Disclaimer: I do not own HMW, Transformers, or any characters used in this fanfiction that have been provided by other people. That said, all characters, concepts, and etc. used in this fanfiction are mine, so 'd appreciate it if you can respect the year it took me to get this project rolling and not take things from it without asking first.
Also, to those naysayers who said my HMW fanfiction would never come I say this: BOOYAH!
The Array Command Center, 2nd Vorn, Iacon – Main Power Control Matrix
If all life has one common thread, it is a desire to leave an impact on the world it leaves behind when it dies. All life attempts to perform some duty, some purpose to leave a positive impact on its home. At the end of our lives, we look back upon the lives we have led and judge our lives based upon the sole criteria of how much of an impact we've had in people's life. Mainu One was one of thousands of Autobots who had been forced to make this final judgment, but It would never know if the diminutive Autobot would consider his valiant but ultimately doomed attempt to save his people from certain doom a worthy enough legacy for his life.
It listened to the whirring of energy as The Array charged up and prepared to launch its volley of 12 hypersonic projectiles into the Decepticon siege lines surrounding the Autobot capital of Iacon. It marveled at how easy it ultimately was to fool its brethren into destroying themselves. All it had taken was a vague command sent to Mainu One's little workstation to move The Array to what was referred to as 'ground level'. Such an action was forbidden by the Autobot Code as such ranges meant that The Array could tear out giant chunks of the planet too. The only ones who could authorize such a command was the Council of Primus. Having arranged his request to be sent during the middle of a Council meeting, Maximus Prime had apparently too busy to care what he was approving.
It was actually envious of Mainu One. The Autobot had done everything right. Upon receiving the request, he required confirmation. Confirmation was given. Then Mainu One detected the virus It had planted in their computer system. It was proud of that virus. For many solar cycles Mainu One's security scans had foiled Its attempts to access The Array and fire it at a predetermined set of coordinates. But finally, It succeeded in creating a virus Mainu One and his two assistants could not find. But now that it was active, they found it. While his assistants started asking 'what can we do?' Mainu One immediately started slapping down one override code after another.
However, the virus It had planted had altered the command code pathways. The Command Center in the Autobase could no longer directly submit any sort of password. Mainu One, thinking quickly, made the rather brilliant effort to overload The Array's power systems. This would kill the electromagnetic coils and automatic safeties in the weapons themselves would freeze the weapon's firing sequence and lock down the weapon. But It was prepared for that stratagem. Mainu One, to the Autobot's credit, had senses the presence of It. He knew his life was over. But still, he was so close to his goal, and so he performed his duty unto the last. Even after Its fist had punched through the weak armor of the Autobot's torso and pulled his spark free from its body the Autobot seemed to make one last lunge for the controls. But he didn't reach it. Though he had tried to the last, Mainu One had failed to save thousands of lives.
It watched The Array fire; the twelve hypersonic projectiles reach their targets and explode. Their detonation created an atmospheric shockwave with all the destructive force of a hurricane. Buildings crumpled before the awesome power of The Array and the Decepticons who were Its target were simply ripped apart by massive wind sheers. The shockwaves moved quickly, and as they passed they left nothing but a wave of devastation. Inward the shockwaves rushed towards the heart of Iacon. The shockwaves merging and becoming greater in power as the wave converged on the Autobase. It heard the rumble of metal supports, the squealing of metal walls losing structural integrity as the shockwave began to obliterate The Array. It knew the Autobase would survive mostly intact, but The Array would not. With The Array gone, any trace of Its presence would be wiped clean.
It gave one last look at Mainu One's body lying on the ground before raising his spark up in front of its face. It literally crushed Mainu One's spark. The spark's destruction caused its energy to blast out everywhere, but unlike escaping to the far corner of the universe like it normally did, the energy of Mainu One's spark was absorbed into It's own spark. Then it simply disappeared after crushing Mainu One's tiny head with its foot. Afterwards, The Array was consumed by its own power, and soon after, the Autobase felt the fury of the Autobot's own super weapon unleashed…
Autobase, 2nd Vorn, Iacon – Meeting Room AR-01
Centbot had never felt so lousy in his entire life. It was as if every power regulatory circuit in his body had gone haywire at once and flooded his system with raw energon. Damage and status indicators were splashing across his screen so fast Centbot couldn't see, so he shut them off. He was in what remained of a meeting room. As his memory slowly restored itself, he remembered he'd held a meeting here between himself and several other squad commanders. Optimal Retaliation had also been there but… Optimal! The thought of his old friend and protégé having been killed flooded Centbot with worry and fear. His optics deftly scanned the room, and finally they found what they were searching for.
Several large shrapnel wounds peppered Optimal Retaliation's body. Sparks and live flowing energon seeped from those wounds, a clear sign of severe internal system damage. He needed to get to a medical bay, and needed to get there soon. He tried to stand up, but found his right leg wasn't moving. He tried to call up an internal diagnostic on his limb to find out the problem, but no information would come up. Irritated, Centbot glanced down and saw the reason why there was no information on his leg – it didn't exist. It had been ripped off at the knee.
That would also explain why he was laying face down on the conference room table with his left leg on top of it and the stump of his right leg resting against the wall. Irritated at his sudden disability, he tried to ask Optimal Retaliation a question. Strangely, his lips would move and his diagnostics swear his vocalizers were producing sound, but he could not hear himself speak. Thankfully, Optimal Retaliation answered Centbot's many questions with a single text message that Transformers were always capable of doing but rarely did because of its inefficiency.
We got hit with some sort of sonic weapon. Apparently your audio receptors are out too because I couldn't hear you talking and I've been trying to yell at you to wake up for a while. Was the message Optimal Retaliation sent to Centbot. Quickly, Centbot thought up a reply and sent it right back.
I can see you're wounded, where's everybody else?
Alpha Strike got Silver Seraph and the others out. He tried to take me along too. I politely refused the offer, pointing out that you're not in a condition to go anywhere until you're awake and we can find out your status.
I'm missing another damned limb! That's my condition. Centbot sent back to his friend, suddenly glad things like anger and rage didn't translate well through text messaging.
You know what I mean Cent. Anyway, I'm not sure but I'm pretty sure we got hit by The Array.
How do you figure? In the last vorn The Array has never been used for any reason. This has got to be a Decepticon attack.
Cent… look out the window.
Centbot lifted up his head so he could look where Optimal Retaliation was now pointing. He was confused because this meeting room had no windows… but then he noticed better than half of the room had been torn away. That debris was probably what had damaged the room's occupants. Beyond that 'window' was a scene Centbot had never seen before (yet somehow found disturbingly familiar). Iacon; and it was ablaze with millions of fires springing up from buildings that looked like somebody had reached down with a massive hand, scooped them up, and then tossed them back into the city. The once giant spires of metal that seemed to stretch to the stars themselves; were now leveled with all the history they contained now lost forever. The lives contained within had most likely also perished. But this wasn't just one part of the city. The destruction encompassed every part of the city Centbot could see. It would not be a stretch to assume the entire city would be like this. Iacon, which had withstood countless invasions and assaults, had been completely destroyed in less than a minute. It was unreal.
By Primus… Was the only reply Centbot could manage. Optimal Retaliation's first reply was equally short.
Indeed. Then he sent another message to Centbot. And there's no Decepticons buzzing around the city, Cent. The only thing that has so much destructive power is The Array.
Centbot merely grimaced at that message. Optimal Retaliation was right, only The Array was powerful enough to do so much damage so fast. But the only ones who could command it to fire is the Council of Primus… could it be possible the Autobots have been betrayed by their own leaders? A small surge of rage rushed through Centbot, but he calmed it before it went very far. He turned back to Optimal Retaliation, who had been watching his reaction all along, waiting.
Can you stand up? We're leaving.
Optimal Retaliation rolled onto his front, then slowly and perhaps even painfully got on all fours then stood up. He stood unsteadily and the production of sparks from his live wounds became more aggravated, but he stood. Of course, not that I'd have a choice. You can't walk.
Centbot grunted, hating being reminded of his current handicap. He hated losing limbs, mostly because it made him dependant on others to make up for the handicap. Losing legs was the worst because then somebody had to either carry him or hold him up, both of which came within millimeters of violating Centbot's sense of pride. But, Optimal Retaliation was about as close to Centbot as anyone, and he was one of the few fellow Autobots Centbot would allow to cart him around like some disabled scrap heap.
So then, where to, bossbot? Optimal Retaliation asked.
The Council Chambers. We have questions, they have answers.
You think the Council betrayed us?
Only one way to know for sure. Ask them. Was Centbot's answer, and with that, Optimal Retaliation hauled Centbot to his one surviving foot, and the two of them hobbled through the debris –and body- strewn corridor, both of them lost in their own thoughts as they proceeded up to the higher levels of Autobase. Weaving their way all the way to the top, where what remained of the Council Chambers was located.
Autobase, 2nd Vorn, Iacon – Chambers of Councilor Maximus Prime
The nature of the universe was always difficult to fully understand, but there were certain universal truths that one could cling too in order to better grasp the world they lived in. Gravity was one such constant. The passage of time was another. For the longest time Maximus Prime had put 'your own people will not point guns at your head and arrest you' among that list of constants. But not anymore, now from his point of view the universe had simply gone mad.
So much had happened in such a short amount of time Maximus Prime hadn't been able to process it all. He had been talking with Ghost Rider Prime and Tiger Prime when a request to confirm something came through. Being in a hurry and in a heated conversation with Tiger Prime, he'd signed the request without thinking. Then, suddenly, he awoke to find his fellow Councilors laying in pieces scattered across the room, and most of his own body crushed, mangled, or impaled on shrapnel. The city he had protected for so long… now lay in ruins…
From there, events only degenerated. It had suddenly appeared in the room, announced that under the authority of the code, Maximus Prime was being placed under arrest on charges of treason and two counts of attempted genocide. Since Maximus Prime was in no condition to offer resistance, they simply picked him off the floor, and carried him towards one of the Autobase's few working medical bays. On his way out he asked it what its name was, and it stated its name simply and without emotion: "I am Evolution Prime."
Two burly-looking Autobots walking past with a slumped, obviously heavily damaged Maximus Prime who was being dragged around as if he was a prisoner instead of one of the leaders of the Autobot race was a sight neither Autobot had expected to see. Then when Evolution Prime waked up to them, both Centbot and Optimal Retaliation were on their guard. Apparently noting their damaged condition, Evolution Prime used the same text messaging protocol Optimal Retaliation and Centbot had been using earlier. You should not be here. In your state you need to be in a medical bay.
Centbot, however, had a rather urgent question to ask before he'd permit anyone else to worry about his health. Why is Maximus Prime being detained? Where are Tiger Prime and Ghost Rider Prime?
Evolution Prime, who was still standing in shadow so neither Centbot nor Optimal Retaliation could make out what he looked like just shook his head. I am afraid that neither Ghost Rider Prime nor Tiger Prime survived the disaster. Maximus Prime has been detained on charges of violating the Code and attempting to commit genocide. Twice.
Twice? Explain that. Optimal Retaliation sent two messages, to both Centbot and Evolution Prime. Optimal Retaliation forwarded both Evolution Prime's reply and another message of his own to Centbot. They read as follows:
A few cycles ago The Array fired at ground level directly above the Decepticon siege lines. What limited information I have shows that not only are we Autobots all but exterminated, so too are the Decepticons fragged. They were at ground zero. Single-handedly Maximus Prime has managed to wipe out most every Transformer on Seibertron.
A crime of this magnitude merits swift and decisive responses. Maximus Prime will be given a fair trial, but the evidence against him is quite overwhelming.
Optimal Retaliation's message came up next.
Cent, notice how he's not limping? I'd bet my energon pay for the next solar cycle that he's not got a mark on him…
Centbot nodded and noticed Optimal Retaliation was right. The vague outline of this Autobot's body showed him standing up perfectly erect. That would not be possible if he'd been caught in the devastation The Array had brought down upon Iacon. Centbot was immediately on guard, something was not right here. And under whose authority do you charge Maximus Prime with a Code violation? Only a member of the Council of Primus can charge another of their number with such a crime.
Evolution Prime laughed at that message, but of course neither Autobot could hear him. He quickly thought up a reply and sent it. I charge him under my own authority. I am Evolution Prime, and since no current Prim can perform their duties, I as a Prime take on the duties of a member of the Council of Primus. I now lead the Autobots. Until that changes, that is all the authority I need.
However, I have a lot of recovery work to organize. So if you'll excuse me I must get back to helping our people recover.
Evolution Prime began walking away, but a few paces down the corridor he stopped and sent Centbot another message. Oh, and get yourselves to a medical bay. That's an order. Then Evolution Prime was down the corridor, round a corner, and was out of sight.
Optimal Retaliation sent Centbot one final message, asking Centbot what the heck was going on. Centbot gave the only reply he could at the moment. I don't know Optimal. Nothing about this makes sense. The only thing we know for sure is that this is not good. For now, we'll just have to pray Maximus Prime is innocent. We can't help him until we get to a med bay.
And with that the two Autobots made their way deeper into the Autobase. Their leaders were either dead or imprisoned; many Autobots had been killed by their own weapon, and now some previously unknown Prime has emerged to take over the reigns? Something clearly was not right here. Centbot didn't know what that was, but he was sure of something – whoever had fired The Array was going to be severely punished. Centbot just hoped they'd punish the right perpetrator.