The Ark had its weapons primed as it moved on an intercept course to stop the Nemesis. “Time to intercept?” called Optimus.
“Two minutes,” reported Prowl. “The Nemesis will enter Mobius’ atmosphere in ten.”
“Perfect, enough breathing room,” replied Optimus. “Hail them.”
“Hailing frequencies open,” confirmed Prowl.
“This is Optimus Prime,” called Optimus. “Nemesis, you are entering restricted space. Turn around immediately or we WILL open…” Nemesis Prime’s face filled the screen, interrupting Optimus.
“We will NOT stop!” roared Nemesis. “I will destroy you, your friends, and every single ally you’ve ever had! I’ll start with G.U.N!” He terminated the call. Optimus activated the ship’s comms.
“Bridge to Engineering,” he directed, “I trust everything’s shored up after the Battle of Five Ships? You know, the one where we almost got spanked by the Nemesis and Scarship? Things didn’t go well until the Dyno-bots saved our afts!”
“All taken care of, Sir!” assured Perceptor. “Light them up!”
“Which direction of us is the enemy coming from?” requested Optimus.
“Starboard,” replied Prowl. “All starboard weapons ready.”
“Fire at will!” ordered Optimus. The starboard weapons fired, causing some damage to the Nemesis. “The frack?” muttered Optimus. “Don’t they have shields?”
“They SHOULD,” remarked Prowl, “but I’m not getting any indication that they’ve raised them.”
“What gives?” muttered Bumblebee.
“This provides an opportunity,” mused Strongarm.
“Got something in mind?” quizzed Optimus.
“Without the shields, a strike team could get in,” replied Strongarm.
“Got one in mind?” inquired Optimus.
“Myself, Chromia, and the Rust Renegades,” answered Strongarm. “We storm the ship, take care of any defenses, and take the bridge.”
“What about Nemesis Prime?” asked Prowl.
“That’s where Optimus comes in,” replied Strongarm. “Sir, forgive me for saying this, but I kind of need you to keep him off our backs while Chromia gathers intel.”
“Nothing to forgive,” assured Optimus. “I’ve always wanted to face Nemesis again. Ultra Magnus, the bridge is yours. Teletraan, can you find an access point?”
“Got one right now,” reported Teletraan.
“Beam us over,” ordered Optimus. He, Chromia, Strongarm, and the Rust Renegades were beamed to the Nemesis and fanned out within its halls. Chromia plugged into a computer terminal.
“Really?!” protested Strongarm.
“We need a leg up on whatever Megatron’s endgame is,” replied Chromia.
“I thought the bridge was our priority!” hissed Strongarm.
“Any information helps,” countered Optimus. “Chromia, don’t stay too long. Strongarm’s right. The bridge is our priority.”
“I got enough,” replied Chromia as she disconnected.
“You won’t leave with that information,” called a voice. Shockwave was standing there, leveling her gun arm at the group.
“Ah, Shockwave, I presume,” rumbled Strongarm.
“I repeat, you are not leaving with that information,” commanded Shockwave. “Surrender it and leave peacefully.”
“Two problems with that,” countered Optimus. “One, we’re at war, so any intelligence on you guys is going to get to us one way or another. Two, Nemesis Prime is too unhinged to be unchallenged. We’re going to beat him and you can’t stop us.”
“…You ARE correct about Nemesis Prime being unhinged,” conceded Shockwave. “Regardless, I cannot let you pass without a fight.” She fired. Everyone took cover.
“Really want to combine!” muttered Stormclash.
“Is the hallway even big enough for your combined form?” called Chromia. Stormclash had to admit that the ceiling was too low.
“Well, you ARE right in one respect,” Pyra Magna replied, “we need a clear path. Jumpstream! Dust Up! Tactics: Thirty Seven!”
“Road Rage, coming up!” confirmed Jumpstream as she and Dust Up transformed into their sports car alt-modes, running over Shockwave.
“Ooh!” winced Optimus. “That’s gonna hurt in the morning! Good work, you guys! We have a path to the bridge! Let’s roll out!” Everyone charged towards the bridge.
“MUST I DO EVERYTHING AROUND HERE?!” shrieked Nemesis Prime. “Honestly, why do I surround myself with idiots?!” He grabbed the Dark Saber and leveled it at the bridge doors. Optimus and his team burst in, guns blazing. Nemesis managed to deflect all the shots by swinging the Dark Saber. A few deflected shots struck the Rust Renegades. “Optimus’ Angels,” laughed Nemesis. “Useless as any female would be.”
“Sexist much?!” snarled Optimus. He ran forward with his axe blade flashing, clashing with the Dark Saber.
“Just die already!” roared Nemesis as he swung the Dark Saber across Optimus’ front, making a huge gash. Optimus clutched the gash in an attempt to keep his innermost Energon inside. “Why can’t you accept the fact that you idiots who waste time trying to satisfy everyone before yourself will only die in the long run! The only thing that matters is looking out for your superiors!”
“You are NOT my superior!” snarled Optimus through the pain.
“I AM YOUR SUPERIOR! JUST ACCEPT IT!” shrieked Nemesis. “NO ONE IN THIS PLANE OF EXISTENCE IS ABOVE ME!”
“Wrong!” snarled Optimus. “Us heroes, we’re ALWAYS above you! We learn from our mistakes AND our triumphs to become better! People like you let the past consume you, make you bitter and abusive, you let the past turn you into a monster!”
“Everyone is a monster!” countered Nemesis. “Give people enough incentive, enough of a nudge, and they’ll do things they never thought they were capable of doing! They will ALWAYS be like me!”
“No, what you mean is YOU would do that because everyone else is good and decent and kind,” argued Optimus. “YOU, Sir, are a jackhole! It just boils your blood to see a world where you didn’t become such a bully because you can’t accept that you’re just a complete and total idiot, and a cowardly one, if I may say! While YOU would stew on your failures…I just can’t wait to see what the future holds for me now that I am armed with more people and more knowledge about the world!”
“Oh brother, the ‘friends’ schtick!” snarled Nemesis. “I suppose you’re going to say that your friends are your power?!”
“…Well, they are,” replied Optimus.
“And there’s the trope!” snapped Nemesis. “What next? Do they give you a sense of ‘Burning Justice’?!”
“…As a matter of fact,” mused Optimus, “yes!”
“Let me correct something for you,” hissed Nemesis. “Justice is nothing more than an abstract concept for idiots to cling to because they’re hopelessly optimistic that there is some form of order in the universe! Justice is nothing more than a lie!”
“Maybe,” countered Optimus, “but I find it’s much more fun to fight for justice than myself!” Just then, putting all on the bridge in shock, Optimus seemed to be set on fire!
“OPTIMUS!” shouted Chromia. “Quick! Someone! Put him out!”
“Belay that!” countered Pyra Magna. “Look closer!” Everyone did…and went into shock again.
“Shouldn’t Optimus be writhing in pain?” quizzed Strongarm.
“Not if he’s found his Still Point,” replied Pyra Magna.
“Do you really think he’s found it?” asked Dust Up.
“His Still Point?” muttered Chromia.
“Every magic user has something that defines them,” explained Pyra Magna, “something that gives them a reason to exist. It keeps them calm and still during any tense situation, hence the name ‘Still Point’. Once you know your Still Point, you’re given access to greater power. Little lessons along the way tell you how to master that power and use it responsibly. Some magic users go well into old age before finding their Still Point. Others find it right off the bat. Optimus needed to put a name to his Still Point. Once you find it, that power manifests into a sort of…advanced form, if you will. Another super mode based around your element.”
“You mean…?” gasped Chromia. Just then, metal formed around the fire, orangish metal for the body and bluish metal for the helmet, giving a fiery appearance to his armor. Optimus stood at his full height, ready for round two.
“Optimus Prime: Elemental Mode,” he proclaimed. He then called up the Ark. “Have you guys got a fix on Nemesis and my position?” he asked.
“Yes, Sir,” replied Prowl’s voice, “but what was that energy spike we detected?”
“You’ll see,” answered Optimus. “Chromia has already obtained the data she was looking for. Beam her, Strongarm, and the Rust Renegades back to the Ark and beam Nemesis Prime and I onto the light side of the moon.”
“What?!” yelped Prowl.
“That’s an order, Prowl,” directed Optimus.
“…All right, Sir,” replied Prowl. The order was carried out as Optimus and Nemesis arrived on the light side of the moon.
“Move us to the ends of the earth, if you wish!” hissed Nemesis. “You will not be so lucky a second time! I won’t let you get a third wind.”
“Just know this,” warned Optimus, “at the end of this day, one shall stand, one shall fall!”
“And you are, most assuredly, the latter!” snarled Nemesis as he charged at Optimus. The Dark Saber came down but Optimus blocked it with the palm of his hand, suffering no damage. Nemesis gawked. An error on his part as Optimus grabbed the sword and ripped it out of his opponent’s hands, tossing it aside while delivering an uppercut. As Nemesis floated a bit longer, Optimus jumped up, then slammed his fist into Nemesis’ chest, sending him back onto the moon’s surface. Nemesis then swung his leg into Optimus, making him lose balance just enough for Nemesis to plow his feet into his chest, knocking him back. He then leapt onto Optimus and wrapped his hand around his neck and reached for the face while Optimus held that hand back. “GIVE ME YOUR FACE!” shouted Nemesis.
“Sorry, the face stays right where it is,” snarked Optimus as he tossed Nemesis aside. “Nemesis, you ARE an organic life-form under all that,” reminded Optimus. “I’m giving you a chance to return to base and get some of the oxygen you need.”
“I really don’t need it anymore,” countered Nemesis. He transformed as his real self, Tails’ evil counterpart, launched himself at Optimus’ face. Evil Tails looked a lot meaner. An eye was replaced with a prosthetic and wires from his scalp connected to his spine. In fact, a good chunk of him was metal!
“By the Allspark!” swore Optimus as he grabbed Miles. “What did you do to yourself?!”
“What was necessary for my evolution!” replied Miles. He fired off electricity from his body, only mildly shocking Optimus.
“Dude, the fast track to evolution usually brings disaster!” argued Optimus as he tossed Miles aside.
“Spare me your lectures!” shouted Miles as he summoned his vehicle mode. “NEMESIS PRIME, TRANSFORM!” The vehicle changed into robot mode and Miles entered the robot’s chest, restoring his control over the body as Nemesis Prime. Nemesis charged again with his fist pulled back but Optimus side-stepped and delivered a punch to the chest. He then grabbed Nemesis by the shoulders and threw him into a large rock. The rock split and its fragments bounced across the moon’s surface.
“Final chance,” offered Optimus, “because I’m nice. Stop your advance on G.U.N, retreat, repair your ship, and never bother us again.”
“Nemesis, this is Shockwave,” called a voice over Nemesis’ comms.
“I’m busy!” snarled Nemesis.
“This matter cannot wait,” insisted Shockwave. “The ship is compromised. The metals have been weakened by the Autobots’ fire. The damage is extensive. We cannot proceed until we make repairs.” Nemesis growled before making a decision.
“Return to base!” he ordered. He was beamed onto the Nemesis as it retreated.
“Optimus, mission accomplished,” called Prowl. “I heard about you gaining your elemental mode. I don’t know what you did after that but Nemesis Prime turned tail and we received valuable data on Megatron’s endgame.”
“Good to hear, Prowl,” praised Optimus. “One to beam up. Once I return to the ship, assume standard orbit.”
“Aye, Sir,” confirmed Prowl. Optimus was beamed directly to the bridge where everyone could get a look at him.
“Wow!” remarked Jazz. “I always said you were on fire, but this takes the oil cake!”
“Looks good on you, kiddo,” complimented Ironhide.
“Thank you,” replied Optimus. “However, this form, much like my battle frame was, is a bit of a drain on my internal Energon reserves.” He powered down. “Now, let’s go home and get some Energon.” His declaration was received well.