Slash sniffed the air as she and Rattrap walked. “WAIT!” she called. “I detect a scent! Vile corruption! A whiff of…festering putrefaction!”
“So I had a limburger sandwich for lunch,” remarked Rattrap. “I’m a rat, give me a break.”
“I’ve been uncomfortably aware of your stench for the past hour, Vermin. This is something else.” Slash sniffed again. “Something over…THERE!” Her head moved forward towards a set of rocks…a set of rocks with tarantula legs scuttling off of them!
“HE’S MINE!” called Rattrap as he transformed to robot mode and flicked a Cyber Key into the air. “CYBER KEY POWER!” It inserted itself into his back and rotated. The armor near his hips then released wheels as his legs folded at the knee to make stabilizer struts for the wheels. He tore off at top speed after Tarantulas transformed to his own bot mode and ran.
“LEAVE BATTLE TO THE WARRIORS, MOUSE!” shouted Slash as she took off after Rattrap. Tarantulas then jumped over a small cliff. Rattrap and Slash then jumped after him. They landed on the ground and looked out over the flat terrain.
“…Hey, uh…where’d he go?” asked Rattrap. Slash sniffed the air again, then the ground opened beneath their feet and wheels. They both tumbled down the hole and landed on a slide with Slash on top of Rattrap. “HEY! GET YOUR FEET OUT OF MY FACE, LIZARD LLIIIIIIIIIIAAAAAAAAH!” The two then went down the slide. Slash had to tilt Rattrap’s upper body side to side so she could avoid the stalactites. She then hit one that she missed, causing a boulder to roll down the slide after them. They reached the bottom and skidded to a stop once they hit the ground. Slash got off of Rattrap and transformed to her bot mode. Rattrap’s Cyber Key then popped out and his wheels turned back into legs. They checked themselves over, then Tarantulas jumped down from the ceiling and leveled a firearm at them while cackling.
“Playground’s closed, Minimals!” taunted Tarantulas.
“How long did it take for you to come up with that, Eight-eyes?” asked Rattrap.
“Same amount of time as your insult, Rodent!”
“The counter-virus!” demanded Slash. “Hand it over!”
“Not until I am named the new Flame Convoy! You better think fast! Hydran doesn’t possibly…huh?” Tarantulas’ attention was grabbed by rumbling coming from behind him. He turned to see the boulder for only a split-second before it caught him up in its embrace as it rolled to the cave wall. It pinned the spider against the wall…HARD.
“Ooh, that’s gotta hurt!” winced Rattrap. The boulder broke apart as Tarantulas fell from the wall, unconscious.
The two rivals decided to drag Tarantulas with them throughout the cave system. “Man,” complained Rattrap, “this day just keeps getting better and better!”
“Yes,” grunted Slash, “there’s little I enjoy more than hauling an unconscious arachnid through underground tunnels! …ARGH, THIS IS ABSURD!” She released Tarantulas and kicked him!
“Hey!” protested Rattrap. “We need Spider-boy there to get the counter-virus, Toothy! And you know these caverns gotta lead to his lab!”
“I know nothing of the sort! Unlike you, I don’t spend my time scurrying through sewers!”
“Yeah? Well, a sewer smells better than your breath, Bronto-brain!”
“You’ll get used to it when I bite your useless head off!”
“DIE, MAXIMALS!” During the argument, Tarantulas had regained consciousness and leveled his gun at his enemies.
“SHUT UP!” shouted Slash and Rattrap as they both punched him in the face.
Meanwhile, Airachnid and Scorponok searched the lab at the end of the tunnels. They still hadn’t found the virus sample needed to make more. “This is absurd!” grunted Airachnid. “A spider doesn’t need to spend their whole life underground!”
“Quit yammering!” barked Scorponok. “We still need to find the…huh?” his attention was grabbed by a computer warning. Airachnid got further details. It detected Slash and Rattrap dragging Tarantulas through the tunnels, still arguing. Slash mentioned that she didn’t see how noble it was to go offline underground while Rattrap was giving her fake sympathy. “Not good,” muttered Scorponok. Airachnid activated her comms.
“ Airachnid to Saurion, I suggest that all Predacons, Novacons, and Decepticons report to Tarantulas’ lab immediately. We’re about to have company.”
Back at Fortress Maximus, the Autobots, Omnibots, Mobians, and Maximals had gathered outside. “We can’t wait any longer!” urged Optimus. “For Hydran’s sake, we need to launch a frontal attack!”
“Wait,” moaned Hydran pitifully as he appeared at the door, “I’m coming too.”
“Hold on there, Sir,” countered Kong. “You’re a little under the weather, remember?”
“Hey, if I’m going to tear up the wallpaper,” replied Hydran as he stumbled outside, “I might as well do it on Pred turf.” He then started to fall forward. Grimlock caught him before he hit the ground.
“Your power cells are dangerously low, Hydran!” he reminded the Flame Convoy.
“Can you guys eat stuff besides Energon?” asked Sonic.
“Yeah, but only in beast mode,” replied Cheetor. “Besides, it’s only to top off power reserves.”
“It might be his best chance,” remarked Sonic. “Hydran, you might wanna transform and eat something.”
“You know, that’s a good idea, Mr. Sonic.” Hydran transformed, albeit sluggishly.
“Fliers, take point,” ordered Optimus. “The rest of us will converge on Predacon City as fast as we can! Time to voice our complaints to the Predacons personally! Let’s roll out!” Everyone then headed off in the direction of Predacon City. Hydran then saw a thicket of wild bean vines near Fortress. He tentatively munched on a bean, then gave a hum of approval before he tore into them.
Back in Tarantulas’ lab, all of those under the Decepticon Banner had gathered as Airachnid pressed a few buttons before something rose from a desk. It was a container of glowing, green liquid. “Here it is!” she cheered.
“The virus?” asked Megatron.
“No, the counter-virus,” replied Airachnid.
“Probably what the oncoming Maximals are after,” muttered Scorponok. He then leveled a claw at it. “We must destroy it!”
“NO!” shouted Saurion as he grabbed the container. He then examined it, forgetting all the others in the lab. “You think you can just expire like that? No. You still have use. A bargaining chip should remain in play until the game is over, yes.”
“Why do you always talk to yourself?” asked Megatron, snapping Saurion back to reality.
“Ah, I simply have a penchant for INTELLIGENT conversation!” Megatron twitched at the implications in that sentence.