The Autobots and their allies had gathered in front of an apparatus that Ironhide’s body rested in. It was still in alt-mode, as, per Cybertronian Funerary custom, it was best to leave the body in its preferred mode after rigor morphis. The Autobots were painted in black and their allies dressed in funeral clothes. Optimus stood at a podium and cleared his vocal components. “Friends,” he began, “today we gather to honor the death of Master Sergeant Ironhide Teznark of Iacon. An honored Autobot warrior, a hero that ended the first Cybertronian War after 4 million years of conflict, a father and friend, and an invaluable mentor, Ironhide’s loss will leave a hole in our hearts and Sparks. His Spark was set on keeping the peace and he wouldn’t stop fighting any evil that stood in his way. He could never be replaced. There won’t be another Cybertronian like him. Honestly, I wouldn’t wish for a replacement for him. I don’t want to cheapen him. Ironhide, you will be missed. Rest in peace.” He nodded to Kup, Jazz, and Chromia. They stepped forward, stood with an empty space between Jazz and Chromia, and readied their weapons.
“Fire!” called Kup. They each fired three shots before holstering their weapons and saluting.
“When a Spark goes online, there is great joy,” continued Optimus. “When one is extinguished, the universe weeps.” The Autobots then each took a phial of Innermost Energon and held it up to the sky.
“You flare. You flicker. You fade.” After the chant, the Autobots set their phials down and Chromia stepped up to a control panel.
“We’ll never forget you, Ironhide,” she promised as tears fell from her optics. “Rest in peace.” She pressed a button and the apparatus’ prongs glowed. After a few seconds, Ironhide’s body vaporized, as if fading into nothing. “Goodbye…” whimpered Chromia.
The Decepticons held their own funeral for Rumble. Like the Autobots, they had a machine to vaporize the body. After his body was put back together, Rumble went through rigor morphis. Unlike Ironhide, his body’s preferred mode was the robot mode. “Decepticons,” began Megatron, “today we gather to honor the death of Lieutenant Rumble Tesak of Xitra. An accomplished saboteur, a powerful warrior, even when compared to bots of our stature, a bot with an excellent sense of humor, a brother, a friend, and a decorated soldier, Rumble’s loss will be felt for a long time, even past our own lives. As his killers are in our base now,” the gnashing of dental plates echoed in Megatron’s audio receptors, “the desire for revenge is strong. However, death will only be an escape for Eggman and his Combaticons. We must ensure that they will only give their lives in OUR name. As such, all thoughts of killing them MUST be buried.” The mourners grumbled. “In light of this, we must continue on and dedicate future victories in Rumble’s name. Rest in peace, Rumble.” He then nodded to Soundwave and Shockwave. They stepped forward and placed their hands on Rumble’s body.
“In light of your bravery,” they proclaimed, “we hereby declare you toil and misery exempt. Rest well, Rumble of Xitra.” They then stepped back, their Xitran funerary rite completed.
“When a Spark goes online, there is great joy,” continued Megatron. “When one is extinguished, the universe weeps.” The Decepticons then each took a phial of Innermost Energon and held it up to the sky.
“You flare. You flicker. You fade.” After the chant, the Decepticons set their phials down and Soundwave stepped up to the control panel.
“Operation: Vengeance has begun, Rumble,” he declared. “Rest in peace.” He then pressed a button and Rumble’s body was slowly vaporized. As the Decepticons slowly filed off, Megatron noticed Soundwave standing by the machine, looking towards the moon base.
“Soundwave…” began Megatron.
“I have duties to perform,” interrupted Soundwave as he headed to the base. Megatron then made a call to Galvatron.
“Has this happened in your time zone?” he asked.
“No, but this could upend everything,” replied Galvatron. “In any event, there’s another thing we must keep out of Unicron’s reach soon; SEVEN things, to be precise.”
“The Chaos Emeralds? He drains them too?”
“Unfortunately, yes. We must retrieve them.”
“Understood, but, if you recall, we need a Chaos Emerald to make a match on their energy signatures.”
“We’ll find one! I swear it!”
“I’m going to hold you to that.” Megatron ended the call and returned to the base.
Optimus sat at his desk, finishing his paperwork. He then sighed, running his hands down his face. “How am I gonna even begin this?” he mumbled. He then heard the door chime. “Come.” Sonic came in.
“You wanted to see me?” he asked.
“I did,” confirmed Optimus. Sonic jumped onto the desk as Optimus searched for the right words. “Sonic, I…I…” Sonic arched an eye ridge. Optimus then took in a breath before starting again. “I’m sorry for not involving you.”
“In everything! I…I thought that the Autobots alone could handle the Decepticons! They have Mobius in their sights, and I thought we would be the only defense you guys needed and that was arrogant of me to even think that! You’ve been the hero of Mobius longer than the Autobots and I should have been asking you for help since they have Eggman and you got caught in the crossfire…!”
“Stop.” Optimus stopped and stared at the Blue Blur. “I didn’t ask to help you guys on any missions either.”
“…What say we promise to involve each other more often?”
“Sounds like a plan.”
Back on the moon, Megatron strode towards Sick Bay. “Doctor,” he called.
“Ah, Lord Megatron!” greeted Knock Out. “How are we today?”
“Physically, fine. It’s a little nagging problem I need to address. Is your organic patient ready for visitors?”
“As a matter of fact, he and I were just discussing your potential to visit him. Wish to make it a reality?”
“If you would permit me to do so.”
“Ward 3. He’s gonna flip when he sees you.”
“Thank you, Doctor.” Megatron then strode to Ward 3 and found Eggman lying on a berth for a man his size. “And how are we today?”
“Stay back!” yelped Eggman.
“Aw, and miss out on a little…tete a tete?” Megatron sat down on an empty berth. “Doctor, walk me through your logic here. What possessed you to betray me?”
“YOU betrayed ME, genius! I was your landlord! You turned me into your housekeeper!”
“…I suppose I missed the thing where you were charging rent. Doctor Eggman, you wouldn’t know how to command an empire if it bit you in your rather generous buttocks!”
“I have made many advances…!”
“All of them upended by Sonic! Your obsession with him has made you a laughingstock and has reduced our effectiveness by a half! So, allow me to offer the most expedient way out of this mess! Your Combaticons will undergo the Rite of the Deceptibrand and they will work for the Decepticon Empire, not you! You, meanwhile, will continue monitoring Mobius for the Chaos Emeralds as we require them again!”
“What scheme did you cook up that needs them?!”
“That no longer concerns you!” Silence then infiltrated the room. “…Now, I need you healed, so…” Megatron’s sentence was interrupted by weapons-fire outside the ward. “What is going on out there?!”
“Combaticon Berths: located,” droned Soundwave’s voice. Megatron ran outside to see Soundwave leveling his weapons at the inactive Combaticons, putting his handheld gun to Brawl’s head.
“SOUNDWAVE!” roared Megatron. “STAND DOWN!”
“Negative,” replied Soundwave.
“…What did you just say?!”
“Combaticons: too dangerous to live. Rite of the Deceptibrand: unnecessary. Termination: required.”
“I said stand down! That is an order!”
“Negative. Operation: Vengeance must be completed. Interference will not be tolerated, especially from an Autobot like you.” Megatron roared in rage and grabbed Soundwave by the shoulder, throwing him across Sick Bay.
“Call me an Autobot again, and we’ll see how irreplaceable you are!” Soundwave then charged at Megatron and slammed his fist into his face. Megatron shook the pain off and saw Soundwave standing over him. He then thrust his hand out and fired lightning, shocking Soundwave and putting him into stasis-lock. Megatron then picked himself up. “…Doctor, you have another patient.”
“At once, Lord Megatron.” Knock Out then pulled Soundwave up onto a berth and got to work.
Aleena arrived at Sira’s mansion and buzzed the intercom. “How may I help you?” called Natalie’s voice.
“I need to speak with your wife, Natalie,” explained Aleena.
“Come right to the door, Your Majesty.” The gate opened and Aleena went down the drive and approached the door. Natalie opened it and led her to a large room with a couch near a fireplace and a chair on the other side. Sira was lazily sprawled on the couch. Natalie then cleared her throat. “Presenting her Majesty, Queen Aleena of Mobius!” Sira then sat bolt upright and looked towards the two women.
“Your Majesty!” she yelped. “I had no idea you were visiting!”
“I’m afraid this isn’t a social call,” replied Aleena. “I need to speak to you about the entity within our planet.”
“…Natalie, be a dear and hold all my calls until my meeting with Her Majesty is done.” Natalie bowed and left the room. Sira offered Aleena a seat on the couch while she took the chair.
“…Comfy,” mused Aleena as she sat down.
“I amassed quite a fortune during my long life,” replied Sira. “What questions do you have?”
“The creature in the core, Amy said that Sonic fought it before.”
“He did, and he knew it as Dark Gaia. However, our robotic visitors are calling it ‘Unicron’.”
“That’s another thing, unicorn?”
“…I think they flip the placement of the ‘r’ and ‘o’ so ‘r’ is before ‘o’ instead of after.”
“Have you gotten any stories about this ‘Unicron’?”
“As a matter of fact, yes. About a week ago, Ironhide (rest his Spark) told me a legend about this beast, although, back then, he called it the Chaos Bringer.”
“Any chance you could tell me?”
“All right.” Sira then pointed to the fire. “Ostende fabulam.” The fire then snaked out of the fireplace and began making images in the air. “In the beginning, there was Primus, and there was Unicron. One, a being of light and creation,” the fire created an image of a man in smooth armor and a haggard, yet kind clean-shaven face, “the other, a being of darkness and destruction.” Another figure then appeared, this one wearing jagged armor and wings, his face sporting a long beard from under his horned helmet. The two figures spotted each other, drew swords and shields, and attacked. “For eons, Primus and Unicron battled, the balance of power shifting between them more times than could be counted. It was then that Primus had had enough. He made thirteen orbs of light from his own Spark and gave them forms from his own armor.” Primus’ image then flexed, and thirteen more figures joined him. “Together, Primus and his creations separated Unicron’s Anti-spark from his physical form and cast him out.” The images then pointed their weapons at Unicron’s, and he faded away. “These thirteen warriors became the very foundation of a race or sentient robots that could change their form. While they created civilizations, Primus shifted into his own rest-mode and became the planet for his creations’ work. Thus, the thirteen warriors, on Primus’ body, founded Cybertron and her people. The thirteen warriors were then named the first Primes, the legacy of which survives in Optimus.”
“Hold on, where does Dark Gaia fit into this? How is Unicron the same as Dark Gaia?”
“The Gaia Manuscripts talked about this.” The fire then showed an angry light circling a gentler light. “Before the world formed, there was a destroyer. The destroyer met a goddess and hated her upon first contact. Their battle was such a tremendous one, the universe couldn’t bear any more scars. Thus, it formed a spherical prison of rock. Life soon formed and made the prison into the world we know today. However, every thousand years, the destroyer would try to escape its prison, but the goddess’ herald would always put the destroyer to sleep with the power of the Seven Lights of the Earth.” The fire then formed an image of seven jewels.
“The Chaos Emeralds,” realized Aleena. “Do you think…” Natalie then burst into the room.
“Your Majesty! Sira!” she panted. “The Autobots are asking for our help! They found that the Decepticons are looking for the Chaos Emeralds!”