Once the repairs to Scorponok’s old body were completed, the Predacons gathered in a storage bay. Saurion was in a makeshift seat and wore a judge’s wig. Tarantulas was bound by power bonds, pinning his arms to his chest. Saurion pounded a gavel to call order. “Let the trial commence!” he called. Inferno worked as court stenographer as she typed out what Saurion said on a Transformer-sized typewriter. “Waspinator shall speak for the Defense.”
“Ooh, Wazzzpinator like Defenzzze!” remarked Waspinator as he hovered in beast mode. “A little more defenzzze and, maybe, Wazzzpinator not get blown up all the time!” He transformed and landed by Saurion’s side. He then cleared his throat before beginning his “opening arguments”. “Tarantulazzz zzzend mezzzzzzage to Maximalzzz zzzaying that he wazzz going to uzzzurp ZZZaurion! Then lozzzezzz ZZZyber Planet Key to Maximalzzz and Autobotzzz azzz well azzz counter-viruzzz! ZZZaurion angry! Think Tarantulazzz a traitor! Want to ZZZLAG Tarantulazzz! Given how creepy he izzz, Wazzzpinator down with that!” Saurion enjoyed Waspinator’s little speech and Inferno dutifully typed the whole thing down. Tarantulas felt fear deep in his Spark, knowing that he wasn’t getting out of this without a good enough reason for Saurion. “Defenzzze take a rezzzt,” finished Waspinator.
“Ah, brilliant as always, yes,” praised Saurion. “Predacons, your verdict?” They all looked to each other, then they pointed their guns at Tarantulas. “Guilty as charged, I see. Then the sentence is execution, yes! Tarantulas, anything to say before sentence is carried out?”
“You do realize I had an accomplice, right?!” pleaded Tarantulas.
“Ah, yes, Scorponok,” replied Saurion. “Well, he’s managed to convince me not to have him killed. He’s told me how it was done and where your other labs are, as well as his own. He’s agreed to be placed under watch.”
“Then, surely you can give me the same courtesy?! I didn’t tell him where ALL my labs are! I promise, I won’t complain about being watched!”
“All the labs? Tarantulas, I applaud your good intentions, but we’re THROUGH being lenient with traitors! Predacons, take aim!” The Predacons all leveled their guns at the helpless spider.
“SAURION!” bellowed a voice. Megatron and the Thrashracons stormed into the room. “Stand down, all of you! Tarantulas is free to go and is under MY protection!”
“WHAT?!” protested Saurion. “What possible reason could you possibly have for protecting that scheming spider! He is a traitor! He is useless!”
“No, he is not! We may have lost Animatros’ Omega Key, but he’s managed to copy all the data on it. It’s still encrypted like Xitra’s, but we have the necessary data, and our progress is uninterrupted.”
“I won’t suffer traitors at my table!” Saurion then leveled his own gun at Megatron.
“HOLD THEM DOWN!” Megatron ordered Strika’s team. The Predacons were then tackled and restrained while Megatron freed Tarantulas. Tarantulas stretched and cackled.
“Much appreciated, Lord Megatron!” he praised.
“Shockwave requires help on the new project,” ordered Megatron. “Go assist her.”
“I WON’T LET THAT FAILURE-!” Megatron grabbed Saurion by the throat.
“YOU’RE THE REAL FAILURE HERE, SAURION!” he bellowed. He then slammed Saurion to the floor and pinned him down. “Your hasty actions allowed the Autobots to assist the Maximals! Thanks to you, Scorponok and Tarantulas had to pick up YOUR slack! As long as I am in command, Tarantulas is to be unharmed. Now, are you going to continue the execution, or shall I release you?” Saurion snarled, then he sighed in defeat.
“Tarantulas is to be spared,” he ordered the Predacons. The Thrashracons then released the Predacons and Megatron got up, letting Saurion pick himself up.
“A wise decision,” praised Megatron. He turned to Tarantulas. “Well?”
“Ah, yes, the project” recalled Tarantulas. “Excuse me.” He was about to leave, then remembered. “Thank you for saving my life. You won’t be sorry.”
“Know this, Tarantulas,” warned Megatron, “if I am, YOU will be sorrier!” Tarantulas took the hint calmly and headed off. Megatron then turned to Saurion. “Get a ship ready. You and your Predacons are coming with us.”
“I have a ship in mind,” replied Saurion darkly.
Sonic toured Maximal City with Cheetor. “Man!” he sighed. “I didn’t think I’d EVER see Maximal City in all its glory!”
“Yeah, it’s nice to see it with people in it!” replied Cheetor. The two then met up with Rhinox, Rattrap, Tigatron, and Airazor.
“Had a good run?” asked Tigatron.
“One of the best!” answered Sonic. “I’m just sorry it has to end so soon. I was really enjoying Animatros.”
“Well, our borders are open to you and your Autobot friends,” assured Rhinox.
“Yeah, and we’re stuck here!” grunted Rattrap. “You know, half the supplies on the Axalon had to be used to fix up the city!”
“Come on, there’s always next time!” remarked Airazor. Just then, Kong knuckled up to them.
“Hey, Boss Monkey!” called Sonic. “Just giving Animatros a good see-you-later!”
“Actually, Sonic, we’re coming with you,” replied Kong grimly. “Maximals, prepare the Axalon for immediate take-off and joining the Autobot fleet.”
“WHAT?!” protested Rattrap.
“The Predacon ship, Darksyde, is joining the Decepticon fleet. They’ve managed to copy over all the data on the Cyber Planet Key and they also possess Xitra’s. If they manage to get the data on all four, they’ll use it for their own purposes, whatever they are. If our Cyber Planet Key stays here, it’s ripe for another theft. We’re taking it with us. Sonic, we’ll meet you once the Axalon’s inside Fortress.” He then left the group.
“…Just when things are FINALLY looking up!” grumbled Rattrap before he gave a pitiful laugh. “We’re all gonna die!”
Fortress Maximus was now orbiting Animatros, waiting for the Axalon. It then arrived, a rounded ship that had a wider aft and multiple panels surrounding the underside’s perimeter. It docked inside the hangar the Blue Typhoon rested in. The docking tube extended as the clamps held the ship in place. The Maximals departed and looked around. Sonic greeted them. “Welcome to Fortress Maximus!” he called.
“Thanks for having us, Sonic,” replied Kong.
“Optimus is on the bridge right now. I’ll take you guys there. Just try to keep up!” It was a joke as Sonic kept a good pace with the Maximals. They soon arrived at the bridge.
“Welcome aboard, Kong Primal,” greeted Optimus. “I’d give you a tour right now, but we’re pressed for time. The Decepticons have entered transwarp already.”
“Then we may as well get secure ourselves for the journey,” replied Kong. “When will we get there?”
“Yesterday, quite literally,” reported Fortress Maximus.
“Unfortunately,” sighed Teletraan, “the Cons will be an hour ahead of us.”
“Then let’s get going!” declared Optimus. “Set course for Velocitron and engage transwarp drive!”
“Course laid in!” reported Cliffjumper. “Engaging transwarp…NOW!” Fortress Maximus then entered transwarp space. The crew felt the g-forces, then settled back down.
“It’s safe to walk around, now,” reported Fortress.
“Then now’s a good time to familiarize ourselves,” mused Kong. “check out our quarters, meet the rest of the crew…specifically, now’s a good time to have Rattrap clear out all his junk out of my quarters on the Axalon!”
“Rattrap!” admonished Cheetor.
“Opportunistic Vermin!” snarled Slash.
“Hey! Come on, gimme a break, will ya?!” protested Rattrap. “We were stuck in our beast modes and Scrape Ape’s quarters were a perfect hideout!” Slash simply punched Rattrap, causing his chair to spin.
“…They’re not gonna stop, are they?” Optimus muttered to Kong and Grimlock.
“Nope,” replied Grimlock.
“Not a chance,” agreed Kong.