“This business about Straxus’ orders, what do YOU think, Flywheels?” asked Krok as Optimus and his team briefed Sonic and his group on what was going on.
“It’s not my place to think about someone’s orders,” replied Flywheels.
“I would recommend, however, that we should retrieve Straxus’ orders so Megatron would know what’s going on.” Krok arched an eyebrow.
“You don’t believe that they have anything to do with Windblade?”
“I believe only in the glory of the Decepticon Empire.” Flywheels split into his two alt-modes as he finished.
“Ah, yes!” Krok was feeling patriotic. “The glory of the Decepticon Empire!”
“But, need I remind you, Straxus does NOT tolerate incompetence. He once had every tenth bot in an entire platoon melted down to make his axe, just for being lined up two degrees in an unfavorable direction.”
“Actually, left.” Flywheels recombined into his robot mode as a call came in.
“HORROR STORIES! WE LIVE IN A TREE OF ELVES!” It was on an open frequency, so everyone heard that.
“…What in…?” asked Optimus.
“It’s Spinister,” explained Misfire. “His vocabulator’s damaged. I understand how he speaks. Spinister, could you repeat that? What do you mean rogue, sword-wielding Decepti-drones?” The reply was Spinister’s scream of agony and fear and the sound of blades slicing into metal!
“Give me that!” snapped Krok as he snatched Misfire’s comms. “Spinister! Spinister, report!” A demonic shriek was his only reply before it was replaced with static.
“That…that’s gonna give me nightmares,” gulped Sira. Krok then closed the channel.
“It’s clear enough! The fugitive Autobot is responsible!”
“You mean Bumblebee?!” asked Trema.
“Who else could it have been?” asked Flywheels.
“Permission to speak, Sir?” asked Misfire.
“Denied,” replied Krok. “We need to concentrate on finding the yellow runt!”
“Krok, I promise you,” assured Optimus, “whoever or whatever killed your friend, it was NOT my scout, Bumblebee.”
“I suppose you’re gonna tell me that ‘Bumblebee’ would not kill?”
“No, just that he prefers guns to swords. Bumblebee knows he’s not the strongest, so he would prefer some distance between him and his enemy.”
“Besides, with the Omnic Runes littering the whole place,” muttered Misfire, “It could very well be Unicron.”
“Yes, it’s very likely…wait, what?!” asked Krok.
“I’m wondering much the same,” said Megatron.
“You know what the runes are?” quizzed Flywheels.
“The Omnic Runes? They’re what allow Unicron to monitor his body’s insides,” explained Misfire.
“They’re his eyes and ears?!” yelped Victorion.
“That is why I’m a little nervous.”
“I know about them because I’m using Dark Energon to anticipate Unicron’s actions,” remarked Megatron. “How do YOU know about them?”
“I asked for permission to speak and was denied by Krok.”
“Answer my question!”
“Because I was on this planet 2,000 years ago as we were defeated, Sir. The entire 9th platoon was trapped in a cave system much like this one. It was a standard mission, Sir. We would tunnel underground, rise from below, seize the populace above, then claim it as Decepticon territory. Our target was Beijing as the Treaty of Beijing was about to be signed, thus ending the Great War. We were ordered to strike and kill everyone…but they were waiting.”
“The Chinese Military?”
“No, Sir, the Blendtrons.”
“…Blendtrons?” asked Krok.
“Decepti-drones taken from our numbers that had their minds assimilated into Unicron’s. Swordsmen.”
“Swords?!” scoffed Crankcase.
“Against Decepticon military might?” muttered Flywheels.
“And Decepti-drones?” remarked Megatron.
“You lot didn’t see them,” replied Misfire. “They had blades capable of deflecting our weapons, turning Decepticon fire back on itself. I lost 85% of that grand company. …We were deemed too expensive to reform; thus the Treaty of Beijing was signed.”
“Might I ask, how many were they?” asked Windblade.
“They numbered seven,” answered Misfire.
“Seven armies?” quizzed Grimlock.
“Seven regiments?” asked Thundercracker.
“Seven divisions?” This came from Optimus.
“Seven bots! They were a team of seven bots!” Misfire drew in a breath to calm himself. “I saw them and ordered the guns to be silenced. On they came, their blades trailing rivers of Energon. There was only one thing to do. I ordered everyone to seal up the caves and evacuate. We all barely escaped into the Wulong Valley, where we were picked up by Sentinel Prime himself. He didn’t believe our story and neither did anyone else on Cybertron.”
“Because your story has NO credibility whatsoever!” scoffed Krok. “Seven sword-wielding Decepti-drones couldn’t defeat a Decepticon army on the march!”
“Seven ordinary ones, no,” remarked Megatron.
“But ones assimilated into Unicron’s service?” asked Windblade.
“How could he do that when he has no physical body?!” argued Krok.
“He’s got powers beyond what we know,” replied Megatron. “Misfire, that noise over the comms as Spinister died, that’s what you heard in China?”
“Yes, Sir. The same slicing of metal and laughing as they reduced the 9th Platoon to 15% of its original numbers, annihilating us.”
“This is absurd!” scoffed Crankcase.
“I saw what I saw! I heard what I heard! I know what I know!”
“You also believe in the Necrobot!”
“ENOUGH!” roared Megatron. “We’ve tarried too long! Krok, you and your men will join us as we press on towards Unicron! Are there any more of your soldiers left?”
“Well, there IS Fulcrum, a member of K-squad,” replied Krok. “He’s pursuing the yellow runt.”
“Good, we could use a kamikaze troop like him.”
“A WHAT?!” yelped Optimus.
“That’s what the K means. They transform into bombs and have an explosive payload in them. Literal suicide bombs.”
“No kamikaze attacks! I want everyone alive!”
“No point in using him anyway!” grunted Crankcase. “His payload’s inert. If he transformed into bomb mode, he won’t go boom.”
“Oh, for the love of…! Let’s just go already!” snapped Megatron. Victorion disassembled into her separate components before they headed off.
Fulcrum groaned as he got up. “Ooff! …I’m alive? By Nexus Prime, I’m alive!”
“No need to go on about it!” replied Bumblebee.
“The runt!” yelped Fulcrum. “My orders! I…WHERE’S MY GUN?!”
“Looking for this?” asked Bumblebee as he pulled out Fulcrum’s gun.
“That weapon is Decepticon property! Give it back!”
“Here, for all the good it will do you. The power pack was damaged in the fall.”
“How do you know?”
“I was going to use it to shoot upwards to signal for help. After it failed to fire and I figured out why, I thought better of it.” Fulcrum then looked at his surroundings.
“Where are we?”
“No idea. Some sort of warren. Makes me wonder if Unicron’s planning to use this to house an army.”
“…Did…did you just…?”
“One of his servants beat us to it. He’s festering at the center of this planet.”
“…Unicron’s…HERE?!” Fulcrum was shaking in his proton boots.
“Come on, aren’t you K-squad? You shouldn’t be scared.” Bumblebee activated his headlights and looked around. They stopped on an opening blocked by rocks. “Hey! I think there might be a way through!”
“…To the surface?” asked Fulcrum.
“You DO realize we fell 30 stories, right?! It was only the fact that we transformed that we’re still talking about it!” Bumblebee shifted some of the rocks aside and looked through. “Hey! Over here! There’s a passage!” Fulcrum looked through the opening.
“But…but it leads…deeper underground!”
“Well, we’re going nowhere at the moment!”
“Besides, the way is blocked.”
“Then help me unblock it!” Fulcrum hesitated.
“I must…I must confirm with my superiors.” Fulcrum tapped the side of his head. “…MY COMMS! THEY’RE GONE!”
“I took that off you too. Leveled the playing field a bit. I tried calling my buddies on my own comms, but the fall damaged the circuits. I had to manually transform you to robot mode to check your own comms and then smashed them when I got to them.”
“To stop you from calling your friends for help, obviously!”
“WHY?!” Bumblebee stopped to explain.
“Because they would have killed me! Look, try to understand; I want to get out of here, but I can’t shift this rubble alone and I doubt you can either. Either we put aside our differences or we die.”
“Then…then I would rather die!” Fulcrum’s stance, his voice, even his face didn’t match his words.
“Oh, fine! Then we’ll just sit here and stare one another to death!”
“You don’t understand! Consorting with the enemy will give me a one-way ticket onto the D.J.D’s list!”
“I won’t tell if you don’t, Goggles!”
“…M…My name’s Fulcrum.”
“…I’m Bumblebee. Look, if we work together to get out of this and see our commanders shooting each other, then we’ll forget this ever happened and try to kill one another. Deal?”
“…I…I cannot accept. …It WOULD be different if you were my prisoner.”
“All right! If it means that much to you, I’m your prisoner! Now, do we have a deal?”
“If you are my prisoner…then, yes! Now, Prisoner Bumblebee, you take care of the rocks on the right, I’ll deal with the left!”
“Understood.” Bumblebee and Fulcrum then began their labors.