“How are you here?!” Optimus demanded to Megatron. “You overshot Gigantion by a light-year!”
“Yes, well, luckily, even the safest warp speed,” remarked Megatron, “could get us here half an hour after you lot. During that time, we came into contact with Mole Dive and offered him a chance to fulfill his vengeance against the Functionist Council. Oddly enough, Shockwave here made the offer.”
“I initially thought,” remarked Shockwave, “that if I made the offer, he would refuse it out of hand on account of me being a Xitran, but he proved that hypothesis wrong when called me a Xitran Resistance Fighter instead.”
“I heard about Shockwave and her fellow survivors,” explained Mole Dive. “They actually tried to resist the Functionist Council, even though they were privileged. As she made the offer, she revealed what she learned when Metroplex was still buried on Earth!”
“It’s Mobius now,” corrected Shockwave, “but that’s currently extraneous information. Metroplex, did you ever wonder if I ever tapped into your data stores?”
“Of course,” replied Metroplex. “My data diagnostics told me that you did, but I couldn’t figure out what you found.”
“I found One of Twelve and the Heart of Cybertron.” Metroplex gasped. “That’s right, I know that One of Twelve, the Convener of the Functionist Council, is still alive at the organic core of Gigantion and that he possesses the Heart.”
“You can’t be serious!” called Optimus. “The Heart was lost! Xitra is dead as well as the Functionist Council!”
“Well, apparently, Metroplex wanted that lost to history,” replied Megatron. “With the Heart in Decepticon possession and the last of the Functionist Council dead, this planet can finally grow to its fullest potential!”
“By duping the residents into serving you?!” Optimus pointed to Mole Dive.
“I’m simply giving Mole Dive a chance to improve his world!”
“That’s right!” called Mole Dive. “Things have got to change around here! And if you stand in the way of progress, you’re going to go EXTINCT!” He then thrust his drill into the ground and created a pulse that knocked his foes off their feet and put them into a painful sleep. “That’s only gonna hold them for a couple of hours! We need to get going NOW!”
“Then permit me to open the way,” replied Megatron. “You provided me with the lock, now I shall be the key!” He aimed his left fusion cannon at the foamed-up hole and fired. The wall then vanished in an explosion. “Ignition Foam, nicely mixed!” he praised Mixmaster.
“That’s what I do!” cackled Mixmaster.
“Decepticons, move out!” ordered Megatron. Everyone transformed and took off with Eggman and Morgaine following close behind them. Shockwave then aimed her gun barrel to the ceiling and fired. The tunnel behind them collapsed.
“That should buy us some more time,” she said.
“The more, the merrier,” replied Mole Dive. “We need to get to the First City for this layer. Once we do, we’ll be able to tunnel straight down to the Central Layer.”
“Excellent!” praised Megatron
Optimus and his allies picked themselves up about two hours later. “Urgh!” groaned Optimus. As they checked themselves over, they saw the collapsed tunnel. “That’s gonna take HOURS to clear!” moaned Optimus.
“Not if we all pitch in!” called Metroplex as he pulled out his axe/shovel hybrid. He dug the shovel into the rubble. “Let’s get digging!”
“You heard him, Build Team!” Wedge called to his team. “We gotta catch up to the Cons!”
“Then load it all up!” called Heavy Load as he transformed. Everyone continued digging and Heavy Load carried the rubble away.
“Quick question,” called Eggman, “how far IS the current layer’s First City?”
“According to the intel Shockwave downloaded,” replied Mole Dive, “not far at all. In fact, I think I see the border!” The city was a completed one, but an empty one. “Now, if I recall right, all First Cities for each layer are built around a tunnel that’s constantly built upon when we finish the previous layer. The old plug is taken out and then we put it back once the tunnel extension is finished. It should be circular.”
“I see it!” called Megatron. The group approached a massive circular tunnel, big enough for a Metrotitan in full robot mode to slide down. It was plugged up by a strange, concrete-like material.
“That’s gonna take more than just my drill to fix,” muttered Mole Dive.
“Well, there IS our combined form,” mused Bonecrusher.
“…Aye, I forgot you lot are a Combiner team.”
“My first, if I recall,” said Shockwave. “Having them in their combined state would expedite our journey.”
“Absolutely not!” argued Hook. “We can’t control ourselves in that form!”
“That’s because you didn’t have a Maximus. Thankfully, I have created one. I’m transmitting code to you now.” The Constructicons received the code. “By my calculations, the new artificial Maximus should help you control your combined state better.”
“Then now’s as good a time as any to test it!” declared Scrapper. “CONSTRUCTICONS, UNITE!” They all went to vehicle mode first, then Mixmaster’s drum and rear wheels swung up as the cab formed a foot. Scrapper’s arms folded to become heel spurs while his loader became a foot. Long Haul’s legs deployed connectors and attached to Mixmaster and Scrapper, making Scrapper the right leg and Mixmaster the left. Hook’s front and rear swung towards each other, making the right-side wheels touch each other as the crane’s boom pointed towards the rear. He then attached himself to Long Haul’s front end and the front folded down to make him and Hook the torso. Scavenger and Bonecrusher deployed forearms from between their wheels then attached themselves to the torso so Scavenger was the right arm and Bonecrusher was the left. The hands and head then sprouted as a set of purple wings flew towards the behemoth. They then attached themselves to the torso, completing the larger Combiner. He was, at least, just a couple heads taller than Mole Dive. Megatron whistled.
“And I thought Bruticus was large,” he remarked. The goliath Combiner then looked himself over, then a grin crossed his face.
“Well, what do you know,” he purred, “no more conflicting voices in my head!”
“Studying Bruticus and his Maximus,” Eggman remarked to Shockwave, “seems to have really improved your research.”
“By leaps and bounds,” agreed Shockwave.
“After creation comes devastation!” cackled the Combiner. “With the Artificially-made Devastator Maximus, you now look upon DEVASTATOR!” The newly-christened Devastator then leapt up and punched the plug, causing it to crack and shatter. As the debris tumbled, Devastator then held his hand out. “After you, my Lord?” he offered.
“Decepticons, to the Central Layer!”
“NO!” called Optimus’ voice as he and his Autobots sped towards them. It was too late. The Decepticons jumped down the tunnel. “After them!” ordered Prime. Everyone jumped after the Decepticons.