You've Got the Touch
by Philip S.
Summary: With Optimus Prime dead and Unicron about to devour Cybertron, it is up to a new Autobot to wield the Matrix of Leadership and save the universe from destruction. Who will step up?
Disclaimer: All things Transformers belong to Hasbro. This story is based on Transformers the Movie, but with a twist.
Arcee carefully spied around the corner, all her sensors dialled up to maximum capacity. They had hoped that Unicron would be easier to destroy from the inside, but it had rapidly proved just as lethal as the planet devourers exterior. Numerous traps and weapons had quickly torn into the small band of brave Autobots, splitting them up as they tried to find their way through this technological maze.
Clutching her weapon closer, Arcee was well aware how small their chances were. Everything had gone sour these past few days. First the devastating attack on Autobot City by the Decepticons. So many of her friends and comrades lost forever. Wheeljack. Ratchet. Prowl. Huffer. Gears. Ironhide. And Optimus Prime. His loss had been the most devastating of all.
Things had quickly turned from bad to worse. She didn't know what had happened to Megatron, but the Decepticons had a new leader named Galvatron who seemed even more powerful. His follow-up attack on Autobot City had scattered the survivors across space and when he finally tracked them down on Junkion he not only almost destroyed Ultra Magnus, he also took the Autobot Matrix with him.
And now this. Unicron, a planet-sized Transformer, was in the process of destroying her homeworld of Cybertron. Granted, he was smashing a lot of Decepticons in the process, but that didn't cheer her up in the least. She'd prefer a Cybertron ruled by Decepticons to one smashed into space dust by this giant monstrosity, who might well turns its eyes to Earth next. They needed to stop Unicron. But how?
She remembered Hot Rod's words. If one good thing had happened this last few days it was that the brash young hothead had really come into his own. He had reminded them of Optimus Prime's last words. That the Matrix would light their darkest hour. Ultra Magnus had tried to make good on those words, had tried to use the Matrix when Galvatron and his troops had hunted them down on Junkion, but it hadn't worked. Why Hot Rod thought it would work now was beyond her, but it was their only hope.
Arcee was torn from her thoughts by the sounds of battle just ahead. Had she finally found the others? Springer? Hot Rod? Kup? Blurr? Daniel? Abandoning caution she transformed into vehicle mode and sped down the corridor, hoping against hope that no booby traps were waiting in the wings.
She entered a dark chamber and almost froze seeing the sight before her.
"First Optimus Prime," the cruel voice of Galvatron snarled. "Then Ultra Magnus. Now you. You Autobots just die too easily."
The Decepticon had his hands wrapped around Hot Rod's throat, the young Autobot trying in vain to dislodge them. By the state of the room Hot Rod had fought valiantly, but Galvatron was just too strong. Arcee transformed back into robot mode, her weapon charged and ready as she stormed toward the fight.
Only to come to a halt as Galvatron tore off Hot Rod's head to the sound of screaming metal. A dying scream gurgled out of the Autobot's throat, then his eyes went dark and his body limb. Hot Rod was dead.
For a long moment the entire universe seemed to come to a halt as the severed head of her friend bounced onto the floor before Arcee's feet. Galvatron rose, his optical sensors spotting the new arrival. A grin came to his face.
"Another Autobot. This is getting repetitive."
His taunting words snapped Arcee out of her shock. Lips drawn back in a snarl, her emotional program overloading, the female Autobot raised her gun and fired as fast as she could, sending blast after blast toward the Decepticon commander.
Galvatron laughed it off. His thick armour easily blocked the few shots he didn't manage to dodge. He returned fire, intentionally missing Arcee and instead taking out the floor beneath her feet. The Autobot stumbled as she lost her footing, her shots going wild and strafing the ceiling. Galvatron approached her at a deliberate pace, wringing his mechanical hands.
"I haven't killed a female Transformer in years. I thought you were all gone. This is going to be fun."
Arcee fired again, but Galvatron brushed off the impact and proceeded to knock the weapon from her hand. Grabbing her by the throat he wrenched her into the air, easily holding her with one hand. Her throat casing began to crack from the pressure and Arcee felt her energy reserves dwindling fast as the Decepticon began to crush the life from her body.
"Any last words, Autobot?"
Arcee couldn't have spoken if she wanted to, Galvatron's grip had already crushed her voicebox and was now cutting off the energy flow from her power pump to her brain module. Systems began to fail all over her body. In panic her limbs moved randomly, hands reaching out for whatever salvation might still be found.
Then her metal fingers touched the casing of the Autobot Matrix that Galvatron wore on a chain around his neck.
Light flooded the room as the most sacred of Transformer relics came to life upon her touch. Galvatron stumbled, surprised, his grip on Arcee's throat lessening. Sensing new hope, Arcee grabbed the Matrix with both hands, snapping the thin chain. Feeling new power surge through her limbs, she kicked at Galvatron's chest, finally managing to separate the two of them as they both stumbled back.
When Galvatron looked up next he could not help but stare in amazement.
Arcee held the Matrix above her head, its light surrounding her like a halo. Even as he watched the damage he had done to her slender form seemed to repair itself. No, it was more than that. Her body was shifting, transforming. It grew bigger. A moment ago the Autobot female had been two heads smaller than him, now she was of equal size.
The voice that suddenly filled the room managed to send a cold shower of fear down Galvatron's back.
"Rise, Arcia Prime!"
"Optimus," Arcee whispered, recognizing his voice as it hailed from the Matrix.
"NOOOOOO!" Galvatron fired at her, his precarious hold on sanity slipping away as he heard the voice of the Autobot leader he had sent to the grave as Megatron. Most of the blast bounced harmlessly off the energy halo the Matrix had created around Arcee, now Arcia Prime. Then the brilliance died away, though, and one of Galvatron's shots knocked the Matrix from her hands.
Turning to face her enemy, Arcia Prime felt her new form brimming with power and energy.
"This is the end of the road, Galvatron!"
Then she moved, quickly bridging the distance between them, and tore into the Decepticon leader with a strength she had never before possessed. They were on equal footing now, but Galvatron was still in shock. Everything had been going his way. He would destroy the Autobots. He would figure out how to use the Matrix against Unicron and free himself from the monster's mental hold. He would rule the universe.
He was still screaming when Arcia picked him up and sent his form hurtling toward the nearest wall. So powerful was her throw that Galvatron's armoured form pierced the metal barrier like a missile. Beyond was just one more wall, which turned out to be Unicron's outer shell. Galvatron tumbled off into space, his damaged form turning end over end.
Arcia paid him no more attention. Picking up the Matrix once more she could feel its power surging to the surface again. There was one more task to be done and she had been chosen to do it. She didn't know why. Why her? Optimus Prime had given the Matrix to Ultra Magnus. Kup was the wisest of them. Grimlock the strongest. Hot Rod the one with the fire. Why not one of them? Why her?
Even as the Matrix opened in her hands and unleashed its power upon Unicron she could hear Optimus' voice again, answering her unspoken question.
"The combined wisdom of all past Autobot leaders resides in the Matrix, Arcia. We, all of us, have placed our trust in you. We know you will not fail us."
Determination on her face, Arcee held the Matrix up high. Light was streaming forth, a power she did not understand in the slightest, and it tore the mighty form of Unicron into scrap metal. She could hear the giant Transformer's scream and a dark and evil part of her couldn't help but smile. She quickly quenched that impulse, though. Unicron was dying. Now it was time to think of her friends.
Kup was the oldest Autobot currently functional. He remembered life as it had been before the endless war with the Decepticons, had lived on a peaceful Cybertron during its golden age. He had fought in the war from day one, serving under every single Autobot Leader from Alpha Trion to Optimus Prime.
Until coming face to face with Unicron he had thought he'd seen it all. Yes, things looked grim, but Kup had been in grim situations before. With a planet-sized monster trying to destroy his homeworld, though, he didn't know what to do. He had never been much of a leader, so he followed. Followed as Ultra Magnus and Hot Rod led them inside Unicron, only to be separated by its internal defences. He was still busy trying to fight them off when everything started coming apart.
"What's going on here?" he heard Springer yell as Unicron's entire form seemed to shudder.
"This place is coming apart!" Spike, his son Daniel, and the other Autobots swallowed by Unicron along with Moonbase 2, had managed to free themselves of their restraints and join them. Just in time to die?
Floors and ceilings erupted, energy danced along bursting power lines. Unicron was screaming, they could hear it everywhere. Kup couldn't help but smile. Someone or something seemed to have found a way to put a dent into the giant Transformer.
Then he saw something else and his smile grew even broader.
There was something about those chosen to lead the Autobots that just made them stand out. A way of movement, a tilt of chin, an air of purpose and power. Kup had seen it too many times to not recognize it in the Autobot that was running toward them down a crumbling corridor.
"Arcee!" Springer had spotted the Transformer he held such deep affection for. "I thought ..."
"No time to explain," Arcee shut him up with an authority in her voice that caught everyone's attention. "Unicron is dying and I don't intend for any of us to go with him."
Seeing that everyone was looking at her Arcia Prime smiled as the familiar words passed her lips.
"Autobots! Transform and roll out!"