DISCLAIMER - I don't own Transformers, and I'm getting sick of having to type that fact out. I'm equally sick of saying that I created Artemis, Silica and Powerpack. This chapter is a precursor to the seriously traumatic and upsetting scenes.

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CHAPTER FOUR
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Wheelie stared up at the huge citadel before them in awe. It was massive in any sense, but to a 'bot of
Wheelie's diminutive stature, it seemed even more gargantuan. Intimidated, he gave Silica's hand a little
squeeze. Immediately, Silica's eyes darted around to look down at her son, to check if he was all right.
Wheelie looked up and smiled back at her. She offered a similar smile in response, but she didn't feel that
happy on the inside.
"We'll be able to get some help here?" Artemis asked the creature who had led them here. It was in the
process of conversing with two guards who were standing on either side of the citadel's entrance. The
guards were large, purple and green robots carrying spear-like weapons, and they looked at Artemis oddly
as he spoke. The creature just nodded again, and turned back to the guards. After a few more seconds of
indecipherable grunting noises that served to represent conversation, the guards burst into laughter.
"I don't like this..." Silica whispered to Artemis.
"Oh, come now, dear," Artemis replied, "you have to stop worrying so much."
"That's like asking you to stop being so slagging optimistic..." Silica retorted, and Artemis was about to
say something else when one of the guards tapped him on the thigh with their spear. Artemis turned around,
and the guard pointed at the citadel's entrance, waving his spear toward it, indicating that they should walk
on through.
There was a snap, a groan, and a crack as Powerpack transformed and landed unsteadily on the ground, as
he couldn't fit through the entrance in jet mode. Artemis supported him on his shoulder. "Nearly there, old
boy, nearly there," Artemis consoled him, helping him through the entrance way. Wheelie continued to
clutch his mother's hand, as the guard who had drawn Artemis's attention guided them through the huge
dark tunnel.
The small group emerged into a massive amphitheatre, with a huge pit built into the middle of it, with a
gangplank protruding from the opposite side, out across it. Wheelie carefully peered over the pit's edge, and
could see it was filled with a translucent amber liquid. He thought there might have been things swimming in
it, but he wasn't sure. As he looked back up from the pit, a glow of purple energy caught his eye, and
squeaked in shock at what he saw next.
On the other side of the pit, there sat a throne. And on the throne was quite possibly the most hideous
creature Wheelie had ever seen. It was nothing more than a metal oval, floating atop a beam of energy -
from which came the glow that Wheelie had seen - but, mounted upon the oval, were five faces, each more
grotesque than the last. Four green tentacles hung beneath the creature as it studied Wheelie with it's current
face - a moustachioed visage, with narrow eyes and an orange star-shape adorning its forehead. As Wheelie
stared back, the face shifted, and ratcheted around four places, to be replaced with a tan-helmeted face,
bearing an evil grin. Standing nearby this multi-faceted monstrosity, at the bottom of a flight of steps that
began at the throne's base, was another creature, who also floated on an energy beam. Six tentacles whipped
about in the air around it, three on each side, where its arms should have been, as it turned its elongated
head to study Wheelie along with the other creature. A grin crept across his scaly face.
"What are you looking at, Whee- oh!" Silica gasped as she saw the two beings observing them from the
other side of the pit. Artemis and Powerpack looked up as Silica gasped, and also saw the creatures. The
guard scuttled forward and spoke to the six-tentacled creature. It grunted and growled as it explained, but
each and every being in the amphitheatre heard it when the guard said "Cybertron." The tentacled creatures
started in surprise.
"What's the big deal... uh... about Cybertron?" Powerpack wanted to know. Artemis didn't know the
answer.
The five-faced creature turned to the assemblage of Autobots, and it's head spun around three places,
looking down on them with a fat face, surrounded by a greenish set of helmet-armour. "Cybertron," it
echoed the guard.
Artemis wasn't sure if it was a question or a statement, so he just nodded.
Wheelie need some names for these creatures, and he used the most obvious ones he could think up, as
Five-Face turned to Six-Arms and nodded silently. The quiet atmosphere of the amphitheatre was shattered
as Six-Arms screamed.
"GUARDS!" he bellowed. "Take them!"
Suddenly, dozens more beings, some resembling the creatures that had led the group here, other looking
more like the guards from outside the citadel, and others still not looking like anything they had seen before,
began pouring out of every tunnel and entranceway, converging on the four Autobots. They ripped Silica
and Wheelie away from each other, and two hoisted Wheelie above their heads, laughing and jeering.
"Mamaaaa!" Wheelie shrieked, terror consuming him.
"Wheelie!" Silica screamed in response. "Put him down!" There was no compliance from any of the
creatures. Silica clenched her jaw and converted an arm to blade mode, then pulled her disruptor pistol from
subspace. "I said..." she began, lunging at the creature, "...PUT HIM DOWN!" Her blade ripped through the
air, and impacted with one of the guards' faces, skewering it through the head. It screamed as Silica tore the
blade free again, releasing its hold on Wheelie. It's fellow also let go of Wheelie, who fell into Silica's arms.
Silica set him down, keeping him close, as more of the guards advances. She fired off a few shots from her
disruptor, incapacitating two of the creatures, but she was soon torn down by number, as a dozen guards
piled on top of her.
"Silica!" Artemis cried, as he saw his wife buried. He kicked out, knocking away two of the attackers,
desperate to rush to her aid, but with Powerpack slung over him...
"Go, boss," Powerpack said. "I... don't wanna... think ya saved me, over her... wouldn't want that...
hangin' over me... assumin' I survive this."
"Don't talk that way," Artemis said.
"Go!" Powerpack ordered. Artemis could only nod and release his hold on the burly green Autobot,
rushing to his wife's aid. Before he got there, he was clotheslined by two of the guards, and knocked to the
ground, where he too was piled on top of.
"Daddy!" Wheelie exclaimed, though he was powerless to do anything. Within a few kliks, the guards
began to pile off the bodies of Artemis and Silica, both beaten into unconsciousness. One grabbed Wheelie
by the arm, lifting him into the air, as two more tried to hold down Powerpack. Although weakened, he was
still putting up quite a fight.
One creature grunted something to Six-Arms, who replied, "He is almost gone already. He will provide no
sport. Dispatch him now, so we may prepare the trial."
Three more guards helped the other two lift Powerpack into the air, and they all marched over to the edge
of the pit. "Put me down, ya slagging sons of petrorabbits!" Powerpack roared impotently.
"If you insist," Six-Arms replied. The five guards shifted their weight, and Powerpack found himself hurled
into the air. Then, he was falling.
Down.
Down.
Wheelie couldn't see what happened next, only hear it. He heard the splash as Powerpack hit the liquid in
the pool. He heard the spluttering as he tried to stay afloat with his wounded limbs. Then, he heard more
splashing, as if many other things were in the water. Then, he heard the scream. A gut-wrenching,
soul-destroying scream that echoed up from the bottom of the pit, reverberating off its sides and ringing in
the air of the amphitheatre. There was a gurgling, and the sound of ravenous tearing.
And then...
...there was silence.

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"Ohhh..." Artemis moaned, as his optics flickered on. He tried to move, and found he ached all over. "This
is getting to be a habit..." He lifted his head to look around. He was in some form of cell, apparently, littered
with the rusted husks of previous inhabitants, with a smell of filth hanging in the air. On the far side, sitting
against the wall, was Silica, curled into the fetal position, with Wheelie by her side, fast asleep, his arms
wrapped around her, clinging on as if his life depended on it. As Artemis shifted where he was sitting, Silica
looked up.
"Good morning," she said, in a dry, unemotional tone.
"Where... are we?" Artemis asked, crawling over to her side.
"See for yourself," Silica extended an arm and pointed back to the other side of the cell, where a barred
window allowed a little light to enter the room. Artemis stood up and limped over to it, peering out. The
window provided a perfect view of the amphitheatre they had seen previously. As he watched, Five-Face
and Six-Arms conversed. He couldn't make out what they were saying.
"What are they going to... do to us?" Artemis wondered out loud.
"Wheelie knows," Silica said, stroking her son on his head, as he snuffled in his sleep, wavering on the
boundary of wakefulness, relaxing him, allowing him to drift back into his slumber. "Whatever's in that pit.
We'll be joining it soon enough."
"How...?"
"Look around," Silica said. "Do you see Powerpack anywhere?"
Artemis blenched.
"Eaten," Silica informed him. "Wheelie says. He hung on long enough to tell me once I woke up." She
stroked Wheelie's head again. "He's exhausted."
Artemis collapsed to the ground, and buried his face in his hands. "What have I done...?" he breathed, as
tears flowed from his optics.
Silica said nothing. She merely took Artemis into her embrace, and held him, tightly. She shut off her optics
and leant on his shoulder, joining him with quiet tears, until the welcome embrace of sleep overtook them
both. Silica's last thought before surrendering to the temporary hold of oblivion was the hope that she would
not wake up alone... if she even woke up at all.

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C'mon, what'd ya think, what'd ya think? R&R!! :)