Chapter Sixty Five- Predacons Rising
As the sun rose on Cybertron, the Decepticons were gathered in Kaon, their capital, in a very special ceremony in front of Megatron's statue with both Autobot and Decepticon ships above the city in ruins.
"We have endured bitter hardship and countless battles. But a long last, our home planet has been restored. We would not be standing on cybertronian soil were it not for the valiant efforts of both those assembled here and our absent comrades. Shockwave, who remains on Earth to safeguard our human friends, and Steve, who made the ultimate sacrifice." Galvatronus proclaimed, while Airachnid bow her helm. "But on this day, at the dawn of a new era, we gather to bestow a special honor. One earned by Stinger, through his bravery and devotion to the cause of peace. Long before he rid this universe of the scourge of the Autobot war monger."
Speaking about Autobots, the last place their leader, Optimus Prime, was spotted was on Earth. Now his lifeless body was lying and rusting in the deeps of the ocean. But something strange started to happen, inside him.
"Optimus. Optimus. Optimus!" A voice called.
Optimus woke up in middle of nowhere; trying to see who was calling him, but once he found it he couldn't believe it.
"Unicron?" He asked frightened, seeing the chaos bringer himself in front of him. "I do not understand. Why am I not one with the Allspark? Do I yet live?"
"You do not. Yet you cannot join the Allspark because my lifeblood once flowed through your veins." Unicron explained.
"Dark energon." Optimus realized.
"It binds you to my Anti-Spark." Unicron finished.
"Galvatron used the Matrix of Leadership to imprison you within the Earth's core. So how is it that you speak to me now?" Optimus asked.
"The foolish Prime rendered only my material form dormant, but my energy form aroused from slumber when I sensed the awakening of an ancient rival across the cosmos." Unicron answered.
"Primus." Optimus recognized. "So it would seem that Galvatron succeeded in restoring Cybertron, after my demise."
"I now wish to finish what I began eons ago, and for that my Anti-Spark requires a vessel." Unicron announced.
"So, I will live again?" Optimus asked with hope.
"Only to serve me." Unicron specified."Your husk will simply be an instrument of my will."
Suddenly, Optimus opened his eyes with purple light and while he raised his body started to change and launched a huge scream. Moments later, he emerged from the ocean in a new vehicle form (some kind of heavy cybertronian starship) and headed to the space. Meanwhile, on Cybertron…
"In the company of your fellow Decepticons, in the presence of our creator Primus, the living core of our planet, and by the authority vested in me by the Matrix of Leadership, Stinger…" Galvatronus said before he tapped Stinger's shoulders with the Star Saber as he was knighting him. "…arise, a warrior."
After Stinger stood everyone gathered around him to congratulate him.
"Let's get this party started." Astraea declared as she pressed a detonator's button.
Then a lot of fireworks came from Megatron's statue as the Decepticons started their victory celebration.
Axer shoved Stinger's shoulder. "Welcome to the club, Sting."
"Indeed. Warrior today, who knows! Prime tomorrow?" Kickback added.
"Slow down, guys. I'm not sure I'd wish a Prime's responsibility on anyone." Stinger answered.
"I am sorry to interrupt your celebration." Galvatronus started.
"Here it comes." Flamewar said.
"Primes never party." Breakdown followed.
"But I must take my leave of you." Galvatronus said.
"Galvatronus, may I ask why." Soundwave said.
"Though Cybertron is once again able to support life our planet is currently incapable of generating new lives, not until I retrieve the wellspring from which all life on Cybertron is born, and ultimately returns: the Allspark." Galvatronus explained.
"You mean it isn't here?"
"Nor has it been, Knock Out, not for millions of years. As the war for Cybertron reached a tipping point and the Autobot army appeared to be unstoppable I opted to safeguard the Allspark from Optimus by covertly sending it to a distant sector of the universe." Galvatronus told. "When it happened, I did it even with the risk of not being able to find it again, but now the Matrix of Leadership will enable me to guide us to its present location."
"What are we waiting for? Let's call Trypticon and bring it back."
"These remain dangerous times, Stinger."
"Galvatronus is right. We cannot leave Cybertron unsecured, not with those cursed Autobot fugitives unaccounted for, included the leader of all female Autobots, their only current leader." Starscream reminded.
"Not to mention our straight Predacon." Slipstream pointed.
"Starscream, you, Dreadwing and Soundwave will supervise patrols to find and capture the fugitive Autobots." Galvatronus instructed.
"As you wish, my liege." Starscream nodded.
"I would be honored." Dreadwing nodded.
"Affirmative." Soundwave answered.
"Breakdown, you will lead the reconstruction effort. Begin by building a landing field to welcome returning refugees." Galvatronus instructed before turning at other Decepticon. "Astraea, I will require your extensive experience navigating deep space."
"When do we leave?" She asked ready.
Optimus continued his way through the space.
"Superluminal space-drive, impressive." Optimus congratulated as he observed his surroundings as he continued.
"One of many upgrades that I made to your limited corporeal form, and wholly necessary to reach Cybertron." Unicron said.
Optimus turned at Unicron. "So, we are to rule together, as one."
Then Unicron shot two purple energy beams from his eyes at Optimus, causing him great pain that he fell to his knees.
"You will rule nothing! I travel to Cybertron for one reason only: to destroy Primus personally." Unicron clarified.
"But to destroy Primus is to destroy Cybertron." Optimus deduced.
"Thus will begin a new age, the age of chaos."
Time later, the construction of the landing field was going well. The structure was not complete, but there were a lot of workers, Decepticon soldiers that managed to survive all that time in other regions of the universe and now were helping to bring back the peace. But as he was supervising their job with a data pad, Breakdown spotted something troubling.
"Whoa, whoa, whoa! How are you going to attach the cladding when the framing structure is incomplete, huh?!"
The two Vehicons looked at Breakdown before they put the cladding down and started walking backwards, but two other Vehicons who carried the framework walked toward them, and clashed each other, making a mess. Breakdown groaned before he heard an engine sound coming from the distance: it was Airachnid, who came after a recon and changed to robot form.
"Labor issues?" She asked before hearing another crashing noise.
"Any news of our fugitives?" Breakdown asked.
"Just signs of recent scavenging in former Autobot installations." She reported.
"The Bot warship can't detect their life signals?" Breakdown asked.
"The Doctor of Doom must have found a way to shield or disable them. He probably learned it from Perceptor." Airachnid suggested.
Breakdown looked at the Ark. "I'll feel better when the gruesome four are locked up with the others."
Meanwhile, inside one of the Ark's rooms there was a banging sound coming from inside it. It was done by Smokescreen, who had his hands chained, the same as a bunk of Autobot soldiers, who were doing the same.
"Okay, you got my attention. What do you want?" Starscream asked through a screen.
"We are prisoners of war, we have rights!" Smokescreen started. "When are we going to have access to an oil bath?!"
"Well when are you going to tell us where we can find your pals?" Starscream asked back.
Smokescreen sighed. "I told you before. Ratchet had dozens of secret labs hidden across Cybertron, top secret."
"A shame. You don't look good; perhaps you need to race a little." Brimstone mocked.
Smokescreen looked annoyed a little. "I don't know where they are, I swear!" But then Smokescreen stopped and looked back at the screen. "But I have an idea where you might try looking."
Meanwhile, Kickback, Axer and Dreadwing were patrolling in search of the Autobot fugitives.
Axer sighed. "Someone might want to think about renaming the Sea of Rust, just saying."
"Though I was hoping more of us would be rushing back here to see it. You know, now that it's all bright and shiny." Kickback said.
"Cybertron will populate in time, soldiers. You both have to remember, refugees could be returning from light years away." Dreadwing pointed.
"I only wish that there could be more Insecticons survivors, so we could make a totally new hive." Kickback added.
Suddenly, Dreadwing's scanner detected something.
"Movement, two contacts at point 84." He reported.
The Decepticons transformed into robot form once they arrived to where the signals came.
"Approach with caution." Dreadwing instructed as everyone prepared their blasters.
The Decepticons approached slowly toward an alleyway and heard something: it was two cybertronians that immediately noticed their presence.
"My name is Dreadwing." He introduced. "Are you Autobot or Decepticon?"
One of the new cybertronians chuckled as they walked out of the shadows, revealing that their optics were yellow, and had a known emblem.
"Neither." One of them answered before they transformed, revealing what they were.
"Those are…?" Axer started.
"Predacons." Dreadwing realized as they aimed their weapons.
The two Predacons, one blue with silver and brown touches who turned into a feathered dragon, and the second who was silver and light blue that turned into a creature called Ursagryph; charged at the Decepticons while they fired at them. The feathered dragon chased Dreadwing while Kickback jumped out of the way and Axer was tackled by the Ursagryph, as it grabbed him and smashed him against the ground. Dreadwing took the chance when the Predacon charged against him and grabbed his head and shot him a few times before being pushed away by its tail. After his quick recovery, Dreadwing pulled out his heavy cannon and fired at the Predacon, which started to take flight. By the Seeker transformed and chased it shooting some lasers to slow it down. The Predacon tried to lose him launched fireballs, but the Seekers evaded them. Once he was close enough Dreadwing changed to robot form and punched the Predacon hard in its head, making it to smash against a building. Dreadwing continued punching it during the fall. At the same time, Kickback was firing with all his guns at the other Predacon, but it tackled him, next it grabbed the Insecticon and threw him against a building. Kickback fell to the floor hard and get trapped by some rubble. Then he saw the Predacon looking at him while it prepared to launch fire from its mouth. After gave a hard punch to the other Predacon, Dreadwing saw the moment when the Ursagryph Predacon launched fire at Kickback, so he tried to shot at it, but the other Predacon grabbed him and smashed him to the ground. Once it was done throwing fire, the Predacon saw what was left of the Insecticon, but there was nothing, until Kickback emerged from the wall.
"Phase beats flame every time." He said proud.
The feathered dragon threw Dreadwing against a building's part hard, smashing it into pieces as the Seeker captain remained in the ground.
"Scrap." Kickback cursed.
Seeing the Ursagryph coming at him, Kickback disappeared inside the wall again, and emerged in his bug form from below the Predacon, flying toward Dreadwing with the Predacon running after him.
"Trypticon, we need an emergency ground bridge! Stat!" Kickback asked by com-link.
Then a couple of missiles hit the Ursagryph Predacon, thanks to Axer who managed to recover and was flying above them.
"Get to the captain, bug! I'll slow down this lizard!" Axer shouted.
Dreadwing groaned before seeing the feathered dragon in front of him roaring. Kickback returned to robot form and turned on the phase shifter before launching himself towards Dreadwing. Right when the Predacon was about to slash Dreadwing with its claws, it phased through him thanks to Kickback. That made the other Predacon smash with the other, right when Dreadwing transformed and landed next to Kickback.
"Hang tight, chief. We're getting you out of here." Axer said as he and Kickback dragged a wounded Dreadwing.
While the Predacons were recovering they saw the Decepticons heading to a recent ground bridge. The creatures tried to catch them, it the portal disappeared before they could, so they ended roaring at the sky. Aboard the Nemesis, the Decepticons were waiting for someone, because immediately a space bridge portal appeared, and someone came from it, a very recognizable Decepticon.
"Thank the Allspark that you've arrived, Shockwave. I really need your help in this case." Knock Out announced.
"What's the emergency?" Shockwave asked.
Inside the medical room, Dreadwing laid on a medical berth while Knock Out and Shockwave examined him.
"He is suffering from a multitude of internal injuries. Most quite severe. I hoped that you could help me to resolve this challenge with your expertise."
"You did right by calling me, Knock Out. A recovery from this caliber would require advanced material and procedure. But the two of us together can accelerate it." Shockwave nodded as they started to work.
"So anyone care to explain what two more Predacons are doing on Cybertron?" Flamewar demanded.
"I thought Galvatronus said new life was impossible without the Allspark." Brimstone reminded.
"I'm no authority, but something tells me cloning old bones doesn't constitute new life." Stinger deduced.
"So Ratchet has decided to continue Perceptor's work to bring back those creatures from their ancient remains by playing back in his lab." Slipstream said.
"Doesn't matter where those beasts came from." Kickback interrupted as he clenched his fist. "We've gotta take them down."
"I'm with him. Those Predacons could ruin everything we're doing to secure our home for the new future we're planning for the Decepticons." Axer supported.
"Hold on you two." Starscream intervened. "If Doctor of Doom's back in business there could be more of them, a lot more."
"We need to call Galvatronus." Breakdown suggested.
"Negative. Our leader is very far in a mission to give Cybertron again a hope of prosperity."
"Soundwave's right. Do you really want to interrupt his quest to save the future of our race on Cybertron?" Airachnid asked.
Speaking of Galvatronus, he was with Astraea on Dreadwing's ship, flying toward a huge concentration of asteroids near a planet.
"Why send the Allspark to Theta Scorpiae?" Astraea asked confused. "This is considered one of the most hazardous star systems in the known space."
"Precisely to deter Optimus from searching this region for it." Galvatronus explained.
"With all the gamma bursts and planetoid collisions out here, how can you be sure it survived?" She asked.
"The Allspark itself is comprised of pure energy. In order to contain it and launch it off-world, The Fallen's siblings forged a vessel, capable of extracting it from the ether. It is this indestructible reliquary we seek." Galvatronus told.
"I'll try not to scratch the pain on this tub…but no promises." Astraea warned as she prepared the controls.
"We cannot risk being stranded if our ship is damaged. It is best that you remain here, Astraea."
"You're the boss." She shrugged.
Immediately Galvatronus came out of the ship, changed to vehicle form and headed to the asteroid field. Meanwhile on Cybertron, the other Decepticons were venturing down into a valley.
"Watch your step." Stinger warned before he picked up a piece of metal, examined it and continued walking.
"Hold. Who made him leader?" Brimstone asked.
"Sting did snuff Optimus." Knock Out pointed out.
"I'm not leading." Stinger answered while he examined a little amount of energon on the floor. "I'm scouting."
"Fair enough. But you do realize we're nowhere near where we found those Predacons…right?" Kickback reminded.
"We're not looking for those Predacons. I followed this energon trail which means he was wounded." Stinger explained as they continued walking. "And I know we aren't the ones who wounded him."
"Whoa, you mean we've been tracking…" Breakdown started.
Suddenly a huge shadow appeared over them, followed by a loud screech.
"Predaking?!" Breakdown finished shocked.
The same Predacon king rose in front of them, extending his wings. The Decepticons prepared their blasters, so Predaking started charge his fire in his throat.
"Hold fire!" Stinger ordered as he walked a few steps toward Predaking and rose the stick. "Recognize this, Predaking?"
Predaking hissed, letting the fire die as he brought his head down to get a better look.
"You served aboard Optimus's warship, surely you're familiar with this little treasure from his vault. The Immobilizer." Stinger pronounced.
The other Decepticons didn't have a clue about what Stinger was doing.
"It causes instant stasis lock, though the victim remains fully conscious. A living death." Stinger explained as Predaking hissed, but then Stinger bowed. "But we didn't come here to fight, your highness."
As result, Predaking beat his wings once and returned to robot form.
"Then why have you violated my refuge, Decepticon?" Predaking snarled.
The other Decepticons retired their weapons.
"We need answers." Stinger started. "Do you know of any other Predacons currently on Cybertron?"
"Indeed, legions of them. Behold, my subjects." Predaking declared showing them a land covered by millions of Predacon fossils. "A countless multitude, rendered extinct ages ago by the great cataclysm, unearthed by the shifting plates during our planet's restoration."
"Yeah, well me, Kickback and Dreadwing just about got scrapped by two living Predacons. Know anything about them, your highness?" Axer asked.
"Two?" Predaking said hopefully. "Where?"
"We came to ask your help in finding them." Flamewar said.
"For revenge?" Predaking snarled.
"No! Galvatronus Prime would deem it a tragedy to stain Cybertron's fresh soil with any newly spilled energon. So help us prove what Optimus was never willing to: that more than one race can peacefully coexist on our planet." Stinger pronounced.
"You assume that because I turned against Optimus Prime, I can forgive the Decepticons their role in the destruction of my brethren on Earth? Leave me be, and dare not trespass here again." Predaking snarled.
With nothing more to do, Stinger dropped the stick and left with the other Decepticons, leaving Predaking with his thoughts. Meanwhile, in other part of Cybertron, a sports car was being followed by a cybertronian T-Rex, which was carrying an object in the mouth, something like a bone. They returned to robot form, revealing to be Bumblebee and Grimlock; and entered inside something of lab, with a Predacon inside a stasis chamber.
"Hey guys, we're back." Bee announced as Elita received them and Ratchet was working with the lab's terminal.
"We trust you haven't strained yourselves enough in the lab while we were working like simple drones." Grimlock complained.
"I sounds weird from me to say this, but Grimlock has a point. Ratchet, we can't remain like this, bringing more bones faster without using them, we need more clones."
Ratchet sighed. "I know Elita, better than anyone. I'm trying the best that I can, but you must understand that this was Perceptor's specialty, not mine. Besides our lack of infrastructure and frequent need to move to evade the Decepticons, it cannot secure a great productivity."
"Well, at least these new clones are not as arrogant as the first one." Bee added holding an electric staff.
"Predaking." Grimlock named.
"Well, at least we have one good new today. Let me introduce to you our new Predacon." Ratchet said pressing some buttons.
Immediately the stasis chamber started leaking its inside liquid, and moments later it opened, liberating a brand new Predacon. It beast form was also like Predaking, but with some kind of claw on its tail and a more reptile-like head. It was blue and red with little yellow touches.
"Meet Ripclaw, our new recruit. She will be a new addition to our secret army.
"Hold on! Did you just say she?" Bee asked.
"Indeed. It's a female, I saw it when I read her CNA. She also has a poisonous bite." Ratchet explained as the new Predacon transformed into robot form.
"Hum, that could be handy." Bee said.
"Where I am? Who I am?" Ripclaw asked confused.
"You're safe, in my lab. We are your creators, and so your masters. You're only one of the few Predacons that will help us to regain our home world from our enemies." Ratchet told.
"There are more like me?" Ripclaw asked hopefully.
"Indeed. You'll recognize them as soon as you see them." Elita nodded.
"I must admit that a female Predacon could guide the other's path." Grimlock realized.
"Yeah. Speaking about the others, is taken them a while. They should be here by now."
But Bumblebee talked too soon, because immediately the other two Predacon arrived. Their arrival wasn't too quiet, because they moved a few energon boxes around them.
"Watch out you fools! I needed those!" Ratchet yelled.
"So those are my siblings?" Ripclaw asked.
"Whoa. I didn't know we had a sister." One of the Predacons said surprised.
"Meet Ripclaw, your new comrade." Bee cut off. "Now, where've you been?"
"Gutting Decepticons." The first Predacon answered as the other chuckled.
"What?" All the Autobots asked in disbelief.
"You idiots! You were ordered to avoid all contact with the enemy." Grimlock reminded, while Bee used the staff to torture the two Predacons as punishment.
"No! Please." Ripclaw prayed as she went to help his siblings. "There is no need for that."
"Turn it off, Bee. I think it's enough." Grimlock ordered, agreeing with Ripclaw.
"Yeah. Now that I don't hear you laughing more, Darksteel, I feel much better."
"We weren't followed." The other Predacon argued.
"That is not the point. Now that they know of your existence we have lost the element of surprise." Grimlock explained.
Despite of that, Darksteel laughed again. "Please your highness, the Decepticons are weak."
"They fled like cowards. We have no need to fear them." The other Predacon said while Ripclaw helped him up.
"Perhaps, Skylynx, but we must not underestimate them either. Their treacherous scout was able to fill our dearest Optimus Prime." Elita said with sadness.
"Rest in spark." Bee added. "The Decepticons are more dangerous that every one of us could expect."
"And that's why we need to harvest the CNA necessary to clone more of you, many more of you." Ratchet followed.
"So that we may build an army of beasts great enough to eradicate the Decepticons and conquer Cybertron. In Optimus Prime's memory and name." Grimlock concluded.
In middle of the night, the Decepticons were going right into the Autobot capital.
"What makes you think we'll find Ratchet's cloning lab here?" Flamewar asked.
"Yeah. If I remind correctly Decagon was Prime's army HQ." Axer reminded.
"If the intel my brother received from Smokescreen is accurate…" Slipstream started as she transformed to robot form. "…we'll find a map of Ratchet's entire lab network in the Citadel's databank."
Meanwhile, near the asteroid field, Astraea was waiting calmed, but then the ship's alarm sounded. She saw in the terminal what the ship was detecting…
At the same time Galvatronus continued his search flying between the asteroids. Then, to the distance in front of him he saw what he was looking for: a medium size, spiky, metallic container with a glowing blue light inside.
"Galvatronus, plasma storm incoming!" Astraea contacted him.
Galvatronus could see a weird purple energy huge clouds approaching from the distance, outside the asteroid field.
"Get out of there! That Allspark container might be indestructible, but you aren't!" She advised.
"I am too close to turn back!" He answered.
Galvatronus speeded up at the same time the storm started destroying the asteroids that were on its way. Meanwhile, inside Decagon…
"Lord Kickback, emperor of Insecticons." Kickback growled and next moved in a funny way, sat on what supposed to be Optimus's throne.
"How can you sit there? That's some bad mojo." Breakdown chided while Axer laughed.
Knock Out snickered. "Please Breakdown, don't tell me you're superstitious."
The other Decepticons were analyzing the data they supposed to be looking.
"Whaddya know. Smokey actually shot straight for once." Brimstone admitted.
"What'd you have to do? Let him race?" Airachnid teased.
"Close." Stinger answered. "Let's download the data and get out of here."
"Hey, something's heading our way." Flamewar pointed.
There was something coming at them, but they couldn't recognize what was, as it was getting closer and bigger.
"Predaking?" Airachnid asked.
"Moving too fast." Brimstone said.
"Elita One?" Breakdown asked.
"Impossible. Whatever it is that is too big." Axer analyzed.
Once it was close enough, Stinger zoomed his optics and next his optics wide in shock. When the ship arrived it transformed and landed in front of everyone, revealing to be the only one they didn't expect to return: Optimus Prime. But there was something different on him: his optics were purple instead of red, and some parts of his body looked modified, with more spikes coming from his back, and his jet-pack was no more, it turned into new engines instead of wheels. The Decepticons were in shock, while Kickback moved away from the throne.
"Minions of the Prime! Prepare to be obliterated!" The new Optimus declared before advancing to them.
"Optimus Prime?" Stinger whispered.
"You skewered the Big O with a giant saber and manage to miss his spark?!" Kickback asked in disbelief.
"How are you still alive?!" Slipstream demanded.
"And where'd you score the upgrade?!" Knock Out added.
"Optimus cannot answer you at this moment. Though I can inform you, with utmost authority, that he owes his new lease on life to me: Unicron!" The new Optimus answered, leaving the Decepticons in shock. "And I will not be so easy to deliver into oblivion."
Optimus/Unicron started to summon purple energy from both hands, and moments later covered them with two huge things, (some kind of dark energon super cannons), and he fired them. The impacts were huge, forcing the Decepticons to jump out of the way. As they got up they started to fire him back, as they looked for cover. Of course they were forced to jump out of the way of the dark energon super cannons shots and hid behind the throne. Stinger managed to jump above Optimus/Unicron's shoulders and fired at his chest, affecting him a little. That was noticed too inside of him.
"Bothersome pest!" Unicron complained.
"That pest is the very one who robbed me of my spark. And now I possess the power to return the favor." Optimus said cheered.
"You possess nothing! It is I who possess all that you were and ever will be." Unicron corrected.
But made Optimus realize about something he didn't expected. As for his body, it continued firing huge dark energon shots at the Decepticons, who managed to hide behind the throne. Despite of that, Optimus/Unicron continued firing at it.
"We need to retreat!" Airachnid suggested.
"The only way out is down!" Axer reminded.
"We can't call for a ground bridge until we put some space between Unicron and us." Breakdown said.
"Behold my infinite might!" Optimus/Unicron proclaimed as he turned one of his super cannons into some kind of spear, and threw it to the throne, piercing through it.
But the spear not only did that, it also started to beep, like a bomb.
"Let's rise." Stinger ordered, knowing what was coming next.
The Decepticons jumped above the throne and turned to vehicle form, passing below and above Optimus/Unicron. As they jumped out of the room, the Seekers fired their missiles to open the way. Optimus/Unicron roared before he transformed and flew after them. Meanwhile, Galvatronus was trying to reach for the Allspark's container, getting more inside the asteroid field.
"Come on, chief. We're out of time." Astraea murmured.
Galvatronus speeded up, transformed to robot form and moved his hand, trying to reach the container as the asteroids in front of him exploded because of the plasma storm. At the same time on Decagon, the Decepticons continued driving down a hall until they passed a door, but Flamewar was forced to braked and return back to her robot form.
"Whoa! Stop!" She shouted.
Immediately they saw what forced them to stop.
"A smelting pit?!" Knock Out asked in disbelief.
"Cybertron's been dormant for eons, but that's still burning?" Flamewar followed.
"Soundwave, we need a ground bridge!" Stinger contacted by com-link.
Then a shot impacted next to them, sending everyone flying, while Optimus/Unicron chuckled sinisterly. The majority was sent directly to the smelting pit, but Breakdown managed to grab Airachnid's hand, and she hooked the other Decepticons with her webs; Stinger was the only one who went to the other side. Meanwhile, back with Astraea…
"Galvatronus, if we don't get out of here right now…" She started as she began to turn the ship around, but no one responded. "Galvatronus!"
But for her relief, she spotted something coming right toward her. It was Galvatronus, with the container in hand.
"That's why he's Prime. A true one." She said proud before continuing moving the ship.
While Galvatronus got inside the ship an asteroid hit it from behind.
"Cutting a little close, don't you think?"
"Astraea, set a course for Cybertron."
"Hang on to your hubcaps!" She warned as she pressed the speed button.
The ship speeded up and it left the area as the remaining asteroids exploded.
"That's the future of life on Cybertron, huh? I kinda figured it'd be bigger." She confessed.
Back with the other Decepticons…
"Hold tight!" Breakdown yelled as he was trying to get the others up.
Stinger was going to help him, but then he saw Optimus/Unicron changing to robot form, landing and summoning more dark energy from his hands, but instead of cannons he created two large scythes. He used them to try to strike Stinger, but he dodged them and fired rapidly his guns. They continued like that until Optimus/Unicron stabbed one of the scythes in the ground, causing a huge crack that reached to where Breakdown was. The ground broke, making everyone to fall towards the smelting pit.
"No!" Stinger cried.
Stinger went to check his friends, but instead of falling directly to the pit, a ground bridge opened in their way and everyone passed through, so Stinger sighed in relief.
"Servant of Prime, you will now join your brethren!" Optimus/Unicron menaced.
"You got that right!" Stinger answered, before he fell backwards off the ledge.
Optimus/Unicron saw how Stinger felt into the ground bridge before it closed, making him roar in anger.
"I am weak!" Optimus/Unicron said.
Inside of him…
"But our merciless attack drove the Decepticons into submission. They fled for their very sparks." Optimus said proud.
"A victory over unworthy opponents, especially one that did not result in their demise is far from an achievement. Clearly our improved state is not enough to accomplish the deep for which I have come, for that I shall require a much greater instrument of destruction." Unicron said.
Moments later after the Decepticon team retuned back to the Nemesis…
"How is this happening? I mean we've put out a call inviting refugees back to Cybertron, and Unicron is the first in line?!" Flamewar asked, still in disbelief.
"Not to mention those Predacons. What have we come home to?" Axer added.
"What are we supposed to call him, huh? Opticron, Unicronus Prime?" Kickback suggested.
"Really? That's your biggest issue right now?" Airachnid asked surprised.
"Right, right…So what's the game plan?" Kickback asked, trying to correct his mistake.
"I would prefer not to do it, but everyone will agree that we had no other choice. We need to report our leader about this." Starscream announced.
Stinger walked over to one terminal and pulled up the com-link system.
"Warning our leader is one good point, because he's a Prime. But in case we couldn't we need to came up with possible options for how to strike back Unicron." Knock Out suggested.
"While Unicron may now inhabit a mortal form he is still a god, and thus cannot be defeated by customary means." Shockwave reminded.
"Galvatronus, Astraea, this is Stinger. We have an urgent situation."
The calling reached to their ship.
"Stinger, this is Galvatronus Prime, proceed."
"Galvatronus, can you hear me?! Come in, please! Astraea, do you read?!" Stinger repeated, signaling that he may be not received the message.
"That hit we took did some damage. Receiving's operational, but we can't transmit." Astraea reasoned.
"Nothing." Stinger said.
"You have your voice back, now is not the time to go radio silent." Soundwave said to him before he started using the com-system. "Galvatronus, if you can hear us we have something urgent to report: Unicron has found his way back to Cybertron. Repeat, the Chaos's Bringer is here, on our soil, in possession of Optimus's body."
Galvatronus heard everything. "Astraea, ensure that the light speed drive is still fully operational."
"So what now?" Breakdown started. "I mean, besides hoping that Galvatronus got the message?"
"We figure out why Unicron's here." Starscream answered.
"And what he wants." Slipstream followed.
Galvatronus and Astraea were trying to deduce that too.
"The big U could have taken Earth behind our backs. Why come back to Cybertron?"
Galvatronus already knew. "There would be only one reason, Astraea."
"To destroy the spark of his archenemy: Primus." Shockwave realized.
"But that's the core of our planet!" Brimstone protested.
"It isn't fair! How many more times do we have to save a world?! Have to fight for the survival of our home?!" Flamewar cried.
"Regrettably the struggle between creation and destruction is an eternal one." Shockwave started. "And the battle lines which separate the two run through the very spark of Cybertron."
"Good and evil. Order and chaos. One victorious, one vanquished. Each forming the core of their own separate worlds: Cybertron and Earth." Starscream numbered.
"And now, the darkness has followed us, all the way home." Soundwave ended.
In other part of Cybertron, Predaking flew above the place where the Decepticons faced the two new Predacons. After a while searching from the air, Predaking descended and changed to robot form before landing. He examined some claw marks on the ground.
"Mm, tracks? The Decepticon spoke the truth." Predaking said surprised while he observed his surroundings. "Other Predacons do exist, thought it seems they took flight here. Locating my new brethren will be a futile endeavor, unless I allow them to locate me."
Predaking changed back to dragon form and launched a huge fire beam at the sky, lighting up the area. Meanwhile, in the Nemesis's medical lab…
"Knock Out, what's Dreadwing's status?" Shockwave asked.
"Well, that must be our only good new. His vitals are improving. He will be on his struts in good time." Knock Out said seeing his situation on the terminal.
"Exactly how long is good time?" A voice asked. It was Stinger entering the room. "Because with Galvatronus missing in action, we could really use all secondary leaders' council, including Dreadwing's"
"Stinger, we have each been witness to those among us who have risen above their station time and again, special teams, scouts, even field medics. The Chaos Bringer is at our doorstep. And now more than ever before we cannot afford to wait for salvation." Shockwave proclaimed.
"We'll launch an attack on Decagon, provided that Unicron is still there." Stinger suggested.
"And in case he's gone, that could reveal our moves and allow him to make his first." Starscream objected, entering the room alongside Soundwave. "Fortunately we know exactly what to do."
"First we'll attempt to locate him, in the event that he is not." Soundwave said.
"How?" Knock Out asked.
"We still control the Autobot warship, do we?" Starscream reminded.
"I have it in my spot. I've not left it without surveillance." Trypticon announced.
Meanwhile, Predaking waited in the same place for the chance that the other Predacons saw his signal. Suddenly he spotted something coming toward him from the sky.
"The beacon. It worked." He said hopefully.
But that was no other one than Optimus/Unicron.
"Predaking. Alive?" Optimus asked surprised.
"You know this primitive life form?" Unicron asked.
"Yes. A warrior once under my command, though I thought he had perished in battle." Optimus told, and then an idea came to his mind. "How fortunate that I was wrong. For Predaking is a loyal and powerful combatant, who could very well be the greater instrument of destruction which you seek." He said while he smirked, but Unicron didn't notice it.
Once it arrived, Optimus/Unicron transformed and landed in front of Predaking.
"Prime?" He said shocked.
"Warrior, I call upon you to serve your master." Optimus/Unicron called.
"In the name of the mighty legions of Predacons who preceded me, I shall never again yield to your charge." Predaking declared. "But I will heed your previous advice, and face my true enemy, as a beast!"
Predaking change to dragon form and fired a huge flame at Optimus/Unicron, making it scream in pain.
"You dare to deceive me and have both of us destroyed!" Unicron shouted, discovering Optimus's trick.
"Perhaps not destroyed. Just damaged enough that our shared form will no longer be of use to you and forced you to abandon what remains! For regaining my free will, even over a mangled and inefficient frame, is preferable to enduring awakening life as your slave!" Optimus revealed.
That made Unicron really mad. "For your insolence, I will only make you endure greater suffering!"
Unicron fired two energy beams from his eyes, causing Optimus great pain. Meanwhile, Predaking charged at Optimus/Unicron and grabbed him with his mouth. The Chaos Bringer tried to set free punching him, but Predaking simply blasted him out of his mouth like a cannon. Predaking charged again, but Optimus/Unicron already recovered and summoned one dark energon super cannon and fired it. Predaking felt the hit really hard that sent him backward a few steps, but that doesn't stop him to continue his attack. He jumped at his opponent, but the super cannon fired again, and this time the impact was too strong that sent Predaking against a wall. While Predaking was lying on the floor, Optimus/Unicron summoned in his other hand some kind of giant hammer, made by dark energon. Predaking recovered fast and charged again, but he was stopped by one hit of Optimus/Unicron's hammer. He continued striking Predaking with both weapons, until he hit him with the final blow, and after that Predaking didn't get back again. But he was not dead, only beaten.
"Now, let us learn more of these mighty legions of which you spoke." Optimus/Unicron started as he opened his hand and a weird image appeared on it.
"By peering directly into your mind."
Once he put the hand on Predaking's head, he saw a lot of images of Predacons in their time of prosperity. Even he saw Predaking's refuge, the land covered by fossils. So Unicron used a mind probe.
"Ah. I know now what I require to tear this world asunder." Optimus/Unicron smirked.
"And where I might find them."
Speaking of the place Unicron was referring, there was other that was heading there. It was Ratchet, driving right where Elita, Bumblebee and Grimlock were.
"Ratchet, how was your journey?" Elita asked.
Ratchet transformed back to robot form, but he didn't look happy "Long. Explain why you have summoned me to the middle of nowhere." He demanded.
"Because we have located our army." Bumblebee pointed to the land filled with fossils, with the three Predacons checking it.
"The clones sniffed out quite the motherlode, wouldn't you say?" Grimlock said.
At the same time, aboard the Ark…
"We have thought about utilizing the Ark's operating systems to search for Optimus's life signal." Shockwave said as everyone entered the Ark's bridge.
"Shockwave, that remodel that kicked our tail pipes, he might have looked and sounded like the old big O but it wasn't him." Kickback reminded.
"Affirmative. But in the case that even if a fraction of Optimus's spark still flickers within his body, the ship's scanners may pick it up." Soundwave explained.
"And that's what we are going to try. Let's hope that we could get something." Starscream said while Soundwave started working with the Ark's scanners.
Back to the Predacon graveyard, the Autobots and Predacons were starting harvesting fossils. Ratchet was analyzing which fossils were the ones who had more chances to hold CNA, or if they belonged to different Predacons; Bee was carrying a huge bone, but it looked like it was not very heavy; Elita was taking a look of the entire area, and Grimlock simply used his sword to splice the bones so they would be more easier to carry. The Predacons were also trying to pick up the bones, and that was the reason that Darksteel hit Skylynx on his head with a bone. Skylynx looked back to his partner, who laughed a little.
"So, you find me amusing." Skylynx said annoyed, right before he grabbed the bone Darksteel had and hit him with it, on the head.
"Ow, that hurts!" Darksteel said before they started a fight for the bone.
"Come on, guys. Stop fighting that was simply an accident. You don't need to get mad by that, it could happen to me too. And I don't like to start a fight for an unimportant matter." Ripclaw calmed down, separating the other Predacons.
"Hm, if that happened, I will support you." Skylynx said.
"So than I. I will undoubtedly fight in your side." Darksteel added.
That made Ripclaw blush a little. "Thank you guys. Is good to have other fellow Predacons around."
"Why are you standing there without doing nothing?!" Elita demanded.
"Oh, it's nothing, mistress. Just solving a little rage issue, nothing serious." Ripclaw clarified.
"You were playing with that bone?" Elita noticed. "Are you aware that it could become your comrade someday? So don't break it! And now stop fooling around and return to the task at hand."
"I do find it curious that I am not the only one currently seeking the remains of mighty legions." A voice said coming from the cliff, and for the Autobots' surprise it was the one they considered lost forever.
"It…it cannot be." Elita said shocked.
"Impossible. Unexpected." Ratchet added.
"Optimus Prime." Grimlock started. "But, but how? You were…"
"Oh what does it matter, guys? This is a huge good new. Our leader is back!" Bee yelled happy, cheering his Autobot companions.
"And looking far more imposing than ever." Elita said admiring Optimus's new form while he advanced at them. "Dear, we have great things to report to you. We have been working tirelessly in your absence, building an army powerful enough to conquer Cybertron."
"I do not wish to conquer this world. I wish to eradicate it." He said, once he was in front of Elita.
That confused her. "I'm sorry, Dear. I can't say that I'm following you. Did you just say eradicate?"
"Silence fool!" He shouted at the same time he hit Elita very hard, pushing her right into the graveyard leaving everyone shocked.
"Optimus would never hurt his sparkmate. What's wrong with him?" Bumblebee asked in disbelief.
Then Ratchet realized what was going on, so he put a hand in front of Bee. "That's not Optimus."
"Exactly. Your master is under my control. I am the destroyer of worlds, the bringer of chaos and the lord of the undead." He declared as dark energy flowed through his hands.
"Unicron." Ratchet said.
"I say we show the lord of the undead what's like to be unliving." Skylynx suggested.
"Rip him to shreds!" Darksteel agreed.
"Come on, brothers. Let's show this being why we should be feared!" Ripclaw exclaimed.
"Predacons, follow my lead. Attack!" Grimlock ordered.
Grimlock and the Predacons changed to their beast forms and charged against Optimus/Unicron. Grimlock attacked first hitting him with the tail, that allowed Ripclaw to grab Optimus/Unicron's hands and tried to hit him with her poisonous bite. But Optimus/Unicron managed to evade her strikes before pushing her aside, but Ripclaw recovered immediately and she, Skylynx, Darksteel and Grimlock fired their fire beams at him all at once. While a small fire whirl surrounded where Optimus/Unicron was supposed to stay the Autobots simply watched as Grimlock and the Predacons circle around. Suddenly Optimus/Unicron appeared in middle of the fire with his dark energon super cannons ready. Darksteel looked surprised, from which Optimus/Unicron took advantage to shot him, two shots were enough to take him down. Next he fired at Ripclaw, who jumped above him, and next he fired to Skylynx, who tried to dodge the shots, but at the end two direct shots were enough to take him down. Grimlock hit his back with his tail before tackling him. Next he pushed him against the ground with his foot and tried to bite him, but Optimus/Unicron grabbed his mouth and held him off and started punching his head, until he managed to hit him hard. Next he grabbed the Dinobot's feet and lifted him up above him, and threw him against the ground. That left Grimlock stunned, out of the combat the same as the Predacons. Because the Autobots did not try to fight him, Optimus/Unicron passed through them and walked toward the cliff. Once he was there, he summoned a storm of purple lightning and made it flow to the ground, sending waves of energy through the place. That was detected on the Ark.
"Optimus's life signal has been detected!" Soundwave announced.
"So somewhere inside that new…body armor. He's still alive?" Airachnid asked surprised.
"He's perished and returned before." Shockwave reminded.
"A phenomenon no doubt aided by the blood of Unicron which has coursed through his veins." Starscream finished.
"The coordinates indicate he's left Decagon." Axer pointed.
"Triangulating his exact location." Soundwave said, typing on the consol.
Immediately it showed where he was.
"We were there. Earlier today." Brimstone recognized.
"Predaking's refuge?" Slipstream added.
"Unicron's retracting our steps?" Breakdown asked.
"Whoa, wait. What in Alpha Trion's beard is that?" Knock Out noticed as something weird appeared on the screen.
Just as the scanners detected, something strange was happening in the graveyard. Something big, and evil.
"My legion, arise and purge this world with your dragon fire!" Optimus/Unicron summoned as he launched more lightning from his hands.
Ripclaw was helping Darksteel back to his feet with Skylynx joining them as they observed, as well the Autobots did. The ground started to shake as it divided in pieces, from which hundreds of Predacon skeletons started to emerge, all showing signals of dark energon infusion.
"Terrobots, created from Predacons?" Grimlock asked terrified.
"This stands beyond all science." Ratchet said in disbelief.
"Every Bot for himself!" Bee yelled frightened as he changed to vehicle form and drove away.
"I agreed with you this time!" Grimlock nodded as he transformed and followed him.
"Don't stay right there, Ratchet. Run!" Elita advised as she left too.
But Ratchet didn't move. He was paralyzed, unable to believe what was happening in front of his eyes. But when the undead Predacons started to get too close, he changed to vehicle form and started to shot at them with his cannons. He managed to eliminate a few, but then one grabbed him from the front and with the help of others they tip him over before agglomerate around him and covering him at the end. Inside the Ark…
"Given that we are dealing with Unicron himself, the energy mass can be only one thing: dark energon. But for what purpose?" Starscream asked.
"We all saw it. The valley was filled with ancient Predacon bones." Brimstone reminded.
"Unicron's raising an undead army." Airachnid deduced.
"One currently travelling across the Hydrax Plateau towards the Well of all Sparks." Soundwave observed.
"The most direct route to Cybertron's core. And Primus." Shockwave finished.
Just as they detected, Optimus/Unicron was advancing alongside his new undead Predacon army right toward Cybertron's core entrance.
He was even riding on one of the monsters to witness his great moment. "The past shall consume the future. The dead shall consume the living. And chaos shall reign supreme!"
Back to the Ark…
"Unicron clearly seeks to access our planet's core from the same point of entry that we used to restore it." Starscream said.
"No doubt with every intention of undoing our efforts." Slipstream added.
"So what do we do?" Axer asked.
"We put ourselves between Unicron's army and the well." Stinger suggested.
Everyone looked at Stinger, who still had eyes of determination.
Starscream smiled. "I agreed Stinger, that's our best chance of action. Of course, if we are going to engage him we must use all the resources we had at hand. Our strongest assets are the Autobot warship and whatever relics may it store in its vault."
"Last time I looked just the polarity gauntlet, the force field generator and the Immobilizer." Kickback said.
"Hopefully the genuine article this time." Flamewar said looking at him.
"I'll round up the secret weapons." The Insecticon said leaving.
"Think you can pilot this ship buddy?" Knock Out asked.
"Bot engineering. User friendly, right?" Breakdown answered.
"Shockwave, Soundwave, you two have given your all to save this world one already." Stinger told them.
"Trypticon's weapons systems are not totally updated. He's not ready yet for combat." Soundwave informed.
"Then take him with you and Dreadwing. If we had no success, then you will be Cybertron's last hope." Starscream said.
"Understood." Shockwave nodded.
Soundwave and Shockwave saw how the other Decepticons departed with the Ark while they observed inside the Nemesis, with Dreadwing still on a medical berth next to them.
"Where are you taking us? We have a right to know!" Smokescreen demanded.
Then the room's door opened, but not by the Decepticons, surprisingly thanks to the remaining Autobots.
"Greetings, fellow Autobots." Elita saluted.
"Elita, Grimlock, Bee, thanks the stars! We can finally escape this dreaded ship." Smokescreen said relieved.
"No pal, we must in fact take the ship by whatever means necessary." Bee corrected.
Meanwhile in the Ark's bridge, the Decepticons were checking all the details for the incoming battle.
"Primary cannons, null rays, ion blasters, heavy missile launchers, nucleon shock cannons." Knock Out counted.
"That's everything we need to stand a fighting chance against Unicron's army." Starscream nodded before he went to check the others.
"Sting." Airachnid started. "In case I never get another chance to say this, you've really proved your metal."
"I'd like to think my actions always spoke louder than my words, Airachnid. But it didn't hurt to watch and learn from the best."
"Would be nice if Galvatronus showed up about now." She said.
"I was referring to a powerful little eight-legger I know." Stinger clarified, making her smile.
"How beautiful. A shame that's not going to see a future." A recognizable voice said behind them.
"Decepticons, surrender this warship!" Grimlock demanded, with Smokescreen next to him as Elita, Bumblebee and the remaining Autobot soldiers aimed their weapons at them.
"What?! How have they escaped from the prison block?" Knock Out asked.
"No matter. We'll take them inside again." Axer said he, Starscream and Stinger advanced toward them while the other Decepticons readied their weapons.
"Not so fast, Screamer." Bumblebee warned showing that he was holding the Immobilizer.
That forced everyone to stop.
"Funny how the Immobilizer can freeze Cons in their tracks, before it's activated." Elita admired.
"And in case you're wondering Kickback is in no position to come to your rescue right now." Smokescreen added showing that he now had the phase shifter on his wrist.
Speaking of Kickback, he was stuck on the wall right in the same ridiculous position Smokescreen was before.
Far from there, Predaking was flying toward his refuge, just when the other Predacons were still.
"Guys, look! One of us."
"Indeed, Darksteel. Most likely our predecessor." Skylynx deduced.
"I never thought we would get to know him." Ripclaw said surprised.
Predaking landed and returned to robot form, but he showed horror on his eyes for what he saw.
"The burial ground…desecrated. Strip-mined of all that remained of our ancestors." Predaking observed in disbelief.
Darksteel laughed. "He should've been here to see them rise and shine."
"They live?" Predaking asked.
"If you call being undead living." Ripclaw corrected.
"Dark magic. Perpetrated by the demon who lives in Optimus's skin." Predaking deduced.
"Just be glad you're alive, so the demon can't pull your strings." Skylynx added.
"Do you not comprehend the scope of this tragedy? We four are proof that our mighty race might once again have flourished. Their remains must be reclaimed, if for no other reason then to be properly laid back to rest." Predaking explained.
"Mm, he is wiser than any of us and his words sounds noble. Maybe we should help him." Ripclaw expressed amazed.
"And who made you boss?" Darksteel asked a little irritated.
"I am not your boss. I am your king!" Predaking corrected, glaring at them preparing his claws.
At the same time…
"Nah, they won't use it." Breakdown started. "They need us if they are gonna stand any chance of surviving Unicron."
"You misunderstand. We don't intend to use this warship for battle, but for quickly getting as far as possible from this doomed planet." Elita corrected.
"Earth would be nice now that Unicron no longer seems to be calling it home." Smokescreen suggested.
"Nobody has asked for your opinion!" Elita snapped to him.
"Now, move away from the controls, Breakdown, or get stiff." Grimlock threatened.
"There's one thing you overlooked, Bee. That device you're holding? Not the Immobilizer." Stinger lied.
Fortunately Bumblebee believed him. "What?! What do you mean?"
Starscream nodded to Stinger. "Now!"
Stinger took advantage and tried to grab the device, so he and Bumblebee struggled for it. Meanwhile, Starscream, Slipstream and Axer fired a storm of missiles against Grimlock, so he was forced to cover himself behind his shield, as the other Decepticons fired their weapons at the Autobots soldiers, eliminating them one by one as Smokescreen hunkered down.
"Don't get intimidated! You're an Elite Guard soldier, stand up!" Elita ordered as she fired her weapons.
But immediately Brimstone grabbed her with his Pteranodon claws and allowed Knock Out to stun her with his staff. Stinger managed to knock Bumblebee's head, taking him down. But then Grimlock grabbed him.
"I will silence you forever!" The Dinobot groaned.
But then a servo phased through Grimlock's chassis and snatched the device from Stinger. And just when Grimlock turned around, Smokescreen smashed the device across Grimlock's face, sending the Dinobot to the ground unconscious. But he also shattered the device.
"Now you are really going to believe that I want to be in your side?" Smokescreen asked.
"Smokescreen, we needed that!" Starscream groaned.
"Haha, just like Ratchet. Wait. It really was the Immobilizer?" He asked nervous.
Back with the Predacons, Skylynx and Darksteel didn't like the idea of Predaking being the one who speaks to them what to do, so they decided to battle him. Ripclaw didn't want to get involved in their fight, but she also didn't want them to fight. Predaking, by his way, accepted their challenge. Darksteel tried to push him back, but Predaking smashed both hands on him before pushing him back. Darksteel was thrown to the ground, but he smirked seeing Skylynx flying at Predaking from behind. Skylynx managed to grab and smash Predaking against the floor until they approached to a rock. Once there, Skylynx left Predaking to smash to the rock, and next he grabbed his arms as Darksteel approached to him in dragon form. But Predaking managed to push Skylynx and slamming him into Darksteel, sending them both flying a few meters. Predaking took the chance and changed to dragon form advancing toward them, they got up but Predaking already rammed into them. Skylynx managed to jump on top of him as Predaking grabbed Darksteel with his jaws and threw him away, next he grabbed Skylynx's tail and threw him down. Both Predacons charged at him, but Predaking pushed them against the ground and roared at them with fire ready to launch from his mouth. As result, both Predacons returned to robot form.
"All hail, Predaking." Darksteel accepted, defeated.
They turned to see Ripclaw clapping. "That was an impressive match, I admit. But now we all are in the same side, so why no using our might where it is most needed?"
Back to the Ark, Flamewar, Kickback, Brimstone and Smokescreen tossed Grimlock, Bumblebee and Elita One into the prison block. Bumblebee was still unconscious while Elita and the Dinobot looked at them defeated. Smokescreen cleaned his hands before he left with the Decepticons and the door closed.
"Traitor." Elita groaned.
"Fine! I hope Unicron destroys you first!" Grimlock shouted mad.
As they walked back to the bridge…
"Why'd you do it, Smokescreen? Why'd you turn against them?" Flamewar asked interested.
"Even if I had helped them seize this ship they would have probably forced me to return to be their errand boy. Oh, and because Grimlock's a brute, Bee tried to make fun of me before and Elita is now bossy. But you guys seem to support each other, value your efforts and even offer a second chance like with the two Star Seekers. That's just what I wanted when I joined this ship's crew."
"Well, you set us free at the first place. So welcome to the Decepticons." Brimstone congratulated.
They finally arrived to the bridge, where the other Decepticons were.
"Are we there yet?" Kickback asked.
"Right on schedule." Slipstream answered.
"And so is Unicron." Starscream noticed.
Unicron's undead army was approaching the well when suddenly the Ark fired all its weapons. After the impacts disposed of some of the creatures, the ship turned passed above them in order to turn around.
"Resistance." Optimus/Unicron groaned.
"From my own warship." Optimus smiled.
"Demon hordes, take flight…"
"…and eviscerate them!" Optimus/Unicron ordered.
The undead Predacons ascended right toward the Ark, the same as it. The ship started to fire all its weapons, destroying all the Predacons it hit, but soon the horde was able to surround the warship.
"Perhaps the other's idea was not so bad." Smokescreen said a little nervous, then one of the monsters slammed against the window and roared. "Zombiebot! Zombiebot!" He yelled pulling out his weapons after falling back as Stinger and Kickback stood in front of him.
But before the creature could launch fire a fire beam took it down. More fire beams destroyed more of the undead army.
"It seems we have backup." Axer spotted.
"Is it Galvatronus?" Airachnid asked.
Once they saw clearly, they saw the four Predacons flying and firing at their undead relatives.
"Predaking." Starscream corrected.
Optimus/Unicron saw them too as they continued attacking his army.
"More flying pests!" He said.
"Who to root for? The lines have certainly blurred." Optimus said.
Back inside the Ark's bridge…
"Predacon allies. You called it Sting. And to think that for a moment I thought Galvatronus was going to name me leader." Kickback said.
That left Stinger without words, while Starscream was shocked. "Whoa. What?!"
"Yeah, I said it. But right place, right time doesn't mean right Con. I know that now." Kickback admitted.
The Predacons continued taking down undead Predacons, but they were too many. They even managed to hit the Ark with their own fire shots. That caused a huge explosion that made the ship to descend. The Autobots felt that too inside their room, even it made them felt.
"We've being hit!" Knock Out announced. "Now I know what was missing from this ship: deflecting shields!"
"Brace for impact!" Breakdown warned.
Everyone prepared for the impact. The warship hit the ground and started shaking towards the well. Fortunately it stopped when it was about to reach the edge.
"Ugh, is everyone okay?" Starscream asked while he helped his sister.
"Yeah. I guess we are fortunate that this ship could take the beating." Smokescreen said.
"Unfortunately it is now useless." Knock Out observed.
"So it is up to us now." Starscream declared as the Decepticons got back to their feet a little dizzy.
The Autobots felt the impact too. But also heard a cracking noise coming from the door, which looked damaged.
"What just happened?" Bumblebee asked.
"I don't know, and I don't want to find out what it was. But it seems that thanks to that we now have our way out." Grimlock said as he started breaking the door, making his way out.
From the outside a lot of flames covered the warship. It was official, the Ark was finished. Once they exited the ship, the Decepticons saw Unicron's army advancing toward them, and the Predacons transformed and landed right behind. Optimus/Unicron stood in front of his army.
"My legion, the time is upon us. Destroy Primus with your dragon fire!"
Everyone saw the undead army charging at them.
"We're the last line of defense." Stinger said.
"I would recommend leaving that to those more suited for the task." Predaking started. "Skylynx, Darksteel, Ripclaw, allow nothing to enter the well!"
All the Predacons transformed and charged against the army, which merged into a huge purple flying mass. The Predacons launched a few fireballs, stopping the horde advance, but it only worked for a few seconds. One by one, the Predacons fired large beams of fire against the horde, holding them. But at the end there were too many undead to deal with, and ended carrying the Predacons even when it flew inside the well.
"Really? This is how it ends?" Breakdown asked worried.
"We're not losing our planet. Not without taking Unicron with it." Starscream encouraged looking at their opponent.
Suddenly Optimus/Unicron froze. "What? A familiar resonance. Pure energy, not unlike Primus."
"One I have not encountered since ancient days."
Then he realized. "The Allspark!"
Then he saw the ship Galvatronus and Astraea took to search for the Allspark, the reason why he felt it. The Decepticons also spotted the ship, which made them happy.
"Galvatronus." Knock Out recognized.
"I never thought I'd be so happy to see that big rig!" Smokescreen confessed.
Inside the ship…
"We must keep the Allspark from Unicron's reach." Galvatronus instructed.
"I thought the container was indestructible." Astraea said.
"Indeed. But if this vessel once trapped the Allspark, I fear that it can also be emptied of it."
The ship's ramp opened, and Galvatronus was ready to engage Unicron.
"So the true Prime returns." Optimus/Unicron saw as he summoned another dark energon lance.
Galvatronus activated his jet-pack and flew right towards the chaos bringer. But he already threw the lance before the Decepticon leader reached him, hitting one of the ship's engines. That caused it to crash land.
"Astraea!" Breakdown shouted worried.
"Let's go buddy!" Knock Out said.
Breakdown, Knock Out transformed and drove right at the ship to check how Astraea was, accompanied by Flamewar. The other Decepticons stayed, watching Galvatronus punching Optimus/Unicron hard and kicking him backwards.
"Thank you, Prime. For delivering the Allspark, so that I may erase it from existence." Optimus/Unicron thanked.
"Not while I stand before you, Unicron."
Both opponents charged against the other and prepared their fists. Galvatronus received a punch on his face and Optimus/Unicron received an uppercut. Galvatronus recovered first and continue striking his rival.
"Optimus, you and I once united to save a world from Unicron! We must do so again!" Galvatronus called as he continued punching him.
"Optimus may hear you." Optimus/Unicron revealed while he received another punch. "But he cannot help you!"
Inside Optimus, he continued being tortured by Unicron's energy.
"For he is enduring eternal suffering." Unicron smirked.
Galvatronus jumped and hit Optimus/Unicron hard, but he summoned a giant hammer of dark energon and hit Galvatronus hard, taking him down.
"Your efforts to protect Cybertron's most sacred relic are futile! My legion is within reach of Primus, your planet's very core. And we both know that the Allspark cannot thrive in a poisoned well." Optimus/Unicron said as he prepared his hammer to execute Galvatronus.
"Oh no, you don't!" Starscream shouted jumped on top of Optimus/Unicron and started trying to nail his claws on him.
But he was not the only one who decided to engage Unicron. Airachnid fired her webs at his back, Slipstream grabbed him with her whips and sent electricity, and Stinger sent a magnetic beam with the polarity gauntlet. Optimus/Unicron tried to smash Galvatronus with the hammer, but the Decepticons' effort managed to hold him on the ground, even made some parts of the floor to crack.
"You're sure the polarity gauntlet is going to handle someone of his might?" Smokescreen asked.
"We're just going to figure it out." Brimstone answered.
"My liege, go!" Starscream yelled while he held Optimus/Unicron, enduring the electricity.
"Save the Allspark!" Stinger added.
Galvatronus changed to vehicle form and flew to the crashed ship, just where Breakdown, Knock Out and Flamewar were helping Astraea.
"I've been worse." Astraea growled, and then Galvatronus transformed and landed in front of them. "So how are we gonna get that thing to safety?"
"By the only means available to us under these most dire of circumstances. The very survival of our species upon this or any world depends upon it." Galvatronus answered.
The Decepticons managed to hold Optimus/Unicron for a while, but he finally managed to push Stinger, Airachnid, Slipstream and Starscream hard enough to send them flying forwards and over his helm, and crashing back into the ground. Smokescreen, Axer and Kickback fired at Optimus/Unicron, but he already summoned one dark energon super cannon. But before he fired, Brimstone pulled out the force field generator and created an energy wall that blocked the shot.
"Kickback, above me, now!" Brimstone called.
The Insecticon climbed on Brimstone's shoulders and unleashed a storm of laser shots from all his legs. That made Optimus/Unicron to cover himself, until he fired his cannon at the wall. The shot didn't destroy the energy wall, but the shock wave took the Decepticons down. Next Optimus/Unicron changed to vehicle form and took flight right where Galvatronus went. Galvatronus was in robot form flying with his jet-pack and carrying the Allspark's container, and speeded up once he saw Optimus/Unicron following him, but the former Autobot leader's new vehicle form fired two huge dark energon shots that hit Galvatronus's jet-pack, forcing him to crash land. Galvatronus groaned in pain as Optimus/Unicron changed to robot form and walked toward him, and managed to take the container from him. The Decepticons witnessed in horror how the chaos bringer seemed to win.
"I shall devour your Allspark whole!" Optimus/Unicron said, but when he opened it had nothing inside. "What?! A trick!"
Suddenly a shock wave of bright blue washed him and he started to glow purple. The glow around Optimus/Unicron suddenly shot upwards and shot into the container while screams sounded, probably Unicron's. Right at the same moment, just when the undead Predacon army was about to reach Primus's spark, they stopped and disintegrated in dust. The Predacons spotted that. Besides that, some parts of Optimus/Unicron's body started to disintegrate too, leaving Optimus's body just like when before he died, which collapsed to the ground. Galvatronus grabbed the container, which now had what looked like Unicron himself inside screaming in agony.
"As a being comprised of pure energy, Unicron's Anti-Spark was vulnerable to this reliquary of the Primes." Galvatronus explained as the other Decepticons gathered around him.
"But if he's in there, where…?" Kickback started.
"Praise the Allspark!" Bumblebee shouted approaching in vehicle form, alongside Grimlock and Elita One.
The Autobots returned to robot form once they arrived next to their leader, who started to get up.
"Dear! You're alive!" Elita said happy, seeing that her sparkmate's eyes were back to be red.
"Indeed." Optimus answered, checking that he had returned to normal.
"Now that you have returned back to yourself we can continue our path to success." Bee started.
"Together we will reunite all Autobots and once again grind Cybertron under your mighty heel." Grimlock proclaimed.
"No!" Optimus snarled, surprising everyone.
"What? Why?" Bumblebee asked confused.
Optimus walked a few steps until he looked at Galvatronus.
"Because I now know the true meaning of oppression. And have thus lost my taste for inflicting it." Optimus explained.
Galvatronus was surprised of what he was witnessing: Optimus redeemed himself.
"No Elita." Optimus interrupted. "That's not my name. My true name is and always has been Orion Pax. I've finally realized that I was never destined to be a Prime, and I did a lot of horrible things believing that I was doing them for Cybertron's wellbeing. It is that the reason that I cannot stay on our home, or Earth, not even in any place visited by any of our kind. So I will exile myself, far away from our home planet. I do not know when I'll get back, but I do know that it will be when I manage to clear my thoughts. So I ask you to, during that time, have patience." He expressed sad, even turned his head aside.
But Elita touched his face with her hand. "Orion, I don't care about the Autobot cause anymore. During these days I only wished for being able to see you once again from the Allspark, but when Unicron showed as you I felt like I could never see you again. And now that you're back, I don't want to think about the war, the ancient rivals or the future, I just only want to stay with you. Even if I had to follow you through the entire universe. Because you're the most important thing for me, Orion. You always have been."
Orion smiled, knowing what she was meaning.
"Thank you, Ariel." Orion said, before he looked at the other Autobots, still confused.
"You've clearly been traumatized, master."
"Yes, listen to Bumblebee. I'm sure a good power down and a stroll around the smelting pit will put you back in touch with your inner warlord." Grimlock suggested.
"Enough! The Autobots are no more, and that's my final decision."
With everything said, Orion Pax activated his jet-pack and took flight, followed by his sparkmate who changed to vehicle mode and went with him. The two former Autobot leaders headed outside Cybertron. Bumblebee and Grimlock remained without words.
"So, what about you?" Smokescreen asked, snapping out the two Autobots.
"Well, we all have plenty to think about." Bee simply answered.
"Yes. A lot." Grimlock added.
The two Autobots transformed and left the place. Grimlock and Bumblebee decided to go back to Decagon.
"Now what?" Bumblebee asked confused. "Without our leader there's nothing worthy to fight for."
"You know? This is not quite how I envisioned my rise to the throne, but since Optimus Prime all but surrendered it to me I will gladly revive the Autobots in my name." Grimlock proclaimed.
Bee sighed. "I guess it's better than nothing. Wait a minute, already planned? Don't tell me you're going to return to that of All Hail King Grimlock! And I thought that you had already changed."
"Let's say an old friend reminded me what it's like to be a Dinobot."
"Yeah, clearly. Unfortunately for you, your highness, this Autobot remains loyal to the true faction." Bee discussed.
"I would not be so relaxed if I were you." Grimlock said pointing at behind him.
Then Bumblebee heard a sound of beating wings behind them. He turned and gasped surprised seen the four Predacons landing in front of him.
"Perhaps a throne is more befitting for an actual king." Bee said nervous.
Predaking returned to robot form. "I am not here to seize thrones, Bumblebee." He said as the other Predacons advanced menacingly towards the Autobot scout. "But to settle scores."
"Grimlock, a little help here?" Bee asked.
"Why? You found this by yourself." The Dinobot answered.
"Exactly. Ripclaw told me that you were the only Autobot that did not tortured her and the other Predacons when they were under your command, and that you even fought alongside them in a temporally leadership." Predaking said as Bumblebee was forced to enter Decagon, with Darksteel and Skylynx after him. "So, do you want to resume our unfinished match?" He asked smiling.
"It will be my pleasure, my friend." Grimlock answered, smiling him back.
Both Dinobot and Predacon leaders turned to their beast forms and charged against the other one roaring. Back to the well, as the sun was rising, all the Decepticons, including the Nemesis, gathered in front of their leader, who stood above a higher platform.
"In order to both protect the Allspark and secure Unicron's defeat, it was necessary for me to empty the vessel's contents." Galvatronus said.
"Into where?" Knock Out asked.
"The Matrix of Leadership." Galvatronus answered, looking his chest. "As such, my own spark can no longer be separated from the multitude of others within me."
"Are you telling us, that you are now, one with the Allspark?" Airachnid asked, fearing the worst.
"That's what you say when someone kicks the…" Axer started, but he stopped when he realized what his leader was meaning.
"To not return the Allspark to the well would be to prevent future generations of new life from existing on Cybertron. My quest must be completed." Galvatronus said.
"Galvatronus, we didn't return to save a life only to lose the one we care most about! Our best friend!" Shockwave protested affected.
"We have restored planets. We'll find a way to save you!" Soundwave added affected as well.
"We can turn to Vector Sigma, just like we did before!" Starscream suggested.
"Because the matrix must now be relinquished with the Allspark it cannot be restored, or passed down to another. But while this very well mark the end of the age of Primes, leadership can be earned with or without the matrix. And in my view, you have each acted as a Prime." Galvatronus said looking at everyone.
"Well, I've never really had the best role models. Actually all this time I've been with the wrong one." Smokescreen murmured grateful.
"As even Orion has demonstrated on this day, every sentient being possesses the capacity for change." Galvatronus said before he prepared his jet-pack. But before his last departure, he gave a last look to his team. "I ask only this of you, fellow Decepticons. Keep fighting the noblest of fights."
"You can count on us to keep the peace." Stinger assured.
Galvatronus smiled at them before he took flight and went inside the well, heading right into the core. Once he was getting close, he opened his chest to show the Matrix of Leadership.
"Above all, do not lament my absence."
Galvatronus finally reached to Primus's spark, joining with him.
"For in my spark, I know that this is not the end."
Once he joined with Primus, a lot of new sparks, of all kinds of colors, came out from the well and spread across all Cybertron. The Decepticons were amazed by the entire spectacle.
"But merely a new beginning."
Then a spark appeared in front of them. Everyone managed to recognize that as no one else that Galvatronus Prime's spark.
"Simply put, another transformation."