Chapter 21

On the red planet of Mars, an elite group of Decepticons was waiting for any possible orders. This group was known as Team Chaar.

It consisted of Strika, the team leader and strategist, Cyclonus, the best swordsman of the group, Oil Slick, the team's Cyber-Ninja, chemist and medic, Spittor, a strange creature who lives up to his name, and Blackout, who could heal enemy troops by simply stomping on the ground and creating a shockwave.

Oil Slick was meditating and Cyclonus was sharpening his swords when Spittor spoke up.

"Botth?" Spittor asked with a lisp. "We've got a thip incoming. It lookth like an Autobot dethign, but ith giving off a Dethepticon energy thignature."

Strika came over and looked at the visual on the screen. "Team, get ready for combat, it could be a trap. Be on your guard."

Team Chaar assembled outside the ship with their weapons readied;

*Strika with her shoulder-mounted cannons

*Cyclonus with his twin swords

*Oil Slick with his double mace and a good supply of chemicals

*Spittor with his multiple tongue-like tendrils and cannons

*Blackout with his cannons and crushing feet

The Autobot ship landed, but from the boarding ramp came a sight they thought they would never see again…

"Megatron?!" Blackout exclaimed.

"It can't be!" Strika said. "But I am picking up Decepticon energy signatures from that ship"

"This is real, fellow Decepticons," Megatron greeted warmly. "I am back, and so is the Decepticon cause…" he then hung his head. "… but there came with it a cost."

"Where'th Tharthcream?" Spittor asked.

"And where have you been for the last fifty stellar cycles?" Oil Slick added.

"It's a long story," Megatron told them. "But, come, we need to get back to New Kaon as soon as possible."

"I'll go get the coordinates from our ship," said Cyclonus, knowing an Autobot ship would naturally not know the location of their largest colony world.

When the rest of the team came aboard, they were astonished to find the diversity of the troops onboard – aside from Blitzwing and Swindle, there was a junk-bot, three construction workers, a sound bot, a small organic, and not one, but five Starscreams!

"Strika, Oil Slick, Spittor and blackout, I would like to introduce you to Wreck-Gar, Soundwave, the Constructicons, Miss Sari Sumdac and the Seekers," Megatron said.

As the two groups got to know each other, Slipstream hoping to get to know Cyclonus especially, Megatron knew he would have to answer some questions sooner or later.

"Megatron," said Spittor, "You thtill haven't told uth when Thar… thcream… ith…"

He trailed off when he looked behind to see Starscream's offline chassis on the table, and Megatron's sorrowful expression.

"Oh… I am thorry," he said.

"Might I also ask, Megatron, where is Lugnut and Blackarachnia?" said Strika.

"I can answer both of those," Blitzwing said, walking forward. "We lost Blackarachnia earlier on Earth. We sent Lugnut and Wasp to find her, but they came back empty-handed. It was only much later that Lugnut confessed that he had killed her."

Blackout and Oil Slick looked at each other. They knew this day might come, when Lugnut might snap.

"The last we saw of him was when we destroyed the Autobot's base on Earth and he confessed his treachery," Blitzwing continued. "I froze him, but when we came back to the crater, he was gone."

"This is my fault," Megatron said. "I thought I could control Lugnut, maybe even help him. But there are some things even I can't change."

Strika stood by her team. "You can still change the outcome of our race, Megatron. We of Team Chaar offer our support"

The team saluted just as Cyclonus rejoined them. The other Decepticons bowed down.

"And we offer you our embers, unreservedly," Thundercracker said.

Megatron was grateful, and then took to action. "Strika, get those coordinates punched in, and return to your ship. We will return to New Kaon as soon as possible."

As the Decepticons went to work, Megatron murmured to himself.

"We will return…"

"The Decepticons will return…"

Cybertron

The Autobot Council, including Longarm Prime, were assembled at the Space Bridge nexus, as per the custom to show their loyalty to their Magnus. Rodimus Prime had also been called there, for some reason. Longarm Prime himself was wary. What if Wasp hadn't succeeded? What if-?

His thoughts were cut short when the boarding ramp opened and Ultra Magnus, flanked by Autotroopers arrived.

As the council knelt before him, they noticed Ultra Magnus' 'cargo'.

Fixit, Powerglide, Warpath, Side Burn, Scoop, Huffer and Crosshairs led first with stasis cuffs around their wrists and their mouths clamped shut.

The Dinobots, including Grimlock, were then brought along in specialised cages and kept in robot mode to better control them.

Finally, leading up the rear, came the charred wreck that was Orion Pax, strapped to a chair and wheeled out by Jazz, followed by Blaster, Jetfire, Jetstorm and Sentinel Minor, in need of repairs.

Ultra Magnus went up to his subjects.

"Dai Atlas, take these prisoners to the stockade," Ultra Magnus ordered. "Yes, sir," Dai Atlas responded, rounding up some Autotroopers.

Magnus then turned to Perceptor and Rodimus. "Perceptor, see that these 'Dinobots' are reprogrammed to serve only me," Ultra Magnus briefly glanced a look of anger at Sentinel, "And see that my second in command and his soldiers are fully repaired."

Perceptor affirmed in his monotonous voice, and then Ultra Magnus turned to Rodimus.

"Rodimus Prime, I must discuss with you an assault on the planet Gaea."

"What about it?" Rodimus asked, shrugging. "The place is probably just full o' metal, jagged rocks and packs of bloodthirsty beasts"

Ultra Magnus nodded. "That is true. Packs of bloodthirsty psychic beasts that would make excellent slaves"

Rodimus finally understood. "So you want me to pull another Klo?"

"Exactly," Ultra Magnus said, suddenly becoming grave and serious. "And keep in mind, what you have seen here is only a fraction of what will happen to you if you ever disobey me. Are my orders clear?"

Rodimus nodded. "Mirage clear, sir"

Deep Space

Megatron sat aboard the command bridge of the former Steelhaven, now called the Memory of Earth. Earlier, he and Sari had discovered that the AllSpark would not respond, and the only response Sari would get is 'Go back'.

They decided to keep the thing a secret to themselves, so as not to lower the morale of their soldiers by making them think that the AllSpark had been destroyed.

"All comm. links are open, Mega-dude," reported Soundwave, who had just been promoted to second-in-command in place of Starscream, who would be cremated alongside Goldbug with full honours.

Megatron cleared his throat and gave a speech which resonated across the entire Decepticon network.

"Fellow Decepticons, take heed. Your leader, Megatron, still lives! Though we remain dispersed throughout the far reaches of the galaxy, exiled from our true home, we are all still Cybertronians, united by a common purpose. The time has come for us to put aside our differences and act as one under a strong leadership. Only then can we cast off the shackles of Autobot oppression. Working together, we can return Cybertron to glory and free other worlds similarly oppressed."

The speech given, Megatron retired to his quarters. He didn't know if the Decepticons would be loyal or not, but, that was their choice. And what if they found out about the AllSpark? Megatron was sure all answers would be found in time, but, without Starscream, only time would be able to tell him…

Cybertron

As he was wheeled into the Council chambers of the Metroplex, Optimus regained enough consciousness to gain a grasp on the situation. He was now about to face the wrath of Ultra Magnus. The council was inconsequential. Pompous inbred swine - worthless, diseased, rotten, and corrupt.

He had hoped to enter these chambers once before, but not like this. As he glanced at his shoulder, he found his jetpack was gone and his arm had been replaced with one with a frail, skeletal form.

"Orion Pax, you have been found guilty of the highest treason against my undisputed rule of the Autobot Imperium," Ultra Magnus began. "I was lenient on you once before. I will not do so again. I hereby sentence you to-"

"Let me guess," Optimus interrupted. "Death?"

Ultra Magnus shook his head "Life," he said, gesturing to the view screen, which showed a heavily modified and more deadly Agonizing Rehabilitation Chamber.

"Take a good long look at your new home," Magnus said. "It was built especially just for you, as recommended by Sentinel Prime and Grimlock."

Optimus, upon hearing those two names and seeing the chamber, growled and tried to break free.

The Council stepped back, fearful of what might happen if he escaped. However, the Autotroopers smacked him with the butts of their rifles, pacifying him enough for transportation.

Longarm Prime looked with horror as Optimus Prime was led away; the last sound being heard was a scream of anger more frightening than the hordes of Autotroopers.

"All we can do now is hope that this is the beginning of the end," though Longarm.

And how right he would be…

As for the others...

Author's notes

Well, that's it. Megatron has returned, Optimus has been defeated, and soon we have all new adventures on Cybertron and the planet Gaea.

I'm not sure whether or not to make the following events of the sequel a different story or another half of this story. Let me know what you think. Reviews would be nice.

If you're wondering about some other characters; well, Blurr was found by Master Disaster and became the (unwitting and unwilling) star of 'Highway Angels'. Ratchet stayed on Earth, staying out of sight of both factions. Lugnut, well, he was left drifting in space. And Waspinator, I'm sort of saving that for the end.

This is JediJaras signing off.

'Till all are one!