Chapter 1: The Messages
It was just another day for Team Prime in Jasper, Nevada. Ratchet and Optimus were busy at the control monitors, keeping a watchful eye out for Energon signatures or Decepticon activity. Bulkhead and Arcee were out on patrol duty, which left Bumblebee and Smokescreen with the task of watching over their human companions, Jack, Miko and Rafael, or "Raf" to his friends. For the past half-hour, the two bots had been watching the kids have an all-out brawl in a multiplayer fighting game that Miko had bought from the game store the other day. Bumblebee was enjoying himself as Miko knocked Raf out of the ring, but Smokescreen was a little confused by the kids' game.
"So, is this all humans do in their spare time?" the rookie Autobot asked as Bumblebee looked over at him.
"No, but this is one of their favorite pastimes," the yellow Autobot said in a series of beeps, "Personally, I find some of their games rather fun."
"Hey, Miko, what's this game called again?" Smokescreen asked again as the Japanese girl looked up at him.
"Super Smash Bros, Brawl," the ecstatic girl replied, putting emphasis on "Brawl," "It's a game where they take a bunch of different characters from different games and put them together in an epic beat-down smash-'em-up fighting game." Miko's description of the game made Bumblebee think of something.
"You know, the name 'Brawl' makes me remember a Decepticon I fought once back on Cybertron," Bumblebee beeped. As soon as the kids heard the word, "Cybertron," they immediately knew a cool war story was coming up, so they immediately paused their game and turned around to face Bumblebee. Smokescreen also turned in Bumblebee's direction.
"Oh, yeah, I've heard of Brawl," the rookie said, "They say that he's the loose cannon of his team."
"And he's more than earned that title," everyone heard Ratchet say. They all turned around to see the Autobot medic approach them, "Brawl is an extremely dangerous Decepticon who served as the muscle unit for the Combaticons, an elite team of some of the most proficient warriors in Megatron's army." This got the kids, especially Miko, greatly interested.
"So, what did Brawl look like?" Miko asked. Just then, they heard the sound of two Autobots transforming and looked over, seeing Arcee and Bulkhead come back from patrol. Apparently Bulkhead heard in on the kids' conversation with Ratchet.
"Brawl isn't hard to miss. He's big, green and rather impulsive. He turns into a tank and has a reputation of leaving a trail of destruction everywhere he goes," the Wrecker said with a chuckle, causing Arcee to drive her elbow into her teammate's side.
"The Combaticons are no laughing matter, Bulkhead, especially after what Brawl did to Bumblebee," the two-wheeler said sternly as she gave a concerned look to Bumblebee, who simply shrugged in response.
"It wasn't that bad, Arcee," the scout replied, "It was only a couple scratches and some dings." This drove Ratchet into a frenzy.
"Are you out of your mind?! You were extremely lucky that Ironhide showed up in time, or otherwise Brawl might've disemboweled you!" the medic shouted, remembering the broken body of Bumblebee lying on his medical berth back on Cybertron. The thought of seeing Bumblebee nearly torn limb from limb made Raf cringe, as the boy looked at his friend with fearful eyes. Just then, Smokescreen chose the wrong time to speak up.
"Well, at least he wasn't interrogated by Vortex," Smokescreen said, "I hear that guy was all about the torture." When fourteen pairs of eyes shot him a hard glare, the rookie realized his mistake. "I said that out loud, didn't I?" he asked sheepishly.
"Vortex is the baddest of the bad when it comes to interrogation," Bulkhead somberly muttered as everyone looked at him, "My old pal Leadfoot still has the scars to prove it." Miko flinched at the thought of a Wrecker breaking under constant ruthless torture, especially one as tough as Bulkhead or Wheeljack.
"Regardless of past events, we can only hope that Megatron will not recruit anyone like the Combaticons anytime soon, given our current numbers and resources," the booming voice of Optimus Prime echoed as the Autobot leader stomped over to their group, "If the Combaticons or anyone of their like were to join Megatron's ranks, the result would be chaotic and disastrous."
On board the Nemesis, the Decepticon warship, two Vehicon drones picked up a transmission beacon on the ship's telescreens.
"Lord Megatron, there's a high-frequency transmission of Decepticon origin on our radar," one of the drones said as a colossal silver robot looked over in their direction, "Do we have permission to answer it?" Megatron pondered this over in his head. If it was truly a Decepticon on the radar, then his crew could certainly use a few additional hands, but then again, the Autobots were known to bait traps with fake Decepticon signals during the war.
"Proceed with caution," the Decepticon leader growled, "It may be a trap set by the Autobots." The drones bowed their heads before turning back to the screen.
"Decepticon caller, please identify yourself," the second drone said into the communications speaker.
"So this is how Lord Megatron welcomes back old friends these days?" the caller replied back in a gruff voice that Megatron recognized anywhere.
"Onslaught?" the former gladiator asked as he approached the telescreen.
"It's been a long time, Lord Megatron," the leader of the Combaticons replied, "My team and I picked up Decepticon chatter about the big boss being on a blue planet in the Theta quadrant, so we decided to investigate for ourselves. We also found a few extra friends of ours along the way, so I hope you don't mind some extra company." Megatron smiled in delight when he heard that Onslaught brought the whole team and some others. Without a second thought, he turned to his communications chief, Soundwave.
"Soundwave, set coordinates for Onslaught and his team," Megatron barked as the silent Decepticon turned his monitor-like face into a map and began streaming Earth's galactic coordinates to Onslaught. After a few moments, Onslaught spoke up.
"We should be there in a few days, my liege," Onslaught said before hanging up. As the transmission beacon faded off the radar, Megatron's second-in-command, Dreadwing, stepped up to the bridge.
"Master, do you really believe it wise to welcome those renegades into our ranks?" the Seeker asked as Megatron glared in his direction.
"Of course, Dreadwing, for those renegades are some of the most powerful Decepticons to ever take to the battlefield, and they are an asset I can't possibly afford to lose," Megatron replied.
"I only hope you know what you're doing, my liege," Dreadwing said before bowing and leaving the room.
Back in the Autobot base, the 'Bots finished their little conversation about the Combaticons with the kids, who had resumed their game, albeit remaining silent, as Ratchet's reaction to Bumblebee saying his injuries from Brawl were nothing still fresh on their minds. Ratchet was still monitoring energy scales when suddenly the radar started beeping. The medic took a closer look at the radar and realized that it had picked up an Autobot signal within the solar system.
"Optimus, I'm detecting an Autobot energy signature in Earth's solar system," Ratchet called as Optimus walked over to the screens. The Prime became suspicious when he saw the signature, as the last time an Autobot signal turned out to be a trick by the Decepticons. Reaching over to the control pad under the screens, Optimus pushed a button that sent a communication array to the signal.
"Autobot ship, verify identification," Optimus said into the speaker. What came next gave him the surprise of his life.
"Well, well, I thought I heard a message in deep space coming from this planet," said the voice in a hip-hop tone. Arcee and Optimus could both recognize that voice in a hundred worlds.
"Jazz?" Arcee asked, surprised.
"The one and only, baby," Jazz replied playfully, "I picked up a high-frequency message from Optimus Prime himself, so I figured I'd bring my team along with me to add to any numbers Prime had."
"Well, you're in luck then, Jazz, and so are we," Ratchet said.
"Hey, hey Ratchet, glad to you're still kickin', Doc-Bot," Jazz quipped as Ratchet tensed with embarrassment.
"How many times have I told you not to call me that?" the medic frantically asked as the kids looked over and started laughing.
"Jazz, how soon can you get here?" Optimus asked into the speaker.
"By tomorrow, tops," the first lieutenant of the Autobots said.
"Good. We'll set landing coordinates for you. Safe travels, my friend," Optimus said as Jazz hung up. Smokescreen walked up to Optimus.
"Uh, sir, if I may ask, why were you so trusting of Jazz when you first got his message but thought I was a plant?" the rookie asked as Prime looked down at him.
"Understand this, Smokescreen," Optimus said as he placed a hand on Smokescreen's shoulder, "Jazz is one of the most trustworthy soldiers you will ever have the honor of meeting. I trusted his transmission because I knew it was him. When you arrived here, we assumed you were a Decepticon because of your method of arrival." Smokescreen nodded in understanding.
"I understand, sir," Smokescreen said as Optimus took his hand off his shoulder.
"Ratchet, set landing coordinates for Jazz and his team," Optimus said as Ratchet began punching down landing coordinates for Death Valley. Jack took notice of this.
"Why are the new bots landing in Death Valley?" the raven-haired teen asked.
"Because," replied Ratchet, "Death Valley is the most arid, inhospitable location on Earth. By landing there, Jazz and the others will be safe from both Decepticons and human eyes. We will also be Ground Bridging them here." Miko got excited when she heard that new Autobots were coming to Earth.
"So Team Prime is getting new players? Awesome! What's Jazz like?" she asked.
"For starters, Jazz is a very level-headed Bot who loves having fun and is known to treat missions like a game," Arcee explained, having seen Jazz in battle before, "He also lives by a motto: 'Either do it with style, or don't bother doing it.'"
"Sounds like my kind of 'Bot," Miko said with a grin.
A day later, the Autobots picked up the signal on their radar that Jazz's ship just entered the atmosphere and was heading for the coordinates in Death Valley that Ratchet provided. As the Autobots prepared to enter the Ground Bridge, Ratchet typed in the coordinates for the ship's landing course.
"Alright, guys, the Ground Bridge is set. Firing it up now," the Autobot medic said as the green portal opened.
"Thank you, Ratchet," Optimus said with a nod, "Autobots, transform and roll out!" With that, the other five robots transformed into their respective vehicle forms and sped through the Ground Bridge to the target coordinates. Upon exiting the portal, the Autobots came in front of a large white ship resting in the bottom of a ravine. The hull of the ship looked worn, and was covered in multiple scars, dings and burns, indicating it had seen several dogfights. As the six Autobots transformed into their robot modes, a hatch on the bottom of the ship opened up and revealed a ramp, with a white Autobot roughly the size of Bumblebee walking down it. Optimus recognized him instantly.
"Welcome to Earth, Jazz," the Prime said as he walked up to his friend and greeted him with a handshake.
"Nice to see some old friends again," Jazz replied as he looked at his commanding officer and most of Team Prime with a glint in his cerulean visor, which completely covered his eyes. Jazz then turned back to the ship. "Alright, guys, come on out," he called out. Soon, eleven Autobots marched out of the ship and stood at attention alongside Jazz. Everyone on Team Prime recognized almost each of these soldiers: Ironhide, Optimus Prime's closest friend and one of the strongest soldiers on Cybertron; Warpath, a boisterous young Autobot whose love of combat trumps even Megatron; Sideswipe, professional in every Cybertronian martial art and one of the top recruit trainers in the army; Perceptor, one of Cybertron's top scientists and chief inventor of some of the Autobots' most crucial devices and weapons; Bluestreak, top sniper in the entire Autobot army; Flareup, Autobot flame trooper who loved fire a little too much for her own good; Hound, Autobot tracker who more than lived up to his name; Air Raid, cocky Aerialbot who loved to fly more than any other flier; Fireflight, Air Raid's fellow Aeiralbot who sometimes acted too recklessly for her own safety; Jolt, Ratchet's old medical student who packed enough voltage to jump-start an Autobot as large as Omega Supreme; Hot Rod, ambitious young soldier who always wanted to fight on the frontlines; and Wheelie, the youngest Autobot to ever partake in the war, his age being an equivalent to thirteen human years. Optimus nodded at Jazz and placed his hands on his communications transmitter.
"Ratchet, Bridge us back to base," the Prime said, "We have located Jazz and his team." As soon as Optimus finished giving his command, a Ground Bridge appeared behind them.
"What's that thing?" Wheelie asked, as the youngling had never seen anything like it before in his life.
"It's called a Ground Bridge," Bumblebee beeped back, "It allows us to travel anywhere on the planet instantly."
"This is such an ingenious creation," Perceptor said as he approached the green vortex in front of him, but he vanished into it as soon as he walked into it, causing Wheelie to jump back in alarm. Smokescreen saw this and acted immediately.
"Easy there, kiddo," the rookie said reassuringly as he put a hand and Wheelie's shoulder to calm him down, "The Bridge didn't kill him, it just teleported him to our base." With that, Optimus and the other Autobots, minus Jazz's team, transformed and rolled through the portal, the others following them through it.
A few quick things about the characters introduced in this story:
- The designs for Jazz, Ironhide and Hound are based off some pictures of the same characters on Diovega's art gallery on deviantArt.
Sideswipe's design will be based on his movie look, with a silver body, wheels on his feet and blades coming out of his arms.
The Combaticons are going to mostly be based off their Fall of Cybertron incarnations, with Brawl being the exception, him having his movie look to amplify his destructive nature.
Warpath will be based on the design he had in the Dark of the Moon video game, where he is large, bulky, heavily armed and armored and slightly bigger than Optimus Prime.
Wheelie's look will be like a modern version of his G1 body, but with a slight Prime look to it, and he also behaves like a human preteen.
Jolt will have the ability to manipulate electromagnetism, albeit through his weapons.