Megatron was too speechless to say anything but quickly recovered
himself. "Revive Cybertron? I hope you have not chosen an ill moment to
suddenly attempt at humor, Shockwave."
"I apologize, Lord Megatron, though your doubts are understandable. I have been doing research into the lower levels of Cybertron and I was surprised to discover energon. While the energon was far from enough to revive Cybertron, it certainly wasn't there before. So I sent several science teams and scouts into the area and we discovered an ancient device that the energon seemed to come from." He walked over to a computer in the room and typed in a few keys. A projection appeared on the screen.
The projection showed a somewhat cylindrical device that had several other shapes attached to the central cylinder. The exact purposes of the shapes were obviously unknown but it was obvious that the device was probably massive. As Megatron looked at the other side of the device he noted that a large portion of the device wasn't in the image which would mean that Shockwave was not able to get an accurate or even access to the entire device.
"After this discovery I looked for more and successfully discovered several of these massive devices located all around Cybertron. I suspect they are energon manufacturing facilities judging by the data I have gathered. Right now they are either running at a power save mode or are simply deactivated. I theorize that if we supply these faciliites with enough energon we could jump start the planet and cause it to resume it's normal production. I have calculated that Earth has more than enough energon needed to achieve this. To insure there is no interceptions of energon shipments along with speeding up the process, I have used a large portion of my resources on Cybertron to rebuild the Space Bridge that the Autobots destroyed. With Hardshell's Insecticons on Earth combined with the forces that I have brought with me, I am certain we will obtain the necessary amount. But we must increase mining activity if we wish to obtain the energon fast enough."
"One important detail is that every facility on Cybertron will need a base of operations and a device to help channel the energon directly into the production facility. We will have to fortify each one in the likely event that the Autobots, particularly the forces led by Ultra Magnus or Prowl, discover our operations. I have already recalled several fleets from different regions of space to help secure Cybertron. Especially the areas around the production faciliites. However once that's done we will require large quantities. About 85 times the energon that you have."
Megatron studied the plans on the screen with great intent. "Impressive accomplishments, Shockwave. But do you have actual proof to support this?"
"If you need proof my forces are currently in the midst of getting ready to jump start one of the facilities. All we need is a large supply of energon to do it. I'd estimate the entire amount of energon the Nemesis currently has in storage, including any raw energon cubes already stored in the mines. Currently we have an 85% chance of success. If the test succeeds then it extends to 98%.""
Megatron took in Shockwave's words. "Your plan is plausible, Shockwave, but we must deal with the Autobots now rather than risk their interference. Right now, Soundwave is decoding an Iacon Database we managed to achieve in hopes of locating a set of relics. Thanks to Soundwave, we obtained the Resonance Blaster."
"Ah, one of the more powerful, and highly destructive, sound-based weaponry. Excellent work on Soundwave's part. Such a weapon will be most useful in battle."
"Unfortunately the incompetence of Knock Out and Dreadwing cost us greatly. The Autobots managed to obtain the Phase Shifter while the Apex Armor landed in Starscream's hands."
"Yes, Starscream's betrayal was disappointing but predictable. He could never resist the chance to take leadership from you. A pity. When put aside that ridiculous ego, he is actually quite a competent warrior. Though, may I inquire as to why Starscream has not been hunted down for his latest act of foolishness? As well as what he has done to have permanently removed from the Decepticon ranks. This is not the first time he has pulled such a stunt and yet you allowed him to remain."
"Starscream chose to defect entirely. I have to admit that I was quite surprised that he chose an alternative path instead of his usual groveling at my feet. While he has the Apex Armor, he is alone and without resources. He also lacks any information regarding the other Iacon Relics. The Autobots are a greater threat."
"I would say that Starscream having the Apex Armor makes him more than enough of a threat to consider Lord Megatron. Even though I would be able to pinpoint the precise weaknesses within the armor to neutralize it, there is still the ever slight possibility of Starscream catching us unawares before I may do so. Starscream has shown some rare moments of unpredictability."
"Are you questioning my judgment, Shockwave?"
"Merely showing you the lack of logic in your reasoning, Lord Megatron. If left unchecked, Starscream could become a possibly menace to us."
"I will deal with Starscream when the time comes." Megatron said.
"However, I do believe it would not be wise to simply allow the Autobots to find the relics. If it pleases you, Lord Megatron, perhaps the Predacons and the Triple-changers should be tasked with finding the relics while we have the Insecticons focus on mining this planet's energon. With their sheer numbers and digging abilities, they should be able to acquire vast amounts with minimal time and effort."
"That may be, Shockwave but the Insecticons also bring us sheer brute force. They would be most valuable against the Autobots."
"In that case, I shall asign Sharpshot and Hardshell to aid the Predacons and the Triple-changers. They are by far the most powerful and most intelligent of the swarm."
Megatron snorted. "Not only did Hardshell fail to acquire the Tox-N, but he failed to even kill the Wrecker known as Bulkhead! I do hope Sharpshot provides better."
"Although I am disappointed not to further research a quality of Tox-N, Hardshell may be able to prove himself worthy to you. He was simply overconfident in his own capabilities. His loss shall teach him otherwise. Together with his brothers, they shall become a great threat to the Autobots."
"Have Blitzwing and Astrotrain acquired Earth forms yet?"
"Yes, I have confirmation they have acquired Earth alternate modes and returned."
"And your plan is guaranteed success, Shockwave?"
"Indeed, Lord Megatron. If we were to focus on mining the energon, we would not only be increasing the chances of reviving Cybertron but also thinning the Autobots' own resources. We would weaken them to the point of nonresistance. And then, when they are all but helpless we will strike, finally rid ourselves of Optimus Prime, Grimlock, and their precious teams once and for all."
Megatron ran over Shockwave's plan in his mind. Unlike others who argued against his plans, Shockwave was one of the few he heeded. While some, namely Starscream, whose plans only benefited themselves, Shockwave's plans benefit the entire Decepticon army. Hence why Shockwave was one of his few greatly trusted soldiers. In fact, he was second only to Soundwave. Plus, the idea of Optimus Prime being weak and helpless was far too pleasing an opportunity.
"Very well, Shockwave. We shall proceed with your plan."
"Excellent, Lord Megatron. I will inform the troops."
"And I shall have Soundwave increase his attempts at translating the data." Megatron left the room. Not long after he left, Ratbat flew in.
"So...how are things looking?" Ratbat asked.
"I am deeply disappointed in Lord Megatron. He has become blinded by his desire to destroy Optimus Prime instead of taking the logical approach. He has even ignored Starscream, despite him getting his hands on the Apex Armor."
Ratbat looked at Shockwave nervously. "Starscream has the Apex Armor?"
"Calm yourself, Ratbat. The Armor may have incredible durability, but it can be neutralized if one knows where they need to hit. However, there is something else that requires my attention."
"Oh? What might that be?"
"Airachnid. After I did a checkup on events from the Nemesis' computer files, I discovered an unexpected and troubling piece of information. Aracnid displayed the capability of somehow controlling Insecticons. If Arachnid was able to assume control over even Hardshell then as long as she remains online all Insecticons are possibly compromised. We need to know how she did this and find any possible means of counteracting. If the Autobots somehow succeed in solving it before us, they they could use it for themselves. Then we would face a 65% chance of them jeopardizing not only the mission but all Decepiction operations on this planet."
Ratbat hissed. "I have not managed to find any evidence of her whereabouts after her attempted coup. There's a high chance she's lying low somewhere. She is being targeted by both the Autobots and the Decepticons, after all. Why not have Razorclaw look for her? He's eager to sink his fangs into that treacherous spider."
"The Predacons will be needed elsewhere. Kickback's specialty is espionage. I will task him with finding Airachnid. Perhaps his mind will prove to be more...resilient."
was outside the base, gazing at the world from on top of the mountain.
Without a ship, he and the other Dinobots couldn't go back to Cybertron.
But, Shockwave was on Earth and Grimlock was determined to end that
Decepticon once and for all. By blade or by teeth, he would end that loony scientist. He was still a bit sore about that human Fowler trying
to tell him what to do. Nobody ordered him and his team around. And
what was the deal with this planet, anyway? It was so different from
Cybertron. It was dusty, grimy, and he lost track of how many times he
got sand in places he didn't even know he had. The sun was so bright he
often had to shield his optics. And the ground didn't feel right under
his feet. He wanted to go back home so much. Unfortunately most his team
didn't feel the same way. Swoop loved flying through the sky,
especially through those things called clouds. Sludge liked stomping
through forests. Slag...well Slag was Slag. As long as he got to destroy
stuff he was content. The only Dinobot that seemed to share his pain
was Snarl. He wasn't fond of Earth either and wanted so badly to get
back to Cybertron. But there was a deeper reason Grimlock hated Earth.
It was this very planet that had inspired Shockwave to conduct those
experiments on him and his team. If it wasn't for Earth...
Feeling like going out for a walk, he returned inside so that he could go out through the lower levels. On his way, he spotted Swoop and Sludge, who were preparing to meet Jack's...mother. Apparently Jack and Arcee were bringing her to the base.
"So, Sludge," Swoop said to the Demolitions warrior. "You understand what a mother is?"
Sludge had a blank look on his face and shook his head. "Aren't they just like femmes?"
"Not exactly. See, they construct the chassis and develop the design of new humans inside their own bodies. Then they expel them from their bodies once the new Human's internal designs are complete."
"That's stupid. Why not build the new human outside the body so you can see if anything is wrong while it's happening? How do they even build new humans inside their own bodies anyway?"
Grimlock chuckled to himself at the growing frustration on Swoop's face. The bombardier should have asked Ratchet to explain things to Sludge. Or Slag. He was the team's most technical minded member despite how violent he was. Unlike Ratchet, Slag would be able to explain things in a way Sludge understood. Speaking of Slag, turns out he had gained a fan in that human Miko. While Slag was impressed that Miko was into violence like he was, he was put off by her constantly hounding him. The girl apparently didn't know anything about personal space.
"So, have you ever used your horns to skewer some Cons?" Miko asked eagerly.
Slag snorted. "I've lost track of how many Decepticons I've rammed through with these babies." He stroked one of his horns. "And if my horns don't get them, my flamethrower does."
Miko clapped her hands. "You got a flamethrower?! Can I see? I want to see!"
Slag frowned. "Do I like some sort of Turbofox who does orders on command?"
"Easy there, Slag," Bulkhead said, standing next to Miko. "She just thinks you and the Dinobots are cool. Consider it a compliment."
Aside from the obvious worry in Bulkhead's voice, Grimlock could detect something else and had a suspicion that the Wrecker was a little jealous of all the attention Miko was giving the Dinobots. From what Optimus told him, Miko and Bulkhead were pretty close. Personally, Grimlock couldn't understand how the Autobots formed such close bonds with the humans. Now, where in the world was Snarl? Sulking off by himself again? Grimlock shrugged. If that's what Snarl wanted. As he got to the main room, he looked around for Ratchet so that he could activate the ground bridge. He didn't know how it operated yet and he had forgotten to have Ratchet teach Slag. But since he couldn't find Ratchet, he decided to just go out the regular entrance. Sure, Ratchet and Optimus would get onto him for doing it but he didn't care. Nobody told him what to do, not even Optimus Prime.
found herself in Jack's garage. Her charge was going to try and
convince his mom to come to base to meet the Dinobots. Even though this
was their best chance, she was still nervous. Even if Swoop and Sludge
made a good impression, that didn't guarantee showing June that the
Dinobots were good. She could like the two said Dinobots but dislike the
other three. But what really worried Arcee if the Dinobots were the
final straw for the nurse. She had tried to keep the kids away from the
Autobots but managed to change her mind before...but what if this time
she meant it? Arcee didn't pray to Primus much but right now she was
practically begging him to let things work out.
Inside, Jack was trying to find the best way to approach the situation. Luckily, it was his mom's day off so that worked out. The tricky part was convincing her to come to base without making it look suspicious.
"So, mom," Jack said to his mother as they were doing some cleaning. "Me and the others thought you might like to come to base and meet the new Autobots that arrived."
To say that June was surprised was an understatement. "Well, this is unexpected. What brought this up all of a sudden?"
"Well, it's just that, I thought you might like to get to know them. I...guess I feel bad about keeping the Autobots a secret from you and I figured you had the right to meet the new ones." Even though they don't like Optimus very much and turn into a bunch of dinosaurs. He added to himself.
June knew that Jack was acting pretty strange. Giving Jack a mock-suspicious look complete with folding her arms, she said. "Alright, Jack. There's something you're not telling me."
It took everything Jack had in him to not flinch and blab out to his mom about everything. "Well they're...kinda different from Optimus and the others."
June raised a brow. "Different? Different how?"
Jack gulped. "Well their leader Grimlock...he and Optimus don't exactly see eye to eye."
June was surprised. The members of Team Prime were so loyal to Optimus that she found hard to believe that there an Autobot in existence that didn't like him. And she couldn't help but feel a little anxious. Anyone with a name like Grimlock must be quite intimidating. "Why doesn't he?"
Jack chuckled nervously. "Well, I haven't seen Grimlock in action but I've heard he's a little more...aggressive when it comes to dealing with the Decepticons."
June frowned at that. "Aggressive?"
"Yeah...but I wanted to introduce you to Grimlock's teammates first. They're called Sludge and Swoop. They're really nice bots and they could explain things better than I could."
"Swoop?" June repeated. "I take it that he's turns into a jet or something?"
"Something like that," Jack said. He wasn't sure his mom would believe him anyway if he told her what Swoop really turned into.
"Yeah. But Sludge is a pretty nice guy. So's Swoop. I wanted to introduce you to them first before meeting Grimlock. He's...he's had a pretty rough time lately and I don't think it's my place to say."
June was properly confused by the whole thing but she decided to go along and find out. "Alright. Since it's my day off, I might as well spend some time with the Autobots. Sure they won't mind?"
"Oh, no. In fact, everyone's eager for you to meet the new guys too."
June smiled. "Well, I guess I'll go get ready. Think I should wear my high heels this time?"
June laughed as she went off to get changed. Jack shook his head and went towards the garage.
"So," Arcee asked. "How'd it go?"
"She's up for it. I just really hope nothing goes wrong."
"Relax. As you humans say "What's the worse that could happen"?"
Jack rolled his eyes. "That's usually what someone says before everything bad does happen. But as long as we keep Mom away from Grimlock and Slag, I think we'll be good."
"What about Snarl?"
"He's not so bad. Doesn't talk much but not so bad. As long as Mom doesn't pester him, I'm think it'll be fine."
"Alright. Let's just hope Sludge minds where he steps. I've lost track of how many times Ratchet got onto him for breaking this or that. I think I'm with Miko on this one. Sludge is just too big for the base. And if Grimlock ever transforms again" She shuddered.
"Speaking of which...what does Grimlock turn into?"
"Couldn't resist, huh?"
"No! ...Maybe." Jack looked at his feet awkwardly. "When I was a kid I always wanted to see a dinosaur...So I guess I figured..."
"With the Dinobots around you're finally getting the chance?" Arcee asked playfully.
Jack was too embarrassed to reply.
"Well, I don't know exactly what he turned into but it was some two-legged creature. Big head, lots of teeth, and really nasty. Suits Grimlock perfectly if you ask me."
Jack whistled. "A t-rex. Go figure. Whenever it comes to dinosaurs, there's always a t-rex. Let's really hope Grimlock doesn't transform when my mom's around."
"With you on that one." Arcee agreed.
"And uh...let's not tell Miko. I've got a feeling that if she knew what Grimlock turned into, she'd never leave him alone."
"The one time I can actually see myself feeling sorry for him."
Just then June entered the garage wearing her casual clothes and a bike helmet tucked under her arm. "I'm all set." She looked at Arcee. "Can you tell me more about Grimlock, Sludge, and Swoop, Arcee?"
Jack cringed. He should have known that his mom would target Arcee for information. Arcee hesitated as she wasn't expecting June to round on her.
"Well...Swoop's a pretty nice mech. He's very outgoing and good-natured. Sludge is a little clumsy and he's not real big on brain power...but he's strong and loyal."
June had a smirk. "And what about Grimlock?"
Arcee once again hesitated as she racked her brain for anything good to say about Grimlock. So far all she could see Grimlock as was arrogant, insubordinate, ruthless, cold but...then she remembered something else.
"I can proudly say that Grimlock is completely dedicated to his team and while he and Optimus don't always agree, they both have one thing in common: They would both do anything for the ones they care about."
June was interested now. Although Arcee's description of Grimlock made him seem like a nice guy, Jack had been very reluctant talking about him and she had spotted Arcee's own hesitation. Apparently there was something about this new Autobot they weren't telling her. But after all the things the Autobots had done for them, she was willing to hold judgment until meeting these new Autobots face to face.
"Well, then," She said playfully as she put on her helmet. "What are we waiting for?"
Jack gulped as he put his helmet on and hopped on Arcee. June followed suit and held onto her son for support. Arcee started up her engine as the garage door opened. Once the door was fully lifted, they left. Jack and Arcee both silently hoping that everything would work out smoothly.
The ride there was surprisingly quiet. June had decided to hold off asking anymore questions until she got to the base. What were these new Autobots like? What did they look like? What did they turn into? These were all the questions June planned on asking when they got there.
Jack had knots in his stomach as they got closer. He was pretty sure that Sludge and Swoop would make good impressions but he kept thinking that something was gonna come along and screw everything up. He wondered if Arcee was as nervous as he was.
Thanks to her experience as a soldier, Arcee wasn't as nervous as Jack, but she was still apprehensive.
But then she was snapped out of her thoughts when a laser blast struck the ground next to her. She nearly swerved off the ride as energy blasts started striking the road around her. They were under attack!
Jack turned his looked above them, where the energy blasts were coming from. His eyes widened when he saw Dreadwing and Vehicons in the sky above them.
"Decepticons!" He cried.
"I know!" Arcee retorted as she sped up to avoid the onslaught.
"Did they find your base?!" June cried as she held onto her son for dear life.
"Don't know. Could be just a recon. With as many Decepticons as they have now, they can probably afford it."
"What does that mean?"
"Uh...I guess I forgot to mention that the Decepticons got some new guys too," Jack said nervously.
Arcee knew they were in a jam. She wanted to contact base and get some back-up but feared the signal possibly being intercepted at this range. She had to put some distance between her and the Cons till she could come up with something else. Arcee put her speed at maximum velocity as she drove off-road. She had to lure the Cons away from the base and try to escape. Or at least find some cover.
too far away was Grimlock. After leaving the base, he was trying his
best to make light of the situation. But it was so hard and frustrating.
Thanks to Shockwave's stupid experiments, it was hard for him to think
right. Course, Shockwave hadn't been interested in the Dinobots for
their brain power. He had learned that the exact reason his team had
been selected was because their size and physical power made them
perfect candidates. Lucky them.
But Grimlock's attention was drawn to a sound he was all too familiar with. Energy blasts! He turned his head to see several flying vehicles shooting lasers at what appeared to be Arcee. Looking at the lead flyer, Grimlock recognized the color scheme as Dreadwing's. Him and some Vehicon! Had Arcee led the Decepticons right to their base?! Since she was driving off-road and away from the base, maybe not. But with the Decepticons so close, it was a matter of time before they might stumble upon it. Well, if that was the case, then Grimlock decided he'd better silence those Cons first.
"Faster, Arcee!" Jack urged.
"I'm trying!" It wasn't easy for Arcee. She was doing a good job so far of dodging enemy fire but it was only a matter of time before one of those bolts hit. She turned off road, hoping to keep as much distance from the base as possible.
June hesitantly looked back. The bluish jet was slowly descending as it strafed them. Those blasts were getting a little too close for comfort. As June braced herself for the worst, the most unexpected thing happened. A boulder soared through the air, smacking right into the jet. Said jet spun out of control before crashing to the ground. The other jets suddenly transformed and landed. Arcee came to a screeching halt. Jack and June quickly got off her to allow the warrior the chance to transform. Chaning one of her arms into its gun-mode, she looked around for whatever or whoever threw that boulder. Dreadwing transformed into his robot mode and got to his feet.
"Who dares!" He demanded angrily.
June looked towards the sound of the voice...and her eyes widened as the biggest bot she had ever seen stomped into view. June felt very small as she gazed into his glowing red visor.
Dreadwing narrowed his optics. "Grimlock."
June looked back and forth between the two bots. So this was Grimlock. Just looking at him gave her a feeling as to why Jack and Arcee didn't want to talk about him.
Arcee had mixed feelings about this. One, Grimlock was outside base and out in the open where humans could spot him. On the other hand, she was glad to have a bit of support. Though given the fact that she was up against flying Decepticons, she would have preferred Swoop to even the odds.
"I wondered when we would face each other again," Dreadwing went on. "Fortunately I've come prepared." He put out what appeared to be a gatling gun and began firing. Grimlock let out a grunt as the laser bullets pelted his body. Knowing that enough of those things could become a problem, he quickly pulled out his shield to block the incoming blasts.
"Vehicons! Airborne now!"
The Vehicons quickly transformed back into their jet modes and took to the sky. Dreadwing quickly followed suit.
"Are they running away?" June asked hopefully.
In response, Dreadwing and the Vehicons began attacking from the air. Grimlock held his shield to block their attacks. Arcee quickly ushered her charge and his mom next to Grimlock for protection.
"Air superiority," Arcee explained. "They know better than to fight Grimlock where he can reach them so they're keeping their distance."
"Is he that dangerous?" June asked.
Arcee remembered Grimlock battling the Decepticons in the fake mine. "Definitely."
June shot her son a slight glare. Jack knew he was in for it when all this was over.
"Annoying." Grimlock grunted as the lasers pelted his shield. "Arcee. Cover fire!"
Arcee nodded and quickly turned her other hand into a gun. She stepped out and started firing at the Vehicons. They scattered to avoid her attack. She hissed in frustration.
"They're regrouping. Grimlock, we need to get to cover."
Arcee turned her hands back to normal, scooping up the two humans rather than waste time transforming. She dashed towards a nearby plateau while Grimlock brought up the rear.
"Okay," Jack said as he took a deep breath. "I think we should call for some backup."
"No." Grimlock said. "Too risky. Can't let them find our base."
"What?!" June was shocked. "How do you expect to..."
"I'll handle this!" Grimlock snapped. "Just stay out of my way!"
June was taken aback. None of the Autobots had ever been so rude to her before. She was about to respond but the words died in her mouth as a particularly nasty looking sword unfolded itself in Grimlock's right hand. Her eyes never left the weapon as Grimlock raised it.
"Arcee, cover me."
Arcee frowned. She wanted to argue that Optimus was her leader not him, but she decided to put up with it for the time being. She looked towards June and Jack. "Stay here."
Mother and son both nodded, hoping that everything would be okay.
Grimlock looked around for something to throw at these guys and let out a frustrated growl. Once he again he was reminded how annoying it was to not have a long ranged weapon, especially when his enemies figured out to attack him from a distance.
But he left his thoughts when one of the Vehicons started strafing towards him. He raised his sword, preparing to slice the Vehicon when it got close enough...
Suddenly an incoming missile struck the Vehicon, blowing one of its wings off and forcing it to slam into the ground. It skid towards Grimlock who promptly sliced it in two. But his attention was drawn to where that missile came from. Approaching towards them was...
"Snarl!" Grimlock cried.
Arcee, Jack, and June turned their heads. Arcee's optics widened when she saw Snarl coming towards them, a missile launcher in his hand.
"Snarl?" June asked Jack, who shrugged sheepishly. So far his whole plan had just gone down the drain.
"Snarl, what are you doing here?" Arcee asked. She was grateful for the aid but she was also annoyed that two Dinobots were outside the base where they could be seen.
Snarl glared at her before looking at his leader. Arcee frowned at the fact that she had been ignored.
"I saw you leaving the base, Grimlock. I decided to follow you."
"Glad you did," Grimlock said just as a laser blast struck him. The blow was strong enough to knock him back but he received minimal damage.
"Get to cover, boss. I'll handle this!" Snarl told his leader as he readied his weapon.
"No! Arcee, support Snarl!"
Arcee was really getting ticked. She was second in command of Team Prime so who did the Dinobots think they were to order her around? She dived behind a boulder as she fired at the Vehicons. Snarl quickly joined her and started firing too. Grimlock finally managed to find another good sized boulder, which he immediately scooped up and flung. The lead Vehicon didn't dodge fast enough. The boulder knocked him out of the sky and sent him spinning towards the ground. He exploded on impact.
"Nice shot!" Snarl complimented as he fired a missile at another Vehicon.
Dreadwing apparently realized that battling from the sky was getting nowhere. He transformed back to robot mode and landed. The remaining Vehicons did the same.
"Take the other two," Dreadwing ordered them. "Grimlock is mine!"
The Vehicons charged towards Snarl and Arcee while Dreadwing headed towards Grimlock.
"Up-close and personal?" Snarl asked them. He put his missile launcher away and pulled out his own sword in one hand while holding one of his plates like a dagger in the other "I can work with that."
The Vehicons charged. Arcee shot one in the head before unleashing a spinning kick on another. Snarl slashed one Vehicon in two with his sword. A second Vehicon tried to attack but Snarl stabbed his dagger into the attacker's head. June flinched. Just because they were robots didn't make the scene any less pleasant.
Grimlock slashed at Dreadwing, who quickly ducked and rolled under the blow before aiming his cannon and firing at Grimlock. His cannon packed more fire power than typical Decepticon weaponry so Grimlock hissed in pain from the blow. He swung again but Dreadwing dodged. Grimlock had to admit he was impressed. Maybe he was finally up against an opponent with a brain.
And that's exactly what Dreadwing was thinking. He knew that it was suicide to fight Grimlock in brute force. Speed and firepower were necessary here. He used his smaller size to move in close and pulled out his own sword. He slashed but was disappointed when his sword broke on contact with Grimlock's armor. He would have to find a more suitable melee weapon to deal with his foe.
Grimlock felt the attack and kicked Dreadwing. The force sent the first lieutenant sprawling away from Grimlock. Putting his sword away, Dreadwing whipped out his cannon and started firing. Grimlock pulled out his shield again and started advancing towards the Decepticon. Dreadwing strafed to the side to prevent Grimlock from getting close enough. He quickly pulled out some of his bombs and threw them. Grimlock raised his shield and the bombs exploded against it.
Snarl had finished with his Vehicon foes and saw Dreadwing locked in battle with his leader. He was about to go and help him out but noticed that Arcee was caught in a gun fight with the Vehicons. He knew Grimlock could take care of Dreadwing and Swoop would never forgive him if something happened to the femme he liked. He charged towards the remaining Vehicons. Once he was close enough, he promptly transformed.
June's jaw dropped as Snarl transformed into his dinosaur mode. The Vehicons turned their attention towards Snarl only for one of them to get bashed to the side by the Dinobot's powerful tail. Arcee took advantage of the distraction to slice off another Vehicon's head. Arcee and Snarl soon decimated the last of the Vehicons. Both quickly turned to Dreadwing and Grimlock whose battle was more of Grimlock slashing at Dreadwing and the Decepticon's first lieutenant being forced to dodge around or else get sliced. Rolling out of Grimlock's range again, Dreadwing saw that his forces were destroyed and he was outnumbered. He clenched his fists in anger.
"We'll meet again, Grimlock." Before anyone could stop him, he transformed back into his jet mode and flew into the sky.
"Coward!" Grimlock roared at Dreadwing's retreating form. He let out a deep growl. Snarl quickly transformed back into robot mode.
"Easy, Grimlock. Dreadwing ran away but we won."
Arcee approached them. "Think they know where the base is?"
"Don't know. Maybe not."
Arcee closed her optics for a moment before turning to face the Dinobot leader. "Grimlock...thanks. You too, Snarl."
Snarl shrugged. "It's what we Dinobots do."
"Grimlock! Snarl! Arcee!"
Everyone heads turned. June gasped as she saw Swoop flying towards them. When he was within range, he transformed into his robot mode.
"Swoop? What are you doing here?" Grimlock asked.
"I was about to do some flying. Honesty I can't stand being cooped up in that base. But then I saw what looked like Dreadwing flying off and you all gathered around. What happened?"
"Cons ambushed us." Snarl explained. "We took out the Vehicons but Dreadwing got away."
"So...they know where the base is?"
"We don't know," Arcee replied. "Let's just hope they didn't."
Everyone turned to see June and Jack walking towards them. June was staring at Snarl and Swoop.
"They...they turned into dinosaurs."
Swoop walked over to June, who froze as he approached her and held out his hand.
"So you're June, huh? Name's Swoop. Nice to meetcha."
June didn't reply verbally. She just raised her hand as she stared up at Swoop. Swoop gently took her hand and slowly shook it. Once they were done, June rounded on her son. "Jackson Darby?"
Jack felt extremely small right now. Probably due to the fact that he was the smallest one in their little group. "Mom. This is Grimlock, Snarl, and Swoop. Them, Sludge, and another guy called Slag are part of an elite team called the Dinobots."
"Uh-huh," June said as she looked back at the three. "And I guess that means all of you turn into dinosaurs?"
"You bet," Swoop said pleasantly, sweetly ignorant of the whole situation.
June just stared at them for a minute before looking over at Arcee. "Dinosaurs? Really? I thought you Autobots were all about...I don't know, "robots in disguise" or something."
"We didn't do it by choice," Grimlock growled. June was caught off guard by this. As she was about to ask what he meant, Arcee interrupted.
"We need to get back to base, now! We're out in the open where other humans can see us!"
Grimlock shook his head. "Fine. Dinobots! Return to base!"
Snarl and Swoop both nodded and transformed while heading towards the base. Grimlock simply stomped off after them.
"So why doesn't he transform?" June asked.
Jack scratched the back of his head. "It's...kinda complicated."
Arcee transformers to her motorcycle mode. "We'll explain everything when we get back to base. Hop on."
Jack got back on Arcee with June following after. The Autobot and her human charges sped back towards base. When they arrived, they heard the Dinobots arguing with Team Prime. Arcee was slightly grateful that Optimus was out doing some of his own recon. She didn't know how he would react to all of this.
"Grimlock, you can't just go out the base." Ratchet insisted. "We cannot be seen by the humans."
"I'll do whatever I want!" Grimlock argued. "If not for me, Arcee would be scrapped and the Cons would have found the base."
Arcee would have frowned if she was in robot mode. When she came to a stop, Jack and June got off her and she transformed.
"Grimlock!" She called, drawing the Dinobot's attention onto her. "While I appreciate the help, Ratchet's right. We have protocols for a reason. By going out there, you're not only putting yourself but all of us at risk."
Grimlock snorted. "I'll remember that next time you're under fire."
Arcee's frown deepened. "Look, Grimlock. I don't care if you and your team are some special commando squad. Optimus put me second in command of Team Prime. I'm not saying you should start kissing my feet but I think I do deserve some respect."
Grimlock growled angrily. "You're no better than Optimus. Optimus is a fool. Optimus is weak!"
Everyone turned their heads towards June, who was glaring at Grimlock.
Sludge looked at her curiously. "Hey, Swoop? That her?"
Swoop nodded as he looked back and forth between June and Grimlock nervously. June started walking towards the Dinobot leader.
"Who do you think you are, talking about Optimus like that?" June demanded.
Grimlock was unimpressed by her outburst. "What would you know? Instead of fighting for our planet like he should have, Optimus chose to run away like a coward!"
"Cybertron was dying, Grimlock," Ratchet pointed out. "We had to evacuate."
"We should have fixed Cybertron!" Grimlock argued back. "But Optimus didn't even bother to try."
"Quiet!" June cried, much like a tired mother breaking up two arguing children. She rounded on Grimlock. "I may not know what Optimus might have done back then, but I do know that he is a good, caring leader who would give up his own life for others. When our world was threatened by Unicron..."
"Unicron?!" The Dinobots all cried out.
June nodded. "That's right. Unicron was going to destroy our planet. Optimus stopped him at the cost of his memories. He knew that was going to happen but he did it anyway. He gave up being himself so that the human race could live, so I don't want hear any talk of Optimus being weak or a fool. Do you understand me?"
The Dinobots were silent for a moment. Slag let out a chuckle. "You humans may be tiny little meatbags but at least you have guts."
June glared at him for a moment before looking over at Swoop, who was caught off guard by her gaze.
"Now, Swoop. Unlike your leader, you seem like a nice bot. Jack wanted me to meet you and the one called Sludge and I would be honored to."
Everyone was rather surprised that June still wanted to get to know the Dinobots more. Swoop looked at his leader, wondering what he was going to say. Grimlock spotted Swoop looking at him. "Fine." He stomped off with Slag and Snarl following after him. Sludge walked over to June and Swoop. Ratchet, Bumblebee, Bulkhead, and Arcee all looked at June nervously. June looked over at Jack. "Now I see what you meant about Grimlock and Optimus not seeing eye to eye."
Jack looked at his feet guiltily.
"Grimlock's a great leader," Sludge defended. "He's the strongest Autobot ever!"
June regarded the colossal Sludge. She wasn't sure what kind of dinosaur he turned into. Slag on the other hand had been rather obvious if those horn things of his were any indication.
"I don't doubt that he's strong," She admitted. "But there's more to a leader than just strength. A good leader must also be wise and caring."
"Grimlock is those things too!" Sludge argued. "He knows what's best and he really cares about us. He even brought me back to life."
All eyes (And optics) were on Sludge now. Swoop cringed.
"What are you talking about, Sludge?" Ratchet asked.
Swoop fiddled with his hands. "There's...more to the story than what me and Grimlock told you."
June raised a brow. "What?"
"There's more?" Miko asked excitedly.
"Yeah, but it ain't pretty." Swoop told her. Miko didn't care as she and Raf took a seat. June was completely confused by now.
"You see, June," Swoop began. "We Dinobots used to have regular vehicle modes like other Autobots. Well one day, we were hunting down this nasty Con called Shockwave to a place in Cybertron called the Sea of Rust."
Ratchet perked up when he heard that. He remembered that Cliffjumper, along with the Autobot Special Ops leader Jazz, had gone there to look for Grimlock and his team when they mysteriously vanished.
"When we got there, we got attacked by Insecticons. We tried to fight them off but they overwhelmed us. Sludge here...he didn't make it."
"Impossible," Ratchet said. "How can that be if he's standing right in front of us?"
"I'll get to that," Swoop said before looking at June. "The rest of us were brought to Shockwave. Turns out he had been using the Space Bridge to study this planet for some time. Back when dinosaurs roamed the Earth."
June's jaw dropped.
"Apparently Shockwave got the idea to turn us into obedient little weapons. He cracked us open and gave us new bodies and forms based off different dinosaurs. Grimlock freed me while Slag managed to escape on his own. We eventually found each other and saved Snarl from the Insecticon called Sharpshot. But Snarl was messed up pretty bad so we went looking for a place to patch him up. We found Shockwave's lab and learned what he did to us. We also learned that Sludge never made it out. Grimlock took it pretty hard. I won't bore you with what happened after that but after we had regrouped, we decided to hunt Shockwave again. We trailed him all the way back to the Sea of Rust. We found out that he had gotten his hands on Sludge's body. The big guy had been forced into a stasis lock after our battle with the Insecticons and then, his body got damaged further by somehow getting in contact with toxic waste."
"I was in stasis lock the whole time so I had no idea what was going on," Sludge added.
"Shockwave decided to use Sludge's body to continue his dinobot project. Poor Sludge here was just gonna be some mindless drone with no mind of his own."
June gasped. She looked towards Sludge sadly. "I'm so sorry to hear that."
Sludge stared at June. Aside from his teammates, he wasn't used to people being concerned about him. Mostly everyone just nagged at him whenever he accidentally hit something or someone. It wasn't his fault he was so big.
"Grimlock refused to let that happen, so he decided to revive Sludge."
"How?" Bulkhead asked. He and Bumblebee had gotten hooked on the story. Next to them were Miko and Raf, listening with great interest.
"Grimlock decided to jump start Sludge's spark. He got the idea from this trick we did with a shield generator once."
"Jump start Sludge's spark?!" Ratchet was flabbergasted. To a nurse like June, it sounded a little like defibrillation. "By the all spark...are you saying you actually tried to jump start a spark that was extinguished for about months later...and you succeeded?" He was absolutely stupefied from what he just heard. "And based off of something you did to a shield generator?!"
"We didn't have a whole lot of options at the time," Swoop replied.
"What did Grimlock use to jump-start your spark?" Raf asked Sludge.
"He used his own spark energy!" Sludge answered.
"His own spark energy?!" Arcee exclaimed.
"That's crazy!" Ratchet cried. "You can't use your own spark energy! The energy patterns are extremely unpredictable outside of a spark."
"Why not?" Sludge asked. "Circuit-Su Masters control it all the time."
"That's true but Grimlock's hardly a master of that martial art and likely wasn't thinking about that while he was doing this procedure." Ratchet pointed out.
Sludge didn't reply, his silence being all the answer Ratchet needed.
Swoop shrugged. "We didn't think it would work but Grimlock was determined to get Sludge back online. It took a while but in the end, it finally payed off. Sludge was back online and the Dinobots were together again."
"And there were no after effects? No complications?" Ratchet asked.
"Well, I was online but I still needed some repairs. We found a med-bay. Slag did a scan on me while I was being repaired. Said I was all clear."
"No offense but Slag's not exactly medic material."
"We Dinobots aren't stupid!" Sludge growled. "Slag's an expert when it comes to technology and he made sure the med-bay patched me up. Then he scanned me for any problems. I am fine!"
Everyone took a step back as Sludge got angry.
"Whoa, easy there, Sludge," Swoop calmed his brother down. "Ratchet's just looking out for ya."
"Yes and I apologize for offending you and your teammates. Still, I would like to make an examination to guarantee there was nothing wrong."
Sludge was about to argue but Swoop patted his leg. "Go ahead, Sludge. Better safe than sorry."
Sludge groaned. "Alright, Swoop. I'll do it for you."
Ratchet pulled out a scanner and walked over to the large Dinobot. Activating it, he swept the scanner across Sludge a few times, checking the readings. He also got up to Sludge and started examining with his own optics. "Hmm. You seem relatively fine but I do detect some small fractures here and there. I'm detecting some damage that may have left over from the waste. Relatively minor, thank goodness. Shockwave must have overlooked it. Slag too."
"I...well I do ache sometimes. And it hurts a little whenever I take in energon."
"What?!" Swoop cried.
Ratchet scanned him over again. "Might have been when the Insecticons attacked you. I'll get the sick bay ready. The damage is minor but I think you'll feel a whole lot better afterwards. But, I will admit that Slag did do an impressive job fixing you up. He missed a few things but overall, a job well done."
"How come you never told us, Sludge?" Swoop demanded.
Sludge hung his head. "You guys already did enough for me. Didn't want to bug you with more of my problems."
"Bug...?! Sludge, we're a team. We watch each other's backs and we stick together through thick and thin. Grimlock wouldn't want you pulling something like this. Ever. Something hurting ya, you come tell us. Got it?"
Sludge sighed. "Alright.
Swoop nodded in approval before looking at June. "You see, June. We may not always do things the way other Autobots do, but we look after each other. You mess with one of us, you mess with all of us. Grimlock, he fought off Decepticon after Decepticon just to rescue us from Shockwave. Whenever things got bad, he always thought about us first. Sure he's made mistakes but hey, nobody's perfect. We all think he's a great leader and we're gonna stick by him."
June stared after Swoop gave that little speech. She then smiled as she thought about how close the Dinobots were to each other. They were all like brothers. She still thought Grimlock needed an attitude adjustment, but she had to admire just how much he cared for his team. She wouldn't say that she liked him, but she was willing to give him and the rest of the Dinobots the benefit of a doubt.
Just then the sound of a truck engine caused everyone to turn their heads. Sure enough, Optimus drove into the base in his truck mode. He transformed into his robot mode and surveyed everyone gathered together. Noticing the looks everyone was giving him, he asked aloud.
"Did I...miss something?"
on the distant world of Cybertron, Decepticon construction crews were
hard at work over the devices that Shockwave had discovered. Overseeing
them was Onslaught, leader of the Combaticons.
"Scrapper!" He called to the chief engineer. "How's the progress?"
Scrapper, head Constructicon, addressed Onslaught. "I think we'll be finished ahead of schedule, Onslaught!"
"Good work. Shockwave will be pleased."
Just then the Decepticon known as Mindwipe approached Onslaught. "Onslaught! Commander Shockwave wants to speak to you."
"Very well. Scrapper! You're in charge while I'm gone. Make sure the Constructicons keep to their job."
"As you command, Onslaught."
Onslaught followed Mindwipe to the communications center, where Shockwave's image appeared on the screen.
"Ah, Onslaught. I take it that the construction is going along efficently?"
"Scrapper thinks we'll be finished ahead of schedule, Commander Shockwave."
"Excellent. Scrapper is a master builder so I'm quite certain he's right. Lord Megatron has approved of the plan, so you expect energon shipments. The first one will reach you in 24 breems."
"Very well, Commander Shockwave."
"I look forward to seeing the results of this test." Shockwave responded before cutting off communications.
Onslaught turned around to view the hundreds, no thousands of Decepticons moving around the area doing construction work and paroling the area. All of them took up several floors of Cybertron's internal layers up to the top of the base. While they were not expecting any Autobot attacks soon, they designed to keep unwanted personnel out. Displayed on the side of the nearly finished base was an incomplete Decepticon emblem, displayed for all to see as a sign of things to come.
End of Chapter