Categories
The Three Realms The Three Realms (Book 4: Trials of Light and Dark)

3 Realms 4-22

The team arrived in a new arena. Boltuk was actually feeling rather hopeful. During the trials, he was actually turning towards Realmfleet. He wasn’t sure they could convince the King, but they convinced a few Manticores at least. Arsha saw this. “You know, you COULD help us,” she offered.

“…Disobeying the King like that is a capital offense punishable by a most dishonorable death,” answered Boltuk. “My paws are tied.”

“…I’m sorry to hear that. You’re a good sort, I can tell.” Boltuk gave a sad smile before he took his place in the center of the arena. The crowd then gathered in the stands.

“These outsiders have passed one of the Trials of Intelligence by showing that proofs can be abused!” he called. “That is four trials under their belt. Only two more remain! How well can these outsiders find a pattern?! …Lady Andotal! Come forth!” A female Manticore strode out and waved as the crowd cheered.

“An interesting pun, Mr. Bloodwing,” she chuckled. “I am the fourth and you tell me to come forth.”

“…An unintentional pun, I assure you,” groaned Boltuk. He then turned back to the crowd. “Lady Andotal will write five numbers and the challenger must find a pattern within a minute! If they write out five more numbers that fall within the pattern, they win. If they fail to write the correct answer or they fail to come up with any answer within a minute’s time, well, I think we all can guess what that means!”

“All right, Delselii, Patrica, Foresna, it’s the four of us. Who’s the best at finding a pattern?” Arsha asked her team.

“Let me try my hand at it,” offered Patrica. “I’ve been able to find patterns in the past.”

“Then good luck.” Patrica then entered the ring.

“I, Patrica Looden, will accept the challenge!” she called.

“Very well!” replied Boltuk. “The instant Andotal finishes her last number, your time begins!” Andotal then used her tail to write five numbers in the sand. The numbers were 610, 987, 1,597, 2,584, and 4,181. “BEGIN!” called Boltuk. Patrica was a little surprised that the numbers were so large. Ten seconds passed and there was still no answer from her. Arsha gulped.

“I…was NOT expecting that,” she muttered.

“This is bad! There ISN’T a pattern!” groaned Bashoon.

“Actually, there is,” replied Orthena. “It all depends on if she remembers her math classes.”

“…Oh, I see it now!” realized Delselii.

“You do?” asked Arsha.

“Half a minute remains!” called Boltuk.

“Wait, really?!” protested Patrica. “I think you just added…added…added…just a minute!” She then started tracing out the first two numbers in another part of the sand. After that, she included an addition sign. She then saw that 610 and 987 equaled 1,597. She then added 987 to 1,597 and got 2,584. She then snapped her fingers. “A Loquntho sequence!” she cheered. “I know what the remaining five are!”

“Then write them,” declared Boltuk. “The clock has stopped for now.” Patrica then added new numbers to the original sequence. They were 6,765, 10,946, 17,711, 28,657, and 46,368. Lady Andotal then looked at the answer and how Patrica got her answer. She raised her eyeridges in approval.

“I never thought my ancestor’s number sequence would survive into your time,” she mused. She then turned to Boltuk. “She’s got the correct numbers!”

“And that makes five trials for the outsiders!” called Boltuk to the crowd. “The last trial will be prepared in an hour as it involves our King and Queen. Rest and prepare, for you need to have a flexible mind to face them.” The crowd departed and Boltuk gave one last look at Arsha and her team. “…I beg you, don’t take the last trial. If you fail it, we’re all slaves to Oyed and the Sphinxes will forever be in our thrall.”

“It’s because of the plight of the Sphinxes that we’re not turning back now,” replied Arsha. “I believe my team has demonstrated that they’re more than capable of passing anything you throw at us. I could only feel pride as they passed their trials and found the entrance to your kingdom. I won’t spit on their efforts now.”

“…No outsider has ever passed the Trial of the King and Queen. I urge you to reconsider.” Boltuk left and Arsha sighed.

“You have to admit, it IS a change from when we first met him,” remarked Lardeth.

“Still, I really hope he sees sense,” sighed Arsha.

“That’s the problem, here,” replied Falnii. “In accordance with his own culture, he DOES see sense and we don’t. Different cultures have different definitions of seeing sense. You’ve seen it yourself. I’m willing to bet your own parents have their own culture clashes, despite being on the same general page on certain things.”

“And it’s not just different species,” remarked Malnar. “Over-realm and Mid-realm Humans have different cultures. Even then, those pockets of humans have even further divisions. Rich and poor, smart and ignorant, which Divine One is the better one to worship, but it’s NOT inherently evil. It looks to me like the Manticores WANT to be more diverse, but they need a change from the top. Hopefully, we can bring that change. You saw it in Boltuk’s eyes.”

“…Well then, looks like we have a trial to pass!” declared Arsha.

“Atta girl!” cheered Malnar.


“Where is he?!” grunted one of the Manticore Revenants.

“It’s almost the end of the day and I don’t see 35 people before me,” replied Oyed. “Your father isn’t attempting to renege on the deal and get away with it, is he?”

“It’s well within his standard M.O.” The door then opened to let Lord Toonsar into the room.

“Ah, there you are,” purred Oyed. “How kind of you to join us. …Where are the people you promised?”

“…I regret to inform you,” replied the elderly Manticore, “that I couldn’t get enough in time.”

“Then your soul is forfeit. Farewell.” Oyed drew a circle in the air and…Toonsar smirked.

“Ta!” The circle then surrounded Toonsar and both it AND he exploded in white light.

“Wh-what?!” spluttered Oyed.

“That shouldn’t have happened?” asked the Revenant Manticore.

“No! It…a Maho-particle avatar! Someone tricked me!” Oyed was frothing at the mouth. The Manticore sniffed the air.

“It smells like…like…like something Velkor wove! The King’s behind this!”

“Your people’s loyalty is no longer certain! Get a team for me that will get me past the trials! Make sure they know a path to get me there before Arsha or there’ll be the Depths to pay!”

“Before Arsha, my Lord?”

“Arsha surrounds herself with people who are not only strong, but clever as well! They may very well pass the trials!”

“I understand, My Lord.” The Manticore headed off and Oyed looked out the window.

Categories
The Three Realms The Three Realms (Book 4: Trials of Light and Dark)

3 Realms 4-21

Boltuk led the team through what would have been the third arena. The place looked more ornate than the previous one. “Man, I would have enjoyed this!” moaned Bashoon.

“It’s one of our favorite arenas,” replied Boltuk. He then led them to a new arena where a whiteboard stood in the center of the ring. The crowd filed in and Boltuk began his announcement. “These outsiders,” he called, “have passed the Trials of Strength! But brawn is nothing without a brain to back it up! Outsiders, you had best be able to prove your intelligence, for we do not love idiots! The first trial shall determine whether or not you have the ability to abuse proofs! If you can stump one of our smartest with something ridiculous and prove that it is possible with no loopholes, you win! If your opponent finds a loophole, you lose! Who shall go?!”

“Arsha, let me in on this!” giggled Malnar. “I’ll give you a year’s supply of chocolate if you do!”

“What? Why?” asked Arsha. Malnar then whispered her plan into Arsha’s ear. “…There is no way that will work!”

“Come on, Foxy! For me?” Malnar then gave her lover puppy-dog eyes.

“No! Stop that! You know I hate it when any of you do that! …Fine! Go ahead!” Malnar kissed Arsha on the cheek then practically skipped into the ring.

“It looks like you have set your challenger on us,” remarked Boltuk. “Very well! Lord Tanatar! You are needed!” An elderly Manticore man then came forward. He had a limp, but he was cheered to the echo as if he were a great gladiator. He raised his hurt paw as the crowd cheered, then he pointed to a section and lowered his paw. The section then quietly cheered. He then raised his paw, and the cheering grew louder. Then he put his paw to the floor and the cheering stopped.

“…Dang,” remarked Malnar to her opponent as he approached the whiteboard. “Sounds like men of intellect are REALLY prized here.”

“We DO uncover secrets that prove useful to fighters,” answered Lord Tanatar. “Now, what do you wish to prove?”

“Well, first off, I need to set the scene. Tell me, do you have grandchildren?”

“Seven of them, and I spoil them all rotten. Why?”

“That makes it a lot easier. So, do you see yourself as someone who spoils them equally?”

“Of course. But, I must be fair. Let’s say, for example, that there’s candy, about…give me a number.”

“Twenty-eight.”

“Then I would give each one of them four pieces of candy.”

“I thought you said you spoil them rotten.” Lord Tanatar was confused.

“I do.”

“Only four?” Malnar clicked her lips in disappointment. “My Lord, you’re cheating them. Twenty-eight pieces of candy for seven grandkids? They deserve thirteen apiece.” Lord Tanatar goggled at Malnar.

“What in the name of the King are you talking about?!” he protested. “Seven by thirteen does NOT make twenty-eight!”

“Yes, it does!”

“Seven by FOUR makes twenty-eight!” Malnar sighed.

“Lord Tanatar, seven by THIRTEEN makes twenty-eight!”

“Seven by FOUR is twenty-eight! Aren’t you a soldier?!”

“Yes, but I’m also a Princess.”

“…What are they teaching royalty these days?” muttered Lord Tanatar.

“I can show you my work, if you wish.”

“Please, show us.” Malnar took up one of the markers and set up a long-division problem. She set it up like so:

7⟌28

“Now, seven into two?” asked Malnar. Lord Tanatar shook his head. “Seven will NOT go into two. No matter how much you push that big seven into that little two, it won’t fit! That’s gonna hurt the poor little two! So, I’m gonna put the two down here!” She drew a little two at the bottom of the white board. “Now, seven into eight?”

“It goes in once,” replied Lord Tanatar.

“Exactly!” Malnar drew a one at the eight’s right.

7⟌28 1

“Now, I’m gonna carry the seven. It’s a big seven, so we need to distribute it right.” She wrote a seven under the eight. “Now, eight minus seven?”

“One.” Malnar then wrote out the next step and answer.

7⟌28 1

     -7

      1

“Now, this is where the magic happens!” called Malnar. “A minute ago, we had a little discussion about a little two.” She then pointed to the little two at the board’s bottom. “This little two! You mind if I use it?”

“Go ahead,” sighed Lord Tanatar.

“Much appreciated! So, I’m gonna put the two by the one below the carried seven.” She then wrote her new two.

7⟌28 1

     -7

    21

“Now, seven into twenty-one?”

“Three.” Malnar wrote the resulting three at the left of the one at the top!

7⟌28 13

     -7

    21

“There we go! Seven goes into twenty-eight THIRTEEN times!”

“NO! NO! NO! Nothing of the kind!” Lord Tanatar then erased the board. “There’s something you’re missing! Tell you what, we’ll multiply all this!”

“All right.” Malnar then wrote out a long multiplication problem.

13

x7

“All right, seven times three?”

“Twenty-one.”

13

x7

21

“Seven times one?”

“Seven.”

13

x7

21

  7

“Seven plus one?”

“…Eight…” Lord Tanatar then saw where she placed the seven.

13

x7

21

+7

  8

“And we carry the two!”

13

x7

21

+7

28

“There we go! Twenty-eight!”

“NO! NO! That’s not it!” Lord Tanatar erased the board again. “All right, that’s it! There’s only one surefire way to find a loophole here! Put down thirteen seven times!”

“Oh, I get it, you want me to add it.”

“Bingo! Go on!” So, Malnar wrote down 13 seven times.

  13

  13

  13

  13

  13

  13

+13

“All right, now we start…!”

“Hold it!” Lord Tanatar leveled his stinger at her. “I’LL start it!” His stinger then went up the threes. “Three! Six! Nine! Twelve! Fifteen! Eighteen! Twenty-one!” Malnar then ran her marker down the ones.

“Twenty-two! Twenty-three! Twenty-four! Twenty-five! Twenty-six! Twenty-seven! Twenty-eight!”

  13

  13

  13

  13

  13

  13

+13

  28

Lord Tanatar goggled at the whole thing. “…I…I-I…I can’t…I don’t see any loopholes! She’s abused proofs!” He collapsed to the floor in shame.

“By Lord Tanatar’s declaration,” called Boltuk, “the outsider has won the first Trial of Intellect! Now, outsider, since you’re the winner, you may point out any loopholes he missed with no penalty.”

“Thank you.” Malnar then turned to Lord Tanatar. “My Lord, there WAS a loophole that I didn’t have a counter for.”

“What’s that?” he mumbled.

“The tens place.”

“…The tens place! Of course! …I will have to learn more, even if my King forbids it.”

“Come with me, and we shall proceed to the next trial!” called Boltuk. The crowd roared as Arsha and her team were led to the next challenge.

Categories
The Three Realms The Three Realms (Book 4: Trials of Light and Dark)

3 Realms 4-20

The Manticores were finishing up the arena as Lardeth recovered. Arsha noticed that the inside of the circumference was lined with springs pointing inwards. A circular piece of material was then hooked up to the springs. “A trampoline?” asked Arsha. “I had one of those when I was a little girl. Went too high at one point and landed in a way that broke my leg.”

“Ouch!” winced Delselii.

“That would mean you lose this trial,” remarked Boltuk. The crowd then returned. The size of it somewhere between the first trial and the second. “We have seen these outsiders pass two of the six trials!” Boltuk called to the crowd. “They are physically and emotionally strong, but what of their agility?! How well can they dodge?! Will they be able to make good enough decisions and quick enough changes in direction?!”

“It’s a dodging trial?” asked Bashoon. “Let me in on that action! Goblins are only rivaled by halflings in our ability to make quick getaways!”

“Bashoon, wait!” hissed Delselii. “What if it’s something you can’t see?!”

“That’s where the ears come in.” Her ears flapped to back up her words.

“…Very well.” Delselii stepped back.

“Good luck, Lieutenant,” wished Arsha. Bashoon took off her shoes, then stepped into the ring.

“You believe your shoes will slow you down?” asked Boltuk.

“No, just don’t want to tear the trampoline,” replied Bashoon.

“…Very considerate.” Boltuk then turned to the crowd. “Bring forth the Casters!” Three Manticores then came out of the gates and took to the air surrounding the ring. “Dodge their magic blasts within a minute’s time!” he instructed Bashoon. “One hit and you fail the trial! Begin!” The Manticores fired on Bashoon, and she bounced upwards, dodging the blasts. One then fired near her, forcing her to twist out of the way in mid-air. Another one followed a milli-second later and she twisted out of the way again. There was a rapid-fire series of shots and Bashoon stayed ahead of them.

“10 seconds so far,” muttered Patrica.

“She’ll falter,” remarked Boltuk.

“You don’t know Goblins as well as I do,” retorted Arsha. “Heck, you don’t know Bashoon Barmek as well as I do. She takes any bit of adversity, and she makes the best out of the situation. Whenever she has a problem, she finds a solution.” The magic blasts soon became more erratic in their timing. Bashoon yelped as she twisted in the air, hoping to gain some speed.

“Half a minute remains,” remarked Boltuk. Another caster then joined the fray and fired.

“Oh, come on!” groaned Bashoon. With more shots added to the mix, she had to make decisions faster.

“I didn’t hear you summon another!” protested Arsha.

“I assure you, it’s part of the trial,” replied Boltuk. Bashoon kept leaping out of the way, but the added caster made things more difficult. Finally, they all prepared for a simultaneous shot. They were matching her movements and the blasts were getting bigger by the second! When Bashoon went into the air, they fired. There was only one choice, she dove OUT of the ring. She then looked to her team as the blasts hit each other and made a brilliant light. Her team then rushed up to her, leaving Falnii to continue her dream-weaving for Lardeth.

“I’m sorry, Captain,” she mumbled. “I felt like I had no choice! It was going to…!”

“With that done,” called Boltuk to the crowd, “all trials of Strength are passed!” Bashoon then looked at Boltuk.

“Wait, I won?! Bu-but I went outside the ring!”

“If the trial were still continuing, the casters would have targeted you regardless of whether or not you stepped out of the ring. The only way you could have lost is by being hit. I never said a ring-out would mean a loss. You could have run along the outside edge of the ring.”

“…ARE YOU KIDDING ME?! YOU MEAN TO TELL ME I COULD HAVE USED THE WHOLE ARENA?!”

“Even the stands.” Bashoon fell to her knees, groaning at the whole thing.

“I made things way too hard for myself!”

“Seems that way. In any event, like I said, the trials of strength are over. We will rest as we prepare the remaining three trials.” The crowd departed and left the team to their devices.

“Awake,” Falnii said softly. Lardeth then yawned and stretched as if he slept through the night. He then looked around the arena.

“Did…did we…?” he asked.

“Bashoon won the last trial for us,” replied Arsha.

“Though, I made it harder on myself,” remarked Bashoon.

“Then why aren’t we at the next trial?” asked Lardeth.

“We’re gonna be waiting for them to set up the next stage,” answered Foresna.

“…My opponent. The one who jabbed me with her stinger. What happened to her?”

“She was dishonored after attacking you. If I were a betting boy, though, she’s probably run to Oyed to tell him the news.”


Foresna would have won that bet. Nedola made her way to Oyed’s chambers. She bowed before an altar. “Mighty Oyed, I have news that must be reported in spite of how bad they are.” A black mist came into the room and coalesced into Oyed.

“You may speak,” he directed.

“Realmfleet’s found the entrance. Their team passed two trials. I tried to kill one as you ordered, but they knocked me aside, gave my target the anti-venom, and shamed me.”

“Someone undid your work?! I ordered their deaths!”

“Boltuk disobeyed those orders.”

“…Boltuk Bloodwing?”

“The same.” Oyed gnashed his teeth.

“He was there when I gave the order publicly! He was supposed to kill them outright!” Oyed drew in a breath. “I need to think on how to salvage this. In the meantime, report to Dr. Borg to have that mark removed from your forehead. It doesn’t suit a loyal follower like you. Thank you for bringing this to my attention as quick as you could.”

“I live to serve you, My Lord.” Nedola then headed to the door. Oyed sat in a chair and steepled his fingers as he thought. “If we had the numbers,” muttered Nedola, “we could make an example of them.” She then left the room.

“That’s a frightening statement in and of itself,” Oyed mumbled to himself.

Categories
Transformers: Mobian Chronicles Transformers: Mobian Chronicles (Arc 15: The Second Journey)

TMC 15-8

With friends hugging him from all sides, Optimus almost fell over. “Okay, guys, I get you’re happy to see me, but we’ve got other priorities right now!” he called. His friends backed off.

“What’s our move here, Prime?” asked Jazz.

“I know where the Forge and Creation Lathe of Solus Prime are,” explained Optimus. “The Thirteen revealed their locations to me. They’re on Mobius right now, have been for a long time. We’re going back to the old base first, then heading to the new base.”

“New base?” asked Blackarachnia.

“Give our guys some credit, Legs. They would have most likely found a new base. The Primes also told me the new base’s location. We gotta go NOW! For all we know, Unicron sensed my return! Transform and Roll Out!” Optimus’ legs then folded and united to become his new alt-mode’s front. His whole upper torso rotated at the waist and bent down so the cab could unite with the front. The head sunk into the cab and the arms swung together while the shoulder pads formed the rear of the cab. The hands then swung into the arms and Optimus switched on his holo-form. It was still a blue hedgehog with Shadow’s quill style, but he wore a large red trench coat with blue sleeves and a white shirt underneath while wearing red pants and black shoes. Jazz and Blackarachnia then transformed, and Sonic picked up Amy.

“May I join you?” asked Sparkplug.

“Sensei Sparkplug,” replied Optimus, “we would be honored.”

“SPARKPLUG, TRANSFORM!” Sparkplug’s legs came together as his chest swung to his lower legs. His arms swung upwards and united with his back, forming the rear of the car. The whole cavalcade then sped off towards the old Autobot base.


Everyone, sans Optimus and his team, had gathered at the new base, discussing the situation. “So,” rumbled Megatron, “no one has heard from my younger brother yet. I have a feeling that we may be missing him in our fight.”

“We still have weapons,” remarked Bumblebee.

“Unicron’s got generals that can raise the dead!” argued Ravage. “I don’t know about you, but I’m not ready to die in a hopeless battle!”

“Ravage speaks logically,” agreed Shockwave. “The Terrorcons can shrug off any damage we inflict on them. I cannot see any outcome where we survive the battle.”

“I can’t argue with her in good conscience,” remarked Eggman. “Fighting won’t unbrick Orion’s connection to the Matrix.”

“…Then what WILL we fight for?” asked Bumblebee. He got up. “Listen to me! All of you! Mobius is looking to us to fight against Unicron, no matter the cost! What will they see? Frightened Scraplets in a derelict ship?! NO! They will see free people and freedom! Freedom from darkness and the terror it brings! And what Unicron and his ilk will see is the flash from our blasters and the ringing of our steel, and they will know what we can do! By the sweat on the brows of our Mobian and human allies, and the strength of the Transformers’ backs, and the courage of our hearts, Sparks, and souls…everyone…prepare for battle AND victory!”

“You all heard him!” called Megatron. “Everyone, Bumblebee and I will not ask you to give more than you can deliver, but I DO ask this; are we not warriors of light?”

“YEAH!” replied everyone in the room.

“On a mission to beat back the darkness?!”

“YEAH!”

“I do not see any fear in Bumblebee’s optics! Are we not warriors of light?!”

“YEAH!!!”

“Then, as Bumblebee put it, prepare for battle! Everyone, to their stations and haul away! Prepare to fight for a new day!” Everyone then headed off to prepare the base for battle.

“…You know, that last bit reminded me of Wheelie,” snarked Bumblebee. Megatron then glared at Bumblebee, not giving any arguments since he WAS right. He just contented himself to grunt and storm off to prepare for the fight in his own manner.


Back at Castle Unicron, the arena was finally set up. “Finally!” sighed Nemesis Prime. “It is complete! Perfectly square, a fine obsidian black, and a full ninety by nin…” he stopped when he saw a small hole in the floor. “…Are…you…friggin’…SERIOUS!”

“Let it go, Nemesis,” called Unicron. “We’ll just patch it. In the meantime, we have scrap to do. Our enemies have gathered in one place. Signal Rodimus Unicronus. Tell him to give no quarter. That should help brighten his mood for the past five months.”

“What of Josie Beller?”

“Ms. Circuit Breaker is broken. She can’t make any coherent words. All she’s doing now is sitting and making sad noises.”

“So, worthless to our schemes. Very well. I’ll just radio Rodimus Unicronus now.”


As the Unicron Resistance prepared for battle, Teletraan 1 got something from one of his Sky Spys. “…Uh oh!” He sounded the alarm. “Heads up, everyone! Zombie army coming from the south! Rodimus Unicronus is leading!”

“Battle stations!” ordered Bumblebee. Everyone rushed and took up their positions.

“Because, of course,” grunted Megatron, “they’d strike at an area where our shields are at their weakest right now!”

“Anyone with super modes, better suit up now!” called Bumblebee.

“MEGATRON, CONQUEST MODE!”

“RODIMUS PRIME, OVERDRIVE MODE!” Rodimus’ legs extended and a set of wings attached to his back. His battle mask deployed, and he drew his rifle. Megatron then looked at Galvatron.

“Where’s yours?!” he asked.

“They used my old battle-frame to rebuild me,” replied Galvatron. Megatron groaned. The enemy army then crested the crater’s edge.

“OPEN FIRE!” shouted Bumblebee. Laser fire then erupted from the base and soldiers. But, what good is weapons fire against an undead horde? The army still made it into the crater and Rodimus Unicronus strolled leisurely behind the horde in his own super mode.

“Look at you all!” he taunted as the horde slammed themselves against the base and climbed it. “All of you, so proud of your ability to learn from light! Well, let me tell you right now, the darkness offers greater secrets!” The horde was then coming down on everyone! They had to resort to melee weapons. Ratchet then sliced one of the zombies in two and it fell to the ground. He tried again and got the same results.

“I recommend dissection!” he called on an open frequency. “The smaller the pieces, the better!”

“Understood!” replied Bumblebee. They got bladed weapons out and started cutting.

“Oh, very clever!” snarked Rodimus Unicronus. “…NOT!” He then snapped his fingers and the zombies started blocking the blows!

“Someone take him out!” shouted Tails.

“Yes, please, take me out!” laughed Rodimus Unicronus. “I know a nice little restaurant over in Station Square! A perfect place for some Italian food and drink! I, myself, have a preference to shrimp alfredo!”

“!’m afraid,” called a voice, “that you’ll have to take a raincheck on that particular date. There’s a hot one waiting for you in the Great Wildfire!” A ball of light then struck him in the chest. Everyone turned to see who threw it. It was a woman of average Mobian-height, yellow-green skin, green, leafy hair, and a rose on either side of her head. Tails gasped in delight.

“COSMO!” he called. The zombie above him then groaned, reminding him of the fight. Cosmo then threw more balls of light, then started panting.

“Really needed more sunlight!” she gasped. “Sky’s too dark!”

“Then allow me to take over!” came a voice over the radio.

“Orion?!” yelped Megatron. “Where’s that voice coming from?!”

“Look to the east!” replied the voice. Everyone turned to see six figures on the eastern edge of the crater. Three were Transformer-height, and the remaining were Mobian-sized. One of the figures then summoned a ball of light in its left hand, then a ball of darkness in the right. Rodimus Unicronus gasped, remembering a time when he was his timeline’s Unicron. He recalled that such orbs were used to initiate an attack.

“The Prime Cannon!” he whispered. The figure then thrust its hands into the orbs, then clasped its hands together above its head, then brought them towards its chest before thrusting them forward, still clasped. A brilliant stream of rainbow-colored orbs then launched at Rodimus Unicronus, pinning him to the wall and causing severe damage. The sudden shock of pain echoed throughout the zombie Transformers, giving the heroes enough time to counter-attack. Megatron then activated and optic-visor and used the zoom function to see who the figures were. The figures descended into the crater and Megatron got a better look.

“…Well, I’ll be slagged!” he muttered. Bumblebee then lowered his own optic visor and saw what Megatron saw. His face lit up as he called out the good news.

“HE’S BACK! OPTIMUS PRIME IS BACK!” Rodimus Unicronus picked himself out of the wall and charged at Optimus, roaring all the while in fury!

Categories
The Three Realms The Three Realms (Book 4: Trials of Light and Dark)

3 Realms 4-19

The crowd for the second trial was a little less than the first. It was clear that some of the Manticores thought Gorfanth had cheated in some way or that Teknar flaked out at the last second. Either way, the Manticores didn’t have much respect for Arsha’s team at that moment. Like the last time, Boltuk made his way to the center of the ring and addressed the crowd. “These outsiders have passed the first trial of strength!” he began. The crowd roared in anger. “However, there are other trials to consider! For physical strength is nothing without other kinds! Bring forth the Hunter, Nedola!” A female Manticore then strode towards the center of the ring. “As I have said earlier, since the Minotaur passed the first trial, a new challenger must take his place!”

“My turn!” declared Lardeth.

“What?!” protested Malnar. “I’m the second strongest of us! I should go!”

“Meaning that you’ll win too easily,” replied Lardeth. Malnar was confused.

“You sense it too, huh?” asked Arsha. Malnar then arched an eyebrow, wondering what her lovers were talking about. She then concentrated on her senses. It took a few seconds before she realized what they found.

“Hang on!” she called to Boltuk. “What kind of trial is this?! She’s far weaker than Teknar was! Heck, she’s weaker than you!”

“Like I said, strength is not strictly defined by physical fitness,” replied Boltuk.

“In that case, Lardeth, be as cautious as everyone says you are,” warned Malnar.

“That’s the idea,” answered Lardeth as he strode towards the ring.

“Same rules as last time,” called Boltuk. “The challenger must win either by killing her or by ring-out. Begin!” Nedola looked at Lardeth as he adopted a ready stance. Her gaze focused on his head.

“…How old are you?” she asked.

“…307, why?” replied Lardeth.

“That’s the hair of someone who’s 307 years old?”

“Not hair, clouds.”

“You’re a Zephyr?”

“Half Zephyr. The other half of my blood comes from my human father.”

“…A human father who failed to teach his son how to be masculine. Just like Zephyr fathers with their own sons.”

“…Pardon?”

“I said your people don’t know a thing about what it takes to be a man. I know all about your race of trannies.” Foresna moved towards the ring.

“Why, that little…!” Arsha held Foresna back.

“This is Lardeth’s fight!” she hissed.

“He’s manly enough for us!” shouted Foresna.

“Foresna, stay out of this,” called Lardeth. “This is between me and her.”

“You think a delicate princess like you can take me?” mocked Nedola as she circled her opponent. “You, who spends so much time on your lipstick and your dresses and your nails and your eyes? Face it, Zephyr men are weak!” Lardeth, at this time, was examining his nails.

“…He’s not…bored, is he?” asked Delselii.

“Very bored,” remarked Foresna as he saw what the trial was about.

“Even now, you prove my point!” laughed Nedola as she pointed her paw at Lardeth. “So focused on something so unimportant! Blissfully unaware of the danger because it keeps you safe!”

“…Could someone get her to stop spewing cowardly rhetoric?” asked Lardeth in a bored tone.

“…Say that to my face!” hissed Nedola, her smile dropping.

“Oh, and someone tell her that she’s not worth the effort of me talking directly to? I don’t really associate with dull, unoriginal idiots who want to weaken men so badly.” That did it! Nedola pounced on Lardeth.

“I’M NOT GIVING YOU THE OPTION TO WALK OUT OF THIS, YOU FAILURE OF A MAN!” she roared. “I AM MAKING MEN STRONG BY GIVING THEM FOCUS!”

“WRONG!” shouted Lardeth as he kicked her over him. That was when she landed headfirst outside the ring! Nedola recovered, then saw where she was.

“Wh…wh-wha?! How?!” She couldn’t find an answer until Lardeth spoke.

“Do you have any idea how many times I heard such things in my life? Let me tell you. I lost count; it was that much. The reason we wear dresses is because we’re not afraid of being judged! The most arrogant of us Zephyr men laugh at the men of other races because, and I use THEIR words, ‘Other men are all concerned about their absurd muscles and their misplaced pride in looking tough’! They’ve done this while fanning themselves and laughing like the corrupt lords they are! We pride ourselves on how we bear these words and dress as we do despite their words. For they are just that, words! You use them too much…and that makes you the worst kind of coward of all. You’re too afraid of any change or outliers. …That’s why I said you weren’t worth the effort of talking directly to.” Lardeth then left the arena.

“…You…damn…outsider!” snarled Nedola. “DON’T THINK YOU CAN GET AWAY WITH THAT REBUKE!” She flew upwards, then dove down onto Lardeth. After pinning him, her stinger strikes his backside, flooding his insides with venom. The Manticores roared in outrage. Boltuk pounced onto Nedola and slashed her face with his claws.

“COWARD!” he roared. Manticore doctors then rushed to Lardeth’s aid and whipped up anti-venom. They injected it into Lardeth, and he stopped convulsing in pain.

“He’ll get better,” reported one of the doctors. “He’ll just be in an uneasy sleep. One of you needs to stand by him.”

“Will dream-weaving help or harm him?” asked Falnii.

“It will help. The more restful his sleep, the quicker the anti-venom will do its job.”

“Then I’ll stand by him.” Falnii then chanted.

Dream your dream with me.

Tell your woes to me.

Show your troubles to me.

Dream your dream with me.

As she chanted, Lardeth’s face became more at ease. Her chanting stopped and they were both in a deep sleep. Boltuk then turned towards Nedola. “You coward!” he snarled.

“What did I do to warrant that?!” protested Nedola.

“What did you do?! You let his words affect you, that’s what! You could have just let him leave with the grace that was due to him since he won, but thanks to you stinging him, you’ve ruined your chances of ever rejoining your sisters!”

“I can gain those chances back!”

“…No, you can’t.” Boltuk then leapt onto her and scratched a mark onto her forehead. “As the senior in this gathering, for displaying cowardice, I hereby strip you of your rights as a Hunter! Return to your parents and show them how much of a coward you really are!”

“You will regret this!” roared Nedola. “Mark my words, you will pay for this slander!” She fled from the arena.

“Sir, I…” began Arsha.

“She’s the one who broke the law,” interrupted Boltuk. “Justice has been served. Because of this, however, we need to conduct the third trial here. That will require fixing the ring up to accommodate it. Wait here while we do so.” A company of engineers and builders then set to work.

Categories
The Three Realms The Three Realms (Book 4: Trials of Light and Dark)

3 Realms 4-18

The Manticore led Arsha’s team into an arena. Thousands of Manticores roared as if they were ready to see bloodshed. “…One of the trials of strength?” asked Arsha.

“Correct,” replied the Manticore. He then took up a position in the center of the arena. “I am Boltuk Bloodwing!” he shouted to the crowd. “I come to you today to announce that outsiders claim they can pass the trials!” A lot of jeering met this statement. “We cannot let this claim go unchallenged! I have granted them only one concession! One person must pass each trial! If and when they do, another person must take their place! But, we all know that no outsider, not even Oyed, has gone past the first trial!” Everyone in the stands roared their agreement. “Let us see if they can even get past my brother, Teknar!” A cage door opened up from beneath the stands and a rather beefy looking Manticore with a darker mane than Boltuk’s strode out, filled with confident swagger. “Whomsoever beats my brother, either by killing him or by ring-out, shall have completed the trial of physical strength! Outsiders, pick your combatant!” Arsha and her team then huddled.

“Guys, I gotta be real here,” muttered Malnar, “the only one who stands a remote chance against him is Gorfanth.”

“Me?!” hissed Gorfanth.

“I have to agree with him,” remarked Lardeth. “Minotaurs are lovers, not fighters!”

“Do we really have much choice?” asked Foresna.

“I can’t believe you and Malnar!” snarled Falnii.

“Can you honestly name anyone stronger?” asked Arsha.

“Captain, are you sure that’s wise?” asked Bashoon.

“I don’t know if it’s wise or not,” muttered Arsha, “but what I do know is that we ARE pressed for time.”

“…If and when I die, I’m haunting your nine-tailed ass!” grumbled Gorfanth. The team then broke up the huddle and Gorfanth stepped into the ring. The crowd roared in laughter.

“Looks like we’re gonna be having beef tonight!” laughed Boltuk. “Ready yourselves!” The two combatants sized each other up and got into their respective ready stances. “BEGIN!” Teknar rushed along the side, catching Gorfanth by surprise and forcing him to roll out of the way. The Manticore Champion then flew into the air and dove straight down, paws first and claws out! Gorfanth ran to the edge of the ring, but Teknar was able to change direction quickly! The sudden shift in the wind generated by the flapping of his wings kicked up the sand of the ring, flinging it into Gorfanth’s face. Gorfanth stumbled backwards…and his foot missed the floor of the ring! He was about to fall backwards out of it. Teknar then rushed at Gorfanth, then put his paw to the back of his opponent’s head…and shoved him back into the ring. The crowd roared in confusion. Arsha and her team were equally perplexed. Gorfanth then picked himself up and gave Teknar his attention.

“Why?” he asked. “You had me!”

“You stumbled,” answered Teknar.

“…I don’t follow.”

“To defeat you in such a manner would be lacking in honor. I would not have EARNED the victory.”

“…I see, you see this as a duel of honor.”

“Exactly, and to take advantage of that would mean I would have been a coward. There’s only ONE true way to finish such a duel, head-on…and BRUTALLY!” Gorfanth then leapt out of the way of the Manticore as he dove down with a bloodthirsty expression on his face. He then grabbed Teknar’s wing and twisted it in a way that there was an audible snap. Teknar went silent for just one second before he was on the ground, roaring in pain caused by a broken wing. With that distraction, Gorfanth grabbed the tail, his hands under the bulb of the stinger, and spun around before flinging Teknar into the walls outside the ring. Teknar fell to the ground, groaning in pain, while the crowd sat there, stunned at what had just occurred. Gorfanth then stepped out of the ring and walked up to Teknar. Teknar then managed to look up at the Minotaur in fear and pain. “…There is a knife carved from an elephant’s tusk,” grunted Teknar. “Use it on me. At least make it quick.”

“…What?” asked Gorfanth.

“You defeated the strongest Manticore. Not only did you pass the trial, but, by law, you must take my place as Champion. And the only way to do that…is to end my life.”

“…Does that law really apply to outsiders like me?” Gorfanth then turned to the audience. “Are outsiders required to take a Manticore’s place?!”

“No,” replied Boltuk. “In his agony, my brother has forgotten that non-Manticores are forbidden from taking a Manticore’s job, regardless of circumstance.”

“And didn’t you say I had to win by either killing him OR ring-out?”

“I did. And all evidence says you picked the latter option.”

“JUST END IT ALREADY!” howled Teknar. “THERE’S NO HONOR FOR ME NOW! I LOST TO AN OUTSIDER! I FAILED MY PEOPLE!”

“AND I DON’T WANT AN INNOCENT MAN’S DEATH ON MY CONSCIENCE!” Gorfanth roared back. The arena was silent for a minute. Gorfanth sighed before continuing. “You were doing your duty according to the laws of your people. I don’t kill people that dedicated to their kingdom. I don’t want to kill you! I never did! …But, I couldn’t allow you to kill me either. Tell me, how would either of us gain? If you killed me, you would serve Oyed, and it sounds like you lot don’t like him. If I killed you, your King would hear about this and be less receptive to us. I’m tired of killing unnecessarily and fighting strangers when I should be making friends. …We’re going to the next trial and, if you insist, we can continue this fracas to its final, stupid end, or you can side with us.” Teknar appeared to consider Gorfanth’s words as Manticore doctors came to set his wing so that it could mend itself.

“…If you and your fellows pass their trials with the same amount of honor, then I will consider fighting with you against Oyed,” the Manticore Champion finally answered. “Otherwise, I am duty-bound to follow King Velkor’s commands.”

“Having passed the first trial and being the first outsider to do so in a long time,” remarked Boltuk, “follow me to the second trial. Be warned, it will test a different kind of strength. Let us pray you can endure it.” Boltuk then led Arsha’s team through a door leading to the second trial.

Categories
The Three Realms The Three Realms (Book 4: Trials of Light and Dark)

3 Realms 4-17

“The elephant is…dead?” gulped Arsha.

“By multiple claws, teeth, and giant scorpion stinger wounds,” confirmed Aldarval. “The distinct warped soul signature confirms Revenant activity.”

“That’s no coincidence. There must be Manticore Revenants.”

“We’re moving out now. Arsha, prepare your team.”

“Aye, Admiral.” The call ended and Arsha left her ready room. “We’re moving out,” she announced to the crew. “Have the infiltration team ready on my command. Nazay, take us up.”

“Aye, aye!” confirmed Nazay. Shalvey then got a signal.

“Captain, Merrim’s hailing all ships,” she reported.

“Merrim?” asked Arsha.

“She says she has information that can help the infiltration team.”

“Can it wait? We’re about to launch.”

“She claims it’s vital information that can’t wait.” Arsha sighed. She really didn’t have time for this.

“…Make sure the channel is secure, get the infiltration team to the conference room, and have Aldarval listen in on this.


Arsha’s infiltration team consisted of herself, her lovers, Orthena, Delselii, Bashoon, and Patrica. Merri was on screen as she explained what she learned. “It turns out,” she began, “the Manticores were the ones who gave the Sphinxes’ ancestors the designs on the barrier at the behest of King Velkor’s advisor, Overseer Toonsar Lortem. He used the barrier for his own ends in an attempt to satisfy some twisted debt. The more immediate way is to find the key to lower the barrier.”

“And that’s where we come in?” asked Malnar.

“From what I’ve heard from my spies,” continued Merrim, “there are six trials that you must pass, trials of physical strength and impeccable intellect. The Manticores were the original masters of riddles before they passed it onto the Sphinxes.”

“…Can we even afford to go through the trials right now?” sighed Gorfanth. “We may have an impressive fleet, but what if the trials turn this whole thing into a siege? We don’t exactly have the manpower OR firepower to make such a thing possible.”

“The other option is to kill King Velkor and that would enrage the Manticores something fierce. I don’t know about you, but I DON’T want to start a relationship with Manticores on that note if we’re trying to get them away from Oyed’s influence.”

“And it would keep the Sphinxes trapped in the barrier or kill them if we use the wrong key,” sighed Arsha. “Looks like we have no choice. We HAVE to complete the trials. All right, thanks for the information. We’ll do what we can. Arsha out.” The call ended and Arsha received a message saying that Aldarval heard the whole thing and authorized the completion of the trials.

“Dammit, this ain’t gonna be smooth,” grumbled Patrica.

“Understatement of the millennium,” replied Malnar. “Oyed could get wise really easy!”

“We don’t have that many options,” remarked Lardeth.

“What’s our move here?” Bashoon asked Arsha.

“We enter the Manticore kingdom as planned, but we try to assure them that we come in peace and declare our intentions to pass the trials.”

“Because a foreign power entering a kingdom while its forces are sieging said kingdom is SO peaceful,” snarked Foresna.

“Do we really have much choice?” asked Delselii.

“Not really,” replied Arsha.


“All ships ready,” reported Denstra as the fleet hovered over the sands where the Manticore Kingdom dwelt underneath.

“Admiral, my people are MOST excited to begin,” called Reb.

“Then let’s do so,” declared Aldarval. “I’m transmitting the different coordinates. Fire on them at my command.”


“Here we go,” muttered Arsha as she and her team entered a cave. They arrived at what looked like the end of the cave and were confused. “That…that doesn’t…”

“It might be a concealed entrance,” remarked Orthena. “We need to tap around.”

“You and I might have a better chance at finding the right sound,” mused Bashoon.

“Everyone, find the entrance,” ordered Arsha. “We’re on the clock.” Everyone tapped the rocks and felt around for any hidden levers. Orthena then stopped as her hand felt something. She lowered her hand near the floor and felt a breeze coming from behind the wall.

“…Bashoon, come here for a minute,” she called. Bashoon headed over to her. “Put your ear to the wall.” Bashoon did so and Orthena tapped it. Bashoon’s eyes went wide.

“That’s a hollow echo if I ever heard one!” she called. “There’s a way in behind this wall!” Everyone heard her and joined her and Orthena in locating an opening mechanism. Delselii then felt his hand sink slightly into the wall and part of the wall slid aside to reveal a tunnel.

“Good work, you three!” praised Arsha. “Now, let’s…!”

“NOT ONE STEP FURTHER!” roared a voice from inside the tunnel. Everyone drew their wands and waited intently. After a few seconds, Bashoon’s ears flicked.

“Someone’s coming!” she warned. “Someone with four feet and said feet covered in something soft!”

“A Manticore guard?” guessed Falnii.

“Most likely.” Bashoon’s confirmation was made more solid as a male Manticore with a lightly-colored mane stepped towards them.

“I am the Mouth of Velkor!” he introduced himself. “I am his emissary, his ambassador, and his means of communication with the outside world! Through my words, you will know my King’s intent! Why are you here?”

“Sir,” began Arsha, “my team and I heard rumors that your people have six trials which will determine whether or not those that take them can be trusted both in body and mind.”

“Such rumors are true. You wish to take them? If Oyed himself could not pass them, what hope do YOU have?”

“We wish to show you that Oyed’s plans will only lead to ruin.”

“There are ships bombarding the circumference of our kingdom!”

“Only so we may prove ourselves with no interruption from Oyed’s forces.” The Manticore snarled at Arsha’s counterargument.

“You consider your actions appropriate to treating with us?! Know this, we EAT those who are unworthy of our trust!”

“And you trust someone who has not passed the trials?”

“Be warned! Oyed has power beyond your capabilities!”

“Our decision is made! Lead us to the trials! We will pass them and prove we are worthier allies than Oyed and his followers!”

“…Very well, you may take them. Ordinarily, only one would take all six, but I will allow you to send one per trial. However, once that person has completed the trial, they will not take another!”

“We’ll accept this.”

“Then follow me!” The Manticore then turned and led them into the tunnel. As they walked, the secret door shut behind them. “There are three trials of various aspects of strength and three of intellectual pursuits. Choose your people wisely. There will be no do-overs. Fail even one trial, we will kill you.”

“…No pressure,” muttered Foresna.

Categories
Transformers: Mobian Chronicles Transformers: Mobian Chronicles (Arc 15: The Second Journey)

TMC 15-7

Blackarachnia, Sonic, and Amy stared at Orion and Jazz in confusion as they bowed to the new Mini-con, Sparkplug. “Could…someone fill me in?” asked Sonic.

“Guys, this is Sparkplug,” introduced Orion. “He’s known as the leader of the Torpedo faction, the Autobots of the Mini-con race.”

“He’s also the greatest Cyber-ninja in all of Transformer history,” supplied Jazz. “He taught Yoketron everything he knows!”

“You know my student?” asked Sparkplug.

“We’re HIS students,” explained Orion.

“So he DID start that dojo,” chuckled Sparkplug. “I sense that you are on some sort of quest.”

“Unicron has risen,” said Orion with trepidation. “One of his flunkies bricked my connection to the Matrix, making me lose my Primehood.”

“…Some tea, then.”

“…Pardon?”

“Energon tea, that should help us on this Optics Quest.” Orion arched an eyebrow.

“Guys, a word,” requested Blackarachnia as she waved her team over to join her. The five then huddled. “Ninja boys, what’s an Optics Quest?”

“The final exam for a Cyber-ninja,” replied Jazz. “It tests your spirituality and ability to adapt. You seek out another Cyber-ninja to guide you and teach you something that your sensei might have missed.”

“Jazz already took his, making him a greater Cyber-ninja than me right now,” supplied Orion. “There are two ways to initiate an Optics Quest. One, you tell your sensei that you’re ready to start it. Two, another Cyber-ninja offers to help you complete it without your sensei’s knowledge and will tell them once it’s finished.”

“How do you know if you pass or fail?” asked Amy.

“The only path to failure is abandoning the Optics Quest,” explained Jazz. “It means you’re not focused enough to be considered a Cyber-ninja.”

“Look, we’ve got two months left,” argued Blackarachnia. “Can we REALLY afford a quest?”

“If it helps to unbrick the Matrix, yes,” declared Orion.

“I REALLY advise against it!”

“…Your advice is valuable, but the decision is mine to make at this point.” Orion then turned to Sparkplug. “How do we begin this Optics Quest?” Sparkplug then took out an elaborate machine.

“Like I said, some Energon tea.”


“All right, all systems ready,” reported Tails.

“Establishing final connections…NOW!” called Ratchet. He pulled a lever and a loading screen appeared on the main monitor. It took a good minute before the loading screen was replaced with an Autobot symbol. It then made the Windows XP startup noise before Teletraan 1’s Mobian Lynx avatar appeared.

“And the greatest computer around,” he bragged, “has made a safe return to the planet! Tell all the ladies not to commit suicide!”

“Good to have you back, Teletraan!” welcomed Tails.

“Good to BE back, little buddy! What’s next?”

“We need a secure channel to all allies,” called Bumblebee as he entered the command center. “We need them to know where our new base of operations is.”

“Locating all allies now,” confirmed Teletraan.

“Find Orion too.”

“In the state he’s in?! Are you mad?!” protested Ratchet.

“Gotta agree with Ratchet here,” remarked Teletraan. “If his weapon against Unicron’s still not working, it might not be the best idea.”

“We can’t afford to wait for the Matrix,” replied Bumblebee. “We need to make our own miracle.” The command center was silent.

“…I hate it when you’re right,” grumbled Teletraan as he continued his work.


Orion had finished making the Energon tea and handed Sparkplug a Mini-con sized cup. Sparkplug accepted it and sipped the tea. When he finished, he hummed to himself. “…Is it bad?” asked Orion.

“…I’m afraid so,” replied Sparkplug. “This tea has all the necessary ingredients, but lacks the most important one, balance. I see why your path to the power of the Primes remains clouded.”

“This isn’t the path?!” wailed Orion. “I…I-I don’t understand! You must show me the way!”

“I cannot. It isn’t for me to show you YOUR path.”

“Fortune cookie scrap if I ever heard it!” The apparition of Optimus returned. “He knows what to do, he just won’t tell you!”

“Please, Sensei Sparkplug, I beg you,” pleaded Optimus as he clasped his hands together and bowed, “you MUST tell me!”

“That is something you must earn,” answered Sparkplug.

“EEAAARRNN?!” roared the specter in frustration. “AFTER EVERYTHING WE’VE DONE?! EVERYTHING WE’VE BEEN THROUGH?! The death! The loss!! THE SUFFERING!! WHO ARE YOU TO DENY US WHAT IS RIGHTFULLY OURS?!” The specter raised a fist and was about to bring it down on Sparkplug. Its progress was interrupted as something halted the fist. It turned to see Orion grabbing its wrist!

“Enough!” snarled Orion.


“What’s going on?” asked Jazz as he, Blackarachnia, Sonic, and Amy looked on.

“He’s wrestling with inner demons,” replied Amy. “I can see it. Hold on, guys. Let me help you see it too. Inviso!” Everyone then finally saw the specter of Optimus being held at the wrist by Orion.


“We have lost our connection to the Matrix because of you!” snarled Orion.

I HAVE KEPT US ALIVE!” argued the apparition. “HE’S THE ONE WHO ROBBED US OF IT! HE KNOWS HOW TO BRING IT BACK!”

“That was Nemesis Prime, not Sparkplug! I’ve let you consume me for far too long!”

“YOU’RE IN MY WAY!” The specter then back-handed Orion, sending him into a wall. His friends gasped and rushed to help him.

“Do not interfere!” called Sparkplug. Orion then pulled himself from the wall, then pointed an accusing finger at the specter.

“You!” he hissed. “YOU are the cause of this! When Unicron was gaining more Blendtrons, despite our best efforts, you boiled over, giving Nemesis Prime what he needed to brick our connection to the Matrix! All those thoughts I had, thoughts of suicide, of bloodlust, of apathy, they all stemmed from you! You’re anger, you’re frustration!”

“AND YOU’RE A FOOL!” roared the apparition.

“I’ve allowed myself to let you blind me! Well, no longer! Now, I can see!” Orion then fired a stream of light at the specter.

“YOU NEED ME!” cried the apparition as it vanished in the light. The light died down and Orion caught his breath as his friends rushed to his side.

“Orion, are you all right?!” asked Blackarachnia.

“…That…was cathartic!” panted Orion. He then turned to Sparkplug. “Would you like a better cup of tea?”

“That won’t be necessary,” replied Sparkplug. “The tea is now balanced…as are you.” He pressed a button on the Energon tea maker, and it folded and compressed into a simpler device. It was a cube with a slot on one of its faces.

“Wh…what is it?” asked Sonic.

“This, my blue friend,” explained Sparkplug, “is a remote access point for Vector Sigma, the greatest super-computer of Cybertron and that which kept us alive during the first war when the Allspark was lost.” Orion then realized what was going on.

“It also holds the wisdom of the Primes as well as all the information Cybertron has ever gathered!” he continued Sparkplug’s explanation. “It serves as a back-up of the Matrix, should it ever be damaged! Maybe it can help unbrick it!” Orion keyed in a command and a hologram activated. It displayed a golden, multifaceted sphere.

“I am Vector Sigma,” droned the sphere. “After Primus was, before Cybertron was, I was. Who awakens me?”

“Mighty Vector Sigma,” pleaded Orion, “I am Orion Pax. I was once a Prime, but my connection to the Matrix was bricked by one of Unicron’s servants. Please, help me reestablish a connection.”

“Have you the Key?” asked Vector Sigma.

“The…the k…oh, yes, the Key!” Orion then took the Matrix out of his chest, then took the Key out. “My late mentor, Ironhide, tripped over it on this planet.”

“Please insert the Key into the access point.” Orion did as he was instructed. “Fault located. Repairing now. New updates available. All Thirteen are available for use of their wisdom. Would you like to add them to the Matrix?”

“Yes, please.”

“Acknowledged. Repairs and reimaging at 70%…80%…90%. Repairs and reimaging complete. Please reinstall the Key into the Matrix.” Orion took the Key out and put it into the Matrix. The Matrix then enveloped Orion in a bright light. Inside the light, thirteen figures appeared before Orion.

“…The Primes?” he asked.

“YOOOOOOOOOOOUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUUNNNNNGG WARRIOR!” called one of the figures.

“I never thought I’d be so happy to hear that,” chuckled Orion as Alpha Trion stepped forward.

“Listen to me, Young Warrior! Heed the wisdom of time long ago!” he urged. “When a sparrow lands in your hand, it will ask for directions to the bathroom!”

“…Pretty sure a sparrow would poop wherever it wished, unless it was a Mobian Sparrow.” Orion smiled. “So, the bricking is undone? And you and Vector Prime…?”

“Do not blame you in the slightest,” assured Alpha Trion. “Our time has come anyway.” Vector Prime then stepped forward.

“However, this means that all the artefacts and weapons are tied solely to you, Young One,” he explained. Solus Prime then came forward.

“But, if you ask for my help, you can create a workaround for it for the coming battle against Unicron,” she revealed.

“But I need your Forge and Creation Lathe,” reminded Orion.

“That information will become clear when you ascend to Primehood once more,” called another figure. It stepped forward to reveal a tall, silvery blue mech with the Star Saber in his hands.

“Prima!” breathed Orion as he knelt down.

“All of us have decided,” rumbled Prima, “that, like your predecessors, you will stop a great evil! You are worthy to ascend to Primehood! Arise, OPTIMUS PRIME!” Light streamed from the optics of all Thirteen and enveloped Orion.


Out in the real world, the light grew brighter! “CAN ANYONE SEE HIM?!” called Jazz.

“IT’S TOO BRIGHT!” replied Blackarachnia. Then, the light died down, slowly coalescing into a figure. The figure then faced everyone and closed its chest cavity. The light faded even more to reveal that the figure was a mech with blue arms, red shoulder pads pointing up, gold hands, hover-generators running down the arms, red legs to evoke a semi’s nose, black feet, and the cab of a truck forming a backpack. The head…was one everyone was waiting for. It was blue with antennae and a silver hexagonal shape on the forehead.

“…Optimus?!” asked Sonic.

“In the new steel!” replied the figure. His friends cheered in joy! Orion Pax had returned to being Optimus Prime once again!

Categories
Transformers: Mobian Chronicles Transformers: Mobian Chronicles (Arc 15: The Second Journey)

TMC 15-6

Vector Prime and Alpha Trion sat in the ruins of the old Autobot base, in what remained of Orion’s old office. Oddly enough, the desk was still intact. Vector Prime was standing in the ruined door frame as Alpha Trion sat behind the desk. As they sat, Vector Prime felt a tremendous surge of energy. He pinpointed it to Green Hill Zone and identified it as a Terrorcon. “Okay, you felt that, right?!” he asked.

“I did,” confirmed Alpha Trion.

“And you’re STILL going to put this off?!”

“I might.”

“All right, I’ve literally had enough of this scrap!” Vector Prime stormed towards the desk. “I’ve been squatting in the old base with you and meditating…”

“Dozing.”

“MEDITATING for the past…erm…”

“Five months.”

“Thank you. FIVE MONTHS! So, either do something or get in the Matrix with me!”

“Listen, I still need to feel the situation out.”

“What in the Pit is there left to feel out?! Between your insane soothsayer act and jerking us all around, I’m pretty sure Mobius’ population is now HALF of what it once was! You’re supposed to be the Prime of Reality, START ACTING LIKE IT!” Alpha Trion then stood up and got nose to nose with Vector Prime.

“Yes! I AM the Prime of Reality! The Prime of all Reality! And you wish to take that title from me!”

“Are you serious right now?! This can’t POSSIBLY be about the job! The first chance you had to drop this gig, you tried to hand it off to Liege Maximo, the guy who set Megatronus against us initially! He never even looked after his own family! I looked after his family more than he ever did!”

“But it’s still my job! My responsibility!”

“And that’s really good and all, but if you and I don’t rejoin our fellow Primes in the Matrix and give Orion the boost he needs to beat Unicron, then all of reality will be unraveled!”

“MAYBE I’D RATHER IT BE UNRAVELED THAN EVER HAVE TO GIVE UP MY IDENTITY TO A STUDENT OF MINE!” The instant Alpha Trion finished his outburst, the only noise that could be heard was the wind.

“…So that’s what this is all about, is it?” asked Vector Prime as he broke the silence.

“No, no, that’s not what I…”

“No, it’s fine. I was a bit of a Jack-hole. I get that.” Alpha Trion sighed as he sat back down and steepled his fingers.

“Listen, Vector Prime, I’ve been the guardian of reality since our creation. I’ve seen Cybertron be enslaved, reclaim its freedom, fall into civil war, and worse…all the while trapped in the Hall of Records, unable to interact with the outside world for only moments at a time. …Now the only option I have left is to give up my free will to someone who says that freedom is the right of all sentient beings, thus making him a hypocrite. …It would not only tear him apart, but it would also just be another prison for me.” Vector Prime’s expression softened.

“…I…I never realized…”

“It’s fine, though. I’m done, in any case. My time has come.” Alpha Trion stood up, his age finally showing in how slowly he rose. “You’re right, Brother. If we don’t join our fellow Primes within the Matrix, Orion will likely never get the Three Powers. But know this; once we enter the Matrix, our artefacts and weapons will only be used in the hands of whoever is the current Prime.”

“Ah, that’s not much of a problem. I’m sure Optimus could pull something out of his aft to circumvent that.”

“Don’t you mean Orion?”

“Quit being a smart-aft. You know he’s gonna be Optimus Prime again.” Alpha Trion then grinned before looking around the ruined room.

“Well, reality, I suppose this is goodbye. It’s been…a trip.” Alpha Trion then opened a hidden keypad and keyed in a numeric code. The desk then shifted and unfolded to become an alien lathe. “Well now, I’m sure you’re already familiar with how Solus and Megatronus used this thing to enter the Matrix.”

“Yep.” The two Primes then placed a hand on the lathe.

“Good,” praised Alpha Trion. “Now, I believe the next step is to place our other hand between our legs.”

“Nope. Not falling for that one again.”

“I didn’t think so. …Creation Lathe, this is Trionus Prime! Total Matrix Access, authorization Trionus Alpha One!”

“Creation Lathe, this is Vector Prime! Total Matrix Access, authorization Vector Alpha One!” The lathe then glowed and swallowed the two Primes in light. The blinding glow lasted for a few seconds before dying down and restoring the normal landscape, revealing the lathe by itself and the two Primes gone.


Five months had gone by, leaving roughly two months until the Unicron Games. Orion had learned of what happened when his team retrieved a downed Sky-spy that had recorded the whole thing. On this day, he sat by himself as Jazz, Blackarachnia, Sonic, and Amy searched for supplies. He felt that there was no hope and no goal but to survive. “…Orion?” asked a voice. Orion looked around briefly, then gave up. “…What are we doing, Orion?” asked the voice.

“…We’re waiting,” answered Orion.

“Waiting for what? We have a chance now that Alpha Trion and Vector Prime joined the Matrix. Let’s just go.”

“No. My friends are still out there. They’re still needed.”

“Needed? Are you mad?! They’re slowing you down!”

“They’re keeping me sane.”

“You’d know about losing your mind, wouldn’t you?”

“I don’t want to talk to you anymore!” The voice then stopped speaking.

“Well then, maybe, you’ll talk to me!” The Optimus specter was now standing near him.

“Leave me alone!” snarled Orion. “I don’t want to talk to YOU either! I don’t know why you’re following me!”

“Look, why do you always think of other people?! Why are you dwelling on Alpha Trion and Vector Prime?! They made their choice and now WE need to take advantage of it!”

“You’ll never understand that it’s all my fault! They sacrificed their lives because of ME!” The two then sat in silence before the apparition noticed something.

“They’re coming back.”

“Huh?” Orion looked outside the cave to see his team return. “Did you guys find anything?”

“We got supplies and something else,” replied Jazz. He then pulled out a Mini-con hibernation plate.

“…A Mini-con?”

“We think it’s dead,” sighed Blackarachnia.

“Welp, that’s that,” remarked the specter, unseen by the others. “Let’s get out of here.”

“No!” declared Orion he took the plate.

“Orion, are you sure?” asked Amy.

“You’re gonna see what the Mini-con is, aren’t you?” groaned the apparition.

“Yes.” Orion then held the plate in his hand…and it glowed green before it changed into a human-sized, yellow robot with sports car kibble. Jazz and Orion gasped as the Mini-con flickered its optics on and stretched.

“That was quite the nap,” the Mini-con yawned.

“SPARKPLUG!” yelped Jazz and Orion as they bowed.


Back at the W.A.P., Tails was conducting repair efforts on the bridge as Bumblebee organized the troops thus far. “All right, guys, moment of truth time!” called Tails. “Powering up!” He pressed a slider switch upwards and the lights flickered…then switched off. Tails then switched everything off. “…Sorry, guys,” he sighed.

“I know you can do this!” urged Bumblebee. “You’re the best genius there is!”

“Bumblebee, I’m hitting a wall! I don’t know what I’m missing!”

“Well, for a start, you’re mis-calibrating the Energon Inducers,” replied a voice.

“Come on, do your really…?” Tails stopped himself as he turned to the source of the voice. There, standing in the doorway, was Ratchet along with Perceptor, Knock-out, E-123 Omega, and the Chaotix! “RATCHET!” cheered Tails happily.

“I will admit, the repairs you’ve done are impressive,” remarked Ratchet. “However, you can’t do this without my help. You’d be spinning your wheels uselessly.”

“Ratchet, it’s great to have you guys here!” called Bumblebee. “We’ve got someone who could use medical attention. Knuckles lost his right eye when fighting Eradicons. He’s only got a crude prosthetic on.”

“I’ll take care of it,” replied Knock-out. “One DOES need to look good in any case.” He then sauntered off to the infirmary.

“And that rose right there,” remarked Perceptor as he pointed to the plant near Tails, “where did that come from?”

“…From Cosmo before she…” replied Tails.

“Ah, then she needs a good source of solar energy so her cells can reconstruct themselves!” declared Perceptor.

“…Pardon?”

“That, right there, is a Seedrian Regen Plant. If it’s a tree sapling, then the new body is gonna be male. If it’s a flower, it’s female. Looks like Cosmo’s last body is gonna be a woman.”

“Wait, are you telling me…?!”

“Cosmo’s simply regenerating. It’s a more extreme version of it, but it gets the job done and adapts the Seedrian to life on the planet it’s on. My best guess is that Cosmo is gonna be roughly Mobian height.”

“She’s coming back!” cheered Tails. He then turned to the rose and spoke to it. “You could have told me that before you went all Rambo on the Terrorcons!”

“And that’s the Energon inducers aligned,” called Ratchet. “Tails, try it now.” Tails slid the switch up and the lights gradually came on. The computers then gave readouts.

“Weapons power: online,” reported the fox. “Computer systems: normal operations for our purpose. Shields: ready to activate at a moment’s notice. Communications hub: fully functional! The base is ready to go!”

Categories
Transformers: Mobian Chronicles Transformers: Mobian Chronicles (Arc 15: The Second Journey)

TMC 15-5

Grimlock and Silver patrolled what remained of Green Hill Zone. Unicron’s forces left it in ruins. Silver was riding on Grimlock’s back as he stomped around in beast mode. “You know, I never thought I’d see this place in my lifetime,” muttered Silver.

“What, it doesn’t exist in the future?” asked Grimlock.

“Not anymore. Unicron turned it into a wasteland.”

“Yeah, that sounds like his M.O.”

“At least I got to see it now, even if it’s not as my dad remembered it.”

“Hey, that reminds me, you smell familiar, but I can’t place it.”

“How so?”

“Well, you smell like some amalgamation of Sonic and Amy. Can you shed some light on it?”

“…They’re my parents.” Grimlock stopped at this revelation.

“…Y…You’re…Sonic’s…I mean, he…and Amy…but he…!”

“He changed from the hyperactive guy he usually was. He DOES love Amy…Mom…her like that, but he’s never been sure how to say it.”

“…Did you…?”

“I’m from a future that’s ruled by the Transformers’ devil and came here to try and change it. It’s probably an alternate future now, since Unicron never really had plans to make the Unicron Games, so what good would it do to tell them I’m their son? They probably won’t have me. Heck, they probably wouldn’t get that intimate.”

“…Multiverse theory’s a glitch, ain’t it?”

“That’s the general lesson here.”

“Preach, kiddo,” came Rodimus Unicronus’ voice. Silver floated off of Grimlock, allowing him to transform and draw his sword. Rodimus Unicronus came out of the trees in vehicle mode. His holo-form then stepped out of the driver’s seat. It looked…peculiar. It was definitely Shadow’s shape, but more crystalline and purple. The sclera was red instead of white and the eyes were serpentine and green. The legs seemed to terminate in mist instead of feet. “I must say,” chuckled Rodimus Unicronus through the new holo-form, “I never thought I’d actually fight you again, Silver!”

“Don’t you worry!” snarled Silver as he got ready to fight. “I’ll just show you how much stronger I’ve gotten these past five months!”

“What? …Oh, I’m sorry, I wasn’t being specific! I wasn’t referring to when the Decepticons stole the Chaos Emerald from me, I was referring to the Soleanna incident!”

“The…the what?”

“Of course, you wouldn’t remember it because you weren’t there. I mean, you were, but…”

“GET TO THE POINT!” roared Grimlock.

“All right then, what do you know about time travel?”

“…Less than I should,” remarked Silver.

“Well, how do you suppose I got here?”

“You hitched a ride in Rodimus’ Matrix, obviously!”

“Yep, yep, and how do you suppose I got said ride?”

“…I don’t wanna answer that.” Silver started feeling a little queasy at the anticipation.

“Here’s the thing, like the lizard said…multiverse theory’s a glitch!”

“Wait, how does…?” Grimlock’s question was interrupted by Rodimus Unicronus’ explanation.

“The fact is, I wasn’t always called Rodimus Unicronus. I was actually Unicron! I used something called the Flames of Disaster to become a god! I was soon rechristened as Solaris, the Sun God! …But someone in Soleanna got wise in that I would unleash fire upon the world and scorch it! They managed to separate my mind from my body, and I was split into two beings: Mephiles the Dark, my dark mind, and Iblis, my raw power! A time-travelling Shadow then sealed me into a scepter while my power was sealed by the little Princess Elise’s soul! Years later, I was released from the scepter and resurrected myself through Shadow’s…well…shadow. I then met you and, like your time, you hailed from a post-apocalyptic future that was constantly on fire. I saw this as an opportunity to reunite with the Flames of Disaster and knew that Elise was being targeted by Eggman to harness said Flames. I figured she would gain a friendship with Sonic, so I convinced you to try and kill him!”

“Wait, what?!” yelped Silver.

“It didn’t work, though. You became friends with him, so, after all sorts of time-travel shenanigans, I just decided to kill Sonic myself. And the real kicker of it all was that he died right at Elise’s feet! That sight caused her to cry, and I soon reunited with Iblis, thus restoring myself to my Solaris form! …But then you idiots resurrected Sonic with the Chaos Emeralds and a kiss from Elise, then you three Hedgehogs all went super, then defeated me! Elise then blew out the Flames of Disaster and changed the whole timeline! You, on the other hand, your time was still ruined…for about a year! The Flames had died down, thanks to the sacrifice of a girl you knew, a cat named Blaze!”

“Blaze sacrificed herself?!” wailed Silver.

“Ah, so she exists in your time!”

“…Existed.”

“History repeats itself. In any case, thanks to your shenanigans, you could go to the rebooted timeline whenever you wished! However, you made one…fatal…mistake! You never checked to see if my mind was still active!”

“I think I can guess what happened!”

“Good for you. In any case, I couldn’t really go back in time along the original timeline, so I had to settle for something else. I travelled back and found me before I went all Solaris and convinced that version of me, Unicron, not to fuse with the Flames of Disaster and simply wait for the Transformers. And we didn’t have long to wait! Of course, I waited until the Autobots and Decepticons started shooting each other, then I entered the Matrix one night, caused Optimus to attempt to kill Megatron, only for Megatron to kill him, then Hot Rod was named Rodimus, Megatron became Galvatron, Unicron rose, then you, Rodimus, and Galvatron traveled back in time, Rodimus fought in the Battle of Station Square and…well…the rest is history. MY history, at least.”

“Then…you’re only here…!”

“Because of you, Silver! But, please, don’t beat yourself up. You’re just a child, playing hero…complete with all the trappings!”

“…And you’re just another mistake I have to correct!” Silver then used his psychokinesis to lift the stone loops and hurled them at Rodimus Unicronus. The Terrorcon then rolled out of the way, only for his fist to meet Grimlock’s face. Rodimus Unicronus grinned.

“I’m impressed, Grimbo! Behind all that angst and rage, there’s a real fighter!”

“And behind all the insufferable smarm of a cheap knock-off of Unicron,” growled Grimlock, “is a dead man!”

“Grimlock, you couldn’t fathom the amount of dead men behind me. …On an unrelated note, NEVER CALL ME A KNOCK-OFF!” He then charged at Grimlock and swung his arms wildly. Grimlock and Silver saw this.

“Hey, kid!” called Grimlock to Silver.

“I see it too!” replied Silver. “Poor guy’s struggling to find his own identity! Such is the fate of a knock-off!”

“I TOLD YOU NOT TO CALL ME THAT!!” Rodimus Unicronus swung wildly again, only to miss his targets.

“Why not?!” taunted Silver. “It’s true! You lost your chance to fully realize your power, always taking the forms of people greater than you! Why else would you claim to look like Shadow at one point?”

“SHADOW IS LESSER THAN ME!!”

“And there’s the fact that you haven’t made yourself a new body! You still look like Rodimus Prime! And you’re stuck as a servant to yourself! Face it, you’re nothing now! You’re not Unicron anymore, you’re just a sad little being who skulks in the shadows and take their shapes to try and mock them, only to fail miserably! You’re a cheap, second-generation knock-off of a foreign timeline that no longer exists!” Rodimus Unicronus was now livid! He EXPLODED with darkness and shrieked an unearthly shriek as he fought!