Part 1 – Power Surge
Chapter One – Bad Energon
The sky over the Northern-Eastern Australian coast echoed to the roar of three jet fighters travelling at super-sonic speed through the early morning mist.
“Starscream the new fusion power plant is below us now” said one.
“I’m not blind thank you Thundercracker.” said Starscream testily, “Decepticons transform and attack!”
We a shriek of engines the three jets dropped into a steep dive towards the Nuclear Fusion power station below them, transforming as they did so. A tape player flew from inside Starscream’s cockpit and transformed also.
The four Decepticons, Starscream, Thundercracker, Skywarp and Soundwave stood in the courtyard of the power station surveying the chaos that their arrival had caused among the human workers there.
“Soundwave clear the area of these human insects,” Starscream commanded.
Soundwave raised his hand to his chest cavity release button and said. “Ravage, Laserbeak, Buzzsaw, eject! Operation: Dispersal.”
Soundwave’s chest compartment opened and three cassettes flew out transforming as they did so. Laserbeak, Buzzsaw and Ravage launched themselves at the humans running around the plant. Those who weren’t already ran for the entrance as quickly as they could.
Starscream turned to where an alarm was blaring loudly on a wall, raised his arm and fired his laser cannon. The alarm dissolved in flame. Meanwhile Thundercracker and Skywarp fired their own lasers at the nearest wall until it exploded leaving a hole through which the Decepticons could enter.
Starscream entered first. More humans were running around the smoke filled room. Ravage, Laserbeak and Buzzsaw now turned their attention on these.
“Ravage bring one to me,” called Starscream.
The panther shaped Decepticon obediently pounced on the nearest human and dragged him by the shirt collar to Starscreams feet. Starscream bent down and picked the man up.
“Where is the reactor room, puny human? Speak quickly and I may spare you’re insignificant life.”
“Through- through there!” Said the man pointing over to a door at the far side of the room.
Starscream casually dropped the man to the ground and headed across the room to the door. The man, dazed, hobbled out of the hole in the wall and joined his workmates in heading for the plant entrance.
Starscream blasted his way through the wall into the reactor room. The room was empty its workers having taken flight already. Starscream strode across to the reactor chamber and fired his Null ray. The noise in the reactor room diminished as the ray shutdown crucial parts of the reactor systems.
“Soundwave! Prepare the Energon cubes,” said Starscream. Soundwave immediately began releasing empty Energon cubes through his chest cavity. “Thundercracker, Skywarp, fill the Energon cubes,” ordered Starscream.
“What are you gonna do Starscream?” asked Thundercracker with a touch of a sneer in his voice.
“I am the leader here,” said Starscream pompously. “I shall see that you do your jobs properly! Now get filling those cubes.”
Thundercracker and Skywarp each picked up an empty Energon cube and approached the reactor. They held the cubes out in front of them until they were touching the reactor. The cubes began to fill with liquid energy. But this Energon was different to the usual glowing pink. It was instead a vibrant shade of red with pale bubble like structures within.
Thundercracker and Skywarp looked at Starscream quizzically. Starscream in turn clicked on his communicator. “Mission leader Starscream to Megatron.”
“Report Starscream,” barked Megatron impatiently.
“I have successfully taken control of the nuclear facility Megatron,” said Starscream not seeing the black looks that he got from his fellow Decepticons. “However there is something wrong with the Energon cubes. The Energon is tainted! This entire operation has been a waste of energy”
“No Starscream,” said Megatron. “The energy produced is just what I need to fulfil my desires. Continue collecting the Energon. Drain that installation dry. The Energon cubes are your priority. Nothing must be allowed to endanger them, do you understand?”
“But Megatron, what use can this red slime possibly be to the Decepticons?”
“Do as you are ordered!” thundered Megatron.
“Very well Megatron,” said Starscream with bad grace. Turning back to the others he said, “Continue collecting the Energon!”
* * * * *
“Skyfire whats our ETA?” asked Ironhide.
“Two minutes Ironhide”
“Right lets get ready to bust some Decepticon hides.”
Optimus Prime had sent Skyfire, Ironhide, Warpath, Bluestreak and Blaster to intercept the Decepticons as soon as Teletraan-I had picked up the distress call from Australia.
“Wham-Bam! Let me at them,” commented Warpath.
“Okay guys here we are,” said Skyfire coming in for a landing in the grounds of the powerplant. The Autobots ran from inside of him and Skyfire transformed.
Ironhide led the way inside the plant.
* * * * *
The floor of the reactor room was now covered in neatly stacked piles of Energon cubes, each one the same shade of fiery red.
“Okay,” said Starscream, “that’s enough. Pick this lot up and lets get out of here.”
“Hold it right there Starscream! You’re not going anywhere!”
Starscream and the Decepticons turned to see Ironhide standing in the doorway his gun trained on them.
“Autobots!” exclaimed Starscream.
“I can sure see why you’re the leader here Starscream,” said Thundercracker sarcastically, “I would never have known!”
“Decepticons attack!” cried Starscream flying to the ceiling and firing at the assembled Autobots as he did so.
“But Starscream,” called Skywarp, “Megatron said that the Energon cubes were our priority. We should take the cubes and withdraw.”
“Starscream retreat from a fight! Never! Decepticons attack and that’s an order.”
The Decepticons fanned out, using the machinery of the reactor room for cover.
“Autobots take cover. Don’t let them get away with those erm Energon cubes?” called Ironhide looking at the strangely coloured Energon cubes.
“You got it Ironhide,” called Bluestreak transforming and zooming across the room to the stack of Energon cubes. He transformed again and aimed his blaster up at Starscream.
Meanwhile Blaster was issuing his own orders, “Steeljaw, Eject, Rewind, Ramhorn. Go get ‘em.”
Blaster’s chest compartment opened and four cassettes flew out and transformed to join the battle.
“You’ll have to do better than that Autobot!” jeered Starscream as Bluestreak’s shots flew past him. Then he smiled to himself as an idea came to him. “Here let me show you how to do it.”
He aimed his laser cannon at the stack of red Energon cubes that Bluestreak was stood next to. Bluestreak realised the danger he was in too late, even as he turned to run, Starscream’s laser blast hit the stack of cubes.
The cubes exploded with a blast that shook the entire building. Autobots and Decepticons alike were thrown to the ground by the blast. Windows shattered and machinery and equipment fell to the floor with a deafening clatter. Starscream was blown from the air and crashed into a piece of heavy machinery causing it to crumple and then catch fire.
Where the pile of Energon cubes had stood was a crater ten feet across. At the bottom of the crater lay the body of Bluestreak, dented and burned. His left arm was missing. He lay unmoving.
The reactor room was silent for a moment except for the sound of burning from the many fires that had sprung up. The clank of machinery had ceased. Then with a screech of metal Starscream pulled himself out of the wreckage of machinery.
“Decepticons retreat,” he cried in a shaken voice. He had been unprepared for the power of the exploding Energon cubes and he needed time to recover his wits. At least, he thought, as he transformed he had downed an Autobot today!
There was more movement around the room. Autobots and Decepticons were beginning to stir. Starscream, now in jet mode blasted a hole in the ceiling and made his escape. One by one the other Decepticons followed him.
Chapter Two – The Old Order Changes
“BLUESTREAK!!!!!” Ironhide voice reverberated off the walls of the shattered reactor room. He ran to the crater, the other Autobots following close behind.
“By Primus! Skyfire transform and get us back to headquarters as quickly as possible,” said Ironhide at the sight of Bluestreak’s unmoving body.
Skyfire headed outside and quickly transformed. Ironhide followed carrying the body of Bluestreak. The other Autobots ran behind in silence.
* * * * *
“Starscream! You have disobeyed me for the last time,” said Megatron holding Starscream by the throat.
“B – b – but Megatron. I k – k – killed an Autobot! One of our enemies is – ah – dead. We can easily collect more Energon cubes,” Starscream gasped, trying unsuccessfully to free himself from Megatron’s grip.
“You idiot Starscream. Those Energon cubes were the key to destroying all the Autobots and conquering the Universe! Now because of you our chance maybe gone. At the very least you’ve delayed our victory. I am no longer prepared to tolerate your insubordination.”
Megatron lifted Starscream off the floor and threw him across the room where he crumpled against the wall.
“Ramjet, Thrust, get him out of my sight. Take him to a holding cell. I will deal with him later once I have repaired the damage he has caused.”
Ramjet and Thrust came forward and grasped Starscream under the arms and dragged him from the room. The other Decepticons remained silent not wanting Megatron’s wrath to descend on them next.
“Dirge,” called Megatron. Dirge stepped forward nervously. “You are now the Decepticon Supreme Air Commander.”
“Thank-you mighty Megatron,” Dirge mumbled.
“Soundwave, you are now my second in command.”
“As you command Megatron,” replied Soundwave in his cold modulated voice.
Megatron remained silent for a moment, apparently deep in thought. Then he said, “That idiot Starscream has jeopardised our entire operation. Soundwave, come with me to my chambers. I need to hear your version of events at the power plant.”
“Yes Megatron!” Megatron and Soundwave left the room. The remaining Decepticons were silent for a while. Then a steady hum of conversation became audible as everyone began discussing the days events.
* * * * *
Ratchet straightened up from the repair bay where Bluestreak’s body lay.
“There’s nothing I can do for him. As far as I can tell he must have died instantly in the blast. His powercore is extinguished,” he said sadly.
Optimus Prime looked over at the body of Bluestreak. Another comrade down. Another death on his conscience. He had sent him on the mission. Did losing friends ever get any easier?
“I know you did your best Ratchet,” he said. “We will hold a memorial for him in six hours time.”
“I’ll be there Prime,” said Ratchet.
Ironhide approached Optimus Prime.
“Prime, I take full responsibility for this. He was under my command and I let him and you down.”
“Don’t blame yourself Ironhide,” said Prime soothingly, “Bluestreak was always impetuous. This is not a time for blame. Something important is going on here. I need you to make a full report to me before we attend the memorial. I want you to tell me about these red Energon cubes.”
* * * * *
“Carpasin Energon! Soundwave do you know what that means?” said Megatron triumphantly.
“Carpasin Energon – Highly volatile form of Energon. Natural formation only occurs in rare conditions. Can be synthesised as a by-product of nuclear fusion although the process risky due to the volatile nature of the Energon,” said Soundwave in his dispassionate voice. “A single cube has approximately ten times the energy capacity of regular Energon.”
“Very good Soundwave,” said Megatron. “The humans new power plant offered the ideal opportunity to create Carpsin Energon.”
“But Megatron, Carpasin Energon has proved useless as either a power source or a weapon. It is too volatile,” said Soundwave.
“Ahhhh! But I have found a perfect use for it. A use that will allow us to revitalise Cybertron and conquer the Autobots forever!”
* * * * *
“Why would Megatron want Carpasin Energon?” said Prime to Ironhide. “There is no known viable use for it. Its volatility makes it useless as a powersource and highly risky to use as a weapon.”
“I don’t know Prime. Before today I’d never even heard of it,” said Ironhide.
“You can bet Megatron isn’t creating it without a reason,” put in Prowl.
“Indeed,” said Prime. “We have to find out what Megatron is planning. If he has found a use for Carpasin Energon you can bet it will be bad news for us!”
* * * * *
“Starscream’s stupidity may have cost us our advantage. There is no other fusion facility on Earth,” said Megatron. “Do you think that the power plant is salvageable Soundwave?”
“Affirmative Megatron,” said Soundwave. “The humans have not yet perfected nuclear technology and are afraid of nuclear accidents. As a result they build their power stations to survive heavy damage.”
“Excellent!” said Megatron. “Soundwave I want the Constructicons, Ramjet, Thrust and yourself ready to depart to the power station in one hour. I will take charge of this operation personally.”
“As you command Megatron.”
“Oh and Soundwave,” called Megatron as Soundwave turned to leave. “I want Starscream taken along as well…in chains.”
“Yes Megatron,” replied Soundwave without a hint of emotion.
* * * * *
Sometime later Megatron now alone in his chamber walked across to the communications console and punched in a command sequence.
“Come in Shockwave, this is Megatron calling!”
After a few moments the view screen flickered to life and the one-eyed guardian of Cybertron saluted his leader.
“Greetings Shockwave. How are the preparations for Operation Sunburn progressing?”
“We are right on schedule Megatron. The modifications to the space bridge are now completed. We await only your order to begin the operation.”
“Excellent Shockwave! Excellent,” cried Megatron. “We have had a small set back due to that traitor Starscream. I need you to program the Space Bridge to appear at these co-ordinates in Twelve hours time.”
Megatron punched a series of numbers into the communications terminal.
“It will be as you command Megatron,” said Shockwave.
“Do not fail me Shockwave. The Autobots will be watching for us and are sure to interfere. I want to make sure that it is for the last time!”
Shockwave nodded and his image vanished from the screen as Megatron cut the connection. Soon, he thought to himself the accursed Autobots would be no more than a bad memory. With that pleasurable though in his mind he returned to the main chamber ready to lead the mission.
He found that Soundwave, as always had done his job admirably. He, the Constructicons, Ramjet and Dirge were waiting. Between them Ramjet and Dirge held Starscream bound with Energon chains.
“Release me Megatron! I am Starscream the magnificent,” he called shrilly. “Release me and face me if you dare.”
Megatron chuckled cruelly, “I have tolerated your treachery and incompetence for too long Starscream. This time there is no going back. This is the end.”
Starscream strained at the chains binding him, but to no avail.
“Please Megatron,” he wined. “I meant no disrespect. Please spare me.”
“Not this time Starscream,” said Megatron turning to Ramjet and Dirge he said, “Bring him. Decepticons to the air.”
The conning tower of the Decepticons undersea base rose slowly from the water and the access ramp lowered. Out flew the Decepticon attack group. Megatron was at their head and Ramjet and Dirge trailed behind dragging a still protesting Starscream with them.
* * * * *
“Optimus Prime!” called Bumblebee. “Teletraan-I’s Skyspy has spotted Decepticon activity”
“It looks like they’re heading back towards Australia only this time Megatron has taken charge.”
“What is that they’re carrying with them,” said Prowl coming up to the display screen. “It looks like Starscream.”
“It looks as though Megatron wasn’t too pleased with him,” said Bumblebee with a grin. He regretted saying that as soon as it was out of his mouth. This wasn’t the time for jokes. The memory of Bluestreak was still too near. The memorial had been short, with Prime and some of Bluestreak’s closest friends saying a few words before his body was fired into space as per Autobot custom.
“Sorry Prime, I didn’t think,” he said.
“That’s okay Bumblebee,” said Prime gently. “We all have to deal with things our own way. Megatron must be stopped. Autobots prepare to roll out!”
Chapter Three – If You Want Something Done Right…
Four hours after their departure the Decepticons arrived at their destination. They landed heavily in the grounds of the power plant scattering the few humans sent in to begin salvage work. Megatron ignored them and turned to the Constructicons.
“Begin the repairs to the reactor. I want it operational within two hours,” commanded Megatron.
“Yes Megatron,” replied Scrapper who began leading his Constructicons inside the complex.
“Soundwave,” continued Megatron pointing. “The space bridge will be appearing in the field over there. I want you, and Ramjet to prepare a transport system for the Carpasin Energon Cubes. It must be a smooth run to prevent the premature detonation. Dirge I want you to patrol the area and keep a look out for the Autobots.”
Dirge transformed to jet mode and took to the skies while Soundwave and Ramjet began dismantling nearby outbuildings in preparation for the track they need to construct.
* * * * *
“We’re almost there Prime,” said Skyfire over the intercom.
“Very well Skyfire, keep a look out for hostiles,” replied Prime.
Prime turned to his troops, “It is essential that we stop Megatron. I don’t know what use he has found for Carpasin but it sure to be an evil one. However I must stress that I don’t want anyone taking any unnecessary risks. If Megatron has already started Energon production everyone is to keep a safe distance. Is that understood?”
There were murmurs of acknowledgment from the assembled Autobots. At that moment Skyfire gave a huge lurch to one side causing everyone to stagger to retain their balance.
“Sorry chaps,” called Skyfire, “I’ve got Dirge on my tail! Hold on I’m going to have to do some fancy flying to deal with him”
Skyfire fired his afterburners and rocketed up into the sky in a steep climb. Dirge followed firing his lasers at the flying Autobot but Skyfire began to a series of rapid yaws in the air avoiding each laser with superb skill.
Dirge cursed to himself and increased power to his own engines and closed the distance between himself and Skyfire. He planned on getting close enough to get in a shot that Skyfire couldn’t dodge.
Skyfire however suddenly made a steep dive toward the ground. Dirge who was lining up his guns overshot, rocketing past Skyfire.
“Time to be grounded Dirge,” called out Skyfire, who pulled out of his dive, twisted in midair and lined himself up behind Dirge.
“I don’t think so Autobot,” replied Dirge with glee. As Skyfire closed in the rumble from Dirge’s engines began to have a terrible effect on him.
“Optimus!” called Skyfire. “I have to pull out, I don’t know why but I’m suddenly terribly afraid.”
“Skyfire, hold on,” replied Optimus, “it’s Dirge’s engines. They affect anyone who hears them like that! Fight it Skyfire, fight it.”
“I…I…can’t…do…it,” said Skyfire with a great effort.
The Autobots inside him were thrown violently around his cargo hold as he banked hard to the right and headed down towards the ground. He flew unsteadily not caring what happened next, he just wanted to get away from the noise of Dirge’s engines.
“Skyfire,” called Prime, “pull out of this dive. You’re going to crash!” But Skyfire wasn’t listening. The fear induced by Dirge’s engines blinding him to the imminent danger he was suddenly in.
“Autobots! Brace for impact!” called Optimus Prime just as Skyfire crashed heavily into the ground. He gouged a trench into the soft ground for several hundred feet, then came to a stop with a groan of metal.
High above him Dirge was triumphant. “Take that Autobot scum! Dirge to Megatron, I have just successfully engaged the Autobot Skyfire. He has crashed approximately fifty miles south of your location. I do not know his status nor that of any passengers. I request further orders.”
“Excellent Dirge,” came Megatron’s voice over the comm. channel. “Maintain an aerial observation of the Autobot and report any activity immediately”.
* * * * *
Back at the power plant Megatron turned on the still bound Starscream.
“At least some of my warriors can do their jobs properly,” he said.
Starscream glared at Megatron, his eyes narrowing. “When does this charade end Megatron,” he said. “You need me.”
“Ha! I need you like I need cranium ventilation,” scoffed Megatron turning away. Behind his back Starscream continued to struggle with his Energon chains.
Megatron walked inside the reactor room.
“How is the work progressing Scrapper?” he said to the Constructicon leader.
“We are almost finished her Megatron. The reactor should be back online in moments.”
“Excellent!” said Megatron. “Once you have completed work on the reactor I have another job for you.”
Megatron turned and walked back out of the complex to where Soundwave and Ramjet were busy laying the last of the track to transport the Energon cubes. At the far end of the track the circular walls of the space bridge had appeared, the tracks ran right to the centre of the circle.
“Transport system, nearly complete Megatron,” reported Soundwave.
“Well done Soundwave. The reactor is nearly back online, once you have completed your work here I want you and Ramjet to begin filling Capasin Energon cubes immediately. For our first operation we will need a minimum of five hundred cubes. Load them onto the space bridge transporter and alert me when you are ready. I will be taking the Constructicons to deal with some Autobot interlopers. I will send Dirge to help you shortly.”
“As you command Megatron,” said Soundwave.
* * * * *
Inside of Skyfire, Optimus Prime got slowly to his feet and looked around.
“Is everyone alright?” he asked.
“A bit of a bang in the ol’ caboose Prime,” said Ironhide, “but otherwise A okay.”
The other Autobots were also stirring and they too reported no serious injuries.
“Skyfire, how about you? Are you okay?” asked Prime.
“Ahhhhhhhh! Yes I’m okay Optimus Prime,” he groaned. “Sorry I lost control up there.”
“That’s okay Skyfire, it wasn’t your fault,” said Prime kindly. “Where are we?”
“Some way South of our target landing zone,” said Skyfire. “The crash has shorted out my guidance control so I can’t be more precise.”
“Can you fly?” asked Prime. He knew they didn’t have time for a long trek North.
Skyfire tried to fire his engines but nothing happened.
“Negative Prime,” said Skyfire in some pain, “I think the impact has jolted something loose.”
Optimus thought for a second and then said, “Very well. Wheeljack you stay here and try and get Skyfire airborne again. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker you stay here as backup. Once you are ready follow after us. The rest of you transform and roll out for the power plant.”
The Autobots left Skyfire and transformed and headed towards the power plant that could just be seen in the distance. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker took up defensive positions around Skyfire, while Wheeljack opened up an access panel.
“Right then, lets see what we can do for you,” he said.
* * * * *
High above using the cloud for cover Dirge was circling the Autobot crash site.
“Dirge to Megatron.”
“A group of eight Autobots led by Optimus Prime are heading your way. Requesting orders.”
“Keep out of sight until Prime is out of range and then make sure that Skyfire is kept out of the battle. Once you have finished return to the power plant and assist Soundwave and Ramjet. I will take care of Prime.”
“With pleasure Megatron.”
* * * * *
Megatron turned to the Constructicons.
“Constructicons merge into Devastator,” he commanded.
The six green Decepticons transformed to vehicle mode and then combined together to form the giant robot Devastator.
“Prepare to meet your doom Autobots,” echoed Devastators voice.
* * * * *
“Okay Skyfire, I think I see the problem,” said Wheeljack with his head craning through the access hatch. “You’ve….”
But he never got to finish his sentence because the sound of Dirge’s engines began to ring in his audio receptors.
“Oh no,” groaned Skyfire, “not again.”
Dirge dived out of his cloud cover firing his lasers at Skyfire. He was making his engine noise as loud as possible so as to prevent the Autobot guards from reacting in time to save the fallen Autobot jet. But he had misjudged, Sideswipe, although not unaffected by the sound of his engines, stood tall, his desire for battle defeating the fear inducing noise.
He fired his blaster at Dirge’s approaching form. The tip of Dirge’s left wing disintegrated in flame. He screamed in pain and pulled out of his dive, but he fired off a pair of missiles as he did so.
The missiles slammed into the ground a twenty feet from Skyfire who disappeared behind a wall of flame and dirt.
The pitch of Dirge’s engines changed as he rose back into the air in agony and the fear inducing frequencies were lost. Struggling to maintain height and direction, Dirge headed back toward the power plant.
Chapter Four – Round Two, Seconds Out
Sideswipe and Sunstreaker got to their feet having been thrown to the ground by the explosion.
“Wheeljack, Skyfire!” called Sideswipe.
“I’m okay,” came Wheeljacks voice through the dust cloud that hung round the missile impacts. “Skyfire’s in trouble though!”
Sideswipe and Sunstreaker rushed through the gloom towards Wheeljack’s voice.
“This dust is playing havoc with my paintwork,” moaned Sunstreaker. “Look out!”
He thrust his arm out to stop Sideswipe rushing straight into the large crater that the missiles had blasted into the ground. As the dust cleared they saw that Skyfire had slipped nose first into the crater his white bodywork covered in dust and earth. Wheeljack has started to make his way down the crater’s edge.
“Skyfire, can you hear me?” he called.
“What happened Wheeljack?” replied Skyfire shakily.
“You’ve fallen into the crater Skyfire. Can you transform?” asked Wheeljack.
“I don’t think so,” said Skyfire, his body shuddering with the effort to transform.
“Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, help me get him out of here,” called Wheeljack
“You got it,” called back Sideswipe.
* * * * *
Dirge flew unsteadily back towards the power plant.
“Megatron, I have taken damage and am heading back to the power plant. The Autobot jet has been disabled,” Dirge reported, hoping the last bit was true. He had seen Skyfire engulfed in the explosions but wasn’t able to hang around long enough to check on his status.
* * * * *
“Excellent Dirge,” answered Megatron. “Well done. Proceed to the power plant and assist with the production of the Eneron cubes.”
Megatron turned to Devastator standing silently behind him.
“Follow me Devastator we have Autobots to terminate.”
Megatron took to the air followed by Devastator and flew South towards the approaching Autobots.
* * * * *
“Autobots transform and prepare for battle,” called Optimus Prime screeching to a halt.
“What gives Prime?” asked Ironhide.
“Megatron and Devastator incoming,” said Prowl pointing to the horizon, before Prime could answer.
“Autobots spread out and prepare to engage,” ordered Prime.
The Autobots fanned out as Megatron and Devastator landed a hundred yards away.
“Greetings Prime,” called Megatron. “I’ve been expecting you.”
“Give it up now Megatron and you might not get hurt too much,” answered Prime with more confidence than he felt. Devastator was still a difficult opponent even with 8:1 odds and Megatron as well meant that Autobots were facing no small challenge.
“A nice try Prime, but you know you’re out matched,” called Megatron, firing his fusion cannon at Prime as he did so.
Prime leapt out of the way just in time, the blast singing his bodywork. He landed on the ground and rolled, calling out, “Autobots head for cover and defend yourselves.”
“Devastator crush Autobots,” said Devastator stepping forward, laser blasts from the Autobot weapons bouncing off his armour plating. He raised his energy rifle and fired at Jazz who was leaping for cover behind a nearby boulder. The ten thousand degrees of pure energy sizzled through the air, cutting a groove into the top of the bolder.
“Yow,” cried Jazz, “things are hotting up round here.”
* * * * *
Back at the power plant the production of Energon cubes was progressing well. Soundwave churned out a steady stream of empty cubes while Ramjet and the newly arrived Dirge filled them, looking uneasily at the stack of cubes shimmering their angry red colour.
Dirge was hobbling slightly due to the damage inflicted by Sideswipe’s attack on him. At one point he stumbled and Soundwave turned to him and said severely “Be careful Dirge. One round move could blow us all back to Cybertron.”
“I shouldn’t be doing this, I’m injured,” complained Dirge, but he knew that Soundwave would be the first to report him to Megatron if he complained too much.
* * * * *
Sideswipe and Sunstreaker had transformed and were using their grappling hooks to slowly pull the crippled Skyfire out of the crater.
“A little more,” called Wheeljack from the crater’s edge.
“Its alright for him,” complained Sunstreaker, “he’s not the one pulling this dead weight and what the state of my tyres is going to be after this I dread to think.”
“I thought you looked a bit tyred,” said Sideswipe with a chuckle.
Slowly Skyfire’s huge bulk edged its way out of the crater. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker’s tyres spun in the loose ground until the Autobot jet crashed to the ground.
“Okay guys that’s great,” called Wheeljack as Sideswipe and Sunstreaker came to a standstill. “Now then Skyfire let’s see if we can get you fixed up,” he continued returning to the access panel.
* * * * *
Devastator lifted Tracks in one of his huge fists, the Autobot screamed in pain as he began to squeeze. Jazz, Prowl and Ironhide broke cover and ran to his aid. Devastator brushed them aside with a sweep of his other hand causing them to land heavily in the dirt.
Optimus Prime seeing the situation, fired a barrage of shots at Megatron causing him to dive behind his cover. Having distracted his foe, Prime transformed and charged at Devastator. He collided with the giant robot who lost his footing and crashed to the floor making the earth shake beneath him. His grip on Tracks was lost and the Autobot fell to the ground and lay still.
Prime slowly transformed and looked around. He was dazed but he knew that he had to get himself and Tracks away from Megatron’s line of fire. But before he could move he found himself being dragged away by Blaster and Warpath. He saw Tracks being lifted by Smokescreen, while Prowl, Ironhide and Jazz, apparently none the worse for their encounter with Devastator, gave covering fire, keeping Megatron pinned down.
“Hold on Prime, my man,” said Blaster, “we’ll get you clear.”
Prime found himself dragged behind nearby rocks for cover. He sat up and took in the situation.
Devastator had split into his component Constructicons, who were now fleeing for cover of their own as they found themselves under fire from the Autobots. Megatron had come out from cover and was firing back at the Autobots, with ill disguised fury on his face.
“Thanks for the help,” said Prime. “How’s Tracks?”
“I think he’ll be okay,” reported Prowl. “Just knocked unconscious for now.”
“Good. This is taking too long,” said Prime. “Who knows what the other Decepticons are up to back at the power plant.”
* * * * *
“Energon quota completed,” said Soundwave as Dirge placed the last glowing red cube on the pile.
“About time, my leg is killing me,” said Dirge grumpily.
“Move the Energon cubes to the Space Bridge transporter,” commanded Soundwave. “I have constructed a two hover sleds to keep them stable. Once the sleds are loaded take them to the space bridge transporter.”
* * * * *
Back outside the power plant, Starscream was still struggling to free his hands of the Energon chains that bound them. He had given up on the idea of breaking them, he just didn’t have the strength, but if he could twist his arm enough to get a shot at the chains with his null ray he might have a chance.
He cursed silently to himself and stopped his frantic movements as he saw Dirge and Ramjet leave the main building each pushing a hover sled laden with the unstable Energon cubes. Behind them walked Soundwave, who glanced over at Starscream briefly as he passed.
Starscream watched as Ramjet and Dirge loaded the Energon cubes onto the space bridge transporter that was parked at the end of the tracks leading to the space bridge terminal. The transporter was not the usual design. This one was longer and had more storage capacity than usual. More than enough to hold the five hundred Energon cubes.
What was Megatron up to wondered Starscream. Those cubes were far too volatile to be of any use as an energy source. Yet how could they be used as a weapon? Starscream didn’t know. Nor did he know why he had been brought along, but he was sure it wasn’t a good thing. He returned, surreptitiously to trying to blast his chains with his null ray.
* * * * *
Megatron ducked back behind cover as a transmission came through his comm. unit.
“Soundwave to Megatron.”
“We have completed production of Carpasin Energon cubes and they are loaded onto the space bridge. We await your orders.”
“Excellent Soundwave. I will return shortly. In the meanwhile guard those cubes with your life.”
Megatron turned his attention back to the battle with the Autobots. Since the Constructicons had separated into their component parts the battle had gone the Autobot’s way. The six Constructicons were penned down by Autobot fire and couldn’t manage to remerge into Devastator.
The Autobot’s laser fire was slowly chipping away at the rocks the Decepticons were using for cover causing them to slowly retreat.
Megatron smiled. The Autobots thought they were winning. Little did they know that the plan had been to prevent their interference while Soundwave produced the Energon cubes. That had been achieved and the Autobots were still thirty miles from the plant with no air power to get them there in time to disrupt his operation.
“Constructicons!” he called. “Retreat back to the power plant.”
Taking to the air he looked down and called out, “You’ve lost this time Prime!”
He and the Constructicons flew off in the direction of the power plant.
“I don’t like this Prime,” said Prowl. “It looks like this whole battle was just some sort of diversion.”
“Indeed,” said Optimus Prime. “We must get to that power plant immediately.”
“But how Prime?” asked Jazz. “We’ll never cross that distance in anything less than half an hour.”
“Look!” cried Prowl pointing to the South.
“Anybody need a lift?” asked Skyfire as he flew out of the sky towards them.
“Everyone aboard!” Prime called. “Good to see you Skyfire, we need to be at the power plant five minutes ago. Give it everything you’ve got”
“Okay, hold on tight!” Skyfire called as everyone took their seats and he blasted upwards into the sky.
Chapter Five – A Bridge to the Stars
Megatron stood by the fully loaded transporter and chuckled. “Soon, very soon, we will have all the energy we need to defeat the Autobots forever”
“Now where have I heard that before,” commented Starscream who had been dragged next to the transporter by Ramet and Dirge.
“Ahh Starscream,” said Megatron, “I shall miss these little exchanges – once you’ve gone.”
Turning away from Starscream he continued, “Dirge, Ramjet, place him in the transporter.”
“You can’t do this to me,” protested Starscream as the two Decepticons lifted him into the transporter.
Megatron ignored him and pressed his comm. unit and spoke, “Shockwave is everything prepared?”
“Yes Megatron,” came Shockwave’s voice. “The energy collectors are set and standing by. The switching mechanism is operational and the modifications you requested to the spacebridge node have been completed. Operation Sunburn is ready to proceed.”
“Excellent Shockwave. Prepare for…” Megatron stopped in mid‑sentence as Skyfire rocketed over the courtyard. “I thought I told you to neutralise that jet!” Megatron yelled turning to Dirge.
“I did,” protested Dirge.
Megatron turned his attention away from Dirge back towards the voice that had spoken. Skyfire had made a second pass and Optimus Prime had jumped out and landed in the courtyard his gun in firing position. Skyfire then turned and headed in for a landing at the other end of the courtyard.
“Ahh Prime, so nice to see you again,” said Megatron.
“Stand away from the transporter Megatron,” said Prime evenly.
“Don’t be absurd Prime. I’ve come too far for you to stop me now. If you detonate the cubes the explosion will destroy you and your precious Autobots as well.”
“You have to be stopped Megatron, no matter the cost,” said Prime.
“The cost? The cost Optimus Prime will be the revitalisation of Cybertron.”
“What are you talking about Megatron?”
Megatron grinned, “These Carpasin Energon cubes are to be used to restore Cybertron’s energy resources. I have modified the spacebridge so that it doesn’t just link Cybertron to Earth. Now either end can link to anywhere in the Universe! At this moment the other end of the spacebridge is targeted at the centre of a star in a nearby galaxy. When the cubes materialise they will explode causing the star to go nova. The resulting energy rush will be channelled back down the space bridge.”
“But that will lead the energy of an exploding star straight to Earth,” said Prime shocked!
“No! The other end of the spacebridge will be switched back to Cybertron as the cubes are in transit. The nova’s energy will flow back to Cybertron where energy collectors and standing by waiting for it,” finished Megatron triumphantly.
Before Prime could respond Megatron spoke into his comm. unit, “Now Shockwave!”
The spacebridge transporter began to move swiftly towards the open doors of the spacebridge. Trapped on top of the moving transporter Starscream began screeching, “You can’t do this to me Megatron, please spare me!” He began to twist his arm again trying desperately to get his null ray lined up on his Energon chains.
“I can’t let you do this Megatron,” said Prime. “You will use the energy to turn Cybertron in to a war world and spread your evil throughout the galaxy.” Prime turned and ran towards the transporter that was now thundering towards the spacebridge.
Dirge lifted his arm to fire his laser cannon at Prime but Megatron knocked it skywards so his shot dissipated harmlessly into the air.
“Hold your fire you idiot!” Megatron shouted. “You might hit the cubes. Prime’s too late anyway. I have won.” He laughed maniacally.
Prime ran as fast as he could. The transporter was almost at the space bridge now. Prime leapt at the transporter just as it reached the doors of the space bridge. At the same moment Starscream finally managed to shoot his chains with his null ray. The ray stopped the flow of energy in the chains and Starscream shattered them and leapt backwards off the transporter. He and Optimus Prime collided in midair and fell in a heap inside the spacebridge.
Before either of them could react the doors closed. The lights around the edge of the spacebridge enclosure began to flash and then the tramsporter, Starscream and Optimus Prime were all sucked into the air along with chunks of rock and earth. A portal opened above them and they disappeared through it. The portal closed behind them with a crackle of energy.
“Prime!” called the Autobots, almost in unison.
Megatron was triumphant. “Optimus Prime is dead! Decepticons keep these Autobots at bay while I attend to the completion of the operation.” The Decepticons immediately started firing on the Autobot who were too stunned at the loss of their leader to notice at first. Then they began diving for cover and returning fire.
Megatron spoke into his comm. unit, “Shockwave, status report!”
“Cubes in transit. Switching node coordinates,” said Shockwave. As he spoke the spacebridge vanished as if they had never been. “Target reached…detonation confirmed,” continued Shockwave.
Megatron smiled and began to walk to where the spacebridge had stood only moments ago.
Shockwave continued his report, “Operation Sunburn successful! Energy intake has reached one billion astrolitres and rising.”
Megatron laughed victoriously. Everything was going according to plan and he even had the added bonus of the death of Optimus Prime as well.
“Prepare phase two Shockwave,” he said.
“Energy input now ten billion astrolitres,” responded Shockwave. “Entering the final stages now. Re-routing secondary node to new coordinates.”
Again as he spoke the spacebridge appeared in the same position that it had left only moments before. Megatron strode forward and opened an access panel. He then took out an handful of thick cables with interface sockets on the end. He hurriedly connected them to himself.
“I am ready for the transfer Shockwave,” he said.
“Very well Megatron. Activating energy barriers now,” there was silence for a second and then he continued. “Remaining energy deflected back down the space bridge. Estimated energy levels; ten thousand astrolitres. Standby Megatron. This is likely to hurt.”
Before he had finished speaking Megatron had doubled up in agony as a huge charge of energy was released through the spacebridge and was channelled down the cables that was now connected to Megatron. He let out an almighty cry of pain that echoed around the courtyard causing the Autobots and Decepticons to turn and look, their battle forgotten.
Soundwave broke from cover and ran towards Megaron and knelt next to his now prone form. At first he thought he was dead. He turned Megatron over and his optics were darkened. But even as he looked they lit up with an intensity that Soundwave had never seen before. Megatron smiled and stood up. He ripped the cables from his body and turned to face the assembled Autobots and Decepticons.
He saw Prowl and Jazz looking out from behind an outbuilding and lifted his fusion cannon and fired, not at them but at the outbuilding itself. He staggered back under the recoil as a huge blast of energy left his fusion cannon and smashed into the side wall.
The outbuilding exploded, the wall that had been hit by the blast vaporised instantly and the rest of the building was blown outwards. Prowl and Jazz were sent flying through the air on by the explosion. They landed in a crumpled heap at the far end of the courtyard, their bodies blackened, broken and twisted metal falling all round them.
“Behold my Decepticons, I am now more powerful than ever! The Autobots are as good as dead!” Megatron’s laughter echoed round the courtyard.
End of Part One.