Post by Grand Moff Martin on Jun 14, 2018 20:13:46 GMT
"Pull back!" screamed Groundshaker as a new menace arrived on Cybertron in the form of the Dark Matrix creature possessing the Decepticon Thunderwing. The surviving Micromaster teams in Groundshaker's part of the battlefield, namely the Hot Rod, Monster Trucks and Sports Car Patrols and Metro Squad, piled into his giant tank and it carried them away from Unicron's immediate vicinity just in time before the Matrix monster struck, ripping the Chaos-Bringer away from Cybertron's surface, the force of their clash toppling mountains.
While they fought, Silverbolt and Wheeljack carried their passengers to where Bumblebee, Jazz and Inferno had been blasted out of the sky by Unicron, and Sunstreaker began pumping them full of Nucleon.
"It's no good us having a blueprint of Unicron if we can't share it with anyone," said Prowl. "We need a communicator capable of punching through Unicron's signal jamming field. Find Soundwave."
As the battle between Unicron and Thunderwing raged on, the Aerialbots located Soundwave's body on the edge of the battlefield and brought him back for the Nucleon treatment. With the wounded on their way to recovery, Wheeljack instructed the smaller Aerialbots on how to connect him up to Inferno, Jazz, Prowl, Silverbolt and Sunstreaker to generate the plans they would all need if the Dark Matrix lost. If the Dark Matrix won, they'd need a whole new plan...
"What remains is evil, and in that realm I have no equal!" cried a triumphant Unicron. The resultant explosion utterly destroyed Thunderwing, and also heralded the end for Iguanus, Mindwipe and Vorath. ___
With his victory over the Dark Matrix complete, Unicron drifted back to resume his massacre of the Transformers. But he found something had changed in the way they attacked him. All of a sudden, the Autobots and Decepticons seemed to know the weaker points on his armour and were now concentrating their firepower in ways that caused him greater discomfort than their previous random assaults.
The three Decepticon electric warriors, Shrapnel, Bugly and Bludgeon, prepared to channel Cybertron's power grid through their bodies and direct the electrical energy into Unicron's systems in the hope of burning out his essential circuits. Kickback was busy hopping back and forth in giant insect mode, connecting long cables to Unicron's foot.
"This isn't going to work," grumbled Bombshell. "Only the Creation Matrix can destroy Unicron."
Sideswipe and Tracks exchanged a look. "Now we know where to go inside Unicron, do you still think that if we can get you past his antibodies you can upload the Matrix program into his systems and bring him down?" Sideswipe wanted to know.
"I feel sure of it."
"Well, then, what are we waiting for? The three of us are not doing any good here. Let's go!"
So with nothing to lose but their lives, Sideswipe activated his rocket back-pack, Tracks transformed to flying car mode and Bombshell shrank down to insect size and jumped inside, and the three warriors shot forward through the hole in Unicron's foot and into the gaping darkness that lay beyond. ___
The explosion that destroyed Thunderwing sent a shower of sparks and shards spraying outwards from the Matrix, which remained tainted by evil until Optimus Prime could find a way to purify it. But not all the sparks and shards were tainted, and the Autobot Pretender called Longtooth scrabbled around in the rubbish, searching for an uncorrupted piece of the Matrix like the one he had carried for so many years before sending it back to Prime on Earth. Finally, he found what he was looking for and stood jubilantly holding aloft a pure-glowing shard, a chance to cheat death once more.
A shadow fell over Longtooth and he looked up to see the murderous Mayhems, Astrotrain and Ramjet, pointing their weapons directly at him.
"Hand it over, Autobot," ordered Astrotrain, bringing the barrel of his ion displacer rifle into direct contact with Longtooth's head.
"But it's... mine," protested Longtooth. Still, he handed it over.
Ramjet transformed and Astrotrain dropped the pure Matrix shard into his cockpit. Astrotrain then transformed to space shuttle mode and lifted Ramjet off the ground, powering upwards out of Cybertron's atmosphere until they were level with Unicron's face.
"Sure you know where you're going?" Astrotrain asked.
"Certain. Through Soundwave I can picture the entire layout of the inside of Unicron's head."
"Then good luck."
Astrotrain released him, and Ramjet powered forward at Mach 2.8. He cursed Dirge and Thrust for running away. He would show them what being a Decepticon warrior meant. "It's ramming time!" And with that, he smashed straight through Unicron's eye, dodged past the main energy beam projector and flew down the first of many corridors leading to Unicron's brain. ___
"I tire of these games," said Unicron, transforming to planet-eater mode. His transformation sequence ejected the charred and blackened bodies of Bombshell, Sideswipe and Tracks, and almost caused Ramjet to crash as he hurtled along inside him, but it failed to dislodge the electrical cables attached to him by Kickback.
As Unicron's enormous jaws plunged into the surface of Cybertron, Optimus Prime could see, thanks to his connection to Soundwave, where he would need to take the Creation Matrix once he had cleansed it. He just needed a little more time...
Unicron roared in pain as his circuits were overloaded with a power surge courtesy of the three electricity-wielding Decepticons and the human known as Circuit-Breaker.
Prime made his move, grasping the Matrix and crying out the name of Primus. ___
Bugly exploded, and Circuit-Breaker passed out. The energy flow ceased.
Bombshell's Matrix program spread virally through Unicron's systems.
Ramjet flew into view of Unicron's brain and didn't hesitate as he powered towards it, carrying the Matrix shard. He thought of his dead comrade Octane, blown up through carelessness on a US army firing range on Earth. This was a much better way to go. Then he wondered why Unicron's brain had television screens on it. Who were they there for, anyway?
Optimus Prime soared into Unicron's gaping maw.
"It burns!" screamed Unicron. "Too much, too-"
And he exploded. ___
They were the dream. Mechanical beings able to transform their bodies into vehicles, machinery and weapons, a last line of defence against the Chaos-Bringer, Unicron. That battle is done, the story told. But life goes on.
After three days of ceaseless searching, Sunstreaker found Sideswipe's body.
"I've saved the last of the Nucleon for you, brother... you and your two friends."
Post by Andy Turnbull on Jun 14, 2018 22:02:22 GMT
An enjoyable return to the Marvel Universe there and nice to expand around the events of On The Edge of Extinction.
Has me thinking, given the regenerative properties of Nucleon would those that the Decepticons had killed on Klo eventually repaired them. Would there potentially have been a war on Klo if Optimus and co hadn't been arrived?
Post by Grand Moff Martin on Jun 15, 2018 5:14:57 GMT
Glad you enjoyed it, Andy. I wanted to make the battle with Unicron seem a bit bigger and longer by having a lot more characters involved in the fight than just those we got to see at the time. I hope it worked in that way. Also, it's quite liberating to write about this battle as if it really is the end of millions of years of Decepticon dominance on Cybertron, with them taking so many casualties in the first half of the battle, i.e. not having to set things up for the war continuing beyond the end of the present-day Marvel stuff. But you'll have spotted I was setting things up for the Decepticon Action-Masters (including a couple of classic characters) having a run before the final end.
As for Nucleon, I don't know whether it regenerates a TF just once or keeps on regenerating, making Action-Masters effectively immortal, with the likes of Wheeljack and Silverbolt self-repairing on Klo if the Last Autobot hadn't done it for them. But it's an interesting thought. (And it would call into question whether Megatron and Ratchet can be killed.)
I suppose my conclusion would be that it's better to say Nucleon only brings you back to life once. Otherwise, why would Bludgeon need to restore Megatron with Nucleon again in 'Another Time and Place' when he already got pumped full of Nucleon by Grimlock on the Ark?
Post by Grand Moff Martin on Jun 16, 2018 20:24:54 GMT
"What you done with remaining Nucleon?" Grimlock demanded of Sunstreaker the next day.
"It's all gone, Grimlock," came the reply. "I used it to restore fallen warriors on the battlefield."
"What, really? How many you bring back to life?"
"Let me see - Bumblebee, Inferno, Jazz and Soundwave - we needed him to punch through Unicron's jamming field and let everyone access the blueprints showing his weaknesses."
"Sideswipe, Tracks and Bombshell, who went inside Unicron to upload the Matrix program into his computer systems."
"And that was it. I used it all up on those seven."
Grimlock did a double-take. "Did what?! But me gave you enough for at least thirty! You gave each over four times recommended dose! Me exposed self to that amount when testing it for safety on Hydrus Four, but everyone else on Ark get much lower dose."
"I'm sorry, Grimlock. They were dying, and I didn't have the Ark's equipment, so I just pumped it directly into their fuel lines. They'll still be OK, won't they?"
"Yes, yes," muttered Grimlock, turning away and nursing his stiff hand. "Me sure they be OK. Just waste of precious Nucleon, right?" But he didn't sound too sure. ___
Elsewhere, Bombshell was feeling very, very ill, and it had nothing to do with being incinerated by Unicron's boiling acid defence systems. He staggered and fell to his knees. Kickback and Shrapnel stopped and turned to look at him.
"What's wrong now?" snapped Shrapnel.
"Worse than before. Can't... get up."
"But you look all right," said Kickback. "Come on, we're nearly at the rendezvous."
"No good," said Bombshell. "I can't-" But his words were drowned out by the roar of engines overhead, and Astrotrain, Blitzwing, Dirge and Thrust came in to land and transformed to robot mode.
"Time to go," said Blitzwing. "The storms are getting worse across the entire planet. The Autobots are undecided on whether it's due to the damage caused by Unicron, or the intervention of a character claiming to be Primus inhabiting the body of a Guardian unit, who whipped up the atmosphere to disperse Unicron's killer mist and then exhausted his power before he could calm things down again. But either way, things aren't looking good for Cybertron right about now. We need to get off-planet, at least until things stabilise again."
"Yeah," said Dirge. "And you're not just talking about the storms. The political situation is looking pretty shaky too."
"Who's in charge now?" asked Kickback.
"On this part of the planet, Bludgeon has assumed command of the Decepticons. It came as a surprise to me, but Skystalker is dead, Sixshot is unaccounted for, and Trypticon and Gutcruncher are staying away, though they have sent emissaries. Galvatron, Shockwave and Starscream have disappeared, and they say Soundwave isn't feeling very well. So I guess if there was ever going to be a time for Bludgeon to make a move for the top spot, this is as good as any."
"Too bad for him he picked the first time in four million years when the Autobots on Cybertron actually outnumber the Decepticons, and the planet looks like it might tear itself apart."
"So we're not joining up with Bludgeon?" Shrapnel concluded.
"Nah," said Astrotrain. "We're out of here, assuming you want to come. It'll be like old times."
"Count us in," said Kickback. "Though we may have to carry Bombshell. His legs are on strike."
"Very funny," said Bombshell.
"Where's Octane?" asked Thrust, who along with Dirge and Ramjet had spent most of his time stationed on Cybertron since Ratbat took over as leader on Earth.
"Blown up by humans," said Blitzwing, crossly. "His own stupid fault."
Bombshell worried for a moment that they might abandon him to his fate the way he heard they had abandoned Octane. But then he thought back on all he had done... quietly using his secret copy of the Matrix to bring the Triple Changers and Predacons back after the Underbase incident, possessing Superion, coercing that human reporter to write damning newspaper stories about the Autobots, and then finally helping to destroy Unicron. Surely they'd consider him too valuable to leave behind?
"Where's Ramjet?" asked Kickback.
"I launched him into Unicron's eye carrying a pure shard of the original Creation Matrix," said Astrotrain. "He died one of the true heroes of the Unicron war."
"Don't worry, pal," said Kickback, lifting Bombshell under one arm while Dirge raised him up from the other side and Astrotrain transformed to space shuttle mode. "We know what you did too. We'll figure out what's wrong with you once we're safely in orbit."
Within minutes, Astrotrain had achieved escape velocity with his six companions aboard.
Suddenly a bright light shone from within him.
"What the blazes-?" exclaimed Astrotrain.
"You're not going to believe what just happened in here," said Dirge.
Post by Grand Moff Martin on Jun 17, 2018 15:26:02 GMT
Two aircraft carriers, the Autobot Broadside and the abandoned Decepticon vessel formerly captained by the Micromaster Flattop, were tossed about on the Rust Sea as the gale-force winds grew stronger day by day.
Two scorpion Transformers, the Autobot Pincher and the Decepticon Double Punch, surfaced from beneath the waves. Double Punch carried in his pincers the remains of the Decepticon Pretender Submarauder, while Pincher carried the bodies of Flattop and his fellow Micromaster Roughstuff. Of Roughstuff's Micromaster transport, they had found no trace. The two robot scorpions clambered onto the deck of the Decepticon carrier.
The Decepticons had lost many more warriors than the Autobots in the battle with Unicron. The Autobots put this down to the facts that there were far more Decepticons than Autobots at the start of the battle and that Grimlock's Autobot reinforcements only arrived when the battle was entering its final phase. The Decepticons maintained that they had suffered more casualties because, being more war-like, they had fought more fiercely and courageously than the peace-loving Autobots. There was probably some truth in both arguments. But the result was the same - the Decepticons on Cybertron were now outnumbered by their Autobot allies.
Five helicopters flew in from the east in loose formation, having abandoned their futile search-and-rescue mission. They veered from side to side as they were battered by the intense winds. No Earth helicopter could have stayed aloft in such conditions, and these living machines were struggling to do so.
The Autobots Crossblades, Springer, Whirl and Windmill set down with a bump on Broadside, who immediately magnetised his deck to hold them in place. The Decepticon called Turbo Master instinctively went to land on the Decepticon carrier, but it was listing dangerously to starboard, so he gave it up and headed over to Broadside instead. Once he was safely aboard, the two vessels set off back to shore, much to Broadside's relief. ___
In a building the Dinobots had taken to calling Grimlock Tower in celebration of his being appointed Autobot Leader for a second time, a meeting room filled up with anxious Autobots and Decepticons. The Autobots Jazz, Wheeljack, Sunstreaker and Rollout sat on one side of the room, with their comrades Silverbolt and Bumblebee standing just behind them, while the Decepticons Fangry, Quake, Squeezeplay, Crankcase, Treadshot and Soundwave stood on the other side. Around the periphery of the room stood the Autobots Beachcomber, Eject, Mirage, Punch, Rewind and Vroom and the Decepticons Dealer, Ravage, Ruckus, Skullgrin, Slugslinger and Triggerhappy. From the podium, Bludgeon, Krok, Prowl and Blaster attempted to keep some kind of order while Grimlock, sporting his pristine new 'Action Master' body, tried and failed to not look bored.
"The damage wrought by Unicron, combined with Primus's death, was evidently more than this poor old world could handle," Blaster was saying. "It seems Unicron did enough - Cybertron is tearing itself apart."
"We have no option," concluded Prowl. "We have to get off this planet before it destroys itself and takes us with it!"
The room exploded with a barrage of questions, which the leaders attempted to answer as best they could. No, they couldn't fix the problem. Yes, they had room on the ships for everybody. No, the neutrals were being directed to the Polyhex Space Bridge, which would take them to robot worlds such as Lithone where they would be offered sanctuary. No, the Autobots and Decepticons were not invited to join them. And so on.
Eventually, the meeting broke up, as much preparation was needed ahead of the exodus. Bumblebee remained standing with his hands on his hips, thinking of Earth. Then at length he shook himself out of his reverie and sent the electronic commands from his brain to his body to turn around and walk out of the door.
His body didn't respond.
Panicking, he scanned the room to see if anyone remained to assist him. Only Soundwave was still present, sitting on the bench on the Decepticon side of the room. Bumblebee didn't want to ask Soundwave for help, not after that time on Earth when he had captured the small Autobot and used him as bait in a trap for Optimus Prime, ripping his arm off and tormenting him until Prime came to his rescue.
Instead, Bumblebee used his internal radio to call for help from his friends Jazz and Sunstreaker. But he couldn't get through to them. Something - or someone - was jamming him. Suddenly, Bumblebee realised with a fright that Soundwave was looking right at him.
"So here we are again, Autobot," the Decepticon mind-reader taunted him. "Just the two of us, and you just as helpless as the last time we were alone together."
"What have you done to me?" Bumblebee demanded, trying to sound brave. "I knew you couldn't be trusted. What is your evil plan this time?"
Soundwave laughed, enjoying sadistically toying with the small Autobot's fears. Then he sighed. All good things had to come to an end. "I'll tell you the truth, Autobot. I'm as stuck as you are. It's the special fuel your comrades used to revive us when we fell in battle with Unicron. It froze Grimlock in place until it was ready to reveal his new body, and now the same is happening to us."
"You mean we'll end up like Grimlock, unable to transform?"
"Yes, we'll be stronger, faster, more alive than ever before, but you'll never drive on four wheels again. For me, who never had a vehicle mode, it's no great price to pay."
"I'm not sure I like the sound of it."
"Look on the bright side, Autobot. If I change before you, I promise to come over and rip your head off so you'll never have to live as a non-Transformer."
Twenty minutes later, there were two bright flashes in quick succession.
Post by Grand Moff Martin on Jun 17, 2018 17:48:07 GMT
"What do you think, Krok?"
"The trouble, Bludgeon, is that a handful of our troops truly believe it can work. If it was just the Autobots, it wouldn't be a problem. After all, they do not understand the way of things."
"One of their number does understand," said Bludgeon. "Still, you are also right. If we act too hastily, we may face rebellion within our own ranks."
They paused alongside Treadshot and the new, improved 'Action Master' Soundwave to watch a fight break out between Grimlock and Fangry.
"So, are you with us?" Bludgeon asked Krok.
"Treadshot and I are with you, but Double Punch and Turbo Master have gone back to Gutcruncher, and I understand Axer, Banzai-Tron, Charger, Slicer and Take-Off are remaining loyal to him."
Bludgeon turned to Soundwave.
"Any other defectors?"
"The Sports Car Patrol have gone back to Trypticon with Pounce and Wingspan, and we can't find any trace of Sixshot, the Predacons or the survivors of the original Mayhem Attack Squad. But the rest remain loyal to you."
"Including you, Soundwave? We've had our differences in the past."
"I'll give every leader a chance to prove himself. If you lead us well, I will support you. If not..."
"A pragmatic stance I can respect. How many do we have?"
"We have the Duocons, the Triggercons, the Powermasters, a few surviving Firecons and a handful of random Micromasters. We have Counterpunch, Fangry, Frenzy, Horri-Bull, Octopunch, Quake, Ravage, Rumble, Skullcruncher, Skullgrin, Slugslinger, Snapdragon, Squeezeplay, Stranglehold, Triggerhappy and Weirdwolf. We have possible sightings of Overkill, Reflector and Slugfest."
"The numbers are against us. But if we choose our battleground and lure the Autobots into an ambush, then I believe we can triumph."
"I concur." ___
The Autobots had been led into an ambush, and not, this time, by the Decepticons. During the battle with Unicron, the Chaos-Bringer had despatched his remaining Sharkticon slaves to encircle the battle zone and kill any Autobots or Decepticons who lost their nerve and attempted to flee by either land or sea. Many had survived the battle, and unlike the Cult of Unicron who obligingly committed mass suicide when their master died, the majority of Sharkticons fought on, though now without any purpose beyond the joy of killing.
In the Sonic Canyons, a trio of Autobots - Outback, Pipes and Tailgate - had been cornered by twenty or more Sharkticons and were pinned down, only just managing to keep their attackers at bay with occasional weapons fire. Their ammunition was running low, but they had radioed for help, and six Autobot speedsters had been sent to relieve them.
The Autobot strategist Overdrive led Camshaft, Downshift, Jazz, Tracks and Sideswipe to the rescue. As they caught sight of small explosions in the distance, Overdrive shouted for Jazz to take his team left while the Omnibots went right, catching the besieging Sharkticons in a lightning pincer movement.
The six cars fanned out as instructed, when suddenly Jazz cried out in pain and flipped awkwardly into robot mode, landing on his back and undergoing a series of spasms. Sideswipe skidded to a halt to check on his friend, but Tracks pressed on, transforming his overhead weapons system and launching a spread of incendiary missiles into the Sharkticons, as Camshaft did the same from the other side, firing signal rockets and flash-bang grenades from his overhead launcher while Overdrive cut through their armour with his twin ion-burst cannon and Downshift's twin mounted fusion cannons blew away the last of their defences.
At a pre-arranged moment, Overdrive and Tracks both transformed to their flight modes and soared over the heads of the bewildered Sharkticons, giving Outback a chance to destroy one with an armour-piercing shell from his turret gun.
Just at the moment of victory, Tracks made a strange sound and crashed, transforming to robot mode as he did so. Tailgate hurriedly dragged him under cover while Outback, Pipes and the Omnibots sent the last few Sharkticons running.
Overdrive went back to where Jazz had fallen to find Sideswipe lying still beside him, also in robot mode. Both appeared undamaged and were still fully conscious and able to speak, but they couldn't move at all. All their joints had frozen.
They radioed it in, and learnt that Grimlock, Soundwave and Bumblebee had undergone the same experience, and that it had been put down to an overdose of the new wonder-fuel, Nucleon. They were advised to carry Jazz, Sideswipe and Tracks back on their roofs, and not be surprised if they burst out of their bodies in new, improved but non-transforming robot forms somewhere along the way.
Post by Grand Moff Martin on Jun 17, 2018 21:02:19 GMT
Grimlock didn't much care for Ultra Magnus. He reminded him too much of Optimus Prime. So when the main Autobot force went into space in pursuit of Bludgeon's rogue Decepticons, he assigned Magnus to stay behind and oversee the evacuation of neutral Cybertronians across the Space Bridge to Lithone.
Cybertron was big, and many neutrals had never been engineered to transform, unlike everyone who joined the Autobot or the Decepticon army, so unless they had access to other vehicles, those located outside Polyhex could never make it to the Bridge in time under their own power. The Autobots resolved to help them. The Decepticons had been invited to participate, but had declined, and the followers of Gutcruncher and Trypticon made their own arrangements for getting off-planet.
Ultra Magnus, Skater and Jackpot set up their command post next to the Space Bridge and made sure its living brain, Spanner, knew his role in the process. From there, they directed the airborne task force consisting of Cosmos, Countdown, Crossblades, Gunrunner, Jetfire, Omega Supreme, Over-Run, Overload, Powerglide, Sky Lynx, Skyhammer, Sprocket, Whirl and Windmill as they ferried neutrals to and from the Bridge. When they ran low on energy, the Micromasters Gusher and Pipeline refuelled them from their Tanker Truck transport, while engineers Erector, Rad and Skyfall carried out essential maintenance whenever the flying Autobots suffered damage in the storms. Circuit, Kick-Off, Powerflash, Retro, Rollout, Rumbler, Surge and Vroom provided perimeter security.
In all, thirty Autobots were involved in the evacuation of the neutrals. a significant fraction of the Autobot army, which would be sorely missed in the battle with Bludgeon's Decepticons on Klo. But they were Autobots, and saving innocent lives was what set them apart from those they fought. ___
Four other Autobots under Ultra Magnus's command were absent from Grimlock's attack force. On the far side of the planet from Polyhex, Magnus had assigned Grapple, Huffer, Trailbreaker and the computer genius Mainframe to get Emirate Xaaron out of the Primus system once and for all. No more amateur attempts with Guardian units and spare parts. Mainframe would do it properly - if only the planet held together for just a few more hours.
Grapple and Huffer had built the new body, a body fit for a Prime. Trailbreaker stood guard over the Ark shuttle on the surface, waiting to take them safely into orbit just as soon as their task was complete. ___
On board the lead Autobot ship, warping its way through hyperspace, Bumblebee, Jazz, Sideswipe and Tracks were keeping a close eye on Inferno, and it was starting to get irritating.
"Guys, I feel fine, honestly. The minute I get a pain in my little finger, an itchy knee or a crick in my neck, I promise I will let you know. But perhaps you could also consider the possibility that maybe, just maybe, my systems can take the Nucleon better than yours could. Maybe I'm not going to change like you."
TO BE CONCLUDED
“Death’s Head – I have a job for you, if you’re not too busy at the moment.”
“Don’t try to be funny. I don’t have a sense of humour. Do I need to ask the obvious questions?”
“Like who am I, and what’s happened to you?”
“No, like who do you want me to kill, and how much are you willing to pay.”
“I don’t want you to kill anyone.”
“That’ll cost you extra.”
“Now who’s trying to be funny?”
“All right, let’s pretend I asked your questions.”
“Very good. My name is Optimus Prime.”
“You’re a liar.”
“What makes you say that?”
“Because my mind appears to be stuck inside a computer, and Optimus Prime is a robot, yes? He wouldn’t be communicating with someone trapped inside a computer by tapping on a keyboard. He’d have interfaced directly, and our negotiations would have been over five minutes ago.”
“You’re clever. That’s good. Nevertheless, I am Optimus Prime. Unfortunately, my mind is also trapped… in my case, in the body of a carbon-based alien life-form. It’s a long story.”
“Skip it. I doubt I’d believe you any more after you’d told it. Knowing the true identity of my employer isn’t a prerequisite to doing business, but it would have helped move things along. I have all the time in the world, yes?”
“No, you don’t. Do you know what planet we’re on?”
“I thought I was on Cybertron, but Cybertron is supposed to be populated only by mechanical life-forms, so now I’m not so sure.”
“We are on Cybertron, but all the mechanical life-forms have left the planet. The Transformers won their battle with Unicron, but the price was high. Thinking that the planet was dying from its wounds, they have fled, searching for a new home. I and five other humans stayed behind, and now other races have begun arriving to scavenge what they can before Cybertron collapses.”
“I hope for your sake you never find out. Unicron is, for our current purposes, irrelevant.”
“You want me to protect you from the raiders and get you safely off-planet, yes?”
“Yes to the first part, no to the second. We stayed behind on purpose, because I know what’s happening to Cybertron. It needn’t die – we can save it. But I need your help.”
“Interesting. Why me?”
“Cybertron is big. We are small. I need to find a sleeping Transformer somewhere on this planet. I don’t know where he is, and even if I did, it would take us years – possibly decades – to travel the distance on foot. We have but days.”
“Do you have my body?”
“No. We are in the Ibex quadrant, accessing the Decepticons’ planetary network from the central spaceport control room. Your body is in a storage facility in Tyrest, along with those of all the other alien mechanoids they’ve captured over the years – Chromites, Deathbringers, Mecannibals, Sharkticons, and so on. I can instruct the computer to upload your mind back into your body, and then you can come for us. We are running low on the food and clean water we require to survive, and need you to bring us supplies from the off-world botanical repository in Eocra before we die of hunger and thirst. But before I reintegrate you with your body, you must search Cybertron from within the Decepticons’ computer network, and find an energy signature matching the one I am going to give you. It will point the way to the Last Autobot’s resting place, and you can take us there.”
“That’s quite a lengthy shopping list for a humble mercenary such as myself, yes?”
“Don’t think of yourself as a mercenary today, if you encounter thieves and pirates plundering Cybertron. Think of yourself as a freelance peace-keeping agent.”
“Freelance peace-keeping agent – I like the sound of that. But let’s talk seriously now. What’s in it for me?”
“Name your price.”
“Suppose I do. What’s to stop me taking it from Cybertron the moment you return me to my body, and abandoning you to your fate?”
“Your reputation as a mechanoid of your word.”
“No-one will ever know.”
“Your sense of honour, then.”
“Let me put it another way. What will you do with me if I refuse your offer?”
“The clock is ticking, yes?”
“I will return you to your body just the same, and you will be free to join the looters. If Cybertron is doomed, I can’t leave you to die when I have it in my power to save your life. I freed the Chromites, Deathbringers, Mecannibals and Sharkticons before this conversation began.”
“Well, then. That makes all the difference. Perhaps you really are who you say you are. I accept the job. But when it comes to payment, I want something from you that I could not get through loot and plunder of a dying world.”
“A reference. Something that will bring me the choicest clients in the Galaxy. Business from those who won’t trust a freelance peace-keeping agent based solely on his list of successful hits. I want something no other mercenary has. A recommendation from Optimus Prime.” ___
“Mission 81 – log tape commences. Despite my doubts, I have decided to work on the assumption that my mysterious client is who he says he is. The potential rewards make the contract a risk worth taking. Besides, I think Cybertron owes me a break after what it’s put me through these last few years. Lured here under false pretences by a pair of Decepticons I’d never heard of but who appeared to bear me some kind of personal grudge, I suffered the indignity of capture and incarceration in this computer facility. I should by rights have been able to beat them when they ambushed me, but they knew all my attacks and defences as if they’d fought me before. One of them was purple with a V-shaped head, the other blue with a fibre-optic moustache and beard and pink nail varnish. They seemed unsure about whether or not to kill me, as if they had much to gain and much to lose by both my survival and my death, and were weighing up the options. To my chagrin, the computer informs me that both Cyclonus and Scourge are now dead, so I shan’t ever have a chance of settling that particular score. At least I can take solace in the fact that their hopes and fears concerning me likewise came to nought.
“I convinced ‘Optimus Prime’ to return me to my body before sending me off on my search of cyberspace, in order to download from my personal database some specialist mind-hacking software suitable for the job at hand. For his part, he uploaded to me a copy of an ancient Cybertronian text entitled ‘The Ultimate Warrior’, and Chapters 3 and 4 of something called ‘The Eleven Portals of the Cybertriton Mainframe’. I did not press him for the complete text of the latter. Business comes first, yes?
“Now as a fully armed and armoured virtual avatar, and with my client’s texts to show me the way, I have returned to the Decepticons’ computer network to search for any records of energy signatures that may lead me to the resting place of the legendary ‘Last Autobot’.” ___
“Mission 81 – log tape continues. At least part of my client’s tale is true, though ‘The Ultimate Warrior’ has been no help whatsoever. A search of the Decepticons’ planetary network for the energy signature in question failed to turn up any leads, but in the late Lord Straxus’s encrypted files I found mention of an older network, isolated from the Decepticons’ system. I exited the Decepticon network in the city-state of Polyhex, uploading myself into a dormant harvester unit, which vessel transported my consciousness to the base of the Smelting Pool, and an ancient computer terminal left behind by a long-forgotten civilisation. Chapter 3 of ‘The Eleven Portals’ instructed me in the language protocols of this older system, and with some trepidation I entered the network.
“There are numerous intelligent life-forms within this system. Hard to say how many, as they split and merge freely. In conversing with them, I was unable to establish whether they had once inhabited physical mechanoid bodies or had always lived in cyberspace. They appeared for the most part benign, though I fear their memories have been corrupted over the millennia.
“Chapter 4 showed me the way to a second level, of which the inhabitants of the first were ignorant. There were no conventional virtual life-forms down here that I could discern, though I could feel what can only be described as an electronic whisper on the periphery of my consciousness. Haunted by ghosts, yes? The computer network criss-crosses the entire planet, and by harnessing its software I am able to see what is going on in the ‘real’ world.
“The alien looters are currently confined to the planet’s surface. I guess they don’t want to risk finding themselves underground when the planet collapses. A crew of space pirates has landed quite close to the facility in Tyrest in which my body, weapons and ship are impounded, lending my mission added urgency. Simply thinking of Optimus Prime brings up a camera angle showing me six small carbon-based life-forms doing their best to hide from the raiders and shelter from the storms wracking a dying world. They are unlikely to survive much longer without me to look after them.
“But first, I will attempt to use the power of this computer system to search the planet for a trace of the ‘Last Autobot’.” ___
“We’re no closer to finding this ‘Last Autobot’ than we were two days ago. If it exists, where is it? Face it, HiQ, Prime, whoever you are, we’re all going to die for a planet that’s not even ours!”
HiQ’s words were drowned out by the sound of rocket engines, as Death’s Head’s ship descended through the storm clouds and landed close to where the six humans cowered. They stared wide-eyed with concern as the entrance ramp lowered, and a giant cloaked mechanoid with a horned, skull-like head and protruding lower jaw stepped out to tower over them menacingly.
“Which one of you calls himself Optimus Prime?”
“He does,” came four instant replies.
“The name’s Death’s Head. I found something you were looking for, yes?”
“I hope you brought food,” said HiQ. “I’m starving.” ___
After the continuous noise of recent days, the humans were struck by the silence within Death’s Head’s ship as it flew high above the rain storm. The starscape visible through the reinforced windows added to the sense of tranquillity.
“Did you run into any trouble?” HiQ enquired of their protector between mouthfuls. The Nebulan didn’t care what he was eating, just so long as there was plenty of it.
“None worth mentioning. I abided by your request not to kill anyone, but was obliged to separate the heads of several alien mechanoids from their bodies, and non-fatally maim a couple of organic raiders who were trying to access my ship. They’ll live, at least until the planet self-destructs.”
“That’s not going to happen.”
“So you say. I’m not convinced. All that your energy trace led me to was an ancient ruined temple eighteen levels beneath the surface of Cybertron. I didn’t spot any sleeping Autobot, and even supposing he is down there, how could one robot heal an entire planet?”
“He’s there all right, and I believe that Hector here will be able to sense his presence and awaken him when we arrive. As for healing the planet, you saw for yourself how every part of Cybertron is connected and alive. It’s simply a question of guiding it back to full health.”
“If you say so. Now hold on, we’re going in, yes?”
The ship darted down into the stormy atmosphere, plunged into the Rust Sea and descended for hundreds of kilometres before levelling off and entering an underwater tunnel. Their course twisted and turned through a veritable maze of shafts, gradually rising again until they were once more in air above sea level, somewhere beneath the Manganese Mountains. They crossed a vast underground cavern, then dived vertically down into a bottomless crevasse. ___
“AAAAAA! It… it’s near!”
“Dynamo…? Hector, what?”
“Stay back!” HiQ left his fifteenth course and rushed to the side of the shining Neo-Knight. “Somehow, in trying to tap Cybertron’s energies, he has established a rapport with it! The Last Autobot calls to us through you, my friend. Don’t fight it, let it guide you!”
“Here! It’s… here.”
“Where?” demanded the industrialist. “There’s nothing here, just some old ruins!”
“No, Blackrock” replied HiQ. “He’s right! Primus’s presence is strong here, the remains of his aura fill this place! The Last Autobot is near! Dynamo – call to him! Rouse him from his eternal sleep! Now, finally, it is time for him to fulfil his destiny!”
“Too late!” cried Lee Gruber as the roof caved in. “It’s going – the planet’s breaking up!”
“It’s not the planet!” argued HiQ. “Look – he rises, the ultimate protector, the final guardian…” But before they could see that to which he referred, a towering demon several times larger than a Transformer smashed through a wall and roared its primal fury at the intruders.
Death’s Head stepped in front of the six humans. “I can kill something for you now, yes?” ___
Badly damaged and with his cloak on fire in several places, Death’s Head crawled back away from his relentless opponent. He glanced to check on the condition of his clients, and did a double-take. With death imminent, HiQ was still eating. At least the others had tried to help, however futile their efforts. (They nearly got perforated by one of Death’s Head’s splinter grenades.) But ‘Optimus Prime’ seemed to care more about filling his belly.
Turning his attention back to the demon that dwarfed even him, Death’s Head assessed his chances of victory as slim to none. A strategic withdrawal was in order, yes?
“No!” objected HiQ. “If we leave, Cybertron is doomed.”
“But how can we stay?” demanded the mechanoid mercenary. “That thing seems to feed off my firepower and grow stronger, while my energy levels are dwindling. It’s draining my life reserves. I don’t think I can take many more of those flame bursts.”
“The creature absorbs energy,” said HiQ, finishing his last bite. “It and I have a lot in common in that respect. But thanks to the food you provided, I am at full power now. Join with me, Death’s Head. Let me use my Powermaster abilities to recharge your batteries, and you will have the strength to prevail.” ___
Death’s Head felt more energised, more alive than ever before as he swung around the demon’s upper arm, avoiding its white-hot breath, and sank his axe into the back of its neck. Clutching onto its spiky shoulder-blades, he hacked away until its head was severed from its body, and the massive frame crashed to the floor of the underground chamber. Death’s Head was thrown off and rolled away, coming up on one knee near to HiQ. He deftly switched his axe hand for a plasma blaster, but his defeated foe lay still. It was over.
HiQ looked at the tin he had been eating from. Part of the label was missing, but it had apparently contained a leafy green Earth vegetable called ‘PINAC’. ___
Complex mechanical parts formed themselves from simple slabs of metal. Circuits took shape in the air as nanobots coalesced. The energy of the Creation Matrix coursed through the elemental fabric of the planet, converging between the Last Autobot and HiQ, manifesting itself once more in a single point. All the component parts merged fluidly around the hovering Nebulan, encasing him, transforming him, filling him with the power of the Matrix, until the puny organic life-form was gone, and there was only… him.
Death’s Head watched from the shadows, impressed. Perhaps this was a planet he could do business with after all…
Post by Grand Moff Martin on Jun 18, 2018 19:41:14 GMT
The planet Klo.
"Krok, make your report!"
"Units Two and Three have secured the land masses to the east and south, Commander Bludgeon. Unit Four expects to be clear in the west very soon. The planet is, to all intents and purposes, ours! Resistance has been minimal, Decepticon casualties non-existent! Well, apart from Sparkstalker. His Firecon colleague, Cindersaur, accidentally incinerated him!"
"Hmmm, wasn't Cindersaur destroyed a while ago in that giant demon incident?"
"I thought so too, but perhaps that was Flamefeather. I get their names confused. Anyhow, didn't Sixshot start mass-producing those guys?"
"Maybe. But we must have discipline. Order their commanding officer to execute the guilty party immediately."
"Counterpunch radioed in the incident - said he had already done so."
"Good. That's what I like about Counterpunch, he's utterly ruthless - an example to all Decepticons."
On the southern land mass, Counterpunch stood over the bodies of the two Firecons he had destroyed in the act of burning native villages to the ground and hoped he had got their names right in his report. ___
The three Autobot vessels that formed Grimlock's attack fleet exited hyperspace one by one, and in the second ship's cockpit the Pretender Landmine took over from his Powermaster co-pilot.
"Are you sure you can make this landing? The target zone looks quite mountainous according to our limited data, and there won't be much room for error."
"I was an asteroid miner," replied Landmine, confidently. "I can do this with my optics closed."
"That's a relief," said the co-pilot, getting up and sealing the cockpit doors before turning around and shooting Landmine in the head at point-blank range with his solid-light blaster.
He sat down again and ejected all the escape pods except the one that serviced the cockpit, set a course for the highest mountain peak, then turned his weapon on the ship's controls, utterly destroying them. He sprang into the escape pod and pressed the launch button.
Outside the ship, he opened the hatch on his escape pod long enough to fire a missile at the ship's starboard fuel pod, which exploded, before sealing the hatch again and beginning his controlled descent to the planet's surface. ___
"The second ship is in trouble," Siren reported on the lead starship. "Its engines are on fire, and it appears locked on a course for destruction."
"We've got to get out there and correct its descent," said Silverbolt. "Take the controls."
"You can't go out there," protested Prowl. "We've begun to enter the planet's atmosphere. The Aerialbots don't have heat shields that can take the temperatures we'll soon be experiencing."
"Got to do something," said Grimlock. "Over forty Autobots on that ship. Me Grimlock strongest, so me go. Stand best chance of surviving."
"Forget it, Grimlock," said Jazz. "You're needed to lead the attack on the ground. We'll go. Sideswipe, Tracks - you're with me."
Windcharger stuck his head out of the ship's cargo hatch and looked back at the burning ship closing fast behind them, while the three Nucleon-powered Autobots donned Flight Packs. "I'll try to steady your course and guide you in with my magnetic powers, but it's getting too hot for me out here, so we've got to do this quickly if we're to do it at all."
Jazz led his comrades out into the upper atmosphere of Klo and fired his Flight Pack's rocket boosters, launching himself towards the stricken vessel. Sideswipe and Tracks followed without hesitation. They covered the distance in a matter of seconds, their enhanced armour standing up well to the heat. Jazz fired his wrist-mounted grappling hook and pulled himself in towards the ship's hull.
Sideswipe almost overshot his target, but Windcharger gripped him in a tight magnetic field and pushed him onto the vessel's hull. The small Autobot's armour was beginning to melt and his circuits were overheating, but with one last effort he helped Tracks land on target, before being pulled back into the safety of his own ship by Siren, where he promptly collapsed.
Sideswipe smashed his way into the burning fuel store and created a breach that vented all the combustible materials and oxygen out into space, quenching the fire. Meanwhile, Tracks swung himself over to the far side and used his new-found strength to wrench the port thrusters down, changing the ship's course. Jazz was busy forcibly turning the vessel's wings to an upward angle so that the air itself would provide further lift to halt their downward course. After less than two minutes, the trio's exertions paid off, and the ship skipped off Klo's atmosphere and spun away into space. The lives of its crew of Omnibots, Powerdashers, Sparkabots, Double Targetmasters, small Pretenders, Monsterbots, Technobots, Throttlebots and Micromaster Astro and Metro Squad members were saved.
Sideswipe and Tracks ripped the fuel lines out of the active thruster pod, bringing all powered acceleration to an end, and Jazz found a hatch to get them safely inside. They were adrift in space.
Grimlock had decided not to delay his attack, and the first and third ships in the Autobot convoy had now entered the lower atmosphere, where they were promptly blown out of the sky by Spaceshot and Blackout's mobile anti-aircraft base, Cement-Head and Terror-Tread's cannon transport and the aerial Decepticons Dreadwing and Snapdragon.
Doubledealer emerged from his escape pod, transformed to falcon mode and joined the attack on the free-falling Autobots.
The massacre had begun. ___
Landing on the eastern land mass, Groundbreaker, Sky High and Splashdown encountered a secret Decepticon weapon in the form of a Double Powermaster self-contained nomadic assault machine previously hidden from Autobot eyes, while far to the west Soundwave tested the limits of his new body, shrugging off the combined firepower of Bluestreak, Crosshairs, Pointblank and Warpath and tearing them limb from limb with his bare hands.
"Way to go, boss!" Frenzy cheered him on, as he and Rumble used their own unique abilities to throw confusion into less formidable Autobot warriors such as Outback and Pipes.
Groundshaker's Micromaster tank rolled to the rescue, but Soundwave ejected a cassette that transformed and grew... and grew... into the giant dinosaur Decepticon called Overkill, who ate tanks for breakfast, and his brother dinosaur Slugfest wiped out the remaining Autobot opposition with his side-mounted vibro-cannons.
On the southern land mass, Counterpunch revealed his true allegiance, transforming back into the Autobot Punch in order to come to the aid of Blurr, Chromedome, Gears, Hubcap and Red Alert, but the six of them together were soon overwhelmed by the superior firepower of Ruckus, Slugslinger, Treadshot, Triggerhappy and Windsweeper. The Autobot Motorvators rolled forward to take the place of their fallen comrades, but Doubledealer swooped down and raked them with fire from his solid-light blaster, while the Reflector trio, Spectro, Spyglass and Viewfinder, blasted Chainclaw and Ramhorn from three directions.
On the main battlefield, three of the Dinobots had already fallen and the Aerialbots and Air Patrol were all down. Flanked by Bombshock, Flywheels, Growl and Skullgrin in their tank modes, Krok rolled over all opposition at the controls of a Neutro-Fusion Tank, while the monster Headmasters, Fangry, Horri-Bull and Squeezeplay, tore apart any survivors. Ravage, Weirdwolf and the Sharkticon Gnaw (who had defected to the Decepticons) stalked the perimeter, picking off stragglers.
The battle was all but over in less than half an hour. ___
Then, of course, Optimus Prime arrived with the Last Autobot and the Neo-Knights and turned the tide, as has been well documented elsewhere, cheating Bludgeon of his victory.
Grimlock was ashamed of his military disaster, though Prime was too preoccupied to give him a hard time about it.
One of the first of the fallen Autobots to be restored to active duty by the Last Autobot was Inferno, who promptly complained that his limbs wouldn't move. No great surprise - he was the last of the Autobots overdosed with Nucleon. Including Grimlock, that meant six of them had lost the ability to transform. They enjoyed greater strength and speed, it was true, but they would all trade it back if they could return to their previous forms.
Still, at least it was over now.
Then Snarl began complaining that he couldn't bend his elbow.
(The story continues in 'Another Time and Place', written by Simon Furman and drawn by Andy Turnbull.)
DATE: November 15th 1991
TO: Secretary of Defense
FROM: Walter Barnett, Director, Intelligence and Information Institute
CC LIST: Special Advisor G.B. Blackrock General Clayton Abernathy SHIELD Director Nick Fury
1. Ongoing liaison with Autobots.
3. Working arrangements for long-term co-operation with and monitoring of Autobots still at large on US soil.
4. That you authorize the final working arrangements at Annex B.
5. In SECDEF/01892/91 you noted that:
5.1 NATO special forces had completed dismantling and transporting the modified Autobot asteroid-clearing vessel “Ark” from the crash site in Northern Canada to various secure locations for safe-keeping and reverse-engineering;
5.2 the Ark, not having been stripped by its creators, and having been constructed in large part on the Transformers’ homeworld, was a much richer find than previous quasi-Cybertronian artifacts secured and reverse-engineered by NATO (notably the abandoned Autobot outposts at Mount St Hilary and Churchill, Canada, and the abandoned Decepticon bases in Oregon, Eastern Wyoming, New Jersey and the Louisiana Bayous);
5.3 the Ark had been found to contain the corpses of two Decepticons well-known to the US Government, namely Shockwave and Starscream, and of the Autobot medic Ratchet; and
5.4 Mr Witwicky had handed over to the Canadian military the bodies of the Decepticon Galvatron (short-circuited by immersion in water following injuries sustained in the crash) and the still functioning Autobot Fortress Maximus, to whom Mr Witwicky had been bonded.
6. Following the advice of Mr Witwicky and an initial survey which confirmed that there was little to be gained in technological terms by doing otherwise, you agreed to our holding the body of Ratchet intact for return to his fellow Autobots, should the opportunity arise.
7. In SECDEF/01979/91 you noted that:
7.1 the Autobot group known as “Protectobots” had made contact with the Institute, seeking information on the whereabouts of the Ark and its contents; and
7.2 Mr Witwicky had advised that these Autobots differed from those that had vanished in December of last year in that they had been conceived by a human (his brother, apparently) and constructed and programmed on Earth using Earth materials, and that this might be the reason why they were neglected by whatever power removed the others from Earth.
8. You agreed that in line with our current Memorandum of Understanding, signed with the Autobot Sky Lynx by your predecessor in October 1988 (following the safe return to Earth of the children Allan Silver, Samuel Wainwright and Jed and Robin Lindley and our subsequent return to the Autobots of the brain modules of the five “Throttlebots”), the Institute should:
8.1 refuse the Protectobots’ request for access to the Ark’s remains and the bodies of the Decepticons, these now being NATO property;
8.2 make no attempt to detain the Protectobots against their will; and
8.3 hand over to the Protectobots the body of the Autobot Ratchet.
9. You agreed furthermore that we should retain custody of the Autobot Fortress Maximus, this being considered the former property of Mr Witwicky which he signed over voluntarily to NATO for the express purpose of using it to develop Earth’s defenses against future incursions by Decepticons. Mr Witwicky stated that this was in line with the wishes of the residual intelligence of Fortress Maximus himself.
10. You also agreed for health and safety reasons to allow the Protectobot First Aid to supervise our dismantling and analysis of the nuclear/antimatter power plants of the Decepticons Shockwave and Galvatron.
11. On August 12th of this year the UN Security Council met in closed session, attended by G.B. Blackrock and Autobot Commander Optimus Prime, both newly arrived on Earth following an eight-month absence. The minutes of this meeting (also classified as top secret) are appended to this briefing at Annex A. The topic of the meeting was the security of Earth against future Decepticon incursions. The Council noted that:
11.1 while most of the Autobots previously on Earth wished to return to their home planet of Cybertron, those created on Earth from Earth materials and programmed with loyalty first and foremost to this planet rather than to Cybertron (Jetfire, Omega Supreme, the Aerialbots and the Protectobots), belonged on Earth;
11.2 a number of Autobots from Cybertron also wished to return peacefully to Earth at some point, having developed attachments here, those named being Beachcomber, Brawn, Bumblebee, Hound, Jazz, Seaspray, Skids, Tracks, Ultra Magnus and the Micromaster Off Road and Race Car Patrols;
11.3 some Decepticons created on Earth with Earthen disguise modes remained unaccounted for, notably the Constructicons and the Combaticons;
11.4 a dozen or so Decepticons under their leader Bludgeon had escaped into space;
11.5 the Decepticons had previously viewed Earth as a resource-rich planet ripe for plunder, and, when the majority of them left last year, they did not do so by choice; and
11.6 the Transformers’ comings and goings have put Earth “on the Galactic map”, so that it has already been visited by a number of other space-faring races, including humans from the planet Nebulos, bounty-hunters, the “Cosmic Carnival”, a fugitive “Firebug” and at least one “Deathbringer”.
12. The Council agreed that:
12.1 “the genie could not be put back in the bottle” and Earth should be prepared to respond to future incursions;
12.2 those Autobots of Earthen origin whose primary programming was to defend the Earth would be welcome to remain here, subject to the provisions of a treaty to be drawn up and signed stipulating the global sharing of certain types of technology (to be confirmed, but to certainly include all means of detecting the presence of Cybertronian technology on or near Earth), the right to decline to share certain others (to be confirmed) and the absolute prohibition of proliferating certain others to those nations not already possessing them (to be confirmed, but to certainly include all weapons nuclear, chemical or biological in nature);
12.3 a limited number of Autobots who had done service in the past in defense of the Earth would also be permitted to remain indefinitely, unsupervised and unarmed on US soil;
12.4 there should be a limited-time amnesty for any Decepticons hiding on Earth who wished to surrender their arms and return peacefully to Cybertron; and
12.5 UN funding would be allocated to support a defense program that includes the mass production of Centurion units, the training of Circuit-Breaker soldiers and Road-Jammer operatives and the global roll-out of Mr Zachary’s protocols for detecting, blocking and neutralizing unauthorized Cybertronian brain patterns on the World Wide Web.
13. Following the public announcement of the Security Council’s resolution, the Constructicons and the Combaticons have surrendered and, in accordance with the conditions of their surrender, been deported back to Cybertron. They are being conveyed there by three of the Aerialbots, who have also requested temporary leave of absence to help the Autobot Prowl follow up a lead as to the whereabouts of Bludgeon’s group of missing Decepticons.
14. Further excavation of the Decepticons’ subterranean base at New Jersey has yielded 16 more robot corpses, which have been identified as Buzzsaw, Laserbeak, Ratbat, Skywarp, Thundercracker, the Seacons and the Terrorcons. Together with Galvatron, Shockwave, Starscream, Octane (blown up last year on a US army testing range), Wildrider (recovered from the Louisiana Bayous site), four more Stunticons (incarcerated at the Autobot Earthbase in Churchill, Canada) and the Air Strike Patrol (disabled by one of Mr Blackrock’s associates in July 1990), this brings the number of Decepticons so far decommissioned by NATO to 29.
15. The procedures for ongoing joint working with the Autobots on Earth who remain classed as military rather than civilian (and so remain under arms) have been drafted and are attached at Annex B for your consideration.
16. We recommend that you authorize these final working arrangements as drafted. Subject to your agreement, they will then be passed on for counter-signing by duly designated representatives of the other member states on the UN Security Council and Jetfire, leader of the Earthen Autobot defense forces.
17. A separate briefing will follow outlining proposed terms of reference for the task force assigned to explore the possibility of establishing bilateral diplomatic relations with the planet Nebulos, and the preliminary findings of the initial debriefing sessions held with the handful of Nebulans formerly allied to the Autobots who survived the traumatic events of the past year and have now sought temporary asylum here on Earth, particularly with regard to the likely Earthen origins of the small human colony founded on that planet some ten thousand years ago (DNA analysis pending).
18. This advice has been approved by General Clayton Abernathy of G.I. Joe and Nick Fury of SHIELD.
Post by Grand Moff Martin on Jun 20, 2018 20:28:42 GMT
For long seconds, the eleven Decepticons didn’t grasp Prowl’s meaning.
“I don’t understand,” ventured Onslaught at last.
“I’m turning you loose. I don’t like it, but Optimus was very insistent on this. I have nothing to charge you with, so I have to let you go.”
Still they hadn’t moved. Prowl began to wonder if getting them out of his holding facility in Iacon was going to be harder than getting them into it. There was nothing for it but to spell it out for them.
“Blast Off. Matrixed by tapping into the Creation Matrix in 1987. Profile says, and I quote, ‘He is cruelly efficient at raining destruction down on the world below.’ But according to our records, you have never actually done so. Battles known to have participated in, six. Confirmed kills, Autobot and human combined, zero.
“Mixmaster. Profile says, ‘Nothing is safe from Mixmaster’s seething cauldron. He will use any material necessary, whether unliving rock or living robot, in the making of some new material.’ Tell me, how many living robots have you used as raw material in your seething cauldron in your seven-year lifetime?”
“Er… Soundwave may have exaggerated when he wrote that bit. He was very enthusiastic in mentoring us new combiner teams and selling us to our leaders.”
“Scrapper. Profile talks about ‘overcoming an enemy Autobot and secreting his body in the foundation or structural skeleton of one of his buildings’. Ever actually done that?”
“It was on my to-do list.”
“What, overcoming an enemy Autobot? I have your score down as battles, eight, enemies defeated, zero. I’m not sure you’ve actually even spoken to an Autobot before today.”
“I have actually sold oil to an Arab sheikh,” said Swindle, pointing proudly at his own profile. “And I would have killed that used-car dealer if Blaster hadn’t thrown off my aim.”
“I blew up a human tank one time,” interjected Brawl.
“I did mention that to Optimus,” Prowl nodded morosely. “But he pointed out that the tank fired first. You’re a sorry bunch of Decepticons, really. Bruticus and Devastator, both apparently capable of pulverising a suspension bridge with a single punch. Never actually got round to doing it. It’s no good. You just weren’t in the war long enough. You’ll have to go.”
Onslaught transformed and Prowl stepped to one side to let him depart through the wide-open door. The Combaticon paused. “Aren’t you taking a risk, though? I heard you let Bludgeon get away, and he came back and almost succeeded in reviving Megatron.”
“Megatron’s dead. Bludgeon’s dead. So are all those who foolishly followed him – Soundwave, Ravage, Krok, Treadshot, the Duocons, the Firecons, the Powermasters, the Triggercons, the surviving Decepticon Headmasters, Targetmasters and Pretenders. They were all war criminals, guilty of genocide on Cybertron and on Klo – some of them also guilty of killing civilians on Nebulos, Earth and Hydrus Four. Even if we hadn’t got them, even if they’d brought Megatron back to life, their luck would have run out. They had simply clocked up too many enemies.”
“Yeah, unlike you. Don’t get me wrong, I know you’ve been programmed as Decepticons – albeit not all of you as warriors. But we can’t punish you for things you haven’t done. There are some programmed as Autobots who turn out bad – the converse may also be true.”
“That’s Prime talking, not you.”
“OK, this is me talking now: Onslaught, I know you’re not an idiot. We’re on a restored Cybertron, ‘Saturn-sized’ by the humans’ reckoning, a planet that four million years ago was home to billions of Autobots. The war is over, and a few hundred of us survived. You can walk out that door and start declaring everything you see as Decepticon territory. No-one will care. The planet’s too big. You can stake a claim to a piece the size of Earth and nobody will notice. There are creatures from the Underworld to look out for, mind you, and a whole host of alien races seeking plunder. I’d avoid them if I were you.”
“You might as well take them. You’d find new ones soon enough if I kept them.”
“So, unconditional freedom, then.”
“No, there are two conditions. When in Autobot-held parts of Cybertron, you will obey Autobot laws or be subject to punishment proportionate to your transgressions, and if you come within a light-year of Earth, your planet of birth, ever again, your right to continued existence is forfeit. Other than that, knock yourselves out.”
“I understand. Let’s go.”
Onslaught hadn’t phrased it as a command, Prowl realised. The Decepticon army had been disbanded, and he was no longer their commanding officer. “Wait,” he said.
“Trypticon has been sighted in Kalis, sheltering Pounce, Wingspan and the Sports Car Patrol. The aliens have steered clear of him so far. He might offer you some protection.”
They left. And that was that.
Prowl looked up at the rotating three-dimensional, translucent holographic map of the planet Cybertron. Iacon and its suburbs were highlighted in red. That was as much territory as the Autobots could ever find a use for or hope to hold, even if, with the aid of the Last Autobot, they repaired all their injured comrades whose brain modules remained intact. Much larger parts of the planet were being claimed by the Quintessons, the Tyroxians and a dozen other space-faring races. And why not? The surviving Transformers had no use for a planet this big. Why had they stopped Unicron from devouring it, if not for it to be repopulated by somebody?
He wondered what would become of the Combaticons and Constructicons. Most likely, they’d get into a fight with aliens and be overwhelmed by sheer numbers. Then again, Onslaught had a brain, and Swindle had negotiating skills. Perhaps they’d make it to Kalis.
He looked down his list. There were worse Decepticons still at large, Decepticons who had spent millions of years clocking up charges of cold-blooded serial murder. Macabre and Octane were dead, but eight members of the original Mayhem Attack Squad were still unaccounted for. So were the Predacons, Sixshot and a few non-entities like Frenzy, Rumble, Overkill, Slugfest and Reflector.
They might be on Cybertron, or they might be halfway across the Galaxy by now.
In the unlikely event that they showed up again in his jurisdiction, they would be dealt with as Bludgeon had been dealt with. Like Onslaught, Prowl was no longer an officer in an army. But he would always be a policeman.
EPILOGUE 1: BLUDGEON
"Good morning/afternoon/evening/whatever. It doesn't really matter out here in space! As the Earth television-year 2005 draws uneventfully to a close, Junkion Broadcasting takes a break from 'Nightbeat P.I.' re-runs and 'Maccaddam: Mecannibals and Me' to present a special edition of 'Eye on Cybertron', taking an in-depth look at the last Decepticon Leader... Bludgeon! Please welcome your regular host... Fly-Tip!"
"Thanks, Nimby. Yes, Bludgeon: the highs and lows of his short stint as Top Baddie. To help me get this show on the road, we are pleased to welcome back a familiar face, our expert Cybertron-watcher, Dr Pedalbin!"
"It's nice to be back."
"Let's get stuck in, Dr Pedalbin. Tell us, if you would, a bit about Bludgeon's early years."
"Well, F.T., nobody really knows where he came from originally, but he apparently kept a low profile for many centuries, studying myths of the Ultimate Warrior and learning the forbidden Cybertronic martial art of Metallikato. His robot form was small and unremarkable to look at. It was only when Scorponok developed Pretender technology on Earth and shared it with his allies on Cybertron that Bludgeon gained his trademark outer shell, which most people think of when they hear his name."
"A skeleton samurai! Someone in the body-shop must have been taking dodgy energon that day."
"You're not wrong. They were clearly on a creative roll, seeing as they churned out shells for Octopunch and Stranglehold the very same day. The trio's first reported sighting in their Pretender guises was by Hot Rod in early 1990, when he was captured by one of the Megatrons whilst on a mission to Cybertron. Megatron used Bludgeon as bait to flush out and kill an Autobot deep-cover agent called Warmonger. Funnily enough, being used in this way didn't turn Bludgeon against Megatron but rather increased his respect for the Decepticons' founder."
"When was Pretender Bludgeon first seen out in the field?"
"Well, that would be when Thunderwing began assembling a third Mayhem Attack Squad to replace the teams of that name previously led by Shrapnel and Carnivac. On their first job they earned a mention in the history books by playing an unwitting role in waking Primus and bringing Unicron to Cybertron."
"The Primal Scream, as it later became known."
"Indeed. Bludgeon led a small team of three on that occasion, but following the Matrix Quest they came under the command of Snarler and Spinister. Along with Needlenose they travelled to Earth to hunt down and kill the deserters Carnivac and Catilla, and Bludgeon's thrown sword somehow found Catilla's brain module deep within his Pretender armour. Along with the Keeper of Primus, that meant two missions, two kills."
"Did he maintain that impressive kill rate throughout his career?"
"Not quite. Bludgeon failed to stop Carnivac from avenging his friend's death on Needlenose, Snarler and Spinister, and he was briefly captured and imprisoned by Grimlock's Autobots. He used his mystical powers to escape, and soon afterwards Shockwave and one of the Megatrons hired Bludgeon, Octopunch and Stranglehold to eliminate Soundwave and Starscream. Once again, Autobot interference prevented them from making the kill, and they made their way back to Scorponok and were duly present amongst all those teleported to Cybertron by Primus to battle Unicron."
"Thank you, Dr Pedalbin. Our next guest is the Autobot archivist, Rewind, who has written a number of pieces on the key events immediately following the Unicron war, when Bludgeon assumed command of the majority of surviving Decepticons."
"Speaking as an Autobot, how does Bludgeon rate compared to other famous Decepticon Leaders such as Megatron, Shockwave, Galvatron, Ratbat, Thunderwing and Scorponok?"
"That's not a straightforward question, F.T. I mean, are you talking about Scorponok pre- or post-binary-bonding? And which Megatron and Galvatron do you mean? There have been at least two of each."
"At least two?"
"Two of each for sure, possibly more. Records are confusing when time-travel is involved, and they both had access to time machines. We're still unclear as to whether the Megatron who briefly led Soundwave, the Constructicons, the Insecticons and the Stunticons on Earth during the period between the Matrix Quest and Prowl's mission to the Acid Wastes was the same Megatron who was later separated from Ratchet by Fixit, and whether the Galvatron who was captured by Prowl on the Ark and later vanished was the same Galvatron who helped the Transformers fight Unicron and was finally defeated by Fortress Maximus on Earth and permanently dismantled by the humans."
"Well, I didn't know that. But we're here to talk about Bludgeon. Er... am I safe in assuming that there was only one of him?"
"Yes, of course there was only one Bludgeon. More than one would be silly."
"That's a relief. So how does he compare to guys like Shockwave, Ratbat and Thunderwing?"
"Face-to-face, Bludgeon was far scarier than Shockwave or Ratbat. At least they'd explain why they were going to kill you before they did the deed. Bludgeon would chop your head off before you even realised he was thinking about you. Thunderwing could be a bit like that, but he was white-hot rage, while Bludgeon was as cold as ice."
"And as a military general?"
"Ah, now that's a much more interesting subject. Bludgeon led the Decepticons in two large-scale hostile encounters with the Autobots. Well, I say large-scale. They were skirmishes compared to the battles we had four million years ago when the war on Cybertron was at its height, but deserve to be called large-scale battles because they involved the majority of the surviving Decepticons at the time in question."
"The first one was the big one, right?"
"Yes, the Battle of Klo. Any fair-minded observer would agree that it was a battle that the Decepticons won, and won convincingly and against the odds. What happened afterwards, with the arrival of Optimus Prime, the Neo-Knights and the Last Autobot, could not have been foreseen. But the battle itself was one of the Decepticons' finest hours."
"That's very generous of you, given that you were one of those on the receiving end of it."
"Quite. It wasn't pleasant, I can tell you, but it was our own stupid fault. On paper, the Decepticons should not have been able to beat us. Bludgeon picked his time and place perfectly. He knew that thirty Autobots, including some of our most powerful warriors, were occupied evacuating neutrals from Cybertron. He had also commissioned Doubledealer to take out one of the three Autobot ships as it came in to land on Klo, and although that ship survived intact it was effectively dead in space, removing more than forty more Autobots from Grimlock's attack force, including three of our five Action Masters. But even then, we still outnumbered them roughly two-to-one."
"You outnumbered them, but they outgunned you?"
"Not really. Not on paper. But Decepticons often won victories against Autobots by virtue of their ferocity and ruthlessness. Time and again, the savage fury of a Decepticon force, acting as one, overwhelmed larger Autobot forces. On this occasion, we were complacent while Bludgeon was thinking clearly. He hadn't chosen a peaceful, densely populated, defenceless world to attack on day one just because he was Evil. He chose it because it would put the Autobots at a disadvantage, give us more than one thing to think about, while the Decepticons had just one. They camouflaged their heavy artillery and lured us in."
"Fascinating. Thank you so much for these insights. We'll be back for more in-depth discussion on Bludgeon the bold, after this short break." ___
"Welcome back to this special edition of 'Eye on Cybertron', focusing on the short but eventful reign of the last Decepticon Leader, Bludgeon! Now, will you please go wild for our final guest, who together with his partner Knockout is one of only two Decepticons to fight in both battles under Bludgeon's leadership and live to tell the tale! That well-known member of the Micromaster Constructor Squad who needs no introduction... Grit! First question, is your name really Grit?"
"Yeah, you got a problem with that?"
"Seeing as my name is Fly-Tip, I guess not. So, what do you transform into, then?"
"Mind your own business. You said you'd pay me to talk about Bludgeon."
"Okay... Please tell us what happened from a Decepticon's perspective."
"It was great! One last big scrap with the Autobots, and we slaughtered them! It wasn't fair... we did the work at the business end of the battle with Unicron, and what do we get? Suddenly, we're the minority on Cybertron and dozens of Autobots who should be dead are swanning around like they own the place thanks to this Nucleon stuff. We thought that was the end for us. But then Bludgeon brought us back together to teach those uppity Autobots a lesson, and we did it! He didn't waste time chasing after the few who had run off to Trypticon and Gutcruncher. He knew no Decepticon Leader ever gains total control. But he had the majority of the survivors - fifty or so of us, who recognised that he had a plan and were eager to see it put into action."
"Are you saying that he was some kind of military genius?"
"He was the right guy in the right place at the right time. He knew it, and we knew it. He had no leadership ambitions before Unicron, but afterwards it just felt kind of inevitable. Soundwave recognised it. So did Overlord, though we didn't know anything about him until we were on our way to Klo and Bludgeon unveiled his new ally and secret weapon."
"You don't have any bad feelings towards Bludgeon for being associated with the final fall of the Decepticons?"
"No, because it wasn't his fault. The Autobots cheated, as usual."
"I think everyone we've spoken to agrees that Bludgeon's Decepticons beat Grimlock's army convincingly on Klo. But surely the opposite must be said of the final battle on Hydrus Four."
"I suppose so... I guess that on Klo, the Autobots were distracted by the need to protect the natives. On Hydrus Four, Bludgeon was distracted by trying to bring Megatron back to life. And Prime had learned from Grimlock's mistakes. They came in quietly this time. There were too few of us left after Klo, and too many of them after the Last Autobot. Soundwave had become overconfident from fighting normal Autobots on Klo, but didn't stand a chance against five Autobot Action Masters at once. For every surviving Decepticon Micromaster, there was a complete Autobot Micromaster Patrol coming at him. They dropped Ultra Magnus, Computron and Elite Action Master Omega Supreme on Overlord, all at the same time. And how Swoop took Bludgeon apart still gives me nightmares. But it was a glorious last stand! Happy days..."
"Thank you so much for that. And what are you doing with yourself nowadays?"
Post by Grand Moff Martin on Jun 24, 2018 16:06:03 GMT
EPILOGUE 2: XAARON
That was long ago. And now I stand here, alone with my memories, a solitary figure high up on a mountain Cybertron thrust up many thousands of years ago, its own tribute to the peace that now reigned, a peace that has only faltered once in the last quarter-century, during Gutcruncher's doomed 'Old Nucleon' uprising.
I wish I could just stay here, say nothing. But the lessons of the past cannot be ignored. Once before I shut my eyes, refused to accept the threat, and it almost cost us dear. Now events gather pace once more, and we must be prepared. One of our many probes has reported in from the far reaches of the Galaxy, telling of a gathering of Decepticons, a new, more powerful breed called 'Predators', massing for attack.
Emirate Xaaron has volunteered to command the force that will go out into space to halt these Predators before they can threaten the peace of either Earth or Cybertron. In his current form, he is more than capable of leading troops in the field. I must go down now, tell my people that their respite is over, that many of them must once more take up arms and go to war. The future, at least for Xaaron's elite force, holds only conflict and mayhem!
Post by Grand Moff Martin on Jun 24, 2018 18:24:13 GMT
Thanks. I'd had that idea soon after I succumbed to Gavin's pleading not to let the story end the Italian Job way. I knew that in trying to make the Unicron and Klo battles bigger I was roll-calling lots of toy characters that didn't really mean much to anyone, and so thought it would be nice to end by discussing at some length a character that already meant a lot to everyone (Bludgeon), giving a big role to a random toy character that meant nothing to anyone (Grit) and finishing by giving a popular toy that had no Marvel TF comic history an awful lot of Marvel TF comic history. (And giving Xaaron a fine toy - and new name - for his new body!)
Post by Grand Moff Martin on Jul 5, 2018 17:44:29 GMT
Thanks to technical assistance from Andy, the PDF version of all these stories not only has lots of TF box art throughout, but also a nice front and back cover with tons more TF box art. The PDF is not for people who don't like box art! PM me if anyone wants a copy.
I'm very happy with the overall result, probably more so than with any previous piece of fanfiction, though when writing it there was no big plan, I only ever had the next short instalment in mind. And it didn't really feel like I was making stuff up so much as just thinking of what was most likely to be happening in the margins of the official story.
I mean, there had to be loads more TFs involved in the battle with Unicron than just the ones transported from Earth. The Decepticon army on Cybertron had to be quite large if they were controlling such a big planet with the Autobots in hiding, so it was just implausible that none of them would be involved in the battle.
Similarly, given that the TF comic had established it was part of the wider Marvel universe (even if the writers later regretted the decision and tried to pretend otherwise), then it seemed implausible to me that the TFs could have a battle in New York without any superhero involvement - or that the President would call the Neo-Knights without trying to get the Avengers/FF/X-Factor first. I just find it more likely that the TFs had a few run-ins with superheroes and supervillains, and the comic never told us about them, than that they managed to avoid all contact with them from 1984 to 1991.
And then there were things that were just never addressed, like what happened to the neutrals on Cybertron? Or how did HiQ and the Neo-Knights travel Cybertronian distances to find the Last Autobot apparently without vehicles or food supplies? And why did 'The Magnificent Six' end suggesting the mission was completed successfully, but there was no follow-up explaining how their mission helped fight Unicron? And why didn't Unicron use the killer mist he used to destroy Lithone in the Movie comics? And what steps would the humans be likely to take in relation to the Ark and all the TF bases on Earth once the TFs had vacated them? And which Autobots would like to return to Earth? And wouldn't Xaaron be likely to sort our his transformation issues after nearly being killed by Flame? And if he got a new body at the end of the series, what is the obvious candidate for that body design? So it was really just a case of guessing what was most plausible and writing it down.
Anyway, 'twas good fun.
1989. The Time Wars and Underbase Saga were over. Rack’n’Ruin, Roadbuster, Sandstorm, the Deluxe Insecticons and the Jumpstarters were dead, sucked up into the rift in time and space along with Galvatron, Cyclonus and Scourge. Starscream had been destroyed, but only after deactivating Blaster, Bluestreak, Brawn, Buzzsaw, Gears, Goldbug, Hoist, Hound, Jazz, Jetfire, Laserbeak, Mirage, Omega Supreme, Perceptor, Prowl, Skywarp, Soundwave, Sunstreaker, Thundercracker, the Aerialbots, the Decepticon Triple Changers, the Dinobots, the Predacons, the Seacons, the Technobots, the Terrorcons and the Throttlebots.
PRETENDER BEASTS (Transformers #51, Transformers UK #219-222)
Scorponok gave Carnivac, Catilla and Snarler Pretender shells and sent them against Spike Witwicky and Fortress Maximus. They failed in their mission and subsequently made contact with Springer, Broadside and Inferno, who Carnivac and Catilla had fought alongside in the Time Wars. Carnivac and Catilla helped the Autobots to save their comrade Skids, newly returned from Limbo, and to destroy the monsters that he had brought back with him. Snarler denounced Carnivac and Catilla as traitors and returned to the ranks of the Decepticons.
MECANNIBALS (Transformers #52-53)
Cloudburst and Landmine travelled to the Grand Central Space Station in order to the purchase microchips needed to restore the Autobots deactivated by Starscream. Their mission was a failure, but they did manage to save Sky Lynx and numerous other mechanoids from the Mecannibals, and turned the Mecannibals against their Decepticon Powermaster allies.
MICROMASTERS (Transformers UK #232-233, Transformers #54-55, Transformers UK #228)
On Cybertron, many Autobots had downsized to become the first Micromasters. However, the Decepticon Thunderwing had stolen this technology and used it to create Decepticon Micromasters. Two teams of Autobot Micromasters, the Off Road and Race Car Patrols, along with the Decepticon Air Strike Patrol, travelled to Earth. The two Autobot teams helped Optimus Prime thwart various schemes of Scorponok, including saving the life of the Autobot Pretender Beast Chainclaw and unknowingly crossing paths with the Double Powermaster mercenary, Doubledealer.
TWO MEGATRONS (Transformers UK #213-214 and 226, Transformers UK Annual 1990, Transformers UK #243-244)
Megatron travelled to Cybertron with Ravage, took control and killed the Autobot spy Warmonger*, but, after a brief foray to Earth, was confronted by another Megatron. This second Megatron proved to be the original, and the Megatron who had fought in the Time Wars with Ravage realised that he was a puppet of Straxus and destroyed himself.
*Having intercepted transmissions from an alternate future of a student’s transcripts of an ailing Rodimus Prime’s garbled reminiscences, Junkion historians erroneously record this event as having occurred in 1990.
PRETENDER CLASSICS (Transformers UK #215-218, Transformers #56-59, Transformers UK #223, 240 and 245-248, Transformers #60-61)
The true Megatron had Darkwing and Dreadwind retrieve the body of Starscream from Earth and revived him as a Pretender, but Ratchet used Megatron’s facilities to restore Bumblebee, Grimlock and Jazz at the same time. Megatron and Ratchet were hurled into interdimensional space as the Decepticon Leader’s base exploded. Megatron’s Air Strike Patrol remained on Earth, continuing to carry out operations against a wounded Scorponok.
Hot Rod and the Autobot Double Targetmasters fought the Air Strike Patrol**. On Cybertron, Quickswitch encountered two Mecannibals. Tailgate had a narrow escape in Cybertron’s Underworld and freed several giant demons, who the Autobots and Decepticons managed to destroy, but only after they had killed the Firecon Cindersaur. On Earth, Soundwave recovered from his Underbase injuries and Starscream was reluctantly accepted back into the ranks of the Decepticons.
**For the reasons previously outlined, some historians record this event as having occurred in 1991.
After Chainclaw had an ignominious encounter with Starscream, he and the Autobot Double Targetmasters returned to Cybertron. Bumblebee, Grimlock and Jazz prepared to travel to Earth with the Rescue Patrol, but Thunderwing sent Bludgeon, Octopunch and Stranglehold to kill them and they all ended up transported to the hidden face of Primus and briefly woke him up, betraying the location of Cybertron to the Chaos-Bringer, Unicron, before completing their journey to Earth. The Micromasters Fixit and Seawatch were much needed there, as Seaspray had been sunk by Submarauder and was now counted among the injured, as was, briefly, the Protectobot First Aid.
THUNDERWING AND THE CREATION MATRIX (Transformers UK #230-231, 235-236, 241-242 and 249-250, Transformers #62-66)
Thunderwing was appointed Decepticon Leader on Cybertron, having demonstrated his ruthlessness in pursuit of Autobots on Earth. Following the clues left by an alien Deathbringer, Optimus Prime organised a quest to find the lost Creation Matrix, but gave a fragment returned to him by Longtooth to the Earth. Thunderwing, Needlenose, Ruckus, Spinister and Windsweeper interfered in the quest, culminating in Thunderwing being blown up in space and the Matrix apparently destroyed with him.
THE HUNTING PARTY (Transformers UK #229 and 237-239)
1990. With Thunderwing gone, the Decepticon command structure on Cybertron fragmented. Snarler recovered Thunderwing’s Matrix Quest team from the Ark via a prisoner exchange. With Bludgeon, Needlenose, Octopunch, Spinister and Stranglehold, he formed a new Mayhem Attack Squad and they set off to Earth to hunt down the deserters, Carnivac and Catilla, who remained in the company of the Autobots, Springer, Broadside, Inferno and Skids. On their first outing, they succeeded in killing Catilla, prompting Carnivac to swear revenge.
PERCHANCE TO DREAM (Transformers UK #255-260)
A second Galvatron appeared, presumably another future incarnation of Megatron. This Galvatron used a mind-bug to revive and attempt to recruit five injured Autobots – Ironhide and Wheeljack, who were injured in the Time Wars, and Prowl, Silverbolt and Sunstreaker, deactivated by Starscream during the Underbase Saga. He failed, and was captured by the five Autobots and placed in a storage pod on board the Ark, though he disappeared again mysteriously soon afterwards.
Around this time, another Megatron appeared on Earth, with a spider-shaped mobile headquarters – possibly a spaceship or timeship of some kind – which settled in the Louisiana Bayous.
Grimlock’s fellow Dinobots and Silverbolt’s Aerialbots returned to operational status at this point.
Shockwave took possession of an underwater base that the Constructicons had been secretly working on. He recruited the Decepticon Triple Changers and Predacons, recently recovered from their Underbase injuries, along with Starscream, the Battlechargers and, initially, Motormaster and Ravage. Megatron recruited Soundwave, Frenzy, Rumble, the Constructicons, the Insecticons and, in due course, all of the Stunticon team. Dirge, Ramjet and Thrust also made appearances on Earth, but were primarily Cybertron-based by this time.
EARTHFORCE (Transformers UK #261-289)
Prowl and Wheeljack thwarted a plan by Megatron to detonate a greenhouse bomb in Earth’s atmosphere. To assist them in combating the new threats posed by Megatron and Shockwave, Grimlock led the Dinobots, the Aerialbots and others to form a new Autobot Earthforce based in Churchill, Canada. They quickly discovered that this new Megatron did indeed have access to time-travel technology in the form of a Flashback Doorway. They also discovered and thwarted a plot by Mindwipe to hypnotise many of the human population.
Carnivac attacked the Mayhem Attack Squad’s camp and killed Snarler, Needlenose and Spinister. Springer’s ‘Survivors’ team and the Earthforce then helped him capture Bludgeon, Octopunch and Stranglehold, though the trio would escape again soon afterwards. Megatron executed Wildrider, believing him to be a spy, and Soundwave and Starscream joined forces to overthrow him and Shockwave and unite the two factions under their combined leadership. Tracks, inoperative since being acid-bathed by Blot during the Underbase Saga, was reactivated, while Octane was blown up on a military testing range. The surviving Stunticons were captured by the Earthforce following a high-speed road chase.
THE MAGNIFICENT SIX (Transformers UK Annual 1991, Transformers #67-68)
Megatron and his ship vanished as mysteriously as they had arrived, as did the Predacons. Grimlock’s Dinobot friends and Ironhide were rendered non-functional. Prowl led a mission to the source of the Underbase on Cybertron. On the way back, Prowl, Silverbolt, Sunstreaker and Wheeljack were all seriously injured. Tracks and the four smaller Aerialbots were reassigned to Cybertron. Bludgeon, Soundwave, Starscream and many of their followers returned to Scorponok, and the Earthforce was disbanded.
Shortly afterwards, the Air Strike Patrol were destroyed by a human with awesome mutant powers…
Post by Grand Moff Martin on Jul 19, 2018 20:05:49 GMT
"ASGAAAAARD!!!" With that battle cry, Mjölnir snapped Bruticus cleanly in two at the waist. As Onslaught lost consciousness, breaking the mental bond, Swindle cursed him for not listening to his warnings about humans wearing capes, and cursed Scorponok for building his base right next to New York and Earth's highest concentration of humans wearing capes. Okay, so it wasn't as humiliating as what Spider-Man did to Megatron during the rescue of Sparkplug Witwicky, as gruesome as what befell Reflector when he reconnoitred territory he shouldn't have reconnoitred and crossed paths with Doctor Doom, as inconvenient as what happened to Menasor when Magneto mistook the Stunticon super-warrior for a mutant-hunting Sentinel, as painful as what the Wasp did to Kickback when he tried to infiltrate Avengers Mansion in grasshopper mode for a dare, or as final as what the mutant Dynamo did to the Air Strike Patrol just a few months earlier. But it still hurt.
Under cover of darkness, the Constructicons recovered the broken Combaticons from the river and abandoned Scorponok's compromised headquarters to the humans. As soon as they were gone, G.I. Joe operatives moved in and began a thorough search of the ruined base, alerted by their Autobot allies to the possibility that there might be humans trapped in the wreckage. Eventually they found two survivors, the Nebulans Firebolt and Peacemaker, still imprisoned in their cell cubes, and the bodies of two more, Haywire and Recoil, who had died when their cells were crushed as a result of Shockwave's surprise bombardment. Crosshairs and Sureshot had managed to retrieve their Nebulan weapons prior to Primus teleporting all the Cybertronian Transformers back to Cybertron. Pinpointer would survive the battle with Unicron, Spoilsport would not. The harsh realities of humans caught up in a robot war.
The Constructicons, meanwhile, made their way to Shockwave's mobile underwater battle station complex, which they had built for him in secret in the months following the Time Wars. Shockwave claimed that he had learnt something of the future from eavesdropping on the conversations of his temporary 'guests', Cyclonus and Scourge, something that prompted him to invest in this new venture as an insurance policy against threats from certain unspecified quarters. But although the Constructicons had finished building it, it was only partially operational. It was still missing two vital components, which the Constructicons were incapable of manufacturing.
"Nice place you've got here," said Swindle, who had never been to this base before. The four smaller Combaticons were up and about with only cosmetic lightning burns. Hook was in the process of getting Onslaught stabilised.
"Thanks," said Scrapper. "We've got an arms manufacturing plant here capable of producing a multitude of sophisticated super-weapons. The base can split into two separate vehicular modes, and it even uses technology borrowed from Megatron's Flashback Doorway to traverse the dimensions. It really is the most advanced Decepticon battle station built to date. But it is power-intensive, and currently only operating at 15% capacity. It needs a vast power source for each of its two generators before it can go out there and start winning battles for us."
"What kind of a power source?" wondered Vortex.
"Oh, something like the one that killed the Air Strike Patrol, or the one that hit Bruticus earlier today," replied Bonecrusher.
Long Haul took up the story. "Starscream wanted to capture the human that destroyed those four Micromasters and use him as his own personal Powermaster engine. Shockwave talked him out of it. Starscream could never have survived such a binary-bonding. It would have been like the Underbase all over again, only messier. He had the right idea, just the wrong application."
"This base is a Powermaster!" realised Swindle.
"A Double Powermaster," corrected Scrapper. "Potentially. But we can't just plug normal humans from Earth or Nebulos into this thing. We need superhumans."
"Good luck getting them to co-operate with you," grumbled Brawl. ___
Five months later, the Ark crashed in Northern Canada. Shockwave had radioed ahead and informed the Constructicons and Combaticons of its approach, and Blast Off was waiting to meet it in orbit, but something went wrong, its engines exploded and it crashed. Blast Off followed it down at a safe distance. Neither Shockwave nor Starscream was answering his repeated hails.
The humans were quick to arrive on the scene. Before Blast Off could think of taking action against them, Galvatron smashed his way out of the wrecked starship and wiped them all out. Blast Off retreated to orbit and watched. He saw Fortress Maximus come out of the Ark, pursue Galvatron, and, amazingly, defeat him.
More humans moved in around the Ark, once they realised that Fortress Maximus was actually an American citizen (sort of), and began arguing about what to do with the giant spaceship.
Blast Off radioed his base. "The Ark's down. Shockwave and Starscream are apparently indisposed. Galvatron and Fortress Maximus are the only two Transformers to have emerged so far. I think this might be a great opportunity to test Overlord in the field."
"Bad timing," came Onslaught's reply. "We've just had an urgent call from Bludgeon, who is now apparently commanding the bulk of the Decepticon forces. He's demanding that we beam Overlord at once to him on a planet called Klo. It seems Overlord's a key element in a little ambush Bludgeon's setting up for the Autobots, and our new leader won't take no for an answer. Overlord is eager to go."
"Well, at least Shockwave's in no position to argue about Bludgeon stealing his toy. Are we going too?"
"Bludgeon wants us there, but the Constructicons are refusing. I'm inclined to sit this one out too. There are just too many unknowns. And besides, we were built to operate on Earth, not on some other planet."
"Agreed, let's call in sick on this one and see how Overlord performs in a real battle, now that he's got his two new special friends to provide all the energon he requires." ___
Overlord performed well on Klo, but he couldn't be everywhere at once, and the arrival of Optimus Prime and the Last Autobot, shortly followed by Countdown and Sky Lynx, resulted in the collapse of Bludgeon's main force. Bludgeon used Overlord's dimension-stepping ability to transport the survivors to Earth, where a surprise attack on the Ark enabled them to retrieve the body of Megatron and then escape again into deep space before Fortress Maximus and the humans could regroup. The Constructicons and Combaticons kept themselves hidden and watched as the humans hurried to dismantle what was left of the Ark and spirited the bodies of Shockwave, Starscream and Galvatron away to a secure location for permanent decommissioning. The body of Ratchet was handed over to the Protectobots.
In space, Bludgeon waited patiently for Grimlock to lead him to the Nucleon that would restore Megatron to life. And the surviving Nebulans - Brisko, Heater, Kreb, Lokos and Tiptop - nervously watched the two super-villains from Earth who had volunteered to be binary-bonded to the Decepticons' ultimate weapon.
On Klo, the Autobots picked over the scorched battlefield where a Decepticon Double Powermaster self-contained nomadic assault machine had single-handedly demolished a dozen Autobot warriors.