Earth is trembling under the foot of Megatron, who has launched an ambitious new plan to enslave the organic planet of Earth with the combined forces of Cocoon and the Decepticons. His conquest was meticulously planned, beginning with the theft of the Ultimate Nullifier, the most powerful weapon in the universe. He brainwashed the Sanctum's commanders and seduced the fal'Cie with promises of fulfilled dreams before targeting Earth's most influential leaders for ruthless assassination. As the interplanar spacebridge was finally completed and unleashed upon the human world, Megatron allowed the fal'Cie to engineer their self-destruction, leaving him as the supreme ruler of Cocoon. Through his treachery, Megatron has now reached a state of godhood.

But the world of humans and superheroes will not be crushed without a fight.

Alliances have been formed and continue to form. Lightning has found renewed resolve and trust in her comrades. Brought out of her solitude by Hope's almost amusing optimism and boyish bravery, she has found the strength to believe in Optimus Prime's plan to save the world. She has discovered faith in Galaxy Force's strongest member, Galacta, who will serve as the final line of defence and the team's trump card. And most importantly of all, she has found the power within herself to swear an oath. That oath is to protect her comrades with the same selflessness as Prime. It is to offer up her life in the name of hope itself.

To sacrifice everything for Hope…

Claire Farron grasps her gunblade as Earth's factions mobilize for war against the Decepticons. She may die, but like real lightning, she never expected to last long in the world – she is simply a flash of light in the backdrop of a dark sky, striking once and then fading away forever.

But if she is going to strike only once, she is going to make sure Megatron suffers the full shock of her strength.


Chapter 4: The Galacta Event

This world – or these worlds – was all too confusing to a simple man like Snow. He preferred bravado, cussing in the midst of battle, and summoning his beloved Shiva sisters to kick Sanctum arse. But this pandemonium, this confusion, this sheer absurdity - it was simply too much for him. "Creatures from Gran Pulse? What are they doing here, too?" he cried, pausing briefly in his brawl against a PSICOM Warlord. Fang spun and impaled a charging Enforcer, glaring at a Warden that attempted to tackle Vanille. But the body of Snow's Warlord crashed against him, and the two officers sprawled along the pavement painfully.

"Hide, chocobo!" shouted Sazh. His expert gunmanship was more than enough to take out two PSICOM officers that flanked him. He crossed his arms, firing up and sending an oversized bird of prey crashing to the ground. "You're staying with me until I find my son. Stay together, everyone!" he cried.

"Easier said than done. Some outside help would be helpful," snarled Fang. Her beautiful face was etched with frustration. "Do you know what I hate most? When I wake up and I'm suddenly fighting in a different world for no apparent reason. And where are the guardians, the stewards of this land? I think it's pretty poor form for no one to notice what's going on here – "

"Fang, duck! Behind you!" warned Vanille suddenly, and Fang cursed as a funnel of wind threw her off-balance. She tumbled along the ground, but threw her body into a roll and used the momentum to leap back up. Glancing into the sky, she found herself staring at a red and yellow suit of armour that seemed to be…

Alive.

It aimed an open hand at the advancing Sanctum troops and released an azure blast of energy from the humming, glowing circle on its palm, and the resulting shockwave hurled back the entire division of dazed troopers. Fang glanced to her side, confused as a grey and black counterpart to the flying suit of armour joined the fray, aiming its shoulder-mounted gattling cannon at the charging Guardian Corps and exchanging a flurry of bullets with the Sanctum infantry. It raised its arm, shooting a missile into the shocked throng of soldiers before hovering with its partner back-to-back.

"Report to Lord Megatron!" cried one of the Enforcers, his voice garbled in pain. "We have two… new unidentified targets!" He could say no more as Vanille's fire spell crushed his lungs and threw him against the leg of a mindless drone.

"Who are you two?" blurted Sazh, as he dispatched another looming beast with several well-aimed shots to the head. There wasn't even enough time to be shocked.

"We'll worry about that later. A world is forcing itself onto ours and you're worried about who I am?" replied the red and yellow suit. No, it wasn't the armour that was speaking. It was clearly a man, for the tone of his voice conveyed subtle emotions that no armoured suit was capable on its own. "This isn't the time for introductions."

"Tony," said the black-and-grey suit of armour, much to Vanille's fright. "Your repulsor ray and my uranium blast. Together."

"Good call, Rhodey." The two suits raised their hands, and a high whining buzz pierced the air as a spherical forcefield surrounded them. A massive shockwave radiated outward from the epicentre of the two battlesuits. The PSICOM invaders screamed as a miniature mushroom cloud from the black-grey suit's arm cannon engulfed them in ashen smoke. Its brighter counterpart's hand glowed with azure light, finally generating a pulsing wave of energy that threw aside the first wave of advancing creatures, scattering them and turning the tide of chaos in the l'Cie's favour.

"This is a good show," admitted Fang, observing the renewed pandemonium that had overtaken the attacks. "We could use their help." She spun her staff and impaled a charging warrior, casually slipping past the stream of blood that shot from his stomach.

"Oi! So you tin men fighting them or fighting with them? I guess it's the first choice," yelled Snow, pointing at the teeming hordes of creatures in the backdrop of Paris.

"What does it look like?" came the sarcastic reply. "The name's actually Iron Man, but you can call me Tony if you want." Iron Man blew off the head of a cyclopean Decepticon with his repulsor ray before shooting away nimbly, meeting a Sanctum beast with another powerful blast. "Let's go, Rhodey? Or should I call you War Machine, for the benefit of our guests?"

"Whatever you feel like." War Machine raised his fists, riddling another looming creature with gushing holes of blood. He turned around, dodging the swipe of a Decepticon drone and firing a hail of missiles into its chest. It reeled and collapsed against its teammates. "We'll keep whittling away at their numbers. You guys break the deadlock!"

Snow nodded awkwardly. "Fair deal, dude in metal." He looked at Fang and Vanille. "What are we waiting for?" he cried. "Let's take them down!"

"Let's go, Vanille!" cried Fang. Vanille nodded eagerly, clenching her fists.

"Hold tight, chocobo!" cried Sazh. "It's going to be a rough ride up there!"

As the l'Cie split up to push back the horde that was closing in from all directions, Iron Man and War Machine remained in the air, stemming back the tide of Decepticon drones and PSICOM armies with their advanced weapons systems. Explosions rattled the pride of France, but ultimately, Paris would endure the onslaught of Cocoon and Gran Pulse. For the sake of the city of love, the heroes would not break.

"I gotta get me one of those suits," whispered an inspired Snow to himself, as he knocked out a Warden with a swinging haymaker.


The time had come.

Galacta had teleported Prime, Lightning, and Hope into the devastated city of Berlin, above which lurched the continent of Cocoon like a sickly, dangling spider. The offspring of Galactus sat on Prime's shoulder as the Autobot stood behind the two l'Cie, looking out at the enemies that surrounded them. "So they've come to personally deal with us," said Optimus, staring into the eyes of the fal'Cie for the first time. There were nine of these godlike beings, and some of them were not from Gran Pulse, but the Sanctum.

"So what are the names of these scrumptious dishes?" Galacta closed her eyes. The cosmic force was dressed in snazzy jeans and a green tank top, and she looked awfully out of place – which was the point of the whole façade. "I see," she whispered. "Their names are Eden. Phoenix. Carbuncle. Kujata. Anima. Atomos. Bismarck. Titan. Dahaka. And they all want to kill us."

"Anima," whispered Lightning, staring into the eyes of the creature that had branded her, made her and Hope into outcasts. They towered over the l'Cie, the intended puppets for the remaking of their world. But now, everything had fallen apart, and so had their hopes and dreams. All that was left was to pull everything else in creation along with them in a vortex of destruction and self-hate. "They're all here. Are you sure you can beat them all, Galacta?"

"Honestly, I think we're in for a beating," muttered Hope.

"Do you have that little faith in me?" asked Galacta, upset.

"Galacta's right. Don't say that," snapped Lightning hastily. For some reason, she felt more comfortable with her own trepidation than Hope's. "We made a promise together, didn't we? We'll blow these fal'Cie back to their master and kick fate to the curb."

"The aberrations are here. Let us kill and be killed, so that Ragnarok may come upon us and bring the Maker to not simply Cocoon, but the worlds beyond that have been revealed to us by Lord Megatron," declared Eden, the fal'Cie who was nothing less than a triune reflection of the Maker. He was the most imposing of them all, each of whom smiled emotionlessly at Galacta. But she was completely unafraid. She simply smiled, looking back and forth at the gathered enemies.

"And I can sense too well who would be leading these fal'Cie… Soundwave!" roared Prime suddenly. "Galacta!"

"Way ahead of you." Galacta indifferently raised her hand, willing into an existence an invisible forcefield that enveloped the four teammates in a spherical dome. Hope and Lightning looked at each other in surprise, but they soon knew why. Several plasma shots had been aimed at Prime's head, but they dissolved harmlessly the moment they entered the field of energy. Lightning stared in the direction of the plasma as a Decepticon lumbered into sight, walking past the fal'Cie called Anima. He was predominately dark-blue, and shared with Prime a faceplate across the mouth region. Across his broad chest was the wicked, unmistakable emblem of the Decepticon faction. His optical sensors focused themselves on the Autobot leader emotionlessly.

"That's Soundwave?" asked Hope tensely. "One of the top Decepticon brass, hey?"

"Soundwave. Eradicating Earthen hindrances," said the Decepticon field agent, pointing his finger coldly down at Lightning. "Ravage. Deal with the fleshbeings." And at his command, an aberration pounced forth over his shoulder – a metal panther with hateful, primal red optics, and teeth that could shred titanium like soaked paper. Prowling in a circle around Lightning and her friends, Ravage let out an eager growl, challenging them to battle.

"You know the plan," said Galacta, standing up. She hovered into the air and closed her eyes as Prime, Lightning and Hope lunged at Soundwave. The Decepticon was not afraid of three against one, and he raised his fist, aiming ominously at Hope. A powerful electromagnetic pulse emanated from his hand, and Prime rolled out of the way as Lightning and Hope split away from each other, spinning in the air and diving toward Soundwave. Lightning aimed her gunblade directly at the Decepticon's face, but cried out as Ravage's heavy, Cybertronium body slammed into her. Winded, she felt a rib crack against the metal paw of the robotic beast, and she felt her back skidding painfully along the ground as Ravage snapped wildly at her face. Not wanting to lose her nose, Lightning planted a boot against Ravage's stomach and kicked roughly, loosening the creature's grip briefly before blocking his ferocious snapping with her sword. She struggled furiously against the pressure, but eventually managed to kick Ravage off her.

"Don't worry about me," she roared, noticing Hope's hesitation. He had already conjured an ice spell, but he was about to turn his back on Soundwave and throw his rime blast at Ravage. "Watch your own back!"

Hope nodded, regaining himself. "You got it!" he cried, as he met Soundwave's laser blast with his rime stream. Ice and proton energy collided and engulfed the two combatants even as Lightning continued to fight a grim duel with Ravage.

Meanwhile, Galacta glared at the fal'Cie surrounding her. "A buffet," she said, licking her lips and raising her arms. Suddenly, her clothes began to shine and slowly disappear into thin air, revealing a naked body that was just as quickly beginning to be concealed by materializing purple armour. A peculiar symphony of beeping and tinkling filled the air as she changed her outfit in plain sight. A tall, purple helmet with extraterrestrial ornamentation slowly encased her head, taming her lush, smooth black hair. Her slender legs and feet were gradually hidden by a set of tall, shapely boots. Her shoulders remained bare as a set of torso armour and gauntlets covered what remained of her exposed body. Her pupils shone with violet fire, and she sneered at the fal'Cie as her fists ignited with cosmic energy.

"Let's go," she whispered.

"You will die," declared Eden, as Phoenix vomited out a deafening torrent of fire against her and Kujata conjured a massive meteor and hurled it at Galacta's face. "You will die in Lord Megatron's name and be our sacrifice for the Maker. You will play your part in Ragnarok."

Galacta raised her left hand and destroyed the baking nova with her own summoned comet. She raised her right and called up a forcefield that blocked the torrent of fire, and flames lapped past as her eyes narrowed. "I don't think you really understand who's the sacrifice here," she snapped over the roaring, glaring at the fal'Cie. "You're the sacrifices, alien creatures. You're all going to be sacrificed to my hunger. And I am hungry."

Hope glanced at Lightning as he ran past a hail of proton lasers from Soundwave's cannon. They riddled the ground with smoking craters, almost hurling him into the air. "Hey… does Galacta almost seem a changed woman?" The l'Cie warrior didn't have time to reply as Ravage snapped angrily at her legs, forcing her to somersault away and land several yards back to regain her balance. She deflected a swipe from Ravage's claws and slashed downward, forcing him to scramble back and leaving him to snarl uncontrollably, his back bent in hostility.

"Don't worry about her," shouted Lightning, pointing her sword at the Decepticon panther cautiously. Ravage was incredibly tenacious, and it was actually quite difficult to overpower him. "She knows what she's doing."

Galacta's eyes glinted as she kept up her hands, blocking a combined energy blast from Eden and Bismarck. She teleported away from Titan's strike and winked away from Atomos, but did not expect Eden to release another shaft of light, which punched into her body and sent her crashing back into a building. The block collapsed from the force, burying Galacta and pinning her into the ground. The fal'Cie moved into a circular formation, but the remains of the building were suddenly hurled into the air and thrown at the demigods, pelting them with heavy chunks of concrete and metal. A purple aura surrounded Galacta, whose telepathy was now assaulting the surprised fal'Cie. "Your tactics are child's play," she growled, as Anima suddenly lashed out at Phoenix and Bismarck tried to attack Eden. "If your minds can be so easily stolen by me, then your crystals sure don't stand a chance."

She cried out as a brutal blow from Titan and a focused spell from Dahaka smashed into her. She tumbled along the ground, narrowly slipping past another massive fireball and soaring into the sky. Her lithe body spun gracefully as she clenched her hands, preparing to end this annoying battle once and for all. Her purple armour was sizzling, and part of her boot had melted. "Come on, fal'Cie. What are you waiting for? Come and get me!" she barked, saliva trickling down her mouth. "I'm not going to hold back against alien beings that attack Earth! After all, they're the only legitimate source of food I need or want!"

Eden paused as the flying humanoid suddenly disappeared, vanishing from the grey skies that housed Cocoon. The girl was impressive, and admittedly very powerful. The fact that she could have lasted at all, especially so long, against a gathered assembly of Sanctum and Gran Pulse fal'Cie…

Perhaps they had underestimated her. Perhaps even Lord Megatron had underestimated her. "Where is she now…?"

Phoenix suddenly collapsed as Galacta reappeared in the material world and punched through the fal'Cie's body, reaching for the crystal that sustained the fal'Cie. Time seemed to slow as she let out a shrill cry of victory. "Yes! This is delicious! Let me have more – all of it! Give yourself to me!" roared the daughter of Galactus, her hand coming into contact with the mystical stone. "I hunger!"

Soundwave paused, optics flashing in logical concern as Galacta hurtled through the dying Phoenix, before diving back down toward Anima and Kujata. She gritted her teeth, raising her hands and summoning a gathered burst of speed, wreathing herself in imperial purple starlight. Before Anima and Kujata could muster their own counterattack, Galacta had shot past them, and her hands seemed to be clutching immensely long purple threads that had latched themselves onto the fal'Cie. Like a cruel master pulling her dog's leash, she yanked, and Anima and Kujata let out incoherent groans as their crystals were brutally torn from their bodies. The large, translucent sources of power emerged from their shattered bodies and ripped backs and shot towards the thief. The purple luminosity rapidly spun around the stones and evaporated them into a gaseous matter, which was promptly sucked into Galacta's whirlwind of energy and absorbed into its new owner as casually as breathing in air. Galacta smiled as her four-armed machine appeared behind her and shone a quaternity of lights across the bewildered fal'Cie.

"You can't hide from me now."

"That was badass," whispered Hope to himself, almost forgetting that he was supposed to be fighting Soundwave. The Decepticon attempted to stomp on the boy and squash him into a bloody paste, but Prime's fist collided with his face, and before he could regain balance, The Autobot had drawn his ion blaster, firing a direct shot into his chest. The Decepticon tumbled back, managing to evade a strong haymaker from Prime and shooting him in the back. Prime fell down on one knee, but quickly deployed his Energon Axe and spun around, cleaving across Soundwave's torso with a mighty screech that tore apart the injured Decepticon's chest. Circuits spilled out, and sparks danced out as Soundwave backed off weakly.

"You picked a poor fight to win!" roared Prime. "You won't conquer Earth so effortlessly with its heroes united."

"Advantage lost. Withdrawal necessary." The Decepticon field general beat a hasty retreat, transforming into an armoured truck and fleeing the city square, away from the Brandenburg Gate and the corpse of the Red Skull. The ever-watchful Ravage followed in his master's tracks, sprinting at astonishing speed and leaving Lightning behind without any hesitation. The panting l'Cie lowered her gunblade briefly even as she glanced at the fal'Cie, who were all occupied with the figure in the sky.

"That was abrupt," she muttered. "They probably just want to delay us from stopping the rest of the mass planar overlay. Or maybe it's because Soundwave couldn't win without the fal'Cie…?"

The Autobot leader lowered his arm. Megatron would suffer a nasty shock when Soundwave returned – he probably did not expect Prime to deploy Galacta so soon. At any rate, Galaxy Force and the other factions defending Earth now had more options. Although much of the world was still under Decepticon control, they could not take the fight to Cocoon – to Edenhall, and to the very throne of Megatron and Orphan. And that was extremely encouraging.

"Galacta! Finish them!" called the leader of Galaxy Force. "Don't hold back."

"None of you fal'Cie can catch up with my speed or my strength. None of you are as free as I am. None of you can hold a candle to my power," murmured Galacta in the heavens, unclenching her fists and spreading her arms. The machine behind her also mirrored her movements, expectantly whining for more converted nourishment. The fal'Cie could only watch in newly realized trepidation as the universal, semi-abstract being roared in exertion, bringing into existence a spherical ball of mysterious ion, which was rapidly growing to a size that dwarfed even the Reichstag. It was even beginning to reach for the bottom of Cocoon's landmass. A deafening crackling drowned out all other noises, as if nothing else had the right to exist except this.

"What is that?" gasped Lightning.

"It's probably her killer move or something," whispered Hope.

Galacta's low cry was growing louder and louder. "Kaaaaameeee. Haaaaaameee – "

She paused innocently as she noticed Lightning and Hope's shocked glances on the ground. "What the hell is she talking about?" muttered Lightning.

"What have you been watching on Teletraan One?" sighed Prime, not bothering to hide his long-suffering expression.

"I liked that show, come on. Eh, whatever," said Galacta, shrugging, and without another word she hurled the purple pressure wave with full force at the fal'Cie below, engulfing them in white brilliance and swallowing them up, trapping them in a separate dimension from which she could devour them with no resistance. Earth trembled, and the ground shook as a massive earthquake began to tear apart the very foundations of Berlin. And at the epicentre were the fal'Cie. Only now did Lightning realize the ingenuity – even cruelty – of Prime's deal with Galacta. This event – the beginning of the Galacta Event – was something that had to be seen to be experienced.

"Impossible," murmured Eden quietly, whose consciousness was now denied. Those would be fitting final words. Had this battle been a dear mistake? Had Galacta even give them a chance? The fal'Cie's sigh of awe was their last breath as they were denied the chance of seeing their Maker. Megatron's promise had been an empty one. Their last thoughts would be of sore regret as Galacta's metaphysical maelstrom robbed them of their bodies, their minds, their crystals, and converted it into raw star energy for her to absorb, in a manner outwardly similar to photosynthesis. Galacta's vortex of incredible power devoured the remaining fal'Cie, denying them even a chance to think of their Maker as she raised a triumphant hand.

"Now, I claim my prize!" she screamed, as her four-armed instrument went into overdrive, whirring furiously as it sucked up the converted matter of the fal'Cie crystals. Tunnels of light danced up into the gloomy atmosphere, entering the four bright, round hatches and feeding Galacta with the power of the Maker himself. "This… this is the nourishment I needed! My powers are reaching almost halfway! What a first! I've never felt this replenished before! But don't worry, fal'Cie," she laughed, her lips curling into a sadistic twist. Yellow and violet lights were spinning around her as she absorbed what were the remnants of Eden's crystal. "Your names… will live on in me for eternity, as my nourishment! How does it feel to be my food? How does it feel to be my cosmic poop? Humiliating? Terrifying, like how you marked innocents on Cocoon as l'Cie, Anima? Worry not," she whispered, hugging herself in ecstasy. "Thanks to eating you, I now know everything about your worlds. Your consciousnesses will soon dissolve within my cosmic furnace. Just enjoy the ride into oblivion while you can still hold on to your individuality."

Prime stared ahead grimly, but Hope was less prepared for this display. He stared an exultant Galacta, who was pulsing with replenished might. "That's… the same girl?" whispered the l'Cie youth. Nothing of the fal'Cie remained. Everything had simply disappeared. "It's just incredible."

"Incredible. And terrifying," noted Lightning, watching the terrifying force of nature that was Galacta, who burped quietly as she patted her stomach in a rare display of satisfaction.


Prime stepped forward, lowering his ion blaster. There was no trace of the fal'Cie left, only a crater that had swallowed the entire city square. "How do you feel, Galacta?" he said quietly. "I told you I wouldn't break my promise. I bet you've never felt this alive since you settled on Earth."

Galacta descended to the ground, wiping her mouth with the back of her hand. Her armour was still burning and parts of her seared boots and gauntlets had been broken off, but it had been a negligible price to pay.

"You're a crafty one," she said, in response to Prime. "But still, you're right. I feel wonderful, and I owe all this to you. You took me in when no one else wanted a teammate who would want to eat them." She beamed through her chipped helmet, her eyes closing in joy. To Lightning's shock, a tear was making its way slowly down her cheek, and it was a trickle of elation, not sadness. "I feel really happy. To be able to have friends and to able to fight alongside mortals who wouldn't reject me – this is the existence I longed for. I wanted to be welcomed on Earth, even though I know it would be hard for so many. But I've found a family with all of you, and it's all because of Galaxy Force."

"I've never seen Galacta like this," said Hope, staring at her.

"Neither have I," admitted Lightning. It was strangely touching, to see the woman who made her so uncomfortable on Orbital Terminus confess such intimate feelings of camaraderie. Not that she intended to let her invade her personal space again, but on the whole, she was now quite sympathetic towards Galacta's constant dilemmas.

"Well… I guess it's time to make my own statement about all this." Galacta raised her hand, and Prime looked around at the purple flames that had suddenly encircled him. They came from Galacta's palm. "What are you doing, Galacta?" he cried warily, as he was surrounded in a violent pillar of shining light. The roar from the celestial lights drowned out his panicked voice.

Lightning and Hope gasped in shock. What was their comrade doing? What did she want with Prime? "Galacta!" roared Lightning, not daring to believe it but preparing for the worst. Her grip tightened reluctantly on the handle of her gunblade. "If for some crazy reason you were planning on betraying us – "

"Who said anything like that? I'm repaying Optimus," whispered Galacta in reply, although it was difficult to hear her voice amidst the rushing din of fire. The energy was not of any atomic structure known to lower beings, but drawn from the very Big Bang and Big Crunch. "Thanks to your plans and my nourishment from the fal'Cie, I've reached about forty-nine percent of my full power. It's time I did something with it, and the first thing I'm going to do is stack the odds in our favour. I'm going to give you, Optimus, a power beyond your wildest imagination. The power that I inherited from my daddy. The power that brought life to the stars in the universe before this one. The Power Cosmic!"

Prime let out a cry of surprise as the pillar around him, now as tall as a skyscraper, turned inwards, slamming into his body with a great whoosh and suffusing him with a deep purple hue. He stumbled briefly, but instead of falling, he hovered slightly above the ground, no longer bound by gravity through mere will. His optics widened in impressed surprise. Hope let out another shout of amazement as Galacta lowered her hand. There was a grand grin on her face.

"Arise, Optimus Prime! Leader of the Autobots, and Herald of Galacta!" she cried.

"Herald?" whispered Hope.

"Well, I use the term loosely," said Galacta quickly, as Prime stared at his metal hands, which were shimmering with purple light. "Daddy has several of them who seek out worlds and dimensions for him to gobble up. He handpicked them from their home planets and gave them an offer they couldn't refuse. They're nothing more than tools to him. But that isn't the kind of Herald I want." She beamed again. "My Herald is my friend. With this, I've given you a fraction of my being. Molecule manipulation, restructuring of matter, telepathy and telekinesis, flight at the speed of light, and of course, sheer power. You're just more powerful than anyone else. That's really all there is to it. Use the Power Cosmic well, and you'll discover things not even privy to the Cybertronian race. And now it's your turn, Claire," she said suddenly, turning to Lightning. She clicked her fingers, and a flash of white light that engulfed her gunblade, blinding its wielder and forcing her to drop it. Lightning staggered back, her gauntlets scorched by the unexpected heat, and Hope ran to her side in alarm.

"What… what did you just do? What are you playing at?" she roared, her eyes throbbing in pain. "You're acting crazy."

"No. I'm just in a hurry. We've still got a lot of fighting to do, don't we?" Galacta nodded in the direction of three approaching Cybertronian jets. "Here come Starscream and his playmates. I've given you a gift for their sake. You'll like it."

Lightning was still trembling, her gloves slightly burned by the shimmering purple power that ignited her weapon. She gasped, looking down her new gunblade. The sword was different in shape, darker and sleeker with the colour of onyx and cool silver. Even the edge of the sword looked sharper, more curved. It was no longer the Blazefire Saber she knew. She looked up at Galacta. "What has your Power Cosmic done?" she asked in amazement.

"This is the Omega Weapon," revealed Galacta. "Why bother with anything else? By eating the fal'Cie, I now have full knowledge of the worlds of Cocoon and Gran Pulse. It was easy identifying the paths your gunblade could take, and it was even easier calculating which would suit you best. Such a task is pretty easy for a semi-omniscient lady like myself, dear.

"I've been replenished," she said exultantly, lifting up her hand. "I've made Optimus my Herald, and given you and Hope your ultimate weapons. Use them. Have fun with them. Kick some butt with them. You'll need to," she added, looking outward at the Seekers flying toward them. "I think it's time we fought back every Decepticon that even tries to venture beyond Cocoon. What an irony that would be – trapped in their own fortress by Earth's defenders."

Lightning and Hope looked at each other, encouraged. Lightning gave a quick nod to Galacta, silently thanking her for the sudden upgrade. Together, she and her younger companion sprinted toward the growing shadows of Starscream, Thundercracker, and Skywarp.

"I do have one more favour to ask, Galacta" came Prime's voice. He stepped forward, looking resplendently royal in his new state. "With your power, I'm going to fly up to Cocoon and bring down Megatron. I'm going to take the fight right to him and end it as quickly as possible. I want you to start consuming these invading worlds to pile up the pressure against him. If I haven't left Eden by the time you absorb it… don't hold back."

"You want me to eat Cocoon and Gran Pulse?" confirmed Galacta worriedly. "Even if… some parts of Gran Pulse have already merged onto Earth?"

"This event – the Galacta Event – must continue until Earth is safe," said Prime. "Ideally, I'll have beaten Megatron before you get around to doing that. But if I fall or if there's no other choice…" He lowered his head in resigned courage. "Do what you must to preserve what's left."

Galacta clasped her hands together, observing her much bigger teammate. "Optimus… I'll never forget what you did for me. I'll follow your orders to the last word. I'll follow you to the end."

Prime smiled, looking up at the continent of Cocoon. "It all ends this day. Megatron must be stopped." He clenched his fists as the blue hue of optics suddenly began to turn purple. He allowed the Power Cosmic to seep through him, reanimating his Cybertronian limbs and advanced circuitry. With this newfound strength, he would lead his Autobots and Galaxy Force to ever-greater heights.

It was time to fly.

"Optimus Prime, Autobot Herald, commander of Galaxy Force. Let's soar."

Enveloped by crimson and cerulean energy, he shot into the sky, spinning towards the landmass of Cocoon and leaving the other members of Galaxy Force behind.

Galacta licked her lips as she was left alone. "First, I ate the fal'Cie. Now, by Prime's directives, I'm going to eat Cocoon and Gran Pulse as well. They don't belong on Earth, after all." She paused thoughtfully. "I hope Snow finds Serah soon, because I don't know how quickly I'm going to gorge myself. And…" Her violet eyes softened. "I hope Optimus can beat Megatron before I have to eat them along with the whole continent. What's a gal like me to do?"

She took a deep breath.

"But whatever Prime wants me to do, I will do."