Hi everyone. Thanks again for your patience. I'm glad to see so many people reading and enjoying my fic and I don't plan on stopping now. This is one chapter that I've been wanting to write for a while as we are introduced to two of my favorite Decepticons. So, without further delay, let us begin.
Geass Ex Machina
Rai had just finished packing his schoolbooks as the last class for the day ended. He was about to walk out the door when he heard a few of his friends call him.
"Hey Rai, where ya going?" Rivalz asked as he was with Shirley and Milly.
"Oh, just wondering around the Settlement. Nowhere in particular." Rai answered.
"You sure it's okay to go off by yourself?" Shirley asked with concern. "I mean with all that's happening with the Black Knights and those Autobots?"
"They're not exactly terrorists, I mean they did save all our lives and everything." Rai pointed out.
"That's true." Milly said. "But still it's not exactly safe to just wonder around aimlessly."
"I'll be fine, don't worry." Rai assured.
"Does this have something to do with your memories?" Shirley asked.
Rai stopped for a second before answering. "No, it really doesn't."
Shirley suddenly felt a bit guilty. "I'm sorry if I caused you some trouble. I know it's a touchy subject for you."
"It's fine, don't worry about it." Rai assured. "I got you guys on speed-dial if anything comes up though. Trust me, I'll be fine."
"Alright if you say so buddy." Rivalz seemed to get it.
"Just let us know if there's any trouble and we'll be over there in a heartbeat." Milly said.
"Thanks guys, that really does mean a lot." Rai said before walking out of the classroom.
Rai walked out toward the Ashford parking lot. He felt a little bad lying to his friends like that, but he was a Black Knight and he had to keep that a secret or else risk putting them in danger. Aside from the Autobots and several other Black Knights; the Student Council, Nunnally included, were the only people he truly considered his family and the last thing he wanted was to endanger their lives.
His attention was soon caught by a familiar green SUV pulling into the parking lot with some rock music playing on the radio. He looked a bit surprised to see it was this particular Autobot picking him up but went ahead anyway.
"Yeah, yeah, yeah!" Bulkhead mouthed the heavy guitar sounds on the radio as Rai got into the passenger seat.
"Heh, didn't know you were into heavy metal." Rai commented as he buckled his seatbelt.
"Tamaki got me hooked onto it." Bulkhead answered. "What can I say? I like it."
Rai smirked a bit as the disguised Autobot drove away from the campus. "I'm a bit surprised that you're picking me up, Bulkhead. I was kinda expecting Bumblebee since he's always at Ashford with Lelouch."
"Both of them are already at the Ark so I decided to swing by and get you."
"So, what's everyone been up to?" Rai asked.
"Right now, we're focusing more on recruitment." Bulkhead answered. "We've got lots of resistance groups wanting to sign on with us. Heck we'll be about as big as the JLF in no time."
"When's the next big mission?" Rai asked.
"Wow slow down there, kid. You haven't even piloted a Knightmare yet, gotta take baby steps first." Bulkhead said as his vehicle mode turned down one alleyway and made its way down toward a nearby ghetto.
"I read the manual and actually got the feel for the controls on one of our Sutherlands." Rai said.
"Not the same as getting into fight." The green Autobot remarked as a Groundbridge portal opened in front of them. Bulkhead drove inside and the portal closed almost immediately.
Bulkhead had driven from the Groundbridge bay all the way to the Ark's bridge where Ratchet was still working at a console as he came to a halt.
"Rai, I get you wanna help us, you got a good heart; but you can't rush headlong into a fight." Bulkhead said as Rai stepped out and Bulkhead transformed.
"I get that. Lelouch already made that perfectly clear." Rai said with a bit of irritation. Though he was glad his friends were looking out him, it was getting a bit annoying with how protective they all were. "I just don't wanna sit around here doing nothing when I can actually help you guys!"
Bulkhead kneeled down. "And you'll get your chance, but you can't rush this. First you gotta know what you're capable of. Before I was a warrior, I was a laborer, construction. I can build stuff, I can break stuff, and that's it!"
"Both those things are good though." Rai stated. "Breaking the bad guys is kinda obvious, but you can also build shelters and stuff for people who need it. Yeah, it's simple, but that can help a lot of people."
"Yes it can" Bulkhead acknowledged. "But it also means there are things I can't do. We don't even know what you can do either. You can be a soldier if you want, but there are other things you could do. You could be a medic, like Ratchet."
Rai shrugged. "I don't really see myself as a doctor. No offense." He said to the Medic-bot still at the console.
"None taken." Ratchet waved his hand. His attention was caught by some sensors going off as he looked up to a screen with a dot blinking on and off on a map. "I'm detecting a fresh Energon pulse from the nation called 'Greece'. An ancient city, quite historic I believe."
"Greece isn't a part of Britannia, is it?" Bulkhead asked, standing up.
"No, it's part of the EU." Ratchet answered. "That being said, we wouldn't be going into danger if we sent a team there. However, I would also urge not to create too much of a commotion."
"Then let's get going." Rai said.
"Rai…" Bulkhead said.
"What? It's just an Energon scouting mission, no fighting. Plus, I don't see anyone else around." Rai put in.
"It's true." Ratchet pointed. "Everyone else is either on patrol or speaking with other resistance cells about recruitment efforts."
Bulkhead didn't really see anything wrong with this; Like Rai said, it was just a scouting mission, and they weren't going into Britannian territory so, why not? "Alright kid, time to get your feet wet."
Starscream stood impatiently outside the main base of the Camelot Division in the Settlement. Though he was on military grounds away from civilians, all the nearby soldiers couldn't help but stare at him, much to his irritation.
"What are you all looking at? Get back to work!" Starscream ordered many of the soldiers, causing them to stiffen up and quickly get back to their posts. He soon saw something enter the facility.
Driving through the main gates was a bright red sports car resembling an Aston Martin that drove up to Starscream.
"It's about time Knock Out." The second in command of the Decepticons stated. "I do not enjoy being kept waiting."
The red car transformed to reveal the red Decepticon that was named Knock Out. "It was a long drive, Starscream. I'm still picking bugs out of my grill."
"Yes, right. You're one of those." Starscream commented.
Knock Out didn't seem to like that tone. "Come again?"
"Never understood why any self-respecting Decepticon would choose an automobile as his vehicle mode, when he could have flight." Starscream stated.
"I like the way I look in steel-belted radials." Knock Out answered with a smug grin.
Inside the Special Corps base; while all the personnel were working on the equipment present, including the Lancelot, Suzaku sat on a chair on a catwalk as he read his textbook for school. Though it appeared he was simply reading, his mind was elsewhere. A lot went through his head, specifically Zero, the Black Knights and the Autobots. They claimed to fight for justice and many of the criminals they caught or ousted really were corrupt and deserved justice, why didn't they help the police? Why are they fighting Britannia when they could try to help change it? But also, he couldn't deny that Britannia was far from perfect, and there was something about the Decepticons that just made him feel a bit unease.
He was startled out of his thoughts by Cecile as she looked at him with concern.
"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you."
"Don't worry, I was just lost in thought that's all." Suzaku assured as Cecile sat down next to him. "Hey uh, Miss Cecile. What exactly do you think about all this? The Autobots and the Black Knights?"
"Well… truth be told, I don't really know what to think." Cecile answered honestly. "But I don't want to outright say they're terrorists. I mean, they did rescue Princess Euphemia and many of your friends back at the hotel jacking, and they have exposed some dangerous criminals. And… if I'm speaking honestly, it's actually kind of exciting. Alien robots that transform into vehicles. It's almost like something out of a comic book."
Suzaku couldn't help but chuckle at that. "But… what about the Decepticons? I mean, I will say that I trust Dreadwing, he did help during the Hotel Jacking but…"
"They just don't feel right?" Cecile finished as Suzaku looked at her with surprise. "I feel the exact same way. I mean, Dreadwing himself seems to be sincere so I'm at least comfortable around him; but the others… they just make me feel a bit uneasy. Especially their leader."
Suzaku wouldn't admit it out loud, but he shared that feeling. He only met Megatron once, but something about him just makes him shudder.
"Aha, what's gotten you two so worked up about?" Lloyd asked casually as he walked up. "Talking about our big scary new partners."
"Lloyd, can you honestly say that you don't find any of them to be the least bit intimidating?" Cecile asked.
"Not really." He shrugged. "Nothing really scares me. Except the thought of my Lancelot being destroyed, so you better take care of it Suzaku."
"Uh… I'll try." Suzaku said, surprised by how carefree Lloyd was acting.
"You had also best try to respect your superiors."
All three of them, and the rest of the Camelot personal looked in surprise to see Starscream and Knock Out walking into the bay. The room was large enough to house several Knightmares, so it was relatively easy for the two Decepticons to walk into.
"St… Starscream!" Cecile stuttered, surprised by sudden appearance. Though he wasn't nearly as imposing as Megatron, being around such a large being this close did not make her comfortable in the least.
"That's Commander Starscream!" He corrected. Suzaku however glared slightly at him, Starscream was the one responsible for that mess with the Purebloods in Shinjuku, and it appeared that he also led the attack on the hotel that would have likely killed his friends and Princess Euphemia. He was honestly surprised that he still held any sort of rank. Starscream himself noticed Suzaku's hardened expression. "What are you looking at, boy?"
"Nothing. Nothing at all." Suzaku returned his eyes to his book, not even sparing Starscream a glance.
Lloyd noticed the other Decepticon with him. "Aha, and who might this new Transformer be?" He asked with a causal smile.
"Knock Out, the Nemesis' chief scientist, also known as the 'Mad Doctor', at your service." The red Decepticon gave a bow. "I do bare that title with pride." As he looked around, his optics happened to spot the Lancelot. "Whoa. What do we have here?"
A Groundbridge portal opened up as Bulkhead's vehicle mode drove out onto a large set of ruins within in ancient Greek city. As the portal closed, Rai, now dressed in his Black Knight uniform, got out and looked around with awe as Bulkhead transformed into his natural Cybertronian form.
"Wow, look at this place." Rai looked at his surroundings. He and Bulkhead appeared to be at the bottom of an amphitheater like area with curved steps around one end, and a another set of stone steps on the other side, leading down to more ruins. "Looks amazing."
"Yeah, kinda nice isn't it." Bulkhead looked around, taking a liking to the Greek architecture. "Also, kinda nice not to get shot at the second you pop out of a Groundbridge." He commented as he took out his Energon scanner.
Rai took out his personal cell phone and began to take pictures around the area, no way he wanted to forget any of this. Of course, he couldn't really show it to any of his friends without the possibility of reveal his status as a Black Knight, but he couldn't help himself. However, upon seeing Bulkhead look at his scanner, Rai got serious and put his phone away as he walked close to the green Autobot.
"So, what are we looking at here?"
Bulkhead saw the readings on his scanner. "Signal's strong." He looked towards the ground on the lower field to a sight of bulldozers around a man-made pit. "An excavation site."
"You did construction work? You did say you built stuff." Rai commented.
"Yep, but I was mostly demolitions." Bulkhead answered. "According to my scanner, humans hit Energon veins, and they don't even know it."
"Let's be glad this isn't Britannian territory. They'd probably rip this place up without even giving it a second thought." Rai said with contempt evident in his voice.
"Yeah, probably." Bulkhead seemed to agree as he looked around. As he looked, his eyes spotted an ancient fresco that depicted several Greek soldiers surrounding an image of Zeus that held a golden orb in his hand. But it wasn't just any ordinary orb.
"Whoa…" The Autobot's eyes widened in surprise. "That's Cybertronian!"
Area 11 – Camelot Division
Knock Out walked around the stationed Lancelot as he observed the white Knightmare with a smirk. "Hmm, nice design. Sleek body, nothing to bulky, allowing more maneuverability. Probably stronger than any other human-made Knightmare made thus far as well."
Lloyd walked up to Knock Out on the ground. "Looks like someone's taken an interest in my personal achievement. It's a Seventh Generation Knightmare frame, the first of its kind, not counting the prototype known as the Lancelot Club, yet I can promise this baby will deliver better results than those run-of-the-mill Sutherlands."
"I can see that. Nice paint job to." Knock Out complemented. "All those Sutherlands and Gloucesters are like something off an assembly line, there's no variety to them."
Lloyd rolled his eyes. "Tell me about it. But you know soldiers and their pride, they hate to be showed off by someone else."
"I couldn't possibly agree more." Knock Out commented.
As the two talked; Suzaku and Cecile looked towards the conversation with surprise. "They seem to get along pretty well." Suzaku said.
"I can't tell if that's a good thing or a bad thing though." Cecile voiced.
Starscream rolled his eyes as he stepped up to get both their attention. "Yes, the Lancelot certainly stands out among other human-made weapons, not just for its appearance but also the fact it is the only Knightmare to face an Autobot directly and still be in one piece."
"Really?" Knock Out said with an intrigued smile and a raised eyebrow. "This went up against an Autobot?"
"Yes, the yellow and black one." Lloyd confirmed. "Gotta hand it to Suzaku up there, he's the perfect devicer to such an incredible machine if I do say so myself."
Knock Out glanced to Suzaku. "Quite the accomplishment, not bad fleshy."
"Eh… thanks…" The Honorary Britannian didn't know what to think.
"That being said…" Starscream got back to the point. "While this was able to hold its own, the Lancelot was put on the defensive, as expected from a human made device. However, Lord Megatron sees potential in its use, as well as its pilot, so he decided to have an expert provide some modifications so that it can better match the Autobots when we do battle again."
Lloyd seemed quite intrigued. "Oooh, so the big bad Megatron's taking a liking to the Lancelot, has he? Well as its creator, I believe I should also have final say as to what specific modifications to give it."
Suzaku was quite surprised. Megatron saw potential in him and the Lancelot? So, why did that make him feel very uncomfortable? Cecile felt the same sort of way, she certainly hoped it wouldn't mean they'd have Decepticons around here more frequently.
"I've done plenty of body-work Starscream, but I'm better at breaking them than fixing them." Knock Out said as he transformed his right hand into a drill before it transformed back. "Would help if I had my assistant, be a good sparing partner and I might see how the Lancelot works in combat myself."
"I summoned both of you, where is he?" Starscream questioned.
"We were hot on a fresh Energon trail when you called." Knock Out answered. "Breakdown will show when he's through scouting it."
"Breakdown?" Cecile questioned.
"I do not like the sound of that." Suzaku thought to himself.
"Why would Ancient Greeks paint an Energon Harvester?" Bulkhead wondered out loud as he looked at the fresco.
"You know what that thing is?" Rai asked as he took a picture of it with his cellphone. "I thought you said you only new construction. You're smarter than you led on."
"But even dumber than he looks."
Both Rai and Bulkhead turned around in surprise to see someone else had arrived. At the top of the stairs behind them stood a Decepticon that was about as big as Bulkhead, if only slightly bigger by a few feet. His body was very large, almost like a metal body builder, with a blue and silver paintjob. He had a red face and glowing yellow eyes.
"Breakdown!" Bulkhead recognized him.
The aforementioned Decepticon chuckled. "Miss me?"
"Like rust in my undercarriage!" Bulkhead glared.
"Whoa, you know this guy?!" Rai voiced in surprise.
"We have a history." Bulkhead said as he kept his eyes firmly squared on his rival.
"And you have a pet." Breakdown noticed Rai's presence. "Does it play 'Catch'?" He was able to pry a large stone-pillar from the ground with ease before throwing it toward Rai. "Catch!"
Rai was taken by surprise as he fell backwards and looked in shock to see the pillar racing toward him, but Bulkhead blocked it by shielding Rai with his body, his back taking the hit.
"Rai, stay down!" Bulkhead ordered as Rai tried to find cover in the dust cloud that formed. Right before the dust cleared however, Breakdown suddenly appeared as he jumped and tackled Bulkhead, sending them both falling toward the ground. They bounced off the impact as Breakdown, while airborne, threw Bulkhead with enough force to send him flying and crashing through the fresco with the image of the Energon Harvester on it.
"Whoa…" Rai breathed in shock. Bulkhead was one of the biggest beings he's ever seen, easily dwarfing any Knightmare ever built, but this Breakdown guy just threw him like a ragdoll. Guess he underestimated the Decepticons.
"Oops. Hope the pretty picture wasn't too important." Breakdown commented as he ran and transformed into a large dark blue military truck before driving off.
Once he was gone, Rai quickly ran down the large steps toward the recovering Autobot. "Bulkhead, you okay?!"
The green Autobot groaned a bit. "I'll be fine." He looked at the remains of the fresco. "Told you I'm good at breaking things."
"Hey, don't worry, I got your back. Look." Rai took out his cellphone to reveal the picture he took of the fresco, including the Energon Harvester.
Once Bulkhead and Rai returned to the ship, they contacted everyone else about what they found. The rest of the Autobots had arrived, along with a few Black Knights; Ohgi, Kallen, Tamaki, even Zero himself were all present. The image that Rai took was now uploaded and displayed on the main screen on the Ark's bridge.
"It is indeed an Energon Harvester." Optimus confirmed. "A powerful tool created by the Ancients, to remove raw Energon from any source."
"What Zeus got the Autobots on speed dial or something?" Tamaki questioned skeptically.
"No. The Ancients often used the art of a given era to conceal messages." Optimus explained. "This fresco was likely a signpost indicating a Harvester's location, hidden somewhere on this planet."
"However, something like this would imply that Cybertronians and humans have interacted with each other before." Zero said. "Ancient Greece stems back long before even Britannia existed, on par with Ancient Egypt."
"But I thought the Bots and Cons were at war for centuries. How could they have been here on Earth before?" Kallen asked.
"The Ark's databanks don't have any data on Cybertronians visiting Earth at any point before." Fixit voiced.
"Maybe that was point." Ironhide guessed. "This was probably to keep the Cons from getting their hands on the thing."
Ohgi's eyes widened at the possibility of something like that. "Eh… Optimus, if this Harvester thing removes Energon and you guys all have Energon flowing inside you like blood…"
Optimus saw what Ohgi was going for. "In the hands of the Decepticons or Britannia, the Harvester would be a devastating weapon."
Rai chuckled a bit. "Guess it was a good thing Breakdown totaled that painting, right Bulkhead?" He asked the large Autobot.
"Rai's not wrong." Cliffjumper agreed. "How are the Cons gonna find the thing without the fresco?"
"With the internet." Zero answered as he accessed Google with the Ark's database, he typed in 'golden orb' and 'Greek god' and got his result. He clicked on the link and the image of a white statue of Zeus holding the Energon Harvester popped up on the bridge's main screen. "Right here. It's located in a small museum in the EU city of Lyon."
Everyone looked at the image. "That the real deal?" Arcee asked Optimus.
"It is." The Autobot leader confirmed. "We must confiscate the Harvester immediately."
Bumblebee seemed ready, as did the other Autobots. "Sounds like a plan." Cliffjumper commented.
"Wait, hold on a second." Ohgi voiced. "'Confiscate'? As in…steal it?"
"What's the problem? We've stolen things before." Tamaki stated.
"Yeah, from Britannia!" Ohgi clarified. "But this isn't Britannia, we're not trying to pick a fight with the EU."
"I can understand your concerns Ohgi." Optimus said. "But once the Decepticons learn of the Harvester's location, they will not hesitate to obtain it by any means necessary."
"But if the Cons are with Britannia, wouldn't that count as an international incident, risking an all-out war?" Kallen asked.
"Not everything they do is flashy, they got special covert units for this sort of thing." Cliffjumper voiced. "They could slip in and out without anyone noticing."
"All the more reason for us to obtain it as soon as possible." Zero pointed out.
"But if were not actively fighting the EU, why don't we simply ask for their aid?" Fixit asked.
"Too much politics." Zero quickly said. "We're vigilantes, not aligned with any specific country or Superpower. I don't know if the EU would openly trust us, not to mention the possibility of other Cybertronian relics hidden on Earth, we could stir up a hornet's nest if we're not careful."
"Yeah, that's a good point." Rai noted.
"Indeed, we must act covertly." Optimus said. "The more we debate, the more time we give the Decepticons."
Area 11 – Camelot Division.
Speaking of the Decepticons, their chief intelligence officer, Soundwave was in the building along with Starscream, Knock Out, and Breakdown, as well as the rest of the Camelot Division, including Lloyd, Cecile, and Suzaku. Soundwave had the image of the Harvester and the statue that held it on his visor.
"Hmm, mmm." Breakdown nodded in confirmation. "That's definitely it."
"An 'Energon Harvester' hmm?" Lloyd stroked his chin with an intrigued smile. "Ancient alien technology. You certainly got my attention."
Starscream smirked. "Knock Out, you might have your demonstration after all." He turned to Lloyd. "Asplund, prepare Kururugi and the Lancelot for launch. It's harvest time." He sneered evilly, which only seemed to make Suzaku even more unease.
Night had fallen over the French city of Lyon. The museum was closed, no cars in the parking lot, and no visitors. Now was the time. Optimus' vehicle mode drove up to the main parking lot of the museum and in front of the main entrance, followed by Arcee, Bulkhead, Cliffjumper, Ironhide, and Bumblebee. Cliffjumper and Ironhide split off as they each drove to the far corners of the parking lot.
"Alright, we're in position." Ironhide spoke through the communications line and not aloud.
"Any Cons show up and we'll get the jump on them." Cliffjumper added as they turned off their headlights and remained out of sight.
As Optimus pulled to a stop at the north side of the building; Arcee and Bulkhead drove to the right as Bumblebee drove left. "Autobots, confirm position." He said to his team.
"Westward ho." Arcee came to a stop on the west side of the building.
"[Clear on the east]" Bumblebee reported.
"South side covered." Bulkhead confirmed from the back of the museum.
"Zero, report status." Optimus said over the radio.
"Everything's all set here."
Lelouch had already been transported into the building via Groundbridge and made his to the security office. He had his Zero-mask off, but the facemask still covered the lower half of his face as he looked at the security guard that stood in front of him, the red sigil of Geass active in Lelouch's left eye.
"Now, remember to play last night's security footage on a loop over tonight. No one can know what has transpired this night; and no matter what you hear, you cannot leave this room." Lelouch ordered.
"Yes, I understand." The guard confirmed in a monotone voice, red rings appearing in his eyes. He sat down on his chair and did nothing as Lelouch put on his mask and left the room.
"Ohgi, Kallen, Rai, Tamaki; everything's all set." Zero contacted the four Black Knights, each of them had their visors on, who stood on a scissor-lift in the Groundbridge bay. "Optimus will have a clear view of you, once you have the Harvester, Ratchet will bridge you back to base. However, if the Decepticons arrive or something else goes wrong, I'll meet you in the museum's loading dock."
"Rodger that." Ohgi responded.
Ratchet pulled down a lever and manually activated a Groundbridge portal. "Now since you'll bypass any points of normal entry, you won't need to worry about setting off the alarm."
"Zero has also made sure the security footage is deactivated and won't record what happens." Fixit informed. "But please try not to make too much of a press… dress… mess!"
"Yeah-yeah, we got it." Tamaki waved off.
The Groundbridge portal opened as Ohgi drove the scissor lift into the hallway close to the main entrance, the portal closing right after. The four Black Knights remained quiet and looked around. They spotted the statue of Zeus holding the Energon Harvester.
"Bingo." Rai whispered.
They saw Optimus' vehicle form from the window-entrance as he flashed his headlights three times to give the signal. Ohgi nodded as he drove the scissor lift towards the statue and began to ascend the platform close to the harvester.
Optimus kept a close watch on the four humans as they quietly did what they were assigned to do. So far, so good. However,…
"Heads up Optimus, you got company." Cliffjumper told him via the comns.
His warning came on time as he spotted through his mirror a certain red car pulling into the parking lot and coming close to his vehicle mode.
Knock Out gave a whistle as he admired Optimus' vehicle form. "Sweet rims. Twenty-four gage. You're real heavy duty, just like my friend here."
"Optimus! Incoming!" Ironhide warned as Breakdown's vehicle mode came charging in before it fired a missile from a large cannon on the roof. Optimus quickly transformed and caught the missile. However, its propulsion pushed Optimus back as he tried to grind his feet into the ground to halt its advance. He pushed back with all he had, just as the missile's top made contact with the glass, causing a large crack to form.
Ohgi, Kallen, Rai, and Tamaki looked in shock at the sound. Optimus briefly glanced back to make sure his human companions were alright, but this left him vulnerable for Knock Out to drive his Energon Prod into Optimus' neck, electrocuting him and knocking him down, where Knock Out pinned him further by zapping his neck with the Prod again.
"Optimus, hang on!" Cliffjumper and Ironhide drove up to try and help, but Breakdown already transformed, his right hand taking the form of a hammer as he slammed it at Cliffjumper to send him flying all the way across the large parking lot; but Ironhide had already transformed and punched Breakdown across his face to knock him back a bit. Ironhide then punched him again, but as he came in for the third, Breakdown caught Ironhide's fist in his other hand before smirking and delivering an uppercut with his hammer to send him flying high into the air and crashing hard onto the ground.
"Cons!" Kallen shouted as she looked in shock with everyone else.
"They got Optimus, and knocked down Cliff and Ironhide!" Ohgi exclaimed.
However, hope was not lost as Arcee and Bumblebee both drove from the sides of the building. Arcee drove at high speeds and transformed while jumping to land a flying kick at Breakdown's face to knock the large Decepticon back. Bumblebee was planning on jumping in as well, but his vehicle mode was cut off by a large energy blast that sent him flying, and transforming back to normal, before rolling and grinding on the parking lot. He looked to see where the blast came from.
"[Scrap!]" He bleeped as he saw the Lancelot rolling in with the VARIS rifle in hand and reading to fire again, but the rifle was blasted out of the white Knightmare's hands by a recovered Cliffjumper as he and Arcee both charged in and opened fire, forcing the White Knightmare to retreat on its landspinner wheels and activate its Blaze Luminous shields on its arms to block the Energon blasts.
Knock Out saw the Knightmare work with interest. "Hmm, not bad." However, this left him vulnerable as Optimus had recovered and swiped his arm back to knock the red Decepticon off him.
Breakdown had gotten up and was about to charge in on Optimus, but Bulkhead had jumped down from the roof of the building with a mace in his hand and smacked Breakdown back and sent him crashing through two lampposts and on the other side of the parking lot. Breakdown however was quick to get back up as he smirked at the glaring Bulkhead.
Kallen and Rai had rolled the Harvester onto the scissor lift as Ohgi looked with surprise at the fight unfolding outside. "Well, so much for covert." Tamaki commented.
"Zero, do you read me?! We got Cons!" Ohgi reported to their leader, who remained by the entrance to the cargo hold. "And that same White Knightmare from before to."
Lelouch's eyes widened underneath his mask. A part of him expected the Cons to be here, but he didn't anticipate that Knightmare to show up.
"Get the Harvester to the Cargo hold now!" Zero ordered. "Don't worry about the enemy, let the Autobots handle them! Our first priority is to secure the Harvester!"
"Roger, we're on our way." Ohgi responded.
Lelouch clenched his fists. "Damn it Suzaku, why are you here of all places?!"
Suzaku gritted his teeth as he maintained his defense, rolling back to avoid the constant laser fire from both Arcee and Cliffjumper; however, this appeared to have left him open for Bumblebee to come in from the back and deliver a roundhouse kick to knock the Knightmare down on the ground.
The Lancelot however was able to pull itself up as Suzaku wiped some of the blood coming from his mouth. "I had trouble with just one Autobot, but three of them might be too much for even the Lancelot. Still, I'm not about to give up!"
The white Knightmare drew both its MVS blades before it shot right to Bumblebee who limboed underneath one horizontal swing, but the Lancelot was able to kick him in his side to knock Bumblebee down, he then swung at Arcee who blocked it with both her arm-blades; the MVS scratched but didn't cut through.
Suzaku grunted. "Looks like even the MVS can't cut through Cybertronian metal." Arcee jumped over the Lancelot and swiped her feet to knock it down, but it shot a slash harken from its right arm to catch her by surprise before swinging the blade at Arcee, though it didn't cut, it sent her flying back a few feet and landing hard on the ground.
The Lancelot then sped to the incoming Cliffjumper and tried to swing both blades down on him, but he was able to catch the Knightmare by its arms as he smirked right at its face.
"I'll give you credit, you really know what you're doing, don't ya?" Cliff chatted casually. "Sucks you're with the Cons though, otherwise I wouldn't have to beat you up." He quickly grabbed the Lancelot's right arm with both his hands and flipped him over his shoulder, slamming the Lancelot onto the pavement.
Knock Out tried to get in close with his Energon Prod to avoid getting blasted by one of Ironhide's cannons, but as he did, the older Autobot tried to punch him, only for the smaller Decepticon to swerve out of the way before striking his Prod into Ironhide's neck to electrocute him. But Ironhide stood his ground as he shot a random blast on the ground from his cannon to blast back Knock Out, while consequently blasting himself back as well.
Bulkhead swung his club at Breakdown, only for him to strain and catch it with his hand right as Breakdown swung his hammer at Bulkhead who caught it with his other hand. The two wrestled each other and glared.
"So, where's that human pet of yours, Bulk?" Breakdown taunted. "'Rai' was it? How about once I'm done here, I pay him a visit."
This only seemed to anger Bulkhead as he tried to press forward with a roar, but his anger made him sloppy, letting Breakdown slide and slam his hammer at Bulkhead's side to knock him down. He raised his hammer to strike down on him, but before he swung, someone else caught it. He looked in surprise to see Optimus glaring down at him. Breakdown laughed nervously before he was punched right into the face and sent flying.
Meanwhile, inside the museum, Zero waited by the entrance to the cargo hold as he saw the Black Knights in the scissor lift with the Energon harvester. He immediately pressed the button on the side to open the gate to the cargo bay in the back of the museum. With all the commotion, they were lucky nothing in the museum was damaged.
"Ratchet, we have the Harvester. Prepare for an immediate Groundbridge to our coordinates!" Zero ordered through his comns just as he ran into the cargo bay, with his fellow Black Knights right behind him with their precious cargo.
They looked ahead to a partially open gate that led outside to the back of the building where they saw some large metal legs walking toward them, though they couldn't see the face, it looked similar to a Bot they knew.
"Arcee!" Kallen called, thinking it was her partner.
"Kallen… wait!" Ohgi tried to stop her, but it was too late. The mysterious Cybertronian used his hand to pull open the gate and reveal his presence; his face, or lack-of-thereof made the Black Knights, even Zero backpedal in fear.
"Soundwave!" Zero exclaimed.
Tamaki instinctively pulled out his rifle and opened fire on the silent Decepticon. The bullets didn't affect him as his scanners looked onto all five of them and he detached something from his back which morphed and transformed when it landed behind him, taking the shape of a large metal jungle cat. It roared as it jumped under Soundwave and opened fire with purple Energon blasts from its mouth, forcing the five Black Knights to run and hide either behind the corner near the Harvester where Zero, Kallen, and Rai hid; or behind a forklift where Tamaki and Ohgi hid.
Ravage kept shooting in their direction as Kallen or Tamaki tried to shoot back behind cover, forcing Ravage to bounce on his feet and avoid the bullets as he shot back at them in response.
While Ravage kept the Black Knights occupied, Soundwave extended one of his tentacles from his side that moved along the left wall and turned the corner, aiming towards the Harvester.
"Look out!" Rai exclaimed; causing Zero and Kallen to look in shock as the tentacle lashed out toward them. Ohgi and Tamaki tried to help, but Ravage's laser fire kept them pinned behind the forklift.
As Kallen and Zero tried to find some kind of cover, Rai spotted an emergency axe along the wall and quickly ran to grab it. He gave a yell as he tried to chop the tentacle, only for it to move and knock Rai back and into Zero and Kallen, knocking them all done. They could only watch in shock as Soundwave's tentacle grabbed the Harvester and pulled it back towards Soundwave himself.
With the Energon Harvester in hand, Ravage ceased fire and returned to its master just as Soundwave transformed and flew off.
Back in the front parking lot; the Autobots' battle against Knock Out, Breakdown, and the Lancelot came to a halt as they all spotted Soundwave's vehicle mode fly off. Knock Out smirked knowing they had what they needed.
"Hmm, that would be game." He transformed and drove off, along with Breakdown. Suzaku glanced towards the Autobots before he turned the Lancelot around and followed the two Decepticons towards an open Groundbridge portal Soundwave provided that closed shortly after.
"So, did we win?" Cliffjumper asked.
"What do you think?" Arcee remarked.
"Optimus, Soundwave has the Harvester. We've lost this fight." Zero contacted Optimus, causing him to look with a serious expression.
In record time, the Autobots and their Black Knight companions had returned to the Ark where Zero and Optimus had called an alert for several of their more experienced soldiers to return to the Ark immediately. Optimus informed them of their mission as several teams of Black Knights, each with one of Autobot were being dispersed via Groundbridge to find and locate the Energon Harvester as soon as possible.
"In all likelihood, the Decepticons will use the Harvester to gather as much Energon as quickly as they can, from the planet's otherwise unmineable Energon deposits." Optimus instructed.
"Be warned, many of you are traveling to areas that are under Britannian control." Zero informed. "While the locations of these deposits may not have any military or civilian occupation near them, keep in mind to avoid any possible detection. We cannot risk bringing in other parties into our battles yet."
"Approach with extreme caution." Optimus gave the final warning. "If you spot the Harvester, contact the Ark immediately and we'll all rendezvous and battle the enemy together, the Decepticons won't hesitate to turn the Harvester on any one of us, even Knightmares will be rendered useless."
All the teams were then dispersed. Bumblebee had Ohgi, Inoue and two other Black Knights; Kallen rode with Arcee; Cliffjumper went with Tamaki, Sugiyama, and two others; and Ironhide rode with Minami, Yoshida, and two female Black Knights. Optimus was the last and would be deployed with Zero and three others.
Fixit prepared the Groundbridge remotely as Optimus turned to the only remaining Autobot. "Bulkhead, it is best you remain here to assist Fixit and Ratchet."
"Rai, you'll be here for the same reason." Zero told his white-haired friend.
"Wait… what?! No way! I helped loose that thing, I wanna help find it!" Rai protested.
"You didn't lose it; we were unprepared for Soundwave." Zero replied. "You have no real battle experience, and the incident with the Scraplets doesn't count. I'm not putting your life in danger when the enemy has a dangerous weapon."
"Zero is correct." Optimus agreed. "Bulkhead, we will contact you for battle if we find the Harvester."
"Yeah, I'm just too big a target, right?" Bulkhead commented.
Optimus had a small sympathetic expression before transforming as Zero got in with his team and they drove off into the Groundbridge; leaving Rai and Bulkhead alone with Fixit and Ratchet, the later working at a small station with some hand-held Cybertronian tools.
"Transportation complete." Fixit reported. "All teams are at their respective destinations."
"Well, at least I'm not the only one stuck here." Rai commented to Bulkhead. The large green Autobot wasn't exactly pleased, though he knew he was right; he wasn't the stealthiest Bot, even Ironhide was more cautious than him, he'd be a perfect target for the Harvester, and he hated feeling useless. With an angry growl, Bulkhead frustratingly slammed his fist onto Ratchet's table, smashing a tool he was using.
"Bulkhead, I needed that!" Ratchet exclaimed.
"I'm certain you two aren't useless, Optimus and Zero are just trying to find the best way your skills can be best applied." Fixit tried to calm them down.
"Speaking of which, I know Zero said he took care of the security footage back at the museum, but the Harvester actually gone, how are we gonna risk not starting an international mess with the EU?" Rai questioned.
"By returning this replica to the museum." Ratchet answered, showing a partially completed replica of the Energon Harvester. "The construction of which, would be going a whole lot faster if Bulkhead hadn't just mangled my frame-welder!" He angrily referred to the tool the aforementioned Autobot smashed.
"We're already rebels and thieves, why not add forgery to the list." Rai groaned, also not liking the idea of being 'useless'.
Bulkhead groaned. "First I wreck the fresco now I…" His eyes widened in realization. "The painting of the Harvester wasn't the only thing we found at those ruins!"
Rai caught on. "You're right!"
"I'm sorry but what are you talking about?" Fixit asked.
"There's this whole thing of Energon back at Greece!" Rai exclaimed. "At those exact same ruins! Why would the Cons go for all the hard-to-find stuff when you got a supply of Energon ready to order right there?"
"Which would be a perfect testing ground for the Harvester!" Ratchet realized. "I will alert the others."
"Wait, we don't know for sure if the enemy is there." Fixit reported.
"So, we'll go and scout it out to make sure." Rai said.
All three Autobots turned to Rai with surprise. "We?" Bulkhead questioned.
"Yeah, I'm going to!" Rai stated.
"No way!" Bulkhead exclaimed.
"I agree." Ratchet added. "Did you not hear Zero advising against your involvement, Rai? It's for your own safety."
"I'm not talking about charging head-on in a fight." Rai explained. "Every other Bot left here with a partner or a team, why shouldn't Bulkhead? I'll watch his back. We'll contact you guys the second we spot the Harvester. I'll even take a Knightmare if things go south, like I said, I'm not charging head-on into a fight, it's just to be prepared, that's all! Look, you guys were able to accept me into the Black Knights, right? Well, let me prove myself! Let me show you that I can help you guys, that I'm not just deadweight. Please."
Ratchet and Fixit were both lost for words as they looked at one another while Bulkhead couldn't help but be impressed; he knew how that felt. For most of his life, Bulkhead was only known for muscle and power, building stuff and breaking stuff, but that was all. He wanted to prove that there was more to him than just that, so he knew where Rai was coming from. He smirked at his friend.
"Alright partner, get yourself a Knightmare." Bulkhead said to Rai, causing him to smile.
Night had fallen over the same set of ruins that Bulkhead and Breakdown scared off before. Starscream was present along with Knock Out and Breakdown, and three other Vehicon soldiers. It wasn't just him of course, Suzaku was there inside the Lancelot, with both Lloyd and Cecile on the side, observing, though the young woman was more nervous if anything else.
"Why move mountains now, when we have a motherload of Energon right here for the taking!" Starscream stated as he looked down into an Energon vein, one that wasn't too difficult to dig up and expose. "Courtesy of this gift from ancient Autobots!" Starscream held the Energon Harvester and was more than ready to put it to use.
"Well then, let us see what those 'ancient Autobots' were capable of." Lloyd rubbed his hands together eagerly. "It normally takes months or even years to fully extract a deposit of Sakuradite, or Energon as you call it, but if this thing can do it quicker, I can only wait to see what you Cybertronians have in store!" Lloyd exclaimed with stars in his eyes, causing Starscream to roll his eyes in annoyance while Cecile looked with concern.
"Commander Starscream…" Cecile approached with caution. "I feel it's safe to point out that were not in Britannian territory. Greece is a country that is under the control of the EU. Without the proper clearance, we're essentially trespassing into foreign territory."
Starscream scoffed. "Tell me how this is any different from when your empire invades and conquers any other nation."
Cecile didn't know how to respond to that, but Suzaku rolled up in the Lancelot to face Starscream. "But she's right. If we're not careful, this could cumulate into a conflict with another superpower that rivals even Britannia." Suzaku warned, his voice projecting from the Lancelot's speakers. "Viceroy Cornelia wouldn't…."
"She has no authority here!" Starscream stated, facing the Lancelot directly. "The ASEEC is an irregular unit that operates outside the Britannian chain-of-command. You are only called upon when you are needed, and as I have chosen this unit for this mission, you now report directly to me! Are we clear?" He glanced that last question to not just Suzaku, but to Lloyd and Cecile as well.
"Crystal… crystal clear." Cecile stuttered in a frightened tone.
"Keep giving me a front row seat to all your little toys and I'm good." Lloyd smiled causally.
Starscream turned his attention toward Suzaku who had yet to respond. Though no one could see inside the Lancelot cockpit, Suzaku glared at Starscream before he sighed. "I understand, Commander Starscream."
The Decepticon smirked arrogantly as he mockingly patted the Lancelot's head. "That's better."
"Speaking of the higher-ups, Starscream." Knock Out got his attention as he stood with Breakdown. "Have you informed Lord Megatron about this? You know how he is when you don't communicate with him."
"That is why we are here, to properly test the Harvester and see to it works efficiently." Starscream answered. "I wouldn't want to raise our master's hopes on a defective tool, would I? He pointed the Harvester directly at the Decepticon pair, causing them to wince and back away.
"Wait… what are you…?" Suzaku questioned, but Starscream activated the Harvester already.
The hand-held device shot a beam of energy that shot past Knock Out and Breakdown and directly hit a Vehicon on guard. The second it hit the Vehicon, trails of Energon flew out of his body and traveled along the beam directly into the Harvester. Both Breakdown and Knock Out looked in shock at the process as Starscream literally sucked the Energon out of his own soldier's body, even the remaining two Vehicons were caught off-guard. Suzaku gave an audible gasp as he saw it as well, his own eyes wavering. Cecile covered her mouth with both her hands as she looked in horror, even Lloyd was partially frightened. Though he would normally be ecstatic at seeing something like this, there was something about what Starscream did that put him slightly on edge. Starscream himself merely smirked evilly as he sucked out the last drop of Energon from the Vehicon, who fell to the ground in a lifeless husk just as the beam retracted and the Harvester deactivated.
"All that Energon, in such a tiny vessel." Starscream looked in awe at his little 'toy'.
Knock Out laughed nervously. "Those ancient Autobots never missed a trick, Commander Starscream."
"That was certainly… quite the show…" Lloyd gave an uneasy chuckle himself as Cecile still looked on in fright.
"How could you do that to him?!" Suzaku exclaimed to Starscream. "He was your own soldier! How could you just kill him like that?!"
Starscream glared at the Lancelot. "Vehicon troopers are expendable, even they know that! They're prepared to die for their cause; just as that one sacrificed himself to see to it the Harvester works. There is no greater honor than to die for your own cause, wouldn't you agree, Kururugi?" He mockingly said to Suzaku who could only glare back through the Lancelot.
Starscream then turned his attention back to an exposed Energon crystal. He immediately pointed the Harvester at it and began to extract the Energon. The crystal was connected to all the others in the Energon vein and he would have the entire supply of energy soon.
Knock Out, Breakdown, Suzaku from the Lancelot, Lloyd, and Cecile continued to watch along with the other two Vehicons; as they did, they were completely unaware of both Bulkhead and Rai, piloting a black Sutherland, on a cliffside watching the whole thing as well.
"Whoa… so that's how it works." Rai voiced in awe and surprise.
"Yeah, looks like you were right." Bulkhead commented. "Contact Ratchet and let him now we found them. I'll see if I can slow them down a bit."
"Wha… Bulkhead." Rai tried to protest, but Bulkhead had already leapt down, but also accidentally stepped onto a pot, creating a loud breaking noise that drew all the Britannians' and Decepticons' attention to him, and the black Sutherland.
"Scrap." Rai and Bulkhead cursed at the same time.
"Well, look who's back for seconds!" Breakdown brought out his hammer as Knock Out took out his Energon Prod, while the two Vehicons also opened fire.
Without thinking, Rai shot his black Sutherland forward, rolling down the hill and shooting past Bulkhead. He tried to protest but was hit by a few Energon blasts from the Vehicons, forcing him to retaliate with his own Energon cannons.
Lloyd and Cecile both took cover behind some ruins as the fighting started. "Talk about a clash of titans! And I totally mean that considering we're in Ancient Greece and all." Lloyd joked.
"Really Lloyd?! Now?!" Cecile complained.
Rai shot his black Sutherland straight for the Decepticon pair who only looked in amusement. "Well someone's got guts." Knock Out complemented.
"Yeah, let's see em!" Breakdown ran forward with his partner; both Decepticons running around the young Black Knight. Knock Out spun his Energon Prod like an expert as Breakdown readied his massive hammer.
For a brief second, all time stopped for Rai. Suddenly, he knew exactly what to do. Despite this being the first time, he would use a Knightmare for combat, everything about fighting just suddenly felt natural to him, like he'd been doing this entire life. He wouldn't know it, but in his left eye, a familiar sigil resembling a red bird in mid-flight formed; the sigil of a Geass.
Right as the two Decepticons closed in with their weapons, Rai pulled the levers on his Knightmare's controls, causing it to limbo and swerve just as Breakdown swung his hammer and accidentally slammed Knock Out in the face, and sent him flying. Breakdown was completely caught off-guard by that. Using this distraction, Rai used his Sutherland to reach out and grab the Energon Prod that was still mid-air and jammed it into Breakdown's neck. He left the prod jammed into his neck as the large Decepticon fell flat on the ground, still being electrocuted.
Rai could only look in shock at what he just did, his Geass still active in his eye. "Did… did I just…" He was brought back to reality as he suddenly and instinctively shot his Sutherland backwards to avoid the slash-harkens shot at him by the Lancelot. Suzaku shot his more advanced Knightmare forward after the retreating Sutherland; neither of the pilots realized their enemy was actually their own friend from school.
Instinct alone would only get Rai so far as he backed is Sutherland into a literal corner between a cliffside and a wall of ruins, giving the Lancelot an opening to jump and deliver a spinning kick to knock the Sutherland through the wall and crashing on the ground. Suzaku was ready to deliver a hand chop with his white Knightmare to disable the enemy Sutherland and not harm the pilot, but his hand was caught by Bulkhead, having already dealt with the remaining Vehicons.
"Pick on someone your own size!" Bulkhead challenged before he delivered a punch to knock the Sutherland back. He readied his Energon cannon and fired a charged shot that scored a direct hit on the Lancelot, despite the Blaze Luminous shields activating, the force of the blast was powerful enough to send the Lancelot flying and crashing through several ruins; causing Lloyd to shriek as he held his hands to his head dramatically.
Bulkhead's victory was short lived however as Starscream had turned the Harvester on him and began to suck out the Energon from his body. Bulkhead struggled and tried to push himself forward, but he was already being weakened and fell to the ground.
"You're a big one, this could take a while." Starscream observed with an evil smirk.
"Heads up Con!"
That warning came from Rai in his black Sutherland as he had already recovered and grabbed Knock Out's Energon Prod. Before Starscream could even react, Rai, with a shout and his Geass flaring in his eye, used his Sutherland to jam the Prod into the Harvester….
The Energon Harvested exploded in a massive and glorious flash of blue light that sent Rai's black Sutherland and Starscream flying in separate directions. Lloyd and Cecile both took cover and covered their heads and faces as the explosion shook the whole area. When it was over, the two dared to look up to see a massive scorch mark on the ground with small blue fires everywhere.
Starscream groaned as he got up but gasped as he looked in shock to find his right arm having been blown off completely. He directed his attention towards the downed black Sutherland that looked damaged beyond repair; its legs and right arm were gone, all that was left was the central cockpit in the chest and the head unit with the left arm. Rai himself was still alive, but barely conscious as he felt some blood trickle down his face.
"You… insolent… worthless… human!" Starscream roared as he got up. "You dare make a mockery of the great and mighty Starscream?!"
"A lot of people are known to do that." Knock Out cracked as he walked forward with the recovering Breakdown, resulting in him scowling at both of them.
Lloyd and Cecile both still looked at the destruction from the explosion in shock and awe but were slightly surprised to see the Lancelot roll up toward them. "Lloyd, Miss Cecile, are you two okay?"
"Still in one piece." Lloyd commented.
"What about you Suzaku, are you alright?" Cecile asked with concern.
"Yeah, I'm fine." The Honorary Britannian assured.
Lloyd looked towards the nearly destroyed black Sutherland. "Gotta hand it to the Black Knights, that pilot was good enough to neutralize two Decepticons at once and even destroyed the Energon Harvester."
Suzaku rolled up closer, more towards the Decepticons that looked toward the heavily damaged Knightmare. The Lancelot's systems still picked up a life-reading from the mech. "I'm getting a reading. Looks like the pilot's still alive inside."
"Not for long." Breakdown sneered as he readied his hammer. "I'll squash the little bug!"
"No!" Starscream contradicted. "Suzaku will do it."
That took Suzaku by surprise, even Cecile was shocked at that proclamation, though Lloyd looked more intrigued than anything else. During his time in the Lancelot, Suzaku hasn't really killed anyone if he couldn't, only disabled their weapons and nothing more. This would be his first execution.
"Me…?! But why would…?" Suzaku stuttered.
"This is the moment where you prove your worth Kururugi!" Starscream stated. "This is a Black Knight, an enemy to not only your empire of Britannia, but to the Decepticons as well. He is the reason this mission is a failure, and as your commanding officer I am ordering you to execute this Black Knight now!"
Suzaku looked towards the downed Knightmare, the one that still had a person inside. He was completely helpless; he could not defend himself whatsoever. "But…" Suzaku stuttered. "But I…"
"Do you plan on joining their ranks anytime soon?! No?! Then be done with it already!" Starscream exclaimed.
Suzaku was a complete loss for words. He didn't have any intention to join the Black Knights, and he didn't agree with the approach they and the Autobots had, but to kill them when they are completely defenseless like this. Could he really do it?
"I don't think so!"
Before Suzaku could even react, Bulkhead quickly showed up and slammed his club right into the Lancelot's chest, rocking Suzaku in his seat, as he sent the Lancelot flying straight up into the air and back down several feet away from the scene. Knock Out and Starscream may have been caught off guard, but Breakdown was it. He tried to swing his hammer at him, but Bulkhead was able to move out of the way and slam his club into Breakdown's back to knock him down.
"You ain't touching my partner!" Bulkhead exclaimed. This caused Rai to stir slightly as his eyes peeked open.
The large green Autobot grabbed the downed Breakdown by his feet. "Hammer Time!" He shouted as he spun his rival's body around and let him go to send him flying into Starscream and Knock Out; causing all three to crash near the downed Lancelot.
Bulkhead stood protectively in front of Rai's downed Knightmare. "Come on! I'll scrap all of you!" He formed his cannon in his right hand and a club in his left, ready for anything.
Breakdown and Knock Out were the first to get up, followed by Starscream as they glared and were ready to fight back when a Groundbridge portal opened up from the hilltop right above them.
Optimus, Arcee, Cliffjumper, Bumblebee, and Ironhide drove out immediately before transforming and opening fire with their Energon blasters.
Realizing the fight was lost, Starscream ordered a retreat. "Soundwave! I need a Groundbridge to my coordinates now!"
A second Groundbridge portal opened up close to him as Starscream was the first to run in. Knock Out transformed into his vehicle mode and drove up to Lloyd and Cecile with an open door.
"But what about Suzaku?!" Cecile questioned.
"Breakdown's got him!" Knock Out stated as he saw his partner carry the Lancelot over his shoulder, and consequently Suzaku inside, and run into the portal. "Now unless you wanna be scrapped, get in!"
Nothing else needing to be said, Lloyd and Cecile both got into Knock Out and he drove into the Groundbridge portal before it closed off. The Autobots lowered their weapons as they regrouped with Bulkhead.
"You okay soldier?" Ironhide asked him.
"Forget about me, we gotta help Rai!" Bulkhead exclaimed as he turned around, only to see the cockpit open just barley as Rai climbed out; the only real injures he had besides the bleeding cut on his head was a sprained arm and a possible minor concussion.
"Heh… hey guys…" Rai groaned with a strained smile as he felt his side.
"Rai? But how did you…?" Arcee stuttered.
"I'm telling ya, this kid knows what he's doing." Bulkhead complemented. "Took down Breakdown and Knock Out! Plus, he destroyed the Harvester!"
"Seriously?!" Ironhide questioned in shock as he, Arcee, Bumblebee, and even Optimus were quite surprised.
"Yep, I'd say he's about as good as Kallen." Bulkhead complemented as he glanced at Rai with a smile, who gave a strained smile back.
Cliffjumper actually looked quite impressed. "Heh, didn't know he had it in em."
Optimus walked forward. "Bulkhead, Rai, engaging the enemy on your own was a foolish decision." The two looked down slightly. "However, your actions have prevented the Energon Harvester from falling into Megatron's hands, this is a clear victory and you two are responsible for it."
Bulkhead chuckled. "Guess I'm not the only one good at breaking things."
"Guess not…" Rai chuckled slightly.
"[Let's get you guys back to the Ark.]" Bumblebee said. "[You need to tell Lelouch about this and I promise he's not gonna like that.]"
Both Rai and Bulkhead looked towards each other with nervous expressions.
The Ark – The Bridge
Ratchet and Fixit were able to finish the replica of the Energon Harvester, currently Ohgi led a team of Black Knights to place it in the museum before it opened to the public. If everything went well, no one would notice the difference, and there would be no evidence of the Black Knights or the Autobots being there. However, that did not deter Lelouch as he less than pleased with Rai and Bulkhead's actions.
"Stupid! Stupid! Stupid!" Lelouch exclaimed, still in his Zero suit, just without his mask. The other Autobots were present but said nothing as the leader of the Black Knights shouted towards Bulkhead and Rai, the human boy having his arm in a cast with some bandages on his head.
"I told you that you weren't ready for real combat!" Lelouch continued. "Okay, going to those ruins was a good idea, but you weren't supposed to fight! You even said it wasn't meant to be a fight! You should have reported it to us immediately!"
"Eh… to be fair, I'm not exactly the stealthiest Bot, so I was the one who gave us away." Bulkhead pointed out. "It wasn't all his fault."
"No, but it still was your fault for bringing him in the first place." Lelouch pointed out.
"That one's on me!" Rai stated. "I asked him to take me along, it wasn't just Bulkhead. Lelouch, look I know you're angry and you have every right to be but please just hear me out. I know I've got some work to do before I'm really ready, but I want to do everything I can to help. I may not know who I was before, but one thing I know is certain; Britannia is wrong, the Decepticons are wrong, I can't let them get away with all they've done! I don't want to be a burden for all of you, I want to help! This world is my home to! When I fight, I think about you, Nunnally, Suzaku, Kallen, Shirley, and everyone else at school, I also think about Ohgi and the others in the Black Knights; you guys are not only my friends, but the only thing that I actually know. I have no idea what my family was like or if I even had a family! You're all I got, so… so please… let me fight with you. I know I can do more for all of you, please! Lelouch, please."
Lelouch honestly had no idea what to say. Instinctively, he glanced towards both Bumblebee and Optimus, wondering what they had to say. Bumblebee's optics lowered slightly as he gave a nod, Optimus did as well. Lelouch sighed before he spoke.
"Alright, you got your wish." He said, causing Rai to look in surprise. "Bulkhead, you say he took down two Decepticons and destroyed the Harvester?"
"Yep." Bulkhead nodded.
"Then I'll let you be a pilot." Lelouch told Rai, causing him to look with a smile.
"On two conditions" Lelouch wanted to make this as clear as he could. "First, you get proper training. I'll have Kallen help you out with hand-to-hand combat, and I'll leave it to Ironhide for Knightmare training. Can I trust you with that?" He glanced the veteran Autobot.
"Trust me, training rookies is what I do best." Ironhide assured with a nod. "When I'm done with the kid, he'll be a force to be reckoned with."
"What's the second condition?" Rai asked.
"You don't do anything too reckless." Lelouch answered. "You have a lot of potential, and I promise you'll be placed on real missions, but I don't want you to do anything stupid or too dangerous. If something happened to you, Nunnally would be heartbroken. And… I wouldn't be too happy about it either."
Rai looked a bit concerned but gave an assuring smile. "Alright, I promise I won't jump the gun."
"Don't worry Lelouch, I got his back. It's what partners do, right?" Bulkhead assured as he looked toward Rai.
"Right." Rai nodded and gave a thumbs up.
"Alright, I'm trusting both of you, just don't make me regret it." Lelouch had a bit of a joking smile.
Cliffjumper snickered. "Did you just make a joke? The big bad Zero's got a sense of humor, who knew?"
"I certainly didn't." Arcee remarked; causing some of the Autobots to chuckle along with Rai, while Lelouch smiled but shook his head. However, he still spared Optimus a glance as they both were thinking the same thing.
According to what Rai said, he knew exactly what to do in that fight, almost on instinct. They both doubted it wasn't a natural talent or anything like that. They remembered when Lelouch and Kallen found him at Ashford, he had a straitjacket just like the one C.C. had. Did he come from the same place? Maybe physical enhancements or some other experiments? It certainly wasn't anything that Britannia had done publicly. Although Lelouch did truly consider Rai a trustworthy friend, he would still be keeping a close eye on him.
Suzaku sat on a chair on a platform as he glanced up at the Lancelot. He still had quite a lot on his mind, although it seemed he had more going on than before, if anything he seemed more confused than ever. His attention was caught by Cecile as she handed him a bottle of water while sitting down next to him.
"Thanks." He took the water and began to drink.
"Are you alright, Suzaku?"
"I don't really know." He answered honestly as he looked at his hands. "Was it really right?" She looked at him with concern as he continued. "I know the Black Knights are criminals… but that one pilot… he was completely helpless. There was no way he could have protective himself yet… Starscream was so dead-set on executing him right then and there. So, was trying to kill him really the right thing to do?"
Cecile didn't respond for a few seconds before she finally spoke. "I can't say. I'm not a soldier, so I wouldn't have an answer. If I were in your position however, I would not have done it. Personally, I find the whole concept of killing to be wrong. But, it's not my call to make."
Suzaku would have offered a response, but someone else beat him to it.
"I wouldn't overthink it." They both looked in surprise to see Knock Out walking into the base. "You wanna kill or not, you go with whatever you want, I don't really care. Oh, and don't worry about Starscream, the guy's bolts are tightened a little too tight, I'd just ignore him."
"Kn… Knock Out…!" Suzaku stuttered.
"That's my name, don't wear it out."
"Well, look who's back." Lloyd noticed the red Decepticon with a smile. "So where is the mighty Starscream anyway?"
"In a meeting with Lord Megatron, a disciplinary meeting." Knock Out said with a smug grin. "He's in troooouble. Should have kept the big guy in the loop."
"So, what are you doing back here?" Cecile asked.
"Well like I said when I first came here, I wanted to see the Lancelot in action for myself." Knock Out answered. "And I have to say, I am very impressed. For a human-made machine, it is quite the devastating weapon; not to mention it has quite the lustrous finish."
"Finally!" Lloyd exclaimed joyously. "Someone who appreciates art around here!"
"That being said, I'm looking forward to giving the Lancelot some serious upgrades and modifications." Knock Out said. "Don't worry, I won't make any major changes, yet, wouldn't want to overwhelm that little organic brain, Suzaku, but you can expect to be a better match for the Autobots and their human partners soon enough. So, you better get used to seeing me, I plan to spend quite a bit of time here."
"Oh, I can hardly wait!" Lloyd rubbed his hands in anticipation.
"Well… that makes one of us…" Cecile laughed nervously. "Great, now there's two of them."
Suzaku wasn't exactly comfortable with this. It didn't seem like Knock Out was really terrible; he didn't have that same intimidating presence like Megatron or even Starscream, but he didn't seem all that trusting either like Dreadwing. All he could really do now was hope for the best.
Elsewhere; Emperor Charles Zi Britannia still stood in the same mysterious altar as before, gazing towards the cloudy sky. It seemed almost deathly silent in this unusual and mysterious place, yet that silence was broken by the sound of footsteps that Charles recognized immediately.
"Hello Charles." V.V. greeted as he walked up and joined his brother to gaze at the unnatural sky.
"Was there a reason you wanted to speak with me?" Charles asked, not taking his eyes off the clouds.
"Yes, something interesting has happened. It seems that Kaizaren is alive." V.V. reported.
Charles looked toward his brother with a surprised expression, a very rare look on his face. "Are you certain?"
"I am. I felt his Geass activate." V.V. responded. "But… it seemed repressed. As if it wasn't fully activated. Very strange."
"Well, that is to be expected, after spending so much time in the Thought Elevator, who knows what's happened to his mind." Charles replied.
"Speaking of which, it seems as though he doesn't remember his past." V.V. informed, causing Charles to look at his brother with a raised eyebrow. "And even more so, he's now allied with Lelouch and the Autobots."
"Well now, that is interesting." Charles noted. "Do you intend to go to Area 11 yourself?"
"I don't see a need for it." V.V. answered. "His memories are gone and his Geass has somehow been repressed, so there's no cause for concern yet."
"I trust you know what you are doing, big brother." Charles noted. "His ability is arguably the most dangerous one you or C.C. have ever granted."
"If he becomes a problem, he'll be dealt with." V.V. said. "So, how is progress here?"
"Slow but steady." Charles noted. "Between running an empire, and the complications of our project, not to mention making sure Megatron doesn't find us, we can't afford any missteps."
"Understandable." V.V. nodded. "I'll leave you to it." He turned around and was about to walk away. "Charles, you remember our promise. Our contract?"
"Of course, big brother." Charles said. "To kill god and smash this world of lies."
V.V. smiled before leaving as his brother and the tyrannical emperor gazed up once more at the clouds. "Soon, I promise, the world will be as it should be. Soon."
Rai has had his time to shine as he shown off his skills as a Knightmare pilot and is now partnered with Bulkhead. Also, it seems he has a Geass. I know it's not quite what most of you expect, for those of you who don't know, Rai's Geass is the same as Lelouch's with Absolute Obedience, only his is vocal as he has to speak and people have to hear his commands as opposed to Lelouch's where he has to make eye-contact. But as V.V. (his contractor) has noted, his Geass appears to be suppressed, which might tie in a bit with his amnesia.
I won't go into specific details and spoilers, but I will say this, during his time being experimented on by Clovis along with C.C. in Code R, he was given physical enhancements and Knightmare operating skills, which he was able to call on almost on instinct which is now tied to his own personal Geass. So, for the time being, when his Geass activates, his physical skills and battlefield awareness is heightened, and he becomes a near unstoppable warrior who's own skills with a Knightmare rival even Kallen and Suzaku's. I promise, you'll learn more about Rai as the story progresses.
Also, Knock Out and Breakdown have made their appearance, even Ravage has shown up as well, so you can expect a lot of awesome battles and funny moments with Knock Out's paintjob. Speaking of which, Knock Out appears to have taken a liking to the Lancelot and will be working to give it some upgrades so Suzaku can better match the Autobots in battle; but nothing too major, so don't expect the Lancelot to fly right away.
And it seems like Knock Out and Lloyd are gonna get along alright (God help us all. LOL)
BTW, if you want an idea of what Ravage would look like, go to Deviantart and look up the work titled "TFP Fan Design Ravage Color" by the artist "BHS-ArchetypeRex"
Up next, we are introduced to a certain Autobot that Bulkhead has known for a long time. I'm sure he needs no introduction. :)
One last thing. I left a poll up on my profile page on who you think would be the best VA for Rai if this were a TV series. Please make your choices when you can. I'll be back with the next update soon, until then, Transform and Roll Out!