Sword is Mightier than the Pen
wanted to know what ships had transwarp technology because he wanted to join
the rest of the Predacons.” Wirecat
do you mean?” Quickrim
ship, you said, took off earlier. It was them. It was the Predacons. Of
course. Nothing they could possibly do on
Cybertron could have been successfully carried out indefinitely. They had to
know that if they were going to use the Golden Disk to commit a string of
crimes here, they would eventually get caught. We know who they are, what
they look like, their histories and their very names. They were frozen on
this planet. But the Golden Disk does not only hold information about
Cybertron. It speaks of
planets important to our past, most importantly Earth, the home of
want to go to Earth? What could they want there?” Quickrim asked.
years ago, that was the Decepticon Megatron’s plan. If he could only get
energon, he could reinforce the meager supply available to the Decepticons
on Cybertron and in one decisive swoop, crush the Autobots once and for all.
It may be, that history has started to repeat itself.”
but there isn’t any war.” Quickrim blurted.
can start one. 300 years has been an amazing period
for even descendants of Autobots
and Decepticons to have remained at peace with each other. But many
Predacons have not wanted it so. Even some Maximals are getting agitated.”
know that.” Quickrim admitted.
this shouldn’t be too shocking.” Wirecat said.
took another longing, desperate glance around the battle torn room.
it should be shocking!” he gasped. “How did it get this bad?”
nurse lifted a ‘bot with a large bleeding hole in his chest onto a
stretcher. And Quickrim, as he gazed on it, wished that the time it took for
that ‘bot to be lifted those few feet would go far quicker. He wished for
him to be in medical
treatment already, with nothing to worry about.
peace what we’ve been fighting for? 300 years shouldn’t just fall down
like a stack of cards! I… I can’t believe it. I won’t. How could a
band of six start another war?”
listen to me.” Wirecat said. “Believe what you will. Whether or not the
Predacons are headed towards Earth, we know that at least Arctosteel is
headed for that Docking Bay.
You have to get there as fast as you can and notify them to lock the place
down. He can’t be fought, but he can’t exactly get through blast doors
either. He has a head start, so you have to go now. Another
thing. These walls weren’t meant to repel weapons fire, so the fight with
Arctosteel damaged most of the energon lines in this building. Our
communications have no power. We’ll
be trying to get it back up,
and then we’re going to send in an official command to any transwarp ships
to be ready for potential re-routing.”
there’s no confirmation the Predacons escaped.” Quickrim interjected.
know. I need you to check surveillance footage once you get there. If you
see the Preds, there’s your answer. And we’ll need to know of course.”
a backward glance, Quickrim
walked out, became his
alternate grey vehicle and
sat down behind his desk in front of the docking bay. Cybertronian ships had
long hired explorers as a sort of secondary crew- those who were not needed
for the whole journey, and did not want to be part of the whole journey
either. These ‘bots could sign up to be placed on the ship as stasis pods. Those
members had long since signed up, and tonight they were arriving. In the
morning, the Axalon would
be taking off.
first one arrived just as the sun was nearly down in the sky.
there.” Primal said as the ‘bot came
to the front desk. He checked through some papers. “Alright, Quickstrike,
you can get into the docking bay though that door right there.” he said
turning around and pointing to the mentioned object.
now. Ain’t that impressive?” Quickstrike said. He could see the Axalon
behind the energy door that separated it from the main lobby of the bay.
“Y’know there, I’ve never actually been on one of these exploration
what your paper says. So what makes you want to come here?”
well, when I read the advertisement for accepting stasis ‘bots, one thing
it said was that y’all wanted a
few with battle experience in case we ran into hostile life forms.”
say battle experience?”
Quickstrike, of the 3rd Division
then, I’m glad we will have your good
services if we need them.” Primal said.
heh,” Quickstrike chuckled as he began walking past the desk, “good’s
got nothin’ to do with it.”
kept smiling, but he raised a quizzical eyebrow.
I’m just kiddin’ boss.” Quickstrike explained.
the main lobby doors, a silver ‘bot with missile tipped plane wings stood
with a bronze and black femme ‘bot.
“Well Jojo, I
guess this is the
last time we’ll see each other for a while.”
only wish I could make it all the more memorable.”
I’m sure we could Silver.”
dear, this is a public street. There
are plenty of watchers all around.”
but that just makes it better.” she said before leaning in and giving him
a final kiss. They held each other for a fleeting moment. And when the
moment was gone, it was time.
you ready beloved?”
course. Are you?” she asked.
long as I know you’ll be with me, I can be ready for anything. And I do
know that no matter what
happens, wherever we go, we
will be together. Always. Not
even distance can truly separate us. But if it comes between us, then
I promise you that I will find you again. Just so long as you wish to be
counting on that.”
was speeding along the road, and had been doing so for quite some time, but
he was far more concentrated on his own thoughts. He wanted everything to be
over- to go back to the way it was.
was so absorbed in his own thoughts that he didn’t notice a car trying to
pass him in the lane to his left until he was about halfway there. Being
startled, Quickrim swerved
right, ramming his side against the guard rail of the highway. The car
continued on its way, but for a little while, Quickrim hovered close to the
rail. Out of curiosity, he was able to get a look over the edge and see the
road below him.
saw a merging ramp, which was soon to intersect with his highway, and he saw
a car on it. It was a brown, slightly large vehicle, but nothing overly
huge. In his pensive and desperate state, it took a while for reality to hit
him. He was looking at Arctosteel.
was quite suddenly, alert. He remembered Wirecat’s words.
can’t be fought, he can’t be fought, he can’t be fought.
realized his best chance was to cruise ahead on the highway and try to
remain ahead of Arctosteel, unseen. But he
was already going close to top
speed, and Arctosteel was accelerating rapidly
to get up the ramp. Quickrim realized if
he kept at his current speed, they would collide. Of course, he could turn
away into another lane, but
then he’d still be right next to Arctosteel, who would certainly recognize
him. And if Quickrim were to slow down, he would not be able to pass
‘Steel without being noticed, and if he didn’t pass him, ‘Steel would
reach the Docking Bay first.
had one desperate option remaining. Pushing himself to accelerate the rest
of the way to top speed, he drove until he was just a little ahead of
Arctosteel. In mid-drive, he transformed, sending sparks as metal grated on
metal road, and then jumped.
over the guard rail.
down he went, falling through the sky until he landed on
top of ‘Steel,
force of the fall sent both of them careening
off of the ramp, and onto the lowest level of the Cybertronian streets,
where there was firm, even ground.
who was tilted slightly on his side, transformed in the blink of an eye and
stood up. Quickrim, though already transformed, struggled to push himself to
his feet. Arctosteel stood and waited.
Predacons are gone Quickrim. I don’t have to protect them from witnesses
anymore. Just keep on going your way. You don’t want to fight me.”
have, friend, very little choice. Quickrim noted as he deployed his cannons.
know you’re sad we missed our rendezvous
at the hospital, but getting yourself kicked around really isn’t as fun as
you might fancy. I had needed to kill you then, but it is no longer
didn’t you kill me earlier then? You thought fighting a group of agents at
HQ would be better?”
right, very funny. I have to admit, I didn’t expect you to be the type to
change records of your location. Hacking a Maximal database to protect your
hide just doesn’t seem befitting of you. You
should have seen me too. I came into that room with a minigun. It was funny-
breaking down the door and seeing what lay behind it was totally empty. You
really pulled a fast one on me.”
And did he attack a hospital before going to HQ after all? But then, who hid
my location? Quickrim
thought to himself. He quickly realized that it would be advantageous to not
let his foe know of some un-named party’s involvement, and decided to say
nothing to contradict him. So he moved on to the next thing.
then, why won’t you fight me now?”
already told you.”
don’t believe you.”
how about I personally escort you to the docking bay and show you the
surveillance tapes myself? Doubtless, that’s where you’re going anyways
right? How about it? One last, friendly peaceful
drive together. Hm?”
got to be kidding me. I
don’t know what you really want, but if the Predacons had left,
you wouldn’t admit it so blithely.”
They’re gone so you can’t do anything about them. You don’t believe me
anyways, so you wouldn’t do anything about them. And maybe, after all the
events of the past days, I think I owe, at
least for the sake of
a friend I once had, some peace of mind to him.”
your peace of mind. I’m considering giving you a piece of my mind too.”
about I help you?” Arctosteel said. And with that, he slowly, so as not to
startle Quickrim, grabbed his pump
action gauss rifle, cocked it, and
aimed directly at his chest, where his spark chamber lay concealed between
mere inches of plating. Then he pulled the trigger.
stood aghast as ‘Steel lightly tossed the rifle onto the ground. He had
not even fallen over. And where a massive whole needed to be was
instead a barely noticeable dent. Quickrim looked at the gun, and saw that
its barrel was shredded. The
gun had definitely been loaded then, and ‘Steel’s
structure had actually caused
it to backfire.
don’t know Q. I’m not a biologist, or a mechanic for that matter.”
Quickrim stared and pondered. “So are you going to come along, or go
continued staring. Then he swallowed and seemed to take a labored breath.
at you. We
grew up together, you and me. I thought I knew you inside and out. You were
the last one I would have ever expected to
be a traitor. Come along or go away? Either choice abandons you. And now,
now you’re wearing that Maximal signet on your shoulder like it belongs
am cursed with it!” Arctosteel shouted. “I made so many decisions when I
was too young. When you join
Special Forces, you know your programming gets solidified. I thought that
was alright. Actually, I thought it was perfect. Too many ‘evil Preds’,
running around and reprogramming our good fighters, right?”
they didn’t need too.” Quickrim snapped.
Arctosteel became more tense. “And now I am forced to wear the face of my
enemy. But perhaps, I will just give a new face to the Maximals. I can stand
up for the Predacons, and against all the oppression I’ve seen.”
Quickrim asked. A nearly involuntary gauss blast whisked out of his cannon
and smashed into Arctosteel’s chest.
group attacked an innocent guard!” he stated,
punctuating with another
shot directly to ‘Steel’s faceplate. Then he was upon him. Two hands
collided into ‘Steel’s stomach, and he doubled over.
one night, you terrorized an entire planet by stealing the Golden Disk!” A
knee dealt another blow to ‘Steel’s face, and he reeled back into a
nearly standing position.
about all the workers inside the Dome? There weren’t just guards. There
were librarians, scientists,
all manner of Civilian workers! Who were they oppressing!?” Quickrim gave
‘Steel an upper cut, and sent his back against a wall.
care about innocents? Work innocently!” Another fist came down on
that’s enough.” Arctosteel said calmly as he backhanded Quickrim with
devastating force, sending
him flying onto the road to land on
know Quickrim, I helped one of the Predacons insure that minimal casualties
were inflicted. Megatron- oh
I know you already know his name- wanted to use a lethal toxin to kill all
inside the dome. I changed that.”
“The sleeping gas?
So that was meant to be
telling you, I had a hand in changing that.”
when Megatron comes back, with an unstoppable energy supply at his command,
and begins his war on Cybertron- when he inspires the
support of both Predacons and Decepticons, the very fear and anger of the
Maximals and Autobots- when war starts, and people die uselessly like in the
Great War you spent so many years insuring would not be repeated, will you
have a hand in changing that too?”
merely stared back angrily in response.
what of the guards in the Dome- those who defended the Disk? Did
you try to save them?” Quickrim asked.
guards were far from-”
up!” Quickrim interjected. He was up in a flash, and tackled Arctosteel to
the ground. Arctosteel
delivered a fist to Quickrim’s face plate, and made him stagger backwards.
Arctosteel got on his feet, grabbed Quickrim’s chest and pulled him to a
standing position. Quickrim
moved both of his arms inside Arctosteel’s and swept the
offending hands away. He
then brought both of his hands to either side of Arctosteel’s head in a
around to gain momentum, he sent his left foot into his opponent’s stomach,
and finished his own spin by wheeling his right hand around to bring it
across Arctosteel’s face. After following through with his swing, Quickrim
stood straight, aimed his quasar cannons, and shot Arctosteel with a blast
from each arm. The ammunition sent Arctosteel careening into the wall behind
him, and bits of concrete flew off with the impact.
turned his arms where his wheel guns resided, and the wheels touched each
other’s hub caps. Both of the hub caps split in the middle and opened to
reveal the inner machinations of the guns. The pipes rolled out and quickly
connected with each other to form one consistent barrel. A white light began
to grow in intensity at the back of the new rifle.
this time, Arctosteel had just stood up. Quickrim fired a fast, bright and
powerful gauss blast straight into Arctosteel’s chest.
spun a bit, flew through the wall, and into the building which it was a part
took a few breaths as the gun disconnected, and its two halves replaced
themselves into his wheels.
he heard the sound of a
motor starting. A metallic
whirring followed, and Arctosteel
walked through the hole in
the wall with a chainsaw he apparently found in the building. Wielding
it menacingly, he ran towards Quickrim.
waited where he stood. Arctosteel swung viciously, but Quickrim ducked under
the swing and rolled behind his back. He then kicked the underside of
Arctosteel’s knee joint, and the combatant crumpled into a kneeling
position. But as he did so, he swung the chainsaw behind him and caught
Quickrim’s left leg. Blue fluid sprayed out of the otherwise minor but
painful cut. Arctosteel quickly stood back up and turned clockwise to face
his opponent. The saw followed in an arc slightly behind the motion of the
rest of his body, gaining momentum from Arctosteel’s turn. And when
Arctosteel was finally facing Quickrim, who was still sitting on the ground,
the saw finished it swing and found Quickrim’s chest.
huge diagonal gash was left in its wake, and Quickrim spun from
the force of it.
was on his back in the street, and saw his opponent come for him. Arctosteel
raised the saw into the air, and prepared to strike down. But then he
hesitated. The chainsaw lingered dangerously in air above ‘Steel’s head,
still whirring. Quickrim, too, hesitated, but then he spoke.
are you fooling! If you are devoted to Megatron’s cause, why must you
select which of your threats face termination? I
am no different than those guards! Why can’t you kill me?”
stood still with the chainsaw.
a Maximal! You can’t kill me, and it’s because you know it’s wrong!
Stop this madness!”
made no change in emotion. And Quickrim finally broke down. Tears rolled
down his faceplate as pain, fear, pity, and frustration all conspired within
my friend! We trained
together, shared everything we could! Where did I abandon you so terribly
that you slipped to this state?”
Quickrim was, by this point
blinded. “Listen to your spark! Don’t you even have one anymore?”
world isn’t as simple as you think it is Q!” Arctosteel shouted back.
“The Maximals aren’t perfect. They never were. But do you think I fight
for the Predacons because I find them guiltless? They are the victims, or I
would not fight. But I don’t wish for their domination. I want even
ground. I want their vindication. They aren’t the Decepticons, and
certainly none of them fought in the Great War. The
Decepticons aren’t even who they use to be. What would you have me do?
Politics? It has failed for 300 years. It is time for Civil War. An end
to Predacon slavery!”
put this nonsense into your head? And does that not make me a slave master?
Why do I not deserve justice?”
can show mercy. I am not a villain.”
‘bots at the Dome, the
ones who were outside, who you sniped- you didn’t miss them,
just so you know. They’re dead. Saving me doesn’t change what you
became notably more angry.
am I then?”
murderer!” Quickrim shouted. “A murderer you are, and if you leave me
alive, I’m going to do everything I can to stand in your way.”
guess that’s it then.” Arctosteel said as he raised the chainsaw once
saw began descending, and Quickrim felt powerless to do anything but
observe. A million thoughts rushed through his head. He
even began to work through Arctosteel’s argument. Had the Maximals been
slave masters? It couldn’t have gotten that bad, could it have? But
his thoughts were interrupted when he saw something peculiar mid-swing. Two
red dots materialized on Arctosteel- one on his left arm, and another on his chest.
He heard some sort of munitions
related sound, and a few
moments later, two fires erupted where the dots had been pointing.
Arctosteel’s face changed from anger to shock, and his body jerked back.
The saw fell out of his grasp as he fell backwards.
quickly jolted up from his sitting position and began running for the road.
He didn’t know if he was a target, but either way he had a job he still
needed to attend to. He transformed and drove for the ramp again. As he did
so he realized he remembered those two targeting lasers and
the ‘bot who fired them. Then some more pieces began to fall into place.
stood up and looked around him. There was nothing ahead of him, where the
shots had come from. He looked around, in every imaginable angle, until he
was facing the wall he had previously been shot through.
laser pulses smashed into his left side. He staggered, but stayed on his
feet after a few awkward steps. He whipped his head to the left, but there
was nothing there. Then he laughed.
very funny. Show yourself and come fight like a real Maximal.” He declared
to his unseen adversary. Behind him, the chainsaw raised itself from the
ground ominously, and came crashing down on the back of his head. Sparks flashed
as the saw grated on the metal of Arctosteel’s head. He fell over in
surprise and the saw dropped back onto the ground as spontaneously as it had
come into the air. It bounced a few times while the spikes continued
whirring around, and eventually it laid in
its spot on the ground- still sawing at the air, wishing for metal.
pointed his right arm at the saw and a PPC raised itself near his wrist. A
white energy like lightning shot out and smashed the saw into pieces.
Arctosteel once again pushed himself up from the ground while the PPC sunk
back into his arm.
closed his eyes and listened for a noise. He heard shuffling to his right,
near the road, and grabbed a grenade from a compartment on his shoulder. He
then threw it where he heard the noise. A large explosion resulted, and
Arctosteel himself was thrown back from the force of it. But he had fallen
over enough to let it go. Mingled with the sound of the explosion, he
thought he could detect a labored shout.
he looked back at the burnt section
of the road where the explosion had occurred, he noticed some mech fluid
glowing in various pools. He listened again, but he heard nothing. Then he
saw, somewhere between the highway and his own road, that small drops of
blue were materializing rhythmically out of thin air, and splashing the road
below. He pulled out a second gauss rifle, which had been magnetically
attached to his back, with lightning speed. Wasting no time, he
pumped it, and fired his rifle at
the source of the drops. As a mini fireball made itself known, a ‘bot
shaped structure radiated with black lines and grey fuzz before disappearing
again. Arctosteel shot again and again and again. The structure made an
outline once more, and seemed to thrash around, before falling to the
ground, and disappearing mid-fall. With no definable reason, the concrete
road below erupted into fragments and dust. Arctosteel aimed at the center
of the crater, and another fireball erupted in mid-air.
Arctosteel said. “You’re invisible. I’m invincible.”
A voice announced behind him. Arctosteel wheeled around, and saw a black
cat. The cat thrust his fist
across Arctosteel’s face. “But you’re still not too bright.” Arctosteel
looked at the crater again, and finally saw that he had been shooting at a
cloaking system programmed into a compartment that also housed jump jets.
Looking back at the cat, he saw two indentations on his side where the
connectors for the jump jets were normally attached.
this point, the cat had pulled out his laser hand guns again. He took aim
and fired a red laser. It hit Arctosteel right between the optics.
Arctosteel fell onto his back and lay motionless as his optics flickered out
for a moment. The cat stared with his hand gun still pointed in his
direction. Then the optics flickered back, and Arctosteel stood up.
He stared at the cat, and noticed, on the side of his arm, was a purple
symbol- that of the Decepticons.
can’t believe it.” Arctosteel muttered.
should talk.” said the cat. He then opened up with both of his guns.
Arctosteel held up his hands in
protest as red
pulses, and their resulting sparks and explosions engulfed him to a point
where he was almost unrecognizable. Yet somehow, another grenade flew from
the walking target. The cat acted quickly and shot the grenade in air as it
was coming to him. He crouched on the ground as shrapnel flew
his way, and for the most part, bounced
harmlessly off of him.
know who you are!” Arctosteel shouted to him. “A jaguar, wearing a
Decepticon symbol? Still working on a major event on Cybertron? You’re
Ravage. You don’t know how long I’ve wondered about all the rumors. Were
you really reprogrammed to be a Predacon?”
you still functional?” Ravage replied.
yeah…” Arctosteel said with a slight chuckle. “I forgot- I need to
pumped his gauss rifle, which had remained in his grasp the whole time, and
Ravage dashed for cover. Arctosteel managed
to shoot him in the right leg,
but he still jumped around the corner of the building. Another gauss blast
whipped into the corner harmlessly and tore off bricks.
want to play hide and seek then?” Arctosteel challenged. He ran for the
whole in the wall, and dashed through. Immediately, his rifle was pushed
right up into his head. Ravage then chopped the gun out of his grasp, before
returning to hit Arctosteel’s neck. Ravage’s opponent grabbed his
shoulders, but Ravage moved
his right arm outside and smashed the grasp away. Finishing the follow
through, he reared again with his right arm to backhand Arctosteel in the
face. He then grabbed his opponent by the shoulders. Acting quickly, Ravage
spun him in an arc and forced him into a glass case. The glass shattered all
over the floor as Ravage reversed the arc and smashed ‘Steel’s back into
a metal railway which guarded a set of stairs.
“clang” from the impact resounded throughout the dark room as the whole
rail vibrated in protest.
Ravage reared his right fist into the air, and came down.
the fist was caught.
a bit too brave for you own good.” Arctosteel said. He clenched the hand
that held Ravage’s fist, and a deep sound, as of iron in a press which
does not wish to be crushed, quietly voiced
itself while Ravage’s hand became distorted. With his free hand,
Arctosteel pushed the back of Ravage’s right arm, and Ravage went head
first into the rail. Arctosteel pulled him backwards, grabbed his shoulder
and threw him straight over the rail and out through the hole in the wall.
Ravage made impact with the ground and uncontrollably rolled a few times
before coming to a stop.
walked out, having reacquired his rifle from off the ground, and looked at
Ravage. His face was bent and leaking fluid from the smash into the rail.
His hand was crushed, and the rifle wound was evident on his left leg, which
was bleeding quite profusely. Still, he smashed his left hand into the
ground. His right leg came up and pounded dust into the air. And up he
slowly pumped his shotgun, and with one hand, pointed it at Ravage’s head.
over.” Arctosteel said.
this time the sun had gone down, and it was appropriately dark. As Ravage
and Arctosteel stared at each other, a large amount of light flooded in from
the south. Arctosteel looked in its direction, and the sound of an engine
became more and more prevalent.
tried to run, but the semi
truck was already on his tail. The front bumper hit him as he ran, and he
stumbled. Then he was pushed by the front of the semi- right into the
building. The wall broke down easily, as it had a habit of doing, and the
semi continued driving and
went through some stairs
that led up another level, taking the whole thing down. It was stopped quite
suddenly when its front smashed into a
large factory machine. Glass flew out of the windshield, and the entire
front end curled up like tinfoil.
certainly is.” Ravage acknowledged.
driver’s door opened, and out stepped Torcher. As he walked through the
torn building, some sparks flew off the front of the truck, and after
flinching he turned around to see that all was still as normal as it could
must thank you for your rescue, Maximal,” Ravage said as Torcher walked
onto the road, “but I must admit that is a sad day to see my spark saved
by a semi truck.”
glanced at Ravage quizzically. He whipped his head around to look at the
semi, then back to look at Ravage. He looked at the truck again, and began
smiling, and then when he looked at Ravage again, he was laughing.
sense of humor eludes me.”
you brought it up. On that note, what the heck is Ravage the reprogrammed
doing fighting Arctosteel the traitor? You do know he’s a traitor right?
We’re not enemies are we?”
precisely. Granted, few have
ever seen me and been allowed
to continue living. Right
now, however, our goals are
What’s your story?” Torcher asked.
would explain, but you need to meet back up with your agent. We do not know
what other dangers he may be in.” Ravage said.
I need to know where you’ve come from. The last thing I want is some
Predacon special forces coming down on our heads. If my leaving to help
Quickrim is important enough for you to suggest that I go with him, then by
refusing to leave, I will be interrupting your plans. So I won’t leave
until I hear this out.”
well, but you must understand I will be
as brief as possible, and there are things I know that I absolutely must
refuse to say.”
hear what you’ll tell.”
the Cybertronian Database guard had his codes stolen, my group suspected an
impending hack. Thievery of C.D. codes is uncommon enough for us to deem it
investigable. So I went and checked what information had been looked into
with exclusive clearance. That is when I met your partner. Due to a lack of
information, and the gravity that I already knew was surrounding the
situation of the database hack, I assessed him as a nuisance and attempted
his termination. You know this failed.
this point, we had suspected the theft of the Golden Disk was imminent, but
an agent of our own group had been implanted into the thieves’ band, and
therefore, we considered direct action to be unnecessary. For reasons we
still are trying to deduce, our mole either was unable or elected not to
stop the theft. A simple
analysis of the street in front of the Dome the day after the theft
indicated that the same agent I had fought at the C.D. had attempted to stop
then deemed him an asset, and when you two checked into a hospital that
night, we hacked the Maximal location systems and established a decoy
location. We have been informed that Maximal agent Arctosteel broke into the
fake location, and obviously was unable to destroy either of you. Since
Maximal government force files are at least well enough
encrypted to prevent our hacking
them, I monitored Quickrim’s
stay at the hospital on general private records, looking
for when he would officially check out. And when he did, I set off to the
next logical place he would go- Maximal government forces headquarters.
I finally arrived, the place was in shambles, as I predict you have also, by
this point, seen for yourself. Quickrim was setting off, so I simply
followed him through the streets. He confronted Arctosteel, and I established
an optimal support position. I did not, however, anticipate that he was
impenetrable to my attacks. And now, you have arrived. When you came to the
Maximal Headquarters, did you ask them who damaged them that badly?”
was Arctosteel.” Torcher admitted.
By himself? I do not choose
targets well.” Ravage said.
want to know though-” Torcher said, “why is your group opposed so
vehemently to the theft of the Golden Disk? Do you wish peace as well?”
would be a lie to say that we do. Megatron has done something that we would
have wanted eventually. But he came too early. We have been biding our time.
He jumped the gun.”
do no Predacons truly want peace?”
is also not true.”
it not frustrate you, though, an agent of Predacon support, to work with me,
to protect me and my partner?”
theft of the Golden Disk means Civil War. War is quite inefficient. We
learned that 300 years ago.”
if we stop the theft… if we capture Megatron and this nightmare ends, we
will be enemies again?”
do not work with you for idealism. I work for your resourcefulness. You
would, I wager, prove a worthy adversary.”
then, if I help stop this, I have still accomplished nothing. We will still
be after each other.”
fact, at least as pertains to my efforts, will never change Maximal. But
there is not time to speak of this. Right now, you do need to continue your
mission.” Ravage said.
you be helping?” Torcher asked.
best chance we have now is for the Maximal government to redirect ships to
intercept the thieves. I am
not of the Maximal government, and therefore my services would not
only be of no help- they
would interfere with our mission.”
I will be on my way.” Torcher transformed into an orange motorcycle and
revved his engine. “But marks my words, my goal is to change all of this.
I will fight to end the necessity for Maximal and
Predacon feud. I want peace.” And with that he drove off.
watched Torcher recede into the distance, he spoke to himself.
fortunate, then, that my
feud is not with Maximals and Predacons.”
pulled up to the hangar he had dreaded for so long. Transforming at the
door, he went inside the main hallway. He took a deep breath before going to
the front desk.
there, is there anything I can do for you?” a manager asked him. Quickrim
produced a badge from a compartment on his left arm and showed it to the
name is Quickrim. I'm a member of Maximal government forces.” he said. The
manager had seen the badge, but no he was looking at the large gash across
Quickrim’s chest. It had been getting self-repairs while he was driving,
but it still was dripping a little.
something wrong? What's going on?” the manager asked.
I can confirm as of yet. Actually, that's why I'm here. I need to
ask you to lock this place down. Then I need to
access some video surveillance from one of your hangars.”
down? Right now? One of our transwarp ships is accepting its stasis
passengers right now, and its journey is protected by other government
orders. I don’t know what for.”
Quickrim said, looking around and tapping his fingers on the desk. “Can I
look at the surveillance footage?”
sure.” the manager said. “You mean,” Quickrim started walking to the
other side of the desk “just, like…” Quickrim moved to the computer
while the manager stood up and got out of the way. “Oh, alright.”
looked at his own internal virtual memory to look at the records on the
previously destroyed computer at Maximal headquarters. He found the number
of the docking bay where the transwarp ship had been logged as having left.
Docking bay 851B.
looked again at the real world around him and searched the surveillance
directory on the computer. He typed in 851B and was given a folder of
day-long videos. Clicking on the current day’s video, he typed in a
specific search for a time 5 cycles before his memory told him the ship had
video showed a standard interstellar cruiser. It didn't look all that
impressive. And the video didn't show any movement of 'bots outside. He went
to half a megacycle before. It would be very likely that a ship about to
take off in 5 cycles would already have its crew aboard, after all. But half
a megacycle before, there was nothing. He pressed a fast forward option, and
watched as the computer went through about 10 cycles time of footage in
about 30 nanoclicks. Still no movement outside was visible. So he went to 5
cycles after the time the ship had, according to his records taken off. In
the video, the cruiser was still there. He grew hopeful for one moment-
perhaps nobody had departed after all. But then, he reasoned, official
government records and the surveillance footage were in direct contradiction
of each other. Perhaps the government was mistaken, but there was only way
to find out.
I'm going to check out one of your docking bays.” Quickrim announced.
the manager acknowledged. He had very little intention of getting in
you really ought to be getting medical attention.” Agent B told Wirecat.
that's what they always say.” Wirecat said as he continued walking up the
stairs. The agent looked tentatively at the drops of mech fluid which were
falling onto the steps from various wounds on Wirecat's frame. Then they
were at the door they were looking for. It read “Energon Maintenance- I
dare you to come in.” The third head of Special forces had put that
reading on the door, and everyone since had found it so refreshingly
non-bureaucratic that nobody had wished to take it down.
pushed the handle down and hit the door with his shoulder to open it. And in
the problem?” Wirecat inquired of one of the official electrical workers.
re-routed all the power to the few lines in the building that weren't shot
up. But since we're making a completely new system with the circuitry, we
still need to construct something to make everything connect at the top
here.” he responded.
don't have time to move the lines and create insulators. We have a crisis on
our hands. You're talking about a long term fix. We just need a short one
right now. Besides, if you went through all that trouble, and this whole
situation settled down, wouldn't you be concerned that this power system is
inefficient or something like that? I mean, the lines were arranged the way
they were for a reason.” Wirecat said.
sir, what do you suggest?” the worker asked. Wirecat looked around him at
the floor. It was pulsating with different shades of blue, and general
lighting, as the lines in the wall were for the most part exposed. Then he
up a metal wrench from off the ground, he put it above the lines which were
in the process of being connected and simply dropped it. The wires sparked
for a while, and then the whole building began to give off a strange hum as
the power was reactivated. Some lights at the top of the room flickered on.
sir, that's not gonna’-” Wirecat interrupted the worker by slamming the
panel in the wall, where the
wires were exposed, shut.
His words were cut off by the loud *bang* that resounded from the impact.
walked out of the room with the agent and spoke into his comlink.
get me in touch with the Northern Sector Space Hangar.”
looked at the door to the docking bay. He had been granted access to it, so
he opened it without worry of a lock. And there, inside, stood his answer:
nothing. He took a long stroll to the center of the bay. He jumped up in the
air and clapped his hands above his head.
he pondered. Then he got on his comlink.
he addressed the hangar's manager.
you look at the live video feed for docking bay 851B?”
After a few seconds, he continued. “Alright, I've got it.”
do you see?” Quickrim asked.
space cruiser of some kind.”
Do you see me?”
the manager responded. Quickrim did some jumping jacks.
you aren't there.” the manager said.
Thanks for the help.” Quickrim said. Then he deactivated the
communication. He opened another one.
this is Agent E. Are you there?”
E, this is Wirecat. What's going on over there?”
Predacons definitely left. They set up a decoy surveillance loop at the
hangar and got away undetected. I guess they couldn't hack the Government
spacecraft files, but apparently, they didn't need to. We knew a ship had
left, but we didn't know its significance soon enough. Have you been able to
contact the hangar?”
we have power up temporarily, and we've told the hangar to go on
lockdown.” Quickrim's panicked for a moment as he considered he might have
been locked in his current bay. “But they haven't complied yet. One of the
transwarp ships is accepting stasis passengers right now for
an exploration mission protected under other government orders.”
ours take top priority?”
But they need authentication from the director of the mission and from
ourselves. I need you to
provide ours. But it might be a little bit before we can get the other mission’s director
you informed them there might be an entire re-routed of the transwarp ship?
the same authentication?”
Oh wow, that is dark. Agent B, tell the power maintenance workers that we
got our message through and they can get back on that long term solution.
Boy, that wrench didn't last very long. Poor guy.”
sir, I'm going to get to the desk and provide our credentials.” Quickrim
Then the link was terminated. Quickrim took another glance at the docking
bay and saw an empty bucket. He looked to the stars beyond the glass near
the top of the large bay door at the other end. In frustration, he kicked
the bucket across the room.
there you are again.” the manager said as Quickrim walked up to him.
my boss told you about the lock down himself, didn’t he?” Quickrim
not personally. I was told by the system operator that an official
notification had been sent in from your agency, but I didn’t specifically
hear from your boss.”
Can I talk to the system operator?” Quickrim asked. The manager typed
something in his computer, and a calm tone echoed to Quickrim as a door
behind him was unlocked.
the manager said, “right through that door.”
walked south to the mentioned door, and stepped inside.
you a member of the Maximal Government?” The operator asked.
you got here fast. Who are you here for? The lockdown group, or the group
that organized the Axalon mission?”
from the team that’s asking for the lockdown. I was here already.”
Quickrim told him.
well, the other team was on its way before it heard about the lock down, so
they won’t take long.”
if on cue, a more professional looking government agent walked into the
small room. But then, it was easy to look more professional than anyone with
an outstanding saw wound.
I want to know who thinks they have the right to impede on our task?” the
agent asked. Quickrim turned to fully face him.
he announced. The agent looked at his wound, and realized he was not talking
to someone who would be in any mood for demeaning speech. He did, however,
have a job to do.
look, I know you guys are concerned about something. And we can lock down
soon enough. But we have got to get something solved ourselves right now.”
exactly?” Quickrim asked. The agent looked ready to speak, but then he
looked back at the system operator.
sorry, but I have a classified matter to discuss, so…”
I get it. I’m going.” With that, he got up, walked out, and waited near
want you to be aware,” the agent began, “that whatever
I say here stays between you and me.”
a member of government forces. I can keep things classified.” Quickrim
“Alright. The Axalon,
the ship that is taking passengers right now is meant for exploration. We
are concerned that a lock down would prevent the crew and stasis members
from boarding, and departing on time, but we have a special reason to insure
its scheduled departure.”
is it?” Quickrim asked.
are placing on board, as one of the stasis members, a mass murderer.” The
agent said. Quickrim considered this for a moment, and then voiced an
understand the gravity of what being a mass murderer means, but we’ve put
murderers in maximum security facilities before.”
this one.” the agent said.
do you mean?”
you ever heard of the X project?” the
vaguely… remember seeing a
file for it in the science division. I never opened it though. It wasn’t
my place to do so.” Quickrim admitted.
of the Decepticons of the Great War, Starscream, had an indestructible
spark. A group of scientists wondered if they could replicate such a
phenomenon, and under government approval, they proceeded. As far as we
know, it worked. But in the end, they could only control the make up of the
spark- not the machinations of it. Its bearer chose
an evil path, and destroyed an entire
colony of Cybertronians, but for one survivor. In some feat of daring, that
survivor managed to capture the ‘bot we now call “X”, and brought him
to the Maximal Elders. They decided he would be exiled to a lifeless,
distant planet. He is currently being brought aboard the Axalon.”
we might need some assistance over here.” An unknown voice spoke on the
my way.” He responded back.
I come?” Quickrim asked. “I may be of help. And time is essential right
now. I have an X of my own to lock out of this hangar.”
don’t see why not.”
in the darkness, the front end of a semi-truck seemed to have a life of its
own as it rocked back and forth. Finally, a hand pushed its way above the
crumpled mass of metal that was the truck and the dented machine. It put its
hand on a flat surface of the machine, and pushed down. The truck moved just
a little more as the trapped ‘bot became less and less so. A
second hand came to rest near the first, and then the ‘bot pushed his
torso out of the mess. Pulling a knee up to the ledge, he pushed off to free
his last leg, before relaxing, and allowing himself to fall off the ledge
and onto the ground. Dust rose with the impact, and he stayed down for a
little while, breathing. Finally, he sat up. And then he stood.
limped off, away from the truck, slowly, as the damaged machine continued
shooting sparks to the floor. When he reached the road, he found his gauss
rifle. Magnetically linking it to his back, he opened his right shoulder
compartment and sought another grenade. Setting it for a timed explosion, he
threw it spitefully back into the building
and transformed before driving away.
the highway, some ‘bots were driving home in the night. In an unknown
darkness, a grenade reached its 0:00 marker, and set off the true prize as
the semi truck’s gas tank caught on fire. The resulting explosion sent
glass and dirt billowing into the air. And its shockwave pushed many
north-bound transformers westward to the side of the highway in one massive
front of the mass, a car went up the entry ramp, and continued on its way
this is your grand plan is it? Ship me off to some distant place? I promise
if I stayed we would all have such wonderful times together.” X stated as
some government workers struggled to lead him down the hallway to the
docking bay of the Axalon. He pulled on one of the ropes connected to his
arm and managed to knock one of his carriers into a wall.
manager.” Override said in his comlink.
we have an empty bay unlocked for temporary use?”
The nearest one is two doors down from your position.”
thanks. I see it.” And with that, he walked to the proper door, pushed it
open and walked inside. The workers had gone inside and were pulling X
towards the door, but he proved a tad bit too strong. Quickrim, rather
frustrated with the delay in lock down, noticed that X had no one in front
of him, and since he was outside of the door, he had an opportunity to help.
He jumped into the air, and sent his right foot crashing into X’s chest. X
fell through the door.
Quickrim walked inside the door himself, he closed it behind him.
any of you have tranquilizers or something?” he asked.
tried that, but he has an advanced self repair system. His circuits simply
reject anything inhibitory.” Override explained.
repair? But he can sustain damage at least for a short time, can’t he?”
just need him in a stasis pod right?” Quickrim asked.
the idea.” Override responded. Quickrim deployed his cannons.
wait!” Override shouted. “A little decency, please?”
“This is decency.”
Quickrim replied. Then he opened fire. X fell back and reeled forward, then
crumpled a bit, before falling on the ground. The door opened behind
Quickrim and in walked Torcher.
do you know this place still isn’t locked down?” he asked.
I’m working on it.” Quickrim said.
door of the main entrance to the hangar opened, and a brown, slightly
battle torn ‘bot walked in, before going to the front desk.
you alright?” the manager asked.
Say, I’m here to ensure
the safety of the Axalon mission.”
manager looked at him quizzically.
that? Can I see identification?”
right!” he exclaimed. “Slugger, Maximal special forces.” he said,
producing a badge. The manager looked at it and nodded approval before
handing it back to him. “Look,
I was sent here as a precautionary measure, but my superiors figured you’d
all be locked down by now. What’s going on?”
guess your group hasn’t approved
of the lockdown yet.”
o.k. Well, I’m going to Axalon’s bay.
Have a nice day.”
you lost your mind, agent?” Override demanded of Quickrim.
say this thing wiped out an entire colony? And you’re concerned that I use
some force to keep him in custody?” Quickrim replied in frustration.
shouldn’t be concerned about his actions- they were wonderfully
treacherous.” X chimed in as he was being dragged back to his feet.
Torcher noted as he saw the holes in X shrink and heal, “I’m sure
he’ll forgive you soon. Cycles even.” But Quickrim’s mind was
What gives you the right to speak of treachery?” he
asked X. Then he wheeled around to face Override. “Look, think whatever
you want to about me, but let’s get this guy to the stasis pod where he
belongs already.” Override looked on sternly before signaling to his
‘bots to continue bringing X to the Axalon. Then his comlink was
this is Optimus Primal. We have all of our recruits in here. Were you able
to get X in?”
bringing him down the hall to you right now.”
immediately spoke up.
Everyone’s inside already, so can’t we lock the hangar down? Besides,
I’ m sure it would provide extra protection against X escaping.”
fine. We’ll lock down the front doors. Nobody gets
in or out. But the Axalon must
launch on schedule and we still need the corridors unlocked.” Override
sure, lock the front doors. That’s where the guy we’re trying to stop
would be coming through anyways.”
got on his comlink.
Operator, could you lock down the front entrance?”
brown ‘bot walked into the Axalon’s docking bay. Optimus Primal caught
sight of him.
you guys are here. How far away is X?” Primal asked. The ‘bot thought
for one moment.
What do you mean X?” he asked.
are here to help make sure he gets in right?” Primal questioned. The
‘bot opened the door behind him and looked down the hall. Two government
workers were trying to drag a wounded but powerful Cybertronian down the
hall. Behind X’s large frame, the brown ‘bot could just make out
Override, Quickrim and Torcher. Then he was able to make some sense of the
I suppose I am. But I was only told to go aboard the Axalon and make sure
that some cargo was delivered safely inside. I suppose this “X” is the
I can get you on the ship then, but I need to sign you in as a member of the
stasis crew. Of course, so long as you get off the ship before we launch, it
won’t be any problem.”
‘bot heard shuffling outside the door.
sign me up.” he said. He produced his government i.d. Primal looked at it,
and quickly signed something on a virtual screen. Just as he finished, the
first guards opened the door, dragging X. The ‘bot quickly looked behind
Slugger, just go to that platform, and one of my crew members will lift you
inside.” Primal noted.
‘bot shuffled rather quickly to the elevator’s platform and stood on it,
before turning to look at the door at the other end of the room. X was
finally pulled inside, and Override was right behind him in the doorway. The
elevator hissed suddenly and
began pulling the ‘bot up. Override walked into the docking bay, and
Torcher followed him, before looking to Primal who was acknowledging their
entrance. The ‘bot stared nervously at the doorway, and saw Quickrim walk
in, even as the ground grew more distant. Torcher turned around to talk to
Quickrim a moment.
Quickrim, we got the doors locked. It’s going to turn out fine.”
know. I’m just trying to
calm down now. I haven’t really had a moment to rest. And this still
isn’t over. If we locked Arctosteel out of here, then he’s still out
get him yet.”
elevator had by this point raised the ‘bot’s head to the level of the Axalon’s ground,
and therefore, more and more of the room was disappearing from his view. By
the time his torso was at Axalon level,
he looked at the ship’s
bridge and saw Chromax operating the elevator. His knees were now at
Quickrim looked up at the ascending elevator, and just saw the ‘bot’s
shins. He went up to Primal.
who just went up that elevator?” he asked.
Primal responded. Quickrim certainly didn’t know any Slugger’s and
decided to leave it at that. “Chromax,”
Primal spoke into his comlink, “I think we need you and Norvel out
on our way.” stated Chromax. He
looked to the ‘bot who had just come up the elevator. The ‘bot pulled
out his i.d.
Maximal Government Special Forces.” he said. “I’m here to make sure X
gets in the Axalon securely.” Chromax pointed to the
back of the bridge, where a corridor
lead to the rest of the ship.
loading room is back there. You should be able to find it. I would help you,
but I have to go.” Chromax
understand.” The ‘bot said.
watch the bridge while Norvel and I go down to the docking bay.”
problem big C.” Jubatix said. The other ‘bot made his way to the
corridor. As he walked down,
he made it past some munitions storage rooms, and then some private quarters
designated for crew members. Then he was in a large round room. In the very
center, he saw a strange shape, morphing down into a stasis pod as liquid
metal. Very shortly, the door of the stasis pod closed over it. So this was
the stasis room. Along the wall, he could see pods lying horizontally in
grooves in the wall.
mechanical claw extended down and grabbed the pod in the center before
lifting it and placing it into an empty slot. Glass slid over the small
rectangular opening, and a blue light emitted.
in secure stasis.” The Axalon’s computer
‘bot continued on and saw the loading room past another small stretch in
the corridor. In between the stasis room and the loading room, there was a
ladder to the right which led directly down. The ‘bot turned and climbed
there on the next level was the engine room. Some red lights flickered on
and off between a mass of piping.
the Docking Bay,
X was still managing to make a nuisance of himself. Chromax voiced a
suggestion to the government workers.
guys stand watch with your weapons if he doesn’t cooperate. We can get him
into the stasis pod. After all, we know how.”
workers didn’t have too much of a problem with the idea and handed the
ropes to Norvel and Chromax.
last, outside, the sun was rising, casting a uniform grew glow to the sky.
Some ships could be seen outside the windows of the exit door in the bay,
floating around. And shafts
of light flowed into the otherwise unlit room, shining on the back of X’s
huge frame, and casting the rest in shadow.
pulled on both ropes, shouting the whole time. Now to the left, now to the
right. But the Maximals would not relent. Primal watched on, and as he saw
the ‘bot pulling against his sentence, reeling in the light of a new day,
the absolute filth of the whole situation set upon him. He had no further
desire to take it in, and looked away.
X ceased pulling the ropes. Then he, of his own accord, walked towards the
stasis pod that awaited him in the docking bay. He put one foot on it.
then pulled both ropes with all his might. Caught off guard, Chromax and
Norvel were both thrown to the ground, and the rope fell out of Norvel’s
hand. Chromax held on, and X pulled the last thing holding on to him. Some
gauss blasts were shot off, and X fell over once more. Chromax stood up,
rushed to him, and lifted him above his own shoulders before slamming him
down into the stasis pod. Then he
closed the lid himself.
green light flashed in a path along the exterior of
claw reached down and lifted the large stasis pod off of the center table.
It turned to the side, and put it in a slot designated for the bigger pods.
The glass slid over.
X in secure stasis.” The ship’s computer announced. Override visibly
sighed the weight of his assignment off of himself before
turning to Optimus.
you could just sign here, recognizing that X has safely been transported to
we’ll be good to go.”
put a data signature on the pad which Override extended to him, and then the
government workers filed out of the loading room. All
save Quickrim and Torcher.
you two not here for the delivery of X?” Primal asked. Quickrim stepped
forward to talk to him.
we weren’t. Sir, we have something to discuss with you.