The Autobot/Mobian fleet cruised through warp space on schedule. No incidents occurred so far. On the Fang, Sludge looked on his console. “We’re approaching the Nebulan Solar System,” he reported.
“The other ships are reporting the same results,” called Slash as she looked on her tactical monitor. “Optimus is advising us to slow down.”
“Helm, slow us down to inter-solar system speeds,” ordered Grimlock.
“Taking us out of warp,” replied Slag. The whole fleet slowed down and entered the system.
“Prowl, inform Nebulan Space Patrol,” Optimus directed, “that we’re here to stop off and refuel.”
“Understood,” replied Prowl. He sent off the message. Trema was bouncing up and down excitedly.
“Nebulos, jewel of the galaxy, how I’ve missed you!” she giggled.
“Homesick?” asked Sira.
“Maybe a bit.”
“Many of us are gonna be the same way when we make it to Cybertron,” chuckled Prowl. A few seconds later, he received a reply to his message that made him arch an eyebrow. “…Okay, that’s oddly specific.”
“What is?” asked Optimus.
“Sir, the Nebulan Space Patrol said that our ships have a limit of a mile above the outermost atmosphere. Only organic life-forms are permitted, but not mechanical.”
“What?!” yelped Trema. “Optimus, last time I checked, we were still members of the Autobot Alliance!”
“What’s going on down there?” muttered Optimus.
“They mentioned that Llyra can explain the whole situation,” reported Prowl.
“Optimus, Decepticon fleet’s already there!” called Stormfront.
“Have they armed weapons?”
“…No, Sir, they haven’t.”
“Stranger and stranger,” muttered the young Prime. “Put us in a position opposite the Decepticons.”
“Prowl, inform the fleet of what we found and advise them to follow our example.”
“Already did, Sir,” replied Prowl. “They’re taking our advice.”
“Good to hear.”
“I thought you said that Nebulos joined us,” Sonic remarked to Amy.
“They did!” replied the pink hedgehog girl. “I don’t know why the Autobots can’t go down!”
“Well, it looks like we can’t go down,” muttered Strongarm.
“Tails,” called Cosmo, “we’re getting a call on an open channel from the planet.”
“Take it,” replied Tails. The captains of all ships appeared on the screen, even the ones under the Decepticon flag. After a few seconds, Llyra showed up.
“Greetings, Captains,” she welcomed. “I apologize for this rather awkward situation-”
“But your planet’s atmosphere now has traxaline gas in it?” finished Megatron.
“…Shockwave found it?” grunted Llyra. Megatron nodded with a wicked grin.
“Traxaline gas?” asked Optimus. “That’s a mechano-toxin! How did it get into the atmosphere?!”
“That’s thanks to Hi-Q’s Industrial Research Complex,” answered Llyra. “They detonated a bomb full of the stuff in an attempt to defend us from you guys should you ever go rogue.”
“That’s absurd!” growled Grimlock. “Autobots would never dare take matters into our own hands!”
“The Unicron Games beg to differ, according to those of my fellow Peers that gave Hi-Q the go-ahead to detonate that bomb.”
“Supreme Councilor Llyra, I assure you; you have nothing to fear from us!” urged Optimus.
“I don’t personally fear you, but I must speak for my planet. Besides, some of us can’t justify the collateral damage that occurs during your battles; thus, they don’t even bother to tell the difference between Autobot and Decepticon.”
“I must admit, I’m a little wounded,” remarked Megatron as a mock-hurt expression crossed his face. It then vanished. “Oh well, I have allies that can survive your atmosphere.”
“You are all welcome to refuel, but no battles in our solar system!” directed Llyra. “I won’t give the fearful a reason to act on hate.”
“…Very well,” sighed Optimus. While the call was going on, Trema let Prowl know of her plans and used Locus to get to the surface.
A pudgy Nebulan man with only a small line of hair on the back of his head got out of his shower the next morning. This was Hi-Q, the head of the Industrial Research Complex. He went to his closet and put on his undergarments, then put a visor over his eyes to help him see. He then went along his closet…to see that there was something missing. His eyes widened as he noticed a shadow next to his own. He whirled around to see Trema holding his high-collared robes in her hand. She then offered him the robes. “Finish with your dressing,” she grunted. “You and I need to talk. I was on the Autobot ship yesterday when everyone heard about the traxaline bomb your organization detonated over a year ago. I was then informed of more of your activities from Galen.”
“Am I supposed to be surprised?” scoffed Hi-Q as he took the robes out of Trema’s hand. “My activities were hardly a secret. You know, I WOULD say that you honor my house with your presence, but, given that you entered without my knowledge or consent, that statement would be a lie.”
“Fine, let’s BOTH tell the truth! I’m sure the people would be interested to know of the reasons behind your actions as much as they are mine! Poisoning the atmosphere against the Transformers, developing anti-mage weapons, acting on the word of only a few choice Peers!”
“What do you want, Trema?!” Hi-Q was losing patience for the game.
“I want to know what you think you’re doing!”
“Did Supreme Councilor Llyra ever tell you that, in order for her to be fully accepted by the Council of Peers, she had to give up the name of her magic teacher? A Ms. Telomak Tundal? One of the most notorious magic users in Nebulos’ history? We started to wonder what would happen if Llyra or people like her ever followed in Ms. Tundal’s footsteps and went rogue. Another Councilor then reminded us of how the Decepticon Headmasters and their partners nearly suffocated us with their constant politicking and bullying of those lower than them. A few interns under my employ then got the idea that the Autobot Headmasters might fall down the same path, so they ran several thousand computer simulations of both parties, sometimes combining them into one. Once I saw the results, I made them full employees with all benefits and privileges. If superpowered people like you or the Headmasters or the Autobots ever went rogue, what do you think would be the result?” Trema scoffed.
“Llyra’s always practiced restraint because of her power. She’s doing a good job teaching it to the upper class. Besides, Autobots don’t even like conquest. They prefer to help local governments instead of taking them over at the slightest failure. Your point is moot.”
“Humor me, won’t you? In every single scenario, superpowered Nebulans and Extraterrestrials beat us regular citizens…HORRIBLY. But that was before I detonated that bomb in our atmosphere. We’re protected against normal Transformers. We’re still working on the technology needed to defend ourselves against Headmasters and mages.” Trema then growled.
“Whatever you think you’re doing,” she warned, “if the Industrial Research Complex presents a threat to Nebulos, me and my friends and family will take you all down!”
“If WE present a threat?! You and your allies and enemies are sitting pretty on spaceships just outside our planet’s atmosphere with wands and guns pointing down to the surface! On other planets, that spelled an overthrow of their governments and the assassination of those planets’ leaders! WE’RE the good guys, protecting our planet and people from a very real threat! You!” Trema then noticed something in his eyes. Her expression softened just slightly out of pity before she used Locus to leave. Hi-Q then pulled out a communicator and called someone. “…It’s Hi-Q, verification 4-9-1-7-2-Tanswak. …Have the war room ready in 20 minutes. Get all division heads ready for the meeting an hour early. …That’s an order, Hi-Test!” He hung up