It took a few weeks to finally complete the base for the Autobots. Once finished, the Autobots were studying up on their new home. The Space Colony ARK intrigued them, so they asked G.U.N. for a tour of the facility. They accepted the request and had Team Dark be their guides. They also posted a liaison with the Autobots, General Alexis Silverwing, the fruit bat. Shadow led them around the halls. They were big enough for the Autobots to walk around in robot mode and the Energon density wasn't as bad as on the surface of Mobius. As such, they could stay in robot mode for a longer period of time. Shadow was still talking about how power works on the ARK. "As such," he lectured, "the main power system is backed up by several redundant power sources so it leaves enough for auxiliary power to take over when needed. Mind you, G.U.N gave this station a major refit, so we're running on main power and partial auxiliary."
"That's all nice and good," drawled Ironhide, "but what happens when a space barnacle attaches itself to this place's hull?" Shadow blinked.
"I don't see too many barnacles in space," he rasped.
"That's what I said," muttered Ironhide, "until one of those suckers started eating away at my drop-ship's main plasma core over Femax." Alexis had something on her mind and had to say it.
"Where did Professor Gerald get the money for this space station?" she quizzed. "Was there a sale at Best Tech fifty years ago?"
"I wouldn't worry too much about it," assured Rouge. "Professor Gerald managed to get the money from the government after showing off his project and getting funding to create an immortal weapon. The final result was Shadow." Alexis turned to the Autobots.
"And you guys? How did you get here?" she asked.
"I'm the commander in chief of my planet's armed forces," answered Optimus. "Even the space navy is under my command. It was easy to secure short ranged travel pods to go after Jazz."
"I did have to go through some finagling," admitted Jazz.
"I'm in the wrong line of work," sighed Alexis.
"Alert," came a booming voice, "power is out in junction 2B."
"I keep telling people to watch that place!" growled Shadow. "Junction 2B is where power passes through to the weapons systems."
"Where is it?" asked Ratchet. Shadow led them to another hall and pointed to a covered area. He slid the panel off and revealed the circuitry. Ratchet rubbed his hands together and shot lightning into the junction. The junction box glowed behind the circuits. "Clear," joked Ratchet.
"Space Colony ARK now operating at peak efficiency," boomed the computer.
"I never heard that in a while," chuckled Shadow. He turned to Ratchet. "Nicely done."
"Hey!" cheered Rouge. "You got a compliment from Shadow!"
"You can shoot lightning out of your hands?!" Optimus asked what every Autobot had on their mind.
"Can't you?" asked Ratchet. It took a while for Optimus to speak.
"No!" he finally squeaked.
"What, you can't shoot lightning?" asked Shadow. Optimus looked at Shadow.
"And you can?!" he yelped.
"Of course, I can," boasted Shadow. "I'm Shadow the Hedgehog. I'm the Ultimate Lifeform." He replaced the panel.
"Shouldn't there be a team of scientists here?" asked Ironhide.
"There was," remarked Shadow, "fifty years ago, but after an incident on the ARK, no one wants to go near it."
"Incident?" quizzed Jazz.
"We're not at liberty to say," said Shadow. Optimus found it as odd.
"Ooohhhkay…" he muttered. All of a sudden, alarms started blaring.
"Alert! Eggman Attack in Emerald Town!" boomed the computer. "Transformer capabilities confirmed!"
"Why do people call us 'Transformers'?" asked Bumblebee to no one in particular.
"I have the Warp Ring," called Optimus. "Autobots, let's roll to the rescue!"
"I think the Protectobots are using that," interjected Ratchet as his optic twitched.
"Ah, man!" moaned Optimus. "Let's just go." He flicked the Warp Ring into the air. It expanded and the Autobots transformed and sped through. Team Dark and Alexis followed after. They soon arrived at Emerald Town, in the capital city of Central City. The robot was unusual to say the least. It had four legs, a shell like body, and six metallic tendrils on the front, smashing the streets. Team Sonic was fighting the thing but couldn't get near enough to hit it. The tendrils were making Team Sonic keep their distance. "Having trouble, Sonic?" called Optimus.
"So," cackled a voice, "our extraterrestrial visitors are here to see me conquer this planet!" Eggman descended on his Egg-mobile. "Beautiful, isn't it?"
"Not exactly the word I'd use to describe that monster," remarked Jazz.
"I thought I made myself clear on Halloween that taking T-cogs was wrong!" snarled Optimus.
"You machines act like you have culture and sentience," dismissed Eggman, "but in the end, you're nothing more than gears, circuit boards, wires, transistors, and a central processor. You're just machines. I have my freedom to do what I want while you are enslaved to whatever master programmed you."
"Cybertronians are masters of their own fate," growled Optimus. "As a species, we were enslaved to these creatures called the Quintessons. We won our freedom in battle and we will continue to defend that freedom and continue to speak of freedom as it is the right of all sentient beings!"
"You've clearly been infected with a virus," sighed Eggman. "My new robot will take care of that. Egg Robo-Smasher, show them what you're made of!"
"Egg Robo-Smasher," droned the robot, "transform." The legs slid to the back of the shell body and made it stand on its rear. Arms revealed themselves from holes where the armpit should be. The tendril housing flipped to reveal the head, which had a visor over the optics and a mouth guard. The transformation was slow and deliberate.
"Not impressed," jeered Optimus.
"We can do it better!" called Bumblebee. "Like this! BUMBLEBEE, TRANSFORM!" Bumblebee's transformation was slow and deliberate like the Egg Robo-Smasher's.
"Why don't we all show him?" suggested Optimus to the Autobots. "Cliffjumper, you're next. Then Ironhide, Ratchet, Jazz, and then me."
"Got it. CLIFFJUMPER, TRANSFORM!"
"OPTIMUS PRIME, TRANSFORM!" The transformation sequences ended after a few minutes. "Unlike your robots," declared Optimus, "when we say 'TRANSFORM!' we put some life into it!"
"Targets are now at optimum vulnerability," reported the Egg Robo-Smasher. "Ready to begin at your order, Doctor."
"The order is given!" cheered Eggman. The tendrils snaked themselves around the Autobots and buried their ends into the backs of their heads. "You see, when I named this thing," boasted Eggman, "I thought that a little freedom mental smashing would help you serve me better." He sees the Autobots struggling. "Fighting it won't help. Just relax and let that silly concept of freedom escape your minds." Jazz heard that and got an idea. He did relax, true, but a strange low humming could be heard. The Autobots looked at Jazz as he was the one humming. It took a while, but Optimus got the idea. He soon relaxed and joined in the humming.
"What are they doing?!" asked Knuckles.
"Some Robo-voodoo?" remarked Sonic. "I don't know!"
"Guys, look!" called Tails. He pointed to the tendrils that had Optimus and Jazz in their respective clutches. The tendrils were getting loose. Once he had enough arm room, Optimus thrust his hands into the air. The vehicle mode flight generators had a split and they separated on a mechanism that shot two sticks into the air. The sticks let metal plates hover near them and blue colored energy held the metal plates in the shape of an axe blade. Optimus then put the two axes together and made a long handled, double headed axe. With it, he chopped all six tendrils off the Egg Robo-Smasher.
"Connections to all targets lost," droned the robot. "Targets are not under your control, Doctor."
"Impossible!" shrieked Eggman.
"Nope. Simply processor over matter," called Jazz.
"It wasn't simple for me," remarked Optimus. "I thought it was all in the hand motions."
"Nah, in the head," corrected Jazz.
"BAH!" snapped Eggman. "If I can't control you, I'll simply destroy you! Egg Robo-Smasher, tear them apart!"
"Acknowledged," confirmed the Egg Robo-Smasher. The robot brought a fist down but missed the Autobots.
"Ironhide," called Ratchet, "I need to perform an extraction. Can you anesthetize the patient?"
"Would plasma work?" asked Ironhide.
"Perfect!" replied Ratchet. "The patient needs to breathe it in."
"One shot to the head, coming up!" cheered Ironhide. He took the arm cannons off and combined them into a rocket launcher. One pull to the trigger, and a plasma pellet knocked the enemy robot on its back.
"Cliffjumper, Bumblebee, restrain the patient!" directed Ratchet.
"All right," replied Cliffjumper, "but I must warn you, the work environment will be hazardous."
"It's all right," assured Ratchet, "I'm an emergency vehicle!"
"In that case," called Bumblebee, "let's do it!" Bumblebee and Cliffjumper rubbed their hands together and slammed their right hands on the ground. That's when crystals of two different colors and lights restrained the limbs of the robot. Bumblebee and Cliffjumper could alter the intensity of one aspect of Energon to make new types of Energon. Bumblebee specialized in Light Energon, the blood of their creator, and Cliffjumper specialized in Dark Energon, the blood of the Destroyer. The crystal restraints held the robot down as Ratchet let a small device pop out of his wrist. He jumped on the robot and cut into it with a laser from his wrist device. He then made two horizontal cuts to make the robot's chassis peel away. Once he opened up, Ratchet got inside and started tossing parts out.
"Let's see," he muttered, "…don't need this…don't need that. That's a safety hazard. How did a magazine get in there? AHA!" He popped out with the t-cog in hand. "The operation was a success! But I couldn't save the patient." It was true. The robot would no longer move. "He was a brave soul," sighed Ratchet as he put a hand over his spark.
"NOOO!" shouted Eggman. "Mark my words, Optimus Prime; you have not seen the last of Dr. Eggman!" He flew off, leaving the robot behind.
"Looks like the day is saved," chuckled Sonic.
"Eggman even tries to conquer on a day like today," sighed Tails. "How gauche."
"Why?" asked Bumblebee.
"It's December 25th," explained Knuckles. "Eggman shouldn't have attacked today."
"December 25th?" quizzed Optimus. Something stirred in the Autobots' memory banks until they came across the date's meaning. "Christmas Day?! Scrap! Autobots, hands up. How many forgot to do their Christmas shopping?" All Autobots raised their hands. "I thought so. We've been so caught up in getting our base finished that we forgot to be charitable to each other!"
"Wait," interjected Sonic, "so, you guys don't know about Halloween, but you kick yourselves when you forget the Christmas shopping?"
"Christmas is one of the few Earth holidays we celebrate on Cybertron," explained Optimus. "With its message of charity, it's something the Autobots can get behind." That's when an idea hit Optimus in the face. "Shadow," he said as he transformed, "is there any place in Central City that could benefit from robot parts?"
"There is one area," rasped Shadow. "Robot parts are the main source of income to those people. It always gets a food donation whenever the food supplies in that area are too low. Selling robot parts is the only way they can feed their families."
"How well would that area take an entire robot carcass?" asked Optimus.
"It should feed them for about 10 weeks," replied Shadow. "The max they got out of robot part sales is 5."
"Then get a convoy prepped to get the Egg Robo-Smasher to that area. We'll follow you," directed Optimus. Shadow arched an eye ridge, but at the convincing of General Silverwing, he made the call. The convoy arrived, loaded the robot onto a flat bed, and led the Autobots to Mission Street. The people there goggled at the robot being given. The Autobots transformed back into robot mode and unloaded the Egg Robo-Smasher from the flatbed. "People of Mission Street," called Optimus, "I am Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots of Cybertron. We have heard of how much you need parts to sell in exchange for food. Today, on this day, we bring you something that may please you. Recently, Dr. Eggman tried to attack Central City with a robot that almost violated our minds. We defeated it with the help of Sonic and have brought you the robot and the parts we extracted from it. We offer it as a Christmas present." Everyone cheered. The Autobots were surprised. "Er, we're glad you like it," stammered Optimus. The people of Mission Street were still cheering until someone noticed a Mobian coming from behind the crowd. The crowd quieted down and stepped aside to make a path for the newcomer. It was a female Mobian, with her animal features hidden, aside from her pointy ears. She wore a red dress that flowed out when it touched the ground. Her coat was red and had flowing sleeves. She wore red gloves, had red, wavy hair, a mask that obscured the face with a mirrored material that only she could see through, and a red Robin Hood hat. She seemed to glide towards the Autobots as the snow fell around her. Once she stopped, she turned her head upwards to the Autobots.
"It's the Scarlet Specter!" whispered a 4 year old skunk girl. There was a small silence.
"Greetings, Autobots of Cybertron," began the Scarlet Specter. Her voice was obviously altered by the mask. "I am the Scarlet Specter, one of Mobius' many protectors. I have seen your fight with the Eggman robot. Your actions have proved that your generosity is genuine. I speak for all of Mobius when I say welcome to our planet!" The crowd cheered. "And to repay the generosity of G.U.N, Team Sonic, and the Autobots, I present a gift to each of you today," revealed the Specter as she summoned a drawstring bag out of red smoke. She opened the bag to reveal a green jewel, a red jewel, and a cyan jewel.
"Chaos Emeralds?!" yelped Sonic.
"Those are Chaos Emeralds?" asked Optimus as he remembered the Autobots' first meeting with Knuckles. "Only one of them looks like an emerald, the others aren't even green!"
"That's the very chaotic nature of these emeralds," explained the Specter. Shadow and G.U.N got the green emerald, Team Sonic got the cyan emerald, and the Autobots got the red emerald. "Merry Christmas, my friends," bid the Specter as a red mist surrounded her. It obscured her and she disappeared once it dissipated. The Autobots blinked.
"Who IS the Scarlet Specter?" asked Jazz.
"A witch that fights Eggman," droned Omega. "Her magic abilities are unmatched."
"Don't be ridiculous," scoffed Ratchet. "Magic doesn't exist."
"Really?!" protested Optimus. "Then how did she disappear like that?! Come to think of it, my gun and axe are magic weapons!"
"What you call magic," argued Ratchet, "I call unexplained science."
"Sure," sighed Optimus, not entirely believing it. He turned to the people of Mission Street. "In any case, Merry Christmas!" The people responded in kind and the Autobots went through the Warp Ring back to base. When they arrived, Optimus looked at the Chaos Emerald in his hand.
"What's up?" asked Rouge.
"The Scarlet Specter," muttered Optimus. "How did she manage to find three Chaos Emeralds when, from what Tails told me a while ago, you guys need to find one to get the other six?"
"Maybe we shouldn't think too hard on it," dismissed Rouge. Optimus stared, and then smirked.
"You're right," replied Optimus, "we shouldn't stress ourselves."
"Rouge, we're leaving," called Shadow in his usual growl. Alexis and Omega were already at the door.
"Coming, Shads honey!" said Rouge in a teasing tone. She followed Team Dark and Alexis to the door. Once they exited, Shadow thrust the emerald into the air.
"CHAOS CONTROL!" he shouted. The group disappeared in a flash of green light. The Autobots blinked.
"How in the Pit…?" asked Optimus.
"We'll explain later," replied Sonic. "For now, we have to go as well. Merry Christmas!" Team Sonic left the base, taking the cyan emerald with them. Optimus grinned.
"Well, Bots," he called, "we've got more work on our plate. Knowing Eggman, he's going after the Chaos Emeralds too."
"A side quest, in other words," sighed Cliffjumper.
"One that makes sense," countered Ironhide. "If Eggman harnesses the power of all seven and applies it to his Transforming Robot soldiers…,"
"It would stand to reason that we'll have an uphill fight on our hands," finished Optimus. "Ratchet, I presume you did a scan of our emerald?"
"I did," replied Ratchet. "And I found an energy signature inside. If what Tails told me is correct, all seven emeralds have that same signature. I should have an emerald locator done by New Year's Eve."
"Good work," praised Optimus. He then looked at the time. "All right, it's time for recharge. We'll wake up tomorrow at 5:30. Merry Christmas, Autobots." The other Autobots returned the wishes and headed to their quarters.
Meanwhile, a red mist hovered in a dance studio room. It was curling gently around the wall railings and caressed the mirrors before coming together to form the Scarlet Specter. "Rose?" asked a voice. The Specter turned to see two women in the mirror. One was a human with straight, brown hair, bangs covering her eyebrows, a ponytail near the top, a rose hair ornament on the right side of her hair with lace around it and a ribbon reaching to her waist, a black ball gown with white trim, a bodice of the same design, sleeves that didn't connect to the dress and fanned out from its opening at the upper arm to the wrists, and a magic wand in her right hand. The other woman was Transformer sized, green skinned, and dressed in the stereotypical witch's outfit, complete with hat.
"That's me," replied the Specter. She removed the hat, took the red colored wig off to reveal short pink quills adorned with a headband, and a removal of the mask revealed Amy Rose's features.
"You don't need to hide the fact you're a witch around us," chuckled the human, Sira, as she stepped through the mirror. The Transformer sized woman, a Nebulan named Trema, crawled after her. "No one's going to tell on you, my student," assured Sira.
"And what if the vision we've had doesn't pan out in a positive light?" asked Amy.
"It will!" insisted Trema. "The Autobots will gladly accept a witch amongst their allies."
"That's if they are trusting of magically inclined people," remarked Amy. "We've got the power needed, but if we delay…"
"Now, listen," interrupted Sira, "the threat that comes to this planet will be made known to the Autobots, but Cybertron is sending an emissary to our planet to tell Optimus the truth of the matter."
"I thought the Universal Council of Witches had given the Autobots their support," replied Amy.
"For aiding them when needed, yes," answered Trema. "The best way to do that, however, is to let Fate play things out!"
"And what about that journey Optimus will take?" asked Amy. Trema bit her lip.
"I don't know," she answered.
"Trema?" asked Sira.
"Some talk of revolution is spreading on Nebulos," explained Trema. "I need to convince Zarak that what he's planning is wrong. I'll be gone for a month."
"Will you be home in time for our Coven's get together?" asked Amy.
"Of course!" assured Trema. "Oh, I almost forgot, I have your presents."
"I brought presents for you two as well," remembered Sira.
"Let me get yours from downstairs," bid Amy as she ran out of the dance studio. She came back a few minutes later. "Who will go first?" she asked.
"Let me go first," replied Sira. "Ms. Trema, I have a spell book for you. Ms. Rose, I believe it's time for you to have your own wand." She handed the items to the other two.
"Thank you, Sira!" called Amy.
"Wand Training will begin New Year's Day," declared Sira.
"All right!" cheered Amy. She then got out her gifts for the others. "Sira, I got you Rachel Snoops, Book 7: Marriage and Manslaughter and Trema, I got that lilac bubble bath you wanted to try."
"How sweet!" praised Trema.
"Thank you, Amy," said Sira with a big grin on her face "This book is said to finally have the answers to the identity of Ms. Snoops' nemesis!"
"Now then," remarked Trema, "Sira, that silver tea chest you wanted is right here. Amy, I have a scrying orb for you."
"You're well on your way to learning the advanced sets!" chuckled Sira.
"Thank you, guys!" bid Amy. "I don't know what I would have done without your help in my magic abilities."
"You have potential to be a stronger witch than myself," replied Sira. "We only provide the tools. The student needs to utilize them to the best of her abilities."
"Yes, well, I hate to cut this visit short," interjected Trema, "but I must return to Nebulos. Merry Christmas!" She went into the mirror again and faded into the mist in the mirror.
"I must go as well," replied Sira. "Natalie will have a fit if I'm not at my manor during Christmas. Merry Christmas, Ms. Rose."
"Merry Christmas, Ms. Mayworth," bid Amy. Sira left the same way Trema did. Amy sighed in happiness. She then snapped her fingers, causing red mist to turn her Scarlet Specter dress into a ballerina's outfit, with comfortable point shoes. She then decided to practice her routine to Christmas music. "Merry Christmas, everyone," she thought as the snow fell gently around her house.