After Grimlock left, the Autobots were in a heightened state of alert. The patrols were more frequent, and Optimus had to do a lot of paperwork. He was in his office, looking things over. “Soldier transfers on Cybertron, Elite Guard acceptance letters, new tax codes, weapons sale regulations, deep-sea fishing rights!” he griped. “Primus, if only Sentinel could see the mountain of peacetime paperwork! He’d be rolling in his grave!”
“He’s not dead, just retired,” countered Teletraan. “Whoa, hold up! Intruder alert!”
“Where?!” demanded Optimus.
“Right behind you,” whispered a voice. Optimus was then hit on the back of the head and knocked out. Grimlock then rifled through Optimus’ subspace pocket and found the weapons.
“Autobots, Grimlock is in Optimus’ office!” called Teletraan.
“Correction, I was!” laughed Grimlock as he teleported.
“Oh, that’s not gonna save you!” snarled Teletraan. “I studied your transporter field! I know how it scatters your atoms! I found you! Once Optimus is recovered, the Ark will blow your ship out of the sky!
When Optimus recovered, Teletraan got the Autobots to the ship’s bridge. “Battle stations!” ordered Optimus. “Be prepared to go to warp! Bumblebee, lay in a pursuit course once the Dyno-bot vessel is found!”
“Prime, are you sure you don’t want Sonic?” quizzed Ironhide.
“With all due respect,” replied Optimus. “Sonic and his allies aren’t as durable as us. He and the Scarlet Specter, before she revealed herself as Amy, were ragdolled by Shockwave. This is strictly an Autobot matter!”
“Dyno-bot vessel located!” reported Bumblebee. “Ready to pursue!”
“Are we within communications range?” asked Optimus.
“We are,” confirmed Prowl at tactical.
“Hail the enemy vessel, specifically Grimlock!” commanded Optimus.
“Sir, is that really wise?” interjected Prowl. “A Vanguard class starship can be stealthy when the crew wants it to be.”
“Maybe,” snarled Optimus, “but the Captain doesn’t want to be stealthy! I WANT that die-cast dolt to know I’m coming for him! Hail him!”
“All systems working perfectly,” reported a robot with Apatosaurus parts.
“Slag, did you double check?” asked Grimlock to a bot with Triceratops parts.
“Triple checked, sir,” replied Slag. “Sludge made sure all systems worked perfectly.”
“Sir,” called Slash, “a vessel is hailing you.”
“Me?” quizzed Grimlock.
“Yes, Sir,” confirmed Slash. “By name.”
“On screen,” ordered Grimlock. Optimus’ face came up. “Prime?! How did you find my ship?!”
“Helps when an A.I scans the particle trace of the last time you teleported in my base,” snarled Optimus. “Surrender your vessel immediately or you WILL be fired upon! This is your only warning!”
“You’re an Autobot,” chuckled Grimlock. “You only use that threat as a bluff! Slash, cease communi…”
“They’re firing on us!” called Swoop. The ship rocked.
“Report!” boomed Grimlock.
“Our port shields have dropped to 50%!” called Swoop. “Modulating Shield Nutation!”
“Have communications ceased?!” growled Grimlock.
“No, just the video,” replied Slash.
“Put him back on screen!” ordered Grimlock. Optimus’ face came back. “Optimus Prime, this is outrageous!” roared Grimlock.
“I agree,” hissed Optimus, “but, given that you have kidnapped two bots, I’m left with little choice. I say again, surrender your vessel!”
“Cease transmission!” shouted Grimlock. The call ended. “Get us out of here! We need to reach the Eurythman system before we miss the Zenith!”
“Sir, the Autobot vessel is pursuing us!” called Sludge.
“Confirmed,” answered a bot with Stegosaurus parts, Snarl.
“Punch to warp 5!” ordered Grimlock.
“They’re going to warp!” yelped Bumblebee.
“Get above them!” ordered Optimus. “Once we match their speed, fire the Overshock Sonic battery!”
“Yes, Sir!” obliged Prowl. The Ark caught up to the Dyno-bot vessel and got on top of them.
“They’re ignoring up and down!” called Snarl.
“Then so will our weapons!” declared Grimlock. “Point all our weapons at their keel!”
“Firing all weapons at…” Slash couldn’t get very far as she, along with the ship and its crew, lurched three times.
“What was that?!” demanded Grimlock.
“Overshock Sonic battery!” replied Swoop. “Our shields were taken out in the initial wave, our weapons were drained in the next wave, and our engines went online with the last wave!”
“Making us perfect targets for a boarding party!” groaned Grimlock. “Dyno-bots, we’re gonna taste our enemy’s innermost Energon! Prepare for battle!” All Dyno-bots got their weapons out, Grimlock with his sword and large gun, Slash with her rotary shield and sword, Snarl with his large club/cannon hybrid, Swoop with his daggers, Slag with his tricera-mace, and Sludge with his knuckle duster/blaster hybrids. The ship lurched again.
“Docking clamps,” explained Swoop. “The next lurch will be the docking tube.”
“How do you know?” asked Sludge.
“Before Shockwave took me,” elaborated Swoop, “I helped build the Vanguard class ships.” The ship lurched one last time. “There’s the docking tube, right on schedule.”
“Steady,” urged Grimlock.
“A three-bot assault team,” muttered Jazz as they prepared to board the Dyno-bot ship. “I don’t need to be Prowl to know what the odds are. History proved the Lightning…the Dyno-bots to be a six-bot group. The odds are two to one against us.”
“Yeah, the Dyno-bots are gonna be crying for their mamas!” cheered Ironhide.
“Focus,” urged Optimus. He then got out his smokestack guns. He used them to cut a hole into the hull. “Defendere!” he chanted as he cast a shield around him and his mechs. “Finally! Looks like visiting Sira a week ago helped!” The hole was made, and laser fire bucketed down on the shield. Optimus and his mechs responded in kind. Grimlock then charged forward.
“Dirumpo!” called Grimlock. He shattered Optimus’ shield and grappled with him. Optimus then did an eye-poke. “ARGH! I’M NOT A STOOGE!” roared Grimlock. He then punched Optimus in the face, forcing the young Prime to regrow a few dental plates. Optimus and Grimlock then went into their martial arts attacks. Soon, Grimlock got Optimus into a hold. “Restore power to my ship or your career is cut short at a young age!” he snarled.
“Not until I get Pacemaker and Blade Dancer!” declared Optimus.
“I don’t have any bots of that name on board!” growled Grimlock.
“Oh, yes, you do! My weapons!” snapped Optimus as he broke the hold. He then delivered a blow to Grimlock’s helm and disoriented him. He ran through the Dyno-bots’ laser fire, nearly getting zapped in his afterparts by Slash’s eye beams and made a dash for the storage lockers. He soon found them and discovered an array of weapons, Blades, guns, spears, staffs, and other various tools of destruction were hung as if they were trophies. He started glancing around, then clapped optics on his weapons. “There you are!” he said as he took them. “Man, I missed you guys!” He put them back into his subspace pockets, then noticed a weapon next to where his own stood. It had a gun handle and trigger, but it looked like a blade replaced the barrel. “Wasn’t… this reserved for the military?” mumbled Optimus. He saw an engraving on the handle. “The House of Scarn,” he muttered. “…Scarn…Legion Scarn! This is my predecessor’s gun!”
“Put them back!” snarled Grimlock’s voice.
“Dude,” replied Optimus, “this gun you took is a weapon only designed for military use! Half the weapons here are only for the military’s trigger fingers!”
“I need them!” insisted Grimlock.
“You’ve got a sword and a gun that can go from one to two to three barrels!” answered Optimus. “This is a dangerous collection you have here! There are laws against this! A couple of them I passed before I came to Mobius!”
“Haven’t you wondered why I took them?” asked Grimlock. “They’re magic weapons. Once the magic is drained off, me and my men will give them back.”
“Now you’re really not getting them back!” snarled Optimus as he leveled his gun at Grimlock’s feet. He fired, but Grimlock jumped aside.
“Kid, I’m warning you, you DON’T want me mad!” growled Grimlock. Optimus fired again.
“Warning,” called the ship’s computer. “Zenith missed. Next Zenith in 12 stellar cycles.”
“What?!” yelped Grimlock. “But…it’s not…I mean, we weren’t that many light years away!”
“What Zenith?” asked Optimus.
“The Eurythman Magic Zenith!” snarled Grimlock. “It’s gonna be different in 12 stellar cycles!”
“I don’t understand!” replied Optimus.
“These weapons are worthless now!” shouted Grimlock.
“Danger!” warned Grimlock’s internal computer.
“Now something else is needed to cure us!” roared Grimlock.
“Danger!” Grimlock’s internal computer repeated.
“You glitch-spawn! I’LL KILL YOU!” screamed Grimlock.
“Danger! Danger! Danger! Tyrannosaurus Rex! Beast Mode!” announced Grimlock’s computer.
“Beast mode?” repeated Optimus. Grimlock slammed his hands down as they became feet with large claws. His T-rex head shoulder pads came together above his head as his wings came together to become the torso. His legs came together and folded onto the back, becoming a tail. A robot T-Rex stood in place of Grimlock and it roared in anger. “HE’S A T-REX?!” yelped Optimus. “THE DYNO-BOTS ARE DINOSAURS!!”
“Prime!” called Jazz over the comms. “The Dyno-bots just got mad and turned into dinosaurs!”
“Grimlock too!” replied Optimus. “We have what we came for! Let’s get out of here! Retreat!” Optimus made a mad dash for the docking tube as it released from the airlock. He let himself get sucked into space as Jazz and Ironhide grabbed his hands. Once they got him in, Ironhide shut the door and the pressure stabilized again. “Teletraan,” wheezed Optimus as he caught his breath, “I trust you did a little poking around in their computer.”
“Optimus, I think you need to see this with Trema and Sira,” mumbled Teletraan.
“I managed to get Grimlock’s logs on his travels,” explained Teletraan as they resumed orbit around Mobius. “With their own details on magical events, Trema and Sira have cleared some things up.” He then showed one of the logs. Grimlock filled the screen as he spoke. Back then, he wore the Decepticon symbol.
“My name is Grimlock Karg,” he introduced. Optimus and Jazz looked at each other with wide eyes at that. “I’m making this log so that, if I die, if I fail the Decepticons, someone can carry on the work for my bots. I was a bruiser, working for Darjaelius.”
“Darjaelius?” muttered Bumblebee. “That’s Jhiaxus’ predecessor.”
“Sh!” hissed Optimus.
“But,” continued Grimlock, “when Jhiaxus was just recently chosen as Darjaelius’ successor, I was offered an opportunity to become stronger. My entire team was. We were chosen to be given a genetic enhancement by Shockwave. She has a theory that the alt-mode could be altered by tweaking the CNA a little, splicing it with another creature. She found that there are animals on a remote planet. She figured that if our CNA were spliced with theirs, we could get alt-modes based on those animals. I’ll tell you what happened after the procedure’s done on me and my bots. Grimlock out.”
“Jhiaxus was installed as Decepticon leader 4,000,000 years ago,” remarked Ironhide. “Why does Grimlock look only 3,975?”
“Only?” asked Sira.
“Here’s the next log, from Earth: circa 1984,” continued Teletraan. Grimlock appeared again, looking angry, but keeping a lid on it.
“That purple glitch lied!” he snarled. “She said that she accounted for everything and could fix us! Instead, thanks to a malfunction in our t-cogs, we were placed in cold storage! I’m gonna shred me a…!” he then took a deep breath. “…Our new CNA altered our t-cogs to a degree that a loss of emotional control will make us change into our new beast modes. Basically, anytime we give in to our rage, we turn into what the new life forms on this rock call dinosaurs. We’re slaves to our rage. We tried transforming as we did in the past, but it wouldn’t work. We can only transform if we’re angry enough. Swoop, my tech support, managed to make some patches, with what little biomechanics he could understand. Whenever we’re about to lose it, we get little warnings in our heads. If we ignore them three times over, our beast side takes over. Right now, we’re freaks. Grimlock out.”
“Here’s where things get better for the big guy, Earth: circa 2015,” called Teletraan. Grimlock appeared again, this time with a grin.
“Well, slap a wand in my hand and give me a pointy hat!” he cheered. “About a week ago, I became a full-fledged wizard of the Green Order and learned of the Eurythman Magic Zenith! The original price is too much for me, but there’s a way to predict the secondary price with 100% accuracy! Magic weapons are needed to lift us from this curse! 100 is the initial price, but I’m not taking any risks. I’m getting more. We have a chance to be normal! Grimlock out!”
“He goes on to describe various battles with those who owned magic weapons,” explained Teletraan, “yours included.”
“The Eurythman Magic Zenith,” mused Trema. “I haven’t seen that in a long time. It’s a planetary alignment where magic would flow all over the Eurythman system and give more power to the inhabitants, making them feel good. It’s said that paying a certain amount of mana will grant any wish exactly as you want it, regardless of wording.”
“And there are two prices,” continued Sira. “Because of the difficulty of predicting the second price of 100 of certain magic implements, most people avoid the Zenith.”
“Why?” asked Optimus. “What’s the first price?”
“Total mana drain of a living being,” replied Sira.
“But, that would kill them!” yelped Optimus.
“Good to know Grimlock has SOME morals,” muttered Jazz.
“Can’t he just predict another implement to use?” asked Optimus.
“Not that simple,” countered Sira. “The algorithm to predict the secondary price would take too long. It probably took him his entire training to predict that he could use magic weapons.”
“Besides,” supplied Trema, “the Zenith is brief. It only lasts one of Mobius’ hours.”
“And, by attacking his ship,” muttered Optimus as the reality of the situation hit him, “I’ve just ensured he’s a slave to his rage.” He sank into the Captain’s Chair, running his hands over his face. “Primus, what have I done? I need to contact him! Apologize!”
“Oh, yeah,” remarked Ratchet, “I’m sure an angry mech would be willing to accept an apology from the mech that made him miss his only chance to cure him for a while.”
“Well, slaggit!” snapped Optimus. “I gotta do SOMETHING! I…!”
“Optimus,” called Tails’ voice, “you may want to tune into MNC!”
“Why?” asked Optimus.
“Er, Optimus, we need to see this,” gulped Prowl.
“On screen,” ordered Optimus. A human newscaster on the scene. She had just finished introducing herself and started talking about the panic behind her.
“…Scarlet Garcia, reporting live on the scene of a mass panic!” reported the newscaster. “The reason for this scene is because a giant golden city of metal and weapons has appeared over Station Square! The people are understandably scared and…hold on, I’m getting confirmation of two beings in the…” The news broadcast was stopped and cut to a robot’s head.
“Organics of Mobius,” boomed the robot, “your age of dominance is over. The Age of Steel has begun.”
“Metal Sonic!” hissed Optimus.