Somehow, against all logic, the Autobots and their base were looking presentable. Their armor was cleaned of any scratches, dents, or discolorations, and their base sparkled. The Queen was coming in two minutes and Sonic shuffled his feet. “Never met the Queen before?” asked Optimus.
“Oh, no, I have,” replied Sonic. “She’s a nice lady.” He looked nervous.
“Come on, I see those nerves,” chuckled Bumblebee. “You’re moving as if your mom was coming to visit.”
“No, I’m not!” yelped Sonic, quickly.
“Of course, you’re not,” remarked Optimus.
“She’s at the front door,” reported Teletraan, “with Commander Tower and Team Dark.”
“Let them in,” directed Optimus. The door opened to reveal a female Mobian Hedgehog who looked to be in her late 20’s. She wore an off-white gown with armored parts, a golden cloak, and a crown on top of her purple head. While Sonic and Amy had a quill style, this Hedgehog had long, dark purple hair. Her eyes were a navy blue and she had a pale muzzle. “Welcome to Autobot Outpost Omega One, Your Majesty,” greeted Optimus.
“Thank you, kindly!” returned Aleena. “And, I apologize for not having said this in person, welcome to Mobius!”
“Thank you,” replied Optimus. “Would you mind a tour?”
“Don’t mind at all!” answered Aleena. “Lead on, MacDuff!”
“This way, please,” bid Optimus. He first showed the Command Center, then the garage/launchpad, then the Training Room, then the Server room, and then the quarters hall, when Grimlock appeared.
“Prime,” rumbled Grimlock.
“Er, hello, Grimlock,” mumbled Optimus. “Your Majesty, this is Grimlock, leader of the Dyno-bots. Grimlock, this is Queen Aleena, ruler of Mobius.”
“Hello, Grimlock,” greeted Aleena.
“Why are you showing the Queen around?” asked Grimlock.
“It’s a rather last-minute thing,” explained Optimus.
“Yes, Commander Tower didn’t inform Optimus in good enough time,” hissed Aleena.
“Your Majesty, I REALLY must protest that,” argued Tower.
“Listen, Grimlock, now’s not a good time,” gulped Optimus. “We haven’t made any significant progress in fixing your t-cogs. Shockwave’s tampering is severe and she didn’t keep that bit of research. We’ll find out what gene, or genes, make you lose control of your t-cog and…”
“I’m not here to nag at you about that,” interrupted Grimlock.
“…Then, what ARE you here for?” asked Optimus.
“I…” Grimlock stopped before he could continue. “…I gotta say this now, or I won’t say it at all. …I’m sorry.”
“…For what?” asked Optimus, confused.
“For everything!” replied Grimlock. “For attacking you! For trying to kidnap your weapons! Maybe I should have asked you for help in the first place!”
“…Apology accepted,” answered Optimus.
“Maybe if I talked to you,” sighed Grimlock, “I wouldn’t have let my rage stall my ship!”
“Stop right there,” interjected Optimus. “I was the one that held your ship in one place.”
“Might as well have been me,” replied Grimlock.
“The only actions we’re responsible for,” countered Optimus, “are the ones we make ourselves. I was the one that ordered Prowl to fire the Sonic Battery, and that was the wrong course of action. We all make mistakes in the past, and we’re going to make a lot more in the future. The best we can do is pick ourselves up and move on. We can play the blame game some other time.”
“You make a good point,” replied Grimlock. “We can discuss a new arrangement when you’re finished.”
“I look forward to it,” assured Optimus.
“Farewell,” bid Grimlock. “Your Majesty, good health to you and your heroic son. Swoop, this is Grimlock, one to beam up.” Grimlock vanished, leaving everyone puzzled.
“Your Majesty, do you have any clue why Grimlock mentioned your son?” asked Optimus.
“I’m sure he just wanted my boy to continue with his usual speedy victories,” chuckled Aleena.
“Do we know him?” quizzed Shadow.
“I should hope so,” replied Aleena. “You call him Faker frequently.”
“Wait, did you just say I call him a Faker?!” asked Shadow. Everyone turned to Sonic.
“…You never told them of your heritage?!” yelped Aleena.
“…Guys,” mumbled Sonic, “…Queen Aleena’s my mom.”
“Your mother is the Queen of Mobius?” asked Rouge.
“That makes you…” realized Optimus. That was when it hit everyone.
“…A PRINCE?!” they yelped. Soon, Optimus, Bumblebee, Rouge, and Omega fell over laughing while Shadow was holding it in and Commander Tower bristled.
“…Not the reaction I expected,” remarked Aleena.
“I’m sorry!” Optimus managed to wheeze out. “We just never saw that coming!”
“Yeah!” Bumblebee got out. “The guy who messes up our interiors with his 24 chili-dog lunches is a Prince!”
“Messes up your…?” repeated Aleena. Then, she gave a mother’s glare. “Sonic!” she admonished.
“What?!” protested Sonic. “Those things are messy!”
“It’s called a napkin!” countered Aleena.
“We DO have them on Cybertron,” supplied Optimus.
“Pardon me,” hissed Commander Tower, “but, your son and I need to talk.” He motioned for Sonic to follow him. They left the group.
“Knowing him,” grumbled Aleena, “he’s going to berate Sonic about not ‘attending to his duties’.”
“He’s saving the world,” dismissed Optimus. “I don’t see the problem.”
“Commander Tower believes that free spirited people,” explained Aleena, “CAN’T get a job done. He’s under the impression that only a well-regulated army, without any ‘hinderances’ can protect the planet.”
“Hinderances?” repeated Optimus.
“No distractions,” elaborated Aleena. “Fun, as Sonic and I put it.”
“That’s absurd,” protested Optimus. “Without recreation, people get wound up so Primus-slagged tight, they can’t function! A leader that doesn’t allow fun, or have fun themselves, doesn’t have soldiers that help protect their people!”
“Commander Tower disagrees,” sighed Aleena.
“I’m a hero,” argued Sonic, “not a pencil-pusher!”
“You’re the Prince,” countered Commander Tower. “Your duty is to assign people to do the more tedious work. We need you taking command.”
“My duty,” insisted Sonic, “is to save people directly!”
“And if one of those people turns out to be…” remarked Commander Tower.
“Eggman’s successor, yes, I’ve heard the argument before!” interrupted Sonic. “But, frankly, as long I still run around to save people, show them that one person is all it needs to stand up to evil, then, while that one evil person takes over, another person takes up the position of hero. So, if one of the people I save is the next Eggman, another person becomes the next hero of Mobius, one who would inspire people to resist evil better than I do now!”
“You dress up your antics as you see fit,” dismissed Commander Tower, “I still say you seem to think of it as a game and need to grow up. You prolong the suffering by not having a permanent solution for the man.” He then held up a small disc. “This, Your Highness, is called the War Disc. With it, we can end this nonsense with Eggman.”
“What would that thing do?” asked Sonic.
“It’s a disc with all available information to formally declare war on someone!” answered Aleena’s voice. She came into the room with her group. “It’s also a means to institute a military draft!”
“We need everyone to do their part to take Eggman down!” argued Commander Tower.
“They can do it just fine without the military breathing down their neck!” snapped Sonic. “Get that thing away from me!”
“I thought you had more sense than your mother did,” growled Commander Tower, “but, like your mother you don’t care about the people, just this so-called game with your enemies. Farewell.” He then made his way to the base’s entrance.
“…The sheer gall!” snarled Optimus.
“I can see why you two butt heads a lot,” remarked Sonic. “Listen, guys, the rest of my friends don’t need to know about my heritage.”
“Why?” asked Optimus.
“There must be SOMETHING to being a Prince that you enjoy,” supplied Bumblebee.
“I’m not a politician,” replied Sonic. “I prefer doing things myself. Don’t get me wrong, I like having friends help out, but I’m a lone wolf.”
“Oh, and the fact that Amy’s an obsessive fangirl has nothing to do with that?” asked Rouge.
“Well…maybe…” mumbled Sonic. At that point, the alarm sounded.
“Guys, we’ve got three ships picking on a freighter above the atmosphere!” reported Teletraan.
“Any i.d on the ships?” asked Optimus.
“Running scans now,” answered Teletraan. “…Scans complete. The three attacking vessels are of Quintesson origin and the freighter is a Femaxian Merchant vessel.”
“Quintessons?!” yelped Bumblebee. “What are they doing here?!”
“I don’t understand,” interjected Aleena.
“The Quintessons enslaved Cybertron long before the war between the Autobots and the Decepticons,” lectured Optimus. “After our war for independence, we established a Neutral Zone between our space and the Quintessons’ territories. Because of our involvement here at the end of the war, your solar system is considered part of our space.”
“Then, why are they on our side of the Neutral Zone?” asked Aleena.
“Something to do with the Femaxians,” guessed Optimus. “We can get them out of your planet’s hair.”
“I’d like to observe how you do so,” replied Aleena.
“Of course,” agreed Optimus. “Teletraan, inform everybody of the situation. Beam us up.”
“Got it,” called Teletraan. Everyone was soon on the Ark’s bridge and the ship moved to where the action was.
“See if you can hail any of the Quintesson Cruisers,” directed Optimus. Cruisers belonging to the Quintessons looked almost like giant, misshapen drills spinning on their axis.
“The lead Cruiser is opening a channel,” reported Prowl.
“On screen,” ordered Optimus. A face filled the screen as Aleena got her first look at a Quintesson. It seemed to be a grey egg inside a humanoid robot suit. It had a mask with a moving jaw that evoked a king with a many pronged crown.
“This is Judge Commodore Brinn of the Quintesson Collective,” greeted the creature. “Cybertronian vessel, do not interfere.”
“I’m afraid I have little choice in this matter,” answered Optimus. “What are you doing on this side of the Neutral Zone, attacking a Femaxian Freighter?”
“The Femaxian crew have kidnapped Judge Admiral Derodomontatus while we were conducting archeological research in the Arzadi sector,” explained Brinn. “We are involved in a rescue operation.”
“That’s quite a lot of shooting for a rescue operation,” observed Optimus.
“We want our Admiral back,” answered Brinn. “If she is not returned…”
“She wouldn’t be on that freighter,” snapped Bumblebee, “if you weren’t in the Neutral Zone in the first place!” That was when the egg head rotated right once to another mask, this one being an anger filled devil.
“Tell that young one to curb his insolence!” bellowed Brinn. “I’m trying to talk here!”
“Just try something, you five-faced slime of the nebu…!” snarled Bumblebee.
“Bumblebee,” interrupted Optimus as he raised a hand and gave a face of mock discipline, “curb your insolence. Judge Brinn is trying to talk here.” He then faced Brinn. “Perhaps, Your Honor, this is a chance to improve relations between our people.” The head rotated right once again to a new mask with a sultan motif.
“We are happy with our relations the way they are,” replied Brinn.
“…I have a proposal,” offered Optimus. “We’ll get Derodomontatus back to you and you let the Femaxians continue back to their home, unimpeded.” Brinn’s head then went right twice to go to a grinning face with some sort of orange crown.
“You’re facing three of my ships,” he laughed. “We are not interested in your proposals.”
“We’ve scanned your ships,” warned Optimus. “And I have a mech who fought against you guys before. Ironhide, wanna tell us what you remember?”
“Forward and aft plasma cannons,” answered Ironhide. “And those ships didn’t have good enough shields against our torpedoes.”
“Confirmed,” called Prowl. “And that was probably a Venerator class warship, not the class our ship is.”
“You see?” remarked Optimus to Brinn. “You’re not sneaking up on a freighter, this is a Vanguard class warship. Take a good look, because, if necessary, we can simply plow our way through your ships. Now, you can consider my offer, or you can take your chances.” Brinn, considering his options, looked away. He then faced Optimus again.
“If you can convince the Femaxians to return Derodomontatus to us,” he replied, “do it quickly. Otherwise,” his head turned left once to a skull face with an Egyptian headdress, “we WILL take our chances,” he finished. He ended the call and the screen showed the Quintesson ships backing off.
“Hail the Femaxian vessel,” called Optimus.
“I doubt they’re going to respond so quickly,” answered Prowl as he did so. “They ARE a rather divided society.”
“How so?” asked Aleena.
“Males are forbidden from public life,” replied Optimus.
“A matriarchal society that’s as bad as a patriarchal one,” sighed Aleena.
“Exactly,” muttered Optimus. “Femaxian men aren’t supposed to address a woman directly.”
“But, we CAN make a deal with them,” remarked Ironhide. “They traverse space in search of mercantile and territorial opportunities. They function under caveat emptor.”
“Let the buyer beware,” translated Aleena. “They’re businesswomen that have no scruples.”
“They DO have a few,” countered Ironhide. The comms chirped.
“Funny,” muttered Prowl. “They responded faster than I anticipated.”
“On screen,” ordered Optimus. At that point, the screen displayed a humanoid woman covered in blue scales. She had pink hair, green serpent’s eyes, spikes curving toward her fingers on her knuckles, a line of small bone protrusions going from her scalp to between her eyebrows, and large fangs. She wore gold armor, revealing her navel, and wore a navy-blue skirt. She also wore jewelry.
“Greetings, Cybertronians,” hailed the Femaxian. “While I’m dismayed that males rescued my ship, I will not cry too hard about it. We will be on our way and…”
“Hold on, we need to talk,” interjected Optimus.
“…Well, I’m sure you and I can come to some sort of…arrangement…” the Femaxian licked her teeth lustily.
“Madam, I heard an ugly rumor from the Quintessons that you’re holding one of their judges captive,” answered Optimus, ignoring the comment.
“Ah, yes, quite a valuable investment,” chuckled the Femaxian. “The First One herself said that a Quintesson’s organs would be quite valuable, since no one knows their biology.”
“Organ harvesting is illegal,” snapped Optimus. “Return the Quintesson to her people!”
“Maybe we can discuss a trade,” offered the Femaxian. “Something of equal value to Quintesson biological knowledge?”
“I said, return the Quintesson to her people!” snapped Optimus.
“All right then,” sighed the Femaxian, “we’re haggling now.” Optimus then gave a silent order for Prowl to locate the Quintesson and beam her aboard one of the vessels. “Perhaps,” muttered the Femaxian, “we can arrange some Arsanium to be transferred?”
“I’m afraid it’s worthless on Cybertron,” dismissed Optimus.
“Captain!” called another Femaxian. “The Quintesson prisoner has escaped!”
“What?!” shouted the Femaxian Captain. She checked a screen on the armrest of her chair.
“Optimus, the Quintesson Commodore is hailing us,” reported Prowl.
“Make it a three-way call,” ordered Optimus. Brinn’s face of Laughter/War was on the screen.
“We have the Admiral in our medical ward,” he replied. “We thank you for this gesture of good faith. What do you request in return?”
“How about you go back to your side of the Neutral Zone?” asked Optimus.
“Very well,” replied Brinn as he rotated his face to the one of Bitterness/Wisdom. He ended the call and all Quintesson ships left the area back to their home-world, Quintessa.
“I should have remembered Point of Profit 149: Males and money don’t mix!” snarled the Femaxian Captain. “Do you have any notion the level of profit you robbed me and the First One?! This was a venture she personally invested in!”
“Give her my condolences,” dismissed Optimus.
“Captain, we can still get some profit off of their vessel!” called the Femaxian First Officer.
“Profit, or revenge?” muttered the Femaxian Captain.
“What’s wrong with a little revenge?!” insisted the Femaxian First Officer.
“Must I quote you the 83rd Point of Profit?” asked the Femaxian Captain. Her First Officer tried remembering that specific Point until the Captain reminded her. “Revenge is profitless,” she lectured. “Helm, set a course back to Femax. We need to face the consequences of our actions.” She turned back to Optimus. “First One Marnath will hear of this!” She ended the call and the Femaxian Freighter left the Solar System.
“In all honesty,” breathed Optimus, “I was afraid we’d have to fire a shot.”
“Thank Primus, we didn’t,” remarked Ironhide.
“Well, allow me to extend my royal congratulations to you,” offered Aleena. “A tense situation above my planet was settled quickly.”
“We’re happy to help,” assured Optimus.
“Now, if you please,” continued Aleena, “I must get back on the road soon. Could we go back down so I may say goodbye to Sonic?”
“Of course,” replied Optimus. “And, I need to give you your security card, so you can pop in.”
“Thank you,” bid Aleena.
“Teletraan, beam us back to base,” ordered Optimus.
“Sure,” he grumbled.
“Are you okay?” asked Optimus.
“To alter Dr. McCoy’s catchphrase,” explained Teletraan, “I’m an A.I, not a transport pad. Beaming down.” Everyone was then beamed off the ship.