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  1. CHAPTER XIII Galvatron stood over the fallen Prime, holding his blade over his head with smiling darkly down at his defeated opponent. "Time to die, Jackson Prime." he said as He suddenly swung the blade down upon the Autobot leader, making Arcee lose complete control of her emotions as she watched. "NO!" she screamed in response, but her eyes suddenly widened as confusion took hold at what happened next. For Galvatron stopped himself, leaving the razor sharp tip of his blade mere centimeters from the Prime's chest. Jack too was confused as he looked up at the Predacon Lord, who had an expression on his face that the Autobot Leader could not read, even with all the pain he was currently in. Galvatron looked down at the Prime, only a second ago he was ready to end the life of this adversary. But then something had caught his eye, bringing back that feeling that the Predacon Leader had experienced earlier when he found the Covenant of Primus. As he stood over the Prime, his eyes were fixed on the a light that glowed through the cracks of the chest-plate of Jack's Prime -armor. "Lord Galvatron?" Lazerback asked with a worried tone,while his Leader continued to stare at the chest-plate. Blight then walked over and placed his hand on Galvatron's shoulder which snapped him out of his daze, making him look over to both Men with a confused expression. "Yes? What is it?" "My Lord, are you going to kill the Prime?" Blight asked as Galvatron looked back at his blade, which was still pointed directly over the injured Prime's chest. "No..." he replied, shaking his head. "...We will take him and the Femme with us as prisoners." he added, making the other two Predcons even more confused. "But, my Lord..." Lazerback said in return, earning an angry stare from Galvatron who gritted his teeth. "Are you questioning me?" The sound of his voice unnerved Lazerback immensely, but not so much as it did Blight who had already witnessed what happened to those who questioned their Leader. The former looked back at the latter who shook his head at him, then Lazerback looked back at Galvatron with a regretful expression. "No, Lord Galvatron." he replied with a grovelling tone to his voice, earning a dark grin from the Clone. "Good. Now patch up the Prime's injury and be ready to move." Both Cons nodded before Galvatron turned his attention to Jack, looking down on the beaten Autobot Leader with a smug expression. "Because you will only die when I deem it is your time. And I doubt either of you will try anything stupid, when you know that it will only cause the other to suffer excruciating pain in return." Blight knelt down next to Jack and began adding medi-gel to what was left of the Prime's arm, but Jack's eyes met Arcee's as both lovers silently acknowledged the predicament they were in as Galvatron waited for them to be ready to move. Not long later, Garrus and Grunt limped into the area with their weapons ready aimed ahead of them. Both Men looked like they had been through hell, with their armor damaged and their faces covered in bruises with a few cuts thrown in for good measure. The duo looked around the room to find that apart from the two dead Terracons, it was completely empty. "Damn it, they have been through here already." Garrus said with a annoyed tone. "Well, I bet Jack and Smokescreen had something to do with this." Grunt replied as he gestured toward the two bodies, earning a nod from the Turian. "Yeah, but where are they now?" "I don't know, but I just want a rematch with the red/yellow armored foe that bested me." Grunt replied with an angry tone. "You and me both, but at least we managed to cut the amount of troops he had with him by half." Garrus said back, as the Krogan then moved over to the other exit and looked through to see the Nemesis just aways from their current location. "They must have gone this way, let's get moving so we can catch up." The Turian sniper nodded in return before making his way to join his friend at the exit, when something caught his eye. "What the hell?" he said aloud as his eyes widened at the site before him. "What is it?" Grunt asked as he left the exit and walked up to his Turian teammate, who was just looking at the ground with a disbelieving stare. The Krogan looked down at what had Garrus's attention and his eyes widened too in response. "It can't be...? On the floor in front of them was a puddle of blood and in its center was a severed right arm, the armor it was in-cased in was identifiable by the three colored stripes running down the arm, two silver on both sides of a large red main stripe. "That's Jack's arm!" Garrus exclaimed in shock of the sight in front of him, because despite seeing it with his own eyes, he still could not believe it. "But that doesn't mean that Jack's...you know." Grunt sheepishly added, since he could tell by the Turian's expression what he was currently thinking at this moment. "I know. For one, there is no body..." Garrus replied as he continued to stare at the appendage, losing himself to the terrible thoughts for his friend that were now plaguing his mind since laying eyes on it. But he was brought out of his stupor, when he felt a hand on his shoulder. "Let's go, Garrus. We may still have a chance of catching up to them." Grunt said, gaining the Turian's attention. "And give them hell, especially if our friends have been..." he said before being cut off by the Krogan, who Gave him an encouraging smile. "Exactly." Garrus said back in a determined tone and nodded in return and then both Autobots made their way outside, just in time to see the two giant Dragons fly overhead towards the Nemesis. "Looks like we are heading in the right direction then." Grunt said as they saw what looked like a lot of activity around the giant dreadnought, when suddenly their com links activated. "They are pulling back, the enemy is retreating." an unknown Autobot said over the link, before another voice spoke. "All Autobot forces, this is Warpath. Jackson Prime is not answering his com-link, so I am taking temporary command. The enemy are regrouping at the Nemesis launch site, move in and take them down. We can not them get their hands on that ship." Garrus and Grunt looked at each other as the message came to an end. "Looks like we..." the Krogan began to say before a sound caught their attention. "ugh,mmm...ugh." came a voice from nearby. "Did you hear that?" Garrus asked, earning a nod from his friend. "Yeah, it came from over there." he said as the pair began walking over in the direction that Grunt had pointed to, until they came to a pile of rubble. Both looked around around in confusion, as there was no sign of what had made that noise. "I swore that sound was coming from over he..." Garrus started to say when he was interrupted again. "Ugh...ugh,.." came the voice again as the pile of debris began to move slightly as a hand appeared from under it. "There! Someone is under the rubble." Grunt said as he began to pick up and clear the rubble, Garrus quickly joining in as they unearthed a person from under it. Their eyes widened and as smiles appeared on their faces. "SMOKESCREEN!" Garrus exclaimed as they pulled out the White/Blue and Red armored Bot, who was semi-conscious and visibly injured, but thankfully still alive. "Smokescreen, you alright? Can you hear me?" Garrus said as the injured Autobot lay there in front of them, but all they got from him was... "...ugh..mmm, ugh." Grunt then placed his hand on the Turian's shoulder, gaining his attention. "Let me try, Garrus?" His friend looked at him blankly but nodded, moving out of the way so that the Krogan could get closer. Then he did something that completely surprised the Turian and slapped the Bot's face, making Smokescreen wake up fully and stare at the pair. "What in the Allspark!" he said in an exasperated tone as Garrus looked over to Grunt with a surprised expression. "What was that?" he asked, but the Krogan simply smiled. "I just woke him up. Plus, it felt good." he answered before looking back down at Smokescreen. "Can you move?" Garrus asked as the Bot grimaced a little while he sat up. "Yeah, but my whole body feels like it just got trampled on by the Dinobots." the younger Autobot replied as he slowly got to his feet. "Well, considering how you look, I can believe it. Those enemies sure do pack a punch." Garrus said, as Smokescreen stood up beside both men. "They're called Predacons." "Predacons? Never heard of them." Grunt replied with a blank expression, earning a questioning look from the Bot before he shook his head. "Look, never mind. We can go over the details later..." he said before noticing that there was just the Krogan and Turian standing with him. "Where is Jack and Arcee?" Garrus's expression faulted as he looked to the ground, this did not go unnoticed by Smokescreen who looked directly at him. "What's happened? Don't tell me they're..." he started to say when Grunt cut in. "No, we found no bodies back there, just Jack's arm." the Krogan said with the usual amount of compassion he had...which was none. "By the Allspark! So where were you heading to when you found me?" the Bot questioned, Garrus was about to answer when suddenly out of nowhere a squadron of Aerialbot fighters flew low overhead. This caught the trio's attention as they looked at the fighters as they flew toward the battle engulfing the area around the Nemesis, as explosions could be seen and continuous gunfire could be heard . "We are heading that way." Garrus finished before Smokescreen equipped the pistol he had on his utility belt. "What are we waiting for then ,let's go." The others nodded in return, then the trio began moving quickly towards the massive black ship just ahead of them. "By the way, Garrus, who did that to your face? I mean, I would ask Grunt. But his face looks the same whether he has fought or not." Smokescreen suddenly asked, earning an annoyed growl from the Krogan as they moved through the battlefield. About fifteen minutes later, the three Autobots arrived at the Nemesis launch site. But the battle was over before it really had a chance to start and the trio could only guess that was because of Predaking and Grimwing, who had destroyed what Autobot forces had arrived there in a matter of minutes. The Turian, Krogan and bot all took cover behind the charred husk of an Aerialbot fighter, before Garrus used his sniper rifle to scope the area. "I can't believe I am going to ask this, considering what we saw on our way over here. But how does it look over there?" Smokescreen sheepishly asked, making the Turian shake his head in return. "So much for the counter attack, those Predacons have the area completely under their control. Our forces had no chance against those beasts of theirs." Grunt growled lowly in return before saying his piece. "Those beasts are tougher than any Thresher-Maw, that's for sure." Smokescreen nodded as he looked up at the two winged monsters who flew over head with the Predacon fighters alongside them. "That is what the Predacons really looked like, back when they roamed Cybertron during what you would call 'Prehistoric times'." "So they are just like Earth's Dinosaurs?" Garrus replied. "And Tuchanka's Thresher-Maws?" the Krogan added, earning looks from both his friends. "Grunt, you still have Thresher-Maws now." the Turian replied bluntly, making the Krogan look back with a slight smile. "Yeah, but the prehistoric ones were much bigger." "I guess, but either way I am just going off what I learnt from the historic archives on Cybertron...during the war." Smokescreen replied as they kept their eyes on what was happening just ahead of them, when suddenly there was a lot of movement near the Nemesis's ventral shuttle bay as a large contingent of Terracons arrived on the scene. PRIME EFFECT 4 Blight stood stood on the lowered ramp of the shuttlebay with a small group of Terracons and another Predacon, one in yellow and purple armour. The two of them watched as another large contingent of troops arrived at the Nemesis and stopped before then. "And I think that it is it for any of our troops arriving here by foot, Scorponok." Blight said to his comrade who nodded in agreement. "I think you're right, though I would prefer not to leave the others out there. But we wont be able to hold this location forever." "I would not worry about such details, Scorponok. Our Lord already has something planned to ensure our brethren make it safely aboard. It is one of the reasons he chose this ship as a target of interest." the other Predacon replied before looking behind him at both Arcee and Jack who were on their knees and surrounded by Terracons. "The quicker this ship is taken, the faster we can get these two into the brig." he added, gaining a knowing look from Scorponok. "Well, Lord Galvatron and Laserback did take half of my troops with them to secure the CIC and the Engineering decks, I am sure we will hear something soon." The two Predacons then looked back towards the horizon and the image of a beaten and broken city. New Iacon looked less like the capital of the Federation, but more like the city of London after the Reaper invasion that the Cons read about on the Icarus's databanks. "We sure did a number to this city, didn't we?" Scorponok said as both smiled and looked down at Jack, who merely looked at the ground as blood dripped ever so slowly from the dressing on the stump that was once his arm. "You have nothing to say about this, 'Prime'?" Blight asked with a sarcastic tone in his voice. "Be careful, the Prime might hit you with that stump of his." Scorponok laughed in a similar tone. But both the Autobot Leader and his Spark-mate remained quiet, not wanting to give the Predacons the pleasure of reacting to their goading. But the two lieutenants soon stopped when one of the Terracons that were watching the perimeter turned to them. "Sir, I can see movement just ahead of us. Behind the wreckage of that fighter over there." Scorponok then equipped his sniper rifle and looked through it's scope, bringing the image into sharp focus. "Are you sure, Soldier? Because I can..." he started to reply before noticing a reflection of light off what appeared to be a similar sniper rifle scope. "More Autobots! Fire on that location now!" he shouted as he fired three shots that impacted on the hull of the wreckage, making the Turian there get right behind cover. The rest of the Terracons followed suit and fired on the area, earning a similar reaction from the three Autobots. Blight took cover behind the wall of the shuttle bay as both Jack and Arcee looked towards the wreckage, hope appearing on their faces. But this had not gone unnoticed by the Predacon who looked down at them with content. " I would not hold on to hope of your friends rescuing you now." he said before tapping the com-link in his ear. "Lord Galvatron, we have more Autobots attacking the ship." "Keep them at bay for a little longer while we are prepping for launch." the Predacon Leader replied as he ended the link, earning a nod from Blight who looked back to the Terracons. "Keep the pressure on those Autobots, we will be leaving soon." He then looked at the four soldiers surrounding their prisoners. "Take these two to the brig now." So the Terracons acknowledged him and pulled Jack and Acree to their feet before moving out of the shuttle bay and further into the Nemesis's interior. From their cover behind the fighter wreckage, Garrus blew the head off one of the Terracons defending the shuttle bay's extended ramp and spotted two familar people who were being escorted from the battle. "They do have Arcee and Jack!" he exclaimed, gaining the attention of both Smokescreen and Grunt. "You sure?" the Bot asked as he killed another enemy soldier, before looking over to Garrus and noticing him nodding in return. "I just saw them being escorted away from the battle and further into the ship." "Well, we have to get them then, that's all there is to it." Smokescreen replied before taking a few shots at the Terracons, killing two of them while the others kept the pressure up by firing constantly at their cover. "And how do you propose we do that?" Grunt asked after just narrowly missing a bullet to the face as he turned to look at the younger Bot, his face looked like thunder. "They've got us pinned down here. We can't make a move without it ending in suicide for us." This took both Garrus and Smokescreen by surprise, since Grunt would usually be first in line for such an action. But the Turian knew that on this occasion he was right, so he tapped his com-link. "This is Garrus Vakarian to any Autobot forces in range, the enemy are taking control of the Nemesis and have Jackson Prime and Arcee among them. My team have a chance of recovering the pair, but are currently being pinned down by enemy fire. Are there any Autobots who could help?" After a moment or two, with both the bot and Krogan firing back at the enemy before taking cover again. Garrus received an answer. "This is Warpath. Garrus, we are on route as we speak. ETA five minutes." But suddenly a deep humming noise could be heard from the Nemesis's engines, making the Turian's eyes widen in response. "To late, they're preparing to launch." PRIME EFFECT 4 In the Nemesis's CIC, Galvatron and his Terracons had just taken control of the room, leaving the Autobot corpse on the floor while the soldiers manned each station. The Predacon leader himself stood at the command terminal that was on a catwalk that was raised above the rest of the CIC, giving a good view of the entire room. "Status report?" he said in a commanding tone, earning the attention of his men. "All stations manned, Lord Galvatron. We have had no trouble accessing the ship's systems." one of the Terracons replied while looking up at his master. "Excellent work." Galvatron replied as his attention was caught by a a holo-screen appearing before him, showing the ship's engines activating. "Lord Galvatron, the engine room is now under our control and we are prepping the ship's engines up now." Lazerback then reported through the Predacon leader's com-link. "Very well. How long until the Space-bridge generator is ready for use?" "It is charging up now, my Lord. But in the meantime it's ground-bridge function is fully operational, since it does not require the same level of power." the Predacon replied, making Galvatron smile in return. "That's good, Lazerback. Keep me apprised of any further developments." The Predacon Lord then looked down at one of his men. "Activate the Ground-bridge at areas where our troops are still fighting. We need to evacuate all our remaining ground-forces to this ship immediately." "Yes, Lord Galvatron." the Terracon replied before typing in the commands into his holo-interface, meanwhile Galvatron set his com-link to broadcast mode. "This is your Lord and Master speaking, I want all Predacon forces to fall back to the Nemesis. Fighters, you will rejoin your respective cruisers and they will rendezvous with the Nemesis in orbit. Our ground forces are to use the Ground-bridge vortexes that will appear before you momentarily, these will bring you aboard our new flagship." After shutting down the com-link, the Predacon Leader turned to another of his Terracons below him. "Activate the Ground-bridge and bring our troops home." "Yes, Sir." the soldier replied as he worked the holo-interface before him. "...And open up the top cargo bay for Predaking and Grimwing." Galvatron added. Meanwhile all across the battlefield that only hours earlier used to be the Federation Capital, ground-bridge vortexes opened and closed one after the other. Opening just long enough for the Terracons still fighting to retreat through, leaving the remaining Autobot forces to stand in the middle of their destroyed city and wonder what it all was for. The Predacon star-fighters broke off their dogfights with the Aerialbots, docking with the nearest cruisers that were still operational and they then made for high orbit. Back on board the Nemesis, one of the Terracons looked up at the Perdacon Lord as he admired the view he from his location, as he looked out of the large canopy covering the very front of the CIC. "My Lord, our forces are pulling back as you wanted. And Lazerback reports that we can continue to ground-bridge our remaining troops while we are leaving." Galvatron smiled at comment as he turned and looked down at said Terracon. "Very well. Call in the rest of the troops protecting the shuttle bay and take us into space,..." The Terracon nodded in return and then focused on his station's holo-interface. "...And have our prisoners brought to me too." On the ground, Garrus, Smokescreen and Grunt were still stuck behind the wreckage of the Aerialbot fighter, while the Terracons continued to bombard them with weapons fire. "This is ridiculous, we have to make a push for the shuttle bay or else we will lose Jack and Arcee." the Turian said in both an angry yet anxious tone, while the other two fired back into the mass grouping of enemies, killing two of them as they did. "Wait a second, they're falling back." Grunt observed as they all looked to see the Predacon soldiers backing up on to the shuttle bay, while laying covering fire on the Autobots position. "Then we go right now, follow me!" Smokescreen roared, surprising his friends as he ran around the wreck and stormed at the Terracons with his weapon blazing. The others followed suit as he shot dead three Terracons and made it onto the shuttle bay's ramp as it began to lift off the ground. The bot then stormed towards the interior of the ship but in his reckless and desperate actions, he failed to notice that the remaining Terracons had stopped firing at him. And before he had a chance to wonder why, he suddenly ran into a powerful energy field which knocked him flying off the ramp and back down to the floor where his Turian and Krogan friends joined him. They looked up at the Nemesis which had risen off the ground and saw the Terracons laughing and waving back sarcastically just before the ramp closed and sealed off the shuttle bay from the outside. "Ugh, what was that?" Smokescreen asked as he sat up and held his head as the mother of all migraines began to ache. "You were hit by the Nemesis's new energy shield that protects the shuttle bay, lucky you weren't fried by it." "Very lucky. His armor took the brunt of it." Grunt added as they looked at the bot's burn't white/blue and red armor. But before anything else could be said, the trio's attention was caught by the sight of the Nemesis as it had ascended high above them and flew away from them at sub-light speeds with the two metallic dragons landing on it's roof as it moved. "Scrap..." Garrus then said with disappointment in his voice, while both Smokescreen and Grunt watched with similar expressions. PRIME EFFECT 4 As the Nemesis began to climb through the Earth's atmosphere, Galvatron was still overlooking everything from his spot in the CIC. The doors behind then suddenly opened as Jackson Prime and Arcee were escorted into the room and led up the catwalk to the Predacon Leader who smiled darkly at how defeated the two Autobots looked. The Prime looked like he had been battered as he was limping along, while all that was left of his right arm was a stump that had been bandaged up, but that was already becoming a deep shade of crimson as the wound had yet to be properly healed yet. His femme meanwhile looked no better as she had her arm round the Autobot leader and helped him to walk, her face was one of deep concern and fear for her spark-mate as she never took her eyes off him. "Ah, glad to see the two of you could make it. I promise not to keep you from the infirmary too long Prime, since I would hate to see you bleed over the floor of my new battleship." Galvatron said in sarcastic tone, earning looks of pure loathing and content from the pair. "You wont...get away with...this, Galvatron." Jack said in between his breathes, which had started to get heavy due to his injuries. But the Predacon Lord merely looked down at his prisoner and smiled. "Oh, but I already have. Because the City that you Autobots hold so dear is now nothing more than a smoking crater. Also your forces are stretched out all over the galaxy, with no means to communicate to each other. We Predacons have no such restrictions, so we will take advantage of the situation that we have created and ensure that the rest of the galaxy trembles at the very mention of our name." "My Lord, we are free of the planet's atmosphere and the rest of the fleet has joined us." the Terracon piloting the Nemesis then stated, earning his Leader's attention. "Very good.." Galvatron replied as he looked out of the canopy to see that the star-field surrounded them, and multiple Predacon cruisers were now taking up formation around his ship. "Sir, Six-shot requests permission to land." another Terracon said, gaining a nod from Galvatron. "Granted, and have him come straight here." he replied before looking back out of the CIC's canopy, and noticing a ship ahead of them that certainly wasn't one of their own. "We have an Autobot cruiser directly in front of us. it is the Ultra Magnus." the pilot reported as Galvatron, Jack and Arcee watched. "It is heavily damaged, but it's weapons are still active. Should I signal our cruisers to take it out?" he said, making his leader shake his head on return. "No, I wish to see what the Nemesis is capable of. Power up our weapons and target that ship." he said in a commanding tone, making his Terracons work frantically At their posts. "Weapons armed and target locked." one then said from his post. "Fire!" The Nemesis then fired a barrage of red glowing torpedoes at the Ultra Magnus, which tried to evade them whilst using it's thrusters. But several of the torpedoes impacted on it's engineering section, crippling the ship and causing it to drift out of it's way. "Finish them off." the Predacon leader then added as an evil grin grew on his face, but just as the Terracon at Tactical prepared to launch one last spread of torpedoes at the Autobot ship. Suddenly his fellow soldier then called out. "Space-bridge vortex opening directly in front of us." he said as a green blip appeared on his holo-display. "What?" Galvatron shouted back as everyone looked out of the canopy to see the said green vortex hovering in the void ahead of them. Suddenly a smaller frigate flew out of the vortex and towards the Nemesis. "It's IFF is coming up..." said one of the Terracons as he looked at his holo-screen. "...it is the Autobot frigate 'Normandy'." Jack looked out at the ship as his eyes widened at mention of that name, which did not go unnoticed by Arcee. "Jack?" "Orion is on that ship, Arcee." the Prime said, before Galvatron gained both Autobots attention with his next action. "Shoot that ship down, I want it out of our path now." A look of pure horror then appeared on the parents faces as it dawned on them what was about to happen. 'No!' Jack and Arcee both thought as the Terracon began targeting their son's vessel. At that exact time in the cockpit of the Normandy, Rodimus and Orion stood behind Jetstorm as he piloted their ship. Surprised expressions were written on their faces as they saw the ships directly between them and Earth. "Looks like your hunch was correct, Commander. I have a dozen enemy ships leaving Earth as we speak." the pilot said as he read the data appearing on his sensor screen, then Orion pointed his hand to the massive black ship that was amongst them. "What is that?" Rodimus's eyes widened as he recognized the vessel. "That's the Nemesis, but it shouldn't up and running yet." Suddenly an alarm began blaring around them and Jetstorm knew exactly what it meant. "The Nemesis is targeting us." he exclaimed. "Take evasive action!" Rodimus ordered, making the Autobot pilot type at his holo-station frantically as veered the Normandy starboard, but the newly christened Predacon battleship fired several spreads of torpedoes and cannon fire at the frigate. Several missed and that was thanks to Jetstorm's quick manoeuvres, but the rest of them hit the ship along it's hull which taxed the shields until the final spread impacted on the Normandy's port engine wing. There was suddenly and explosion that shook the entire ship, knocking any crew members not seated to the ground as it's wing and the entire port engine broke off, causing the ship to go into an out of control spin. "Damage Report!" Rodimus shouted over the sounds of panic as he and Orion picked themselves up from the floor, the younger bot looked back towards the CIC and saw the crew fighting the fires that had been caused by the damage that their ship had just taken in the attack. "We've lost the port engine, I am trying to correct our course with thrusters. Our shield strength is down to seventeen percent, I doubt we could survive another hit like that." the Pilot replied while studying the red flashing areas of the ship schematics on his holo-screen. "Damn it!" he then cursed while clenching his fist and slamming it on the arm rest of his chair, alarming both Bots behind him. "What's wrong, Jetstorm?" Orion asked as smoke filled the air from the fires behind them. "We've just lost power to the other engines, we are completely dead in the water." The three bots then looked at each other as it dawned on them what might happen next, before looking out of the canopy to see the Nemesis directly in front of them, blocking out the sun with it's jet black hull, the only light glowing from the weapon ports as they were aimed at them. Galvatron was looking out at the critically damaged Autobot ship as it drifted before his battleship, while his crew of Terracons continued to work the Nemesis's systems around him. "What is the condition of the Normandy?" he asked as he turned round and noticed the looks of pure horror on Jack and Arcee's faces, as they stood there and looked out at the frigate. "My Lord, the Normandy has suffered considerable damage. It is no longer a threat to us." the Terracon on the station to his lower left replied, making the Predacon Leader smile darkly as his eyes met those of his prisoners. "Just because the vessel is no longer a threat, that does not mean I will leave it be." he said back while keeping his attention on the two Autobots, taking note of the evolving looks of despair on their faces. "No.." Arcee whispered as Jackson Prime took a step forward toward Galvatron, making both Terracons that stood guard over them point their rifles at him. "Galvatron, I ask you…..spare that vessel. Haven't enough people died today…on both sides?" The Predacon Lord looked at the Prime, his red eyes narrowing while his counterpart stood firm before him. "Why? What is so important about this vessel? You didn't speak a word when we disabled the other Autobot ship earlier, so that leaves me curious to this sudden change in your attitude." Jack broke contact with Galvatron's eyes as he looked down to the ground, He could not come out and say that his son was on board that ship. If he knew the truth, the Predacon may just destroy the Normandy to cause further pain to both him and Arcee. "Please, just let the ship be." Jack said back in a pleading like tone while holding his arms out to his sides, earning a devilish grin from Galvatron. "What is this? Is the great Jackson Prime, Leader of the Autobots begging me not to end the lives of some of his precious Autobots." he laughed before looking down at Jack, his shadow being cast upon the Prime as he stood before him. "Well, I am afraid that if you really want me to leave this ship alone, then you will have to get on your knees and plead to me to do so." The Autobot Leader looked back at Arcee, who merely nodded in return. For the Femme knew that even if this diminished themselves in the eyes of their enemies, it would be a small price to pay if it meant protecting that which was most precious to them. So Jack turned back to Galvatron and while keeping his eyes to the ground, began to get down on to his knees. But before he could do so, the Predacon Leader laughed out loud and kicked the Prime in the chest, sending him onto his back. "Jack!" Arcee exclaimed as she rushed to her partner's side as Gavlatron towered before them both, his sharp teeth bared as he smiled darkly at them both. "Pitiful! How weak and pathetic the line of Primes has become. You are a disgrace, Jackson Prime, and to answer your question, I will not spare that ship…." the Predacon Leader spat before turning his back on both prisoners and looking out at the crippled Normandy. "…take them away, and target all weapons on the Normandy." he commanded to his crew, but as both Autobots were about to react, they were suddenly grabbed and pulled to their feet by the two Terracon guards. "Galvatron!" Jack called out in a desperate plea, but the Predacon Leader ignored him and kept his attention on the soon to be destroyed enemy ship beyond his canopy. "The Normandy is targeted, my Lord." the Terracon manning the weapons station reported as the door the two Autobot prisoners were dragged off the bridge. "Prepare to fir..." Galvatron began to say before his com-link beeped, cutting him off mid sentence. So he tapped his ear piece to responde. "What is it?" "We have the Space-bridge up and running my Lord, and all troops have been brought aboard via the Ground-bridge. So we can leave at your convenience." Lazerback replied, earning a sigh from the Predacon leader. "Very well, Lazerback, and well done." he said back before looking at the Terracon manning the helm. "Belay my last order and target our Space-bridge for Cybertron." "Yes, my Lord." the soldier replied as Galvatron watched the Normandy as it drifted past. "But, my Lord, I thought we were going to destroy that ship?" another Terracon asked, gaining an angry stare from the Predacon Leader. "You are not questioning me are you? Surely you have heard what happens to those that do?" The soldier gulped but kept his gaze fixed on his Leader as he stood at his station. "...Of course not, Lord Galvatron, but you told the two Autobots that we would destroy the ship. I am just confused to how this works...,my Lord." Galvatron flashed a slight smile towards the soldier, before looking back out at the black void beyond the CIC canopy. "Well, they both seemed very concerned about that vessel or perhaps it was someone who was on board. So if they were to believe that the Normandy had been destroyed, then it would only make them suffer more grief and despair. And that would make them even less likely to cause us any trouble as our prisoners, so that is what I will let them believe." he said back, earning a smile from the Terracon. "You are most wise, my Lord." "Indeed..." The Predacon Leader replied as he looked down to the soldier manning the communication station. "...inform the fleet to meet us at Cybertron." he then said, earning a nod from the Terracon. Galvatron then looked back to the helmsman. "Take us home." The Terracon manning the helm then programmed the coordinates into his holo-interface and suddenly a bright green vortex opened up before the Nemesis which then flew into it, as the rest of the Predacon fleet carried on to the Sol system's edge so that they could use the space-bridge located there, leaving the Federation in chaos as they wonder how on earth this possibly could have happened.
  2. CHAPTER XII Garrus looked through the scope of his sniper rifle and scanned the horizon around him, his eye took in all the death and destruction that this new enemy had inflicted upon New Iacon. If he was an overly emotional man, this probably would have made him shed a tear for those that had already been taken from this world, but Garrus had already seen his fair share of war and had grown accustomed to keeping his mind in the here and now. For he was a Turian, and as a species they were always one of the most military-centric in the galaxy. So he kept looking through scope, though in fact he used to think that viewing war through a scope actually made everything he saw seem less real, and that he was really just an observer and not a part of it. Not a very healthy way to view the carnage that was playing out in front of him, and that was something Garrus had learned when he was but a soldier of the Turian Hierarchy. For if you truly disconnect yourself from what you are doing, then you lose a part of why you are doing it in the first place. And he had seen that happen to one that he had known back then, his name was Vrynnus and he was the single greatest sniper in the history of his species. Though his psyche was unstable and thus was promptly dishonourably discharged. Garrus had not seen or heard of Vrynnus since then, but as he saw a civilian family attempting to outrun a group of Predacon soldiers. He could not help but feel glad that he had not turned out the same way before pulling the trigger on his rifle and killing the first soldier with a shot to the head. The others suddenly looked up after their comrade had fell to the ground and the Turian quickly dispatched them too, leaving the family in the clear. He watched as they made their way to more cover before his com-link activated. "Garrus, how does it look out there?" Jack said, gaining the Turian's attention as he reloaded his rifle. "We are clear to move, Jack. No Predacons in this area. Though there is a family of civilians who need evacuating." "Then call in a shuttle and get back here, because we are heading for the Vaults." the Prime replied. "Roger that." Garrus said back before he got to his feet and reactivated his com-link, turning his back on the civilians as he headed back to the others. Jack meanwhile was waiting with both Smokescreen and Grunt, watching the battle taking place in the sky above the city. And he just had just witnessed one of the Aerialbot fighters being taken out by the green and silver dragon that currently stood atop one of the Autobot cruisers. "Scrap, exactly how are we going to beat those two beasts, let alone the army that controls them?" Smokescreen asked, earning a serious look from the Prime. "By defeating their leader, that is how." he said, earning a nod from the Autobot. Grunt smiled and looked at both of them. "Decapitate the Thresher Maw's head and it's body will die. I like that plan." "Thought you might, we will head off the moment Garrus gets back." Jack replied as the Krogan started to reload his shotgun, though Smokescreen joined the Prime's side as he went back to looking at the perimeter. "What's wrong, Smokescreen?" Jack asked as he looked turned to his friend, noticing the younger Bot's slightly worried yet hopeful expression. "I am sure Arcee's alright, Jack. We'll get her back." he said in his usual enthusiastic tone, earning an ever so slight smile from the Prime. For when Smokescreen was younger, that tone might have been mistaken for a naive-like overconfidence. But now that he was older, it could be seen for what it truly was. Maybe what it always had been... Potential. For over the past two decades, Jack had seen the Autobot grow from green as green rookie, into one of the best warriors in the entire Autobot ranks. And the Prime had to admit that Smokescreen had the same potential that both he and Orion Pax had within themselves, which was the potential of becoming a Prime. But unfortunately for the bot, it was not meant to be. For Jack already knew who the next Prime would be, though he could not explain how or why he knew. He just had to ensure that the future he knew of, came to pass. And so to witness the individual in question desperately trying to avoid such a fate was just very disappointing to the Autobot leader to see. "Jack?" Smokescreen asked again with a confused expression, snapping the Prime from his thoughts. "I'm okay, and I know we will get Arcee back." The Autobot smiled in return before Garrus appeared from over the ridge and rejoined the group. "What's it like between us and the vaults?" Jack asked. "Just took out another patrol, so if we are going to do this then we should move now." the Turian replied, earning a nod from the Prime. "Alright, Guys. We head straight for the vaults. No stopping for anything now, we have stop the Leader of this attack. So roll out." The team then left the area and moved with purpose towards the building just north of their current position while conflict continued to rage on around them. PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile inside the Vaults, Galvatron and his Predacon troops walked through a large hallway that had a massive cybertronain painting upon it's ceiling. From the way it looked, you wouldn't think that it was a storage bunker as it looked more like a temple. But as the group continued through its interior, Blight looked over to the Predacon leader. "Lord Galvatron, while we are here, shall we raid the vault for whatever relics and objects that could be of use to our cause?" "There is no need, Blight. For everything we require is just beyond this very building. So Why don't we..." Galvatron began to say before he suddenly felt the need to look over to a corridor situated to the group's right, which earned confused looks from everyone there. What he felt was like a burning desire in his spark that was not there only moments earlier, and this confused the Predacon Leader. 'Why do I suddenly wish to explore the vaults? I had no plans to originally...but I feel that I must.' he thought as he placed his hand onto his chest plate which was directly over the area where his spark was contained, as it was pulsing faster and faster with a need to investigate that now mysterious corridor. "My Lord?" Blight asked in a confused tone as the Predacon Leader ignored him and continued to look away from them, the Terracons in the group began whispering to each other. Even the two guarding Arcee began conversing quietly as the Lieutenant tried again to gain their master's attention, but the Femme could hear what they were saying. "Here we go again..." the right one said, earning a look from the one on the left. "What? What have I missed this time?" "You have heard about our Lord's lapses in concentration, haven't you?" the right one replied. "Oh, you mean when he suddenly looks away from people and stares angrily toward an area where there is no one." the left one answered, earning a nod from his friend. "Yeah, and how others have heard our Lord talking to himself inside his own quarters, despite the fact that he is alone in there." "I have heard that, so this is another episode we are seeing here." the left one replied. "I wonder what he is going to do this time?" the right one said but unbeknownst to them, Arcee was eavesdropping on their conversation. 'So Galvatron is crazy, wonder if there is a way I can use that to my advantage.' she thought before Galvatron spoke again. "On second thoughts, Blight, take two of the Terracons with you and secure the building's exit. While I will take a look inside the vault for any trinkets that could be of use." he said while looking back at his men, earning a worried stare from Arcee as the Predacon Leader kept his attention on Blight. 'He can't be allowed to get any of the relics down there, if he so much as finds those like 'the spark extractor', 'the Apex Armour' or 'the Resonance blaster' , then he would get a significant advantage. Even more than what he has already with the Predacons.' she thought as the others continued to converse. "And take our Prisoner with you, I would not wish for her to be near any of the objects down there that she could use as a weapon against us." Galvatron added as he looked back at the Femme. "Yes, my Lord." Blight answered in return, before the Predacon leader and two Terracons turned to leave sown the right hand corridor. But suddenly Arcee started to struggle against her captors, earning surprised look from both of them as they kept a grip on her arms. "Quit your struggling, your not going to get away from us." the left one said, but the Femme carried on. "I said stop it!" he said again as he went to hit her with his free hand but the Autobot moved her head backwards, making the Terracon move forward with the momentum of the punch he threw at her, making he lean forward. While he was like this, Arcee took her chance and kneed him in the chest which caused the Con to let go of her arm while staggering back. "What are you doing, you stupid wretch?" the other asked right before the Femme then hit him in the face with her free hand, disorienting the Terracon before she followed through with a kick to the chest, sending him onto his back. Galvatron just turned around and aimed his rifle at Arcee's legs and opened fire, but the femme was quick enough to take cover behind the Terracon who was still clutching his chest. The Predacon Lord though, kept his finger on the trigger and fired again at her legs. Which ripped through the Terracon's own, causing him to fall to the ground as blood spilled out from the wounds. Arcee though just pushed herself harder, running down the corridor and out of Galvatron's range. "Damn it." he spat as she disappeared out of view, while Blight took a few steps in her direction only for the Predacon Leader to hold his hand up to him. "No, I will handle this. You already have your orders." he said before looking down at the Terracons that were still on the floor. "Kill these two." he barked without even looking them in the eyes, earning a confused look from his Lieutenant. "My Lord?" he asked with a puzzled tone, while the soldiers looked up at him. "They have failed me,..." Galvatron said with disdain in his voice, so the Lieutenant equipped his gun and shot both Terracons in the head without any further hesitation, their bodies then fell back onto the floor with a smoking hole in each of their heads. "...also contact Lazerback and request reinforcements." the Predacon Lord added as he began to walk down the corridor, leaving the Predacons who then walked in the opposite direction towards the exit. Arcee kept moving as the corridor began to slant somewhat, descending down into the vaults until she came to a T-junction at the corridors end. The Femme looked down both directions that were open to her and frowned. 'Scrap, which way were the weapons again?' she thought before hearing footsteps approaching from further up the way she had come from, building up the urgency of her situation. 'Come on...damn it, why can't I remember. Fuck it." she thought before running down the left corridor and into the more dimly lit area of the vaults, hoping that her guess would turn out to be right. Then a moment later Galvatron walked down to that same Junction and stopped in it's center, before taking a look down both corridors connected to it. 'Which way did you go, Autobot?' he thought before that feeling returned and he looked back down the corridor on his left, as he felt a tingling sensation all over his skin along with a sudden crystal clear sense of purpose. So the Predacon Leader began walking down the left hand corridor, not knowing that the Arcee had gone down that exact same corridor. The corridor then opened up into a massive dimly lit room, with the only sources of illumination coming from the small lights on the high ceiling and in the special display cases that were positioned in a grid like structure throughout the room. Arcee looked around her to see that she was alone, but the Femme still had no idea if she was in the correct room. So she looked at a number of the display cases an found numerous artifacts and relics from Members throughout the Federation, like the original statue of the Goddess Athame that belonged to the Asari. There were numerous relics similar to that in this room and that was when Arcee saw it, giving her a feeling of relief in her spark as she looked upon a large golden hammer that could only be the Forge of Solus Prime. It was a sign that she was in the right place, as she stood there and looked at it. 'At least I am not in the weapons area, I just wonder if...' she began to think, before a vile voice cut her off as it echoed throughout the room. "I know your in here, Autobot." Galvtron said aloud, his voice echoing through the vast room, but Arcee just kept quiet as he continued to speak. "Why don't you just surrender since you know you cannot defeat me." he added while walking further into the room, as Arcee hid behind one of the cases and looked back towards the entrance,. And there she saw Predacon Leader. Galvatron looked around the room, his eyes scanning every detail of his surroundings as he continued further into it. "You obviously did this because you think I would want the weapons that are so obviously stored in this vault... such a waste of energy and time. Because like I said before, I have no..." he continued to say before he was cut off by that feeling in his spark remerging, though now it was stronger than ever as it overrode his senses. "Arrgh!" Galvatron spluttered as he fell on to his knees, clenching at his spark as it pulsed even stronger. 'What's wrong with me?' he thought before looking up and noticing a large glass case just a few aisles ahead of him, to his eyes it was glowing a bright white light that one would think was blinding, but the Predacon Lord found himself fascinated by it, like a moth to a candle light. So he got back to his feet and walked even further into the maze of display cases, while Arcee watched from her hiding spot. 'What?' she thought before deciding to move closer and observe her enemy, because if he was distracted then she may have a chance to avenge her Sister and end this conflict. So the Femme kept to the shadows as she followed the Predacon as he continued to walk through the room in an almost trance-like state, but then he came to a stop in front of one display case and stared at it's contents. 'What's in the case that has his attention so badly?' Arcee thought, wondering why he was no longer searching for her. But unbeknownst to the Femme, Galvatron had pretty much forgotten about his quarry as he was now staring at the object in front of him, which to his eyes was shining brightly like a newly born star, so he could not make out what it looked like. But as the feeling in his spark gained strength, he suddenly heard a loud ringing in his ears. A sound that brought instant pain to the Predacon, making him clutch at his ears and cry out in agony. "Aaarrrggghhhh!" This even made Arcee nervous as she watched from just behind the display case behind him, for what was transpiring confused her even more. 'What in the Allspark?' she thought as Galvatron fell back onto his knees and breathed heavily, but before the Femme could guess what would happen next, the Predacon rose up onto his feet and raised his clenched fists into the air. And almost on cue, his fists began to glow with a purple energy before he brought them down on the glass display case. shattering the glass instantly, allowing him access to the artefact. Galvatron then reached in and picked up the object, looking down at it while the ringing and agonising pain in his spark stopped, even the bright light that had been enveloping the object faded away. His eyes then adjusted while he looked down at what was in his hands, when suddenly his memory kicked in as he recognised the object which looked like a metallic book, making his eyes widen in disbelief. "It can't be?" he said in surprise while opening it's cover, for it's pages were like glass panels which had Cybertronian letters scrolling down them like code, but the Predacon Lord could not read it as it read like gibberish. Arcee meanwhile was still watching and saw the book in Glavatron's hands, her eyes widening and jaw almost dropping to the floor in her surprise. 'The Covenant of Primus!' she thought as her mind then jettisoned any further ideas of stealth and patience, with only one thought taking their place. 'I have to get that book out of his hands. Screw it!' she thought before starting to move towards him slowly. Meanwhile Galvatron was still looking at the book, as something made his eyes widen once again as the random letters and symbols began to change and form whole words before him on the page. He was suddenly able to read it. But before he had the chance to, the Clone suddenly had a feeling and spun around with a punch that connected with Arcee's face as she leapt at him. The force of the hit sent the Femme back to the ground hard, while the Predacon Leader equipped his rifle and pointed it at her as she recovered. "Stay down, Autobot, unless you are that desperate to join your dead friend." he said, earning a look of pure hate from Arcee. "Chromia was my sister!" she spat back as blood trickled down her chin from her mouth, making Galvatron smile as he enjoyed the turmoil the Autobot was in. "You don't say, and here I thought you were just trying to get this from me." he replied as he held up the book for the Femme to see, her eyes focused on it for a moment before meeting his again. "That doesn't belong to you." Arcee said as Galvatron closed the book and connected it to his utility belt. "I think you will find that it does...now." he said while gesturing for her to stand up, which she did while wiping the blood from her mouth. "Now get moving." he added while keeping his weapon pointed directly at the Femme, before they then left the room and went back to meet up with Blight and the Terracons. Galvatron did not know why he was drawn to the Covenant or what he saw in its pages , but he would make sure that he found out. But for now that would have to wait until he and his Predacons had secured their secondary objective. PRIME EFFECT 4 Jack and his team arrived outside the New Iacon vault to find a massive hole in the building's wall, but no welcoming committee. The Prime, Smokescreen and Grunt kept their weapons ready while Garrus looked up to the giant hole and whistled. "Now that is a big hole." he said in amazement at the sheer size of the improvised entrance, Smokescreen stood turned his attention to what thr Turian was looking at and nodded. "It certainly is, bet it was one of those dragon-like beasts. I am just glad that those things aren't here now." This earned a look of disappointment from Grunt who sneered back. "What's the matter, Smokescreen? You afraid of fighting a little Beast?" he said, gaining a knowing stare from the Bot. "No, I'm just not crazy like you, Grunt." the Smokescreen replied, which made the Krogan narrow his eyes back in return. "When you've faced a Thresher Maw up close and killed it with just a shotgun and your bare hands, then you certainly won't fear Dragons or whatever you call those things." the he snarled with anger tinging his voice, earning an eye roll from both Jack and Garrus. "Here we go again." the Turian whispered, while the Prime left his side and walked over to the other pair. "That's enough. Grunt, save it for the enemy. And, Smokescreen, you know better than to piss off a Krogan." "You think he would, but how many times has he done it now?" Garrus casually replied with a smile, making the young Autobot look at him with a shocked expression. "That's not cool, Garrus." As they bickered, the Prime decided to ignore them and instead look out at the City around them, this did not go unnoticed by his friends who stopped and looked at their Leader who had a thoughtful expression on his face. "What is it, Jack?" Smokescreen asked as they stood around him. "We know the enemy Leader is in there, so it's plausible to assume that more of his troops will come this way." Jack replied, earning a nod from Garrus. "Yeah, I agree with that. So what's the plan?" "You three will stay here and take up defensive positions, ensure that no other enemies make it in there after me." All three of his friends gave him a concerned look in response, while ignoring the Aerialbot reinforcements flying over head. "But what are you doing during this?" Smokescreen asked, before either Garrus or Grunt could utter a word. "I am going in there to rescue my Spark-mate and kill their Leader. And I am doing this alone. There will be more of a chance that I can get the drop on them." the Prime said back, earning a worried look from the younger Bot. "But…." he started to say, though Jack simply cut him off. "That is an order, now get to it. We can't waste anymore time, we need end this conflict now." he said as placed his rifle on his back and equipped his pistol. The others nodded in return and as Jack turned away and headed into the building, both Garrus and Grunt started looking for good places to ambush anyone that would show up. But as they did so, Smokescreen just watched as his Leader and friend headed off into the darkness of the vaults. As Jackson Prime made his way through large halls of the Iacon Vaults, he could not help but notice the lack of any kind of rear guard for the enemy leader. 'Either he isn't expecting an attack, or is just very over confident.' Jack thought as he carried on further into the building, being sure not to make make any noise since it would be magnified and echo through out these large halls, alerting the enemy to his presense. But just as he was about to leave the current area, the Prime heard a foot step behind him so he spun around with his pistol and star saber holo-blade, ready to take down what had krept up on him in a heartbeat. "Woah, take it easy." Jack simply looked at Smokescreen who was standing right in front of him, his arms raised in a non threatening manner with a look of surprise on his face. "It's just me, Jack." the young Bot added, while Jack's eyes suddenly narrowed as a look or thunder appeared on the his face. "I told you to stay with the others and defend the entrance." he whispered back, though even the lower volume could not disguise the angry tone that came with them. But the Autobot simply returned Jack's angry expression with a frank look. "Sorry, Jack, but I could not leave you to face what could be an overwhelming force in here alone. I just could not do it." "And what about the others?" Jack replied. Meanwhile, Garrus and Wrex had taken up defensive positions near the entrance to the building, which gave them good cover and view of the area leading up to them. "Hey, is it me or has it gotten a lot quieter all of a sudden?" Grunt asked due to the lack of talk, so he and the Turian looked around to find that they were they only ones there. "Oh, for the love of..." Garrus suddenly said with an agitated tone as the Krogan chuckled to himself. "...Can't Smokescreen simply follow orders. I hate it when he runs off like that." the Turian added. "Well, I am just happy that he isn't talking my ear off, but I guess he followed Jack." Grunt replied. "Of course he did. Damn it Smokescreen." Garrus said back as Grunt noticed movement ahead of them. "Garrus, we have incoming." The Turian looked through the scope of his rifle and saw more enemy soldiers approaching their position by foot. "I see them. Okay, pick your targets and make sure they go down in one hit. We don't want them to get too close, or else they could swarm us. Lets keep them disorganised." "Whatever you say, let's just kill them already." Grunt replied as he readied his rifle and aimed it at one of the enemies. Garrus meanwhile had the head of one directly in his cross hairs and took a deep breath, and then pulled the trigger. Back inside the Vaults and Jack was still looking angry as he stared at Smokescreen. "Well? What about the others?" "You need the help more than they do, Jack. I mean Garrus is one of the best snipers in the galaxy. And Grunt is a walking roadblock, you and I both know they can handle it." Smokescreen replied in a completely honest tone, which was reflected in the expression on his face. Jack simply sighed in response, knowing full well that the younger Autobot was right. He just wished that Smokescreen would actually follow his orders to the letter from time to time. "Okay, you're with me then. Just stay quiet and follow my lead, alright?" "Of course, Jack. Lead the way." Smokescreen replied before both of then heard voices echoing from down the corridor before them. "They are just ahead of us, be ready." Jack said, earning a nod from his friend as they both equipped their weapons and made their way into the corridor. PRIME EFFECT 4 "The exit is secure sir." the Terracon standing to Blight's left said, making the Predacon turn to him and nod in acknowledgment. "Very well, then all that is left is to await Lord Galvatron's arrival." he replied as both soldiers saluted him. "You won't have to wait long." a familiar voice called out from the room's entrance as Galvatron appeared with Arcee at in front of him, pushing her forward with his free hand as he kept his rifle aimed at her. "Keep moving, Autobot, unless you want to join your Sister in the Allspark a little early?" The Femme gave him a piercing look of hate, though the Predacon Leader merely ignored this and pushed her again. "Lord Galvatron, the exit has been secured." Blight reported, earning a smile from his Master. "Excellent work, Blight. Now you two, keep this Femme under close guard or else you will suffer the same fate as the last two...understand?" Galvatron spat as he pushed Arcee toward the two Terracons, who grabbed her and restrained her arms. "...und...understood, Lord Galvatron." they stuttered in unison, the fear they for their leader showing in their faces, which made the Predacon Lord's smile grow a little bigger in response. Blight then noticed something on his Master's utility belt, something that had not been present earlier. "My Lord, what is that you have in your possession?" he asked, earning the attention of both Terracons while Arcee kept her eyes to the floor. "This?" Galvatron replied as he held the object in his free hand, giving his men a good look at it. "...this is the 'Covenant of Primus'. It is an Autobot relic which may hold some answers for us and will be studied once we have left this planet." Blight looked at the book with an intrigued expression, one that was shared with the Terracons. "I do not mean to intrude, my Lord, but how exactly will we be leaving?" one of the soldiers then said, earning looks of shock from Blight and the Terracon standing next to him before they looked back to see their master's reaction. Galvatron stared at the questioning soldier with a look of surprise and annoyance, one that pierced directly through into the Terracon's spark and made him uneasy. "Forgive me, my Lord. I am merely curious as we lost the use of the Icarus, when we plunged it into the city. And the rest of our cruisers have either been destroyed or under heavy fire." "Are you now, then why don't you take a look through the exit and tell me what you see." the Predacon Leader replied, making the soldier feel more nervous. But his master merely gestured to him to take a look, so the Terracon walked over to the doorway that exited the vault's building. Once there he could see the ruined city surrounding their location, but less than half a mile directly in front of the questioning soldier was a massive black ship that was in what looked like a dry dock. "What is that?" he asked. "That is the newest battleship to come off the Autobot assembly line and it is called the Nemesis, we will be requisitioning it for the Predacon cause." Galvatron replied as he walked over and stood by the Terracon, who merely looked back at the giant black ship. "It is a pity though that you will not be able to board it with us." the Predacon Leader then added, earning a bemused look from the soldier. "What?…" he began to say before suddenly being cut off as Galvatron punched his fist into the Terracon's chest and grabbed hold of his spark chamber, making the minion grimace and spit out blood as he fell to his knees. The Predacon Lord then looked down the Terracon, who's eyes had grown wider as the pain became unbearable. "Do you know what your mistake was?" Galvatron asked as he tightened his grip on the spark chamber, earning a nod from the soldier who could no longer speak due to the ever increasing agony he was currently feeling. "Good, take that lesson to the pit with you!" the Leader then growled as he tore the spark chamber from the Terracon's chest, scattering his blood around the immediate area. Galvatron then showed the others behind him the blood soaked spark of the dead Terracon, earning shocked looks from all three as the body of the fallen minion collapsed onto the floor. "Nobody questions Galvatron, understand?" the Predacon Lord spat as he dropped the blooded organ on the floor, earning panicked nods from both Blight and the one remaining Terracon who was holding Arcee. The Femme though simply looked at the enemy Leader with hate and contempt, earning a devious smile from him before looking at the two Predacons. "Let's go, the Nemesis awaits." "I don't think so." a voice called out from the other side of the room, making the Predacons turn around and see two men entering the room with their rifles aimed at them. Arcee immediately smiled as she recognised both men, older on especially. "Jack." she said with a relieved tone in her voice, earning a sneer from Galvatron as he took a step toward the new arrivals. "Jackson Prime, finally! I was wondering when you would make an appearance." the Predacon leader said with a familiarity that surprised the Prime. "Excuse me? but I don't believe we've ever met." Galvatron smiled darkly at the Autobot Leader, for he did know him. But only through his inherited memories from Megatron, and the information he had read on the extranet. "No, we have not met. And yet...I never forget a face, not even that of a Human." Jack's eyes widened as he recognised not only that sentence, but also the tone and way it was said. Reminding him of one that died a long time ago. "Megatron?" he replied with surprise and a questioning tone in his voice. Galvatron's expression suddenly changed as his red eyes narrowed at the Prime while gritting his teeth, the enemy leader was obviously aggravated by what Jack had just said. But what no one in that room knew was that at this very moment, Galvatron also heard an uncontrollable laughter coming from his right side, from someone that everyone else in that room could not see. "Ha ha ha ha...I knew it...ha ha ha ha, I knew he would think you were me." the hallucination of Megatron exclaimed happily, making the clone's blood boil in his veins as he tried desperately to ignore him. "My name is Galvatron! Leader of the Predacons, and you will surrender or else I will have your spark-mate terminated." the Predacon Lord replied as he gestured to the both the Terracon and the Femme in his grip, making Smokescreen look a little unnerved as he looked back at Jack. But the But the Prime was unfazed as he looked from Galvatron to his lover, who had her arms held behind her back by the Terracon. "Arcee, are you going to just take that kind of treatment from these guys?" he asked with a knowing smile on his face, one that was mirrored by the Femme who nodded back before activating her holo-armblades which sliced the Terracon's fore arms off. The soldier gave out a cry of pain as Arcee freed herself, holding it's stubs up in the air as it's blood flowed from the open wounds. The Femme then turned and sliced its chest open, letting the soldier fall to the floor and die as Galvatron looked dumbfounded. "Blight, kill her." he spat as the Predacon nodded and launched himself at the Femme, only for Smokescreen to come out of nowhere and tackle him to the ground. "What!" Galvatron said aloud, while Arcee and the younger Autobot stood beside each other, ready to fight the Predacon who was getting back to his feet. "Thanks for the help Smokescreen." Arcee said, earning a smile from the bot. "You're welcome, now lets take this guy out." Galvatron was fuming as he equipped his blade and began to move towards the Femme, only for him to find himself on the defensive as he brought his weapon up just in time to block Jack's star-saber. Galvatron then pushed the Prime back and then swung his blade at him, but Jack easily deflected it with his own. For the a long moment the two clashed their blades several times in a row as they appeared evenly matched, as neither seemed like losing. The Predacon leader though managed to create an opening by punching Jack in the face, disorienting him for a moment so Galvatron took advantage by thrusting forward with his blade aimed at the Prime's the Autobot leader managed to activate the skyboom shield just in time to block the attack before performing a front kick into Galvatron's chest, knocking him to the ground. But as the Prime stood over his opponent, the Predacon Lord chuckled while looking up at his enemy. "I'm impressed, you're quite devious for a Prime. Launching an attack while my attention was elsewhere, that's almost Decepticon behavior." he sneered, earning a knowing look from Jack. "Well, I guess it's no different to dropping a star-ship on a city, and then attacking while they recover from it. If anything, I would say that your like a certain Decepticon who died a long time ago." The Prime, earning daggers from Galvatron as he stared back in anger. The Predacon then lunged forward with his blade, making Jack deflect the attack with his star-saber. But it was only a feigning from the clone as he then threw a punch with his free hand, which connected with the Prime's jaw, sending him back a few steps until he fell to one knee. Galvatron was about to continue his attack before he was forced to stop as the hallucination of Megatron reappeared in front of him with his arms behind his back, and looked at his clone. "He does have point, doesn't he? You should face the fact that you are nothing more than a shadow of me." the hallucination said as Galvatron looked at him for a second, just as a purple hue appeared around the pupils in his red eyes. "Never!" he suddenly screamed as he lunged through Megatron and tackled Jack to the floor. As Jack and Galvatron fought, Arcee and Smokescreen were busy taking on Blight who had accessed his mode almost immediately, looking just like the Terracon that the femme had killed earlier with the help of her fallen sister. And so did not bat an eye at the change, the same couldn't be said of Smokescreen. "Holy shit! What the hell?" he said in shock at the transformation that the Predacon just went through. "Smokescreen, we can take him if we work together." Arcee replied, earning the younger bot's attention as Blight's transformation was just finishing. "Let me guess, it's now stronger and harder to kill." be said, getting a nod from the Femme as she raised her arm blades. "Right, so follow my lead. Now!" she cried before launching herself at Blight and slicing at his head, just as Smokescreen activated his holo-blade. But the Predacon blocked it and used her inertia to throw her to the ground. Before he could then finish the Femme as she lied there on the floor, the other Autobot attacked with his blade but Blight deflected it with his armoured forearms. And then punched Smokescreen in the face, sending him on to his ass. Arcee got back to her feet and then side-kicked Blight in the back, making him grimace as she then grabbed At his neck. But the Predacon managed to recover and slash at the Femme's armour, making her let go and he repaid the Autobot by throwing her back to the ground. "That's where you should stay, wretch... " he replied while staring down at her. "...at my feet." he added before suddenly crying out in pain, giving Arcee a chance to roll away and get back to her feet. Once recovered, the Femme saw that Smokescreen had stabbed his holo-blade into Blight's back. The Predacon tried to reach back at the bot, but Smokescreen was out of his reach. So Arcee smiled and dashed forward at Blight and slashed at both his legs, causing the enemy lieutenant to fall to his knees as the younger Autobot pulled the blade back out and the pair stood over the defeated Predacon. "Well, that was easier than I thought it would be." Smokescreen joked while breathing heavily, earning an eye roll from the Femme before their attention moved onto Jack as he was fighting Galvatron. "Come on, we have to help Ja..." she began to say before suddenly being grabbed by Blight and knocked to the ground for a third time, earning a shocked expression from Smokescreen, as he watched the previously thought to be defeated Predacon get back to his feet and narrow it's eyes at him. "That hurt." Blight said in annoyance as he made his way over to the Autobot. "...sorry." Smokescreen replied with a sarcastic tone just seconds before the beast-like Con roared and charged at him, making the Autobot dive out of the way. But he wasn't fast enough as he was caught on his side by Blight's sharp claws, which ripped through his armour and the skin beneath. Smokescreen grimaced as he fell to the ground, holding onto his wound that was bleeding through his finger tips. But before he could even acknowledge anything around him, Blight followed through with a kick to his chest. It was so hard and fast, the Autobot was instantly winded as he lay there. The Predacon then picked up the wounded Smokescreen by his throat and looked him in the eye and smiled, which earned him a gob full of saliva as the bot spat in his face. "You hit like a Sparkling." he said with a smile as Blight wiped the spit off himself, and then repaid the act by punching Smokescreen three times in his stomach. Meanwhile Arcee came too and recovered enough to see Blight hurl the younger Autobot through the nearby wall, his body disappearing from sight. "Smokescreen!" the Femme shouted as a large hole was all that was left where her friend had crashed through the wall, making her look back at Blight with utter hate in her eyes. The Predacon looked from the hole back to the blue Autobot and smiled. "Another one dead, it's really not your day, is it?" As Arcee remembered those that she had lost already on this day, Chromia, Ironhide and now Smokescreen. The anger in her spark escalated and without a clear train of thought, she launched herself at Blight in a rage. But before she got within a meter of her enemy, a red armoured hand grabbed her arm and another punched her in the stomach and put the Femme back on her knees as she strained to breath. Blight smiled at the one who stopped her as the new arrival, clad in red and yellow armour looked down at the defeated Autobot. "I got here as soon as I got your message, just had to take out two Autobots who were guarding the entrance to this building." he said as he looked back to his friend. "Lazerback, thanks for the assist. Though I did have everything under control." Blight replied with a lopsided grin, earning a knowing look from the other Predacon who had noticed Blight's injuries. "Yeah, you sure look like you had control of the situation." "These are just scratches, so where are the rest of your Terracons?" the blue and white Predacon replied, making his friend point behind him. "I sent them to help our master." Arcee's eyes widened at that comment and turned her head to see the Terracons advancing on Jack and Galvatron, who both were too preoccupied with their own battle to have noticed. 'Jack!' she thought instinctively before feeling the eyes of the two Predacons over her, so she looked up to see them looking down at her. "You're going to watch this." Blight said with a satisfied expression on his face, one mirrored by Lazerback as he pulled her back to her feet and properly restrained her, forcing her to watch the fight unfolding just aways from them. This was certainly a tougher fight than Jack had experienced in a long time, as he once again blocked another attack from Galvatron. Who's blade clashed with the Prime's star-saber, leaving the Predacon leader open to a counter. So Jack kicked his enemy in the chest, knocking the silver and black/purple armoured man back and giving the Prime the chance to attack again. But before he could do so, Galvatron looked behind him and began to laugh. "I didn't know you found losing a fight to a Human so funny?" Jack replied sarcastically, making the Predacon shake his head and smile back in a confident manner. "Actually it is you, Prime, who has lost. If you would only look around you." The Autobot leader kept his blade pointed at Galvatron and glanced around him to see not only had Smokescreen disappeared, but also Arcee had been captured again and there were five Terracons advancing on his position. "Surrender now, Prime, and I may at least allow your Spark-mate to live." Galvatron said, but Jack merely grinned slightly as the star-saber in his hand began to glow. "That is a very generous offer, but I'll pass. No one else is dying today" he said back before swinging his blade at the Predacon, making him jump back with an enraged expression on his face. "Destroy him!" The Terracons suddenly launched themselves at Jack who raised the Skyboom shield to block two of them before swiping the star-saber, which sliced one of the soldiers in half as the other just managed to dodge it. Another tried to attack the Prime from behind, but Jack dodged it and with a slice of his glowing blade, cut the soldier in half. The others looked at their dead comrade with wide eyes as the two halves of his body fell to the floor, before looking back at the Prime who grinned at them. "He had to split." he joked, making the remaining four stare daggers at him before rushing him together. But the Autobot leader was ready as he roundhouse kicked one, then smacked the face of the another with the hilt of the star-saber before elbowing him in the back. Then he charged into the next with the skyboom shield, knocking him to the ground and finally deactivated the shield to upper cut the forth right under his chin, sending him flying onto his back. Once this was over all four Terracons were standing all around Jack closely, which was what he wanted as his holo star-saber glowed bright blue. Galvatron who had watched the whole thing unfold, suddenly knew what the Prime was up to and shouted at them. "Get out of the way, you Fools!" But before any of the Terracons could reply or move, Jack swung the blade around him in a three hundred and sixty degree slice, decapitating all four Predacon soldiers in one move. First to hit the ground were their heads, which were quickly followed by their bodies as Glavatron stood opened mouthed at the sight before him. "You were saying?" Jack asked as he gave the Predacon leader a lopsided grin, which made the Lord enraged as he charged at the Prime with his blade ready. "You will die!" But Jack charged the star-saber and spun on the spot before unleashing an energy wave which hit Galvatron head on and sent him flying into the nearby wall, knocking the Predacon leader out. Both Lazerback and Blight stood their speechless as they held Arcee captive, the Femme though was smiling at Jack with an 'I want to jump you' expression. The Prime's cheeks reddened slightly at this but he managed to keep his composure, looking at the two Predacons with a cold and serious expression. "If you don't want to end up like your leader, you will release her now." the Prime said in a firm tone, making them look at each other nervously while considering their options. But suddenly a maddening cry of anger caught everyone's attention, making them look over to see Galvatron quickly get to his feet next to the damaged wall. His face was that of complete thunder and rage as his eyes fell on the Prime and narrowed, his teeth were gritted and bare. "You thought I was defeated, Prime, but you are sadly mistaken. And now you will pay for your arrogance with your life." Both Jack and Arcee watched in wide eyed shock as the Predacon leader began to change before their eyes as his beast mode took a hold of him, making him look more muscular and feral. This was also reflected in his armour, which looked more demonic than previously. Galvatron then launched himself at the Prime, his speed and strength had also been increased due to the change as he caught Jack on his chest, scratching through the chest-plate of the Prime Armour with his razor sharp claws. Jack grimaced as the force of this blow knocked him onto his arse, he didn't even get a chance to recover as Galvatron attacked again. This time he backhanded the Autobot leader in the face, spilling blood from his mouth as the inertia from the strike sent him rolling across the ground until he came to a stop on his front, making his star-saber deactivate. "You don't seem to be doing as well as you were earlier, Prime. Perhaps they don't make Primes like they used to." Galvatron said with a sarcastic tone as he walked over to Jack, who got onto his hands and knees while fighting the dazed feeling that last hit had given him. Arcee was watching with a lump in her throat as Galvatron who now stood over her spark-mate then kicked him in the chest, gaining a painful moan from the Prime as he tried to get back to his feet. But the Predacon leader didn't give him the chance as he swiped the back of Jack's armour, slicing through the armour again and cutting through the flesh. Jack grunted as he collapsed to the ground again while Galvatron stood over him and looked down at his claws, which had red blood dripping off them. "Jack!" the Femme screamed as she knew she had to do something so she tried to break free from Blight's grip, but both Predacons were already on top of that. "That's enough wretch!" Blight said in return as his grip around her arms tightened, and Lazerback gave his thoughts on her escape attempt by punching the Femme in the stomach and face, making her grimace as she spat out some blood onto the floor while both enemies laughed. Meanwhile, Galvatron had turned his attention away from Jack for a moment to admire his men's treatment of the Femme, taking pleasure seeing the pain she was going through from being unable to help her spark-mate. Jack though was still lying on the ground and reeling from the wounds that the Predacon Lord had inflicted on him, he managed to turn his head enough to see his lover being hit by one of other Predacons, all the while another one was keeping Arcee from defending herself by holding her arms behind her back. 'I have to help her!' he thought as he tried to roll back onto his front so he could get back to his feet, but Galvatron turned back and looked down at him. "Oh no you don't." he said before stamping on the Autobot Leader's back, earning a cry of pain from Jack. The Predacon Lord then knelt down and picked him up by his neck and looked him in the eyes. "Face it, Jackson Prime. You are beaten and it is pointless for you to keep fighting." he said while looking the Human Prime up and down with content and disgust. "It sickens me to see that the Cybertronian species has fallen so far, to become weak and pitiful as the Human race is a fate worse than extinction in my eyes." "Then….I guess we have a difference in opinion, Galvatron." Jack replied as he reactivated his star-saber and used all his strength to swing it up which caught the Predacon on his face, earning a wince from Galvatron who dropped the Prime and covered his face with his hands as he stumbled back. Jack upon landing on his feet, quickly activated his skyboom shield and held his blade before him as he readied himself for the enemy leader's response. But as he looked at Galvatron, the clone then pulled his hands back to reveal a bloody cut that started at the right side of his forehead, ran down over his nose and stopped just halfway over his left cheek. The Predacon Lord wiped the blood from his face until his red eyes locked on to the Prime and narrowed as he scowled at his enemy. "You fool! I will make you suffer for this." Galvatron roared as his hands tightened up into fists and began to glow with purple energy as he suddenly charged at the Prime, who lifted the skyboom shield to protect himself. But when the Predacon's punch hit the 'shield of the Primes', the force and power of the purple energy that surrounded the fist caused the shield to shatter, sending shards of the golden energy in all directions. Arcee's eyes widened in horror as her lover stumbled back from the hit, but as he tried to raise the star-saber up to defend himself. Galvatron activated his own blade and sliced off Jack's right arm before he could do anything about it. Jack screamed in pain as his arm fell to the ground and the holo star-saber faded to nothing, leaving the Prime completely defenceless as he instinctively raised his other arm to the bloody stump that was now his right arm. "JACK!" Arcee shouted before Galvatron followed through with another purple glowing punch that hit the Autobot leader squarely in the chest, cracking his armour even more as it sent him crashing into the wall again and falling to the ground in a heap, leaving a crater in the wall behind him. The Predacon Lord then stood over the disabled and defeated Prime and readied his blade to strike, poised to end Jackson Prime's life there and then. "And now, Jackson Prime, I will end your life and the line of Primes will finally come to the end it deserves." Jack turned his head and looked over to Arcee, as the captive Femme eyes met his. And as time seemed to slow down between the two lovers, no words were said as there was no need as both already knew what the other was thinking at that very moment. Jack did not want to leave his spark-mate, but fate seemed to deem it so. And Arcee was about to lose not only another partner, but the only man she ever 'truly' loved with all her spark. The Prime then looked back up to Galvatron who raised his blade above his head, preparing to strike. "Time to die, Jackson Prime."
  3. CHAPTER XI As the shuttle flew low toward the half demolished Decagon, which had the unknown cruiser buried in it's side. The Pilot suddenly put his hand to his com-link and listened as he kept his other on the flight controls. "Sir, I think you should hear this." he then said, gaining Jack's attention as the Prime moved to the Ensign's side. The pilot then pressed a button on his holo-controls and a familar voice could then be heard through the vessel's inter-com. "This is Arcee to any Autobots in range of this signal..." 'Arcee...' Jack thought as he felt relief in his heart at hearing his sparkmate's voice, with the fact that she was still alive down there. "...the emergency shuttles are hostile and are firing on any civilians they can see, there are also hundreds of unidentified enemy soldiers on the ground. They came through a Space-bridge vortex and have created a beach-head for themselves. Chromia and myself are currently staying out of sight until we can regroup with another group of Autobots..." then the message cut out and static was all that could be heard, as the Prime looked back down to the pilot. "Can you pinpoint the location of that transmission?" he asked, while the others stood behind him with their weapons ready. "Yes, Sir. Coordinates already locked in." the Pilot replied, earning a slight smile from the Prime. "Good, get us there as fast as you can." Jack said back before looking back at Garrus, Smokescreen and Grunt. "Change of plan, we are going to head to the enemy beach-head and take these bastards head on." "About time, my trigger finger needs the exercise." Grunt chuckled as Smokescreen gave him a worried look, but Garrus ignored them and looked directly at Jack. "You alright, Jack? Must be good to hear her voice just then?" The Prime flashed a slight grin at his Turian friend. "Yeah, I am okay and it is good..." he said before his face became serious. "...but we have bigger problems to deal with." Garrus nodded in return, his own face now mirroring the Prime's. "Yes, we do." "We are coming up on...by the Allspark!" the Pilot then said, gaining everyone's attention. "What is it?" Jack asked. "We have a cruiser descending behind us and it is powering weapons." "Perhaps its one of ours?" Smokescreen said rather hopefully, but suddenly the Pilot performed a barrel role that narrowly missed a burst of cannon fire from the other ship. "I doubt it, Smoke. Friendlies don't make it a habit of firing on each other." Garrus replied with hanging on to the hand hold above, just like everyone else at this moment as the pilot performed another evasive maneruve as more cannon fire flew past them and hit the ground below. "I can't dodge this guy forever." the Pilot stressed as he kept his hands firmly on the holo-controls, ignoring the sweat that was running down his face from his brow. "Take us up to jumping altitude." Jack then said as h walked past his friends to another cabinet, opening it as his friends stared back with shocked expressions. "Jumping altitude! You sure about this?" Smokescreen asked as Garrus stood beside him. "Yeah, Jack. I'm with Smoke on this one. I mean if Turians were meant to fly, then we would have been granted wings long before now." Even Grunt looked uneasy at the Prime's idea. "What about Krogan..." "Guys, shut up and suit up." Jack said, ignoring his friends pleas as he tossed them each a gravity pack. Each of them looked down at the pack in their hands, their faces looking more worried with each passing second. "We will be in position in thirty seconds, though I doubt that I can hold off that ship behind us for that long." the Pilot called back as the weapons fire continued to fly past his canopy from the enemy cruiser that was closing behind them, dwarfing their shuttle with it's far larger size. "Okay, we are ready." Jack said as he and his team all equipped the gravity packs onto the backs of their individual armours, though the Prime noticed that Garrus and Grunt did not look happy about it. But before he could say anything about it, the shuttle suddenly rocked violently as if it had collided with something which sent it's occupants onto the floor. "We've been hit." the Pilot shouted as he typed frantically at the holo-controls in front of him, but it was getting harder to keep the shuttle steady. "I've lost the starboard thrusters, I won't be able to get us to jumping altitude now. We are about eighty feet short of it." he added, while Jack pulled himself to the cockpit entrance. "We will jump now then, open the hatch." he said, instantly earning shocked looks from his friends. "It was a bad idea at..." Garrus started to say as alarms began blaring around them, before the shuttle's hatch opened beside him. "They have a target lock!" the Pilot shouted over the howl of the wind that filled the shuttle alongside the alarm. "Jump!" the Prime shouted as he pushed the Turian through the hatch and out of the shuttle, both Smokescreen and Grunt stared open-mouthed at the Leader. "Go!" he commanded with a stern expression and both Bot and the Krogan looked at each other, before they sighed and leapt out of the hatch. This left Jack and the Pilot as the last on board the doomed shuttle, with the Prime reading himself next to the hatch before looking back to the Pilot who was still frantically working the controls. "You coming?" "I will be right behind you, Sir." the Pilot replied, so the Autobot Leader nodded and then threw himself out of the shuttle. But only a second or so after doing so, the shuttle was hit by a missile and it exploded in mid-air as Jack and his friends plummeted to the ground below. PRIME EFFECT 4 As the gunfire and roars from the enemy echoed around them, Arcee got on to her knees and took a peek from behind her and her sisters cover to examine their situation. What she saw was enough to make her spark heavy with sadness as the femme witnessed yet more innocents being slaughtered by the soldiers of this unknown enemy, who appeared to take great amounts of pleasure from ending their lives in the most horrific and violent ways possible. In fact it would seem that these soldiers were more like animals. Arcee kept herself low enough that the enemies could not see her, but not so that it would block her sight. She thought for a moment, as she remembered the name she had heard the one that was obviously the leader call his men. 'Predacons...where have I heard that name before?' She thought before looking down at her Sister, who had remained quiet for nearly the entire time since these 'Predacons' had begun their attack. "Chromia?" the older Femme asked while placing a hand on her shoulder, but Chromia would not answer and yet Arcee could already tell how she was feeling. For when she held onto her sister's shoulder, it felt tense and cold. This was a Femme who had just seen her Spark-mate give up his life to save hers, and now that the disaster that had befallen the city now appears to have been staged and by these Predacons no doubt. Chromia now looked like she had during the Great War, as a Femme out for blood. Arcee looked back to the enemy and saw that they had moved on, and that the Sisters were now alone. "Alright, we should head in this direction since this it would be the most logical way to meet up with Autobot forces." Chromia finally looked at her sister and gave her a cold stare. "You can head that way if you want, Arcee, but I am going after those Predacons." The older Sibling placed her hands on Chromia's shoulders, as a sign that she wasn't going anywhere. But the youngrt Femme just looked unfazed at Arcee. "You're not going to stop me, they have to pay for what they did to Ironhide. And I will ensure that they pay for it with their lives." "And how are you going to accomplish that when you have no weapons?" Arcee asked in a doubtful tone, but Chromia simply looked over the cover and spotted three Predacon soldiers standing just a ways from them. "There, those three. We just kill them and gain their weapons, easy pickings." Arcee looked at the three enemies, noting their posture and movement. "They look like stragglers." "Exactly...now you can help me, or get the pit out of my way." the younger Sister said, earning an anxious expression from her older Sister. "Alright...I'm with you." Arcee replied, if only so that she could try to keep Chromia from making a mistake. A mistake that she would never make with a clear mind, one that could end her life. And that was something that Arcee would not see go through again, not like she had to with their older sister...Elita One. So both Femmes moved slowly and stealthily from their cover, heading towards the three Predacons who were completely oblivious of what they were about to face. The two Sisters kept to the shadows of the ruins as best they could, slowly but surely gaining ground on the three enemies ahead who continued to move around the area. Suddenly the sound of movement caught the attention of one of the Predacons who pointed their rifle over to what looked like a broken and dislodged piece of wall, moving around it until he came across a severally injured Salarian who was crawling on all fours while shaking, obviously still severally shaken by what had just happened. He looked up at the soldier, his brow was soaked in blood from a cut on his temple. "Please...help me?" he said in whimpering and fearful tone. "Hey, Guys. We have another one." the soldier said to his comrades, who looked over to him. "Well, take care of it then." one of them said to him, so the soldier raised his rifle and aimed it at the Salarian's face. The injured man's eyes widened as it dawned on him what was about to happen. "Wait...wait plea..." he began to stammer before being silenced by the sound of a gunshot, his body then collapsing onto the ground with a bullet hole in between his eyes. The soldiers then laughed in response, clearing enjoying themselves. "You see that, Guys. That was the easiest kill I have had today." the soldier said with a beaming smile as the others nodded and smiled back. Meanwhile as the two Femmes watched from behind some more broken large concrete slabs, Chromia felt the last of her restraint burn away due to her growing rage while the third soldier spoke up. "Yeah, but isn't this all a but to easy? I mean I would prefer a real fight rather than all this executing." Suddenly before Arcee could do anything about it, her younger sister vaulted over their cover and charged at the three Predacons. "You want a 'real' fight? Well you've got one!" she shouted as the enemies turned around in shock that someone was calling them out, only for one of them to see nothing but the Femme's fist a split second before it connected with his face and sent him to the ground as the others fumbled with their weapons. The raging Autobot then kicked the second soldier in the groin with a hell of a lot of force, making him grimace while also looking confused as to why that hurt. But he never received an answer, instead a roundhouse kick to the face was all he got as he fell to the ground with one hand covering his face and the other covering his nether region. Chromia who was standing over the two beaten Predacons then turned to face the third enemy, but he already had his gun pointed at her. "Nice try, Femme, but it's lights out for you now." he said as he began to pull the trigger. "...more like lights out for 'you'!" The Predacon looked to his right, but all he saw was a quick flash of orange and feel a sudden searing pain along the width of his neck before his eyes came to a blue haired woman in a kneeling pose just next to him, with a holo-arm blade exposed and dripping with his blood. "...how...?" was all he could say before his head separated from his neck and fell to the floor, the rest of his body joining it soon after. "Thanks." Chromia said with a hint of gratitude as her older sister stood up straight and nodded back. "You're welcome." she replied as her eyes looked down at the two defeated Predacons, one of which was beginning to recover. "You might want to..." Arcee said, making Chromia look down in the direction that her sister was gesturing to. "Oh, right." the younger Femme replied before moving down onto the enemy and swiping her freshly activated holo-blade at the enemy's throat, opening it up and letting his blood flow freely as he brought his hands up to the wound and attempted to slow the bleeding. But it was gushing out too quickly for him and within a few moments of clinging to life as it drained from his body, he then was dead. "Before you kill that one, we should question him first." Arcee then said, earning a nod from Chromia who then coldly walked over to the last Predacon and pressed the heel of her boot against his aching groin and still while his hand was covering it, making him grimace in pain. "Why are you attacking us? What are you after?" she shouted at him as she increased the pressure, making the soldier cry out and yet still gave no hint of an answer to the Femme's questions. Arcee merely watched as her sister released his groin from under her heel and looked down at him. "If he won't tell us anything, then he is of no further use." Chromia sighed before bending down and placing her hands around his neck, so she could strangle him. "But I won't let him or any of his kind die easy or quickly, not for what they did to my Ironhide." She then tightened her grip and the Predacon began gasping for air as he felt the furious Femme grip contracting his air-pipe, so he started to struggle against her in an attempt to break free, but Chromia would not let go as that cold and calculating expression returned to her face as she looked down at her dying enemy. Arcee could only watch as she saw her sister slowly taking another life today for the one that was closest to her spark, but she was worried that Chromia's thirst for revenge against the Predacons would never be sated, not even if she killed every single one of them. The older Femme knew this because she was exactly the same after losing Cliffjumper to the brainwashed Airachnid, and the only reason she did not go down the same path when Jack died aboard the original Normandy was that she had no idea who was responsible nor did the Council and Alliance investigate it. So she had no choice but to focus on her job and mourn her Spark-mate, but as the older Femme watched her sister as she strangled the Predacon under her, Arcee hoped that she was wrong about that outcome. But suddenly she was brought out of her thoughts when Chromia started to struggle against their supposedly beaten enemy, as he began to physically change before them. He grew more muscular and slightly larger, his teeth while became sharper and more defined as he bared them for the Femmes to see. The Predacon looked like a cross between a beast and a man as his eyes reformed to those of a reptile, and he then threw a surprised Chromia off himself and she landed hard on the ground just aways from her sister who was equally as shocked at how things had quickly changed as she looked at the now monstrous looking Predacon standing in front of her. "Time to die!" he roared before charging at the older Femme and swiping at her with his now claw-like hands, and the Autobot jumped backwards to evade the strike but only just enough as the tips of the claws caught her clothing and ripped through its fabric. Arcee looked down at the five scratch-shaped tears in her dress. 'That was too close.' she thought as the Predacon lunged at her again and once again, the Femme managed to barely keep out of reach of it's razor sharp claws. The Femme then saw her opening and immediately performed a punch and kick combo which had hit several direct hits on the enemy, but left him unfazed, leaving the Autobot feeling worried all of a sudden. The soldier noticed this and smiled before attacking again with a combo of it's own, but despite her advancing years Arcee managed to dodge the attacks before diving under the last of the swipes and going into a roll and ending up in a kneeling position behind the enemy. The soldier looked back at her over his shoulder with a face of fury, as Arcee took on a defensive stance with her holo-armblades activated. "I thought I was going to die?" she asked with a sarcastic tone as she noticed some movement behind the transformed enemy, her comment though only further infuriated the Predacon more as he roared again before charging at the Femme, when suddenly Chromia leapt on his back and kept stabbing him repeatedly with her holo-blade. The beastial soldier grimaced and cried out in pain as Arcee then joined in the attack by slashing at the enemy's chest and legs, but despite the cuts and the blood the enemy was losing as it seeped out from the wounds, managed to lunge out at the older Femme as the younger one continued to stab away at it's back. But Arcee once again evaded the attack and then readied herself for another counter, but then the Predacon fell to one knee while the younger sister took this as a sign and pulled her holo-blade out of it's back and plunged it into the back of the supersized soldier's neck, who then fell onto both knees and panted as Chromia got off his back and joined her sister in front of him. "Is that it?" the older Femme asked, earning a shrug from her sibling. But suddenly the Predacon got his second wind and lunged at them, hitting them both with a back-handed swipe that knocked the sters onto their backs. "You will have to do better than that." he said sarcastically while the Autobots recovered and got to their feet. "You take him high, I'll take low." Arcee said, earning a nod from Chromia before they both charged at the Predacon who mirrored their actions. The older Femme then lept up and slashed the his face with her holo-armblades as the younger sister kicked at his legs and swiped at his abdomen with her holo-blade, while also dodging and evading the monster's attacks at the same was really an impressive sight, seeing two Femmes of advancing years being able to fight one that was larger and far younger than them both. After a few moments of fighting, Chromia ducked under one of enemy's punches and buried her holo-blade into his chest, earning hallowing cry of pain. Arcee kicked him in the back, pushing him more into her sister's blade which slid into his spark chamber and made him spasm for a moment, making the femmes retreat back a metre away before the Predacon suddenly fell to the ground dead. Arcee and Chromia breathed heavily for a moment and looked at the body as it continued to bleed out from all the wounds they had given it, but mainly from the killing blow in it's chest. "That was tougher than I thought it would be." Arcee said while still breathing deeply. "It can still die, that suits me just fine." Chromia replied coldly, earning a knowing look from her older sister. "Still, if all the Predacons are that tough to beat. Then this could become a serious problem." The younger femme then looked back at Arcee with a confused expression. "What do you mean?" "Well, we have fought many Vehicons and Husks in the past and yet this Predacon was far tougher, especially when it changed. We need to contact the others so they are know what they are facing." Arcee said back before tapping her com-link. "How right you are." a voice unknown to the Femmes spoke out behind them, gaining their attention as they quickly picked up the dead soldiers weapons and turned to see the Man in the silver armour standing above them on a mound of rubble as Predacon troops began surrounding them. "You are the leader of these 'Predacons', aren't you?" Arcee said while pointing the rifle at him, as she remembered seeing him amongst the other enemy troops earlier. The Predacon Leader gave her a sly smile in return. "How very observant of you. My name is Galvatron and I am the Predacon Leader." Chromia then nudged her sister, gaining the older Femme's attention as more Predacons appeared around them. "Doesn't he look somewhat familiar? I mean I know that face, but I just can't put a name to it." Arcee then looked back at Galvatron in a similar manner, earning an aggravated expression from the Predacon Leader as he heard chuckling coming from just beside him and knew exactly who it was as the aggravated feelings within his spark increased. "This will be priceless if I do say so myself, wait for it..." Megatron chuckled as he stood next to his clone with his arms crossed and looked at both femmes, knowing precisely what the older sibling was about to say. "He does look..." Arcee started to say when Galvatron suddenly erupted with rage and jumped down to them, landing with at their feet with a loud clang. The two Femmes kept their weapons pointed at him as he stood up and towered over them, but were surprised at his outburst as his red eyes stared daggers into their own. "Enough!" he shouted as he equipped his blade which slid out of an opening on his armoured forearm. "You dare disrespect me when I clearly have you dead to rights." he spat while gesturing to the Terracons surrounding them. Chromia though narrowed her eyes at Galvatron as her face changed to that which would have turned the hearts of those who saw it cold and fearful. "We disrespect you? You're attacking my home, killing the people and friends I know. And you personally gave the order that led to my Ironhide's death, for that...I WILL KILL YOU!" she spat as she fired at the Predacon leader with her weapon, only for him to deflect the shots with his blade easily. Arcee fired hers too but again Galvatron blocked the shots, while letting his personal shield absorb the odd bullet's kinetic energy. Both Femmes stopped and looked at him as Terracons prepared to fire at them, but suddenly the clone lifted his arm into the air and stopped them. "No, I will deal with these Autobot wretches myself." Galvatron then raised his blade and moved towards both Sisters slowly, while they separated and begun to circle the Predacon leader until they were both on a different side to him. The troops simply watched as Arcee stood before their master, while Chromia stood behind him. Galvatron felt a smile growing on his face as while looking at the blue haired Femme, he could still feel the hateful eyes of the younger one on his back. He clenched his fist more as the anticipation of the first attack began to excite his spark, but was this his feelings or just memories of Megatron's from his days as a gladiator coming to the forefront of his mind. But before he could dwell on that line of thinking anymore, the older Femme attacked with her holo-arm-blades which Galvatron deflected both attacks with his blade and pushed her away with a punch to the chest. Then on hearing quickening footsteps behind him, brought his weapon round just in time to deflect the younger Femme who had lunged in with her holo-blade. But with his successful deflection of her attack, Galvatron had left Chromia open and took this chance by backhanding her face and then kicking her in the stomach, sending her to the ground. He smiled darkly as the Femmes recovered and picked themselves up. "I hope that wasn't the best you could do?" he asked in a sarcastic and unimpressed tone. Arcee looked over to her sister for a second, hoping that they would be on the same page for their next effort. But Chromia ignored her and charged at Galvatron, who ducked under the Femme's holo-blade and caught her with an uppercut to the chin which sent her back to the ground as quickly has she had got up. Arcee then performed a jump kick at the Predacon Leader, who simply caught her outstretched leg while she was in mid-air and then threw her to the ground beside her sibling. "You're going to have to do better than that." Galvatron retorted with a chuckle, which gained daggers from Arcee and Chromia who both realised that he was simply toying with them. So the Autobots got back to their feet and Arcee looked at her sister, who for the first time in this fight looked back to her. "We have to work together if we are going to beat him...for Ironhide." Chromia's eyes widened at the mention of his name and a slight smile appeared on her face. "Alright, Sis. Let's do it." she said before they both turned their attention to Galvatron who was waiting for them to make a move, he was looking over to some of his ships in the distance that were firing on what could only have been more civilians amongst the ruins. So the siblings both lunged at the Predacon Leader while his eyes were averted, but he caught their arms and threw them back to the floor, his face still smiling as he did so. The Femmes then got up and tried again and for the next minute or so, their fight played out with the Sisters attacking and Galvatron countering and beating them back, all the while his troops were just enjoying the show. It was obvious the two Autobots were no match for their Master, that he was simply playing along. But that all changed after the Femmes were felled for seventh time as Blight appeared amongst the Terracons with his holo-tool active. "Lord Galvatron!" he called out, earning the Predacon Leader's attention as he looked up at his lieutenant. "Blight, report." Galvatron replied as the Predacon looked at the data on the holo-tool's screen. "My Lord, we have multiple Ground-bridge vortexes opening around the city, Autobot troops are being deployed as we speak and enemy ships approach from all directions." The Predacon Leader smiled ever so slightly as he took in the information. "Excellent, then our battle can now truly begin. Have our troops prepare themselves and make sure Six-shot has our fighters ready to engage the Aerialbot forces." As Galvatron spoke to Blight, Arcee and Chromia lifted themselves off the ground for what felt like thousand time and wiped the dirt from their faces and looked at each other, they both knew the chances of them both defeating this Predacon were nonexistent, but they couldn't just roll over and surrender….not now or ever. Arcee had even injured herself while trying to overcome Galvatron and needed a moment or two to recover. And Chromia was right, because there was something about this Predacon that kept bugging the older sister. This Galvatron was familiar to them, not just in that name but also in his fighting style and the other ways that seemed too coincidental. 'Could it be…' she thought but before she could dwell on the possible answer, the Predacon Leader turned to face them both. His red eyes glaring down on them with little to no contempt. "Looks like we have to bring this little amusement to an end….beginning with her." he said as he clenched his fist and re-deployed his blade again while walking over to the older Femme. "No…..." Chromia panted while breathing heavily as she watched their enemy stop and stand over her Sister, raising his blade overhead as he readied himself for the killing strike. She had just lost her Spark-mate and there was not a thing she could do to stop that, but it would be a cold day in the Pits of Kaon before she would allow her Sister to suffer the same fate. "NO!" she shouted as the younger Femme put everything she had into getting up and lunging with her holo-blade between Arcee and Galvatron as he brought his blade down on the her, only just stopping the strike a mere few centimetres from the older Sister's face with a loud clang of metal announcing her success. Both Arcee and Galvatron stared at the younger Autobot, the former with a thankful relief while the latter with a annoyed disgust. "Chromia.." the older Femme began to say before the Predacon Leader kicked her onto her back and disarmed the Chromia easily as he turned his attention to her. "You seem eager to die first…" he spat as he grabbed the weakened Femme by the neck and lifted her off the ground, just as Arcee looked up at the two of them. "….so be it!" Galvatron added as he equipped his blade and stabbed it into Chromia's stomach, the Femme gasped and grimaced in response. "NOOOOO!" Arcee screamed in wide eyed terror as the Predacon leader pulled the blood covered blade out, and casually let go of her sister's body which dropped to the ground like a rag doll. The blue haired Femme tried to move closer to Chromia's body, but was immediately stopped by Blight and two Terracons as Galvatron turned his attention to her. "Ready to join her in the Allspark?" he asked while looking down at the Autobot, touching the tip of his blade on her throat as the Terracons held her in place. But suddenly Blight who had been looking at the Femme as his Master spoke placed his hand on Galvatron's shoulder. "My Lord, wait! I recognise this Autobot..." he said, earning the Predacon Leader's attention. "...That is Arcee, I remember reading about her in the ISF database. She was one of the heroes of the Great War and the more recent Reaper War." he added as Galvatron thought on the name and searched his own or rather Megatron's memories. "Arcee? Yes, I remember now. I am surprised that I didn't recognise her sooner." he said while looking at the Femme who was currently staring at the ground, her spark in pain and anguish for her fallen sister who's body lied just away from her. "She is also the spark-mate of Jackson Prime." Blight added, earning a smile from Galvatron. "Yes, that could be advantageous to our cause. For the Prime will not try anything if he knows we have his lover as a captive." the Predacon Leader replied as he lowered his blade. "Very well, we will take Arcee with us." he added as the Terracons pulled the blue-haired femme onto her feet and began to move away from the dead Autobot that was lying motionless on the floor, as Arcee looked back with sadness in her eyes. She was overcome with feelings of remorse and guilt for her sister who was now one with Allspark, if only she had tried to do more against Galvatron. But as she looked back at Chromia's lifeless body, something came to her mind that gave her a very small comforting feeling before glancing up at the sky. 'Ironhide, you take care of my Sister you hear. Don't make me hunt you down, and I promise….you will both be avenged.' PRIME EFFECT 4 Fighting erupted in the streets of New Iacon as the Autobots engaged the Predacon ground forces while the Aerialbots took on the enemy ships in the skies above the city, and as this was happening there were still civilians trapped between the two sides and trying to survive and escape the ever growing violence. A group of people made up of a Human, a Salarian and Asari and two Turians were keeping low to the ground, almost on all fours as they traversed the battlefield. All the while bullets were flying over their heads as both sides continued to fire on each other from the safety of cover. "Keep your heads down back there." the Salarian at the front of the group shouted back to the others. "Pa'ak, what did you say? I can barely hear you through all this gunfire." an Asari behind him shouted back, while the Human woman beside her placed he hand on her waist which was soaked in blood. "Belis, I need another bandage. This one is soaked through again." she said, earning the Asari's attention as she looked back. "Zoe, hold on just for a moment or so longer. We are nearly to the cover over there," Belis answered back in a caring manner as she gestured to the damaged building just ahead of them. "Could we get a move on please, I don't want either my wife or I to be stuck here any longer." The Male Turian shouted from the rear, earning a hit on the shoulder from the female next to him. "Tonis! The Human female is injured remember, show some compassion." Tonis looked at wife and sighed, due to the expression on her face which was both angry and ashamed. "Sorry, I am only concerned for you, Lilim." he said before the group began moving again slowly while Terracons and Autobots battled and fell around them. "Just a few metres to go." Pa'ak said back when suddenly there was an explosion on the side where the Autobots were fighting, bringing an end of the gunfire as Predacon troops started to advance on their position and came upon the civilians. "Look what we have here." one of Terracons said as Belis immediately moved in front of Zoe in a protective gesture, Ba'ak fell backwards on to his butt and the two Turians held on to each other. "Well, what are you waiting for...kill them." another trooper said before the enemy group aimed their weapons at the innocents, who looked back wide eyed in fear. "I'm sorry." Ba'ak said back to the others when all of a sudden bullets ripped through several of the Terracons, spilling blood over the floor as they fell to the ground. The remaining two Predacon soldiers began firing wildly around them, since they did not know where the gunfire had come from. But it soon did not matter when with the space of five seconds they were both on the floor with bullet holes in their heads, while the civilians looked on in surprise as they wondered what just happened. For it looked for a moment that their lives were about to come to an end, but someone must have been smiling on them at this time for they were still alive. "Who did...?" Belis asked when a voice called over to them. "Are you guys alright?" The civilians turned round to see Jackson Prime and his team standing just aways from them, a look of relief and joy appeared on their faces at this reveal. "Thank the goddess, we're saved." Belis exclaimed as Zoe stood beside her, still holding onto the bloody bandage around her abdomen. "Smokescreen, this girl needs medi-gel." Jack ordered his Autobot friend, who nodded in return before moving towards the injured woman. "Sure thing, Jack." he said as he picked out the medi-gel from his utility belt and treated her, Belis was watching with an appreciative smile on her face. "Thank you." "You're welcome." the Bot said with a smile before turning his attention to the injured Human. "You will begin to feel better in just a moment." the Autobot said as he sprayed the wound with the medi-gel which began to effect and heal it in almost an immediate fashion. Meanwhile the two Turians crowded around Grunt who looked somewhat uncomfortable. "Thank you, thank you..." they said in a hysteric tone. "You're...welcome..." he replied in a flat tone, but they just kept smiling at him. "...Okay...go away." he then added before walking off and leaving them standing there completely gob-smacked, while Smokescreen put in the final touches to the new bandage on Zoe's healing injury and looked up at the couple with an embarrassed smile. "Don't take offence from Grunt, he doesn't really have any people skills. But he really is glad you're alright." The Turians just smiled back somewhat awkwardly, before giving the Krogan one last look as he kept his attention on their immediate surroundings. Meanwhile Jackson Prime stood next to Garrus, who was scanning the horizon with his sniper rifle. "How does it look, Garrus?" "I think 'Just like old times' explains things pretty clearly, Jack." the Turian replied. "Really? It's that bad." Jack said back in surprise before his friend gave him the rifle. "Take a look for yourself." The Prime then looked trough the scope as it magnified the view in the distance and showed him hundreds of enemy soldiers, earning a sigh from him. "I see what you mean." he replied as Ba'ak walked up to the pair, gaining their attention as the Prime handed the Turian Sharpshooter his weapon back. "Jackson Prime? My name is Ba'-ak and I would like to thank you for saving our group, I thought we were done for." he said in a very appreciative tone, earning an equally knowing look from the Prime. "You're welcome, but I am afraid that the danger is still not over. And I am afraid that you cannot come with us." Jack replied, earning worried looks from the other civilians as Ba'ak nodded with an understanding expression. "I understand completely, but will there be a evacuation shuttle for us. Because I guess it would be to dangerous to stay put, even with all the dead enemies around us?" The Prime looked around for Grunt and saw the Krogan standing at the edge of the group. "Grunt, call in a shuttle for these coordinates." "Will do, Jack." the Krogan replied with a nod before raising a hand to his com-link. The Prime then turned back to Garrus and was about to say something when his com-link came to life. "Jackson Prime, come in. This is Joker. Do you read...come on, don't leave me hanging?" a male voice spoke with a rather impatient tone. "Joker, I am here. What have you to report?" "All Aerialbots deployed and in the battle, plus we are making short work of these enemy ships. Their pilots aren't very good, if I do say so myself." the Pilot replied. "Don't get overconfident, Joker." Jack said back. "...Pft, just saying it as it is, Prime. They have not shot down any of us yet, but we are knocking them down like dominoes. I am just saying, it's too easy." "Understood." the Prime replied as he looked back at the others while Joker went quiet for a moment, before he spoke up again. "Oh also, I heard your looking for the Leader that Arcee mentioned in her burst transmission earlier." "That's right, what do you have?" Jack asked, keeping his attention on the Pilot's voice as he heard weapons fire and explosions on the other end of the call. "Powerglide just reported spotting a group that fit the profile, and he swore that Arcee was with them." Jack's eyes widened at that comment as he heart almost skipped a beat. "Which direction were they heading?" he asked in a calm and commanding manner, managing to hide the obvious worry that was quietly threatening to over rule him as Joker went quiet for another second or two as he conversed with his teammate, then just as Jack felt his chest tighten as the wait was beginning to beat him, the pilot spoke again. "Powerglide says they were west of your current location and based on their direction, heading toward the Space dock near the New Iacon Vault." "Thanks, Joker. Now get these bastards out of my sky." Jack replied while looking up into the sky to see more Aerialbot fighters flying overhead, as they were entering the battle playing out in the skies over the besieged city. Grunt then walked up to the group, gaining the Autobot Leader's attention. "Jack, we have a shuttle on it's way to evacuate the civilians here." The Prime nodded in return as the civilians all looked far more relieved than they had, as Ba'ak offered him his hand. "I know I have already said this, but on behalf of all of us...thank you." "Just doing our jobs, but you're all welcome." Jack replied as Smokescreen and Garrus joined his side, Grunt meanwhile walked over to his teammates while ignoring the constant smiles from the Turian couple as they continued to stare at him. "Can we go now? I need to kill something." he asked in a cold and uncaring tone. "Let's go." Jack said before they began to head off in the direction of the vaults, Garrus though looked back and gave the civilians an encouraging smile. "The shuttle will be here in under a minute, so just sit tight." The group smiled and nodded back as they watched the heroes that saved hem disappear behind a derelict building. PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile the fighting was fierce as Galvatron's group was carving a bloody path through the Autobot lines, as they bravely fought back to protect their home and people. A group of Autobots made up of Turians, Krogan and Geth charged into the fray with their weapons blazing, making the Predacon group dive behind the cover of some derelict cars. "Blight, keep firing on the enemy position from here while I sneak around the back." Galvatron said while unbeknownst to the rest, Megatron looked at the clone with disgust. "You...sneaking, once again you prove me right. For I always let my enemies know I was there, because I wasn't a coward!" he spat, but the Predacon leader managed to keep his anger in check as he ignored this vocal attack from his hallucination. He then turned to the two Terracons and the Autobot Femme in their custody. "Make sure 'Arcee' doesn't try anything, I wouldn't want our ace in the hole to end up joining her Sister in the Allspark too soon." he said with a sly grin, but the Femme simply looked down at the floor as she mourned Chromia's death, even all the sounds and sights of war surrounding her could not gain her attention. "Aye aye, Sir." the Terracons said in unison, so the Predacon leader took one final look at the Femme before turning round and leaving the group but as he did, Arcee suddenly looked at him with narrowed eyes and a cold stare. 'I'll wait for the right moment, then I will kill you.' she thought with a clear and focused mind. Galvatron kept as quiet as he could while moving behind whatever cover he could find, meanwhile his Predacon troops continued to fire on the Autobot position that was blocking their path, hoping to keep their enemies attention on them as their leader got the jump on them. The Lord of the Predacons managed to get round to the aft position of one of the Autobots, it was a young Krogan and by the look of him, very inexperienced. 'Excellent, my attack has made the Autobots panic and bring in everyone to fight, even those who are clearly not ready.' Galvatron thought as he knelt behind the broken wall just away from the Krogan and noticed how restless it looked, like he would rather be further up the front lines than simply guarding this area. But then the Predacon made his move and lunged from his hiding spot at young soldier, who jumped in shock at what was storming towards him. The Krogan did not have time to bring his weapon up as Galvatron grabbed it with one hand, while equipping his blade and stabbing it into the soldier's face which spilled more blood as the enemy's body spasmed in response. The Predacon Lord then pulled the blade out, which was followed by a lot of blood that sprayed out over his shoulder and onto the ground as he let the dying Krogan fall on his back. Galvatron then entered the Autobot position and while the majority of the soldiers were concentrating on the Predacons firing at them, one Geth turned round so it could reload it's weapon. But it's singular optic widened at the sight of Galvatron, who was standing in their midst with their Krogan guard lying dead at his feet. "Alert! Enemy behind us!" the Geth shouted as it fumbled it's weapon, but then went silent as it's face was sliced in half by the Predacon leader's blade. The other Autobots turned round to see what the commotion was about, but they too looked shocked as Galvatron began attacking each and every one of them. He sliced through a Turian who attempted to aim his weapon at the Con, causing the Autobot to fall back on another Geth who had returned his attention to the other Predacons who began to advance on their position. And while the Geth was on the floor with a dead comrade on top of him, the Lord of the Predacons buried his blade into the synthetic's chest and caused it's optic to dim and go out. As this was happening, some of the other soldiers managed to aim their weapons at Galvatron. But before they could fire, Blight and the other Terracons stormed their defences and slaughtered the rest with either their holo-blades and claws, leaving Galvatron to stand amongst them and take in the slaughter that they had imposed on these Autobots. The last two Terracons them arrived with Arcee in tow, who looked at her dead comrades lying soaked in their own blood about the place. And an expression of sadness appeared on her face before she looked up to see Galvatron smiling down at her, taking pleasure in her turmoil. Suddenly an explosion occurred in the sky that got the attention of everyone there, as one of the Predacon controlled cruisers was destroyed above the city by one of their Autobot equivalents. The debris rained down on the battlefield below as Galvatron notices that the aerial battle was turning in their enemies favor. "Six-shot to Lord Galvatron." a voice spoke through the Lord's com-link. "Six-shot, report." the Predacon leader replied with an irritated tone. "My Lord, the Aerialbots have shot down or destroyed over half of our airborne forces. We are in danger of losing our advantage." the Predacon pilot said back in a worried voice. "What? How did this happen?" Galvatron spat. "The Aerialbots are better pilots my Lord, they are flying circles around our own. I am confused to how I have managed to evade them thus far." That last sentence held secret meaning to it that escaped the young Predacon, but not his Master as Galvatron remembered that Six-shot was once a Cybertronian Pilot with sympathies toward the Autobots and their cause. Hence his far superior flight skills when compared to that of the Terracons, but the Predacon leader could not ever let Six-shot or any of his army discover the truth about himself being a clone of Megatron and not one of them. "Six-shot, I believe it is time for our beasts to spread their wings." Galvatron said as the other end of the link went quiet for a moment. "...yes, if you believe that is wise, Lord Galvatron?" the Pilot replied with an unsure tone in his voice. "I do, now regroup with the rest of our fighters and make sure we lose no one else. I will make sure you are not interrupted in the meantime." the Predacon Leader said back before closing the link and recalibrating it, and then sent out another signal while looking over to the Icarus which was still buried in the Decagon. "It is time my Beasts. Time to awaken and serve your one true master in crushing our shared enemies." On board the Icarus, even though there was no one on board the ship and all it's systems had been powered down since the crash. A deep breathing could be heard echoing down the ship's darkened corridors from inside it's large cargo bay, where two pairs of optics opened and glowed bright yellow light as two giant beasts began moving in the pitch black area. Suddenly one roared and it was so loud that the Autobots and Predacons fighting outside of the Icarus stopped and looked over to the derelict husk of a ship, the former looking confused and worried to what was about to happen and the latter smiling for they knew what had just been awakened. Suddenly the sounds of metal being crunched and ripped apart came from on top of the ship and the beasts roared again, this time with nothing between them and the outside. The roars could be heard by everyone as the sounds of terror carried on the air and reached not only Jack and his team who looked back in shock, but also Galvatron and his men who looked at the Predacon Lord who smirked in response. "Predaking, Grimwing. Welcome to the new world." he said while raising his blade to the heavens just as the roof of the Icarus began to cave in, as a metallic paw with razor sharp claws suddenly appeared and clung onto hull and a jet-black and orange metallic Dragon of immense size and length climbed out onto the top of the ship. It was followed by a similarly large green and silver Dragon and both looked around at their surroundings, before looking directly at the Predacon Leader who's smile widened. Arcee though watched with wide-eyed shock as it dawned on her who these enemies were. "By the Allspark, now I remember them." she said, while Galvatron focused on the Beasts. "Now, my Beasts, destroy our enemies and pave the way towards victory." he shouted in an almost hysteric tone, as both dragons spread their massive wings and gave out another roar that shook the very ground around them before leaping off the ground and taking flight. In one of the Aerialbot fighters, Joker looked out of his canopy at the two dragons as the joined him and others in the sky. "What the shit!" he gasped as he suddenly had to veer to the right in time to miss Predaking who flew straight past him, missing the Autobot pilot by mere inches. "Alright guys, new plan. Fire at these...dragon-like-things, I can't believe I just said that." he said into his com-link as the new arrivals began striking down the Aerial bots, one or two at a time with their claws and teeth. Down on the ground, Galvatron could not help but enjoy the sight before him as the modern world was reintroduced to the ones 'that should have been'. "How? The Predacons were made extinct during the great cataclysm." Arcee asked out loud, while still in shock at this new revelation. Galvatron turned to her and stared down at the femme. "We are Predacons...reborn! And we will take that which should have been ours from the very beginning." "Which is...?" she asked in return while fighting the need to attack him there and then for what he had done to her. "The Galaxy of course, we want the Galaxy under our feet." Arcee looked down at the ground as Blight turned to the Predacon Lord, who had gone back to watching the dragons who were decimating the Aerialbots at that moment. "My Lord, we can not carry on down this path, as the building that used to be standing there has just collapsed and blocked off the road." the Predacon Lieutenant reported as he pointed toward said building, gaining Galvatron's attention. "So we will instead cut through the Iacon vaults then." "But, Lord Galvatron? The vaults are sealed. There is no where to enter since the building went into lockdown the moment we attacked." Blight replied. "Really?" the Predacon leader said as he gave his subordinate a knowing look, then he turned and tapped his com-link as His eyes fell on Grimwing. "Grimwing, your master requires assistence." he said as he pointed over to the vaults. Suddenly the winged behemoth turned and flew over head, as the beats of it's powerful wings could be felt by those under it passes them and landed on the ground outside the building. It then opened it's mouth as a light glowed through it's throat and up until the light appeared in it's open maw, before unleashing a blast of fiery plasma at the side of the building. It's powerful concentrated heat began to melt away the concrete and steel of that section of the vaults, weakening them considerably. The green and silver dragon then turned on its feet and swung it's tail into the damaged wall, shattering it and opening up the building for Galvatron and the others. "Thank you, Grimwing, now return to the battle and destroy the Autobots." the Predacon Leader said before the dragon turned away and flew away back towards Predaking and the Autobot forces nearby. "Let's go, for our secondary objective is just beyond this vault" Galvatron then said to the rest of the Predacons as he then led them inside. As this was happening, the Aerialbots were now having a difficult time finishing off the Predacon fighters and cruisers as Predaking and Grimwing were giving the enemy a very clear advantage. The massive dragon flew down over one cruiser and used it's fire-breath on the vessel's bridge, which drained the shields protecting that section and then burnt up everyone there, causing the ship to lose control and crash-land into ruins of New Iacon below. Grimwing then fired several fireballs into the grounded cruiser and caused it to explode. Joker saw the whole thing from his cockpit, he watches in wide-eyed horror as he couldn't believe how quickly the tables had turned. "We've lost the Tyger Pax, I repeat we have lost the Tyger Pax." the pilot said as he then fired his cannons and destroyed a Predacon fighter that had flew in front of his ship. He flew the fighter threw the explosion and turned around to see black and Orange dragon flying in a parallel course to him "Come on guys, let's get it together." he said into his com-link, hoping to motivate his pilots a bit more. "But Joker, these things are impervious to our weapons and they are out-flying us." one of his squad replied, earning a head-shake from the lead pilot. "There are people on the ground counting on us, now wings Beta and Gamma….concentrate your fire on the enemy fighters. Zeta and Epsilon, provide cover for our cruisers and Alpha and Kappa, form up on me." "What's our target, Joker?" another pilot asked as several Autobot pilots entered formation behind their leader. "We're taking on those two Dragons." Joker replied confidently as he stared out at the two behemoths in front of them. The fighters then flew in up close as they entered weapons range, just as both Predacon giants breathed fire down on the masses below, incinerating them instantly and leaving flaming ruins in their wake. "Open fire!" Joker shouted as he and all the fighters behind him fired missiles and let loose with their cannons, launching a hail of bullets that hit the backs of both Predaking and Grimwing who barely noticed the projectiles as their lightly impacted their metallic hides. But several of the missiles score direct hits on dragons, earning grunts of annoyance from both as they looked back to see the swarm of small fighters following them. Predaking then turned over on to its back and fired several streams of hot plasma-like fire that caused Joker and the Aerialbots to take evasive action, meanwhile Grimwing beated it's wings with more power as it ascended higher up into the sky. After veering his fighter to narrowly miss the white hot fire that was being launched in his direction by the black and orange dragon, Joker fired his cannons again and hit Predaking directly in the face. The Dragon roared before turning back onto it's front and veering hard to the right, getting itself out of the pilot's crosshairs. "Damn it, we haven't even made a dent in it's metal hide." one of the pilots said in a deflated tone, before Joker noticed something was a miss. "Where is the other one?" he asked while looking at the view outside his cockpit's canopy, just as Predaking was making some distance between itself and the Aerialbots. "It must have disappeared while we were evading the other one's attack sir." another team-mate replied before he noticed the area darkening around him, like a storm cloud blocking out the sunlight to the ground below it. So he looked up and immediately gulped as fear as the reflection of a giant winged beast reflected in his eye. "It's here!" he shouted as the green and silver form of Grimwing descended upon the fighters like a Hawk would to it's prey, firing several fireballs that destroyed him and several of the other Aerialbot fighters in one go. "Evasive!" Joker shouted before witnessing the Predacon fly through the other fighters, clipping two with it's massive wings and sending them down to their deaths as they exploded on the ground below. Then out of nowhere, Predaking swooped in and chomped on one fighter before clawing at another and sending it spiraling to the ground. Both Alpha and Kappa wings were in a complete disarray at this point as both dragons picked them off, until only two fighters remained. "This is Joker, anybody left out of Alpha and Kappa wings?" the lead Pilot said as he managed to keep his distance from both of the Predacon beasts. "Skydive, here. Everyone else is gone." the voice of a young Pilot replied hesitantly, Joker then looked out of the left hand side of his cockpit to see a damaged Aerialbot fighter enter formation with him. "Just stay at my wing, where are the two dragons now?" "They are moving off, back towards the center of the city." Skydive replied. "We can't let them take out the rest of our forces, so follow me and keep your weapons primed." Joker said back as he turned his fighter around with Skydive on his wing and the two Aerialbots headed back after the dragons, who had began attacking the remaining cruisers. Predaking flew around one, managing to evade the cruiser's flak cannons while scorching it's hull with it's fire-breath. Grimwing meanwhile, landed on top of another's engine module and began tearing away at it with it's powerful claws and teeth. "They are both trying to take down the 'Washington' and the 'Legion'." Skydive said as they closed in on the beasts. "We have to split up and take each dragon solo." Joker replied. "What! But we couldn't even take them down when our numbers were greater..." the younger Aerialbot started to say back in a shocked tone, but then Joker cut him off. "We have to try, or else we will lose both ships. I will take on the one attacking the legion, you distract the green and silver one." "...Roger that." Skydive replied before pulling away and moving towards Grimwing, while Joker set his sights on Predaking who was still attacking the Legion. He fired his cannons and again the bullets did little to no damage on the dragon's armoured body, but the Predacon looked over and saw the lone Aerialbot fighter advancing on it' position and turned it's attention from the Legion which took the opportunity to make some distance on the beast. The dragon then roared as it powered up an blast of fire breath, but Joker saw the signs as the light of the plasma glowed between the spaces of it's armoured neck as it was channeled up towards the mouth. So the pilot fired another missile which flew directly into the behemoth's mouth, exploding upon impact and creating a large cloud of smoke that covered the Predacon. "Come on, that must have done some damage?" Joker said to himself as he flew around the cloud, hoping to see the beast fall from within it. But within a few seconds he got his answer as a deafening roar could be heard, making his eyes widen as the beast burst out of the cloud and flew directly at him with what could only be described as a look of pure rage upon it's face. The Aerialbot just managed to pull of a split second evasive manoeuvre, missing Predaking's attack by inches as he hit the afterburners and pulled away with the beast in hot pursuit. "Oh great, I pissed it off." Joker said as several fireballs flew past his fighter from behind as the dragon got closer, causing the pilot to put everything into the engines and hope that he could out run it as well as get it farther from the other Autobot ships as he could. But suddenly the fighter was shaken by an impact at it's rear, causing the master alarm to sound off. 'Shit, engines been hit.' he thought as he saw the schematic of his fighter appear on a holo-screen to his left, the engines flashing red as he felt the fighter's control slipping from him. "Mayday Mayday, this is Joker. I have been hit badly and am losing control of the fighter. I am going down, I repeat I am going down." he said into his com-link before pressing the flashing ejection button on the holo-interface. In an instant the canopy was blown off from the cockpit, exposing him to the gale force-like air that was hitting the ship hard as it carried on descending. And Joker soon followed as he was shot up out of the fighter while strapped to his seat, the fighter continued to go on without in as he let the force of the launch carry him up higher into the air before the seat's straps released him and found himself free falling back towards the ground. He tried to reach down for the chute release, but the force of the air hitting him as gravity pulled him back down to the ground was very strong. So he edged his hand closer until he got a firm grip on the release and yanked it hard, which released the parachute from within the pack on his back and it expanded rapidly until enough of the air was caught under it, immediately putting the breaks on Joker's descent and hurt his body like hell while doing so. 'Fuck me, I think I broke my ribs.' he thought as his torso ached, but now that he was slowly floating down to the ground below like a leaf in a gentle breeze. He could look around at the city of New Iacon and the visible scars of the battle that was still raging within and over it, he then saw the black and orange dragon as it followed his fighter until it hit the ground and exploded. Which earned a roar of approval from the beast as it turned around and flew back towards the battle, leaving Joker alone as he spotted Skydive's fighter which was firing at the green and silver Dragon that was still on the Washington. 'What are you doing? Your getting to close.' he thought as the fighter flew directly at the Beast which then fired a spread of fireballs in it's direction, which made Skydive veer out of their way. But Grimwing suddenly sweeped his tail up in that direction, which left the young pilot with no chance to evade and his fighter hit the tail directly at full speed, killing him as the ship exploded. Joker turned his head away and looked down to the ground as he mourned yet another pilot who's life had been extinguished by this new enemy, one that only a short time ago looked as if they were going to lose this battle, or at least the one going on in the sky. But he knew there was still hope as Jackson Prime was still out there fighting amongst the enemy and maybe if he could take out their leader, then this battle would be over before it could get any worse.
  4. CHAPTER X A Terracon stood at his post on the bridge of the Icarus while his brethren worked around him, manning the other stations such as engineering, security and helm. He himself was working at Communications and so far the Predacon soldier was having a busy day, since he had been relaying messages between the other ships in their growing armada as they were being sent to different coordinates in and around the Sol system, and even though their Lord Galvatron would not come out and say it. The troops could see that he was planning something big, and the Predacon Leader was barely holding back any of their forces from whatever it was. A loud beeping sound began ringing out from the communication station's holo-interface, so the Terracon tapped a finger against the flashing button titled 'Incoming transmission'. "What is the safe word." the soldier spoke into his com-link. Terrorise!" the female voice replied as the minion's holo-screen brought up an image and matching voice pattern, with the name Rip-Claw alongside it. "That is confirmed, Commander Rip-Claw." the Terracon said back. "Put me through to Lord Galvatron immediately." the Femme snapped, gaining a fast and fearful movement from the minion as he went about contacting the Predacon Leader. But before he did so, Galvatron entered the bridge, gaining the attention of every Terracon there and immediately making them nervous. This was a usual reaction to the Predacon Leader but more recently, it has been because Galvatron has been acting a little erratic. He has been looking around and glaring at nothing in particular, almost like he can see something that the others can not. Galvatron then looked directly at the Comms-Terracon, his red eyes narrowing as the minion stared back like deer caught in car headlights. "What are you staring at?" he barked, making the Terracon even more nervous and fearful. "I...have Rip-Claw on the line...,Lord Galvatron." The Predacon Leader walked up behind the Comms-Terracon and looked at his screen. "Rip-Claw, report." Galvatron's voice came through on the femme's com-link as she stood in front of the final blast door between herself and the Command Tower's CIC. She had calmed down since her fight with Quickstrike and had reverted to normal look. "Lord Galvatron, we are about to take the CIC and gain full control of the Communications Hub." Rip-Claw replied with the sounds of plasma torches burning could be heard around her. "Excellent work, Rip-Claw. Keep me apprised on your progress." the Predacon Leader said back. "Yes, my Lord. Rip-Claw out." the femme replied before ending the transmission. Galvatron then looked at the Terracon in front of him, his shadow cast over the nervous minion. "Inform me immediately when Rip-Claw is back online." "Y..ye...yes, Lord Galvatron." the Terracon stammered, earning an eye roll from the Predacon Leader as he turned around, only for him to stop in his tracks with his eyes widening as Megatron stood in front of him, looking around the room before sighing. "The more things change, the more they stay the same." he said while watching the Terracons working, not unlike the way the Vehicons used to, but there was something missing from their behavior. Galvatron though did not want to cause a scene that should make his troops question him, so he simply gritted his teeth as he attempted to ignore the hallucination and walk past him. "Pity the Terracons do not fear you in the same way my troops feared me, perhaps they can sense that you are simply a copy of a greater Cybertronian." Megatron added with a sly grin, showing off his sharp teeth. But even though Galvatron could feel his spark burning with the desire to rip this ghost apart with his bare hands, he instead just took a deep breath and carried on walking to the exit while leaving a perplexed and disappointed Megatron standing there on his own. "Come now, Galvatron. It is no fun if you don't argue back." he jokingly pleaded, before following the Predacon Leader out of the room. Meanwhile back in Omicron City, inside the soon to be breached CIC. Blaster and his men were preparing for what was likely to be their final fight, for they knew from what they had seen previously that all of their forces outside of the tower were now dead, and the city was now under their control. Blaster loaded up his rifle before turning his attention to his comms-officer. "Still no luck breaking the jammers?" he asked, earning a worried look from the Krogan as he shook his head in return. "No, Sir. Everything I have tried just has not been enough to cut through all that noise that the enemy has been bombarding our comms with ever since they began their attack." The Commander then joined the Krogan at his station and handed him a shotgun. "Here, take this and help the others over there. I am going to try something that worked back during the War for Cybertron." The Krogan nodded and went over to the makeshift cover that the others were preparing near the blast door that was currently being cut through by the enemy. Blaster then began typing onto the holo-keyboard as he looked at the Interface's screen, making the power levels for Hub's transmitter array go through the roof while one of his team noticed and watched him. "Sir, why are you overloading the array?" the Salarian asked, gaining the Commander's attention. "It's not what you think. During the Cybertronian War, the Decepticons would jam all of our comms during an attack so that we should be unable to call for backup or warn the others. But we found that if we gave the transmission a large enough boost of power, it could break through the jamming and be heard by the other Autobots." "Well, Sir, I hope it works because whoever this enemy is, they are nearly through the last blast door." the Salarian replied while pointing over to said door, which the Commander could see was beginning to come off it's hinges as they were being burnt away, so the Autobot returned his attention to the comms terminal. Once he was happy with the level of power going into the array, Blaster then started to record his message. "Jackson Prime, do you read? An unknown force is blitzing Omicron City, we're really taking a pounding. Don't know how much longer we can hold out." Suddenly as he finished the message and pressed the send button, the blast door was suddenly broken off it's melted hinges and fell to the ground with a loud clang before weapons fire flooded the room and the Terracons moved in. Blaster shot two of them directly in their chests while taking cover behind the communication station, but as both sides exchanged fire, the Commander could see that his men really couldn't last long against this kind of pressure. Every time that an enemy soldier was killed, two of the Autobots were taken down in response. After another moment of fighting passed, a Female soldier in light blue and red armour entered the fight alongside the enemy soldiers and she looked almost possessed in the way she fought. For it seemed she liked getting up close and cutting down Autobots with her holo-blades, a big smile on her face the whole time as she continued to slice and dice her way through their numbers while her soldiers supported her with covering fire. Blaster then spotted the Salarian from a few minutes ago, as he was cowering behind one of the terminals. He looked like he had just given up as he sat there, his expression one of fear while his gun lied on the floor next to him. Unbeknownst to the scared Salarian, the female soldier was almost upon him. So Blaster got up from his cover and fired at the Female as his men continued to die around him, the enemy soldier dived behind cover herself as the Terracons began firing at the Autobot. Blaster though kept his cool and shot a number of the enemies as he moved between cover, making his way to the Salarian who seemed oblivious to the whole situation as he sat their with his head in his hands. Blaster continued to fire at the enemies and the female soldier, ensuring that she stayed where she was as he made it to the Salarian. "Oh my god, oh my god, oh my god." he kept whispering frantically as the Commander knelt next to him before shooting one enemy in the face who was getting to close. "Come on, Soldier, we need to move." Blaster said, but the scared Salarian just ignored him. "I know you're scared, but you did sign up for this. So get it together and fight." the Commander continued, but it still fell on deaf ears. So the Autobot then slapped the Salarian's face, making the soldier look back at him in shock. "Pull yourself together, because I need your help. Now follow my lead." Blaster said back in a firm and commanding tone, one that the Salarian quickly nodded at him and started to get up into a kneeling position as he picked up his gun, when suddenly he jerked as the tip of a holo-blade burst through his chest. The bot's eyes widened as the Salarian looked at him in horror before dying there and then, as blood began to pour out of the wound. Before Blaster could do anything, the blade was pulled back out of the now dead soldier and the Female enemy stood up from behind the station and smiled at the Autobot. "I don't know why I am wasting my time asking this? Perhaps, it is my Sister's constant nagging. But I suppose it might be too much for you to surrender now, since your men are all dead...please tell you're not considering it?" she asked as she raised her arm and showed him the still active holo-blade, with the Salarian's blood dripping of it's tip. Blaster's eyes narrowed as he stared at the blade and then back at then Female, who looked at him with an evil smirk. "I take that as a no then, good." she replied before the Bot lunged at her with the butt of his rifle. But the Female was far quicker than he and dodged Blaster's attack before slicing into his back with her blade, not too deeply but just enough to cut through his armour and draw blood. He grimaced in pain before turning back to his opponent, who's smile was even bigger now that she had his blood staining her holo-blade. She was definitely taking pleasure out of this and this only made the Autobot even more angry and determined to take her down, though what had not gone unnoticed by the Bot was the fact that the other soldiers had not engaged him at all since the Female got involved physically with him, so she must be their Leader. 'So all I have to do is beat this bitch and that should give me the upper hand against these assholes.' Blaster thought as he raised his hand to the female Fnd beckoned her over to him in a sarcastic way. "Come on, Sweetheart. Let's dance." he said, earning a dagger like stare from his opponent. She then swung her blade at him and he stepped to the side, leaving her exposed to attack and he replied by punching the female in the side, making Rip-Claw grunt as she staggered to the left slightly. "How'd you like that?" Blaster asked as the Predacon looked up at him, making the Bot look down at the emblem on her armour which made his eyes widen in disbelief. 'Impossible, that just can't be.' he thought as he recognised the symbol from his understanding of his former home world's history. "You're a Predacon, but…." the Autobot said, earning a knowing look from the Femme who took this as an opportunity and attacked him while he was distracted. Rip-Claw lunged at him with an uppercut that knocked him backwards as it connected with his jaw, making him stagger backwards as she recovered and then swung her holo-blade which made contact with Blaster's chest plate and cut right through it, spurting out blood over his armour as he fell back onto his back with the Femme now standing over him. The Autobot then caught sight of his rifle just to his left as Rip-Claw moved closer to him, her shadow slowing covering his entire body. So he tried to reach for it, his fingers straining to touch at it's metal grip, but then he screamed out loud as the Predacon drove her blade right through his wrist, his blood spilling out into a puddle around his hand and arm. "Now, now. I am not using a gun so why should you be allowed to, Autobot." she said with a smile while looking down at Blaster, who then rolled onto his side and held on to his arm which continued to bleed out. The Femme just chuckled before looking around the room to see only dead Autobots of varying species laying at the feet of her Terracons, so she tapped her com-link. "Get me, Lord Galvatron." she said, waiting a few seconds before the commanding voice of her Leader could be heard. "Rip-Claw, report." he replied. "Omircon City and the Autobot Communications Hub is ours, my Lord. Just waiting on Shockblast's program to be downloaded to my holo-tool so we can disable the Autobot's galaxy wide communication network. Which will allow you to attack any world in the Federation." she then said coldly, making Blaster's eyes widen as he heard her speak those words and so desperately grabbed at her legs. "NO!" he shouted, gaining her attention. "You still not dead yet?" she asked sarcastically before pulling her pistol out of it's holster and aiming it at the Bot's head. "I can correct that." she added before firing three shots into Blaster's face, killing the Autobot once and for all as the bullets went clean through, leaving a splatter of blood on the ground underneath. "What was that?" Galvatron asked, wondering what had just happened. "Just executing an Autobot, my Lord. So when can we expect the program?" Rip-Claw replied casually. "I will get Shockblast to send it now. Good work, Rip-Claw. I am certainly proud of your accomplishments this day, because you and the crew of the Achilles have ensured that our plans now have more than a sliver's chance of success." "Thank you Lord Galvatron. Also I thought you would like to know that we should have a number of Autobot Prisoners too, I'll have Ser-Ket see to their imprisonment after she has dealt with an Autobot we captured." the Femme replied with a sense of pride in her voice. "Good, make sure to gain as much Intel as you can from them. But as of right now, I want you to not only disable the Communications Hub and also strike out at the other cities on the planet and make Omicron Colony an 'Alpha site' for our forces. Just on the off chance that the Autobots attempt to come to Cybertron again." the Predacon leader said, earning a nod from the Femme. "Don't want to keep all your energon in one tank?" "Yes, so I will not hold you back from your duties any further, Rip-Claw. Galvatron out." As the com-link deactivated, Rip-Claw turned to the other Terracons and gave them a stern look. "Alright, let's get to work." PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile the Normandy was flying at hyper-speed as it flew towards the nearest Space-bridge, so that that Liara T'Soni could be returned to her mother on Thessia. On board the Autobot frigate, inside the briefing room, Rodimus, Orion, Liara, Nightracer, Shen and Red-Alert were sitting around the large table as holo-orb of blue light was being emitted from it's center. The Asari had been going through what had happened when the Icarus had landed on Cybertron a month previously, and everyone listened intently as she spoke. Liara had recollected her team's finding of the labs that belonged to the Decepticon Shockwave, how they found and awakened the one who called himself Galvatron and how he killed everyone around her. And also how he had changed and brainwashed her then-boyfriend Shockblast and his brother Six-shot and with their help took control of the Icarus and slaughtered everyone else. When the Asari had finished speaking, she went quiet and just stared down at the table in front of her, before taking a sip from her glass of water. Orion hadn't taken his eyes off of her for the entirety of her debriefing and now seeing her sink back into her chair like this, he guessed that having to remember such stained memories had been a lot for her to process. The Bot wanted nothing more than to place a hand on her shoulder and tell her it would be alright, but then again that would have been a lie. For how could it be alright for Liara who had watched as the man she had loved being 'reformatted' and made to believe that she and everyone around her were now his enemies. During her description of those events, Nightracer had asked if it was at all possible that what had been done to the brothers could very well be reversed. But Liara simply replied that she thought it would not be possible, since she believed that there was no longer any part of her Lover left in his spark, because for one thing…Shockblast certainly had no qualms about killing her, for he did not remember or even recognise her. And as she spoke those words, Orion could see how much that had hurt Liara inside, even if she did try to hide it behind a professionalism that the Asari were well known for having due to their long life-spans. But this also confused the Bot because since he had met the Asari, he had sworn that there was a slither of a connection between them. And now, having found out about her relationship with Shockblast, had felt guilty for slowly pushing that connection further. But the Spectre was brought out of his thoughts as Rodimus began to speak. "Liara, thank you for telling us everything that had happened on Cybertron. And I am very sorry for your loss, I believe everyone here will agree with me that this 'Galvatron' will be made to pay for what he did to Shockblast, his Brother and the entire crew of the Icarus." Everyone around the Asari nodded in agreement as Liara looked back at Commander with a curious look. "So when do we go back?" she asked suddenly with a rather resolute expression that gained a confused stare from Rodimus. "Go back?" "To Cybertron, of course. Galvatron and the 'others' have had the run of place for over a month now. Who knows what they are up too." Liara replied, and honestly what she just said did make a lot of sense with Orion right now, because with what he had just learnt about this Man during this debriefing. It certainly felt like something that they needed to get on with right away. "I have to second that, we should check this out." the Bot said, earning a slight smile from the Asari at his backing of her idea. Orion returned the smile and then looked around at his friends and they too looked like they would be in favor, but Rodimus was not going for it as he looked between both Orion and Liara with a stern expression. "Well, while I can appreciate your opinion on this, Orion. But perhaps you are forgetting that we have orders that we must complete first, which is to return Dr T'Soni to her mother back on Thessia…" the Commander said before Orion cut him off. "But we are Autobot Spectres, I thought that gave us some leeway in the 'orders' department?" "I think you have this version of the Spectres confused with the originals. You know, the chaotic ones that did whatever they wanted to get the job done. Making the need for a more controlled Spectres not only a requirement…..but a necessity." "So we are to just sit here with our backsides firmly on our hands and wait, as Galvatron carries on with whatever the hell it is that he is doing. I mean what about the Autobot/Federation ships that have been going missing this past month, I somehow doubt having heard what Liara has just told us makes those events just a big coincidence." As Orion and Rodimus carried on arguing, Liara turned to Shen with a curious expression. "What does he mean by 'missing ships'?" The Turian managed to look away from his best friend clashing heads with their Leader and turn his attention to the Asari sitting to his left. "Over the past month a large number of light cruisers, transports and civilian ships have gone missing in the sector that borders with the Terminus systems that we all know are controlled by the Omega Syndicate. And with what you said to us, I do have to agree with Orion as that sector does also border with the one that Cybertron is located in." As they talked, Nightracer looked over to them. "What you guys talking about?" she asked and just as the Turian was about to answer, the argument between Orion and Rodimus heated up. "It's not your place to tell me what our job is, Orion." Rodimus spat. The young Bot crossed his arms at that response. "Really, is that so? Because I thought that as I am now your XO, that it is in my job description to give you my view and advice." Rodimus felt a smile trying to break through the stern expression he was trying to keep in front of his team, for the Commander knew Orion was right about that and it gave him a proud feeling to see the young Bot taking the role he had been given seriously. So the older Bot took a deep breath before speaking. "Alright, you have me there. Look the best I can do is talk to Command and see what they want to do first. So while I am doing that, if you, Orion, could handle Liara's accommodations while she is on board, since it will still be several hours until we reach the space bridge. That should be enough time for us to know what to do next." Orion nodded back with a slight smile, knowing that was the best that they could get with the current situation as the Commander looked at Shen, Nightracer and Red-Alert who had been quiet and observing during the whole debriefing. "Alright then, everyone dismissed." Rodimus said before everyone left the room, leaving the Commander there on his own. Orion and Liara walked towards the elevator while the others decided to stay in the CIC and talk, so he opened the elevator's door and let the Asari enter first before following her in and pressed for their desired floor on the control panel. And as the elevator descended to the floor below, both Bot and Asari said nothing as the atmosphere felt somewhat tense. Liara looked over to Orion and was about to say something when the elevator stopped at the crew deck, it's doors sliding open to reveal crewmen walking about the corridors. "If you will follow me." the Bot said back as he walked onto the deck, followed closely by Liara as they walked down the corridor and stopped outside one of the connecting doors. "Here we are." he added as he opened the door, which allowed the pair to enter the room which had basic furniture, cupboards and a large bed. The Asari looked around the room as Orion stood by and watched her. "I hope this is alright?" he asked with a distracted tone, making Liara look back at him and nod in return. "Yes, this will be fine." So the Bot nodded back and was about to leave when his name was called. "Orion, what's wrong?" the Asari asked, earning his attention as be stopped and looked back at her. "Liara,...I am really sorry about your 'friends'..." he replied, which made the blue woman look at him in surprise and confusion. "...what this Galvatron did to them was beyond terrible." he added as she remained quiet and listened. 'Well this is now awkward.' he thought as it went very quiet between them both. But now that he knew that Liara had somebody else who was special to her, the Bot wanted to know more. Though he knew going down this path was as far from the one that he thought the two of them were heading originally. "Yes, it truly was." Liara replied as she looked down to the floor, a sombre expression on her face. "So Shockblast must have been a hell of a guy?" Orion asked, catching her off guard again. "What do you mean?" The blue haired Bot gave her a slight smile in return. "Because you chose him, that's why. I doubt there are many men that could be that lucky." The Asari smiled on the inside as she looked back to the ground. 'Orion, you're quite the smooth talker.' she thought. "Thank you, he was too." the Asari replied with a smile which then soon faded as she continued. "But he is gone now." "Are you sure? I mean like Nightracer said..." Orion started to say, but only for Liara to cut him off. "He is gone, Orion. Galvatron killed him. So the Shockblast that I knew died that day, but I will always remember him. But I am not going to let his death dictate my life from here on in." Orion looked at her with a confused expression. "What do you mean?" he asked, curious to find out her meaning. "You remember what I said about me being solitary and how the Reaper War changed that when I made friends with those I served with." The Bot nodded as he listened intently. "Well, I also lost them to the Reapers, I mean who didn't. But unlike many who would let such losses cripple them, I decided that I would honor their memory by remembering the good in them while in turn, not allowing the grief of their loss control my life and it's direction." Liara added before looking Orion in the eye. "And so I will do the same with Shockblast." "Do you love him?" the Bot then asked. "I thought I did but considering everything that happened, I guess I was wrong." the Asari replied as she looked away from Orion. "I see." he said back, as he thought on everything she had just told him. The Bot had felt that there was a connection between the two of them since meeting the Asari back on Illium, but then hearing about Shockblast had made Orion feel guilty with how their new friendship was progressing. And though hearing Liara talk like this had helped, the Bot started to feel that he should give her some space, so he began to move back to the door when the Asari looked over to him. "You're going? I thought we could talk more." she asked with a look of surprise. "I would like that." he said back, gaining a smile from Liara. "As would I." she replied as she sat down on the couch, so Orion turned away from the door and was about to sit with her when suddenly the intercom activated. "Orion Darby, I need you in the Comms room now." Rodimus' voice spoke, earning a sigh from the Bot. "I have to go and see what he wants." Orion said while looking down at Liara before he then turned around and headed for the door, but she simply gave him a slight smile in return as he got to the door and looked back. "I know, can I see you after?" she asked with a slither of hope in her voice, earning a smile from the Bot as he opened the door. "Definitely." he said before walking out of the room, feeling much better as he thought to himself. 'Yeah, the connection is still there.' A minute or so later and Orion entered the Comms room to find the Commander standing next to the holo-emitter and typing on control terminal. "What's wrong, Rodimus?" the bot asked as he stood beside the Commander who looked up at him with a worried expression. "I was just about to transmit the information that Dr T'Soni had given us to Jackson Prime, when I found that our connection to the comms network is down. We can't contact any Autobot Ship, Outpost or Colony in the Galaxy." Orion's eyes widened at that comment as the repercussions of this dawned on both Men. Meanwhile on board the Icarus, one of the Terracons activated the comms terminal and the face of Galvatron appeared on the screen. "Lord Galvatron, all ships are in position and Commander Rip-Claw reports that Shockblast's program has disabled all parts of the Autobot Communication Network. No one on their side will be able to notice that anything is wrong until it is too late, and so we have the all clear to proceed." An evil smile grew on the Predacon Leader's face as he listened to the minion. "Excellent, then lets get on with it." PRIME EFFECT 4 It had been a bright sunny day, with barely a cloud in the sky over the ISF capital of New Iacon as the celebrations that began first thing in the morning had yet to let up. And now as a blue sky had given way to that of dusk with the sun descending to the horizon. The entire city was still buzzing with a happy and excited atmosphere as everyone was enjoying the countless firework displays and other festivities that had been organised, not only in New Iacon but all over the Earth and the rest of the Federation. In Iacon's city centre, which on a normal day was a busy hub of commerce for the whole ISF had become even more busy now due to the celebrations as Arcee, Chromia and Ironhide walked down the main street and looked at the numerous food stands and stalls that were on site for the festivities. The three of them came across a stall that had several funny mirrors of which had kids laughing at their altered images as they stood in front of them, Arcee walked over to one of the normal ones and looked at the image of herself which was reflected back at her. She was wearing a light blue dress that hung off her still athletic figure, her blue hair which now had a small amount of silver mixed in had been cut into a smart pixie cut style. For a Femme who was now approaching her sixties, Arcee still had the look of a Woman in her late forties….which was damn good for someone of her age. If anything that the eons of fighting had taught her, it was how to take care of her body. But as she stood there with everyone else around her caught up in the happy and fun atmosphere of the Anniversary celebrations, she felt somewhat apart from it. Meanwhile Chromia was nearly choking on her drink as she laughed at Ironhide who was posing in front of one of the funny mirrors, which showed him with a massive pear shaped gut which was in the complete opposite of his bulked up frame. But then the younger Femme noticed her Sister just staring blankly at herself in the other mirror and walked over to her, placing a hand on her shoulder which brought the blue haired older Woman out of her thoughts. "Sis, what's wrong? You've been quiet nearly all day." Arcee sighed as she looked back to her younger sister and gave her a half-hearted smile. "I'm alright, I just thought Jack would have been here by now." "I guess he has been held back by work again?" Chromia replied. "Looks that way, we don't get to see each other as much as we like anymore." the older Femme said as Ironhide joined them. "Everything alright?" he asked as Chromia turned to him and smiled. "Yeah, Honey. Could you do me a favor and get us both one of those Sea-Salt Ice-creams from the vendor over there?" she asked while pointing over to the ice-cream seller across the way from them. The Bot shook his head gently before giving his spark-mate a loving smile. "You and your sweet tooth. Okay, I'll be back in a moment, Love." he replied before heading over to join the queue leading to the vendor. Chromia then took this moment for Arcee and herself to sit down at one of the tables that were outside one of the many coffee shops that could be found in the city. "How are things between you and Jack? No troubles other than the obvious?" she asked. "Other than the fact that we hardly see each other...no, everything else has been great between us. We still love each other as much as we did over two decades ago, there is no problem there. Its just I thought that as we are now getting older and Orion is doing his own things, that we would get more time for each other..." Arcee replied while looking ahead and seeing another couple walking down the street hand in hand, admiring the attractions. "...But it seems Jack's work won't give us that time." she added. "Still no sign of someone new to take over the Matrix, sure is taking it's time huh." Chromia replied, but the older Sister did not respond to this, instead just looking away and thinking some more. Because if what Jack had told Arcee several years ago was true, there was someone who could bear that mantle. But that person was still not ready apparently, though she could not blame that person if it was true, because to be a Prime was a huge responsibility. "Well, I am glad that there are no other problems between you and Jack, so how is Orion doing?" Chromia asked, snapping Arcee out of her thoughts again. "Orion? Last I heard from him, he had been doing well with his work as a Spectre." "Orion...a Spectre, wow. You and Jack must be proud of him." the younger Femme replied. "Yes, I certainly am. But Jack though..." Arcee began to say before looking away, earning a surprised expression from Chromia. "Don't tell me the pair of them are still not talking, how many years has it been?" "It's been several years, Chromia, and it is complicated." the blue haired Woman replied. "If something like this happened between Ironhide and Quickstrike, then I would just lock both of them in a room and not let either out until they buried the hatchet." her Sister replied, gaining a knowing look from Arcee. "It's not that simple, Chromia. The most important men in my life are both very stubborn when it comes to this." This earned a slight smile from Chromia. "Well, Orion gets that stubbornness from you, Sis. But when did Jack become that way. I always thought it would be Jack playing intermediate between you and Orion. I remember you telling me about the time Optimus lost his memories and thought he was Decepticon, the rest of you had become argumentative and disgruntled with the loss of the Prime. But Jack kept a cool head and stopped the rest of you from losing yourselves completely." As she remembered that time, a smile grew on Arcee's face. "I remember." she replied, earning a supportive smile from Chromia. "Everything does work out in the end Arcee, believe me." she said back, gaining a nod from her older Sister. Then as both Femmes began to relax and look around as the festivities continued, Ironhide returned with a pair of ice creams. "Now that is what I am talking about." the big Bot said as he saw Arcee smiling. "Thought I would never see you smile today, Cee. And yours is one that should always be around." he said while passing a ice creams to the pair, earning a scowl from Chromia. "And what about mine?" she asked while trying to sound hurt, thus making the Bot feel guilty. "Your's is beautiful, Love. I am just saying that Arcee shouldn't hide hers...that's all." Ironhide replied. "Don't 'that's all' me." the younger Femme said back as she hit him on the arm, earning a chuckle from Arcee which gained both their attention. "What?" they asked in unison. "Nothing...it's just you two are 'cute' when you argue." the older Femme replied while still slightly chuckling. The couple then looked back at each other and smiled as Chromia placed her hand affectionately in Ironhide's on the table. "Well, Ironhide is really a big softy at spark." The younger Sister said affectionately, making the big Bot spit out the drink he was just taking a sip of. "Don't say that out loud..." he said before wiping his mouth. "...I have a rep to maintain." he finished as both Femmes burst out laughing. Then as things calmed down, the three of them just enjoyed the cool evening breeze that was passing through the streets of the Capital as celebrations continued around them. Suddenly Arcee's holo-tool activated and the Femme opened up a message on it's interface and read it, with a big smile appearing on her face as she did. "Looks like someone got some good news." Ironhide observed, earning a smile from Chromia as she smiled back. "Jack has finished and is on his way." the older Sister replied as she sent back a reply. "So how long till he is here?" the big Bot replied. "Should be about fifteen minutes, so how is everything with Quickstrike?" Arcee asked as they sat there, enjoying the ice cream and drinks. Meanwhile on the edge of the system, the Autobot cruiser 'Ultra Magnus' was on patrol around the space bridge which suddenly activated as a giant green vortex expanded in all directions from the device. On the Magnus's bridge, the Salarian Commander looked on as his crew worked around him at their respective stations. "Unscheduled space-bridge activation." one of crew spoke as the Commander kept his attention on the screen. "Contact Jackson Prime and inform him of what..." he started to say before a star-ship flew out of the vortex and into the system, gaining the attention of the Commander and his crew. The star-ship looked like it had been in one hell of a fight, as the hull was covered in hull breaches and burns while smoke billowed out of the most heavily damaged sections. The damage was that heavy that the ship's name could not be identified, as the Ultra Magnus came up alongside the moving wreck. "This is Commander Malarus of the Autobot cruiser 'Ultra Magnus', can we give you assistance?" the Salarian said, but the only response was static over the comms. "Could their communications be out too?" he then asked the Turian to his left. "It is possible sir, but the sensors are having a hard time with all the radiation that is being emitted from the ship's leaking reactor. The only thing I can pick up is the Autobot IFF." he replied before noticing something on the holo-screen in front of him. "Sir, I am detecting a power build up from their Hyper-drive." The Commander gave him a confused look as he looked between the Turian and the viewscreen. "How is that possi..." But before the Salarian could finish his words, the heavily damaged ship suddenly jumped to hyper-speed, leaving them alone on the edge of the system again. The bridge crew all looked completely dumbstruck before Malarus looked over to his comm officer. "Have you managed to get through to Jackson Prime?" "No sir..." the Human Female replied while inputting commands into the holo-interface of her station. "...I have tried three times, but all I am getting is static..." she said before her eyes went wide in shock at what she saw." "What is it, Ensign?" the Commander replied after seeing her expression. "Sir,...if I am reading this right, the entire Communication network is offline. We can not contact any vessel unless we use our short range ship to ship transmitter." she said back, earning a worried look from the Commander who then turned his attention to the Asari piloting the cruiser. "Get us to Earth now!" Meanwhile, Jackson Prime and his team mates were sent flying off their seats and onto the floor of the shuttle they were in, as the pilot was made to veer the small vessel to the right suddenly. "What the hell was that?" Smokescreen asked as the Bot picked himself up from the floor and held on to the hand holds over head, while noticing Grunt and Garrus both doing the same. "Sorry, Smoke. I was too busy getting up close and personal with a bulkhead. So I can't answer that question." Garrus replied as he put a hand to the large bruise that was on his face right now. "I hate shuttles, did everyone know that." the Krogan replied coldly as Jack was already at the pilot's side. "Ensign, report." he said as the young Man at the helm of the shuttle kept his attention on his flying. "Sorry, Sir,. But I didn't get a chance to warn you. Since this cruiser just jumped in directly behind us at high speed. I had to take evasive manoeuvres to ensure we didn't get crushed." "No, that was good flying Ensign. But where did it come from?" Jack asked while looking out of the cockpit's canopu at the large ship that was directly between Earth and themselves. "No idea sir, as far as I remember no ship is allowed to use their Hyper-drive while inside the Sol system, and certainly not this close to Earth." The Pilot said as they both watched it getting closer to the blue planet. "Hail them." the Prime replied. "I have been trying, Sir, with no success." "It looks like the ship is out of control. Any idea where on the planet it will crash-land?" Jack asked as Garrus and the others got up behind him and listened to the pair. "According to it's trajectory and velocity, it will impact….oh my god!" the Pilot said with a wide eyed expression as the Prime looked down at the holo-screen and saw the coordinates on the planet, his expression matching the pilot's as Garrus looked at the screen from over his friend's shoulder. "New Iacon…what about all the people down there?" he said while both Grunt and Smokescreen looked on in shock and worry as the damaged cruiser began to pull away from them. Jack immediately tapped his com-link. "This is Jackson Prime to anyone in the Decagon, come in please….anyone?" he said in a panicked tone, but the only reply he received was static. The Pilot then tried his own comms terminal, but had the same response. "Looks like the Autobot communication network is down." he replied, making the Prime look at him in an even more surprised expression. "Impossible! The system was designed by Raf and Blaster with multiple fail-safes to ensure it never goes down. Switch to standard comms and get me Decagon control." he said, making the Pilot work extremely fast as he typed on the holo-controls in front of him. "There you go, Sir. I have them." he replied before another voice could be heard on the speaker. "Decagon control here." "This is Jackson Prime, you have to begin evacuating the city immediately because there is an out of control ship on a collision course with the Capital." the Prime said in a commanding and alert tone, as the voice's tone on the speaker became more panicked. "Yes sir, beginning evacuation procedures right away. How long do we have?" the Decagon control asked in a hurried way, making Jack and the Pilot look out of the shuttle's canopy at the ship which just began to enter Earth's atmosphere as it's very front started to heat up to white hot temperatures. "A few minutes at best." the Prime replied grimly. "Very well, Control out." the voice said before cutting out, which made Jack turn his attention to the Pilot once more. "Get us down there as fast as you can." PRIME EFFECT 4 Acree was finally starting to enjoy herself now as she sat with her Sister and her Sister's Spark-mate and watched as a parade was being marched down the street connected to the one they were currently residing. It had large balloon like animals which were roughly the same size as their old Cybertronian bodies used to be, with each one connected to a float that had performers standing on them in funny looking costumes. But even if the Femmes and Bot found this a little funny to watch, the families who there in the crowds around the parade, especially the children were loving it as they waved and cheered back to the costumed performers. But suddenly a deafening sound of an evacuation siren blared out around the city as shuttles began flying in and landing amongst the crows and multiple ground-bridge vortexs opened all over the city. "What in the Allspark is going on?" Ironhide asked as he and the Sisters got up and watched as everyone around them began panicking, while Autobots stepped off the shuttles and began herding the frightened civilians into them and through the ground-bridges at a hurried pace. But suddenly a sonic boom echoed throughout the sky like thunder during a storm, which gained the attention of all who were present. They looked up to see a dark looking object in the sky which was descending toward their location at a frightening speed, and for several seconds nobody moved as they simply watched in shock and fear as the object was getting closer. Ironhide started to move first, taking the hands of both Chromia and Arcee in his own. "Let's go, have to get you to one the ground-bridges." he said as the femmes nodded as they began to move in the opposite direction to where everyone was looking, trying to push their way through the crowds. "What you standing around for...move!" Arcee shouted at the rest, who simply stood still and stared up at the object. 'Why don't they move? Why do they just watch?' she thought as a few began to think like the Bot and Femmes, heading for the shuttles and vortexes as the Autobots there continued to move the civilians closest into them. Ironhide looked ahead to see that the closest vortex or shuttle was right down the street from their location, so he glanced back to see the large and heavily damaged cruiser very clearly in the sky as it plummeted towards them. In fact it was so close now that you could hear it's engines roaring as it closed in. And it was now that more and more civilians began to move away while some still watched, like deer caught in a car's headlights. From where they were, the ship suddenly disappeared behind the many tall buildings and skyscrapers. But suddenly what felt like an earthquake shook the very foundations that Iacon was built on as the cruiser hit the ground and crashed into the first buildings before it, demolishing them in an instant while crushing anyone who were still in it's way. The cruiser though did not stop as it's momentum carried it on into the city as the shuttles began to take off with as many people as they could carry, but only a few managed to escape as others were destroyed by the cruiser as it ran into them. The three Cybertronians ran as fast as they could, while hearing the destruction behind them getting closer and closer. But despite this disaster happening around them, the former Autobots kept themselves from falling into the abyss of panic and fear as they focused on one thing, the bright green vortex just ahead of them. But then the cruiser burst through the wall of buildings behind them and closed in on the trio and the others running around them, this made Ironhide look back as he felt the ship's shadow being cast on them and notice another alleyway on his left. "This way!" he shouted as the group turned left and ran down the alleyway just in time to miss the cruiser which carried on past and continued to mow everyone else down. But the alleyway became unstable as the cruiser had clipped the tops of the skyscrapers currently around the trio, which rained down rubble on them as they ran down the narrow street. The sound of the cruiser's continuing crash landing sounded some ways away as it had cut a path of of destruction right across the busy Capital's centre, but it was replaced by the sounds of cracking and supports breaking and the big Bot realised that the buildings around the three of them were about to collapse. But he saw what looked like a reinforced archway just outside of the small street around them and pointed at it as they ran. "Head for that archway!" ironhide said in a hurried tone, which made both Femmes nod back as they ran just ahead of him, who then saw that the buildings were going to give way at any moment. Both Femmes ran out of the alleyway with Ironide right behind them and made their way towards the archway, which was part of the public transport network that ran through the city. But suddenly the Skyscrapers began to fall and a hundred thousand tones of concrete and steel descended upon on the trio, its shadow enveloping them as they ran. "No!" Ironhide shouted as he flung himself at the Femmes and pushed them into the cover of the archway, surprising them as they fell into it's cover. Chromia immediately turned round to see her Spark-mate on his hands and knees while falling pieces of rubble came down around him as time suddenly seemed to slow down, as the Spark mates then looked into each others eyes. Chromia stared with wide eyed fear for her Ironhide, while he looked back with an expression of both acceptance and love. "I love you." he managed to say before the entire mass of the skyscraper came down on him, the force of it sending both Sisters onto their backs as the rubble blocked off that side of the archway and the air became thick with dust. Both Femmes then coughed as they climbed back to their feet, Chromia had tears flowing freely down her face as the Femme stared at the last place she saw her Spark-mate. "IRONHIDE!" she screamed before rushing back over to the rubble, starting to move what pieces of concrete and steel that she could. "I'll get you out of there baby!" she said in a determined if mistaken tone while Arcee, who was still in shock of what had just happened simply stared back at that spot. A long moment had passed while Chromia continued to try and dig out her fallen lover, but her older Sister finally came to her senses and moved over to her Sibling and grabbed her arms to stop her. But Chromia didn't react to her and just kept digging. "He's gone, Chromia. I am sorry, I am so sorry. But you have to let him go." the older Femme said as she fought back the tears which made her sister suddenly stop and openly let her sorrow out, with the tears flowing freely down her face as she broke down right there. Arcee then pulled her into a hug and held onto her little Sister tightly while Chromia started shaking as she cried, until she let out a harrowing scream of anguish that if not for the confined space that the Siblings were in, would probably have been heard by the rest of the city. The younger Femme then rested her head on her Sister's shoulder as the tears kept coming, while Arcee just let her continue to sob. "I am so sorry, Chromia." the Femme repeated her self before hearing a crack-like sound coming from above and noticing a spec of dust appearing from a large fissure in the archway's ceiling. The older Femme than pulled away enough to look Chromia in the eyes, who was now sobbing quietly. "Chromia, we can't stay here. The archway is becoming unstable due to the amount of rubble that is now on it, so we have to dig our way out. Ironhide didn't want you to die here, that's why he did what he did." The Femme then looked around them to see that both sides of the archway were blocked off by the rubble and debris of the skyscraper, but light could be seen through the gaps in the blockage directly behind the Sisters. But Chromia just stayed on her knees and looked at the ground, so her older Sister took things into her own hands and went over to the other blocked entrance and started to dig her way out. But as Arcee was clearing debris, suddenly another pair of hands joined in and the Femme looked to her right to see that Chromia had begun to dig too. The younger Femme was quiet for several minutes as the pair cleared off the rest of the debris and made an exit for them, the light almost blinding them as it shone into the archway. But once their eyes had adjusted to the bright light, what they saw was just as horrifying as it had been earlier, but the image before them was almost like Déjà vu. As the city around them looked like what they had seen during both the Reaper War and the War for Cybertron, with all the damage that the ship had caused. But despite this, the Femmes could see there were survivors who were either slowly making their way out of danger zone, or helping to clear rubble and help more people like themselves. "You were right, so let's go and help who we can out there. That's what Ironhide would do." Chromia then said, bringing a surprised expression to Arcee's face which quickly became serious. "Look, Chromia…" she began to say, but her Sister cut her off. "Arcee, let's go." the Femme replied as she wiped a tear from her cheeks, still wet from the tears that she had shed as she walked out of the archway, her older sister following as both Femmes ventured out into the city just as emergency shuttles and transports began entering ground zero. PRIME EFFECT 4 Jack looked in wide eyed disbelief at the destruction that one cruiser had brought to New Iacon, his shuttle was now out of the clouds with a clear view of the entire city as well as the path that had been cut through it. The others all looked with similar expressions at the horrifying image, Smokescreen even blinked his eyes in the hope that when he had, that the whole thing had been an illusion. "By Primus, just think about the people down there. What about Arcee? Isn't she down there waiting for you Jack?" the Bot asked as the Prime looked at where the fallen cruiser had come to a stop, and saw that it was half buried inside the Decagon which was located at the other side of the city's centre. "This wasn't an accident." Jack suddenly said as he narrowed his eyes at the horrifying image in front of him, gaining confused looks from his friends. "Why is that, Jack?" Grunt asked. "It certainly looks that way." Smokescreen added, but Jack shook his head in response. "So it's just a coincidence that the ship comes crashing down over the city during one of the biggest events of the ISF and ends up destroying half of the Decagon when it comes to a stop, the half that holds the offices of the majority of the senators." Garrus nodded in return as the others listened intently at their Leader's reason. "You're right, Jack. That's way beyond coincidence." "Garrus, get us all the weapons out of the mobile armory in the back." the Prime then said, earning a nod from the Turian who then went over to the large metal cabinet and started picking out the fire-arms. Jack then turned back to the Pilot as the others walked over to Garrus. "Take us down to the Decagon, we need to secure the area and ensure the senators safety. Also give me control of your comms terminal and set it to standard mode." The Pilot did so and Jack activated a com-channel. "To all Autobots in range of this transmission, this is Jackson Prime and I am declaring an Alert level 1. New Iacon is under attack, I repeat New Iacon is under attack. I do not know who is attacking us, but I want us to make sure that whoever they are will wish they hadn't. Our priorities are defending the civilians until they are out of harms way, and then bringing the hurt to the enemy. Good luck, Prime Out.". The Autobot leader then turned round and Garrus gave him an Avenger assault rifle and pistol. "Here you go, Jack." the Turian said before his face became pensive. "So do you think Arcee is okay down there? I mean that is a lot of damage." "I hope she is, I really do. But unfortunately that is all I can do, because my first priority is everyone else." Jack replied before checking the rifle. "I don't envy you, Jack. If our roles were reversed and Tali was down there, I don't think I could be so selfless." Garrus replied as Smokescreen and Grunt joined them. "That's the reason why Jack is a Prime." The younger Bot added, earning a nod from them all. "Prime, the emergency shuttles and transports are here." the Pilot called back, gaining their attention as the group turned back to the cockpit and saw the vessels flying around the ruined capital. "Now that was fast." Garrus said with an unconvinced tone in his voice. "Yeah, this doesn't smell right." Grunt replied, before suddenly the vessels began opening fire on the survivors who had come out into the open to be rescued and killing them instantly in a barrage of bullets. Everyone on the shuttle stared in wide eyed shock as this continued before Jack's eyes narrowed and he clenched his fist. "Get us down there now!" Meanwhile, Arcee and Chromia had taken cover behind a damaged sky-car as the emergency vessels carried on the slaughter around them. "What in the Allspark?!" Arcee said as they witnessed men, women and children being riddled with bullets by the cannons of the shuttles and transports as they flew overhead. "This wasn't an accident." Chromia then said as her voice was tinged with a building anger. The Femmes then noticed that a few of the shuttles were making a real effort to clear up a particular area just aways from them, it was a wide open space that had been created when the cruiser had swept through, destroying all the buildings that had stood there. Suddenly a giant Space-bridge vortex opened up and scores upon scores of soldiers wearing black and purple armour exited it, followed by some wearing armour with a different color scheme. Though one really stood out amongst them, as he wore silver, black and purple armour. And with the way the others were acting towards him, Arcee and Chromia guessed that he was the Leader as they stayed quiet and tried to listen to the new arrivals. Galvatron stood amongst his soldiers and marveled at the ruins around them that the 'Icarus' had caused to the city, a slight smile grew on the Predacon leader's face before he turned his attention to Lazerback who stood beside him. "Lazerback, report." "Our beachhead is secured and Shockblast reports that the last legion of Terracons are coming through now." the Con replied as they turned to see the remaining soldiers exit the vortex before it closed. "Very good." Galvatron replied before activating his com-link so all his troops on the ground or in the air could hear him. "My Brothers, this is a glorious day. For it will be remembered as the day the Predacons returned to the galaxy and drowned the Autobots in their own blood." All the Terracons and his Lieutenants beside him cheered before the Predacon leader threw his fist into the air. "My Predacons, it is time to rise up and Terrorise!" he shouted before the Predacon army roared with approval and began spreading out in all directions and killing any and civilians in their path.
  5. CHAPTER IX The noise felt almost unbearable as it filled the room and his ears, making him open his eyes slowly and stare up at the ceiling above him. He needed at least a minute to fully comprehend his surroundings at this point of the morning, but that damn sound was drowning out his very thoughts so he rolled on to his left side and looked down at the floor beside his bed. His eyes fell upon a small squishy grey cube that had a green holo-image of the time being emitted on it's side which said five am, so he picked it up and threw it away. The cube bounced off the wall to his left and then rolled to a stop on the floor and the sound with it, earning a smile from the man. 'Good job I found that gizmo on the net, or else I would be paying out for a lot of alarms.' he thought before climbing out of bed and walking over to the bathroom, the lights of the room activating at a low level for him as he entered the room. The man then stopped at the sink and turned on the cold tap which let the water flow freely out of it's snout and into the sink before disappearing down it's drain, so he then bent down over the sink and cupped his hands together before placing them under the running tap to collect some of the cold and clear liquid. He then splashed it on his face, the immediate sensation of the cold water waking him up far more effectively than the alarm clock had. Once he felt fresh and alert enough, the man then stood up and looked at his image in the mirror in front of him, which was that of a Caucasian man with short dark blonde hair and a medium built physique. He then reached over to the toothpaste and toothbrush which were located in a transparent glass on the back of the sink when a holo-interface appeared on the mirror. "Good morning, Lieutenant Quickstrike." a synthesized voice spoke, earning a sigh from the man. "Morning, 'Skeets'." he replied before brushing his teeth as 'Skeets' was an Autobot VI, one that Quickstrike and all Autobots on Omicron Colony had received as a part of an initiative, yet the Bot could not know why. And the VI was worse than the alarm clock since it didn't understand what privacy was, having appeared to him numerous times when the young Man did not want to be disturbed. "Quickstrike, I have to remind you that in thirty minutes you will required to be at your post." the VI said while the Bot swilled some water in his mouth and spat it and the excess toothpaste into the sink's bowl. "Yes, Skeets, I know. I will be there in plenty of time." Quickstrike replied before turning on the shower and taking off his boxers. "Computer, deactivate." he then replied as the interface shut down. "Sir, wai..." the VI replied before its voice was gone and the mirror went back to normal, which made the Bot smile as he climbed in to the shower for his morning wash. Then ten minutes later, Quickstrike was fully clothed in his red and black armour bearing his Autobot insignia proudly as he stood in one of the colony's many transports as it flew towards the Command center which was situated at the city's central area. Well to call it a city was a bit of a stretch really, as none of the populations centres on the planet really had a number of citizens needed to be classified as a city. This one was only given the honor because it was the first and it itself was called 'Omicron City'. 'Really needed someone with a better imagination to name the city.' the Bot thought as he looked around at the buildings as they zipped by, all of which looked like slightly larger and taller versions of the buildings on Eden Prime and Horizon. The transport then slowed down and landed on a landing pad next to the command center, which was the only building on the entire colony that could be close to being called a skyscraper. Quickstrike exited the transport and it then took off and flew away, while the Bot looked up at the tall structure as it reached up into the cloudy sky, with rays of sunlight managing to break though the odd gaps here and there in the cloud. He could also see the large red Autobot emblem that was positioned at the center of the building, but this building was actually a decoy for the real facility which was underground. The Facility in question was the Autobots main Communication Hub for the entire galaxy, it was made so that the Federation's main defence could be better prepared in case a galactic threat on level with the Reapers ever appeared. Quickstrike began to walk up the steps to the building's entrance when a someone called his name. "Hey, Quickstrike." The voice said, gaining the bot's attention as he turned to see another Caucasian man in a Orange and blue uniform approaching him. This one had brown hair that could be just seen under the safety helmet he was wearing. "Morning, Long-Arm. I thought you would be at one of the construction sites for the perimeter defences right now?" Quickstrike replied as the shook hands. "I was on my way, when I suddenly got called in because we have a damaged Autobot cruiser that is due to arrive in the next twenty minutes." Long-Arm replied. "That's strange, don't we usually get more of a warning than that when Autobot ships are incoming?" Quickstrike asked with a curious expression. "Yeah, but still I should..." the other Bot said in return before his com link activated, prompting him to tap his ear. "Long-Arm here...Hey, Grapple,…yeah I just got told to go somewhere else...I know, short notice huh...okay, I will be back on site once I'm done." Long-Arm then stopped the call and smiled back to his friend. "Well, I have to get moving. So I will see you later." "Sure will." Quickstrike replied before both bots continued in opposite directions, with him entering the lobby of the command center. He said morning to the Turian female who was manning the front desk before entering the elevator and pressing the key on the control panel labelled 'SUB-LEVEL TWENTY EIGHT'. Quickstrike waited in the elevator for a few minutes as it made it's descent towards the lowest level, the Bot though just stood there patiently while looking up at the level indicator that was situated above the door and watched as the number of each floor he passed appeared and disappeared quickly in ascending order. This elevator ride might have been a nice break for the bot except for the god awful music that played constantly to anyone who was inside, and was on a constant loop so there was no break. It was supposed to be an orchestral piece from the Geth, apparently the first piece of music they had every created. Though if that was what the Geth called music then they needed their audio receptors retuned, but luckily for Quickstrike the elevator came to a stop on the floor he wanted, and as soon as the doors opened he was out of there. The Bot stepped into a grey corridor of the large bunker-like base Quickstrike exited the elevator and walked down the bunker-like corridors of the real Autobot base, making his way towards the CIC. He then stopped at this large metallic door as a green laser beam passed over him. "Identity confirmed, Lt Commander Quickstrike, access granted." a synthesized voice spoke, before the door opened and revealed the nerve center of the base. Quickstrike walked into a large dome like room that had numerous control stations and terminals positioned systematically around the room, in the CIC's center was a massive cylinder like machine that rose high up into a tunnel at the very peak of the dome and was covered in thousands of LEDs, that were blinking on and off at a very high rate. An Asari Autobot greeted the Bot while she was talking to a Krogan and a Salarian before pointing over to a Caucasian man in red, yellow and silver armour, who was reading data that was scrolling down a large holo-screen in front of him. "Commander Blaster, Quickstrike reporting for duty." Quickstrike said, gaining The leader's attention. "Quickstrike, good morning. I guess ya heard the news." he said, earning a nod from the younger Bot. "Yes, I heard it from Long-Arm as I arrived. What's going on? Has this ship just completely forgotten protocol when it comes to our Colony?" "I don't know, Bud. We have been trying to contact the ship ever since we it entered the system. But no answer so far." Blaster replied as Quickstrike stood beside him and looked up at another screen, which showed the planet and an Autobot emblem that was getting closer to it. "Do we have a name for this ship?" the Lt asked, but the Commander shook his head in response. "No, ship registry is not working. But the Autobot IFF (Identify Friend & Foe) has been detected, so at least we know that it is one of ours." Blaster replied. As both bots watched the screens, a Krogan operative turned to face them from his station. "Commander Blaster, the ship is hailing us." "On screen." the lead Bot replied. "Sir, it is audio only." the Krogan said back. "Put it on speakers." Suddenly a sound of static crackling echoed around the CIC before a female voice could be heard. "This is the Autobot cruiser 'Lakota', please respond?" "This is Omicron colony, Commander Blaster speaking. Can you identify yourself?" the Commander replied. "My name is Lt. Commander Sasha Emmerich. Our Captan and XO are both dead and I have taken command. We were ambushed by an Omega patrol and have suffered many casualties and a number of our systems are shot to hell, We are in desperate need of repairs and medical assistance." the Female voice responded as Blaster looked past a pensive looking Quickstrike at the Asari sitting at the station next to them, she had on her screen a profile for Lt Cmdr Emmerich and so turned and nodded at the Commander who then refocused his attention back on the transmission. "We will clear landing platform ten on the outer section of Omicron City for you. There will be Medical and Engineering teams waiting for you." "Thank you, Commander. Lakota out." the voice replied before the call cut out. Blaster turned to Quickstrike, who still looked uneasy. "Something doesn't feel right. May I have your permission to call in the 'Fearless', our colony's defensive dreadnought, to keep an eye on our visitors?" "Alright, but you can call them on the way." Blaster replied, earning a confused look from the younger bot. "On the way?" "I want you to head over to landing platform ten with a squad of marines, just as a precaution." the Commander replied, gaining a nod and a smile from Quickstrike. "Very well, Sir." he said before turning around and heading for the exit, while also activating his com-link as he did. PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile the Autobot star-ship currently heading toward the Colony, that they were told was the 'Lakota' was actually the Predacon controlled 'Achilles'. And on the ship's bridge, Rip-Claw was looking out at the image of the planet on the view-screen before turning to her 'Sister' Ser-Ket and smiling at her. "That was impressive, Sister. You even had me fooled." The other Femme deactivated the holo-interface of the communication terminal in front of her and turned to face Rip-Claw. "Let's hope that the deception was good enough to last until we are inside their defense perimeter." she said, her voice sounding more like a Human than her Predacon Sister, who's was more deeper with a hint of beastliness to it which underlined her more feral nature.. She gave Ser-Ket a curious expression in return. "I still find myself wondering why you sound less like the rest of us Predacons. I mean, you are my Sister. I can still remember the two of us fighting side by side against the 'enemy' on the day the world ended and everything went dark. It was so long ago, yet I can remember it like it was yesterday." the Femme replied as Ser-Ket looked away. She was wondering about that herself, because it was all true. She was a Predacon, but even the Femme had noticed that there were more differences between herself and the rest of Predacons than similarities. For she did sound more human-like than the others and she could not remember the events that Rip-claw had spoken of, for the last thing Ser-Ket remembered was being killed by Grimlock while fighting for Shockwave. In fact she could remember every detail of her time working for the Decepticon scientist, her willingness to do anything to protect her Master and use her abilities to their maximum potential. But now since her reawakening, something had changed and Ser-Ket would not dare mention this to anyone, especially her 'Sister'. Because she doubted that they were even related, even though Rip-Claw could feel a sibling-like bond between them. Ser-Ket could not and whenever the more muscular femme called her Sister, it made her feel uneasy right down to her spark. And all of these doubts really started to bear down on her after the incident on the very ship that they now commanded, back when the Predacons killed the original Autobot crew for it and showed that they were truly different to her. "We are beginning our descent into the atmosphere." the Terracon piloting the cruiser said back, snapping Ser-Ket from her thoughts as Rip-Claw stood beside her, looking excited. "I cannot wait to drench my claws in more Autobot blood." she said, earning a stern look from the other Femme. "Remember what Lord Galvatron said, we are also to take prisoners. So don't make it a massacre down there...understand?" "I promise nothing." Rip-Claw replied with a rebellious tone, before noticing that the HUD of the view-screen showed how far into the atmosphere they already were. "Didn't Shockblast mention that once we were at the right altitude, that we should open our cargo bay doors?" "That's right.." Ser-Ket replied as she looked over to the Terracon to her left. "Open the cargo bay doors now." The minion nodded in return, and then began typing on the holo-interface in front of him. Meanwhile on the outside of the ship, the cargo bay doors opened up to the sounds of growling and heavy footfalls before something quite large launched itself out of the Achilles and flew down into the thick cloud cover. On landing platform ten, Long-Arm was with a gathering of ISF engineers, medics and Autobot marines when he noticed another gunship...the third in the last several minutes, approaching their location from the direction of the Command tower. "Hold up." he said to three of the engineers that he was talking to, before walking up to the gunship as it slowed down and landed on the edge of the platform. The back door then opened and folded down into a set of steps before a familiar face appeared and exited the vehicle. "Quickstrike? You've been brought into this too?" the bot asked as the Lt Commander joined him on the ground. "Yep, I am too take command of the marines here...excuse me a sec." Quickstrike replied, earning a nod from his friend. "Of course." Long-Arm replied as he watched the Bot head over to the marines and speak with them. "Who's in charge here?" "That would be me, Sir. Lieutenant James Vega." a very built Hispanic soldier in heavy armour sporting a Mohawk spoke back, gaining the Bot's attention. "At ease, Vega. Commander Blaster has put me in charge of this group until this situation has been resolved." "Alright, so what are our orders, Sir?" Vega replied. "Just to be ready for anything, Lieutenant." the Bot said back in a somewhat cryptic way, which confused the Marine. "We expecting trouble, Sir?" he asked as Long-Arm joined Quickstrike. "I just think it's better to be ready." the Lt Commander replied before looking at his friend who had his holo-tool active. "How long?" "It's here." Long-Arm replied as they heard the loud noise of the 'Lakota's engines before looking up to see the cruiser appear on the other side of the city, as it dropped under the heavy cloud cover and slowly fly over Omicron City. Quickstrike activated his own holo-tool and typed set of commands into it's interface before a set of holo-binoculars appeared in hand, which he brought up to his eyes and looked out at the new arrival. "Well, that's weird." he said, earning inquisitive looks from Long-Arm and Vega. "What is?" the Marine replied. "In their communication, the Lakota said it had been heavily damaged in a fight with Omega forces. But it doesn't even have a scratch on it." the Bot answered as the ship was about to pass the command tower. "That is strange." Long-Arm said as Orion looked at him and Vega. "The Lakota will be here in a moment, prepare your men. Be ready for anything." Both Men nodded as they were about to turn and go over to their units, when they suddenly just stopped and looked up at the ship. "What the hell?" Vega said, making Quickstrike turn round to see that the Lakota had stopped next to the Command tower and was just hovering there at the City's center. "What are they doing? The landing site is here." Long-Arm added as they looked on while in the Hub's CIC, Blaster and his crew were thinking the exact same thing. "Sir, the ship is just hovering there, right above us." the Asari just aways from him said from her station. "Yeah, I can see that." The Commander replied before turning to the Krogan at Communications. "Keep relaying the landing instructions. I want that ship berthed now." he said, gaining a nod from the Krogan who looked at his screen which showed the clear cut com-signal. He then tapped a button on his interface. "Lakota, the landing site is platform ten. Please..." he said before the link stopped and the visual of the signal on screen suddenly became distorted and erratic, making his eyes widen in disbelief. "Sir, our communications are being jammed!" As he said this, the screen at the Asari's terminal began to flash red, making her turn to Blaster. "Sir, I am detecting an energy spike coming from the cruiser." Outside, the cruiser's cannons on it's underbelly suddenly came to life and began targeting the buildings below them, a red glow emanating from within their barrels. Suddenly they opened fire, reducing three buildings to rubble in an instant before firing on the others around them. The explosions and destruction could be felt all the way down in the CIC as Blaster activated the intercom. "Battle stations, we are under attack. All Autobots to Battle stations." The commander then turned to the Krogan. "See if you can cut through the jamming, we need to contact Jackson Prime on the Ark." "Yes, Sir." the Krogan replied while Blaster looked back at the main view-screen and watched as the Lakota continued to fire at the city around them. 'I hope the Fearless received our message.' he thought as the room shook from another blast above. Meanwhile on landing platform ten looked on at the utter devastation that was being inflicted on Omicron city , half of the Engineers and Medics just watched as they were paralysed by fear and shock of what was happening, though the Marines just looked angry as they stared at it. Quickstrike noticed this and he knew if he didn't do something, then he would almost certainly lose these people to their fear. "Why hasn't the perimeter defences activated and taken that ship out?" one of the Medics asked. "The defences are not yet ready for use, it's almost like whoever is attacking us was counting on that." Long-Arm replied as Quickstrike began walking in front of the group. "Alright, listen up." he said in a commanding tone, immediately gaining their attention as he stood between them and the chaos that was erupting in the City's center. "I know your scared, but there will be Civilians caught in the chaos that ship is causing. So we are going to split into two teams made up of marines, engineers and medics, Lt Vega will lead one while I will lead the other." the Bot added as Vega smiled back at him. "Hell yeah, I like your thinking. So what's the plan?" "There are two main routes back towards the Command Tower, so each team will take one and find and escort any civilians they find to the evac zone at the base of the tower. Once there we will assist with the defence of the Hub, which is likely the enemy's target...Lets move out." Quickstrike said as the group began splitting into two, while Vega handed a rifle to the bot. "Here, you will need that." "Thanks, see you at the EZ." the Lt Commander replied. "We get out of here in one piece, beers are on me...,Loco." Vega said back with a smirk. "Loco?" the Bot replied with a confused tone. "You don't like it, I think it suits you. "Alright, just make sure you get to the Command tower. We will need everyone to hold it." Quickstrike replied, gaining a nod from Vega as the Marine climbed aboard one of two MAKOs with his team while Quickstrike and Long-Arm boarded the other with their team. Then both MAKOs left in different directions, but with the same destination in mind as the enemy ship continued its assault on the city. PRIME EFFECT 4 The people were in an absolute panic in the shadow of the Achilles as it rained torpedoes down on to the streets around them, reducing the buildings to rubble in seconds as they attempted to flee the carnage. On the bridge, Ser-Ket could not help but notice the look of utter glee o Rip-Claw's face as the Femme watched the destruction on the screen before her. "What an age we now live in. Right, Sister?" she said while watching another building explode and take another group of civilians with it as it collapsed over them. But the other Femme did not answer, earning a puzzled look from the Rip-Claw as she looked over to her sister. "What's wrong, why..." Rip-Claw started to ask before a Terracon who was manning the sensors spoke out. "We have a ship incoming." he said as another blip appeared on his screen and began closing on their location. "What is it?" Rip-Claw asked as she turned her attention to the bot and away from Ser-Ket, who was relieved for the distraction as she too looked toward the Terracon. "I have an ID for the ship from our database, it is the 'Fearless'. An Autobot dreadnought assigned to protect this colony, oh scrap." the Terracon said as he looked at the ship's details on his screen. "The Achilles is no match for that ship, it's shields are strong enough to absorb any attack from us and the moment we are in range of it's weapons, then we are as good as scrap." he added before Rip-Claw ripped him out of his chair and held him up in the air with a vice-like grip around his throat. "Are you saying you want us to run rather than fight for our Lord Galvatron? Because that is not going to happen…is it?" the Femme spat as she narrowed her eyes at the fearful minion. "No…I….live…..to serve…Galvatron." the Terracon managed to say between gasps for air as the Predacon Femme tightened her grip around his neck. After a few seconds of toying with the notion of whether to kill him, Rip-Claw dropped the Con. "Good, now I want everyone to prepare for combat while I call in our 'friend' to assist us." she said before smiling deviously to Ser-Ket, while the Terracon crawled back onto his seat and began working with an even more fearful posture. Meanwhile Long-Arm pushed the MAKO to it's limits as it sped through the streets of Omicron City, which now looked like a post apocalyptic landscape than the clean and busy town it was this morning. He and Quickstrike's group had stopped and picked up a few civilians each time, but now there wasn't even one as they continued past the smoldering and burning ruins. As the bot kept his eyes on the road ahead, Quickstrike looked back at the civilians as they received medical attention in the back of their vehicle. "Quickstrike, I don't like this." The Lt Commander gave him a funny look in return. "Really? Well neither do I?" "I mean, we haven't seen any ground forces yet from this as yet unknown enemy which seems more happy with blasting everything on the ground. But they have not even shot one torpedo at the Command Tower, and why is that?" Long-Arm replied as Quickstrike looked ahead at the destroyed buildings as they continued to zip by. "Surely, that would be target one right?" the driver added, but he noticed that his friend was staying quiet and decided to change the subject. "Alright, I know that's classified. But tell me you have had some luck with your com-link at least?" Quickstrike then tapped his and activated it again, but all he could hear was static so he shut it down again. "No signal, these guys must be jamming all communications. I did manage to get through to the Fearless before the attack happened, hopefully they will get here and take that cruiser out." Then just as the MAKO made a right turn into a back alley that was littered with pieces of concrete and other debris that the military all-terrain vehicle easily passed over, suddenly Quickstrike's holo-tool began beeping. "What is it? Are Comms back up?" Long-Arm asked. "No, but the cavalry has arrived." the Lt Commander replied with a smile as above them the Fearless arrived at the edge of the city, it's cannons aiming at the Achilles. "Who is in command of Fearless?" Long-Arm asked as he brought the MAKO to a stop and opened up the roof hatch to take a look at the dreadnought. "Admiral Pentagast, he is one of Human Alliance heroes during the battle of Earth. He used the Fearless to defend the Destiny Ascension which was being attacked by three Reapers at once." Quickstrike replied as the Dreadnought closed in on the enemy cruiser. "Well, let's see them blow that cruiser out of the sky." Long-Arm said enthusiastically as the Fearless powered it's weapons and prepared to fire, but suddenly a loud roar echoed from the clouds above them. The group as they looked up to the sky, wondering what had caused it. "What in the Allspark was that?" Quickstrike asked before three white energy blasts shot out of the clouds and passed through the Fearless's shields. Hitting the hull and freezing it on impact as a metallic winged Beast burst out of the clouds and descended towards the Autobot dreadnought at top speed, it had a light blue body with yellow shoulders and knees with two massive white wings that flapped with a great strength that would push clouds out of the beast's way. "What the hell is that?" Long-Arm said in wide eyed shock as the beast opened it's mouth and fired two more ice blasts at the ship, freezing the cannons there into place. On board the Achilles, the Terracons manning the bridge stations now looked relieved as the Predacon Dragon continued it's attack on the Fearless, taking it's attention from them as Rip-Claw tapped her com-link. "Good, Skystalker. Now go for their engines and thrusters...freeze them up." Ser-Ket walked up to the Femme and gave her a thoughtful look. "How is that com up-link to Skystalker holding up?" "It is working fine. Shockblast assured us that we would be able to maintain control of our beastial brethren with these up-links despite them being under the influence of Synthergon." Rip-Claw replied as the two Femmes watched as the beast evaded the cannon fire from the Autobot ship and froze three stabilizing thrusters on it's starboard side. Skystalker then rose up high above the Fearless and then folded its wings in and dive bombed at the dreadnought, firing several more ice blasts that impacted the hull and damaged some more of it's cannons before the Beast extended it's wings and pulled up gracefully. It then flew the length of the ship, evading the cannon fire from the few remaining active weapon emplacements on it's hull. The Dragon then descended under the Fearless and began freezing the thruster ports and cannons on it's ventral side, when suddenly a burst of bullets flew past it's head. So Skystalker turned it's head as it flapped it's wings and saw a squadron of fighters on it's tail, so it roared at then before pulling away from the Fearless. The fighters followed and fired on the beast again but the creature went into a spin, so the weapons fire missed again. The Predacon then turned on to it's back and looked at the Autobot fighters before unleashing it's ice attack in one continuous blast, three of the fighters managed to evade it but two were caught in it fully and froze. Skystalker then turned back round and roared as the frozen fighters dropped out of the sky and exploded as the impacted on the ground below. Quickstrike and his team just continued to watch as the Beast headed back toward the city again with the remaining fighters re-engaging him, when suddenly the Predacon pulled a loop on the Autobot fighters and was now following them as the pilots began trying to evade and lose the creature, but it as it flapped it's white wings and came right up behind the fighters. Skystalker opened it's jaws and bit clean through the wings of one, causing it to spin out of control and crash into the side of the Command tower. The Beast then fired another ice blast which clipped the second remaining fighter, making the pilot lose balance and eject from the damaged vehicle. But as he pulled his shoot, the Autobot looked to his left just in time to see the open jaws of the Predacon before they closed on him and his body was ripped to pieces by it's extremely sharp teeth. The last fighter managed to get away and it fly around the Command tower, hoping for the chance to get a shot at the winged beast. But all of a sudden the pilot felt his cockpit shake with tremendous force before noticing that a pair of claws were gripping his wings. He looked up out of roof of his canopy with a fearful expression as he saw that his fighter was in the hands of the Predacon, which looked down at him and roared before throwing the fighter into the Command Tower. The vehicle impacted on the Autobot emblem, which was dislodged from it's position and fell to the ground below. Skystalker then reaffirmed it's attention on the now defenceless Dreadnought as it finished freezing up it's thrusters with it's ice blasts, before flying to the aft of the ship where it's massive engines located. "Do it, Skystalker. Bring down that enemy ship." the Beast heard Rip-Claw say in it's mind, so it took an upright position while keeping its powerful wings flapping so it would not lose altitude. It then roared as a white light glowed beneath it's armoured chest, rising up it's neck and into it's throat as the Beast opened it's jaws and let loose with a massive ice blast that enveloped the Fearless's engines and caused them to flame out. "By the Allspark." Long-Arm said in shock as he, Quickstrike and their team watched as the Autobot dreadnought began to slowly drop out of the sky. Even Blaster and his CIC staff could not even believe what they had just seen, as they watched the Fearless on their main screen. "Prepare for ground assault." the Commander said as everyone around him began readying their weapons. Meanwhile there were smiles all round on the bridge of the Achilles as Rip-Claw and the Terracons saw the Autobot ship continue to descend until it crashed into the ground just outside the city's perimeter. Even Ser-Ket was smiling but this did not last long as a Terracon turned to Rip-Claw. "The Fearless has crash-landed and it's shields are down." This made the Femme's smile grow wider while her Sister's disappeared. "Target the ship with a full spread of torpedoes and missiles." "Rip-Claw, we should take the crew prisoner." Ser-Ket suggested, but the other Femme ignored her while keeping her attention on the Terracon. "Fire!" The minion then looked back at his interface and smiled as he tapped a button there, and suddenly the Achilles fired several torpedoes and missiles which all successfully hit the defenceless dreadnought. Multiple explosions covered the hull until the Fearless could not take anymore and exploded to the sounds of cheering coming from the Predacon crew, as debris was sent up into the air followed by black smoke. "Time to go in and secure the Hub." Rip-Claw then said as she started for the door, only to stop and look back at Ser-Ket when she had noticed the other Femme had not moved. "Are you coming?" she said, the growl in her voice more noticeable as Ser-Ket looked at the smoldering wreck of the Fearless on the screen. "Yeah, sure." the Femme replied before turning around and following Rip-Claw out of the room. PRIME EFFECT 4 The MAKO had picked up the pace now as Long-Arm pushed the vehicle to it's limit, as it sped down what was the home straight back to the Command Tower. Everyone onboard was quiet ever since they had just witnessed the destruction of the Fearless at the hands of the unknown enemy cruiser and their winged beast. "That Beast….It looked kinda like a Dragon to me...a robotic Dragon." one of the Marines said while talking amongst the group at the back of the vehicle, Quickstrike and Long-Arm both heard this and the former looked back at the group. "A Dragon? You serious, Soldier?" he replied with a disbelieving look. "Well, what else could it be? It was moving too fluid and graceful to be purely machine, I mean the way it outmaneuvered the Fearless and it's fighters. If it reminded me of anything, then I would say the footage we were shown at school of the Great War between the Autobots and Decepticons." Suddenly, Long-Arm's eyes widened as if he thought of something. This did not go unnoticed by Quickstrike, who still needed some convincing after hearing the Marine. "What is it?" "Did you ever learn about Ancient Cybertronian history at school, Quickstrike?" the driver asked before turning the MAKO around a derelict vehicle that had been crushed by a large piece of concrete. "Maybe, I think I pretty much zoned out whenever I was at History class." his friend replied as he remembered flirting with the girls in his class back then. Long-Arm just shook his head in response. "If I can recall, my history teacher said that it was rumored that Cybertron was inhabited by Beasts that looked a lot like the one we just seen. But they went extinct during the Great Cataclysm and left next to no evidence of their existence." And what were these Beasts called? Not that I believe you." Quickstrike replied. "If I remember correctly….Predacons." the other Bot said as he took his eyes off the road and towards the Dragon as it circled the Command Tower's peak, when suddenly a shuttle came down and hovered off the ground in front of them. "Look out!" Quickstrike shouted as Long-Arm hit the breaks and swerved out of the shuttle's way by mere inches, coming to a stop just aways from it. The driver looked back at their passengers as Quickstrike climbed out of the MAKO and made his way towards the shuttle. "Is everyone alright back there?" the Bot asked, and one of the Medics looked up at him and nodded. "I think we are okay, just some bumps and bruises so nothing serious." "Alright then, time to get out. Your ride is here." Long-Arm replied as they began to exit the vehicle. The engineering bot then met up with his friend as he finished speaking to the shuttle pilot. "So is this our stop?" Long-Arm asked as the marines helped the rest of the group out of the MAKO. "Yeah, this is as far as the civilians, Medics and Engineers will go...and for you too..." Quickstrike started to reply, gaining a shocked look from his friend. "... Because I have to stay and help defend the Command tower, if that falls…." he continued to say before Long-Arm cut him off. "What! If your staying, then so am I." The Lt Commander placed a hand on his friend's shoulder in response. "Your job now is to make sure the Civilians here get to safety, we will keep the enemy's attention down here. Plus with communications down, the Federation has no idea what is happening here, so you have to tell them. Now go." he said while gesturing to his friend and the others. "But..." Long-Arm replied. "Go!" Quickstrike said back in a more commanding tone, surprising the Engineer Bot who still just stood there. Not wanting to abandon his friend to the odds that were staking up against him. "Do I need to pull rank?" he added, knowing that usually shut Long-Arm up. And just as he thought, his friend finally accepted defeat and nodded somberly to him. "Good luck." "You too. I'll see you later." Quickstrike replied as they shook hands, then Long-Arm entered the shuttle with the rest of the group and civilians. The Lt Commander than watched along with the rest of the marines as the shuttle closed it's hatch and took off into the sky. 'Go on, make it.' he thought with a slight smile before that disappeared as the Beast then flew up towards them. 'No!' Skystalker flapped it's wings and gained on the shuttle, which had put everything into it's engines as it shot up like a missile through the sky. The beast then opened it's jaws and fired and ice blast which froze one of the three engines on the aft of the shuttle. But luckily for Long-Arm and the civilians, their craft had made it high enough to make orbit while Skystalker was finding it hard to keep up and eventually gave up and glided back down to the city below. Quickstrike smiled again as he realised they had made it. 'Stay safe.' he thought before turning back to the marines. "Alright according to the shuttle pilot, Lt Vega and his team are already at the Command tower and enemy ground troops are attacking. So we will join them and hold it from this enemy, understand?" All the soldiers nodded without even an inkling of fear in their faces. "Good, move out." PRIME EFFECT 4 The battle at the base of the Command Tower was frantic as Vega opened fire on a group of enemy soldiers, the bullets from his mini-gun ripping through the purple and black armour of these foes and spilling blood all over the floor around them. "Yeah, have some of that!" he shouted back as his marines held their position at the top of the stairs leading to main entrance. They literally had the high ground advantage on these enemy soldiers...whoever they were, but Vega was wondering what was keeping Quickstrike and his team. "Anything on the Comms yet?" he called over to a marine who was taking cover and working on his holo-tool. "No luck, James. That cruiser is still jamming all frequencies." the soldier answered while shaking his head. Vega felt his heart sink a little at that answer but then responded by firing on another group of enemies that were trying rush their defensive line. "Yeah, like shooting fish in a barrel." the marine Lt shouted again, obviously enjoying the battle. "If you say so, James." another marine to Vega's left replied as they shot down another group of the advancing enemy, before suddenly a gunship flew down in front of it's allies and began charging it's cannons as they were aimed at the group. "Take cover!" Vega shouted when suddenly out of nowhere, the other MAKO appeared and blew the gunship out of the air with it's cannon. The Marine Lt smiled as a familiar face could be seen behind the vehicle's canopy. "You took your sweet time, Loco? "We took a wrong turn, and had an early meet up with the shuttle." Quickstrike replied while shooting one of the enemies in the head as he got out of the MAKO, while one of the marines took over. "Yeah, I told that shuttle once they had our civilians on board to find you. Tell me…..did they make it?" Vega asked as he shot dead another enemy soldier. Quickstrike and the rest of the marines joined the building's defensive line as the MAKO came around between them and the enemy, firing several shots out and scattering the enemy troops. "Yeah, it was a close call. But they made it out." the Lt Commander replied, earning a look of relief on Vega's face as there was a pause in the enemy offensive. "Gracias, Loco. But I wish things were better here because I don't know how long we will hold out with just one MAKO." the Marine replied as his men reshaped their defensive line and waited for the next attack. Quickstrike knelt down beside him next to the concrete slab that was being used as cover. "Where is your MAKO?" he asked, making Vega point over to the burning wreck just aways from them. "Damn bastards used a missile launcher on it, managed to take it out in a few hits. I am sure we took the one out that was using that heavy weapon, but can't say that they won't have another." "What about that Dragon….Beast….thing? Any sign of that?" "Saw it flying around above the tower earlier, but nothing since. That thing has me on edge." Vega replied. "Yeah, me too. What about those doors?" Quickstrike asked as he pointed at the building's entrance. "Can't we get in and barricade them?" he asked, making the Marine shake his head. "No, they are sealed shut. When under attack and with no communication with the outside , then the facility has to go into lock-down." Vega answered in a text-book like tone. "So we are on our own then." the Lt Commander replied. "Looks that way…..okay here they come again, everyone look sharp and take them down!" he then shouted to his men as they all began firing their weapons at the enemy soldiers who began advancing on the Command tower again, with the added echo of the MAKO's cannon firing off shots into the enemy lines. Meanwhile at their landing site, both Rip-Claw and Ser-Ket stood and watched from outside of their shuttle as their Terracons continued to attack the tower. Both Femmes were wearing using holo-binoculars to view the action, and Rip-Claw liked what she saw. "I think it is time for me to join this battle. It has been long enough since I last felt an Autobot break in my hands." she said. "Well, I think it would be best if we got rid of that MAKO first, don't you think?" Ser-Ket said sarcastically, earning a growl from her sister. "Very well." she huffed before activating her com-link. "Skystalker, destroy that vehicle and clear the area of our enemies." she said before a Beast-like shadow flew over them and up to the building's entrance. "Look out!" one of the Marines shouted as the Predacon flew in and with a few flaps of it's strong wings, the gusts it created sent the Autobots nearest to it flying through the air before hitting the ground hard. "Take that monster out!" Vega shouted into his com-link before the MAKO turned it's cannon towards Skystalker who had landed on all fours and folded it's wings, it then turned it's head at the vehicle and opened it's mouth as the inside began to glow with white light. "Fire!" Vega shouted, but before the MAKO could give off a shot. The Predacon fired it's ice breath at the tank and froze it to the spot in a large chunk of ice which killed the Marine inside instantly. "Take that fucking thing out now!" the Lieutenant then spat at his men, who all advanced on the Beast who began to back away as bullets rebounded and deflected off it's metal skin. Vega moved up to join his men when he felt a hand grab his shoulder firmly, so he looked back to see Quickstrike who was glaring at him. "What are you doing?" "We are gonna kill that monster. Come on, Loco." he said defiantly as he brushed off the Bot's hand and ran down to join his men as he fired his assault rifle at the beast as it slowly retreated backwards. "We've got it on the run, keep going." one of the Marines shouted to his friends over the gunfire before Skystalker let loose with a long sweeping shot of it's ice breath which enveloped all the marines in front of it and froze them in place except for Vega, who dived behind some cover. Then the Predacon turned around quickly and swung it's tail through every single frozen marine in one go, smashing them into small bloody icicles on the floor. As the huge Beast turned itself back to face the building's entrance, James Vega stood back up to see that every man in his squad was now in small icy pieces all over the floor, and he felt his anger and rage building up as he clenched his fist and looked up at the Beast which looked back at him with curiosity. "Vega, get out of there!" Quickstrike shouted, but the Marine did not listen as he raised his rifle and fired it at the Predacon, holding the trigger down hard as his weapon unloaded every last bullet he had left. But all this did was make the Beast blink at him as the bullets once again rebounded off his face harmlessly, before the gun ran out of ammo and Vega was left standing with used up bullet casings lying around his being. He then dropped the empty gun and activated his holo-blade and beckoned the monster to him. "Come on you fucking Beast, let's have it! He spat as he began charging towards Skystalker who lunged his head forward with his jaws open, showing rows of razor sharp teeth. And before Vega could even swing his melee weapon, the jaws clamped around him and the Predacon lifted him up into the air before biting down hard and hearing armour and bone crack along with the tearing of flesh as blood poured out from the marine's body as he died right there and then. "No!" Quickstrike shouted out with wide eyed shock at the Beast who looked back at him, still with the dead body of James Vega in it's mouth. But it then swung it's head to the left and let go of the body which then flew through the air until it landed like a rag doll in the fire that was currently burning brightly from what was left of the first MAKO. Quickstrike readied himself for the beast as he raised his weapon to it, despite knowing what little good it would actually accomplish. Skystalker meanwhile prepared it self to pounce at the bot before another voice gained both their attention. "Skystalker, heel!" a Female voice called out, making the Dragon pull away and back off as the Autobot saw two female soldiers with helmets on standing just away from him with more of the enemy soldiers behind them. "You are outnumbered and have no chance of victory, surrender now and we will let you live." said the one in the green and yellow light armour as the other female standing beside scoffed at her words. This one was wearing light blue and red armour which made her look far more built compared to the one that had spoken first, who had a more athletic physique. "No, too many of my friends have died here for me to just roll over and let you pass without a fight." Quickstrike replied as he stood ready for whatever came next. "There is no nee….." Ser-Ket began to say before Rip-Claw pushed her aside and began walking towards the Bot. "No more talk, this one wants to fight to the death. I say we let him and I…..Rip-Claw will end his life." she said, as Quickstrike took note of her more deeper and feral voice as he dropped his nearly empty weapon on the floor and activated his holo-blade, this gained a smirk from Rip-Claw from behind her helmet as a blade ejected from the forearm section of her armour and she raised it, showing the stained blood covering it. The Terracons and Ser-Ket just watched as both Bot and Femme began to circle each other. "Autobot, this blade has tasted many of your Brothers before this day. Know that I will be adding yours to it as well." Rip-Claw said before swinging her blade at Quickstrike who blocked and deflected it with his own blade, before he pushed her back and then took a step away to regain some space between them. "I guess that just gives me more reason to kill you then." he replied before lunging in with an attack, one that the Femme blocked before kneeing him in the chest and then back handing his face, making him fall onto his backside. "You're not even trying. It is not because I am Female, is it? Because if it is that, then I will take even more pleasure in snuffing out your spark." Rip-Claw said before swinging her blade down at the Bot, who rolled away and got back to his feet before jumping back in with a lunge of his holo-blade, which caught the Predacon on her shoulder before he then punched her helmet, making her stagger back in surprise. "No, I don't hit women. But I think that with you an exception can be made this once." Quickstrike replied, making the Femme grit her teeth as her spark began to become enraged. Ser-Ket continued to watch as this Autobot began to take a more offensive role against her Sister, and she could not help but be impressed by his technique and skill. For she had seen many Autobots die too easily by Rip-Claw's hands during their commandeering of the Achilles and other ISF ships so far since their reawakening, so to see one Bot prove otherwise was very refreshing. But then as Ser-Ket witnessed Quickstrike sweep her Sister off her feet, she saw that Rip-Claw was getting very angry. So much so that her body armour was beginning to flinch and twitch. 'Oh no, not now!' she thought as the Autobot swung his blade down on his opponent who then surprised him by grabbing his blade and holding it there as she started to change before him. "You think you will win, have a taste of this!" she spat before swiping at him with her free hand and cleaving some of his armour off from his chest plate, making him stagger back and notice five large cuts in his armour. Quickstrike looked back at Rip-Claw with wide eyed shock as she started to change, her armour took on a more feral look and her hands had become more like claws. She had also gained far more muscle and some extra height. "I will have your spark!" she spat before roaring at the Bot and charging toward him. And before he knew what to do, Rip-Claw hit him so hard that he felt his armour crack and she sent him flying into the wall next to the Command Tower's entrance with a loud thud, one that winded him somewhat as he fell back to the floor. The beastial Predacon then walked over to him and raised her razor sharp claw in the air, readying to deliver the final blow. "Rip-Claw, stop!" Ser-Ket shouted at her sister, earning a dagger like stare from the powered up femme. "What!" Rip-Claw spat back, who's voice was filled with rage. Meanwhile Quickstrike tried to move but found he had no strength left from that last hit, he felt like he had been hit by a wrecking ball. All he could do was look up at the two Females, as the one in green and yellow armour stood between him and Rip-Claw. "Are you forgetting Lord Galvatron's orders? We are to take prisoners, which requires them to still be alive!" Ser-Ket spat at the Femme, not caring that at this moment the other Predacon towered over her. "Fine! You want a prisoner, then take him. I will lead the final assault on this Command Tower, but if you ever get in between me and my kill…I may forget that we are Sisters!" Rip-Claw spoke through gritted teeth as she brought one of her claws up to the other Femme's helmet. But Ser-Ket knocked it away. "Don't threaten me, Rip-Claw." she replied as the two stared daggers at each other for a moment, before the larger Femme turned away towards the building's entrance. "Predacons, with me. We have to smash our way in." Ser-Ket looked down at the beaten Quickstrike and sighed before bringing her attention to two Terracons near her. "You two, take him to our ship's brig." she ordered and the two minions then picked up the defeated Autobot and dragged him back to their shuttle as she watched them go, before following with a confused expression on her face as she felt and not for the first time since her reawakening….that she didn't really fit in with her Predacon brethren.
  6. CHAPTER VIII Liara was lying down on a berth in the Normandy's medical bay as Red-Alert attended to her injuries, injuries sustained while under the 'care' of the slavers and then Donovan Hock. The door that connected the medical bay to the rest of the ship opened, gaining the Asari's attention as she saw Nightracer and a Male Turian enter the room. "How are you doing, Liara?" the Femme asked as she smiled at Liara. "I feel fine now, Nightracer. Thanks." the Asari said before Red-Alert looked up from her work. "You are only fine now because I have healed the bruises and internal damage with my instruments here." the Medic replied as she gestured to the trolley full of medical tools next to her. "Thank you, Doctor." Liara then said with a smile, which made Red-Alert smile in return. "You are welcome.." she replied before returning her attention to the Asari's last bruise on her arm, holding a device to it and watching as the skin heal under the yellow light it was emitting. "...and there you go, fully healed. You are free to go, Doctor T'Soni." Liara nodded in return before sitting up and turning her attention to her two visitors. She looked at the Turian with a curious expression, one that Nightracer noticed. "Liara, this is Shen Vakarian. He is the same class of Spectre as Orion and myself." Shen and the Asari then shook hands. "Pleasure to meet you, Doctor T'Soni." the Turian greeted. "Thank you. But please, just call me Liara." she replied. " So, you may not know this. But I was the one who shot down the second gunship that was targeting your vehicle back on Illium." Shen replied with a confident tone, but Nightracer merely crossed her arms and stared at him. "Really, that was some good shooting too. Did you happen to calibrate the weapons system before you used it?" Shen just looked blankly at her while Liara watched them both with a bemused expression, before the Turian finally spoke again. "Oh...I get it, just because my Dad was well known for 'calibrating' the weapon systems of both the original Normandy and the Defiant, then you would think that I'd be like that too." Nightracer responded with a nod and a large smile on her face, one that Shen then mirrored. "Well, sorry to disappoint, but I joined the Autobots to be a sniper." "I bet your Dad gave you hell for that career choice." the Femme asked, gaining a nod from the Turian. "You bet, my Dad said...'Son, you will never get anywhere in life unless you know how to repair and maintain big cannons'..." making both Females chuckle as he did his best impression of his Father, Garrus Vakarian. "...and I said 'but Dad, I just like firing them so isn't that enough?'. And before he had the chance to reply, my Mum who had been eaves dropping on our conversation said 'Of course, as long as your happy that's all that matters...now will both of you get outside and repair the sky-car...' this caught me and Dad completely by surprise." Both Nightracer and Liara just listened intently as Shen continued with his story. "...I then said to Mum 'but what about doing just what makes you happy?', and she replied 'sometimes life is a bosh'tet...now get on with it.'" All three laughed as Red-Alert turned round from her console. "That is very true...but I do have a lot of work to do, so could you please vacate my medical bay please." The three new friends shrugged and did what the Medic asked. "Well, why don't we go to the Mess Hall, since Rodimus is still being debriefed by Jackson Prime." Nightracer asked as they left the room and entered one of the Normandy's corridors, earning nods from Shen and Liara. The Asari then looked back at the Turian curiously. "You sound very close to your parents, Shen." she asked earning a nod from him. "Yeah, we're very close. I mean even though they are only my adopted parents, that means nothing to me because well to me...they are my real parents." Shen replied proudly. "That's great." the Asari said with a smile before turning her attention to Nightracer as the three of them entered the mess hall. "I am just curious, are the two of you dating then?" Liara asked, earning shocked expressions from both the friends. "What! No." the Femme replied quickly. "No, we're not." Shen quickly added in succession, as Nightracer's cheeks began to heat up from the embarrassment of the moment. "Nightracer is more like a sister, just as Orion is like a brother." Shen said, the Femme quickly nodding in agreement. "Forgive me, I didn't mean to offend." Liara said, nearly horrified that she may have embarrassed her new friends already, she never was very good at meeting new people. It took her a little while to get used to Shockblast and his Brother when they first met five years ago, the Asari was just not that sociable really. "It's alright, Liara. It's probably an easy mistake to make as the three of us have been close since we were kids. Shen, Orion and myself." Nightracer said as she had noticed the worry rapidly appearing on the Asari's face. "Out of the three of us, only Orion and Nightracer have dated." Shen added, earning a look of surprise from Liara. "It was when we were teenagers and though it was great at the time, we were young and it didn't last." the Femme said while the Asari listened. "And yet you are still close friends." she replied, earning a nod from Nightracer. "That is a rarity to see and I should know, I am nearly one hundred and thirty four years old after all." Liara casually added, earning surprised looks from both femme and Turian. "Really? Well, you look more like twenty five years old if I'm perfectly honest. I doubt I will look as good if I ever get to your age." Nightracer replied. "Thank you, though I am still considered to be very young by my people's standards. Since the average Asari can live up to one thousand years old." the Asari added before looking around the room as they picked up their drinks from the food and drink dispensers. "Where is Orion?" Liara asked with slight disappointment in her voice, while looking back at Shen and Nightracer. "He is currently assisting Rodimus with the mission debriefing." Nightracer replied. "Who is debriefing them again?" the Asari asked, her face looking all curious. "As a Autobot spectre Elite class, Rodimus answers only to the very top of the Autobot Command..." The Femme added with a solemn expression, one that was shared by Shen too. It then clicked in the Asari's mind with why her two new friends had gone quiet all of a sudden. "I take it Orion and his Father don't get on?" she then asked with an inquisitive tone, on that surprised Nightracer. "How did you guess that?" she asked before taking a sip of her drink. "When I met Orion and he told me who he was, I just made the connection about his Father. But when I asked about him, Orion became distant so I dropped it." Liara replied before going silent for another moment as she wondered what to say next, as did the others. This was obviously a taboo subject between the friends, but Liara was curious. "What happened between them?" she then asked, gaining slightly surprised looks from the pair. "We don't know, Orion was once extremely close to their Parents." Nightracer then replied. "But then one day, something just changed in him when it came to them, or more so his Dad." Shen added as he tapped the side of the cup he was holding with his finger repeatedly. "He never wanted to talk about it and so we didn't push him to." Nightracer finished before taking another sip of her drink. Liara could feel that her new friends were uncomfortable talking about this subject, and though she was curious as to why someone would turn away from their Parents. She instead decided to change the subject, while keeping focus on the man that she found she had an interest in. "Okay, so how did the three of you meet?" Nightracer and Shen looked up at her with relieved expressions and with that the uncomfortable atmosphere around the new friends lessened considerably as they started to talk. PRIME EFFECT 4 In the Communication's room, Rodimus and Orion stood in front of the hologram of Jackson Prime as his image was being transmitted from 'The Ark', over a half a galaxy away. "Agent Zero didn't give away much Intel, which isn't surprising when it comes to the Shadow Broker. But what she did say was that they had been hired to find and retrieve Liara from Donovan Hock." Rodimus said while the Autobot Leader looked at the pad in his hands, glancing up at Orion on occasion. The Bot had noticed this but decided to ignore his Father's attention as he stood beside the Commander, keeping his on the report that was on screen of the pad in his possession at this time. "Any ideas as to who hired the Shadow Broker?" Jack asked as he looked back at Rodimus. "No, Sir, but I believe Liara knows. Though as of the start of this mission debrief, the Asari is still in the Medical-Bay receiving treatment the injuries she was given while in hands of both the Slavers and Hock." the Autobot replied. "And how is Liara doing...,Orion." Jackson Prime asked as the young Bot felt the eyes of his two superiors on him now, making Orion wish that he was elsewhere. "Liara is doing very well, despite what had happened to her over the last month." the Bot replied, making Jack nod in return. "She is a strong individual, I remember as much from the time I met her during the Reaper War. Even when Thessia was lost, Liara wouldn't let grief take hold and instead focused on helping the Refugees. A lesser person would not have been able to remain that determined." The Prime then brought another pad into view and examined it. "I have received Kasumi's report from Miranda and she said that the mission played out like she had planned, except for your escape transport being destroyed." "Has she determined how the transport was found out to be for us?" Rodimus asked, earning a head shake from Jack. "Not yet, but she is determined to find out. Kasumi did ask that I send her congratulations to you, and that she hopes to work with your team again in the future." "Thank you for relaying that to us, Prime. I think I can speak for my entire team when I say we would welcome Kasumi's help again down the line." The Commander replied as Jack took another look at the pad in his hand. "Any ideas who this other group were that attacked you?" "None, Sir, though considering that they appeared once we had secured Liara. I am guessing that she will have more knowledge on that matter, so I will ask at her debriefing." Rodimus replied. "Good, so I would like to hear how you managed to escape when this 'other' group attacked." the Prime said as he looked back at the Commander. "Well, we have Orion to thank for that, for he was piloting the sky-car we were in. Pulling off some impressive evasive manoeuvres which bought us some precious extra time, so the Normandy could extract us. That too was Orion's doing, as I originally ordered the ship to stay outside of the system. On the off chance that it may be identified by anyone who is affiliated with Hock, but then your Son counter-mended my orders and had the Normandy enter the system and come and get us if a signal was broadcast on a particular frequency..." As Rodimus spoke, Orion could see a proud smile appearing on his Father's face and yet the young bot found it hard to feel anything toward it. "...Now I would usually be disappointed and angry that someone under my command failed to follow my orders. But if Orion had not taken the initiative, then none of us would have made it out of there alive..." the Commander continued. "...In fact, Prime. I would like to ask that Orion be promoted to Spectre first class and made my XO." Orion's eyes widened as he looked over to Rodimus, completely surprised by what the Commander had just said. But the Autobot simply smiled and nodded back to him. "Very well, Rodimus. Consider it done." Jack replied as he typed on his holo-tool. Orion right now was feeling very ambivalent about this, he was happy to be promoted but the Bot was never keen to move into the area of command, and with good reason to which he didn't want to think about right now. "Is everything alright, Orion?" the Autobot Leader asked, noting that the newly promoted Spectre was looking surprised still. "Yes, Sir. I am fine." the Bot replied, though Jack could read him like a book. "Rodimus, congratulations on a job well done. Now will you will set course for Thessia, because Matriarch Benezia is awaiting her Daughter's return." the Prime said to the Commander. "Of course, Prime." Rodimus replied. "And can you give us a moment please." Jack said as he gestured to himself and Orion. The Commander nodded and began to leave, but not before looking over at Orion. And then he was gone and the two Darbys were alone. Rodimus entered the CIC and took his position in front of the galaxy map which like the Defiant and the Normandy before that, was located at the center of the CIC and in front of the elevator which led to the other decks of the ship. The Commander placed his hand to his right ear and activated his com-link. "Jetstorm, set course for Thessia. We are to take Dr T'Soni back to her Mother before we resume with our missions." "Yes sir, do you want to use our Space-bridge. Or shall we do this the usual way?" the Pilot said back. "It would be quicker, but you know protocol. No use of our Space-bridge unless absolutely necessary. So I guess it will have to be the usual way." the Commander replied with a smile, earning a sigh from the pilot. "Oh well... Alright, course set. We will be in range of a space bridge in two point five hours." "Very good, Rodimus out." the bot replied before his com-link activated again. "Rodimus, Red-Alert here. Just so you know, Liara is gong to be fine and I have already discharged her. So she is free for your debriefing, though is it possible for you to wait at least an hour first." the Medic said over the com channel. "Very well, I still have some reports and what not to be done before then." Rodimus replied as he activated his console that was located just to the left of the galaxy map. "Thank you." Red-Alert said back before closing the com, the Commander then focused on the data on his screen for a moment. Then suddenly the door leading to the area of the deck where the com-room was opened and Orion walked through towards the elevator, gaining Rodimus's attention as he turned to face the bot. He noticed that the young man didn't look happy, obviously his and Jack's 'chat' hadn't gone well. "Orion, a moment of your time please." the Commander said, making the bot walk over to the galaxy map. "You okay, Son." "Yes, I am fine." Orion replied, trying to hide the fact that he was seething inside right now. "Are you really? Because it looks like you were butting heads with your father again." the Commander said as he looked at Orion with a knowing expression. "What gave it away." the younger Bot replied. "Well, it is not exactly a secret that the two of you don't get on. And as you already know, I will not pry into personal matters that do not concern me...but if you do ever need to talk then my door is always open." Rodimus said as he placed a hand on Orion's shoulder. "Thank you, Rodimus. I will remember that." The Commander then placed his arms behind his back and corrected his posture, looking like the Elite Spectre he was well known as. "I do however, need to know if you will be handing in a transfer request in the days to come?" "No, Rodmius. I have no intention of anything like that at this time." Orion replied, earning a smile from the Commander. "Good, well I have everything under control up here. So why don't you go and take a break, I hear the others are with our guest right now." "Alright then." Orion said before turning around and heading for the elevator, a slight smile appearing on his face as he thought about just spending time with his friends and not thinking about his father. Rodimus meanwhile turned back to the galaxy map and stared at it's image, as he thought back to several weeks earlier. 'Rodimus stood outside one of the many buildings at the Autobot Barracks on the outskirts of New Iacon, while watching a group of Autobot soldiers as their prepared to ship out on a transport that was located on a landing platform at the center of the grounds. The group was made up of a number of milky way species that included Cybertronians, Asari, Krogan and Turian. "Commander Rodimus!" a voice called gaining the Spectre's attention as he turned to see a Caucasian man in Orange and blue armour approach him. "Drill Sargent Hoist." "Forgive me, Commander. I had not been informed of your arrival." the Sargent said with an apologetic look, but Rodimus gave him a slight smile. "There is no need, I am only here due to the suddenly availability of a particular soldier on your base, Lieutenant Darby." "How did you hear about him?" Hoist asked with surprise in his voice and expression. "I am on the lookout for the best that we Autobots have at our disposal, and I hear he is one among them." Rodimus replied. "Well, that he certainly is...but." the Sargent said, earning a curious look from the Spectre. "But in the seven years that Orion has been an Autobot, he has served in almost all sub-factions. his longest spells have been in the Aerialbots and Team Delta." Hoist added, gaining a smile from Rodimus. "Impressive, that is exactly the kind of soldier I want for my operation." "Yes, Orion's record is very impressive. But he hasn't done himself any favors with his constant transfers requests..." Hoist replied in a worried tone. "...You see, Orion has also shown time and again, that he has great potential in leadership skills. But when we try reward him and give the Bot more responsibility with a command rank. He simply refuses it and then asks for a transfer to another area, this has become a routine over the last couple of years." "You said that his longest periods in one group was with both the Aerialbots and Team Delta?" the Commander asked as the two bots began walking across the grounds. "Yes, he spent two years with each group. Orion showed great piloting skills with the Aerialbots, but the moment he was given command of his own squadron...he quit. The same was said with Team Delta, which is renowned for their espionage capabilities. This is a real shame on his part, because Orion is hurting his career by not moving up the ranks." the Sargent replied as they approached another building. "So where is Orion now?" Rodimus asked, making the other bot point ahead of them both. "He is in his barracks directly ahead. You can speak with him if you want." "Thank you." the Spectre replied before leaving the company of Hoist and entering the building's entrance. The building was split up into several areas labelled Alpha, Beta, Ceta and so on. Rodimus found himself in the Omega section now as he walked down a long corridor that had numerous doors on either side, each one connected to a living quarters for a said number of Autobots. He stopped when reaching a door labelled 'Autobot living quarters Omega One', pressing the control panel at the door's right hand side which then opened he door and allowed him to enter. He walked in to see multiple bunk-beds positioned in an ordered fashion down the length of the room, each one also had a matching pair of cupboards too. Though as he walked down the isle, Rodimus saw a blue haired man sitting on a lower bunk-bed and typing on his holo-tool. "Orion Darby?" the Commander said, making the younger bot look up from what he was doing and stare at who just called his name. "Yes?" he replied "My name is Commander Rodimus." the Spectre said back. "Can I help you, Commander?" Orion added as Rodimus sat down on the lower bunk opposite the blue haired bot. "I hope so because I hear your requesting a transfer out of this sub-faction." the Commander replied. "That's right, I feel that I have gone as far as I can in this current field." the bot said back as group of soldiers jogged passed the his window, interrupting the two. "I see, so it isn't because you had recently been promoted?" Orion sighed at that last sentence, which pretty much answered the Spectre's question as he slumped forward a little. It was as if he was expecting a lecture from the Commander, must have become a common thing for he young bot. "Okay, let's go." Rodimus said as he stood up, surprising Orion. "Go, Sir?" he replied with a confused expression. "For a drink, it was a long shuttle ride over here and my mouth is becoming dry. Grab your jacket and let's go." Rodimus replied, so even though the younger Bot was still confused at what just happened. He grabbed his jacket off his bunk and followed the Commander. "Two cold buds please." Rodimus said to the landlord as he and Orion approached the bar of the Pub they had just entered, earning a big smile from the old man behind it. "Rodimus!" this is certainly a surprise." the Landlord said as he and the Spectre shook hands. "How long has it been...five..." he continued to say before Rodimus corrected him. "Seven years, Alan." "You don't say. Well you still have all your limbs and in all the right places, so I am guessing it's been alright for you." the old Man replied, earning a nod from the Bot. "There have been some close calls here and there, so about those cold buds?" The landlord smiled at him. "Yeah you've not changed, Rody. Sure, let me get them for you." he said before turning around and walking into the back. Rodimus turned his attention to Orion who had started to look around the place. The pub certainly had an old style to it, with nearly all the furniture made out of wood. There was a pool table and darts board just aways from them in the games area, but the rest of the pub was mainly filled with tables and chairs. Despite it's space, the place didn't have many customers. Leaving the place with a unnaturally cold atmosphere, especially when compared to places that Orion had drank at in his time. The landlord returned and handed Rodimus two Budweisers before looking Orion up and down with a curious look. "Say, you look familiar. Have I met you before?" "No, we have never met before." the bot replied as the Commander handed him his drink. Then after a second or so longer of having the old man staring at him, the Landlord's eyes widened in disbelief. "You look just like him." Orion felt himself go uneasy at what the Landlord had just said, as well as the way he said it. "Him?" "He's Jackie's lad, isn't he?" the old Man then asked, earning a nod from the Commander. Orion took a long swig of his bottle, feeling the cold and refreshing beer run down his throat and hoped that it might wash away the rather sour taste that had developed in the last few moments. "You know my Father?" he then asked, feeling both sets of eyes on him as the landlord gave him a big warm smile in response to the Bot's question. "Know him? He was a regular here and a friend. Take a look over there." he said while pointing to the framed photos on the wall just aways from the three of them. So Orion walked over as Rodimus watched quietly, observing the young Bot as he looked at the photos. It looked somewhat like a timeline as half of the pictures looked like they had been taken from when the pub was first opened, and then as he moved his eyes along the wall. The photos started to look more and more modern until it reached the here and now, each one had either a pair or a group of people in it and they all looked happy. That was when while Orion was more looking more than halfway along the wall, that he a photo of his Dad, the photo in question had Jack standing with Garrus, Uncle Ironhide, Smokescreen, Wrex and a younger Krogan that he did not recognize. But the youngest person in the photo was Rodimus, who looked like he was in his late teens/early twenties. They all had a drink in their hand as they had it raised in a toast-like pose, like they were celebrating something. As the younger Bot looked at the photo, Rodimus then joined his side. "Did 'he' put you up to this?" Orion asked calmly before taking another swig of his drink. "No, Orion, Your father didn't." Rodimus replied as he guessed the younger Darby would come to that conclusion. "Then why did you bring me here?" "I like this place, have a lot of good memories here. That your father and I used frequent this place is purely coincidence, I brought you here because I felt a change in scenery would be good." the Commander answered as Orion kept looking at the photo. "When was this taken?" "That was twenty two years ago, after we completed our first operation as a team. Your Father led us into a two-day battle against what was left of the Blood pack and Eclipse and Blue Suns who were holding a rather large town hostage, the rest of those groups had already joined Omega at that point. It was also the first time I had worked with Jack." Rodimus replied. "How did you come to work with him?" The blue haired Bot asked, surprising the Commander with yet another question. "Well, I met Jack after the Reaper War, the two of us talked about my brother Hotrod and he said how sorry he was for what had happened to him. And after going into detail about what I wanted to do in the Autobots, your Father offered me a position on his team and from that moment he became like a mentor to me." "What about that guy?" Orion asked as he pointed over to the younger looking Krogan, because he already knew Garrus and Wrex. "That is Grunt, a Krogan that Urdnot Wrex let Jack have on his team. This is because Wrex was no longer available due to his duties as Leader of the Krogan and Grimlock had taken up a post teaching at the Academy, and your father wanted to have a 'heavy hitter' on his team...I think that is the right term, so that got filled up by Grunt." Both bots then took a swig of their drinks before Rodimus gestured to the younger one to sit down, both taking a seat at a table next to them. "So, to the reason why we are talking. You obviously know about the Council Spectres, and how your Father had them disbanded not long after the Federation's forming." the Commander said, earning a nod from Orion. "Of course, it was because of the massacre at Delta Vega. A Turian Spectre had the whole colony wiped out just to get one man, who was hiding among the people there." "That's right, Jack could no longer let the Spectres go about and keep doing whatever they wanted to get the job done. But he still saw the need for a special ops faction, but this time running with a better moral code. No killing of innocents to get the job done for starters, it was time to bring some rules in. I was one of the first that your Father made into a Autobot Spectre, and generally we still work alone." Rodimus said as Orion just sat there and listened. "But I had an mission recently where the rule of 'working alone' was of no benefit, so I brought an idea to your Father." the Spectre added. "What was that?" The younger Bot replied. "To start having teams of Spectres working together, not just on their own. Now Jack agreed to give this idea a test run, and I am in the middle of assembling a team. And because of the positive experience I had working with your Father and his team, I wish to have the same unity with my own. So I have already recruited Jetstorm, Red-Alert, Shen Vakarian and Nightracer, I believe you are friends with the last two." Rodimus said. "Yes, I have known them for a long time, they are like family. So now you want me to join your team?" Orion asked, earning a nod from the Commander. "Exactly, though your Father tried to dissuade me from it." The younger Bot gave Rodimus a confused look at that last sentence. "Why would he do that?" "I don't know, but my offer is on the table...if you want it. You have all the skills and experience I would want out of a Spectre." Rodimus said back. "And we would all be Spectres?" Orion asked, still thinking it over. "We are also trying out a new ranking system, three ranks in total. Second class, first Class and Elite, each class answers to the one above it, and the Elite answers to the Prime or as you know best...your Father. Now my rank is Spectre Elite. You and your friends would be Second class Spectres until I can decide who should become First class and my XO." the Commander said. "XO?" the blue haired Bot replied. "Yes, I have been given command of an experimental frigate. But I can not say anymore unless you are on board with this?" Rodimus said as Orion looked away from the Commander with a thoughtful expression, while he considered the offer. "Alright, count me in." the young Bot then said back with a smile, one that Rodimus mirrored before finishing his drink. "Excellent, okay In that case. I will expect you to meet me at Eighteen hundred hours at dock N-seven in New Iacon, the Normandy and I will be waiting for you there." the Spectre said as he got up from his seat. "Normandy?" Orion replied with a confused look as Rodimus began to head out of the pub, stopping short of the front door and looking back at the young Bot with a smile. "You'll see." he said before walking out of the door and leaving Orion with another confused expression.' Rodimus was then brought back to his senses by his holo-tool beeping, so activated it and looked at the data scrolling down his screen. PRIME EFFECT 4 Orion walked out of the elevator onto the crew deck and he was still fuming from his most recent argument with his dad, he just couldn't understand him right now or maybe he never would. It had not always been like this, but it seemed the older the Bot gets, the more unlike each other he and his Father were. Orion then entered the mess-hall and his eyes immediately fell on Liara as she sat with both Nightracer and Shen. As the three of them were talking and laughing, about something that the bot could not hear due to distance. Again just like at Hock's party, Orion found himself looking at the Asari as she talked with the others. 'Wow.' the bot thought as he watched her talking with the others and you wouldn't have thought, that Liara had been held as a slave only recently. She certainly was strong, perhaps stronger than they had thought. And she carried herself with a grace that the Asari were well known for, then there was her beauty. Orion had seen a number of Asari before Liara and they were certainly a beautiful and elegant species, but if there was a true Sapphire among them. Then that was Liara, or at least it was in his eyes. "Orion, over here." The blue haired Bot was snapped out of his gaze by Shen who was waving him over. Both the females were waving at him too, but it was Liara that had his attention as she smiled at him, which made him forget all about what had just transpired on the floor above. So he smiled back, grabbed his drink and walked over to them. "Good of you to finally join us." Nightracer said as the bot sat down on the other side of the table opposite the Asari. "Yes, it is good to see you again." Liara added as Orion took a sip of his drink. "Same here." he added with a smile before looking at his friends. "Sorry about being late, debriefing took longer than expected." Orion replied. "Did it go alright?" Shen asked with a knowing tone in his voice. The blue haired Bot knew what his friend meant, but was thankful that he didn't spell it out. "It went alright." he lied, not wanting his friends to worry and if they could tell he was being untruthful, they certainly didn't show it. "So how are you, Liara?" Orion asked. "I am fine, Orion. Thank you. Nightracer and Shen have made me feel very welcome." the Asari replied, earning smiles from the others. "We were just keeping Liara company until Rodimus is ready." Shen said in return. "That could be any time now, so what were you doing to pass the time?" the Bot asked. "I was curious how you all knew each other and so asked, Shen and Nightracer have been very informative." Liara replied before taking a sip of her drink. "Well, We have had a very good run together. So I'm not ashamed to admit it." Nightracer added. "Neither am I." the Turian replied , earning a smile and nod from Orion. "Yeah, we sure did. The only one missing from this table is Quickstrike. But we are supposed to meet up with him during our next shore leave." "Quickstrike is your cousin, am I right?" the Asari asked, gaining a nod from the Bot. "Yes, he is the son of my Mum's sister...Chromia." "After hearing about the things you used to get up to with the practical jokes and everything else, you certainly had more of an exciting childhood then me." Liara replied. "Why? What was your's like ,Liara?" Orion asked, finding himself wanting to know more about her. The Asari smiled at the blue haired bot's curiosity and looked ahead as if she could see it ahead of her. "I grew up on Thessia, in the city of Armali. My mother and I lived near a park, and I spent hours there." "Doing what?" Orion asked, while the others just remained quiet. "Reading, exploring, attempting to find ruins in the grass. I got into a lot trouble for that." Liara added with a slight smile. "I bet, we got into trouble once for playing in farmer's crop field back on Rannoch. Remember, Guys?" Shen replied, earning nods from both the Bot and Femme. "My mother was furious with me, the lecture alone….." Liara said, making Orion remember the lectures he received from his parents, only for him to push them to the back of his mind and focus on the Asari as she carried on talking. "..but she did get me my first history book the very next day." "That's how you got into History then?" he asked. "Yes, the book I received was about the Lithone. I found everything about them so fascinating, so much that I spent ninety years studying them." Liara replied, earning dumbstruck look from Orion. "Ninety years, old are you? he asked in disbelief. "I am one hundred and thirty four years old." the Asari said, almost making Orion's jaw hit the floor. "Really? You don't look a day past twenty five." Orion replied while blushing slightly which unbeknownst to him, Liara found to be very cute as both Shen and Nightracer gave their friend a knowing look. "Why thank you, Orion. That is very flattering. Though among my people I am still considered to be a child due to the fact that we can actually live up to one thousand years old, but I have heard that Cybertronians used to live for far longer." the Asari replied. "Yeah, that's true. When our species had their original Cybertronian bodies, our life-span was eons long. I though can't imagine living for so long." Nightracer said before taking a sip of her drink. "So did you have any friends when you were a child?" Shen asked. "Not when I was a younger, no." Liara replied with slight regret in her voice. "Why not?" Nightracer asked in return, a curious expression on her face. "I wasn't very social-able as a child, I preferred my own company to that of others. I always found that I would say the wrong thing and alienate them or embarrass myself, so I decided to leave it. So while they played with their friends everyday, I would instead do what I wanted. It stayed that way for most of my life." Liara added. "Sounds lonely." Orion replied before finishing off his drink, Liara looked at him while he did so. "I didn't think so, I found it liberating to be able to focus on my studies and later on the work I was doing on dig sites and such. It wasn't until the Reapers invaded that my solitary came to an end when I was put in a team of scientists, it was then that I started to see that I was wrong." "But you said you were happy about it?" Shen asked in response. "Well, when you work closely with a group of like minded people While under the threat of extermination, it sort of changes your viewpoint. We all ended up being good friends" the Asari answered. "What happened? Are they still around?" Nightracer asked, making the Asari shake her head. "No, they died in the last few weeks of the war. It was while we were on Thessia, the day I met your parents Orion." The Bot nodded in return, but looked somewhat worried. This didn't go unnoticed by Nightracer. "I see." the Femme replied, knowing full well that her best friend and former lover would be uncomfortable if they carried on with the most recent topic. In fact she could see that Liara had noticed the same thing. "Orion, what I want to know is where did you learn to fly? Because what you did to avoid those gunships back on Illium was amazing." the Asari asked which made the bot smile back to her, a silent thank you for changing the subject. "Well, I have always been interested in flying, ever since Jetfire took me up in one of those old T-fifty seven aircraft. So I learn't from him and Nightracer's mum - Slipstream." Orion replied, his tone sounding somewhat happier. "Yes, and he even got to fly in Jetfire's old unit, the Aerialbots." Nightracer added. "Really? Aren't they like the best of the best of the Autobot flyers?" Liara asked with a curious smile, obviously impressed with the bot thus far. "They are. There have been many great pilots who have made the team such as Jetfire, Hotrod, Air-Raid, Silverbolt, Steve Cortez, Slipstream, Vortex and Jeff 'Joker' Monroe." Shen said while counting the names on his fingers. "And your among them, Orion. That is most impressive.." Liara replied with a smile that the Bot was finding hard not blush against. "..So why didn't you stay with them?" the Asari then asked. "I fancied another challenge." the Bot replied, then Shen smiled as something came to mind. "Hey, Liara. Want to hear of the time that we and Quickstrike had a sort of joyride that really showed off Orion's skill at flying?" Liara gave the Turian a skeptical look. "Joyride?" "It wasn't meant to be that, but it was seen that way by our parents and the Geth patrol that chased us. But Shen is right about the potential that Orion here displayed that day." Nightracer added with a smile at the blue haired Bot. "Want to hear it?" he asked Liara with a smile, which in turn made her smile back. "Sure." "Okay it was eight years ago and..." Orion started to say before the intercom activated. "Can Team Rodimus and Dr T'Soni please meet the Commander in the CIC." a female voice spoke, which made Orion tap his com-link as the others finished their drinks. "This is Orion, we are on our way." He then closed the call and looked at the others and Liara. "Well, it's time. Rain-check on the story?" "Definitely." Liara replied with a coy expression before she then followed the Bot and the others out of the mess-hall. PRIME EFFECT 4 Six-shot walked onto the bridge of the Icarus, having just returned from his failure on Illium and saw that apart from the Terracons who were manning the bridge's stations, there was not one single lieutenant of Galvatron or the Predacon leader himself there. The foot soldiers were all Caucasian and had the same armour with their black and purple color scheme, they were all armed with pistols on their utility belts while also carrying assault rifles on their backs. But Six-shot had also heard that they like himself and his brother and the other higher up Predacons, were also capable of unleashing a beast mode and thus making them far more formidable cannon fodder than the army that the Autobots now have. The bot walked over to one of the Terracons who was running a diagnostic on the engineering station. "Soldier, where is my brother? Have you seen him?" The Con turned and gave Six-shot a blank expression. "Commander Shockblast is still in the Predacon lab, Sir. But I have to inform you that Lord Galvatron is expecting you in his ready room." he replied as he pointed over their left. "Very well, carry on." the bot replied as he turned and walked over to the door, pressing the button on the control panel to his left and waiting for a moment. "Enter!" Galvatron called back and Six-shot entered the dimly lit room to find the Predacon Leader standing at the window and looking out at the devastated surroundings of Cybertron. "Welcome back, Six-shot. I hope you were successful in your mission." "I regret to inform you, my Lord, that the Autobots managed to retrieve the Asari and take her off planet before I had the chance to terminate her." the Con replied in a calm manner though inside his spark was pulsing very quickly, having remembered what Galvatron was capable of after seeing him make short work of Scourge only a month earlier. Six-shot did not have to wait long for an answer as the Lord turned round and smashed his fist onto his desk, his face one of pure rage as his eyes glowed blood red. "You let her escape!" he spat as the bot looked down to see Galvatron's fist was embedded in a small crater on his desk, the dent was quite deep. His attention then went back to his leader's face which was all kinds of scary right now as. "I cannot believe that you let the Autobots outsmart you like that!" he added while Six-shot was almost about to fall to his knees and beg. "My Lord, please. I was this close to ending the life of that Asari and the Autobots that were protecting her, I even managed to kill two of the Shadow Broker's agents that were also pursuing them." Six-shot replied with a fearful tone as Galvatron lifted his fist up and walked around the desk and right up to the bot's face. "But now as we speak, that Asari is no doubt telling the Autobots about our existence." he growled while bringing his face within an inch of the of Six-shot, who swore he could almost feel the heat of the pit emanating from those blood red eyes of his Master. But then Galvatron pulled away and merely looked at his Lieutenant with quiet rage as he gritted his sharp teeth before turning around and moving his attention back to the window. "I would like nothing more than to rip out your spark for failing me Six-shot, but your Brother has found something. Something that once under our control, will allow us to deactivate the Autobot's communication network and cripple their forces. Only then will we Predacons be in strong enough position to announce ourselves to the galaxy." "How was this achieved, my Lord?" Six-shot asked sheepishly, hoping that he could keep Galvatron's attention from said desire. "Shockblast has discovered the Autobots Communication Hub which is hidden on the Omicron Colony. I have already sent word to Ser-Ket and Rip-Claw aboard the Achilles, who are now preparing to strike." the Predacon Leader replied before looking back at the Con. "Now get out of my sight. Or do you wish for your spark to be removed?" Six-shot's eyes widened and his mouth was agape as he realised what Galvatron was doing. "No, of course I will go now. Thank you for sparing me, my Lord." he replied with a relieved tone while backing towards the door, never taking his eyes off of his Leader. "Do not thank me, Six-shot. Save that for your Brother. Now leave!" he spat, making the Con hasten his exit through the door. Galvatron waited for it to shut before taking a breath, sighing once he was truly alone in the room again. His spark was still pulsing with anger and hate and he wondered how he managed to control that and not just kill Six-shot when he had the chance, yes it may have made his working with Shockblast somewhat more tougher. But it would have set a fine example to his troops of what happens when one of them fails him. But then Galvatron was pulled out of his thoughts when that familiar laughing began to echo around him again, as if someone was in the room with him. "Who's there?" he said aloud as he scanned the room with his eyes, but was still by himself. 'What is that laughing? And why am I the only one that hears it?' he thought before…. "I always knew you would be a failure!" a familiar voice suddenly said from behind the Predacon Leader, who spun around to see that no one was there. "Who said that?" he spat as he felt his anger beginning to boil over again, but this was also mixed with a hint of fear as he looked around with wide eyes. "Someone that remembers you all to well." the voice said, once again from behind Galvatron who turned to see just the window and desk behind him, now if there was something other than his anger that was building up to a critical point, then it would be his patience and that was just as much in fear of breaking than his temper. "Enough games, show yourself. Nobody makes a fool of Galvatron!" the Predacon spat into the empty room. "Very well, see me now." the familiar voice spoke again, this time from in front of Galvatron who's eyes widened even more as a silhouette of a Cybertronian began to appear before him. The shape of his body looked very familiar as his shoulder pads had sharp curved spikes growing out off them and his armour had a very gladiator like feel to it. "This cannot be!" Galvatron said as he blinked once the figure was fully in front of him, with a dark grin on his face plate. For standing in front of the Predacon Leader was none other than the long dead former leader of the Decepticons...'Megatron'. Galvatron stood there in complete shock as Megatron smiled at him, the Decepticon looked exactly the same as the Predacon leader remembered with his silver armour and face plate that bared some battle gained scars. The only change was that the con leader was about six foot tall like a Human, and not the height of what Cybetronians used to be. "So I see that nothing has changed, you are still just same failure that I had Shockwave lock away all those years ago." Megatron said as he began to walk towards the shocked Predacon. "You can't be here, you are dead." Galvatron spat back before the Con went right in his face. "Ah. But you see, I have always been here or maybe I should rephrase that. I have always been 'here'." Megatron replied as he pointed at the Predacon leader's chest, at the Predacon insignia and the spark that lay beneath it. "Your very spark was cloned from my own, which means that I have survived through you." The Decepticon then looked around the room and shook his head. "And I have to say that I am unimpressed with what you have accomplished thus far." Galvatron's face then went from shock to anger as he narrowed his eyes at this Con, seemingly back from the dead. "I have resurrected the Predacon species, acquired a fleet and together we will conquer this galaxy, something that you never did." he spat back, which earned a laugh from Megatron. "Predacons, don't you mean Preda-clones. Because that is what they are, merely shadows of their mighty ancestors. They are the same as you are to me. And this fleet you have is nothing more than light cruisers and civilian vessels, I doubt you could conquer a planet let alone the entire galaxy." The Decepticon replied in a goading like tone which made the Predacon Leader explode into a fit of anger as he activated his holo-blade and swung it at Megatron. Only for the blade to pass harmlessly through the Con like he was hologram, earning another shocked look from Galvatron while the Decepticon smiled at him. "And again you prove yourself inferior to me, for you should realise that I exist in your mind and because of that you cannot harm me...but that doesn't mean that I cannot harm you." Megatron replied before punching the Predacon in the face, knocking him back against the desk. The Clone then tried to recover and get back to his feet, but suddenly Megatron grabbed him by the throat and pulled him back up. "You're...not...here. How...is...this...possible?" Galvatron managed to say through the vice like grip on his neck, until the Decepticon let go and pushed him against the desk. "Like I said..." he began to reply before the door behind them opened and a Terracon entered the room. "Lord Galvatron, we heard a loud noise come from in here. Are you alright?" the soldier asked as he looked at the Predacon Leader. "I am fine..." he replied while Megatron remained quiet. "...Now leave 'us'." The Terracon responded with a confused expression at the Predacon Leader before looking around the room, yet Galvatron was the only occupant. "There is no one else in here, my Lord." he replied with an equally confused tone, one which made the clone narrow his crimson eyes at the minion. "I said leave!" he spat, making the Terracon almost jump out of his skin. "Of course my Lord." he replied in a fearful tone before bolting it out of thr room. Once Galvatron was sure that he was alone, he turned back to Megatron only to find that he was not there. "Like I said before we were rudely interrupted..." Megatron said from behind Galvatron, who spun around to see the Con Leader leaning against the wall with his arms crossed. "...I exist in your mind and so only you can see and hear me, as well as feel everything I do to you." Megatron then uncrossed his arms and clenched a fist, smiling all the while at Galvatron. "Why are you here? what do you want?" the clone asked with a very agitated tone. "For you to accept who and what you are, that you are nothing more than a clone of myself and start acting like it. Or else I will make you suffer for it." Megatron replied, which made the Predacon walk over to him, stopping only a few centimeters from the Con's face-plate. "You may be able to hurt me, but your still just an hallucination of my mind. I will find out a way to control you or block you out, this I promise along with my previous vow. To surpass you and everything stand for, now shut up." Galvatron said before walking away from the Decepticon, who merely chuckled in return. "He said shut up to me." Galvatron walked back onto the bridge and saw the Terracons all look at him with worried expressions. "As you were." he replied before noticing Megatron sitting down at one of the vacant stations, smirking at him. But the Predacon leader chose to ignore him as he turned his attention to the Terracon manning the communication terminal. "Get me Ser-Ket and Rip-Claw." "Yes, my Lord." the soldier replied before tapping commands into the holo-interface before him. A moment later and Ser-Ket's face appeared on the main view-screen for all the bridge to see. "She is certainly a sight to behold." Megatron observed as he was now standing at the weapons station just behind Galvatron, who continued to ignore him. "Ser-Ket, what is your current status?" "We have arrived at the system where the Omicron Colony is located my liege, and are awaiting you word to proceed." the femme replied in a professional and elegant manner, which was very unlike that of Rip-Claw who Galvatron had noticed retained a very beast like tone in her voice, which was the same as the other Predacons. "The word is given, take the Colony and obtain that Communication Hub. I also want you to take prisoners if the opportunity presents itself, do you understand?" he said, earning a nod from Ser-Ket. "Understood, Lord Galvatron, we will attack at once. Achilles out." The screen then went dark and Galvatron just looked ahead. 'This is it.' he thought as a smile grew on his face. 'Time for the Autobots to feel our wrath.'
  7. CHAPTER VII Orion and Nightracer entered the large ballroom which had multiple light sources, shining multi-coloured lights in different directions all over the room. There was two levels to the room, both had a dance floor but the bar was only on the ground floor. There was also numerous sofas and chairs scattered about the place as well as an all Asari band playing music which could be heard loudly around the entire room. The ballroom was also filled with scores of guests, made up of what looked like nearly every species in the galaxy. There were Asari, Turian, Salarian, Huma and Volus, as well as the very large Elcor and jellyfish like Hanar. Nightracer chuckled which caught Orion's attention. "What?" he said back with a slightly confused expression. "Have you ever seen an Elcor dance?" the Femme replied as Orion watched the large lumbering creature standing there on all fours as the party carried on around him. "No, but I guess it would clear the dance floor if it did." "That's one way to put it." Nightracer replied as the pair walked past an Asari dancer who was entertaining a group of guests with her fluid moves, while standing atop a raised table in the middle of them. They were several dancers positioned around the room that Orion noticed as he and Nightracer walked towards a Hanar that was sitting down on a sofa in a relaxed state with an Asari at either side of it, draping it's tentacles around them. "What were you saying about your Enkindlers again." one Asari asked it as she took a sip of her drink. "This one is familiar with Enkindlers. This one would like to enkindle the two of you as this one has enkindled multiple females across the galaxy." Nightracer heard the jellyfish and looked back at the group. "Where have I heard that before?" she asked in a curious tone, earning the bot's attention. "We would very much like that, Blasto. Did you know that we are twins?" the other Asari said back, while the Femme watched in wide eyed shock. "That's Blasto. I don't believe it." "Yeah, that's him. The stupid jellyfish stays in character even after they stop filming." the Bot replied, earning a dagger-stare from Nightracer. Orion had forgotten how much of a fan she was of the Blasto series, stringing him along to every...single...movie when they were together. The blue haired Bot simply sighed. "Okay, taken back." he replied sheepishly, making the Femme smile slightly and nudge his shoulder. "It's okay, I know you were never really a fan of those movies. But that reminds me, I recently downloaded a copy of 'Blasto 8: Blasto goes to War'." Orion rolled his eyes at the mention of it before looking around the room, trying to find something in which to change the subject. "You just acknowledged that I don't like the films, but you still carried on with the same subject." he said back, the Femme shook her head in response. "No, I found a deleted scene in the movies extras. It had your Dad in it, along with Grimlock." Orion suddenly felt very uncomfortable, because if there was a worse topic to talk about than Blasto, then it was his Father. "Alright, we can watch it when we next have some free time..." he replied while taking two glasses of wine from a Turian waitress as she passed them, then handing one to the Femme. "...but in the meantime, can we concentrate on our mission please." he finished before taking long drink from his glass, surprising Nightracer before she realised that she had put her foot in her mouth. "Sure, Orion. Let's find the others first." The pretending couple then made their way slowly through the crowd, which was beginning to heave since even more guests had turned up in the time since they had. Orion and Nightracer walked up a spiral staircase to the next level, stopping at the platform's edge and looking out at the floor below, the whole room now in their sights. After a moment of looking at all the faces, Nightracer pointed over to sofa nearest the stage. "There they are." she said as Orion looked over to see both Rodimus and red-Alert leaning against the wall and watching the crowd. The Commander was in his tux and the medic was wearing her dress, but both of them looked almost like machines as they watched everyone blankly. Orion tapped a button on his shirt which then activated the hidden com-link in his ear. "I see you." The second couple suddenly looked alert as they looked around like a pair of Meerkats. "Orion, where are you and Nightracer?" the Commander replied. "Try the second level directly in front of you, you can't miss us." the Bot replied, so the couple looked up until they were looking directly at Orion and Nightracer, the former did a small wave as he smiled at them. "You know, the two of you stick out like a saw thumb." The Femme said before taking a sip of her drink. "We are here to find Liara T'Soni, not get plastered. Unlike how the two of you seem to be heading." the Commander said back as he noticed the glasses in their hands as they leaned on the railing. "This is the only drink we will be having, but it looks less conspicuous to be seen drinking and looking like you enjoying yourselves, rather than being a pair of wallflowers." Orion replied, earning a nod from Red-Alert. "I said that, but Rodimus overruled me." she replied as the Commander looked more uncomfortable than before. "Come now, Rodimus. I swore I saw you enjoying yourself at that party years back." a familiar voice interjected over the com-link. It was a voice they all recognised now. "Kasumi, why am I not surprised that you would be here." Orion said as he looked away from the others and scanned the room with his eyes, earning a chuckle from the Thief. "I have to help ensure that your mission is successful. And I can only do that from inside the party. Plus there are a lot of opportunities for a Thief here...mmm that is a nice diamond necklace that Asari Matriarch is wearing." "Kasumi..." Orion replied, while noticing that Nightracer was keeping calm this time around the thief. "Oh, alright. I'll play nice this time, but only because you look good in a tux." Kasumi said back before going quiet. Then just as Nightracer was about to say something, the lead singer of the band spoke into her microphone and gained the attention of everyone in the room. "We are the Faunts-Zero and this next song is from a decade that Humans call the eighties, and has been requested by our gracious host...Donovan Hock." she said out loud, which was followed by a round of applause from the guests as a spotlight shown down to illuminate the weapons dealer who bowed before them all. The Asari singer then turned back to her group for a moment before suddenly the ballroom was flooded by music as the band began the song. Orion looked on as the Asari singer turned back around and began to sing. "No control, walk right in too close to feel the pain. I'm lost in you. Oh, now you strike the match and light the flame. My hearts a blaze, I feel the heat of your desire, I just can't face the fire." Suddenly as the music levels heightened to deafening levels, guests started dancing as the whole band sang the chorus. "You've got me burnin', You've got me burnin' ,You've got me burnin' in the third degree." The song carried on as Orion smiled and began tapping his foot to the beat. Nightracer noticed this and gave him a curious look. "What is it?" "I didn't realise Hock had such good taste in music." the Bot replied, the Femme though just rolled her eyes and shook her head in response. "What is it with you and eighties music?" "Hey, I'm not allowed to bash Blasto. So it's only fair you don't get to bash great music." Orion replied with a slight smile. "Good point, consider it dropped." Nightracer said as she eyed his empty glass. "Want another drink?" "Sure, I think one more will be alright" the bot replied before she turned and headed over to one of the waitresses that were carrying drinks around for he guests. Nightracer was about to pick up two more drinks when her con-link beeped and Kasumi spoke. "Nightracer?" "Yes..." the Femme replied flatly. "I want you to know that I heard your conversation with Orion earlier and..." the Thief said before Nightracer's eyes narrowed and her face looked like Thunder. "Really don't know what privacy means, do you?" "Yes, I do. But I normally ignore it. It's a bad habit I am trying to break." Kasumi replied, which the Femme responded with a knowing expression. "Okay...not really..." the Thief said back honestly as if she could see the Femme's face...and she probably could. Nightracer nearly smiled at the reply, feeling her armour crack slightly with the Thief. "...I just wanted to say, I understand what you and your Mother went through and that I am sorry you had to suffer through that. I am glad that the ones responsible were stopped." Kasumi said, that honest tone still there. "Thank you." The Femme replied. "Alright, I better check on our ride and ensure it is secure." the Thief said back. "Okay, be careful." Nightracer answered. "You too." Kasumi replies before ending the conversation. The Femme then picked up two glasses of wine and turned back to Orion and noticed that the Bot was staring at a particular area of the room. "Guys, I think I see her. I think I see Liara." he said as he looked at an Asari who was dancing on a table in front of several men, all of which looked shady to say the least. At this point Faunts-Zero had nearly finished the song as the singer started the final part. "Can't stop my body's aching, hear those words, there's no mistaking, I'm the victim of your passion, Now you're burning' too." Then the band sang the chorus for the final time as suddenly the Asari turned around on the table, looked up and locked eyes with Orion. The two of them just stared at each other as the world seemed to slow around the Bot. 'She's beautiful.' he thought to himself, Orion had seen images of her during the briefing, but seeing Liara in person was something else. The Bot was so caught up in his own thoughts he had not noticed that Nightracer had joined his side, causing the Asari to then turn back round to face the group watching her from their seats. "That's her then?" the Femme asked, snapping Orion out of his own mind. "Ye...yeah, it is." he replied feeling a little flustered. Nightracer gave him a curious look before turning her attention to the Asari, who was still dancing as the song went into a guitar solo. "She looks relatively unharmed...,Red-Alert, Dr T'Soni is about fifteen metres to the east of you and Rodimus." Down on the lower floor, the Medic nodded to acknowledge that she heard the Femme before looking in the direction she was told. She saw the Asari dancing there before gaining Rodimus's attention. "Right, I am going to take a scan of Liara's vitals." Red-Alert said as she places her hands behind her back and activated her holo-tool. "How are you going to do that without going up to the Asari and using your holo-tool, bringing attention to yourself?" Nightracer asked from the upper level. "I am going to use the holo-lens interface that my holo-tool has been upgraded with." the medic replied as she pressed one button on her holo-tool then a second later, her irises went from her natural green to gold. She then looked over to the Asari as a HUD appeared in her vision and began showing information about Liara. "How is she?" Rodimus asked as he noticed a worried expression on his Medic's face. "This is bad. Liara has sustained multiple injuries to her body over the last month." the Femme replied as the data showed up on her HUD. "You sure? We can't see any bruises or cuts on her person." Nightracer asked over the link. "They are there, believe me. I would hypothesize that her unwillingness to obey the slavers when they attempted to 'educate' her resulted in a more painful approach, one that would not leave any lasting marks on the body. They would want to be able to sell her after all." the Medic. "And she is still disobeying even now." Nightracer added, earning a curious look from Orion. "How do you mean?" he asked, making the Femme point at the Asari. "Look at the way she is dancing, the way she moves her body to the music. There is no way that she is putting everything into what she is doing, and I have seen Asari dancing many times, they are amazing. But this is just average." "They seem to be enjoying it all the same." the Bot replied as he pointed at the men watching Liara. Nightracer in response, raised an eyebrow at Orion. "They are men." Both bots cringed inside at the Femme's comment. "That was a bit below the belt, Ni." Orion replied with a slightly hurt tone. "I agree." Rodimus quickly added, making Red-Alert shake her head. "It doesn't matter, all that does is that Liara has not been broken yet. And that is good news, it means that she is strong. So why don't we figure out how to rescue her." "You're right, so we should..." Rodimus began to say across the link before Orion interrupted him. "Wait, there is someone joining the group watching her." The team the looked to see Donovan Hock walk right up to the Asari, ignoring the looks of the men who had been watching her. "What is being said?" Nightracer asked. "We can't get any closer to hear them." Orion added, earning a smile from Red-Alert. "No need for that, these lens also have a lip reading program installed. I will link up your com-links to hear them." she said before using her holo-tool, out of view of the over guests, to activate the mode. The medic then looked directly at the weapons dealer as he spoke to Liara and the group around her. "Ah, my Blue Rose. Time for you and I to be alone, I think." Hock said as he offered Liara his hand, while the men sitting around her booed. "If you don't like it, then you can leave. I am the Host and I will decide which pretty lady gets to join me in private. Now go and enjoy the other girls." Hock replied as he took her hand an pulled her off the table. Liara tried to struggle but then the weapons dealer activated his holo-tool and gave her a calm, yet stern expression. "Now, now. Don't be like that, or else you know what will happen next." Liara, who suddenly had a worried expression on her face reached up to a device that was on her neck with her free hand. The device activated with tiny blue lights appearing on its edges. "That is a biotic clamp, it stops Asari from using their Biotics." Red-Alert observed. "I think it must be more than that, Because it definitely has Liara worried." Orion said from his and Nightracer's vantage point on the second level. "Agreed, it must also contain some kind of deterrent, something to stop whoever is wearing it from fighting back." the Medic added, which made Nightracer close her eyes and shake her head in disgust. "We have to get her out of there." Orion placed a hand on her shoulder and gave her a sight smile. "We will. So, Rodimus, what's the plan?" Orion asked as he looked between the Commander and Liara, who was beginning to leave the room with Hock. "Red-Alert and I are blocked off and can't reach the two in time, but you and Nightracer are not. Go and get Liara back while we secure the escape route." Rodimus replied as he and the medic started to move away. "Roger that." Orion said back before both he and Nightracer made their way downstairs and through the crowd toward the doorway that Hock had taken Liara through. PRIME EFFECT 4 Once through, the pair found themselves in a corridor and Hock and Liara were just ahead of them as they entered a room with a merc guarding it. "Okay, so how do we get passed the guard?" Nightracer asked as the pair looked on from the cover of a another doorway. "Well, we need to distract Hock and get him away from Liara, and it has to be someone who will not raise suspicion from Hock or his mercs." Orion replied before looking directly at the Femme. Nightracer sighed as she knew where he was going with this. "Really? that's your plan." "He showed an obvious interest in you when we met him outside, I think we should take advantage of that." the Bot replied. "He makes my skin crawl." the Femme countered. "You don't need to do anything with him, just keep his attention on you." Orion said back. "That won't be hard, I think he leers professionally for a living." Nightracer replied. "See, then it will be easy. You won't even need to take your dress off in that case." the Bot joked, making the Femme shake her head in response. "Funny, Orion. That is very reassuring. Alright, I am ready." Nightracer said as she took a breath and started to walk up to merc guarding the door, Orion watching from the door way. The merc saw the Femme walking up to him and so put his hand out to stop her. "Excuse me, Miss. This area is off limits." "But I was told this was where Donovan went." Nightracer replied with a curious tone. "It was, but Mr Hock does not want to be disturbed, so I will have to ask you to leave." the merc said back, when suddenly the door behind him opened and Hock appeared. "What is going on out he..." he started to say before laying eyes on the Femme, a smile slowly growing on his face. "This guest was looking for you, Mr Hock." the merc said, but the weapons dealer had barely noticed. Unable to take his eyes off Nightracer. "Yes, it is fine." Hock said with barely a glance at the merc, keeping his attention on the Femme standing in front of him. "As you were." Hock said as the merc returned to his duty and guarded the door. "So, 'Mrs' Shepard. How can I help you?" he asked, trying to sound suave, which only made Nightracer cringe on the inside. But she kept up the pretense regardless, though the Femme doubted he would of noticed since he was spending more time ogling her cleavage, the dress did show it off to well unfortunately. "Well, I was hoping that you and I could share a drink." she replied, which earned a curious look from Hock as his eyes were snapped back to meet hers. "What about 'Mr Shepard'? I doubt he would like to find out that his wife is spending time with another Man." Nightracer faked a seductive smile as she placed a hand on his chest. "I doubt he would notice. John is busy getting drunk and begging the dancers for a lap dance." "I see, ...I did have other plans of course..." Hock began to say before Nightracer placed a finger on his lips. "Put them on hold, at least for the next few hours." she said with a look of hunger in her eyes that suddenly made the corridor feel very warm to Hock who gulped. She even caught he attention of the merc who had taken sneaky looks between the pair as they spoke. "Alright then." he replied with an excited smile, before he then took her hand and started to walk away. Orion had been listening from his hiding spot, the Bot smiled as he peeped around the doorway and saw the two of then begin to move away. 'Damn, she is good at that. Totally had me believing it too.' he thought before ducking away as Hock turned back to the merc, getting close enough to whisper. "Ensure that 'she' doesn't get out of that room, understand?" "Yes, Sir." the merc replied as the pair walks off down the corridor. Orion waited in the doorway for an extra few minutes, not wanting to make the next move to soon. But he didn't want to leave it too long either, or Nightracer may end up in trouble if she is pressured too much from Hock. So the bot looked at the time on his holo-tool and then smiled. "Showtime." The guard stood at the door where Liara was being held, his posture confident and secure in himself. He didn't even look like he might blink, let alone make any kind of drastic movement while on guard duty. That was a sign of a man completely committed to his job, but then he heard a stumbling sound and looked to see a blue haired man in a tuxedo getting back to his feet just a further down the corridor. By the look of the individual, he was completely intoxicated. Barely able to stay on his feet, let alone do anything else. "Hey you... Guard...man." the drunken guy slurred. "Excuse me, Sir. But this is a restricted area. I have to ask that you return to the party." the merc replied, which made the drunk stop and look at him in a confused way. "Have you seen my...my wife, she is...this tall and...really pretty." The merc knew exactly who he was on about, but had to play dumb for his boss. "No, now return to the party." he said in a firm tone. "But...I know she's...she's around here, I...saw her enter...this pla...area." the drunk slurred again. "You are mistaken, now leave this area." the merc said again. "I...am...not, and I...am not going any...mmmm where, without my...wife." The merc found that this drunk was really testing his patience now as he looked down at him. "Yes, you are..., and I think your wife will be much happier where she is...believe me. Now get out of here." the merc said as he pushed the drunken man who fell back against the wall. "Don't...you touch..me!...now take...me to...my wife, or I'll...I'll..." The merc took a step toward the drunk as he fought to stay on his feet, clearly half foot taller than the blue haired man. "Or you'll what? Throw up? Pass out? What could you possibly do to me?" he asked with a smile, almost chuckling at this drunk's behavior. The drunk merely looked at the ground with his head bowed. "Or...I'll...kick your...ass." he slurred. The look of bemusement suddenly left the merc's face as he narrowed his eyes at the drunken blue haired man and gritted his teeth. "I've had about as much as I can take from you, you little shit. Now listen here, your wife is going to get the fucking of her life tonight by Mr Hock. It will be so good, she won't remember where she is or that she was ever married to such a sack of shit like yourself. Now LEAVE!" The merc then threw a punch at the drunk, but his fist was stopped as the blue haired man caught it in his hand. The merc's expression was one of shock as the man looked up at him, his face now completely calm and devoid of any of the signs that he was drunk. "Actually, I think Mr Hock is going to be in for one hell of a shock. As for you..." Orion said as he twisted the merc's hand, bringing the big guard to his knees with a grimace. "...we can do this the easy or the hard way, now open that door." the Bot added as he pointed at the door to Liara's room. "Fuck you!" the merc spat, which earned a sigh from Orion. "Okay, easy way it is." he replied before punching the guard in the chest, making him bend down and cough up as his chest constricted. The Bot then slammed him face first into the wall in front of him, knocking the merc unconscious. The Spectre then downloaded the key with his holo-tool from the guard and opened the door to Liara's room and walked in. As he entered the room, Orion saw a basic bed and furniture setup but no sign of Liara. That was when dawned on him, as just as he was looking to his right. A blue fist connected directly with his cheek, knocking him off balance slightly as the one that hit him ran past and out of the room. "Wait.." Orion said back as he felt his sore cheek, but as soon as he turned back around he noticed that she hadn't gotten very far. The Bot saw the Asari standing over the unconscious merc's body, looking at it with a confused expression. "Wait, I am here to help." Orion said as he joined her in the corridor, the blue Woman looking back at him with slight embarrassment in her face. "I am sorry, I thought you were one of the men that 'Pig' had sent to use me." "No, Dr T'Soni. My team and I are here to rescue you." Orion replied, earning a relieved look from the Asari. "Thank the goddess, I was hoping that..." she began to say before looking directly at him. Orion then suddenly felt very awkward at the way the Asari was examining him with her eyes, but in a good way of course. "What?" he said as his cheeks started to redden slightly, earning a smile from Liara. "Have we already met? Because you look familiar." "We haven't met before today, I'm sorry to say." Orion said back with a slight smile, which was mirrored by the Asari. "What's your name?" "Orion Darby. Autobot Spectre, second class." the Bot replied. "Darby?...you wouldn't be related to Jackson Prime, the Autobot leader?" Liara asked with a curious tone. "Yes..." the bot replied as he looked back down the corridor, not wanting her to see the annoyance now on his face at the mention of that name. "...he is my father." "Really? You know I met your Parents once, many years ago." the Asari replied, yet Orion did not look back to her which only confused her. "What is it?" "We should get moving. Don't want to get caught by Hock's security now, do we." Orion replied while trying to keep it professional, and while Liara could not see his face at this moment, she could definitely sense a change in his behavior since she asked about his father. Now this had caught her curiosity, but the Asari knew that this wasn't the right time for a Q & A so she decided to leave it for now. "You're right, I do not wish to stay in this place a moment longer." The Bot finally looked back at her and gave her a slight smile. "Alright, let's get mov..." he began to say before a mother voice interrupted them from just aways of the pair. "Hey you!" a merc shouted as he ran up to them from the other end of the corridor. "Get behind me." the bot said as he stepped in front Liara. The merc equipped a baton and swung it at Orion, who ducked under it before kneeing him in the chest, then upper-cutting the merc while he was bent over. As the merc fell to the floor, Orion then looked back at the Asari. His eyes going wide as he saw another merc coming up behind her. "Look out!" he shouted, making Liara turn and face the enemy as she raised her hand to him, but when nothing happened she remembered that her Biotics were still being suppressed by the device round her neck and so would have to deal with this guy the old fashioned way. Orion began moving to aid her, but then as the merc swung his baton at her, the Asari blocked it before kicking him in the groin and then upper-cutting him in the face as he fell to his knees while cradling his crown jewel, sending him sprawling onto the floor. Liara then turned round to see Orion looking at her in surprise. "What? I may be an Archaeologist, but that doesn't mean I can't fight. I did serve in the Reaper war." she said back in return. The Bot merely smiled at her. "That was impressive, though don't you want that removed?" he asked as he pointed at the biotic clamp around her neck. "Are you able too?" Orion then activated his holo-tool and unlocked the device, which Liara then tore off her neck and dropped. "Thank you." she said back as she clenched her fist, it began glowing with biotic energy for a moment as Orion watched. "Let's get out of here." the bot said as he offered her his hand, which she took gladly before they headed down the corridor, Orion activating his com-link as they moved. PRIME EFFECT 4 In another room just a bit further away, Nightracer was sitting down on a luxurious couch as Hock was standing at the mini-bar, putting the final touches to two cocktails. "I hope you like 'Eternity', it's an exotic cocktail created by the Asari." "Sounds nice." the Femme replied as Hock walked back to the couch and handed her one of the glasses. "It also has a reputation of being quite the aphrodisiac." he added before taking a drink of the blue liquid. Nightracer through just held onto the glass and looked at him with a smile. "Do you really think that I am going to need that?" Hock downed the cocktail in one go, before savoring the taste in his mouth. He then looked back at her, his eyes leering over her entire figure. Inside her body right now, Nightracer was clawing the walls. But she had to keep up the charade for a moment or two longer. "Well, wouldn't you like to have a taste anyway. It is a very expensive cocktail to say the least." Hock replied a little too eagerly for her liking. "I would rather have a taste of you." the Femme said back with an alluring look, which earned a large smile from the man. "Now that's what I like to hear." he beamed before leaning in close to Nightracer who did the same, hoping that this would end really, very soon and that she would not need to go further. Then as if Primus had heard her unspoken plea himself, the Femme's com-link activated as their lips were about to meet, making her stop just short of the kiss. "Package secure, we are leaving now." Orion could be heard saying on the other end, and it couldn't have come at a better time. Hock gave Nightracer a confused look while she just stared at him blankly. "Jessica, don't tell me you've had second thoughts." he said worriedly. "Yes, I shouldn't be here. I am very sorry." the Femme replied as placed the glass on the table in front of them, she then got up only for Hock to grab her by the arm. His grip was tight and as she looked back at him, his smile was slowly fading as something more sinister took the place. "Where do you think your'e going?" he said back coldly, surprising Nightracer. "Let go of me, that hurts." she replied as the weapons dealer pulled her back onto the couch. "I don't think so, was this some little game to make yourself feel better about yourself. Butter me up so that I fawn over you, only to take it away at the last moment." His expression was now very cold and stern as his grip on her forearm tightened that bit more. "I will take that which you were so willing to offer not so long ago, before tossing you back to your dead-beat Husband." Hock added as he reached out to the back of her head so that he could force a kiss, but then Nightracer grabbed his head and slammed it into the table in front of them leaving a large crack in it's top. "You don't ever get to touch me, you son of a bitch." the Femme replied as Hock began crawling on the floor very slowly, obviously suffering a concussion from the surprise attack. Nightracer got up and stopped him, turning him on to his back. He looked up at her with blood soaking the lower half of his face from the broken nose he now had. "What...what are you...doing?" he managed to ask as she looked down at him with disdain. "Making sure you can't call for help." she replied before punching him in the race, rendering him unconscious. The Spectre then tidied herself up before opening the door and leaving the room. Orion and Liara turned a corner to spot a female stepping out of one of the doorways ahead of them, the Asari immediately readying herself for a fight. But the bot stopped her. "It's okay, she is with me." he said which calmed Liara down as she looked over to the Femme. "Liara T'Soni meet Nightracer. Autobot Spectre, second class...like me." he said as the Femme nodded to the Asari. "Let's get you out of here, Doctor." she said as Orion looked back at the door she had just exited. "Where's Hock?" "He is currently sleeping off the concussion I gave him." Nightracer replied. "So you didn't kill that bastard of a man." Liara asked with anger underlining her words, warning a sympathetic look from the Femme. "He is a nasty piece of work...but no, I did not kill him." "I would have." the Asari replied coldly, which surprised Orion somewhat though it really shouldn't have. "I might have too, had I gone through what you had experienced Doctor. But that was not the mission." Nightracer said back to Liara with an honest tone, the Asari nodding in return before both females returned their attention to Orion. "So what's the plan? Where are Rodimus and Red-Alert?" Nightracer asked. "They told me that Kasumi has hacked Hock's internal security and has given us a clear path to his garage. The others are waiting for us in the back lobby of this building, so we should go meet up with them." Orion replied, earning a nod in return from the Femme, though Liara looked at what the female Spectre was wearing with a curious expression. "I do not mean to offend, but can you even fight in that dress?" she asked. Nightracer gave the Asari a knowing smile before bending over and exposing a hidden zip at the bottom of the dress, and by pulling it up she then showed that the lower part of the dress was detachable and pulled it off to reveal a somewhat shorter but easier to move in skirt that came down to just above her knees. "How's that?" she the asked them as she stood there in front of the pair. "Nice." Orion replied, mirroring the Femme's smile. "Very practical." Liara said back with a smile. "Okay, let's go." Nightracer said before the three of them carried on to the rendezvous. In the back lobby of the penthouse, both Rodimus and Red-Alert stood in front of what was a large staircase that led to the second floor of the room. There were more than a few doors at either end of the area, though there was only one that connected to the garage. "How long did Kasumi say she could keep Hock's security offline?" the Bot asked, looking somewhat restless where he stood. "For about another seven minutes, give or take ten seconds." the Medic replied as she looked at her holo-tool. "I really wish I had my pistol with me right now." Rodimus said with a hint of regret in his voice. "Remember what Kasumi said during the briefing, we can only keep weapons on us that we could conceal. Unfortunately firearms were not among that criteria since Hock's security system could detect them. Besides we still had our holo-tool upgrades." the medic replied as Rodimis looked at his own holo-tool. "Yeah, I have 'Cryo-blast' and 'Incinerate' options. What do you have?" "I have the 'Holo-Bow' that is capable of firing energy arrows." Red-Alert replied just as Orion, Nightracer and Liara entered the room. "Nice for you to join us." Rodimus said before setting his eyes on Liara. "Doctor T'Soni, this way if you please." the Commander added as the group started for the door leading to the garage. "Stay where you are!" a disguised voice suddenly called out, surprising the group as they turned to see a lone female soldier wearing white and blue light armour. They could not see her face due to the helmet that she worn or identify her by voice due to the voice disguised that was installed in said helmet. She stood there as a Drell and a Chinese soldier joined her. "We want Doctor T'Soni, hand her over and you will be spared." "Who are you to make demands of us? Or do you really want to take on a group of 'Autobot Spectres'?" Rodimus replied confidently. "Yeah, it's not like we don't have you outnumbered four to three." Nightracer added with a hint of sarcasm, but the masked female soldier merely stood her ground. "I think you will find that it is you who are outnumbered...Now!" she then said as the air around the Spectres suddenly distorted to reveal a whole group of phantom class soldiers surrounding them and blocking their escape route. "Personal cloaking devices." Red-Alert said as the phantoms aimed their rifles at the group. "Agent Zero, we have them dead to rights." the lead phantom said, earning a look of surprise from Rodimus. "Agent Zero! I have heard of you. You work for the 'Shadow Broker'." "Yes, our group was hired to liberate Doctor T'Soni and take her 'back' to our 'clients'..." Agent Zero replied which made Liara's eyes widen as she knew what that meant. "...but you have done the hard work for us, we are grateful for that. But the Asari will be coming with us." the Agent continued. "I am not going back to 'them'." Liara spat back to the Agent before looking back to Orion. "You can't let her take me back to them." she said with a fearful tone, whoever this other group was...they had her scared. "Who is this other group that wants Liara?" Orion asked as he instinctively took a step in front of the Asari as a sign of protection. "We do not give out information on those who do dealings with us, but since your 'Thief' friend's hacking of this place's security is about to come to an end, I find that we need to end this interesting chat. Now hand her over or die!" Agent Zero said, her tone cold and final. "You'll have to kill us." Orion replied in a similar tone, earning acknowledging looks from the rest of his comrades. "Very well, Kill them!" the Agent ordered and the Phantoms pulled the triggers on their rifles...only for nothing to happen. The Shadow Broker's team all looked at each other as did the Drell and Chinese man, with a confused expression. One that must have been on all their faces, the Agent included in spite of them wearing their helmets. "What the hell just happened?" she spat at the Phantoms, meanwhile Orion looked at Nightracer who smiled back at him while holding her purse in front of her. "You brought it with you?" he whispered to the Femme, earning a confused look from the others as she nodded back. "Brought what with you?" Rodimus whispered to her, wanting to know what had happened too. My purse contains my extendable 'Bō staff' and a short term firearm Nullifier." Nightracer whispered back as Orion looked back to notice that Agent Zero had was looking at them. "That was you!" she spat as Orion readied himself for a fight, Nightracer mirroring him. "Rodimus, Red-Alert, get Liara out of here. We'll cover you." the bot said, earning a grateful look from Liara and a surprised one from the Commander. "Get her!" the Agent then said as the phantoms started to close the distance to the group, but then Liara began to glow with biotic energy before unleashing a blue orb of light into the air above them. "Cover your eyes." she shouted to the Spectres a second before the orb exploded into a bright light that blinded the enemies around them. "Go now!" Orion shouted as he kept his eyes covered for a second longer, as Rodimus and Red-Alert turned around and beat down the two disorientated phantoms that were blocking their escape. Then Orion took one last look at Liara, a smile forming on his face. "Thanks for the assist." "Thanks for the rescue..." she replied as she started to back towards the other two Spectres. "...I hope to see you on your ship." "Looking forward to it." the bot replied, knowing that deep down he really was looking forward to seeing her again, other than when she asked about his father, still a sore subject for him. But now was not the time to dwell, so he then returned his attention to the Shadow Broker's forces as Nightracer smiled at him. "Ready for this?" "Yep." was simply Orion's reply as the Agent recovered and looked between the Drell and the Chinese soldier. "Krios, Leng, get her back now!" Both men nodded before looking at the two Spectres that were left, the devices that were connected to heir foreheads now lit up with green and blue LEDs blinking on and off repeatedly. "Here we go." Orion said as both men charged at the pair, but as both bot and Femme threw a punch and kick respectively at the two running at them. Their attacks suddenly went through Krios and Leng as the enemies phased through the pair before continuing through the door and after the others. Orion and Nightracer gave each other worried looks before looking back at the Agent and the phantoms surrounding them. "Kill them." Suddenly the phantoms attacked while Agent Zero watched, as the Spectres were put on the defensive. One phantom threw a punch at Orion who blocked it before elbowing him in the chest and then roundhouse kicking the soldier n the head, sending him to the ground. Nightracer mean while had two attack her simultaneously so performed an acrobatic flip between them, landing on her feet on the other side. The Femme then launched a leg sweep, knocking both of them off their feet and then making sure their stayed down with a forty five degree roundhouse kick to their faces as they tried to recover. But then another Phantom grabbed her from behind as another went to punch her, so the Femme lifted her self up and kicked with both legs at the soldier in front. This knocked that one away, while also sending the phantom and Nightracer flying in the opposite direction. That enemy landed on their back with a loud thud which released the Femme who was now on his chest, so she side rolled off and sweep kicked another phantom who was about to attack Orion as he threw a punch at another enemy, only to stop it a mere inch from their helmet making them gasp. He then opened his palm and smiled before punching the phantom in the stomach with his other fist and then throwing the enemy onto the hand rail of the staircase which collapsed from the impact. Nightracer then flipped back onto her feet from her back beside Orion, they both smiled at the Agent as her troops recovered around them. "For goddesses sake, you have your katanas. Use them!" The phantoms then pulled their blades out of the sheathes on their backs and readied themselves for round two. "Wow, nice swords." Orion replied sarcastically as Nightracer shrugged in return. "We have weapons too." she replied before pulling a small silver cylinder out of her purse and pressing the center of it, making it extend and reveal itself to be her bō staff. Orion meanwhile flexed his arms out to the sides revealing holo-tools that activated around his forearms, taking the form of holo-arm blades. Both Spectres then smiled and took up fighting stances before the phantoms launched another attack at them. Orion deflected a string of lunges and swipes from one phantom before slashing across his chest and neck, taking the enemy down in a quick succession of blows. While Nightracer spun her staff around her before connecting it's end with the heads of three phantoms in one blow, felling them like dominoes. The Agent just watched in an exasperated state at the sight transporting in front of her, as her troops failed time and again to kill the two Spectres. Orion then blocked one attack while slashing the neck of another enemy, causing blood to spray out from the wound as the phantom fell to the ground. The Bot then turned back to the other and grabbed his arm, twisting it until he let go of his Katanna which Orion caught in his hand and then stabbed it back through it's owner's chest. He then pulled the blade out and spun it in his hand before quickly back thrusting it into another phantom that tried to attack him from the rear. Then as that enemy fell to the ground dead, Orion looked to see Nightracer launching herself into a jump kick with her bō staff at another phantom before his ears picked up many footfalls approaching them from the upper floor. "Ni." he called out, gaining the Femme's attention after she landed back on her feet while the phantom fell to the ground with a thud. The bot merely pointed up the stairs, so she looked up to see more phantoms entering the lobby up there, she then noticed that Orion had clasped his hands together in front of him and she smiled, knowing what he had planned. So she ran toward the bot , stepping onto his hands and allowing him to launch her into the air and up to the second floor. The Femme grabbed hold of the hand rail with her free hand and vaulted over it to meet the four phantoms who all aimed their guns at her, but Nightracer was too quick for them as she launched a combination of kicks, punches and hits with her bō staff that took down all but one of them. He tried to shoot her with his rifle again, but the Femme merely knocked it out of his hand with the end of her staff before striking him in the face with the other end. He stepped back and the pulled out a knife, but this didn't dissuade Nightracer who spun the staff in her hands before unleashing a series of hits to all areas of the phantom's body before upper-cutting him with the last strike, which sent him flying off the second floor and down to the ground floor below as Orion was disarming and killing another phantom. Nightracer took note that she had taken care of the enemies on this floor and looked down to see that her friend and former lover was surrounded by the last four phantoms, so she jumped and somersaulted over the hand rail and landed next to him, they then acted together as the phantoms surrounded the pair. Nightracer deflected and countered against one enemy, killing him with a blow to the head. Orion meanwhile broke through the defence of another phantom and buried his arm blade in his face. The bot then bent over, allowing the Femme to roll over his back and switch sides with him as the last two phantom suddenly turned tail and ran. Obviously seeing all their friends being killed by just two people was too much, but they didn't get far as before they passed Agent Zero, she suddenly pulsed with biotic energy which stopped the phantoms in their tracks and snapped their necks instantly. "Pathetic fools! If you want something done right, you have to do it yourself." she spat at the two Spectres as she took up a fighting stance, her body glowing with a blue hue. "Let's see what this bitch has got then." Nightracer replied, earning a confident nod from Orion. But before anything could happen, Agent Zero suddenly received a message and so erected a biotic barrier between her and the two spectres. "You are sure, Sir,...very well, I will leave it to them." she said back before looking back at Orion and Nightracer. "We will settle this another time." she stated before running out of the room as both spectres looked at each other, before Orion came to a realization as he looked wide eyed at the Femme. "Liara and the others, come on!" he shouted before they both ran through the door that lead to the garage. PRIME EFFECT 4 As the battle was raging between Orion, Nightracer and the Shadow Broker's soldiers, Liara ran with all her strength down the corridor as both Rodimus and Red-Alert followed in her wake. The three of them made it to the garage which in all honesty made the ballroom look like the interior of a garden shed due to its size, and was filled with sky-cars of all makes and sizes. "I guess we should pick one, but what about Orion and Nightracer?" Liara asked as she looked back at the Commander. "They will be fine, we just need to get you out of here." he replied as Red-Alert looked back down the corridor, a worrying expression appearing on her face. "Well, pick one fast, because we have company." Both Rodimus and Liara looked back down the corridor to see the Drell and Chinese man running toward them, so The medic activated her holo-tool which formed into a crossbow on her arm. She then fired a burst of energy arrows down the corridor at the pair, but they simply passed through the two like they were ghosts. "They have phase shifting tech, get back here." Rodimus called to the medic before activating his holo-tool and firing a white glowing shot of energy at the doorway, which on impact sealed it in a sheet of thick ice. "Get in that sky-car now." the Commander shouted as he then activated the black sky-car next to Liara. The Asari and the medic then climbed into the back and front passenger seats respectively, while Rodimus got into the driver's seat. He then closed the car's canopy just as both enemies phased through the ice sheet and looked over to them. "Go, Go, Go!" Liara said in a panic as Rodimus then flew the sky-car out of the garage and into the air. Rodimus kept the black sky-car steady as it flew between the large skyscrapers of Nos Astra, making sure or to draw anymore unnecessary attention to themselves. "Where are we to rendezvous with the transport again?" the Commander asked, making Red-Alert activate her holo-tool. "About a couple of miles north of our current location. Kasumi said that it would be ready and waiting for us there." she replied, earning a nod from Rodimus before he steered their sky-car around a nearby skyscraper. The medic then looked back to Liara who looked a little concerned. "What is it?" "I can't help feeling that we haven't lost them." the Asari replied as Rodimus looked down at the driver's interface and saw a blip approaching their position very quickly. "I think Doctor T'Soni is right." the Commander said with a tone similar to Liara's, which made both Females look back and see a red sky-car gaining on them. "Can you lose them?" Red-Alert asked. "I can try." Rodimus replied as he flew their vehicle into the nearby lane of the sky-way, weaving in an out of the other cars using it. "If they don't kill us, an impact from any of these other vehicles will." the Medic said as they narrowly missed a transport while just keeping ahead of the enemy sky-car. "Yeah, I hear that can be bad for your health." the Commander replied in a joking like tone, earning an annoyed look from Red-Alert. Meanwhile Liara kept her eyes on the red sky-car as it closed on them. "They are coming up on our right." she said as the others looked in that direction to see the enemy sky-car flying level with their own. Then just as they passed another sky-way user, the red vehicle suddenly collided with the Spectres sky-car which made Rodimus fight to keep them in the air. "Are they trying to kill us?" Red-Alert said with a panicked tone, earning a head shake from the Commander. "They are trying to force us down, they want Dr T'Soni alive...remember." Then suddenly his con-link activated. "Rodimus, What's your situation?" A familiar Male voice spoke. "Orion,..." the Commander replied, earning a smile from Liara who was relieved to hear that the Bot was alright. "...where are you, because we are being chased by two of that Agent Zero's men on the sky-way leading to the heart of Nos Astra." Rodimus continued to say as he barely managed to keep their car steady after being rammed once again by the other one. "Nightracer and I have acquired a sky-car and are tracking your signal, ETA three minutes." Orion replied before closing the link. "Help is on the way." Rodimus said to the others as he brought their vehicle up along side a fuel tanker, with the enemy vehicle following them closely. The two sky-cars continued to fly in between the heavy traffic of the sky-way, as the enemy one tried again to ram the Spectres out of the lane they were in but with out success. Liara looked out at the other sky-car and saw that Kai Leng was piloting the vehicle with Thane Krios sitting in the passenger seat, when suddenly they pulled away to the far end of the lane. "Are they giving up?" she said as Red-Alert looked too, but then the red car veered into another vehicle just away from them. Causing it to go out of control and head straight for the Spectres. "Look out!" the Medic cried out making the Commander pull up, narrowly missing the other vehicle as it passed under them and hit the fuel tanker which then exploded and sent debris in all directions in the lane and sending other vehicles near by into evasive action. Liara looked back in horror as some of the other cars and vehicles failed to clear the area and collided with each other in what looked like a pile up. "By the goddess, they don't care how many they kill to get to me." "Maybe we should leave the sky-way, that way we can limit civilian casualties." Red-Alert said, which made Rodimus shake his head in return. "No, we stay this course until Orion and Nightracer arrive. All we have to do...what the hell?" the Commander said as he saw the enemy car suddenly ascend above them. "What are they doing?" the Medic asked, but then Rodimus's eyes widened as he realised what was about to happen. "Take the controls." he said to Red-Alert as he opened up the canopy of the sky-car, exposing them to the cold air around the vehicle. "What, I'm a doctor...not a pilot." the medic replied as Rodimus began climbing on to the roof of the vehicle. "Just keep us steady." He simply replied back as he kept his balance and looked up to see someone phase through the bottom of the red sky-car and fall towards their own. As he fell through another sky car that had just flown between their vehicles, the Commander could tell that it was the Drell who then landed on the roof next to him. Thane then recovered quickly because he went straight for the Commander with a flurry of punches that Rodimus managed to block, but then when he attempted to counter attack with a combo of kicks and punches, the Drell either blocked them or let them phase through him. 'How the hell am I going to beat this guy if I can't hit him?' Rodimus thought as he again found himself on the defensive against Thane. This fight continued for another long moment as traffic flew past barely a few feet from where they were standing, but then Thane managed to punch Rodimus in the chest, knocking him back. But the Spectre managed to recover by placing a foot on the windscreen, which made Red-Alert cringe as she tried to keep their sky-car steady. The Drell though attempted to take advantage of the Commander's situation by launching another attack with two punches, but Rodimus blocked and grabbed both hands. "I've got you now." he said as he gritted his teeth before something caught his eye over the Drell's shoulder. Liara too had seen this as she looked at a gunship that was closing on them from the rear, she strained her eyes to focus on who was in the cockpit when suddenly she recognised the pilot. "Six-Shot!" she gasped as the gunship's guns and missile launchers activated. "What?" Red-Alert said while keeping her eyes on he traffic ahead. "Evasive action now!" the Asari cried out as the gun ship fired a missile at them, earning a mortified look from the medic as the warning system blared out around her. So she brought their sky-car into a dive, which caused the missile to just miss them and make both Thane and Rodimus let to of each other and hold on to the roof of the vehicle for dead life. The missile itself hit a sky-car that was ahead of them, the explosion from it causing yet another pile up as vehicles crashed into each other while attempting to evade the devastation. Red-Alert though managers to barely keep their car flying as she weaved in and out of the traffic ahead of them, trying to keep the gunship from getting a target lock on them. "Who the hell was that?" the medic asked as the debris from the pile up behind them fell to the ground below. "The ones that want me back." Liara replied somewhat ominously. Meanwhile Rodimus and Thane were still holding on to the roof of the sky-car "Red-Alert, open the canopy now." he shouted, with which the medic obeyed and activated the canopy which opened and nearly crushed the Drell's hands but he managed to go out of phase just in time and fell through their sky-car, but instead of falling downward to the ground far beneath them, he instead landed back on the roof of his and Leng's own vehicle who has been waiting there. He then phased back into his own seat next to the Chinese assassin. "They are good." was all he said in a calm tone, earning a knowing look from Kai Leng. "I can see that." Meanwhile Rodimus had climbed back into the driver's seat and was now back in control of the sky-car while the gunship closed in on their rear. "They are getting another target lock." Red-Alert warned as the interface in front of her flashed red. But just as the Predacon ship was about to fire again, a blue sky-car flew up close and rammed into the side of it, causing Six-shot to fight to keep control of it. "Who was that?" Liara asked as she looked at the blue car as it entered formation with their own. "You guys need a hand?" Orion then said over the intercom, earning smiles from the others. "thanks for the assist, Orion." Rodimus replied. "Your car looks rather damaged, why not switch to ours. We have enough space." the blue haired bot said as he piloted the blue car. "Okay everyone, time for a change of transport." the Commander said as he opened up the canopy and Orion descended the blue sky-car just below their own and opened his own canopy. "Okay jump!" Rodimus shouted over the loud cold wind that bow around them, making both females jump off their damaged car and fall a few metres before landing in the currently convertible made sky-car. "I am not doing that again." Liara said in a panicked state as Nightracer helped her into a seat, then Rodimus landed next to her and sat down as the canopy closed over them and Orion pulled their ride out of the sky-way and back out into the open sky. "Signal the transport to meet us." the blue haired Spectre said in a commanding manner to Rodimus which surprised him somewhat, but he nodded and activated his holo-tool. Red-Alert looked back to see the red sky-car following them and the gunship not far behind. "We still have company." she replied as their enemies got closer. Meanwhile in the gunship, Six-shot began targeting the Shadow Broker's team with his missiles. "Time to take out the competition." he said as he pulled the trigger and fired a missile right at them. "What the!" Thane said in wide eyed shock as he saw the approaching missile, but then he noticed a maintenance platform just ahead of them and activated his Phase-Shifter. Falling out of the car and landing on the platform just in time to see the missile hit the vehicle and kill Kai Leng instantly before the gunship flew past the burning wreckage and on wards towards the Spectres. "Okay, there is our transport dead ahead." Orion said as he brought their car up behind it as the transport opened its aft shuttle bay. But then several missiles came out of nowhere and destroyed the transport. "What in the Allspark?" Rodimus replied as another gunship flew out of the flaming explosion, causing Orion to veer their car to the right as it was joined by Six-shot's gunship. "Now what?" Red-Alert said as Orion kept his attention on his flying. "Time for plan B, Nightracer..." he said calmly as the Femme nodded and activated her holo-tool. "They are closing on us and gaining a weapons lock on us." Liara said while pointing at the flashing interface. "Okay, Everyone. Hold on!" Orion said as he made the sky-car dive down and weave in and out of the buildings that were packed closely together, just as both gunships opened fire with their rail guns and missiles. Each missing the car and impacting on the buildings, causing numerous explosions on their surfaces. "Great flying." Liara said in amazement, earning a slight smile from the pilot as he brought them round the last building in that district. "That was the last of the cover. They are re-acquiring weapons lock on us." Nightracer said as The others looked back to see the gunships right on their tail. "Anytime now..." Orion merely said a moment before a familiar voice spoke up over the intercom. "Looks like you guys could do with a lift?" Everyone other than Orion and Nightracer looked on with a surprised expression as the Normandy descended behind the gunships. "Jetstorm, am I glad to see you." Rodimus said with relief heavy in his voice. You should thank Orion, this was his idea. Now let me and Shen take care of those gunships tailing you." the Normandy pilot replied before the Autobot vessel fired its guns on one of the enemy ships, destroying it and making Six-shot pull away as the Normandy closes in on the sky-car. Brace yourselves for the barn swallow." Orion warned as the Autobot ship opened it's shuttle bay door. "Barn swallow?" Liara asked with a confused tone just as the Normandy scooped up the car into the shuttle-bay, the vehicle hitting the deck and screeching to a halt merely a foot away from the back wall. The Normandy then closed the shuttle-bay door before ascending up into high orbit, leaving Six-shot to watch from the cockpit of his gunship as it flew between the skyscrapers of the city below. 'Scrap' was the only thought that came to his mind. N/A: Well I hope you enjoyed that chapter and thank you for reading. The music in this chapter was 'Burning In the Third Degree' by Tahnee Cain.
  8. CHAPTER VI An unmarked transport ship dropped out of hyperspace on the outskirts of the star system before using it's sunlight engines for the remainder of the journey, not an uncommon sight in this region of space as Illium was still a busy hub for commerce and trade in the Federation despite being infamous for its ties to corruption and criminal activity. Onboard the transport, in one of its waiting rooms there were a squad of soldiers wearing white and black armour. You couldn't tell who they were due to their faces being obscured by the visors of their helmets as they sat and held onto their weapons, but they looked similar to the Phantom class soldiers that the long absent MECH used to employ. Also there were three people standing at the far end of the room, one was wearing blue and white armour. Obviously female by the look of her athletic figure and light weight amour, but like the other soldiers was wearing a helmet. Next was a Drell, a omnivorous reptilian like alien that was wearing grey and black coloured clothes, who simply stood there with his hands behind his back and looked out of the window with a contemplative expression on his face. The last was a Chinese human male in black and white armour, he had a katana blade connected to his back and a holo-visor covering his eyes, he looked somewhat agitated as he stood there. Suddenly, the female's holo-tool activated and a holo-screen appeared in front of the three, the image was unidentifiable due to the heavy static that was accompanying the footage. "Agent Zero-One, report your status." a highly disguised voice spoke from the screen. "Shadow Broker, our ship has just dropped out of hyperspace and will entering the orbit of Illium in a few minutes." the female Agent replied. "Good. Your target is Dr Liara T'Soni. She is being held at one of the higher tier buildings in the city of Nos Astra. The Doctor is to be retrieved and brought back to one of my safe-houses until we receive payment from our client." the Shadow Broker said back, earning a nod from the female agent before she turned her attention to the pair standing near her. "Is there any reason why two assassins are with us? Surely my squad and I will be sufficient enough to grab one Asari." "The Assassins are here as backup for you, since I have heard that there will be another player in the game...the Autobots." the Shadow Broker replied, earning a sigh from the Agent. "I see, well I still believe that it will be unnecessary..." "The Human is Kai Leng." the Broker interrupted, making the agent look over to the Human again. "Kai Leng, the former Alliance marine turned Assassin?" she asked in disbelief. "Yes, his volatile nature and distrust for anything not human was something that drove him out of the Alliance before the Reaper War began. He has been an merc and assassin ever since, happily killing any non-humans for profit. So just be sure not to remove your helmet at any point during the mission." the Broker said, warning a nod from the Agent. "And who is the Drell?" "The Drell is one Thane Krios." the Shadow Broker added, as though her face could not be seen behind her helmet's visor, her eyes still widened in surprise. "I am sorry, I did not recognise him. All Drell look the same to me. But how did you get him on the payroll, because he has said no many times over the years." "Let's just say I made him a deal that he could not refuse." Zero-One looked back at the two assassins and saw a compact looking patch that was attached above both men's right eye. "What is that device on their foreheads?" "You recall the fall of MECH during the final days of the Reaper war, well I managed to acquire some of their possessions which were Cybertronian tech. One of which was a device called a 'Phase-Shifter', now I do not know how MECH managed to get their hands on that or any of the technology that came to be in my possession, but using my connections I have duplicated the phase-shifting tech for our own use. What you see on their foreheads is the main device which also contains a synaptic interface that allows the user to control the device mentally, negating the need for manual operation." the Broker replied. "Impressive, so where's mine?" the Female asked in return. "Patience, you will receive one for all your good work for me. But in the mean time, I believe that your Biotics will suffice." the blurred and disjointed image on the screen replied before the intercom activated. "We are entering the orbit of Illium, all hands prepare for descent." the transport's captain said. "I will leave you now, just be sure to carry out your mission to the letter and bring me back Dr T'Soni. Shadow Broker out." the voice finished as the transmission ended. The female Agent then turned to the two assassins. "I hope you are ready?" Kai Leng gave her a suspicious stare. "Just concentrate on your role, I know what I have to do." he replied with an aggressive tone at the black visor of the Agent's helmet, before looking away. Obviously wondering what this agent really looked like and why she would hide it. The female then turned her attention to the Drell who looked like he was praying as he stood I front of the window, his head bowed and hands clasped to together. "Are you ready, Krios?" the Agent asked, but the Drell did not speak or even turn to acknowledge her. So she just walked over to her squad of soldiers and began final preparations as the transport began its descent into Illium's atmosphere. PRIME EFFECT 4 Orion, Nightracer, Rodimus and Red-Alert stood in civilian clothing on the corner of a busy street in the middle of a large business center in the city of Nos Astra on Illium, they had been directed too in a message from Miranda Lawson's contact. The group had been waiting there for the last thirty minutes, with some of them starting to become impatient. "I can't believe that we are working with a thief, and how long does this Kasumi expect us to just wait here for?" Nightracer asked, not hiding her impatience from the rest of the group. "Patience, Nightracer. I'm sure we will hear something soon." Red-Alert replied, though the Femme looked like she didn't believe her own words as she looked over at the people walking by on the other side of the street. Orion meanwhile looked up at the sights surrounding them, with the skyscrapers that seemed to reach up into the heavens. "Impressive, isn't it." Rodimus said after noticing that Orion was looking more like an awe struck tourist at this very moment. "Yes, it is. Never been to Illium before." the younger Bot replied. "Well, the architecture is very impressive, especially when you consider that we are much higher off the surface due to the temperature there being to high for anyone to live." the Spectre Leader replied as they both looked up and marveled at the buildings, as streams of sky-cars flew in-between them. Nightracer meanwhile had let her impatience get the better of her and walked over to the nearby advertisement booth. "If I have to stand here for a while, I might as well see what kind of adverts they have running right now. The Femme said as she tapped the large screen. The booth came to life as the image of a Japanese woman appeared there, her face was partly obscured by the shadow created from the hood that she had covering her head. "Commander Rodimus, speak the password and win a free prize." the image said, earning the attention of the group. "Wait...what?" Nightracer replied as Rodimus stood beside her. "I told you all earlier that the message included a password." The Commander then looked at the booth. "Silence is golden." The image smiled back in response. "Good to finally meet you, Commander Rodimus. The photo on your Autobot profile doesn't do you justice." she replied coyly, almost making the Commander blush. "...Thank you, what happens now?" he replied, trying to move forward and ignoring the Femmes who chuckled behind him. "Well, firstly..." Kasumi said back before stopping after her eyes fell on Orion. "Wow...you look just like him." The Bot suddenly felt not just the thief's but everyone's eyes on him, making him feel uncomfortable. "...him? He managed to say while his cheeks started to go red. "Why your Father of course and he is very handsome as well. I see the apple hasn't fallen far from the tree in that respect." Kasumi replied with a wink. And if Orion was feeling uncomfortable before, then it had just increased nearly ten fold in the space of a few seconds. "You met Jackson Prime?" Rodimus asked, trying to regain the thief's attention away from the younger Bot. "Yes..." she replied before looking back at Orion. "I have a funny tale to tell you, if you want to hear it later?" she asked, noticing by his posture that Orion wasn't really comfortable with this subject. "Yeah, maybe later. So like Rodimus asked, what happens now?" he replied, making Kasumi's expression turn serious. "Yes, right...so let's take this indoors then, I am sending you the coordinates for a warehouse not far from your current position. I will meet you there." The advert booth then deactivated just as Rodimus's holo-tool activated and pinged, gaining his attention. "Okay, it's this way." He then began following the directions as the others followed him. They walked down a block or two before stopping in front of what looked like a warehouse. "This is the place." Rodimus stated as he deactivated his holo-tool. "You sure?" Red-Alert asked a little unconvinced. "Yeah this is the place." the Commander replied as he grabbed the door handle and opened the door. "Inside." The others obeyed and entered the warehouse to find that the place was deserted. "So she had us wait at one place and didn't show up, then gave us another place to meet only for her to not appear again." Nightracer started again, this time with Red-Alert nodding in response. "Even I am starting to think something isn't right with this picture." Orion stepped ahead of the group and looked around the empty and dark interior of the warehouse, before looking back at them with a passive thoughtful expression. "I bet she was there at that street corner the whole time, shadowing us so she would gain an insight into each of our personalities." "So it wasn't just the good looks that you inherited from your father." a voice spoke out before Kasumi appeared within the middle of the group, smiling at young blue haired Bot. "You also got his mind too." she added while the Femmes looked at her in wide eyed surprise. Orion once again felt his cheeks heating up as another unexpected bout of shyness crept its way up from his spark. "So, Kasumi. Now that we are away from prying eyes and ears. Can you tell us what we are here to do?" Rodimus asked, wanting to get on with the mission, and not stall it with the Thief's obvious interest in Orion. "Of course, Rodimus." she replied before winking at the bot, and then stood before the group. "Now as the Commander has probably already told you, Matriarch Benezia's daughter, Dr Liara T'Soni has been missing for the last month since the Icarus, the science cruiser she was on board disappeared around the suburbs of Cybertron." As she spoke, Kasumi activated her holo-tool and brought up several holo-screens which showed various Intel to the group. "Jackson Prime asked Miranda Lawson and 'Autobot Intelligence' to use all of their resources to find the Matriarch's daughter, and so she asked me to use my connections." the Thief added. "What connections do you have?" Nightracer asked with a distrusting tone, which Orion put down to the fact that Kasumi was a Thief and quite possibly her interest in himself. As the Bot thought this, Kasumi gave the Femme a knowing look. "Hello, I'm a professional Thief. How do you think I make a living? If someone wants something and can't get it legally, then they come to me and I get it for them...for a modest fee." she replied sarcastically, which made the Femme narrow her eyes and stare daggers at her. "...And don't you just steal for yourself too." Nightracer spat back. "Okay, so I am a kleptomaniac, shoot me." Kasumi replied with little care in her voice while throwing her hands in the air, this though was the final straw for the Femme who clenched her fist and went to punch the thief. "You bitch!" Orion saw it coming and managed to get in the way of the attack, stopping her and earning a surprised look from the others who could not believe what they just saw. "Nightracer, go outside and clear your head now." the Commander replied with a firm tone. "I'll go with her." Orion said back before looking at Kasumi, who gave him a grateful expression. The Bot then followed the Femme, who stormed out of the building. Orion stepped outside to see the Femme kicking over the dustbins that has been left outside in a fit of rage, their contents spilling onto the ground. "That went well." he said as Nightracer kicked over the last bin, before stopping and breathing heavily. After a moment she turned to face the Bot. "I am sorry, Orion. I didn't mean to embarrass you and the others." The blue haired Spectre walked over to her and placed his hand on her shoulder in a comforting gesture. "Its alright, Rodimus is the one you should apologise to." "I know and I will, when we go back inside." she replied. "So can I ask why?" Orion said back, earning a look of confusion from Nightracer. "Why?" "Why did you go all out on Kasumi just now?" the Bot asked, though he felt he already knew the answer...the real answer. "Orion, I...my family has had some rough times because of people like her." "What do you mean?" he asked back as the two sat down and leaned against the wall of the warehouse. "Let's just say that no matter where we went, we always remained a target for those that would want to prey on us. You see my mother always had trouble wherever she went, mainly due to her being a former Decepticon, I guess there were just people that couldn't let go of the fact that she fought for the other side. Well you know what I mean Orion." the Femme said, gaining a subtle nod from the bot who was listening intently. "After I was born, things just got worse. We had to move from place to place because no matter where we lived, after a few nights our home would be ransacked and all of our possessions stolen...every single time. So after this happened a number of times, I just tried to desensitize myself to it by not having any possessions." Nightracer added. "That's why your bedroom always looked really basic, with no attempt to decorate it or fill it with your own things." Orion replied, remembering the many times he had seen her room. "It wasn't what you would call a 'girly' room was it." The Femme said back. "Did this continue to happen after we met?" the Bot asked. "No, but the damage was done and I saw life quite differently to most kids my age at that time. You see one night when I was twelve...it was about a month before we first met, it seems that those who were stealing from us and making our lives hell had enough of just doing that and attacked us directly. My Father, who was a former Alliance marine managed to defend my Mother and I, until the police arrived and arrested the group. The assailants were a group of former Autobots and one had a brother who had been killed by my mother when she was a Con. They wanted to make her life as miserable as theirs had become." Nightracer said as she looked at the ground. "I am sorry, Ni." the blue haired Bot said as she gently leaned against him. "You want to know the reason I joined Master Prowl's dojo, which lead to us meeting for the first time all those years ago." she said as her eyes started to fill up. "Okay.." "I wanted to learn how to fight so that I could protect my Mother when my Father wasn't around." "Because your Mother's injury robbed her of the ability to protect herself." Orion replied, earning a nod from the Femme. "You've seen her yourself, Orion. My Mother is a shadow of who she used to be." "I know, your Mother was considered a hero for her shuttle runs deep into Reaper held territory on Earth during the war, where she evacuated many Civilians before they could be harvested by the Reapers. But on the last day of the war, her shuttle was brought down by one of the Reaper Harvesters." Orion said, remembering the story from the history lessons he had back at school. "Yes, she managed to crash land in a safe area and all the passengers were fine. But my Mother's right leg was broken, now a wound like that on her Pretender body would have been no problem to repair if a Medic was on hand." Nightracer continued. "But there was none, and then the Primus-wave enveloped her as it covered the planet." Orion said back, earning a nod from the Femme. "It changed not only her body, but made the wound far more problematic. When a search and rescue team finally showed up after several hours, her leg was no longer capable of being healed and my Mother had to have the leg amputated." As she said this, a tear ran down the Femme's cheek. This had not gone unnoticed by Orion who in response, put his arm around her and held her. "I guess the Primus-wave changing our biology wasn't just all positives after all." she added as Orion looked at her with a solemn expression. "I'm sorry, Ni." "You've got nothing to apologise for, Orion. I just saw that Thief and it brought back all those memories. I should be apologising to you, we have a mission to do and..." the Femme replied as her eyes started to water, so Orion pulled her into a hug. "It's okay...it's okay." he said softly as she rest her head on his neck and quietly sobbed. As the two remained lie this, the door opened and Red-Alert popped her head out and looked down to see them. Orion met her gaze and said nothing, but the Femme knew what he meant and nodded in response before going back inside and closing the door, leaving the two alone again. Another long moment passed before Nightracer broke the embrace and pulled away, wiping her eyes. "Look at me, I'm never usually like this." "How long you have been bottling this up inside, Ni?" the Bot asked with a worried look. "Too long...I guess." she said back in an honest with a sigh. Both then looked ahead before Orion took a breath. "You going to be alright?" "Yeah, I think I will be. It feels good to finally lay it out in front of me, you know." she replied, Orion then got to his feet and held his hand out to her. "So, you ready to get back to work?" Nightracer looked up into the blue haired bot's eyes and smiled back. "Yeah, let's do it." she replied as she took his hand in her own, the Bot then helped the Femme to her feet before re-entering the warehouse. Once inside, the pair noticed that only Rodimus and Red-Alert were now occupying the building's interior. "Is everything alright?" the Commander asked as he looked at Nightracer, the Femme nodded in return. "Yes, and I apologise for my behaviour. It won't happen again." "Good, though Red-Alert informed me that you were quite distressed when she went to check on the two of you." Rodimus replied, the Femme looked over to the Medic who gave her a friendly smile. "You sure that you're okay?" she asked. "Yes, thank you. I'm more embarrassed than anything else right now." Nightracer replied with a sheepish tone. "Well its in the past, so let's get on with the job we are here to do." The Commander said as Orion looked around them. "Where did Kasumi go?" "She went to make sure our hired transport out of here is still safe." Red-Alert replied, earning an annoyed look from the blue haired Bot. "That bucket of bolts barely got us here in one piece, tell me again why we couldn't just use the Normandy..." Orion asked with a slightly aggravated tone. "...I mean, I wasn't even piloting it on the trip over here and even I could tell that it's handling was awful. If we need to get of here in a hurry...or if there is a fire-fight, I don't think it will hold up." he added while bringing up the plans of the mission on his hook-tool, while Rodimus crossed his arms and looked at the younger Darby. "I still forget that you are also a pilot, Orion,...but even though I share your concerns, Kasumi said that the Normandy would be easily recognised by Hock's security as well as the rest of Illium's criminal element. "Hock?" Nightracer asked with a slightly confused expression. "Donovan Hock, he is a weapons dealer, smuggler and patron of the arts." Rodimus answered as he brought up several holo-screens with his holo-tool. "He is also the person that according to Kasumi, purchased Liara T'Soni from some Slavers who found her in an escape pod." Red-Alert added, making Orion look confused now. "Purchased?" "Yes, Hock used to be a client of Kasumi's but apparently there is now bad blood between the two of them. But she still has contacts on the inside of his operation. They told her that he had bought Liara from some Slavers only a few days ago after they had spent a month trying to re-educate her. I only hope that the psychological...let alone the physical damage is reversible." the Medic replied with a worried expression, Orion shook his head in agreement before looking back at the Commander. "So what's the plan, we get in...grab Liara and get out." "Not quite, you see Kasumi told us that Hock's security is extremely tight at the best of times. His usual hangout is the planet Bekenstien, but while he is at his penthouse...which he also owns the skyscraper that it is part of, his security is over the top." Rodimus said back as the holo-screens showed blueprints of the building's layout. "I guess that is because this is a Federation world, and yet he is still allowed to reside here. I guess the reputation of Illium is deserved, it's just Omega with a fancy makeover." Nightracer replied. "The Federation has been trying to change that, but it is a continual struggle." Red-Alert said back. "So what's the plan?" Orion asked. "Well tonight, Hock will be holding a party for all his friends. Basically all the liars, cheats and scumbags you can imagine." the Medic continued. "We are to infiltrate the party under the guise of guests, locate Liara and extract her." the Commander added as Red-Alert gestured to the clothes rack next to her. "Also dress code is 'black-tie'." she said as both Orion and Nightracer looked at the two black tuxedos and two dresses in the rack. "It would appear that Kasumi has a good eye, these look they are our sizes." The Femme spoke as she studied the dark purple dress. "This one's mine." she stated with a smile before unhooking it from the rack, and walking off to find someplace to change in private. Rodimus then picked up his tux and looked back at Orion and Red-Alert. "Better get yourselves ready, our sky-cars will be waiting outside for us in a few hours." "We aren't all heading in together?" the Medic asked as Orion picked up his tux. "No, we will split up into pairings and entering the party as couples. Kasumi has already created and uploaded our fake identities to the guest list. Red-Alert, you will be with me, Nightracer will be with Orion." The Bot nodded as he looked back to the Commander. "Okay, I guess that makes sense. Ni and I have had a lot of practice in that regard." he said as both the Medic and Rodimus smiled back. Then the three turned around and walked in opposite directions, looking for a place to change. PRIME EFFECT 4 The sun was starting its descent beyond the horizon on Illium, giving off an orangy-red color to the evening sky. A blue sky-car could be seen weaving it's way through the traffic in one of the many sky-ways that filled up the air-space above the city of Nos Astra, the only real obstacles to the traffic being the skyscrapers that carried on towering over them and the city. Inside the said vehicle, Orion wearing his black tuxedo was piloting with Nightracer sitting in the passenger seat. She was wearing the purple dress and holding a small purse on her lap. "You look great, Ni. It's been a long time since I last saw you like that." the Bot said as he gave the Femme a quick glance and smile, before returning his attention to the traffic ahead of them. Nightracer smiled back and looked him up and down, before running a hand through her black hair. "You scrub up nicely too, Orion, and wasn't it for our last Prom dances that we last dressed like this." "Yeah, there weren't many kids I knew of that had the chance to go to two dances." the Bot replied. "Well, that was only because we both went to different schools. Didn't let that stop us from dating though, did it." the Femme said back while looking out of the side window at the setting sun. "Hell no, there were a lot of obstacles that we had in our way, which we ignored. My parents among them." Orion said as he pulled their vehicle alongside one of the much larger refuelling transports as they continued down the sky-way. "I remember your Mother's disapproval about me because of my own family, so why did she give up in the end?" the Femme asked, a curious tone in her voice as she looked back at Orion. "Because in the end, my parents wanted me to be happy. And when they saw that I was happy with you, they let us be." the Bot replied. "Yeah, we had a good run didn't we, but 'all good things'..." "It doesn't matter, because I feel lucky that we are still close friends. Not many people can say that about their exes." Orion said with a smile, earning a similar look from the Femme. "I feel the same way, Orion." before the Bot pointed to the fall skyscraper just aways ahead of them. "There it is, so what our cover names again?" he said as Nightracer brought up the information on her holo-tool. "Our names are John and Jessica Shepard. Despite our young age, we run a very successful smuggling operation out of Omega though we are based on Thessia. Apparently we we good friends with Aria T'Loak." she said as Orion brought their sky-car out of the sky-way and flew it over to one of the landing pads on the skyscraper that connected to the large windowed penthouse that over looked the Nost Astra skyline. A security Mech stood on the platform and waved them down, Orion nodded and slowly and easily landed the vehicle before opening it's canopy which lifted up and allowed them to exit it. The bot then got up and adjusted his tux before walking over to Nightracer's side and offering her his hand. The Femme smiled and took his hand, Orion helped her up from her seat and revealed the dress she was wearing more fully. It was a backless dark purple one piece that showed off her athletic physique. "Thank you." she said with a smile before the Mech walked up to them. "Please show your invitations and identify yourselves." it asked in a toneless and mechanized voice. "The name is Shepard, John Shepard. And this is my wife Jessica." Orion replied with a calm and charismatic tone, which would have been lost on the Mech who looked at the invitations that Nightracer handed to it from her purse. "These are the correct invitations, I will let Mr Hock know of your arrival. Have a good evening." The Mech then walked away, toward another sky-car that was hovering above the next landing pad. Orion then offered his arm to Nightracer who slipped hers around his, before they walked over to the penthouse entrance. The doorway was guarded by two mercenaries, one at either side as the doors opened and a medium built Caucasian man in a flashy white suit walked over toward the couple, he also had a finely cut mustache. Orion recognised him from the images shown during the mission briefing earlier as the arms dealer that now 'owned' Liara T'Soni, the woman they were here to rescue. "John Shepard, welcome to my home away from home." the Man said as the two males shook hands. "Donovan Hock, pleasure to meet you. This is my wife Jessica." the bot said while gesturing to Nightracer, Hock looked the Femme up and down and smiled before taking her hand and kissing it gently. "It is a pleasure. You look absolutely beautiful, my Dear. Your presence here is greatly appreciated." Nightracer feigned a smile before taking her hand back. "Thank you, the pleasure is mine." she said back, though really this guy made her skin crawl. "Well, I have more guests to meet and greet so please, enjoy the party." Hock replied before the couple walked into the penthouse. "Well, so far so good. I take it Rodimus and Red-Alert are already inside?" Orion asked as they walked down a corridor that separated the entrance from the rest of the penthouse. "Yes, they arrived several minutes ago. Though we can't make contact with them physically, so that we don't blow our cover. We should be able to communicate with the com-links hidden just inside our ear canals." the Femme replied as Orion began messing with his ear. "Stop touching your ear." she said softly but firmly, not wanting to gain the attention of the mercs guarding the door ahead of them. "But it's itching." the bot replied as he continued to mess with his ear. Nightracer noticed the mercs were looking at them, so she turned to Orion and pulled him into a kiss while also moving his hand away from his ear, out of view of the mercs. After a moment she pulled away slightly, their faces only an inch apart, her smile faded slightly as the bot looked at her with a surprised expression. "What was th..." he started to say before she interrupted him. "Don't touch your ear, or else the mercs here will be the least of your worries...understand." "So ,you kiss me and then you threaten me... this is turning into a real marriage." he replied gently as he felt the mercs eyes on them still. "How else do I maintain our cov..." she said before he pulled her back into another kiss, this time surprising the Femme who quickly adapted and returned the kiss. "What?" she replied with a confused tone after they pulled away. "Just playing my role, you taste nice by the way. Is that a flavoured lipstick you're wearing?" he asked, earning an eye roll from Nightracer before they carried on towards the door. Both mercs now resigned to the fact that the pair were a married couple. "Men!" the Femme sighed as the doors opened and revealed the party that was being held in the massive ball room in front of them. "Here we go." Orion said as the couple then entered the room.
  9. CHAPTER V The light from the nearby star reflected off the hull of the Normandy as it left orbit of the planet Zorya and jumped into hyperspace, soon finding itself surrounded by blue and white light streams as it traveled at hyperspace. Orion was in the Med-bay, sitting on a berth as a Femme with dark skin and shoulder length brown hair (wearing a uniform with red/white colour scheme) approached him and activated her holo-tool. "So you just couldn't keep you, Orion?" she said with a smile, the bot mirroring her expression as she scanned him. "What is a girl to think if you keep showing up in her Med-bay like this." she added, while never taking her attention from what she was doing. "Maybe, Red-Alert, it's your excellent bedside manner that keeps bringing me back." Orion added with a wink, which made the Femme shake her head. "Well, I see two possible reasons for your 'third' visit to me in 'three' missions. One - you keep getting injured just so you have a valid reason to see me, which I find to be the strangest way for a guy to show he likes someone. Or two - your just incompetent and completely unable to get through a mission unscathed..." Red-Alert replied sarcastically as she picked up a medi-gel injection and squeezed out the excess oxygen bubbles from the needle, a little of the serum squirting out too. "...In which I would have to question your mental state and if you are indeed a danger to your teammates." she added while sticking the needle into his bare fore arm, right in the bruised area. This made Orion flinch before she extracted the needle and smiled as his bruises began to fade away, leaving only healthy skin in its place. The Bot then rubbed the patch of skin and sighed with relief before looking at her. "You're missing a third reason there." "Oh...have I?" Red-Alert replied while feigning surprise. "Yeah, ever thought that I just might have been unlucky in the last three missions. I mean In my whole career so far, I have only been injured a few times, not including the last three." the Bot replied within honest expression. The Femme then gave Orion a smile with a matter-of-fact expression. "Did you ever think that I might be pulling your leg at this moment, Shen was right." The Bot gave her a confused look. "He was?" You are easy to set off." she said with a chuckle, making Orion sigh and nod in return. "...I guess I am. Nice one." Red-Alert then took one last scan, her expression changing to one of satisfaction. "Well, your injuries are healed, the medi-gel did its job. You're free to leave." Orion nodded before getting off the berth and standing beside her. "Thank you." "So...you weren't flirting with me then during your last few visits? Because I do have a boyfriend." the Femme replied. "Oh, You think that I was..." Orion replied as he blushed, gaining a smile from the Medic. "...sorry, I didn't mean anything by that. I was just being friendly." he added sheepishly, making Red-Alert shake her heard in return. "That's okay." "What's his name?" the Bot then asked curiously. "Long-Arm, he is stationed at the 'Omicron' Colony on the edge of Federation space bordering the Terminus systems. He is a highly skilled engineer working on the terraforming-towers there." Red-Alert replied with a proud tone in her voice. "Omicron Colony you say, I have a Cousin who is stationed there too, or so he told me in his last message." the Bot said back. "Really, may ask what his name is?" the Femme asked. "Quickstrike and he is an Autobot." "I have heard of him actually, from Shen when he was in here for his physical last week." The Medic said in return. "I see." the Bot said back. "Shen told me that the three of you had known each other since you were all very young." Orion nodded response with a smile. "Yeah, both Shen and Quickstrike are like Brothers to me. We have pretty much been there for each other from the start, through our childhood and teenage years all the way to our Autobot training. In fact it wasn't until we passed that and were given our first assignments that we were separated." "So Quickstrike is your cousin because his mother and your's are siblings? It's Chromia and Arcee, right?" the Femme asked. "Right, and as Shen probably told you, he was adopted by Garrus Vakarian and Tali'Zorah when he was only a few months old." Orion added earning a nod from Red-Alert as she walked over to her station and activated the console there, viewing the time as it appeared on the holo-screen. Her eyes widening as she realised the time. "He did...well can we continue our chat later, because I am about to be flooded with crewmen expecting their physicals." she said while looking back to Orion. "Sure, see you later then." The Bot then walked out of the Med-bay and headed down the light blue steel corridor until someone called his name. "Orion, wait up." He stopped and looked back to see Nightracer walking towards him with a smile on her face. "So, you all healed up?" she asked. "Yeah, Red-Alert just cleared me." "That is good timing, because I need you in the gym." the Femme replied, earning a puzzled look from Orion. "Don't tell me you have forgotten..." Nightracer said with a concerned tone as her smile faded, the bit though merely blinked at her blankly. "...Our Sensei wants to see that we have been keeping up with our training." she added, hoping that this would ignite her friend's memory. "Oh, that is today?" Orion replied, earning a sigh from Nightracer. "Yes... I told him in my last message that we would have some free time after the last mission, so let's go." Orion gave the Femme a suspicious look. "Why do I get the feeling you just want to see me with bruises." Nightracer smiled back at him in response. "Why do you think I said it was good timing." she replied in a joking-like tone as the pair headed for the gym. PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile Rodimus was in the com-room, standing next to the controls to the holo-communicator as it activated and the hologram of person began to take shape on the platform in front of the Commander. "Commander Rodimus, it's good to see you again." a familiar voice spoke as the bot stood to attention while the hologram took on the form of...Jackson Prime. "You too, Sir." Rodimus replied as he looked at the Autobot Leader who was wearing his Prime armour and despite being in his early sixties with his black hair now silvery grey and sporting a short-cut beard, still looked a formidable force to contend with...just like the Prime that had preceded him. "So, can you tell me who was trying to smuggle Red Sand into the Federation from Zorya?" Jack asked. "The mercenary group called themselves 'The Death Skulls' and their leader was Solem Dal'serah." the Commander replied. "The former Blue Suns leader, now that's interesting." the Prime said as he stroked his beard with his right hand while mulling over the information. "Sir?" Rodimus asked with a puzzled expression. "Autobot Intelligence had him down as one of Aria's closest advisers, now if he has turned his back on her...which isn't the smartest thing to do. It would indicate that Omega isn't as secure as its Leader would like to make out." "Indeed, Sir." the Commander replied, earning a raised eyebrow from Jack. "Seriously, Rodimus, lose the sir and relax." "Yes...sure...Jack." the Bot replied as he stood there, obviously uncomfortable. "Either way, my team and I took care of their operation. We also found evidence of Zorya's Government having ties to the mercs. I will send their names along with the rest of the report." the Commander added. "Very good, that's three out of three successful missions for you and your team of Spectres, Rodimus. Your idea of having not only lone Spectres, but teams of them working together is paying off." Jack replied. "Thank you, Jack." "And how has the 'Normandy' performed thus far?" the Prime asked. "She is a fine ship, a true successor to both the original and the Defiant, Jack. And the Space-bridge generator has worked like a charm." "I see. Your report said that you used a Space-bridge to get the drop on the mercs defences, what about the ground-bridge capability?" Jack asked as he looked down at what could only be the Commander's report that he has just sent. "Haven't had an opportunity to make use of that mode yet." Rodimus replied. "Okay, well the data from the Normandy's Space-bridge use is in your report, and it all looks good. That is a good sign for the coming launch of the new Nemesis." Jack said back as a hologram of the dreadnought appeared next to him. "Not only are both the Normandy and the Nemesis successors to two of the Reaper War's most famous ships, but they are also the first ships able to create their own Space-bridge vortexes. The Federation wanted the Autobots to be able to get to anywhere in the galaxy at the push of a button, negating the need to have to access the Space-bridge Network, which will be for Civilians...once the Autobot Fleet has been refitted." Jack added. "Plus, isn't the Nemesis replacing the soon to be decommissioned 'Ark' as the flagship of the Autobots?" Rodimus asked. "Yes, my mobile Command Centre has been through a lot in it's time. The 'Autobot/Decepticon War', the 'Reaper War' and the years of change that followed. We will be saying goodbye to the Ark on the Twenty Fifth Anniversary of the Federation's birth, which will be held at New Iacon in a few days, as well as launching of the Nemesis too." the Prime said. "The Normandy will be present at the anniversary, Jack, just as planned." Rodimus replied, making the Prime shake his head in response. "Unfortunately, that will not be the case, Rodimus. Because I have another mission for your team." "Does this mission have anything to do with the Federation/Autobot ships that have gone missing in the last month, Jack?" the Commander asked. "No, it does not. That particular issue is being investigated as we speak, though at this time we still have no leads on who it might be. And even though the disappearances have all occurred on the border with the Terminus systems, Omega is claiming innocence and so far no one has taken responsibility." Jack replied. "From what I have read, whoever this is has done a good job hiding their tracks. Since there are no survivors or debris of any kind at the locations where the ships have gone missing." Rodimus added. "I have sent out a further warning to all Federation ships reminding them to be careful when passing through that region, while also pairing up Autobot cruisers so that they can be sure of their safety while searching for this unknown enemy. Anyway as I said, it is being investigated. The mission I want your team for is something else entirely." the Prime replied. "And what would it be?" the Bot asked as a number of holo-screens appeared around Jack. "You have heard of Matriarch Benezia?" the Prime asked as the screens showed images of the Asari. "Of course, she is the elected Asari representative in the Senate." Rodimus answered with a curious tone, wondering where this was going. "Well, the Matriarch has requested Autobot aid in locating her daughter...Dr. Liara T'Soni, who has become one of the Federation's most respected Archaeologists. She disappeared a month ago." Rodimus looked at the image of Liara that appeared alongside the others. "Didn't she also help you on Thessia during the Reaper war?" "Yes, she did." Jack replied as he looked away ever so slightly, as the mention of that event brought up memories of a good friend he had lost during that event. But he then looked back at Rodimus. "So she disappeared a month ago, and you have been looking for her for this long without success?" the Commander asked. "Yes, and our efforts continue to come up with nothing." "Alright, so what are the details?" Rodimus said back. "Dr. T'Soni joined the crew of the 'Icarus', a Federation starship whose mission was to explore the possibilities of remote ancient Cybertronian settlements on planets all over the galaxy. The mission was to take five years to complete." the Prime said as images of the ship and it's crew appears alongside the ones or Liara and her Mother. "Matriarch Benezia brought up the matter of the Icarus, when her daughter failed to contact her for one of their weekly talks. We first checked the flight plan of the ship and found out it's last stop before heading home was Cybertron." the Prime said as the planet appeared on one of the holo-screens. "And they weren't there?" the Commander asked. "No, I sent a cruiser to the planet but after repeated long range scans of it came up empty. I had the search extended to the surrounding systems...but nothing came up." Jack replied. "So what happened then?" Rodimus asked. "I had Autobot Intelligence take over the search and just today, Miranda Lawson contacted me with a possible location of Dr T'Soni." the Autobot leader said back. "Where is she?" The Commander asked. "Miranda told me that one of her contacts, who goes by the name of 'Kasumi Goto'..." Jack started to reply before Rodimus jumped in. "I have heard of her, she is a professional Thief." he said with disdain in his voice. "Yes, I know. But I trust Miranda's judgement. She has done a fine job keeping the Federation secure from sabotage and espionage attempts for the last twenty five years while running A.I., so I expect you to stay professional while working with Kasumi." Jack replied, making Rodimus's eyes widen. "Excuse me, Jack?" "Kasumi has requested your team for the mission. She has all the details and will contact the Normandy when she is ready to proceed. Your orders are to work with her and bring Liara T'Soni back, and also see if you can find anything out about the fate of the Icarus." the Autobot Leader said in a commanding tone. "Very well, when do we have to meet Kasumi?" Rodimus replied. "She will send you the time and coordinates for the mission, just be prepared. Alright, I have other things to deal with.." Jack said as he was ready to end the transmission, but Rodimus stopped him. "Jack, you never asked about Orion." This comment cut straight through the Prime's stern and commanding posture, as he looked at the Commander with a surprised look. "I am aware that you know that I recruited him to my team, and that you weren't happy with that." Rodimus continued, making Jack look uncomfortable. "I know it was Orion's choice and though his choice was not what I would have wanted for him, he is still a man...and capable of making his own decisions." Jack replied while looking away from the bot. Rodimus though kept his attention firmly on the Prime. "Jack, we have known and served alongside each other for a long time, and you know you can trust me. What happened between you and your Son? the two of you used to be so close." Jackson Prime glanced at the Commander, wishing at this moment that he was elsewhere. Hell he would happily fight the Reapers again, rather than have this conversation...it's hard enough when it is just Arcee, pressuring him, but now everyone wants to know. "Rodimus, I appreciate your concern, but this is a family matter." he replied. "...alright then..." the Commander said back with a sigh, a sign that he was giving up this line of questioning. "...well, Orion really is a 'chip of the old block'. I think that is the Human term." he continued as Jack just looked at him, listening to his every word. Rodimus then activated his holo-tool. "I am sending you the footage my holo-tool recorded from our last mission, you should be proud of him. Because I am proud to have him on my team." He added, his tone full of pride. Jack nodded as he looked at his holo-tool as it confirmed the receipt of the footage. "Thank you, Rodimus, and good luck on your mission. I look forward to hearing it's of it's completion in your next report. Prime out." Jack replied with a nod, before the transmission was cut and his hologram disappeared, leaving Rodimus to stand there and look at the space in front of him. Meanwhile onboard the Ark, Jack stepped off the holo-communicator pad and took a seat at his desk and looked out at the empty void of space through the window in his ready room, his thoughts now dwelling on his son. He then sighed and activated his terminal, a large holo-screen appearing in front of the Prime. Jack selected the vid-footage from his holo-tool which then appeared as a still image on the screen, that showed Orion being held by two merc soldiers as he was presented to the Death Skulls leader. "Computer play footage." The Autobot Leader said aloud, causing the screen to come to life as the footage began play. And as Jack watched the scene unfold, his lips slowly curved into a smile at what he was witnessing. PRIME EFFECT 4 Shen sat in the mess hall while watching the news reel on the holo-screen on the wall in front of him, the Turian took his dextro-drink in his hands as he looked at the screen. "...and with yet another federation ship, a heavy cargo carrier called 'Axalon' has gone missing while on the edge of ISF space that borders the Terminus systems. This is the fifth ship to have disappeared in the region and so Jackson Prime has again warned all ISF vessels against travelling within the effected area while also strengthening The Autobot forces that are investigating." the Salarian newscaster said before a smile appeared on his face. "And finally, preparations are almost complete for the Twenty Fifth Anniversary of the ISF which is only days away now..." As the Salarian spoke, video footage showed street parties and celebrations being prepared on planets all over the galaxy. "...citizens all over the Federation look to be getting in the party mood and the main event will be here in New Iacon..." Shen quit watching the news as it continued to play out for the other crewmen in the room, instead looking T the time on his holo-tool before shaking his head with a disappointed expression. 'Orion and Nightracer should have been here by now.' he thought with a sigh before gulping down the remainder of his drink. 'I bet I know where they are.' The Turian then got up and left the mess hall, going down the corridor towards the a large grey door at its end. As he walked up to it Shen pressed the control panel to his left, causing the door to open and allow him entry. What he saw just made him roll his eyes as before him in the middle of the room, Orion and Nightracer were fighting each other on a large training mat, they both wore gym bottoms and t-shirts as they darted around each other, trading blows. "Please tell me you two haven't fallen out again?" Shen asked aloud, causing both fighters to stop and give him an annoyed stare. "Halt!" a voice spoke firmly, almost making the Turian jump in surprise. Shen looked to his right and saw the hologram of an old Caucasian man standing with his arms folded behind his back, he was wearing black and white robes that had a red outline. He too gave the Turian an annoyed look. "Will you please remain quiet while my students are sparring." Shen did not know where to look as he suddenly felt very embarrassed. "Sorry, didn't realise I was intruding on...something.. I guess." the Turian replied sheepishly before looking back at his friends and gesturing a silent 'I'm sorry' to the pair before sitting down on the bench next to the door. Both bots gave him an accepting smile before looking back to the hologram. "Master Prowl?" Nightracer said while taking a breath. "You may continue..." he replied as the Femme and Orion took up fighting stances in front of each other. "So, where were we?" Orion asked with a grin. "I was just about to kick your ass." the Femme replied confidently, earning a knowing look from the blue haired Bot. "I don't think so, you've never beaten me." he replied as he tightened his fists, which in turn flexed the toned muscles on his arms as he stood ready. Nightracer just shook her head gently as she looked at him. "...maybe, but you have never defeated me either." she said back with a wink. "Begin!" Prowl said aloud and suddenly both friends lunged at each other as their fight reignited. Shen just sat and watched as the two fought each other, one attacking and the other defending and then the tide would switch in an instant as the other would counter almost immediately. Orion moved in close and ducked under a round house kick from Nightracer before unleashing an uppercut as the Femme was turning back round to face him, but Nightracer was ready and blocked the punch as she then grabbed his arm and twisted it into an arm-lock. Orion grimaced but managed to smile at her. The femme simply smiled back in an way which was almost cocky, like she believed she had the advantage. But then Orion kicked at her knee, causing Nightracer to let go and dodge the attack. The Bot then recovered and quickly went on the attack with a side kick, and yet again the Femme blocked and grabbed hold of it. But before she could do anything, Orion then launched himself into the air and aimed another kick with his free leg. Nightracer let go and pulled her head back just enough for his foot to just brush past her face, she could feel the air being cut as it passed her skin by mere millimetres. Orion then fell to the floor and did a back-roll onto his feet but before he had a chance to get his bearings, the Femme was already attacking with a punch and then a kick which he blocked perfectly. He then went on the offensive with several punches, elbows and kicks, all of which Nightracer successfully defended against. Meanwhile, Shen was now totally engrossed in this contest/training match, he found that he could not pick a victor between the two...not only because they were both his friends, but because they were so evenly matched. The way they fought and moved, it was like watching a dance. Neither one giving the other an inch, the Turian could see why Prowl considered them his best students since Arcee, Orion's own mother who once trained under him. Shen though was never too keen on fighting at such close proximity, preferring to stay at a distance and let his sniper-rifle do the work. But then again, he had been trained by his father - Garrus Vakarian who was known as one of...sorry, the best sniper in the galaxy...or so he liked to think. As his friends continued to dance around, trying to gain the advantage over the other, Shen took a moment to think of his parents. His mother Tali'Zorah was one of the Quarian Councillors that worked directly for the Quarian senator, who represented their race in the ISF senate. Shen's father was one of the Turian Hierarchy's most respected military advisers. The last time he saw his parents was a year ago while he was on leave. He had gone back to Rannoch and stayed with them at the family home which was on the coast of the main continent. Shen had many happy memories of his life there with his parents and no matter where he went in the galaxy now, he still thought that it was better than what he has seen since. The Turian was brought out of his thoughts by the sounds of a struggle and looked up from the ground to see that Nightracer was grappling with Orion, both friends continued to smile at each other as they fought. Now if Shen had not known both of them and their history, then he would have sworn that this fight was actually more of a flirtation between the two as they attempted to impress each other. But the Turian knew them only too well, the pair were once a couple a number of years ago. Orion met Nightracer when he was twelve years old as the bot started his martial art classes under Master Prowl and over time, the pair grew closer. What was once a 'three musketeers' like friendship between Orion, Quickstrike and himself soon turned into a 'wolf pack'. Nightracer was definitely a tomboy and enjoyed all the same things as the rest of the group, but as they all went into their teens, she really only ever had eyes for Orion and it wasn't long until the two were dating. The Femme even introduced the bot to flying and they were trained by Jetfire and Nightracer's mother Slipstream. Everything went well for the wolf pack and the couple within it through their teenage years, except for the fact that Arcee was not a fan of Orion's choice of girlfriend, which her Son had told them was because Nightracer's mother was once a Decepticon who had caused his Mother harm during the Great War. Even though it had been decades since the Autobot/Decepticon conflict, and most of the Cybertronian species had healed the wounds that had once separated them, it was still difficult for some to let go of the past. But despite this obstacle, Orion and Nightracer had pushed on with their relationship and were happier for it. Though it was not until a few months into the group's enrollment into the Autobots, that the couple then came to the conclusion that they saw no future for their relationship and decided to end it and remain close friends. This had shocked both Shen and Quickstrike who had grown accustomed to their friends being together, but both respected their decision. It was not long after that the group were separated fully as their training took them in different directions, but as some would say, fate is a funny thing. Because the group is pretty much back together again (except for Quickstrike), serving on the same team and ship. Shen was again snapped out of his own thoughts as Orion won what had almost become a wrestling match as he picked the Femme up and threw her over his shoulder, sending her flying a meter or two across the mat. But Nightracer had almost perfect dexterity as she stopped her fall with her hands and flipped back on to her feet before turning back to the Bot who attacked yet again, with another flurry of punches and kicks which the Femme blocked successfully. The fight itself had now moved off the pad as Nightracer realised she was right next to the wall and Orion had her almost trapped...almost. The femme smiled at her opponent before jumping against the wall and springing off it into a jump kick, Orion though managed to dodge the attack by rolling out of the way and ending up in a kneeling position as Nightracer landed with her back to him. So he rose back up and went into a spin kick, the femme did the same and... "Enough!" Prowl said aloud, making both friends stop just over midway through their attacks. Their kicks just away from each others faces. They looked over to their Teacher who merely gestured for the pair to walk over to him, and they brought their legs back down and went over to Prowl. "I have seen all I need to see, and I am impressed." the old Bot said with a smile, making both Orion and Nightracer relax somewhat. "Your skills are most impressive, it makes me very proud to see how far you have come since the first day that you were brought before me as children." "Thank you, Master." both Nightracer and Orion said simultaneously. "Then I bid you farewell and safe journey.' Prowl replied before his hologram faded to nothing as the transmission finished. Then Shen got up and walked over to the pair as they picked up their towels and water bottles, quenching their thirst while wiping off the sweat from their faces. "That was a great fight, I couldn't tell who was going to win out of you guys." the Turian said as he activated his holo-tool and brought up an image. "I even took a snap shot of that last kick you both did." Shen continued as the pair looked at the picture and saw their frozen image of their almost posing-like kicks at each other. "Nice photo, Shen, though obviously I was going to win. Ni was lucky that Master Prowl ended the fight where he did." Orion replied, making the Femme laugh. "In your dreams, Orion. We both know that I was the more likely to win. But you just don't want to admit that you nearly lost to a Girl." Nightracer said back confidently as she crossed her arms and cocked her head slightly. "What?...who's dreaming now, Ni." the Bot replied with a smile as he stood directly in front of her. The pair then stared at each other for a long moment, the Femme still with her arms crossed, not giving her former Boyfriend an inch. "Would you two get a room!" Shen said, gaining the attention of his friends who looked at the Turian with surprised expressions. "We don't do that anymore, Shen." Nightracer replied with Orion nodding in agreement. 'Could of fooled me.' the Turian thought as he started for the door. "Well, we were supposed to be in the mess-hall and eating lunch by now. So get yourselves washed, dressed and meet me there." Shen then added as he walked out of the empty door. Both Orion and Nightracer waited for a moment, to be sure that Shen was gone, but then the Turian popped his head back in the gym. "And I mean separate showers too." he finished with a grin before walking away, whistling a tune as he did so. His two friends simply smiled at each other and were about to follow when Rodimus's voice spoke over the inter-com. "Orion and Nightracer, report to the CIC. We have another mission." The Femme shot a guilty smile towards the bot in response. "Looks like we have to leave Shen hanging again." "Everyone will have heard that, He'll understand. Let's go." Orion replied as he gestured for her to follow, so both friends then headed toward the gym's entrance. "Do we really still look like we are dating? Because Shen's aware that we're only friends now, right?" Nightracer could be heard asking before the Gym's door closed behind them. PRIME EFFECT 4 The Icarus weathered yet another rust storm as it sat outside of Shockwave's Predacon facility on Cybertron, metal pieces ranging in size from small stones to those the size of footballs rebounding off the ship's hull with some force. Lazerback looked at the storm from the safety of one of the Icarus's corridors, the reinforced glass of the windows not even looking remotely damaged even after this long in the storm. The Predacon then carried on towards his destination, which was a door at the end of the lowly-corridor. He stepped within arms reach of said door and it opened to reveal the ship's bridge, which had a Terracon (soldier class) at each command station. "Lazerback, how did your mission conclude?" a deep and commanding voice spoke, making the bot turn to see Galvatron standing at one of the stations. The Predacon leader was in a conversation with someone over the com-link and he gestured for Lazerback to wait, before turning back to the screen. "And which of our three beasts is ready to fly, Shockblast?...ah I see...why do I ask? Well I want to send one with Ripclaw and Ser-Ket, as well as a garrison of Terracons. They will take one of our captured Autobot cruisers and acquire us another base, because despite your assurances that the cloaking field (created by Shockwave) has hidden both this facility and the Icarus from the prying eyes of the Autobots. I believe that we should not keep all our Energon in one container as the saying goes...I am glad you are in agreement Shockblast, so I will not keep your attention from the other Predacon beasts any longer. Please keep me apprised of their development, Galvatron out." The Predacon Lord then turned to Lazerback who bowed to him, acknowledging the Con as his superior. "Lord Galvatron." "Ah, Lazerback. And how did your mission play out?" Galvatron asked. "It was successful my lord, we have another cruiser to add to your fleet." Lazerback replied. "You mean 'our' fleet, don't you?" The Predacon suddenly looked nervous in front of his master. "Forgive me, Lord Galvatron." he replied hesitantly, earning a smile from his master. "None needed, Lazerback. This fleet that we are building is for all Predacons. You see when we ready to leave this dead-world, that I intend to bring all our brothers and sisters with us." "I see, my Lord." Lazerback replied before Galvatron's com-link beeped, gaining his attention. "I have to take this, Lazerback. You are dismissed." he then said, before tapping his ear-piece. The Predacon merely nodded and bowed before taking his leave. "Shockblast, I thought you were busy with...you did, 'he' has." A dark smile appeared on the Predacon Leader's face as he listened to Shockblast, but then it was replaced by a scowl as his red eyes widened. "He is what?...you told me he would find that Asari for us, not try to get her himself. Well, we will just have to take care of this ourselves, won't we." Galvatron replied angrily before closing the com-link. He felt his blood boiling as he activated a terminal on the station in front of him. "Six-shot, come in." he spoke as he looked at the terminal's screen as the Con's face came into view. "I am here, my Lord. How may I be of service?" "You are currently on board the 'Achilles', the Autobot patrol cruiser..., yes?" the Predacon leader asked trying to hide his growing anger. "Indeed I am, my Lord, This ship is fully loaded with gun-ships and weapons. And I have a full company of Terracons on board." Six-sho. replied. "Good, because we have just received word from the Shadow-Broker, who has located that damned Asari who escaped us a month ago." Six-shot looked uncertain at that news as he stared at his master. "I see and where is that?" "I am sending you the exact coordinates now. You are to take the Achilles to Illium." Galvatron replied as he typed on his holo-tool's interface. "And you want us to capture the Asari?" Six-shot asked, earning a knowing look from his leader. "No, you are to terminate her...and anyone else that is with her. We can not allow her to speak of us at all...understand?" "Crystal clear, my Lord. Six-shot out." The screen then deactivated as Galvatron breathed heavily, trying to control his lust for killing at this moment, so not to unleash his beast mode on the troops around him. But it was at this very moment that familiar laughing which the Clone had heard a month ago returned and echoed around the room, making the Predacon leader turn around and stare at the Terracons around him. They all just stopped and looked at him like a Deer caught in a car's headlights. "Carry on!" the Predacon Leader spat as he stormed out of the room, while two questions weighed heavily on his mind. 'Where is that infernal laughing coming from, and why does it sound and feel so...familiar.'
  10. CHAPTER IV One month later... On the planet Zorya, on a ridge overlooking a valley covered in jungle. A Turian in red and black armour is lying on his stomach, and looking through the sniper's scope of his rifle at what looks like a military installation in the valley's center. The heat and humidity was high for this planet with it's tropical climate, the Turian found it quite nice though his team mates would probably complain. His com link then activated, gaining his attention while he followed one of the soldiers that has had walking the perimeter for the last hour through his scope. "Shen, report. How's it look on your side?" an experienced and commanding voice asked over the link. "Rodimus, it's no different now than it was an hour ago. This place doesn't seem to have a weak point that we can take advantage of." Shen replied. "I am having the same trouble here on the north side, two soldiers patrolling the perimeter." "Yeah I spotted two soldiers on the south side , one has gone out of view but I know he is there." the young Turian replied as he zoomed out enough to see the whole side installation. "I can also make out two towers, one at the south east and one at the north east. They are both unmanned, but what I can see are heat and motion sensors directed to the ground surrounding the outskirts of the perimeter." he added before moving his rifle enough to see a blonde Caucasian man in gold and red armour on the north side of the valley looking down with a pair of small binoculars. "Yeah I can see the same setup on this side too, whoever took over this site after the Blue Suns left (to join Omega) over a decade ago certainly wasted no time in upgrading it's defences." Rodimus replied with a breath as wiped some sweat off his brow. "you alright, Rodimus?" Shen asked. "Yeah, just trying to adjust to this heat that's all." the bot replied, earning a chuckle from the Turian. "What?" "Oh you think you have it bad, spare a thought for Orion and Nightracer while they trek through the jungle." Rodimus could not help but smirk as he turned his attention and binoculars to the road that led up to its main entrance, but unfortunately was barely visible due to the thick jungle in that area. He then tapped his com-link. "Nightracer, report. What is your's and Orion's position." Meanwhile making their way through the dense foliage towards the installation were two Caucasian people, a young woman with black hair with light brown highlights wearing black and light blue armour. She also had a Phanix pistol connected to her waist via a light blue utility belt and an Avenger assault rifle attached to her back. The other person was a man of the same age, he had blue hair with black highlights and was wearing silver and blue armour. He had his own avenger rifle in his hands, leaving the pistol (same as the woman's) attached to his waist via a black utility belt. The two stopped and knelt behind a fallen tree to catch their breath and take a sip of water from the canteen they had, the man then wiped the sweat off his forehead while the female peeked over it to see the perimeter fence of the installation, as well as it's main entrance. She then looked back at the man and smiled. "Orion Darby, and here I remember you saying that 'you never sweat'." The blue haired man shook his head in response. "Nightracer, I said I would never let my enemies see me sweat...but luckily there are none that are here right now." he replied between sips from the canteen, which made the Femme smile. "Well, I won't tell anyone. And I don't think that this situation should count anyway, considering the current climate we are in right now." "Appreciate that." Orion replied before Nightracer's com-link activated. "Nightracer, report. What is yours and Orion's position." "Rodimus, we are only a hundred meters out from the entrance. But I can see at least three soldiers standing guard there, we can take out two of them. But unless you can do anything about the third, we won't be getting in on this side either." she replied before looking at the man who had his attention elsewhere. "Orion? What is it?" "Has anyone even noticed those?" he replied before pointing over to the trucks heading down a dirt road that split off from the main road to the installation. "I wonder where they are going?" she replied. "What is it, you two?" Rodimus asked. "We have just spotted some trucks that don't seem to be heading to the main entrance, Rodimus." Orion replied. "There may be another entrance that we were not aware of, I think Nightracer and I should check it out." he added before smiling at the Femme, it was a smile that would still energize her spark even now. "Okay, Check it out. But remember they sent out a gunship patrol only thirty minutes ago and they will be back soon, so if we are going to do this then it has to be sooner than that. Remember our objectives are to find out who runs this Mercenary operation, what they are doing here and then shut it down...by any means necessary." " Rodimus replied. "Will do, Orion out." the young man said before deactivating his com-link, he then looked back to the Femme and took a heavy breath as he wiped his forehead again. "Well, lady's first." Nightracer just sighed and shook her head before checking that the coast was clear, and then took the lead as they both began heading in the direction that the trucks went. The pair followed the road for another several minutes, making sure to keep to the cover of the jungle and staying off the road. The pair waded through the foliage before Nightracer stopped at the sounds of engines running, and knelt down with her weapon ready, Orion mirroring her. The bot watched as the Femme equipped her binoculars and scanned the area ahead through the trees. What she saw was a whole line of trucks all queuing to enter another guarded entrance, that was shielded by the dense jungle around it. Nightracer then passed her binoculars to Orion who took a look while she tapped her com-link. "I think we may have found our way in." he replied, earning a nod from the femme who tapped her com-link. "Rodimus, We have found an auxiliary entrance into the installation and it doesn't seem as well protected as the main one." she said while panting a little, earning a laugh from Shen who was listening. "Find this funny, Shen?" Nightracer said, which earned Orion's attention as he looked up from the binoculars. "Hell yes I do, I think it's karma coming back to bite you guys in the ass." the Turian replied. Orion then tapped his com-link and joined the conversation. "You're still mad about that time Nightracer and I sabotaged the heating in your quarters?" "You know Turians don't like the cold, Orion. Consider this your just desert." Shen replied with a chuckle at the end. "I think he is due for another prank, Orion." the Femme replied while wiping the sweat of her own brow. "Okay, cut the chatter, guys. I know you three have known each other forever, but lets save this until after we complete the mission. Now where is this secondary entrance?" Rodimus asked as he cut them off. "Well, guessing from your vantage point, I would say that it would be in the area where the jungle is at it's most dense. Hence the reason you guys couldn't see it from any spot above ground level." Nightracer replied. "Plus, with the heat and humidity at the levels where they are, no one would be able to make out the second entrance with the thermal sensors either." Orion added. "So, give me a visual description of what you see at the entrance." Rodimus replied as Orion looked back through the binoculars. "I see only two soldiers standing there, one is checking the trucks while the other keeps an eye out." "Tell me about the trucks?" the group leader said back. "They are heavily armoured, unmarked trucks and..." the young man replied as he turned his attention to the driver's cabin of one, noticing that it had no driver. "... They have no drivers, they are automated." Nightracer then tapped Orion on the shoulder. "Look over there on the road, see it?" she said as she pointed, making him look to where she was gesturing. What he saw was a dip in the road, that was large enough for a person to get under what ever was driving over it. Orion then looked back at the Femme with a disbelieving expression. "You want to wait in that small dip and grab your self a lift on the undercarriage of one of the trucks, and ride it into the installation?" Nightracer merely nodded with a smile at him. "Yes, it's the only way in that I can find. Unless you can think of another way?" she replied playfully, earning an eye roll from him as he sighed. "...no, I don't have anything better." The Femme smiled as she placed hand to her com-link. "Rodimus..." she started to say, but then the bot cut her off. "Yes, you have a go. And you better make it fast, because Shen says there is another convoy heading up the main road." "Alright, let's do it." she said as the last truck drove around the corner and out of view, the pair then got to their feet, ran to the open road and got into the dip, crouching down enough so that the vehicles would not hit the pair as they drove over. "Here's my ride." Nightracer joked as the truck drove over them and she grabbed on to the underside of it, pulling herself up while Orion shook his head and smiled as the vehicle carried on. 'Show off.' he thought before turning his attention to the next vehicle and by copying the femme, hitched a ride on it's undercarriage as it passed over. The convoy then drove up to the secondary entrance and came to a stop, while both Nightracer and Orion held on to the underside of their respective trucks. Both stayed very quiet and still as one of the soldiers guarding the gate mere meters away, activated his com-link. "Hey, Boss. The last convoy is here." "Alright, once they are inside I want you to lock-down the perimeter. I want nothing in or out...understand?" a slightly stressed voice spoke on the other side of the link. "Yes, Boss. Alright, let them through." the soldier said to his colleague who activated his holo-tool and opened the gate, allowing the trucks to move again and enter the Installation's grounds. As the trucks all parked up outside one of the buildings in the compound, which was surrounded by large metal shipping containers, Shen was keeping his sniper scope firmly locked on the convoy as he saw both Orion and Nightracer get out from under the vehicles and meet up behind on of the containers. "We are in." The Femme said into her com-link. "I can confirm that, Rodimus." Shen added as the pair kept out of view of the merc soldiers that were nearby. "Good work, but now you need to find the control room for the installation's security grid and shut it down. So that Shen and myself can enter." Rodimus replied as Nightracer activated her holo-tool, which brought up a map of the base. "Right, so going off this old map of the place from when it was the Blue Suns HQ, the control room should be in this building to our left" she gestured to Orion who took a sneak look from behind their cover to see the building in question. "There are quite a few soldiers between us and the target, but it shouldn't be a problem." he replied with a wink. "Alright, good luck." Rodimus said before the link deactivated, leaving the pair alone again. Nightracer equipped her pistol, making sure to activate it's silencer mode and Orion equipped his own before taking another look, noticing that the two soldiers were closest to them had their backs turned. "Let's go." The pair then silently moved past both mercs and used the containers on their left as cover, before checking that the coast was clear and doing the same again. Slowly and patiently moving around the cargo containers towards the building, being sure not to catch the attention of the numerous soldiers patrolling the area. After sneaking through the cargo area, Nightracer and Orion made it to the door of the building. And while the Femme used her holo-tool to hack the lock, while Orion kept an eye out for any mercs with his rifle at the ready. "How long do you think it will take?" the Bot asked as he heard footsteps coming from the other side of one of the cargo containers just aways from them. "This Security program is not very effective, my holo-tool is breaking through every encryption it ... there we go." the Femme replied as they heard the lock click before the door itself opened for them. Orion smiled before looking back at the cargo container, noticing some shadows appearing on the ground from behind it. Okay, let's go." he replied as the door opened and he checked for enemies, but the corridor was empty so they both walked inside with their weapons ready. The interior of the building was dimly lit but cooler than it was outside, which came as a relief to Orion as he enjoyed the milder temperature as the pair made their way down a corridor, while following Nightracer's directions. The Femme was wearing a piece of headgear that emitted a holo-interface over her right eye, which at this moment showed Nightracer the map of the installation and their location within it. 'To bad it doesn't show enemy locations, but then again this isn't a video game. Wouldn't want to have things too easy now.' Orion thought as they continued forward. After walking around for a few minutes, avoiding the soldiers that were patrolling the building's interior. Nightracer suddenly stopped ahead of Orion, the young man mirroring her as she gestured to the door just in front of them. "The control room is right behind the door and I am sure that it won't be unmanned." the Femme said back as she looked back at him. "Doesn't matter, the others are depending on us." Orion replied, earning a nod from her in return. Together they both then took positions at either side of the door, Nightracer took a breath and gave her partner one more look before Orion took the signal and hit the control panel next to him. Which opened the door a and revealed that there were three soldiers in the control room. Thee was one sitting at the main terminal and two others, one at either side of the room. The opening of the door caught their attention as they turned to see who was about to enter, but no one was there. "That's strange." one said to the others, as the soldier using the terminal looked at the other. "Check it out." The third soldier nodded and began walking towards the doorway, but as soon as he began to head through it... "Ugh!" he let out a grunt as he flinched and stopped in his tracks. "What's wrong?" the other soldier said as he started for his comrade, but then suddenly the one in the doorway was pushed back into the room and knocked his friend to the floor as Nightracer and Orion rushed in behind them. The soldier at the doorway began reaching for the panic button at the side of the terminal, but the Femme noticed him and shot the enemy through the head with her pistol, splattering his brains all over the screen. "I don't think so." she retorted as the other soldier managed to push his dead comrade off himself and grab his gun, only for Orion to silence him with two shots to his chest. The young man then closed the door as Nightracer activated her holo-tool and connected it to the terminal wirelessly. "Alright I am in the system and have set the perimeter defences to shut down in two minutes, better alert Rodimus and Shen." she said to Orion who nodded and tapped his com-link. "Rodimus, defences will be down in two minutes." "Alright then, Shen and I will start for the installation now. In the meantime you two are to hold position and await our arrival." the Bot replied over the link. "I think we will be okay for a few minutes in here at least, see you then when you get here." Orion replied before closing the link and looking back at Nightracer, who was looking through the Mercs database. "They are on their way, so have you found anything interesting in there?" "Well, I can now name this merc group, they are called 'Death Skulls'. A group made up of mercs that left Omega, seems they weren't happy with how Aria was running their combined forces." Nightracer replied. "Who would have thought it, so the grass really isn't greener on the other side of the fence. Is there any information on what they are doing here?" the young man said back. The Femme nodded and brought up a few images of a mining complex and a space port. "Seems that these 'Skulls' are smuggling 'Red Sand' through Zorya's space ports and using this base as a distribution centre." Orion shook his head in disbelief. "Really... their just drug smugglers. and here I was hoping for something more." "They are using a planet on the edge of Federation space to distribute Red sand through out our space, also the Skulls are siphoning a large portion of this planet's mineral resources for themselves. And since this is without any bloodshed, that would mean that they have connections within Zorya's government." the Femme said. "Well, it's a good job then that we 'Spectres' are on the case then, isn't it." Orion replied, earning a smile from her. "It sure is." Nightracer then looked back at the screen with a far away look, which did not go unnoticed by Orion. "Ni, what is it?" The Femme looked back at him with surprise in her expression. "You realise it has been a good while since you last called me that." "Yeah, but I figured why end the habit of a lifetime. After how long we have known each other. I am still surprised that we...you, Shen and I are now working on the same team. All we need is 'Quickstrike' back and the whole band is back together." the young man replied. "Well, since we are talking about the past right now...which in the middle of a mission is a bit of distraction by the way..." the Femme said back, earning a shrug from Orion. "Are 'we' still good? I mean how we left things back when we joined the academy several years back." Orion simply smiled and placed a hand on her shoulder affectionately. "...the best, your still important to me, Ni. Even though we are no longer... You know." She simply smiled and nodded back. "Yeah, well its good to have you here. I feel a lot better having you watch my back." "Ditto." Orion replied before a beeping sound took his attention from the Femme. "What is it?" she asked as he started to look around. "You hear that?" "Yeah...it's coming from..." Nightracer replied as she looked up and gasped, Orion mirrored her and they both saw a small holo-orb hovering above them, just outside the open vent. "A recon drone!" Orion stated before putting a bullet through the orb, disrupting it's program. Causing it to crash as alarms started blaring out around the installation. "Looks like they know we are here..." he said as he moved towards the door. "...do you have your 'Personal Cloak' on you?" "Yes, why?" the Femme replied with a puzzled look. "I will head out of here and draw their attention away from you. Now they will still check this room, but since you will be cloaked then they won't find anything." Orion replied as he opened the door and heard lots of footfalls getting closer. "No, we can face them together." Nightracer said back as she readied her weapon, only for the bot to stop her. "Stay here and once the mercs are gone, meet up with the others and find me. I'll have my beacon switched on." "Orion!" the Femme said back with mix of anger and worry, but he stepped outside and fired at the mercs as they ran found the corner, forcing them to take cover. "Be safe." he said back to her without looking, not wanting to give the mercs any hints before running in the opposite direction. The enemies charged after him as the femme activated her cloak only seconds before they ran past the door. With only two stopping and looking in to find an empty room, before following the others. 'Damn you, Orion.' she thought to herself. "Nightracer, Orion, report. Why has the alarms gone off?" Rodimus's voice suddenly filled the air as the femme's com-link went off. Orion felt the pressure as he ran down the corridor, being sure to fire a few bursts of bullets at the mercs chasing him and causing them to take cover, there fore allowing him to gain some distance from them. He then turned a corner and ran up some stairs to find two mercs (helmeted) there waiting for him at the top. "End of the line." one said as the Bot came to a stop in front of them. "Drop your weapon and put your hands in the air." the other added, as Orion began to comply by holding his weapon at both ends which earned an almost relaxed posture from the pair, but then the young bot smiled. "Think fast!" he said as he threw his avenger rifle at one merc, causing him to drop his own weapon so that he could catch the other. The second merc looked over to his comrade as Orion then roundhouse kicked his weapon out of his hands and then performed another roundhouse into the enemy's helmet, knocking him to the ground. The first merc suddenly pointed the avenger rifle that Orion had thrown to him at the bot and pulled the trigger, but it did not fire which confused the merc before he saw Orion smirking at him. "I left the safety on." he said in an honest and almost helpful tone, making the merc look down at the rifle before all he saw was a foot to his face as Orion kicked him in the face and then grabbed and threw him over his shoulder. The merc fell down the stairs and hit the soldiers trying to get up them, knocking one over and blocking the rest. Orion just smiled back at them before carrying on through the door and down the connected corridor. He must have made several turns down the corridors before making one final turn and stopping with a huff, as he realised he had hit a dead end. "Damn it." He was about to back track when he heard footfalls approaching, mentally kicking himself for not carrying a map on his person, unlike Nightracer. So with the soldiers approaching fast, the young bot turned to face them and get ready for a fight as he equipped his pistol. But then the sound of metal rolling across the floor caught his attention and he looked down to see a grenade stop at his feet. "Oh crap." Orion muttered to himself before the grenade exploded and enveloped him in white light, which also had the effect of knocking him unconscious. PRIME EFFECT 4 Orion could feel his feet being dragged while also feeling strain on his arms, meaning that he was probably being carried by two soldiers in an upright position at this moment. His head was throbbing and his eyes were stinging, but he managed to open them slightly. The light felt as blinding as the flash grenade that was used against him earlier, 'should have remembered to look away.' he mentally kicked himself for that as the bot tried to look at his surroundings, which were dimly lit but still familiar. 'Still in the same place then...thank god for that.' he thought as he saw that they entered another room which was large in size, and also had a second level that over looked them. "What is this?" an unrecognisable voice said, getting the bot's attention as he looked in front of him and saw a Batarian standing in front of several other mercs, all wearing the black armour. "Solem, we caught one of the intruders. You said to bring them to you." the soldier on Orion's right said, earning a confused look from the leader as all four of his eyes stared at them blankly. "I did...oh yes I did, sorry but I have so much going on right now." Solem replied before turning his attention to the Prisoner. "So you are one of the two that was digging through our database, where is your companion?" The two soldiers stood beside Orion, helping him onto his own feet as he was still feeling the effects of the flash-stun grenade. But he managed to stand up and looked at the Batarian, a confused expression on his face. "What?" he said back, earning a punch to the face from Solem. "Where is she? We saw her with you on or security-feed." the Leader spat back, as one of the soldiers next to him brought up a still image of the two intruders together. "Oh...that, that was nothing. Just a hologram of my exe-girlfriend..." Orion replied as he looked Solem in the eyes. "...I get lonely.." he added with a sarcastic tone, this only infuriated the Batarian more as he then backhanded the bot in the face and then punched him in the stomach. "Any more of this garbage..." he said before pulling out a combat knife for Orion to see. "...and I will slit your throat and feed you to my Varren." Meanwhile Nightracer was waiting by an open junction box in a room not far from her captured team-mate's location, checking her holo-tool when a Death Skull merc appeared next to her. She turned with her pistol ready but was surprised to see that he was just standing there, until he fell to his knees and then face first to the floor. She noticed a smoking bullet wound in his back. "How many times do I have to save your ass, Nightracer?" Shen replied from above, earning a smile and a wink from the femme as she looked up at him on the second level. "Well it is nice ass, huh?" she replied with a flirt-like tone, only for the Turian to shake his head with a half smile. "I'm the wrong person to ask that." "Thanks for the assist, but I knew he was there anyway." the Femme said back. "Right..." Shen replied knowingly, as the sound of a body hitting the metallic floor nearby got their attention. Rodimus then appeared next to the Turian and looked down at Nightracer. "That was the last merc in our immediate area, what is going on with Orion?" The Femme gestured to her com-link. "He has had it on active since we separated, sounds like they have taken him straight to the mercs Leader." "Any mention of a name?" the bot asked back. "They called him...Solem." A surprised expression then appeared on Rodimus face at mention of that name. "Solem...Solem Dal'serah, the former Leader of the Blue Suns." he replied. "Didn't he take over after Vido Santiago died and Zaeed Masani joined Jackson Prime on the mission against the Quintessons?" Shen asked, earning a nod from Rodimus. "That's right. He lead them until Aria T'Loak unified all the major merc groups under her banner. I wonder why he jumped ship..." Nightracer put her hand up to her com-link and listened for a moment, before looking up at both of them with a worried expression. "I think Orion needs us now." His sides were aching somewhat from all he punches he had received in the last few moments, even through the armour Orion was wearing. This Batarian was a strong son of a bitch, which only made the Bot look forward to when he could fight back. Solem noticed the smug look appearing on the blue haired bot's face and gritted his teeth at him. "What's so funny?" "Oh, just how dead you guys will be in another moment or so." Orion gloated with a lukewarm tone and grin (after hearing the others on his com-link). This suddenly made all the mercs, Solem included burst out laughing. "And...what makes you think that?" the Batarian leader asked back disbelievingly. "Oh, I have friends in 'high places'." the bot replied while above everyone, Rodimus and Shen took up positions on the second level. And still unknown to them, Nightracer had sneaked into the room using her personal cloak and hid behind a large container. "Yes, we know. Where is sh...!" Solem asked, his tone even angrier than before, but he stopped when he noticed something. It was something he should have noticed at the beginning as he looked at the insignia on Orion's chest-plate. It was an Autobot icon with a wing on either side of it, the very sight of it made Solem's blood boil even more. "The Autobots! For fuck's sake. First it was Aria and her Omega shit, and now this." the Batarian shouted out as he turned away and kicked over a container, gaining his men's attention. "I manage to break away and start afresh, only for the Federation to stick it's noses in my business... Fuck!" he shouted again before looking back at Orion, a sly grin appearing on his face. "Well, I think it is time for us to send them a message." Solem then put away the combat knife and instead equipped his pistol, before walking over to Orion and aiming point blank range at his head. "I am going to blow your fucking brains out and then send your body back to the Federation, a warning that the same fate should be expected of any Autobots that are found messing in my business." Orion simply smiled, which made Solem narrow his eyes at the bot. "You still think you can win this?" Orion merely smiled at him, but Solem shook his head and tightened his grip on the trigger, pulling it back slowly. "Time to die..." Orion simply winked back at the Batarian, but he was not the only person who saw the wink as Shen looked down at them through his scope. "Got you covered." he said before aiming for a fuel drum in the far corner of the large room, he then pulled the trigger. "...Autobot." Solem finished say just as the fuel drum exploded, startling all the mercs. Orion saw this as his chance as he broke free of the two soldiers holding his arms and kicked Solem in the stomach, the Batarian falling to his knees while the bot turned his attention to the soldiers either side of him. The rest of the mercs then saw what was happening and raised their weapons only for two of them to suddenly be one riddled with bullets, as Rodimus and Nightracer revealed themselves and continued to fire on the mercs who were instantly on the defensive. The soldier on Orion's right grabbed him by his arms and tried to hold him in place as the other pulled out a knife, but the bot simply head butted the one behind him who released him. Orion blocked the merc in front of him and disarmed him easily, before back handing the enemy in the face and then without looking stabbed the other behind him. At this point Solem had recovered and was back on his feet, his four eyes wide as he watched his men being killed by the group. His vision then fell on Orion who was at this moment pushing the combat knife into the chest of the soldier in front of him. "I will kill you, you Autobot scum." Solem raged as he lunged at the bot, knife in hand as Orion looked in his direction. Meanwhile Nightracer fired a burst of bullets into one of the mercs, blood flowing freely from the wounds as the enemy fell backwards into some canisters, she then turned to see another attack her with a holo-blade, so she brought up her rifle and just stopped it mere centimetres from her face. Rodimus and Shen were just about finished from their vantage points before the Turian noticed the Nightracer's predicament. "Nightracer!" he shouted before taking aim with his sniper rifle at the merc's head, but when he pulled the trigger...nothing happened. 'Damn, I'm out of bullets' he thought while down below, Orion was in the middle of a tussle with Solem as he blocked one of the Batarian's punches. He had heard the Femme's name being called and took a look behind him after connecting a punch with the merc Leader's face. His eyes widened when he saw Nightracer barely holding the merc's blade from her face. So Orion turned back to Solem who lunged again at him, but the bot narrowed his eyes at the Batarian. He had to end this now, so he grabbed the Leader's arm and pulled him into a headlock. Solem tried to struggle but then Orion squeezed around the Batarian's neck and snapped it before dropping the dead merc leader on the floor. He then turned to his friend and threw the knife which flew through the air before embedding itself in the merc's back, who let Nightracer go and seized up as he tired to reach for the knife before finally succumbing to his fate and falling dead to the floor. The Femme looked over to Orion who had big grin on his face. "I thought you were here to rescue me." he said in a chuffed tone. "You can't expect a girl to do everything around here, can you?...but thanks for the save." Nightracer replied with a smile. "Hey, what about me? You just going to ignore the Turian who watched all your backs?" Shen called down from the second level, gaining Nightracer's attention as she put her hands on her hips and looked up at him. "That depends, where were you when I needed help back there?" The Turian simply showed them his sniper rifle and pointed at it with his free hand. "I...had to reload my gun." The Femme simply shook her head before walking off into the room connected to the one they were in. Both men watched her before looking at each other. "I just improvised." Orion said while pointing to the dead merc with a knife in his back. "Orion, Shen, in here." Rodimus called from the other room, gaining their attention as the Turian dropped down from the second level and walked in with the bot. Once inside they found Rodimus and Nightracer tampering with what looked like a generator. "Good work in there." the leader said while keeping his attention on his work as he typed a number of commands into the gen's holo-interface. "Thanks, Rodimus. So I guess we are leaving this place as a smoking crater." Orion replied. "Exactly, this generator is one of several that power the individual buildings of this installation. And they are all connected to reactor that is located underneath it, so just programming this gen to cause a feedback loop which will trick the reactor into a self destruct." Rodimus replied, which Shen raised an eye ridge at. "You said 'reactor', what will the fallout be?" "It isn't a nuclear reactor Shen, so there will be no danger to the population centres that are nearby." Nightracer replied. "Alright, we are done here. We have a few minutes to evacuate before this installation is destroyed." Rodimus then said before tapping his com-link. Shuttle two, ready for extraction." he added. "Roger that, on our way." a voice replied on the other side. The team leader then looked at the others as they readied their weapons. "Our job now is to secure the landing pad and wait for extraction, move out." Rodimus said before the group headed out of the room, leaving Solem and his men where they lay. PRIME EFFECT 4 'What the hell.' Orion Thought as he got a good look at what was between him, his friends and their escape route. "It appears they are waiting for us." Shen said as he took a look through his rifle's scope at the force stationed at the landing pad. Everyone then looked at Nightracer, who gave them a confused expression in return. "Don't look at me, I already disabled their perimeter defences and security. There is no way they knew what else we did in there." "Wait, I believe Nightracer has a point...take a look." Rodimus said as he passed over his binoculars to Orion, who took a look. "There are more than a few cargo containers on that pad, could be that they are awaiting a transport for pickup." Rodimus nodded in response. "That would be my guess, good observation, Orion." he said back before looking at the timer on his holo-tool. "We have less than five minutes before the reactor goes. Shen, stay here and cover us. Orion and Nightracer,...you're with me." They all nodded before the group split up, Shen setting up his sniping spot as the other three quietly made their way closer to the landing pad and the soldiers there. "How long until that transport arrives, I am sweating out here." one of the soldiers moaned as he removed his helmet, revealing himself to be Human. "Not for another thirty minutes, so stop your whining." the Vorcha next to him spat back in an annoyed tone. Meanwhile Orion and Nightracer moved up behind the cargo containers that were between them and the soldiers (two of which were leaning against the boxes), the bot took a quick glance to see as he got into position on the other side of the pad. Orion looked over to the Femme beside him and smiled. "I won't have to rescue you again...right?" he whispered, earning an eye roll from her. "In your dreams." she whispered back with a smile before looking over and seeing their leader the green light. "Showtime." she said to Orion before they both got up and grabbed the pair of mercs and dragged them over the crates and then shot them in the head. "What the!" another enemy said as he turned to see that his two comrades were gone, but then he was silenced as three bullets burst out of his chest. Orion and Nightracer then revealed themselves to the rest of he mercs there with Rodimus and began firing on them, all the while Shen kept watch from his position. Suddenly an alarm blared all over the installation again, in an almost deafening tone. "Sounds like we will have more company." Orion said as he killed the last merc with a head shot, Rodimus joining them. "We will have to hold the landing pad, Shen see what you can do to thin ten out." the team leader said into his com-link. "What do you think I am doing." the Turian replied after turning around and firing at the large group of enemies that was approaching them, causing the mercs to take cover after two of then fell to the ground with smoking holes in their heads. "I wont be able to hold them back for long." he added, earning a nod from the bot. "Understood, do what you can and then get back here." Rodimus then looked to Orion and Nightracer as re-equipped his assault rifle. "Get ready." Both nodded and were about to take up defensive positions when suddenly the familiar engine sound could be heard, getting louder as it approached. The three bots turned to see the shuttle closing on them. "Commander Rodimus, shuttle-two ready for pickup." the pilot said over the link. "Great timing." the bit replied as he held his hand to his com-link. "Shen fall back to our position, our ride is here." But then the Turian appeared from around the corner and ran over to them. "I thought I would head back early, the mercs threatened to over run my position and are right behind me." Shen said as they heard a lot of shouting and footfalls coming toward them. "Land this bird now." Rodimus said into his com-link as he looked up to the shuttle, all the while Orion and the others kept their guns trained on the area that the mercs we're coming from. "Roger...th..." the pilot started to say before the shuttle was hit from weapons fire from it's right, The team looked over at the direction the incoming fire was from to see two gunships flying in. "Quick, take evasive action..." Rodimus shouted at the pilot, but then the shuttle took another barrage of fire from the gun ships and exploded. Leaving only a burning wreckage falling into the jungle. "Crap." Shen said as the mercs appeared and surrounded them. "We only have two minutes before this place goes up." Rodimus said to them as the soldiers got closer. "Don't move, Autobots." one of the enemies said while the gunships hovered overheard, training their mini-guns on the team who lowered their weapons. "We found Solem's body in the main building, the Autobots killed him." another soldier said to the others. "We'll kill them then, blood for blood." Shen looked over to Orion and Nightracer with a solemn expression. "Well, it was nice working with you guys...short though it was." "Didn't expect it to end this soon, I only just joined the team a few weeks back." Orion replied before one of the mercs pointed his gun at the bot's head. "Silence, you scum." The three bots then looked at Rodimus who despite the situation remained calm, which confused them. "Men, take aim." one of the mercs said, making the rest of them aim their weapons at the Autobots heads. "...and..." he added before a large green vortex appears in the sky overhead gaining everyone's attention. "What in the..." another merc said before a starship resembling the Defiant flew out of the portal and fired a torpedo at one of the gunships, destroying it. The other one immediately moved away as the new arrival (with Autobot/ISF colour scheme) flew around and fired at the area surrounding the landing platform. Which made the mercs panic and run for cover, Rodimus and the others took this chance and re-equipped their weapons before firing at the retreating enemies. Orion then looked up and saw the Autobot ship destroy the last gunship before making one final turn around, so that it could make a final approach. He could now clearly see the name of the ship 'NORMANDY' painted in white lettering against the red section of the mainly blue paint job of the vessel. "Normandy to ground team. Commander, can you read?" a young male voice spoke over the con-link. "Jetstorm, lower the shuttle bay ramp. We have less than a minute before this place explodes." "Roger that." the bot replied as the Normandy came to a stop at the landing pad and extended it's ramp, "Quickly, get on board." Rodimus said as he and the team climbed onto the ramp which brought them back into the ship, before the Normandy then took off for high orbit only a few moments before the entire installation exploded in amazing fashion, killing the remaining mercs in one fell swoop and leaving nothing but scorched earth in it's place.
  11. CHAPTER III The sounds of screams and gunfire echoed down the large, but dimly lit corridors of Shockwave's secret complex. It was like music to Galvatron's ears as he gutted another soldier with his claws, feeling the insides of his enemy turn to mush as he slashed through his stomach. As Six-shot and Shockblast finished off the rest of the group in a similar fashion, the clone looked into the eyes of the human in his grips and watched the light leave them. Galvatron took great satisfaction in watching his final moments, before throwing the dead body aside with the rest of the corpses. "Two of the aliens are still out there, we must catch them before they get back to the Icarus." Six-shot said as he ripped his claws out of the Salarian that fell to the ground where he stood. "We don't need to chase them down." Shockblast replied as he had already reactivated his holo-tool. "Explain, Shockblast." Galvatron asked while the younger brother began staring at his claws. "We have repaired the Space-bridge generator, it can be used to gain us access directly onto the Icarus, wherever we wish." "Excellent, lock coordinates on the Icarus's bridge." Galvatron replied before noticing Six-shot, who was still looking at his claws. "What is the matter, Six-shot?" The younger bot just kept staring at his hands, the pupils of his eyes wide as he took in all the detail with a worried expression. "What?...what happened to us?" Shockblast immediately stopped what he was doing and went over to his brother. "I don't know, Six-shot. I have felt different since I awoke. And then when the soldiers attacked, I felt my anger building up till it was at exploding point." Six-shot looked at his older brother and nodded. "Yeah, me too. And then I suddenly felt faster, stronger. More feral." Both of them then looked at Galvatron, obviously looking for answers. The clone knew he had to keep them at his side but as luck would have it, he also has Megatron's silver tongue. "The bodies you now have...are not your original ones." The brothers looked at him, their eyes going wide as they listened to his words. "What!" they both answered in unison. "You see I was the result of an experiment...by the very aliens that had captured us. They placed my spark in this 'prototype' Pretender body as I told you, I then escaped and killed them. But when I searched and came across the two of you, the condition that your bodies were in..." Galvatron then stopped and looked away from them for a moment, feigning the look of a man that had witnessed horrors. "...was like nothing I had seen before. You had been sliced open and dissected, I did not know how or if you were still alive. But I had to act quickly, so I transferred your sparks into the bodies you now possess." The room remained quiet as Galvatron turned from them as if in shame, but really he was hoping that they would buy his story. "I...had no idea, you really did save us" Shockblast replied with relief in his voice, thus making the clone smile as he stood with his back to them. But then he turned and looked at them with a hopeful, but sullen expression. "I apologise for not informing you of the truth sooner, I feared how you would take it...Forgive me." Galvatron then lowered his head and looked at the ground, but then felt a hand on his shoulder, which made a smirk appear on his face before it then disappeared as he returned his attention and saw both brothers looking at him with half smiles. "You have nothing to apologise for, Galvatron. If it had not been for you, then we would be one with the Allspark right now." The clone then mirrored their smile, though inside he was laughing. He had the two of them eating out of his hands, but then that's when a new problem appeared in his neural net. 'I cannot let them access the Icarus database in it's current condition, for they would be able to see past the lies I have constructed to keep the pair in line.' he thought as Shockblast activated the space bridge generator with his holo-tool. "Alright, I have Icarus bridge coordinates locked in. We are ready to ground bridge there whenever you are." Galvatron then looked at them both, as a smile grew on his face. "Excellent." PRIME EFFECT 4 The atmosphere on the Icarus bridge was tense to say the least. Commander Vallius sat in his chair and stared out at the war torn visage of Cyberton through the view-screen, the rest of his bridge crew tried to remain just as quiet while they waited for the second group to report in. But that didn't stop some from trying to whisper to each other. "How long has it been?" "Long enough that we should have heard something by now." "I haven't seen the Commander this way before..." Vallius looked over to those talking, his face looking very stern. "That's enough over there." He was about to say more, when the Quarian running the science station in Liara spoke up. "Sir, I am picking up two life signs emerging from the mountain. And they are heading this way." "Can you identify?" the Commander replied. The Quarian then nodded in response. "Yes, Sir. It is one of the secondary group that was sent out. And the other is Dr T'Soni." "Commander, I am receiving a com-signal from them." the communications officer spoke, gaining Vallius's attention. "Put them on speakers." The officer nodded and tapped the holo-interface of their station and suddenly the quiet atmosphere was replaced with an influx of noise and static. "...Commander...ius...grou...att...ked...dan...ous ." Vallius shook his head before looking at the communications officer again. "Can you clear it up?" "I apologise, Commander. The storm is starting to die downs. But it is still causing problems with communications." Vallius then looked at the Asari manning the Operations station. "Open the nearest airlock and allow them on board the ship. And once they are on board, have T'Soni brought up here. I want answers to what is going on down there." The crewman nodded and complied, but just as she activated the airlock. Everyone's attention was taken up by a glowing green vortex appearing at the front of the room, covering the view-screen. "What the?" the Commander managed to say before two people exited it and looked at them all. Everyone went wide eyed as they recognised the two arrivals and their new armour (same colour scheme as before). "Shockblast, Six-shot?" Vallius replied with a stunned expression, but the two brothers reminds quiet as they looked around the room. Then suddenly they began to change right there in front of everyone, earning fearful looks as the bots entered their alt mode again. Six-shot then looked over at the Asari to his right, his lizard like eyes taking in every detail of her before he launched himself at her. She tried to scream but he tackled her to the ground and began ripping her apart, spraying blood all over the wall in front of them. The bridge crew then panicked and started to rush for the exit, this gained Shockblast's attention who then attacked the nearest crewman to himself...a Salarian. The Commander then equipped his pistol and pointed it at Six-shot who had moved on from the Asari to a Human who had failed to get out quick enough. But then a third person exited the green vortex, making Vallius turn his attention to the new arrival. But before he could pull the trigger, the stranger grabbed his weapon hand and snapped his wrist, the Turian grimaced as he dropped the weapon on the floor. He then felt an iron like grip around his neck, as he was lifted off the ground. Vallius looked into the demonic red eyes of this man who now held his life in his hands...literally. "Who...are...you?" he managed to ask, though he was having trouble breathing. "I am Galvatron, and I am taking this vessel." the stranger replied arrogantly, the Turian commander tried to fight against the hold he was in, but Galvatron just smiled darkly at him. "Over...my...dead...body!" "Not a problem." the clone replied before he increased the strength of his grip around the Turian's neck, causing Vallius to begin chocking as he fought for every last breath he could. But then bones could be head cracking and snapping, and the commander suddenly went quiet with one final loud snap as his neck was completely crushed. Galvatron then dropped the body on the floor and looked over to his men. "Galvatron, the others escaped further into the ship." Shockblast said as he looked at him, gaining a smile from the clone. "Then by all means you two, hunt down and kill them all." Both bots grinned before smiling at each other, seemingly enjoying the thought of the hunt. They then rushed off the bridge, leaving Galvatron there. He sat down in the Commander's chair and activated the user interface while Vallius's corpse was less than a metre away and still warm. The orange holo-screen appeared in front of him along with a keyboard and Galvatron began searching for any reference to Shockblast and Six-shot, then deleting them. Meanwhile down the hall, screams could be heard as the rest of the Icarus's crew met the same fate as their Commander. PRIME EFFECT 4 Down in the shuttle bay, the Airlock opened up and Liars along with the soldier who helped her escape entered the Icarus. Seemingly unaware of the slaughter that was currently happening on board the ship. They both looked around the large bay, which had another MAKO and numerous crates stored there. But not a single crewman in sight. "Well, thats strange. There is usually someone down here." the soldier said as he instinctively hovered his hand over the pistol on his utility belt. Liara noticed this and tapped her com-link. "This is Liara T'Soni, can anyone hear me?" But the only sound she heard was static, making the Asari shake her head in response to the soldier staring at her. He then sighed and equipped his pistol. "Alright, let's head for the bridge." She nodded and the two of them moved toward the doorway that exited the shuttle-bay. Once in corridors, the two were welcomed by something you would usually expect to see in one of those horror-vids that can be found on the extranet, the walls were covered in blood with body parts acid their crew scattered all over the place. The soldier immediately threw up at the sight of it, showing his inexperience with such horrors. And though she was an Asari, one that is one hundred and twenty five years old (Asari can live to be 'one thousand'). She had only witnessed this kind of massacre once before, and that was only an hour or so ago. She did not know which was worse, witnessing such things or the fact that she was already used to it. She lowered her head and whispered a pray for the fallen, a number of which use recognised. The Asari had worked and lived with these people for the last five years, how could Shockblast and Six-Shot do such evil to the crew. Liara then looked back to the soldier who was wiping his mouth clear with his free hand, but still shake by what he just saw. "I don't think we should head for the bridge, the nearest com-terminal would be an easier choice. We have to contact the ISF and warn them about what we have found here." "Yeah, I think you're right." the soldier agreed as he held on to his pistol tightly. "There should be one on this deck, follow me." he added. Together the pair began moving down the corridors, trying to ignore the bodies that were littered around the place, while also hearing more screams coming from the distance. Liara and the soldier made it to a junction when suddenly a human female ran out of an open doorway in a delirious state as she ran toward the pair. "Oh my god, oh my god, help me, help me hel..." she cried out before being interrupted by a small arrow bursting out of her chest, it then spread it's claws out and clung at the flesh around it, securing it in place. The woman looked down in horror at it before coughing up some blood, she then looked up at the pair. Her eyes wide with fear as another voice could be heard from behind her. "Get back in here you wretch." Suddenly the woman was grabbed from behind by a sharp set of claws, which yanked her back into the room and out of their sight. Liara and the soldier then heard the woman make one long harrowing scream before it was cut short by the sound of flesh being ripped apart, everything went quiet for a moment before the voice spoke again. "Shockblast, I think that's everyone on this deck. How's yours looking?" The soldier then readied his pistol as Six-shot walked out of the doorway casually, he did not even seem bothered that his armour was now stained with the blood of those he had just killed. "...really? Well, that's good..." the bot said before stopping when he spotted both Liara and the soldier, a dark smile appearing on his face in that moment. "... Well, look what we have here, Brother. That Asari who escaped us in the complex... she has only just appeared in front of me... Yes, that was very considerate of her." he said as he carried on his conversation over the con-link, seeming un-bothered by the two. "Get down here as soon as you can, I mean if you want dibs on either of these two." he finished before ending the call and revealing his claws. The soldier took a step ahead of Liara, never taking his aim off of the bot. "Dr T'Soni, there is a com-terminal in the room at the end of that corridor." he said as he gestured to his left. "Go now, I'll cover you." he added while the Asari looked unsure. "But..." she simply said before he looked directly at her, his expression focused and determined. As if consigned to the fate that awaited him. "GO!" Liara then just turned and ran down the corridor, away from them as fast as she could. "I'll see you soon." Six-shot called to her in a playful tone, making the soldier look back at him. "No you won't." he said defiantly, making the bot's smile fade as he narrowed his lizard like eyes at him. "Then show me what you've got." Six-shot then launched himself at the soldier who fired back. Liara was halfway down the corridor when she heard several gun shots echo from where she had just left, making her stop and look back. But then there was silence, as the cold hard truth dawned on her. 'Run Liara, run, run...RUN!' she thought to herself as she began running again, toward the area that the soldier had told her too. A hundred yards more and she could see her destination, a red door at the far end. She was beginning to tire, but put everything she had into her legs as she got closer. But then her blood turned cold as the door just ahead of her on the right, but a few metres ahead of her target opened. And the man who was once her boyfriend stepped out and blocked her path, an evil smile on his face. "Look's like your in a hurry, what's the rush?" he asked slyly, as Liara stopped and breathed heavily, her eyes widening as fear began to take over. "Shockblast, please...try to remember me." she said through the heavy breaths that she inhaled. "She's trying that again?" a voice said from behind her as Six-shot appeared, meaning that both brothers now had her trapped. "I know." Shockblast replied before looking at the Asari. "Let me be crystal clear, I will never believe the lies that you are selling. Because the very thought of you aliens makes me sick to the core of my spark." "Shockblast, please..." Liara replied with a frantic tone. "Enough!" he roared back before unleashing his claws and pouncing at her, determined to silence the Asari for good. But suddenly she began to glow with a blue hue, and Liara punched the air in front of Shockblast. The bot was knocked out of the air while in mid attack, and sent into the wall behind him. "Shockblast" his younger brother called before he charged at the Asari. "You'll pay for that!" he roared before being slammed into the ground by the Asari's next biotic attack. Then as both bots were dazed and attempting to recover themselves, Liara frantically looked around her. 'I don't have time to send a distress call now.' she thought before her eyes fell on a door labelled 'Escape pods'. Knowing this was her only chance to get away, the Asari ran to the door and entered the room as both bots started to get back to their feet. "We have to stop her." Shockblast grimaced as he limped to the door, Six-shot was following as fast as he could despite still being dazed. They both entered the room to see that Liara had already entered an escape pod, The bots tried to rip the hatch off of it's hinges as they stared daggers at the Asari. But suddenly the pod was disconnected from the ship, but before it could not the ground. It's engine fired and rocketed it up into the atmosphere, leaving the Icarus and it's dead crew to the bots. Both of them just looked out of the window and watched as the escape pod disappeared high above them. "Well...scrap." Six-shot stated in an annoyed tone. PRIME EFFECT 4 Everything was quiet on the bridge as Galvatron studied the holo-screens in front of him, while still seated in the Commander's chair. He used the keyboard interface that was positioned above his lap to go through a number of subjects in the ship's mainframe, and even though he did feel a little shame for not participating in the slaughter of the crew along with Shockblast and Six-shot. He did take solace in the fact that all the crew were now dead, considering that he had not heard any screaming coming from the corridors or over the ship's intercom. He looked over the ship's schematics when suddenly the screen to his left flashed up red, as an alarm blared. 'Escape pod sixteen, launched from Starboard side of Icarus.' the screen stated in bold capitals. "What!" he spat out loud just as the brothers appeared in the doorway. "Ah...so you know." Shockblast said, gaining the Clone's attention has he stood up and turned to look at them. "Tell me that no one was aboard that escape pod." Both bots looked at each other, hoping that the other would speak up. "One of you say something before I lose my patience!" Galvatron barked, snapping the silence from the brothers in two. "Well, that Asari we encountered in the complex...she managed to get aboard this ship and...take that escape pod." Shockblast replied, making the clone narrow his red eyes at them. "Are you saying that one member of this crew has managed to escape along with knowledge of us, knowledge that they will undoubtedly share with the Autobots?" he asked in a knowing and angry like tone as he looked down at them, making the brothers feel hat his shadow was cast over them. "Galvatron...I..." Six-shot then said, only to be cut off by the clone. "I don't want excuses..." he barked before he stopped when he heard a faint laughing echoing from behind him, making Galvatron turn to see who had the nerve to laugh at him. But no one was there, so he turned back to see two confused brothers staring at him. "Galvatron?" Shockblast asked. "It...was nothing." the Clone replied as he looked away for a second. "You are lucky that I managed to deactivate the Com-system and distress beacon for each of the escape pods while I was browsing through the Icarus's systems. So that alien won't be able finding help coming to her aid any time soon... " "Thank you, Galvatron..." Six-shot replied before being cut off. "...but that does not mean that I am willing to just let such a loose end carry on out there, I want to keep tabs on her whereabouts so that we can end her miserable life sooner rather than later." the clone added, making Shockblast activate his holo-tool. "Of course, if you would indulge me, Galvatron. I believe we could gain some extra eyes and ears out there in the galaxy, and not only find this alien but also give us Intel on how things are out there." "And how would we accomplish this?" Galvatron asked. "Not how...but who, here let me show you." the older or the two brothers said as the clone stood next to him and watched as he opened up a secure transmission link, typing in the name 'Shadow Broker'. PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile Liara sat there and looked out of the small window on her right, her only view of the outside from the confining small interior of the escape pod in which she occupied. Liara had been crying since she had managed to escape the horror that had happened around her on Cybertron. After unleashing Galvatron, the Asari did not get much chance to take in what had happened, but now that she was alone and relatively safe, Liara just started crying as she thought about everyone who had been killed. But mainly because her then-boyfriend had been turned against her, now war nothing more than to end her life. She didn't want to believe that the real Shockblast wasn't still in there somewhere, that if she just tried harder to get through to him then he would remember. But that line of thinking was just her being naive, because there was no way Galvatron would take a chance and just brainwash Shockblast and Six-shot and not make sure that their memories of everything prior his awakening had not been completely erased. Liara tried to stop herself from crying, wiping away the tears as they formed. She then activated the holo-interface in front of her, trying to focus on something else...anything else so that she did not just wallow in pity. But thanks to some ingenuity from those who has tried to kill her, there was not much she could do with the escape pod's systems. The communication system had been deactivated, so no calling for help. And the pod's distress beacon was also not functioning, so she wouldn't be expecting anyone friendly to find her anyway. So she just looked out of the window at the empty void around her, the stars in the far distance twinkling as they burned millions of light years away. Another tear ran down her face as the view reminded Liara of her first kiss with Shockblast which was on the observation deck of the Icarus. The Asari was about to lose herself to her emotions again when suddenly the interface started beeping at her, this brought Liara to her senses as she typed on the controls and brought up the proximity sensors. 'A ship, a ship has found me.' she thought with relief before the pod shook slightly as the unknown vessel began to bring it on board. The Asari looked out of the window at the hull of the ship, but did not recognise the markings. But her relief was short lived as soon as the pod was inside, she could see her surroundings were the cargo/shuttle bay which was full of containers of red sand (contraband) and empty cages with chains inside each, as well as shuttles bearing the mark of the slavers. Since the Asari was focused on looking outside of the window, her attention was snapped back to the pod's hatch as it was opened from the outside. "Well, now. This beauty will give us quite the payday now. Won't she boys." a Batarian in dirty grey armour said to the Vorcha in dirty yellow armour on his right (a lizard like alien), and also a Human in rusted black armour on his left. "Yeah, Boss. She sure will. Asari always get a lot of bids at the market." the Human replied as he leered at Liara, which made her skin crawl. "Alright, get out of there." the Batarian snapped at her, but instead of complying, the Asari charged her Biotics through her hands as she clenched them into fists. "Biotics, look out!" the Human shouted before the Vorcha was flung into the air, only to land on top of a shuttle just aways from them. "I got this." the Batarian replied as he equipped his blaster and shot Liara in the chest with an energy projectile, stunning the Asari who slouched back on the seat unconscious. "Okay, get us a biotic clamp and then ready one of the cages for our guest." the Batarian said. "Yes, Captain." the Human replied before moving away, while the Captain then looked back at the sleeping beauty and smiled. "So you've got some fire in you, I like that in a woman. But where your heading unfortunately, no one likes it." he said as he brushed his hand against her soft cheek. "What a waste." PRIME EFFECT 4 It had been a few hours since they had massacred the crew of the Icarus, but Galvatron and Six-shot were still studying the ship's and Shockwave's databases while Shockblast was communing with the Shadow Broker via his holo-tool. "Very well, I will await your next transmission." the Con said to a blacked out silhouette on the screen before the call cut short, prompting him to deactivate his holo-tool. "So what is verdict, will this 'Shadow Broker' help us?" Galvatron asked as Shockblast turned to face them. "Yes, 'he' will instruct his agents to keep an eye out for the alien..." "Good, but I heard you agree to let them capture her for us." the Clone replied. "Yes, but I kind of guessed that you will want us to kill her, once we have the alien's location.",Shockblast said back, earning a smile from Galvatron. "Exactly, and we will kill the agents too. I certainly have no intention to owe anything to an Organic." "Understood, we will have the alien soon enough." the Con replied. "You mean Asari don't you?" Six-shot interrupted while staring at a data-screen. "Come again?" his brother replied. "Well, it turns out that this 'Federation' is made up of many races, ones that we have already made contact with via this crew..." the younger Con said as he showed images of each race on his screen to the others. "...Asari, Salarian, Turian, Human and interestingly Cybertronian. This particular species is our own, though they have been through a biological transformation. An energy wave that spread out across the galaxy and wiped out the 'Reapers' also changed them, made them more organic." Galvatron gave both brothers a disgusted look as he looked at the screen. "I find it insulting that our species are now as weak and fragile as the rest of the aliens that we have easily killed." "I have to agree with you there." Shockblast replied. "If we are going to get retribution for what has been done to us, we are going to need more help. I don't think that the three of us will be able to do much against an entire Federation." Six-shot stated which earned a smile from the clone, he then made the screen bigger, so that both brothers could see it. "I think I have found just the thing." he said as the image of a dragon's head-like insignia appeared on the screen. "What's that?" The younger bot asked. "This is the icon for a prehistoric faction of Cybertronians called 'Predacons', who became extinct long before the Golden Age of our planet. According to the database, Shockwave was attempting to clone them from ancient remains that he found all over Cybertron, so that they could be used as an extra force against the Autobots during the war." the clone replied as images of the dragon-like Cybertronians appeared on screen. "And Shockwave called this 'Project Predacon'." he added before Shockblast turned to him. "How far did he get?" "From what I have read, Shockwave managed to clone several of the beasts, but only four were ever cloned fully (spark and replica body). The others only had their Sparks cloned. We only need to gain access to the laboratory where this project was located." Galvatron replied before showing the two bots a screen with data coding running down it. "Can you decipher this?" the Clone then asked Shockblast, earning a focused expression from the older of the two brothers before he shook his head. "I don't think so, I believe the only way is with the original codes." "Then let's go retrieve them." Galvatron replied, earning puzzled expressions from the bots. "And how do we do that?" Six-shot asked. "I have the location of Shockwave's body, found it in the ISF database. The details of his death are classified to the Autobots only, but it seems the location has become a favourite of archaeologists in the years since it happened." the clone said before deactivating the screen and turning round to the brothers. "Shockblast open a ground-bridge to these coordinates and assist me with this task, Six-shot you will remain here and on the Icarus until we return." Both bots nodded before Shockblast used his holo-tool to open a green vortex in front of himself and Galvatron, who then both entered it. Leaving Six-shot there on the bridge alone. The ground-bridge vortex opened up and illuminated the large dark room with it's green hue before the two bots exited the event horizon and looked around at their surroundings. It looked just like the laboratories that Shockblast had already seen while on Cybertron except for one difference, one that caught his attention as he was just halfway through studying the room with his eyes. Lying on the ground only a few metres away was the corpse of a red and white armoured Cybertronian femme, her metal skin had rusted due to the eons that she had been there. "Who's that?" the Con asked as he walked up to the giant corpse. "I am not sure..." Galvatron replied as he looked away. "...but this is why we are here." he added as he pointed to the far right, gaining Shockblast's attention. His eyes widened as he looked upon the massive corpse of Shockwave, which was lying upright against what looked like a blown out set of energy tanks. Just ahead of the body was the Decepticon's head which looked like it had been shot several times. "That should hold the secrets we require." Galvatron said, relishing seeing the one who helped create him in this state. "His neural net, are you sure we can access the data we seek from that?" Shockblast asked curiously. "Well the only way we will find out is to take the memory core from Shockwave here, back to the complex's Pretender lab and download the memories via the cortical psychic patch." Galvatron replied, making the bot look at him in a confused state. "One of us is going to interface with Shockwave's memory core?" "Yes...you will, Shockblast." the clone replied with a matter of fact expression. "Why...me?" "Because when I transferred your spark into the body you have now in order to save you, I saw a part of your memories on the screen during the transfer. It showed me that you have a thirst for knowledge, especially for that of the past...or should I say our species past." Galvatron replied, earning a nod from his companion. "Yes, I know that I have forgotten certain things from before. But I know that I do like learning about the past." Galvatron who had moved beside the dead Decepticon's head, then opened up a section of the head and reached inside. For a long moment, the Clone fiddled with it's interior before bringing his hands back out which held a strange looking blocky device. "Behold, the memory core of Shockwave. Now open up a ground-bridge back to the complex and in a matter of time, the memories and knowledge of the most famous Decepticon scientist will be yours." he said as Shockblast stared wide eyed at the device. PRIME EFFECT 4 Back at the complex, Shockblast was lying on an upright tilted mobile berth. Galvatron had connected the memory core to what looked like a cortical psychic patch, one that was redesigned for use by Pretender sized Cybertronians. He walked up to Shockblast's side with the other connector in his right hand. "Now this will probably be unpleasant, Shockblast. I will not hide that truth from you." "I understand, Galvatron, and I am ready anyway." the not replied before looking away from the clone, and exposing the back of his head. "Very good, now brace yourself." the clone said before connecting the patch to the back of the bot's head, making Shockblast gasp as his mind suddenly overflowed with images and knowledge that were not his own. He was then went quiet and stared blankly at the wall to his right as the download continued. Then he began to fidget as flashes of a particular memory played out in front of him. He was looking down at two small beings, one was a woman in black and purple armour and the other was wearing a grey armour with red stripe (outlined in silver) running down both his shoulders and arms. He was holding what looked like the star-saber and Shockblast watched as this man let loose an energy wave that slammed into him, making the bot grimace as he was knocked back into the tanks. And as the liquid from those busted tanks covered his being, he looked back at the pair and saw the female aiming her gun at him. She then fired and the next thing Shockblast felt was a great fire burning his entire body, causing him to scream out loud which surprised Galvatron who activated the automatic restraints, which stopped the bot from thrashing around. The last thing Shockblast could see and hear was the female. "That was for Esmeral, you piece of scrap." The memory then ended and the bot looked over to The Clone while taking a heavy breath. "It was Jackson Prime and Airachnid who ended Shockwave's life." Galvatron gave the bot a curious expression. "Airachnid I have heard of.." he replied, remembering the femme from Megatron's memories that he possessed. "But...who is Jackson Prime?" Shockblast looked at him surprised. "You don't know who he is? How can I remember him and not you?" "The experiments performed on us must have effected our memories in different ways." the Clone replied, earning a nod from the bot, obviously buying the answer. "Well, he is the first Human Prime, a hero of the Reaper War from what I read. His actual name is Jack Darby." Galvatron's eyes widened at the mention of that name, bringing back more of Megatron's memories to the forefront of his mind. 'That Human pet of Arcee...a Prime, but how?' he thought before looking away from Shockblast. "Galvatron?" "This is not important right now." the Clone said back while looking over his shoulder. "Do you now know how to access the Predacon lab?" he asked before deactivating the restraints. Shockblast then held his hand up to his forehead and closed his eyes for a moment. "It's a little overwhelming, all these memories and knowledge in my mind. But yes I know where it is and how to enter it." "Excellent, so where do we start?" Galvatron asked as the bot got off the berth and activated his holo-tool. "Right here." he replied with a grin before the wall to their left disappeared, revealing a whole other lab. "Holographic security field...interesting." the Clone remarked as the two walked into it. "The mine that is connected to the lab behind us contains the remains of Predacons from hundreds of eons ago, before the golden age. Shockwave hypothesised that they were in what looked like a final battle with another faction of their race at the time of their extinction." Shockblast said as they looked at all the machinery around them. "Wait, there was another faction?" Galvatron asked with a confused look. "The site that this complex was built on contains the remains of more than just Predacons, but Shockwave believed that if this other faction (which he did not bother to learn the name of) were fighting the Predacons. Then they would have more in common with the Autobots, and Megatron would not be interested in them." the bot replied as they stopped at what looked like the main computer. "I would agree with that outcome, so did they wipe each other out?" the clone asked. "No, Shockwave believed that some kind of natural disaster was responsible for their extinction." Shockblast replied as he accessed the computer's database with his holo-tool. Anyway, it seems that Shockwave was able to fully clone four of the Predacons." Images of them then appeared on his holo-screen, a devious smile grew on Galvatron's face as he stared at each image. "The first three were fully grown but never awoken, and the last was killed by the Dinobots. Shockwave then repaired the damage and placed 'her' in stasis lock." Shockblast replied. Do we have enough Synthergon for these four beasts?" the clone asked, still studying each Predacon. "We only have enough for three of them, Galvatron. And it should be noted that Synthergon is still unstable when it comes to higher neural net functions." the Con said back. "We won't need to worry about that, I want these three to be kept at minimal intelligence and also lock them into their beast modes completely." Galvatron replied. "Of course, Galvatron, with their size and power compared to modern Cybertronians and organics. They would be more effective in their more natural modes." Shockblast said. "And there would be nothing more terrifying for our enemies than seeing giant dragons destroying everything they hold dear." the Clone said with restrained delight in his voice. "Of course, I know some mind control techniques (curtsy of Shockwave's knowledge) that will ensure that these great Beasts remain loyal to our cause." the bot said back. "Excellent, now what about the Predacon that we can't activate as it is." Galvatron asked while pointing to the Femme-Dragon on screen." "Well I think that we can transfer her spark into one of the prototype Pretender bodies here." "You mean there was more than just the three we have?" the Clone asked in surprise. "Yes, Shockwave has a fully functional processing plant here that can mass produce them. We can build enough for the remaining Predacon sparks that he cloned, as well as the Terracons." Shockblast replied with a smile. "Other sparks? Terracons?" Galvatron asked with a wide eyed look. The other bot responded by bringing up a screen that showed all of the Predacons that were cloned. "Shockwave may have only fully cloned four of the beasts, but he was successful in cloning the sparks of all the remains he had found." "And these Terracons?" "They were a sub-group of Predacon, not unlike the Decepticon Vehicons. Mainly cannon fodder for the more powerful among their faction." the bot explained. "Well then, let's see it done. And Shockblast, when you have transferred their sparks into their new bodies and make sure they are loyal to me." Galvatron said, earning a nod from the other bot who brought up the details of the femme on his screen. "Galvatron, it seems that this Femme was the first Predacon to be cloned, and that Shockwave blended the wiped-clean neural net of a Decepticon volunteer to give her increased intelligence. This was to remedy the problem with bringing back the prehistoric creatures and not having to deal with their less evolved minds." "I see, do you think that we should keep her mind the way it is?" "Yes, I do. I can also make a copy of her neural net's layout and program the others (Predacon pretenders) to be the same. That way, we will have the Predacons ferocity. But also benefit from the increased intelligence that we, their descendants have (while not directly linked)." Shockblast further explained. "I see what you mean, have the best of both worlds in one package. The ferocity of the ancient past, and the ingenuity of the here and now." Galvatron replied, earning a smile and nod from Shockblast. "Exactly." "Let's get on with it. I find this very intriguing." the Clone replied, as Shockblast activated the labs machines, including all the hyper-evolution tanks and stasis pods in the room connected to theirs which went on for miles. This included three massive tanks that contained three mechanical dragons that twitched slightly as their bodies began to come out of stasis. PRIME EFFECT 4 A few days had passed since their discovery on Cybertron as Galvatron waited for Shockblast to finish the awakening of the Predacon clones that they found. The clone of Megatron was at the main computer of the project Predacon lab, studying It's database with his holo-tool. He was distracted from it by the opening of a ground bridge vortex nearby as Six-shot stepped through. "Nothing new to report, Galvatron." the young Con stated. "That is good to hear, Six-shot. Now if we can only hear how the progress is going with your Brother." the clone replied. "He is in there alone?" the Con said back as he pointed to the heavy door between them and his brother. "Yes, after about a day Shockblast claimed that he 'works better alone' and so locked himself inside. Apparently I was distracting his focus with my questions." Galvatron replied with a less than enthusiastic tone. "Well that's out of character for him, I've known my Brother my entire life and he has never been the solitary type. I mean he does like not to be disturbed while working, but never completely on his own." "Well..." Galvatron started to say when he was cut off by the large heavy door opening up and revealing Shockblast who was standing there in the doorway. "Hey, why were you in there on your own?" Six-shot asked. "I always work better alone." his Brother replied, earning a confused look from the younger Con. Shockblast though ignored this and turned his attention to Galvatron. "The clones are ready and I have also updated their neural nets with the data to help them adapt to the times that they are now in." "Very good, Shockblast. Now before we go in there, you should both have these connected to your armour." the clone replied as he held out two objects to the brothers, which they both took and looked at. The objects were Predacon insignia's. "Galvatron, I don't understand." Six-shot said back with confusion written all over his face. "I wasn't about to resurrect the Decepticons, as they failed in their goals and so are not worth the effort. But together we can lead the Predacons to surpass the Decepticons and crush those who stand against us. And besides, we have the same beast modes as they do now." Galvatron replied as he showed them the insignia on the chest plate of his armour, finally feeling like he had a place in the world. "Agreed." Shockblast replied as he clipped the insignia to the center of his chest-plate, Six-shot nodded and clipped his own on to his left shoulder armour. "Now let's welcome our new brothers and sisters to the family." Galvatron said with a smile as he and the two bots walked into the next room. The massive room was dimly lit, the only illumination coming from the hyper-evolution tanks with their yellow liquid glowing gently against the dark around them. Shockblast took a step ahead of Galvatron and activated his holo-tool, using it to drain the liquid from the tanks and reveal the Predacons inside. The clone and Six-shot took a look at each tank. There were six pretender sized tanks and three massive ones lined up behind them, two of the smaller tanks held what looked like females while the rest were all male. "How long until the Terracons are ready?" Galvatron asked, gaining the older brother's attention. "The first batch are still being developed, I felt that having the main Predacons birthed first would be more…..logical." Galvatron nodded, but the last word out of Shockblast's mouth earned a raised eye brow from Six-shot. But before he could voice his concern, he was cut off by Shockblast tapping another button on his holo-tool. Which caused the cables and tubes that were connected to each Predacon to disconnect. Then the tanks opened up as their inhabitants opened their eyes and slowly stepped out side. Galvatron then took a step towards the clones. "Welcome my Brothers...and Sisters." he said with a dark grin, while looking at the Human looking Cons. Each one looked at Galvatron with an unsure look, but as soon as they eyes fell upon the Predacon insignia on his chest-plate, they then seemed to relax. "Please, what are your names?" he added. A Caucasian woman with shoulder length black hair, wearing green and yellow armour which complemented her athletic figure stepped forward. "My name is Ser-Ket." she replied before the short haired woman next to her, who was slightly more built and wearing light blue and red armour stepped forward. "I am Ripclaw." she stated earning a nod from Galvatron before looking at the males. "I am Lazerback." said the dark skinned man wearing yellow and red armour. "I am Blight." the blue and white armoured man said. "My name is Scorponok." the yellow and purple armoured Asian man stated. Galvatron smiled at each one before approaching the last man who was wearing dark blue armour with a purple neon glow at it's joints. He just stared at Galvatron. "And what is..." he began to say before the Predacon cut him off. "Who are you?" This took Galvatron by surprise, but he kept his cool while locking eyes with the Predacon before then addressing the rest of them. "I am Galvatron, leader of the Predacons. and your Lord and Master." he said aloud before looking back at that one again. "Scourge only has one master...Predaking." Scourge replied with anger in his tone. "Well, even though Predaking is with us..." Galvatron answered and as if on cue, a tremendous roar could be heard echoing from further down the massive, long chamber they were in, making the other Predacons look around and whisper to each other. "...he is in no shape to command the Predacons, so since it was my Lieutenants and I..." Galvatron added while gesturing to both Shockblast and Six-shot. "...who found and reawakened you, then it is I who will lead you." Scourge gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes at the self proclaimed leader as he clenched his fists. "Only the strongest among us can be our Leader, and since Predaking is no longer fit to do so. I then nominate myself to take his place. For I am stronger than this Pretender in front of me." Galvatron grinned and stepped back while gesturing to Scourge. "Enough words, attack me and prove your claim to be true." The Predacon then lunged at him, but Galvatron caught his punch and then twisted his arm. Scourge grimaced before he was then thrown into the nearby wall. The Predacon leader merely smirked as his attacker climbed back to his feet. "Do you still wish to fight?" But Scourge felt his anger take control and suddenly his body began to change, as the Predacons looked on in shock and awe at what Scourge was becoming. The three bots all knew what this was. 'He looks more powerful now.' Galvatron thought to himself as he readied himself for another attack. 'But I have to defeat him without using my own beast mode to prove my strength is above all of theirs. Since they are still mainly a group of beasts and so only follow the strongest among them.' As Scourge scrapped his sharp class against the wall, cleaving off concrete as easily as knife through butter, Shockblast was taking readings of the Predacon change. Six-shot leaned in and whispered into his brother's ear, not wanting the Predacons to hear. "Err...their beast modes seem more feral and primal than ours." "That is because they used to be beasts, the alt mode in these prototype Pretender-forms allows them to tap into that part of themselves. With us it only enhances our strength through our anger, for them it is the closest they will get to being their old selves." Shockblast replied just as Scourge finished his transformation. His frame had become more muscular and his face looked slightly more beast like (other than his eyes and teeth). He then looked directly at Galvatron and gritted his extremely sharp teeth. "I will tear you limb from limb." he screamed before lunging at the Predacon Leader. But even though he was now smaller than his attacker, Galvatron was the quicker as he ducked under the attack and punched hard into into his opponent's chest. But this did not even faze the beast, who merely swiped Galvatron and knocked him to the ground, leaving slash marks on his chest plate. "I will eat you and use your bones to pick my teeth with." Scourge then said as he opened his mouth and moved in closer. But Galvatron could feel his anger building but instead focused it from activating his beast mode and suddenly as the beast went to bite the Predacon leader, he noticed the bot's eyes glow purple before he grabbed Scourge's head and ripped his jaw off. His opponent bellowed in pain as a severally pissed off Galvatron then kicked at the beast's leg, snapping it in two and making Scourge fall to his knees. As blood like fluid ran down his neck and chest from the open sound that used to be his mouth, the challenger looked up at Galvatron who stood over him. "Nobody will defeat Galvatron." he spat before plunging his fist (which had a faint purple glow to it) through Scourge's head, killing him instantly. The whole room went silent as the body of the Predacon fell on it's side, soon surrounded by its own blood. Every one of thr Predacons looked at the one who defeated their comrade as Galvatron took a breath before turning round to them, his eyes narrowing as he looked at each of them. "Does anybody wish to join him?" The room still remained silent, you could hear a spark beat in there before Lazerback decided to speak. "What did you say your name was?" the Predacon leader smiled at the question. "Galvatron!" The rest of the Predacons looked at each other for a second before suddenly and all together cheering. "All hail Galvatron, ALL HAIL GALVATRON!" As their voices echoed through out the complex , they were joined by the roars of the three Predacons that had yet to be revealed. Galvatron merely smiled and accepted the cheers of those around him, for he now had his army and soon all the stood before them would be sent to the pit.
  12. CHAPTER II Liara stood there in complete fear after witnessing the being who called himself Galvatron butcher every member of their team, except Shockblast, Six-shot and herself. The three stood there in an almost paralyzed fashion as Galvatron dropped the last body to the ground before looking at his claws, which were covered and dripping blood onto the floor. "Speak, or I will let you join the rest of your team." he said, not even bothering to turn to face them. "Why haven't we already?" Shockblast asked with a lump in his throat, not knowing if these would be his last words. Galvatron finally turned around and stared at them, his eyes now back to their original red. "You are alive because I require your assistance." Liara's expression changed to one of anger as she narrowed her eyes at him. "You expect us to help you after you killed everyone?" Galvatron walked over to her and leaned close. "If you value your lives...you will." "We will never work for you." Six-shot replied defiantly, earning a glare from the bot standing over them. "I think you will, all you need is the proper incentive." He then back handed Liara so hard, that she was sent flying into the wall behind them. A slight shimmer of blue flowed over her body for a split second as she hit the wall before collapsing on the floor. "You, son of a bitch!" Six-Shot spat back while his brother just looked back at the still form of his girlfriend while in a state of complete shock. Galvatron though just grabbed both bots off the ground by their necks and held then in the air effortlessly. "We'll... never... work for... you" Shockblast said as he found his voice, though the grip around his throat made speaking difficult. Galvatron though just gave them a dark smile. "Yes, you will. By the end of this day, you will call me...master." He then threw them down to the ground, the impact knocking them both out. He then looked down at the floor, his thoughts taking over. Galvatron was his name, that much he knew. But it seemed to be all that he knew, since when he tried to remember anything from before, his recollection would be greeted by nothing but a foggy haze inside his mind. Though he did have skills, he found this out with the many different ways he had killed the people that had stood around him since his reawakening. He was also a quick study as he picked up one of the com links that had fallen out of an ear of one of the dead crew, and knew in just a few moments what it was and what it did. Galvatron put the device to the side for now as he just at this moment wanted to know why, what he was, why he was. This irritated the Bot, but not as much as when someone called Megatron. As soon as he heard that name, his rage boiled over. Yet he did not know who this name belonged to, or why he had the reaction he did when hearing it. This was all very confusing for Galvatron and it also did not help that he had no idea where he was. What he needed was access to information about the here and now, and then it hit him. He remembered seeing one of the aliens using some sort of holo-device that appeared around their forearm. 'It must be emitted from something on their body.' he thought as he walked over to the alien (another Salarian), knelt down beside it and lifted up the arm that it had appeared around. He felt his hand up and rain the forearm until his fingers came across a small lump on the underside. 'There you are.' Galvatron thought. PRIME EFFECT 4 Liara gasped as she woke and felt her body aching all over, she felt like she had been hit by MAKO but managed to sit up and look around. She was still in the laboratory and it was still littered with the bodies of her team mates, though she could not see Shockblast or Six-shot among them. The Asari had no idea how much time had passed since she fell unconscious, but when she tried to activate her con-link all she received was static. She knew that staying put wasn't an option, so Liara took a breath and braced herself as she got to her feet, the pain escalating the more pressure she put her body under to move. Once standing, she took out some medi-gel and treated herself. This had an immediate effect and the pain subsided somewhat, though she would still feel sore. But at least she would be able to move easier. Liara looked at the wall she had been thrown into and saw the large crater that had been created by the impact. 'Thank the goddess I was able to create a biotic barrier a second before I hit the wall, or else I would have been killed.' she thought to herself before a strange mechanical noise and the sounds of someone grunting in pain caught her attention from down the corridor, which brought her thoughts back to her Boyfriend and his Brother. The Asari slowly made her way out of the room to investigate the noise, but not before giving a silent prayer to her colleagues that Galvatron had murdered earlier. Limping down the massive but dimly lit corridor, she should have still been amazed at how tall the Cybetronians must have been when in their original bodies, to have built such vast and gigantic architecture. But seeing everyone in the dig team murdered had eroded her sense of wonder, replacing it with a cold understanding of her predicament. She had to get back to the Icarus and report what had happened , but not before finding Shockblast and his brother. Since their bodies were not among the dead, Liara could only hypothesise that Galvatron needed them for some twisted purpose. She made it to the room where the noises originated and took a look inside, she saw her eyes widened in horror at what she saw. The Asari could see Shockblast and his brother Six-shot being held in place on a berth each that was at an angle, they were both unconscious still as she also saw Galvatron with his back to her while working a holo-tool. It looked like he was viewing the ship's database with it. 'Been catching up on the times? And how in the world did you get a holo-tool?' she thought before remembering that she had passed a body on her way out of the lab, one that had it's right arm mutilated. Like someone wanted something that was inside it and did not care if they made a mess to get it. Meanwhile back on the Icarus, another Asari turned to Commander Vallius and handed him a pad. "Sir, it would seem that one of the dig team has accessed the ship's computer." The Turian looked down at the pad and scrolled through it's list. "Why would they be accessing data on the Reaper war and everything that happened before it and after?" The Asari crewman garage him a blank expression. "Unknown, Sir. Maybe they are on break and just reading. They have been over there for more then eight hours now." Vallius looked at the timer on the holo-interface that was being emitted from the right hand armrest of his chair, then turned to his con officer. "Has the storm died down enough for us to contact them?" The human sitting there shook his head. "No, Sir, and it does not appear to be dying down anytime soon." he replied, making the Commander look o the ground with a thoughtful expression, he then activated his com-link. "Vallius to Lt Seska, please put together a team and prepare to head out to the dig site." The Turian then looked back at the officer with a concerned look. "I have a bad feeling about all this." Liara had stayed quiet as Galvatron continued to read everything from the history of the Federation to the Icarus's mission. He then deactivated the holo-tool and walked out of view for a few moments, before reappearing with two familiar looking bodies on mobile berths. 'Pretender bodies?' Liara then watched as their enemy then connected a transparent cable to the chest of one pretender and then began to connect the other to the bare chest of the unconscious Shockblast. 'By the goddess, I have to stop him!' she thought immediately as it dawned on her what Galvatron was doing to her boyfriend. She clenched her fist and concentrated, making it glow with blue biotic energy. But the moment she tried to move forward with some urgency, the pain from her earlier injury came back with a vengence making her gasp in pain and grab at her side. Galvatron looked up as he heard the noise and turned around to see what had made it, but all he saw was an empty doorway. He narrowed his red eyes and continued to look for a moment, not realising that Liara was hiding behind the wall and trying to keep as quiet as possible despite the pain she felt. After what felt like an age, the killer realised there was nothing there and returned his attention to Shockblast as he connected the cable to the bot's chest. The sharp tiny blades in the connectors drawing blood as they pierced his flesh. Liara looked back round the corner to see his body flinch as the cable finished the connection and her heart sank, for she knew that in her current state, she would be unable to help him or Six-shot who Galvatron then started the same procedure to. He then reactivated his new holo-tool and turned on the large device that was now connected between the two Cybertronians and their respective Pretender bodies, suddenly making both bots scream out in excruciating pain. Liara could only watch with tears beginning to run down her face as their sparks were being forced from their bodies, their rib cages snapped open as their chests exploded with blood spraying out in all directions. Then the glowing white balls of energy...aka their sparks appeared inside the cabling and travelled through to the pretender bodies on the other end. The Asari looked at the bloodied and ruptured body of Shockblast, her Boyfriend and wished that she had said no to him earlier when discussing whether to give the spark, that turned out to be a murderous man called Galvatron the pretender body they had found. She sighed, her heart now heavy with regret before continuing to watch as the two sparks entered their new if not forced homes. Just as with Galvatron, the pretenders immediately reconfigured and altered themselves as soon as the sparks were inside. Before she knew it, Liara was again looking at Shockblast and Six-shot as they lied on the berths like nothing had happened. Galvatron then moved the two dead bodies out of sight before returning to the pretenders, activating his holo-tool again and making a holo-interface appear before both newly created bots. He then typed in some commands on both as they showed images of Shockblast's and Six-shot's neural nets, which he then appeared to alter before flashing that evil smile of his. 'What's he doing to their minds?' Liara thought as Galvatron then typed in a command on his holo-tool. "Time to wake up, my Brothers." As if on command, both Bots opened their eyes and looked around the room before on the man standing before them gained their attention. "Where are we?" Shockblast asked before noticing that he was restrained, his expression changing from confusion to nervous. "What is going on? Why are we restrained?" he asked. "My brothers, there is no need for fear. I am liberating you from this place." Galvatron replied as he undid their restraints, allowing the two to get off the berths and look around. Liara hid behind the wall again as Six-shot looked out at the doorway, before staring back at the others. "You're rescuing us? But I don't have any memory of being captured?" the younger bot said. "Your memories will return soon, but it appears that the trauma created by our capture, erased that particular one." Galvatron replied. "You were captured too?" Shockblast asked as he looked looked around the room. "Yes, I awoke very much the same as you. But in another room, surrounded by aliens who were attempting to experiment on me. So I broke out and killed them, my memory then returned. So I searched this place and found you two in here." the older bot replied with a smile, knowing full well that the younger bots would buy his version of events. "Though I can not recall your names..." he added, earning thoughtful expressions from both before the older of the two spoke. "I am... Shockblast and this...is Six-shot. So who are you?" "I am Galvatron and I require your assistance to find out what else happened here, and if any more of our Brethren are located at this complex." Both bots nodded back and smiled. "It would be our honor to help the one who saved us, it's the least we can do." Six-shot replied. "Excellent, our ship was destroyed but we can take theirs...the 'Icarus'. Also this planet we are on was once our ancestors but these aliens have come to claim it for themselves" Galvatron said, earning troubled expressions from the two brothers. "Well according to my scan, the storm is still pretty strong out there. I would not recommend travelling by foot." Six-shot stated as he looked at his holo-tool. "Wait, what about the space-bridge generator. I remember hearing the aliens say that it could be repaired." Shockblast replied, gaining a smile from Galvatron. "Then that's the objective right now, repair the space bridge and take control of the Icarus." "We will make the repairs Galvatron." Shockblast said as he brought up the directions on his holo-tool. "Very well, I will study this place's database while you are gone." Galvatron replied. "You will require the cipher that I have to access the main computer...there I just sent it to your holo-tool." the older of the two bots said back. "Thank you, Shockblast, keep me informed on your progress." the Galvatron answered before turning his back to them and looking at his holo-tool's screen. Both brothers then turned around and walked out of the room, unaware that Liara was shadowing them. PRIME EFFECT 4 Galvatron kept typing on the interface of his holo-tool, looking through whatever files he could access. But stopped when he found video-files titled 'Gemini one' to 'Gemini three'. That stood out to the bot for a reason that for now escaped him, but initiated the file anyway. Pushing aside any feelings of trepidation and fear that had begun to surface at the sight of the title. The screen of his holo-tool then showed the image of a one eyed, purple armoured Cybertronian that Galvatron recognised immediately. 'Shockwave, how do I know him?' he thought as the video carried on. 'Shockwave was standing at the console and viewing the data scrolling down the purple coloured screen in front of him, his single red optic taking in every single line of code before it left his sight. "Computer, commence scan on the CNA of this ancient life form and compare..." "Shockwave!" a familiar and commanding voice called from behind the Decepticon scientist. "Belay test, Computer." He said before turning around and coming face to face with his master. "Lord Megatron, this visit is highly illogical. Shouldn't you be on board the Nemesis in preparation for the assault on the Autobot base?" The Decepticon Leader narrowed his red optics at his lead scientist. "My comings and goings are of no concern to any Decepticon under my command Shockwave, this you should be painfully aware of." The Scientist lowered his head in shame, which brought a smile to the Con Leader's face-plate. "Forgive my bluntness, my Liege. I was merely concerned that you may have left the operation to someone less capable." "If you are referring to Starscream, he is under strict orders to hold back until my return. And he is fully aware of the consequences, should he attempt anything in my absence. We have four days until our assault, so there is more than enough time for my attention to be elsewhere." Shockwave looked back up to his leader and noticed that he was carrying something in his hand. "I see, so what may I do for you, Lord Megatron?" "As you are aware, we have been in possession of a sample of the synthetic Energon. Retrieved over two years ago from the Autobot Medic...Ratchet. I gave Knockout the task of completing the formula and stabilizing it, but I am disappointed to say that with the war taking most of his attention as well as the continued torture and experiments on our prisoner 'Cylas'. The good doctor has made no progress with finding a solution to the negative effects that it has on our biology." Megatron replied. "The most logical reason for the unsuitability of the 'Synthergon' is that it's base formula is currently incomplete." the scientist deduced, gaining another smile from the Con leader. "Excellent deduction, Shockwave. Knockout himself said the same thing, but now our species finds itself in a somewhat perilous state due to the dwindling Energon resources throughout the galaxy. So we desperately need this ...'Synthergon' now more then ever." "We are in agreement my liege, so do you wish for me to carry on the research?" Shockwave asked, Megaton reacted by handing the scientist the a large vial of the bright green Energon. "Indeed, Shockwave. Perhaps you will have more luck than Knockout did." "A logical conclusion, Lord Megatron." the scientist replied before looking down at the liquid. He stared at it for a moment before the Decepticon Leader faked a cough, bringing Shockwave's single optic back to his own. "There is also another project I would like you to work on." "Yes?" the scientist replied as he placed the Synthergon vial on the table. "What is it, my Liege?" he added as Megatron looked at the CNA sample on the screen that was overhead. "Like you mentioned earlier about Starscream, I too have found myself fearing for the future of the Decepticons should anything happen to my person during this war. Our cause needs a strong hand to guide them." The scientist just kept his attention on Megatron, wondering where he was going with this line of thought. But then the Con leader turned and looked directly at him, his face-plate looking very serious. "Shockwave, I wish for you to clone my spark." The room went very quiet for a moment, then the one eyed Con found his voice once the shock had subsided. "Lord Megatron, the spark is such a complex and delicate object, it may may be impossible to clone." "You have been attempting to clone this sample of techno-organic matter, have you not? Megatron said as he gestured to the image on the purple lit screen overhead. "Indeed, my Liege, and though the sample contains a blueprint for not only the spark, but the entire form of a Cybertronian. It is currently unknown whether we can successfully clone it." Shockwave replied in his usual cold tone. "Would it not be beneficial for your research to have a real spark to test?" the Decepticon leader said. "Yes, lord Megatron." "Good, then you may use mine Shockwave." Megatron replied before getting on a berth and lying down on his back. The scientist stood over him with one of his tools in his only hand. "I will induce stasis." "No, I wish to bare witness." the Con leader snapped, earning a nod from his chief scientist. "Very well." Shockwave then tapped the Decepticon emblem on Megatron's chest, which triggered the entire chest-plate to open up, the outer layers folded back on themselves and a bright white light began to fill the room, as Megatron's spark was revealed to him. "My Liege, the pain will be excruciating." Shockwave said as he held the tool out next to the white energy globe. But the Leader or the Decepticons just gave him an unconvinced look. "I was forged in the 'Pits of Kaon', Shockwave. Pain is of no concern to me. Do it!" The scientist merely nodded, though a little subdued and then held the tool inside Megatron's spark, making the Decepticon leader grit his teeth as Shockwave took the readings he required.' The video file ended and Galvatron selected the next one, that was dated as twenty hours later and activated it. 'Shockwave stood next to a large vertical transparent cylinder that contained a white pulsating spark in it's center, the scientist was taking some readings as Megatron walked back into lab and looked over to him. "Report, Shockwave. How goes project 'Gemini'?" "The cloned spark's pulses are approaching the stable rate that is required, but I am concerned about the instability of it's core matrix." the scientist replied, never taking it's optic away from the spark. Megatron stopped beside him and smiled at pulsating energy globe. "You are doing exemplary work, Shockwave, it does my spark good to see you continue to excel at tampering with nature." The Decepticon leader then held out a metal box to Shockwave, who looked at him blankly (hard to convey a response when your face is just one optic). "I wish for you to blend this into the spark, I believe this will strengthen its core." Megatron added. The scientist then took the box and opened it, releasing it's purple glow which reflected and amplified the colour of his own armour. "Dark Energon! My Liege, do you believe that this element is required at this early stage?" Megatron narrowed his optics at his lead scientist. "Shockwave, I have Dark Energon mixed into my own spark. I will not let my clone go without the same advantage. If it is fused to his spark now, he may even have a greater control of its power." Shockwave shook his head as he looked at the spark and then back at the dark Energon. "I apologise, Lord Megatron, I merely concerned that the unstable nature of the element will damage the newly created spark at this early stage of its development." The Decepticon leader nodded in return. "I see your point, Shockwave, but I must insist that you add the Dark Energon to the spark...right now!" he said he growled with gritted teeth. "Very well...,my Liege." the scientist acknowledged hesitantly before Megatron turned and walked out of the room, leaving Shockwave to his thoughts.' The video file ended, leaving just one more which was dated approximately fifteen hours later. Galvatron activated it, showing an image of Shockwave standing next to another transparent tank. 'The scientist was looking into the murky, bubbling green liquid. Shockwave could just about see the silhouette of a familiar figure inside the liquid as he typed onto the control panel on its right side. "Shockwave, I received your message. So my clone is ready to be awakened." Meagtron said as he walk up beside the purple Decepticon. "Indeed, my Liege. I was just running a final diagnostic on its vitals. The infusion of Dark Energon has indeed strengthened the spark..." The scientist replied, making a smile appear on the Con Leader's faceplate. "...but I have been picking up a faint energy spike in the pulses that the spark has been emitting, it may be nothing but a side effect of the infusion. I will need time to study this anomaly." Shockwave continued. "Is he ready or not?" Megatron asked, his commanding voice tinted with an annoyed tone. Picking up on this, the scientist merely nodded in return, knowing that no matter what he had to say, his master was not interested. "Yes, I believe he is." "Then wake him, I wish to witness the fruits of our collaboration." The scientist then went to press the button that was flashing green on the control panel, but stopped midway. "My Liege, you should know that this specimen was grown in this hyper-evolution tank, but it is just a prototype..." Megatron felt his patience slipping away with every word that Shockwave said, so interjected angrily. "You said he was ready..." "I did say so, Lord Megatron." The scientist Con replied. "Then wake him!" "Very well, but you must know that the clone should be a perfect copy of yourself, even down to the memories in his neural net." Megatron placed his hand to his forehead and gritted his teeth. "Noted...now do as I command." Shockwave then typed in a sequence into the control panel before pressing the green button, which immediately brought the machine to life as it drained the green murky liquid from the tank. This gave them the first real look at the clone. The red optics of Megatron widened as he looked it up and down. The clone looked almost identical to himself, but his silver armour had black and purple colors added to it, and it had a design that would not look out of place on Unicron. Though he was not restrained inside the tank, he did have numerous tubes connected to his person. "Amazing, he does look a lot like myself...but.." "I believe that some of the changes you see are down to the Dark Energon that now circulates in his spark, Lord Megatron." Shockwave replied, then the clone began to stir. His optics opened and looked around the room before they fell upon the two figures standing in front of him. "I am Megatron, your Lord and Master." the Decepticon Leader announced, but the clone just stared at him blankly. "Do you understand me, answer me!" he spat as his anger started to grow with the ever deafening silence from the clone continued. Megatron then turned to Shockwave. "What is going on, Shockwave? Why does he not speak?" The Con scientist just looked at him blankly before looking back at the clone. "I do not know, my Liege. Logic would dictate that he should know everything that you do. And so be able to speak, so my hypothesis would be that he does not want to." The clone reacted by staring into the single crimson optic of Shockwave's and then back at Megatron, who was becoming agitated with the situation. "Answer me, I command you!" he spat, with which the clone reacted with the exact same amount of anger and smashed his fists into the glass surrounding him, causing cracks to appear at the points of the impacts. This made both bots instinctively step back. "I take orders from no one!" the clone growled. "How did he damage the glass?" Megatron asked. "Unknown, my Liege, the hyper-evolution tank is reinforced and cannot be damaged, even by the strongest Insecticons, unless..." Shockwave answered as he took a scan of the clone. "Unless what?" Megatron spat with a confused look on his faceplate. Shockwave looked up from his scanner, with the way he was moving you would think that he was worried. But the moment he spoke, you could hear the unemotional tone in his voice still. "His spark is pulsating too quickly, it appears to be unstable. That would be a logical answer to his increased strength." The clone kept hitting the glass, the cracks becoming larger as they spread out with each hit. Then suddenly the glass shattered and the clone stepped out of the open tank. Megatron looked at him in surprise, as did Shockwave. "I will rip you open and everyone else who stands in my way, for I am Galvatron...your superior!" "In what sense?" Megatron snarled back. "In every sense." the clone replied coldly before charging at the pair and before the Decepticon leader could do anything, Galvatron connected a punch directly into Megatron's face and sent the Con flying into one of the tanks at the far end of the room. Shockwave then raised his arm-cannon at the clone and fired, but Galvatron dodged it and kicked the scientist in the chest. Shockwave fell to the floor as the clone walked over to Megatron, who was still recovering from the last attack. He had not been hit that hard since he fought the Insecticon that Airachnid had unleashed on him a few years ago. He looked up at the clone as it stood over him, it's crimson optics glaring down at him. "You created me to succeed you in the likelihood of your death, well that time is...now!" he exclaimed before he equipped his blade that slid out of an opening in his armoured forearm. He held it above his head, ready to bring it down on the Decepticon Leader, who mirrored his own expression. "I hope you do not expect me to beg for my life." Megatron replied as he knew that this Galvatron had the advantage. "I care not if you do, but know this. I will have your life and in doing so, become my own Master. Surpassing you in the process." the clone answered back. "I think not, you may have my memories and even my desires. But there is one thing that you do not have... Loyal Minions." Megatron replied, which made the clone raise an optic ridge before spinning round to see Shockwave standing there with his cannon pointed directly at him. "Go ahead and shoot, you will still not hit me." Galvatron gloated. "That would be illogical, for at this close range and power setting. I would hit Lord Megatron, and that was not my intent." It then suddenly dawned on the clone what was happening, but before he could do anything. Megatron was already back on his feet and he grabbed hold of Galvatron's shoulder with an iron like grip, before punching into his back and ripping out his spinal column and the spark chamber that was connected to it. The body fell to the ground with a loud clang as Megatron threw the spark over to the scientist, who caught it with his one hand. "Consider this your first failure, Shockwave. I wanted a clone that would follow my orders. Not one that has all the treachery of Starscream." "My Liege, if I may be so bold. I believe after witnessing this Galvatron first hand, that the Dark Energon had actually not only strengthened the spark and the clone's strength, but also every aspect of the personality it shared with you, including your ambition. For this was not some poor copy, like the ones that Starscream once created of himself. This was a perfect clone of yourself that was altered by the element added to it during it's incubation...either way, this failure will no doubt build on my experience with cloning thus far. Especially with the CNA samples that I have already collected." Shockwave replied as he brought up an image of a CNA string and an icon that looked like a dragon head." Megatron looked at the image. "Interesting. Of course you can continue with that and the Synthetic Energon. But consider project Gemini scrapped, I want this abomination disposed of, I have no need of a clone who would stab me in the back." "My Liege, the spark is too unstable to simply destroy. But I can seal it away, never to be seen again." Before Megatron could answer, the intercom Activated and a familiar voice spoke. "Lord Megatron, Soundwave reports that all Autobots are now at their base. I have all troops ready for the assault." Starscream reported. "Very well, have Soundwave activate a space bridge for my return." the Con leader replied and a bright green vortex appeared behind him. "Keep me informed of your progress with these projects, Shockwave." "Of course, my Liege." the scientist said before Megatron turned around and entered the vortex, which closed the moment he was through.' Galvatron just stood and stared at the console in front of him, running everything he had just seen through his neural net. And that was when it hit him, images flashed right before his optics. Things that he personally had not done, fighting Optimus Prime numerous times on Cybertron and Earth, torturing and murdering Autobots. These were Megatron's memories he was seeing. His eyes narrowed as his anger started to grow and expand inside his spark. The one he was created from had wanted a tool, a legacy to continue his name. But when Galvatron had shown that he was not going to keep to that legacy, he was cast aside. The Decepticon clone then let his anger flare as his alt mode re-emerged, claws and all. "Arrrrrragh!" he raged as he attacked the console, destroying it in a devastating series of slices and swipes. Galvatron pictured the Decepticon leader in front of him as he attacked, his claws ripping through the metal easily. He then stopped and breathed heavily when all that was left was a smoking wreck that used to be a machine. 'Megatron, you gave me life, only to view me as a failed experiment and leave me to rust. I will show you, show the galaxy how wrong you were.' he thought before something came to mind, the image of the 'dragon's head' that he saw on Shockwave's screen. 'Yesss, I will lead an army. One that eclipses even the Decepticons possessed and we will conquer this galaxy, and I will prove to be everything that Megatron wasn't.' The clone smiled before walking out of the lab, seeking out the help of the two bots be had brainwashed. PRIME EFFECT 4 In another lab elsewhere in the complex, Shockblast and Six-shot were busy attempting repairs on the space bridge generator. "Just have to connect these last two power nodes and..." Shockblast replied as he rummaged through inner workings of the maintenance panel on the side of the console, as his brother kept an eye on the power readings with his holo-tool. "Careful, Shockblast, if you are off by just a inch. You will short out the entire mechanism." "You worry too much Six-shot, we have been following the schematics that I downloaded from the complex's mainframe. Following the instructions and plans to the letter, it will work...there, try it now." the older brother replied as he got too his feet and took a step back. Six-shot then linked his holo-tool to the space bridge and ran the machine's start up sequence. The giant machine suddenly lit up and hummed loudly as it came to life, earning a confident smile from Shockblast. "Told you, now what do you say?" The younger bot sighed and shrugged his shoulders. "...your always right." "Good, now let's get back to Galvatron and find out what we can help him with next." Shockblast said as he turned around with his brother. But the moment they were facing the doorway, they both stopped in their tracks as an Asari stood in their way. "Shockblast?" She asked with a hopeful tone in her voice. Both bots replied by equipping their pistols and pointing them at her. "Another alien!" Six-Shot said angrily, a comment that took her by surprise. But she cast a barrier around herself and showed her biotic energy building in her clenched fists. "What? It's me, Liara. don't you recognise me?" the Asari asked back. The two brothers gave each other confused glances before looking back at Liara coldly. "Can't say we do, and how do you know my name?" the older bot replied. "I have known you the last five years, been lovers with you for the last one, surely you can't have forgotten that." Liara said. Bot bots laughed while continuing to keep their aim on her. "I seriously doubt that, think I would remember sleeping with a bright blue alien woman with tentacles for hair." Liara felt her heart sink a little at Her boyfriend's words, but knew that she had to get through to him. "Three years ago, you found yourself trapped after a cave -in during a search through some underground ruins on Vartan four." Shockblast's eyes widened as he remembered that day. "How do you know that?" he asked as he felt his resolve lessen slightly. "Because I was the one who dug you out, using my Biotics." Liara replied as she looked Shockblast in the eyes. "Don't listen to her, this alien could have easily looked up your profile on the Icarus's database to find that out." Six-shot said, never taking his aim off of the Asari. "No, Shockblast, listen to m..." Liara began to say before she suddenly felt a force akin to a wrecking ball hit her in the face, knocking the Asari off her feet and onto the ground. Both bots looked wide eyed as they saw Galvatron standing over the alien woman, he looked at them with a reassuring expression. "Are you both alright, this alien scum did not say anything to upset you did she?" "No, Galvatron. She said nothing of consequence. Just lies to try and confuse us." Six-shot replied, though Shockblast looked unsure. The Decepticon clone immediately noticed this. "Do not believe the lies of this alien, her people had us captured and tortured while they took our ship went through our database. They are not to be trusted." Liara who was still conscious due to her barrier taking most of the impact, looked up at both bots. "No, I saw him mess with your neural nets. You cannot trus..." Before she could finish, Galvatron grabbed her by the throat and pulled her off the ground. Her legs dangling as he held her up in the air. "You aliens are more resilient than I thought, no matter. Because you will die now." He then lifted his free fist and pulled it back, ready to deliver the killing blow. "Everybody, freeze!" another voice called out from the doorway, gaining their attention. What the bots saw was a security team made up of Turians, Asari and Humans all aiming their assault rifles at them. "Let Dr. T'Soni go, now!" the lead soldier commanded, Galvatron simply smiled before tossing Liara to them. One of the soldiers picked her off the ground and helped her to the back of the group. "She is hurt, I will get her back to the ship." "Very well, we will hold the others here." the leader replied. "Wait, Shockblast and Six-shot are not themselves. That man has brainwashed them." Liara said earning confused looks from he two brothers. "We can take it from here, Liara. Go." the leader said before turning his attention back to the three bots, as the other soldier and Liara left the scene. Galvatron then turned to Shockblast and Six-shot, seemingly not bothered by the armed group a head of them. "Yet more lies from the aliens, my Brothers. Will you stand with me against our common foe or surrender. Make your choice now..." he said before looking back at the group, his body began changing as his beast-like mode took over again. "...for I choose to fight!" he growled as he gritted his sharpened teeth. Both brothers looked at each other for a second before turning their attention to the enemies standing in their way. "We will fight!" they said in unison as they too let their anger take over, and the group of soldiers all watched with fear freezing them in place as the brothers bodies changed and mirrored that of Galvatron's beast-like mode . "Goddess help us... Open fire!" the lead soldier shouted as the three bots launched themselves at the group.
  13. CHAPTER 1 Twenty five years earlier... The planet Earth was known as one of the most beautiful worlds in the galaxy, with it's massive blue oceans and green, brown and white colored land masses, made it a visual delight for those who looked upon it. But with the arrival of the Reapers, sentient machines created by the Chaos Bringer known to many as 'Unicron'. The Earth came to looked to suffer the same fate as millions of worlds has before it. Gone was the colourful beauty that nature had given it, replacing it with the look of a world that had been burnt to a crisp. The Reapers had begun harvesting the planet's main Indigenous life form, a species called 'humanity', who for the majority of their short existence on the planet had believed that they were alone in the universe. But that belief was not true and as of this very moment, humanity fought alongside a race of autonomous living synthetic brings called 'Cybertronians'. This race who originally arrived on Earth and brought their civil war (which also cost them their own world) with them, was now living peacefully with Humanity. And now with the Reapers threatening to destroy everything that they held dear, both races along with the combined galactic community were fighting this last desperate battle to hold the line against the night. But it was a fight that they were losing, the galaxy has put all of its efforts into a Lithone device that was supposed to destroy their adversaries, but it instead became their doom. It was really a means to return Unicron back to the physical realm and with their creator among them again, the Reapers moved forward with their plan to destroy all organic life in the galaxy. But then stepped forward one man, his name was Jack Darby. But he was known amongst many as Jackson Prime, the first Human Prime. He activated the matrix of leadership and used it to destroy the Chaos Bringer, but at a terrible cost. For it also ended the life of Primus, the Aeon who created the Cybertronians and the line of Primes. For if Unicron was to be no more, then Primus had to fade away as well. So as the Chaos Bringer exploded and the wave of energy expanded across the whole galaxy and wiping the Reapers from existence. Unknown to those who survived that day to see a future that they could not believe that they would witness, a scream echoed from the destruction of the two Aeons. A scream that they could not hear, but as it echoed across the universe like a shout through a mountainous region of land. It would eventually be heard by a powerful force, a force that would see it as an act of defiance by the galaxy in question and in turn set their sights to the Milky Way. And so they begin their journey through the endless dark space that separates the galaxies from each other, to find out what happened to their deceased brethren. Because death is not a idea known to them, and so heaven help those responsible. Present day... In the vast void that was deep space, there was suddenly a flash of white light as a star-ship jumped out of hyperspace. It had the markings and color scheme of the Interstellar Federation and the Autobots on it's hull (white, blue and red), it's name in black, bold lettering 'Icarus' could be could also be clearly seen. Walking down one of the ship's dimly lit corridors was a Caucasian Cybertronian with brown hair and wearing purple and silver uniform that also had green outlines in its joints, he walked up to a door at the far end of said corridor and pressed the control panel to his right. The door opened and he walked onto the bridge of the ship, which had a circular design to it. The Commander's chair situated in the centre of the room with all main stations surrounding it, giving the commanding officer full view of his bridge crew. All stations were manned by a mixed crew of Cybetronian, human, Krogan and Asari, while sitting in the Commander's chair was a Turian who turned in his chair to look away from the Bridge canopy and towards the man who had just entered. "Shockblast, I thought you would like to know that we are approaching the last set of coordinates" the Turian said as the bot stopped beside him. "Commander Villius, we have saved the best one till last right." "I certainly hope so, after spending five years visiting and unearthing ancient Cybertronian settlements on numerous worlds across the galaxy, this last one should be jackpot... So the human saying goes." The Turian then looked at a holo-image that appeared over his right-side armrest, it showed the Icarus and it's distance to the planet. "I have to say that I am looking forward to your briefing, considering the planet we are about to enter the orbit of." "Thank you, Commander Vallius, all I require now is Dr T'Soni's assistance." Shockblast replied as he looked over to the Asari sitting behind the Turian at the science station, she looked over to him having heard her name spoken aloud and saw him smile back to her. "Are you ready, Liara?" The blue woman looked up and smiled at the bot. "Yes, Shockblast." she replied, mirroring his smile before looking at the Turian Commander. "Commander Vallius, I have finished recalibrating the ship's sensor grid and also completed the compiling of our database." she replied before standing up and joining the bot's side. "Thank you, Dr T'Soni, we are certainly lucky to have you on this expedition." Vallius said back as she walked over to Shockblast. "She's the best." the bot said with an affectionate tone, making the Asari almost blush in return. "We are approaching the planet sir." a young man at the helm stated, gaining their attention of which Liara was thankful. The pilot was Caucasian and had blonde hair and was wearing a yellow and purple uniform that like Shockblast, had green outlines at it's joints. "Very good, Six-shot. Take us into orbit." Vallius replied as he and everyone on the bridge could see their destination on the other side of the glass. "Cybertron!" Liara exclaimed with excitement in her voice. "Yes, our former home-world." Shockblast replied as the Icarus moved into high orbit above the dead planet, from their vantage point, they could clearly see the detail of it's heavily damaged surface. Results of the eons long civil war that had caused the Cybertronian exodus long ago. "We are in orbit, Commander." Six-shot stated. "Good. Shockblast, have your team ready in the briefing room." The Turian Commander replied, earning a nod from the Shockblast as he and the Asari walked over to he elevator and entered once it's doors had opened. A short time later and the two were in the briefing room with their team mates, waiting for the Commander to make an appearance. "Liara?" Shockblast asked as he looked down at a data pad in his hands. "Yes." she replied with a smile, earning a similar expression from the bot, though a shy one. "You know, I meant what I said to the Commander earlier." The Asari turned to the bot and wrapped her arms around his neck affectionately. "I know you did, and if I hadn't worked with you for the last five years then I wouldn't feel the same way about you." she said before closing the distance between them, their lips meeting and moving in synch as they kissed for a long moment. They then parted as they heard the door open and turned to see the Commander enter the room along with Six-Shot and several others who all sat down on the chairs that were grouped together in front of the two. "Well, we are all here, are you two ready?" Vallius said before Shockblast and Liara suddenly began moving like they had a purpose, which made Six-shot shake his head and sigh in response as he looked at the ground. "Yes." Shockblast replied before activating his holo-tool, thus making the room go dark. The only illumination coming from a holo-globe that was hovering just behind Liara and himself. "So... here we are, after five years of sifting through the mud on numerous worlds, finding evidence of previous Cybertronian settlements that pre-date the Great War and other discoveries that we did not know. We have finally arrived at the final destination of our journey before heading back to civilization." As Shockblast spoke, Liara with her holo-tool changed the globe to a model of Cybertron that rose up above them, so that those sitting at the back could see. "Cybertron." he said, before noticing a hand rise up from the group watching them. "Yes?" the bot replied as the Salarian brought his hand back down to his lap. "Thank you, but I find myself confused. Have there not been many expeditions to Cybertron over the last twenty-five years, not to mention the years before the Reaper war. What are we expecting to find that has not been found already?" Shockblast smiled and brought up another hologram next to the Cybertron, it showed lines of Cybertronian writings that glowed in orange. "The writing that you see before you is that of ancient Cybertronian, and each line was found on a tablet on each of these worlds." Shockblast added as Liara typed on the interface of her holo-tool, bringing up another hologram. This time of the galaxy which had several red dots scattered over it, gaining a knowing look from Six-shot. "Those are worlds that we have already visited in the last few years, finding those colony ruins." he said, earning a smile and a nod from the bot standing in front of him. "That is correct, now it should be noted that while the ruins we found on these worlds does in fact date back to the early years of the Golden Age. The tablets that these codes were inscribed, on are actually only a few million years old..." The majority of the audience just stared at him blankly which annoyed Shockblast, but he managed to hold it all inside as he took a breath. "...which means these codes were used during the Great War between the Autobots and Decepticons." Suddenly some members started to show sins that hey were catching on as Six-shot decided to speak again. "So what are these codes then?" Shockblast could not hide the satisfaction he felt at the younger bot's questions, he was really the only member of the audience who was showing a natural interest, though Commander Vallius who would just watch and listen, keeping all his questions to himself until the end of the briefing. But Six-shot always did have a keen eye for history, just like himself...his older brother. "Well, Six-shot, I...and it was no small task due to the complexities of the dead language...managed to decipher the codes." Shockblast replied as Liara worked her holo-tool again and made the codes separate from their formation, and hover above the audience. "Now each code on its own read like gibberish, they made no sense. But when I put all the codes together..." He said as the codes hovering over the audience began to join and mix with each other until it made on singular code and an arrow appeared at it's end and pointed to a location on Cybertron. "...they reveal a set of coordinates that are on the planet we are orbiting right now." The bot then smiled as he saw that he had the attention of the audience now. "Do you know which faction the codes belong to?" another crew member asked. "No, but whether Autobot or Decepticon. The fact that the coordinates were encrypted using ancient Cybertronian, shows that whatever is at this location is big and I believe that it is something more than worth a look into." Shockblast replied as he noticed a smile appear on the Commander's face. "Okay, Shockblast, you have a go. Everyone get ready, we will be landing the ship in exactly sixty minutes time. Let's go find out what's down there." With that the audience began leaving the room, going to their respective stations leaving Shockblast, Liara and Six-shot behind. "That went better than I thought it would." the Asari said as Shockblast placed his hand on her shoulder affectionately. "We are going to make history with this discovery I just know it." "Don't go planning any speeches for future awards, we may still find nothing down there." Liara replied as she placed her hand on his in return. "No, this is it. I can feel it in my bones, we are about to hit gold." the bot said back enthusiastically. "Don't you mean platinum?" Six-shot corrected, earning a smile from Shockblast. "Well, I was very impressed with your questions during the briefing, little brother, I think you may have chosen the wrong career." "Nah, I am a pilot, Shockblast. I find history interesting but I will leave that to you." the younger bot replied, earning a brotherly slap on the back from the older brother before he and Liara began to head for the exit. "See you on the bridge, Six-shot, I know you are dying to show off your skills with the landing." "Yeah, yeah. You should know I can make this ship do anything with my skill. The landing will be so smooth, it will be like a leaf kissing the surface of a pond." Six-shot replied as he followed them out. The ship broke orbit as it turned on its side so that the planet was below it's underside, as it prepared for its descent to the dead planet below it. On the bridge, Vallius rotated his chair three hundred and sixty degrees as he looked around at his crew. Six-shot was at the helm performing his per-landing prep, Liara was at the science station and Shockblast was sitting at her side as everyone else worked frantically around them. The Commander activated the intercom. "This is Commander Vallius to all personnel, brace yourselves for entry." his voice boomed around the ship as all that heard it stopped what the were doing and strapped themselves, the Turian then looked at his pilot. "Alright Six-shot, take us down." The pilot nodded before tapping the glowing blue holo-interface in front of him. "Aye aye, Sir." The Icarus's engines then fired as it started to descend down to Cybertron. As the ship entered the atmosphere, the turbulence was strong as they passed through an electric storm on the way down. They could hear the energy strikes through the hull and the inertial dampeners could not stop the vibrations from being felt as it made anything that was not fastened down shake and move around. "I think we are passing through the worst of it." Six-shot stated as the cloud cover dissipated, revealing the battered, and war torn surface below. It was a mixture of grey and bronze colors with the derelict buildings stood inside what looked like a desert. "Commander, that is the 'Sea of Rust, and the coordinates are located just north west of our current position'." Liara stated as she looked at the holo-interface of the science station, showing a three dimensional representation of the area she spoke of. "Very good, Doctor T'Soni. Sixshot, take us to the coordinates." Vallius replied. The pilot merely nodded in return as he made the Icarus turn slightly to the left and fly the ship over to what looked like a desert where a lone mountain could be seen. "There, right there!" Shockblast said as he pointed at the image. "The sensors show that it is not a natural formation." he added as he looked to Liara for confirmation. "He is right, there is another structure buried underneath. Looks like it has slowly been covered by the rust storms over the eons. Perfect place to hide something." she said with a smile, feeding Shockblast's enthusiasm more. "Very well. Six-shot, land us next to it." Vallius said while keeping his attention on the glass canopy and the mountain as the Icarus got closer to it. "Switching to thrusters to slow us and gently bring us down, also deploying landing struts. Touchdown in ten seconds." Six-shot said. The Icarus's struts appeared from inside the ship locked into place as it neared the ground, the strength of the thrusters kicking up a dust cloud around the vessel as it landed on to the Cybertronian surface, sending a shudder through the ship from the contact. "The Icarus has landed, shutting down the engines and deactivating all navigational systems." the pilot stated as the Commander smiled at everyone. "Nice flying, Six-shot." he said as the pilot's older brother undid his seat's straps and got up. "Okay, time to get down there and make history." he said enthusiastically as he looked out of the canopy down at the base of the mountain. "Easy there, Shockblast..." Liara said while looking at the holo-interface in front of her. "Sensors show a rust storm heading this way, it's about five hours away from us." The bot turned to her, his excitement dimming ever so slightly. "That's why we should go now, get a head start." he continued to say as he looked over to the Turian Commander, hoping to get the go ahead. "Very well, looks like you will need that time just to drill through the exterior anyway." Vallius replied with a nod as he brought up the scan of the mountain from the science station, it's three-dimensional model showing the thickness of the rust covering the building. "Thank you, Commander." Shockblast said back before looking at Liara, the enthusiasm back on his face. "Right, let's go." The bot and Asari then got up and left the bridge as Six-shot watched, this did not go unnoticed by Vallius who saw the look on the younger bot's face. "You want to go with your brother don't you, Six-shot?" The pilot's attention snapped back to his Commander from the door as he heard his name spoken. "Yes, Sir." he replied somewhat nervously, earning a smile from the Turian. "Go on then, the Icarus wont be needing it's pilot while we are planet-side anyway." The bot smiled at him and got up. "Thank you, Sir." he replied before heading out of the bridge, through the same door as his brother earlier. Vallius then turned his attention to the rest of his bridge crew. "Alright then, systems check. I want a report on each section by zero eight hundred hours." he said, earning a groan from some crew members around him. PRIME EFFECT 4 Liara looked down at the interface on her holo-tool as she stood outside in her silvery white/blue armour (she was wearing a breather helmet...they all were outside) as Shockblast and his brother (who were wearing armour with the same colour schemes as their uniforms) were helping the dig team operate the large laser drill that was situated on top of the Icarus's MAKO. The laser was firing a bright red and white hot energy beam at the base of the mountain that was towering over them, obliterating the rust that was blocking their way. They had been at this for nearly five hours as the Asari's com-link activated. "Dr T'Soni, how fares the drilling?" the voice of Commander Vallius said from his end of the call. Liara looked down at the read out of her holo-tool. "We are ninety five percent through, Commander." "Well that storm is nearly upon us, you may want to consider returning to the Icarus and finishing it tomorrow. This storm will be going on all night." Vallius replied, Liara then looked over to the north and saw a massive storm cloud approaching, it was so large it seemed to reach up into the heavens. "I think you are corr..." she started to say, only for Shockblast to interrupt over the link. "No, I will not let a storm stop us now. We can take cover from it via the building that is encased in this mountain of rust." the bot replied with a slightly annoyed tone. "Are you sure, Shockblast? I don't want anyone taking any unnecessary risks." Vallius replied. "Yes, and everyone on my team agrees with me." "Doctor T'Soni, does that include you?" the Turian asked. The Asari suddenly felt conflicted by the Commander's question, true she did see the logic in Vallius's words. But she also understood Shockblast's eagerness to find out what was inside the mountain, plus the thought of waiting several hours to a day for the storm to pass did not sit well with her either. She had trusted Shockblast for the last five years, and she did not plan to stop now. "I agree with Shockblast." she replied, knowing full well the grin that would be on the bot's face right now. "Very well, just be careful in there. Due to the strength of the storm, communications will be unavailable until after it has dissipated." "Understood." Shockblast replied before ending the link. It took a further thirty minutes for the laser drill to finish and by then the storm was pretty much all over the area, gale force winds blowing the sand like rust up into the air, making visibility almost zero. But the dig team managed to get into the tunnel that they had created through the heavy layer of rust that had slowly covered whatever structure had stood there over the eons. Shockblast and Liara led the way as they shone their torches into the darkness ahead of them, hoping to find some clue as to what they would find. After a short time walking through the tunnel, the gale force winds of the storm now just a faint echo behind them. The group came up to what looked like a metallic wall. "Looks like there is something written on it." Six-shot observed as His brother reached out and wiped a gloved hand over one of the symbols. "It's ancient Cybertronian." he said before activating his holo-tool. "Can you translate it? Liara asked. "Give me a few minutes to get my bearings with this." the bot replied as both the Asari and Six-shot gave each other a knowing look before looking back at the rest of the team, who had started to talk amongst themselves. After fifteen minutes of hearing conversations such as... "What do you think we will find down here?" "Perhaps a first edition of Sargent Kup's war stories." "By the Allspark, I hope not!" ... Liara rolled her eyes and turned back to Shockblast who was still trying to figure out the wall in front of them. "Figured it out yet?" Six-shot asked before the she could say the same question. "I don't get it! I have gone through every translation matrix I have and the symbols on the wall still make no sense." the older brother replied with a frustrated tone. The three of them looked at wall and the way that the symbols were arranged in a circular pattern. "That looks familiar..." Liara said before bringing up the codes via her holo-tool. "..., the symbols on the wall are identical to the first symbol on each line of code." she added as Six-shot decided to pint something out. "Yeah and the number of symbols on the wall match the lines of code we have." Shockblast looked up at the wall with a confused expression that soon changed to one of embarrassment. "How did I not notice that?" he said. "Don't worry about it, let's just see if we can now open this door." his younger brother said as he placed a hand on his shoulder. "Okay, let's see what is in this door shall we." Shockblast replied as he began a scan with his holo-tool. "I am detecting a series of small CPUs inside the door, each one behind one of those symbols, there is also a faint signal being emitted from each CPU. So if we..." he said as he brought up the holograms of the codes and lined them up with each corresponding symbol on the wall. "...send the codes along the same signals, then..." he added as the images then passed into the wall, gaining a ping from his holo-tool. ".. Open sesame." he smiled as the gears and cogs could be heard turning from behind the wall as it began to open up, releasing a small dust cloud from the other side. "Well done." a Salarian team mate said as the rest of them had stopped talking and watched as the three lead members figured out how to open it. "Okay, let's see what's in there." Shockblast said as he done his torch into the opening and began walking through the door, followed closely by Liara and Six-shot and then the rest of the team. It did not take long before the group entered a massive room, one that would have been of normal height for a Cybertronian in their original body. Six-shot activated a drone with his holo-tool, it's bright glow illuminating the room so everyone could see what was around them. It was filled with consoles and heavy equipment and also had three doorways that led elsewhere in the complex. Shockblast looked around in utter glee before turning to his team. "Alright, we are going to split up in to teams so that we can explore this place some more. Also activate your search drones if you find any more rooms, so that we can make a map of this place." So the bot then split everyone into four teams of three (being sure to have both Liara and Six-shot with him) and had one team stay behind and examine the room they now in, while having the rest of teams (including his own) check out where the three door ways led. Once they had split up and headed down their respective corridor, Shockblast's team entered another large room, but this one only had one massive computer at one end, and a large containment tank in it's center. There was also a large hole in one of the walls that looked like it connected to a mine tunnel. "Six-shot, activate a search drone to explore the area behind that hole." the older brother said. His young brother nodded and activated his holo-tool, making an orange bill-orb appear in front of him before it flew off through the opening and into the tunnel beyond it. "Okay, the drone is mapping the tunnel." he said as the interface of his holo-tool showed the ever expanding map of the complex grow some more with the drone relaying more data. Shockblast nodded back before joining Liara at the computer. "I am detecting an Energon source nearby, but it's readings are not exactly the same as what we know Energon to be like." the Asari said as Shockblast looked at her interface. "I thought Energon was completely depleted throughout the galaxy, which was the reason why our species had to switch to pretender bodies to begin with." Six-shot said as His older brother noticed something about the readings. "That's right, but these readings do not match with that. It is picking up Synthetic Energon, a lot of it." Liara gave both bots a puzzled look. "What is Synthetic ener...?" "Just call it Synthergon for short." Six-shot interrupted, earning an Annoyed look from his brother, before he turned his attention back to Liara. "..Synthergon is exactly what it sounds like, a Cybertronian-made alternative to the real energy source. The formula for it was created by the ancients and then lost over time, only for Team Prime to rediscover it during the twilight years of the great war." "So why don't we see this 'Synthergon' around today?" Liara asked, her undivided attention squarely on Shockblast. "Because the formula they found was incomplete, and they would have had to sacrifice one of their team to gain the full formula." "With it incomplete, the Synthergon would have dangerous side effects on any Cybertronian that used it, taking away their inhibitions while also making their bodies grow dependent on it." Six-shot added while confining to map the mine tunnels. "Like a drug addict... I understand. But either way, whoever's complex this is, clearly found a way to use it as a power source." the Asari replied as she looked at the power signature on her holo-tool. Shockblast activated his own and ran a scan of the computer. "I have gained access to some of the system, attempting to restore power to the..." he said before being cut of by the sound of generators powering up and the lighting system of the complex activating, illuminating the rooms and the corridors. The bot looked around at the lit up room and was about to speak when his com-link beeped. "Shockblast, everything is powering up around us. And we are detecting a breathable atmosphere within the complex. Please tell us that was you?" one of the other teams asked. "Yes, we have restored power. Nothing to worry about." he replied as the group removed their helmets, before the containment tank powered up and a trap door opened inside and a human sized synthetic body strapped down to a mobile berth rising up into the center of the tank. "What is that? It looks like a blank slate." Liara asked with wide eyes, gaining mirrored looks from her team mates. "That is a Pretender body." Shockblast replied. "But it doesn't look like any Pretender model I have seen before." Six-shot said as his older brother took a scan with his holo-tool. "This is a more advanced model than the ones that Cybertronians were forced to use all those years ago, I am not entirely sure but it looks like this has an 'T-Cog'." Liara looked at him with another puzzled expression. "T-Cog?" "Back when our race had their original bodies, they also had a T-Cog which allowed them to scan a vehicle of equal size and the transform into a replica. The T-Cog in this Pretender is not as complex, it looks like it only alters the body slightly. In what way I am not entirely sure, I would need to see it in action." Shockblast replied as he walked closer to the glass canopy that surrounded the pretender, only for his holo-tool to start pinging, taking his attention from the body. "Alright, I have manage to interface with the main computer, accessing the data logs now." "I thought the computer would have been more encrypted than that, considering how well locked this place was." Six-shot said. "Maybe whoever owned this place never thought anyone would figure out the codes to gain entry, let alone reach this far." the older brother replied as looked down at the holo-screen in front of him as lines of data scrolled down it. Liara took a closer look at the pretender with an unnerved expression. "I know it is a blank slate, but that thing doesn't look particularly friendly." Six-shot stood beside her and looked at it too as Shockblast smiled and clicked his fingers as his holo-tool pinged again. "Eureka, now let's get some answers." he said as the others stood beside him, just as he enlarged the holo-screen which changed to show a Cybertronian figure looking back at them. It was quite bulky and it's armour was purple colored, but it was the solitary red optic staring back that was most recognisable to two of the group. "Shockwave! Well now we know which faction this complex belonged to." Six-shot exclaimed in surprise as Liara looked at screen. "Shockwave, who's that?" "He was the Decepticon's Head Scientist and he was well known for 'tampering with with nature'." the younger bot replied. "Are we going to see what this log is about or do you guys want to carry on talking." Shockblast said with a tone mixed with annoyance and excitement. "Yeah alright, I know what this means to you, Shockblast. With your liking of all things Decepticon-like." Six-shot said back. "Well, I have known you for five years (dated you for two) and I am still not really comfortable with your favorite subject. I mean the Decepticons were evil right?" Liara said as she looked at her boyfriend. "It was a civil war, only beliefs and ideals separated our people down the middle. It was the Cons leader who was truly evil, and he ruled the faction using fear to keep his men in line." Shockblast replied. "Megatron, that's his name right?" the Asari asked back, earning a nod from the brothers. "I still don't understand it, but at least you're not obsessed with the Reapers like some others I know. Those things nearly destroyed my planet, let alone the entire galaxy. I guess that is far worse." Liara added. "That's right, especially since the Reapers were creations of Unicron and the Decepticons were enemies of him too. Megatron even allied himself with Optimus Prime to defeat The Chaos Bringer." Shockblast said. "Yeah, I remember hearing all about that back at school...so can we play this log now?" Six-shot asked earning a smile from the two lovers, before the older bot tapped the holo-screen to activate the video. "Research log Alpha nine seven two. My continuing research into Pretender technology has brought up a weakness that If not corrected, could prove fatal to any Decepticon using it. Though it is true that even in these smaller bodies, we would still have strength and stamina which would give us an advantage over the Humans, but to maintain adequate deception and allow our agents to walk among our enemy, then certain advantages of ours had to be sacrificed to allow the mimicry to be successful. But now, using the knowledge gained from successful experiments such as Airachnid and to a certain degree, the Dinobots. I believe that I can finally produce a Pretender form that will give us a permanent advantage, not just over the humans, but over all of our enemies." The video ended and the three friends looked at each other. "So that pretender over there is what he came up with." Liara said. "Certainly looks that way, the log was dated during the final year of the war. The Decepticons never got the chance to use any of the Pretender tech, good job too." Six-shot replied as Shockblast kept his eyes on his holo-screen as he scrolled through the list of vid logs. Suddenly The younger bot's com-link activated. "Six-shot, I was trying to contact Shockblast but seem to have trouble making a connection." the Salarian scientist from earlier said, making the young bot look over to his brother. Shockblast just gave him a look which said 'I turned it off', so Six-shot just smiled and shrugged. "...yeah, it seems that we are having trouble with our communicators." "But I managed to contact you just fine." the Salarian replied. "I don't know why that is, I am only a pilot after all." Six-shot answered, annoyance beginning to show in the tone of his voice. "Well, I need to speak to Shockblast..." the Salarian said, earning a eye roll from the older brother who in frustration tapped his com-link. "What is it? He snapped. "Ugh... no need for that tone." the Salarian replied in a similarly angry tone. Shockblast did not need this right now, this particular scientist was annoying at best, but now with the discovery they had just made, he did not have the time nor patience to put up with him. "What is it?" he asked again, this time with a little less anger. "We have found what appears to be the controls for a space bridge generator in the laboratory we are currently inside, I thought you would like to know." the Salarian replied, though you could hear in his voice that he was still pissed off. "Okay, mark the lab on your holo-map, rendezvous with the other teams and come over to our location, we have just activated Shockwave's main computer." Shockblast replied. "Shockwave?... Alright we are on our way." was the reply from the scientist as he closed the com channel. "He certainly changed his tune." Six-shot said as his brother returned his attention to the data base. "There is another file data log that looks interesting, but I am having trouble accessing it." Liara looked at the holo-screen with a curious expression. "Why, is it encrypted?" "No, it seems to be connected to a separate system. Let me just try...(ping)..that's it." he said as suddenly a loud humming could be heard from behind the north wall directly behind of them, making the group turn round. "What did did you do?" Six-shot said as he and Liara looked at Shockblast. "I saw a file in the database that had no name or description what so ever, so I activated it." the bot replied as just like earlier with the large door, the sound of gears turning could be heard before a section of the wall ascended, revealing a inner chamber. It was no bigger than a closest, but contained something that made everyone's eyes widen in surprise. "Is that what I think it is?" Six-shot asked as they stared at a machine that had a glass cylinder in it's center, and inside that pulsed a red glowing ball of energy. "It looks like a spark." Shockblast observed. "But I thought sparks were always white coloured, I have never heard of a red coloured one before." he added. "Instead of standing here scratching your heads, how about looking through the database. Surely there is information about this." Liara said as she brought up the database on her holo-tool after transferring the entry key from Shockblast. But just as she started searching the files, the other groups entered the lab. "Well, we are here. What have you fou..." the Salarian said before catching a glimpse of the red spark pulsing in front of them. For a long moment, everyone other than Liara (who was still searching through the database) just looked at the spark. Some of them were admiring the red energy that pulsed through out it, others just stared at it with a focused expression. But then the Asari brought them all out of the trance. "Damn it." she cursed, which was out of character for her. "What?" Shockblast asked as he looked over to the Asari. "I found the files, but they are all too fragmented to activate." Just as she said this, her boyfriend suddenly had an idea. "Wait, why don't we just transfer it to the Pretender over there and Wake them up?" he said. "You said this was Shockwave's lab right, and now you want to wake up some experiment in the hope it knows what was done to it. It's more likely to try and kill us." the Salarian said in response. "Or we may just free someone who has been another victim of his twisted science." Six-shot said, earning a smile from his brother. "Right, I think it is worth the risk. I mean we do carry weapons with us, so we can act if whoever it is does end up being a threat." the bot said as he gestured to the pistol equipped to his waist. "We should at least inform the Icarus of this and see what Commander Vallius thinks." another scientist said amongst the group. "The storm is still going to strong out there for our com-links to work." Shockblast replied. "Wait, what about the space bridge generator. We could repair that in say...a couple of hours, then use it to get help from the ship." the Salarian said back. "That would take too much time, and do you really have any experience repairing space bridge technology?" Shockblast replied sarcastically. "I believe it would be more prudent than waking up an experiment that we have no idea what it is." the Salarian spat. "Enough!" Liara shouted at the pair of them, making both men look at her with startled expression. "Shockblast, do you think we can wake him up in that containment tank as an added security measure?" she then asked while pointing at it. "Sure." he replied confidently, which made the Asari smile. "In the five years I have known you, I have learnt not to doubt you. Can't see any reason why I should start now." she added with a loving smile. "Alright, we have quite a few preparations to make before we can pull this off." the bot said enthusiastically, as he started giving orders to the rest of the team. PRIME EFFECT 4 Twenty minutes later and everyone took their positions around the lab, three of which held their pistols at the containment tank which still held the inactive pretender body. Which was connected to the cylinder containing the unknown spark via a transparent cable. Shockblast was standing just behind one of the armed scientists, as he and Liara oversaw the operation. Six-shot stood just aways from them, next to the machine containing the red spark. "Alright, we are ready for transfer." he said as his brother nodded back. "Then let's begin, start the transference." The younger bot then tapped a control on his holo-tool which bright the machine to life, and suddenly the red spark began drifting out of the glass cylinder, down the cable and towards the vacant body lying in the middle of the large room. "Okay, so far so good." Shockblast stated as he kept his attention on both the read outs from his holo-tool, and also the progress of the spark, which was coming up to the half way point of the journey. The bot felt a lump grow in his throat as he watched it slowly move down the cable, before it entered the tank and went into the pretender body via an adaptor on it's chest. Almost immediately, the pretender started to change. It's skin colour became that of a Caucasian male in his early-forties, his hair was black with a hint of silver mixed in as it appeared on his head. His torso shaped itself into a well toned and built frame, as the rest of the body grew in height an extra inch or so (six foot tall). The newly transformed figure had the look of a battle hardened veteran as he lay there on the berth. Everyone outside of the containment tank just watched in amazement at the transformation that had occurred before them. "That was amazing." Liara exclaimed before the newly created Cybertronian's eyes suddenly opened, revealing his eyes to have red irises. He gasped as he took his first breath and rose up from the berth, surprising everyone before falling to his knees with his hands up against the glass. "Help...me." he said on a deep, commanding voice. Though a hint of helplessness could be made out in his tone as he looked up at the people staring at him from the other side of the glass. "What are you waiting for, he needs help." Shockblast said urgently while the others looked on utterly dumbstruck. "Why don't you help me?" the newborn bot said. "Six-shot, give me a hand." Shockblast said, earning a nod from his brother as both started for the containment tank's control panel. When suddenly the Salarian scientist got in their way and pointed his pistol at them. "What are you doing? he obviously needs aid." Six-shot asked in disbelief. "No, this has gone to far. As soon as the storm passes, I am reporting to Commander Vallius. We should let him decide the fate of this...?" The Salarian then turned to the unknown male and looked down at him. "What is your name?" The bot looked up at him with a confused expression. "My...name?" "Yes, your name. What is it?" the scientist snapped, but the man was unfazed by the Salarian's attitude. "My name is..." he started to say before mumbling the first half of his name. "...atron." Everyone, Shockblast included stared at him with their eyes wide. "Did he say what I think he just said?" one of the others said at the back. "Are you Megatron?" the Salarian asked, this suddenly caused a change in the Cybertronian as his eyes met with the scientist's and stared at him coldly. "No!" his answer was cold with a hint of anger in his tone as he began to stand up. "Then...what is...it?" the Salarian asked, suddenly feeling very small due to the way that was being looked at. The man was now standing and bracing his hand against the glass, the nails on his hand were changing into claws. His body became slightly more muscular and as he gritted his teeth as he felt his anger building up, revealing them to now be as sharp as a blade's tip. But what had everyone's blood suddenly running cold was that his red eyes now looked like those of a lizard. My name..." he then said in an angry tone as he dug his claws into the glass, making multiple cracks appear, weakening it considerably. The group was now so scared by the sudden change in this bot, that even the ones with their pistols pointed at him could not move. Suddenly the man pulled at the glass, shattering it and freed himself from the tank. And before anyone could react, he charged out and grabbed the Salarian by the throat, digging his claws into his neck and causing blood to pour from the wounds. As the scientist died there in his grip, the man looked around at the others staring back in fear. "My name is Galvatron, you will kneel before me...or die!"
  14. EPILOGUE The Defiant crew was working amongst the rubble and ruins of what once was the city of London merely an hour or so after the battle had ended, trying to help anyone that needed it, be they civilians or allies. Ratchet had checked up on every Autobot in the team and was now scanning Bumblebee with his holo-tool. The Medic was hoping these scans could shine light on the reason they all felt dizzy and had collapsed when the mysterious energy wave had passed through them, but as of right now he was no closer to an answer. Ratchet then finished his scan of the scout and gestured him to move. "Thank Primus, I hate checkups." the young bot said, earning and annoyed expression from the Medic as he pinched his nose. "Bumblebee, these scans can help me understand what happened to us when the Reapers were vanquished. Don't you want to know how it affected us?" The Scout just shrugged his shoulders in response. "Can't say it is on the top of my worry list..." The Medic looked at him sternly, yet Bumblebee continued. "...I am just saying that we should just look on the bright side. I mean I feel absolutely fine and am just happy that we lived of through this, that should be enough. Now can I get going, I promised Raf I would help him with the other tech teams, as they attempt to get the resistance's auxiliary planetary sensors online." "And what do you know about repairing such hardware?" Ratchet asked with a mocking tone in his voice. "Not enough to know what to do by myself, but I have watched both Raf and Tali enough times while on board the Defiant. So I know I can be of help." The Medic nodded and waved his young friend off. "Alright go, there is only one more person I need a scan of anyway." he replied before looking around him, trying to spot a certain femme. Meanwhile, Arcee was sitting on a piece of concrete and making modifications to her com-link with her holo-tool before tapping it again. "Jack? Jack, can you hear me? it's Arcee. Jack?" she said repeatedly but all she heard on the other end was static. Garrus was not far from the femme and shook his head as he watched her attempt to alter the frequency of her com link again. Smokescreen stood beside the Turian and looked at what had his attention. "How long has she been at it for?" "She isn't giving up hope that he is out there, I can't say that I blame her. If it was Tali up there, then I wouldn't even turn the com-link off." At that moment Ratchet turned up. "Have any of you seen Arc…., there she is." the Medic said as he noticed the femme and started to walk over to her. "Arcee, I need to take a scan of your physiology. So that I can figure out if that energy wave had any adverse effects on us." "It will have to wait, Ratchet, I'm busy." Arcee replied sternly without even acknowledging that he was there, as she returned to typing on the interface of her holo-tool. The Medic sighed in response before walking over and placing a hand on her shoulder. "Arcee, you have been at this for hours now with no success. Maybe it's time to stop." Arcee then did exactly that, which made the Ratchet sigh in relief. "Okay, now I am going to take a scan of you." The femme then looked at him, her eyes narrowing before swiping his hand away and standing up to face him. "What are you saying? I should just give up on my 'spark-mate', that I just accept that he is gone." she spat at him with a venomous tone. Ratchet did not know where to look as he felt the cold and confrontational stare coming from Arcee. "I am not giving up on Jack and until I see a body, I will not accept that he is gone...not again." she added as she clenched her fist, feeling an overwhelming urge to knock the old-bot on his ass for once again proving how ignorant and uncaring he could appear to be. The Medic just stayed quiet as Arcee readied her holo-tool again, and then glanced at him one more time before leaving. "So you can stick that scan where the sun don't shine." The femme then stormed off, leaving a bemused Ratchet behind as Garrus joined his side. "Nice going, Ratchet." the Turian said. "I didn't know that they had become spark-mates." Ratchet replied with a surprised tone. "I'll talk to her." Garrus said back as he started to go in the same direction as the fuming femme, only to stop when he felt a hand on his shoulder. "No, Garrus. I should go and apologise." With that Ratchet went after her. Arcee was seething right now as she walked off, not caring what direction she was heading as long as it was far away from Ratchet. The femme had to really hold herself back from pummelling him into nothing for having the audacity to tell her to let Jack go. She couldn't do it, not again. Not like when her lover had died the day that the Normandy was destroyed by the Quintessons a few years back. So she stopped where she was and looked up to the sky while activating her com-link, hoping that this time she may hear his voice on the other end. "Jack, it's Arcee. Are you there? If so then give me sign…..please?" she asked, the tone of her voice sounding like the femme was putting the last of her hope into one final plea. But as she stood there and looked up into the clear blue sky, hearing nothing but the sound of static on the other end of the com, she then hung her head in despair. Not wanting to accept the reality of the situation. Her spark ached at the choice she had in front of her, and she felt her eyes begin to well up as this feeling sunk in. The femme was so engrossed in her own despair, she did not hear Ratchet walking up behind her. "Arcee?" he said in a somewhat unsure tone, almost like he was expecting the Autobot to attack him. On hearing her name spoken aloud, the femme was brought out of her solitary moment. And with recognising the voice that said it, her anger began to flare up again, as she clenched her fists. "I thought I warned you to stay away." she said with hostility in her voice without even turning around to look at him. "I guess I don't like myself for what I said to you, Arcee. I am sorry." the Medic replied with a shameful tone. The femme though kept her back to him, so Ratchet moved closer and as soon as he was standing right behind her, he could hear her crying. "Arcee?" he asked as walked in front of her to see the femme was holding her head in her hands and weeping. He immediately pulled her into a sympathetic embrace, with Arcee hugging him back as she started to cry uncontrollably. "I am sorry, Arcee. I know you loved him very much and he you. But we don't know what has happened up there since the fleet jumped away, maybe you are right and he is actually okay and just unable to contact us." "I hope so, because if he really is gone this time..." Arcee said, hating herself for even contemplating that line of thinking. " … I don't think I would be able to go on without him." she finished as Ratchet listened. "Arcee, I know you want to find out that Jack is okay, I mean we all want to hear that he and Optimus are safe. But since there is nothing we can do in that respect, then we should focus on what can be done like making sure the crew are okay and searching for any survivors of HAMMER. Jack left you in charge Arcee and we need you right now." The femme remained quiet for a long moment as she mulled over her choices, then finally she pulled back from her colleague and looked at him with a stoic expression. "You are right, Ratchet….but I am afraid that while Jack is missing, I just can't focus on anything else right now. I know you probably don't understand, but….." "No, Arcee. I do understand. Believe me, I do." he replied with a sympathetic expression of his own. "Thank you, please inform Garrus that he is in charge for the time being." the femme said back before recalibrating her com link. "Of course." Ratchet said before he turned to leave. "…If you want to take that scan, you might as well do it now." Arcee said regaining the Medic's attention as he nodded back before activating his holo-tool and taking a scan of the femme. In the time it took for the scan to be completed, neither bot spoke as they focused on their individual tasks. That was until their silence was broken by Arcee's com-link activating. "Jack…..is that you?" she asked hopefully. "Arcee, this is Admiral Bryce. It's good to hear your voice." The femme sighed as if somewhat disappointed before replying. "Likewise, Admiral. What's your situation?" "We have only just returned to Earth space with the rest of the fleet, some of the rest have begun heading back to their respective home-worlds through the space bridge which is damaged but functional. We have also heard back from those worlds the Reapers were attacking that they have been destroyed. From what we can piece together, every system and colony in the galaxy has been purged of the Reapers by the energy wave that was released from Unicron's body. I don't know how they did it, but Optimus and Darby stopped them. The entire galaxy owes them a tremendous debt." the Admiral replied as Arcee listened to his every word intently. "How is it looking up there, is Unicron's body still intact?" she asked hopefully. But then for what felt like an age, no answer came back except for a sigh from the Admiral. "Arcee..." the Admiral said with a somber tone in his voice as he knew the reason whuy she asked that question. "... all we can see up here is a large debris field, there is no sign of Unicron. I am sorry." The femme suddenly had a lump in her throat as she felt like her world was crumbling around her, she felt her eyes well up again and was so caught up in the flood of emotion, that she didn't not hear the muffled sounds of others speaking to the Admiral. "Arcee, are you still there?" he asked, which snapped her to her senses again, she began wiping away the tears as they formed. "...Yes, Admiral. I am still here." she said while trying to pull herself together, though if the Admiral had noticed this, he didn't let it show in his voice. "Our sensors are picking up a faint power signature within the debris, I will launch teams to investigate and let you know immediately if we find something." Bryce said in an understanding tone. "Thank you, Admiral." the femme replied as new hope, though small was reignited in her spark. "Bryce out." the Admiral said back before closing the com channel. Arcee then just took a deep breath and waited for the news as Ratchet began to head back to Garrus and the others. PRIME EFFECT 3 The debris field was vast as it orbited the planet Earth, it was all that was left of the Chaos Bringer himself, Unicron. The shuttles began weaving in and out between the asteroid sized chunks of the Aeon while making their way to the field's center tracking the ever faint power signature. On board one shuttle, two Autobots sat in the cockpit, while three more were sitting in the aft-section. "I don't know how anyone could have survived something like this Blades." a bot in blue/red and silver armor said while staring out of the shuttle's canopy at the debris field around them. The pilot who was wearing red and silver armor kept his attention on his flying as he replied. "I know what you mean, Hotspot." Out of nowhere, the shuttle's com-link activated and Admiral Bryce's voice could be heard. "Shuttle-five, Protectobots, what is your status?" Hotspot tapped the holo interface in front of him. "Admiral, we are well inside the debris field now and closing in on the power signature. But it is very faint, and could disappear at any time." "Acknowledged, keep me posted. Bryce out." the Admiral replied before closing the com channel. "Guys, we have a large contact drifting our way. It will be I our flight path inside the next thirty seconds." another bot wearing white/black armour said from the back as he worked at his holo-interface. "I see it, Streetwise, plotting course around it." Blades replied as the shuttle veered to the right . "By Primus, look at that." Hotspot said as the other bots stood in the doorway to the cockpit and looked out of the canopy. "Yeah, that's the contact. Had no idea that it would be that though." Streetwise said in return as he was joined by First Aid and Groove (wearing white/black/red and silver/yellow/blue armor respectively). As the Autobots looked out at the debris field that was drifting around them, a massive piece of debris suddenly blocked out the light from the sun as it appeared just aways from the shuttle. Five pairs of eyes widened as suddenly they saw that it was Unicron's face. "His face survived, I mean his face! The majority of his head explodes, but his face is still in one piece" First Aid said with a slightly unnerved tone in his voice. "Yeah, so his face is still there. Streetwise, is there any emissions coming from it." Groove asked as the Autobot went back to his console and run a scan, shaking his head once it was done. "Negative, that thing is dead." "See, First Aid, nothing to worry about." Groove reassured the medic bot, but Streetwise was still at his console. "Guys, that power signature though is coming from a larger piece of debris just behind ugly's face". "Roger that, taking us around big ugly." Blades replied, the shuttle then flew past the former Chaos Bringer's face and saw a very large chunk of debris. "Taking a scan of it now." Streetwise said as he tapped at his holo-interface. "The energy signature is definitely originating from that." he added as Hotspot tapped Blades on the arm. "See that large hole on it's upper left, that is our entry point. Take us in." The Autobot pilot nodded before manoeuvring the shuttle slowly towards the hole with the vessel's thrusters. once he was happy that he had it lined up, Blades then used a quick burst of power to move the shuttle through the hole as it's search lights activated and illuminated the debris's interior. The Protectobots all crammed into the cockpit to see what they had found themselves in. "Look at the almost spherical layout of the room." First Aid said, as Hotspot pointed down at the ground. "Land us there, Blades, and, Everyone, equip your breather helmets. The readouts say zero atmosphere out there." "Doesn't bode well for us to find any survivors, does it?" Streetwise replied sombrely, earning a similar look from all his team mates. The shuttle then landed gently and it's hatch opened with a hiss as the vessel's interior was exposed to the vacuum outside. The Protectobots stepped climbed out and looked around at the rubble covered floor, then at the ceiling. Taking in how large the room was. "By Primus, this place is massive. How in the pit did it survive Unicron exploding?" Hotspot asked, but Groove narrowed his eyes and focused as he looked around the room. "Is it just me, or does this look familiar?" he said as he shone his torch light onto the ceiling. "If you mean that it looks like the inside of a spark chamber, then you would be correct." First Aid replied as he scanned the area with his holo-tool. "Are you picking up any life signs?" Hotspot asked the medic. "Negative, but I am getting a clear reading of the power signature, it is right over there. Beneath the rubble in the centre of the room." First Aid answered while pointing in it's direction. They all walked forward as a pinging sound coming from The medic's holo-tool increased in loudness and frequency the closer they got to the room's center. Blades shown his torch to the left, something catching his eye as his torch light reflected off it under the rubble there. "Hey, what's that?" Blades said as he began to walk over to it, Groove following him until he stopped. His eyes widened as he recognised the Autobot shield. "Give me a hand with this." he said as the two bots began moving and clearing the rubble until suddenly they stopped, their eyes widening as they stared down at the prone body of Optimus Prime. The others looked over with confused expressions. "What is it?" Hotspot asked. "We have found Optimus's body." Blades replied sombrely all the bots then just stopped in response. Their faces mirroring Blades and Groove. They all just stood still for a long moment while they mourned their Leader's passing. Then the constant beeping from First Aid's holo-tool regained his and Hotspot's attention. ...Okay, so what will we find here?" he said with a deep breath, keeping his composure as the two bots stood over a plié of rubble and began to dig. Blades then uncovered something else as he and Groove had started to clear enough of he rubble to pick up The fallen Autobot Leader's body. "Guys, we have found the star saber too." he said as he attempted to pick it up, but the blade would not budge from it's spot. "Blades, surely you remember that only a Prime can lift up such a weapon." Groove replied before Hotspot looked back at them while clearing away the rubble in front of him. "Just leave it where it lies then, it's not like it will go anywhere." The Protectobot leader and his medic then lifted and cleared the last of the rubble only to stop and gasp at what they saw. "What?" Blades and Groove both said in unison before running over and joining their team mates, gasping too in response at what the saw. Lying before them was Jackson Prime's body, sprawled out on the floor. His Prime armor was damaged while also looking completely burned, as was his exposed skin. "Primus! What happened to him?" Hotspot asked in shock, First Aid knelt down and looked over the Prime's body, noticing that Jack was still holding on to the matrix of leadership. "Jackson Prime unleashed the matrix on Unicron." the Medic replied as he pointed at the sacred artifact. "Is that the power signature we have tracked here?" Groove asked, FirstAid though shook his head in response. "No, it's completely drained." he replied while looking at the now black crystal inside the casing that used to shine with the brightness of a star before today. The Medic bot then ran a scan of the Prime with his holo-tool, only to express a look of shock when he saw the results. This did not go unnoticed by Hotspot. "First Aid, what is it?" The medic looked up with an expression of complete bewilderment on his face. "Hotspot, I am picking up life signs from his body." "what? You mean he's..." the Protectobot leader said back in surprise. "Jackson Prime is still alive!" FirstAid replied, earning similar looks from the rest of the team. "How, I mean we are in a vacuum..." Hotspot said as he reached down to check the Prime's pulse, but suddenly his hand was stopped in its tracks less than a centimetre from Jack, as a blue energy rippled around his unconscious body. "Did you see that?" Groove asked before Blades poked at the Prime, again causing the energy to ripple over him. "Stop it!" First Aid suddenly said aloud, earning a surprised look from the Autobot. "Every time you do that, the energy signature we have been tracking lessens." "So this field is what we have been detecting all this time." Streetwise asked as the Medic looked down at a cracked chest plate of Jack's Prime armor noticing a bright light escaping from it. "Yes, it is the energy field we have been reading. But it is powered by the 'Star of Terra', and it is keeping him alive…somehow." "So how do we move him then without weakening the field and killing him?" Blades asked making the medic look to the others. "I think that as long as we don't use too much….. Streetwise and Groove, lift the Prime up gently. I will check the field strength." The two Autobots did as they were instructed and took hold of the unconscious Commander and began to lift him up, the energy field that surrounding him rippling over his body for just a moment. "The field is continuing to drop, but at a more slower rate." First Aid said with a smile. Hotspot mirrored his expression before looking at Streetwise and Groove. "Alright, get Jackson Prime on the shuttle. First Aid, you and Blades recover Optimus's body and do the same." He then tapped the com link on his breather helmet. "Hotspot to Ark. Admiral Bryce, do you read me?" "Bryce here, what have you found over there?" the Admiral replied over the link. "Sir, we found both Primes. Jackson Prime is still alive and we are extracting him now." "I don't believe it….." Bryce replied, unable to hide the relief in his voice. "….but how? Wait, never mind. You can tell me at your debrief. What about Optimus?" "Sir, I am afraid to say that Optimus Prime is…..one with the Allspark." Hotspot replied as the tone of his voice took on a more sombre feel. The Admiral stayed quiet for a moment, the only thing that the Autobot could hear was an inhale before Bryce spoke again. "…I see, I am sorry to hear that… alright, get them both back here as quick as you can. I will have a medical team waiting for you in the shuttle bay….and good work on finding them. Bryce out." Hotspot then looked back at the others. "Alright team, let's move." he said before rejoining them at the shuttle. Back on Earth, Arcee was sitting down on a bench that overlooked a charred open area which apprently used to be a park, or so she had been told. The femme's attention though was focused elsewhere as she typed on her holo-tool's interface, still trying to establish a connection with her spark mate. 'Come on, Jack, you have to be alive.' Arcee thought as she continued to stare at the read outs, hoping that a signal would appear on the screen, but it just remained a flat line. Not unlike that on a heartbeat monitor , she closed her eyes and tried to banish any ill thoughts that image had started to stir in her mind. 'No, can't think like that. He is alive, he has to be.' The femme was so caught up in her own thoughts and processes, she did not notice someone walking up behind her. "Arcee, you alright over there?" a familiar voice called to her, snapping the Autobot out of her of her thoughts as she turned round and saw Smokescreen behind her. "Smokescreen, I…I am fine. What is it?" she replied hesitantly. "Well Garrus has tried to contact you for the last twenty minutes, but there was no answer. So he sent me out to see if you were okay." the young Autobot said. "I turned my com-link off." Arcee answered before noticing a slight smile appear on the bot's face. "What?" "So you don't know then?" he replied, gaining an annoyed look from the femme. "Know what?" "Admiral Bryce has dispatched a shuttle to bring you to the Ark." Smokescreen said, making her expression change to one of confusion. "Me?" The young bot's smile widened in response. "They found him!" he said with a happy tone in his voice. "Him…." she said with barely a whisper, her face now looking back at Smokescreen as her eyes began to widen. "Jack, he's alive and on board the Ark, in it's medical bay." the bot replied, making her stand up all of a sudden, her lover's name being spoken aloud finally sinking in her mind what Smokescreen had said. "Jack… where is the shuttle?" she said, her expression becoming all stoic like. "Back at the escape pod's landing site." the young bot replied and without any further encouragement, Arcee ran past her comrade and back to where the shuttle had landed, leaving Smokescreen to watch with a smile on his face before he tapped his com-link. "Smokescreen here, she is on her way." PRIME EFFECT 3 The crystalline landscape was a beautiful sight as the rainbow coloured rays of light flowed over the night sky, the stars too were shining brightly like diamonds as Jack stood there watching it all. With so much light in the sky despite it being night, it was a wonder that the sources of such light did not conflict with each other. Fighting for superiority of the night, but they were instead existing in a state of complete symbiosis. The colours working with each other and not against. The Prime just continued to stare out at it, he did not know how he got there or how much time had passed for him in this place. Such thoughts were not even going through his mind, he felt completely at peace with his surroundings as another stood beside him. "Beautiful isn't it." Jack looked over to see Optimus standing next to him, smiling at the same images that the Commander had been watching. "Yes, it is. it is all how it should be." "I have not seen the Matrix and Allspark look so at peace….not for a long time." Jack smiled and nodded before looking back out at the environment around them. "You're not Optimus." "No, I am not. He is up there, his spark shining brightly among all the others in the Allspark." the figure smiled as they both looked up at the stars. "But you are not Primus either, I felt his essence fade away when I unleashed the matrix on Unicron." Jack replied. "That is true, I am an echo of the one called Primus. The last of his being to leave this plane of existence." the echo said back. "But there is still one matrix left, a part of Primus that still exists here. Isn't that enough?" the Prime asked, gaining the other's attention. "You carry the last of Primus within your matrix, Jackson Prime. It is not enough to keep the Aeon among us. But one day it will be needed for the storm on the horizon." the echo replied as it looked away from Jack, causing the Prime to look at whatever had taken the other's attention from him. But he could not see anything on the horizon. "What is it? I don't see anything out there." "It is not something to which you should concern yourself with, Prime. Another like yourself will have to deal with this when the time comes…..very far down the line from now. Primus did tell you this, heed his words." "Another? You mean there will be more Primes after me, but I thought…" Jack started to say until the other cut him off. "Jackson Prime, Optimus was the last…..of the original lineage of Primes. You are the first of the new, one that will be diverse in species as well as gender. This is what Primus wanted for the galaxy that he came to care for. You will carry the matrix until the next Prime reveals themselves and the pattern will repeat until the time that Primes will no longer be required." Jack gave the echo a look of relief, before it changed to one of confusion. "So, I am not dead then. But why is that, I mean Primus told me that using the Matrix would likely kill me. So why have I survived?" "Because you passed the final test of what it means to be a Prime…..self sacrifice." the figure looking like Optimus replied. "But I have always put others ahead of myself, throughout my entire life. How is now any different?" Jack asked. "Because in that singular moment before unleashing the matrix's power, you not only believed in that noble act, but also committed to it in it's entirety, putting the needs of an entire galaxy ahead of your own being. You had proven that Primus was correct in making you a Prime and so the Matrix protected you from that which would have ended your life, Jackson Darby." the echo replied with a gentle smile, looking now more then ever as the man Jack knew as Optimus Prime. "I see, so what now?" "Now it is time for you to open your eyes and return to your world, to help shape it's future and carry on the will of Primus. Farewell, Jackson Prime. Until all are one." the echo said before everything went white and Jack could hear voices talking around him. One of the voices sounding so warm and familiar to him, he could feel his own heart skip a beat. "He is coming round,...Jack.." a female voice spoke softly as the Prime opened his eyes to see three blurred faces looking down on him, though his vision slowly corrected itself as it got used to the light. Jack then recognized Arcee and Ratchet, the third face was a complete stranger. "Arcee..." he replied, earning a loving smile from the femme, she replied by softly raking her hand through his hair as he lied there on the berth. "Where am I?" the Prime asked as he looked around the room (as well as he could while lying down on a berth) to see a heartbeat monitor and I.V drip on his right. "On board the Ark, in it's medical bay." Arcee replied. "How long have I been here?" The femme and the medic looked at each other before moving their gaze back to the Human Prime. "Jack, you have been in a coma for three weeks." Ratchet answered, earning a wide eyed look from his patient. "A coma? Three weeks? What happened to me?" he asked with a surprised tone. Arcee gave Ratchet a knowing look. "Perhaps I can get some privacy with Jack and get him up to speed." she asked. "Unfortunately Admiral Bryce ordered me to let him know once Jack was awake, and I just signaled him now." the medic replied as he pointed at his holo-tool, earning a sigh from the femme. Jack though was more concerned with the third person who was trying to look busy at the back of the room, except he looked more annoyed than anything else. "Who's that?" the Prime asked, making the man turn around and look at him. "Well it's about someone asked about me." the guy said earning a knowing look from Jack, since he recognized his voice. The man had red hair with black highlights and looked like someone who was obsessed with his image. "Knockout?" Jack said, earning a smile from the former Con. "Yes, Darby, it's me." he replied with an overconfident tone, earning daggers from Arcee, making him gulp before changing his attitude. "I mean... Yes, Prime. I am the one responsible for getting your burns to heal faster by placing you in the experimental bio re-generator tank that I invented, it sped up your body's natural healing factor. So your severe injuries and burns were healed in weeks not months or years." "Burns!" Jack replied with fear tinged in his voice before looking around for a mirror, though Arcee was already on hand and held one up so that the Prime could see his reflection. "Doesn't look any different." he said with a confused expression before looking back at Knockout, the other two Autobots doing the same. The doctor just smiled at them. "Yes…. I am just that good, if I do say so myself." he exclaimed happily, as Jack continued to look at his face for a moment before looking at Ratchet. "How bad was it?" he asked while Knockout looked like he was imagining being surrounded by scores of fans admiring him, the medic ignored the former Con and sighed before looking back at the Prime. "Well..." he said before Jack noticed how somber Arcee was looking. "Arcee, what is it?" Before the femme could answer, Ratchet did so for her. "Jack, when you were brought in...you were in a bad way. Your body was broken. It wasn't just your skin that had been damaged severely. Arcee didn't take it well." The Prime looked back to his lover and placed his hand on her own affectionately. "Hey, I am okay now." he said gently to her, the femme then reached up and stroked his chin. Feeling it's softness instead of the crisp, burnt way it was only weeks before. She then leaned in close, Jack could feel her sweet breath on his neck and smell her scent as the femme spoke softly into his ear. "I know, Jack, and I am so very thankful for that, but most importantly I am just really happy that your alright. I don't want to lose you again." The femme was suddenly surprised as Jack pulled her into an embrace and kissed her, she could feel all her doubts and fears melt away as he held her close and pressed his lips against hers. Both Ratchet and Knockout did not know where to look for that particular moment. But the two spark-mates ignored them as they pulled away slightly and looked into each others eyes. "I love you, Arcee. I would fight heaven and hell to be in your embrace again." The femme chuckled lightly be looking back at him lovingly. "That was a little cheesy, Jack." The Prime though gave her a knowing smile. "Maybe, but you liked it. Right?" he asked, Arcee gave her answer by leaning in for another kiss. "Yeah I did." she said as their lips were practically touching, she then pulled back and looked at the two doctors. "Can we get some privacy?" "Of course you can, Arcee." Ratchet said while rolling his eyes before grabbing Knockout by the arm, the former Con pulled his arm back and stared daggers at the Autobot medic. "Hands off, do you know what this lab coat is made of!" "That's enough, you two." Admiral Bryce said as he entered the room suddenly, making both doctors look at him with surprise. He then looked over to the two lovers and they mirrored the others expressions too. "Admiral." Jack said as he and Arcee separated and he started to sit up, only for the Admiral to motion him to stop. "At ease, Prime." he said as the two doctors began to leave. "Ratchet, Knockout. Thank you." Jack then said, gaining their attention. The Autobot medic looked somewhat embarrassed as he smiled at the Prime. "You're welcome, Jack." he replied, the former Con though looked completely surprised by Jack's words and was speechless. So he just smiled and nodded back before both bots left the room. "Knockout was acting strangely then." Jack said with a confused look. "I think he is just not used to being thanked before. He did used to serve Megatron, remember?" Arcee replied before they both looked at the Admiral. "How are you feeling, Son?" "Well, considering what I was told I looked like when I was found, I guess I feel good. But I am just glad to be alive." the Prime replied. "It was a miracle that you survived the destruction of Unicron, unfortunately Optimus didn't." Bryce said with a somber expression, Jack and Arcee mirroring him. "I know." Jack replied as the Admiral looked back at him. "Darby, what happened up there?" As the Prime looked at him, he glanced over to His spark-mate and could tell that she wanted to know too. "Well..." Jack started to say as the others in the room kept their attention solely on him. The Prime told them about fighting the Husks all the way to the spark chamber, the fate of Silas. The return of Sideways and his role as herald of the Chaos Bringer, The fall of Optimus and Jack's unleashing the power of the matrix. When he finished, The Prime saw the looks of both Arcee and Bryce who had listened to his story intently. They both had expressions of intrigue and surprise written on their faces. "And I thought our stand against the Reapers was the highlight of the battle for Earth. On behalf of everyone involved in the fight...thank you." the Admiral replied, but Jack shook his head I response. "Everyone deserves thanks, Admiral. We are all in this together, after all ." Jack said back with a smile, which Bryce mirrored. "True enough." he said as Jack looked to see a sad expression on Arcee's face. "So...it's true, Primus really is gone?" the femme asked, warning a nod from her lover as he gently squeezed her hand with his own affectionately. "Yes, he sacrificed himself to bring an end to Unicron and free us all from the cycle of death that had started with his brother's creation of the Reapers." "Well, it was immediately after the battle that the Well of All-sparks shut down. We did not know what was the cause. We all (Cybertronians) started to panic after that, well at least at first." Arcee added. "Why, what has the situation become while I have been here?" Jack asked. "Prime, you should know that the Galactic Alliance that you forged among our neighbours is still going strong as we are all working together to start the process of rebuilding. But Perceptor, Anderson and myself have a more permanent solution in mind, one that I will share with you later." Bryce replied before turning towards the door and making his way out, only to stop and look back at the Prime. "I will let Arcee fill you in on the rest." he added with a smile before nodding to the femme, who smiled back. The Admiral then left the two lovers alone in Jack's room, Arcee looked back at The Prime who looked very confused now. "Arcee? What's going on, you said the Cybertronians had started to panic?" The femme tried to keep a stoic expression in front of Jack, but was finding it hard to show a slight smile. "Yes and we did at first, because without new sparks, our species would not survive. But when that energy wave passed through each and every one of us, it knocked us all down on to our knees." Jack gave her a look of worry, one which she instantly disarmed with a loving smile. "No, Jack, I am alright. In fact, we all are. you see Ratchet took scans of every Autobot in our team, also instructing the Alliance Medical to do the same and then compared the results." "And? Did they find anything?" Jack asked curiously, which made the femme's smile to widen. "Yes, they did. They found that while our bodies still contained sparks, our biology now is more or less the same as Humans. Our bodies are now a perfect blending of organic and synthetic properties, meaning we can now do everything that you can. We can now age as our life-spans are now the same as yours, but we can also..." Jack's eyes widened as it became clear what she was going to say and so beat her to it. "...you can have children." he replied, gaining a joyous look from his lover. "Yes, we can. We no longer need the Well of All-Sparks to ensure our survival as a species, but I was thinking..." the femme said before noticing that Jack was staring ahead with a smile on his face. The Prime remembered what it was that Primus had told him. 'Every door that closes, another will open.' "Jack?" Arcee asked, regaining his attention. "Primus did it, he knew that his sacrifice would shut down Cybertron completely, including the Well. So he instead had your biology altered with the same energy wave that would wipe out the Reapers." he said. "Yes, but we don't know why." the femme replied. "He did it because he is proud of what you have become, that the war that had torn his children in two was over. And now you were working with Humanity and once again spreading your influence throughout the galaxy, as he originally intended. So he insured you would survive as a species and continue to do so." Jack said back, before Arcee looked at him with a unsure expression. "This brings up an issue that I thought a lot about recently as well, when we were on board the Defiant. "What is it, Arcee, what's been bothering you?" the Prime asked, silently surprising the femme with his ability to read her. "We have both said that we wanted to spend our lives together." Arcee replied. "And I referred to us as spark-mates." Jack interjected, which made the femme smile. "Well, since we got back together, I have always thought of us as such. But it feels good to finally confirm it. Anyway, I have thought about our future together and there has always been something that I have not been comfortable with." Jack sat up on his berth and gave her a concerned look. "What?" "The fact that I would never be able to bear us a child." The femme said with a guilty expression as she looked down while remembering those somber thoughts. Jack though placed his hand on her chin and brought her eyes back to his own. "Arcee, I love you for who and what you are. I would be lying if I said that I never thought of having kids one day, but just being with you is enough for me." he said as she leaned in closer to his face. "I knew you would see it that way but…." she started to say but Jack cut her off. "Arcee, the Reaper war is over and we are still together. And it also turns out that we can now have everything that we want. And I would like nothing more than to start a family with you." The femme then produced that smile that would make the Prime's heart skip a beat and then gave him a quick kiss. "You don't realise how much that warms my spark, Jack." she replied before he flashed a lop-sided grin her way. "Maybe you should show me." he teased, making the femme look at him in surprise and desire. "Here? Now? Someone may see us." she said, Jack then activated his holo-tool and locked the door with it and made the blinds over the room's windows (including the one on the door) give them cover. "No one will see us, it's just you and me." he replied, as Arcee placed her arms around his neck and pulled him close. "Just the way I like it." They then kissed long and passionately before the Prime pulled his lover down onto the berth and lost themselves in each other. PRIME EFFECT 3 A few days later and Jack was standing in the halls of the Decagon in New Iacon, he had been asked to appear among the representatives of the worlds who took part in the Reaper war. As the leaders were in discussion behind the large doors in front of the Prime, he was taking with Garrus and Tali. "Well, it's good to finally see you up and about, Jack. You had us all worried." the Turian said while he and his Quarian lover held hands. "Yes, you sure did." Tali added. "Thanks, Guys. I am just glad that everyone else is alright too. Speaking of which, I thought they would be here." Jack replied. "Raf is helping with the restoration of the planetary communication network, and you know Bumblebee will be at his side. Smokescreen, Jazz and Grimlock are taking turns with helping the security patrols, Ratchet is busy helping Alliance Medical deal with the influx of wounded." Garrus said back. "And you two don't have anything to do?" the Prime asked. "You do remember that I am the Primarch's advisor? So I will be needed in there at some point." the Turian replied. "And Aunty Raan has asked that I be here to help her when needed." Tali said. Acree then joined the group and slipped her hand into Jack's. "Hey, Guys, so I guess you are still waiting?" Yeah, can't be long now. After what Admiral Bryce discussed with me, I can't see anyone saying no to the proposal." jack replied. "Well, I hope so, Jack. After everything we went through with the Reapers, it would be a pleasant change to have something go our way for a change." Garrus said back while Tali looked over to Arcee. "Hey, Arcee, what have you and Jack been up to for the last few days?" "Well... Just helping Jack get back up to speed with things, since he was in a coma for three weeks. Also his parents visited yesterday to see how he was." the femme replied. "How did that go, and how did they survive the Reapers occupation of Earth?" Garrus asked after hearing the two women's talk, surprising them so Jack stepped in. "My mom and William stayed at New Iacon during the invasion, since the Reapers didn't even attack the city until the last day of the war. I was very happy and relieved to see my parents again (though William Fowler is his stepfather), we had a lot to talk about." the Prime said as he looked over to his spark-mate and smiled, the femme mirroring him. This caught both their friends attention. "Okay, you two, spill the beans. That look you both had, was far too telling." Tali said curiously. "Well..." Arcee started to say as she and Jack smiled at each other lovingly, the Prime gently squeezing the femme's hand in his own. "...with the war over and the two of us having more time for each other, we now want to start a family." Tali's eyes widened with her smile as she looked at the loved up spark-mates. "That's great, we too want to do the same." she replied happily, earning an embarrassed but equally happy expression from Garrus. "Really, can you do that?" Jack asked in return. "Well, we can't have a child naturally due to our bodies physiology being very different, so we will adopt a child instead by registering with the Hierarchy's adoption program for war orphans on Palaven, before returning to Rannoch within the next few days." the Turian replied. "Sounds like you guys have everything planned out?" Arcee said with a smile. "Yes, we are both going to go part-time with our current positions and so have time to build a home. What about you two?" Tali asked as the doors behind them opened and a soldier walked up to the group. "They will see you now." he replied, earning a nod from Jack before he and the others walked into the large room that had all the leaders of each race that had taken part in the battle of Earth. The Citadel Councillors were there, each representing their own species alongside Urdnot Wrex, Admiral Raan and Primarch Victus. There was also a Geth Prime who was standing next to the Quarian Admiral, Jack then saw both Anderson and Admiral Bryce walking over to them with Miranda Lawson who grabbed the Prime and pulled him into an embrace. "Thank god you are alright, Jack. I feared the worst when Unicron exploded." the ex-MECH officer said with a huge smile before pulling away, an embarrassed expression appearing on her face as she noticed everyone was watching. "It's good to see you too, Miranda. It was pretty much touch and go back there. That any of us survived the Reaper war is miracle in itself." Jack replied as Wrex joined them. "Jack, my brother." the Krogan exclaimed as he embraced the Prime in what to everyone else looked like a bear hug. "Hey..., Wrex." Jack managed to reply through the tight grip his friend had before being was released, taking a much needed breath. "I knew you would pull through, inside your body beats the heart of a Krogan." Wrex said happily. Earning a smile from Jack as Perceptor spoke up, making the group look back to the Autobot and the other leaders. "We are all relieved that you survived and recovered from your injuries, Jackson Prime, we feared that you would become one with the all-spark, like so many during this past war." "Thank you, Councillor." the Prime replied. "Now we are all here today because Admiral Bryce, Captain Anderson and myself have offered you all a proposal a few days ago, a chance that has been born out of our alliance during the war with the Reapers. Which at the time was based purely on survival." The Autobot Councillor said while looking around to the other leaders, each one listening to him intently until one of them raised a hand. It was Tevos who was representing the Asari. "We have all heard your proposal, which is to dissolve the Citadel Council and build a new 'Alliance' that would include all the species in this very room, as well as more that would like to join further down the line. But my question would be this, does each member still retain control of their own sovereignty or do they all conform to one governmental rule?" "No, each member would still have oversight of their own accords, this alliance would keep us all as allies and friends, building on the foundations that were laid during the war. This alliance would allow us all work together and maintain this new found peace that we have won for ourselves. As you know, the damage that the Reapers have forced upon each of our territories will take decades to repair. But if we all work together, we can halve that time and take our peoples back to how things were before the war." Admiral Bryce answered. "What about these details, that all members would combine their militaries under one banner, that of the Autobots?" Admiral Raan asked. "That would be completely optional, Admiral. If any member did not want to join their forces to the one that would protect this new alliance, then we would understand, but the Autobots would only answer to one man and he would answer to the newly established Senate." Captain Anderson replied. "I would like to think that everyone here would question the logic of giving that much power to one person." Raan replied, earning nods from the group around her. "That would be true, but I doubt that anyone would be against this particular person." Bryce said before he gestured to Jack who stepped forward, making the room go quiet. "Darby Commander.." the Geth Prime stated, warning a nod from the Prime. "Commander Jackson Darby is now the sole Prime among us, this in turn makes him the new leader of the Autobots, since the passing of Optimus Prime. I can't think of anyone else who would fit the role more." the Autobot Councillor stated proudly as all eyes fell upon the Human Prime, who could see the unsure expressions of many of the leaders in the room. So he decided to speak. "I know this is a lot to ask, and that right now you would rather focus on your own individual territories. But after seeing what we have achieved together, having defeated an enemy as powerful as the Reapers and Unicron. Just think what we can achieve by continuing to help each other, not only in rebuilding our worlds. But in safeguarding the future for the generations that follow and securing peace for the entire galaxy. Will you stand with me?" he said with a stoic expression and tone. Primarch Victus took a step forward and looked at Jack. "Well, I for one know that if it wasn't for, Jackson Prime, then none of us would be standing here today. You have my eternal gratitude, Prime, and I hereby accept your proposal and the Turian people will join this new 'alliance' and place our military under your command." "As if there was any doubt what I would choose, Jack, the Krogan stand with you all the way." Wrex said happily. "The Geth owe you a great deal, Darby Commander. We too will join you." The Geth Prime added. "As will we, Jackson Prime." Admiral Raan replied, which brought a smile to Tali's face. All that was left was Valern and Tevlos and both Councillors looked unsure. "What is wrong?" Jack asked. "Well, I for one want to know what MECH are doing here?" Tevos said in a firm tone, without it sounding too hostile. Admiral Bryce took a step forward, in front of Miranda. "Miranda Lawson is here because MECH (the remaining fleet and personnel) will be joining this new alliance as part of it's covert Intelligence organisation, which will be made up of similar groups from all member species." "And Miranda has proven that she is not like her father, the deceased Director Silas. She helped me bring an end to the Quintessons, MECH's former leader and was also on hand to bring much needed reinforcements during the final battle. I trust her with my life and that should be all you need to accept her as our head of Intelligence." Jack added as both Councillors looked at the former MECH agent and then back at each other, speaking amongst themselves for a moment. Tevos then turned to the Prime. "Very well, Jackson Prime. You have made a strong case for this alliance and both the Asari and the Salarians will join you." "Yes, you will find that the Salarian Union will be more inviting of joining an alliance that also includes the Krogan due to the fact that Dalatrass Linron resigned not long after the Genophage was cured." Valern added. "That is welcoming news, Valern. Now let us discuss our forming of this new alliance…..'The Interstellar Federation of free worlds'." Perceptor exclaimed as the group began discussing the future of the galaxy. Three weeks later... In the shadow of the Decagon, within the building's large gardens surrounded it stood a memorial wall made of black marble that stood twelve meters tall and it's width ran up one whole side of the gardens. It already had hundreds of thousands of names inscribed upon it, but there was a section that was still to filled. Scores of people, military and civilian stood at its base. The gathering was a mixture of Turian, Asari, Krogan, Salarian, Quarian , Geth, Human and Cybertronian. And between them and the wall stood Jackson Prime and his team, along with Admiral Bryce and the leaders of alien nations that had fought along side each other during the war. Each person held what looked like a plaque in their hands, each had a name engraved on it. Jack took a step forward, toward the crowd as small VI controlled recording devices were floating overhead, their lenses focused on the Prime as he prepared to make his address to not only the people on site, but to the galaxy. He looked down to the ground for a moment, taking a deep breath. Knowing that all eyes were on him again. The last time he felt like this was the day he was made a Prime over three years ago. But he managed to keep his cool and began to speak. "The war is over, Unicron and the Reapers have been defeated. We stood at the precipice of our own annihilation, but against all odds…..we survived. But now as the dust settles and we take a look around, we can see just how much the Reapers conquest to purge our galaxy cost us in the long run. It will take time but everything that was destroyed can be rebuilt, and I believe that we can do that together. Because if we can stop something as powerful as the Chaos Bringer and his Reapers, imagine what we can achieve now that we are free and able to do so." Jack then gestured to the Councillors who stood to his right. "The Citadel Council is being dissolved and a new political and economic alliance is being formed between all the species that fought against our common enemy. 'The Interstellar Federation of free worlds' is our chance to bring lasting peace and prosperity to the galaxy, we will also pool all of our militaries together to form a peace keeping and humanitarian armada that will defend our alliance against any threat, and they will be named after the faction of Cybertronians who were honourable and dedicated to peace and upholding justice and freedom, while protecting those who were unable to defend themselves….'Autobot's. And they will fall under my command as I am now the leader of the Autobots, a title inherited from the late Optimus Prime. So now before we usher in this new age, let us remember and honour those who fought and died to insure that we have this chance to carry on." Jack then turned around and watched as his friends then one at a time, placed their plaque on to the memorial wall under a subtitle 'Honoured Heroes', there for all to see and pay respect too. There was utter silence as this happened, the only sound to be heard was the cool breeze that accompanied them. The list of names on the section of the wall grew, Miko Nakadai, Wheeljack, Kaidan Alenko, Jacob Taylor, Zaeed Massani, Soundwave, Legion, Airachnid, Hotrod. After Arcee and Smokescreen stepped back from placing the plaques they had held, it was Jack's turn and he stepped forward to the one spot that was left. He then looked down at the plaque in his hands, the name inscribed on it evoked warm memories of a mentor and father figure who had helped guide him through his life from the very first day that they had met, all those years ago. The Commander then took a breath and lifted up the plaque and placed it into the wall slowly, pressing his hands across the name as he put it in place. He then took a step back and stood beside his spark mate before bringing his hand up into a salute, everyone standing beside him and doing the same as the final name was there fall all to see. 'Optimus Prime' Everyone remained quiet for what felt like an age while paying respect to the fallen heroes of the Normandy and the Defiant, as well as all the soldiers and civilians that had been killed at the hands of the Reapers. It was a sad day, but a brighter future was just over the horizon. PRIME EFFECT 3 Nine years later... The sun was just starting to set as it began to drop behind the horizon, the light from the star changing the sky to a vanilla like colour as Jack sat on the porch swing of his house and looked out at the ocean beyond the beach that his home was situated. This house had been his and Arcee's for the last nine years, he found it hard to believe that much time passed since the end of the Reaper war. He could still remember those dark days like it was yesterday, though even when things seemed at their most bleak and desperate. He never had to face them alone, for he had friends that were always there to help him. As with any war, he lost some of them along the way. But he would never forget them, and in that way they never really left. Those who survived the war went on to lead happy lives for themselves. Garrus and Tali had made a home for themselves on Rannoch, they eve adopted a Turian child of barely six months of age. And they named him 'Shen'. Raf became the ISF's leading scientific expert and headed up their R & D section, Bumblebee always at his side. Smokescreen and Jazz took up positions in the Autobot Academy, teaching the new recruits along with Grimlock. As for Jack and Arcee, the Prime was the leader of the Autobots - the largest peace keeping and humanitarian Armada/Army the galaxy had ever seen, and still had plenty of work to do. Arcee though fell pregnant only a few months after the war and knowing how they led their lives, wanted to ensure that their child would safely come to term. So the femme left the service prepared for it's arrival. The day 'Orion' came into the world was one that neither of them would ever forget, he always knew how much of a temper Arcee had but the language he heard his spark-mate use during labour was a surprise. Though the doctors certainly didn't seem surprised, guess they were used to that kind of treatment from expecting mothers. Though the moment that both first time parents laid eyes on little Orion, it was a moment that was forever imprinted into their memories, Jack for one had a permanent image of the femme holding their new born son in her arms, the baby did not even cry as it stared up at them both. From that day on, the Prime made sure that he was there for his son as much as possible, even though he had responsibilities to everyone else. He always put his son first, not wanting to ever be like how his own father was to himself. Even now, Orion was not out of his sight as he watched his son playing on the beach with Ravage, who had become as much family as he had after his previous master's passing. Jack was brought out of his thoughts by Arcee who joined him on the porch, she was wearing just blue jeans with a tight fitting t-shirt that showed her athletic physique. She looked down at her lover and smiled. "Can I join you? I did just wash up all the dishes." she asked coyly with her hands on her hips, earning a happy sigh from Jack as he placed the pad he was holding down beside him. "Sure, but I think you should know that I was keeping an eye on Orion while also going through these reports too, you're not the only one who can multi-task." he replied with a loving smile as the femme sat down next to him and wrapped her arm around his waist, while resting her other hand on his chest. "Okay, colour me impressed. But you do know that Ravage has become quite the guardian to our little boy, I can see that he loves Orion just as much as we do and I trust him completely with his safety." "I know and I do too, but I did say on the day that our son was born that I would always be there for him and I won't ever go back on that." Jack replied as he looked out to see Ravage playfully chasing Orion around on the sand as the sunset reflected off the ocean beyond them. Arcee placed a finger on the Prime's chin and turn his face gently until his eyes met her own. "Jack, I will tell you again what I told you that day. You are not your father. I know that you love Orion as much as I do and would do anything for him." She then looked back out towards their son who had begun to wrestle with his feline friend. "I am happy that after living through two separate wars, that I even had the chance to have what I have now. A peaceful life and a family with the man who I love." she added as she looked back at Jack, the sunset made her azure eyes seem to sparkle as they looked at each other. "Same here, Arcee, I love you and Orion too." the Prime replied before embracing his lover and kissing her passionately. They then pulled back slightly and sat there watching as the sun was now halfway passing the horizon, Arcee rested her head on his shoulder and sighed happily. "So, anything news worthy in those reports?" she asked as Jack began running his fingers through her soft blue hair. "Just the same old skirmishes between us and the 'Omega Syndicate', I guess Aria just likes to try to push my buttons." "She certainly has let the power go to her head a bit since absorbing all the major mercenaries groups into Omega since the war. But you know that Nyreen won't let her go to far." the femme replied while running a finger across his chest. "Yeah, I know. Other than that, everything is fine in the Federation. Rebuilding is still ongoing and won't be complete for another few years, but other than that." the Prime said. "That's good." Arcee replied before looking at the time on her holo-tool, she then looked out to the two playing on the beach. "Orion, Ravage, times up." The calling of his name made the little boy turn round and stare back to the house with his azure blue eyes. He sighed sadly before looking back at his feline friend. "Time's up, Ravage." he said, earning an unhappy whine from the feline bot before both began making their way back to the house to find Jack and Arcee sitting down on the porch swing. Before either of them could say anything, Orion climbed up on to the swing with them and curled himself up between them. Both parents smiled as they looked down at their son. "Don't you think it's a little past your bed time?" Arcee asked. "But I am not even tired, Mummy." he replied before letting off one long yawn, looking completely adorable to them both. "You should listen to your mother, Orion." Jack said, but this just made the little boy curl up more. "Just a little longer, Daddy?" Both Arcee and Jack sighed happily as they sat there with their son, Ravage had made his home at their feet as he curled up there. "Okay, you have until the sun has set, but no longer than that." the femme replied as she ran her fingers through her son's hair, which was blue and had black highlights. Orion looked out at the setting sun which was now three-quarters set over the horizon, but then something caught his attention as he looked over to a sparkling crystal which hung around his father's neck. For what felt like a long moment, the family just sat there in happy silence and watched the sun set. Arcee then looked down to her son, her eyes widening in surprise at what she saw. "Jack." she said gently, gaining his attention. "What is it, Arcee?" he asked with a confused look. "Look." she said softly, gesturing down to their son, so Jack looked down at Orion. His own expression now mirroring his spark-mate's as he saw his little boy holding the matrix crystal in his hand, admiring the way the light was shining from it. Both parents then looked up at each other and smiled before touching their foreheads together lovingly for a moment, knowing what this single act their son had just done would mean. They then looked back out to see the sun finally set as the sky darkened and the stars began shining from above. The future it would seem, was even brighter than they would have hoped. XXX years later….. The stars shone brightly in the early night sky as a woman was standing in what looked like a cemetery, she was joined by a young girl who stood beside her and looked down at the grave in front of them. "That really happened?" the girl asked. "Yes, one man managed to bring together a galaxy and end a threat that had cast it's shadow over it for far too long. If it wasn't for my grandfather, we wouldn't have the way of life we do today." the woman replied proudly. "Tell me another story about Jackson Prime." the little girl asked in return. "Well, it is getting late and you should get back home..." the woman replied as she looked down at the child, who gave her a sad expression. "...but…okay, I can tell you another story. But it will not be about my Grandfather." The little girl looked up to her, face now looking curious. "Who will it be about?" The woman smiled and looked up at the stars. "….my Father. He was another Prime and his name was…Orion." The End A/N: Well this is it, the end of the trilogy. I hope you have enjoyed it as much as I have writing it. Please, feel free to let me know what you thought of this chapter and the story as a whole. And thank you for reading my story, it means a lot to me. But the story does not end here and will continue in 'Prime Effect 4'. I hope you enjoy it and thanks again.
  15. CHAPTER 21 Jack and his team had just seen what could only be Unicron's spark moving up the Reaper beam into orbit from where they standing as Harbinger towered over them, his shadow cast over the area where they stood. "Now you will witness the rebirth of our Master!" it roared as it's yellow eyes glowed brightly, which immediately made the entire team hold their heads in their hands as they suddenly could see the spark flying up the Reaper beam right in front of their eyes. Far from the what was happening on the ground, the battle above the Earth continued as a Reaper flew in close to an Alliance dreadnought and clamped it's legs around the it's bow before moving, bringing the captured vessel with it and smashing it into the side of a Turian cruiser. The Defiant meanwhile, fired on a reaper that was plaguing the Destiny Ascension, firing a spread of torpedoes that blew off one of the behemoth's legs, therefore allowing the Council flagship to continue to aid the other ships in it's immediate area. The Defiant the turned around and began descending to the planet below. Meanwhile the Ark continued to fight as it orbited the now connected Crucible/Citadel. Admiral Bryce was looking down at the holo-screen beside him as he listened on his com link. "We are on our way, Admiral." he heard Hotrod say from his end, the Admiral nodded in return. "Good luck Defiant, Bryce out." he replied before one of his officers turned to him from his console. "Sir, our sensors are picking up an extremely strong power signature rising from the planet surface, and it is heading our way….. fast." he said with worry in his voice. Bryce looked at the officer and mirrored his expression before turning back to the bridge canopy, just in time to see the ball of purple energy ride up the beam right into the Citadel. Then suddenly the outer layers of the crucible came to life as it's surface began to shift and change, the entire super-weapon started was transforming right before the Admiral's eyes as he and his bridge crew were frozen in fear and shock by what they were seeing. In fact the entire battle had stopped as the Reapers watched, along with the remaining galactic fleet. The crews of each ship staring with fear and shock at the ever changing form of the Crucible. Inside the super-weapon's control room, Kranix looked around with an expression of utter glee as it's walls began to shift and change around him, the holo-form of Bagu stood beside the Lithone and was just as transfixed. "This is it, Bagu. Our Master's time is at hand." he said as he watched the room transforming around him, the bodies of the dead crew either falling through the gaps in the moving parts of the ground or being crushed by sections that moved into the room. "Farewell, my Creator, take this blessing with you into the next life." the VI replied before a bulkhead suddenly moved across the room, going straight through Bagu and squashing the indoctrinated Kranix against the far wall, splattering his remains out over it in the process. As the transformation continued, a pair of arms and legs began to grow and stretch out as the Crucible took on the shape of a bipedal form. On the left arm, a section moved back up it's forearm to reveal a hand, it flexed out it's fingers as if it was mimicking the 'morning stretch'. While on the right arm, a similar section moved back to reveal a large blade like weapon. On the legs, sections on the lower parts folded out into what looked like Cybertronian feet. As the torso remoulded itself to look like a metallic representation of the Chaos Bringer's, the Citadel remained in it's star like shape on torso's back, but moved round until four of the arms looked like wings (two either side) and the bottom arm covered over the aft of the body. Then a section between the shoulders receded and the head rose up into view, with a pair of long horns on either side of it (trademark of Unicron). The familiar face of the Chaos bringer then formed before it's optics suddenly glowed bright purple. "My children, I have returned and I command you to join me and purge this galaxy of life. Destroy it all, in the name of Unicron" Then at that very moment all around the galaxy, millions of Reapers suddenly appeared from the shadows as they began blotting out the skies of every world as the complete annihilation of all life begun. The battle above Earth suddenly reignited as the Reapers carried on from where they started and began destroying both 'sword' and 'shield' fleets with much more ferocity than before. Unicron himself waded into the battle, smashing his fist and arm blade through any ships that were unfortunate to get too close. On board the Ark, the communication officer received a message through his com link, and he gave the Admiral a worried look. "Sir, sensors are picking up thousands of Reapers entering Earth space. And we are getting reports of more appearing over our allies home worlds...every world in fact." The Admiral just looked out of canopy at the battle raging around them as the Reapers reinforcements came into view in the distance. "...My god." he said before Lucifer caught his eye, the Rogue Reaper was heading straight for Unicron. It fired its beam weapon which swept along the surface of The Chaos Bringer's elbow, gaining the deity's attention as he looked down at it from the Asari dreadnought he had just destroyed. "traitorous son of mine, you dare fire on your creator." he spat at the behemoth as it continued to fire, it's beam attacks not even leaving a scratch on Unicron's new form. "We are the memory of the those you harvested and we will have our revenge." Lucifer replied coldly. "I think not." the Chaos Bringer said back before reaching down with his hand and grasping the rogue Reaper, tightening his grip around it. "Do you really think I would create you, and then give you the firepower to even harm me. Let me finally end your pathetic existence and extinguish the last hope the organics have." Unicron said as he began to squeeze Lucifer, crushing it's body in his hand. Energy started to bleed out of the growing cracks along the behemoth's black surface as it's red eyes began to dim in brightness, then Unicron threw the wounded Reaper away before looking at the Reapers around him. "My children, show this traitorous spawn what happens to those that defy me." Several of the black behemoths then broke off from the battle and the began surrounding the crippled Lucifer as it drifted with a small cloud of debris in it's wake, they then a red light started to shine brightly on their underside as their beam weapons prepared to fire. But suddenly Lucifer fired his weapon in a wide beam, hitting and destroying two of the Reapers in one shot. But before it had the chance to fire again, the others fired their own in retaliation. Their beams then carved up the rogue Reaper until it exploded, before heading back into the battle and leaving a small amount of debris behind. Admiral Bryce witnessed the whole thing and lowered his head, the feeling of defeat beginning to eat away at him as his forces were now being wiped out in front of him. Back in London, just aways from the Reaper beam. Jack and his friends stood in the shadow of the Reaper called Harbinger, it's glowing yellow eyes looking down on them. Suddenly the images of Unicron's rebirth faded away and the team could see again, Jack looked up at the behemoth. "Our master has returned and you have outlived your usefulness. It is time to condemn you to oblivion." it said gaining the others attention after they recovered. The underside of the Reaper break to glow a bright red as it's weapon ports powered up. "Oh crap..." Garrus sighed as Arcee stood beside Jack and took his hand in hers, affectionately squeezing it. Jack looked back at her and smiled slightly, her own expression mirroring his. Her resolve never lessened, even in the face of their impending deaths. "At least we are together." she said softly and the Prime nodded in return as they looked at each other before returning their attention to the Reaper standing above them, it's weapon now primed and ready to fire. "Well guys…. it was an honour serving with you all." Smokescreen said as he looked around the group, Jack though took a deep breath. Waiting for the inevitable, when suddenly out of nowhere four shining blue projectiles impacted against Harbinger's hull. It did not damage the Reaper, but certainly it's attention was gained as it turned to the direction that the attack came from. Jack and everyone looked to and they all stared in surprise as the Defiant descended below the storm clouds and fired again at the behemoth before flying past it and circling around for another pass. "What the hell are they doing?" Arcee asked in shock as Harbinger fired it's beam weapon at the frigate, only for it to miss as the Defiant performed a barrel roll and fired another spread of torpedoes that impacted harmlessly against the Reaper. "They are distracting Harbinger, and allowing us to head to the beam." Optimus replied, earning a nod of agreement from Jack. "He's right, lets not waste the chance they have given us….. Move!" he said as the group began to run in the direction of the beam as the Defiant made another run at the Reaper. As they made their way down into the graveyard of Hammer's ground forces, the team fired on any Husks that got in their way, once they were nearly half way towards the beam Jack tapped his com link. "Thanks for the save, Hotrod. Now get out of there." he said as he looked back to see the Defiant turning around for another attack, Harbinger roaring loudly, as if becoming increasingly pissed off with this tough little ship. "You're welcome, Jack, heading back n…oh shit." the Autobot replied just as the Reaper fired a beam which hit the frigate's portside engine wing, it exploding which made the rest of the team turn and look in shock. "Hotrod! Get the ship out of there now!" the Commander shouted as he watched the Defiant's evasion of Harbinger's attacks become more sluggish, but due to Hotrod's impressive skill he still managed to evade another blast from the Reaper. In the cockpit the Autobot pilot was frantically fighting against the failing controls while fires were raging behind him as the CIC crew tried desperately to keep the situation from descending into complete anarchy. "I hear you, Jack, but Tali's told me that the hit from the Reaper beam as crippled us, we haven't got enough power to break free of Earth's gravity." he said as he veered the ship sharply to the right as another blast narrowly missed. Teletraan's holo-form appeared next to Hotrod and flickered as it's power source was slowly beginning to fail. "We….ar…los…..power, weapons…..offli…shi..lds…dow…, I…sug…est aban…oning ship." it said as it's voice crackled with interference. Hotrod then hit a button on his holo-controls and an alarm blared through the entire ship. "All hands, abandon ship, I repeat, all hands, abandon ship!" All over the ship, crewmen ran frantically as they made their ways to the escape pods which had opened up automatically. Bumblebee and Raf helped crewmen into one as Chromia helped some into another, Tali ordered her people into the pod outside engineering and took one last look inside as fires and explosions rattled around her, making sure no one was left behind. "This is Tali, everyone is on board the pod on my level, heading off now." she said before leaving the room and climbing inside the pod which then sealed itself. "Same here" Ratchet said as he got ready to climb into his own pod, with a number of crewmen waiting for him. But suddenly he heard a growl and looked back to see Ravage storm round the corner at the end of the corridor towards them. "Quickly, get on board." he said before the feline bot pounced and landed inside the escape pod which Ratchet then climbed in and watched as it sealed itself. In the cockpit which was now empty apart from Hotrod (all CIC crew had got to their escape pod) who looked at a screen to his left to see all pods were ready for launch. He then hit the button next to it. Jack and his team watched as the escape pods disengaged from the damaged frigate and flew overhead before landing just under a quarter mile away, the Prime then looked back to see the Defiant coming back round as Harbinger fired another shot that skimmed the ship, making it shake from another explosion. "What's he doing now?" Garrus asked as Jack saw that the ship was preparing for something. "Hotrod, I know what you are going to do, don't do it. Head to an escape pod." he said into his com link. "No can do, Jack. All the pods have been launched. Plus Teletraan has been damaged, so I need to do this manually." the pilot replied as the Defiant shook from another brush from Harbinger's beam weapon. "I am going to overload the hyperspace engines, hopefully that will make this ship more than a match for that thing's shields." he said as he turned the ship round one last time and now had the Reaper directly in the center of his HUD, he then tapped on his holo-controls to his right and the screen said 'Message sent'. "Col…sion war…ing, coll…on war…ing!" Teletraan sputtered earning an annoyed look from the pilot. "Override. And thanks, Teletraan... for everything." he replied "You…ar….wel..ome…,Hotrod." the AI said back as the Autobot started the final approach. Jack watched helplessly as he knew why his friend was doing this and he put his hand to his com link again. "Hotrod, you don't have to do this." "I do, Jack, and you know it as well. I owe you one, after all. Just make sure my death means something and end this god forsaken war... Oh and I want a statue by the way..." he replied half jokingly as the ship closed in on Harbinger. "...Goodbye." Hotrod then said with an accepting tone and stoic expression as he then activated the hyperspace engines which pushed the Defiant toward faster than light speeds as it narrowly missed another blast from Harbinger and slammed right into the front of the Reaper, impacting on the three yellow eyes on it's right side. The resulting explosion send a wave of electrical bolts around the body of Harbinger, Jack and his team watched wide eyed and with mournful expressions. But the Reaper looked unaffected by the impact when suddenly it's back legs buckled and gave way, the behemoth suddenly tipping backwards before hitting the ground. Dust and debris was thrown into the air by the gigantic living vessel as it just lied there on it's back, not moving. Jack was still staring when he felt a hand on his shoulder. "Jackson, we have to honor Hotrod's sacrifice and make sure that it was not in vain." he said before the younger Prime looked back to him. "I know, let's go everyone. Before Harbinger comes too." jack replied before taking one last look at burning wreckage lying at Harbinger's feet. 'Goodbye, Hotrod and thank you.' he thought before he and his team carried on running to the beam as the fighting continued rage all over the world, let alone in London. As they got closer to the beam, several Husks suddenly appeared and attacked the team, three of them pounced from the top of an overturned tank as Jack and his friends readied themselves to fight them. Optimus swung the star saber and cleaved one in half, while Arcee sliced into one with her arm blades before kicking it into a nearby fire. Grimlock grabbed two of them and smacked their heads together, earning a loud cracking sound. Jazz and Smokecreen shot one each in the face and Jack shot another in the legs before decapitating it with his own star saber. Garrus though saw two Husks cannibalising one of their own, as well as one of the dead soldiers lying next to it. "Sick." he said in disgust before sniping both of them between the eyes. "We're clear." Jack said as the group then ran the rest of the way through the graveyard to the Reaper beam. As they neared the blue energy as it pulsated up into the sky, Arcee then checked her weapon one last time. The femme then began walking into the beam. "Alright, let's finish this." But she suddenly felt a hand on her shoulder and looked back to see Jack staring at her stoically. "I am sorry, Arcee, but this is a far as you go." he replied as Optimus watched the two of them. "What?" the femme replied in surprise. "I need you to take leadership of the team and go help defend the Defiant's survivors. They need your help now." Jack said back, trying not to show what he was really thinking in his expression. Arcee's eyes widened though in response, like she could see straight through Jack. "No, Jack! We do this together." she replied defiantly, gaining Optimus's attention. "Arcee, Jack and I must do this alone." he said stoically, the femme looked at him for a second before her azure eyes fell on her lover again. Jack could see them beginning to well up. "But...you promised that we would see this fight through to the end...together." she said softly to him as tears began to run down her cheeks, the younger Prime then took both her hands in his and brought the femme, his femme close to him. "I know and I am sorry..." he began to say before Arcee cut him off. "You're not coming back, are you?" she said before Jack cupped her face in his hands and leaned in close, their lips almost touching as the blue light of the Reaper beam shone behind them. "I will come back to you, Arcee, because… you are my spark-mate and I love you." he replied, gaining a surprised look from the femme, who then closed the distance between them and kissed Jack passionately. Their kiss lasted only a moment before they both pulled back slightly and touched their foreheads together. "You better come back to me, Jack, or I will hunt you down...,Partner." she said with a slight smile as another tear ran down her cheek, only for the Prime to wipe it away with his thumb as he stroked her cheek. "I swear." he replied before stepping back, away from her and towards the beam. Never taking his eyes off the femme and she with him. "Come back to me." she said softly, earning a nod from him before Jack looked over to Optimus and then they both turned round and entered the light of the beam and disappeared right before everyone's eyes. Then just a moment later the beam shut down, the light that had illuminated the area suddenly gone and leaving the lightning that shot across the blanket of storm clouds overhead as the only light (other than the weapons fire that was being fired at the Reapers in the distance). "They have no way to get back." Arcee said in shock as Garrus stood beside her. "Arcee, I am sure we can get Bryce or one of our ships to pick them up, but in the meantime we need to get to the Defiant escape pods before they are overrun by Husks." he said as the femme just looked up at the sky, then she nodded slowly before turning to the Turian with a stoic expression, attempting to hide the anguish she was feeling at that moment. "You're right." she replied before looking back at the others. "Jack gave us a job to do, so let's get on with it." she said while equipping her SMGs, Jazz, Smokescreen and Grimlock nodded in return as the femme then took the lead and the group began to head over to where the escape pods crash-landed. Garrus for a second held back and scanned the path to their destination, making sure that no Husks were about. Once happy that the path was safe for a now, he then began to follow the others but first looked up at the sky where the Reaper beam had been. "Stay safe." he whispered before heading after the rest of the team. Meanwhile not far from the Reaper beam's location, the Defiant's escape pods began to open as Chromia, Tali, Bumblebee and Ratchet got out of their respective pods, looking around so that they could determine that it was safe for the rest of the crew. "By the Allspark." Ratchet stated in horror at the site that welcomed him as he saw the utter devastation that the Reapers had inflicted on his adoptive home-world. "Keelah.." Tail said in return before equipping her shotgun. "Bumblebee held his blasters, ready to take for anything as Raf activated his holo-tool and scanned the area. "Readings are inconclusive, but we should get everyone to a more secure and defend-able .." he said before an unholy scream cut him off, Bumblebee then looked around till his blue eyes widened at the sight they were met with. The Autobot saw Chromia suddenly fighting off three husks at once as the crewmen in her escape pod resealed the hatch, he then looked back to his best friend. "Close this hatch and seal it...now!" he stated firmly to his friend, who nodded back before freezing in spot as he saw something behind Bumblebee. But the young scout turned warrior needed no warning as he turned on the spot and fired at the Husk that had tried to sneak up on him. But before he could get a clear shot on it, the creature pounced and tackled the bot to the floor. "Bee!" Raf shouted as the other occupants in the pod watched on fear. "Seal the pod!" the Autobot shouted back as he tried to fight off the snarling and scratching Husk. Rat just stood there completely frozen as his mind fought with his instincts, leave his friend to die to save the others or fight. Bumblebee meanwhile punched the creature in the face, but it has no effect as it grabbed his hand and pinned it down to the ground. It then looked at him with it's soulless blue optics before screaming into his face as it then lunged it's mouth down at his throat, teeth ready to rip it out. But then a gunshot was heard and the Husk fell on top of the Autobot, a smoking hole in it's head. Confused by this Bumblebee pushed the dead body off himself and looked up to see his friend looking back while pointing a gun in his direction. His face was one of shock and relief, his Autobot friend simply smiled back as he got to his feet. "Thanks, Buddy, now seal your selves in there." he said earning a nod and smile from the scientist who complied. Bumblebee then re-equipped his blasters and turned to see scores of Husks charging toward the landing site. "Oh hell." he said to himself before opening fire on the horde rushing at him. The other pods came under attack at the same time as Chromia and Tali engaged the Husks who tried to swarm them. Ratchet even had help from Ravage who had jumped out of the escape pod before the hatch re-sealed to help with the fight. The medic was slicing up husks left and right with his holo-blades while Ravage was was ripping the throats out of others after pouncing on them. One of the Husks meanwhile climbed on top of the escape and readied itself to leap at the Quarian, who had not noticed due to her blasting away the other creatures who got to close. But just as it was about to strike, a familiar gunshot was heard followed by the sound of metal piercing flesh. Tali heard this behind her and looked up to see the Husk fall off the pod's roof and land at her feet, she then shot another creature before looking around until her eyes came across a sight that made her heart beat faster and feel warmer. "Garrus." she called as her Turian boyfriend fired another shot that took the head off another Husk before running down to meet her, Arcee at his side. "Where's the rest?" Tali asked as both the femme and Garrus killed the remaining creatures around them. "Jazz is helping Bumblebee, Smokescreen is assisting Ratchet and Grimlock is with Chromia." Arcee replied before looking around to see that they were safe for a moment. "Garrus, get on top of the pod and keep an eye out. I want to know the second more Husks are on the way." she said. "Roger that." the Turian replied before winking at his girlfriend before climbing up onto the Pod's roof and setting up his sniper rifle. "Tali, can you activate a number of drones to assist us with defending the pods?" Arcee asked as the Quarian stood beside her. "Sure, but were is Jack?" Arcee looked away for a moment as she remembered what had only occurred just a few minutes ago. "Jack entered the beam with Optimus and is by now inside Unicron." she said with her eyes closed as the image of him looking at her with the beam's light illuminating them both played out before her eyes. Tali noticed this and placed a sympathetic hand on the femme's shoulder. "He will be back, Arcee. He loves you after all." she replied. Arcee look back to her and nodded. "I know, but I just wish…" "You wish you were fighting at his side." the Quarian finished off the femme's sentence. "Yes, but he told me that he needed us to help defend the Defiant's crew, and so help me I will see that it is done." the femme replied as Garrus called down from his spot. "We have Husks, a lot of them. We have a few minutes before they are in weapons range." Okay, let the others know, Garrus. I have a quick call to make." she said as Tali activated her holo-tool and started to deploy her drones. The femme then tapped her com link. "Arcee to the Ark, can you read me? I need to speak to Admiral Bryce." she said. The Ark continued to fire at the incoming Reapers as both 'Sword' and 'Shield' fleets were being pummeled by the overwhelming force that they were up against. Admiral Bryce was watching from the ship's bridge as he saw cruiser after cruiser being destroyed by the black behemoths. The Admiral kept his facial expression as stoic as possible, so not to unnerve his crew who were attempting to keep them in the battle. But really, having seen their last and only hope with the Crucible go up in smoke and witnessing the Reapers systematically wiping out the rest of his fleet, while also knowing that they were at this very moment committing genocide on a galactic scale. The Admiral had all but given up, but he would be damned if he would let his own crew see him that way. He just continued to watch as his communications officer turned to him. "Sir, I am picking up a transmission from the surface. It is Arcee, she is asking for you." "Patch her through." the Admiral replied, the officer then transferred it to Bryce's own console. "Arcee, report. What's going on down there. We lost contact with the Defiant." "Admiral, the Defiant has been lost. The ship was damaged by Harbinger and Hotrod piloted it into the Reaper, so that we would have a chance to reach the beam." the femme replied. "I….see, I am sorry to hear that. But why go to the beam, the Crucible was a fake this whole time, I don't understand." Bryce replied honestly. "Sir, Jack and Optimus should be inside Unicron as we speak, and they believe they can eliminate him from within. We just need to buy them some time." Arcee replied with conviction in her voice. The Admiral suddenly felt his second wind come about as a new hope had emerged in the space of a moment. "Then we will buy them all the time we need, what is your current situation?" "My team and I are defending the Defiant survivors just aways from the beam site sir, but we could use some reinforcements and Jack and Optimus will need picking up once they have succeeded." the Autobot replied. The Admiral looked over to an officer to his right, who had the femme's position up on a map of London and nodded back to him. "I'll see what I can do about reinforcements from my end, Arcee. Just hold on. And I promise to be there to pick up the two Primes." "Thank you, Admiral, good luck." the femme replied wholeheartedly. "Good luck to us all." he said as the conversation ended, the Admiral then turned to his com officer. "See if you can get in touch with any of our ground forces who are near Arcee's position and tell them to help her. And also activate the com link to the entire fleet." The Officer nodded in return and worked his console before a green light began bleeping on Bryce's own. He then tapped it and began speaking. "This is Admiral Bryce to all ships, I have just heard that Jackson Prime and Optimus Prime are now on board Unicron and are working to destroy him from within, but we need to buy them the time to do so. Now I know that we have lost three quarters of our combined fleet and that it looks like we may not live to see tomorrow, but I ask you to help me hold this line and give the Reapers everything we have. To use every torpedo and cannon round we have, and to fight until we cannot fight anymore, so that we can ensure that the rest of the galaxy will survive to see tomorrow." The com officer then looked back at the Admiral. "All ships acknowledged, Sir." "There is a saying here on Earth, 'fortune favors the bold'. Let's see it that holds true today. Bryce out." he said before looking out to see Unicron watching from the edge of the battle as the deity stayed in orbit around the Earth. Not lifting a finger to aid his Reapers unless an enemy ship got to close. The Chaos bringer had an evil smile gracing his face plate, but seemed unaware of what was about to happen inside of his own body. PRIME EFFECT 3 As the battle raged outside, Jack and Optimus both exited the Reaper beam to find themselves in a large room with black metallic bulkheads, the light from the beam was illuminating the area around them until it suddenly deactivated. "Good thing we entered it when we did." he said as he looked around to see the bright purple light of dark energon as it glowed through the cracks in the black walls and passed down the large synthetic veins that were all over the place, it's light flowed with a spark beat like pulse as it dimly illuminated cavern like surroundings. "Indeed, Jackson, but we must make haste. I fear that our presence will not go unnoticed for long." the Older Prime replied. "So which way to Unicron's spark chamber?" the Commander asked while looking at three corridors that made up a fork like junction ahead of them. Optimus in response placed his hand to the chest plate of his armour, as if feeling the matrix that lied beneath it before pointing down the middle opening. "That way, Jackson." he replied as both men then spotted numerous pairs of bright blue optics moving around ahead of them, the Prime's focused their vision to see many Husks standing in their way. Yet none of the creatures had yet took notice of them. "Okay, shall we sneak past them then.." Jack started to ask before one Husk looked up at them for a second before letting out that familiar inhuman scream, gaining the attention of all the others as the two men felt every pair of blue optics fall on them before the horde began charging toward the two Primes. "…right, so we fight our way through." the younger Prime finished as Optimus unsheathed his star saber from the back of his armour, it's blade glowing brightly in his grip. "Indeed, are you ready, Jackson?" he asked, gaining a confident smile from his younger companion as he activated his own saber and held his assault rifle in his free hand. "Yeah, these Husks don't stand a chance." he replied as he took a step forward and readied himself as he looked back toward the army of Husks bearing down on them. "Lets get to work." he said before running at the horde, Optimus at his side as they charged into the fray. The first line of Husks pounced at them, only for Jack and Optimus to swing their blades and cut them down as they continued to run through the enemy force. Optimus swung his star saber from left to right as he carved a path through scores of Cannibals and Husks that stood in his way, Jack parried and decapitated others with his own blade while spraying bullets into the horde that approached from his other side, the bullets ripping through their flesh easily before they fell to the ground. The Husks carried on being felled by the two Primes as they kept moving down the tunnel which was now packed to brim with the Reaper ground forces, as a number of marauders began firing at the two intruders with their own rifle like weapons. But Jack and Optimus deflected the gun fire with their star sabers before the younger Prime fired back at the modified Turians, taking each one down with a head shot. "Nice shooting." Optimus replied proudly as he cut down a number of Husks that were charging at them from behind. "Thanks." Jack asked as he kicked one creature in the stomach before slicing it in half, then he pointed his rifle at another group of marauders when suddenly a Husk hit him and knocked the weapon out of his hand. "Scrap!" the Commander replied before repaying the creature by forcing his blade through it's head, blood spilling out of it and covering the other Husks behind it. He then saw the marauders aiming at the Autobot Leader as he fought. "Optimus, look out." Jack shouted at his friend who had his back turned to them before fighting off more Husks that pounced at him. The older Prime then, after hearing Jack's warning took a glance back at the group and then charged his blade before swinging it around (slicing down the creatures around him as it did) and unleashed an energy wave which obliterated the marauders. The Commander then finished off his quarry and then smiled back at Optimus. "That was brilliant." he replied as the big bot joined his side. "Thank you. We need to keep moving though, otherwise they can regroup and halt our advance." "Way ahead of you, let's move." Jack said as both Primes left the area and continued down the path, leaving the bodies of all the Husks where they lied as they made their way closer to their target. Meanwhile scores of Husks charged at Arcee and her team as they defended the escape pods from the encroaching hordes, but no matter how many of the creatures were taken down, even more kept on running at them. Arcee fired her SMGs at several Husks, killing them in a spray of bullets, while Garrus was still lying on his stomach on top of an escape pod and blowing the heads off the creatures with his sniper rifle. Grimlock though had gotten sick of his rifle and had turned to his trusty sword as the Dinobot was slicing up the Husks left right and center. Ratchet though was starting to tire as one Husk almost got the better of him before Ravage tackled it to the ground and repeatedly clawed at it's chest until it's insides were mush. "Thank you, Ravage, I am too old for all this fighting." the old medic said while catching his breath. The feline bot gave what looked like a nod before turning it's attention as even more Husks appeared on the horizon. "By Primus, they just keep coming." Ratchet said with a hint of despair in his voice, the others had noticed this too as they finished off another wave of Husks only to see more on the way. "Arcee, we are not going to be able to hold them off for much longer." Jazz said as he reloaded his rifle. "Yeah, I am almost out of ammo." Bumblebee replied in a worried tone. Arcee looked over to both of them from her spot. "Then we take them on hand to hand, we have to do this…..for Jack and Optimus." she said stoically as she deployed her arm blades and waited for the hordes to reach them. Her face becoming stern and focused. But just as the Husks charged within the last fifty feet, suddenly an explosion sent a number of the creatures flying into the air as the group watched in surprise. "What the?" Smokescreen said before Garrus pointed at the sky from his spot. "Over there." Arcee and the others looked in the direction that the Turian was pointing to see an Alliance shuttle flying toward them while firing explosive rounds at the hordes of Husks, which had become confused by the attack and were regrouping. The group then heard a familiar voice speaking through their com links. "don't worry, back up has arrived." "Swoop, you made it." Grimlock said happily as the shuttle stopped over the group before firing another round of fire into the Husks. "Yeah, I got this old girl working again. The received a message from Admiral Bryce, so I flew over here as fast I could." Swoop replied. "Well, thank god. We now have some air support." Garrus said back with relief in his voice. "Oh, I brought more than that. Got some friends who want to join you." the Dinobot pilot replied as the shuttle's hatch opened and three more familiar figures dropped to the ground below. First up was Dreadwing, who equipped his Gatling gun and immediately began spraying the area in front of him with bullets, taking down numerous Husks, then shuttle moved over and dropped Kup between both Jazz and Grimlock, the older bot firing on the creatures with his shotgun. The force of the shot tearing open the stomach of one of them, he then smiled at both bots. "Hey, Guys, can't wait to recite this battle afterwards." he said happily, gaining an eye roll from Jazz and the Dinobot. The shuttle then moved over to Chromia who was kicking and punching the Husks that had begun to attack her and a black and red armored man dropped down on top of one of the Husks and crushed it's face under his armored boot. He then grabbed the next Husk and held it over his head before slamming it down on his knee. "Take that…" he started to say before throwing the broken creature into the other enemies, knocking them down like bowling pins. "…Reaper-punk!" he finished before looking back to the femme, who was staring wide-eyed at him. A slight smile gracing her face. "You alright?" he said back to her. "Yes, I am better than alright." she replied as her smile got bigger. "Good, just stay close to me and we will make it through this." he said with a smile, then the bot looked back to the horde only to see the face of a Husk right in his and ready to strike. He was about to react when suddenly the creature's head exploded, he then glanced back to see Chromia pointing her pistol in his direction. A large and confident smile on the femme's face as she moved up to his side. "And I think you should stay close to me." she replied coyly, earning an equally large smile from the Autobot. "Name's Ironhide." he said, his voice tinged with affection. "Chromia." the femme replied in return before they both took defensive stances beside each other and readied their weapons for the next wave of Husks. Meanwhile Arcee having seen the back up that just arrived couldn't help but feel more confident of their chances, so she sneaked a quick look up towards the heavens and thought of her spark-mate before refocusing on the battle at hand and moving into the fight with her arm blades ready. After running down a number of interconnected corridors and killing any Husk that stood in their way, the two Primes entered a large room where all the synthetic veins converged on a large door just ahead of them, the dark energon pulsing through them rapidly and brightly. "The spark chamber is just beyond that door." The older Prime said as they ran up to it, but the door did not open. "Okay, this is going to be a problem." Jack replied before Optimus smiled. "I know of a way to get through." he said as he held his star-saber up, it began to brighten as he did so. Jack smiled and nodded in return before stepping aside. The moment he was out of the way, Optimus swung the blade in front of the door and unleashed an energy wave that hit the door with an almighty bang. But it only dented the door, leaving the Primes both looking at it in shock. "First time that hasn't worked." the Commander replied as he looked over to Optimus. "Perhaps we should both attack the door, the combined power of our star-sabers should be enough to cut through." the Autobot leader said back, earning a not entirely sure expression from Jack before he sighed and nodded. "Alright, but this tends to knock the wind out of me whenever I unleash a wave with my star-saber. So just be ready to cover me, if we come under attack." Optimus gave him a supportive smile before both men charged their sabers and swung them at the door, the combined energy wave obliterating the door instantly. Jack fell to his knees and breathed heavily as Optimus kept an eye out. "Well….that worked well." Jack said as he took a deep breath, but then a loud groaning noise echoed around them as if they had injured something. "That doesn't sound good." the younger Prime added as he was helped up by his friend. "No, it does not, Jackson. We should hasten our selves for I believe that Unicron knows of our plan now." Optimus said before they both carried on through the now open door. Meanwhile outside, Unicron's expression changed to one of silent agony and worry as he placed a hand up to his chest, for he knew something was not right and that maybe it was time to call upon his most loyal servant. The two Primes were almost sprinting as they neared the end of the corridor, which had a very bright purple light pulsing at it's end. It was almost blinding in strength the closer they got to it. "We nearly there, Optimus." Jack said with hope in his voice, the older Prime was about to reply when a shadowy figure caught his eye as it dropped down from the ceiling in front of the Commander. "Jack, look out!" he shouted, making the younger Prime stop his tracks in time to see a weird looking Husk land in front of him. Jack though did not hesitate as he sliced the creature in half almost immediately, causing a gush of black blood to stain the ground in front of him. Then as both men looked down at the two halfs of the Husk lying on the ground, Jack noticed that it was wearing what appeared to be clothes. "Strange, never known Husks to be fully clothed before." he said as he knelt beside the torso and turned it over and suddenly recognized it as a MECH uniform, his eyes widened as he knew who this used to be. "This is Silas." Optimus stood beside him and looked down at the body. "He was the one who opened the Citadel arms and allowed the Crucible to dock." "Yeah, and then the Reapers turned him into a Husk for his good work. Well after all the lives that were lost at 'Sanctuary' and all the other atrocities that MECH committed in his name, I would say he got what he deserved." Jack said in a cold and judging tone. Optimus though gave his younger companion a knowing look. "Jackson, no matter how misguided or 'evil' Silas's actions have been, I would not wish this fate on any of our enemies. I may not have witnessed what you have during this war, but I would wish that you not lose sight of what it is that made you a Prime. I of all people know that the horrors of war can change people, but we as Primes are not allowed the luxury of changing our views." Jack looked away from the older Prime and down at the Husk who used to be Silas. "I…..I know, and I am sorry. Well at least I put him out of his misery I guess." he said as Optimus placed a hand on his shoulder in support. "That is correct, we are not here to judge others Jackson. We are here to protect and guide them. "Alright, then lets finally end this." Jack replied with a now stoic expression as he started for the inner spark chamber, but before they could move on. A familiar voice spoke out from an unknown direction. "This is as far as you go, Darby!" Both Primes looked around, hoping to see who it was that spoke. But Jack could not believe that it would be him. "No, it can't be. I killed him already." he said with shock in his voice as a figure stepped out from the shadows. He was wearing armor that looked not unlike that of which Unicron had, but was dark brown with gold lines, he then let the light from the room illuminate his face and showed Jack and Optimus who he was. "Sideways! How the hell are you standing here now?!" Jack said as he and the older Prime re-equipped their star-sabers, earning a laugh from the former Con. "Do you still not get it ,Darby. I am the Herald of Unicron. His loyal guardian and servant. As long as he lives, so do I." Sideways replied before unsheathing two dark energon blades off his back and preparing to attack them. "And I will not be facing you alone….." he said, his eyes began to glow bright purple as his voice blended with that of Unicron. "…Because we both will be facing you today, Disciples of Primus. For it will be this day that the lineage of Primes comes to an end. Now die!" the former-Con yelled as he swung his blades at the Primes, they both parried or deflected the attacks as the three of them became locked in mortal combat while illuminated by the light of Unicron's spark that was just down the corridor. PRIME EFFECT 3 The battle raging over the Earth was going from bad to worse as the Allied forces were being obliterated by the Reapers, many of the ships had already been disabled or destroyed by the black behemoths. The bridge of the Ark was a mess as crewmen were either putting out fires or trying to repair systems, Admiral Bryce wiped blood from a wound on his forehead that he had gained from hitting it against his console after the last attack from the Reaper directly ahead of them. "Evasive action now!" he shouted, the helmsmen then turned the large Autobot ship to right, just narrowly missing the red energy beam that the behemoth had fired at them. "Fire everything we have at it now." he commanded, and with that the Ark returned fire with all it's cannons and torpedoes, causing minor damage to the Reaper as it charged it's beam weapon again. "Sir, minimal damage to the Reaper and our shields are down to twenty percent. We wont be able to survive another direct hit." an officer said as he worked his control console. Bryce then looked out at the bridge canopy to see the Nemesis moving toward and over them as it fired it's weapons at the Reaper, blowing it's tentacle legs off and making the behemoth lose control as it drifted away and crashed into another Reaper that was busy destroying a mercenary cruiser (Eclipse). The two giant squid like ships impacted and blew up in spectacular fashion. "Thanks for the save, Nemesis." Bryce said into his com link as his pilot turned the Ark around to face it's sister ship. "You're welcome Ark. We will….oh shit!" the commander of the Nemesis replied as Bryce saw four more Reapers move in around the former Decepticon mothership, their weapons glowing as they became charged. "Nemesis, get out of there." the Admiral shouted at them, but then the Reapers fired their beam weapons and carved the ship into pieces right before the Admiral and his crew's eyes. Nothing was left but small pieces of debris after the behemoths were finished and they turned towards the Ark, their weapons charging up once more. Bryce looked down at his console as he contemplated his next move, taking a deep breath before looking at his helmsmen with a stoic expression. "Set a collision course and set our engine core to overload because if we are going to go out, then I want to take those bastards with us. So give me ramming speed." he said as his bridge crew looked at him in shock. "Ye….Yes sir." his helmsmen replied before turning back to his console and inputting the commands. Then the Ark's engines fired up and thrust the ship forward as it began to close in on the four Reapers ahead of them, the crew just watched and waited for the inevitable as Bryce stood up straight and looked on. "It has been an honor serving with you all." he said as they neared the behemoths, but suddenly the sensors station began to beep. Gaining the crewman who was working it's attention. "Sir, sensors are picking up multiple ships jumping into Earth space." Bryce looked at him with a surprised and questioning expression. "Who?" Suddenly the Cronos and a number of MECH cruisers appeared out of hyperspace and fired their beam cannons at the Reapers in front of the Ark, damaging them all and causing the black behemoths to move out of the way as the Cronos moved to the Autobot ship's side. "MECH, but how?" Bryce asked as he looked at the ships with surprise before a familiar female voice spoke over the intercom. "Admiral Bryce, this is Miranda Lawson. I hope you don't mind me crashing this little party of yours?" she said, earning a smile from the Admiral. "Not at all, Miss Lawson, if we survive this then I will buy you a drink. "Looking forward to it. Our sensors show that the Ark has taken substantial damage. We will cover you with the Cronos until you have are ready to fight again." she replied. "Thank you, Miss Lawson." "We are all in this fight, see you on the other side." the former MECH officer replied before speaking on the intercom to the rest of her fleet. "All ships, engage the Reaper forces." Then as the rest of the MECH cruisers split up into pairs and began firing on the Reapers, the Cronos staying at the Ark's side as it began firing on a squadron of Reaper fighter drones that targeted the Autobot ship. Meanwhile among the ruins of London, Raf looked out of the small window of the escape pod he was in. And as he watched Bumblebee and Smokescreen fighting a bunch of Husks, a Reaper in the distance gained his attention as it got to it's feet and looked around. It was Harbinger and from where he was, Raf could see only one set of three glowing yellow eyes (the others were destroyed when the Defiant crashed into them earlier) as the Reaper scanned the horizon. It then looked up into the sky and stayed that way for a long moment as if it could sense that something was wrong before launching itself into the sky and ascending to the void that was beyond the planet's atmosphere. PRIME EFFECT 3 Inside the Chaos bringer's body, the two Primes continued to clash swords with Sideways (who was under Unicron's control) as they attacked him from both sides, though their Herald continued to deflect or parry their attacks, with a dark smile on his face as he did. "Is that the best you have to offer, Primes?" Sideways mocked before swinging his blade at Jack who blocked it with the sky boom shield, the younger Prime then charged into the Herald, knocking him over into the spark chamber. The giant energy ball that was Unicron's spark illuminated the entire vast spherical room, as electrical blasts were emitted by it and clashed against the walls above the men below. Sideways got to his feet as Jack and Optimus stood ready. The former-Con had managed to not only hold his own against the two Primes, but looked like he was in full control of the fight and was now only toying with them. The presence of Unicron sharing his spark had made him far more of a danger than he had been before now, and Jack knew from glancing over at Optimus that things were not going well. "Hope you enjoy the view, Disciples of Primus? This is as close as you will get to my spark." Sideways said before he launched himself at both Primes, who clashed heir saber's against his, blue and purple sparks flying out as the blades connected. The Herald mocked before pushing Optimus away and then hitting Jack in the face with the sword's hilt, as he pulled his other blade back. This made the younger Prime stagger back a few steps. "So disappointing. Primus must have been desperate to have picked such a lowly life form to become a Prime. You are the weakest that I had ever faced." Sideways mocked but before he could take advantage of this, Optimus brought his star saber down upon his enemy. But Sideways managed to cross his blades over his head and block the attack, holding it there in place. The Autobot leader gritted his teeth as he tried to force his blade through the Chaos Bringer's defence but Sideways merely grinned as he stared back at the Prime. "You will not have this day, Prime, for I will watch as the light leaves your eyes before finally destroying everything that you and my brother hold dear." Optimus then kicked out at Sideways stomach, forcing the Herald back. "And I will ensure that never happens, Unicron, even if I have to give up my life to see it through." the older Prime replied in a determined tone before breaking the deadlock and swiping at the Chaos Bringer, who dodged the attack and countered by slashing through the older Prime's armour on his arm, blood like liquid spilled out earning a wince from Optimus as Sideways kicked him and knocked him on his ass. "One of my blades has tasted the blood of a Prime today, I vow it's thirst will be quenched by the end of this distraction." Sideways said in a victorious like tone. "You talk too much." Jack replied sarcastically as he rejoined the fight and hacked his star saber at the former Con. The former Con blocked the attack but the Commander then deactivated his saber making the Herald's fall down and drag him forward (via he momentum) towards Jack as he lost his footing. The younger Prime smiled as he then hit Sideways in the face with his elbow before then kneeing him in the stomach and then elbowing him in the back as he recoiled, knocking the former Con on to the floor. Jack then reactivated his star saber and stood over Sideways. "This ends now." he said confidently before raising his saber over his head, the former Con looked up at him with his eyes glowing brightly with dark Energon as his expression was one of brutal rage. "Enough!" he roared before reaching up and stopping Jack from striking him down, the strength that Jack found himself against was beyond anything he had face before as Sideways held on to the arm that the star saber was equipped to. The Herald stared into the younger Prime's eyes with a hatred that was beyond words. "I have had enough of you, Fleshling." he spat before crushing the armour around Jack's wrist, making the star saber vanish. The pain the Commander felt was like having ones hand in a vice that had been tightened to almost breaking point. Sideways then head butted Jack twice, making blood gush from the Younger Prime's nose and daze him before punching him in the chest, cracking the chest plate of his armour and a number of his ribs in the process, the force of the punch also sent Jack flat on his ass. Optimus was still recovering as he managed to sit up to see Jack trying to stand as Sideways picked up his dark Energon sabers, the blades glowing brightly as he charged them up. "Now BEGONE!" the former Con spat as he sliced the sabers down in front of him, unleashing a double energy wave that hit Jack like a wrecking ball, the young Prime felt an instant crippling pain across his entire body as the energy burnt his armour and sent him flying into the wall behind him, the impact creating a crater where he hit it before his body fell to the ground and Jack fell unconscious. "Jackson!" Optimus shouted back as he got to his feet, Sideways though casually turned around and looked at him with a dark smile. "One Prime down, one to go." Optimus looked over to Jack's still form lying on the floor before his attention went back to Sideways, his eyes narrowing at the former Con as he tightened his grip around the hilt of the star saber, he then charged at the Herald who just let him come at him. Optimus swung his blade but Sideways ducked under it and then countered with his own attack, only for the Autobot leader to deflect it before the two clashed sabers again, the former Con then used his free saber to try and slash at the older Prime, though Optimus saw this coming and broke away to dodge the attack at the last split second. They then both stared hate into each others eyes. "I will kill you now." Sideways said earning a curious expression from the Prime. "That seems premature, Unicron. You will not have this day." "Miserable worm, it will happen because I have deemed it so." he spat back before roaring at Optimus and launching an other attack, which found the Prime on the defensive instantly as Sideways kept pummelling, breaking through every parry and block that the Autobot leader attempted, pushing him back with each attack. Optimus found that when ever he tried to counter, the Chaos Bringer just broke through again and forced him to defend. As the two fought, Jack came too and he managed to look up and see them, though every part of him was aching beyond measure. It was then at that moment, the former Con spun his saber's hilt in his hand so that he had the blunt end facing Optimus and he jabbed it into the Autobot Leader's face, disorientating him. Sidesways smirked as he then thrusted his other saber right at his enemy, but Optimus managed to bring his star saber up just in time to deflect it. The former Con though still had the one more blade (he had spun the hilt back to its original position) and before the Autobot leader could react, Sidesways stabbed him through the chest with it. Optimus's eyes widened, and he gave a loud grunt as he felt the most agonising pain in his chest and looked down to see the dark Energon saber imbedded in him. Jack's expression was one of complete shock as he saw Sideways pull out the blade, blood like fluid gushed out of the wound as Optimus slumped to his knees with the former Con standing over him with a look of delight on his face. "And so finally, the line of Primes has failed and my brother's will undone. Nothing will stand between my children and I as we purge this galaxy, and then rebuild it our own way." The older Prime looked up at Sideways, the former Con's eyes still glowing with the purple hue of dark Energon. "Unicron, no matter…. how many cycles you purge, or… how many lives you take. You will never find… what it is that you seek. And others….. will always take arms against you." The Prime replied as he gritted his teeth and put his hand to his wound, feeling his life force continue to abandon him. Sideways though looked unimpressed as he began lifting one of his blades, preparing to bring the Autobot Leader's life to an end. "I have had enough of your prattle, Prime. They will die, just as surely as you will now." the former Con replied as Optimus closed his eyes and prepared himself for the inevitable, but then as Sideways dropped the blade down to cleave his enemy's head from his shoulders, suddenly a loud clang of metal echoed around the spark chamber. Optimus still waiting for the killing blow, opened one eye to see that his star saber was blocking the bright purple blade of the possessed former-con. He then looked to see who was holding his saber and saw Jack standing there with a determined look on his face. "You forgot about me, Unicron." he spat before parrying the Herald's blade away from Optimus who then fell back onto his ass and breathed heavily as his wound continued to bleed over him. Sideway's purple eyes glowed angrily as narrowed them at Jack. "Do you think you have what it takes to defeat me…..,Disciple of Primus." he spat as took a stance with his blades, readying himself for another round with the younger Prime. Jack followed suit as he held the star-saber in his hand, the blade suddenly mass shifted itself into a single-handed version of it self, earning a confident smile from Jack. "Let's find out." he replied before charging at his enemy, Sideways mirrored him as the two ran at each other before they clashed blades, the sound of metal on metal echoing throughout the room. Both of them attacked each other with everything they had, for every attack one performed. The other would block or evade it before countering. Optimus watched from his spot, his eyes wide as he saw Jack holding his own against the Unicron possessed Sideways as they continued to battle each other in the wake of the giant spark of the Chaos Bringer. But then as Sideways lunged forward with an attack, Jack spun around and dodged it before elbowing the former Con in the back. As the Herald was pushed forward, Jack then slashed his enemy's back earning a hiss from Sideways as he winced. He then turned round and with his anger now at boiling point, swung his blade at the younger Prime who ducked under it and then slashed the former Con's right arm, causing him to drop one of his dark energon sabers. Sideways growled in response before just swinging wildly at the Commander who just coolly dodged the attack and then slashed at the former Con's chest, cutting through the armor and the flesh below it. Sideways winced again before gritting his teeth and lunging at Jack, but the younger Prime blocked the attack with the star saber before launching a punch at the former Con's gut, but suddenly his own star-saber reactivated and stabbed right through his body, and coming out of his back. Sideway's gasped in pain before Jack pulled his blade out of the Herald's gut, making blood-like fluid gush out as the purple glow coming from the Herald's eyes disappeared and he fell to knees. The younger Prime stood above him and readied his own star saber to strike his enemy down, while holding Optimus's saber in his other. "You think…..*cough*, you've won, Darby? You don't have..*cough* what it takes to….*cough* end this." Sideways spat back with his own voice (the possession by Unicron now over) as he continued to choke on his own blood. But Jack wasn't going to listen to this bastard for a second longer as he raised the star-saber over the Herald. "Please stay dead this time." he replied before swinging the blade down and cleaving Sideway's head from his body, the former rolling on the floor while he later fell down in a heap. "Jackson." a faint voice spoke out and Jack look over from the body of Sideways to see Optimus slumped up against the wall, bleeding out as he attempted to keep pressure on his chest wound. The younger Prime ran over and knelt down in front of him, taking out an item out of his utility belt. "Hang on, Optimus. I have medi-gel." he said as he prepared to treat the wound, but then the Autobot leader reached out and stopped him. "It is…..to…late for….me, I will…..soon become one…..with…..the Allspark." he replied slowly, clinging on to what little life he had left, if only for a moment. "Don't talk like that, we can still…." Jack began saying back before Optimus cut him off. "We….don't have….the time, Unicron has only been…..slowed down. You have…..to finish this." Jack then watched as Optimus opened up the chest plate of his armor and took the matrix crystal in his hand, it then mass shifted to it's natural size in his grasp. Jack looked down into the bright white/blue crystal core of the artifact, before then looking his mentor in the eye. A worried expression grew on his face. "Optimus, if I can't do this." he said with uncertainty in his voice, but the Autobot leader just gave him a reassuring smile. "You are… a Prime, I know…. you can do this." he replied before looking past Jack to the spark of Unicron as it continued to glow brightly in the background. He then looked back at Jack. "I never….told you this, but….I always thought….of you….as…a son, Jack." Jack's eyes widened at the older Prime's confession. "Optimus…" "I….am…..very…..proud…..of…..you…" Optimus then said before his eyes glazed over and his head tilted slightly to the right, his expression frozen in place as he died there in front of Jack. He just looked at his mentor, a single tear running down his cheek as it dawned on him what just happened. He then reached out with his hand and closed Optimus's eyes before looking down to the ground. "Goodbye…" he whispered as he stayed like that for what felt like a long moment, before the glow of the matrix caught his attention as it lied there in the fallen Autobot leader's hands. The words of Primus then echoed through Jack's mind as he remembered what the Aeon had told him. 'If you were to unleash the matrix's energy, then you would likely not survive the exposure.' the words had a damning notion to Jack as he also remembered his vow to Arcee, his spark-mate. 'I will come back to you, Arcee, because… you are my spark-mate and I love you…I swear.' He so wanted to keep his oath to his lover, to spend the remainder of his life with her. But as these thoughts conflicted with each other, Jack also thought of how the Reapers were at this very moment obliterating all sentient life in the galaxy. And it was this thought that finally made his decision for him. He was a Prime, and it was his duty to protect the galaxy….no matter the cost. So, he knew that he had no choice and so with a deep breath, he picked up the matrix and stood up and turned around to face the ever bright and storm like spark of the Chaos Bringer as it hovered in the center of the massive spark chamber. Jack began walking towards the center of the room, to the spot directly below the beating spark. And as he walked, Jack remembered the faces of his friends and family. He saw his mother June Darby and his step-father William Fowler. He then saw Garrus and Tali, Soundwave, Legion and Miko with Kaidan and Wheeljack. Then there was Airachnid before Optimus's face appeared, looking at Jack with both pride and a father's love. Finally though as Jack stood directly below Unicron's spark, the last image he saw was that of Arcee. She looked at him lovingly with the same smile that would melt his heart every time. An it was this last image that gave Jack the strength to do what was necessary, so he lifted the matrix above his head. Holding it firmly at the handle's on either side. "Matrix of Leadership, I Jackson Prime call upon you…." he called out to it as he began to pull the casing surrounding the glowing crystal apart. "…..light our darkest hour!" As these words echoed though the matrix, several thousand light years away deep in the bowels of Cybertron. Primus's core glowed as bright as a star for one single moment before it went dark…..for the last time, leaving the planet as a lifeless husk now and forever. Suddenly the matrix glowed so bright that it nearly blinded Jack as he found that he could not move as his skin began to tingle all over. Then a powerful and bright energy beam shot out of the artifact in his hands and impacted directly into the Chaos Bringer's spark, causing what looked like lightning to strike out at the walls of the spark chamber violently as the matrix's energy clashed with that of Unicron's. Jack felt like his body was on fire as the matrix was white hot in his hands, his exposed skin began to burn from exposure to the energy that he was being exposed to. But finally the matrix shut down and the giant spark above him suddenly collapsed in on it's self until it became a tiny white ball. Jack though could still not move, before it suddenly grew and expanded at an incredible rate, engulfing Jack in it's burning light as it then traveled through every part of the Chaos Bringer's body. PRIME EFFECT 3 Outside, Unicron had what looked like seizures as the battle had stopped around him. On board the Ark, Bryce and his bridge crew were watching as the Chaos Bringer looked like he was screaming out to the void around him, his faceplate's expression one of agonizing pain. The officer next to the Admiral then looked at his holo-interface as it beeped loudly. "Sir, I am picking up a power signature from inside Unicron, and it is increasing at an overwhelming rate." "He is going to explode…..they did it." Bryce replied before tapping his com-link. "This is Admiral Bryce to all ships, Unicron is going to detonate. Evacuate the system immediately and head to the rendezvous point, do it now." he said before the allied ships in view of their canopy began turning around and jumping away. "Sir, what about us?" the helmsmen replied. "Take us in close, we are going to extract the Primes now before that thing blows up." The bridge crew continued to look at the deity as it's body was being covered by explosions across it's surface. "Sir, we don't have time. We have to leave now." the officer next to the Admiral said defiantly. Bryce was going to argue back but then caught sight of the white energy breaking through the body of Unicron and expanding toward them. "…..damn it." he said before looking away in shame. "You're right, get us out of here." he said back before the helmsmen began turning the Ark away from the incoming energy wave, Bryce taking one last look at deity's body before it went out of view. "…I'm sorry." he said in an almost whisper as the Ark sped away from the energy field and jumped into hyperspace. As the wave continued to expand from within Unicron, the Reapers had finally caught on and had started to flee but were instantly caught in the wave, the white energy incinerating them. Leaving no trace of them in it's wake as it then hit the planet and began to engulf it. Meanwhile down in the war ravaged streets of London, allied forces were fighting a losing battle against the Reaper ground forces just aways from the ruins of the shard tower. The soldiers were firing from behind cover at the cannibals and marauders as the black behemoths stood over them and fired down on the streets. Suddenly another Reaper landed right next to one group of soldiers and charged it's beam weapon as they fired back at it, but suddenly it stopped along with the other Reapers as a white energy wave appeared on the horizon and closed in on them, passing Tower bridge and then the Shard tower before pass through the Reapers and the soldiers. When the troops looked back, they found no trace of the Husks or their masters and so began cheering loudly as the wave continued to spread over London. As this was happening, Arcee and the others were still neck deep in Husks as they defended the escape pods from the never-ending hordes. But as the femme blew the head off of one Husk, she suddenly saw the energy wave approaching their position. It's white light reflecting in her azure eyes as she and the others watched in shock as the wave obliterated all the Husks that were in front of them before passing through them. The energy that washed over them then knocked Arcee and the other Autobots to their knees as if they suddenly felt very dizzy. Garrus and Tali ran over to the femme and helped her up to find that all the Reaper forces that had been around them, including the Reapers themselves who had been on the horizon were now gone. The group started smiling and cheering, but Arcee just stared up into the sky with Garrus and Tali and thought of Jack, just as the storm clouds finally began to disappear, allowing streams of sunlight to break through and shine over the city. After the energy wave had expanded past Earth and towards the outer edges of the Sol system, Unicron's body finally gave in to the tremendous amounts of energy that had been channeled through it and exploded in amazing fashion, sending it's debris in all directions. The wave had completed purged all evidence of the Reapers from the system by the time it reached Sol's edge and it passed through the space bridge, which suddenly activated as it opened up a large white vortex before it collapsed and shot a white beam out into deep space which hit another space bridge, and then another, and another. Until the energy was passed through the entire space bridge network, completely covering the galaxy in it's energy and wiping away every Reaper that was there. But still only one Reaper remained at the very galaxy's edge as Harbinger traveled through hyperspace, hoping to reach the safety of dark space before the energy could reach it. But then the wave appeared from behind the Reaper and was gaining fast, making Harbinger's remaining eyes brighten as it poured everything it had into it's propulsion. But this only bought it another moment as the wave suddenly made contact with the Reaper before overtaking it and incinerating it right there and then. Once done the wave dissipated right at the edge of the galaxy, having destroyed the Reapers completely. Back on Earth, a hatch on one of the escape pods opened and revealed Raf as he and the crew began getting out of the pods and looking around, the clouds had completed dispersed and revealed rising sun as it appeared on the horizon. It's bright light turning the sky to a vanilla like color. As this was happening, Arcee continued to look up at the sky and saw what looked like the aftermath of a massive explosion directly above them, littering the sky with debris as the small bits burned up in Earth's atmosphere. Garrus placed his hand on the femme's shoulder sympathetically and Tali looked down at the ground as one thought went through Arcee's mind as her eyes began to well up. '….Jack,…no.' she thought, while everyone basked in the victory that was hard-fought and had earned a new dawn for the galaxy.
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