This is very much take twelve, each time I've rewrote this damn thing something new has come out in the wash as it were. I've thrown half of it away, just because it wasn't needed and I need to finish this one off. Not just this chapter but the story as a whole.
I would like to thank everyone who kept reading and reviewing this story, Reminding me to finally get this one done. Oh and note to self, next time trapped by massive writers block listen to Jeff Wayne's musical version of War Of The Worlds. In a darkened room at full volume. It works wonders.
Sam stepped out of the car, General Hammond had his door opened for him by Major Davis and the three of them walked towards the buried space ship. The Major looked back over her shoulder to make sure Rewind and Daniel were following. The small tape transforming Autobot was, like Daniel, a historian and the two of them had probably talked like that all the way here.
Sam hung back for a moment and let them catch up. 'Having fun Daniel? She smiled
'Oh sure Sam. Good thing Jack didn't have to come with us though, he'd have been a real pain.'
She shared a knowing smile 'A bored Colonel is a irritated Colonel'
'He'd be bored? I was in there with the two of them and you're worried about him?' The red and yellow cassette deck in Rewind's hand asked.
'Why didn't you say anything? Daniel asked
'I tried, Primus knows I tried' Blaster almost whined.
Sam shook her head to dislodge her smile. 'I'll take him, unless you want to transform.'
'You mean we're there, I mean here, whatever.' The Autobot communications expert transformed and grew into his robot mode. Sam had no idea how he did that, the only possible way would be that he somehow shifted more than a significant proportion of his mass into a subspace layer. But how exactly he did that was impossible in about seventeen separate ways. 'Why didn't you say anything?' he turned on Daniel
Daniel and the cassette looked at each other before apologising sheepishly. The giant strode on ahead and Sam also left them to their discussion. Besides the Colonel was waiting outside The Ark.
'Jack, I'd like you to meet Major Paul Davis.' General Hammond introduced the blue suited pentagon official as Sam caught them up. 'He was going to be our liaison to the joint chiefs about this whole Autobot scenario.'
There was a moment as the flustered Major watched Blaster stride past. 'I'm now the official representative between the Autobot people and the Presidential advisory committee.' He said as he collected his wits and took off his hat. He tucked it under his arm smartly before offering his hand.
The Colonel shook it and nodded. 'Jack O'Neill. Nice work, who'd you annoy to get that job.'
'Everyone else who wasn't as good as me, sir.' Major Davis said proudly and Sam hid another smile.
The Colonel blinked back a wince. 'We're going to get along great.' he said finally, a bit deflated.
'I hope so,' Davis glanced back at the door Blaster had gone through. 'Is there anything I need to be briefed on?' That was wince worthy in Sam's opinion. They hadn't really kept the pentagon up to date with everything. Megatron and the time paradox was one of them.
'Yeah. You don't know why we're all here do you.' The Colonel held the bridge of his nose. 'Oh boy.' He muttered as he shook his head. 'Daniel you get in there see what you can do with Prime and the gang while I brief Davis here.'
'Sure Jack, come on Rewind lets get in there.'
'I'll stay with you sir, if that's alright.' Sam asked, he just shrugged and turned to the Major
'So Davis, what did they tell you?, so I know what they left out.'
The Major shrugged and gestured at The Ark 'I was briefed on the discovery of an alien spacecraft. It discovered in the side of a volcano in Oregon. The aliens were in some sot of hibernation and woke up. I thought they were exaggerating about the giant robot part though.'
'That's Blaster, he's quite small really. Which makes it a good thing the Autobots are on our side. There's another group called the Decepti-crones.'
'Whatever, and they've been at war for a long time. With me so far.
'Davis nodded. 'I was told as much on route. Apparently these Decepticons were onboard when the ship crashed, they're still off line.'
The Colonel nodded. 'Bang on Major. Right here comes the tricky part and Carter; don't try to correct me or explain.'
'Wouldn't dream of it. sir.' Sam said without thinking
That won a laugh from The Colonel before he turned back to Davis. 'When they win this war of theirs they invent a time machine. The Decepti-whatever's steal it. They came back here to try and change a war that hasn't happened yet. Following me?'
Davis frowned for a moment. 'Time Travel. Okay.'
'Here's the confusing part, unless the Autobots win their war, the way they did it last time, that won't have happened. But it has happened and that's bad.'
Sam jumped in at that point. 'Very bad, you see that world wide storm a few days ago was in reality a side effect of the timelines merging and collapsing. If we don't try and recreate the original timeline as close as possible this one will cease to exist. And with it everything we have ever known.'
'Basically the whole thing is a knot.' The Colonel said, using the same explanation she had given him. 'If we don't try to untie it we won't be going anywhere.'
Davis rocked back on his heels, taking it all on board. 'How do we untie it?'
'We let then reactivate Megaton.' General Hammond said in a voice that ended the discussion.
Preceptor sat back and watched the strange family unit function. Oh-One was focusing hard on a hovering stone while Oh-Two watched. Oh-One's progress had slowed and while he could learn quite fast his memory was proving the biggest problem.
It was proof that while a significant step forward the process he had discovered was not a solution. Worst of all Preceptor's research had finally identified the early symptoms of the genetic drift. At first memories faded, those not used for a long time then, if unchecked, more vital information would eventually be lost. This stage had spread throughout most of the population. Even some members of the High Council were showing symptoms and side effects of the stage. Their judgement was effected, Thor's temper at the revelation of his mate was just the tip of the iceberg. As the humans would say.
The second stage was physical damage, cellular collapse. While still rare in the population at this point it was only a matter of time. The final stage was the shut down of major functions. The result; total shutdown, or as organic's called it death.
For the tenth time Oh-One learnt that the stone moved away from another if it was placed close by. Oh-Two looked up. 'Is there anything we can do?' She said, a catch in her voice. She knew it would happen to her soon enough and as brave as she was Oh-Two was terrified.
'I don't think the High Council would approve any measure to prolong your lives.' Preceptor said sadly.
'They are senile.' Oh-Two said simply. She was right; Wodon was still deliberating what should happen next, his decision making facilities compromised and Frya was unwilling to listen to reason.
As for Thor his anger at forgetting his beloved mate was almost uncontrollable. The Asguard wanted to lash out at something. According to Warpath and Beachcomber the Supreme Commander was sorting through census after census for any clue as to what happened to her.
Oh-Two looked at Oh-One again. 'He's... He's like were all going to be. Right?'
'I'm sorry.' Preceptor hung his head. 'Maybe I can copy your personality matrix...'
'No.' she said suddenly. 'You've proven these bodies can grow a mind of their own, with me and Oh-One. I won't take that from someone else.'
Preceptor nodded and turned back to his research computer. 'I better get back to work if I'm going to have any luck.'
Optimus looked across the bay. Megatron sat, off-line, on a chair with Ratchet and Wheeljack closing the monsters chest plate. The Autobot leader knew he not only had no right but no choice. Megatron must live again for the sake of the future.
Ratchet was still grumbling about it. Same for Wheeljack, but Optimus felt the scientist would only have spent the time fiddling with yet another invention. 'Right there you go Prime. He's fully fixed, I've done everything you've told me to, despite my better judgement.'
'If I had a choice...'
'...You wouldn't chose this. Not the first time you've said that Prime.' Jack O'Neill said as he walked in. Just behind him was General Hammond and a stranger he hadn't met before. 'Optimus Prime, this is Major Paul Davis.' O'Neill introduced the man. ' He's sort of your liaison between yourselves and the President.'
Major Paul Davis nodded. 'In most matters of emergency it is more expedient to talk directly with General Hammond, however most day to day reports and correspondence will be my job.'
'Paper work and politics.' Optimus grumbled. 'I take it that I will need to file daily reports via you. Like Iacon all over again.'
'Prime?' O'Neill asked.
It was Ratchet that answered; 'Back in the day the Autobot Council of Elders ran Cybertron from our capitol city. Even after the death of Sentinel Prime the Council insisted on leading our people and their authorisation for every tactic Prime came up with.'
'Let me guess,' O'Neill sighed. 'They were politicians and wouldn't even poke their heads above the parapets to see what as going on.'
'Most of them, yes. But a few had their processors right' Ratchet said.
Optimus nodded 'Emirate Xaaron and Alpha Trion, my friend and father respectively, were able to convince the council that one voice should lead and as The Matrix had been passed on to me I was to be that leader.'
'Makes sense' O'Neill shrugged. 'Last thing I want is a bunch of politicians getting in my way when it's time to make the hard choices.'
'Choices as hard as this.' Optimus agreed and turned to his mechanics. 'How long until we are ready?' he asked.
'I'll never be ready.' Ratchet replied standing up. 'But he's operational. All we have to do is jump start him with a fresh infusion of energon.'
Optimus grimaced and pulled out his ion rifle with one hand and flipped open his radio on his other arm. 'All security forces ready. I want the Dinobots outside the repair-bay, Ironhide gather a team and get in here now.'
It didn't take long, practically the whole Ark knew Megatron was being reactivated. They didn't know why, only that it had something to do with the storm that had covered the planet. Ironhide came in with three others; Sideswipe, his brother Sunstreaker and Trailbreaker.
They were nervous but ready for anything. 'Okay Wheeljack.' Optimus said at last, hefting his rifle to point at Megatron's face. 'Let's get this over with.'
Grimly the scientist hooked megaton to an energon port and activated it. Nothing happened, then slowly the silver giants eye's began to pulse, growing red.
It seemed to take an age but Megatron slowly awoke. His mouth twisted in to a cruel smile and the Decepticon leader began to laugh, an all too familiar and chilling sound. 'Prime you are a fool.' Megatron gloated after he stopped chuckling. 'You should have left me in status lock.'
Optimus agreed with him, still there was a slim hope 'You and your Decepticons will surrender. I've had your weapons and transformation ability disabled. You're helpless Megatron, you have no choice.'
Optimus didn't expect Megatron to agree ,but he was far too calm. As if he knew something the Autobot Leader didn't. 'Then we'll talk.' Megatron sat back, spreading his arms wide. 'About what will happen to the timeline if we don't wage our little war?'
Optimus took a step back, it should be impossible 'What?' He asked but Megatron sensed the advantage.
He rose to his feet staring down his age old enemy. 'I'm talking of the Beast Wars. Yes, I know all about them. My counterpart was very impressed by what Primal achieved with your Spark He reasoned that mine would grant him greater power. It did.
'Now Prime, we both know what will happen if we don't restart the war. The galaxy, maybe the fate of the whole universe. The lives of countless trillions and the price? a few hundred humans on this world. If you win of course.'
'I have to win Megatron,' Optimus growled. 'You said it yourself, trillions of lives.'
'You care about them Prime, why should I? Megatron spat, gesturing at the humans. 'After all I have nothing to lose.'
Optimus couldn't hide his shock. 'Good grief, you can't be serious! Changing the past is one thing but this is insanity. You wouldn't just create a divergent timeline, a paradox on this scale could shatter the universe!'
'And why not? If I cannot rule everything I will destroy it all! Megatron announced. Optimus knew his old foe all too well, he wouldn't hesitate. If the Decepticons were going to lose he'd take as many as he could with him. The only thing that might stop him was that he couldn't gloat over it.
Despite how much it hurt him Optimus nodded. 'Agreed Megaton.' the Autobot Leader said reluctantly 'You'd never accept your own surrender anyway.'
'I'm glad you see sense Prime. Now if you will reactivate my army I'll be on my way.'
'No. Not like this.' Optimus growled. 'I want a concession, the humans.'
'What of them?' Megaton hissed.
Pressing his advantage Optimus stepped forward. 'This isn't their war, you will not hurt them.'
'Will surprises never cease, we actually agree on something.' Megatron nodded. 'I know how they turned the war in your favour Prime, not this time. These disgusting flesh creatures are not part of this war.'
'Then you'll hold off attacking them. In exchange they will not help us against you.' Optimus laid out the deal
'Now hang on just a moment.' O'Neill spoke up. The Colonel had been getting more and more concerned, but had waited until this moment to make his point. 'Let's get this straight; you two are going to go back to war after a four million year gap, we're left stuck in the middle and we can't do anything about it.'
'That's right Flesh-germ' Megatron said looking down.
'You see Jack, last time around humanity tipped the stalemate in the Autobot's favour, but it cost many human lives.' Optimus explained
Megatron picked up the story, with a smirk. 'Prime would rather sacrifice his own laser core than let a single one of you be hurt.' He looked Optimus in the optic.
After millions of years of war Optimus felt he knew his counterpart better than even his own twisted creator. He could see the calculations going on behind those red optics. 'So that's the deal. We restart the war here, on this world but the humans are not to be harmed.' Optimus insisted.
'As long as they keep their organic hands out of our business I have no interest in them.' Megatron said.
Jack felt completely lost, it wasn't the first time but he didn't like it. They were outside the Ark, waiting for the rest of the Decepticons to come out. The Colonel wasn't happy with the situation. Sure the growing Decepticon ranks were under guard and had been disarmed but that growing part worried Jack. There were more and more of them and all the while Megatron just stood there, a smirk on his face. Eventually Jack had enough. 'Hey big guy.' He shouted up at the Decepticon Leader. 'Down here.'
The smile twisted into something like disgust. 'What do you want?'
'That's what I'm asking. For the big bad guy you're being very accommodating. What are you up to?'
'Not much for subtly flesh creature. You're right, but why should I complain when I get everything I want. My army is being reactivated. This world has all the resources I could ever need.' Jack got a creeping feeling up his spine as he kept looking up. 'I've got no reason to complain Prime would never dare brake our agreement.'
It was at that moment George came back. He and that new Major Davis had stayed in the Ark and set up a conference call with the President. The General marched up to Prime grim faced. 'The President agrees, the United States is in no position to fight a war. If this treaty guarantees the safety of our people we have to agree.' It wasn't surprising, there were a lot of things going on in the world, and beyond, that cost money and lives. Another war just wasn't possible right now.
Megatron strode over Jack without a care. 'Excellent, then the deal is struck and I've already won.'
'Don't be too sure Megatron. Everything's changed now. The war could go either way.' Prime pointed out
'Please spare me your optimism. We both know if a single human happens to be caught in the crossfire I win. It is inevitable.'
'You better be careful.' Jack said, not liking how the Decepticon had said "happens". It sounded all too convenient. 'If there's even one accident I promise you there'll be no deals. No agreements, I'll make sure every army in the world hunts you and your Decepticons down.'
'Is that supposed to be a threat?'
Jack smirked back. 'You might not know this but we have these creatures, called bees, on sting is annoying a hundred can kill. But you knew that already, isn't that why you're so worried about us getting involved.'
'Perceptive little...' Megatron reached for Jack but stopped himself. After a quick look around that same annoying smile returned. 'Well will you look at that. All my warriors are ready.'
'That they are Megatron.' Prime said with restraint. 'I suggest you take them, before I decide to risk damage to the timeline by blowing you away.'
'Touchy Prime. Very touchy, still you have a point. We might as well get on with it.' With that Megatron jumped. At first Jack had no idea why, then he realised the robot was flying.
Actual honest flying. 'Decepticons. Follow me.' Megatron shouted as he flew off. Like some vast metal cloud the Decepticons did as they were ordered, taking off and flying higher into the horizon.
'Can we trust him?' Jack asked openly.
Prime still watched the sky. 'Not for an instant.' he admitted.
End Chapter 12