On top of the freighter
The clock was running, and Ironhide was nearly out of time. A red flashing timer had appeared in the corner of his vision, giving him a countdown until estimated seal failure. He had planned on surfacing and bouncing, but with the ‘cons bugging out and heading up, that would be like jumping from the proverbial frying pan right into the fire.
His only other option was to transform and roll for it. With his altered form, his head was, of course, retracted, so the compromised seal would be protected. He’d have been worse than useless in truck form in a fight underwater, but with the battle over, transforming was by far a better option.
The old mech leapt from his perch on top of the ship just as the doomed freighter began its death throes. An explosion rocked the vessel, followed by the staccato thumps of others as the energon began to cook off. Had Ironhide not received Jazz
’s comm. moments before, he’d have been in a panic, as it was he was only slightly terrified. The worst part of being mission commander was the thought of his fellow Autobots, his buddies, being in danger. His first instinct was to protect them, he was a security bot after all, and sending them into the fray just ran counter to his programming. He wouldn’t be able to relax until everyone was safely back at the Ark.
He accelerated away from the ship, making a run to pick up Blaster and the wounded. He needed to get them clear – those proton bombs would be a big enough explosion, but when you added in the ship’s fuel supply and its’ cargo, there would be massive devastation.
, drop yer illusions buddy. I’m in truck form and headed yer way. We gotta get Hardhead outta here. Blaster you and the little guys hop on too. We’re rollin’ out.<< Illusory Kelp Forest
Steeljaw hadn’t the time to reply to Hound’s greeting when Thundercracker’s torpedo exploded sending the geyser of sand and rock into the water. Hound
was momentarily panicked at the thought of losing Hardhead’s cranial unit, but Steeljaw was as cool as ever. Of course the fact that he still knew where to find Hardhead’s severed part made that a bit easier. Despite the lingering aroma of spent munitions and the millions of natural scents in the area, Steeljaw could still discern the leaking hydraulic fluid and energon coming from Hardhead’s cranium.
“Don’t worry old friend, I’ve got it," Steeljaw remarked calmly, loping through the still swirling debris and returning with Hardhead’s head held firmly in his jaws. Talking was now out of the question, so he simply glanced at Hound and motioned with his nose towards Hardhead’s body, hoping the little scout would shoulder it and follow as he raced away from the freighter.
He’d ran no more than a few steps when Ironhide’s comm. signal came through, but despite the mission commander’s orders, he kept right on running. He knew Ironhide was faster than he was, and the others would catch up to him soon enough, but right now his priority was getting clear of the blast radius with at least part of a wounded comrade.Ocean Floor – Crash Site
As Skywarp disappeared from in front of him, Blaster dove into a roll, expecting the teleporter’s inevitable blow to the back. Had he not reacted so quickly Skywarp’s torpedo would have surely caught him squarely, but instead it passed harmlessly over him and kept right on going out to sea.
He rolled on to his feet and came up facing the direction the shot had come from only to see Skywarp retreating. Blaster considered firing at the seeker’s dwindling form, but quickly discarded the idea. There were more pressing matters than taking potshots at fleeing Decepticons, namely the fact that the freighter they were so close to was about to blow up. He’d heard every comm. signal from both sides, so he was perhaps more aware of their current situation than anyone else on the field. He knew the ‘cons weren’t going to be a problem unless they disobeyed orders, so he had no qualms about turning his back on them and getting out.
“Back in the box Eject," he commanded, opening his chest cavity and allowing the cassetobot to rejoin him. For once, Eject returned without comment, so Blaster was ready as Ironhide roared by. He grabbed hold of one of Ironhide’s pipes and swung himself into the truck-bed, transforming as he went to minimize both his size and weight.
”I really hope all those trees are holograms," he commented as Ironhide barreled down on the kelp forest. The big mech didn’t slow at all, even as Ramhorn and Rewind joined him by leaping into the bed of his truck as he passed.
“You and me both," Ironhide replied as he passed harmlessly through the first layer of kelp, closing in on Hound’s position. Some distance from the battlefield
Ramjet had just gotten his railguns back online when Starscream’s orders came across his receiver. The seeker grimaced and launched himself skyward to join his fellow ‘cons who were also streaking away from the battlefield.
>>Brilliant battle-plan Starscream
,<< he transmitted on the main battle-channel, knowing all the others
would hear his comments.