It has been one earth year since the disappearance of Optimus Primal and the renegade Predacon known as Megatron, thus marking the end of the Reformation War. Since then, a relative peace has engulfed the planet of Cybertron, but it is a peace that has a steep price. Both the Maximals and Predacons coexist on Cybertron under the umbrella of tranquility. However, not all have embraced the newfound stability between the two factions.
No longer are the Predacons treated as equals, if they ever were. Instead, the Maximals, under the iron-fisted leadership of Phoenix Prime and the Maximal Council of Elders, have created an aura of "superiority" making it difficult for many Predacons to socialize with Maximals under any given circumstance. Therefore, several splinter factions of Predacons have emerged to thwart the peace between the Maximals and Predacons, only to have to face the tyranny of Phoenix Prime and his forces
Building on this feeling of displacement, the Tripredacus Council has agreed to start taking matters into their own hands. No longer are they satisfied with being "second string" to the Maximals. They are now currently setting into motion the gears of returning to war with the Maximals.
The rugged transport shuttle landed on the edge of the wastelands with ease amongst the hailstorm of gunfire from the bunker imbedded within the large fortress wall. The magnetic shielding activated and absorbed the impact of the plasma beams that hit it, while others bounced off the shield and headed back at the bunker. The rear end of the shuttle quickly opened up and a small ground assault vehicle rolled down the ramp. Once it hit the ground, it sped off in reverse and cleared the magnetic shield of the transport. The shuttle laid down a suppressive cover fire from two turrets under the cockpit as it lifted off of the ground and headed away from the scene.
On the ground, the small vehicle shifted into drive with a startling viciousness and began making its way toward the bunker. As it dodged the explosions from the bunker's artillery pockets, several rockets launched from the side of the ground vehicle and skimmed the surface, throwing up a plume of gray metallic dust as they streaked toward the bunker. The rockets hit the bunker and destroyed the turrets with simplicity. The small plasma cannon on top of the vehicle rotated around and took aim at several gun towers that continued raining shots down upon the moving transport.
Inside the transport, the pilot activated the targeting computer on the thick windshield. Red lines indicated the required trajectory needed to hit the next target. Finally, the onboard computer locked onto the main entrance and fired three additional rockets at it. They slammed into the door and blew a hole large enough for the vehicle to squeeze through. The pilot looked back at the crew and gave a "thumbs up" gesture. "She's all clear, sir," he began. "I'm positioning the battering ram just in case we encounter any resistance, but we shouldn't have any problems."
A red and black Transformer stood there with one arm holding onto a bracket just above the exit to the vehicle. He glanced over at the pilot and demagnetized his plasma rifle from his back holster. "Let them come," he said coldly. "This orn marks the end of another Predacon resistance cell."
The hulking Transformer looked at his small crew of Maximals who teemed with anticipation of the ensuing fight with the Predacons; each was eager to unleash their brute force upon the weakened Predacons. The Transformer looked down upon his crew and stood straight as he began to address them. "Show no mercy," he said in his deep voice. "Let them know the fury of the Slagstalkers!"
The thick spike covered battering ram slid upward into its position over the front of the engine. The vehicle quickly made its way up the embankment and rolled past two small turrets that failed to lock onto the moving target.
The transport then plowed through the hole and skimmed the sides of it, sending yellow and orange sparks into the air. It slammed into a small barricade and debris was strewn throughout the vicinity. The door opened and the large Maximal grabbed his rifle with both hands. He gave a quick glance at his team and turned off the safety of the gun.
"Kill them!" he shouted. "Kill them all!"
As he stepped out of the vehicle, he took aim at an approaching Predacon and fired off two rounds from his gun. Both shots hit the unsuspecting Predacon in the abdomen and severed his frame in half. The blast-holes in the Predacon's back sent wires, internal mechanisms, and fluid against the nearby wall. The Maximal took aim at the dying Predacon's upper chest and fired again, this time blowing off the right portion of his torso. He glanced at his handiwork for a moment, and he nodded with pleasure to himself. He then went back to work, making sure to take careful aim at the next Predacon.
The second Maximal that stepped out of the transport was a slender female Transformer. She took two swords from out of the housing that was attached to her back and they glistened in the light. She then activated the energy flow and they both burned red. She leapt up into the air and grabbed onto a pillar with the claws in her feet. She spotted two Predacons and lunged at them with her swords at her sides.
She landed in a crouching position in-between the two Predacons. The Maximal smiled to herself, took one graceful stroke with her arms at the two Predacons as she stood up, and then she paused for a moment. The two Predacons stood motionless as they began to realize that something was horribly wrong. One Predacon gestured to take a step backward, but he doubled over and fell to the ground in two separate halves spilling energon all over the floor. The second Predacon noticed this and winced at the fact that he knew that he was already dead; all he had to do was move.
Seeing that the Predacon would not move, the female Maximal slammed her foot on the ground and startled the Predacon. As he flinched, he felt part of his body slide away from the other portion, and then his two halves landed on the floor in a pool of pink energon. As his optics flickered, he saw the heel of the Maximal come crashing down upon him, and then his world was black.
The other three Maximals who exited the vehicle were just as ferocious when dealing with the Predacons as the other two were. Each of them took careful aim at their targets and picked them off one at a time.
Realizing that the situation was hopeless, the leader of the Predacon cell looked at his loyal second in command. He placed his hand upon his friend's shoulder and looked into his red optics. "I only need a few breems to get this information to the Tripredacus!" he shouted over the sound of death that echoed throughout the room. "I'm not asking that you sacrifice yourself, but I am asking for some time!"
His friend nodded and understood that they were all going to die this very orn, no matter what happened. He gave his commanding officer a smile and spoke. "Rig the flarging place to blow sky high!" he said.
The commander nodded and began running down the hallway in a crouching position, hoping to avoid being spotted and shot. He made it around the corner and paused for a moment. He glanced down the way that he just ran and saw that his troops were giving everything they had to hold off the Maximals.
Realizing that he had only a few breems, he continued running down the hall and made his way to the door to the control center. He entered the proper code and the door opened for him. Once he made his way inside of the command center, he shut the door and scrambled the code hoping that it would buy him some additional time.
The Predacon frantically made his way to the communication consol and accessed the hardware that gave him a link to the Tripredacus. The Predacon symbol appeared on the screen and then the outline of the three members of the council appeared.
"Has it been done?" one of the council members asked.
The Predacon kneeled down in front of the monitor and bowed his head. "Yes," he spoke softly. "However, our location has been compromised."
"Indeed it has," another voice said. "Although it is unfortunate to lose such valued operatives as yourselves, understand that you have completed your objective with absolute perfection."
The Predacon looked up at the monitor and tilted his head. "How is that?" he asked. "The Maximals have discovered us and. . ."
"Do not worry," another voice said. "The Maximals have done exactly what we have calculated." With that said, the monitor switched off and the Predacon symbol reappeared.
The Predacon stood up and starred at the monitor, completely unaware of the fact that the room had just been breached by the five Maximals. He felt a sharp piercing sensation in his abdomen and grabbed it. He felt the thin blade of the energy sword and looked at his energon covered hands. The Predacon fell to his knees and the sword was quickly pulled from his body. He looked up and saw the five Maximals standing there with a pleased look in their optics. He nodded and then fell to his side.
Four of the Maximals kicked and beat the Predacon relentlessly. Energon and other internal fluid stained the ground that he was laying on. He struggled to stay on-line and desperately tried to protect himself from the beating by curling up tightly into a ball.
As he lay there with energon spilling out from his wounds, his optics flickered as he saw the leader point the rifle at his head module. He coughed and red fluid spat out of his mouth and onto the foot of the Maximal leader. The looming Maximal squad leader became disgusted at the sight of the slop on his polished boot. The Maximal then kicked the Predacon in the mouth and sent him rolling across the room.
The Maximal walked over to the dying Predacon and kneeled down next to him. He grabbed the Predacon by the back of his head module and whispered into his right audio receptor. "I'm sure you'll be joined by your downtrodden kin soon enough."
The Maximal then shoved the Predacon's head into the floor and held it there by the base of his neck. The Maximal then punched the Predacon in the back of the head so hard that the casing caved in and sent his neural-net all over the floor. The Maximal stood up and grabbed the tangled mess that was once the head of the Predacon. He held it over his head and nodded.
"Let all who oppose the Maximal Right be put to death!" he shouted. The Maximals all cheered at the sight of Phoenix Prime holding his trophy from the battle.
The lights on the ceiling made the highly polished walls and floor glisten; everything was immaculate in the hallway, as well as throughout the entire complex. The two figures walked side by side down the hall and made their way to the elevator on the opposite end of the lobby.
Prowl did not enjoy coming to see the Council of Elders as he once did. Somehow, since the disappearance of Primal and Megatron, he felt an uneasiness overcome his spark every time that he entered the Council Temple in Iacon.
Prowl took a brief moment and looked over the data report from the current situation outside of Kaon. As usual, Prowl could not believe what he was reading, and shook his head in disbelief at what he scanned.
Maximal Leader Devastates Predacon Outpost.
After reading the headline, Prowl accessed the article and scrolled through the streaming data. He then looked over at Swiftwing who was walking with him and rubbed the bridge of his nose in an attempt to alleviate some of the stress that began to build up in his head.
"Do you want to read this?" Prowl asked Swiftwing with a sarcastic tone.
Swiftwing reached over and grabbed the data pad off of Prowl. "It's probably nothing that we haven't read before." Swiftwing started scanning the information for himself. "Sweet Primus," he said to Prowl. "What's this now, the eighth time that something like this has come across the net?" Disgusted, he handed the pad back to Prowl and they continued to walk down the hallway. "The Cybertronian Free Press Network will have a wonderful time with this slag."
As they reached the elevator at the end of the hallway, Prowl turned to his friend and looked him in the optics. "Just what was the Council thinking when they passed the Matrix-Core to him?" He placed his hand on the consol and keyed in the appropriate code for the elevator to open.
"Maybe they weren't thinking?" Swiftwing said with a smirk.
Frustrated, Prowl sighed with discontent. "His leadership role is something that needs to be addressed if slag like this continues."
Swiftwing smiled at his friend and nodded. "Do you really think they're going to do something like that after all he's done for them?" He looked up and saw that the elevator was reaching their level. "He's practically wiped out all of the Predacon resistance with that team of his."
There was a low hum as the elevator reached their floor. The doors split open and the two Maximals looked inside of the elevator and saw another one of their friends.
"I'm sure that you two saw the news," the tall Maximal said.
Both Prowl and Swiftwing nodded as they entered the elevator. "Indeed, Victory," Prowl said. "Slag like that has got to stop. He's making us look just as bad as the Predacons."
Victory stood there and nodded at Prowl's comment. "Dealing with renegade Predacon cells is one thing, but when you slaughter them with no remorse you're really asking for problems, even if he is the Prime."
Swiftwing pressed the close button and the doors of the elevator began to shut. He turned around and looked at both Prowl and Victory. "But like I was saying to Prowl, do you really think that the elders are going to do anything about it?"
Victory crossed his hands in front of his chest and shook his head. "No," he said sternly. "I can't see the elders issuing any type of discipline for any reason. It's like he has free reign when dealing with the Predacons."
Prowl looked at Swiftwing and nodded. "Something has to be done," he said. "Besides, he's never found Magmatron or Kross, and that's what he was sent out to do, not to kill every Predacon who doesn't agree with the Pax."
Swiftwing smiled at his friend and placed his hand on Prowl's shoulder. "Do you want to tell him that?" he asked. "We've all dealt with some extreme bots, but this is ridiculous."
The elevator came to a stop and the three Transformers turned to face the door. Each of them understood that their conversation went no further than the room that they were in, but they somehow knew that they were being watched by building security.
As they exited the elevator, they were greeted by the head of the Maximal Secret Police. She stood there tall and slender and had a rigid smile chiseled on her face. She approached the three Maximals and glared at Prowl. "I'm not in the mood, Prowl," she snapped.
Prowl looked at the female Maximal and nodded at her. "Neither am I, Uno." Prowl walked past her and stood by the door to the Council chambers. "I plan on having a word with them about Phoenix and his 'methods' when dealing with the Predacons."
Uno looked at Victory and Swiftwing and blocked their path to the door. "And just what the slag do you two want?" she said with authority.
Swiftwing took a step toward Uno and smiled at her. "I think that it is best that we all state our opinions on the current situation." He looked past Uno and saw Prowl at the door. "It would be wise if. . ."
"You just leave the whole situation alone!" She snapped as she curtly interrupted Swiftwing. "There is no need to bother the Council with your petty concerns when it comes to the Prime. After all, they are the one who appointed him, so do you really think you're going to change that decision?"
"Probably not," a deep voice said from behind Uno. "But we try."
Uno forced a smile onto her face and turned around. She starred at the figure who addressed her. "Lovely to see you too, Grimlock," she said. "But even with your 'disillusioned' view on the situation, I highly doubt that anything will change!"
Grimlock walked over to Uno and looked down into her yellow optics. He chuckled as he began to address her again. "Me wonder what they have you covering up this time," he said as he rubbed his chin. "Maybe it time that me start looking into your operations."
Uno smirked at Grimlock's statement and crossed her arms. "You do that, Grimlock," she said. "I'll be waiting for that orn." She turned around and looked at the three Maximals who were now standing by the entrance to the Council Chamber. "I'll inform the Council that you're here to address you little 'concern' with them." She placed her hand on the control panel and the door slid open. "Wait here until someone escorts you in."
All three of the Maximals looked at the Dinobot and smiled at him. Victory walked over to his friend and shook his hand. "I'm glad to see that someone has the bearings to deal with that witch."
Grimlock snorted as he glared back into Victory's optics. "She right, you know," he said. He looked at Prowl and Swiftwing and walked over to them. "The Council will not do anything about Prime."
Swiftwing stepped closer to Grimlock and nodded at his comment. "Then perhaps it is time that we do something about it."
Kross slammed his hand on the control panel and kicked the wall. His frustration began to grow exponentially as he grew tired of attempting to decipher the encryption on the disk. He turned around and looked at the rest of his crew who tried to tell him that decoding the golden disk was next to impossible.
"Damn this Predacon scrap!" he shouted as he threw his hands up in the air in aggravation. "I thought that our technology was far more advanced than this!" He walked over to his second in command who was in charge of the group while he was in Maximal custody. "Where did you say you got this disk?"
The tall green Predacon walked over to the consol and ejected the disk from it. "According to the data that we intercepted, it was retrieved from an old Decepticon cruiser that was listing somewhere outside of the Nebulan Rim." He took the disk and handed it to Kross. "Reports stated that all of the relics on the shuttle were dead, probably from the war with the Dread."
"I'm not interested in a history lesson, Downtrodden!" Kross snapped causing the Predacon to flinch. "Especially when I lived through it!" He snatched the disk from the Predacon and examined it. "What I want to know is what is on it and why!"
A shorter red and orange Predacon walked over to Kross and rubbed his hands together. "From the intelligence that I have studied, you might be happy to know that the Decepticon ship was not from a registered shuttle listed in the Alliance." He gently took the disk from his leader and tapped it on his wrist. "I would then presume that those on board the ship were part of the Loyalist movement, as you were."
There was no expression on Kross's face. The only indication of life in his body was the fact that his single eye in the center of his squared face glowed a bright red. "Indeed," he said in a pleased manner. "If this is what I think it is, then we may have the upper hand in our endeavors!" He looked back at the red and orange Predacon and patted him on the shoulder. "Excellent work, Weasel."
The smaller Predacon smiled at his leader and glanced over at Downtrodden who was sneering that the sight of an underling being praised. "Thank you, my liege."
Kross looked at the disk again and nodded at it as it glowed in the lighting of the room. "If what you say is true, then we don't have the capability to translate the data here." He turned around and brought up a map of the southern pole of Cybertron. He accessed some additional data and brought up a small section of the planet on the screen. "We need to move out to that location," he said as he pointed at the monitor.
Downtrodden stepped forward and rubbed his shoulder. "What's there?" he asked as if he was almost afraid to do so.
Kross turned around and tapped the bottom of his faceplate with his hand. "The only computer left that has the potential to access this information," he said. He brought up another image on the computer and glared intently at it with his single optic. "Vector Sigma!"
The look on Phoenix Prime's face said it all. There was no need for any of the Maximals in the room to try and interpret the look in his optics; he was furious beyond belief.
How dare they! He thought to himself. After all that I have done, these throwbacks dare to question my loyalty to the Maximal cause! He crossed his arms as he sat there and listened to the words that came out of the Maximals mouths.
Prowl glanced over at Phoenix Prime for a moment and understood immediately what he was thinking. Prowl also understood that he was now crossing a line that he never thought that he would have to. He approached the Council and continued to read from the data pad.
"Furthermore, I suggest that Phoenix Prime be removed from active field duty in order to alleviate some of the negative press that we will ultimately endure as a result of his continued actions." Prowl looked at Victory and Swiftwing who were accompanied by Grimlock. He then looked back at the Council and held the pad at his side. "Sediments like this abound in the lower ranks of the Maximals, as well as by the non-faction Cybertronians." He looked over at Phoenix Prime who was leaning over to a female Maximal. "Should incidents like this reoccur in the future, we would have. . ."
"That is quite enough, Prowl," one of the Council members said to him. "I highly doubt that you are shedding light on any new issue."
Prowl approached the Council and brought the pad back to his chest. "The information that I have provided. . ."
"Is inconclusive, at best," another member said to him. "The truth is that although Phoenix Prime's tactics are a little extreme, he has brought peace to Cybertron."
A third member looked at Prowl and nodded. "Indeed," he stated. "Phoenix Prime has done exactly what we hoped that he would do."
Prowl became confused and shook his head in disbelief. "And what is that?" he said.
The third member looked into Prowl's optics and smiled. "Why, he as brought the Predacon resistance to a halt."
"That deserves some credit, Prowl," another Council member said. "Standing there accusing him of abuse is preposterous, at best!"
Prowl looked over at Phoenix Prime and the female Maximal who were obviously amused by Prowl's confusion. He then looked back at the Council and shook his head. "This is not how we were left here to govern!" he snapped. "The Autobots. . ."
"Did not leave us with much to work with, now did they?" the first member said in his zeal. "Your 'kin' left us here with a husk of a planet, with barely enough energy to get from one orn to then next!" He stood up and looked at Prowl with disgust. "Your Autobot heroes left us here to populate the planet, cultivate it, and to attempt to breathe life back into our race!"
Another member of the Council looked at Prowl and shook his head. "Indeed," he said. "The last of the Autobots left Cybertron and promised a return ushering in a new age of glory for Cybertronians! But where are they?" He looked at Prowl for a response. Dissatisfied with no immediate answer, he shook his head. "That's right!" he barked. "You don't know! Nobody knows!"
Prowl stepped toward the Council in anger. He threw the data pad on the floor and it shattered. "My Autobot brothers and sisters left Cybertron to ensure that the threat of the Dread was over!" he said as he slammed his fist on the table. "They left you in charge to nurture Cybertron until they returned, but you haven't done a decent job at it, now have you?"
The first Council member leaned over the table and glared into Prowl's blue optics. "You call the tranquility on this planet a failure?" he asked. "As I recall, your kind was at war up until the Apocalypse, and it still had a tense era of peace after Unicron's attack!" He looked over at Phoenix Prime and the dark Maximal stood, along with the female Maximal. "The truth is that we've created a society that no longer relies on the hope that the 'glorious Autobots' will return and deliver us out of our dark ages!"
"As a mater of fact, we hope that they never return," a Council member said as he glanced out toward Prowl.
Prowl shook his head and realized something. "You don't intend on returning the authority back to the Autobots, now do you?"
All of the Council members sat down and ignored Prowl's statement. The center Council member waived to Phoenix Prime and he made his way over to them.
"Yes," Phoenix Prime bellowed.
"I think we've all been insulted enough today," he said. "Please see that our 'company' is removed from the premises immediately, if not sooner.
"Yes, Council member." Phoenix Prime turned and looked at Prowl. He grabbed him by the arm and pulled on it as he headed toward the door. "Let's go!" he shouted.
Prowl pulled his arm away and glared back at Phoenix Prime. "I don't need your help," he said. "I can find my own way."
Prowl walked over to his friends and they exited the room. Phoenix Prime looked at his female companion and she ran over to his side. They both followed the four Maximals out of the room and waited for the door to close.
"Let me set you straight, Prowl," Phoenix Prime began. "Should you ever question me or my tactics again I'll stuff you into a stasis pod so fast you won't even know what happened!" He looked over at his partner and she smiled. "What do you think, Demon Diva?"
The female Maximal smiled slightly, revealing her fangs. "Tempting," she hissed. She walked over to Prowl and lightly traced the Maximal symbol on his chest with the claw on her finger. "I'd take the challenge any day."
Prowl grabbed her hand and flung it away from his chest. Phoenix Prime stepped closer to Prowl and glanced over at Demon Diva. "You dare touch my subordinate?" he asked.
The female Maximal hissed at Prowl and sneered at the sight of him. "Arrogant heap!" she yelled. "If you dare touch me again I'll rip out your spark with my bare hand!"
Grimlock stomped over to Phoenix Prime and slid between him and Prowl. The sheer size of his chest pushed the Prime back. "You touch him and you deal with me!" he snapped.
Furious with the situation, Uno walked over with three guards and took Grimlock by the forearm. "That's enough!" she yelled. "I don't give an Insectacon's ass who each of you are; if you so much as flex another rotator I'll send you all into stasis lock!"
Phoenix Prime looked at Uno and growled. "How dare you!" he snorted. "How dare you. . ."
"Oh shut up!" Uno exclaimed. "Your jurisdiction ended as soon as your waltzed your ass into the complex! Now get the hell out of here!" She pointed to the elevator and shook her head. "Dealing with rouge Preds is one thing, but I'll be damned if I have to deal with waste-holes of my own kind!"
Phoenix Prime and Demon Diva walked over to the elevator which was already opened. He pushed the button and the doors began to close. However, just before they did, he managed to get in one last thought. "Be careful what you wish for, Uno." With that said, the doors shut and the elevator began to descend.
Uno turned around and looked at Prowl. "Satisfied?" she asked. "I don't plan on doing slag like this again, so pick your fights wisely next time."
Prowl nodded at Uno and smiled at her. "Thank you," he said. He then looked at his three friends and wondered what was next.