Transformers: Dawn of the dinobots

Chapter 7

It was a typical Saturday morning. With no school and it being his day off, Jack Darby was spending his free time like he usually did; simply cruising with Arcee.
"So…what's on the activities list for today?" Jack jokingly asked his partner.
"Unfortunately, Optimus plans on introducing Fowler to the Dinobots today," Arcee replied back. "That's definitely not gonna go well."
Jack knew what his partner meant. Fowler was a nice guy but he was a stickler for rules and regulations. And it was obvious to everyone by now that the Dinobots didn't play by any rules but their own.
"Maybe we should just cruise for today," He suggested. "Something tells me we don't want to be at base when this happens."
"All of Team Prime needs to be at base, I'm afraid. Grimlock's not really thrilled about meeting Fowler either and I think we're needed there to give Optimus support. The only one getting out of this is Wheeljack since he's not an official member yet."
"Hmm. Maybe I should just stay home then," Jack teased.
"Oh, no. If I have to deal with Fowler, Optimus, and Grimlock butting heads, you're sticking with me." Arcee shot back playfully.
After that, the two didn't say anything, just simply enjoyed the view as Arcee drove them around the wilderness. After a while, Jack spoke up again.
"How should I introduce Mom to the Dinobots?"
Such a question nearly caused Arcee to swerve in shock but she managed to gain control over herself just in time.
"Jack…are you sure that's a good idea? Your mom would definitely not approve of them."
"I know that, Arcee, but I tried keeping you guys a secret and that didn't work out too well. With our luck, Mom's gonna find out about our new teammates sooner or later. I'd like for them to meet on a positive note instead of Mom finding out like she did with MECH and Airachnid."
Arcee would have winced if she was in robot mode. She remembered that little incident all too well.
"Plus, we've got Shockwave, the Predacons, and who knows what other Decepticons on Earth now. I think my Mom should know about what's going on."
Arcee wanted to argue but she knew that Jack had a point. June had a right to know these things ever since she too got caught up in the war. Sure she didn't contribute as much as the kids but her contributes had been very appreciated. Besides, there was always the chance that June might get targeted by Shockwave or the Predacons. Arcee, having come to respect Jack's mother, didn't want something like that to happen again.
"Looks like we have no choice. But how are you gonna do it? The Dinobots aren't exactly friendly."
"Swoop and Sludge sure seem friendly," Jack pointed out. "Around us anyway. Maybe we could introduce Mom to them first and then introduce her to the other three."
Arcee contemplated this idea. "Not much of a plan but I think it's the best we can come up with. Let's just hope Grimlock doesn't cause any problems."
"Why? Do you think he'd hurt my mom?"
"Hurt June? Please. Your mom can scare even Unicron when she's upset. Grimlock wouldn't stand a chance."
Jack burst out laughing at that. It was true that his mom could be very intimidating but the idea of her frightening Grimlock was hilarious to think about.

At the Autobot base, Ratchet was grumbling to himself as he worked on the computers. Hearing the sounds of an engine, he turned to see Bulkhead arrive. The warrior transformed once Miko exited him.
"Hey, Docbot," Miko waved. "You're sure in a good mood today."
Ratchet grumbled before resuming his work. Miko took a look around.
"So…where are the Dinobots?"
Ratchet snorted. "Gallivanting off in some forest area I sent them to. And they took Swoop with them. I told Grimlock that Swoop needed more time to recover but Swoop insisted that he was alright. You'd think at least the injured one would listen but oh no!"
"Aww, you mean they're not here?" Miko pouted in disappointment.
"If you want to go and spend time with those…those glitch-brained tanks, then by all means," Ratchet said. "I'll even set the ground bridge for you."
"Hey, ease off, Ratchet," Bulkhead interjected. "The Dinobots were probably just a little stir crazy, that's all. This place is kinda cramped for bots of their size."
"And what do you suggest, Bulkhead? Find some other place for them? The fact that this is the only facility outfitted for Autobot needs aside, where in the world could they go that wouldn't draw the attention of some exploring humans? Their new modes aren't exactly ideal for blending in with human society."
"Oh!" Miko raised her hand like she was answering a question in class. "How about a deserted island? It could be just like Jurassic Park!"
"Jurassic what?"
"This movie about some company that manages to clone dinosaurs and puts them in this special zoo on a deserted island only for the dinosaurs to start breaking out and going on a rampage," Miko explained. "Why don't we do that for the Dinobots? An island would be perfect. Lots of space for them to roam and no humans. It'll be a Dinobot Island!"
Ratchet scoffed. "Dinobot Island. Puh-leeze." With that, he went back to working on the computer. Miko made a face at him before rejoining Bulkhead. Hearing loud footsteps, Miko turned to see Optimus approaching Ratchet.
"How goes the studies, Ratchet?" The Autobot leader asked his medic.
"Not very good, I'm afraid. I was able to fix Grimlock's voice box up so he should be able to speak better. But with the rewiring that was done to him, I don't know how much of an improvment it really was. Shockwave did a very thorough job and as much as it sickens me, I can't help but see the sophistication in his work. I can't afford restoring Grimlock's mental capacity without risking further damage done to him. Also, the necessary components that would allow the Dinobots to scan and alter their bodies to new modes seem to have been surgically removed while leaving their T-Cogs intact. Without these components, the Dinobots are unable to scan more practical vehicle modes. I'm afraid they're stuck with their dinosaur modes for the time being."
"What's so wrong about that?" Miko called over to the two. "I think robotic dinosaurs would totally come in handy against the Decepticons."
"While I cannot deny the combat potential of these forms, the Dinobots can't operate in areas where civilians would spot them. Robotic dinosaurs running loose would attract not only attention from the Decepticons but also from groups like MECH."
Bulkhead nodded. "Not to mention Fowler would have a field day with us. Things are really gonna get interesting when he decides to try and lay down the rules for the Dinobots."
"I can already feel a migraine coming on," Ratchet muttered. "As far Grimlock's brain goes, that's even more problematic. Grimlock's new strength is coming from the fact that the normal amount of energon flown has been rerouted from most functions, higher mental capabilities included, to combat related ones. His strength level has increased dramatically but at the moment I couldn't give an estimate. Shockwave's skills in this field is more apparent than any other surgeon I've seen. Every modification he did to Grimlock's brain and energon flow is so precise and exact. I hate to say it Optimus but part of me wishes we had Shockwave on our side as a medic. As much as I hate this work I'm seeing I have to give him a grudging respect at his skills."
The others shuddered and Ratchet felt uneasy that he was admiring Shockwave's work so well. Despite being so impressed, he would not deny that Shockwave's methods were immoral and unethical.
"Agent Fowler will be on his way," Optimus said. "I think it's time to call the Dinobots back."

Slag growled in annoyance as another tree crashed to the ground. He and other Dinobots had in fact been feeling a bit stir crazy as they stayed in the base. After annoying Ratchet to death, they were finally allowed to use the ground bridge to find a nice, distant area as far away from humans as possible. The Dinobots, with the exception of Grimlock, were all in their dinosaur modes. However, they were in the middle of the forest and it wasn't really easy to move when you're bigger than a van and there's trees everywhere you look.
"Hey, Slag!" Swoop called over their com-link. "That you knocking another...whatever down? What did Ratchet say they were?"
"I don't know but they keep getting in my way." Slag unleashed his fire breath upon the trees, starting to scorch them down.
"Slag!" Grimlock called from behind. "Low profile, remember? Put that fire out!"
"I'm on it, Grimlock!" Sludge volunteered. He went over to the flaming trees and started stomping on them to put out the fires. He stopped his work once the fires were put out and the trees themselves were reduces to grounded ash.
"Sorry, boss," Slag apologized. Ever since the gang got reunited, he seemed a bit more close-knit with them. But only to the other Dinobots. "These stupid things are all over the place and I can't move without knocking even one down."
"I think Ratchet called them trees," Snarl said as he caught up with the others. "He said trees and all the other plants on this world produce something called oxygen and that all the organic life here need it to live."
"Kinda like how we need energon," Swoop theorized, hovering over the others. He had tried perching himself on a tree but these ones weren't capable of holding his weight.
"At least we're not in that base anymore," Sludge said as he walked around. "It was too small for my taste."
"We need more room than that base can provide," Slag looked at Grimlock. "What do you think, Grimlock?"
"We'll tell Optimus when we get back."
"I gotta say," Swoop flew around in the air. "I kinda like this planet. All things considered, Earth isn't so bad. It would be better if the Decepticons weren't on it."
"Not like we came by choice," Grimlock reminded Swoop. "We stayed to continue fighting on Cybertron. Then Shockwave set that trap."
"It was our fault, Grimlock," Snarl told his leader. "If we hadn't gotten caught..."
"No," Grimlock told his desert warrior. "Not your fault. Mine."
"But Grimlock..."
"You know it's true, Sludge! My fault we fell into that trap."
"Grimlock, don't beat yourself up over this," Swoop said comfortingly. "We all wanted payback on Shockwave too. It's all our faults."
"What matters now is that we're back together and we're ready to kick Shockwave's aft all the way back to Cybertron." Slag stated. The other Dinobots nodded in agreement.
While Grimlock was not usually a sentimental bot, he had come to appreciate his teammates and would give his life for them without hesitation. Despite his gruff nature and his contempt for the weak, Grimlock was utterly dedicated to the four under his command.
"So, Swoop," Sludge called up to his friend. "How's things with you and Arcee?"
Swoop locked up when he heard that and nearly plummeted to the ground below. Fortunately he managed to come to his senses before that happened.
"Well, see..."
Slag snorted. "Still haven't made a move, yet? Get with the program, Swoop! You won't get a chance if you don't do something. Sludge nearly blabbed to Arcee back when we were on Shockwave's ship."
"What?! Sludge, you big lummox! What'd you go and do that for?"
"Not my fault. It just came out."
"Watch what you say from now on. I'll tell her. I uh...I'm just waiting for the right moment."
Snarl chuckled. "Yeah. It's only taken him megacycles already. What's a few more, huh?"
"Bite my afterburner!" Swoop snapped irritably.
The rest of the Dinobots, including Grimlock, got a hearty laugh out of that one. But their laughter was cut short when they heard Optimus' voice over their com-links.
"Grimlock, come in. We need you and the Dinobots to return to base. Agent Fowler will be here soon."
Grimlock growled in annoyance. "Why this scrap? We don't take orders, especially from a human."
"Grimlock, we cannot wage war against the Decepticons the way we did on Cybertron. There is too much at risk for that. Agent Fowler will explain everything to you when he arrives."
Grimlock snarled.
"Do we really need to go back there?" Slag asked.
"Optimus will just nag till we do." Grimlock admitted. Contacting Optimus, he reluctantly replied. "Fine. We'll return. Get ground bridge ready."
"Already on it."
The Dinobots turned to see the swirling green vortex of the ground bridge open up in the clearing ahead.
"Let's get this over with." Grimlock grumbled as he started stomping towards the ground bride. The rest of the Dinobots followed after him.

At the Autobot base, Miko was bouncing on the balls of her feet as she waited for the Dinobots to come through the ground bridge. Hearing engines, she turned her head to see Bumblebee drive in with Jack right behind on Arcee. Jack hopped off Arcee the same time Raf got out of Bumblebee. Both Autobots transformed.
"So...did we miss the fireworks?" Arcee asked playfully.
"Not yet," Ratchet muttered. "The Dinobots were out for a walk and now we need them back for the meeting."
"Are you sure it was a good idea to let them go out in the open?" Jack asked the medic. "I mean, someone's likely to spot them and robot dinosaurs attract slightly more attention than cars with no drivers."
"Don't worry. I sent them to some mountain forest area. The odds of people actually spotting them is slim to none."
"It still sounds a bit risky," Raf put his two cents in. "If someone finds a claw mark or a foot print, things might get pretty hectic."
"No doubt anyone who spots signs of dinosaurs will think it's all a hoax like that Bigfoot creature you humans go on and on about." Ratchet pointed out.
"I suggested we give the Dinobots their own base on a deserted island," Miko piped up. "What do you think, guys? Dinobot Island! Doesn't that have a nice ring to it?"
"Dinobot...Island?" Jack raised an eyebrow.
"Oh, come on! An island would be perfect for those guys! They can't stay in a cramped little silo like this! Bots like them need bigger space. Somewhere they can stomp around to their sparks' content without worrying about any humans spotting them. Doesn't that sound cool?"
Optimus, who had been hearing the conversation, brought hand under his chin. "Well...will discuss this with Agent Fowler before we make a final decision."
But Miko stopped paying attention the moment Optimus seemed to agree with her idea. The sound of rumbling thunder got everyone's attention. The fact that it was coming from the ground bridge clearly meant the Dinobots were approaching. Everyone quickly made room or risk getting trampled on. As the sounds of the Dinobots' footsteps got closer, Miko's face lit up in delight. When the Dinobots came through the Ground Bridge, she saw that four out of the five were in their dinosaur modes, a triceratops, an apatosaurus, a stegosaurus, and a pteranodon.
"Whoa," Raf breathed as he took in the Dinobots' altmodes.
Jack nodded. "You can say that again."
"Ah yeaaaaaaaah!" Miko screamed to the heavens, causing several of the present company to wince. "Where's my phone?" She felt around her pockets before managing to pull out her cell. She flipped it open and aimed the camera, backing up some to get a good shot. Once she was done, she began taking pictures of the Dinobots nonstop. "Best. Day. Ever!" She leveled her phone towards Grimlock and pouted when she saw that he was still in robot mode. "Aw, come on, Grimlock. Transform. Pleeeeeeeease?"
Grimlock simply snorted and stomped off else where. Miko's pout grew at the sight.
"Unfortunately," Ratchet called. "Grimlock is unable to transform at will anymore."
That got everyone's attention. Team Prime all looked at Ratchet while the Dinobots looked sympathetically at Grimlock, who was focusing on the floor now.
"Grimlock's t-cog has been tampered with. Whatever Shockwave did, I can't make heads or tails of it."
"But we saw him in his dinosaur mode when he fought the Predacons," Bulkhead pointed out.
"You saw his dinosaur mode?!" Miko narrowed her eyes at a now nervous Bulkhead. "What did he turn into?"
"None of your business!" Grimlock suddenly roared in anger. Miko flinced from the outburst while Team Prime stood protectively over her.
"Grimlock, it's alright," Swoop soothed his leader. "She's just curious."
"Kid," Slag looked at Miko now. "The transforming thing's a little sore for the boss. See, Shockwave made it that Grimlock can't transform unless he's really, really angry."
"A t-cog being triggered by emotions?" Ratchet tapped his chin. "I've never heard of such a thing but given that it was Shockwave's doing, the idea doesn't sound impossible."
"That's a bit inconvenient though, not being able to transform at will anymore," Arcee said.
"Awwww," Miko whined. "That means the only way I'll ever see him transform is when he's in battle. Alright, next time you guys are getting into a fight, I'm coming with you."
"Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Swoop flew over to Miko. "Bad idea, kid. See, we Dinobots tend to get a little destructive when we're fighting..."
Ratchet scoffed. "A little?"
"So being around us when we're in a battle wouldn't exactly be a safe bet." Swoop went on, ignoring Ratchet's comment.
Arcee smirked. "Understatement of the millennia. We saw the area where you were fighting the Predacons."
But everyone turned their heads when Sludge's tail accidentally knocked several of Ratchet's equipment to the floor.
"Sludge! I needed those!" Ratchet hollered at him.
"Maybe you guys should all transform," Jack suggested. "I think things are really gonna get crowded if you're all in your dinosaur forms."
Grimlock looked at his teammates. Indeed, their dinosaur modes were a bit of an inconvenience in this place. Sludge's sheer bulk, Slag's horns, Snarl's spikes, Primus even Swoop's wings and beak. He was about to give the order for his team to transform when the proximity alerts went off. The Dinobots instantly tensed up.
"What is it?" Slag asked Optimus. "Are we under attack?"
"Relax. It's just Agent Fowler," Ratchet told them as he brought up a screen showing Fowler's helicopter landing on the base.
The group waited as the elevator door opened and Agent Fowler walked in. The Dinobots looked at him and were not particularly impressed. He didn't seem intimidating. Fowler took one look at them before focusing his attention on Optimus. "Prime. Care to explain to me why you have four mechanical dinosaurs in your base?" He looked at Grimlock now. "And who's this big guy?"
"Agent Fowler, this is Grimlock. The ones next to him are Slag, Sludge, Snarl, and Swoop." Optimus pointed to each Dinobot in turn. "These are the ones I told you about. The Dinobots."
Fowlerr blinked. "So when you said really did mean dinosaurs."
"Well, we were called the Lightning Strike Coalition Force," Swoop said. "But we didn't think the name showed how dynamic we were, so we changed our name to the Dynobots. Then Shockwave gave a whole new meaning to the name."
"Shockwave?" Fowler asked.
"The reason for the Dinobots' current and unfortunately only choice of altmodes," Optimus explained. "Back on Cybertron, Grimlock and his team were captured by Shockwave, who experimented on them after using a space bridge to study Earth at an earlier time. He used dinosaurs as the models for their new forms. And as of right now, they are unable to change them."
"I see. And how do you expect them to battle the Decepticons without making a fuss? If so much as a footprint from one of these guys is found, then the media will be flocking all over the place and the government's gonna be on both our butts. We can't exactly say these guys are runaway animatronics from Universal Studios now can we?"
Grimlock growled as he stomped over to Fowler. "Don't appreciate you talking like we're not here."
Fowler brought his attention to the Dinobot leader. "So, you're the leader?"
"That's right."
"According to Prime, you're the loosest cannon in the Autobot army. Well you're on Earth now and there's a whole new set of rules to follow."
Grimlock chuckled humorlessly. "Only follow my own rules."
"Well that's about to change, Grimlock. You and your team seem to welcome collateral damage. But on Earth, that's not gonna happen. There are innocent lives blissfully unaware of this war going on and you are not gonna put them in danger."
"Didn't want to be on this mudball anyway!" Grimlock snapped. Jack, Miko, and Raf were shocked to hear Grimlock say so about their planet.
"Well that's too bad, because for the time being, you are. Now I'm grateful for all the things the Autobots have done for us humans but I am not someone who tolerates anyone, man or bot, that's not willing to show restraint. Either you play ball, Grimlock, or there will be consequences."
Grimlock's visor glowed red as he lowered his head down right in front of Fowler. "You threatening me?"
"I have put up with plenty of you Cybertronians by now, Grimlock. I was personally tortured for information by Starscream. I don't care how big and bad you don't scare me."
At first there was nothing but silence and thick tension as everyone looked back and forth between Grimlock and Fowler, who were glaring at each other. Then Grimlock pulled back from Fowler.
"You have guts, human. Respect that. I'll...consider your words."
Grimlock walked off. Fowler let out a breath he had been holding and looked at Optimus.
"Been a while since I had to get like that around you guys."
"Your actions and words were understandable. Grimlock is not one who can be won easily. Sometimes, he needs a bit of force."
"You should consider yourself lucky," Snarl piped up. "Most people wind up getting flattened when they talk to Grimlock like that."
"While you may have gotten Grimlock's attention, don't think this means he'll suddenly start listening to you," Slag added. "You want his full respect, you have to earn it."
"Just as he'll need to earn mine," Fowler replied.
Slag, Sludge, and Snarl soon followed after their leader. They went single file as the base wasn't big to handle their massive bodies at once.
Swoop, who stayed behind, transformed into his robot mode and landed. "Sorry about that. Grimlock's never been one for authority. Bit of advice. Best if you talk to me from now on. I have better luck convincing Grimlock to do something than others."
Fowler looked at Swoop for a moment then at Optimus.
"Swoop has served as the liaison between the Dinobots and the Autobots before. He is the most reasonable out of the team. You can trust him."
"Very well," Fowler said. "I'll talk with you whenever something comes up involving the Dinobots." He pinched his nose. "I don't know how we're gonna pull this off, Prime."
"Hey, Agent Fowler!" Miko called. "Can we put the Dinobots on a deserted island?"
"Come again?"
"Miko has this idea of putting the Dinobots on a deserted island where they can do whatever it is they please without human interference," Ratchet explained.
"You mean like Jurassic Park?"
Fowler looked at the others. "I don't know. Sounds a bit far fetched."
"Not to mention that the Dinobots would still need to come here for maintenance and energon," Ratchet added. "This base is important because it's the only one that has the equipment necessary for Cybertronians."
" one on an island?" Miko stated as if it was obvious.
"Miko," Fowler spoke up. "The reason we were able to get this base up and running for the Autobots was because it was already made. Being an old silo, it was practically gift wrapped. They just needed to add some equipment here and modify some stuff there. It's a whole other story to create an entire base for advanced alien robots from scratch. The funding and equipment aside, there's a chance someone would notice a base being developed."
"And that could include the Decepticons," Optimus realized.
Miko made a face at having her idea shot down.
"Your idea's not a bad one, Miko," Optimus reassured her. "But it is not a practical one. For the time being." He looked at Fowler now. "As for the Dinobots, we will only send them in missions that keep them as far away from humans as possible. It will be tricky but I think we can manage."
"There is one thing that concerns me."
Everyone turned to look at Ratchet.
"I didn't want to bring this up until Agent Fowler arrived but...well you see, Agent Fowler. Grimlock suffered more than the other Dinobots thanks to Shockwave. He was granted incredible strength at the cost of a great reduction in mental capabilities and only able to transform when in conditions of extreme rage."
Fowler sighed. "You mean to tell me we're dealing with a robotic Hulk?"
"It isn't just the physical problems that worry me. It's any psychological problems. Grimlock was awake through the entire procedure. And he knows that his intellect diminished so much along with the other changes done to him. I have to wonder if mentally he's fit for duty or not."
"Hey, hey!" Swoop snapped. "He's been a good a leader as he ever was! Sure, he's a bit angrier than usual but what'd you expect? Shockwave put us through the Pit and back, with only Grimlock remembering what happened."
Optimus took in Swoop's words before turning towards Fowler. "Regardless of his anger, Grimlock has been an effective warrior so far. But we will keep an eye on him. If Grimlock does show any sign of psychological problems, then we will remove him from the field until he can be helped."
Fowler nodded. "Alright. Just make sure to keep an eye on that guy. And..about these new Cons that showed up on Earth. These...Predacons?"
"They are not to be underestimated," Optimus cautioned. "They are capable of fighting on par with the Dinobots and have chosen various Earth animals for their altmodes. They are indeed deadly opponents."
"And this Shockwave?"
"Deadly enough to match Megatron."
Fowler actually stepped back when he heard that.
"And Shockwave has brought another warship to Earth."
"Another Decepticon warship? Tell me you actually have some good news, Prime!"
"While things look bleak, Agent Fowler, we cannot allow ourselves to lose hope. We have faced greater trials before and overcame them. We will fight on and we will overcome this as well."
Fowler nodded. "You've gotten us this far, Prime. I'll hold you to it." With that, he started walking towards the elevator. "Good luck." The elevator closed and all was silent for a moment.
"At least it didn't go as bad as I thought it would," Arcee said, breaking the ice. "I thought Grimlock really was about to tear him apart."
"Grimlock will never say it but if you've got spunk, he's willing to give you the benefit of a doubt." Swoop told her. "But you better be ready to back up your words. All talk and no action leaves you scrap."
Miko looked at Swoop. "Lightning Strike Coalition Force? Seriously?"
Swoop held up his hands. "Hey, don't look at me. That was all Grimlock's idea. I never thought it sounded cool but hey, with Grimlock, what are you gonna do? You got no idea how hard it was for us to convince him to change the name to Dynobots."
"So...what now?" Raf asked.
"Until the Decepticons make a move, we shall focus on expanding our base. I agree that the Dinobots do need more room and we should do everything we can to make them comfortable here."
Jack saw this as his chance. Clearing his throat loudly. "Um...excuse me, Optimus?"
Optimus looked at the teenager. "Yes, Jack?"
"I, uh, well...I was kinda wondering if I could introduce mom to Sludge and Swoop."
Everyone except Arcee stared at Jack.
"What's that?" Swoop asked.

Back on Shockwave's flagship, said Decepticon was in his lab, operating on the Predacons. All five of them were currently powered down. Not out of any particular kindness on Shockwave's part but some of the Predacons such as Tantrum and Rampage would be very difficult to operate on if they were still activated.
The door to Shockwave's lab opened as Knock Out walked in. Shockwave had requested Megatron's medical officer as this would be a risky situation and having extra hands would be appreciated. Eager for the chance to get on Megatron's good side, Knock Out had eagerly volunteered, completely ignoring the fact that Shockwave gave him the creeps.
"Ah, Shockwave," Knock Out said in a warm tone. He knew better than to get on this one's bad side. "It's been some time, hasn't it?"
"Indeed, Knock Out. I am glad to know that one of your expertise became medic on the Nemesis. Your skills even out rival the Constructicons and that alone is impressive."
"Well," Knock Out was quite flattered. "I am glad you think so highly of me. Now, what is it you needed me for?"
"I am about to perform a very delicate operation on the Predacons and having someone with your skills will be handy."
Knock Out looked at the Predacons on the different operating tables. "I remember the Predacons well. Made messes wherever they went. I lost track of how many patients I had to fix up because they got on Tantrum's bad side or were just in the same room with Rampage. How Razorclaw tolerates them is beyond me."
"He is eternally patient. An admirable quality. Now, Knock Out, you will see the schematics on my tool table. Once you've memorized them, you will begin working on Headstrong and Rampage. I will be dealing with Tantrum and Divebomb, then we will both work on Razorclaw."
"Affirmative," Knock Out went over to the table and picked up the schematics. As he looked over them, his optics widened. "These...are similar to the Combaticons. That means..."
"Correct. I am modifying the Predacons for combining capability."
"Combining?" Knock Out was amazed. "Combining technology is rather risky, Shockwave. We were lucky when we got Devastator and Bruticus after so many failed attempts. Are you certain the Predacons will be successful?"
"The most important factor to combiners is the mental unity between the individual components. Despite their different personalities, the Predacons all share the thrill of the hunt. This alone guarantees the Predacons will be successful. I am willing to theorize that they will be even more successful than Bruticus was."
Knock Out whistled. Bruticus, despite lack of brainpower, was a handy juggernaut to the Decepticons before Cybertron had gone dark.. Whether or not he and his components survived...nobody knew but Knock Out wouldn't hold his breath. He gathered the necessary tools and went over Headstrong first.
"So," He said as he was about to operate. "Have you already decided a name for this gestalt they'll become?"
"Yes," Shockwave answered as he activated his torch. "Predaking."

Back at the Autobot base, after explaining what a mom was to Swoop, Team Prime listened to Jack as he explained his reasons for wanting to introduce his mom to Swoop and Sludge first so she could know that some of the Dinobots were friendly, before being introduced to the less friendly ones.
"I don't know if this is wise, Jack," Who else but Ratchet was saying this. "If your mom saw what any of the Dinobots were like in battle, she would probably keep you from us regardless of whether or not they're friendly."
"What's the matter? She squeamish or something?" Swoop asked.
"She's just looking out for her child and I don't think she'd appreciate Jack hanging around violent bots like Grimlock or the rest of your team." Ratchet pointed out. "She may be used to us battling but we don't share your team's love of violence."
"Hey," Swoop protested. "We may like fighting but we've got feelings too."
"Unfortunately an argument like that won't win over a woman like June Darby. If she thinks that something's too dangerous for her son, she'll do anything she can to keep him safe...even if it means keeping him away from us."
"Well, it couldn't hurt to try," Bulkhead offered. "At least she'd know about the Dinobots before hand instead of meeting them when they're tearing up Decepticons or something."
Bumblebee beeped up as well.
"Yes, Bumblebee," Ratchet sighed. "I know that we can't keep the Dinobots a secret from her forever but...what do you think, Optimus?"
"While I am uncertain as to how June will recieve the Dinobots, I fear that she would be more upset with us for allowing the children to associate with them without her knowing. Since meeting the Dinobots is most likely inevitable...then perhaps this is the best option we can do." Optimus looked at Swoop. "Will it be alright for you and Sludge to meet June Darby?"
"No problem. Sure Grimlock won't mind and Sludge likes meeting new people. Piece of energon! I'll go and get him!" Swoop transformed into his pteranodon form and flew off to get his brother. Ratchet looked at Optimus.
"Are you sure this is a good idea?"
"Not entirely...but it may be the best option we have right now."
"Well, at least you don't have to worry about introducing the Dinobots to my host parents," Miko said. "They'd probably faint right away. Besides, I'm sure Mrs. Darby will love the Dinobots."
Jack snorted. "Yeah, sure, Miko. I can totally see my mom having a nice walk on the beach with Grimlock."
Everyone else laughed at the funny mental image of Grimlock doing something so out of character.
"Hey!" Miko was struck by inspiration. "What if your mom did fall in love with one of the Dinobots? You'd have a Dinobot stepdad! Oh, that would be so cool!"
Jack looked at her with a deadpan look. Arcee had a hand to her mouth to prevent her from laughing. The idea of June being romantically involved with one of the Dinobots was too funny not to laugh at. She looked over at the rest of Team Prime and could see Bumblebee and Bulkhead struggling to do the same thing. Only Optimus remained neutral. Ratchet actually burst out laughing at such an idea that the others were taken aback by his actions. "I-I'm sorry but," He wheezed. "The idea of a human falling in love with a Cybertronian or vice versa is absolutely ridiculous. No offense to present company, of course. It could never happen."

Shockwave and Knock Out had just finished the procedure. The Predacons were now equipped with combiner technology. But Shockwave kept them powered down for the time being. Once he was certain they were fit for being reactivated, he would do so.
"This should give them the edge over the Dinobots once and for all," Shockwave said as he put his tools away. "Now, Knock Out. I believe you were telling me about that enhancing energon.
"That's right. After reviewing that thing Bulkhead wrote on me I found out that it wasn't a chemical ehnancement but an incomplete part of Synthetic energon. I've now been trying to figure out the rest of the equation from scratch using the sample as a starting point. It's hard, though. I have the end part of the equation but without knowing any parts of the rest of it It's trial and error to be honest."
"You've done well, Knock Out. Forward me all the information alongside the sample you obtained. Your discovery seems parallel to my own energon research. I am certain that if we combine our findings together, we may be able to make some headway."
Just then the two were greeted by Megatron.
"Ah, Shockwave. I trust the procedure went along smoothly?"
"Everything has gone according to plan, Lord Megatron. Once my final observations are complete, I can safely confirm the Predacons' combat capability will be much greater than before."
"It's true, Lord Megatron," Knock Out added. "The entire procedure went by without a single error."
"Excellent. I shall be watching the final phase of your project with great interest, Shockwave." A pleased Megatron said.
"Thank you, Lord Megatron. Now, there is something I wish to discuss with you in private."
This got Megatron's attention. Whenever Shockwave needed to speak to him in private, it was of great importance.
"You are dismissed, Knock Out. Return to the Nemesis."
Knock Out bowed. "As you wish, Lord Megatron." He walked off. Shockwave led Megatron to the command deck of his ship, where they were all alone.
"Well, Shockwave, was it you wish to speak to me about?
Shockwave turned to Megatron. "Lord Megatron, I have a proposition to you that will give us an edge against the Autobots and I wouldn't risk giving this information out any other way due to the risk in it being intercepted."
"Speak." Megatron said obviously curious.
Shockwave looked directly at Megatron's optics and said six words that caused Megatron's spark to freeze. "I believe we can revive Cybertron."
End of Chapter

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