"We'll be nearing Earth soon, Grimlock." He called to someone behind him.
"Good work, Swoop. Me, Grimlock, thought we never make it." A deep voice replied to the one called Swoop.
"Do you think Optimus will help us?"
"If not, me make him help us. He risk life to save soldiers before. Not see why he not now."
The one called Swoop nodded. Long had he become used to his leader's way of speech. And it did nothing to change the respect and admiration Swoop had for his leader. But they needed Optimus' help if they were to…
Grimlock could sense Swoop's concern. "We rescue them, Swoop," He reassured his friend. "You see. We get Optimus, then we get others back."
Swoop nodded again but it didn't do much to boost his confidence. "I hope so, Grimlock."
"Constructioncons?" Miko asked curiously.
Bulkhead shook his head as he chuckled. "No, Miko. Not Constructioncons. Constructicons. Scrapper, Bonecrusher, Mixmaster, Scavenger, Hook, and Long Haul."
It was a quiet day at the Autobot base. While this would come as a relief to most people, the Autobots were on edge. They didn't know when Megatron would unleash some new dangerous move against them. Optimus had gone off somewhere while Arcee went to do some training. Wheeljack was moving stuff around the base. In the meantime, the kids had decided to learn a little more about Cybertron. Bulkhead was telling the kids about the different subgroups within the two armies while Bumblebee sat with them.
"So…what were the Constructicons like?" Jack asked.
Bulkhead chuckled. "Can't say much about them as fighters but they were excellent builders. Probably why Megatron valued them so much. Helps to have a work force whose main function is actually working."
"So…why were they so dangerous?" Raf asked.
"Because the Constructicons were the first to possess a deadly ability,"
Bulkhead and the kids turned to see Ratchet walking in.
"The Constructicons were the first to posses Combiner technology."
"Combiner technology?" Raf repeated.
"Combiner? As in…they could all join together to make an even bigger robot?" Miko asked excitedly.
"Correct," Ratchet said. "Combiner technology allows multiple Transformers the ability to combine into an even larger and more powerful Transformer commonly referred to as a gestalt. And the Constructicons were the first ones to merge into a gestalt."
"Aw, sweet!" Miko exclaimed.
Ratchet scoffed. "You wouldn't be thinking it's… "sweet" if you had seen it with your own optics."
Bulkhead nodded. "Got that right. The Constructicons could combine into a bad piece of work called Devastator. Not much on brain power…but he sure packed a punch."
Bumblebee began to beep and whistle.
"Really?" Raf asked his partner. "You've seen Devastator before?"
Bumblebee nodded his head as he beeped. He began beeping and making hand gestures all over the place. Judging from the way Raf grimaced, what Bumblebee was saying was not good.
"That bad?" He asked his guardian.
"Yeah," Bulkhead said. "Before we managed to get our hands on combiner technology, Devastator was a massive trump card for the Decepticons."
"Fortunately Devastator, and most gestalts, have a major weakness," Ratchet intervened. "You see, the mind of a gestalt is fueled by the multiple minds of its individual components. If the components are unable to agree on an action, the gestalt will become helpless, confused, unable to function properly. This leaves the gestalt vulnerable and risks separating back into the individual components."
"Aww," Miko whined. "Talk about Blessed with Suck."
"Excuse me," Ratchet said, narrowing his optics at Miko.
"It's a type of phrase," Jack intervened. "It means that someone is given this ability or weapon or something that's really nothing but trouble."
Ratchet shook his head. "You humans and your phrases. Combiner technology may seem like a disadvantage but there were some combiners who were much more successful. The Combaticons are a good example."
"Who are the Combaticons?" Miko asked. "They sound cool."
"I heard of those guys," Bulkhead said, drawing the kids' attention on to him. "The Combaticons were an elite team of Decepticons. Perfect soldiers. Heard the leader Onslaught was one of their greatest tacticians."
Bumblebee interjected with more beeps.
"Good point. Almost forgot about Swindle."
"Swindle?" Miko asked skeptically. "There's a Decepticon who's actually called Swindle?"
"A master entrepreneur and Cybertron's greatest con-artist," Ratchet said. "He has, as you humans say, a silver tongue when it comes to making deals. Rumors were that he cared more about making profit than he was about the Decepticon cause. However, his intelligence makes him a very sneaky opponent. And he's far from a weak fighter."
"There was Vortex," Bulkhead went on. "Decepticon interrogator. Higher commands would tell new recruits that they if ever got captured, they should pray to Primus that he wasn't the one to interrogate them."
The kids all gulped at that.
"Worse," Bulkhead said darkly. "Then there's Brawl. Not hard to miss. The guy causes destruction wherever he goes. Not really much of stealthy guy but if you destroy everything in your path, heh. Not much need to be sneaky anyway."
"And then there's Blast Off." Ratchet said. "According to reports he used to be from the higher class of Cybertron. While he would throw his lot with the Decepticons, let alone the Combaticons, is beyond me. But he was a capable fighter and provided the Combaticons with aerial support alongside Vortex. And all five of them could combine into a walking juggernaut by the name of Bruticus."
"Bruticus?" Miko asked. She tapped her chin. "Sounds cool but I like the name Devastator better. I mean, come on. "Devastator"! That's totally an awesome bad guy name."
"Bruticus and Devastator are not something to take lightly," Ratchet said sternly. "Both of them are colossal weapons of destruction that could cause incredible amounts of damage in less than a cycle."
Miko flinched back at the snappy tone Ratchet had spoke to her in. She looked back at Bulkhead.
"So…tell us more about the Wreckers," She insisted. "I bet you guys were the baddest of the bad, right? The power houses, the unstoppables."
Bulkhead smiled fondly at her. "We were some pretty heavy hitters. But you know what? There was a group out there that was even tougher than we were."
Miko's jaw dropped. "What?! That's impossible!"
Ratchet stared. "Surely you're not gonna tell the kids about…them."
Miko, Jack, and Raf looked back and forth between Ratchet and Bulkhead.
"Them?" Jack asked. "Who's them?"
"Come on, Ratchet," Bulkhead said. "Those guys were a big help to us in the war. You can't deny that."
"Those five were nothing more than arrogant, insubordinate renegades who caused more harm than they did good." Ratchet said firmly. "And it would be better for the kids not to know about them."
"Who?" Miko pressed. "Come on. I want to know."
"Absolutely not," Ratchet said.
"Let me guess. You're talking about the Dynobots?"
The three bots and the kids all turned to see Arcee walk into the room to join them.
"Arcee? You knew the Dynobots?" Ratchet asked in surprise.
"Only by reputation," Arcee said as she stood next to them. "I bet there's not a single person from Cybertron who hasn't heard of them. They were said to be some of the most powerful and most vicious Autobots around. They also say that very few Cons ever saw the Dynobots…and lived to tell about it."
Miko's eyes lit up when she heard this. "And what kind of dinosaurs did they turn into?" she asked excitedly.
All the Autobots stared at Miko.
"Dinosaurs?" Arcee asked.
"Those gigantic reptilian lifeforms that lived during Earth's prehistoric age," Ratchet explained to her before looking at Miko. "And what makes you think that the Dynobots transformed into those overgrown lizards?"
"Hello?" Miko asked as if it was obvious. "Dinobots? Dinosaurs?"
"I don't think that's what Dynobots mean, Miko," Raf corrected her. "We humans were the ones who gave dinosaurs their names. And I don't think Cybertronians even knew that dinosaurs existed back then."
"Correct," Ratchet said. "We didn't. We were a bit too preoccupied with the war on Cybertron to be learning about life on other planets at the time."
"Aw, man." Miko groaned. "That would have been so cool. Giant robot dinosaurs? Totally awesome!"
"Don't worry, Miko," Bulkhead reassured her. "The Dynobots were pretty awesome anyway. In fact, Cons got so scared they'd run away if you so much as said the word "Dynobots"."
"Did you know them, Bulkhead?" Miko asked, her spirits rising a little.
"The Wreckers often had to work with the Dynobots on occasion," Bulkhead. "Had us this sort of rivalry thing going on." He spotted Wheeljack walking in with some equipment. "Hey, Wheeljack! Remember the Dynobots?"
Wheeljack laughed as he put the equipment. "How could I forget those guys? Slug and I use to see who could take down the Cons fastest."
"Yeah and I remember he always beat you no matter what," Bulkhead playfully shot at his friend.
"Whoa, seriously?" Raf asked as he and the other kids all looked at Wheeljack.
"I could swear he was cheating," Wheeljack said. But he was grinning.
"So…tell us more about these Dynobots," Jack said.
"The Dynobots are five Autobots," Ratchet said. "Grimlock, Sludge, Slug, Snarl, and Swoop."
"Sweet names," Miko complimented.
"Grimlock's the leader," Bulkhead said. "And trust me, this guy's more than earned it. Grimlock was one of the biggest and baddest Autobots around. He could talk the talk and he could walk the walk. When Grimlock joined the battle, no Con was safe."
"Sludge may not have been the smartest of the Dynobots," Wheeljack added. "But his power was second only to Grimlock's. He also had a bit of a problem following any other authority but Grimlock's. Believed that the strongest should lead instead of the smartest or the most compassionate. Aside from that, Sludge was actually nice once you got on his good side. Not that you could tell when he was in battle."
"I've heard stories about Slug," Arcee decided to add her two cents in. "He's the loose cannon of the group according to what others have said. The most violent and destructive out of the Dynobots."
"You're telling us," Wheeljack said. "I've lost count of how many times he was stressing that the Dynobots were not a group. But in my opinion, they always were more of a gang than a military unit."
"Snarl usually kept to himself," Bulkhead continued. "Left the thinking up to Grimlock but man, he was as deadly as any of the other Dynobots in battle. I think he was Grimlock's personal favorite because he liked fighting and simply followed orders. The last one is Swoop, the Dynobots' flyer. While he wasn't the strongest Dynobot, he was the fastest and had excellent flying skills. He was even a pretty friendly guy once you got to know him."
"Those five gained a reputation as being some of the best Autobots around," Ratchet continued. "But they had a problem with authority. Refused to follow any orders except their own. And they often used unnecessary brute force."
"Sound pretty cool to me," Miko said.
"So…what happened to the Dynobots anyway?" Jack asked.
"No one knows," Ratchet said. "One day they mysteriously vanished without a trace. Some say that they actually turned tail and ran away. No one believes it though."
"Got that right," Wheeljack said. "The Dynobots were the last people to run away. Especially from a fight."
"Others say they were destroyed," Ratchet went on. "But many doubted that anyone could bring the Dynobots down. So…perhaps we'll never know what really happened to them."
Suddenly the alarms in the silo began blaring at full blast.
"What is it?" Arcee asked.
Ratchet went over to the computers and checked. "Proximity alert," He analyzed.
"Agent Fowler?" Bulkhead asked.
"I don't think so," Ratchet replied. He started typing some more on the computer. His optics widened. "Oh, Primus."
"What is it?" Wheeljack asked.
"A Decepticon ship is approaching this area," Ratchet answered grimly.
The Autobots and humans all stared at Ratchet in shock. Before anyone could ask Ratchet any questions, they heard the sound of footsteps. Turning around, they saw Optimus Prime himself walking towards them.
"Are they heading directly towards us?" Optimus asked.
"Not in our precise direction but near the proximity," Ratchet said. "Whether or not the Decepticons on board know our location or simply chose this spot to land…I don't know."
"It seems too much of a coincidence for a Decepticon ship to heading in this direction," Arcee said.
"But how could they have found us?" Wheeljack asked. "I thought the signal you guys were broadcasting was available only to Autobots."
"It is," Ratchet told him. "Which is why I don't know how they were able to find us."
"Reinforcements for Megatron?" Jack asked.
"Possibly," Optimus replied. "We cannot take chances. Ratchet, can you predict exactly where the ship will land?"
"I'm working on it, Optimus," Ratchet said as he began to type quickly onto the keyboard.
Optimus nodded before looking at the rest of his troops. "Once Ratchet has pinpointed the ship's landing spot, we will make our way to it and surround it. We must stop these Decepticons before they can leave the ship."
"Can we come?" Miko asked. "Maybe it's the Constructicons. Or the Combaticons."
"If that's the case, then you'll definitely not be going!" Ratchet said. "All three of you may have faced plenty of Cons in the past but we cannot take the chance in case it is them. The moment Devastator or Bruticus sees you…"
Just then the computer started beeping again before Ratchet could complete what he said.
"I've managed to get a lock on the ship, Optimus. But it's coming in pretty fast. Apparently the Cons on board want to get here as soon as they can. They should be landing within a few clicks." He typed a bit more. "I've managed to pin-point the approximate area where the ship will be landing."
"Good work, Ratchet," Optimus said. "Autobots, prepare to roll out! Ratchet, start up the ground bridge. It will help us reach our destination faster."
"Already on it, Optimus," Ratchet said.
Optimus turned to Rafael now. "Rafael, we will need you to reactivate the ground bridge when we need to return."
"Got it, Optimus," Raf said.
"I'm turning the ground bridge on now," Ratchet said. Soon the portal to the ground bridge opened.
"Autobots!" Optimus called to his troops. "Roll out!"
One by one, the Autobots all transformed and rolled into the ground bridge. Once they had all left, the ground bridge closed behind them.
Jack looked over at Miko, who looked bummed at not getting to come along. "Cheer up, Miko. I'm sure Bulkhead will give you the blow by blow when they get back."
Miko sighed. "Sure."
Once the ground bridge transported the Autobots, Optimus allowed Ratchet the lead the way Soon the Autobots had reached their destination and transformed into their robot modes.
"If my calculations are correct," Ratchet said. "The ship should be arriving in this area soon."
The Autobots looked up at the sky. Ratchet's calculations proved correct as a large ship was soon descending from the sky.
Bumblebee beeped in surprise.
"I hear ya, Bee," Bulkhead said. "Voyager class ship. Whoever's on board's got some good taste."
"How many do you think are on the ship?" Arcee asked as she readied for combat.
"I'm not sure," Optimus admitted. "But I want everyone on full alert."
Everyone prepared themselves as the ship began to descend down upon the Earth. It started slowing down as the landing gear popped out. The ship soon touched the ground.
"Autobots!" Optimus commanded. "I want your weapons locked on. Don't fire until I give the order."
Nobody said anything but the message was clear. Everyone aimed their weapons, waiting for when the Decepticons would emerge.
At first there was nothing. Then the door to the ship opened up. Instantly everyone aimed their weapons at the doorway.
Everyone's attention was drawn when they heard that noise coming from the ship.
"What was that?" Arcee asked.
"I think those are…footsteps," Ratchet said.
"What Decepticon could be that big?" Arcee asked.
"Doesn't matter," Wheeljack said. "As soon as they step outside…they're scrap."
"Hold your fire," Optimus told Wheeljack firmly. "We'll see who it is first."
The thunderous footsteps became louder, meaning that whoever they belonged too was getting closer. The Autobots all kept their weapons steady, wondering what Decepticon had come to Earth. And then…they saw him.
A colossal robot stepped out of the ship. He was tall and largely built. Each Autobot felt a slight amount of intimidation when they saw him. Power seemed to radiate off of his body. But as he turned, Arcee did not see the symbol of the Decepticons on his chest, but the symbol of the Autobots.
"It's an Autobot," Arcee told the others. But she had never seen any Autobot that big before. Sure she had heard of some big ones like Omega Supreme, but she wasn't sure who this guy was. When no one reacted she turned to look at the others. And she found them all staring at the new Autobot.
"By the Allspark," Ratchet muttered.
"I don't believe it," Bulkhead said.
Wheeljack grinned. "Small universe."
Optimus just stared at the bot at the ship's entrance. His optics were wide in shock. And when he spoke, his voice was a mere whisper.
Bumblebee and Arcee felt whiplash as they looked at Optimus. Bumblebee began beeping in surprise.
"Wait," Arcee said. "This bot is Grimlock? The Grimlock?" She looked back and forth between Optimus and the giant bot. She had heard stories about Grimlock before but…they never mentioned just how big he was.
Optimus immediately recalled his weapon and started walking from his hiding place. Grimlock turned his head and saw Optimus walking towards him.
"Grimlock?" Optimus asked. "Is that you?"
Grimlock nodded as he started walking towards the Autobot leader. "Hello, Optimus. Me, Grimlock, not believe this, but me glad to see you again."
Optimus froze in place, completely surprised. "What happened to your voice, Grimlock?"
Grimlock looked down at the ground, emitting a low growl. "It long story. Me tell later."
Optimus shook his head and walked up to Grimlock. He was barely up to Grimlock's chest. "Grimlock, I am glad to see you again, but what are you doing on Earth?"
Grimlock looked back at him. "Me, Grimlock, need your help."
Just then there was other footsteps coming from inside the ship. Grimlock moved out of the way as Swoop stepped out of the ship.
"Swoop?" Optimus asked in surprise.
"Hello, Optimus," Swoop said with a small wave.
Grimlock, Optimus, and Swoop all turned their heads to see the Bulkhead and Wheeljack walking over to them.
"Bulkhead?" Swoop stared at the sight of the Wrecker.
"Swoop, where have you been?" Bulkhead said. He saw Grimlock and smiled. "It's good to see you again, Grimlock."
"Bulkhead?" Grimlock chuckled. "Me not know Wreckers on Earth too. That good. Very good."
Bulkhead did a double take at Grimlock when he heard his voice. "Um…you feeling okay, Grimlock?"
Swoop decided to quickly intervene. "Who else is on Earth, Bulkhead? Anymore of the Wreckers?"
"Well, Wheeljack is here," Bulkhead replied. "But he and I are the only Wreckers on Earth right now."
"Two Wreckers better than none," Grimlock said. "Any others?"
"Ratchet, Bumblebee, and Arcee are also here with us," Optimus told them.
"Arcee?" Swoop asked, causing all the other Autobots to look at him. "Arcee's on Earth too?"
"You've heard of me?" Arcee asked. She had decided to go up and meet the legendary Dynobots and overheard them talking.
Swoop smiled when he saw Arcee. But before he could say anything, Grimlock spoke up.
"You, Arcee, stand out," Grimlock said, looking at his flyer before looking at the second in command. "Not many femmes join war. Heard about you. They say you have skill. Me want to see that."
Arcee was somewhat flattered. When she had first joined the Autobots, many of the mechs had displayed skepticism that a femme would last. Arcee was glad to prove them wrong. And if the Dynobots doubted her, she'd be happy to prove them wrong as well.
"It's an honor to finally meet you, Arcee," Swoop said, walking forward with his arm out. "I guess you already know who I am."
"Swoop," Arcee said. But she gave a smile as she took his hand and shook. "The pleasure's all mine. It's not every day one gets to meet the Dynobots."
"But…what are you doing with a voyager class Decepticon ship?" Ratchet asked, walking up to them. "The Cons are sure to have detected it and will come looking for it in hopes of reinforcements."
"No sweat, Ratchet," Swoop said to him. "The Voyager class comes with radar shielding. It was meant to hide from Autobot radar, but I used it to hide from Decepticon radar."
"Good work, Swoop," Optimus said. He looked over at Grimlock. "Grimlock, I would be honored to have you and your fellow Dynobots fight alongside us. Megatron is here on Earth and we could use all the help we can get."
"Megatron here?" Grimlock asked. He and Swoop looked at each other in surprise.
"Yeah," Bulkhead said. "But don't worry. With you guys here, Megatron and his Cons don't stand a chance."
"It'll be like the good ole days on Cybertron," Wheeljack added. "I can't wait to see Slug again. I'm ready to settle the score this time."
It was here that Grimlock and Swoop looked at each other again. But this time the look was more of unease. None of the Autobots missed.
"What is it, Grimlock?" Optimus asked.
Grimlock looked at Swoop and nodded. Swoop walked up to Optimus. "We came to Earth for a reason, Optimus. We were looking for you."
"For me?" Optimus asked.
"We need your help," Swoop said. "Sludge, Slug, and Snarl were captured."
The Autobots all looked at each other in shock before looking back at Swoop. Bumblebee beeped wildly.
"What he say?" Grimlock asked, looking at Optimus while pointing at Bumblebee.
"He's asking what happened," Ratchet translated. "And that's what I'd like to know. What did happen to the other Dynobots?"
Grimlock clenched his fists tightly and his body shook and rattled with anger. He said one word that was more than enough of an answer. "Shockwave."
Ratchet's face fell. "Oh, Primus."
"Shockwave? Megatron's number one wackjob? He's got the other Dynobots?!" Wheeljack asked.
"It was trap," Grimlock said, looking at his feet with barely contained rage. "Me, Grimlock, walk right into it. Lost Sludge, Slug, and Snarl to Shockwave. Nearly lost Swoop too. Me unable to save others. That…that…Unicron spawn! Next time me see Shockwave, me tear his head off!"
Swoop was instantly at Grimlock's side. "Grimlock! Stay in control, ok? It's gonna be alright just like you said. You said we'd save the others and we will! Just calm down. It's gonna be alright."
Grimlock grabbed his knees and began taking deep, ragged breaths while Swoop was soothingly saying it was gonna be alright over and over again. Soon Grimlock's breathing was starting to slow down to a softer pace and he regained himself. He rubbed his forehead. "Thanks, Swoop."
The other Autobots stared at this unexpected turn of events. Optimus walked over to Grimlock in concern.
"Grimlock…what's happened to you?"
Grimlock looked down at Optimus as he stood straight again. "Me tell later. Let's go to base. Me not feel good out in open like this."
"Agreed," Optimus said. He contacted the base. "Rafael, activate the ground bridge."
"On it, Optimus," Rafael replied back.
In a matter of moments, the ground bridge appeared. The Autobots began transforming and running into it. Grimlock and Swoop had initially went on guard when the thing activated but now were looking at it with curiosity.
"What that?" Grimlock asked, pointing at the ground bridge.
"A ground bridge," Optimus explained. "An work of genius created by Ratchet that allows us to go anywhere on this planet."
"Hmm," Grimlock gazed at it. "Not bad."
"Come on, Grimlock." With that, Optimus transformed into his truck and drove into the space bridge. Soon, Grimlock and Swoop were the only two left.
"Should I?" Swoop asked Grimlock.
Grimlock shook his head. "Not yet. We tell Optimus what happen first."
Swoop nodded. "I understand, Grimlock."
With that, the two Dynobots ran into the space bridge. In a flash of green light, the two found themselves inside of some sort of Earth base. Despite the various Cybertronian equipment lying around, it looked very primitive to them.
"Whoa!" A voice cried from Grimlock's left. "You're huge!"
Grimlock turned his head to see Miko, Jack, and Raf all staring up at him. Grimlock stared back at them.
"Who you?" Grimlock asked the three humans.
"Grimlock," Optimus said. "This is Miko, Jack, and Rafael. Don't let their size fool you. They have been a great help in our battle against the Decepticons."
"Wait," Miko said. "Did you just say Grimlock?" She looked at him with her mouth hanging open for a minute. "You're Grimlock?"
"And I'm Swoop," Swoop said to the kids. "Nice to meet you."
"Oh, man. This is sweet!" Miko bursted out excitedly. "Bulkhead was just talking about you guys. He said you were the toughest bots on Cybertron."
Swoop grinned. "Got that right."
Grimlock would have smirked if he could. "We Dinobots toughest bots anywhere."
"So…where are the rest of you?" Jack asked as he looked at Grimlock and Swoop. "We were told there was five of you guys."
"That's something we'd all like to know," Optimus said as he looked at Grimlock and Swoop. "Grimlock. Swoop. Tell us everything that you can."
"Yeah, like where did you guys go after all this time?" Wheeljack asked.
"And where are the rest of the Dynobots?" Ratchet added. "And why does Shockwave have them?"
"Who's Shockwave?" Rafael asked.
"One of the deadliest of the Decepticons in Megatron's army," Arcee told him. "He's cold and ruthless. Serves logic above all others…including Megatron."
"He views emotions as a weakness. Most have called him a computer on legs," Ratchet added.
"None the less," Optimus said. "His strength and power are second only to Megatron's…and even that is debatable."
The kids all looked at each other nervously. A Con who was probably as bad as the leader of the whole Decepticon army? That was bad.
Grimlock sighed. "This long story but me, Grimlock, will tell you all."
"Why do you talk like that?" Miko asked. "I mean, the caveman speech makes you sound really tough and all, but how come?"
She suddenly felt very small by the way Grimlock's visor was now narrowed at her.
"Grimlock," Optimus said softly but firmly.
Grimlock looked back at Optimus for a moment. Then he looked at the ground below him.
"It all start back on Cybertron…"
End of Chapter