Office of the Cybertronian Magnus
With a weary sigh, Optimus set aside another datatrack and picked up his next pad to peruse it. Energon requests to Autobot forces on the fringes of their territory who had lost their regular supplies in an ion storm. Barely glancing over the data, he signed it and pass it along to his aide, then began on his next set of tasks, which included some intel on dissent causing factions from Blurr Prime. Some of the older Autobot regime were growing more and more upset with the changes the new Magnus was implementing.
His list of tasks just seemed to keep growing every single passing orbital cycle.
This was certainly not the life he'd envisioned when he'd been studying at Autobot Academy, he mused. Being Magnus was a terrible burden for anyone to bear. The fact that it was now him only served as a reminder that life had a very strong sense of irony. Him, captain of a group of technicians, a wash-out and a traitor, and now, per the directions of the previous Magnus and the unanimous vote of the Autobot High Council, Optimus Magnus. The Head of all of Cybertron's Military. And something of a legend, or so he was told. One of the few Autobots to ever go servo-to-servo with Megatron and win. One of the few Transformers to enter the great destroyer Unicron and survive.
He shook his head and picked up another report, and frowned faintly at the sight of it.
Turning his chair, he initiated a subspace link to one of his remote ships serving in the sector mentioned. The Axalon.
A yellow Autobot came on-screen almost immediately. "Bumblebee Prime here, sir," reported his former crewmate with a crisp salute. Optimus Magnus returned it wearily so his subordinate could stand down and relax a little.
"Good to hear from you Bumblebee Prime. Anything I should know?"
Bumblebee looked nervously left and right for a moment, old habits coming into play. "Look if this is about that course diversion I took through an asteroid field to save time... I swear those marks on the Axalon will buff right out..."
A smiled touched the face of Optimus. If that was the worse Bumblebee had for him things were fine. "Nevermind that. I've got a mission for you."
"You name it boss-bot, I'm all over it."
Optimus double-checked his report to make sure everything was in order. "Got a communiqué from Nexus Zero that the local star is flaring up. Your ship is to divert and give the Vok some relief if they need it. They may have to abandon planet, but let's hope it doesn't come to that."
"Roger Magnus," replied Bumblee with another salute. He then turned to his unseen crew. "Alright you guys, let's get this circus rollin'! Maximum burn! We'll show the galaxy this is the fastest hunk of junk Cyebrtron's ever...!" The communication abruptly ended, no doubt one of Bumblebee's subordinates cutting him off before he could embarrass himself further in front of the Magnus.
Shaking his head, Optimus sometimes wondered if he'd ever been that fresh out of the factory. Probably, he decided.
But Bumblebee was a natural leader, despite more than a few quirks to his programming. It wasn't just his friendship with the new Magnus that had landed him the job. He had matured a great deal since his time on Earth, and the Autobot needed someone like him as a Prime.
Deciding to stretch his stabilizing servos, Optimus took a glance around his new office as he paced a moment, letting sensation return to his chassis. The Magnus Hammer hung in a ceremonial position on the far wall, lit up by the nighttime skyline visible through the back window. Below it hung his own axe, and beside that an energy lance that he kept as a momento of Sentinel Prime, who in many ways still served as an inspiration to him (though frequently in many ways what not to be as Magnus). Below that, a few more trophies and keepsakes from his time on Earth, including the stuffed spider Sari had once made as a Halloween decoration, and even a picture of his old crew from Earth, including Jazz, Sari and Arcee amongst the original Five. A rotating hologram of Sari Sumdac in her teenaged years was lit up beside it. A reminder of what they had lost.
Smiling and a little clearer of processor, he sat himself back at the desk of the Magnus, and began working on his next round of datatracks, hoping to clear out enough by at least the afternoon so he could catch a quick statis nap before his visit to the university. He wanted to see how the next generation of Autobots was coming along. And then he had to make sure all thirteen of the Primes under his roster were working on a project, he had to keep them busy or they tended to do reckless things. Thirteen wasn't a number of his own choosing, of course, but it was Autobot tradition ever since the Great War began. Still, so far, it had worked, so he could hardly fault the system.
Space Bridge Network Nexus
Now that the Decepticon menace had largely been crushed, the Cybertronian High Council had seen fit to re-open their network of Space Bridges and again establish close contact with their more remote ships and colonies. With Optimus Prime and much of his crew now in much more needed positions, a new crew of Autobots had been brought in to handle their construction and repair. And put under the care of the most knowledgeable expert on tranwarp energies since their discovery by Nova Prime almost six million stellar cycles ago.
The crew were down below in one of the pits, half-drunk on imported high-grade oil, but Bulkhead had sworn off the stuff. Reminded him too much of his old Earth buddies the Constructicons. Plus, he was determined to be a good role model for the mechs under his command, just like Optimus had been for him. So instead here he sat in the nexus of the Space Bridge Network and went over his notes. For some reason the pulsing the blue energies of functioning Space Bridges seemed to relax him. Sari had once said it was like a calming pool of water.
Something about his latest report didn't seem quite right, however, and he puzzled over a good minute or two, ignoring the passing of fellow mechs and femmes from the far corners of the Galaxy.
Then it came to him. Someone had substituted tironium for cybertitanium in the latest construction. Probably Rattletrap. That guy was always unreliable.
Grumbling to himself how anyone could be so half-processored to try a configuration like that, he reflected on his former teammates. They were all big shots, some of them in the new Autobot Government, some still fighting on the front lines, and here he was, still working on the Space Bridges like he always had.
All his life, this is all he had ever wanted. A nice simple job, some routine, and peace and quiet. Something he was good at, even.
He could not be happier.
Yoketron Dojo of Cyber-Ninjutsu
Jazz smiled, arms folded before him, as his students went through the motions of their Circuit-Su, performing the high kicks and punches of this particular kata. Each one moved like a well-tuned machine, each student making devastating, harsh motions that would cut down their enemies, had any been present. And each did so with the grace of a well-oiled machine, no movement wasted, no effort without gain.
One student, however, was struggling with the current form, and Jazz glanced at this one student, focusing an optic on him as he called out for his students to perform the kata again.
Black finish lined in gold, broken here and there with gray. This student he knew well. It was the protoform offspring of Ratchet and Arcee. Following the Battle of Earth, the two had settled down as a family and sparked, giving birth to this young mech. And it seemed, given new life to an old friend of Jazz. Because he looked, and sounded, and even acted sometimes, almost exactly like Prowl used to. It seemed somehow he had downloaded himself into Arcee during the Battle of Earth, and when she and Ratchet had sparked, he'd downloaded again into the young protoform.
Somehow, his old comrade had escaped being off-line, and come back to them.
Jazz watched the kata finish but the younger Prowl stumbled, and he frowned again, bringing fist to servo and calling for his students attention. "Face me," he instructed. They did so. "Bow." They did, as he returned the gesture.
"Very good, you are all dismissed for the day. Return home. There will be another lesson tomorrow in the morning. 0600 stellar cycles."
"Yes, Master Jazz," his students intoned as one, and all discipline seemed to leave the young bots as they whooped and hollered and all but tore through the doors of the Dojo as they assumed vehicle mode and burned rubber. Jazz stretched out a hand, resting it on Prowl's shoulder, startling the younger student.
"Master Jazz?" he asked respectfully.
"Hang a bit longer, if you can Prowl," the white mech replied. When all of the other students had left, and the Dojo descended into silent, Jazz turned to his student. "I saw you were having some trouble with the Coiled Spring Kick attack. But that's a basic move."
"It's wrong," stated Prowl unexpectedly, causing Jazz to backpedal fast.
"Wrong?" he asked, a bit puzzled by the reply.
"Awkward," corrected the younger cyberninja immediately, perhaps remembering he was addressing a master. "When you follow through with the kata, the Coiled Spring Kick attack is acceptable, but it leaves one open to attack here," he said, tapping his side. "I know we have our arms up to protect that but it's not sturdy enough. It wouldn't stand up to a real attack."
Jazz considered this. "You think you got somethin' better?" he asked.
Prowl nodded in the affirmative.
"Show me," ordered Jazz, as he launched himself forward from a deceptively still stance and came flying at Prowl, launching kicks and punches in expert fashion. Prowl countered as he was instructed, utilizing the kata's form. When they reached the moment Prowl had indicated, Jazz struck forward and true, but his student expertly twisted back with a move he wasn't supposed to have learned yet and grasped Jazz's leg, turning his teacher around in seconds and hurling him against the far wall, where he impacted and sat stunned for a moment, peering up at his student in awe.
Prowl gave a smirk, a familiar half-smile of confidence that bordered on arrogance, and lifted up his servos.
Iacon Mercy Hospital
"Now let's review students," said Arcee as she escorted the young mechs and femmes with her into the hospital. She launched into a long lecture on how two Cybertronians would meet, fall in love, 'spark', and the resulting new spark would be placed inside of a protoform that was created at the Foundry. "And that's where protoforms come from. Then they're given schematics to scan which becomes their very first vehicle mode. Does anyone have any questions?"
A young mech in the back raised his hand. She nodded. "Yes, Cheetor?"
"What if something goes wrong? I mean like if a protoform is damaged or they don't fit right together? What happens to the spark?"
"To answer that, we have the Head of Diagnostics and Repairs Division, Ratchet," she said, indicating the older medabot as he wheeled his way in and transformed before them.
"When it comes to repairing a Cybertronian, the spark takes first priority," replied Ratchet, having heard the question on his way in. "That's why during the war the first thing you check on when you come across a damaged bot is their spark. Anything else can be fixed in due time... generally."
One of the femmes in the back spoke up. "But what if you'd come across a Decepticon during the Great War instead of an Autobot? I mean, one that was very badly damaged?"
"That's a very good point, AirRazor," Arcee replied with a kindly smile, pleased her students were paying attention. "Well, Ratchet?"
The gruff medabot grimaced, folding his arms across his torso plate, but reluctantly managed to reply. "A Medabots first program should always be to preserve the spark. And whether we like it or not, Decepticons are Cybertronians the same as you or I. They have sparks just like we do. And yeah, during the Great War, I've had to treat Decepticons once or twice. And maybe sometimes it was a mistake. But I did it anyway. Because its the right thing to do."
A vigorous Q-and-A session followed, during white Ratchet was abandoned to his fate by Arcee, and subjected to a more vigorous interrogation by the young bots than was more intense than any battle he'd had during the Great War or its continuation on Earth. Finally, seeing he was about to start using language inappropriate for young minds, dutifully rescued him and her young bots and dismissed them back to the lobby where their models were waiting for them. Red Alert would be overseeing the whole thing.
Leaving the two of them in relative peace and quiet for a few minutes.
Ratchet, however, was being gruff, arms crossed, looking away. He had no idea how endearing Arcee found it when he played at being the unfeeling old bot. She knew he wasn't half as bad as he pretended to be.
"Oh alright," she relented. "I'm sorry I abandoned you to a hopeless fight against bots barely into their first ten stellar cycles. You old softie," she added, punching him affectionately in the shoulder.
He finally managed a weak smile. "Alright I forgive you. This time. Speaking of young bots, however, which one of us is picking up lil' Prowl today from Jazz's Dojo?"
"I think it was your turn," she replied. "I got him last week."
"I was called in last week for some emergency, I couldn't get him then. Doesn't count."
She shrugged. "Let's put it this way then, the one who picks him up doesn't have to warm tonight's oil."
"... so do you need me to pick up anything on the way back with Prowl?" he asked, without even a pause.
The pink femme smiled and rewarded his good answer with a peck on his cheek. "That's alright sparkling," she teased. "Just hurry home. I'll see you there."
The Nemesis, Earth's Moon
"Well isn't this just brilliant?"
Starscream closed his eyes and tried to will the talking to stop.
"Fight on the front line, he says, prove yourself worthy of my command, he says...!"
Shut up shut up shut up shut up.
"And then there's you! Mr. I've-Got-A-Plan-Everything-Will-Be-Alright!"
Maybe if I concentrate hard enough she'll go away, he thought desperately.
"You... slaggin'... IDIOT!"
"WILL YOU SHUT UP, WOMAN?" he said, finally standing up and throwing a hunk of debris at her. She dodged easily, considering it was a low gravity environment, and took his attack personally, throwing herself forward to slap him across his faceplate. He went tumbling end over end to crash down at the far end of the empty shell of a room.
Tossing of junk weighing only a fraction of what it would be on Earth, Starscream snapped his head back into place and glared angrily at his only remaining clone. After the Battle with Unicron, only one had survived in addition to himself. Fittingly, it was the most capable model, the femme named Slipstream. But they had both been grievously injured. When Megatron and the others had piled into the Darksyde to escape Cybertronian authorities and return to the Decepticon front line, they had reached a quandary over weight issues.
The Dark Syde had not been designed to hold so many. They had needed a way to lighten the burden.
And so as they left Earth's orbit, both Starscream and Slipstream had been dumped like so much refuse.
Now they were stuck on the moon. Sure, both of them could've travelled through space in their harrier jet modes, but only for short distances. And even if they could, where would they go? Sure, they had managed to make makeshift repairs to one another, but that was about all. They couldn't even construct another ship out of the gutted remains of the Nemsis. There was nothing left to grab on Earth except a Space Bridge guarded twenty-four seven by Elite Guard.
"This is all Megatron's fault," spat Starscream, brushing dust from his wing struts. "Time and time again he has humiliated me...!"
"... us! And prevented my rightful ascension to the place as the one true leader of the Decepticons. I will never forgive him for this!"
His servoes clenched tight enough for the metal to creak dangerously, his red optics glowing with rage. "And I will have my revenge on him if it is the last thing I do!"
The Stockade, Level Two
Level Two of the Stockade contained those who, in theory at least, bore some small hope of redemption. But only after a few millennia of proper and careful rehabilitation into Autobot society. And maybe that was what some of its occupants were working towards, paying off their debts to society. But not Black Arachnia. She had said too much, done too much, had too much done to her, to be anything other than what she was. She would sooner off-line than change herself now.
She had gotten rid of her organic half. She was whole once more. Anything else... everything else... didn't matter.
There came a light rapping at the doorway, and she glanced up curiously as the door slid up, revealing one of the guards. A frown instantly came to her as she remembered this one. The silver mech stepped into the doorway, but never into her cell proper without invitation. He said it was rude to do such, despite the fact that guards could come and go whenever they pleased. In his hand he had a tray with some energon and a small cup of oil, no doubt her meal for the day.
She scowled, determined to be unpleasant. "Take it away," she spat.
"My lady," he replied with the utmost courtesy. "This will be the only meal of the day. You require nourishment..."
"I SAID TAKE IT AWAY!" she screeched at him angrily.
Her cringed, looking like a dog that had been kicked by its master. "My Lady..."
"And stop calling me that!"
He hesitated, grimacing faintly, then tried again. "Elita-1..."
"Bzzt! Wrong answer," she growled at him, taking a perverted delight in needling him. "The correct answer is Black Arachnia. Elita-1 went off-line over a million stellar-cycles ago."
He did not reply to that, nor did he use her chosen monicker, but instead refocused on the task at hand. "Perhaps you will change your mind later," he said courteously, and gently set the tray down inside of the doorway, well out of her way.
Damnit all, why did he have to be so damn nice? She was so used to being hated or feared or ignored she had no idea how to react to someone being nice. The Decepticons had never been nice to her. And even though she'd been restored the new Magnus had never visited. Pit, even her sister femmes Elita-2 and Elita-3 had never come to visit her. The guards interest wasn't even lustful, like the Dinobots had. While it was clear he was attracted to her, deep down, he never let it dictate his actions. At least, not enough to override his sense of duty.
He just, really was, that damn nice.
"Hey kid... what's your name?" she asked, just before he left.
He finally smiled, albeit faintly. "Silverbolt, my lady," he replied. Then, with a courtly bow, he stepped out of the cell and let the door seal closed once more.
Maybe things could change, she mused.
Decepticon Outpost, Planet Thrull
If ever the Pit truly existed, Megatron mused, it was somewhere on Thrull.
Thrull was just about one of the most inhospitable planets in the whole of the universe, be it to cybertronian or organic life. Covered in pools of lava plasma and wracked by periodic ion storms, it was about as far from a paradise as you could get. Yet it also had an eerie, savage beauty to its blood-red landscape. One that certain Decepticons found they could find time to appreciate now and again. Such was what Megatron did now, standing by the entrance to the underground bunker, watching quietly as another plasma pool erupted off in the distance.
The Decepticons had been badly decimated in their battle against Unicron, but Megatron was not worried. Some time would need to pass before they were yet ready to continue their war, but it would be time well spend. They would gather their strength, pool their resources. And when the time was ready, they would strike with a fury that Cybertron had never witnessed. Their new leader, Optimus Maguns, was a credible threat and a true warrior that even Megatron could respect, but he was but one Autobot. The rest were pacifistic and would grow soft and complacent over time. Cybertron would grow weak.
And then, at long last, they would reclaim what was rightfully theirs.
Turning from the visage of destruction before him, Megatron turned on his heel and marched back down into the bunker, the doors sealing behind him. His metal feet echoed ominously as he made his way deeper, finally emerging into the center, wherein his troops instantly came to attention, servos at their sides, optics forward.
"Report," he rumbled.
Soundwave took a quick glance back at the station from where he and Shockwave had been monitoring communications. "Autobot activity normal levels. Nothing out of place," intoned the stockier blue Decepticon, while his taller counterpart nodded in confirmation.
Blitzwing then stepped forward with a chart he consulted. "Ve have juzt about five kilos of energon, vhich should last us until ze next three solar cycles pass..." Faces blurred. "Ve should roast them over ze plasma pits and tell scary stories! That would be so much fun...!"
Ignoring his rantings now that the Random Blitzwing was in charge, Megatron turned to his remaining Decepticons. Strika stepped forward, delivering a report on the more remote teams of Decepticons, who were scouring the galaxy for a more suitable outpost to use, as well as a infiltrator he had left behind on Earth in disguise, on the off-chance the Autobots ever decided to revisit the planet. Soundwave's "pets" were proving to be very useful in the art of espionage. Oil Slick added a report that the Dark Syde was still broken down, and would be of little use to them until he could retrieve the parts to repair it. They were going to be stuck on Thrull for a while longer, it appeared. Cyclonus was out on patrol, but it was doubtful he would report anything new.
Through it all, Megatron nodded, arms folded across his chestplate, optics half-closed. He listened, drawing in information, and began to process it. Formulating plans and preparing strategies. All for the glorious Decepticon cause.
Always for the Decepticon cause.
A Remote, Far Off Planet
Hundreds of thousands of primitive humanoids prostrated themselves at the base of the mountain.
Symbols had been cut into the rocks for generations. Most prominently amongst them, the image of a giant insect head. This was the faith, the entire religion, of the planet of apes. Thus, when a great green insect had descended amongst them, they had come to the only logical conclusion their tiny little brains could come to.
A throne had been erected, and several of the younger females were waving fans.
The green techno-organic bug gave a great sigh of relief, as if all of his burdens and troubles had been completely deleted from his processor. Bumblebot, Sargebot, the Stockade, Spider-Lady... it was all gone now. Just a bad dream.
"Ahhh... Wazzpinator happy at lazzt."
New Chamber of the All-Spark, Cybertron
The doors slid open, and Alpha Trion entered the chamber where the All-Spark lay quietly in its casing once again, a tiny star lighting up the room and casting its brilliant glow over the images lining the walls. Images from the great war. Of heroes and villains long gone and forgotten: Galvatron and the Fallen. Nova Prime and Omega Supreme. Of new heroes: Optimus Prime and Megatron. Ultra Magnus and Sari Sumdac. The walls told without words the history of Cybertron.
The current chamber had been recently refurbished for its purposes. After Jazz and Arcee had so easily claimed the All-Spark (albeit for a good cause) the eldest Autobot on-line had taken it upon himself to find a new place to house it. And a new guardian.
"Omega Supreme?" he spoke aloud, addressing the room itself.
"Yes?" rumbled the deep reply, seemingly coming from everywhere.
"Can you open a signal to Optimus Magnus?"
The vid screen lit up, as Alpha Trion moved to stand before it. The Supreme Commander of the Autobot forces offered him a salute as he did so, which he waved away with a bemused grin.
"Magnus, we're ready to go."
"Understood," replied Optimus. "Just remember to send that coded signal every fifteen stellar cycles and..."
Alpha Trion again waved down his concerns. "Yes yes I know. Coded transmissions every fifteen stellar cycles to check in, and the special frequency if you're needed. Or we're needed," he added, patting the All-Spark at his side. "I have my orders."
"Would that it could be any other way, Alpha Trion, but the All-Spark is..."
"... too dangerous to be left on Cybertron. Yes I agree. And so are we," he added, indicating his new ship.
"I do not want to fight anymore," added Omega Supreme.
Optimus nodded through the viewscreen. "Then Primus speed to you both. We'll be here," he added with another salute.
Cutting communications, Alpha Trion gave the order to undertake transwarp. Where? Anywhere they liked. And somewhere far away from Cybertron and its wars. Someday the planet would be ready to receive the All-Spark again, but he, the Council, and Optimus Magnus had all agreed. They weren't ready for that day just yet.
The Stockade, Level One
The Stockade was a quiet place these days. Since the jail break involving Megatron's lieutenants most of the prisoners had been released to take part in the Battle of Earth against Unicron. Few had been rounded up, since most escaped after the battle and were still at large across the galaxy. And most of the Autobots on the upper levels had been released on various pardons and deals, put back into Cybertron society to help replenish its ranks and rebuild. So the Stockade, once a place feared by many, was now becoming so much scrap, housing just a few where once it had held many.
Rodimus Prime hardly complained, of course. If his time as warden was peaceful then so be it.
One bot stood off on the sidelines, refusing to participate in the rough-housing and positioning of the grunt mechs, refusing to take part in the card games over energon. He just sat in the corner, optics set in glare-mode, as if daring anyone to come near him. Guards did so only in great numbers and with greater reluctance.
But today, his gaze shifted just a little, as a Decepticon prisoner stepped past him. One of the new generation. A blue-faced mech with dull bronze and brown armor, and a mouthful of sharp teeth. This one actually caught Lockdown's eye. And not in a good way.
"Say... that's a nice helmet," he said in an almost friendly tone of voice. One undercut by the rather eerie grin Lockdown was giving.
The city was a mess. This was hardly a shock to the inhabitants of Detroit, following every major Cybertronian battle the city was usually left in shambles, and this time was no different. So they squared their shoulders and did their jobs and began to rebuild.
In this matter they were aided by one of the only surviving Cybertronians still on Earth, the cheerful garbage bot Wreck-Gar. Every day without fail (except Thursdays) he would come strolling along to another section of the city, transform, and begin to guzzle up the garbage littering the streets. Broken concrete and smashed Cybertronian transformers parts and even bits and pieces of Unicron that had escaped disintegration. Cheerfully tossed into the pack on his back. Where the garbage went, no one ever found out. And no one ever cared enough to asked.
He sang while he worked. "... black is white, up is down and short is long..."
His cheerful singing continued on well into the evening. Still so much garbage to clean up. Wreck-Gar wasn't a perfect hero, even he acknowledged this. But if there was one thing Wreck-Gar knew, it was how to clean up afterwards. Something lots of other heroes weren't very good at, he noticed.
As he cheerfully went on his way, he happened to pass by the park, picking up various litter left behind by the humans of the city. And as he did, he caught sight of a new image, recently erected, dead center of the park. A stone statue of a teenaged girl, flashing a V for Victory sign one one hand, the other resting on her hip, and a smile on her face. Below read the caption: Sari Sumdac, The Very Best of Both Worlds. Below was a list of all the others who had perished in the now infamous Battle of Detroit, separated into two equal lines, Cybertronians and Humans. Each given equal priority underneath her name.
As Wreck-Gar rolled along, another passerby came along to pay his respects. Recognizable instantly in his pale green labcoat, but now sporting a few more streaks of white hair, Professor Isaac Sumdac was a changed man. He had been kidnapped, terrified, threatened with dead, and lost his precious daughter, and all within the same week. It was no wonder he was such a wreck. In his hands, however, he carried a handful of flowers. They were an experimental, artifical sort he was working on. Technically, they were techno-organic.
Just like she had been.
"Thank you, Sari. You gave me more in these past few years that you could ever know," he intoned quietly, setting the flowers down before her statue. He then quietly stood back up, wincing at the creak of old bones, and made his way back to Sumdac Tower to address the latest attempted takeover of Powell Industries.
In the depths of space floated the head of Unicron, battered, broken, dented. All that remained of his physical form now that he had been destroyed by the All-Spark and the Techno-Organic Sari Sumdac. After millenia, the cycle had come full circle. Unicron's hunger and destruction had proved his undoing. He had met his nemesis. And it had ended at long last.
As he floated past a dark nebula, his one good optic glinted briefly red. Passing starlight? Or was there just a hint of malevolence still lurking within his otherwise inert cranium?
And that's a wrap. And no, no plans for a sequel.