage gave a gentle pat on the walls.

    “We have detailed schematics of The Revenge,” Magnus interjected, and a hologram appeared in the center of the compartment, illuminating them all in a cool blue glow of the detailed, three-dimensional render of the ship. Magnus pointed at an area along its extended bow, “this is the main hangar. Short range fighters and flight units deploy from here. It’s the most direct route inside.”

    “And the most heavily guarded,” Optimus noted, pointing along the flat surface ahead of it, “those are point defense guns. We’d be flying into a metal grinder.”

    “Which is why we won’t actually be going in there,” Magnus pointed to the stern of the ship where a large semi-circle arched beneath the bulbous aft segment. There was a small gap above the jointing struts keeping the semi circle attached, “this is the emergency evac hangar. As you can expect, it doesn’t get used much, which also decreases the likelihood of it being heavily guarded.”

    “And increases our likelihood of getting caught,” Optimus pointed out, “assuming we can even make it past the forward defenses, inserting there will draw all opposition.”

    “Not if we split the attack,” Sky Lynx said, and the hologram became dotted with flight vectors and navigation highlights, “we’ll use your original strategy of a two-pronged attack. Team one will run interference, putting on a good show for those point defense turrets whilst team two covertly insert through the evac hangar.”

    “Galvatron thinks we’re just one shuttle,” Depth Charge explained, “that’s our biggest asset.”

    “I’m not normally the voice of dissension,” Botanica added, “but we are just one shuttle.”

    “That is where you are mistaken,” Sky Lynx said, “rest assured, we will be able to split our forces comfortably. Though it may be… a bit intense.”

    “On that topic, let's coordinate our teams,” Magnus said, “Team one will consist of myself, Optimus, Ironhide, Depth Charge, and Botanica. We’ll be tasked with the head-on offensive. Team two is Blurr, Road Rage, Spiral, and Ruiner. You will be the covert team and make your way to the main security mainframe.”

    “You’re putting Ruiner on a covert mission?” Spiral said, “good luck.”

    “Also, why do you get to hog all the big guns?” Ruiner asked.

    “Because we’ll be breaching the forward line,” Optimus said, “unless you want to stare down the barrels of several hundred blasters?”

    “I mean,” Ruiner shrugged meekly, “covert sounds cool. I can do that.”

    “You’ll have to,” Magnus expanded the hologram to show an internal view of the corridors, “the security mainframe controls the automated defenses. Big guns or not, we won’t get far until they’re shut down.”

    “We’ll regroup here,” Optimus pointed to the meeting room Galvatron first greeted him in, “it’s halfway between the two hangars, and I remember these hallways from my last visit.”

    “I was gonna say,” Road Rage examined the schematic, “it’s not as detailed as I remember.”

    “It’s not the most recent map,” Depth Charge said, “but it’s the best we have. Be prepared for anything.” Road Rage didn’t seem emboldened by the comment, and indeed a silence fell over the passenger bay as worried looks were exchanged. They weren’t really prepared, they had so little time to do so. They were jumping into something they had never experienced, on a level that made their previous enemies seem modest. Optimus remembered fighting Megatron, Shockwave, and Scourge, and how he had felt the same with them at one point. A lot of impossible odds had been conquered by him and his team, and death had been cheated more than once before. The void was no longer the worst thing he could imagine.

    “We can do this,” Optimus broke the silence, “remember, it’s not just our lives on the line. We hit hard and fast, stop whatever Galvatron’s doing, and sink this ship if we have to.”

    “No pressure,” Road Rage clutched the back of her neck, but smiled nonetheless, “but we still don’t even know what Galvatron’s actually planning.”

    “I think we might have an idea,” Sky Lynx said, “I have a visual on The Revenge and, by Primacron’s ghost, you must all see this!” All the Autobots crowded the cockpit, all attempting to squeeze a look at what was ahead. The Revenge hung in the air, about a kilometer above sea level, however the water was far from it. Instead there was a massive void below it, the water repelled by an unseen force into an even column of air extending all the way down to the ocean floor. It was not like a whirlpool with torrential waves, but instead the water simply turned abruptly at a ninety degree angle, with the waves moving at a right angle to the surrounding ocean. It was surreal, and even at a distance gave Optimus a sense of vertigo.

    “A gravity field,” Botanica noted, “I’m… actually rather impressed. This was a method often hypothesized for use in archeology, but the amount of power necessary was prohibitively expensive.”

    “What price is too high for a megalomaniac such as Galvatron?” Sky Lynx remarked, “our strategy remains unchanged, if anything this bodes well. The energy costs, not to mention the strain on the anti-gravity generators, will have most of the ship occupied.”

    “Galvatron wouldn’t commit to something like this without making sure he was covered,” Optimus said, “we nearly wound up dead at sea, and that was against just two Decepticons. This is a whole ship-full.”

    “Then we better move it,” Magnus declared, “team two, assemble in the lower section.”

    “Can we be team A?” Ruiner asked.

    “Is that really appropriate right now?” Spiral shoved him.

    “Actually, I wouldn’t mind team A, myself,” Blurr said.

    Fine,” Magnus said, “team A, head to the lower section and prepare for a hot drop.” Ruiner and Blurr exchanged thumbs up, much to Spiral’s chagrin. The two groups separated as Optimus watched The Revenge fast approaching through the view screen.

    “Batten down the hatches and fasten your seatbelts,” Sky Lynx declared, “it’s going to be a bumpy flight!” Optimus did as instructed, nervously clutching his seat in between Magnus and Ironhide. Sure enough the air around them became a lightshow of flack and lasers, and inertia tugged at Optimus as Sky Lynx deftly avoided the incoming fire. He felt shaken to his core, and could only barely glean the constantly spinning world through the view screen. He watched as they sped towards The Revenge until their view became a strobing effect between purple hull and blue ocean.

    “Team A dropping in five-” Magnus counted as they approached the stern.

    “You never said how we’re going to get aboard!” Ruiner shouted over the rumbling of the shuttle.


    “Sky Lynx has more than one trick up his sleeve,” Blurr said.


    “It'd better be a good one!” Road Rage gritted her teeth.


    “I’m better than good…” Sky Lynx said.

    One!” Magnus declared, followed by the sound of something unlatching. Sky Lynx split in two. Road Rage, Ruiner, and Spiral all yelled in surprise as they suddenly felt themselves flung, Blurr merely laughing as the four were carried within the lower section, flung towards The Revenge. The sides of their vessel unfurled, twin tails whirled from behind, and the forward section unfolded to reveal a shiny golden head with clamp-like teeth.

    “...I’m magnificent,” Sky Lynx proclaimed, digging his claws into the hull with such force as to halt their momentum. The Autobots rattled in their seats, winded from the turbulent ride.

    “What…” Spiral asked, “what exactly just happened?”

    “I divided,” Sky Lynx said as a digital view screen at the front of the compartment displayed the outside world, as well as the white shuttle portion of him rocketing off towards the front of The Revenge. Sky Lynx pulled his claws from the hull one-by-one, digging them back into the starship’s thick armour as he scaled its side, “now I conquer.”

    “So wait,” Road Rage asked as she hung sideways in her seat, jostling with each step the quadruped took, “if you’re just the bottom part, what’s the shuttle part?”

    “Simple,” Sky Lynx said, “it’s me.”

    “Then what are you?” Ruiner asked.

    “I am also me,” Sky Lynx responded.

    “The boss is an excellent multi-tasker,” Blurr said. The Autobots sat in silence and confusion as Sky Lynx made his way towards the evac hangar. The blast doors were closed, but they seemed to be little obstacle as Sky Lynx pried them open with his jaws. He pulled them open just enough to squeeze through, and predictably the hangar appeared deserted.

    “They’ll have detected the breach,” Sky Lynx said, “but I can assure you I’m keeping them quite distracted. Quickly disembark.”

    “And I thought Jetfire was a bumpy flight,” Road Rage said as she and the others exited through a ramp. It was only then that they got their first good look at Sky Lynx minus his upper half, and his current face was much more feline than his other, with separate blue eyes.

    “We have to hurry,” Spiral said, “before they send troops.”

    “Looks like we’re too late,” Road Rage pointed. Doors along to the upper and lower levels of the hangar hissed open as robots carrying rifles and other weapons swarmed in. There were at least a dozen, all big, all taking aim directly at them.

    “I’ll clear the way,” Blurr said, cracking his knuckles. He reached for the small block on his chest, twisting a dial on the front, “time me, boss.”

    “Going for a new record?” Sky Lynx asked as the lean Autobot stretched his legs.The other three looked on in worry and confusion. Road Rage and Ruiner drew weapons, while Spiral could only brace herself.

    “Open fire!” A Decepticon shouted, and all at once the enemy unleashed a volley of projectiles, only for none of the shots to reach them. All the Decepticons dropped at once, and a wisp of dust picked up and filled the catwalks above and floor below. Blurr now stood at the end of the room, hands on his hips.

    “Point oh five,” Sky Lynx said, “better luck next time.”

    Dammit!” Blurr wheezed, sounding exhausted. He walked towards them, the block on his chest vibrating like the engine of an old hot rod with no hood.

    “I feel like I’m gonna be saying this a lot,” Spiral began, “but what just happened?”

    “Blurr is the fastest Autobot alive,” Sky Lynx explained, “or at least he is for half second intervals.”

    “I’m never going to break that barrier,” Blurr still sounded winded, “but that should buy us some time.”

    “Hey Spiral,” Ruiner whispered as he leaned in next to her head.

    “What?” She asked.

    “We kind of suck,” he whispered again.

    “Yeah, I noticed,” she shoved him away.

    “I’ll remain here,” Sky Lynx said, “I could possibly squeeze through some of those corridors, but I must ensure our exit strategy.”

    “How’s team one?” Road Rage asked.

    “Struggling,” Sky Lynx said, “while I can easily outfly those turrets, it’s not kind on my passengers.”

    “No kidding,” Ruiner said, “let’s mosey on, then.” The four transformed and headed for the open door. Blurr was fast, easily overtaking the rest in his low-profile vehicle mode that almost seemed to glide on its smooth wheels. Spiral felt a twinge of envy.

    “There’s going to be an elevator in two turns,” Blurr instructed, “we’ll take it to level fifty.”

    “What level is this?” Ruiner asked.

    “Level six,” Blurr replied.

    “Well, an elevator should be peaceful enough,” Road Rage said as they stopped before a large set of doors. They transformed as Spiral went to hit the call button, only for the doors to part. Inside were three surprised Decepticons. The two groups stood still for a moment before one of the elevator’s passengers reached for a switch on the wall. Without hesitating Road Rage first her weapon, and while she missed, it caused the Decepticon to recoil away.

    “Alarm!” Blurr shouted, and the Autobots quickly dove into the elevator car to stop the Decepticons from calling for reinforcements. A melee ensued, with Spiral and Ruiner being shoved from the car. Blurr grappled with one as the other two turned on Road Rage. She slugged one in the face and kicked the other, but the first recovered and grabbed her by the arms. She lifted her legs in to push herself away, inadvertently shoving her back into the one fighting Blurr. They both toppled as the first Decepticon rushed back in, tripping over the second and grabbing Road Rage by the waist. Ruiner and Spiral dove back into the car, knocking all of them into one big pile as they kicked, shoved, and punched. One Decepticon held up his arm, a blade extending from his wrist. He went to stab Road Rage who twisted to the side, barely dodging it and causing the blade to plunge into the other enemy. She kneed up, knocking the blade-wielder's arm out and leaving him open for Ruiner to slug him hard in the jaw. He toppled back, giving Blurr enough room to push his quarrel away. He reached for his chest again, twisting the red dial until the block began to hum. Suddenly his arms were a blur, and the Decepticon before him seemed to crumple away from a blue-grey haze between them. The block on Blurr’s chest went silent again, and his arms returned to normal speed, the Decepticon’s chest a wad of tinfoil before him. The third enemy was unfazed by his comrade’s injury and merely shoved him aside, grabbing Blurr by the neck. This last Decepticon was huge, and even with Spiral and Ruiner grabbing him he refused to let go. Road Rage drew her rifle, attempting to shoot the enemy into pacification, only for him to reeled back, pinning all three against the wall with the bladed Decepticon trapped beneath. Blurr struck the enemy’s arms impotently, his strength rapidly leaving him as his neck was crushed.

    “Let him go!” Spiral cried, punching the Decepticon. She tried to strike him, gouge his eyes, even cram her fingers into his mouth, anything to get him to let go. He was just too strong, too big. She was outclassed and began to panic, then turned to the last Decepticon still pinned beneath them. She grabbed the blade in her hand, wrenching it despite the edge cutting into her palm, and broke it off. She plunged the blade into the base of the assailant's neck, sawing and cutting at it. Only then did he release his grip on Blurr, but Spiral didn’t stop. She grabbed the sides of his head with both hands and wrenched it off, the body going limp and releasing its grip on Blurr. She turned the Decepticon’s head around in her hands, his face grimacing back at her.

    “You’ll die here, Autobot!” The Decepticon spat, still defiant despite his injury.

    “And you’re getting a time out,” she said, and chucked the disembodied head down the hallway, the Decepticon shouting in pain with each bounce.

    “Everyone okay?” Road Rage asked as she pulled herself from the heap.

    “I think,” Blurr clutched his throat on the floor.

    “Nice moves, Kenshiro,” Ruiner remarked, helping him up. He turned to look at Spiral, “and that goes double for you.”

    “He was gonna kill Blurr,” she said coldly, “I didn’t want to do it.”

    “Well, I’m glad you did,” Blurr said. He and Ruiner pushed the inert Decepticons out of the elevator and closed the doors. Ruiner keyed in the lift to take them to level fifty, and the car jostled as it began to rise.

    “Let me see your hand,” Road Rage asked, but Spiral kept her fist closed.

    “I’m fine,” she said. Road Rage looked at her with concern. Spiral could tell she wasn’t convinced, and Spiral felt herself shaking on the inside. She’d managed the save Blurr, but it took so much effort, and it took too long. It was only desperation and tenacity that gave her the strength, and once more she felt as if she’d only just barely succeeded. She looked at the others, Ruiner staring back at her. She placed her hands on her hips, staring back at him, “what are you looking at?”

    “Nothing,” he said, his voice betraying his emotions.

    “Just say it,” she said.

    “I don’t know what you’re talking about,” he said coyly.

    “Just get it over with,” Road Rage groaned.

    “I don’t even know you,” Blurr still rubbed his neck, “and I know what you’re going to say.”

    “Guess that’s one way to get ahead in life,” Ruiner remarked. Absolutely nobody laughed.
  4. Coffee

    Coffee (╭☞ꗞᨓꗞ)╭☞

    Mar 1, 2013
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    Good chapter.
    Blurr's a scientist? I wonder why--

    ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

    Not going to lie, the best part of this chapter for me was Ruiner and Blurr giving each other thumbs up. You could have taken the new additions in a number of directions, and I appreciate that the most obvious ones were avoided here. Yes, a point is made that bots like Blurr and Sky Lynx have some niches that excel them beyond Optimus' team, but there is no juxtaposition between an old goofy crew and the new serious crew. There is no forced conflict between the new team and the old team. The new characters feel like people that belong in this world, and on the same level as the old crew, which is honestly a relief. Blurr and Ruiner hitting it off is great, and while it would be easy to expect, based on Ultra Magnus' concept, that he and Optimus would be at odds in a Rodimus/Thunderclash sort of way, I am really really glad that they are instead two characters that are on the same page here. Optimus' crew are being treated as a legitimate military unit, because they are, and as such the new guard do not speak down to them-- why would they? They are both people, and both teams have a great deal of experience behind them (implied with Sky Lynx's unit and known with Optimus's). As such, your grasp on Depth Charge's character here perfectly justifies his presence. He plays a role to put him at odds with Optimus', and this fits in line with the character that was established in Beast Wars, who had a similar dynamic with Primal. This is what Depth Charge is like, and he fills a role that has been absent from the main three. I understand there is likely still more to fully establish the dynamics set by the four new Autobots (Also wtf, this story has 11 Autobots now? That's wild), but this particular chapter did a good job of establishing a lot.
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    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

    Oct 22, 2005
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    Thank you so much for your reply. I can't express enough how much it means to me to have someone read and deconstruct my work!

    I try to avoid the idea of Autobots having elitism because I always found it didn't hold up much to scrutiny. I think they, as a people, are more understanding of the uniqueness of individuals in spite of their physical differences given the vast disparity that exists there, and so even "mundane" Autobots are treated with respect. To me elitism is more a Decepticon mindset, where individuals are judged solely on their capabilities in combat or their precise function. Octopunch is considered a liability and joke because of his highly specific function and bizarre form, yet Sky Lynx is a high ranking officer who is respected.

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

    Oct 22, 2005
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    Chapter Ten
    Belly of the Beast

    Optimus felt his teeth rattling against his jaw servos as the turbulent flight kept him plastered in his seat. Even the rock-solid Ironhide gripped his restraints, and Botanica braced herself with all four arms between him and Ultra Magnus. Only Depth Charge remained unfazed, but the high speeds and flack guns below were pulverizing them.

    “Commander!” Magnus shouted over the rumbling, “what’s team A’s status?”

    “They’ve started to make their way to the security station,” Sky Lynx explained, “I’m currently holding position in the evac hangar.”

    “We’re gonna be torn apart if they don’t hurry!” Optimus said, “we have to land!”

    “Negative!” Magnus shouted back, “if we land we’ll be sitting ducks for those cannons!”

    “I have an idea,” Optimus lifted his seat harness off of himself and stood up, braced against the wall.

    “What are you doing?” Magnus shouted, “get back in your seat!”

    “Commander!” Optimus shouted as he fought inertia to make his way to the cockpit, “if I gave you exact landing coordinates, could you land there?”

    “Have you deduced a blind spot in their array?” Sky Lynx asked.

    “In a way,” Optimus reached for the console. He brought up a holographic display of The Revenge’s bow, along with the rows of auto turrets. Even, symmetrical rows.

    “What are you doing?” Magnus asked.

    “Calculating,” Optimus replied. Though calculations weren’t so much a factor as precision. He could calculate the firing of angles easily, but he had to make sure his destination was pinpoint. They wouldn’t get another shot.

    “You’re mad,” Sky Lynx said, noticing his work, “but brilliant.”

    “As long as those turrets have safety locks,” Optimus mused, “can you do it?”

    “With style and flair!” Sky Lynx said, “brace yourselves!” Optimus was knocked into the pilot’s chair as the restraints came down on him. Sky Lynx pulled up, flack and lasers ionizing the air mere millimeters in his wake, then fell into a corkscrew dive. Optimus really felt the pressure now, and he watched in silent prayer as they rocketed towards the hull, The Revenge careening towards them. Sky Lynx was mere kilometers away before he pulled up, the wings of his shuttle mode fanning out to brake, serpentine head and tail protruding for balance, and saurian legs extending out to buckle on impact. The force of the collision sent shockwaves and dust pluming, and Sky Lynx rose from the dent he created, braced on his legs and wings.

    “Everyone okay?” Optimus asked, and from the sounds of groaning behind him he surmised they were at least still alive.

    “I think I want off this ride, now,” Ironhide remarked. He turned to Botanica who slouched in her seat, shaken but conscious. She gave him a thumbs up.

    “I wouldn’t like to go through that again,” she said, “I felt like a twig in a hurricane.”

    “The turrets!” Depth Charge said suddenly. Sure enough the numerous turrets turned to face them, targeting lasers now covered Sky Lynx in red dots. Optimus watched in grilling anticipation as they locked on, only for the laser sights to blink, and not a single shot was fired.

    “Why aren’t they shooting?” Ironhide asked.

    “Because we’re in the crossfire,” Optimus explained, “the exact middle point where each turret is facing another. They won’t shoot or else they’d hit each other.”

    “Nice plan,” Depth Charge said, “but they’ll disable the safeties in minutes.”

    “And they’re not about to wait,” Sky Lynx said, “enemy forces inbound!” Optimus watched through the view screen as the main hangar doors of The Revenge opened. Rows of Decepticons, armed and very dangerous, marched out, flanked by two large tanks.

    “This is way beyond my pay grade,” Optimus muttered to himself, then turned towards the others still in back, “we can’t face them head-on.”

    “No,” Magnus said, undoing his restraints, “we have to. If we draw them in, the turrets will hold fire with friendlies in range.”

    “But that also means they’ll, y'know, kill us,” Ironhide pointed out.

    “They can try,” Depth Charge said, brandishing missiles on his arms. Optimus hefted his ion blaster, reluctantly setting it for lethal power. Now was not the time to pull punches, and he had to think about the other lives that were on the line. As if sensing his doubts Ironhide placed a heavy hand on his shoulder, and Optimus turned to see his friend’s earnest stare.

    “We’re right behind you,” he gave a nod of affirmation, “always.” Botanica likewise smiled, and Optimus felt emboldened.

    “I will provide you with cover,” Sky Lynx said, “use my wings and stay low.”

    “Commander, that’s suicide!” Depth Charge growled, “you can’t be a living shield!”

    “I’m tougher than I look,” Sky Lynx said as the floor hatch hissed open, “besides, to draw them in I must be an enticing target.”

    “We need to buy time for team A,” Magnus said, holding his own heavy blaster. It was a larger underslung weapon with a large cylinder that Optimus surmised was an ammunition drum, “when those turrets power down we’ll be clear to move. We just need to hold the line until then.”

    “Our quarry is within firing range!” Sky Lynx declared as blaster fire began to rain down upon him.

    “Autobots, roll out!” Optimus leapt down the ramp and into The Revenge’s smooth lavender hull. Plasma, bullets, and particle beams lit up the air around them as Sky Lynx tucked in his wyvern wings to shield them. The massive Autobot flinched from the ensuing punishment but held firm, the Autobots taking positions. No words were wasted as they each opened fire. The Decepticons were ravenous, breaking file as each advanced to get the first kill. There were at least thirty, plus the tanks, and Optimus felt his spark go cold. He was not the greatest shot, but he felt like he could shoot anywhere within the horde and hit someone. The Decepticons favoured overwhelming force, knowing that even if a few fell others would simply take their place. Optimus cooled his processor and focused, firing at the enemy. He aimed for the center of mass, nailing one Decepticon in the chest, disabling him. More enemies dropped or faltered under the Autobots’ combined fire, but the Decepticons were hammering Sky Lynx. The giant began to buckle as his armour became scorched and shredded.

    “Ironhide!” Magnus shouted, “you and me, left tank!”

    “I’m on it!” Ironhide shouted back, and the two heavy hitters focused fire on the first tank. Ironhide’s cannons impacted in balls of flame that made the vehicle lurch with each shot, followed by a hail of heavy fire from Ultra Magnus. The tank slouched forward, halting its advance, and began to transform. The two Autobots did not let up until finally the massive biped lost its footing and fell to one side, right off the platform they were on. Ironhide pumped his fists in the air and shouted in exhilaration, “boom! Contestant number one eliminated!”

    “Don’t get cocky,” Depth Charge pointed, and Ironhide saw the second tank had already stood up. Unlike its twin, it had hunkered down, the twin barrels of its turret now firing over the shoulder. It had a better angle, and protected its weak spots much more effectively.

    “I’ll take care of him,” Magnus said, “cover me!” Optimus and the others indeed began to spray fire, trading accuracy for a constant suppressive stream. Ultra Magnus stepped onto Sky Lynx’s wing, sections on his legs, hips, and even the sides of his head primed themselves with warheads, alongside two large missiles on his shoulders. He unleashed them all in a single volley, and every rocket connected with the second tank. It was blown away, toppling back and sliding from the platform much like its brother.

    “I think we can actually win this!” Ironhide said in disbelief. The herd was indeed thinning, but the Decepticons in back were really picking up speed, and the gap had been closed enough that they launched into full sprint, while others disregarded safety and transformed into flight-capable forms to overtake them.

    “You just had to jinx it,” Depth Charge said.

    “Actually,” Botanica said, moving out of cover, “this is exactly what I was waiting for.” She lifted her arms above her head, energy crackling from her hips as bolts of electricity connected to the nearest fliers, only to then hop from one individual to the next, connecting with the crowd. At least ten Decepticons were instantly disabled, crashing to the deck or plunging off the side. With only about a dozen or so left, Sky Lynx finally broke form, lumbering on all fours towards the oncoming group, swatting away with his wings and tail. Optimus charged after him, joined swiftly by the others, and a mix of melee and point-blank shooting ensued, and at last the Autobots stood victorious. Optimus sighed emphatically, dropping his arms to his side in exhaustion. He gave a look to his ion rifle, which was nearly depleted, and hoped Ruiner would be able to find a way to recharge it.

    “I’m out, too,” Ironhide noted Optimus’ look, and waved his much lighter cannons.

    “Good show,” Sky Lynx said wearily, only to collapse onto the deck with a heavy rumble.

    “Commander!” Magnus said, approaching the fallen lieutenant. Sky Lynx moved his jaw weakly, then gave a small nod.

    “Uh, guys,” Ironhide said, and Optimus followed his gaze to the auto turrets. The blinking laser sights now shone solid, and fixated once more directly onto them. In their advance the Autobots had stepped out of the crossfire zone, and the turrets began to audibly charge. Worse, Optimus heard noise from the far end of the platform, and watched as another lance of Decepticons approached. The turret's hum grew louder and louder, and Optimus barely had time to even flinch before they fired.


    “The security room is right up here,” Blurr said as the Autobots quickly sped down the halls, “two more rights and a left. Or was that two lefts and a right?”

    “You’re joking, right?” Spiral asked as she struggled to keep pace, “you have a map, don’t you?”

    “Of course I’m joking,” Blurr said.

    “It’s quiet,” Road Rage remarked, “where is everybody?”

    “Currently engaged with team one,” Sky Lynx said over the radio, “I’m taking a real beating, and they just keep coming.”

    “Just hold on a little longer, commander,” Blurr said as he transformed, skidding to a halt before a large set of doors. The other three followed suit, and Ruiner quickly approached the door lock.

    “This should only take a second,” he said as he popped the panel off its housing.

    “Hurry,” Spiral whispered, her eyes darting down the three large, open hallways that convened on the door, “we’re incredibly exposed.”

    “You know there’s gonna be guys in there, right?” Ruiner began stripping and reconnecting wires.

    “Leave them to me,” Blurr said, twisting the dial on his chest. The engine block began to rumble, only to sputter and shake awkwardly.

    “That doesn’t sound good,” Road Rage said.

    “It’s not,” Blurr said, “I don’t usually go full speed so soon one after the other. My body is fighting the limiter.”

    “Limiter?” Spiral asked.

    “This thing on my chest doesn’t give me my speed,” he explained, “it slows me down. When I twist this dial I’m letting myself go as fast as possible, or close to it.”

    “Wait,” Spiral shook her head, “so then why not just be fast all the time?”

    “There is such a thing as too fast,” Blurr gave her a wink as he continued to adjust the dial.

    “Got it!” Ruiner said, and they all turned to face the doors. They remained closed, and Ruiner looked back at the panel.

    “Seriously?” Road Rage asked.

    “It’s not my fault!” Ruiner explained, “I bypassed the main circuit and deactivated the lock. It should be open!” He rubbed his chin as he looked at the panel again, then grasped his brow in frustration, “unless they’re holding it from the other side? But that would mean…”

    “They know we’re here,” Spiral said, “and they probably called for backup.” The four suddenly had their backs to the door, scanning down the three convening hallways for signs of reinforcements. They’d only made it so far by moving quickly and without their enemy knowing, now they were stalled and exposed.

    “Ruiner, get that door open!” Road Rage said with audible concern.

    “I can’t,” he reiterated, “I’m telling you they’ve got it locked.”

    “Stand back,” Blurr said, and the Autobots gave him some room. He twisted the dial on his chest once more, and held his hand flat. He began to shake it, and the shaking became vibration, and the vibration became so intense that his had looked out of focus.

    “I’ve seen this in movies!” Ruiner snapped his fingers, “you’re going to faze your hand through all smooth like and undo the locks from the inside?”

    “Not exactly,” Blurr said, and the moment his fingers touched the door and a horrible sound thundered throughout the corridors. The door vibrated intensely as Blurr’s hand tore into the metal, shredding through it like a drill. There was nothing smooth about it, and the sound the door made all but blew out their audio receptors. Blurr moved his hand slowly down the seam of the door, methodically searching for the latches keeping it shut.

    “How long is this going to take?” Spiral said, clutching her head.

    “Too long!” Road Rage pointed down the hall they came from. Four Decepticons, all with rifles, rounded the corner. Two dropped to one knee with the others standing behind them, and they took aim. Road Rage and Ruiner wasted no time and opened fire, their shots going wild down the hallway. The Decepticons shot back, their aim more precise, and Road Rage was hit in the shoulder. Ruiner switched from ballistics to missiles, sending four small rockets down the hallway. Two were shot out of the air, but the other two connected to the wall and floor just next to the Decepticons, breaking their formation, and the Autobots took the opportunity to take cover behind the bends, save for Blurr who continued to drill.

    “Remind me whose bright idea this was?” Spiral moaned, but between the gunfire and Blurr her words went unheard. Instead she merely ducked, frustratingly impotent in this shootout without a weapon of any kind. She watched as Road Rage tried to aim with one arm, and Ruiner who kept spraying wildly, and Blurr who remained rock solid despite shots just barely missing or grazing him. Spiral looked for any way to be of help, for any way to turn this battle, but she saw nothing. They were in plain hallways with no cover, the only door in sight being the one behind them, and only the odd maintenance panel or ventilation duct disturbing the sterile cleanliness of the decor. She wondered if she could crawl through the ducts, use them to flank the Decepticons at the end of the hallway, but the nearest one was across the hallway. She’d have to cross into the line of fire.

    “I’m halfway there!” Blurr shouted, only to cry out as a shot hit him in the back.

    “Blurr!” Road Rage turned towards him, but he held up his hand. His legs were shaking and smoke rose from his back, but he kept his other hand going. Spiral watched him slowly get chipped away by the oncoming fire, and knew that enough was enough. She sprinted from cover, laser blasts scorching millimeters from her body, only for one to connect. It hit her legs at the apex of her stride and she winced, ducking forward and letting her momentum carry her the rest of the way. She fell next to Road Rage and quickly stood, putting her head next to hers.

    “Keep shooting!” She instructed, and Road Rage nodded. Spiral jumped for the vent, pulling the cover off and sliding in. She barely had enough room, and the bulky sections of her car mode’s roof on her arms painfully scraped as she crawled. She squeezed though, letting the glass on them break as she slowly eroded her body to fit. The vent wasn’t that big, and the sound of Blurr’s drilling echoed through with painful reverberation, but soon another sound became apparent. Gunfire, and from just below her. Spiral knew she’d made it and quickly looked for an exit. There was a grate just ahead, and she quickly jammed her fingers through the holes and pushed. It buckled, snapped off its bolts, and she tumbled down right onto one of the Decepticons. She held the grate like a shield, but used it more like a battering ram as she charged forward. A hard swipe knocked the gun from his hands, but the other three had already turned and she was quickly subdued. Her arms were grabbed as she was slammed up against the wall, but Spiral managed to kick out and push one Decepticon away. The first one recovered his rifle and took aim, Spiral unable to break free, and she reflexively turned her head away. There was a shot, a body dropped, and Spiral turned her head to see her would-be executioner face down on the floor. The Decepticons holding her let go as Ruiner tackled one and Road Rage hit another with a flying kick. Spiral didn’t waste time and went for the remaining enemy, picking up one of the discarded rifles and firing practically point-blank into his chest. He collapsed, disabled or dead, and Spiral dropped to her knees. The other two were down as well, and the three Autobots took a moment to catch their proverbial breath.

    “Nice work,” Ruiner placed his hand on Spiral’s shoulder. She reflexively swatted it off, causing Ruiner to react with surprise. Spiral didn’t even think about doing it, and immediately felt guilty, but said nothing. She just looked away before hefting the oversized rifle she’d pilfered in her hands. She wasn’t about to enter another gunfight unarmed.

    “Come on,” Road Rage said, leading the three back to Blurr. He knelt on the ground, leaning onto the door with one hand as the other still drilled.

    “Just in time,” he said loudly, but his voice was hoarse. He seemed weak, and not just from the smouldering wound on his back. Spiral remembered what Sky Lynx had said about him only being able to go fast for one second, but he’d been at the door for nearly a minute now. Finally his hand reached the bottom, and the door made a sudden noise.

    “Now!” Ruiner said as he, Spiral, and Road Rage leveled their weapons. The doors parted, and sure enough there were several armed guards. The Autobots opened fire, not an ounce of hesitation among them. The circumstances were now flipped to their favour, and the Autobots had ample cover, while the open security room provided no protection for the Decepticons. One by one they fell, and the Autobots quickly entered. Ruiner closed the door behind them, but with no locks it stayed open with a nagging gap.

    “Turret controls!” Road Rage said as she searched frantically. The room had many terminals, but only one displayed visuals of the exterior. She ran towards it and saw an image of Sky Lynx laying on the hull, the other Autobots gathered around him.

    “Oh no,” Ruiner muttered, “did they get shot down?” He then noticed a second feed showing a group of Decepticons advancing towards them, as well as the autoguns turning to lock on to their position.

    “The autoguns have been reset,” Road Rage entered commands into the console, only to slam her fist against it in anger, “and they disabled the killswitch. We were too late!”

    “Can’t we do something?” Spiral asked, “anything?

    “Here’s hoping,” Road Rage replied, and began entering in commands. Spiral watched the control feed, and felt a satisfaction welling within as Road Rage changed the designated targets. The little red Autobot spoke with a devious smile, “how nice of them to disable the friendly fire safeties for us.”

    “Perfection,” Ruiner said with audible glee as the turrets, primed and ready to fire, pivoted away from Sky Lynx and towards the advancing Decepticons. Lasers erupted towards the upcoming lance and blew them away, sending them either flying off the hull or simply vanishing from view. He pumped his fist in elation, “now that’s some truly delicious irony.”

    “The fun doesn’t stop there,” Road Rage entered in new commands, and the turrets targeted each other. She fired, and in a single synchronized volley the turrets obliterated themselves. She dusted her hands in satisfaction, “one less headache for us.”

    “And one humongous repair bill for them,” Ruiner added. They watched through the footage as the other Autobots waved in celebration.

    “We should go,” Blurr limped towards them. He held his right hand in his left, and he couldn’t seem to stand straight. Ruiner quickly ran to his aid, draping the weary Autobot’s arm over his shoulder. “Sky Lynx says the evac hangar’s overrun. It’ll be the same here soon.”

    “Then we head for the rendezvous point,” Road Rage stood up, then took a moment to turn back to the console, “but while we’re here, let’s get a more up-to-date map.”

    “Make it fast,” Spiral said, and headed to the far end of the room opposite their entrance. There was another door, and she quickly moved to cover it.

    “Got it,” Road Rage gave an enthusiastic thumbs up, only for her smile to fade. She looked at the map again, her expression a mix of confusion and terror, “what the hell is this?”

    “Just download it and let’s go!” Spiral said, anxiety mounting the longer she crouched next to the door. She knew reinforcements were coming, she knew the Decepticons had to have known they took the security room, yet they still hadn’t shown up. Every second that passed made this more incongruous.

    “We have to contact the others,” Road Rage quickly produced a terminal jack from her palm, plunging it into the interface, “there’s something more going on here. This ship… it’s not just a ship. It’s like the whole thing is a giant transwarp drive.”

    “Fascinating stuff,” Ruiner said, “but I agree with Spiral. We really should be going.”

    “What the hell are they doing here?” Road Rage muttered to herself as she removed her hand from the console. She unslung her rifle and joined Spiral at the door, Ruiner holding Blurr just behind her.

    “Where to now?” He asked.

    “The meeting room is six levels up and about four kilometers ahead,” Road Rage explained, “but there’s a turbo-tram that can take us there only two floors above.”

    “You know a ship is big if it has its own public transit,” Ruiner groaned, “I hope the others don’t get lost.”

    “I’m sending the updated map to Sky Lynx now,” Road Rage explained, “he’ll make sure the others get there.”

    “Then let’s not keep them waiting,” Spiral placed a hand on the door control, and all four braced themselves. She hovered her finger over the release and counted, “three, two, one-” she keyed it open, and the doors parted with a hiss. Her and Road Rage took point, expecting heavy opposition, only to be greeted with a nearly empty hallway. No armed guards, no flanks of troops coming from either side. There was only one individual, tall, silver, with a sharp face and sharper yellow eyes, a large amber cannon mounted to his right arm. Galvatron.

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

    Oct 22, 2005
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    agile house
    Chapter Eleven

    “Move up and stay in formation,” Magnus instructed as the Autobots approached the main hangar doors. Optimus kept close to Magnus, his ion blaster all but depleted, Ironhide and Botanica keeping together just behind him, with Depth Charge bringing up the rear. Sky Lynx, or rather one half of him, lumbered into the hangar behind them, his movements sluggish and weak.

    “Door breach maneuver,” Magnus said. Optimus looked back anxiously. He couldn’t remember how to do a door breach, and Ironhide likewise shrugged.

    “Just spread out and take cover,” Depth Charge said with a hint of irritation. They followed through, Optimus taking cover behind a large Decepticon who was strewn across the floor. They offered no complaints.

    “Three, two,” Ultra Magnus counted, mouthing the final number as he pressed the door release. They parted with a hiss, revealing two Decepticons standing near the doors. One had his hand already outstretched towards the door controls, and both were caught off guard. Magnus fired instantly, targeting the one in the center of the hallway. The shots connected, but the Decepticon just absorbed the fire, charging towards Magnus and delivering a vicious right hook. Magnus took it on the chin, but likewise seemed hardly phased, following up with his own hit. As they brawled the other Decepticon brought his weapon to bear, but Depth Charge was on top of him, spinning in the blink of an eye and swatting the weapon away with the tail on his back. The Decepticon transformed, unperturbed, into some kind of construction vehicle with twin articulated scoops that it lashed out with, striking Depth Charge, only for the Autobot to turn into his roll and land on his feet. He moved with a fluidity and weightlessness that made Optimus feel as though he was fighting underwater, and he quickly grabbed the scoops in each hand. With tremendous strength Depth Charge hoisted the vehicle off the ground, only to slam it into the deck with enough force that left the Decepticon immobilized. A moment later Magnus had his quarrel beat as well, ending the altercation. Optimus, Ironhide, and Botanica merely watched, nearly awestruck.

    “You guys don’t mess around,” Ironhide muttered, only to suddenly point past them, “but you missed one!” Optimus spun on his heel to see one final Decepticon just down the hallway. He was smaller, unarmed, and stood frozen at the sight of the Autobots. His eyes darted from them to the wall, where a gun rack held two rifles. Optimus slowly shook his head, but the Decepticon went for it. Magnus brought his gun to bear, but Optimus pushed it aside, throwing his tow hook. It hit the Decepticon’s arm, hooking into his wrist armour, and Optimus pulled the hapless soldier towards him with three quick tugs.

    “Don’t kill me!” The trooper pleaded, “I’m just an engineer!”

    “You don’t know much about Autobots, do you?” Optimus asked, then brought his brow down on the Decepticon’s face, knocking him out cold. He gently placed the unconscious trooper up against the wall, then took out of the rifles. It would have to serve as a replacement for his depleted ion blaster.

    “You’re pretty handy with that cable,” Magnus remarked.

    “Better than I am with a gun,” Optimus joked as he attempted to familiarize himself with the new firearm.

    “Good thing he wasn’t armed,” Depth Charge said, “or you could’ve left yourself open with it.”

    “Yeah, well, he wasn’t,” Optimus replied. The two glared at one another.

    “We should keep going,” Magnus said, ignoring them, “who knows how many more there are, and we’re on a timetable.”

    “Then it should please you all to know,” Sky Lynx began as he sent the Autobots information, “we now have an up-to-date lay of the land, courtesy of our fellows in the security room.” Optimus compiled the information in his head, unpacking the full contents of the ship’s layout, but it was Botanica who projected it as a hologram for them all to clearly see.

    “There’s something odd about this ship,” she said, highlighting certain sections, “this design is similar to a trans warp drive. Every component from the tachyon generator, to the fusion coils, to the gravity core, it’s all present.”

    “Of course this ship has a transwarp drive,” Depth Charge said, “what’s the big deal?”

    “The ‘big deal’ is the scale,” she explained, “besides, the ship’s actual drive is here, near the communication room. This is several thousand times greater than even the largest space cruiser would ever need.”

    “Big enough…” Optimus mused, “to transport a planet?” The implication hung in the air, but Botanica furrowed her brow as she contemplated it.

    “I wouldn’t assume as much,” she said, “not without more information.”

    “This just means we have even less time,” Magnus urged them, “come on, we’ll regroup with team A and plan our next move. One way or another we have to disable this ship.”

    “I will remain,” Sky Lynx said, “guard our exit and analyze this new map.”

    “Will you be alright?” Optimus asked, his gaze falling to the many wounds and scorch marks across the giant’s wings and body.

    “I will be,” he explained, “once I reunite with my other half my condition will dramatically improve. I’ll first wait for the two teams to join.”

    “Then let’s not let you suffer,” Optimus smiled. The Autobots wasted no time and cautiously moved in unison down the hallways, careful to watch all doors and other passages. They were conspicuous, and Optimus expected to see an entire platoon of enemies around each corner, but things were quiet.

    “You’ve noticed, too,” Magnus whispered, “the lack of resistance.”

    “It’s not right,” Optimus spoke in a similarly lowered tone, “ship this size should be bustling.”

    “Commander,” Optimus spoke on his comm, “is this the most direct path to the rendezvous point?”

    “It is,” Sky Lynx answered, “more or less aligned with the rough outline we supplied before. Why?”

    “What’s the most indirect path?” Optimus asked.

    “I beg your pardon?” Sky Lynx asked back.

    “I’m worried we’re walking into a trap,” Optimus turned to speak to the group, “Galvatron knows what parts of the ship I’m familiar with. He may have guessed where we’re going.” Optimus looked back to Magnus, “at least, that’s what I think.”

    “It’s dangerous to deviate from a plan mid-mission,” Magnus said coldly.

    “It’s even more dangerous to underestimate your enemy,” Optimus replied. He didn’t want to undermine Magnus, but with every moment that went by his doubts grew. At first he expected Magnus to rebuke him, but the Autobot soldier merely nodded.

    “I agree completely,” Magnus said, then held a finger to his commlink, “Commander?”

    “We will heed Optimus’ caution,” Sky Lynx said, “I’ve identified new possible routes. Please consider them carefully.” The directions were soon uploaded to everyone’s processor.

    “There’s a maintenance corridor below us,” Optimus pointed out, “we can use it to circumvent the main halls.”

    “But it’s under several meters of deck,” Magnus pointed out, and Optimus just grinned.

    “What do you say, Ironhide?” He asked his comrade, “let’s show these guys how to think three-dimensionally!”

    “Copy that!” The stout warrior cracked his knuckles. He swiftly smashed his fist into the floor, the plating buckling beneath his punch, and he pried it off. The others merely watched as Optimus and Ironhide began tearing away metal panels, pipes, and cables as they dug their way towards the maintenance tunnel.

    “Whatever works, works, I suppose,” Ultra Magnus remarked as they tore their way through. He stepped back in surprise as Depth Charge jumped in and helped, smashing and ripping their way down until they broke through to the tunnel below. Botanica took it in stride and leapt down, followed by Magnus. The corridor was in stark contrast to the main hallways, being cramped and cluttered with pipes and various cables. Depth Charge especially had troubles walking without scraping his wings, and Ironhide was forced to remove his cannons and store them on his back just to move at all.

    “Remind me if we find an armoury,” he said, “to look for self-propelled MAG rounds. Decepticons have to have those, right?”

    “All that and more I’d imagine,” Optimus remarked, then nodded towards Magnus, “you’re looking a little lighter, too.”

    “Sky Lynx has more of my ammunition,” he replied, “but you raise a good point. We might want to keep a lookout for a chance to resupply.” Optimus simply nodded affirmatively, though Magnus couldn’t see him as they were forced to walk in single-file, but Optimus had a nagging question he needed to have answered.

    “If you don’t mind me asking,” he began, “what is your frame type?”

    “Dude!” Ironhide said, “that’s personal!”

    “887-4500,” Magnus replied.

    “No way!” Optimus’ eyes widened, “as in 887-4000? That’s the same class as me!”

    “My God,” Depth Charge muttered, “you’re practically twins.”

    “I was reformatted just after you defeated Scourge,” Magnus explained, “your twice heroics on Cybertron inspired a great many to action. Your frame became noteworthy as a rugged, dependable chassis build for durability. When the super soldier program gained traction, it was adopted as a base model. I personally am proud to wear it.”

    “Su-” Optimus nearly choked on his words, “super soldier?

    “Autobots engineered for combat,” Magnus replied, “we’re augmented for heightened reflexes, more sophisticated combat protocols, and battlefield dominance.”

    “Super soldier…” Optimus said, turning to Ironhide as a smile creeped upon his face, “you hear that? I’m a prototype for a super soldier!

    “That…” Botanica looked at him with confusion, “that is not at all what he just said.”

    “You know,” Depth Charge said, “prototypes are usually full of bugs and errors.”

    “That just means I’m one of a kind,” Optimus gave Depth Charge a rude gesture with his hand, knowing full well the latter would not understand its alien origin. The argument was cut off by a deep, mechanical boom that Optimus felt as much as he heard, followed by a haunting hum that reverberated through the ship.

    “That doesn’t sound good,” Ironhide muttered.

    “It isn’t,” Sky Lynx’s voice came over the comm link, “and to make matters worse, I’ve lost contact with team A.”

    “Could it be interference from the hull density?” Botanica asked.

    “Unlikely,” Sky Lynx replied, “I boast a most sophisticated communications package capable of incredible signal strength. Besides, their signal was palpable as I received the map, but then it simply… vanished.”

    “Damn,” Optimus cursed under his breath, “do you have their last location?”

    “I do,” he replied, “it was in the security room. Though something’s not right…”

    “We have to go after them,” Optimus turned to the group, “this is a rescue mission now. We’ll consult the map, look for a detention center or-”

    “Hold on,” Ultra Magnus held up a hand, “we can’t abandon the mission. You felt that, this ship just powered up something, and I bet it’s whatever they plan to get the Nucleon with.”

    “My team just went MIA!” Optimus said, “we don’t leave our own behind!”

    “We won’t, but we have priorities,” Magnus said firmly.

    “We split up, then,” Optimus said, “me, ‘Hide, and Botanica go looking-”

    “Listen to your superior officer!” Depth Charge pressed his finger against Optimus’ chest as he got in his face, “team A is either dead or captured, either way they’re not going anywhere, but if we don’t stop Galvatron now there won’t be another chance!”

    “How could you say that?” Optimus shoved Depth Charge’s hand away with enough force to make the Autobot stumble back, “Blurr is with them, you’re going to leave your own?”

    “Yes,” Depth Charge said coldly, “because we have to. Blurr would understand, I know he would. Would your team do the same?” Optimus locked eyes with Depth Charge, the two staring one another down, and Optimus squeezed the handle of his rifle enough to make it crack.

    “You’re right,” Optimus said with a mix of defeat and anger, “they would want us to keep going.”

    “Then that makes you more of a leader than I thought,” Depth Charge said. Optimus had no idea if that was an insult or a compliment. Perhaps it was both.

    “Then we prioritize speed,” Sky Lynx said, sounding unperturbed by the altercation he just overheard, “we skip the rendezvous point and head straight for the heart of this ship. My quadrupedal half is already moving into position along the belly. I’ll reconnoiter there as well. Please open your map.” Optimus took the liberty of projecting the map this time, and a detailed layout of The Revenge filled the cramps corridor.

    “This must be it,” Magnus pointed to a large cylindrical room near the bottom. It connected with the outermost layer of the hull with what seemed to be a single large aperture.

    “I see now,” Botanica said, squeezing between Ironhide and Depth Charge to highlight the different sections of ship, “I think I know how this works. These columns along the edge here are the gravity generators. They’re what’s keeping the ship in the air and producing that void in the ocean.”

    “We disable those, then?” Ironhide asked.

    “No,” Optimus pointed, “if that’s the main room where extraction will take place, it’ll be heavily guarded.”

    “No doubt where Galvatron expects us to be,” Magnus noted.

    “So we’ll use a three-prong attack,” Depth Charge ran his fingers along the bottom of the ship, “the commander will attack from outside from both directions, and we come from within.”

    “If we had a battle force the size of an army, maybe,” Optimus said, “but just five against who knows how many? We have to think smarter than that.”

    “Then if I might make a suggestion,” Botanica began, “we needn’t disable the entire ship, we only have to disable parts of it. If this ship is designed like a giant transwarp drive, only one or two crucial systems have to be destroyed for it to cease function.”

    “It’s a lot more within our scope,” Magnus nodded in agreement, “but what if it doesn’t work? What if there’s redundant systems?”

    “Let there be,” Sky Lynx interjected, “we only have to make it seem as though we intended to fully disable it. Create a diversion long enough for me to enter through the aperture and destroy the anti gravity systems. That will mend the hole in the ocean and drop this ship into it.”

    “Clearly they’re afraid to get wet,” Depth Charge remarked, “otherwise they wouldn’t be spending all this power to move water.”

    “Botanica,” Optimus turned to her, “what’s the nearest, most expensive thing we can break?”

    “The graviton induction coils,” she pointed to two long cylinders that ran parallel to the ship, “this is where the gravity fields that compress space are generated. Even a comparatively minor disruption will result in catastrophic failure.”

    “Anything else?” Magnus asked, “we need to put up an effective deception.”

    “The tachyon generator,” she pointed higher up on the ship, above their current location, “if we can shut it down it’d take at least fifteen minutes to restart.”

    “A generous window of opportunity,” Sky Lynx remarked, “then let’s proceed. Time is of the essence.”

    “I’ll take Depth Charge to destroy the generator,” Magnus said.

    “No,” Botanica held up a finger, “we cannot destroy it. The reaction alone could obliterate this ship. We must shut it down. I’ll go with you.”

    “Alright,” Magnus nodded, “Optimus, take the others and destroy-” Magnus gave Botanica a look, she nodded, and he turned back to the others, “the coils.”

    “Team breaking shit!” Ironhide slammed his fist into his hand.

    “We’ll worry about our exit strategy afterwards,” Optimus said hesitantly. They had to act fast, and he wasn’t leaving without his missing teammates. He only hoped they were safe, and refused to entertain any alternative. Once again they were splitting up, thinning out, and he silently worried that they may still be playing into Galvatron’s hand.

    “Keep each other safe, alright?” Ironhide said to Magnus as his gaze fell to Botanica, the former seeming a bit confused.

    “Likewise,” Botanica’s expression softened to a smile, “you don’t need any more scars.” Ironhide meekly rubbed his right brow at the remark as Botanica turned to leave with Magnus.

    “We’d better hurry,” Depth Charge said, “we’ve got a longer walk than they do.”
  8. Coffee

    Coffee (╭☞ꗞᨓꗞ)╭☞

    Mar 1, 2013
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    Mississauga Ontario
    I like the attention you pay to a lot of the physical attributes of the characters and how they interact with the spaces they're in. Like how Spiral's glass cracks as she is crouching through the vent, and how Ironhide needs to put his cannons on his back to take up less space. I'm really enjoying Magnus for some reason. I somehow didn't expect to see a similar dynamic here between him and Optimus with the implied dynamic of G1 Optimus and Magnus and it suprisingly works.

    Though given your track record with Starscream and Convoy who knows who we're able to trust?

    I also like that the tension between Depth Charge and Optimus seems to be slowly building beat by beat. Granted his half compliment seems to temper things a little, but I am interesting in seeing where that particular dynamic is going as well.

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

    Oct 22, 2005
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    agile house
    Chapter Twelve
    Paradox Lite

    Spiral fired immediately, squeezing the trigger and causing the rifle to belch white-hot blasts of plasma at Galvatron. He dodged to the right, though he almost didn’t have to. Spiral didn’t take enough time to aim and panicked, and her shots went wild, giving Galvatron an opening that was impossible to miss. He outstretched his arm, a stream of energy crackling from the barrel with a piercing wail, obliterating Spiral’s rifle on contact. The weapon was reduced to a glowing liquid that seared as it hit her armour, cooling and hardening against her chassis moments later. The force of the detonation sent her back into the security room, colliding with one of the stations. Road Rage watched as her friend fell into a heap, then swung her blaster around in anger with the barrel leveled at Galvatron’s face.

    “Do not,” he said calmly, his own weapon still aimed at Spiral. Road Rage glowered at him as she lowered the weapon, and he smiled, “now, discard it.”

    “Get bent,” Road Rage said, and Galvatron merely charged his cannon once more, still pointed at Spiral. Road Rage angrily threw her gun onto the ground, the weapon clattering at Galvatron’s feet.

    “Good,” he said, then turned his focus to Ruiner, “now, the ones on your shoulders.”

    “They don’t really come off,” Ruiner said, and Galvatron responded by firing his cannon. A streak of light vapourized the console just next to Spiral’s head close enough to peel the paint off her cheek. Ruiner frantically held up a hand, “okay, okay!” he urged, then shrugged his shoulders dramatically, the armatures holding his weapons dislodging with a pop. He kicked them away from himself, muttering in protest, “now I’m gonna have a big stupid hole in my butt when I transform…”

    “Better than a hole in your head,” Galvatron mused, and finally turned his attention to Blurr, “you’re unarmed, I take it?”

    “Just give me a few minutes,” Blurr said, “and I’ll show you just what I’m capable of.”

    “Charming,” Galvatron said, “but I only have about four minutes left, so I’ll make this quick.” He grasped the barrel of his own weapon with his left hand, unlatching it from his right arm, and dropped it onto the floor, “my proposition is simple: each of you face me one-on-one. If even one can defeat me, you are all free to leave. And I do mean all of you, including your second party and the beasts you rode in on.”

    “A likely story,” Ruiner said, “but it means nothing coming from a Decepticon.”

    “You have my word,” he said, “whether the four of you succeed here or not means little in the grand scheme of things, if I’m honest. However, I also believe in good sport.”

    “This some kind of trick?” Road Rage asked.

    “Not a trick,” Galvatron held up a finger, “more like a test. But whether the rats know they’re in a maze doesn’t matter, does it?”

    “Fine then, mister smug and tough,” Road Rage said, her battle mask sliding down over her face, “I’ll be player one.”

    “Then let’s fight,” Galvatron said with a grin, holding up his fists. He was nearly twice her height, with a build more stocky but less bulky than Optimus. Road Rage took a moment to size him up, getting within two arms lengths of him. She bent her knees, loosened up her shoulders, and kept her hands at mid-level. She snapped her left arm forward, which he parried, and followed up with a rick kick which he also blocked with a leg raise. It was little more than a love tap, to test his reactions, and Road Rage lashed out again. Her punches were fast, her kicks were swift, but Galvatron answered each nearly perfectly, all without losing the smile on his face. If anything it grew, his smarmy expression becoming almost childlike elation. Road Rage began to get creative, combining her blows with dekes, jumps, and spins to throw him off, but again his blocking was methodical, like a game. He answered her attacks matter-of-factly, with a speed and consistency that seemed premeditated. He was reading her, perfectly and without error, and she felt herself grow uneasy.

    “Kick his ass, Rage!” Ruiner shouted, “you got him on the ropes!” But it didn’t feel like it. To Road Rage it felt like she was being heckled, Galvatron’s fighting equivalent to mocking remarks, as if she were the most blanche and predictable opponent, yet she was giving it her all to confuse him. It felt invasive, like she was being watched and scrutinized by a condescending instructor. She had to do something, anything, to swing this melee into her favour. She sprang back into the door frame, leaping up to grab the top of it and swung her legs out towards Galvatron, he held up his arms, blocking, but her intent was not to land a kick. While her feet did connect, it was just to leave him open, and she used it to spring into a backflip in front of him, and she extended the door on her arm into a bladed weapon. She first discovered it back at the Templar on Cybertron, her body creating its own weapons from her anatomy, and was something Galvatron couldn’t possibly see coming.

    “This blasted angle,” he cursed under his breath as she slashed across his chest. It was shallow, but it was the first conclusive hit she’d made, and Galvatron leapt back to try and minimize it, for once reacting to her attack rather than predicting it. Oil pumping and Spark burning, Road Rage ignored his comment and landed in a wide stance, immediately lunging to capitalize on her opening, only for Galvatron to outstretch his arm and grab her by the neck. He flung her brutishly into the adjacent bulkhead with enough force to dent it, and she collapsed onto the floor. She struggled to stand as her world teetered and spun, but Galvatron merely loomed, watching her squirm.

    “What…” Road Rage gasped as her mask retracted, struggling just to remain on all fours, “what did you just say?”

    “That’s a neat trick,” Galvatron ran his fingers across his new scar, seemingly impressed, “discreet, resourceful, under-handed. Not like an Autobot at all.”

    “I got a lot more... where that came from-” she struggled to stand, but her strength had all but evaporated, and she slumped to the floor, defeated.

    “No, you don’t,” he said, watching her struggle, “be lucky I didn’t embed you in that wall.”

    “Alright, pinhead,” Ruiner said, letting Blurr down gently, “round two. Think you’ve still got the stamina?”

    “More than you realize,” Galvatron turned to him, one hand on his hip, “correct me if I misuse the colloquialism, but I haven’t even, how does it go... ‘broken a sweat?’

    “Very good,” Ruiner mockingly clapped his hands, “you’ve practically gone native. Here’s another one that’s quite popular on this planet,” he made an approximation of clearing his throat before extending his arm in presentation, “I’m gonna kick your ass.

    “Funny,” Galvatron said, “but you won’t defeat me with petty insults.”

    “I could really annoy you, though,” Ruiner said.

    “You’ve certainly done that,” Galvatron’s smile began to fade, “now come here and fight like an Autobot.”

    “I’m barely affiliated with them, if I’m honest,” Ruiner held up his hands, “I’m more of a mascot or volunteer. It's a long story.”

    “Come here,” Galvatron growled, pointing at the ground. Ruiner crossed his arms in defiance.

    “Make me,” he said, and Galvatron seemed to grow even angrier. Ruiner looked around as he stood just inside the security room, with Galvatron several meters away in the hallway.

    “The red one faced me without fear,” Galvatron said, “are you too spineless as to accept a fair challenge?”

    “But it’s not fair, is it?” Ruiner asked, “and I know it’s not, because you’re getting really angry at me for not attacking first, like I’ve denied you an advantage.” Galvatron’s expression morphed into a scowl.

    “Come out of that room, Autobot,” he demanded, but Ruiner remained defiant, and much to Galvatron’s fury, took several steps back into the room.

    “First move is yours,” Ruiner quipped, and Galvatron snapped. He leapt into the room with a speed and violence that had Ruiner’s neck in the tyrant’s hands. He slammed him into the console with enough force to crush it, squeezing his hands like a vice on the Autobot’s neck.

    “I don’t need hindsight to deal with one so pathetic,” Galvatron seethed, “and the fact that I feel no shame or frustration with my actions is proof that they’re justified. It means I’ve already won!” He threw Ruiner with force greater than he did Road Rage, and a ferocity that had Ruiner collide with the door frame and bounce into the middle of the hallway. Galvatron strode out of the room and up to the prone Autobot, bringing his foot down onto his chest with enough force to shatter the imitation windshield and leave a boot print. Ruiner didn’t move an inch, his eyes flickering as he struggled to simply remain conscious.

    “I’d like to say you fought well,” Galvatron mused, “but your friend put up a much better fight. Your impertinent struggle, brief as it was, yielded nothing but a waste of my time.”

    “No,” Blurr said, rising to his feet from inside the doorway, “I think we learned a lot just now, and it was all thanks to him.”

    “Oh really?” Galvatron said, turning to the Autobot, “and what might that have been?”

    “You gave yourself away when you insisted he come out to fight you,” Blurr said, flexing his arm as the feeling and functionality returned, “your confidence was there, but not your control. You were frustrated, like something didn’t go as planned.”

    “And here I thought this scrapheap was the talkative one,” Galvatron strode towards Blurr, “I recognize you. The Autobot Optimus so vexingly tattled on me to. Blurr, was it?”

    “Tell me Galvatron,” Blurr said, twisting the dial on his chest as he stepped back into the room, his tone accusatory, “do you see this coming, too?” Galvatron’s eyes widened, as if realizing something. He quickly reached back for his fusion cannon, but a blue streak knocked him off his feet and into the wall. Blurr now stood down the hallway, small wisps of dust at his feet. He rocked his neck back and forth, “still feeling confident?”

    “I’m feeling annoyed,” Galvatron said as he rose off the floor.

    “Because you’re running out of time?” Blurr quipped again, and again a streak materialized between them which sent Galvatron slamming into the bulkhead, with Blurr suddenly standing down the opposite hallway, “you said you had four minutes. I didn’t know what that meant, but that was precisely three minutes and thirty-nine seconds ago. Tell me-” he sped past again, not even allowing Galvatron to rise to his feet, “what happens when that time is up?”

    “You’ll see,” Galvatron said, getting back to his feet. Blurr’s attacks hit hard, but left little damage, and he didn’t seem fazed at all. In fact he looked the opposite, with that same gleeful grin from before creeping across his face. Blurr’s gaze grew panicked as he watched Galvatron smile, only for a purple stream of energy to hit him from behind and send him clattering to the deck. Road Rage and Ruiner struggled to sit up, only able to watch Blurr’s smoldering body lay prone before them. From down the hallway, left of the security room exit, someone approached. Road Rage tried to focus her hazy vision on the motionless form of Blurr on the floor, and his approaching assailant from behind him, the fusion cannon on their arm still smoking. The one who shot Blurr stepped into clear view, revealing themselves to be Galvatron.

    “Am I…” Ruiner moaned, “seeing double?” In addition to this Galvatron, the unarmed stepped towards Blurr, then knelt down next to the defeated Autobot.

    “Did you see that coming?” He grinned next to him before picking up his weapon. He reattached it with a firm click.

    “He was right, though,” the second Galvatron said, “we are out of time. Sorry about the scratch, I didn’t have the best view.”

    “Don’t be,” the first Galvatron smiled, “it’s ancient history.” The second Galvatron returned the courtesy and stepped away, outstretching his left forearm and turning it to face himself. The row of armour plates along it extended, revealing a pulsating glow in between the gaps. Suddenly the whole ship seemed to shudder as the hum from his arm fell in sync with a low rumble from all around them, as if it drew on the power of The Revenge itself. The rhythm of the light increased as it intensified, and the second Galvatron appeared to turn translucent, only to seemingly fade away entirely an instant later.

    “What...?” Road Rage looked at where the second Galvatron was, her jaw hanging in confusion.

    “Poor thing,” Galvatron turned towards her, “it is a little confusing, isn’t it?” He knelt down next to her, as though he were a patient parent, “I’d explain it, but I don’t think you’d really grasp the... ramifications.”

    “Was that a hologram?” Ruiner asked, likewise bewildered by what he saw, “some sort of... decoy?”

    “It’s not really important,” Galvatron sighed, “what matters is our wager, which you lost. I’m afraid you won’t be leaving now. You each faced me one on one, and failed.”

    “Hey,” a voice came from behind him, and Galvatron looked over his shoulder to see Spiral standing in the doorway. She barely kept herself up, her knees were buckling, her armour was mangled, and she had to brace herself on the frame, “not yet.”

    Please,” Galvatron scoffed.

    “What’s the matter?” She asked, “afraid you can’t beat me fair and square?”

    “I’m afraid of you leaking all over my clean floors,” Galvatron nodded to the small pool of hydraulic fluid and oil that had seeped from her injuries.

    “What about your word?” Spiral asked, and Galvatron dramatically sighed.

    Fine,” he said, “but know I get no pleasure from this.” Spiral wobbled over towards him, the joints of her legs shaking violently with each step, nearly ready to dislodge. Road Rage watched her friend approach, and tried to stand up.

    “Hey,” Ruiner whispered to her, “come here.”

    “Why?” Road Rage whispered back, “if I get the jump on him-”

    “Just come here,” Ruiner insisted, and Road Rage crawled over to him. He placed his hand on her shoulder and pulled her closer, “you have to go, now. Find Optimus and the others, tell them about Galvatron. Tell them what he can do.”

    “What?” She asked, disbelieving of his words, “what do you mean? Go without you guys? You want me to leave you?”

    “You have to,” Ruiner said, “Spiral’s just buying you time. You’re the only one who can make it. Go now and drive as fast as you can. They have to know... what he can do.”

    I don’t even know what he can do!” Road Rage says, “it doesn’t make sense. There were two Galvatron’s, and one teleported or something… I don’t get it.”

    “Blurr knew,” Ruiner said, his head falling back onto the floor as his eyes began to fade, “he gave us the clue… Blurr was… temporal… physics…” his hand fell from her shoulder as he began to lose consciousness, slumping back onto the floor. Road Rage reached out to him only for a loud bang to make her jump, and she turned to see Spiral suddenly leaning up against the bulkhead, knocked back by Galvatron.

    “I can’t…” she turned back to him, eyes clenched shut, “please don’t make me-”

    Go!” He pressed his hand against her chest and, with the last of his strength, shoved Road Rage away, towards the hallway that would take them towards the ship’s bow. She watched as Galvatron approached Spiral, who could barely stand up, then to Blurr and Ruiner, still motionless on the floor, and the sense of dread that came over her became overwhelming. Her Spark was telling her to stay and face Galvatron, but her processor knew that Ruiner was right. She didn’t think, she just did, and painfully transformed while she had the chance, speeding off down the hallway as fast as her engine could go. Galvatron turned his head as he heard the noise.

    “Hey!” Spiral shouted, taking off one of her hubcaps and tossing it at him. It bounced off his chest, and he turned his head back towards her with a grimace as she stood back up, “we’re not finished.”

    “You’re embarrassing yourself,” he said, then held his finger up to his comm link, “security team to me, I’m done here. We have-” Spiral yelled as she punched him repeatedly, her fists connecting but doing no damage as she impotently continued on, Galvatron raising his voice over the sound of her struggle, “we have a runner. She’s in corridor gamma heading North.”

    “Don’t ignore me!” Spiral shouted as she continued her impotent attack, “you think I’m afraid of you? You think I’m intimidated? I’m not!

    “Now this is just sad,” he said, placing his hand on her head. With the gentlest of shoves he pushed Spiral off her feet, and she fell onto her back with a thud. Her energy was gone, her body had given up, and she passed out. In a moment Decepticon soldiers surrounded them, including one that was very large with a dark colour scheme and angular, inhuman face.

    “Take the two wrecks to holding,” Galvatron said, then pointed to Blurr, “take him to the examination room. I’m intrigued by his abilities.”

    “Of course my lord,” Straxus said with a short bow, then snapped his fingers. The Decepticons quickly gathered the Autobots up and began dragging them away, leaving Straxus and Galvatron alone.

    “Have the away teams reported back yet?” Galvatron asked.

    “Blackout and Octopunch are, predictably, MIA,” Straxus replied, “however the recovery team has secured the asset and will return on schedule.”

    “Marvelous,” Galvatron said.

    “I watched from the secondary security hub,” Straxus said as he approached his leader, “I see you finally decided to interact. That must have been interesting.”

    “It felt… amusing,” Galvatron said, “to speak to yourself as your mind recollects. Like singing along to a song you’ve nearly forgotten, each word unlocking the next. I think I finally may have the answer.”

    “Would you say this assuages your concerns of a paradox?” Straxus asked.

    “Assuages?” Galvatron turned to him, grinning receptor to receptor, “my friend, our opportunities- my opportunities, have quite literally become limitless.”
  10. Coffee

    Coffee (╭☞ꗞᨓꗞ)╭☞

    Mar 1, 2013
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    Mississauga Ontario
    I want to say I called there being a second Galvatron somehow given the offhanded Galvatron II remark and the way he seemed to teleport in front of Optimus impossibly that first time, but I didn't, so I won't claim to have seen this coming in this way. The thought did occur to me though. Also, is Galvatron fucking Funny Valentine? Either way it's interesting seeing the time-travel aspect to the classic Galvatron being adapted here. I seriously didn't expect that to factor into this Galvatron at all.

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

    Oct 22, 2005
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    agile house
    Chapter Thirteen
    Crashing and Burning

    Optimus leapt from one graviton induction coil to the next, the feeling of vertigo and sudden shift in pull nearly causing him to wipe out, but it was necessary. He’d never heard of a graviton induction coil, he didn’t know how they worked or what they did aside from being essential components of transwarp travel. He did not expect them to have their own gravitational field, nor be massive glowing cylinders the size of entire city blocks. They were only about a kilometre apart from one another, but the gravitational fields extended until they overlapped. This was apparently a key part of their function, but it made Optimus feel like he was running through a funhouse as he was hounded by the Decepticon Bonecrusher, who leapt after him and likewise struggled to reorient himself before landing on the other coil. Their internal gyros were all but rendered useless, as Optimus looked “up” to see Depth Charge and Ironhide struggling in a melee with more Decepticon troops on the floor below, he could hardly stay on his feet.

    “You can’t run forever, Autobot,” Bonecrusher threatened, crawling towards him on all fours, “just accept your fate and hold still!”

    “Easier said than done,” Optimus struggled to run across the coil. The gravity generated was slightly more than Earth’s own, and the surface was slick. Combined with the vertigo it felt like swimming through grease, and soon Optimus was also forced to crawl across its surface. The unflattering chase continued as Depth Charge traded blows with a trooper below, knocking the enemy back and grabbing him by the arms. Depth Charge hurled the Decepticon towards the ceiling, only for him to be caught by the gravity well of the coil, which swung him into the other gravity field, narrowly missing Optimus as he crashed into the far wall.

    “I’m almost having fun,” Ironhide grunted as he tested his strength against a Decepticon with massive arms, “it’s like an amusement park.”

    “It was supposed to be a smash and dash,” Depth Charge said as he watched more Decepticons enter, “what is taking him so long?”

    “You’re welcome to help any time!” Optimus shouted. Optimus had wanted to just shoot the coils, but Depth Charge quickly discerned they had electromagnetic shielding, and firing on them could be dangerous. None of their weapons would be able to penetrate it anyway, and so they decided to simply uncouple the coils from their housing, letting the overlapping gravity fields cause them to collide. A simple plan were it not for the Decepticons keeping them at bay, and Bonecrusher in particular keeping Optimus from reaching the couplings.

    “Come on, Autobot,” Bonecrusher whined, slipping around on his hands and feet, “I’m gonna be sick if we keep this up!” Optimus ignored him, inching towards the couplings. He could see Bonecrusher closing the distance, the Decepticon’s elongated arms giving him a distinct advantage.

    “Look out!” Ironhide shouted, and Optimus turned to see Bonecrusher had stopped moving. Only about two body lengths separated them, when suddenly the row of spikes on his shoulders moved from their place, joined in a claw-shaped appendage, and launched towards him on an extendable third arm. Optimus dodged it by millimetres, then just barely again moments later as the attacks continued.

    “I wanted to do this the easy way,” Bonecrusher said as he continued to attack, “now you’re going to get perforated!”

    “That’s today’s word,” one of the Decepticons from below remarked, “it means he’s going to stab a bunch of small holes into him.”

    “Here’s a new word for ya,” Depth Charge said as he scooped the soldier up off the ground, only to hurl the hapless soldier through the metal door he had entered through, “defenestration!”

    “Defenestration…” Ironhide muttered to himself, “isn’t that specifically being thrown through a window, not a door?”

    “Yeah, but he doesn’t know that,” Depth charge shrugged.

    “Is no one going to get this guy off me!?” Optimus shouted, squirming to avoid being punctured by the razor-edged spikes. Bonecrusher was tenacious, lunging with his attacks in a motion that reminded Optimus of a frog’s tongue, which somehow made it even more terrifying. He scampered on the slick surface, fighting the competing fields of gravity, and knew he had to make distance. He transformed, burning rubber against the coil’s housing as he struggled to get traction, but only served to make himself spin out. He wrapped around the coil as he spun, and the motions were nearly enough to make him pass out. He dropped his winch, let his tow cable go slack, and hoped and prayed it’d snag on something. Anything.

    “I’m coming, Optimus!” Ironhide yelled to his friend. He searched for a way to get up, and noticed a large terminal and gantry near the center of the cavernous room. Ironhide transformed and peeled out towards it, weaving between troops that rallied against him, then leaping into robot mode and onto the terminal. He then scampered up the gantry as Optimus still spun out of control, corkscrewing around the coil as Bonecrusher tried to catch him with his claw on every pass.

    “Really!?” Depth Charge shouted as he now had to fight all the Decepticons himself, but Ironhide stayed focused on reaching Optimus. He could already feel the light tug of the fluctuating gravity fields, and pounced, correctly assuming he’d be caught by the field and carried towards the coil. What he didn’t account for was the momentum he built causing him to “fall” just passed the coil, then be tugged back towards it in a similar slingshot effect as the Decepticon before him. He extended his arm on his second pass, aiming to grab Bonecrusher instead as he flung around. He succeeded, getting purchase on the Decepticon’s extended third arm, and almost yanking him from the coil in the process.

    “No free rides!” Bonecrusher shouted as he violently shook his appendage to try and dislodge Ironhide. The stout Autobot wrapped his arms and legs around it, not just to hold on tighter, but to avoid the snapping claws. Optimus, still spinning, now had his tow line fully extended. He could feel it brush against something with every rotation, and finally it got purchase, and he was abruptly brought to a halt. He quickly reeled in his line, dragging him backwards along the coil to its end, right in front of the coupling.

    “Stop him!” Bonecrusher shouted to the Decepticons below, “shoot him down before he undoes the coil!”

    “But sir,” one of the Decepticon troops began, “Lord Galvatron told us not to fire near the-”

    “I don’t care, shoot him!” Bonecrusher demanded, slamming his arm- and Ironhide -hard against the coil’s surface. The bulky Autobot lost his grip and fell against the coil, and Bonecrusher turned his attention back to Optimus. Gunfire came from below, scorching the surface of the coil and its coupling as Optimus transformed back to robot mode. He quickly found the main locking pin which kept the coil in place, and pulled with all his might to remove it.

    “You idiots!” Depth Charge shouted at the Decepticons firing. He ran towards them, knocking two aside before three turned their blasters on him, forcing the Autobot to cover himself with his wings. The majority kept firing, and Optimus was unable to dodge their blasts, taking hits along his back as he continued to pull the pin free, until something began to hum. The hum grew louder, and a moment later a voice came over a loudspeaker within the room.

    “Attention all personnel,” a voice that carried the unmistakable rasp and eloquence of Galvatron began, “operation Kronos is underway. Everyone to your stations and prepare for temporal influx. As for our Autobot guests,” Galvatron’s tone switched from formal to condescending in an instant, “a small number of you have already fallen to my power. Those of you still attempting to derail my plans, know that you have failed. Unlike myself, you have run out of time.”

    “Everyone, evacuate!” One of the Decepticon troops shouted, “this room is about to become a deathtrap!”

    “Cowards!” Bonecrusher shouted, “you dare desert in the face of an enemy?” He went ignored by the Decepticons who chose their own well-being over the Autobots, and soon the large room was abandoned save for the three Autobots and Bonecrusher.

    “I have a feeling we should be doing the same,” Depth Charge said, then held up a finger to his commlink, “Commander, did you hear that?”

    “Loud and clear,” Sky Lynx replied, “I’m positioned along the belly and I have a visual on the aperture. I also received word from Ultra Magnus that the generator is taking longer to shut down than expected.”

    “What are your orders?” Depth Charge asked.

    “Like Galvatron said, we’re out of time,” Sky Lynx’s tone became somber, “we’re out of options. I’m going to enter the aperture myself. I will destroy this infernal machine from within.”

    “That’s a one-way trip, boss!” Depth Charge said, “the energy being directed there is enough to bore all the way to a planet’s core. Your armour won’t stand a chance, you can’t do it!”

    “I must,” Sky Lynx urged, “the stakes are too high. I won’t let Galvatron destroy another world. I only regret that I won’t be able to safely evacuate you before the destruction. If you leave now perhaps you can commandeer another shuttle in time.”

    “Optimus!” Depth Charge shouted, “pull the pin now! We have to shut this down!”

    “I’m trying!” Optimus groaned as he felt his strength leave his fingers. The hum continued to grow, and sudden;y Optimus felt himself get heavier. The coils were producing more gravitons, and the field began to intensify. He felt heavier, his legs began to buckle, and even Ironhide and Bonecrusher found themselves pressed flat against the coil.

    “What’s happening? Why am I so heavy-?” Bonecrusher could hardly talk. Optimus felt his grip slipping on the pin, and he fell to one knee as he braced his foot against the coupling. Depth Charge leapt into the air, the gravity field catching him and pulling him down towards Optimus. He landed hard, buckling at the knees, but still managed to power through to Optimus. He grabbed the edge of the pin as well, pooling his strength in with Optimus’ own, and together they wrenched it free with a satisfying pop.

    “Great,” Optimus said, exhausted, “now what about the other end?”” The coil lurched violently, and the hum was drowned out by a very unpleasant sound of metal moaning.

    “I don’t think that’ll be a problem,” Depth Charge said, and Optimus soon understood why. The graviton buildup had not just increased the intensity of the gravitational fields, but also their range, and they were overlapping even more than they were. Optimus felt himself get lighter as the opposite coil now pulled towards him, but it was pulling something else as well.

    “Jump!” Depth Charge warned, and he, Optimus and Ironhide quickly leapt from the coil as it began to tilt at an awkward angle towards its opposite. Bonecrusher remained, seemingly confused by what was going on. He had little time to react as the coil he was on violently jerked at an almost forty-five degree angle, the two massive pieces of machinery caught in each other’s gravity fields, only for the one to dislodge completely, shattering from its base like a giant fluorescent bulb and colliding with the other, with Bonecrusher trapped between them. The Autobots could only just barely make it to cover as the two colossal pieces of machinery overloaded, their gravitational energies causing anything not bolted down to fly around wildly. Optimus and Ironhide grabbed hold of the railing of a short staircase that led out of the room, and Depth Charge attempted to grab hold as well, only to slip. He was pulled away, the torrent of forces threatening to consume him, only for Optimus to throw his tow hook. Depth Charge grabbed it on the second try, holding onto the cable for dear life until the reaction above finally subsided. The gravity fields ceased, and Earth’s once again took over, sending everything clattering to the deck. The Autobots covered their heads and hunkered down as the massive coils collapsed, mangled and distorted.

    “Well,” Ironhide sighed, “that was fun. Remind me not to get on the next ride.”

    “Commander,” Depth Charge said, “fall back, I repeat, do not engage! We just destroyed the graviton coils.”

    “And not a moment too soon,” Sky Lynx said, “but it seems we have a bigger problem now, I’m patching you into my camera feed now.” A small square occupied the corner of Optimus’ vision, as it did for Ironhide and Depth Charge, and he quickly enlarged it for a better view. It showed the outside of the ship, the tube of air that the ship hovered in was still in place, but the interior of the ship was also visible through a large opening. Inside were four massive glowing cones that pointed towards the ocean, their pulsating and flickering. They were the gravity field manipulators, and they were failing. Their lights eventually went out, and through Sky Lynx’s point of view, the wall of seawater held in place began to ripple and contract. Soon the entirety of The Revenge would be submerged.

    “Magnus, do you copy?” Depth Charge keyed his comm.

    “I go it,” he replied over the radio, “we’re heading at top speed back to the hangar.”

    “We must abandon ship now,” Sky Lynx ordered, “we’ll be trapped once it’s underwater.”

    “We can’t!” Optimus said, “Road Rage and the others-”

    “Are already captured,” Sky Lynx said, “we cannot go back for them now, we must evacuate, that is an order!

    “I’m going,” Optimus said, “head to the hangar without me. If I’m not back by the time you-”

    “We don’t have time!” Depth Charge shoved him back, “what happened to what you said before? You said they’d want you to continue on. We can’t wait.”

    “That was different!” Optimus shoved him back, and the two brought up fists.

    Enough!” Ironhide grabbed both Autobots by the upper arms and pulled them apart with enough force to nearly toss them aside, “we follow orders, now let’s go!” Optimus wanted to fight back, but as much as Depth Charge made him furious, it was Ironhide’s stern glare that made him capitulate.

    “Fine,” Optimus said, “then let’s roll.”

    “No,” Depth Charge said, then leapt into the air, “we fly.” He transformed, his body rearranging as well as undulating as his mechanical and biological components meshed together into what Optimus surmised was some kind of ray-like creature. At the apex of his leap the wing-like fins separated, reoriented, and produced a ripple through the air as some sort of anti-gravity field kept him aloft. “Grab hold,” he barked, and they did as instructed. Optimus and Ironhide both wrapped their arms around the struts of the wings, and Depth Charge shot out of the room at high speeds. He soared down the hallways faster than Optimus would’ve expected, taking tight turns and dodging frantic Decepticons who rushed to brace themselves. They made it to the main corridor that led to the hangar, nearly colliding with Magnus and Botanica who arrived at the same time. They all turned back to robot mode as Sky Lynx’s two components emerged from beyond the edges of the deck, fusing back into one and finally back into his shuttle form.

    “All aboard, quickly!” Sky Lynx said, “unless you want to swim back!” The ocean walls were nearly on top of them, the water appearing almost to fall in slow motion as the waves kilometres away picked up speed as they closed in. Everyone did as ordered, save for Optimus, who took one last look. He looked down the empty hallway, hoping to see his Autobots come racing down, having miraculously escaped at the last possible moment.

    “Optimus,” Ultra Magnus placed a hand on his shoulder, “we have to go.” Optimus clenched his fists enough that he could hear the metal stressing, but he turned towards Sky Lynx all the same.

    “Look!” Ironhide pointed past them, and Optimus’ head snapped back towards the corridor. Something was coming, he could see a glint of red speeding towards them. It was Road Rage, and she raced towards the exit. Optimus could tell she was injured, sparks kicked up behind her as her bent chassis made contact with the metal floor, but she kept up speed all the same.

    “Don’t stop!” Optimus shouted from the shuttle’s doorway, and she continued. Water was already coming across the bow of The Revenge, racing towards them as the ship was swallowed by the deep blue. Road Rage shot past Decepticon bodies and bounced into the air, right into Optimus’ arms. Sky Lynx immediately slammed the door shut and took off, Optimus clutching the little red car to spare her further injury as the lot of them tumbled towards the back of the cabin.

    “Hold on tight, everyone!” Sky Lynx warned as the inertia kept them wadded up against the back wall. Optimus could see outside through his cockpit window, the edge of the waves coming closer as Sky Lynx rocketed out of the whirlpool, just barely escaping the immeasurable mass of liquid that nearly swallowed them whole. As soon as he was safe from the waves he decelerated, and the Autobots were able to stand up. Sky Lynx displayed a view of the ocean behind them on one of the screens in his cabin, and Optimus watched the immense scale of the white waves crashing together as The Revenge was nowhere to be seen. He turned his attention back to Road Rage, whom he gently placed down on her wheels. She transformed, falling to the deck, and Optimus saw just how badly damaged she was. Her armour was heavily damaged around her chest and midsection, and her left hip looked badly dislocated. She looked like she’d been hit by a train.

    “Medical systems online,” Sky Lynx said as one of the walls extended out to reveal a repair bay. Optimus carefully picked her up and placed her on the bed, Botanica immediately taking to the console to begin treatment.

    “What happened to you?” Optimus asked. A large ring extended up and down the length of the bed as it scanned her, and her eyes flickered as she tried to stay conscious. Everyone watched as small armatures extended and began removing damaged armour plates.

    “Galvatron…” she muttered, “he can… travel back… in time.” Optimus almost didn’t understand what she meant. He thought she misspoke, or he misheard her, until Ultra Magnus spoke up.

    “Blurr...” he began, “had studied in temporal physics. Before we met he was exposed to a temporal anomaly during a transwarp accident. It’s the key to his increased speed, and the gravitational energy used for transwarp is the principle mechanic in warping time and space.”

    “Gravity and time are linked,” Botanica mused as she repaired Road Rage, “the effects of intense gravitational distortion of the passage of time was observed as far back as the discovery of black holes. Even Earth scientists have observed gravity’s effects on time, albeit theoretically.”

    “Even so,” Sky Lynx added, “the energy needed to generate that much gravitational distortion is impossibly vast.”

    “So how do transwarp cells work?” Ironhide asked, “at the risk of sounding stupid, I thought that’s what happened every time we jumped? We’re bending space and time to make the trip shorter, right?”

    “Bending, not breaking,” Depth Charge said, “transwarp engines barely affect time, like dipping your finger in the ocean. You make small ripples that disturb the surface around you. Time travel, especially to the past, is just not possible.”

    “No,” Optimus said, “it is. When I fought Galvatron, I had this disturbing feeling I was being watched. He knew my moves before I’d made them, like he’d seen it all before. It’s definitely possible.”

    “Nucleon is an energy unlike any we’ve ever known,” Sky Lynx said, “and its creation is inherently tied to gravitational force that forms planets.”

    “Uh, guys,” Ironhide raised a hand, “this may seem unrelated, but when we shut off the gravity keeping the water up and it came back in… won’t that cause a tsunami or something?”

    “Not to worry,” Sky Lynx said, “the field broke down incrementally, ‘filling’ the tunnel rather than merely collapsing it. The force of the waves should have been reduced enough such that, at worst, there may be some high waves near the shore.”

    “Are you sure?” Ironhide asked, “because I don’t know if I could live with flooding Japan on my conscience.”

    “Luckily E.G.A.D.S. evacuated everyone as a precaution,” Botanica said plainly.

    “That’s not the point!” Ironhide said with shock at her seemingly apathetic response, “what about people’s homes and stuff?”

    “Trust me,” Sky Lynx said, “I’m monitoring the situation. Honestly I feel more for the marine life that has undoubtedly been misplaced.”

    “Galvatron caused this much trouble and he didn’t even win,” Optimus said, “we have to regroup, form an actual battle plan, and stop him properly this time. Nobody else gets left behind.”

    “Setting course for Autobot HQ,” Sky Lynx explained as he accelerated again. Optimus knelt next to Road Rage, who had gone unconscious as part of the repair process. Magnus merely nodded and headed to the cockpit as Ironhide took a seat. Botanica remained at the repair console, and Depth Charge simply stood as Optimus leaned on the edge of the bed.

    “She’ll be fine,” he said in a monotone, “this wasn’t your fault.” Optimus sprang up and grabbed Depth Charge by his shoulders, lifting the massive Autobot off the deck with his bare hands. Depth Charge didn’t react, simply letting Optimus vent his anger with a neutral expression. Optimus seethed a moment more before dropping him. He felt weak, he felt ashamed, and he felt like he’d just lost everything. He dropped Depth Charge and took a step back before taking his seat next to Road Rage, the aquatic Autobot continuing to stand in the center of the room.

    “You were supposed to punch me,” Depth Charge said.

    “I think I’ll save it for later,” Optimus replied.

    “Fair enough,” Depth Charge shrugged before finally taking his seat on the opposite side.
    • Like Like x 1

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

    Oct 22, 2005
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    agile house
    Chapter Fourteen
    The Loneliest Number

    “So tell me more about Earth,” Spiral asked as she lifted another box of supplies, “what civilization level is it?”

    “Post-industrial, pre-galactic,” Ironhide said as he packed more trinkets, pausing to think, “level three, I think? FTL travel is only theoretical to them.”

    “Ah, my favourite,” Spiral chuckled, “so innocent. They probably have no idea what’s outside their bubble.”

    “I’m just glad you’re going to get to see the rest of it,” Ironhide closed the case and ran his thumb over the digital lock, “all you got to see was a forest. There’s all kinds of cool people and places. It’s actually mostly water.”

    “Think I’ll pass on that,” she placed her stack next to his, taking one last look around the pawn shop, “I had enough water on my last deployment. Now, anything here we missed?”

    “Not that I can see,” Ironhide said, “Optimus may have owned this place, but I tried to run it and… let’s just say I won’t miss anything.”

    “I guess I could use a change of scenery, too,” Spiral said, clapping the dust from her hands. Her and Ironhide took the last of the crates out the door. Optimus idled outside, a flatbed grav trailer hooked to his rear bumper. Road Rage spoke to another robot, passing a data pad back and forth as they finalized the sale.

    “Gotta say,” she said, “I’m surprised it sold so fast.”

    “Property in this area is hot,” the realtor bot replied, “a lot of redevelopment is making these old locations more desirable.”

    “Location, location, location!” Optimus declared, “that’s the old saying on Earth.”

    “Good saying,” the realtor nodded, accepting the data pad back from Road Rage, “will you be staying there long?”

    “As long as they’ll have us,” Optimus replied, “I think we’ve earned the right to settle down for a bit.” Spiral placed her crates onto the flatbed along with Ironhide. She made sure each was securely fastened with mag-clamps then transformed along with the others, then the four departed.

    “Goodbye pawn shop,” Ironhide said, “hope you don’t get turned into a wire stripping club.”

    “I feel kind of guilty,” Optimus mentioned, “I mean, me and Orion lived there for years. It was really the first real home I knew.” He shifted gears with an audible huff, the equivalent of a deep sigh, “but I think he’d approve of me selling it.”

    “I know he would,” Road Rage said, “from everything you’ve told me, I think he’d want you to be happy.”

    “Us,” Optimus corrected, “I do wish you guys had met him. He was a kind ‘bot. He knew what was right, and how to say it. That’s harder to do than you think.”

    “Speaking of,” Spiral added, “how are we going to approach living on Earth? Are we going to be forced to stay hidden?”

    “No,” Optimus replied as they turned onto the main road, “Autobot command has given me permission to establish first peaceful contact with humanity. Megatron and his Decepticons already kind of spilled the beans to the public, but the human government has known about us for some time. It’s probably going to be difficult, but I want us to be guests, not invaders.”

    “There was also this one time Jetfire just wandered into town,” Ironhide mentioned, “which in hindsight was a little funny, but yeah, the beans are indeed thoroughly spilled.”

    “I don’t know what that expression means,” Spiral remarked, “but I guess I’ll learn.”

    “All that and more,” Road Rage said, “humans have more or less built their communication on colloquialisms and metaphorical sayings. My favourite is probably ‘you take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have.’”

    “That’s not a saying,” Optimus said, “that’s just the intro to The Facts of Life.”

    “My tutu has turned into a two-two by four-four!” Ironhide said, much to the amusement of everyone except Spiral.

    “You people sound insane,” she remarked, “I don’t even go on the Network here, why waste time watching other ‘bots live their lives instead of doing stuff yourself? I’m going to be completely lost on Earth.”

    “Simple,” Road Rage began, “when you’re disgusting and out of shape like us, you live vicariously through others. That’s probably the biggest thing Earth has in common with Cybertron.” Optimus began snickering nearly uncontrollably, to the point where he nearly swerved into the median.

    “Don’t worry, Spiral,” Ironhide said, “there’s more to Earth than just that. Once we get settled in there’s all kinds of things to do. It’s a big, beautiful planet. You’ll love it there.”

    “Just don’t die, okay?” Optimus asked.

    “What?” she replied, taken aback by the statement.

    “Just stay with me,” Ironhide said. Spiral had no idea what was going on.

    “Just don’t die,” Road Rage said, her tone growing panicked, “hang in there, please!”

    “What are you talking about?” Spiral said as she felt her wheels leave the ground.

    “Just hold on!” Ruiner shouted, and Spiral awoke. He hovered over her, hands moving near her chest. She could barely see at all, it was dark, and her systems weren’t booting, but he seemed frantic. She looked down to see his hands buried in her open chest compartment, and she felt immense pain all over. He stripped the ends off wires with his fingers and tied them, using the leftover rubber as a cap as he tried to redirect her circuits. With every new twist she felt a lance of pain from her core to her head, until finally her system booted in emergency mode. She stirred, letting out a groan as Ruiner let out a breathless sigh, before he slumped back against the wall.

    “What happened?” She asked, sitting up.

    “We’re in prison,” Ruiner remarked, “Road Rage escaped, don’t ask me where they took Blurr. You almost didn’t make it. You might still not, just as a heads up.”

    “Great,” Spiral said sarcastically as she closed up her chest compartment, only to realize it had been so deformed it wouldn’t even latch.

    “Grouchy Galvatron beat the living tar out of us,” Ruiner remarked, “then chucked us in this dump.” He held his hands up to remark on their surroundings. The cell was plain, with metal walls and an energy field for a door. There were no other features, not a bed or bench or even ventilation. He dropped his hands dramatically “for a ship with a fountain and internal transit system, I expected marginally better detention cells than this.”

    “Road Rage got away?” Spiral asked, feeling a modicum of relief

    “She didn’t want to,” Ruiner explained, “but she had to deliver a message. Don’t know if you were conscious enough to catch on, but Galvatron can time travel.”

    “Beg your pardon?” She asked.

    “Blurr really figured it out,” he continued, “but basically Galvatron traveled back in time to fight us while the ‘real’ or ‘current’ or whatever Galvatron perved on us from around the corner like a voyeur. That way he knew exactly what moves we’d make. He watched it happen, then when the fight was over, went back in time to use that knowledge to, well, fight us, leaving behind the… future Galvatron?”

    “Is that how time travel works?” Spiral asked.

    “I have no freaking idea!” Ruiner threw up his arms in outrage, “you’re not supposed to be able to time travel backwards at all! Forwards, yes, but not back. At least that’s what Safe Science and Silliness taught me as a protoform. The only theorized method of backwards travel is wormholes, and I didn’t see any holes outside of the ones he put in us.”

    “How do you still have so much energy?” Spiral asked, barely able to stay seated, “didn’t he pound you into the floor?”

    “I’m motivated by anger,” he replied, “and my lust for revenge. But also because I took a fraction of the beating you did. Honestly…I thought you were dead when I woke up.”

    “Maybe I was,” she said, “maybe you just dragged me back.”

    “Okay, I’m gonna ask a question:” Ruiner began, “what’s going on with you? You went after Galvatron like you had a death wish, and you’ve barely said a word about the encounter at the human home.”

    “What’s there to say?” Spiral replied.

    “I get the impression that there’s a lot,” Ruiner crossed his arms, “but I also get the impression you won’t tell me either way.”

    “Finally you’re catching on,” Spiral leaned back down.

    “Hey hey!” Ruiner said, placing his hands on her back to stop her, “don’t go to sleep! If you power down you might not wake back up! We need to get you to a repair bay, or a stasis pod at least.”

    “Don’t touch me!” Spiral tried to push him away, but she barely had the strength to lift her arm. Ruiner backed off all the same, letting her sit back up herself. He sat with one hand rested on a raised knee, his own injuries sparking with each movement.

    “Just because you lost doesn’t mean you’re weak,” Ruiner said. Spiral tensed up but did not look at him, or even say a word, which he took as permission to keep talking, “you remind me a lot of her. Nightbird was very much a self-made ‘bot and a proud warrior. That is more or less what the Templar did, turned you into a disciplined, capable warrior. Any wonder I flunked out?” He laughed, but he was laughing alone, the emptiness of the cell consumed his echo and left an uncomfortable silence in its wake.

    Please,” Spiral said with a sincere tone, “don’t project your botched relationship onto me.”

    “Sure,” Ruiner shrugged, “soon as you stop projecting your self-loathing onto everyone else.”

    “Can we not?” Spiral turned to glare at him, “can’t you ever just be quiet?”

    “No, I cannot,” Ruiner pouted, “because I’m anxious, and I’m trapped, so I talk. Trust me, it helps.”

    “Then talk about getting us out of here,” Spiral nodded towards the energy field.

    “I’m open to ideas,” he said, “trust me, if I saw a vent you could Mission Improbable your way through I’d have stuffed you in there by now.”

    Impossible,” Spiral corrected him.

    “You did it before,” Ruiner said, misunderstanding her remark. Spiral said nothing, simply clutching the top of her mouthplate. As she did her fingers made contact with her visor, which was cracked, and the slight pressure was enough to make it crumble and fall, leaving her eyes exposed. She cursed and weakly slammed her fist into her own leg, her arm trembling.

    “I didn’t even want to come to this stupid planet!” She screamed, “I didn’t want to fight Galvatron, or go underwater, or even have this stupid, useless luxury alt mode! I used to command a team of hit-and-run operatives and now I can’t even shift gears fast enough to keep up with everyone else! I used to be someone! I used to make decisions, but now I just do what I’m told, because I don’t- I don’t…”

    “You don’t want to cause trouble for everyone?” Ruiner asked.

    “Yes!” Spiral shouted, then thought again, “no. I don’t know! I just haven’t been happy, but they have, and it makes me feel like I’m the one being difficult.” The two sat in silence for a few more minutes, Spiral turning away so Ruiner couldn’t see the look in her eyes. She wasn’t sure what she meant, or how she felt, and every moment that passed made her feel more and more uncomfortable with what she said.

    “I’m sorry,” Ruiner said, “I mean, I get it. I kind of just tagged along, myself. I didn’t have anywhere else to go, so it wasn’t a big deal to me. I guess I- we never really thought about how you felt.”

    “It’s not your fault,” Spiral said, “it’s not... anyone’s fault.”

    “Aww, how sweet,” a voice came from outside the cell. Ruiner and Spiral turned to see Blackout, looming from behind the energy field, arms crossed. “Autobots and your pathetic affections. How you pine for that validation from one another, like protoforms sucking up to their programmer.”

    “Open this gate, fatass” Ruiner pointed, “and we’ll see who’s sucking up… to who!” Spiral rolled her eyes at the ineptitude of the insult, while Blackout merely let out a hearty chuckle.

    “You know,” Blackout said, “you could always seek the approval of someone like Galvatron. Why beg for such trivial pursuits like belonging when you could devote yourself to an ideal like his?” Blackout held up his arms up in adoration, and revealed that he was missing his right hand.

    “Did…” Ruiner looked at the missing appendage, “did Sky Lynx bite your hand off? I feel like I’d have remembered that.”

    “No!” Blackout quickly grasped his right wrist and hid it away, “that was my fault. Galvatron says that if success is to be rewarded, failure must too be punished. He said I can have it back once I’ve earned it, whenever that is.” No doubt sensing the unconvinced stares of the Autobots, Blackout snapped back, “he’s right, you know! Galvatron is fair and just! That’s why he’s so great. He makes the people beneath him strive to be better.”

    “Oh wow,” Ruiner said, feigning sincerity, “that really does sound good. I mean, fairness is what Autobots truly believe in,” he gave Spiral a look of affirmation as he continued, “maybe you’re right. Maybe Galvatron’s not so bad?”

    “Nice try,” Blackout said, “but you won’t confuse me again. Galvatron explained to me what you did, how you took advantage of me being stupid. It won’t happen again!”

    “Galvatron called you stupid?” Spiral remarked, “that’s mean.”

    Shut up!” Blackout said, slamming his remaining fist against the energy field. It crackled and flared around his hand, electrocuting his arm, but Blackout didn’t so much as flinched from the shock, “I called myself stupid! Galvatron just wants to protect me from my weaknesses!” He let go of the field as it hummed back to normal, his arm smoking as he took a step back, “you should appreciate that, Autobots. You’d get a lot farther if you had someone like that.” Without another word Blackout turned to leave, walking out of view of their cell. Ruiner flipped an indecent gesture as he did, then slumped back against the wall.

    “Big fat idiot,” he remarked, “I was hoping to either dupe his simple processor or make him angry enough to open the cell.”

    “No,” Spiral said, “you made real progress. Did you see when he hit the door?”

    “No, I missed that part,” Ruiner said with a deadpan expression.

    “The energy field, you asshole,” Spiral pointed, “when he made contact it got dim around the edges. It seems to have a steady charge that keeps it at a low level, and coming into contact directs all power to that point.”

    “Oh no,” Ruiner said, “I’ve seen this one. One of us has to hold the field for the other. You want me to zap myself?”

    “Not you,” Spiral said. Ruiner’s eyes widened as he began furiously shaking his head.

    “No way,” he waved his hand for emphasis, “nuh-uh, don’t even think about it.”

    “I can’t walk,” Spiral said, “I probably can’t even stand. I might as well be of some other use.”

    “You don’t even know if it’ll work!” Ruiner said, “they must have countermeasures. We can’t be the first ones in prison history to try this.”

    “It’s worth a shot,” Spiral said.

    “It absolutely isn’t!” Ruiner replied, pointing his finger emphatically, “don’t just throw your life away because you’re mad at yourself. Optimus and the others will come back for us. I know it’s hard to do nothing, but we should at least wait before doing something so stupid.” Spiral’s gaze fell as she ran her hands along the floor, searching for a comeback she didn’t have, only to get another idea.

    “What if we diffuse it over a larger area?” She asked, “like the walls and floor?”

    “With what connection?” Ruiner asked in turn, and to his shock Spiral replied by reaching into her own chassis and ripping out her own wires.

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

    Oct 22, 2005
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    agile house
    Chapter Fifteen
    Taken Away

    Optimus had always cared deeply for Jetfire. In his time learning human culture he realized he almost considered the old soldier as something as a father figure. It wasn’t an exact comparison, they didn’t know each other for very long, but he felt a responsibility for the former Decepticon. Learning of his past, his story, made Optimus see him as much more than just an old ‘bot, and the emotions he felt whilst standing in the middle of his vacant room, the entire base- their home -nearly demolished, the emotions were nigh impossible to process. They had narrowly escaped Galvatron’s ship, forced to abandon their own, and upon returning to headquarters found nothing but ruin. When Sky Lynx approached, Optimus could see the smoke, and he knew what had happened. He all but leapt from the shuttle through twisted trees and mounts of dirt and concrete. The mountainside the base was built into was upheaved, the ceiling blown away, and signs of a struggle inside. Optimus ran his hand along the wall of Jetfire’s room, which formerly held the Decepticon Sky-Byte. There were fresh slash marks from a heated blade. Jetfire didn’t go down without a fight, and he wondered what exactly had taken place. Was Jetfire scared for his life? Did they catch him in a moment of weakness, or perhaps lucidity? Did they see the Jetfire who’d rather die than be captured, or find a cornered old robot who hardly knew where he was? The sword marks, frustratingly, gave no clue.

    “Why?” Optimus muttered, “why him? Why would they take him?”

    “Perhaps it was secondary,” Ultra Magnus replied, “their priority may have been to simply take out our base of operations, and he was a casualty.” Optimus winced at the word. Jetfire wasn’t dead. He wasn’t a casualty yet.

    “I believe Magnus is correct,” Botanica said, “the target of the attack was our computer system and communications…” she gazed around at the wanton destruction, “though they seemed to have caused most damage out of spite.”

    “How could they be this cruel?” Road Rage asked, righting the fallen chair that Jetfire often sat in. It had lost much of its support, and she eventually laid it back down after failing to get it to stand. “He wasn’t a warrior, not anymore.”

    “Decepticons don’t care,” Depth Charge said coldly, “one bystander or one million, if it’s an obstacle they get rid of it.”

    “Judging by the burn rate of these trees,” Sky Lynx began, lowering his massive head through the opening, “they attacked shortly after we departed. Seems they always knew the location of your base.”

    “As if it wasn’t already a rescue mission before,” Optimus slammed his fist against the wall to vent his anger. He went towards the far side of Jetfire’s room, near the work table that had been overturned in front of a pile of rubble. His eyes lit up as he noticed something sticking out from the detritus, and pushed chunks of stone and concrete aside. Ironhide quickly joined him in digging.

    “What is it?” Magnus asked. Optimus and Ironhide grabbed the edge of the trailer and pulled, freeing the unit from the rubble and bringing it out into full view.

    “Big blue!” Ironhide said with elation, “I thought for sure they’d destroy or steal it. How did they not notice?” Optimus examined the rubble, kneeling next to the debris and picking of a small piece of curved metal.

    “Missile casing,” he remarked, “Jetfire’s. He must’ve blasted the ceiling when they attacked to hide it.”

    “Guess he wasn’t so helpless,” Depth Charge said.

    “That’s an Apex weapon system,” Magnus examined the large blue trailer, “or it was at least.”

    “We’ve been modifying it,” Optimus said, “just in case new threats emerge. Though we didn’t finish it.” Optimus chalked his lack of preparation up as yet

    “Look sharp Autobots!” Sky Lynx declared, “we have incoming. Human enforcement to be precise.”

    “E.G.A.D.S.!” Road Rage exclaimed, and the Autobots quickly exited the base onto the mountainside. Helicopters and armoured vehicles approached, at least twenty altogether, if not more. In moments a dozen of the trucks were outside the front of the base, soldiers manning weapons pointed squarely at Sky Lynx.

    “He’s with us!” Optimus shouted as he quickly approached with hands held high, and the soldiers exchanged looks and chatter. They did not lower their weapons, however, and Optimus placed himself between them, “I swear, they’re friendly!”

    “Stand down!” a woman’s voice came from the crowd. Marissa Faireborne quickly jogged to the forefront, and only then did the soldiers lower their guns. Optimus had only met Marissa in person once before, and the sight of Transformers didn’t faze her much, but even she was taken aback at the sight of Sky Lynx.

    “Director Faireborn,” Optimus greeted her, kneeling down to better speak on her level. He extended his index finger, which she accepted to shake.

    “Optimus,” she nodded, “reports of explosions and smoke came in less than an hour ago, and when we couldn’t establish communication I mobilized a squad. Is anyone injured?”

    “No,” Optimus shook his head solemnly. He didn’t want to say what came next, “but four of our number have been captured, and our headquarters is razed. We also couldn’t stop Galvatron, at best we delayed his plans.”

    “Then what’s our next move?” Faireborn asked.

    “Mobilize a strike force,” Sky Lynx said, and all the humans quickly pointed weapons at him. Even Faireborn jumped, but quickly composed herself and ordered her men back.

    “Stand down!” she urged them, turning back to the Autobots with a half smile, “sorry, I don’t think we were expecting it- him to talk.”

    “He’s actually the ranking officer,” Optimus stood up, rubbing his neck awkwardly as he introduced them, “sorry, this is Lieutenant Commander Sky Lynx, his deputy Ultra Magnus, and… water specialist Depth Charge?” The aquatic Autobot shot Optimus a glare, the latter merely shrugging.

    “As I was saying,” Sky Lynx continued, “on our way here I ran my own analysis on The Revenge using the map we acquired as well as my own observations. I believe I have finally deduced the process by which he will harvest the Nucleon.”

    “He’s going to suck it out,” Ironhide remarked, “I thought we knew that?”

    “Nothing so crude,” Sky Lynx lowered his massive head to the center of the group, “we were correct in our assertion that he’d use teleportation, but the mechanism is far more insidious.” From the window-like visor that was ostensibly the massive Autobot’s eyes, Sky Lynx projected a hologram of The Revenge, “the graviton production to create a wormhole this size is not only cost-prohibitive, but it would invariably cause a destabilization of the planet’s structural integrity, eliminating the necessary window of opportunity needed to move that much-”

    “Commander,” Ultra Magnus interjected, “perhaps a more succinct explanation? For our guests, that is.”

    “Very well,” Sky Lynx swayed his head as if to roll the eyes he did not have, “Galvatron seems to have perfected theoretical time travel to the past in a rather creative way. Rather than generating a single, large wormhole to connect points in time, he has instead been able to generate millions, if not trillions, of night-imperceptible wormholes to transport matter at once.”

    “I’m sorry-” Faireborn held up a hand, seemingly incredulous to the conversation, “time travel? When did time travel become a thing?”

    “Time travel has always existed,” Botanica explained, “even your human scientists have theorized wormholes and the distortion of time via gravity. Galvatron has simply done the impossible. Science has yet to produce, or even observe, a wormhole large enough to move more than a single sub-atomic particle.”

    “He sends himself back in time, bit by bit,” Road Rage stepped forward, still moving with a slight limp, “all at exactly the same instant. Right down to the impulses in his processor. I watched it happen, it’s like he just fades away. No portal or flash of light or anything like that. One moment he's here, and the next he's gone.”

    “He can do the same with other matter,” Sky Lynx continued, “rather than siphon the Nucleon and risk immediate destabilization, he can create a series of wormholes to transport it along the magma flow, like a conveyor, sucking the core dry and absconding before it implodes.”

    “You’re throwing a lot at me here,” Marrisa said, placing her hand to her temple as she collected her thoughts, “okay, so Galvatron can time travel, but forgive me if this is a dumb question, but wouldn’t that be a good thing? He can’t use that power to change history or anything, because we live in a… reality where he hasn’t? That’s how time travel works, right?”

    “And if it isn’t?” Depth Charge asked, “Galvatron wouldn’t be wasting resources if he didn’t have proof. I think it’s safe to say only he knows, and we’re all playing catchup.”

    “Then it’s time we caught up,” Optimus said, kneeling back down to Marrisa, “we’re going to strike back, but this time we’re going in prepared, and we’re going to need your help.”

    “Anything,” Marrisa held out a hand, “humanity may not agree on much, but an extraterrestrial threat opens up a lot of cooperation. We already have drones, satellites, and naval ships surrounding The Revenge.”

    “We’ll need air support,” Ultra Magnus said, standing up to look back at Sky Lynx, “and contingencies.”

    “What kind of contingencies?” Marrisa asked, and an uncomfortable silence came over the group.

    “The Ark Protocol,” Sky Lynx said, “given the severity of the situation, and as commanding officer on this world, I have the authority, but you realize what this could mean?”

    “I do,” Ultra Magnus said, “but I also know we can’t risk eight billion lives.”

    “What is this ‘Ark Protocol?’” Marrisa asked.

    “Autobots and Decepticons have been at war in one form or another for nearly four thousand years,” Ultra Magnus explained, “in that time, our conflict has spread to other worlds, and sometimes that planet’s population is faced with extinction-level threats.”

    “What are you saying?” Marrisa asked.

    “In such times of dire crisis,” Sky Lynx began, “we have enforced authority over the populations at risk and organized a mass exodus. We would evacuate the planet, or as much as we could, if the threat cannot be averted.”

    “You can’t be serious,” Marrisa said, “that’s not possible, not to mention moral.”

    “It is possible,” Optimus explained, “on one of Cybertron’s moons there are sixty-five Leviathan-class supermassive carriers, Arks, with the galaxy’s largest transwarp space bridge in front of them ready to transport across the galaxy at a moment’s notice should any planet need them. In those four thousand years I mentioned, they have been used exactly three times to evacuate and relocate entire species out of harm’s way. As Autobots it is our duty to protect life, even if we can’t protect its home.”

    “And if humanity objected?” Marrisa asked, “would you force us to leave?”

    “You’d rather die on a doomed world?” Depth Charge asked as he stepped towards her, causing the soldiers to tense up, “we’re dealing with forces beyond your comprehension. You need to start thinking about survival.”

    “We don’t have to worry about that,” Ironhide held Depth Charge back with a firm hand, “because we’re going to beat Galvatron before that happens.” He turned to Optimus, who was notably silent, “right?”

    “We have to be prepared,” Optimus said after a few moments, then looked at Marrisa, “but I swear, on Pax’s Spark, I will do everything I can to stop Galvatron before that happens.”

    “Optimus, I’ve supported you even when my career said I shouldn’t,” Marrisa began, “things have been tenuous enough as it is. Alien invasion, hiding in plain sight, not everyone is a fan of Autobots. I have FBI, MI6, ID, and other intelligence agencies I haven’t even heard of before today, all breathing down my neck wondering if we should send support or missiles!” She let out a sigh, clenching her eyes shut for a moment before continuing “I can’t… agree to something like that on behalf of eight billion people. ”

    “You’ve trusted me so far,” Optimus implored her, “I’m asking you to trust me one more time.” Optimus could see the blue glow of his eyes reflected in hers, and beyond that her deep apprehension. She moved the red hair that had fallen in her face back and held it as she considered his words, then a moment later placed her hands on her hips.

    “Guess we don’t have much choice,” she conceded, “but for what it’s worth, I think Ironhide’s plan is better.”

    “No argument there,” Optimus smiled, more out of nervousness, but it provoked a similar grin from Faireborn. He stood up, looking at the soldiers who had listened to the whole conversation. They exchanged looks of concern, doubt, and confusion. These were highly trained individuals and even they seemed unconvinced. Optimus couldn’t imagine how the population at large would react.

    “We cannot afford any more setbacks,” Sky Lynx spoke up, “our strike must be surgical. I will do what I must to ensure the survival of Earth’s people, whatever that may entail. Our first priority is defeating Galvatron, failing that we must destroy The Revenge, and if that in turn proves unfeasible-”

    “Don’t forget,” Optimus stood back up to face the Commander, “this is also a rescue mission. There’s Autobots on board that ship. Extreme solutions should be a last resort.”

    “Then let’s not waste any more time,” Marrisa said, and with a quick wave of her finger the soldiers returned to their vehicles, “about six miles from here is Avery Memorial AirBase; it’s being used as a staging area, and most of what we need will be there.”

    “The Revenge has yet to resurface,” Sky Lynx said as he transformed to his shuttle form, “I left a tracking device on the hull. They may be using the ocean for cover as they make repairs.”

    “Then let’s roll out,” Optimus said, transforming, “and gear up.” Ironhide and Ultra Magnus retrieved the Apex system from the ruined remains of their base, placing it on the snow-covered dirt road for Optimus to back into. He hooked it with his tow line, and the rest of the Autobots transformed, save for Depth Charge and Magnus who boarded Sky Lynx. Optimus and his team followed the humans, the Autobot leader silently urging his captured friends to hang on, and that they were coming for them.

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

    Oct 22, 2005
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    agile house
    Small side-note: I'm currently in the final draft of a novel I wrote a few years back but shelved due in part to real-life drama. No, it has nothing to do with Transformers, but it is mecha-based and I have every intent to one day publish it... somewhere... somehow? :lol  But it's why this chapter took longer. I can't write two things at once, I know I'll get my wires crossed if I do, so I took a break on this for that, and vice-versa. (literally all my free time off work is divided between these two stories, and even at work I often work on one or the other on breaks) Plus I really didn't want to rush this one. So yeah, just an explanation for the sudden slow down. :D 


    Chapter Sixteen

    “Stop!” Ruiner shouted as Spiral continued to pull wires from her insides, “just stop, you’re gonna kill yourself!”

    “I’m fine,” Spiral said with audible strain, “half of these are for my leg servos, anyway.”

    “You don’t even know it’ll work!” Ruiner said, watching with revulsion as she pulled the last strand from her chassis, “how much charge do you think the walls and floor could really disperse?”

    “It doesn’t have to go out,” she explained, “it just has to be weak enough for you to push through.”

    “And what about you?” Ruiner pointed at her, “are you just going to sit there and short out?”

    “It’s too late for me,” Spiral said as she began to tie the wire together, “but you can still escape.”

    “Oh come on,” Ruiner dropped his hands and slouched, “don’t be like this. Not now. There’s no way I’m leaving you behind.”

    “Trust me, it’s not my first plan,” Spiral said as she connected the ends of her tangle to each wall.

    “It’s not a plan at all,” Ruiner said, “say we get out of this cell, then what? We’re still in a detention block, and I never got a chance to get Road Rage’s updated map. Where would we even go?”

    “There has to be a med bay somewhere,” Spiral insisted, “a restoration chamber, or even a stasis pod. If we can get there, we can get repaired, and we can escape.”

    “Ah yes, classic interior design 101,” Ruiner threw his hands up, “always have a med bay right next to the prison. It really makes the chi flow, and allows escapees the perfect opportunity to resupply.”

    “Just shut up, please,” Spiral groaned, “all you do is complain. I’m trying to save our lives.”

    “No, you’re trying to kill yourself and feel good about it,” Ruiner said bluntly. Spiral dropped what she was doing, not answering. Neither said anything at all, until she finally slumped backwards, slouching on the floor.

    “I’m just trying to be worth something…” she said, “to someone. Anyone.”

    “But why?” Ruiner asked, “who says you have to be worth anything? I’m worthless, and I’m happy!”

    “I’m not,” Spiral sighed, “I haven’t been since we got to this planet. There’s no place for me here, or anywhere. I thought I was a fighter, but all I’ve done is gotten my ass kicked. I thought I was a best friend, but all I've done is drift away. I’m outclassed on the battlefield and at home.”

    “I don’t know where this came from,” Ruiner shrugged, rubbing his face, “but I know that’s not true. I’m not like you guys, I’m not part of the ‘family,’ I’m more like a house guest. I’m just here because I have nowhere else to go, and Optimus is the second actual friend I’ve ever had. You’re one of the team, you’ve got a place.”

    “And what is it?” Spiral asked.

    I don’t know!” Ruiner shouted, throwing his hands in the air, “I’m not Montel Pauvich or whatever, I just know that you’re being really weirdly hard on yourself for no reason, and you don’t have to feel like you matter to anyone. Nobody can tell you that, only you can.” Ruiner dropped his hands into his lap, staring at the floor, “I don’t know. Maybe I’m not one to talk. I used to feel like I needed that… validation, I guess. I still do.”

    “Because of…” Spiral held her hand to her head, “what was her name?”

    “Nightbird,” Ruiner said, “actually, her real name was Airazor, but that was her ‘indoctrinated’ name. She only told me once, and made me swear I would never tell another soul.” Ruiner paused as he realized his faux-pas, then winced, “Goddammit.”

    “Don’t sweat it,” Spiral said, “my memory banks are pretty scrambled.”

    “I guess it doesn't matter,” Ruiner said, “we’re worlds apart now.”

    “Can I ask you a question?” Spiral gave him a quizzical look.

    “Go for it.”

    “What’s your real name?” She asked, “Ruiner is what they called you, and you were Nightfire before that, but what about before the Templar? What’s your original name?”

    “Camaro,” he said, “but honestly, I like Ruiner better. It sounds cool.”

    Camaro?” Spiral repeated, “like… the car you turn into?”

    “The what?” Ruiner gave her a cock-eyed look. Spiral squinted back at him.

    “I can’t tell if you’re being an asshole or just… just…” Spiral fell forwards, Ruiner just barely managing to catch her before her head hit the ground. Her head’s up display was absent, but even without it she knew her systems were shutting down.

    “We have to get you help,” Ruiner said, “we can’t wait for rescue. Congratulations, we’re doing it your way.” He quickly took the tied wires and placed them with each end touching the three walls and floor, leaving on just off the emitter on the door. Ruiner transformed, awkwardly and with audible pain, and with an empty space in his rear where his weapons would go.

    “What are you doing?” Spiral asked.

    “Rubber tires, baby,” he said, “this will save us from getting zapped, and I have just enough room to get a running start. All I need you to do is connect that wire to the mitter. Climb on.” Spiral acquiesced, dragging herself up onto Ruiner’s roof. She had hardly any strength left, and Ruiner’s frame was so bent in the center she couldn’t quite lay comfortably, but she made it work. Spiral picked up the exposed wire end and held it mere inches from the door’s emitter.

    “Get ready,” Spiral urged him, and Ruiner started his engine. It sounded awful, but he didn’t stall. Spiral prepared herself, “count me down.”

    “Alright,” he said, “three… two… one… go!” Spiral dropped the wire, and it made contact with the emitter. Sparks arched off the walls and floor, the shielded door dimmed, and Ruiner quickly reversed, only to accelerate forward and into the door. He got about halfway through before the energy field grabbed them, electrifying them both. Spiral screamed, Ruiner screamed, but he didn’t let up. His tires burned against the metal floor, kicking up smoke, as the shield door pulsated from the overload, allowing them to inch out. The rhythmic fading quickened, and Ruiner was only two-thirds free when the sparks in the cell stopped. The system recycled in an instant, and full power returned to the shields. Ruiner was mostly outside, and the sudden full charge thrust him forwards, out of the cell and into the detention hallway. He transformed, the two clattering to the floor, their bodies smoldering.

    “You okay…?” Ruiner asked, trying to sit up.

    “I’m alive,” Spiral said, but she couldn’t move.

    “Is that buzzing in my head, or did we break something?” Ruiner looked around for the source of the noise, and from Spiral’s position all she could see was the lights dimming off and on. Ruiner looked at the other cells, their own energy shield doors buzzing and flickering, “I think we started a power cycle. I guess to stop the other doors from failing?”

    “Ruiner…” Spiral said, staring off into one of the other cells.

    “I wonder if we can find a terminal?” Ruiner tried to stand, his legs shaking, “download a local map, find a repair bay that’s not occupied. Then again, considering how many ‘Cons we beat up getting here-”

    Ruiner!” Spiral shouted, though her voice was hoarse and quiet.

    “Sorry,” he said, walking over to her, “I’ll carry you, just hang in there.”

    “Not that,” Spiral said, and kept her eyes fixed on the cell in front of her. Ruiner followed her gaze to one holding cell in particular. Its energy shields were still up, but behind it sat a robot in binders and chains, almost covered save for his head.

    “Well well,” Crowbar said, his monstrous face expressionless save a slight judgmental glare, “fancy meeting you two here.”

    “Hey, I remember you!” Ruiner snapped his fingers, “what’s wrong, handsome? Get put in time out for being naughty?”

    “You’re funny,” Crowbar said, “I’d laugh, but if I so much as raise my voice too high these chains will constrict and deliver a debilitating shock.”

    “Aww, poor thing,” Ruiner mockingly rubbed the corners of his eyes, “if you’re looking for sympathy you could not have picked the two worst people to try it on.”

    “Who says I want sympathy?” Crowbar said, “I’m just glad I got to see you two again, and in such sorry shape. Of course the small one being especially pathetic, I almost don’t think I could gloat.”

    “Ruiner,” Spiral said, “I need you to do something for me.”

    “I know, I know,” he said, picking her up, “let’s get going and leave smiley here to rust.”

    “No,” Spiral tried to resist, but she could barely move her head, “don’t leave. Not yet.”

    “Why?” Ruiner asked, “you think we didn’t trigger an alarm of some kind? Or that there isn’t surveillance? We have to move if we want to survive.”

    “You won’t survive,” Crowbar sneered, “you’re in tatters. To think you’re in worse condition than I left you back then. Absolutely sad. Imagine the shame in being reduced to such a wreck,” Crowbar’s massive jaw contorted into what could only be construed as a grin, “I know I couldn’t live with myself.”

    “Ruiner, do me this one favour,” Spiral pleaded, “open that cell and kill him.” Spiral's voice was a disturbingly vitriolic tone, “kill him now, while he’s chained up.”

    “Whoa there!” Ruiner said, aghast, “where did this come from?”

    “Kill him, now!” Spiral tried to struggle, to get herself over to the cell, “I need you to do this!”

    “Look at you,” Crowbar chuckled, “you have to beg for someone else to finish your own dirty work. How pathetic.”

    “Kill him!” Spiral began to thrash, weakly, but it made Ruiner almost drop her. He rushed her away, out of the view of Crowbar’s cell, despite her continued pleas.

    Listen to yourself!” Ruiner said, “he is goading you. He wants us to open the cell so he can escape. He’s locked up tighter than Fort Max, but I get the impression he could still pull something off if he got an opening. Don’t let him push you.”

    “I don’t care!” Spiral said, “I want him gone! Just kill him already!”

    “What is the matter with you?” Ruiner asked, and his question soon became clear. As he looked into Spiral’s chest, through the opening of her damaged frame, he could see a flickering light. Her spark casing was cracked, and the essence of her life was slowly leaking out from exposure to the atmosphere. Ruiner held up a finger, the tip extending into a data plug jack, and inserted it into her main onboard computer. Her vitals were nearly flatlined, all systems were critical or nonfunctional, and she was minutes, possibly seconds, away from death.

    “Please,” her voice was hardly a whisper now, “I need it. I need to leave knowing that something… something I did mattered.”

    “But it doesn’t matter,” Ruiner said. He looked at her spark’s casing. It was likely already cracked, and being flung out of the cell just caused it to split open. There was no telling how much time was left.

    “You’re right,” Crowbar ‘s voice came from around the corner, “I was hoping to get you to drop the shields. Galvatron’s punishments tend to favour irony. Truthfully I could easily break out as you did, but it would be painful and not exactly elegant given my skills.”

    “Just shut up!” Ruiner said, “why do you think I care?”

    “Because your friend is dying,” Crowbar continued, “and fast. I know the sounds of delirium when I hear them, and that really would be pathetic, not to mention a waste.”

    “Be quiet!” Ruiner shouted, “I have to think.” For a moment Crowbar did, but it only made Ruiner more frantic. He couldn’t think of anything. Spiral was dying, and he wasn’t in great shape himself, and he had no clue what to do.

    “I can take you to a CR chamber,” Crowbar said, “I don’t hold a grudge, and I’m certainly not willing to die for Galvatron. Release me, I take you to a repair center, and we go our separate ways.” Another moment of silence drifted between them.

    “How can I trust you?” Ruiner asked.

    “You can’t,” said Crowbar, “but I can trust you. Autobots have code and morals, silly things that needlessly limit their potential, and that makes them usable. If you can trust in anything, trust in my selfish desires that I’d rather exploit you again in the future than risk yet more humiliation. After all, you beat me once.”

    “You’re the worst haggler I’ve ever seen,” Ruiner said, dragging his hands across his face. He didn’t want to trust a Decepticon, but he was at a loss, and every second he waited risked them being caught and killed, assuming Spiral made it that long. Ruiner stood up, made his way back to Crowbar’s cell, and hit the release key. The energy shield dropped, and Crowbar smirked. He wriggled ever so slightly, and the sound of clicking and clacking reverberated through his binds. In an instant they all dropped, his prehensile tendrils emerging from beneath. The Decepticon lumbered towards him, staring him down.

    “This way,” he said, nodding his head down the hallway, “there’s a resupply station that’s likely to be vacant just two blocks left of here.”

    “I probably should say thank you,” Ruiner said, scoping up Spiral, “but I won’t because you’re damn-ugly and really damn unlikable.”

    “I see you’re the charming one of the group,” Crowbar said, leading the way out of the detention block. Still no guards, a minor miracle but also a constant source of stress that a whole platoon may be around each corner, but save for the odd scampering individual easily avoided, the halls were empty.

    “Why is a ship this big so under-staffed?” Ruiner asked.

    “Two reasons,” Crowbar said, “one, the war seriously depleted our ranks. The Revenge never used to fly solo, she would always be leading a fleet of destroyers, but your Autobot ilk changed the dynamic. As for the other-” Crowbar stopped, ducking behind a bulkhead, and Ruiner only just barely managed to get him and Spiral out of sight as someone walked by. It was the lumbering Blackout, still missing his hand, his remaining appendage held to his ear comm. What the other side of the conversation was couldn’t be heard, but all Blackout did was respond in grunts. Soon the giant was away, his towering might awkwardly ducking to make it under the door frame as it sealed off.

    “Galvatron’s patience is…” Crowbar searched for the words as he continued to lead them away, “finite. For his most trusted soldiers he merely punishes: left hand mook Blackout loses his left hand, expert lockpick chained and detained, and you should hear what happened to poor Octopunch…”

    “What the hell is an Octopunch?” Ruiner asked, “wait, was that the sea monster?”

    “Currently he’s getting one hell of a tan,” Crowbar replied, “or so I’ve heard. His quasi-organic components need to stay hydrated, so Galvatron stuck him under a heat lamp. And that’s what he does to his most valued servants. The rank and file are simply disposed of or recycled.”

    “You ‘Cons need to complain to Robot Resources,” Ruiner remarked.

    “We do, his name is Straxus,” Crowbar said, “he’s the one who does the recycling.” The Decepticon held up a claw, stopping Ruiner in his tracks. They stood before a large reinforced door. It had no markings, but it did have a keypad. Crowbar quickly typed a fourteen digit code with enviable speed and the doors began to hiss open. The two quickly entered, Ruiner glazing at Spiral. She no longer moved or spoke at all, but he could still see the flickering light.

    “I need a crash kit!” Ruiner exclaimed, looking at Crowbar. The Decepticon simply pointed to the far wall, and Ruiner could see what he needed. He placed Spiral on a repair bed and quickly grabbed the kit. Ruiner ripped it open, nearly spilling its contents, and found insulating foam. He flipped the nozzle on the can and sloppily applied it over her spark casing, finally stopping the leak. He then found a power bank, unwrapping the wires, then took a moment to read the instructions aloud. He matched the plugs with her own emergency power systems and flipped it on, and finally Spiral began to twitch, eventually waking up.

    “What happened?” She said groggily.

    “Thank the Matrix,” Ruiner sighed, slouching next to the repair bed, “I thought I was too late.” He continued to look Spiral in the eyes, but they began to fade. Ruiner frantically examined the emergency power bank. It had an unmistakable display that clearly said she was receiving power, but when he looked at Spiral’s own power source it was still unlit. He couldn’t understand why she wasn’t receiving a charge, and quickly looked for a way to bypass her own battery, but he quickly realized he simply didn’t know how. The foam on her spark casing had already hardened, it couldn’t be that, yet Spiral was still fading before his eyes.

    “Looks like your friend didn’t make it,” Crowbar said. Ruiner turned to glare at him, and saw the Decepticon hoarding supplies of his own. Weapons, ammo, and other essentials, but just behind him was something else.

    “What is that?” Ruiner pointed. Crowbar turned his head towards the large, oval pod hung on the wall.

    “It’s a stasis pod,” Crowbar said.

    “It’s huge!” said Ruiner, though he realized it only made sense. He picked Spiral back up, the emergency power banks still attached, and walked her over to the pod, “open it!”

    “Open it yourself,” Crowbar said, “I fulfilled my end of the deal, now let me finish so I can get off this heap.” Ruiner groaned, kicking the release lever on the pod’s door with his foot. It hissed open, and with the last of his strength Ruiner placed her inside. The dozens of small armatures grabbed hold of her body, lifting her up and into position. A moment later the pod scanned her, then got to work. Small arms removed the power bank, removed her own power source, then directly inserted cables to her frame. Only now did Spiral finally awaken, this time alert and responsive.

    “Ruiner!” She shouted, “what happened? What’s going on?”

    “You’re in a stasis pod,” he said, getting ready to close the door. Spiral could see past him, and her expression shifted from confusion to worry.

    “Behind you!” She cried out, struggling against the pod’s restraints.

    “Don’t worry,” Ruiner said, “the ‘Con is a massive asshole, but he actually helped me. In a way, you kind of owe him.”

    “Not him-!” She said, and Ruiner turned around. Blackout stood at the mouth of the door, backlit by the hallway, only his beady red eyes visible on his silhouette. He lurched, but Ruiner was quicker. The Autobot grabbed the crash kit’s case and threw it hard, right it into the emergency release. The door slammed shut, followed by an audible thump as the Decepticon on the other side slammed into it.

    “Holy hell,” Ruiner said, “that was probably the coolest thing I’ve ever done!” His pride was quickly replaced with concern as Blackout continued to bang on the door, and Ruiner knew it was only a matter of time until the behemoth was through. He checked his own systems. He wasn’t dying, but he had a bent frame, power loss, no weapons, and compromised hydraulic in his left leg. Not fighting shape, and there was only the one pod, which Ruiner turned to.

    “So, uh,” Ruiner said, rubbing the back of his neck, “I’m gonna buy you some time.”

    “What?” Spiral shook her head, “Ruiner, no, don’t do this-!”

    “You’re gonna need to reformat,” he said, shutting the door, “that takes time, but I’ll make sure I max out the settings. I mean, this is what you wanted, right? You wanted to be strong?” He took a moment to pause, then looked her straight in the eye, “make yourself unstoppable.”

    “Ruiner don’t!” Spiral struggled, but the pod kept her in place.

    “Just make sure you fight for yourself,” he said as Spiral’s pleas were silenced by the hatch closing, “you’re the only one who matters.” Ruiner took a moment to examine the pod’s settings. It was already humming, beginning its delicate repairs, and Ruiner wanted to make sure Spiral had every opportunity. This pod could not just reformat, it could also install upgrades. Ruiner couldn’t think of anything in particular, and set the machine to use Spiral’s onboard data. He wanted to make sure whatever she got, she’d be familiar with, and sighed breathlessly as the pod switched into full gear.

    “Figured you would,” Ruiner said, and spun to kick the gun from Crowbar’s hand. He quickly drew another, firing off two shots. One hit the wall behind him, but the other took out a chunk of Ruiner’s shoulder armour, but the Autobot tackled him to the floor, “you’re a real piece of work, Decepticon!”

    “Can you blame me?” Crowbar sneered, “I really was going to just let you go, but Blackout’s seen me. I can spin this, saying I escaped myself and took down the Autobots prisoners who broke free. I prove my skills and fall back into Galvatron’s favour, and it all looks planned out!”

    “Humans have words for guys like you,” Ruiner slammed his forehead into Crowbar’s face, the Decepticon reeling from the pain, “but I’m at a loss to settle on just one!”

    “You’re all talk,” Crowbar shoved him back, lashing out with his tendrils. They sliced and gouged at Ruiner’s superstructure, grating him like cheese, until the Autobot dove to one side. Ruiner scooped up the dropped blaster and took aim, firing three shots. Two missed, but one clipped Crowbar, but not enough to slow him down. Ruiner kept shooting, but Crowbar was nimble, and he couldn’t land a hit. But as long as he kept firing, Crowbar couldn’t shoot back, until the gun ran out of ammo. Ruiner dropped it, running for cover behind the repair bed. He dove, but his left leg was too weak, and he couldn’t make it in time before tendrils slashed at his back, shearing off his hood. He collapsed behind the bed, motionless.

    “I wasn’t even going to kill you,” Crowbar said, lumbering towards the bed with his tentacles writhing, “at least not right away. You could’ve just let yourselves be captured. Depending on how badly your friends failed, Galvatron may be in a good enough mood to let you live.” Crowbar pulled the bed aside, only for Ruiner to spray him in the face with the insulating foam. It was quick to harden, and Crowbar was forced to claw it off his face in chunks, by which point Ruiner had grabbed an EMP pad. The purpose of the tool was to cause a safe, localized EMP to temporarily disable a spark’s pulse if it was out of sync, but Ruiner instead cranked it to maximum, tackled the Decepticon to the floor once more, and shoved the paddle against his head as he struggled. Ruiner activated it, and an electromagnetic pulse shut down Crowbar’s processor, rendering him completely unconscious. Ruiner dropped the pad, dismounting the prone Decepticon as he felt a stinging in his back. He reached over his shoulder and pulled one of Crowbar’s tendrils out, the Decepticon’s final moments of consciousness having been spent wildly attacking with the snake-like appendages.

    “Little bastard,” Ruiner winced, and realized at least three more were buried inside him. He pulled them out, a lance of pain accompanying each one, and finally the rush began to subside. Ruiner pulled up his diagnostics again, much to his bemusement. Energy critical, subsystems offline, and most of his circuitry was fried. The slashes on his back had compromised everything from motor functions to his drive train, and he could barely stand. So he didn’t, instead picking up Crowbar’s discarded blaster before taking a seat on the disabled Decepticon, watching as the door continued to shudder.

    “So stupid,” he muttered. What he was talking about, he wasn’t sure, but it was the first thing that came to his mind. Ruiner glanced back at the stasis pod, still operating at full, and wondered if Spiral was any closer to being repaired. He gave her every chance he could, and put all his trust in her and the Decepticon’s technology. He had to admit, especially as he examined the firearm in his hand, they made some good stuff. It was nicely balanced, looked awesome, and when he’d fired his before it felt punchy without much recoil. Someone clearly cared when designing this weapon, beyond the usual hyper-lethality the Decepticons favoured. The emphasis on borderline wasteful excess in their design had its merits, as it meant there was little in the way of restrictions. Of course all that excess was supplied by pillaging and theft, but Ruiner couldn’t deny the results.

    The door began to buckle, and Ruiner held up the gun. His left arm had become weak, but the weapon was light enough to fire one-handed. Not like his target would be easy to miss, anyway. Soon the heavy metal bulkhead clattered to the floor, busted off its hinges by the titanous Blackout. The Decepticon lumbered in, seething with rage, glowering at the lone Autobot who sat in defiance.

    “Took you long enough,” Ruiner said, and fired a shot off. It hit Blackout next to his brow, but the Decepticon hardly flinched as he leapt forward, grabbing Ruiner by the chest with one hand. He began to squeeze the life out of the Autobot, his frame crumpling like tin, but Ruiner fought through it to fire a few more times point-blank. The shots hardly did anything until he managed to shoot Blackout in the face, and only then was he released from the giant’s grasp. The Decepticon reeled back, clutching his face with his only hand, yet seemed more angry than injured. Ruiner collapsed in a heap in front of the stasis pod, unable to move his legs. Blackout thundered towards him, kicking Crowbar aside as he bore down on the Autobot.

    “I’m going to enjoy this,” Blackout seethed, “first you make a fool out of me, then you make Galvatron punish me, now you have the opacity to try and escape!?”

    “Audacity…” Ruiner mumbled.

    “What?” Black leaned down to better hear him.

    Audacity,” Ruiner said, “not opacity. Idiot.” Blackout roared in anger, slamming his foot down on Ruiner’s torso. He stopped the Autobot several times before he grabbed his limp body and swung it across the room. Ruiner hit a weapon’s locker, denting it, and Blackout was on him in an instant, smashing him repeatedly with his fist, screaming all the while. He grabbed Ruiner by the leg and swung him away, into the stasis pod which still hummed as it continued its work, and picked up the Autobot by the head.

    “If I’m so stupid, why can I-” Blackout tilted his head. He jostled the Autobot, whose eyes had gone dark, but he was already dead. Blackout groaned in frustration, not even remotely satisfied. He’d died from only that, and without even making so much as a whimper. Blackout tossed the inanimate wreck aside, turning his focus onto the stasis pod. He recalled how there was one more Autobot, small and blue, and she was in the pod before the door closed. Blackout knew she was probably trying to repair herself, and moved towards the pod. He was somewhat excited. Ripping it open would be like opening a present, only he knew what was inside, and wondered if Galvatron would be mad at the damage to the pod, not to mention the door. Blackout didn’t want to be in trouble again, but two dead Autobots and the traitorous Crowbar may be enough to overlook those mistakes. It was worth the risk, and Blackout was about to grab the pod when it suddenly hissed. The door swung open, and Blackout felt something hit his face. He stumbled back, the sheer strength being enough to nearly knock him off his feet. The impact stung where the other Autobot had shot him, and he had to let his vision focus. It didn’t seem right. The Autobot he saw in the pod was smaller than the one he saw now, and didn’t look the same. This new Autobot was tall, lithe, with a broad head with a narrow, angled visor. She stepped out of the pod, her paint fresh and vibrant, steam still emanating from some of the gaps in her more robust-looking armour. She took one look at the Autobot he killed, then back to Blackout, and something about her made his coolant bubble. She extended her arm, a mechanism unfolding into a round blade that began to spin, and she looked very, very angry.
  15. Coffee

    Coffee (╭☞ꗞᨓꗞ)╭☞

    Mar 1, 2013
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    Mississauga Ontario
    Nightbird was Airazor
    Ruiner's real name is Camaro
    Galvatron gives ironic punishments to his minions
    Straxus is HR
    Crowbar is willing to work with Autobots to save his own hide
    Ruiner fucking dies
    Spiral has a buff new form


    so much happened here, don't know where to even begin. Hope we get to see this new Spiral design at some point. I didn't expect her to actually receive that kind of upgrade and at the moment it doesn't spell anything good for her in the long term. Also congrats on reaching the final draft for the book my guy! That's a major accomplishment just in itself.
    • Like Like x 1

    SPLIT LIP Be strong enough to be gentle

    Oct 22, 2005
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    agile house
    Yeah, I'm only about a third of the way done, I've just finally knuckled-under and gotten to smoothing it out. Fixing errors, terminology, adjusting dialogue and world-building to be more consistent. My writing has improved, I think, a lot in the two-three years since I first wrote it. Even little things like using contractions in non-dialogue, which I just don't like to do, apparently I had no problem with back then. :lolol 

    Also Camaro is a reference to this oddball guy:


    His colours are kind of similar to Ruiner, but imagine it uses the Tailgate tooling instead.
  17. Shady boi

    Shady boi Face Taking Enthusiast

    Mar 25, 2020
    Trophy Points:
    I see what you did there