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 #10: The Phalanx Ascension part 3 "Blitzkrieg"
By: Wes A.
The Ark, Mt. St. Hilary "We were hoping that you would arrive to free your comrades. Now all the Autobots will belong to our hive."
Huffer looked up into the face of Optimus Prime. It was not the face of the beloved leader. It was twisted, evil.
All of the Autobots on the Ark were.
The powerful Phalanx-Autobot had Huffer pinned down on the floor, ramming his fist into the immobile Autobot’s torso. With a crack, Huffer could feel and hear his outer armor breaking. He couldn’t be assimilated by the Phalanx, not for as long as his body’s supply of Cybertronium would last. Still, that didn’t mean the Phalanx could rip him apart, piece by piece.
A short ways down the corridor, the remaining Heroes for Hire, Iron Fist, Luke Cage, and Death’s Head, were making one last stand against the hordes of Phalanx drones coming at them.
"Well boys, it’s been real," said Luke Cage as he smashed another drones head with a right cross.
"Not done yet, Luke."
Death’s Head tilted his head towards Iron Fist as he blasted two more drones to atoms with his arm-formed cannon, "Love the optimism, always a sure sign of the doomed hero."
Iron Fist kept his feet and fists flying against the drones, an impenetrable wall, "Just keep fighting."
*** Polyhex, Cybertron A large explosion rocked the large compound on Northern side of Polyhex. All over the city Decepticons and Vehicons alike ran to their battle stations. With a loud whoop, they suddenly found hundreds of Autobot warriors leaping out at them from every direction. Leading the Autobot charge was the powerful Fortress Maximus. Alongside him were the Wreckers.
"Let’s go Wreckers!"
Impactor lead the team straight into the Decepticon ranks. All over, weapons fire pierced Vehicon drones and automated defenses. Darkmount was still not fully repaired from the last Autobot attack* (*once again, read A World Transformed #3 for details) and thus the Space Bridge had been moved to a different location. The Decepticons thought it would be a safer location. They were wrong.
Topspin and Twin Twist, the Jumpstarters, had blocked off a group of Cycler drones from the Wreckers position. Although the drones were only about a third of the size of the standard Autobot, their sheer numbers were their advantage. "Keep it up, don’t give them a second to recover!", barked Twin Twist.
As the two Jumpstarters were laying waste to the Cyclers, three larger Deathtread drones came up behind them and aimed their shoulder cannons. Before they could fire, a barrage of plasma bullets took them out. Having dispatched their targets, the Jumpstarters looked up to see the Autobot twin brothers Rack and Ruin blow the smoke from the barrels of their gattling guns. The twin brothers looked at each other with feral grins and slammed fists together. "Now this is my sort of mission!" exclaimed Rack triumphantly.
As the Wreckers and the other Autobot squads kept the Decepticons at bay outside, Ultra Magnus led Kup’s team through the halls of the Decepticon compound. The team consisted of Ultra Magnus, Springer, Kup, two young Autobot’s named Hot Rod and Blurr, and a light purple colored Autobot female warrior named Arcee. Like Magnus did with the Wreckers, Kup was making these three young Autobots into a well-formed unit for combat.
"Should be just up this hallway," said Magnus. Magnus led the team to a door. Blurr, a young Autobot that was a part of Kup’s team, quickly cracked the lock on the door and gained them access. Magnus went in first to find the Space Bridge.
"There it is. Just the way I remember it. They‘ve even replaced the control system by now."
Just as Magnus had said, the Space Birdge’s control system was indeed replaced. The ceiling had been taken off the room to allow transport for the Space Bridge.
"Blurr," ordered Kup, "see if you can get this piece of scrap to work."
Springer and Magnus exchanged confused looks as the younger Autobot tech went to work on the Space Bridge’s control panel. Kup caught the exchange. "The kid has some kind of speech virus recurring in his CPU, medic’s can’t seem to wipe it from his system," whispered the older Autobot.
The groups waited for several minutes as Blurr’s hands expertly worked the control panel.
"Come on Blurr, any cycle now," muttered Hot Rod impatiently.
As Blurr began programming Earth’s coordinates into the Space Bridge, the Wreckers Impactor, Whirl, and Roadbuster entered the room. They quickly saluted Ultra Magnus.
"We have secured the compound Magnus," reported Impactor, "but Scorponok will no doubt send reinforcements soon."
Magnus nodded his head. "Don’t worry Impactor, we’ll try to make this as quick as possible. If the Decepticons numbers grow too big and we’re still not back, I want you and Fortress Maximus to evacuate the base. Understood?"
Impactor reluctantly nodded his head. Just then, the Space Bridge’s power core began to power up. Kup’s team began to power up their weapons. Each of them had large rifles, especially made for this mission. Each bullet had a charge of Cybertronium that it would administer on contact with a Transformer.
"All right Autobots," said Ultra Magnus, "let’s get ready to roll out."
*** Trypticon, Siberia "So I take it your plan did not proceed as you intended."
Blaster looked across the cellblock hallway. On the opposite side was Shockwave, the former commander of Trypticon. The purple-hued Decpeticon merely stared at Blaster, his yellow eye emitting its constant glow. "You could say that," said Blaster simply.
Blaster had shared a cell with the Lost Cybertronian and Cosmos, all of whom were bound by energy bonds. The rest of the Autobot unit was scattered in neighboring cells.
"They are an efficient hive," continued Shockwave, "I would like to study a sample of their genetic stock."
"What makes you think you’ll get a shot after this?", asked Blaster.
Shockwave returned his gaze to the blank wall he was facing. "I will."
Blaster decided to not argue the point any further when he felt a rumble from the floor. Cosmos and the Lost Cybertronian looked around. Movement could be heard from the other containment cells.
"What was that?" asked Blitzwing from a cell down the hall.
"They destroying the city? Sounded like a building coming down," said Beachcomber.
Cosmos glanced at Blaster, "Do you think that’s the reinforcements from Cybertron?"
Blaster was trying to get to his feet when a side wall of the containment area was blown open.
"The slag!?!" shouted Blitzwing.
The wall that went down was near Blaster’s cell. He squirmed to get a look at what had happened. With the wall gone there was a large hole leading outside, the sounds of battle seeping in. Metallic footsteps made their way towards Blaster’s cell.
"Well, I didn’t expect to you here."
Blaster’s mouthpiece tightened when he saw the grinning Seeker Starscream looking down at him. The Decepticon commander had several canisters of Cybertronium tucked under his left arm. Starscream’s grin widened at Blaster’s reaction.
"Not happy to see me?"
"I cannot imagine why."
Starscream turned around to see Shockwave glaring him.
"Shockwave! Well, this is a surprise. When I heard about this city I knew it had to be run by someone very clever to keep it from the humans. You were not my first choice, sorry to say."
"Screamer, get us out of here!" yelled Astrotrain. With one fluid motion, Starscream fired at the cell’s control counsel and destroyed it. All the power bands and energy doors went off-line in the cells. Autobots and Decepticons rushed out, unsure of how to regard their liberator. Starscream threw down the Cybertronium canisters.
"Anyone who needs a refill take one now and get outside. My forces will only distract the Phalanx for so long."
"Your forces?" asked Blaster slowly.
"Oh yes, there’s been a slight change in leadership in the Decepticon ranks. Now hurry, Ravage has reported that the virus is attempting to take out the city‘s Cybertronium reserves."
After retrieving their weapons from the containment area storage locker, the liberated prisoners went outside to see none other than Devestator fighting off several dozen Phalanx drones.
With a thick laugh the giant gestalt Decepticon smashed two infected Seeker drones with his right hand. Ground forces were trying to use heavy pulse cannons against the giant, but were swiftly stomped out under Devastator’s feet. Dirge and Thrust were also picking off Phalanx drones from the air.
Starscream immediately took control of the situation.
"As powerful as Devastator is, he will not last forever. Shockwave, I need you to accompany my to the Cybertronium reserves."
"Hold up! You’re not going anywhere without me and my people!" said Blaster.
Starscream shot Blaster a scowl, "Fine, you and one of your lieutenants can accompany us, but we must go now!"
Blaster nodded. "Warpath, you’re with us. The rest of you work with the Decepticons to fight the Phalanx."
As Shockwave led Starscream, Blaster, and Warpath further into the city the remaining Autobots and Decepticons joined the battle. Powerglide, the Lost Cybertronian, and Blitzwing transformed into their aerial fighter forms and took to the sky while the rest attacked the Phalanx ground forces.
"It’s about time we get to blow something up,"
muttered Astrotrain as he opened fire on a infected Decepticon drone.
Powerglide and the lost Cybertronian were blasting a squad of airborne drones. The Lost Cybertronian did a barrel roll, taking out three drones with a missile salvo.
"Good shot, Cybertronian," said Powerglide.
"Thank you," said the Cybertronian with a quiet confidence, "and, please, call me Jetfire."
Powerglide chuckled as he did a loop around a drone, "Better than calling you ‘the Lost Cybertronian’ all the time."
*** Huffer could feel Optimus beginning to tear at his outer armor. Yellow tendrils began to splinter and crack his shell, making their way closer to the diminutive Autobot’s inner circuitry.
"Optimus, please, d-don’t..." pleaded Huffer.
The assimilated Autobot gave no answer.
In the same hallway, a Phalanx drone grabbed Iron Fist by the arm and was attempting to draw him out of the group formation the remaining heroes were in. Luke was about to help his teammate when a blast of fire came down through the ceiling and vaporized the Phalanx drone. The drone didn’t let out so much as a yelp before it was turned into a few wisps of dust.
"What the hell?" asked Iron Fist, looking up.
All eyes went to the ceiling as a wide hole was burned through the Ark. Through the hole came what appeared to be the Ghost Rider. The figure had the flaming skull and chain, but wore a cape, had a yellow diamond decorating its chest, and looked to be made of metal. The new combatant wasted no time in attacking any Phalanx it could find.
"I can smell the deaths of billions from you machines, the deaths of lives and souls. Vengeance will now be brought forth upon you." proclaimed the Ghost Rider as it engulfed its chain in hellfire and smashed away at a cluster of Phalanx.
Optimus withdrew from his attack on Huffer and melded into the wall of the Ark. This new combatant was powerful and was easily destroying any Phalanx it touched. The other Phalanx on the planet needed to be aware of this.
Meanwhile, the Phalanx that were attacking the remaining heroes had focused their attention on the new threat. Sensing the opportunity, they helped Huffer to his feet.
"Can we still get to the Cybertronium?" asked Iron Fist.
"Yes," said Huffer with a crackle in his voice, "We’re very close now."
"Then what’re we waitin’ for?" asked Luke as he dashed down the hall, the others following him.
Ghost Rider sensed the others leaving, but if he cared he showed no sign. More drones came pouring from the walls of the Ark, each being vaporized with a blast of hellfire.
After a flash of light, Ultra Magnus and his crew found themselves in a dark room. They each had their weapons powered and at the ready.
"Doesn’t look like they were expecting us," muttered Hot Rod.
Magnus immediately took charge. "Springer, get the door open. Kup, Blur, get ready for any surprises on the other side."
Springer made his way over to the pad on the wall beside the door. Kup and Blur crouched down in the front of the door, weapons ready. Springer hadn’t even touched the pad when the door opened and several Phalanx infected Decepticon Seekers began to walk through. "Fire!"
On Kup’s order, he and Blur blasted off several rounds from their rifles. Each shot made a direct hit. With each hit scored to the drones exterior, a dose of Cybertronium was seeped through into their systems. They were weapons designed to combat techno-virus’s like the Phalanx. The effect took seconds, the Phalanx part of each drone beginning to slowly deteriorate. Ultra Magnus watched the effects with a grin on his face. "Perceptor will be glad to know his design still works."
As the drones began to disinfect, the Autobot team began to make their way out of the room. With hardly a noise they made their way through the main complex of Trypticon. Magnus suddenly gave the halt signal with his left hand.
"You hear that?" he asked Kup.
Kup listened for a second, "Yeah, sounds like gunfire coming from the east end."
"What‘rewewaitingforlet‘scheckitout,boss," said Blur in a rushed whisper.
Still taking are to not attract attention, the group made it’s way closer to the fight. When they reached it they found a large room with the doors blown open, surrounded by a number of Phalanx drones.
"Arcee, Blur, Hot Rod, take them out with a wide pattern," ordered Magnus.
The three Autobots fired their rifles from the cover of the hallway corners. Half of the Phalanx were taken out in the first barrage. The other half were taken out from the same type of firing coming from inside the room.
"What the slag?" mouthed Hot Rod.
"That wasn’t you?" asked Kup.
Hot Rod shook his head. Magnus knew that something was in that room, something with the same weaponry. He was about to give the order to move in when a voice cried out from the room.
"Don’t shoot, we’re not with the yellow fellas!"
Magnus poked his head around the corner to see Blaster and Warpath come out of the room with Cybertronium rifles like his team had. The Autbot leader was about to break his cover when he saw Starscream and Shockwave also walk out of the room with rifles. Magnus set his rifle onto Shockwave.
"Blaster, get down!" he barked.
Blaster shot his hand out in a spread fashion,
"Magnus, don’t! It’s cool, they’re with us."
Magnus kept his rifle trained on Shockwave.
"Do not worry Magnus, we’re on the same side," said Starscream impatiently, "Now come along, we have a city to retake."
Magnus lowered his rifle and came out into the hallway. Kup and the other followed suit. The two groups met each other in the middle of the hall.
"Ok," said Magnus warily, "since you seem to have everything under control, what’s the plan?"
*** "Kikt...we must abandon this world."
Inside of the Phalanx hive located at the center of Trypticon, the Phalanx leader assessed the situation. All around him the images from monitors gave an eerie glow that reflected on his obsidian skin. The screens showed the Decepticon/Autobot forces engaging the Phalanx. With the arrival of reinforcements from Cybertron, the Phalanx were beginning to lose ground. With each shot from the Cybertronium weapons fired, the Phalanx’s influence was taken away bit by bit. And with the reports coming from the Ark about an unstoppable threat, the situation was worsening.
"Kikt...give the order to retreat. We will withdraw from this world."
"Yes, you will."
The Phalanx leader turned around to see Shockwave standing before him, a Cybertronium rifle in hand.
"Actually, you will never be coming back."
Shockwave fired a barrage of shots from his rifle, each slamming into the Phalanx. The creature screamed a sound that was like interference from a speaker, its body dissolving away as the Cybertronium was literally eating it away. Shockwave stood and watched every second, never taking his gaze off the sight before him.
Finally, when the leader was gone, all of the Phalanx on the planet began to dissolve away. The Decepticon drones at Trypticon returned to their previous state. The Ark, the Autobots, and military base were returned to normal.
Megatron and his Decepticons on the Nemesis found themselves back to the way they were.
Mirage, Trailbreaker, and Cliffjumper looked around at the deassimilated Autobots that were attacking them moments ago outside the Ark.
"We just won, right?" asked Trailbreaker.
Ironhide looked around, "What’re we doin’ out here?"
Ghost Rider looked around as the Phalanx drones dissolved before his very eyes. He sensed that no more of the Phalanx were at the Ark. With his mission complete, Ghost Rider lowered his head, and in a burst of flame he returned his body back to the Vision.
Vision accessed his memory banks and replayed the Ghost Rider’s actions within a few seconds. As he saw the violence and coldness that the Ghost Rider showed, the fluids in his body felt like they were about to freeze.
He took to the air immediately through the hole in the Ark the Ghost Rider make, not wanting to be present when others came looking for his other half.
"Well Magnus, it’s been real," said Blaster with a smile.
"Yes...it has," said Magnus, unsure if Blaster meant it as a compliment.
The two Autobots shook hands, ignoring the dozen or so Decepticons that surrounded them in the Space Bridge area.
"I can’t believe Shockwave is letting them go,"
Blitzwing muttered to Octane. "They saved our skid plates. It was the least we owed them."
"Whatever," growled the Triple Changer. As Magnus and his team stepped onto the Space Bridge platform, they made way for Jetfire as well.
"Take care of yourself, Jetfire," said Blaster.
Jetfire smiled, "I will. From what you’ve told me, Cybertron isn’t what it used to be. I just hope I can make a difference there."
Shockwave activated the Space Bridge, and with a flash of light the group on the platform vanished. Dropping his smile, Blaster turned toward Shockwave.
"Well, you still going to keep your word?"
Shockwave nodded, "I will grant you safe passage outside of Siberia, and the use of a shuttle to reach the Ark."
Blaster nodded and turned to leave the room.
"But understand one thing: you will not delay the inevitable."
Blaster turned toward Shockwave and gave the Decepticon an icy stare. He said nothing, simply walked out of the room.
As the shuttle made its way out of Trypticon, Shockwave and Starscream watched in an observation room.
"You should have killed them, you know."
"Do not question me, Starscream."
The Seeker chuckled at the comment, "Just like Megatron, blind obedience and nothing more."
"I am not like Megatron."
"Oh, I know," said Starscream vaguely, "That’s why I have a proposition for you."
Shockwave turned from the window towards Starscream. "An alliance?"
Starscream smiled a feral grin, "What else?"
Shockwave pondered for a moment, his yellow eye glowing.
The two were interrupted as the observation room door opened. A short, gray colored Transformer entered the room.
"Shockwave, Starscream. I hope I wasn’t interrupting anything."
Shockwave’s demeanor remained neutral while Starscream’s was anything but.
"What are you doing here? You’re not a Decepticon!"
"Yes, he is," replied Shockwave, "He came here some years ago while we were building Trypticon."
The figure stepped towards Starscream and extended his hand, a smile on his faceplate and a purple Depceticon insignia on his chest, "Deceptcion engineer Spanner, at your service."
The End...for now.