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Transformers Animated fanfic: Endgame the Alternative

Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Crystal, Jul 24, 2009.

  1. Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    A/N This fic is heavily based on a dream I had before I actually saw Endgame Part 2. I had to fill in some of the gaps myself with my own creativity, because some areas in the dream weren’t clear or I couldn’t remember them too well. But this is basically what happened. So if some things don’t make sense either character-wise or story-wise, you have been warned. And blame it on the dream, not me XD


    <b> Chapter 1 </b>


    They all knew that this was it—the biggest battle that they would have to face yet. And it was worse than they could have imagined, for it was not Omega Supreme they would have to defend themselves and the Earth from, but three clones that looked very much like Lugnut.


    The three Lugnut-Supremes came down out of the sky, then hovered above the ground. The forward-most one seemed to look down at its Autobot enemies, its single eye gleaming momentarily in the sunlight.


    “This is it,” Optimus Prime whispered, clutching the Magnus hammer tightly in his grasp. He still didn’t feel worthy to touch it, let alone use it. But he had no choice.


    “We’ve got to stop them,” Ratchet said, never taking his eyes off of the horror he saw before him. His past was coming back to haunt him more than ever right now, in ways he’d never imagined it would.


    “Even if we go offline in the process,” Prowl stated. A couple of the others glanced in his direction, but noted the solemn expression he wore on his face, and then they realized he was simply stating a fact. Prowl seemed to have accepted the situation, as well as whatever fate may throw his way. If he went offline during this battle in order to stop Megatron, and protect the Earth… so be it.


    “We’re all gonna have to keep our wits about us for this one,” Jazz commented to no one in particular. He wasn’t sure if anyone heard him anyway.


    Just then the forward-most of the Lugnut-Supremes opened fire, and all of the Autobots had to leap out of the way, each going in a different direction, as energy blasted into the ground. Dirt was thrown up in every direction and when the dust cleared, an enormous crater was seen where the Autobots had been standing mere moments ago.


    Optimus roared a battle cry as he jumped into the air, kicking on his jet boosters to their max and gritting his teeth. He held the Magnus hammer ever more firmly his grasp, prepared yet not prepared to use it.


    He was aware of Prowl following just behind him, and he knew that the ninja was the only bot who could serve as backup in this instance, since Prowl was the only one who could fly. Well, other than Sari of course, but part of him hoped she wasn’t following—at least not too closely if she was.


    What happened next happened almost too quickly for Prime to remember clearly later on. The Lugnut-Supremes were firing upon the Earth now, raising their arms and shooting huge bursts of fire and energy into the ground.


    The terrible screams and shrieks of frightened humans, accompanied by the terrible stench of smoke and burning buildings and pavement. “Prowl!” Optimus yelled, “You’re with me! Everyone else—protect the city, get the humans to safety!”


    “NO way, Prime,” Sari shouted, even as another wave of energy fireballs poured down from the sky. “I’m the only other one who has a jetpack, I’m coming with you!”


    Optimus found he couldn’t argue, mostly because they were running out of time. Omega Supreme’s giant clones were getting closer and would only continue to wreck more havoc the closer they got. “Fine!” Optimus said. “Prowl, you’ll cover my flank—Sari, you will cover Prowl.” That would give Sari a bit more distance, at least—he trusted her capabilities because she’d more than proven herself, but she was still a rookie in his optics.


    “The rest of you are with Jazz—protect the humans!” Prime shouted. With that his armor mask went up around his face protectively, as did Prowl’s. Sari already had her helmet up, so she simply proceeded to fly upward.


    “Don’t get ahead of me, Sari,” Prowl warned, increasing his speed a little.


    “I’ve got point,” Optimus reminded them both, moving ahead of them both. He kept one optic on where he was going but also took a moment to glance at the hammer. “I just hope I can use this thing,” he said, too quietly for anyone else to hear.


    As they neared the giant clones, Prowl suddenly came to a halt and grabbed Sari out of mid-air, forcing her to stop. Optimus Prime, not even noticing they’d stopped, kept on moving forward.


    “Hey!” Sari shouted indignantly. “What’s the big idea?”


    Prowl released her. “I want you to wait a moment,” he told her. “Remember what I have taught you—hold back until you can see a clear advantage.”


    “Well what good is that doing me now?” Sari snipped. “Prime’s going straight up to them and—”


    Prowl held up a finger. “I have a plan,” he said simply. “You will know when to move forward.”


    0o0o0o0o0


    “Let’s get these humans to the tower,” Jazz shouted over the noise of warfare and frightened screams. “It’s the only safe place around for them right now.”


    “I agree,” Ratchet called out. Bumblebee and Bulkhead had already taken on their vehicle modes, and humans were beginning to pile up into them. Ratchet and Jazz each transformed as well, taking in as many humans as they could before taking off.


    “Let’s go at a slow pace so other humans can follow us,” Bulkhead said. He was the largest, but even he couldn’t take all of the remaining ones.


    “Good idea,” Bumblebee remarked. However, being his usual self, he went a bit faster than everyone else.


    Ratchet grumbled a little when he realized some humans were climbing up onto his roof and hanging onto his sides. He did permit it though, considering they were frightened and they did need to be taken to safety.


    “This may take several trips back and fourth, to get them all to safety,” Jazz commented.


    “Unfortunately I won’t be joining you on the trip back out here,” Ratchet informed him.


    “What?” Bulkhead exclaimed. “But—”


    “I need to use the transwarp gate to get to the moon,” Ratchet said. “If I can get to Omega Supreme, he might be able to help us.” And I must see if I can get to Arcee, he thought.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Sari hovered just behind Prowl, disliking the fact that she couldn’t do anything at the moment, but she trusted her friend’s judgment. After all, she was actually part of the plan this time around, and there was a reason she had to wait. She was no longer being told “go home” or “it’s too dangerous”. She simply needed to wait so that she would have a key advantage to do more damage, plus she didn’t need to get hurt before she could do anything advantageous.


    Optimus Prime was dodging energy beams that were being fired from the giant clones. He gripped the Magnus hammer firmly in his grasp and summoned it to prepare its energy for firing.


    Storm clouds appeared overhead in response to the hammer’s power, and an energy surge erupted from the end of the weapon, shooting upward toward the clouds. Then lightening began to appear in the sky, flashing almost at random, then three powerful and well-aimed bolts of lightening struck each of the Clones in the torso, causing each one to get knocked off-course a bit. Both of them lit up as the energy impacted them; sparks could be seen flying off of them as well as smoke, accompanied by the stench of metal and circuitry starting to overheat.


    The energy died down and the storm clouds overhead began to dissipate. It then became apparent that the Clones, however damaged, were not finished putting up a fight yet. They began to fire openly at Prime, although all of their misses simply rained down on the city below, adding to the massive destruction that had already taken place down there.


    Prime looked like an annoying mosquito compared to the Clones, especially since the hammer had powered down for the moment. He was too busy dodging the fire to concentrate on focusing its power again.


    Prowl, however, was already in the process of doing something. He hovered in place in mid-air, out of the way of the fire coming from the Clones, but not too far away either. Sari hovered right behind him, her eyes glued on Optimus, wishing she could go forward to help.


    A low, vibrating hum emitted from Prowl’s vocalizer, a sound that was almost completely drowned out by the noise of warfare all around. He was attempting to utilize his processor over matter skill to disrupt the circuitry within the giant Clones.


    Only as he began to concentrate, Sari yelled out Prime’s name and began to fly forward. This disrupted Prowl’s concentration and he called out after her, “Sari stop! Come back here!”


    However, the girl wasn’t attacking. She simply flew downward and approaching the nearest Clone’s heel. She then placed her hand on its heel, closed her eyes, and concentrated. A moment later her eyes snapped open and she gasped, then turned and made a bee-line back toward Prowl.


    “Prowl!” she shouted, coming toward him, “I found out something!”


    “What?” Prowl asked her, instantly forgetting her disobedience. Perhaps there had been a method to her madness after all.


    “The Clones are being controlled by Lugnut,” she informed him. “If their link to him can somehow be disrupted, then—”


    “There would be no one to control them,” Prowl concluded. He nodded. “Well done, Sari. Now stay back.”


    He flexed his arms, then brought his hands together in front of him to steeple his fingers. Then he concentrated as hard as he could, once again humming and focusing all of his attention on breaking the link between the Clones and their current controller.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Shockwave was still attempting to get the data patch by working on Arcee’s processor circuitry. However, just as he was starting to make some progress, he heard a noise behind him. Something that sounded like—


    —A Transwarp bubble forming and someone emerging!


    Shockwave whirled around just in time to glimpse a red-and-white bot vanish from sight, and a blue Transwarp orb wink out of existence.


    “Come out, whoever you are!” Shockwave snapped, raising his weapon. Upon receiving no reply, he moved forward cautiously to see if he could get a better look.


    Just as he started to round the corner of the doorway, he got hit by a blast of magnetic energy that both immobilized him and snatched his weapon away from him.


    Then the magnetic blast sent him crashing into the opposite wall, then the reddish aura of the magnetic field vanished. Shockwave groaned and sat up, looking at his attacker.


    “You again!” Shockwave spat, narrowing his optic.


    “Yeah, me again,” Ratchet replied dryly, taking a step forward. He held up his left arm—the one that wielded his EMP device. “I really hate it when I have to use this thing, even on a Decepticon. But…”


    With a frown, Ratchet raised his arm, and Shockwave only had enough time to blink before he was hit with the blast that knocked him temporarily offline.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Megatron already knew that things were going wrong—terribly wrong, in fact. For some reason he’d lost contact with Shockwave—his skillful double-agent failed to respond when he tried contacting him for a status report. On top of that, something seemed to be disrupting Lugnut’s link to the Clones, at least somewhat. Furthermore, that pesky, cheap imitation of Ultra Magnus out there was proving to be quite handy with that hammer.


    I must get back to the moon, Megatron thought. He needed to find out what was going on back there, and regain control of the situation before he lost complete control of the Clones.


    So he exited the Clone he had been occupying, transforming into his vehicle mode and taking off into the sky, as quickly as he could.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Ratchet quickly realized that, as much as he hated to leave Omega Supreme, he had no choice but to go back to Earth. He needed to get Arcee out of there, and it would only be a matter of time before Shockwave woke up. Plus he honestly had no idea if Megatron had any more Decepticons with him up there—or any traps or “surprises”, for that matter.


    I’ll be back for you, old friend, he thought to Omega, dearly hoping that the bigger bot somehow heard him. But I have to get Arcee out of here.


    With that he scooped her up into his arms, summoned the Transwarp bubble, and headed back to Sumdac Tower on Earth.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Sari was beginning to feel a little useless, since she’d already done all that she could. Prowl seemed to be disrupting the link that enabled control over the Clones, one by one, and Prime was still working with the Magnus hammer. It seemed that, so long as they managed to keep from getting themselves shot, they were going to gradually win this battle.


    However, energy and fire were still being fired upon the city, as any blast that was shot simply went down on Detroit itself.


    Sari!” came a sudden voice over her commlink, and she pressed a finger against the side of her helmet. “Yeah?” she said.


    Ratchet. If they can spare you up there, I need you for something urgent.”


    Sari glanced at Prowl, then muttered, “I’m not really needed up here right now, I don’t think… on my way.”


    After casting one last look toward Optimus Prime, she whispered, “Good luck guys… stay safe up here.” Then she flew away, toward Ratchet’s position.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Starscream, with some difficulty, had managed to pull himself together, just barely. Once he got his body and limbs reattached, he slowly stood up and then had to twist his head a little to get it positioned right.


    He was cracked all over, and he ached in places he didn’t even know he had. But this wasn’t the time to focus on that—he was going to go and make Megatron pay, once and for all.


    He just had to figure out how.


    Looking around, he then noticed that a lone Omega Supreme was still standing there on the moon, unmoving. “Hmmm,” Starscream purred as a sly smile formed on his lips. “Maybe if I can regain control of Omega Supreme, I can finally finish Megatron once and for all!”


    Cackling, Starscream switched to his jet mode—somewhat painfully—and zoomed off toward Omega Supreme.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Things were beginning to take an ugly turn for Optimus Prime in the battle against the clones. He’d managed to inflict considerable damage upon all three of them, but they were now ganging up on him. They had closed in to the point where they had completely surrounded him, concentrating everything they had on him. Optimus simply did not have any more time to spare any attention whatsoever on firing up the Magnus hammer again. He knew it was only going to be a matter of time before he was slagged, and good.


    Prowl could see this, and he knew that there was only one thing he could do. He had noticed Sari’s departure a few moments ago, and he was glad that the girl was out of harm’s way.


    He began to hum again, allowing himself to slip into a deep trance. He sunk deeper and deeper into the feel of the Allspark power that was all around—he didn’t draw fragments to him, exactly, he simply drew from their energy and combined it with the energy in his systems—and the energy within his own spark.


    His body began to glow brightly, and he moved toward the three Clones. Then quite suddenly, three powerful beams of blue-white energy erupted from his body—one from each of his hands, one from his right foot—and impacted the Clones.


    The bright aura began to fade from his body, although what he’d done had apparently been enough. One of the giant Clones had sustained enough damage so that it let off an impressive display of flying sparks, and then it went downward, crashing into the ground below in a lifeless heap. That just left two to deal with.


    One of the two turned to regard Prowl for a moment, then fired at him. Prowl was almost completely drained of energy so he was unable to move or even react. He vaguely heard Prime shout his name as the energy blast impacted his chest, sending him crashing down to the ground below.


    Prowl landed roughly in the middle of a junkyard, crashing into a pile of dirt and debris. Upon crashing, he did not move, and the blue light in his visor winked out as he went offline.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Optimus Prime was well-aware that Prowl had fallen, but he couldn’t go after him or even spare a moment to check on him via-commlink, not now. The ninja bot had give him a clear advantage by damaging two of the Clones and destroying one of them, and he couldn’t let that advantage go to waste.


    With a loud battle-cry, Optimus held the Magnus hammer up high and used his strength to summon the weapon to prepare for another energy blast. Maybe, just maybe, those two remaining clones were damaged enough so that he could take them out with a final blast.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Jazz, Bumblebee and Bulkhead had managed to get quite a few humans from around the area into the Tower, and they were still bringing more in. Sumdac was up on the roof trying to keep the force field online, and he was also busy raising it and lowering as he needed to in order to let the Autobots bring more people inside.


    Ratchet had just arrived with Arcee in his arms, and Sari arrived a few minutes later to greet him.


    “Is that… Arcee?” Sari asked in wonder. When she’d first met Ratchet, he never wanted to talk about the femme, or anything related to the war, at all. But after that first encounter with Lockdown, where the bounty hunter had tried to capture Optimus, Ratchet had gradually begun to talk more and more about the war with anyone who seemed even remotely interested.


    And Arcee had gotten mentioned a lot.


    “Yeah,” Ratchet replied with a nod. “Look, kiddo… I’ve seen what you can do with those scanning abilities of yours. I need you to see if you can figure out how to bring Arcee back online.”


    “Sure,” Sari said and stepped forward. Ratchet stooped down so that Sari could easily reach the femme in his arms, and she placed a hand on Arcee’s forearm. The girl’s hand glowed brightly as she concentrated.


    After a moment or two, Sari withdrew her hand. “You need to recalibrate your EMP generator into a recovery tool, then you can salvage Arcee’s secondary memory storage from her hard drive.”


    Ratchet cocked his head to one side, narrowing his optics. He still didn’t put his complete trust in her… odd diagnoses, because he still wasn’t sure how she was doing it in the first place. However, she had proved many times already that she was never wrong.


    Sighing, he lifted his arm and brought out his EMP generator, then held that arm out toward her. “I hope you’re right about this, kid,” he said. “Give me the settings.”


    0o0o0o0o0


    Megatron had arrived on the moon to find Lugnut looking like he’d blown a circuit, and Shockwave just coming back online.


    “You incompetent fools!” Megatron snapped at them once he learned what happened to Shockwave, and that Lugnut had managed to lose one of the Clones. “Do I have to do everything myself?”


    He growled, then pretty much answered his own question by saying, “Of course I would be doing this by myself right now, if it weren’t for Starscream and the fact that Lugnut got in my way…”


    “I still might be able to rig up a data patch,” Shockwave said. “I managed to save some of the intelligence officer’s codes to my own processor before she was taken.”


    “Then get to it!” Megatron snapped. “Lugnut, are you still in control of the remaining clones?”


    “Yes my liege!” came the reply.


    “Good,” Megatron said. “Destroy that annoying Autobot, then proceed to destroy Sumdac Tower.”


    0o0o0o0o0o


    On the ground where Prowl had fallen, there was no one around and it was quite an ugly sight. Of course, junkyards would never be considered a tourist attraction anyway, but this one looked worse with the sight of damage from weapons’ blasts, plus the stench of burning tires and who-knew-what-else.


    But in the very spot where Prowl had fallen, the dirt and debris shifted slightly. Then a hand slowly came up out of the dirt, accompanied by another hand and then a groan. Gradually, Prowl pulled himself up out of the dirt, then collapsed on the ground beside the mound.


    For a moment he simply lay there, trying to gather some of his remaining strength. It took him a moment to remember where he was and what he had been doing previously, but once the memory came to him, he quickly sat up. Dirt and debris fell away from his exposed circuitry as he moved, although some of it stubbornly clung to his armor.


    “Oh,” Prowl moaned and placed a servo on his forehead. “I seem to have… over-exerted myself up there.” Then, ignoring the pain, he glanced upward. He looked just in time to see one of the Clones begin to fall from the sky as it sparked violently, appearing to be nothing more than a smoking heap of scrap metal now.


    “Prime, along with my energy surge, must have taken out two of them, for I only see one left,” Prowl exclaimed to himself. “I should join him.”


    His jetpack spit and sputtered for a moment, as if arguing with him about being put into use after all that punishment. But they finally sprang to life, and he kicked off of the ground and moved to rejoin his leader in the sky.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Megatron was furious. Another of the Clones was lost, and the way things were looking, it wouldn’t be long before the third one was lost as well.


    “I believe it is time for a change of plans,” Megatron said. “Shockwave, did you manage to get the original codes from that female Autobot?”


    “Yes I did,” Shockwave acknowledged.


    “Good, we will then allow the final Clone to serve as a distraction on Earth while we make our getaway in Omega Supreme himself,” Megatron answered. “You have done well, my most loyal servant.”


    That got a reaction out of Lugnut, who then seemed to completely forget what he was supposed to be doing. “Lord Megatron, you said I was your most trusted servant!” the big lug exclaimed, and he actually stood up and made a move toward Shockwave, the cords sparking as he yanked away from them.


    “Oh don’t start that again,” Shockwave said in annoyance. “I am simply trying to do my job!”


    “But I am more loyal than you!”


    Megatron felt a massive processor ache coming on, especially as the argument continued to ensue. They’d already been through this once already, and this was not something he wanted to deal with. Not after the loss of the Supreme Clones he was facing.


    “ENOUGH!” Megatron finally bellowed, then used his fists to knock each of them across the room. He’d put up with enough of this nonsense and he wasn’t about to put up with any more.


    “Master, please forgive me for displeasing you!” Lugnut predictably gushed, bowing down on his servos and knee-joints after he’d recovered.


    “Just get out of this room!” Megatron spat. “And Shockwave, upload those codes into Omega, NOW!”


    “Yes, my liege,” Shockwave said, rubbing his sore shoulder joint warily.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Ratchet finished using his EMP on Arcee, who responded almost instantly.


    “Ratchet?” she said, looking at him with wide, blue optics. “Did we get away from Lockdown?”


    “You remember?” Ratchet asked, grabbing her shoulders and looking at her face. “You really remember what happened?”


    “I remember… we were captured by Lockdown, and then there was some sort of blast,” Arcee replied. “After that… nothing.” She seemed to be trying to think, though she also seemed to consider Ratchet’s presence a good sign.


    Ratchet smiled warmly. Maybe some of the horrors of the past were finally starting to be fixed, so to speak. She remembers! He thought to himself, his smile widening into a full grin. “Then we’ll have time to talk later about the stellar-cycles you’ve missed,” Ratchet said.


    “Stellar-cycles?” Arcee blinked. “Was I… offline all that time?”


    “Sort of,” Ratchet said hesitantly. Then he pulled her into a tight embrace, surprising them both. “Arcee… it is so good to see you again.”


    0o0o0o0o0


    The third and final Clone seemed to lose its equilibrium or something at the last moment, for it no longer seemed to pay any attention to anything around it. Optimus Prime took full advantage of this, using the Magnus hammer for one final, full blast.


    That did it. The final Clone was destroyed, and it was sent crashing to the ground below.


    The battle was now over. Optimus lowered the hammer and turned to look at Prowl. A silent acknowledgement went between them: It’s over.


    “You’re damaged,” Optimus commented as he looked at Prowl.


    “I will survive,” Prowl said off-handedly with a slight shrug. “Perhaps we should check on the others.”


    “Right,” Optimus said. “But right after that you are going to let Ratchet take a look at you. You definitely need to have that damage patched up.”


    Then the Prime reached out and placed a hand on the ninja’s shoulder. “And… thanks. For everything.” Optimus smiled. “I need to thank everyone personally.”


    Prowl simply smiled, and the two of them began to head toward Sumdac Tower.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Shockwave managed to get Omega Supreme fired up, and Megatron took full control of him. They weren’t able to do this beforehand because Lugnut had inadvertently messed up the settings somehow or other while he was hooked up to Omega.


    But now they were able to take off into space once again, away from Earth and out of this blasted system.


    Megatron was, however, confident that they would be back again someday. It was only a matter of time. All he needed was a new plan, and new resources.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Starscream hid in the storage area of Omega Supreme, where he could effectively hitch a ride and stay out of sight, effectively waiting for the right moment to try and gain the upper hand again.
     
  2. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 2


    “So what happened then?” Arcee asked curiously. She was sitting on the edge of a berth where Ratchet had asked her to sit. He was already satisfied that she was fully functional once again, almost as though no time had passed for her at all since they’d escaped from Lockdown. But he’d asked her to remain in the medical room so he could fill her in.


    “Well,” Ratchet said with a sigh, “I think you’ve heard all of the important details. I’ll fill you in more on the rest later.”


    “But—” Arcee started, then stopped herself. “Well, I can see you still have your hands full with your patient,” she acknowledged after a moment, looking at Prowl.


    “Don’t worry,” Ratchet told her, taking a moment to glance at her over his shoulder with a smile. “We’ll have plenty of time to catch up on everything.”


    “I am grateful for everything you’ve told me so far,” Arcee said with a smile of her own. Then she glanced at Prowl again. “Is he going to be alright?” she asked.


    Prowl was currently lying motionless on the berth nearby, with his form outstretched and his blue visor dimmed to minimal lighting.


    “He’ll be fine,” Ratchet assured her, though he said that for Prowl’s benefit too. “He was pretty banged up out there, but I’ve already gotten most of the damage fixed, and right now he’s just conserving energy.”


    Now he glanced at Arcee again. “That reminds me—could you get me a couple of energon cubes from the dispenser? He will need to replenish his fuel supply.”


    “Certainly,” Arcee acknowledged, then moved to do as he asked.


    With that, Prowl stirred a little. Indeed, as Ratchet had said, he was simply conserving energy with one of the meditation methods he’d learned from Yoketron all those stellar cycles ago, where one could slow the function of their own body down to slow the depletion of energon reserves.


    “How do you feel?” Ratchet asked the ninja.


    “Much improved,” Prowl replied. “Although… I would not want to do that again.” He smiled ever so slightly.


    Ratchet chuckled, and then he felt Arcee pressing the energon cubes into his hands. “Thanks,” he told her and then turned his full attention back to Prowl. “Alright, time for you to refuel,” he said, holding out one of the cubes to the ninja. “Just… take it slow and easy. Your systems are still recovering and you don’t want to overdo it.”


    With that, Prowl took out of the cubes and both Ratchet and Arcee lent a servo in helping him sit up, then they supported him in that position while he drank from the energon cube. Once he’d depleted its contents, Ratchet handed him the second one. After it was empty, Ratchet nodded to Arcee and they both eased him back down against the berth.


    “Really you both don’t have to make such a fuss over me,” Prowl told them. “I’ll be fine.”


    “Yes you will be,” Ratchet said, “but if you’d gotten any more banged up out there you might not have made it. And like I said, your systems are still recovering. So you just lay there and stay quiet for a while.”


    “I would prefer to go back to my room to meditate.”


    Ratchet sighed. “Well, I suppose there is no harm in that. Just take it easy, and don’t go anywhere.”


    With a nod Prowl slowly nose, holding up his hands in a gesture to indicate he wanted no further assistance. With that he left the medical bay.


    “You sure you should have released him so soon?” Arcee asked with concern.


    Ratchet chuckled. “It’s hard to keep him cooped up,” the medic replied. “I think he’d get more rest in his room than in here anyway, so long as he remembers to take it easy.”


    The medic disposed of the empty energon cubes, then turned to Arcee. “Now, let’s continue our talk,” he told her. “And I’ll also give you a tour of the base.”


    0o0o0o0o0


    “How did I get stuck with this duty?” Bumblebee complained out loud as he glared at a datapad in his servo. “The only thing more boring than taking inventory is monitor duty!”


    The Autobot Council on Cybertron had ordered everyone to pack everything up because they wanted them to return home as soon as possible.


    Jazz and Optimus had gone to Dinobot Island to try and reason with the Dinobots to come with them—as well as Scrapper—because when the Autobots were gone, there would be no one else around to keep an eye on them. Bumblebee knew that Prowl was in recovery, Ratchet was tending to his duties and talking to Arcee, and Bulkhead was at Sumdac tower helping to repair the damage, and making sure the Transwarp Gate was in tip-top shape. Meanwhile, Sari was out on an assignment to track down Wreck-Gar, in the hopes of convincing him to come with them as well.


    So that left poor Bumblebee to do the work of inventory, to catalog all their collective supplies, belongings and junk, to determine what to get rid of and what to pack up. “I’m totally going to make sure nobody throws out my video games,” Bumblebee muttered, marking his games down on the “priority” area of the list.


    When he was about half-way through making the list, he finally determined that he was due for a break. All of this cataloging was giving him a severe processor ache, and he felt he owed it to himself to take a break. Besides, once they got back to Cybertron, there was no telling when he would be able to play his games again.


    So he went into the social room and plopped himself down in front of the giant TV screen, grabbing his game console. “Oh yeah!” he exclaimed with a grin. “Time for some Ninja Gladiator FUN!”


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Talking to Scrapper proved to be easier than Prime had originally thought. He seemed slightly reluctant to leave the area where Mixmaster had last been seen, but he otherwise sounded more than willing to go to Cybertron. And Snarl, being his ever loyal pet, was wiling to go wherever Scrapper went.


    Grimlock and Swoop, on the other hand, were like birds of a feather to coin the phrase, and refused to go anywhere with those unlike themselves.


    “But Snarl is coming with us,” Optimus tried to reason with the robotic T-rex. “Why don’t you come with all of us?”


    “Me Grimlock not speaking to him!” Grimlock said grumpily. “Him traitor—Dinobots not pets.”


    They went back and fourth like this for a full three cycles. Optimus and Jazz had just barely managed to approach them in the first place without a fight breaking out, and now it was looking more and more unlikely that they would come at all.


    Finally Grimlock stomped off, with Swoop following right behind him.


    Optimus turned to Jazz, sighing in resignation. “Maybe I should ask Prowl to come out here and talk to them when he’s feeling up to it,” Prime said.


    Jazz nodded. “Might be for the best,” he commented. “The Dinobots seem to be stubborn beasts.”


    “Don’t I know it,” Optimus murmured, placing a wary hand on his forehead. “Well, if nothing else we should get Scrapper and Snarl back to the base.”


    0o0o0o0o0


    Prowl smiled in the privacy of his room. The door behind him was closed, and he was staring upward at his tree, his optics dimmed to minimum. He could still see the beauty of the early morning sunlight beaming through the hole in his room, illuminating the green leaves and a pair of butterflies that fluttered about above his head. But he was also relaxing in a deep meditative state, relaxing and allowing both his mind and body to recuperate.


    He slipped deeper and deeper into his relaxed state, to the point where all expression left his face and he was barely aware of anything around him.


    He managed to forget about the events of the past few months almost entirely, at least for the next few minutes. Now that he had mastered his training, he was able to be aware of his surroundings while being completely at peace.


    If anyone or anything entered his room, he would know immediately. But at the same time, he would not snap out of his trance-like meditative mode until he chose to. He had ultimate power and control over his body now.


    0o0o0o0o0o


    Back on Cybertron, Sentinel Prime was in a very bad mood. The council had just received word of everything that had happened on Earth, and now everyone was seeing Optimus as some kind of hero.


    Sentinel tried to reason with the council, telling them that Optimus had still allowed Megatron to get away. Not only that, but that it had been Optimus Prime’s fault in the first place that Megatron had Omega Supreme in his hands and nearly caused a complete catastrophe to occur as a result.


    “Sentinel Prime,” Alpha Trion said, his tone suggesting that his patience was growing thin, “I am well-aware of all these things, as is the rest of the council. But it seems that any mistakes made by Optimus Prime were then resolved or corrected by him, one way or another.”


    “His crew also stole Ultra Magnus’s hammer and Optimus used it in battle!” Sentinel said, trying to reason from that angle. If he couldn’t win with logic, then trying to use the emotional angle sometimes worked. “That hammer belongs to the Magnus. Since I am acting Magnus, it should have been given into my possession for safe-keeping.”


    “Be that as it may,” Alpha Trion said, “Optimus Prime still did the best he could under the circumstances. And,” he added, “I will point out that it was not Optimus who took the hammer. Ratchet did thus without his knowledge or consent.”


    “But Optimus should have ordered for the hammer to be returned to Cybertron immediately after he heard about it,” Sentinel snapped. “That was his responsibility. Instead he kept it for himself, to use like some glory-hound to make himself look good.”


    “He stopped three clones of Omega Supreme,” Perceptor spoke up, his voice as cold and stoic as always. “He would have needed the hammer to accomplish this, even with the aide of his crew.”


    Sentinel came very close to growing. Why couldn’t the council see things his way? Why couldn’t they see Optimus as the glory-clog who stole the hammer, caused Jazz to betray him, and permitted Megatron to get away? Why were they only looking at the good things that Optimus had done? Were they that narrow-minded?


    But before he could try and come up with a good defense, a new voice spoke. “I would like to address the Council, now.”


    Heads turned and there was a collective gasp as Ultra Magnus himself entered the room. He was not carrying his hammer—that was still on Earth, with Optimus Prime. But he was back on his own two feet now, at least. One of his aides stood close by, ready to lend assistance should he need it. By the mere presence of the aide, and the way his face looked, it was pretty obvious that Ultra Magnus had not yet made a full recovery, but his condition was much improved.


    “Um, Ultra Magnus!” Sentinel exclaimed with a hasty salute. “Are you… recovered, sir?”


    “I am better, Sentinel Prime,” Ultra Magnus said with a glance in his direction. Then he turned his attention to the full council. “I will not be here long, but I do have an announcement to make.”


    “What is it?” Alpha Trion asked.


    “That is something that will have to wait,” Ultra Manus informed him. “Until Optimus Prime arrives here.” His eyes narrowed every so slightly, yet somehow it seemed like a thoughtful expression more than anything else. “With my hammer,” he added.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Optimus Prime and Jazz caught Bumblebee playing video games as soon as they got back to the plant. And while Optimus began to give the little yellow bot a lecture—not the first, and probably not the last—about playing games while on duty, Jazz excused himself to go and check on Prowl.


    Upon entering the medical bay, Jazz was surprised to find it empty. Although he figured it made sense, since Prowl never liked to be cooped up anywhere and Ratchet would no doubt want to help Arcee catch up on what she’d missed plus show her around. So he figured the next good place to check was Prowl’s room.


    Jazz knocked on the door, but received no answer. But instead of leaving he opened the door and peeked inside. Sure enough Prowl was in there, as still as a statue and looking completely at peace. Somehow his meditative stance in itself seemed peaceful; there was no longer any rigidity to it.


    “Hey Prowl, you’re looking good,” the white mech told him softly. “You definitely look better than you did after the battle.”


    Prowl’s head turned ever so slightly in his direction. He wasn’t looking fully at Jazz, but the white ninja could see the corner of his visor aimed in his direction. Prowl was looking at him out of the corner of his optics. “I feel much better, especially now,” the black-and-gold mech informed him.


    “Well I’ll leave you be,” Jazz said with a smile. “I just wanted to check up on ya.”


    “Wait,” Prowl said as Jazz turned to go. The other ninja then turned back to face Prowl. “How did the mission to Dinobot Island go?”


    “Well,” Jazz said, “Scrap and Snarl have agreed to journey with us, but the two other Dinobots refuse to ditch their scene. Prime mentioned that maybe when you feel up to it, you could go talk to them.”


    Prowl’s chin dipped ever so slightly in a thoughtful manner. “I think I am feeling up to it now,” he said. “I will see what I can do.” With that he rose and moved toward the door.


    “Hold on, you sure you’re up to it?” Jazz asked, holding up a hand as Prowl approached the door.


    “I am,” Prowl said with a nod.


    0o0o0o0o0o


    Optimus had just finished talking to Bumblebee and sent him to the back of the plant to finish the inventory work. Then he received a call from Cybertron, so he went to tend to that—and so he didn’t even notice Jazz and Prowl heading out together through the front door.


    The call he received was from none other than Ultra Magnus himself. Optimus gave a start when he recognized the Autobot leader on the screen, but recovered quickly. “Ultra Magnus,” Optimus exclaimed, “It’s good to see you back on your feet, sir.”


    Ultra Magnus smiled ever so slightly, then turned serious. “Optimus Prime, I must speak with you in person, before the Council, as soon as possible.”


    “Well I have already received my orders to take my crew back to Cybertron as soon as possible,” Optimus said. “We are in the process of finishing everything up here and packing.”


    “I’m afraid that this will not wait,” Ultra Magnus said. “Allow your crew to cover for you while you’re absent, with whatever needs to be done. But I want you to transwarp here on the double as soon as possible. I need you to appear before the Council, with the hammer, where I will make a public announcement.”


    “Um, but what about my crew?”


    “I am sure they will manage in your absence. They seem quite capable.”


    “No I mean, will I return to them after this is over?”


    “Yes.”


    “Very well, I’m on my way.” Optimus cocked his head to one side. “This sounds important, sir.”


    “It is.” A look flashed across Ultra Magnus’s eyes, one that Optimus couldn’t figure out how to read. But before Optimus could say a word, the Magnus said, “Come to Cybertron, Optimus. Right away. Ultra Magnus out.”


    The screen went blank.


    Optimus wasn’t sure what to make of this. But he decided that it was time to test out Ratchet’s repair job on his new jetpack. He grabbed the hammer, which had been leaning against the wall, then headed out through the front door.


    Once he was outside, he contacted everyone via commlink to inform them where he was going. Then he turned on his jet boosters, kicked up off the ground, and began to head toward Sumdac Tower, grasping the hammer tightly in his servos.
     
  3. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 3


    “So… why do you think they want to talk to you in person so… suddenly?” Bulkhead asked, glancing up from the Transwarp Gate’s controls.


    “I have no idea,” Optimus Prime said. He glanced up at the Gate, then found himself looking back toward the city. Sumdac Tower was the tallest structure in Detroit, and one could definitely see a lot from up here.


    “All I know,” Optimus continued, turning back to Bulkhead, “is that I’ve been ordered to appear before the council… with the Magnus hammer.” He looked down at the hammer in his hands, which seemed to shine slightly in response to his words.


    “Well good luck, Boss-bot,” Bulkhead said, and began to fire up the Gate.


    A giant blue orb appeared in the center of the Gate, and Optimus knew that this was it. He straightened, held his head—and the hammer—up high, and jumped through.


    The next thing he knew, his feet landed firmly on the familiar, smooth ground of Cybertron itself.


    There were a few other bots nearby, although no one he could recognize. Some of them didn’t take much notice of him and simply tended to their duties, but others—especially the ones closest to him—stopped and stared at him.


    What? Optimus thought. Then he remembered that he was carrying the Magnus hammer. Plus they might have been gawking at his jetpack, for all he knew. As a rule, Autobots still didn’t fly—the only exceptions were Jetfire and Jetstorm—not to mention Omega Supreme.


    “Optimus,” came a familiar voice, and it caused Optimus to wince ever so slightly before turning to face the person.


    “Sentinel,” Optimus greeted with a civil but somewhat dry tone. “Figures I’d see you here.”


    “I’ve been ordered to escort you directly to the Council chambers,” Sentinel said with a sneer. “I have no idea what this is all about, but they definitely want that hammer back. You know, it was wrong for you to keep it in the first place, Optimus.”


    “I had no intention of keeping it,” Optimus said with a patience he didn’t feel. “My crew and I were holding it until Ultra Magnus was back on his feet. Now that he’s up and about, I will happily give it back.”


    “But you used it in battle without permission!” Sentinel said, poking a finger into Optimus’s chassis. “That is just wrong on many counts, and I’m sure Ultra Magnus isn’t going to take kindly to it.”


    “Well then let’s go to the Council chambers and see what he actually has to say,” Optimus said, impatience finally showing in his voice. “After all, you are here to escort me, right?”


    Sentinel glared. “Yeah I am,” he said. “But first I want you to hand over the Magnus hammer.” He held out his hands toward the weapon. “I will relieve you of the responsibility of carrying it now—especially since you weren’t supposed to have it in the first place.”


    Optimus glared now, and gripped the hammer’s handle more tightly, taking a step back. “Why should I hand it to you?” he asked.


    “Because I will give it back to Ultra Magnus personally!” Sentinel snapped.


    Several onlookers were staring in their direction now, although neither of them paid much attention to the fact that they’d gained an audience. Some of the other bystanders moved away, going back to their own business, but others continued to watch them, and listen.


    “Look Sentinel, I was ordered to come here with the Magnus hammer and to appear before the Council,” Optimus said. “I am quite capable of handing Ultra Magnus’s possession back to him all on my own.”


    “Yeah right,” Sentinel said. “You had to be summoned back to Cybertron before you would even seriously think about giving it back.”


    Optimus came very close to growling, but instead he simply spoke with an exaggerated patience. “Sentinel, I only just received word that Ultra Magnus was back on his feet, when he himself contacted me a couple of hours ago. On top of that, my crew and I have been busy trying to round up a few… stragglers on Earth and finish packing up everything to—”


    “I don’t want to hear your fraggin’ excuses, Optimus!” Sentinel snapped. “Now just hand over the Magnus hammer!”


    The bots in the gathering crowd were starting to whisper to each other, some of them pointing while others simply looked on with widened optics.


    “I’ve had enough of this,” Optimus muttered and started to move past Sentinel.


    Sentinel began to protest and attempted to block his path only to get hit in the face by Optimus’s wing as he passed by. In truth it was an accident, because Optimus still wasn’t used to having jet wings on his back and didn’t notice where they were in relation to Sentinel’s face. However, Optimus did not bother to stop and apologize.


    “Of all the lousy—” Sentinel spat, then noticed for the first time that he was being stared at by at least a couple dozen onlookers. “What are all of you gawking at?!” he snapped, causing some of the closest ones to jump. “Get out of here! Get back to work!”


    Some of them scurried off, although a few of them lingered. Sentinel was no longer paying attention though—he’d begun to go stomping after Optimus, grumbling under his breath all the way.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Jazz lingered behind as Prowl began to slowly approach Grimlock and Swoop, deciding that it was best for him to simply stay out of the way entirely. Jazz did not want to provoke them or distract them at all while Prowl spoke to them.


    “Grimlock,” Prowl called out, and the robotic T-Rex’s head came up to look at him. “It’s me, Prowl,” the black-and-gold bot said, placing his hands on his chassis for emphasis. “Your friend.”


    “Ah, bike-bot good,” Grimlock said, peering down at him. “Bike-bot friend… but bike-bot look different!”


    Prowl chuckled. “Yes I’ve had a few upgrades,” he said. He hadn’t realized that he had not visited Dinobot Island since he’d installed his master’s helmet and the side-car upgrades.


    “Me Grimlock not like new look,” Grimlock said, taking a step back. “New look, bad.”


    Prowl heard a slight chuckling sound behind him. He glanced over his shoulder and saw an amused expression on Jazz’s face, who then looked at Prowl apologetically.


    “Grimlock,” Prowl said, turning his attention back to the Dinobot leader, and choosing to ignore the comment, “I want you to come with me and my friends.”


    “Go where?” Grimlock asked. Swoop let out a shrill, bird-like sound, but otherwise said nothing. Unless the bird-like noises could be counted as his form of communication, that is.


    “To Cybertron,” Prowl replied. “It’s where I come from, and I want to take you there too. It can be your home, too.”


    “Cybertron is bike-bot’s home?” Grimlock and Swoop exchanged glances, then looked back at Prowl. “But this here is Dinobots’ home! Dinobots stay here!”


    Prowl already knew better than to try using the fact that Snarl was going as a negotiating tactic. Jazz had pretty much informed him of everything that went on between Prime and the Dinobots on the way over to Dinobot Island.


    “Grimlock, this place is no longer safe for Dinobots,” Prowl said, trying another tactic instead. “You see what happened over there?” He gestured toward the giant crater where Waspinator had exploded several months ago.


    “Yes… part of Dinobot Island, destroyed!” Grimlock stomped his foot angrily, clearly not pleased with this. Swoop made a hearty caw in agreement.


    “If you come with me, we can give you a safer place to be,” Prowl said. What he didn’t add out loud was who would really be safer in some ways. In many ways, as much as Prowl cared about the Dinobots, he didn’t trust them to be left on Earth unguarded. There was no telling what they might get up to, or how they might harm humans, if no Autobots were there to intervene.


    “Hmmm,” Grimlock mused, and seemed to be thinking it over. “Well, this place pretty boring anyway,” he finally said. “Is bike-bot’s home more fun?”


    “Well, I can guarantee you probably won’t get bored,” Prowl said. Upon saying this, he realized that there were definitely things about Earth he was going to miss. On Cybertron, one could not find any organic life whatsoever, not even a single flower or a single insect.


    “Me Grimlock will go with you,” Grimlock finally said. Swoop let out a small whoop of agreement.


    Prowl smiled. “Then come with me,” he said, already turning to go.


    “Nicely done, bro,” Jazz smiled.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Optimus Prime entered the council chamber, closely followed by Sentinel who appeared to be stewing somewhat.


    “Ah, Optimus Prime,” Alpha Trion greeted. It seemed that the full council was present.


    “Greetings,” Optimus said, placing the end of the hammer on the floor so he could hold it with one hand, and then using his freed hand to salute. “Optimus Prime here, appearing as ordered.”


    “Very good,” Ultra Magnus said. He was the only person present who wasn’t in his seat, but he was on the floor near where Optimus had entered.


    Sentinel, to his credit, said nothing. But was glaring at Optimus’s back, while standing off to one side of the room.


    “Give me the hammer,” Ultra Magnus said, holding out a hand.


    Without hesitation, Optimus stepped forward and handed the weapon back to its rightful owner. The hammer glowed softly as it was placed back in that familiar hand, by way of acknowledgement.


    “Optimus Prime,” Ultra Magnus said, holding the hammer lengthwise across both of his hands, “there is a very important reason why I summoned you here, and I need the entire council to witness this.” He turned and glanced upward toward Perceptor. “Are the recording cameras on?”


    “Yes,” Perceptor replied.


    “Good,” Ultra Magnus said, and turned his attention back to Optimus. “Optimus Prime, I told on numerous occasions that you weren’t programmed to be a hero, and I will also say here and now that I was disappointed when you lead Sentinel and Elita One to a forbidden, organic planet all those stellar cycles ago.” He narrowed his optics. “I was disappointed that a bot who seemed so promising could do something so fool-hardy, something that cost the life of one of his own teammates.”


    In the background Sentinel smirked, pleased to see that this was being rubbed into Optimus’s faceplate once again.


    “I know I’ve made mistakes,” Optimus said when Ultra Magnus paused. “But I’ve done my best to make up for them—”


    Ultra Magnus held up a hand, silencing him. “I know you have,” he said in a gentler tone. “Frankly, Optimus, I believe that you and your crew did all you could back there on Earth. You stopped the clones of Omega Supreme that the Decepticons would have used on Cybertron itself next.”


    “Omega Supreme is still at large though, and in Decepticon hands,” Sentinel murmured, just loudly enough to be heard but not loudly enough to be considered obnoxious.


    “I am aware of that,” Ultra Magnus said. “However, I am also aware of the fact that Optimus has shown he has a lot of good qualities as a leader. He has respect for the bots around him, especially those he works with. And he also knows how to keep his head in a serious situation and do the best he can. And yes, it is unfortunate that Megatron got away with Omega Supreme, but considering Optimus and his crew had managed to rid the Earth of three clones that were every bit as powerful as Omega Supreme.”


    Ultra Magnus’s elderly face lit up in a rare moment of amusement. “One cannot be expected to do everything in one day, after all.”


    The smile vanished and the Autobot leader turned serious again. “I am going to retire,” he stated.


    A collective exclamation of surprise could be heard going through the council chamber, and even Sentinel did a double-take. Perceptor, as usual, simply stared stoically at Ultra Magnus completely unfazed.


    “And I wish to name my successor,” Ultra Magnus said without hesitation. “Optimus Prime, please kneel.”


    If anyone had been looking at Sentinel’s expression right at that moment, they might have thought his optics were about to pop out of his face-plate, and that his jaw was going to fall off his face.


    “W-what?” Optimus said, his mouth gaping. “Are you saying… me?”


    Ultra Magnus nodded. “I am getting too old for this, if Shockwave’s successful attack on my life was any indication. And I am impressed by your leadership skills, Optimus Prime. Now,” Ultra Magnus held out the handle-end of the hammer, “kneel.”


    Optimus couldn’t believe this. Everyone was staring at him now, and he remembered that this was also going out live over Cybertron as well. He found that he couldn’t speak—he just couldn’t think of anything to say. So, reacting more out of reflex than anything else, he simply kneeled and bowed his head.


    Ultra Magnus placed the end of his hammer on Optimus’s shoulder, and began the process to promote him from the rank of Prime to that his of his successor, the new Magnus.


    No one even noticed Sentinel, who was standing in the corner out of sight of everyone, including the cameras.


    He was positively fuming, his servos clenched at his sides and his teeth gritted.


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Bumblebee had finally finished inventory, just as Ratchet and Arcee finished their tour of the base as well as their talk for the most part. They probably still had a lot more to talk about, but they seemed to have talked themselves out for the moment.


    “So you’re finally finished, eh kid?” Ratchet said when he saw Bumblebee emerge from the back room. “Give me the list, Prime asked me to look it over once you were finished.”


    “Sure thing, Doc-bot,” Bee said as he handed it over, glad to be done looking at it.


    “Hang on,” Ratchet said after a moment, catching Bumblebee before he left the room. “Since when do game consoles, DVDs, a DVD player, and an Ipod get put down on the ‘priority’ list?”


    “Hey I can’t go back to Cybertron without those things!” Bumblebee exclaimed.


    Ratchet shook his head slightly. “You once lived without them every day out in the asteroid field; you can live without them again if you have to.”


    “What? Are you saying I have to leave all that stuff behind? No way!” Bumblebee glared.


    Arcee chuckled as the two of them continued to discuss this back and fourth, with Bee acting like Ratchet was trying to take his own arms away from him, and Ratchet making it sound like Bee had become spoiled by Earth in many ways.


    She had not been on Earth long, but from what she could see it definitely was a nice place, and there were plenty of things to do. It seemed to be a pleasant blend of organic life and technology, even if it did seem a bit… odd at first that these small organics were the dominant life-form on this world.


    Earth was a unique place definitely, and it seemed to have a lot to offer. It seemed as though anyone could find something that could suit his or her own tastes.


    The debate between Ratchet and Bumblebee finally dissolved, where the med-bot basically told Bee that he could take all of the electronic “junk” to Cybertron if he found a way to carry it all on his own. Bumblebee simply said that he could just have Sari help him load it all up into his vehicle-mode, and then he dashed off to pack.


    Arcee and Ratchet found themselves alone again in the same room.


    “Are you going to miss this place, when we go back to Cybertron?” Arcee asked, curious.


    Ratchet turned to look at her. “Well, when I first came here… I never thought I was say this. But I have grown surprisingly attached to this planet and its people. I think… in my own way I am going to miss it.” He chuckled. “It is easy to get used to a place like this. But I will also be glad to go back home to Cybertron.”


    “Me too,” Arcee said thoughtfully. She glanced downward. “I know that I have been there for most of the stellar-cycles since… I lost my memory. But after everything you’ve told me… it feels like I’ve been gone all that time.”


    “In a way, I guess you were,” Ratchet said. “But at least now, we can all go home, so to speak.” He smiled.
     
  4. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 4


    Ratchet found himself more or less put in charge of the preparations to leave Earth—a responsibility he didn’t normally like, but in this case he understood. Optimus had been made the new Magnus, and suddenly found himself far too busy to return to Earth, despite the fact that he’d fully intended to after he appeared before the council on Cybertron.


    So right now, Ratchet was supervising everything as they all prepared to leave the base. Prowl was in charge of looking after the Dinobots—especially Grimlock—to make sure they stayed out of the way and didn’t get into trouble. Jazz and Arcee were helping to load up Bulkhead with as much of their equipment and supplies as he could manage, then they began to load themselves up.


    Ratchet could only shake his head slightly at Bumblebee. The little yellow compact had somehow managed to talk Wreck-Gar—who Sari had found a few hours ago, roaming about on the edge of the city—into carrying some of his junk.


    “I have no idea what your stuff is going to smell like when you unload Wreck-Gar on Cybertron,” Ratchet commented out loud at some point. “Then again, I don’t want to know.”


    “Frankly, Bumblebee, I would have to agree,” Sari groaned as she tried to keep her balance while holding a box. It was large for her, though somewhat small by Autobot standards. “Do you really need all of this stuff?” she asked.


    “Oh don’t you start with that!” Bumblebee said. “I already had this discussion with Ratchet, and my mind is made up.” He then reached out toward Sari. “Let me help with that.” He took the box from her, then stuffed it into Wreck-Gar’s already over-flowing trailer.


    “Eww,” Sari complained, one of her eyes twitching. “Bumblebee that truck trailer is so full of garbage it’s a wonder you can fit anything else in there.”


    “Hey, Ratchet said I could only bring my things if I figured out how to do it on my own. I have,” Bumblebee retorted.


    “Well, whatever,” Sari shrugged. “It’s your stuff.”


    “Come on, bots! Get a move on!” Ratchet called out impatiently. “I’ve already disintegrated anything sensitive, and the rest has been packed up or discarded. The sooner we get a move on, the sooner we can get to Cybertron!”


    “Wait, I can’t find my media player!” Bumblebee exclaimed, and dashed out of the room to go look for it.


    Ratchet shook his head. “If we get out of here by the end of the day, it’s going to be a miracle,” he muttered.


    Then the medic noticed something out of the corner of his optic. Prowl was still standing with Grimlock and Swoop, who seemed content to stay in the corner and watch everything. But what Ratchet noticed was the object in Prowl’s hands.


    “Hey Prowl, you’re not planning to take one of your potted bushes to Cybertron, are you?” Ratchet asked.


    Prowl glanced in his direction. “Actually I am,” he said. “I believe the atmosphere is compatible so that it should be able to survive. Captain Fanzone was able to survive there, after all.”


    “Well, bring whatever you wish, but the same rule applies for you as it does for Bumblebee,” Ratchet said warily. “You want to bring anything extra, you’re solely responsible for it. The rest of us are more concerned with taking the stuff that needs to be taken.”


    Prowl nodded. “I plan to put it in my sidecar when we go.”


    “Fine,” Ratchet shrugged. “Just so long as those bozos over there don’t get out of hand while you’re in your vehicle mode.”


    “Me Grimlock not bozo! Me Grimlock King!” the robotic T-rex exclaimed, and let out a small roar for emphasis.


    “Yeah, yeah,” Ratchet said, and walked off. He still had to load up his medical gear into his vehicle mode.


    0o0o0o0o0o


    Megatron sat within the control chamber of Omega Supreme, sitting with his fingers steepled before him. He’d taken the ship to another remote sector, one far from the sector where the Earth was located, and was content to sit and wait.


    He was currently observing some of the transmissions coming from Cybertron, wearing a thoughtful expression as he did so. Apparently there was a new Magnus now, for the old one had chosen to retire.


    “Fascinating,” was all that Megatron said out loud when he found out just who the successor was. Then again, Optimus Prime had indeed proven himself in battle, many times over. And Megatron himself had to admit that the Autobot seemed to be more of an actual threat than a pesky nuisance.


    “I do believe it is time for me to come up with a new strategy,” he commented out loud to himself. He then summoned Shockwave to come see him, via commlink.


    A few moments later, Shockwave entered the room. “I am here, my Liege,” the former double-agent announced.


    “Good,” Megatron said, casting him a brief glance before turning his attention back to the monitors. “Since you were head of Autobot intelligence on Cybertron, I think you have some information that would be very useful to me,” he said.


    “Of course, my Lord,” Shockwave said with a tip of his head. “What sort of information do you require?”


    “I want to know more about the Autobots on the council, and those who are in positions of authority,” Megatron said. “I want to know if any of them could possibly be used to our advantage.”


    0o0o0o00o0


    Sentinel walked quietly down the street, having to refrain from covering his audios. He couldn’t stand the sound of cheering that was still happening on the streets. It seemed that Optimus Prime’s promotion to Magnus was being broadcast everywhere, repeatedly.


    Finally, Sentinel slipped down a quiet alleyway and sat down on an old, discarded box, choosing to turn off his audio receptors for a few cycles.


    What a bunch of fools! He thought, shaking his head and gritting his teeth. They had put that Academy wash-out in charge of all of Cybertron, just like that.


    I’ve definitely lost any respect I had left for that old bot, Sentinel thought, still furious with Ultra-Magnus. He felt that everything that had just happened was all a big mistake, and that he himself should have been put in charge, not Optimus.


    Some bot has to do something, he thought. What exactly, he had no idea. But it seemed that the Council, even people themselves, were no longer listening to him. Well, some of the civilians listened to him, especially since he was the one who brought some of the Decepticons to Cybertron when Optimus had not brought any back with him. But in some ways, the council seemed to have turned a cold shoulder toward Sentinel.


    It just wasn’t fair though, and the council was being stupid. Optimus had done many things that could be looked upon negatively, yet Ultra Magnus, Perceptor, Alpha Trion, and anyone else with the highest rank had chosen to overlook that. Optimus had simply jumped through a Transwarp Gate, wielding the very hammer that didn’t even belong to him, then Ultra Magnus takes it just to give it back to him again.


    “I’m going to do something,” Sentinel said to himself, and turned his audios back on so that he could hear himself—or hear if anyone was coming.


    He abruptly got out and walked out of the alleyway, forcing himself to ignore the continued broadcasts and cheers. He had things to do, and he couldn’t let himself get distracted by that foolishness.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Starscream was more or less stuck, a fact that he was not at all happy with. Somehow or other, the cargo area that he was in proved to be a room he could not get out of. The door seemed to be jammed stuck, and he found that he couldn’t get it open even if his life depended on it.


    He growled under his breath. He’d managed to succeed in getting aboard without being seen just to get himself stuck in a useless room.


    “Well,” he murmured to himself, as he began to look at the boxes onboard. “Maybe there might be something in here I could find useful…” With that, he began to go through the boxes. Most of them turned out to be empty, but then he came across one that had something interesting in it…


    Very interesting indeed.


    0o0o0o0o0o


    Ratchet was starting to get very impatient with Bumblebee, because he kept remembering something that he “couldn’t possibly go back to Cybertron without” and had to go look for it, and in the process he kept running across things that he felt he just had to take as well.


    “You know, kid, if you bothered to clean your room once in a while, you wouldn’t be having these problems right now,” Ratchet growled at one point.


    Finally, reaching the end of his patience, he simply ordered everyone to go on ahead to the Transwarp Gate on top of Sumdac Towers. Prowl went on ahead since he had to keep an eye on the Dinobots, and Scrapper trailed along behind with Snarl just ahead of him.


    Next Bulkhead, Arcee and Jazz took off. Arcee had taken on the form of a pink and white Porsche in order to blend in on the Earth roads better. Ratchet lingered behind, and sternly informed Bumblebee that he had exactly ten cycles to finish packing and to head out with Wreck-Gar, and if he still couldn’t find something, then he would have to leave it behind.


    While they were waiting for Bumblebee’s ten minutes to deplete, Ratchet took Sari aside for a moment to talk to her.


    “Have you made up your mind what you want to do, kid?” the Doc-bot asked her.


    “I… don’t know,” Sari said with a frown. “I’m not sure if I really belong here on Earth, because I was never a human to begin with. Not a full human anyway.” She looked up at Ratchet sadly. “All I really ever had here were you guys, and my dad. If I stay here and if you all go back to Cybertron, I won’t have anyone like me here anymore.”


    “Then are you saying you want to come with us?” Ratchet asked.


    “I…” Sari stammered, then swallowed. “Part of me wants to,” she finally said. “But part of me is… scared to. I mean, I went to the moon and that was totally awesome, because back when I was just a normal human—or thought I was—I never dreamed I’d actually go there. But now…” She drew in a deep breath. “I’m actually thinking about going to a planet that I’ve never seen before. And it’s actually my home, but at the same time… it’s not.”


    “I understand,” Ratchet said sympathetically. He then took a moment to check the time, then he turned back to her. “Bumblebee’s ten cycles are almost up,” he said. He then transformed into his ambulance mode, and opened the door for her. “Get in, Sari,” he said. “There’s not going to be anything left here once we’re gone. So I’ll take you to Sumdac Tower, and you can use the time during the ride to think about whether you want to go or stay.”


    Sari climbed into Ratchet and strapped herself in. She sat there silently as the remaining two or so cycles passed by, considering her options. Her thoughts were interrupted when Ratchet suddenly honked his horn and bellowed for Bumblebee to hurry up, because it was time to go.


    Almost predictably, Bumblebee yelled back, saying that he still couldn’t find a specific CD with his favorite music.


    “Bumblebee,” Ratchet growled dangerously, “if you don’t come along with us right now, we’re going to leave you behind.”


    “Hang on, Doc-bot, just another minute, I promise—”


    “Wreck-Gar, let’s go,” Ratchet said, still speaking loudly enough for Bee to hear him. “We’re going to leave that yellow bot behind.”


    Wreck-Gar seemed more or less happy to finally get moving, and both he and Ratchet took off together side by side.


    Ratchet then received an indignant protest from Bee over his commlink, and the Med-bot could only chuckle as the youthful bot finally said, “FINE! I’M COMING! JUST DON’T LEAVE WITHOUT ME, SLAGGIT!”


    “Works like a charm,” Ratchet commented silently to Sari, who giggled in reply.


    0o0o0o0o0


    “Very interesting,” Megatron murmured as he mentally went over everything he’d been told by Shockwave. “You have done well, Shockwave. And if the things you tell me about one Autobot in particular are true… I may well be able to turn things to my advantage, one way or another.”


    The Decepticon leader smiled. “So long as I am very careful in my planning.”


    0o0o0o0o


    Upon arrival at Sumdac Tower, Ratchet along with Bumblebee, Sari and Wreck-Gar found that everyone else had already gone through the Transwarp Gate to Cybertron.


    Ratchet sent Wreck-Gar and the grumbling Bumblebee on ahead, then allowed Sari to get out of his vehicle mode. He would have transformed to robot mode in order to talk to her more easily, but he couldn’t—not with all the medical equipment he currently had loaded up in him.


    “Have you decided yet, kiddo?” Ratchet asked her.


    Sari made no reply. She simply turned to look at her father, who stood nearby, watching her intently.


    “Dad,” Sari began, then hesitated as though she wasn’t sure what to say.


    “Sari,” Processor Sumdac said, looking at her with a solemn expression, “if you want to go, you may go.”


    She perked up slightly, but still seemed somewhat sad at the same time. “Really?”


    Her father nodded. “I knew that one day I would have to accept the fact that you would be off on your own, I just didn’t know it would be so soon. And,” he added with a glance toward Ratchet, “since you don’t even legally exist here… you should be with your own kind.”


    Sari gripped him in a tight embrace—though not too tight, for she had to remember she was now a lot stronger than her father. “I love you, Dad,” she said into his ear. “You’re the best father I could ever have asked for.”


    “Oh Sari, that is very sweet,” Sumdac said, squeezing her back. Then he pulled away and held her thin shoulders at arm’s length, getting a good look at her. “Just please come visit me when you can,” he said.


    Sari smiled. “Maybe someday you can come visit me,” she said, wiping away a tear with her finger.


    “Oh I would like that very much, Sari,” Isaac Sumdac told his daughter.


    “Me too.”


    Ratchet cleared his vocalizer. “I hate to break this up,” he said slowly, “but we really need to get going… if you’re sure you want to come, Sari.”


    “Goodbye Dad,” Sari said, giving her father’s hand a gentle squeeze before pulling away. “I love you.”


    “I love you, too, Sari,” Isaac said. “And I couldn’t possibly be more proud of you.”


    Sari beamed, then the expression was covered up when her helmet flew up around her head and face. Ratchet had already told her on the way that it might be best for her to look as robot-like as possible, because the view on organics still wasn’t all that great on Cybertron.


    Then she kicked up off the ground, firing up her jetpack and hovering over the floor for a moment, never taking her eyes off her father.


    Ratchet moved on ahead, then vanished through the brilliant blue orb, eager to go home.


    Sari moved away slowly, bidding her father one last, silent goodbye, then she too vanished through the blue orb.


    The Transwarp Gate then powered itself down, and the blue light winked out of existence.


    “Goodbye,” Sumdac said to the empty space in the bridge. “And good luck, Sari.”
     
  5. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 5


    A/N I chose to pick this up again a few months after the last chapter ended, because it made things easier for me, considering everyone would have had a chance to settle in on Cybertron a bit.


    Also, I know next to nothing about Warpath, so please don’t kill me if I made him act OOC at all. Furthermore I wanna thank my friend Katie for helping me figure out what to do in this chapter, and for helping me name a specific character you’ll see as you read. Enjoy!


    Four Months Later


    Optimus had been Magnus for only four months, but he already had had quite a bit to deal with.


    It seemed that some of Cybertron’s population was not all that happy with Optimus’s promotion, especially Sentinel Prime’s loyal supporters. But Optimus still had plenty of supporters, especially since the promotion had been official and Optimus now had every right to hold the Magnus hammer.


    Eventually it had been determined that it would be best to send Sentinel himself off-planet for a while, because the bot had been suspected of doing some behind-the-scenes things to gain support for himself and to make Optimus look like nothing more than a failure for letting Megatron get away with Omega Supreme.


    So basically, after a lot of deliberation amongst the council members, it was decided that if Sentinel wanted to make so much noise about how Megatron got away, then Sentinel himself could be sent on a mission to search for and locate the Decepticon leader himself.


    And of course, Sentinel took advantage of this decision by boasting as publicly as possible that he would bring Megatron and any other rogue Decepticons he could get his servos on back to Cybertron in stasis cuffs.


    Optimus himself had spoken to Jazz very briefly before Sentinel left, asking the white ninja to go with the glory-cog. “I think it would be best if someone who has a level processor on their shoulders to go along,” Optimus told him. “Try to keep him out of trouble, especially since… I’m not going to have time anymore if he gets himself in over his head.”


    “Got it, Magnus,” Jazz had replied. The ninja knew all-too-well that Sentinel sometimes did call upon Optimus when something happened.


    So with a bit of string-pulling, and ignoring a few protests from Sentinel—who was still a bit sore at Jazz for “betraying” him—Optimus Magnus got Jazz enlisted as part of the crew going out.


    Part of Optimus hoped that Sentinel and his crew would find Megatron and Omega Supreme, though at the same time part of him didn’t. If they encountered that powerful ship, there was no telling what would happen.


    But Optimus had also had a few other problems he needed to help tend to over the past few weeks or so. The Dinobots were not fitting in very well with the Cybertronians, and were being viewed as “glitches with attitudes”, so Optimus had been forced to make some arrangements to give them a new home in an un-occupied area of Cybertron, for the time being at least. He would have to figure out what to do to help them better later.


    Scrapper had gone with them, at least for the time-being, because he wanted to get away from everything. He hadn’t received very much acceptance himself, mostly due to the Decepticon emblem that had been on his chest plate. He’d since had it replaced with an Autobot symbol, with some help from Ratchet, but nevertheless he didn’t exactly feel… welcome, by anyone. So he and Snarl went with Grimlock and Swoop, even if the latter two weren’t speaking to the former two.


    Wreck-Gar, on the other hand, had actually managed to find a job within Cybertron’s main city, surprisingly so. He was in charge of taking on shipments of energon waste and dumping it into an energon pit, and seemed quite happy to keep doing that all day long. All it had taken was for someone to tell him that he was a “hero” for doing it, because ridding the city of used energon waste helped save lives and make everyone’s lives easier.


    Sari was a completely different case, though. The general attitude toward organics was not very good right now. However she was currently staying at Bulkhead’s place. The giant green mech had been given his own place to stay and had been given a job as Cybertron’s head space bridge reference person and maintainer, since he was the best at it. And he allowed Bumblebee and Sari to stay at his home—he didn’t have much time to be there right now anyway.


    Bumblebee had spent about two weeks after returning to Cybertron trying to get the smell of garbage out of his stuff, but then he seemed to spend quite a bit of the time playing video games and listening to music.


    Sari, who didn’t have much else to do for the time being, tried her best to help keep Bulkhead’s home maintained and clean, although she did spend a little time playing games with Bumblebee. She also ended up yelling at him to put the games away at some moments, wanting him to help her fix something or clean something around the living complex.


    She also spent some time talking to her Dad over the communications terminal, and she had to admit, at least to herself, that part of her missed being on Earth. She missed being with her father, and she missed the good old days when there was actually more for her to do.


    Nowadays, everything seemed so much more… complicated. She wasn’t fully human, she’d actually grown up a lot faster than she thought she would have a couple years ago. If she were human, she would only be about nine—almost ten—now. Instead she was the equivalent of a human teenager, and she had powers and abilities that no human would ever have normally.


    She could never fit in on Earth, not in the normal way at least. You needed to have a record of your existence to be able to get an ID and get work. So the only place she had was Cybertron, unless she planned to forge some documents on Earth—which she couldn’t do because it was illegal.


    But she wasn’t overly welcomed on Cybertron, there were only a few bots out there who would even be around her without making rude comments or acting like she was disgusting, and everyone she knew was now too busy to spend any time for her—except for Bumblebee, who seemed content to just sit around and play video games.


    Finally though, she decided to voice her thoughts on the problem to her father. She sat there before the communication terminal, not quite looking at her dad’s face as she poured out her heart to him.


    He listened intently, waiting for her to finish, and then he spoke. “I knew that this wouldn’t be easy for you,” he said. “But I hadn’t thought it would be quite this difficult for you. If you want to though, you could always come back and work for me at Sumdac Systems—you know that you would not have to fill out an application for me, and I could pay you in cash.”


    Sari smiled. “Thanks, Dad, but it’s not about money, you know. It’s about finding out what I’m supposed to do, and where I’m supposed to be.” She sighed and hung her head. “I still don’t really know where I came form. I mean, I know I was a protoform, and Prowl and Ratchet think that I might have been one of the protoforms that Megatron stole a long time ago. But that still doesn’t explain everything.”


    “I know, Sari,” Sumdac said. “But maybe in time, you will find the answers.” He thought for a moment, then spoke again. “About all I can suggest is that perhaps you should try talking to Optimus. Maybe he can help you find your place.”


    “Yeah maybe, but he’s also very busy.”


    “Then try and arrange an appointment. That’s what I have to do sometimes here on Earth, and people have to do it with me as well.”


    “Hmm maybe I will,” Sari said. “Thank, Dad,” she smiled.


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Warpath glanced up from his work as Prowl entered his office. “Hello,” Warpath murmured, “I will be with you in a moment.”


    Ever since the death of Yoketron, the ninjas had more or less scattered. Oil Slick had joined the Decepticons, though thankfully those such as Warpath and Jazz had chosen to aide the Elite Guard in one form or another.


    Warpath had served in the war although he also did some odd jobs on the side. He was currently trying to repair a broken computer console, something which wasn’t going very well if his out-loud grumbling was any indication.


    Prowl leaned almost casually against the corner of the room near the doorway, simply waiting for Warpath to finish what he was doing. When the two of them had first met, Warpath had literally wrestled with him until he’d managed to slap a pair of stasis cuffs on Prowl’s wrists and then carried him over his shoulder to Yoketron.


    Prowl had been a very different bot back then. Having lost his creators in an accident involving an explosion of unstable energon, he’d roamed the streets of Cybertron for a long time during his youth, looking out for no one but himself. That didn’t change until he’d been brought to Master Yoketron.


    Warpath hadn’t liked him at all back then, but over the years the two of them had grown some respect for each other. Now that Prowl had pretty much surpassed all of the other ninjas around, Warpath was actually quietly in awe of Prowl, even if he would never show it or admit it.


    Warpath was not the type of bot to show awe for anyone.


    Finally, the large bot seemed to more or less finish up what he was doing, and he turned to look at Prowl. “Alright,” Warpath sighed, “now let’s get down to the main reason why I asked you here.”


    “And that is?” Prowl asked when the other bot fell silent.


    Warpath simply turned away and gestured toward the door. “Follow me,” he said, and the two of them started walking.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Sentinel Prime scowled as he sat before the communication terminal on his desk, in the privacy of his quarters. He’d been given the same ship and the same crew as he’d had before, although he wasn’t too happy with having Jazz back on his team.


    However he had every intention of making the best of the situation. But he would not trust Jazz again—nor would he trust Jetfire or Jetstorm all that well. The only bot he was going to trust entirely was himself, and he would return home to Cybertron as the hero that Optimus certainly was not.


    He would show everyone. He had every intention of doing so.


    And maybe, just maybe, he had a lead in doing so. For he had been contacted by someone who had contacted him before with an offer. Of course this person could not be trusted entirely either, but maybe, just maybe, if Sentinel played his cards right, he could handle this situation without getting in over his head.


    So now he was taking the call in the privacy of his quarters, on a scrambled frequency.


    “Lockdown,” Sentinel greeted with a serious expression. “Long time no see.”


    Yes, it has been too long,” Lockdown muttered. “As you may have guessed, I’m calling to talk business.”


    “Same as last time, as I figured,” Sentinel said. “But why should I trust you? Last time you back-stabbed me as soon as someone else gave you a better offer.”


    Because this time I don’t want anything from you.”


    “Oh yeah?” Sentinel laughed. “I find that hard to believe.


    I’m just being paid as a message buoy this time around. Someone wants to talk to you.”


    Sentinel narrowed his optics. “Who?” he asked.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Prowl’s visor literally blinked on and off as he followed Warpath toward a specific room. It looked like they were heading toward someone’s room, but the sounds inside were rather unnerving. There were sounds of things being bent or broken, and a young female voice was screaming her vocalizer off inside. That is, she wasn’t screaming all the time, there were moments of silence, but when she was being vocal she was either screaming or yelling all kinds of phrases, some of which were so offensive they could have earned her a good smack across the faceplate if she’d uttered them in public.


    “What is that?” Prowl asked as they came to a stop in front of the door. “Who is in there?”


    Warpath groaned softly, placing his hand on his faceplate. “That’s Dreamscreamer,” he muttered, and it seemed that simply thinking of her and being anywhere near her was enough to give him a processor ache.


    As if in response to their presence, another screaming fit could be heard within the room, accompanied by what sounded like a berth being stomped on and bent.


    “It sounds like she’s insane,” Prowl commented.


    “Nah, not insane, just out of control,” Warpath said.


    “Is she malfunctioning?” Prowl asked with concern.


    “No, she chooses to be out of control. She’s been checked over by the best, and she’s perfectly healthy and functional. But her attitude is something else.”


    Prowl’s frown deepened. “Perhaps you should explain to me what this is about, and why you asked me here.”


    “It was Jazz’s idea for me to bring you here, actually,” Warpath said. “I disagree, I think she should rust in the stockade, but considering you turned out alright under Yoketron… I suppose there is some hope for this deranged femme as well.”


    “What are you talking about?”


    “I’m saying that I’m putting her fate in your servos. If you don’t want to deal with her, she’s off to the stockade for good, because she’s too much trouble to allow free. Or if you want, you can try to see if you can… get her a bit more civilized, possibly train her to be a Cyber Ninja.” Warpath snorted. “I know I wouldn’t have the time, much less the patience to handle her. But maybe you could, but it’s up to you.”


    “I don’t understand, why did Jazz think she could be trained?” Prowl asked, completely puzzled.


    “Because somehow or other—and no one knows how—she knows processor over matter,” Warpath said.


    Then, as if in response to that comment, the door opened all on its own.


    “Hey! She bypassed the locking mechanism—that should be impossible!” Warpath snapped.


    “Unless… she used processor over matter,” Prowl quickly deduced with a gasp.


    Now that the door was fully open, the small femme rushed out in a flash. If she was standing up straight, her head would have come up just past Prowl’s midsection, but as it was she was now standing in a crouched position.


    For a moment, everyone just stood completely still, with Prowl and Warpath staring at her, and her staring back. Her colors were a mixture of silver, blue and green, and her optics shone with Autobot blue but almost seemed to hold a Decepticon-like fierceness, emotionally at least.


    Then she turned on her heels and, transforming into something that looked like a lean Cybertronian motorcycle, the young femme sped off down the corridor, tires screeching.


    Prowl and Warpath both transformed into their alt modes and took off after her. Then the mad chase began.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Sentinel had no idea who could possibly want to contact him, but since they were speaking on a scrambled frequency, he figured that he had nothing to lose.


    “Very well…” Sentinel said, almost cautiously. “Who is it?”


    I will put you through now,” Lockdown replied, and then the screen went momentarily blank.


    Sentinel folded his arms and scowled at the screen. He never liked waiting, and he began to drum his fingers across his arms as a couple of cycles ticked by.


    Finally, the screen winked back to life. Sentinel gasped, his jaw dropping and his optics widening when he saw who it was.


    Megatron.


    Greetings, Sentinel Prime,” Megatron’s deep, slow voice emitted from the speakers. “I wish to speak to you about… a deal.”


    0o0o0o0o0


    Dreamscreamer was still somewhere within the building, that much was certain, but Prowl and Warpath had to split up when they came to the end of a hallway that split off into two directions.


    Prowl, who went left, sped down the corridor as quickly as he could, maneuvering the twists and turns with ease.


    Finally he saw her up ahead, and came to a skidding halt when he did so. He immediately transformed and moved into a defensive position, ready for anything and blocking her path at the same time.


    She was in her robot mode now, and she tensed, taking a few steps back.


    “I won’t hurt you,” Prowl said slowly, holding up his hands, “just take it easy and stand down.”


    A/N I hope this chapter wasn’t too rushed or anything. Oh and I am basing some of Dreamscreamer’s antics on what Nancy did in the Little House on the Prairie TV series XD
     
  6. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 6


    Sari had tried to contact Optimus Magnus, but she ended up having to leave him a message because he wasn’t even in his office. So she simply asked him to call her back as soon as he had a chance and then shut off the terminal.


    Bumblebee, however, was being particularly annoying right now because his Xbox had broken and there was no way he could fix it without parts. And since he couldn’t go through the space bridges without special permission, due to the lingering threat of Decepticons, he couldn’t get more parts from Earth.


    “Bumblebee, instead of sitting there whining about it,” Sari said at one point, “maybe we should go for a walk or something.” She grinned. “Or better yet, maybe we could go for a ride!”


    Bumblebee sighed softly, looking at the disk case for Ninja Gladiators longingly. But then an idea sprang to him. “Hey,” he said, looking at Sari, “I know just the place we could go, and it’s not too far from here!”


    “What is it?” Sari asked.


    “It’s a game arcade,” Bumblebee exclaimed. He transformed into his car mode—which was still the same one as the one he’d had on Earth. “Climb in!”


    Sari sighed. In all honestly she didn’t feel like playing games right now, but she also figured it would make him happy, and it sure beat just sitting around Bulkhead’s place. Besides, hanging out around the communication terminal wasn’t going to make Optimus call any faster.


    “Okay,” Sari said, and climbed in. “Let’s go.”


    0o0o0o0o0


    “I will not hurt you, if you just stand down,” Prowl told the femme, repeating the same words he’d told her earlier.


    Dreamscreamer’s optics narrowed until they were blue slits. “You won’t hurt me because I won’t let you!” she spat, then lunged toward Prowl.


    Prowl instinctively leaped backward, not allowing her attack to be anywhere near successful. Then just as he landed, he swung his foot forward and slammed it into her midsection, sending her half-flying, half-stumbling backward. Then for added measure he sent his fist into her torso, sending her crashing against the wall.


    However, he hadn’t used anywhere near the full force he could have used. She was good and she was slick, but she couldn’t match his strength or reflexes—not to mention his skill. If he’d really wanted to, he could probably have finished her off right there and then, especially since he’d taken her off-guard and she was rather stunned at the moment.


    Instead he simply took a step back and looked down at her. “I would suggest you do not try that again,” he told her in a soft yet firm voice.


    She glared up at him. She made no move except to scoot away from him as far as she could, pressing her back against the corner of the hallway. Then her mouth opened and she proceeded to curse the name of Primus for the day he brought “your stupid slagging Allspark-forsaken-spark online!” as she put it.


    Prowl simply remained silent as obscenities continued to pour out of her vocalizer. Where she had learned such a colorful vocabulary, he had no way of guessing.


    When she finally paused—either due to over-exerting her vocalizer, or because she’d run out of things to say, he had no idea—the first words he spoke were not to her, but to Warpath, for it was at that moment that his commlink chimed.


    Prowl, you found her yet? I don’t see her anywhere.”


    “Yes I found her,” Prowl said in reply. “I have the situation under control.”


    Dreamscreamer, under control? Sounds like a contradiction in terms.”


    “Just let me handle this,” Prowl said.


    Alright, I’ll leave you be. Just don’t let her get away again. Warpath out.”


    Prowl moved his finger away from his helmet. His ever-watchful gaze had never left Dreamscreamer’s smaller, sleeker form, though now he was able to actually address her.


    “Dreamscreamer, why are you acting like this?” he asked her.


    She scowled, and his question was first answered by nothing more than another long-winded series of curses as she defiled his name, his creators, Primus and the Allspark itself for ever creating him or his ancestors. Then finally, she simply said, “I don’t like anybody.” With that she fell silent, folding her arms and turning away from him.


    Prowl knelt down on the floor, not getting too close. He wanted to be closer to her optic-level, but ready if she tried to run or attack him again. “Why don’t you… like anybody?” he asked carefully.


    That earned him another scowl as she looked at him fully again. “Why should I? No one likes me. Everybody hates me.”


    Prowl said nothing. In many ways he could see why no one would like her, considering the way she acted. But he knew better than to try pointing that out to her, at least not yet. Instead he simply said, “I don’t hate you.”


    “Yeah right, maybe you will if I do THIS!”


    She let out a high-pitched shriek and was off the floor in an instant, aiming at his face with a well-aimed kick. However he quickly twisted so that his head ducked down and his fist came up, connecting solidly with her foot and taking the brunt of her attack. Then in the very next instant, his other hand shot up and sent her flying back against the wall.


    She gritted her dental plating and growled at him. “LET ME GO YOU SLAGGER!” she bellowed, and then she moved again, only this time in an attempt to move past him, not to fight.


    He was quicker though; he grabbed her as she tried to run by and he lifted her off the ground, then held her out at arms’ length in order to try and keep her from kicking him. She screamed at the top of her audio capacity, her limbs flailing about in an attempt to get free.


    “I am sorry to do this,” he murmured, although he doubted she could hear him over her own screams. After making sure he had a good grip on her with his left servo, he used his right servo to slip in to a specific point where her shoulder and neck met, then narrowed his eyes in concentration.


    After a moment, her shrieks ceased and her optics dimmed. She went completely limb in his arms, and then he adjusted his hold on her so that he held her lengthwise in both arms rather than by the scruff of her neck-plating.


    That was apparently one advanced tactic she hadn’t learned to watch out for. It was a step up from the Cybertronian nerve-wire pinch, only a cyber ninja trained in processor over matter could temporarily disrupt the neural pathways, causing the bot on the receiving end to fall temporarily offline.


    Prowl glanced down at her sleeping features for a moment, then proceeded to walk out down the hallway, back toward the front of the building.


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    “What the fraggin’ pit is this?” Sentinel grumbled, still glaring at the screen. “Why in the name of the Allspark are you contacting me?”


    Because I have a proposal to make,” came Megatron’s reply.


    “Yeah? And why would I be interested in anything you have to offer? You’re nothing but a low-life Decepticon creep and—”


    Oh spare me the high-and-mighty speech,” Megatron interrupted tersely, holding up a hand. “I know about you, Sentinel Prime, and I am going to make you an offer you cannot refuse.”


    Sentinel’s optics narrowed. “Oh yeah? Like what?”


    A sly smile crossed the Decepticon leader’s face. “I can help you gain what you desire most, to have all of Cybertron under your servo digit. With my help, you can take out Optimus Magnus.”


    Sentinel’s mouth pursed thoughtfully. “And what’s in it for you?” he finally asked.


    An opportunity to kill Ultra Magnus, for defeating us in the Great War, that is all,” Megatron replied. “That way, you get what you want, and the Decepticons get what we want.”


    Sentinel did not trust Megatron, but for that matter… he had been losing a lot of trust and respect for his fellow Autobots, too. Even Ultra Magnus seemed to be a big fool nowadays, naming that low-life excuse for a Prime as his successor.


    Was there anyone Sentinel could truly trust these days, one way or another? It seemed like someone, somewhere, would always be getting in the way of his goals. It was almost as though the rest of the universe had turned stupid or something.


    “Well…” Sentinel found himself saying, “frankly at this point, I’m not sure if any offer sounds too unreasonable.” He narrowed his optics. “Just so long as I don’t come out of this looking like the bad guy.”


    Megatron smirked. “You shouldn’t have to worry about that, since surely you are not the bad guy.”


    “Of course not!” Sentinel said quickly. “Tell me more… and I’ll consider what you’ve said.”


    0o0o0o0o0


    “So you actually got her,” Warpath commented as he saw Prowl coming toward him, with the limp Dreamscreamer in his arms. “Have you decided what you’re going to do with her?”


    Prowl came to a stop just beside Warpath’s desk, once again looking down at the femme in a thoughtful way.


    Before he could say anything, Warpath once again gave his opinion on the matter. “I say you should just put her on the next transport to the stockade. You’ve seen what she’s like; no other bot will have anything to do with her at this point.”


    Prowl continued to look at her face. In sleeping she seemed so… peaceful, hardly the out-of-control femme he’d witnessed mere moments ago. He had to admit, to himself at least, that there seemed to be at least something in her that he could relate to, somehow. He’d once been a troublemaker himself… although praise be to Primus that he’d never been that bad.


    “I think I will give her a chance,” he finally said. He’d seen what had happened to Wasp, as well as others, as a result of being in the stockade. He did not want that to happen to this femme. Maybe, given time, he could even make her see reason, that anything was better than going to the stockade. All she needed was another chance, to show her that any life was better than life there.


    “Fine,” Warpath shrugged. “But if she gets away from you, it’s off to the stockade.” He then turned and walked off, muttering something under his breath that Prowl couldn’t quite catch, although he did manage to hear “bam” and “kapow”.


    Prowl turned and headed out the front exit, deciding he would take the femme back to his residence. She was now his responsibility, under his care, and that would be the best place he could keep an optic sensor on her.


    He simply hoped that she wouldn’t try to run away. Besides, it wasn’t like he had any locks that were POM-proof.


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Starscream had found the very thing that he felt could give him ultimate power—or at least, an ultimate advantage. He’d found a weapon hidden within one of the crates, although he simply had to wait until the right moment to use it.


    It looked like a device that humans on Earth—specifically, police officials—used to track how fast a ground vehicle was going. But this one had an Allspark fragment wedged in it, which gave it unique abilities. He had been able to use it to open the stuck door to get free of the cargo hold, and he’d been able to escape from his unfortunate cell.


    Then he’d spent the next few weeks trying out his new weapon on various things, trying to get the hang of it. Not only that but after time, patience and practice, he’d managed to find ways to improve upon it, so that he could actually manipulate another bot’s thoughts and mind.


    This proved to be very handy, because he he’d managed to make both Lugnut and Shockwave forget they’d ever seen him, during a couple of instances where he’d been careless and had let himself get spotted by them. However he found that the effect had its limits, because he could only plant minor suggestions into his mind, such as the fact that they hadn’t really seen Starscream onboard. He couldn’t get the device to make either of them do something for him—that was something he needed to work on some more.


    This time, Starscream decided, he was actually going to try to do things the smart way. He was going to wait until he had perfected his advantage before he tried anything. Then maybe, just maybe, he could finally take Megatron offline for good, and take control of Omega Supreme.


    He had already made some progress in that area. He’d disabled Omega’s ability to scan for unwelcome intruders, although Starscream didn’t dare do too much yet, as he wanted more time to perfect his weapon.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Prowl had just barely reached the front entrance to his residential complex and was just beginning to type in his pass-code to open the door, when Dreamscreamer began to stir in his arms.


    Her optics flickered back online, then she looked up into his face. He tightened his grip on her, just in case she tried anything. However that only seemed to make her all the more aggravated, for she began to squirm in his arms.


    Prowl shifted his position so that he could lean against the front of the complex and set her down, trying to get a good grip on her arms to restrain her. However she took advantage of this, kicking him solidly in the midsection and biting him so hard in the servo that she dented one of his fingers. He yelped and instinctively drew back slightly, which permitted her to escape.


    As she ran off several meters, then quickly transformed and sped off down the street, Prowl growled and transformed himself, his tires screeching loudly as he shot off after her.


    And once again, the chase was on.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Bumblebee and Sari had almost arrived at their intended destination when a blue and silver streak nearly ran into Bumblebee as it whizzed by. Bumblebee swerved just in the nick of time and then came to a halt on the side of the run-way, turned around.


    “Hey! What does that bot think he’s doing?” Bumblebee said indignantly.


    “Actually I think it was a she,” Sari exclaimed.


    “How do you know that?”


    “Um, I’m not sure,” Sari shrugged. “I just do.”


    “Whatever,” Bumblebee said.


    Just then, a very familiar black-and-gold motorcycle with a sidecar came rushing past, apparently in pursuit of the Cybertronian motorbike that had just passed.


    “Prowl?” Bumblebee exclaimed. Then he contacted Prowl on his commlink frequency. “Prowl was that you? What in space is going on?!”


    I need to catch Dreamscreamer,” came the curt reply.


    “Catch Dreamscreamer? You mean that bike that nearly ran into me?” Bumblebee revved his engine to life and sped off in the direction Prowl had gone. “This is just like old times!” he exclaimed. “Prowl wait up, I’ll help you.”


    “You’re going after that speeding bot too?” Sari asked.


    “Sure, I haven’t had this much excitement since we left Earth!”


    Sari said nothing. Actually though, part of her had to agree.


    0o0o0o0o0o


    It didn’t take long for Dreamscreamer to figure out she now had two shadows that she needed to lose. She felt annoyed and frustrated at this, but kept on going.


    She had to admit though that the yellow one was good. He was a bit more reckless and a bit faster than the motorcycle. Then again, perhaps he was only gaining on her simply because he was more reckless.


    She lead both of her shadows through a confusing and dangerous maze of twists and turns, by going into an area that was unsafe to maneuver in vehicle mode. She was able to though, because she was small and lean.


    However the yellow bot somehow managed to keep up with her for the most part, although she had lost the black-and-gold one, at least for the moment.


    She then headed into a crowded area, transformed into robot mode, and tried to lose herself in the crowd. That gave the yellow bot no choice but to transform as well, because it was too dangerous to maneuver such a crowded area without hurting someone.


    Finally she came up behind a large, stocky mech who peered down at her curiously. “What’s the matter?” he asked her in a deep voice.


    That was when Dreamscreamer got an idea. She cowered slightly, putting on her best “helpless femme” look, and pointed behind her. “There’s a yellow mech chasing me!” she said, trying to sound as pathetic as possible.


    The big burly bot glanced in the direction she was pointing, and sure enough, there was the yellow bot. She ducked behind the larger bot, trying to stay out of the yellow bot’s sight.


    Her temporary guardian then stepped forward, toward the yellow bot. “What do you think you’re doing?” he asked, placing his servos on his hips.


    “Hey do you mind?” the yellow bot spat indignantly. “I’m trying to catch a little femme bot!”


    The large burly bot picked up Bumblebee and lifted him well over his head. “What kind of a mech are you?!” the big brute thundered, then threw Bumblebee back in the direction he’d came, as far as he could.


    And since he was so large—larger than even Bulkhead—that was pretty far.


    “Bumblebee!!” Sari yelled, firing up her jetpack and taking off in the direction he had been thrown.


    “Thanks!” Dreamscreamer told the giant mech, then she took off once again.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Prowl was now using his jet boosters, because it was the only way to maneuver easily and to be able to see his surroundings better. Plus it didn’t take him long to realize he was headed for a crowded area.


    It also didn’t take him long to notice Bumblebee down on the ground, although he was at least moving and Sari was with him, so he figured they were alright. He had to catch Dreamscreamer, and he had no doubt she was responsible for whatever happened to Bumblebee, one way or another.


    It took a few cycles, but he finally spotted her leaving the crowded area. She didn’t seem to notice him above her, and he saw her transform into her motorcycle mode and speed off in another direction.


    Prowl knew he needed to do something and fast. He had to capture her, but he wanted to be careful not to hurt her either—even though she didn’t seem to have the same concern for others, if Bumblebee was any indication.


    Perhaps if he could get close enough, he could use his rod weapon on her in order to incapacitate her, at least…


    He continued to move forward silently, using his holographic cloak to make him look like he was just part of the sky. He didn’t want her to see him until he was ready.


    Finally she stopped, having ducked into an alleyway. She hid herself behind a large stack of huge, empty boxes. Prowl took this opportunity to move downward as silently as possible, and his feet hit the ground with him barely making a noise.


    Then, in a swift motion, he leapt forward and jabbed Dreamscreamer in the neck with his weapon, causing her to cry out in pain. Then he slapped a pair of stasis cuffs on her—something he had borrowed from a patrolling officer shortly after Bumblebee had gone in pursuit of her.


    She groaned, then scowled at him. It was all she could do now.


    “Until I am ready to give you another chance to show me you can behave, those stay on,” he said, pointing at the stasis cuffs. “And I don’t want you to use processor over matter to get out of them, although I am confident I can catch you again if you do.”


    “Can’t chase me forever,” Dreamscreamer snipped. “Everyone gives up after a while.”


    “Yes they do, and many already have,” Prowl snipped back. “Warpath wanted me to send you to the stockade. And unless you want to go there, I suggest you let me try to help you, and teach you how to be more civil.”


    She said nothing, she simply continued to glare at him. Finally, she looked away.


    “Where did you learn processor over matter, anyway?” he asked her. “Has someone else been training you?” If he was going to work with her, he needed to know more about her. Plus he was curious about her anyway, especially having seen her abilities.


    She refused to look at him, and she did not answer right away. Prowl was starting to think she wasn’t going to reply at all, until she finally said, “Nightbird. Her name is Nightbird.”
     
  7. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 7


    A small crowd had gathered around the fallen Bumblebee, whom Sari was kneeling next to. She placed a hand on his arm, closing her eyes as she scanned him with her unique “sensing” ability.


    “You’re going to be okay,” Sari told her friend. “You just got a little shaken up, that’s all.”


    “Ugh, feels like I dented a fender,” Bumblebee said, and pushed himself into a seated position.


    “You probably did,” Sari remarked. She cocked her head to one side, feeling a slight itch on her skin beneath her helmet, but tried to ignore it. Out in public, she preferred to keep her helmet up at all times, simply because it helped her blend in better. The attitude toward organics still wasn’t all that welcoming.


    Just then another presence pushed its way through the crowd, forcing itself to the front. Both Bee and Sari gasped in unison when they realized it was the same big bot who’d thrown Bumblebee.


    “I suggest you get away from him, little femme,” the burly robot said to Sari, folding his arms across his chest. “I had to protect another young femme from him a few cycles ago.”


    Sari growled. “Hey!” she snapped. “Bumblebee wouldn’t hurt anyone! That ‘young femme’ as you call her was trying to run away!”


    A murmur went through the crowd, and the big burly bot blinked. “Run away?” he asked. “What do you mean?”


    “We don’t know,” Bumblebee said, pushing himself up into a seated position. “Just that Prowl was trying to catch her. Maybe she’s an escaped convict or something.”


    Just then there was a noise overhead, and everyone glanced upward to see Prowl flying overhead with the small Autobot femme in his arms. He cast a glance downward toward Bumblebee and Sari for a moment, pausing in his flight as he did so. Then, apparently deciding that they were both alright, he continued on his way without a word, blasting off in the direction he’d originally come.


    Bumblebee transformed into his vehicle mode, then opened the door for Sari. “Come on, we’re gonna find out where he’s going and what this is all about,” he told her.


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    The more Sentinel had listened to Megatron’s words, the more intrigued he’d become. Right at this very moment he was sitting silently before a black screen, knowing that the Decepticon leader would be calling back in a few cycles or so to hear his decision.


    The conversation had started out as a simple offer, but as things continued Sentinel found himself listening more and more to the Decepticon, feeling a bit more… open to their way of doing things, and their way of thinking. He actually found Megatron to be quite charming and persuasive in his own way, something he’d never had the opportunity to see before since he’d never actually spoken to a Decepticon like this before. In every other instance, Sentinel was either the captive or the interrogator.


    Maybe… just maybe, the Decepticons weren’t so bad. At least they had a way of getting things done—things that needed to be done.


    However, part of Sentinel wondered if he should even be thinking these things. If he chose to side with the Decepticons, in any way at all, then he would be betraying the Autobots.


    Then, even as he thought that, something that Megatron had said during their conversation came back to him: “The Autobots have already betrayed you. They put that insignificant Autobot in charge as the new Magnus and while he is playing it easy on Cybertron with his new power, they kicked you off to hunt Decepticons.”


    Somehow, the more Megatron had talked, the more Sentinel found he couldn’t argue. Frankly, it seemed like the Autobots just used other bots for their own gain. And Sentinel wasn’t some lackey that could be ordered about—he should have been on Cybertron right now, helping in any way he could there, not out here hunting comets.


    Then Megatron had also made the biggest offer of all, something Sentinel had never gotten from the Autobots. Megatron had actually said that, if Sentinel helped him take out Optimus, Ultra Magnus and the Cybertronian council, then he would make Sentinel his second-in-command as he ruled Cybertron once it was conquered, and would name Sentinel his successor.


    If I can rule over the Decepticons one day, Sentinel thought, then I can make sure none of the Autobots get seriously hurt, and maybe I can make the two factions live and work together, one way or another. So the end would justify the means.


    Just then, the screen flickered back to life, and Megatron’s face appeared. “Have you considered my proposal?” the Decepticon leader asked.


    Sentinel’s face set into a serious expression. “I’ll…” His voice cracked slightly, and he cleared his vocalizer. “I agree—I’ll do whatever you ask,” he finally said. “So long as you live up to your end of the deal.”


    Megatron smiled ever so slightly. “Very good,” he said.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Jazz was sitting back in his chair in his quarters, his arms folded across his chest and a large frown on his face. He’d found a way to discreetly patch into the incoming and outgoing communications in Sentinel Prime’s quarters. Normally he would never do such a thing, but he had his orders from Optimus Magnus, plus there was something about all of this that made him… suspicious.


    And now he’d just observed the most disturbing things possible. Sentinel had received an offer from Megatron to not only aide the Decepticons but join them, it seemed. And apparently Sentinel had just accepted!


    I need to contact Optimus, Jazz thought. Hopefully Sentinel would still be busy talking to Megatron for a while so that he could get to the bridge and send the transmission before anyone found out about it.


    Jazz took one last look at the screen and then, satisfied that Sentinel and Megatron seemed to be in a deep discussion at the moment, he hurried out of his quarters and headed for the bridge.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Starscream was well-aware of what was going on, because he’d tapped into the communications systems and was now quite adept at eavesdropping. The fact that Megatron had gotten one of the Autobots to agree to help him was very interesting, and Starscream continued to tinker with his new weapon as he listened in, already attempting to develop a scheme. Surely any situation could be used to his advantage, somehow or other.


    He had currently taken up residence in the storage hold, because no one seemed to go in there—or when they did on rare occasion, he could simply duck behind the empty storage crates.


    It proved to be the perfect location to hide in, and he could work on his new weapon and do all the spying he wanted to here.


    And when the right moment came… maybe he could finally take out Megatron once and for all.


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Optimus Magnus had had yet another very hectic day, not only with the normal ongoings of his responsibilities and things the Council wanted to discuss with him about various policies involving Space Bridge use and how to prepare for Decepticon attacks, but also Grimlock had to act up. Apparently, for whatever reason, Grimlock decided to leave the area he’d been given permission to stay in and went into a populated area, where he got provoked and went on a rampage. A few Autobot civilians had been damaged and there had also been some structure damage, but no one was seriously hurt.


    It had taken a lot of convincing and persuasion on the behalf of Optimus to keep the Dinobots from being rounded up and shipped off to the stockade. During the time he was trying to stick up for them, part of his processor wondered if that might be the easiest thing at this point, because what with all the other things he had to deal with, his stress levels had already reached their maximum. But he knew that he couldn’t let anything like that happen to them. If nothing else, Prowl would never forgive him if he allowed that.


    So, once Optimus had managed to get everyone to calm down about the Dinobots, he simply suggested they keep them confined in one of the large apartment complexes for the time being—and Optimus himself said he would take full responsibility for taking care of the cost, and would take care of it if anything got damaged or destroyed. He also ordered a few guards to stay around the complex and stated clearly that they should leave the Dinobots alone, but simply make sure they don’t leave the complex.


    Optimus knew that that would have to be a temporary solution, because the Dinobots couldn’t stay there forever. But it would—hopefully, at least—buy him a little time while he tended to other things, until he could figure out some better arrangements for them.


    Then, just as he sat down at his desk and began to look at the message Sari had sent him, another message came through. “Optimus Magnus?” his aide called.


    Optimus sighed out loud. “What is it?” he asked her.


    There’s someone here to see you, he says it’s about the Dinobots.”


    Now Optimus groaned, and he thought he felt a circuit coming close to frying in his processor. “I thought the matter with the Dinobots was settled,” Optimus stated. “They are staying in a building until further notice… unless they’ve escaped or something.” Oh Primus, Optimus thought with an inward groan. Please tell me they didn’t escape.


    No sir,” his aide said, “they haven’t escaped, this bot simply wants to talk to you on behalf of his… pet, so he says.”


    Yeah that’s right!” came a familiar voice. “I want Snarl back, and I want him now!”


    Optimus’s optics dimmed a bit as he shook his head. That had been the voice of Scrapper. “Fine, send him in,” Optimus muttered.


    Optimus then had just enough time to finish listening to Sari’s message before Scrapper came in.


    “So when’s my pet gonna be let out?” Scrapper asked. “You know, it wasn’t Snarly’s fault that those other Dinobots went on a ruckus. Snarl was with me the whole time and perfectly happy.”


    “Yes I know,” Optimus said, “but I did the only thing I could do on short notice. Bots aren’t too happy with the Dinobots being loose right now, and unfortunately since Snarl is a Dinobot, he had to go with them.”


    “So when are they gonna be let out?” Scrapper demanded. “You can’t just keep them locked up forever!”


    “Well it’s better than having them shipped off to the stockade,” Optimus sighed. He was getting tired of dealing with this issue—he had a lot of other things to deal with right now, and one of them was figuring out what to do about Sari’s message. Part of him almost wondered if they should have simply left the Dinobots on Earth—although he also knew that that simply wasn’t an option.


    “Look,” Optimus finally said, an idea forming, “why don’t you look around and see if you can come up with a plan on what to do about the Dinobots. All they need is someplace where they can be free, be happy, and not be able to bother anyone. If you can come up with a plan, bring it to me and I’ll see what I can do.”


    Scrapper frowned. “Sounds like that might take some work, and some time,” he muttered.


    “It’s the best offer I’ve got right now,” Optimus said, with a take-it-or-leave-it kind of shrug. Besides maybe if you can figure out something, it’ll be one less thing I have to worry about, the new Magnus thought to himself.


    “Hmmm,” Scrapper said, stroking his chin thoughtfully. “Well alright then, I’ll see what I can do. I’ll then come and talk to you again once I’ve got something!” With that, he turned and walked out.


    Once he was gone, Optimus turned his attention back to his communication terminal, trying to figure out how he was going to answer Sari’s message. In a nutshell, the girl was feeling lonely and useless on Cybertron, and he couldn’t blame her one bit. But what was he supposed to do? Pull a proverbial rabbit out of a proverbial hat, as the humans would say, and make her life every bit as event-filled and exciting as it had been on Earth?


    It seemed like far too many wanted—no, expected—him to pull rabbits out of his hat as it was.


    Just as he was going to begin to try and reply, his communications terminal came to life again. “What now?” Optimus muttered, not happy at being interrupted—until he saw who it was.


    “Jazz?” he said, optics blinking.


    Optimus Magnus, sir,” the white ninja began, “I’ve got some very disturbing news for you.”


    “Oh?” Optimus said, leaning forward. “What is it?”


    It seems that Sentinel has—”


    Suddenly there was a burst of static, and then the screen went blank.


    “Jazz?” Optimus said. But the link had been broken, and even when he tried, Optimus could not get it back. “Great,” he finally muttered, “Sentinel… what have you done now?”


    0o0o0o0o0


    “You didn’t think I’d let anyone make any calls without me knowing about it, did you?” Sentinel growled as he entered the bridge, walking up behind Jazz.


    Jazz turned and looked over his shoulder toward Sentinel.


    Before the ninja could say anything, Sentinel held up a device in his servo. “I found this little thing in my quarters,” he said. “And I know there’s only one bot onboard who would try and monitor my communications.” Sentinel glared. “And I caught you making an un-authorized transmission to Cybertron just a moment ago.”


    Jazz stood up, turning to face the Prime. “I know what you’re up to,” he said. “And you’re not going to get away with it.”


    “I already am,” Sentinel said. “Believe me, Jazz, it’s for the best. And right now, we’re going to rendezvous with Megatron and Omega Supreme.”


    “Are you jivin’ me?!” Jazz gasped. “You can’t possibly be serious—”


    “I am serious!” Sentinel snapped. “And you can either sit down and take this ship to rendezvous at coordinates 44, 701, 304, or you can rust in the brig for the rest of the trip!”


    Jazz tensed. He knew he would be useless if he was put in the brig, and he actually began to contemplate his ability to beat Sentinel in servo-to-servo combat. That might be a bit more difficult though, if Jetfire and Jetstorm were still truly on his side. I never thought I’d ever be thinking about putting up the dukes with my own teammates, the ninja thought.


    “Alright,” Jazz said, slowly sinking back down into his seat.


    “Very good,” Sentinel said. “And don’t try anything, because I’m gonna be watching you.”


    Jazz began to punch in the coordinates. Maybe… if he was careful, he could still find a way to get the data to Optimus on Cybertron. He would play along with Sentinel, for now. The best thing to do was play along and keep himself from getting damaged or locked up.


    Perhaps if worst came to worse, he could sabotage the ship’s systems a bit, to slow them down at the very least.


    0o0o0o0o0o


    When Prowl arrived back at the apartment complex where he resided, he shifted Dreamscreamer in his arms so that she rested against his shoulder. He didn’t want to risk putting her down for fear she might escape the stasis cuffs and run off again, but he needed a free servo to open the door.


    That was when he noticed he had a small crowd of curious onlookers behind him. He frowned toward them, but chose to ignore them for the most part. It wasn’t like this was any of their business anyway.


    “Prowl!” came a familiar voice, and the ninja winced slightly. “What’s going on? Who is she?”


    Prowl saw that Bumblebee had transformed from his vehicle mode and was now standing just behind him. Sari was right there with him. However he knew that he probably wouldn’t get any peace until he told them, and it wasn’t like he had anything to hide anyway. “Come inside,” he said, and finished punching in the code to open the door.


    Dreamscreamer, who had been strangely silent up to this point, made sort of a hissing noise as Prowl walked into the complex, closely followed by Bumblebee and Sari. The ninja lead to way to his quarters and then lead them all inside.


    The quarters were very nicely arranged, having an oriental carpet on the floor, a sparse amount of furniture and a botted bush sitting in the corner of the living area on a desk, right beside the computer terminal. Prowl’s weapons also hung on the walls.


    Prowl set Dreamscreamer down on the couch, then pulled over a chair to sit beside her. Bumblebee plopped himself down in one of the other chairs, and Sari pulled herself up into the yellow bot’s lap.


    “So who is she?” Bumblebee asked.


    “Yeah and why were you chasing her?” Sari asked.


    Prowl never took his eyes off the femme, who seemed to be content to lie there silently and glare everyone—though she glared at him the most.


    “She is Dreamscreamer, my new apprentice,” Prowl found himself saying.


    Dreamscreamer blinked, then narrowed her optics. “You’re not gonna teach me anything!” she spat. “Only Nightbird can teach me anything.”


    “How do you know Nightbird?” Prowl found himself asking. He’d only known Nightbird very briefly, and only because she was Oil Slick’s girlfriend back when they were training together. Oil Slick and Nightbird had joined the Decepticons, and no one knew much of where they were these days or what they were up to.


    “She found me,” Dreamscreamer grumbled. She didn’t seem to like being asked questions, and she seemed to only want to say enough to get Prowl off her back.


    “Found you where?” Prowl pressed. “Where do you come from?”


    “A colony world. One destroyed by Decepticons. I lost my creators, but Nightbird took care of me.” Dreamscreamer looked away. “She taught me a lot of things.”


    “Including processor over matter,” Prowl said. “And I could see that you have learned Circuit-Su as well.”


    Dreamscreamer said nothing. She hadn’t moved at all, even though Prowl knew she could probably escape from the stasis cuffs any time she chose, considering her skill in processor over matter.


    So he decided to ask her about it. “Why haven’t you removed the cuffs yet?”


    She scowled at him. “Think I won’t?” Two seconds later, the cuffs snapped off of her wrists and fell on the floor with a clatter. She then moved abruptly, and Prowl moved as well in case she tried to run, but she did not. All she did was sit up on the couch and swing her legs over the edge so that her feet touched the floor. She remained seated, however.


    “I’m never going to get used to that processor over matter thing,” Bumblebee said. “Sometimes I wish I could do that!”


    “Takes a lot of focus, practice, and skill,” Dreamscreamer murmured. “Nightbird always said I have a special knack for it.”


    “Where is Nightbird now?” Prowl asked. “When did you last see her?”


    “I don’t know, must have been about fifty stellar cycles ago,” Dreamscreamer muttered. “Our ship got infected with space barnacles, and somehow they multiplied even faster than usual. We lost control of the ship, and had to evacuate. I was alone and I got separated from Nightbird, along with everyone else. I guess I even crashed on a different planet than they did. No one ever found me. I ended up having to hitch a ride with a bot named Swindle to get off.”


    “How did you end up on Cybertron?” Prowl asked her.


    “Didn’t have anywhere else to go.”


    Prowl frowned. Somehow he got the feeling that there was something she wasn’t telling him. Call it ninja intuition, but he felt that she either wasn’t telling him the truth, or she wasn’t telling him the whole truth.
     
  8. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 8


    Oil Slick was currently working in his lab, attempting to cook up another batch of cosmic rust. The concoction had proven to be a useful item against any kind of bot, and it was fatal if the antidote was not administered in time.


    He, along with the rest of Team Char, were currently residing within an old abandoned research station out in the middle of nowhere. It was a place where he’d been able to get a lot of work done without many interruptions, something which he appreciated right now.


    As far as he knew, there was only one other Decepticons within the base at the moment. Spittor and the others were off investigating a couple of Decepticon signals they had managed to pinpoint nearby, in order to see who it was. Oil Slick honestly didn’t care if they found any other Decepticons or not, just so long as he could get his work done.


    He concentrated on his chemical mixture, attempting to find a way to make the dosage even more potent and lethal than it already was. He wanted to lessen the chances of any form of antidote working against his concoction.


    Eventually he found a specific blend of chemicals that he thought was worth trying out, although he would have to wait until they’d captured a useless prisoner—or until they fought another battle—before he could see how well it worked.


    Just as he finished up his latest batch of the rust he detected a presence behind him. He didn’t hear her approach, for she made little or no noise when she walked. But having been trained in the ways of the cyber ninja, he knew how to detect movement without even seeing or hearing it.


    But he knew how to detect her movements in particular, because he knew her so well.


    “Nightbird,” he acknowledged without even glancing up. He finished putting his new batch of cosmic rust away inside a small container, which he then placed within a compartment on his own robot mode.


    She said nothing, although he could feel his optics on his back, scanning him over. She truly was a silent one, even more silent than most ninjas. But he felt he knew her well enough to consider her his girlfriend, and someone he could trust moderately.


    He turned to face her, giving her the same scrutiny she’d given him a moment ago. She was mostly dark gray in color, having traces of purple and gold on her armor. And, as usual, her faceplate was up over her face, so that only her fiery-red optics were visible.


    Oil Slick rarely saw her with her faceplate down, although he had on few occasions, such as the first night their lips met for a brief kiss. He smiled slightly at the thought, though the smile faded quickly. There were more important matters to attend to.


    “Have you received any word from Megatron?” he asked.


    Nightbird gave a slight shake of her head. “Negative. There have been zero communications.” Her voice was always cool and mechanical, especially when she spoke quietly. But those who had been around her for a long time knew how to pick up the soft, feminine touch that her voice contained.


    “Very well,” Oil Slick said. He glanced around his lab one last time, to make certain he had put everything away. One time when he’d been careless enough to leave out some of his most dangerous chemicals, the result had been disastrous when someone entered the lab during his absence and knocked over one of the containers. The end result had been a terrible chemical fire, resulting in the termination of the bot who’d gone into his lab, as well as the destruction of all Oil Slick’s equipment and other chemicals.


    One of the many things that Oil Slick had learned over the past few thousand stellar cycles was that, no matter how much you thought through things are tried to be prepared, no amount of planning or precautionary measures could be completely idiot-proof.


    Once he was finally satisfied that everything dangerous, or at least flammable, were locked up or placed under the desk behind the “DO NOT TOUCH” sign, he turned toward the door and gestured Nightbird to exit, indicating he would follow. She turned and left the lab, and then he stepped out and turned back only to lock the door.


    “I take it the rest of our comrades are out looking for those stray Decepticon blips we detected earlier?” Oil Slick asked as they proceeded down the hallway, toward the control center.


    “Yes,” Nightbird replied in that low voice of hers. “So far they have not reported back.”


    “They are probably out on a wild asteroid chase, but if they do manage to find something it may be worthwhile,” Oil Slick commented.


    They arrived at the control center, where Oil Slick sat down at one of the work stations while Nightbird occupied her usual spot. A silence fell between them as they began to do some work—which included some monitor duty—when they finally received a communication.


    Nightbird tapped a control, and the giant viewscreen lit up with the familiar face of Megatron.


    “Lord Megatron,” Oil Slick greeted, rising from his seat.


    “Where is Striker?” Megatron asked, his cool optics surveying the control room from the screen.


    “Out with Spittor, Cyclonus and Blackout,” Oil Slick replied, “searching for a couple of stray Decepticon signals we picked up.”


    “Ah,” Megatron said simply. “Well that is unimportant; I simply called to say that things are going according to plan on this end.”


    “The Autobot joined with you?”


    “Indeed he has. Now tell me how things are going on your end.”


    Oil Slick glanced over his shoulder toward Nightbird. “I believe this is your show,” the chemist expert said to her.


    Nightbird gazed into the viewscreen for a moment, then rose from her seat and moved to stand beside Oil Slick.


    “My minion has been properly programmed,” Nightbird said to her leader. “She will find the one we seek and bring him to us.”


    Megatron’s optics narrowed slightly. “She will not give anything away, will she?”


    “No, Lord Megatron,” Nightbird replied coolly. “She has been programmed with false memories, believing she is from a colony world that was destroyed by Decepticons. She only remembers me as her mentor, someone who trained her and took care of her.”


    “Very well,” Megatron said. “But I heard that the brainwashing you put her through made her somewhat unstable.”


    “It has, but I believe this factor will be advantageous to us.”


    “Oh? How so?”


    “Because she will be seen as an out of control, malcontent,” Nightbird said. “There is a high probability that she will be taken in by the one Autobot on Cybertron who may have the patience to try and handle her, and shortly thereafter, come to look for me.”


    “The Autobot Prowl,” Megatron said with a nod. From his intelligence reports from Cybertron—thanks to Shockwave’s ability to decode some scrambled frequencies, thanks to his time among the Autobots, and some help from Sentinel—Megatron knew that Prowl was more or less considered one of the most powerful ninjas on Cybertron, especially since he wore Yoketron’s armor and had helped defeat Omega Supreme’s clones on Earth, alongside the aide of the Magnus hammer.


    And thus, Prowl was definitely a potential threat to the Decepticons, and to Megatron’s plans. Apparently things were going smoothly so far, in the plans to gain Sentinel’s aide to get rid of Optimus and Ultra Magnus—and hopefully, the Magnus hammer itself. But getting rid of Prowl was mainly Nightbird’s responsibility.


    “I suspect that Prowl will want to come look for me,” Nightbird said. “And once I have him where I want him, Oil Slick and I can take care of him.”


    “See that you do not fail me,” Megatron warned her, and he glanced toward Oil Slick to include him in on the warning.


    “We will not,” Nightbird said. There was nothing in her tone that suggested she was boasting, it was simply a high level of confidence that showed in her mostly emotionless voice.


    “Keep up the work, and keep me informed of your progress. Megatron out.” The screen went blank.


    Oil Slick and Nightbird exchanged glances, then silently resumed their stations. Some time passed, and they each finished filling out some reports as well as repairing a few glitches within the computer systems onboard the ship. However, there was still no word from Team Char.


    “Perhaps we should go out and look for them,” Oil Slick said at one point. “To make certain nothing has happened.”


    “They are not responding to communications,” Nightbird commented. “Although they may be out of range.”


    “Most likely,” Oil Slick said with a sigh. “Shall we go?”


    Nightbird hesitated for a moment, perhaps slightly uneasy about leaving the base empty and unmonitored, but she finally said, “I would welcome a change of scenery for my weary optics.”


    After flashing a brief smile, Oil Slick transformed into his Cybertronian motorcycle mode. “Climb aboard,” he told her, with a touch of playfulness in his voice. They had done this many times before.


    Nightbird walked over to his side and, swinging her left leg over him, she sat down on his seat and leaned forward to grab his handle bars. She was one of the few bots who did not have a vehicle mode, for she felt that her robot mode, along with all of her weapons and skills, were more than enough.


    Oil Slick sped out of the control room and down the hallway. The door to the outside opened automatically as he approached, having detected his presence and recognizing him. So he simply headed out the door and kept on going across the large asteroid that the station was resting on.


    “You know,” Oil Slick said as he continued to roll, “if you got your own vehicle mode, you could do this yourself.”


    Nightbird said nothing, and he knew that she was giving him the same answer she’d given him every other time he’d said that. She didn’t want a vehicle mode, and she felt it was useless to say her reasons out loud, because that would only lead to a debate, which was something she didn’t want when she had no intention of changing her mind. So why should she say anything?


    If Oil Slick had been in his robot mode he would have shrugged and rolled his optics. He really wished she would get an alternate mode for herself, because he was one of the few who was willing to give her a lift when she needed it, so to speak. But he couldn’t exactly convince her to do something she didn’t want to do, could he?


    Suddenly, both of them received a message on their personal commlinks. Oil Slick came to a screeching halt that nearly threw Nightbird off his back. Once he stopped, and once the femme had climbed off, Oil Slick transformed into his bipedal mode. He then realized that Nightbird’s hands had dented his handlebars slightly, but he ignored it.


    Oil Slick, Nightbird,” came Striker’s voice, “We have found what appear to be two Starscream clones. It seems they have been wandering aimlessly in this area of space for some time, and they wish to serve Megatron and battle Autobots. I am taking them back to the base.”


    “Very well, then,” Oil Slick answered. He glanced at Nightbird, then said into his commlink, “We await your return, Oil Slick out.”


    With that, the mech transformed back into his motorcycle mode. Nightbird silently climbed back onto him without a word, and as she did so he said, “Please don’t squeeze my handlebars too tightly again.”


    Nightbird cocked her head to one side and, in a tone of quiet amusement she said, “You never complain about pressure to your biceps when we interface, yet you complain about your handlebars?”


    Oil Slick coughed, feeling glad that their commlinks were currently off. “My handlebars are made of more sensitive material.”


    Nightbird’s optics blinked, and Oil Slick could tell she was about to say something.


    “DON’T say it,” Oil Slick said before she could speak. He knew she had a dirty mind, at least when her thought processes began to wander down a specific train of thought. And right now, he didn’t want to hear it, especially not out here. Someone might hear it, after all.


    With that he roared his engine and began to speed across the asteroid’s surface, back in the direction they’d came, in order to get them both back to the base.
     
  9. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 9


    “Why do you keep giving everyone such a hard time?” Prowl asked tersely, beginning to lose his patience.


    A full day had passed since Prowl had brought Dreamscreamer to his residence, and he’d spent most of the time since then trying to teach her patience and self-discipline. It wasn’t going very well, and so far he’d had to stop her from escaping his living quarters twice. How in the world this femme could have possibly mastered processor over matter was beyond him.


    Dreamscreamer glared up at him. She was currently sitting the floor, stubbornly sitting still when Prowl had been trying to get her to perform some relaxing, stretching exercises. It was actually one of the few times all day she had bothered to sit still for more than ten seconds, however it was in defiance to him, like pretty much everything else she did.


    Prowl folded his arms across his chassis, returning the glare with one of his own. “I am waiting for an answer,” he told her coolly. “Why do you keep giving me—and everyone else—such a hard time?”


    She looked away. “Why shouldn’t I?” she finally snipped.


    “Because I for one am trying to help you,” Prowl replied.


    She still didn’t look at him. “I’d be fine if everyone would just leave me alone!”


    A frown passed over Prowl’s features. “Dreamscreamer, nothing is going to be accomplished if you don’t start listening to me or letting me help you. It is only because of me, and Jazz’s observations of your skill, that have kept you out of the stockade. Do you think so little of what others have tried to do for you?”


    “Yes!”


    Prowl blinked. The fact that she could so readily dismiss others’ selfless attempts to help her astounded him. He felt anger rising up in his spark, but he stuffed it down. Yes he was upset with her, but losing his temper wouldn’t make this situation any better.


    “Would you prefer it if I chose to send you to the stockade?” he asked, trying a different tactic. He simply wanted to hear what she had to say to that.


    “I can survive anywhere, just so long as everyone leaves me alone!” Dreamscreamer spat.


    Prowl let out a noise that was somewhere between a growl and a sigh. Frankly, this femme was nearly impossible to deal with, especially since she wouldn’t let anyone get through to her. To make matters worse, Prowl still had a feeling in his spark that there was something she wasn’t telling him, as if there was something about her beneath the surface that he wasn’t seeing.


    He was just about to reply when he heard a knock on the door. “Come in,” he called without taking his eyes off the femme. Knowing her, she’d probably try to make a run for it if he took his optics away for one moment.


    The door opened and Sari stepped inside. She had her helmet up and she had her jetpack on her back, suggesting she had flown over. Once the door had closed behind her, she allowed her helmet to go down and she took off her jetpack and leaned it against the wall.


    “Um, hi Prowl,” Sari said slowly, casting a wary glance toward Dreamscreamer, who wasn’t even looking at her. “I hope you don’t mind me dropping in. It’s just that Bumblebee got his Xbox fixed somehow and I got bored after a while.”


    “Actually I am glad you’re here,” Prowl said, still not taking his optics off of Dreamscreamer. “I would like your help with something.”


    “Oh?” Sari said, looking intrigued. This was the first time since she’d come to Cybertron that anyone had asked for her help. “With what?”


    “I want you to use your sensing powers to see if you can detect any malfunction or abnormality within Dreamscreamer,” the ninja answered. He figured that since Sari had been able to tell Ratchet how to fully restore Arcee’s memory, despite even Perceptor’s insistence that her memory was gone, perhaps she could assist here. And if there was something going on with Dreamscreamer, perhaps Sari was the key to finding it out.


    “NO!” Dreamscreamer shrieked, causing Sari to jump. “KEEP THAT LITTLE THING AWAY FROM ME!”


    Dreamscreamer jumped to her feet and began to run toward the door, but Prowl was faster. He moved toward her so quickly that Sari later swore she didn’t even see him move at all; he was simply at the door, and grabbing the femme just before she could escape out the door.


    Sari had to cover her ears as Prowl half-carried, half-dragged the struggling Dreamscreamer away from the door, because her screaming had reached an all-time high. Prowl ended up holding her down on the floor, pinning her legs beneath her and securing her arms behind her. And from the way that she kept on struggling and squirming, Sari had to admit one thing; the ninja had a very good grip.


    “Sari!” Prowl yelled to be heard over Dreamscreamer’s shrieks, “Now!”


    “I hope she doesn’t bite me,” Sari muttered to herself, though she could barely even hear her own voice. Taking a deep breath, she stepped forward and placed a hand on Dreamscreamer’s knee.


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    “What is it, Nightbird?” Oil Slick asked.


    Everyone was in the main control room; the past couple of days had been busy with the usual work, alongside with a two-day debriefing consisting of filling the Starscream clones in on all they’d missed, plus finding out everything that the clones knew.


    It also seemed as though Strika was trying to help the cowardly one get a backbone, which wasn’t going well.


    Nightbird had suddenly tensed and slipped out of the control room, hurrying down the corridor to one of the storage rooms, where she could be by herself. Oil Slick was the only one who’d noticed her slip out.


    He had followed her into the storage room and closed the door behind him. “Nightbird, was is wrong?” he asked her again.


    “Someone is attempting to access the core programming I placed in Dreamscreamer,” Nightbird said, her optics dimming as she focused on something only she could see. Despite the fact that she and her minion were thousands of light years apart, a link between them still remained.


    “Access it?” Oil Slick echoed, taking another step toward her. “For what purpose? Have they discovered it?”


    “Unknown—I believe they are attempting to identify it. Whether or not they will be successful is unknown.”


    “This makes things more complicated,” Oil Slick murmured. “Though I thought you said that you planted a program that wouldn’t be detectable by anyone.”


    “Perhaps the Autobots have a scanning method I did not anticipate.”


    “Then what can be done?” Oil Slick asked. “If the Autobots find out about the core programming, then the plan will be ruined!”


    Nightbird placed a servo on her forehead, concentrating.


    0o0o0o0o0


    “Hey I think I’m getting something,” Sari said, raising her voice to be heard above the screams. Her entire focus was on what she was doing and so her optics were dimmed.


    “Yes?” Prowl said, gritting his dental plating. He was still trying to hold Dreamscreamer firmly in place. He was able to do so, but it was taking a lot of his strength to do it. She was small, but quite able to fight against his grip.


    “Hang on… there seems to be something in her core processor, but I’m having trouble identifying it. Give me a minute,” Sari answered, and fell silent. The soft aura around her hand, where she was touching Dreamscreamer’s knee to keep the connection going, began to glow even more brightly.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Nightbird’s optics flickered on and off for a moment. She had sensed what was happening, at least somewhat—it seemed that someone was actually looking into Dreamscreamer’s core processor, in a way that Nightbird hadn’t thought the Autobots were capable of.


    In fact, whoever it was, they seemed to be on their way to investigating and possibly identifying the purpose of the programming—not only that, but if they kept going, they might even be able to detect the link between Dreamscreamer and Nightbird herself.


    Quickly deciding that she had no other choice, Nightbird quickly activated a failsafe she’d planted deep within her minion’s core processor, just in case things went awry. She activated the sub-routine, then temporarily killed the link between them.


    0o0o0o0o


    Sari gasped when Dreamscreamer suddenly began to power down, all of her struggling and screaming ceasing. Prowl looked just as surprised as Sari did, although he continued to hold her in a firm grip just in case.


    Withdrawing her hand, Sari muttered, “Okay, what just happened?”


    Suddenly, Dreamscreamer’s optics flickered on and off, and a single sentence escaped her vocalizer: “Only Nightbird can help me…” Then her optics went out like a light, and she went completely limp.


    Sari gasped softly, staring at the femme’s face. “Nightbird?” she said. “Isn’t that the one she said trained her?”


    “Yes,” Prowl said, taking a chance and a loosening his grip. “But Nightbird is with the Decepticons now.”


    “Well, I can tell you that I started to see something in her systems,” Sari said. “I don’t know what it was exactly because I couldn’t get a good look, but it looked like a hidden subprogram was active in her core processor, which caused some of her behavioral routines and emotional processes to, ummm…” She hesitated, cocking her head to one side, as if trying to think of the right word to say. “Glitch up, I guess you could say,” she finally finished.


    “If this is true,” Prowl said thoughtfully, as he laid Dreamscreamer’s now limp form on the floor, “then it’s possible Nightbird may have planted something in her. But why?”


    “No idea, but I can tell you one more thing,” Sari said slowly. “It seemed like… she was connected to someone or something.”


    Prowl looked up. “What do you mean?”


    “I mean that it felt like she was linked to someone, like, another processor or something.”


    “Could it have been Nightbird?”


    “I have no idea,” Sari shrugged. “I’ve never even met her, you know.”


    “Hmm,” Prowl purred thoughtfully. “If there is a subprogram in her processor causing these behaviors—the same one that most likely caused her to shut down just now—it could be acting as a virus, and Nightbird could be responsible.”


    “Do you think that Nightbird might be able to help her, like she said?” Sari asked.


    “I do not know,” Prowl said. “I am uncertain if she was programmed to say that in the event of a core processor shutdown, or if she said it willfully.” He frowned down at Dreamscreamer’s offline, expressionless face. “If she was programmed to say it, it might be a trap.”


    “Maybe I should try scanning her again,” Sari said.


    Prowl nodded slightly, and the red-head stepped forward and placed her hand on Dreamscreamer’s shoulder. In many ways, the femme almost looked like she was dead; the only indications she was still very much alive was the fact that she’d retained her silver, green and blue colors, plus her armor plating still felt warm to the touch.


    Sari’s hand glowed softly as she used her sensing power on Dreamscreamer, but after a moment she pulled back her hand. “I’m not getting anything,” Sari said, disappointed. “Everything is operating at peak efficiency on a mechanical level, but I can’t access her programming to take a look at it unless she’s awake.”


    Prowl nodded in understanding. “Then… we may have to try and locate Nightbird,” he said slowly. “It may be her only hope.”


    “You sure that’s such a good idea?” Sari asked. “Maybe one of the Autobots can do something for her.”


    “From what I understand, even the best didn’t find anything wrong with her,” Prowl remarked.
     
  10. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 10


    “Where are you going?”


    Nightbird glanced up, turning to regard Oil Slick as he walked up behind her. “I am going to a place where I can allow Dreamscreamer to lead Prowl to me,” she said simply.


    Oil Slick frowned slightly. He didn’t like the idea of her going off on her own like that, although he knew that she was more than capable of looking after herself. Normally he wouldn’t even think much about it, since he knew her skills better than anyone. But this was Prowl that she was luring to herself. And that one Autobot ninja had become very, very powerful.


    “Are you certain this is wise?” he asked her with concern.


    “If I lure him to a location of my choosing,” Nightbird told him, “that increases the chances of me taking him by surprise.”


    “That is true, but I am still uncertain if this is a wise idea.”


    “Opinion noted. Now excuse me.” Nightbird turned and began to move away, feeling Oil Slick’s optics on her back as she retreated down the corridor.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Sentinel had, in the end, apparently decided that he didn’t want to take any chances with Jazz. So the Prime had had the Jet Twins escort him to the brig.


    Jazz had tried to reason with them, to get them to understand what Sentinel was doing. However, they obediently brought Jazz to the brig and locked him up, apparently not wanting to go against the orders of their superior.


    Could it be that they were frightened of Sentinel, in their own way? Jazz couldn’t help but notice that they looked like someone had run over their cyber puppy as they pushed him into the brig and activated the force-field. Perhaps they were just too young to think for themselves much yet. In their own way they still admired Sentinel very much, especially since he was the first Prime they’d served under.


    Jazz could understand that they were loyal, although right now he really wished that a few more of Optimus’s old crew had come along on the ship. He could definitely use a servo right now.


    He could only watch helplessly as the jet twins walked away, heading back in the direction of the bridge.


    “I need to do something, fast,” Jazz murmured to himself. But what he could possibly do in here… he had no idea.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Starscream was once again hiding in the cargo area, sitting with his back against one of the huge, empty crates. For the most part he was hidden from view, although if anyone happened to walk in through the door they might have noticed the purple wingtips sticking out on either side.


    He was clutching the weapon in his hands, already formulating a plan. The fact was, he had actually been able to deduce part of what Megatron was up to. He’d been able to eavesdrop on several incoming and outgoing transmissions, and thus been able to determine a pattern.


    During one of the communications with Team Char, Starscream had found out that apparently Megatron wanted the Autobot Prowl out of the way—who was a powerful cyber ninja. Not only that, but apparently one of the crew members onboard the ship that Sentinel was on was also a cyber ninja. And one of the reasons why Megatron was interested in that crew—besides his ability to recruit Sentinel, of course—was because he wanted that ninja, Jazz, in a place where he could personally keep an eye on him.


    That means Megatron wants all of the cyber ninjas out of the way, because they are a powerful force that could threaten his power, Starscream thought to himself, smirking as he cradled his weapon in his hands. This was definitely a situation that he could use to his advantage, if he played his cards right.


    0o0o0o0o0


    The Elite Guard vessel arrived at the pre-arranged coordinates, right on schedule. It docked with Omega Supreme, and then Megatron wasted no time at all. He ordered all of the Autobots except for Sentinel himself to be taken prisoner—and he specifically ordered that the cyber ninja, Jazz, be separated from the Autobot brothers and placed in a more secure area.


    Once the three Autobots were taken away, Megatron turned to Sentinel. “You have done well so far,” the Decepticon leader said. “It seems my faith in you has not been misplaced.”


    “Yeah well, so long as you live up to your end of the bargain I will live up to mine,” Sentinel said.


    Megatron smirked ever so slightly. “Oh yes, we shall each live up to our ends of the bargain.” But after that, I will owe you nothing at all, fool, he thought.


    “Come with me,” Megatron said, already moving down the hall. “I have much to discuss with you, but not out here.”


    0o0o0o0o0


    Jazz found himself being escorted to another cell, although he was a little unsure why he was being separated from Jetfire and Jetstorm. He’d specifically heard Megatron order him to be “taken to a more secure location”.


    Why was this? Did Megatron consider him a more serious threat for some reason? But whatever the reason, Jazz found himself being put into a small but secure holding cell with a thick force-field.


    Jazz had never been aboard Omega Supreme before, but he did have to admit… for a vessel meant for massive destruction, Omega certainly had some good holding cells.


    Once Lugnut—the Decepticon who had escorted him to his cell—left, Jazz began to look around, trying to figure out a way to escape.


    “Psst.”


    Jazz’s audio sensors picked up a faint noise. He looked around—the cell itself was empty except for him, so if he’d heard anything, it had to be coming from outside.


    Psst.”


    There it was again. Jazz moved as close to the force-field as he could without touching it, peering out the doorway to see who was there.


    He didn’t see anyone.


    “Who is there?” he called out.


    “Shhh!” came the voice, and then a presence stepped into full view.


    “Starscream?” Jazz said, his optics widening behind his visor and his jaw dropping.


    “Yes, it is I,” Starscream said with an egotistical smirk. The Allspark fragment in his forehead glimmered brightly. “And I’m here to make you a deal, Autobot.”


    “A deal?” Jazz echoed, not quite sure if he believed his audios. “What kind of deal?”


    “You want to get out of that cell, and I want to stop Megatron,” Starscream said. “And I think I would be right in assuming that, overall, we have a similar goal.”


    “You want to stop Megatron so you can take his place,” Jazz said. “The Autobots want to stop him because—”


    “He is your enemy,” Starscream finished for him. “You see, we both have something in common then. Megatron is an enemy to us both. We both have reasons to want him out of the way, but I can’t do anything alone. Every time I try, I end up getting shot down or having to rebuild myself.”


    “So what are you saying?”


    “I’m saying that I will let you out of there if you agree to work with me,” Starscream said. “Better still if you agree to serve under me.”


    “I ain’t serving under a Decepticon,” Jazz said, folding his arms. And I thought Sentinel was bad to serve under, he thought, knowing that working for a Decepticon would be ten times worse.


    Or would it? Frankly, at this point, he wasn’t sure if there was much difference between a standard Decepticon or Sentinel Prime.


    “Fine then, just consider this an alliance!” Starscream snipped impatiently. He took a moment to glance both ways, making sure no one was coming, then turned his attention back to Jazz. “Look, you can either help me or stay and rust in that cell. Now which is it?”


    “How do I know you won’t backstab me the moment you get a chance?”


    “Frankly, you don’t. Though I could easily say the same thing about you.”


    Jazz nodded ever so slightly in acknowledgement. “Well then, I guess we’ll each be watching each other,” he finally said.


    “Does that mean you agree?”


    “Yeah.”


    “Good.” Starscream held up a device in his hand and caused the force-field to shut off.


    Jazz cautiously stepped out of the cell, glancing around to make certain there was no one else around. All the while he kept the corner of his optics on Starscream. “So would you mind telling me what you’re doing here?”


    “I stowed away,” Starscream replied. “I have been waiting for the right moment to make my move.”


    “And you figured your first move would be to bust me out?”


    “Essentially, yes. I know all about Megatron’s plans and what he’s up to.”


    “Then I guess you have me at a disadvantage.” Jazz focused his gaze on Starscream, cocking his head to one side. “Any idea why he chose to put me in a more secure cell?”


    “Because you’re a cyber ninja.”


    “Eh, so?”


    “So,” Starscream said, spreading his arms out in an exasperated manner, “it means he considers you dangerous!” The Decepticon blurted that out as if it was totally obvious.


    “Does he now?” Jazz murmured, stroking his chin with his hand. The white-mech ninja looked intrigued. “Perhaps you should tell me more of what you know about this, so we can figure out how to use this to our advantage.”


    “Not out here,” Starscream said, looking around again. “Someone might see us.” He gestured for Jazz to follow and began to move away, down the corridor.


    “Where are we goin’?” Jazz asked, following with some hesitation.


    “To the storage hold,” Starscream answered. “It’s the best hiding place I know.”


    0o0o0o0o0


    “So you are going to look for Nightbird?” Sari asked, following Prowl out the front door of the residence building. She had her helmet and faceplate up, in order to blend in better.


    Prowl was carrying Dreamscreamer’s limp form in his arms, frowning slightly as he walked. “I am going to look into it, at least,” he told Sari without looking at her. “Although I am unsure where to begin looking.”


    “Prowl, can I come with you?” Sari asked.


    Prowl glanced at her, although he didn’t stop walking. “I’m not sure if that is wise. Nightbird is a Decepticon and could be dangerous.”


    Sari was pleased in her own way that Prowl hadn’t told her “no” outright, as Optimus or any of the Autobots would have before she’d upgraded herself with her key. Nowadays they definitely respected her abilities, although she still got a little uptight when she felt she was being treated like a kid.


    “Hey I was there when you guys went up against Megatron, remember?” Sari pointed out, quickening her pace so that she was walking at Prowl’s side rather than trailing along behind him. “I can handle myself, Prowl! And it’s not like I have anything better to do! Bulkhead’s never home, all Bumblebee does is play games, and I’m not going to let you leave me alone here where I’ll just be bored out of my skull!”


    Prowl glanced downward at her again and then said, “Fine, you may come along. But stay with me at all times; Nightbird is a cyber ninja, and not to be underestimated.”


    Sari stuck up her thumb, smiling. “You got it.”


    They resumed walking in silence for a moment, until the red-headed girl finally broke it. “So where are we going first?”


    0o0o0o0o0


    “I still think you should get a vehicle mode for yourself,” Oil Slick said as he watched Nightbird checking over her weapons, trying to decide which ones she wanted to take with her and which ones needed adjusting or sharpening.


    She made no reply; she simply grabbed a handful of spinning stars, checking them over to make certain they were properly sharp, then putting them into a compartment on the side of her chassis.


    “I know you don’t agree with me,” Oil Slick said, holding up his hands and taking a step toward her. “But this time I am going to insist. You want to go there along, correct? Then you’re going to need every advantage you can possibly get.”


    Nightbird picked up her energy sword, glancing at him out of the corner of her optic as she activated it and gave it an experimental swing. “I do not require a vehicle mode,” she stated coolly.


    “I think you do,” Oil Slick said. “Especially since you don’t want me, or anyone else, to come with you.” He folded his arms across his chest. “You know, I could go with you, if you would allow it.”


    Nightbird shook her head. “This is something I have to do on my own.”


    “But why?”


    “Dreamscreamer is my minion and I intend to get her back. Plus I wish to prove myself by fighting against Prowl, and beating him.”


    “Nightbird, you should not underestimate the wearer of Yoketron’s helmet, especially since we’ve heard how powerful he’s become. He survived a battle with Megatron when he was using clones of the Autobots’ ultimate weapon.”


    “Indeed, and this would be an ample opportunity to test my own abilities.” Nightbird clipped her sword onto her side and turned to look at him fully. “I have come so far in my training, I want to test myself against the one Yoketron proclaimed as having the most potential.”


    “Ah, I think I am beginning to understand,” Oil Slick said thoughtfully. “You were the only other student of Yoketron who he said that too, and you wish you could have had the chance to best him in battle instead of Lockdown.”


    Nightbird turned away. “No,” she said. “Well, in a way you are sort of correct, I suppose, but at the same time you are not. Part of me will always love Yoketron—he was the closest thing I had to a father. Part of me hates Lockdown for killing him. But at the same it made me realize that both the Autobots and Decepticons have weaknesses. And I began to see the Decepticons as having a better way than the Autobots.”


    She paused, grabbing one of her throwing stars and began to sharpen its edge as she continued speaking. “Things have been… easier ever since I’ve joined the Decepticons. No political struggles, no protecting the weak and helpless, it’s just survival of the fittest and looking after your own armor plating. And you only work with others when it serves a purpose.” She cast Oil Slick a small, affectionate glance. “Or when you find someone who’s actually worth caring for.”


    Satisfied that the star was sharp enough, she put it away and began to look through her knives and swords. “Ever since I lost Yoketron, I decided that I wanted to be the best ninja there was, and I realized I couldn’t do that if I stayed with the Autobots. I had to be ruthless and cunning in ways that they would never approve of. And now, I feel nothing but disgust for the ninjas who stayed with the Autobots. They’re nothing but narrow-minded cowards who bow to the two-faced ideals of weak-minded, hypocrite leaders.”


    Oil Slick was staring at her in astonishment. It wasn’t often that she opened up so much or even spoke that much in one setting. “I did not know you felt so passionate about this,” he finally said.


    “I do, and that’s why I want to get Prowl. He could have been a great Decepticon, but he chose to stay with the Autobots.”


    “So you’ve made it your own personal vendetta to kill him. But why is that so important?”


    “I have already explained it to you.”


    “Nightbird, I know you better than that. I think there is still something you’re not telling me.”


    “Fine.” Nightbird selected a couple of her smaller knives and began to sharpen them as she talked. “Part of me… wants to prove something, to myself at least. That is why I need to go alone.”


    “Prove something?” Oil Slick raised an optic ridge. “Such as what?”


    “You must tell this to no one.” She glanced up from what she was doing to glare at him.


    “Promise,” Oil Slick said, raising a hand. “You know a few secrets about me, so I would feel honored knowing one of yours.”


    Nightbird turned her attention back to her sharpening, then continued speaking. “I still feel something for the Autobots, deep down,” she said slowly. “The fact that they have not been defeated entirely yet shows they have some strength, at least. But there is another reason.”


    “Go on,” Oil Slick gently pressed when she fell silent.


    Nightbird stopped what she was doing, but did not look at him. She was staring straight ahead, at the wall. “I want to see what happens when I go up against one of Yoketron’s greatest students, especially since he’s grown so powerful,” Nightbird said. “If I am killed in the process, it will show me that perhaps I did wrong in turning against the Autobots, and a lot of the things that Yoketron taught me. It will show me that I was wrong about the Autobots.”


    She stared down at her knives. “Or if I defeat him, I will know that the Autobots are truly a force that will be defeated one day by the Decepticons. And I will have Yoketron’s helmet for my own use.”


    “Are you saying that you are doubting the decision you made so long ago, when you first joined the Decepticons?” Oil Slick asked. “And that you think facing Prowl in a death-duel in the only way to test this?”


    “Perhaps.” Nightbird resumed her sharpening. “Think about it, Oil Slick. We were both taught during our training to look at things—even life itself—on a deeper level than most bots would.” She fell silent and gazed toward the ceiling, as though trying to figure out how to clarify herself further.


    “Are you trying to say that you are testing fate?” Oil Slick asked her.


    “In a way, perhaps,” Nightbird replied. She turned to face him fully now. “It’s difficult to explain, and I’m not sure if you can understand entirely. But I need to see for myself if my beliefs and my opinions are correct. I can’t just cling to my opinions like sealing glue without testing them to prove beyond a shadow of a doubt, even to myself, that they are indeed true. If they are wrong, then I need to know that I was wrong. Anything less would be cheating myself, and cheating my very existence. That is what I believe, Oil Slick, and why I need to go off and do this. Do you understand, now?”


    “I think I do,” Oil Slick said thoughtfully. “In a way it’s as though you want to go on something similar to an optics’ quest, only it seems that you want to do more than find your inner spark. You want to test fate and have everything you’ve believed and put your faith into for a million stellar cycles either proven or disproved, once and for all.”


    Nightbird nodded, smiling a little behind her faceplate. She was pleased that he seemed to be understanding her. “Yes, and that’s why I need to face Prowl personally. I believe in my spark that I will find out whether or not the choices I have made for my very existence have been wasted or not.”


    Oil Slick sighed softly and glanced down at the floor. “If this is something you feel you must do… I cannot stand in your way.”


    Her optics softened. “Thank you.”


    “But before you go to look for him, I must ask you something.” A slight, amused smile crossed his features. “You must explain to me why you have never taken on a vehicle mode.”


    A thoughtful expression appeared in Nightbird’s optics, and it was a full cycle before she answered. “The reason I have never chosen a vehicle mode for myself is because… all protoforms only have one form when they first come into existence. And since I was never given an alternate mode at an early age, I had the rare opportunity to choose whether or not I even wanted one. I chose to not have one.”


    “That still does not explain why you don’t have one.”


    “It’s because, especially after I began my ninja training under Yoketron, I decided that I simply did not want a vehicle mode. I felt that I should try and prove my worth with nothing more than my robot mode.”


    “I am still not sure if I understand.”


    Nightbird frowned slightly behind her faceplate. At times, it was difficult to find words for what you were trying to say, although she decided to try her best. “Well,” she began slowly, “I suppose the best way I can explain it this: It has something to do with one of the first lessons Yoketron taught me, that it was the cyber ninja and not the weapon that mattered when it came to understanding combat, and even life itself.”


    “Go on.”


    “Very well, I will try. You see, the way I believe… I think that the only way for a bot to find her true worth and self-respect is to go through her existence in the form in which she came into existence—which is like this,” she gestured at her robot body, “and without a vehicle mode.”


    “Even though it gives you a disadvantage?” Oil Slick asked. “And even though so many others, including myself, have vehicle modes?” He reached up to his shoulder and brushed one of the handlebars of his motorcycle mode indicatively.


    “What others do is their own prerogative,” Nightbird said. “I don’t care what others do. But me… I make my own choices for my own existence. All I want to do is find out whether or not I am correct.”


    “And you plan to figure out whether or not you should have had a vehicle mode too, when you face Prowl?” Oil Slick asked.


    Nightbird blinked, as though she hadn’t really thought of that. “Perhaps,” she said, then shrugged dismissively.


    Suddenly, both of their commlinks chimed in unison. “Oil Slick, Nightbird, come to the control room immediately,” came Strika’s voice. “Someone from Megatron’s current vessel has asked to speak with you both.”


    0o0o0o0o0


    “You sure about this?” Jazz asked. He certainly knew that he wasn’t sure about this.


    Starscream had a plan, something he had cooked up after he’d finished briefing Jazz on everything he’d heard that Megatron was up to. At first Jazz had agreed, since it seemed like the only half-way decent plan they had. But now the white ninja was beginning to have second thoughts.


    “Yes!” Starscream muttered. “So far so good—now just hush and let me do the work!” With that he turned and adjusted a setting on his weapon. “Just stay out of sight!”


    0o0o0o0o0


    Oil Slick and Nightbird entered the control room together. The only ones there were Strika and Blackout, who glanced up as the pair entered but said nothing. They simply went back to whatever they were doing.


    “Ah, Shockwave,” Oil Slick greeted the familiar face on the viewscreen. “You wanted to speak to us?”


    Indeed,” Shockwave said, “I have an urgent message from Megatron.”


    Oil Slick and Nightbird exchanged glances. Neither of them knew Shockwave all that well, but there was something odd about his voice. It sounded almost… dull and emotionless.


    “What is this message?” Nightbird asked.


    I have been ordered to tell you that Prowl has been sighted heading toward the coordinates I am now sending you,” Shockwave said, and proceeded to work on a console, transmitting the coordinates. “You are both to proceed there and stop him.”


    “With all due respect, I would prefer to go alone,” Nightbird said.


    Shockwave seemed to hesitate momentarily, then he said, “You have your orders, you are to go together. Shockwave out.” The screen went blank.


    Nightbird and Oil Slick exchanged glances. Without a word, the femme turned and left the control room, leaving Oil Slick to follow her.


    0o0o0o0o0


    “Well done, Shockwave,” Starscream cackled after the screen had gone blank. He stroked his weapon almost lovingly with the tip of his finger. “Beautiful little thing, isn’t it?” he said, glancing over his shoulder at Jazz. “Not only does it control machines or shut them down, it can also hypnotize both Decepticons and Autobots!”


    “Very impressive,” Jazz said dryly. “Now if you’ll excuse me, I believe it’s my turn to use the communications’ console.”


    Starscream made a “be my guest” gesture. He’d personally managed to shut down most of the security cameras to this room and bypassed the alarms that should have gone off during an un-authorized use of the communications terminal. And since Lugnut was busy doing grunt work for Megatron, and Megatron himself was still talking to Sentinel, that meant they were home free.


    Jazz sat down at the communication terminal and inserted a disk containing the message to Optimus Magnus he needed to send. Basically it was a transmission that would explain everything—Sentinel’s treachery, Jazz’s own temporary alliance with Starscream, and the coordinates that he and Starscream would be heading too in order to rendezvous with Nightbird and Oil Slick.


    Basically, Starscream and Jazz had determined that, if Megatron considered the Autobot ninjas the greatest threat to his power, he probably considered the Decepticons under his command who had ninja training some of his greatest assets—especially since he wanted Nightbird to lure Prowl to her and deal with him. So Jazz and Starscream decided that they would kill two birds with one stone—get rid of a couple of Megatron’s best fighters, and warn Prowl at the same time.


    “You did remember to tell Optimus in your message to pass on a message to Prowl to come to the arranged coordinates, correct?” Starscream asked.


    “Yep,” Jazz nodded. “And the message is sending now.”


    “Excellent,” Starscream said. “Now as for you,” he said, turning his attention to Shockwave, “I am going to make you forget everything that happened here.” With that he made a couple of adjustments on his weapon and, within a couple of cycles, he’d managed to make Shockwave forget everything that he’d just done and said, and to even forget that he’d ever seen Jazz or Starscream at all. Then Starscream caused him to go unconscious, and left him in a heap on the floor.


    By the time he was finished, Jazz was also finished sending the message. “Ready to go?” the white ninja asked.


    “Yes I am,” Starscream said. “Come with me.”


    They exited the control room and kept on going until they reached the nearest airlock. Once they had the outer airlock open, Starscream transformed into his jet-mode, which of course was able to endure space-travel. “Alright, Autobot, grab on,” Starscream said. “And hang on tight.”


    Jazz hesitated momentarily, then slowly climbed into the back of Starscream’s jet mode and grabbed onto the edges of his wings tightly. One thing was for certain; he didn’t want to lose his grip while they were out in space.


    “Ready?” Starscream asked.


    “Ready,” Jazz said, with a confidence he didn’t quite feel.


    “Then off we go!” Starscream’s engine thrusters roared to life, and they took off into space, moving rapidly away from Omega Supreme.
     
  11. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 11


    You are certain that Nightbird is going to be at those coordinates?” Prowl inquired.


    “Yeah, that’s what Jazz told me in his report, at least,” Optimus said, leaning back in his chair. He was seated at his desk in his office, and he could feel another processor ache coming on. “Apparently he’s teamed up with Starscream, and they used a cyber-hypnosis device to get Shockwave to fool Nightbird and Oil Slick into going to the coordinates I just sent you. They would like you to go there as well.”


    Interesting,” Prowl murmured. “So Nightbird has been attempting to lure me to her, and she’s been using Dreamscreamer to do it.”


    “How do you figure?” Optimus asked.


    Let’s just say I have been formulating a hypothesis,” the dark ninja replied. “Something about Dreamscreamer’s situation didn’t make sense to me until you told me what Jazz found out. Her antics seemed very… planned, at least to some extent.”


    “So are you thinking about going to those coordinates?”


    Indeed I am.”


    “I’m not sure if this is such a good idea,” Optimus murmured. “I don’t like the idea of Jazz being with Starscream, and I especially don’t like the idea of you going alone to face a couple of Decepticons.”


    If I don’t go to her now, Nightbird will try to get to me another time,” Prowl said. “And perhaps with the aide of Jazz and Sari, at least, we will have the advantage of surprise on our side.”


    “Whoa wait a nano-click, Sari is going with you?”


    Yes she is.”


    “Well, she hasn’t had much to do, and she’s more than proven herself,” Optimus commented with a sigh. “You planning to take anyone else with you?”


    Only Dreamscreamer. I am hoping to find Nightbird and determine a way to undo whatever she did to the young femme.”


    “Understood,” Optimus said. “And you may go, but Prowl…” He sighed softly, leaning forward to peer into the screen, “Keep safe out there. We almost lost you during that last battle on Earth, and I’d hate to see anything happen to you.”


    Prowl nodded, smiling ever so slightly. “I will watch my back, as the humans would say.”


    “Then I wish you luck, Prowl.” Optimus smiled and saluted the screen. “Magnus out.”


    Once the screen went blank, Optimus rose from his chair and headed toward the door. He needed to go speak with the council about the disturbing news he’d heard about Sentinel.


    0o0o0o0o0


    It wasn’t long before Megatron learned that Jazz had escaped—he just didn’t know how it happened. Lugnut didn’t know anything, nor did Shockwave—although the latter bot did seem slightly dazed for some reason.


    After doing a quick check around the ship, Megatron and his crew found that the jet twins were still securely locked up, but the white ninja was nowhere to be found.


    Megatron knew that Sentinel could not have been responsible, because he had been talking to the Autobot Prime in his office the entire time. But just as the Decepticon leader entered the main control chamber, Shockwave glanced up and announced, “We are receiving a transmission from Team Char, my Lord.”


    “Onscreen,” Megatron said, and turned to see none other than Strika on the screen.


    Lord Megatron, we have simply called to inform you that Nightbird and Oil Slick have departed for the coordinates that Shockwave sent us,” Strika announced.


    “What coordinates?” Megatron asked, glancing at Shockwave out of the corner of his optic.


    “I have not sent any coordinates,” Shockwave said. “At least not recently.”


    Yes you did,” Strika said testily. “You sent us a message just a couple of mega-cycles ago.”


    “Show me a copy of this message,” Megatron ordered.


    Strika nodded. “At once, Lord Megatron.” After a moment, the image on the screen switched to that of the audi:wave:visual message playing.


    “Shockwave?” Megatron turned to glare questioningly at his minion.


    “My Lord, I swear that I did not send that message,” Shockwave said defensively. “Or if I did, I have no memory of it.”


    Frowning, Megatron turned to look at the screen again. “I think I am going to have to analyze this message more thoroughly,” he finally said. “It would appear that something is not as it seems.” He narrowed his optics. “And I intend to find out just what it is.”


    0o0o0o0o0


    Prowl was traveling along the streets of Detroit with Sari sitting in his sidecar, and Dreamscreamer fastened to the back of his motorcycle mode. They were on their way to a small ship that Optimus had arranged for them to use.


    “So I guess finding Nightbird isn’t going to be a problem,” Sari muttered. “She was using this to try to get to you and now Jazz and Starscream have arranged for us all to meet out in the middle of nowhere?” She shook her head. “Man, can this get any more… weird?”


    “Sometimes, fate causes things to happen in strange ways,” Prowl commented out loud in response. His processor wandered back to the time when he’d first became a part of Optimus Prime’s crew, simply due to the fact that he’d been in the right place at the wrong time. Or was the right place at the right time? Those pretenses could sometimes be rather… confusing. Especially when dealing with Fate.


    “Sure seems that way sometimes,” Sari said with a shrug.


    Their conversation then ceased, since Prowl did not reply and Sari couldn’t think of anything else to say. And so the rest of the trip toward their ship continued in silence.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Nightbird had not spoken a word since she’d left the control room back at the base. Right now she and Oil Slick were inside a small ship, on their way to the coordinates that they had been told to go to.


    Oil Slick knew that she wasn’t too happy about this. She’d wanted to face Prowl alone, but she couldn’t do that now. In some ways, he almost wondered if perhaps he should linger behind in the ship while she went out alone, and perhaps only go to her aide if she requested it. But at the same time, he did have his orders…


    I will decide what to do when we arrive, he thought. His fingers tapped a few of the controls on the console in front of him, and he cast a sideways glance toward Nightbird. “Do you want to talk about it at all?” he asked her. Of course I’ve already asked that twice, he chided himself.


    At first he thought Nightbird wasn’t going to respond, but after a moment she surprised him by saying out loud, “This seems… awfully convenient.”


    Oil Slick looked at her fully. “What do you mean?” he asked her.


    She turned to look at him, her optics filled with skepticism. “Think about it. We receive a message from Shockwave that Prowl headed to these coordinates, yet we hear nothing from Megatron himself.”


    “Megatron may have been preoccupied,” Oil Slick suggested with a dismissive shrug.


    “Possible,” Nightbird acknowledged, “but usually we hear from him directly when it’s important. And when it comes to things that concern the Autobot cyber ninjas, particularly Prowl, he always contacts us directly, in person. He doesn’t have one of his underlings do it.”


    “Hmm,” Oil Slick purred. He had to admit that she did have a good point.


    “Furthermore,” Nightbird went on, “I think that it is rather odd that Prowl would so conveniently go out to a location out in the middle of nowhere. And again, how would Megatron—or Shockwave—know that he is going there?”


    “Well they do have the Autobot Sentinel working with them now, perhaps he got the information somehow.”


    “Could be. But there is something about this that doesn’t seem quite right.” Nightbird resumed staring straight ahead.


    Just then, the communication terminal chimed. Oil Slick flicked a switch to receive the incoming transmission. “Oil Slick, Nightbird,” came Strika’s voice, “return to the base at once. We have reason to believe that the message you received may have been falsified.”


    “What do you mean?” Nightbird asked.


    Megatron just claimed he did not authorize the message, and Shockwave appeared to have no memory of sending it,” Strika told her.


    Oil Slick and Nightbird exchanged glances. “Understood… Nightbird out.” She reached over and terminated the communication link before Oil Slick could do more than blink.


    “Then I guess we are heading back,” Oil Slick murmured.


    “No, just a moment,” Nightbird said with a frown.


    Oil Slick frowned in return. “What?” he inquired.


    Nightbird’s vocalizer made a sighing sound. “If you want to go back, then we can go back long enough to drop you off back a the base,” she said. “But… I am going on alone.”


    “But the message was falsified,” Oil Slick said. “There is no point in going on.”


    But she wasn’t looking at him; she was staring straight out the forward window. “Something in my spark tells me I need to go on, that this is right somehow,” she said. “You can go back, or come with me, I don’t care. But I am pressing on.”


    He looked at her for a long moment. What were her reasons for doing this? Even she had said a moment ago that there was something screwy about this entire situation, and her hunch had been proven correct. So why in the name of the Pit did she wish to go forward in spite of it all?


    Every time I grow to understand something about her, she has to go and do something that shows me I may never understand her at all, Oil Slick thought.


    Nightbird turned to look at him. “Well, what is it going to be?” she snipped impatiently. And by the tone of her voice he could tell that she wasn’t about to change her mind. It was the same tone she used sometimes when he tried to press the issue of her getting a vehicle mode.


    “I am still not sure if this is wise,” Oil Slick said. He couldn’t help it; he had to press his warning.


    Nightbird growled impatiently. “I know you don’t understand,” she said slowly. “But the last time I recharged, I had something of a vision. At least I think it was a vision.”


    Now Oil Slick was intrigued. “Oh? What kind of vision?”


    “I can’t really say… because it was more of a feeling than anything else.”


    “Can you describe the feeling?”


    “It was like a deep feeling in my spark, telling me that I would know where I would need to go to fulfill my spiritual quest, which I have already explained to you.”


    “So you believe, from a feeling in your spark, that this is the path you need to take? Do you think you truly will find Prowl?”


    “Perhaps. I will not know unless I continue on this path.”


    Oil Slick glanced away from her, staring out through the forward window. Neither of them were looking at each other now, and they were both thinking very deeply.


    “Then I will go with you,” Oil Slick said, slowly turning to look at her again. “I will not get in the way of whatever you feel you need to do, I swear. But I do know that my path—the path of my choosing—is to be by your side, at least until the end of your journey.”


    Nightbird looked at him now. She knew exactly what he meant. Basically he was telling her that he would stay with her until the day she went offline, one way or another. She said nothing, but her optics held a silent gratitude.


    “Let us go, then,” she finally said.


    And then, as if they hadn’t received any word at all from Strika, they continued onward, on their current course.


    “But if I request it,” Nightbird said after a long silence, “please stay back, and out of my way.”


    Oil Slick merely nodded.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Upon examining the transmission several times, Megatron noticed something peculiar. In many ways, from what he knew of Shockwave, his loyal servant just didn’t seem like himself in that message. So the Decepticon leader began to deduce that either Shockwave didn’t send the message and someone had done an excellent job of faking his appearance and voice, or Shockwave had been under some sort of control.


    Megatron knew his minions quite well, and in truth he didn’t trust any of them entirely, ever since what Starscream had done. Although he knew enough about his most loyal minions to feel that some weren’t potential backstabbers, some were simply incompetent in certain areas—except for their loyalty of course. Lugnut was a good example of this.


    But there was something else that Megatron noticed about the message that caused him to realize there was something off about the entire thing. When he turned up the volume high enough, he detected faint voices in the background, as though someone was whispering off-screen.


    It took some time modifying the audio to filter out the voices of Nightbird, Oil Slick, Strika and Shockwave, but Megatron soon managed to enhance and clarify the background voices. He couldn’t do it enough to understand what was being said, but eventually he definitely recognized the unmistakable sound of Starscream’s voice, and what sounded like Jazz’s voice.


    Megatron worked with the audio a bit longer, and with Shockwave’s help it went even faster. The Decepticon leader now felt fairly confident that Shockwave was somehow completely unaware of what he had been doing when he’d sent the message, so Megatron felt he could trust him to assist with this.


    “It definitely seems to be Starscream’s voice, my Lord,” Shockwave finally said after a few cycles. “As well as the cyber ninja we had captured. If I am able to make a fair guess, judging from the snippets of words my audios can decipher clearly, I would have to say that they are now working together.”


    “How ironic,” Megatron commented thoughtfully. “The foolish, overbearing Autobot, Sentinel Prime, chooses to join with me. And the Decepticon traitor Starscream chooses to form an alliance with an Autobot.” He glanced at Shockwave, then back at the screen where a portion of the transmission was frozen on Shockwave’s face. “If this situation were not so serious, I might just laugh.”


    Shockwave made no comment. In fact, a small portion of his processor was actually thinking that he had never actually heard Megatron laugh.


    “What are we going to do now, my liege?” Shockwave asked.


    Megatron folded his arms across his chassis. “Contact Team Char,” he ordered. “We are going to inform them that we are going to pick them up from their base, and then we are going to those coordinates.”


    “Very well, my Lord.”


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    “How much longer do you estimate until we get there?” Jazz asked out loud. Frankly, if anyone had told him before he left Cybertron that he would end up not only allying himself with a Decepticon but riding on its back, he probably would have laughed in their face.


    “At this pace? Long,” Starscream replied. “Just be grateful that I fueled myself up to the point where I felt like I would burst before we left Omega Supreme. I still have plenty of energon to burn off, and I’m simply grateful that my stomach ache has worn off.”


    “But we will make it there in time to meet up with Prowl and the others?”


    “Don’t worry, I took into consideration the fact that I can’t go as fast as a ship, or sustain myself for as long in space,” Starscream answered. “The coordinates I chose will enable us to get there before anyone else, because we just happen to be closest. Now just shut up and leave the flying to me.”


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    “So you’re telling me that they have continued on, regardless of what you told them?” Shockwave asked.


    Both he and Megatron stood side by side before the viewscreen, speaking directly with Team Char’s leader, Strika. And Strika had just informed them that Nightbird and Oil Slick didn’t seem to have any intention of returning to base.


    “Allow them to go,” Megatron ordered. “It could be useful to have someone present at that location until the rest of us can get there.”


    As you wish, my liege,” Strika replied.
     
  12. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 12


    Nightbird crouched behind a large boulder. Her training had taught her to watch and observe her surroundings and analyze the situation before making her move. And she was pretty damn good at it, too.


    She was aware when Oil Slick quietly approached her from behind, his feet intentionally clacking against the rocks in order to alert her to his presence. “I just checked the ship,” he said quietly. “We have received a message from Megatron.”


    She said nothing, although a very slight tip of her head told Oil Slick that she’d heard him.


    “Apparently Megatron wishes us to pursue the course of action we are already on,” Oil Slick continued. “So we are actually not disregarding his orders at all.”


    Now Nightbird glanced over at him. “Anything else?” she asked.


    “Yes,” Oil Slick said. “Megatron has picked up Team Char so that everyone is now aboard Omega Supreme. And now they are on their way out here.”


    Nightbird turned away, and Oil Slick thought he detected an almost inaudible hiss escape her vocalizer. He still knew how much she wanted to face Prowl alone.


    They had arrived at their pre-destined coordinates exactly three hours ago, during which time they had been carefully scouting out the idea and keeping out of sight just in case they were being watched. However, there seemed to be nothing but themselves on this cold, lifeless, barren rock of a world.


    This seemed to be a planet that had long ago wandered out of its sun’s orbit, although it was fairly small all things considered, which lead Oil Slick to believe it may have actually been a moon once. There was nothing interesting to see here at all; it was simply a planetoid of endless, dark brown dust and rock.


    “When will they arrive?” Nightbird asked.


    “They are experiencing some technical difficulties,” Oil Slick told her. “Megatron seems to think that Starscream sabotaged some of the systems to hinder the ship.”


    Nightbird said nothing, although Oil Slick knew her well enough to figure she probably wasn’t surprised by the news. Frankly, everyone knew by now just how persistent the Decepticon traitor could be.


    “It will probably be some time before they get here,” Oil Slick said. “There may still be a chance you will be able to face Prowl before they get here…” He frowned. “If he is even coming here at all, that is.”


    “He will be here,” Nightbird said with a firm confidence that surprised even herself. “I feel it in my spark.”


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    “So when is that other cyber ninja going to get here?” Starscream demanded, for what seemed like the one hundredth time.


    Jazz was leaning against a large boulder, staying out of sight. Somehow he had a unique talent for being able to look casual and relaxed, as well as alert and on the defense at the same time.


    “Hopefully he will be here soon,” the Autobot gave the same reply as every other time Starscream had asked that question. Frankly, especially after having worked with Sentinel prior to this, Jazz was more than used to being patient with obnoxious statements and outbursts.


    “He’d better be,” Starscream said, beginning to pace a little. “Or I—”


    Jazz grabbed one of his wings and pulled him back. “Keep it down,” Jazz told the Decepticon con. “And you’d better sit down and stop moving around. You don’t want anyone to see us.”


    Starscream growled and yanked his wing free from the ninja’s grasp. He seemed to be thinking about saying something, but instead he seemed to think better of it and sat down on the ground.


    In truth, Starscream could be pretty patient when he wanted to or needed to. He just wasn’t happy about having to sit there and be patient.


    Just then, for the first time since they’d arrived, Starscream noticed something. “What is that?” he asked quietly, pointing at something off in the distance.


    Jazz turned his head to look in the direction the ‘con was pointing. “Looks like a garbage dump area,” he commented. Indeed that was exactly what it looked like. And the white-mech ninja knew that sometimes Autobots—or even Decepticons, or neutrals—jumped their garbage out on remote, useless planetoids, such as this one.


    “Perhaps we should… investigate,” Starscream said off-handedly.


    “What for?” Jazz asked.


    “It beats just sitting around here doing nothing. And we might even find something useful over there.”


    “Something useful in the garbage?” Jazz said skeptically. “I doubt it—it’s just a junk pile. Besides we should be keeping a look out.”


    “You keep a look out,” Starscream said. “I’m bored and I want to take a look.”


    Jazz shrugged. “Suit yourself.” He then resumed keeping his optics and sensors alert, while the Decepticon traitor carefully and cautiously moved toward the nearby junk pile—which was located inside a ditch.


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    “How long until we get there?” Sari asked quietly, kneeling over the still form of Dreamscreamer. She was keeping watch over the femme, while Prowl did the piloting. She was in the cockpit of the shuttle they’d been given, several feet behind where the ninja mech sat.


    “It won’t be much longer until we reach the nearest space bridge,” Prowl replied, tapping his fingers over the controls of the shuttle. “After that, we should arrive at the coordinates within a few seconds.”


    He turned his head ever so slightly, so that the corner of his visor could peer a bit toward Sari and Dreamscreamer. “How is she?”


    “Dunno,” Sari shrugged. “She hasn’t moved at all, and I can’t… scan her anymore. I mean I can’t tell what’s wrong with her programming while she’s offline.”


    Prowl turned his head fully back to the shuttle controls. “Then we will simply have to hope we can find Nightbird,” he said.


    Sari frowned, looking up at Prowl from where she sat. “You know, what if Nightbird doesn’t do anything for her?” she asked.


    Prowl was silent for a moment, then said, “Hopefully she will be… open to negotiation, at least.”


    “What does that mean?”


    Prowl didn’t reply.


    Sari shrugged, turning her full attention back to the motionless form of Dreamscreamer. Sometimes Prowl got into these… deeply thoughtful moods, where you had to practically nag him to death just to get him to talk. Most of the time he was only like that when he wanted to be left alone in his room to meditate. But there were times, especially during long trips, when he got like that too.


    She just wondered what was on his mind. What was he thinking?


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Starscream found that the stuff within the junk pile was, for the most part, completely uninteresting. Mostly it was a lot of odds and ends that were too badly banged up, dented, or rusted to be of any use.


    But then, something caught the Decepticon’s optic. It was a crushed, blue cube that seemed to be made of Cybertronian metal. Although it wasn’t exactly the cube itself that caught his attention, but a flicker of light within the cube…


    Curious, Starscream carefully reached down and pulled the metal object out of the junk pile with minimal difficulty. As he examined it, he noticed that the light he’d observed looked like… a spark!


    “Hmmm,” Starscream purred thoughtfully as he continued to look it over. Obviously someone had suffered a rather brutal demise, somehow or other. Part of his processor vaguely recalled an Autobot who had been present down in the cavern where he and his clone army had taken on Megatron and the Autobots…


    Could this be that same Autobot? Well, whoever it was, it was fairly obvious that the bot was still alive, although in deep stasis. If it was dead, the spark would be extinguished and the colors would have gone from blue to the dull gray color of death.


    Carrying the scrunched cube carefully in his servos, Starscream headed back in the direction of Jazz.


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Having arrived at the nearest space bridge, Prowl punched in the proper coordinates, and a few moments later, brought the shuttle into the large, glowing blue orb of light. Everything went blurry and bright for a few seconds, then the shuttle was deposited in the middle of nowhere, near a large, dead-looking planetoid.


    “That must be it,” Prowl commented quietly, as he proceeded to fly the shuttle as a slow and cautious pace toward it.


    “So what’s the plan?” Sari asked quietly, moving away from Dreamscreamer and walking up behind him. She placed a hand on the back of his seat as she peered out through the forward window, gazing at the dark planet ahead.


    “To approach with extreme caution and then assess the situation, carefully,” Prowl replied quietly, most of his attention focused on piloting and on the scanner readouts.


    “Then what?” Sari persisted.


    “Then we will be able to come up with a good plan… hopefully,” Prowl commented after a short moment of silence.


    “In other words, you don’t know what to expect,” Sari said.


    “There isn’t much information available,” Prowl replied.


    “No kidding.”


    0o0o0o0o0


    Jazz’s head snapped up when he saw Starscream walking toward him, carrying an odd, crushed blue cube. Although what really caught the ninja’s attention was a specific, glowing brightness that could be spotted in a crack of the cube.


    “Whoa,” Jazz exclaimed as he moved toward Starscream, his visor flashing as he leaned in to get a better look. “You found that in the junk heap?”


    “Yep, I did,” Starscream smirked. “I guess looking in that pile of garbage wasn’t such a waste after all.” He patted the blue metal indicatively. “This fellow is alive… though probably just barely.”


    “Seems to be in deep stasis,” Jazz remarked, reaching out for the cube. “Though I’m not sure if there’s much we can do for the poor fella out here.”


    “Oh but maybe there is,” Starscream said, reaching up to his forehead and snapping off a tiny fragment of the Allspark shard stuck in his head.


    “What good will that do?” Jazz asked. “This guy’s spark is still in his chassis… no matter how crushed it is.”


    “I’m thinking that the energy from this Allspark piece might be able to regenerate his body enough so it might… repair itself.”


    “Are you operating on all cylinders?” Jazz exclaimed. “No amount of energy could possibly repair his body, not when it’s this crushed up.”


    Starscream laughed. “You underestimate the power of the Allspark!” he said. With that, he gently but firmly forced the piece of Allspark into a small crack of the blue cube’s metal. Then, the entire cube began to glow…


    0o0o0o0o0


    “What is happening?” Oil Slick murmured quietly.


    He and Nightbird had noticed the presence of the white-mech ninja and the Decepticon traitor, when the latter individual had gone toward the junk heap. Ever since then, they had been watching the pair from a discreet distance.


    “It seems they found a companion in the junk pile,” Nightbird whispered quietly. “And it looks like they’ve found a way to fix him up.”


    Oil Slick noticed she sounded mildly bored, even though her optics were filled with fascination as she watched the sight before her. He knew that the real thing she was interested in was facing Prowl, although both of them were also curious and interested in what the other bots were doing.


    Besides, even though cyber ninjas were taught to be patience and had the ability to clear their minds—which gave them the ability to sit completely motionless and stay alert even if absolutely nothing was happening around them—they both had to admit, having something to watch was far more interesting than having nothing to watch.


    And it wasn’t every day that you got to see a crushed ‘bot being restored to full health, right before their very optics…


    0o0o0o0o0


    Sentinel knew that he was in trouble, because things were about to get very complicated.


    On the one hand, he was actually beginning to rethink things in general. Was he really doing the right thing, going along with the Decepticons? Yes he didn’t exactly agree with the things that were going on back on Cybertron, but… was betraying everyone really such a good idea?


    He wasn’t entirely sure why he was rethinking things, although perhaps part of it was due to the fact that things just weren’t going the way he’d thought they would. Megatron had been monitoring the visual/audio transmissions coming out from Cybertron, and it seemed that word had somehow gotten back to Optimus that Sentinel was a traitor.


    It didn’t take long to figure out just how this news had gotten to the new Magnus, once it was discovered that Jazz had escaped. On top of that, now that the news had gotten out, Megatron didn’t seem to be holding him in quite so high regard anymore… it was almost as though the Decepticon leader was starting to view him as… less useful.


    This made Sentinel angry. It seemed that once you stopped being “useful” to Megatron, he turned more of his attention to those who he considered more useful. Sentinel did not like being disregarded like that.


    And so, it seemed that both the Autobots and the Decepticons had disregarded him in some ways. First the Autobots had completely ignored his years of devotion and service, and put that Academy washout in charge of all of Cybertron simply because he won a few battles and came home with the Magnus hammer. Then when Sentinel tried joining the Decepticons, hoping to help make things right again… it seemed that Megatron could actually care less about him.


    Nothing was going the way it was supposed to. And Sentinel wasn’t quite sure what to do anymore. Yet somehow, he found himself heading down the hallway, making certain not to be seen as he headed toward the cells.


    When he came across the cell where Jetfire and Jetstorm were being held, Sentinel held a finger to his mouth. “Shh, keep quiet,” he told them both. “I’m busting you both out of there.”


    0o0o0o0o0


    Jazz watched in complete astonishment as the blue form seemed to partially dissolve into pure energy, and then metal began to straighten out and reshape itself back into its original form. It was almost like seeing a piece of crumbled paper unfold itself and go back into its original condition, all of the cracks, creases and tears completely vanishing as well.


    When all was finished, Agent Blurr looked as though he’d never been damaged. For a few moments he simply lay there on the ground, flat on his back, his optics offline. Then his optics came to life, blinking on and off a few times.


    Then, quite suddenly, he leaped to his feet, looking rather confused and spooked. He then glanced from Jazz, to Starscream… and then gasped. He then began to talk so fast that neither of the other bots could understand a word he was saying.


    “Whoa, hey!” Jazz exclaimed, holding up his hands. “Calm down! Everything is cool, pretty much.”


    Blurr stopped talking, his mouth closing as he took in this new information. “ButwhatabouttheDecepticontraitorShockwave?” He blurted. Then, in record time, he blurted out everything that had happened right up to when he’d gotten crushed into a cube.


    In some ways Jazz was astonished. He knew of Blurr, and had met the ‘bot a few times prior to this, but still he’d never heard anyone be able to recap so much information in such a short amount of time. Starscream was trying to keep up with everything being said, a look of annoyance crossing his features.


    “Take it easy now,” Jazz said again. “Don’t worry, everyone knows about Longarm being Shockwave.” He cast a glance toward Starscream. “And you don’t need to worry about my ‘con companion here, either.”


    Blurr tensed, starting to look suspicious and uncomfortable. Jazz couldn’t blame him, though; the last thing the blue bot remembered, he had been attacked and scrunched by his own boss. Now the first thing he saw upon being returned to normal was an Autobot comrade standing next to a Decepticon, and neither of them were slagging each other.


    “Let’s just say quite a lot has happened since you’re… unfortunate scene,” Jazz said. “I think it would be best if I filled you in…”
     
  13. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 13


    Prowl moved silently across the rough ground, his feet barely making a sound as he walked. He carried Dreamscreamer’s limp form in his arms, having made certain her head was resting against his shoulder so that it would hang down her hurt her neck at all.


    Sari followed quietly at a safe distance behind, although she kept up with Prowl at a steady pace. The black mech had cautioned her not to follow too closely in case they came upon Nightbird suddenly, for she was a bot who was not to be underestimated.


    In some ways, Prowl silently wondered if he should have left Sari back at the shuttle, but he knew that she probably would have argued with him if he’d tried that. About the only reason he could think of to give her in order to get her to stay was if, perhaps, he’d decided to tell her to keep an eye on Dreamscreamer. But the fact was, he needed to take the unconscious femme with him, in the hopes that Nightbird would be able to undo whatever she’d done. And since Sari was sick of feeling useless like she had been back on Cybertron… there really wasn’t much he could do or say.


    Besides, he’d chosen to take her along, because he was fairly confident in her abilities. If he as seriously going to leave her behind at the shuttle, he shouldn’t have allowed her to come along at all, then. And so, he permitted her to come, just so long as she stayed at a safe distance behind him.


    He was worried for Dreamscreamer too, but it was just that Sari was so much smaller, despite her powers and abilities. Prowl was always protective of his comrades, and the fact that Sari was so small—and a femme, at that—it made him even more watchful of her in some ways. Especially since there was a “fallen” ninja around somewhere.


    “Prowl?” Sari asked after they’d been walking for some time. In spite of Prowl’s warning, she quickened her pace to run up just behind him, so that she could speak to him more easily.


    “Yes?” he said without really looking at her. He was trying to keep an eye on his surroundings, looking for any sign of Nightbird or any Decepticons in general.


    “Are you sure we’re going the right way?” Sari asked, looking around briefly and then looking back at Prowl. “I mean, I know you looked at the shuttle’s sensors before we left, but—”


    “We will proceed this way for a while,” Prowl cut her off. “Somehow… I feel in my spark that we are going the right way.”


    “Well… I sure hope so,” Sari muttered.


    “Sari, fall back,” Prowl instructed the girl. “I don’t want you too close to me, just in case—”


    “Yeah, yeah, just in case Nightbird decides to take us by surprise and pounce, I know,” Sari said in annoyance. “But you know, I don’t think it makes much distance. She might not even notice me if I’m right behind you, since I’m not as big as you are.”


    Prowl inclined his head slightly. “True, but I still don’t want you in harms way.”


    “Hey, I was there during the battle with those Lugnut clones on Earth,” Sari said. “I didn’t even get a scratch on me!”


    “Again, true, but this is a different situation.”


    “How so?”


    Prowl sighed. “We are not dealing with opponents that are out in the open, we are dealing with stealthy opponents. Nightbird will not allow us to see her until and unless she wishes to be seen.”


    “Then how do you know we haven’t walked by her already?”


    “I have not sensed anyone following us,” Prowl told her. “Although,” he added with a frown, “I am… unsure of the extent of her stealth abilities.”


    Sari found herself glancing behind her, feeling a bit nervous in spite of herself. “You mean she could be tailing us, and we might not even know it?” she asked.


    “It’s possible.”


    “Oh wonderful,” Sari muttered. Suddenly she felt a slight chill run up and down her spine, and she found herself walking more closely to Prowl, just in case. She was very confident in her own abilities, but just being close to the ninja gave her more reassurance.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Jazz, Starscream and Blurr had spotted the arrival of what was presumably Prowl’s shuttle, just as Jazz had finished filling in Blurr on the situation at hand. Then, they had been just about to go toward the shuttle, and Oil Slick and Nightbird came out of nowhere and attacked.


    And although Blurr was the fastest, he was still a bit stiff and dazed from his ordeal, not having fully recovered yet. He was the first one to go down, and he had a pair of stasis cuffs slapped onto his wrists—which Nightbird had had cleverly concealed on her person.


    After that, Oil Slick whipped out a canister of cosmic rust and threw it at Starscream and Jazz. Both of them tried to move out of the way, but it was too late. The chemical fumes touched the armor plating of their feet, and began to spread up their legs, then their torsos and arms, and then their faces and helmets.


    “NOOOO!” Starscream yelled as his torso and neck finished turning a sickly brown color, and then after his face finished turning brown with rust, he fell backward on the ground, just at the same time as Jazz collapsed.


    “That takes care of them,” Oil Slick murmured, a look of satisfaction on his features.


    Nightbird, who was still standing beside Blurr, peered at Oil Slick curiously. However, Blurr was sputtering something or other out loud although she was not paying any attention to what he was saying. She simply jammed a foot into his chassis, causing him to emit a pained yelp. “Be silent,” she hissed at him quietly. The blue mech scowled, then fell silent.


    “Too bad stasis cuffs don’t prevent the vocalizer from being used,” she murmured. “Though I do happen to have a mouth clamp.” With that, she slammed it onto his mouth. He moaned, but was now unable to speak.


    “So,” Nightbird said, placing her hands on her hips as she approached Oil Slick, “did you kill them?” She inclined her head toward Starscream and Jazz.


    “No, they’re not dead,” Oil Slick answered her. “I did not use a fatal potion of cosmic rust, I simply used a variation of chemicals that caused their outer platings to rust up. They are currently immobile, and in pain, but quite alive I assure you.” He cocked his head to one side. “I figured Megatron may want to question them.”


    “I take it you have a cure for that stuff, then?” Nightbird queried, raising an optic ridge.


    “Yes, I have some on me,” Oil Slick said.


    “Might be a useful bargaining tool as well,” Nightbird said. “If things should go awry.”


    “Perhaps.”


    0o0o0o0o0o


    Sentinel, having released the jet twins from the holding cell, lead the two brothers down the hallway. Both of them seemed surprised and confused, but they followed him.


    “Sentinel Prime, sir,” Jetfire said, “what is going on?”


    “We thought that you were with the Decepticons now!” Jetstorm said.


    Sentinel growled. “What ever gave you that idea?” he said, then turned around to face them fully. “So long as this symbol is on my chest, I am still an Autobot, UNDERSTOOD?” he barked.


    Their optics widening, the two brothers straightened and saluted. Then they said in unison, “Sir yes sir!”


    “Good,” Sentinel said, turning away from them. In truth, he wasn’t sure what he was going to do now, not he’d wanted to clear up any potential problem there might be with the twins questioning him. “I was just… hoping to get some information on the ‘cons, that’s all,” he said slowly. “And if we can get back to Cybertron with a ‘con or two in tow… that will work out quite nicely.”


    “So what is the plan?” Jetstorm asked.


    “Just follow me,” Sentinel said. Alright, so from here on out… he was winging it. But one thing was for sure: he wasn’t about to go calling on Optimus for help to bail him out this time around. This time, he was doing things on his own.


    And then he would get the glory for it… somehow or other.


    0o0o0o0o0o


    Oil Slick had remained behind, at Nightbird’s request, to keep an optic on the three Autobot captives, and to await the arrival of Megatron and Team Char.


    Nightbird headed toward the shuttle herself, alone, to seek out Prowl. She could somehow feel it within the very core of her spark that Prowl was indeed here, and that she would face him soon.


    She moved with a quiet grace, her footsteps making no noise whatsoever on the rough, rocky ground as she moved. Her spark pulsed with a quiet excitement in her chassis as she went, knowing that pretty soon, all of her most important questions would be answered. At least she dearly hoped so.


    It wasn’t too long before she reached the shuttle, and she was not surprised to find it deserted. She smiled—the occupants had no doubt fallen for her trap. She’d planted fake Decepticon energy signals off in the distance, and had used an energy dampener to hide hers and Oil Slick’s. So Prowl was on a wild crank chase right now, but he was going exactly where she wanted him.


    Wasting no time, she took off in the direction of the fake energy signals.
     
  14. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    185
    Chapter 14


    Prowl was really starting to get an uneasy feeling deep within his spark. And by the way Sari kept walking very close to him, he sensed that she was feeling uneasy as well. And it wasn’t anything he could put his servo on. But what could he do besides press onward, especially if he was going to help Dreamscreamer?


    “Prowl,” Sari said, almost timidly, “I kinda wonder if we should go back.”


    The ninja bot paused in his stride and glanced down at her. She was standing just behind his left leg, almost touching him but not quite. Since this world had no breathable air she had her helmet and faceplate up, which allowed more of her robotic side to take over, thus allowing her systems to be more sustained by energon than oxygen. But despite the fact that he couldn’t see her face, he could definitely sense her uneasiness.


    Perhaps I should have left her back at the shuttle after all, Prowl thought distractedly. Or maybe it might have been better to leave her back on Cybertron. However, thinking about what might have been best was useless right now. All they could do was deal with the present, for all of his decisions and choices had lead both of them to where they were now.


    “We can’t go back,” Prowl said. “At least I cannot. I have to see if I can help Dreamscreamer. But… if you wish to go back, you may.” As soon as the words left his vocalizer, part of him realized that might be a bad idea too. If Sari went off by herself, she might become an easier target.


    Of course he wasn’t sure how much safer she was even when she was with him, since he just didn’t know what to expect from Nightbird. What lay in store for them? How much backup did she have? Only time would tell.


    “No,” Sari said, a bit forcefully. “I’m staying with you.” She hadn’t realized that she had moved even closer to Prowl, especially when he’d suggested that she go back. Not only had she moved closer, but she’d placed an arm on his leg. Her eyes widened slightly when she realized she was touching him and she quickly pulled back, casting her eyes at the ground sheepishly.


    Prowl was aware that she’d been touching him, and quickly brushed it off as simply her being nervous. He couldn’t blame her, after all. He had had years and years of training to ward of fear and to find peace and serenity within his processor, but she was still very young. And half human, on top of that.


    “Then we’ll keep going,” he finally said, and began to resume their pace. “We just need to be cautious.”


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Sentinel had managed to convince the Jet brothers that everything he’d done, he had done it because he was trying to get in close to the ‘cons and figure out what they were up to. In fact, he kept telling them the same thing and insisting upon it so much that he’d not only convinced them, but himself as well.


    If there was on talent that Sentinel had, it was the ability to convince himself that he was always doing the right thing. Even to the point where he could deny any previous actions or decisions he’d made, thus believing he hadn’t really meant it at all. So right now, in his processor, he thoroughly believed that he had never agreed to go along with Megatron at all. In fact, he even lead himself to believe that he and the Jet brothers were prisoners, and they needed to get out of there, stat.


    On top of that, he’d lead himself to believe that Jazz was fortunate to have escaped, but was terribly misinformed and had told Optimus that Sentinel was a Decepticon traitor. Sentinel thus knew that Jazz meant well, but didn’t know the real truth; something which Sentinel would have to correct when he got back to Cybertron.


    If he could figure out how to get back there…


    “So what is the plan, Sentinel Prime Sir?” Jetfire asked.


    The three of them were currently hiding in the cargo area, crouching close to each other. Sentinel knew it wouldn’t be too much longer until Megatron, or one of the other ‘cons, figured out that he was missing and that the Jet twins were free. So they had to figure out what to do and act fast.


    “Uh, right,” Sentinel said, and cleared his throat. “I think that somehow or other, we need to retake control of Omega Supreme.”


    The twins exchanged glances, then looked back at their boss. “Tis a clever plan!” Jetfire said.


    “Yes it is clever!” Jetstorm agreed heartily. But then he added, “But how exactly are we going to retake this ship?”


    Sentinel gritted his dental plating. I have no idea, he thought. But he wasn’t about to say that to them. “Uh, give me a cycle—I’m still trying to perfect my… brilliant, flawless plan.” And maybe that will give me some time to come up with a brilliant, flawless plan, he thought, turning his face away so that his bots couldn’t see him frown.


    “Okie-for-dokie!” the jet brothers said in unison, a bit too enthusiastically. They looked at their leader with big smiles plastered on their faces, eagerly awaiting to hear Sentinel’s big, brilliant plan as soon as he was ready to tell them.


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Oil Slick was slightly bored. Whenever he was with Nightbird, time seemed to pass more quickly than not. About the only excitement he’d gotten was putting some of his rust chemicals on Blurr and watching as the terrible brown color spread up his blue frame. That had given the Decepticon ninja a moment of entertainment, plus he knew that it would lessen the chance of Blurr escaping. But now, he had nothing else to do.


    He then decided that there really wasn’t any reason to stay in this spot any longer. Jazz, Starscream and Blurr were now completely immobilized, and they weren’t going anywhere anytime soon.


    Still he remembered his promise to Nightbird, in saying that he would not interfere in any way when it came to her confrontation with Prowl. So perhaps in some ways, he was doing her a big favor—not to mention keeping his promise—by staying here. If Megatron and the others arrived, he would be able to head them off and hopefully stall them.


    Plus he did have one of the ninjas Megatron wanted, right here with him. A sly smile crossed his features as he looked down at Jazz. He felt that the Decepticon ruler was correct to fear the Autobot ninjas because they had a special kind of training, and it was said that the Allspark favored those who valued peace more than selfish aggression.


    Oil Slick briefly thought of Lockdown, who could be considered his brother. They’d been made in the same protoform mode, (not to mention they’d both been Autobots once) it was just that Lockdown had had so many upgrades and modifications over the years that his bulk head increased. In many ways the two of them had much in common, having mastered many of the ninja fighting stances. Although they were very different in two ways—Oil Slick was a master of chemistry and using his intelligence, and enjoyed using fear as a weapon to get things done. Lockdown used his strength, stealth and fighting talents, along with his obsession for trophies to get things done.


    Another key difference was that Oil Slick had mastered processor over matter, at least to some extent. In truth, he had learned the basics of the fighting stances and meditation from none other than Prowl, a few thousand stellar-cycles after Master Yoketron had perished.


    Oil Slick and Prowl had trained together for years, with Prowl believing that he could use this as a chance to further his own abilities and to give another the benefit of training as well. Oil Slick simply wanted to learn the fighting stances, and the discipline of focus. Being able to clear his processor and focus on a single task at will definitely gave Oil Slick many benefits in his current line of work. He very rarely made any mistakes when it came to his calculations and experiments.


    The Decepticon frowned as another thought entered his processor. At times, it almost seemed as though something… bigger was happening, or was about to happen. Perhaps all of Nightbird’s talk about wanting to test her beliefs and to test fate were clouding his processor, but somehow… he felt, deep within his spark, that there was more going on than met the optical sensor.


    Not only that, but somehow a new feeling entered into his spark… one that sent a chill pulsing through him in spite of himself. Nightbird is going to go offline… permanently.


    “No,” he whispered out loud, instantly glancing off in the direction he’d last seen her go—the direction where Prowl’s shuttle had landed. Part of him ached to go after her, if nothing else just to see if he could catch a glimpse of her, because he couldn’t stand the thought he might never see her again.


    Could it be true… that he had indeed seen her for the last time? That somehow, she was going to die?


    Oil Slick gritted his dental plating, releasing a low growl. No matter what… he had to respect Nightbird’s wishes, not to mention the promise he’d made her. That would be a good way to honor her, and… it would be his final gift to her.


    He glanced down at his three prisoners again, and began to feel completely useless standing there. He really didn’t care anymore what happened to them, so he turned and began to walk away, in the opposite direction from the way Nightbird had gone.


    He wasn’t sure where he was going. He just… needed some time alone. To think.


    But he couldn’t help but wonder… why had something told him that Nightbird was about to die? And WHAT had told him?


    0o0o0o0o0o0o


    Prowl suddenly stopped walking, glancing around and taking a step back—almost stepping on Sari’s foot. She hastily stumbled backwards, looking up at him, startled. “Prowl, what is it?” she asked him.


    Before Prowl could say a word, there was a shrill beeping noise and a flash of movement. The next thing he and Sari knew, they were being hefted into the air, high above the ground.


    It only took Prowl a moment to realized what had happened; they’d stepped right into a trap, specifically an energy net. It had been rigged so that it was dormant on the ground until they walked onto it, then it captured them and hoisted them high above the ground, dangling from a rock formation like bundled up laundry.


    And now that the energy web was activated, it would be impossible to cut their way out of it, because the energy protected it from being sliced or damaged in any way.


    “Ugh—great!” Sari exclaimed in frustration, clutching at the net with her hands. “Now how are we going to get out of here?”


    “I think we will know the answer to that question soon,” Prowl said, still holding onto Dreamscreamer protectively. He pointed out through the netting. “Look.”


    Sari turned and saw a figure approaching. From what she could tell, the figure was a femme bot, having a mixture of gray and purple colors. She walked with the grace like that of a dancer—or more specifically, a skilled fighter, and her optics glowed above a faceplate that hid the rest of her features.


    “Who is that?” Sari asked quietly.


    Prowl’s visor flashed slightly, and he replied simply, “Nightbird.”


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Sentinel had finally cooked up a brilliant plan… more or less. And he told it to the Jet brothers, who listened intently.


    Once the Prime finished, Jetfire so, “So am I understanding correctly that you wish to throw a monkey wrench into the ship’s main engines, to make them go permanently offline, then call Optimus Magnus?”


    “Uh, yeah,” Sentinel said in slight annoyance. He disliked it when they used some of the Earth jargon they’d picked up on. And hopefully Optimus will believe me when I tell him I was just trying to help capture the ‘cons! He thought.


    “So where are we going to get a ‘monkey wrench’?” Jetstorm asked.


    “Look, I will take care of everything in that department,” Sentinel told the brothers. “I just need you two to cook up a diversion. Split up and use your powers to do anything you can to keep those Decepticons occupied. Just don’t let yourselves get captured! I don’t want to have to bust you out again and I’m counting on you to keep them away from me.”


    “Sir, yes Sir!” Both of the twins saluted in unison.


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Meanwhile, back on Cybertron, Optimus Magnus still had his servos full. He still needed to speak with the Council about the latest happenings with the Decepticons, along with an update about what Prowl and Jazz—along with their companions—were up to, not to mention the prospect of Sentinel being a traitor.


    But to top things off, there were still some issues going on with the Dinobots. They were still being kept in that building where they had been put to keep them out of trouble. Part of Optimus wished that Prowl was still on Cybertron, because he was the one person they responded to best. Well, other than BlackArachnia, but she only used them for her own selfish plans, and even if she was there, he doubted she would want to help out with keeping the Dinobots under control.


    But at least Wreck Gar had made himself useful, and seemed to be enjoying his job very much. Unfortunately Scrapper had been thrown into the slammer for a few weeks, because he’d gotten a bit too much high-grade and did some damage to one of the public hangouts. But Optimus knew he wouldn’t be in there forever, and maybe it would keep the Constructicon out of trouble, at least.


    However, something then happened that Optimus had not anticipated, something that both shocked him and added to the pile of issues he already had to deal with.


    The Magnus had been aware that a scouting party had gone to Earth to take care of several things. One was that they wanted to try and locate any remaining Allspark fragments with modified scanners that were able to detect them. Another thing was that they wanted to tear down the space bridge atop Sumdac Tower, so that no one could misuse it. And lastly, they wanted to try and locate any of the bots who were missing in action, if they could.


    And thus, the scouting party returned with a fair amount of Allspark fragments—which were immediately taken to a secure location—and they had also found all of the ‘bots who’d been reported missing.


    The bots who were found included none other than Dirtboss, (who was just as bossy and short-tempered as ever) Mixmaster, Waspinator, Starscream’s femme bot clone, and none other than BlackArachnia.


    Since all of them had Decepticon symbols on them, they were all taken into custody, and thus they were another thing that Optimus had to help sort out when he got a chance. In some ways, he was truly beginning to wonder how in the world Ultra Magnus had done it. How could any bot try and handle so slagging much, when there just weren’t enough mega-cycles in the day to take care of it all?
     
  15. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    185
    Chapter 15


    Nightbird’s optics flashed slightly when she heard Prowl say her name. “Yes,” she said aloud in her deep though feminine voice. She had a voice that could be mistaken for that of a mech, especially when she spoke in a monotone. However her appearance was unmistakably feminine. “It is me.”


    “Why have you done this?” Prowl demanded, indicating the current predicament that he and Sari—along with the unconscious Dreamscreamer—were in. “Why did you capture us, and why did you do this to Dreamscreamer?”


    Nightbird moved closer until she was standing directly underneath the energy net, narrowing her optics as she took in the sight above her. Indeed, Prowl was holding Dreamscreamer rather protectively, and there was a smaller individual who looked like a midget femme in the net as well.


    “I wanted to draw you here,” Nightbird said quietly as she slowly walked around below the net, never taking her optics off Prowl as she moved. It was as though she were trying to analyze him and observe his appearance and his stance as much as she could, while he was still trapped within the net.


    “For what purpose?” Prowl demanded.


    Nightbird stopped, having walked in a full circle beneath the net. “I wish to fight you,” she replied. “One on one, without any interference from anyone.” She pointed. “Not even from that little pipsqueak in there.”


    “Hey!” Sari said in an indignant voice. “I—” But Prowl placed a hand over her, cutting her off. She growled and shoved Prowl’s hand away, but then she simply folded her arms and fell silent, glaring at Nightbird through the energy net.


    “Why do you want to fight me?” Prowl asked. “You still haven’t explained why you drew us here.”


    “I wanted to face you specifically, Prowl,” Nightbird replied. “Because out of all the ninjas I have seen and observed, you are the strongest and the best, especially now that you have mastered processor over matter and you have our late sensei’s helmet.” She folded her arms across her chassis. “And yet you are still on the Autobot side. I wish to see if, despite all my training and my choices and beliefs, if I can be bested by an Autobot.”


    Prowl frowned, not quite understanding. He also kept a gentle but firm hand on Sari’s back, as sort of a request/warning for her to stay silent. Somehow he had a sense that this was between himself and Nightbird fully, and he didn’t want her to get involved. She seemed to sense this too, as well as his wish for her to remain silent. She didn’t seem too happy, but she kept quiet.


    “I still don’t understand,” Prowl said slowly.


    Nightbird frowned behind her faceplate, and thought for a moment. Did she really need to explain herself to him? Was it really so important that she make him understand her reasons behind her actions before they combated? No, she would probably have to waste a lot of precious time simply trying to explain herself, and even then he wouldn’t understand. He might even try and talk her out of it. And if she spent a lot of time talking, that would give Megatron and the others more time to arrive—if she wanted to fight him, she would have to do so right now.


    So she simply scowled and raised her right servo to aim her energy weapon at the net. “We will fight to the finish, here and now,” she said. “And we will have no distractions, and no interruptions.”


    With that, she fired, and it was a direct hit. Prowl immediately realized her target, and yanked Sari upward in his hand, yet Nightbird anticipated this. She had switched her aim at the last split-second, and Sari screamed as a bolt of energy erupted through the net. She was techno-organic, and thus more susceptible to energy attacks, although her systems would be able to repair/regenerate.


    “Sari!” Prowl exclaimed, and shifted himself so that Sari was held protectively in his arms. Then he turned and growled at Nightbird, his blue visor flashing.


    “Yes,” Nightbird practically purred. “Let your anger fuel your actions and your power!” And now I will have you to myself, without any outside interference, she thought.


    With that she pressed a control on her waist, and the energy net shut down. Then, wasting no time, Prowl took out one of his golden stars and sliced through the netting with his free hand—the servo that wasn’t holding Sari—then he hastily grabbed Dreamscreamer as he fell through the netting, preventing her from falling to the ground. He then landed gracefully on his feet, and crouched in a defensive stance.


    Nightbird raised an optical ridge. Indeed he was a smooth one. He was angry, and he was also afraid for the safety of his comrades; this she could tell. But still he was in control. The swipes he’d taken at the netting had still been very precise, and very sure. And right now he was completely still, never taking his optics off her, and he looked ready for anything.


    Nightbird took a couple of steps back, and spread her arms. “Leave them there,” she said. She then gestured at herself. “Let us do this.”


    Prowl shook his head, although he did gently set Dreamscreamer down on the ground, and placed Sari down next to her. Then he turned his full attention back to Nightbird. “No,” he said. “I don’t want to fight you. We can—”


    Prowl only had enough time to gasp as the blur that was Nightbird suddenly shot toward him, her foot catching him in the chest and knocking him flat against the ground. She then jumped off of him in the very next instant, flipped head over heels and twisted to land just behind him, ready to deliver a blow to his head.


    However Prowl was faster, grabbing her foot and giving her leg a twist. She staggered but sent her fist flying, connecting it firmly with his face. Prowl yelped when he heard a sickening crack, and realized that his visor had just been smashed up.


    This was confirmed when his blue visor fell from his face, landing on the ground at his feet with a quiet clatter. Nightbird yanked herself away from him and flipped backward, landing in a crouch several feet away—although her optics quickly locked onto his face, then she glanced down at the visor, and back at his face again.


    Neither of them moved. Prowl, keeping his optics on Nightbird, slowly reached down and picked up his visor. It was nearly cracked in two, plus it was dented and had cracks all through it. Determining it as useless, he chose to discard it, tossing it aside.


    Nightbird’s optics remained locked on his face, and she seemed to be looking at him with thoughtful calculation, and perhaps a bit of shock.


    Prowl’s optics, beneath his visor, were apparently red. As red as a Decepticon’s optics.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Oil Slick had walked some distance away before stopping and leaning against a large boulder, trying to think. He was debating something in his processor, whether he should just leave everything be, or actually try to do something.


    However, one piece of logic finally won out. If something had indeed told him that Nightbird was going to die—maybe even fate itself—then he already knew the answer for Nightbird. And he could simply tell her.


    Even if she never forgive him for interfering, even if she did not believe him… he felt this was the right thing to do. He had to go and help her.


    So he turned and, transforming into his vehicle mode, he sped off across the planet’s surface, eager to help his friend before she got herself killed.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Sentinel’s brilliant plan had only one flaw, but it was the biggest mistake he could have possibly made. He had completely underestimated Megatron and the other Decepticons, although perhaps he shouldn’t have, especially considering there were so many of them onboard. There were Megatron, Shockwave and Lugnut, plus all of Team Char onboard.


    It wasn’t long before Jetfire and Jetstorm were recaptured and put back into the brig, despite their best efforts.


    Nevertheless, Sentinel tried to continue with his objective. If nothing else, perhaps he could do one final thing for the Autobots, as a way to make up for what he’d done. Only problem was that he was still trying to figure out a way to sabotage the engines. A task which wasn’t going very well.


    Then finally, he made one fatal mistake. As he was approaching the engine room, he did not notice the Decepticon Shockwave coming up behind him.


    Without hesitation, Shockwave fired at Sentinel, hitting him square in the back.


    Sentinel let out a pained yelp as he flew forward, his face smashing into the wall as he slid down to the floor. Then Shockwave fired again, and again, making certain he was too damaged to get up.


    “Ah,” Shockwave said as he approached, holding his weapon up high, “if it isn’t Sentinel, my dear old mentor who taught me back in the Academy.” Shockwave chuckled slightly. “It seems we do have something in common in some ways, although it doesn’t matter. Megatron has ordered for your immediate termination, since you’ve proven yourself to be untrustworthy.”


    Sentinel tried to speak, but he found that his vocalizer was damaged, so he couldn’t get a word out. He struggled to move, but a heavy foot that belonged to Shockwave pinned him down. The blue Autobot then heard the whine of an energy weapon charging, and he knew that Shockwave was about to fire.


    Sentinel Prime was about to die. And he knew it.


    Time seemed to slow down for him as he lay there, helpless and immobile. He couldn’t even speak, and he could barely move a servo. He felt his body fluids leaking out onto the floor, and he knew that he’d already received heavy damage to his body. And he could not even speak. He couldn’t even try to barter for his life at all.


    As the whine of the energy weapon reached an even higher pitch, Sentinel had only one last thought, as images of Optimus, Elita 1 (and her mutated self, BlackArachnia), Ultra Magnus, Megatron, flashes of bots he’d worked with, and trained—and his last thought was:


    What… a pathetic waste…


    Energy erupted from the mouth of Shockwave’s weapon, although he was heard and then felt, not seen. Sentinel felt pain erupt through his circuitry, then his optics and life force faded. His spark dimmed within his chassis, then winked out completely.


    0o0o0o0o0


    “What are you…?” Nightbird exclaimed, trying to recover from her shock. “Are you a Decepticon?”


    “No,” Prowl said, perhaps a bit too quickly and a bit too firmly. Frankly, that was none of her business, and he hadn’t intended to let her or anyone else even see his real optics. And he certainly didn’t feel like explaining himself to her.


    Was it really any of her business, that he had actually been a Decepticon protoform that had an Autobot spark placed within? In truth, his protoform had been part of a new assembly line of Decepticons, all of which had been taken by the Autobots during a raid. And thus, each of those protoforms—including Prowl—had each been given a blue visor to cover up their natural, red optics.


    Prowl was no Decepticon, and his spark was not that of a Decepticon. But his optics behind his visor always served as a reminder of his true builders.


    “But,” Nightbird stammered, “your optics—”


    “It is none of your concern,” Prowl snipped.


    Nightbird seemed taken aback. “But I need to know,” she finally said.


    “Why?”


    Growling slightly, Nightbird blurted, “Because it’s very important for me to know. In fact it has to do with the reason why I’m fighting you.”


    Prowl narrowed his fiery read optics. It was actually a somewhat intimidating sight, although Nightbird did not flinch or take her optics off of him.


    “If you tell me about why you are doing this,” he said slowly, “perhaps I will explain why I have red optics.” He didn’t really want to, but seeing as she had already seen them, there wouldn’t be any harm in telling her. Besides, he wanted to know the reason why she was fighting him.


    Nightbird sighed, then decided that if she wanted to know, she would have to comply. And so she began to talk, telling him everything that she’d explained to Oil Slick prior to coming to this planetoid.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Oil Slick had to home in on Prowl’s energy signature, since both himself and Nightbird were using energy dampeners. But as soon as he was within several hundred feet of Prowl’s whereabouts, he transformed and went the rest of the distance on foot.


    However, he was mildly surprised to see Prowl and Nightbird talking instead of fighting… although something else took him completely off-guard as well. Prowl’s optics were red, like a Decepticon’s!


    Curious and completely baffled, Oil Slick ducked behind the rock formation, not having been spotted. He proceeded to watch… and listen, silently


    0o0o0o0o0o


    Nightbird finished telling Prowl everything that she’d told Oil Slick, and Prowl was silent for a long moment. He was simply absorbing everything he’d been told. And he remained silent until Nightbird grew impatient and prompted him for an answer.


    And thus, Prowl told her the truth. He told her that his protoform had been meant to be a small Decepticon design, possibly even intended to infiltrate the Autobots or serve as a spy, but he’d been taken by the Autobots and had had an Autobot spark placed into him. He never knew his creators, or the parents of his spark, though.


    “So you are truly Autobot then,” Nightbird said, stroking her chin thoughtfully. And yet he was still partially Decepticon in some ways. However, his allegiance was to the Autobots, and that was why she was out here right now. To test herself against someone who’d stayed with the Autobots.


    “Let us finish this,” she said firmly, before Prowl could say anything.


    However, before she could make a move, she heard someone call out her name, “Nightbird!”


    Both Prowl’s and Nightbird’s heads turned in unison, to see Oil Slick come out from behind the boulder.


    “I told you to stay away, and not to interfere!” Nightbird snapped, her optics blazing with anger.


    “I know, but I have a good reason to intervene,” Oil Slick said, holding up his hands as he moved forward. He cast a wary glance toward Prowl, although part of him seemed nervous about Nightbird hitting him or something as well.


    “Nightbird, I don’t know what it was,” Oil Slick said slowly, “but it’s like… I received a thought or a deep sense within my spark, that… you will die in this fight.”


    Nightbird blinked, then narrowed her optics. “Why are you telling me this?” she asked in a barely audible voice.


    “Because, now that I know this, you know have to fight him, because now we both know you will lose,” Oil Slick stated, hoping she would understand.


    A silence fell between them, and only the faint noises of their circuitry operating and their internal hardware humming could be heard. Nightbird glanced at Prowl, she glanced at Dreamscreamer, then at Oil Slick, back at Prowl, then glanced down at the ground. She seemed to be lost in thought.


    In truth she felt a bit cheated, perhaps. If she was going to die, she would have simply allowed her fate to go ahead and take its course. Then again, perhaps fate had different ideas. Why did something tell Oil Slick this, though? When she looked at his face, into his optics, she could see no falsehood, only honesty. And she knew how to read Oil Slick better than she knew how to read anyone else.


    So this made her feel cheated in another way. Apparently fate, or something, had chosen to tell him this, and it had caused him to intervene and tell her, thus preventing it from happening. Whatever it was though, why couldn’t it have told her directly?


    “I am confused,” Nightbird finally said, in spite of herself. She hated the fact that she’d actually said that aloud, but the words were already out. There was nothing she could do about it, now.


    “I think… we should talk,” Prowl stated simply.
     
  16. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 16


    Optimus Magnus took his seat within the council room. Over the course of the past few months, he felt that he had indeed gotten used too many things, including the wings on his back as well as the fact that he now had the Magnus hammer. Not only that, but the hammer seemed to have accepted him pretty well, and it felt like an extension of his own arm nowadays.


    But the one thing Optimus still could not get used to was just how busy he was nowadays. When he was at the Academy, he’d spent a lot of time studying and training, and then when he was in charge of a space bridge repair crew, that had been extensive work but sometimes more boring than anything else. He’d gotten his first doses of adventure and excitement on that fateful day when he and his crew wound up on Earth, and it seemed like it was just one thing after another since then.


    He firmly believed that the Allspark had chosen to use his time on Earth to prepare him for being Magnus. It was said that the Allspark existed both physically and spiritually, and now that its physical identity was shattered, it only existed spiritually, except for the small shards and fragments, of course.


    Still, at times he was so stressed and taxed with all of the different issues at his attention, he wondered if he was really cut out for this.


    Better than Sentinel being here, he thought, and gave the handle on the Magnus hammer a gentle, protective squeeze at the thought. The mere thought of that traitor still out there with Megatron made Optimus very angry. He couldn’t help but wonder if, perhaps, he’d made a mistake in helping Sentinel so much, and in keeping his mouth shut for so long.


    But that was irrelevant right now; they could only focus on the present and determine the next course of action.


    Not only that but they had to decide what to do about the Decepticons they had just captured and brought in.


    “I think the best thing to do would be send reinforcements to Prowl’s location,” Optimus stated, addressing all of the Council members at once. “He’s a good bot and he can handle himself, and we all know from Jazz’s report that Megatron apparently feels threatened by the ninjas. We believe that Megatron himself may be on his way to Prowl’s whereabouts right now—a remote planet some distance from here. We could use one of the transwarp gates to send a team to his location.”


    “We should be able to spare some soldiers,” Alpha Trion said with a nod. “And they should be instructed to keep an optic out for the Autobots who have presumably been captured.”


    Optimus knew he was referring to Jetfire and Jetstorm. He nodded. “Hopefully they are still online,” he commented. “And I think we should get a team together and send them out there at once.”


    No one on the council disagreed.


    0o0o0o0o0o0o0


    A silence had fallen between Prowl, Oil Slick and Nightbird. It seemed that none of them knew quite what to say, and none of them moved.


    Finally, Prowl broke the silence. “Nightbird, can you undo what you did to Dreamscreamer?”


    Nightbird blinked, as though snapping out of a trance. “Not… easily,” she finally said.


    Prowl frowned. “What do you mean?” He cast a glance behind him, at where both Dreamscreamer and Sari still lay on the ground, unconscious and immobile. He was, however, confident that Sari would awaken in due time, since she was only suffering from a temporary shock/overload. Dreamscreamer, however, was another matter altogether.


    Nightbird seemed reluctant to respond, and with her faceplate still in place her expression was almost complete unreadable, except for her optics. And she wasn’t quite looking at anyone.


    What was she thinking? Prowl wondered to himself as his frown deepened. Was she feeling any regret or remorse for what she’d done, or was she hesitating for another reason?


    As if reading his mind, Nightbird shook her head ever so slightly. “I have no regrets about anything I’ve had to do to get to where I am now,” she said slowly. “I must come by my answers in my own way, even if it means sacrificing an innocent life in the process.”


    She turned and looked toward Dreamscreamer thoughtfully. “At this point the virus has most likely reached the terminal stages,” she said. “Physically Dreamscreamer is fine, but she will never recover mentally. The only thing that can be done for her is to completely wipe her memory core, including the backup hard drive, then re-educate her.” Nightbird cocked her head. “She’s still a very young femme; it shouldn’t be too difficult for her.”


    Prowl’s optics narrowed into thin slits of red light as he absorbed this news. “So she was just a pawn for you to use to get to me, and you felt you could throw her life away, just like that?”


    Nightbird’s optics flashed. “I will achieve my goals in any way I deem fit,” she said coolly.


    “Even when it leads you to a dead end, like it has this time?” Prowl snipped.


    “It is a dead end, but at the same time it is not,” Nightbird said. “I simply have to meditate upon everything that has happened, and determine my next course of action.”


    “Nightbird, you cannot figure everything out completely,” Prowl said, spreading his hands apart to emphasize his words. “You would have to be the Allspark to reach the level of understanding it has on life, and fate. It took me a long time to realize that, but now I have. Do you understand?”


    Nightbird studied him silently for a long moment.


    Oil Slick, who had been silent up until this point, made a throat-clearing sound. “Megatron is on his way,” he said aloud. It wasn’t a threat, but perhaps sort of a reminder for Nightbird, or perhaps a mere statement of fact.


    “I know,” Nightbird replied automatically, although in truth she had completely forgotten about that until he’d mentioned it. In some ways she wasn’t sure what to do now. She hadn’t expected to be so confused right now; she’d expected to still be dueling with Prowl, and either come out on top or be killed in the process. Now she wasn’t sure what to do.


    “Actually I think he has just arrived,” Prowl commented out loud. The others looked at him, and saw him gazing skyward. When Oil Slick and Nightbird glanced up themselves, they also saw what he saw; Omega Supreme had just arrived, and was looming above their heads in the sky.


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Optimus Magnus had reviewed the soldiers they had available on Cybertron, and selected the ones he’d felt were the best. The team would be lead by Rodimus, who’d thankfully recovered from what Oil Slick had done to him all those months ago.


    Once the team was picked out and sent on their way to the nearest Transwarp gate, Optimus knew there was nothing much he could do until he heard back from them. A small part of him almost missed the days when he could afford to go off as well, but he now had his responsibilities on Cybertron as the Magnus.


    Plus he had something he needed to attend to as soon as he had the chance. Something of a… personal matter.


    The Council was currently in recess, in order to give everyone some time to relax and get some energon, or to take a quick walk or to go for a quick recharge. Once the break was over, they were going to discuss the captured Decepticons a bit more, although Optimus knew that most of them were probably already destined for the stockade.


    Part of Optimus hoped that they wouldn’t get sent there, though. He’d never been there personally, but he’d seen reports, plus he had seen how insane Wasp was after spending time there.


    He went to his office after leaving the council chambers in order to check his messages. He had every intention of going to the holding cells after stopping by his office, because there was someone he felt he needed to speak to. But the messages he’d received distracted him, at least momentarily.


    He’d just received word that Rodimus and his team had transwarped to Prowl’s coordinates, and that Omega Supreme, along with Megatron and several Decepticons, were there as well. The message ended rather abruptly with, “Will give a status report as soon as possible.”


    Part of Optimus sent a silent prayer to Primus in the hopes that either he, or perhaps even the Allspark, were listening and would lend them aide. Once again he regretted not being there with them, and for a moment the old Optimus Prime emerged within him, briefly contemplating going there to help them out anyway, but he quickly shoved the temptation away. He was a Magnus now. He couldn’t simply go off and do whatever he wanted.


    Then he checked out the second message that had been left on his communication terminal, and this one made his optics widen to nearly twice their normal size. This message was from Ratchet, someone whom he hadn’t really heard much from for the past few months.


    In truth, Ratchet had been quite busy both in spending time with Arcee and with various medical duties he’d been keeping himself occupied with. On top of that, it seemed that Ratchet was tutoring some young medic wannabe’s on the basics of bot first aide and generalized medical treatment. Arcee on the other hand had chosen to devote her time to learning about everything she’d missed during the millennia she’d been ill, and so it seemed that, in a manner of speaking at least, she’d gone back to learning when she had once been a schoolteacher.


    It was also fairly common knowledge by this point that Ratchet was allowing Arcee to stay in his home, and that they were spending much of their free time together. Optimus was fully aware of all of this, but the news that he’d just received in his new message from Ratchet was what shocked him so much.


    The message read thus:


    Hey there, Optimus. Long time no speak. I guess I just wanted you to be the first to know that Arcee and I have bonded, and when I gave her a checkup today, I found out that she’s carrying a sparkling. Imagine that, me a father, when I’m probably old enough to be a sparkling’s Great, Great Grandfather. But we’re both very happy, in fact we couldn’t be happier.


    Feel free to stop by and visit us when you have the time—if you ever have the time. I know that being a Magnus takes a lot out of you. If nothing else, we’ll come see you when the Sparkling is ‘born’, to borrow human terminology.


    Take care of yourself, Optimus.”


    For several moments, Optimus simply stared at the words on his screen. Then a slow smile crept across his features, and he typed a reply message to send back to Ratchet:


    Congratulations! I didn’t even know you were planning to bond, but I can’t think of anyone else better for either of you. I’m very happy for you and I know the new sparkling is in wonderful hands. I’ll see if I can come by later. Optimus out.”


    Optimus skimmed over the message he’d just typed, feeling that it was a bit too… simplistic in some ways. It felt like there was more he’d wanted to say, but what else could he say in writing? Besides some things were better to say in person rather than in text, plus he still had a busy day ahead of him. So he sent the message, knowing that he would see them in person as soon as possible.


    Once that was done he checked out the third and final message on his computer, one that made him groan inwardly. It read simply, “Magnus, any idea where I can find batteries for my media player? Thanks.” And it was signed “Bumblebee”.


    In truth, Optimus had no idea where to find batteries for his media player, although he figured Bee might be able to find something suitable if he bothered to look around. Just because Optimus was Magnus now, it didn’t mean he was suddenly the ultimate resource for anything and everything, and he had more important things to deal with than finding fresh batteries for a small Earth device.


    And so, Optimus left that message unanswered. It wasn’t like his break would last forever anyway, and he still had something he wanted to do. And he was going to go do it right now.


    So he left his office, transformed into his vehicle mode and began to drive toward the building where the Decepticons were being held. He wanted to talk to BlackArachnia.
     
  17. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 17


    Jazz wasn’t fully aware of how long he’d been lying there on the ground, helpless and immobile. He was aware, though, of the fact that his armor plating was corroded, and all of his joints were locked up and immobile. He was effectively paralyzed and he knew that his companions were as well.


    His visor had some crusted rust around the edges, but thankfully he could still see. His visor had not rusted over because it was made of a different material, one that could not corrode like the rest of his body. Plus his audio sensors still worked, so he was able to detect it when Nightbird left the area, and then Oil Slick left them a while later.


    Jazz thought it was a little odd that their Decepticon captors chose to leave them all alone like this, especially when it seemed that neither one was coming back. But nevertheless, he knew that it was a situation he could take advantage of.


    Time to jam, he thought to himself, cyber ninja style. With that he began hum quietly, and his hum began to vibrate within his vocalizer as he focused more and more.


    He was focusing on the Allspark fragment in Starscream’s forehead. If the energy of it could regenerate Blurr and bring him back online, surely it could undo the effects of rust. And as Jazz continue to concentrate, his frown deepening as he did so, a faint groan from Starscream told him that he might be succeeding…


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    “Megatron is coming,” Oil Slick repeated. He hadn’t forgotten anything that had transpired here, and the irony of having been trained by an Autobot who’d been made from a Decepticon protoform wasn’t lost to him. But he needed to find out what Nightbird was going to do, so he could act accordingly.


    She was his life, after all. In fact… he’d never truly realized how much she meant to him until he had felt it in his spark that she was going to die. And he was very grateful he’d been able to prevent that, because… he suddenly realized that he didn’t know how to live without her.


    Nightbird didn’t answer him; she wasn’t even looking at him. In fact she seemed to be looking at nothing in particular or perhaps everything at once.


    She snapped back to awareness when Oil Slick grabbed her by the shoulders and whirled her around to face him, forcing her to look into his own optics. “Answer me!” he said. “What do you want to do?”


    Nightbird looked a bit taken aback and even Oil Slick was a little started by his own actions. But he really wanted to know what she had in mind, especially since this had been such a bit moment for her previously.


    “I want to be alone!” Nightbird finally blurted out. “I am confused and I need time alone to think.” With that she broke free of his grasp and ran.


    Oil Slick hesitated only a brief instant before taking off after her, following.


    Prowl looked after both of them just long enough to make certain they were running away and wouldn’t be coming back. Once he was satisfied he wouldn’t have to worry about them—at least for the moment—he quickly rushed over to Dreamscreamer and Sari.


    The red-haired girl was just starting to awaken. She moaned softly as her head moved and her eyelids flickered. “Ugh,” she groaned, trying to get bearings. “What happened?”


    “I need to get you out of here,” Prowl told her, gently scooping her up into his hand. Then, holding out his free arm, he carefully leaned forward and scooped up the limp form of Dreamscreamer, putting her over his shoulder. He didn’t really want to carry her like that, especially since her head would dangle a bit if he had to run. But since he also had to carry Sari, he had no choice.


    He glanced up toward the looming figure of Omega Supreme, and saw that the ship was slowly coming down for a landing, nearby. He realized he had no choice; he had to make a run for it and get the femmes to safety. Once he had them somewhere safe, he could decide what to do then.


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Rodimus and his team of six arrived safely on the planet’s surface, and the first thing they found was the shuttle that Prowl had used. Sure enough, when they checked it over, it was the very vessel he’d used; it had the same registry and whatnot.


    Next Rodimus scanned the area using the shuttle’s own sensors, and picked up multiple signals. Rodimus was reluctant to allow his team to split up, but since one of their objectives was to find the missing Autobots, he felt he had no choice.


    So with that, he ordered everyone to split up, forming three smaller teams, each one going off in a different direction. Rodimus—who had two bots with him—ordered everyone to stay close to together after they split up, and that he didn’t want anyone to be alone for even a second. With that, they split up and took off.


    0o0o0o0o0o0o0


    Starscream felt a sensation that was both wonderful and mildly painful. However he was getting used to pain; he’d been blown up and shot at several times already, after all. He’d come to accept pain as just another part of being immortal. Even though his body would always be regenerating itself and would stay alive, due to the Allspark fragment in his head, well, he would always have to put up with the owies.


    The rust seemed to melt away and his armor regenerated. Once that was over he slowly pulled himself up to his feet, still feeling the after-effects of everything. He groaned and placed a servo against his forehead, glancing around.


    It was then that he saw Jazz and Blurr lying there on the ground. Jazz was covered in rust and immobile, although Blurr looked particularly unfortunate, being covered in rust plus having a pair of stasis cuffs on him and having a mouth clamp in place.


    “Hmmm,” Starscream purred thoughtfully as he observed the scene and tried to determine his next course of action.


    Well, on the one hand, Starscream was not stupid. Megatron was not going to allow him back into the Decepticon ranks under his leadership. And Megatron had probably alerted every Decepticon out there about Starscream, especially since the Decepticon leader had once placed a bounty on Starscream.


    I wonder if that bounty is still in effect, Starscream thought to himself, then quickly brushed it away. He had more important things to worry about.


    Well, for the time being he decided that it was simply best to continue helping the Autobots. They were the closest things he had to allies at the moment, after all; it wouldn’t be good to just leave them here.


    “Somehow this Allspark fragment cured me,” Starscream murmured, then narrowed his optics as he turned to regard Jazz. Had he heard the white mech humming just before—and perhaps during—the regeneration of his armor, when the rust was fading away? Indeed, Starscream was somewhat aware of the cyber ninjas’ unique abilities…


    Curious, Starscream decided to try a little experiment. He knelt down beside Jazz and whispered quietly into his audio sensor, “Alright, Autobot, listen to me closely… I think I know how you got that rust off me. So here… pull your little trick and cure yourself, too.” With that, Starscream leaned forward and leaned his forehead against Jazz’s forehead, allowing the Allspark fragment to touch the Autobot’s rusted armor plating.


    And after a moment, Starscream began to feel a bit stupid and a bit embarrassed. Frankly, this entire situation felt ridiculous, and if anyone happened to come along and see Starscream bent over Jazz, pressing his face against the Autobot ninja’s face, they might think…


    “EWWWWW!!!!” Starscream yelled at the thought, in spite of himself, and it effectively deafened Jazz’s audios momentarily. However, Starscream kept himself completely still, keeping the Allspark fragment in his head pressed against the Autobot’s head. The Decepticon simply kept wincing and hoping that no one would come along and see this, even as Jazz recovered from Starscream’s, ah, scream, and began to hum softly.


    0o0o0o0o0o0o0


    Megatron knew that something was wrong. Neither Nightbird nor Oil Slick were responding, plus he could detect several Autobot energy signatures on the planet’s surface. He presumed that at least one of them was probably the cyber ninja, Prowl.


    So what had happened? Had Nightbird and Oil Slick failed to take him down? Until he had data that suggested otherwise, he would have to go by the assumption that they had indeed failed.


    “I still do have a couple of bargaining chips, though,” Megatron murmured to himself. He made a gesture toward his minions. “Bring me the two Autobot prisoners, as well as the dead Autobot’s body. I wish to make a demonstration, and… offer an exchange.”


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    When Optimus Magnus arrived at the holding cells, he transformed into robot mode and walked right into the building complex. He spoke briefly with the receptionist, inquiring as to which cell BlackArachnia was being held in. The young femme told him she was in cell thirty-one, four halls down, so he thanked her and followed her directions.


    When he arrived at the cell, he saw the familiar blue, black and gold colored femme sitting on the edge of her berth, within a small cell that was completely empty—except for her and the berth, that is. She was sitting with her legs crossed and her arms folded, staring off into space. However, she shifted her seat a bit when she noticed Optimus just outside the force-field.


    “So you’re the new top notch of Cybertron now, hmm?” BlackArachnia purred as she looked him up and down. “Complete with the Magnus hammer, and a new pair of wings.” She rose and moved toward the doorway, as close as she could without actually touching it. “Not bad,” she said as she stroked her chin thoughtfully.


    “Look, I came here to talk,” Optimus began.


    BlackArachnia cut him off. “Talk? About what? The fact that you let them throw me in here already says it all.”


    “Elita,” Optimus said, intentionally calling her by the name he once knew her by, “you are a Decepticon, so we had no choice but to treat you like one. Especially after all the things you’ve done.”


    Again, she interrupted. “It was better for me to join the ‘cons. I already told you that I know where I stand with them. You and Sentinel left me behind to die, and even if you did bring me back, they would have just turned me into an experiment and sliced me open—or done who knows what else to me!” Her voice had risen to a shrill shriek, and if there hadn’t been a force-field between them, Optimus was certain she may have slapped him or injected him with venom.


    Optimus had taken a step back, but now he sighed sadly. “Look, I think we’ve all done things we regret, including me,” he said slowly. “But then again, I don’t even know about you. Do you actually regret anything you’ve done in your quest to become fully bot again?”


    BlackArachnia opened her mouth, then closed it. “What would it possibly matter if I did regret anything?” she asked.


    Optimus narrowed his optics. “Think about it,” he said. “You got left behind and became a techno-organic. Elita,”—he said her former name so tenderly it caused her to grimace—“I know it’s been hard, and I wouldn’t expect you to simply forget everything that happened and blindly trust me—or anyone else—again. But what exactly were you planning to do if you ever became all bot again? Stay with the Decepticons? Try and rejoin the Autobots? What?”


    She made no reply, and Optimus shook his head and went on. “You should have thought about that. You can’t just do all the things you’ve done and then expect to rejoin the Autobots like nothing happened, Elita.”


    “STOP CALLING ME THAT!” BlackArachnia shrieked and slammed her fists against the force-field, ignoring the mild shock that went through her systems as a result. Optimus took a hasty step back, and BlackArachnia backed away as well, clutching at herself and breathing heavily. She seemed to be panting as well as fuming.


    Finally, after she recovered a bit, she spoke in a quiet voice, and there was a hint of a tremor in it. “You don’t know what it’s like. To be left for dead, and then to feel like the only place you can turn to is the Decepticons. They considered me a freak too, you know. But at least I was useful to them, so they let me have a room and have energon to eat. They even allowed me to hunt for organics so I could drain their blood, because my organic half needs nourishment too.”


    She half-sat, half-crouched down in the corner of the cell, partially hiding her face as she continued speaking. “You don’t know what it’s like. To have to go hunting for food you never needed to eat back while you were normal. To have everyone look at you in disgust if they watch you eat, and feeling like you have to eat in private unless you’re just drinking energon like everyone else.”


    She shivered ever so slightly, then went on. “You have no idea what it’s like, to have to… expose of smelly waste in a way that no bot has to. It doesn’t matter what I would have done. I’d still be a disgusting freak.”


    “BlackArachnia,” Optimus said when she fell silent, deciding it was better to use her current name, “unfortunately some bots—like Sentinel—will not accept you, but I am sure that some would have. And I’m sure that some bots would have protected you from being treated differently.” He placed a servo on his chest. “I would have.”


    She looked at him with skepticism. “Really?” she asked flatly. Her tone strongly suggested she did not believe him.


    “Really,” Optimus said sincerely.


    BlackArachnia narrowed her eyes. “Be that as it may, what happens to me now?”


    “Well, I suppose that partially depends on you,” Optimus said with a shrug. “I can’t make any definite decisions without speaking to the council first. And I will be due for a meeting with them soon, to discuss with to do with you and the other ‘cons that have been captured. But tell me, El—BlackArachnia—what do you want?”


    BlackArachnia growled and turned away. “You know what I want. I want to be normal again.”


    “Then maybe we can somehow work toward that.” Optimus sighed and moved as closely as he could to the cell door without touching the force field. “Look, let’s just take this one step at a time, okay? Let us see if we can find a way to safely purge your organic half. Then we can just go from there.”


    BlackArachnia was silent for a long moment. Then finally she turned to look at him, and she said, “I suppose it’s the only good offer I have right now.” She shrugged, almost apathetically. “Do your best… or worst.” She then scooted around so that her back was facing him.


    “Right, then… I’ll see what I can do.” Optimus turned and walked away, knowing he was already going to be late for the council meeting, but he didn’t really care. He just hoped that maybe he’d actually accomplished something here.


    0o0o0o0o0o0o0


    Jazz was almost finished causing the rust to melt away from his armor, and getting his armor back to normal.


    Starscream was incredibly stiff, not liking being in this position for any longer than he had to. He hoped that he would be able to move soon.


    It was right at that moment that Starscream’s worst nightmare came true; he heard the sound of approaching footsteps, and then the sound of someone clearing their throat.


    Starscream glanced up, then gasped in embarrassment—none other than the Autobot Prowl was standing there, and the fact that he had fiery red optics only caught a portion of the Decepticon’s attention; he was too busy feeling embarrassed about how… this probably looked.


    Starscream yelped and jumped to his feet, looking both sheepish and very indignant. Jazz quickly but casually pushed himself up off the ground, now fully recovered. Just as casually, the white-mech ninja brushed dust off out of his armor.


    “That… wasn’t what it looked like!” Starscream spat. He then turned and started to stomp off.


    “Wait,” Jazz said. “You need to use your Allspark fragment to help Blurr, too.”


    Scowling, Starscream turned and looked at the other Autobot lying on the ground. “Oh, must I?” he asked, throwing up his arms in exasperation.


    “Yes,” Jazz firmly.


    Prowl turned away, turning his full attention to Dreamscreamer and Sari, and engaged the small, red-haired femme in quiet conversation. Jazz leaned casually against the nearby boulder and folded his arms. “I won’t look,” the white mech said, then began to whistle casually.


    Starscream was furious at being teased, but nonetheless he knew that nothing would get done until he did his job, so to speak. So he bent over and pressed his forehead against Blurr’s forehead. The Allspark chip that Starscream had pushed into Blurr’s armor earlier then reacted with the one in the Decepticon’s forehead, thus creating a regeneration effect that began to cure the rust.


    And then, Rodimus and his two companions, Red Alert and Cliffjumper, happened to come across them just in time to see the newly cured Blurr with Starscream leaning over him and touching his faceplate with his own.


    Needless to say, Starscream had definitely had more than his fair share of embarrassment that day. He was simply grateful that none of the Decepticons had seen any of this. And he dearly hoped they would never, EVER, hear about it. At all. Ever.
     
  18. OP
    Crystal

    Crystal OMG Member

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    Chapter 18


    Oil Slick was relieved when Nightbird finally stopped running, because it allowed him to catch up with her. He knew that he could have transformed into his vehicle mode at any time, but since she did not have a vehicle mode, he considered it more… fair to go after her on foot.


    “Nightbird,” he said as he came up behind her. He tried to place his hands gently on her shoulders, but she shrugged him off and moved away.


    “Nightbird,” he said again, holding up his hands, “please tell me what is wrong.” In some ways, those words sounded stupid and patronizing; he knew what was wrong, but he wanted to hear her say it.


    He’d never, in all his existence, cared for someone’s well-being as much as he did Nightbird. But nevertheless, here he was right now, standing behind her and hoping with all of his spark that she would open up and tell him what was going on inside that processor of hers, so that maybe… he could help.


    The femme was silent for a few long moments. When she finally spoke, she did not look at him but kept staring straight ahead. “I am confused, I told you that already.”


    Suddenly, it clicked in Oil Slick’s processor. “Because you thought you were on the right path, but fate told you differently,” he reasoned out loud. “So now you don’t have any idea what you’re going to do next.”


    The only reply Nightbird gave was a slight nod. Anyone else may well have missed it, but Oil Slick knew her well. He knew her better than anyone else.


    “I don’t think anything happens without a reason,” Oil Slick went on.


    “It feels like fate changed its mind at the last minute,” Nightbird said in a voice that was barely audible.


    “No… I don’t think of it like that,” Oil Slick shook his head, moving up to stand beside her. However, he still refrained from touching her. “I think that you were simply given new information.”


    Now she looked at him. “That is what I don’t understand.”


    “What do you mean?”


    She frowned behind her face mask. “I feel cheated, because it seems like I was lead down a certain path, and I was so sure of myself, then it seems I found out differently. Not only would I have been killed by that Autobot—someone who I thought was misguided and even weak—but apparently you were told this information. I was not. I feel cheated, and I feel like I was lead astray.”


    “Perhaps you were simply operating on incorrect information, or false assumptions,” Oil Slick suggested. “Anyone can make a mistake.”


    “I was so sure, though…”


    Oil Slick found himself placing a hand on her shoulder. This time though she did not shove him away, so he leaned closer to her and whispered into her ear, “Maybe… there is another reason why this happened.”


    “What do you mean?” Her optics flickered curiously.


    “Do you think maybe… we are meant to be together?” Oil Slick gently took her hand into his, then cupped it with the hand he had placed on her shoulder a moment ago. “Nightbird, I… I have felt differently ever since I felt you were going to die.”


    Nightbird attempted to draw back, but he slipped an arm around her waist and pulled her close. He then lowered the clear dome-helmet he had up around his head and leaned in toward her, pressing his forehead against hers. “Nightbird… I love you.”


    Her optics widened. She and Oil Slick had exchanged words of affection, plus they had shared a berth on numerous occasions. But they’d made no plans to spark-bond, nor had they discussed it or thought about it much. And this was the first time Nightbird had ever heard one of them actually say the words “I love you”.


    “Don’t,” Nightbird said, shaking her head and attempting to pull away. “I am too confused, and I need to figure things out on my own.”


    Oil Slick held onto her firmly, wrapping his other arm around her and restraining her in a tight embrace. “You wouldn’t have found out you were going to die at Prowl’s hand if I hadn’t told you,” he pointed out. “You can’t do things alone anymore, you… need me.” His mouth leaned in close to hers. “And I need you, Nightbird.”


    Again she attempted to pull away, but he held onto her. She then struggled against him, but he wouldn’t release her, so they both ended up tumbling down onto the ground, with Oil Slick on top of Nightbird.


    Oil Slick found that Nightbird had ceased her struggles, though he didn’t move at all. Instead he looked deep into her optics. He then grabbed her chin so that she couldn’t look away.


    “Look me in the optics,” he said firmly to her. “You’re not alone anymore, whether you like it or not. No matter what happens, your decisions affect me now, too. So are you going to throw me aside like you threw Dreamscreamer aside, and were willing to kill Prowl for if you could? Am I just an interface partner that you shared a berth with, or am I something more?”


    He moved his face closer to hers, his spark pulsing within his chassis. “If you truly don’t love me, or think I can just be thrown aside, tell me right now. I will then go and you will never see or hear from me again. But look me in the optics if you wish to say that, and tell me that from the bottom of your spark.”


    Nightbird did not even try to look away from him. Was it his imagination, or was the pulse of her spark quickening a bit as well?


    Several seconds passed. Soon a full cycle passed.


    “You can’t say it, can you?” Oil Slick said. “I mean more to you than a recharge-partner, or a simple comrade.”


    Nightbird’s optics winked on and off, and she made sort of a gasping sound. “I…” She gulped. “I love you, too.”


    Oil Slick felt his spark soar within his chassis, and he found himself pressing his lips against hers, kissing her passionately. Nightbird wrapped her arms around him, and he returned the embrace fiercely. Both of them kissed until they rolled over onto their sides, still snuggling each other.


    “Bond with me,” Oil Slick requested, his voice trembling slightly with emotion. “And then we will be a part of each other for the rest of our lives, and intertwine our faces.” He nuzzled his forehead against hers. “Whatever happens next, we’ll face it together.”


    Nightbird said nothing, but her optics were shining with feeling. And her next action revealed her answer; she pulled back from Oil Slick and untangled her arms from him, but this was just so she could begin to unfasten the front of her chassis.


    Oil Slick saw what she was doing and immediately began to unfasten his own chassis. They were going to spark bond, right here and now, on this dead world in the middle of nowhere.


    0o0o0o0o0o


    Optimus Magnus and the council members deliberated for quite some time on the issues of the Decepticon prisoners, but in the end they finally reached a decision. They would give all of the Decepticons a choice; either change their allegiances to that of the Autobots, or be shipped off to the stockade.


    Furthermore, Optimus had stated that he would like to have direct custody and responsibility for BlackArachnia until further notice, at least until they got her organic half purged, if they could. After some discussion, the rest of the council agreed on this.


    This assured Optimus that nothing would happen to BlackArachnia without his knowledge or consent… so long as she behaved herself, at least.


    With nothing further to discuss, Optimus and the rest of the council departed from the council chambers, and Optimus transformed into his vehicle mode. He was going to pay BlackArachnia another visit.


    And he definitely had some things to talk to her about…


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Just a few months ago, if anyone had told Starscream he would be walking alongside a troop of Autobots, ready to fight alongside them… he probably would have laughed in their face, right before blasting them across the room. And yet here he was, doing just that.


    Rodimus and Prowl walked side by side in the very front, with the dark ninja-bot carrying the limp form of Dreamscreamer in his arms. They had rendezvoused with the other two groups of Autobots and were now heading straight toward the area where Omega Supreme had landed.


    Sari was now riding on Prowl’s shoulder, with one hand resting on his shoulder mod to keep from falling off. She had recovered enough so that she could be alert, but not quite enough to walk on her own yet. Plus her jetpack was damaged, so she couldn’t use it.


    When they arrived at the shuttle which Prowl, Sari and the unconscious Dreamscreamer had arrived in, the ninja bot turned and went into the shuttle. He set Dreamscreamer down on the floor, then reached up and gently picked up Sari. He placed the red-haired femme beside the unconscious femme.


    Sari glanced up at him. “You’re not leaving me here?” she exclaimed.


    “I think it would be best,” Prowl told her, kneeling down next to her. “You are still recovering your strength, and I really need someone to stay here and look after Dreamscreamer.”


    Sari looked like she was about to protest, but Prowl held up a finger. “Sari I need you to do this,” he said. “If nothing else, do it for her. I can’t take her into danger with me, and she needs someone to be with her.”


    Sari glanced down at the unconscious femme, then sighed. “Well, okay,” she said. Then she reached up and placed a hand on his knee. “Just be careful out there, okay?”


    Prowl nodded, then rose. He turned and headed out of the shuttle, closing the door behind him.


    0o0o0o0o0o0


    Optimus arrived at the prison cell where BlackArachnia was being kept, frowning slightly as he looked at her. It seemed that she was content to sit on the floor, and she was not looking at him. However, her posture seemed a bit more… relaxed than it had been when he was there last.


    “BlackArachnia?” he addressed her gently.


    She cast him a brief glance, then resumed staring at the wall. “Let me guess,” she said flatly, “you haven’t made any progress.”


    Optimus sighed. “We haven’t had a chance to begin yet,” he told her.


    She made a “Figures!” gesture with her hand, then rested it on her knee. “I should have known. You and the other Autobots aren’t all that anxious to help me.”


    “Actually I was just in the council room, fighting to keep you out of the stockade,” Optimus informed her, narrowing his optics slightly. “You are now under my protection.”


    She snorted. “Isn’t that nice. But,” she shrugged dismissively, “better late than never I suppose.”


    Optimus chose to ignore her attitude. “We will begin to try and find a way to… make you fully bot again as soon as possible. Until then—”


    She cut him off. “As soon as possible? And when will that be, ten months from now?”


    “As soon as possible means just what I said. As soon as possible.”


    “Uh huh. Well I find it hard to believe that I could be very high on the priority list. Especially since the Autobots have so many other concerns.”


    Optimus was used to the bitter attitude she held toward Autobots, and in a way he couldn’t blame her. And yet the way she spoke of him and other Autobots disturbed him a bit. It’s as if she felt so bitter toward them that she had completely disassociated herself from them. However, it was still a good sign that part of her was giving them a chance, at least.


    Or was she? Was she simply humoring him somehow, simply because she had no other choice and nowhere to go? It wasn’t like she could escape, after all. But nevertheless, the fact that she had given him the antidote to cure Bumblebee and Prowl on Dinobot Island after she’d blackmailed him gave him some hope that she could be reached.


    Just then, an idea came to him. Actually he’d been considering talking to her about something specific in the back of his mind, it was just that he was waiting for the right time to do so.


    “What if you can’t go back to being what you were?” he asked her.


    “I knew it, you’re already thinking about giving up.”


    “No, I didn’t say that,” Optimus said, “I am just saying that there is someone I’d like you to meet, when she gets back.” I just hope she gets back okay, he found himself thinking. Part of him didn’t like Sari being out there, especially since Megatron had arrived. But he also knew she could take care of herself.


    “Unless they can help me purge my organic contamination, I don’t want to see anyone.”


    “This person is a techno-organic like yourself.”


    She glanced up, frowning. “Who? Wasp?” If that was the case, she already knew him, and she had no interest in seeing him. Besides, he’d been taken off to a different cell in a different area of the building. That suited her fine.


    “No, Sari.”


    BlackArachnia raised an optic ridge. “That kid? But she’s just a human.”


    The corners of Optimus’s mouth edged upwards. “Let’s just say she’s been through a few changes since you last saw her, and we found out she’s part Cybertronian. So she’s half organic, just like you are.”


    BlackArachnia stared at him as though he was pulling her servo.


    “Plus,” Optimus went on before she could say a word, “she’s adapted quite well to her life as a techno-organic. She still finds things to do, she makes herself useful, and she has friends. Some bots don’t like her because of what she is, but some bots do.


    “Lucky for her,” BlackArachnia muttered. “The kid is practically a sparkling, and she’s grown up on an organic world. Of course she would be used to her organic half. I used to be fully bot before this happened.”


    “My point is that Sari once believed she was fully organic, only to find out she was half Cybertronian. But she didn’t let that bring her down, she embraced who she is and accepted it.”


    BlackArachnia snorted. “From what little I observed of that kid, she was a social outcast to begin with. You and your little crew of grunts on Earth were the first real friends she had, so of course it would make her happy to find out she was more like you than she thought.” She turned away. “I don’t have anything to be happy about with my organic contamination. And,” she hissed, “that is what it is, a contamination. Just because Sari is willing to live with it, it doesn’t mean I have to. Nor do I have to like it.”


    Optimus sighed. “Look, I don’t expect you to change your mind overnight. But when Sari gets back, I’d appreciate it if you could at least give her a chance, and maybe talk to her.”


    BlackArachnia shrugged. “Whatever,” she snipped apathetically. “Could be amusing I suppose. And it’s not like I’m going anywhere.”


    Optimus gazed at her for a moment, then decided that he really didn’t have much else to say. “Well, I guess I’ll go and see what I can do about, um, seeing if your organic half can be purged,” he said, already turning and walking away. Part of him hoped she would be able to accept it and live with it somehow, just in case they couldn’t find a way to purge her organic half. But nevertheless, he would keep his promise and do all he could to help her get rid of it.


    0o0o0o0o0


    Megatron was fully aware that the Autobot troops were approaching. However, this was all going according to his plan. Omega Supreme was safely landed on the ground, and he lead his fellow Decepticons—which consisted of Lugnut, Shockwave, Team Char, and two of the Starscream clones that Team Char had found out in space—and he approached the drawbridge as it lowered to the ground.


    He ordered his minions to stay back, and he stepped down the drawbridge until he reached the bottom, then he stopped. Then he called out to the approaching Autobots in a loud voice:


    “It would not be wise to attack me,” he began, holding up his arms for emphasis of his words. “I have the power of Omega Supreme at my servos, plus I have prisoners.”


    He gave a gesture with his hand, and then Lugnut stepped into view, holding one of the jet twins in each of his hands. They were both secured in stasis cuffs, plus they each had a mouth clamp preventing them from speaking.


    Megatron saw the Autobots pausing from where they stood, and he also saw the looks on their faces. He smirked slightly; he knew he had them now, at least in some ways.


    “Now,” Megatron went on, “unless you want those two to end up like this…” He gestured again, and then Strika stepped into view, throwing the cold, limp body of Sentinel down the drawbridge, allowing it to clatter and roll until it landed at the bottom, right next to Megatron’s feet.


    Megatron then grabbed the cold, dull gray remains of Sentinel and held it high above his head. Upon seeing the collective gasp from the Autobots, he smiled evilly. “Unless you want this to happen to those Autobot twins up there, I suggest you do as I say.” With that, he threw Sentinel’s body down on the ground in front of him for emphasis.


    Of course, Megatron knew full well that it would probably save a lot of time and energy to simply open fire from Omega Supreme, and destroy them all. But in his opinion, most of the group were pathetic—the ones he was truly worried about were the ninjas, and he hoped that Autobot “honor” or whatnot would persuade them to sacrifice themselves for the sake of their captured comrades.


    “Hand over the Autobots Prowl and Jazz,” Megatron ordered. “And we will let those two little pipsqueaks go.” He pointed at the blue and orange captives.
     
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