The Transformers: powerful warrior robots waging a never-ending battle across space and time. Autobots and Decepticons, fighting a war of long-forgotten ideologies, now trapped in a cycle of violence that threatens to consume them all. They have traveled across the ages from their homeworld of Cybertron to a blue-green orb we know as the Earth. But this is not the Earth we know; it is a world transformed, a place of mutants, superheroes, and villains. It is a world where nothing is as it seems. . .and these alien robots will soon find that those they thought were allies and enemies are not. They will find that there are greater threats than each other. . .
Issue #8: The Phalanx Ascension part 1 "Assimilation"
By: Wes A.
"Keep firing Sunstreaker, don’t stop no mater what!" shouted Sideswipe.
"You don’t have to tell me twice!"
The two identical Autobot "brothers" continued to pump round after round from their blasters into their enemies. Hot bolts of energy kept pumping out and hitting their targets. The enemy moved at them like a wave. Though they were no larger than one of the Autobot’s foot, there were dozens of them to make up for the size difference.
"Do not make this any more difficult on yourselves than it already is," said one of them.
"Slag off!" yelled Sideswipe as he delivered another blast.
The blaster’s shot destroyed the smaller foe. Yet for each one destroyed, there were four more to take it’s place. The brother were so busy firing that they didn’t hear the figure approaching them from behind. Unlike the others, this one was large, as tall as the Autobots. It reached out and touched Sideswipe’s shoulder. The Autobot saw who attacked him and yelled with fury. He plunged his gun into the figure’s chest and fired. There was a gaping hole, though it slowly began to heal. Sunstreaker was caught off-guard and fell to the advancing horde.
Both Autobot’s knew that the fight was over. They had seen it happen to many of their allies over the past hour, and now they shared the same fate. Within minutes, their outer appearance began to change. Their armor shifted like it was alive, it turned into shades of yellow and black. With his last few thoughts, Sideswipe turned to the large figure before him, who was now fully healed.
"W-what have you done?"
The figure smiled. "We’ve made you one of us. One of the Phalanx."
When Sunstreaker and Sideswipe were fully assimilated, they joined their fellow Phalanx brothers, including the figure that used to be known as Prowl.
"Come, we have much work to do."
On the Decepticon city of Trypticon, Shockwave was surrounded by Phalanx assimilated Transformers as well. These used to be his troops, the Decepticon detachment sent from Cybertron. Granted, most were merely non-sentient drones, but they had still been loyal to him. Now, these were his troops no longer.
Judging from the look of his troops. Shockwave’s worst fears were true: a techno-virus had made its way to him. The only resistance a Transformer had to a techno-virus was a substance called Cybertronium. Sadly, Cybertronium was not abundant in the Decepticon empire and it had been a while since the last shipment came from Cybertron. He had hoped that he would have gotten more Cybertronium before something like this happened. But as the humans say: That’s life.
"You are not of this planet," stated Shockwave.
"That is correct," said a Phalanx infected Seeker drone.
"Why are you here?"
"That is none of your concern."
The Phalanx began to descend on Shockwave. Shockwave knew that his chances of survival were slim. Nevertheless, his survival directive was the first to kick in. Shockwave transformed into a large Cybertronian cannon. He got off a few shots, destroying several of the infected Decepticons before being drowned in the horde of Phalanx. Though he could not be assimilated* (*Shockwave juiced up on Cybertronium last issue-Wes), he was knocked out.
"Shockwave has been neutralized," said the Phalanxed Seeker.
"Kikt...Excellent. Restrain him with the other three. Soon they will all be joining us."
While two drones dragged the battered form of Shockwave away, the rest of the Phalanxed Decpeticons turned towards a figure that was about the height of one of the smaller Transformers. He stood up to Shockwave’s shoulders. Although it was a Phalanx, this figure was different than most. It’s humanoid shaped body was a jet black color, it had several glowing neon red strips on its upper torso, and six glowing blue eyes.
"Kikt...Now that the Cybertronian city is under our control, our foothold on this planet is nearly complete."
"Have the other units reported in, first peer?" asked one of the Decepticon drones, this one a ground soldier.
"Kikt...Affirmative. The Nemesis, has been secured and its crew assimilated. The Ark is near 100% assimilation as well. It will not be long now."
"Oh Primus, this is not good. Not at all."
Perceptor unfocused his telescope lens. He transformed from his alternate form, a multi-purpose Cybertronian analysis machine that looked like a giant microscope, into his robot form. A short distance away were his fellow Autobots: Blaster, Powerglide, Beachcomber, Warpath, Seaspray, Cosmos, and the Lost Cybertronian. They were located a few dozen kilometers from Trypticon, just outside of any sensor range.
For the last half hour, Perceptor had been busy removing the thermite explosives from his fellow Autobots. As it turned out, the Last Cybertronian was a great deal of help. His knowledge as a medic, though not as great as Perceptor’s, was quite formidable. Actually, the Lost Cybertronian insisted on helping. During the operation’s, the Autobot’s filled the Lost Cybertronian in on what had been happening during his time frozen on Earth. The more he heard, the more the Lost Cybertronian regretted siding with Shockwave. Even though the group was out of immediate danger, they agreed to stay for a short while and collect reconnaissance data. It was wise of them to do so.
"What did you find Perceptor?" asked Blaster.
"Techno-organic beings have taken over Trypticon."
"What?!" gargled Seaspray. The others expressed similar disbelief.
"It’s true. I saw them infect Shockwave myself."
"These beings can’t be native to Earth," said Cosmos, "They can’t even make warp capable spacecraft, let alone a Techno-organic virus."
Perceptor nodded. "I agree with you, Cosmos. This planet’s natural inhabitants, the humans, do not have that sort of technology. And it’s doubtful these beings originated on an organic world such as this. I believe that these beings came from off-world, just like us."
The Lost Cybertronian shook his head. "It does not matter where they come from. They clearly wish to harm others. We must stop them."
"I’m afraid that will be rather difficult," said Perceptor to the Lost Cybertronian, "You see, those Transformers that are supplied with Cybertronium will be immune to infection from these beings. First, your supply of Cybertronium has expired due to your...tenure on this world. Second, with this planet’s atmosphere, our supplies will only last a few weeks at best. When that time expires, we’ll be defenseless against infection."
"We need to get Cybertronium to this planet." stated Blaster.
"But BANG where do we get it from?" asked Warpath.
The Autobots gave Blaster doubtful looks.
"Uh, Blaster," said Beachcomber in his calm voice, "The quickest way to get to Cybertron is through the Space Bridge, which is in Trypticon, a city that is crawling with possessed Decepticons. The eight of us would have to fight off an army."
Blaster’s faceplate had a grin on it. He turned towards the small pile of thermite explosives that used to occupy their systems. "Exactly."
Over the Pacific Ocean, two jets with the Decepticon symbol soared. One was black while the other was a combination of white and red. They are members of the Decepticon Seeker detachment that arrived on Earth with the Nemesis. The black one, Skywarp, and the white and red colored one, Starscream. Both have been on missions as of late. They recently met up with each other and now are heading back to Decepticon headquarters, the Nemesis.
"A Decepticon city here? On Earth? With Shockwave?!" exclaimed Starscream
"Yeah," said Skywarp, "and those Autobots sure ticked him off*(*see issue #5 for details-Wes). Megatron will just love to hear this."
"Yes, he will."
Inside, Starscream’s mind was quickly going over possible scenario’s. An army of Decepticons, even drones, could be the perfect base for an attack against Megatron, maybe even towards taking over this planet. The only obstacle was Shockwave. Perhaps an alliance could be made. But could he really trust the tactician?
The two Seekers dived into the Ocean towards the sunken Nemesis. After emitting a special code, the landing bay doors of the Nemesis opened. The two Seekers transformed to their robotic forms. A doorway on the other side of the hangar opened. The small feline Cassetticon Ravage leaped out.
"[Transform! Get us out of here now!]" growled Ravage.
The translating computers in Starscream and Skywarp instantly translated the message. Soundwave had made modifications to all translation programs in the Nemesis’ crew long ago so that the crew could understand his "children".
"What? Why?" asked Skywarp.
They didn’t need Ravage to answer them. The hangar bay door was torn open and the Phalanx infected bodies of Soundwave, Dirge, Thrust, and Rumble came pouring in.
"There it is," said Rumble, "and it’s led us straight to the remaining Seekers."
Starscream and Skywarp were shocked at what the saw. Skywarp especially.
"What the slagging-"
"[SHOOT THEM!!]" screamed Ravage.
The two Seekers hit the Phalanx with a barrage of weapons fire. Tiny pieces of Phalanx splattered on the hangar bay floor. Eventually, Starscream and Skywarp ceased fire. Seconds after they did so, the tiny pieces began to crawl towards the remains of their designated bodies.
"[Transform! We need to get out of here now!]" exclaimed Ravage.
The two Seekers transformed into their jet fighter modes. Starscream opened his cockpit and Ravage immediately hopped in. Skywarp sent the automated code, but the doors wouldn’t open. The Seeker fired two of his missiles and the doors were blown off. With a burst of fire, the two jets streaked out of the sunken fortress and into the Ocean, then the sky.
"What the slag happened?" asked Skywarp.
"[A techno-virus. It got aboard the Nemesis.]"
"[A few hours ago, Frenzy finally showed up from his...sabbatical,* and Laserbeak escaped his imprisonment from the fleshlings**(*see War Machine #4. **Laserbeak was taken prisoner by Stark Enterprises, see Iron Man #1 for more on that-Wes). Frenzy was carrying the virus, I don’t think he even knew it. Soundwave was infected immediatly, then Dirge and Thrust, then everyone else.]"
"What about Megatron?" asked Starscream.
"[He was infected as well. I just retrieved him from his mission*(*see MUTF Cable #5-Wes), and we returned shortly after Dirge and Thrust were overtaken.]"
Inwardly, Starscream smiled to himself. This was his chance, his opportunity, to get rid of Megatron without leading a full-on insurrection. If he defeated this techno-virus, the Decepticons would surely follow him. The only problem was, how would he combat a techno-virus.
"Ravage, did the Contructicons return from their assignment before Nemesis was contaminated?"
"Good, then we still have a chance. Skywarp, send me those coordinates where you spotted that city."
"We’re going to make a deal."
Down on the military base surrounding Mt. St. Hilary, there was a thickness in the air. General Preston was in the command bunker, studying monitors that showed every side of the volcano.
"Sir, one of them is coming up the road. It looks like it‘s infected," crackled a trooper’s voice over the bunker’s radio.
"Which one is it?" asked the General.
"I think it’s the one called Jazz, sir*."(*to find out where Jazz has been, check out the MUTF Bishop series-Wes)
The General turned to one of the soldiers that manned the monitors. "Give me a camera shot of that one."
One of the monitor’s showed a sporty car roaring up the road. It’s outside had the same blend of yellow and black that the other Autobots had. The General got on the radio again.
"Let it through. But don’t’ touch it, under any circumstances. That’s an order."
The barricades surrounding the volcano were opened up just enough to let the car through. It sped right on by, and into the opened "drawbridge" of the Ark.
"Anything new to report, General?" asked Ambassador Cullen, just walking into the bunker.
Preston shook his head. "No. Washington has ordered a quarantine on the Ark. Nobody gets in or out."
"No offense General, but if one of the Autobots wants out, they’re going to get out."
"That’s why we have over a dozen heavy guns and missiles trained on the Ark, just in case."
"I hope it doesn’t come to that," sighed Cullen.
Shockwave was held up by energy restraints in one of Trypticon’s cells. It was ironic, just twenty four hours ago, the Autobots were in here. Now, it shared the same situation. The Phalanx hadn’t tried to infect Shockwave yet, it would take several days for the Cybertronium in his circuits to begin to deteriorate. That was not the case with the other three sharing Shockwave’s cell. The three Triple Changers that came from Cybertron were there. Astrotrain, Blitzwing, and Octane were held with energy restraints as well. Each had begun to show signs of infection. It was only a few steaks of the yellow and black infection, but it was growing a little bit with each passing hour. Shockwave calculated that within two weeks, they‘d all be servants of the Phalanx.
A large explosion suddenly shook the cell. The Triple Changers all looked around frantically, Shockwave remained immobile.
"What was that?" asked Astrotrain.
"Our chance for survival." muttered Shockwave.
The Phalanx drones were rushing all over Trypticon. An explosion had just went off by one of Trypticon’s fuel tanks and took several drones with it. As Phalanx began to converge on the area, several vehicles emerged from almost nowhere. A red jet fighter, Powerglide, streaked overhead, firing down on the Phalanx. In the streets, Warpath, in tank mode, fired his cannon at the drones.
"About time I KRANG got to blow something B-BOOM up!" whooped Warpath.
Beachcomber and Seaspray backed Warpath up, firing away with their blasters. The Phalanx tried to outnumber them, but the Autobots maintained a solid front. They didn’t need to win, just buy time.
Blaster, Perceptor, Cosmos, and the Lost Cybertronian made their way to the Space Bridge’s location. It was in the main square of the city. The three made their way through the shadows while trying not to bee seen.
"Just another few meters," muttered Blaster.
The thermite explosives that were removed from them were used to blow up the fuel tanks. The plan was for half the team to create a distraction while the other used the Space Bridge to get to Cybertron to get help. A simple plan, which anyone could have thought of.
When the foursome reached their destination, they found the Space Bridge, just the same as they left it. Perceptor and the Lost Cybertronian rushed over to the controls. Blaster and Cosmos stood guard for any Phalanx drones while their companions tried to bring the Space Bridge on-line.
"Blast it!" hissed Perceptor.
"What’s wrong?" asked Blaster.
"A special code is needed to access the Space Bridge."
"I don’t suppose they wrote it down did they?" asked Cosmos.
Blaster gave him a dirty look. The Space Bridge was no longer an option. They needed something else. Blaster’s mind was going miles a minute.
"Wait! Perceptor, can you access Trypticon’s communication signal to Cybertron?"
Perceptor scrolled through the computer. "Yes, I can."
"Good. Punch in the Autobot Resistance’s code, Gold frequency."
As Perceptor did so, Blaster transformed into his alternate form, a boom box. He plugged into the communication’s console and sent out a tight beam message. He encoded it so only the Autobot’s on Cybertron would be able to decrypt it.
"I hope you guys get this," thought Blaster.
After a few minutes, Blaster transformed back. "There, it’s done."
Blaster turned around to see several dozen Phalanx drones surrounding them. The black colored Phalanx leader stood before the Autobots. He wagged his finger at them, as if scolding a young child or pet.
"Kikt...That was an unwise decision."
Blaster motioned for the others to put their guns down, then raise their hands in a surrendering gesture. Blaster‘s face was calm, showing no sign of resistance. "I‘m cool."
To be continued...