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Operation Sunburn: Power Masters


Chapter One - Loosing the Status-Quo
Chapter Two - Changes at the Top
Chapter Three - Underground
Chapter Four - The Hunt is Up
Chapter Five - Brain Vs Brawn
Chapter Six - Back in Action
Chapter Seven - Down and Out Down Under

  A Note About Time  

1 Nano-Click = 1 Earth Second
1 Nano-Cycle = 1 Earth Minute
1 Breem = Approx 8.35 Earth Minutes
1 Cycle = 1 Earth Hour
1 Solar-Cycle = 1 Earth Day
1 Peri-Cycle = 1.4 Earth Weeks
1 Deca-Cycle = 5.6 Earth Weeks
1 Stellar-Cycle = 1 Earth Year
1 Vorn = 83 Earth Years


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 2 – Power Masters

Chapter One – Losing the Status-Quo

Megatron looked around triumphantly. He felt his circuits pulsating with his new found power. He knew he was invincible now. The Autobots would fall before him like leaves in a breeze. Especially without their high and mighty leader Optimus Prime.

At last Prime was dead! Catapulted into the heart of a star by the spacebridge. The star had then exploded as the Carpasin Energon cubes that had been transported with him detonated causing the star to go nova. Not even Optimus Prime could survive that.

The Decpticons, his Decepticons were looking at him with a mixture of awe and fear on their faces. They had just witnessed their leader vaporise a building with a single shot. The energy of an exploded star flowed through his circuits now and the power was his to control.

* * * * *

The Autobots began to pick themselves up, pushing aside rubble from the collapsed building that Megatron had just destroyed.

“Wham! Bam!” Warpath commented. “That's some serious firepower! Powie!”

Ironhide turned to look at the crumpled bodies of Jazz and Prowl who had caught the full force of the explosion. He said, “Skyfire transform and get us out of here. Prowl and Jazz need help.”

“But what about Optimus?” Skyfire said with concern.

“We can't help Prime now,” snapped Ironhide. “He's gone. We have to look after the living and get back to base and regroup.”

Skyfire transformed into jet mode and Ironhide and Warpath picked up Prowl's limp body while Smokescreen and Blaster did the same for Jazz and carried them inside. Tracks, having sustained damage after a battle with Devastator earlier hobbled after them with the help of Sideswipe and Sunstreaker.

Once everyone was aboard Skyfire blasted into the air and headed back towards Autobot headquarters.

* * * * *

Megatron stood and watched them go. Let them run for now. He was in no hurry to defeat them yet. An incoming transmission drew his attention.

“Megatron? Are you there?” the voice of Shockwave came through his comm. unit.

“Yes Shockwave everything went as planned. How are things on Cybertron?”

“Power levels are at maximum. All our weapons factories are now producing at full output. With your permission I would like to activate some of our reserve unit Decepticons in order to hunt down rebel elements and bolster our forces.”

Megatron considered this. Due to dwindling energy reserves many of his Decepticon warriors had been put into cryosleep. Only his elite warriors had remained active. Now Cybertron had enough power to maintain a higher Decepticon population.

“Approved Shockwave,” he said. “I want the Autobot rebels crushed. I then want you to begin plans for modifying the Sunburn project to allow the power boost to be given to all the Decepticons. The Autobots won't know what hit them!”

“As you command Megatron.”

Megatron turned to the assembled Decepticons and said, “Today is the first step towards our defeat of the Autobots forever. We now have an inexhaustible supply of energy to fuel our efforts. Once the Autobot scourge has been dealt with we will return to Cybertron and begin a new era of conquest. No planet in the Universe will be able to stand before us. We will be invincible!”

He laughed raising his arms heavenward. The assembled Decepticons joined in with his celebrations. For the first time, it truly seemed as if victory was near. The Autobots would be destroyed.

Megatron turned to Scrapper and said, “Your Constructicons are to begin fortifying this installation immediately. Then I want a permanent transport system created to safely move Carpasin Energon cubes to the space bridge.”

“Yes, mighty Megatron,” said Scrapper who turned away and began to confer with his fellow Constructicons.

“Soundwave, set up guard patrols around the power plant. The Autobots will no doubt try and take it back. I want reinforcements from headquarters here as soon as possible. I am going to set up quarters for myself in the power plant if you need me.”

“Yes Megatron,” said Soundwave.

* * * * *

He didn't know how long he'd lain here. He didn't know how he'd got here. For that matter he didn't even know where here was. With the ringing in his head he had enough trouble remembering who he was.

It was dark he thought. But then he realised that his optics were off. He switched them back on. As his vision was restored he saw a cloudless, star filled sky directly above him.

Okay, he reasoned, I'm lying on my back. He turned his head to the left, ignoring the stabbing pain that shot through his neck at the movement. He was laying in a deserted city street, or at least what was left of a city street. The buildings nearby were derelict and shattered. Wreckage lay all over the metal landscape. Metal landscape? Could that mean…? Could he be on Cybertron? But how?

He tried to remember, but he couldn't. All he could remember was a feeling of flying followed by a bright light followed by searing pain. Then waking up here. He turned his head and looked to the right. He got a shock when he saw the figure lying crumpled beside him. He couldn't remember his name but he instinctively knew him as an enemy.

He had to get up and find somewhere that he could rest and regain his memory before deciding what to do next. Before he could move however he heard a noise of footsteps approaching. He lifted his head slightly and looked towards his feet. A figure was approaching through the gloom.

He tried to move, to get up and flee or defend himself, but his body wouldn't respond. The stranger was close enough now to see more clearly. The figure was bulky in a powerful kind of way. Clearly a fighter. His dark green bodywork would be a useful camouflage in the dark. A shoulder mounted rocket launcher sat next to the black head from which a pair of pale blue optics glowed in the darkness.

The figure lifted its right arm. He saw the gun, pointing right at him now, but there was nothing he could do. A blast of light shot from the end of the gun and enveloped him in a pale blue light. He felt no pain, but his world suddenly went black again.

Chapter Two – Changes at the Top

Shockwave walked slowly towards the cryochambers. These were located deep underneath the Decepticon capital of Polyhex. They had been set up more than four million years ago by Megatron to try and maintain energy reserves. But now was the time to let some of those imprisoned within return to the ranks of the Decepticons.

A Guardian class security drone blocked the entrance to the cyrochamber. Shockwave approached him and said, “Open the chamber. Security clearance – SW825-275363JDB-SDGSSJM77222D.”

The Guardian stood for a second as it checked the security codes. No chances were taken. The contents of this room were valuable, both to renegade Decepticons trying to make their own play for power or for the Autobots – as a target.

Shockwave's security clearance was verified and the Guardian stood to one side and sent an electronic signal to the door, which slid, noiselessly to one side. Shockwave strode forward and entered the room. Although the word room hardly did justice to the sight that Shockwave now beheld. Complex would be a better term.

The complex consisted of a circular chamber about a hundred feet across. Lining the walls were plasteel chambers, their transparent surfaces fogged with the cold. Around the edge was a walkway allowing access to the cryochambers.

The centre of the complex was a vast chasm that dropped away into darkness, with level after level of cyrochambers. Elevators built into the walkway allowed access to the lower levels.

The cryochambers maintained the occupant's life support systems at a minimal level. The cold helped to minimise stresses placed on circuits that remained unused for millennia. The occupant was still aware of his surroundings on a subconscious level. In the event of a threat they could automatically revive themselves to meet the danger.

Shockwave looked around and then consulted the datapad that he had brought with him. He knew what he was looking for. In recent months Autobot resistance had been growing and they had been using a strange new weapon that had killed many of his troops.

Despite his best efforts he had been unable to find the rebel location. He was desperately short of troops and of those he did have, few were trained to hunt hidden foes. He decided that it was time to change that.

According to his datapad the group he had in mind were located on level three. He walked along the walkway to the nearest elevator and pressed for level three. The elevator dropped down into the darkness, stopping two levels down. The only light came from glow lamps running along the top of the walls, along with a faint glow from the cryochambers themselves.

Shockwave consulted his datapad again and then began walking toward the far side of the chamber. As he walked he looked inside some of the chambers to see Decepticons who hadn't stirred in four million years.

He eventually came to the chamber he was looking for. A small screen above the chamber showed the occupants name and function. This one read – RAZORCLAW. PREDACON COMMANDER.

Shockwave tapped a code into a keypad next to the chamber. A status screen next to the pad began to blink information.







With a hiss the cover of the chamber pulled back into the wall revealing a tall yellow, red and blue Decepticon. His optics were dark, but suddenly pulsed with life. He moved his head and looked at Shockwave.

“Shockwave! Where is Megatron? What has been happening?” he said a gravely edge to his voice.

“Save your questions till later, Razerclaw. Much has happened since you were placed in cryosleep, but explanations can wait until we have revived the rest of your Predacons.

* * * * *

“How are they Ratchet?” asked Ironhide to the Autobot medic. Ratchet, Wheeljack and First Aid had been working non-stop on Prowl and Jazz for six hours since the Autobots had returned to the Ark.

“Prowl is going to make it okay,” said Ratchet. “He's a bit banged up but he'll be fine. At the moment however I'm not too sure about Jazz. He's suffered heavy internal damage. A piece of shrapnel has ruptured his motor unit. It's gonna take a lot of work to get him back on his feet. Prowl should be up and around in a day or so.”

“Okay Ratchet. I know you'll do the best you can for Jazz,” said Ironhide turning away and walking back towards the briefing room. He felt very old all of a sudden. Things had just changed so fast and not for the better either.

First Bluestreak had been killed by the Energon explosion, now Jazz was fighting for his life and Optimus Prime was dead too. There was no doubt in Ironhide's mind about this. He had stood and heard Megatron tell Prime his plan to harness the power of an exploding star by transporting Carpasin Energon cubes into its centre and he had stood and watched as Optimus Prime and Starscream had been sucked up by the space bridge along with the cubes.

Megatron's plan had worked, the star had exploded just as he said it would and therefore Prime must have been there when it did. There's no way he could have survived a star going nova. Prime was dead.

Ironhide reached the briefing room and took a few seconds to compose himself. This wasn't going to be easy but it had to be done. He entered the briefing room to find it full to capacity. Every Autobot in the Ark had been summoned to this briefing.

Ironhide took position on the podium at the front of the room. The hum of voices in the room subsided as everyone turned their attention on him.

“I'm sure that you all know the tragic news by now. Optimus Prime died today in battle with the Decepticons.”

There was a renewed hum of voices. Everyone did know but had been hoping that they were all wrong. This announcement made it official though.

“Jazz and Prowl,” continued Ironhide as soon as the noise had subsided again, “were also badly hurt in the battle. Prowl will recover. However Jazz's future is more uncertain.” More murmurs followed this announcement. “In Optimus' absence Jazz then Prowl, and then me are the next in line for command. Therefore, until Prowl is operational again I am taking command temporarily. I…”

Ironhide was interrupted by a shout from the floor, “NO! Me Grimlock should lead. Me strongest Autobot!” the Dinobot commander strode forward elbowing other Autobots aside.

With all that had happened over the last two days Ironhide was in no mood for one of Grimlock's power plays.

“You Grimlock will follow Autobot law and the chain of command,” he snapped. The look on his face made even the thick-skinned Grimlock slow his pace. “If you, or anyone else for that matter has any problem with that then I shall order your immediate arrest and detainment. Is that clear?”

Just for a moment it looked as though Grimlock was going to argue, but in the end he nodded and then turned and elbowed his way back to his place next to his fellow Dinobots.

Ironhide continued, “Now as you may know, Megatron has gained possession of unlimited energy resources that he is using to revitalise Cybertron and give himself a power boost. He now has tremendous firepower and we must assume strength at his disposal. I think it is only a matter of time before the rest of the Decepticons get the same treatment. Also the increased energy available to the Decepticons on Cybertron will make life harder for the Autobot resistance there. It seems to me that a pre-emptive strike is warranted in order to neutralise this new threat.”

There was a general murmur of agreement throughout the room.

“Teletraan-I's skyspy is relaying pictures back from Australia showing that the Decepticons are fortifying their position,” continued Ironhide. “We must destroy that facility before they can become entrenched. I want every section commander in the incident room in four hours. A memorial to Optimus Prime is to be held in one hours time.

Ironhide turned from the podium and left the room. The decisions he made over the next few hours could hold the fate of the Autobots, Cybertron and Earth in the balance.

Chapter Three - Underground

Megatron stood at a window in his new makeshift quarters in the power plant and looked as Decepticon reinforcements arrived from their headquarters. The remaining Seeker's were first, followed by the Triplechangers, then the Stunticons and the Combaticons.

Soundwave immediately began organising the new arrivals. Some took up guard positions while others went to help with the building of the fortifications.

A sortie to a nearby industrial complex and provided the raw materials to build guard towers and soon gun emplacements. The power plant would soon be a fortress. In fact Megatron was thinking about relocating his headquarters here permanently. But that was a decision that could wait.

He knew the Autobots would be coming soon, in force. They would never leave him with the power he had available without trying to capture or destroy it. They also probably wanted revenge for Prime's death. Megatron smiled as he thought about that. He had waited so long for this day. Well, Prime wouldn't be the last Autobot to die. Others would follow him very soon.

* * * * *

Shockwave activated a monitor and began video playback. “This is a recording of a recent Autobot hit and run attack on a research station in the province of Dishender ,” said Shockwave, addressing the five newly restored Predacons standing round the monitor. “Observe!”

The monitor showed an overhead shot of a city street, heavily battle damaged. Two Decepticons stood guard outside the entrance to a nearby building.

Suddenly three Autobots charged into view. One of them was white, the second green and red and the third was bright yellow. The Decepticon guards raised their weapons instinctively but before they could fire a strange thing happened. Two of the Autobots stopped and fired something from their bodies at the two guards. The picture on the monitor was too small to see exactly what it was but the effects were dramatic.

The objects transformed into what was clearly a small Autobot and each landed on one of the guards. As they did so the guards threw up their arms and screamed in agony. Seconds later they dropped to the floor, their bodies had been drained of all colour, leaving their bodies a dark grey.

The small Autobots jumped back into the air returning to the Autobot's that had launched them transforming as they did so. The three large Autobots then transformed and blasted their way inside the building and then entered.

Shockwave stopped the playback and turned to the Predacons. He said, “The guards were dead. Analysis of their bodies showed that they had been completely drained of energy. The same had happened to the researchers inside the station. The Autobots stole a huge amount of research into new weapons systems. They then disappeared. I want you to find where these Autobots are coming from and the nature of the weapon they are using.”

“Do you want them alive or dead?” Razorclaw asked.

“Alive if possible,” replied Shockwave, “but if not terminate them.”

* * * * *

He regained consciousness again to the sound of voices, “Will he survive?” said one, a deep and husky, but at the same time soothing voice.

“He's alive,” said another sharper voice, “but his body has been damaged beyond repair. If he is to survive long term a new body must be constructed.”

“Do you have something in mind?” said the first voice.

“I believe we could modify project Ginrai,” came the reply.

The first voice seemed to think that over and then said, “Approved! What is the status of the Decepticon?”

“He's alive but most of his motor functions have seized.”

“Can he be repaired?”

“Yes,” said the second voice with a trace of hesitation, “but you know who he is! Why…?”

“I want to keep our options open. He has a lot of knowledge that may be useful to us. Keep me informed of your progress. Project Ginrai is given top priority as of now.”

“Yes commander.”

He heard the sound of footsteps retreating. He switched on his optics and this time saw that he was inside some kind of brightly lit room with white walls and ceiling.

He heard footsteps again and suddenly a face appeared above him. The face looked down on him and said, “Well hello there. I am Brainstorm. Welcome back to the land of the living, Starscream.”

Chapter Four – The Hunt is Up

“What I want to know,” said Ironhide, “is what kind of power Megatron is packing and what do we do to counter it. Perceptor?”

The Autobot scientist looked up from the table and addressed the Autobot section commanders who had assembled as per Ironhide's order, following the memorial for Optimus Prime.

The memorial had been a harrowing experience for all involved as might be expected. It was made worse by the fact that there was no body to fire into space.

“From what you have told me of the process Megatron used, and the potential energy involved he could have boosted his power to astronomical levels. As a result his strength will increase as will the power of any weapon that draws energy from him. As we have seen this does include his fusion cannon.”

“And what can we do about it?” Ironhide pressed.

“Except the increased use of force shields against his weaponry…nothing. I have started researching possible neutralisation techniques but they won't show any progress in time for the attack,” said Pereceptor sadly.

“What effect will our weapons have on him?” asked Silverbolt.

“The extra power will make him more resilient but they will still have an effect with enough concentrated fire,” said Perceptor. “The longer his body has to absorb and regulate his new found energy the stronger he will become.”

“In other words the sooner we deal with him the better,” said Ironhide.

“In effect, yes.”

“In that case we need a plan for a full scale assault on that power plant as soon as possible,” said Ironhide.

The intercom beeped and the voice of Bumblebee said, “Sorry to interrupt Ironhide, we have a communication coming in from the Prime Minister of Australia …he wants to talk to Prime.”

“What have you told him?” Ironhide asked.

“Nothing yet. I thought it might be better coming from you.”

“Okay Bumblebee I'll be right there,” said Ironhide. “While I'm gone I want you to come up with some ideas for an assault on the power plant.”

Ironhide got up from the table and left the incident room and walked down the corridor until he got to the control room which housed Teletraan-I. He approached the large view screen showing an image of a short balding man with glasses in his late fifties sitting behind an ornate desk.

“Good day Prime Minister,” said Ironhide.

“Where is Optimus Prime?” asked the Prime Minister.

“I'm afraid Prime Minister that Optimus Prime has fallen in battle. I am Ironhide. I am the temporary leader of the Autobots now.”

The Prime Minister looked shocked for a moment before recovering himself and said, “I so very sorry to hear that, please accept my condolences.”

“Thank you Prime Minister.”

“The purpose of my call however is to discuss is the deplorable situation regarding the Decepticons and our new Fusion power station.”

“Prime Minister, I understand your concern and we are working on plans now to rid your country of the Decepticons. But there is more at stake now than just your power station.”

“Do you realise how many taxpayers dollars went into the construction of that power station? To say nothing about the development costs as well. I cannot go before my country and say that it isn't important. The people will demand action. If the Autobots aren't able or willing to deal with this problem then I will have to consider military action of my own.”

“Prime Minister I understand your concerns but I cannot emphasise strongly enough how important it is that you leave the Decepticons to us. Your soldiers will be cut down in no time. Please leave things in our hands. As I said we are making plans at this very moment to deal with the problem.”

“Very well…Ironhide. But I will not be able to stall my military advisors indefinitely. Good luck with your operation. I wish you every success.”

“Thank you Prime Minister,” said Ironhide and the image of the Prime Minister flickered off the screen. Ironhide relaxed visibly. He wasn't used to this diplomacy stuff, he was a soldier not a leader.

“Are you OK Ironhide?” Bumblebee asked with some concern.

“I'll be just fine Bumblebee,” replied Ironhide. He didn't add the though, “Once we have Prowl leading us and I can get back to soldiering.”

* * * * *

In the darkened communication room a figure stood hunched over a console, talking quietly to the image on the viewscreen.

“Its him I tell you. He's been positively identified.”

“In that case I want him,” said the viewscreen image. “Whatever the cost.”

“It'll probably blow my cover.”

“I said whatever the cost. I want Starscream brought out of there. Is that understood?”

There was a pause and then, “Very well. As you wish.”

* * * * *

Rampage lifted his head from the ground and said, “There are traces of Autobot fuel here. Three distinct signatures, but very faint. It might not be possible to track them.”

Razorclaw came over to where Rampage was. He transformed to his beast mode and sniffed the ground where Rampage had indicated. He nodded his head in agreement and then said, “It seems to be headed towards the centre of the city.” He turned to Divebomb who was standing nearby and continued, “Divebomb, we will attempt to track the fuel traces, see if you can see anything from the air that might indicate an Autobot base in the city.”

Divebomb transformed to flight mode and took to the air. He circled high above the city his keen eyes alert for any sign of movement. Dishender was almost completely ruinous, its population having been decimated some six million years previously when Decepticon forces had plundered it.

The city had been a hive of scientific research before the war. Afterwards the Autobots had used it for military research. A Decepticon raiding party led by Megatron himself had stormed the city cutting down the Autobot defences and butchering it scientists.

The Decepticons had taken most of the research for themselves, although the fleeing Autobots had destroyed much of it. Among the discoveries made in Dishender was the research that had helped develop the so called ‘cassette technology' used by Soundwave and later the Autobot, Blaster.

Since the capture of the city by the Decepticons it had mostly fell into ruin but the Decepticons did still use it for isolated scientific research. Only a token defence force remained in the city making it an ideal staging ground for Autobot resistance.

Divebomb continued to circle the area, being careful to keep above his ground based comrades below. Razorclaw and Rampage were leading, their superior sense of smell guiding them. Tantrum and Headstrong brought up the rear their guns raised ready for trouble. Their pace was slow as the two trackers tried to follow the rapidly fading scent.

Divebomb could see no sign of movement anywhere in the city. Since the Autobot attack two days before Shockwave had ordered all the Decepticons and their research to be removed from the city until the Autobot threat was dealt with. The new weapon that they were using was unlike anything seen before. Divebomb grinned to himself. No amount of super weapons were a match for the Predacons.

* * * * *

“Scattershot!” Lightspeed called looking up from his communications console. “Outpost six reports Decepticon activity sighted, heading this way. Five of them are of unknown appearance. Including one airborne unit.

Scattershot walked across to Lightspeed and examined the readouts on his console, which included images of the five Decepticons. He didn't recognise them either, which was very odd. The Decepticon forces were spread pretty thin these days and these five hadn't appeared in any enemy briefings that he'd sat through.

“I think I'd better alert the commander,” he said after some thought. If there was suddenly five new Decepticons on the planet where had they come from? Earth? Was it possible that Megatron was sending reinforcements home? But Scattershot couldn't remember seeing these Decepticons mentioned in the archives of those lost in that doomed expedition either.

He transferred the images to his datapad along with the other details of the sightings and left the control room. He walked through a series of tunnel-like corridors towards the commander's office. With any luck this would be a chance to get a bit of action. He was tired of hiding underground. He needed to shoot some Decepticons.

He pressed the door chime and a voice called, “Enter”. Scattershot slid the door open and walked into the base commander's office. The commander was seated behind his desk apparently examining what looked like a schematic diagram of some sort. He looked up as Scattershot approached.

“Commander we have just received a sighting of a group of Decepticons headed this way. They appear to be of unknown configuration,” Scattershot reported passing his datapad over.

The commander took the pad and examined it carefully. “You're right,” he said. “I don't recognise them either. From the look of them though they appear to be some sort of trackers.”

“It seems likely that they are searching for the perpetrators of the raid on the research centre,” said Scattershot. “If they are hunters there is a danger of them picking up the trail and finding us. I request permission to take my Technobots and dispose of the Decepticons before they become a threat.”

“It may be more prudent to capture at least one for interrogation,” the commander replied. “I want to know where they've appeared from. Take Getaway and Rev with you. I want them alive for now.”

“As you wish,” replied Scattershot neutrally. He was a soldier, his function was to waste Decepticons not capture them. But still he had been given his orders and he would carry them out.

He walked back down the corridors and returned to the control room. Turning to Lightspeed he said, “I want you and the rest of the Technobots as well as Getaway and Rev assembled for action in ten Cycles. We're going to hunt the hunters!”

Chapter Five – Brain Vs Brawn

Starscream could only look in mute rage as the Autobot who held him captive busied himself on the body of the hated Autobot leader, Optimus Prime. His memory was starting to return now and he couldn't believe that he had forgotten the Decepticon's greatest enemy.

Starscream was strapped to a table held at a forty-five-degree angle, allowing him to see what was going on in the room even though he still couldn't move. Prime's body was laid out on a table nearby. It was heavily damaged, blackened by fire and showing exposed circuitry. The Autobot called Brainstorm was connecting Prime to a computer system next to the table.

As Starscream watched another Autobot, coloured brown and red entered the room and walked across to Brainstorm. “Ah Chromedome!” Brainstorm said looking up. “How are the modifications to project Ginrai coming along?”

“We've completed the structural changes you specified, he looks better than ever,” the Autobot called Chromedome said. “We just need the final schematics for the neuralpathways.”

“In that case you're just in time,” said Brainstorm and he flicked a switch on the computer system that Prime's body was connected too. The monitor on the computer flickered to life and began rapidly showing what looked like circuit diagrams. “I shall upload the results to the Ginrai database as soon as the scan is complete,” continued Brainstorm. “When do you think you will be ready for transfer?”

“Within approximately thirty mega-cycles,” said Chromedome. “But you understand that there is a danger involved. The transfer may result in damage to the underlying personality matrix.”

“I know Chromedome, but we don't have a choice. Prime will die without a new body and I can't think of a better Autobot to give the Ginrai project too.”

Starscream looked on helplessly. Prime was going to get a new body. He had to stop that but how when he couldn't even move?

* * * * *

“I don't see as we have a choice,” Ironhide said. “A full frontal attack is our only chance. There's no real cover anywhere near the power plant and so there's no way to launch a surprise attack. The longer we wait the more fortifications Megatron is going to install and the harder it'll be for us to breach them.”

“But we'll be sure to suffer heavy casualties,” said Hotspot cautiously.

“We are going to have to risk that,” replied Ironhide. “Unless we move now the Decepticons could become unstoppable.”

The other section commanders nodded in silent agreement. They had been trying to think of a suitable plan for taking the power station and had failed. The only idea they could come up with was a diversionary attack to draw the Decepticon's fire and then to use shear weight of numbers and to hit them before they could finish their fortifications.

“It's agreed then,” said Ironhide. “I want every available Autobot to be ready to leave in one hour. Jetfire and Omega Supreme will transport us.

“At the moment according to Teletran, the East side of the plant is the least defended. Silverbolt, I want you to take a small force and attack that section. Take Hound with you. His holograms can be used to trick the Decepticons into thinking that you are the main attack force. Hopefully that will grab the attention of the defenders while Jetfire, Omega and the rest of us target the West side of the plant.

“Silverbolt I don't want you taking any risks. Once the assault on the West side begins I want you to withdraw your troops and join us there. We'll need all the help we can get.”

“I understand,” said Silverbolt.

“We'll be leaving the Ark awfully vulnerable,” pointed out Hotspot.

“Most of the Decepticons are at the power plant,” said Ironhide. “The Ark should be safe enough. Besides we need all the strength we can get. We'll leave a token defence force behind just to look after things.

“Good luck everyone. May Primus be with us.”

* * * * *

Megatron stood before his newly installed communications console and said, “Report Shockwave.”

Shockwave's image appeared on the monitor screen, “Modifications to space bridge completed. Power connections for up to five Decepticons have been installed. Each connector has variable power resistors to prevent overloading.”

“Excellent Shockwave,” said Megatron. “When can the operation be performed?”

“The space bridge will be fully recharged in twelve Earth hours,” said Shockwave. “Target star has already been chosen. It will require at least three hundred Carpasin Energon cubes to detonate.”

“Very well Shockwave. How goes things on Cybertron?”

“Energy levels are remaining steady. All automated defence systems are now fully active. I have increased the production of Sentinel drones and intend to awake more Decepticons from cyro-hibernation.”

“How are the Predacons performing?”

“They are currently tracking an Autobot raiding group in the province of Dishender . Cryo-hibernation does not appear to have resulted in any loss of performance.”

“Excellent! That was always a danger. You are doing well Shockwave. Once we have crushed the Autobots on Earth I can return to Cybertron and we can begin our conquest of the Universe!”

* * * * *

It was Divebomb who saw it first, a flash of movement from the building ahead. He activated his comm. unit and said, “Divebomb to Razorclaw. Movement sighted, source unknown, in the techlab building at the end of the street.”

The Predacons below stopped their advance and immediately spread out making themselves less of a target. Razorclaw and Rampage transformed to robot mode and raised their weapons.

“Any further movement?” Razorclaw asked Divebomb.

“Negative! No wait, yes, something has just moved past one of the windows.”

“Very well,” said Razorclaw. “Predacons, we advance on the building slowly. Tantrum, you cover the nearside door, Headstrong the far side. Rampage will cover the upper storey windows while I will cover the ground floor. Divebomb, remain alert and cover us.”

The Predacons began to slowly move towards the lab building in front of them, keeping their weapons raised and using nearby buildings for cover. Overhead Divebomb kept his optics glued firmly on the building below him, but saw no further sign of movement.

The Predacons were almost on top of the building now and no further movement had been detected. Razorclaw raised a hand to halt the Predacons. He looked around but the city was silent. He turned and signalled Headstrong and Tantrum to investigate the building.

Grinning the two Predacons transformed to beast mode and charged toward the silent building, lowering their heads they crashed through the wall transforming as they did so bringing there weapons to bear on the only occupant – a cleaning droid. Tantrum blasted the droid in disgust and turned back towards the hole in the wall. “Razorclaw,” he called. “It was just a droid.”

Razorclaw and Rampage began to approach the building disappointment etched on their faces.

Divebomb saw the danger first. From the corner of his optic he saw movement. A brown two-wheeled vehicle was moving at speed towards the Predacons grouped below. Before he could warn the Predacons however he felt a searing pain in his side.

A white and red jet rocketed overhead and Divebomb felt his circuits exposed to the air from the heat ray blast that he had taken. The Jet turned for a second run its double weapons levelled at him. Divebomb saw the hated Autobot insignia emblazoned on the nose of the jet.

“I don't know who you are Decepticon but I'm Strafe and you'd better surrender now,” called the jet.

“Divebomb surrender! Don't be absurd Autobot,” Divebomb called back. As he did so he let off a shot from his wing-mounted particle beam guns and the twisted in the air and dived towards the ground avoiding the heat ray blasts fired by Strafe.

Strafe pulled up to avoid the particle beams turned and charged after Divebomb. But he was too late and Divebomb was rocketing back into the air again trying to get above Strafe so he could get lined up for another shot.

On the ground the other Predacons had heard the commotion and turned to look at the dogfight above. Razorclaw reacted at once, “Predacons take cover,” he called. But before they had moved far the brown motorcycle appeared out of a side street and charged down on them firing plasma-pulses that exploded around the Predacons as they dashed for cover.

Tantrum was caught in one blast and was sent flying through the air and collided with the side of a nearby building. Stunned slightly, he got to his feet and began firing his own weapon at his attacker, who swerved away and charged off down another street.

Before the Predacons could recover their wits however the wall of one of the buildings exploded outwards and Scattershot emerged. His fellow Technobots, Nosecone and Lightspeed followed him. Behind them a tall white and blue Autobot also emerged into the street.

All four raised their weapons and covered one of the Predacons. Scattershot spoke. “Put down your weapons and you will not be harmed.” At that moment the motorcycle re-emerged from yet another side street and transformed into the final Technobot, Afterburner. He also levelled his weapon at the Predacons.

Razorclaw said, “You don't expect us to believe that do you Autobot? You want us dead.”

“You don't have a choice Decepticon,” said Scattershot sternly. “You're just going to have to trust us.”

Meanwhile above Divebomb and Strafe were still engaged in aerial combat. A glancing blow from one of Divebomb's particle beams had sliced a groove through Strafe's bodywork. But now he had the advantage and as Divebomb headed downwards he followed.

Divebomb, however pulled out of his dive and engaged his back mounted rockets. As he did so he spun round in the air so that he was heading straight towards Strafe. The two flyers closed in at a combined speed of over eight hundred miles per hour.

Strafe didn't have time to react and Divebomb's razor sharp beak sliced through his wing. He screamed and fell from the sky. Divebomb flipped around in the air and took in the situation below.

Seeing his fellow Predacons covered by the Autobots he quickly fired off a missile at the assembled Autobots. It landed in front of them and exploded flinging them backwards off of their feet.

Divebomb dropped to the ground and as he had expected Razorclaw stood up and called, “Predacons! Merge into Predaking!”

The Predacons came together and with a clang of metal against metal swiftly combined into the giant Decepticon called Predaking and he turned to face his attackers.

The Autobots looked up, shocked at this new development. Scattershot looked round hastily for the remainder of his Technobots. The dust from the explosion still hung in the air giving them a few seconds to recover before the attack.

Strafe was missing. It couldn't be helped he had to act now. “Technobots transform into Computron,” he called. The three remaining Technobots got hastily to their feet and with Scattershot combined into Computron. However with out Strafe the resulting gestalt Autobot was missing his left arm.

He strode forward bravely to meet Predaking however. Predaking was too quick for him however. Moving with a fluidity not usually seem amongst gestalt transformers he send his fist flying hard into Computron, who was hurled backwards to collapse through the roof of what had once been a repair shop. Rubble was sent flying everywhere.

Predaking stepped forward, reached down and pulled Computron from the wreckage by the throat. Computron lashed out with his right arm causing Predaking to stagger sideways. He lost his grip on Computron who fell back into the ruined building causing more rubble to shower down into the street.

Predaking had regained his footing and turned back towards Computron who was trying to get himself clear of the wreckage. He raised his arm-mounted X-ray laser cannon and levelled it at the struggling giant.

On the ground the white and blue Autobot had taken cover but seeing Computron grounded he decided that he must take action. He transformed to vehicle mode and came out into the open.

“Okay Rev,” he said, “Do your thing!”

As he spoke his exposed engine shot out of his bodywork and transformed into a small robot that flew towards the imposing form of Predaking calling as he went, “No problem Getaway.”

The small robot, Rev, flew up in the air and landed on Predaking's chest. The larger robot looked down in surprise. Before he could do anything however a pain unlike anything he had ever felt rippled through his body.

He felt the energy draining from him, quickly weakening him. He dropped his arms down by his sides unable to keep his gun levelled at Computron. Still his energy levels fell until he could no longer hold himself up any more. The linkages between his component Predacons began to weaken and he literally fell apart, collapsing to the ground as his five separate components.

Rev let go of his grip and flew back to where Getaway was waiting. He transformed back to his engine mode and reconnected with Getaway who immediately transformed back to robot mode and approached the five still bodies of the Predacons.

“Are they dead?” he thought.

“No way,” came the answering thought. “I didn't drain them of all there energy. They're alive, but they aren't going to be waking up for a while.

Chapter Six – Back in Action

Starscream watched as the three Autobots wheeled Prime out of the room. Two were Brainstorm and Chromedome. The third he recognised as the Autobot who had found him outside when he had first awakened.

As they left, this Autobot turned his blue eyes towards Starscream and looked at him intently for a few seconds before he too left the room, leaving Starscream alone again.

The Autobots pushed Prime's body down a corridor and through a set of double security doors at the end. They entered what was clearly a workshop of some kind, with a high ceiling surrounded and crisscrossed by walkways, lighting assemblies and heavy machinery.

Prime's body was wheeled to the centre of the room where a large bank of computers was situated. Brainstorm began to attach cables from the computers to Prime's inert body.

“Okay everyone, take your positions,” he said. The two other Autobots moved to positions at computer monitors around the edge of the room. Brainstorm switched on his intercom, “Commander, we are ready to proceed. Do you wish to be here?” he said.

“Yes. I'll be there shortly,” came the reply.

“Very well commander,” said Brainstorm. He began to busy himself double-checking the connections. While he was waiting he also ran a few last minute diagnostics on the equipment, just to make sure all was in order.

He turned as he heard the door open and saw the red, white and blue form of the base commander enter the room.

“Is everything prepared?” the commander asked.

“Yes commander,” replied Brainstorm. “We're ready to go.”

“Very well. Proceed.”

Brainstorm turned to the bank of computers and began entering a rapid sequence of commands. The computer bank became alive with lights and status readouts. A steady thrum of power began to be heard throughout the room.

Brainstorm turned the base commander and said, “That's it commander. We just have to wait and see what it turns out like now.”

As one, all the Autobots in the room turned and looked at the far wall of the workshop. Standing against the wall supported by scaffolding was another Optimus Prime! Only this one was less blocky in appearance, his arms and chest casing were more angular and stylish. But it was unmistakably Optimus Prime.

Beside the body, running the length of the wall was a new trailer section. While similar in design to the original Prime's this was unmistakably different. The design included the same stylish curves and edges and at the front end were mounted two double-barrelled particle beam cannons. On the roof was a pair of concussion blasters.

Cables snaked from a nearby computer bank to various connection points on the body. Lights on the computer bank were now blinking rapidly.

Then a number of things all happened at once. The eyes of Prime's new body flared brightly. The old body jerked spasmodically as life left it, then lay still. It rapidly began to turn a dark grey colour as the last dregs of energy were drained from it. The hum of power in the room ceased and the lights on the computer banks stopped flashing.

Brainstorm stepped forward cautiously and switched off his computer bank. The light in the new Prime's eyes dimmed and remained a steady blue glow. Then his head moved and he looked around and took in his surroundings.

“Where am I?” he asked. “What has happened?”

The base commander stepped forward, “Optimus Prime. Welcome back to Cybertron. I don't know if you remember me. I am Ultra Magnus, commander of the Autobot resistance movement.”

* * * * *

Skyfire, Omega Supreme and the Aerialbots took off from the Ark and turned toward the Australian continent. Skyfire and Omega Supreme's rocket mode were fully laden with the Autobot fighting force. The Ark was left with just a skeleton guard force comprising of Bumblebee, Beachcomber, Gears and Windcharger. Ratchet was also left to tend to Prowl and Jazz.

“Boy I wish I was going along,” said Bumblebee sorrowfully. “I want to help kick Megatron all the way back to Cybertron.”

“Yeah,” said Windcharger. “Of course if the Decepticons decide to attack Autobot headquarters we'll get more action than we bargained for.

“There can't be that many Decepticons left here though,” said Gears. “They're all down with Megatron.”

“I hope you're right about that Gears,” said Bumblebee.

* * * * *

“When we found you, you were badly damaged and we have just given you a new body. How do you feel?” said Ultra Magnus.

“Dizzy!” said Prime.

“This is Brainstorm our chief scientist,” Ultra Magnus continued gesturing behind him.

Brainstorm stepped forward and said “Optimus Prime there are a few things I need to do to test that your new body is functioning correctly. With your permission?”

Prime nodded and Brainstorm began removing some of the cables from Prime's body. He then entered a sequence of commands into the computer. “I'm just running a body-wide diagnostic on you,” he said.

After a few minutes a beep came from the computer and Brainstorm examined the readouts. “Everything checks out Okay,” he said a note of satisfaction in his voice. “I'm going to remove the scaffolding that's holding you up now.”

He entered another command sequence and while a whine of complaining metal the scaffolding withdrew from Prime's body. “Could you try to walk around Optimus?” asked Brainstorm.

Prime took a few steps forward, haltingly at first as though unsure of himself but then with greater confidence.

“Can you transform?” asked Brainstorm.

With a thought Prime transformed to his vehicle mode and the trailer section along the wall automatically attached itself to his cab.

“Excellent,” said Brainstorm as Prime transformed back to robot mode again. “Everything's going better than I could have hoped for.”

“I feel great,” said Prime.

“And now, Optimus,” said Brainstorm. “Think about combining with your trailer unit.”

Prime looked puzzled but did as he was told. It took a few seconds for him to get his concentration correct but then his trailer transformed into a powerful new torso, while Prime himself merged with it, forming the new chest and head.

The new combined Prime was about twice the size of his normal body. While recognisably Optimus Prime, he was now very powerfully built and unlike his sleeker new body this one was very bulky, giving a suggestion of great power. On his shoulders were the double-barrelled particle beam cannons and in his hands were the concussion blasters.

“This is amazing,” said Prime as he walked round the room trying his new body out.

“In this mode you have approximately four times your usual strength, but it does come at a price. Your Energon requirements are quadrupled too,” said Brainstorm.

Prime transformed back to his smaller self and turned to Brainstorm and said, “Nevertheless. It could give me the edge in battle. I am very impressed.”

Brainstorm turned to Prime and said, “There's just one more thing left to show you Optimus. Could you transform to vehicle mode again?”

Prime obliged and the said, “Now what?”

“Hi Q, transform,” called Brainstorm.

With that the engine panel on Prime's cab section opened and his engine became visible. It suddenly flew out and transformed into a small human-sized robot.

“What the…?” said Prime.

“Optimus Prime,” said Brainstorm, “this is Hi Q and he is your Powermaster companion. He is your power supply and without him you would eventually cease to function. As it is you will not have the power reserves to transform.”

Hi Q turned to Prime and said, “Hello Prime. I'm looking forward to working with you.”

* * * * *

Someone interfering with his circuitry jolted Starscream back into consciousness. He had got tired of staring at the empty room and had shut himself down to await further developments.

He flicked his optics back on and looked down. He was amazed to see the Autobot who had found him outside fiddling around behind his chest access hatch. He tried to speak and then remembered he couldn't.

The Autobot suddenly withdrew from the access panel and banged it shut.

“Owwwww!” said Starscream, grabbing at his chest, only realising afterwards that he had spoken and moved. “What is going on?”

“Quiet down,” said the Autobot. “If you want to get out of here then follow me; and be quiet about it.”

The Autobot turned his back and crossed towards the door. Starscream got off the support table and considered his options. Why was this Autobot helping him? Did he even need his help? He was Starscream he could get out of here on his own. He raised his arm and levelled his blaster cannon at the Autobot's back.

“Oh and don't even think about shooting me,” said the Autobot without turning round. “I've taken your power chip rectifier. Your weapons are useless for now.”

Starscream cursed to himself and then said, “Who are you?”

“Your ticket out of her now are you coming or not?”

“Okay, okay I'm coming,” said Starscream and began to follow.

* * * * *

Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus reclined in comfy chairs inside his quarters, sipping Energon and talking.

“As you no doubt remember,” Ultra Magnus was saying, “Dishender was once a hive of scientific research until the Decepticons attacked and most of the research here was destroyed to prevent them getting hold of it.

“When we were looking for a base of operations to stage our guerrilla war with the Decepticons, we found this underground research centre, and the most amazing thing about it was that a lot of the research here was intact even after all this time. We immediately began to try and ascertain whether any of it was useful to us.”

“And you found the idea for this ‘Powermaster Process'?” asked Prime.

“Yes. It was at a very early stage of development and it has taken us, or rather I should say, it has taken Brainstorm a long time to develop the idea to a usable technology.

“The Powermaster process creates a symbiotic link between you and your engine companion. He gathers and processes energy far more efficiently than any Energon cube. In return you provide him with protection. Once the process is complete you can no longer process normal Energon sources. Without each other, neither of you would survive for long.

“He can only transform when you are in vehicle mode and in a low power state. Without your ‘Powermaster' you would not have the power to transform and would eventually go into stasis lock.”

“Where does the ‘Powermaster' draw his energy from?” asked Prime.

“That's the most amazing thing about the whole process, Optimus,” continued Ultra Magnus. “He can draw power from almost anything. He can drain energy on contact, and metabolise it far better than a normal Autobot and it also makes him a formidable weapon.”

“A weapon?” Prime said with a touch of unease. “You mean he could drain power from another Transformer?”

“Yes, either to kill or incapacitate. Prime I understand that this is something that you need to get used to. Energy on Cybertron has been at a critical level for a long time now. We had to find a solution. The Powermaster process could be that solution. Hopefully one day we will all be Powermasters”

“You are correct, it is something I will need to get used to,” said Prime thoughtfully. “It seems a very brutal form of weapon, but then maybe I'm just getting old.”

“Perhaps Prime you could satisfy our curiosity on how you came to be on Cybertron in such a damaged condition,” said Ultra Magnus.

“All I really remember,” Prime replied, “is being sucked up by the space bridge along with Starscream. But I can't remember why? I knew that I had to get out or something bad was going to happen.”

“What sort of something?” asked Magnus.

“I don't know. I can't remember,” said Prime. “All I could see was the light of the bridge below me and we were falling down it towards a blinding light at the end. I grabbed Starscream and tried to jump off of the bridge's beam into the void, but I was too slow. I remember being hit by a huge rush of heat and energy and then I was falling and that is the last thing I remember until I awoke in your lab.

“I don't know much about the Decepticon's space bridge,” admitted Magnus. “I can only think that you somehow exited the bridge before reaching the termination point.”

“That is my thought also,” said Prime. “Whatever the case, I must get back to Earth as soon as possible. I am needed there…”

“That won't be easy Prime. That will mean getting right inside Decepticon headquarters in Polyhex.”

“I know but I have no choice.”

“A pity, you would give hope to our troops on Cybertron. I have done my best, but I am just a soldier, not a leader.”

“So was I once.”

“If you truly desire this then we will of course do everything we can to help you.”

“Thank-you, my friend. Who knows what Megatron may have achieved in my absence?”

Chapter Seven – Down and Out Down Under

His Autobot rescuer led Starscream down a number of corridors that got increasingly dingy as they went on. Starscream got the impression that they were heading deeper underground.

“Where are you taking me?” he hissed.

“Quiet!” the Autobot replied. “If we get caught you'll be going straight to a holding cell and I'll be joining you. So just keep quiet and follow me. There will be time to talk later.”

* * * * *

“Status report Shockwave,” said Megatron.

“All is in readiness Megatron,” answered Shockwave. “All co-ordinates for the target star are locked in. The spacebridge will be ready for transport in thirty Earth minutes. Once materialisation is complete I merely await your order to continue.”

“Excellent Shockwave,” cried Megatron. “Soon we will be ready to defeat the Autobots and leave this accursed planet. How goes…”

But Megatron never got to finish his sentence as alarms began blaring throughout the power plant. Soundwave's voice came through the intercom, “Megatron! An Autobot attack force has landed outside the Eastern perimeter.”

“What is the status of our Eastern defences?” barked Megatron.

“Guard towers are still under construction,” Soundwave reported.

“Very well Soundwave. Divert guards from the remaining perimeter. I shall be there in a moment to take charge.”

“As you command Megatron,” said Soundwave.

“I have to go Shockwave. Contact me as soon as the space bridge is ready to open,” Shockwave nodded as Megatron cut the connection left the room.

When Megatron got to the Eastern defences the battle was already underway. The five Aerialbots were currently engaged in dogfights with the five Decepticon Seeker's. At the same time the Eastern wall was being bombarded with laser fire from a small band of Autobots.

Megatron surveyed the attacking force. From what he could see, most of the Autobots seemed to be present in the attack. But something was odd. Despite the number of Autobots firing on the wall, very little damage was being done. Also a lot of the Autobots were very static, apparently unconcerned at the rain of laser fire coming down on them

Megatron narrowed his optics. Of course! Looking out across the battlefield he saw the Autobot Hound. It was his holograms that were producing most of the Autobots out there and that could mean only one thing. This attack was a diversion.

Lining Hound up with his fusion cannon, Megatron fired. Although prepared for the recoil this time, he was still hard pressed to stay upright. The blast rocketed across the open ground.

The recoil had spoilt his aim somewhat and the blast hit the ground some distance to the right of Hound. It still hit with sufficient force to send Hound flying through the air. With a flash the holographic Autobots vanished. All that remained was the Aerialbots, Hound, Warpath, Hoist and Trailbreaker.

In the air, Silverbolt saw the holograms fade and called out, “Aerialbots, disengage and merge into Superion and defend the others.”

The other Aerialbots immediately headed towards their leader and combined into the gestalt being, Superion. The huge robot turned and headed for the ground and called out, “Everyone keep behind me.”

Back at the power plant Megatron was issuing his orders, “Dirge, Thrust, Ramjet, Skywarp, Thundercracker, return to base at once. Stunticons merge into Menasor and engage Superion. Blitzwing, Astrotrain, this attack is just a feint. Take to the air and find the rest of the Autobots.

“Soundwave, release Laserbeak and Buzzsaw to help. Then I want the automated defences brought fully online around the entire perimeter. Constructicons merge into Devastator and come with me.”

The Decepticons immediately followed his orders. The Stunticons charged out of the plant and headed towards Superion. Soundwave pressed his chest release button and said, “Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, eject. Operation: Air Patrol.” The two cassettes flew out of his chest and transformed into the buzzard shaped Decepticons and joined their fellows in patrolling the perimeter walls.

The five Seekers landed close by to Megatron. Dirge stepped forward and said, “We await your orders Megatron.”

“You are to accompany me to the Western wall with Devastator,” Megatron said. Megatron turned back to Soundwave and continued, “You are in charge of the Eastern Defence. I expect the main force to attack from the West now that they think they have our attention here. I will go and give them a welcome they'll remember,” he laughed and flew into the air heading for the far side of the power plant. Devastator and the five Seekers followed after him.

Soundwave turned his attention back to the battlefield. The Stunticons had reached Superion and had combined into Menasor. The two behemoths were now locked in hand-to-hand combat with each other.

The other Autobots were firing on Menasor but to little effect. Better to be safe though, thought Soundwave. He spoke into his comm. unit, “Blast Off! Keep those Autobots off Menasor.”

The Combaticon transformed to shuttle mode and blasted himself into the air. He covered the distance to the Autobots in seconds and they fled before him as he fired his x-ray laser from his nosecone.

The Autobots returned fire, but with a top speed of twenty-five thousand mph, there shots were wasted. If he'd had a mouth, Soundwave would have grinned in satisfaction as Blast Off's x-ray laser sliced into Warpath's leg. The Autobot screamed and fell to the ground.

Blast Off turned and headed in for the killing shot but Trailbreaker threw himself on top of Warpath and activated his force field, causing Blast Off's shot to bounce harmlessly away.

Superion, meanwhile had got the upper hand on Menasor. He lifted his enemy into the air and threw him to the ground making the earth shake. He raised his stress fracture cannon, aimed it at Menasor and fired.

The blast hit Menasor in the chest. The shockwave from the cannon rippled through his body, seeking out natural stress points, until with a clatter he split into his component Stunticons, who crashed into a heap on the floor.

“Stunticons! Retreat!” called their leader, Motormaster.

The Stunticons transformed to robot mode and clambered over one another in their haste to escape. Only the intervention of Blast Off, coming in fast and raking Superion with his x-ray laser, causing him to stagger backwards, saved the Stunticons. By the time Superion had recovered the five had transformed back to vehicle mode and were heading back towards the power plant with Blast Off rocketing along to offer cover.

As no further threats seemed to be aimed at them for the moment, Superion split back into the Aerialbots and ran over to where Warpath and Trailbreaker were.

“Wham! Bam I'll be okay,” Warpath was saying in his usual tortuous speech pattern. Silverbolt looked round for Hound who was walking slowly over to them, “We've got to contact Ironhide and let him know that our attack has failed. Megatron must know that this was just a diversion. He'll be alert now.”

“Its too late,” said Silverbolt. “Omega should be re-entering the atmosphere by now. The attack is going to begin any second. All we can do is keep the pressure on here and wait for it to begin. Once it does we follow the original plan and join the main attack force.”

“The Decepticons have a lot of ground to cover,” said Hoist. “They must be spread pretty thin, otherwise they'd be all over us by now.”

“Exactly,” continued Silverbolt. “We can't give up now. Too much depends on us. We have to keep fighting.”

“Wham! Bam! Now that's my kind of language,” said Warpath.

“Autobots transform and attack,” cried Silverbolt and took to the air and headed towards the power plant. The other Aerialbots followed him. After a few seconds Hoist, Warpath and Hound transformed and followed them.

* * * * *

“How long Omega?” Ironhide asked.

“Two minutes to touchdown,” rumbled the emotionless voice of Omega Supreme.

In order to achieve as much strategic surprise as possible Ironhide had come up with the idea of having Jetfire and Omega go into low Earth orbit. Once the diversionary attack on the East wall had begun Omega would take them in to attack the West wall. They were charging through the atmosphere now bracing themselves against the turbulence.

“Target in sight,” called Omega Supreme.

The comm. system crackled to life and Jetfire's voice came through, “Ironhide, something's gone wrong. I can see the East wall and there's very little activity. The Aerialbots are attacking but that's all I can see.”

“We can't do anything about it now. We just have to go through with the plan and do the best we can,” said Ironhide. “Get ready everybody and good luck.”

* * * * *

Astrotrain saw the approaching Autobots first. He dived towards the ground to report to Megatron calling in through the comm. system, “Megatron, this is Astrotrain. Omega Supreme and Jetfire have just entered the area, moving up fast on the western wall.”

“Well done Astrotrain,” said Megatron. He had been right the Autobots were planning to attack the Western wall. Without Prime to lead them they were so predictable. He spoke into his comm. system again, “Soundwave continue your defence of the East wall. All other Decepticons to the West wall.” He received a number of acknowledgements.

Megatron stood atop his defence installation and looked out across the desert as Decepticons from across the base began to assemble. The Seekers flew by overhead. So now it began, the final destruction of the Autobots.

* * * * *

“Combaticons unite!” called Onslaught, the Combaticon's leader. The five Decepticons, Onslaught, Blast Off, Vortex, Brawl and Swindle came together to form Bruticus who stepped forward to attack the Aerialbots who had renewed their attack on the East wall.

“Aerialbots, transform and merge,” shouted Silverbolt zipping out of the way of Bruticus' fist. The other Aerialbots followed their leader and recombined into Superion.

Before Superion could react Bruticus flung himself at him. The two crashed to the ground with a noise that sounded like a small earthquake. Hoist, Hound, Trailbreaker and Warpath only just escaped being crushed under the falling giants.

They suddenly found that they had other problems however, as the Stunticons charged back out of the gate at them. Heedless of personal injury Wildrider rammed into Hound sending him flying. Warpath turned his gun towards Wildrider but was blasted in the chest by Motormaster. Warpath fell to the ground and lay still.

Trailbreaker ran across to him blasting away at the Stunticon commander. Motormaster immediately transformed back to vehicle mode and charged straight at Trailbreaker. Caught of guard, Trailbreaker attempted to raise a forcefield, but it was too late. Motormaster hit Trailbreaker full on.

Trailbreaker was catapulted backwards and landed on his back in the dusty ground. Motormaster transformed back to robot mode and walked across to Trailbreaker, who was attempting to rise to his feet. He raised his gun and fired at point blank range. Trailbreaker's head exploded in flame.

“Retreat!” Hoist called to Hound. “We're outnumbered and outgunned, fall back.”

“But…” said Hound. He never got any further however because he was suddenly caught in a deadly crossfire from Dead End and Breakdown. He screamed as the blast from Breakdown's concussion blaster caused his circuits to fail and the power of Dead End's compressor gun shattered his internal components.

Hoist could only look on in mute horror as Hound also fell to the ground. Fear gripped him as he ran to Hound's body. He knew he was dead before he even got there. He knelt down next to his friend. He turn raised his arm and fired two heat-seeking missiles at the circling Stunticons, determined to avenge his friends.

He knew that he wouldn't survive this but he was going to take some of them with him. He saw one of the missiles connect with Wildrider, causing him to be blasted through the air. His second missile missed its target and ploughed harmlessly into the ground.

A noise behind him made him turn. The last sight he had was of Dead End standing over him, his gun raised.

As this was happening Superion and Bruticus were still wrestling on the ground. Bruticus had Superion in a lock and was punching him mercilessly. With a great effort, Superion managed to free one of his legs and used it to send Bruticus flying. Superion got unsteadily to his feet. He at once saw the bodies of his friends and cried out in anguish.

At the same moment he heard explosions and blaster fire coming from the far side of the base. The main attack had begun and he was needed there, but he couldn't just abandon his friends like this.

The five minds that made up Superion's consciousness momentarily struggled with each other leaving the giant Autobot unmoving. This indecision cost him dearly as Bruticus, recovered, stood up and fired his sonic stun gun.

The blast hit Superion near his right arm. The connection points for his components were more susceptible to weapon attack than the rest of him. The sonic pulse blasted his arm off. The forcible disconnection of a component without the appropriate mental commands caused mental feedback that made Superion scream in pain and fall to his knees clutching his shoulder.

He looked up and saw Bruticus standing in front of him. Bruticus raised a fist and brought it down onto Superion's head. His face crumpled under the immense pressure and he collapsed to the ground.

* * * * *

Back at the Western wall things were not going well. The failure of the East wall diversion meant that the Autobots had landed outside the wall and stepped into a hail of blaster fire. Automatic defences on the walls sent powerful energy blasts at the beleaguered Autobots. They immediately ran for what little cover there was, but the shear size of the attacking force meant that too many were out in the open.

“Forward Decepticons!” Megatron called. “Destroy them all!”

Omega Supreme stood tall over the battlefield. His armoured hide was too thick to be affected by the blaster fire that was being directed at him. He raised his plasma blaster that formed his left arm and fired.

The blast hit Blitzwing causing him to vaporise in flame. Omega was turning to fire another shot when he saw Devastator fly over the wall and into the firefight. Forgetting everyone else Omega turned and lumbered towards him.

All he could think about was the revenge he had waited millions of years for. The Constructicons had destroyed Crystal City on Cybertron, the city Omega Supreme and been instructed to guard. Omega had travelled to Earth in search of the Constructicons in order to get his revenge and here was his chance.

Ironhide saw Omega forget his duty to the moment and called to him to stop but it was too late. Omega turned his back on the Decepticon base to get a clear shot at Devastator, just as Megatron had planned. As soon as he had a clear shot Megatron fired his fusion cannon into Omega's back.

Ordinarily it would hardly have even scratched him, but with Megatron's new power the blast burned through the weaker armour on his back. Omega cried out in pain. Then he slowly fell forward like a tall tree that had been felled.

Battling Autobots and Decepticons ran for their lives as the giant Autobot crashed to the ground. The earth shook and a huge cloud of dust sprang up. When the dust had settled Omega lay where he had fallen a trail of smoke coming from his back.

Megatron was gleeful, “And so falls the mightiest of the Autobots! Who can stand against me now!” and he laughed maniacally.

Ironhide held his head in his hands at the sight of the unmoving Omega Supreme. This was his fault. He was a failure as a leader. Optimus wouldn't have let it come to this. He had no time to think however, because the Decepticons, encouraged by the fall of Omega Supreme renewed their attack with increased ferocity.

A shot from Thrust sent Blaster flying to the ground. Grapple running to cover him was caught in the crossfire from Dirge and Octane.

Megatron looked out at the carnage and smiled. At that moment his comm. beeped and Shockwave's voice came through, “Megatron the space bridge is about to open.”

“Very well Shockwave I shall be there presently,” he turned back to the battle and clicked his comm. unit. Thrust, Dirge, Ramjet, Thundercracker, Skywarp, report to me.”

The five Seeker's broke off from the battle and landed in front of Megatron, “What do you desire Megatron?” Dirge asked.

“Follow me,” Megatron ordered, turning and flying towards the space bridge. The Seekers followed after him.

The six Decepticons landed close to the spacebridge transporter. Megatron turned to the Seekers and said, “Connect yourselves to the space bridge power exchangers.” The Seekers obediently turned and walked over to the spacebridge.

* * * * *

Ironhide charged, and leapt through the air and collided with Mirage, knocking him to the floor, just as a rain of blaster fire from one of the automated platforms raked the ground.

“Thanks Ironhide,” said Mirage.

“Thank me when this is all over,” said Ironhide.

Brawn ran over and said, “Ironhide, we have to fall back, we're being wasted here.”

“We can't give in Brawn, if we fail now, Megatron will be unstoppable,” said Ironhide.

Blaster fire raked the ground nearby for a second time causing earth to shower down on them.

“And if we stop here we're going to get pulverised,” put in Brawn.

Ironhide stood undecided. What should he do?

* * * * *

The Seekers under Megatron's supervision had attached themselves to the power exchangers on the spacebridge. Megatron walked over to a control panel that had been built by the Constructicons. He flicked a switch and the space bridge transporter exited the power station on the permanent track way that had been built.

The Energon cubes that had been prepared in advance were now protected inside an armoured cover at the back. Megatron spoke into his communicator, “Shockwave, we are all ready here. Proceed with the operation.”

“As you command Megatron.”

The transporter began to move down the track towards the space bridge. The doors closed with a hiss behind it. The spacebridge activated and the transporter was sucked up into the sky.

* * * * *

A crackle of lightening caused Ironhide to look up towards the power plant. The sight that met his gaze sent a chill through his circuits. The spacebridge had been activated. He looked round again and realised that Megatron was gone and so were the Seekers. Megatron had used the spacebridge again on other Decepticons. They were too late.

Ironhide stood up and shouted, “Autobots! Retreat!”

They had lost. Megatron had won.

* * * * *

Megatron stood and looked on as the five Seekers picked themselves up from the floor. The energy from the spacebridge has racked them with pain, much as it had Megatron before. They had collapsed to the ground as their bodies adjusted to their new power levels.

“Decepticons,” called Megatron. “Transform and attack the Autobots. Let them feel your new found power.”

The five Seekers transformed to jet mode and flew off back towards the West wall. Megatron took to the air and followed.

* * * * *

“We can't just leave our friends bodies here,” protested Hot Spot angrily to Ironhide.

“We don't have a choice,” responded Ironhide. “We're being cut to ribbons here. If we try and take them with us we'll all be destroyed. We've lost this one. Its time to cut our losses. That's an order.”

Hot Shot gave Ironhide a vicious look but immediately turned and began helping the wounded into Skyfire, while giving covering fire against the still attacking Decepticons.

Once everyone was aboard Ironhide said, “Get us out of here Skyfire. Fast.”

“Hold on,” called Skyfire and blasted off into the sky.

The mood inside was very dark. Everyone was looking round, all too aware that many of their number were missing.

Ironhide sat glumly looking at the floor, cursing his own stupidity. He had caused the deaths of many of his friends. He was a failure and what had become of those attacking the East wall? Was he even now abandoning them?

He had almost decided to get to fly round and search for them when Skyfire was sent spinning by a mighty explosion, “Skyfire! What on earth was that?” Ironhide called.

“I'm being fired on by the Decepticon Seekers,” Skyfire said. “I think its safe to say that they have been given the same power boost as Megatron.”

Ironhide swore, so he had been right. “Can you out run them?” he asked Skyfire.

“I hope so,” said Skyfire, switching on his afterburners and blasting away from the pursing Decepticons jets.

Ramjet fired his own afterburner and charged after the fleeing Autobot. As they were passing over the coast he fired his two cluster bomb missiles. They streaked after Jetfire and exploded just aft of his tail section.

The shrapnel from the explosion cut through his fuselage as though it was paper. Skyfire screamed and began to fall, spinning helplessly towards the Pacific ocean below. Ramjet watched in satisfaction as Skyfire disappeared beneath the waves, taking most of the Autobots on Earth with him.

End of Part Two.

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