Optimus was walking around the base with a data pad in his hands. Jazz saw his pacing. “Yo, Prime, what’s up?” he called. Optimus didn’t hear him.
“Autobots, rise to the challenge!” he muttered to himself. He felt a tap on his shoulder. Optimus jumped a few meters and whirled around to see Jazz. “Oh, Jazz!” he gasped, recovering from being startled. “Don’t practice stealth on me, man!”
“Dude, if I recall,” mused Jazz, “‘rise to the challenge’ was Sentinel Prime’s rallying cry. You’re your own Prime.”
“I know,” replied Optimus, “but there has to be a rallying cry I can make my own!” Optimus tapped his cranium, and then had an idea. “Convert and Conquer!” Jazz shook his head. “Yeah, you’re right, it doesn’t make sense. We’re not here to conquer anything.” He paced a few more times, and then stopped. “Rip it up and ride it out!”
“Dude, that sounds wrong!” gagged Jazz.
“Yeah, it did sound gross,” agreed Optimus. “Promise me that you’ll never let me use it!”
“Deal!” promised Jazz. There were a few sessions in which Optimus came up with a lot of rallying cries. All of them were discarded. One of them resulted in Jazz slapping Optimus on the back of the head and muttering “racist”. After he left, Optimus rubbed the back of his head. He then went back to his conundrum.
“What rhymes with orange?” he asked to himself. After a few hours into nighttime, Ironhide had come from the shooting range out back. He heard Optimus mutter “Engines loud and make me proud!”
“Er, Prime?” he asked. “You okay, kiddo?”
“Doin’ great!” a bleary eyed Optimus slurred. “Let’s not be late!”
“But, we don’t have anywhere to be,” remarked Ironhide.
“Nowhere to be sounds good to me…” slurred Optimus.
“Okay,” sighed Ironhide as he picked up the youngest Prime, “how about we take a little break?” He took Optimus to his quarters.
“A little break could…could be a mistake,” mumbled Optimus. “Um, does anything rhyme with orange?” Ironhide opened Prime’s quarters and got him onto the recharge berth. The berth lowered a clear canopy and Ironhide left Optimus sleeping. The bot’s dreams, however, were far from peaceful. He woke up on solid space. “…the Pit?” he asked.
“This is far from that unholy place,” called a voice. Optimus turned around to see a mech with a metal cape, a beard, and a three pronged crown.
“Alpha Trion?” asked Optimus.
“Welcome to the Realm of the Primes, Orion,” greeted Alpha Trion.
“The Realm of the…the Matrix?” quizzed Optimus. “This is the Matrix?”
“That’s right,” confirmed the old mech. “My tool, the Quill, had written something troubling about the future.”
“What did it write?” asked Optimus. Alpha Trion took out a metallic quill and tapped the writing end to the floor. The scene changed. It turned into a war torn area with a red sky, Cybertronian corpses littering the land, and a dark figure looming over it all with his troops. A purple light started glowing in its chest and red eyes blazed into Optimus’ soul. “Who’s that?” he gasped.
“I cannot tell,” replied Alpha Trion. “The Quill only gives me glimpses of the future.” The figure raised an arm mounted cannon as the purple light took shape. It formed a symbol that all Autobots feared. While the symbol for the Autobots looked like a noble face in red, this symbol was an evil face in purple. Optimus’ optics widened in horror.
“You’re not seriously suggesting…” he gulped to Alpha Trion.
“Their campaign may begin again,” said Alpha Trion cryptically. The being fired and the light from the shot woke Optimus up. He panted a few times, and then his expression changed to that of noticing the headache he earned trying to come up with a good rallying cry. He rubbed his head and got out of the recharge berth. He thought Ratchet would have a solution. He headed to the medical bay and knocked on the door.
“It’s open,” grunted Ratchet from inside. Optimus approached and saw Ratchet hunched over a microscope.
“Hey, Doc,” mumbled Optimus, “what have you got for a processor ache?”
“Don’t call me ‘Doc’,” snapped Ratchet. “Let me guess, straining your processor to the breaking point. A nightmare last night.”
“Both,” answered Optimus.
“Some night,” muttered Ratchet as he got the necessary Energon capsules for a processor ache. At that moment, Tails walked in.
“Good morning, Autobots,” he greeted.
“It’s morning,” murmured Optimus, “but the Council’s still out on ‘good’.”
“I guess wishing you a Happy Forge Day will beget a similar response,” remarked Ratchet.
“Huh?” quizzed Optimus.
“Yep, 151 Earth years ago today, you were forged,” confirmed Ratchet.
“Forge Day?” repeated Tails. “You mean it’s Optimus’ birthday?”
“Oh yeah,” recalled Optimus. “I forgot that little detail.”
“How can you forget your own birthday?” asked Tails.
“I haven’t forgotten,” replied Optimus, “I just haven’t adjusted to your planet’s calendar.”
“Rough night?” guessed Tails.
“Yeah, and a rough day yesterday,” answered Optimus. “Oh well, today’s a new day.”
“A new day, and a new adventure,” agreed Tails. “Jazz made something called Energolisis.”
“It’s the Cybertronian equivalent of coffee,” explained Ratchet. Optimus took the capsules with him to the base’s mess hall. He saw Jazz by a coffee machine like device.
“Hey, thanks for the Energolisis,” he called.
“I didn’t say it was for you,” countered Jazz. Optimus blinked and saw Ironhide with a glass cylinder of steaming pinkish blue liquid.
“What?” asked Ironhide.
“You bots ever wonder how you got here?” Optimus was being philosophical, but it went over the team’s heads.
“I came here because you needed to get a court martial off your best friend’s chassis and going to the planet he was on was the quickest way to get information out of him,” answered Ironhide.
“And I came here,” supplied Jazz, “because someone, now known as Eggman, was digging up Cybertronian corpses on this planet. Now I can do it without fearing the council and I manage to see my best friend go off world. You still owe me 60 Shanix on that bet.”
“I feel so loved,” said Optimus sarcastically.
“I’m ribbing you, Big Bot,” chuckled Jazz. “The Energolisis is for every bot. Happy Forge Day, Optimus.”
“Thanks, Jazz,” bid Optimus. “It’s perfect for the processor ache I have right now.”
“Stayed up all night coming up with a rallying cry?” asked Jazz.
“Nope,” interjected Ironhide. “I managed to drag him to his recharge berth.”
“Well, spending all day with rallying cry ideas didn’t help,” remarked Optimus, “but that’s only one of two reasons.”
“What’s the other reason?” asked Ironhide.
“I had a pow wow with Alpha Trion,” explained Optimus.
“So those meditation days Sentinel Prime had,” quizzed Ironhide, “they were him talking to the Ancients?”
“Exactly,” confirmed Optimus. “He showed me a glimpse of the future with the Quill. I was soon taken to a Pit like landscape with Cybertronian bodies strewn about and a massive army with a figure at the front of it. As the lead figure raised its arm to fire its weapon, its optics were glowing red and a purple light on its chest became the Decepticon symbol.”
“And you didn’t get away, why?” asked Tails.
“I tried to,” replied Optimus, “but I was frozen and couldn’t turn. When he fired, that’s when I woke up.”
“What does it mean?” quizzed Ironhide.
“I don’t know,” muttered Optimus, “but if that future had Decepticons in it, we’re in for a Pit of a time.”
“If those Decepticreeps are after us,” growled Ironhide, “then we need to be ready for their armies!”
“Ironhide, that’s ridiculous,” dismissed Optimus. “The Quill only gave Alpha Trion and I a vague notion of what the future may bring. It may be just one Decepticon attempting to bring the old Decepticon Empire back. The future is uncertain.” At that point, the alarm went off in the base. Everyone sped to the main monitor and saw Sonic there with the Scarlet Specter and Cream
“What’s going on?” asked Tails.
“A Cybertronian signal popped up!” replied Ratchet. “It looks like a G.U.N agent caught a picture.” He saw that the picture was a purple thing. “Increase resolution by ten.” directed Ratchet. The image solidified into a purple tank. “Run possible alt-mode matches,” commanded Ratchet.
“One possible match found,” reported the computer. It showed the tank and a certain one eyed robot.
“Impossible!” breathed Ironhide.
“And that femme is?” asked Jazz.
“Shockwave,” whispered Ratchet.
“Shockwave?” asked Bumblebee. “As in, the cruel and vicious Chief Scientist of the Decepticons, who eats Autobot protoforms for breakfast?!”
“If she deemed it logical,” confirmed Ratchet.
“But Ultra Magnus said that Megatronus shot her in the head!” protested Optimus. “How could she be alive?”
“It’s possible that Shockwave was merely blinded and she repaired her optic before going into stasis,” guessed Ratchet.
“But who would be stupid enough to wake her up?” asked Bumblebee.
“It doesn’t matter now,” replied Optimus. “The point is we need to stop her before she wreaks any havoc. Ratchet, what’s she doing?”
“It appears she has a…religious following,” answered Ratchet. He stumbled over “religious following”.
“A bot more obsessed with science than you?” asked Ironhide. He chuckled at the attempted poke to Ratchet’s pride, but it either went over Ratchet’s head or he chose not to dignify it with a response. “But, in all seriousness, why would she need a religious following?”
“Is that an altar for her?” quizzed Cream as she pointed to a construct behind Shockwave.
“No,” replied Jazz, “but she could have fooled those people into thinking that it’s an altar.”
“What is it, then?” asked the Scarlet Specter.
“It looks like the framework for a Space Bridge,” observed Ratchet. All of a sudden, there was a knock on the door. Optimus transformed and headed for the door. He opened it and found a gaggle of Mobians dressed in purple robes and purple headbands with a red circle in the middle.
“Er…can I help you?” stammered Optimus.
“May the Lady rain glory on you!” called the leader of the group. “We have traveled long to build a worthy altar for the Lady and we do request items that would please the Lady’s altar. She requires 20 carbon nano-tube batteries, a trinity engine, and 5 wind powered electro-stalls.” Optimus blinked. He turned inside to see Ratchet silently saying that giving them those parts is a bad idea.
“Sorry, my friends,” replied Optimus. “I’m afraid I have none of those items. I wish I could help you, but I can’t.”
“That is most troubling,” sighed the group leader. “The Lady will be most displeased. Thank you anyway, kind sir. May the Lady still rain glory on you.” The group left while Optimus shut the door. He glanced at Ratchet.
“Those things are part of the stabilization relay for the Space Bridge portal,” Ratchet explained.
“My Space Bridge knowledge is limited here,” remarked Optimus as he transformed. “Mind explaining?”
“The Space Bridge utilizes wormhole generators to create a hole through space,” elaborated Ratchet, “however, if not stabilized, wormholes become black holes very quickly before the other end is made. The stabilization relay makes it so that the wormhole will not decay as rapidly and thus we can control when it closes. This whole situation gives me a chance to test out the Ground Bridge.”
“Let me go there,” volunteered Bumblebee. “We need to see what Shockwave is planning and how we can use the terrain to our advantage, and I’m the best scout in the Elite Guard.”
“You’re also the only scout we have,” argued Ironhide. “We can’t risk having you die if you’re discovered!”
“I need the experience!” protested Bumblebee. “Come on, Prime, let me go!” Optimus had to make a decision. If he let Bumblebee go, he runs the risk of being discovered by the most powerful Decepticon on Cybertron. On top of that, the Ground Bridge vortex would close on him and kill him. On the other servo, he couldn’t exactly let anyone else, even himself, go, and his organic friends were out of the question.
“All right, fine Bee,” he sighed, “but go quickly through the Ground Bridge and just observe. Call us the instant you get there. Don’t fight until we get there. Do you understand?”
“Yes, Sir!” confirmed Bumblebee.
“All right,” replied Optimus. “Ratchet, do you have the coordinates?”
“Yes, Sir!” answered Ratchet.
“Then open the Ground Bridge,” ordered Optimus. Ratchet put the coordinates in and pulled a lever. The machinery started humming and generated a swirling green vortex. Bumblebee quickly transformed and sped through the portal. After he went through, the portal collapsed.
“Okay guys,” whispered Bumblebee over the comms. “Good news, the Ground Bridge works. Bad news, I’m a bit too close. Still not close enough for Shockwave to detect me, but enough to make me worry. I’m going to let you hear what she’s saying.”
“Good work, Bee,” answered Optimus. What Shockwave said surprised those that knew her.
“And so,” she preached, “despite the setback from earlier, the altar you are making is going very nicely. Soon, I shall ascend to the heavens and bring more of my kind to bring eternal glory to you. Peace be upon you, my children!” The sermon ended and the crowd left.
“That was terrible!” muttered Optimus. “It sounded like she was just reading her lines! She needed to give it some oomph!”
“Ratchet, I need a Ground Bridge,” gulped Bumblebee. Shockwave stiffened and turned her head. “I think she heard me!” yelped Bumblebee. Shockwave turned completely and walked towards Bumblebee’s speaking. “She heard me! Ratchet, I need a Ground Bridge now!” The portal opened. Bumblebee zoomed through, but not before Shockwave transformed to see the symbol on his top. She then stuck her right arm out to the side to have the tank mode’s gun wrap around her arm. She leveled her new gun arm at Bumblebee and fired, but Bumblebee was too fast for her and managed to get through the portal so it closed behind him. Once he got back, he told the Autobots of the Space Bridge and how near completion it was.
“We have to keep Shockwave here,” declared Optimus. “If she goes back to Cybertron, the war will begin again! We can’t let that happen. Once she’s beaten, we’ll hold her in the brig, contact Cybertron, inform them of Shockwave’s survival, and have the council deal with her.”
“But what about the Space Bridge?” asked Ironhide. “We can’t let that thing be finished!”
“If possible,” replied Optimus, “we secure it for ourselves. If not, we destroy it.”
“That’s ridiculous!” protested Ratchet. “The Space Bridge is a quick way to Cybertron! We could use that!”
“If Shockwave manages to turn it on successfully,” argued Ironhide, “she’ll bring an invasion force to Mobius. We can’t let that happen.”
“Bumblebee, did you get a good look at the Space Bridge’s surroundings?” asked Optimus.
“I did, Sir,” answered Bumblebee. He let his spy-bug fly from his wrist and project a hologram of the Space Bridge and its location. “She’s set up shop in a forest clearing with millions of trees surrounding the place. If Shockwave is as logically minded as the History Trax say she is, she’s probably patrolling the perimeter.”
“So using the trees is right out,” muttered Optimus. “Will bridging in the center throw her off?”
“It WILL skew her sense of logic,” replied Ratchet, “but she can adapt quickly.”
“Like you and Jazz,” continued Ironhide, “she’s skilled in Cyber-ninjutsu, specifically, Five Servos of Doom.”
“That’s a forbidden skill set,” shuddered Jazz. “Prime and I only know how to avoid its moves, we don’t know how to block or utilize it.”
“Then we have to tire her out,” declared Optimus. “If we get in the middle of the clearing, we’ll make our position known and, if she refuses to back down, rush her and continue attacking her until she’s too tired to stay upright.”
“Sounds like a plan,” agreed Ironhide.
“Ratchet,” directed Optimus, “if Shockwave is as dangerous as history says she is, we need a medic.”
“Understood,” replied Ratchet.
“When do we leave?” cheered Sonic, ready for action. Optimus gave a small laugh before responding.
“We didn’t invite you,” he remarked.
“Optimus,” argued Sonic, “from what I’ve heard, Shockwave is more dangerous than Eggman, and in the interests of protecting this planet, I’m coming with you.”
“I understand your worries,” replied Optimus, “but Shockwave isn’t one of Eggman’s Transformers. If you get underfoot, you’ll go squish!”
“I run that risk whenever Egghead has a giant robot for me to send to the scrapheap,” countered Sonic. “Besides, I doubt Shockwave can keep up. Ninja though she is, you couldn’t keep up with my speed, so I doubt she could.”
“Okay, one: yes, I can!” argued Optimus. “Two…I guess I can let you come with us.”
“Who said anything about just one coming?” asked the Scarlet Specter.
“Now wait a minute,” protested Optimus.
“Shockwave doesn’t know anything about me,” remarked the Specter.
“Well, honestly, not even we do,” countered Optimus.
“Well, I protect this planet like Sonic does, and I’m willing to throw Shockwave for a loop!” argued the Specter
“Miss Specter, I can’t risk any more civilians. I’m pushing it with Sonic here!” protested Optimus
“And yet, Sonic is not as skilled as myself. Why let him go and not me?” quizzed the Specter.
“Not skilled as you?” yelped Sonic. “I protest! I haven’t seen you until Christmas! Even then, it wasn’t to fight!”
“Miss Specter,” sighed Optimus, “if you’re really insistent on fighting with us, fine! Ground rules, do NOT let your guard down. Shockwave will most likely keep us separated from you, so we can’t protect you throughout the entire fight.”
“I shall endeavor to keep up,” assured the Specter.
“Anyone else?!” asked Optimus.
“Actually,” called Cream, “I need to get home. I promised my mother I would help her bake cookies today.”
“We’ll Bridge you home,” replied Jazz.
“I also propose that Tails stays here at the base,” suggested Ratchet.
“What? Why?!” wailed Tails.
“Because I can’t operate the Ground Bridge controls on the battlefield,” answered Ratchet. “I assume you watched me operate the controls when Bumblebee went through?”
“Well, yes,” replied Tails, “but it only looks simple!”
“It really is as simple as it looks,” promised Ratchet. “You’ve learned our coordinates system faster than I did in the Academy.”
“Faster than Megatronus,” praised Optimus, “and he’s a very skilled Mathematician.”
“Besides,” continued Ratchet, “if you stay here, you can stay in contact with me and monitor Autobot life signs so I can quickly give medical attention to those who need it in battle.”
“Much as I make fun of him,” supplied Ironhide, “he’s the best field medic. Any help a medic can get will improve care immensely for him.”
“Well,” conceded Tails, “when you put it that way, I guess I really am more needed here.”
“Are we ready then?” asked Optimus. Everyone nodded in the affirmative. “All right, Tails, send Cream home. Cream, call us when you get there.”
“Yes, Mr. Optimus,” said Cream politely. Tails put the coordinates for Cream’s house in and activated the Ground Bridge. Cream stepped through and the vortex closed. After a few minutes, the comms unit flashed. Jazz took the call.
“You’ve reached Autobot Outpost Omega One,” answered Jazz. “This is Jazz. Who’s calling?”
“It’s me, Cream,” replied the caller. “I’m home safe. Mother seemed a little surprised at how I came home.”
“We’ll explain everything to her later,” assured Jazz. “Have fun making cookies. Jazz, out.”
“Goodbye, Mr. Jazz,” bid Cream. The call ended.
“All right bots,” called Optimus, “we’re on the clock now! Tails, bridge us to Shockwave’s coordinates!” Tails opened the Ground Bridge again. “Autobots, transform and roll out!” rallied Optimus. The Autobots cheered as they transformed. Once they did, the Autobots, Sonic, and the Scarlet Specter sped through the portal.