Bishop #6 - All that glitters....
As Bishop looked up, he was already pulling his rifles into a firing position. The sight he saw was not a very pleasant one. The "morbid victors", whilst certainly morbid, were no longer victors by any measure. At least 30 or 40 members of the gang were attached to the ceiling by what could only be described as tentacles, for want of a better term. But then, as soon as Bishop saw what they were, he realised that it was indeed a trap. Once more, the Phalanx were at large on Earth.
Each of the gang members appeared to be tied to his comrades, but Bishop knew better. The techno-organic tendrils that bound them were once a part of their own living bodies. And at the centre of this techno-organic nightmare, was Bishop’s would-be opponent - Downshift.
"Get me out of here!"
Bishop was amazed at this. From what he knew, The phalanx were able to assimilate almost anything extremely quickly, yet they seemed to be having extreme difficulty with Downshift. His body seemed to keep changing substance and shape as quickly as theirs were. Without thinking, Bishop silently took aim and fired at the tendrils surrounding Downshift. They withered under the force of his shot, and Downshift took advantage of the opportunity to twist and morph himself into another form, one more able to escape the now weakened grasp of the Phalanx. He fell to the floor, but seemed no worse for it as he stood up.
"What the hell are you Downshift?"
"No time to answer stupid questions! Time to fade, heroes." Said Downshift mockingly, as he bolted for a nearby wall. However, the wall began to change shape and colour, and Downshift was forced to stop and turn around before he ran into another Phalanx conflagration.
"Okay, this is beyond a joke... One of you heroes think of something smart to say, I can’t..."
"Jazz, let’s get out of here! Take out the wall!"
With that, Jazz turned and fired into the wall they’d burst in through, the doors having been replaced with techno-organic matter. The combination of flame and photon blew the phalanx blockade into pieces small enough to be fitted into a matchbox. However, as soon as this was done, a tendril shot out from the ceiling and attached itself to one of Jazz’s door-wings. As soon as Bishop saw it begin to turn gold, he blasted the wing off with both rifles simultaneously. Jazz was noticeably grateful, but let out a small robotic cry of pain as his right shoulder was also damaged.
"Can you transform?"
"Sure can Bish. Let’s blow this Popsicle stand, or something like that..."
With that, Jazz transformed into his black Porsche vehicular form, and Bishop jumped inside. Downshift, seeing no other way out, morphed himself into a replacement door for Jazz, as the three sped off into the night. With one last move of defiance, Downshift triggered a little switch in his mind, which caused the Warehouse to explode violently, showering burning pieces of warehouse everywhere.
"YOU IDIOT!" Screamed Bishop, as he realised what Downshift had done. "What did you do that for? Now it’s going to be showering Phalanx everywhere between here and San Francisco!"
"And this is a bad thing because?"
"Each little bit of phalanx is capable of assimilating more people, you idiot! Now, instead of having just one big repository of phalanx, we have the suckers blasted all over the state! You’ve may well have just sealed the fate of mankind! And you don’t CARE?!"
"Nope, never crossed my mind. And anyway," Said downshift through his makeshift mouth, sticking out of the inside of Jazz’s new door, "I’m not human, what do I care?"
"Then what are you? A mutant? An artificial construct?"
"Neither... Actually, if anything, I’m more like your friend we’re currently racing to safety in. I’m really a...." Downshift’s words tailed off as he realised he didn’t actually know.
Jazz, who had remained silent throughout this entire exchange, spoke up.
"Downshift, I know who you are. Does the name "Optimus Prime" mean anything to you?"
"Prime? Sure, he’s our... Hey wait, what are you...Prime.. and the other Autobots... Camshaft, and Overdrive... Argh! Why can’t I remember?"
Downshift was noticeably disturbed by what Jazz was saying, as he seemed to ripple and buckle with each word that he recognised.
"What happened to the other Omnibots? Can you remember anything? Anything at all? About Cybertron, about the war, about the Decepticons?"
"No... You’re Jazz, aren’t you? I don’t recognise your vehicle form, and you appear to have had something of a repaint."
"You could say that. But you’ve been separated from us for such a long time. Do you even remember who you are?"
"Downshift. My name is Downshift. My brothers and I, were the Omnibots... we... No! I remember everything! Including what happened to the others... it was awful... Primus, it was awful..."
"Downshift man, are you okay?"
"No... The humans, they took us from the Ark... When we left, we saw that ans... they dismembered my brothers!... they tok us apart to see how we worked...