Wednesday, March 02, 2005

Transformers #5 - Part Five

The Transformers #5 {formerly A World Transformed}

Written By Karl V

Plots by Maximus Prime {Bryan S.}

It's a rather desperate time when you ask why you haven't died by the hands of your enemies. For five stalwart robots in disguise, the question of when has been processed every microsecond in their minds.

"I hate to say this bots. But, we're sure in a heap of slag now. " Blaster stated to the rest of the Autobots.

"That goes without saying Blaster." Cosmos waved his arm at the energy bars that held them in the prison cell, "We don't know what is happening with Powerglide and Warpath and what Shockwave is going to do with us."

Perceptor's misery was apparent as he wallowed in the corner of the cell. "I'm afraid they may have met the same fate as Spanner. The fact that our friends don't occupy this cell almost guarantees their demise. Alas, I fear we may be next as soon as Shockwave comes back."

"Well, he's got to want us for something, or else we'd be offline by now." Beachcomber ominously added.

Seaspray nodded in agreement then looked up to see the approaching Shockwave. "Well, I think we're about to find out."

"Greetings Autobots. I hope you appreciate the fact that I have yet to extinguish your laser cores." Shockwave's cyclopean eye glowed with a bright yellow as he sarcastically spoke.

"I'm sure many of you are wondering why I would do such a thing. Well, it seems the atmosphere of this planet increases the rate of decay of Cybertronium. "

Perceptor's mood changed from depressed to intensely curious in a mere microsecond. "My word, that means we will be susceptible to most symbiotic and parasitic life forms."

"Uh, I don't mean to interrupt. But, can someone lay this out in simple terms?" Blaster looked at Perceptor first.

Shockwave answered for the Autobot. "Simple, Autobot. Any number of Techo viruses can inhabit our very bodies without the presence of Cybertronium. Some can result in minor malfunctions up to the loss of all mind processes. Unfortunately, Megatron was not very logical in his thinking when he allowed the Autobots to hold the majority of control over the element. It is another reason why I have gathered my forces here, to usurp his illogical place as leader."

Perceptor thought for a moment then looked at Blaster. "He means to use us as a bargaining tool to get the Cybertronium. And, no doubt to take out any loyal Decepticons who are unfortunate enough not to have a new supply of the element."

"I never heard of a Decepticon who's let any Autobot prisoners go alive." Seaspray spoke with his trademark gargle.

"I assume each of you has some intricate knowledge of Autobot secrets. While I organize my forces, we will obtain such information through any means necessary. It will be rather unfortunate that all of your minds will be wiped...accidentally...during the interrogations, much like your other two friends. I will exchange lifeless shells for the golden Electrum of this planet."

"Why you piece of slaggin..." Blaster clenched his fist in rage.

Shockwave merely stared at the Autobot. "Such an irrational display of emotions. It is a wonder that you Autobots can still function. It is a situation which I will remedy soon."

"What in blazes is going on around here?" Preston yelled at the top of his lungs.

The Private saluted. "Sir, there's been reports of a two mutant teams fighting outside of the perimeter." {See NeoKnights #5}

General Preston grumbled with intense impatience. "Looks like you've got the attention of the muties."

The white robot looked down at the General and frowned. "General, I've had time myself to research your species. I know that mutie is a derogative term. Besides, we recently found out that the X-Men came upon documents concerning Energon and it's effect on your kind. I have a bad feeling that other mutant teams have came upon the same information."

Preston fumed. "Great, your ship seems to be leaking, and we're going to catch royal hell for it."

Prowl motioned for one of his few soldiers left. "General, this is Hound. His alternate configuration is analogous to this base and it's vehicles."

The green robot stepped forward. "I'm pleased to meet you sir."

"Skip the formalities and let's go." He impatiently tapped his foot.

Hound gave a glance at Prowl who nodded in an understood order. Hound quickly transformed into the form of a military jeep. Preston tried to act unimpressed as he unceremoniously plopped himself in the driver's seat and buckled up. Prowl looked down at them once more.

"I've rerouted Jazz to handle the small area where the Seekers landed. {See Bishop #3-KV}. General, I think it best if you handled the mutant teams that are fighting."

The General rolled his eyes. "Fine, let's go you heap of tin."

"Hey, I'm actually made out of..." Hound had started to complain.

"Just do as the General orders, Hound." Prowl interrupted.

Hound revved up his engine. "You got it Prowl. This shouldn't take long."

Hound sped off out of the Ark and Prowl turned his attention to the view screen.

"We now break from our usual programming to bring this late breaking announcement. Greetings, I'm Casey Carothers for WBFX News. Apparently, the dawn of the millennium has provided a different kind of fireworks in the form of mutants who are apparently attacking a giant robot in New York City. It has been unspecified whether or not this attack was staged or not. The mutants in question were the outlaws referred to as the X-Men {See #4-5 for details} with several other unidentified younger mutants by their side. According to eyewitness accounts, a truck had transformed into a thirty-foot tall robot, and began battle with the most known terrorist mutant known as Magneto. Then, the X-Men joined the fray..."

Prowl's jaw dropped at the description of the robot. "Primus, what else could go wrong today."

A resounding beep echoed throughout the ship. Prowl pressed a few buttons as Wheeljack's voice came over the radio.

"We're digging up Grimlock and his troops now. I will report back as soon as the job is done." Wheeljack reported.

"Thank Primus! Use whatever method necessary to get them out safely. And, report back on their status once they are back on-line." Prowl's depression was slowly being replaced by bright optimism. Prowl returned his optics to the view screens to keep tabs on more sightings in New York.

"Brawn, there has been a report of black and red robot in your vicinity, Frenzy from the sound of the report. Prime and the rest are... too busy, so I'm sending you to investigate."

"You got it Prowl. There's nothing that this tough Autobot can't handle."

Wheeljack and Ratchet stood over the boiling, viscous liquid with quizzical optics.

"Well, I suppose we better get started. The Energon signatures are in here." Ratchet transformed to his vehicular mode, an ambulance. He detached the rear section as it transformed into a gun emplacement. Ratchet loaded a projectile into the gun and shot it into the tar.

"Well, this should send out an ultrasonic wave, and tell us exactly how the General and the rest are positioned. At least, I hope it does. Then, we can proceed with rescue operation." Wheeljack explained to Ratchet.

To the surprise of both Ratchet and Wheeljack, the receiving device picked up the signal of the rocket probe. It showed five different forms, one right on top of another. Wheeljack noticed they were in their alternative configurations.

"Strange, it looks as though the Ark chose organic forms for the General and his troops." Wheeljack tried to identify the shapes.

Ratchet ran through his memory banks. He had downloaded every possible organic form, as his position of medic demanded such knowledge in case he encountered any wounded organic creatures.

"I believe these are called Dinosaurs. Since there was no mechanical life present at the time, Teletran One had to choose organic forms."

Wheeljack nodded. "Yeah, fortunately we have that secondary default in our systems. Now, we can proceed with the next phase. I specially rigged this missile with retracting claws. Also, the line is attached to this wheel mechanism, which will reel in the clawed missile and we have Grimlock and the rest."

Ratchet quickly picked up the next projectile that was tethered with a line and loaded it into the gun. As quickly as the projectile was loaded, it prematurely launched directly at Wheeljack. The tip of the projectile hit Wheeljack as the missile sprang three huge claws from its body. They grasped Wheeljack tightly as the line began reeling in its involuntary target. It dragged Wheeljack along the ground, as the inventor squirmed all the way. Wheeljack was pulled up on the gun station as the claws retracted back into the missile.

Ratchet could not help but laugh at the situation. "Well, at least we know it works."

This time Wheeljack picked up the projectile and loaded it himself. "Yeah, now we will see how well it works on Grimlock and his troops."

Ratchet smiled, then turned serious. "Well, I can not tell which one is which since they're in their alternate modes. Maybe except Swoop, I can safely assume he's the winged one. He was the aerial reconnaissance and bombardier specialist. He's also the one on the top of the pile."

Wheeljack launched the missile into the tar. The missile hit the thick liquid with undesired results. The claws swung out from the sides again in a failed attempt to grab the goop. It reeled into the mechanism dragging some of the sticky liquid on the end of its claws.

Wheeljack sighed. "I guess I need to add a magnetic tip to it. Once it latches to metal, it will deploy its claws."

"You know, a sonic barrier might be easier." Ratchet impatiently suggested, as he didn't want to be the next victim in a backfire of the device.

Wheeljack shook his head. "No, sound resounds in liquid. It may damage them further. We have to do this the archaic way."

The medic wondered if it was pride more than logic influencing Wheeljack to get the Elite in such a manner, after all a sonic device was just used to detect their positions. A sonic barrier could easily lift the liquid up and the Elite could be instantly repaired in the pit while the sonic barrier still held the liquid up in the air. Ratchet let Wheeljack continue lest the inventor's depression would create a menagerie of malfunctioning gadgets, and he may have to repair the hapless victims that fell into their path.

Wheeljack finished the modification on the missile and fired it into the tar again. The claws did not extend upon impact this time, and gave the inventor a smile. Thankfully, the weight of the missile was enough to make the thing descend rather quickly through the thick black ooze. The ultrasonic device was still going, giving Wheeljack the proper way to guide the missile down. Wheeljack's attention to the matter was much like a child at a machine trying to grab the reward with the claw hand.

"The claw released. It grabbed Swoop." Ratchet reported.

Wheeljack nodded and switched the gear on the machine. It made a heavy clunking noise as though it was about to give out from the sheer weight of pulling the Elite Autobot warrior from the tar. Finally, a wing had popped out from the dark pool, and reflected a glimmer of hope and light upon Wheeljack and Ratchet. As the wing drew came closer to the Autobots, that hope was quickly crushed as the claw only managed to rip the wing from Swoop's structure. Wheeljack detached the wing and placed it next to Ratchet. He reloaded the missile and fired again. The procedure was repeated with all the Elite squad, and at least one of their body parts torn from them by the claw. After Ratchet fixed the broken appendages, the two Autobots began cleaning the solidifying liquid. After a few hours, they managed to clean every nook and cranny of the Elite. They were now glimmering in their gray metallic organic like forms. Now, something more disturbing had to be done. Ratchet opened Swoop's head to examine the logic circuits. The low grunt of disappointment resounded through the air. Wheeljack bowed his head, and dared to ask the obvious.

"Well, how bad is it?"

Ratchet looked up with some dismay. "The liquid has seeped into their inner structures."

"Well, that doesn't mean anything bad...yet. Let's clean all their processors and inner circuitry. Then, we'll see if there was any damage."

Wheeljack's optimism was contagious as Ratchet fastidiously set about his work on clearing the tar from the inner workings of the Elite.

"Whatever we need to do, we need to do it now." Blaster's impatience was quickly grating on everyone else's circuits.

"Blaster, as I noted before we are at an extreme tactical deficiency." Perceptor retorted.

Blaster nodded in agreement. "I know, but Shockwave is the type of 'Con that keeps his promise. I don't want to end up a mindless bot."

"I do not wish that either Blaster. I have an idea, but first we need to try to pick up any type of signals that these fleshlings send out. Transform into your alternate mode and see if you can pick up anything." Perceptor ordered.

Blaster transfigured into his communication device mode. He quickly went through several types of wave frequencies.

"I've got a lot of radio signals. Some of them have excellent beats to them." Blaster reported.

Perceptor shook his head. "Never mind them. Look for any video frequencies."

"Okay, just watch my monitor for any signs." Blaster turned on the portion of his alternate mode that had a clear screen. A lot of static was shown until a clear, crisp picture of a fleshling program was displayed.

"I think you may have found something Blaster." Perceptor zoomed in his optic sensors to see the small picture.

"It has an audio signal as well. Should I play it?" Blaster queried.

Perceptor shook his head. "No, it's too much of a risk with the Decepticons around. But, find more of these fleshling video programs. I can reconfigure all of you to be more appropriate to this planet's machines. After all, my alternate mode is a portable reconfiguration ray."

"You got it Perceptor." Blaster practically cheered in response.

After several cycles had passed, Perceptor managed to reconfigure the other four Autobots by timing the change between guards. When the next shift changed, Blaster transformed into his new boom box mode and quickly slipped into Cosmo's UFO storage compartment. Perceptor quickly nodded to the others as the Decepticon looked into the cell. The Autobots couldn't have asked for a better guard to be posted at their cell. As the triple changer Blitzwing looked into the cell, he only saw four robots and not five. Not even bothering to be observant about Cosmos' new form, Blitzwing immediately released the energy bars holding the Autobots in the cell.

Cosmos quickly flew out while smacking the triple changer in the face. The Decepticon landed with a thud to the ground. Beachcomber and Seaspray transformed into their earthen forms, a blue sand buggy and a white and blue hovercraft respectively. They rode out of the cell as they ran over the triple changer preventing him from getting up. Cosmos ejected Blaster from his hold, while the laid back robot transformed into his warrior form. The red and yellow Autobot pulled his gun from his sub space compartment. Blaster shot his electro-scrambler at Blitzwing. The shot hit the Decepticon directly as the triple changer helplessly converted from one form to another.

"!" Blitwing's broken request for help fell upon non-receptive audio circuits.

Blaster joined the Autobot Scientist who had run to a nearby corner of the city. Perceptor and Blaster clung to the walls of the city like they were the very metal plates used in the construction of it.

"This seems a bit too easy. I wonder if all the Decepticons went after the others." Blaster remarked as they ran to another corner with no trace of a guard.

Perceptor nodded. "That would be a good hypothesis Blaster. Hopefully it's not...."

Blaster interrupted with a wave of his hand that indicated silence was necessary. Blaster raised his gun in preparation to fire it. As the soft clanking against the rocky ground of the planet came closer and grew louder with each step, the two Autobots laser cores pulsed faster with nervousness and anticipation. Another Decepticon walked right by their location, this one obviously not paying particular attention to his surroundings. Blaster shot the Seeker, as the Decepticon began to jerk and twitch.

"We should get as far from here as possible. The Decepticons will soon notice our absence." Perceptor noted.

The brave Autobot communication specialist put up a front. "Well, I have plenty of more shots for all the Decepticreeps."

Beachcomber skidded quite a few times across the white slick terrain of the planet. He constantly looked back to see if any Decepticons were pursuing him from behind. With no Decepticons behind, he scanned the area ahead of him. A faint Energon signature beeped in his sensor display. His geological knowledge identified the Energon that was already used. Typically, used fuel could be recycled a few times before becoming completely useless. And, Shockwave's logic would not allow waste of such energies. Beachcomber drove slowly in an effort to stop the tires from uselessly spinning. Then, he headed in the direction of the Energon.

Blitzwing finally managed to regain control of his transformation. He tried his communicator, which had been shorted out along with some other minor circuits. He was not too disappointed, as he would have the first crack to get revenge on the Autobot that shot him. Blitzwing converted to his jet mode, which resembled a desert-camouflaged delta wing F-15 fighter in appearance. He soared up as high as he could to observe the escaping Autobots. He swerved around in a circle and spotted a small blue dot against the white snow blanketed plains. This Autobot would be an easy kill since it's vehicular mode was having troubles traversing the slick tundra. Blitzwing made one more circle like a vulture ready to descend on its prey. The targeting systems were still a bit off due to the damage done, again not too much of a disappointment to the Decepticon. Any ammo spent towards the decimation of an Autobot was well worth it, he thought to himself. Blitzwing dove for the kill, making sure to keep his nosecone pointed at the Autobot on the ground.

Beachcomber sighed in growing frustration as he spun out again. The surface tension of the ground was minimal and he had been converted to a form that had wheels. He started slowly again towards the Energon signature, while trying to keep his curiosity in check. His excitement of an unnatural phenomenon made him speed up again in a rather precarious fashion, only the Chronoarchitect knew when the Autobot would lose control and spin out again. Fortunately, for both old robot time and the Autobot, the wait was minimal. The Autobot span out again, this time his impatience saving his life. A bomb had gone off right where he was, making him spin into the air. Beachcomber checked his sensors, and spotted a Decepticon Seeker diving in to make a kill. Beachcomber turned his wheels and hit his accelerator, so his spin was more emphasized. Beachcomber attempted to direct his spin towards the Energon signature.

"Why that piece of slaggin' Autorot." Blitzwing muttered to himself as he took potshots at the Autobot.

The explosions came a bit to close for Beachcomber's comfort. He wondered silently if the Decepticon was toying with him or not. The Autobot counted his blessings to Primus either way, as kinetic force carried him towards the Energon. He could now pick up the screaming dive of the Decepticon on his audio sensors, as he came within a few feet of the Energon. Blitzwing was still effortlessly wasting ammo and constantly missing his mark. He swore he would take the other Autobot off-line as soon as he managed to pick this one off. The space between him and the ground was quickly becoming smaller, as well as his range to the Autobot. At the last moment, the targeting sensors were repaired. The Decepticon locked onto the Autobot and fired. His pride in knowing an Autobot would be destroyed would be his own undoing. Too late, he noticed the pool of Energon where the Autobot had spun over. The Decepticon checked his altitude, which was a bit too close for the impending results of sending a bomb into an explosive material.

Beachcomber transformed into his robot mode as the rocket hit the Energon. The resulting explosion threw up a huge chuck of the soft white frozen dihydric oxygen. The blast flung Beachcomber for a loop. Blitzwing pulled up hard as the top edge of the explosion squarely hit his jet belly. Blitzwing yelped in agony, then he crashed into the hard frozen surface as his systems went off-line. Beachcomber sighed in relief as he only had a bit of carbon scoring and minor plate scratching and dents from the missile fragments. Beachcomber righted himself and picked up the blaring alarms of the Decepticon City on his audio receptors. He saw the big hole that the spent missile and Energon had left, and figured it was his best chance of a hiding place. He could easily burn a tunnel depending upon the depth of the frozen dihydric oxygen. Or, he would have to bury himself while still on-line. He silently hoped for the first option as he jumped into the pit.

"Shockwave, the Autobots have escaped!" The sounds of explosions outside of the Decepticon city limits had confirmed Astrotrain's report.

Shockwave got up from his makeshift throne in the central room of the Decepticon City. "So, I have gathered."

Astrotrain scratched his head. "Aren't we going to go after the Autobots?"

"You are not. You must find the nearest source of Cybertronium. It is no doubt that the Ark dropped some of the substance during its crash into the volcano. A high orbiting sensor sweep should locate what we need." Shockwave's order was replied with a disapproving grunt.

Shockwave moved with the quickness of a serpent. Astrotrain gulped at the sight of Shockwave pointing his gun appendage directly to his forehead.

"Do not question or disapprove of my orders. I will gladly take the Cybertronium from your very structure through force, and use it for my own purposes."

Astrotrain managed a nod of fear. "As you command, Shockwave."

The Decepticon instantly disappeared from the view of Shockwave's optics, as the purple hued dictator sat back down on his command chair.

"Everything is going according to my plans."

As the claxons rang, no one was really in top form to answer the call to arms. The Decepticon's within Trypticon's borders were already having difficulty with the operating systems due to the loss of Cybertronium. Octane, the only triple changer left to answer, was busy breaking out the other two Autobots.

"This is only because I owe you back in my Neutral days, Powerglide. Your other friends have escaped as well. That's why the alarms are sounding." Octane informed the Autobot.

Powerglide nodded, even though he knew Octane was covering something from himself. "I guess we are even. But, your laser core will be extinguished if they think you let us out of your own free will."

"I know. So, my next request will be..."

Octane was interrupted with a shot from Warpath's chest cannon. The Decepticon yelled in agony as he fell to the ground and went off-line. Before Powerglide could question his motives, Warpath began shooting at a group of Decepticons off in the horizon. Powerglide instantly knew that Warpath had to shoot Octane, or else the Autobots would lose the sympathetic Decepticon. Warpath quickly changed into his Cybertronian Hover Tank mode, and began shouting sounds for every shot he took. Powerglide shook his head and transformed into his futuristic Jet Bomber mode. He reconnoitered in an attempt to spot any his fellow friends. He spotted only a big hole on the outside city limits, and one of the Triple Changers producing smoke from crashing to the ground by the hole. He knew that at least one of his friends escaped so far. Powerglide turned his attention two Autobots running on foot from one point to another, and about to run into a wall of Decepticons ready to receive them. Powerglide dove for the Decepticons, shooting all the way.

Blaster and Perceptor's optics enlarged in surprise to see flying Decepticon parts come out from a nearby corner. A reddish brown jet transformed and landed next to the two.

"Powerglide, you're alive! Glad to see you made it back buddy." Blaster gave a thumb's up.

Powerglide gave a confused look. "What's a buddy? And, what's with that gesture?"

Perceptor shook his head. "We had to study some of the fleshling culture to alter our modes. I think Blaster infused too much of the information and it is effecting his logic circuits."

"No way, dude." Blaster sarcastically stated.

Powerglide looked at Perceptor. "We'll have to fix him later. I spotted a big hole outside the city limits, we can all go down the pit."

Perceptor looked at the two Autobots. "Shockwave may have planted any kind of device on all of us. We may be a threat to each other and to the other Autobots that are here on this planet. For now, I suggest we get to that pit with the utmost stealth and guile."

"You got it man." Blaster ran while shooting any oncoming Decepticons.

Powerglide chuckled. "I'll take to the air, just in case any Seekers get their processor bulbs illuminated."

Perceptor nodded in approval. Then, Powerglide transformed to his futuristic Jet mode and took off into the air. The Autobot scientist quickly wondered what had happened to Powerglide's cell partner, Warpath. The answer came with another round of flying Decepticon parts, and a quite numerous use of one syllable words describing the shots and their effects.

Warpath hovered by Perceptor. "POW! I cut a clear line for you. BANG! I'll be happy to be your armed escort! BOOM!"

Perceptor smiled. "Please, by all means. We must go this way." Perceptor pointed toward the direction of the pit.

Even an over enthusiastic warrior like Warpath knew there was serious trouble when Perceptor managed to say things in one sentence. "Well, we better ZOOM!"

Warpath blasted any Decepticon that came in their path as Perceptor and Blaster ran along his side. "Say, where are the others? ZOWIE!"

"Beachcomber probably made that hole. Cosmos flew the coop. Seaspray hovered his way to the nearest harbor. Powerglide is in the wild blue yonder. And, we're the Three Musketeers." Blaster reported.

"POW! What did he just say?"

Perceptor chuckled. "I must check your logic circuits if Warpath can not understand you. No offense, Warpath."

"None taken. THOOM!"

Blaster laughed as well. "Well, I take offense."

The Autobots stuck out like a bullseye in a dartboard on the white plain. The chance to throw any darting missiles was thwarted by Powerglide, who took out Seekers one by one. However, the Decepticons were beginning to get more organized and sending up more Seeker Drones than Powerglide could shoot down.

"It's getting pretty heavy up here. I may need some help." Powerglide radioed to his friends.

A Decepticon Seeker Drone took advantage of Powerglide's distraction and locked onto the Autobot. As the Seeker was about to fire, an explosion tore his rear engines to pieces.

"Ask and you shall receive." Cosmos flew up next to Powerglide.

"Where were you?" Powerglide noted.

"I was taking aerial pictures of the Decepticon base. We might be able to decipher any weaknesses in their defense systems."

Powerglide looped in joy. "Alright, nice going buddy!"

"I see you already talked to Blaster." Cosmos wryly noted.

"Yeah, I guess it is catchy. Our rendezvous is inside that big hole down there. Do you know where Seaspray went?"

"I don't know. He was given an aquatic form. He probably found a sea or lake or something." Cosmos rambled with frustration.

"Don't get your circuits overloaded good buddy. I'll find him. You go meet with the others." Powerglide's offer made Cosmos a less bit agitated.

"Okay, I'll do just that. Good luck Powerglide." The green UFO glided down to the big hole like a small plug attempting to cover a big drain.

Powerglide shot down a couple more Seeker drones to cover Cosmos' escape. As he continued to search for the lost Autobot, Powerglide grew more impatient.

"He's got to be here...somewhere."

The nautical officer in question had been traversing a small stream. He was caught up in the exhilaration of being a boat. Seaspray rarely had the choice to perform his true function, as Cybertron no longer had any bodies of water. For him, the feel of water was pure silk. Seaspray was too caught up in the moment and not paying particular attention to the Decepticon ahead of him.

"I teleport in here to expect trouble in the form of Shockwave, and all I get is some miserable Autobot." Skywarp grunted in disgust.

Seaspray did not reply, but went ahead flank in an effort to ram the Decepticon. Skywarp simply gave a smile and disappeared at the last astrosecond. Seaspray activated all his sensors to spot where the Decepticon would reappear next. The Autobot shouted in surprise as he heard a clunk of metal footsteps right on top of his roof.

"Don't try to evade one who is an expert on the matter." Skywarp ruefully boasted as he pointed his guns at the Autobot.

"Well, my guess is that you don't have your sea legs yet, Decepticreep." Seaspray sharply turned starboard {that's right for you land lubbers KV}, causing the Decepticon to lose his balance and fall off.

Skywarp got up looking like a fusion between a snowman and robot. "You'll pay for that you little runt."

Another roar of engines was heard overhead, as the Autobot jet flew in to rescue his friend.

"Stow it in your afterburners Skywarp!" Powerglide shot the snow around Skywarp.

Skywarp hysterically laughed. "You missed Auto..WHOAAA!"

A big splash was heard as the unstable ice gave way to the heavy Decepticon.

"Nice processing, Powerglide." Seaspray spoke over his communicator.

Powerglide circled around in the air above his friend. "Of course, what else do expect from the best! Now, the rest are meeting in a big pit. Forget him for now, I think the Decepticons are about to start a civil war of their own."

"You got it. Just show me the way." Seaspray followed his friend as fast as he could.

Skywarp jetted out of the icy waters with his rocket boots. "Those Autobots aren't worth the trouble."

The Decepticon looked toward his right and spotted the giant Decepticon City and Seeker Drones flying around its airspace.

"Well, I guess it's not all bad. The Autobots little Energon explosion helped us find the location of the traitorous Shockwave. I better inform Screamer while the Autobots are keeping his troops distracted." The Decepticon vanished in another surge of teleporting energy.

"All present and accounted for Perceptor, except for Beachcomber." Powerglide reported while transforming and landing next to Seaspray.

Perceptor nodded. "It seems that close examination of this tunnel indicates it was burned into the ground before the Great Wars started."

"Well, it only goes one direction. Let's hurry before the Decepticons get the idea that we all have gone down here." Cosmos nervously fidgeted with his fingers.

Warpath broke into the conversation. "I don't mind! POW! I get to blast a few more Decepticons! BOOM!"

"We must try to reserve what ever power we have left. Now, let's see if we can find Beachcomber at the end of this tunnel." Perceptor motioned for the others to follow.

"I'll bring up the rear! So, I can POW! Blast any Decepticons that do come into the tunnel!" Warpath swerved his turret to guard his backside.

"I will too, just to make sure Warpath doesn't get all the action." And, he doesn't bring the whole passage down on top of us, Blaster mentally noted.

The Autobots ran as fast as their robotic legs would allow. The tunnel was gradually slopping downward at an angle.

"I wondered what made this tunnel." Cosmos almost tripped on his own bulky legs while trying to observe the walls.

Perceptor quickly spoke up at the opportunity. "The black charring suggests that the tunnel was made with an energy weapon, much like our own lasers. In fact, there are traces of an Energon signature along the ground of this tunnel."

The other Autobots glared at Cosmos for getting Perceptor started. As Perceptor incoherently babbled in long-worded scientific gobbledygook, the Autobots made their way down the tunnel. The Autobot scientist finished his oration and noticed that he had lost his crowd. He followed their gazes to a bewildered Beachcomber.

"I think I found...something." The Geologist attempted to point at the frozen wall of ice.

All the Autobots gazed forward, and their lower jaw plates almost dropped from their faces. A large red and white futuristic fighter jet was suspended in the ice like a model encased in a transparent display case.

Perceptor reached out his hand and placed it on the cold containing ice. "My word, I do believe we have found the Lost Cybertronian."

"The Lost Cybertronian?" Beachcomber questioned for the rest of the Autobots that were lost on Perceptor's words.

Perceptor turned to the Autobots. "Before the Second Great War, a Neutral Scientist was sent to investigate a planetary explosion in this solar system. Evidently, that planet has become part of the asteroid belt in this solar system. Legend states that he had found traces of Energon on the asteroids and traces of Energon on the Third Planet, with two moons. Those signals we picked up say this planet has only one moon. If this planet had a second one, then there would have been some kind of catastrophic event. That only leads one to assume that the moon had an extremely low density, and no collection of rock that big could have such a low density. That must mean a higher orbit where the moon was propelled out to the asteroid field or..."

Perceptor looked back up for a moment, only to see the Autobots with extremely confused faces.

"The second moon may have been an artificial construct." Perceptor finished with a shrug.

"Remind me to update my main processing unit with a scientist's database." Powerglide whispered to Blaster.

"I wouldn't do that. You may end up like him." Blaster slyly pointed to Perceptor.

"Good point."

Perceptor looked at the ice for a moment. "Frozen dihydric oxide should be easy enough to melt with a high powered heating element. Powerglide, I will have to reconfigure you into one of this planet's mechanized forms. They still have primitive jet engines."

Powerglide tried to hide his disappointment at the news of being downgraded. "Hey, any power to glide me along doesn't make a difference. I'm still the best."

After rolling his optics, Perceptor transformed into a tank like form as he pointed his long barrel at Powerglide. The green ray covered Powerglide from head to toe, as minor changes in his robotic form occurred.

"Well, let me give my new form a whirl." Powerglide looked as though he was a military recruit falling on command to do a push up while the jet parts unfolded around him. As his robotic form was finally tucked into his subspace compartments, his alternate took its final shape: an A-10 Warthog Fighter/Bomber.

"Hey, this isn't all bad. I still look as handsome as ever."

Blaster snickered. "I think the ice will melt just due to the hot air around here."

"Warpath, you're next. Even with Powerglide's breaking system, he still will have need a barrier to prevent lift off."

The green ray hit Warpath, not having any real effect on his outer structure. Warpath transformed and instantly recognized the difference: tank treads.

"Hey, I can roll over the Decepticons now! VROOM!"

Perceptor transformed back to his robot mode. "Now, point your engines at the ice Powerglide. Warpath, you make sure that Powerglide doesn't move forward. Hopefully, this should melt the ice encasing the Cybertronian before the Decepticons discover where we made our escape."

Warpath and Powerglide got into their respective positions, each of them carrying on like they were at some contest of tug of war. The other Autobots keep one optic on the dark tunnel while watching the proceedings. The amount of water was filling the tunnel rather quickly, to the point where it threatened to put out Powerglide's engines.

"I hope we get this guy out soon because I don't want my structure completely rusted." Powerglide lamented like a vain teenager.

"Hey, a little water never hurts anyone." Seaspray retorted.

Warpath was already slipping in the mud created by the water. "And I don't want my gears to get all clogged up."

"Not to fear, we only have a couple more astroseconds before reaching him." Perceptor tapped on the ice.

A few more minutes had passed and the tail end of the jet was exposed. Perceptor halted the procedure right before the waters seeped into Powerglide's engines.

Blaster noticed no Autobot or Decepticon sigil on the jet. "Did any of those history databases state whether this guy was a good guy or a bad guy?"

"Unfortunately, the only records of the report were made by Starscream. It has become more of a Decepticon legend than anything." Perceptor's statement caught everyone off guard.

"You mean I went through all that to free a Decepticon!" Powerglide transformed to his robot mode and stepped up to Perceptor.

Perceptor waved his hands in an attempt to calm Powerglide down. "I do believe that this Cybertronian held only Neutral sentiments at the time."

"So did Starscream and look what he became." Powerglide pointed his finger at Perceptor like a scolding grandmother.

Blaster nodded in agreement. "I think it's to risky to reactivate this guy. He's big enough in his Cybertronian form to get us out of here fast."

Perceptor shook his head. "If you are suggesting to use this Cybertronian like one of the fleshlings lifeless vehicles, I must disagree. As Autobots, we are bound to see that freedom is the right of all sentient beings. An oath quoted by all the Primes that were and will be."

"Well, you better choose fast Perceptor. I'm detecting minor tremors in the ground. The Decepticons are on their way." Beachcomber reported.

Perceptor noticed all optics had turned towards him, as he already processed his decision.

"Let us reactivate this Cybertronian. By the time it is done, my mistake will not matter anyway. But, I have a feeling that it won't be one."

Perceptor's words were acknowledged with proud nods, as the Autobots quickly worked to completely free the Cybertronian.

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