Co-written by Wes A and Karl V.
"Long road home"
"Burn, blasphemous machine, BURN!!!"
Another blast of hellfire hit Trailbreaker. He got his arm up to block the blast, but it still caused minor damage. Riding on his fire demon, Demogoblin flew in for another pass at the Autobot. Although the fight hadn't lasted very long, Trailbreaker's patience was wearing thin. He had a mission to get back to, and the fight wasn't helping.
"I don't know what your problem is little fellow, but I'm not going to let you hurt these innocent people." said Trailbreaker determinedly.
Down below, the Special Forces unit known as Code Blue was busy clearing the New York Street.
"All right people, get back! You don't want to get involved in this!" barked Code Blue's leader Captain Stone.
Trailbreaker was passing through when Demogoblin began a 'purging of sinners'. The Autobot may not originate from Earth, but he would not allow innocent people to be killed for one maniac's pleasure.
"You stink of a foul breed, machine. For that, you will burn." Demogoblin threw two pumpkin bombs at Trailbreaker, hitting him in the center of his chest. Trailbreaker staggered for a moment but didn't go down. Trailbreaker fired a laser blast from the gun barrel mounted on his right shoulder. He struck Demogoblin dead-on. The creature was knocked off his fire demon and down to the concrete street below. Demogoblin lay motionless for a moment, then staggered to his feet again. Trailbreaker was surprised that the creature could get up after a blast like that. Drunkenly, Demogoblin took a few steps toward Trailbreaker.
"I will......destroy...y-yyooooo-" With a thud, Demogoblin fell forward and hit the pavement face first. He was knocked out cold. Trailbreaker waited a moment to be sure that his opponent was down for good. He shook his head.
"What an odd little thing." he muttered. Trailbreaker heard sirens approaching. Several vehicles stopped a few feet away from the fallen Demogoblin. Half a dozen Vault guardsmen hopped out of a large storage vehicle. The armored men put some sort of metal restraining devices on the creature's arms. Stone and several of his people helped the Vault guardsmen gather Demogoblin.
"Put him inside. We'll let the eggheads back at the Vault deal with what he is." said Stone.
As the others put Demogoblin in a containment unit, Stone turned to Trailbreaker. He looked over the giant robot for a minute. Trailbreaker merely stood there with an unreadable expression.
"I guess we owe you our thanks for stopping that.....whatever he is." said Stone.
"No thanks are needed, just glad I was able to help." said Trailbreaker cheerily.
Although he tried to hide it, Stone had a confused look on his face. He had never seen a robot that smiled, or had a sunny attitude for that matter.
"Well, if that's all, I'll be on my way now." said Trailbreaker.
The large grey and white robot transformed into his camper van form and drove off. That left the confused Stone shaking his head.
"This town gets stranger every day." he muttered.
Trailbreaker had driven for about an hour out of town. He was approaching a wooded area outside of the New York area. He stopped in a clearing where a small red car and a small purple semi were parked.
"You're late, Trailbreaker." said the red car.
"Sorry Cliffjumper, I couldn't help it. I got sidetracked."
At once, all three vehicles transformed into Autobots. The car transformed into a red and grey Autobot that went up to Trailbreaker's chest. The purple and orange semi transformed into an Autobot that was a little shorter than the red and grey colored one.
"You didn't find any sign of the Matrix did ya?" asked the purple and grey Autobot hopefully.
"No Huffer, I didn't." said Trailbreaker with a sigh, "How about the two of you?"
"Nope, not a trace." said Cliffjumper.
"We combed the western part of this continent with no luck. We even ran a few scans into the ocean that borders the western coast area, but we didn't pick up on anything." said Huffer sadly.
"We've been out of communication range for a while, has anyone else found anything?" Cliffjumper asked Trailbreaker.
"I met up with Sideswipe a few days ago, he hasn't found anything yet. Brawn had a lead on Frenzy, but he lost it. As far as I know, nobody has found anything else."
Cliffjumper grunted with amusement. "Yeah, count on Brawn's stubbornness to lose something important."
Huffer couldn't help but smile. Brawn was so headstrong that he'd probably deny losing Frenzy for as long as he functioned. Trailbreaker filled Cliffjumper and Huffer in on the encounter Optimus and Ironhide had with the X-Men*(*see X-Men: MUTF #4-5).
"There are humans with THAT kind of power?" asked Huffer in shock.
"Uh-huh. And from what I've gathered, there are many of them on this planet. Some use their powers to help others, some use it for their own personal gain."
"Great, like Decepticons aren't enough trouble." muttered Cliffjumper.
After a few more swaps of reports, the three Autobots transformed and began their journey back to the Ark. They were driving for about half an hour when they got to some hilly area. Above their location, two jets were flying above. They looked like air force fighter jets, except they had Decepticon insignias on their wings.
"I'm don't see why we get all the slag assignments." complained the blue jet.
"As much as we don't like it, it's gotta be done. Soundwave said we need to find energy sources so we can make energon cubes. And until Megatron gets back, we don't make any big moves. You know that, Dirge." replied the crimson colored jet.
"I don't care Thrust, I'm sick of waiting around for Megatron to get his skidplate back to Nemesis. We should have been on our way to conquering this planet by now. But all we've done is--Wait a cycle! You picking up anything on your scanner?" asked Dirge intently.
Thrust did a short-range scan. He was surprised at what he found. "Autobots! Three of them, not very far from our course."
"That's right." said Dirge with haunting amusement in his voice. "Let's scrap 'em."
"But our orders sai-"
"To the pit with the orders! If we bring back the heads of three Autobots, we'll be in Megatron's favor. Beside, it's not like these three are Optimus Prime. How difficult could they be to defeat?"
Thrust considered the options for a moment. As much as he might have disliked it, Dirge actually made some sense. Besides, he was Decepticon, he was created for combat.
"I get dibs on the red one." said Thrust as he streaked toward the Autobots.
With a shout of excitement Dirge followed suite, and the two jets primed their weapons for combat.
"Hey guys, I think we have company!" alarmed Huffer.
The two jets streaked down at the Autobots, their weapons blazing. Gunfire erupted all around their location, a few striking the three vehicles.
"Decepticons! Quick, scatter!" ordered Trailbreaker.
The three Autobots all broke off in separate directions, hoping to draw the attackers away from each other. Thrust went after Cliffjumper while Dirge locked in on Trailbreaker. Dirge scored a minor hit to Trailbreaker's side.
Trailbreaker cursed his slowness. "If only I was built for speed." he muttered.
The large Autobot transformed into his robot form. He used his shoulder-mounted gun to lock in on the Decepticon Seeker and fired several shots. Dirge evaded the first two shots but was hit on the wing with the third. Dirge began to waver in mid-air.
"Slag! Guess I'll do this the old fashioned way."
Dirge flew down to ground and transformed. The Seeker aimed his arm-gun at Trailbreaker and fired off numerous shots.
"Die you piece of Autotrash!"
Trailbreaker's tough armor took most of the punishment, only leaving a few marks on his surface. Dirge was surprised at the lack of damage his blasts just did. This gave Trailbreaker enough time to open fire with his shoulder cannon. With one direct hit, the Seeker was thrown off balance and hit the ground hard.
"Not so cocky now, eh Decepticon?"
Trailbreaker kept his gun locked onto Dirge. But after a few minutes the Decepticon hadn't made a move. Cautiously, Trailbreaker walked over toward the unmoving body. Trailbreaker was just an arm's length away from Dirge.
"I don't care if you're damaged, get up." he said.
In a sudden blur, Dirge's left leg swept out and knocked Trailbreaker to the ground. Trailbreaker fired his gun but the blast struck nothing but air. Within a split-second, Dirge leapt on top of the large Autobot and began to viciously punch him in the faceplate.
"Is this better for you?" said Dirge with a cold smile.
As Dirge and Trailbreaker were struggling, Thrust continued to take shots at Cliffjumper. The small Autobot managed to evade the shots, but they were getting too close for comfort.
"Come on down here and fight me Decepticreep!" barked Cliffjumper.
"Unlike my partner, I prefer to avoid the 'hands on' method."
This time Thrust shot two blasts. Cliffjumper avoided one, but was struck in the side by the other. Cliffjumper was turned over on his side. Knowing he couldn't roll himself over in vehicle mode, he transformed. Cliffjumper saw that his side had moderate damage. No sooner had he got the idea to run, he saw Thrust standing before him with his gun barrel directly aimed at his
face. Unlike Trailbreaker, Thrust knew to say a good distance away.
"If you're gonna finish me, then do it. Don't talk my audio receivers off." growled Cliffjumper.
"I will," said Thrust nonchalantly, "I just wanted to savor this for a moment."
Thrust was about to fire when a purple, grey, and orange object flew through the air and knocked him to the ground. Huffer landed on top of the Decepticon Seeker and smashed his fist into the side of his head. Thrust knocked Huffer off of him.
"Slagging Autobot! You'll never leave this planet alive!"
Cliffjumper used this opportunity to whip out his gun and fire on Thrust. The crimson colored Seeker took several hits to the chest. Without taking any particular aim, Thrust shot off random blasts. The fierce barrage caused Cliffjumper and Huffer to seek cover in the nearby woods. Thrust knew that he took some good hits and wouldn't last long against two Autobots. He
turned to his right and saw Trailbreaker knocking Dirge off of him. The large Autobot was about to open fire on Dirge, but Thrust got a few shots in to knock Trailbreaker.
"Dirge, let's go!" he barked.
Dirge looked at Thrust as if he was spouting gibberish.
"But we can destroy them. I know we-"
"I said NOW!!" thundered Thrust.
Thrust transformed into his jet mode, as did a hesitant Dirge. Within seconds, the two Decepticon warriors were out of range. Down on the ground, the Autobots were assessing their own damage.
"You guys alright?" asked Huffer.
"Just a few scratches. Nothing a little bodywork can't fix." said Trailbreaker with a grin.
"I'll be fine." said Cliffjumper, who was covering his damaged side.
Trailbreaker nodded. "All right then, let's get back to the Ark. Prowl's probably expecting us."
With that, the three Autobots transformed into their vehicles and headed out. Unknown to them, a figure was watching from the woods. If it was possible for a cyborg, it would have smiled.
"Same old Autobots, even if in different world, yes?" it said to itself.
Thrust and Dirge touched down in the Nemesis's landing bay. It was not quiet trip between the two.
"I could've handled that clumsy oaf myself!" snapped Dirge, "Just because you're too slagging scared to handle two measly little-"
"Oh shut up! We were in a tight situation and you know it." said Thrust,
"Remember the last time you could've 'handled yourself' with an Autobot twice your size? Shockwave's repair droids spent nearly a week reattaching your arms."
Dirge gave his partner a dirty look as the landing bay door slid open. In the dark entryway was the form of Megatron's trusted lieutenant, Soundwave. Thrust was the first to address him.
"Soundwave, there you are. We had a run-in with a few Autobots and need repairs."
Soundwave merely stood in the doorway mutely.
"Hey, Soundwave! Are you here or in deep space?" snapped Dirge.
"Sorry fellers, the big guy ain't exactly in a sociable mood. Maybe ol' Mad Dog can help ya out?"
Dirge and Thrust turned around to see where the voice was coming from. Dirge's mouth dropped and Thrust's eyes widened.
"Frenzy?! Is that yo-"
In an instant, the two Decepticons were knocked offline. After another minute, their bodies' surfaces began to move like they had a life of their own.
Blaster was at a loss for any vocalization. The Lost Cybertronian just volunteered to retrieve the Cybertronium for the Decepticons. Surely, this was not his best day since arriving on the planet Earth through the Space Bridge. His friends had managed to escape the entire Decepticon population on Cybertron only to land smack in the middle of the Earth’s full compliment of the Autobot’s adversaries. The Decepticons agreed to not imprison the Autobots while the Lost Cybertronian retrieved the much-needed Cybertronium to revive the Decepticons to full operating capacity. Then, Blaster thought, The Lost Cybertronian will get a rude awakening to the truth about the war he has missed while in stasis on the planet Earth.
"I appreciate your assistance with our current predicament. I realize that I may not be an optimal performer when it comes to scenarios such as this. But, I would like to have you as second in command of my leadership function. At least, until we arrive at our original intended destination." The tall red robot with an apparent cannon mounted on his shoulder stated with a smile.
"It’s cool. But, we can’t back out of our end of the deal. And, maybe we should call him by his name."
Perceptor nodded. "Yes. Unfortunately, his nomenclature has two distinct variations in the human English language. The literal translation of his nom de plume is jet that lights the sky with fire."
"Well, you know this whole discussion could be pointless. He may want to be called by his Cybertronian name. All though, the humans can't really pronounce it correctly."
Perceptor allowed a slight smile, then decided to turn the topic of discussion. "Indeed, what do you propose we do when he arrives?"
"Well, I'd still say our primary objective is escaping. And, we'll have to see how much of a chance we have left to do so when he comes back."
As if by cue, a loud thunderous boom was heard overhead. Pereptor and Blaster gave an all knowning glance. But, the look was instantly replaced with one of perplexion. The Lost Cybertronian was rather early for retrieving a full shipment of Cybertronium.
"Perhaps our scanners are malfunctioning." Perceptor noted with pessimism.
Blaster shook his head. "No, he's carrying a light load. What that means is anyone guess."
The Lost Cybertronian transformed and carried the precious material in his hands. Blaster and Perceptor it was just enough for a few of the Decepticons to be fully functional.
"Do not worry. I do not intend for any harm to come to anyone here. But, I will not allow myself to go blindly into a situation in which I am not familiar. I will let them heal those that can transport the material they need, and I shall transport you to where ever you need to go. I doubt they will argue with me."
"Well, that settles that." Blaster sighed with a bit of relief. "Now, we just need to disable all the internal thermite bombs the Deceps put in us."
"After The Lost Cybertronian has delivered us to a desolate area, then I can proceed with the operations. Then, we can report to Optimus Prime. Let us make haste and inform the others."
"You...promised...to...repair...us." Shockwave attempted to state in between various system glitches and circuits frying from the loss of Cybertronium.
"All though I stated that I would help you, I did not state the manner in which I would do so. I scanned the robots you so blantantly called the "enemy". They have internal thermite bombs hence my apparent hasty decision to appear to join your side. These very same bombs are in one of your armories I scanned from the air as I left your base. Truth be known, I have no idea who really started this war. However, it is obvious that you are now the aggressor. All though I fear the repurcussions, I will not allow any sentient being to die slowly in such a manner. I have just enough materials to heal a few of your soldiers. And, I shall deliver the others to a safe place of their desire."
The Lost Cybertronian dropped the materials in front of the large purple monocle eyed robot . He departed in the direction of the Autobots so they could leave before they had a fully functional Decepticon army leaping upon them. Shockwave knew he would not have the opportunity to destroy the Autobots. However, he knew it was also of no consequence. He grabbed the Cybertronium and proceeded to make internal system repairs. As he did so, he noticed a host of other Decepticons all waiting around him. They had a gold and black material swarming around them. He scanned the material and noted it was a sentient techno-organic virus.
"Though the others escape, you shall not." One stated.
"It is logical that you are not immune to the Cybertronium that I have reintroduced into my systems. It is also logical that you can not infect me to gain control of my primary functions."
"Who said that we were going to follow logic." Another menacingly raised his gun to Shockwave's head.
Shockwave quickly processed a means to escape his dilemma.