The Terrorcons saw what had happened through Rodimus Unicronus’ eyes and ears. Nemesis Prime was pacing in the throne room as Unicron was on the phone with someone while draped across the throne. Circuit Breaker was babbling to herself in a large birdcage by the throne. “This is bad!” gulped Nemesis. “This is REALLY bad! We’ve got a Prime who could upend everything! We can’t afford to lose any more Terrorcons! We need the enforcers! …Master?” Nemesis looked back at Unicron and groaned. “Master, how are you so calm?!” Unicron held up his pointer finger, telling his servant to give him a minute. Nemesis rolled his eyes as Unicron continued his call.
“Look, I understand that you sponsor all kinds of sporting events,” he remarked, “but, just so we’re clear, you DO realize everyone dies if I win, right?” The caller then pled its case. “…Uh huh. …Yes. …Right. …Yeah, I guess it WOULD be a win-win for you, wouldn’t it? All right, then, it’s officially the Unicron Games presented by Chaos-Cola!”
“I know someone who would kill for a Chaos-Cola right now!” called a third voice.
“WHOA! PRIMUS!” yelped Unicron as he and Nemesis saw Optimus.
“Nah, just Optimus,” snarked the young Prime.
“Need to put a bell on you!” muttered Nemesis as he took in a breath.
“Listen, something just came up,” Unicron explained to the person on the phone. “How about your people call mine and we’ll do lunch, all right? …All right, perfect! Bye!” He then hung up. “I swear, Optimus, you can give a guy an Anti-Spark attack popping in like that! I wasn’t expecting you for another two months! Must look a mess! We just got done touching up the ring, fixing one of the TOWERS!” he glared at Nemesis.
“I told you, the bomb wasn’t MY idea!” protested Nemesis. “I just suggested the food dye!”
“…WHAT?!” asked Optimus, confused at what his doppelganger said.
“Kids these days, I swear!” grunted Unicron. He then snapped his fingers as if he remembered. “Hey, why don’t we check out the arena? Nemesis, bring Ms. Beller with us, will you?” Nemesis bowed and picked up the cage as Unicron led everyone to the castle’s rear, where the arena was located. Optimus looked around the place as Unicron and Nemesis looked at him. “…Well?” asked Unicron after a few minutes. “What do you think of our glorious battleground?”
“…It’s all right,” replied Optimus in a noncommitted tone. “Kinda small, isn’t it?”
“Nemesis was trying to go for intimidation,” explained Unicron, “but I would say it’s…intimate!”
“Well, I ain’t feeling none of those things.”
“Oh, but you should be feeling intimidation at the very least! Because, in this arena, we will decide the fate of not only this boring blue ball of dirt and water, but the ENTIRE universe! So you had best bring your A-game, Optimus Prime, because the stakes…have NEVER been higher!” Unicron then laughed a dark laugh. Optimus then got a goofy grin. “No, don’t even try,” Unicron had abruptly stopped laughing. “I won’t have that kind of foolishness from you. Don’t even pretend I mentioned the meat.”
“…I wasn’t gonna ask if the prize was steak.”
“Yes, you were.”
“All right, so I was. Just humor me for a cycle. What is the prize?”
“Living! …Also, a lifetime supply of Chaos-Cola!”
“You know, they say ‘lifetime’, but they don’t consider the lifespan of the winner’s species. Anyway, I just came to announce my intention for me and two others to fight you in the Unicron Games as a team.”
“Bring as many as you wish, it won’t change my victory.”
“You know, we DID set up a hotline for people to declare their participation,” remarked Nemesis.
“I wanted to measure your master up in person,” explained Optimus. “And, Lord Unicron, I gotta say…nice!”
“Baby, you know it!” chuckled Unicron.
“Are you using a new wax?”
“Terrapin Metal Wax.”
“Really leaves a shine on your chassis, doesn’t it?”
“I take it you use it?”
“Yep! Well, I’ve seen all I need. Now, I’m off to go train with my teammates and prepare for the fight. See you in two months!”
“It’s a date!” Optimus then rang Teletraan.
“I’m all finished here. Bridge me back!” A Ground Bridge opened near him, and Optimus strode confidently through. As the bridge closed, Unicron turned to Nemesis.
“I’m gonna miss him when he’s gone,” he remarked.
“I won’t,” replied Nemesis. Unbeknownst to them, Circuit Breaker had stopped making noises and had heard the conversation with a clearer mind.
Optimus arrived back in the command center. “So,” remarked Megatron as he greeted Optimus, “Unicron knows about you, I see?”
“Knowing him, he’s probably not taking me all that seriously,” replied Optimus. “Probably thinking the Matrix is at its pre-bricking levels. Speaking of which, I need to get started on the Three Powers and their duplicates.”
“The materials are all arranged according to the list you sent Teletraan.”
“That will make it easier. I must forge them alone.”
“We’ve got a forge-room all set up.” Megatron led Optimus to a separate room where the Forge sat on the Creation Lathe. Six piles of materials sat to the left of the Lathe.
“I can take it from here,” assured Optimus.
“Very well,” answered Megatron as he left. Optimus then moved one of the piles onto the Lathe and keyed in a command. The pile then floated in the air and arranged itself into a large cylinder. He took up the Forge…then saw a reflection in it. It looked like he was back to Orion Pax.
“Wait, did I…?” he yelped before calming down. “You’re my past journey, aren’t you?”
“I am,” answered the reflection. “Be careful.”
“…I know. This…this has never happened to me before.”
“What will you do?”
“For the immediate future? I’ve got the Three Powers and their duplicates to forge. After that, do what I can to win the Unicron Games. …Beyond that…I don’t know.” The reflection faded from the Forge. Optimus sighed before returning his attention to his work.
“Solus Prime, I pray to you, guide my blows,” he wished.
“Happy to help where I can,” answered Solus’ voice. A spectral silhouette of her arm then surrounded his. Optimus adjusted his grip on the Forge and, with a roar, swung it hard onto the materials. He swung repeatedly and with great ferocity. As the Forge hit its mark, the materials were being rearranged on the molecular level while an outline of a large rifle flashed with each strike. Optimus refused to stop until the work was complete.