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Operation Sunburn: Power Cut


Chapter One - Happy Homecoming
Chapter Two - Come One, Come All
Chapter Three - Hidden Agenda
Chapter Four - Tactical Withdrawal
Chapter Five - Chain Reaction
Chapter Six - Clean Up
Chapter Seven - Retrospection
Epilogue - Developments


Season One
Operation Sunburn Part 1 - Power Surge
Operation Sunburn Part 2 - Power Masters
Operation Sunburn Part 3 - Power Hungry
Operation Sunburn Part 4 - Power Plays
Operation Sunburn Part 5 - Power Cut
A Death in the Family
Rise of the Decepticon Empire
From the Ashes of One's Enemies
Brothers in Arms
The Discontinuity Effect

Operation: Sunburn

Part Five: Power Cut

Chapter One – Happy Homecoming

The sky over the Australian desert was violently wrenched apart as two dimensions momentarily intersected. A blinding beam of light shot through the tear in the fabric of space/time and hit the ground dead centre of a spacebridge terminal that had appeared there only seconds earlier. The light faded and the doors of the spacebridge opened. Two groups of Transformers emerged and immediately split into their respective allegiances.

“Where are we?” Getaway said breaking the silence.

“Earth,” replied Optimus Prime. Then he stepped forward and addressed the leader of the Renegades and former lieutenant to Megatron, Sixshot,. “Sixshot, I thank you for your assistance, without the help of your scientist,” he indicated Mindwipe, “we would all be dead now.”

“Indeed Prime,” Sixshot responded. “but Chromedome also played his part. It seems we saved each other. But we are still enemies, I may not be a Decepticon anymore, but neither am I an Autobot. It would I think be a shame to taint this moment by having a pointless battle. As far as I am concerned you are free to go, we will not hinder you.”

“I'm afraid it's not that simple, Sixshot,” Prime said with a touch of sadness in his voice. “You are in possession of the Lifespark, I cannot allow that to remain in your hands.”

“Really Prime you disappoint me,” Sixshot said. “You do not really believe that I will just give it back to you surely? Can the noble Optimus Prime really be advocating violence rather than peace?”

“From what little I have seen of you Sixshot, you seem to be honourable, insofar as your kind can be, but the Lifespark is too dangerous a tool and I will not allow it to be used for evil. If that means that I have to use violence, then I will do what I must.”

Starscream stepped forward from the ranks of the Renegades and said in his whining tones, “Could this little squabble not wait until later? Perhaps we could work together for now?”

“Can I believe my audio sensors Starscream?” Prime asked. “Are you really trying to maintain the peace?”

“We all have better things we can be doing than fighting each other,” Starscream said. “Megatron is our common enemy; he tried to kill all of us. If we want to bring him down wouldn't it be better to do it together. If we beat each other up Megatron's victory will be all the sweeter for him.”

“Starscream, I never thought I would live to see the day when you would teach me what it means to be an Autobot,” Prime said after some thought. “Instead of trying to find peace I went instead for the easy way out.”

“Oh please, spare me your nauseating speeches Prime,” Starscream said.

Prime turned his attention back to Sixshot, “What Starscream has said makes sense, for the good of us all we must put our differences aside and work together to defeat Megatron, for otherwise we will singularly be destroyed by him. Will you work with us?”

Sixshot thought for a moment. It would make sense; Megatron was obviously in a very powerful position at the moment. The Renegades were for the moment trapped on Earth and could well be the only survivors since Shockwave had destroyed Dishender. They needed all the help they could get, but, he was unhappy about taking a suggestion from Starscream.

It was clear that Starscream had an agenda of his own; he would have to be watched. For the moment though it didn't look like he had a choice, “Very well Optimus Prime, we will combine our forces, for now. But once Megatron has been brought down, we will be enemies once again.”

Prime nodded sadly and the held out his hand. Sixshot took it and gave it a brisk shake.

* * * * *

Megatron strode angrily around the compound of the Decepticon power station headquarters. How had Prime and Starscream survived? How had they gotten to Cybertron and what had they done there? And what about Sixshot? How did he fit in? How had he escaped from his captivity on Cybertron and why hadn't that idiot Shockwave known about it? Or had he? Had Shockwave been planning a double-cross?

If so then it was a good job that the whole lot of them were dead now. But the problem was to do so he'd had to blow up the Cybertron terminal for the space bridge. Until that was re-established, there was no way to contact Cybertron or get his reinforcements. That would mean that his conquest of Earth was delayed…again.

He walked over to the outbuilding where the bodies of the Autobots had been stored. He wrenched the door open violently. He needed to let off some steam. He picked up the lifeless body of Hoist and ripped it in half, and then he threw the remains back into the out-building and slammed the door with a clang.

* * * * *

Where am I…Where are We…Who are I…Who am We…I are alive…We is dead…No I am dead but We are alive. I cannot move. Neither can We. I am dead but We are alive. We are here. I am here. We are alive but I am dead. I must die so that We may live.

* * * * *

Devil Spawn stood and watched as the work crews began combing their way through the wreckage of the citadel. So far they had found no sign of life. It was lucky, he thought to himself, that I was in the detention block at the time of the explosion otherwise I would be dead too.

There was no doubt in his mind that Shockwave was dead. How could he or anyone else have survived that explosion? No Shockwave was dead all right and that meant that there was a vacancy at the top of the Decepticon command structure. A vacancy that Devil Spawn would be only too happy to fill. There would be competition of course, but Devil Spawn had been preparing for this moment for years.

He had built up a large number of supporters from the lower ranks. If anyone wanted to challenge him, they would have to take on them as well. Devil Spawn smiled. He didn't know what had caused this explosion but it had paved the wave for his own ascension and that was what counted.

Turbulence came stomping out of the rubble at that point and said, “We have found a number of casualties so far, commander , but as of yet, no sign of Shockwave.”

“Then keep looking”, Devil Spawn ordered, he hadn't missed the over emphasis on the word commander. Turbulence, he now knew would be loyal to him. One more to add to the list.

Turbulence nodded and went back towards the wreckage. It would take many cycles before the ruins could be thoroughly searched, but Devil Spawn was in no rush, he had waited this long, he could wait a while longer.

* * * * *

“When I set the co-ordinates I offset them from Megatron's location by approximately twenty miles to the East,” Mindwipe said. The Autobots and the Renegades had gathered together to come up with a plan of action. The first thing they had to do was find out exactly what they were up against and that meant finding Megatron's headquarters.

Optimus Prime turned and looked to the West. He flicked his optics through several levels of magnification but was unable to see the power station he knew wasn't very far away. The otherwise flat landscape was broken not far away by a range of low hills. He shifted his vision through infra-red and x-ray, trying to spot any sign of Decepticon activity, but there was nothing.

“It seems we have no choice but to set off and observe Megatron from close quarters,” he said. “Autobots transform and roll out. Sixshot?”

Sixshot turned and said, “Very well Optimus Prime, we will follow your lead. We will meet you at the foot of those hills.” Then with a slight sneer in his voice he said, “Renegades transform and fly out.”

The Renegades laughed as they all transformed to their airborne modes and flew off to the South leaving the Autobots behind.

“I can't believe we're working with these guys,” Getaway complained.

“I understand your concerns Getaway,” Prime said, “and I don't trust them much myself but for now we need all the help we can get.”

With this Prime transformed to his semi mode and drove off towards the hills in the distance, churning up a huge cloud of dust behind him. The four remaining Autobots quickly followed after him.

* * * * *

“What on Earth are we doing here?” Huffer asked. He, Sideswipe, Mirage and Blaster were a few miles North of the Decepticon's headquarters. It had taken them quite a while to get here from the beach where Blades had dropped them off. They had had to pass through a couple of small human settlements and had made every effort not to be noticed while doing so.

Now that they had got here they had been reminded just what they were up against. The walls of the Decepticon's fortress base loomed ahead of them bristling with gun emplacements. They hadn't forgotten that not so long ago the entire Autobot army had been routed while attacking this same fortress and that had been before the defences were fully in place.

“Stick it up your tailpipe Huffer,” Sidswipe snapped. He was no happier about the task ahead of them than Huffer was, but he didn't need to hear the other Autobot moaning about it. “We've got a job to do and if you don't want to do it then we'll meet you back at the beach.”

“Knock it off you too,” Mirage snapped. “This isn't the time to fight amongst ourselves.”

“Yeah cool it guys,” Blaster put in.

“Sorry, I just don't need Huffer's complaining right now,” Sideswipe said testily.

“Well I'm sorry but I'm just saying what everybody else is thinking,” Huffer said. “How are we going to do anything useful? We can't get in there without being seen.”

“Maybe we can't, but I can,” Mirage said.

* * * * *

The five Autobots arrived at the hills to find the Renegades already there. Sixshot stood just below the brow of the hill looking out at the distant power station that had now become a fortress.

“Glad you could join us,” he said as Prime and his companions trudged up the hillside. “Getting to Megatron isn't going to be easy.”

Prime looked down at the Decepticon headquarters. The last time he had seen it, it had been a normal power station. Now he barely recognised it as the same location. They would need an army to get in there and if what Megatron had said was true the Autobots had already tried and failed. How could thirteen of them hope to succeed?

“There has to be a way in,” Prime said. “Maybe…”

He was interrupted by the sound of jet engines. They all turned to see a squadron of human jets bearing down on the Decepticon base from the South. The small group of transformers watched as the jets let loose a volley of missiles and smart bombs at their target. Following on behind the jets were several battalions of ground based attack vehicles. Tanks opened fire on the outer walls while behind them several mobile missile platforms began to set up.

“What are they?” Sixshot asked apparently fascinated by the spectacle before him.

“Humans,” Prime said.

“So they are humans. “From what I know of their fragility they are showing impressive bravery. They don't stand a chance against all of Megatron's Decepticons,” Sixshot said a note of admiration in his voice.

The attack on the base continued, fires had sprung up as the military pounded the outer walls with artillery fire. But the Decepticons were not ignoring the attackers. The automated guns on the walls had swivelled round to target the ground vehicles and already a number of them had been reduced to burning wrecks. At the same time a number of Decepticons took to the air and began engaging the attacking jets.

Prime looked on helplessly. He had to do something; otherwise these humans were going to be slaughtered.

Chapter Two – Come One, Come All

Mirage had activated his invisibility field and was just coming up to the fortress' wall when the first explosions appeared from the far side of the Decepticon base. He looked up and saw the human jets rocket overhead as they began to turn for a second pass.

What were the humans thinking? They must know that they stood no chance against the Decepticons. He debated with himself what to do for the best. The humans needed help. Should he return to his companions and go and do what he could for the humans or continue to try and get inside the base?

In the end he decided to continue. If he could get inside the base then he had a chance of detonating the space bridge hopefully taking the Decepticons with it. His mind made up he walked up to the base of the wall and looked up.

He detached the grapple gun that he had brought with him and aimed it at the top of the wall. He fired and the grappling iron rocketed up the side of the wall. It must have been an odd sight as the cord and the grapple suddenly appeared out of thin air once it was beyond his invisibility field. He hoped that the Decepticons were too busy with the attacking humans to notice it.

The grappling iron flew over the top of the wall and he pulled it. At first it appeared that it would not catch hold but suddenly the cord tightened. He pulled sharply on the cord to be sure it was secure and then began to climb up the side of the base.

* * * * *

“What on Earth is going on?” Sideswipe asked as jets came into sight.

“The humans are attacking the Decepticons,” Huffer said.

“We have to help them,” Blaster put in.

“What about Mirage?” Sideswipe asked.

“He'll have to look after himself, we can't just let the humans fight this battle all on their lonesome,” Blaster said.

The other two nodded at this and the three of them set off at a run towards the far side of the base.

* * * * *

Inside the base Megatron was furious, “They dare attack us!” he exclaimed. “They will suffer for this. Decepticons attack!”

On his order, the Decepticons moved into action. Those with airborne modes transformed and shot up in the sky to attack the human jets. Several jets quickly exploded in flames under the laser fire.

Other Decepticons ran through the main gates and began adding their own fire to that of the automated guns. Megatron himself flew into the air and landed on the far side of the wall and raised his fusion cannon at the attacking ground vehicles. He fired and the blast vaporised several tanks instantly.

Despite the losses that they were taking the humans continued to battle valiantly, a lucky shot from one tank hit Frenzy in the chest. He screamed as he was blown apart, the remains of his body falling to the ground with a clatter.

Another volley from the human artillery landed around Megatron. Explosions that would have ripped apart lesser transformers barley scratched his chromed surface. “Nice try flesh creatures,” he said, “but now it's my turn.” He raised his fusion cannon again.

* * * * *

“What's going on down there?” Bumblebee asked. The shuttle had made good time on its journey from Central North America to Australia . They had seen the smoke rising from the location of the Decepticon's base long before they saw the base itself.

They had intended to land a few miles away before deciding on there next course of action. Upon seeing the smoke however they had decided to risk moving in for a closer look. As they got nearer they saw the shapes of human jets engaged in battle with the Decepticons.

“The humans are attacking the Decepticons,” Gears said. “Are they insane? They've got no chance.”

“Hmmm a bit like us then,” Beachcomber put in.

“What do we do Bumblebee?” Gears asked turning to the small group's delegated commander.

“Well we're gonna have to help them,” Bumblebee said. “What's the status of the weapon systems?”

“We have a particle cannon fully charged”, Gears said. “But it's not really designed for air to air combat.”

“Can't be helped,” Bumblebee said after some thought. “Take us in and target the nearest Decepticon.”

* * * * *

“Megatron must be stopped, no matter the cost.” Prime said and without another word he transformed and drove at top speed down the hill towards the battle below.

“Well what are we waiting for?” Chromedome asked the other Autobots. They too transformed and followed Prime into battle.

“Do we join in too?” Doubledealer asked Sixshot.

Sixshot thought for a moment. The humans, though brave, had been foolish to launch this attack. Why should he risk his own life and that of his Renegades to help save them? On the other hand they would make useful cannon fodder while they got into position to take down Megatron. At last he said, “Yes, but remember Megatron is your primary concern. I want him out of the way, whatever it takes. No heroics though, let the humans and the Autobots handle that. Renegades attack!”

He transformed into his jet mode and headed into the battle. The other Renegades transformed and followed him, all except for Starscream. He looked over at the Decepticon base. He had his own agenda to follow. He transformed and headed in a wide arc towards the rear of the fortress, as far away from the battle as possible.

* * * * *

Megatron turned at the sound and stared in astonishment. It couldn't be! Charging towards him was the unmistakable form of Optimus Prime. His vehicle mode had changed but it couldn't possibly be anyone else.

“No! You're dead!” Megatron shouted.

“News of my death has been greatly exaggerated Megatron,” Prime called back as he transformed back into robot mode and leapt at the Decepticon leader. He hit Megatron around the waist sending them both crashing to the ground.

“I don't know how you keep surviving but this time I'll crush you with my bare hands,” Megatron yelled. He pushed Prime violently off of him and stood up. He bent down, grasped Prime by the throat and lifted him off his feet. He began to slowly squeeze. “You're no match for me Prime. The power of a star flows through my circuits now. This time it's over Prime.”

Chapter Three – Hidden Agenda

Soundwave stood atop the battlements of the Decepticon fortress. He was just as surprised as Megatron to see Optimus Prime zooming into battle followed by four more unknown Autobots. He didn't let his surprise get the better of him however and he reacted instantly. Activating his comm. system he said, “All Combaticons to the South wall, Autobots attacking.”

Five confirmations came through the comm. system at once and as he watched the Combaticons broke away from the battle with the humans and charged at the attacking Autobots. The four Autobots veered away from them and transformed ready to enter close range combat.

Soundwave was just inwardly congratulating himself on his prompt action when he was startled to see what he assumed to be seven more Autobots bearing down on them. He activated his comm. system again and said, “Thundercracker, Skywarp to the South wall to repel Autobot invaders.”

Then he pressed the eject button on his shoulder and continued, “Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, eject: Operation annihilate!” He chest plate opened and the two airborne Decepticon cassettes shot out, transformed and flew to intercept the approaching Renegades.

* * * * *

Starscream was careful to keep a close optic on the automated guns mounted at regular intervals around the fortress wall. It looked as though someone had been careless however as none of them seemed to be active around this side of the base.

He didn't could see any sign of any guards either. Presumably they were all taking part in the battle with the humans and the Autobots. That fool Sixshot was manipulated so easily, the years of imprisonment had certainly changed him and not for the better. He had become weak.

Starscream had known that fool Prime would fall for the ‘common foe' line, Autobots were so predictable, but he still couldn't believe that Sixshot had swallowed it too. Still it meant that he and the other Renegades were going to be kept busy for a while and that left him time to put his own plan into action.

He felt that he was far enough away now so he banked to the right and flew over the wall, transformed and landed inside the compound. He looked around him. Now where was the spacebridge?

* * * * *

Soundwave's acute hearing heard the shot microseconds before it hit him in the back. He fell backwards from the battlements back into the courtyard. Starscream walked forward to examine the body. There was no movement, he was probably just stunned, but at least it got him out of the way, the last thing Starscream wanted was any interference.

He pondered for a moment whether to give Soundwave a killing shot, but decided against it. Once Megatron was out of the way and he, Starscream was Decepticon leader then he would need Soundwave. He was very good at what he did and it would be silly to waste a good resource.

Starscream turned back to where he could see the spacebridge and made his way over to it. The track on which the spacebridge transporter travelled had been extended inside the power station. Obviously it had been designed to safely move the Carpasin cubes.

Around the edge of the spacebridge were a number of connection points. Starscream went over and examined one of them. He could see that the cables were made to interface with a Transformer's energy absorber. This must be how Megatron absorbed the energy sent down the space bridge.

Starscream looked around and saw a control unit stood nearby. Starscream walked over to it. The control panel seemed pretty simple to him, whoever had built it had labelled in very clearly. All he had to do was press that big red button to activate the spacebridge and despatch the Energon cubes. Then if he attached himself to the connection point he would have the power to defeat Megatron, the Renegades and the Autobots, no one would be able to stop him.

He reached out, but before he could press the button he found himself flying through the air. He yelled as he landed heavily on the ground. He looked around to see what had hit him but there was nobody in sight.

Starscream got to his feet a warily walked back towards the control panel. Was this some sort of high tech defence system to prevent the spacebridge being used? As he got close to the control panel for the second time another blow sent him crashing to the ground. What was going on around here?

* * * * *

What was going on around here? Mirage had been making his way towards where he thought the spacebridge was, when he saw Starscream fly over the wall and land not far away. How could Starscream be here? He was dead. Wasn't he?

Forgetting all about the spacebridge Mirage had turned to follow the Decepticon. His surprise at seeing him had turned to astonishment when Starscream blasted Soundwave in the back.

After checking the body Starscream had wandered over to inspect the spacebridge. He was now examining what looked like a control console of some kind. Mirage knew instinctively what was in his mind. He was going to activate the spacebridge! He wanted the power for himself. Mirage knew he had to stop him.

He saw Starscream move his hand towards the controls. Without stopping to think Mirage charged at the Decepticon and crashed into him, sending him flying to the ground. Mirage readied himself as Starscream stood up and came towards the controls again. Just before he reached them Mirage flung a punch at his midriff sending the Decepticon to the floor again.

Mirage raised his rifle and aimed it at Starscream's head. It would only take a single shot and he couldn't possibly miss at this range. Once Starscream was taken care of the spacebridge would be next.

* * * * *

There must be a security system, Starscream thought. Well no matter, it was no match for him. He raised his arm and fired his null-ray in the direction of the control panel, hoping to disable whatever device was being used.

* * * * *

The blast took Mirage by surprise. By sheer luck Starscream had aimed directly at him. He dived to one side but knew he wasn't going to make it. He felt the blast hit his shoulder, but he felt no pain. Then he realised why as his internal diagnostic programs began registering system failures around his body.

He fell forward as his legs buckled underneath him. Then his invisibility field flickered and died. Starscream would be able to see him now and there was nothing he could do to defend himself.

* * * * *

Starscream got to his feet in triumph as Mirage flickered into view. So that was the answer. “You dare try to make a fool out of Starscream?” he raged, stepping towards his fallen enemy and raising his arm mounted weapons. “You will regret that Autobot!”

* * * * *

“Spike! Look down there,” Carly's voice came over the comm. system of the exo-suit.

The two of them were flying over the Decepticon base towards the battle they could see ahead of them. The Autobot shuttle that they had been following had shot forward and was about to join the battle. Spike had no idea what he and Carly were going to do when they got there but they had to help somehow.

Carly had explained on the long flight, that the suits did have a number of built in weapons. These like all of the other features in the suit were accessed by thought. The systems in the suit would interpret the electrical signals in the operator's brains and take the correct action; in theory anyway. Spike had been practicing on the way here, trying to get used to the unusual control system. He thought he had just about got the hang of it now.

He looked down to see what Carly had seen. Below them was the spacebridge and standing near to it was Starscream. Unmoving on the floor at his feet was Mirage.

“We've got to help,” Carly said.

Spike nodded and the two of them dived towards the Transformers below them. “I thought Starscream was dead,” Spike said.

“Worry about that later,” Carly answered. “Activate your weapon systems.”

Spike closed his eyes and visualised his suit with blaster attachments. With a click and a hum the suit responded and two small blaster cannons emerged from inside the suit and positioned themselves under the wings. He opened his eyes again and saw that Carly had done the same to her suit.

A small targeting cross had appeared in the heads-up display on his helmet visor. He lined this up on Starscream and with another mental command he fired his blaster cannons. A second later the cannons on Carly's suit fired as well.

At the last second Starscream looked up. The blasts hit him full on the chest and shoulders. He screamed and fell backwards away from Mirage. Spike pulled out of the dive and rose back into the air to come around for another pass. He turned to see where Carly was and felt his stomach churn. She wasn't there!

* * * * *

Starscream had recovered himself quicker than Carly had expected. As she pulled out of her own dive, Starscream shot out a fist and sent her exo-suit spinning out of control. It nose-dived into the ground, scraping along it leaving a trail of sparks. As it came to rest, Carly made the suit transform back to its humanoid form.

The suit squealed in protest as metal scraped against metal that had been deformed by the impact. She managed to turn over so that she was lying on her back and found herself looking up at the figure of Starscream.

“So the Autobots are so desperate that they even send humans into battle now do they?” Starscream sneered. He bent down and picked up Carly in her exo-suit, holding her out in front of him so that her legs were dangling. He moved his arm slightly so that his blaster was pointed right at her face.

“If you want to fight in battle like and Autobot, then you can die like and Autobot,” Starscream said with an evil grin.

Chapter Four – Tactical Withdrawal

Sixshot watched as Optimus Prime fell and was casually lifted aloft by Megatron. He was in two minds whether to interfere or not when a laser blast caught him a glancing blow on his wing. Seconds later Laserbeak shot by. Sixshot immediately banked to his right and pulled up to gain altitude. As he did so however he saw two streaks of light heading towards him at high speed.

As they came closer he recognised them as Earthern mode seekers, Thundercracker and Skywarp probably. He banked sharply to his left and dived back towards the ground again. He felt the slipstream of the two Decepticon jets as they shot past him. He looked around for Megatron and found him again. Banking towards him he accelerated. The only thing to do was to end this quickly before the other Decepticons attacked.

As he approached Megatron who was still slowly choking Optimus Prime, Sixshot opened fire with his wing mounted concussion blasters causing the ground around Megatron to erupt as the shockwaves as the blasts hit the ground. Megatron was thrown to the side causing him to lose his grip on Prime who fell limply to the ground.

Sixshot transformed and aimed his two concussion blasters straight at Megatron's head. “You may have been powered up, but I doubt even that would save you from a direct shot to the head Megatron,” Sixshot sneered. “This is for the living prison I had to endure because of you.”

Megatron's eyes blazed brightly and before Sixshot knew what had happened he had leapt up and flung himself forward underneath Sixshot's guns He pulled his fist back and hit Sixshot in the chest, “You always did talk too much Sixshot,” Megatron growled.

His hand punched a hole right through Sixshot's chest cavity. Sixshot screamed in agony as Megatron retracted his hand ripping away a whole section of his chest in the process.

A blinding light erupted from the open chest cavity and the Lifespark fell to the ground with a soft thud. As Sixshot fell backwards to the desert floor, Megatron bent down picked up the Lifespark and said, “Now what do we have here?”

* * * * *

Doubledealer saw Sixshot fall before Megatron. Things were not going well for them. It was time to get out of here. He dove rapidly towards the ground to avoid the laser blast from Skywarp who was on his tail. He looked round as he did so and saw Darkwing and Dreadwind. They were busy evading Thundercracker and Laserbeak who had gotten in behind them.

Doubledealer switched on his comm. system and said, “Sixshot has gone down. Dreadwind and Darkwing come with me to drag his tail out of there and then all Renegades are to retreat.”

“Who died and made you the leader?” Darkwing shot back.

“Perhaps you'd rather stay and suffer the same fate as Sixshot?” Doubledealer asked. “We've lost the advantage, its time to leave and regroup. Now follow me.”

Without waiting for another response he dived towards the body of Sixshot. He saw Darkwing and Dreadwind both follow him. Mindwipe and Snapdragon came in and took Laserbeak and Thundercracker by surprise. The two Decepticons banked away and shot back up into the sky.

As Doubledealer, Dreadwind and Darkwing approached, Megatron turned towards them the Lifespark still grasped in his hands. His eyes blazed when he saw the three of them approaching. Doubledealer didn't give him time to react however; he grasped the body of Sixshot in his talons and began to lift him into the air. He felt the weight lessen as the two Renegade jets attached themselves to the body's legs. Together they lifted Sixshot's lifeless form high into the air.

* * * * *

Prime groaned and shook his head to try and get rid of the buzzing inside it. He looked up to see what had happened to Megatron. Prime was just in time to see the body of Sixshot being lifted in to the air by the Renegades.

Megatron yelled in rage and raised his fusion cannon skywards taking aim at the retreating Renegades. To his horror Prime saw that in his other hand he was clutching the Lifespark. He could not allow that to fall into Megatron's hands.

With a great effort Prime got to his feet and charged at Megatron's back. He collided with him just as his fusion cannon fired causing the shot to go wide. The Renegades carrying Sixshot's body rose higher into the sky and headed for the horizon followed by their teammates.

For the second time Prime and Megatron crashed to the dusty ground. This time however Prime didn't stop and give Megatron time to recover. Megatron had lost his grip on the Lifespark and it had rolled off to the side. Prime leapt up and dived for the precious device. Grabbing it he quickly opened his chest compartment and thrust the Lifespark inside.

No sooner had he done so than he felt a rush on energy through his circuits. The pain inflicted by Megatron eased and he felt stronger. He turned back towards his nemesis who was getting angrily to his feet.

“For that Prime I will make your death especially slow and painful,” Megatron growled his eyes flashing a vivid red.

“Do your worst Megatron,” Prime answered. “But I think its time I evened the odds.” With a mental command Prime extracted his trailer for the subspace pocket where it resided when he was in robot mode. Then to the astonishment of Megatron he merged with it and stood looking down at his now dwarfed adversary. Before Megatron got over the shock Prime raised his concussion blasters and swivelled his shoulder mounted twin-barrelled particle beam cannons to face the Decepticon leader.

Megatron screamed as he was hit by the full force of Prime's weapons. He felt his chest buckle as the concussion cannons did their work and his bodywork began to burn under the heat of the particle cannons. He fell to the floor as the barrage stopped. His body was covered in singe marks and whiffs of smoke rose from him. A large crack ran across his chest.

Prime walked up to his inert body and looked down at him. Suddenly Megatron's eyes flashed red with anger and with a yell he leapt upwards and sent his fist flying into Prime's midriff. Prime grunted and staggered backwards under the force of the blow. Megatron raised his fusion cannon and said, “A good attempt Prime, but not good enough. Now it's my turn!”

* * * * *

The Autobot shuttle had locked onto Blitzwing and was even now dogging his every movement. The trouble was their weapon was both too slow and too inaccurate for air-to-air combat. Gears who was manning the fire controls, was getting increasingly angry, as despite his best efforts they had so far failed to score a single hit.

The Decepticon was also more agile than they were and he had twice now gotton in behind them and let loose a volley of his own. Luckily the shuttle's armour was quite thick and so they had got away without serious damage.

Beachcomber had proved himself an excellent pilot and had managed to evade Blitzwing and then come around for another attack. Blitzwing appeared to have gotten board with the game of cat and mouse with them however and had instead gone after easier prey. He was bearing down on a human jet and Bumblebee ordered Beachcomber to follow him.

* * * * *

Spike dived back towards the ground. He dare not fire at Starscream while he was holding Carly in case he hit her. As the ground approached, he transformed his suit back to humanoid mode and landed heavily on the ground. He staggered slightly but quickly regained his balance.

He ran towards where Starscream was standing holding Carly. He was horribly afraid, he knew he didn't stand a chance against Starscream, but he had to save Carly. He activated the suit's external speakers and shouted at the Decepticon, “Put her down Starcreep, or I'll blast you to dust.”

Starscream turned when he heard the challenge, his grin widening still more, “Awww how sweet the human wants to save his girlfriend.”

“Spike no!” Carly called.

Starscream threw Carly to the ground and said, “Very well human, why don't you show me what you can do.”

Spike activated the suit's weapon systems again. The blaster cannons emerged attached to his arms, almost in a parody of Starscream's weaponry. He raised his arms and fired. The blast hit Starscream who staggered slightly but was otherwise undamaged.

“Is that the best you can do?” Starscream jeered. “Very well then. Now its my turn,” He raised his weapons and levelled them on Spike.

Chapter Five – Chain Reaction

Sideswipe, Blaster and Huffer ran round the final corner of the Decepticon base to find themselves in the midst of a pitched battle. They stopped and took in the scene, human tanks battled valiantly, many of them having been turned into smoking hulks littering the landscape, by the Decepticon defenders.

Overhead jets rocketed back and forth letting loose occasional volleys at both the Decepticons and the base while defending themselves from airborne Decepticons.

What stopped them in their tracks though was the sight of four unknown Autobots in battle with the Combaticons. Where had they come from and who were they?

“Who are these guys?” Blaster asked.

But the other two didn't answer, Blaster turned to see them staring off to the left. He followed their gaze and then he understood. They had caught sight of Optimus Prime. He had changed a lot, bigger and bulkier but recognisably Optimus Prime. He was standing over the smoking figure of Megatron. As they watched Megatron leapt to his feet and sent Prime reeling backwards then he raised his fusion cannon.

As one the three Autobots ran towards Megatron raising their weapons and firing on him. The blasts hit Megatron on the shoulder and he staggered sideways turning to see who had dared attack him.

He saw the three Autobots bearing down on him and he turned back just in time to see Prime raising his weapons again. Powerful as he now was he couldn't fight this new Prime and the Autobots as well. Not without risking serious damage. With a snarl of rage he leapt upwards into the air, “This isn't over Prime,” he called as he flew back towards the wall of the Decepticon fortress.

Prime raised his weapons and fired after the retreating figure but his shot went wide and before he could fire again Megatron had disappeared over the wall.

“Prime is that you?” Huffer asked as he and the others came up to the where he stood.

“It is indeed Huffer.”

“But we thought you were dead,” Sideswipe said.

“We don't have time for that story now,” Prime told him. “We have to put a stop to this before more innocent lives are lost.”

As he spoke a human jet exploded overhead and Blitzwing flew through the debris letting out a war whoop as he did so.

“What can we do, we can't get up there to help them?” Huffer said.

Then with a roar an Autobot shuttle flew past apparently trailing Blitzwing. As they watched its cannon blasted Bliztwing who fell from the sky trailing smoke.

“Who on Earth is that?” Blaster asked.

“I don't know,” Prime said. “It looks like one of the Ark 's shuttles.”

“It must be the guys we left back at the Ark when we attacked the Decepticons,” Blaster said.

“Whoever they are, they're making our job easier,” Sideswipe said. “What's the plan Prime? Do we take out the Cons or the guns on the wall?”

“The guns. If we can access them we might be able to turn the tables on the Decepticons. We need Chromedome,” Prime said flicking on his comm. unit. “Chromedome, this is Prime, come in. I need you over by the wall.”

“I'm a bit busy right now Prime,” Chromedome's voice came crackling over the comm. system. “There's a couple of Decepticons who don't want me to leave at the moment.”

Prime turned and scanned the battle. He eventually spotted Chromedome, taking cover behind a large rock. Onslaught and Laserbeak were blasting chucks away from the rock trying to whittle away his hiding place. It was obviously their idea of fun.

“Huffer, you and Sideswipe take care of those two,” Prime ordered. “Blaster you come with me and Chromedome.”

“You got it Prime,” Sideswipe said. “Come on Huffer.”

The two Autobots charged forward and Prime spoke into his comm. unit again, “Chromedome get ready. When you're clear meet us by the main gate.”

“Affirmative Prime,” came Chromedome's reply.

Huffer charged into the back of Onslaught sending him flying off his feet. Sideswipe for his part started to take pot shots at Laserbeak, who flew off into the air to avoid the blasts.

Seeing his chance, Chromedome broke from cover and transformed and zoomed off towards the Decepticon base. “Thanks guys,” he called as he sped past Sideswipe who was now helping Huffer to hold down Onslaught.

He zigzagged his way towards the main gate in an attempt to avoid drawing any fire from passing Decepticons or the wall mounted guns. They seemed more intent on the human attackers however.

He reached the gate and saw Prime standing there with another Autobot. Chromedome transformed and ran up to them.

“We have to get inside,” Prime said. “We have to stop those guns and find Megatron. Can you get the door open?”

Chromedome went up to the door and examined it. There was a small keypad on the outside. He retracted his fingers to reveal a number of interface devices and got to work on the keypad.

“No problem,” he said a few moments later as the doors slid backwards.

“Come on,” Prime said and ran inside. Blaster and Chromedome followed behind him.

* * * * *

You must die so that we may live. You must die so that he may live. He will know what to do. He will know how to help us. But you must die before we can live. Release us. Release him. Release Sil… NO! I do not want to die! But you must die; you must die so that we may live. Die! Die! Die! Die! I die!

The physical and mental bonds holding together the gestalt mind of Superion were suddenly released. The giant figure appeared to fall apart and in his place were four of the five Aerialbots. The still body of Air Raid lay nearby, having been blasted off of Superion in the battle with Bruticus.

Silverbolt's optics flickered unsteadily to life. The Aerialbots had channelled as much of their remaining energy through Superion and into their leader so that he could have enough strength to help them. The other Aerialbots lay still and silent.

Silverbolt looked around. He was in pitch darkness. He switched his optics into lowlight mode. Even in this mode he could see very little but what he did see appalled him. Body after body of his fellow Autobots lay pilled carelessly together in the dark. He tried to remember what had happened.

He and the Aerialbots had been defeated by Bruticus that much was plain. That was the last thing he remembered until his consciousness awoke inside of Superion. How had that happened? He didn't really know; it was as though they were just jolted back to life. He moved and his foot hit something. He looked down and saw the upper torso of Hoist. He turned away not wishing to look at his dead friend.

He had to get out of here. The mental struggle to split from their gestalt form and been costly in terms of energy. He had to make the best use of what he had. His optics were drawn to a chink of faint light to his right. It looked like a door. He made his way towards it and slowly began to push it open.

* * * * *

Megatron landed inside the compound and staggered slightly. Prime had managed to cause him some real damage. He looked down at the crack running across his chest, energon was leaking from the wound, glowing a pale pink. His power upgrade, made his body stronger, but not impervious. He needed to get repairs before facing Prime again. With an effort he began to walk back towards the medical section of the base.

* * * * *

Spike tried to dodge the blasts but he wasn't quick enough. The blasts from Starscream's weapons hit him in the chest. A hole was blown in the suits armour, Spike screamed in pain and fell to the floor. There was a smell of burning; he saw flames lick in front of his helmet visor. The pain was excruciating, he closed his eyes tight against it.

With his last conscious thought he wondered if the suit had a fire extinguisher built in, then he blacked out.

Carly screamed as she saw Spike fall, his suit on fire. As she ran forward a blanket of CO2 gas erupted from the suit causing her to lose sight of Spike. She tried to reach him but Starscream turned as she passed and batted her aside with a huge hand. She flew through the air, and hit something solid with jolt. She fell to the floor, stunned.

* * * * *

“I've wasted too much time on these fools,” Starscream said out loud. “Its time to meet my destiny!”

He moved quickly back to the control console and pressed the red button to activate the process. He was gratified to see the spacebridge transporter move gently out of the power station, a stack of red Carpasin Energon cubes already loaded.

He ran over to the connection unit and hurriedly began connecting the cables to his energy absorber. Soon he would be invincible.

* * * * *

Megatron was just in time to see the Energon cubes leave the power station on the transporter as he rounded the corner. He quickly took in the scene before him and fixed his optics on Starscream who was hastily attaching himself to the energy absorber.

“Starscream!” Megatron shouted, hobbling forward as quickly as his wounds would allow.

Starscream looked up at the shout, “You're too late Megatron, soon I will be the leader of the Decepticons and my first duty will be to terminate you.”

“Starscream you idiot, the spacebridge control centre on Cybertron has been destroyed,” Megatron shouted, “without it there will be no way of controlling the energy flow through the spacebridge. You must stop the transfer or we'll all be destroyed as the full power of the star returns to Earth.”

“Do you take me for a fool Megatron?” Starscream asked, “You just want to stop me taking might rightful place in the Decepticon hierarchy.” He raised his arm and fired at Megatron. In his weakened state Megatron was unable to dodge the blast and it hit him squarely in his already wounded chest. He fell backwards with a cry of pain.

Megatron forced himself to his feet again, but it was too late; the transporter came to a halt inside the spacebridge and the doors closed. With a crackle of lighting the dimensions were ripped apart and the transporter with its deadly cargo was sent on its way.

* * * * *

“Oh no,” Prime said as he saw the spacebridge activate. The three Autobots had headed back towards the main complex inside the Decepticon headquarters and had arrived just as Starscream fired on Megatron.

Prime caught Megatron's optics as the latter got back to his feet and stared in horror at the spacebridge. “Prime,” Megatron called, “we must destroy the spacebridge or the Earth and everything on it will be blown apart.”

Without waiting for an answer he raised his fusion cannon and took aim at the spacebridge.

* * * * *

Starscream spun around as he heard Megatron call out to Prime. Why must someone always interfere? He couldn't allow them to stop him now; he was too close. He turned again to see Megatron taking aim at the spacebridge.

With a scream of rage Starscream fired his two arm mounted blasters at their maximum power settings. It was with some satisfaction that he saw Megatron crash backwards to the floor for a second time, smoke rising from his chest cavity. Without waiting he swung round and opened fire on Prime and his Autobot companions.

Prime dived out of the way as Starscream's blasts flew past, Chromedome landing heavily on the ground beside him. He wasn't sure exactly what Megatron meant but he could make a guess. Starscream was trying to harness the energy of an exploded star and now that the control centre on Cybertron was gone there was no way to regulate the power through the spacebridge. They were all in great danger.

“Autobots open fire on the spacebridge!” he ordered even as he turned his own guns towards it.

Starscream yelled in fear and fury as the Autobots opened up on the spacebridge. His yells turned into laughter however as the blasts did only minor damage to the spacebridge. He was going to succeed this time; at long last he was going to get what he deserved!

* * * * *

Silverbolt had seen it all. He had come round the side of the power station as the spacebridge transporter had emerged. He saw Starscream apparently connecting himself to the spacebridge. Then to his delight and amazement he saw Optimus Prime, Blaster and another Autobot running towards him from the main entrance.

Silverbolt was just about to run and join them when he heard Megatron's voice yelling at Starscream, he turned to see the Decepticon leader approaching from the right. Silverbolt stood and watched as the scene unfolded. He saw Megatron call to Prime for help and it was that which decided him. If Megatron was asking Prime for help then things must be serious. He had to do something. But what?

* * * * *

The small star, the centre of a distant solar system, several hundred million light years away exploded as soon as the unstable energon materialised inside of it. But instead of the energy of the explosion blasting outwards in a supernova, granting the system's four inhabited planets a quick death, the energy was sucked through the dimensional gateway back down the spacebridge towards Earth.

The star's own planets were left behind to slowly freeze in the blackness of space. No one would ever work out what had happened to their sun before they were wiped out.

* * * * *

There was only one way. The spacebridge was hardly being touched by the Autobot's blaster fire. Something more drastic was needed. Silverbolt ducked quickly inside the opening that he had seen the transporter emerge from.

Inside he found himself in the reactor room of the power station. At the far end of the tracks stood a number of spacebridge transporters. Carpasin energon cubes were moving slowly along a conveyer belt system. At the far end of the conveyer a bulky piece of machinery had been attached to the reactor and was automatically producing the unstable cubes.

On reaching the end of the conveyer the cubes were being lifted delicately by a mechanical arm and placed in the foremost transporter, which was almost full. As Silverbolt took all this in there was a noticable decrease in the background noise of the room. Then the machinery at the end of the conveyer stoped producing cubes. The last three cubes on the belt were carefully placed in the transporter. The conveyer belt stopped and the mechanical arm folded over itself and stopped moving.

Silverbolt ran up to the transporter and carefully lifted one of the red cubes out. Then as quickly as he dared he turned and ran back towards the exit. Once outside he saw the Autobots were still firing desperately at the spacebridge while Starscream crouched down using if for cover.

Time was running out. Silverbolt transformed and shot up into the sky, the energon cube safely stored in his cargo hold. The Earth had to be saved and there was only one way he could do that in time. He tilted his nosecone downwards towards the spacebridge. As he did so he opened his comm. system, “This is Silverbolt, everybody get down.”

Prime looked up when he heard Silverbolt's voice. He saw the Aerialbot leader diving out of the sky and quickly realised his intension, “Autobots, fall back,” he cried out turning to run and dragging Blaster with him. Chromedome followed quickly after them.

The lights around the spacebridge sprang to life and Starscream raised his arms skywards as if to embrace the power that was coming to him. Then his optics widened as he saw Silverbolt bearing down on him. He stood irresolute, torn between saving himself and receiving his new power.

The sky split open as the dimensions were ripped asunder. There was a blinding light as raw energy shot out of the dimensional rift. Starscream cried out in triumph and at the same time Silverbolt crashed into the centre of the spacebridge. Starscream's cry of triumph turned into a screech of fear as the spacebridge was engulfed in flame.

The walls of the spacebridge shattered, the explosion from the energon cube expanded outwards engulfing the area in flame and smoke. The energy that had been channelled successfully through the rift suddenly found that it had nowhere to go anymore. It hit the ground with a loud whumf.

A wave a pure energy washed outwards causing the Autobots and Megatron to be knocked off their feet and sent tumbling through the air. Then it spread outwards in an ever-expanding circle. Machinery and the weaker outbuildings shattered and crashed to the ground or else were pushed along the ground by the wave.

The tracks that had lead from the reactor room to the spacebridge were ripped out of the ground and were sent whirling through the air. The wave hit the main power station building with immense force. Fortunately it was sturdily built and had been reinforced even more by the Constructicons. Windows shattered and the doors creaked but otherwise it stood firm and the energy wave flowed past.

It continued to expand, ripping machinery and outbuildings down as it went, until finally it hit the perimeter wall. Like the main building the walls were strongly built, but this time the wave had no way of flowing past the obstruction. Pressure against the wall continued to build.

Eventually, weaknesses in the wall broke under the pressure. Chunks of the wall blew outwards, weakening the wall further until eventually the whole structure gave way. Huge sections of the wall collapsed and the built up energy swept outwards like water breaking through a dam.

Beyond the wall the battle was still going on, though many of the combatants had turned to look when the spacebridge had been activated. As the walls cracked and then collapsed everyone stopped what they were doing to stare in a combination of awe and terror.

Then the energy wave was upon them and screams and yells rang out as transformers and tanks were thrown around like matchwood before a storm. Only those in the air, above the wave were spared and they stared down at the unfolding drama in shock.

On board the shuttle the Autobots looked out of the window hardly able to comprehend what was happening. As the wave continued to expand outwards Bumblebee said, “Get us down there, they're going to need help.”

The shuttle orbited the battlefield looking for a safe landing site. Finding a section of land free of debris it gently touched down. Looking out of the window again Bumblebee saw transformers, Autobot and Decepticon, getting slowly to their feet. Mixed in amongst them were many human tanks. Some were in flames while others were crumpled. Humans were climbing unsteadily from inside a few but most showed no signs of life.

The energy wave was still expanding, but it was beginning to lose some of its momentum. Five miles from the power station the energy wave finally dissipated into nothing.

* * * * *

As the dimensional rift closed the immense energy from the exploded star found its exit point blocked. Trapped in a dimension that was too small to accommodate it, the energy began to tear through the very fabric of the dimension.

It burst outwards, ripping its way through adjacent dimensions. Some were completely obliterated by the blast, their destruction adding fuel to the fiery cataclysm. Imitating the energy that had been released on Earth it expanded outwards through countless dimensions, causing damage and destruction as it went.

Eventually, for time had now meaning in pan-dimensional physics, the wave dissipated leaving behind it a tangle of interdimensional debris.

Chapter Six – Clean Up

Prime got slowly to his feet and looked around, surveying the devastation. To his great relief he saw that the main power station was still intact. He looked around for his Autobots hoping that they were okay.

Chromedome and Blaster had already gotten to their feet and were looking round with the same look of astonishment mingled with fear at what had just happened. Blaster suddenly made an exclamation and ran forward. Prime moved to see what had attracted his attention.

Mirage lay motionless on the ground, his body covered in debris. Things had happened too quickly when they had entered the base for Prime to notice his other three friends already there.

He moved hurriedly over to Mirage, “Is he still alive?” he asked Blaster who was bending over to examine him.

“I think so, I'm no expert of course but I think he's gonna be okay,” Blaster answered. “What happened to Megatron and Starscream?”

“Good question,” Prime said turning to where the spacebridge had stood. Flames and smoke were still billowing around the area but were beginning to die down a little. Prime could see no sign of Starscream, not even a body. Then he turned to where Megatron had been.

As if on cue, the Decepticon leader rose up throwing aside the wreckage that was covering him. Energon was oozing from his chest and he was covered in scorch marks. He turned towards Prime and their optics met.

“This ends now Megatron,” Prime said, “once and for all. Your insane scheme has nearly cost this planet its future, not to mention the countless millions who may have died as a result of the starts you destroyed. This time I show you no mercy. Its over Megatron.”

“Nice speech Prime,” Megatron said, his voice sounding slightly croaky, “but you'll never stop me. I might be injured, but once I'm repaired I will crush you and the rest of the Autobots.”

Without another word he raised his arms high and took off into the air, “I will return Prime,” he called down.

“Not this time Megatron,” Prime said and he transformed to his vehicle mode. “Hi-Q, you know what to do.”

Hi-Q, Prime's powermaster companion, shot out of his engine compartment straight into the air towards the retreating Megatron. As he went he transformed into his robot mode and with a clunk, landed on Megatron's back.

Megatron screamed in agony as Hi-Q used his powermaster abilities to drain the energy from his body. With a further scream Megatron fell from the sky and landed face downward on the ground, Hi-Q still maintaining his grip. He thrashed wildly, trying to dislodge his attacker but his movements got steadily weaker and weaker.

Prime looked on, with mixed emotions. He knew that the threat of Megatron must be ended, but was unhappy about the method. But Megatron could not be alowed to escape with his new power intact. Prime winced slightly as Megatron let out another piercing scream.

A blast of energy from the left suddenly hit Hi-Q and sent him flying off of Megatron to land in the rubble of the spacebridge. Then Soundwave flew into sight, his gun raised. He picked up the body of Megatron and lifted him up into the air. Switching on his comm. system he said, “Megatron has been injured, all Decepticons retreat. Return to base.”

Chromedome and Blaster both raised their weapons towards Soundwave but it was too late, he had flown towards the main power station building, hoping, correctly that the Autobots wouldn't want to risk detonating more of the Carpasin energon cubes.

“Hold your fire,” Prime said. As the others lowered their weapons, Prime watched as Soundwave flew out of sight the body of Megatron held below him. Decepticons from the battlefield followed after him.

“We will deal with the Decepticons later,” Prime said. “For now we must help the injured and clean up this mess.”

Unable to transform without Hi-Q he moved over towards where he lay unmoving. Hi-Q's optics glowed faintly, he was alive, “That Megatron sure has given me indigestion,” he said with a faint smile. Then with a great effort he sat up.

“Stay where you are,” Prime said. “You need to get yourself looked at.”

“Later Prime,” Hi-Q replied. “You need me.” With that he transformed back to his engine mode and reconnected to Prime who immediately transformed back to robot mode.

“Hang in there, my friend,” he said. “You'll be okay.”

* * * * *

The door of the shuttle opened and Bumblebee, Gears and Beachcomber emerged onto the dusty landscape. As they surveyed the battlefield they were astonished to see Sideswipe rising back to his feet not far off.

“Sideswipe!” Bumblebee called out in surprise and delight. Sideswipe turned and grinned at them.

“Well I didn't expect to see you guys out here, where are the others?”

“We were about to say the same to you,” Bumblebee said.

“Looks like we both have news for each other,” Sideswipe said with another grin. “Lets compare notes while we help our friends and these humans.”

* * * * *

It was Chromedome who came across the bodies first. He was clearing away debris from around the spacebridge looking for any sign of Starscream. He turned at once and called out, “Hey it looks like there are two of these human creatures here.”

Prime and Blaster hurried over to look. “Spike and Carly!” Blaster exclaimed. “How did they get here and what's with those fancy duds?”

“I don't know Blaster,” Prime said as he came up. “It looks like there were things happening around here that we knew nothing about. They need medical attention at once.

“Communicate with the Australian authorities, we need ambulances for the wounded humans, and then get in touch with the rest of the Autobots on that island, I want as many of them as can make it here to help with the cleanup as possible.”

* * * * *

Many miles to the South the Renegades had finally come to a stop. Doubledealer looked up at the structure in front of them and said, “Excellent. This will make a perfect base of operations.”

Chapter Seven - Retrospection

“Well?” Devil Spawn asked sitting back in his command chair.

“Blacklight and his forces have all surrendered to us,” Turbulence said with a slight sneer in his voice. How Blacklight ever though he could lead the Decepticons if he could contemplate surrender, Turbulence would never know. “You are now the undisputed Decepticon commander.”

Devil Spawn smiled, “And Shockwave?” he asked.

No sign of him, alive or dead, has been found anywhere in the wreckage of the citadel. Nor have there been any sightings of him anywhere else on Cybertron.”

“I don't like not having a body,” Devil Spawn said. “I want you to keep searching for any sign of him. If he did survive the explosion then I want to find him before he can make trouble for me.”

Turbulence nodded and said, “And what about the spacebridge control centre? Should I give orders to start reconstruction?”

Devil Spawn shook his head, “No, I think Megatron has interfered with the running of Cybertron too many times. I rule the Decepticons now, Megatron is an anachronism and a dangerous one at that. Its time we left him to languish on that backwater planet. From now on I will guide the Decepticons forward to a time of prosperity and conquest unheard of in their history. The galaxy will tremble before our might!”

* * * * *

The cleanup operation had taken several weeks and was still going on. The loss of life for both the humans and the Autobots had been great although the humans had come off the worst. The final death toll for the attack on the power station had been two hundred and thirty-two.

Fortunately both Spike and Carly had recovered fully. Carly had escaped with only minor injuries. Spike had spent several days in hospital being treated for burns and a broken arm but had soon been returned home.

The Autobot losses were still in the balance, Ratchet, Perceptor and Wheeljack with the help of Sparkplug were working every hour they could to try and save the Autobots who had been injured. For some it was an uphill struggle, for others a hopeless one.

The Autobots who had fallen in the failed attack on the power station were in the worst condition but some of those who had fled, incuding Ironhide were in a critical state.

Optimus Prime stood alone at the entrance to the Ark and looked out over the desert deep in thought. He had wasted too much time on Cybertron. He should have hurried back sooner. Perhaps he could have prevented all this.

“It wasn't your fault,” came a voice inside his head, “You got back as quickly as you could.”

“Thank you Hi-Q,” Prime said. He was glad to have his powermaster companion back again. Prime had insisted that he receive proper repairs once the initial cleanup had begun.

It had taken him several days to recover from his injuries. During that time Prime had been forced to stay in vehicle mode. It had reinforced his opinion that the advantages of the powermaster process were outmatched by the disadvantages. There would be no more powermasters he had decided.

“So do you think Megatron survived?” came a voice from behind him. Prime turned to see Prowl approaching from inside the Ark. He had regained consciousness just a few hours after the Autobot shuttle had left for Australia . Like Prime he was also feeling guilty about not being there when he was needed.

“I don't know,” Prime answered. “Hi-Q says that he still had energy inside him when the connection was cut off. I fear that he has survived and will be back.”

There had been no sign of Decepticon activity since they had fled Australia . It was assumed that they were still licking their wounds from their own losses. Of Starscream there had been no sign, presumably he had been vaporised in the explosion.

“Well if he does come back then we'll be waiting for him,” said Prowl with a confidence that Prime knew he didn't feel. All the Autobots had been badly shaken by recent events. The death of so many friends so quickly had been a major blow for them all.

Prime turned back to look out over the desert and said, “Yes Prowl, we'll be ready, ready for what ever may come.”

Epilogue – Developments

Thunder rumbled in the distance as Spike and Carly sat together on the sofa. Spike's arm was fully healed now, except for a little stiffness that the doctors said would disappear in time.

While he'd been in hospital Carly had been and visited him every day to make sure he was okay. The Autobots had arranged for Sparkplug to be flown over to Australia to see his son.

When he had entered the hospital he had put on a good show of being angry with them for having disobeyed him and gone to try and help the Autobots, but it had only been an act. He had heard the story of what they had done and how their actions had probably slowed Starscream down just enough to prevent him from destroying the Earth. He was actually quite proud of both of them.

Carly couldn't help but remember how Spike had risked his own life to save her from Starscream and how empty she'd felt when she thought Starscream had killed him.

They hadn't really spoken about that night all those weeks ago when they had once again become involved with the Autobots. The night they had kissed. This was the first time they had had a quiet time to themselves, as Sparkplug had been fussing round them both, making sure they were alright after their ordeal.

Tonight however they had finally persuaded him to go out and enjoy himself with some of his old friends, Vietnam veterans like himself. Carly had come round to spend the evening with Spike. It wasn't a date as such they were just going to relax watch a film on TV.

Spike didn't know what he ought to do. He too was thinking about what had happened the last time he and Carly had sat on this sofa. Did she remember? Did she want to forget? Is that why she hadn't said anything? Perhaps it was better this way, he thought, perhaps it just wasn't meant to be.

The opening credits of the film died away and the movie itself started. Spike thought briefly about reaching over and switching the television off, telling Carly exactly what he was feeling inside. But he didn't. He suddenly realised that he was holding his body rigid and he forced himself to relax.

Carly felt the tenseness leave Spike's body as he relaxed against the sofa. With a twinge of disappointment she too relaxed back to watch the movie.

* * * * *

Sometimes the great events in the Universe hinge on the smallest of things. The balance of the Universe is easily tipped one way and another. Twenty miles away from the Witwicky home, a thunderstorm had sprung up with alarming speed. A bolt of lightning from that storm hit a power relay shorting out the electricity supply in a fifty-mile radius.

* * * * *

Without warning the television and the lights all went off. The house became silent as the constant background hum of electrical equipment common to most modern households ceased.

“Oh no, a power cut,” Carly said. “Now what are we going to do?”

It was Carly asking him this question that suddenly made Spike's mind up for him. He moved closer to her and gently leant forward.

Carly giggled girlishly in the darkness. Thunder crashed in the distance from the approaching storm. The sofa creaked and so did the fabric of the Universe.

The End…

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