“He wouldn’t dare!” gasped Trema.
“What’s going on?” asked Sonic.
“He’s trapping the city in a special kind of magic dome!” explained Optimus. “If an attack hits it, it will be reflected and hit somewhere or someone else!”
“But if the attack is lethal…!” breathed Jazz, putting two and two together.
“Now, do you understand the gravity of the situation?!” asked Aaron.
“These people have nothing to do with our fight!” shouted Optimus. “Lower the dome now!”
“Not a chance!” countered Aaron. “There WILL be casualties! As such, since you try to defend these technology worshipping ants, it will be on YOUR hands, not mine!”
“Take it down! Now!” ordered Optimus.
“You are in no position to give orders!” roared Aaron. He then started firing energy blasts from his hands. He stayed in the air and kept Optimus to the ground.
“Scrap!” thought Optimus. “I have to get him down, otherwise he’d dodge and the attack would hit the dome!”
“PRIME!” shouted Prowl. “HE’S TOO POWERFUL! RUN!”
“Are you out of your gourd?!” protested Optimus. “I can’t run! Too much is at stake!”
“Optimus, trust Prowl!” urged Teletraan. “He’s got a plan!” Optimus continually shifted his vision between Prowl and Aaron. He finally gave a groan of frustration, transformed into vehicle mode, and sped off.
“COWARD!” roared Aaron as he took off in pursuit. Optimus pulled off every flying maneuver in the book to shake him off, but it did no good.
“Will you get off my aft?!” shouted Optimus.
“DIE, SCRAPHEAP!” screamed Aaron as he fired an energy blast. Thankfully, Optimus was low enough so the attack would hit pavement and not the dome.
“No,” thought Optimus, “I guess not.”
“Optimus, blind him for a bit,” suggested Prowl, “then mask yourself. Amy’s informed me of a spell that can hide you from other magic users.”
“I have mastered that spell, yes,” replied Optimus. “Then what, wait for the right time to strike?”
“No,” corrected Prowl. “Stay hidden until he loses it!”
“What?!” yelped Optimus.
“Trust me!” said Prowl. “I have a theory!”
“Okay,” muttered Optimus, with a bit of uncertainty. “Optimus Prime: Super Mode!” He transformed, took a cylinder from his right leg, and threw it at Aaron. Aaron fired a blast and detonated the Cybertronian flash grenade Optimus threw.
“MY EYES!” he roared. He tried various eye healing spells, but his vision still took a long time to return. When it did, Optimus had disappeared. “Oh, want to play that game, hm? It’s easy to track you, you know? Quis Inveniet.” An orb on energy flew in front of Aaron. “Now, since you use magic, it should be easy to find you!” The orb glowed and glowed…and glowed…and glowed some more. “This isn’t right!” snarled Aaron. “I should be able to track you unless…oh no!” He dismissed the orb. “That’s not how the game is played!” He fired on the ground. “Optimus, you can’t hide from me forever! Where are you?! OPTIMUS PRIME!!” The aforementioned Autobot was hiding in an alleyway per his 2nd lieutenant’s suggestion. He used a spell to mask himself completely.
“Grgh!” he thought. “Every fiber of my being wants to take up the gauntlet, to face him, but Prowl’s plan depends on me staying still!”
“OPTIMUS! FACE ME!” screamed Aaron, sounding desperate. “Please! In the roar of battle, there was peace! Sanctuary! I DON’T WANT TO REMEMBER!!” That made Optimus arch an eyebrow.
“Remember what?” he thought. “Maybe I should see how this plays out.”
“OPTIMUS! COME OUT AND FIGHT! OPTIMUS!” cried Aaron. He then let off an unearthly shriek! As Optimus covered his Audio receptors, the noise shattered many windows in the surrounding area. Optimus cautiously opened one optic and directed it skyward to see that the dome was disappearing!
“What in the…?!” he gasped. The citizens of Station Square echoed his reaction. The scream had died as Aaron landed, not so gracefully, on the pavement. “Autobots,” called Optimus over the comms as he stepped out of the alley, “converge on my position. I think Prowl needs to explain his theory.” Aaron saw him and raised his hand to fire a magic bolt. Optimus got into a defensive stance and prepared for the blast, but nothing happened. Aaron goggled at the lack of magic and tried again, but there was still nothing.
“What did you do?!” he roared.
“The only thing I did to you was throw a flash grenade at you!” protested Optimus as he went to normal robot mode.
“Not exactly,” answered Prowl’s voice as he, Sonic, Shadow, Amy, Trema, and the other Autobots arrived on the scene. “It’s all come together. My neural clusters are in top gear!”
“What do you mean?” asked Shadow as he gingerly held his sides.
“During the fight, it looked like he was in denial about something,” explained Prowl. “When Optimus had given us the rundown of the conference with Team Dark about the potential misuse of a Chaos Emerald, I was floored that the name Witwicky was being dragged through the mud like that. At that point, I started doing my research on Aaron. He had a habit of vlogging and he always had his wife and children with him. They gave the look of a family that always had fun times; however my optics are specially designed to observe 800 moving objects and calculate their direction of travel in 0.5 seconds. As such, I can focus on the tiniest details, even in a video. I noticed that your wife, Mikaela, was giving off very tiny twitches in her face. I did some more research and found that she made a vlog herself.”
“What?!” yelped Aaron. “Impossible! She was terrible with computers!”
“Her vlog begs to differ,” argued Prowl. “During its run, she made mention to domestic abuse.”
“LIES!” roared Aaron.
“That’s not what the twitches in her body said,” answered Prowl. “They told me enough to know that she spoke the truth. She even showed a handprint on her cheek in one of them.”
“Must have been one of her ‘friends’!” hissed Aaron. “She hung out with catty girls!”
“Impossible,” countered Prowl. “The handprint was too square-like for a woman’s hand, even for a heavyset one. All evidence points to the fact that the lover’s nest wasn’t a happy nest. Even your children, Samantha and Timmy, got onto Mikaela’s vlog to expose your crimes. When they were shot, a soldier under your command was blamed. However, I saw the trial’s outcome and the twitches in the defendant’s body suggest that he didn’t do it. The point was moot, sadly, as he was found guilty and sentenced to the firing squad. Then, you started blaming technology and an uneasy peace as the killer. However, that’s not true, is it? You were using magic to try and drown out the noise of the victims’ ghosts blaming you.”
“If you’re suggesting that I killed my wife and children…!” snarled Aaron.
“That’s exactly what I’m saying,” deduced Prowl. “You actually knew about Mikaela’s vlog and her exposing of your crimes. You didn’t want her saying that your world wasn’t perfect or for children to call you evil, so you disposed of the witnesses and fabricated the crime scene to make it look like that soldier was the killer. After the outcome of the trial, you started hearing voices, so you used magic to start a war to drown out the noise because battle was the only way you could ever be happy. What you didn’t know was that the War of Four Orders, as many people across the universe call it, would spread to the wizards and witches of Cybertron, thus sullying magic for a good long while.”
“You have no proof!” roared Aaron. “Let’s say I DID do it, how are you going to prove it? Your eyes won’t be taken as evidence! And all proof that doesn’t relate to tiny twitches in my body is in the past! No court will accept evidence from the latter half of the 28th century!”
“Ah, but there IS current proof!” replied Prowl. “And it came from your own mouth!” Aaron goggled at the police bot. “When you started the fight, I noticed that you kept saying that battle was glorious, proving that you can’t function outside of battle. When Optimus taunted you about your family, it struck a raw nerve! As such, it let me formulate a plan. Of course, the dome that would reflect all attacks onto civilians did leave an x factor, but my people pride themselves on adaption, so I shifted gears and convinced Optimus to run. Being the battle-lusting fighter you are, you weren’t going to be satisfied until you fought him and crushed him. Thankfully, Optimus threw a flash grenade in your face so he could hide and deny you battle with him. That didn’t sit well with you and so you started searching for him. That was the moment when you said, and I quote, ‘Please! In the roar of battle, there was peace! Sanctuary! I don’t want to remember!’ But you do. Aaron Witwicky: killer of Mikaela, Samantha, and Timothy Witwicky. You thought the roar of battle by magic would bury the ghosts of those that you’ve wronged. Let me tell you right now, as a bot that almost went down that path, you’re wrong.”
“I AM NOT!” roared Aaron as he tried to fire magic bolts, to no avail.
“Aaron, enough,” urged Amy. “That emotional outburst has proven that you are unworthy of wielding magic. You divided the Wizards and Witches of all Orders, you started a war for selfish reasons, and you’ve blamed other people for your mistakes! The simple fact of the matter is, you’ve been stripped of magic. Granted, I’ve never heard of people stripping themselves of magic.”
“There is precedence,” replied Trema, “just not on Mobius in any of its eras.”
“Now then,” declared Prowl as he transformed. He slapped handcuffs on Aaron. “Aaron Witwicky, former Army Captain of the now defunct United States Armed Forces, you are under arrest. The charges include murder, fabrication of evidence, starting a war with no authorization from any government, and other various war crimes too numerous and horrible to mention. You have the right to remain silent. Anything you say or do can and will be used against you in a court of law. You have the right to an attorney. If you cannot afford one, and considering you are not from this era, I can believe it, the courts shall provide you one. Do you understand these rights as I have read them to you?” There was a pause.
“Yes,” sighed Aaron, finally, as he surrendered.
“Shadow, I believe G.U.N should hold him,” urged Prowl.
“So do I,” agreed Shadow. He turned to a trooper. “Get an armored car here, I don’t want to run any risks.”
“Yes, Sir!” obliged the trooper.
“Prowl, help me search him,” answered Shadow as he produced the warrant. After Prowl checked it over he gave a nod and the two search Aaron.
“Necklace,” reported Prowl.
“Stress Toy,” droned Shadow.
“Bullet that was never fired,” observed Prowl.
“I have no idea where that came from,” insisted Aaron.
“Wand,” reported Shadow.
“I have a permit for that,” assured Aaron.
“Had,” corrected Amy. “It’s certainly been revoked.”
“Yellow Chaos Emerald,” droned Prowl, “we’ll fight about who owns it later.” POW! WHAM! SLAM! SLAP! THUD! A mystery assailant floored prowl, Shadow, Sonic, Aaron, and Optimus. The others pulled their weapons out, be they guns or wands.
“Oh, when an x-factor works in your favor!” cheered a metallic Sonic voice. Everyone turned to see Metal Sonic standing on a rooftop with Shockwave at his side. Optimus and the other knocked out people had recovered and saw them as well.
“What are you lot doing here?!” shouted Optimus as he drew his gun.
“Well, since the original plan went out the window,” answered Shockwave, “it’s only logical to tell you. We were simply looking for the Chaos Emerald on Aaron’s person. It was only serendipity that we found yours as well. I must say, keeping them on you is rather illogical.”
“Hand them over!” roared Shadow.
“Not a chance!” called Metal Sonic. “We now have five Chaos Emeralds to our name while you and that fat fool have none!”
“Metal Sonic, enough,” interjected Shockwave. “We’re leaving. Sigma, open a Ground Bridge.”
“A Ground Bridge?!” yelped Prowl.
“Teletraan, intercept!” ordered Optimus.
“I’m trying!” replied Teletraan. “Her Ground Bridge vortex is different than ours!” Too late. Shockwave and Metal Sonic stepped through and the bridge closed. Optimus twitched for a few seconds, then let out a roar of frustration, similar to a gorilla’s roar. Shockwave had ultimately beaten them, but there were still the blue and white emeralds unaccounted for.
“Teletraan, once Aaron is behind bars, bridge us back,” sighed Optimus. “Afterwards, I think we should run a defrag on you. Before that, call Alexis, get her to tell us what we can do to fix the property damage.”
“Yes, Sir,” obliged Teletraan.