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Transformers: Legacy of the Ancients

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Transformers: Legacy of the Ancients

Postby uklangor » Fri Dec 10, 2010 7:42 am

Hi

I've been meaning to write some fan-fic for ages, I'm a huge fan of the Marvel G1 / G2 continuity (plus the alignment story too)

The story takes place at some point in the future where G1/G2 and Beast era have all ended and Transformers have since reappeared.

Most of the characters are new, but please don't let that put you off the story.

Please have a read and let me know what you think...


TRANSFORMERS: LEGACY OF THE ANCIENTS

Cro was a desolate world flooded with a planet wide ocean. Life had once thrived in the waters an age ago. Fish and crustacean analogues ruled the realm from Cro’s infancy and had even climbed from the depths and adapted to life outside of the water on the small rocky outcrops that dotted the surface of the world-sea. Life for Cro’s inhabitants had been tough, the waters in which they lived and depended on would have been fatally toxic to any other organic creature; yet Cro’s natural inhabitants flourished and lived in perfect balance.
Unfortunately for the indigenous species, the currents that swept through the ocean, and the undersea volcanoes that warmed the depths provided a means to produce huge quantities of energy; the thick seams of minerals layered through the planet’s crust were ripe for harvesting for use in equipment and weapons. Cro was taken, the energy was sapped from it, the raw materials were stripped; the native life forms died. Huge towers were sunk into the planet, at first providing a means to tap these resources, then to refine them into the lifeblood of the Great War: energon and ammunition.
Eventually the Great War ended and all trace of the two opposing armies disappeared from the galaxy. Ages passed and the deep scars the Great War had wrought across the battleground of countless planets and systems began to heal. Life once again started to emerge on Cro, even hardier now to beat the waste pumped into it’s water. Life once again spread to the rocky outcrops and the base of the alien towers and new animals, never before seen on Cro, watched as the kin of the Ancient armies from the Great War eventually returned to the planet. At first the visitors watched and observed and analysed, then again started taking the planet’s riches. Ages spent in suspension meant the machines were unreliable and inefficient. But the visitors were desperate for Cro’s produce, so they persevered and were grateful of the pickings they could gather. This time, however, the hardened life forms did not die. Instead they continued to flourish evolving to be harder and stronger than before. Though still in their infancy compared to the visitors in the towers, they remained in the water, watching and waiting.

The transport decelerated around star G-711 and quickly dropped through the atmosphere of the fourth planet, Cro. The last remaining functional Resource Extraction Site was cited in the northern hemisphere and as the transport touched down brilliant sunlight broke through the angry clouds as the storm that had raged for the past two orbital cycles finally started to break up. A welcoming committee waited patiently on the landing pad and watched as the transport’s access hatch opened and Ingeneous lead his team out of the confines of the craft. Ingeneous was a large chassis-framed Autobot that stood taller than any of his own detachment and most of the waiting bots on the landing pad. Ingeneous sought out the one other large mech, who welcomed him to the RES.
‘Greetings Ingeneous.' The bot was as tall as Ingeneous, but from the configuration of his body, clearly had a different altmode. Ingeneous silently scanned the ident-sig emitted from his companion.
‘Greetings, Sir.' Ingeneous replied reverentially, the ident-sig revealed that this bot was of a greater rank and a more capable mech than Ingeneous. Besides, he would have been briefed about Ingeneous’s previous ‘condition’; Ingeneous needed everything to go smoothly. ‘My detachment is ready to relieve your force.'
‘Thank you Ingeneous. I have left a report of our deployment here logged in the central RES node, standard alpha-elite encryption. I hope your stay here is without … crisis. Primus be with you.'
‘Primus be with you too’ Ingeneous replied, he’d surprised himself by not wincing at the other bot’s turn of phrase.
He and his detachment watched as the others entered the craft and the auto-loaders filled the transport’s hold with energon and ammunition. As the hatches finally closed and the ship lifted off, Ingeneous silently linked with the central node of the RES. The node was very old, built at the time of the Ancients and brought back online in the recent past. It had been updated and modified with current software, but the age of the node pressed against the back of Ingeneous’s mind like an alien presence, until he felt the node actually recognise him and embrace his presence like a friend. Ingeneous knew that other bots found it difficult and tiring interfacing with the systems used by the Ancients, as if they had to fight every step of the way, even to access very basic systems. Ingeneous had no such problem, the node shunted the report into his databank and he didn’t even have to use his access code to unlock it, the node had opened it for him. Ingeneous was in no doubt this was as a result of what had happened to him, but was not going to reveal that to his comrades, he needed them to forget all about the ‘incident’.
The transport rocketed through the atmosphere and broke into orbit disappearing from optical sensor view. Ingeneous reviewed the report; scanning its salient points for anything he should be aware of first. Satisfied he regarded his detachment. The tech team comprised of two scientists and three engineers, all were standard sized chassis-framed mechs, though one of the scientists was a sleek standard-light while two of the engineers were bulkier standard-heavy sized. The team was freshly put together, with little experience away from the Source. This mission too was a chance for them to prove themselves. Like Ingeneous, they were eager to make the right impression.
‘Energon factory 2 in spire delta is underperforming by 29%, please make this your priority. The sub-node governing the drill housed in spire omega is offline and should be assessed and rebooted following your initial assignment. Once complete, follow the routine maintenance program written by the previous detachment. Roll out.' The tech team acknowledged Ingeneous’s order and then transformed and left the landing pad to carry out their work assignments.
The second group of Autobots on the platform were six mini chassis-framed mechs, all about half as tall as Ingeneous. Their leader, Burnout, was a veteran scout-sniper and he had brought his team to Cro to run training missions across the facility.
‘Thank you for letting my team come along commander, we won’t get in the way of your duties.'
‘You’re welcome Burnout. The previous RES commander has logged the arrival of a Master’s ship two orbital cycles ago. They landed at spire epsilon, but haven’t been in contact. My guess is that they want to be left alone.'
‘Understood commander, we’ll steer clear of spire epsilon. Autobots, move out!' Burnout commanded and the mini-bots activated their cloaking emitters and left to start their training exercises, they were in high spirits and almost below Ingeneous’s audible range, he caught snippets of their chatter,
‘… yeah, it is him…'
‘…crazy! Well, that’s what my old commander told me…'
‘…possessed by some Ancient…'
‘…Opti- something Prime, whoever he was…'

The comments caused Ingeneous to freeze, for a moment his limbs were locked. Maybe they were right, maybe he wasn’t ready for an assignment and maybe he wasn’t cured after all. The moment slowly passed and Ingeneous could feel the optic sensors of the only other bot on the landing pad bore into his back. Wildfire was a strategist and had been assigned to Ingeneous once he had been cleared to return to service. While the standard and mini chassis-framed mechs could choose from any number of functions to follow, large mechs were expected to command and it was not unusual for young, inexperienced commanders to be paired with junior strategists to provide advice. However, Wildfire was a veteran. He’d seen action in countless engagements and had even been fitted with some omni-upgrades to match that experience. While predominantly Wildfire fulfilled the role of advisor, Ingeneous was in no doubt the standard-tactical chassis-framed bot was there to keep an optical sensor on him in case of a repeat ‘episode’.
‘Masters, huh?' Wildfire asked.
‘Yes, there’s not much more in the report. Their transport is in the auxiliary hangar in spire epsilon. That is as much detail as there is.'
‘That’s Masters for you. They’re all too secretive, makes me suspicious of the whole slagging lot of them.'
‘They’re still Autobots though Wildfire.'
‘Have you ever met one?'
‘No, though I’ve seen the node-feeds about their abilities on and off the battlefield. The presence of Masters has helped win some desperate engagements and the technology they’ve developed has helped us utilise many of the Ancient’s facilities.'
‘But then they expect every other bot they meet to be eternally grateful for everything they’ve ever done. As soon as they become Masters they forget we’re all created from the same Source.'
‘Is not that reverence necessary? They have done great things for the Autobot cause after all; their numbers are made up of some of the greatest Autobots that have ever functioned.'
‘But that just adds to the problem, mechs have to be invited to get the Master upgrade. It’s too much of an elitist, secret society; they need to be more open.' Ingeneous inwardly sighed; there was no getting through to him.
‘I’ll bear that in mind if I ever meet one. Let’s get into the control room; I need to review this log’.

Half an orbital cycle later Burnout was incredibly proud of his team’s performance. The scout sniper team had suffered two fatalities in their last engagement, but the two replacements were performing better than expected and the new team was working well together. The RES facility proved an excellent training ground for the team, the interconnecting walkways webbed between the colossal spires were much better than any virtual simulation for them to practise on.
All the mini-bots were cloaked and under communicator silence. Burnout had retuned an autoloader to emit a slightly different proximity warning ident-sig. The rest of the team had trained to recognise subtle differences in ordinary data emissions and were using it as a beacon to home in on Burnout’s position. One by one Burnout’s superior sensors were aware of his cloaked team mates converging around his position on the upper walkway connecting spires lambda and mu. They were all low on energon from the persistent use of the cloak, but all were too professional to let that hamper their effectiveness.
Then in the darkness, something caught Burnout’s optical sensor; movement! On top of spire lambda something was there. Burnout watched as it crouched and then leapt across the gap to perch on spire mu. In mid air Burnout recognised immediately what it was, he altered the ident-sig on the autoloader knowing his team mates would recognise the signal to hold position. Another shape leapt from the top of spire lambda and Burnout knew some of his team mates had seen it too.
The shapes were tall and fearsome and while standing upright like a Transformer, did not appear robotic in nature. A third joined its companions on the top of spire lambda; there was no mistaking what they were: Pretenders and clearly all Decepticons. The first Pretender leapt from the spire onto the top of a support arch above the walkway that connected lambda to the next spire, more Pretenders followed. Burnout’s team watched in silence, either holding position as commanded to do, or frozen in fear; Burnout had watched all the node-feeds about the Decepticon Pretenders and he was struggling to keep the panic down himself. Analysing their route, they were headed for spire epsilon.
The sixth and final Pretender leapt from spire mu after its companions, who had continued in silence. However, it had badly misjudged its jump and landed on the very edge of the spire’s pinnacle. Its weight was too much, crumbling the side of the tower and dropping down to the walkway beneath, and to one of Burnout’s team.
Being so close to the Pretender, Flashshot’s cloak was ineffective. In the time it took the Pretender to regain it’s composure after the fall and then to notice the terrified mini-bot, Flashshot hadn’t even taken a step away. All the Pretenders that Burnout had seen on the node-feeds only ever carried melee weapons; this one was no exception; it spun the sleek crimson spear it carried catching Flashshot in the face with the blunt end of the staff, knocking the scout to the ground. Then pinning him under one of it’s monstrous feet, the Pretender drove the wicked energon blade at the tip of the spear into Flashshot’s chest and then up through his head. The blow was instantly fatal, severing Flashshot’s spark core, vital cerebro circuitry and his databank.
Burnout’s team were stunned and that lapse of concentration caused two of the team to let their cloaks fizzle out, revealing their location. The Pretender knew it was surrounded, but the sight of its opponents didn’t dissuade it in the slightest. A grin spread across its monstrous face; it was going to relish the slaughter it imagined it was going to wreck; it didn’t even bother to communicate this to its colleagues.
‘We’re going to have to take him out.' Burnout ordered over the secure comm. No one objected and Burnout was glad; he was going to need them all to trust him to get this to work. From his position at the end of the walkway attached to spire mu, Burnout aimed and fired his sniper rifle. The shot hit the Pretender in the right shoulder, causing it to stagger backward under the force of the blow.
‘I’ve got its full attention now. Quickly before it notices, fall back. As it crosses the walkway, bring the support arch down on its head. Let’s see if we can bury it. Steelrain, transform and get back to HQ, alert Ingeneous, tell him the other Pretenders are,' Burnout paused to fire another shot at the Pretender. The weapon wasn’t causing any damage to the Decepticon’s Pretender armour, but then Burnout wasn’t expecting it to, ‘on their way to spire epsilon. Tell Ingeneous to get his exhaust over there, we’ll handle this one.'
Steelrain transformed to his jet mode and blasted off. The Pretender turned its head to watch the mini-bot streak away, but a blast in the face from Burnout regained its attention. Furious, it charged over the walkway at a blistering speed. All four remaining members of the team fired in unison at the support arch, while the standard ammo they were only equipped with wouldn’t damage the Pretender, it was more than enough to shatter the support arch. Ruined steel-crete sections fell onto the Pretender, the walkway groaned under the loss of the support, but remained in position. The monster swatted the sections away or broke them up with a deft wave of its energon spear; it reached Burnout and knocked the mini-bot flying with a back handed smack. Rounds from the other team members hammered into the Pretender’s back, allowing Burnout to regain his feet and then dodge as the monster pounced. The spear tip missed by a micro-filament and pierced the walkway, Burnout stabbed out with his small energon blade missing the Pretender’s face, but blackening its shoulder. A kick from the monster sent Burnout on top of the rubble in the centre of the walkway; now that he was clear of the Pretender, his team mates kept up a salvo of rifle fire to hamper its movement and allow their team commander to get back up again.
‘Boss,' Flashstorm, the team’s saboteur, called over the secure comm. ‘keep him in the centre, I’ve got a plan.'
‘Good, but hurry, I’m going to be spare parts any time soon.' Burnout replied scrabbling over the rubble as the Pretender approached, he was also proud that his team had another plan after his had failed so amazingly. He ducked as the monster thrust the spear, the tip sliced against the top of his arm and then down into the rubble. Burnout rolled down the support arch wreckage as the walkway groaned painfully. More fire from his team mates hammered against the Pretender as Burnout circled around him and fired into its back. The monster swung the spear in a deadly arc, Burnout dipped away, but the tip effortlessly sliced through his chest. Luckily the wound was not fatal and major systems were missed, the nanobots inside his system would eventually start to repair the damage; if he survived that long.
The Pretender slipped on a piece of broken steel-crete under its foot, spoiling its aim and saving the mini-bot’s life as the tip sailed above his head.
‘Boss, get outta there. Now!' Flashstorm shouted over the comm. Burnout used the last of his energon reserves to fuel a powered dive away from the Pretender and toward spire lambda. In mid leap Flashstorm activated the explosives he had strapped to the underside of the walkway during the fight. The explosion was not harmful in the least to the Pretender, it smiled in self satisfaction. However, Flashstorm was a demolitions expert. The blast did just enough to shatter the strained walkway, which then collapsed under the Pretender and the support arch rubble. They dropped down onto the walkway below, destroying that too, before eventually splashing down into the sea. The water continued to roil as the native life-forms swarmed to investigate the intrusion into their realm.

Topspeed had been in spire epsilon, along with his companions, for nearly three orbital cycles now and he watched in awe as Liberaticum completed the input of the last of his modified program into the spire’s main node. All the spires in the RES facility contained huge items of machinery: harvesters for drilling down into the planet’s surface and extracting the rich minerals found there, refineries for processing the material, factories for the manufacture of ammunition from the refined material, tidal generators and thermal vent mines to tap into the energy present in the sea, and also energon processing units to convert that energy into energon cubes; the energy source for Transformers and their equipment.
However, unique to only this particular RES facility was spire epsilon. It contained no such equipment or machinery, other detachments stationed on Cro would logically have assumed that it was a redundant spire, included by the Ancients to meet a structural requirement or aesthetic function. However, a more enquiring mind upgraded with an advanced full sensor suite would detect some anomalies with the spire. The first would be that it didn’t quite fit the rest of the facility. The joints, the angels, even the purity of the material used in its construction were all slightly ‘different’. They were very close to the original and the difference was very easily missed, but once seen it was glaringly obvious that spire epsilon just did not fit. The second anomaly was that it wasn’t built by the Ancients. Dating techniques on the materials used in its construction proved it to be considerably younger than the rest of the RES, in fact, spire epsilon was constructed and attached to the RES a full vorn and a quarter after the disappearance of the Ancients. Little information was known about the Ancients and the timelines of their existence were constantly updated upon discovery of new artefacts, but the rest of the RES facility was dated to having been constructed towards the end of the reign of the Primary Ancients, who were responsible for all the large facilities left scattered throughout the galaxy as monuments to their legendary Great War with each other. The smaller Secondary Ancients with organic-like altmodes had left surprisingly very little behind. But the structures that the Secondary Ancients had built were no where near the same scale as spire epsilon.
The disappearance of the Ancients had been very sudden and very swift, with multiple sources pinpointing almost the exact same instant, no matter where in the galaxy the Ancients had been at the time, all of them had disappeared at the same moment. The likelihood of any Ancient having survived the Disappearance Event and then constructing spire epsilon was almost infinitely remote.
Therefore the facts suggested that spire epsilon was designed by beings other than Ancients at a time when Ancients had long since disappeared from the galaxy but was disguised to resemble Ancient architecture. The deception was so good, that every other modern Transformer stationed on the RES had missed it.

The expedition at spire epsilon had been challenging, but also exciting; Topspeed’s databanks had amassed deca-units of new data. If things went well Topspeed would qualify for his next upgrade by the end of the expedition. Liberaticum was a very skilled scientist and also very meticulous in his work. Along with Chromaspark’s assistance they had uncovered a hidden node within spire epsilon before the end of the first orbital cycle. Liberaticum had hypothesised that the node would allow access to the lower level of the spire, which Chromaspark’s sensors had indicated existed.
Finally after all of his long work, Liberaticum had cracked the node’s programming. The node had been constructed very hastily by the Unknown Architects and the corruption and decay had been present in most of the node’s systems. The construction and programming mirrored a lot of the Ancient’s systems, which Liberaticum was familiar with. Unfortunately most of the data stored within the node had been lost, even though Liberaticum had painstakingly rebuilt the program a line at a time. Resigning himself to the fact that the node had no secrets left to reveal, he executed the instruction for the node to open the access way into the lower chamber. With a low murmur of straining machinery, the floor in the centre of the room began to fall away and transform into a spiral walkway leading down into the level below. Liberaticum led the way onto the walkway, quickly joined by his two micro-bot companions, as the lights started to blink on at the bottom of the ramp. Chromaspark followed with her two micro-bot partners. She turned to Topspeed and beckoned for him to follow, then rushed after Liberaticum into the depths. However, Topspeed was stopped by his own micro-bot partner, Irontop.
‘There’s something outside, trying to hide its presence.' It said over their private comm.
‘Ok, let’s unite and check it out.' He replied. Topspeed had long ago received the Masters’ upgrade and Irontop had been his companion ever since. Like most other upgrades available, Masters were based on technology used by the Ancients, but had been modified somewhat. Topspeed opened the cranial ports on the top of his head and then retracted the appendage into his body, leaving nothing visible between his shoulders. Irontop transformed into a new head and connected to Topspeed via the exposed cranial ports. The two were connected as one physical being, greater than the sum of its parts. Topspeed enjoyed greater sensor ability, increased dexterity and a fantastic weapons accuracy. He drew his rifle and proceeded to the main entrance of the chamber. He could indeed sense a presence outside, definitely a Transformer, but the signal was weak, perhaps partially hidden or shielded.
The intruder entered the chamber and Topspeed was instantly aware of his mistake. The Transformer life sign he had detected had been shielded, but was also accompanied by five others, all masked by terrifying Pretender armour. They were monstrous in appearance and while they resembled twisted organic creatures encased in armoured suits, Topspeed knew better. These were not organic creatures, but merely lifeless shells composed of the strongest alloys known to the Transformer race. Inside which lay a Decepticon, safely cocooned away knowing the Pretender shell could absorb the level of punishment that would incapacitate any other being. The Decepticons used their Pretenders as assassins, which meant one thing: they knew what spire epsilon really was and had come to steal the secrets for themselves. Topspeed tried to contact his companions via their secure comm., but couldn’t hail them; the chamber below must be heavily shielded.
Topspeed let off a burst from his rifle striking the first Pretender in the chest and knocking it backwards without any damage. The other four swarmed in around him. Topspeed knew that the Pretender armour, while under mental command of the Transformer inside, hampered targeting and accuracy of any ranged weapons used. Therefore all Pretenders carried energon melee weapons, relying on the strength of the armour they wore to stop ranged attacks while they then got close enough to their prey to use them. The trick, therefore, was when confronted by Pretenders to keep them at range and then rely on very heavy weapons to stop them.
Unfortunately Pretenders were also very agile. Topspeed’s shots found their targets, but did little to keep them at bay: they quickly surrounded him. He fired at the Pretender in front and an energon blade swung down and sliced his arm off below the elbow. Topspeed’s mind reeled at the pain feedback messages from the severed limb; Irontop’s mind was swimming in panic. A Pretender’s taloned hand grabbed Topspeed’s head from behind and squeezed, killing Irontop instantly. The same hand twisted and pulled, ripping Irontop free. The unplanned and violent removal of Irontop caused an overload of pain feedback to burn through Topspeed’s mind, shutting him down into stasis lock and dropping him limply to the ground.
Arriving too late after being alerted by Topspeed’s shooting, Liberaticum and Chromaspark re-entered the chamber and were aghast at the grisly scene that greeted them. Chromaspark’s two companions had transformed into her weapons and were mounted on her forearms: a particle rifle and a laser beamer. Liberaticum’s companions had transformed into a plasma blaster and an engine mounted on his abdomen. The two Masters started firing into the group of Pretenders, the withering fury they unleashed knocked the Pretenders unlucky enough to be caught in it to be violently knocked down, and the shots that missed ripped into the chamber the battle was held in.
‘Take care, we must not allow the underground chamber to be damaged.' Liberaticum commanded, and the two halted their hail of destruction. Some of the monstrous Decepticons were wounded; their armoured shells could withstand some of the damage they were taking, but repeated hits would be fatal. However, the lull was just the break they needed; the Decepticons were all experienced warriors and had stormed head first into Autobot weaponry on many occasions before. They had learnt to wait for lulls in incoming fire due to weapon reloads or to regain targets, and to then make the most of it. As one monstrous force they sprang forward, easily closing the distance to the two Autobots and removing the only advantage the Masters had. Two were on Chromaspark before she had chance to take aim again, clawed hands crushed her micro-bot companions against her forearms, destroying them and her limbs. Effectively neutered, her attacker stepped away as she staggered forward in shock, while a second Pretender severed the Autobot’s head with a fatal swipe of its energon weapon.
The other three Pretenders were trying to pin Liberaticum, they slashed with their weapons, but the large Autobot was able to dodge the fatal blows and suffered only minor damage. His micro-bot engine was speeding the flow of his energon supply to the nanobots in his system to repair the light damage far faster than normal, to keep his fighting prowess up. With a surge of strength, boosted by the engine, Liberaticum knocked two of the Decepticons away with a powerful sweep of his arms; he caught the third around its throat with one of his powerful hands and then cast it like a lifeless drone into the far wall of the chamber.
With a silent mental command, the micro-bot that was attached to his chest was jettisoned and then combined with his second micro-bot partner. The resultant weapon was a tremendously powerful instrument that now took up most of his arm. The sudden loss of the power supplied through his companion was disorienting, but Liberaticum had been expecting that and fought against it. He turned to the two Pretenders who had felled chromaspark and with a roar he fired at the closest. The blast hit the Decepticon square in the chest sending it flying backwards in a spray of shattered shell and shredded metal, killing the Decepticon. Instinctively the blast re-invigorated the Pretenders’ attack. After years on the battlefield they had always targeted the heaviest weapon used against them, knowing that it would be the only challenge to their armoured shells. Liberaticum, however, was used to Decepticons fleeing in terror from the unworldly destruction of his combined firepower. Faced with the charge of the four Pretenders directly at him, Liberaticum only had enough time to fire once more, disintegrating the arm and weapon of one of the monsters, before the remaining three were upon him. The deadly weapon was ripped free of the mountings on his arm and destroyed and his body pierced with energon blades. Liberaticum thrashed with his huge arms, but without the strength boosting effects of the auxillary engine provided by his micro-bot companion, he was unable to fight them off. Like savage beasts the Pretenders lashed into him, landing blows with fists and energon weapon, even long after Liberaticum ceased to function.

Ingeneous reached the entrance to the chamber in spire epsilon with Wildfire, the mini-bot Steelrain, the scientist Roadstalker and the engineer Groundking, both from the tech team. Burnout was stood at the entrance and watched as the five Autobots transformed back to their robot modes.
‘We’re too late.' Burnout said in a grave voice as he led the others into the chamber. The room was the site of a devastating carnage, the walls had been gouged by punishing weapon’s fire and the floor was littered with debris, some of it Transformer. The rest of Burnout’s squad were spread out around the chamber.
‘Looks like there were three Masters here,' Burnout started, his voice cutting into the misery of the chamber, ‘The Decepticons really did a number on them. Ripped one bot’s head clean off, killed another mech with their energon weapons and over there near the ramp to the lower level, they literally tore that bot to pieces. He was big, probably the Master’s commander here. Must have really annoyed the Decepticons, it’s hard to recognise even what he was, let alone who he was.'
‘Looks like they managed to put up quite a bit of a fight before he bought it.' Wildfire said.
‘Yeah, he blasted that ‘con in two.' Burnout replied.
‘He winged another one as well, look here,' Wildfire knelt in the rubble and lifted some fragments, ‘looks like he took the arm off one of them.' Despite of what Ingeneous thought privately about Wildfire, there was no denying the strategist’s skills. A good strategist was a valuable tool on the battlefield, not only were they able to provide excellent tactics for assaults and defensive actions to their commanders and team mates, they also made excellent investigators away from the front line of warfare.
‘They must have had quite an arsenal at their disposal.' Burnout solemnly replied.
‘Unfortunately, not quite good enough.' Wildfire said, dropping the shell fragments and getting to his feet. A shout caused the group to turn to Flashstorm.
‘This one’s still alive!' he shouted, almost falling over as he backed away from the body of Topspeed. The Autobot sat up and his original head emerged from his chest cavity, the damaged cranial ports still open. He slowly looked around the room, seeming to take a long time to realise what had happened.
‘Take it easy, don’t get up too fast, you’re injured.' Ingeneous stated, stepping close to Topspeed, ‘You’re safe now, the Decepticons have left. However, your colleagues…' Ingeneous was unable to continue, Topspeed got to his feet, barged past him and ran to the underground chamber.
‘Burnout, have your team establish a defensive perimeter around this chamber, the Decepticons might come back and we can’t afford to be unprepared.' Ingeneous ordered.
‘Yes Commander.' Burnout replied and gathered his mini-bot team mates to assemble the perimeter. Ingeneous along with Wildfire, Roadstalker and Groundking took the ramp down into the underground chamber.

The room was as large as the one above it, but dimly lit by florescent cells in the floor, but otherwise the walls, floor and ceiling were all smooth steel-crete with no lines, imperfections or joins; as if the whole room was one single piece of material.
‘This room is heavily shielded, if it wasn’t for that ramp, we’d never have known it existed.' Roadstalker said. She was an elegant standard-light chassis-framed bot and crouched to place one of her delicate hands against the floor of the room. The standard-tactical bots were the most common size variants of the Transformer race and made up the majority of the population. A standard-light mech had better speed, agility and sensor ability, but at the expense of armour. Being slightly smaller there were limits to the amount of equipment they could carry, but not to the functions they could take.
‘Yeah, fascinating I’m sure.' Groundking replied from her side. He was a standard-heavy, almost as tall as Ingeneous, but much more bulky. Bots of his chassis-frame were at the other extreme of the standard size. Taller than a standard-tactical they had thicker armour and could carry much more equipment, but were slower and used much more fuel than the other two variants.
‘But what about all of that?' He asked her indicating the far end of the room. Into the far wall was a blisteringly complex array of equipment. Unlike the rest of the room, this appeared as if it had been assembled in a hurry. No care had been taken in its construction, there had been no attempt to conceal the joins or hide the imperfections on its surface panelling; it rudely stuck out like a colossus chassis-framed Transformer in a team of micro-bots. Its size was staggering, easily dwarfing every mech in the chamber. The bulky equipment was comprised of huge slabs of the blue-grey steel-crete, and cabling thicker than any chassis sized Transformer Ingeneous had ever seen. Numerous blank crystal displays and physical node interface points dotted the machine. The height of these components from the floor indicated that although the design did not match other Ancient constructions, it was for use by Transformer sized beings. Topspeed was stood before it in awe; his gaze flitting over every panel, switch, cable and component.
‘What… what is it?' Roadstalker asked.
‘Magnificent.' Topspeed replied, almost in a whisper. The equipment was silent, but somehow seemed to suck sound in toward it. It appeared to be dormant, but gave Ingeneous the impression that it was waiting for something. He ignored that particular thought; he doubted that this machine was sentient. But then, could he be wrong about that, or maybe…
‘Huh, it’s just a piece of junk.' Wildfire’s remark snatched Ingeneous away from his reverie, he was almost glad the strategist was there. Topspeed turned on him,
‘How dare you?' He spat out, with his back to the machine his voice carried easily to the audible sensors of the assembled Autobots. Topspeed strode to Wildfire and with a look of anger shot out a finger from his remaining hand to jab against Wildfire’s chest. Unluckily for the Master, Wildfire caught the hand and twisted it around, struck the bot in the face with his elbow and then with a kick, brought him to his knees.
‘Enough!' Ingeneous commanded. Wildfire released Topspeed’s hand and pushed the mech onto his back.
‘Next time, I’ll rip it straight off.' He warned and then stalked off to the base of the ramp.
Ingeneous helped the Master to his feet.
‘Have you any idea what this is?' Ingeneous asked.
‘It’s a marker. It was placed here for us to find when as a species we were enlightened enough to understand it.'
‘By the Ancients?'
‘It doesn’t matter, there’s a piece missing’
‘What? Where? How can you tell anything’s missing from here?' Roadstalker asked.
‘Just there.' Topspeed replied pointing to an area of the machine. On closer inspection it was clear that a piece of the machine had been disconnected, the chaotic design of the equipment had masked its disappearance.
‘Will it not function without it?' Ingeneous asked. Topspeed was running his hand over the surfaces around the missing component.
‘Maybe. The Decepticons removed it so delicately; none of the other parts have been damaged.'
‘Decepticons? Delicate? Now I’ve heard everything!' Groundking remarked.
‘What’s been taken? What did it do?' Ingeneous inquired, almost puzzled at his own interest.
‘It’s a control module; it’s responsible for a lot of the high end abilities of the machine. All the data and the other functions are still there intact. But without the control module, we’ll never access them.'
‘Can’t we just replace the control module?' Groundking asked. ‘There’s a load of them in one of the stores.'
‘It isn’t that simple, our tech just doesn’t match theirs.' Topspeed snapped.
‘The control modules in the store are all Ancient types. A lot of them were ripped out of the RES facility when it was upgraded; they’ve just been left there, redundant.'
‘Hmm, I’m not sure…'
‘This whole place is built into an Ancient structure, to mimic it. Surely, they’ll be using similar tech right?' Roadstalker asked. ‘You know these systems, Groundking and I are familiar with some of the Ancient technology. What do you say?'
‘Maybe…' Topspeed replied hesitantly.
‘It’s worth a go. Come on, you’ve got this far, don’t give up just yet.' Groundking added. ‘Ingeneous?' Ingeneous didn’t need any time to think about it. He felt an unusually strong compulsion to get the machine operational.
‘Very well. You two take Topspeed back to the stores and pick up some of the spare control modules and see if you can get this thing working.' With that order, the excited trio left the chamber. Ingeneous was left alone with Wildfire, even though they were on opposite sides of the chamber, disgust burned in Wildfire’s optics.
‘This facility is too inefficient; we’re here to improve that. That is our objective here, not fixing broken junk.' Wildfire stated. He stood, holding his commander’s gaze, waiting for a response. There was none. With a sigh, he turned his back and left.
Ingeneous was alone and furious with himself. He should have rebuked Wildfire for that remark. All the Autobots based at the facility were under his command and should follow his advice without question. But then, if he had said something, would Wildfire question that too? Would he have seen an argument between them as an indication that Ingeneous was relapsing into his illness? Perhaps his inability to control his strategist was an indicator that Wildfire had already noticed and was pushing it as far as he could? But then…
Optimus
‘What?' Ingeneous was snatched from his thoughts, ‘Who’s there?' He asked looking wildly about, but he was still alone.
Optimus
‘No, that’s not me! No!' He shouted, clamping his hands around his head, blocking his audio receptors.
Optimus It said again and Ingeneous knew it wasn’t a sound. It was being sent direct to his mind. Impossible, he told himself. He looked at the machine.
Optimus. It called again. Ingeneous knew he really was losing his mind. The machine was still dormant, he could see no light on any of its surfaces, could detect no energon flow within it, or hear the whir of any of its internal mechanisms. But it was calling to him.
Optimus.
‘That’s not me.' He replied and very slowly he reached out to the machine. A tremendous, optic scorchingly bright light filled the chamber from outside. An unworldly concussive force along with a deafening roar thrust Ingeneous into the machine with a system jarring speed. At the exact instant his body connected with the machine, the machine’s consciousness connected with his. The cold, vast strength of the alien presence flooded his databanks and chilled his spark core. The vastness of the machine was incalculable to Ingeneous; numerous mental safeguards broke down instantly. Ingeneous tried to fight back, to reassert himself over his own systems. The effort was futile, resigned to the overwhelming force, Ingeneous’s mind shut down.
uklangor
Mini-Con
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Re: Transformers: Legacy of the Ancients

Postby uklangor » Thu Feb 03, 2011 10:02 am

Chapter 2

The Bastion was built at the time of the Primary Ancients and orbited a red giant star in the Gamma Section of the galaxy. Its only companions in the system were a solitary gas giant, two tiny frozen dwarf planets and a meagre asteroid belt. The resources in the system were scarce; there was little energon or ammunition to be manufactured here, resulting in a quandary as to why the Ancients would choose to build a structure the size of the Bastion in such a redundant system.
To class the Bastion as huge would have been an understatement. The central hub was a spire so gargantuan that it could pierce a planet to the core; it dwarfed any ship that docked, the largest Transformer was insignificant next to it. The radial arms that protruded outwards from along the length of the central spire could dock hundreds of star ships, but the scale was so huge it had clearly been designed to allow ships far larger than any current Transformer vessel to berth. Some mechs had argued that the existence of the Bastion indicated that the Ancients had at one time possessed a fleet of Warworlds, in contradiction to the mechs who claimed that the solitary existing Warworld found was but a prototype and represented the pinnacle of the Ancient’s technological capacity; a feat unmatched by the current generation.
The stores of the Bastion were empty upon discovery, but the facilities the structure was capable of suggested that it required constant re-supplying. It was designed to be able to refuel and rearm all berthed craft, but inside were factories, refineries and automated provisions that could process raw materials into weapons, ammunition and energon, extensive service bays that could handle mech repairs and upgrades, communication arrays that could pick up and pin point weak signals from the surrounding section of the galaxy, but also dampened the emissions of the Bastion to shield it from prying sensors. Whole floors were engineered to allow hundreds of mechs to gather, plan and organise themselves. Others were designed to allow mechs to train and practise their skills. The Bastion had been an important structure for the Ancients, survey teams had determined that the number of mechs that had passed through was staggering.
The capabilities of the Bastion were astounding, but there was only one problem with the station: no local resources. It was in a remote system and would never be able to be resource effective. It required a considerable amount of energon to get there and required astonishing amounts to keep it operational; when it had been discovered, it had long since powered down after running out of energon. The Bastion would never be more than a staging post, so when the Decepticons captured it, the Autobots were faced with the realisation that it simply just wasn’t worth the effort to take it back, there just simply wasn’t any resource or strategic benefits to reacquire it.
Once the Bastion had been taken it was quickly brought up to full efficiency by the Decepticons, with the reactivation of the security network; protecting the Bastion from any external attack, but also neutralising any combatants in an armed conflict inside. The Bastion was a location in which cons could meet peacefully, to forge alliances to fight engagements, to request help with defensive actions, or conduct any number of business matters.
The Bastion, therefore, was the perfect venue for Revaxus to conduct his meeting. Revaxus was a large chassis-framed Decepticon whose armour was so dark green to be almost black, appearing at odds with the violent violet splashes that highlighted his joints. The weapons he carried had been safely powered down to allow him to walk the halls of the Bastion without triggering the defences, yet he was still an unnerving sight.
Revaxus led his two companions to an observation lounge and through the armoured observation port that spanned in an arc across their heads; they watched a ship come in and dock.
‘Is that them boss?' asked Clawkill. The standard-tactical sized con was a warrior and had fought at Revaxus’s side since their construction. The two had been brought online at the same time, but were the only two cons from that construction batch still to function.
‘If they’re on schedule, then that ship must be them.' Skyline replied instead. The standard-large mech had served Revaxus through several engagements, where his function as Fueler had considerably bolstered Revaxus’s small team’s effectiveness.
Silently Revaxus led them to the meeting room he had acquired to conduct the business. Revaxus took the centre of the room, under the solitary illumination source, with Skyline at his commander’s side and Clawkill next to the door. They waited in silence until the door opened once more and four cons entered, one of which was missing an arm. Clawkill quickly locked the door behind them, the clunk of the bolts breaking the silence in the room.
‘Did you retrieve the item?' Skyline asked.
‘We got it, where’s our payment?' The speaker’s ident-sig identified him as Kraken, like his three companions, he was a standard-tactical sized mech.
‘Autoloader B-17, ready unload into the cargo bay of your vessel.' Skyline replied. Kraken mentally interfaced with the Bastion’s node and checked the inventory of the autoloader; it was indeed laden with energon cubes and processed metal-alloy.
‘Now, I’m not one to turn down a bonus, but what’s the deal here? There’s more than we asked for’
‘Give us that processor and we’ll tell ya.' Clawkill said. Kraken turned to one of his companions who then held out the processor to Clawkill. He snatched it from him and tossed the item to Skyline. The Fueler opened one of the storage units fitted to his bulky frame and removed a piece of equipment and plugged the processor into it.
‘It may take several moments to run the diagnostic I’m afraid.' Skyline reported back.
‘What happened to your friend, run into a couple of Autobots or something?' Clawkill asked of the con with the missing arm.
‘Bad intel, there were Masters at the site; they put up some … resistance.' Kraken replied. ‘We trusted your information; we weren’t expecting to run into any serious opposition.'
‘I thought Pretenders were supposed to be some sort of big deal.'
‘We are. Look we got that bit of Ancient junk for you. We going to get our payment Revaxus?' Kraken asked the large mech, but he kept silent, the only sound was the faint hum of the processor attached to the diagnostic tool that Skyline had produced. Revaxus held the con’s gaze and Kraken took a step back, his companions at his back. Skyline at last broke the silence,
‘The item is as we requested and functions optimally.' The Bastion’s node informed Kraken that Autoloader B-17 had then deposited one third of its contents into the main hold of Kraken’s ship, but then stopped.
‘Hey, that’s not even our payment! You ripping us off? Is that why we had to meet here, so we’d have to leave our Pretender shells behind and you could short change us and not worry about us tearing you guys limb from limb?' Kraken bellowed.
Revaxus laughed. The sound was a quiet rumble, like distant thunder.
‘Even if there were still six of you and I had no weapons, your shells would not protect you. Others have underestimated my power, but do not now function. No, I have other business to conduct here; the Bastion is a unique venue for conducting a variety of matters. I am here to present you a choice, you may leave now with what is in the cargo hold of your transport, or you can have the remaining amount on completion of a second job.' The commander said.
‘Look, we got what you asked for, we even levelled that place afterwards, no bot would have survived. No one’s coming looking for that processor. We’ve done our job, just pay us what we originally settled for and we’ll be on our way.' Kraken replied.
‘Look, the boss’s given you your options, just pick one, there ain’t no third choice.' Clawkill replied.
‘If you wish to walk away, do so. There are now only four of you, split four ways, the cargo in your hold is more for each of you than the original price split six ways.' Skyline added.
‘That’s just not enough! We need repairs not only to Cutback, but also to his shell! You know how expensive that is? We can’t settle for the amount we’ve already got in the hold, after our running costs, there’s not nearly enough for us to keep operating in this area!'
‘Unfortunately, that problem is not ours. If you wish the full amount, speak now. However, once you accept, there’s no option to then back out of the deal.' Skyline stated. Kraken looked back at his companions; none of them objected.
‘Ok, we’re in.'

Clawkill stood aboard the bridge of Kraken’s ship, displayed on one of the view screens was Revaxus’s ship Nighthammer. Kraken’s vessel followed closely behind it, hidden in Nighthammer’s engine exhaust. Pulsar, Revaxus’s communications specialist, had enlisted the service of more Decepticons during Revaxus’s meeting with the Pretenders. Along with Revaxus, Skyline and Pulsar were a team of two omni-upgraded cons and a five mech mercenary Gestalt team. While those two teams’ loyalty was assured as long as they received the energon and unprocessed metal-alloys they had been promised; the Pretenders were the liability. They were reluctant to come along, but the remainder of their payment was waiting for them at the Bastion after the mission had ended. That should keep them in check, Clawkill knew, but now that they were back in their Pretender armour, Clawkill wasn’t too sure if he could stop them if they decided to leave.
‘You ever been there before?' Kraken asked, standing next to Clawkill. He nodded to another viewscreen
‘The base? Yeah sure, loads! This’ll be easy.'
‘No, I meant that planet it orbits.'
‘Cyberton? Nah, no way. You?'
‘Never, not even in orbit. I’ve not even viewed it over the node-feeds. Isn’t it supposed to rip you apart it you land on it?'
‘Yeah, it does that. I’ve seen it. Not a nice way to go. Pretender armour can stand it, but you spend too long down there, it fries your database.'
‘What? Even through Pretender armour?'
‘Yup. It’s the voices. They’re stronger on the surface. It’s not quite an audio emission, it more of just appears in your mind. You hear it on the base too, but after a while you just try to function with it as best as you can. But down on the surface, it’s stronger. Like shouting, rather than whispering. No mech can take that for long, most self-terminate. If restrained, it just burns out their entire cerebro circuitry.'
‘What do they say? The voices?'
‘There’s too many to make out. You hear the odd word, doesn’t make much sense really. Apparently, if you hear your own name, you deactivate.'
‘Get scrapped!' Kraken turned a worried optical sensor on Clawkill’s solemn face, before the warrior started laughing. The Pretender shook his head.
‘How’d you know all this anyway?'
‘Shockwing, the base’s commander, well, we used to work for him. Well, we still do, I guess.' Kraken laughed.
‘So Revaxus has a commander? That is very … amusing.'
‘I hope you’re not having second thoughts; you know what we said about that.'
‘Don’t worry, I gave my word. And I break my word for no mech. We’re in this one hundred percent.'
‘Good.'
‘So what exactly has Shockwing done to make Revaxus want to take him down?'
‘Well, this whole thing is nothing personal, just that Shockwing is only the start.'
‘The start of what?'
‘Something bigger than either of us. When it happens, you’ll be glad you picked Revaxus’s side.'
‘Just what do you mean…'
‘Communication from Nighthammer.' Cutback interrupted. The freshly repaired warrior was piloting the ship, which required him to be the only Pretender not to be wearing his armour.
‘Ok’ Kraken replied. Cutback was secured to the ship by the physical interface in the pilot’s pod; with a silent mental command he connected the communication from the Nighthammer and Pulsar’s face appeared on the main viewscreen.
‘My scans indicate that Shockwing’s facility has recently been attacked by an unknown force. No ships are docked, or remain in system, but there could still be enemy mechs left behind in the facility. Unfortunately the facility’s stabilisers have been deactivated and it is now adrift. Calculations show that it will eventually crash into the surface of Cybertron. The plan will remain the same. There are no functioning communication or sensor grids on the exterior of the facility; there is no longer a need for stealth, but approach the facility with caution.' The communication then ended.
‘You heard him’ Clawkill said after the viewscreen had reverted to its previous image.
‘Cutback, take us in.' Kraken ordered the pilot, then to Clawkill he added ‘I see things never change, statics still telling animechs what to do.'
Clawkill punched Kraken with a viscous uppercut, sending him crashing into a bulkhead. The other Pretenders readied their weapons, as Clawkill raised his blaster, but a look from Kraken stopped his warriors from advancing.
‘I’m just saying …' Kraken started
‘Well, I don’t like it!' Clawkill snarled.
‘Look, I knew Pulsar back from before I was a Pretender. The con’s a typical static, looks down on every other mech with a mobile altmode, if you’re unlucky enough to have an animech second form, well, he hates even having to look at you.'
‘He’s loyal to Revaxus, that’s all you need to be concerned about. Get your warriors ready, we’re nearly there.'

Shockwing’s facility appeared from a distance as a hemispherical dome of dull grey metal alloy. It was constructed not by the Ancients, but by the current Decepticons. It maintained a position close to Cybertron and attracted some of the best Decepticon scientists and engineers hoping to unlock hidden Ancient weapons and technology from its surface. However, it was quickly discovered that the Ancient’s homeworld was completely inhospitable and the station was all but abandoned. After the re-discovery of Pretender technology the station saw a renewed interest, with Pretender teams sent down to the surface. But the physical protection provided by the armour was still not enough and after the numerous short missions made to its surface failed to find any new discoveries, the facility was all but abandoned again. Leaving behind Shockwing and his team.
The station was now pockmarked with holes, weapon systems were now merely space junk; no further work would ever be conducted here again.
As per Revaxus’s plan, The Nighthammer docked in the Cybertron facing hanger, while Kraken’s ship blasted its way into the hanger at the rear of the facility.
Clawkill watched as Cutback announced that sensors showed that the hanger was clear of any threats and then powered down the engines. The distant voices from Cybertron were dripping through into their databanks. Whispers, shrieks, screams, it permeated through every block the cons tried to activate internally. It was disorientating and demoralising, Kraken had been unprepared just for what it would be like. With a clunk the pilot’s pod split in half, revealing Cutback at its centre. The multitude of physical interfaces, restraining clamps and other assemblies retracted away from Cutback and into the recesses of the pilot’s pod. The warrior’s Pretender armour followed his silent mental command and opened up, to allow Cutback inside. Sealed back up again, Cutback joined his comrades by the forward hatch and Kraken solemnly led them out into the hanger. Clawkill immediately transformed into his animech altmode. He stood on four legs, with a tail at his rear for balance. His head formed a snout filled with strong, sharp metal alloy teeth. His animech head was also equipped with superior sensors to his robot mode, mounted either side of his face and on the end of his snout. Clawkill was a standard-tactical size and his animech mode reflected that, strong and fast he could take down a mech of a greater size, even a large chassis-frame. Clawkill was able to relax in this mode; it became easier to ignore the persistent voices. He silently promised himself that he would not leave it so long before he transformed again.
‘There’s been fighting here.' Clawkill reported to the others as the data flooded his sensors, his voice almost a growl in this mode. ‘But no one is close by. Follow me.' Clawkill bounded out of the hanger with the Pretenders running to keep up.
They found their first dead cons not too far from the hanger and Clawkill examined their bodies. Two he recognised, the third he didn’t.
‘Looks like other Decepticons beat us to the fight.' Clawkill said.
‘Not Revaxus’s allies?' Kraken asked.
‘No, but it looks like they’ve done our job for us.'
‘Are you saying we should be thanking them?'
‘No, we still destroy any con we find.'
‘I was hoping you’d say that.'

The main cargo hold was Clawkill’s first objective and he led the Pretenders down the main passage towards it. He was sprinting and his companions were only just keeping up. The sense of power and frenzy he always felt in his animech mode was in danger of taking over. With an effort he slowed somewhat, while maintaining that fast pace was easy for him, he was in danger of going faster, which would mean he’d start burning through his energon reserve, something the Pretenders must have been doing to keep up. The power supply that was activated within every Transformer on the orbital cycle of their creation was enough to keep them functioning for millions of stellar cycles; longer than any Autobot or Decepticon was likely to function for, given the fatality rates of the war. However, for any feat outside their original design specification, a Transformer needed energon, for powering special abilities, energy weapons, combat routines, or travelling at high speed. When Clawkill was last at the base, the cargo area had been full of energon and metal alloy ingots, an obvious objective for any invasion force. There would surely be fighting there and Clawkill needed his companions at full strength.
Before they closed in, Clawkill could sense the cargo hold contained other cons; their signals were registering through his enhanced sensors. He struggled to stop himself from sprinting to start the attack.
‘Prepare … for combat.' He managed to growl over their personal comm. before bursting into the cargo bay. The first con had his back to him; Clawkill pounced onto his back, bringing him down hard to the flooring. The con’s companion had the briefest of instances to react; but no time to raise his weapon before Clawkill had bounded from the prone con under his metal paws and onto the surprised mech. Clawkill brought him down and clamped his jaws around his head. He felt his metal teeth pierce through the unfortunate con’s armour; he twisted and ripped the head away. The first con was struggling to his feet now; Clawkill swiped one of his forepaws at him, cleaving huge tears in his chest with his metal claws. The mech staggered and Clawkill was upon him to inflict the same fate as his companion.
The Pretenders were in the cargo hold now and weapons fire slammed into them from the remaining cons. The shots did little to halt them, or inflict any damage. As the Pretenders continued their charge, the Decepticons ceased firing, fearful of a stray shot igniting the energon cubes in the cargo bay. They prepared their own energon melee weapons and valiantly joined the Pretenders in hand to hand fighting with a defiant war cry. The Pretenders were expert hand to hand fighters and had faced more overpowering odds in countless conflicts across the galaxy. It was a slaughter. A single con dropped his blade and turned and ran, but Clawkill brought him down before he’d even got to the far exit. For his cowardice, Clawkill toyed with him first, allowing the mech to suffer as he ripped one system after the other from his chassis. Kraken’s energon sword ended the poor mech’s suffering.
‘Enough.' Kraken uttered the word, only slightly distinguishable above the ghost whispers from the dead planet. Clawkill stared back at him, planning his attack, imagining ripping the Pretender apart. He growled, a low guttural sound, which was felt as much as it was heard. He readied to pounce.
‘Clawkill.' Kraken simply said and it pierced the rage. Clawkill shook his head and transformed. Turning his back on Kraken, he sent a message to Pulsar,
‘Cargo bay secure, no casualties.'
‘Acknowledged.' Came the response. Clawkill ended the communication and punched a wall; he was furious at himself for nearly losing control. He’d been so close to attacking Kraken; nothing wrong with proving his strength, but he was under orders, he still had a job to do and ripping apart his own troops wouldn’t accomplish it.
‘Cutback, you and the others stay and hold this position.' Kraken ordered the other Pretenders and then to Clawkill he said ‘Come on; let’s get to the secondary objective.' Once they had left the cargo area and were out of audio sensor range of the others, Kraken continued talking.
‘No mech ever said mainstreaming was easy.'
‘That’s not what I’m doing.'
‘Oh yeah? It looks a whole lot like it to me.' Clawkill pushed him aside and led the way along the passage way. The grey, solid walls were pockmarked from weapons fire; they had to step over the non-functioning bodies of attackers and defenders. The passage way had been the scene of heavy fighting.
‘There’s a reason why animechs stick together you know, you just proved it. They don’t mind the rough and tumble with their comrades; it lets the rage burn out safely, makes you a better unit. Mobiles, statics, they just don’t understand. They’ve no idea that sometimes you just have to transform, to go smash stuff up, to run, to go a bit crazy. Before just then, how long has it been since you’d transformed?'
‘Mind your own business. We’ve got a job to do.'
‘A long time huh? It shows. The problem with mainstreaming is you hold that part of you back; the statics and mobiles don’t have that problem. So that means you don’t transform, just to fit in. But that’s the problem; it makes it worse when you finally do. When you mainstream you try to forget the real you, but that’s the problem, it never forgets you.'
‘Shut it, I told you, I ain’t mainstreaming.'
‘So what is it you are doing? You’re trying to be a good soldier so the mighty Revaxus notices you and throws you a little energon for not being some feral primitive? That’s mainstreaming in my databank, what’s wrong with your own kind?'
Clawkill transformed and leapt at Kraken. The Pretender had had enough chance to realise the attack was coming as Clawkill transformed and was able to sidestep enough so Clawkill’s jaws missed his head. However, they clamped around his arm instead. Clawkill pulled violently, twisting his head about and slamming Kraken against the walls of the passage way. Kraken was stunned and Clawkill let his grip go and pounced for Kraken’s head. The Pretender had managed to recover quicker than Clawkill had been expecting and dodged out of the way of the jaws and punched Clawkill savagely in the head and launched a kick into his side that spun the animech over. Kraken lunged with his energon sword, but Clawkill scrabbled out of the way and the blade sunk harmlessly into the deck. Clawkill lashed with his claws leaving deep marks in the Pretender’s shell and causing Kraken to let go of his weapon. Clawkill pounced again, sinking his teeth into Kraken’s shoulder, sending them staggering into the wall behind the Pretender. Kraken retaliated with heavy body punches as he registered that Clawkill was almost ripping the shell open at the shoulder with his metal fangs, but the animech’s bite wasn’t loosening. Burning energon, Kraken lifted the two of them up and charged into the opposite wall, with Clawkill’s back taking the impact and the shock causing him to lose his hold on the Pretender’s shoulder.
‘Good.' Kraken simply said. He’d taken a step back from Clawkill, his defensive posture at odds with his choice of word. Clawkill watched him and lazily got back to his feet, keeping a neutral stance. Despite the violence, he was feeling calmer, more in control.
‘Thank you, I see your point, but I ain’t mainstreaming.'
‘Then what is it?'
‘I’ve known Revaxus since creation and we’ve worked for Shockwing nearly as long. We’ve busted a few heads over the stellar cycles, but just recently, things have changed a bit’
‘Like how, he wants you to forget your true nature?'
‘Nah, nothing like that. He’s got this, uh, ambition I’d guess you’d call it, to unite the Decepticons.'
‘Huh, every Warlord from here to the Foundation wants that. All a con wants is a little energon and something to shoot. Warlords are the same, they just hand out the energon, which by the way is the only reason I’m here.'
‘Revaxus is different, every other Warlord competes with the others, they’re just as likely to fight each other. But Revaxus sees the bigger picture, the Decepticons must unite behind one leader, then we can destroy the Autobots once and for all and take the galaxy, it’s what we were designed to do, what our creator wanted!'
‘You don’t buy into all that creator scrap do you?'
‘Don’t you? How else did we come to be?' Kraken paused after the question, then turned his back to Clawkill and stalked off down the passageway.
‘Let’s get to that next objective.'

Revaxus tore into the command room through the locked blast door, leading his troops: Skyline and the omni-upgraded pair of cons recruited from the Bastion, inside. The room was a scene of utter destruction, non-functioning mechs lay where they fell, the walls were crisscrossed with holes and tears from weapons fire and ruined machinery destroyed by heavy fighting littered the room.
The omni-upgraged mechs called themselves the Electracons; their jet altmodes had general upgrades of speed and fuel efficiency, but their offensive omni-upgrades made them invaluable for finishing off the survivors that the group had come across. The upgrades had given them control over electricity; Bolter was equipped to use this control to turn his arms into powerful electromagnets which could be used to magnetise other metallic objects and then either attract or repel them, while Tremor’s ability allowed him to store a massive electrical charge which over a close range, could be dissipated into another mech, overloading and disabling circuitry. The upgrades, like all the omni-class upgrades, had their origins in Ancient technology rediscovered from the facilities left standing, but only experienced mechs with access to considerable energon were the only candidates for upgrades of this nature. For the two standard-tactical warriors to have such abilities suggested they were very good at what they did, Revaxus was pleased that Pulsar had obtained their services.
‘The command room is the most logical place where Shockwing should be found.' Skyline reported, surveying the wreckage of the room.
‘Shockwing!' Revaxus roared, ‘Where are you hiding?' The others were silent, but could hear nothing, and then over their personal communication channel Pulsar broke the silence.
‘Commander, Clawkill has now reported that he has secured his two objectives, I have also taken the control room. My unit have repaired the internal sensors and I have now sent them to dispatch the remaining resistance. Commander, you should know that the sensors have detected Shockwing’s ident-sig. It is very weak, but is in his personal chamber.'
‘Very good Pulsar, once your team has eradicated the resistance, have them work on restoring the other functions of the base; I don’t want to lose it to Cybertron.'
‘Yes commander.' Pulsar replied and ended the conversation. Revaxus crossed the room and stood facing the door to Shockwing’s personal chamber. He motioned to the Electracons and Bolter approached the thick, locked door. He casually cocked his head and raised his arms. Using his personal energon reserve, Bolter powered up his ability and magnetised the doors before him and then with his command over magnetism, he wrenched them from their holdings and then repelled the wreckage to the far side of the room behind him.
Shockwing was lay on the floor, he’d taken several hits and had lost a leg, the large mech was only just functioning. Bolter’s partner Tremor stepped into the chamber; his sensors were heightened to electrical signal outputs. However, he could not detect any electrical system powering up; Shockwing had not rigged the room with weapon defences or traps. But there was an oddity about Shockwing himself though…
A part of Shockwing’s armour over his chest smoothly broke away and transformed. Shockwing’s microcon companion’s jet mode fired its thrusters and streaked towards Tremor. But the Electracon activated his own offensive ability and struck the microcon with the maximum charge of electricity his installed omni-upgrade was capable of. The small jet crashed to the floor, small systems still held the massive electrical charge and the microcon spasmed on the floor and Tremor crushed it under foot. Shockwing limply lifted his rifle, but Bolter snatched the weapon away with his magnetic field capability.
‘I’ve got the part you wanted, Commander, now give me the Artefact it was intended for and I promise I’ll make the end swift.' Revaxus said, coming into the room and standing above Shockwing.
‘Revaxus?' Shockwing asked, confused. Then he looked back at the Electracons and laughed. The sound was tortured and laboured; his vocal emitter had taken damage.
‘Laugh all you want. You will cease to function by my hand.' Shockwing continued laughing.
‘I have prepared myself for that; soon my spark shall re-join the Foundation. But Revaxus, your troubles are only just starting.'
‘Where is the Artefact?' Revaxus hissed as he knelt over his former commander, but Shockwing only continued to laugh.
‘Tell me now!' Revaxus roared. ‘Electracons, rip him apart.'
‘You don’t even know what the Artefact is! Do you know what it does? You’ve led this pathetic mutiny for something you have no idea about. Electracons are you? Revaxus is a fool, a weak fool. I guess you only follow him because he’s promised you energon. This base’s hold is full of it. I’ll pay you double to destroy Revaxus. Scrap, take it all, I’ve not got long now.'
The two Electracons stood where they were, momentarily uncertain of what to do.
‘Do it quick,' Shockwing said, ‘You might then have enough time to then get off this base before your troubles really start.' The Electracons continued to hold their position, clearly weighing up the option in their minds, trying to judge whether or not they could best Revaxus and Skyline, then escape with the energon. Revaxus could almost see their thought processes and cursed himself for not having foreseen this event. Shockwing was a manipulative mech, very accomplished at getting his own way.
‘Commander, you need to see this.' Pulsar’s voice came over the base’s communication network, breaking the silence in the command room. Every available viewscreen flicked to life, Pulsar’s voice continued over the communication system.
‘The remaining resistance of these other Decepticons was quickly dispatched and I reassigned some maintenance duties for the Engineer in the team with me, when he made a startling discovery.' The image on every viewscreen was of an external view. In the bottom right hand corner of the screen the edge of the base was clearly visible, only with the image of the planet Cybertron in the distance. Pulsar continued:
‘While the base’s weapon systems have been completely destroyed by external weapons and the internal sensors were damaged, I discovered that the external sensors were not damaged at all.' Between the image of the base and the distant planet, five shapes could be seen. As Revaxus watched, the shapes were gaining in size, clearly headed for the base.
‘The external sensors were merely switched off; upon reactivation I discovered this scene. It seems that the resistance we met was surprisingly weak for a reason, to keep our attention away just long enough from the real threat.' The five shapes were Decepticon transports, from the scarring in their hulls they had appeared to have recently been engaged in a conflict, clearly with Shockwing’s base before they had destroyed the facility’s weapon systems.
‘Analysing their course suggests that they were hidden around the far side of Cybertron, they would have been invisible to our sensors when we approached. It would appear we have walked straight into a trap.' Pulsar said.
‘Are the base’s weapon systems salvageable?' Skyline asked
‘No, there is nothing to salvage. The guns have been completely destroyed.'
‘Commander, let me get back to one of the ships, maybe I can take a few out, and you could escape in the Nighthammer.' Clawkill said over the communication system.
‘A wasted effort, just leaving the base’s dock would allow the attackers sufficient opportunity to destroy your vessel and that would have not brought us any time.' Pulsar replied
‘Commander, the transports have not fired upon us, even though they are within optimum range. Perhaps, a violent confrontation might be avoided. They have taken great pains to ensure we remain on board this base: the weak resistance, the untouched energon in the hold. All of it orchestrated to keep us here long enough to approach.' Skyline suggested.
‘You have a point Skyline.' Pulsar conceded.
‘Scrap that, they’re going to be annihilated.' Bolter said.
‘Silence.' Revaxus commanded, and then over the base’s communication channel he said. ‘Decepticons, the cowards dare not fire upon this base, we hold the upper hand. If they board, we will crush them without effort. Refuel and rearm yourselves and then return to your objectives; we will not fail.' No Decepticon responded, they carried out Revaxus’s order, even Shockwing remained silent.

Pulsar watched the transports’ slow journey towards the base, but kept one optical sensor on the Gestalt team with him in the control room. They were veterans of numerous conflicts, their success a reflection of the mental bond they all shared, as a result of the Gestalt process. When not combined as their singular Super-chassis framed mech form, they worked exceptionally well together as a team. Pulsar could see them exchange glances; each recognized the unspoken words between their colleagues. Pulsar wondered if part of their success was from also knowing when to cut their losses and run. They were faced with a large opposing force, their contract had just turned from challenging to very difficult, and he wondered how much they actually wanted the energon promised to them. If they decided to flee, Pulsar knew he wouldn’t be able to stop them. However, he wondered whether perhaps he should go with them.

The transports were almost within touching distance of the base, no mech on board had dared utter a word, they all solemnly watched the monitors with a grim fascination. The image suddenly crackled and was replaced with the face of a large chassis-framed Decepticon, his ident-sig bled out of the transmission too. Decatron. He was very powerful; his ident-sig screamed in the databanks of all the base-boarded cons, the numerous engagements he had won, the Autobots he had destroyed, the rank he held was all displayed personally to every member of Revaxus’s team.
‘Revaxus!' Decatron roared over the communicator. ‘I come for the processor you have scurried back to Shockwing with. Your pathetic commander gave me no resistance; I already have the Artefact he hoped to unlock. Your commander should have been more careful to keep his secrets hidden; the Artefact will allow me to crush all my enemies, I will stop at nothing to activate it. Give me the processor now and I may spare some of your followers. But do not expect mercy, I would just as well destroy you and your deluded troops in this base. Another processor will be found eventually.'
Revaxus saw the Electracons backing towards the door, he knew he was about to lose the very little he had accomplished. He was angered at the thought of all the more he had yet to accomplish still. Something else had once burned through his circuits, something that made him the mech he was now. That something wouldn’t ever let him give up so easily. With a mental command, he opened up a channel to Decatron.
‘Very well, I will give it to you.'
‘A coward, just like your commander. You have made the right choice Revaxus.'
‘However, you must first best me in one on one combat.' Decatron roared with laughter.
‘You will be destroyed utterly, little mech, just give me the processor and I may spare your existence.'
‘This base’s hold is full of energon, I have rigged it with explosives.' Revaxus lied. ‘Refuse my offer and I will detonate it and destroy this base and everything onboard. Fight me one on one and my troops will give you the processor. If you are as mighty as your ident-sig claims, you will expend less energy besting me, than scouring for another Ancient site with a functioning processor. Besides, I would prefer to be destroyed by the great Decatron, than an energon explosion.' Decatron laughed again.
‘You amuse me little con. Very well I accept, but when I win I will also take the loyalty of your troops.'
‘Very well, but promise me the same.'
‘Yes, my army is yours to command if you destroy me. But if you do, you will also command their respect.'
‘It honours me that you accept my challenge.'
‘That will not save you, where would like to meet your end?'
‘Below, on the planet Cybertron.'
‘What trickery is this? No con can stand on the surface without being destroyed utterly. We will both meet our end and then my army shall destroy yours and your end will have been for nothing.'
‘There is a substance, Rheanimum, that used as a coating will make us invulnerable to the J’nwan that pollutes the planet. I will transmit its formula and the production parameters for it, along with a suitable site of the planet for our clash. Have your scientists analyse the substance and you will see this is no trick.'
‘Very well, I agree to your terms.'

In the control room, Pulsar looked at the specifications of the Rheanimum that Revaxus had also transmitted to him.
‘What the scrap is that?' The Engineer from the Gestalt team asked, looking at the data alongside Pulsar.
‘I have no idea; it isn’t even anything Shockwing was working on. My guess is that it’s some sort of Ancient technology, but I have no idea how Revaxus would know what it was. Can you synthesize it?'
‘Of course I can! What do you take me for?' He asked; the other members of his team bridled at the irritation.
‘Forgive the question. Let’s get to work.'

The one mech escape pod carrying Revaxus hurtled towards the planet Cybertron, the one carrying Decatron was visible through the pod’s exterior sensors; both were headed to the same point on the surface as they bucked through the dead planet’s atmosphere. The pods only contained enough fuel for one and a half trips, as previously agreed. The victor from the fight would have to combine the fuel from the other pod to theirs before being able to take off from the planet again.
The Rheanimum was working better than Revaxus had expected, it had already cut out the constant chatter of voices emanating from Cybertron; he had no doubt it would protect him from the destructive effects of the J’nwan that covered the world.
Revaxus’s pod landed in the centre of an arena in the northern hemisphere of Cybertron, the preselected venue for the subsequent fight.
Revaxus left the confines of the pod and stood in the center of the arena, the first mech to have done so since the end of the Ancients. The arena was a perfect circle around him, surrounded by walls that would dwarf any super chassis-framed mech. Above the walls were rows and rows of seats and a grid of walkways; Revaxus could only imagine how once those seats were filled with thousands of mechs. Now only dust and grit sat there, deposited by the storm winds of the J’nwan. The walls around the arena were pockmarked where gladiators had fought. The edges of the holes were now badly corroded, the alloy having been stressed and battered over the subsequent time. Two doors in opposite sides of the arena that had once allowed combatants into the pit remained shut. After all the vorns that had passed since they had first been closed, Revaxus doubted they would ever open again. He turned his head skyward to watch Decatron’s pod thunder in; it narrowly missed the solitary observation tower built into the arena wall, before it impacted into the seating area, ripping gouges through the metal alloy before coming to a halt. The pod was ruined, meaning that Revaxus’ was the only one capable to returning back to orbit.
Decatron kicked his way out of the pod and dropped down into the arena. He was a Triple Changer and Revaxus had heard many stories about their combat effectiveness. The process of adding a third mode to a Transformer improved the mech’s strength, armour and speed, with transformation times close to that of a Battlecharger. But the tactical advantage of having three modes greatly outweighed the other byproducts of the process. However, Revaxus hoped this meant Decatron suffered with a common trait amongst Triple Changers: over confidence.
With the drama of Decatron’s escape pod landing, silence resumed around them. A stillness was in the air, as if the arena was in the eye of a storm. Decatron lumbered through the dust of the arena floor, particulates accumulating against his green armour. He was a large chassis-framed mech, but the Triple Changer process had left him slightly taller and bulkier than Revaxus.
‘A fitting place.' He conceded and raised his battle rifle and fired. The Rheanimum coating had added extra mass to the combatants, something that Decatron hadn’t accounted for, allowing Revaxus to dodge away from the hail of ultra-dense solid slugs. Decatron followed it up with a volley from his shoulder cannon, but Revaxus was already in motion and leapt away, but was just caught in the blast radius and flung to the ground, his own battle rifle flung from his grasp. Decatron transformed into his aerial weapon platform mode, adjusting his thrusters he fired a full strength blast into Revaxus’s position. A cloud of dust and a storm of splintered metal alloy showered the arena and Decatron gained height and prepared for another blast to ensure his victory. However, Revaxus had managed to dive away from the first strike; Decatron had not completely recalibrated to account for the Rheanimum. Under cover of the dust he transformed to his jet mode and accelerated up out of the fog of scrapped alloy, firing his fixed guns.
Revaxus had miscalculated Decatron’s position but the salvo caused the Triple Changer to evade the volley, allowing Revaxus to rocket past. Decatron pitched around and powered after him, away from the arena. Revaxus banked randomly through Cybertron’s atmosphere, to ensure Decatron could not get a weapon lock on him. Revaxus flew fast, easily faster than the aerial weapon platform mode of Decatron, forcing the Triple Changer to burn energon to keep up.
Decatron’s shots at first appeared wild and Revaxus was easily able to evade them, but when he tried to bank hard in an effort to return to the arena, he realized Decatron’s purpose. The shots were keeping Revaxus on a fixed course, chosen by the Triple Changer. Their flight was rapidly taking them towards an Ancient city, flying through the towering skyscrapers would cause Revaxus to slow down and allow Decatron to catch him. The shots were coming heavier and wilder now as Revaxus flew through the forest of buildings. Metal alloy fragments from the empty buildings, struck from Decatron’s weapon mushroomed into the air around Revaxus. He’d slowed as much as he dared, turning hard he avoided a falling spire, but flew into a shower of debris. Large blocks thumped into him, stealing all his momentum. He transformed back to robot mode and dropped, eager not to make himself an easy target in the air. He landed hard on a wide walkway below, instinctively rolling forwards and avoided a scattering of low powered blasts from Decatron. He abruptly changed his direction and leapt off the side of the walkway, just as it erupted around him. From the next walkway, he risked a glance behind him just in time to see Decatron transform from his aerial weapon platform mode into a hulking animech form. The swift movements in this mode seemed at odds with his bulky, powerful four legged stance. Decatron bounded through the remains of the walkway and dropped effortlessly down. Revaxus continued his decent until at last he was stood on the ground, he spun around, his mortar cannon armed, but he was too late, Decatron dropped on top of him. Revaxus staggered under the weight as Decatron’s metal teeth dug deep into his arm. Revaxus flung a few punches into Decatron’s side, but he couldn’t loosen the Triple Changer’s hold. He felt his armour begin to fizz and pop, as though the Rheanimum had been burned through and he was about to be consumed by the J’nwan. Decatron’s grip loosened and Revaxus could tell his opponent felt it too, and was at last able to throw him off. The wind picked up and the two of them were hammered by dust and loose pieces of metal alloy, Revaxus aimed and fired, but his shot went wide as his arm was struck by debris as the wind strengthened. He staggered against the force and he felt his spark flutter, his databank reported it had crashed and was struggling to restore itself. His opponent was having problems too; Decatron had tried to use the time to transform, but his cerebro circuitry had become confused and the process was taking painfully too long. Revaxus raised his cannon, but has hit hard in the back by a scrap of the torn walkway from above having been carried by the storm around them. On his knees, he tried to aim again, but he just could not compute the angle to use to hit his target. Decatron was in mid transformation still, a situation that made any Transformer vulnerable to the smallest attack. Revaxus activated the small energon blade he carried and half staggered half crawled towards his opponent, but then his optical sensors failed.
Revaxus flailed about with the weapon, groping forward, eager to find his opponent. Impacts from storm blown debris ceased and Revaxus got back to his feet and readied his cannon. His spark had strengthened and all he needed was for his optics to function, then he would quickly dispatch his foe. But he was wholly unprepared for the sight that greeted him when they did.
Cybertron had changed. Completely. The walkways, the skyscrapers, the metal alloy buildings, were gone, all of them. Revaxus and Decatron were stood in a field. The ground was a rich green, covered in organic plant forms that Revaxus had seen on countless other carbon based organic worlds. In the distance were buildings made from stone, presumably crafted from the material in the ground. The sky was a rich blue, with white cloud formations visible above them.
Decatron looked around in shock, almost unable to comprehend what had happened. Unfortunately, Revaxus had spent many breems in the service of Shockwing around Cybertron and after the shock of his system failures had ended, he knew instantly what had happened. He raised his cannon and fired at Decatron, now fully in his robot mode. The impact sent him onto his back, digging through the organic plant material and revealing the thick carbon based soil beneath it. Revaxus fired again. And again. At such close range the shots tore through Decatron’s armour.
The J’nwan had resulted from a fissure in the space time fabric in one location of Cybertron many vorns ago; Shockwing had been obsessed with it. His studies had shown that it had slowly mutated and then spread to consume all of Cybertron. He’d monitored the storms that blew around it, recorded the reality distortions that they caused. The green, organic world was a common sight for Shockwing, as well as for Revaxus. One of Shockwing’s hypotheses had been that the J’nwan had started as a repair function, to fix the planet after many vorns of heavy fighting. But somehow that had become corrupted. A massive error had occurred, possibly as a result of a large decisive battle on the planet, or a cosmic event. The J’nwan had over time spread across the planet, creating pockets of different realities; all inhospitable to any form of life Shockwing had sent to the surface. He had recorded three common Cybertron realities contained within the J’nwan: a dead, war scarred metal world, a rich organic planet where carbon based plant matter remained untouched by the destructive J’nwan, and a final metallic Cybertron untouched by the fury of war, possibly the goal of Shockwing’s hypothetical repair function. There were other realities, but their appearance was too fleeting to catalogue. However, Revaxus knew that as soon as this current reality bubble was blown past by the J’nwan winds, his previous location would return.
Revaxus crouched over Decatron’s body and raised his energon blade.
‘Know that your death will start a new era for the Decepticons. Your troops will now serve me, the messenger for my new master. Megatron.' He plunged the blade down into the Triple Changer and removed his head. Lifting his prize, Revaxus roared his triumph at the wispy clouds far above him.
uklangor
Mini-Con
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Re: Transformers: Legacy of the Ancients

Postby uklangor » Sun Mar 13, 2011 9:48 am

Chapter 3

Ingeneous came back on-line suddenly like a switch had been flicked inside his cerebro circuitry. The effect was instantaneous and he sat up from his prone position. He recognised that he was in some sort of repair bay; monitoring equipment was attached to the inspection table on which he was lay, while other machinery was fixed to the walls. With her back to him, Roadstalker was the only other occupant of the room. She appeared deep in study at a console.
‘What happened?' Ingeneous asked, his voice surprisingly strong and clear. Roadstalker whipped round in shock and looked alarmed to see that Ingeneous was functioning. She quickly recovered and dashed to his side to stop him getting up.
‘I’m fine.' He declared.
‘No, no. You’ve been off-line for some time; you need to be careful…' She said as she checked the data from the monitoring equipment. ‘Actually, you’re right. You are fine.' She said and backed away to let Ingeneous stand.
‘What happened, where are we?' He asked again.
‘Those Decepticons on Cro, well they got back to their ship and then they bombed the whole RES facility. It’s just a bunch of scrap now sinking into the ocean. We managed to escape on the Master’s ship.'
‘I need to get to the bridge.' Ingeneous said, striding towards the exit. Roadstalker stepped in front of him.
‘Ingeneous what happened to you?' We dug you out of the rubble, that Ancient machine was destroyed, but you were untouched; not a scratch on you.'
‘I don’t remember. I must have just been lucky.'
‘Something happened to you. While you were off-line, you, um, you were mumbling something. I didn’t recognise anything you said, but it sure freaked out some of the others.'
‘Let me guess: Wildfire.'
‘I’m not going to name any ident-sigs, but I’m sure you can imagine. I’ve seen the reports about your, um, previous ‘episode’, well we all have. I told them that your vocal emitter was damaged, which seemed to calm them down. But, you were off-line, it was impossible for you vocal emitter to even be active, let alone malfunctioning in that way.'
‘Roadstalker, I can’t explain what happened. I just remember being in the chamber and then coming back on-line here.'
‘Hmm. There’s something else as well. What can you tell me about the functional cycle of a Transformer?'
‘I’m sorry; I really should get to the bridge. Can we do this later?'
‘Ingeneous this is important. Please, just answer my question.'
‘Ok, well, we are constructed by the Source as Protoforms and then we become Transformers.'
‘What’s the difference between a Protoform and a Transformer?'
‘Physically? Nothing.'
‘But in terms of mental computational processing power, a Transformer is more mature?'
‘Yes, a Protoform has to adapt to their surroundings, understand their place in society, develop an idea of what their function should be.'
‘And how do they do that?'
Ingeneous was silent for a moment while he considered Roadstalker’s question.
‘To be honest, I’ve never really thought about that.' He replied at last.
‘Most bots don’t. The answer is data.'
‘Data?'
‘Yes. Every sight, sound, electrical input, every thought, every experience a mech has is stored as units of data inside their databank.'
‘Okay, I’m with you so far.'
‘As a Protoform’s databank starts filling up it eventually reaches an initial size limit, something that we call a rank. Upon reaching this limit, or rank, the Protoform’s databank transforms to enable it to store a larger amount of data units; the act of the databank transforming also has a knock on effect of transforming other systems inside the Protoform. The Protoform is then locked onto its chosen function, but is also now able to adapt easily to new situations, challenge its original program and system limitations. It unlocks the Protoform’s true sense of identity and sentientism. It is then classed as a Transformer.'
‘The Right of Autobranding.'
‘Correct, we celebrate the transformation of the Protoform, but the maturation process doesn’t stop there.'
‘It doesn’t?'
‘Have you ever been upgraded?'
‘Of course, most bots have. Just a few general system upgrades, a little enhanced strength, stronger armour, not much else.'
‘What has stopped you upgrading further?'
‘Well the amount of energon and metal alloy needed to run the equipment.'
‘But what else?'
After a moment’s thought Ingeneous replied.
‘Usually the bot operating the equipment, or the equipment itself if fully automated. I just pick from the options available. I’d thought it had been regulated by Command.'
‘It’s regulated by your own databank. Even as a Transformer you still fill your databank with data, as you reach new storage size ranks within it, your databank has to transform and evolve too. This still causes other systems within you to transform and evolve. Before long, your system has evolved enough to be able to handle modifications or upgrades. Not just general upgrades either.'
‘You mean the omni-upgrades?'
‘Yes or even one of the four Reconfigurations. But normally you must have passed several ranks and skipped a few general upgrades for your system to handle a Reconfiguration. We use the level of rank inside a mech’s databank as a guide to the age of the bot. The higher the rank, the older the Transformer.'
‘Ok I get it, so that’s why older Transformers might have had a Reconfiguration or omni-upgrades; they’ve collected more data and their systems have evolved enough to handle it.'
‘Exactly.'
‘I’m sorry Roadstalker, but what does this have to do with me?'
‘While you were off-line I ran a diagnostic on your databank. I was able to monitor its historical upload of data. In between you walking into that chamber at the RES facility and then being dug out of the rubble, your databank received a massive volume of data and has evolved past six ranks. Such a feat would take a frontline soldier involved in continuous combat, or a scientist conducting solid research several vorns to achieve. For it to have happened to you in such a tiny fragment of time is unheard of, and I’d like to know just exactly what that data is.'

Wildfire glowered across the bridge of the Master’s ship, the Sparkhaven, at Topspeed’s back. The Master had refused any treatment from Roadstalker and stood next to the Pilot’s Pod, his missing arm and damaged cranial ports acting as a reminder of his dominance. He claimed he didn’t want to leave the bridge, but Wildfire suspected that Topspeed didn’t want a non-Master scientist attending to his wounds. He also guessed that Topspeed was afraid of Wildfire taking command of the ship in his absence.
After the attack by the Decepticon ship, Wildfire led what survivors he could immediately find to the Sparkhaven, Steelrain was the only functioning bot with a pilot-plug upgrade and so connected with the Pod and started to take the ship up. Wildfire ordered him to pursue the Decepticons; whatever they had stolen was worth a great deal to them and therefore he couldn’t allow them to escape with it. Topspeed had ordered against it. He told Steelrain to instead use the Sparkhaven’s sensors to find other survivors in the rapidly sinking RES facility. Frustratingly, Wildfire couldn’t blame the mini-bot from following the Master’s orders. But once he’d followed one, he had to follow them all and they were now on course for the Master’s adopted world.
Wildfire reviewed again the transmission he’d sent using Sparkhaven’s communication array, and the reply. He’d sent a private message to his previous commander, briefing him of the situation. The reply was simple: Proceed with current course. Resume contact upon landing. Wildfire didn’t like his situation, but he’d always followed orders. He’d just sit tight and contact the commander when they got there. At least it looked like his Ingeneous assignment was over. It was some comfort as he watched the viewscreen and saw their destination slowly coming into view: the planet Earth.

‘I’m sorry Roadstalker, but I don’t know what the data is you’re talking about.'
‘Ingeneous your databank has increased by six ranks; you’ve absorbed a lot of data in a very short space of time. Are you telling me you have no idea what it is?'
‘I wish I could tell you, but I can’t.'
‘Something happened in that chamber didn’t it?'
‘Nothing, except-‘
‘Except what?'
‘The machine, it called to me I think.'
‘It called to you? But its processor was missing; it shouldn’t have been able to.'
‘Just before the Decepticon ship attacked, it called to me. Well, it thought I was someone else.'
‘Who?'
‘I don’t know, some Ancient I think. I’m not familiar with the name. But, I felt some sort of connection. Just for a briefest moment we were joined. But I don’t remember anything else.'
‘Hmm. Can you review the data in your databank? See what it is? The machine must have given you some sort of information.'
‘No. I’ve been trying since you told me about it. I can’t access it. If you hadn’t told me it was there, I would never have noticed.'
‘Well, maybe when we get to Earth the Masters might be able to help us find out just what is in your databank.'
‘We’re going to Earth?'
‘Yes. Topspeed took command of the ship.'

Wildfire watched as Earth grew bigger on the viewscreen. The planet had once been home to a race of organic creatures the size of microbots, but had long since vanished from the planet. Archaeological examinations of other Ancient sites had suggested the planet Earth had been significant to them; indeed, the planet had several Ancient constructions dotted over its surface. Research conducted here had revealed a traumatic history for the planet since the arrival of the Transformers. The Earth natives had actively been involved in the Great War, but the planet had suffered great disasters as a direct influence from the Transformers. The planet had eventually become inhospitable for its people; exploration of the planet had shown billions of the natives had perished, its cities burned and its greatest achievements destroyed. Yet at several locations on the larger land masses ship yards were discovered. The natives of Earth had had time to evacuate some of its population before they had all perished.
The doors opened and Ingeneous stepped onto the bridge.
‘Why are we headed for Earth?' He asked of Topspeed.
‘My mission on Cro failed, I need to return home.'
‘Mine has too, we should have returned to the Source for debriefing.'
‘Don’t worry. I’ve sent my superiors a report. They’re expecting you. In fact Emirate Zusasson is on Earth and will debrief you personally.'
‘What? The Emirate never leaves the Source!' Wildfire snapped.
‘Emirate Zusasson regularly tours the home planets. The Emirate is a frequent visitor to Earth; and is in fact the only one of our leaders that bothers to make the trip.'
‘But it’s not safe for the Emirate to travel so much.'
‘Emirate Zusasson is perfectly safe on Earth.'
‘Enough.' Ingeneous commanded and Topspeed and Wildfire kept an angry silence. ‘Who made it off Cro with us?'
‘The three of us, obviously.' Topspeed began, ‘Steelrain along with Burnout and Flashstorm are the only mini-bots we were able to rescue. Then there was Groundking and Roadstalker, we did several sweeps of the RES, but we couldn’t find any other functioning bot I’m afraid.'
‘Thank you, I owe you my life.' Ingeneous replied. Topspeed waved his hand indifferently and turned his attention back to the viewscreen. They all watched silently as Sparkhaven descended through Earth’s atmosphere, before soaring over one of the planet’s continents towards its destination of the largest Ancient location on the planet, identified by the absent natives as Mt St Hilary.

The site of the dormant volcano had once held a great Ancient base at its foot, but now it and the surrounding lad were covered by new buildings and constructions. The Masters newly arriving on Earth were keen to protect and study the site, while making it accessible for others. It had soon become an area of great interest to many bots with even a passing interest in the Ancients, and City One had soon been built over it, acting as a space port and a place of study; eventually becoming the capital city of the Masters on their adopted homeworld.
Sparkhaven gently landed at the spaceport at the pinnacle of City One; refuelling umbilicals quickly attached themselves, while a disembarkation tunnel slotted into place against the forward hatch of the transport. A small group of Masters greeted them; Topspeed was escorted away to be repaired, Ingeneous was taken to an audience chamber and the rest of the Autobots were taken to a communal lounge and given full access to the services the room provided.

The audience chamber was located deep in the bowels of City One, after being led into it; Ingeneous was left alone by his escorts. The room was large and was fitted with varying equipment; numerous terminals and communication and sensor access points were connected to the various workstations of the room. The wall opposite to the entrance door was made entirely of a transparent alloy giving Ingeneous a view of the sacred volcano at the heart of City One.
Even after all this time since its discovery, Ingeneous was amazed to see still so much activity in the Ancient structure built into the base of the volcano. Numerous mechs of different sizes and functions were busy down there; running sensor scans, excavations, equipment extraction and repairs, the Masters still seemed convinced that there were more secrets to be found.
The activity reminded Ingeneous that he had failed in his own mission at the RES. The tech team under his command should have been able to carry out their duties as much as the bots at Mt St. Hilary. Such a simple duty, but many of them now ceased to function. He should have been prepared, he should have requested sensor sweeps before starting the work duties, maybe have ordered Burnout’s scout team to have patrolled the facility. This all proved Wildfire right, he was unfit for command, his ‘episode’ had made him unsuitable for his function. Ingeneous could just now imagine the survivors of the RES were being debriefed; their information would be proof of Ingeneous’s failings. Maybe he should just volunteer to be returned to the Source?
The door to the audience chamber smoothly opened and two mechs entered. The first was a large mech; his ident-sig told Ingeneous that this was Stronghold, the Masters’ leader and the commander of City One. Stronghold was very old and very accomplished. His devotion to the Master’s Reconfiguration was total; his head, engine and the two weapons mounted on his arm and shoulder were all his personal microbot companions. The microbots, along with Stronghold, were swollen with a great number of general-upgrades, giving the commander a majestic appearance; indeed he entered the room with a regal stride.
His companion, however, had a more humbling effect on Ingeneous. He didn’t need to access her ident-sig to recognise Emirate Zusasson at Stronghold’s side. She looked fragile next to his bulk and her standard-light frame appeared unassuming and inconspicuous as she matched his pace across the room.
Ingeneous bowed his head reverentially as he humbly greeted them into his presence.
‘Commander Ingeneous, thank you for meeting with us.' Emirate Zusasson said, her voice as gentle as she appeared.
‘The honour is mine, Emirate.' Ingeneous replied, his head still bowed. Stronghold laughed.
‘No need for that formality here Ingeneous. You’re among friends.' He said. Ingeneous relaxed his posture and tried to meet the Master’s optics. Even though they were both large mechs, the upgrading that Stronghold had received meant he was the tallest bot in the room.
‘I apologise for what happened on Cro. It was entirely my fault; I should have done more to ensure the facility was secure.' He started.
‘I sympathise with you, and I feel sorrow for the brave Autobots who perished. However, they are now one with the Source; we shall meet them again when we finally return, too. But Ingeneous, do not worry about your actions there, you could not have known the Decepticons would attack.' Zusasson said.
‘Thank you Emirate.'
‘Ingeneous, while the loss of any Autobot life is cause for sorrow that is not why we have requested an audience with you.' Stronghold replied.
‘It isn’t?' Zusasson and Stronghold shared a glance between them, almost as if unsure how to proceed with the subject. After a brief pause, the Emirate spoke.
‘Do you know the name Optimus Prime?'

Wildfire watched the other mechs solemnly from his corner of the lounge in which they had been left. City One was the last place in the galaxy in which he’d ever want to visit and now he was stuck there. He’d checked the doors and they were all locked, it looked like they weren’t going anywhere. He’d tried occupying himself with scenarios for escape; perhaps Roadstalker and Groundking could maybe break the locks, Burnout and the other two minibots could scout their path and they could sneak back to the Sparkhaven, maybe even take off. But he doubted they’d be allowed to get far, it also meant they might have to bust a few heads on their way. None of the others were armed, but Wildfire’s triggerbot omni-upgrade meant that he sported some serious concealed weaponry; he could certainly shoot his way out. But Masters or not, they were still Autobots and Wildfire followed the Autobot Code, besides, he doubted the others would follow. Roadstalker was busying herself accessing the historical information of the Ancient sites on Earth and Roadking seemed to be marvelling at the equipment present in the room. Burnout was more Wildfire’s type of mech, but the minibot and his two companions were huddled together, the loss of the other members of their team seemed to have taken a greater toll on them. They didn’t look ready for action; they’d refuelled at the energon point in the room, now they seemed to be defragmenting their databanks; their silent, immobile forms appearing more like statues.
With a loud click, one of the doors opened. Wildfire, Groundking and Roadstalker turned to watch as standard-tactical sized Autobot stood in the doorway.
‘Wildfire?' He simply asked and the strategist pushed away from the wall against which he was leaning and stepped forward.
‘This way please.' The bot said and Wildfire followed him out of the room, the door closing silently behind them. He noticed that it didn’t lock; he guessed that their hosts weren’t worried about his companions trying to escape.

‘Optimus Prime?' Ingeneous repeated.
‘Ingeneous relax. We know you know the name; we’ve read the uncensored report about your ‘episode’. Stronghold replied.
‘We also owe you an apology,' Zusasson started, ‘what happened to you has happened to other mechs, but that fact has been hidden from general knowledge to prevent civil unrest. You are the first junior ranked Autobot it has happened to; your commanders had no knowledge of what was happening to you at the time. We couldn’t directly involve ourselves or we would have risked revealing the truth, which would have had disastrous consequences. I’m sorry you were subjected to so many treatments and such intensive study. I used my influence from afar to try and quash some of the reports and proposed procedures, but I know you suffered greatly.'
Ingeneous turned from them and paced back to the transparent alloy. Different feelings and thoughts chased themselves through his mind, was this good news or bad? He was not alone in what happened to him, but he’d been left to suffer at the scrutiny of others. Surely that was not the Autobot way! His clenched fist came up, his arm shaking with rage. He slowly computed how much force and the location he’d need to land the blow to shatter the clear barrier before him. The old doubts came back; this will only show them you clearly are unbalanced. Indecision gripped him; he needed to let his anger out. But Emirate Zusasson’s delicate fingers wrapped themselves around his arm, she applied the tiniest of pressure, a force unable to compete with Ingeneous’s strength if he so chose, but he let her guide his arm back to his side, his anger melting, as if her touch chased it away.
‘I’m sorry.' She whispered, and he realised he would forgive her anything.
‘So who is he?' Ingeneous finally asked, turning back round to face Stronghold.
‘He’s an Ancient, one of their leaders. Many of the records from their time are damaged or lost, after the Disappearance Event many Ancient sites were attacked by other species in an attempt to completely purge Transformer kind from the galaxy. However from what data we have uncovered, it seems that once Optimus was given the role of Prime he vanished from the records for a very long period of time. When he resurfaced he was based here, on Earth, and was involved in some of the most serious conflicts of the Ancient period. He finally perished after conflict with a powerful Decepticon Ancient.' Stronghold said.
‘But that doesn’t explain how he did what he did to me.' Ingeneous replied.
‘Optimus Prime has taken direct control over several high ranking commanders in the Autobot army throughout our own history. This usually coincides with important battles and war efforts; he normally takes control, issues commands, fights engagements and then leaves. His involvement is enough to ensure victory; every other mech possessed by the spirit of Optimus is returned back to normal functionality and are always unharmed. We see it that Optimus is trying to lead us in our plight against the Decepticons, he is our creator and is watching over us.' Emirate Zusasson said.
‘Optimus Prime is the Source?'
‘Well, some believe that.' Stronghold said, ‘but I have my doubts. If he is capable of doing this, why not just create a new body for himself, take permanent control over the Autobots?'
‘Studies have shown that during possession events, the power of the Source increases exponentially. It absorbs greater amounts of energon and alloy, but no Protoform is produced. The energy flares are noticeable from neighbouring systems. He limits his manifestation to limit the energy flares; he has to hide his presence.' The Emirate replied.
‘Those energy flares could be the result of anything, we do not fully understand just what the Source is or what it is capable of. The flares might just be a natural occurrence.'
‘But if Optimus Prime is the Source, is it not reasonable that the Decepticons’ Foundation is similar in nature? The Source creates Autobots, we are created by Optimus’s design and specification, he was one of the greatest Autobots in Ancient times. So then surely, the Decepeticons are created by the will of an Ancient too! If the Decepticons were able to monitor and trace the energy flares to their origin, then we lose. He hides to protect us all and only intervenes when entirely necessary.'
‘That’s a lot of assumptions, Emirate. But that doesn’t explain why he possessed Ingeneous here.'
‘Please forgive our argument Ingeneous. But Stronghold does have a point; your case does not fit the model of Optimus Prime’s previous interventions. Every other mech who has felt his spirit has been an experienced commander, with hundreds of bots under their command.'
‘When it happened to me I was leading a strike force against the Decepticons in the Voranik System. I’d punched through their defences and we’d taken hold of the objective. But I’d made an error, I’d timed the attack too early and reinforcements were still too far out. The Decepticons had regrouped and we were going to be slaughtered. But Optimus took over; it was like I was semi off-line. I was functional, but I had no control over my body. Optimus did it all for me. He took charge, issued commands, organised my troops, I just watched. But he did it, we held out until the reinforcements got there and the Voranik System is still under Autobot control.'
‘You were responsible for reclaiming the Voranik System? I had no idea, I didn’t realise Masters were that involved in frontline actions’
‘Masters aren’t. That’s the thing, when Optimus takes over, you realise that you’re just not as good as you thought you were. If he hadn’t intervened, we would have lost many many good mechs. I hadn’t been Reconfigured before then, but afterwards, I realised I was not good enough for command. So I became a Master, like every other bot who’s been possessed, I felt that I was destined for something else, that I could help in other ways. That’s why we’ve asked to meet with you.'
‘You’re inviting me to become a Master?'
‘I’m afraid not Ingeneous.' Zusasson replied. ‘We believe your destiny lies elsewhere. When Optimus intervened with yourself, your situation was vastly different to every other time he has intervened. We think it is a sign from Optimus.'
‘A sign for what?'
‘That you are to be our next Prime.' Stronghold said.

Even though the bot was masking his ident-sig, Wildfire could tell he was a warrior by the confident and powerful stride he took as he led the two of them deeper into the bowels of City One. Wildfire covertly glanced at his companion; the oversized energo-sword held at his back suggested that the warrior had received the Laser class omni-upgrade, while the retracted blade assembly housing on his left forearm hinted that he had the Rotor-force omni-upgrade too. Wildfire hypothesised that this meant several things: he was a very skilled melee combat fighter and he was of considerable rank to be able to utilise two omni-upgrades. Wildfire also noted that the warrior was not a Master. He deduced that he was a messenger from his previous commander, pretty soon all this would be over; he just needed to debrief and then he’d soon be reassigned.
The warrior unlocked a small audience chamber and let Wildfire inside.
‘Here.' He said and tossed a hand sized cube to him and then let the door shut between them. Wildfire looked down at the item; it was an info-cube with the face of Ultra Extremus on four of the sides. Wildfire looked at it in astonishment; Ultra Extremus was the head of Autobot Defence and Security, why would he record a message specifically for him? Wildfire was confident about his performance on the assignment, but surely it didn’t warrant a personal message from the Ultra. Surprised, he thumbed the button on the top of the cube and the recording began to play.
‘Wildfire,' the sombre tones of Ultra Exremus began, ‘your assignment with Ingeneous is not yet complete and although I know it is a mission far below your abilities, I need you there now more than ever.'

‘The next Prime? You’re wrong, I’m not good enough!' Ingeneous remarked.
‘Your refusal merely adds strength to our statement. I think Optimus has chosen wisely.' He replied with a smile.
‘But if you’re looking for the next Prime, then does that mean…'
‘No, he still functions, praise the Source, and he still leads our armies. Optimus has never possessed a Prime; he knows that to do so would bring doubt to the mind of the Prime once he left the host, it would cause wide unease and panic through the army. We think Optimus was intervened with yourself as a sign, to let us know that you should be our next Prime.' Zusasson said.
‘But I’m not ready, I’ve only commanded a few mechs before, what do I know about leading the Autobot army?'
‘That’s just it. Optimus has shown us that you have the raw talent, we just need to make sure we hone your talent, to make you into the Prime He knows you can be.'

‘I wish I did not have news as dark as this Wildfire, but you need to hear it to understand the severity of the situation.' The recording of Ultra Extremus continued. ‘I fear that at the very highest levels of Autobot government there is a plan to overthrow Prime and replace him with a puppet of their own design. As you know rulership of the Autobots is split between four mechs: the Alpha, the Emirate, the Ultra and the Prime. You know as well as I do that the areas that these mechs are responsible for should be kept separate, but with a puppet Prime, one mech will control half our government. To ensure fairness and equality to every Autobot, you know this cannot be allowed to happen. Wildfire, I fear that Emirate Zusasson is embarking on a plan to groom the mentally unstable Ingeneous to be her own puppet and then with the support of the Masters she will engineer Ingeneous to become the next Prime.' Wildfire paused the recording, he needed time for what he’d just heard to sink in. He had little respect for Ingeneous and his mental instability was well documented. But the Emirate planning on over-throwing Prime? He couldn’t believe it, but if it were true, that would only lead to civil war.

‘But I can’t just become the next Prime, there’s so much I need to learn first. I just don’t compare.'
‘Humility is just one of the virtues of a good Prime. Ingeneous you’ll be fine.' Zusasson said in her soothing voice.
‘Don’t worry, there’s much we need to do before then.' Stronghold began. ‘We’ve got our work cut out for us with all the bad data floating around about your ‘situation’ but we’ll guide you. We’ve got an assignment for you that will win you a lot of credit.'
‘You’ve got a lot of faith in me.' Ingeneous replied.
‘Yes we do, but so does Optimus. You need to believe in yourself too.' Zusasson said, with a smile.
‘Ingeneous the actions of the Decepticons on Cro are troubling. On Earth we found an area in the Ancient facility that wasn’t built by the Ancients. We don’t know exactly who they were, but they had left behind a device that indicated the location of several more of these mysterious artefacts. The equipment left behind at these areas are of several types; the one at the RES on Cro was indicated to be some sort of data store, other locations are supposed to hold maps or keys to some other location, where we think these mysterious builders have left some sort of weapon. Unfortunately many of the locations the builders have left an item have been affected by the purge following the Disappearance Event. The location on Cro was the first intact data store we had uncovered, but the actions of the Decepticons are very troubling. They took the processor from the unit, presumably to power another device left by the builders. This means that the Decepticons have uncovered something too. If they find this weapon we believe to exist, there’s no telling what they could do with it and what it would mean for our war effort.' Stronghold said.
‘Ingeneous, we need you to travel to the remaining locations the mystery builders have left, see if you can uncover another data store or one of the keys, see if you can beat the Decepticons to the weapon and secure it.' Zusasson said.
‘We need to keep that weapon, if it really exists, out of Decepticon hands. But if we possess it, we could end the war once and for all. Now the bot who does that, well, surely he’s going to gain the backing of every mech. Come on Ingeneous, what do you say?' Stronghold asked. Ingeneous looked from face to face of his two companions, weighing up their words. He realised he didn’t really have a choice, but then it just might help everyone accept him after his ‘possession’ especially if he were able to reveal the truth about it all.
‘Ok, I’m in.' He replied.
‘I’m pleased to hear it. Of course you can’t do this alone, so the bots who came here on the Sparkhaven will be assigned to your command. I will brief them myself. Good luck commander.' Zusasson said and left the room. After the doors had shut, Stronghold spoke.
‘Just before you get underway Ingeneous, City One has got a gift for you, follow me please.' He then led Ingeneous out of the room too.

There wasn’t too much of the recording left, but Wildfire listened and accepted his orders silently. When it had finished, he crushed the cube effortlessly to ensure the message couldn’t be replayed and left the room.
‘You Reload?' Wildfire asked the mech who had shown him to the room.
‘Yep.'
‘You been briefed?'
‘Yep.'
‘Good, don’t do anything unless I say first. We need evidence before we do anything. Understood?'
‘Yep.'

Ingeneous has stood in front of a mech sized Rapid Formatter in an engineering room in City One, two Masters were busying themselves powering up the equipment while Stronghold looked on.
‘What upgrades have you had?' Stronghold asked.
‘Only basic general upgrades.'
‘I’ve heard you could take some serious improvements since you were dragged out of the rubble in Cro. The report says you could even handle a Reconfiguration.'
‘Are you inviting me to become a Master?'
‘Unfortunately no. You’d make a great Master, but most mechs will only follow a Prime who hasn’t been Reconfigured; Multi-changers are seen as too arrogant, Gestalts only care about their own team, Pretenders are seen as cowards who hide behind their armour, and Masters, well, I’m sure you know. All narrow minded, bigoted views, but alas, too many share them. To be a Prime, we need you to remain in your Classic format.' A beep from the Rapid Formatter interrupted Stronghold. The equipment sprang into life and started a full scan of Ingeneous; Stronghold studied the results with interest.
‘Ingeneous, we’ve got many omni-upgrade options available, but I was thinking of something pretty substantial. You ever heard of the Obliterator upgrade?'
‘Sure, it’s transformable equipment.'
‘Correct, the exact nature of it depends on your chassis frame size, but for a large mech like yourself, you’ve got three options. You can have a repair and command deck, a heavy weapon platform, or a set of apex armour. Anything take your fancy?'
‘Surprise me.' Ingeneous replied.

Topspeed was the last to board Sparkhaven, dashing inside the hatch closed behind him. He found the others on the bridge: Burnout, Steelrain and Flashstorm looked unhappy, but Topspeed guessed that was nothing to do with him. Wildfire had a companion with him who looked just as dangerous; the two of them stood watch over the other occupants of the bridge. Groundking and Roadstalker actually looked happy though; Groundking turned to him and said.
‘Good to see you back; you look a little different though.' Topspeed’s head detached itself from his shoulders and transformed into his new microbot partner, with his own head emerging from his chest cavity.
‘This is Blip.' He said by way of introduction.
Ingeneous was stood at the centre of the bridge, the focus of the assembled Autobots; Topspeed got the suspicion that he’d just interrupted something.
‘We all know why we are here.' The commander said, ‘we need to beat the Decepticons to a location that may contain some sort of doomsday weapon which could spell the end for Autobot kind if they get to it first. To be successful, we all need to work together, only then can we hope to triumph. Every one of you has proven themself and that is why you have been included in this mission. We have the support of the Emirate herself, and the Masters. But, it will be down to us and us alone when we get out there. Take the time to refuel, rearm, schedule in some maintenance; it may be some time before we get the chance to again.'

Refueled and heavy with supplies, the Sparkhaven slowly climbed from the City One hanger and through the damaged atmosphere of Earth, before blasting into space.
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Transformers Podcast: Twincast / Podcast #102 - Hidden Mickeys
Twincast / Podcast #102:
"Hidden Mickeys"
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Posted: Sunday, October 5th, 2014