Back on Mobius, Alexis Silverwing was at Autobot HQ. She was pinching the bridge of her nose after Optimus had introduced her to Prowl. “Okay,” she sighed, “you wanna walk me through the thought process here?”
“It wasn’t my decision,” replied Optimus. “The Council decided to send him here. At least we can prepare for a Decepticon threat.”
“It’s that coming threat that concerns me!” snapped Alexis. “Prime, when N.E.S.T. was formed, you assured me that we could handle any threat. Old enemies of the Autobots coming from Cybertronian prison is a little out of our league!”
“Don’t worry,” assured Optimus, “we got this.”
“Forgive me if I’m skeptic,” remarked Alexis.
“You saying that we can’t handle a few measly Cons?” asked Ironhide. He then tore a hanging piece of machinery off the ceiling. “Autobots know when to use force and how much force to use.” He crushed the machine, which prompted Ratchet to say “Ironhide, I needed that!”
“Enough,” called Optimus. “Ma’am, we will end this threat once it arrives.”
“Says you,” hissed Alexis. “I have to report back to Commander Tower. Your ship leaves cause for concern.”
“Understandable,” replied Optimus. Alexis then left for her car and drove off.
“In all probability,” muttered Prowl, “it could have gone worse.”
“Could have gone worse?!” protested Bumblebee. “Prowl, coming here just jeopardized our mission here! If we weren’t hounded by both Shockwave and Eggman…!”
“Bumblebee, that’s enough,” snapped Optimus. “Besides, I think Prowl can help us. The more bots we have here, the more likely we’ll find Shockwave and bring her to justice.”
“Ironhide told me about your first battle with her,” remarked Prowl. “Did you actually bring her to a standstill?”
“Er, well no,” answered Optimus.
“Optimus, Shockwave is a powerful Decepticon,” replied Prowl. “She will not go down easily. Nothing seems to stop her as she’s always one step ahead of her opponents.”
“Wow, way to kill the optimism,” muttered Cliffjumper.
“I’m being realistic,” said Prowl. “I’ve seen her power first hand when I was in the Praxian internment camp run by her. Whatever Autobots went out of line served as either raw materials or guinea pigs.”
“Well, she doesn’t have a spaceship,” countered Optimus. “We’ll just beat her with it and throw her in its brig until we get to Cybertron. Oh, that reminds me, I still need to name the thing.” Optimus thought over it. “Eh, I’ll let you guys and G.U.N. figure it out amongst yourselves.”
“I’ve already taken control as ship-board A.I.,” reported Teletraan, “and I have finally found her!”
“You did?!” cheered Optimus. “Where is she?!”
“She’s moving towards a relic that was uncovered by Eggman’s forces,” answered Teletraan. “She’s an hour behind, so we have enough time to get rid of Eggman’s robots. On top of that, Prowl should be able to find a new vehicle mode.”
“Already have one,” replied Prowl, “just need to integrate it with my t-cog.”
“Try it out now,” suggested Optimus.
“PROWL, TRANSFORM!” announced Prowl. His arms went under the chest unit as the hover generators moved to the side. His lower torso twisted and folded to become the rear of the car and the door wings shut onto the sides of the car. Prowl’s holo-form was a Mobian German Shepard in police gear.
“That DOES look promising,” praised Optimus. “You chose a good form, Prowl.”
“He’s not going alone, is he?” asked Ironhide.
“No,” replied Optimus. “Ironhide, you’re with us as well.”
“What about us?” asked Jazz.
“You might need a medic,” suggested Ratchet.
“Unless Egghead has any of his Transformers,” answered Optimus, “I don’t want to leave the base totally unguarded.”
“He doesn’t,” reported Teletraan, “so you, Prowl, and Ironhide should be enough.”
“Then let’s roll out!” rallied Optimus. He and Ironhide transformed and all three Autobots sped into the Ground Bridge. They arrived at the coordinates and caught the attention of Eggman’s forces. The Autobots quickly transformed and cut through the robots. It took all of three minutes.
“Sheesh,” muttered Ironhide, “they used to be tougher than this!”
“I’m guessing you’ve had very little in the way of problems with Eggman,” guessed Prowl.
“Dude, the last robot he threw at us turned into a giant egg beater,” confirmed Optimus. “Bumblebee had to throw a rock into the mechanisms that turned the beaters to destroy it.”
“That’s…rather sad,” remarked Prowl.
“I know, right?” asked Optimus. “In any case, let’s see what we’ve got here.” Optimus put his hand on the top and noticed a jiggle. “Aw, man!” he wailed. “I’ll never show off my skills to Prowl now!”
“What skills?” inquired Prowl.
“His coding skills,” explained Ironhide.
“He can code?” asked Prowl.
“I was a data clerk before I became Prime,” elaborated Optimus. “In fact, I was the best.”
“On the one servo,” mused Prowl, “it would be nice to see your skills in action. On the other, we don’t need to waste energy and precious time opening the thing.”
“Fair enough,” conceded Optimus. He then took the lid off. “All right,” he said as he peered inside, “let’s see what’s…SCRAP!” He slammed the lid back on and pointed his gun at the relic.
“Problem?” asked Ironhide.
“It’s a cache of Energon,” gulped Optimus.
“That’s a good thing, right?” quizzed Prowl.
“Not this stuff,” replied Optimus. “Ironhide, call HQ and tell them we have a Tox-En problem. Ask Ratchet if we have a containment unit for the stuff.” The two mechs’ optics went wide.
“Ratchet, we have a cache of Tox-En here,” called Ironhide over the radio. “Is there a containment unit for it?”
“I’m afraid not,” answered Ratchet. “Even if we did have one, it would still depend on the mass and density of the crystal.”
“Slag!” swore Ironhide.
“Then let’s leave it here,” suggested Optimus. “If we don’t want it, then neither will Shockwave.”
“Optimus, who do you think made the stuff?” asked Prowl.
“Remember when I told you about how the entire 1st division of Wreckers was wiped out by a disease?” reminded Ironhide. “That’s the very source of the disease. No way am I going to let Shockwave have it!”
“Then we have to destroy it,” declared Optimus. “But how? From what I’ve heard, Tox-En must be destroyed completely and blasting it won’t cut it. From what I’ve also heard, dizziness and nausea occur on contact and prolonged exposure weakens a bot to the point of paralysis and then snuffs the spark.”
“There’s a volcano 20 kliks from your position,” reported Teletraan. “Throw it in there, container and all.”
“Are you sure it’ll melt in the lava?” asked Optimus.
“Positive,” assured Teletraan.
“Then let’s get rid of this thing,” affirmed Optimus.
“Bots,” called Ironhide, “Shockwave inbound!” Shockwave was rapidly approaching the three Autobots in vehicle mode with Metal Sonic on top.
“All right, bots,” warned Metal Sonic, “hand over the relic, and no one gets hurt.”
“You want it?” snarled Ironhide. He then transformed and opened his back door. Optimus put the relic container inside. “Come and get it!” continued Ironhide. All Autobots zoomed off and went opposite the volcano. Metal Sonic took to the air and Shockwave pursued on the ground.
“You know,” called Metal Sonic, “this can go a lot easier if you let us have the…toxin.”
“It’s Tox-En,” corrected Shockwave, “short for Toxic Energon. And Metal Sonic is right, I fail to see the logic in pursuit. Give us the Tox-En and we’ll let you go.”
“So you can use it on us?” asked Optimus. “No thank you!”
“We won’t, we promise!” shouted Metal Sonic.
“Liar!” called Prowl.
“I thought my visual apparatus was malfunctioning,” remarked Shockwave. “I could have sworn you died, Prowl.”
“Well, you’re clearly wrong!” snapped Prowl.
“Soon to be corrected,” declared Shockwave.
“If I don’t put you behind bars first!” shouted Prowl as he turned around and charged at Shockwave.
“Prowl! Stay in formation!” ordered Optimus. “We don’t have time for grudges!” Prowl didn’t listen. Shockwave was about to fire, but Prowl transformed and jumped onto her top. He then pulled her gun up to the sky and directed the shot to Metal Sonic. Metal Sonic saw the oncoming laser blast and dodged.
“Hey! Watch where you’re shooting!” he shouted. Shockwave didn’t dignify that with a response and started twirling her gun barrel to throw Prowl off. Prowl jumped off in the nick of time and Shockwave transformed. The duel began, but it was an even duel. Like Shockwave, Prowl is a logically minded bot. Pit him against another logically minded bot, and you have a stalemate. For every punch Shockwave pulled, Prowl was fast enough to counter it, even when she used Five Servos of Doom. For every kick Prowl made, Shockwave had already calculated how to block it in five different ways. If it weren’t for the fact that they both needed to recharge, they would have dueled like this forever. Optimus and Ironhide, however, still needed to get Metal Sonic off their skidplates before they could help Prowl.
“Ironhide, what do you suggest?” asked Optimus.
“We need aerial support,” replied Ironhide. “I can’t get up there because it would put the Tox-En too close to Metal Sonic’s claws.”
“You can’t, but I can,” planned Optimus. “I’ll keep Metal Sonic busy. Get to the volcano and dispose of the relic.”
“Yes, Sir!” confirmed Ironhide. Optimus switched to flight mode and took to the air. Metal Sonic tried to dive down, but Optimus got in the way. He kept pushing and nudging Metal Sonic upwards.
“A pity you can’t even catch me, much less Ironhide,” Optimus taunted. “What’s even more pitiful is that you can’t do this!” Optimus then dismissed his holo-form and converted to robot mode in mid-air. The vehicle mode hover generators were now flight jets.
“A pity that you didn’t upgrade yourself after our last encounter!” called Metal Sonic. He stuck his right arm out and used some invisible force to grab Optimus by the leg. All of a sudden, Optimus felt himself being slammed into the ground. “Ah, it’s amazing what one can find,” cheered Metal Sonic, “such as the Polarity Gauntlet! Shockwave examined it and upgraded my hands to have magnetic fields be generated so I can push objects away or lift them as if I had the strength of titans!” To prove the latter, Metal Sonic grabbed Optimus by the shoulder and flew straight up. “Tell me, Defectimus Prime, how did you manage to believe that defending these meat sacks would amount to anything?!”
“I don’t know,” countered Optimus, “how did you manage to fix the icing problem with the resources of this planet?”
“…Icing problem?” asked Metal Sonic. It was then that he realized he went too high and ice had formed all over him, interfering with the proper functioning of his new Polarity Hands. They shut off and he briefly drifted from Optimus.
“Might want to look into it,” suggested Optimus as he grabbed Metal Sonic and tossed him towards terra firma. As Metal Sonic fell, Optimus paused in the air for a few seconds until gravity remembered how to work on objects. As Optimus fell, he tried to engage his flight jets. “Flight mode, activate! Jets, online! Flying things, turn on!” Nothing was working. “Come on! Come on! Come on! Prime jets, on!” That was the phrase and the flight jets were on! “Yes!” cheered Optimus as he flew to where Metal Sonic was falling, caught him, and threw him straight at Shockwave. She didn’t see the oncoming object and was soon given a hit straight to the processor.
“Optimus, what are you doing?!” protested Prowl.
“Screwing things over for Shockwave!” said Optimus. He then punched Shockwave in the chest and got Prowl to transform and follow him.
“What’s your plan of attack?” asked Prowl.
“Er…” stammered Optimus.
“YOU DON’T HAVE A PLAN?!” said Prowl.
“I’m making this up as I…,” Optimus trailed off as he saw a building with some explosive rockets near a G.U.N. base, “…go. Prowl, go get a mobile missile launcher platform from the base over there. I have an idea. No leaving the mission behind to satisfy a grudge, understand?”
“Yes, Sir!” obliged Prowl as he moved toward the base. Optimus, in the meantime, kept up the attack as best he could what with Shockwave having the Polarity gauntlet on her person. Shockwave kept picking rocks out of the ground with said gauntlet by using the more ferrous minerals as a means to do so. Metal Sonic wasn’t making things any easier. He had put concealed blasters into the back of his hands and had started using them. Optimus danced around the blasts, but it was putting a drain on his internal Energon reserves.
“Come on, Ironhide!” muttered Optimus aloud. “Where are you?!”
“Right here, Prime!” called Ironhide’s voice.
“Wait, you’re back?!” yelped Metal Sonic. “Then where’s…?
“The Autobots have successfully distracted us from obtaining the Tox-En,” guessed Shockwave. “We failed. As compensation, I shall liberate you from your existence, Autobots.” She then pulled out a small device from her subspace pocket. She flicked it into the air like a coin and then shot an energy blast from her right palm. “CYBER KEY POWER!” she shouted. She then activated her gun arm as the device inserted itself into her weapon’s power pack and turned like a key. Her gun barrel casing then split into two panels and let the inner barrel extend.
“What the?!” yelped Optimus. “A Scrapmaker Rifle?!”
“Where’d that come from?!” cried Ironhide. Shockwave then fired on the two.
“Prowl, where are you?!” shouted Optimus over the comms.
“We have her in our sights,” called Prowl over the comms. “I see she’s using her Cyber Key.”
“Cyber Key?” gulped Ironhide. “That’s just a myth!”
“You saw her invoke it with your own optics, why call it a myth?” asked Prowl. “In any case, I have the missile launcher unit. We’re ready to fire at your command.”
“Do it!” declared Optimus. Prowl nodded to the commander of the unit and the missiles were launched directly at Shockwave. The explosion of missiles hitting their target was deafening. All they could see was the light from the aftermath. “Did we get her?!” asked Optimus excitedly.
“Prime,” sighed Prowl, “Teletraan is still sending us her spark signature. Why do you even ask?”
“I’m an optimist,” replied Optimus.
“You’re an idiot!” insulted Ironhide.
“Both of you are wrong,” answered Shockwave as the dust cleared, “you’re dead.” A red aura had surrounded Shockwave to protect her from the missile fire. She then jumped to where Prowl was and tossed him into the others. She then proceeded to fire on them and damage them.
“Optimus, we have to get out of here!” coughed Ironhide.
“And let Shockwave terrorize G.U.N?” protested Optimus. “Not fragging likely!”
“Optimus, I’ve run through all possible scenarios in my battle computer,” reported Prowl. “We’ve destroyed the Tox-En. Let’s get out of here!”
“Not gonna happen,” snarled Optimus. “Until Shockwave is brought down, I’m not backing down!”
“One glaring flaw in your logic,” remarked Shockwave, “you’re outmatched.”
“Warning,” reported Optimus’ internal computer. “Power reserves, ninety-six percent depleted. Stasis lock, commencing.”
“Override!” ordered Optimus.
“Repeat, power loss critical,” droned his internal computer. “Further expenditures will result in loss of Spark. Stasis lock must commence.”
“OVERRIDE!” shouted Optimus.
“Acknowledged,” replied the computer.
“Many an Autobot have disregarded the warnings of their internal computers,” mused Shockwave. “All have fallen by my hand as they believe the universe has given them ‘Burning Justice’ to get through the fight.”
“We’ll see what can get me through this fight!” snarled Optimus as he got into a defensive stance. Inside Shockwave’s head, she had projected a 3-D holographic image of the finishing blows.
“First, fire at target’s torso slightly to the left. Target will twist and turn 360° to attempt wild right hook. Initiate Five Servos of Doom to first block with left arm, then jab at wrist, elbow, and shoulder joints in that order, then left uppercut to face. Target will be at critical power loss and land flat on its back. Fire at Spark Chamber. Primary Results: Autobots are thrown into chaos without their Prime, forces will haphazardly retreat, and will one day leave their base open to attack on account of morale being destroyed. Secondary results: Experiments on the Matrix are opened. Initiate plan.” Shockwave quickly fired on Optimus who twisted out of the way and moved to throw a wild right hook, which Shockwave blocked. A nano-second after that, she jabbed at his arm joints and finished with a left handed uppercut to his face, knocking him flat on his back. At that point, Shockwave planted a foot on his chest.
“Final Warning: Power failing,” droned Optimus’ computer, “Jeopardy extreme. Repeat: Extreme.”
“You are at a disadvantage,” declared Shockwave. “I have a means to increase my power. I have years of combat and scientific experience ‘under my belt’, as the humans would put it. You are exhausted. Damaged beyond recovery. Defeated. What can you possibly do?” Optimus looked around hopelessly, then saw an object glint. His optics zoomed in and saw the object. He grinned.
“What can I do?” he chuckled. “Something you’ve never truly done, improvise!” Optimus then bit down on her foot. Shockwave howled in pain and started hopping around, clutching her foot. As the Auto-imp laughed, she then kicked him in the mouth. It was so hard, he landed nearer to the object. “So worth losing a few dental plates!” he said. The object then beamed information into his head. He got up again after the data transfer was complete. “Hey! Shockwave! Just tell me if I’m doing it wrong!” Shockwave’s eye flickered for a moment, her indication of blinking. He then flicked the object into the air and gathered energy into his right palm. “CYBER KEY POWER!” he shouted. His gun then floated into the air in front of him as he deployed his axe. Once the key inserted itself into the back of the gun and twisted, the gun’s handle moved to the back as a handle on top sprouted and the barrel split and extended. The axe handles combined as it inserted itself into the barrel. “Sweet! Spark Drinker Axe!” cheered Optimus.
“Power levels now at acceptable margins,” reported his internal computer. “Stasis lock warning cancelled.”
“Now, Shockwave,” called Optimus, “I hope you don’t think I’m being a tad excessive!”
“Cyber Key power now depleted,” answered Shockwave’s computer.
“No!” shouted Shockwave as her gun arm returned to its normal configuration and the aura disappeared.
“That’s fine!” replied Optimus as if she just answered his question. “After all, as a Prime, I must be fair!” He then raised his axe. “This is gonna hurt me a lot more than it does you!”
“I sincerely doubt that!” hissed Shockwave. “Sigma, divert all available power to primary weapon!”
“Compliance,” obliged Sigma. As available weapons power built up, Optimus charged at Shockwave at top speed. She fired. A single bolt of red light flew towards Optimus with the intent to do damage, but it failed. It bounced off of Optimus and he struck Shockwave. She fell and landed hard. The impact caused a significant power drain that she went into stasis lock. Metal Sonic saw this and used his Polarity hands to lift Shockwave and then summoned a Ground Bridge back to base. Once they went through, the portal closed.
“Whooo!” cheered Optimus wearily as he waved his axe above him. The energy then faded and his new Cyber Key turned into its old position to let the axe turn back into his gun and combiner axe. Optimus then fell flat on his back and allowed himself to go into stasis lock.