The alarm screamed up and down throughout the ship's massive halls.
The commander stirred and brought into focus cabin lights that'd gone to full intensity. There was no telling how long he'd been in shutdown mode for, and his computer data banks weren't in order to retrieve the information. There were no drills scheduled for this shift. That meant...
"Commander to control," the COM was flashing priority over and over again. "Emergency."
He gave a voice command that opened the stasis pod, and allowed him to exit, stepping down onto the metal walkway. His circuits were a little slow to respond; most likely a side effect from the period of shut down he'd experienced. Running a quick system scan of his entire body, he was pleased to find everything was in working order. The shutdown hadn't caused any Permanente damage.
An acrid smell of stale air, metal, and rubber filled the corridors of the ship. A clutch of crew swarmed up the central corridor, clambering from doors and hatches as they scrambled to their stations. Several were already encumbered by the prolonged effect of the system shutdown, and lay here and there, sometimes spinning in the gravity less ship.
He was puzzled by this. Why would the magnetic gravity system be off line? That was not meant to go off line during a prolonged system shut down. He pushed with his feet boosters, along the corridor, towards the end of the corridor, to the bridge of the ship.
The screech of the alarm changed to the electrifying shrill of boost warning. He pushed for the floor, grabbing hold of some piping that ran outside the wall, gripping on, and barely touched down before the subliminal rumble of the engines vibrated the hull. The entire vessel groaned, protesting the stress, as the engines attempted to start up again, but failed with a crashing whine. A few cycles later, a loud humming sound built up, as the gravity system kicked in. A cry and crash rang from somewhere in the ship.
Whatever was going on, if it was bad enough to warrant expending mass on a course change then it had to be serious indeed. The instant the all clear sounded he let go of the pipe, and marched his way towards the bridge.
The small lock took an interminably long time to cycle through. When the inner door opened it admitted a wave of stale air filled with a babble of voices and machine readings. Control was a gloomy area lit by the faint glows of screens, telltales and station lighting. The central arc of command was surrounded by a horseshoe of bulky armoured cylinders of recessed duty stations nestled into the decking, the crewmembers just glimpses of humanoid form and colour amongst the metal and ceramics. Central command station was already occupied by the captain and he had plenty on his hands: sending a steady stream of orders to various duty stations throughout the ship's multiple modules. He hastened for the spare duty station and sat down into it, "Captain, status." He asked.
"Commander." Despite being encased in his station the captain cast a look his way and in the split second before he turned back to his consoles he saw he was shaken. One of the many riveted joints on his arm had been popped lose, and the wires within sparked. "There's something out there."
"Just a few cycles ago, sensors detected a massive energy surge of unknown origine. When we attempted to get a lock on the source, it seemed to home in on our signal like metal to a magnet."
"It struck our ship and caused a massive overload in all the systems. We had to dump nearly all our energy reserves in order to cope with the massive power influx. The result drained practically all our power. It will be at least a week before all systems are fully back on line. Until then, we're officially dead in the water."
"Do we have the ability to fight?"
"Yes, sir," the captain replied, checking the few systems that were still running. "Energy and plasma weapons are off line, but our projectile weapons are still functional. Long and medium range, missiles are more than capable of fighting off any known Autobot ships."
"Do the computers show any signs of what it was?"
"Its readings show it to be an energy wake of some kind, cause from an explosion."
"Illogical," the Commander replied. "Fact: There are no known life forms in this area of space that are capable of creating vessels of space travel, let alone create explosions in space. Conclusion: Explosion wake was something else."
"I'm receiving something else, Commander," the captain replied, pushing a few buttons. "Images, radio transitions… it clearly indicates intelligent life."
"Illogical," the Commander replied. "Fact: There is no intelligent life in this sector of space. Hypothesis: possible Autobot trick. Conclusion: upgrade status to battle alert."
"Yes sir," the captain replied, then pushed a button next to his armchair. A computerized voice began to speak.
"Red Alert, we are now at Red Alert. All Decepticon personal to battle stations. Repeat. All Decepticons to battle stations."
The commander leaned back in his chair, and turned once more to face the captain. "Captain, what was the energy wake's point of origin?"
"It seemed to originate from the 3rd planet in this system. Two Autobot scientists, Starscream, and Jetfire performed a brief exploration of this planet many years ago. The report that was submitted stated that no intelligent life existed on that planet."
The commander starched his metallic chin. "Show me this report."
"On screen, sir." The captain replied. He handed the commander a small glee screen note pad, and the information requested was brought up. The commander pored over the report, soaking up every detail.
"Interesting." He commented. "Fact: This planet has natural energy, and is capable of supporting organic life. Conclusion: it is a definite source of raw untapped energy. More than enough to restore Cybertron to it's former glory."
"Sir!" A helmsman called out.
"I think you should take a look at this!" He punched a few buttons, and a jumble of distorted images flashed up on the screen."
"What are these?" The commander demanded.
"These are the images, and radio signals that we have been receiving from this sector. We believe it may have something to do with that energy wake that hit us."
"What demands my attention?"
"This, sir." The Decepticon replied. He rewound some of the images he'd been recording. He played it forward again, and then hit the pause button.
It was Megatron.
"It's definitely Megatron, sir." The Helmsman replied.
"I can see that." The commander replied. "What can you tell me about the images?"
"The images seem to be gaining better in both picture quality and in technology, as if we were witnessing the history of broadcasting, all in the space of a few cycles."
"Interesting." The commander scratched his metallic chin once more.
"Sir," the captain asked. "Lord Megatron did vanish a few years ago in this sector of space. It is quite possible that he is still functional?"
"Interrogative: Is he still functional? If he is still functional, then what of the Autobots that he was perusing? It is quite possible that they are still functional too." The commander reported. "Conclusion: I will investigate the matter, personally. Are any of our scouting shuttles still functional?"
"Just one, sir," the captain replied. "I can have it operational in just a few megacycles."
"Then do it," the commander demanded. "Hypothesis: it is both possible that the Decepticons and the Autobots survived, or are in a system shutdown. Fact: if we send down an away team, it will under strengthen our ships defences, thus making it more vulnerable to attack. Fact: if the Autobots are indeed functional along with the Decepticons, our fellow comrades may need reinforcements. Conclusion: I will investigate as a lone scout and asses the situation, and determine if the need to call forth reinforcements is necessary."
"Yes, sir." The captain said. "And good luck." The commander's one eye just stared blindly back at him.
"Luck is illogical, Captain." He replied. "Power is all that's necessary to bring these unexplained events to a rapid, and logical conclusion."
TRANSFORMERS: Beast Wars
THE ARK: Maximal HQ…
Optimus Primal paced back and forth in the forward along a metal catwalk, not far from the command centre of what had once been his ship. Now, it was nothing more than chunks of metal, rusting on the riverbed. He glanced up at the centre, and frowned. There were lights on over there. Rinox was still working at the computer. He'd been at it for nearly two days now, and every time Primal had asked what he was doing, Rinox told him he was too busy.
He sighed, and stoped pacing, long enough to glance over at the gleaming golden ship of the Ark. If only Optimus Prime knew it's impending fate. They were risking their lives to protect a ship, that would never fly again, and be destroyed later on. He closed his eyes, as his mind floated back to the archive footage of Trypticon, destroying the ship.
Still. They had to protect it from being destroyed by Megatron. Megatron had grown rather desperate recently. He knew it wouldn't be long before Megatron tried something else to destroy the Autobots, or even Prime.
He turned about, and left the cavern, and headed outside. He deactivated the auto guns, while he pushed opened the doors, and stepped out into the fresh air.
Dawn streaked the morning sky with an enthusiastic palette. For as far as the eye could see the air was crisp and clear, heralding a fine day to come. Dew glittered on the grey-green ground scrub as the rising sun touched it, raising an almost imperceptible mist that crawled into hollows and shadows.
Such a beautiful planet. He could understand why the humans loved it so. Organic life may sound disgusting to many transformers, but at times, it can be most breath taking.
Up on a nearby hilltop, one of the many surrounding Mt. St. Hilary, Primal could make out the silhouettes of two Maximals; Silverbolt, and Black Arachnia. Silverbolt had one arm around her shoulder, while Black Arachnia's head, rested on his shoulder.
Primal smiled. It was good that out of this madness, some could still find a slice of paradise.
PLUTO: Two Days Ago…
Far in the outer reaches of the solar system, out where the sun was just another star, a frozen rock of a planetoid drifted on an orbit measured in centuries.
Pluto was the outermost marker of the system. A ball of rock, dust and ice deposits only a couple of hundred clicks in diameter. The many probes from Cybertron that had been searching the cosmos for the missing crew of the Exilion, had done flybys. One had landed, but there was nothing there anyone wanted.
The lone Maximal probe squatted on what passed for an equator. Day and night were almost indistinguishable, but the probe still registered the transition as the diffuse terminator crawled over it. Thermometers plummeted from godawful to improbable levels. A patina of frost glimmered on metal surfaces: the vapour kicked up by its landing that'd resettled and frozen. A glassy lens stared at the heavens filled with more stars than any planetsider would ever behold.
When the faint flares of light fell across the probe's sensors it was barely strong enough to register. The machine - slightly less intelligent than an insect - dutifully stored the information to broadcast homeward the next time the snowball rotated far enough for the dish to align. That would be in two days.
"Have you ever seen anything more beautiful than that of the sun, raising over another planet?" Black Arachnia asked.
Silverbolt smiled, as he watched the sun. "You." He confessed.
One claw came up to scratch his chin. "How sweet." She whispered.
They both turned back, to face the sun, as it's golden glow, rose up, and finally, spiled out across the valley bellow, washing the planet, and animal life in a bathing yellow hew.
"What a beautiful planet," Black Arachnia said. "I wish we could stay here for ever. We've never seen Cybertron."
"You know our commander," Silverbolt reminded her. "He wouldn't accept it."
"He doesn't have to know," Black Arachnia said, "We can wait until we're finally ready to go home. After all, he was whiling to let the old Dinobot stay behind."
"That is true, my dear," Silverbolt said. "I guess we'll just have to wait and see what happens. Let's see what fate throws us."
Down in the valley, they saw movement. At first, Silverbolt thought it to be Predacon activity, but Black Arachnia pointed out that it was only two half monkeys.
The two early humans shuffled closer together, then began to lightly touch each other, before the male, began to groom the females back.
"Love is a universal language," Black Arachnia murmured.
"Strange, that the humans will develop their technology into mechanical, rather than biological, like themselves." Sivlerbolt said. "Could you just imagine all those machines, devoid of intelligence, of reason, but worst of all, of emotion?"
"It's strange," Black Arachina said, "But don't forget, our technology is also mechanical. It's also devoid of intelligence. But for some strange reason, the thought doesn't bother me that much."
"How come, my love?"
"Maybe it's because that I have been active longer than you have. I've been one with my beast mode for much longer than you have with yours, that I don't really see organic, and mechanical as different, but rather, as one."
"Maybe I will learn, as you have," Silverbolt suggested, "Maybe I too, will see Organic and Metallic as one." He looked down at himself. "I may take a little longer because of my mixture or animal life forms, but I believe that I will. Eventually."
Black Arachnia snuggled up closer to him. "I hope it doesn't take too long. I'm not as patient as some other bots I know." She tapped a claw on his torso chest plate, and then drew it down, slowly towards his waist.
Siting in his command chair, Megatron's fingers tapped away at the keyboard beside him. On the other armchair, the tail gun that served as his primary weapon rested, the eyes of the T-Rex on his cheat watched the screen with the same intensity as Megatron.
Megatron stopped punching buttons, and paused, to scratch his chin. He murmured to himself.
The monitor proudly showed the symbol of the Predacons up in the top corner of the screen, while down in the bottom corner, the screen scrawled out the information of Megatron's efforts, while the centre of the screen, showed nothing, but video snow.
Megatron read the information that was scrolling forth, with his fingers covering his mouth, his eyes narrowed.
"Hey, wat'ch ya do'n there, boss!" Quickstrike shouted from behind in his normally over excited voice. On any given day of the week, Megatron would have just backhanded him, and knocked him to the floor below, but instead, just held up a finger in Quickstrikes face to silence him.
Suddenly, the fuzzy screen, jerked, and an image suddenly appeared for a split second. One eye of Megatron's glowed with intensity. Then, the picture jumped back. There were a few hazy flickers, before the picture stabilised.
One corner of Megatron's mouth rose slightly. "Well, well," He muttered. "I must confess, I never excepted Tarantulas to actually pull it off, but once more, the Spider's treachery serves to my advantage."
That spider had spent all night glued to his personal computer screen, hacking into something. Megatron naturally suspected that the spider was trying to hack into the Maximal's computer system, but as time progressed, it became evident that the spider was after something much bigger.
What ever it was, it demanded investigation on Megatron's behalf. Now, he was about find out what exactly had demanded so much of Tarantulas's time.
"Yes!" Tarantulas screeched, as he waved his arms about. "I did it! I'm in!" He then narrowed his eyes and snarled, "and about time too!"
His hands went back to the keyboard in front of him, and began to type away at the keyboard. "I must confess, this system was a tough bolt to unscrew, but not even the Maximals highly encrypted security measures can keep me out."
He looked up from the keyboard at the monitor to view his progress. There were a few hazy flickers, before the picture stabilised. "Success! I have gained access to the Maximal probe on the outer most reaches of this solar system."
A week ago, Tarantulas had discovered that one of the Maximal probe's that had been sent to look for the Exilon, had crash-landed on one of the moons on planet Pluto, the furtherest planet out from this systems sun. It was still transmitting, but its signal was weak, and it only seemed to be recording in its data banks what it saw.
Normally, Tarantulas wouldn't have cared for such things. After all, who'd want to look at a bunch of rocks, on a moon?
However, recent events had perked his interest into the probe once more. Two days ago, he'd picked up an unusual amount of electronic signals.
At first, he thought they were from those strange alien entities who had tried to destroy the Earth, but it soon became evident that those aliens weren't behind this anomaly.
Over the past two days, he'd investigated the origins behind the signals, and to his amazement, from tiny Doppler shifts in the signal frequency, it appeared to be those that would emanate from a star ship.
No doubt that the Maximal Probe would've recorded everything it saw. That was its purpose. He'd spent the best of last night, and all morning, trying to establish contact with the probe, but it wasn't as easy as it looked.
And now, after much blood, sweat, and gears, he'd finally broken its security system, and had full access to everything this probe had recorded.
He then set about rewriting the probes commands. First, he halted it's continual recording, and then ordered it to play back it's recording from two days ago.
The screen showed just the barren surface of the planet's moon, with the planet rising in the background. The spider sighed in frustration, and fast-forwarded through the recordings, tapping one claw against the hard plastic of his computer monitor.
"---What that?!" He shouted. He stopped the fast-forward, and backed up. "A ship?" He narrowed his eyes. "Some sort of alien ship…?" He leaned closer. "No." He glanced at the purple marking on the ships side. His mouth twitched. "How very curios." He tapped a button, and the picture froze. He rewound it, and played it over again. "And it's heading here, to earth…" He rubbed his chin. "How very curious indeed."
Up in the control room, Quickstrike was leaning over Megatron's shoulder, watching the monitor screen.
"What the Sam Hell is that thing there, Boss?" He asked, pointing his serpent head at the screen, which hissed at the image.
Megatron watched with interest, as the recording paused, rewound, then paused again, then zoomed in, and enhanced the purple marking on the ships side. He grinned.
"My winning hand." He said.
THE ARK: Maximal H.Q.
Optimus Primal walked across the metal catwalk and into the command centre for the Maximal defence. Rinox sat in his seat, shearing his view between his keyboard, and the big screen before him.
"You wanted to see me, Rinox?" Primal asked.
Rinox was so busy caught up in his work, that Primal shocked him. His head shot up, and glanced over at Primal. "Huh? Oh, that's right." He turned back to the screen. "Remember that radar antenna that you had us install on top of Mt. St. Hilary, two weeks ago?"
Primal nodded. They salvaged some radio equipment from the Exilon along with some spare parts scattered here and there from pervious battles with the Predacons, and built a radar antenna for an early warning system to make up for the loss of 'Sentry.' That and in case the Maximals sent another probe back to this sector of time and space.
"What about it?" Primal asked.
"Well, two days ago, I picked up some unusual energy reading coming from just outside the solar system. The radar was too weak to completely identify the readings, but just recently, the signal began to grow stronger."
"Is it our mysterious visitors?" Primal asked. A hint of panic in his voice.
"That's what I thought at first," Rinox said. "But it became evident, that this was not those aliens."
"Why didn't you report this information to me sooner?" Primal asked.
"I had to be sure on it's identification," Rinox answered. "It would've been a waist of time if I'd told you that the aliens were possibly returning, then it turned out to be false. I decided to wait until it could be confirmed."
"So if it isn't those aliens, then what is it?"
"A ship." Rinox replied.
"A ship?" Primal asked. "Is it one of ours?"
"I don't know that yet." Rinox answered. "That's why I asked for you to come and see me. I've been working all night, trying to figure out just what the slag it is."
"What can you tell me about it, so far?" Primal asked.
"Well," Rinox said, looking over at his previous information. "The energy signals it's giving out are weak, which can only mean two things. It's a shuttle craft, or possibly a fighter of some kind, or it's a proper interstellar ship, running real low on power."
"Where's it heading?"
"That's the strange part," Rinox said, turning to face Primal. "It's coming here! To Earth!" Primal's eyes widened, then turned to look up at the screen.
"What's it doing now?" Rinox turned back to the screen.
"At the moment, pretty much nothing. It hasn't decreased its speed, or has it increased. It's just heading in a straight line, right here."
"How long before it gets here?"
"I estimate we have about six hours. That's if it stays at the same speed it's travelling at now."
Primal gripped his chin with his over sized hands. "Hmmmm, keep an optic on it, Rinox," he finally said, "If it even changes it's speed by a fraction of an inch, let me know. I want to know as soon as possible whether that things friendly, or hostile."
"Right," Rinox said. Then turned to face Primal. "What are we going to tell the others?"
"As for what we'll tell them, we'll tell them what we already know. There's an incoming star ship of unknown origin heading for this planet. In the meantime, put the entire base on Yellow Alert. I want to be ready for anything, just in case they turn out to be hostile."
"Whoa! Excuse me?! Back-up a bit there! A what is coming here?" Rattrap cried out.
"You heard correctly, Rattrap," Primal said, "A space ship."
"Finally!" Rattrap cried out grabbing Cheetor's head and kissing it hard. "We're going home!"
"Not so fast there, Rattrap," Rinox said, "We have no positive identification on that ship yet. It could be anything. Even a Predacon ship."
"What!? Awww man…!" Rattrap moaned, then looked back at Cheetor, who he still had his arms around. "Yeech!" He spat, and pushed Cheetor away.
"Have they tried signalling us?" Depthcharge asked.
"No," Rinox replied. "Not one single transition. From the moment I detected it, up until now."
"Were is it now?" Black Arachina asked.
"At this point in time…" Rinox said, turning back to the monitor. "It's just passing Jupiter. It'll be within Earth Orbit in five and a half hours.
"Is there any way for us to contact them?" Silverbolt asked. "If we can, we can possibly identify them, and if they're friendly, we can inform them of our present situation, they would be able to help us defeat Megatron."
"Not yet, there isn't," Rinox said. "We have to wait for them to come within orbit of the Earth's moon, before we can attempt any sort of radio contact. And even then, it's going to be a touchy situation for both them and us."
"What do you mean?" Cheetor asked.
"I mean, that could be an alien ship. The humans aren't the only species our transformer ancestors made contact with. If we make contact with an alien species, what exactly are we going to tell them? We're actually from millions of years in the future? There are more ways than one to damage the time line, and if that thing is an alien ship, we won't be able to interfere with it, we may even have to hide from it."
"Awww man," Rattrap moaned, "You really know how to kill a guys mode, don'cha!"
"What's the possibility that Megs knows about our unexpected visitor too?" Cheetor asked.
"I wouldn't put it past him, Cheetor," Primal said. "I want everyone at the base. No unnecessary trips outside, until we've defused this situation. If that thing turns out to be alien, Megatron will most likely want to grab it to get any technology it has to use against us. If it's Maximal, he could very well lunch one desperate final assault."
"Like he did last time?" Silverbolt asked. Primal narrowed his eyes.
"Possibly even worse."
Tarantulas hissed his laugher as he returned to the Predacon ship via his secret entrance.
"If I play my cards right, I may be able to turn this to my advantage." He hissed, as he pushed the heavy crate back into place.
Suddenly, a metal hand clamped down on his shoulder, making Tarantuless jump in fright.
"What the--!?" He cried out. "Megatron?!"
"Ahhh, Tarantulas, there you are," Megatron said calmly, "I need you up at your station, there has been, how should I put it, an interesting turn of events just recently."
"What are you doing down here?" Tarantulas demanded, pointing a claw at him.
"Why, I was just talking a small stroll around the base," Megatron cooed, looking over his tail gun, "When I came upon you, speaking of which, what are you doing down here?"
"Well…" Tarantulas panicked, "I was just… ahh…"
"Never mind," Megatron said, "Just report to your station, I need you there."
"Yes, lord Megatron," Tarantulas saluted, and scurried off.
"Oh, Tarantulas?" Megatron called out.
"What?" Tarantulas demanded, not bothering to turn about.
"Find any good probes lately?" Megatron grinned. Tarantulas hissed in anger, then scurried off. Megatron chuckled, and drummed his fingers on top of the crate that served as the secret door to Tarantulas's secret lair.
He would have to see where this led pretty soon, before the spider went and covered it up, and changed it's location. Knowing just where that spider always went to would be one asset to have on that treacherous arachnid.
But not now. Now he had more important things to worry about. In about four hours, a ship would be arriving in Earth orbit, and he had to make sure he could contact it.
He hated to reveal to Tarantulas the knowledge of his knowing about his secret activities, but he need to keep that spider in line, it was just a quick reminder of who was really in charge here.
No doubt that Tarantulas would be combing his lair for that secret spy camera Megatron had planted. He'd never find it. Megatron was an expert on placing bugs on people, and Tarantulas would never bother to look on his forehead, where Megatron had hit him, not long ago, for disloyalty.
That had been a rouse so he could plant that bug there. How ironic, that everything that Tarantulas should do, should be witness through his own eyes. His own optics would be his enemy.
Tarantulas was still muttering as he entered the command room, to take up his position.
How, by the pit, did Megatron find out about the probe? He'd made sure that all his computer systems were hack proof. Was Megatron a better hacker than he? No, it wasn't possible; Megatron had recruited him strictly for that purpose.
Then how, in the name of Unicron, did he know? Tarantulas could only grumble in frustration.
His brewing was suddenly interrupted by a door opening at the other end of the control room, and Megatron entered the room.
"So why have you called us all here?" Rampage demanded, folding his arms.
"Our long range sensors have detected small ship of some sort, entering this solar system." Megatron said. Over by his consol, Tarantulas gritted his teeth. "It should be entering Earth Orbit in about three and a half hours. I want all Predacons to be ready for it's arrival."
"Are we gonna slag it?" Quickstrike cried out, then began jumping up and down. "Oh, oh, please tell me you want us to slag it!"
"We shall do no such thing, Quickstirke," Megatron snapped.
"Then what are we going to do?" Rampage asked.
"For the time being, monitor its progress. If this turns out to be what I hope, I believe we'll be seeing a rapid conclusion to the Beast Wars."
"Finally," Waspinator muttered. "Wazpinator getting sick of being blown to scrap every time Wazpinator go into battle. Wazpinator just want to go home."
"What kind of message, are we going to give this ship?" Dinobot snarled. Megatron gave a flick of his wrist, and the fragment of the golden disk popped out and landed in his hands.
"One already per-recorded." Then, adding under his breath, "If it can work for one Decepticon, it should work for another."
From his consol, Tarantulas eyed Megatron with intensity, and growled in anger.
Megatron placed the fragment into a special player, and spun it around. He then punched a few buttons, and began recording a special message.
"Tarantulas," Megatron called out. "When the time comes, I want you to broadcast this message to the ship, on a in-coded frequency, I don't want the Maximals to find out we're going to have the upper hand over them."
Tarantulas nodded, and turned back to his consol. "I'll do just that, lord Megatron," he called out, and then snickered to himself. "I'll do just that."
THE ARK: Maximal H.Q.
The rest of the Maximals stood in the background, while Rinox worked away at his station. Rinox punched a few buttons, then glanced up at the screen.
Then he turned around to face the others. "This is it," he said, "It should be entering Earth Orbit within just a few cycles. Then we'll find out what just who we're dealing with here."
"Oh man," Rattrap whined, "I hope it's something to celebrate about."
"So do I," Primal agreed. "There's nothing more I would rather like than to have this war wrapped up to a speedy conclusion. The sooner we get off this planet with Megatron, the better I'll feel."
Rinox watched the screen, then scratched his chin. He pressed a few more buttons, and list of information scrolled past.
"Well?" Primal asked.
"It's a shuttle of some sort." Rinox said. "However, its fuel capacity is too short to make it here from another planet. It has too have come from a mother ship, most likely on the outer most edge of the system."
"But why come here at all, and why now?" Black Arachnia asked.
"Good question," Rinox said, turning to one of his many reports. "I believe the answer may be attributed to the Trans-warp wake that was caused by the destruction of the alien weapon."
"But that happened months ago," Cheetor said. "How come they discovered it now?"
"The Trans-Warp wake went forward through time, and through space. It is possible that at any given point in time, the Trans-warp wake will appear again. Trans-Warp technology is very tricky," Rinox explained. "As the explosion moved forward though time, it could also repeat it's self over, and over again, at random intervals any where, any time."
"I don't get it," Cheetor said.
"That explosion happened months ago, like you said, but that was the past, this is the future. The trans-warp wake moved forward through the future, so because this is the future, we're experiencing it's passing though this time-zone, and so did whoever it is up there."
All the Maximals glanced up at the cavern roof at all the stalagmites.
Suddenly, the computer started beeping urgently.
"What's that mean?" Depthcharge asked, pointing at the flashing red light.
"It means that the Predacons are sending a long range message."
"To the incoming ship?" Cheetor asked.
"Is there anyone else up there?" Rinox asked, as he typed away at his keyboard furiously. He then fished up, and looked at the screen.
"What is it, Rinox?" Primal asked.
"It's just weak video transmition," Rinox said. "Not a face to face talk, between two ships. What ever the Preds are sending up there, it's a message in a bottle."
"Can we view it?" Primal asked.
"That's what I'm trying to do!" Rinox said, as he punched a few more buttons, then smiled in triumph. "Tapping into live feed… now!" He pushed a button, and a fuzzy image appeared on the screen.
They all gasped in both amazement and shock.
"Megatron." Primal snarled.
On the screen, partially distorted, was the face of the original Megatron. His face was instantly recognisable, then, he spoke.
"This is Megatron, leader of the Decepticons. If you are hearing this message, it means that I have failed. This time. Hah ha. But I know that Trans-warp technology is being developed, and so I leave this message to any Decepticon descendants that may find… may find… may fiiiiiiind…"
The image flickered a few times, and then, the message cut out all together. There was nothing more, but a blank screen.
"What the slag was all that about?" Rattrap cried out. "Megatron's inside the Ark, trapped in emergency stasis, so how could he be sending a message from the Preds base!?!"
"He wasn't," Primal said.
"Then who was that?" Rattrap shouted, pointing at the screen. "Primus?"
"When Megatron turned Ravage against us, I always wondered what it was that Megatron used to persuade him." He turned to look back at the screen. "Now I think I know what it was."
"The Golden disk," Rinox said.
"Impossible," Black Arachina said, "The Golden disk was destroyed by Dinobot. I saw it with my own optics."
"That message didn't look top quality, and it quickly cut out," Primal said. "Perhaps not all of it was destroyed. Maybe a part of it survived with that message on it."
"But why would Megatron send that particular message to the ship?"
"Maybe Megatron knows something we don't." Primal said. "And if that message was intended for who I think it was, then…"
"Uhh, guys!" Rinox said.
"What?" Primal asked.
"The ship." He turned around to face the others. "I hate to say this, but… It's changed direction."
"Oh, that's just great," Rattrap moaned, covering his optics with his hands.
"Where's it heading now?"
Rinox taped a few more buttons, then sighed. "Right for Predacon Territory." It was Primals turn to sigh.
"Well that's just Prime." Was all he said.
Megatron sat in his chair, fingers drumming on the armchair, his tail gun swishing around impatiently.
"Report!" He snarled.
"No communications have been received yet, my Queen." Megatron growled.
"What is the current status of the ship?"
"Still heading towards our position, Lord Megatron," Tarantulas replied. "It should be arriving any Cycle now."
"Why won't they answer?" Megatron muttered, then slammed his fist down on the armchair.
"It is here!" Dinobot snarled, and turned away from the monitor, to show the rest of the Predacons. The outside monitor showed the ship approaching, and then it slowed its speed, and began to hover, not far away from the ship.
"Hmmmm," Megatron scratched his chin, then began to drum his fingers against his bottom lip.
The ship then began to descend; it's bottom opened up, and landing gear popped forth. The landing pads touched down on the earth, and the ship settled with a loud hiss, and it ejected steam.
"Oh, oh!" Quickstrike shouted. "It's defenceless, let's blast it, quick!" His finger poised over the firing button.
"NO!" Megatron shouted, and knocked Quickstirke over with a wack from his tail gun. He turned back to face the ship.
"Why hesitate, My Queen?" Inferno asked.
"A friend would have signalled us. An enemy would've opened fire." He narrowed his eyes. "This mysterious turn of events must be handled with extreme caution. If we play our hands right, we might be able to turn this to our advantage."
"That what are we going to do?" Rampage asked. Megatron thought long and hard.
"Let's go out and greet them."
"Wazpinator think that is bad idea!" Waspinator said, shaking his head.
"I do believe they won't harm us," Megatron said, as he glanced at the purple marking on the ships side. The ship was big, about the same size as Ravage's ship.
"Something's happening!" Dinobot snarled. A side door on the ship hissed, then began to open. A small ramp projected from the ships side, and a lone figure stepped forth.
"This is indeed an interesting turn of events."
THE ARK: Maximal H.Q.
At the base, all the Maximals were preparing themselves. For what, they had no idea. Primal had ordered the entire base onto Red Alert. Outside, Silverbolt and Black Arachnia manned the auto guns. The rest of the Maximals stood ready just inside the base, while Rinox manned the scanners.
"Who do you think that message was meant for, Big Bot?" Cheetor asked.
"A Decepticon." Primal answered.
"Just one?" Depthcharge asked.
"That ship wasn't very big. Possibly a shuttle, carrying only a few, or just maybe one Decepticon. It's the only reason Megatron would broadcast that message."
"What would Decepticons be doing all the way out here?"
"After the disappearance of the Ark, both the Autobots and the Decpticons sent out small exploration vessels to look for their missing comrades."
"And one of those is on its way here, now?" Cheetor asked.
"Yes," Primal said, "And if Megatron turns them to his side, like he did Ravage, then Primus help us all!"
"Heads up bots!" Rinox shouted from the commander centre. "Scanners have picked up something large, heading this way, fast!"
"Can you identify it yet?"
"No," Rinox replied. "Its electronic signs don't match anything in our data base!"
"Anything else?" Rinox hesitated, and then called out.
"Scanners have also picked up numerous Pred signals following from behind."
"That's just Prime," Primal moaned. "Megatron's lunching a full scale assault. Let's go out there, and take up defensive positions!"
"Right behind ya, Big Bot!" Cheetor cried out, as the door opened, they all charged out, and took up positions, while Rinox followed from behind, closing the door.
"Be ready for anything, bots!" Primal called out to his troops.
As they lay there, their weapons powered and loaded, they could here the roar of approaching jet engines. It grew louder, and louder, until…
Waspinator, and Inferno both appeared over the horizon, and began blazing away at the Maximal positions.
Silverbolt and Black Arachnia fired back in their auto gun positions.
From behind his boulder, Depthcharge sniffed the air. "X is out there," he muttered, "I can smell his stinking spark!" He peered out from behind the boulder, and surveyed the landscape. "Where are you, you stinking piece of slag!"
After dodging blasts from the auto guns, both Waspinator and Inferno banked off in opposite directions, allowing both Dinobot and Tarantulas to emerge and opened fire.
Rinox and Cheetor both popped up from their hiding placed and returned fire, causing both Predacons to duck for cover.
Finally, Rampage, Quickstrike, and Megatron made an appearance, forcing Primal, Depthcharge, and Rattrap to reveal their positions.
From a hidden position, the giant figure watched the battle with intensity.
"Hypothesis: all Maximal positions have been revelled. Fact: 7 Maximals reported. Seven Maximals present. Conclusion: Now is the time to make my presence known."
Back at the battle, Depthcharge leapt from his position, guns blazing. "Come to me, X!" He shouted. "I wish to rip out your optics!"
"Depthcharge!" Primal called out. "Wait…!"
Suddenly, a blast of pure Infrared Radiation exploded just inches before Depthcharge, throwing him backwards. Depthcharge cried out, as he was thrown into the metal door of the Maximal base.
"What the--!?" Rattrap cried out, before another series of blasts, quickly dislodged all the Maximals from their entrenched positions.
"Whoa!" Silverbolt moaned, as he struggled to his feet.
"What just happened?" Rattrap cried out, as he shock his head.
"I think our mystery visitor just made his first move." Primal muttered, looking towards the hilltop.
On the hilltop, stood a giant purple robot. Its left arm had a long cable attached to it, and instead of a hand, there was a lethal looking cannon attached. Its head was strange. It looked like a Cyclops, with metallic bat-like ears on the side of his beat. In the middle of his head, was a single yellow eye.
On the side of it's arm, was a dark purple Decepticon symbol.
"Who in Primus are you!?!" Cheetor cried out.
"I am Shockwave, commander of the Decepticon forces on Cybertron!" The single eye in the middle of his head flashed, every time he spoke. "Prepare for immediate termination!" Then, he leapt into the air.
The Maximals watched in stunned silence, as first, his legs, folded up behind themselves, his arms up into his sides, his head then rotated and locked into place, his ears folding back, locking into place also, as a targeting scope folded up. The front part of his body, extended forward, while his forelimbs folded underneath, sliding into place. Before them, hovering in mid air, was a gigantic flying gun.
"Oh, slag." Rattrap moaned. "We're all gonna die."