Well, this is the end everybody. The last chapter. The end of Time. I hope everyone has enjoyed the ride as much as I have! This is the major action-battle-grand-finale blow-out chapter that end this fic off with a bang! I've worked very, very, very hard for it to come out right and I hope that everyone enjoys it!
Breakdown's different fonts in speech- when he speaks like 'blah', those are simply thoughts, but italics like "blah" are him transmitting to the Seekers.
Uller- It's Hound and Smokescreen's ship. I named it after the Norse god of hunting.
Well, this being the end and all, I would like to send out the biggest, sincerest, most gracious thanks EVER to my dear, wonderful reviewers who have taken the amazing time to read this fic and leave a review! Thank you so much, all of you! Big, Godzilla-sized thanks goes out to theshadowcat, Violet Light, a.mild.groove, Bluebird Soaring, Dragowolf, Kittona, Bunnylass, Silveriss, I play wid fir3, and Litahatchee!
Big thanks goes out to Litahatchee, who has been a wonderful beta and friend throughout the making of this chapter! Not to mention the wonderful and eagle-eyed beta, Violet Light, who has been a tremendous help as well. And, who could forget lady tecuma, who has been wonderful for advice and help!
And just to let everyone know, this is seriously the chapter to review! There is a sequel in the making, but it will only come to if it's wanted! Let me know in the reviews if you want to see the sequel up! XD
'Seekers,' Breakdown thought bitterly, 'are the worst kind of 'Cons to deal with.'
He had thought Starscream, in his ever-present vanity, had been bad. Now placed in command of the remaining Seekers, the Stunticon was beginning to realize just how good he had it with Screamer.
Taking a calming drag of air through his vents, he prepared once more for a hopeless verbal battle between himself and the unruly bots flying above him.
"Quit showing off! Motormaster wants you to stick to formation! We're nearing Iacon!"
"Motormaster this! Motormaster that! What is he, your sparkmate?"
'Oh, how very mature, Thrust…'"No! He's the commanding officer of this mission and if you don't start flying in the right configuration, he'll rip you a new one!"
"Who the pit cares?!"
'You will, Dirge, when you find out your wings have been ripped off and welded to your aft!' "I mean it, get back into your flight formation or I'll-!"
"You'll what? Snitch on us? Go suck our exhaust!"
'No thank you, I've seen the affect it's had you, Ramjet.' "Why you glitching, half-bit fraggers, I'll shoot you down myself-!"
"You'll have to catch us first!" Thrust challenged.
Thrusters burned gouges of hot light against the inky blackness of the sky. Several sleek, darting shapes soared above Breakdown's battalion, darting high, swooping low, searing the heads of mechs with the after-burn of their thrusters and barrel rolling through the ranks in order to slap unlucky ground-bound 'Cons with their wings. They were stirring up more trouble than they were worth. Breakdown could already see the beginnings of yet another in-rank brawl; mechs now unfolding from their alt modes, charging their weapons. It had to be some kind of cruel joke the universe was playing on the unfortunate Stunticon for this to be the one orn he wished Starscream was here to keep his Seekers in line, while the Seeker commander himself was long gone.
Thundercracker glided in close to his remaining trinemate, flying only a breath above Skywarp. "They're having fun," he transmitted through a private channel, referring to the whipping, zipping, barrel rolling antics of their fellow Seekers. "Nothing like a good flight to get you in the mood for a good fight."
"Yeah…" Skywarp sounded too distant, a little absent; not at all himself. He was thinking. The two Seekers flew in awkward silence for a few breems as Thundercracker puzzled out what to say next, both of them ignoring Breakdown as he continued to hail them futilely with unheeded demands to fall back into some semblance of order.
Finally, Thundercracker decided to speak, choosing to voice the question that was undoubtedly plaguing the both of them. "You think Screamer's going to do okay out there?"
Skywarp dipped a little, sliding out from under the other jet, only to rise again and fly wingtip to wingtip with him. "Starscream can take care of himself. He's a big mech; he doesn't need us flying under his wings all the time making sure he doesn't fall."
"Yeah, it's just odd not having him here. We've always been together. We're brothers, after all."
The exuberant Dirge, Ramjet, and Thrust whizzed by, roaring with laughter as Breakdown continued to fry his circuits over them. The two trinemates made no move to stop their fellow Seekers' fun. Instead, they dipped out of the way so that the dark sky was uninhibited for the others.
A sigh echoed from Skywarp, and then he performed a small loop to shake off the lethargy that had taken hold of his processor. "Yeah, and as his brothers, he's entrusted us with the task of making sure no one gets the bright idea to rise up in his absence. Until he returns, that's all we can do. Think we can mange it for him?"
"For him? Yeah." A chuckle drifted through the comm. link from Thundercracker. "Figures he'd stick us with the boring job."
"It is Starscream, after all," Skywarp reminded, joining in on some light-sparked laughter. "You know what'll cheer you up, though?"
"Getting to Iacon first." And with that, the air itself seemed to compress around Skywarp, turning thick and distorted. Instantly, Thundercracker was under the hull of his brother, pressing himself as close as possible to be caught in the other mech's distortion field as space bent. Suddenly, the jets appeared to fold in on themselves, air and matter returning to their normal, undistorted states with a loud crack resounding through the air.
They were gone.
In their wake, the remaining Seekers went wild with roars of laughter, circling high above, nose-diving sharply, before utterly forgoing all appearances to be under Breakdown's command and spiriting off into the speckled night sky in the direction of Iacon. Undoubtedly, that's where they would find Thundercracker and Skywarp now.
True to their fellow jets' notions, within the heart of Iacon's airspace, the air suddenly distorted, compressing rapidly, and then expanding outward with a resounding crack that dispelled two dark, ominous jets within the Autobot's midst. Before sensors had time to register their very presence, the pair began their reign of chaos upon the base.
Thundercracker and Skywarp separated, rolling through the air with the wicked feeling of devilish freedom alive in their sparks. They avoided being shot down by the responding sentry posts now targeting them, evading them with ease and unworldly grace. There was something so infectiously empowering about being able to take to the air at will, to be higher than all other beings, to be able to strike another without them being the wiser. Indeed, the two Seekers were able to obliterate Delta-3 without either Dogfight or Goldbug being aware of their own deaths as the sentry post was engulfed in flame.
Cluster bombs, EMP blasts, fire, destruction, screams of confusion, running Autobots, chaos reigning supreme. Even as Iacon gathered a counterattack against the two darting figures blurring their sensor arrays, several more jets were streaking into range, opening fire immediately. And cresting the black horizon beyond was the vast, malignant shadow of Iacon's downfall, malicious and relentless mechs spawned from the Unmaker himself; the Decepticons were closing in.
The ICU rocked with the force of explosions erupting beyond the walls, shaking berths, rattling drones, toppling unsecured equipment.
"Security Breach! Seekers within Iacon perimeters! Defences compromised!"
Punch froze, his spark pulsing with unadulterated waves of fear. His optics wide, beseeching, terrified to stare up at his leader, but nonetheless meeting Optimus's darkened gaze. He was too late; he didn't warn them in time! "S-sir-?!"
"We must get out of here," Optimus said gravely. "The Ark must be launched no matter what."
Chromia threw herself out of Ironhide's hold, latching onto Arcee's chamber desperately. "I'm not leaving her!" she snarled vehemently. "There's no way in the pit I'll leave her to be looked after by some medical drone! I won't do it, Prime! I don't care what you say, she's my sparkling and I won't leave her!"
Elita sighed, looking to her sparkmate with an indecipherable gaze before her optics fell to Bumblebee, who remained propped on a shaking arm, unmoved from his fixation on Arcee. She stared at the little scout for a long moment, watching as he continued to strain for Arcee, and then she seemed to make a decision. "Chromia is right, Optimus. I refuse to leave Arcee and Bumblebee. They are like our-," she paused, gathering strength, "our sparklings."
'Our sparklings.' Optimus searched Elita's gaze in wonder. There was reassurance being poured in from her. She nodded her head ever so slightly. She had meant 'our sparkling.' As in Bumblebee. That's all he needed; she accepted him. She accepted Bumblebee, even knowing who and what he was.
"Yes, yes, we can't leave them behind. Bumblebee and Arcee will come with us." With gentle hands, he gathered his sparkling in his arms, Bumblebee's chosen minibot frame so small compared to his own. He turned to leave, but was forced to stop and struggle for a better hold of Bumblebee as the little scout suddenly started to squeal, wriggling to get out of Optimus's arms. His hands were still outstretched to Arcee, as if by some miracle of the universe he could reach her. He didn't want to leave her.
Ironhide was at Optimus's side instantly, trying to calm the young mech in the same fashion he had done when Bumblebee had been a youngling. "Hush, little one, calm down before you hurt yourself," he rumbled deeply. Large hands ran over the delicate plating of the battered frame. "There's a fight going on. You need to calm down and let us get you out of here. Shhh, calm down"
Bumblebee only calmed fractionally.
"Gather Arcee," Optimus commanded. "We're wasting time."
"Is she safe to be removed from the CR chamber?" Chromia demanded, optics flashing to First Aid.
"Y-yes. Of course! She- she's stable!" he stuttered. "I'll get her out right now!"
"I'll get her CPU," Elita said, heading for the thrumming box that held Arcee's precious central processor. It was a simple enough to switch the support device from the base's power to its own internal source. She took it from its stand, securing it tightly in her arms.
Punch was at the med bay's doors, listening to the shouts in the halls getting closer. "Hurry up! It sounds like the 'Cons have breeched the walls already! They're in the base!"
And explosion rocked the foundation ferociously.
Chromia groaned impatiently, watching as the glowing fluid that held her dearspark afloat in the chamber drain out too slowly. It was taking too long. The sounds of battle were growing too near. Her pleading optics turned to her sparkmate, looking to him in a way that tore his own spark out; she was scared, begging for him to do something.
"She's not out yet!" she hissed. "They're too close!"
Ironhide rumbled darkly, his cannons arranging on his arms, their piercing whine cutting through the din. "Let them come."
First Aid carefully lifted Arcee's frame from the crystalline case, detaching her from the various sensors that were webbed around her. He kept his optics averted from her empty cranial casing, letting the excess amounts of energon that clung to her run down his frame unabated. Chromia gathered Arcee from the medic's waiting arms, bringing the tiny femme's frame as close to hers as she dared. In their proximity, Chromia felt the weak pulse of Arcee's tired spark flutter against her own.
"Shhh, dearspark, it's alright. I'll keep you safe, I promise."
"There's no time to waste, we must leave now!" Optimus urged, hefting Bumblebee in his arms more securely. Sensing the imminent departure, the scout's struggles to reach Arcee doubled, his temp plating, gears, and hydraulics cracking under the strain. Keeping his arms locked around the small frame in his arms, Optimus took off for the crystalline door of the ICU, Ironhide hot on his heels, followed closely by Elita sprinting with Arcee's CPU and Chromia matching her step for step with Arcee's frame held tight to her chassis, First Aid bringing up the rear.
"Hurry! Hurry! The hall's clear! Get out of here now!" Punch urged. "Get to the Ark, Prime. Move! Move!"
Around them, the walls trembled, shrieked, the ceiling buckling from the extreme pressure of the collapsed floors above.
"RUN! HURRY! THE CEILING'S COMING DOWN!" Punch screamed, watching as the metal bowed, wrenching forth a scream that reverberated throughout the entire floor.
Optimus and Ironhide were out first, longer legs and faster strides able to carry them out ahead of the others. They were only a few steps beyond the med bay, hoping their sparkmates were on their heels, when the med bay's structural supports finally caved. The resulting shockwave threw both Prime and his weapons specialist off their feet.
Ironhide was up first. "Prime?!"
"I'm fine," Optimus grunted, realigning his sensors from the severe shake they just received. He ran a scan on Bumblebee, who'd gone limp. Still functioning, he was merely knocked out from energy expenditure and the shock. A black hand came down and hauled the commander to his feet.
"We've got to keep moving," Ironhide reminded him, doing a quick visual check of Bumblebee as Optimus steadied himself.
"What of Elita and the others? Are they alright?" His optics searched the wreckage of the destroyed hall, seeing nothing but jagged shards of metal and twisted knots of ripped out wires.
Ironhide grunted, patting Bumblebee lightly. "Yeah, I got Chromia on internal comm. They're all fine, just a little scuffed-," he paused, further communicating with his bonded. "They're going to take the long way around- hopefully meet us in the hangar."
"Understood. I'll contact the other crew members for the Ark and tell them to try and get down to the ship."
"We have to get out of here! We're backed into a corner if we stay in Nebula One!" Prowl shouted over the din of explosions and war cries.
Jazz growled, his shoulder braced against the piled tables that were serving as their cover. "Ah don't know if ya noticed, Prowlie, but we ain't going no where fast! The moment our heads go above the table we get them blown off!"
"Then we will have to devise a plan so as to not get our heads blown off!"
"Yeah? An' are ya comin' up wit' anythin', genius?!"
Prowl's faceplate darkened, glaring at the saboteur with whom he still held a grudge against. "Give me a moment to assess the situation and perhaps I can formulate something," he hissed acidly.
Several concussion blasts hit their table-barricade, forcing them back farther into Nebula One. Jazz picked up a half-drained energon cube that lay near his leg and dared to throw it over the top, sending a few rounds flying after it. The resulting explosion was both loud and satisfying. A short cheer arose from the Autobots; inspired by Jazz's tactic, several more energon cubes were launched into the air and detonated. Daunted by the multiple explosions, the Decepticons retreated a few steps into the hall. Even over-energized, the Autobots could hold their own! Though, sufficed to say, fighting for one's life was enough to sober anyone quickly enough.
There was a high-pitched squeal from beyond Prowl and Jazz's barricade, a light-grey mech flying over the top and skidding to a halt on the other side.
"Bluestreak, report!" Prowl demanded.
"They shot me in the aft, sir!" he shouted back. He turned around to reveal a smoking dent in his armor were a live round grazed him hard, searing off paint and digging a gouge.
"He means status on the enemy, Blue!" Cliffjumper shouted from his position squatted behind another overturned table. He was shooting madly through the melted opening in the tabletop.
"Right! Well, they're everywhere! The sentry posts are gone, and so are all the automatic defences! We're being swarmed from all sides! Iacon is being overrun!" the sniper replied, taking up position next to Prowl and taking aim at the first 'Con he saw crowding Nebula One's door. "Oh- and Sunstreaker and Sideswipe are gone!"
"Dead?" Prowl demanded.
"No, just gone. They just ran off into the middle of the nearest fight and disappeared!"
"Figures those slaggers would be off doing whatever the frag they wanted while we're in the middle of a life and death battle!" Brawn cursed.
Someone suddenly shouted to take cover, and then entire wall of Nebula One was blown in, throwing jagged daggers of shrapnel everywhere. A strangled yell came from across the room- one of the Aerialbots got their wing clipped by flying debris.
A roar from the invading Decepticons was all they had as warning before they were swarmed by gunfire and flying fists. Over the din, Ratchet was cursing wildly. A chair was thrown with deadly accuracy, striking an attacking 'Con squarely in the chest and knocking him back. Behind the medic, Wheeljack was working quickly with several blown-apart drones, ripping out their internals and stringing them together.
Something silver came whistling over the engineer's head, smacking into the wall behind him and crumpling to the floor. Suddenly, the little drone untangled itself from its limbs, stood up, and presented Wheeljack with the armful of parts it had been commanded to steal from its fellow drones. Not for the first time, Wheeljack thanked Primus that he had built Tungsten blast-proof. But the battle was getting rough and Tungsten was only the size of a tall microbot; wishing to spare his drone the indignity of getting stepped on, Wheeljack ordered it to transform so he could slip the little thing into a compartment on his back.
Blaster smiled ruefully as he watched Tungsten be tucked safely away. "Got room in there for me?"
"Sorry, Tungsten's gotta special place in my spark- ya wouldn't fit."
Jazz's voice suddenly rang out over the din, relaying the message he just received. "Prime wants the Ark crew in the hangar ASAP!"
"Well good for Prime!" Brawn howled, taking hold of a downed Decepticon and hauling him up, heaving the frame into an encroaching knot of mechs. "But unless some kind of fragging miracle happens within the next couple of astroseconds, we're not going anywhere!"
"I got yer miracle right here!" Wheeljack crowed, standing up and lobbing his creation into the hall. After a moments pause a horrendous roaring explosion expanded into a bright, flaming fireball of fury, swallowing dozens of Decepticons in its boiling, ferocious depths.
"Move! Move! Move! Get to the hangar! Don't stop for anyone!" Prowl ordered.
The small faction of Autobots hit the hall, weapons blazing.
"We have to get out of the base!" Silverbolt ordered to his team. "Our battlefield is the sky; we'll take out the Seekers if we can!"
Powerglide suddenly transformed, his minibot stature making him small enough for his wingspan to fit in the hall. He hovered above the floor. "Moonracer, get on! We can go ahead of Prowl and thin the herd for them!"
Scared, clutching her rifle in shaking arms, Moonracer could only nod wordlessly. Skydive literally had to throw her onto Powerglide's back. Her knee joints locked around his wings tightly.
"Don't worry, 'Racer! I'll fly, you shoot!" They were off zigzagging down the hall before she could protest.
"Whave to stay on their afts!" Ratchet commanded, shoving Bluestreak hard in the back. Uncaring of the Decepticon corpses they were trampling, they rushed through the myriad of destruction and screaming, plasma fire and explosions.
"Don't stop! Keep running! Get to the Ark!" Prowl barked, aiming over his shoulder as he ran and releasing a volley of acid pellets on the pursuing mechs who dared chase them. They were downed easily in fits of agonizing pain as the acid worked its way in through their armor.
Skidding into an adjacent corridor, they discovered that the roof had been blasted clean off, leaving the entire section exposed for attack. The sky above them was on fire as the Aerialbots and the Seekers battled it out in an all out flight-fight, spinning, diving, crashing, colliding; they transformed mid-air, grappling viciously, falling, untangling before hitting the ground and shooting back into the sky to begin again. After-burn from thrusters seared the paint off wings, vaporizing sensors, disintegrating antennae; sharpened wing edges were used as mid-flight swords, clashing like lightening in the sky, screaming metal against screaming metal, raining sparks and shrapnel everywhere.
"GO! We'll cover you!" Silverbolt transmitted mid-battle with Thundercracker.
And so they ran, leaping over debris, frames, slipping on pools of energon and ducking as Aerialbots and Seekers swooped low over their heads.
The sounds of battle suddenly grew mute, though, as a massive shadow formed out of the darkness. It was towering, it's head scraping the stars, blotting out all poor excuses of light from the pinpricks dotting the velvet black of night. A guttural snarl emanated from the pit-spawned being, a gigantic hand coming down from the heavens to smash into their path.
"It's Menasor!" Bluestreak screamed, scrambling back, firing wildly upon the fearsome mech.
"We've noticed!" Cliffjumper spat back, rolling out the way of a giant foot.
They sprinted for the relative cover of the still-standing part of the corridor beyond. Prowl felt something grab him around his torso, jerking him into the air in a crushing grip. He gave off an involuntary cry of agony.
"Keep going, Jazz! Leave me!"
"The pit Ah will!" Ignoring the screams of his fellow Autobots to return, the saboteur darted out into the fray once more. He dodged around Menasor's massive feet, swinging up onto the armor of the monster's leg, then his thigh, onto his pelvis, and then launching himself to the arm that held his lover captive.
"Do you even have a plan to free me?!" Prowl demanded furiously.
"Ah'm wingin' it!" Jazz yelled back, thrusting both his hands into the joint between the gestalt's hand and wrist, activating his most powerful magnetic field. A scream capable of rocking the planet exploded from the behemoth as a pulse traveled through his neural relays, frying them completely. In a shower of hot blue and white sparks, Menasor's hand was forced open, dropping both mechs.
Seeing the escape, Skywarp circled around, turning himself in just the right way to spear both Autobots on the stabilizing spires jutting from his wings. Burning splashes of energon coated his paint. He laughed, freeing himself of the mechs by barrel rolling. He was repaid in kind for the attack as Powerglide and Moonracer suddenly came circling back, Moonracer taking aim and firing straight up the Seeker's thrusters.
Neither mechs being designed for aerial capabilities, both Prowl and Jazz fell through the like a pair of rocks. Thankfully before they became craters on the already pock-marked ground, Silverbolt and Fireflight came swinging by and caught them. They set their passengers down carefully before leaping to the air once more and transforming.
Unsteady for a moment, Jazz stumbled into a ravaged wall. Prowl heaved himself into a standing position, clutching his crushed abdomen. Energon flowed freely over his hands. It took some rerouting, but the tactician eventually cut off all his tactile relays and pressure sensor grid so the pain of his concaved armor wouldn't distract him from battle.
"Dammit, Jazz, you should have left me!" Prowl shouted, forcing himself into a run as Menasor came back for round two.
Jazz matched his pace. "Ta that monster?! That would'a been a death sentence!"
Through darkness and smoke, they caught a fleeting glimpse of Ratchet's yellow armor. They were catching up.
"If it meant giving you a couple more astroseconds to get to the Ark, my death would have been worth it-!"
A silver clawed hand shot out, grabbing Prowl's storm-grey armor and throwing him into a collapsed wall. Though Jazz was smaller than Prowl, the strength the saboteur was exhibiting now was twice that of what his size would denote. The fire that blazed in his optics was so hot and encompassing that the tactician couldn't help but stare into their burning depths.
"Don't ya ever say that!" Jazz snarled. "Don't ya ever let me catch ya sayin' somethin' like that again! Nothin' would ever be worth losin' ya, Prowl! Nothin'!" The tactician might have never understood it, but he was Jazz's rock, the being who kept him from spinning off into space when it felt like the whole world was going out of control. He was cold, hard, and chronically had a blaster stuck up his aft, but he was also the one that kept Jazz's loneliness at bay, the one who reminded him that at the end of the orn, there were still bots who cared about his existence- nothing was worth losing him.
Wanting nothing more to respond to the distraught mech, Prowl found that he had no words to say that seemed adequate enough. An astrosecond passed where Jazz still held his gaze, and then the storm-grey mech reached down, clasping Jazz's faceplate in his hands, pressing their foreheads together. The balm that Prowl offered was all but devoured by the saboteur as he pressed his entire frame into the stormy armor before him.
"Good ta know ya understand."
Still, Prowl tried to find words, but none came. He wanted to say he was sorry for being an aft. Sorry for not congratulating Jazz on being accepted onto the Ark. Sorry for all the times he didn't properly appreciate how much the irritating saboteur really meant to him.
"Ah know that too."
Prowl sighed, finally releasing the other mech. They had to keep moving. They fell into step together, a fast gallop over broken ground and frames, shooting each other glances every time the other looked away.
"Thanks for coming back for me."
"Ah had ta. Ah don't kow what Ah would'a done if Ah lost ya."
He knew exactly what the saboteur meant. If he ever lost Jazz, it would mean losing his other half; losing the one he was meant to be with. "…Jazz, when you come back-."
The saboteur laughed, seemingly reading Prowl's mind again. "Yeah, Ah know, Prowl."
"You didn't let me finish."
"Ah don't ta. My spark's been yers fer a long time, but when Ah come back we're makin' it official."
"Ironhide, Optimus, GET DOWN!"
Hearing the warning, the two mechs dropped the floor. Something whizzed over them, hitting the pack of Terrorcons on their heels. Another explosion rocked the base, bringing down several damaged floors upon the unfortunate 'Cons, though thankfully sparing Ironhide and Optimus with only minor burns to their backs.
"Where do you keep pulling those out of, 'Jack?!" Brawn shouted.
"A very uncomfortable place!" Cliffjumper replied, barking a harsh laugh despite the situation.
Ratchet and Wheeljack were already digging into the debris, sorting through what was wreckage and what was Autobot.
"Optimus, are you alright? I didn't get ya, did I?" Wheeljack asked nervously, helping his leader to his feet.
"No, I'm fine. Just some singed paint, nothing major." He checked over Bumblebee, who still laid out cold in his arms. He was smeared in black soot, but that was the extent of the damage. "Bumblebee is fine, as well."
Wheeljack patted the scout on the shoulder. "Good ta hear."
Ratchet was less than gentle hauling Ironhide up. "Looks like the explosion popped your dent out," he grunted, rapping his fist against the black mech's now un-dented crest.
Ironhide rumbled in return, glancing up sharply over the medic's head to see the sharp nosecone of an oncoming Seeker streaking straight through the hall. Shoving Ratchet aside, he bounded forward, bracing himself for impact, frame tensed, cannons charged. At the last moment, the Seeker seemed to realize that Ironhide wasn't going to budge. He transformed, colliding with the black mech in a thunderous clash of swinging fists.
The weapons specialist may have been shorter than the jet, but he was by no means weaker. Grappling with him viciously, he took hold of Ramjet's right wing and twisted it until it stood perpendicular to the Seeker's back. He utterly ignored his opponent's howl of pain. Ramjet twisted to strike the mech across the faceplate, but his arm was caught in a crushing grip and twisted until it cracked.
"You pit-spawned fragger!" the jet snarled, lashing out with his sharp feet.
"I wouldn't be talking." In a finishing move, he grabbed the jet's other wing and blasted it off before throwing the writhing mech down the hall, away from them.
Wiping energon from his hands, Ironhide glanced to Ratchet. "You over the fight we had yet?"
Ratchet glanced at Ramjet's crumpled form. Had Ironhide not stepped in, he would have been shorn in two by the crash-happy Seeker. "Yeah, we're good."
"Come out, come out, where ever you are…" Runamuck crooned to the detritus around him. "I know you're here, my pretty, pretty little femmes."
Elita pressed herself closer to the wall, one arm securely wrapped around Arcee's CPU, the other around Arcee herself. To her right, First Aid was poised with his concussion blaster should the Decepticon hunting them get too close. Some where out there, Chromia and Punch were laying in wait, preparing to strike down both Runamuck and Runabout.
"Come on, this is ridiculous, nobody's here!" Runabout groused, kicking away a fallen sheet of metal. "Let's get back to the fight!"
Runamuck's white armor was speckled blue with wet energon, catching like strange glittering stars as he straightened. "I know someone's here, though," he replied stubbornly. "I saw her ducking behind something."
"Get your optics checked, Runamuck, because there's no one here." The black-armored mech turned away in annoyance, beginning to wander back towards the cacophony of battle.
First Aid tensed, seeing Runamuck closing in on their position. Elita's hand darted out and held the medic fast, placing her faith in her fellow hidden Autobots to come to the rescue first. There was a gasp of surprise beyond their field of vision, but they could hear Runabout exclaiming something-
"Counterpunch, what are you doing here? I thought you were stuck on delivery- hey, wait! What are you doing with that blaster-?!" A weapon discharged, and then a body dropped.
Runamuck jerked up, drawn to the commotion. It was Counterpunch, he was sure of it, but he registered as an Autobot on sensors, and his blaster was out and charged. By the looks of it, he just killed Runabout at point-blank range. "Who the pit do you think you are-?!"
A hard weight hit his back, sharp hands delving around his neck column. Needle-like fingers dug into the slates between armor, wrenching them apart. In the last moments of his life, all the Decepticon saw was the flash of a dusky-blue arm wielding an energon-knife before the blade was driven through his internal wiring, separating his head from his frame in one clean sweep.
Punch disengaged his camouflage subroutines, tucking away his blaster. He regarded Chromia's work with a critical optic. "Very clean," he commented.
The femme snorted, throwing aside the scrap pile that hid her commander and the others. "Your not half bad yourself with that 'Con guise," she replied. "Ever think of reformatting into a femme? We could use someone like you."
Punch laughed as he helped First Aid to his feet. "I'll stick with Special Ops for now."
Mirage stood poised over the Ark's controls, the ship primed and ready for launch. The view screen before him was alive with the brutal warzone that was unfolding in the hangar- though "hangar" was a rough term to use now that two and half walls had been demolished and the roof had caved.
Tracking his fellow Autobots engaged in battle, Mirage's hand flashed to the communications. "Hound! Ruckus and Crankcase coming up on your left! Smokescreen, Divebomb's directly above you!"
With trained grace, the Autobots turned and fired, taking out the oncoming threats with deadly accuracy.
Mirage's optics switched to the two melee warriors who had appeared shortly after the battle had begun.
"Sideswipe, Skyjack is coming at you from right, and you got Space Chase from behind!"
The red twin twisted to his right, leaping to the air to catch the Cybertronian jet by the wings and straddle it. A golden blur darted into sight, heading straight for Space Chase, but not bothering to employ Jet Judo as his brother had. No, there was nothing but a hot, burning, murderous need for the fight in Sunstreaker now. Nosecone firmly in his grasp, immaculately polished claws ripped through the armor, sheering it back, and then reaching deep into the mech and pulling out as much circuitry as he could get his hands on. There was a shriek, and then the mech was dead.
Sideswipe came swerving by on Skyjack, only to have his fun ruined as Sunstreaker reached out and caught the underside of the jet.
"You're going to ruin your paint, Sunny!" Sideswipe warned playfully. "This one's mine."
He was ignored. Sunstreaker was in berserker mode; nothing mattered but the battle. Vorns of living as a gladiator in the Kaon's illegal death-match rings had taught him that. He pierced the under-armor with a deft slice of extended claws, sharp like Virus's armor-sheering fangs, reaching in and taking hold of the exposed sparkcase.
"No-! Mercy! I beg y-!"
A single flicker of energy and the spark was extinguished.
The twins dismounted the sparkless jet as it suddenly turned cold, momentum throwing it into a wall.
"There are two parties of Autobots rapidly approaching, one through main doors and the other through the observational deck! The group on the upper floor has a pack of 'Cons on their afts."
"Our hands are tied down here, Mirage! There's nothing we can do to help them!" Smokescreen transmitted as he fought valiantly against a snarling mech.
Sideswipe was already running for the main doors. "I'll meet them!"
The main door was blasted open by plasma cannon fire, a hulking black shape charging into the thick of battle as a myriad of Autobots followed him in with their guns blazing.
The red warrior skidded back so as not to be trampled. "Never mind- looks like they got it under control!"
Ironhide set off a volley of plasma bursts, clearing their path. Even by the very sight of the infamous Autobot weapons specialist, many lower-ranked Decepticons melted out of the way.
Sunstreaker snarled, darting through the throng of frames into the open hall where the following Decepticons were crowded. He threw himself into the thick of it, uncaring to those he ripped into, massacring whomever his hands landed on.
From above, the observational deck's door was kicked in, several battered looking Autobots scarping in with Decepticons hot on their afts.
Elita's arm was grabbed, jerking her back into an enormous frame.
"Elita-!" Optimus gasped.
"I got her!" With a single well-placed shot, Bluestreak took the head right off the attacking 'Con. The femme commander nodded her thanks, galloping after her group as they made a beeline for the stairs.
A series of acid pellets flew overhead, causing Autobot and Decepticon alike to seek cover. It the acid's wake, Prowl and Jazz entered the warzone in a flourish.
"Optimus, Ironhide, Ratchet- we all here than?! We boarding the ship?!" Jazz shouted.
Optimus curled his frame tightly over Bumblebee as shrapnel whizzed by. "Yes. Mirage is already onboard awaiting us."
"Sir, what are we to do?" Punch asked as his group approached. "You must launch the Ark as soon as possible, it would be a waste of time to take us on and then have to drop us off some place else."
Hound came running by, chasing after a short quadruped 'Con. "Board the Uller, Smokescreen and I will take you out of here!"
"Understood!" Punch replied, turning to herd his group in the direction of the small tracking ship located near the edge of the huge room.
Comms suddenly crackled to life as Mirage shouted out a warning. "Menasor!"
Cold, electric thrills of dread shot through them, spurring them into instant action. Jazz, Ironhide, Ratchet, and Optimus sprinted for the awaiting Ark, while Punch, Elita, Chromia, and First Aid made a break for the Uller with Hound and Smokescreen hot on their heels. The remaining Autobots scattered into battle, searching for a good vantage point from where to launch their own attacks on the monstrous gestalt that was swallowing the sky above them.
The Ark's hatch swung down just as Jazz hit the hull. Faster than any streak of lightning, they boarded, just as a flash of ice-blue dived off.
"Where the pit do you think you're going?" Ironhide demanded, watching the Master Spy enfold himself into the fray. He needn't ask though, for the moment he turned he could see what the problem was- Elita had been shot and Hound was circling back to help her. Mirage wasn't letting one of his own mechs fall in battle.
Optimus shoved Bumblebee into Jazz's arms, turning to run after his sparkmate, but a pair of dusky yellow arms halted him. "Optimus, no! There's no time for that!" Ratchet said quickly, grabbing his leader and forcing him deeper into the rocking ship. "We have to leave now before Menasor manages to destroy this ship!"
"An' Mirage?" Jazz asked, gathering Bumblebee closer to himself.
"He's made his choice."
And, indeed, he had.
"Mirage, go back! I got her!" Hound shouted, waving his commander away. Elita was small enough to be able to brace with one arm and balance Arcee's CPU in the other.
Mirage kept coming, his optics fixed on the looming monolith that towered above them.
A roar of engines filled the hangar as the Ark's thrusters engaged, as did the Uller's. Both ships groaned, a thrum of energy shaking their heavy outer plating. Weapons were brought online immediately. The Ark began to lift, easing into the air with a great, rocking shudder.
Optics transfixed to the view screen before them, the crew of the Ark were the unwilling witnesses to Menasor's foot as it swung in and connected brutally with the three Autobots struggling to get to the Uller. Hound and Mirage went one way while Elita's rose-painted frame went the other.
"Elita! No!" Optimus felt his spark wrench tightly within its casing.
Menasor turned his sights on the lifting Ark. Quickly, Jazz pulled the ship up and out, speeding beyond the Decepticon's reach.
Optimus was only able to catch a brief glimpse of rose armor amongst the debris before she was obscured by Sunstreaker and Sideswipe taking on a mech three times their combined size. He could do nothing though, for the Ark was already cresting the vast edge of space beyond their planet.
Thrust into the cold clutches of the vast, unending universe, the race for the Allspark had begun. It was the Ark against the Nemesis; Autobot against Decepticon; good against evil. Neither side knew how long their search would take or how far they would be drawn from home; least of all did they know their search would take them to a small, organic planet known as Earth. They knew nothing of what they future held for them.
But, as the search for the Allspark began, they knew somehow that it would be a long time before they saw home again. Innately, as if their sparks were being whispered to by the breath of Primus himself, they knew that they would have to wait patiently for the orn set in the distant future when they could all come together again.