"TAI, initiate battle protocol! Have all Autobot forces meet me at McCleland air force base. The Decepticons are trying to steal jet fuel, we have to stop them," Optimus Prime commanded.

The fire truck form of the great Autobot leader had its sirens blazing as he sped through human traffic on his way to a secret entrance to the global spacebridge. He had been helping to put out a fire when the signal came from the skyspy satellite network about the Decepticon activity. He was in New York City and would be in Sacramento within a few minutes thanks to the global spacebridge. The Decepticons had developed the space bridge technology to move Energon shipments from Earth to Cybertron. The Autobots now used the technology to move between major cities of the world within minutes.

Optimus emerged from the global spacebridge inside a local fire department and remotely opened the door. With siren still blazing he sped out of the station and headed toward the air force base. A police car pulled behind him, its siren also blazing. "Prowl, reporting for duty sir," the police car said.

"Good to see you, old friend. Are X-Brawn and your brother Sideburn enroute?" Optimus asked as he squeezed through a traffic opening to turn in the intersection.

"Sideburn should already be there, he was in L.A., that is if he didn't get distracted by any red sports cars. X-Brawn was in the Himalayas, he may be a little late," Prowl replied as he stayed on Optimus' tail. "Wasn't this base decommissioned?"

"Yes. So why would the Decepticons attack it?" Optimus Prime puzzled as he accessed TAI to request a query.

A few seconds later TAI replied. "According to my database, Tecnenergenisis Corporation owns a research and development building on the old base. They make miniature proton reactors which are used to power space shuttles and submarines," TAI answered.

"Stealing is a crime. They must cease and desist," Prowl commented.

"Why so many Decepticons just to steal a reactor? Ravage alone could accomplish the mission," Optimus Prime asked before they blew through the security station. The security guard was cussing up a storm after the barrier broke and struck the guard shack. The human quickly used his radio to sound an alarm and ask about a possible fire.

Optimus and Prowl transformed into robot mode. Sideburn, the Spychangers and several other Autobots were already engaging the Decepticon forces. Optimus was searching the scene for Galvatron, the Decepticon leader. He didn't find any signs of Galvatron before X-Brawn pulled up beside them.

"Someone made that security guard angry," X-Brawn commented. He had bullet holes through his windshield and one flat tire. X-Brawn transformed into his robot mode and began into the fight, "Whatcha waitn' fer?"

"This isn't right. Where's Galvatron? Why so big of a Decepticon force?" Optimus asked. "Prowl check out the building and see what you can find. I'd better help the others."

Prowl nodded and saluted before he transformed and drove toward a hole blown in a garage-loading door. Most of the buildings here were either converted hangers or simple cement box structures. The one Prowl headed for was of the former type. Optimus followed X-Brawn into the midst of the conflict. Optimus changed his rear fire truck into its base form and began to attack the Decepticons.

Optimus began to take note of who had arrived and began issuing orders. "Blurr focus on Cyclonus, Downshift take out that anti-aircraft base, Overload catch Ransack, Hot Shot occupy Swindle, Scavenger try to get Lazerbeak and Buzzsaw," Optimus ordered. He was firing at Rollbar, the Commando.

Starscream, Thundercracker, Thrust and Skywarp rained missiles down, the explosions created large craters in the asphalt while also causing the Autobots to have to dodge the black chunks of stone shrapnel. Optimus tried to return fire, but he was busy with the Commando combiners as well. Prime was glad to see team bullettrain arrive and take over the conflict with the Commandos. Smokescreen, Red Alert and Jetfire joined the battle soon thereafter.

Optimus was able to pause his fighting long enough to check on Prowl. There was no response to his hails and he became worried. He didn't have the time to search out Prowl because Galvatron flew into the fray, attacking Optimus directly. Optimus dodged the initial attack and quickly combined with his trailer for battle mode.

"Today you Autobots perish!" Galvatron yelled before he strafed Optimus.

"Empty words," Optimus Prime replied in response and he launched his fists of fury at Galvatron. The sounds of battle waged all around Optimus. His olfactory sensors alerted him to the fact that at least one of the structures was currently ablaze from stray ordinance.

A figure loomed in the shadows of the research and development building. He watched as the Transformers outside fought madly. He looked down at the Autobot body he had recently deactivated with a swift chop from his Sword of Fury. His name was Scourge; he had been brought to Earth as a protoform. Megatron had scanned a fuel tanker and Optimus Prime to give him a new body. He was a negative image of Optimus, and believed that he should rule instead of Galvatron.

He was supposed to be collecting the miniature proton generators for Galvatron. He had other plans, he pulled away from the hole he made in the hangar door and returned to the facility’s laboratory. He had collected the transwarp cell from the stasis pod, and was going to create a surprise for everyone outside. If he could at least destroy Galvatron, Starscream, and that mockery of him --Optimus Prime, he would rule the universe. He kicked the fallen Autobot's head into a corner while he laughed madly.

Having exhausted their weapons, Optimus Prime and Galvatron were locked in mortal combat. "Leave now Galvatron," Optimus ordered while he struck a mighty blow to the left side of Galvatron's head. "Curse you! I shall dine on your spark," Galvatron stated before he converted to dragon mode and bit into Optimus' chest with both mouths. Prime let out a howl before he brought up a double-fist and slammed Galvatron into the asphalt, leaving an impression. Optimus then kicked Galvatron across the battlefield. Optimus took a moment survey the battlefield and make a tactical analysis. More Autobots and Decepticons were fighting around the air force base. Humans fled their buildings since they feared for their lives. The destruction from the battle would be devastating if they remained.

Optimus saw Galvatron change into his jet mode and begin to fly back. Optimus was distracted when he caught sight of Prowl's headless body carrying some object into the middle of the battle zone. In his distraction, Optimus left himself wide open to attack and Galvatron plowed his jet form into Optimus' chest. Prime felt the pain shoot through him since the impact caused the bite hole to tear larger and the impact forced him to tumble backward. He grabbed hold of Galvatron and tried to gain purchase on the asphalt.

Galvatron laughed with great abandon at Optimus. "You're past your prime," Galvatron stated before he threw a single blow that forced Optimus through a concrete wall. As Galvatron approached to finish the job the building's roof collapsed, knocking Galvatron to the floor. This gave Optimus enough time to recover and charge. Galvatron had transformed to robot mode and was pushed back into the battlefield by Optimus' wild charge. Prime knocked Galvatron down hard before he looked for Prowl's body. It was now directly in the center of the battle, still holding the device.

"Autobots, it's a trap! Fall back," Optimus ordered.

"What?" Galvatron asked, with surprise. He followed Optimus' line-of-sight and saw Prowl's decapitated form holding the weapon. "Scourge!" Galvatron cursed before he transformed into jet mode. Galvatron was less than ten feet off the ground when the device exploded.

A blinding white light flashed silently and all action on the battlefield seemed to move in slow motion, except for one figure. Blurr had made his way across to position himself between the weapon and Optimus Prime, in an attempt to shield his leader from the explosion. It was a vain attempt since the combined energy for the transwarp cell and the proton generator leveled the air base, tossing Autobot and Decepticon parts throughout the western seaboard. Optimus barely had time for his optics to register Blurr’s presence before he felt terrible pain wash over him and he returned to the familiar confines of the Matrix. He had died enough times to know that the Matrix might only be a temporary dwelling.

Ordinarily Optimus Prime would've begun a discussion about what had brought about his return with one of the past Autobot leaders. The Matrix was still empty since Rodimus Prime had used it to transform into Primus to destroy Unicron. Alpha Trion was part of Vector Sigma on Cybertron. Only four Autobots were allowed to copy their consciousness into the Matrix: Optimus Prime, Ultra Magnus Hot Rod and Grimlock.

Optimus decided to rest instead of summoning the other three. They would find him soon enough and respect his space for now. Optimus respected each for their own qualities and would appreciate their views later. Now, he just wanted to mourn the loss of so many good friends.



"What a mess," Ratchet commented after the shuttle, Skylinx, landed within the destroyed air force base.

"We'll definitely have our hands full," Fix It agreed before they drove down the lowered ramp toward the epicenter of the blast.

"The Skyspy’s data indicates over one million parts of Cybertronian origin were scattered across the western states," First Aid stated somberly before he walked slowly after the other two medics.

A purple jet flew down towards the Autobots and transformed. "Truce Autobots! We only want to collect our dead, as do you. No more fighting until the recovery process is complete," Blitzwing offered.

"You have a deal Decepticon," Ultra Magnus said firmly before he emerged from Skylinx. He had a grim expression on his face. "We will not attack you unless you provoke it," Ultra Magnus stated while he surveyed the destruction and shook his head. The crater still smoked from the heat of the explosion. "Try to find Optimus first," Ultra Magnus ordered. He looked over the entire crater in an absent sort of way. How many times had the Transformer war murdered innocent humans? He felt a tinge of pain and knew how much guilt his brother must have felt each time a scene like this occurred. The humans were also present, but were mostly there to keep other humans from entering the blast zone. There was little left for them to find in the debris with even less hope to recover organic remains of their dead.

"He's about ten kilometers in that direction," Blitzwing commented before he pointed and transformed into his tank mode. He then drove silently away to join the other Decepticons in the recovery process. Longhaul was already filled with pieces that were being dumped into Astrotrain's shuttle bay.

"TAI, status report," Ultra Magnus requested over his radio link in a very sad tone. He knew there would soon be repercussions related to this latest incident. He was usually the one who had to plead the Autobot’s case to the United Nations. He wondered how long he’d have until they came back with a vote ordering the Transformers off the planet Earth.

"We have every available MicroMaster combing the western states to retrieve pieces of Transformers," TAI replied.

"Inform them that we have a truce with the Decepticons. They are not to fight over any disputed parts. Let the Decepticons take what they find first," Ultra Magnus ordered. He knew the order would not be popular amongst the Autobots, but for now more violence would only make the humans even more upset at them. It would not be worth the cost.

"Yes sir," TAI said sadly before she severed the com link. TAI stood for Tactical Artificial Intelligence; she was the daughter of the Teletran-1 program. She had been given a human hologram, but was more like a little sister to every Autobot. Right now her family was in great pain.

"Ultra Magnus, we're going to need your help to bring Optimus' body back," Ratchet radioed.

"On my way," Ultra Magnus replied before he transformed into his truck mode and sped to where their Autobot signatures showed on his internal tactical display. He knew after a tragedy like this that there was almost no way to be prepared for the sight of his downed brother. This was a sad day for all concerned.

Optimus Prime's body landed a good thirty meters from the crater's edge. The explosion melted the battle mode armor, pieces of blue metal had melted and fused with it to Prime's main body, and splattered upon impact with the ground. The medics carefully tried to cut the metal since it had fused Prime to the asphalt when it solidified. Ultra Magnus impatiently kicked at the asphalt and broke it apart to reveal the sand base below. He reached under it and began to pick up Optimus. He smashed the asphalt from the corpse of the fallen leader. "Now put him in my truck bed," Ultra Magnus ordered before he transformed.

Ratchet was upset with the treatment, but did exactly as ordered. Optimus Prime's rigid body was loaded into Ultra Magnus. Ultra Magnus drove to the site of the global spacebridge and used it to take Prime's body back to Cybertron. The recovered parts were being brought to a large warehouse to be inspected and sorted. Wheeljack was coordinating the effort, and was surprised to see Optimus' body so soon. Jazz and Kup helped to drag Optimus out of Ultra Magnus and put the Autobot leader on one of Wheeljack's workshop tables. The table scanned Optimus and displayed a damage assessment on a large hologram. "He's extensively damaged," Wheeljack said before he touched the image to zoom in and out on the hologram. "I think I'll need more help to save him. I need to contact Spike, this seems like the best time," Wheeljack said.

Wheeljack summoned Spike Witwicky to the warehouse along with his son Daniel. Spike was about forty-eight years old and Daniel was pushing twenty-seven. Both wore very sad faces after they saw what condition Optimus Prime was in. Wheeljack, oblivious to their feelings, had them sit down near Optimus Prime's body before he began his presentation.

"As you see, Optimus has been severely damaged. Many more have also fallen in this tragedy. Spike, do you remember the time that you were mortally damaged and we transferred your mind into a temporary Autobot body?" Wheeljack asked.

"Yes, but I began to go crazy. The Decepticons convinced me to attack you," Spike replied. That was always the most nightmarish experience he had ever had with the Autobots. He had almost killed his father back then.

"Well, we've continued to improve the process. With what we now know about Humans and Nebulons, we believe that the process could work. I'm telling you this because your father allowed me to back up his mind before he passed away. We decided to leave his file alone since you Humans tend to need to mourn your losses. Your father specified the requirement of your consent should we ever need to use the file to create an Autobot with his brain anagrams," Wheeljack explained.

"You could've brought my father back all this time and you didn't tell me? Why?" Spike angrily accused. He had stood up and his face was rather blushed in anger at being left out of the loop on this possibility. Daniel tried to calm his father with a hand on his shoulder.

"Spike it would mean he'd be cursed with a near immortal body. He'll be stuck fighting alongside Autobots until he permanently dies. We were uncertain of how you might take having your Dad as one of us. We also have doubts that the Human psychology could deal with living beyond your natural life span," Wheeljack explained sympathetically.

"Let them do it," Daniel said to Spike. The now young man’s face was filled with hope and some excitement. Daniel had been too young to have much memories of his grandfather and this was probably the only way he'd be able to learn to know him.

"What are you planning?" Spike asked in a tone that still denoted his doubt and how upset he was. He sat back down next to his son, giving the boy a ‘don’t get your hopes up’ glance. He took off his HeadMaster suit’s helmet and set it on a nearby empty table.

"There's a design that the Decepticons created based on MicroMaster technology. They called it the Armada project, it allows the Transformer and their Mini-Con to combine, giving the Transformer a special capability. We believe the Deceptions will implement this project to rebuild their fallen. The Autobots need to counter the move with our own Mini-Cons. Your father would make a good candidate for the first," Wheeljack explained.

Spike sat silently while Wheeljack displayed the plans for Sparkplug's Mini-Con. The holo shifted from the technical plans to display an image of the final robot. Spike chuckled a bit, "It looks like Bumblebee."

"Your Father helped design this body and for sentimental reasons decided to make it look like this. Bumblebee's fine with it if you are?" Wheeljack asked. He glanced between both Spike and Daniel while a silence fell as he waited for an answer.

Spike looked to Daniel for a response. "I think we should let them try. Without Optimus, the Decepticons could conquer everything," Daniel told his Father. They were distracted by the sound of a large diesel style motor that preceded Ultra Magnus into the laboratory, turned field hospital, before the Autobot drove in with the first load of fallen Autobot parts.

"Wreck-gar, please get the load," Wheeljack requested before he returned his attention to Daniel and Spike.

"Do it," Spike stated while he watched parts of Smokescreen and Prowl being unloaded, along with other pieces that he could not identify. Spike stood, picked up his helmet and walked to the waiting form of Cerebros. He waited for Daniel to do the same with Arcee. They both transformed into the robots' heads and were joined within seconds. "Arcee, see if you can help here. Fortress Maximus is on Earth, I'm going to return to him," Cerebros said.

The Decepticons on Earth were having a harder time and their collection process was taking longer. Astrotrain flew loads of Decepticon parts back and forth to Tripticon. Scourge's attempt to usurp the Decepticon leadership mantle was so far ignored by most Decepticons, since Galvatron's remains had been recovered. The remains were so badly destroyed that the Constructicons scrapped rebuilding for the creation of a new body. They also implemented the Armada project while they built the new body for their leader. With Bombshell's help, they rolled back Galvatron's memories to the 2nd Generation Megatron and designed a new tank form. The Mini-Con design was already waiting for the project to commence. They called the Mini-Con Leader-1 since the small robot would probably only be the first Megatron would require.

Starscream, Thundercracker, Thrust, Skywarp and Buzzsaw were recovered and placed in piles around the main Decepticon meeting hall. It was the largest space within Tripticon's city mode and served as a storage location for the recovered pieces. A large central pile was still being sorted with an attempt to identify who they belonged to.

"I think the Autobots have some of our parts, Barrage complained.

"Yea, I haven't seen anything that resembles Laserbeak," Rumble agreed in a sad tone. All of the Cassetticons were close and considered each other brothers. He held a wire harness that was one part almost any of the damaged Decepticons could have within them.

"I think this was Swindle," Frenzy said before he began a new pile by dropping half a head in a not-so-gentle manner onto an empty space of the floor. "We're not going to be able to identify all of these pieces."

"You don't have to. Just do what you can," stated Shockwave in the logical monotone voice after he entered the room. The Decepticons were almost as afraid of Shockwave as they were of Megatron. Shockwave was the only reason Scourge wasn't sitting atop the Decepticon throne. The power that Shockwave could bring to bear could easily destroy any of them. "Bring Thrust's parts to the Constructicons when they are done with Megatron," Shockwave ordered and then left the room.

"I don't get it," Rumble said when he believed Shockwave had moved beyond audio sensor range. "Why didn't he just finish slagging Galvatron and take out Scourge?"

"Maybe he fears Scourge," Frenzy commented.

"That robot has no fear," Barrrage ended the discussion. ‘Nor any other emotion.’ Barrage thought to himself. The other Decepticons must have agreed since they continued with their work in a more somber manner. Sifting through their pals was never a very good assignment.



Scourge made his way back to Char and began to assemble Decepticons loyal to him. The few Sweeps that were still functioning were his to control. The Commandos, except for Rollbar, swore their allegiance to him. But he soon discovered that only the weakest Decepticons remained on Char. All HeadMasters, TargetMasters and PowerMasters had gone with Scorponok to Earth.

The Decepticon army was now fractured into three distinct groups, and they would be fighting each other over resources soon enough. Scourge wondered which group he should face first, the one now led by Shockwave or Scorponok? He doubted the rag-tag group he now led could seriously challenge either. He knew he'd have to take some action soon or it would not take long for the others to turn on his group.

He decided to try to join forces with Scorponok's faction as survival was more important and he could try to find a way to usurp the Headmaster leader. He sent one of the Sweeps to Earth to deliver the truce personally; he couldn't afford Soundwave's capturing the signal. Hours later the spacebridge activated and delivered the Sweep. He was destroyed with the word "no" etched into his chest with lasers.

Scourge was furious at the sight of his destroyed Sweep. In a way they were extensions of him, created by Unicron. He fumed and ordered a stasis pod be brought to the spacebridge. After they removed the Sweep's body and brought the stasis pod, he ordered the others to prepare for battle. He pulled out one of the miniature proton generators he stole, and began to attach it to the stasis pod. He had hoped the devices would only be needed to generate Energon, now it would send a clear message to Scorponok.

"Commandos, form Ruination. Everyone be ready," Scourge ordered as he sent the device though the space bridges. The stasis pod was programmed to get clear of the bridge and enter the heart of Scorponok's city mode before exploding.

Ruination was missing an arm, as Rollbar was a victim of Scourge's first weapon. They resented Scourge and followed him only out of fear that he might use the weapon on them. They entered the spacebridge with the other Decepticons when ordered. Killing would be good, even if it wasn't Autobots.

They emerged in a desert plain with a giant glass crater where Scorponok's city mode had been. The remaining functional force began a counter-attack. "Surrender and live," Scourge ordered as his force began to disperse to take on the enemy.

Ruination approached a heavily damaged Abominus and began to blast his enemy apart. Abominus returned the attack with savage blows to Ruination's mid section. Ruination doubled over in pain before firing the twin cannons mounted on his back. The shells exploded, knocking Abominus on his back with a loud crash. Abominus lay still for a moment before the smoke cleared to reveal large holes in Hun-gur, and the other Terrorcons disconnecting. "We surrender," Blot grumbled as they knelt.

Scourge swept through the devastation, slashing at Headmasters and Targetmasters with his Sword of Fury. He had to pause a couple of times as he found he was about to target someone in his own group. He laughed heartily as he found Lord Zarack surrounded by Scullcruncher, Mindwipe, Weirdwolf, and Apeface. "Zarack, surrender now and I'll let them live," Scourge demanded.

"Never, you Prime wannabe," Lord Zarack replied before he ordered his protectors to attack. Even though Zarack was no longer Scoponok these Decepticons were still loyal to him. The four Headmasters transformed and headed straight at Scourge.

Scourge sliced through the wing of Mindwipe's bat form causing him to screech horribly before he fell from the air and landed atop Weirdwolf. Scourge did not have time to bring the sword to bear on Scullcruncher's crocodile form before it lunged atop of him. Scourge was forced to drop the sword and grab the enormous jaws to keep them from shutting over his head. It took all of Scourge's strength to tear the crocodile's jaw in two. Sculcruncer emitted a pain-filled cry as the top of his jaw was thrown aside by Scourge. Scourge kicked the crocodile's remains off of him only to be attacked by Weirdwolf. The wolf's fangs dug into Scourge's left arm, causing him to wince slightly. Scourge struck Weirdwolf with his other hand, knocking the wolf so it nearly landed atop the Nebulon partners. Mindwipe had transformed and retrieved Scourge's sword. Both he and Apeface were closing in on Scourge. Scourge blasted them both with his shoulder cannons while he had his trailer change into the battle platform. Zarack brought some of the laser cannons that remained from Scorponok to fire upon the platform, trying to keep it busy while the two Headmasters could attack.

"This is for my wing," Mindwipe yelled while he lunged and swung Scourge's sword, cutting into Scourge's chest. Scourge grabbed the sword before he struck Mindwipe, sending the bat into Apeface. Scourge pulled the sword out of his chest and buried it into Minwipe's back before twisting it. Mindwipe's binary bonded partner felt all the pain until he transformed and joined the others. Apeface was now the only one that still functioned. Scourge was eager to make that oversight short.

Apeface had been able to grab one of Scourge's feet when the attacker came too close by plunging the sword into Mindwipe. He used his great strength to pick up and slam Scourge into the glass, which shattered the surface. Scourge's battle platform had been able to destroy the last of the laser turrets attacking it and brought its weapons to fire upon Apeface. Scourge tried to cut away Apeface's arm, as the grip was nearly unbreakable. Scourge cursed at the mindless animal while it bashed him into the ground a couple of more times before the platform's barrage became too much for Apeface.

Scourge struggled to get up as he looked at the fallen adversary. He flared up the Sword of Fury and buried it into Apeface's chest, making sure the HeadMaster would not be able to make any desperate comeback. He saw the Nebulons running from the fray and took aim at Zarack. He threw the Sword of Fury at the Headmaster leader.

The throw was true and would've taken its prey except for an unexpected entry into the battle. A giant hand had descended, blocking the sword's path, as it struck the hand like a splinter. "Ouch," the hand's owner said before he pulled the hand back to withdraw the sword. "Leave now Decepticons," Fortress Maximus voice bellowed over the battle field before he began to blast the battle randomly. The giant Autobot opened a panel in his chest and Autobots began to emerge to join the conflict.

"Decepticons, to Char," Scourge ordered a retreat as his battle platform fired on Fort Max's hand to force the Autobot to drop the Sword of Fury. As soon as Scourge retrieved the sword he withdrew through the spacebridge. Most of the Decepticons followed even those that had been in Scorponok's force, as they knew they couldn't fight the combined Autobot army on Earth. Scourge sent an explosive back through the spacebridge to destroy the Earth side so the Autobots could not follow.

When things settled down, Scourge assembled the Decepticons and found he had nearly doubled his force during the battle. Many of them needed repairs and Energon if they were to be effective in challenging Shockwave's force. Scourge set up one of his mini proton generators to produce Energon. The strongest would be required to make raids for parts. He hoped to have them battle ready in less than a week, since he knew Shockwave would have repaired as many of their fallen as they could.



Dusk descends upon the mountains throwing shadows across the small campsite. The crackling fire is the only ward against the night's darkness. Three small dome tents surround the fire pit, casting their shadows across the treeline. This is a secret camping spot for the three young adventurers who live in western Colorado. Their parents work and reside at the Cosmo Scope Research Center and Interstellar Observatory. Since the Center also has an on site private school for the employee's children, any time away from the Center was precious.

"Carlos, knock it off," an 11 year old girl with black hair barked as a 10 year old boy with dark brown hair rode his skateboard in a jump over the fire pit.

"You're way too serious, Alexis," Carlos said before he skillfully flipped the skateboard into his right hand. He wore a grin from ear-to-ear at his own antics.

"Carlos, cut it out. Neither of us want to roll you back to the Center's infirmary tonight," a 12-year-old boy with blonde hair stated with a tired yawn.

"Come on, Rad, I was just having some fun," Carlos groaned. Normally the two were best friends that would goad each other on to the most outrageous of stunts. Carlos was feeling like the third wheel whenever they got together with Alexis.

"Your fun got ash all over my marshmallow," Alexis complained with a face of disgust. She pulled the marshmallow off her stick. "I should make you eat it," she said before she flicked it into the fire.

A cell phone began to ring, breaking up the discussion. "Hey, I thought we agreed not to bring those?" Carlos moaned with betrayal. The ringing was coming from a bag strapped to a BMX bicycle.

Rad walked to the bicycle, "You think our parents would let us come here without them?" He did not wait for a reply before he hit the send button, "Hello? Yes mom, we're alright. What? O.K. We'll pack up at dawn. Thank you, we'll be safe. Alright, call you if anything happens. Good night."

"What was that all about?" Alexis asked from across the fire pit. She was concerned because Rad’s mother wouldn’t call unless it was important. She had brought her cell phone, but it was turned off. She was now wondering if she should check her messages.

"Evidently there was an explosion in Sacramento, California earlier today and debris is raining down all over the western US. The observatory is tracking several large chunks that have entered our state's airspace. We're within one of the projected touchdown zones," Rad replied in a nonchalant tone.

"You mean these pieces are surviving reentry? How could they?" Alexis asked. She was the total nerd of the group and knew more about physics than the two boys combined.

"Will we see shooting stars?" Carlos asked before he looked into the star filled sky. He didn’t care too much about the possible danger, he just wanted to see a shooting star up close.

"I don't know and possibly," Rad replied nervously before he made a smore and bit into it. Rad was a little more sensible when it came to risking his own hide and he sometimes wondered about Carlos’ apparent lack of fear. Was it just a front or was Carlos really that crazy?

The kids laughed and told stories into the night as they watched the sky for some sign of falling debris. With their fire dying, the chill became enough to send them to their tents. Alexis stopped at her scooter and withdrew a propane catalytic heater out of one of her bags. Carlos commented about cheating, and received a stuck out tongue for a reply.

They slept for less than three hours before a loud sonic boom woke them and the sky was tinged red in color. Rad was the first out of his tent, followed by Alexis. Carlos got tangled in the door to his tent and fell into the dirt outside. Rad and Alexis helped untangle him from the tent. "We need to find cover," Rad said with a tone of panic while he looked around.

"The rock formation near the lake," Alexis suggested. The boys looked at each other before nodding. They grabbed their vehicles and followed Alexis’ scooter up toward the lake.

They left their vehicles outside and ran to a rock group that made a small cave where they waited while the air began to heat around them. They covered their ears as well since the sound became deafening. Water rushed over the rock group when the falling object crashed into the lake. The kids saw several fish flopping about after the water receded and they tried to get them back into the water before they surveyed the lake.

An object was glowing under the water and they were all surprised to note that it was moving toward them. "We should run," Alexis stated with fear.

"No, let's see what it is," Carlos said before he retrieved his vehicle and rode his skateboard closer to the shoreline. Alexis was looking to Rad for back up on her statement. She shook her head at Carlos’ rash actions.

"We stay, but far enough away we can ride to safety quickly," Rad said stated before he motioned for Carlos to return from the shore.

"Where did it go?" Alexis asked when the glowing faded.

"The lake water probably cooled whatever crashed," Rad replied with an even more worried tone. There was no way to tell what it was and now that it had cooled, there was no way of telling exactly where it was either. He wanted to get his bike and bolt from the scene right then and he knew Alexis was of the same frame of mind.

Just then a form arose crawling out of the water, steam still hissing off its metallic body. The three children shone their flashlights toward it to discover a robot. The sight was gruesome since most of the external plates were melted off and the internal systems looked as if they were no better off. They could see sparks periodically lighting up the internal components. The smell of hydraulic fluid and melted plastic filled the air.

They were distracted by the sound of helicopters approaching. "Nngh, c...can't let the Decepticons ...find me," the badly damaged robot stated. It struggled to look toward where the chopper sounds were coming from. Its head was draped in plants from the lake and they fell of as the robot tilted its head.

"What can we do?" Carlos asked.

"Bring your.... vehicles here," the robot indicated a place below its chest. "Need.... new disguise," the robot stated.

"What are you going to do?" Alexis asked before she began to pull her scooter away from the robot. The scooter was an expensive gift from her parents and she knew she’d be in big trouble if she allowed anything to happen to it. She had already spent a couple of hours listening just to the ‘responsibility’ speech, and she did not wish to prove her parents’ trust wrong.

"P…please trust me...we're running...out of time," the robot said.

"What's your name?" Carlos asked.

"Perceptor,...I'm an.... Autobot," the robot replied.

"Let's do it," Carlos said before he kicked his skateboard under Perceptor. Rad walked his bike to the indicated spot. Both boys waited scornfully for Alexis to surrender her scooter. She glared back before she noted the helicopters were clearing a ridge with searchlights. She shrugged before also brought her scooter to the indicated spot.

"This might... tingle," Perceptor said before he scanned the children. Wires emerged from Perceptor's chest and wrapped around the three vehicles below him. "Damn... this going to hurt," he said before his body suddenly broke into three pieces. A flash blinded the children, when they could see again the robot was gone. In its place were three high-tech versions of their vehicles.

Just in time as the helicopters reached their position and the spotlights hit them. "United States military! This area is declared restricted. Take your vehicles and leave immediately or you will be under arrest," a loud speaker from one of the helicopters boomed.

"Let's do as he says," Rad agreed before he hopped onto the new bicycle.

"How do I start this thing?" Alexis asked after she got onto the orange motor driven scooter.

"You don't," a female voice replied, "I'll do the driving." The scooter started and dove away from the lake. The boys quickly following her lead while the skateboard and bicycle began to move on their own. They quickly reached the campsite.

"Stop please?" Alexis asked and the scooter slowed to a stop," thanks." The boys also stopped at the campsite.

"We'd better break camp and go home. Our parents probably know something fell into the lake. They'll want to know we're safe," Rad said before he quickly began to pack his camping gear.

"Are we a safe distance from the human army?" a male voice asked from the bicycle, startling the group.

"For now, the trees should provide cover Perceptor," Carlos replied with a nod of his head. The fire had died out while they were gone and there were only embers still casting a light glow.

"I'm not Perceptor," the bicycle said, "Street action team transform!"

Suddenly the three vehicles underwent an amazing change while their vehicle forms shifted into their robot modes. "I'm Highwire," the robot that was the bicycle said. "I am Sureshock," the female voice that was the scooter introduced. "I am Grindor," the robot that was a skateboard stated. "Together we can form Perceptor," Highwire explained. "Perceptor scanned you three for our personas," Grindor stated.

"Help us pack and we'll get out of here," Alexis said.

The three kids learned the short version of Transformers history and how Perceptor had come to crash into the lake. They loaded their gear onto their new rides and returned quickly to the Center. "How do we explain these?" Alexis asked before they entered the security gate.

"We'll say we signed up to test these prototypes for a toy company," Carlos replied.

"That will work since we may have to give them back to the Autobots," Rad said sadly.

"Then they'd better replace our rides," Alexis said haughtily.

The Cosmo Kid's parents were very happy to see they were unharmed. It was nearly three in the morning and the kids were happy to crawl into their own warm beds after telling the story they made up for their parents. They were glad to find their Mini-Con team still there in the morning.



"I'm going to regret this," Megatron said to Shockwave while he stood over the remains of the Decepticons that were collected after the explosion the great Decepticon leader had stood in the room for two hours contemplating the quandary. He had already sent Thundercracker and Skywarp to be rebuilt. He stood over Starscream's remains as he talked with Shockwave.

"Perhaps you should pair him with Swindle. Swindle's reputation could work against Starscream," Shockwave suggested.

"Or create an even more devious adversary," Megatron shook his head. They were both characters who would turn against him on an Energon chip, so to say. "If Scourge hadn't decimated most of the Decepticon force, I'd leave Starscream like this. Do it," Megatron ordered. He left the meeting hall and walked out into the courtyard. Tripticon was currently in a desert near oil wells. This was the Republic of Carbomia, the country that traded its oil for Decepticon "protection." Megatron hated thinking humans had any say in the actions of the Decepticons. Octane had struck the deal and it made sense on a tactical level.

Megatron transformed into his new tank mode and drove out away from the city. He noted the small vehicle form of Leader-1 following him. "Did I ask you to join me?" Megatron growled angrily.

"No," Leader-1 replied in a calm tone.

"Then why did you?" Megatron asked before he spun about and turned his turret toward the Mini-Con.

"We need to practice how I can boost your powers," Leader-1 replied.

"I'll show you my power," Megatron said while he readied to fire, wanting only to destroy the pest.

Leader-1 transformed into robot mode, leapt and transformed back so he could attach to the turret. He activated the missile launcher that came to bear on where he had been rolling moments before. "See," Leader-1 commented.

"Where did these come from?" Megatron asked after he realized that he did not know he had the missile launcher. "What else can we do?" Megatron asked before he swiveled the turret around and launched the missiles into a barren field. Sand kicked up from the explosions as the ground vibrated.

"I can become a machine gun for your robot mode and increase your firepower," Leader-1 explained.

Megatron returned to robot mode and his Mini-Con changed into the machine gun form. Megatron used Leader-1 to cause one of the oil wells to burst into a plume of flame and smoke. Megatron laughed, "Perhaps I won't destroy you, just yet."

"There's one more surprise, but we should only use it on the Autobots," Leader-1 explained.

"Would more of you Mini-Cons make me even more powerful?" Megatron asked. He felt a bit weird talking to his weapon and having it talk back.

"Yes, as I can only activate, or be used to do one thing at a time," Leader-1 replied.

"Then we should make more of your kind, many more!" Megatron laughed before he tossed Leader-1 into the air and transformed into his tank mode. Leader-1 changed into his vehicle mode and attached to the turret. They returned to Tripticon.

Soundwave and Shockwave were waiting for him on the outskirts of the city. Neither looked as if they had any good news to tell him. "Scorponok's forces have been destroyed by Scourge. Those who survived did so by joining Scourge rather than be captured by the Autobots," Soundwave reported.

"Scourge will attack us next. Close the spacebridge and get every Decepticon working to revive our fallen. We need to be ready when Scourge does arrive," Megatron ordered. "If we are lucky, the Autobots will keep Scourge occupied long enough."

"I should've known you'd bring me back to fix things. Couldn't just say we missed you, could you?" Sparkplug was ranting while he looked over the huge piles of parts that were scattered about the warehouse. He was wondering if it wouldn’t be better to just ask to be shut down rather than have to go to work on all of them.

"Optimus Prime is needed and you're more experienced at his repairs. And of course, we missed you," Arcee said, giving word to Daniel's sentiments. The fembot looked out of place standing there with all of the technicians.

Sparkplug accessed TAI directly and downloaded the prior schematics to many of the identified fallen. "Interesting, Prime combined with Ultra Magnus to create this Omega Prime? I like the idea, but he requires a completely new body. Maybe we can do something similar," Sparkplug thought aloud while he continued to look over the parts piles. One was clearly the remains of Blurr, though there was little left in that pile. "I'm ditching the fire truck and returning to a more familiar form," he stated before he returned to where Optimus' remains sat.

Optimus Prime's body had been stripped to the bare necessities, only the head and chest were still intact. The rest had been cut away to allow room to begin the work of building a new body. The basic structure was already forming as new parts were assembled.

Sparkplug downloaded all of the schematics on record of Optimus Prime's various incarnations. He began to laugh, "Boy, Optimus has more lives than a cat. There's features I like and some I think were stupid. Let's see what I can come up with, do we have a database of Earth vehicles that is up to date?"

"There are over fourteen million Earth machines on file," TAI replied.

"Show me all diesel trucks with trailers built in the last five years," Sparkplug requested.

Arcee laughed and before Sparkplug could ask why TAI replied; "There are no matches to your query."

"All oil based fuels have been phased out of use in vehicles. Hydrogen has replaced gasoline and diesel fuel in most countries. America has tried to switch to propane and electric hybrid systems. TAI show him all trucks with trailers built in the last five years," Arcee requested.

The holo projection began to display hauling trucks every five seconds. "Faster, make it once a second," Sparkplug told TAI. The images sped up and after a minute Sparkplug said, "Stop there! That's big enough, what do you think?"

"It would be quite larger than Optimus' current form," Arcee replied.

"TAI cross reference the specifications for this truck with the Armada project's requirements. Then upload the results to me as soon as..." Sparkplug was interrupted.

"Done," TAI replied before she beamed the results to Sparkplug.

"Hmm. Wasn't Jetfire in one of those piles?" Sparkplug asked.

"Yes," both TAI and Arcee replied.

"Show me all Russian designed space shuttle designs. If I recall correctly, there was one about twice the size of NASA's," Sparkplug requested. TAI displayed only four holograms. "Give me the schematics of the second image cross referenced with the Armada project specifications," Sparkplug requested. "Hmm, we'll need to make some adjustments for weapons and then try to create a combiner technology with Optimus."

The group was interrupted when Ultra Magnus, Ratchet, First Aid and Fix It entered the warehouse with loads of parts. Ultra Magnus transformed, depositing his load. He walked over to where the group was. "That'll have to be the last load we can bring here," Ultra Magnus stated, "Scourge used the space bridge to deliver his weapon to Scorponok's camp. Practically wiped them out. I'm going back to Earth and then the spacebridges will be shut down. We can't afford to have another one of those things used against us."

Ultra Magnus nodded toward the Autobot doctors and transformed to drive back to Earth. Ratchet deactivated the spacebridge as soon as he confirmed Ultra Magnus made it. "Arcee, contact Elita One and tell her to shut down the Cybertronian space bridge network," Ratchet ordered. Arcee nodded and left the group to do as instructed. "So where are we?" Ratchet asked before he looked over the skeletal construction currently in progress on Optimus.

"We were just finishing selection of forms for both Optimus Prime and Jetfire. We're going to have them combine like Ultra Magnus and Optimus could before the explosion. I'd like your opinion on the plans so far," Sparkplug replied before he beamed the current designs to the three doctors.

"Impressive start," Ratchet commented with a slightly surprised tone. He had not taken into account how changing Sparkplug into a Transformer would increase the speed at which the former human could work up a design.

"If you don't mind, me and Fix It will begin to work on Jetfire's new body?" First Aid requested.

"Optimus takes precedence," Ratchet ordered firmly.

First Aid looked at the group, "What is the human expression? ‘Too many cooks in the kitchen’? You have plenty to do without us in the way and if we build Jetfire simultaneously, we can tweak the design as we go."

"Sounds good to me," Wheeljack said before Ratchet could override them. He knew Ratchet wanted Prime operational as soon as possible, but too many mechanics on a single project led to problems and delays. They tended to spend too much time arguing over what each believed was the best way to implement a technology.

"Let's get to work," Sparkplug said in order to move the conversation on, he brought up the new schematics of Prime's body in the hologram. He knew that Ratchet and Wheeljack would barely take time for Energon consumption until Optimus Prime was back amongst the living. He also knew that they were fighting a race with time. Eventually the Decepticons would take care of their internal problems and then try to attack the Autobots. The cycle seemed to never end.

"I'll help sort the new pile of parts," Arcee commented before she left the experts to their work. At least this way she could still be helpful without getting in their way. Many other Autobots were also sifting through the remains in the attempt to identify who the parts once belonged to.



Ultra Magnus emerged from the spacebridge within Fortress Maximus. The spacebridge was immediately shut down after he came through. He transformed and greeted Cerebros, "Are we ready?"

"Every Autobot has been fueled and armed, we await your orders," Cerebros replied before he followed Ultra Magnus out of the SpaceBridge to where the rest of the Autobots left on Earth were gathered.

"Do they need a pep talk or can we just do this?" Ultra Magnus asked before they descended via escalator to the awaiting army.

Cerebros chuckled a bit at that statement. "You've let some of Hot Rod rub off on you. It may do them some good to hear any progress on Optimus Prime and remind them why we are about to attack the Decepticons," Cerebros replied. Spike had his own doubts about the plan, but with Optimus gone he did not want to get into a power struggle with Ultra Magnus. It was an unofficial policy that Ultra Magnus commanded the Autobots here on Earth.

Ultra Magnus and Cerebros departed the escalator on a dais that overlooked a great stretch of land currently bordered by Metroplex and Fortress Maximus. The space was filled with the surviving Autobots, waiting to hear their temporary leader speak. Ultra Magnus and Cerebros were greeted by Blaster, whom would act as Magnus' PA system.

"The UN is very concerned about this action. They've voted a resolution against our attacking and have threatened to label the Autobots as terrorists if we invade the Republic of Carbomia," Blaster explained. "They've even began the process of creating a resolution to ban all Transformers from Earth."

Magnus didn’t even sigh, he had expected as much since the debacle at the ex-Air Force base. "Tell them we'd be pleased to let them expel the Decepticons by force and on their own terms if it could be done. The Decepticons are currently in a strategic state that might allow us to force them off Earth for good," Ultra Magnus stated. "We're going to attack them, even if the humans decide we need to go. Please transform."

Blaster nodded, not quite agreeing with the policy, before he transformed to begin amplifying Ultra Magnus' speech for the army below. Ultra Magnus paused to gather his thoughts and looked over the faces of his friends. It was never easy to ask them to go into battle, especially when he knew some of them might not return from it. "Autobots, it pleases me to report that with Sparkplug's help we shall soon have our beloved and wise leader back in the ranks of the functional," Ultra Magnus paused while cheers rose from the gathered Autobots. He knew right now they needed hope, more than what any strike on the Decepticons might do for morale. "As you all know, we are about to attack the Decepticons. Our goal is to kick them off Earth for good! May the Matrix guide us all," Ultra Magnus exclaimed. Ultra Magnus looked to Cerebros, who tilted his head to let Magnus know he should give the order. "Autobots transform and roll for it," Ultra Magnus exclaimed.

Robots of every size changed their shape and started off toward their target. Metroplex changed into his rolling battle platform while Fortress Maximus became his flying one. Never before had this number of Autobots been assembled on Earth to attack the Decepticons, it was an awe-inspiring sight.

It took nearly six hours to travel from their base of operations in Oregon to the Republic of Carbomia. It was nearly dusk when they found Tripticon. They landed just outside of Tripticon's range and spread out. Metroplex and Fortress Maximus moving so that one was in front and the other behind the Decepticon city.

"Why haven't they fired at us?" Ultra Magnus pondered. He was driving at the head of the Autobot force and was scanning for Decepticons. There were no Decepticon signatures outside of Tripticon, this made Magnus nervous. "Autobots hold up, something's wrong here. Minesweep, check for explosives buried ahead. The rest of you circle around but wait for my order to attack," Ultra Magnus ordered. "Blaster send Raindance to survey Tripticon. I want to know why they haven't attacked?" he requested.

The blue cassette was ejected and transformed into its jet mode. It flew straight toward Tripticon and circled several times before trying to enter. Minesweep returned to report that he did not detect any booby traps or explosives ahead of them. A few minutes passed before Raindance flew back without Tripticon firing a shot. "Deserted sir, even Tripticon seems dead," Raindance stated.

"Things here are more than meets the eye, much more I'd bet," Ultra Magnus commented. "Metroplex destroy Tripticon at your will. Fortress Maximus aid him if needed, but keep an optic out for the other Decepticons. The rest of you sit tight," Ultra Magnus ordered while he surveyed their surroundings. He wished Red Alert hadn’t been damaged in Scourge’s attack, he could have used the Autobot’s early detection systems right about now.

The sound of missiles and plasma cannons boomed from Metroplex into Tripticon. The first barrage scarred the Decepticon city's armor. Still no reaction from anything. It wasn't until the third volley that Tripticon suddenly changed into his dinosaur mode and began to return fire. Then all slag broke loose when Decepticons began to emerge from the sand behind the Autobot line to fire upon them.

Several Autobots fell in the first few moments of the attack. Ultra Magnus was having to duck and return fire from a large Decepticon. He was shocked when he realized who it was, "Megatron, how are you back online so quickly?" He dodged the cannon fire to launch missiles.

"The best mechanics in the galaxy are Constructicons!" Megatron replied. He tossed Leader-1 in the air while he transformed. Leader-1 transformed and attached to the turret to activate the missile launcher. Megatron fired his combined weapons into Ultra Magnus, the result tearing chunks of Magnus' armor apart as the main cannon blasted him through the chest.

Magnus was knocked back twenty yards from the concussion forces of the explosive munitions. Ultra Magnus painfully struggled to get off the sand and could see the sky through the hole in his chest. He watched sparks arced in the gap while a mixture of energon, oil and hydraulic fluid spilled onto the sand under him. Ultra Magnus struggled to sit up while his internal repair systems tried to stem the flow of essential fluids. "Fortress, you lead." Magnus vision flickered as he dropped back to the sand. Blaster tried to come to ultra Magnus' aid, only to be assaulted by Starscream and Thundercracker.

Fortress Maximus pulled away from the tag-team beating of Tripticon and transformed into his battle platform. He began to acquire multiple targets and fire at the Decepticons. "Metroplex, keep Tripticon busy. Autobots bring the wounded to me! We need to fight back," Cerebros ordered over their com link. He tried to give cover fire rather than shooting to take out the enemy.

Unseen by Fortress' sensors, Shockwave emerged from the sand behind the platform and transformed into his gun mode. The extremely powerful blast at point-blank range blew through the platform's rear to emerge where Cerebros stood, melting his legs.

Spike felt every bit for pain from his binary bonded allies, even after he transformed from being Cerebros' head. He had to struggle to remain conscious and force Fortress Maximus to move. Only if he could get their firepower turned to return fire would they have a chance. "Chromedome, Hardhead, give me some cover fire please?" Spike requested. The two began to fire upon Shockwave while the massive platform mode of Fortress Maximus spun to bear on his attacker.

"Are you ready to see our other trick?" Leader-1 asked before he detached from the turret on Megatron. "Transform to robot mode," Leader-1 instructed. He then attached to a different place on the turret, "Fire when ready."

Megatron fired his cannon at Fortress Maximus and was surprised when the energy output was twenty times normal. The shot tore through the battle platform's main cannons, melting them and fusing the circuitry.

"Can we fire like that all the time?" Megatron asked. Megatron was very happy with the result and he wanted to fire again, this time at Metroplex. He laughed when he saw the fear on his fellow Decepticon’s optics.

Leader-1 detached, "No, it drains my reserves. It will take an hour before I will be back to that output level. It's another reason to have more Mini-Cons." He transformed into the gun mode, "Luckily I use normal munitions as a dual barreled machine gun," Leader-1 stated. Megatron grabbed the Mini-Con partner and began to fire at Metroplex while he fired his main cannon.

"Autobots, retreat!" Spike ordered while he forced Fortress Maximus to limp away from the battle. He hated leaving the others, but Fortress Maximus now made a better target than a warrior. Blades dropped Ultra Magnus' body onto Maximus and left to retrieve Blaster. The battle platform shook violently as Thundercracker and Skywarp's new jet modes launched missiles at it. Spike returned fire with the large top cannon while he prayed Maximus would hold together long enough to reach safety. Brainstorm, Cloudburst and Strafe tried to keep the Decepticon Seekers busy. Spike transformed back into Cerebros' head and drug him over to where Magnus lay. He picked up Ultra Magnus' rifle and fired at the Decepticons near Blaster, trying to provide Whirl with some cover fire.

Metroplex was able to deactivate Tripticon after a rather nasty wrestling match. He began to provide cover fire for the Autobots while they began their retreating action. The Decepticons had been outnumbered, but with the Mini-Cons they were more powerful than the Autobots had expected. The surprise factor of being unable to detect the Decepticons had also cost the Autobots dearly.

"I must congratulate you Shockwave, your signature dampener and scanner scramblers worked excellently. Decepticons, collect all of the fallen that they did not retrieve," Megatron ordered," we may have use for the parts. Fall back to base, we need to repair it now. Leave the Autobots for later." Several of the Decepticons grumbled, as they wanted to press their advantage. They were silenced when Shockwave agreed with Megatron and threatened to deactivate any whom disobeyed the order.


Chapter 7: CHAOS WAKES

(NOTE: This takes off from my previous stories, where Rodimus becomes Primus to defeat Unicron, sacrificing himself. Of course, can good or evil be truly vanquished? I’m sort of mixing continuities too, since my old story did not have the comic’s versions of the Generation 2 Decepticons. Forgive the meshing, sometimes I forget what I once wrote.)

In the vast void of space too empty to attract civilized attention drifted the dormant spark of the universe's worst enemy. He had battled with the Transformer god Primus and lost. Like all weak-willed, Primus only removed his threat without completely extinguishing his spark. The empty zone of space was his banishment, a very long time had passed and his hunger was all consuming. He wished to turn everything into a wasteland such as this void, to bring about his own kind of fulfillment and peace, then everything would be one with him. A bit of a problem was the fact that he currently had no physical form to make good on his destiny.

He would have floated out there for an eternity if it had not been for the twisted ships that entered the void. They stopped out of his range and sent a small black orb to intercept his spark's position. The orb was quickly possessed by the monster and transformed into a small robot. "Quintessons, what makes you think I need your aid?" he threatened while he gauged the new body. It was not a fitting shell and he found that he could not reformat its design.

"We would like an allegiance with you, Chaos Bringer. Our common enemies, the Transformers, have become too strong for us to control. We would like to offer you a deal. Destroy them all and we shall provide you with a new body in order to carry out the task," a Quintesson voice eagerly replied.

"What makes you so confident that I will not take your offer and consume you the second I have the chance?" the monster asked. He was approaching the ship that transmitted the message. He was hungry and this little body was too small.

"The body you inhabit is a new advance in Transformer technology. It will destroy your new body on our command; thus we've called him Dead End. He will be your helper and we suggest keeping him close, any farther out than normal satellite distance and your new body will self-destruct. That is, if you agree to the deal?" the Quintesson asked. The airlock hatch slid open to the craft that Unicron was approaching. "Help yourself to the Sharkticons within, we're certain that you must be famished. Do we have a deal?" the Quintesson asked.

"For now, yes," Unicron answered angrily before he entered the ship. He did not like having those he thought only as food telling him what to do. The little gun on Dead End's arm easily cut through the Sharkticons, allowing him to feed. The fuel was delicious, but he found this body was ill equipped to consume the rest. The door had slid closed behind him and the craft was accelerating out of the void. He laughed heartily when he noted there were no Quintessons aboard; they were flying by remote control. "They always were too smart for their own good," Unicron commented to himself. He would play their game until he was powerful again, then he'd show them who the true master was!

They took him to a planet that looked like the countless others he had destroyed, one with organic life. "That can't be my new body!" Unicron hissed when the craft took orbit around the planet. He could have used it if he was more powerful, but it would require too much energy to reformat it in his current state.

"We hid it within the crust of this world. The process of creating your new body took much more time than we anticipated. Terraforming Cybertron took much less time. The planet's resources were tapped only enough to keep other's from suspecting our work here. Please, go down and land beside the structure. You will see for yourself," the Quintesson replied.

Unicron wasn't given a choice, the Quintesson craft began planet fall of its own accord. The air was a crystal blue and he could see the foliage that covered the land. Only two large orange-rust spires displayed any sign that sentient beings had visited this planet. As the ship landed he noted there were life forms in the foliage. He went to the Sharkticon remains and fed again before the door slid open.

"You had better not be wasting my time!" Unicron threatened before he walked out of the craft. He was still hungry and irritable at the fact. The amount of Energon he had already consumed would have made any normal Transformer drunk; he only felt the hunger.

The small Dead End body quickly ran toward the orange-rust spires. "See the depression in the ground to your right?" the Quintesson asked. Unicron snorted his agreement. "Go there and dig the grass away. Then transform and link your system to the larger one. You should easily find your way into the data core," the Quintesson explained.

Unicron ran to where he was told and began to dig. Never mind that this would be another humiliation that he'd pay the Quintessons for, he was too hungry to argue about it. He quickly uncovered a metal bowl with a linking interface and transformed into the ball form. As the Dead End vehicle form linked with the larger dormant body, a gun protruded out and created a defensive turret.

Unicron realized the fact only moments before his spark was routed through the link's circuitry toward the body's central core. He was disappointed with the lack of interstellar sensors, the technology he used to eavesdrop on the Transformers from anywhere. He quickly ran through the systems, checking to see what this body could do. It was similar to his original form, but slightly smaller and there were many more places for Mini-Cons to link up with him. "What, am I going to have to put up with more of these gnats?" Unicron moaned to himself.

"Remember, this gnat is keeping you alive," Dead End said through the link. "Mini-Cons are able to unlock special abilities in your new body. You'll want to steal them from the Transformers to increase your power. Don't underestimate us."

Unicron laughed at the thought before he initiated the transformation circuitry. The two spires tore trenches when they rose and separated so the maw of Unicron could open to suck in matter. Seas were suddenly drained while the ground shook and tore. Unicron's body began to shift beneath the crust. The very atmosphere began to react violently when the planet tore apart; chunks of debris and rivers of water were drifting off the gargantuan robot form.

Unicron used his hands to grab the debris and stuff it into his mouth. He relished the flavors of the matter he consumed, delighted in the seasoning the living creatures added. After consuming the debris to his satisfaction he turned to the lone moon and tore into it, less satisfying, just as a marshmallow might be if you craved chocolate. "I'm still hungry," Unicron growled toward the Quintesson craft.

"We have some competitors in this sector of space. Dead End has their locations, please feel free to remove them. Our profit margins have been lacking since the Autobots discovered Quintessa II," the Quintesson explained.

Dead End fed the data into Unicron's data bank. "Profits indeed," Unicron spat before he targeted the nearest world. He launched toward the target, his hunger barely abated. He would have to upgrade this body as soon as possible, there were schemes that needed to be put into motion. For, he had spent the lonely time in the void plotting vengeance on the Transformers. His patience was at an end and soon he would take his chance.


Chapter 8: RAIDER

Once Scourge’s Decepticon forces were able, he led an attack party to raid Cybertron. They were going to attack Wheeljack's laboratory to try to gather parts for the wounded on Char. To their surprise, what they found was much more valuable.

Scourge was amazed at how unguarded the lab was, considering its important patients. The raiding party easily disabled the medics while Scourge had Wheeljack pinned to a data console. "What do we have here?" Scourge asked while he dangled an unconscious Sparkplug, "Something new I'd bet?"

"Leave him alone!" Wheeljack yelled before he punched Scourge in the face. Scourge did drop Sparkplug while he angrily thrust his Sword of Fury into Wheeljack's chest and then jerked it up and to the left. Wheeljack went limp when the sword severed his power rectifier circuits.

"Take this one with us," Scourge ordered a couple of Sweeps as he began to scour Optimus Prime's incomplete body for parts. Just at that moment reinforcements arrived. Scourge ducked behind the counter as Autobot fire struck their own leader. "Decepticons, grab what you can and retreat," Scourge ordered while he stood and fired his shoulder mounted missiles at the Autobots.

"Topspin, Twintwist get Wheeljack," Kup ordered while he returned fire at Scourge. Landmine, Rollout and Chase were also firing their weapons at Scourge. The other Decepticons were quick to flee after they grabbed needed parts and flew away.

Scourge kicked Twintwist, sending the Autobot's drills into Rollout before he punched Topspin. Topspin transformed and flew back at Scourge, firing his lasers. Scourge brought his sword up and sliced Topspin in two when the Autobot flew over him. He laughed wickedly while he watched the Sweeps make it out of the lab with Wheeljack. He then flew out of the lab. Scourge continued to fire his shoulder mounted missiles in an effort to keep the Autobots from following. The explosions caused the laboratory roof to cave in on top of the Autobot defenders.

The laboratory was left in pieces while the Autobots dug out and began to revive the medics. Ratchet was the first to come back online and he helped to get the others operational. They all sadly assessed the damage caused by the Decepticon attack.

Twintwist stood sadly over Rollout's body. He had also brought his brother's halves to lie next to Rollout, hoping to try to clean up the place. He wasn't sure what to do with himself. "Come on, " Landmine said, "Let's play guards and let the doctors do their job." Twintwist nodded sadly and followed the Pretender outside.

"Optimus takes precedence," Ratchet ordered. This time there was no argument and all four worked to complete their leader's retrofit. Daniel worked on Arcee, trying to repair her systems with Kup's guidance.

Word of the devastating battle on Earth reached Cybertron a couple of hours later. It only reinforced the need for Optimus Prime to return to his job. He might be the only one who could adequately work things out with the UN. The UN issued a resolution, after the battle, calling for all Transformer life to vacate Earth within the week.


Chapter 9: REPAIRS

During the day, the three Mini-Cons which made up the Street Action Team sat around pretending to be the Cosmo Kid's vehicles. At night they formed Perceptor, whom snuck into the base's observatory to monitor the data gathered about locations of Transformer parts. He had to wait until the kids took him off site and allowed him to combine in order to transmit the data back to Autobot headquarters. It was during one of these transmissions that he learned of the UN resolution. A week would not be enough time to find all of the parts.

Micromasters were sent to check on the coordinates Perceptor fed the Autobots. Pieces smaller than a dime were being disregarded since they would hold no retrievable data. Perceptor quickly became impatient with his disguise because it required allowing the children to control his actions. There were few qualified medics on Earth since most had gone to Cybertron to rebuild the recovered Autobots from the explosion.

Finally, the children were allowed to go camping again on their own and the lake Perceptor had crashed in was once again accessible. He drove them up as the three Mini-Con vehicles and combined as soon as it was dark enough too conceal his presence. "Alexis, Carlos and Rad I thank you for helping me. I must return to Autobot headquarters, they need my help. I will try to find replacements for your lost transportation as soon as possible," Perceptor tried to explain.

"Take us with you?" Rad requested.

"Yea man. Our parents expect us to be gone three days. We should have time," Carlos added.

"Besides, he should replace our rides before leaving us without," Alexis stated.

"Trust me, you three don't want Decepticons coming to your homes looking for me. It is better for you to stay out of our conflict; even taking you to headquarters will put you in risk. It's not a chance I want to take," Perceptor said firmly.

"Chances," Rad said.

"And risk," Carlos said.

"Are what the Cosmo Kids are all about," All three said.

"Primus help me," Perceptor commented in disgust. He knew they would not back down and he really was needed back at headquarters. The children asked who Primus was, Perceptor said he'd explain later. He radioed Autobot headquarters, "Spike, if you're there, I have a bit of a problem. The children want to come."

Spike laughed, "I told you they would. I'm sending Brainstorm to your location to pick you up. We need to get Ultra Magnus back online. The UN's resolution is a top priority. Carlos, Rad and Alexis, right? Welcome to the world of the Transformers. See you all soon. Spike out."

"Hey, that wasn't a robot's voice." Rad commented.

"No, that was Spike Witwicky, a human we met many years ago. He's binary bonded to one of the largest Transformers, Fortress Maximus. His son Daniel is binary bonded to a female Autobot, Arcee. There are others called Nebulons that are also Autobot partners," Perceptor explained.

Perceptor spent the next hour helping the children break camp while he explained the lengthy history of the Transformers. He answered so many questions that he became weary of the discussion. He was glad when he heard Brainstorm descend over the lakeshore and hover there while they boarded. He had to separate into the three Mini-Cons to fit aboard with the children. Kort greeted them all and made sure that the kids were safely strapped in.

"Wow, he's got green skin," Alexis commented.

"It's a Nebulon trait my dear," Kort said without offense before he returned to the cockpit.

Brainstorm blasted from the lake toward Autobot headquarters. The children assailed Brainstorm and Kort with questions while they were allowed to see their flight through the cockpit window. Some questions about the location of Autobase were kept from them. "For your safety," Brainstorm reassured.

They flew down toward a desert-like plain with the remains of an ancient volcano. There were two large city-sized structures sitting next to this volcano, lights showed the area. Brainstorm transmitted the friend-or-foe code and received clearance to land. He flew into the larger of the two structures where the kids could see other robots welding to repair damaged armor. Inside, they could see many more robots working to repair the city.

Brainstorm landed and let everyone out. Kort transformed into Brainstorm's head while the plane shifted into its robot form. "Spike will be along soon, I'll be in repair bay nine. Cerebros was badly damaged and I've been working to repair him. Good luck, " Brainstorm said before he walked off.

The three Mini-Cons transformed into Perceptor before an orange futuristic car pulled up. Spike got out and greeted the group before the orange car transformed. "Wheelie say, new friends to play?" Wheelie greeted the Cosmos Kids happily.

"Kids, this here is Wheelie. He'll be your tour guide for the duration of your stay. The rhyming thing can get old, but he's got a good Energon pump. As there's so much work going on here, Metroplex may be an easier and much more interesting place to hang out. I'll join you in three hours and we'll find some descent food," Spike explained with a smile.

Wheelie transformed back into car mode and opened the cockpit door. The Cosmo Kids gave Perceptor a questioning look and he nodded. "Wheelie will take care of you while you're with us, go on," Perceptor explained. The Cosmo Kids climbed into Wheelie's seats and buckled up before the cockpit closed and the car accelerated.

"Ultra Magnus is in repair bay twelve, we've been able to get some simple repairs done, but as you can tell we're very busy. Magnus is in bad shape, good luck," Spike explained before he walked toward Chromedome. "Are the weapons systems fully functional?" Spike asked.

"Not yet, we have sixty-seven percent back online. It'll be morning before we're fully able to use all weapons," Chromedome replied. The Head Master sounded weary.

Perceptor separated into Highwire, Sureshock and Grindor. The three Mini-Cons shifted into their vehicle modes and sped through the corridors, having to avoid the larger Autobots. At one point Grindor had to roll directly under Joyride because of the crowded conditions. Highwire was so thin he easily wound through the traffic. Sureshock had to go over Joyride with tire marks that left a line over the Autobot. "Hey!" Joyride protested after he began to slow.

"Sorry dude," Sureshock replied before she sped on to catch up with the other two.

The Street Action Team pulled up in front of repair bay twelve and combined into Perceptor. He shook his head in dissapproval of Sureshock's action. He then entered the repair bay to see the poor condition of Ultra Magnus. The sound of external Energon pumps running to keep the Transformer blood flowing was an indication of how dire the situation was. Perceptor went to the life support computer and downloaded the readings, including the repairs that had been performed to stabilize the patient.

Perceptor missed the microscope form as he began to diagnose the systems damage. He began by tearing out fused circuit boards for non-essential systems so he could use pieces to repair those that were needed. He replaced some boards with redundant backups before checking the readings again. He keyed up the parts inventory and ordered parts that were specific to Ultra Magnus. He also noted the low number of parts that were required by every Autobot, and ordered any he thought Ultra Magnus could use. Perceptor came to the conclusion that Ultra Magnus was going to need an new body. "Spike, Ultra Magnus' damage is too extensive. I may need to rebuild his entire body," Perceptor said into a comm link.

"Then you'd better contact my Dad on Cybertron. He's been designing a way to add even more firepower to Optimus Prime and Jetfire's super form. Ultra Magnus may be a good candidate for that design too," Spike stated.

"Your Father? Are you asking me to do a saiaunce?" Perceptor asked. He had not been fully briefed of the events since the explosion. It didn’t make sense to him.

""No, just radio Cybertron and Ratchet will explain everything," Spike replied.

Perceptor contacted Cybertron and talked with Ratchet, whom filled in Perceptor on Sparkplug's personality file and Mini-Con body. Sparkplug admitted to having a design in the works for Overload and sent the files to Perceptor. "Ah, I see. I could make the Rollout section be like the old Magnus, combined with the trailer again he'd be Ultra Magnus," Perceptor commented. "Thanks," Perceptor said before he cut off the comm link.

Perceptor worked single-minded on the task at hand and was irritated when the comm link interrupted him. He had been welding a plate onto Ultra Magnus' leg when Spike's voice caused him to jerk, resulting in a line of steel running into Ultra Magnus' knee joint. "We're ready to dine with the Cosmo Kids Perceptor. Care to join us?" Spike asked. Perceptor let out a few tones in binary before calming to give an English reply. "Never mind, I caught that. You're too busy right now and I'll let the kids know," Spike said with a tone of disappointment before he signed off.

Perceptor kicked himself for forgetting Spike was an Autobot. He reached for the torch and cut through the bead of steel running into Ultra Magnus' knee. He then used a grinding wheel to make the area smooth so it could flex correctly. He then returned to his work, he hoped that he didn't disappoint the Cosmos Kids too much by ignoring them.

Alexis, Carlos and Rad were only slightly disappointed that Perceptor did not come. They were still too fascinated and awed by the Autobots. Spike had made them official members of the Special Transformers Autobot Rescue Squad, or S.T.A.R.S. for short. They were given some equipment to contact the Autobots with and introduced to the carbon-based partners of the Autobots.

The dining hall was a subsection of the Autobot briefing room in Fortress Maximus. The Cosmo Kids asked questions of everyone there, mostly learning about Nebulous and Cybertron. Nearly fifty pizzas were delivered and distributed to the hungry fleshlings, two for every Power Master. Alexis had to search for a pizza without meat, as she was a vegetarian. Spike found a mushroom and onion for her.

"We usually eat better, but we're tired and there's just so much we can do. Enjoy the food," Spike commented before he sat down. He went glossy eyed and stared at the ceiling, he then refocused on the dining hall. "Skyspy reports the Decepticons are still in the Republic of Carbomia and are continuing to repair their damaged members," Spike reported. The diners muttered and some cheered while they continued to eat. The Cosmo Kids followed their example while they watched.

Rad began to yawn while he listened to the conversations around them. Alexis and Carlos were also tired. None of the kids wanted to admit it, the place was so awesome and they didn't think they would sleep. Spike checked the time and laughed, "You three probably are out way past your bed times. I doubt your parents let you stay up until two in the morning. I guess we lost track of the time. I'll summon Wheelie to take you to the guest quarters. Sweet dreams," Spike commented before he went glossy-eyed again. Less than ten second passed before Wheelie drove into the dining hall.

The Cosmo Kids were taken to a simple room with three bunks and a video screen built into the wall. "Press the button here and you can watch anything on TV," Wheelie explained. The Autobot cavalier bid them good night.

"Wait, where are the toilets?" Carlos asked with an almost panicked tone.

Wheelie looked embarrassed before he nodded. He pushed a button on one of the walls and a box lifted out of the floor to create a restroom cubicle. The Cosmo Kids checked it out. "It's like the ones NASA uses on the space shuttle," Alexis commented.

"Yea, no toilet paper," Rad frowned before he picked up the suction hose for urinary disposal.

"Good night, sleep tight," Wheelie commented with a smile before he left the guestroom.

"If we're dreaming, don't wake me," Carlos commented before he asked for privacy to use the facilities. Their gear had been brought to the room and was set in a corner. Alexis retrieved some pajamas and waited for Carlos so she could use the restroom to change. Rad checked his gear to find there was no cell phone signal within the metal walls of Metroplex.



Megatron was very pleased with the results from the Armada project. If he had known how powerful the project would make his Decepticons, he would have implemented it much sooner. He knew the Autobots had left more out of confusion than because they were overpowered, but it had felt good to send them packing in such disarray.

He waited as more Decepticons were rebuilt with the Armada technology. Mini-Con teams were built some incorporating old Decepticons. Bonecrusher became a member of the Land Military Team. Buzzsaw became a member of the Destruction Mini-Con Team. Ransack became a member of the Adventure Mini-Con Team. Dreadwind, a member of the Air Military Team.

Tripticon was being repaired and fueled to take them to Char. It was time for the Decepticon army to be reunited under its only true leader. Starscream had been unusually quiet the last couple of days, and Megatron expected him to try some devious design to bolster the traitor's position. Megatron would watch for Starscream's treachery.

"Soundwave, has Squalktalk reported in?" Megatron asked while he stood on a lookout point. He watched the Decepticon force as they prepared battle. He had sent Squalktalk and Beastbox to spy on Char.

"Yes, oh mighty Megatron. Scourge has stolen the Armada technology from the Autobots on Cybertron. He is preparing to build his own, beginning with a reprogrammed Wheeljack and then Cyclonus," Soundwave reported. Even with his Machine Wars body, Soundwave maintained a like to his old cassettes. The absence of the link to Laserbeak concerned him, but to show any affection was unbecoming of a Decepticon.

"Then we must get there quickly! No telling how many more Decepticons he'll force into the Armada project and try to use against me. Scourge must be destroyed, there must not be any chance for him to escape. There will be a reckoning," Megatron promised.

Within a half-hour Tripticon was ready to launch with every Earth bound Decepticon within. Megatron had ensured that the Autobot Skyspy network would see the launch and track Tripticon's course. The Autobots would not follow or interfere if they believed Tripticon was headed for Char. It was definitely an internal Decepticon affair. He expected there to be some Autobot spy along for the ride to report back on the battle ahead. He had an ilkling that he knew who that spy might be, the newcomer Sideways was an odd fellow that Megatron was yet ready to fully trust.

Megatron felt an odd and familiar sensation, as if someone he could not see was watching him and laughing. He tried to ignore the feeling since he was surrounded by Shockwave and several other ranking Decepticons on the command deck. It would not be good to cause a scene here, not good at all. He felt the laughter echo through him, testing his resolve and sanity. He dismissed it as some kind of trick his processor was playing with him, or perhaps something Shockwave was doing to discredit him before the other Decepticons. Megatron had been driven to the edge once before by the logic of Shockwave, it was possible for the schemer to do so again. If Shockwave hadn't been such a good strategist, he would have ended his schemes long ago.

Megatron fidgeted in his throne, he wished Ravage hadn't been so badly damaged. During trying periods he would pet the master of stealth, it helped calm his impulse net. Ravage's cerebral circuits were on life support until an entirely new body could be built. Megatron chuckled quietly to himself while he thought of the former Autobot Wheeljack being reprogrammed by Scourge. With any luck, the crazy Autobot would invent a weapon that would accidentally blow Scourge to pieces before they arrived. If Wheeljack survived the coming confrontation, Megatron would have to safely utilize his talents.

"Sir, we've intercepted an Autobot transmission. Tripticon and every Decepticon left on Earth are heading for Char," one of the Sweeps reported with a trace of fear in his voice.

"We've expected this, get the troops fueled and ready. Megatron's head will be my trophy!" Scourge exclaimed. He walked to where Wheeljack and the few other Decepticons with repair skills were working on building his design to counter Tripticon's might. "Work faster, have the drones work triple speed, we have only a few hours before they arrive. I want Tidalwave ready by then," Scourge growled at them. He didn't add that if they failed, they were all as good as scrap. The large machine currently had no life of its own; it was just a battle platform. He hoped to place an enemy Decepticon's spark into it after they defeated Megatron.

"Sir, the space bridge. It's been activated by remote control, I can't shut it down," another Sweep reported with fear.

"Destroy the space bridge before someone comes through it!" Scourge ordered before he grabbed his weapons. "Prepare for battle!" Scourge ordered while he transformed into his truck mode and sped toward the spacebridge. He tried hailing his Sweep and found even the mental link was severed. Scourge would worry after he destroyed the spacebridge. The dirt under his tires trailed behind him while he viewed the spacebridge through another Sweep's visual sensors. The carefully crafted cloaked dome, designed to hide the spacebridge from Autobot discovery, had been blown to pieces. Within the spacebridge stood Megatron, Starscream, Thrust, Skywarp and a few others Scourge could not identify. Each was partnered with power boosting Mini-Con teams. Scourge was tempted to play a Starscream and run, instead he transformed. "Attack these failures to the Decepticon empire, obliterate them!" he ordered.

"Wait, Decepticons hear me! By Cybertronian law I challenge Scourge to a duel. Whomever lives shall be leader of the Decepticons," Megatron stated. "Do you accept my challenge?" Megatron asked while his optics looked over the nervous followers of Scourge. Megatron had expected their looks; he had gauged his presence correctly.

"No! Decepticons attack," Scourge yelled. Not a single Decepticon moved from where they stood. Most of them shook their heads and stepped away from Scourge. They were not loyal to him, but had been forced to serve or perish.

"Mighty Megatron, we accept on Scourge's behalf. I only request that you leave his brain circuitry intact so we might salvage and reprogram it," Cyclonus stated from where he stood beside Wheeljack. The other Decepticons all agreed with this and they backed further away from the potential battle zone.

Megatron laughed and smiled at Scourge. "It's good to know my Decepticons know who their true leader is. Your mistake was believing you could destroy so many of us without a penalty. We Decepticons were a dying breed before your foolishness. How many comrades were sacrificed to your greed?" Megatron asked angrily before he spat hot oil onto the dust.

Scourge launched missiles out of his shoulders before he drew the Sword of Furry. The missiles exploded against Megatron's chest, creating a cloud of smoke. Scourge swung the sword through the cloud, completely missing his target. Megatron had transformed into his tank mode and was positioned with his barrel practically up to Scourge's chest. "Leader-1, Land Military Team, if you would?" Megatron ordered. Leader-1 attached to the spot to activate the powered up main cannon while the three other Mini-Cons attached to activate other weapons. The combined force of all of Megatron's weapons with the Land Military Team's came to focus on Scourge. Scourge barely had time to scream before his body was blown to pieces. Megatron transformed back to robot mode with laughter before he reached down toward the dust and picked up the badly scarred head. "Here Cyclonus, he's your responsibility. If he should ever cause me even a moment's regret, I shall do the same to you," Megatron threatened. "Decepticons return to your posts. Tripticon should arrive in a few hours. We need to regroup and take stock before we attempt to free those of our kind being held captive on Earth by the Autobots. Cyclonus brief me on the situation here and bring Wheeljack. I have plans I want him to work on."

"Mighty Megatron, only one-quarter of our full force still survives. We've been rebuilding some with the Mini-Con technology we stole from the Autobots. Wheeljack was working on a project for Scourge; you may like the concept. Come, follow us," Cyclonus stated. They entered a large warehouse structure, within were several dozen drones working to build the battle platform.

"A boat? Cyclonus, this does not please me," Megatron groaned with an angry glare.

"Sire, this is a means to water superiority on Earth. We're building it to the Armada specification. Though, we haven't decided whom to make into his Mini-Con yet. Scourge called it Tidalwave, as it reminded him of Shockwave. Perhaps with a little work, I'll place Scourge into this," Cyclonus explained.

"No, I don't want Scourge's spark in anything this large," Megatron ordered while he looked over Wheeljack's schematics of the new Decepticon. He began to make some changes to the design so that it could combine with his body. "Wheeljack, design a jet Mini-Con body, we'll put Ramjet into it for this Tidalwave. Let me review the recovered personalities before we decide who to put into this new body," Megatron ordered before he began to walk out.

"Sire, beg your pardon. Why did you bring Starscream back? He will try to seize power as soon as he finds an advantage," Cyclonus asked after he caught up.

"In a way, I'd miss him you see. Starscream is the Decepticon who keeps most of the others in line. It is too bad he wasn't near me when Scourge set his plan into action, it might have saved many of our lives. Starscream may want power, but he has always been a buffer against other's ambitions. Scourge was dishonorable and insane to destroy so many to get what he wanted. He reminds me of my Galvatron days, when I had little reason," Megatron explained.

"Not some of our better days. I hope we never have to return to them. Many a Decepticon lay about Char just trying to conserve Energon," Cyclonus commented.

"Yes, bad times. Cyclonus, do you still get the feeling that He is in your head? I only ask because sometimes I do, perhaps it is nothing," Megatron stopped to ask.

Cyclonus stood closer and whispered, "Do you mean Unicron?" Megatron nodded his head. Cyclonus sighed, "Every anniversary of my rebirth as Cyclonus I feel like he's there in my head watching, laughing. But since Rodimus Prime sacrificed himself to destroy the Chaos Bringer, I now credit it to corrupted memory files."

"Perhaps that's it, but what if Unicron returned? Even with the Autobot's help we would have no chance against the Chaos Bringer. I'm sorry, I'm worrying for no cause. I just couldn't handle having Unicron reaffirm control over us. Perhaps I should recharge a while, clear my head. Tell Starscream to fetch me when Tripticon arrives. Have Thundercracker and Demolisher work on a head count. I'll want a report when I reactivate," Megatron ordered.

"Sweet dreams," Cyclonus commented before he left the Decepticon leader. Cyclonus had allowed a look of doubt flash across his features before he walked away. It was the same look he had given to Galvatron on more than one occasion.

Megatron walked into the recharging station where he found only drones working. He pushed one of the recharging chambers open and pulled Leader-1 off his forearm. "You should recharge too," Megatron said before he set Leader-1 inside and closed the hatch. Leader-1 transformed into his robot mode, looking wary of the situation. Megatron found a larger recharging chamber and entered it. He knew displaying his uncertainty to Cyclonus might have been a bad judgement call, but Cyclonus was the only one who might understand. Megatron heard the laughter in his head just before the chamber closed.


Chapter 11: Nightmares

Unicron had devoured ever planet on the Quintesson's list and was then allowed to take anything that didn't have potential clients. His mass grew quickly to three times the size the Quintessons had designed. He had gathered the tools necessary to monitor the Transformers and reestablish the links to his creations. With every meal Unicron grew stronger and his hunger grew with his body. The life forces of those inhabited wolds joined his spark, restoring his former might with each death.

Unicron continued to serve the Quintessons while he worked, feeling that if the Transformers discovered his existence, they might be tricked into believing he was a lifeless construct of the Quintessons, built for revenge. Besides, he wanted to keep them around a little longer so they could build more Mini-Cons for him. Dead End relayed the Quintesson orders, but was no longer threatening. Unicron had reprogrammed the Mini-Con and disabled the proximity trigger. It was child's play once Unicron had regained some of his former strength.

Unicron had watched Megatron defeat Scourge and laughed. He had redesigned Megatron once, but this Armada version was very capable. Galvatron would be reborn soon, but perhaps a completely new body was unnecessary. A slight power amplification should be enough to serve his purposes. The Decepticons would serve Unicron again while they destroyed the Autobots for him. Although, Primus' essence was not detectable by Unicron's sensors, every Transformer spark originated from Primus. Another Matrix was theoretically possible to create. Primus himself might still exist in some dormant state, awaiting his wake-up call.

It was for this reason Unicron was heading for Char, eating every morsel on the way. The Quintessons thought he was heading there to destroy the Decepticons since they were all currently gathered there. He would repossess his property, bringing them back under his control and then they would attack Earth. They would free the Decepticons there before Earth would make a snack. Then Cybertron would become the main course. Once every Autobot was destroyed, the Decepticons would be launched against the Quintessons. Only after his puppet masters were exterminated, paying for their humiliations, would the Decepticons be devoured. No children of Primus could remain functioning.

Unicron destroyed the defensive satellites of a planet called Tarnar Nor. He let Dead End destroy all of the missiles being launched from the surface. Unicron's body began to produce compounds to help break down the anticipated meal. He hated this body since he still had little control over these processes; they were triggered automatically whenever he approached a meal. In his old body he could speed them up or slow them down depending on what mood or whim drove him to consume. There was little pleasure taken from the act with this new body.

The gigantic claws at the sides of Unicron's maw began to pierce the crust of Tarnar Nor, breaking the surface to pieces. Unicron was already sucking the atmosphere inside his planet form along with the water. Dead End was allowed to have fun by strafing any military resistance. He orbited Tarnar Nor taking pot shots at anything that tickled his fancy. Unicron's claws began to tear apart the planet as it was sucked inside his maw. Unicron savored the act as much as he could, pretending Tarnar Nor was Earth and the lives he was consuming were humans. When the planet began to crumble into chunks and there was little of interest left, Dead End returned to his station on Unicron's surface. The Mini-Con would share a portion of the energy generated from the death of Tarnar Nor.

While Tarnar Nor was nothing more than a meal to be processed inside Unicron, he felt a hauntingly familiar presence. Unicron, disbelieving, sent out his every sense to confirm his fear. He nearly threw up Tarnar Nor, so violent was his reaction to what he most feared. He could feel the presence of Primus at the heart of Cybertron. Primus' spark had woke from whatever slumber had allowed him to avoid detection until now. As it was, Unicron's stomach began to give him heartburn. Unicron sadly began to ponder this development.

"What's wrong? This Energon tastes like bile," Dead End commented through their link. The Mini-Con was receiving tainted Energon from the reaction Unicron was having. "I thought we were doing well, the Transformers haven't a clue," Dead End said with confusion.

"It's Primus, he lives! He's inside Cybertron. We must reevaluate my plan now! It is still too early to face him, I am not ready. I must be stronger to destroy him," Unicron explained. His acid vats gurgled violently inside of him.

"Then you continue to Char, gather your force. Have the Decepticons build you more Mini-Cons to help boost your power. Destroy Earth and the Autobots there, collecting their Mini-Cons. Then leave Cybertron for when you know you are ready," Dead End suggested.

Deep within the multitude of layers that compromise the metallic world of Cybertron, beyond the veil of the Oracle, beneath the Vector Sigma core, lies the chamber of the Transformer god know as Primus. This is only the second time the god has been woke. His dreams of late were nightmares accounting Unicron's return to a physical body and the screams of the victims extinguished to sate the Chaos Bringer's bottomless hunger.

Primus had been able to ignore these nightmares as long as there was a certain amount of space between Cybertron and the sparks that were extinguished. But, the one that woke him felt much nearer, so much so that the screams had been like needles shoved through his optic sensors. Primus was disoriented because he felt the pain of the dying sparks.

It took him a few moments to return to the fact that his own physical form was all of Cybertron. He had retained Hot Rod, or Rodimus Prime's, personality as part of his memory Matrix. The former Autobot leader's comprehension of his union with Primus was still focused on the physical form they had used in battle against Unicron before. The disorientation was only a minor nuisance.

Primus now felt the connection to Unicron as strongly as when they had arrived in the physical plane. Unicron was much stronger than Primus, but the Chaos Bringer’s fear could be felt through the link. Primus hoped Unicron's fear would keep the Chaos Bringer away until he could prepare the Transformers. This time he would not have the power to defeat Unicron unless much more time could be bought.

Primus quickly checked Cybertron for those surviving on it. He was glad to find Optimus Prime, although the body seemed finished the Autobot leader was not functioning. There were several baffled technicians working back through every system while they sought the reason. Primus used the link from the diagnostic and power circuits to connect to Optimus Prime's new body. He searched only for a few moments before contacting Optimus Prime's spark within the Matrix.

"Why are you hiding here? The Autobots require your guidance. Too many are offline to face the threat that is coming for us all. A threat much greater than the Decepticons," Primus scorned.

"It seems like the only time I have to rest is when I'm offline. How much more conflict will I have to endure? How many more sparks must I watch die in our futile war? Rodimus, Primus, who ever you are, I don't care any more. Go away and leave me be," Optimus Prime replied.

"Unicron has returned, there will be no peace for anyone. He will destroy Earth and then come here to finish with the rest of us if someone does not stop him. I'm too weak to face him just yet. The Transformers will have to fight him until I am ready. Unicron will try to recruit the Decepticons again. If you fail the entire universe will be devoured by the Chaos Bringer. Stop moping and wake up!" Primus ordered. A surge of energy from the core of Cybertron shot into the Matrix, forcing Optimus Prime's spark out to merge with his body.

Primus watched the elated technicians while Optimus Prime sat up from the monitoring equipment. The Autobot leader moaned as he pulled the wires from his chest and head. He then looked with concern at the other fallen Autobots. Primus left the ones alone that had strong sparks, only nudging a few to keep them from slipping back to the source.

Primus then extended his senses to Char, where he took count of the Decepticons there; adding support to borderline sparks. He then checked Earth for all Transformer life. The few numbers of online children saddened him. He was too weak to offer much more help and was concerned that there were probably too few to delay Unicron long enough.

Primus thought of the Second Generation Decepticons centered around the Hub. Rodimus' personality had an automatic revulsion to them. Primus had allowed a fraction of his children to leave Cybertron with the implanted impulse to cyberform and multiply throughout the galaxy. Primus had reasoned that he might someday require the resources of this Decepticon empire. In the Autobots eyes, Primus would have been seen as evil as Unicron for this action, substituting other sentient sparks for Transformers. Sometimes inferior life forms perished to make room for superior, evolution works everywhere.

Primus sent a tightbeam transmission encrypted in an ancient scheme only the Liege Maximo would be able to understand. As proof of the request, Primus reformatted a minor drone into the new body for Jhaixus. The action drained Primus' reserves, but was the only way to prove the message's authenticity. The message ordered the Liege Maximo to turn his resources to finding and capturing the energy formerly known as the "swarm". It was to be brought to Cybertron so it could be absorbed by Primus.


Chapter 12: SOL CONCERNS

Jazz was frustrated beyond his patience subroutines with the political run-around and stupidity of the humans that comprised the UN. He had spent every hour since the resolution trying to convince them to repeal it. What he found even more frustrating was that many of his comrades were more than willing to let the humans face the Decepticons on their own. They reasoned that once the humans had enough casualties, they'd begin to beg for their return. Bumblebee had also assisted in the lobbying effort with just as much effect as talking to a brick wall.

What made things worse for the Autobots was that three days prior to the end of the UN deadline, every nation decreed any humans who left with the Transformers would loose their citizenship. They would be considered illegal aliens if they returned and would be imprisoned on the moon. The Witwicky family was the most affected, as the Nebulons had never sought citizenship, only green cards. But, the situation also created a problem with providing food for the organic members of the team. New sections were built into Fortress Maximus for greenhouses and hydroponics. Food was being dried and stored in massive quantities.

Jazz and Bumblebee were on the floor of the UN, pleading their case once again, hoping to gain some more time at least. The American Ambassador stood up, "Jazz, the Decepticons are currently attacking Metroplex and Fortress Maximus in Oregon. The very presence of the Autobots continues to draw the Decepticon threat back to Earth. Your war has done irreparable damage to San Francisco and possibly Los Angeles. How much more do you want us to put up with? How many more human lives must perish in your war? It is our world sir, get off it," the Ambassador ordered.

"It was one of your officers that launched the nuke at Los Angeles, not ours," Jazz stated, but was drown out by the other representatives as they agreed with the Ambassador. "The Autobots will do all in our power to comply with your request, but don't think for a nanosecond that the Decepticons will jive. See ya," Jazz said sadly before he and Bumblebee transformed to drive out of the building. "Skylinx, how come you didn't give us the scoop?" Jazz asked when they entered the shuttle bay.

"Are you implying that I have somehow been delinquent in my performance? I just now received word from the skyspy network. The Decepticons have transported Tripticon to Earth through a forgotten spacebridge. A full-scale assault on our cities is in progress. They seem to be trying to free the Decepticon prisoners and recover their wounded from our storage. Cosmos is flying the Cosmo Kids home, no pun intended. I suppose it will be up to me to save the day?" Skylinx asked.

Jazz and Bumblebee strapped in as the shuttle launched into the sky. "Up to us, get a move on and show us the video," Bumblebee ordered. It was already looking bleak as a large aircraft carrier was keeping Metroplex pinned as Tripticon and the other Decepticons concentrated on Fortress Maximus. "Never mind, just get us there!" Bumblebee stated.

By the time Skylinx landed the battle was over. Neither Metroplex nor Fortress Maximus were in any condition to launch into space within the three-day limit. The Decepticons had forced them to break the human resolution. Most of the Decepticon prisoners and parts were gone, and there were even more Autobots that would be placed on the casualty list.

"Why just the hit-and-run?" Jazz asked when they approached Fortress Maximus. "They could have wiped us out and picked up the stragglers easily," Jazz commented. Skylinx agreed that it was a puzzle. They reported their bad news to Cerebros, since they were too late to help.

Just then the radio crackled to life. "Spike, we have a big problem coming toward Earth. I've been told by Primus that Unicron lives and is heading there. Blaster has intercepted video broadcasts, being retransmitted by the Junkions, of Tarnar Nor being destroyed by a new Unicron body. This is real and we have no Matrix to use against him. Primus is too weak; we're on our own. Our goal will be to buy Primus the time he needs to regain his strength, we need not completely destroy Unicron. The spacebridges should be safe to use now, Squalkbox reported that Scourge was destroyed. I'm sending reinforcements and will arrive shortly to oversee the defenses," Optimus Prime explained.

"Prime, we're in bad shape here. The Decepticons hit us hard. Fortress Maximus and Metroplex are in no condition for another assault. How do we fight a planet, for Earth's sake?" Spike exclaimed.

"For once Spike, I have no idea. We'll do what we can and pray it will do. The new Armada capabilities need a test run, perhaps it will be enough. If not, we die trying," Optimus replied sadly. He then cut off the communication link.

"Skylinx, take off immediately and give me a location for Unicron. I need to know exactly how long we have until he reaches Earth. Jazz, I'm putting you in charge of Metroplex, get the old crew working on his repairs. Bumblebee, contact the White House, Kremlin and the UN about this. They'll need to verify our story, so as soon as Skylinx reports in we'll relay the proper location to look. They should try to mobilize weapons, tell them anything lower than nukes and lasers is a waste of time," Spike ordered. Spike then asked TAI for a status report on the Decepticons.

"They returned to the Republic of Carbomia to refuel and rebuild their fallen. The surviving Constructicons and Decepticon Autorollers are scouring the planet for resources, stealing parts, and technology from Japan. Tripticon is nearly repaired and the air craft carrier is currently in the Pacific above the old Decepticon base," TAI reported.

"Spike, according to my readings we have less than twenty four hours before Unicron arrives to devour Earth. My analysis indicates he was just at Char, which is no longer a planetary body. The Decepticons may not know that they are stranded on Earth," Skylinx reported.

"That's double-trouble. If Unicron can convince the Decepticons that it is in their best interest to join him we're finished. Blaster contact Optimus and let him know. Also, we need to contact the Decepticons, try to forge a alliance before Unicron can contact them. It'll be risky; the Decepticons will probably run rather than face Unicron. Metroplex, contact Pierre, Punch or Double Dealer, we need a spy to confirm our story. Then we'll make contact," Spike ordered.

"What do you mean we can't open a spacebridge to Char?" Megatron roared at Starscream. The Decepticon leader had a bad feeling about this news and he was angry. "Are you just incompetent?" Megatron asked.

"Mighty Megatron, the problem is not with Starscream's design. Our scans indicate Char no longer exists," Shockwave explained. "It has been brought to our attention by Pedro, the Autobots believe Unicron has returned and is heading for Earth. They will be contacting us soon to request an alliance. It may be logical to accept," Shockwave explained.

"Curse the Celestial Spires! Have we confirmed the existence of Unicron?" Megatron asked. Both Soundwave and Shockwave nodded their heads. "See, Cyclonus. I wasn't crazy, our master returns to destroy us. How long before Unicron attempts to snack on this mud ball," Megatron asked.

"Less than twenty four hours," Soundwave replied.

The command room fell silent for a long period of time as Megatron brooded over being right. He could feel the laughter of Unicron, the certainty of the master over the slave. It had been this intrusion and subjugation that had pushed Galvatron over the edge before. Shockwave had stripped away the madness by restoring his old subroutines. But, Megatron feared the reintroduction of the same conditions could cause the same result. The Decepticons stood waiting for a decision. Starscream wore a smirk tainted with his own hint of fear.

"Megatron, we are receiving the Autobot request for an alliance. Cerebros is the speaker. Do you wish to reply?" Soundwave asked before he played the audio only. The Autobot sounded desperate while he made the plea, trying to reason with Megatron.

Another long pause while Megatron considered their position. "Yes, I would like to reply. Soundwave please transmit my words. Tough luck Autobots, I will enjoy knowing you died on this mud ball! As for us, we shall flee before Unicron until a weapon powerful enough to destroy him can be discovered. At least we won't have you as a hindrance after the day has passed. End message," Megatron ordered.

"I always said you were a coward Megatron," Starscream sneered. Cyclonus beat Megatron to the punch as he backhanded the traitor, knocking him across the room. Crumplezone was in tank mode and pointing his barrel into Starscream's face.

"I will not allow Unicron to make me his slave again! I'd rather die first," Megatron exclaimed before he stood. "Shockwave prepare for departure. Nebulous should be nice this time of year," Megatron ordered. Megatron heard the laughter stronger in his head just before pain shot through every circuit in his body. He cried out and tumbled down from the throne while it traveled through his entire body. "No, you cannot have me!" Megatron yelled before he felt the paint peeling off his hard exterior. A familiar surge of power engulfed his senses just prior to his blacking out. Megatron woke to Cyclonus' screams while a similar reformatting engulfed the other Decepticon’s body, the blue paint peeling away to reveal a neon green metal. When Cyclonus was finished, Thrust and Demolisher also underwent drastic changes forced upon them by Unicron.

"Mighty Megatron, are you alright?" Shockwave asked before he tried to help the fallen leader from where he lay. Shockwave was swatted across the room with one blow. His optic showed a hint of shock while his body crumpled to the floor. The blow had nearly cut Shockwave in two.

"Galvatron, I am Galvatron and we will attack the Autobots immediately! Destruction to all who stand against me! None shall survive," Galvatron railed before he brought the black Mini-Con, now called Clench, to fire upon Shockwave.

"What happened?" Thundercracker asked while he watched Galvatron in disbelief.

"We're Unicron's slaves once more," Cyclonus explained sadly before he watched Shockwave's body fly apart while Clench's rounds cut into it. "Galvatron, he did not know you in your new guise. He served well before, please don't waste a good Decepticon."

Galvatron's optics were filled with the madness Unicron drove him to before. He brought Clench to bear on Cyclonus. "Do I need you? Any of you? I'll destroy the Autobots myself if I have to! Don't interrupt again," Galvatron exclaimed before he fired at Cyclonus. The weapon bounced off Cyclonus and damaged Starscream. "Hmm, should've figured Unicron'd make you impervious to my weapons. Leave now before I figure out another way to smash you," Galvatron ordered before he climbed back to his throne.

Cyclonus gathered Shockwave's head and followed the others out. "Soundwave prepare the troops. We attack the Autobots immediately. Don't argue or Galvatron will make us all like Shockwave here. We'll do what Unicron wants, for now," Cyclonus stated. A bolt of pain wracked Cyclonus' frame because Unicron punished him for his insolence. "Oh yes. I'll do what you want master," Cyclonus said angrily to himself.

‘Damn it all! I have to warn the Autobots.’ Pedro thought to himself as he rushed through corridors within Tripticon. He was searching for a secure location where he could safely try to transmit to Earth. A difficult prospect, seeing as how every active and non-functional Decepticon were aboard. Sure he had delivered the message to his superiors about the Autobots wanting a truce. But, no way could he have predicted that Unicron would reformat and take over Galvatron again. Now he had to try to warn the Autobots of the new predicament. Pedro ran into Sideways on his way down into the engineering section of Tripticon. Pedro did not have time to deal with this newcomer in a peaceful manner. Pedro blasted him with both of his weapons and Sideways fell back, apparently deactivated. Pedro then checked to ensure no other Decepticons had witnessed this before he pulled Sideways’ body out of sight.

"Pierre to Autobots, we have a problem. Megatron is no…ulk," Pedro was interrupted when Sideways grabbed him around the throat from behind. Pedro tried to struggle and then tried to transmit data to the Autobots while he fought Sideways.

"Hmm…what do we have here? An Autobot spy, perhaps? That is good. If I turn you in then Galvatron will have no reason to doubt my allegiance. Especially if I bring you to him in pieces!" Sideways laughed. The strange Decepticon had changed his head Mini-Con and Pedro could see that the other was damaged from his fire. Pedro broke free of the grip by spinning his helicopter blades, but that only gave him time to turn and witness the blasts that tore through his body. Sideways fired multiple times with insane laughter only someone that enjoys murdering others seem to develop.



Optimus Prime, Jetfire, Blur, Smokescreen, Overload, Red Alert, Hot Shot, Scavenger, and Hoist emerged from the spacebridge inside Fortress Maximus. Several Mini-Con teams followed their lead. The Autobots were preparing for the Decepticon attack force. Alarms blared, red lights flashed and it wasn't long before Red Alert's proximity sensors triggered his own personal alarm. "Sir, every known Decepticon functioning is about to land atop us," Red Alert stated.

"I could gather that. Let's find Spike and see how we can help," Optimus stated before he transformed into his truck form and began driving cautiously through the corridors. Red Alert took point, using his siren to help clear the path. "Are you looking forward to seeing your family, Sparkplug?" Optimus asked since they made good time.

"I'll tell you after we survive the next day," Sparkplug replied. "Of course, I'll be so busy piecing Autobots together, I'll have little time for idle chat. I'd better build you another Mini-Con so I can work while you fight."

"A sound decision, perhaps something that can fly?" Optimus suggested before he applied the brakes. They were entering Fortress Maximus' command center. Spike was walking about, issuing orders from his Cerebros body.

"Damn it, no excuses! I need all available weapon systems fully functional, or we're all scrap. Ah Prime, good to see you all well, sad to say it might not last. The Decepticons are all coming at us. Don't know why they decided to attack rather than flee like they said. Think they'd repair their fallen before attacking again," Cerebros said.

Optimus shook his head, "With Unicron so close it may be that Galvatron has returned. If so, the Decepticons are most likely Unicron's pawns. The Autobots have suffered greatly this week, the advantage is theirs. I only hope the augmentations the Armada project give us can keep them at bay."

"We have less than twenty minutes before Tripticon is within range to unleash a barrage, with the other Decepticons right behind. Dad, if you could please try to help bring the weapons to full operation? That is, if it's alright with you Prime?" Cerebros requested.

"Carry on Spike. Armada, split between Fortress Maximus and Metroplex. We need to protect both if possible. If not, Metroplex may need to fend for himself. I know, I don't like it any more than you. Today may be filled with decisions I won't like to make. They're choices that get bots killed," Optimus Prime ordered heavy energon pumped. The Autobots in the command center nodded. They understood the burden of leadership to some degree. Red Alert saluted before he transformed and drove out. Hot Shot, Overload, Scavenger and Blurr followed him. Hoist and Smokescreen followed Jetfire out. The Mini-Con teams also split to follow the two Autobot groups. "What we need to focus on is disabling Tripticon first. We might have a chance then with all other factors being equal. That is, if Unicron doesn't show early to consume Earth," Spike commented sadly.

"Makes one wonder how many "darkest hours" we as a race have to face?" Optimus Prime commented while he looked at those in the command room. He hadn't shaken the wish to remain deactivated. How was he supposed to inspire the troops, when he was too tired of the conflict himself? Morale was low, too many were injured, they faced overwhelming odds and they all looked to him for answers. Answers Primus himself did not have. Optimus moved to take a seat and wait. There was little else for him to do, the future of everything would be decided in less than twenty-two hours. The burdens of his guilt and uncertainty had to be kept silent and borne by his shoulders alone. Sure, he had shared them with Elita One before leaving Cybertron in her care; it only lightened his death wish. Sometimes idle periods were not good for warriors or leaders, it gave them too much time to contemplate their lives.

"Um, sorry to interrupt your thoughts Prime. But, I'm picking up a faint scrambled message from Soundwave," Blaster said before he approached and transformed into his boom box mode. Optimus motioned for him to play the signal.

"Autobots, Unicron has taken control of our leader and returned him to Galvatron's madness. We Decepticons do not want this conflict, but we are forced to comply or die. Unicron has upgraded several other Decepticons and they may be loyal to him. Most of us would rather join with you in an alliance against Unicron. The Chaos Bringer has already consumed Char and is coming for Earth. We have nowhere to run to and it will be too late once this conflict begins. With your help we may defeat Unicron's minions, without it we will be forced to destroy you and perhaps all hope for the universe. Please reply?" Soundwave requested.

"It's gotta be a trap, like the one they pulled on Moneifa-Zeda. We can't trust the Decepticons. Don't agree Prime," Kup stated.

"If it were up to me, I'd at least try for the alliance. If they turn on us, are we really going to be any worse off then we are now? I'd rather not have to face the entire Decepticon army if we don't have to," Cerebros added his comment.

Optimus Prime sat silently for a moment as every Autobot in the command center waited for his decision. "As Autobots we are sworn to protect life, sometimes that extends also to our enemies. If an alliance can help save Earth we must try it. Take no doubt, we will watch for their treachery. But also, do not let the actions of a few Decepticons break the alliance as we're well aware that individual 'Cons will break and for personal vendettas. The greater threat of Unicron is more important."

"Blaster transmit in the same manner as this message. Soundwave, we agree to your alliance proposal. Galvatron and the other Unicron minions will need to either be captured or exiled from Earth so we can focus on the greater threat of Unicron. You will be in command of your force after we deal with them. We will have to work fast if we have even the slightest chance of keeping the Chaos Bringer at bay. When Tripticon arrives, have him land beside Metroplex. He should fire wide and I'll order Metroplex to do the same until we draw the servants of Unicron out. Both forces will then surround and focus their fire against them. It is my hope that the combined power can outmatch theirs. We'll discuss Earth's defense after we survive this, Prime out," Optimus explained.

"Bad news Prime, the UN has just voted to withhold all Earth military support unless they actually see Unicron for themselves. By that point their reactions will be too slow to make a difference. Stubborn bunch of politicians," Cerebros reported before he shook his head in disbelief. He sometimes was ashamed to call himself human.

"I hate to say this, but the Decepticons might come in handy after all," Optimus Prime commented before he stood. "Blaster issue the orders for this operation. I'm going out to where the fight will be. Let's get ready for anything. Spike; ask Sparkplug to meet me out there. I may need his augmentation." Optimus saw the nods and smiles as the Autobots in the command center returned to work, confident that their leader now had a plan. It was a loose plan of action, but he had worse in his day. He transformed and rolled though Fortress Maximus toward Red Alert's group of Armada Autobots. He found he missed the old days when there were so few Transformers on Earth while he looked over the remnants of the volcano they had called home in those days. He transformed into robot mode as his trailer shifted into the small battle platform. The Mini-Con teams were quick to take up their positions and aim weapons skyward. Prowl was in charge of the Mini-Cons.

"The Autobots are on full alert, we will be ready for the Decepticons when they arrive," Red Alert saluted.

"Nix that, the Decepticons are going to surrender to an alliance. All of them, that is, save Galvatron and a handful of Unicron's chosen. We will focus on them. Do not fire at any other Decepticon unless they fire on us," Optimus ordered.

"They're here," Jetfire radioed.

The hulking figure of the Decepticon city, Tripticon, floated down towards Metroplex after eclipsing the sun for a brief second. Tripticon unleashed a barrage of fire on the Autobot position, barely missing, as the show needed to be convincing. Metroplex returned fire almost singing Tripticon's armor while they exchanged fire. Fortress Maximus also fired wide to add to the charade. Tripticon quickly shifted as if something had struck him before he settled into the spot Optimus had assigned. Decepticons began to swarm out of Tripticon while they spread out for the battle. Galvatron and the Unicron minions were quick to spearhead the assault. The other Decepticons held back and waited until the appropriate time.

The sky was reaching dusk and was suddenly lit to near daylight as every weapon in both Autobot and Decepticon arsenals were brought to bear on the Unicron minions. After ten minutes of this battering Optimus called for a cease-fire. The Decepticons took a couple more minutes before their attack ceased. There was a rather large crater filled with smoke rising from the ground. Every Transformer that looked was certain of their foe's fate, save one.

"Stay back from the crater, wait until the smoke clears," Optimus ordered.

"You've blown some diodes Autobot! No one could've survived that," Bombshell said before he walked to the edge of the crater for a better look. Two highly energized missiles streaked out of the smoke to obliterate the foolish Decepticon. The smoke began to swirl as the green form of Cyclonus' helicopter mode rose out of it. The underdraft blew the crater clear of the smoke to reveal that all of Unicron's minions were in perfect condition.

"That tickled," Galvatron commented with a demonic grin and laugh. Every Autobot and Decepticon outside the crater wore looks of disbelief and fear. "I don't know how Starscream convinced my men to join you Optimus, but it will avail you naught! It is Unicron's will that all Transformers shall perish," Galvatron transformed and drove straight up the crater wall.

"No," Cyclonus yelled before he unleashed his power on Galvatron. This only destroyed the ground around the crazed Decepticon leader, making him slide back down the crater wall. Cyclonus yelled in pain, although no one had fired at him. "Decepticons, resist Unicron and attack Galvatron. He must not be allowed to help destroy us all," Cyclonus bellowed while he strained, fell from the sky and transformed to robot mode. The Destruction Mini-Con team linked to him and he struggled against the pain. He used Buzzsaw to cut into Galvatron's tracks.

"Fortress Maximus, transform and give them a big hand," Optimus Prime ordered. "Jetfire, Overload with me," Prime ordered before he removed the Mini-Cons from his base and combined with it to form Super Optimus Prime. Jetfire flew down and Optimus combined with him to form Omega Prime. Overload drove from behind him and transformed to augment Omega Prime's weaponry. The Emergency Mini-Con team also linked up, adding their own weapon forms.

Galvatron had transformed into his robot mode and was fighting the other Unicron minions. Even augmented themselves, the might and fury of Galvatron was too much. Cyclonus' head lay across the crater; Demolisher had the drill Mini-Con sticking out of his chest. Thrust was the last still struggling; he began to beg for his life. "I need no help or sniveling fools for this task." Thrust was cut into pieces as Galvatron used his head claw to cut him up.

"Now Fort Max," Optimus Ordered. Fortress Maximus was in robot mode and he swung a huge fist into the crater to smash Galvatron. The impact shook the Earth for miles, knocking most land bound Transformers to the dirt. As Fortress Maximus began to pull his hand from the crater a large explosion from within tore the fist into shards. Fortress Maximus cried out in agony before a familiar laughter echoed from within the crater.

"Everyone fire," Optimus ordered before he flew over the crater and unleashed the combined firepower of his Omega Prime mode into the crater. Optimus was praying to Primus that the other minions had caused enough damage for their weapons to have some effect against Galvatron.

Prime's prayer was too little since a large streak of red energy emitted from the target area, striking a giant hole through Fortress Maximus' chest. The giant Autobot fell violently backward from the force, possibly atop unwary Transformers, before his head detached to become Cerebros. Through Cerebros Spike felt every pain sensor that was on fire within the city. He was crying out in pain until he could shut down the link to Fort Max.

More bolts emerged violently out of the crater taking out Autobot and Decepticon without discrimination or mercy. Metroplex and Tripticon transformed into their robot and beast modes. Tripticon reached the crater first and tried to stomp on it, loosing a leg in the attempt. Tripticon toppled atop some unfortunate Decepticons too slow to get out of the way.

"No, Metroplex! You guard Fort Max and Cerebros. Your participation will only cause that to happen to you," Optimus ordered. Strength and firepower were not going to be enough here. "Soundwave, have Rumble break the Earth around the crater. Everyone prepare to fire on the crater's edge. We'll try to bury Galvatron," Optimus ordered. He would've rather had the Dinobots do the work, but they were still being repaired. Rumble gave Prime the birdie until Soundwave gave him the same order. Rumble cursed a few times before he began his pile drivers. The ground shook and began to crack as Rumble put all he had into the act. "Scavenger, push the remains of the volcano into the crater," Optimus ordered. Soundwave ordered the Autorollers and Constructicons to help. "Now, blast the crater sides," he said while he began to fire at Galvatron to knock the enemy down. Every Mini-Con combined with the closest Armada character to boost their effectiveness. The Transformers poured their weapons into the effort to bury Galvatron. Quickmix and Mixmaster added to the effort by creating a super bonding agent to spray into the center of the crater filling. The ground began to melt into lava because their weapons generated enough heat, which caused Galvatron to be even further entrapped.

"Curse you all, you will die by my hand! No Transformers will be left for Unicron to devour! None," Galvatron yelled while he fired wildly at no specific target. Then Galvatron cried out in pain, clasping his head. "Yes master. I shall obey," Galvatron stated before he began to sink into the crevice. Magma was encasing his legs while the dirt and rocks combined with the bonding agents buried him.

Metroplex disobeyed and left the battle to find a nearby mountain He broke off a chunk large enough to fill the rest of the crater and returned with it. "Optimus, others clear away," Cerebros ordered from where he rode Metroplex's shoulder. The act had been Spike's idea. Metroplex dropped the chunk into the crater and then stomped on it hard.

Optimus landed next to Soundwave. "That may have bought us some time, I doubt it will keep Galvatron from escaping. I've analyzed Unicron's transmissions and have finally cracked his encryption. He ordered Galvatron to stand down, Unicron wants the Mini-Cons for some reason," Soundwave reported.

"He must know Primus is awake," Optimus stated.

"Perhaps, he believes the Mini-Cons can boost his power like it does with us. He'll let Galvatron destroy us as soon as he has what he wants." Soundwave added.

Optimus Prime nodded slowly. "Soundwave, I'd like the Decepticons to scour the Earth for all nuclear warheads. I don't need to know how you get them, but we'll need to use them against Unicron. Where is Shockwave, by the way?" Optimus asked.

"Galvatron's first order of business was to make an example of Shockwave. Cyclonus has his and Scourge's brain circuitry stored so we might rebuild them. I'm trying to work out a way to block Unicron's control signal, Cyclonus and the other minions might be helpful if their master isn't in control," Soundwave reported.

"I know you won't like this, but Blaster might be able to help if you're willing to share what you know. The Autobots will gather Energon for the battle ahead. We have less than twenty-one hours to be ready for the Chaos Bringer. Everyone that can use a welding torch will be pulling shifts to repair the wounded and rebuild our deactivated," Optimus ordered. He then disengaged Overload and Jetfire to return to his super Optimus mode.

Soundwave began to issue orders to the Decepticon force. Starscream was not happy with being bossed around, but transformed into jet mode to lead his raiding party. The Constructicons quickly began to work on the injured Tripticon while the Stunticons were sent to gather materials for the repairs. The Insecticons were ordered to carefully burrow through the ground and retrieve the bodies of the other minions. The Firecons were given the task to fill the holes and seal them with their fire. The Combaticons were sent to the nearest military base to learn America's nuclear arsenal locations while the Commandos were sent to do the same in Russia. Predaking was sent to the East to retrieve weapons from China, Korea and Japan. The Seacons attacked any submarines they could detect that carried nuclear weapons. The weapons were loaded into Tidalwave and the few remaining Sweeps to be shipped back.

The Autobots were not idle either, as they worked to repair the damaged. They tapped every resource they could and nearly drained G.B. Blackrock's entire fuel stocks in the U.S. G.B. Blackrock contacted the Autobots to talk with Optimus, only to be told he'd have to wait until tomorrow. Fortress Maximus' repairs took priority while they worked. Optimus contacted Cybertron and requested a few more Autobots to come to Earth, especially Omega Supreme. Sparkplug found it odd to have Wheeljack working across the field on the Decepticons, the Autobot symbol crossed out and a small Decepticon symbol placed under it. Red Alert was posted to keep watch over the former crater site, in case Galvatron decided to break free. Skylinx kept tabs on Unicron's position. There was no real battle plan, just a loose, "attack Unicron when he shows up." Even Wreck-Gar and the Junkions came to Earth to help with the repairs and to deliver much needed recycled components. Perceptor used his contact with the Cosmo Kids to break into the Observatory's computer system and upgrade the software so the humans could identify and track Unicron. The program was a worm virus that spread throughout both educational and observatory networks. The Earth population began to bring their military forces to full alert status. Items that were once considered for peaceful purposes were converted to offensive capabilities. The Huble telescope was converted to the largest orbital laser using the parts the US hid aboard the International Space Station. The Strategic Defense Initiative weapons that were no longer supposed to be under development due to a treaty with Russia, were brought online. These included ground based lasers, a satellite network capable of EMP pulses, rocket launchers, microwave pulses and electron beams. Every conventional and non-conventional weapon on Earth was ready and waiting for Unicron's arrival.

With a little cooperation, the Transformers used Autobot transwarp drive technology combined with the miniature proton generators like Scourge had used before. The nuclear weapons were combined with this weapon; four ICBMs were used as boosters for the warheads. The nuclear explosions would work as the fuse to ignite the greater detonation. Over three thousand units were retrofitted before they ran out of materials to do so.

Soundwave convinced Optimus to allow one of these weapons to be held in reserve for Galvatron. It was only logical to hope the weapon might be able to even take Galvatron out. If not, there were no other weapons on Earth that could.


Chapter 14: PRIMUS' SINS

The Liege Maximo, distrusting the message and gift from Primus, tore Jhaixus apart literally. After he calmed, the Liege Maximo inspected the brain module and the program within. It was definitely Jhaixus; there could be little doubt over the program's validity. He ordered the body to be repaired while he pondered Primus' request.

Primus had ordered the Cybertronian empire to seek out the life force formerly known as the swarm and capture it. Then they were to return it to Cybertron where Primus would absorb it. The Liege Maximo pondered the request, if he could capture the life force he would never return it to Primus. Instead, he'd try to absorb its power for himself. Then he'd attack Unicron and see who's the true force for evil in this universe.

Finding the life force was easy enough, just follow the trail of miracles. Devising a means to capture and harness its power, that took the efforts of the Cybertronian empire's greatest scientists. In the end, the Liege Maximo was disappointed with the simplicity and familiarity of the device. It was almost identical to the creation Matrix, save that the casing was purple rather than orange. The Liege Maximo had Jhaixus test the device on a few of the lost colonies. These Cybertronians who defected to the Autobot cause were easily stripped of their sparks. With the test successful, the Liege Maximo spearheaded the task force to capture the life force Primus required.

The prior swarm life force was following a predictable pattern while it retraced its path back to its origin. It was restoring the lives it had taken while it was the swarm. Sometimes, when a species or planet no longer existed, it would create new life on a nearby planet. These were the miracles that led the Liege Maximo to it.

The world was known as mNelFarr and it used to be the home of a race of molecular robots, which cooperated to create more complex structures. The life force was trying to restore these when the Decepticon flagship arrived in orbit. The life force paused its activity, sensing a possible threat to its activities.

"Jhaixus, it is time to prove you are worth your existence, do not fail me again! Use the dark Matrix to capture the life force and return it to me. We will soon face Primus with our prize," the Liege Maximo ordered.

"Yes your greatness," Jhaixus bowed before he took the dark Matrix and launched out of the flagship's flight deck. He transformed into his new jet mode and flew toward the planet. He was slightly scarred; this thing had devoured him once as the swarm. He did not wish to repeat the feeling as it tore him apart molecule by molecule. Although, he was confident the dark Matrix would perform its job and imprison the life force within.

"You have finally returned to us/me as Primus promised. Let we/me finish here and you may bring us/me with you to him. I/we must help Primus against the devourer. I/we had a purpose even before I/we knew existence. Give us/me a few more minutes," the life-force broadcast directly into Jhaixus' mind.

Jhaixus, not knowing what to do, flew down and transformed to land in a clearing. A pinkish glow was all around him. He limply held the dark Matrix as he watched and waited. "What are you doing? Absorb it and return you're wasting valuable time. If the life-force escapes, I'll personally return you to the abyss," the Liege Maximo angrily radioed.

"Sorry about this," Jhaixus said before he rotated the dark Matrix's shell one-quarter turn. The pink energy began to be drawn within the spherical crystal within the shell. Jhaixus felt a warm, comforting feeling as the energies passed through him into the dark Matrix. He had a feeling that the life force forgave him, that it would not blame him for performing his destiny. It also gave him a calming message, sensing his doubts about the Liege Maximo's actions, that everything would turn out right. Ten minutes passed before the last of the life force was absorbed into the dark Matrix. Jhaixus pondered for a brief moment, thinking that he should place the dark Matrix within his own chest, but it felt wrong. He transformed into jet mode and returned to the flagship. He immediately turned the dark Matrix over to the Liege Maximo, knowing that was where it had to be delivered.

"Excellent! I can feel the power within. To Cybertron, we shall see if this Matrix can absorb Primus as well. Then I shall face Unicron and destroy him," the Liege Maximo commanded with utter confidence.

"Long function the Cybertronian empire!" the Decepticon lackeys aboard the command deck chanted, all except for Jhaixus. He watched with concern when the Liege Maximo placed the dark Matrix within his cannon arm. There was no outward change in the supreme commander, but Jhaixus wondered who was really in control?

Jhaixus was more worried than ever when they reached Cybertron and the Autobots provided no resistance to their mission. They passed through the upper levels of Cybertron without a single laser bolt fired. This was very unlike the Autobots; it did not make sense to him. He kept his vocal routines to himself, as it would only have irritated the Liege Maximo.

They encountered the sentinels that guarded Vector Sigma and easily dispatched them. They found the ancient computer and bypassed it for the secret entrance to Primus' chamber. Here the large head watched silently as they approached. The Liege Maximo opened his cannon compartment and withdrew the dark Matrix. "Oh mighty omnipotent creator of all Transformer life, we have performed the task you set upon us. Within this is the life-force once known as the swarm," the Liege Maximo moved closer and twisted the dark Matrix. "And soon you shall join it," the Liege Maximo stated. The pink energies from the swarm came out, rather than Primus being drawn in. Then the energies joined with Primus, causing a blinding flash of energy.

When Jhaixus could see again, the Liege Maximo and the dark Matrix had vanished. The other Cybertronian Decepticons were also gone. Jhaixus was at a loss; he looked up at the head of Primus.

"Go back to the Hub, gather the Cybertronian empire and attack Unicron. He is heading toward Earth. I am still unable to face the Chaos Bringer, but can now help against his minions. Remember, Unicron is the enemy of all life, set aside differences and fight him," Primus ordered.

Jhaixus now understood why the Autobots had not attacked, Primus had ordered them not to. He nodded, bowed and transformed into his jet mode. He flew as fast as he could back to the flagship. He had to confirm the Hub could no longer contact the Liege Maximo before his status and orders were acknowledged. The flagship launched from Cybertron headed toward Earth. Eight squadrons of elite Cybertronian warriors were also being dispatched from the empire. This would be a battle like no other before in the history of the universe.

In the chamber behind Primus' head the matter that had once been the Liege Maximo and his followers was reformatted into several dormant Autobot bodies. These were to be saved until Primus needed them. One in particular might be needed sooner than Primus would like. Primus had to focus his energies to events on Earth. He watched and was actually pleased with how the Transformer allied against Galvatron. Their capture of Unicron's minion was amazing for how overmatched their foe was. Primus knew Galvatron was only waiting for Unicron's permission to break free and destroy them all. Primus waited to make his move until Unicron next made his.


Chapter 15: POWER UP

Optimus Prime prayed Primus would forgive him for setting the Decepticons against the humans to procure their mightiest weapons. He had given strict orders not to relay casualty reports; they would only distract him from what they must do to save Earth. Work was at a fevered pace while both sides repaired their wounded and attempted to restore some of those that needed to be rebuilt. There were occasional fights between individuals, which brought strict punishment from both Optimus and Soundwave.

Sideswipe and his Mini-Con Nightbeat, were assigned to monitor the Decepticons assembling the nuclear warheads on the moon after he got into an altercation with Thundrecracker. Thundercracker was assigned to material collection duty for his part in the altercation. Neither was happy, but it helped serve as an example to the others.

When Unicron was within three hours distance from Earth, the event Optimus Prime dreaded occurred. The mountain that filled the crater serving as Galvatron's prison erupted as if it were an instant volcano. Red Alert's body crashed into the ground after it flew over Fortress Maximus. Galvatron flew out of the crater and landed beside Soundwave. "For your treachery," Galvatron yelled before he slashed his energon dirk through Soundwave's neck while he used the other hand to tear the head off. Every Transformer began to converge on Galvatron. Galvatron went bezerk while he fired his weapons and tore through his attackers.

"Primus, if you're going to help, now might be a good…" Optimus said aloud before he narrowly avoided Galvatron's fire, returning his own. He watched while Inferno, Landmine, Starscream, Ravage, and Ratchet were cut apart.

"I hear you Optimus, and I shall even the odds," Primus' voice echoed in Optimus' mind. Optimus felt the warmth and love as energy began to flood through him. He saw the energy was also flowing through Jetfire, Red Alert and Hot Shot. It not only changed them, but their Mini-Cons as well.

"No," Galvatron yelled with a look of horror across his face. Galvatron transformed into his tank mode and fired directly at Optimus Prime with his full Mini-Con's power.

"Move or he'll fry us," Sparkplug yelled.

"Not any more he won't," Optimus Prime stood his ground as the weapons struck their target. The impact moved Optimus back, but caused no real harm. "Jetfire, mind giving me a boost?" Optimus asked. Jetfire nodded with a smile before he transformed and merged with Optimus.

"Hey you two, wait for me. I want a piece of payback," a blue and white truck pulled up and transformed into its robot mode.

"Ultra Magnus?" Optimus asked.

"Yes brother," Ultra Magnus said before he jumped up and transformed, attaching to Optimus in the same manner Overload had previously. "Let's do this," Ultra Magnus said.

Galvatron had transformed back into robot mode and was tearing into the Transformers between him and Optimus. Optimus used Jetfire's jets to fly toward Galvatron. He whipped back and kicked Galvatron squarely in the face. Galvatron spun around as the force knocked him to the ground.

Galvatron was leaking hydraulic fluid and spat oil out while he kneeled in the dirt. "Curse you Prime," Galvatron yelled before he pulled his energon dirk and went to stab at Jetfire's Energon tanks. Optimus saw it coming and had Ultra Magnus blast the dirk from Galvatron's hand. Galvatron angrily rushed Optimus Prime, using the claws on his head to try to separate Prime from Jetfire.

Optimus smashed Galvatron's head three times with double-fisted blows before he was able to loosen Galvatron's grip enough to kick him off. Galvatron landed on his back across the crater. "I'm going to kick your chassis back to your master!" Optimus swore.

"Hey, leave a little for us," Hot Shot commented before he and Red Alert jumped on top of Galvatron. They began to pummel the Decepticon leader. When Galvatron finally tossed them aside he was leaking lubricants from many cracks in his armor.

"Tidal Wave, to me," Galvatron yelled. The large battleship flew into the crater and began to fire at Powerlynx Omega Optimus Prime. The weapons did little to Optimus, but they kicked up enough dirt to obscure the combination of the Dark Fleet with Galvatron. "Surprised Optimus? I had Wheeljack build an override subroutine into Tidal Wave's program; he also was redesigned to augment my Armada form. Let's see how well it worked," Galvatron yelled before he charged. Galvatron slammed the deck piece into Optimus' face.

"Autobots, Decepticons attack the Dark Fleet. We can destroy it," Cyclonus stated. He was still weak and not completely repaired, but he could direct the efforts. He fired his missiles at Galvatron, in the hope to assist.

Optimus and Galvatron batted each other around while they continued to fight on. Both received dents and cracks in their gaskets. Galvatron, desperate to destroy Optimus. Optimus just as committed to stop Galvatron from committing genocide against the Transformers. They fell into the pit, Galvatron's head was banged up and one of the claws had been tore off. Tidal Wave was merely chunks of inactive parts hanging off Galvatron. Optimus stripped these from him. "Unicron, help or they will destroy me," Galvatron stated desperately.

Above the pit, the Transformers surrounded and watched from above. Prime had waved Red Alert and Hot Shot to remain up there. This was a fight he'd rather keep the other Transformers out of. Optimus was reminded of the battle between him and Megatron lifetimes ago, when Megatron had absorbed the powers of all his Decepticons to defeat him.

Prime was broken from his thoughts when Unicron answered Galvatron's request by changing two of the Decepticon Mini-Con teams standing at the rim of the crater. The Destruction Mini-Con team and the Land Military team changed colors. They leapt into the crater and attached to Galvatron, giving him more power and instantly healing the crazed Decepticon leader.

Galvatron's hauntingly evil laughter echoed about the crater. He unleashed a barrage that knocked Optimus across the crater. Red Alert and Hot Shot dropped into the crater to help. Prime didn't have the time to stop them while he witnessed Galvatron's swift movements. Buzzsaw sliced right through Red Alert's chest and Drill Bit was embedded into Hot Shot's forehead. Dualor finished the job as each cannon found its target.

"Come on, we've got to help Optimus," Mirage stated.

"Have you blown a fuse? Galvatron's too powerful," Downshift replied. Dirt Boss nodded since he agreed with Downshift.

"We form Skyboom shield, he could use the protection. Let's go," Mirage ordered. He pushed the other two into the crater before he dove down. The three transformed and merged into the Skyboom shield, flying toward Optimus Prime. As they descended a warm feeling enveloped them and they suddenly felt stronger.

Galvatron's look of surprise while he fired at Skyboom was enough to tell them something had changed. They also knew when they didn't feel but a tickle as the weapon bounced off them. Optimus looked pleased when he took hold of the offered shield. "Mini-Cons, all of you who can find a place to merge with me, do so now," Optimus Prime ordered. He used the shield to protect the Mini-Cons as they fell and attached to all three Autobots that compromised this Super Omega Optimus Prime. Weapons and energies that the three Autobots had not known were available suddenly emerged as the Mini-Cons augmented their capabilities. Galvatron was stripped of his augmentation when the firepower brought to bear knocked off the rest of Tidal Wave. With Skyboom's help, the Night Military Team was disengaged from Galvatron. Optimus grabbed Galvatron by the chest plate and used Jetfire to boost them into orbit. Galvatron continued to struggle without hope as Optimus' wounds had also healed due to Skyboom's reformatting and the Emergency Team's reformatting by Primus. Optimus let go of Galvatron and unleashed a torrent of fire.

"Curse you Prime! I will return to destroy you," Galvatron yelled while he was propelled in the direction of Earth's sun. Optimus had tore Clench off and threw the Mini-Con in the opposite direction. "I shall be avenged," Galvatron yelled.

"Sideswipe, launch the missile we reserved for Galvatron once he's safely away from Earth. Let's see if we can make certain he doesn't have less than a bad sunburn," Optimus Prime ordered before he fired again to speed Galvatron's movement.

Optimus then turned to look toward the area of space Unicron was approaching from. He felt shivers run through his impulse network. The battle had drained away a critical hour of time. Unicron was clearly visible to the unaugmented optic sensor. Optimus decided to collect Clench and land on the moon. Ultra Magnus and Jetfire separated with the other Mini-Cons. They drove to the staging grounds where Sideswipe and Sideways were in charge of the combined efforts there. "Fortress Maximus, please take charge of the Earth bound force and get them into space as soon as possible. I'll direct our efforts from here. May Primus bless us all," Optimus Prime radioed.

"All weapons are in place and ready to fire upon your command," Sideswipe reported. The Predacons and Constructicons were standing behind Sideswipe and Sideways. "They don't think it will be enough," Sideswipe commented when he followed Prime's gaze.

"Probably right, this action isn't calculated to destroy Unicron. I'm unsure any conventional weapon we create is capable of such a feat. We want to save the Earth and buy Primus time. That is the most I can hope for," Optimus said sadly. Optimus missed Grimlock's optimism, the Dinobot leader was always ready to fight, even if the odds were hopeless. Somehow, the Dinobots had survived and succeeded where others failed. If it hadn't been for Scourge's insanity a good number more Transformers would be amongst the ranks facing Unicron.

One of the missile clusters launched toward Galvatron, Optimus turned to watch. Just before the missile was about to make impact, Galvatron disappeared. The missile continued toward the Earth's sun, luckily burning up before it could explode. "Damn, bet Unicron transported him," Ultra Magnus commented.

"How long before a detonation of the rest of these will cause harm to Earth?" Optimus asked Scrapper.

"We need to release the missiles in twenty minutes to ensure a safe impact distance between Unicron and Earth. Otherwise the explosion could affect the orbit," Scrapper replied. "Also, if this doesn't work, ten minutes later Unicron's own gravitational pull will effect Earth similarly to the time Megatron used the space bridge to bring Cybertron here," Scrapper added.

"Evacuation plans to Cybertron have been drafted in case Earth is doomed. We know you Autobots are willing to die here defending the fleshlings, but we do not share the sentiment," Sideways added.

"I understand," Optimus Prime nodded. He stood silently while he looked to the ever-growing sphere of the Chaos Bringer. "Optimus to Fortress Maximus, the Decepticons have an evacuation plan to Cybertron. Consult them and implement a similar plan. I doubt there's more we can do to save Earth if these missiles don't stop Unicron. I'm going to order all Transformers evacuate if they aren't enough. The Transformers must survive if Unicron is to be defeated. We will have to mourn Earth's loss and avenge your kind later," Optimus said sadly.

"You're running?!?" Spike asked angrily in astonishment and disgust.

"If we have to, yes," Optimus replied.

"Screw you Prime! If you evacuate, you have to evacuate all life on Earth, not just Transformer life. You brought this war and the Chaos Bringer here! If he destroys Earth, you are responsible for the billions who'll die," Spike yelled.

Sparkplug detached from Prime's thigh and transformed into his robot mode. "He's right Prime, if you evacuate you have to try to save Earth's populace. I may be a Transformer now, but Earth is my home. Humans are my family. I won't leave without them," Sparkplug insisted.

"Autobots, new mission objective. Cybertron cannot support billions of organic lifeforms. Nebulous may, although they'll be hard pressed for resources until we can find a more suitable home for humanity. Begin the evacuation process now. We don't have enough time to gather every human, so ensure a sampling of every race is evacuated. We can always return them home if this works. Every Autobot who can traverse space should gather and evacuated the humans. Get moving, there's little time left," Optimus ordered, "You too Jetfire."

"Prime, what if Galvatron returns? You may need me," Jetfire protested.

"It'll be too late to save the Earth or the humans," Optimus Prime said sadly.

Jetfire nodded and transformed to his space shuttle mode. The boosters kicked on and he flew off the moon towards Earth. Ultra Magnus waved good bye and nodded at Prime. "Five minutes until launch, how are we evacuating from here?" Ultra Magnus asked.

"A small warp gate will transport us all close enough to Cybertron for Predaking to fly us the rest of the way. Don't worry, I believe we'll need Autobots intact for Cybertron not to attack us upon sensor identification," Hook replied.

"I'll run a check on this warp gate. I still don't trust 'Cons even if they're helping. What's to keep it from sending us into a star or Unicron's maw?" Sparkplug asked before he transformed and drove in the direction Hook pointed. Sparkplug's new Corona vehicle form reflected the sunlight off its gold surface.

"Launch in one minute," Mixmaster commented.

The sky above the launching site shimmered and a small black orb emerged. "Not if Dead End has anything to say about it!" the orb exclaimed before it extended its weapon and destroyed the control console. The satellite then began to fire at the Constructicons. Optimus and Ultra Magnus returned fire, missing as the orb flew to avoid being hit.

"Predacons form Predaking," Sideways ordered. The five wild animals merged to form the giant gestalt robot. Predaking easily snatched Dead End from the sky and tossed the black orb toward the sun after smashing the enemy’s weapon. Dead End vanished with another shimmering of space.

"Damn! We'll have to manually launch the missiles. The other Constructicons are too damaged to help," Wideload cursed after he looked at the melted control center.

"Look," Sideswipe stated after he pointed toward Unicron.

The fleet of Second Generation Decepticons from the empire were attacking Unicron. Thousands of smaller vessels were firing at the Chaos Bringer while the larger ones were being destroyed. An orange jet was flying toward the moon from this group.

"Can the missiles be tied into my missile control system?" Optimus asked before he transformed into his base mode. "Sparkplug, we need your help to get the missiles launched. You know my systems better than I. Can we tie the missiles into my base's system?"

"Possibly, I'll be right there," Sparkplug stated.

"Leave it to him, we should start manually launching them before it is too late," Sideways stated desperately. "Predaking, separate and help us," he ordered.

The launching of the missiles individually took much time even though the Mini-Con teams were also helping. It was a much less effective means than if they had all been launched together as it gave Unicron the time to destroy them one at a time while they came at him.

The orange jet had reached the moon and transformed into his robot mode before Optimus Prime. "We have been enemies before and I suppose after this we shall be again. But, Primus requested that we aid you now against Unicron. My Liege Maximo miscalculated and now I have been rose to his station. The Cybertronian empire force here is yours to command," Jhaixus stated.

The voice was familiar. "Jhaixus, is that you? How?" Optimus asked.

"Primus himself brought me back to prove his authenticity to the Liege. I don't quite understand it myself," Jhaixus commented.

"Got it, I pray it is not too late," Sparkplug commented before he pushed a button on the missile control of Optimus Prime's base. The remaining missiles ignited and sped away from the moon's surface toward Unicron. "You'd better pull your guys back from Unicron. We're five minutes within the safe zone, I hope Earth survives this. Everyone limit your optics to ten percent of incoming light," Sparkplug advised.

Thousands of warheads converged onto Unicron's body. The explosion rivaled the intensity of Earth's sun and the shock waves knocked all of the Transformers on the moon down. The cry of pain from Unicron resounded throughout the known universe. The cry was mixed with disbelief as the explosion tore into Unicron's body.

"Now, Fortress Maximus tell the humans to use their other weapons against Unicron," Optimus Prime ordered. The explosion had dimmed enough to show Unicron's body was pocked with craters and nearly entirely charred from the attack. Lasers, electron cannons and other weapons developed by America to be used to defend against nuclear weapons were now being employed against the Chaos Bringer.

Predaking reunited and began to add his own fire as the Second Generation Decepticons returned to the attack. The Mini-Cons flew off the Moon to join the attack before Optimus and Ultra Magnus combined, leapt from the moon and fired at Unicron. Transformers rose from Earth to join the fight, each was fearful as Unicron slowly transformed into his robot mode. Unicron's left arm was stuck due to the damage from the missile attack. His optic lasers were directed towards the moon, singing Optimus while the Autobot commander tried to avoid them.

"Gnats, you have done me damage! You shall all suffer immeasurably for this, as shall the Quintessons for their incompetent use of inferior materials! But first, I shall destroy the Earth," Unicron threatened.

"Wait, collect the Mini-Cons first," Dead End reminded Unicron of the purpose they had.

Unicron was angry; he fired and swatted at the attacking Transformers. He did find and capture the Air Defense Mini-Con team, changing them into the Air Attack Mini-Con team. He transported the Night Attack and Destruction Mini-Con teams to him. With each new acquisition Unicron's power grew. But he was also expending too much energy to continue the battle. Energon was leaking from his wounds and more Transformers joined the battle. He began to collect more Decepticons to him.

Optimus had the Armada Transformers combine with the remaining Mini-Cons. They focused their fire where the Energon was leaking out of Unicron, trying to ignite or destroy Unicron's fuel tanks. Skyboom helped block Unicron's fire while they flew to intercept each eye laser.

"Curse you flies," Unicron’s voice boomed after the Energon caught on fire. Unicron's right side exploded throwing shrapnel at the attacking Transformers. Unicron covered the area with his functional arm and groaned while internal systems worked to extinguish the fire within. Water could be seen leaking out from the wound. When he was certain the damage had been sealed off, Unicron removed his hand from the wound. "You may have delayed Earth's demise, but I shall make it a delicacy another time," Unicron groaned before he transformed back into the planet mode and retreated. The Transformers continue to attack until they ran out of Energon.

"We'll keep him busy and track him to where he runs. I don't want to let up off him just yet," Jhaixus stated before he transformed into his jet mode.

"Just remember a wounded animal can be the most dangerous," Optimus Prime advised.

"Enough wounds might kill it," Jhaixus said hopefully.

"Optimus, we've lost some of the Decepticons and Cyclonus reports they have missing. Lord Zarack is among the missing. We think Unicron might have stole them during the battle," Cerebros explained.

"I fear that means we have not seen the last of Unicron, not by a long shot," Optimus Prime commented. "Sparkplug, can you reconfigure the warp gate to drop us near Autobase on Earth?" Optimus asked before he led the Armada back toward the moon.

"You bet, give me a few minutes," Sparkplug replied before he dropped from Prime onto the soft dirt. He sped off toward the warp gate. Optimus contacted Blaster and asked him to have the humans collected returned home.

A Decepticon that looked like a copy of Megatron's Generation 2 form landed beside Optimus Prime. "I am Bludgeon, I will take command of the Decepticon forces until Soundwave or Shockwave can be repaired. Most of them have served under me before, I don't think the others are dumb enough to challenge my authority. My largest concern is that we have no world of our own, Char is no more. What did you have in mind for us after this?" Bludgeon asked.

"The Decepticons could return to the Polyhex quadrant of Cybertron. Most Autobots stay out of that region, seeing how they lost friends to Straxus’ smelting pool. I'd make it off limits to others. That is, if you'll keep from disturbing or destroying your neighbors. I fear we haven't seen the last of Unicron and we could use the cooperation of the Decepticons," Optimus replied.

"That will do for now, until we can locate a new home and our own source of Energon," Bludgeon commented.

"Yes, it seems even Unicron needs Energon," Optimus Prime commented. They walked through the warp gate together after Sparkplug gave them the signal to proceed. It would be a tentative alliance for now.





To Be Continued in Transformers: Energon.