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Everything posted by Apollo-XL5

  1. CHAPTER XXXVIII 'We are so close.' Galvatron thought as he stood in one of the Nemesis's corridors, looking out at the blue and green world of Virmire through a window before him. 'But what is taking so long? We have been here for a few days now, and have every ship in the fleet spread out around this planet. Surely they would have detected something by now?' he thought with an aggravated tone before the Con felt a familiar presence around him. "Patience my herald, 'our' destiny is still ours to take. Before this day passes, the Infinite Combinatoric will be within our grasp.' 'Yes my, Master, forgive my impatience. I just can't help but feel that the longer this takes, the higher the chance of the Autobots discovering our location.' Galvatron thought back, as he continued to feel Unicron in his mind. "You did everything necessary to stop them from discovering your movements, am I correct?" the Chaos Bringer replied, earning a nod from the Predacon. 'Yes Master, we deleted our old communication frequencies and added extra protection to our new ones so that the enemy could not gain access again.' "Then you can relax, because I believe you will get the answer you seek sooner than you think. You should start your preparations…." Unicron said back before fading away again, leaving Galvatron to look out of the window with a confused expression. 'What do you mean, Master?….Master?' he thought before realising he was alone again, gaining a frustrated sigh from him in return. "My Lord Galvatron?" another familiar voice suddenly spoke from behind the Predacon Leader, which made him turn round to see Vertabreak standing there. "Yes, Vertabreak. What is it?" he replied with a slightly surprised tone and expression. "Is everything alright my Lord? Because Commander Rip-Claw has been trying to contact you for the last few minutes, but received no answer from your com-link." the younger Predacon said back, which made Galvatron tap his ear-piece and reactivate it. "Ah yes, I forgot that I deactivated it earlier. So I guess you were sent to find me instead?" "Yes my Lord, I am to relay a message." Vertabreak replied with a tone which was both eager and nervous before going silent. "Well don't keep it to yourself, Vertabreak, what is it? The Predacon Leader answered, earning a breath from his lieutenant. "…The Commander wishes for you to know that after numerous scans, our low-level search of Virmire's surface has found something." Galvatron's eyes widened as his curiosity peaked. "Found what?" "I do not know the details, my Lord, but the Commander does." the lieutenant said back, earning a nod from the Predacon Leader. "Well, I will head to the CIC then. Thank you for the message….dismissed." he then said, gaining a salute from the younger Con before both separated and walked off in opposite directions. Once in the CIC, Galvatron walked along the catwalk and join Rip-Claw who stood at the forefront, manning the galaxy-map and terminal located there. "I got your message, Rip-Claw, report your findings." the Predacon Lord stated, gaining a nod from the Femme who then tapped a sequence into the holo-interface's keypad before stepping aside, allowing her master to look at the large holo-screen which appeared before both of them. It showed a map of the planet and it's continents, as a red dot appeared on the eastern side of it's equator. "As you can see, my Lord, after our fleet's scans of the planet came up empty. I decided that we should use our fighters to perform a low-level search of it's surface, and that is when we found this." she said while pointing up at the red dot on the screen. "What is it?" Galvatron asked as his eyes focused on it. "It appears to be a structure of some kind, which has a metallic signature that is not recognised alongside the metals that the planet has been surveyed for in the past. And it is also inside that mountain." the Femme replied as she tapped another button on the holo-interface, which made the map turn into a three dimensional image of the area and showed the mountain and the red dot's location within it. "I see, so we will have to tunnel to it then." Galvatron said, gaining a nod from Rip-Claw. "Yes, my Lord, we could have one of our cruisers fire upon the mountain…" she began to answer before the Predacon Leader gestured for her to stop with a wave of his hand. "No, I have a better idea." he said before stepping in front of the terminal's holo-interface and typing away. "..ugh, yes, my Lord?" the Femme replied with a confused expression before an image of the Nemesis appeared on the screen, which had it's armaments highlighted on ship and listed on its right. "Along with our torpedo launchers and cannons, the Nemesis also has these particle beam turrets." Galvatron said as he pointed at those particular weapons, gaining a nod from Rip-Claw. "Yes, these are the most powerful weapons in the Nemesis's arsenal. But they also create an incredible strain on our power systems, so they can only be used when absolutely necessary." the lieutenant added, earning a thoughtful expression from the Predacon Leader as he worked on the holo-interface, bringing back the three dimensional image of the mountain and it's surroundings to the screen. "That valley on the south side of the mountain, we could land the Nemesis there right?" he asked, earning a curious look from Rip-Claw, who then examined the site. "Yes, the geography of the area shows it to be relatively flat and stable. Yes the Nemesis could land there, why do you ask, my Lord?" she replied. "Because once on the ground, we can use the ship's engines to power the particle beam turrets and use them to burrow through the mountain and create a tunnel to reach 'whatever' is at its center." Galvatron said back, which made the Femme nod back in agreement as she saw where he was coming from. "And we could also defend the area from attack, should the Autobots discover our location." "Plus they would have to fight their way past our entire fleet before even coming up against the Nemesis's defences." he added. "Ingenious, my Lord, if it is what you wish then I will have the Nemesis begin it's descent to those coordinates." Rip-Claw said back, earning a nod from the Predacon Lord who smiled back. "Make it happen…Commander." Hearing this made the Femme smile as she felt a surge of confidence within her spark. "Yes, my Lord, it will be done." she said back before looking down at the Terracon pilot below them. "Prepare for atmospheric entry, we are going to land the Nemesis." she said, to which the Terracon acknowledged before returning his attention to his station. "I am going to organise the landing party which will be accompanying me on the surface, so at this time you have the CIC." Galvatron then said as he turned around and began walking back down the catwalk towards the exit, leaving the Femme who smiled before returning her attention to the Terracons below. Meanwhile, in the science laboratory, Shockwave was standing over the unconscious form of Ser-Ket who was lying on the berth in front of him. He had his holo-tool active and ran it over her body, before smiling as he looked at the result on the device's holo-screen. 'Excellent. Ser-Ket's vitals are steady and all her injuries are healed.' he thought as his eyes took in the information on the screen, he then turned it off and picked up a syringe and injected it into her neck and released it's contents into her bloodstream. 'Time to wake up.' The Decepticon then watched as the Femme slowly came too, hers eyes opening and beginning to focus as she looked around the room with a confused expression. "…where…am I?" Ser-Ket said aloud before her attention fell upon the one-eyed man staring down to her, recognising him despite his injury. "You are safe, Ser-Ket. it has been a long time." the Con scientist replied in an emotionless tone, earning a further confused look from the Femme. "Shockblast, what are you talking about? And what happened to your eye?" she asked in return, looking completely bewildered at her current situation as she attempted to sit up, only for him to gently push back down onto the berth. "You are still weak, it is not logical for you to over-exert your self in your current condition, even if your injuries have been healed." he said back with what looked to Ser-Ket like a concerned expression, though it was hard to tell with his emotionless delivery. "I wasn't expecting this kind of treatment, especially since I betrayed you all." she replied, still confused by it all. This made the Decepticon nod back in return, before looking at her with his remaining eye. "The fact that the body I now inhabit is far different and inferior to my original, it is only logical that you would not recognise me. And I also found evidence of your neural net being tampered with after probing your mind with the cortical psychic patch." "Your not making any sense, Shockblast…" the Femme said back before a thoughtful expression appeared on her face. "..what do you mean…. my neural net tampered?" The Decepticon Scientist then activated his holo-tool and brought up two images of the Predacon's mind. "The image on the left is how your neural net looked when I created you, and the one on the right was taken when you were brought back on-line by Galvatron and Shockblast." he then added while pointing at the differences between the two. "They are different because your memories have been altered since then, most likely so that you would believe you're actually a Predacon." Ser-Ket just looked back at him with an expression that was getting more confused by the second, which made her shake her head in response. "I don't get this, Shockblast, what are you on about?" she asked whilst looking back at the Decepticon Scientist, who merely stared back at her. "My name is not Shockblast." he said back with an ever so small slither of annoyance to his voice. "Then what is it?" the Femme snapped, showing that her pertinence was about to break. "I am Shockwave, former first lieutenant to Lord Megatron in all scientific endeavours that strengthened the Decepticon cause. I now serve Lord Galvatron in a similar role." The Femme's eyes widened as she recognised the name, before looking the man in front of her up and down in disbelief. "Shockwave!? How…?" The Con gave her what looked like a smile, which from someone who prided himself on logic and being emotionless was something to behold. "I believe it is what Humans call 'a long story.' and it would not be logical to waste time repeating it. I will just say that I have been given a second chance, and I intend to use it." "So what is to happen to me, because I'm surprised that I am still alive?" Ser-Ket then said, gaining a nod from the Decepticon. "Indeed. And as I said earlier, I have probed your mind and seen what you have done since your reawakening. It troubles me to see the choices that have brought you here, betraying your comrades for an Autobot and because of 'love' of all reasons, so highly illogical." "Who said love was logical, I certainly will not apologise for it. You must also have seen my questioning of Galvatron's leadership and of the other Predacons, I never felt like I was one of them." The Decepticon Scientist nodded in return as he used his holo-tool and brought up more images of her mind onto his screen. "Yes, and I believe I have an answer for that. The only logical way to explain the bizarre behaviour you have exhibited since your reawakening. I believe that this all stems from your new-found belief that you are actually a Predacon, which is wrong on not one, but two counts." This made the Femme cock her head with another confused stare, as she looked at the holo-screen and then back at the Con. "You said that before, what do you mean?" "The first count is the memory alterations that Shockblast, my predecessor did to you so that you would fit in more with your fellow Predacons. This made you feel out of place, considering that these alterations hindered your 'truer' nature and personality from taking hold, which then led into count two, for which I am at fault." "Shockwave, I do not understand." the Femme replied with hint of worry in her voice at what he was telling her. "Shockblast was under pressure to bring Lord Galvatron his Predacon army quickly and he misinterpreted my notes on Project Predacon, namely yours for he believed that you were a Predacon clone given the wiped neural net of a Decepticon volunteer. So that the increased intelligence would diminish your species natural primitive instincts, but he was wrong." the Con said as he brought up images showing an unknown Cybertronian Femme lying on a berth, and along side it were more images of Predacon bones and CNA. "What really occurred was that a Decepticon volunteer had her CNA spliced with that of a Predacon, to create a more stable and formidable warrior to stand up against my earlier failures...the Dinobots." Ser-Ket remained speechless as she stared at the screen, for she could not believe what she was hearing, but Shockwave continued regardless. "But I made an error, because I recently discovered the CNA used was not of Predacon origin. But it was instead from one of their rivals, for which I still do not know the name of. It was from the bones of a beast that had it's wings forcibly removed. I believe that it was characteristics from whoever this beast was and the altering of your memories that caused you to feel apart from the other Predacons." he added, before noticing the wide-eyed stare from Ser-Ket. "I am a… Decepticon?" Yes…" Shockwave replied as he brought up a clearer image of the Cybetronian that had appeared earlier, she had a large build for a Femme and was covered in heavy black, purple and silver armour. "…your real name is….Strika." Ser-Ket stayed quiet for a moment as what Shockwave had said sunk into her mind, but the Predacon could not accept it as she shook her head in return. "No, no, I don't believe it." she said back defiantly, but the Con Scientist just stared back with a blank expression before walking round her berth and bending down at it's side. "Then I will just have to show you the truth." he replied before standing back up, revealing himself to be now carrying a cable with a device at either end that looked similar to a diadem. "What is that?" the Femme asked with an unsure tone as her eyes fixed on what was in Shockwave's hands. "This is the most recent update to the Cortical psychic Patch, and it will allow me to show you memories which will prove that I am telling you the truth." he sad back before placing one of the devices onto Ser-Ket's head, and then the other on his own. "There will be some discomfort as our minds join, be warned." Shockwave added before tapping a button on the side of his own device, which suddenly made the Femme's head feel like it was about to explode as memories began flooding her mind. She saw the Decepticon Femme called Strika, the one that Shockwave claimed her to be and witnessed her leading Megatron's forces during early years of the War for Cybertron. The Decepticon General was an unrelenting monster who took joy in killing as many Autobots as humanly possible, it was a sight that made the Predacon-Femme feel physically sick before the barrage of violent memories changed and depicted the time when Strika volunteered for Shockwave's experiment and was transformed into Ser-Ket, but with the memories of her past life. Then the memories stopped as a quick flash of white light enveloped her eyes before she found herself staring at the walls of the laboratory, while Shockwave removed the patch from her head. "So you see, Ser-Ket may be your name now but you were always Strika in your spark, and that was lost when Shockblast re-awakened you." he said while noticing that the Femme still had a look of denial on her face, so Shockwave took the cable and head devices and placed them on the table nearby. 'It can't be true, I could not see myself being so blood thirsty and cruel.' she thought as the images continued to play in her mind. 'This has to be a deception of some kind, I am a Predacon.' Shockwave turned back to her and sighed, for he could see it in the Femme's face that she was not going to accept the truth. 'It is an extremely low probability that Ser-Ket will come to accept the information about her past and wish to rejoin our cause, so I am left with only one other option to work with.' the Decepticon thought before he began walking over towards the Lab's exit. "I will return in a short while Ser-Ket, the restraints will keep you from attempting to escape in the mean time." Shockwave then walked through the door, leaving the Predacon Femme restrained to the berth and unable to move. But at this time, escape was the last thought on her mind as she was still being plagued by the memories of who the Decepticon was claiming her to be. So Ser-Ket just lowered her head as a single tear ran down her cheek as her eyes began to well up. 'I cannot be her, I just can't be.' PRIME EFFECT 4 A day earlier…. The city of New Iacon was still in the early stages of repair as the midday sun shone down upon it from the cloudless blue sky overhead, and the Normandy was docked to the outer ring of one of the surviving Autobot command towers that was located on the western outskirts of the city. The ship had numerous repair bots and engineering crews working on it's hull as they were repairing it's hull, Orion could see it all from the room he was standing in at this moment as he looked out from the window before him. "The Normandy's going to be fine Orion…" Rodimus suddenly said, gaining the blue haired Bot's attention as he turned around and looked over to his friend and mentor, who was sitting in a hover-chair just aways from him. "..the Engineering crew has assured me that the ship will be combat ready inside of a day, though I wish we had a little longer so that she would be like new. But since the Predacon fleet is gathering around Virmire, I guess a patch-up job is all we can afford." the Commander added as his XO gave him a concerned look. "I am glad you are here, Rodimus, but surely you should still be recovering in the Medical bay?" Orion replied, gaining a slightly annoyed expression from the older Bot. "I appreciate your concern, Orion, but I would rather do something than just lie down on a berth and watch everyone else around me fight, plus I thought you would want my help." "I do, Rodimus. Believe me, I do. But you did get your chest sliced open a few days ago." the XO said back. "That's true and had it not been for Red-Alert, I would probably be one with the All-Spark now. The fact that she managed to help both myself and Smokescreen, even after receiving the news that she had is a testament to her dedication and ability." Rodimus said back with a thoughtful look, earning a mirrored expression from Orion who nodded back. "I heard Red-Alert was going to visit the Memorial Wall." "Yes, she has been allowed to add Long-Arm's plaque to the rest of our honoured dead, since he died trying to rescue the civilians of Omicron Colony from the Predacons. She also told me that she will light a lantern-spark for him at the 'Well of All-Sparks' temple." the Commander replied. "I know the Well has been dormant since the end of the Reaper War, but I didn't realise that it had become a temple." Orion said back with a curious tone. "Every Cybertronian knows that when we die, our sparks return to the All-Spark. And that before it became dormant, the Well was the physical representation of the path each of our sparks must take to return to the All-Spark, so that the cycle of life can continue anew. Now in reality the Spark simply disappears and reaches there all by itself, but people like to believe that they can in some way help those they have lost, by lighting a lantern-spark which then descends into the well, lighting the way for their lost one's spark and guiding it back into paradise." Orion crossed his arms as he thought about it for a moment, before looking back at the Commander. "Do you believe in that, Rodimus?" "Yes, yes I do…." the older Bot replied with a nod. "..I did the same thing after the death of my brother, Hotrod." "I'm sorry." Orion said back, gaining a nod of appreciation from Rodimus. "I have a feeling many more will be lighting lantern-sparks before our conflict with Predacons is over." the Commander added as he looked up at his XO. "That is why we both agreed that the crew should have the day off…" Rodimus continued, earning a nod from the blue haired Bot as a solemn expression appeared on his face as the Commander continued. "..so that they can spend it however they want, for example with friends and family. Because with the fight that is coming, I'm having a hard time seeing us all coming through it unscathed." "I understand. Believe me, I do. We both got a real beating from Galvatron and his Predacons, but I am not going to throw in the towel." Orion said back with a serious tone and expression, earning a taken aback look from Rodimus. "I'm not going to either, or else I would have stayed in bed. But I'm just pointing out how bloody the battle is going to get, especially since the Predacons have their entire fleet positioned around Virmire." "Well, with the evidence that Liara gave the Autobot High Command, I can't see us having a hard time convincing them to send the entire fleet with us when we face them." A half smirk appeared on Rodimus's face as he looked up at Orion. "Orion, you're just like your father." he said back, earning a slightly embarrassed look from the younger Bot. "I'll take that as compliment." "Good, you should. Now then, surely the High Command should have an answer for us by now?" the Commander replied with a hint of annoyance in his voice, as Orion looked at the time of his holo-tool. "Yeah, you would think that with the enemy fleet now in one sport, they would want to move on this as quickly as possible." he said back, while Rodimus looked back at the door leading out of the room. "I thought Liara would be here though, it is her Intel after all." But Orion looked away as a concerned and thoughtful expression appeared on his face. "Liara wasn't feeling that great, so I told her we could handle this ourselves." he said while looking back out of the window, so not to let his friend see the concern on his face. 'Liara has been quiet ever since we dropped Thane and his son off, no…in fact it has been since leaving Hagalaz.' he thought as the Asari took up his attention while watching the transports fly to and from the damaged part of the city. 'I was going to ask what her what was wrong, but haven't had the time to do so. I will see her as soon as we are done here.' he continued before Rodimus regained his attention. "So where is Liara staying, with the others at the barracks?" he asked, making the younger Bot turn and face him. "No, she is staying at my family's house right now. I was going to ground-bridge over once this meeting is done." "Good idea, take advantage of the this quiet moment we have right now." the Commander replied as the door on the other side of the room opened, with a Turian stepping out to see them. "Commander Rodimus and Orion Darby, they will see you now." he said, earning a nod from both men before they began to move toward the door. The Autobot Commander used the control panel on the left hand armrest of his hover-chair to navigate, gliding over the floor with Orion at his side as they left the waiting room and entered a larger spherical-shaped room. Several Admirals sat around a large black table which was shaped like a horse shoe, the group consisted of a Turian, Human, Asari, Krogan, Quarian, Drell, Hanar, Salarian and a Volus. "Commander Rodimus, we have reviewed the Intel retrieved by Doctor Liara T'Soni and have come to a conclusion on what we must do next." the Turian Admiral said before looking over to his Asari counterpart. "We all agree that the Predacon threat must be stopped and with their forces all in one place, this will be the perfect opportunity to see it done." she added. "So prior to our seeing you, we have just sent orders out to all Autobot ships with orders to head to these specified coordinates that are only one jump away from Virmire. Once there, the fleet will jump to the planet and engage the Predacon fleet." The Human Admiral then said as he tapped the holo-interface next to him, which brought up a holo-image of Virmire and the Predacon fleet surrounding it in the center of the table. "We will also land ground troops to stop Galvatron from reaching whatever it is he is after down there." The Krogan Admiral said, which made Rodimus hold his hand up and gain their attention. "This is a good plan, but I believe Orion here would like to make a suggestion." he said before looking to his younger friend, as did everyone else in the room. "Yes, thank you, Rodimus." the blue haired Bot replied before taking a step toward the Admirals. "This is a good plan, but the Predacons will be dug in well and ready for any kind of ground attack." The Geth Admiral narrowed his optic as he looked back at the Autobot Spectre. "Then what do you suggest we do?" "Continue with the attack, but do it as a diversion." Orion replied, earning a curious expression from the Admirals. "A diversion? For what?" the Quarian Admiral said back with a questioning tone, before the Bot activated his holo-tool which made a blue dot appear extremely close to the planet. "So that the Normandy can space-bridge into Virmire's atmosphere and deploy a team led by myself, and together we can take out Galvatron while he and his forces are focused on you." "That's an ambitious plan, do you agree with your XO, Rodimus?" the Human Admiral replied, earning a nod from the chair-bound Commander. "I do." he said with a confident expression, which made the Admirals look at each other and nod in return. "Very well, then we will have the fleet and the ground forces engage the Predacons." the Turian Admiral replied. "The Normandy's repairs will take a day to complete, correct?" the Asari Admiral asked, gaining a nod from Rodimus. "That is correct." "It will take that much time for the fleet to assemble at the chosen coordinates anyway. In that case, we only have one other matter to discuss." the Human Admiral said before gesturing to the Hanar who used one of his tentacles to activate his holo-interface and change the image in the center of their table to that of two Asari with multiple screens around them. "We were quite shocked to find out from Doctor T'Soni that the mysterious Shadow Broker was in fact one of our own Senators, Matriarch Benezia." the giant jellyfish said, its insides glowing with every word that it spoke. But both Commander and XO looked on in shock, Orion's eyes widening as he took in the information being fed to him while looking her holo-image. 'Liara's Mother was the Shadow Broker, why didn't she tell me?' he thought as the second image beside the Matriarch's focused into that of someone that Rodimus recognised as a familiar expression crossed his face as both he and Orion looked at the Intel that appeared on the screens surrounding the two Asari holograms. The pair could see data on all the plots that the Shadow Broker had planned, including the plague she intended to unleash on the Cybertronian race….it was sickening to think that either person could be capable of such acts. But the Commander was taken completely by surprise by who he saw beside the Matriarch. "Tela Vasir, you're telling me that she was working for the Shadow Broker?" he asked with a disbelieving tone, still coming to terms with the first bombshell which was Liara's Mother. "Yes, Rodimus, one of your very own Autobot Spectres has worked for the Shadow Broker for decades now, according to Liara. With your permission as Leader of the Spectres, we want to revoke her Spectre status and brand her a public enemy of the Federation." the Quarian Admiral added, making the Autobot Commander nod back solemnly in return. "Yes, I agree. I cannot believe it, but if Liara says it's true and has this evidence to back her up….then yes, you have my permission." "We are currently preparing an investigation into Matriarch Benezia's dealings as a Senator, to see how much damage she has actually inflicted in the last twenty-five years behind everyone's backs, which will go into full effect once the Predacon threat has been extinguished. So if there is nothing else, lets call this meeting adjourned." the Human Admiral replied before pressing a button on his holo-interface, deactivating the holo-image as everyone got up from their chairs and left the room as they followed the Commander and his XO. "I still find it hard to believe that Vasir of all people was a traitor, I worked closely with her for years and yet all this time she was playing us and working for Benezia of all people..." Rodimus said, still with a hint of disbelief in his voice before looking over to Orion and noticing that he was still quiet since hearing the bombshell. "...I guess I can understand why Liara wasn't feeling so good since Hagalaz.." he then added, earning the younger Bot's attention as he looked back. "…Finding out that the person who raised you was actually a nasty piece of work like the Shadow Broker would take a lot out of you." Orion nodded before taking a step towards the elevator, gaining a knowing look from the Commander. "Where are you going?" "We have a big day tomorrow, so we should take this time to rest, because we'll all going to need to be at our best before we launch." the blue haired Bot replied, earning a reluctant smile from Rodimus. "Yes, you are right there. So I take it you're going to see Liara." the older man said back, earning a nod from Orion. "That's what I was planning to do. What about you?" "I think I will visit my brother, its been a while since the last time I did that." the older Bot replied, gaining a sympathetic expression from Orion. "I see, do you know what the others are up too?" "Well, Smokescreen is still recovering in the Medical Bay. Nightracer as gone to visit her mother, while Shen said he was going to contact his parents who are both back on Rannoch. Quickstrike said he would keep Onyx Primal company after visiting his own mother in hospital, I managed to obtain permission for our resident Maximal to have the freedom to stretch his wings and fly around the city. I told the City's authorities that he has nothing to do with the Predacon dragons, but your cousin said he would stay nearby and make sure Onyx would not get any unwanted attention." "Right, some people might look up at the sky, see a flying metallic dragon and think the attack is happening all over again." the blue haired Bot replied before sighing. "I'll see you tomorrow, Rodimus." he then added, earning a nod from the Commander. "Yeah, you too." he said back as he watched his XO walk up to the elevator and enter once it's doors opened. Meanwhile, at New Iacon's eastern edges, Quickstrike looked out at the green plains that surrounded most of the city. He was trying to enjoy the quiet moment, just standing there and admiring it's natural beauty as its greenery complemented the blue sky that was starting to vanilla as the sun began its descent behind the horizon. But the blonde Autobot's thoughts kept returning to Ser-Ket, the Predacon Femme who captured his spark after rescuing him from her brethren's clutches. He could not help but worry for what she may now be going through because of him, feeling guilt for not being able to save her. But before his inner torment could strain his spark more, the Bot's attention was drawn to the sound of large wings flapping in the evening air, so he looked up to see Onyx Primal in his beast mode soaring overhead. He watched as the beast flew around the plains ahead, before turning around and landing in front of him. "Enjoy yourself, Onyx?" Quickstrike asked as the Maximal transformed back into his bipedal mode and looked back at him, nodding in return. "Yes, I did, after spending the time I have in your cargo-bay, it is a nice change to be able to fly through the sky and enjoy the natural beauty of your world. And it is very beautiful, considering it is purely an organic world." the Cybertronian giant replied as he knelt down on one knee, gaining a faint smile from the Autobot in return. "Yes, it is." the Bot said back, earning a sympathetic expression from Onyx. "You wish you could share this beauty with Ser-Ket, am I correct?" he asked, gaining a slow nod in return from Quickstrike. "You are." the blonde man replied with a hint of sadness in his voice, while looking ahead at the sunset. "You know we were all given the chance to spend this day with our loved ones, but my Mother is still in a coma and all I could do was sit and hold her hand in the silence of that room. And the woman I love is either a prisoner of the Predacons or no longer of this life, either way I feel empty inside. The only thing I want now is to make the Predacons pay for that they have done. I have been able to hide this from the others while we on a mission, but standing here with nothing else to think about but what has been taken from me by those monsters, Ser-Ket and my Father I want is to tear them apart." the blonde Bot said with a building slither of anger in his voice. "I understand what you are going through, Quickstrike, believe me I do..." the Maximal replied as he remembered the anguish and rage he felt for Airazor's death, which for him was only a short time ago despite the actual eons that had passed since the tragic event. "...but you have to remain strong for your friends, for they will need you in the coming battle." The Blonde Bot looked up at his friend and saw the sympathetic expression on his face, which made him feel somewhat better and less alone. "..you do not yet know the fate of your spark-mate, so do not despair since there is every chance you may see her again." Onyx added, gaining a nod from Quickstrike in return. "You're right." the blonde Bot replied as he looked over at the sunset, as the darkness of the coming night began to eat away at the light of the descending star. Onyx Primal turned around and joined his friend in the viewing before their attention was caught by something else. "Excuse me?" a unfamiliar voice suddenly spoke up, making the pair turn around to see a Human Caucasian Woman with brown hair standing behind them. She looked up at the Maximal with amazement, while Quickstrike gave her a questioning expression. "Can we help you?" he asked, gaining the Woman's attention. "I hope so, my name is Ann Bryson and I am a scientist stationed in the Cybertronian Archives here in New Iacon." "Bryson? Why does that name sound familiar?" Quickstrike replied, earning a confused look from Onyx while Anna returned her attention to the giant Bot. "My Father was Doctor Garrett Bryson, he died during the Reaper War, while trying to find the Rogue Reaper known as Lucifer." she said whilst not taking her eyes off the Maximal, marvelling at his presence. "I remember now, so how...can we help you?" the blonde Bot asked with an unsure expression and tone, having noticed the way she was staring at Onyx. "Is there something on my face?" the giant Bot asked. "I am sorry, it is just I have never had the chance to meet a Pre-Pretender form Cybertronian before. I had only heard the stories of how your people looked from my father, so I never dreamed I would one day get to see one of you like this." Bryson replied with a tone that was half excitement and the other embarrassment, which gained a half smile from the Maximal. "I see. Well then, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Onyx Primal, I am a former Predacon and Leader of the Maximals." 'Maximals? I have never heard of them.' she thought as a curious expression appeared on her face. "Then if you would do me an honour, Onyx Primal, we know nearly nothing of the era of the Predacons. So if you would, please tell me your story?" Bryson asked with a hopeful tone, earning a thoughtful look from the Maximal, before he then knelt in front of her and smiled. "Very well, Ann Bryson." he replied, which made the Doctor's smile widen almost ear to ear with a quiet excitement while Quickstrike began to walk back away slowly, before Onyx noticed. "Quickstrike, please stay. You may find what I am about to tell you both very illuminating." "Alright, its been awhile since I heard a good old fashioned true story." the blonde Bot replied before both he and Bryson sat down on the grass and looked up at Maximal, whose blue optics began to glow brighter as the night took hold overhead. "My story begins so very long ago, across the oceans of time that separate what you call the present from the distant past. It was a time of great change for my people as 'The Thirteen Primes', the ones who had guided us were now gone, leaving us to find our own path…." he began to narrate while the stars began to shine down from the night sky. PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile, night had already taken its hold over the Darby household as it stood there on the grassy hill overlooking the coast, then a swirling green vortex of the ground-bridge then opened up at the front porch. It's green light illuminating that side of the house before Orion stepped through, then a split second later the light was gone as the portal closed behind him, allowing the porch lights to dimly light his way as the Bot walked up the steps towards the house's front door. He had the look of a man who was in deep with his thoughts and concern while he took the door's handle in his grasp, looking down at it, but not really at it. 'I still don't get why Liara didn't tell me, letting me hear it second hand instead.' he thought as he opened the door and entered his family home which still felt empty and sparse, considering his parents were still in the hands of Galvatron and his Predacons. "Liara?" he said as he walked into the front room, only to find it empty and devoid of the blue beauty that had gained his affections during the course of the last few weeks. So he checked the Kitchen….but nothing, went up stairs and yet there was still no sign of her. 'Where is she?' he thought as he stopped at the bottom of the stairs and thought about where else to look, until a faint noise from just aways caught his attention, making the blue haired Bot walked back to the Kitchen and found that the back door had been left slightly open. Orion left the interior of the house and stepped out into the vast area which was the family's backyard, but it was all as he had left it originally, with the training area untouched and this left him scratching his head more. 'Okay, now I am getting worried.' he thought as he walked away from the house down towards the beach, before suddenly noticing Ravage lying on his front and staring in the same direction. "Ravage? What are you doing here?" Orion said as he knelt down beside his old pet and friend, which made the feline look up at him and purr in as it rubbed it's head against the Bot's knee. "Yeah, I missed you too." the Autobot replied as he placed his hand on Ravage's head and stroked it's hair softly, making the former Decepticon purr again. "Do you know where Liara is, Ravage?" The feline looked up at him before turning it's and looking towards the beach, thus making Orion look in the same direction. His blue eyes widened as he spotted a lone Asari sitting on one of the sun lounger beds that his parents had put down there years earlier, since that particular spot was still several feet away from where the tide would come in at night. The Bot remembered that his Mother always did enjoy relaxing on one of them beds during a nice cloudless day, as did his Dad who would also sit down there and sift through his reports when he wasn't away at work. Orion smiled before looking down at his feline friend, placing his hand on the beast's back and giving it a rub. "Thanks for keeping an eye on Liara, Pal, I'll take over now." he said, earning a soft whine from the family pet. Who simply lied his head down on the floor as Orion got to his feet and walked down towards Liara. As he made his way towards the Asari, further away from the synthetic lights of the family home. Orion could see her more clearer, thanks to the light coming from the bright full moon, which was rising up into the star filled sky. He could see that Liara was sitting upright on the lounger bed with her feet up against her chest and her arms wrapped around her legs, and she had not noticed his approach since the Asari was just staring out at the ocean which was reflecting the moon light back into sky with a ripple effect from the gentle waves. "Liara?" Orion then said as he got within two feet of her, making the Asari look over to him with an almost startled expression. She really must have been deep in thought for her not to have noticed, since he knew that someone of her age would probably be hard to sneak up on…not that it was his intention though. "Orion." she said back as the blue haired Bot sat beside her on the sun lounger bed. "What are you doing out here?" he asked as he looked back at her, his eyes then widening as he noticed the wet streaks running down her cheeks from her eyes. "I just wanted to be alone with my thoughts." she said as she looked back towards the ocean and wiped her cheeks with her hands, while Orion looked back with a concerned expression. "This is to do with your mother, doesn't it?" he asked, regaining the Asari's attention as she looked back in surprise. "Why didn't you tell me that Benezia was the Shadow Broker?" the Bot said back, which made another tear run down her cheek, following the same path as the ones that had flowed before it. "It's hard enough for me to come to terms with it myself, I didn't know how to tell you so.." Liara replied as she again wiped the tear away and looked back out at the ocean. "…I thought that some time alone to think about it would allow me to make sense of it, but…." she added before stopping, earning a curious and concerned expression from the Autobot. "But? But what?" Orion said back. "But I can't help thinking that my mother and I are more alike than I would like to think." the Asari said with shameful tone. "What do you mean, Liara, your nothing like Benezia." the blue haired Bot said back in a surprised tone, but Liara's eyes welled up as she looked down at the sand beneath her. "Am I not? When our people fell during the Reaper War, my Mother let her anger for that slowly corrupt her heart. That anger became a rage and hatred for everyone she felt was responsible for that, and then dedicated herself to ridding them from the face of the galaxy and reclaiming the Asari's status as the Federation's Elite." she replied. "I know, Liara, I did see your Intel report. But how are you the same?" Orion said back with a questioning tone as he placed his hand down beside her own on the lounger bed's soft surface. "I killed my own mother and those responsible for my enslavement, wanting to make them pay for what they did to me. Those slavers for the torture they put me through, and my Mother for letting them do that to me." Liara said back, her voice tinged with both shame and anger, gaining a horrified look from Orion. "Benezia? she knew what was happening to you?" the Bot replied as he looked down at her hand, placing his over hers in a sympathetic gesture as the Asari nodded back. "Yes, my Mother knew. She told me that it was necessary, so that I would be more like her and in turn be ready to succeed her as the next Shadow Broker." Orion did not know what to say as he watched Liara look back towards the ocean, tears slowly running down her cheeks as she began to sob. So with his free hand, the Bot touched the Asari's chin and gently turned her face back to his, with their eyes meeting as he looked into her own. "Liara, you're nothing like your Mother…" he started to say back in a gentle and affectionate tone, which had ensnared her attention completely as she found herself simply staring back into his blue eyes. "…the fact that you are feeling guilt and remorse for those who do not deserve it proves the opposite, it's that clear in my eyes." the Autobot continued as his hand moved from her chin to gently cup her face as he began to lean in towards her. "You are one of the most caring people I have ever met, Liara, you always put others before yourself and I can vouch for that." "..Orion.." she started to say in return as she mirrored his actions and leaned in closer. "I do not know what I would have done with everything that has happened to me recently, if you had not been here with me, Liara." the young Darby continued, making the Asari's eyes widen as she listened to him. "You have saved me in so many ways, and I don't think I have properly thanked you." he said as they now were so close, they could feel each other's breath on the other. So Orion closed the distance and pushed his lips against hers, earning a surprised but happy moan from the Asari as they kissed for a moment. And then he pulled away just enough to look her in the eyes, noticing that her tears had stopped as she looked back in to his, so he wiped aware the wetness with his "Thank you, Liara." he said softly as he looked at her lovingly, before she suddenly closed the distance and kissed him back the same way. "What was that for?" he asked with a smile when they pulled away, earning a coy expression from the Asari. "You saved me first, remember? We would never have met had you not rescued me from Hock to begin with. So thank you, Orion,…..now kiss me again." she said as they both smiled at each other as the Bot then cupped her face in both hands and leaned into each other, their lips meeting again as she wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him towards her more and intensifying their kiss. Which went on for a long moment as while they remained locked by their kiss as their lips caressed the other, making them feel as if time itself had stopped around them. But once the need for oxygen took precedence, the lovers pulled away enough to catch their breath while looking into each others eyes. Liara then smiled as she moved her hands down the Bot's torso, enjoying the feeling of his muscles under his shirt before reaching its bottom and slipping her hands under it. The Asari bit her lip as she then pulled the top up, earning happy sigh from Orion as he lifted his arms and allowed her to lift the shirt off him in one easy motion and dropped it beside her on the sun lounger bed. Orion could not help but smile as he noticed Liara looking him up and down, taking every square inch of his muscular but yet athletic physique. The Bot then pulled the Femme back into another passionate kiss, pressing his body up against hers as she placed her hands on his bare back, which made him shiver slightly as they were a little colder than expected. But he soon felt they warm while they explored his back, taking in the curves of his muscles that made up his back as they continued to kiss. Liara then pulled away slightly so that she could focus on his ear, nibbling it a little one of her hands moved up to the back of his head so that she could run her fingers through his blue hair. So Orion took the opportunity to begin removing the Asari's clothing by taking hold of the zipper on the back of her top and pulling it down, exposing her blue skin and earning a slight gasp from her as she felt the cool night air touch it. The pair then pulled away just enough for the Bot to remove her top and reveal her beautiful athletic form and the edges of her breasts which were mainly covered by a dark blue bra which he then removed with ease. 'He's definitely had some experience doing that.' Liara thought as she smiled back before letting her lover lay her on the back, feeling the soft cushion like material of the lounger bed beneath her as he hovered over her and looked deeply into her eyes. The only sounds they could hear were the waves behind them and their own breathing, which itself was only just out of sync, and then the Bot kissed Liara again before he then left a trail of kisses down her neck to her breasts before taking one in his hand, while the other went between his lips as he kissed and sucked it, gaining a sweet moan from the Asari as he gently massaged the nipple of her other breast with his fingers. "Don't stop." she said as he then switched his focus to the other breast, kissing and licking it while freeing his hands which he moved down her body and over her stomach, feeling his way down to her trousers, which he then began to unzip and open while keeping his main focus on her breasts with his mouth, gaining further light moans of pleasure from Liara. After a moment, while the Asari just lay there with her arms stretched out across the width of the bed, the Bot then left another trail of kisses from the peaks of her breasts down across her flat stomach which made her make the sweetest of giggles before he looked down at her open trousers. The Asari looked back at him and made the most coy of expressions as she took in the image of his naked upper half lit up by the light of the full moon in the night sky, before she then lifted her legs in the air and made it easier for him to remove her trousers and underwear in one easy motion. And just like that, Liara was now completely naked before her lover and he looked down at her with a loving gaze before crawling back over her and leaning down into another passionate kiss as he felt the Asari place her hands on his back and pull him down to her, allowing Liara to feel her skin against his. She then surprised Orion by rolling them both onto the right side of the bed, so that she was now on top and this made him smile back as the Asari then mirrored his earlier action by leaving a trail of kisses down his neck and over his chest and stomach, until she reached his jeans. The blue haired Bot then helped her remove them and his boxers in quick and efficient manner, which revealed his semi aroused member to both her and the night air that earned a gentle moan from him before the Asari climbed back on top of him. The two then kissed passionately again, while she moved a hand down to his member and began to give it long strokes which earned yet another pleasure felt moan as he quickly returned the favour, by moving his hand up to her own sex and started to gently rub it's labia and so earn yet another sweet sound of ecstasy building up within his Asari Lover. The pair continued like this on the sun lounger bed for a good long moment, slowly speeding up their masturbation of each other's sex which also quickened their breathing as they both felt their pleasure increasing. 'Oh goddess, I don't know how much more I can hold back.' Liara thought as she bit her lip slightly, but she knew Orion was no farther behind as his member was now completely stiff in her hand. Orion himself could feel how close she was with his hand on her own sex which was now soaking wet. So Liara stopped her strokes with her Autobot lover following suit, and she repositioned herself so that her sex was now directly over his erect member. They were so close, the Bot could feel the heat emanating from her. They both smiled lovingly at each other before she then gestured for him to sit up which he then did, meaning that she was now almost straddling him and she leaned in close to his ear so that he could feel her breath on his skin. "Embrace Eternity, my love.' she then whispered before lowering herself down onto his member which slipped in so easily due to how wet she was down there. This earned a moan of complete and utter pleasure from both of them as she took in the full length of his member, making her lean back and stare up into the night sky and revealing to Orion that her eyes had now turned completely black. But it was not that which took the Bot by surprise, but instead it was the explosion of ecstasy he suddenly became overwhelmed with as he not only felt his own pleasure but Liara's too. It felt as it the pair were now one, each and every feeling the other felt was multiplied as the Asari continued to rise and fall onto her Lover's member. Their breathing now heavy and in complete sync with each other as they lost themselves in each other. This went on for another long moment before Orion suddenly gripped his Asari lover tightly, lifting her up enough and turning them both around so she would land on her back with him on top of her once more. This made her smile back at him and tut coyly in return. "You want your turn?" The blue haired Bot merely replied with a nod whiled looking back at the Asari with a hungry stare before re-entering her moist sex with a slow thrust, earning another sweet moan from Liara as the Autobot began to build up his rhythm. She was so lost in the joyous feeling that was spreading throughout her body, which was too being multiplied by what Orion was feeling too. The Asari had not noticed the fact she had begun to claw at his back, drawing a little blood as she did. Though if Orion had noticed this, he certainly did not show it. For he too was so overwhelmed by this symbiotic relationship they had undertaken during their lovemaking, feeling everything that Liara was feeling on top of his own pleasure. That he had simply lost himself in her, in exactly the same why she had with him. And so the pair continued with their love-making, with no care to who may have been in hearing distance of their cries of pleasure. There was certainly no consideration for poor Ravage who had moved to the other side of the Darby residence, and was trying to sleep at this moment.
  2. CHAPTER XXXVII The alert sirens were blaring all over the ship as Liara ran down one of it's many corridors, hoping to reach her Orion and free him before the approaching destruction of the very vessel they were aboard. But just as she turned a corner, the Asari ran into a group of six Mechs who looked at her with a blank expression that could only be read as confused. Liara though focused her biotics through her right hand and thrust it before her, which made the Mech nearest to her suddenly fly backwards into the wall. The other robots looked back at their comrade before turning their weapons on the Asari and open fire, but Liara was ready for them and surrounded herself with a biotic barrier that covered every inch of her athletic figure. The gunfire was absorbed by it's blue energy as the young Asari launched herself into the centre of the group, and began to punch and kick at each and every one of punched straight through the chest of one robots then followed that with an elbow to another which tore it's head from it's body, exposing it's wires which flickered and buzzed before the body fell to the ground. One of the remaining Mechs grabbed at the Liara's arm but she merely spun around and performed a biotic throw, sending it into the another one behind it and smashing them both against the wall. She turned to see the last three Mechs ready themselves to attack her, so she again focused her biotics into a shockwave which flowed across the ground and destroyed them, sending their debris flying backwards down the corridor. Liara then took a breath as she looked back in the direction of the detention cells, her mind only on one thing. 'I really don't have time for this, I have to reach Orion.' she thought as she continued down the corridor, hoping she would reach him in time. Orion, meanwhile, felt aches all over his torso and face before Hock's fist once again connected with his face, earning a gleeful expression from the Arms dealer while a worried Kane looked on. "Your friend looks worried." the Bot said back as blood trickled down his chin, earning a stare from the bald Slaver before he looked back to Hock. "We should be going, just leave him here and let this place take him with it." Kane said, making the other man shake his head in return. "I am having too much fun rearranging this guy's face." Hock replied before punching Orion square in the face again, which made the blue Haired Autobot spit out some blood onto the ground before grinning back. "You….will have to do better than that." he managed to say, earning an angry look from the before all their attention was caught by the computer voice speaking through the inter-com. "Warning, ten minutes until power-core breach." Kane gave Hock a further worrying stare after hearing the message. "We 'really' should get to the shuttle-bay and leave." he said back with fear tingeing his voice, but Hock gave him a knowing look in return. "Worried that all the shuttles will be taken are you? Apart from us, Lockdown, Agent Zero, that Drell and whoever the Shadow Broker is. The only others I have seen on this ship are Mechs, so I doubt we have to worry about our place on the escape craft. Besides we have plenty of time to reach the Shuttle-bay, almost ten minutes still." he replied as he pulled back his fist, readying to strike Orion again. "But what if they have decided to leave us and each take a shuttle?" Kane then asked with a wide eyed stare, making the Arms Dealer stop in his tracks as a thoughtful expression crossed his face. "What do you mean?" the man asked as he turned away from the Autobot and looked back at his companion. "Apart from the computer warning, no one has come to get us in the last five minutes have they. What if they have decided to leave us behind?" the Slaver replied, making Hock look down at the ground as it sank in, whilst Orion just watched them both with a slight grin as he felt the strength around his restraints weakening. 'The drain of power to my restraints must be down to the power-core breach. I just need these idiots to stall a little more…wait, he said…Agent Zero.' he thought as a memory came to mind, while Hock looked back at Kane. "You really think that they would do that to us?" he asked before both his and the Slaver's attention was drawn back to Orion, as the Blue haired Bot had started to chuckle to himself. "What do you find so funny?" "Well, I find it funny that you are now allied with the very people who attacked you to get Liara originally." he said back with a smile, making the man narrow his eyes at him. "What are you talking about? That was you!" he said as he stepped right in front of the Autobot and grabbed his throat. "I admit I was there with the others and we 'rescued' Liara from you, but we weren't the only ones there. Since we ran into Agent Zero who was also after her." Orion said back, earning a confused look from the Arms dealer before he shook his head and equipped his pistol. "Your lying, you will just say anything to stay alive at this point." he replied as he pointed his gun at the Bot's head. "Think about it?" Orion added, not even acknowledging that a pistol was pointed at his forehead at that moment. "No, I would rather take this Slaver's word of that of an Autobot." Hock said back as he touched the barrel of his pistol to the Bot's head. "And I would prefer to see your blood decorate the wall behind you now." he added with a smile as he began to tighten his grip around the trigger. "Don't you dare!" a familiar voice shouted at them, making all three look over to the doorway. And standing there was Liara with her glowing hand pointed at the pair. "Ah, my 'Blue Rose'. It is good to see you again. Now stand down or I will put a bullet through this Bot's head." Hock said with a smile as he looked back at the Asari, who just stared back with a hateful expression. "You do that and I will flay you alive." she spat back, gaining a grin from Orion as he quietly moved his left arm, noticing that the restraint had weakened even more. 'All I need to do is one swift strong movement to break it.' he thought while both Hock and Kane kept their attention on Liara, unsure of how serious they should take her threat. "This Asari shouldn't be a problem for you, Kane, I am right?" the Arms dealer said back, earning an unsure look from the bald Slaver in return. "I wasn't alone the last time we subdued her…" he began to say back, but Hock then cut him off. "But your not alone, I am with you." he said thought Kane simply responded with a gulp as he kept his eyes on Liara, who just stared back whilst her hand began to glow a little brighter. "..plus we have an ace in the hole." the Arms dealer added as he again touched the barrel of his pistol to Orion's head, while looking back at the Asari. "So how do you want to this to go…'Blue Rose'?" Liara just stared back, narrowing her eyes at him as she clenched her hand into a fist before glancing at the Blue haired Bot. He gave her a slight smile while slowly moving his hand in it's restraint for her to see, gaining an ever so small smile in return from her before she looked back at Hock. "I will shoot him if you don't stand down." he added as the Asari smiled back. "No you won't." she replied, which made Hock suddenly narrow his eyes at her in return. "You don't tell me what to do 'Asari, you do as I say'!" he spat back, his grasp tightening around the grip panel as he held the gun to her lover's head though the Arms dealer kept his attention on her. "You have no way to make me do anything you want, not now…not ever." Liara replied coldly as she slowly began to walk into the room, giving both men a stare that looked like it could go right through them. This made the pair suddenly look rather fearful as Hock suddenly panicked and pressed the gun's barrel against Orion's head again. "You brought this on yourself!" he replied in a scared tone as he began to pull the trigger, only for the Blue haired Bot to suddenly break the arm restraint on his left side and grab the gun, pushing it just away enough that the moment it went off, the bullet instead impacted the wall next to him. "Wha…!" the Arms dealer started to say as Liara performed a biotic charge and slammed into Kane, while Orion pulled Hock close enough so he that could head-butt the man, making him drop the pistol as he stumbled backwards. As this happened, the Asari looked over to the Autobot and waved her glowing hand in front of her, breaking the remaining restraints on the berth. Orion then dropped off it and fell to his knees before looking over to her, an appreciative smile appeared on his face. "Thanks Liara." he said before turning his attention to Hock who stood before him. "Your more than welcome Orion." she replied back fondly before Kane suddenly grabbed her from behind, one hand on her arm while the other went round her neck. "Liara!" Orion shouted as he saw the Slaver get his friend in a hold but just as he got back to his feet, Hock suddenly charged into him and pushed him up against the wall before punching him in the chest hard, winding him. "Didn't think I was capable of that did you…" the Arms dealer sneered as the Autobot coughed hard, before looking over to see Liara in Kane's hands with the Slaver leering over her as he held her close. "Remember, Asari, I told you once I would get my hands on you eventually. That I had such thoughts of what I would do to you when the time came." he said into her ear, making the Asari feel sick as she felt his breath on her skin. "Well, first I will let you witness your boyfriend's death by Hock's hands, then with your will completely broken by that. Then I will let you taste how dark my imagination can be." the Slaver added as he tightened his grip on her. At that moment both Liara and Orion looked up at each other, their eyes meeting as he had just heard every word of what Kane had said. Making the Bot turn his attention to Hock and grit his teeth. "Never!" he spat as he suddenly put all his strength into a punch that hit the man so hard in the stomach that he almost keeled over, before the Autobot followed through with a punch to the face that sent the Arms dealer to the floor. Both Liara and Kane watched this with surprise in their expressions, though the Asari had more of a smile on hers before she then made her left hand glow with biotic energy which coincided with a part of the Slaver's arm that was still around her neck, which began to glow too which earned a worried look from him. "What the? I will break your nec…." he started to say just as Liara clenched her hand into a fist, earning a cry of pain from Kane as the bones in his forearm shattered from the stress the biotic field the Asari created around his arm. This made him let go of her, so she turned around and used biotic push to send him onto his backside, "My arm!" he shouted before cradling his broken limb with his other while Liara stood over him, staring down at the Slaver with an expression that his heart go cold with fear. "You talk about dark thoughts and imagination, then try mine!" she spat as her eyes suddenly went black, making Kane freeze where he sat and stare back like a statue for a moment. Then he suddenly screamed so loud and covered his face with his hands, Orion just watched because Kane looked like his head was about to explode with the way he was holding his head in his hands. The Slaver fell onto his side still screaming as he went into a spasm on the floor before going quiet, his hands dropping to floor to reveal that his eyes were still open and glazed over. "What did you do?" Orion asked with an uncertainty to his voice as Liara turned to him, a look of fulfilment on her face. "I gave him a taste of his own medicine, that man was a rapist and murderer of women, it was no more than he deserved." she replied, earning a nod from the blue haired Bot as he grabbed Hock and lifted him on to his feet. "I couldn't agree more, now what do you want to do with Hock? I did tell him that either of us would kill him." he said back as the Asari nodded in return before grabbing the Arms dealer by the throat, staring into his eyes and seeing the fear reflected back, fear that was well deserved after he had witnessed the fate of Kane just seconds earlier. "Please, show me mercy." Hock begged, gaining a look of disgust from Liara before the inter-com suddenly activated, earning all their attention. "Warning, eight minutes until power-core breach." the computer stated, earning a thoughtful expression from the Asari before staring back at Hock. "You are pathetic..." she said back with venom-like tone to her voice before dropping him back to the ground, making hin look up with a confused face. "...run, and pray I never see you again." she added, which made Hock get to his feet and run out of the room in almost one quick motion, gaining a confused look from Orion. "I don't get it, I thought you would want to make him pay?" he said back, while Liara looked back with a caring expression. "We don't have the time, and he just isn't worth it, Orion. Without the power and influence he had before, Hock is just a small, pathetic individual. Plus he won't get off this ship before it blows, the shuttle-bay is in the other direction of where he ran off to for starters." she replied with a smile before looking the Bot up and down, noticing his injuries. "Are you okay?" Orion gave her a look of surprise in return. "I'll be alright, all I had were two idiots hitting me. I was more concerned for you, Liara.." he said back, gaining an appreciative smile from the Asari as he spoke. "..so what about you? What happened?" he asked, making her smile disappear as a more saddened expression befell her beautiful face. "I will tell you about it once we are out of here, so let's not waste anymore time here." the Asari replied while holding out a hand to the Autobot, who took it in his own. "Okay, lets go." he said back with a nod, regaining her smile before the pair turned and headed for the room's exit, with Orion making sure to pick up Hock's pistol on their way out. PRIME EFFECT 4 Vasir opened her eyes to find that she was lying on her side, and immediately the rest of her body let her feel the pain it had been enduring while she had been unconscious. Every part of her being ached, earning a grimace from the Asari as she lifted herself up onto her knees. 'That Bitch certainly has more strength than I would have guessed.'' she thought as she looked back around the room, only for her eyes to fall upon the burnt corpse of Benezia, earning a saddened expression from Vasir. 'I am so sorry I failed you, Benezia. Your daughter will pay.' she thought before tapping her com-link. "Lockdown, this is Vasir. Do you read?" "I read you. What's going on? How did the power-core breach?" the former-Decepticon replied, while the Asari kept her eyes focused on Benezia, a single tear running down her cheek as she thought about her mentor. "We have been betrayed, the Shadow Broker is dead." she said back, earning a gasp from the other end of the link. "..What! How?" Lockdown asked with a shocked tone. "Liara killed him…" the Agent replied, knowing that she had to keep the pretence of who the others believed the Shadow Broker's false identity. "..and she set off the power-core breach. How long until it blows?" she then asked. "We have several minutes left, why do you ask?" Lockdown replied with a curious tone. "Because we have enough time to escape the ship before the explosion, but first we will lay a trap for that Asari Bitch who is no doubt rescuing her Autobot friend as we speak. We can kill them for the Shadow Broker and then get to safety in that time." Vasir said back. "What about Hock and Kane?" the former Decepticon replied as he thought about others. "What about them? If they were still entertaining themselves when Liara arrived to save Orion Darby, then they are already dead." she said back coldly. "And we should probably leave Thane and his son here too right? I don't know how long we could keep up the pretence of who really murdered his wife." Lockdown added, gaining a nod from Vasir. "Very well, just go now and make sure you have enough Mechs with you at the Shuttle-bay. I will be….arrggh!" she said back while trying to get back to her feet, but falling back onto her backside as her leg gave way beneath her. "Are you alright?" the Assassin said back, a concerned tone was clear in his voice. "Just trying to shake off the after effects of my fight with Liara, I will be there as soon as I can. Just don't underestimate her or that Autobot. Zero out." she replied before ending the link, and then took a Medi-gel syringe out of a pocket on her utility belt. 'This should get me moving, I need to get to the shuttle-bay.' she thought as she injected the medicine into her leg. Meanwhile Liara and Orion ran down the corridor, with the Bot following the Asari's lead as she glanced down at the map on her holo-tool's screen. "Not far to go." she said back, gaining a nod from the blue haired Bot as he smiled back. "We have plenty of time, Liara. We'll grab one of their shuttles and get out of here." he said back as the pair turned a corner and stopped in their tracks, with Orion raising his pistol at the Drell standing before them. "Him again." the Autobot said with an angry stare, earning a similar expression from their adversary who too aimed his twin pistols back at both of them, though he looked less convinced as the ship's alarms blared again around them. "Six minutes until power-core breach." "Orion, wait!" Liara then said in a commanding tone as she stepped between both men, earning surprised looks from both. "Liara?" Orion replied with a questioning tone. "Your name is Thane Krios, correct?" she asked, ignoring the Bot while she focused on the Drell who nodded back, but did not lower his own weapons. "That's right. How did you..?" he began to ask as he looked at her with a curious expression. "Because I have access to the file the Shadow Broker had on you, and it has information on it that you must know." she replied whileusing her holo-tool to bring up a screen displaying the Drell's file. Thane walked up slowly to it, his pistols slowly lowering as he started to read what was on the screen. "Liara, are you sure about this?" Orion asked, but the Asari ignored him while she continued to watch the Drell, whose eyes widened as he read the file. "….Lockdown's responsible…..for my wife's murder." he said back in disbelief, gaining a nod from her in return. 'Lockdown? I have heard that name before.' Orion thought as he watched both Liara and Thane. "Yes, the Shadow Broker figured it was the only way to gain your trust, by saying that you would get all the help in finding the killer as long as you joined the organisation." "I have been a fool. Tell me, where is Lockdown and the Shadow Broker?" Thane replied, his face becoming stern. "The Shadow Broker is already dead, killed by my hand. But as far as Lockdown goes…" Liara started to say before Orion jumped in. "This ship has just over five minutes until it blows, I bet everyone else will already be there." the blue haired Bot stated while Thane's eyes widened, as his need for revenge was sudden over ridden by thoughts for someone far more important to him. "My son, I need to find my son." he then said with panic in his voice, earning a sympathetic look from Liara. "You mean Kolyat? I know where he is and I can get him for you." she replied, gaining the Drell's attention. "We still need a way off the ship, can you help me secure us a shuttle while Liara retrieves your son?" Orion then asked, a thoughtful expression from Thane before he nodded back in return. "Yes, I will help you. But if Lockdown shows up, I want him myself." "Of course, he is all yours." the Autobot replied. "Alright then, you two go get us a shuttle. I will meet you there with Kolyat." Liara said back, earning a nod from both Orion and Thane before they started to move back down the corridor, only for the Bot to look back to the Asari with a caring expression. "Be careful." "You too." she replied with a mirrored look before turning around and running in the opposite direction. PRIME EFFECT 4 Liara continued down one of the many corridors of the ship, but she did not need to go very far to find Kolyat's location, in fact if they had more time then the three of them could have retrieved his son. But with just five minutes to go before the ship's destruction, the Asari had to do this by herself, and she turned a corner to find two Mechs standing guard at one of the many doors that lined both sides of the corridor before her. Before either of the robots could spot her, Liara took cover around the corner and reactivated her holo-tool. 'Yes, that is where Kolyat is located.' she thought while looking down at the yellow dot on the map that was being shown on her holo-tool, so she quickly turned it off and returned her attention to the two guards standing in her way. 'Got to make this quick.' she thought before and idea came to mind, earning a smile from the Asari as she focused her biotics into her left hand, gaining a blue energy glow around it. The young woman then left the cover of the wall and stood in view of the two Mechs, who noticed and immediately aimed their weapons at her. "Freeze." they said in unison, with a synthesized tone to their voices. But Liara simply smirked before throwing a blue energy projectile directly at them, which made her entire body glow for a split second before it left her and flew across the corridor at the pair. It then hit the closest of the Mechs, causing an explosion of biotic energy that sent them both flying into the walls before they too exploded from the damage caused. The Asari then ran down the hallway and used her holo-tool to hack the door controls and gain entrance to the room, finding it to be a standard living quarters….though kind of empty from the look of it. 'Where is he?' she thought while looking around the room. "Kolyat?" she said in a gentle voice, before hearing a scuffle like noise from under the desk that was nearby. So Liara walked over to it and knelt to find an eight year old Drell sitting under it with a scared look on his face. "Stay…back!" he said back with a stutter, but the Asari just held out her hands in a non-threatening gesture. "It's alright, Kolyat. I won't hurt you." she said back softly, earning a surprised look from the child. "How…do you know my name? Who are…you?" he asked with an unsure tone. "My name is Liara, I am an acquaintance of your Father's." the Asari said back. "You know my Dad?" "Yes, I am here to take you to him." she said back as she held out a hand to the Drell, who looked down at it with a thoughtful expression before looking back at her face. "I haven't seen my Dad for so long?" the boy replied, earning a kind smile from Liara. "So come with me, and I will reunite you with him." she answered, earning a nod from Kolyat who reached out and took her hand. "Okay." he replied before climbing out from under the desk, earning a curious look from the Asari as she noticed he had a toy ship in his free hand. "You like star-ships?" she asked as she noticed that it was a toy replica of the Defiant, which made the boy nod back enthusiastically. "I love this ship. I want to fly one just like it when I grow up." he said back with a smile, gaining a mirrored expression from Liara. 'He will love it when he sees the Normandy.' she thought before they both moved to the door, with the Asari taking a glance outside and noticing that the path was clear…. for the moment. "Okay, Kolyat, I need you to do exactly as I say, alright? I promise you will see your Dad real soon." she said while looking down at the child, who gave her a knowing look. "The 'other people' kept telling me that, but you're the first person I want to believe." he said back, earning a nod from her. "Let's go." she said before she took his hand in hers and the pair left the room and ran back the way she had came. Not so far away, Orion and Thane turned a corner into an adjoining corridor, that had on it's right side only one double door and a windows either side of it's doorframe. "There is the entrance to the shuttle-bay, if we are lucky then we can get a look inside and see what we will be up against." the Drell said, gaining a nod from the Autobot in return before the pair sneaked up to the nearest window and took cover under it. "I'll take a look" he then said before raising himself up just enough to peek inside, taking in the layout of the room and the Mechs he could see from their location before sinking back down into a squat. "I see several Mechs in there right now, they are guarding two shuttles. I don't see Lockdown in there though." he said back, earning nod from Thane who looked back with a serious expression. "He's there, I know he is. I have worked with that Decepticon long enough to know what he can do." he said back, before sighing while looking down at his pistols. "He played me, him and the Shadow Broker. He has to pay." Orion gave the Drell a sympathetic look while placing a hand on his shoulder in support. "Look, if Lockdown has in fact already jumped ship. I promise that I will do everything in my power to help you find him, it's the least I can do for your help." he said back, earning a smile from Thane. "I appreciate that, Orion…." he started to say before the blue haired Bot took another peek inside the Shuttle-bay. "…so consider this an early thank, as I clear the way to the shuttle." the Drell added regaining Orion's attention as he looked back to see that his new friend had disappeared, his eyes widening at the empty air before him. 'Where the hell…?' he thought before noticing that the door had been opened, making him ready his pistol. 'Damn it.' Inside the large hanger-like room, the Mechs patrolled area whilst using their optics to scan everything…even themselves. "Scan complete, nothing to report." one said with it's synthesised voice, as Orion sneaked in and hid behind a cargo container near the now open door, being lucky to not be caught in the vision of one of the robots while it looked in his direction. "Where is Thane?" he thought before suddenly hearing metal hit the ground hard, so he peeked around the cover to see a deactivated Mech lying on the floor at the far end of the room with a bullet hole in the back of it's head. 'Impressive.' "Correction, one of us has been hit." another Mech stated as it's attention was drawn to it's fallen comrade, it's red optics let out a beam of red light that enveloped the corpse as it walked over to it. "One bullet hole to the back of it's cranium, alert status!" it then said, earning a simultaneous reaction from the rest of the robots as their lifted their rifles into ready positions. Suddenly just as lead Mech turned away from the corpse, Thane dropped down behind it and wrapped his arm around it's neck and used his free hand to grab its head and yank it sideward, snapping its neck. One of the other Mechs turned around and saw this, raising it's weapon at him in response. So the Drell held onto the deactivated robot with one hand while equipping one of his pistols with the other and fired back at the enemy drone, blowing a hole in it's chest. This earned the attention of the other Mechs as they began firing back at him. "Eliminate the intruder!" the robots said in unison before one had it's head blown off as Orion revealed himself, rushing the nearest Mech as he activated his holo-arm-blade with his free hand, slicing through it before the robot could react. "This earned a smile from Thane as dropped the metallic heap on the floor and dived behind the nearest shuttle for cover, while half of the remaining Mechs focused on him with their combined rifle fire. The other half turned on Orion, opening fire on him and causing the Autobot to take cover behind another cargo container next to him. But he still managed to return fire and take down two more Mechs, earning a smile from Thane who then climbed up onto the roof of the shuttle and fire down at the enemy drones, blowing holes in a few of them before they returned fire. He instead jumped down into the middle of the group and used both pistols for up close damage, firing bullets into their chests and heads whilst spinning around on the spot. The other group that had been focused on Orion had took notice of what the Drell was doing to their comrades and had switched their priorities, so the Bot ran out from cover and using both his arm-blades, sliced up the remaining enemy troops until only Thane and himself were left standing. "That was impressive, Orion, just like the day we fought back on Illium." the Drell said back, earning a smile from the Autobot. "Thanks. Though I have never met anyone with sneaking skills like yours." he replied humbly before an unfamiliar voice spoke from above them, gaining their attention. "So Zero was right…" Both Thane and Orion looked up to see Lockdown standing on the roof of the other shuttle, hold twin holo-katanas that were being powered by the holo-tools around both this forearms. "Lockdown!" the Drell spat as he narrowed his eyes back, as the former Decepticon performed a somersault jump off the shuttle and landed in between the pair before pointing both blades at them. "Thane? Why are you helping this Autobot?" he asked. "Because I know what you did!" Thane replied, gaining a knowing expression from Lockdown. "..Ah… I see. Well, it was business. It wasn't personal for me." he replied before the Drell gritted his teeth and leapt at him. "This is personal to me!" he spat back as the Assassin swung a katana at him but Thane ducked under it before landing a punch directly into his enemy's chest, knocking him backwards. But Lockdown used the momentum to turn his attention to Orion and he made a swipe at the Autobot, who managed to block the attack with one of his holo-arm-blades. The former Decepticon followed through with a front kick that connected with Orion's stomach and sent him flying onto his back and out of the fight, so Lockdown returned his attention to Thane. "What are you doing?" he spat with a curious tone as he saw the Drell activating his holo-tool, bringing up the orange glowing device on his left forearm. "This!" he replied before lunging at his enemy, who lunged back with his right holo-katana only for Thane to bring up his holo-tool and block the strike before giving the former Con a smirk. "Thanks." he said back just as the holo-katana suddenly disappeared from Lockdown's right hand and reappeared in the Drell's possession, earning a shocked look from him. "What the?" he replied before Thane took a swipe at him, scratching the Assassin's armour as he narrowly dodged the attack. "My holo-tool can mimic any holo-weapon it touches, I think it would be fitting to kill you with your own weapon." he said before he again lunged at Lockdown, who deflected the blade with his own. "Don't get ahead of yourself, Thane, I have lived through countless eons fighting. Do you think you have what it takes to end my spark?" he said as he pushed the Drell back, separating the two again. "I do no such thing, but I believe that my late wife will help guide this blade and bring an end to your life, finally bringing her and myself some peace." Thane replied before the two continued to fight, clashing their blades together numerous times. Meanwhile, Liara and Kolyat ran into the shuttle-bay, before stopping as they saw Thane and Lockdown fighting. "Dad!" the little Drell shouted, earning his Father's attention as he deflected the former Decepticon's blade again. "Kolyat, follow Liara into one of the shuttles." he said back as the Asari saw Orion getting back to his feet. "Orion, Mechs were right behind us." she said while leading the child into the room as they ran toward the nearest shuttle, earning a nod from the Bot who readied his pistol. "I'll cover you." he said before shooting a bullet into the chest of the first roBot to enter through the double doors, making it fall to the ground as the others took cover behind it. Liara then opened the hatch of the shuttle before lifting Kolyat off the ground and into the small vessel's interior. "Two minutes until power-core breach." the computer's voice spoke over the inter-com as Orion fired back at the door and killed another Mech, before his attention was caught by a grenade hanging of the utility belt of one of the dead robots lying near him. "Liara cover me!" he shouted, earning a nod from the Asari who fired biotic blasts from her right hand at the doorway, pinning the Mechs to their cover on the other side. So Orion ran over to the body and picked up the grenade, and as Liara continued to assault the door with her biotic projectiles, even making one Mech slam back into corridor wall. The Blue haired Bot tapped the button on the top of the device and threw it through the open doorway before diving behind another cargo container. "Fire in the hole!" he shouted, making his Asari friend erect a barrier around her and the shuttle hatch just before the grenade exploded, destroying the Mechs in the corridor. The force of the blast also knocked both Thane and Lockdown to the ground, halting their fight as both tried to recover. But the former Decepticon was the first to his feet as he laughed whilst standing over the Drell. "Looks like your 'wife' isn't listening, Thane." he said with a sarcastic tone as he lifted his holo-katana, readying to deliver a killing stroke. But just as he began to drive the blade downwards, Orion suddenly tackled him to the ground. "Oh no you don't." he said before punching the Assassin in the face repeatedly, giving the Drell the time he need to get back to his feet though his eyes widened as something came to mind. 'I forgot about that!' he thought before raising his hand to the small device on his forehead. As that was happening, Lockdown managed to block one of Orion's punches and grabbed his arm. "I have had enough of you, Autobot!" he spat before punching him in the face with his free hand, earning a grunt from the blue haired Bot before Lockdown followed through with a swipe of his holo-katana which made the younger man dodge by rolling off him and back to the ground into a kneeling position. "The feeling is mutual." he said back as Lockdown got to his feet and readied himself to attack again, but Orion's eyes caught his attention as he looked behind the Assassin. So he spun around just in time to see Thane lunge at him with his holo-katana, making Lockdown swipe his own weapon in return. But his eyes widened in shock as his blade passed harmlessly through the Drell, like he was a ghost or something. "How?" he began to say before suddenly feeling a sharp white-hot pain in his chest, so he looked down to see the holo-katana that Thane had stolen had been driven through his body. "This is for my wife." the Drell said back coldly as he twisted the blade round in the former Decepticon's wound, making him grimace as he looked back at him, his eyes noticed the device blinking with green and blue LEDs on his adversary's forehead and smiled back. "A 'Phase-Shifter', well…play…" he began to say with what could be described as a hint of respect in his voice, but Thane did not want to hear any more as his anger got the better of him. So the Drell ripped the katana from the former Decepticon's chest, causing blood to spill out on to the floor as he spun around and sliced the enemy's head clean from his body, and it bounced onto the ground as the rest of the Con's body joined it. Thane stood there and looked down at the headless body lying before him, his face finally looking satisfied as he sighed while Orion just stood there and watched. "Warning! One minute until power-core breach." the computer's voice suddenly spoke out over the inter-com, regaining the attention of both men before another voice did the same. "Orion, Thane, lets go!" Liara shouted, earning a nod from them as they turned and ran to the shuttle before climbing in via it's open hatch. "Okay everyone, strap yourselves in." the blue haired Bot said as he sat down beside Liara in the pilot's seat, while Thane strapped his son into one of the passenger seats before doing the same himself. Kolyat gave his Father the most warm and happy smile he had seen in a long time. But before either could say a word, Liara spoke first. "You know when this ship goes up, there is no guarantee that we will be able to outrun the shockwave from the explosion." she said with a worried tone, though Orion merely shook his head in return as he pressed numerous buttons on the green holo-interface before him. "We'll just have to hope for the best then, won't we." he said while activating the shuttle's engines and then lifted the small vessel off the deck, while also opening the bay doors and revealing the stormy atmosphere outside. Meanwhile Vasir arrived at the shuttle-bay to see numerous Mech body parts lying around it's entrance with the walls scorched by what appeared to be an explosion. 'What the…?' she began to think before her attention was drawn to the sound of a ship taking off, so the Asari entered the room to see one of the two shuttles flying out of the ship. "Damn it!.." she spat while looking around and spotting Lockdown's headless corpse lying a few feet away next to the other shuttle. "...I was too late." she added before limping towards the other shuttle, just as the computer spoke up again through the inter-com. "thirty seconds until power-core breach." This earned a wide eyed expression from Vasir as she ran to the second shuttle and opened it's hatch. A few seconds later elsewhere on the ship, Hock ran through the corridors in a panic as he looked for what he could only hope was a way to escape what was coming. "There has to be a way off this ship!" he spat while he continued down the hallway before noticing there was only a right hand turn ahead. 'Haven't seen that one yet, this looks hopeful.' he thought as he turned the corner, only for him to stop and stare in wide-eyed disbelief. For before him was a dead end, just as the computer spoke again through the inter-com which left the Arms dealer with a sense of dread creeping through his soul. "Ten seconds, nine, eight, seven, six….." it said in a synthetic tone, as Hock felt his eyes tearing up. "I don't want to die." was all he could say before the computer finished the countdown. "….one, zero." it said before the ship suddenly shook rather violently from an internal explosion, which knocked Hock to the ground before he heard what sounded like a fireball quickly coming towards him. "No, No, No!" he stuttered in a fearful tone as said fireball shot round the corner and enveloped him before the Shadow Broker's ship exploded. "That's it, the ship just exploded, and I am detecting a shock-wave approaching us at a speed greater than what this shuttle is capable of." Liara stated in a worrying tone as she looked down at the holo-screen in front of her, while Orion kept his attention on flying the craft while watching the clouds and storm carry on around them. "We just have to reach the edge of the atmosphere, give me all the power this shuttle has and channel it into the engines. Take it from life support if you have too." he said to the Asari, earning a nod from her as she typed on her interface. But still, as the shuttle ascended through the dense and chaotic atmosphere of the planet, the shock-wave from the now destroyed Shadow Broker base continued to gain on them. "It's no use, the wave is still faster than we are. It will hit us in less than twenty seconds." Liara said back before looking over to Orion as she reached out with her hand, so the Bot looked back and took hers in his hand before turning his attention to the Father and Son sitting behind them. "I'm sorry." he said with a sad and accepting tone, earning a nod from Thane who then looked over to Kolyat and placed his hand on the back of the younger Drell's head and kissed his forehead. "I love you, Kolyat." he said in a soft voice, gaining a warm smile from the unbeknownst boy who could not understand what was happening around him. "I love you too, Dad." he replied, earning a smile from Thane that he found hard to keep since he knew what was coming. "Close your eyes, my Son." he said back, and watched as Kolyat did just that. Orion could not help but feel sad after seeing that as he returned his attention to Liara, so he just looked her in the eyes and gently squeezed her hand affectionately. The Autobot took a deep breath as the Asari stared back, as their waited for the inevitable to happen. "Liara, I.." he started to say, earning a knowing smile from her in return. "I know…" she began to reply before suddenly a shadow was cast over the shuttle, darkening the interior and gaining their attention. "What is that?" Liara said while Orion smiled as he looked up through the glass canopy in front of them, making the Asari give him a confused expression. "What is it?" she asked, before a familiar voice spoke through the shuttle's inter-com. "You guys look like you need a lift?" Jetstorm said, gaining simultaneous sighs of relief from all the adults on board the shuttle as Orion pressed a button on his holo-interface. "Great timing, get us out of here." he replied as the Normandy descended over the shuttle as the shock-wave was almost upon them. "Hold on." the pilot said back before the frigate scooped up the shuttle into it's open shuttle-bay, and then proceeded to ascend back up into high orbit, outrunning the shock-wave which slowly dissipated as the Autobot ship left the planet's atmosphere. "Everyone alright." Orion asked as he looked at first to Liara and then to the two Drell, with the older one nodding back in return. "Yes, thank you, Orion." Thane replied before his son got up out of his chair and looked out of the shuttle's canopy to see the landing ramp close and re-seal itself. "Where are we?" the boy asked enthusiastically as he held onto his toy ship, which earned a smile from the Bot and Asari. "You know your favourite ship?" Liara asked, gaining Kolyat's attention as he nodded back. "Yeah…" "Well, your standing in one just like it." she added, which made the boy's eyes widen in wonder as an infectious smile appeared on his face. "Cool." PRIME EFFECT 4 Not long after, a ground-bridge portal opens up and Orion, Liara, Thane and Kolat step through to find themselves back on Earth. The older Drell looked around to see that they were standing on landing pad on top of a mountain, which is surrounded by a desert and similar rock formations. Where are we?" Thane asked as the vortex closed behind them. "This is Autobot Outpost Omega One, it was the first Autobot base on Earth and has been in operation since the last days of the Cybertronian Civil war." Orion replied, gaining a smile from Kolyat who stood beside his father and marvelled at his surroundings. "An Autobot base…wow!" he exclaimed before the blue haired Bot knelt in front of him. "Kolyat, could I have a moment with your Dad? Liara will keep you company in the meantime?" he asked, gaining a nod from the child. "Okay." he said in an innocent tone before walking over to Liara who began pointing out sights to him, so Orion got back to his feet and looked back to Thane. "I am sorry that we have to drop you off here. I would have liked to take the both of you back to Kahje. But with the Intel Liara gained from the Shadow Broker about the Predacons gathering around Virmire, we have been recalled to New Iacon for repairs and new orders." he said, gaining an appreciative smile from the Drell. "I understand, Orion. I am very grateful for everything you have already done. Because had it not been for you and Liara, I would still be working for the Shadow Broker and would probably never have seen my Son again. But instead I now have Koylat and I found out that Lockdown was the one murdered my wife. And he has paid for that with his life….though, I would of liked to make him suffer for a bit longer if we had the time." he replied with a hint of regret in his voice, which the blue haired Bot noticed. "Are you alright?" "In my life I have always strived to kill my marks in a quick and clean manner. I never questioned if they should die, instead I believed that it was fate's choice which brought them into my sights. But with my dear Irikah's murder, I found myself wanting to kill those responsible and make them hurt for as long as I possibly could. So I find myself at a loss with how Lockdown's end came about." Thane said back, gaining a nod from Orion. "I can understand that." he replied, making the Drell look at him with a knowing expression. "I sense that you do, forgive my asking but this is because of your Parents isn't it?" The Autobot nodded in return as he looked out at the desert around them. "Yes, they are the prisoners of Galvatron. As far as I know, he has tortured them both and I want nothing more but to make him pay for that…" he replied before looking to the ground with a shamed expression. "..but I am in a position of command and cannot let my need for payback get in the way of the mission." he added, which made Thane place his hand on the Autobot's shoulder in support. "I do not claim to know you well, Orion, but I have seen enough to believe that you can find a balance between your duty and your need to avenge your parents. I know it is possible to have both." he said while looking over to his Son, who was still marvelling at the wilderness around him as Liara watched. Orion looked over too and nodded in return, giving off a sigh as he did. "Thank you, Thane." the Bot replied as he held out his hand, to which the Drell took in his own and shook while Liara and Kolyat returned to their side. "No, thank you. You have given my back my life and my Son…" he said as he placed his hand on the little Drell's head, earning a grateful smile from him. "…and peace of mind. For that…. I would like to offer my services to you in this war, as your enemies are now my mine." he said, but Orion smiled and shook his head in return. "I appreciate that, Thane, but like you just said, you have been reunited with your son. So you should stay with him, we can handle the Predacons." "Yeah, Dad, I mean they are Autobots. They can handle anything." Kolyat suddenly spoke up with an enthusiastic tone, gaining the adults attention as they looked down at him and smiled. But instead of going shy, the young Drell just became more confident. "When I grow up, I want to be an Autobot." he declared, which made Orion kneel down in front of him and place his hand in his trouser pocket. "You certainly are brave enough, and if you're anything like your Father, then I don't doubt that one day you will join our ranks. So in the meantime I want to give you this…" the Bot said as he placed an item in Kolyat's hand, making the youngster look down to see that it was an Autobot emblem, which made him look back in surprise. "…and make you an Honorary Autobot...until you of age." he finished, which made the child's smile even wider as he saluted the blue haired man. "Yes, Sir." Thane chuckled in return as he looked down at his ecstatic son before returning his attention to both Bot and Asari, "You've just made my son's day, thank you again. I will honour your wishes, but if you ever need help, you know how to find me." "And me." Kolyat added, earning a smile from everyone. "Take care of yourselves. You will need for nothing while staying at this base," Liara said, gaining a nod from Thane, "Thank you, same to you," Orion then tapped his com-link. "We're ready." he said before another green vortex opened behind them, with the pair turning face to it. The Bot though looked back at Kolyat. "Watch the sky, you're going to like what comes next." he said with a smile, earning a curious expression from the child before stepping into the portal with the Asari. Both Thane and his Son watched as the Ground-bridge closed, when suddenly Kolyat spotted something coming out of the clouds and moving toward them. "Dad, look!" he exclaimed as the pair saw the Normandy fly up to the mountain before circling above them both. "Wow." the young Drell said with amazement as he looked up at the Autobot ship, recognising it as his favourite. Thane just smiled and enjoyed seeing his son's reaction as the ship then took off up into the sky and did a barrel roll before flying away at top speed, leaving Kolyat breathless at what he had just witnessed. "Dad, I definitely want to be an Autobot." he stated, as his Father placed his hand on the boy's shoulders. "We'll see when you are older, Kolyat." he replied before noticing two Autobots stepping out of the elevator to greet them. "Come on, my Son, let's go." he then said while taking his Son's hand in his own, and together they walked over to and were greeted by the Autobots. Meanwhile, on the other side of the galaxy, a damaged shuttle drifted slowly through the cold void of space. The interior of the vessel was dimly lit as Vasir sat in the pilot's chair, looking out at the star-field through the glass canopy in front of her. The Asari's expression was one of deep anger and reflection as she kept her hands on the holo-interface, and even though her eyes were fixed on what was ahead. her thoughts remained focused on only one thing. 'Benezia, I swear that I will make Liara pay for what she did to us. For betraying and murdering you, and for destroying my life as I knew it. I will make you proud and rebuild what we have lost…. and even if it takes the rest of my life, I will see to it that Liara and everyone she holds dear suffers….this I swear to you.'she thought as a dark smile began to form on her lips.
  3. CHAPTER XXXVI Orion looked around at his surroundings as he remained restrained to the upright berth in his cell, having only regained consciousness several minutes earlier. 'Where I am? And more importantly where is Liara!' he thought as he tried to free himself, only for the restraints to beat him for the umpteenth time since his awakening. The last thing the Autobot remembered was holding onto both his Asari friend and the Star-Saber, trying to anchor them to the Normandy so they would not be sucked out into the void of space through the hull breach in the corridor. But his strength had failed him, and everything went black as he and Liara were pulled into the vacuum of space. But now he had awoken and found himself restrained in this unknown location. 'Those guys who attacked us were the same Slavers that had captured Liara the first time.' Orion thought as he tried to piece together the current situation from what he already knew, but this just left his spark feeling worse for Liara. 'I've got to get out of here and find her.' he thought while trying again to free himself, straining as he put everything he had into breaking free of his bonds but eventually had to stop when they would not budge. 'Scrap, I'm not going anywhere.' Suddenly the door opened and two Human men entered the room, gaining the Blue haired Bot's attention. The first guy was the bald Slaver that was part of the group that had attacked both him and Liara, but Orion's eyes widened as he recognised the person behind him. "Hock! You're the one behind the attack on the Normandy?" he asked in a disbelieving tone, earning a smile from the Arms Dealer. "I wish I was the one responsible, but alas I am not." he replied whilst stopping directly in front of the force-field before gesturing to Kane, who then deactivated the energy-shield. Hock then walked in right up to Orion. "Where's Liara!" the Bot spat, "You mean my 'Blue Rose' don't you…." Hock replied, which made the Autobot grit his teeth as he glared back. "Liara is not yours!" the Bot jumped in angrily, earning a less than interested look from the Arms Dealer. "..whatever. Even if my Asari is now in the hands of the Shadow Broker, I still hope I get a chance to see you her again." Orion's eyes widened at that name that had just be spoken, for he had heard it before. 'That was the name of Agent Zero's employer, the one who tried to grab Liara from us when we rescued her from Hock.' he thought. "The Shadow Broker!" he then said aloud, earning a nod from Hock. "Yes, he is the one who was responsible for the attack on you ship which was quite successful since I saw it explode afterwards." The Blue haired Autobot's face suddenly became one of shock and disbelief in return, as he the looked down at the ground. "No….your lying…." he said back as he felt his spark sink in his chest, as his friends faces began to appear in his mind. "…your lying." he continued before Hock grabbed the Bot by the throat and lifted his head back to him, so that he could look him in the eyes. "Believe me, they are dead. They got what they deserved for messing in my affairs, I am sorry that I did not play a bigger role in their demise.." Hock replied coldly before showing Orion a dark smile. "..but luckily I can show you what I would have done to them." The Arms Dealer then looked over to Kane, who remained silent and watched the two men before him. "Kane, what were the methods you and Varas did to that Asari, you know the ones to make her submissive and docile?" he said, earning a smile from the bald Slaver before looking back to Orion with a knowing look. "Oh, that's right. I remember what you told me you did to her now…." He then said before punching the Autobot hard in the face, earning a grimace from the restrained Bot. "You beat her for starters." Orion spat what little blood had formed in his mouth on to the floor and looked up at Hock with an unimpressed expression. "My Grandmother could slap people harder than that." he said back with a slight smile, making the Arms Dealer narrow his eyes at him. "Joke all you want, but I will take great pleasure in causing you utmost amounts of pain for what you and your Autobots did to me and my operation." he said back as he raised his fist, ready to strike again. But Orion just smirked at him. Give it your best shot because when I get out of here, you will die at either mine or Liara's hands….that's a promise." But neither Hock nor Kane looked very concerned before the Arms Dealer began to punch the Bot again and again, as only those sounds and the grunts and grimaces of Orion could be heard within that room. PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile Liara was lost for words as she stood beside her own Mother, who only a few minutes earlier had revealed herself to be the infamous Shadow Broker. "You want me to join you, why?" she asked with a tone that was both confused and curious, earning a smile from the Matriarch. "Liara…." she replied while placing a hand on the young Asari's shoulder. "….you are my Daughter, I want you at my side as 'we' raise our people back to where they belong." Benezia then pulled away slightly and looked back at Liara with caring expression. "I remember when I bought you your very first history book, the look on your face as you read it. I watched as you became deeply interested in the past, in the history of the galaxy, focused on the achievements and mistakes of those that came before us. And during the dark days of the Reaper War, you learnt how to fight. You came through all those years stronger than I would have thought you capable of, that is why I believe you should be the one to succeed me as both Matriarch and Shadow Broker when it is the end of my time." Liara merely looked back with a dumbfounded expression, unable to think clearly on what her Mother had just said. "You want me to one day replace you, but Vasir…." she managed to say back, to which Benezia simply shook her head in response. "Tela Vasir has been like a second Daughter to me, but she is merely a warrior. The Asari will need a leader who can fight for them, but will also be unable to make the same mistakes that has blighted others throughout history. That can be only you Liara, my 'Little Wing'." The young Asari looked back at the Matriarch, seeing the proud look on her face but Liara deep down knew she could not go through with what her Mother wanted and so took a deep breath, before looking back with a serious and regretful expression. "Mother I wish I could help you with the restoration of our people, but I cannot condone the actions you are going to take to achieve it..." she said back, whilst Benezia looked back as her expression changed to one that could not be read as she listened to her Daughter. "…You admit that I am a student of history, but yet you think that I could just ignore the fact that you would commit genocide against the Cybertronians. I cannot and not just because my friends are Cybertronian or that I…care for one in particular…" she said, earning an expression from the Matriarch that she wished she could not read. But instead decided to ignore it an carry on. "….but also because it is wrong, with history proving it time and again. Just how far have you fallen Mother?" Liara finished before noticing one of the holo-screens featuring details of mercenaries, recognising two of them as the Slavers that attacked her and Orion during the raid on the Normandy. "And what kind of people are you surrounding yourself with? Scum like these." she said with a hurt expression as she looked back at Benezia. "I work in an area of 'grey' Liara, there is no black and white with what I do. But I require the 'best' to work for me, which unfortunately includes those that society considers unacceptable." she replied as the screen then showed data on a Drell Assassin, one that Liara recognised from back on Illium. "What about this one, this Thane Krios. It says that he is 'honourable' despite his profession. I doubt he would go along with what you have planned." Benezia looked up at the Drell as he appeared on the holo-screen and smiled slightly, acknowledging what her Daughter had guessed. "That would be correct, because despite my reputation and power. There are still those who say no to me…..though I do have my ways of encouraging them to accept my decisions." she replied, earning a wide eyed look from Liara as she read a part of Thane's file. "He said no to working for you, so…..you had 'Lockdown' kill his wife! Just so you could manipulate him into joining the organisation by promising him that you would give him his loved one's killer." "That was the only way I could think of to guarantee his cooperation, so I took it." the Matriarch replied with her tone suddenly cold and calculating, which was in reaction to her Daughter who just looked back with a further disbelieving expression after reading some more. "And your holding his son as a bargaining chip…." she started to say before Benezia cut her off. "We told Thane that his young son Kolyat would be safe here, so long as he himself remained in our employment." "…but surely as a Parent yourself, you would not wish that kind of treatment on anyone els…." Liara said back before something else suddenly overcame her thoughts, stopping her from finishing her sentence. 'Why are the Slavers that tortured me working for Mother, surely she would….' she thought before looking back at Benezia with narrowed eyes, earning a knowing expression from the older Asari. "Those Slavers you hired to get me off the Normandy, they were the same ones who captured and tortured me before selling me to that Bastard…Donavon Hock. But what I want to know is, did you know about this?" Liara said back with her voice tinged with a building anger, but the Matriarch just stared at her with a blank expression. "Yes I did." "You...did..." Liara replied, as he thoughts were over run by the memories of her captivity and torture by those Slavers, the pain and suffering she had to endure every waking moment as those men attempted to break her body and her mind. She had been beaten, starved of food, water, light and heat. Made to suffer until she would beg for them to stop, except the young Asari never did so... 'Liara was on her knees in a darkened room, her hands held up over her head by restraints which hung from the ceiling above her. She had been left alone in that room for goddess knows how long, since the passage of time had become lost to her. Every part of her body ached, from her starved stomach to her cracked ribs and bruised skin. A biotic clamp was also fastened tightly around her neck, like a heavy weight on her already aching body. 'I will never give in to them, never let them see me break…..for I would rather die than give them the satisfaction.' she thought before the door to her room opened up, filling her surroundings with a blinding light. Liara felt her eyes sting as the brightness of the light over-rid her vision, joining the rest of her body in the physical pain it was going through. After a moment her sight began to refocus, allowing the Asari to see three figures standing before her. "Are you sure about this, because I still think that our usual 'teaching methods' will eventually work on her, especially if we include….." a familiar voice spoke as Liara looked up to see that it was the bald Human who was called Kane, and on one side him stood a Vorcha that remained nameless while on the other was the leader, a Batarian by the name of Varas and he shook his head in return. "No Kane, this Asari is the finest looking female we have had in our possession." He then knelt in front of Liara and grabbed hold of her chin, lifting her face so that he could see her properly. "This one is strong, I doubt we could break her mind before her body ultimately fails. And we will get our highest pay-day if we make sure that she remains….generally unharmed." he added while the young Asari narrowed her eyes at him in a hateful stare, earning a smile from Varas. "Yes, I have a better idea for you." The lead Slaver then let go of Liara and looked over to the Vorcha standing beside Kane. "Hand me the shock adapter." he said, gaining a nod from the other who then gave the Batarian a small metallic device which he held before the Asari. "This little gem will ensure you do exactly what we say from now on Asari." he then added before connecting it to the would be Slave's biotic clamp, before getting back to his feet and looking down at her. "One way or another, you will know your place." Varas added before activating his holo-tool. "Now stand up." Liara though just stared back at him, not even blinking for a moment, earning a sigh from the Batarian. "Very well, have it your way." he replied before tapping a button on his holo-tool and suddenly the biotic clamp came to life, sending a strong pulse of electricity through the Asari's body which made her scream out in pain for several seconds. Varas then tapped the button again to deactivate it, making Liara slump back onto her knees while breathing heavily. "So now will you do as I say and stand up?" But again the young but battered Asari ignored him and remained quiet, which made Varas narrow his eyes at her as he bit his lip. "Have it your way, I can do this all day!" he spat before activating device again, which electrocuted Liara and made her scream out in pain as the energy lit up the room.' As the memory faded, Liara looked back at Benezia with a look of utter disbelief. "Why?…..why would you let me go through that?" she uttered just above a whisper, because the young Asari could not believe that any Parent would knowing let their children suffer. But the Matriarch merely looked back at her with a resolute stare, like she was not even bothered as she started to walk around her Daughter. "Only great Men and Women can lead others Liara, but they must first be baptised in fire before taking their rightful place above everyone else. When I received word that you had been captured by Slavers, I knew that the horrors that they would put you through would change and shape you. But I knew you were strong and that it would ultimately forge you into a person more befitting of what I had planned, as I want a Daughter who is in every way my equal." she said while looking at Liara. "You have survived your baptism of fire and emerged far stronger than I could have hoped, I have watched you since the Autobots took you from my grasp, and you are not only stronger physically, but wiser too. You will make an excellent successor for me, my Daughter." Benezia replied with an almost hysterical but proud tone in her voice, though the younger Asari looked back with a sickened expression. "After what you have done, what makes you think you have the right to call me 'Daughter'. I am ashamed of what you have become and will have no part in this, I will remember and cherish the person you once were because I do not recognise who stands before me right now." Liara said back with a cold tone and firm expression, not letting her feelings get in the way of what needed to be said. But the Matriarch just stared back at her once ' little wing' for a long moment, before narrowing her eyes back in a hateful stare. "You disappoint me Liara, I am the one who brought you into this world. The one who raised you and loved you, and this is how you repay me….with this disgusting insolence, but I will have your obedience….one way or another." she spat before tapping a button on her holo-tool which brought up an image of Orion being beaten by Hock in his cell, this made the younger Asari's eyes widen as she watched her would-be lover being tortured. "You will do as I say Liara, or this Autobot will die. In fact I was thinking of introducing him to the Cybonic Plague, it would be most interesting to see how it would affect a Cybertronian/Human hybrid such as him." the Matriarch added, making her Daughter look back at her with a stare of pure rage. "I know that you care for this Boy, so stand down and join me…..or watch him suffer the consequences." the older Asari finished, while Liara gritted her teeth. "You think that I am going to stand down just because you have put Orion in jeopardy? Then you don't know me at all 'Mother', for I never let those bastard Slavers break me. So what makes you think I will let you!" she spat back while clenching her fists, which started to glow with biotic energy. "You have proven yourself to be just as big a threat as the Predacons and I have to stop you, but now you have brought Orion into it and for that…..I will end you!" Benezia though simply smirked in return as she followed suit and conjured biotic energy around her own fists. "You think you can take me on Liara, your own Mother…a Matriarch now less? So be it!" The younger Asari then launched herself into a biotic charge, speeding towards her Mother in a blue flash. But Benezia threw a biotic uppercut that stopped Liara dead in her tracks and sent her flying into the air, the Matriarch then held her glowing blue hand out in Liara's direction and caught her in a biotic energy field. Before the younger Asari could do anything, her more experienced elder then performed a biotic slam and smashed her into the ground. "You dare to raise a hand to me…..and expect me not to wipe the floor with you." Benezia said as she then lifted a hurt Liara off the ground with her power, holding her Daughter in the air as she walked over. "This was never going to end well for you Liara, you are simply no match for me." she said before slamming Liara into a nearby wall, making the young Asari grimace in pain. The Matriarch then let go of her, making her Daughter fall to the ground hard before walking slowly towards her. "I will unleash the plague upon the Autobots, eradicating a species that should have wiped themselves out long ago." Benezia added whilst Liara slowly got back to her feet, holding onto the wall for support as she looked up at her Mother approaching. "The Federation will then be brought to it's knees before they beg for me to lead them back into the light, only then will the Galaxy be as it should." the Matriarch carried on before gesturing a low glowing punch to the ground, creating a biotic slam that knocked Liara back to onto the floor. "But you my Daughter will not live to see such a time, and neither will your Autobot lover." she said, making the younger Asari look up at her with a wide-eyed expression of fear, gaining a dark smile from Benezia. "It sickens me to think you would choose someone like him as a bond-mate, I am doing the world a service by ending both your lives." she carried on with her scathing verbal attack on Liara, who in return narrowed her eyes and stared back with a wrathful expression as she clenched her fists tightly that in turn began to glow brighter with every second that past. But the Matriarch did not look impressed as she stood over her Daughter, her expression passive. "You cannot…." she began to say before Liara cut her off suddenly. "Shut the hell up!" she spat as she thrust her fists forward, which exploded in a biotic blast that sent Benezia threw the air several meters before she hit the ground and rolled to a stop. This allowed the younger Asari to get back to her feet whilst never taking her eyes off her Mother, who quickly recovered and readied herself for the next round. "That is more like it Liara, I knew you had it in you….but it still will not be enough." she said back, while her Daughter took a deep breath. "This ends now." she said before rushing Benezia, once again using biotic charge. The Matriarch did the same and rushed at her younger opponent, the pair clashed in the center of the room and caused a biotic blast to erupt outwards from their impact. The energy was so concentrated and powerful that it shattered the glass containment of the conduit near them, exposing it's own energy which shut down the holo-screens positioned around it. But this did not even phase either Mother or Child as they focused on defeating the other, as the battle had turned into a fist fight. Liara threw a punch that connected perfectly on Benezia's face, knocking her backwards a step or two. But before she could recover, the younger Asari continued with her advantage and threw another punch. 'My Mother's Biotics are more powerful than mine, but her close quarters combat is certainly lacking.' she thought as she then kicked her Mother in the side, earning a yelp from the Matriarch who stumbled backwards. "You will pay for that you little Bitch!" she spat before noticing the broken glass lying around them. So before Liara attacked again, Benezia used biotics to lift the shards off the ground and surround her Daughter. The younger Asari noticed this and looked at her with a thoughtful expression, pausing in her attack as the glass floated all around her. "Die!" her Elder then spat as the glass shards then flew through the air at Liara from all directions, making her gasp out loud before quickly bringing her clenched fists up to her chest and focusing which then created a biotic sphere that enveloped her being. The broken pieces of glass flew like daggers into the sphere, but the energy surrounding Liara instantly disintegrated them into sand which landed harmlessly around her. Benezia looked back with a surprised expression as her Daughter narrowed her eyes and met her own, pure anger could be seen in them. "You first!" was all the younger Asari said in return before pushing her fists out in front of her in direction of the Matriarch, this in turn made the energy sphere suddenly move and engulf her Mother. Liara then tightened her fists more, ensuring that her opponent could not break free before feigning a throw with her clenched hands to the right, sending her Mother head first into the exposed energy conduit. Benezia screamed out as the energy rushed through her body, burning it inside out as the electricity completely consumed her. The lights in the room began to short out and flicker on and off repeatedly as the older Asari was electrocuted, causing Liara to cover her eyes whilst hearing her Mother's screams before suddenly the power blew and sent the body flying out and hit the floor hard. Liara withdrew her hand away from her eyes, letting see that the emergency lighting and power had kicked in. She looked down to see the fully burnt corpse of her Mother lying only a few feet away, so she walked over and looked down at it with a look of sorrow and regret on her face. "I am sorry Mother, but you left me no choice." she said softly before bowing her head, mourning her Mother's passing. A moment later and the power in room turned back on, reactivating the holo-screens once again. 'Orion!' she suddenly thought before activating her holo-tool and syncing it to the Shadow Broker's computer. 'Where are they keeping him?' she thought whilst looking through the ship's schematics on her own holo-screen, when suddenly her attention was caught by a familiar voice crying out. "Benezia!" PRIME EFFECT 4 Liara looked over to the room's entrance and saw Vasir standing there with a look of complete shock and despair on her face, as she looked at the Shadow Broker's corpse. So the younger Asari stopped what she was doing and stood ready for whatever the double-Agent would do next, earning a similar angry expression from her as she turned her attention to Liara. "What have you done!" Vasir spat whilst giving her Mentor's Daughter a dagger like stare. "What had to be done to stop this madness from going on any further." Liara replied as she took a step back from the Agent, who in turn stepped closer. "Benezia was my mentor and my friend, you betrayed and murdered your own mother." she said back as she clenched her fists and made them glow with biotic energy, earning a mirrored response from the younger Asari before the entire ship shook around them with alarms blaring. "Warning, Warning, ship's power-core has ruptured. All hands are to evacuate before core-breach occurs in fifteen minutes." a synthesised voice spoke through the ship's inter-com, earning the attention of both Asari. 'That must of happened when I threw my Mother into the power conduit, the excess biotic energy must have passed through it all the way to the core and destabilised it.' she thought as Vasir returned her attention to her. "None of that matters, I will make you pay for what you did to Benezia." she said with a finality to her voice. "You heard the computer, this ship is going to explode." Liara replied as her thoughts refocused back to Orion. "Yes and if I don't kill you, I can at least delay you long enough so that the explosion will kill you and your Autobot friend, that is something I can take solace in." the double-Agent said back before charging a biotic energy ball and throwing it at the other Asari, causing Liara to dive out of the way just as it impacted the wall behind her. 'I don't have time for this.' she thought while getting back to her feet before throwing a biotic blast back, to which Vasir brought up biotic barrier in front of her. The blast impacted the energy-field causing a bright blue flash as it absorbed the attack, though the moment it started to fade Liara charged in and tackled the Agent to the floor. "Why are you fighting for my Mother? What did she do to deserve your loyalty?" she asked angrily as she pinned the other Asari down, earning a grunt from Vasir as she struggled to free herself. "Because she shared my views on the Cybertronians and unlike others that felt the same, Benezia was willing to do something about it. I owe her everything, especially since she chose me to succeed her." she spat back before freeing her right arm, allowing Vasir to hit Liara hard in the stomach. This winded her and let the Agent knock her off herself, before performing a backwards roll back into a kneeling position. The younger Asari recovered and looked over at her opponent with a knowing look. "You think that my Mother really wanted you to succeed her as Shadow Broker, then why did she want me here?" Vasir looked back at Liara with a thoughtful expression as she dwelled on the question for a second. "Because she wanted you…her Daughter to help." she said back whilst keeping her fists clenched, ready to attack at a moment's notice. "Yes, that part is true. But my Mother also wanted me to later succeed her as both Shadow Broker and Matriarch, she never wanted you for that….not permanently." Liara replied in a calm tone, making the other Asari stare back with narrowed, hateful eyes as she gritted her teeth in response. "You lie, you will say anything. I have worked with your Mother for over twenty years, while you never gave a damn. You were more bothered about your career and your Cybertronian friends. And now after Benezia opened her arms to you and wished for you to join her, you not only slap her hands away and betray her…..you have also killed her!" she spat before launching herself at her enemy, making Liara go on the defensive as Vasir began throwing punches and kicks which she blocked, one after another. The double-Agent kept up the offensive, charging her fists with biotic energy. But the younger Asari did the same, blocking each and every one before countering with a punch to the face and then a kick to the stomach, knocking Vasir back. "You talk to me about betrayal, but you betrayed the very principles you swore to abide by when you became an Autobot Spectre." Liara replied, earning a lopsided grin from her opponent before she threw another punch that connected with the Asari's chin, making her grunt as she recoiled. "And I would do it again, they have done nothing to gain my trust and obedience." Vasir said back, as she watched Liara wipe a trickle of blood from her mouth. "Your skills are impressive though Liara, you are your Mother's Daughter. But I am a Spectre, you cannot keep this up for long, not with time ticking down as we speak." "Your right about that, but are you forgetting that I did just kill my Mother, a powerful Matriarch that eclipses both us…." the younger Asari replied, though the words made her heart ache with guilt and regret at what she had done. But she needed to keep that bottled up, because not only did her and Orion's survival depend on it. But also the rest of the galaxy, since she knew where the Predacon fleet was…thanks to her Mother's Intel. "…And I am fighting for more than my own survival, and you cannot stand in my way a moment longer." she spat before then firing another biotic blast from her hands, knocking Vasir several metres back. The Agent regained her balance and returned her attention to her opponent, who had started running towards her whilst glowing with a blue shimmer as she charged her biotics. "You don't have what it takes, but by all means….show me what you've got." she sneered as she created a biotic barrier around her body like a shell, readying herself for whatever Liara had planned. But the younger Asari suddenly performed a biotic charge and smashed into Vasir, shattering her barrier with the strength of the impact and sending the Asari flying into the wall behind her and knocked her unconscious. As he body fell back to the ground, leaving a crater in the wall where she had impacted it. Liara then used biotic lift to pull up a piece of the damaged wall off and hover it over the defeated Agent, a thoughtful yet angry expression on her face as she contemplated ending Vasir's life. But suddenly her attention was caught by the computer's voice as it spoke through the inter-com. "Warning, twelve minutes until power-core breach." This earned a thoughtful expression from the Asari before suddenly throwing aside the large piece of debris. 'Orion.' Liara thought as she reactivated her holo-tool which by now had been completely synced to the Shadow Broker's database. "Computer, where is Orion Darby being held." she asked while looking at the holo-screen hovering over her forearm. "That name does not compute, please restate your question." the synthesised voice replied, earning a look of frustration from Liara as she stood over the unconscious Vasir, until it finally clicked in her mind why. "Computer, where is 'the Autobot' being held?" Suddenly the holo-screen in front of her came to life and revealed a map of the ship, showing her position and another blinking spot in a location not far from her. "Here." the Computer replied, earning a nod from the Asari. "Download information concerning Predacon movements to my holo-tool." she then said, gaining a beep from her holo-device as the screen disappeared. 'Hold on Orion, I am on my way.' Liara thought before exiting the room, leaving the corpse of Benezia and a knocked out Vasir alone.
  4. CHAPTER XXXV Back on Benning, the gunfire barrage from the Mechs continued to devastate the building that Quickstrike, Nightracer, Grunt and Kasumi was hiding in, using it for cover while bullets flew over their heads. "We are pretty much pinned down here and since whoever is attacking us has yet to stop, we can't even get a chance to return fire." Nightracer shouted over the gun fire, gaining a nod from Quickstrike who then noticed Kasumi looking over the body of the human looking Mech with her holo-tool. But before he could say something, a grenade was thrown into the room, landing between him and Grunt. "Son of a.." Grunt spat before grabbing the explosive and throwing back out from where he was lying, with an explosion soon following in the street. "Thanks, Grunt, that was a close one." the Blonde Bot said back appreciatively, gaining a nod from the Krogan. "Don't mention it, but where is She….." he started to say back before a gunshot was suddenly heard outside, followed by a metallic body hitting the ground. "Sorry I was late, Guys." Shen's voice suddenly came through on their com-links, earning a sigh from Nightracer. "Better late than never. Now, can you help thin the herd out there?" the Femme said back. "Already on it." the Turian replied before another two gunshots were heard, with another sound of bodies hitting the floor, Grunt and Nightracer then immediately got up into kneeling positions and peeked out of the shattered window to see that the Mechs attention was now diverted between them and Shen. "Let~s do this." the Femme said, earning a nod from the Krogan as they both returned fire and dropped two more of the enemy Mechs. Quickstrike meanwhile returned his attention to Kasumi. "What have you found? And how can you concentrate while this is going on?" he asked loudly with a curious expression, gaining a smile from the Thief. "Grace under pressure, Quickstrike. It comes with being a professional Thief. But I think I may have over done it here." she replied. "What do you mean?" the Bot said back with an inquisitive tone. "My electro-shock seems to have completely shut down it's systems, meaning I can't gain access to its memory core." the Thief replied as the Blonde Bot activated his own holo-tool. "Don't worry about that, because if we can get it's communication sub-system back to the Normandy, then we should be able to use our computers to study it's com-traffic and discover the source of it's orders." "That certainly sounds like a plan." Kasumi said back with a smile, while Quickstrike deactivated his holo-tool and grabbed the Mech's head. "It's communication sub-system is located under it's memory core, so…" he added before ripping the head from the body, earning a shocked look from the Thief. "…we only need this part." he added with a smile as he tucked the head under his right arm while equipping his pistol with his left hand. "Time to get out of here." he then said before peeking out over the cover to see Shen under siege via gunfire from the remaining Mechs in the street, managing to blow the head off one of them before taking cover. "Guys, time for you to help me now." he then said with an aggravated tone over the com-link. "Time to change your sniping position, Shen. Make the call and we will cover you." Quickstrike replied before the trio then fired their guns at the enemies, pulling their attention away from the Turian and back to them. The Autobots immediately retook cover as the Mechs opened fire on them again, the robots not noticing the green flash of light coming from the balcony that Shen had been located. "Okay, now what?" Kasumi asked as she blew the arms and head off one of the Mechs with her pistol, earning a smile from the Bot. "..Watch." he said before suddenly another Mech went down from a sniper shot, though this came from another direction up above them. The enemy robots suddenly looked up again as suddenly another one was shot dead. "Wait! Where is he?" the Thief asked with a confused tone, though it did not stop her from shooting another Mech in the back whilst speaking, the Blonde Autobot just gestured to the tops of the buildings around them. So Kasumi looked up to see the Turian taking down another enemy before disappearing in a flash of green light, only for him to appear on a building top across the street and fire again. "What the?" she replied. "Before came down to the planet's surface, the Normandy scanned this area of the city to which your coordinates are a part of and Shen picked a number of spots on the roof-tops that would make good sniping locales." Nightracer said back before returning fire to the few remaining Mechs outside, while Quickstrike looked back at the Thief. "Once we knew exactly where we would be going with you, Shen would have the Normandy activate the Ground-bridge when he needed it and transport him to the next spot in this area…..as you can see him doing now." he added. "Impressive." she replied before the Turian spoke over the com-link again, just in time with his killing of the last Mech, only a split second after Grunt and Nightracer shot down their respective targets. "Okay guys, time to go." he said before the group stepped out of the heavily damaged building and into a street, which was full of smouldering Mech corpses. "That's a lot of scrap metal." Nightracer commented, earning a smile from the Krogan standing beside her. "Yeah, I liked it." he replied while cocking his shotgun, but Quickstrike looked towards the adjourning street as something caught his eyes. "…guys, we have more incoming." Shen's voice came through on the com-link. "Yeah, I see them…..,Everyone, run!" the Blonde Bot shouted back to the others as the Turian began firing down at the oncoming horde of robots, which opened fire on the group the moment their singular optics saw them. The Autobots ran down the street whilst returning fire on the enemy force pursuing them, as numerous civilians ran for cover of the buildings nearby. "Shen, return to the Normandy and have them open a ground bridge for us now!" Quickstrike ordered through his com-link. "Will do!" the Turian replied before a green flash lit up the area where he was and quickly disappeared just as the team ran into the district's square, a large open area with little cover except for some benches and bins. "Take cover." Nightracer shouted back as they dived behind the nearest bench, while the Mechs flooded into the area. "I would really like top know who it is that is after us." the Femme added as they opened fire on the enemy drones, making the ones at the front of the attack topple like dominoes. Quickstrike fired at the Mechs, shooting another through it's chest before noticing a red pulsing light on his pistol. "My gun is overheating." he said, gaining a nod from Kasumi and Nightracer. "Mine too, how much longer unti….." the Femme started to say before the bright green vortex of a ground-bridge opened up behind the team. "Kasumi, take this head and go. We'll cover you." the Blonde Bot said as he handed the Mech's head to the Thief. "Okay." she replied before he turned his attention back to the attacking robots. "Covering fire!" he shouted before he and his friends opened fire simultaneously on the Mechs, killing several in a row as Kasumi ran from them and dived into the vortex. "She's through, Guys, Your turn." Shen's voice spoke over the open com-link, as Quickstrike glanced at his friends. "Let's go together, Now!" he said as they stood up and backed towards the ground-bridge, maintaining fire on the Mechs which were continuing to pursue them despite many of their number being shot down. As the trio got within a few metres of the vortex, Nightracer turned and ran through the vortex, and as Quickstrike and Grunt were about to do the same, the Krogan was suddenly hit in the side by two shots from the Mech nearest to them, the shots going straight through his body and spilling blood onto the floor behind him. "Fuck!" he shouted in anger as he turned his shotgun and blew the head off the one responsible before falling to his knees, his anger taking over as he saw red and fired his weapon at the other enemies. "Grunt!" Quickstrike shouted before he equipped and threw a smoke grenade into the Mechs, surrounding the robots in a thick fog as he went to pick the injured Krogan up. "What the hell are you doing? Get out of here!" Grunt spat back whilst pushing the confused Bot away. "I'm not leaving anyone behind, not this time." he replied defiantly as he grabbed the Krogan and pulled him to his feet. "We go together, now move!" he added before pulling his team mate towards the swirling portal behind them, just as the Mechs found their way through the dissipating smoke and regaining their focus on the two. 'They will be on us before Quickstrike can get me through the Ground-bridge.' the Krogan thought as he accepted what he had to do. "No, I'm staying and you're going….Now get out of here!" he spat while breaking free and pushing the Blonde Bot towards the ground-bridge, making Quickstrike stumble backwards before losing his footing and falling into the vortex. "I've got this!" he then said with the com-link still active before turning around to see the Mechs moving around him, with others heading for the vortex. "Close the Ground-Bridge!" he shouted before using all his remaining strength and forcing his aching body into one last fight, as he pounced at the enemy robots. Shooting the head off one with his last shot before ramming the weapon into the head of another, while the ground-bridge closed behind him before the Mechs could enter it. This made them turn on the Krogan who was tearing through the enemy force, but they could not use their rifles since he was too close so instead surrounded him and tried to beat him down into submission. But Grunt would not yield as he continued to fight back, smashing through each and every Mech he could, with his bare hands or whatever he could get his hands on, be it the Mech's own weapons or body parts that he ripped off. His anger and rage was the only fuel his body needed, even if it was still draining out of his body through his wound. But his team mates on the Normandy could only listen to his fight on the intercom as the com-link connection to him was still active. Everyone remained quiet as his yells and grunts and punches could be heard until suddenly a large scuffle was heard and it all went quiet, making the entire team look to the ground in respect before Grunt spoke one last time. "That….was…a good….fight….." he said before the com-link deactivated and the room was again in silence, everyone stayed that way for a while longer as they paid respects to their friend's sacrifice. Then a moment later Quickstrike looked up at Kasumi who was still holding the Mech's head in her hands. "Let's get that to the computer lab and begin analysing it's data-core, We still have to find Orion and Liara. So lets not make Grunt's sacrifice was not in vain." the Blonde bot said, gaining nods from the team before they all walked out of the room together. "Jetstorm, get us out of here, and then await for our new coordinates" he then said into his com-link, "Alright, Quickstrike, we are on the move." the pilot replied, before the ship whilst under cloak, opened a space bridge portal and left Benning space. While back on the planet's surface, the remaining Mechs stood around the dead body of Grunt. They were staring at him as if confused, for on the Krogan's relaxed and lifeless face was a smile. PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile, Liara stood in front of Benezia, completely in shock at the revelation that had been thrust upon her. "Mother…., how?" was all the Asari could say, gaining a nod from the Matriarch who walked over to her side. "How did I become the head of the largest private intelligence organisation in the galaxy, it is as the saying goes….a long story." she replied as she gave her daughter a caring and reassuring smile. "But what is important is that you are safe now, here with me." she added, though Liara still looked confused and pulled away from her Mother slightly. "What is going on here, Mother? I want to know how and why you came to be here." the younger Asari replied with a slightly defiant tone, earning a frustrated look from Benezia. "Have you forgotten who you are speaking to, Liara, or did you get that tone from your Autobot friends?" she replied as her tone became more cold, but Liara could not help but notice the hostility in her Mother's voice when she mentioned her friends. "Forgive me, Mother, but I am not a little girl any more, so stop holding back on me. I want to know everything." "Very well, you are my daughter after all. I was going to tell you all this later, but if you want to know now, then so be it. I only ask that you keep an open mind with everything that I am going to reveal to you, because after this I will be asking you to make a choice." the Matriarch replied, earning a knowing look from Liara. "I have always kept an open mind just as you taught me, Mother, that is why I was such a good archaeologist." she said, gaining a smile from Benezia. "Of course, so…" the Matriarch said as she activated her holo-tool and brought one of the large holo-screens above them to life. "…as you well know, the Reapers before their defeat had left our people in a severely weakened state. No thanks to the Autobot/Human Alliance, who left us at the mercy of those machines. We received no help from to get our civilians out of harms way, and so lost many to the Reapers." she said as the holo-screen began playing camera footage from the battle of Thessia. Liara looked up at it, memories began racing through her mind as she remembered those days. But she shook her head in return and stared at her Mother who just looked back with an aggravated expression. "I can tell by the look on your face what your next words are going to be, so do us both a favour and just don't. For I know you took part in the evacuation of refugees from Thessia, and that you saw the exact things I am talking about." Benezia added, stopping the younger Asari before she could say anything. 'But there could be no help Mother, for everyone were under siege by the Reapers at that time. Why can't you see this?' Liara thought as the Matriarch continued. "It was then that I realised the Cybertronians and their Human followers would always put themselves before anyone else, I even saw that after the war when the Inter-Stellar Federation was formed, going as far as to plead with the rest of the Matriarch Council not to accept membership. But they ignored my warnings and accepted, for they had been broken by the Reapers and would do anything to stop our people from disappearing into obscurity….us, the Asari! Who once were the most powerful species in the galaxy, as it was we who had rediscovered the Citadel and founded the original Council or our cycle. We were like gods compared to the other races, younger than our own who looked to us for guidance." she said while looking at her daughter with an expression which begged for understanding, but could not see any in her eyes. "You do not understand, Liara. For you have not lived for as long as I have. I am nearly one thousand years old, and to see our people fall so far from what once made us great, it is heartbreaking. And to have not one but two unworthy species now standing over us, one which fell into a self-destructive pattern of civil war and another that was uplifted well before their time, and this I will not stand for. That is why I decided to find a way to ascend the Asari back to our rightful place, one that required no so called help and support from Earth or the former Cybertron." Benezia added before using her holo-tool to deactivate the current holo-screen, making Liara look over to Agent Zero. "So, what's her story in this?" "She is in fact the one who should be thanked for how things have turned out for us Liara, because Zero was the person who put me in the direction of the one who was the Shadow Broker before me." the Matriarch replied before nodding at the Agent. "Time to take off the helmet and reveal yourself to my Daughter." "Zero acknowledged this and removed her helmet, earning a wide eyed look from Liara as it was an Asari who's identity was hidden behind the helmet, and one that she recognised. "Tela Vasir, I remember you were one of the few Council Spectres who were allowed into the newly christened Autobot Spectres." the younger Asari said back, earning a smirk from the other Asari. "That's correct, and I regret ever making that damned decision." she replied before looking over to Benezia. "Luckily for me though, I met your Mother." "And how did that happen?" Liara asked in a curious tone. "I was to protect Lady Benezia while the evacuation of Thessia was under way, but we came under attack by Banshees and it was only because of your Mother that we got out of there alive. She saved my life, and I was eternally grateful for that." the Agent added as she smiled at the Matriarch. "After the war, we became good friends as we discovered that we shared similar views on our people and the growing situation with the Cybertronians and Humans." Benezia said back and returned the smile, while Liara stood between them and listened. "And that is when I shared a secret with Benezia, one that spawned a glimmer of hope for our people, even if they would not know it." Vasir added. "And that secret would be?" the youngest Asari in the room then asked. "At that moment of time, Vasir was working for both the Autobots and the Shadow Broker….she was a double agent." the Matriarch replied, earning another surprised expression from Liara as she stared at the Asari Agent, you merely smiled back at her. "I know what your thinking, that I was betraying the very principles that I was bound to as an Autobot Spectre. But the truth is Liara, things were far more simple as a Council Spectre. You were given the freedom to do what you thought was right to achieve your goals….which were the preservation of the Citadel Council. There was no black and white, everything was grey. The Council never cared how you got the job done as long as it was done with surgical precision, and that none of it could be traced back to them." Vasir continued while using her holo-tool to bring up images and video footage of her work for the Broker up on the holo-screens. "By collaborating with a known enemy of the Council, I gained a lot of good Intel that helped me end many threats to Asari and Council interests. Which gained me a fast track through the ranks of the Spectres, and all it cost me was a few assassination and espionage missions from the Shadow Broker in return." "When Vasir told me of her work with the Shadow Broker, I saw a perfect opportunity to gain the power to change our fate….real power, which people still believe can be gained mainly through a force of arms. I mean look at the Autobots, the former Omega Syndicate or even the Predacons." Benezia added as the holo-screens played videos of all three factions above the three Asari. "But 'knowledge is real power' as the saying goes, and 'he' or rather 'she' who controls that power, has the potential to change the face of the galaxy and beyond." the Matriarch continued while Liara looked on in disbelief at what she was hearing, but could not help but listen on. "So you had Vasir kill the Shadow Broker so you could take his place?" the younger Asari said back, gaining a nod from her Mother. "Well, it was not easy as you just put it, as Vasir took a few years to secretly pinpoint the Broker's exact location….because he was quite paranoid. But in the end, we located him and I killed him right in this spot." her mother added as she gestured to the ground beneath her feet with a look of pure self-admiration, which Liara found frightening. 'By the Goddess!' she thought while the pair carried on, ignoring her shocked expression. "Since the Broker never let anyone know his identity, it was so very easy to take his place." Benezia said while using her holo-tool to recreate the holo-image of the Yahg. "In fact, I am using the image of the previous Shadow Broker as a disguise." she added while gesturing to it. "So that is how you became the Shadow Broker, but you have yet to say how you intend to restore the Asari back to their 'rightful place'." Liara then said, trying to contain the emotions she was feeling at that moment. This earned curious expressions from both Benezia and Vasir. "It first involves ridding ourselves of the Cybertronian species, not an easy task. But as the Shadow Broker, I have discovered many secrets about our 'so called' allies." the Matriarch replied before using her holo-tool to bring up images of a derelict ship. "One such secret was this ship, which the Human organisation 'Unit:E' kept under raps due to the wishes of their Autobot allies during the final years of their Civil war. You see Liara, this particular ship's crew were killed by a Cybonic plague, which was of Decepticon design." she added as it's molecular structure appeared on the screen, making her Daughter look at it with wide eyes. "I found that one of Autobots back then, Optimus Prime had become infected with the plague and it was only via extraordinary means that his comrades were able to find the cure and administer it to their Leader before his spark was snuffed out. Now the Autobots with their Human allies later destroyed the infected ship and it's crew, ensuring that the plague would never again endanger a Cybertronian again. But what Optimus and his Human liaison, Agent Fowler did not know was that there were individuals in Unit:E that still did not fully trust their alien allies. And they wanted some insurance just in case the Autobots ever turned on them, so they kept a small amount of the virus. It's funny isn't it, the Humans and Cybetronians never looked anything other than perfect allies and friends to the rest of the Galaxy. So to find that there were those amongst Humanity, other than MECH of course who had the same misgivings about the Cybetronians as I do, which I find to be very enlightening. Wouldn't you agree, Liara?" Benezia asked, earning a nod from Vasir. But the youngest Asari shook her head in response. "No I do not, Mother, but then again I already know that every species has members who are less savoury than the rest." she said back, earning yet another disappointed expression from the Matriarch. But before she could say something back, Liara asked another question. "But how does a virus which I assume was created to only infect fully autonomous robotic life forms, possibly affect that the same species if they are now fully biological?" Benezia smiled at the question, remembering how smart her Daughter really was despite her choices she had made so far in her short life. "Well, despite their closer physical appearance to Humans, Cybertronians still have the Cybernucleic Acid or CNA in their genetic makeup. And it is in this that the virus can be deployed…" the Matriarch added as she brought up footage showing lab work and Cybertronian test subjects. "…, of course we had tinker with it to ensure that it would be as effective on the new Cybertronian form, so not to affect Humans." Liara gave her Mother a knowing and curious look in return. "Why are you making sure not to harm Humans, aren't they the enemy in your view?" "They are…. but without their Autobot protectors, Humanity will be that much easier to manipulate." "So, you are going to infect the Cybertronian species with a virus that will effectively wipe them out, then what?" Liara asked, earning a look from Vasir before she glanced over to the Matriarch, earning a nod from her. "Over the last twenty years your Mother and I have built an organisation with the military strength comparable to that of MECH, before they were dissolved and their resources merged into the Autobots. With the Cybertronians gone, I will temporally take on the role of the Shadow Broker and launch a campaign of fear and intimidation upon the Federation, exploiting the weaknesses that are abundant throughout it, causing its people to question its leadership. This will open up an opportunity for Benezia to step up and lead the Asari as they rescue the ISF from this threat, putting our people back in control of the galaxy...just as it was always supposed to be." the Agent added. "No one outside of this room knows who the Shadow Broker is, so by giving the galaxy a phantom threat to focus on, we can manipulate the conflict to suit our needs and objectives. This plan cannot fail, we have taken precautions on everything." the Matriarch said back. "And what about the Predacons, where do they come in with this plan of yours?" Liara asked with a curious tone. "We were originally going to infect the Autobots, but now we can use the Predacons as the means to spread this plague through the Cybertronian species. And no one will question it, as they will think that the Predacons were simply carrying it themselves." Benezia replied. "And how are you going to infect them? Their forces are spread out amongst the galaxy?" the youngest Asari asked, which made her Mother activate a holo-screen which showed a large gathering of ships in one system. "Give me some credit, Liara. I have been monitoring the Predacons since they first appeared. And as of right now, they are currently massing their whole fleet around the planet Virmire, so we just have to send a small group of ships to attack and spread the plague. The Nemesis is the primary target, since it's crew are all Predacons." "It does seem that you have everything thought out and planned..." Liara replied as she looked over the information on the screens above her, earning confident nods from both her Mother and Vasir before she the. Looked over with a thoughtful expression. "...but I guess you're not telling me this just because your feeling generous." Benezia gave her Daughter a reassuring smile as she stepped beside her. "You are correct, Liara, I have learnt to keep my cards close to my chest over the last twenty years, and don't make a habit of revealing them to just anyone. And I want you to join us." she replied, earning a surprised expression from Liara. "You do?" she asked back, before returning her attention to the screens. As she did this, Benezia gave a nodding gesture to Vasir who then reequipped her helmet and walked out of the room, leaving Mother and Daughter alone. PRIME EFFECT 4 As Vasir walked down one of the many corridors of the massive ship before stopping next to a door and pressing a button on the panel beside it, which let out a chime sound. Within a moment the door opened, revealing it's occupant to be none other than Donavon Hock. "Agent Zero, can I help you?" he asked with a curious tone. "Have you found everything to be to your satisfaction?" the Agent said back. "The accommodations are satisfactory, but when do I get an audience with the Shadow Broker?" the Human replied, a slight slither of annoyance was present in his voice. "The Broker is in a meeting right now, but he wanted to know if you would like to have some face time with the man who led the Autobot team who took Liara T'Soni from your care? Surely you would like to have some time to 'thank' him for that?" Vasir asked with a curious tone, though with her helmet on and voice disguiser activated, this didn't sound that way to him. But he smiled in return, obviously understanding what she meant. "Yes, I would very much like to meet him." he said back as his smile grew wider. "Then by all means, show him your appreciation for his work. You will find him in the detention cells at this location." the Agent replied as she showed him a route on her holo-tool. "I will have Kane meet you halfway, have fun." she said before turning away and walking back the way she came, just as Hock then left his quarters and headed in the opposite direction. The disguised Asari then turned a corner and came face to face with Lockdown. "Zero, I thought you were in that meeting with the Shadow Broker and our Asari guest?" he asked with a puzzled expression. "I am, but the Broker wished for me to offer an invitation to Hock to go and see our other guest." she replied. "I see, so the Boss wants our new Weapons Dealer to keep himself entertained because his current meeting is taking longer than planned." the Assassin said back. "It is not for you or me or any of us to question or analyse why the Shadow Broker does what he does, only that we follow his orders to the letter….surely you understand this?" the Agent replied with a harsh tone, earning a knowing look from Lockdown, as he remembered his past failure. "Yes, I do. Only too well." "Good, remember we were chosen because we are the best at what we do, so lets not give our Boss reason to believe otherwise." Zero said back, gaining a nod from the former Con. "Of course…." he said before a curious expression appeared on his face, earning the attention of the disguised female. "What?" "There was something I forgot to mention to the Boss earlier, but Thane has been asking for his son again." Lockdown replied. "And? Did you give him the same response that both the Broker and I have repeated in the past?" Zero said back, earning a nod from the Assassin. "Yes I did." "Then I do not see a problem. Remember his Son is the reason why he is working for us to begin with, that and that something which we shall remain mum about." she replied with a knowing tone to her disguised voice, to which Lockdown nodded again. "Yes." "Well then, if you will leave me be, as I have something else to do before returning to meeting." the Agent said back, before the former Decepticon walked away as she watched until sure that she was alone. Then Vasir entered the nearest room and closed the door behind her, before activating her holo-tool and bringing up the security footage from detention Cell. "Come on, he should be there by now." she said while keeping her eyes on the screen and then as if on cue, the two Humans entered the room and walked over to the Blue haired man who was restrained to an upright berth and unable to move, whilst behind a force-field. "Right on time, this ought to make good viewing." Vasir then said as a devious smile appeared on her lips.
  5. CHAPTER XXXIV Minutes earlier….. The situation was growing desperate onboard the Normandy which was still connected the to the unknown enemy ship. Down in the Shuttle-Bay, Quickstrike and the other Autobots stood around the explosive device, unsure of what to do while it's timer continued to count down towards zero and detonation. "So, anyone here know bomb disposal?" Shen asked with a worried tone, making everyone else shake their heads in return. "No. But even if any of us did, I don't see any openings or access of any kind for anyone to even try." Quickstrike replied as he knelt next to it and looked around the timer "Well, what do we do?" Nightracer said as she walked around the bomb, looking at it's base, noticing another problem for the team. "The damn thing has been fused to the deck, I don't think any of us would be able to move it." she added before looking up at the Blonde Bot and noticing his thoughtful expression. "What is it?" she asked him. "We may not be able to move it, but I know someone who can." Quickstrike replied before looking behind him at both Grunt and Shen, making the Krogan narrow his eyes back at the Blonde Autobot. "Don't look at me, I can't move it." he spat back, making the Blonde Autobot shake his head in response. "I wasn't looking at you!" he replied as he pointed behind the pair at the back wall of the Shuttle-Bay, gaining the others attention as they looked back and noticed that it wasn't just a wall but closed blast door. "Wait…that's the Cargo-Bay back there, right?" Shen asked, earning a nod from Quickstrike as he tapped his com-link. "Jetstorm, do you read?" "I'm here, what's going on down there. I have lost internal sensors across the Normandy." the pilot replied. "How bad is the damage so far?" the Blonde Bot asked, while Nightracer gestured back to him about the timer, "Engines and weapons are offline, not many systems are fully operational…why?" Jetstorm said back as he looked at the flashing images of the ship's schematics on his holo-interface. "Tell me the stealth-mode still works?" Quickstrike replied as he tapped his com-link again and let the rest of the team listen in. "It is still active, but I don't think it would last long. But we still have that other ship hooked onto us, what good would it do?" the pilot answered. "Just be ready to use it and wait for my say so, I am leaving this channel online…so standby." the Autobot said before looking back at the others. "So you have a plan?" Grunt asked, gaining a nod back. "Yeah, that Lockdown is expecting that explosive to destroy us, right..?" he said while Shen glanced down at the timer and noticed that it had passed the two minute margin, earning a gulp from the Turian before he activated his holo-tool and started a similar timer. "..so we will let it go off." Quickstrike continued before activating his holo-tool. "Say what?" Nightracer replied with a shocked look, earning similar reactions from the rest of the team. But the Blonde Bot ignored her and turned his attention to the Cargo-Bay door, and with a push of a button on his holo-interface made the door open with a grinding-like noise. And it opened to reveal Onyx Primal looking back at them while on his hands and knees. "What in the All-Spark is going on here?" he asked back, his blue optics focusing on the group. "We are under attack." Quickstrike replied, while Nightracer smiled as she figured out he friend's plan. "Is it Predacons?" the Maximal said back, making the Blonde man shake his head in return and point over to the explosive device. "No, but they have planted a bomb here that we cannot defuse or move." "But I can." the Primal replied as he crawled through the open doorway and into the Shuttle-Bay. "Right. And since you don't need to breath oxygen, we will vacate the room and open up the bay doors so that you can throw the bomb into space…." he then said, before suddenly the ship shook again and cut him off mid sentence. "The enemy ship has just pulled away from us." Jetstorm spoke back through the com-link. "Good, so as I was saying…Jetstorm, once the device explodes you will activate the stealth mode to fool the enemy into thinking we have been destroyed." Quickstrike then finished, gaining nods from everyone. "Quite the plan you have there." Nightracer replied. "Well, let's get started." the Blonde Bot said back as he motioned everyone to follow him to the door way before tapping his com-link again. "Orion, Liara, you there?" he said but the only response was static as he made it to the exit and looked back at Onyx Primal, who nodded back before transforming into his dragon mode and grabbed the bomb in his jaws before pulling it free from the deck. "Good luck." the Blonde Bot said before closing the door and moving over the to the control panel next to it as the others watched. "You think this will work?" Grunt then asked but before Quickstrike or anyone else could answer, Jetstorm suddenly shouted down the com-link. "They are firing a torpedo, hold on!" And suddenly, the Normandy was rocked by an explosion as the torpedo impacted another part of it, making the team lose their balance, also in the shuttle-bay Onyx too fall to the ground and dropped the bomb back onto the deck. His optics widened as he heard it make a strange noise after impacting on the ground, so he quickly grabbed it with his jaws again. Meanwhile outside the room, Quickstrike got back to his feet quickly, just as Shen looked at his holo-tool and gulped again. "fifteen seconds!" he exclaimed as the Blonde Bot leaned against the panel and typed into it's keypad, before hitting the release button underneath. While inside the Shuttle-bay, Onyx Primal saw the landing ramp open up and expose the room to the vacuum of space with the atmosphere instantly starting to vacate that area of the ship. So the Maximal dug his claws into the deck and opened his jaws, letting go of the bomb and watched as it flew out of the ship but not before clipping the landing ramp on it's way out, which would have made the Primal bite his lip if he had one before transforming back into his Cybertronian mode. "It's done!" he shouted into his com-link just before the atmosphere was completely sucked out of the exposed area as the ramp was nearly fully open. So Quickstrike immediately pressed the re-seal button to close and re-pressurize the cargo bay, while Shen tapped his com-link. "Three, two, one…." Suddenly the bomb exploded between the Normandy and the enemy ship and shielded it from Lockdown's view, though the energy and force of the blast damaged the Autobot ship and made everyone to lose their balance again. But Jetstorm was fully strapped into his chair and managed to activate the stealth mode which made the Normandy disappear seconds before the explosion dissipated to nothing. "We are cloaked, though we have suffered more damage from being so close to the blast." the pilot replied, while Quickstrike helped Nightracer back onto her feet as Grunt did the same for Shen. "But has it fooled Lockdown?" the Femme asked, earning an uncertain look from the Blonde Bot. "We'll know if they open fire." he said back before everyone went quiet and waited for one of two outcomes, either Jetstorm would give the all clear or the ship would be destroyed by another volley of torpedoes. After what felt like an eternity, the pilot spoke again. "The enemy ship has just left via a space-bridge, it worked." Jetstorm said, earning sighs of relief from everyone as Quickstrike put his hand to his ear. "Orion….Liara, come in." he said into his com-link but again there was no answer, gaining a concerned look on his face which was shared by the others. "They're on the crew deck, right?" Nightracer asked, earning a nod from the Blonde Bot. "Let's go then." she replied as he looked back at the others. "Shen, head back to the CIC and help Jetstorm coordinate repairs. Grunt stay here and make sure Onyx is alright in the shuttle-bay." Quickstrike then said, earning a stare from the Krogan. "Who put him in charge?" The Blonde Bot though merely ignored him and gestured for Nightracer to follow, leaving Grunt with Shen. "I don't want to get involved….so I will just head to the CIC." he said before walking off so that Grunt was the only one left, and he reluctantly looked over to see that the shuttle-bay had fully re-pressurized. So he opened the door and looked in to the Maximal staring back at him with a curious expression. "So I guess it worked then." he said, earning a sigh from the Krogan. A few minutes later, and a hatch opened up in the floor of the crew deck, with both Quickstrike and Nightracer climbing out and looking around at the damaged corridor they had entered. "Damn. Look at this place. I hope they are alright." the Femme replied with a worried expression and tone, earning a similar look from the Blonde Bot as they began searching. "Orion, Liara." they both took turns in shouting before spotting a force-field flickering just a head of them, so the pair moved toward it until the sight before them made Nightracer gasp in shock. "No…" was all she could say as they stared through the force-field to see the entire section had a gaping hole going from one end of the corridor to the other, exposing the area to the vacuum of space. "Surely they weren't here, but on some other part of the deck?" the Femme asked but when Quickstrike did not answer, she noticed he was looking in a certain place so did the same. What she saw made her eyes widen, as there in the center of the wrecked corridor was the Star-Saber, embedded into the metal deck. "I will not believe they are dead?" the Blonde Bot then said with a hint defiance in his voice. "This was where Jetstorm said that the enemy ship had locked onto us, so they forced their way on board here." "You think they may have taken our friends, if so then why is the Star-Saber like that unless Orion left it so?" Nightracer asked while the Bot looked at the area with a thoughtful expression. "What if they had tried to…but failed originally." he then said, earning a confused look from the Femme. "I…what are you on about?" "…whoever they are, Lockdown aside….they have space-bridge tech." Quickstrike added before tapping his com-link. "Jet-storm, you there?" he asked, hearing nothing but static for a moment before it finally cleared. "Shen here, Jetstorm is back in the CIC helping some of the crew. So is Orion and Liara okay?" the Turian answered back. "No, they are not here." the Blonde Bot replied, earning silence from Shen as Quickstrike looked over to Nightracer, seeing the worry in her face. "You don't think…." the Turian began to say, only for the Autobot to cut him off. "No, I don't. Can you access the sensor logs during the attack from the cockpit for me?" the Bot replied. "Yeah…..I guess, so what am I looking for?" the Turian said back. "Check the external sensor logs for any ground-bridge activations outside of the ship." "Looking at them now…..yes, there was a vortex just outside that area of the Normandy that you are in." Shen said back, gaining a nod from Quickstrike. "Alright then, how are communications looking?" "Our Communications are still operational." his friend replied. "Good, Nightracer and I are on our way to the CIC now. See if you can get us contact with Autobot Intelligence and Matriarch Benezia." the Blonde Bot said back before deactivating his com-link and looking over to Nightracer, who was still staring at the Star-Saber. "Come on, Ni. There's no point standing around here." he said while placing a hand on her shoulder. "But we can't just leave it here…" the Femme started to say, but the Bot cut her off. "Well, other than Orion, none of us can even move it. Plus it is in a vacuum right now, it's not going anywhere." he replied, earning a nod from Nightracer before she looked out of the gapping hole in the hull at stars outside. "I just hope they are alright." "So do I, Ni. So do I." Quickstrike said back before the pair started walking back the way they came. PRIME EFFECT 4 In a system on the edge of the galaxy, a space-bridge vortex opened up and Lockdown's ship came through back into normal space. It's dark grey hull did not even reflect the light of the near by star as it flew towards a light green planet with heavy cloud cover. In the ship's CIC, Lockdown sat in the Commander's chair and watched as the planet appeared on the holo-screen while Hock watched at his side. "Send the signal." he said, earning a nod from the Mech at the com station as it pressed a key combination into it's holo-interface. "Signal sent." it replied, then a moment passed before a beeping could be heard from the Com station. "Signal acknowledged, we are allowed to approach and land." "Very well, lock onto the base's beacon and take us down." the Assassin then said to the Mech pilot, and then the ship descended into the planet's atmosphere. "Where exactly are we?" Hock asked as the ship started to vibrate and shake around them, earning a worrying look from the weapon's dealer. But Lockdown just looked relaxed as he sat in his chair. "Relax Hock, my ship can take a little turbulence." he said back before a lightning bolt struck the ship, causing it to rock which made Lockdown's new comrade grab at the arm of his chair to keep himself from falling over. "You didn't answer my question, Lockdown. Where are we?" Hock replied with anger in his voice, gaining a smile from the former Decepticon. "Well, since you are now part of the organisation, I suppose you should know. This planet is Hagalaz, quite the hiding place wouldn't you agree." "Hagalaz…" the Human replied as he looked out at the storm raging around them on the view-screen. "It is known as a garden world, but is deemed too dangerous for colonisation because of it's highly volatile atmosphere…correct?" "Yes, you see it has a far slower rotational period compared to planets like Earth or Thessia…ninety eight hours I believe. So this leaves the planet pretty much boiling during the daylight hours and then as soon as the sun goes down, the planet's surface snap freezes a few minutes later. It's at this point that highly volatile storms are created…of which we are through now." Lockdown replied which made Hock nod back as he listened with a curious expression. "And the Shadow Broker's base is in this?" "That is correct, though it is more of a ship and it follows the sunset, so it remains completely hidden in this storm system. So the only way to find it is to have access to it's beacon's frequency, because otherwise it's like trying to find a needle in a haystack…during a hurricane as you Humans say." the Assassin replied before noticing a shape in the storm clouds ahead of them. "And there it is." he then said, making Hock look at the view-screen as the Shadow Broker's ship appeared before them. The vessel had a giant reflective shield on the side that was facing the setting sun, while the rest of the ship which looked like a battle cruiser. "Impressive." Hock said as he looked at the giant ship, noticing that the vessel was getting it by multiple lightning strikes as the storm raged around it. "I am no expert on ships you know, but it must be a pain to try to keep this ship from getting too damaged by the constant energy strikes it must receive?" "Not at all since the entire ship except its heat shield, is covered in lightning rods which then draw the excess energy into capacitors that help power the ship. So the storm system not only hides the Shadow Broker, but also powers his vessel too." Lockdown said as he had the view-screen zoom in on the ship's hull, showing the lightning rods to Hock. "A very efficient design, I must say." he replied before one of the Mechs turned to the Assassin. "Commander, we have permission to dock." "Very well. Take us in with thrusters only." Lockdown said back as he and Hock watched. Aboard the Shadow Broker's ship, Agent Zero watched from the landing-bay's control room while the arrow-head shaped vessel entered the large landing area, folding it's ventral and dorsal wings in as it extended it's landing struts just in time to touch the metal floor of the bay. "I will go and welcome our guests." the Agent said to the Mech manning the control room's terminal before leaving the small room, just in time to see the ship's shuttle-bay ramp open up and reveal it's crew. "Welcome back Lockdown." the female agent said, earning a nod from the Assassin as he walked down the ramp with Hock beside him. "Thank you, Agent Zero. The Shadow Broker will be pleased to know that our mission was a success." the former Decepticon replied while Hock stared back in confusion at the unknown female Agent, because she was still wearing her breather-helmet. This did not go unnoticed by her, as she turned her attention to him. "I take it this is Donavon Hock." she said back before offering her hand to the arms dealer, who looked down at it before shaking it in his own. "Yes, and you are?" he asked in an inquisitive tone. "Agent Zero." she replied, earning a smirk from the Human. "Yes, that is your code name. But I make it a point to know who I am working with, so your name is….?" "Agent Zero, that is all you need to know at this time." the female replied before pulling her hand away and stared back with narrowed eyes through the visor of her helmet. "Okay.." Lockdown then said, making both Hock and Zero look at him before noticing the two mobile berths being moved down the ramp towards them. The female Agent saw that one carried an unconscious Liara T'Soni, while the other had a blue haired man strapped onto it which made her walk over to his side. "I know this man, he was…." she began to say, earning Hock's attention before Lockdown stepped in. "..this is Orion Darby, Autobot Spectre and son of Jackson Prime. You obviously recognise him from his profile." the former-Decepticon said to the female Agent with a knowing look, while Hock raised an eyebrow at the pair as they turned their backs to him. "Hock doesn't need to know that you were there when the Autobots crashed his party to rescue the Asari here,…does he," he whispered to her, gaining a nod from Zero. "Yes, of course. I just recall this particular Autobot being quite the annoyance to my mission then." she whispered back before her attention was caught by the Drell that stood behind both berths. "Thane, I was not aware that you had been assigned to this mission." Zero said but before the Drell could respond, Lockdown beat him to it. "I requested that he be put on my team, just on the off-chance that the forces under my command were not enough." he said before looking back at Thane. "So how are 'our guests'?" "They are both still unconscious, but we have healed any injuries that they had received during our mission." the Drell replied with a blank tone, gaining a nod from Zero. "Good, though you could have just focused on the Asari. Since she was the only one that was supposed to be retrieved in the first place." "So what should I do with the Autobot?" Thane asked back before looking down on the unconscious Bot. "Have him put in the ship's detention area, we will let the Shadow Broker determine what happens to him." Lockdown replied, earning a nod from Agent Zero before her com-link activated. "Excuse me." she said to the three before turning her back to them and receiving the call, "Where do I go?" Hock then asked the Assassin, making him turn to the Human. "One of the Mechs will take you to your quarters until the Shadow Broker is ready to see you." the former Decepticon said before gesturing to one of the nearby roBots. "Please sir, if you will follow me." it then said, making the arms dealer follow it out of the Landing Bay as Thane took a step toward Lockdown. "Since I have done everything asked of me as of late, maybe you can see if I can be allowed to see my son now?" the Drell asked. "I do not know if that will be possible at this time Thane, you did after all fail to acquire the Asari the first time round." the former Decepticon replied. "I was not the only one who failed in that task Lockdown…" Thane replied while gesturing to Agent Zero who was still on her com-link. "…it has been several weeks since I joined this operation, which I only agreed too since the Shadow Broker promised to not only help protect my son from whoever killed my wife, but also discover the identity of her killer. But I have yet to have that evidence or see my son." the Drell replied with slight anger building in his voice, though Lockdown merely looked back calmly. "I understand your frustration Thane, I do…..but there is nothing I can do at this time, as it is up to the Shadow Broker. Now can you take Orion Darby to the detention area please?" the Assassin replied, earning a reluctant nod from Thane, who then gestured to the Mech pushing Orion's berth to follow him out of the room. Agent Zero then deactivated her com-link and turned back to the former Decepticon. "That was the Shadow Broker, he wants Dr T'Soni ready to meet him. But first he wants to see you in his sanctum." she said, gaining a surprise expression from the former Con before he nodded back. "Very well, I will go see him immediately then." he replied before turning away from the Agent and leaving the room. 'He wants to see me, why would that be? he thought as he entered the corridor and walked towards the ship's bow. A few minutes later and the former Decepticon Assassin entered a large dimly lit room that had a sphere-like shape to it's structure, and a large power conduit running through it's center which was surrounded by large holo-screens. Lockdown looked down to the far end of the room and saw the silhouette of a large being standing there in what looked like m, as if waiting for him. "Lockdown, please come closer." a beastly and commanding voice spoke, which made Lockdown feel somewhat nervous. But he took a breath and did as he was told and walked through the room towards the shadowy large being, stopping next to the power conduit when he could see this person more clearly. For what he saw was an alien being that he recognised only too well, with it's large mouth and eight black eyes. For it's massive frame and primitive look. For it's species has a terrible reputation known throughout the galaxy, since it annihilated the former Citadel Council's first contact teams decades ago. 'It's a Yahg, but how?' he thought as the beast took a step towards him. "Did you complete your mission?" the Shadow Broker asked in a very calm and conservative tone, which earned a quick nod from the Assassin in return. "Yes, Sir. We retrieved the Asari and captured Orion Darby too while also destroying the Normandy as you ordered." he said back while trying not to show how confused he was at the Beast's behaviour. 'How is it acting so sophisticated and calm, considering it's reputation? In fact how did 'it' become the Shadow Broker?' But the Yahg activated his holo-tool and brought up a data-log on one of the large holo-screens. "Is that so, then perhaps you can tell me how the Normandy managed to contact the Autobot Command only minutes ago?" he replied with a slither of anger in his voice while showing his sharp teeth. "I do not understand, Sir. My crew and I witnessed the Normandy exploding before us." Lockdown said back in shock as he looked at the data flowing down the screen. "Well, an Autobot by the name of Quickstrike informed ISF Command of the attack on the Normandy before naming you as one of the attackers. He also told them that he believes you have taken Orion Darby and Liara T'Soni as captives. This is not looking good for you, Lockdown." the Broker replied again. "Sir, I….can't really…come up with a good…excuse." the former Decepticon said back in a worried and confused tone, which earned a low growl from the Beast. "If you could, then I would kill you where you stand. because I can not stand liars. I prefer the truth, that is why I am the most powerful information Broker in the galaxy. Lies and deceit do not go well in this business." "I understand, Sir. So, what now?" Lockdown asked as if he was holding his breath at how the Shadow Broker would respond. "Since you were truthful with me, and because this is the only time you have failed…..I am willing to give you another chance…..but only one chance, understand?" he replied, gaining a nod from the Assassin. "Yes, thank you, Sir. I will not fail you again." "You better not, now go." the Beast replied before turning his back to the former Con, who was about to move when he suddenly looked back at his employer. "Sir, if I may ask. How did you find out about the Autobots?" he asked, regaining the Shadow Broker's attention as it looked back at him. "I have contacts in both the ISF Senate and Autobot Command, I am the Shadow Broker after all." "Of course, Sir, but what about Quickstrike and the other Autobots?" Lockdown replied. "I have sent some of our forces to my contacts, they will have them deployed if the Autobots begin snooping where they shouldn't. Now go, I have another meeting to hold." the Broker said back, which made the former Decepticon nod in return before walking back to the room's exit. "Of course, Sir." he said before reaching the door, which opened to reveal Agent Zero and the berth carrying a still unconscious Liara. "Zero." Lockdown said as he passed them. "Lockdown." the female replied before pushing the berth into the room as the door closed behind her. "Agent Zero, how is our 'guest'?" the Yahg asked as the Agent stopped the berth just in front of it. "Her injuries have been treated, but she is still unconscious. I was told by our medical Mechs that she should awaken soon." Zero replied, gaining a nod from the Broker. "Good, I have looked forward to this moment for a long time." "I know, do you think she will join us…once she knows the truth?" the Agent asked with a curious look, which made the Beast look back at her with a determined expression. "For her sake, I hope so." PRIME EFFECT 4 As the Normandy flew in orbit around a dead, crater covered planetoid in one of systems on the edge of galaxy. Nightracer entered the Communications room while Quickstrike deactivated the terminal before him and crossed his arms in frustration while turning around to the Femme. "I take it by the look of you that it didn't go well?" she asked, gaining a nod from the Blonde Autobot as he sighed in return. "I reported what had happened and who was responsible, but all Command could say was that they would pass our information to Autobot Intelligence, since they were more focused on dealing with the Predacons right now." "So…..we are alone on this then?" Nightracer said back with a disheartened tone. "No, we have been ordered back to join the seventh Autobot fleet in the Exodus cluster." the Bot replied, making the Femme's eyes widen in shock. "But what about Orion and Liara, we can't just leave them to Lockdown and whoever he is working with." she said back with a defiant tone and expression, earning a nod from her friend. "Hey, your preaching to the choir on that one. And I am sure the others would agree, so I am up for ignoring the order to return if you are." Quickstrike said back with a slight smile, earning a mirrored look from Nightracer in return. "Sure why not, I'm certainly not willing to give up on our friends…." she said back before the Communications terminal began to beep, which made the pair look over to it with a curious expression. "We're receiving a call?" the Femme stated with a confused tone, which made the Blonde Bot tap his com-link. "Jetstorm, do you know anything about us receiving a transmission?" "We are? Sorry, there is nothing on my system about it Quickstrike." the Pilot replied, which made Orion's cousin look down at the blinking light on the terminal with a thoughtful expression. "Well, you better answer it before whoever it is gets tired of being ignored." Nightracer replied, making Quickstrike deactivate his com-link and place his hands over the terminal's surface, thus activating the holo-interface before connecting the call. "This is Quickstrike of the Autobot Spectre vessel Normandy, who is this attempting contact?" he then said. "Well, that was certainly a very professional reply, and from me of all people." a familiar female voice spoke, making Nightracer's eyes widen as she recognised it. "Kasumi?" she said back before the holo-emitter behind the terminal activated and revealed the Autobot Informant and Thief. "Hello, Nightracer…and who is this?" she replied while looking at Quickstrike. "This is Quickstrike. He is Orion's cousin." the Femme replied, gaining a nod from the Bot. "I see, and where is Rodimus. He is still Commander of the Normandy…yes?" Kasumi asked in return. "He was severely injured during our last engagement with the Predacons and is currently in our Medical Bay." Quickstrike replied, earning a worried and concerned look from the Thief. "I see…. well, I hope he recovers. He is a good man." she said back with a caring tone in her voice, which earned mirrored expressions from the pair. "Yes….but now if I may ask, why have you contacted us, Kasumi?" Nightracer asked. "I was told to do so by Miranda Lawson, after she had heard about Lockdown's attack on your ship." Kasumi said back, gaining a curious look from Quickstrike. "I only just contacted Autobot Command a few minutes ago, how did Commander Lawson hear about so quickly? Because I doubt our military leaders would have informed that fast." "And you would be correct, Quickstrike, let's just say that Miranda likes to know what is going on around her before anyone has the chance to tell her. It's her MECH training asserting itself. But either way, she knows that I am your best chance to find out where Lockdown and your friends are." the Thief replied with a confident expression. "How is that?" Nightracer asked in return. "Hello….professional Thief, lives in the criminal underworld. I would know where the best places to look would be." Kasumi said back with a slither of sarcasm in her voice, which made Nightracer tighten up a little. "You don't have to remind me of that." "Well, getting back on topic. Lockdown was quite the household name amongst Assassins and Mercenaries back in the day, when he suddenly just disappeared off the map. Only appearing for very short periods of time and it was rumoured that he had found himself a more permanent employer." "Do you know who this 'employer' is?" the Blonde Bot then asked, making the female shake her head in return. "No, but since whoever it is must be extremely secretive to keep themselves out of the public eye for so long. So they will be monitoring the entire galaxy for signs that their prized Assassin is being searched for, so we bait them into revealing themselves or at least someone who can lead us to them properly." Kasumi replied, earning a smile from Quickstrike and Nightracer. "I like it, so where do we meet to set this trap?" the Femme said back. "I will be in the city of Joughin on the planet Benning, I am sending you the coordinates now to meet me there. It is a more grimier section of the city where lowlifes and other unpleasant individuals like to congregate, and be sure to dress more incognito when you arrive, as the saying goes 'when in Rome..'." Kasumi replied while typing on her holo-tool. "Do as the Romans do', Understood. We are on our way, Normandy out." Quickstrike said back before ending the transmission and making the holo-image of the Thief fade to nothing, he then turned back to Nightracer. "As soon as we arrive at Benning, we will take a ground bridge down to the city a click away from Kasumi's coordinates. So inform Shen and Grunt that they need to suit up with us for this mission." "Okay, will do. But there is one thing I want to ask before doing so." the Femme replied, gaining a nod from the Blonde Bot. "Alright, what is it?" "I know you contacted Autobot Command, but what of Matriarch Benezia? Did you tell her what has happened to her daughter?" Nightracer then asked, making Quickstrike shake his head in return. "I tried, but I was told that she was not available at this time by her aide." he replied with a defeated tone to his voice. "Surely you explained what had happened to Liara." the Femme said back with a disbelieving tone of her own. "Her aide would not give me the time of day, she just repeated that Benezia was not available." the Bot replied, which made Nightracer sigh in return. "Makes you wonder if the rumours of the Asari Matriarch's distrust of Autobots is true, huh? She could be no more different to her Daughter could she." "Yes, now lets work on getting both Orion and Liara back." Quickstrike replied, gaining a nod from the Femme. "Yeah, I'll see you in the armoury with Shen and Grunt then." she said back before leaving the Communications room, as the Blonde Autobot tapped his com-link. "Jetstorm, open a space-bridge vortex to Benning and activate our stealth mode before taking us through." he said as he then exited the room, with the door closing behind him. PRIME EFFECT 4 The sun was halfway through its descent behind the large skyscrapers of Joughin, the Capital city of the planet Benning. Quickstrike looked up at the large glass covered buildings which seemed like a miles away from where he was standing right now alongside Nightracer and Grunt, as the group made their way amongst the busy crowds of what was called the 'Flea trap Market'. It was a name that felt somewhat deserved as it looked nothing like the more wealthier part of the city where those sky scrapers were standing, since the buildings here were basically minimum standard living trailers no bigger than industrial shipping crates, which had then been stacked on top of each other. The whole area had a bad vibe emanating from it as the Autobots walked through the streets, though no one could guess that the new arrivals were anything more than your basic mercenaries. Grunt was wearing basic Krogan combat armour with a brown rusted look to it, while Nightracer wore black leather jean-like Bottoms and matching coloured tank top with faded leather jacket over that. Quickstrike though wore black heavily worn jeans and faded red t-shirt under a long brownish red coat, a far cry from their usual high quality Autobot armour. "Anyone spot Kasumi yet?" Grunt asked with an annoyed tone to his voice as another person bumped into him as he walked past, earning a growl from he Krogan. "I swear if another person walks in my way or bumps into me again, I will shoot them." he added, making both Quickstrike and Nightracer roll their eyes in response. "Cool it, Grunt, we are all getting bumped around here. Its not just you." the Blonde Bot replied as he looked through the thick haze of people surrounding them, while Nightracer looked at her holo-tool. "We are in a ten metre radius of the coordinates Kasumi gave us, but where is she?" the Femme said with a confused tone as she looked up and around her, while the Bot tapped his com-link as Grunt pushed away another civilian who had accidentally bumped into him. "Don't make me…." the Krogan spat back. Meanwhile, on one of the higher makeshift balconies, Shen was in a kneeling position as he watched the crowds in the street below with his sniper rifle. "Shen, can you see Kasumi from your vantage point?" Quickstrike's voice suddenly came through on the Turian's com-link. "Let me see…" he replied as he scanned the area through the weapon's scope, looking at every face down there until he came upon his team mates. "No, don't see any….wait." he added before spotting a shimmer of light behind the Blonde Bot, which suddenly revealed the female Thief. "…she's behind you." he added with an impressed tone in his voice as he saw Quickstrike turn around to come face to face with Kasumi. "Well, you don't stick out too much now, do you." the Thief said with a sarcastic tone, earning annoyed looks from the Autobots. "You were with us the whole time, weren't you?" Nightracer said back, gaining a nod from Kasumi. "I have been shadowing your group since you entered this district so I could see how well you blend in, and by the fact that you have several undesirables eyeing your group at this very moment shows that you stick out like a sore thumb." she replied with a stern expression. "Well, we are sort of in a hurry Kasumi, with wanting to find our friends. We don't have the luxury of playing it slow and safe, so why don't we just get on with it already." the Femme said back before the group's com-links activated simultaneously. "Guys, you have a group of six….maybe seven individuals heading right for you from the North." Shen suddenly said, making Quickstrike look over his shoulder and spot the gathering of Humans, Vorcha and Turians moving toward them through the crowds. "Kasumi's right, lets get off the streets and take care of this group before we continue any further." he said before looking back at the thief. "Conceal yourself, Kasumi. This shouldn't take long." the Bot added, gaining a nod as she reactivated her cloak. "Head for the alleyway several metres south of here…"Kasumi then said as she pointed to the alley's entrance just away from the group just before disappearing from sight before them. "Let's go." Nightracer said as the trio made their way through the oncoming crowds and entered the smaller street, being quickly followed by the others that blocked off the way they had came. "Are you people lost, cause we could help you." a slimy sounding voice called back, which made Quickstrike and his friends turn round to face the other group, who all looked like common thieves with their dirty and ragged looking clothes. "We…just took a wrong turn." the Blonde Bot replied while standing there with a casual demeanour. But the lead Human, who had a shaven head and scar over his left eye looked at Quickstrike and smiled, revealing his dirty teeth. "But you are not from around these parts, are you?" he asked as his friends stood around the Autobots, looking at both Grunt and Nightracer….especially at the latter. "We have watched you for a while now…" he said as he walked up to the Blonde Bot and placed a hand on his shoulder, gaining a knowing stare from Quickstrike. "…You may dress like us, but you are certainly not like us." "What are you staring at?" Nightracer said to the Turian standing next to her, after noticing that he had leered at her. Which only made the Turian smile back, making the Femme feel sick to her stomach. But the main attention of the group was on Quickstrike as the lead Human tightened his grip on the Bot's shoulder while equipping his knife, with the others readying their own. "Give us all the valuables you have on you, and this won't have to get nasty." he said in a very casual way, making the Blonde Bot smile back. 'Knifes, are you kidding.' he thought before noticing a slight shimmer appear behind the Vorcha at the back of the group, making his smile widen. "What?" the lead Human asked with a confused tone when suddenly the Vorcha screamed out in pain, making the leader look back to see an invisible force beat down his friend. "What?…" he started to say before Quickstrike grabbed at the guy's arm that was still on his shoulder, quickly pulling it off and twisting it. This made the Human grimace while Grunt and Nightracer made short work of the thieves standing next to them. The Blonde Bot then looked down at the man he was now holding in an arm lock, who looked back with a blend of anger and confusion. "You picked on the wrong people." the Autobot then said before punching the Leader hard in the face wit his free hand, knocking him out cold. He then looked round to see the Human's friends all in the same condition as the Krogan and Femme stood over them, before looking at the alley's entrance just as Kasumi uncloaked before him. "Nicely done, so let's going shall we." she said while gesturing to the group to follow her. "So where are we going?" Nightracer asked as the group exited the alleyway and rejoined the busy crowds, who had not even noticed the scuffle which transpired nearby. "There is a local bar nearby, a real dive compared to most similar places around here. But it can be a good source of information, for those with the right credentials." the Thief replied as she led them through the streets, while Shen followed very the balconies and rooftops overhead. After walking down several similar looking streets, the group entered a seedy looking bar that was bustling with people not unlike the ones that they had encountered in the alley earlier. "You think we can get something here?" Quickstrike asked with an unconvinced tone, earning a nod from Kasumi. "Trust me, this will work. Now be ready for anything." she said before walking over to a table occupied by Humans, Batarians, Vorcha and Turians who had all but one of it's seats filled, as those sitting there had just begun a game of poker. So the Thief pulled out the remaining chair and sat herself down amongst them, earning confused looks from all. "What are you doing, Kasumi?" a Batarian sitting opposite her asked as Kasumi took the deck of cards from the Human beside her and began shuffling them. "I just saw that you had a spare seat and thought I might join in." she replied while the rest of table looked at her with a distrusting stare. "You're well known for cheating whenever you play a game of poker here, Kasumi, so why the hell would we want you to join this game." the Batarian sneered back earning nods from everyone else before noticing Quickstrike, Nightracer and Grunt all watching them. "Who are they? Friends of yours?" The Thief glanced over to her acquaintances and nodded in return. "Yes, they are. You see, my friends and I are looking for someone…" she answered before placing the deck back in front of the Human beside her and staring back at the Batarian. "…so if I can't join your game, perhaps you can tell us if you have seen this person we are looking for?" The men all looked at each other before the lead Batarian narrowed all four of his eyes at Kasumi. "That will depend on who it is your looking for?" "…we are looking for Lockdown." she then said casually, earning wide eyed stares from everyone at the table he, as the whole room then went quiet at the mention of that name. "Well, that is someone we have not seen for a long time." the Batarian replied, as Nightracer noticed a black haired Human in mercenary combat armour suddenly look over at the group suspiciously along with the others around him. "Quickstrike, at my ten o'clock." the Femme whispered, making the Blonde Bot glance over to see the man slowly get to his feet with his friends. "I see them." he replied while inconspicuously moving his hand down to his holstered pistol as he returned his attention to Kasumi. "So, don't I get an answer to that question?" she asked, feeling the dagger like stares everyone around the table was giving her at that very moment. "I think you should leave, Kasumi. We only wanted to have nice friendly game of poker here." the Batarian replied before noticing the same black haired Human and his group equipped their weapons and slowly aimed them at the Thief's friends. "You have a tendency of bringing trouble with you." he answered back, earning a curious look from Kasumi who noticed the Batarian's attention drifting away to her right. 'I hope you are ready guys?' she thought as she took a breath, knowing exactly what was about to happen…when suddenly. "Have you people ever heard of what curiosity did to the cat?" a unfamiliar voice suddenly spoke, making Orion and the Autobots suddenly turn round with their weapons ready and aimed at the others. "What's a Cat? I don't get it." Grunt replied with a confused tone as the Femme and Bot ignored him. "Looks like we have ourselves a little Mexican stand-off." Nightracer observed as the entire room went quiet, while the rest of the customers got up and slowly backed up towards the room's walls. "Drop your weapons." Quickstrike ordered as Kasumi shrugged at the Batarian before suddenly disappearing in front of him and the other poker players, earning confused looks from them as they returned their attention to her friends. "I told you she was trouble." the Human player then said. But this was ignored by everyone else as their attention stayed with the Autobots and their stand off against their unknown adversaries. "Where did she go?" the black haired man then said as he noticed her disappear, but before anyone could say something back. Suddenly one of his men was electrocuted from behind by an unseen force, making him and the others look back in shock. "What…that….not compute!" he said back in a confused tone, earning a curious look from Quickstrike as Kasumi suddenly reappeared behind the leader and electrocuted him with her holo-tool before pulling him to the ground, leaving the rest of the men open to attack. "Now!" the Blonde Bot shouted before he and his friends opened fire and riddled the other men with bullets, which made them all look on in surprise and confusion as all the enemies body's began jerking awkwardly with electric bolts flowing around them before falling to the ground. "Their robots?" Nightracer said in disbelief as Kasumi knelt beside the Leader and looked up at the team. "I had no idea, I was merely trying to apprehend him for us to question, I had no idea that he and the others were Mechs." As the Autobots surrounded the Thief and the disabled Leader Mech, everyone in the place except for the Hanar-Barman left in a quiet but quick fashion. The jellyfish just sunk back down behind the bar. "They look too life-like to be Mechs." Grunt said back, earning a nod from the Femme while Quickstrike activated his holo-tool and took a scan of the body. "No, Kasumi's right. it's a Mech, but a real advanced one. Still….I have no idea who sent it and the other ones." "I might….I mean there is a rumour that a particular person likes to use Mechs as soldiers but…" Kasumi began to say before Grunt glanced through the windows of the building, his eyes widening at what he could see. "Everybody down!" he then shouted before the enter room was flooded with gun fire, shattering the windows and showering the team with glass as they all dived to the floor. But the attack did not stop as outside in the street there were several dozen Mechs firing their weapons into the building, hoping to eliminate the Autobot team in one foul swoop. PRIME EFFECT 4 "I believe she is coming to." a somewhat familiar voice spoke as Liara felt herself slowly regain consciousness, opening her eyes to see the metallic curved ceiling above her. 'Where am I?' she started to think before it all came back to her, making her rise up into a sitting position quickly as her thoughts filled with only one thought. "Orion!" she shouted before looking down at her surroundings and discovering that she was sitting on a berth in a large room with a spherical design to it, with a bright glowing power conduit in it's center and being orbited by large blue holo-screens. "Orion?" Liara asked again, as she found that her lover was nowhere to be found in her immediate area. But before the Asari could move to look for her Autobot, her attention was caught by a female soldier walking over to her side whilst wearing blue and white armour. And though the person's face was covered by a breather helmet, that didn't stop Liara recognising her. "Agent Zero!" the Asari spat as she quickly got off the berth and clenched her hands into fists, which began to glow with biotic energy. "It's been a while, Miss T'Soni." the Agent replied in her disguised voice, though Liara just narrowed her eyes at her would be adversary. "Where is Orion?" "Your friend is in one of our Detention cells, and will remain there….and unharmed as long as you behave yourself. So don't do anything foolish now." Zero said back in a firm tone, which made the Asari stare back with disdain before cooling down her biotics. "What do you want?" she said back, not attempting to hide the anger in her voice. "My employer and mentor wishes to meet you, which was the same reason I was sent for you the first time." the Agent replied. "And just who is it that wants to meet me?" Liara asked, while crossing her arms over her chest, not even budging a little in the anger she was feeling right now. "….The Shadow Broker." Zero replied before pointing to the area behind the Asari, making her turn round to see a large creature walking towards her. 'By the Goddess!' she thought while recognising it's species, which seemed impossible considering it's reputation. "The Shadow Broker's a Yahg, that's impossible!" she said as the larger being stopped in front of the Asari and looked down at her. "It is not impossible…'Little Wing'." the Broker replied as his voice changed from heavy and monstrous to that both feminine and wise. It was a voice that Liara recognised even quicker than she had with Agent Zero, for it was a voice of someone she had known all her life. Her eyes widened as she stood there in complete shock as the Yahg suddenly began to glow, revealing itself to be nothing more than a holo-image before fading to nothing and revealing an Asari standing in it's place. This female was wearing a black formal-like dress, and her skin tone was the same shade of blue as Liara's. "…Mother!…." she gasped in shock as she looked upon Matriarch Benezia, who smiled back at her. "…you're the..." Liara continued, only for the older Asari to cut her off. "Yes, Liara. I am the Shadow Broker."
  6. CHAPTER XXXIII Galvatron stood before the Galaxy map at his station on the Nemesis's bridge, his eyes focusing on the holo-image of the galaxy as he tried to pin point the planet that he had felt drawn too in his vision. In fact the Predacon Leader's attention was so absorbed by his task, he did not notice both Rip-Claw and Lazerback entering the room and walk up to him over the catwalk. "Lord Galvatron..." the Femme called though he simply ignored her and continued his search, making both Rip-Claw and Lazerback to look at each other, with the Con shrugging his shoulders in return. "My Lord, if we may have a moment of your time." Lazerback then said as the pair stopped directly behind the Predacon Leader, making him sigh before turning to them. "Will this take long, I am in the middle of something you all should know is extremely important." "Lord Galvatron, we already have a number of our Terracons searching through the navigational charts for the star...that you saw in your 'vision'. There is no need for you to do the same." Rip-Claw said back, earning a supportive expression from her comrade who then looked at his Master. "Because we have a problem, one that requires your attention, my Lord." Lazerback added, earning what looked like a curious expression from Galvatron. "Well, spit it out then." "Very well...while we were occupied on Scissio, the other ships you sent out to search the galaxy have met heavy resistance from Autobot forces that intercepted them at each location." the Con replied, which made the Predacon Leader look back in confusion. "That's impossible, how would the Autobots know where to look?" "Master, if I may make a suggestion?" Rip-Claw then said, earning Galvatron's attention though his eyes narrowed at her and made the Femme feel uncomfortable. "Go on." was all he said. "Taking into account how the Autobots know exactly where our ships are to attack them, it would be logical to assume that they may have access to our communication channels." "That would make sense considering the attacks our ships have suffered in such a short time." Lazerback added, earning a thoughtful expression from Galvatron. "We can't take the risk, have the fleet switch to new com-channels...ones that we don't currently have listed as available." "I'll get right on it." the Femme replied before walking away, leaving Galvatron alone with Lazerback who noticed his Master glancing back to the galaxy map. "Lord Galvatron, you're going to continue with your search through the star maps...aren't you?" he asked with a knowing look. "Yes, it is too important to leave in the hands of our Terracons. I hope you don't disapprove?" the Predacon Leader replied with an inquisitive stare, making the Lieutenant shake his head in response. "No of course not, my Lord. If that is your wish, then I will see to it that you are not disturbed." "I would appreciate that, though I hear a 'but' coming along." Galvatron said back. "...But..." Lazerback began to say, feeling his Spark-beat speed up as he suddenly felt like he was walking a minefield with his next few words. "...are you sure that you really experienced a 'vision', my Lord. Telling the crew, let alone the fleet, would raise questions in their minds." Galvatron looked away as he thought on his lieutenant's words, then looked back as his eyes narrowed slightly. "Do you share the same view as the others on this?" "No, Lord Galvatron, I am merely pointing out what the crew's reaction is." the Predacon said back as he felt sweat slowly building up on his face, which Galvatron noticed. "All you and the others need to know is that when we find the planet in question, we will have the means to finally end our conflict with the Autobots and put the entire galaxy in our control." he then said while holding his hands behind his back. "Do I have your support?" "Yes, my Lord, and I am sure that everyone else in our fleet feels the same." Lazerback replied, gaining a nod from the Predacon Leader. "Very well, you are dismissed." he said back before turning back to the galaxy map, with the lieutenant walking away in return. It was then that Galvatron felt the presence of his master around him as he looked at the image of the star cluster. "You should watch your back, my Herald." Unicron suddenly spoke into his mind, making the Con shake his head. "Out of all of my Lieutenants, only one…possibly two who would have moved against me. One of them is now dead….and the other is working with me, I have nothing to fear from the others Master." Galvatron replied softly, so that none of the Terracons below would hear him. "Because they 'fear' you, Galvatron?" "Yes, fear after all is just another means of control….in the hands of the right person. And if that is required to help me achieve 'our' goals, then so be it." the Predacon Leader said back, feeling the purple optics of the Chaos Bringer bearing down on him. "Very well, I will leave you to continue your search….unless you may prefer a gentle nudge in the right direction?" "Do you know where Aeonia is located?.." Galvatron asked with a curious expression, too which there was no answer which heightened his curiosity even more. "…Because I thought you said you could not remember such details, like with the Chaos Edge?" "You must come to understand, Galvatron, that I am an Aeon and have a time-line that goes back almost to the beginning of creation itself. But I am not whole, since your spark contains the last slither of my being, and my memory is in a similar state. So much of my experiences from before and after my ascension are still scattered in the ocean of time, and are still outside of my reach. But when you held the Chaos Edge….my sword in your hands and witnessed that particular memory of mine, I did manage to recover a few more. Some that answered questions that I have, and some that have raised more." Unicron replied with a cryptic tone, earning a hint of impatience within the Predacon's Spark. "So, is there anything you can tell me, Master? Can you point me in the right direction?" he asked with a tone that tried to hide his growing impatience, though Galvatron doubted whether he could do such a thing with the Aeon sharing his very spark. "Using the words that exist in your mind, look in the 'Attican Traverse'. You should find the original home of my species there…..though it's name will be something quiet different from what I knew it to be." the Chaos Bringer replied before fading away, leaving the Predacon Leader alone with his thoughts again as he zoomed the galaxy map onto that region and continued his search. Meanwhile, in his laboratory. Shockwave was looking through the files that his predecessor Shockblast had been cataloguing. This was something that the Decepticon had been in the middle of when Six-Shot had interrupted him, and Shockwave was eager to get through this without any more interruptions. But he as he scrolled through the files, his one remaining eye taking in the data scrolling down the screen with photographic accuracy. The Con still found his attention waning as he looked over to the body lying on the berth to his right with a grey sheet covering it, since this was the body of Six-Shot that Galvatron had yet to deal with before leaving for Scissio. 'It is not logical for my Liege to leave this problem for too long, surely one of more of the other Predacons will question his absence before long.' he thought as he shook his head and looked back at the holo-screen in front of him. Several minutes passed as he continued with his work before his attention was once again taken as the lab's doors opened, making the Decepticon turn around to see a Terracon enter with a mobile berth which was carrying someone. From where Shockwave was standing, he could not make out who the individual was on the berth except for the fact that it was a Femme. So he walked over to the berth and the Terracon who moved it towards the room's center, before being stopped by the Decepticon. "Commander Shockblast!" the soldier said, earning a surprised expression from Shockwave. 'I find it illogical to assume that I will ever fully become used to being called by that name.' he thought while looking back at his subordinate. "Why did you disturb my work?" he asked, quickly giving the Terracon a cold stare. "I was commanded by Lord Galvatron to deliver this traitor to your laboratory." the minion replied, which made Shockwave look down at the unconscious Femme. He could see by examining her body that she had quite extensive injuries, which had not yet been fully healed. "Why is she a traitor?" the Decepticon asked, which made the soldier look back with a disbelieving expression. "You have not heard, Commander?" "No, please explain?" Shockwave asked, ignoring the Terracon's stare as he activated his holo-tool and took a more thorough scan of the Predacon Femme. "This wretch betrayed us…her family to the Autobots, at first helping one escape our clutches and then assisting the rest of the 'scrap' to sabotage one of our operations." the minion said, while the Decepticon continued to scan. "I see….." he replied before his only remaining eye looked down at her face and widened, as the Decepticon found he recognised her despite the Femme being in a Pretender body. "Ser-Ket?" he said, earning a nod from the Terracon. "Yes, that is the traitor's name….." he began to say before Shockwave glared at him, making the minion nervous. "Get out now!" the Decepticon spat, earning a nod from the soldier as he started to back slowly towards the door. "…Sir,…yes,..Sir." he mumbled before leaving the room, though Shockwave waited for the door to close before returning his attention to the unconscious Femme before him. "It has been a long time, Ser-Ket." he said before walking to the nearby table and picking up some Medi-gel. 'Or should I start calling you by your 'real name'.' he thought before heading back to the Predacon and injecting her with the medicine. "This should help you recover…." Shockwave started to say as he accessed memories of her from after 'the Fall'. '…since you are still my favourite creation.' he thought before his com-link activated and the voice of Galvatron could be heard. "Shockwave, I am now in the middle of an important task. But I think we should discuss how to resolve our Six-Shot issue." "You have my attention, my Liege. What did you have in mind?" the Decepticon replied as he turned from the unconscious Femme and walked back to his terminal. PRIME EFFECT 4 The stars shone brightly in the night sky above Illium as Donovan Hock stood on his balcony holding a half empty glass of whisky as he leaned on the railing, his face unshaven, rough and his demeanour was that of a man who all but had given up. For it had been well over a week since the party that was gate-crashed by not one but two groups, with one of them escaping with his favourite Asari 'pet' who he had shelled out a good amount of credits for as well. But that was just the beginning of the downfall, because since that debacle Hock's entire business had fallen apart around him. 'Where did it all go wrong?' he thought as he looked out at the city's skyline before gulping down the remainder of the whisky in his glass, before sighing and placing the empty glass on the rail and letting his thoughts run wild in his mind. 'I used to run one of the most successful weapons trading enterprises in the galaxy and now my name means nothing, Illium's government seized my assets and shutdown my operation. I still cannot figure out how they were able to do that.' Hock was so caught up in his own thoughts, he did not even notice the man approaching him from behind. "Donavon Hock?" "And who wants to know?" Hock replied as he turned around to see who had just interrupted his thoughts, and looked at the new arrival with a confused expression. "Who are you?" he asked as he found himself looking at a Caucasian man in his early fifties with white hair that was combed back, as well as a short trimmed beard. He was wearing black and green armour which had two spikes on each shoulder guard, and also both armoured boots. Hock then noticed what looked like an emblem which was heavily faded and scratched, but there was no mistake that it was a Decepticon emblem and it then clicked who this man was. "..you're Lockdown, a former Decepticon Assassin." he said, earning a nod from the former-Con. "That is correct. So, you have heard of me?" "Of course, with my line of work I have heard of and met many individuals such as yourself. But why are you here? If it is for work then I must apologise, for I am unable to offer anything…but I guess you can see that." Hock replied, his voice tinged with regret and self loathing. But Lockdown just stared back blankly before taking a step towards the broken arms dealer. "I am not here to find work. More so, I am here to offer you some." he replied, earning a confused expression from Hock. "I do not understand?" "In my time since the end of the Autobot/Decepticon civil War, I have worked for many such as yourself as well as men who do not ever wish to be identified. But never in that time was I ever tempted to join any of them permanently, that is until I met my current 'benefactor'." Lockdown said back before taking a metal sphere out from one of the pouches on his utility belt, which the former arms dealer had noticed and looked at. "And who is this benefactor, do I know them?" he asked while looking back to the former Decepticon, who merely smiled and let go of the sphere which floated between them both. "How about I just introduce you…and if I may give you a piece of advice, take what my benefactor has to offer because I doubt that there will be another chance in your lifetime." he said in a rather cryptic way, earning a curious look from Hock who looked down at the sphere which then activated and glowed with blue light. Suddenly a holographic projection appeared which revealed silhouette of whoever Lockdown's benefactor, but since it gave no hint of who exactly it was then it might as well have been their shadow. "Donavon Hock, I hope my associate has not caught you at a bad time?" the silhouette spoke, though the voice was heavily disguised and filtered as to not give away their identity. "Not at all, I was just…" Hock started to say back before the unknown person cut him off. "…hoping to drink yourself into oblivion so that your problems just disappear? You must know that will never happen." "Look, I am not looking for anyone's approval or pity for what I am doing. Just who the hell are you!" Donavon spat back in anger at the hologram. "I am someone who specialises in obtaining information from behind the 'shadows', I believe that is an adequate description of who I am." Hock's eyes widened as it dawned on him who he was dealing with right at this moment. "You're the 'Shadow Broker', aren't you? But there is no proof that you even exist," "That is correct. You must be wondering why I am speaking to you now?" the hologram replied. "Lockdown has told me you have an offer to make?" Hock said back, not even attempting to hide his curiosity at that moment. "Indeed I do. You see my organisation is moving into an expansion phase at this moment of time. And with the Federation and it's Autobots more focused on their conflict with the Predacons, there is no better time." the Shadow Broker's image replied, making Hock shake his head in return. "I do not see what this has to do with me.." "I wish to add you to my resources, since yours is a skill set I have been looking for, for some time. If you agree to my offer, then I will come to you first when I need weapons purchasing. You will receive a one hundred percent pay rise for your services, as well as all other bonuses that come with working for me." "I see, well that is a good deal." Hock replied with a thoughtful expression as he looked away. "Yes, it is. Plus, I will throw in an incentive. Just to show that I mean business." the Shadow Broker replied, regaining the Human's attention. "What incentive would that be?" "Well, I know of the embarrassment that happened to you not so long ago with the Autobots, they managed to infiltrate your home and liberate one of your assets. I bet your colleagues and customers thought a lot less of you after that." the Shadow Broker replied, earning a nod from Hock. "And you would be right." he said back as he looked at the ground in shame, the memories of the debacle playing back in his mind "Of course I am right, there has never been a moment when I have been wrong. So, I bet you would like to pay those Autobots back for what they did to you." the hologram replied, which made Hock look back with narrowed eyes. "I most certainly would like the opportunity." "So, do you accept my offer then?" the Shadow Broker said back with a knowing tone, gaining a nod from the Human. "Yes, I accept." "Excellent. I am looking forward to having you work for me. Now go with Lockdown, he will fill you in on the details of your first assignment, good-bye." the Shadow Broker replied before the hologram disappeared, with the sphere flying back into Lockdown's hand. "I knew you would make the right choice. Now, if you follow me." the former-Con replied, making Hock look at him with a curious expression. "Where are we going?" "To my ship of course. We already know where the Autobots responsible are located. We are going to attack and disable it, then a team of Mercs I have put together will board the Autobot ship.." Lockdown said before Hock cut him off. "Why are you boarding the ship, why not just destroy it?" "Because the Shadow Broker wants to capture the Asari who is among them." the former-Con replied, earning a confused look from Hock. "You mean 'my' Asari, I don't think so. I paid good money for her." "And you will be paid that back in full with more than enough extra for your troubles, Hock, This is not negotiable! Our Benefactor wants the Asari. And what he wants he gets. We will destroy the Autobot ship, so you will still witness their deaths." the Assassin said back with a commanding tone that put the arms dealer in his place. "I guess that will have to do, considering I would never get another chance." he said back in defeatist tone, earning a smile from Lockdown. "I am glad you can see reason, now let us be on our way." "One thing though, who is going in this team of yours?" Hock then asked as the pair left the balcony and walked through his apartment to the elevator on its far side, gaining the former-Con's attention as he pressed the recall button next to the door. "I have hired the same slavers who captured this Asari for you before since they have experience with her, as well as some individuals I prefer with me." Hock smiled as the door then opened and they both entered the elevator. "I see, well this will be interesting." he replied as the door closed and the apartment lights dimmed as it's sensors detected no one else in its vicinity, leaving it in complete darkness. PRIME EFFECT 4 Rip-Claw walked amongst the stations on the Nemesis's bridge, watching the Terracons at work. Since her failure at Omicron, the Femme had done her best to ensure that Lord Galvatron would not be given any more reason to assume she was of no more us to him and the Predacon cause. Only to complete the tasks he had given her to the best of her ability and not create waves, so that he would not notice the Femme. Also she had not even given a singular thought to Ser-Ket either, for as far as Rip-Claw was concerned, the two were no longer sisters let alone Predacons. The Femme walked in between the manned stations, only giving a passing interest in what the Terracons were doing as she collected her thoughts in herself. "Yes!" Galvatron exclaimed in a wildly joyous tone from the catwalk above, gaining the attention of Rip-Claw and the soldiers around her with everyone looking up to see the Predacon Leader standing next to the galaxy map, which was right now showing a blue and white planet. "My Lord?" the Femme asked with a curious tone, a few seconds past by before Galvatron turned round and looked down from the catwalk at her. "I have found it!" he said back with a smile, making her even more curious. "Found what, my Lord?" "Our 'final destination', the place where from where our ultimate victory will begin." 'This planet was the original home-world of the Aeonians.' he thought before returning his attention to Rip-Claw. "Find the others and make sure they all come here, I have an announcement to make." the Predacon Lord said back, gaining a nod from Rip-Claw before she tapped her com-link. "Shockblast, Lazerback, Blight, Vertebreak, Scorponok, Six-Shot. Meet myself and Lord Galvatron on the bridge ASAP." A few moments later and Galvatron stood at the galaxy map with most of his lieutenants standing behind him, except for the brothers. "My Lord, how long do we have to wait for the others?" Vertebreak asked, earning similar looks from his comrades as they all looked to their leader for an answer. "I am sure they will be…." he began to say in response, before the door at the far end of the bridge opened and revealed Shockblast to everyone. 'Shockwave…' Galvatron thought while the others looked more confused, as Lazerback took a step toward the late arrival. "Shockblast, where is your brother?" he asked, earning a cold and emotionless stare from the other, "…My brother is dead." he said back, making the other lieutenants whisper amongst themselves as they looked at each other in confusion. "What do you mean, Shockblast? Why is Six-Shot dead?" Galvatron replied with a confused tone, though had the others known any of the reality of what had really happened. Then they would have seen through the Predacon Lord's screen play, that he and Shockwave had concocted between them. "I killed him." the scientist Con said back, earning shocked expressions from the others while Galvatron fought to keep a smirk from his face. "Why did you kill him?" Lazerback asked. "Because I came across plans that he had on his personal terminal which outlined his intentions to kill our Liege and take command himself and when I confronted him about this, he attacked me and left me with no choice." Shockwave replied. "Well, its not like we haven't all seen his behaviour over the last few weeks." Rip-Claw replied, gaining nods from the others which made Galvatron's smile widen more as he looked over to Shockwave. 'They bought it, excellent.' he thought before shifting his expression to concerned as the others turned to face him again. "Thank you, Shockblast. You have done me a great service. It warms my spark to see that my lieutenants are watching my back as well as helping to our achieve my goals." "You are welcome, my Liege." the Con replied before looking at the hologram behind the Predacon Lord. "May I ask what you have found, Lord Galvatron?" he then asked, making everyone else look at their Leader with curious expressions. "Indeed you may, Shockblast. After looking through our navigational records, I have found where we must go next." he replied before stepping aside and letting the others see the holo-blue and green planet being emitted on the galaxy map. "This world is where we will find our victory, here on the planet which the database calls 'Virmire'." "Does this have anything to do with that blade you picked up on Scissio, my Lord?" Blight asked, gaining a nod from Galvatron who then unsheathed the Chaos Edge and held it before them all. "Yes, this blade, along with Jackson Prime's Matrix of Leadership, will activate an ancient Cybertronian Temple, which in turn will give us the power to crush all of our enemies and conquer this galaxy." The other Predacons just stared back in wonder as it dawned on them how soon this would all be over, Lazerback took a step towards Galvatron and raised his hand. "My Lord, what is our next move?" "The Nemesis will be heading for Virmire at the close of this meeting, and I want the entire fleet to join us there." "But, Lord Galvatron, since the rest of our ships do not possess their own space-bridge generator, it will take them at least a few days to reach Virmire via the nearest space-bridge." Rip-Claw replied, gaining a nod from the Predacon Lord. "Then you better tell them to make a start, now go back to your stations and prepare for the jump to Virmire…its time for us to embrace our destiny." The lieutenants all nodded before turning and walking away, leaving Galvatron and Shockwave alone at the galaxy map. "That was nicely played, Shockwave. They all bought it, like I knew they would." the Predacon Lord said back, earning a nod from the Decepticon. "You are welcome, my Liege, but now if I may ask to take my leave and return to my laboratory?" "Of course, I believe you should have received Ser-Ket by now." Galvatron said back as he turned back to the holo-image of Virmire. "That is correct, my Liege, and once her wounds are fully healed, I believe I have a way to make her a loyal soldier to you once more." Shockwave replied. "Very well, you may go." the Predacon Lord said in return, which made the Decepticon Scientist walk off towards the exit just as the Terracon manning the helm-station below looked up. "My Lord, coordinates are set, space-bridge generator primed. We are ready to move on your command." "The command is given. Take us to Virmire." Galvatron replied as he stared out at the void beyond the glass canopy in front of him, earning a nod from the Terracon who then worked the holo-interface of his station. Then suddenly a bright green vortex opened and expanded before the Nemesis before it flew head first into it and flash of bright green light later, the ship found itself before the blue and green world of Virmire, on the other side of the galaxy. "Excellent, now take us into orbit and start making sensor sweeps of the planet. I want to know if we can locate the Infinite Combinatoric." the Predacon leader said as he looked down at the world below him through the glass canopy. "Sir, I am not reading any anomalous energy readings from the planet. The temple is obviously offline right now." another Terracon spoke from the right side of Galvatron below the catwalk. "Then I guess we will have to wait for the rest of the fleet to arrive, then we should be able to locate the temple with our increased sensor range and depth." the Predacon Lord replied, earning a nod from the Terracon manning the sensors station. "Yes, my Lord, but I am detecting a small area of the planet which is blanketed in radiation." "That is of no concern to us, it is nothing but a foot print left from the early days of the Reaper Conflict. Pay it no mind." Galvatron said back before looking down at the Communications station. "Has the rest of the fleet been notified of our location?" "Yes, Lord Galvatron, we have used the new communication frequencies and the entirety of our fleet will be here inside of three days." the Terracon there replied, earning a smile from the Con leader. "Excellent, and with the Autobots unaware of our location. That leaves us with all the time in the world to find the temple and activate it." he said to himself as he looked back out at the planet below, his smiling face looking back via his reflection from the canopy. PRIME EFFECT 4 Hock stood in the CIC aboard Lockdown's ship, looking impressed at his surroundings as he watched the Mechs working at the room's various terminals. They looked very similar to the standard LOKI Mechs that were being used as a security measure around the galaxy, yet this model looked more armoured with a more humanoid physique. "I do not believe that I have ever seen this type of Mech, Lockdown." he said as he looked over to the former Decepticon who was sitting in the Commander's chair, overseeing the rest of the CIC. "They are a special design that the Shadow Broker gained possession of and feels are necessary to the operation of 'his' ever expanding organisation." he replied, though with a hint of uncertainty in his voice. This did not go unnoticed by Hock as he glanced back at the lifeless robots "You don't sound like you really accept this." he said, gaining Lockdown's attention. "I'm am not a fan of androids, they are programmed with only the data that is needed for them to complete their given tasks. I prefer people who can think and adapt to whatever situation is thrust upon them." "I find that an interesting view, considering how you and your species began." Hock replied with a knowing look, making the former Decepticon stare back with narrowed eyes. "We Cybertronians are nothing like these walking tin-men, we were all 'born' sentient. With the ability to choose our own paths in life, even if the dogmatic caste system that the original High Council had put in place led to the very Civil war that destroyed our home world. Since that bloody chapter of our history was put to an end, we have lived with a greater freedom to pursue paths which seemed only like a dream originally. So don't go labelling myself and others of my species alongside these walking circuit boards." "Forgive me, I meant no disrespect." Hock replied while taking a step back from the Assassin before looking back around the room. "Why don't we have a canopy here, so that we can see what's outside?" he then asked, trying to change the subject which made Lockdown smirk in return. "My vessel requires no canopy, for a view screen will appear when it is required." Then one of the Mechs turned around and looked over to both men, lifeless red optics staring at them. "Sir, we are approaching the target." "Target?" Hock said back with a confused tone, but Lockdown ignored him and looked straight ahead. "On screen." Suddenly a blue holo-screen appeared on the wall before them, showing an Autobot frigate flying just in front of them." "Wait, is that?" the arms dealer asked, earning a nod from Lockdown. "That is the 'Normandy', the very ship that belongs to the Autobots who embarrassed you and the Asari that the Shadow Broker wants us to capture." "How did we reach it so fast? I did not feel us jump to hyperspace. And how have they not detected us, we are right behind them?" The former Decepticon smiled before nodding to one of the Mechs at his right. "This vessel is equipped with both a Space-bridge generator and a stealth system, the same as the Normandy." Hock listened while staring back out at the Autobot ship, still amazed that they were so close to them. "How…" he began to say before the Lockdown cut him off. "Lets just say that our benefactor has a way of getting his hands on the tech and equipment we require." "You keep calling the Shadow Broker a 'he', how do you know that?" Hock then asked with a knowing look, "I have never met the Shadow Broker, only one person in our organisation has had the honour of meeting 'him'." "And who is that?" the Human asked back with a curious tone to the former Decepticon. "Agent Zero. She alone is the Shadow Broker's most trusted confidante. She has told me that our Leader is a 'he'." "And you believe her? Who is this Agent Zero?" "It is not my place to reveal her identity to you, that should come from her when you meet. Anyway, that is enough questions for now." Lockdown replied as the doors behind them opened and a human and a Batarian entered the CIC. "We are nearly ready, Lockdown. I am looking forward to seeing that Asari again." the latter said before noticing Hock. "Mr. Hock, looks like we will be working together again." "Yes, Varas, and what of you, Kane?" the arms dealer said as he looked over to the bald Human in rusty black armour. "I am just looking forward to getting paid, so lets get on with it." he said back, making Lockdown shake his head in return. "No, Slaver, we will go when I say so. So for the time being, just be ready." the former Decepticon replied as one of the Mechs turned to him. "Commander, we have Agent Zero on hold for your attention." "I will take it in my quarters." he said as he got up and walked out of the room, leaving Hock and the slavers in the CIC. Once in his personal quarters Lockdown activated his terminal, a glowing blue inter-face appeared before him as he activated the audio transmission. "Agent Zero, Lockdown here." "The Shadow Broker wishes to know your status, Lockdown." the female agent replied. Earning a knowing look from the Assassin. "Like he is not already aware of how our operation is proceeding. So I have to ask...why are you really contacting me?" "Do you really trust these men you are working with?" the Agent asked back with an inquisitive tone. "About as much as I trust these Mechs I have been burdened with, Zero, but I will see this mission completed and the Asari brought back to base." he replied. "So why do I sense a feeling on uncertainty from you then?" she said back. "What does the Shadow Broker want with this Liara T'Soni? There is nothing special about her what so ever, unless you count her being the daughter of Matriarch Benezia." "It's not our place to question why the Shadow Broker wants, just that he gets it. I am sure he has good reasons for wanting the Asari. Now do your duty and attack the Normandy, Agent Zero out." And with that the transmission fizzled out, leaving the Assassin to his thoughts before he tapped his com-link. "CIC, this is Lockdown. Take us to battle-stations and prepare for the attack." he then said before the lighting around him changed to red and battle siren blared out of the ship's intercom as he walked over to the exit and headed for the CIC. PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile, the crew of the Normandy continued to perform their duties to the best of their abilities, but after what had happened on Scissio you could see that their moral had been hit hard. Both Grunt and Quickstrike were in the Medical-Bay getting patched up, all they could do was watch crewmen walk past the room as they sat on their separate berths. Neither had said anything as they sat there, not even to the nurses who were dressing their wounds at that point. But then Red-Alert walked in from the operating theatre, gaining the attention of both men. "How's the Commander and Smokescreen?" the Blonde Bot asked, beating the Krogan to it as he simply looked at the Doctor. "Commander Rodimus will recover, if Liara had not stopped the bleeding when she did, then it would have been a different story. And as for Smokescreen, I have removed the bullet and patched him up. Both men won't be leaving their berths any time soon, so we will monitor their conditions and keep them comfortable. As for you two, I'll be letting you return to duty as soon as the Nurses have finished." the Femme replied as she placed a pad she was holding down on table nearby before looking back at the Blonde Bot. "Where is Orion? I have seen Liara, Nightracer and the two of you. He is the last one left." "Orion was in the CIC since he is next in line to take command in Rodimus's absence. He is taking the defeat pretty hard." "Well, I told Rodimus to kill Galvatron when we had him dead to rights but he paused, this would never have happened if he had listened to me and Smokescreen." Grunt replied with hint of anger in his voice, making Quickstrike look back and narrow his eyes at the Krogan. "That doesn't matter now, does it? It happened, save your anger for the Predacons." the Blonde Bot said back, making Grunt bare his teeth and get of the berth before the Nurse had finished. "What did you just say? I couldn't hear you from over there." he said, barely hiding his angry tone as he walked over to Quickstrike. "I'm saying that criticising our friend and Commander isn't helping our situation, so why don't you just shut up." the Blonde Bot said back, earning a growl from the Krogan as he walked right up to the Autobot and stared him in the eye. "You dare speak to me like that!" he spat while slamming his closed fist on the berth Quickstrike was sitting on, he could feel the power in the hit as it made the berth vibrate. But the Autobot just sat there and looked back, as inside he held his breath while Red-Alert could do nothing but watch in shock. "I'm trying to talk some sense into you. You're hurt and angry and ready to lash out." "That's it!" Grunt then roared as he threw a punch at the blonde Autobot, but it stopped just millimetres from his face as blue energy surrounded the fist. The pair looked over to the door to find Liara standing there, she had her left hand stretched out before her which too was glowing with biotic energy. "What in the Goddess's name is going on here?" she spat in an uncharacteristic show of anger as she stared at Grunt, who looked as shocked as everyone else. "…these two were about to leave now, as their wounds have been tended too and patched up." Red-Alert replied as she finally found her composure due to the Asari's appearance, earning a nod from Grunt as Liara released his hand. He then took one look back to the operating theatre before storming out of the room. "Thanks, Liara." Quickstrike replied as he got off his berth and prepared to leave the room, earning a gesture to stop from her. "Grunt is just upset from the fact that both his friends nearly died today." she said back in her more characteristically calm tone, gaining a nod from the blonde Bot. "I know, still thanks for the save. Anyway, why are you here?" he said back, earning a curious look from Red-Alert. "Yes, I treated you already, Liara." she said in return. "I was looking for Orion, I thought he would be down here by now." the Asari replied. "No, we haven't seen him since we got back on board. I thought he was in the CIC." Quickstrike added, making Liara shake her head in return. "No, he was not there when I went to see him just now. So, I thought I would check here…." she answered before the inter-com activated, cutting her off. "Red-Alert, this is the Communications station. We have a transmission for you from Autobot Command." a female crewman said, gaining a nod from the Femme. "Okay, put it through. I'm sorry, Liara." "Of course." the Asari replied before going quiet and letting the Doctor deal with the transmission. "Red-Alert, this is Admiral Hackett." a grizzly voiced older man spoke back over the inter-com, gaining a curious look from the Femme. "Admiral? Please forgive my bluntness, but what can I do for you? I have a lot on my plate right now." "I have read the report that was sent back to me about the mission, and I hope Commander Rodimus and Smokescreen make a quick recovery. God knows we will need them and everyone else on board the Normandy in the days to come, but I have news for you about Long-Arm." Hearing that name made both Red-Alert and Quickstrike's attention heighten. "Long-Arm!" the Blonde Bot replied, gaining a look from the Femme. "You know my boyfriend? She asked with an inquisitive look. "Yes, we became friends while serving on Omicron. He and I helped some civilians escape when the Predacons attacked, he flew the shuttle away." he answered before turning his attention to the Admiral's transmission. "That is correct, Quickstrike. I guess this is for you too." the Admiral said before going silent for a moment. "Admiral, what is it?" Red-Alert said back, the tone of her voice becoming agitated at his silence. "There is no easy way for me to tell you this…." Hackett then said, which made the sparks of both Red-Alert and Quickstrike suddenly go heavy. "…but I am sorry to have to tell you that Long-Arm is dead." the Admiral finished, which made the Femme collapse into the chair that was behind her as the entire world shattered around her. "What!" Quickstrike replied with a mixture of confusion and anger in his voice while Liara looked on in shocked silence. "The Autobot cruiser 'Wrecker's Fist' found the shuttle adrift in the middle of the Ondeste system while searching for Predacon vessels. Everyone on board had died of exposure to the vacuum of space. The shuttle had suffered damage from what appears to have been a fire fight and had simply lost power." Hackett continued, but his words became background noise to Red-Alert who was had become lost in her own thoughts as she tried to comprehend the reality that just been dropped on her. "I don't know what to say." Quickstrike replied in a shocked tone, as he too found the news hard to bare before turning towards the Medical-Bay's exit. "I have…I have to go." he said as walked out of the room, his mind filled with thoughts of his fallen friend which also brought back similar thoughts of Ser-Ket. This left Liara and Red-Alert with the Nurses in the room. "…Admiral, I would like to be alone now…if you don't mind." she said while fighting back the tears that were beginning to form around her eyes. "I understand, Red-Alert. Again, I am very sorry for you loss. Hackett out." the Admiral replied before the inter-com went silent. "Everyone….take a…break please, I would like to be alone." the Doctor said, earning sympathetic looks from her staff. "We understand, Doctor, but what about…" one started to say, but the Femme cut her off suddenly. "The Commander and Smokescreen are out of danger. I will monitor them…now, please go." she said again, this time with a slightly aggravated tone to her voice while she barely held back her grief. So the Nurses nodded in return before leaving the Medical-Bay, as Liara took a step towards the Femme. "Red-Alert, I am so sorry for your loss. If you ever need to talk, then I am here for you….because I know what your going through." she said in a sympathetic and experienced tone, gaining a nod from the Autobot Doctor. "Thank you, Liara, but for right now….I would prefer to be alone." she said back in a respectful tone, earning a understanding expression from the Asari. "Okay." was all she said back before walking out of the room, leaving Red-Alert on her own and there and then the Femme just let go of her control and began to bawl out there and then with her head in her hands, tears running down her face as she let her grief take over. Liara though continued to look for Orion, and though she did not want to leave Red-Alert alone, in-fact the Asari wanted to do the exact opposite. But she knew from personal experience that did not always help, so she refocused on her original task and that was to find the ship's suddenly illusive XO, and she felt as though she knew where to look. Orion sat in his quarters, his desk covered in data pads with the Star-Saber lying over them. The lighting was on a low setting as he tended to his cuts and bruises. He also had used syringes of Medi-gel lying around, which he had used to heal any damaged bones and organs that he may have suffered from due to his fight with Galvatron. But after he finished dressing the last of his wounds, the young Darby just sat there and sighed before his attention was caught by his door chiming. 'Great, who is it now?' he thought before looking over to the door. "Orion, it's Liara." The Autobot suddenly felt a little better knowing that it wasn't any other member of the crew and got up from his chair. "Open." he said, which made the door slide open and allow the Asari to enter, her eyes immediately falling upon the Blue haired Bot. "Orion, what are you doing in here. You should be in the CIC." she asked with a concerned tone. "I came here to think and to tend to my wounds. Basically, to get away for a moment." he said back in an honest tone. "But with Rodimus incapacitated, that puts you in command. You should be out there, where everyone can see you. To give them hope that all is not lost and so not lose themselves to despair." Liara replied as the Bot sat back down in his chair and gave her a knowing look. "I'm sorry, Liara, but I screwed up." he said back before looking away, making the Asari walk over and kneel in front of him. "How did you screw up, Orion? Because the way I remember it, Galvatron defeated us all." she asked with a serious expression. "I had the opportunity to finish Galvatron off, but I was so consumed with anger for what he had done to Rodimus….that I lost control and gave that Predacon the advantage." he said back with a guilt-laden tone. "Orion, we all make mistakes." "Yeah, but I have made more than a few already, which I have yet to learn from." he then spat back as he got up and walked over to the other side of the room, surprising Liara who stood up too. "What do you mean?" "If it is not my anger, then it is my over-confidence. I still don't see why that blade chose me." he said as he looked back at the dormant Star-Saber lying over his desk, and Liara looked down at the blade too before refocusing her attention on the blue haired man. "Orion, the Star-Saber obviously sees something in you that is worthy of it, or else it would never have let you hold it. Nobody is perfect, I know for a fact that your Father and Optimus before him made mistakes too. You shouldn't beat yourself up for it, for no Leader is infallible." she replied while moving over to his side. "But everyone out there is expecting me to know what to do and how to react." he then said back while looking back at the Asari directly in the eyes. "But you have been in command before during this mission." she replied, making Orion shake his head in return. "No, I have always been support for my Commanding Officer. I never wanted to be in command myself, and now this has happened and I find myself as lost as we are all feeling..." he replied as the Asari just watched and listened intently. "...Because the truth is I have no idea what I am supposed to do, or even any idea on what I can do." Liara though raised her hand up to his face, gently brushing her fingers against his cheek. "Orion, I know this is hard for you…as it is for all of us. But your crew needs you right now, because while Rodimus is bed stricken, your all they have left and you need to be strong for them. Now I know you can do this…..and so does that." she said back while pointing down at the Star-Saber, making the Bot sigh in response before looking back at her. "You don't give up, do you?" he asked earning a slight smile from Liara. "On you, never." Orion smiled back as he took a breath and regained his composure, before taking the Asari's hand in his own. "You know, I can't imagine what my life would be like without you in it, Liara." he suddenly confessed, which made her heart warm as she smiled back. "I feel the same about you, Orion." "I don't know exactly when it happened, but I want you to know that I am glad it did." he said back as the two began to lean in closer to each other. "Orion…" she started to say before she felt his breath on her lips as they were now just millimetres apart, until she then closed the distance as they kissed. From the instance their lips met, everything else melted away as they lost themselves in each other. Orion wrapped his arms around Liara's waist and pulled her close, the Asari moaned into the kiss as she did the same. Nothing else existed for the pair at this time as time itself appeared to slow to a standstill, suddenly the Normandy was rocked by what felt like an explosion. "What the hell was that?" Orion said as the pair pulled away in surprise, Liara giving him an equally confused expression. "I don't know, felt like something hit us." she replied as the Blue haired Bot tapped his com-link. "Orion to CIC, report!" he said in suddenly commanding tone, all the doubt and insecurity that had plagued him moments earlier now gone. "Orion, we are under attack. An unknown ship just appeared behind us and open fired." Jetstorm replied, as the battle-stations siren blared out around the pair. "Take evasive action, we are on our…..." the young Darby began to say, before being cut off as the ship was rocked by another explosion. "Damn it, they just took out our engines. We are dead in the water." the pilot replied, earning a look of shock from Orion as he stared at Liara before picking up the Star-Saber. "Let's go." Meanwhile, on board Lockdown's ship. The Assassin was in the Commander's chair watching the Normandy begin to drift on the view-screen as Hock and Varas stood either side of him. "They never saw us coming." Hock said with an impressed tone, while both Lockdown and Varas ignored him. "The Normandy has been crippled." one of the Mechs then said, earning a smile from the former Decepticon. "Good, latch on to the enemy ship and prepare to dock." he said back as he stood up and looked at the Batarian. "Varas, have your team ready. Our sensors have picked up a single Asari life sign at this section of the Normandy, so we will dock there and breach the hull for you to board and capture her." "What will you be doing?" Hock asked back, feeling somewhat cut out of the plan. "I will use a Ground-bridge to enter their shuttle-bay and plant an explosive device there, then we will destroy the ship remotely once everyone is back on board." Lockdown replied while looking back at the arms dealer. "You can watch the entire operation unfold from here, Hock." "May I sit in your chair?" the human asked, earning an eye roll from the Assassin as he turned his back to him. "Do as you wish, just remember who's ship it is. Let's go." he then said before he and Varas left the CIC and Hock made himself comfortable in the Commander's chair. Back on the Normandy, the crew worked frantically either at their stations or putting out the fires in the CIC as Jetstorm remained at post just as Quickstrike joined him in the cockpit. "What the hell just happened?" he asked, while Jetstorm kept his attention on his holo-interface. "We are under attack, I just informed Orion and he is on his way to the CIC as we speak." "Where is the enemy now?" the Blonde Bot said in return, making the pilot type the holo-keys in front of him and bring up the sensor screen which hissed with static every now and then. "Damn it, all systems are messed up. But…" the Autobot replied as he saw the red dot moving up alongside them. "Looks like they are planning to board us…" he added with a tinge of shock in his voice, earning a serious expression from Quickstrike. "Can you tell me where?" he said back, gaining a nod from Jetstorm before typed away and made a projected course appear on of the many holo-screens surrounding the pilot. "The crew deck, starboard section….where Orion is." "Right, tell Orion. I will get the others and meet him there." the Blonde Bot said back before turning around and making his way back to the CIC. "Wait…" Jetstorm then shouted, regaining the Bot's attention. "I am picking up a ground-bridge opening in the shuttle-bay." "Damn it! Okay, I am on my way down there. Have anyone nearby meet me there and tell Orion what is happening." Quickstrike said back before heading back into the CIC, earning a nod from the pilot. "Aye aye." he said as he returned his attention to his holo-interface. On the crew deck, Orion and Liara exited his quarters and entered the corridor which was still basked in red light from the battle-stations siren which continued to blare out. "We need to find the others and figure out our next move." the Blue haired Bot said, gaining a nod from the Asari. "Orion, Jetstorm here." the pilot then spoke through the com-link, which Orion then reconfigured so Liara could hear it to. "I'm here with Liara, what's our status?" the Bot replied as they stopped in the center of the corridor. "We are being boarded, Quickstrike is rallying the others to join him in the shuttle-bay since a ground-bridge vortex has been detected there." the pilot said back. "Alright, we will meet them there." the young Darby replied, earning a nod from Liara. "I don't think you will have time for that, Orion." Jetstorm said, gaining curious looks from both the Bot and Asari. "What do you mean?" she asked back. "Because whoever the enemy ship is, they are attempting to dock with us…at your location!" the pilot said and as if on cue, the ship again shook as the strain on the hull could be heard around the pair. "Roger that." Orion replied as he readied his pistol and Liara clenched her fists, before the wall in front of them suddenly exploded and knocked the two onto their backs. Everything went fuzzy for a moment as the Autobot Spectre heard ringing in his ears as he attempted to get back to his feet, and the Asari experience similar feelings as she looked ahead at the large hole which had been blown open in the wall. Her sight was somewhat blurry, but she could just make out several figures as they stepped out onto the deck. "There she is, Boys, right where they said she would be." a voice spoke out, which made her eyes widen in shock before anger took over. For this was a voice that she recognised and thought she would never hear again as she sat up and looked at the new arrivals, just as he eyes regained focus to see the Batarian and his Salvers. "You!" she spat, earning a smile from Varas. "She remembers us, isn't that precious. Get her, Boys!" he then said, as the other armoured men rushed at her. But Liara's heart and blood began to boil with anger as her mind became overrun with memories of her time as their prisoner, empowering her and heightening her biotics. This made her glow with energy as she launched herself at the Slavers, just as Orion recovered and looked back in confusion and shock. "Liara!" he shouted back as he saw her fight with the armoured men, earning curious looks from the Batarian and the other Human standing next to him. "Who's that, Varas?" Kane asked, earning a shrug from his boss. "Who cares, kill him." Varas replied, to which the Human Slaver raised his weapon at Orion and smiled before pulling the trigger. But Orion managed to use the Star-Saber to deflect the shot, to his own amazement and that of the Slavers. "What the…how did he?" Kane asked before firing three more shots which the Blue haired Bot deflected with ease, gaining a confident smile from him. "Take him out the old fashioned way….while I deal with our Asari." Varas replied before activating holo-armour around his body and walking towards Liara who finished with the last of the soldiers. Kane nodded as he activated his holo-sabers, each one looking like a Katana before he took a fighting stance. Orion did the same before they both charged at each other, meanwhile Liara dropped the last soldier to the floor and looked back to see Varas walking over to her, a look of utter glee on his face as he licked his lips. "I was hoping we would see each other again, my Dear. There is so much more you could 'learn' from me." he said back in a slimy manner, earning a look of utter disdain and hate from the Asari. "I'll never let you or any Slaver touch me again!" she spat while taking on a defensive stance and began glowing with biotic energy, making the Batarian's smile widen even more. "Oh, I will touch you, and make you feel it." he said back before launching himself at her. Meanwhile, Lockdown and his Mechs were already in the shuttle-bay and planting the large explosive device in the center of the large room, just as Quickstrike, Nightracer, Shen and Grunt entered. "Autobots!" the Assassin shouted before firing back at the group, making them scatter and take cover behind nearby cargo containers as several of his Mechs joined in. Nightracer fired back before her eyes widened as she recognised the enemy leader. "Can't be." she said, gaining a curious expression from Quickstrike. "What?" he asked before firing several shots back at the Mechs, blowing the head off one as he did so. "That's Lockdown." she simply said back, earning a shrug from the Blonde Bot. "Who's that?" Grunt said back, beating him to it. "He was a Decepticon, I remember my mother telling me about him from her Con days." she replied before taking another shot at the robot soldiers. "Whoever he is, let's kick him off our ship," Shen said back before putting down three more of the Mechs, gaining nods from his friends as they all fired simultaneously. This barrage of gunfire made Lockdown hide behind the heavily armoured bomb while the remaining Mechs were annihilated. "That's what I have come to expect from Autobots." he said to himself with a measure of respect in his voice before bringing up his holo-tool and activating the bomb, a timer on it then lit up and revealed a three minute countdown. "You're outgunned and outmatched, surrender." Nightracer called out, earning a sigh from the former Decepticon as he threw his gun aside and stood up from behind the device. He looked at the group and smiled as he recognised the Femme. "You must be Slipstream's daughter. I would recognise those eyes anywhere." he said back, earning a surprised expression from Nightracer who kept her gun on him as the others took positions around the Assassin. "Lockdown,…you're under arrest." she replied, making him smirk back in an unconvinced manner. "Really? I don't really feel threatened at all, if that's what you're trying to achieve." he said back, making Grunt grit his teeth and let off a low growl. "We can change that." he said back, but the former Decepticon ignored him and continued to look at Nightracer. "So what now?" he said back, though his expression was that of someone who did not care. "Who are you working for?" she asked back in a firm tone. "Is it the Predacons?" Quickstrike quickly added, gaining a knowing look from Lockdown. "I work for someone who wants you all out of the way, that's all I…." he began to say before his com-link activated. "That's the bitch that broke my nose! Kill her!" Hock suddenly screamed, earning a slight grimace from the Assassin as his ears felt that one. "In good time." he replied calmly, earning confused looks from the Autobots. "Who are you talking to?" Shen asked while keeping his pistol aimed at the former Con. "Never mind that…." he said before looking around himself. "…Can you hear that?" he then added, making the Autobots glance at each other with further confused expressions. "Can we hear wh…" Quickstrike said back before he suddenly heard a low beeping coming from the large device next to them, so he looked down at it and saw the timer counting down. "Oh shit! It's a bomb!" he exclaimed earning the looks of the others as they looked down at the device, earning a smile from the Assassin as a ground-bridge portal opened up behind him. "Yes, it is. Have fun." Lockdown replied before stepping backwards into the portal which then closed before anyone could retaliate, leaving the group standing there with the explosive device counting down. Back on the crew deck, Orion and Liara continued their fight with the Slavers as the Blue haired Bot got the upper hand on Kane, side kicking the human Merc in the side before grabbing his arm and throwing him to the ground hard. The Spectre then turned his attention to the Asari and her adversary, with him lunging with his holo-blade only for her to evade with a biotic charge which made her dash to his right in the blink of an eye. She then grabbed his free arm and broke it, which made Varas cry out in pain before she got him in a head lock and kicked at his leg, causing him to fall to his knees. "You Bitch!" he said back while blood filled his mouth. "I'm going to make you pay for that!" he continued while the Asari tightened her grip around his neck, a look of complete calmness on her face at this moment. "No…you won't hurt anyone ever again." she replied before then snapping his neck and silencing him once and for all, earning a look of surprise from Orion as she dropped the body to the floor in a heap. "Liara?" The Asari looked back before Kane regained both their attention, as he got back to his feet. "One more to go!" she then replied as the Human Slaver's com-link activated. "Have you secured the Asari?" Lockdown spoke, making Kane shake his head while stepping backwards from the pair. "Negative, our team is down and Varas is dead." he said back. "Scrap! Get back to the ship. I know of another way to secure her." the former Decepticon replied, earning a nod from the Human as he then equipped a flash bang grenade and threw it down to the ground between himself and the pair, which made Orion grab Liara and pull her towards him just before the device exploded into a blinding light. "Orion." she said back in surprise before the light faded and the couple opened their eyes to find themselves alone in the corridor. "You okay?" he asked as they looked at each other. "Yes, but what about…" she started to say, making Orion cup her face in his hands and look her in the eyes. "They were after you, Liara. There's no point running onto their ship and into what's obviously a trap." he said back calmly, earning a nod from her as she held on to him tightly before he looked down at the dead slavers, including Varas. "These were the Slavers that…." he started to say before Liara cut him off. "Yes! Yes, they are." she said back as he felt her physically shake in his arms, so he held her so close to his chest, the Bot swore that he could feel her heart beat. "I completely agree with what you did, Liara, and I swear we will get the rest of them. No one hurts…my girl." he then found himself saying, making the Asari pull back enough to look him in the eyes with a curious expression. "Your girl?" she asked back, almost making Orion blush as he sighed. "Oh…yeah. I just thought since we did kiss…uh.." he started to say before she interrupted him by placing a finger on his lips and smiling at him, he blue eyes glistening as he found himself lost in them. "I like that…" she said back as they leaned in for a kiss, but suddenly the ship shook around them again as the sounds of something dislodging itself caught Orion's attention, making him look back at the hole in the wall. "Scrap, we have to move now!" he said as he gripped Liara's hand tight and the two ran for the adjourning corridor, picking up the Star-Saber as they ran past. The pair made it to the corridor just as the ship's atmosphere started to escape through the gaps being created from the unknown ship, with Orion bringing up his holo-tool and creating a force-field that blocked off their corridor from the other just as the enemy craft pulled away and exposed said area to the vacuum of space. "That was close." Liara said with a breath of relief as she and Orion looked on as the dead bodies were sucked through the hole in the hull and out of sight. "Orion to CIC, come in." the Blue haired Bot then said into his com-link, but the only reply he received was static. Meanwhile, Lockdown re-entered the CIC of his ship and gestured for Hock to get out of his chair, all the while never taking his eyes off the Normandy which once again began to drift through the void in front of them. "We have successfully broken off from the Normandy." the Mech manning the helm stated, earning a grin from the former Decepticon. "Locate and target the section where the Asari life-sign is." he replied, earning a look of confusion from Hock as he stood there and watched. "What are you doing?" he asked, but Lockdown ignored him and focused on the view screen. "Arm one low-yield torpedo and prepare a Ground-bridge portal, targeted several feet outside that part of the Normandy to open several seconds after launch." he added, gaining nods from the Mechs at both the weapons and helm stations. "Area targeted, weapons armed." one replied. "Ground-bridge ready." the other added. "Fire!" Lockdown then commanded, as the Mech pressed one mechanical finger down on it's holo-interface. With that the ship fired the glowing red torpedo which hurtled towards the stricken Normandy and impacted the hull, causing an explosion which ripped that section apart. Suddenly, everything that happened next did so extremely fast for Orion and Liara as the ceiling over them was ripped open and exposing them both to open space. Orion instinctively embedded the Star-Saber into the ground as he held tightly on to his lover, as they both suddenly felt like they were in the middle of a hurricane as the atmosphere was sucked out of the gaping hole over them and pulled their feet from beneath them. The pair felt the extreme pressure of the vacuum of space yanking at their bodies as the Spectre held on to the hilt of the Star-Saber for dear life. "Don't let go, Liara, the emergency force fields will kick in soon." he shouted back, gaining a nod from the Asari as she tightened her grip around his body while he did the same. But the force at which the Bot was fighting against was too much for him, and he could feel his strength beginning to fail him. 'No, I can't…I won't let us die….come on force-field, activate already.' he thought as his grasp started to slip slightly from the hilt of the Star-Saber which at this time was the only thing anchoring him and his Asari lover to the Normandy. But as another few seconds passed, the force field still did not activate and the blue haired Bot felt his body fail. "I'm sorry." he said before his grip completely slipped and he and Liara were sucked out of the gaping hole in the Normandy hull and out into space. But just as the pair felt the air vacate their lungs rather violently, a bright green vortex opened up and swallowed them whole before closing just as quickly. Lockdown smiled as he tapped his com-link while watching the action on the CIC's main view-screen. "Do we have them and are they alive?" he asked before a familiar voice spoke back to him. "Yes, Lockdown. And they are alive, if slightly frost-bitten." "Good, get them to the Infirmary and deal with their wounds. But don't let them out of your sight Thane, don't screw this second chance up or you know what the consequences will be." the former Decepticon replied before ending the transmission. "So what now? When does the Normandy blow?" Hock asked, which made Lockdown look down at his holo-tool and read the timer that was currently counting down on it's small screen. "It's several seconds away, Hock, take a look…" he replied before looking over to the Mech manning the helm. "Bring us about and take us away from the Normandy, and set the view-screen to aft view." The Mech nodded and did what he was asked as the screen showed them turning away before suddenly making the Autobot ship appear again and get smaller as it continued to drift through space. "Its about time.." the arms dealer then said as he watched the Normandy drift further away before suddenly exploding in a massive fireball, which made him smile from ear to ear, earning a curious look from Lockdown. "I suppose you are happy now?" he replied with Hock nodding in return while keeping his attention on the explosion, savouring every second of it. "Yes, that was well worth it." "Good, then let's get moving. Helm, set a course for the 'home'." Lockdown said as he leaned back in his chair as the view-screen switched back to the front view just in time to witness a space-bridge vortex open up and envelope the ship in green light.
  7. CHAPTER XXXII As the MAKO traversed the grass covered plains, following the tracks left by Galvatron and his own vehicle. Orion sat in the driver's seat and controlled the heavily armoured tank via it's holo-interface directly in front of him, Liara sat beside him in the passenger's seat while Nightracer and Quickstrike were located behind them. "Orion, you're noticing this too, right?" the Asari asked while gesturing to environment they were passing through, earning a curious look from the Spectre. "If you mean how the vegetation is slowly disappearing around us, yes I have noticed this Liara." he replied as both looked at the monitors in front of them, showing the greenery which had been so prominent when they had arrived on Scissio slowly decaying to brown and grey rock and dirt. "It must be something to do with the energy signal, which is getting stronger the more with close on it." Orion replied as he saw the environment they were passing through become even more desolate and lifeless, with the hilly terrain being replaced with a mountainous region. "Er… ,Guys, you noticing that?" Quickstrike asked as he pointed at one monitor, which was showing the outskirts of one set of small mountains that stretches across the horizon and yet had a curvature to it. "I can't see the readouts from your console, Orion, but my guess is that energy signature is coming from over those mountains ahead of us." the blond Bot added, making his cousin who look down at the sensors before nodding back. "Yeah, that's where it is coming from. So I say we take this a little closer and then carry on by foot, hiding the MAKO behind one of those rock formations at their base." "Good idea, the mountains are not shaped like what we have come to expect from mountains. I just ran a scan of the area ahead, it seems that this region was created from what looks like to me like an earthquake, one that started from where ever this energy signal is located and spread outwards." Liara replied as she focused on the holo-interface before her. "Like when a tsunami is formed in an ocean?" Nightracer asked, gaining a nod from the Asari. "Exactly, a very powerful event must have occurred just over those mountains that changed the environment to what it is now." "And now Galvatron wants to get his hands on it." Quickstrike added, earning a serious expression from his cousin who looked back at the others. "Let's make sure he doesn't then." he said as the MAKO continued to close in on the location. Meanwhile, just ahead of them. Galvatron sat in side passenger's seat of his MAKO with Lazerback in the drivers seat and looking at the holo-displays in front, while the other Predacons took up the aft section of the vehicle. Their journey was almost over as the MAKO reached the top, which made the Predacon's eyes widen as he stared at the image on the screen. For what it was like nothing he had seen before, as in front of the vehicle was an massive impact crater several miles wide. The mountain they had climbed was actually no mountain, but instead the crater's ejecta which ran it's entire circumfrance. "That's unbelievable." Lazerback said, while the other Predacons and Terracons got up from their seats to look at the images appearing on the monitors. "That is some powerful scrap that made that." Darksteel replied, earning a dark grin from Galvatron. "And it will be mine. Lazerback, take us down to it's center now." he then added, gaining a nod from the Predacon as the MAKO drove down into the depths of the crater. Several minutes later and the vehicle came to a abrupt stop, it's wheels kicking up some dust in the process before the access hatch on it's side opened up and Galvatron climbed out and took in his surroundings. For he was now standing in the Bottom of crater which was that deep, it had blocked out the sunlight and cooled the air around him and his Predacons. "Chilly." Blight said as he saw his own breath in front of him while he and the others climbed out and joined their Leader. But Galvatron merely ignored his men as his attention was caught by what was directly in the center of the sunk-in area only a few metres away. "There it is." he said while looking at two swords embedded in the ground blade first, one was rusty and ancient, looking somewhat familiar to Galvatron yet he could not put his finger on why, while the other pulsed with a red energy that was flowing down the engraved patterns on it's blade. "What in the pit...why is there two swords embedded at the center of this crater?" Lazerback asked with a confused tone, while his leader walked closer to the blades. "My Lord, perhaps you should keep your distance. We know nothing of..." Vertabreak said with a worried tone, but Galvatron continued toward the blades, reaching out his hand to the hilt of the red one. "There is nothing to fear, I know what I am doing." he replied while never taking his eyes off the sword. "But..." the Predacon said back, before he was suddenly cut off by the sight of Galvatron gripping his hand around the weapon's hilt and pulling it out from the ground and into the air. "The Chaos Edge, at last...it is back in 'my hands'." he exclaimed, gaining confused expressions from his Predacon warriors. "What do you mean...back in your hands?" Lazerback asked before the ground, as if on cue started to shake as a tremor hit the crater from beneath. "What in the scrap is happening now?" Blight said, his voice tinged with fear as the ground continued to shake. But even as this tremor shook the ground and area around them, Galvatron did not even notice as he looked up at the red glowing blade in his hand. But then he suddenly tensed up as if he was having a sort of seizure, his eyes glowed purple and the energy glowing from within the engravings changed from red to purple. "What's happening to him?" Vertabreak exclaimed in a frightened tone, which made Blight rush over to his master and attempt to snap Galvatron out of it by grabbing his shoulder. But instead there was a flash of red ane purple energy which suddenly sent the Con flying. "Blight!" Lazerback shouted as Vertebreak rushed to his hurt comrade and helped him back to his feet, all the while Galvatron continued to be frozen while holding aloft the blade. "What's happened to him?" Vertebreak asked as the trio just stared at their Master. "I have no idea, but don't touch him." Lazerback replied, gaining a knowing look from the Con. "Yeah like I am going to try that now, after what just happened to Blight." "But what can we do to help Lord Galvatron?" Lazerback asked as the three looked back at their Master, who was frozen to the spot as his mind became overwhelmed by images and sounds. 'The Predacon Leader found himself standing in grass covered plains as day gave way to night with 'dusk' taking over the sky above him, and he noticed that the plains went on for as far as the eye could see. But as he took in his surroundings, his attention was quickly turned by the sounds of metal and foot falls approaching from behind him and so turned round to see an army of soldiers marching towards him in columns alongside what looked like tanks and other heavy artillery. They looked almost Cybertronian in their features but were wearing armour that looked alien to the Predacon Lord, which could only be described like liquid metal being held into smooth and sublime stylings that made the soldiers look god-like in their appearance. Each soldier was carrying a staff-like weapon in one hand and a circular shield in the other, while also keeping a sword holstered on their utility belts. The tanks and machinery accompanying them looked of similar design to their armour and weapons, and all ground vehicles were hovering nearly a foot off the ground as they moved, emitting a low white light from their under-carriage. 'Must be some kind of anti-gravity tech.' Galvatron thought as he found himself in the center of this large army which continued onwards, and still none of the soldiers acknowledged Galvatron as they passed him, earning a confused expression from the Predacon. 'Is this real? Why can't they see me?' he thought before suddenly everyone stopped, including the soldiers and the vehicles. 'What is happening?' Galvatron could not help but think before his spark started to warm, which made the Predacon look to his left just as a soldier stopped beside him. He certainly was no ordinary soldier as he was wearing a dark gold and bronze armour with matching helmet which had two curved spikes, on either side reaching for the heavens. His armour had a similar design with large curved spikes on his shoulder guards and smaller ones on his gauntlets, and his boots had two twin spikes covering his knees. Galvatron took a look at the newcomer's face and saw that he had a very well-trimmed beard that went down into a single point like the edge of a knife, as well as red glowing optics. And while this all earned a very familiar feeling from the Predacon Leader, it was not until this man unsheathed his blade that he truly recognised him. 'That's the Chaos Edge…it's Unicron…..but that means that this must be before written history...I cannot believe my eyes.' he thought before another soldier wearing a similar gold and silver armour, which looked far less threatening and more like the armour that had been worn by Jackson Prime. This soldier looked very similar to Unicron except for the beard and blue optics, he also held in his right hand a blade which suddenly brought up the memories of Megatron inside the Predacon's mind. 'That looks almost like the Star-Saber'.' he started to think before he was interrupted as Unicron turned to the other, looking right through Galvatron as though he was not even there. "How are you feeling, Brother?" he asked, making the Predacon observer's eyes widen as he then knew who the second person was. 'Primus!' "I am ready, Unicron, as are our forces. I just hope the others are ready with their own, or else this will be a very short battle." his brother replied before looking away to the eastern horizon with a concerned expression, which did not go unnoticed by Unicron. "Do not fret, Primus, the others will be ready. And so will Theia, I doubt your bond-partner would wish to fight anywhere other than at your side in this battle." he said back in a supportive tone as he placed his free hand on Primus's shoulder. "She will be at your side by the time this battle is over, and we will all share in the glory of this day." "I wish I shared your confidence brother, but then again you always did enjoy fighting more than I." Primus replied as he sighed, for he could see it in Unicron's optics….that desire for battle and warfare which had always eluded himself. "My brother, always worried for my well-being. Well fear not, for as long as you are fighting at my side, we will never be defeated….not even by this 'darkness' that has blighted our species since we arrived on this planet." "You mean that 'mistake' the High Council should never have let happen." Primus replied, earning a knowing look from Unicron. "What the Council did was the for the best of all 'Aeonians', our Empire stretches across the entire universe because of their leadership. We are practically 'Gods' compared to the organic species we have come across in our expansion, so what is wrong with acquiring the power to make us so?" "Because if God-hood is really meant to be in our reach, then fate will see it so. But because we tried to force it to happen, we instead brought on the very 'darkness' that we have barely held at bay." Primus replied, gaining an optic roll from his brother. "Even with the fate of our entire species on the line, you can still find the time to disagree with me, Primus. I find it a small victory when we do agree on something." "If the force behind creation wanted us to all be of one mind and opinion, then we would not have been given free will. Besides, despite all your grievances with us not being able to agree on most things. I know that deep down, you actually like arguing with me." Primus replied with a smirk, that made his brother sigh and smile back. "You know me so well, Brother." Then before anything else could be said, one of the soldiers approached the brothers, making them both look in his direction. "Lord Unicron, Lord Primus. I have just received word from the other Lords….they are ready to attack when you are." he said, earning a nod from Unicron while his brother looked toward the plains directly in front of them. "That's good timing, because 'its' coming our way." he replied while raising his blade towards the massive black liquid-like mass which broke free from the ground and began moving towards the army and with that Unicron and Primus moved to the front-line and faced their men, while Galvatron continued to observe quietly. "Aeonians, hear me." Unicron shouted, earning the attention of each and every soldier within the range of his voice. "We stand on the edge of an abyss, with our sparks now the only light that stands against the void which threatens to consume the entire universe and ourselves with it. But we shall not fear the darkness for we are Aeonians. We never give up and we never fail, and so we will conquer this 'force' and prove once again to the entire cosmos why we were why we were the 'first'…and why we are still here!" he added while thrusting the Chaos Edge into the air. "For Aeonia!" he then screamed at the top of his voice, earning a mirrored reaction from every single Bot and Femme standing there in the army before him and his brother. Unicron then turned and thrust his sword toward the approaching darkness, Primus standing beside him with his Saber drawn. "Attack!" he then finished before both brothers then charged towards the danger, with their whole army following behind as they ran past Galvatron who could only watch as the battle began before his very eyes. But even though this unknown and undocumented event was occurring right in front of his being, he found his attention was taken by what looked like a star shining far more brightly in the sea of stars that blanketed the sky of Scissio. The Predacon Leader stared up at the constellation that this one brightest star was shining in, and a name came to his mind. 'That must be where the planet Unicron was on about is located….'Aeonia'.' he thought before suddenly everything went white around him, making the Con close his eyes.' "Lord Galvatron…" a familiar voice then called, which made the Predacon Leader reopen his eyes and find himself surrounded by his lieutenants at the crater's center once again. "…are you alright, my Lord?" Lazerback asked while Galvatron looked around, as if still not entirely convinced look on his face. "My Lord?" the Predacon then repeated, earning a nod from his Master who looked back at him and smiled. "I am fine, Lazerback…..and thanks to this relic, I know where the Predacon cause can achieve its greatest victory." he added while the others looked at the blade in his possession. "What do you mean, Lord Galvatron?" Blight replied with a curious expression. "I was shown a vision of the distant past, a battle that was fought on this very planet." the Predacon Lord replied, which heightened the curiosity of the group as they stood round him. "What battle? Who was involved and what was it about?" Vertabreak asked. "It does not matter Vertabreak, it has long since past and knowledge of it is not a requirement for our cause. But we need to get back to the Nemesis,so I can find our next destination via the galaxy map." Galvatron replied, earning a disappointed expression from the Con while the others looked ready to move. "You're not going anywhere!" a voice suddenly spoke out, making his Lieutenants and Terracons turn round with their weapons to find Orion and his team standing in their way with their own weapons ready. "Autobots!" Blight spat as he opened fire on their enemies, making the Bots dive for cover behind the boulders that were scattered around the area. The his comrades and the soldiers with them joined him as they kept the pressure with continuous fire on Orion and his friends, who returned the weapons fire in kind from the boulders, taking down three of the several Terracons supporting the other Predacons. "Looks like we could use a hand here, they outnumber us three to one". Nightracer said, earning a smile from Orion who then shot two Terracons down in a row. "I think we an handle them." he replied, as Quickstrike noticed the blade in the Predacon Leader's hand. "What was that sword in Galvatron's hand?" he said over the sound of the gunfire to his cousin as Nightracer and Liara returned fire. "I don't know, but we can't let him keep it." the blue haired Bot replied while the Asari next to him spotted the other blade still embedded in the ground next to the Predacon group. "Is it me or does that look like your Star Saber?" she asked, earning a curious look from Orion as he took a glance at the said blade. "It does look very similar, lets take care of his entourage so we can ask him." he replied with a hint of sarcasm, which made the others smile as his cousin killed another Terracon. Meanwhile, Lazerback had noticed how quickly they were losing the advantage and looked back at his Master, a serious expression on his face. "My Lord, we need to get you out of here." he said, gaining a nod from Galvatron. "Yes, we can not afford for this distraction to delay us." he replied, as Blight emptied a clip against the Autobots and took cover to reload. "Then Lazerback, you, and Darksteel get our Lord out of here. Vertabreak and I can cover your escape." he said as he looked at them all, his expression was very serious and composed. They could see that he was committed to this decision, as did Vertabreak. "Very well, but I will not leave you on this planet. Once we are clear, get free of this area and I will have a shuttle pick you up once I am back on the Nemesis." Galvatron replied, earning nods from the pair. "What are they up to?" Quickstrike asked before suddenly a grenade was thrown into the open ground between the two groups. "Grenade!" Nightracer shouted as they remained behind their cover as the device exploded, and the air was once again filled with gun fire as the Predacons continued their defence. Orion took a peek from behind his boulder and fired his weapon back at the enemies, killing the last Terracon before noticing that only two Predacons remained in the area. "Where are the others?" he shouted to his friends who were still returning fire, which was impacting harmlessly against the large rocks that the Cons were behind. "There, they are heading for their MAKO." Liara replied as she pointed to Galvatron, Lazerback and Darksteel who had made it to their vehicle. "Damn it, we've got to stop them." the blue haired Bot stated with tinge of anger to his voice as they watched the MAKO then power up and take off back up to the top of the crater, before refocusing on the Predacons still attacking them. On board the Predacon vehicle, Galvatron activated his holo-tool and began typing on it's keyboard, earning a puzzled expression from Darksteel. "My Lord, what are you doing?" "We cannot use our com-links down here, so I am sending a timed pulse signal that should pass through the interference in the atmosphere and to our ships." "You mean something similar to what Humans called Morse code?" Lazerback asked while keeping his attention on his driving. "Exactly, I found this data entry on the Federation database. And our computers should recognise and translate it for those on board, so that they can send us some back-up." the Predacon Leader replied while he continued to type, before then pressing the send button. "Done, now we have no choice but to wait," he added, earning nods from his Predacons. "Should we stop and wait, or carry on back to the ground-bridge? I mean there are probably Autobots there waiting for us," Lazerback replied. "Carry on, we can't let them stop us." the Predacon Lord said back as their MAKO crossed over the crater-s ejecta and back down it's mountainous side. While this was happening, Orion and his friends found themselves pinned down by the two remaining Predacons, as they had moved to two separate locations and were relentless in their attacks. "Why couldn't it be just two Terracons remaining, they are so easy to kill compared to these guys." Quickstrike moaned between bursts from his rifle, earning a knowing expression from Nightracer. "Because that's life, now quit your moaning and fight." she replied, which gained a smile from Liara who looked over to the Autobot Spectre beside her. "That put him in his place." "Yeah, but he has a point. Every moment we waste here is another step behind Galvatron. We need to end this now." Orion replied with a thoughtful expression, before looking back at the others. "Do either of you have a grenade of some sort?" Nightracer looked at her utility belt and showed it to her friend. "I have a flash-bang." "That will do…" he replied back before looking at Liara who could read on his face what he was thinking. "I will be ready, do you want me to kill them?" she said back. "I just want them out of the way, we don't have time to be thorough." the blue haired Bot replied, earning a nod from her. "Okay, Quickstrike, we will fire on them on 'One' and then Nightacer will toss the flash bang on 'Two'…." he said back to the others over the gunfire, gaining a smile from Liara. "And I go on 'Three'." she finished, earning a similar expression from the Bot. "Exactly." he replied, the Asari nodding in return as the gunfire suddenly stopped and they could hear the Predacons reloading." "One!" Orion then shouted as both he and his cousin got up and emptied their clips at the enemies who remained behind their cover. "Two!" he then shouted as they both got back down and Nightracer tossed the grenade between the two Cons and dropped behind the boulder with the others. "Scrap!" Blight shouted out loud before the grenade went off, giving off a blinding light to the entire area. Once it died down a split second later, he and Vertabreak stumbled out from their cover half blind and deaf. "Three!" Orion then shouted as Liara stood up and using her biotics, lifted the two Cons into the air and slammed them into each other before throwing them back to the ground. She then looked back to see her friends stand up from behind the boulders. "Nice." Quickstrike said back, while Nightracer gave the Asari a curious expression. "Are they dead?" "It doesn't matter, let's go. We need to stop Galvatron." Orion jumped in as he began to rush back up the crater's side, the others nodded in return and followed. But not before Liara activated her holo-tool and scanned an image of the ancient sword that still embedded in the ground there. 'This will be interesting.' she thought before glancing over to the two unconscious Predacons and then headning after her friends. PRIME EFFECT 4 Back at the beach-head, Rodimus waited in the long grass with both Smokescreen and Grunt either side of him though several metres away, while they waited to see who would return from the signal's location. It was a thirty minute journey to the energy signal's location by MAKO and they had now been waiting fourty eight minutes, which was now showing amongst the others. Smokescreen had started a conversation with Shen over the com-link twice and twice Rodimus had to stop them, Grunt too was growing restless and had impatiently begun re-checking his weapons, but he remained quiet and that had Rodimus worried. 'I hope the others are alright, I just wish there was some other way to find out what was happening other than waiting.' he thought before Shen suddenly came over to him. "Commander, I have a contact heading towards us from the direction of the energy signal." Shen said, making Rodimus pick up his rifle and get ready. He looked at both Smokescreen and Grunt and they had done the same, the latter actually looked happy that something was finally happening. "Talk to me, Shen. What do you see?" The Turian then looked through the scope of his sniper rifle at the vehicle which was still at least over a kilometre away. "This one has no sign of damage from our fire fight earlier, so I would say that these are the Predacons approaching." Shen replied. "Damn, that means Orion and the others failed. I hope they are okay?" Smokescreen interjected, earning a sigh from the Commander. "Whatever has happened, we will deal with it later. But at this moment the enemy is approaching and we have to focus on stopping them." he said back, earning nods from the others at their respective positions. "How long until they get here, Shen?" he then added. "At the speed they are moving, I would say just over five minutes." the Turian replied. "Okay then. Smokescreen, time to arm the Claymores that we have positioned between us and the MAKO and everyone, time for final-checks on your weapons. No matter what, the Predacons can not leave here alive….understood?" Rodimus said with a commanding tone, "Understood." the others replied in unison as they readied themselves for the approaching enemies, with Smokescreen using his holo-tool to activate the mines while Grunt ran through his weapons checks one last time and Shen himself had gone back to his sniping spot. The Commander though just got into a kneeling position, with his head only just above the top of the long grass and aimed his rifle at the MAKO that was still just a small shiny dot at the edge of his vision. 'This is it.' he thought before suddenly a space bridge vortex suddenly opened up nearby and the three giant Predacon beasts burst out of it and ascended up into the sky. "What the?" Smokescreen exclaimed as the Autobots looked up at the Dragons. "They are flying towards the signal's location." Grunt said with an urgent tone in his voice. "Galvatron must have called them in to help against Orion and the others, so they are still alive." Smokescreen said back with a relieved tone. "Well not for much longer, Rodimus why did you have to send Onyx to check the surrounding area. We could certainly use him right now, don't you think?" the Krogan spat back, but the Commander just remained calm. "Watch it, Grunt. rRemember who's in charge here…. and I have it covered." he added before a familiar roar echoed through the sky, one that made the flying Predacon beasts suddenly slow their speed as they looked around. Then suddenly Onyx in beast mode burst out of the clouds and flew directly at the enemy dragons, firing three fireballs at them, making Predaking dive low and both Skystalker and Grimwing break left and right respectively. "That's more like it." Grunt exclaimed happily as Rodimus noticed the MAKO very nearly upon them. "Okay, Guys, let's do this." he said as they got into kneeling positions and aimed their weapons at the armoured vehicle that was speeding toward them. Meanwhile, Onyx found himself in the middle of the three Predacons as he beared his claws and grappled the back of Predaking, earning a roar of pain from the beast as it tried to shake the Maximal off. Grimwing and Skystalker had both turned back around and had begun flying in formation behind their Alpha, waiting for their enemy to be shaken loose. But Onyx kept latched on, digging his claws into the Predacon's back while biting at the orange wings, causing Predaking to lose control and fall out of the sky. But just moments before the orange and black beast hit the ground, the Maximal let go and pulled up. Letting his hated rival crash land, bringing up mud and dust as it slid across the ground to a stop. Onyx then turned his attention to the others who began to circle him, his blue optics narrowing as he let out a low growl. Grimwing then swooped in with his teeth and claws beared, but the Maximal rolled to his left and dodged the beast. But he failed to see Skystalker who breathed his ice breath up on the beast's wings freezing them up, making Onyx drop like a rock out of the sky. As he fell, the black dragon transformed back into his Cybetronian mode, freeing his wings of the ice and continued to descend as both Predacons continued to circle as if happy to watch their enemy fall to his death. But Grimwing was a little too curious and had drifted nearer than he had realised, letting Onyx reach and grab at the green beast's leg. Grimwing let out a roar as the Maximal got a firm grip of the beast's leg as it began to roll around and shake him off. Onyx climbed up the Predacon's leg and got onto the green dragon's back before equipping his wrist blade and stabbing it into it's back, earning a painful roar from Grimwing as he dropped out of the sky. Onyx then let go and re-transformed back into his black Dragon mode as the Predacon hit the ground, joining Predaking who was just starting to recover. The Maximal then looked around for the blue and white beast that remained, but there was no sign of him, earning a confusing whine from the beast. But all of a sudden Skystalker, copying it's enemy's earlier tactic…burst out of the clouds and tackled Onyx before plowing the larger beast into the ground alongside both Predaking and Grimwing, who had got back to their feet and growled at their enemy. As that battle was happening, the MAKO was now within the perimeter of the beach-head and set off the first of the claymores, rattling the vehicle and it's occupants. "What in the pit!" Darksteel exclaimed as Lazerback kept his eyes on the road. "The enemy is here too, and they…." the driver replied before another claymore went off on the other side, interrupting him while trying to keep the vehicle steady. "Yes, keep focused on your task, Lazerback, and get us to that vortex." Galvatron finished saying for his luitenant while pointing at the green portal just ahead of them. But suddenly the MAKO drove over another of the explosives, setting it off and throwing the vehicle into a roll as the Autobots watched from their hiding spots. The MAKO rolled several times, throwing it's occupants around like rag dolls inside before finally coming to a stop upside down at the other side of the area. Galvatron found himself lying on his face and feeling sore as he picked himself up and noticed that he was bleeding from a cut on his forehead, so he wiped the excess blood away before looking over to his comrades. "Lazerback, Darksteel,…are you alright?" he asked as he shook both Predacons, but they were out cold and could not answer. So the Predacon activated his holo-tool and took a reading, sighing in relief a moment later. "Do not worry, my Brothers, I will deal with whoever is out there." the Predacon leader vowed as he picked up the Chaos Edge and moved hobbled over to the exit, hitting the access panel and opening the MAKO up to the outside. He then climbed out, and looked at the vortex which was several feet away and still open, so he lifted his hand to his com-link and was about to activate it. "Freeze!" a voice commanded, suddenly making the Predacon leader stop and look in the direction that the voice had come from. What he saw was a Krogan and two Autobots standing before him, their weapons aimed directly at him. Galvatron smiled as he stood against the hull of the MAKO and looked quite casual despite the situation, turning his attention to each of the enemies before him until his eyes locked in on the blonde Bot in gold and red armour. "Commander Rodimus, I presume. That was a nice trick you did there, mining the area." he said while taking notice of where each Autobot was standing, as Rodimus walked a step closer towards him. "So you have heard of me, I'm flattered." "I read your profile….second Lieutenant to Jackson Prime, a fine soldier, etcetera, etcertera, that still won't save you." Galvatron replied with a confident tone, which made both Grunt and Smokescreen narrow their eyes at him with disgusted stares. "You know something we don't?" the latter asked with an unconvinced tone. "I know I am going to walk away from this…..and your all going to die." the Predacon said back with an evil smile, one that made Grunt's blood boil. "Let's just kill him and get it over with." the Krogan spat back, but Rodimus held his hand up at his companion. "Yeah, I was thinking the same thing." Smokescreen added, ,making Galvatron's smile widen which earned a confused look from the Autobot Commander. "What's so funny?" "You speak of killing me like it is a certainty, but you will not…" the Predacon replied with another chuckle, which this time stretched Rodimus's patience as he took a step forward and aiming his rifle at Galvatron's head. "You sure about that? Ending your life will throw the Predacons into disarray and end whatever threat they are to the Federation." the Commander said back, and yet the Predacon leader kept smiling. "Then do it, what are you waiting for?" Both Grunt and Smokescreen looked on as their Commander just stood there with his gun aimed right at the center of Galvatron's forehead, the Predacon leader chuckling away as if nothing was even out of place. "You will not kill me, for I have 'destiny' and it does not end on this planet." he said back, making everyone there look at him with confused expressions. "I will leave this planet as I arrived, but you will be decorating it's landscape with your cold corpses before I do so." the Predacon said back with absolute certainty in his voice, earning an eye roll from both Smokescreen and Grunt. "I've had enough of this 'destiny's child', let's kill him." the former said back, earning a nod from Rodimus who tightened his grip on the trigger of his rifle. "Goodbye, Galvatron. You will not hurt anyone else." the Commander began to say before noticing the Predacon's eyes change from red to purple. "And still you talk instead of taking action, pathetic!" he spat before a purple energy emanated from him and shot out in all directions, knocking Rodimus and his comrades to the floor while Galvatron smiled. "You will all fall at my feet…" he replied as Rodimus as got back to his feet and activated his holo-blade. "Not today." he said back before lunging at the Predacon, who deflected his attack with the Chaos Edge. He then elbowed the Autobot Commander with his free hand, before spinning around and knocking the Bot to the floor with another elbow to the back. "Rodimus!" Smokescreen shouted as he then charged into the fight, managing to punch Galvatron in the face as he looked back. But this barely bothered the Con who then swiped his glowing red blade at the Bot, which hit him directly on the chest and catapulted Smokescreen across the long grass. "Is this your bes…." Galvatron started to jibe before being tackled from behind by Grunt, who knocked the Predacon to the floor and began pummelling his face with his fists. "Let me show you how we do things on Tuchanka." the Krogan spat before the Con grabbed his face and threw him off. "I'm not impressed." he said back as Rodimus came into the fight again and slashed the Con's back, earning a grimace from Galvatron who spun round and swiped with his blade. But the Commander saw it coming and ducked under the attack, he then countered but the Predacon leader was quick and brough the Chaos Edge up just in time to block it, leaving the two in a stalemate as their blades clashed. "Is this the best you've got to give me, Jackson Prime did a better job then you." Galvatron said back with a smile, which made Rodimus push harder and break the deadlock. But this then left him open and the Predacon was quicker as he kicked the Autobot in the chest, sending him back to the ground. Galvatron then turned round to see Smokescreen and Grunt readying themselves for another attack, so he beckoned them towards him. "Come on." he said with a smile, earning narrowed stares from the pair. "Together…..now." Grunt shouted as he and Smokescreen charged at the Predacon Leader, who instead swiped the Chaos Edge around before unleashing a red energy wave which hit the pair and carried them several feet before they hit the ground hard. "Impressive." Galvatron then said as he looked at the blade in his hands before suddenly as if by a six sense, he then dodged another attack by Rodimus from behind. The Autobot then swung his holo-blade again, though the Predacon blocked the attack with his Chaos Edge and grabbed the Commander by the chest-plate of his armour. Galvatron then yanked the Bot close enough to head butt him, disorientating Rodimus as he began to stagger back. But the Predacon still had the Elite Spectre by his armour and kicked him square in the chest, sending the Commander onto the floor again. Rodimus tried to regain some control as the disorientation from the head-butt started to fade and slowly got back to his feet, but he then fell back to his knees and panted heavily. Galvatron stood triumphant over the Autobot Commander, a confident smile appearing on his face as he clenched the hilt of the Chaos Edge tightly. "You have a lot of fight in you, Rodimus, but you are no Prime." the Predacon Leader said back, making the Bot look up at his enemy. His eyes narrowed as his spark began to burn with anger, gritting his teeth as he fought through the pain he was feeling through out his body at this moment. "I may not be a Prime, but I will never give in to the likes of you!" he spat back before lunging at the Predacon with his holo-blade, which was blocked yet again by Galvatron. But Rodimus then swung his free hand, just as another holo-blade appeared around it and it caught the Predacon on his chest and knocked him back. The Con looked down at his armour and saw the mark left by Rodimus's attack, which ran down the length of his chest-plate. But then he was made to defend again as the Autobot attacked and made Galvatron bring up his blade, clashing them together again and again as the Bot continued the offensive. And for a long moment the two Cybertronians continued back and forth, clashing their blades constantly until the Predacon Leader finally had enough and clashed the Chaos Edge against Rodimus's holo-blade one last time. "This ends now!" he said before as the blade glowed bright red and smashed through the holo-blade as if it wasn't there, before slicing through the Commander's chest-plate. The Autobot cried out in pain as blood gushed out of the open wound, making him fall to his knees and hold his hands against the injury as Galvatron stood over him yet again. "I told you that you would not prevail today, Rodimus. Now prepare to join the All-Spark!" he said while lifting the Chaos Edge over his head in preparation of delivering the killing stroke. "No!" a voice suddenly shouted, stopping the Predacon in his tracks as he looked in the direction it had come from. What he saw made his eyes widen as the second MAKO was now there, with a blue haired Bot staring back in angry disbelief as others climbed out behind him. "Yet more Autobots for me to humiliate." Galvatron stated with a bemused tone before kicking Rodimus onto his back, making Orion stare daggers back at the Predacon leader for what he had down to his mentor and friend. "What do we do?" Liara asked as both Quickstrike and Nightracer looked over to the XO, who in turn unsheathed the Star-Saber from his back. "We stop him now!" he spat before charging towards the Predacon with the blade behind him, leaving the others where they were. "Get to Rodimus, we will help Orion." Nightracer said back to the Asari as she and the blonde Bot ran after their friend, who had already caught up to the smiling Galvatron who readied himself for more combat. Orion swung the saber at the Predacon Leader, who managed to bring his own blade up to block it. This caused both blades at the moment of impact to let off a mixture of blue and red energy that surprised both Bot and Con. "Interesting blade you have there." the latter said with a curious tone as their swords remained locked together, but Orion just stared back with pure anger as he gritted his teeth. "I'll introduce you… as I impale your spark with it." the blue haired Bot roared as he put all his strength into breaking the deadlock except the Predacon Lord instead pulled away and released the Bot, leaving him open as Galvatron punched him in the chest with his free hand before sweeping him off his feet. "You look familiar to me somehow…" he then said while looking down at Orion, but before he could enquire he was again under attack as both Quickstrike and Nightracer took him on together. Both tried to attack high with a kick, the other low with a punch. But their adversary was experienced enough to read their attacks, so he dodged the kick and blocked the punch and made sure to grab hold of the Femme's arm while doing so. "Let me give you a hand." Galvatron said back before pulling Nightracer around and throwing her into Quickstrike who had just turned around, sending them sprawling onto the floor. "Seriously, is this all you Autobots have?" As this was going on, Liara managed to make it round to Rodimus who was sprawled on the floor with his hands on his open wound, trying to keep pressure on it. But he had lost a lot of blood and was slowly losing consciousness, just as the Asari knelt down beside him and pulled some Medi-gel from her utility belt. "Stay with me, Rodimus." she said while tending to his deep wound, in fact she was so caught up in helping the Commander that she had failed to notice that both Lazerback and Darksteel had come too and climbed out of the crashed MAKO. The latter had spotted the blue female with her back turned to them, and so equipped his pistol before aiming it at her head. But just a second before he could pull the trigger, a gunshot was heard and the back of his head exploded outwards as a bullet went straight through it. Having heard the gunshot, Liara looked around to see the Predacon fall to the ground dead, while Lazerback dived behind the cover of the MAKO. The Asari looked back to her front and saw Shen standing up on the higher ground. 'I have your back.' he thought while she continued treating Rodimus's wound, as he meanwhile looked over to see Orion attacking the Galvatron again. "Why do you look familiar to me?" Galvatron asked between Orion's swings of his saber, which the Predacon responded by deflecting each and every one before pushing the Bot back, so he could get the chance to look him up and down. "Who are you?" he spat in a confused tone, to which Orion gripped the hilt of his blade tighter and stared the Con directly in the eyes. "My name is Orion Darby, and I will make you pay for what you have done to my parents." Galvatron's eyes widened as it finally dawned on him, just as the younger Bot attacked again and clashed the Star-Saber with the Chaos Edge, sending blue and red sparks everyway as the blades connected. "The son of a Prime, living in your Father's shadow. I can relate to that." the Predacon replied as the two continued to push their blades against the other until his strength broke through and he slashed the blue haired Bot's arm, making him drop the Star-Saber to the floor leaving him open. And Galvatron took advantage by following through as he flipped the hilt of his blade around, giving Orion hard hit in the stomach with it and then knocking him to the floor with a back hand to the face. "You are out of your depth…,Boy. I can see it clearly all over you." the Predacon Leader added as he looked down at the beaten Darby, who had blood running down the lower half of his face from his nose. He looked around to see Nightracer and Quickstrike still down on the ground, as was Smokescreen and Grunt before looking back up at Galvatron, who's shadow was being cast over him. "You are no match for me, just as your Father was not." the Con said before smiling as if something had come to his mind. "That is why he and that wretched Femme of his did not want the Normandy destroyed, because you were on board. Well, they believe you are dead….so who am I to deny them that reality." he then said before raising the Chaos Edge above his head, readying to bring the blade down upon Orion who just kept his eyes on the enemy before, unafraid of what was about to happen as his growing anger kept his focus. But then suddenly a gunshot sounded and hit the blade, earning Galvatron's attention as he looked in the direction it came from. His eyes widened a little as a curious expression appeared on his face as he saw a Turian slowly moving toward him, his sniper rifle aimed at the Con's head. "Pitiful." he spat, before Shen fired again. And the Predacon deflected it with his blade, so the Sniper fired off several more shots and each and every time, Galvatron deflected them before only a few feet stood between them. "Is that it, is that all you have?" he said back with a hint of annoyance in his voice, which earned a slight smile from the Turian. "Pretty much,…yeah." "You must know you don't stand a chance against me, Turian." Galvatron replied, to which Shen gave him a knowing look. "Oh, I wasn't trying to kill you….just 'distract' you." he replied, the Predacon's eyes then widened before he turned around to see a fist hit his face hard. The Con stumbled backwards before feeling another punch hit him in the stomach and then again in the face. He managed to open his eyes to see a resurgent Orion attack again with a kick that hit the Con in the stomach, which made him bend over and the blue haired Bot replied by connecting an uppercut with his face, sending Galvatron back first to the floor. The other Autobots just started to get back to their feet as they saw Orion standing over the Predacon Leader, who spat some blood onto the floor before looking up at the Bot who upholstered his pistol and aimed it a the Con's head. "You've lost." the blue haired Bot said, earning a smile from Galvatron who clenched his hands into fists which began to glow with purple energy. "You underestimate me…,Boy, just like your Father. Now to pay the price!" the Predacon Leader then spat as he slammed his fists into the ground, sending out an energy wave which knocked Orion's balance and made him drop his weapon. Galvatron then launched into a barrage of punches that pummelled the younger Bot relentlessly, until he was completely dazed and bloodied. The Predacon then grabbed Orion's throat and lifted him off the ground, before looking into his eyes. "And you are wrong, it is you that have lost…everything." he said, before hitting the Spectre in the chest, cracking his chest-plate before then throwing him to the ground hard. The Predacon Leader then stretched out his hand to where the Chaos Edge lied and suddenly the sword shot from the ground and back into his possession, tightening his grip on it's hilt and making it's blade glow red. "Orion!" Liara then shouted in a frantic and scared tone, making Galvatron look round to see her beside the fallen Rodimus with a horrified expression on her face. "Oh, I will deal with you later, Asari," he said back, before noticing that he was surrounded. Quickstrike, Grunt, Nightracer and Smokescreen surrounded him with their weapons ready. "You're not going anywhere." the blonde Bot replied, making the Predacon shake his head and sigh in return. "You Autobots never learn." he said before Smokescreen was suddenly shot in the back, making him cry out in pain as he fell to the ground. The others quickly turned and saw Lazerback with his weapon ready as he took cover from behind the damaged MAKO. "Smokescreen!" Grunt shouted, before aiming his weapon at the Predacon responsible. Galvatron though smirked as everyone's attention had been drawn away from him, so he then stabbed the Chaos Edge into the ground and focused his thoughts into it. "What's he doin….." Nightracer managed to say as she glanced back at the Con, before the ground around him suddenly exploded in a bright purple light which knocked all the Autobots to the ground. "My Lord." Lazerback said as he walked over to his Master, ignoring the Autobots who were on the ground in pain at that moment. "Lazerback, where were you?" the Predacon Leader replied as he sheathed the Chaos Edge onto his back. "I managed to contact the Nemesis through the Space-bridge while you were dealing with the Autobots, they are ready to send more Terracons if needed." his lieutenant said back, making Galvatron shake his head in return. "That will not be necessary, we are done here. Have a shuttle sent back for Vertabreak and Blight. And recall our Beasts, we'll leave the moment everyone is back on board." "Yes, my Lord." Lazerback nodded back, before his Master noticed someone was missing. "Where is Darksteel?" "He is dead, killed by the Autobots." "I see…" Galvatron replied before turning away, facing the ground-bridge portal. "You have your orders." he said before leaving the Predacon there, who nodded before tapping his com-link as he followed. The pair then entered the vortex, leaving the Autobots there where they lay. PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile, Onyx Primal found himself in a similar position as he was pinned to the ground by both Grimwing and Skystalker. The two Dragons had their claws dug into his chest as the lay on his back in beast mode. Both were giving off deep growls as they bared the teeth at him and prepared to strike, when suddenly a massive roar stopped both as Predaking joined them and looked down at the Maximal. It's yellow optics narrowed as it then opened it's mouth and charged it's fire-breath, forcing Onyx to break free from the other Predacons hold. But Grimwing and Skystalker had too good a hold on him, so all he could do was watch as his hated rival readied himself to snuff out the Maximal's spark. But just as Predaking was ready to unleash a fire-blast upon the defenceless Onyx, suddenly all three Beasts looked away in the same direction and whined. 'What in the Allspark?' he thought as Predaking stretched out his orange wings and lifted himself off the ground, quickly followed by Skystalker and Grimwing who then flew away and left Onyx. The Maximal quickly rolled on to his feet and took to the sky to chase them down before noticing that they were heading for the ground-bridge vortex. Liara came too to find herself looking up at the cloudy sky, before realising that she had been knocked out by some kind of energy of Galvatron's making. 'Orion!' she thought before quickly got up and looked around, seeing the rest of her friends who were just coming round themselves. But her eyes came to stop as she saw a blue haired Bot lying several feet away from her, and she suddenly felt her heart beating very fast and heavy as numerous thoughts went through her mind. But the Asari pushed them aside and ran over to her friend, falling to her knees as she noticed the bruised and bloodied young man lying before her. "Orion?" she said softly while cupping the left cheek of his face with her hand, hoping that her touch would wake him. But his eyes remained closed, which made Liara feel something inside herself that she had not felt since she had been back on Cybertron, the last time she saw Shockblast. "No, don't do this to me, Orion, please?" she said back as she stroked his cheek with her thumb, before the Bot finally opened his eyes to her relief. "….Liara.." he replied, earning a sigh from the Asari, "You had me worried." she said back as the blue haired Bot attempted to sit up, only succeeding when Liara helped him. "Where's Galvatron?" he asked as he looked around, earniing a confused expression from her. "He and that other one are gone." Quickstrike suddenly said, gaining their attention as they looked over to see him walking over. The young Darby also notice Grunt helping with Smokescreen and Nightracer limping over to the unconscious Rodimus, a heavy feeling made Orion's spark dim within his chest as it dawned on him what this all meant. "We failed." he said back with a heavy tone to his voice, making his cousin shake his head in return. "Not yet, we haven't. Their ground bridge is still active. Let's go through and finish this." he said, trying to sound enthusiastic but coming off as just desperate. "We are in no condition for that. Neither do we know what forces Galvatron has on the other side. It would be suicide to attempt that." Liara replied, gaining a nod from Orion. "Liara's right…leave it and focus on our people." he said while looking over to both Rodimus and Smokescreen. "What's their condition?" Orion said as his eyes fell upon his mentor, and his spark ached for young Darby knew he had failed him. "I have stabilized the Commander as well as I can, but he has lost a lot of blood. We need to get him back to the ship." Liara replied. "And the same goes for Smokescreen, he needs immediate medical attention." Grunt shouted over with an angry undertone to his voice, before reusing the Medi-gel in his hands on his injured friend. "Well, we need to work fas…." Orion began to say before his and everyone's attention was caught by the Ground-bridge vortex suddenly expanding. "What the hell?" Quickstrike said in return with a confused expression before a roar sounded out behind him, making the Bot turn round just in time for him and the others to see the three Predacon beasts fly low over them and into the vortex which then closed behind them, leaving the group alone on the planet as Onyx Primal landed and transformed near them. "Is everyone alright?" He asked, his blue optics widening as he saw the condition the group was in. "That remains to be seen." Grunt replied when Orion's com-link suddenly activated. "Normandy to Orion, come in please?" Jetstorm said, making the Bot put his hand to his ear and tap the device and let the others hear it. "Orion here." "What's the situation down there?" the pilot replied. "The Predacons…defeated us." the blue haired Bot replied, earning a sigh of regret from the other end of the link. "..I see, I guess that is why the Nemesis has just used a space-bridge to leave the system, and the other Predacon ship jumped away…after picking up a shuttle from the planet." "Wait…how are you suddenly able to contact us, we have been unable to do so ourselves?" the Spectre asked with a curious tone, while the others listened with equally curious expressions. "It was the same on our side too, but just now whatever had been blocking our com-signals has faded to nothing." Jetstorm replied. "Must have been that sword that Galvatron had taken." Liara said back, earning an aggravated expression from Grunt. "Could we just get back to the ship already." he spat while remaining at Smokescreen's side. "Right.." Orion replied as he looked back at their injured friends. "Jetstorm, open up a ground-bridge for us and have Red-Alert ready with a medical team, we have injured." "Aye, Aye." the pilot said back before another green vortex appeared near them, which made Grunt pick up his friend and carry him into the swirling portal, Shen and Quickstrike together picked up Rodimus and did the same as Orion watched with Liara helping him and Nightracer joining his other side. "Once we are on board, take us out of the system immediately." Orion then said before ending the transmission and looking over to the two women with him. "Lets get moving, we've lost too much time already." he then said, earning nods from the pair as they then helped him walk through the portal which then closed behind them. The Normandy then left orbit of Scissio and immediately jumped away, leaving the planet to float there in the void of space. But if the ship had stayed for a moment longer they would have noticed an almost transparent energy wave suddenly expand outwards from the planet before slowly dissipating into the blackness nothing like it had never happened.
  8. CHAPTER XXXI Liara and Nightracer sat at their respective terminals, busy searching through the data that had been retrieved from the Predacon lab on Cybertron. They had both been at this for a few hours now, having found a number of entries that were interesting and informative about their enemies, and were completely focused on their work. So much so that neither even blinked when the door behind them opened, with Orion entering while carrying a tray with two mugs of coffee on it. "Thought you two could use a pick-me-up." the blue haired Bot said, earning the women's attention as turned to face him. "You read my mind, Orion." Nightracer replied as she took one of the hot mugs in her hands and smelt the aroma. "Definitely need a caffeine fix now." she added before taking a sip of the drink, while Liara gave Orion a very appreciative smile as he handed her the second mug. "You know, you didn't need to bring me a drink just so you could see me, Orion." the Asari said with coy-like tone and smile, which made the Bot almost blush as he stood there in front of her. "I know..." he said back with a smile, before Nightracer faked a cough which made both Orion and Liara snap out of their little moment. "...so how are you two getting along with the Intel?" the Bot asked with a slightly guilty tone, as he had forgotten that the Femme was even there. "We have come across a lot of interesting and helpful data about the Predacons in the project of the same name." Nightracer replied before taking another sip of her drink. "And we have also come across a number of coordinates that had been deciphered from Project Iacon, half of them were already highlighted as found." Liara added as she brought up the data on one of her holo-screens. "I remember my Dad telling me stories about this, since it happened during the Earth-bound part of the Autobot/Decepticon War. These marked coordinates are where both sides had found a number of relics and weapons which had been launched from Cybertron, with the Star Saber being the last one to be located." Orion said back, gaining nods from the women. "That is only because these last few coordinates are located elsewhere in the galaxy, so I guess neither the Autobots or Decepticons were able to search for these last ones." the Asari replied. "I wonder what the those ones are, maybe something like the 'Blades of Time' or the 'Requiem Blaster'." Nightracer said with a curious expression as she brought the images of both up on her own screen, earning the attention of Liara and Orion. "Who knows, but we should send this data back to Autobot Command. They can then send out ships to these other co-ordinates and retrieve whatever is there, better they are in our hands than the Predacons." the blue haired Bot said. "We were going to do just that." Liara said back with a knowing look, before turning her attention to the holo-screen on her far left which had the image of a bar scrolling from left to right and a percentage counting upwards on it. "What's this doing?" Orion then asked as he looked at the screen. "It's just decrypting another portion of the Intel..." Liara replied before it suddenly stopped at one hundred percent and pinged. "...and it is done." she added as she typed on the holo-interface, bringing up a list of codes which made Nightracer's eyes widen as she recognised them. "By the All-spark, we have just hit the jackpot." she exclaimed as Orion's face mirrored her own as he too recognised it. "What are they?" Liara asked with a confused tone, having noticed the looks on her friends faces. "They are Predacon communication frequencies, meaning we can now listen in on the enemy now." the blue haired Bot said back with a smile. With this significant discovery now in their hands, the trio made their way to the CIC. Exiting the elevator to find Rodimus, Shen, Quickstrike, Smokescreen and Grunt standing next to the galaxy map, along with a holo-screen showing Onyx Primal looking back at them. "So you're saying we can now eaves drop on the Predacons...that's awesome." Smokescreen said with an enthusiastic tone, one that gained mirroring looks from the others around him. "That's right. We just need to cycle through the frequencies until we find the one they are using." Nightracer replied as Orion activated his holo-tool and connected it with the galaxy map's holo-emitter, making the image of the galaxy disappear and replacing it with a com-link frequency program. "Good work, so let's begin." Rodimus said as he looked over to Liara and Nightracer, earning nods in return from them as Orion tapped a button on his holo-tool and activated the program, which began to search through each frequency. "With this, we will be able to stop any Predacon attack before it happens. Maybe even figure out the locations of all their ships, letting us take the offensive." Grunt observed before the program suddenly stopped on one frequency and analysed it. "Looks like we have found one." Orion stated before an unfamiliar voice suddenly spoke from the CIC speakers. "This is the former Omega cruiser 'Venture' to the 'Nemesis', do you read?" "Acknowledged, read you loud and clear." a female voice replied, one that several of the group recognised, especially Quickstrike. "Rip-Claw!" he said, his voice tinged with anger. "Quiet." Rodimus said back as everyone focused on the transmission. "We are currently in the Traverse, near the galactic core. Orbiting a planet which the database calls 'Scissio'. It's data file claims that the planet is uninhabited and yet we are detecting an energy reading from it's northern hemisphere, it is only just readable but I believe that Lord Galvatron wished to be notified if we found such a reading." the Venture's officer said back. "That is correct, I will inform our Lord of your findings. Good work, Venture, we will be there shortly….Nemesis out." Rip-Claw finished, ending the transmission. "Looks like we have our next destination." Grunt said, gaining a nod from Rodimus. "Indeed, I will relay this information back to Autobot Command." he said before tapping his com-link. "Jetstorm, I am sending you some coordinates, please set a course for this planet and prepare to engage the space-bridge generator." "Roger that." the pilot replied as the Commander then turned his attention to Orion. "Better get your team ready, we will be moving momentarily." "Yes, Sir." his XO replied before looking back at the others. "Let's get suited up." the blue haired Bot the said, gaining nods from everyone else as they headed for the elevator and got inside, with it's doors closing behind them once the group had entered it. Once gone, Rodimus returned his attention to the galaxy map and activated his holo-tool. "Get me a secure channel to Autobot Command." PRIME EFFECT 4 The doors to Galvatron quarters opened and both the Predacon Lord and Shockwave exited the room together, as the former placed his hand on the latter's shoulder. "You have made the right choice, Shockwave. Together, we will strengthen the Predacons and truly bring this galaxy under our rule. This will be the age of the Predacons." "If I may say, I do not believe that it would be logical to let the rest of them know of my real identity. It is doubtful that they would understand." the Decepticon replied, gaining a nod from Galvatron. "I agree, it will be easier to convince the others of Six-Shot's duplicity since he has shown elements of it already, very well. When you are out among the rest, you are to keep Shockblast's identity. I alone will call you by your real name and then only when we are alone." Then before either Con could speak again, the ship's inter-com activated. "Lord Galvatron, this is Rip-Claw speaking." the Femme then announced, earning a low growl from the Predacon Leader. "Yes, I read you. What is it?" he replied with a sour tone to his voice, which was easily picked up by the Femme. "...uh… my Lord...one of our ships, the Venture, has picked up an anomalous reading on a planet in the Traverse." Galvatron's eyes widened as he realised what this meant, and that was not the only sign he received as he felt his Master's presence surround him again. "That is where the Chaos Edge lies my Herald, I can feel it in 'our' spark." Unicron's voice spoke in the mind of the Predacon Leader. 'I agree, Master.' he thought back, earning a curious expression from Shockwave. "My Liege...?" he asked, before Galvatron looked back at him after a moment of silence. "Yes..." "You had gone quiet for a moment, is everything alright?" the Decepticon replied. "Yes, everything is fine..." the Predacon Lord said back as he felt Unicron's presence fade away again, and then returned his attention to the inter-Com. "Rip-Claw, have the planet's coordinates plotted into the space bridge generator and open a portal. I will join you in the CIC at once." he commanded. "Yes, my Lord." the Femme replied before the transmission ended, leaving Galvatron alone with Shockwave again. "I should return to my laboratory and restart my projects." the Decepticon stated, earning a nod from his leader. Of course, Shockwave. Also, there is something I will have transported there for you later on." Galvatron replied, gaining a curious expression from Shockwave. "Something?" "More like someone. A person who has betrayed our cause. I have read your files on this….person, she has disgusted me that much that I can not even bring myself to say her name. But you have a lot of experience with her and I believe you can correct her and return the Femme to our ranks." the Predacon Leader answered. "Of course, my Liege." Shockwave replied before walking away towards an elevator while Galvatron headed towards the CIC. A moment later and the Predacon Lord entered the Command center to the sight of a space bridge vortex opening beyond the glass canopy that separated the Predacons there from the void of space, the green energy of the portal pulsing before them. "Report!" Galvatron commanded as he joined Rip-Claw on the catwalk that overlooked the Terracons, who were working at their stations below. "My Lord, the Nemesis is ready to join the Venture in orbit around Scissio. Only your word is required to proceed." the Femme replied. "The word is given, take us to Scissio." he said back, earning a nod from the Terracon at the helm. And then almost instantly the Nemesis began moving toward the space-bridge, it's bright green spiral growing larger as they closed in. "Rip-Claw, stand at ease." Galvatron then said, earning a confused and uncertain expression from the Femme. "My Lord?" "I know what you are thinking, but you can relax. Six-Shot has taken on your punishment." the Predacon Leader replied, gaining a surprised look from her instead. "What?" the Femme said back in an almost stunned tone, while Galvatron stared back with resolute stare. "He attacked me and I killed him for it, because I will not suffer insubordination from anyone under my command….is that clear?" Yes, Sir. Does that mean you are giving me another chance. Because I feel shame, all the way to the core of my spark for failing you on Omicron." Rip-Claw replied with a regretful tone, earning a nod from the Predacon Lord who narrowed his eyes at her. "Yes, but now stop your grovelling or else I will change my mind." he spat back, gaining a sudden alert expression from the Femme who began to step away and nod. "Yes, Sir, of course. Just give me an order and I will see it done." she replied with a tinge of fear in her voice, making Galvatron roll his eyes before staring back at her. "I want you to prepare a platoon of Terracons to join me down on the planet along with Blight, Vertebreak, Lazerback and Darksteel. I also want Predaking, Skystalker and Grimwing on standby in case we have any trouble with the Autobots and their own Predacon beast appear, though that should be highly unlikely." "Of course, my Lord, I will see it done." Rip-Claw replied before turning around and walking out of the CIC just as the Nemesis entered the vortex, then a bright flash later the view changed as Galvatron could see a brown and green planet beyond the glass canopy as the ship exited the portal and entered orbit of Scissio with the Venture entering formation alongside it. PRIME EFFECT 4 While the Predacons began to ready their ground-forces on their side of the planet, the Normandy in its stealth mode entered Scissio's orbit on it's other side. In the Cargo-bay, the entire team were readying themselves for the fight ahead as they checked their armour and weapons. Rodimus entered the room and immediately gained everyone's attention as they stared in surprise, since the Commander was in his own armour. "Rodimus, you're coming with us on this one?" Smokescreen asked, gaining a nod from the leader as he walked over to the weapons locker and picked out a pistol and assault rifle. "Yes, since Autobot Command feels that this mission could be the most significant engagement of our conflict with the Predacons." he replied, earning a smile from the Bot and a nod from Grunt who stood at his side. "It's been too long since we last fought together." the Krogan replied as he placed a hand on the Commander's shoulder for a second. "So, what is the mission?" Shen asked, gaining the trio's attention. "Our sensors have detected two signals from the planet's surface, which are both within several kilometres of each other. One is the strange energy signature...the very reason that the Predacons are even here, while the other was a ground-bridge of which two MAKOs and a platoon of Terracons exited from." Rodimus said back before looking over at Orion. "Now, one of the vehicles has left the area, moving towards the mystery reading. Which means that the other MAKO and the remaining troops make up a sort of FOB." "Why's that then? I mean surely they could just open another ground-bridge elsewhere." Quickstrike said back with a confused tone, making the Autobot Commander shake his head in return. "Well, this planet is certainly very different from most planets in our galaxy, our sensor scans have picked up an anomalous energy reading which appears to surround and bind the planet to its very core." Rodimus said as he activated his holo-tool and brought up the scans of Scissio. "I am no scientist, but it looks like the planet is only half here and half elsewhere. The only really solid piece of information here is that it is in an unstable condition." he added as Liara stepped toward the image with a thoughtful expression. "What you're talking about sounds like a dimensional flux." she said, gaining curious looks from everyone. "Could we get an explanation to go with that please?" Shen then asked. "It was a theory I remember hearing about that was doing the rounds in the Asari Scientific community, though I do not remember the name of the individual who produced the theory. But 'dimensional flux' is when something has been caught between two separate but neighbouring dimensions or universes. Like most Asari, I did not take to this theory since there had never been any evidence to support the claim, I guess we were all wrong." the Asari replied. "Theories aside, whatever the planet is going through will hinder our ground and space-bridge ability inside it's atmosphere, just like it has for the Predacons. We can only open up a Vortex in one location, that is why the enemy are defending that area. It is their only avenue back to the Nemesis." Rodimus replied, earning a nod from Orion. "So I take it we will be taking the area back from them." he said back with a knowing tone. "Exactly, we will attack their beach-head after Galvatron has left to investigate the anomalous reading. Then we will split up into two teams, Orion, you will take your team and pursue the Predacon leader. Your job will be to stop him from acquiring whatever it is that he is after. My team will stay and prepare an ambush, on the off chance you are not successful." the Commander replied, before looking over at the others. "Smokescreen, Grunt, you will be with me and, Shen, you will take up a sniper position." The three nodded as Orion Stood beside the others not already named by Rodimus. "So I will take Liara, Quickstrike and Nightracer with me after Galvatron." "Yes...and, Onyx, if you could join us too. Just on the chance that the other Predacon beasts appear." the Commander added, earning a nod from the Maximal on the holo-screen. "Of course." he replied, gaining a confident smile from Rodimus who then tapped his com-link. "Alright, Jetstorm, prepare to open a ground-bridge at the coordinates stated, we will let Onyx through first before the rest of us follow through..." he said before equipping his rifle and looking back at the others. "...Let's get on with it." PRIME EFFECT 4 Down on the surface of Scissio, its landscape was a mixture of mountains and hill-like terrain. The later being covered mostly in grass, giving a strong green vibe to the it which was well balanced against the brown dirt of the mountains. Standing in what could only be described as a valley, a Terracon was walking round the currently not in use MAKO, keeping vigil as he patrolled the area alongside his comrades when his com-link activated. "Th…is…..Galva…tron….rep..rt… ." the Predacon Leader spoke over the link, earning a confused expression from the soldier. "My Lord? I can not understand, there is too much interference over the com-link." he replied with a slightly fearful tone, like he could just imagine the reaction of his leader at this very moment. " !…I…ca..nt…ma..e…yo…ot!" Galvatron spat back through the crackling and hissing noises, and the tone of his voice sent dread through the Terracon's spark before the transmission fizzled out. "My Lord? My Lord?" he said back before his attention was caught by what sounded like a strong wind in the distance. "Did you hear that?" he said to the other Terracon closest to him, earning the Con's attention. "Yeah, sounds like we might have a storm on the way." his friend said back, making him shake his head in return. "This whole planet is wrong, I mean there isn't just the energy reading that Lord Galvatron is investigating. Everything here is strange, from the anomalous readings that this place is giving off and now weather patterns that come out of nowhere. I just want to get back to the ship." Then the wind picked up again, earning the attention of every Terracon there as they stood alert, with their weapons ready. "I don't think that sounds like a..." another soldier said before suddenly a jet black Dragon flew low overhead, with the Terracons caught in his wake being knocked to the ground by it's force. "That's not one of ours." one Terracon said as the beast flew back around and started to circle the group, making the enemies fire back with their weapons once they got back to their feet. "That one is with the Autobots, kill it." the lead Terracon ordered, while another equipped a rocket launcher and aimed it at the Dragon. "Fire!" The soldier then pulled the trigger and fired the rocket, which shot soared up into the air towards the giant beast. Unfortunately for the group, the black dragon had spotted the incoming projectile and managed to evade it, by spinning around onto it's back and folding in it's wings. The beast then started to fall, but this was enough to make the projectile miss it's target and fly over the metallic creature harmlessly as continued into the open air behind it. The black dragon the turned it's body back round and extended it's wings, catching the air beneath them and stopping it's decent as the beast began to fly again. "Damn it..." the lead Terracon spat before he interrupted by the sound of a rifle being shot echoed around him, making the Con look around until he saw one of his comrades fall dead to the ground. "We're under attack, defend the area." he shouted before kneeling down and tapping his com-link. "Lord Galvatron, we are under attack. I repeat we are..." he said in a hurried and alert tone before he was quickly cut off by a bullet flying straight through his head. "Now" Rodimus then shouted as he and the rest of the Autobots revealed themselves from their hiding places in the long grass, gunning down the hapless Terracons who stood in their way. Meanwhile above everyone else, Onyx Primal opened his jaws and released several fireballs which hit spots around the battle, trying to scare the enemy even more. Which was working as several panicked when the ground burst to into flames near them, making them scramble into view of the other Bots who then gunned them down. But as the Terracons positioned in the open around the beach head fell, there were three who were using the remaining MAKO as cover so that they could safely return fire against their enemies. Orion was in a kneeling position as he fired back at the Terracons and beside he stood Liara, who had erected a biotic barrier to protect them. "Liara, you can make this barrier move with us, right?" he asked as the Asari had her hands outstretched before her, focusing on maintaining the barrier. "Of course, why are you asking?" she replied with a curious tone, earning a confident smile from the blue haired Bot with bullets continued to impact against the energy field in front of them. "Then lets get those Terracons." he said, gaining a smile from Liara who nodded and then looked back towards the enemy soldiers, who were still firing at them despite none of their shots penetrating the barrier. So the pair started to move forward, toward the Terracons who tried nothing else other than what they had already been doing. Liara kept her mind focused on the barrier, pushing aside any thoughts that could weaken the energy field as Orion holstered the assault rifle on his back in the right slot and then unsheathed the Star-Saber, before readying himself to attack as the pair were now only a few feet from the Terracons, while the rest of the Autobots finished off the others. The enemies then suddenly dropped their weapons and launched themselves at the Bot and Asari, activating their beast modes and becoming enraged. "Now!" the blue haired Bot exclaimed as Liara dropped the barrier and Orion swung the Saber at the nearest Terracon, it's blade glowing blue as it sliced clean through the enemy. Meanwhile his Asari companion used a biotic slam to knock the Terracon closest to her into the side of the MAKO, as Orion moved onto the next beast-like soldier while his first kill lay on the ground in two parts. He sliced off it's arm with the Star Saber before running the blade through it's chest, making the beast-man cry out in pain. The Spectre then quickly pulled the Saber back out and immediately decapitated the Terracon, before noticing that all the enemies in the area were now dead. "Wow." Quickstrike exclaimed, making both Orion and Liara turn round to see the blonde Bot staring at the Star-Saber in his cousin's hand, it's blade still glowing a gentle blue. "I thought you couldn't use it like that, I mean only a Prime can make it glow that way…right?" The blue haired Bot looked back and shrugged his shoulders. "I just focused on the blade, but I cannot unleash energy waves. I guess that feature really does require you to be a Prime." he replied with a slightly uncomfortable tone, having noticed that everyone else was now standing around the pair with impressed expressions on their faces, just as Onyx Primal landed and transformed back into his Cybertronian form. "I could do with a blade like that." Grunt said a somewhat jealous tone, which earned a smirk from Smokescreen as he stood beside him. "You don't need it, Grunt, you can tear people apart with your bare hands." he joked, earning a low growl from the Krogan. "Good job, everyone. Phase one of the plan is a success. We have control of the beach-head, now…." Rodimus began to say before stopping short, since his attention was drawn to Shen running up to the group from his sniper-spot. "Shen, what you doing here?" "Rodimus, I thought I would come down and tell you guys in person that our com-links will not work." the Turian replied, gaining a confused expression from the Commander. "What are you talking about….." he replied before tapping his com-link. "…Normandy, come in…..Normandy, this is Rodimus….come in?" But the only response Rodimus received was static, so he looked back at Shen who had a knowing expression in return. "My sniper rifle has a micro-phone that can pick up conversations at certain ranges, and I could see that the Terracons were having similar issues trying to contact Galvatron." "So that means we can't keep in touch with each other or the ship….perfect." Quickstrike replied with a tinge of annoyance in his tone. "Well then, it's a good job that I have a remote control to the ground-bridge isn't it." Rodimus said back as he activated his holo-tool, revealing the remote trigger to the team. "Now that is a relief." Shen said as Orion took a step towards the Commander. "But this also gives us an advantage, since the Terracons would be unable to warn Galvatron that we were here." the young Darby said, gaining a nod from Rodimus. "Exactly, and we should get a move on. So, Orion, take the MAKO with your team and intercept Galvatron. My team and I will dig in here and prepare a surprise for the Predacons, should they manage to get back with whatever it is they are after." "Alright, Liara, Nightracer, Quickstrike. Let's go." the blue haired Bot said back as he opened the vehicle's door access hatch with his holo-tool, then the two women and his cousin got inside before the Spectre took one last look at Rodimus and the others. "Good luck." "Good luck to us all, Orion." the Commander replied, earning a nod from the blue haired Bot before he got into the MAKO and closed the hatch behind him. Then the vehicle's engine activated and it moved away from the area, following the tracks left by Galvatron's as the other team watched. "Alright. Shen, get back to your spot and keep an eye out. Smokescreen, Grunt….time to dig in." Rodimus then said, earning nods from the others as they began preparing for what could likely be the last battle.
  9. Chapter XXX "What's a Maximal?" Smokescreen asked aloud, while everyone stood in front of the giant Cybertronian. Onyx looked at him with a confused expression. "You have heard of a Predacon, but not a Maximal? Rodimus activated his holo-tool and brought up images of wall paintings that showed the beasts, to which the Bot gave a curious look. "Before Galvatron managed to resurrect the Predacon race through science, very little was known about the time other that great beasts walked the surface of Cybertron. As these images show, the writing underneath each identifies them as Predacon. But the planet suffered an extinction level event which we called 'The Great Cataclysm', which wiped out your entire species and civilisation overnight, because these pictures which were found underground in cave systems were all that we modern day Cybertronians could find." the Commander replied just as Liara activated her holo-tool for some show and tell. "But recently, we discovered that was not the case, as it seems that remains of the Predacons were fossilised deep underground, far deeper than had been previously explored before. It was the Decepticon Shockwave who found those remains. And he cloned the Predacons, using the CNA he had extracted from them." "Decepticon?" Onyx replied with tinge of confusion to his voice, making everyone look back at him. "I know only of Maximals and Predacons, and have never heard of Decepticons." he added, making Orion step forward. "Onyx, before we continue this conversation, I think it would be a good idea to update you on everything that has happened between your time and the present day." he said before looking over to Rodimus, who nodded in return and activated his holo-tool. Then suddenly a massive holo-screen appeared on the wall in front of the Maximal and began playing through historical footage and data, while Orion and his team-mates narrated their story for him. Once done, Onyx had a very weary expression on his face while he processed it all in his mind, meanwhile everyone just stayed quiet and watched him. "So it is true, I am the last of my kind. And the Predacons I fought…. Predaking included, are nothing more than shadows of who they used to be." "I am sorry, Onyx. I cannot begin to imagine what you are going through right now." Orion said, while the Maximal looked back at the image of Cybertron on the large holo-screen. "When I was knocked into stasis during the Cataclysm, which occurred during our last battle with the Predacons. The last I remember of Cybertron, was it's landscape being devastated by a rain of fire. So when I awoke again and saw the surface during my fight with Grimwing, I thought that the devastation I laid my optics on was the result of that terrible day, but now I know that this is not the case. Let me tell you, that when we Maximals fought against our Predacon Brothers and Sisters. We did so believing that it would be first and last time that a Cybertronian would ever harm another. But I guess that belief was misplaced, or maybe we were just naïve. After all 'our War' lasted merely a few of what you call... years, but this Autobot/Decepticon conflict lasted for eons. I guess there is no such thing as real peace...because no sooner did that war end, that another began with what you call the Reapers." the Maximal said with a sheepish tone while everyone listened, but Orion then took a step forward. "It's true, peace may not last forever. But it's far from a worthless goal to pursue, in fact the conflict with the Reapers had the positive effect of uniting the entire galaxy. Just because something is hard to get, doesn't mean we should just stop trying." the blue haired Bot replied, earning a smile from all around him, even Primal looked down at him with a similar expression. "When I look at you, Orion Darby, I cannot help but be reminded of a friend of mine. He once said something very similar to me during the war." Before the young Darby could ask who the Bot meant, Liara beat him there with a question of her own. "When we were on Cybertron, I could not help but notice that you looked at Orion's Star-Saber. I get the impression that you have seen it before, and that is why you came with us." the Asari said, earning a nod from Onyx. "That is correct, I have seen this blade before. It was when I first awoke and opened my optics for the very first time, I looked up and saw the magnificent of beings standing over me. His armour was gold and silver with a very heroic quality to it, he welcomed me into the world as I took my first look upon it. I was one of the first to be awoken, third only to Sentinal Maximus and Predaking. As our race….the Predacons came into being, the Thirteen remained to watch over us for a time and make sure we were acclimatizing to Cybertron. For we were only Beasts at the time, unable to transform as we did not know how to. But that would come in time and when it did finally happen, it was Predaking who lead the way and thus became the Leader of our people. And it was then that the Thirteen vanished mysteriously, we never knew where they went or what happened to them. And as the cycles past they ended up becoming legends of ours, while we created our own civilisation." The Primal then looked back at Orion and at the hilt of the Star-Saber which could be seen over the blue haired Bot's shoulder. "May I ask, how you came to be in possession of the 'Blade of Prima'?" "My father….Jackson Prime held on to it after the passing of his mentor and close friend, Optimus Prime." "Your father is a Prime, so their lineage continues….that is very intriguing. You must be special yourself for being able to hold such a powerful and mighty blade as the Star-Saber, for it will not let just anyone hold onto it. I remember witnessing Prima having a bout with Predaking who managed to knock the blade from the Prime's hand, but when he tried to lift it off the ground with his jaws…..the blade would not budge." Onyx replied with a knowing expression, which made the young Darby feel somewhat uncomfortable with what he was being told. "I don't know about that….but since I can wield the Star-Saber, I will use it to do what's right." Liara looked over at Orion and smiled as he said this, while everyone else except Quickstrike looked at the XO with a surprised expression. "When were you going to tell us that you were in possession of the Star-Saber? I mean, you do realise what that means…don't you?" Nightracer asked, beating everyone else to the question, which left Orion feeling like he was stuck under a spot light. "I know what you are getting at, though I do not entirely believe it myself." the Bot replied but before anyone else could speak up, Rodimus stepped forward. As he saw how uncomfortable his XO was getting with the current debate. "Okay, we are getting off topic here.." he said before looking back at the Primal. "What happened to you, Onyx Primal, how did you end up buried beneath the ground and not joined with your brethren in the All-Spark?" "Well, as I just said before… the Thirteen had left us and we had begun to build our own civilisation, mastering our ability to shift between our Cybertronian and beast forms. There were two forms of Predacons, these were Flyers and Walkers. Now as our civilisation grew, these two groups had a settled but not perfect relationship. But slowly that began to change, as those of us capable of flight started to have a supremacist belief in themselves. And they started to see their Walker Brothers and Sisters as being not worthy to stand amongst them, and so this cancer spread over our world and thus created a chasm, one that effected split our people in two. And at first…I was one of those that believed." Onyx said with the guilt evident in his voice as everyone listened intently. "Looking back at how times were back then, it was so easy to look down at those unable to join us in the sky and feel superior." the Maximal added. "And here I thought the only prejudice Cybertronians went through was with the caste system during 'The Golden Age'." Nightracer replied, gaining a nod from the Primal. "So what changed?" Orion asked. "Sentinal Maximus was the first to openly question this way of thinking and as he did this, his popularity among other Walkers began to rise. Predaking though would not stand for any voice other than his own being heard by the general population, so he had Sentinal imprisoned." Onyx replied. "I'm guessing that didn't stop his followers?" Smokescreen added. "It did not. There were mass protests in every city across the planet. Even though the Flyers outnumbered the Walkers, the turnout for each protest was an impressive sight, to say the least. But then Predaking had the idea that if the Walkers followed Sentinal as much as they made out, that if he was suddenly to be killed before all their optics, then their collective voice would be silenced and they would finally accept their place in Predacon society." the Primal continued. "So what did he do?" Liara asked. "Predaking placed Sentinal in the 'games' which were held in the pits of Iacon. Maximus was meant to be killed by some of our Predacon warriors such as Inferno, Windrazor, Sawtooth and Quickstrike." the Maxima said, making Smokescreen look over to the blonde Bot with a wide eyed expression. "You're named after a Predacon?" he gasped, gaining an eye roll from the Bot. "No, I am not, Smokescreen. Can we get back to the topic on hand." he replied, with everyone giving a nod of agreement as Grunt placed his hand on the other Bot's shoulder. "If he speaks again, I'll kill him." the Krogan said with a joking-like tone, while Rodimus looked back at Onyx. "I am guessing it didn't have the effect Predaking was hoping for." "That is correct. No matter who entered the arena with Sentinal, he would come out the victor which would send his followers into a frenzy. He said that Predaking was helping his cause by letting him prove that Walkers were just as good as their Flyer Brothers and Sisters, so they should be treated equally." the Maximal added. "So what happened next?" Orion asked. "After this went on for a good number of cycles, Predaking had enough of the debacle and so entered the arena himself and challenged Sentinal. He wanted to prove once and for all that Flyers should be the dominant ones among our civilisation. The fight between the two was ferocious and bloody, with neither willing to give an inch to the other. Many thought that the fight would never end, as Both Predaking and Sentinal seemed to be fighting to a stand still. All of a sudden, the latter managed to get the upper hand on the Predacon and looked to be claiming the killing blow. But just as Walkers around Cybertron were about to celebrate, Sentinal had left himself open while he went for the kill, allowing Predaking to critically injure the Bot. And in the blink of an eye the tables had turned, as the Predacon leader stood over Maximus and right there and then, he executed his opponent in the most brutal way." "Did that have the effect Predaking was after?" Rodimus asked. "It had quite the opposite effect actually, because Sentinal had fought such a heroic and fierce display against the Predacon Leader, who had a reputation for being unbeatable, that it gave the Walkers more encouragement to fight for equality." "What about you? Did it effect you in a similar way?" Orion said with a curious expression, gaining a head-shake from the Maximal. "No,it didn't. I mean, I felt sympathy for the Walkers because of how my blood brother was treating them. But I didn't feel anything else...at first." he said, before looking at a bulkhead. "..At first?" Liara then asked. "After Sentinal's death, there were a small number of sympathetic Flyers to the plight of the Walkers. My friend Airazor was one of them, she had been a close friend of mine for as long as I can remember and was an honourable and courageous Predacon Femme. She did not get on with Predaking and was very against his methods and leadership, but he would not even touch her. Looking back at it, I guess he was just looking for a reason to snuff out her spark. And then he got one, as one day a group of Terracons began harassing two Walkers in the main square of the Capital. Airazor witnessed the skirmish and immediately got involved and defended the Walkers, which had been the first time that a Flyer ever did this. Predaking did not take this well as he had her arrested and brought to the arena and there in front of everyone, who had been expecting to see a fight...instead saw the Femme getting tortured." Onyx then said as his face became one full of regret. "Predaking condoned public torture, he sounds more and more like Megatron every time you mention him." Smokescreen said with a disgusted tone, one that was shared by everyone else in the room. "I got there just in time to see them tear Airazor's wings from her body, and it was then at that moment that my spark became enraged. Because not only did Predaking have my closest friend and ally tortured as a scare tactic against the masses, and had also taken away the right for the accused to fight for their freedom in the arena, but he took it upon himself to torture Airazor. So I gate-crashed the proceedings and rescued her, but not before giving my blood brother a severe beating right in front of the arena's audience." Onyx replied. "I bet that went down a storm with the Walkers.." Quickstrike said, earning a nod from the giant Bot. "Yes, seeing the leader of the Flyers being humiliated by one of his own sent the Walkers in the Arena into a frenzy and they began fighting with Flyers and Terracons alike. A group of Walkers assisted me with getting Airazor to a safe haven outside of the Capital and it was there that she and others including Rhinox convinced me to help them fight, since my reputation as one of the Predacons best warriors and tacticians was widely known throughout Cybertron. They felt that I would make a perfect successor to Sentinal, but at first I was not interested since my only priority was Airazor's well-being." "But I guess she managed to twist your arm." Nightracer said with a knowing tone, gaining a nod from the Primal. "Yes, Airazor did have a way with words and she knew me too well." he answered with an affectionate tone, one that did not go unnoticed by the others. But instead of bringing it up, they all just remained quiet and let the Maximal speak. "So I agreed to lead the Walkers against the rest of the Predacons and we agreed to name our faction 'Maximals' in honour of Sentinal Maximus, for he was the first to stand up to Predaking and his supremacist forces. Had it not been for him, then there would never have been an uprising." "You said the war lasted a few years?" Smokescreen then asked, before anyone else could speak. "Yes, despite the fact we Maximals were outnumbered by our Predacon brethren, we managed to give as good a fight as we received. We had victories….and we had defeats, losing…friends… along the way." Onyx replied while looking down at the ground, the blue of his optics illuminating the metal floor. A look of regret and pain on his face while the others remained quiet, silently paying respects as he did. After a moment the Bot looked back up and was ready to speak again. "How did the war end?" the Commander asked with a curious tone, making the Maximal's optics turn to him. "It could have been just another battle, but on that particular solar-cycle, my spark was as enraged as it had been on the very day it all started. I was convinced that killing Predaking would be the only way to end the war, and I had the conviction to carry me through to that end." Orion just listened as did everyone else, but he could not help but wonder what had happened to make Onyx feel that way again. The blue haired Bot felt that he may know the answer, but decided not to pursue an answer from the Primal and stayed silent. "I fought with Predaking, it was a battle to end all battles between us. We had been friends, blood Brothers and were now hated enemies. Even as our armies fought around us, our optics were only focused on each other. But before a victor would be revealed, the entire planet began to shake as fire rain down from the sky. The entire planet's surface began to burn as it looked like the end of the world was upon us, but then the ground beneath me broke apart and I found myself falling into darkness and everything went black." the Maximal said. "That must have been when you went into stasis-lock. But what brought you out of it?" Rodimus then asked, earning thoughtful looks from everyone before Smokescreen had a eureka expression. "It must have been the Synthergon. You know, what we found powering the reactor." he said as he looked over to Nightracer and Grunt, hoping for some acknowledgment. "Yes, that's right. We found a leak in one of the storage tanks that was dripping through a crack in the floor." the Femme agreed, gaining a confused look from Onyx. "Synthergon?" "A synthetic form of Energon, but it is unstable due to it's formula being incomplete. We should have you checked to see what your levels are, because it can have an adverse effect on Cybertronian physiology." Rodimus replied before looking at the others. "So the rest of you should get some rest in the meantime." "If I may, Commander. I would like to get on with studying the Intel we took from the Predacon base. It could give us a clue to their next target." Liara then said, as Orion joined her side. "I'll help, since two pairs of eyes are better than one." he said, earning a slight smile from the Asari. "Very well, everyone dismissed." Rodimus replied as everyone headed out of the cargo-bay, before he turned back to the Maximal. "I will have our doctor, Red-Alert come down and take some scans." "Of course, but I would like to keep this up and read some more." Onyx replied while pointing at the large holo-screen beside him. "Okay, I will be in the CIC if you require anything." Rodimus said back before walking out of the room and back into the ship's corridor. "Commander Rodimus, Jetstorm here." a voice spoke up on the inter-com. "Status report?" the Commander replied. "The base was completely destroyed, Sir." the pilot said back. "Excellent.." Rodimus began to say back, but then Jetstorm cut him off. "Yes, Sir, But at that same time, our sensors picked up similar explosions from all around Cybertron." "But that wasn't us." the Elite Spectre replied with a confused expression. "Perhaps they were all connected via the same power network, and they all just detonated." the pilot said back. "Or the Predacons got jumpy and destroyed all evidence that they had been there, just on the off chance we were going to find those facilities too." PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile, on the Nemesis which was currently surrounded by a fleet of Predacon and former Omega ships, the bridge was uncharacteristically quiet. All the Terracons stationed there had they heads down and were focusing just on their own work, not even daring to look up and see what was happening around them. For they could sense that a storm was about to be rained upon them as Rip-Claw stood on the catwalk above then with Galvatron, the Predacon leader staring at the Femme wit narrowed eyes. "Do you have anything to say for yourself?" he asked with gritted teeth, showing that he was restraining his anger...for the moment. "I am sorry, Lord Galvatron." the Femme replied with a apprehensive expression, but her words did not even make her superior flinch as he stared down at her. "Is that all you have to say for losing not only the colony to the Autobots, but also our advantage over their forces." he then replied, with an anger building in the tone of his voice that set alarm bells ringing with Rip-Claw. "My Lord, it wouldn't have been possible for the Autobots to do what they did without Ser-Ket's help. Surely you should blame her more than I." "But it happened on your watch, Rip-Claw, and you will answer for that. In fact, had you not managed to capture your traitorous sister, then I would have had you killed right now." Galvatron spat back, which made the Femme lower her head in shame as she looked at the ground. "Now get out of my sight, while I think what should be done with you." he then added before turning his back on her, a disgusted expression on his face. "Give me another chance, my Lord. I will not fail you again." Rip-Claw pleaded, but the Predacon leader kept his attention to the void beyond the bridge's canopy. "You are not helping your chances by begging, now get out!" The Femme merely nodded shakilly before backing away slowly, until she was far enough away and then turned and rushed off the bridge, nearly banging into Six-Shot as he walked through the doorway. "Hey, what was that?" he asked back in surprise, but Rip-Claw disappeared down the corridor before he could say anything else. "Six-Shot.." Galvatron's voice then boomed, making the Terracons below stop what they were doing and remain very still as fesr took hold. "...I am not in the best of moods, I suggest you leave me be." he added as his lieutenant walked up and stopped right behind him. "I have just heard about my brother, is he alright?" the Con asked with concern in his voice. "He is being treated in the Infirmary at this moment, but I have yet to question him on how he lost the facility, as well as 'why' he decided to detonate all the others...just because the Autobots found one..." Galvatron spat as his anger began to rise again. "How did the Autobots even find the base, Cybertron is a dead planet." Six-Shot asked with a disbelieving tone. "Your brother told me that Asari, the one you two failed to kill, was with the Autobots. My guess is that she lead then there." the Predacon leader replies as he looked over his shoulder at his lieutenant. "First...Rip-Claw with Ser-Ket and now you two with that Asari, I am beginning to sense a pattern here. Are any of you capable of killing when it is utmost required of you. For I have now lost two bases to the Autobots and our main advantage over them, all in the space of a day or so." But this then ignited Six-Shot's spark as he gritted his teeth and narrowed his eyes at his leader, not even remotely put off by Galvatron's imposing demeanour. "You want to talk about mistakes, then let's go over nuking an Autobot Colony...shall we." The Predacon Lord's eyes widened in surprise at his minion's impudence. "You dare..." "We are supposed to be conquering the Federation and their Autobots, not exterminating them. What were you thinking?" Six-Shot continued, letting his hanger push him further as he confronted Galvatron, who looked even more aggravated. "How dare you question me and my methods! Or do you forget who you are talking too?" the Predacon leader snapped as he towered over his lieutenant, who looked as if he still would not back down as he stared back defiantly. "I wanted to send the Autobots a message, and it was delivered perfectly. I doubt they will move against us so quickly again, since I am just cleaning up the mess my lieutenants have caused." Galvatron said, which made Six-Shot look away with a worried expression as he did see the Predacon Lord's logic and suddenly felt that he no longer have a leg to stand on. "Now if I were you, I would make myself scarce before I tear your spark out for insubordination!" his leader continued as he noticed the change in his minion's behaviour, so Six-Shot bit his lip and clenched his fists tightly before turning around and storming off the bridge as Galvatron watched with narrowed eyes until the Con was gone. In the Nemesis's science lab, Shockblast was standing at one of the terminals and looking at the holo-screen being emitted by it. He was typing on the holo-interface as he watched code scrolling down the screen at speed and despite losing an eye, his remaining one was working just fine as it kept up with the information on the screen. 'Where are the files, I know they are here. It would be illogical for these people to not download them from my laboratory.' he thought before the Science Lab's door opened and Six-Shot entered, which did not even make Shockblast blink as he kept his attention on the screen. "There you are, I thought I was going to find you in the Infirmary but you had already left." the younger Con said as he walked up to his older brother's side. "It was not logical for me to stay there, not when I have a great many tasks to complete." Shockblast replied coldly, earning a worried expression from Six-Shot. 'Why is he talking like that?' he thought, as his Brother noticed that he was still standing there. "Is there something I can help you with? Because if not, then I must ask you to leave." "Yeah, you can tell me what's going on with you lately?" Six-Shot asked, which gaining a confused expression from Shockblast. "Of what do you speak?" he asked before turning his attention back to the terminal, typing into the holo-interface as a loading bar appeared on it's screen. But his younger Brother looked back with an even more confused expression. "This is what I am talking about, you never used to act or talk like you are now...what is going on?" he pleaded, but Shockblast ignored it and focused on his work. But after seeing his brother becoming more distant and more distant over the their time with Galvatron, coupled with how angry he was after his latest spat with their leader, Six-Shot had enough of this and grabbed Shockblast by the arm which made the Con look at him blankly. "What in the All-spark has happened to you, I don't even recognise you anymore. I Thought it might have been the workload that Galvatron placed on your shoulders, that it might be stress but I look at you...and its like your not even there." the younger Con said with an angry and concerned tone as his brother just looked at him. "Remove your arm...now!" Shockblast said back with a deathly cold tone, while narrowing his eye with a stare that was just as cold. Six-Shot was surprised by the threat and so let go of his Brother's arm, just looking back with a dumbfounded expression which Shockblast ignored as he walked past, heading for the door. "This conversation is over." he added before exiting the lab, leaving Six-Shot alone. 'What in the pit is going on around here, first Galvatron promises to conquer the galaxy only to start sending our ships out for a glorified scavenger hunt, and then starts nuking Autobot targets. And meanwhile my Brother is acting less and less like himself, which is now to the point where I swear he is a stranger.' the Con thought before his attention was caught by the sound of a beeping noise, so he turned and saw that it was emanating from the now completed loading bar. Curious about what his Brother was looking into, Six-Shot activated his holo-tool and connected it to the terminal which then made the bar and the sound it was producing to stop. Then the screen began to show large images that looked like video recordings, and the young Con found himself curious to what these were so he found himself clicking on one and making it play before him. What he saw made his eyes widen as the footage played out in front of him. "No...I don't recall this!" PRIME EFFECT 4 As the Normandy orbited an uninhabited planet in the Traverse, the 'nightshift' crew were all focused on their duties about the ship while the remainder were resting. But there was one person who was not, for he was unable to focus on anything but what he had recently lost. And this was very punishing for Quickstrike as he walked through the Normandy's corridors. For when he was down on Cybertron with his cousin and the others or greeting their new Maximal guest, things were too hectic for the Bot to get sidetracked by the thoughts of the love he had lost. But now that everything had quietened down, he could not help but lose his focus and let Ser-Ket dominate his thoughts. So the blonde Autobot carried on walking, from one end of the ship to the other. He knew that he probably should be helping Liara with decrypting the Predacon Intel or anyone of his new friends with their duties or points of interest, but his spark was in pain right now and he had to let the storm of emotion take him and ride it out, until the next crisis hit and give him back some semblance of focus. Quickstrike had pretty much walked two whole laps of the ship by the time he came to a stop at the entrance to the cargo-bay, not sure if he should enter what some crew were now calling 'Lair of the Dragon'. He wasn't sure if that name was entirely deserving for the Maximal, who on first impression seemed very civilised despite his alternate mode. But this nickname had originated from the crew who had yet to know Onyx Primal and as with anyone, when there was something you didn't understand then it was natural to fear it until you did. But why was he currently standing outside the Maximal's living space aboard the Normandy, and at this ungodly hour. Maybe it was that during their first 'chat' with Onyx, there was a moment when Quickstrike felt that the Maximal had felt a similar pain to his own. He had certainly alluded to it during his retelling of the his life before the 'great cataclysm', even if it was in a throw-away line. 'What did he mean by that, and if has had an experience similar to me...then how did he deal with it?' the blonde Bot thought while pressing the keypad next to the door, which opened and allowed him access. Once inside, Quickstrike noticed that the lights in there had been dimmed, making the area look a little creepy. Building that atmosphere more was the sound of breathing, which echoed throughout the room. But the Bot spotted the Maximal in his beast mode, curled up o the floor. The image it presented looked like one of those seen in fantasy stories, the ones where there was a dragon sleeping in a cave. But before Quickstrike could move any closer, the dragon's optics opened and looked directly at him, which made him feel uncomfortable. "Oh, uh…sorry." he said back sheepishly, before the beast got to its feet and then transformed into the calm but physically imposing figure of Onyx Primal. "..Quickstrike….., I sense something is troubling you?" the Maximal asked, earning a surprised look from the Autobot. "What makes you think that?" "Because while your team-mates are either focused on powering down or concerning themselves with other duties, you are walking around the ship by yourself." Onyx replied with an observant expression, which made the Bot suddenly feel guilty for walking in on the ancient Cybertronian. "Look, you were resting. I will go." Quickstrike said back as he began to back towards the door but then Onyx gestured for him to stop, his blue optics staring at the Bot. "You have lost someone….haven't you?" The blonde Autobot felt like he was suddenly naked and without any kind of defence, as the Maximal's question had caught him off guard. "How did you..?" "I can see it in your eyes, you have lost someone who is close to your spark. I would know for I have...too." Onyx replied as he looked away, as the memory rushing back into his neural net. "Was it Airazor?" Quickstrike asked sombrely with the Cybertronian nodding slowly in return, earning a similar expression from the blonde Bot. "I am sorry." "As am I, for the loss you have suffered. May I ask who she was?" Onyx replied as he looked back at the Bot. "Her name was Ser-Ket, she was a Predacon who rescued me from one of their bases." Quickstrike said back as he looked at the ground, not wanting the Maximal to see the pain he felt as his own memories started to return to his thoughts. "I see..." the big Bot replied as he remembered from the briefing that Predacons had been given pretender bodies to use. "..What was Ser-Ket like?" "Ser-Ket was...the most amazing woman I have ever met. She had a kind and compassionate spark, and was brave and honourable. She didn't fit in with the other Predacons, and didn't share their blood lust." Quickstrike reminisced with a slight smile as he remembered the Femme, how she would look at him, and smile. Onyx returned the smile as he looked down at the Bot. "She sounds like she was a wonderful person and not at all like a Predacon. In fact, I would say she sounds more like a Maximal." "I thought that both factions were the same?" Quickstrike replied with a confused look, earning a nod from Onyx. "Indeed, but the blood lust was something that Maximals...Walkers had more control over. Since over time, they had been downgraded from equals to second class citizens and then to slaves. They had learned to be more in control of their animal instincts, proving that they were more than what their Predacon cousins thought themselves to be. For 'we' would still fall prey to our more beast-like behaviour as we believed ourselves superior, and felt that we were perfect. I too can still lose control to my more aggressive and monstrous side." the Primal said, gaining a nod from the blonde Bot. "Ser-Ket was ashamed of that side of herself, never wanting to use it when we got into fights with other Predacons." Onyx smiled again as he listened to Quickstrike. "I think if both Airazor and your Ser-Ket had a chance to meet, they would have liked each other. They certainly have a lot in common." "What happened to Airazor?" the Autobot then asked, earning a thoughtful expression from Onyx. "As I said before, Airazor and I had been very close friends all our lives. But it was not until she was branded a traitor for helping some Walkers and then tortured, that I realised just how much she meant to me." the Maximal replied as his mind was flooded with memories of he and his Spark-mate. "When I confessed how I felt about her, Ser-Ket revealed that she felt the same and we became spark-mates. We were together during the entirety of the war, We even had designs on what we were going to do after it. But in the final days of the conflict, it all fell apart..." he said as a regretful expression befell his face, earning a sympathetic expression from the blonde Bot. "Why?" "Because of Predaking!" Onyx then replied, as he found himself replaying the memory in his mind. 'The battle was bloody and brutal with energon spilling everywhere, as the forces of the Predacons and the Maximals continued to rip each other apart either in their Cybertronain or Beast modes. The entire metallic valley, which was one of the few wide open spaces on Cybertron, had every square inch filled with bloody slaughter. In the midst of the battle, a green and yellow wingless dragon charged it's way through the enemy line, sending numerous Terracons flying through the air. It roared into the air, as if to signal others around it. But suddenly found itself surrounded, as another group of Terracons ripped its way through the few Bot-formed Maximals that were standing between them and it. The group was made up of three beasts and two Cybertronians, the former growled while the latter flashed evil grins as they readied their blades. But the yellow and green beast looked up behind them and gave off another roar, which made the enemies look back just moments before a jet black dragon flapped it's wings and swooped down, ploughing into them. The Terracons stood no chance as it picked up the two Bots and carried them into the air, leaving the beasts injured and unprepared as the yellow and green Dragon pounced on Both, quickly killing them with a throat rip from it's powerful jaws. The black dragon then dropped it's two passengers back down into the battling masses, then flew back round and landed in the open area in front of the yellow and green beast. Both dragons looked at each for a second before transforming into two armoured Cybertronians, one was Onyx Primal, while the yellow and green beast transformed in to an Cybertronian Femme with light armour over an athletic build. "Airazor, are you alright?" he asked with a concerned and caring expression, while she smiled back and flicked off some energon off her sharp fingers. "Yes, thank you for the assist, Onyx. Though you know, I could have taken them." she replied, gaining a nod from the Maximal Bot." "I know, but I could see you from overhead...I can always spot you." he said back with an affectionate tone, which would have made the Femme blush had she been able. And she would have said something back, but noticed that the Terracons were coming back. "I guess we will have to put this moment on hold, until after we win this battle." she replied as Onyx noticed the incoming enemies, the two partners then equipped their swords and readied themselves. "Their timing could be better." he said, earning a smirk from his spark-mate before they Both charged into the Terracons, cutting down the foes as they did so and spilled yet more energon in their path. "So I take it since the Terracons are being pushed in the direction of my forces, that your plan was successful." the Femme asked as she sliced the head off one enemy unfortunate enough not to dodge her attack. "Yes, my own forces have hit their northern front lines hard, pushing them further back into their own reserves." he replied while slicing then neck open of one Terracon, who in a frenzied panic stabbed his own mate in the side and killed him. But before he could bleed out, the Primal then sliced his head off as he and Airazor finished off the other two in easy fashion. "Your idea to split up our forces and attack from different directions certainly looks to be working." the Femme said as the pair stood in the center of the bloody mess. "Yes, this should make Predaking show his face now. I know he is here, I can smell him." Onyx replied before another wingless dragon burst out of the battle around the pair and ran up to them, this one had a three horns ranging from small to large on it's snout as it stopped before them. "Rhinox!" the Maximal leader exclaimed as his friend transformed into a heavily built grey and green Cybertronian with red eyes. "Primal, we are almost through their lines. Rat-Trap has sent word that a number of Predaking's lieutenants have appeared to regain control of the battle." "Which means their leader cannot be far behind." Airazor added, earning a confident smile from Onyx. "Right, So I want you two to hold our attack along with Jawbreaker and Nightshriek. I meanwhile will make myself known, so that if Predaking is out there then he will come to me…" the Maximal Leader said, gaining acknowledging nods from his friends. "…and I will kill him." he added. "With their Alpha dead, the Predacons will fall into disarray. So Airazor and I will make sure our forces maintain their focus in what should be our final battle. Good luck Primal, till all are one." Rhinox replied before transforming back into his beast form and returning to the battle. Airazor then walked right up to her spark-mate and cupped his face in her hand. "I will be here when you are done, my Love." "I will see you soon." he replied as he lowered his head to her own, letting them touch as he placed his hand on her chest-plate and she did the same. "Go get him." she said back before he stepped back and nodded, then transformed back into his beast mode and flew up into the air. Airazor then did the same and rejoined the battle, fighting her way through the Terracons who were too preoccupied with her Maximal Brothers and Sisters. Meanwhile, Onyx swooped back down into the battle, destroying one Terracon as he transformed back into his Cybertronian self, cutting down another enemy with his blade as his parts finished shifting around. He then impaled another in the face with a second blade that had ejected from the Bot's armoured gauntlet, before ripping that blade back out and spinning around and slicing open the chest of another who was attacking from behind him. As the bodies fell around the Maximal Leader, he could not help but wonder where his former blood brother was. 'Where is he? How many of his men do I have to kill?' he thought as he then defended himself from several more Terracons who charged at him. But as each one fell to his blades, falling to the ground to join their fallen comrades. A familiar roar echoed through the sky, making Onyx look up to see the silhouette of Predaking's dragon form soaring through the sky as if watching the entire battle. The Primal then transformed back into his beast mode and roared back, hoping to gain the Predacon Leader's attention. The beast then looked directly at Onyx and growled, but instead of flying straight for him, Predaking turned his yellow optics to an area far ahead of the Maximal and then roared as if he had spotted a target more to his choosing. The massive dragon then dived down at the area making Oynx look at what his former friend was heading, straining his optics to zoom in.What his optics saw made them widen in horror as he saw Airazor fighting Scorponok and Blight, completely unaware of the danger flying down at her. So the Maximal leader began running back, barging past fellow soldiers and enemies a like, Not caring about anything else but his Spark-mate. But before he had gotten within a hundred yards of her, Predaking landed beside the Femme who had just finished off Blight and Scorponok, the former had his head removed while the latter fell to ground with a bloody slice that went the length of his torso. Airazor turned round to see the Predacon leader transform into his heavily armoured bipedal form, a dark smile appearing on his face as he equipped his sword. So she took on a defensive stance and readied herself to fight. Onyx though found himself slowed down by a large group of Predacon soldiers who like a dam, stopped him and caused the Bot to fight despite the fact that his love was facing their most skilled and deadly warrior. Even as he fought back against the Terracons, Onyx could not keep his attention off Airazor or Predaking as the two began fighting with the Femme defending against the much larger Con's heavy attacks. The Predacon leader swung his blade down at the Maximal who just managed to block the attack with her own sword, but did not have the strength to equal that of Predaking, so did enough to allow her to roll out of the way and gain some space between her and him. Then the orange and black Con attacked again, which the Femme dodged before swiping her blade up through the air which caught Predaking's face, creating a slice from his cheek to his forehead in a diagonal cut. The Predacon grimaced as he pulled back, once again giving Airazor a moment to catch her breath. But just after he wiped the dripping energon from his face, the Con's yellow optics narrowed and he stared daggers at her before roaring and charging her. Onyx had just killed several Terracons in a row and finally cleared a path to the pair, but he looked up and suddenly felt his spark shatter as he witnessed Predaking breaking through Airazor's defences and stab her through the chest. The Femme coughed up energon as she dropped her weapon which fell to the ground, with her quickly following as she collapsed to her knees. Onyx felt everything slow down around him as he screamed at the top of his voice while more Terracons moved in around him. But all he could do was watch as Predaking stood over Airazor who looked up at him and spat energon in his direction, but the Con just wiped the liquid from his chest-plate and smiled back before glancing over in Onyx's direction, seeing the look of pure horror and desperation on his face before looking back to the Femme. The Maximal Leader's optics then fell back to Airazor's who was looking back at him just as Predaking brought his blade up and readied himself to strike. The pair just kept their optics on each other as the blade then swung down and sliced through her neck in one clean motion. The last thing Orion saw of Airazor was her head separating from her body as energon gushed out all over the place.' That image was forever burned into the Maximal's mind as he found himself back in the Normandy's cargo-bay with Quickstrike, who was looking back at him with a sorrowful and sympathetic expression. "I am so sorry, Onyx." the blonde Autobot said, gaining a nod from the larger Bot. "I never even got the chance to avenge Airazor's death, as the Cataclysm happened almost directly after. But what hurts my spark the most, is never hearing her call my name or feeling the warmth of her own spark with my own." the Maximal leader replied. "I know what you mean…" Quickstrike said back with a knowing tone. "...I would give anything to have Ser-Ket back in my arms, nothing would be out of bounds." he added. "But the truth is…..we can't, no matter how much we want it. All we can do is live on and carry their memory within us, despite how much it hurts." Onyx replied, earning an accepting nod from Quickstrike as the pair stood there in silence. PRIME EFFECT 4 Six-Shot marched up the corridor, his entire being was enraged by what he had witnessed on Shockblast's terminal. The Con had watched every video that had been decrypted from what he found out was Galvatron's private database, which had raised another question in his mind. 'Why did Shockblast go out of his to break into Galvatron's terminal, what made him want to do such a thing?' he thought as he turned a corner and spotted one of Bridge's Terracons walking toward him. "Soldier, is Lord Galvatron on the Bridge?" he asked, in a tone that hid the majority of the anger he was feeling at this point. "No, Sir. Our Lord is currently in his quarters." the Terracon replied, gaining a silent nod from his superior as he walked past. "I believe he said he was not to be disturbed." the soldier added, but this fell on deaf ears as Six-Shot continued onwards, leaving the minion somewhat confused as he stood there in the corridor and watched. In his quarters, Galvatron was busy looking through the reports he had received from the Captains of ships in the Predacon fleet. But his attention was caught by the door to his room opening, making him turn to see Six-Shot standing in the doorway with his pistol equipped and pointed at the Predacon Leader. He had a look of pure hate on his face as he narrowed his eyes at Galvatron. "Six-Shot, what is the meaning of this!" he blasted as he got up from his desk and stood before his lieutenant. "You dare to ask questions of me? After what you did to Shockblast and myself." the Predacon spat back as he just entered the room, but not enough to make the door close behind him. Galvatron stared back in surprise, completely caught off guard by his minion's words. "So...you know, but how?" "That is not important. The fact that my brother and I are not actually Predacons, but are...Autobots!" Six-Shot replied. "You should be thanking me since when we originally met, you and your brother were weak and pathetic Cybertronians. But I reformatted you into stronger, more powerful beings." Galvatron said back in a justifying-like tone as he slowly moved his hand down toward his holstered pistol, but the other Predacon noticed and gestured for him to stop. "Don't even think about it. You know I can't believe that we nearly killed that Asari for you, she was telling the truth about what you had done to us all along. Neither of us will ever remember the lives that you stole from us, and I can think of only one way to repay you for that." he said as his trigger finger started to tighten around his weapon's trigger but before he could end the Predacon Leader's life, a gunshot sounded out from behind him which made him flinch suddenly. "Ugh!" he grimaced as he looked up at Galvatron in with a confused expression. "What?" he added before falling to his knees as the Predacon Lord watched in surprise, then his eyes suddenly focused on the figure of Shockblast who walked into view and entered the doorway, earning a shocked look from his injured Brother. "Shockblast? Why?" he said as blood filled his mouth, but the other Con merely looked down at him with a blank expression before aiming the pistol at Six-Shot's head and pulling the trigger. The shot went straight through his Brother's head, spattering blood on the wall of the doorway, before the body fell to the ground the head shot and back shot clear for Galvatron to see. "Thank you, Shockblast." the Predacon Lord said back in a relieved manner, as the other Con looked down at the corpse of his late brother. "Shockblast?" he asked again, making his Lieutenant turn his attention to him. "It was logical to ensure that there would be no witnesses." Shockblast replied as he stared blankly at Galvatron, who's own expression had changed to confused. "What?" he replied as the other Con suddenly aimed his weapon at him. "I should never have agreed to clone you from my Liege...Megatron." Shockblast said back coldly, making Galvatron's eyes widen in shock. "Shockwave?" he muttered back, gaining a nod from the Decepticon possessed Predacon. "That is correct, it gives me a very logical sense of pride to finally be called by my actual name." Shockwave replied while never taking his aim from the Predacon leader. "How...How are you here?" Galvatron asked in return. "It took me a while to formulate a logical reason, but I would say that I am here because my memories slowly overcame the mind of the one you called Shockblast. Therefore, I now exist in this form and the other is forever erased." Shockwave replied as he stepped closer to his target. "Once I knew that I was really here and in full control of this body, I began reading the Predacon files to discover what you had been up to since your reawakening, as well as decrypting your personal database. I never did find out what was there, but it is logical to believe that Six-Shot did so and that is the reason he was here to kill you, something that I will complete now." "Shockwave, wait. If the details of your sudden resurrection are true, then it is because of 'me' that this happened." Galvatron pleaded knowing that he had to change his tactics to deal with this Decepticon, who would have no qualms with killing him there and then. "Explain?" the Con replied with an emotionless tone. "It was I that convinced Shockblast to download your memories into his mind. Had I not, then you would never have come to be here now." "That is true, but I do not think that this is enough to not terminate your spark." Shockwave said back. "True, but you said that you have studied our files. So surely you can see that I have accomplished more in my short time as Leader of Predacons, than Megatron ever did with his Decepticons." Galvatron replied with a confident tone underlining his words, earning a curious look from the Decepticon. "That is logical, but..?" "But? But what? You have been given a second chance at life, Shockwave. Something that would never have occurred, if it had not been for me. So instead, I offer you a place among my Predacons, so that you can assist me with the conquering of this galaxy..." the Predacon Lord added, while Shockwave continued to stare back curiously. "...and you will be able to continue with your scientific endeavours, no matter what they are." Galvatron then finished, a confident smile appearing on his face as he looked at the Decepticon who just stood there in a frozen pose. His gun still pointed at the Predacon Leader, though he had yet to pull the trigger. "So will you join me or will you fire your weapon, killing me and making you a target to every Predacon on this ship? The choice is yours Shockwave, I hope you make the logical one." Galvatron added while Shockwave stood there and contemplated his answer as the door to his quarters closed behind him.
  10. CHAPTER XXIX "Shockblast…" Liara said with a sorrowful tone as memories of him came flooding back in her mind as she stood with Orion and Quickstrike, her former lover standing in front of them with his weapon aimed right at her. "So that explains how you Autobots found this lab, the Asari that escaped 'us' before led you here. Coming back was a mistake though Asari, you will not leave here alive this time." he said back coldly, as the cousins took a step towards the Con with their own weapons pointed back at him, Orion moving slightly in front of Liara while doing so. "Shockblast, Galvatron has brainwashed you. You are not a Predacon, you are one of us." he said in return, attempting to get through to the Con. "Yeah, they messed with your head." Quickstrike added, earning a bored expression from Shockblast. "I see that Asari has been spreading her words of fiction again, I grow tired of such illogical reasoning." he said as Orion narrow his eyes in return. "Her name is Liara T'Soni, you would do well to remember that." he said back while an annoyed tone, as he felt they were talking with a wall. "That name means nothing to me, I am a Predacon and you are my enemies." the Con replied as Liara sighed and took a step toward him. "Shockblast, look at me…really look at me. I can't believe that Galvatron has wiped your mind of what we had. There has to be a part of you still in there?" she pleaded, leaving herself completely open to attack which made Orion feel nervous. 'She is going to get herself killed.' "It is illogical for you to continue with these lies, Asari, as I already told you before." he said back, earning a confused expression from Liara which was noticed by the young Darby. "He never used to speak like that." she said while stepping back towards the Bot. But Shockblast noticed this sudden change in them and smiled back, while his holo-tool activated on his free arm. "What's he doing?" Quickstrike asked. "Well, I grow tired of this prattle and I still have work to do..." the Predacon said back, just as a group of Terracons entered the room behind him. "...these men will deal with you...kill them." The Terracons immediately opened fire on the trio, with Liara forming a biotic barrier to shield them as the cousins fired back and killed two with their first shots. "...where the hell did they come from." the blonde Bot exclaimed, while the Terracons and Shockblast took cover behind whatever they could. "I want their corpses out of my laboratory...now!" he shouted over the weapons-fire, before firing back with his own weapon. The bullets impacted harmlessly against the blue energy field as Liara kept her focus on it, but the Autobots were still pinned to their spot in there. "Let's shake things up a bit." Quickstrike said, earning his cousin's attention as he equipped a grenade from his utility belt. "Get them out from behind that cover and we can take them out the old fashioned way, Liara be ready to drop the barrier on my word." the blue haired Bot replied as his cousin armed the explosive and threw it over the barrier, the small device landing behind the Terracons. "Grenade!" one of them shouted before diving out from behind their cover as it exploded and knocked them all to the ground, while Orion unsheathed the Star-Saber and Quicksrike activated his holo-blade. "Now!" the Autobot Spectre exclaimed as Liara brought down the barrier and the two cousins charged out at the Terracons, the blue haired Bot slicing his way through two of the enemies in quick motion as the blonde Bot decapitated another before he could get back to his feet. "Wait! Is that the Star-Saber? How are you holding it?" Quickstrike asked while disarming another Terracon and impaling it with his holo-blade as he looked over at Orion, who just killed another with the blade. "Long story, not really the time or place for it." he replied before re-equipping his pistol in his free hand, and shooting another Terracon in the face, who had got back to his feet. As the two Bots were mopping up the remaining Terracons, Liara saw Shockblast getting back to his feet just aways from the others. "Oh no, you don't." the Asari said as she punched a glowing hand forward and surrounded the Predacon in a biotic shield, blocking his escape. "Asari, do you really think this energy field can hold me?" he asked as he turned his attention to her, standing before her with nothing but the blue energy between them, as the Asari finally realised in the way that the Predacon was staring at her that there was nothing left of the man she once loved. "You're not going anywhere. Try anything and I will have no choice but to kill you." she replied coldly as the Con noted that the Asari's attention was split between speaking to him and maintaining the shield. "Really? You've just given up on trying to convince me, have you?..." he replied with a curious tone. "You're not the Shockblast I knew, I should of seen that sooner." she said back, making him smile in return. "Very good, that is a more logical answer than what you have prattled before now. But..." Shockblast replied, noticing that the blue female was watching him very closely like she was hanging on what he was about to say. "...what if I have been lying and do in fact remember you." He continued with an honest expression that caught Liara off guard, fracturing her focus which caused the field to fluctuate. "What?" she gasped, but before she could comprehend what he just said, Shockblast activated his holo-tool which took the form of a gauntlet around his fist and forearm, before punching the biotic shield and making it collapse and leave the shocked Asari completely defenceless. "How?" Liara muttered in disbelief as the Predacon grabbed her by her arm and pulled her into a hold, switching his holo-gauntlet for a holo-blade which he then held at her throat with his free hand. "What I just told you was a lie, since it was logical to think that you might still believe that I might know you...which I don't. And so that left you concentrating less on your biotics, so I could easily break through your shield." he said into her ear as Liara tried to break free, making Shockblast tighten his grip. "It would not be logical for you to struggle, since all it takes to end your life is a flick of my wrist..." Shockblast warned, as he held the sharp holo-blade on the skin of her throat. "...which I will do anyway, since my Liege demands.." the Con was about to finish but was cut off by someone tackling him to the ground, which freed Liara who rolled away to be met by Quickstrike. "You alright?" he asked, making the Asari look up to see the blonde Bot and the dead Terracons lying behind him. "Yes, just a light cut." she replied while wiping a little blue blood from her neck, before looking back to see Orion beating on Shockblast. "Orion..." she whispered as she watched in surprise at how brutal he was acting. "You tried to kill her, your spark is mine!" the blue haired Bot spat as he punched the Con repeatedly in the face, letting his anger get the better of him. 'This bastard nearly killed her, he won't get another chance.' he thought as he unsheathed the Star-Saber again and held it to the Predacon's throat. "Let's see how you like this." he said in an angered tone, but the bloodied Shockblast just stared back with an emotionless expression. "Orion!" Quickstrike exclaimed, making the furious Darby look over at him. "Don't kill him,...not yet." he added, earning a confused expression from his cousin. "Why the scrap not?!" he spat back. "Because we can get Intel from him...after that, I don't care what happens to him." Liara interrupting the blonde Autobot, as she looked into Orion's eyes. "You can do what you want to me, because..." Shockblast managed to say while his mouth was full of blood-like fluid, making the Spectre's eyes narrow at him. "...I will not betray Lord Galvatron." he then spat as he reactivated his hol-blade and swung it up at Orion. "Orion!" Liara shouted, as the blue haired Darby instinctively brought the Star Saber down to block the blade at level with his stomach. The Bot and Con were in a struggle as both were pushing each other, staring with hate into their eyes. But Orion then head-butted Shockblast, which made the Con stumble backwards before stopping himself. And the blue haired Autobot then swung his blade upwards in a quick motion, and scratched up the Predacon's armour before reaching his face and cutting a line up his right cheek and threw his eye, which made him cry out in pain. "My Eye!" "Shut the fuck up!" Orion replied coldly before side-kicking Shockblast in the face, knocking him out and sending him to the ground hard. "You're coming with us, whether you like it or not." he added before looking over at Arcee. "Are you okay?" he said, earning an appreciative smile from her. "I am alright, Orion, thanks to you." she answered, making the Bot almost blush in return. "Quickstrike, deal with his wounds would you please. I might kill him just for the sake of it, if I do it." "Sure." his Cousin replied as he walked past and knelt beside the unconscious Predacon, taking out some medi-gel from his utility belt. "Shockblast has been Galvatron's lead scientist according to the records, he should give us a substantial amount of Intel." Liara said while Orion looked back at their enemy with a more unsure expression. "I don't know,...I..." he started to say before noticing Shockblast's remaining eye open and look up at His cousin. "Quickstrike, look out!" the Darby shouted, but the Predacon managed to grab the Bot by his chest-plate and throw him back to the ground in front of the blue haired Spectre and Asari, before looking at them with a completely emotionless face. "Thank you for that, I can 'finally' see more clearly…." the Con said back cryptically, earning confused looks from the trio. "…So allow me to give you some advice. Better start running." he added. "What? There are three of us and one of you, so why should we run?" Quickstrike asked, gaining a knowing look from Shockblast. "Because of him." he simply replied while pointing towards the lab's entrance, which made the two cousins and the Asari turn around and freeze on the spot as standing in the doorway was a massive green and silver Predacon beast. "Oh crap." Quickstrike said as the monster looked down at them while Orion equipped a grenade off his utility belt, pressing and holding down the button on it's top as he did so. "When I say go, run for the entrance to the mine. You got me?" the Bot said, gaining nods from his cousin and Liara. "Grimwing, crush them." Shockblast then shouted, earning a roar from the Predacon dragon as Orion threw the grenade at the Beast's head. "Now!" he exclaimed as the trio turned around and ran for large hole in the wall, the grenade exploded in a blinding flash of light that caught both Predacons off guard while the Autobots ran into the mine. Once the light died down, Shockblast and Grimwing looked around until their eye and optics fell upon the same hole. "After them!" he commanded, the beast responding with a roar before charging into the mine after them. 'The mine is a dead-end, not a very logical choice Autobots.' Shockblast thought as he got back to his feet and walked over to a console, activating it with his holo-tool. He then brought up a screen which had a timer on it, setting it for fifteen minutes. "Enable self destruct." he said aloud, earning a ping from the terminal. "Voice recognition accepted, self destruct engaged. You have fourteen minutes and fifty-five seconds to reach minimum safe distance." the computer voice spoke, gaining a nod from the Predacon as he tapped his com-link. "All Terrcons, this is Shockblast. Autobots have infiltrated the base and may have access to our database, I have therefore activated the joint self destruct of all 'my' laboratories to ensure they do not escape with any of the Intel stored on their joint database. You are to evacuate the bases immediately." Once done, Shockblast then tapped his com-link again while looking back to see that Grimwing had disappeared into the mine. "Lord Galvatron come in, I repeat Lord Galvatron come in." PRIME EFFECT 4 Orion led the way with Liara and Quickstrike following close behind, as they made their way down the dimly lit tunnel of the mine. They could hear the beast getting closer, with it's roars echoing around them. "You do know mines generally have only one entrance and exit, don't you?" the blonde Bot asked, which earned a knowing look from his cousin. "Yeah, I do." he said back between breaths as they ran until the tunnel split into two slightly smaller ones. "Take the left one." Orion said before the trio ran into that tunnel only for a few seconds later, Grimwing appeared at the same spot and looked at both openings before sniffing the air for a moment. His optics then narrowed as he looked into the left tunnel, growled and entered the tunnel. "So what's the plan?" Liara asked as the trio kept moving through the underground tunnels, staying just ahead of the beast. "We keep ourselves out of the Predacon's reach and hope that it has picked the wrong tunnel, then make our way back up to the lab and rejoin the others." Orion replied before a loud roar could be heard echoing down the tunnel they were in, making them stop and look back with panicked expressions as they stared into the dark tunnel. "I don't think we will he able to sustain the distance between Grimwing and ourselves, it will have caught up long before then." Quickstrike replied, gaining a nod from Liara who then turned her attention back to what was in front of them, making her sigh with a frustrated tone. "I don't think it will matter either way." she said as she pointed ahead of her. "Why?" Orion said back as both cousins turned to the Femme and looked at what she was pointing at. "You've got to be kidding." the blonde Bot exclaimed with a wide eyed expression, which Orion mirrored. "It's a dead end!" he stated as the trio looked at the rock-face several feet in front of them with no other exit, except the way they had just came from. "Oh scrap." Quickstrike said before a loud growl could be heard behind them, making the Autobots turn and face that direction while backing themselves into the dead end. "What about a ground-bridge?" the blonde cousin then asked, earning an annoyed stare from Liara. "You were at the same briefing as us, right? Rodimus did say that scans showed that areas near the center of the facility were protected by a null field that prevents any unauthorised ground-bridge vortexes from opening." "Oh...yeah, that's right." Quickstrike replied sheepishly. "I doubt we could even get a signal out from how far under the facility we are." Orion stated, gaining a knowing look from his cousin. "What about the Star-Saber, if that sword can cut through a mountain...then it should make short work of a Predacon. I mean can't to just fire it's energy beam...things off at Grimwing?" Orion unsheathed the blade and looked down at it before shaking his head. "No, I cannot do that. Since I am not a Prime, then I can not activate every possible function of this relic." he replied with a worried tone. "Surely it can hurt though." Quickstrike replied, gaining a nod from Liara. "Orion, its better to try something than nothing." "Okay, then get behind me you two." the blue haired Bot said back as he held the blade in a defensive stance, his two friends standing back just as Grimwing entered the area. The metallic dragon looked down at the three, its optics focused in on each of them before it roared, the very sound made the cavern shake and brought down some dust from the cavern's ceiling. And then Grimwing moved forward and raised it's front right claws and slashed at it's enemies, but Orion instinctively slashed the Star-Saber at the same time, the ancient blade sliced through the extended claws and made the beast cry out in pain as it backed off. "Good hit, Orion." Quickstrike exclaimed before his joy suddenly disappeared as he, his cousin and their Asari friend looked at Grimwing, who growled lowly and narrowed it's optics at them angrily. "I think I just pissed it off." Orion replied as the Beast pulled it's head back and opened it's mouth, a bright glow could be seen at the back of it's throat which made Quickstrike gulp as it brought back memories of another Predacon. "Orion…" Liara then said gently as she grasped the blue haired Bot's hand, making him look over at her affectionately. "I know, Liara…." he replied as the three stood there, knowing full on well what was about to happen. When suddenly a slight tremor shook the cavern, startling Grimwing who shut his mouth and looked around curiously. "Did you feel that?" Quickstrike then asked as dust once again sprinkled down from the ceiling, while both Orion and Liara looked around confused. "Yeah, I felt….." the Bot began to reply before another tremor shook the place. "Yes, I can say we felt that." the Asari finished as the Spectre looked at the rock face behind them, all the while the Predacon beast still looked unsure. "Well, something's spooked Grimwing. Shouldn't we try and sneak past." Quickstrike asked, earning a disbelieving expression from Liara. "You first…" she said in a sarcastic tone, as the blonde Bot noticed that Grimwing pretty much had the tunnel behind him covered. Then another tremor occurred, and then another as Orion's eyes widened as he watched the rock face begin to crack. "Guys, we should…now!" he shouted as the tremors happened one after another, causing rocks to fall from the ceiling as Grimwing backed off more. "Why?" Quickstrike began to ask before Orion grabbed him and Liara and pulled them both out of the way just as the rock face broke apart as something burst through, sending rocks and dust into the air. As the trio fell to the ground face first, another roar could be heard, but this one didn't sound like the Predacon Beast who had been hunting them. So Orion quickly recovered and looked up at what had just announced it's arrival. His eyes widened as standing before him was a metallic dragon that looked not that dissimilar from the pictures of the one called Predaking, except that is was ever so slightly smaller. It was covered in jet black armour which had blue light glowing from it's gaps and blue optics that looked directly at Grimwing. "What, another one?" Quickstrike stated as both he and Liara looked at the beast who did not take it's eyes off the Predacon. 'Why do I get the feeling it recognises Grimwing?' Orion thought as the black Beast growled and then roared before pouncing at the green and silver dragon, tackling it to the ground as the cavern shook under the power of the impact. "Right, let's get out of here while those two Predacons take each other out." Quickstrike said as the trio got to their feet and made a run for it, while the two beasts slashed and gnawed at each other. But then Grimwing got the upper hand by slashing the Black Dragon's neck, making it recoil in pain and shield itself with it's wings. The Predacon then looked back to see the Autobots retreating and roared at them, making Liara look back and see it charge at them. "By the goddess, it's coming!" she shouted, as the cousins looked back. But suddenly Grimwing stopped in his tracks, as the Black beast appeared behind him with his tail in it's mouth, pulling the green and silver Dragon back to it. "Is it just me, or is that creature helping us?" Orion asked in surprise, earning a mirrored look from his Cousin. "More likely it just wants to chew on Grimwing here before it comes for us...let's keep moving." he said back, with the Asari taking Orion by the hand. "Orion, come on." she pleaded, but the blue haired Bot stopped as something caught his attention about the black monster. "Wait, I saw something..." he replied as he spotted something at the center of the beast's fore-head, it was an emblem though not one that he recognised. "...that is no Predacon." he added before a large rock fell at his side and brought him back to reality. "Okay, let's go!" he said as the three of them ran back through the tunnel as it began to collapse, due to the battle between the two giant beasts as they continued to bite and claw at each other. PRIME EFFECT 4 "Well? Where is everyone?" Smokescreen said as he, Nightracer and Grunt entered the laboratory. All they found was a number of terminals, a containment tank that had been shattered and a large hole in the wall at the far side. "I thought we would have seen them by now." the Bot added, while the Femme looked at her holo-tool. "We were supposed to have rendezvoused with them at this location between this lab and our target but since they never showed, I reckoned we may still find them here." she said while the Krogan reloaded his shotgun. "At least we managed to find some Terracons along the way." he said, earning a knowingly look from Smokescreen. "Glad to see that your only worry is how many kills you got today, Grunt." "I am sure they are fine. You forget one is the son of a Prime and the other is the son of Ironhide, and don't forget who their mothers are." the Krogan replied, while Nightracer's attention was caught by strange sounds echoing out of the large hole. "Quiet you two, can't you hear that?" Suddenly Orion, Liara and Quickstrike ran out of the mine and towards the group. "I would run if I were you." the blonde Bot exclaimed as both groups met, earning confused looks from Bravo team. "Why were you down there?" Nightracer asked, but Orion simply gave her a knowing look. "You should listen to Quickstrike 'this time', run..." he started to say before both Grimwing and the Black Dragon smashed through the mine entrance together, shocking the Femme, Krogan and Autobot. "By Alpha Trion's beard..." Smokescreen exclaimed, finally getting them to join him and the others as everyone ran out of the lab, while the new beast swung it's tail around and smashed it into Grimwing's face. Meanwhile, outside on Cybertron's surface. Shockblast stood a quarter of a mile away from the base with his breather helmet, accompanied by a squad of Terracons. He then tapped his com-link. "Lord Galvatron, we are ready for a space-bridge...yes, I have set the self destruct for silent countdown and we have five minutes left, the Autobots should have no warning..." he said before one of his troops, who was looking back through a pair of binoculars spotted something. "Commander, look!" he said before handing them over to him, which then the Predacon looked out at the area his subordinate had pointed at. "That is not logical." he spat as he saw the Autobots exiting the base with their breather helmets on, moving away from the base as fast as their legs could take them. "They must not..." Shockblast began to say before suddenly the roof of the base burst open, which Grimwing's body thrown out of it and landing hard on the ground a hundred metres away. Everyone, it did not matter if it was Predacon or Autobot stopped and looked back to see the green and silver dragon getting back to it's feet before another beast appeared on the roof of the facility, where it then spread it's wings out and announced it's presence with a roar that echoed all around it. "Fascinating.." the Predacon stated with a curious tone as he watched the black beast then jump off the building and land only a few feet from Grimwing. "Sir, that beast is going to kill Grimwing." a Terracon said, earning a nod from his superior who tapped his com-link again. "Lord Galvatron, Grimwing needs immediate back up...because there is another Cybertronian Beast that currently looks like it will defeat one of 'our' own...yes, please send both of them." the Predacon said as he and the Terracons watched. As the battle between the two giant beasts erupted onto the surface of Cybetron, Orion and his team had stopped and watched in awe of the sight before them. "Amazing, never thought seeing one of the Predacons being beat down would be such fun." Smokescreen said, gaining a nod of agreement from Grunt as Orion tapped his com-link. "Orion to Normandy. Rodimus, come in." "I am here, Orion. Report." the Commander spoke from the ship, which was orbiting the planet while cloaked. "We have succeeded in rigging the Predacon base's reactor to blow and downloaded a lot of Intel from their database, but right now I need you to ground-bridge everyone back on board." the Spectre replied, earning surprised and confused looks from his team mates. "Why? What are you doing?" Nightracer said back first, knowing full well that both Liara and Quickstrike were about to say the same thing. "That second beast isn't a Predacon...and it helped us escape from Grimwing, back in the mine. I can't just leave it here." Orion said in return, gaining nods from Liara and his cousin. "It is hard to believe, though Orion is right. But if you can even convince it to come with us, how are we going to get it aboard the Normandy?" Quickstrike asked. "The cargo bay should be large enough for it." Rodimus said, after listening to Orion. "But how do you know it isn't a Predacon?" the Commander added. "Not only did it protect us, the creature also has a faction emblem on it that is definitely not Predacon." the blue haired Bot replied. "It would be good for us to have our own dragon, and it is making short work of Grimwing right now." Smokescreen added into his com-link while pointing to the sight of the black beast gripping the Predacon's neck with it's jaws. "Okay, permission granted. Opening ground-bridge now...good luck, Orion." Rodimus answered and suddenly a green vortex opened up next to the group. "Okay, Guys, go. I'll be right behind you." the young Darby said, earning nods from everyone except Liara and Quickstrike. "I am not leaving, Orion." the Asari answered with a defiant yet caring tone to her voice. "What she said, Cuz." the blonde Bot added with a knowing smile, causing the XO to sigh and nod back in acknowledgement. "Okay. The rest of you go." he said and Smokescreen, Nightracer and Grunt ran into the vortex which then disappeared, leaving Alpha team there as they looked back at the beasts fighting. "So...what's the plan?" Quickstrike then asked but before Orion could answer, a space-bridge vortex opened up in the sky and Skystalker flew through and dive bombed at the black beast who noticed this and dropped the wounded Grimwing back to the ground. It then looked up at the blue and white dragon descending to him, opened it's mouth and fired a stream of blue fire which hit the Predacon dead on and made it crash to the ground in a heap. "Cool." Quickstrike then commented as the beast roared like it was acknowledging the compliment, but then Predaking suddenly exited the vortex and immediately made the creature narrow it's blue optics as it stared back and growled. "Is it me or does that look like it recognises Predaking?" Orion asked, but no one answered as they were fixated on this fight in front of them. The black dragon then roared at the new arrival before firing another fire blast, but the large Predacon performed a barrel roll like move, dodging the blast and swooped down with it's claws bare and tackled the dragon to the ground. Predaking then slashed at it with it's claws before smashing it's head against the other, causing it to fall back on to it's back. Orion immediately unsheathed the Star-Saber and began to run toward the fight, only for Liara to grab his arm and stop him. "What are you doing?" she asked in an alert and worried tone, making the Bot look back at her. "We need to help it...now!" he exclaimed, earning a confused look from his cousin. "...How are we supposed to do that? I mean there are three Predacon beasts out there...just how do..." he started to say before the Asari cut him off and pointed at the fight with her eyes wide in shock. "Look!" Both cousins turned their attention back to the beasts, their expressions mirroring Liara's as right before their eyes, the black beast started to transform as it rolled off it's back. Its wings folded neatly onto it's back as it's arms and legs changed to look more like a Cybertronian's. It's long neck And head folded back and disappeared into it's back as the armour shifted and changed, as another more humanoid head with a Prime styled helmet appeared and it's optics glowed blue as the dragon finished it's transformation and was now an armoured Bot in a kneeling position. "Wow." Quickstrike exclaimed as the newly formed Cybertronian who's armour was mainly black with blue glowing engravings on it and looked smooth and curved perfectly to the slightly larger athletic build of the Bot. He looked directly at the orange and black Predacon and gritted his teeth. "PREDAKING!" he then roared before launching himself at the beast, who bared it's teeth and did the same. But as it snapped it's head forward and attempted to bite the black armoured Bot, he dodged it and grabbed the beast's long neck tightly before swinging the dragon around and throwing it back to the ground. "I would say he knows Predaking." Liara added before she, Orion and his cousin then noticed that both Skystalker and Grimwing were back on their feet and moving toward the Cybertronian, who was still focused on Predaking. "Hey, look out!" Orion then shouted as loud as his lungs would allow him too, which made the Bot look over his shoulder and see not only notice them but also the two Predacons. So he immediately turned and readied to fight them just as Predaking got back to his feet, which meant the three beasts now had him surrounded. "So what now?" Quickstrike asked, as Orion tapped his com-link. "Normandy, I need you to fire a few torpedoes at the Predacons." This made both his cousin and the Asari look back at him in surprise. "You know how close we are to the battle, don't you?" Liara replied. "Danger close?" the blonde Bot added, while the three Predacons began circling the black armoured Bot, earning a confused look on his face. "Alright, Orion. But you do know that reports have said that our weapons have barely slowed them down in the past." Rodimus replied via the com. "I know, but we just need to distract the Predacons long enough for our friend to get away, also open a ground-bridge for us to the cargo-bay and make it large enough for our guest." the blue haired Bot said back. "Very well, torpedoes away in three...two...one...fire." the Commander replied, before a second later four red projectiles appeared in the sky and hurtled towards the location of the fight. The beasts and Cybertronian's attention turned to these as they looked up and saw the projectiles coming straight at them, which made the Bot dive out of the way while the Predacons kept watching. The torpedoes then hit the ground directly in front of each beast and exploded, earning a roar from each as the rock and dust was sent up into the air, surrounding the beasts. The Bot, who managed to get out of the way then looked up and saw the three small beings again. "Come with us! Hurry!" the blue haired one shouted as a large green vortex appeared behind them, but the Cybertronian noticed that this person was carrying an object...a blade that somehow felt familiar to him. So he nodded in return and got to his feet and began running towards the group, who in turn ran for the vortex. Meanwhile, Predaking, Grimwing and Skystalker all managed to recover and saw their enemies retreating for the portal, so they roared at them and began pursuit. "That's right!" Orion shouted as he saw the towering Bot heading his way, so the Spectre turned his attention back in front and saw that Liara and Quickstrike had entered the ground-bridge. He could hear and feel the Cybertronain's footsteps as they shook the ground while he caught up and ran alongside, all the while the three beasts charged up behind them. The Bot then looked over his shoulder and saw that the Predacons had opened their mouths, and the light of their dragon-fire could be seen charging as they prepared to fire. So the Cybertronian then picked up the blue haired Spectre, which surprised the hell out of him. "what the hell!" the Bot exclaimed as he suddenly found himself in the larger Bot's hand looking down at the ground which was flying past as the giant Bot ran towards the vortex. "You won't fit! You have to transform!" Orion shouted and just as he did, the Cybertronian heard the sound of the Predacons unleashing their dragon-fire behind them. "Hold on!" he replied before gently tossing the blue haired Spectre into the air and transforming back into his beast mode, and then catching the man in his mouth before he could hit the floor. "Sweet Jesus!" Orion gasped as he found himself firmly between the Dragon's jaws, but in no danger of being bitten in half. The metallic beast then ran into the vortex which closed before the joint dragon-fire from the Predacons could reach it. PRIME EFFECT 4 Shockblast was still watching as he stared blankly at the dragons who had stopped and began looking around, as if they were confused to how their enemies could have disappeared. But the Con merely tapped his com-link as he looked away, having lost interest. "My Liege, the Autobots have escaped and they took the beast with them...yes, opening a ground-bridge for us would be a logical choice." he said before one opened up and allowed Predaking, Skystalker and Grimwing to enter , before closing again. Then another one, one that was more Shockblast's size. And he and his Terracons walked through the event horizon just as the facility exploded. Meanwhile, Orion found himself looking down at his friends, who had heir weapons raised and pointed in his direction. "Let Orion go now!" Liara said firmly as she held her pistol with one hand, while her other was a clenched fist and glowing with biotic energy. "Yeah, put my Cousin down. He is not a chew toy!" Quickstrike added as he pointed his own weapon at the Beast, which looked back and gave off a confused whine. "Guys, I'm okay. You can lower your weapons." the blue haired Bot replied, before looking back into the creatures blue optics and giving it a slight smile. The Dragon then lowered his head to the ground and released the Darby, who immediately turned back round to see that they were in the cargo-bay and the beast just had enough room to move around. "Thank you, for what you did back there." he said. "Wait, you saying this guy...beast was just carrying you in its mouth, like a lioness with its young?" his cousin said, gaining a nod from Orion. "Exactly." Then the cargo-bay door to their right opened, with Rodimus and Bravo team entering the large room. Which made the beast look straight at them, it's optics narrowing. "It's alright, you're among friends." Orion quickly said, regaining the beast's attention. "By the All-spark." Rodimus exclaimed, while the others just looked at it in amazement. "My name is Orion Darby, what's yours?" the blue haired Bot asked, while sheathing the Star-Saber on his back. The dragon looked at him for a second before suddenly transforming right before their eyes. Once the transformation had finished, the crew of the Normandy found themselves before a Cybertronian who was on his hands and knees as he looked down at all of them, before his optics fell back on Orion. "My name is Onyx Primal, Leader of the Maximals."
  11. CHAPTER XXVIII Rodimus stood in front of the galaxy map in the CIC, looking at the information that was being shown at key points on the display. They were ship positions and status reports from other Autobot vessels in all quadrants of the galaxy, and a number of them were coming together as a fleet and preparing to hit Omicron so that they could liberate it from the Predacons. But the Commander's attention was caught by the sound of the elevator doors opening behind him, so he turned to see Orion entering the Normandy's nerve center. "Orion, a moment please." he asked as he gestured for the younger Bot to join him, so the blue haired Bot did just that. "How is Quickstrike?" Rodimus asked, the concern evident in his voice. "Well, first he found out that his Father had been killed and his Mother is in a coma, then loses the woman he loves who sacrificed herself to help us escape. He is hurting sir, but I know that he wants to be a part of this fight...for them. So I want him on my team." Orion replied, earning a nod from his superior. "Very well, Orion, he is all yours. So I guess that means the gang is back together then." he said back with a slight smile, earning a similar expression from the younger Bot. "Yeah, its been a long time. But, yes, it is." "Well, I could not ask for a better team to be a part of my crew, whatever the Predacons throw at us, I know we will be able to handle it." the Commander replied. "Thank you, Rodimus." the XO said back before noticing the galaxy map. "So we now have full communications with the rest of the Autobots?" "Yes, it came back the moment you regained control of the Comms Hub. And we are right now transmitting the data that Liara and Nightracer have been going through from the Predacon Intel, Dr T'Soni is certainly a very talented Asari. She is also very adept at analysing information. She has already gone through and uploaded the flight plans for the Predacon ships in this sector alone." the Commander replied while pointing at the data screen which just appeared over the bottom right corner of the galaxy map. "She certainly is." Orion said back with an affectionate tone as he looked at the map, which did not go unnoticed by Rodimus who merely sighed and regained his XO's attention. "I see." was all he said while the young Darby gave him a confused and slightly red-faced look. "..uh...anyway, I think I will go and see if I can give them a hand. May I be excused?" "Of course, though I think at this rate Liara will be done by the time you get there...have fun." Rodimus said back with a knowing smile, gaining a nod from Orion, who turned away and took a deep breath as he headed for the computer lab. But unbeknownst to him, Rodimus was looking over his shoulder at the Bot before gently shaking his head and returning his attention to the galaxy map. "Young love.." he muttered to himself as he smiled. As Orion entered the computer lab, he saw both Liara and Nightracer sitting at the main terminal with a large holo-screen being emitted in front of them. The Femme was watching as the Asari typed at the holo-interface, cataloging and analysing all the Intel that she could find in the data-pack that Ser-Ket had given them. "Hey, Guys." the Bot said, making both women look over at him with a smile. "It's going well, I have managed to detail a number of flight plans and attack details for a number of the Predacon vessels." Liara replied as the young Darby pulled up a chair beside them. "What about the data on Cybertron? Ser-Ket was very clear about how important that was." "I am just starting on that now, since there was no way for me to prioritise and choose what Intel I find. So all I can do is go through it in the order it is in." the Asari said back with a slightly aggravated tone. "You are doing the best you can, Liara. Rodimus justt informed me that you have already found a lot of Intel that will help our fleets against the Predacons." he said back with a supportive smile, earning a look of gratitude from her that Orion could swear was more affectionate than he was used too...not that he would complain. "Thank you, Orion." she replied with another smile and the two looked at each other for a moment. "How is Quickstrike?" Nightracer asked, turning both their attention to the Femme. "He wants to be alone right now, but I think he will be alright." Orion replied, earning a nod from both women. "I wish I could tell him that the pain will pass…" Liara began to say, before the Autobot Femme jumped in. "..Because you went through the same thing." "Yes, with Shockblast. Seeing him murdered and reformatted into who he is now was an experience I would not wish on anyone, but it is a wound that will heal if you let it…given the time and help from those that care about you." the Asari replied, while looking over to Orion who knew what she meant. "Well, he doesn't want to stay cooped up on the Normandy, he wants to be a part of our fight." the Bot said, gaining a slight smile from Liara. "That's a good sign." "Wait, something has just appeared on the screen." Nightracer stated, earning the others attention as she pointed at the main screen. The Asari immediately turned back to the terminal and began typing as the young Darby watched. "What is it?" he asked. "I had a search running for any particular words that might lead to something useful for us, it has found several entries." Liara replied as a window appeared on the screen with a number of links highlighted in green, she then clicked on one and opened it. "Interesting, this appears to be a transmission from Shockblast to Galvatron." the Asari added before a video image of the Cybertronian turned Predacon appeared on the holo-screen. "My Liege, since I am unable to speak to you at this moment, I will instead leave this message for you so that you can contact me at your convenience. I have discovered a secret in the tunnels that Shockwave had created around the Predacon Facility, so that he was able to easier gain the CNA of the beasts corpses. But it is in these very tunnels that I have found something that changes everything we were led to believe about our distant ancestors, I cannot divulge any more information over this channel. Shockblast out." And with that the video ended and left the trio to look at each other, each with the same curious expression on their faces. "What the in the All-spark does that mean?" Nightracer asked with an annoyed tone. "I don't know, but Ser-Ket did say that something big was happening on at Cybertron. Perhaps this is part of what she meant." Orion replied. "So we are going to Cybertron then, like I said we should earlier?" Liara asked with a knowing look that Orion knew he would have a hard time arguing with. "Yes, I am just going to inform Rodimus of what we have found." the Bot replied as he tapped his com-link, but the inter-com activated first and gained the trio's attention as the Commander spoke. "Orion, this is Rodimus." "Good timing, Rodimus, we know where to go next..." the young Darby started to say back, before the Elite Spectre cut him off. "That will have to wait, we have just picked up a transmission from Omega. You have to see it." Suddenly their holo-screen reactivated, as the image of Galvatron standing before the entrance to After-life on Omega appeared before them. "This is Galvatron, Lord of the Predacons, And I am speaking to all of the Omega Syndicate for I have a proposal I wish to share with you all." The trio just sat and watched as the Predacon Leader spoke before showing footage of Orion's parents in their cells, the sight of them bloodied, beaten and devoid of any of the respect and honour that they had earned in their lives. They were made to look like victims and that was not something he was used to seeing, which made the Bot's spark ache and blood boil. But then the attention shifted from the Prime and his Spark-mate as Galvatron then executed Aria in cold blood and gained control of the Omega Syndicate. This moment caught everyone off guard as the implications of this dawned on them all, even for a long moment after the transmission ended, they were all just staring at the now blank holo-screen. "And here I thought we took the Predacons advantage away, now we find out that they have just gained control of the only other military that rivals our own." Nightracer said in disbelief, while Liara looked at Orion. She could see the pain in his eyes at seeing the state that his parents were in, so reached out and placed her hand on his in affectionate support. "I'm sorry you had to see them like that, Orion." she said in a gentle tone, gaining his attention as he looked back at her with his blue eyes. "...yeah, but they are still alive. At least we know that, so there is still hope." he replied. "Orion, that transmission was broadcast across the entire galaxy. Everyone saw it, and this has the Senate worried." Rodimus spoke via the inter-com to the trio. "So the Predacons have the same military force as us now, so what." Nightracer said in a defiant tone, gaining surprised looks from both the blue haired Bot and Asari and even though they could not see him, the pair knew from the Commander's sudden silence that he had the same expression. "...because we have an advantage over them now." the Femme added, having noticed their faces. "Nightracer's right..." Orion then replied with a look that showed that he knew what she was getting on at. "...Galvatron said during the transmission that his forces had left the Autobots in disarray, so he clearly has no idea that we have regained fleet wide communications." "Or that we have Intel on their tactics and fleet movements." Liara replied. "That is true, well you said that you have found something before I relayed the transmission to you?" Rodimus asked in a more hopeful tone. "We should head for Cybertron, it appears that the Predacons have found something there that could be of great importance." Orion replied, gaining a nod from Liara. "Not only that, but Cybertron is where it all started so it is a base of operations for them and they are manufacturing more Terracon troops there. So if it were put out of commission, that will be another advantage lost to them." "Exactly." the blue haired Bot replied. "Alright, I will brief Command on what our next mission is while they oversee the liberation of Omicron. Rodimus out." the Commander said back before deactivating the inter-com. "Okay, Liara, let's go over the details of the facility on Cybertron so that we have a mission plan to present to the others before we arrive at the planet." Orion then said, earning a nod from the Asari as she turned her attention to the terminal again and began typing on it, while the other two watched. PRIME EFFECT 4 On board the Nemesis, Galvatron was sitting in his quarters and looking at the specifications of the newest ships to join his forces from the former Omega Syndicate. 'I have to say, these vessels and their armaments are impressive.' he thought as he viewed each one. Things could not be going better for the Predacons right now, Galvatron had even managed to send off a number of ships on the mission to find the Chaos Edge, though he did not go into any real detail about what it is they are supposed to be looking for. That really annoyed Six-Shot who voiced his concerns over taking on a scavenger hunt when there are still the Autobots to contend with. 'Well, he can disprove as much as he wants as long as he continues to follow my orders.' the Predacon Lord thought as he dwelled on the fact that Six-Shot was showing his disapproval in front of the others. 'He should be more careful, to try and undermine my leadership in front of the others.' "He is of no consequence, Galvatron. If this Six-Shot interferes with our goals, then you should eliminate him." Unicron spoke in his mind, surprising the Predacon. 'If he does try such a thing, then I will.' Then suddenly the inter-com activated as the very person who they had just discussed, began to speak. "Lord Galvatron, you have a transmission from Rip-Claw awaiting you." "Very well, Six-Shot, I will take it in here." Galvatron said back before deactivating the call and turning his attention to his terminal, typing on it's holo-interface before a holo-screen appeared and showed him the Predacon Femme. "Rip-Claw, report." he said, earning a weary expression from her in return. "My Lord, we...have lost the Communications Hub." she said, earning a confused expression from her Leader, but then that soon changed as anger took hold and he narrowed his eyes at the Femme. "What! How in the pit did you manage that?" he spat back. "Ser-Ket and her pet Autobot managed to infiltrate the colony with the help of more Autobots, who sabotaged the communications network and but not before giving their forces use of their comms again." Rip-Claw replied, making Galvatron's spark burn even more. "...but we did manage to drive the Autobots into retreat and capture Ser-Ket." she added, hoping to defuse the situation somewhat. "I see, is there anything else I should know about the Autobots infiltration?" he asked under gritted teeth, wanting nothing more than to separate the Femme's head from her body at this moment. "Not that I am aware of, my Lord." she replied with tinge of uncertainty in her voice. "On the off chance that you are wrong, I will ne..." the Predacon Lord said back before being cut off by the sound of alarms going off on Rip-Claw's end. "What in the All-spark is that?" he spat in an aggravated tone. "Our sensors have detected an Autobot fleet jumping into the system, they must be here to liberate this colony." the Femme replied as her tone became more panicky. "How many ships?" "Over fifteen ships compared to our five. We are outnumbered." Rip-Claw said back. "Evacuate our forces from Omicron, and head for these coordinates." Galvatron replied as he typed the numbers into his terminal's holo-interface. "What about the colony?" the Commander asked back. "The Autobots want this colony back. Then fine, they can have it. But I'll be damned if they get it back the way it is, just get yourselves out of there and bring Ser-Ket with you." the Predacon Leader snapped before deactivating the transmission and then reopening another. "Galvatron to the 'Howling Wind', come in." After a few seconds, a Vorcha appeared on the screen. "My Lord Galvatron, how can we be of assistance?" he hissed. "Your vessel is equipped with nuclear torpedoes, correct?" Galvatron replied, earning nod from the ship's captain. "That is correct, our destroyer has a full complement. Why do you ask?" "The Nemesis is going to open a space-bridge portal in front of your ship, I want you to arm and fire one of those torpedoes through it." the Predacon said back, earning a curious expression from the Vorcha. "What is our target?" "An Autobot colony. Will that be a problem?" "Not at all, We have been hoping to use our nukes on something. Aria was always unsure what she could do with us, so our weapons have been collecting dust over the years. It will be good to finally get in on some bloodshed." the captain replied as a dark smile grew on his face, showing off his razor sharp teeth. "Then prepare the torpedo and fire on my command." Galvatron replied, mirroring the other's expression. PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile, the Predacon evacuation was in full swing as Terracon troops retreated from the streets of Omicron City, disappearing onto the shuttles before they took off and flew up to the waiting cruisers as the Achilles waited just above them. "How long until we have all Terracons back on board our ships?" Rip-Claw asked while sitting in the Captain's chair on the bridge. "The last of the shuttles has just taken off now, and will dock with the Vanquish any second now." the Terracon manning the sensor array replied. "Very good, have all ships break for high orbit and have their light-speed drives ready for immediate jump the moment we make that altitude." she replied, looking over to the minion at the Comms station, who nodded and began relaying her orders to the other ships. As the cruisers left, the civilians left their homes and flocked into the streets, looking up and watching their former-occupiers running away as giant smiles grew on their faces while they saw the ships ascending into the early night sky. The crowd began cheering and celebrating as the enemy ships shrunk to tiny dots that then disappeared into the darkness above them. The Autobot cruisers reached the planet just as their Predacon equivalent had reached high orbit and began firing their cannons at the enemy ships, which shields took the brunt of the assault while firing their own weapons back. "All ships, jump!" Rip-Claw commanded as of a sudden, the engines of all ships began to brighten greatly before in the blink of an eye, the enemy ships jumped to light-speed and were gone, leaving the Autobot vessels as the only ships in orbit over the planet. "All ships, launch shuttles. Let's get boots on the ground down there." the Commander of the fleet said over the comms before a large group of Autobot shuttles then flew away from the cruisers and descended to the planet. The celebrations in the streets were picking up pace as fireworks were being launched all over the city, colourful explosions of nearly every colour of the spectrum could be seen illuminating the sky above the city. "Look, the Autobots!" one of the people exclaimed as he pointed up at the shuttles which came into view as they closed in on the colony, their glowing red Autobot insignias could be clearly seen the closer their got which made the crowds cheer even louder. Finally their nightmare of being occupied by a ruthless enemy, not knowing whether they would live to see tomorrow was now over. But just as one firework exploded in a illuminating shower of green sparks, suddenly a space-bridge vortex opened up in the sky at a very high altitude. It almost looked like a bright green star to the civilians on the ground who began looking at curiously, it even had the crews of the Autobot cruisers stumped. "Is that one of ours?" was one of the questions being asked between the fleet's captains as they wondered where it had come from. "No idea, but it is positioned directly over the center of the colony." another ship answered, then suddenly there was disturbance in the vortex as something came through from the other side and hurtled towards the ground. "Daddy, look! A shooting star." a young child said happily while pointing it out to his Father. But the older Man's eyes widened as he realised that it was heading their way and what it really was as it got closer. "My god!" he exclaimed before quickly kneeling down and pulling his son in to his arms to shield him, while the same realisation quickly came to everyone else. "What the..." the fleet Admiral could be heard saying over the Comms just as the projectile hit the ground, causing a blinding white flash that enveloped the immediate area and incinerated all there in a blink of an eye. The shuttles that were flying towards the city could see the mushroom cloud beginning to form as a shock-wave expanded in all directions, demolition everything else that had not been destroyed in the initial explosion. And before they could try anything, the shuttles suddenly failed and crashed into the ground. By the time the explosion was finished, there was very little left of Omicron City as it lay in the shadow of a massive mushroom cloud which reached up high into the sky. On board the Normandy, Orion and Rodimus stood in the cockpit while Jetstorm opened up a space-bridge portal in front of the ship, preparing to fly the ship through. "Commander, we are receiving a high priority message from Autobot Command." one of the crew said from her station, which was located in the tunnel like walkway which connected the cockpit to the CIC. "Hold it until we have entered Cybertron space." Rodimus replied before turning his attention back to his pilot. "Activate stealth mode and take us to Cybertron." "Yes sir." Jetstorm replied as he worked the holo-controls before him, making the ship shimmer and fade to nothing as it passed through the event horizon of the portal and emerged on the other side. Orion and Rodimus looked out of the bridge's canopy to see the dead planet of Cybertron, the original home-world of the Cybertronian species directly ahead of them. "Wow, This is the first time I have ever laid eyes on Cybertron." Orion said with a wide-eyed expression as both Bots saw the heavily battle-scarred and barren world, not noticing that Liara was approaching them from the CIC. "Its never easy to look at, is it?" she asked, surprising them as they turned to face her. "No, it's not.." the Commander replied. "I have seen the planet once before, and yet it still feels like the first time." he added before looking back to the crewman manning the comm station. "Alright, let's hear the message." The blonde haired woman nodded and tapped a sequence into her holo-interface and brought the inter-com to life around the cockpit. "Commander Rodimus, I know you are on a stealth mission and therefore unable to reply to this message. But I am sorry to report that we have lost Omicron City, the Predacons were retreating as soon as our fleer arrived. Though it would appear that they were not about to just let us have the colony back, as they launched a Nuclear Torpedo which then obliterated the entire city, killing every Man, Woman and Child there, including the troops we sent down to secure it. The excess radiation is being blown over towards three of the closest population centers, so we are evacuating them now, minimising the body count as much as we can. I am sorry, we did not see this coming." The message ended there as the cockpit became very quiet, as the Bots and Asari did not know where to look. "They couldn't keep the planet, so they made sure we paid a heavy price for getting it back." Orion then said, the building anger evident in his voice. "There hasn't been any Nuclear weapons in use by anyone for the last fifty plus years, since the Citadel Council outlawed them. Where did Galvatron even get his hands on one?" Liara asked, still in shock from hearing the news. "Had to be one of the former Omega mercs, Autobot Intelligence knew that the Syndicate was in possession of Nuclear weapons but Aria had enough of a stranglehold around all of the Merc Leaders, that them using one was never going to be an issue." Rodimus replied. "But now she is gone, Galvatron appears to have given them free reign " Jetstorm added, earning a pensive look from the Commander as he looked out toward Cybertron. "Orion, get your team ready. Let's get down there and takes these guys down another notch." he then said as he looked back at his XO with a now determined expression, earning a nod in return. "On our way." he replied before the pair turned around and headed for the elevator at the back of the CIC. PRIME EFFECT 4 Shockblast stood at one of the many terminals that were scattered around the current lab he was in, which also housed large glass tanks filled with a yellow liquid that gave off a glow which only gave off a small amount of illumination to the already dimly lit room. The Predacon was looking at an image on the holo-screen of his holo-tool, which had been taken from one of the probes he had sent down into the deepest part of the mine. The expression on his face was that of someone who did not know what he was looking at, for what the probe had found was something that the Con was had not been expecting. 'This set of bones looks like a Predacon, but...it isn't. This is not logical, there was only one race of Cybertronians before the Golden Age.' he thought as he changed the image to another set of bones and saw similarities to the previous one, but not the ones that the former owner...the Decepticon Shockwave had catalogued. And that wasn't the only problem that Shockblast had found, for his probe's sensors could pick up a strange anomalous reading just a couple of hundred feet lower than the deepest part of the mine. 'Why have I not heard from Lord Galvatron yet? there is no logical reason for the lack of communication.' he continued as he checked his holo-tool and saw that he had not received a communicae from the Predacon Leader. 'And why is it that I am thinking more and more like an emotionless machine, it is not logic...' he then placed his hand to his fore-head, as he felt another headache coming on again. This had now become more than a daily occurrence for him, and the only reason Shockblast could think of was because of the memory download he had from the mind of that particular deceased Decepticon. Every single day since that moment, the Con has felt less like himself and that used to scare him. Recently though he had started to feel nothing about it and that would of scared him even more. But he was suddenly pulled from the presence of his thoughts as the holo-screen's visual changed to show a timer and table of calculations. "Terracon cloning process eighty five percent complete." the computer stated, but Shockblast merely looked at the image with barely any interest before switching back to the Cybertronian bones he had been studying previously. "Who were you?" he said to himself with a questioning tone before finally giving up for the moment, shutting down the terminal and walking out of the room. Meanwhile, Orion peeked around the corner of one of the a-joining corridors of the facility as the ground-bridge vortex closed behind him, Liara and Quickstrike, before gesturing to them that the coast was clear and carried on moving. "I can't say how I feel about being back here." the Asari said with an uncertain tone as she looked up at the massive corridor they were currently in, which had been built for those Cybertronians who used to tower over most other life forms like the titans of legend. Orion looked back at her and could see it in her eyes that this though was not the reason, but because of the memories of what had happened the last time she had walked through this place which were full of horror and death. "I'm sorry, Liara. I did say you could stay on the Normandy and advise us over the com-link." he replied in an understanding voice, which earned a appreciative smile from the Asari. "I know and I am thankful for that, Orion, but I had to come back. It was something I just had to do." "I understand, but if it gets too much, just say the word and I will have a ground-bridge back to the Normandy opened for you." the blue haired Bot said back. "Where are the Terracons? Don't you find it strange that we haven't come across a single patrol yet?" Quickstrike asked. "You would think that after we rescued Liara from both the Predacons and the Shadow Broker back on Illium, that Galvatron would have increased security here." Orion replied. "Let's just put it down to Predacon arrogance shall we." the blonde Autobot said as the trio arrived at a doorway that Liara recognised. "This is the door to lab where I we found and awoke Galvatron." she stated as the memories of that day began to creep up on her, but Orion noticed the look on the Asari's face and placed his hand on her shoulder supportively. This brought Liara's attention to the Bot, forcing the memories back as she looked at his face. "You alright?" he asked, his face showing nothing but concern for her well being. "Yes, thank you." the Asari replied, earning a nod from Orion before he turned his attention back to the door. "Okay, Liara, stay with me. Quickstrike, head to the other side so that we can cover the width of this door." His cousin acknowledged with a nod as he then moved to the spot indicated and readied his weapon. "We'll open the door and remain hidden behind this cover until we've determined who is in there." Orion then said after tapping is com-link and letting Quickstrike know without shouting it across the massive width of the door. Both Bot and Asari acknowledged him before Orion activated his holo-tool, and accessed the door's control panel high on the wall above them. The door then slid open with a slight screeching noise. 'Someone forgot to oil these doors.' Quickstrike thought before he looked over to see his Cousin taking a peek into the next room. "Clear." he then said while gesturing over to the blonde Bot before the trio then entered the lab, which was enormous. "Seriously, where is everybody?" Quickstrike said with a hint of frustration in his voice while Liara and Orion's attention was on the large Cybertronian terminal that towered over them. "Want me to give up you a lift to reach the keyboard?" the young Darby asked jokingly, earning a smile from the Asari as she activated her holo-tool. "That won't be necessary." she said back while creating a link with the computer. "Okay, I am in and...okay!" "What is it?" Orion asked as he and Quickstrike stood either side of her and looked at the holo-screen which appeared before them. "This terminal has been cross linked with the databases of a good number of the secret labs that were believed to be scattered all over Cybertron. I have access to nearly every project that is filed here." she replied as the screen showed images and paragraphs of coding. "What can't you access?" Quickstrike asked back. "There is only one file and that is called 'Gemini', I can't open it. But I can download and decrypt it later, along with all the other projects here." "Do it." the blonde Bot replied, earning a nod from Orion in agreement as the Asari did just that. "So what other projects are there?" "Project Synthergon, Project Pretender, Project Iacon, some that are just numbers and...Project Predacon." "What's Project: Predacon?" the Autobot Spectre asked, earning a nod from Liara as she opened that file which began showing images of ancient bones and lines of CNA, as well as concept images of what those beasts used to look like. "That one looks like Skystalker." Quickstrike stated while his Cousin and the Asari recognised the other two beasts that appeared on screen. "There are the ones that attacked Earth." "You mean Grimwing and Predaking...Ser-Ket told me their names." the blonde Bot replied as both looked back at him. "Well, if I am reading this right, they were cloned by Shockwave from the CNA of ancient Predacon fossils that he found here on Cybertron." Liara said, earning curious looks from the Bots. "They are clones!" Quickstrike said back in surprise. "Not just them, but all the Predacons...including Ser-Ket." Orion added as he pointed at the information of the others. "Their sparks were the only part that had been cloned at that time, but then Shockblast installed them into the prototype Pretender forms that Shockwave had created during Project: Pretender. Liara can you access each Predacon's individual file?" the blue Bot added, making the Asari nod and then suddenly shake her head in return. "I can access all but Ser-Ket's, her file is encrypted...but I have downloaded the files anyway and can decrypt them back on the Normandy." "Okay, check the plans for this facility's power source. We can then call in Bravo team to sabotage it." Orion replied, earning a nod from Liara as she then brought up the facility's layout. "It is one thousand metres away from us at the west side of the facility, I am sending the coordinates to the ship now." she said back as Orion tapped his com-link. "Normandy, send Bravo team to the coordinates that Liara has just uploaded. Their target will be the reactor there." he said before noticing that both his cousin and the Asari were looking at what was once a human sized containment tank situated in the center of the lab, with pieces of shattered glass all over the floor. "That's where it happened?" Orion asked as he knew what this was, gaining a nod from the Asari. "Yes, that is where we woke up Galvatron. Unaware of the threat he posed." she replied with a hint of guilt in her voice, earning a sympathetic look from the blue haired Bot. "Liara..." Orion, I know..." the Asari said back, while Quickstrike looked over at the large opening in the wall just aways from them. "What do you make of that?" he said, earning the others attention. "If the Predacons are cloned from fossils of ancient Cybertronian remains, then I bet that hole leads to the mine where he retrieved the samples from." the young Darby replied. "That means Project: Predacon should be housed in this facility too, so when we destroy this place we will also cripple their ability to clone more." Liara added, gaining a nod from the blue haired Bot. "I guess that is the entrance to other lab then." Quickstrike said as he pointed over to an open doorway that had a yellow light glowing from it's other side. "One way to find out, let's go." Orion replied, only for Liara to grab him by the shoulder. "Someone's coming." she said as a set of footsteps could be heard entering the lab entrance behind them, which made the trio turn round and aim their weapons at them. "Shockblast?" Liara then exclaimed with a wide-eyes expression, earning similar looks from the cousins. While the Predacon merely stopped where he was and pointed his weapon at them, only slightly looking like he was surprised. "Autobots!" PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile, across the facility, a Ground-bridge vortex opened up and Nightracer, Smokescreen and Grunt exited it with weapons ready and found themselves standing before the reactor which glowed with a green hue. "We are clear." Smokescreen stated as the portal closed and they saw that they were the only ones in the entire room, earning a disappointed sigh from the Krogan. "Damn it, I was hoping there would be some Terracons to kill." Grunt replied. "Well, this place looks like it is run automatically, but even I find it strange that there are no guards." the Femme said back before activating her holo-tool and bringing up plans of the reactor on it's holo-screen. "According to these old plans, we should lay charges at these two points for maximum detonation of it's power-source." Both the Bot and Krogan nodded after looking at the image before splitting up and heading to either side of the reactor, each holding an explosive device that looked somewhat like C-four. Grunt was the first to reach his spot, connecting his bomb to the side of one the supports of the large fuel tank on the reactor's east side. "Done." he said, while Smokescreen did the same on the west side of the reactor. "Done..." he began to say before a sound caught his hearing, making him look down to see an ever so small crack running down to the bottom of the fuel tank. "Hey, Guys, is it me or does this look familiar?" he said while looking at a small dribble pf green liquid that was running down the tank's side and dripping onto the floor. Both Nightracer and Grunt joined him to look at the mystery liquid, with the Femme scanning it with her holo-tool. "Don't touch it. It's Synthetic Energon. It's being used to power the facility." "So I guess there can be a use for the unstable fuel." the Bot replied as he got back to his feet. "Looks like it has been leaking for some time." Grunt added as he pointed at the puddle of Synthergon on the ground next to the tank. "Come on, we should join up with Alpha team. Lets go." Nightracer said before the three left the tank and headed out of the room but unbeknownst to them, the Synthergon Puddle was leaking into a crack in the ground and had slowly dripped it's way down hundreds of feet below the facility. Slipping through further small cracks and crevices until a single droplet ran down the length of a stalactite in what appeared to be a cave, it then stopped at it's very tip before dropping off and falling several feet before hitting a smooth jet black metal that looked almost like armour. The drop of Synthergon then disappeared as it was absorbed into metal and everything remained quiet, until whatever the metal shape was began to shake slightly as it began to move. It gave off a groan before a pair of blue optics activated and narrowed as the 'whatever it was' woke up and growled, which echoed throughout the cave.
  12. CHAPTER XXVII Everything happened so fast, one second Quickstrike was looking at Ser-Ket facing off against a horde of Terracons. Then in a flash of green light, he was standing what looked like a shuttle-bay. The Bot saw the vortex close in front him before hearing footsteps approaching from behind, so he turned around to see Orion and Shen standing at either side of him. Liara and Nightracer were also there, as was a man he did not recognise who was blonde and wore red and gold armour. "Orion, report." he said, earning a nod from the blue haired Bot. "Rodimus, We disabled the technology being used by the Predacons to jam all Autobot communications and then destroyed the tower to ensure that they could not do it again." "Good job. You should know that we have already made contact with Autobot Command. They are mobilizing the fleets as we speak, so we can take back Omicron from the Predacons. That's just for starters." "We also gained a significant amount of Intel from the enemy's database, with your permission I would like to start looking through it immediately." Liara added, earning a nod from Rodimus. So the Asari then activated her holo-tool and linked it to Orion's, transferring it to hers. "Don't forget what Ser-Ket said. Look at the Cybertron data first." the XO said, earning a nod from her as the Commander gave them all a confused look. "Who is Ser-Ket?" "Ser-Ket is the one who made this mission a success,...Commander, and then paid for it." Quickstrike suddenly came out and said with a tinge of anger and pain in his voice, earning the Commander's attention as he looked back. But before he could say anything, the Bot walked out of the shuttle-bay, leaving everyone in there in a limbo like state. "That was Orion's cousin, Sir." Shen stated as a surprised Rodimus looked to his XO for answers. "Ser-Ket was a Predacon who switched sides and helped us with our mission. Quickstrike is correct in saying that without her help, our mission would have failed." the blue haired Bot replied. "There's more to it than that though, right? I mean that's impression I got from him." the Commander replied, gaining a nod from the team. "Ser-Ket rescued Quickstrike from the other Predacons, and they became close over the time they were on the run." Liara added. "I see." Rodimus replied with a thoughtful look, while Orion took a step towards the door. "I'll go talk to him." he said while looking back. "Want me to help?" Liara asked as she took a step towards him, but the Bot made a 'stop' like gesture in return. "It's alright, I've got this. You should make a start on that Intel." he replied, earning a nod from her. With that Orion left the shuttle-bay, with Rodimus heading that way too. "I should get back to the CIC, Liara keep me apprised on your progress." "Of course, Commander." she replied as the Elite Spectre left took his leave. "Want a hand going through that Intel, Liara?" Nightracer asked, gaining a smile from the Asari. "Sure." she replied as the two started for the door, with Shen in pursuit. "I'll go see what Smokescreen and Grunt are up too?" And with that the group all left the shuttle-bay. Orion arrived on deck three and stepped out into the corridor, hoping he would find his cousin there since a passing crewman on the previous floor had seen someone of Quickstrike's description heading for elevator. The blue haired Bot checked the Mess, the starboard observation room and the Infirmary, saying a quick Hi to Red-Alert as he did but still did not find Quickstrike. 'Okay, there is only one place left on this deck he could go if he wanted to be alone.' he thought as he walked through the corridor to the door labelled 'Port observation lounge'. He opened the door to reveal a dimly lit room with several chairs, two couches and a poker table at it's furthest wall. The only real light to enter the room was from the massive window that showcased the ocean of stars beyond the Normandy's hull. And it was there that Orion spotted Quickstrike, the Bot was standing there and looking out at the stars in silence, until he saw his cousin's reflection in the glass. "If you don't mind, Orion, I would like to be alone right now." he said calmly while keeping his attention on the view in front of him, but the blue haired Bot merely entered the room with the door closing behind him, sealing out the light of the corridor and darkening the room once again. "I am so sorry, Quickstrike. I was wrong about her, and I am sorry. I wish we could have brought her with us." the Bot replied with regretful tone in his voice. "I still can't believe that there wasn't any other way, we didn't have to leave her back there." the blonde Autobot said back as he looked over his shoulder to Orion, who could see the Bot's eyes were slowly welling up. "Ser-Ket saw no other way out of it, what she did...she did to protect us...to protect you. She didn't want you to die on that planet, she loved you." Orion replied, gaining a knowing look from his cousin. "I heard her whisper it into your ear when Shen and I were carrying you." he added, making Quickstrike nod in return. "I know, I heard it myself. While I was unconscious, I heard a mixture of sounds echoing around me. They were faint and hard to make out, until suddenly everything went quiet and then the sweetest voice I had ever heard spoke. 'I love you...goodbye'." the Bot replied as he looked back out of the window, but as he said that last sentence, Orion could see there was far more meant in those words for Quickstrike. "You love her." "Yes..." the blonde Autobot replied, as he nodded back. "We only knew each other for several days, but in that time I had to come to care for her more than..." he said until he felt himself being overcome by his grief and stopped, letting silence fall in the room. But Orion joined his cousin's side and placed a supportive hand on his shoulder, to let the Autobot know he was not alone as he wiped a stray tear from his cheek with his hand. "What is it?" the blue haired Bot asked. "I just wish I had told Ser-Ket how I felt, what if she'd..." Quickstrike began to say before Orion cut him off, not allowing his cousin to finish that sentence. "She knew how much you felt for her, Quickstrike. She knew through your experiences with her before we arrived, and how you stood by her side during my...you know." the young Darby said with a regretful expression, the memory of how treated the former Predacon was still fresh in his mind and it certainly was not his proudest moment. "...and finally in the way you wanted to stay behind with her, despite what that would entail. Ser-Ket knew you loved her Quickstrike." Everything again went quiet as the blonde Bot thought on Orion's words, until he finally turned round and faced his cousin, with a look of acceptance on his face. "Your right Cuz, thanks." he replied, gaining a nod in return from the blue haired Bot. "So what do I do know? Go home and sit by my Mother's side until she wakes?" he then asked. "You could do that, but...what do you want to do?" Orion asked in return. "I...I want to keep fighting...for Ser-Ket and for my Father." Quickstrike replied as his face became serious as he looked back out at the stars. "Then in that case, I will tell Rodimus that you'll join my team. We can honour them both by defeating the Predacons and ruining whatever plans they have." The blonde Bot nodded in return as Orion turned back towards the door. "Want to come with me to the CIC?" "I will in a bit, but first I just want to be alone with my thoughts." Quickstrike replied. "Alright, take your time." the blue haired Bot said back before he opened the door, letting the light of the corridor re-enter the room. "Thanks, Orion." his cousin said back, earning a nod from him before he walked out. The door then closed, darkening the room again as Quickstrike looked out of the window at the stars once more. "I love you, Ser-Ket." he said in a whisper, while another singluar tear ran down his cheek again. Meanwhile, the rain was coming down hard on the long grass of Omicron, while a mass of Terracons stood together in a huddle. Most of then were looking towards the center of the group, almost as if something of great value was located at that location. But there were a few stragglers at the outer edges who looked back at city and the massive cloud of smoke that was billowing from the site where the communications tower used to stand. "We have incoming." one of the troops shouted as a shuttle suddenly landed in the area, its hatch opening to reveal Rip-Claw standing at the exit. "Commander Rip-Claw, you are hurt." the Terracon closest to the Femme observed as she stepped out from the confines of the small transport, wearing a bandage around her head. " I am fine, my body is healing perfectly fine. I simply have a headache from some Asari who decided to hit me with a Server a few times, that's all." she answered in a sarcastic tone, earning a worried expression from the man. "I meant no disrespect, Sir." "Well your not the one who has to explain all of this to Lord Galvatron...are you? So please tell me we have something to cushion the blow?" she replied, gaining a sly smile and nod from the Terracon. "We certainly do, Commander." he said back before he waved his hands, making the other Cons separate and reveal what lied at their feet at the center of the horde. The Femme's frown turned into a smile as she looked down at the site. "Well, I say...Is she alive?" "She has suffered multiple injuries, but yes...she is still alive." the soldier said back. "Excellent, get her on board the Achilles and patch her up. Lord Galvatron will wish to see this traitor himself." Rip-Claw replied as she looked down at the unconscious and bloodied form of Ser-Ket, lying down in the muddy grass. PRIME EFFECT 4 It had been a few hours since she had been captured, but Aria sat in her cell and stared with a blank expression straight ahead at the force field that was covering her one and only way out, but it wasn't escaping that she was thinking of...it was vengeance. The Asari was so fixated and caught up in her own thoughts, that she did not notice that Arcee was staring at her from the cell the Femme was sharing with her spark-mate. "Aria, how are you holding up?" "Absolutely fine." the former Omega leader replied coldly while keeping her attention on the wall, which was puzzling the Femme somewhat. "I see. Well, if you need to talk.." But before she could finish, Aria looked over and Arcee could see the anger in her eyes. "I appreciate what you are trying to do, Arcee, but I am fine. I am simply waiting for our hosts to return." the Asari replied candidly before looking past the Femme to the Prime sitting beside her, a confused expression appearing on her face. "What is he doing?" This made Arcee turn her attention to Jack who was staring at his only remaining hand, he looked like he was looking at it with a very focused expression as he kept himself fixated on his appendage. "Jack, what are you doing?" Arcee asked with a similar expression to Aria, who was looking at Jack too who was now clenching his hand into a fist and closing his eyes. "Jack?" she asked again, finding this behaviour strange from her lover. "Hey, Prime. What's with the constipated look over there?" Aria then asked, earning a slight smirk from him. "Sorry, but if you both could just stay quiet for a moment." he replied while keeping his arms closed and fist tightly clenched. "Why, what are you doing?" the Femme asked. "Just trying something, I'm not sure if it will even work." the Prime said back which gained a look from his spark-mate, one that told him she did not buy it. "You're going to have to do better than that, Jack." "Okay, you know that my Prime armour..." he began to say while gesturing to the very outfit he was still wearing, earning a nod from the Femme who glanced at it and noticed how damaged it was. "...allows me to summon a holographic re-creation of both the Star-Saber and the Skyboom Shield. "Yes, Jack. What are you getting at?." Arcee said back with an impatient tone, one that was reciprocated by Liara with a look. "We have both seen this, Prime." "...yeah, and I am generally left handed. So, that is the hand that gets the Saber. But I think I can summon it to my right hand." he said with an enthusiastic tone while holding his clenched hand before him, gaining a look of surprise from the women. "How did you figure that out?" Arcee asked. "Back when I was temporarily allied with MECH in an effort to stop the Quintessons, we boarded one of their ships to gain Intel. Now during our escape, I used the Skyboom Shield to protect Miranda...but I summoned it to my left hand." "So, you think that if you could do that with the shield, that it should work with the Star Saber too." the Femme asked, gaining a nod from Jack. "Exactly, so I just need a minute to focus." "But in your current condition..., I mean using the Star Saber has an effect on your body even when you don't charge it up. So with what you have gone through..." Arcee replied with a concerned look on her face, but Jack gave her a reassuring smile. "Arcee, I am feeling stronger now than I did earlier. And this might be our only chance to escape, but we need to do this together." he said back, before looking over to Aria who nodded in return but the Prime could see that she had something else in mind...and that was troubling. "Aria, I want you to know that 'we' want to see Galvatron pay for our son's...death too. But if we have any hope of escaping, then we have to put that aside until we are in a better position to do so. We can't afford to let revenge cloud our senses, so I need 'your word' that you won't try to kill Galvatron now." The Asari narrowed her eyes at the Prime, letting him know that she wasn't happy with the terms but he wasn't about to take no for answer. "Aria, I swear that we will help you take Galvatron down and make him pay for the crimes committed against the Federation, Omega and... 'us'. Surely we have proven ourselves enough for you to trust us?" The Prime and the Omega Leader just looked at each other as Arcee watched, for she knew exactly how strong the pull of revenge was and what it takes to ignore it for the greater good. As did Jack, but then again...he is a Prime. They do not have the luxury of ignoring the bigger picture. "Alright, Prime. I'll do it your way." Aria then said, earning a supportive smile from both Spark-mates before the Prime returned his attention to his hand, clenching it tightly and focusing on it alone. "Don't know how long this wil..." he started to say before the sight of the holographic Star-Saber blade materialised, glowing with a gentle blue hue which silenced the Prime and earned wide eyed expressions from both women. "Well, I'll be damned." Aria said, while Arcee smiled at Jack. "It worked,. Wait,...how do you feel?" she said, as she suddenly switched from impressed to mother Hen mode. "I feel fine." Jack replied before getting to his feet, quickly followed by the Femme and Asari. "Be ready, who knows how many guards are stationed on the other side of that door." he added before swinging the blade at the force-field and slicing a a cut through it, which made the energy crackle as the cut expanded and then brought the entire field down in an instant. Which was followed by a siren blaring out of the inter-com while the room's illumination changed to a flashing red hue. "Prisoners have escaped! Prisoners have escaped!" the Nemesis computer spoke calmly as Jack and Arcee left their cell. "Arcee, open Aria's cell door." the Prime said back, earning a nod from the Femme who looked back at him And spotted two Terracons entering the room. "Jack! Behind you!" Darby saw this and immediately and with fluid movement, stabbed the saber into the chest of the enemy right in front of him. And before the other could raise his weapon quickly enough, the Prime removed the blade, spun around and sliced off the other's head. Both corpses fell to the ground, just as Aria's force field came down, allowing the Asari to walk out and give Jack an impressed smile. "Not bad, one arm or two. You've still got it." "He's my Prime." Arcee affectionately added, earning a loving smile from Jack. "Now, could you get this thing off me?" the Asari then asked, while gesturing to the Biotic clamp around her neck. "Hold still." Jack then said before perfectly slicing the device into two pieces that fell to the ground, earning a relieved smile from her. "Thank you." "Come on, I know the way off this ship." he replied as Arcee picked up one of the guns and the trip left the Brig. Meanwhile on the Nemesis bridge, Galvatron was looking around with a curious grin as the lights continued to flash the colour red and the inter-com continued with the computer's warning. "Interesting, that Prime is more resourceful than I thought." he said while Six-Shot and Lazerback stood at either side of him. "My Lord, I have called for extra squads of Terracons to guard all vital systems." the former said with a slightly panicked expression. "And I have sent out Stalker and Terracon teams to recapture the Prisoners." the latter added, but Galvatron shook his head in return. "You worry too much, Six-Shot. The Prime won't try anything as bold as that. And you can call off your squads Lazerback, I know where they are heading..." the Predacon Lord replied, before turning round and walking past them both. "..and I will deal with them personally." he added, earning surprised expressions as they watched him leave the room. "Lord Galvatron…" the Terracon manning the Nemesis's sensor array said aloud, gaining the Predacon's attention as he stopped short of the door and looked over to him. "Omega reinforcements are coming through the space bridge." he added as he brought up the information on the main holo-screen for everyone to see. "What is the status of those ships?" Galvatron asked. "Their weapon systems are fully powered, but it seems that they have just stopped short of our front lines. None of our ships have reported being targeted." The Predacon Leader smiled in return as he looked up at the holo-screen. "That is a welcoming sign, that they are indecisive of what they should do. Let us hope that they continue to do so for just long enough for me to subdue their leader once again, the next part of my plan requires her presence" he replied before he then opened the door and exited the bridge, leaving all on the bridge somewhat confused as they returned to their duties. A several decks below, another Terracon fell to the ground in a bloody heap as Jack, Arcee and Aria ran past and down the corridor, leaving yet another squad of Predacon troops dead in their wake. "So, this is the way to the escape pods?" the Asari asked, gaining a nod from the older Darby leading the way. "Yes, the Nemesis was meant to be the new Autobot flagship. So I made sure to familiarise myself with it's layout and systems. The escape pods are on the deck above us, so we need to access the maintenance ducts on this floor to gain entry to deck and it is just down this corridor." The trio ran down the corridor until they came to a T-junction, earning a look of confusion from the women. "Which way, Jack?" Arcee asked, gaining a knowing look from her Spark-mate. "Left…I think." he replied with a smirk, which made the Femme roll her eyes in response. "Very funny…" she said as they turned the corner and ran straight into another group of Terracons. "Scrap!" the blue haired Femme exclaimed as the enemies opened fire which should of riddled the group with bullets, but Aria managed to create a biotic barrier which shielded them from harm. Then Arcee opened fire with her rifle as Jack charged in and disarmed the closest Terracon by slicing his arm off, and then driving the saber into it's heart. Then suddenly three more Terracons appeared, those these ones looked more feral and beast-like. "What the hell are they?" Arcee said in a confused tone as the animal-men rushed the group but Jack merely smiled as one launched itself at him, only for the Prime to charge the Star-Saber which glowed bright blue as he swung it, cutting the creature right down the middle and splitting it into two halves. Another one jumped at Aria, who just held out her hand and channelled her biotic energy which stopped the creature in midair. She then saw the last one pounce at the Autobot Femme as she shot it several times. so she then threw the captive beast into it, sending both of the modified Terracons into the wall. "Thanks," Arcee replied, earning a nod from Aria. "You're welcome." Meanwhile, Jack had found the hatch leading to the maintenance tube and opened it, revealing a ladder inside a tightly compact tube. "Aria, you first." he said as the women joined him, earning a curious look from the Asari. "Why? I don't know where we should go." "Firstly, we are just going up to the next floor. Secondly, you can create a barrier to protect us if we happen to come across another patrol as we exit this tube." the Prime replied. Aria though instead of arguing, just accepted his reasoning and nodded before climbing into the hatch and climbing the ladder. "Ladies first." Jack then said with a smile, earning an eye roll from the Femme. "You just want to look at my bum as we climbing the ladder." The older Darby feigned a look of innocence at that comment. "Who…me?" he replied, but the Femme simply cocked her head and gave him a knowing smile. "I know you too well…" she said back before climbing into the tube. "..Enjoy the view," she added, making the Prime's smile grow a little wider as he then followed her. "I will." he replied as he then closed the hatch behind her and started to climb the tube's ladder with them. On the deck in question, a patrol of Terracons moved the corridor with their weapons ready as they kept an eye out for any sign of the escapees. The group walked past a hatch which then slowly opened to reveal Aria who climbed out while holding her hand out in front of her, which glowed blue with biotic energy. She noticed the Terracons walking out of sight and then gestured to the others below her before climbing out into the corridor. "So where now?" the Asari asked as Jack and Arcee joined her, the Femme re-equipping her weapon as her lover activated the holo Star-saber again. "Follow this corridor until we get to another T-junction and then take a right hand turn…" he started to say before suddenly more Terracons turned the corner right behind the group and immediately aimed their weapons at them, making Arcee and Aria ready themselves for another fight. But instead of opening fire, the enemy troops simply backed away and disappeared the way they had arrived, leaving Arcee confused. "What the!...Why didn't they fight us?" the Femme asked with a disbelieving tone that was mirrored in the looks of her companions as they stared back utterly dumbstruck. "I don't know..." Jack started to say before being interrupted by the sound of someone clapping behind them, which made the trio turn around and see Galvatron standing behind them. "I feel I have to congratulate you on your escape attempt, even if it has failed...because truthfully I never saw it coming." he gloated, earning a look of hatred from Aria while Jack and Arcee looked a little more cautious while noticing that no Terracons were accompanying the Predacon Leader. "He is facing us alone." Arcee observed, gaining a nod from him. "That is correct, for I do not need backup to deal with the three of you." he said before an evil smile appeared on his face as he clenched his hands into fists, which infuriated Aria, who's own fists began to glow with biotic energy. "You have taken everything from me, Galvatron, so the most I can do is wipe that smile off your face." she replied before performing a biotic charge at the Predacon as Jack tried and failed to stop her. "Aria, wait!" he shouted, but the Asari was already through to Galvatron who suddenly had a purple glow of his own and thrust his hand forward and caught the female round her throat, stopping her in his tracks. "Have you not learned from your mistakes back on Omega, or do you need another lesson?" he said before punching her repeatedly as her companions could only watch, since the Asari was blocking their line of fire. The Enemy Leader then threw her to the ground hard, making her grimace before she tried to recover. Arcee immediately fired her weapon at the Predacon Lord, who dodged it and took cover in a nearby doorway. The Femme then moved closer, while keeping her finger on the trigger tightly so that the weapon's fire would keep Galvatron pinned behind his cover. "Jack, get Aria!" she shouted, earning a nod from her Spark-mate who raced over to the Asari and helped her to her feet. Meanwhile as the Arcee kept firing at the doorway, a sudden flash of green light was emitted from within it that confused the Femme as she decided to move closer. "What was that?" Aria asked while breathing heavily as she held on to the Prime's shoulder as he got her to his feet. "I don't know, but that was foolish to just attack him on your own." he replied with a disappointed tone, gaining an angry look from her. "He was blocking our escape route, what else were we supposed to do?" she spat back but before the Prime could answer, Arcee gained their joint attention. "Guys, we have a problem." They both looked over to the Femme. "What is it?" Jack asked, gaining an gesture from the Autobot who pointed to the now empty doorway. "He's gone." "Then let's get moving before he comes back." Aria suggested as Jack looked between both women with an unsure look. "He must have used an internal ground bridge." he answered just as another bright green flash appeared behind the Prime and Asari, who were suddenly sent flying into Arcee by a hit that felt like a sledge hammer. The three were knocked to the ground as Jack who was the first to recover, looked over his shoulder to see Galvatron standing in the wake of another ground-bridge portal which then closed up behind him, he had a smug expression on his face as he stared down at the Prime who got back to his feet while Arcee was still recovering and Aria was in a slump on the ground. "What are you going to do, Prime? Attack me with the one arm you have left?" he gloated, earning a confident smile from the Darby. "Something like that." he replied as he then swung his arm towards the Predacon leader, who's expression changed from smug to shocked as he witnessed the holo Star-Saber suddenly materialise before it hit him, sending Galvatron into the wall behind him. Jack then took the initiative and moved in to hit the Predacon while he was recovering, swinging the blade down at him. But the Enemy Leader suddenly recovered and caught Jack's arm in his hand, and then stared into the surprised Prime's eyes as his own began to glow purple. "You will pay for that!" he spat before twisting Jack's arm, making him cry out in pain before punching the Autobot Leader in the chest. This sent him back into the wall with thud as it winded him, and Jack dropped to his knees. Meanwhile Arcee was getting back to her feet, but was sent back to the floor as Galvatron punched her in the face while walking over to Jack and Aria. He then grabbed the Asari and threw her into another wall before turning his attention to Jack who was still weak. "You're turning out to be more trouble than you're worth…" he said while grabbing the Prime by the throat and lifting him off the ground. "..So I think it is time to kill you." he added while preparing to make the killing blow, as his fist glowed with purple energy. Jack though who was struggling to breath under the vice-like grip of the Predacon, recognised the purple energy in his enemy's eyes and fist. Bringing back memories of someone else the Prime had defeated decades before. "…Unicron?" he muttered under his breath as Galvatron, poised to strike was suddenly stopped. "Galvatron, do not kill the Prime..." the voice of the Chaos Bringer echoed in his mind, earning a surprised and confused expression from the Predacon. "...because if you do, the prophecy will never come about." 'What prophecy?' Galvatron thought. "You have yet to read from the Covenant!" Unicron replied with an annoyed tone, earning a begrudged sigh from the Predacon. 'Very well, I will do that...after this.' he thought, knowing fully well that the Aeon would hear him. He then looked down at the large cut which the holo Star-Saber had left on his chest-plate, and then at Jack. "It is only fair that I return the favour, Prime." he said before grabbing hold of the chest-plate of his Prime armour which he then ripped off in one quick motion, before dropping him back to the floor just as a squad of Terracons came round the corner and stopped at his side. "Lord Galvatron, Commander Six-Shot sent us to aid you." one of them said in an enthusiastic tone. "Take these two back to the Brig and place them in separate cells, but be sure to remove the remainder of his armour first." Galavatron replied as he gestured to Jack and Arcee before dropping the damaged Prime's chest-plate on the floor, like it was a piece of scrap metal. "Yes, My Lord." the Terracon replied before he and the other troops walked over to the spark-mates and escorted them away. "Aria..." Jack said back while the Asari was left at Galvatron's feet, with the Predacon looking down at her. "Now, Aria, we have an appointment to keep." he said as she looked up and saw the tyrannical expression on his face. On board the bridge of one of the Omega cruisers, a crew made up of Asari, Turian, Salarian and Vorcha were working at all the terminals as a Human Commander sat in the Captain's chair. "Sir, we are receiving a transmission from the enemy." the Turian at the communications station stated. "Put it on the main screen." the Commander replied and then just a second later, Galvatron was seen by all on the holo-screen in front of them. In fact the Predacon Lord could be seen by all Omega ships, colonies and outposts as their crews and populations stopped what hey were doing and turned their attention to the message. "This is Galvatron, Lord of the Predacons, And I am speaking to the entire Omega Syndicate. I have a proposal I wish to share with you all. By this point you should already have heard of the attack on the Federation Capital of New Iacon on Earth by my forces, that act was to reveal our strength and intentions to the rest of the galaxy. And now here I stand on Omega itself..." the Predacon "Leader spoke as the camera zoomed out to show that he truly was on board the station, standing before the entrance to Afterlife. "...after taking down the one that has subjugated you for all these years through fear." As everyone watched Galvatron speak, suddenly another person was pushed out into view of the camera. Falling to their knees in front of the Predacon Lord, who looked down at the prisoner with contempt. "Feast your eyes on the one who took away your freedom and replaced it with her own twisted ideals...Aria T'Loak." Galvatron exclaimed as he grabbed the person by the neck and lifted her off the ground so that the camera could see the Asari's face. This image created a wave of emotion to spread itself across Omega's territories, as everyone gasped in shock at the sight of the beaten and broken Aria. "I have taken control of her forces here at Omega, they have all sworn loyalty to myself and now I am offering this chance to the rest of you. Are you not tired of living under the rule of one that will not take take you to your true potential, one that is content to sit on what she has and not try to build upon it. The Omega syndicate controls virtually half of this galaxy, yet it never occurred to Aria to expand and take control of it all. That is where I plan to take Omega, since my Predacons have left the Federation's Autobots in disarray and taken their own leader as a prisoner." Galvatron added as a screen appeared next to him showing footage of Jackson Prime and Arcee in their respective cells. This image made everyone watching talk amongst themselves, since the very sight of the Prime captured was something they could not believe they had just seen. "Warriors of Omega, join me and my Predacons and I promise that the galaxy will be ours." The Predacon Leader then looked down at Aria and equipped his pistol. "To show you that my resolve is absolute, I will leave her fate to you. What should become of Aria T'Loak? Does she die or live?" Suddenly the communications terminal onboard the Nemesis was overcome by an onslaught of messages, which stunned the Terracon as he viewed them on his holo-screen. 'Kill her.' 'She never held our interests above her own.' 'All she cared about was her station and controlling it's military that was supposed to support us, what about our colonies that she said she would stand by.' 'Let her die.' 'The only people to get a better life than us were those on that station and that was due to Aria's single-minded Turian wretch.' All the messages had a similar tone and choice of words to them and so the Terracon transmitted the messages to Galvatron's holo-tool, and he skimmed through them and saw the answer clearly before looking down at the Asari. "Aria T'Loak, 'your people' have spoken." he said as he pointed the gun at her head. "Any last words?" The former leader of Omega looked up at the Predacon and spat at him in disgust. "I will see you again, Galvatron..." she replied as her eyes met his, showing no fear for what was about to happen. "...because you will ultimately fail and di..." she started to say right before he pulled the trigger and shot a bullet clear through her head, splashing blood onto the floor as her body fell to the ground limp. "I don't think so." he replied with a smirk before turning his attention back to the camera. "Aria is dead, her reign is over. Now you are free to take a hold of the destiny she had denied you, for together we can claim this galaxy for ourselves and become our own masters." the Predacon Leader said, earning cheers and applause from the masses. From the ships that were that used to be in a standoff with the Predacon vessels, to the colonies that lied at the very edge of the Terminus systems that bordered with dark-space, everyone bought into Galvatron's words and were looking forward to an area of conquest and wealth, something that had been sorely missing under Aria's reign. "Now I ask the ships that are with us now, join us in destroying the last remainder of that Asari...her beloved space station." Galvatron then had a ground-bridge open up behind him, stepped through it and back on to the bridge of the Nemesis. "Report!" he said, as he walked back to his spot over looking everyone on the catwalk. "Our ships are taking up firing positions around the station sir, and also the Omega ones are doing the same." a Terracon replied from his post, earning a smile from the Predacon Lord as he looked out of the ship's canopy, and saw the Omega station coming into view as the Nemesis moved into position. "Have all ships sync up with us and prepare to fire." he ordered, gaining a nod from the Comms Terracon who then got on with the task. Meanwhile, back in the Brig. Jack and Arcee sat as close as the energy barrier between their cells would allow. Their attention was on a holo-screen which was showing the event, it was being controlled by one of two Terracons that had been tasked with guarding the two Autobots. "So that's all it takes for Galvatron to convince them to follow him." Arcee said, while the Prime continued to watch. "It's not hard to see why they would turn against Aria, she didn't exactly govern the alliance fairly. She was always more concerned with Omega than with the colonies and outposts of those under her 'flag'. It was a powder-keg kept from igniting by only her feared reputation, since the mercenaries, pirates and slavers would rather attack pillage and destroy. But Aria wanted them to protect her interests." "And now that she is out of the way, everyone is free to do what they want and worse still, Galvatron is encouraging it." the Femme replied before looking directly at Jack who still had a worried expression on his face. "What is it, Jack?" "There was something I saw in his eyes during our fight, something I did not believe I would see again." he replied somewhat cryptically to Arcee, earning a curious look from her. "What did you see?" "His eyes glowed purple and for a moment I swore I felt a presence there with us..." the Prime replied while his Spark-mate just looked at him, waiting for an answer. "..I swore it was...Unicron." he finished, as her eyes widened at that name. "Unicron? But he is dead. You told me Primus's sacrifice destroyed him." "I know and at that time, I believed it too. But now I can't be sure." Jack replied before they both turned their attention to the holo-screen, which now showed the Omega station nestled in the void of space. "All ships report ready, my Lord." Six-shot stated as he stood beside the Terracon manning the Comms station, as the Predacon Leader stood at his own station and looked out at the symbol of Omega, that has stood for so many years and yet was about to be destroyed. He then tapped his com-link. "Patch me into all ships." he said, earning a nod from that Terracon who typed into his terminal's holo-interface before gesturing to Six-shot, who looked back at his leader. "You are on, my Lord." "This is Galvatron, all ships...fire at will!" And suddenly every single ship, be it former-Omega or Predacon, opened fire on the station with every weapon their ships had installed. The exterior of the station was rattled by external explosions which shook it right through to it's foundations. The civilians still trapped in what was left of Sanctuary looked around as they felt and heard the impacts of the weapons, parents pulled their children into their arms tightly and whispered sweet lies into their ears to keep them calm, despite the horrifying truth that was dawning for them. Jack and Arcee could only watch as the station was devastated by weapons fire as hundreds of torpedoes and cannon blasts impacted the structure until it could not handle anymore. And at that moment the Bottom of the station exploded from the Bottom and the fireball travelled upwards, tearing through the station as it killed the remaining civilians and then burnt through the area where Aria's corpse lay until the entire Omega station exploded in magnificent fashion, leaving only a debris field in its wake. Galvatron looked out of the bridge's canopy and smiled as he witnessed the destruction, revelling in what he had achieved in that moment. "Sir, the Omega Station has been destroyed." the Terracon manning the weapons station stated, as the Predacon Leader turned to look at Six-Shot. "Welcome everyone to our ranks, Six-Shot, and tell them that our conquest of the galaxy will begin very shortly." "Yes, Sir, and what of the meantime?" the Con replied, while his Lord began to head for the exit. "Begin repairs on the ships that need them, I will be in my quarters for the next hour." Galvatron said back, as he remembered something that he had been putting off. "Yes, Sir." Six-Shot answered enthusiastically as he watched the Con leader leave the room, for felt excited for what the Predacons would do next…now that they all were going to go on the offensive against their enemy. PRIME EFECT 4 Galvatron entered his quarters and looked over to the Covenant of Primus which was lying on his desk, exactly where he had left it. It was hard to believe that such a small object could answer the questions that had plagued him since his creation, but he snapped himself out of his thoughts and picked up the Covenant. 'This moment has been delayed long enough.' he thought as he opened it to its first page, looking at the glass page as Cybertronian letters flowed down the page like coding, making no sense whatsoever to the Predacon before he turned the page again...and then again...and then again. He could feel his spark beginning to burn with anger as his patience was threatening to desert him, since he had looked through the book's contents for nearly fifteen minutes and had only seen unreadable code on every page. "Why is this not showing me anything?" he snapped and spoke loudly out into his room, bit the Aeon refused to answer and this only made the Predacon Lord angrier as he continued to flick through the pages. But then as he turned another page, something caught his eye and he turned it back to see that the code-like writing had begun to change and form words, and then sentences right before him. His eyes were fixed on its contents as he found he could now read it's passage. 'When the Vessel born from unnatural ways, uses 'his' blade and the spark of 'his' equal at the temple of rebirth, hidden where the Galaxy began. The Bringer of Chaos will return and everything will again be brought into darkness...forever.' Galvatron looked down at the text, taking in the words as he re-read the passage again and again. "You now know what you must do,...my Galvatron." Unicron suddenly spoke up in the Predacon's mind. "I am to bring you back, but it said 'vessel'?" he said back. "Indeed. When successful, I will be reborn as you. We will be one." the Aeon replied, earning a thoughtful expression from Galvatron. "...be one?" "And together we will crush our enemies and restore this galaxy to how it should be." "Alright, so now that I have read this prophecy, that is about the two of us. I bet you can now give me some details on it, because I doubt that you know nothing of such things." Galavtron replied inquisitively. "And you would be correct, my Galvatron. You are by far the smartest Herald of mine that I have met." Unicron replied, while the Predacon Lord looked back at the passage. "The Prophecy mentions a spark that is your equal." the Con then said, thinking on the passage's meaning. "It is the spark of my deceased brother...Primus, and you already possess the very last piece of it." the Chaos Bringer replied. "You mean the Matrix that Jackson Prime carries on his person. That is why you didn't want me to kill him..." the Predacon leader said back as he looked around his quarters. "Yes, for only one worthy can carry it. If the Prime was to be killed, the Matrix would not be going anywhere with us." Unicron replied. "Then it is a blessing that we have one less thing to look for, but what is this blade and where do we find it and this temple of rebirth?" Galvatron then asked. "The blade that you seek belonged to me back when I was mortal with the rest of the Aeons. It is called the 'Chaos Edge'. But do not ask where it rests, for I do not remember." "How is that possible?" the Predacon replied with a sarcastic tone. "You may be my Herald, but you would do well to remember who it is you are speaking too." the Chaos Bringer said back in an aggravated tone that surprised Galvatron who looked around again, because he could not be sure if he was really alone in his quarters. "My apologies, but surely you can give me an idea about where to look? Since it is a very large galaxy out there." "There is nothing I can do to help you, but you now control a fleet large enough to search the entire galaxy. Use it to search for any power source that does not fit with the planet it is on, that is all I can say on that matter." "And what about this temple?" "The temple is actually a device called the 'Infinite Combinatoric' and that it was built by Solus Prime on the behest of Primus as a failsafe which could resurrect an Aeon whose life has been ended, she built it on the planet that he identified as the first planet born when the galaxy was created." the Aeon replied, earning a curious expression from Galvatron. "How do you know of this much?" "From the Prime Megatronus, the one I managed to corrupt during one of my battles with the Thirteen. He was unaware of this as my influence which slowly overrode his consciousness, it was during this that I managed to learn where they would be and so chose a place far away from them where I could create my Reapers. I also learned other things, most of which could not help me before they finally defeated me. But as far as details on the device, that was all that Megatronus knew." "I see….very well, I will use my resources to retrieve this Chaos Edge and find the Infinite Combinatoric. And with these I will fulfil the prophecy and bring you back." Galvatron exclaimed confidently. "I know you will not fail me, Galvatron. Go and lay the foundations for the age of Chaos." Unicron replied before the Predacon felt his presence fade away, until he was alone again. Back on the bridge, Six-Shot was overseeing the Terracons there with him as Galvatron re-entered the room. "My Lord, the entire former Syndicate has confirmed the Alliance with us, and they are ready to bring the Autobots and their Federation to their knees." the Commander said happily as the Predacon Leader joined him. "Never mind that, Six-Shot. I want as many ships as possible to be sent to all quadrants of the galaxy." he replied, earning a confused expression from Six-Shot. "Uh,…Sir, you mean to attack the Autobots don't you." "No, I want them to scan for any peculiar power signature that does not match with known records. Understand?" he said back in a serious tone, with a look that said he was not going to take no for an answer. "…Uh, of course, my Lord." the Predacon said, though his face said different. "What about the Autobots?" he then asked. "What about them? They are in disarray and so pose no threat to us. Now go and complete my command." Galvatron said back before looking away towards the debris field on the other side of the canopy's glass, while Six-Shot began to walk away and back toward the other Terracons. "Yes, Lord Galvatron." 'What in the Allspark has changed in him, Galvatron wanted war…and now he wants a scavenger hunt?' the Predacon thought before looking over his shoulder and looked back with an angry stare, but Galvatron had his thoughts elsewhere as he looked out at the void of space. 'We will prevail my Unicron, we will have Chaos.'
  13. CHAPTER XXVI The group just made it to their split-up location as the first of the morning light could be seen in the east, which had begun to make the night sky retreat over to the west. Orion looked at the time on his holo-tool, which stated four fifty AM local time. 'Sunrise is in another hour, so we have plenty of time to infiltrate the complex before we lose the cover of dark completely.' he thought while turning his attention to the others. "Okay, this is where Alpha and Bravo part ways. We all know our targets and what's expected of us all." "So I will see you when this is done." Ser-Ket said as she turned her attention to Quickstrike, who smiled back at her. "I'll be back before you know it, just be sure to watch your back because once your former comrades realise your not dead, they will be gunning for you even more." he said back as he placed a hand on her shoulder affectionately, to which she placed her own over it. "I will and the same goes for you." she replied before kissing his cheek, which made the blonde Bot blush in return. Meanwhile Liara stood in front of Orion and gave him a concerned look. "Liara, what's wrong?" he asked in return. "I see you didn't bring it with you." the Asari said back, earning a knowing look from the Bot who simply shrugged his shoulders. "Yeah...we were in a rush to prepare for the mission, and I guess I just left it behind in my quarters." he replied with a slightly sheepish tone. "Orion, if you had the Star-Saber with you, then I don't believe you would have let that Stalker get as close as it did." Liara said with a slight shake of her head. "And the fact that no one other than myself knows that you brought it on board. Why have you not told anyone...especially Rodimus?" she added, which made Orion turn them both away from the others who were still talking amongst themselves. "Because I am still getting used to the idea that I can even use it, and I don't want to go round giving anyone false hope. Since that is what will happen when everyone starts seeing me in action with the legendary Star-Saber." Liara looked the young Darby in the eyes and nodded reluctantly in return, for she knew he spoke the truth. "Well, I know how skilled you are as a Spectre, Orion, but after seeing you in action with the Star-Saber, I guess I would just feel that much better knowing that you had it with you." she replied, earning a smile from the Bot. "Hey, I have managed all these years without it before now. This won't be any different, trust me." he said back with a smile before turning back to the others. "Okay, Quickstrike, let's go." The XO said to his cousin, who nodded back before pulling out of a hug with Ser-Ket. He then stood beside Orion while the Predacon joined Liara and Nightracer who looked back at the pair of Bots. "We'll see you at the rendezvous, good luck." The Femme said back earning a nod from the cousins. "You too." the young Darby replied before the two groups split up and headed off in different directions though both still heading toward the complex. PRIME EFFECT 4 Back on the Achilles bridge, Rip-Claw was browsing through the numerous reports that had been sent to her from all sectors of the colony and it was starting to grind down what little patience she had. She knew as Commander of not only the Achilles but now of an entire colony, that everything came to her doorstep now. Even things that she did not care for or want to know about, like status of the civilians or the colony's weather patterns. Now usually she should have directed all this nonsense to Ser-Ket and washed her hands free of it, but since the traitorous Femme had now switched sides, that meant that she had no choice but to take it. The Predacon could not even delegate it to any of the Terracons, since they would have no idea how to deal with it. And so here she was, reading one boring report after another, her spark slowly burning with anger at each and ever line of words on the holo-screen directly in front of her. The Femme sighed as her eyes drifted away from the influx of pointless information as she looked around the room, hoping to find something which she could fix her attention too. And as if some great unknown power had heard her silent prayer, Rip-Claw's eyes fell upon a Terracon that looked uneasy while sitting at it's station. In fact the Femme recognised this particular soldier as the one that had mentioned the breach in the sensors an hour or so ago. "Soldier, what is the matter?" she asked in a commanding tone that almost made the Terracon jump out of his seat as he turned to face her. "Commander...Rip-Claw...sir!" he said with a nervous salute, which the Femme ignored as she looked back at him, quietly thankful for the distraction. "Soldier, I said what is the matter?" "..Sir,...the group of Stalkers, the ones you had me investigate the sensor breach earlier. I have yet to hear back from them." the Terracon replied, earning a curious expression from the Femme. "What do you mean?" "I mean, I have yet to receive any data from the Stalkers and they should have reached the area well before now." he replied hesitantly. Rip-Claw got up and walked over to his station and looked at his terminal. "Show me the communication screen for that particular group of Stalkers." She then said as she stood behind the Terracon, who nervously typed on his holo-interface until another screen appeared, making the Femme focus as she looked at it. "Well, you are right. They haven't sent you any..." Rip-Claw began to say before her eyes spotted something. "What is that?" she asked while pointing over to an active small data window in the bottom right-hand corner of the holo-screen. "That is the failed comms section, where corrupted messages are stored before deletion. We never take any notice of them, since we receive so many corrupted messages from the Stalkers on a daily basis." the Terracon replied, making the Predacon point at the last message. "Activate that one." she said back. "But, Sir, it is corrupted. There is nothing we can..." he began to reply, only for the Femme to cut him off. "Do it anyway. Indulge me." The soldier reluctantly nodded and began the message which filled the screen, but the image was highly distorted with the only sound they could hear was static. "See if you can clean it up." Rip-Claw ordered, gaining a nod from the Terracon who activated a cleansing program which began to defrag the message. And slowly the visual started to become clear, earning a wide-eyed look from the Femme. "It's not a message but a single frame image, something the Stalker had seen. Keep at it." she stated, while the Soldier continued to work with the program which continued to go through every single bit of the message and clear it up, until the photo was completely repaired and visible before the pair. Rip-Claw just blinked as her eyes widened even more at the single frame on the screen before her. "That's impossible..." she said in a shocked tone as the image showed her sister Ser-Ket readying herself for combat against the Stalker, whose visual data the pair were now viewing. "She is dead, Ser-Ket is dead. Skystalker killed her and that Autobot scum." the Femme stated before activating her holo-tool and connected it to the colony's internal sensors, searching for the beacon that Galvatron had given her the frequency for. But nothing appeared, which left the Femme even more confused. The Terracn meanwhile had noticed something else about the image and zoomed in on an area just behind the supposedly dead Predacon, which showed what looked like another female that neither of them had seen before. "Who is that?" the soldier asked, making Rip-Claw shake her head in response. "I have no idea, but I can tell what it is." she replied as she pointed at the red emblem that could be seen on the figure's armour. "Autobot!" PRIME EFFECT 4 The blade cut right threw the flesh, spilling blood-like fluid down the Terracon's chest before Ser-Ket removed her holo-blade from the now dead enemy's throat and dropped the body to the floor. She then turned around to see both Liara and Nightracer disposing of their respective Terracons as the Asari merely flickered her hand to the right, sending the Con smashing into the corridor's wall. Nightracer meanwhile had kicked the back of one of her target's legs, causing him to fall to his knees before she aimed her gun at is head and pulled the trigger, spilling more fluid upon the wall next to her. "There are no more Terracons in the immediate vircinity." Ser-Ket said after taking a sniff of the air. "You can tell that by just sniffing the air?" Nightracer asked curiously. "Yes, all Predacons have this ability, though we have to concentrate when doing so, or else we smell nothing." "It is very impressive." Liara added, earning a head-shake from the Predacon. "It's not as impressive as your biotics, believe me. I would rather have that over this." Ser-Ket replied with a smile as she gestured to her nose. "So which way now?" the Asari asked, looking over to Nightracer who was consulting the map on her holo-tool. "We have to keep heading down this corridor until we reach a cross section, then take the right turn and continue for a hundred yards until we reach this T-junction. Then we take the left turn and move four hundred yards, and then we reach the target." the Femme said back as she showed them the holo-image, earning a nod from her team mates. "Well we better keep moving, especially if we want to capitalise on the lack of security that this plac..." Ser-Ket began to say before sirens blared out along with a voice on the inter-com. "Intruder Alert, Intruder Alert. Autobots have breaches the complex, all Terracons to combat, I repeat all Terracons to combat!" "Well, that didn't last long." Liara replied, earning defiant looks from both Nightracer and Ser-Ket. "Let's move." the former replied as the two other women followed down the corridor. Meanwhile, Orion and Quickstrike exited an elevator into a massive tunnel that made it look like they were in a mine, due to the rocky walls and support arch-ways that kept the area stable. Their infiltration had gone off without a hitch since they had yet to come across any patrols, but the pair knew that their luck couldn't last forever. "We are now on the lowest level of the colony, the geo-thermal reactor is ten miles in that direction." the blonde Bot said while pointing behind them. "Not that I am against a good trek, but is our target much closer?" the Spectre replied with a curious tone, gaining a nod from his cousin. "Yeah, it's a couple hundred metres in the opposite direction." he said back with a smile, while Orion readied his weapon. "Come on, we..." he started to say before suddenly their ears were bombarded with the same siren and intruder alert that was now being heard around the entire colony. "Looks like we will have to fight our way to the room." Quickstrike states as he points over to the Terracon patrol that appears from a connecting tunnel ahead of them. "Good." was all Orion said in return before opening fire on the enemy troops, causing them to take cover behind the nearby arch-way and fire back. Both Bots mirrored their foes as they shielded themselves with the arch-way nearest them, making both cousins smirk at each other from across the width of the corridor while bullets either flew past or ricocheted off the metal support beams. "You actually preferred a straight fight to sneaking in, didn't you?" Quickstrike shouted to his cousin over the gunfire, as the young Darby took out two of the Terracons, one with a clean head shot as he peeked out from his cover and the other with two shots in his chest. The Bot then looked over to his blonde friend, who was firing back at the soldiers. "I wouldn't usually say this, but...yes I do." Orion replied honestly, before noticing another Terracon stepping out of cover to fire upon them, and so killing him first with several bullets to his chest. "I am really sorry, Orion, for your parents." Quickstrike said back, gaining a glance from the other Bot. "Mom and Dad are out there, they can still be saved." the Darby said back in a hopeful tone, earning a knowing look from the blonde Bot as he dropped two more Terracons with head shots. "Yes...they are, and I know that we can save them...as long as we keep clear heads. The last of the Predacon soldiers dived out of cover before spray his bullets at both Bots in a vain last effort to kill them, but Orion simply shot three bullets at him which impacted twice in his chest and the other in his head, sending him to the ground to join the remainder of his dead comrades. The blue haired Bot then got to his feet and looked at his cousin with a confused expression. "What do you mean?" he asked with an uncertain tone. "How you were towards Ser-Ket earlier, that was the sort of behaviour you would expect to see from a lynch mob. You were letting your anger towards the Predacons cloud your better judgement and that will end up getting the rest of us killed, the mission comes first." Quickstrike replied with a calm expression and honest tone, earning a wide eyed look from the young Darby. "You're kidding right? After what they have taken from us both. Your the last person I would expect to say that." "Perhaps, but I haven't lost perspective. And there is no way I can ever blame Ser-Ket for what happened to my parents, for one I know that she was not responsible or even present to the events that killed my Father and put my Mother in a coma . That responsibility rests solely on the Predacons in general and helping to defeat them is all I feel I need to get by, you know what I am saying don't you Orion?" The blue haired Bot nodded in return as he looked down at the ground for a moment and thought on Quickstrike's words, met his cousin's eyes. "My parents would be ashamed if they found out that I went full-on revenge against anyone, especially my Mom who had told me all about how wanting to avenge fallen friends had nearly cost the lives of herself and others many times in the past." "Exactly because I also know that Stalker earlier would never have got the jump on you, not if you were completely focused on the mission. Now let's get moving because I swore I heard more enemies approaching from the way we came in." Quickstrike replied, gaining another nod from Orion before both Bots carried on down the tunnel towards their target. PRIME EFFECT 4 Rip-Claw felt like she was climbing the walls as the Femme sat in the Captain's chair on the Achilles bridge and watched the Terracons frantically working around her, trying to get on top of the Autobot infiltration that was currently in motion somewhere in the colony. "Report! Someone tell me they know where the Autobots are?" she spat, gaining scared and worried looks from the soldiers. None of them would say a word, for fear that the wrong one could cost them their lives. "Come on! We don't have all day!" the Femme continued, earning an uncertain expression from the soldier as he typed on his holo-interface and brought up several com-links and camera feeds. "Sir.., here are the Terracon comma chatter from across the entire colony." the soldier stated, earning a focused stare from the Femme as she looked at all the data feeds. "They are in this one, the Eastern complex which is not far from the area where we lost contact with the Stalkers." Rip-Claw said aloud while pointing at the one window showing a straight line, not unlike a flat line on a heart-beat monitor. "Sir?" the Terracon replied with a questionable tone. "Have a group of Terracons meet me in that area of the complex now." the Predacon ordered as she got up out of her seat and started for the door, earning a nod from the soldier as he turned back round and worked his terminal. But as the Femme reached the exit, another Terracon gained her attention. "Commander Rip-Claw, a patrol has reported in from one of the underground tunnels right below that area of the complex. They have found several dead troops and suspect that more Autobots are there." "Have another squad of Terracons head down there, and send in Skystalker. Those tunnels are large enough for him to flush out the enemy." Rip-Claw replied before exiting the room and heading toward the shuttle-bay, leaving the Terracons to return to their duties. Meanwhile, Nightracer, Liara and Ser-Ket took cover in a doorway, as the Autobot Femme took a peek and saw three Terracons walking into an open door just away from them. "Okay, our computer access is through that door...which just had three Terracons walk through." she stated as she looked back at her companions. "And who knows how many more are in there." Liara replied, gaining a knowing look from the Predacon. "Well I have an idea that might give us an advantage." This made both the Asari and the other Femme look at her curiously as she gave them a smirk. Inside the room, several Terracons were scattered around the room which was filled with large servers and terminals. A few of them were manned while the other soldiers merely stood guard with rifles in hand, ready for any trouble to come their way. They were so focused on their duty that when the door to the room opened, they immediately aimed the weapons at whoever would be standing in the now open doorway. But everyone suddenly stopped and looked wide-eyed at the person who entered the room and stood before them, shock took over as they lowered their weapons, it was if they had seen a ghost. "C..Commander...Ser-Ket!" one of the Terracons stammered as the Femme looked back at them with her weapon holstered, seemingly defenceless but they knew better. "...You are dead!" another Con said with shock evident in her voice, gaining a stare from the Predacon. "And yet here I am." she said back, as two of the several Terracons re-aimed their weapons at her. "Commander Rip-Claw had branded you a traitor to our cause, so dead or not...I am afraid we have to take you to her." "Well, that certainly is not going to happen...Now!" the Femme exclaimed before both Liara and Nightracer burst into the room and began taking down the Terracons, with either gunfire or biotic blasts. The Asari even lifted one off the ground and threw him into some of the other Terracons that were gathered on one side of the room. Once they were done, the three women were the only ones standing as all the enemy soldiers were lying dead on the floor. "Well, that was too easy." Liara said with an unconvinced tone, earning a shoulder shrug from Nightracer. "I am not going to complain about it." "The Terracons are a subgroup of us Predacons and while they are sentient and think for themselves...to a point, they are easily distracted and surprised." Ser-Ket explained. "Not to mention that I think we have killed a few of these guys already." Nightracer said back while looking down at one of the corpses. "The footage and reports that Orion and I studied, about what happened at New Iacon showed that many of the Terracons engaged in that battle were identical to each other. They are probably clones of merely a handful of the original Terracons, and then were multiplied hundreds...possibly thousands of times. To created the army that Galvatron required." Liara replied, earning a nod from Ser-Ket. "The footage and reports that Orion and I studied, about what happened at New Iacon showed that many of the Terracons engaged in that battle were identical to each other. They are probably clones of merely a handful of the original Terracons, and then were multiplied hundreds...possibly thousands of times to create the army that Galvatron required." Liara replied, earning a nod from Ser-Ket. "That sounds about right." "Wouldn't you know about that already? I mean, you were one of his lieutenants." Nightracer asked in a slightly disbelieving tone as she looked at the Femme. "No, I wouldn't because out of all us Predacons, only Six-Shot and Shockblast have been known to converse with Galvatron privately. I have only seen him with the others all together or in the presence of the Terracons, but the brothers have definitely seen him behind closed doors. If Galvatron shared any information with his lieutenants, then it was those two." The Asari gave the Femme a supportive look as she observed the pair of Cybertronains. "I would have to agree with Ser-Ket, since I saw what Galvatron was like around both Shockblast and his brother." Liara said back as she remembered her time on Cybertron. "But maybe we can discuss this after we have completed our mission." she added, gaining a nod from Nightracer and Ser-Ket. The former then looked back at the Predacon with a regretful expression. "I'm sorry, I didn't what I said to sound distrustful." "I know and I didn't take it that way." Ser-Ket replied before moving over to the nearest terminal and typing on it's holo-interface. "Anyway, Liara's right. So, let's get on with this." she added whilst a number of data feeds appeared on her holo-screen, gaining a nod from both Liara and Nightracer. The former stood beside her while the Femme stood in the doorway and kept a look out. "How long do you think this will take?" she asked back while not taking her eyes from the corridor that was just beyond the doorway. "I am already inside the system, seems one of the Terracons here did not log out before we arrived." the Predacon Femme replied. "Well, that is a stroke of luck for us, isn't it." Liara said back while watching Ser-Ket activate and link her holo-tool to the terminal. "It certainly is. I am currently downloading all the Intel I can from the Predacon database, while also gaining access to the Comms Network. I should be able to deactivate whatever changes were made silence the Autobots." "Okay then, we won't trouble you any more then." Nightracer replied, earning a nod from Liara who stepped away from the Predacon, allowing her to work without distraction. And for the next several minutes, the team did not speak as Ser-Ket kept her focus completely on her task whilst Nightracer remained on guard, until Liara noticed a grin appear on the Predacon Femme's face. "Done! I have managed to switch control of the Comms Network back to Autobot control." This earned relieved and grateful looks of glee from both Nightracer and Liara from there respective locations near the Femme, the latter joining the Femme's side as she deactivated her holo-tool. "That's great news." she exclaimed in return. "I also downloaded Predacon fleet movements and Intel about the laboratories on Cybertron that are under enemy control and there exact locations." Ser-Ket added, gaining a nod from Nightracer before her face became serious as she aimed her weapon down the corridor before her. "That's great, because we have a group of Terracons baring down on our position right..." she began to say before she suddenly felt a fist hit her directly in the face with such speed and strength, that it sent her flying through the air until she hit one of the servers and fell onto the floor unconscious. "Nightracer!" Liara called out as both she and Ser-Ket looked on in shock at their friend who was on her front as a heavily armoured and very built person entered the room, it was someone that Ser-Ket knew only too well. "Rip-Claw..." she stated, Both females looked on in surprise as the Predacon Commander stood there in her Beast mode, her eyes narrowed as they stared back at the traitor. "So you are alive, though surely you would be smarter than returning here. But then again you are hanging around with the Autobots so to the pit if I would know, since you have become nothing more than a stranger in my eyes." "I will not act as if I care for what you think of me, Rip-Claw. And I will no longer play a part to what the Predacons have planned. Such slaughter and destruction, it sickens me right down to my spark." Ser-Ket replied as she stepped away from the terminal and clenched her fists, knowing how this was going to turn out. She looked over to Liara as three Terracons entered the room behind Rip-Claw. "Are you going to further disappoint me and surrender considering that we outnumber you, or are you going to fight and prove that there is still some Predacon in you?" the Commander asked as she stared daggers at the Femme while baring her sharp teeth. Liara looked down at the unconscious Nightracer before glancing over to Ser-Ket, who merely nodded back to her. And in that instant the Asari knew what her new friend wanted, and she clenched her fists until a blue glow appeared around them. The Terracons noticed this and aimed their weapons at her, unsure looks on their faces as Liara stared back. "Commander Rip-Claw, what about her?" the soldier on her right asked, but this did not even get a reaction from the Predacon as she kept her eyes firmly on her Sister who activated her holo-blades. "Deal with her. Ser-Ket is mine." she growled before launching herself through the air and tackling the former Predacon to the ground, leaving the Terracons where they were standing before they too opened fire on the Asari. But Liara instinctively erected a biotic shield directly in front of her, which the bullets harmlessly deflected off before she threw a biotic punch through the air, sending one of the soldiers on to his ass. She then launched herself into a biotic charge, moving as a blue blur as she smashed into another soldier before turning to the last one who activated his holo-dagger and swiped it at Liara's face. Meanwhile, Ser-Ket found herself pinned to the floor by her Sister who at this very moment was more powerful, considering she was using her Beast mode. If the Femme was going to win this, she knew that she would need to change too. But that was something Ser-Ket did not want to do, so instead she looked up at Rip-Claw who drooled a little as she lowered her head closer and bared her teeth. That was all the former Predacon needed as she then head butted her Sister who yelped in response as she pulled back, that freed the Femme's arms and she followed up by swiping her holo-blades across Rip-Claw's chest which cut deep enough through to reach the skin beneath. This earned another howl of pain from the Predacon who got up off Ser-Ket, who followed suit and then attacked again with another swipe of her blades. Her adversary though managed to deflect the strikes with the armour of her gauntlets before reacting with an attack of her own with her sharp claws, Rip-Claw managed to get a hit on Ser-Ket across her face, which left a deep cut on her left cheek as she stumbled back a few steps. The Predacon Commander then smiled deviously before showing her blood covered claws and took a lick from one of their tips, showing pleasure in the act of making her enemy bleed. "Is that all you can do, Rip-Claw? Just make a little scratch?" Ser-Ket asked with a sarcastic tone, which made the other Femme's blood boil as she gritted her teeth. "I will bath in your blood, you traitorous wretch!" she roared as she lunged at her former Sister, who dodged the attack and sliced her holo-blade at her adversary's side, spilling blood out and earning another cry from her as she covered the wound with her arm and backed off slightly. "Come on, Rip-Claw. Where is that killer instinct you claim is always on the burn in your spark? Or do you only have that when facing enemies that clearly can't beat you?" Ser-Ket said, making her Sister's eyes narrow even more as she looked back with pure hatred. 'That's it, keep pissing her of until she can't think straight and just goes berserk, then Rip-Claw is simply another wild animal who can be out-thought and defeated.' the former Predacon thought before she went into another attack and brought both her holo-blades down upon Rip-Claw, who this time stopped the attack instantly by blocking both blades with her right gauntlet which earned a look of surprise from Ser-Ket. "Not so animalistic as you thought, huh?" she spat back, leaving Ser-Ket completely gob smacked. 'She was playing me?' she thought before Rip-Claw with her free hand punched the Femme so hard in the chest, that it felt like a sledge hammer had hit her as it sent her flying into one of the serves behind her. As she hit the ground Ser-Ket's back and chest both ached, earning a grunt from her as she saw her Sister walking over to her slowly. As this happened, Liara had just disarmed the Terracon of his knife and punched him in the face with another biotic attack, one that knocked him unconscious. She then saw Rip-Claw standing over Ser-Ket and was about to move to assist when suddenly the Asari stopped and raised her glowing hand in the air, which immediately made the other two Terracons, who had recovered and were attacking her from behind. This made them stop and float in the air as blue energy covered their bodies, and then Liara snapped her fingers and made both men slam into each other, taking themselves out as they fell to the ground unconscious. Liara then returned her attention to Ser-Ket and saw Rip-Claw preparing to give the killing blow and so reached her hand out at one of the servers and concentrated, which made the object glow with energy before it was ripped off it's hinges and made to float in the air. As this was happening, the Predacon Commander knelt down beside her traitorous Sister and held her sharp claws up, ready to strike. "I have looked forward to this, Sister. So very much. I will be sure to send your Autobot friends to join you in the Allspark….. Farewell." she said with a finality to her voice before bringing the claws down upon Ser-Ket, when suddenly she stopped just short as someone interrupted her. "Rip-Claw." a voice shouted, making the Femme turn round just in time to see a server hit he square in the face, knocking the Predacon to the floor hard. Liara stood there and maintained control of the broken server with her biotics, Ser-Ket could only lie there and watch as Rip-Claw tried to get back to her feet but was stopped in her tracks as the server was slammed down upon her, knocking the Femme unconscious. "Are you alright?" Liara then asked as she released the server, which fell to the ground with a loud bang and rushed over to Ser-Ket's side. "I will be, thank you, Liara." the former Predacon replied, earning a smile from the Asari as she helped her to her feet. "You're welcome." she replied before turning her attention to Nightracer who was just coming too, heading over to the Autobot and leaving Ser-Ket by herself, who then felt a strange but familiar sensation in her chest. 'It can't be.' she thought as the feeling was from something she had thought gone as a look of worry appeared on her face, as both Liara and Nightracer looked over to her and noticed this. "What's wrong?" Nightracer asked, making the former Predacon shake her head in return. "Nothing, I am alright." she lied as she tried to push her fears aside and focus on the task at hand. "We should get moving back to the rendezvous." she added while walking over to join her friends, Liara meanwhile looked over at Rip-Claw who as still unconscious. "What about her?" "Leave her. We don't have time to waste." Ser-Ket replied, gaining a nod of agreement from Nightracer. "Ser-Ket's right, let's go." the Autobot said in return, as the trio rushed out of the room and back into the corridor. Nightracer then tapped her com-link as they ran back the way they came. "Bravo to Alpha, do you read? We have achieved the mission objectives and are returning to the rendezvous point." "We read you loud and clear, Nightracer. Good job." Orion replied into his com-link as both he and Quickstrike shot down two more Terracons who stood in their path, as the pair continued down the large tunnel. "We are almost at our target, see you at the rendezvous." he added before ending the call, just as Quickstrike pointed at a doorway just ahead of them. "There it is." he stated as the pair approached the door with weapons ready, taking positions on both sides of the doors. "So how many Terracons do you think are in there?" Orion asked, as his cousin reloaded his rifle in preparation. "Considering it usually takes around four Engineers to man a sub-station like this, I would say there would have to be the same number of Terracons in there." "Well, only one way to find out." Orion replied as he pressed the door activation panel and opened the door, then his cousin went in first and immediately took note that there were exactly four enemy soldiers in the room, just like he said there would be. They all had their backs turned to the pair who managed to enter quietly enough, Quickstrike moved over to the closest of the group first and grabbed him via the throat to strangle him. Orion kept his rifle trained on the other three, but the struggling Terracon managed to kick the terminal as he fought back which alerted the others. They turned round and looked at the Autobots in surprise as they began to equip their weapons, but Orion fired a shot directly into the spark of one of them, making him fall to the ground in a heap. And followed through and shot the second in the head, earning a splat of blood-like liquid on the wall behind him as he fell to the ground. But the third managed to get his weapon ready and began aiming it at Quickstrike who was still strangling the first Terracon, but before Orion could do anything his cousin kept hold of his target with one arm, while equipping his hand-gun with the other and then shot the third Terracon in the face in one quick smooth action. Then as that corpse fell to the ground, he re-holstered his gun and then killed the Terracon in his hands by snapping his neck. "Why didn't you do that to start with?" Orion asked as the blonde Bot dropped the body to the ground and looked around the room. "Didn't think of that one at first." he replied, earning a surprised expression from his cousin. "What?...I'm only Cybertronian. Come on, you use that terminal while I man this one." he added as he gestured to the blood splattered terminal next to the blue haired Bot, as he began typing on the holo-interface of the one next to him. "Orion, you activate the diagnostic while I begin to overload the reactor." Quickstrike said, gaining a nod from his cousin who typed on the holo-pad in front of him. The pair then spent several minutes looking on the system until Orion smiled as a data window appeared on his terminal's holo-screen. "I have found the diagnostic, Quickstrike, and I'm running it now." Orion replied, earning a smile from the blonde Autobot. "That's good timing, because I have found the program that controls the reactor and it sub-stations. I am overloading one of them as we speak, hopefully the diagnostic you activated should keep the power build-up hidden until it's too late." As Quickstrike typed in the last command, his holo-screen flashed red with a warning and a timer that began counting down. 'Warning, if final key entry is given, the reactor will overload in five minutes. Warning, reactor will overload in five minutes.' The Bot then activated his holo-tool and typed on it's interface until another timer appeared on it's screen, this one said ten minutes which confused Orion a little as he looked at his cousin. "Why the extra time?" "It will only take five minutes for the reactor to begin an overload, but it will take a further five minutes for the overload to destroy the reactor, so.." the Bot explained before turning back to the terminal and pressing the key on it's interface, which began the countdown. "Alright, time to haul ass." Quickstrike stated before both he and Orion ran out of the room and back into the corridor. "It's this way to the exit, that should take us back to the surface." The blonde Bot added as the pair ran down the tunnel, with Orion tapping his com-link as they did so. "This is Alpha team, objective complete. I repeat, objective complete. On way to rendezvous point." The Bot then ended the transmission and readied his weapon, as both Bots spotted three more Terracons approaching ahead of them. PRIME EFFECT 4 "On way to rendezvous point." That was what Nightracer heard from her com-link as she, Liara and Ser-Ket ran through the grass field on the way back to the rendezvous. They had exited the complex just a few minutes ago and luckily had not come across any more Terracons, hence the good time they were making. "Alpha team is on their way out." she said back to Liara and Ser-Ket, gaining looks of relief from the pair. "That's just what I wanted to hear." the Asari replied with a smile, with the Predacon Femme nodding in agreement. "Same here." "Well, we should see them back at the rendezvous..." Nightracer said, before the sound of grass being crunched underfoot caught her's and the others attention. The trio stopped and raised their weapons in the direction the sound was heard. "You think it's more Stalkers?" Liara asked, earning a shrug of the shoulders from Ser-Ket. "I'm not sure, but..." But before she could finish her sentence, Shen suddenly appeared from under the long grass with his sniper rifle aimed at them. "Freeze!" he exclaimed, surprising the women before they realised who it was. "Shen? What the hell! Stop pointing that gun at us." Nightracer spat back, gaining an embarrassed expression from the Turian before he lowered the sniper rifle. "Sorry, I thought you might have been more Terracons." "What do you mean? And why are you not at the rendezvous?" the Autobot Femme replied with a confused look, one that was shared by both Liara and Ser-Ket. "I'm sorry, but the rendezvous is lost. There are Predacon troops all over the site. I first noticed them scouting out the areas nearby, sort of like searching the perimeter around the city. Then when they got to close, that's why I decided to move. Didn't think it would be good for them to find me, plus I was outnumbered so I made my way down here knowing that I would probably run into you guys." Shen said back. "So why did you think we were Terracons?" Ser-Ket asked in return, still wanting that particular detail to be explained. "I have been evading these enemies ever since you guys headed off for the complex, so I have been a bit on edge." the Turian replied. "Okay, well I better let Bravo team know that we have a change of plan." Nightracer said before tapping her com-link. "Alpha, this is Bravo. Do you read?" Meanwhile, Orion and Quickstrike had just fought through the third team of Terracons as they made their way through the tunnel system, when the XO's com-link went off. "Alpha, this is Bravo. Do you read?" the Femme's voice came though, gaining a nod from Orion as he saw the last Terracon fall to the ground with smoke emanating from bullet holes in his chest. "Read you loud and clear, Bravo, What's the sit-rep?" "We are clear of the complex, but our rendezvous has been lost. So we should regroup at current coordinates?" the Femme replied. "Why? What's happened to the rendezvous?" "The Predacon patrols nearly found Shen as he awaited our return, he is with us now. But their patrols are apparently watching the perimeter around the city, so I think we should regroup here." Nightracer said back. "Alright, well we are nearly out of here..." the Bot replied before turning to Quickstrike. "How long until the reactor goes?" This made the blonde Bot look at the timer on his holo-tool which just crossed the three and a half-minute mark, which was met by a tremor shook the entire area. "Well, since my timer is down to nearly two minutes and the tremors are now starting, I would say it's close." he said back, gaining a nod from Orion as rocks and dust began to fall from the rocky ceiling due to the quake. "Did you guys feel that?" he said back into his com-link. "Yes, we did. So it's started. Better hurry up and get up here." the Autobot Femme replied. "We are on our way, ETA one minute." Orion said back as suddenly he and Quickstrike felt another tremor, though this one felt different. "What in the Allspark was that?" the Bot asked as both looked at each other confused. "I don't think that was the reactor, that felt too close." Quickstrike said back, before they felt another tremor followed by another. "That feels more like foot steps." the young Darby replied as the Blonde Bot went quiet and his face looked worried. "Oh crap." was all he said as the tremors got even closer and he pointed ahead of himself and Orion, towards the way they needed to go. His cousin looked too just in time to see a large white and blue metallic dragon turn a corner several hundred meters ahead and enter the tunnel that they were currently in, it's yellow eyes narrowing as it spotted them and growled. "What the..." "It's Skystalker." Quickstrike exclaimed before grabbing Orion's shoulder and yanking him back. "Run!" he shouted just as the beast roared and began charging at them, the ground shaking with every foot fall from them Predacon. "what's going on?" Nightracer asked frantically down the com-link. "Our exit is blocked, by something called Skystalker." Orion shouted back while running as fast as he could. "Nightracer?" the Femme replied before Ser-Ket's voice could be heard in the back ground. "By the Allspark." The pair of Bots continued to sprint through the tunnel as the beast gained on them with every stride, getting that much closer to killing them. "Is there any other way out?" Liara could be heard asking in a panic before Nightracer spoke up on the Com-link. "You guys have another way out right?" she said with a growing worry in her voice. "No we don't...wait thats it!" Orion said back as an idea hit him. "Have to end the call here, calling the Normandy." the Bot said back before ending the call. "Wait...what?..." was all Nightracer could say before her voice fizzled out, and the Bot tapped his com-link again while breathing heavily as he forces his muscles to keep going as he and Quickstrike continued to run. "Orion to Normandy. Come in, Normandy." "This is Rodimus, what can..." the Commander spoke before his XO jumped in. "We need a ground-bridge to Bravo team's location now!" "Orion, our ground-bridge mode has not been tested yet." the Commander replied while Quickstrike looked over his shoulder to see the Predacon beast getting even closer as it roared. "Whatever you're going to do, make it fast!" he shouted. "There's no time like the present, Rodimus. Activate a ground-bridge portal in front of our signals." "Roger that...get the ground-bridge operational...I don't care, just do it." Orion could hear his mentor and friend yell at the other end of the com-link as he spotted three Terracons as both he and Quickstrike ran past the them. The Cons quickly equipped their weapons, but then suddenly looked surprised at the sight of their enemies fleeing. But then the sound of a ear splitting roar from behind them made the Terracons look back, their eyes widened in horror at what they saw. "Scrap!" one exclaimed as he tried to run before all three were then trampled on by the beast. Meanwhile Quickstrike took a glance at his holo-tool while he ran before looking over at his cousin. "nine, eight, seven…!" he began to shout as the tremors from the reactor grew in strength, causing rocks to fall from the ceiling. "Watch out!" Orion shouted back before looking over his shoulder to see the beast roar and then follow through by keeping it's mouth open as it began to charge its fire breath, Skystalker was now so close behind them that the young Darby could see right to the back of it's throat as the fire started to emerge. So he bit his lip and looked back to the front, silently praying for some kind of miracle to stop the pair of them from being incinerated. And then suddenly, as if someone had heard him, a green light appeared and reflected off Orion's eyes just as the timer hit zero. And in that instant, miles away, the geo-thermal reactor located right below the Communications Tower which was under so much pressure and strain exploded all of a sudden, sending a massive shockwave out in all directions and a fireball of superheated plasma upwards. Bravo team fought to keep on their feet as the entire area around them was hit by an earthquake the likes of which they had not experienced. "What the hell?" Shen exclaimed as Ser-Ket suddenly pointed towards the Tower that could be seen clearly from their location, as it was the tallest building in the entire city. The structure began to shake and crack as it was rattled with internal explosions across it's entire surface, gaining a smile from Nightracer. "They did it." she said with relief in her voice, but she then looked back at both Liara and Ser-Ket who were watching the spectacle with worry written across their faces. "Where are they?" the Asari asked out loud as if hoping for someone to answer her, but it was a question to which no one could. All they could do was watch as the tower began to collapse and fall like a deck of cards to the ground below, creating a massive dust cloud which glowed as the fire continued to burn brightly at the center of the city. Everyone saw the destruction, from the Terracons patrolling the streets to the civilians trapped in their homes as prisoners, looking out of their windows at the sight before them. "Surely they got out?" Ser-Ket asked with a slight glimmer of hope, before suddenly a bright green vortex opened up just a few feet away from the group. Everyone knew what it was, but held their breath to see who would emerge from it's event horizon when in the blink of an eye, both Orion and Quickstrike dived through and hit the ground hard. They rolled on their sides across the grass as a fireball exited the vortex right behind them and burnt out safely over the pair, earning dumbfounded looks from everyone there. Then just as it quickly as it appeared, the vortex closed and the pair of Bots slowly got to their feet and looked up at the others. "Hey, Guys. Mind if we drop in?" Orion asked, earning a big smile from Liara who rushed over and pulled the blue haired Bot into a embrace. Ser-Ket followed suit immediately and embraced Quickstrike who gave her a kiss in return, which made Shen smile at Nightracer coyly. "Wanna give me a hug or a kiss?" The Femme simply shook her head and chuckled before slapping his shoulder, and then began walking over to Orion who was still in the middle of an embrace with Liara. "I was so worried you were…" she started to say, before the Bot cut her off. "It's alright, I did too…for a moment." he replied while hugging her back, happy to see that she too was unhurt. Similar happenings were going on between Quickstrike and Ser-Ket as they had yet to let go of each other, but then both pair's attention was caught by Nightracer, who approached them. "So, they got the ground-bridge mode of the space-bridge generator working?" she asked, gaining nods from the cousins who finally separated from Ser-Ket and Liara. "Yeah, just in the nick of time too." the blonde Bot replied, as Orion looked back at the Femme. "So I take it the Communications blackout has been lifted?". "Yes, we managed to deactivate the block that was keeping all ISF forces from communicating with each other, and now with the destruction of the Hub complete, there is no way for the Predacons to do it again." Nightracer replied, earning a smile from the young Darby. "That's great, and did you manage to get any Intel from their database?" "I downloaded everything I could from their systems, Orion, from fleet movements to intelligence reports. Plus, there is something very interesting I found concerning Cybertron. I would suggest you look at that first." Ser-Ket replied as she activated her holo-tool and began transferring the Intel to the Autobot Spectre's, which made the Bot give the Femme an appreciative smile in return. "Thank you, Ser-Ket. I am glad you are on our side." he said back, earning a mirrored expression from the Femme. "As am I, Orion." Quickstrike joined her side and placed held her hand in his own as he smiled at her and then the others. "Yeah, go team! But I think we should be getting out of here now…right?" he said, which made everyone but Ser-Ket nod back in agreement. The former Predacon looked back at the city, pulling her hand out from the blonde Bot's grasp, earning a surprised expression from him. "Ser-Ket?" "Quickstrike is right, you should go. I can already tell that the others are coming." she replied in an ominous tone, one that caught the attention of everyone. "Why did you say 'you' and not 'we' should go, Ser-Ket?" the blond Bot asked as he stepped in front of the Femme who had turned her eyes to the ground. "Yeah, your part of the team now, Ser-Ket. I don't think Orion is going to say no to you now." Shen added, earning angry looks from Liara and Nightracer while the blue haired Bot did not know where to look. But they were all ignored by Quickstrike as he kept his focus completely on the woman who had come to be his lover. "Ser-Ket, talk to me. What's going on?" he asked gently, but she still kept her eyes from him. "You should go." was all she could say. "Not with out you, I'm not. You didn't think that I was going to leave you here did you. Getting the two of us off this planet has been all I can think about since you helped me escape that prison cell." he said as he reached down and took one of her hands in his own while with the other, he touched the Bottom of her chin and gently raised her face so that her eyes would meet his. "..You're a part of my life now, Ser-Ket, and I…" he started to say before she pressed a finger against his lips and stopped him mid sentence. "I know, Quickstrike. You mean exactly the same to me. Which is why this has been made even harder for myself." she replied as she looked into his eyes, those beautiful eyes that she could just lose herself in. "What do you mean?" "I can't go with you. I want to be with you more than anything, Quickstrike, but you have to leave me behind. The Bot's eyes widened at those words as he looked back at her in shock and disbelief. "No, I won't leave you behind. Why do I have too?" "Because if you don't, then you will risk the lives of everyone of your friends standing here now." Ser-Ket replied before taking a step back from the blonde Bot and opening the chest-plate of her armour slightly. Everyone including Quickstrike looked on silence as a small light could be seen blinking on and off brightly under the skin of her chest. "What is that?" Nightracer asked, beating the others to the question. "It's a tracking beacon, it's giving off my position to the Predacons." Ser-Ket replied, making the others suddenly look around themselves, while Quickstrike continued to look at the Femme. "It's how they found us back at the escape shuttle hanger, Quickstrike. I thought it had been broken during our fight with Skystalker…but…..I was wrong." she added as she closed up the chest-plate. "That's why I cannot go with you. Because if I did, then the Predacons would know exactly where your ship is and attack it. And I can't take that risk." Quickstrike then responded by grabbing the Femme by her arms and looking at her desperately, not wanting to let go. "No, you don't have to do this. We can cut it out. Leave it here for them to find." he said back, but the Femme shook her head in response. "It's too close to my spark, removing it would kill me." "Then I am not going, I am staying here with you." the blonde Bot replied defiantly, earning shocked looks from the rest of the group. "Quickstrike…" Nightracer said back, earning a calm and content look from the Bot as he came to terms with what he must do. "You guys go without me, because I am not leaving Ser-Ket." But as he turned his attention away from his love, the Femme clenched her fist and shook her head gently. "I am so sorry, Quickstrike, but I can't let you do this." she whispered, which made the Bot look back as he caught the end of her words. "What did you sa….." he started to say as he looked back at her, but the last thing he saw was her fist hitting him straight in the center of his face. "Whooooaaah!" Shen exclaimed as Quickstrike fell to the ground unconscious, earning shocked looks from everyone as Orion rushed to his cousin's side. "Why did you..?" he asked as he looked down at the Bot before looking up at Ser-Ket. "You know why. I cannot let him risk his life for me. I care about him to much for that." she replied before looking back at the city, noticing lights moving toward their location. "They are nearly here, you should go." "Shen, give me a hand here." Orion said, gaining the Turian's attention who then came over and helped him pick up his unconscious cousin. He then tapped his com-link with his free hand. "Normandy, we need a ground-bridge now." he said and a second later the green vortex opened up behind them all. "Remember what I said, Orion. Be sure to look at the data on Cybertron first, and take care of him for me." Ser-Ket said, earning a nod from the Bot. "I will….on both counts, and thank you." he said back before offering he Femme his free hand, who looked at it for a moment before smiling in return and accepting it. "Alright, Everyone, let's go." Orion then said back, earning nods from Nightracer and Liara who took one last look at Ser-Ket before rushing into the vortex, disappearing in the green swirling light. Orion and Shen were about to move with the unconscious Quickstrike, but the Femme moved in close to the Bot and whispered in his ear. "I hope you can forgive me. I love you, Quickstrike,….Goodbye." And then suddenly, the former Predacon equipped her rifle, turned round into a kneeling position and fired several shots into a Terracon as it was charging towards them. "Go!" she shouted back before laying down covering fire, making the enemy troops scatter while Orion and Shen carried his cousin towards the portal. Ser-Ket just kept firing at the Terracons, not allowing them a second to catch their breath. But the Femme could see that she would be overrun in a matter of seconds, and so switched to her holo-blades and began cutting down the enemy troops one after another. Both Orion and Shen watched in amazement at Ser-Ket, who fought the enemy single-handedly as they both began to enter the event horizon of the vortex. But that was when Quickstike started to come too, and the first thing his eyes laid on was the sight of his lover fighting off the Terracon hordes. "Ser-Ket!" he exclaimed as both his cousin and his friend fought to keep him in their grips as they pulled him into the portal. "Don't fight us, Quickstrike." Shen pleaded with him. "It's what she wants." Orion added with sympathy in his voice, but the last thing the blonde Bot would see, would be the Terracons surrounding Ser-Ket and tackling her to the ground before continually pummelling her, just as the portal closed around him and the others as they were surrounded by green light, but leaving his lover in the hands of the enemy as storm clouds gathered overhead.
  14. CHAPTER XXV "Orion, what are you doing?" Quickstrike asked in a confused and slightly panicked tone as everyone else had their weapons aimed directly at Ser-Ket, who stood there in complete shock at what was transpiring. "Lower the weapon." the Bot continued, making his cousin shake his head in return. "No, I will not." he said back in a cold and angry tone, as Quickstrike sidestepped between both Femme and Bot, covering her from the weapon and earning a confused look from Orion. "What are you doing?" "I am not going to let you hurt her." the blonde haired Bot replied. "But she is a Predacon! If you haven't noticed, they have made it their goal to kill every Autobot they can find and defeat the Federation." Orion said back as his anger over-ruled his confusion, while Shen and Nightracer remained quiet. The pair were both confused by the entire event. "Oh, believe me, Orion, I know what the Predacons are capable of." Quickstrike replied as he remembered his ordeal, but the younger Darby wasn't convinced. "Do you? Do you even know what they did to New Iacon?" This made both Quickstrike and Ser-Ket's eyes widen as hey heard this, which the others all took notice too. "You don't, do you?" Shen said in return. "What happened? I mean all we know is that the Predacons attacked the colony to gain control of the communication network, but..." the blonde Bot said back, which then made Orion look unsure as he remembered his cousin's parents. "The Predacons pretty much levelled over half of the city, murdering thousands of people. They took my parents prisoner and also... your..." he began to say, earning a look of growing despair on Quickstrike's face as he started to put two and two together. "My parents...they're okay, right?" Orion looked at him with a mirrored expression, one that was shared by Shen and Nightracer. "I am sorry, Quickstrike. I am so sorry." These words suddenly collapsed the blonde Bot's world as grief took over, making him fall to his knees and shake as tears began to well up in his eyes. "Both of them?" he asked in an almost pleading like tone as he looked up at his cousin, who shook his head in return gently. "Your Mother's alive, though she is in a coma. But your Father ...he was killed during the initial attack." Quickstrike did not know where to look as he felt like the whole world had faded to darkness around him, making the Bot feel all alone as he realised what had just happened. Ser-Ket saw this and felt her spark ache at what had just befallen her lover, she wanted to reach out and wrap her arms around him. To show him that he wasn't alone, but she dared not move with the way Orion kept his gun trained on her. He kept switching his attention between her and his cousin, for she knew exactly what his intentions were. But the same could not be said of his companions, who shared in her lover's grief but looked unsure when it came to her and her loyalties. But the Femme pushed all doubts aside as she kept her attention squarely on Quickstrike as he suddenly got back to his feet, but kept his back to her as he looked at Orion. "My Dad..., will my Mum ever wake up?" he asked, his voice still straining with the grief he was feeling at this moment. "Yes, her Doctor told me she would be fine and that she will wake up." the Bot replied, earning what looked like a sigh from Quickstrike as if some of the weight of the world had been lifted off his shoulders. "Do you know how my Dad...?" he then said, but was unable to finish the sentence. "No, I am afraid not. But your 'friend' here might know." Orion replied, staring daggers at Ser-Ket. Quickstrike looked back at her and she could tell in his expression that he was conflicted, but he shook his head in return. "No, Ser-Ket could not have known. She has been with me this whole time. If she had known anything about that, then she would have told me." the Bot replied, earning a confused and angry look from Orion as Ser-Ket remained on edge. "I didn't know Earth had been attacked." she said back with a tinge of fear in her voice. "Bullshit, she is lying. You can see it all over her face." the young Darby snapped, as his cousin looked back at his lover and recognising the fear in her eyes. It would be easy for one who's anger was clouding their senses to see it as guilt, but Quickstrike had come to know the Predacon female over a short span of time. Hell, she had turned her back on her entire race to save him and they had fought together side by side to survive. And he has come to care deeply for her, so he wasn't about to turn on her now. "No, I believe her, Orion. I wouldn't expect you to understand, but we have been through a lot together and she saved my life. And we..." Everyone, Orion included then looked upon the pair with a mirrored dumbfounded expression as they heard that last part. "You have what?" Orion spat back as he continued to let his hate dictate his actions. To answer this question, Quickstrike took a step back so that he was still standing between his cousin and Ser-Ket, but was still almost side by side as he took her hand in his own. This made the others eyes widen in shock as they saw this display from the pair, which to Orion looked completely wrong. "You and her!..." he spat back while Shen and Nightracer remained quiet, unsure of what to do. "...You're sleeping with the enemy." "Orion..." Quickstrike tried to say back, but his cousin then cut him off. "No, you're simply too loved up to see the truth. That she is just manipulating you for her own ends, whatever they may be. But I still want to know where my parents are and I will find out from her, one way of another." Orion spat as he took a step forward, still training his weapon on the Bot. But suddenly Quickstrike rushed forward and grabbed the weapon, disarming Orion before forcing him to the ground with a CQC move. Everybody watched in wide-eyed disbelief as he stood over his cousin and dropped the weapon on the floor behind him. "I am not going to let you or anyone else hurt Ser-Ket." he said with a defiant tone as he looked down at the young Darby. "I am really sorry, Orion, but at least there is a chance for you to be reunited with 'both' of your parents." he added with a touch of sadness and remorse at what he had to say. But Orion simply glared at him in return, as he clenched his fists. "You pick a Predacon over your own family? How dare you!" he exclaimed as he threw himself at his cousin with his fists ready to strike, earning a shocked expression from Quickstrike who took a defensive stance but as they both readied themselves for a fight, suddenly a biotic field appeared between them and then pushed each other away. "That's enough!" came an angry voice, making everyone look to the doorway to see an Asari who had her hand outstretched and glowing with a blue hue. "Liara!" both Shen and Nightracer said in unison while Orion steadied himself and looked over at the blue Woman. "By the goddess! What is going on here?" she asked in a disbelieving tone as she looked around the room, recognising Quickstrike from her meld with Orion, but not the female. "Quickstrike has turned on us with this Predacon wretch." Orion spat as he equipped his pistol and readied it, earning a scowl from Quickstrike as he prepared himself for another attack. "I don't want to fight you, Orion." "Back off, both of you." Liara said back as she walked between both Bots. "Liara, where were you?" Nightracer asked in return, gaining the Asari's attention as she turned to face the Femme. "I was scouting one of the other buildings, when I heard a lot of shouting and then raced over here to find this." she replied while gesturing to the two Bots. "Liara, we can't trust this Predacon. We will never complete or mission if she is allowed to live." Orion said, his tone still laced with anger, earning a regretful look from Quickstrike that Liara noticed while looking back at them and that was when an idea hit her. "I know how to find out where her loyalties lie." the Asari said before looking over to the Predacon. "What's your name?" she asked in a calm and un-judging way. "Ser-Ket." the Femme replied while Liara took a step closer to her, earning an unsure expression from Quickstrike who stayed between them. "I am not going to hurt her, Quickstrike. I am just going to meld our minds. And I will know if Ser-Ket can be trusted." "No offence, but I don't know yo, Lady. And..." he began to say back before he felt a hand on his shoulder and looked over at Ser-Ket. "It's okay, Quickstrike. I'll do this if it was they need to accept me and us." The blonde Bot felt his defence soften as he looked into her eyes, before simply nodding and standing aside, allowing Liara to walk up to the Predacon. "It's alright, Quickstrike. You can trust Liara." Shen said, earning a nod from Nightracer, though Orion remained quiet as he merely observed what was happening in front of him. "I want you to stay calm, close your eyes and lean your head towards mine." Liara then said, gaining a nod from Ser-Ket who then did just that. The Asari then took a deep breath and looked directly at the Femme before closing her eyes. "Embrace eternity." she said before opening her eyes again to reveal them to be pure black while everything around the pair melted away, with the memories of both women flowing over them. The link only lasted a few moments before Liara then turned away, closing her eyes as she did so. Ser-Ket opened hers and looked at the Asari in surprise as her eyes went back to normal. "She is telling the truth." Liara said, earning a look for vindication from Quickstrike while Orion's expression was still one of uncertainty. "She is no friend to the other Predacons, and wants to help us in any way she can." the Asari continued while Shen and Nightracer both looked relieved, but then she looked back to Ser-Ket who still looked surprised. "What is it?" "While you were looking at my memories and thoughts, I could see yours." the Femme replied, earning a nod from Liara. "Yes, the joining of minds is a two way conduit." "But I saw that you knew both Shockblast and Six-Shot..." Ser-Ket replied. Now it was the Asari's turn to look surprised as the Predacon continued. "...and you were also in a relationship with one of them before you encountered Galvatron." "That's right, we didn't know who he was before releasing him." Liara said back while everyone else just watched the pair. "Galvatron told us that he and your friends were Predacons like us but he lied to us, I am so sorry." Ser-Ket said back with a knowing look, earning a nod from the Asari. "Thank you, but I have come to terms with what happened then, abet with some help." "I know..." the Femme replied as she glanced over to Orion who was still staring daggers at her, though the tone had softened a little. "Indeed, as I also know how much Quickstrike means to you." Liara said back with a knowing smile as both Shen and Nightracer walked over to the blonde Autobot, happy relief written over their faces. "Well, I am glad we have got all this straightened out, so we can get on with the mission." the Femme said, earning a nod from the Turian. "Exactly. It's a good job Liara got here when she did and used her 'Vulcan Mind Meld'." This earned a curious look from Nightracer and an eye roll from Quickstrike. "Shen, you really should stop watching Star Trek. I think it is messing with your perception of reality." he replied with a chuckle, making his friend stare at him. "We'll see who has the last laugh when we finally come across some Klingons. But either way, I feel our chances of succeeding in this mission have gone up, what with a Predacon aiding us that is." "That's former-Predacon..." the blonde Bot replied, earning a smile from Ser-Ket, who looked back with Liara. "..., perhaps we may even be able to convince the other Predacons to turn away from Galvatron, considering what has been discovered during your melding." he added as the women joined them, though Ser-Ket shook her head with a regretful expression in return. "Unfortunately the others will not listen to us, and they certainly won't take the word of one who betrayed them." "None of this matters if we can't work as a team..." Nightracer said as she glanced back to Orion who suddenly felt like an outsider, as Quickstrike took notice of this and stepped toward his unsure cousin. "Orion, I have never given you reason to distrust me in the past right? So if I say that you can trust Ser-Ket, then that should be enough...right?" The Autobot-Spectre looked deep in thought for a second before looking over to Liara. "Ser-Ket can be trusted Orion, believe us...believe me." she said back, earning a reluctant nod from the Darby. "Okay, Liara, if you say so." he replied though deep down he knew he couldn't trust this Ser-Ket, simply for the fact that she was a Predacon. And he sensed that Liara knew this of him as well, since they melded back on Earth. But if saying so meant that the others were less confrontational with him, then so be it. "Tell me, Ser-Ket. What is the situation with the colony's civilians?" Orion then asked, turning his attention to the Predacon. "There were some casualties during the main assault to capture the colony, but most of the population are under house arrest so they won't get in the way. The Predacons main objective was the Tower, which holds the Autobots Communications Network Hub." Ser-Ket replied, gaining a knowing look from Nightracer. "That explains the comms blackout that's effected the entire Autobot fleet, and how their attack on Earth was executed so efficiently." the Femme said back before Orion activated his holo-tool, revealing a holo-image of the tower and complex. "Right, so we need to regain control of the Hub, we can call in our forces to liberate the rest of the colony." Orion added, earning nods from the rest of his team as they looked at the image. "This is the security layout for the complex, as it was when it had been built by the Autobots. So my question Ser-Ket is...what has the Predacons changed since they took control?" he asked, though while he tried to hide it, for Quickstrike's sake. But there was still a trace of an untrusting tone to his voice, but while this was ever so noticeable. No one decided to pick up on it, as Ser-Ket looked at the image closely. "My brethren did not make any changes to any particular areas of the complex, not to my knowledge but we should be prepared for any...just in case." "So how are we going to go about this? I mean, you say 'gain control' of the Hub. But with the fact that there are only a few if us, I don't think this is possible." Shen asked with an unsure expression, which earned a knowing look from Orion. "Shen, when I said 'gain control', I meant of the system...not the complex. We just need to take control away from the Predacons, and back to the Autobots." "So we switch the system back over to the good guys, and then destroy the Tower." Nightracer said back, earning a nod from the younger Darby. "Exactly." "Okay, now that's a plan I can get behind." the Turian replied, gaining knowing smiles from everyone around him. "Oh, can you now? Well, that's good to know." Nightracer said back before turning her attention to Quickstrike who was standing next to Ser-Ket, holding her hand supportively. "So how do we switch the system control back to Autobot, and then destroy the tower?" Before the blonde Bot could reply, Liara had looked at the holo-image and was now connecting her holo-tool to Orion's wirelessly, so that she could study it further. "The main control room is where the Hub is generally accessed." she said as she zoomed the image to reveal the room to everyone. "But that room is not a viable target since it will be heavily defended." Ser-Ket stated in return, gaining a smile from the Asari who then zoomed into another area of the complex at the edge of the city. "That is true, but there is a secondary access terminal in the sub-communications room in the eastern look-out complex. Which by my reckoning should not be as well defended." "That is correct..." the Predacon replied with an unsure expression as she looked back at Liara, who knew why. "Liara, Liara T'Soni." she said back with a smile while holding out her hand to Ser-Ket, who then took it in her own and shook it. "Thank you...,Liara, and as you have pointed out. The area would be defended by only a handful of Terracons at most since most Predacon activity is at the heart of the colony, so there should be no problem to get access to it. In fact while there, it would also be a good opportunity to download any Intel from the Predacons database, I would be able to do that for you." the Femme added, earning a smile from Quickstrike and the others, though Orion refrained from doing so. "Okay... now to destroy the Tower and complex, I believe that overloading it's geo-thermal reactor would be the most sufficent way of accomplishing this."he said while highlighting the reactor on the complex's holo-image, which earned a nod from his cousin. "Yeah, that should do it. And it would only destroy the complex, leaving the city around it completely unharmed, since it was designed that way to begin with. And we can do that from accessing it via the tertiary reactor-obersvation port which is in the same complex, on the lowest sub-level. There are five ROP which are located along the perimeter of Omicron City and they all connect directly with the main reactor at the center of the colony." the Bot said as Orion changed the image to reveal the underside of the colony and the geo-thermal reactor. "But if we take out one, shouldn't the others be able to keep the reactor stable?" Nightracer asked. "Yes, normally that would be the case. But we can ensure that doesn't happen by making the system run a diagnostic subroutine which would fool the system when the overload arises, so it would not be able to subdue it." Quickstrike replied, earning content looks from everyone before Shen spoke up. "Right so I guess it would be time to pick the teams." the Turian said, with Orion nodding in return as he expanded the holo-image to show the area around the complex. "Right, Under the cover of darkness, we will proceed from this area and it will also act as our rendezvous." he said as a small building upon a hill on the eastern approach to the city was highlighted. "Shen you will be holding this area for us, as it is a perfect sniping position that gives you an excellent view of the complex that we will be hitting, and the building that is there is listed as abandoned so we can use that for cover if we find ourselves under fire." The Bot then typed some instructions into his holo-tool as two arrows, one red and one green then appeared on the map and moved towards their two objectives. "Nightracer, you will be in command of Bravo team which will consist of yourself, Liara and...Ser-Ket. You will be heading for the terminal." Orion added, earning nods from The female members of the team. "Alpha team will consist of myself and Quickstrike. Our objective will be the geo-thermal reactor. We will sabotage it and plant explosives to ensure that no one can regain control of the system. Once done, we will rendezvous with Shen and make our way back to the shuttle." Orion finished before deactivating the holo-image. "Any questions?" Everyone shook there head before Ser-Ket and Quickstrike looked at each other, earning a uncomfortable feeling in Orion's spark as he tried to ignore it. "Alright, we will head off once I have relayed our mission to Rodimus." PRIME EFFECT 4 On the bridge of the Achilles, Rip-Claw sat in the Captain's chair and looked out of the large canopy ahead of her at the view, which was that of the Tower. Which was what had given the Predacons such an advantage over the Autobots at this time. Now it had only been several hours since her Sister had been reported killed by the Predacon Beast called Skystalker, which had been confirmed by Ser-Ket's tracking beacon shutting down, and that would only have happened once her life-signs had been terminated. The Predacon knew this because she had secretly taken a scan of her own body and had found the very same beacon nestled near her spark, in fact it was connected to it. So if she had tried to remove or deactivate it, then that would kill her as well. This had been troubling the Predacon since hearing about the devices from Lord Galvatron himself, but why did he commission such things. Did he not trust his brothers and Sisters, or was it an idea from Shockblast who seemed very closed off and distant to both herself and the rest of the Predacons. But as these thoughts played out in Rip-Claw's mind, one such thought that did not however was of her Sister. Which one would think would, but Ser-Ket was dead to the Femme. For she had betrayed her brethren and chosen to side herself with their enemies, which was something that the Predacon could not understand or forgive. But the Femme's thoughts were interrupted by a Terracon who was Manning a terminal near her. "Commander Rip-Claw, I thought you would like to know that the motion sensors we have planted on the eastern side of the city have picked up movement." he said, gaining a thoughtful expression from the Predacon. "It may be nothing more than some of the planet's indigenous life-forms, but dispatch some stalkers to the area to check it out, just to be on the safe side." she said, gaining a nod from the soldier, who then turned back to his terminal and carried out her orders. Several minutes later, on the grassy plains that made up the approach to the eastern side of the city and the complex there in. The Autobot teams moved stealthily towards the outer wall of the complex, their very movements hidden under the cover of darkness that had blanketed the sky in the very early hours of the morning. They had left Shen up on the hill, who was now watching their every move through the scope of his sniper-rifle. Not much had been said between any of them as they walked along with their weapons ready, just on the off chance of an attack by the enemy, though according to Ser-Ket should not have been even aware of their presence. But Orion was still not sure of the Predacon, despite her having the backing of the rest of the team and his cousin, for the young Man simply did not trust her to not lead them into a trap. As they moved suddenly a whisper like sound was heard in the air before his and the others com-links activated. "Guys, Shen here. I just took out a Terracon that was bearing down on your position." the Turian warned, making the group stop and look around with tight grips on their weapons. "I only just spotted one before killing it, though it moved with a very different posture than your standard soldier, and I bet there is more than one." Shen continued, earning a wide-eyed expression from Ser-Ket. "Stalkers!" she exclaimed in a quiet yet alert tone, making Quickstrike shake his head in response. "Shit, not those things again." he said as his cousin looked over to them curiously. "What are Stal..." he started to say before he was suddenly tackled to the ground, but before anyone else could do anything, they too came under attack as the Stalkers attacked the group, earning whisper-like gunfire from them as they fired their silenced weapons. Quickstrike immediately turned to his right and fired at a pair of red-lit optics which were flying through the air at him, pummelling the silhouette of a figure with a couple hundred rounds, and making it fall to the ground. "Not this time." he said back, earning a smile from Ser-Ket who had switched to her holo-blades and thrust them up into the air, just before impaling the blackened form of a Stalker that was midway through pouncing at her. 'He is a fast learner.' she thought as Liara stopped another in mid-air with her biotics before slamming it into the ground, gaining a bone crushing sound as it hit the ground. Quickstrike meanwhile has turned his attention to Nightracer who had Managed to dodge her Stalker's initial attack by rolling out of the way. She then joined the Bot by firing simultaneously into the enemy, ripping it apart with bullets. Ser-Ket though looked behind her to see Orion wrestling with his Stalker, which was snapping it's jaws at his face with drool dripping down upon the Bot. Without a second thought, the Femme moved over to him and with one swipe of her holo-blade, sliced off the demented Terracon's head which made the body go limp so the Autobot could simply throw it off him. "What the hell are those things?" Nightracer asked as she looked down at the corpse of the one that attacked her, covered in blood-like liquid. But the Predacon ignored her to offer her hand to Orion who looked up at her with a surprised expression. "Are you alright?" she asked as the young Darby looked back at her, and then her hand before finally grasping it, allowing the Femme to help him to his feet. "I am...,thank you." he answered with an unsure tone, gaining an honest slight smile from Ser-Ket as she nodded back. This made both Quickstrike and Liara smile as they saw what looked like the first signs of the Bot's acceptance of Ser-Ket's allegiance to their cause. "These are modified Terracons renamed Stalkers." she then said, turning her attention to the rest of the group as they looked to her for an explanation. "We Predacons have the ability to tap into our beast-like nature, which changes our forms somewhat while also granting us increased strength, speed and ferocity." "Think of it as the Predacons way of hulking out." Quickstrike added, earning a sigh from Shen over the shared com-link. "Really have to stop reading comics, Quickstrike." "But these Stalkers have been modified to stay in their beast mode indefinitely, making them simply mindless beasts, completely focused on hunting down their prey and ripping it apart." Ser-Ket continued, choosing to ignore the Turian's remark. "Well, hopefully we managed to take them down before our presence was recorded." Liara said with an uncertain tone, gaining a nod from the Predacon. "I think we did, it looks like the Stalkers were as surprised to see us, as we with them. They usually have a better approach that that." "Thanks for the advance warning, Shen." Quickstrike then said to the Turian with a chuckle. "So that Sniper rifle isn't just for show then." he added, making the young Vakarian sigh in return. "You know, I could shoot some of those blonde locks off your head if you need further proof of my skill with this thing." "Okay, Guys. That's enough." Orion then said with a commanding tone, gaining everyone's attention. "We are close to the point where our teams split up, so keep the chatter to a minimum. And Shen, keep an eye on our six. Now lets move." he added before the team all nodded, and then carried on towards the city.
  15. CHAPTER XXIV On board the Nemesis, that was currently orbiting the Omega station. Jack and Arcee were sitting up against the wall of their cell, the Femme was checking over the bandages of the stump which was all that was left of her spark-mate's arm. "Well, it appears that the medi-gel has done it's job, since your arm has not been bleeding now for a few days." she said while looking at the limb, earning a slight smile from Jack. "All those times being patched up by Ratchet finally paid off then." he said affectionately earning a smile from Arcee, but he knew full well that she was just trying to keep her mind occupied as there was very little else for that in the cell. The pair had been prisoners of the Predacons for a number of days now and apart from the daily offering of food and water, no one has even come to visit, not even Galvatron himself. So this left them with little to do but think about recent events...especially one of them. Then as if on command, Arcee's expression changed to one of sadness, and Jack knew what it was exactly as his mirrored hers. "...I still cannot believe Orion is dead... our own son. I keep telling myself that it's a lie, but..." Arcee replied while her Bottom lip began to shake as she started to sob, which made the Prime pull her into an embrace with his remaining arm, holding her close as she cried into his shoulder. "I don't want to believe it either, Arcee." Jack replied as he looked up at the ceiling, his mind becoming over run with thoughts. 'It cannot be true, it simply can't. Not after what I have seen.' he thought while turning his attention to the Matrix of Leadership that hung around his neck in it's crystal form. For a long moment, the couple stayed in the embrace, trying to comfort each other over a loss that they could only hope was not true. But the lack of any evidence to the contrary did not help. In fact, since they had been captured, the pair had not heard or been told anything from their captors. So not only could they not confirm the status of their son, but also what has become of their friends or the Federation at this point. Arcee then pulled away slightly so that she could look at Jack, looking into those blue eyes of his which always made her feel better in the past. But just as she was about to speak, the energy field of the cell next to them deactivated. "What the..." the Femme said as she and Jack looked over to it, but then the door opened and two Terracons walked in while carrying a body between them. Neither the Prime or his Spark-mate could see who it was from their position, but the Terracons then dropped the body in the cell next to them and walked out before reactivating the force field and leaving the Brig. Both Jack and Arcee got to their feet and looked through energy field that kept them trapped but also separate, the pair's eyes widened as they recognised the purple Asari. "Aria?" Jack exclaimed, earning a painful grunt from the Omega Leader as she tried to get up onto her knees, but could only roll onto her back and face them. Both Prime and Femme looked on in shock at the injuries they could see on their one time ally. "What the in the hell happened to you?" Jack asked, making the Asari turn her head in their direction which surprised them, as they could see she had been crying ...which was not something you would think Aria could do, considering her reputation over the last several centuries. "What happened?" Arcee asked as the Asari wiped the tears off her cheeks and tried to compose herself, not wanting to look weak in front of anyone...not enemies or allies. "The Predacons have seized Omega and...killed Nyreen." she replied, her anger showing on her face with that last part. "I am so sorry, Aria." Jack replied, gaining a supporting nod from the Femme too as they looked back at the Omega Leader. "...so it's true, they caught the two of you too." she replied with coldness to her voice, not wanting them to pity her. Arcee and the Prime could see this and acted accordingly. "Yes, the Predacons attacked Earth and destroyed a good deal of New Iacon." Jack replied. "These Predacons do seem ambitious, attacking the two largest empires in the galaxy and capturing their Leaders." the Asari said. "They also killed my sister, her spark-mate and...our Son, Orion." Arcee added with a saddened expression, earning a surprised look from Aria who could see that the three of them were all on the same page. "You have my condolences." she said back, earning appreciative nods from the couple in return before the they sat down and held each other, as the room went quiet for a long moment. All three of the prisoners just looked ahead, Jack and Arcee staying at the wall in front of them through the force field. And Aria stared up at the ceiling, but then her eyes began to wonder before she finally managed to sit up and look at the couple. "How did things go so shit so fast?" the Asari then asked in a generally confused tone, breaking the silence. But all the Prime and Femme could do was stare back, since they had been asking themselves that very same question...and they were yet to find the answer. Meanwhile Galvatron stood in what was left of Omega's command center, which looked very much like a bomb had hit it, which seemed to be a running theme for any location that Predaking was unleashed upon. The Predacon Leader then walked over to Lazerback, who was overseeing three Terracons that were trying to access the station's mainframe through what was left of the room's computers. "And how fares our intel gathering operation?" he asked, earning his lieutenant's attention, as he turned to face his Lord. "Lord Galvatron, we have managed to download thirty-eight percent of the mainframe so far, Shockblast is overseeing the data transfer from his lab on Cybertron." the other Predacon replied, gaining a nod from Galvatron. "Good. What about Omega's supplies?" Lazerback then activated his holo-tool, before gesturing his Leader to watch as data scrolled down his holo-screen. "We have cleared out Omega's armoury and fuel refinery, and their are teams currently preparing to extract the spare parts our fleet might need from the station's system." Galvatron then noticed an unsure expression on Lazerback's face. "What is it, Commander?" "Forgive my bluntness, Lord Galvatron. But wouldn't it make more sense for us to use Omega as another Predacon outpost?" the lieutenant asked as the Predacon lord looked back at him with an unreadable expression. "No, it would not Lazerback. For Omega is a high profile location, unlike Cybertron which has become just another dead world in the eyes of the Federation. So we will take what, we need from this station and then destroy it, as it will send a message to the rest of the galaxy, of what happens to those who oppose us." "And what of the civilians we have trapped in the sanctuary?" Lazerback said in return. "They are of no consequence to us, leave them where they are." Galvatron replied in a cold tone, but the other Predacon simply looked back. "Is there a problem?" the Con Leader said back as he narrowed his red eyes. "No, my Lord. No problem, I simply wishes to clarify things." Lazerback responded, earning a nod in return. "Good, carry on." Galvatron replied before turning and walking away to the other side of the command center, leaving Lazerback to return to his duties as he turned his attention to the Terracons next to him, watching as they continued to download files from Omega's computers. PRIME EFFECT 4 On the other side of the galaxy, in orbit around the blue planet of Earth. The Normandy was docked with one of the few remaining space-dock platforms that survived the Predacons brutal attack days earlier, and was in the final stage of its repair and re-fit. On board the ship, the atmosphere was almost frantic as the crew worked around the clock to make sure their ship was ready for action. In the cargo/shuttle-bay, Grunt and Smokescreen were overseeing the last of the supplies being brought aboard, while Shen and Nightracer were making final calibrations on the up-graded weapons array. Red-Alert was busy bringing her new medi-bay online, while on the bridge Rodimus and Jetstorm were looking at the plans of their newly upgraded vessel via the holo-interface of the pilot's in the cockpit. "These upgrades should give us more of an edge over any Autobot ship that the Predacons have under their control." the Commander said as he looked over the holo-image. "What if we com across the Nemesis again?" Jetstorm asked. "Well, our shields have been strengthened by fifty percent. And we now have ablative hull armour covering virtually the entire ship, so on the occasion that our shields do fail, we can still stay in a fire fight for far longer than usual. And the shield generator was also upgraded and will now recharge the shields even quicker than before, something like an entire thirty seconds faster." Rodimus explained as he pointed to those particular features on the holo-image. "Alright, that is impressive. And I see our weapons array has been tinkered with, making them ten percent more powerful. But what has my attention is the fact that the engines and thrusters have been upgraded, giving the Normandy more speed and manoeuvrability." the pilot replied as he gestured to the engines. "I thought you would, since now the ship should handle even more like a fighter. Thats as long as it's pilot can handle it." the Commander said back with a grin, earning shocked look from Jetstorm. "Commander, you wound me..." he said back while feigning injury, before smiling back. "... I am more than prepared for it. In fact, I welcome it." Rodimus was about to reply when his com-link beeped, so he tapped it and looked out of the Cockpit's glass canopy towards one of the repair drones that flew past. "Rodimus here,...really, that is excellent news. I will ensure we are ready for the launch, thank you Admiral." Jetstorm looked up at the Autobot from his seat with a curious expression, while Rodimus deactivated his com-link. "What's the word, Commander?" "All repairs and the re-fit are finished. We can leave for the Omicron Colony inside the following hour." the Commander replied as he looked back at Jetstorm. "Finally, I have been sitting here twiddling my thumbs for that last couple of days. Its about time we got back out there." the younger Bot replied, gaining a nod from Rodimus. "Very true, especially when you consider that with the communications blackout still effecting the entire Federation, we have no idea what is happening right now with the rest of the galaxy, or what the Predacons are currently up to." "Well, I will run one final diagnostic on all systems here then, just to be sure." Jetstorm said back before typing on his holo-interface. "And I will get the other departments to do the same." the Autobot Commander replied, before the pilot stopped and turned to face him. "By the way, Commander, where's Orion right now?" "He is in his quarters looking at all the data and Intel our forces managed to get on the Predacons during their assault on Earth." Rodimus said back before turning round and heading back towards the galaxy-map in the aft section of the CIC, leaving Jetstorm to sigh as he looked down to the floor. "Poor Orion..." he said in a faint voice before turning back to his terminal, as he thought of what had his friend had found out only a few days earlier. Meanwhile in Orion's quarters, the blue haired Bot was sitting at his computer terminal with Liara. The pair were looking at separate holo-screens as they went through the intelligence reports that had been gathered about the Predacons during their attack on New Iacon, which wasn't much really. Liara was looking through the intel that had been made of the Predacons and their Terracon troops, which had been made from eye witness reports from civilian and Autobot survivors. But the Asari found herself glancing over to her friend, who had been quiet since they had started over an hour ago. Now she found this to be troubling her because Orion had never been this quiet in her company before now, especially after Smokescreen had told him exactly what had happened when he had last seen the younger Bot's parents. So as Liara glanced over, she found that the Autobot was just looking at one piece pf intel...the profile on Galvatron. The look Orion had in his eyes was something which made the Asari worry more, as the Darby had a very cold and intense expression on his face. His eyes were fixated on all aspects of the Predacon Leader's profile, that though had no real information. But what really got his attention was the Con's image that had been created from eye-witness accounts and was as accurate as it could possibly be. "Orion, are you alright?" Liara asked with a caring tone in her voice, but the Bot did not reply as he kept staring at the screen. "Orion?" The young Darby was deep in thought as he found himself fixated on the picture and was staring at Galvatron's red eyes like he was looking at the real deal. He could hear Liara's voice but it was faint compared to the images that flooded his mind, because all he could think about since speaking with Smokescreen was what happened between this Predacon and his parents. He could see it all in his thoughts, his Father and Smokescreen trying to save his Mother, and then Galvatron slicing off the Prime's arm and beating on him. This made Orion's spark burn with anger, and anger which he could barely manage to keep under wraps. But before all he had was a name, but now he had a face to which he could focus his anger upon. 'I swear I am going to make him pay for what he has done to my family.' he thought as he clenched his hand into a tight fist on the table, but then suddenly his attention was quickly ripped away from the screen when he felt a soft warm hand being places upon his own in a caring fashion. "Orion?" Liara said in a worried tone, as the Bot looked over to see her face which mirrored the way her voice sounded. His eyes widened as he instantly felt his spark begin to calm down and he sighed in return. "I am sorry, Liara. I guess, I got lost in my own thoughts." he replied as he turned his chair towards hers and so removed the temptation that was the Predacon's image from view. "I was looking through the Intel, but I just got stuck on that particular entry." he added in a regretful tone, making the Asari shake her head gently in return. "You don't have to apologise Orion, You have every right to be angry..." she started to say before the inter-com activated. "Dr. T'Soni, we have a transmission from Matriarch Benezia for you, do you want it routed to your quarters?" a female crewmen asked, earning an annoyed sigh from the Asari, which did not go unnoticed by Orion who found his earlier anger fading as curiosity took its place. "That won't be necessary, Liara can take it here." he said back, gaining a surprised expression from his friend. "Very well, I am routing it to your terminal, Orion." the crewmen replied before the inter-com deactivated, leaving both Bot and Asari alone again. "So, I knew this was coming." she sighed, as Orion stood up. "Want the room to yourself?" he asked, making Liara shake her head in response. "You can stay, just keep out of view of the screen so my mother won't know you are there." The Bot nodded before sitting down on his bed, out of view. The Asari then typed on the keyboard of the holo-interface, which made the Intel reports disappear and replace them with the image of an older looking Asari who looked very similar to Liara. Orion could just see her from his position and you could definitely tell that the pair were related, though at this moment the other Asari had a face like thunder as she looked back at her daughter. "Mother, it's good to see you." Liara said with a smile, but Orion knew her well enough to tell that she was feigning it and that Benezia wasn't fooled either. "I would like to say the same, Liara. But unfortunately, I have received some troubling news..." she replied with a tone so cold, that Orion suddenly felt that the temperature in his room had dropped several degrees. "...that you are not returning to Thessia, but in fact have joined the Autobots, all to go on some suicidal mission that does not have anything to do with you." she added. "You are wrong, Mother. I owe the Autobots that saved my life and so will help help them any way I can, especially since I have experience with the very ones that attacked Earth only a few days ago...or haven't you heard." Liara said back with a tone tinged with anger, though she was obviously trying to hide it. "I do not care for the problems of the Autobots, and I will not have my Daughter mixed up in their agenda." Benezia replied, making her Daughter narrow her eyes back at her. "The Asari are a part of the Federation and the Autobots, Mother. So, their problems are our problems too. We cannot turn our backs on them. I for one, will not." "Are we really going to have this conversation again Liara, if it had been up to me then our species would never have joined the Federation." the Matriarch said back with definite scorn in her voice, which made Orion curious as he watched Mother and Daughter argue in front of him with only one that knew of his presence. 'Why does she hate Autobots?' he thought. "Well, none of that matters Mother, because I am staying where i am needed...which is here on board the Normandy. You can't tell me what to do any more, I am not one hundred and twenty-five." "Yes, you are still but a child..." her Mother said back instantly, making Liara's eyes widen as her anger really did start to come to the surface. "Well for a child, I have done more than most Asari my age, who are just swinging their hips for the pleasure of sexist pigs." It was now time for Benezia to stare in wide-eyed amazement at her Daughter's outburst, but she wasn't the only one as Orion's expression mirrored her Mother's. 'What the?' he thought as he noticed the Matriarch's facial expression soften somewhat in response to Liara. "Liara, you have done many things, more than I did myself at your age. But you will always be my child and I do not want you to end up..." she said before the her daughter cut her off, trying to calm her. "You need not worry, Mother. My friends here will make sure I make it back safely." she said while ever so slightly glancing over to Orion. Benezia though did not look impressed as she shook her head in response. "Liara, I do not understand how you can put your trust in such people. But if you are to continue with them, then I will not be able to protect you from what will come of it, I am sorry." she said back. Liara though looked down at the holo-keyboard in front of her and sighed. "Well, I am sorry too, Mother." she then replied before looking back at Benezia who too mirrored her Daughter's expression. "Then all I can say is good luck, I pray you won't need it." "Thank you. Until I see you again, Mother." Liara replied before the Matriarch's image disappeared from the screen, replacing it with the Intel reports that were on there before. The Asari then looked over to Orion, who shook his head and sighed. "I am sorry, Liara. Here I thought, that the relationship I had with my Parents was dysfunctional." "You have nothing to apologise for, Orion, and I guess every family has its problems." Liara replied, while Orion looked at her with a curious expression. "Why does your Mother dislike us? I mean the Autobots." The Asari gave him a worried look, knowing very well that question was coming after what he had overheard. "Well, I guess that my Mother has always had a disliking towards both Cybertronians and Humans, the Cybertronians for their eons long civil war and for bringing Humans into the Galactic community well before their time. She felt that their very presence could have a destabilising effect on the galaxy. Because something similar had happened with the Vorcha, though not on the level that Benezia feared would happen with Humans." she replied before taking a sip from the glass of water that was sitting on the desk next to her. "But what really made her hate the Autobots/Human Alliance was when the Reapers invaded the galaxy, or more to the point when they invaded Thessia. I mean I know that Earth was the first world to be attacked and that the population had to endure under the Reapers for the whole war. But when Thessia became a target for the Reapers, it was hit just as hard. It was like the Reapers were making up for the time they spent on Earth. And even though the Asari were the oldest species in the galaxy during the current cycle, we were not very combat efficient compared to either the Autobots or Humans. Even our advanced biotics were no match for the Reapers, so many were slaughtered or harvested by the Reapers and yet the Alliance kept their attention mainly on Earth, and my Mother was livid about that." Orion just kept quiet as he listened to Liara, who took a breath before continuing. "What I am about to tell you is something that was not made public to the galactic community, but the Asari were severally weakened by the events of the Reaper war. The population of Thessia exceeded five billion, but now it is around two point five billion. Since we are a proud race, the Matriarch Council managed to keep this information from being found out by the rest of the galaxy, because we did not want to look weak. But when the Alliance made the suggestion to disband the Citadel Council and create the Federation, Benezia strongly dismissed it. Saying that we could only rely on ourselves and that the Autobots and Humans would never put other worlds above their own. The other Matriarchs overruled her though, and so the Asari took their place with everyone else." "I had no idea things were so bad for the Asari." Orion replied, earning a sad expression from Liara. "I know, but I have learnt from my experiences working with you and the Autobots that cooperation is the right way going forward for my people, but my Mother is opinionated and stubborn. I wish there was something I could do to make her see different, to see things the way I do." The Asari then looked to the ground and sighed as she let her feelings show, so Orion got up off the bed and knelt down in front of her before placing his hand on her knee supportively, which made the her look back at him. "Thank you for listening, Orion. You're the only person I feel I could talk to about this." she said back with an appreciative smile, making him smile warmly back at her. "How could I not, after everything you have done for me recently. Had it not been for your words and our melding of minds, I would not have found out what my Dad really thought about me. Because of that, Liara, I promise that if you ever need me then I will be there for you, no matter what." the Bot said back as he looked into her blue eyes with his own, making her smile grow wider. "I know you will, Orion. Because of our meld, which I have to admit was my first attempt at such a thing…" she started to say, only to be cut off by the blue haired man. "…it was a first for me too, you know..." ".. well, I feel like I know you better than anyone." she said back, making the Bot almost blush in return which she found to be very cute. "I know what you mean." he replied as they looked into each others eyes and without even realising it, slowly leaned closer to each other. But just as their lips were about to connect as they felt each other's breath on the others skin, the ship's inter-com activated. "All hands, this is Commander Rodimus. We will be departing for Omicron in five minutes, so report to your stations." This snapped the pair out of it as they leaned back, though both Bot and Asari looked disappointed in return. "Great timing." Orion said, earning a nod from Liara. "Indeed. Well, let's get to the CIC." she said back as they both got to their feet. "Ladies first." the young Darby replied, gaining a coy smile from the Asari before the pair then left his room, plunging it into darkness as the door closed behind them. PRIME EFFECT 4 The CIC was a buzz with activity as the crew prepared for the launch, Rodimus was standing on the raised platform with the galaxy map in front of him which gave a good view of the rest of the crew as they worked. The elevator doors then opened and Orion and Liara entered the area, gaining the Commander's attention as he turned to face them. "Orion, I want you to head down to the shuttle-bay and choose pick your team." he said, gaining a nod from the Bot. "Yes, Sir." "Once we are close enough to the planet, you and your team will disembark on one of the two shuttles we have and land on Omicron. I will relay the rest of your orders once you are away. Good luck." Rodimus said back before turning back to the galaxy map. "Right away." Orion replied and then looked over to Liara. "Let's go. You're on my team, Liara." he added with a smile. "Right behind you." she said back, mirroring his expression as the pair then re-entered the elevator, the doors closing as Rodimus tapped his com-link. "All systems are a go. Jetstorm, take us out." Meanwhile, in the cockpit. The pilot was working on the holo-interface in front of him, quickly tapping various buttons like a fast typing temp. "Yes, Sir. Disengaging docking clamps and firing thrusters." The Normandy then began to pull away from the space dock, who's grav-lock arms folded away in response to the Autobot ship which turned around to face the open space ahead. "We have cleared the space-dock, firing sub-light engines….and we are on our way." Jetstorm added as the Normandy was then thrust forward, leaving the space-dock and Earth behind as it began to move through the solar system. "Jet-Storm, fire up the space-bridge generator and plotca course to Omicron. And I want the 'cloak' activated the second we are through." Rodimus then said, earning a salute from his pilot who typed away on the holo-keyboard. "Space-bridge spinning up and coordinates locked, activating space-bridge in four, three, two, one..." the pilot replied before a green glowing portal opened up in front of the Normandy, with the Autobot ship flying into it a moment later, leaving the Sol system behind. Meanwhile, at that exact second on the other side of the galaxy. A portal opened and the Normandy exited it at speed before a shimmer crossed it's hull which made it fade away until the Autobot ship completely disappeared. "We are in the Omicron system, Sir, and the cloak is operating under normal parameters." Jetstorm stated as the Commander joined him in the cockpit, standing behind his chair and looking out at the stars via the glass canopy in front of them. "Run a sensor scan, I want to know what's out here." "Running it now." Jetstorm replied as he looked at the smaller holo-screen that appeared to his right, noticing several red blips appearing around the target planet. "Sir, I have an number of ships orbiting the Colony. Their silhouettes identify as Autobot, but their IFF reads Predacon." "So, the Predacons are the ones responsible for shutting down the network. But then how did they find out about it, there is only a select group of higher-ups who even knew what Omicron's true purpose was." the Commander said, earning a curious look from his pilot. "Well, looks like the secret is out, want me to take us closer?" "No, we will launch the shuttle from where we are." Rodimus replied before tapping his com-link. "Rodimus to Orion, come in..." Meanwhile, down in the shuttle-bay. Orion, Liara, Shen and Nightracer were sitting in one of the two shuttles, they were all wearing their respective armour as the blue haired Bot began pre flight. "Rodimus to Orion, come in." the Commander's voice said over the now active inter-com, which made Orion tap his own com-link. "Orion here, Sir." "What's your sit-rep?" "My team and I are ready to leave on your word, Sir." the Bot said as the engines began to hum as all ship's systems glowed green. "We're as ready as we will ever be" "In that case, your mission objectives are to determine what condition the colony is in and rescue any Autobot or civilian you find. But your primary objective is to regain control of the communications network or if that is not possible...destroy it." Everyone on the shuttle looked at each other with concerned expression. "Very well, we will contact you in four hours. Shuttle one out." Orion then said before turning off the transmission, he then turned his attention to his holo-interface and pressed a number of buttons in sequence that suddenly sealed the shuttle's hatch. "Shuttle-bay decompressing and powering engines." the Bot then stated as Liara watched him, a small smile appeared on her face at how professional he looked as he worked, which did not go unnoticed by Nightracer who was sitting beside Shen. "Here we go." Orion then said as he used the thrusters to lift the shuttle off of the floor. Then the bay door opened, which released the last gas of oxygen as it folded out like a ramp, less than a second later the shuttle shot out into open space, leaving the Normandy behind as it flew towards the planet. "Stealth mode engaged, no sign that we have been detected." the Bot stated, gaining a curious look from Shen. "Wait, the shuttle has a stealth mode?" "Yes, but only the kind that hides our engine emissions from sensor scans. The enemy could still see us if they looked out of a window. The Normandy though has had an upgraded stealth device installed, it is called a 'cloaking device' and it works by projecting a force field around the ship which selectively bends light around around it and makes it invisible to anyone looking from the outside. " Orion replied, gaining a nod from Shen. "I see, sounds impressive." "Well, it only works as long as we don't get too close to another ship. The device was built using calculations by the Autobot Mirage who had built a smaller verison for use by people, but he had always wanted to make one that could work on a ship." "I see." the Turian said back as Orion looked over to the Asari sitting beside him. "Liara, could you run a scan of the planet? We need to see if we can pick up any Autobot beacons." "Of course." she replied with a smile before turning her attention to the holo-interface before her, typing in commands before a map appeared, showing a single Autobot symbol. "I have one, it is a distance away from the colony, in what looks like an abandoned facility or at least that's what the map says." "Okay, then I will land use two miles away on the side that is furthest from the colony. Since that is obviously where the Predacons are currently, I just hope whoever it is can tell us what the hell happened here." Orion replied, earning a nod from the others as he then made the shuttle descend into the planet's atmosphere. PRIME EFFECT 4 It was quiet in the abandoned barracks as Ser-Ket lied on the bed. She was using a survival blanket from her backpack to cover herself with, not that she felt cold. Far from it since her spark felt warm as she remembered the events of the previous night, when Ser-Ket and Quickstrike spent the night together. For the Femme had not experienced anything like it in her life, the physical intimacy was almost overwhelming to her. But not as much as the emotional connection she had made with the Autobot, and she had come to realise as she lay there on the bed that she did not ever want to lose it or him. But suddenly the Femme was brought out of her thoughts as Quickstrike walked back into the room, but stopped short of the bed as his eyes fell upon her lying there. "Yes?" Ser-Ket asked coyly while the Autobot looked at her before sighing, blushing as he smiled back at her. "Sorry." he said back in an almost shy-like way, earning a smile that could melt his spark from the Femme. "Don't be." She replied, enjoying the sight of him looking her up and down and then going all shy about it. "Now come here." she added, gesturing to him to get closer with her finger. And the Bot complied with a smile as he walked up to the side of the bed and sat beside her, before leaning in close as she did the same until their lips met in a tender and loving kiss that lasted a long moment. Then they pulled back enough to look into each others eyes. "By the Allspark, your eyes are beautiful." Quickstrike said, making it the Femme's turn to blush. "Thank you, so are yours." she replied before looking toward the doorway he had come from. "So, did you find anything?" "No, I could of sworn that was a ship I heard in the distance. But there hasn't been anything since so I guess it was false alarm, but I think we should probably make a move anyway. Before some Predacon patrol decides to check this place out." the Bot replied, gaining a nod from Ser-Ket in return. "Yeah, but where do we go now. The escape shuttle that is now nothing more than a burnt wreck was the last means of escape from this planet, but now we are stranded." she said back before looking down at the blanket covering her, which made Quickstrike cup her face with his hand and gently lift it back up level with his eyes. "At least we're together." he said in return, words which warmed the Femme's spark as she smiled back at him and stroked his hand with her own. "Yes, we are." "Besides, something will come up. We just have to make sure we are ready for when it happens, and that means staying one step ahead of the Predacons." Quickstrike replied before pulling away and standing up. "So let's get moving." he said as he looked down at her lovingly, earning a nod from Ser-Ket. "Let me just get dressed then." she replied as she swung her legs over the side of the bed and stood up, the blanket falling to the ground and revealing her completely naked body to the Bot, who smiled before turning away. "Why are you looking away?" the Femme then asked in a confused tone as she started to dress herself in her armour, earning a wide-eyed expression from Quickstrike who looked like he had just been caught stealing. "Well…, you're getting…" he started to stammer, making the Femme chuckle before looking back with her alluring eyes. "I like it when you look at me like that." she said back in a coy tone, which relaxed the Bot as he turned back round and smiled. "Okay then." he replied, but then almost suddenly, the Predacon turned her back to him, making the Autobot's mouth almost hit the floor in surprise. "But you said…" he started to say back before the Femme smiled and cut him off. "I need your help getting my armour back on." she said back with a mischievous smirk before looking down at the armour lying on the floor between them. "Oh…okay." Quickstrike replied as he bent down and picked up the piece of armour. "Where do you want it?" he asked coyly. A few minutes later, the Femme like her lover was back in her armour and ready to leave as she had just finished packing her survival back pack. Quickstrike was keeping watch by the doorway, hoping that no trouble would find them. "So where do we go now?" Ser-Ket asked as she picked up the bag and slung it over her back, gaining the Bot's attention as he walked back up to her. "We just head further away from the city for the time being I guess." he replied before the Femme's face suddenly became tense. "Ser-Ket?" The Predacon then raised her head slightly and sniffed the air, earning a curious but worried look from the Bot. "Ser-Ket, what is it?" "There are others approaching our location, I can smell them." she replied with a hint of disgust in her voice for the ability she had just shown Quickstrike, but he did not bat an eye at it. "How close?" he asked as they looked at each other. "Close enough." a familiar voice suddenly said, making the pair look around to see a blue haired man standing in the doorway, his rifle pointing at them. But almost immediately, both Quickstrike and this new guy's eyes widened as they looked at each other. "Quickstrike." "Orion." A moment which seemed to last too long past between them before both Bots smiled as they walked over to each other. "Hey." they exclaimed in unison as they pulled each other into a brotherly hug, then pulled away as Orion looked out of the door, "Guys, in here. It's Quickstrike." he exclaimed happily, a similar expression adjourned the face of his cousin. "It's been a while." her said, earning a nod from his cousin as both Shen and Nightracer walked in and smiled the moment their eyes fell upon the Autobot. "Hey, Guys." he said. "Are you a sight for sore eyes, Pal." Shen said as both he and the Femme greeted him. Meanwhile Ser-Ket looked on in a state of confused amazement at what was transpiring before her, but Orion noticed the Femme. "Quickstrike, who's this?" he asked, gaining his cousin's attention as he looked back and smiled at her. "This is Ser-Ket, she saved my life." he said with a thankful and loving tone, earning a nod from her as Orion smiled back while he looked her up and down. But his smile faded when his eyes fell upon a familiar looking insignia, which made him instinctively re-equip his weapon and aim it at her. "She's a Predacon!" he exclaimed with an angry tone, earning shocked looks from Shen and Nightracer while gaining looks of horror from Quickstrike and Ser-Ket, as the happy reunion suddenly became sour as the newly arrived Autobots all turned their weapons on the Predacon.
  16. CHAPTER XXIII Galvatron kept his gun pointed at Aria and Vale, his aim was completely steady as he looked at both of them. The Batarian looked somewhat unsure of himself, and was definitely the weak link. But Aria on the other hand, though she was completely unarmed in the case of not having any sort of physical weapon. She was the far more dangerous due to her biotic ability, which the Predacon could see perfectly because of the blue hue coming off the purple Asari's fists as she stared daggers back at him. "Raaagh!" Aria then cried out as she ran at Galvatron who immediately fired back with his rifle, but then the Asari in the blink of an eye appeared directly in front of the Predacon and punched him with her glowing fist, knocking him to the ground with what felt like a tonne of steel. 'How did she?' he began to think before suddenly finding himself levitating off the ground, suddenly surrounded by biotic energy. He saw Aria standing in front of him, her face was one of complete rage. "You have killed so many of my people, your ass is mine." she spat before kicking him in the stomach, and again it felt like he had been hit with something far more powerful as he was flung across the ground until he rolled to a stop and collapsed on his back. 'It's her biotics, they increase the strength of her strikes.' he thought as he then rolled back on to his front and got on to his knees. "Is this it? A Volus high on Red Sand would have given me more of a fight." Aria said back as she watched the Predacon Lord climbing back onto his feet. But as soon as he was standing back up, Galvatron was back down on his back as the Asari swatted him aside with her biotics like he was nothing more than a fly. Meanwhile Vale just stood and watched, unsure if he should get involved since Aria seemed to have the situation under control. But then Galvatron was flung pas him like a rag doll, crashing into a wall at the far side of the room before hitting the ground hard. "Is this going as well as you had pictured?" Aria asked as she levitated the Predacon in front of her with her biotics. "Get scrapped!" the bruised and beaten adversary spat back, earning a sly smile from the female who then uppercut him, causing a flash of blue light as she sent him flying up into the air. And then she reached up with her hand and stopped him in mid air, before clenching her hand in a fist which made the energy that Galvatron was caught in suddenly burn his being, making him cry out in pain before she then yanked her hand down like she was throwing something in front of her. This then caused Galvatron to be sent falling to the ground with enough velocity that when he hit the floor, that the impact left a small crater where he landed. And there he lay, the Leader of the Predacons, and he looked like hell with his silver armour now without its shine and showing damage. But was nothing compared to how injured his body was as Galvatron felt as though he had just been through several rounds with Devastator, but as his blurred vision saw the purple Asari walking over to him, he then heard a voice that made him feel even worse. "Is that it? Is that all you have left? It's just as I thought, you are nothing more than a mistake. A weak, pathetic shadow of myself. And now I get to see that mistake finally corrected...with your death." Galvatron looked up to see Megatron standing over him, looking down with a gloating-like expression just as Aria walked into view and looked down at him, her hands pulsing with biotic energy. But then everything began to go dark as Galvatron passed out. PRIME EFFECT 4 Suddenly the pain that the Predacon Lord had felt due to the punishment that Aria had inflicted on him was gone, making him feel confused as to how this had happened. So he opened his eyes and sat up to find himself in almost complete darkness, except for a faint purple light source that was hovering far above him like a moon in the night sky. 'Where am I?' he thought as he got to his feet and began walking in direction of the light, which slowly got larger and brighter the more closer he got to it. But as he walked the Predacon saw that apart from the purple light, there was nothing else around him but the void. A darkness that even seemed to swallow the light shining above him and then that was when he heard the voice again, the one from his dreams but somewhat fainter. "Galvatron." Though the mysterious voice's volume was faint, like the light source, it grew louder as the Predacon walked on. The voice sounded old, but was not lacking for power as it spoke very deeply. "The Predacon kept walking on through the void, wondering how he even got wherever the scrap he was now. 'Last thing I remember was being beaten down by that Asari bitch.' he thought as he finally walked up to the purple light source which he was surprised to find out, was actually two. They both shone down on the Con who looked up at them with a curious expression. 'They look like a pair of optics.' he thought as he looked up at them. "At last we meet…., Galvatron." the voice then said, no longer echoing around him but coming directly from the bright purple lights above. "Who are you?" the Predacon asked with a curious tone to his voice. "It is I…..Unicron." "But that is not possible, for I read that you were destroyed. There is no possible way that you could be here." Galvatron replied with a surprised tone in his voice as he continued to stare up at the lights which narrowed at him. "Silence! I am not here to answer your questions, but to open your eyes, since time is so very short for us at this moment." Unicron said back, earning a confused and slightly fearful expression from the Con. "What do you mean?" Galvatron asked as he thought about what had just happened to him just prior to this. 'Does he mean my fight with Aria?' "I have been trying to communicate with you for a while now, but something has always blocked my attempts." "You mean the dreams, that was your voice that I could hear if only faintly." the Predacon replied. "That is correct, for each time I tried to reach out to you. But something has held me back, I thought that it was because of my weakened condition but instead it is because of you!" the Chaos Bringer answered, taking Galvatron aback with his words. "What do you mean 'me'?" "You were not born into this existence Galvatron, not naturally." "If you are referring to my genesis, then you would be correct." the Con replied, making the lights that shone down on him begin to burn and injure him. "Arrgh!" the Predacon Leader grimaced as the lights narrowed more, making him raise his arms in a vain effort to shield himself. "Of course I am correct, for I know you are a copy of the Decepticon Leader Megatron. That pathetic prideful fool believed himself to be my herald. But even though you have his looks and memories, I believe that you are different to him." Unicron said back as the lights then faded a little, taking the burning effect away as Galvatron dropped his hands down to his sides and looked back with a curious expression. "You do?" he asked with a hopeful tone, as this was a question he had been repeatedly asking himself since his beginning. "I can see into your mind and so know it to be true, but you do not think the same." Galvatron felt himself getting agitated, and so took a step toward the lights and braced himself for whatever would come of his next few words. "I realise you said time is short, but I need more. How do you know this? How are we even communicating if you are supposedly dead?" The lights suddenly brightened and the Predacon gritted his teeth as he waited for the Chaos Bringer's response. "You dare to demand answers from me?! You should know your place and who it is you are speaking too." But Galvatron would not back down as he stood his ground and looked up into the two purple lights, which stayed exactly the same for one long moment until the Chaos Bringer sighed. "Again you prove yourself to be different to the one you are based on, for he would be on his hands and knees grovelling to me by now. Very well." The Predacon Leader breathed a sigh of relief as he relaxed a little, staring up into the lights. "Thank you..., Lord Unicron." he said with a respectful tone. "After Primus sacrificed himself and destroyed my physical form, everything went dark and I lost myself to the void of nothingness. I have no idea how long my mind drifted through that vacuum, which was devoid of anything at all. Then one day, I suddenly found that I was no longer drifting aimlessly, as if something was drawing me to itself. There was a bright light and I found that I was staring at a book." Unicron reminisced, earning a curious expression from Galvatron. "You mean the 'Covenant of Primus'." "Yes, that was what I saw. It acted like an anchor and kept my mind from drifting away again. And I found that I was not alone as I could hear your thoughts. It didn't take long to realise what had happened after that?" the voice replied. "Why? What did you realise?" "Galvatron,... I exist in your very essence. In your very spark." The Predacon's eyes widened as it dawned on him what Unicron meant, as he remembered his own awakening. "You mean the slither of Dark Energon that Megatron had my spark bonded with when he had me created." "Yes, that is why I know your thoughts and can communicate with you. For as long as even the smallest drop of my blood remains, then so do I. And it has been bonded with you, meaning that we are one." The Con remained quiet as he listened to the Chaos Bringer who continued. "It has joined us together, you and I..." Unicron then went quiet for a moment, earning a confused look from Galvatron. "Unicron...Unicron?" "Our time is running short, as I said previously. There has been something blocking me from you this whole time, something that is acting like a poison in your spark." the Chaos Bringer said. "What is it?" the Predacon asked as the two light sources began to dim and flicker on and off. "Look to your right?" Galvatron did as the voice instructed, looking away from the purple lights and into the void that still surrounded him. His eyes widened a little when he spotted two small red lights just aways from him, but at eye level. "What is that?" he asked as he took a step toward them. "You really are a fool, 'Galvatron'." a familiar voice spoke, making the Predacon's eyes widen as he recognised the being who was walking out of the shadows towards him. "Megatron!" he spat while suddenly taking a defensive stance, earning a laugh from the Decepticon. "Oh, don't you look precious. Now stand down and remember your place. You're my clone and a worthless, pathetic one at that." Megatron replied while he narrowed his optics, staring daggers at the unsure looking Predacon. "Galvatron, heed my words. That is not Megatron, he died many years ago. This version of him is simply a manifestation of your fears and doubts, coupled with your hate for your creator." Unicron said, earning the clone's attention as he looked away from the hallucination. "What?" Galvatron replied in a shocked and confused tone. "I would not listen to 'him' if I were you. I mean, if I am really just an object of your imagination, then shouldn't he be one too." Megatron said back with a knowing smile. The Predacon did not know what to think as he had Megatrob in front of him, and Unicron apperently all around his person. This left the Con utterly confused as he stood there, completely lost in his own thoughts. 'What do I do, who do I believe?' he thought as he felt the pressure growing on him, earning flashes of purple lightning to dance across the void around them. "Galvatron,...that slither of Dark Energon that is bonded to your spark is very powerful, you have had moments where you have sampled that strength. But until you defeat Megatron and what he represents, you will never be free to achieve the destiny that is before you." Unicron then said, making Galvatron look around with a pleading expression. "How can I...ugh!" he then said before a vice-like grip could be felt around his throat, making him look back to see that Megatron had him by his neck. "Listen well, you are a Clone. You are a pathetic, degenerate waste or my time. You will never accomplish what I have, because you are merely a shadow of my very greatness." the Decepticon spat as he narrowed his red optics at the Clone, who suddenly looked back at him with an expression of pure hate. "What have you ever truly accomplished?" he spat as he grabbed the hallucination's arm and dug his claws into it, causing energon to bleed out. This made Megatron grimace as he let go of Galvatron, who quickly took advantage by punching the Decepticon in the face, sending him on to his hands and knees. "You never managed to completely defeat the Autobots, or even their Leader at the time...Optimus Prime." he continued to say as Megatron looked up at him. "I defeated Zeta Prime, or did you forget in that cloned mind of yours." "Yes, you did. But he was not a bearer of the Matrix, was he. Not like Optimus, or the one that currently resides in my brig." Galvatron spat as he threw another punch at the Decepticon, who then blocked and grabbed his arm. "Degenerate little Scrap, You can not hope to defeat a Gladiator of Kaon." he replied with a dark grin before he then threw the Predacon to the ground and pinned him there, earning a grimace from the clone who looked back at him. "That's what you think, Megatron..." Galvatron replied as he grabbed both of the Decepticon's arms and pulled him into a head-but, knocking him off him and allowing the clone to get back to his feet. "...But you forget that I have those skills too!" he added before rushing at his adversary and punching him in the face, earning a grunt from Megatron who then felt his jaw and smiled. "I guess I did...or perhaps I just don't consider you to be a worthy fight, being a failed clone and all." "Well, I think it is time we found out." Galvatron replied as he took a fighting stance, which amused the Decepticon. "Yes, let's end this debacle, once and for all." he said back as he mirrored his copy before they both charged at one another, each throwing a punch that connected on the others face which made them stumble back slightly. But then Galvatron went straight back in with a round-house kick, one that the Hallucination saw coming and blocked before punching his clone in the stomach, following it up with an elbow to the face. After that hit, the Predacon was back on his hands and knees with Megatron smiling down at him. "Again you prove me right, that there is only one Megatron!" Galvatron looked up at his creator and wiped the blood from his mouth, narrowing his red eyes. "You know, I have spent my entire existence denying that you and I are anything alike despite our CNA." "And so you should." the Decepticon gloated as he equipped his arm-blade and took steps towards his fallen clone, raising the melee weapon to strike. "But the truth is...we are the same..." the Predacon added, making Megatron stop dead in his tracks with a surprised and confused expression on his face. "What?" he spat as Galvatron smiled at him. "...but I won't let that fact... decide my destiny!" The Con then kicked out at his hallucination's leg, damaging his knee and forcing him to the ground, and the Predacon pounced on him and punched him in the face to daze the Decepticon. The Clone then grabbed the Decepticon's arm and snapped the arm-blade off before stabbing it into Megatron's chest. "Arrgh!" Megatron grimaced while Galvatron got back to his feet and looked down at his creator, before chuckling to himself. "What do you find so funny?" the Decepticon Leader spat as he looked at his clone who grabbed him the neck and lifted him onto his knees. "Well,...I guess that it is because, despite the fact that we are the same, I still can't stand your face." Galvatron replied before punching at Megtron's face, but the Hallucination blocked that attack and smiled. "You never lear...!" he said as he countered with a punch of his own, but the Predacon grabbed that fist mid-punch and then began to crush the hand within his own, making Megatron grimace as his clone looked down at him. "Actually...I do. That is the main difference between us, Megatron, which is why my Predacons and I are on the verge of having the entire galaxy on their knees, you never even came close to that." the Predacon replied as he tightened his grip on the Decepticon's hand and mangled it, earning a smirk From him. "You may think you..." Megatron began to say before Galvatron cut him off. "You know, I am really tired of hearing your voice..." he said as his eyes began to change, followed by his body as his beast form took over. "...It really enrages my spark." he said as Megatron watched in wide eyed fear as his clone stood before him in his beast mode, holding the Hallucination's mangled hand in his razor clawed fist, the claws digging further in and spilling more energon out of it. "So, I think it's time for you to face oblivion." the Predacon added as he grabbed the Decepticon's head and pulled, making Megatron scream in agony right before his head was ripped right off his body, which fell to the ground in a heap as energon poured out into a large puddle. Galvatron simply stood there and looked at the head of his creator there in his hands, as it's red optics faded to nothing. Galvatron then turned his back to the corpse and tossed the head over his shoulder casually, satisfied to finally have Megatron out of his way. Suddenly the bright purple lights reappeared over the Predacon, though now they looked like optics as Unicron's face was finally revealed to him. "You have overcome your fears and doubts and so proven yourself worthy, Galvatron. Now, it is time for you to wake up and end this distraction that you are taking part in." "But the Asari I was fighting..." The Predacon began to say before he was suddenly cut off by the Aeon. "She will be no threat to you now. Not with the abilities you can now call upon from me." "And what of this destiny of mine?" Galvatron replied with a curious tone, making Unicron's optics narrow in return. "I can only tell you that you have a destiny, it is not for me to tell what it is." "But..." "If you want your answers, then read from the covenant of Primus once you are done on Omega, then we will converse further. Now go!" the Aeon's voice boomed, before everything suddenly went white around Galvatron, blinding him. PRIME EFFECT 4 Back in the Reactor-Core, Aria stood over the unconscious body lf Galvatron and raised her hand above her head as it pulsed with biotic energy. Which then shifted into five razor sharp claws, as she stared daggers down at her enemy. "Time to die, 'Galvatron'." she said before swiping her biotic claws down on the Con, but he suddenly raised an arm and grabbed her's by the wrist. The Asari's eyes widened as she looked down in surprise, as the Predacon opened his own which were now glowing purple instead of their usual red. "That's 'Lord Galvatron'." he spat back before his body began to glow with a purple hue, and suddenly Aria was sent flying onto her back a few yards away. Vale watched in wide-eyed fear as Galavtron got back to his feet and stood there, looking somewhat different than before. For his armour was still mainly silver with black and purple mixed in, but the joints and points were the pieces of his armour joined were now pulsing with purple energy. Aria got back to her feet and looked at her newly risen adversary, who was staring back at her with a knowing smile. "What the hell just happened?" she said as she clenched her fists, making them glow with a blue hue. "You could say that I have had an epiphany, I believe that is the term for it." Galvatron replied in an almost casual tone. "Don't really care." the Asari replied before she performed a biotic charge, moving at almost the speed of light right at the Predacon Lord. But Galvatron smiled and simply punched in front of himself with how glowing fist, an impact was heard before Aria reappeared and fell to the ground hard just aways from him. "That's not possible." she said as a treacle of blood ran down from her nose and mouth while looking back at the enemy Commander, who began walking over to her. "Things have definitely changed for the better." he said before the Omega Leader held her hands before her and fired several biotic blasts, but Galvatron replied by holding his own hand in front of him which effortless dissipated them the moment the energy came in contact with him. "That tickles..." he replied as he came to a stop and stood over the Asari, before then grabbing her by the throat and lifting her off the ground. "I think you should surrender now." the Predacon said, but as Vale continued to watch from the spot he was rooted to, Aria began to glow very brightly as her face was one of thunder. "Never!" she spat before unleashing a biotic flare that almost blinded the Batarian as it enveloped Galvatron, filling the entire room in biotic energy like an explosion. A moment later and it was over as residual biotic energy crackled like lightning around the room's perimeter and around the reactor, causing the lights in the room to flicker on and off for several seconds. Vale got back to his feet, having been knocked down by the force of the blast. He looked at the reactor core and shook his head. 'That was foolish of Aria, she could of made the reactor breach.' he thought while looking back to where the fight had been taking place and saw only the Asari, who was on her knees with her biotic hue fading since she had just used such a powerful attack. But there was no sign of the Predacon as Aria opened her eyes and saw the same thing. "Did I get him? Is he dead?" she panted as Vale shrugged his shoulders, and looked around the room one more time. But then as his back was turned, he heard a grunt and spun back round to see Galvatron standing there with the Asari pinned to the floor by his foot on her throat. 'Where did he appear from?' the Batarian thought with a confused and panicky expression as he just watched, frozen to the spot by his fear. "That was a nice move, Aria. Didn't do you much good though, did it." he said as his body continued to glow with the unknown purple energy, looking down at her with an expression of amusement. "Are you done yet?" he asked while putting a bit more pressure on her throat with his boot, making her gasp for air. "Go...to... hell!" she managed to say between the gasps for air, as she focused all of her remaining biotic energy and recreated her barrier. She then punched the air in front of her, as an energy projection of what looked like a fist then hit Galvatron square in the face which sent him flying away into the wall, creating a crater. "I have had it with you." Aria spat as she got back to her feet, before holding her fists at her sides. She then narrowed her eyes and focused the energy from her barrier and into her fists which began to pulse brightly, meanwhile Galvatron got back to his feet and chuckled as he looked back at the Asari. "Now that almost hurt, Ari..." he said, his purple eyes going wide as he saw what she was doing. But before he could do anything about it, Aria punches both fists in front of her and unleashed a massive biotic energy projectile which flew across the room and hit the Predacon head and slamming him back into the wall before the immediate area around him exploded. Aria then fell to her knees again and panted as the act left her physically exhausted, Vale meanwhile was still watching with wide eyed amazement at what he had seen his Leader do. "I think you got him this time." the Batarian said, earning an unreadable expression from Aria, one that made him feel a little uncomfortable. So he instead looked over at the destroyed section of the room, which could not be seen fully for all the smoke that billowed from the small fire that was burning there. 'There is no way anyone could have survived that.' he thought as he began to breath easy, but just as he took a deep breath, he suddenly found it stuck in his throat when suddenly a purple blur shot out of the smoke and hit Aria so hard, that she fell instantly onto her back. The Asari felt like she had just been hit by a star-ship as the unwelcoming feelings of a concussion greeted her head, making her vision burry. But there was no mistaken the sight of Galvatron standing over her once more. "Time to end this...now!" he said as he then knelt down and began to pummel her face with his fists, which were not only glowing purple but now looking far more beast like. In fact the Predacon also looked more like a beast-man than he had when the Con invaded their home. Vale once again felt like his heart had stopped as for the...damn, he had lost count of the times Aria had looked like winning this battle. But now things looked hopeless since Galvatron was now looking even more dangerous and feral as he roared while continuing to pummel the Asari before picking her now rag-doll like body up and throwing it to the ground. The Batarian could only watch as fear had frozen him to the spot yet again, as he saw how bloody and beaten Aria looked as she lied on the floor. "Now I will kill you...as I said so earlier, but you still have a part to play before then." Galvatron said to the Asari who then fell unconscious. He then turned his attention to Vale who just looked back, earning a sly grin from the Predacon Leader. 'He is terrified of me, excellent. It's just as I thought, the Asari has them all controlled through fear...so all I need to do is offer them another way.' he thought before walking over to the fearful Batarian, who then re-aimed his weapon at the Con who sighed in return while remaining completely calm. "If you were going to use that, I assume you would have already." he said, earning a confused expression from Vale who looked back at his gun and then at Galvatron. All four of his eyes were wide and full of fear as the Predacon opened his hands and held his arms out in a disarming fashion, as the purple aura around him dissipated with his eyes returning to their blood red. "what...are you doing?" the Batarian asked in a hesitant manner, as the Con walked ever closer to him, noticing that only his armour retained the purple glow inside it's joints. "There is no need for that. Necause if I wanted you dead, then you would already be that." Galvatron said, gaining a head shake from Vale. "How can I trust you..?" "We are talking, are we not? I would think that would be a big enough of a clue to my intentions towards you." the Predacon replied, earning an unsure look from the Batarian who could not decide if he should keep his weapon drawn. "What do you want?" "I want you to lower the weapon...and join me." Galvatron said as he then held out his hand, making Vale look back in surprise. "I did not come to Omega to destroy you all. In fact, I wanted to liberate you from Aria's tight grasp." the Con added as the Batarian began to slowly lower his weapon. "I don't understand..." "As far as I can tell, Aria has had all the mercs in the galaxy at her disposal...and yet what have you accomplished under her rule?" he asked in an honest tone which made Vale look away and dwell on his words. 'For all stability that Aria and Nyreen have brought to the Terminus systems...Galvatron has a point, things were far more interesting when we were killing and at each others throats.' he thought before looking back at the Predacon. "Are you saying...?" "I am asking you and your comrades to join my Predacons. And together we will take this galaxy and bring the Federation down upon itself. What say you?" Galvatron asked, earning a thought expression from the Batarian as he looked behind the Predacon at Aria who was still lying on the ground unconscious. 'I know she saved my life...but I never did like her or her methods of Leadership.' Vale thought before meeting his eyes with the Con Leader. "What would you have me do if I was to join your army?" "You are Aria's top Lieutenant, correct?" "Yes." the Batarian replied with a respectful nod. "Then you will do so again, answering to no one but myself. Serve me well and you will be rewarded, fail me...and the consequences will be dire." Galvatron said back with a tone awash with authority, earning a slight smile from Vale who reached out with his hand, grasping the Con's as the pair shook. "Sounds fair. In that case, I am your's to command,...Lord Galavatron. And I know the others will fall in line as well." "I know, so do you have any devices that we can use to dampen Aria's biotics with?" the Predacon Leader asked, gaining a nod from The Batarian. "Yes, Aria does have a store of biotic clamps that she keeps, just in case any of her other Asari try something stupid. I have the coordinates." "Please, give them to me." Galvatron asked as he activate his holo-tool, making Vale almost stand still in shock before complying. 'He said please, Aria was never that courteous with any of us.' he thought while typing into the holo-keyboard, then the Predacon activated his com-link. "Nemesis, open a Ground-bridge from this location to these coordinates. And then after that, find the location of this Nyreen and prepare another portal. I think its time to end this." PRIME EFFECT 4 The entrance to the Sanctuary was littered with the bodies of Terracons as they kept storming the heavily fortified area, which was protected by numerous automated gun and missile turrets, and a powerful force-field covering the large heavy door that would become the second to last line of defence as behind it, several squads of Talons made up of Turian, Asari, Vorcha and human stood ready with their weapons aimed at the door. Each was quietly hoping that the defences would hold out that little longer, for if all before them failed then they would be last defence between the Predacons and what was left of the civilian population that inhabited the behind them. Inside Nyreen was standing alongside of one of her lieutenants as she kept an eye on the battle raging outside via her holo-tool. "Sir, our defences have managed to hold the enemy at bay long enough for us to get the evacuation vessels ready for launch. We can begin to ship the civilians off Omega at a moment's notice." the Turian Lieutenant reported, earning a nod from his Commander. "Very good, Talus, but we won't initiate that plan until I have heard back from Aria about the status of her own." "Yes, Sir." the soldier said back in return as he looked away with an unsure expression, which did not go unnoticed by the female. "What is it Talus?" "It's...it's just that it's been several hours since Aria started for the reactor-core, and we both know that she would have made it by now. So why haven't we heard anything?" the Turian male replied with a slither of fear to his voice, earning calm and focused look from Nyreen. "Aria will make it, I bet she just has been held up." Talus nodded in return as the Talon Leader looked him up and down, noticing the weariness on his face. "How old are you?" she asked, earning a surprised look from him. "Twenty-three, Sir." "Believe me when I say, that Aria is not the type to let anything get in the way of what she wants. Twenty five years ago, before you were even born, Omega was under the control of MECH and was being used as their main staging grounds during the Reaper war. Aria and myself, together with help from the Autobots, defeated MECH and reclaimed this station. But that would not have been possible without her leading the way, because she is the most stubborn and reckless person I have ever met. Aria always finds a way to beat the odds,….especially when those odds seem unbeatable." Nyreen replied with a slight smile. "Yes, Sir." Talus said back in a more calmer tone as he took a breath, but before anything else could be said. The Talon Leader's holo-tool beeped frantically as it's screen showed several flashing red icons on it, earning both Turians attention. "We have just lost gun turrets three through eight, how is that possible?" the female said, as Talus activated his own holo-tool. "Sir, we have a big problem." he said while showing her his holo-screen, earning a wide eyed stare from Nyreen. For the screen showed camera footage from outside the entrance to the Sanctuary, showing the Terracons firing back from behind cover on their side of the bridge. But on the bridge itself was a large orange and black metallic beast, which was firing fire from it's open jaws and destroying the turrets one after another, before the fire enveloped the camera and cut the feed. "Activate the next camera across the bridge." Nyreen said as Talus began typing on his holo-interface before another video screen appeared, one that showed the area from behind the enemy line. The footage showed the beast breathing fire down upon the energy field that was protecting the door, slowly draining it of it's power. "What the hell is that thing?" the Talon Leader asked. "No idea. All we know is that it has been spotted at numerous locations around the station, destroying all of our forces that it has come across. And yet we can not even hurt it." the Lieutenant stated as Nyreen watched the Beast and the Terracons firing upon the depleting force field. "There is no way the force field will last long under that bombardment…" she began to say before stopping as both Turians noticed that the enemy force suddenly stopped firing. "What the…?" Talus said in shock before the green vortex of a space-bridge portal opened up on the bridge as the beast walked backwards, making some room for whatever was about to arrive. "You said it…." the female Turian replied before three figures could be seen exiting the portal, one of them falling to the floor when pushed by the one behind them, and Nyreen's eyes widened as she recognised the one on the floor as a purple Asari. "Wait, that's…." Talus said with a sense of dread in his voice while the female just kept her eyes fixated on the screen, when suddenly hers and the rest of the Talon's com-links activated. "This is Lord Galvatron. I know you are in there, Nyreen Kandros, and I also know that you and all your Talons can hear me." the man in silver armour said as he stood over Aria, and though the camera could not show the exact state the Asari was in, Nyreen could tell by the way her body language was that her lover was severally injured. "You know that you are only delaying the inevitable by continuing to fight back, as I am sure you are well aware that my forces now have control of the entire station….except for this Sanctuary that you are valiantly defending, but it is now over." Galvatron said as he looked up to where the security cameras had been. "And if you think you can flee this station in one or any of the escape vessels that you have docked behind that door, you should know that I have several cruisers waiting, which will destroy any ship that leaves Omega. So I will give you a choice, you can either surrender now and save the lives of everyone behind these doors or you can fight and let them all die." Nyreen simply looked at the screen, but Talus could tell that she was deep in thought at the options that were held out before her. "Oh…and if you choose to fight, the first life you will forfeit is that of your Leader…..and lover, Aria T'Loak." the Predacon Leader added as he then equipped his arm-blade and pointed it down at his Asari prisoner. "Commander, what should we do?" Talus asked as he suddenly saw his usually calm and collected Commander, but now wide eyed and fearful as she found herself conflicted with what had to be done. "Sir.." the Turian said, earning the Talon Leader's attention as she looked at him. "Can we really trust him?" "I do not know, Talus, but I made a promise….. to protect the civilian population of Omega. There is no way we can win this battle which will end with all of us killed, but if we surrender then at least our people will survive to prevail later." The younger Turian nodded in return, knowing full well that Nyreen was correct while she tapped her com-link. "All Talon forces, this is Nyreen. Stand down. I repeat, stand down." PRIME EFFECT 4 Gavlatron waited patiently as he stood there on the bridge which was connected to Sanctuary, behind him was Vale who looked a little nervous and at the Con's feet was Aria, on her knees and bound with a biotic clamp attached to her neck. Situated behind the three persons were the rest of the Terracon force, as well as Predaking who had folded it's wings onto it's back and looked around as if waiting for something to happen, growling lowly as it did so. "I am not sure if Nyreen will listen to you, my Lord." Vale said with a nervous tone to his voice, but Galvatron simply smiled as he looked over his shoulder at him. "You better hope that she does, Vale, for that would mean your information was false and that you have already failed me." the Predacon replied coldly, making the Batarian feel a chill down his spine at his new boss's words. But suddenly the force field that was protecting Sanctuary's entrance deactivated and the large metallic door began to open as the machinery behind it could be heard, earning the Predacon and his force's attention. "Stand ready, but do not fire unless I say so." Galvatron stated as he looked ahead and saw the silhouette of a person walking out of the dimly lit tunnel as the door finished raising off the floor. Aria's eyes widened as she recognised the person to be Nyreen, who calmly walked out with her hands open for all to see. The Con felt a slight smile grow on his face as he watched the Talon Commander who stopped several metres in front of him, her face suddenly changing to one of quiet distress the moment her eyes fell upon the beaten Asari at the Predacon's feet. "Aria, I am sorry. But this was a fight that we can not win, and I can not sacrifice you or the people of Omega." Nyreen said with a sorrowful tone, earning an equal reaction from the Asari who merely nodded back abet while grimacing slightly as her body ached all over. Nyreen then looked at Galvatron who stood there with a confident expression who seemed to be enjoying this very moment. "So I hereby surrender to you, Galvatron, in the hope of ending any further bloodshed." The Predacon Lord gave the Turian a thoughtful look before nodding back in return. "You made the right decision, Nyreen…" Galvatron began to say as Nyreen gave a sigh of relief. "..but…" he added, making both the Talon Leader and Aria suddenly look at him, their eyes widening slowly. "…I can't allow both of Omega's Leaders to stay alive, or else I risk weakening my resolve. And that is something I will not do." the Con Leader continued, making the Turian equip her fire-arm and aim it at Galvatron. "Kill her." he said in a calm manner, as Aria suddenly felt time slow down as she looked back at her lover, out in the open and exposed as all the Terracons behind the Predacon aimed their weapons at her. Nyreen looked back at the Asari, their eyes meeting as they simply stared at each other right before the enemies opened fire and riddled the Turian female with bullet holes, spilling her blood all over the floor as Aria screamed, her pain and grief all out in the open for everyone present to see and here, while she watched her lover's body fall to the ground in a bloody heap. The Omega Leader could see Nyreen's lifeless eyes staring back, as silence fell around the Asari as her attention and focus was solely on the Turian. "Predaking, use your Dragon-breath to destroy the Sanctuary's tunnel." Galvatron commanded, making the dragon leap over him and Aria and land just behind Nyreen's lifeless body. The beast then opened it's mouth as the bright light of it's fire-breath illuminated the dimly lit tunnel, exposing the remaining Talons who were still inside. Predaking then unleashed the fire which enveloped the entire area and incinerated everyone inside, before the damage caused made the tunnel collapse in on it's self and seal the civilians inside. "That will be a fitting tomb for those that tried to escape our wrath." Galvatron said, while Vale remained quiet. His expression one of fearful shock at what he had just witnessed, but the Predacon Lord ignored this and instead looked down at Aria who was still looking at her lover's corpse while sobbing quietly. "You will not have to grieve for long, Aria, since I will unite you with your dearly departed…." he said with dark smile, gaining the Asari's attention while her grief turned to quiet rage as she stared daggers at him. "…but you will live long enough to witness the fall of everything you have built here..." he added while narrowing his red eyes at her. "..and that, Aria, is a promise."
  17. CHAPTER XXII Vale was frozen to the spot, his fear overriding his survival instincts as he stood there before Predaking, the giant metallic dragon who had just ended the life of his boss. Never before had he seen such a Creature such as this, no one on Omega had. Which was why everyone in the room was cowering behind the consoles that had not been destroyed by the beast's arrival, and no one had tried to escape the room since the exit was blocked by this Predaking. This Creature who now was looking down at him with its sharp teeth bared as it readied itself to strike and then snapped its head forward, its large open mouth lunging forward at Vale who raised his arms in a meaningless effort to shield himself from his inevitable fate. When suddenly a blue biotic blast shot out of the fire next to the Batarian, hitting the Creature's face and knocking it away as it yelped in response. Then everyone including Vale stared in wide eyes disbelief as Aria burst out of the flames and rushed towards the creature, her body from head to toe was completely covered in biotic energy as she launched herself into the air and threw a punch-like motion, that created another biotic projectile that hit Predaking's face again. Making it reel back like it had been hit by a real fist, and send it tumbling on to the floor which unblocked the exit. The Asari then landed on her feet and looked back at everyone, her expression was one of a steely cold stare. "Everyone, out now!" she shouted, but Vale and the crewmen just looked back at her like they had seen a ghost. "NOW!" she spat before turning around just in time to perform an uppercut motion and knocked Predaking's jaws away wit her biotics just before it reached her. The crew didn't need to be told again as they got up from the hiding spots and bolted for the door, while Vale ran up to Aria who kept her attention on the Dragon which was now getting back to its feet. "Aria, can you take that thing?" he asked as the Asari charge biotic energy into her hands. "No, I can only slow it down." she replied, keeping her eyes on the beast. "Then let's get out of here, no point fighting that thing if it cant be killed." "In a moment." Aria replied before thrusting her arms up at the ceiling above Predaking, as a biotic energy field suddenly appeared there. Even the Predacon looked up at the blue energy that was swirling over it's head. But then Aria clenched her fists, creating cracks in the ceiling as if she has dug her fingers into it. The Dragon then looked at the pair and roared, like it had figured out what was happening. But it was too late as Aria pulled her arms down suddenly, making the ceiling break apart and fall. Showering the beast in concrete and metal, until it was buried under a massive pile of rubble. "Now we can go." the Asari said back before she and Vale ran over to the exit, just as movement could be heard beneath the mess that had just been created. And as soon as the room was entirely empty, Predaking burst through the top of the rubble and roared loudly in its aggravation. The Command Center crewmen were waiting on a catwalk outside of the former nerve center of Omega, after running through a long corridor from the now defunct CC, which had been based inside the main structure of the station. They were looking out at the view of the rest of the station, which looked like it was growing out of the giant asteroid that it had been built into. Each part of the station's exterior that they could see looked like a stalactite in it's appearance, with some connected by walkways, while others stood unconnected. They time looking at the view came to an end the moment Aria and Vale appeared from the building, earning wide eyed stares from all of them. "Aria Sir, we thought you were..." the Communication Asari said in disbelief, earning barely a reaction from her boss who looked out at the rest of Omega that they could see from the catwalk. "...what? That I was dead. Did everyone forget that I am a biotic, that I could just shield myself in a barrier? Because this wasn't the first time I have done that." she replied with little interest in her voice, but before anyone else could say anything to the Omega Leader, Vale spoke up. "So what do we do now, Aria?" "We need to make this Galvatron pay for this attack, so I will be seeking him out. But with our fleet being overrun and under siege by these Predacons, we need help." the Asari said back before looking over to her com officer. "I need you to get to the secondary communication relay near the bottom of this station, once there you are to make contact with Jackson Prime and request the help of his Autobots, and call in reinforcements from the rest of the Terminus systems." "And do not worry about the Predacons picking up your com-link signals, the array is also shielding them from enemy detection." Vale added as the blue Asari looked back with a worried look. "Okay, but I may need some help if I come up against any Predacons. My biotics are not that strong." Aria looked at her with a knowing loon before gesturing to the Vorcha and Salarian. "You two, take these and escort her to the com-relay." she said while equipping both her pistol and shotgun from her utility belt. "What about you?" the Salarian said back in an unsure tone. "I have this." she said as she held up fist and made it glow blue with biotic energy. The three nodded in return before heading off to the nearest elevator, leaving Aria and Vale alone on the catwalk. "So where to?" the Batarian asked. "We need to meet up with Nyreen and the Talons, they will be on the other side of the station right now at the sanctuary." the Omega Leader replied, earning a curious look from Vale. "The sanctuary?" "It is a large reinforced bunker that was built to keep the civilian population of Omega safe during an attack, and if things ever got worse there is also a shuttle-bay connected to it, with a number of escape shuttles." Aria said back as she activated her com-link. "Nyreen? Nyreen, are you there?" she said, hearing static in return before a familar voice spoke back, warming the Asari's heart. "Aria, thank god your alright. We heard reports that the Command-center was hit." "It was, but we all got out. How are things where you are?" the Asari said back. "The Talons have managed to evacuate half of the Civilian population to the sanctuary, having built up quite a defence there. But I am hearing reports that enemy troops are being deployed all over the station, our forces in those parts who are trying to secure the other civilians are being over run easily, it's something about these enemies being almost beast-like in nature. You should get down here and help me with the sanctuary's defence, at least until we can get the escape shuttles prepped for the civilians. Because I have a bad feeling about this." the Turian female replied with a slightly fearful tone to her voice, one that Aria noticed easily. "You know I won't just sit back and let these Predacons take the station, Nyreen. So, I was wondering if you could send a squad of your Talons to meet me at the reactor-core of Omega." Aria said back and with the silence that followed for a quick moment, she could tell that Nyreen was thinking it over or really just worrying about her. "Alright...I have a squad near that location, they will head there now and secure it until you arrive." the Turian replied. "Thank you, Nyreen." the Omega Leader said back, but almost immediately questioned again by her lover. "What is your plan then?" "I intend to make the core overload and channel it through the station's antennas that circle it's exterior." "You're going to turn the station itself into a weapon, what about everyone on board?" Nyreen replied, making the Asari smile in return. 'Nyreen's always thinking of others first, so cute.' she thought. "There is no need to worry, Nyreen. The antenna's were not primarily designed for this, but they can handle the energy. And the pathways that lead to them are heavily insulated, so that none of the energy can escape and damage any part of the station or its inhabitants. I am hopping that when released, the excess energy will be enough to cripple or destroy the dreadnought that has us outmatched. Once done, we can re-channel the energy back into our defence grid and take care of the rest of the ships." "Okay, that is a pretty good plan. My men will be waiting for you. Just double check on those insulated connections, because this place is almost ancient." Nyreen said back in a part cautious, part humorous tone. "Will do, I'll be back before you know it." Aria replied warmly as she deactivated the com-link, which surprised Vale as he watched. For he knew that the Turian had softened Aria somewhat, but still to see it up close was still a surprise. "Right, we need to..." the Asari began to say to him in her usual cold manner, but something caught her attention as a noise could be heard from within the part of the structure they had just left. "Did you hear that?" "Yeah, sounds close by." Vale replied as they heard the noise again, which was coming from the side of the structure overlooking the rest of the station. Then the noise occurred again and then again, getting louder each time. 'It sounds almost like someone is digging...' Aria thought before her eyes widened as it dawned on her what it was. "Hide!" the Asari shouted as both she and Vale hid behind one of the cargo containers that littered the catwalk, just as an explosion occurred on the side of the structure. Aria then peeked around the corner and could make out a massive hole in it's wall through the black smoke that billowed out of it, and she could see something moving inside. Suddenly Predaking emerged from the smoke and stood on all fours at the edge of the hole, looking at it's surroundings with what looked like a contemplative stare before roaring. Aria though just kept her eyes on the beast until it spread its wings and launched itself into the air, flying off to another location somewhere on the station. "Okay, follow me." the Asari said as soon as the coast was clear, with the two heading for a ladder that was connected to a nearby wall. "Now its going to take us a few hours to reach the reactor since it is located inside the asteroid that this station is built into, and there is only one elevator along the way and that is over fifteen levels above us in the mine." she explained as she grabbed hold of the ladder before looking back at the Batarian. "Well, we better get started then." he replied, earning a nod from the Omega Leader who began climbing up the ladder, Vale following behind as the sounds of explosions and gunfire echoed around them as the battle for Omega intensified. PRIME EFFECT 4 "Don't fail me again, Rip-Claw. Galvatron out!" the Predacon spat before deactivating the terminal, looking back at the Omega station as it appeared on the other side of the CIC's canopy. An aggravated expression appeared on his face, for this operation was taking longer than he had anticipated. 'Yes, we now have control of the fleet based here at Omega, after my Terracons boarded and secured each ship. But that means nothing if we do not kill Omega's Leadership, for I need them out of the way so that I can gain control of the rest of their fleet spread out in the Terminus systems.' he thought while clenching his hand into a fist and squeezed it tightly. 'So why did Rip-Claw have to go and give me news like that.' Galvatron while caught in his own thoughts, did not notice that most of the Terracons in the CIC were staring at him. "I think you should take notice of your surroundings." Megatron suddenly said as he stood beside Galvatron who was seated in the Captain's chair, earning a grunt from the Predacon in return. But he did then see the blank stares looking back at him, and this made the clone feel uncomfortable. "Get back to work!" he spat, making the others almost jump out of their skin, quickly refocusing on their individual tasks as he sat there and privately cursed at his continuing problem. Which at this moment was chuckling loudly to himself as he stood next to him. "Just keep pushing back, 'Galvatron'. Your crew already looks like they are beginning to question your sanity. Shouting and cursing at shadows isn't the ideal thing to do as a Leader, that I know from personal experience. But please continue, because it is fun to see you lose control." Megatron said with glee in his voice, but this made Galvatron's spark beat a little faster as his mind was awash with certain memories. Memories that were not his own, but those that belonged to the Decepticon Leader that he had inherited. He remembered a time when Megatron once spoke of prophecy and destiny as a dark power awakened on Earth, a power that was too great for the Cybetronian Tyrant to fully understand. He believed that he was the herald of that said dark power, a belief not shared by all among his warriors and so that brought with it distrust and a mutiny. This mutiny failed of course , but Galvatron knew that moment in his past was what he was on about. But as he thought on this moment and the dark power that was at the heart of it, the Predacon felt his spark-beat quickening more as it got hotter. Bringing a certain amount of pain to him so he clutched his chest, though feigning feeling okay when any of the Terracons glanced over to him. But if any of them had taken a closer look at their Leader, they would have noticed that his red eyes were slowly changing to purple as he gritted his teeth and tried to shift his focus back to the matter at hand. But even that was becoming a challenge as Megatron's voice was not the only one he could hear now, as even though the hallucination was still yapping away at his side, Galvatron could hear the mysterious voice faintly in his mind. "...Galvatron...Galvatron." Every time he heard the voice speak, his spark would give off a surge of energy through his body, which made him gasp and his eyes glow ever so slightly. "Lord Galvatron, are you alright?" one of the Terracons asked as Megatron stepped in between him and the Clone. "You're not looking so well. But then again, you're a pathetic copy of me. What am I to expect." Galvatron gritted his teeth even harder before rising out of his chair suddenly, knocking the Decepticon Leader off his feet as he did so and looked at the Terracon who spoke just now. "What is the current status of our mission?" he said as his eyes faded back to their original red, ignoring the hallucination that was now cursing as he climbed back to his feet. "My..Lord, our forces now control seventy percent of the station. The Omega forces are being out fought at nearly every angle." the soldier replied with an uneasy tone, uncertain about what his master would do next. "You said 'nearly'... what problems do we have remaining?" Galvatron asked. " There is an area of the station that is very well defended that we have been unable to penetrate, but sensor scans show that there are a lot of heat signatures in there." "What about Aria or that Turian of hers?" the Predacon Leader asked. "Still no sign. There is a significant possibility that one or both are in the heavily protected area. But since it is shielded from our sensors, we can not verify it." the Terracon replied as he turned his attention to his holo-interface. "Keep looking, we have already been at this longer than expected. I want them both found." Galvatron said back with a hint of annoyance in his voice, as his eyes were now back to their original red and his spark was beating normally again. 'What in the pit just happened to me?' he thought while sitting down in his chair, taking notice that Megatron had disappeared before looking back at the view-screen. 'And that voice, it felt more familiar this time. And it gave me strength.' But the Predacon Lord simply shook his head as he looked ahead at the Omega station. 'I will look into this more after we have taken the station.' he thought as he returned his attention back to their operation. PRIME EFFECT 4 Down in the recesses of Omega, at the very bottom of the station. The Asari comms officer and her two comrades walked past a pair of dead Terracons, who had bullet wounds in the center of their foreheads. "That was nice shooting, Slarr." the Asari said to the Vorcha who hissed his appreciation back. "Well, that was the first time I fired a gun at someone." he replied as the Salarian nervously watched their backs. "I still cannot believe that we got past those few enemy patrols, let alone all the way down here." he said as he glanced back at the others. "What do you mean, Asot? After you killed two of the three enemies back at the secondary junction on level three, I would have said you were a professional." the Asari said back with a slight smile. "I didn't know I had it in me, Enosa. After all, I am not a merc." Asot said back with an almost shy expression. "None of us are, not really. I mean, just because we grew up on Omega, that doesn't make us Mercenaries by default." Slarr Replied before the group exited the corridor to find themselves on a long balcony, one that gave them an almost perfect view of space as the backdrop showed off the star-field which surrounded the station. The group looked above them to see the rest of the station above them, revealing the three to be at the most bottom section of Omega "Wow, great view...except for those ships of course." Asot said as he stood next to Enosa and pointed towards the Predacon ships now orbiting the station. "Yes, it would and we can admire it later, once their gone." she replied before pointing at an armoured door just aways from them. "There it is, the station's secondary communications array." The other two looked and could see that the door was connected to a seperate building which had numerous antenna's and satellite dishes connected to it's underside. "Okay, we made it. Now let's get in there and contact the Autobots." Slarr replied as Enosa walked up to the door and activated her holo-tool, making a holo-image of a lock appear over the real version of the said object that was located at the door's centre. The Asari typed into her holo-interface which made the lock and it's holo-equivilent to spin around until they were matching, which was followed by an unlocking sound. "We're in." Enosa exclaimed as the Vorcha opened the door and gestured for them to enter. "You two, go ahead. I will guard this entrance, in case any enemies turn up." "Good luck." Asot said as he and the Asari entered the array. "You too." Slarr replied before taking position next to the door and keeping his weapon aimed at the doorway they had come out off. Once inside, Enosa and Asot found themselves surrounded by large super-computers and a single terminal which the Asari marched up to and activated, a orange and yellow holo-interface appearing in front of her. "How long do you think this is going to take?" the Salarian asked as Enosa typed away on the holo-keyboard, while text scrolled down the screen. "It's going to take a moment to boot up the system, and then I have to load up the Autobot frequencies before I can try and establish a connection." she replied while keeping her eyes on the data in front of her. "You know, you have told us we have done great getting you here. But truth be told, we would never have gotten even half way, if it hadn't been for the biotic barrier you used to protect us from the squad firing at us from above in the Ba'alah district. You sure have some talent there." Asot said back with a slightly shy smile, which made the Asari blush as she looked at him and mirrored his expression. "Your welcome, Asot. Though like yourself and Slarr, I too have not had any real combat training in my life. The best thing I could do was levitate some furniture, I have never been able to produce barriers before." "Well, you're fast learner." the Salarian said back, earning a contemplative look from Enosa as she waited for the terminal to finish it's booting up. "Have you ever thought about what you may have done if things had been different here on Omega?" This caught Asot by surprise as his black eyes widened, while looking into her own blue ones. "No…I mean, what do you mean?" "We all know what Omega was like before the Reaper War, how it was almost completely lawless. How Aria ran it like a fortress. It only began to change afterwards when Nyreen joined Aria's side and convinced her to let the station's civilians to help run the station and have an active role in it's functionality. Without the Talon Leader's influence, I would have more or less ended up as a stripper or prostitute. Slarr would have ended up joining the Blood Pack or worse…" she answered before the Salarian cut in. "…And I would have ended up in one of the many drug manufacturing facilities that used to run on the station." "Exactly, we could have had very different lives to those we lead now. This is because of Nyreen, since she helped give the people of Omega the right to choose their own path and not let Omega choose it for them." Enosa then turned back to the screen and looked at it as the boot-up finished, earning a curious look from Asot. "We may not be soldiers, but our home with our families and friends is under attack. So here I am, fighting to defend it….. for them…..and for Nyreen, because of the lasting change she brought to Omega and to it's Leader." "As will I and I am sure everyone else is too." the Salarian replied as he placed his hand on the Asari's shoulder in a supportive gesture, earning a smile from her as she looked back at him before pressing the red flashing button on the terminal's holo-keyboard, which brought the super-computers around them to full power. "Right, I am sending a standard distress call to all Omega vessels and colonies in the Terminus systems." she said as she executed a command on the holo-screen. "Great, now for the Autobots." Asot said with relief in his voice. Enosa then began typing away as she brought up a list of frequencies onto the screen, and attempted to activate them one at a time. But they remained inactive as one after another they became highlighted in a red hue, earning a frustrated expression from the Asari as the battle outside of the array could be heard. The fighting was in the streets, inside the very homes of the people of Omega, who were either cowering as the Talons fought around them against the Predacons, or taking a stand alongside them. But time was running out as the enemy were on the final stretch of the road to victory, and this was well known by Enosa who simply shook her head and began typing on the holo-keyboard again. "No, one of these frequencies has to work." she said as Asot watched her work away, a woman who was full of focus to her objective. Because she knew what would happen if she were to fail, and that was not an option. The Salarian meanwhile kept quiet, so to distract his friend in her task. But after a several attempts Enosa stopped and just looked down at the holo-keyboard. "It's not working, none of them are." she said in a desperate tone. "Perhaps the array is damaged?" Asot asked, making the Asari shake her head in response. "No, the array is working fine. And the signal is getting through, but there just hasn't been a response. It's almost as if the Federation has been blacked out, because someone would have received our distress call otherwise." "So what do we do?" the Salarian asked as the tone of his voice began to sound desperate, the reality of their situation beginning to dawn on him. "I don't know…" Enosa said before the holo-screen beeped at her, earning a curious look from the Asari and Salarian. "What is it?" Asot asked as his blue female friend looked at the screen and began to smile as a message scrolled down it. "Yes, the other colonies got our message and are sending reinforcements." she said before turning around and pulling the surprised Salarian into a hug. "That's great news." he replied as he found himself returning her embrace as they stood there in the array control room. PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile in the Nemesis CIC, the Terracon manning the communications terminal suddenly picked up a signal on his holo-screen, and so turned to Galvatron who was now on the catwalk over looking the room. "Lord Galvatron, I am picking up a signal from an area at the station's lowest point. It appears to be a communication array." he stated, earning a glare from the Predacon Lord who looked down at him from the catwalk. "Patch into their comms and please tell me that they have not called for reinforcements." he said back, making the Terracon turn his attention back to his terminal, typing away on the holo-interface before placing a finger up to his com-link as he listened. "Yes, they have, Sir, and the reinforcements are on their way." Galvatron gritted his teeth and clenched his fists as he looked away, trying to keep his anger from flaring up. "I want you to tell the fleet to be ready at the Space-bridge for the reinforcements arrival, and have one cruiser find and destroy this communication array. Do it now." he spat back at the Terracon, without even looking. Even the back of the Predacon Lord made the minion fearful as he got back on to his com-link, following his Leader's orders to the letter as Galvatron looked back out at the space station. "Cruiser 'Dragon's fire', Lord Galvatron orders you to head to these coordinates and destroy the array located there. And all remaining ships are to take up defensive positions around the space-bridge and ready themselves for the Omega reinforcements that will be appearing at any time now." As this was happening, Enosa and Asot were still in the Communication Array when the Asari's com-link activated. "This is Aria, have you reached the array yet?" the Omega Leader asked on the other side of the transmission. "Yes, we are here and the reinforcements are on their way." Enosa replied with a confident tone. "Excellent, and the Autobots?" "...There has been no response from them, Aria." the Asari replied. "How can that be? Are they ignoring us? Because I don't see Jackson Prime doing that." the Omega Leader said back in disbelief. "No, it's more like the signal is not being received." Enosa reported as she looked at the data on her holo-screen. Then for a long moment, Aria was quiet as if dwelling on her thoughts. "Are the Predacons jamming us?" she then asked. "No, they don't even know..." the young Asari said before being cut off by Slarr calling them." "Errr... Guys, you better see this." This made both Asot and Enosa walk back outside and saw the Vorcha pointing away from them, so they looked in that direction and saw an Autobot ship closing on their location. "Why is that coming here." Slarr hissed, while Enosa put her hand to her com-link because Aria was still talking in her ear.. "Enosa, what is going on? Answer me!" the Omega Leader demanded. "They have found us Aria, a cruiser has arrived a the Array." the young Asari said back in a somewhat calm manner, as if she knew what was about to happen and yet had accepted it. "We have to get out of here." Asot said before all three noticed that the gun ports of the cruiser were open and began to glow. "It's too late." Enosa declared as she tapped her com-link. "Aria, we've done what we can. I just wish..." she started to say before she and her friends attention was distracted by the cruiser as it fired three torpedoes, which hurtled towards them at velocity. And suddenly everything seemed to slow down around her as the three bright red lights drew closer. Enosa found herself engrossed by them and took a deep breath which was cut short as the projectiles hit the array, causing it to explode and send debris out in all directions. The ship then began to move away, heading back to the rest of the fleet. And as they left the wreckage of what was once the communication array, little thought was given to the three children of Omega who had just died in it's defence. The Terracon who was manning the communication terminal in the Nemesis CIC looked at his holo-screen as a message appeared, earning a smile from him as he turned around and looked up at Galvatron who was standing over him on the catwalk. "Lord Galvatron, I have just received word that the secondary communications array has been destroyed." The Predacon Leader smiled back as he sighed in relief, earning a similar feeling from the minion. "Good. Hopefully, we have stopped them in time." Galvatron replied, but then the Terracon's holo-interface beeped which made him look back at it. This earned a curious expression from the Lord as he looked down at his crewman. "What is it?" "Our systems are picking up several comm signals from all over the station, the secondary array must have been shielding them from us. But with it destroyed, they are now available to us." the Terracon replied. "Well, who are they?" the Predacon Leader asked, the tone of his voice showing signs of impatience. "One is coming from the currently contested area which houses a very large number of civilians... and it matches Nyreen Kandros." the minion replied quickly, hoping to keep his master from growing angry. "Can you pinpoint Aria?" Galvatron then asked. "Yes, Her signal is coming from within the asteroid that Omega is built into. It is nearing the station's reactor-core." the Terracon replied as he looked up at his master, who's expression became one of concern, as Galvatron began to picture in his mind what the desperate Asari may be up to. So he turned around and looked over to the Helm station. "Activate the ground-bridge and open a portal in the Reactor-core area." he snapped, earning a hesitant but fast response from the Terracon manning it. And before a few seconds had passed, a bright green vortex opened up behind the Predacon who turned round and began to walk towards it. "My Lord, allow me to have some Terracons join you?" one of the crewmen said, earning a glance from Galvatron. "No, I will deal with Aria myself. Inform Six-Shot that he is in charge of the fleet until I return." And with that the Lord of the Predacons walked through the vortex which closed behind him, leaving the Terracons to return to their duties. PRIME EFFECT 4 A moment earlier… In a dimly lit tunnel inside Omega's Mine, Aria was holding her hand to her com-link as Vale kept an eye out for any more Terracons. The Asari had just lost contact with her team down at the Communication array, and had tried to reacquire their signal. "Still can't reach them?" the Batarian asked as he looked back down the tunnel they had come from, making the Aria shake her head in return. "I don't think they are there anymore." she replied coldly, though Vale could swear that there was a slither of pain in her voice. "A lot of Omega's people have lost their lives today, but we can't stop and mourn for them now. Not while these Predacons are still here." he said, earning a nod from the Asari who looked back, her facial expression one of cold anger now. "Yes, let's get this done already. These Predacons will rue the day they attacked us, I swear it." she replied as they again moved forward with their torches lighting the way through the darkness ahead. "How far are we from the reactor-core? Because we have been in these mines for over an hour." Vale asked, since the journey to their current location had taken a somewhat longer time than Aria had predicted at the beginning. Which had probably been down to the fact that they had fought their way through several groups of enemy soldiers in the various districts that lay between the destroyed Command Center and the Mines. But since entering the old and mainly disused Mining system, the pair had not come across a single Predacon…..which Vale found to be a relief. "It is right ahead of us." the Asari answered as she shone her torch light ahead of them, revealing a large rusted metal door. As they both walked over to it, Aria activated her holo-tool and by typing a command into it's interface, a sudden unlocking sound echoed through the tunnel and the door opened up, revealing a small corridor with metallic walls and ceiling. "Welcome to the heart of Omega." the Asari exclaimed as they walked through it and into a massive room with multiple open floors above them which were populated with giant machinery that were connected by various pipes, cables which flowed around the room. It all looked very industrial as in the center of it was the reactor, a massive cylinder that reached up into the room's very heights, and was glowing and crackling with blue and purple energy. And all of the pipes and cables were connected to it. "Impressive, so what do we do now?" Vale asked as they walked onto the balcony directly in front of the station's heart, which had a number of terminals in the middle of it. "We can re-route and begin the power discharge from these terminals." the Aria replied as they walked up to them, the Asari activated them with her holo-tool. Making a number of holo-interfaces appear showing the status or the core and a number of functions at their disposal. "Use that right hand side terminal to change the flow of the power as I use this one to build up the charge." the Asari said as they both got to work on the task at hand, using the orange glowing inter-faces. A few minutes past as they typed away on their respective terminals holo-keyboards before Aria pressed on final command. "Okay, looks like we are in business." she said with a slight smile as a green light activated on her screen. "Same here, I have switched and rerouted the power grid to allow for the discharge. Certain areas of the station will lose power and life support, but they can get by for a few minutes until we are done." Vale said, earning a concerned look from Aria. "What about the Sanctuary? Will that area also be effected?" "No, I have made sure that it will be fine." the Batarian replied, making the Omega Leader sigh with relief. "Good, last thing I want is for Nyreen to tear me a new one for putting the civilian population at risk. Now, it's time to give Omega the advantage." she said back confidently as she prepared to press the initiation button. "Omega lost the advantage a long time ago." a familiar voice spoke from behind the pair, making them spin round and see Galvatron standing before them with his own weapon aimed at them. A space bridge portal could be seen closing in the doorway behind the Predacon Leader as he smiled darkly back at them. "You seem very confident about that." Aria replied, making the Con narrow his red eyes at her. "My fleet surrounds Omega and my Terracons have taken control of the vast majority of the station. Surrender now and maybe I will spare your civilians any more suffering." "I will not surrender, not to you or anyone else. For I have reinforcements that should be here any moment now." the Asari replied. "And my ships will shoot them down the moment they exit the space-bridge. I think you should re-evaluate your position here." Galvatron countered, but Aria just smirked back. "I also have made contact with Jackson Prime of the Autobots, and he is sending his fleet to assist us." she then lied, hoping to ignite a spark of doubt in her confident adversary. But then the Predacon Leader's smile widened as he gave her a knowing look. "I seriously doubt that, since the Prime is my prisoner and his Autobots are in no condition to help you." "You lie." Vale spoke up with a wide-eyed look of disbelief as he held his gun at the Predacon, gaining Galvatron's stare as he kept his weapon trained on both him and Aria. "Believe me or not, but it is the truth. So put down your weapons and surrender, or I will kill you both." he replied with a cold intensity that had Vale pondering on his choices, but Aria clenched her hands into fists as she stared back with a similar expression. "Never! You said you would kill me, I would really like to see you try." she said back as her fists began to glow with biotic energy. "Very well, this should be most interesting." Galvatron replied as the three stood ready in a sort of Mexican stand-off, waiting to see who would make the first move.
  18. CHAPTER XXI Twelve hours earlier It was very quiet inside the Captain's quarters as Galvatron sat at his desk, staring at the Covenant of Primus that lay in front of him. It had been an hour since he gave the order for his fleet to prepare for the attack against Omega, and he was starting to get impatient. He thought waiting in his room would be a good idea, since he would have time to examine the relic of the Primes. But instead he had just passed the time by staring at the book, having suddenly felt indecisive about it. 'Why did I pick this up? I mean, I did so for a reason and have meant to look at it in more detail, but here I am staring at it. What is wrong with me? Why don't I just open it?' he thought before shaking his head. "A more important question is why in the pit do you think so much?" a familiar voice replied, making the Predacon's eyes narrow as he gritted his teeth in response. "Get out!" he spat without even bothering to look as Megatron stood against the wall and looked down at him with a disgusted expression. "Well, since you asked so nicely...I think, I will...not." he chuckled, earning a groan from Galvatron which made his grin grow a little wider. "Why can't you just leave me alone? Even for a moment?" the Predacon Leader said in an almost pleading like tone, making the Decepticon kneel beside him. "Why do we keep going round in circles like this? You know why I will not leave you alone, there is no need for me to repeat it." He then reached out and grabbed Galvatron's hand, which was near the relic's cover and moved it away. "Forget about this over decorated paper-weight and just accept the truth." he added as he dropped the Con's hand into his lap, not even receiving a reaction from his Clone, who simply kept his eyes on the relic. But Megatron just knelt there and stared at Galvatron as he waited for a response, before finally rolling his eyes and sighing as he got back to his feet. "So this is your plan, simply try to ignore me completely? Well let me show you how well that will work." he said before slamming his fist into the Predacon's head, knocking him off his chair and onto the floor, before standing over Galvatron who got on to his hands and knees. "You cannot simply close your eyes and wish me away, Clone, nor can you treat me like I am not even here. Because every time that you do, this will happen. I do not even care if anyone sees this...but I know you do." he spat at him with clenched fists at the ready, as the Predacon looked up with pure hate in his eyes at his hallucination while a little blood ran down his chin from the edge of his mouth. But still he said nothing, which made Megatron even angrier as he punched his Clone again. "You don't want to learn...fine, but that doesn't mean I can't beat it into you." he raged while grabbing Galvatron by the hair on his head and raising his other fist, readying it to strike. But suddenly the room's inter-com activated and Six-Shot's voice echoed in the room. "Lord Gavlatron, your presence is requested in the CIC." For a long moment there was no answer as both stared daggers at each other. "My Lord?" his lieutenant said again with a confused tone to his voice. But Megatron instead chose to ignore it and threw another punch at his Clone's face, only for Galvatron to block it this time with his arm. The Decepticon Leader's optics widened in surprise as the Predacon then pushed him away, looking at him with a stare that could melt through anything as his spark burned with silent rage. "Lord Galvatron?" Six-Shot asked again over the inter-com. "I am on my way, Six-Shot. Galvatron out." he replied before walking past the suddenly quiet hallucination as he left the room, being sure to pick up a cloth on his way out. And it wasn't until the Predacon was walking down the corridor towards the elevator and wiping the blood from his face while doing so, that it dawned on him what had just happened. 'How did I stop Megatron from hitting me? How was I able to touch him?' he thought as he stopped and stood there in the middle of the corridor, completely confused by what had transpired. And it was then at that moment Galvatron heard a voice echoing faintly through the corridor, just as his spark began to burn up which made him clutch his chest. "Galvatron!" The Predacon recognised the voice as the one he had heard in his dream, but at this moment he was awake. He looked around as the voice echoed around him, while holding his hand to his chest due due to the pain that his spark was putting him through. "Galvatron!" Suddenly the Clone felt a hand touch his shoulder as everything went quiet, and the pain instantly stopped. "Galvatron?" another voice spoke, making Galvatron spin round with his fists ready. But he found that he was face to face with a confused looking Darksteel. "Lord Galvatron?" he asked with a puzzled tone. "What is it, Darksteel?" "Are you alright, Sir?" the Con asked with an honest and subservient expression. "I am fine, please return to your duties." Galvatron replied as he tried to sound in control, earning an unsure look from the other Predacon. But then Darksteel nodded without question and carried on past him down the corridor. 'What in the pit just happened to me?' Galvatron thought as he walked over to the elevator, pressing the call button on it's control panel and waiting for it to arrive. But when he could think of no answer to the question, he turned his thoughts to another problem. 'I have to be more careful, luckily Darksteel is young and naive and also fears me. So I don't expect any trouble from him about what he just witnessed. But if that had been someone like Six-Shot, I would have had to take steps to make sure that he does not speak...wait, what am I thinking!' the Predacon Leader thought as he found these dark thoughts of killing his own men troubling. "Now you're starting to think like me." Megatron suddenly said as he appeared behind the Clone, earning a groan from Galvatron. "I wouldn't get used to the idea of fighting back, because it won't end well for you." the hallucination warned with a cold tone, but luckily for Galvatron the elevator arrive and opened for him. So he ignored the Decepticon Leader and entered it, the doors closing behind him and shutting the ghost out. 'This madness has to stop.' he thought as he stood there in the elevator, which took him to the CIC. As Galvatron walked into the Nemesis's CIC, he saw that it was a buzz with activity as all the stations were manned by Terracons and a number of his Lieutenants were standing at the command station that overlooked the entire room. Standing there was Lazerback, Blight, Vertebreak and they were watching Six-shot, who was typing commands into the station's holo-interface. The Con then heard footsteps approaching them and turned to see their leader. "Lord Galvatron, I thought you would like to know that the fleet is fully prepared and waiting for your orders at the space-bridge." The Predacon Lord looked at the holo-screen and saw the IFFs of each of their ships, and was thankful that something had come up which could take his mind off what had happened earlier, at least for a while. So he walked past his men and joined Six-Shot at the console and typed into it's holo-interface, activating communications. "All ships, this is Lord Galvatron. Enter the space-bridge for Omega, your targets are the Cruisers which stand guard on Omega's side of the space-bridge. Once you draw the remainder of their forces away from the station, the Nemesis will jump in close and disable its defences while also deploying troops aboard Omega via our space-bridge. Once we conquer Omega and control its resources, we Predacons will be invincible and the Autobos will fall at our feet." he said as he looked out of the CIC's canopy, viewing the inactive space-bridge and the Predacon fleet that was positioned in front of it. "Let's begin." he added with a finality to his voice before deactivating the transmission, and looking over to the Terracon manning the helm. "Power up our space-bridge generator and set battle stations throughout the ship." the Predacon leader ordered, earning a fearful nod from the minion who then typed on the holo-interface of his console as the lighting dimmed a little more and the battle alert siren blared through the inter-com throughout the ship. Galvatron and his lieutenants then watched as the green vortex of the space-bridge came to life and expanded, before the fleet then flew into it, leaving the Nemesis alone while it waited for it's turn. PRIME EFFECT 4 Five minutes earlier... It had been a slow week for the crew of the mercenary cruiser 'Vindicator', which had been on patrol duty around the Omega system. And as the Batarian captain sat in his chair and observed his crew working around him on the bridge, he could not help but wish for some a action. For since Aria T'Loak had gained command of every Merc organisation in the Terminus systems, courtesy of the Autobots and Jackson Prime some twenty five years earlier, there had not been as many battles or raids as there used to be. The Asari had turned the once lawless region of the galaxy - a place where even the now defunct Citadel Council would not dare go...without the entire fleet of course - into a law-abiding Empire with only one law that mattered...'Don't fuck with Aria!' She had the entire Terminus systems at her bidding, which should have brought a lot of fear to those that called the area home. But it would appear that having her lover Nyreen Kandros with her had diluted Aria's cold and merciless nature somewhat, which showed with how the Asari treated the very civilians who lived on Omega, allowing them certain freedoms and liberties that the past Aria would not have even wasted a thought on. The biggest trouble even bothering Omega now, was the border skirmishes with the Autobots. Which were generally orchestrated by Aria as a means of reminding the Federation that Omega was still there. Of course, she wasn't going to declare war on the ones that been responsible for her current standing, but she did like to mess with Jackson Prime. It was something that Prime was only to aware of, and no one had ever been killed in the said skirmishes. And so this was how things were now in the Terminus systems or what it was now known as the 'Omega Syndicate', a grittier and darker but still no less stable version of what had been created in the Federation. "Captain!" a voice called out, snapping the Batarian out from his thoughts as he looked in the direction of the voice to see a Vorcha looking back from his station. "Report." the Batarian replied. "Sir, our sensors are picking up a power increase in the space-bridge, I think it is about to activate." The Captain looked over to communications station, manned by another Vorcha, who was monitoring all the channels. "Do we have any ships scheduled to arrive at this time?" he asked, earning a focused expression from the crewman who looked at his holo-interface as he used it to go through their records. "Negative, Sir. We have no one due to arrive today...or for the rest of the week." "Alright, alert all ships to go to battle-stations. And bring our weapons online. I want us all ready for whatever comes through." the Batarian said, the coms officer then nodded in return before speaking into his com-link, relaying his orders to the rest of the fleet. "Sir, weapons and shields are online. And all decks report combat ready." a Human officer responded when suddenly the space-bridge activated and a giant vortex appeared and expanded before the fleet, illuminating them all in green light. "Unscheduled space-bridge activation." the Asari manning the sensors reported as everyone watched the swirling portal a head of them. "Stand by, only fire if fired upon." the Batarain replied through his com-link to the other ship Captains. But then suddenly a ship appeared as it exited the vortex's event horizon and entered the system, and then followed by another and another. "Sir, the ships are registering as Autobot." the sensors officer reported, earning a confused look from the Captain. "But the Autobots have never tried anything like this." he replied as more and more ships exited the vortex. "Have any of the ships locked weapons?" he then asked, making the officer fumble around with his holo-interface as the irregularity of the situation effected him. "No, Sir. There has been no...oh no!" he the said, eyes widening as he looked at the screen. "What, what is it!" the Batarian replied with panic evident in his voice. "I am picking up a power spike in their..." he started to say before the incoming cruisers all opened fire, filling the void with torpedoes and energy blasts that ripped through the Omega fleet. Causing untold damage to several ships while draining the shields of the rest. "All ships, return fire! I repeat, fire at will!" the Captain shouted into his com-link as even more enemy ships exited the space-bridge and opened fire. Almost instantly, the Omega cruisers returned the weapons fire in kind but all that came of it was a blue hue glowing around all the ships as their torpedoes and cannon fire impacted harmlessly against the enemies shields. The bridge of the Vindicator was rocked by several direct hits from the three cruisers directly ahead as the Captain turned to the Com officer. "Get me a link with Omega right now?" he shouted as three stations exploded, sending the crew manning them flying off their chairs and onto the ground. PRIME EFFECT 4 A moment or two earlier All was quiet in Aria's quarters as the Asari lay on her king sized bed with only a single silk sheet covering her and Nyreen's naked bodies as they lied together in each others arms. The only sounds that could be heard was the slight hum coming from the Station's life support system, while the other was the soft and faint breathing of her Turian lover who lied her head on the Asari's chest and listened to her heart beat as they both rested. "Well, was that good for you, Nyreen?" Aria asked with a coy tone as she looked down at her lover, who simply sighed in return as she lied there happy and content. "It always has been between us, Aria. Why do you keep asking, when you already know the answer?" "I like seeing your reaction, it's always so cute." Aria teased so Nyreen moved her hand down between the Asari's legs and brushed her now very sensitive sex. This made the purple woman gasp in pleasure before breathing a little heavier, which earned a chuckle from Nyreen. "I enjoy your reactions too." she teased back. "Now, that wasn't fair." Aria replied as she too chuckled a little. "You're the one that brings biotics into the bedroom, you know I cannot one up you there. So I do what I can." the Turian female said back before brushing the Asari's sex again, earning a moan from Aria before she suddenly rolled the pair over so that she was no on top and in control. She smiled down at Nyreen before moving her own hand down to the Turian's sex and doing the same, making her lover shiver and moan in response. "You know, I can do this too." she said as her lover's eyes rolled back, being unable to resist the pleasurable feelings coursing out from between her legs. "I...know, I...want you to." she managed to say between the sweet moans she let out, while Aria continued to play with her sex. "So what were you...!" The Asari manages to say before she suddenly gasped again, having not realised that Nyreen had slipped her hand down between her legs and was returning the feeling. "Damn...it." the purple Woman said between the moans as both females pleasured each other for a long moment, their fingers moving faster as they both caressed each others sexes until they cried out in unison before then falling into each others arms while breathing heavily, having been overpowered by the intense feelings that washed over them as they had orgasmed. "I thought you wanted to sleep?" Nyreen asked between breathes as she curled up next to her panting Asari, who smiled back coyly. "I didn't start it though, you did." "Yes, yes, I did...for once. And I think that despite the fact that you love to be in control, that you also enjoy being controlled from time to time." the Turian said back, earning a inquisitive smile from Aria who sat up slightly, resting her hand on her arm while never taking her eyes off Nyreen. "You know me so well, Nyreen. And you are right, I have lived nearly one thousand years and in that time I can count on one hand the number of people that I can say I trust. But there is only one person who I trust implicitly with my body and heart, and I am looking at her." Nyreen blushed a little as her heart warmed at the Asari's admission, reaching out and cupping her face with a hand. "I love you too, Aria." she replied, earning an appreciative if uncomfortable smile from the Asari. Which made Nyreen think on her lover's words, for Aria had never said the word 'Love' to describe her feelings for the Turian, not once. But Nyreen knew that despite this, the Asari did love her deeply. Perhaps all the centuries of pain and betrayal had made Aria believe that word was false, but with how their relationship had grown over the past twenty five years. Nyreen knew without doubt what she meant to Aria, even if her lover never used the word that explained it best. The pair then lied there on the bed, just enjoying the silence and slowly allowing sleep to take them. But it was then all shattered by the intruding sound of the inter-com activating. "Aria, I apologise for the interruption." a voice spoke on the other end, earning an aggravated expression from the Asari as she and Nyreen sat up. "You better have a good excuse for this, Vale, or I will flay you alive." she replied with a poisonous tone, for having her private time with her Turian partner shattered. "We are under attack...by the Autobots. Their ships are engaging ours at the space-bridge." Vale said back, making Aria activate her holo-tool. "Patch me into our sensors and show me the battle...now!" she said and before a moment had even passed, a holo-creation of the battle appeared over her holo-tool as red and blue coloured ships fought one another. Nyreen watched quietly as the Asari narrowed her eyes and looked at the readings that appeared over each enemy ship. "These are not Autobot ships." she then said confidently. "But, Aria, they all have the Autobot insignia printed on their hull." Vale replied in a disbelieving tone. "But if you looked at their IFF readouts, you would noticed that they are completely different. These ones are...Predacon?" Nyreen gave a confused look to her lover as the name did not ring a bell with her. "Never heard of them." Vale responded in return. "Doesn't matter who they are though, because they have just made the biggest mistake of their short lives. Send in our ships protecting the station and activate our defences. Nyreen and I are heading to the command center." Aria replied before shutting off the inter-com and her holo-tool. "I should head down to the Talons and begin preparations to protect the civilian population." Nyreen then said as they both got off the bed and started to get changed. "I knew you were going to suggest that, very well." Aria replied as she buttoned up her top, before they both then walked over to the exit. "Well, you know me just as well as I know you." the Turian said back before giving Aria a kiss. "Then I will see you the moment this is over then." "Looking forward to it, very much so." Nyreen said before they both walked out of the room with the door closing behind them. PRIME EFFECT 4 The battle at the space-bridge raged on as the vortex closed after the last of the Predacon ships exited the event horizon, firing it's weapons instantly at the Omega vessels that stood between them and the station. The sides seemed evenly matched as the defending cruisers had now adapted to the surprise attack and was now working in a more unified fashion, keeping the enemy vessels at bay with coordinated volleys of torpedoes and cannon fire. In Omega's Command Center, which was a circular shaped hall with terminals positioned around a large holo-display that was at this moment showing the battle currently taking place outside the station. Every terminal was manned and active as a Batarian walked around and observed everyone around him, he was wearing brown combat armour and had a scar running down the right side of his face. He narrowed his four eyes as he looked up at the red and blue recreation of the battle, for he was not sure what to make of these Predacons. 'What are they waiting for, if this was a simple invasion tactic then they would attempt to rush our fleet.' he thought as he analysed the data playing out before him. "Vale, report." Aria called as she entered the room and walked up to his side. "Our fleet has the enemy bottled up at the space-bridge. It was not easy, having to deal with a surprise attack. But the cruisers have now caught on and are keeping the Predacon ships at bay." the Batarian replied as the Asari looked over the battle data appearing on the holo-display. "Good, then lets finish this by sending in our ships defending the station. You did send my orders to them…yes?" Vale looked at Aria with a curious expression. "I did, but I also told them to wait." he said back, making the Omega leader stare back with a slightly aggravated look. "Why haven't you sent them?" "Because our current forces are now containing the enemy, sending in the rest seems like overkill to me. I think it would be best to keep our defence fleet where it is, because this attack just doesn't make sense to me." Vale replied in an honest and professional manner, but Aria felt herself getting angry at his lack of obedience. "When I give a command, I expect it to be followed to the latter." she spat back, making the Batarian bite his lip as his own anger was being stirred by the Asari. "You gave me this position because of my tactical thinking, but you won't just let yourself trust my judgement. If you call those cruisers in to the battle, you will leave the station venerable to attack." he spat back, gaining the attention of the rest of the crew working in the Command Center. For it wasn't every day that they witnessed someone banging heads with Aria, usually because they never lasted very long after it. "Are you forgetting that thanks to MECH, 'my station' now has enough firepower to defend it self from a fleet of dreadnoughts. Plus the Space-bridge is the only way in and out of this system and it is blocked, like you said. Omega is completely safe. So I want this battle over quickly and those Predacons to know what happens to those who fuck with me…..so send in the ships now!" Aria nearly screamed in Vale's face as her own was now filled with rage as she clenched her fists, a blue like glow emanated from them. The Batarian finally broke and shook his head as he sighed and tapped his com-link in return. "Defence fleet, this is Lt. Commander Vale. Execute Aria's orders and engage the enemy ships." He then looked back at the Asari with a disdainful expression, hoping to the 'Pillars of Strength' that they weren't making a fatal mistake. The cruisers that were orbiting the massive space station then broke away and moved toward the ensuing battle at the mouth of the Space-bridge, before opening fire on the Predacon ships which now had to fight a battle on two fronts. In the Command Center, Aria smiled as she watched the battle on the holo-screen. Her Omega fleet were now outnumbering the enemy ships by nearly two to one, which were odds that she loved to play. But Vale looked less sure of the situation as he watched it unfold, unable to shake off the feeling that something was off. 'Something bad is going to happen, I don't need to be an expert to see that and yet the Asari with nearly a thousand years of experience can not.' he thought as he glanced over to the Omega leader who was all smiles, shaking his head again at what he saw. But then his fears were answered when a Salarian looked up from the holo-interface of his terminal with a confused expression. "Sirs, I have detected an unusual anomaly less than three kilometres away from the station." he said in a worried tone, gaining the attention of both Aria and Vale. "Show us." Vale replied, before the Asari could even voice her thoughts on it. And the Salarian then used his terminal to bring up an image of the Omega station on the main holo-display, showing the pulsing energy signature next to it. "What is that?" Aria asked, looking over to the Salarian. But then her eyes caught the Batarian's expression as his eyes widened in response. "It can't be…" he said before looking over to the defence station. "I want all beam cannons on that side of the station targeting that anomaly now, and raise the station's shields." he directed, earning an annoyed look from Aria. "What the hell are you doing?" she said back in disgust that he had given an order without running past her first, but the Batarian ignored her as he walked over and stood beside the Vorcha manning the defence station. "Vale!" she spat as she stormed over to him, earning a sigh from the Lt Commander. "I am doing my job, Aria, the one you gave me to do. Now let me do it before we are attacked!" he replied with as much control over his growing anger as he could muster, considering how the Asari was riding him right now. "Then explain what that is then." Aria said back as she pointed at the anomaly. "It's energy signature matches that of the space-bridge before a vortex is opened and it seems that…." the Batarian began to say before the Salarian cut him off. "The energy signature is changing, we have a Space-bridge vortex opening beside the station." he said back in a panicky tone as outside, the green energy vortex opened and expanded. "There is something coming through." the Salarian added as Vale looked down at the Vorcha sitting next to him. "Fire the cannons the instant whatever it is comes through,…understand?" he said in a commanding tone, gaining a nod from the officer, just as another ship appeared on the holo-display next to the vortex. The Salarian then immediately pressed the firing button on his holo-interface. The station's beam cannons suddenly charged up and fired red pulsing beams of energy directly at the large black dreadnought that exited the vortex, each beam though impacted on the new arrival's shields which flickered with a blue hue as their energies reacted to each other. But once the attack was finished, the dreadnought was still there and closing on the station. "Our attacks had no effect, their shields absorbed the beams." the Salarian stated in a shocked tone, earning a look of utter disbelief from Aria. "That's not possible, our cannons are derived from the same beam cannons that the Reapers had. There is no way anyone could have learned to counter them." "Well, it seems like they have." Vale replied before the holo-interface on the Salarian's terminal began to beep loudly, gaining their attention. "Sirs, their weapons are powering up." "Shields to maximum!" Aria shouted before suddenly the dreadnought opened fire with it's torpedoes, sending a spread of the red glowing projectiles at the Station. Impacting against it's shields and greatly draining their power, as the shield strength monitor on the defence terminal dipped dramatically from one hundred percent all the way down to ten. "Sir, those weapons are powerful. We can't take another attack like that." the Vorcha said in a panic as the Salarian's terminal beeped again. "They are firing again!" he exclaimed before the entire room shook as the following spread of torpedoes broke through the shields and impacted at different spots of the station. "What the hell!" Aria shouted as the terminals flickered on and off due to a drop of power to the Command Center. "Shields are down, and the enemy dreadnought has taken out not only the weapon emplacements on this side of Omega, but also the power lines connected to the defence grid." another Batarian said from the engineering terminal at the other side of the holo-display. "Then that means…." the Asari said in complete disbelief, before suddenly being cut off by Vale. "That we are completely defenceless." Aria then turned to the Communications terminal that was being manned by another Asari. "Contact the fleet, and get them to attack that dreadnought." "They can't help us, Aria." Vale said, earning the Omega Leader's attention as she turned to find him looking up at the holo-display of the battle. And she could see what he meant as their fleet was still in the middle of holding back the Predacon ships. "Sirs, the dreadnought is moving away." the Salarian suddenly said as he brought up the image from his screen to the larger holo-display they were currently watching. It showed the dreadnought turning around and facing the battle at the space-bridge. "What is it doing?" Aria asked before suddenly watching as it fired several spreads of torpedoes down towards the battle, which then impacted and destroyed several of the Omega cruisers. Greatly tipping the tide of the fight in the Predacons favour. "Oh my god, they are going to overrun us now." Vale said as he felt all his fears coming true. 'Why the hell didn't that Asari bitch listen to me!' he thought before looking over to Aria who was just watching the holo-display as it showed the Dreadnought turning back round to face the station. "Uh, Sirs. That dreadnought is targeting us again, and the other enemy ships are now disabling the rest of our cruisers." the Salarian stated, earning a confused expression from both Aria and Vale. "What, why are they not destroying them?" she asked before the Asari at the coms terminal turned round to face them while holding a hand up to her com-link. "We are being hailed." Aria clenched her fist while looking down at the ground beneath her feet, dwelling on the current development. 'I am not losing this station again, I won't!' she thought before looking back at the Asari. "Put him on screen." she said, making the officer work her terminal and suddenly the holo-display which had been showing the battle outside deactivated for a split second before then showing a Caucasian man in his mid-forties staring back, his red eyes seemingly staring right through them as a smirk appeared on his face. "The great Aria T'Loak, I suppose." he said, making the Asari narrow her eyes as she felt her rage building up in her heart. "And who the hell are you?" she spat back, making the unknown man's smirk grow larger as he drank in the angry display that she was showing. "My name is Lord Galvatron of the Predacons, and I am here to discuss terms of your surrender." he spoke back in a calm manner, which was a polar opposite of the Omega Leader. "Well, you must definitely be new around these parts. Because otherwise you would know that nobody fucks with me." she spat back, trying to get under the Predacon's skin. But Galvatron merely shrugged in response. "I do not wish for your forces to be destroyed. As I speak, my forces are disabling your cruisers." "And why is that?" Vale spoke up, getting the question in before Aria could spit out any more angry remarks. Which earned him an angry stare from the Asari. "Because I want the forces of Omega to join under my flag, which I cannot guarantee if you keep fighting me." the Predacon Leader replied, earning a thoughtful look from the Batarian Commander as he dwelled on the offer. But before he could say anything else, Aria suddenly spoke up. "Then you can forget it, because my forces will fight you to the bitter end. Because they are more afraid of me than they are of you." she said with an angry and overconfident tone, which earned her a lot of wide-eyed looks that did not go unnoticed by the Asari. But she ignored them, looking back to see Galvatron's red eyes narrow as he leaned closer to the screen. "Then prepare to be boarded….. and if you survive what happens next, then I will kill you myself." the Predacon said back with a coldness that made Aria fearful for a split second, though she did not show it. Galvatron then looked away as he conversed with one of his men off screen. "Prepare the Terracons…..and release Predaking!" he said before the transmission cut off, leaving everyone in the room looking around in wide-eyed fear. "What the hell did you do?" Vale spat back at Aria who then simply grabbed him by the throat, her hand starting to glow with biotic energy as she stared at his eyes. "I will not lose Omega again, and I am sick of your attitude towards me. So I give you a choice…" she said before looking around at the others. "…I give you all a choice. You can either fight for me, or you will die now at my hands." she said as her whole body began to glow with a blue hue as her biotics powered up. "What say you!" she said back with anger underlining her words before looking back at Vale. "What say you!" "I will fight." the Batarian managed to say despite the pressure on his neck. "So will we all." the others all said with a fearful tone, which made the Asari smirk before she dropped the Lt. Commander to the floor and turned to the crew, not noticing the dagger like stare the Batarian was giving her behind her back. "We will defend our home and drive them back to wherever they came from, now prepare for the ground assault. Now ready our troops." Aria commanded, earning a nod from the Asari at the communication terminal who spoke into her com-link before looking back to her. "They are readying as I speak sir, but what did that Galvatron mean by 'Predaking'?" she asked, gaining a concerned look from the Omega Leader. "I do not know, but we will face it just as we have faced every enemy that has taken arms against us. MECH, the Reapers, the Predacons. It does not….." she started to say before a bright green light suddenly appeared near the Command Center's entrance. "What the…" Aria said as they all stared at the swirling green anomaly. "A space-bridge vortex, here?" Vale said as he got back onto his feet and stepped back as he joined Aria who looked up at it and clenched her fists, which glowed with biotic energy. "Stand fast, because no matter what comes through that vortex, we will kill it regardless." The suddenly a giant black and orange metallic Dragon came through the vortex and landed in the room which was just barely large enough for it, making the crewmen situated there flee as it stood on all fours with it's wings folded on it's back. The beast looked around before raising it's head and roaring loudly which made the entire room shake, like it had been hit by an earthquake before looking down at Aria and Vale. It's yellow optics narrowed as it stared at the Asari, like it recognised her somehow. The Omega leader took a defensive stance as her body began to glow with biotic energy, readying herself for a fight. The Dragon though opened it's mouth and revealed itself to be charging up some kind of blast, as a fiery light could be seen from the back of it's throat. Aria realised what it was going to do and using her biotics, pushed Vale out of the way as Predaking unleashed a fiery blast which enveloped her instantly, leaving the Batarian to look back with in wide-eyed shock at the spot where the Asari stood which was now up in flames. 'She saved me!' he thought, but then he heard a growl and looked up to see the Beast staring down at him with it's teeth bared, readying to strike.
  19. CHAPTER XX The breeze was soft and calm as it brushed the long grass which then gently moved in a unified effect, looking like an ocean at peace as Ser-Ket took in her surroundings. The Predacon found herself standing a valley that seemed to spread out all the way to the mountains in the distance, with two moons overhead that were surrounded by hundreds of thousands of stars. It left the Femme breathless as she enjoyed the peaceful sight, her spark completely calm and tranquil. But it was not meant to last as a sudden gust of wind blew through the valley, making all the greenery wither and die immediately. Ser-Ket could not believe it as she took a step back at the horrifying sight of the valley transforming around her while storm clouds gathered overhead, blotting out the night sky and darkening the entire area. Suddenly bolts of lightning streaked across the sky and lit up the devastated valley and caused the Femme to shield her eyes with her hands as the energy flowing through the bolts was immensely bright and blinding. This was then followed by thunder that boomed over head in a deafening fashion, which felled Ser-Ket to her knees as she grasped at her ears as it felt as if they had been burned by such powerful noise. As the Femme knelt there on the floor, the thunder soon started to sound like roars similar to those she had heard from Predaking and the other Dragon-like Predacons. So she looked up to suddenly find herself in a battle between two sets of metallic dragons, one which had giant wings and flew and the others which did not and remained grounded. The beasts were biting and clawing at each other as they fought, completely ignoring the human woman in their midst. Ser-Ket did not know where to move as every avenue of escape was blocked off by one of the immense beasts, just as one caught her attention as it flew above her. The femme looked up and could of sworn that it was looking directly at her, but then she had her answer as it roared and swooped down towards her. So she turned and began running, dodging and evading more of the metallic beasts. She saw one of the flightless ones latch onto the foot of a flyer and use it's weight to pull it down to the ground, where another of it's kind then pounced on it and ripped it's throat out with its own teeth. But Ser-Ket could not stand and watch such a spectacle as she heard the wings flapping just behind her and knew that the dragon was on her heels, so she kept running over the charred and rock like ground that a short time earlier was covered in long then a shadow flew over her and caused the Femme to suddenly stop as she looked up to see that the dragon that had followed her had now overtaken her and landed just in front, blocking the Predacon's escape. The metallic Beast looked down at her with its yellow glowing optics, bearing it's razor sharp teeth in a hostile fashion that left the defenseless Predacon fearing for her spark. The Beast then opened it's jaws wide and lunged it's head at Ser-ket, who could do nothing more but turn round and cower in fear as she closed her eyes and tried to wish the Beast and the hellish surroundings away. When suddenly she felt another high gust of wind blow past her as another roar was heard, but this one for some strange reason did not leave her spark feeling terrified in any way. As this happened, there were sounds of a struggle behind as the beast that had pursued her suddenly cried out in pain and was suddenly silenced, making the Femme open her eyes and gasp as the sight around her had changed once more. For the battle had ended and the flightless dragons were now all standing around her in quiet composure as their optics focused on the being that was so completely different to themselves. Ser-Ket just looked at them in open mouthed surprise before heavy breathing behind her caught the Femme's attention. So she turned around and her eyes widened as standing before her was a metallic dragon that looked similar to Predaking. It had aqua blue light glowing from beneath it's jet-black armour and blue glowing optics that were focused directly on her, and Ser-ket felt as if it was looking directly into her spark. She did not know how or why, but the Femme could tell that the beast did not have any hostile intent for her and in fact now that she had a good look at the dragon, she felt that she might actually know the creature. So she took a step toward it and the black beast lowered it's head toward her, never taking it's optics off her. Ser-Ket raised her hand and reached out to touch the snout of the creature as it breathed in and out in a deep rhythmic fashion that was almost hypnotic in nature. The Femme for some strange reason that was at the moment unknown to her felt completely at ease in the creature's presence as her hand and the snout of the beast touched, earning a purring like sound from it as it's optics closed, like it enjoyed her touch which left Ser-Ket confused. Not only by this moment, but by the entire event she was experiencing. But then suddenly the beast withdrew it's head from the Femme's touch and looked up at the sky, as did the other dragons as if they all sensed something coming. Ser-Ket mirrored them as she tried to see what it was that they had noticed, but there was nothing for her to see as the storm clouds had broken apart and revealed the star filled sky again. Then suddenly the ground began to shake as an earthquake ripped through the land, causing the dragons to panic and roar as they charged around in a frenzy. But the black dragon remained calm among the chaos that was erupting around it, as it turned it's head back to Se-Ket and looked down at her. A single tear ran down the Femme's face which surprised her as she wiped it away and looked back at the beast, for she had no idea why she had started crying. But suddenly felt a great sadness in her spark, when suddenly a massive explosion occurred on the horizon and it's energy wave expanded out in all directions. Ser-Ket felt like she should start to run but realised there was no where she could go as the wave sped towards her and the mysterious black dragon that just kept watching her, so she just stayed where she was and looked back at the beast before suddenly they were both enveloped by the energy wave that felt so white-hot, that they both were incinerated instantly. But that was not the end as Ser-Ket suddenly found herself lying down in complete darkness and unable to move as her arms and legs were restrained by something she could not see, though she could feel it's cold metal gripping her skin tightly as she struggled and tried to free herself. Then her spark felt fearful again as she found herself in the center of a red spotlight which was being emitted from a red circular light that was shining down from above her. Ser-Ket felt as if this red light was looking at her and she then heard machinery coming to life and she screamed out as a pain went through her entire body as the red light became so bright that it enveloped her entirely. Ser-Ket then opened her eyes and screamed as she rose out of her sleeping bed, as Quickstrike rushed to her side and placed his hand on her shoulder. "Ser-Ket!" he said while noticing that her body was covered in sweat, almost shaking uncontrollably. So, he picked out a blanket from her survival pack and wrapped it around the Femme who looked at him with a confused expression. "Quickstrike?" "You had a nightmare, by the looks of it." he replied as he squatted beside her, but Ser-Ket just looked ahead as his words his words dwelled on her mind. 'Another one.' she thought, before noticing the Autobot looking at her. "What?" "What was it about?" he asked with a curious tone "The nightmare?" she said back, gaining a nod from the Bot. "Yeah, because the way you were thrashing around in your sleeping bag made it look rather bad?" he replied, earning a thoughtful expression from the Femme who looked ahead and tried to focus. 'Bad, thats one way to explain it.' she thought as she took a deep breath and calmed herself. "It's hard to put into words..." she started to say, making Quickstrike turn away from her. "I see. Well, I was just wanted to know if there was anything I could do..." he said before he felt a hand on his shoulder and looked back to see the Femme with a slight smile on her face. "I appreciate that, Quickstrike, but I was going to tell you" "Oh, well. I'm sorry for assuming..." he then began to stammer as shyness crept into the tone of his voice, which made the Ser-Ket's smile grow a little bigger. "It's okay, so anyway...what I remember feels like a wall of images, like I am looking at paintings. But I know for certain that there were dragons in this dream." "Dragons like that blue and white one that attacked the Fearless?" Quickstrike replied, earning a nod from the Femme. "Yes. Like Skystalker, exactly. And they were fighting each other." she answered, as the Autobot dwelled on the beast, finally being able to put a name to the face. 'So that's its name.' "The dragons were fighting in the valley I was standing in, literally tearing each other apart." Ser-Ket added. "Were all the dragons the same?" the bot asked in return, making her shake her head in return. "No, there were two groups. One side had wings, the others did not." "What do you think it means?" Quickstrike asked. "I have no idea. I mean, the others all remember their time before being reawakened by Galvatron. And they have said that Predaking was the Predacon leader." the Femme said, earning another curious look from Quickstrike. "Predaking?" "That's the name of the largest of the beast Predacons at Galvaton's disposal. He is far larger than both Skystalker and Grimwing." she explained, making the bot's eyes widen in response. "There are two more of those dragons, and they are larger?" The Femme nodded in return. "Yes, but the other Predacons believe that Predaking was their original leader. They can all remember that time, but Galvatron made a strong case for his leadership and everyone bought it." Ser-Ket replied before sighing, which caught Quickstrike's attention. "What is it?" "Why can everyone else remember what happened before, but I can't?" she replied with a frustrated tone. "Perhaps these dreams are made up of fragments of memories from that time that you have forgotten, and this is the only way you can access them." the blonde Autobot said back in a thoughtful way that brought a slight smile to her face. "That's some explanation you have there, I'm impressed." "I am just trying to help." the bot replied as he mirrored her smile that unbeknownst to him, warmed her spark. "Thank you, though I don't think these dreams are just made up of memories, if that is what they are. I can sense a lot of emotion in them too." "Well, whatever they are, I promise to help you figure it all out once we are off this planet." Quickstrike replied, surprising Ser-Ket. "You would help me with that?" she asked as her eyes met his. "Of course I will. Because if it wasn't for you, then I would have been broken by that sadistic sister of yours and then tortured for Primus knows how long." he said back with a warm smile that Ser-Ket could have sworn made her spark miss a beat. "Alright. I guess we should get moving then. How long do we have to go before we get to the escape shuttle?" "We have half a day's walking to do, but before that, I think breakfast is in order." Quickstrike replied as he turned back to the survival packs and pulled out a ration each, handing one to Ser-Ket. "How are you feeling now?" she asked as the bot opened the ration and took a bite, before pulling a face that said the ration did not taste very good. "Uggh... other than hungrier for something that doesn't taste like cardboard..." he replied while holding up the biscuit with a large bite mark in it. "...I am feeling much better. Those hours long sleep I had did the trick." he continued as Ser-Ket looked down at her food and opened the packaging. "That's good." she simply responded before taking a bite out of the ration biscuit as they both then sat in comfortable silence and ate their breakfast, no matter how bland and tasteless it was. PRIME EFFECT 4 Meanwhile back at the Achilles, Rip-Claw was nearly climbing the walls with anger as she awaited news from the Terracon engineering teams that were currently attempting to repair the damage that was caused by her sister and that Autobot scum several hours earlier. 'What is taking so long, my sister needs to be found and made to pay for making a fool out of me. As does that Autobot, who deserves nothing more than to spend eternity being tortured for no other reason than my enjoyment.' she thought as she paced back and forth in her quarters with her hands held behind her back. But the Terracons weren't exactly known for their engineering skills, even if they were fast learners and this had the Femme worried. 'The longer this takes, the more chances are that my sister and that Autobot scum will get away...we need to be out there...NOW!' she thought with enough anger that at that same, she slammed her clenched fist onto her metallic desk, leaving a large dent in it's place. 'What is taking so long?' she spat in her mind, before her anger was cut off by her com-link beeping, so she tapped it. "This is Rip-Claw, report." "Commander, power has been restored. We now have access to the ship's sensors and communications." the Terracon replied. "Good, start running sensor sweeps and launch a wing of fighters to make aerial searches. I want that pair found." the Femme replied as she then heard the Con gulp on his end of the link. "What is it?" "Sir, we are receiving a transmission. It is Lord Galvatron." the Terracon replied worriedly, which made the Femme go quiet as a sense of dread came over her. 'Perfect, just what I needed.' she thought. "Well, Sir,? Should I pass him to you?" the Con asked with a fearful tone. "Yes, put him through. And get started on those sensor sweeps." Rip-Claw said back, ending the link before the commanding voice of the Predacon Leader was heard. "Rip-Claw, what has been going on over there?" he said in a tone that the Femme could tell was worrying sign. "My Lord?" she said back, trying to calm the tone of her voice, in spite of the situation. "Why has the Achilles been off the grid for the last several hours, I have been trying to contact you without success multiple times. Just what in the pit has been happening?" Galvatron replied, his tone becoming more agitated. "We have...been experiencing...technical difficulties." the Commander said back, hoping to brush off the Predacon Leader and get back to the task on hand. "I am now in the middle of taking down Omega and do not have the time for lies." the Predacon Leader said back with narrowed eyes, like he could see right through the Femme. ...And you don't want to anger me further, what has happened?" he added as Rip-Claw looked down t the ground and sighed. "My Lord, the Autobot prisoner has escaped the Achilles." she simply replied, expecting Galvatron to rip her a new one, he did not disappoint on that account. "WHAT! How in the pit did one measly Autobot manage to evade and escape a ship crewed by many Predacons? I would love to hear how..." he spat with venomous rage at the Femme, making her feel very small in his presence which was quite an achievement considering he was not even there. "Ser-Ket betrayed us and aided the Autobot in his escape." she replied before tensing up, expecting another tongue lashing from her Lord. "Ser-Ket did what?" he said back in a tone that sound more calmer than it should have been, in fact Rip-Claw did not know how she should react to it. "She helped the Autobot escape and then left with him." she answered and for what felt like a long moment, Galvatron remained quiet. Yet the Femme could swear she could hear the Con muttering to himself, it was as if he was talking to someone before he snapped yet again. "Shut it!" he blared, earning a surprised and confused expression from Rip-Claw, who did not know where to look despite being alone in her quarters. "I did not say anything, my Lord." the Femme replied, earning a growl from the Predacon Lord. "I was not talking to you!" he snapped back, which heightened her curiosity. "So who were you talking too?" "That's none of your business. Now I want that traitorous wretch found and brought to me, understand?" Galvatron replied, earning a nod from the Femme. "I am sending out teams now, my Lord, but the planet is large and they had a head start of several hours." "I don't care about that, you will find both Rip-Claw and this Autobot. I am sending over a code that should help you in locating them both, do not ask l where I got it from." the Predacon Leader said back, as the Femme's holo-screen activated and showed a binary code. One that confused Rip-Claw as she looked at it. "What is this, my Lord?" "It is a the tracking code for a micro-chip that Shockblast installed in each one of you, on my behalf." The Femme's eyes widened as she listened to her Leader, clearly shocked by this revelation. "Are you saying that all of us, your lieutenants have these trackers planted in our bodies, so you can keep an eye on us." "Yes, they were an idea left behind by the Decepticon scientist, Shockwave. I had Shockblast continue the project." he replied, while Rip-Claw was still trying to work it all out in her mind. "Do you not trust us? Why would you do such a thing?" "Be glad that I did, for it will make finding Ser-Ket and her Autobot pet easier. And now, I do not believe you have any right to question me. Just find Ser-Ket, I would prefer for you to bring her in alive. But if that is too much trouble for you, then dead will suffice." "And the Autobot?" the Femme asked. "Just kill him, now get on with it. I have a battle here that needs my full attention, and don't fail me again Rip-Claw. Galvatron out." the Predacon Leader said before the transmission ended and Rip-Claw could not help but feel somewhat shaken by not just what had transpired, but also by the revelation. The Femme though shook her head and activated her holo-tool and linked it to her console, which she tied to the sensor array. The Predacon did not have time to dwell on such things though, as she felt she was on borrowed time. Time which she had to use wisely if she were to regain her master's favor, so any questions she had would have to wait. So she brought up a map of the continent that the Colony was based, typed in the micro-chip activation code and press sent. Another moment then passed before a ping was heard and a white dot blinked on and off repeatedly over ten kilometers west of the ship. 'Found you.' she thought before tapping her com-link. "This is Rip-Claw, have a squad of Terracons and Stalkers ready to move out in five minutes." "Yes, Commander. Is there anything else?" the Terracon asked on the other end. "Yes, where is Skystalker at this moment?" "He is currently perched at the top of Com-Tower, why do you ask?" the Con replied. "Well, I am sending you some coordinates, ones that I wish for the squads to search. And I also want Skystalker to go too, but send him several minutes later. Do you understand?" the Femme said back. "Yes, Commander. It will be done." the Terracon answered before the link shut down, making Rip-Claw smile to herself. 'One way or another, you will die today my sister.' PRIME EFFECT 4 The sun was just starting to set as Quickstrike and Ser-Ket walked into a clearing, after walking through the forest for what felt like a long time. "Finally, I thought we would be looking a trees forever in there." the Femme said while gesturing back to heavy foliage they had just traversed, earning a smile from the bot as he looked back at her. "Wait a second? You were saying earlier how beautiful this all was." "That was before we entered the never-ending forest, I mean look at that." the Femme replied as she pointed at the mountains that could be seen in the distance. "Now that too is a beautiful sight." "Yeah, I agree. But right now, this looks even better." the Bot said back as pointed ahead of him, gaining Ser-Ket's attention as she looked over to see what looked like a steel and concrete hanger, which had foliage growing over its exterior. It was surrounded by a few smaller buildings, each one had a similar look to it. Meanwhile Ser-Ket started to scratch at something that was itching under the chest plate of her armour, twhich did not go unnoticed by Quickstrike. "We found it...what is it? The Autobot asked with a concerned expression, but the Femme just shook her head in return. "I just have an itch under this armour plate, its nothing to worry about." Predacon replied with a smile, hoping that would be enough. "So this is the place?" she then added, with Quickstrike noticing a touch of disappointment in the Femme's voice. "What is it?" he asked. "It's just I was expecting a little more, I mean this place looks ancient." the Femme replied as she pointed at the run down building. "That's just for show, in case any enemies showed up. So that they would think the place is worthless." the Autobot said as they walked up to the building. "So where is the door?" the Femme asked as she looked at the foliage covered wall in front of them, earning a lop-sided grin from Quickstrike who activated his holo-blade. He the swiped the area ahead of him with the blade, cutting the vines and making some of the green fall to the ground, revealing the entrance. "Right here." he answered in a confident tone, which made the Femme smile and sigh. 'Cute and funny.' she thought as the bot then used his holo-tool to open the door, which creaked with the sound of rusted metal as it opened. "Ladies first." Quickstrike then said as he held his hand ahead of the Femme in a gesture. "Always the gentleman?" she replied in an almost coy tone. "Manners were a big thing with my parents." he said back, earning a coy smile from Ser-Ket. "Lucky me." she said back as she accepted his gesture and entered the hangar first. Quickstrike walked in after the Femme and closed the door behind him, before joining her side. "You did say that the exterior looked the way it did to dissuade enemies right? That it wasn't because it was old?" Ser-Ket asked as she looked around the very lowly lit room. "Yeah..." the bot replied as he tapped his holo-tool and activated the building's interior lighting which then powered up and revealed all to the pair, as it looked like they had stepped into a warehouse as they were surrounded by pallets of supplies and the foliage from outside was also growing on the walls and ceiling inside too. "Because this place is starting to look old to me again." the Femme said as they looked around the pallets which that were stacked at around several meters tall. And they were all positioned in such a way, that navigating around them would be like trying to make your way through a garden maze. Quickstrike though, looked around the room before his eyes spotted something. "Look, that's why the interior looks the way it does." he said while pointing at a hole in the wall which the foliage had grown through. "Must have been damaged during the storm we had last year, thought its impressive that the foliage has grown so much in such a short time." he added as he looked at the map on his holo-tool. "The shuttle should be at the other side of the hangar, let's go." Ser-Ket nodded and the pair began walking further into the hangar as they moved in between the hundreds of pallets. A long moment later and they exited the pallet maze to find the shuttle sitting in the corner of the hangar, looking completely untouched. "There we are, that's our ticket out of here." Quickstrike exclaimed before he opened up it's hatch with his holo-tool, and letting the Femme take a look inside by peeking in the now open hatch. "Okay, it looks good. though it's not like I didn't believe you when you told me originally." Ser-Ket replied as she bent over, which gave the bot a perfect view of her nicely shaped rear which made him smile as he stole a glance at it. Though unbeknownst to him, Ser-Ket was smiling too as she could feel his eyes on her and she liked it. 'I don't know why I am doing this.' she thought. 'But he is kind, funny and great warrior. He reminds me of someone, though I cannot for life of me remember who.' "I see we have a small armoury in this shuttle." Ser-Ket said as she climbed in and walked up to the shelves, which had the weapons including rifles, pistols and grenades stacked on them. But before she said anything else, a faint noise could be outside caught both her and Quickstrike's attention, and it was getting louder as time went on. "What is that?" the Femme asked as she looked out of the hatch at the bot, who stood there and gripped his rifle. "Sounds like a shuttle engine, but that is impossible. No one knows about this place." he replied before suddenly the noise became vet loud and a shadow was cast over the hanger's roof. "They have found us." Ser-Ket said with a knowing dread in her voice. "But how, I mean there is just no way that they would have known about it." the Autobot said, which then made the Femme's eyes widen as she turned away from him and opened up her chest-plate, which revealed a faint light blinking on and off. It was located near the center of her chest, just above her breasts and it immediately set off alarm bells in her mind. 'By the Allspark, is that a tracker inside me. It's led them right to us!' she thought before Quickstrike's and her attention was caught by the sound a roar from outside, it sounded like a mix of a human and a beast. "What the hell was that?" Quickstrike said as Ser-Ket re-clothed so that he did not notice the flashing light on her chest, but she recognised the roar instantly. "Oh great... Stalkers." she replied, earning a curious look from the bot. "What are Stalkers?" "They are Terracons who have been forced to stay in their beast mode, and they are used for hunt and destroy missions." the Femme replied as another roar sounded right outside the walls of the hangar. "How many are there?" Quickstrike asked as clawing and scratching could be heard. "There are usually around five of them, and they hunt in packs." Ser-Ket replied. "They sound intelligent." "Not really, no more so than regular Terracons.." the Femme said back before an idea began to form in her mind, making her smile. "…Which means we can trick them." she added before heading over to the shuttle's armoury and then returning with something that brought a similar expression from the Autobot. "You think that will work?" he replied, the Femme nodding in return. "Yes, all we need is the right bait." Then the sound of the Stalkers entering the hangar caught the pair's attention as the Femme peeked past the nearest supply pallet to see the Cons entering through the hole in the wall at the other end of the building. "What kind of bait will do?" Quickstrike then asked, knowing that time was short. But the answer was certainly something he did not expect, as Ser-Ket smiled at him with a knowing look. PRIME EFFECT 4 ''I wish I hadn't asked.' the Bot thought as he crept slowly around the supply pallets, with his holo-blade ready with his right hand while he clenched his left hand into a fist that had blood dripping out from underneath it, leaving a trail of blood drops on the floor. 'How did I let Ser-Ket talk me into this?' he thought while trying to keep his mind off how sore his hand felt since the Femme had sliced his palm. "You will have to lay a trail of blood around the pallets the Stalkers will follow, like bread crumbs." the Femme had told him. Quickstrike was now around the middle of the large area of pallets, so much that he could no longer see the shuttle or the hangar's entrance. But he could hear the stalkers who had entered the area he was in, so the bot kept as quiet as he could and hoped that the modified Terracons would not sniff him out right away. As Ser-Ket had said, they should smell the puddle of blood he had left them at the start of the trail first. The Bot stayed very still and was leaning right back against the pallet as he heard one of the Stalkers start to sniff the air, earning similar actions from the others. So Quickstrike peeked around the corner of the pallet and saw what must have been the Alpha, who grunted at the others to follow before moving off in the direction of the puddle, the others then followed. The Autobot then sighed, but this caught he attention of the last Stalker who looked in his direction. It's face looked almost human, just like the other Terracons and Rip-Claw had looked when they had changed in front of him. Those this one looked less intelligent and its entire mouth area was covered in drool, with it hanging off his chin and dripping onto the floor. As it growled and sniffed the air, the Autobot's spark felt like it was going to jump right out of his chest, it was beating that fast. 'Please don't detect me, I don't want to fight them all now.' he thought when suddenly the Alpha could be heard growling which gained the attention of the last Stalker, who then quickly ran off in that direction. Quickstrike simply breathed a sigh of relief before resuming his own task, as he squeezed his hand and allowed blood to drip on the floor and continue the trail. After moving around several more pallets, the bot could hear that the Stalkers were now on the trail and moving slowly toward him. He then found himself in the area that Ser-Ket had pointed out on her holo-map, which was right against the west wall. He squeezed out another small puddle of blood, his hand was now starting to feel numb after the amount of blood he had deposited in the last few minutes. 'Any more and I will need a blood transfusion.' he thought as he wrapped a bandage around his hand then took cover behind a pallet on the puddle's right hand side, which contained a number of large metal boxes, which should make good cover or so he was told by the Femme. Then suddenly the Stalkers appeared on the scene with the Alpha at the front, sniffing the trail of blood that had been laid out for them. Quickstrike peeked out from behind the pallet and saw the pack the stop next to the puddle as the Alpha began sniffing it. 'It's now or never.' the bot thought as he pulled a device off his utility belt, the same device that Ser-Ket had in her hands when she had the idea. He looked down at the plasma grenade in his hands. 'This should only kill the Stalkers, not bring down the hanger around us.' Quickstrike thought or rather hoped as he then pulled the pin and armed the explosive, which was shown by a green light pulsing at the top of the device. He then threw the grenade over the pallet, with it hitting the ground next to the Stalkers. who looked at it as it rolled in between of their pack, the Alpha started to sniff at it as it's green light pulsed even quicker. Seeing this made the Alpha's eyes widen as it finally dawned on it what this thing was, but it was top late as the grenade exploded and engulfed the pack in plasma-fire. The small shockwave emitted from the explosion shook the pallet that Quickstrike had used for cover, nearly deafening him due to his rather close, but not to close proximity. After waiting a moment, Quickstrike then got up and walked around the pallet to see the burned and charred remains of the Stalkers lying around the area. 'They really are stupid.' he thought before his eyes widened as he counted the bodies. 'One, two, three, four. There's only four...where's the fifth?' he thought as he felt panic taking a hold, so he spun around and saw nothing but pallets. But then he heard a low growl to his left and looked, but suddenly felt himself falling backwards with the last Stalker on top as it tackled him to the ground. Quickstrike was pinned under the beastial man as it drooled and bared its sharp teeth, he could feel and smell its hot breath on his face and it was enough to make him feel sick. 'Can you say halitosis.' he thought as the beast drooled on him as he fought to free himself, the Stalker had what felt like an iron grip on his forearms. 'Can't break free.' he thought as the Con opened its mouth and readied itself to maul the bot, who could only try and free himself again. But suddenly three gun shots echoed through the hanger and the Stalker yelped in response before falling onto the ground beside the Autobot, who breathed heavily as he looked up to see Ser-Ket standing over him. "Sorry about that." she said as she held out a hand which Quickstrike took, getting to his feet with the Femme's help. "What happened? I thought you had my back?" he asked, earning a shameful expression from the Predacon. "I am sorry, Quickstrike. I know I promised that. but I got jumped by those Terracons and had to deal with them first." Ser-Ket then pointed at one of their bodies that lay just behind a pallet just aways from them. "And you killed them all...impressive." the bot replied, earning a smile from the Femme. "Well, you did get most of the Stalkers. I haven't seen an Autobot hold up to one yet." she said back as the Bot looked down at the dead beast-man at his feet. "Only because I followed your plan. I think that the results might have been very different if I had tried something else." he replied. "Well, I don't know how long it will be until the Predacons send more after us. So you get the shuttle ready." Ser-Ket said as she gestured towards the shuttle "What about you?" the Autobot asked with a curious tone. "I am going to hack one of the Terracon's holo-tools and see if I can gain a piggyback into the Predacon system, so we can keep an eye on what they are up to." "Okay, I'll get the shuttle's pre-ignition started then." Quickstrike replied before heading for the shuttle and activating his holo-tool, earning the hum of the vehicle's engines as they fired up. Meanwhile the Femme walked over to one of the dead Terracons and started up her own holo-tool, bringing up a holo-screen which showed connection data. In less than a few seconds, the dead Con's holo-tool powered up around the body's arm and began communicating with Ser-Ket's which made the Femme smile. 'Gotcha.' she thought as her holo-tool pinged and the Predacon system opened up for her. 'Right, now time for... What the?' she thought when the sound of something heavy unlocked above her and the roof began to separate like double sliding doors, exposing the hanger's interior to the sky outside. The Femme looked over to see Quickstrike walking over to her, a warm smile on his face. "Well, the shuttle is ready to go. What about you?" "Yes, I..." Ser-Ket said before it suddenly dawned on her about the tracker in her chest, which changed her expression to one of concern. One that Quickstrike mirrored in return. "What is it?" he asked, but before the Predacon could respond, a strange and yet familiar sound caught their attention outside. "What is that?" the bot said as he looked up at the dusk sky which had become more cloudy, the Femme mirrored him as the sound grew louder. "Sounds like...wings...flapping!" she said, her eyes widening as she realised what it was. "No!" she said aloud before the giant blue and white form of Skystalker burst through the clouds and landed ontop of the hangar, spreading out its large wings and roaring, letting its presence be known to the entire area. "Skystalker, what do we..." Quickstrike said back before being cut off by the Femme. "Hide!" she shouted as she grabbed him by the arm, the pair ran out of view and behind one of the larger pallets, just as the metallic dragon finished it's roar and looked down into the open building. "So, what can we do?" Quickstrike whispered as they hid, making the Femme shake her head in return. "Nothing, none of the rifles or firearms we have will put a dent in Skystalker's armour, let alone kill it." "Right, well..." the bot began to reply before he heard the Predacon dragon give off a low growl and peeked past the pallet, and noticed that Skystalker had spotted the shuttle that was now fully primed to launch. "No, no, no, no!" Quickstrike whispered as the beast stared at the shuttle for what felt like a long moment, before then opening it's mouth. Which then caused a white glow to appear at the bottom of it's throat, which then traveled up its neck and into it's mouth. Then it suddenly shot out in a white energy beam which hit the shuttle and froze it in ice where it stood. Quickstrike's eyes widened as he felt his anger boiling up in his spark. "That's our ride!" he spat as he looked to see the shuttle, now rendered completely useless by Skystalker. "We can't do anything about that now..." Ser-Ket said back as she grabbed his shoulder. "But we can..." the Femme added while looking directly into the angry Autobot's eyes, but suddenly stopped as they both simultaneously felt the hairs on the back of their necks stand on end. So both looked up to see Skystalker looking down on them and growling. "Run!" the Femme screamed as they both ditched their no longer hidden hiding spot and ran further into the pallet stacks, as Skystalker roared and started moving around the open roof of the hanger, trying to re-acquire his targets. Ser-Ket just kept running down what felt like endless corridors of this maze of pallet stacks, which were high enough that Skystalker would have to be directly above them to notice. 'Quickstrike?' she suddenly thought as she stopped and realised that the bot was no longer at her side. 'Damn it, must have accidently seperated as we ran from Skystalker.' she thought as she looked down both sides of the aisle she was in, but saw no sign of the Bot. Meanwhile Quickstrike found himself in exactly the same predicament as he looked around for the Femme while trying to remain as quiet as possible, since he could hear the beast moving around above them. "Ser-Ket? Ser-Ket?" he whispered, mentally kicking himself for not watching where she was when they ran. 'If anything happens to her after all she's done for me, I'll never forgive myself.' he thought as he kept his eyes peeled for signs of the Femme. But then Skystalker roared again, making a lump appear in Quickstrike's throat as he knew there was only one reason for such a thing...the beast had found her. Ser-Ket had nowhere to go as she found herself backed up against the wall as the massive blue and white Predacon-dragon had dropped into the hanger, blocking her off from the stacks of pallets that had at least offered some cover. The Femme's spark beat had picked up rapidly as she stared at Skystalker, who's optics remained focused purely on her. Every time she tried to move, they moved with her. 'It must be locked on the tracker inside of me.' the Femme thought while searching around for something to use, but all she could see was the pallets and the now frozen shuttle which was next to what looked like some large cylinder-like objects connected to the wall to it's right. 'Looks like this is it.' she thought as the Dragon opened its mouth and began charging its ice-breath, as white light began glowing brighter inside the beast's exposed throat. 'At least I can die knowing that I did the right thing in helping Quickstrike, and I was starting to really like him too.' But just as Skystalker was about to unleash its attack and freeze the Femme to the spot she was standing in, the Dragon suddenly arced its head up and roared in pain which dumbfounded Ser-Ket as she watched with a confused expression. Her eyes then widened in surprise as she saw Quickstrike standing on the beast's back, keeping his balance by holding onto it with one of his holo-blades stuck inside it's metal hide as the Predacon began to try and shake him off frantically. Ser-Ket could not help but show a slight smile, watching the Bot repeatedly stab the Beast with his other holo-blade. "What are you waiting for...Run!" he shouted, noticing that the Femme was just staring at him. This brought Ser-Ket to her senses and she ran as the dragon kept moving in a circle away from her, shaking itself continuously in a further attempt to rid itself of the Autobot. 'He is fighting Skystalker...for me.' she thought with a great deal of admiration for the display transpiring before her as the Femme stopped back at the pallet and stacks and watched. Skystalker became more enraged with every second that Quickstrike remained on its back, hacking and stabbing away at it's back. The bot though remained focused on injuring the Predacon-dragon as much as he could as he stabbed down yet again into the Beast's back, this time making some greeny/blueish energon spill out of it. This made him smile as he saw the liquid leaking out. 'So you can be hurt, that's good to know. Means you can be killed.' he thought before his attention suddenly turned to his holo-blade that he was using to anchor himself to Skystalker, noticing that it was slowly coming loose. 'Uh oh.' Suddenly the dragon swung itself around with so much force that it dislodged Quickstrike, sending him flying off its back. "Quickstrike!" Ser-Ket screamed as she watched helplessly as the bot slammed back-first into the frozen hull of the shuttle, before dropping hard to the floor. Quickstrike was feeling dazed and winded as he looked up from the floor to see the dragon look over it's shoulder at him, it then lifted it's tail up in the air and held it over the Bot and the shuttle. "Quickstrike, move!" the Femme shouted, thus making the Autobot roll out of the way just as the sharp end of its tail came slamming down onto the ground where he once was. The bot then breathed heavily as he ended up on his knees and looked up to see Skystalker's tail was trapped inside the engine section of the shuttle, having broke through the ice and become stuck. The dragon had noticed this too as it looked back and tried to shake it's tail free, but had no luck as the shuttle's fuel began flowig out of the damaged section. Which brought an idea to the Autobot's mind as he looked over to the Femme. "Ser-Ket!" he called, and noticed that she was on the same wavelength as in her hand was a plasma grenade. Ser-Ket smiled and pulled the device's pin before throwing the pulsing grenade into the puddle of fuel that was expanding next to the shuttle, all the while Skystalker was still trying to free itself and so did not notice that Quickstrike and the Femme had begun running away. Then suddenly the grenade exploded, taking the shuttle with it. The force of the blast knocked the Beast onto its knees, earning a yelp-like cry from it before it spread its wings and launched itself back onto the hanger's roof. It then looked back at it's damaged tail, its optics then narrowed as it then looked back into the open hangar. "I think we pissed it off." Quickstrike said as both he and Ser-Ket hid behind another pallet but when he didn't get a reply from the Femme, he looked back to see a worried expression on her face. "What is it?" "Look.." she replied as she pointed over to the wreckage of the shuttle, gaining the Bot's attention as his eyes widened at the sight of the large cylinders and the plasma damage they had gained from the explosion. "Shit, those fuel cells...run!" he exclaimed before grabbing the Femme's hand as the two began to run for the hanger exit while Skystalker looked back at them and roared, making Ser-Ket look back over her shoulder just in time to see the fuel cells begin to explode. "Quickstrike down!" she shouted back while tackling the Bot to the ground, just as her eyes began to change. Suddenly the fuel cells exploded, engulfing the hangar in flames as the shock-wave sent Skystalker falling off the roof. The Dragon landed on the Terracon shuttle that was parked nearby and crushed it instantly. The Beast immediately rolled back onto it's four legs and looked back at the hangar, or rather what remained of it as it was now completely on fire and billowed with smoke. Skystalker sniffed the air and scanned the destroyed building with it's optics for a long moment before spreading out its wings, and launching itself back into the sky as rain began to fall from the dark clouds in the night sky. The Predacon-dragon circled the area once before flying off into the distance, apparently satisfied with the conclusion. But as the beast slowly came to be a bleep on the horizon, some of the rubble in among the fires began to move before a large piece of metal scaffolding was suddenly flung onto its side, revealing Quickstrike who was covered in soot and bruises. The Bot looked around at the collapsed building around him with a look of utter confusion, as he had no idea how he had survived it. "Okay, how did I just…?" he began to say before he heard heavy breathing behind him, so turned around and the sight that met him made his eyes widen. For standing before him was Ser-Ket in her beast mode, standing at just taller than the Bot with more prominent muscles and sharp claws instead of nails on her hands. Her teeth were extremely sharp and prominent, but it was the eyes that really caught his attention as they looked so beastial and alien compared to the compassionate Femme he had come to know in such a short time. "Ser-Ket? You alright?" he asked in an unsure kind of way, but the Femme just looked past him, towards Skystalker who was just a dot in the distance now. 'She saved me back there, shielded me from the fire.' he thought while looking back at what could only be described as a monster, yet he could still see the Woman behind the beast. "We better get out of this rain?" the Bot then said, earning a grunt from Ser-Ket who then proceeded to dislodge and clear more of the rubble out of the pair's way, with the Autobot following close behind as they headed over to one of the adjacent buildings nearby. PRIME EFFECT 4 Both Ser-Ket and Quickstrike left the now smoldering ruins of the hangar behind them as the rain started coming down fast and hard, dousing the fire and removing the only light source that remained in the area. The pair entered the building as Ser-Ket who was still in her beast-mode sniffed the air, earning a curious look from the bot who activated his torch and illuminated the building's they interior. "Is it safe, there can't be any other Terracons around still surely? Because I doubt any of them would believe that we survived that explosion." Quickstrike said, earning a grunt from the Predacon as she nodded in return. The pair were standing in what looked like a hallway and it had the same look as the hanger, so no one had been there in a while. "Come on, let's find somewhere to rest." the Autobot said as he led the way with Ser-Ket behind him, walking through the hallway and into a large room with windows that were at last seven feet off the ground. Quicktrike looked up and saw the rain water running down the glass of the windows as the storm continued to batter the area before returning his attention to the rest of the room. What he saw reminded him of a barracks, as there were several beds all lined up in formation and each had it's own cupboard and night table. "This should do for now." the Bot replied as he shone his torch back at Ser-Ket and noticed blood on the abdominal side of the Femme's torso armour. "Wait a second?" he said curiously, making the Predacon look at him in a confused way as the Bot stepped toward her to get a closer look. She growled lowly at him as he reached his free hand at the blood stained armour, making him pull his hand back. "It's okay, but you should let me take a look…..I won't hurt you." he said in a caring tone as he looked into her eyes, making the Femme sigh in return. Quickstrike then reached out with his hand and touched the armour as he noticed something sticking out of the piece that was stained, gaining a grimace from Ser-Ket as he touched it. "Sorry, but I need get this piece of armour off." he said earning an annoyed stare from the raven haired woman, who then nodded in return. So the Bot placed his torch on the night table and activated its lamp mode, which made the light shine around the room in a gentle fashion as he returned his attention to the injured Femme. Ser-Ket watched quietly as the Bot took off the armour piece and set it aside, his eyes widening as he saw a largish piece of metal sticking out of her abdomen with blood leaking out of the wound around it. "Damn it! That's one nasty wound you've got." he explained to the Predacon who just tilted her head and looked at him with a confused expression, one that baffled the Bot. 'How much pain can these Predacons take in this berserker mode they have?' he thought as he activated his holo-tool and scanned the wound. "Well, good news is that the metal hasn't damaged any of your internal organs and systems. So your Pretender body will heal, but I have to pull that thing out first." he said as he looked at the data on his holo-tool and then at the Femme, who now looked at him blankly like she did not understand. 'Does going into this berserker….beast mode, cause them to become stupider or something?' Quickstrike then took a hold of the metal, earning another grimace from Ser-Ket. "Sorry, I am going to pull it out on the count of three…." he said as they both looked into each other's eyes, and though the Femme's looked more like a Beast and less like the Woman he had gotten to know over the last couple of days, Quickstrike had to believe that she was still in there at this moment. "..and this is going to hurt, so please don't kill me for it?" he added as he grasped the metal tightly with one hand while placing his other on the Femme's arm. 'How did that story go….the one with the mouse and the lion?…..here goes.' he thought. "Three, two, one…." he then said before quickly pulling out the metal in one go, making the blood spill out of the open wound and treacle down the Femme's body. But the Predacon roared in pain as she hit out at the Bot with her claws, which narrowly scratched his chest as he jumped back. But Ser-Ket was now enraged and roared again, which echoed through the building's rooms as she then turned her attention to the wall and punched and ran her claws down it, leaving dents and inch deep claw marks on it's surface. Quickstrike watched in silent horror at the damage the Femme was doing in her beastial rage before she suddenly went quiet and stopped in mid-attack, looking over her shoulder at the bot and spotting the scratches on his chest. This made her eyes widen in shock as she all of sudden recoiled, while her facial expression became one of pure shame and sadness at what she nearly did. "No, Ser-Ket, it's just a scratch." Quickstrike said back instantly as he saw the Femme get down onto her knees and hold onto the side of the bed, while looking anywhere other than at the Bot standing in front of her. The Autobot sighed as he then took some medi-gel from his utility belt and knelt beside the Femme, who then turned her back on him and slowly began to sob. "Ser-Ket, please. I need to close and this wound so it can heal. I can't do that if you don't let me." he pleaded as the Predacon kept her back to him, so he placed his hand on her shoulder. "Ser-Ket, let me help you….please." For a long moment there was nothing but the sound of the rain outside as silence stood between the pair, then the Femme sighed before turning round and sitting with her back to the bed, allowing Quickstrike access to her wound though she still looked away. The Bot merely nodded and sighed before taking the medi-gel and spraying it onto the wound, which then slowly closed and healed itself. "There we are, that's healing nicely." he said with relief in his voice, yet Ser-Ket would not acknowledge him as she kept her attention away from him. So Quickstrike sat down beside her and listened to the rain that was continuing to fall outside without pause. But then he felt something on his left shoulder and heard a sobbing-like sound and looked over to see Ser-Ket resting her head on his shoulder and crying quietly, with tears running down her cheeks. So the Quickstrike lifted his arm and allowed the femme to rest her head on his chest as he put his arm around her and instinctively held her close. "It's alright." he whispered as Ser-Ket rested against his chest and listened to his breathing and the beating of his spark, thus calming her down and changing her back to normal as they both just sat there in comfortable silence and listened to the rain. PRIME EFFECT 4 Quickstrike opened his eyes to find himself still sitting against the bed in the barracks with Ser-Ket in his arms, it was still dark and the storm was still raging outside so he had not been asleep for very long, but he did not know how he fell asleep to begin with. But he looked down at the Femme and saw that her holo-tool was active, and that she was typing into it while looking at a small holo-screen being emitted by it. But unknown to the Autobot, while her holo-tool was indeed active, Ser-Ket was actually looking at her chest for she had noticed that the tracker was no longer sending out a signal as it's light was not blinking on and off. 'It must have been damaged during the hanger explosion. That's a lucky break.' she thought before closing her chest plate and returning her attention to her holo-screen. "You alright?" Quickstrike asked, earning an almost shocked reaction from Ser-Ket as she looked back at him with a slight smile in return. "Yes, I am. Thanks to you." she replied with an appreciative tone as they eyes met. "I didn't wake, you did I? Because you looked as if you were having a restful sleep." she added, earning a similar smile from the Bot. "Yes, I don't remember falling asleep but I guess it is the second best sleep I have had in the last few days." he replied before his expression changed to a more concerned look. "I didn't snore, did I?" he asked, earning a small laugh from the Femme at his innocent and shy question. "No, you didn't snore. You were very quiet actually." 'Actually, you were very cute while asleep.' she then thought as they looked at each other for a moment. "And I noticed you are still lying against me." the Bot observed, making Ser-Ket's cheeks redden slightly. "I was comfortable." she replied coyly, earning a similar reaction from Quickstrike who then diverted his attention to the screen on Ser-Ket's holo-tool. "Yes, well,…what are you looking at?" he asked in a not so vague attempt to change the subject, which made the Femme smile back knowingly. "I am just skimming through my former comrades database, and it would seem that they now believe we are dead and have called off their search." "That is good news, so we have some well earned breathing room for the time being." the Autobot replied as the Femme sat up and turned around to face him properly. "Yes, and…thank you." "What for?" Quickstrike replied, gaining another coy look from the Predacon. "For saving me from Skystalker, for fighting him with nothing more than your melee weapons. It was incredibly brave." "Or incredibly stupid." the Bot said back with a hint of shyness at the way she was looking at him, but Ser-Ket shook her head slightly in return before meeting his eyes with hers again. "No, it was very brave. And I am forever grateful for what you did." "Well, I did nothing that you haven't already done for me." Quickstrike said back, earning a curious look from Ser-Ket, this beautiful Femme who was sitting directly in front of him. This Predacon who really should have been his enemy, yet instead became a friend that he came to care a great deal about. "…how could I not do the same for you, after everything you did to save me. I can't imagine how hard it was for you to turn your back on your people, knowing what the risks would be to help an enemy escape." "Well, if I am entirely truthful. I never really felt like one of them and having seen what they were putting you through, and how you were continuing to stand up to them. I did not want to see that spark you have be crushed by my sister and the others, for you may be their enemy…..but you are not my enemy." Ser-Ket said back before her eyes fell upon the scratches on the Bot's chest, which made her expression lessen. And this did not go unnoticed by Quickstrike. "But I guess there is still a part of me that is like my former brethren, a part of me that I can not control." "Like I said before, it was just a scratch." the Autobot replied, trying to diffuse the tension that was growing in the Femme's voice. "I could have really hurt you or worse, and that would have made all my efforts to save you mean nothing." she said back, making Quickstrike lean in closer to her and take her hands in his. "But you didn't. And even though you had changed, I could see in your eyes that you were still in there. Otherwise, you wouldn't have been able to save us from the hanger being destroyed." Ser-Ket looked down at her hands in his own as she thought on his words, but then the Autobot released one hand and placed it on her chin and brought her face back up to his, their eyes meeting again. "You have saved me twice in as many days, Ser-Ket. I do not know if I will ever be able to fully thank you for that…..but I want to try." he replied with a smile, earning a confused expression from the Femme. "Try?" she said back before the Bot leaned in close to her, so close she could feel his breath on her skin until he gently pressed his lips to her own. This surprised the Femme as her eyes widened in response while her spark missed a beat, and she felt a very warm feeling course through her being. Then Quickstrike pulled away just enough to look her in the eyes, and she saw nothing but affection in his as he smiled back. "Thank you, Ser-Ket." he said back before they just looked at each other for what felt like a long moment, earning a deep breath from the Femme. But then she suddenly grabbed him by the back of the neck and pulled him into a passionate kiss, pressing their lips together with such strength that in any other way, might of snapped someone's neck. Quickstrike then let himself go and gave as good as he was receiving, kissing her back with as much feeling with their lips sealed together. He also put his arms around her back and pulled her up close so their bodies touched, which made the Femme open her mouth and gasp, thus allowing the Bot to force his tongue in and begin wrestling with her own. Ser-Ket though was a quick study, returning the act in kind as her tongue entered his mouth. And the pair kissed for a long moment, before finally separating long enough to take a well needed breath as looked into each others eyes. "Do that again." the Femme said with a coy smile and similar tone in her voice that gave the Bot a feeling of butterflies in his stomach, making him blush in return. "Yeah?" he asked back in a slightly unbelieving tone, which made Ser-Ket smile more. "Yes." she replied and with out any further a due, Quickstrike leaned in again and they kissed once more, exploring each the insides of each others mouths with their tongues. As the pair kissed, the Autobot wrapped one arm around her back while his other hand was placed on the back her head with his fingers brushing through her raven colored hair. The Predacon returned the favor by wrapping both her arms around his back and pulling him closer and tighter as he had done earlier, strengthening the kiss as their faces became fused together in the passion of the moment. Once the need for air reared itself again, Ser-Ket looked down at the Bot's shirt with a devilish smile on her beautiful face, and then surprised him by grabbing the top he was wearing and ripping a tear in it with her finger nails. Quickstrike smiled back as he started to grab at the Femme's armour, pulling the pieces off as fast as he could. The pair quickly made short work each others clothing before the Predacon stopped as her eyes caught sight of the scars covering the Autobot's body, stark reminders of the hell he had been put through by her Sister. "It's alright, they don't hurt anymore." he answered softly before the Femme then bent down and kissed one of the scratches that ran across his chest, which gave the Bot a tingling sensation as he felt her lips on his skin. Ser-ket then left a trail of kisses over his chest and up his neck until she locked lips with him again, moaning into the kiss as the bot took one of her breasts in his hand and gently squeezed. Quickstrike then got up back to his feet, followed quickly by the Ser-Ket as they then stood completely naked in front of each other. The Bot then wrapped his arms around the Femme, lifting her off the ground and pressing her back up against the cupboard. Ser-Ket quickly wrapped her legs around his waist as the two kissed passionately again, making sure to stay there in his grip. The Bot then turned his attention again to her breasts as she then reached up and grabbed the top of the cupboard with her hands to steady them both some more, allowing him to use his hands as he kept her pinned to the cupboard. He moved one hand down between her legs while he licked and sucked on her nipples, earning a moan from Ser-Ket as she physically shivered in response to the pleasure he was giving her. It was something she did not want to experience alone so she freed one of her hands and moved down between his legs, taking hold of his member and began pleasuring the Bot as he kept his attention on her. Quickstrike moaned in return as her strokes sped up and made him hard and erect, so he stopped and once again wrapped his arms around her. The Predacon understood what he wanted to do, for she wanted it as well so did the same and placed her hands on either side of his back. The Bot then lifted her onto him and she moaned again while feeling him enter her slowly, wrapping her legs tightly around him as he began to thrust into her slowly. The feeling was phenomenal for Ser-Ket as it was something she had not experienced before, as each and every thrust from Quickstrike brought about more levels of pleasure, making her dig her nails into his flesh and drag them down his back. And if this had hurt the Autobot, he did not show it as he simply increased the speed of this thrusts, making them both moan in unison as he held her up against the cupboard which started to shake with every thrust. After several minutes of this, they were both panting as they continued their love-making. But Quickstrike could feel his legs starting to give way so he pulled the Femme from the cupboard and sat himself down on the bed with her on his lap, earning a mischievous smile from Ser-Ket who then placed her hands on his shoulders and pushed him back, forcing him to lie down as she took control. She the began rising and falling on his member, which was pulsing with so much pleasure that it made his eyes roll back as he moaned out loud. Ser-Ket then arched her back and quickened the pace, bringing them both closer to climax as they lost themselves in each other. And as the storm continued to batter the barracks exterior, it could not deafen out their cries of pleasure as they continued through the night.
  20. CHAPTER XIX Rip-Claw stood in the Achilles's ready room in front of a large holo-screen, which came to life and she found herself face to face with Galvatron. "I received your message, Lord Galvatron. How can I be of service to you?" she said in a loyal tone. "I have been meaning to contact you, Rip-Claw, but have found myself continuously delayed due to our preparations." the Predacon Lord replied, earning a curious expression from the Femme. "Preperations, my Lord?" "I will be leading an attack against Omega in a bid to wrestle control of the Syndicate's forces for our own use. I was hoping to be already in battle, but the time it takes to ready our fleet has increased." Galvatron replied with an irritated tone. "I see, if you need any of the troops from here on Omicron, then I will see to it that you get them." Rip-Claw said back, gaining a confused expression from Galvatron. "No, that will not be required. I will in fact be sending more ships to help protect our interests on that colony. I did leave a message with Ser-Ket..." he said as a worried expression, while the Femme gave him a curious look. "I have received no message from my Sister." she cut him, which made Galvatron's worried look to increase in tone. "I thought Ser-Ket would have at least informed you of that, but then again she did seem to be somewhat out of character when we spoke." "When was that, my Lord?" Rip-Claw asked, her curiosity spiking at her Master's words. "Two days ago, you were busy torturing your Autobot prisoners at the time. She seemed to be showing a lot of compassion towards our enemies, which I found to be worrying. Tell me, have you witnessed any similar behavior from your sister?" Galvatron asked, earning a thoughtful expression from the Femme as she looked away for a moment. "As a matter of fact, my Lord, I have noticed a sharp change in my Sister's actions. Especially towards our current and final Autobot prisoner, who I am ashamed to admit has managed to resist all my methods of extracting information from him." The Predacon leader gave a slight smile in return, as he could not help but feel a certain respect towards anyone who could show such determination. "I see, that is quite an achievement from one of our enemies. But tell me, what exactly has Ser-Ket been doing that has you concerned?" "I proposed to my sister that while I spend my time inflicting tremendous amounts of pain to our prisoner, she would then appear as a sympathetic face who would slowly gain his confidence and that I would hope, in time would spill any secrets he was holding. But over the last two days, she has become increasing protective of him and openly ridiculed my efforts to break him." the Femme responded with concerned tone that was tinged with a touch of anger. "Well in that case, I suggest you take a closer look at your sister and report back to me with what you find. Can you do that?" Galvatron replied, before the familiar voice of Six-shot was heard in the background, making the Predacon leader turn away. "My Lord, heavy cruiser wings Gamma, Epsilon and Theta are nearing their positions. We need your presence in the CIC." "I will be right there, Six-shot." Galvatron said back before returning his attention to the Femme. "You have your orders, Galvatron out." he said before the screen went black, leaving the Predacon alone in the room as she activated her holo-tool. "Computer, unlock security cameras for Brig zero-one and give me a report on their current status." "Cameras are still active and can be viewed by anyone with access." the synthesized voice spoke back, earning a smile from the Femme. "Very good, now show me what has been recorded over the last few days." PRIME EFFECT 4 Quickstrike made his way down the corridor as fast and stealthily as possible, which would have appeared to have been a contradiction in itself, had it not been for the fact that the corridors were all but empty at this point. 'Where is everyone?' he thought while continuing to move forward, because apart from the two guards he killed when he escaped his cell, the Autobot had yet to encounter anymore and this bothered him more than he liked. 'Am I being played here? Did Ser-Ket merely act like she was going to help and is really in league with her sister after all?' he thought as he turned a corner, suddenly finding himself just a few yards away from three Terracons. The enemies had their backs to the Bot and had not yet noticed him, so Quickstrike hid inside the doorway of another room and peeked out at the soldiers. 'Well, that's just perfect. I want to go that way, and they happen to he blocking me.' he thought as he watched them. But before he could dwell on that thought any more, the lights in the corridor began to deactivate and activate randomly, gaining the Terracons attention and earning a smile from the Bot. 'I guess that answers that question.' he thought. And so Quickstrike moved out of cover and rushed the enemies, killing one with a shot to the head. As that one fell to the ground, the other two turned round and faced the Escapee. "Get him!" one shouted while the other leapt at the Autobot, his sharp claws bared. But Quickstrke simply fired several shots into the torso of the Terracon, sending him flying into the wall. "You'll pay for that!" the last soldier shouted as he started to change right before Quickstrike's eyes. 'Not again.' the Bot thought, the sight evoking memories of the last time he saw this and what happened then. The Terracon now in its beast mode immediately swung its razor sharp claws at the Autobot who narrowly dodged it and then aimed his pistol at the enemy's head. But then with almost lightning quick reflexes, the Terracon knocked the gun out of Quickstrike's hand and then punched the bot in the stomach which immediately winded him as he fell to his hands and knees. "Puny Autobot." the Terracon said with a humorous tone as he stood over the Escapee and readied his claws for the death blow. Quickstrike though noticed what looked like a combat knife on the floor to his right. 'That must have fell from the utility belts of the other two.' the Bot thought as an idea came to mind. Suddenly the enemy swung his claws down at the bot who fell flat onto his stomach, allowing the claws to swipe past his back by a mere few inches, earning a surprised look from the Terracon. Quickstrike the rolled on his side to his right and grabbed the knife, as the Con then lunged at him again. "You little s..." he said before being cut off by the sharp painful feeling in his chest, so he looked down to see the combat knife embedded in his chest and Quickstrike looking up at him as he knelt there. The Bot simply stared up into the Terracon's eyes as they glazed over, a second later and he was dead so Quickstrike let the body fall to the ground before removing the combat knife from his chest. 'Since my holo-tool/blade isn't working yet, this will come in handy.' he thought as he cleaned the blade on his leg and then connected it to his utility belt. The Autobot got to his feet and carried on down the corridor for a long moment before something caught his eyes and he stopped again. He was now standing in front or a door that he recognised from Ser-Ket's map so he tapped the control panel on it's right side, opening the door and making Quickstrike smile as he looked inside. 'Now that will most definitely come in handy.' he thought before entering the room. PRIME EFFECT 4 'Well, it is done.' Ser-Ket thought as she deactivated the computer terminal at her station, for the Femme had just made the changes to the ship's security protocols that would hopefully give Quickstrike the chance he would need to get to the shuttle-bay. And she had made sure that if anyone were to come upon the said changes, that she would not be implicated. So the Femme walked past the Terracons, whose attention remained firmly on their own work as they worked away at their terminals. 'I hope Quickstrike has had no problems so far.' she thought as she left the CIC and began walking down the corridor. 'I have tried to ensure that all the patrols will be diverted away from him as he makes his way to the shuttle-bay.' she thought while walking past two Terracons, who suddenly stopped and looked back at the Femme. And as she carried on, unbeknownst to what was going on behind her. One of the two then tapped his com-link. "Commander Rip-Claw, we have Ser-Ket in our sights. What are your orders?" "Just follow her and don't let her spot you, understand?" an agitated voice replied, earning a nod from the Con. "Yes Commander." The two Terracons then began following an unknowing Ser-Ket. Meanwhile Rip-Claw was still in the ready room looking through recordings of both Ser-Ket and their Autobot prisoner, and she was getting more and more agitated at what she was seeing. 'So I have what looks like suspicious footage of my sister, but yet none of it has the audio to further confirm it.' she thought while watching the pair as they appeared to be talking. "What are you two talking about?" Rip-Claw asked aloud with a frustrated tone. But suddenly as if someone had heard her, a holo orb materialized beside her and hovered there. "May I be of service?" it spoke, surprising the Femme. "What? Who are you?" "I am your personal VI, Captain. May I be of help to you?" it replied, earning a curious look from Rip-Claw. 'Stupid machine thinks I am the Captain. Well, I guess it could be useful.' she thought. "I wish to know what is being said on these videos." "Of course, Captain. I will just run the speech recognition program. This will take only a moment." the VI replied before a new feature appeared on the holo-screen, one that looked like subtitles. "Now that's what I wanted, thank you." the Femme said before focusing her attention on the screen and read the dialogue that appeared on the screen below both her sister and the Autobot prisoner. "...but...Quickstrike." the Autobot said. "What?" Ser-Ket replied. "My name is Quickstrike." the Bot said back, making Rip-Claw's eyes widen at what she read. 'She lied! She lied to me. My own sister.' she thought as her spark started burn with anger, clenching one hand into a fist while raising her other to her com-link. "Tell me, where is my Sister now?" she asked. "Commander, Ser-Ket is currently..." one of the Terracons replied before being cut off by the almost deafening sound of the alarms as they began blaring out down the corridors. "What in the Allspark is that?" Rip-Claw shouted as she tried to hear her soldier's voice over the noise. "She is...wait?" the Terracon replied with a worried but alert tone all of a sudden, which did not go unnoticed by the Predacon. "What? Explain..." "Commander, we had her in our sights. But suddenly the emergency lighting activated and now... we've lost her." "Find her!" Rip-Claw screamed as her anger flared up. "Yes, Sir!" the Terracon replied with fear in his voice before the transmission ended and the Predacon was left to her own thoughts again, though now they were burning like never-ending fires in her mind, until one thought broke through and made her eyes widen. 'I know what she is trying to do. My Sister, my dear Sister. You will pay for betraying us….for betraying me.' PRIME EFFECT 4 Ser-Ket moved at a brisk pace down another one of the many identical corridors that made up the Achilles, while making her way towards the shuttle bay. 'I could of sworn those Terracons were following me.' she thought as she neared her destination, thinking back to several minutes earlier before her modifications to the security protocols took effect. 'But they couldn't have surely, since no one would have been able guess what I had planned.' Once at the door, the Femme pressed the buttons on the control panel on its left side which opened the door and allowed her access. Ser-ket then locked the door open with her holo-tool and ran over to the nearest shuttle, hoping to get it ready for Quickstrike when he arrived. But just as she opened the hatch and prepared to climb inside, another voice gained her attention. "Ser-Ket! Ser-Ket, there you are." The Femme looked back to see Quickstrike as he joined her side, and she noticed that he looked better then he did earlier, though the bruises were still visible. "How are you feeling?" she asked, earning a smile from the Bot. "I'm feeling alright. That shot you had me take certainly helped. Thanks for that." "You're welcome, now I just need to get the shuttle ready for you and then you are free to leave." the Femme replied as she climbed on board the shuttle, but when she looked back at the blonde man looking back at her through the hatch, she saw a concerned expression on his face. "You sure you don't want to come with me?" he asked in earnest. The Predacon looked back, clearly taken back by his question with an expression that was part appreciative and the other saddened. "We have been over this, Quickstrike. You know why I can't go." she answered in a similarly sad tone. "Neither of you will be going anywhere." a familiar Female voice called out, gaining the attention of both of them as they looked back at the shuttle-bay's entrance. There they saw Rip-Claw in the company of several Terracons, who all had their weapons trained on the pair. "I think you will find it impossible to activate that shuttle, Sister, since I have placed the entire ship on lock-down." the older sister said with real disdain in her voice before looking at the Bot. "And you..., Quickstrike. You will tell me everything and that will just be the beginning of further hell for you." she said, earning a knowing look from Ser-Ket as she realised that her sister somehow knew everything. "I'll die first." the Autobot said as he reached for his pistol but stopped as the Terracons stepped forward with their guns trained on him. "If you are thinking of a kamikaze attack, then I would think again about that, since my soldiers are such very good shots." Rip-Claw said back before looking at her sister with a real pained and angry expression. "Before I hand you to Lord Galvatron for what you have done, I just want to know...why? Why have you betrayed us, and for an Autobot of all things?" "I di..." Ser-Ket began to say before Quickstrike cut her off as he took a step ahead of her. "Ser-Ket doesn't have to explain her actions to the likes of you." The Femme was again taken back by the actions of this Autobot, who even though she had gone through all the effort to get him out of danger, had suddenly placed himself between her and that same danger. 'He knows what they would do to me if the extent of my thoughts and worries came out into the open.' she thought as she noticed that the Bot had his hand behind his back and it was holding a grey metallic cylinder. "Isn't that cu..." Rip-Claw started to say back before her eyes noticed that Quickstrike was hiding one of his hands, as the other one was hovering over his hoisted pistol. "What do you have behind your back? I demand you show me now or..." the older Predacon said back in a slightly panicked tone and she signaled the Terracons, who took another step toward the pair. "If you insist." Quickstrike replied with a lopsided grin as he revealed his other hand and the object currently in it's grip. Rip-Claw's eyes widened as she recognised it, as did the Terracons and even Ser-Ket. "A detonator!" the older sister stated, earning a nod from the Bot who then pressed his thumb down on the red button on it's top. Meanwhile lights activated in the room that Quickstrike had found earlier, revealing it to be an armoury and munitions locker that had a timer connected to several drums of explosives that suddenly lit up and began counting down from five seconds on the clock. The second it hit zero, the room exploded into a massive fireball that expanded out and down the corridors, incinerating any Terracons that were unfortunate to get in it's way. The explosion also breached the ship's hull as civilians looked out of the windows of their homes to see a funnel of black smoke rise up from the side of the cruiser as it sat next to the command tower of Omicron city. Back on board the Achilles, the fireball was almost upon the shuttle-bay despite it gradually dissipating. Rip-Claw looked back to see the fiery glow getting ever closer to them through the open door of the bay, as Quickstrike pulled Ser-Ket into his arms and shielded her from the incoming explosion. "Close the door!" she shouted at the Terracon closest to the door's controls, who panicked as he turned and began hitting all the buttons on it. "It's not working, the door won't..." he managed to say before the fireball burst through the open doorway, engulfing him while throwing all the other Terracons, Rip-Claw included to the floor. A moment later and as the emergency lighting flickered on and off, all the enemies in the shuttle-bay were subdued and dazed as Quickstrike held Ser-Ket in an embrace before pulling back slightly and looking the Femme in the eyes. "You okay?" he asked in a gentle tone, earning a nod from female who then looked past him and noticed three of the Terracons slowly getting to the feet while reaching for their rifles. "Quickstrike, behind you!" The Autobot suddenly spun round with his pistol and killed all three, sending them onto their backs with smoking bullet holes in their heads. Quickstrike then got to his feet and held his hand out to the Femme, who looked up at him with a curious expression. "Come with me, you can't stay here now." he then said which made Ser-Ket simply stare at the Bot's eyes, noticing how sincere he was looking while holding out his held to her. What felt like a long moment passed before the Femme then reached up and placed her hand into his, who gently yet firmly clasped his around hers and helped Ser-Ket to her feet. "Let's go." he said with a slight smile, one that for some reason made the Predacon feel better, despite the situation they were both in and she smiled back and nodded. "Okay." she replied as the pair moved for the charred doorway, when suddenly Quickstrike felt something grab at his ankle with a vice-like grip. "Aggh, what the fuck!" he exclaimed as both he and the Femme looked down to see Rip-Claw lying on her front, her arm outstretched and gripped around his leg. "Neither of you will get of..." the injured Predacon started to say before being cut off by Ser-Ket who kicked her sister in the face, knocking her unconscious and causing her to release the Autobot. Quickstrike looked back at his new ally with a surprised expression. "Ser-Ket, that was..." "She deserves worse, but we don't have time. The other Terracons will swarm this area soon enough, so we should go." The bot nodded in return before picking up two rifles and handing the Femme one, and then the pair stood either side of the doorway as they readied themselves to move. "Okay, is there another way off the ship? One that isn't held up by the lock-down." "Yes, there is. The escape pods. They are on a different system that is not impaired by the security protocols, and should be on deck above us." Ser-Ket replied. "Good, let's go then." Quickstrike replied as they both walked out of the shuttle-bay, leaving Rip-Claw and what remained of her team unconscious on the floor. Once in the corridor which at this moment was empty, Quickstrike looked down both sides before looking back at Ser-Ket with a confused expression. "Which way?" he asked, making the Femme point to their right. "That way should lead us to a Maintenance tube that will get us to the deck below, don't want to be using the elevators now." "Good call..." he replied with a smile, earning a mirroring look from the Predacon that nearly made him blush. "...Alright, you lead the way and I will guard our rear." he added as the both started down the corridor, but not before hearing the sounds of footfalls approaching quickly from the other side of the corridor, as shadows could be seen on the wall going round the corner. "We need to hurry." Ser-Ket replied, earning a nod from the Autobot as he followed her down the opposite side of the corridor. And after running down what felt like a never-ending corridor, the pair came across what looked barely like a hatch in the floor ahead of them. "There, that's our ticket off this floor." she said before kneeling down next to it and opening a hidden control panel next to it, meanwhile Quickstrike kept lookout down both sides of the corridor. "Any idea how long this will take? Because we are don't have any cover here." he asked, while the Femme punc