Megatron led the team deeper into the caverns, the runes pulsing in purple light. “Sweet Chaos, this is creepy!” muttered Tails.
“You ain’t kidding,” agreed Grimlock. “My beast mode’s screaming at me to run and hide.”
“You too, huh?” asked Slag.
“You COULD ask for a Ground Bridge back to the surface,” chuckled Megatron. He then drew in a breath and knelt down, clutching his head.
“Megatron?!” asked Optimus.
“Unicron grows ever stronger!” answered Megatron. He got up and picked up the pace.
“How do we know Unicron’s not using him to lead us all into a trap?!” hissed Arcee.
“We don’t,” replied Optimus. The group continued on. They couldn’t afford any more delays. As they trudged on, Sludge stumbled. Swoop caught him.
“I’m fine,” assured Sludge. “Just woozy.”
“It’s the Dark Energon around here,” reported Swoop to everyone. “It’s starting to affect him. Put your arm around mine.”
“But I’m fine!”
“No arguments! Just do it!” Sludge grumbled as he complied.
“Health and safety gone mad!”
“You really looking for another black mark on your record?” asked Grimlock.
“Then shut up and go along with what Swoop says! He’s our medic here!”
“You, Swoop?” asked Ratchet.
“I was a Rank 7 Medic before I became a Dyno-bot,” explained Swoop.
“What rank are you now?”
“Can we please get on with it?!” snarled Megatron as the team approached two tunnels.
“Which way?” asked Optimus. Megatron shot the roof of the right-hand tunnel.
“This way,” he finally answered. As the team went down the only open tunnel, Bumblebee stopped. He then moved to the closed one. Megatron noticed this. “Hey! Bug! I said this way!”
“I heard you, Mr. Corpse!” retorted Bumblebee. “I thought I heard something here.”
“There’s nothing there, Bumblebee,” remarked Knuckles.
“Behind the rocks, I mean. Like metal against stone.”
“Do we really have time to…?” Megatron’s question was interrupted by the rocks being blown away by an explosion. Everyone was showered in rocks and the remains of the explosives used to clear them away. “What in…?!” coughed Megatron.
“I *cough* TOLD you there was something there!” snarled Bumblebee.
“Forward!” called a voice from the once-blocked tunnel. “Forward! Up and at ‘em!”
“Is that Misfire?!” called Thundercracker.
“What’s he doing here?!” yelped Windblade.
“Oh, look! The Metarex and Metal Sonic didn’t search for survivors! Marvelous!” snarled Megatron.
“There’s two more with him!” reported Grimlock. Misfire was with Spinister and Fulcrum.
“Well, Fulcrum? Can you see anything?” asked Misfire.
“I see something! Autobots!” replied Fulcrum.
“Happy trees fart from the moon!” cheered Spinister.
“Forward and hold them!” ordered Misfire. “Hold them tight!” Bumblebee was the nearest bot to the tunnel.
“BUMBLEBEE!” shouted Optimus. “BUMBLEBEE, GET OUT OF HERE!” Bumblebee transformed and took off.
“We have to go, Optimus!” called Megatron.
“But the others!” The Dyno-bots, Thundercracker, and all the organics were furthest from the chosen tunnel.
“They’re not helpless, Optimus! We have to go!”
“Optimus, you’re needed more than us!” urged Grimlock. “We’ll cover you!”
“Guys!” wailed Optimus.
“We’re only thinking about your safety, Prime!” argued Thundercracker. Optimus looked torn, then dashed down the tunnel with Megatron and the others.
“There, Fulcrum, Spinister! Running!” shouted Misfire.
“I see the runt!” replied Fulcrum as he fired in Bumblebee’s direction.
“The ants’ march will fall into frosting!” cheered Spinister as he shot at Optimus and Megatron’s group.
“Too late! You missed!” remarked Thundercracker.
“The Autobots were fast, that’s all,” replied Fulcrum.
“Well, after him, Fulcrum! After the midget!” ordered Misfire.
“Yes, Sir, Misfire, Sir!” Fulcrum then charged off after Bumblebee.
“You won’t catch him!” taunted Grimlock. “He’s the fastest scout we’ve got!”
“You chase after the others! Go!” Misfire told Spinister. Spinister charged off after Optimus and Megatron’s team. “Well, now, what have we here?” chuckled Misfire. “Thundercracker with Autobots? And…EW! ORGANICS?!”
The Combaticons were still combined and swinging and roaring once Galvatron, Rodimus, Silver, Knock-out, Shockwave, and Team Dark arrived. They all met with Eggman as he cowered behind a rock. “Okay, first: WHAT!” shouted Shadow. “Second: THE HELL?!”
“You encountered the Enigma of Combination?” asked Shockwave. Eggman pointed a terrified finger to the artefact. Shockwave picked up the Enigma and examined it. “Fascinating. This could help me fix up my mistakes with the Constructicons’ combined form of…”
“Okay, I’m all for the advancement of science and all,” interrupted Galvatron, “but we’ve got an out-of-control Combiner here! Shockwave, please tell me your research into Combiner tech yielded a weakness!”
“As a matter of fact, yes. Combiners may be tough, but they’re weakest at their Combiner Ports.”
“Combiner ports?” asked Rodimus.
“Certain Combiners have plugs in them that allow them to unite with the main robot acting as the torso. Attack the ports, the whole Combiner falls apart.”
“I know where they are!” called Eggman as he activated a hologram of the Combiner. He pointed out the shoulders and knees.”
“Excellent,” declared Rodimus. “Guys, we’ve got our targets! Aim for the joints!” Everyone fired, but the Combiner was moving faster than expected. It swung its arms wildly, scattering everyone.
“Okay, new plan!” called Silver. “We need…!”
“A distraction!” called Galvatron as he transformed and flew around the Combiner.
“I was gonna say more soldiers!” shouted Silver.
“I’m gonna go with that option,” said Shadow as he brought out a communicator.
“No chance of that!” called Eggman. “There’s a jamming field around the island!”
“Because I needed a private place to relax, of course!”
“So, where’s the field generator?!”
“…Under the island.”
“I never thought I’d have a giant rampaging on it!”
“UGLY!” called Galvatron to the Combiner. “LOOK UP HERE! IT’S GALVATRON!”
“…Tron?!” asked the Combiner. “Tron…MMMmmh! …Gaahh! …Mga! …Mega…Megatron! …Megatron!!! …MEGATROOOOON!!!”
“And now he’s doing a Broly impression!” groaned Galvatron. The Combiner then targeted Galvatron, swinging its fists and throwing trees at him.
“HATE! KILL! COMMAND! DESTROY! RAAAGH!”
“Interesting,” mused Shockwave. “The Combiner is capable of uniting its collective thoughts on one being. A fascinating subject for study.”
“It’s killing us, and you want to write an essay?!” protested Rodimus.
“Er, guys!” called Silver. “The Enigma’s doing something!” Its central sphere was glowing white, specifically.
“WHAT THING DOING?!” demanded the Combiner. The Enigma then fired a stream of light at the Combiner, bathing it in light and making it scream. The light then died down and the Combiner now had a double-headed axe in its hand while it stood still. It looked around, then at the axe.
“Should…should we be concerned?” asked Rouge.
“Boys?” asked Eggman.
“…I am all five of the Combaticons,” replied the Combiner, “yet my own being.” IT then folded the axe’s handle upwards and attached it to its chest. “There we go, you just rest right there, my Bruticus Maximus.”
“Maximus?” asked Shockwave. “You mean the Enigma gave you a Maximus?”
“And allowed me to sort through my individual minds, thus making me more mentally-stable. You know, I think I need a name here. Since most Combiners are named after their Maximus, I think I’ll call myself…Bruticus! Doctor…”
“Yes, my son?” asked Eggman.
“I think this is a perfect opportunity to show off what I can do…especially to those who enslaved us!” Eggman grinned.
“Make me proud, my boy!”