KiWi: Well, I decided I needed to post something. This one just so happens to be the easiest for me to type. Written down, only one glaring error… has Rampage…
Torio:… I give up. Seriously, if you need me… well, just leave me alone…
KiWi: Anyway, this takes place some time after Lost and Found, but before Megatron Rising. It runs under the assumption that Lugnut and Blitzwing didn't spend the whole time in the lake, and they got slagged some other way. I had to make some changes in order to actually shoehorn Rampage into here. He's similar but different than his BW counterpart. But not different by much.
In other words, this story is the rough equivalent of the Beast Wars episode "Bad Spark". In the future, there will be a sequel with Depth Charge. Maybe.
I don't own anything but Stoneguard and the Infinity. Much good that does.
Optimus stared at the ship. It was in pristine condition; no damage other than scorch marks from entering Earth's atmosphere. But something was wrong. He couldn't place what it was, but there was this horrible nagging feeling…
Blitzwing and Lugnut peered out from behind the trees.
"Hmm…most unusual." Blitzwing commented. "If this was an Autobot ship, surely they would have greeted them by now."
"It is an Autobot ship!" Lugnut boomed. "I can see the insignia! They must be destroyed for the glory of-"
Blitzwing changed to his angry face. "You fool! Do you want us to be captured! If you aren't careful, they'll come out here and-" he then switched to his crazy face. "-offer us energon goodies? Oooh, I love energon goodies!"
Prowl looked behind him. "What was that?"
"What was what?" Bulkhead responded.
"I thought I heard something." Prowl stated.
Bulkhead shruged. "Probably just a weird forest bird or something."
Optimus and Ratchet pryed the doors open. They peered inside. It was spotless. Everything was bright and clean and shiny.
"Maybe we should leave Sari out here…" Optimus ventured.
"With the jaguars?" Sari asked. "Nuh-uh, I'm going in with you guys."
Optimus stepped inside and sighed.
"It's dead quiet in here." Bumblebee commented.
Ratchet frowned. "Something's interfering with my sensors. I can't scan for life-signs."
Optimus nodded. "We'll split up. Ratchet and I will ead for the control room. Prowl and Bumblebee, head for the stasis hold." Bulkhead frowned at being stuck alone again.
Sari saw this. "I'll go with Bulkhead." She volunteered.
"Right. " Optimus noted. "You two head for the storage rooms." He hoped that was safe enough.
He could feel them. They were traveling in groups of two. Two, four, six, eight…adding himself and the captain, that would make ten…
More prey. He had gotten bored with hunting the captain. He wanted fresh energon.
He went to the control panel and severed the main power line. The doors would have to be pryed open now, but for him, that would be no problem.
Now he just had to weld the exits shut, to ensure his new victims would stay and play…
The lights went out. Slowly, the dim backup lights came on.
Prowl stared up at them.
"Ohhh, creepy." Bumblebee muttered.
Prowl frowned. "This is strange. We should have found someone by now."
"Maybe they're in stasis." Bumblebee suggested as the rounded into the stasis hold.
Prowl paused. He thought he had heard footsteps.
The lights went out. Slowly, the dim backup lights came on.
Optimus jumped. Ratchet stared at him.
"Are you okay?" the medic asked.
Optimus nodded. "Yeah…it's just…something isn't right here."
"I know what you mean." Ratchet replied. "Now, help me open this door."
Together, the two pried open the control room. What was in there nearly made Optimus sick. Most of the crew was scattered around the room. Literally. Body parts were everywhere. Dried energon was thickly coated on the floor and walls. Torsos had large, gaping holes in them.
Ratchet led Optimus off to the side. "Optimus? Look at me, okay. I'm going to go see what happened. You need to stay out here and radio everyone. We need to get out as soon as possible." Optimus nodded weakly. Ratchet went back into the carnage-filled room.
"Bulkhead?" Optimus radioed. "Come in, Bulkhead." There was no answer. "Bumblebee? Prowl?" Still no response. Communications were jammed.
The lights went out. Slowly, the dim backup lights came on.
"This place is spooky." Sari commented. "Like a haunted house."
Bulkhead glanced around. "Yeah, I know… What's a haunted house?"
Sari laughed. "Nevermind."
"We're here." Bulkhead stated.
There were various boxes in the room. Some had repair parts, some had old weapons. There was canisters of oil in the corner. Bulkhead grabbed one and gulped half of it down. He offered the rest to Sari. "Want some?"
"Errr… No thanks." Sari looked around. "Hey, there's another box over here." She peered into it. "What are they?"
"Those are data-pads." Bulkhead answered. "They have files saved onto them."
"What kind of files?"
"Any type of files; text, video, picture, audio. You probably couldn't understand them. They're in Cybertronian."
There was a long pause. "You can translate for me." Sari suggested.
Bulkhead nodded and activated the first data-pad.
The lights went out. Slowly, the dim backup lights came on.
This did not affect Lugnut. He continued of his single-minded search for enemy Autobots.
"There's one there." Lugnut stated flatly. Blitzwing went over to the Autobot.
"It's all over now." The Autobot groaned. "He won't need me anymore. He'll kill me."
Blitzwing switched to his cold face. "What are you talking about?"
"You have to leave!" the Autobot shouted, raising his head up. One optic was missing, the other was cracked. "He knows you're here! He'll trap you and kill you!"
"Where are the others, Autobot?" Lugnut demanded.
"The All-Spark, I suppose…" The Autobot muttered. "I don't know. Do sparks that are devoured go back to the All-Spark?"
"You mean that they're all dead." Blitzwing stated.
"Dead, dead, dead!" the Autobot shouted. "He killed them all! Tore them apart he made them scream!" Then in a lower voice he said, "You'll scream too. They all scream in the end."
Blitzwing switched to his angry face. "Fool, do you know who I am?"
"That doesn't matter" The Autobot said. "They all scream in the end. I did." He suddered. "Take me with you. Don't leave me with him. Don't let him eat my spark."
Blitzwing switched back to his calculating face. "You do realize who we are, right?"
"Decepticons." The Autobot said. "I don't care. I'll defect, so long as I'm free. Please, just take me with you. Quick, before we're trapped."
Blitzwing pulled the Autobot up. "Lead the way."
"Third time's a charm." Bumblebee said cheerfully. "Hopefully, we'll find someone in this one." He opened the stasis pod. A jumbled pile of energon-coated pieces fell out. Bumblebee gaped at them in horror.
Prowl turned away. "Optimus?" he radioed. "Come in, Prime." There was no answer.
"Prowl…" Bumblebee started. "W-what was a d-dead bot doing in the s-stasis pod?"
"Not much, apparently." Prowl responded. "We have no radios. This is starting to seem more and more like a trap." He heard the footsteps again. He slid up his battle mask and pulled out some shuriken. "Did you hear that?"
"Yeah…" Bumblebee muttered, backing up. A cord tightened around his ankle, and he was quickly dragged away. Prowl quickly followed in pursuit.
Optimus leaned up against the wall. No radio contact. This was bad.
Ratchet walked out of the room. "Do you want the bad news or the worse news?"
"The bad news." Optimus said.
"They're all dead. They were tortured, then the sparks were ripped form their bodies. I don't even want to think about what happened next."
"What's the worse news?" Optimus asked.
"Main power was cut manually. Whatever did this is probably still here."
"We have no radios either. I think this is a trap." Optimus stated. "Decepticons, perhaps?"
"No." Ratchet answered. "We need to find everyone and get out now."
Sari yawned. "This is boring." So far, none of the data-pads had any useful information. Just diaries of the crew members.
Bulkhead picked up a data-pad. He stared at it.
"Well?" Sari asked. "What does it say?"
"To whomever in may concern:" Bulkhead translated. "I deeply regret what I have done, and the sis that we have commited. We tried to play Primus, and we failed. In the numbered data-pads is the account of the damned experiment from it's ill-fated conception to it's arrival on our ship, and a short conversation with the rouge Imperial Peace Marshal Depth Charge on the actual events at Space Colony Omicron.
"I, being the last of sound mind on this ship, for the rest are dead or mad, realize the importance of hiding the All-Spark. This is not to keep it from the Decepticons, but rather ourselves, because, although we are long-lived, we are still mortal and cannot be trusted with such power.
"I know my time is short, and if you are reading this, I am either dead or insane, so I beg of you, destroy the abomination before it can kill again.
"Sincerely, Stoneguard, captain of the Infinity."
"So…" Sari started. "They're all… gone?"
Bulkhead put the data-pad down. He picked up the next one in the set, then threw it aside. He picked up another one.
"Our experiments with the All-Spark have been successful." Bulkhead read. "Protoform X has been able to withstand enough energy to kill any normal Autobot three times over. It's recovery rate is also much higher than standard; it is able to repair minor damage almost instantly. It's spark is extremely durable. Direct impact does nothing to damage, let alone extinguish it. We may have found our ultimate weapon to end the Great War…" Bulkhead trailed off. "If it has a spark, does that mean it's… alive?"
Sari blinked. "A living weapon… that sounds bad. We should tell the others…"
Bulkhead was already radioing Optimus. "Boss-bot? C'mon, answer!" He exchanged a worried look with Sari.
Lugnut glared at the Autobot. "Worthless scrap, you don't even know where we are going!"
"Yes I do." The Autobot said. "We take the long way. Main ways are trapped. He'll get us."
"Who is this 'he' you keep talking about?" Cold Blitzwing asked. "For that matter, who are you?"
"I am… I was the captain of this ship. Stoneguard. Some captain I am." The Autobot laughed. "I let him kill my crew. I'm the captain of a ghost ship." Stoneguard shifted uncomfortably. "He is… fear…"
Blitzwing switched to his angry face. "What the Pit does that mean?"
"No name. Protoform X. He is fear, wicked…a bad spark.. Don't you see? This is all a game to him! We won't win! We'll all die!"
"Useless!" Lugnut boomed. He stomped away.
"No, don't go that way!" Stoneguard shouted. Too late.
Lugnut stepped on the wire, causeing the container of acit to fall on him. He screamed, thrashing.
Stoneguard laghed wildly. "Doomed! We're all doomed! He'll kill us all! Ohhh, don't let him kill me, Blitzwing, I don't want him to get me! Help me, help me!"
Blitzwing switched back to his cold face. He looked around, finally picking up a laser-cutter. He turned to Stoneguard.
Stoneguard smiled vacantly. "Free…" He murmured. Blitzwing shoved the laser-cutter into the captain's spark-casing. He dropped to the floor, dead.
"Pitiful creature." Blitzwing whispered.
Prowl groaned. He tried to recall what had happened…
He had followed Bumblebee, eventually finding the little yellow car hanging by his feet. Then he was struck in the back of the head…
Prowl tried to move, only to find his hands and feet were bound to the table he was lying on. He turned his head to the side.
Sitting on a stool next to him was a large mech. He was a bit bigger than Bulkhead, with green optics. His mouth was vertical instead of horizontal. He had three spikes on each side of his head that curved up. He chuckled as he sharpened a piece of metal not unlike a meat cleaver using a laser-cutter.
"Who are you?" Prowl demanded.
The large mech laughed. "That is a good question. I'll tell you when I find out." He got up, walking close to Prowl. He brought the laser-cutter close, to Prowls faceplate. "Now, let's remove that mask."
Prowl said nothing. He just glared.
The other one sighed. He seized Prowl's mask and cut it away. "I know your type, Prowl. Strong, silent, they think they can withstand anything. But in the end, they scream and beg, just like the others."
Prowl tugged at his bonds.
The other mech tossed the laser-cutter aside, picking up the crude cleaver. "Is that fear you're feeling, Autobot?" He placed the cleaver on Prowl's chest, scratching the armor. "My spark, it feeds on terror. Let it grow, let it consume your circuitry." He laughed, raising the cleaver up. "Feel it, yes, feel it! Feel the fear!"
He swung the cleaver down.
Optimus cut the rope. Bumblebee fell down with a thud.
"Owwww….." he groaned.
"Where's Prowl?" Optimus asked.
"I…I don't know." Bumblebee admitted. "I was caught in this trap. Then I hit a wall and went into stasis." He looked up at Optimus. "We found a dead mech earlier."
"We know." Ratchet stated. "We found a whole room of them."
"We need to find Prowl." Optimus said.
"Leave it to me." Bumblebee said. "I'll have him found in no time."
"No." Optimus said. "We need to stay together. We'll all look for Prowl."
"The subject has become extremely aggressive." Bulkhead read. "It fights against everything we do, and is prone to fits of rage. In fact, the other day, it nearly took the head off of one of our guards. It is unknown if this is due to some defect in the spark, the spark's exposure to the All-Spark, or our testing of the subject, but if this continues, we will have to halt the project and put it into stasis…"
Sari shivered. "I don't like it hear. Let's leave."
Bulkhead nodded. He got up to leave, then looked at he data-pads. "Omicron…" He muttered.
"Wha?" Sari asked.
"That's what the letter said; 'the true events at Space Colony Omicron.'"
Sari blinked. "What happened at Omicron."
"It was during the Great War." Bulkhead answered. "The history vids said it was caused by the Decepticons. One of the worst massacres in history. As far as I know, there was only one survivor." Bulkhead shuffled through the data-pads and finally placed one in his subspace storage compartment. "Sari, if it wasn't the Decepticons, that means there was a cover up. A huge one."
"Who was the survivor." Sari asked.
"I think… I think his name was Depth Charge."
Lugnut trudged along. The acid had damaged many of his systems. The original plan, which involved him using The Punch to break through the hull of the ship, was now unworkable.
Blitzwing was busy discussing with his other two selves.
"We should blast our way through!" Angry Blitzwing said.
"With our weapons, that would take too much time." Cold Blitzwing argued. "And it would create too much noise. That would be sure to attract this Protoform X to is. If we blast our way through, we need something that is quick and is sure to open the hull in one shot."
"KA-BOOM!!" Crazy Blitzwing exclaimed.
Lugnut rolled his optic. "Would there even be bombs on this ship?" he asked.
"If it really is a ship from the Great War, then, yes." Cold Blitzwing answered.
The cleaver came down again. Prowl howled in pain. "Stop! Stop!"
X laughed. "Not yet." This time he dug the cleaver into Prowl's shoulder.
Prowl's optics rolled. He screamed again.
X laughed again. He picked up the laser-cutter and sliced Prowl's bonds. He sat the Autobot up and hissed in his audio receptor. "Run, Autobot, run!" He pushed Prowl forward.
Prowl scrambled away, lurching down the hallway. He turned into a random room.
He paused. Energon was dripping from his wounds.
Prowl tried to think rationally, but panic kept overriding his logic chips. The energon would lead that monster right to him.
He was shaking. Why was he shaking? Was he going to die? He was, he was going to die!
He collapsed to the ground. He could already hear the footsteps coming closer…or was it just his imagination? Was he delusional? He didn't know!
Suddenly there was a sharp pain in his leg as his tormentor stabbed a pole through it, pinning him to the ground.
Prowl grasped the pinned leg, tearing it free with a horrible rip, and leaving a large chunk of circuitry behind. He scrambled away, with his tormentor following slowly behind.
"Prowl!" Bumblebee called. "Prowl, where are you?"
Ratchet sighed. "We're going into battle knowing nothing about our foe."
"Hopefully, this won't be a battle." Optimus muttered. "If we have any luck, we'll get Prowl, Sari and Bulkhead out of here without being attacked."
"Luck is something we haven't had since we arrived on this ship." Ratchet growled.
Bumblebee shivered. "We don't know what this thing is."
"We know it killed the entire crew." Optimus stated grimly.
Ratchet sighed. "We know our foe is strong enough to tear the crew limb from limb, is sadistic enough to have tortured them, and…" he hesitated. "during the war, usually, when sparks were torn out like that… they were devoured."
There was a long silence. "Like… a cannibal?" Bumblebee asked weakly. "But, we'll be safe if we keep our distance, right?"
"That's assuming it has no projectile weapons hand hasn't thought to pick one left by the crew." Ratchet stated.
"Oh…" Bumblebee muttered. "So we're all doomed."
"No." Optimus interrupted. "We're not doomed. We will make it out of this. All of us." he stated assertively, masking his own uncertainty.
Bulkhead and Sari stared at the energon. It could mean two things: someone needed their help, or Protoform X was waiting for them.
Bulkhead prepared his wrecking-ball. "You'll be my back-up, right?" Bulkhead asked. Sari nodded.
They burst into the room, ready for combat. However, they did not find an opponent.
Prowl, broken and bleeding energon, was huddled in the corner, whimpering. He stared at Bulkhead for a minute, trying to register what was happening.
"You need to get out of here." Prowl whispered. "It's not safe."
Bulkhead went up to him. "Prowl? What happened?" He set Sari down.
Prowl shifted. "Bulkhead, watch out!"
Bulkhead turned in time for the pole to impact his face. He toppled over. Bulkhead stared at his assailent. "You're… Protoform X."
Prowl did not hesitate. He threw some shuriken, which hit X in the back. This gave time for Bulkhead to launch his wreaking ball, hitting X's torso and causing him to drop the pole. Prowl surged forward and shoved it through X's chest.
X stared at the pole. He grasped it firmly and pulled it out of his chest with a raw cry. He swung it down repeatedly at the ninja.
Bulkhead charged at X, but he twisted the pole, shoving it through Bulkhead's leg.
"Bulkhead!" Sari shouted.
X turned his attention to the girl. He scooped her up, and giving one last look to the Autobots, walked away.
Bulkhead struggled up. "Sari! Sari!" He looked at Prowl. "We have to go after her!"
Prowl tried to get up. "I can't move."
"Will you be alright here on your own?"
"No no no…" Prowl babled. "Don't leave me here, he'll come back."
Bulkhead gaped at the un-Prowl-like behavior. Slowly, he scooped up the ninja-bot and carried him away.
Blitzwing stared at the Autobots' weapons. "We don't want a conflict." he stated.
"Haven't heard that one before." Ratchet sneered.
Blitzwing switched to his angry face. "In case you haven't noticed, we're trapped in a ship with a rampaging psychopath!" he switched back to his cold face. "Perhaps a temporary alliance is in order."
"Ally? With you?" Bumblebee asked, outraged. Optimus cut him off.
"What do you mean?" he asked.
"We blow a hole in the hull while you divert the creature long enough for us to sink the ship." Blitzwing stated. Optimus laughed.
"So you can kill us all?"
"The key is here." Lugnut growled. "We cannot destroy the key."
"Blitzwing held out a spherical device. "This is what jammed the communication lines." He crushed it. "You now can communicate with your comrades."
"Prowl?" Optimus radioed. There was no answer. "Bulkhead?"
"Boss-bot?" the answer came. "I found Prowl. He's hurt bad. But Protoform X took Sari."
"Right." Optimus said. "Bring Prowl back to the enterance. Ratchet will fix him up. Bumblebee and I will go after Sari."
"Be careful, Boss-bot." Bulkhead warned. "This think heals fast. Real fast."
Optimus sighed. "Lugnut, you wouldn't mind coming with us, right?"
"Autobot scum." Lugnut growled. Blitzwing glared at him. Slowly, Lugnut stepped forward.
Optimus nodded. "Ratchet, you will stay here with Blitzwing and wait for Prowl."
"You're Protoform X, right?" Sari asked. X stared down at her. "That's not a name. You need a name." She thought. "You're very angry. How about… Rampage. That sounds all dark and angry, and your kind of dark and angry…" She trailed off.
"What kind of creature are you?" Rampage asked. "You have the All-Spark's power. Are you another of the Autobots' sick experiments?"
"No…" Sari muttered. "I'm a human. We live on this planet. How come you speak English?"
"The computer downloaded this language saying it was the one used on this planet."
"It's one of them…"Sari said.
Rampage tightened his grip on Sari. "You're frightened." he whispered. "You know I can kill you at any moment." He tightened it more, until it began to hurt the young girl. "But there's something else too. Some sort of hope…" He set Sari down on the table.
"You're not evil, are you?" Sari asked. "You're just lost and confused. The scientists… they hurt you, didn't they? But that doesn't mean you have to hurt others."
"I want to hurt them. I like to hurt them."
"Why?" Sari asked.
"Because I can taste their emotions. Because I like the way their pain and fear tastes."
"Why?" Sari asked. Rampage growled.
She quickly shut up.
Ratchet cauterized Prowl's fuel-lines. "There's not much I can do until we get back to base." He said. Prowl nodded.
Bulkhead helped Blitzwing carry the bombs. He was shaking slightly. "I want to go help find Sari." he stated.
"Stay here." Ratchet said. "We don't need you running off."
"Will be fine." Ratchet stated gruffly.
"How do you know that?" Bulkhead shouted. "How could you possibly know that!"
Ratchet stared at him. "Because to surrender hope is to give into despair. If we did that, we would be completely useless to her."
Bulkhead turned away. A few minutes later he asked. "What really happened a t Omicron?"
Ratchet sighed. "When Omicron was destroyed, it was devastating. Morale dropped so much. I saw some of the leaked pictures; the colonists were…" He paused, looking a t Blitzwing. "Did the Decepticons actually plan an attack at Omicron."
"No. We thought it was a splinter group acting on it's own." Blitzwing set the bomb down. "I know what you are getting at. It does seem like X destroyed Omicron."
"Primus." Ratchet breathed.
"Not cool." Bunblebee muttered.
"Do you see anything yet, Lugnut?" Optimus asked.
"No." Lugnut rumbled.
Optimus sighed. "If we find X, we should try to reason with him."
"Reason? With a cannibal psychopath?" Bumblebee asked. "Riiight."
"We should terminate him." Lugnut argued.
"Immortal cannibal psychopath…" Bumblebee reminded. "Reasoning is starting to sound better."
Optimus just hoped X was reasonable.
X turned his attention away from the girl. "They are coming."
Sari looked up at him. "Don't hurt them."
"Because it's wrong."
"My dear child, everything is wrong."Rampage muttered, then left.
Optimus held his hands up. "We don't want to fight you." he stated.
X said nothing.
"Is it even intelligent?" Lugnut asked.
"Well, it's kept us trapped in here." Bumblebee responded.
"We are just looking for our friend." Optimus continued. "Do you understand?"
X snarled. He ran forward, seizing Optimus. Bumblebee went forward to attack, but was swatted away. X then turned his attention to Lugnut.
Optimus swung his ax. Rampage caught it and spun it mere inches from Optimus's neck
Sari ran into the room. "Stop! Stop it, Rampage!" She hit Rampage's leg. "He's my friend! He can be yours too, if you give him a chance."
"I don't want a friend." Rampage snarled. "I just want to kill him; to taste the energon, to devour his spark… hmmm it's been so long…"
Bumblebee and Lugnut got back up, but were knocked back down when a tremor shook the ship. This gave Optimus the time he needed to turn the ax around and activate it's rocket. It dug deep into the base of Rampage's neck.
"What was that?" Bumblebee asked.
"The way out." Optimus answered.
"Is he dead?" Sari asked weakly.
"No. I just severed his main power line. He stay in stasis until it repairs." Optimus took a strip of metal off of the wall. "Hopefully, that will be for a while yet." He replaced his ax with the metal. "Come on, let's get out of here."
A few days later…
The Infinity sank deeper into the lake, tilting sideways.
Rampage skidded across the room. He hit the wall. A small piece of metal fell.
Slowly he came back online…
KiWi: The end… for now… maybe. I think I'll shut up now.