“Ten minutes before we start cooking,” reported Cliffjumper. The Ark was still on its course with Mobius’ sun.
“So, why don’t you take your chest armor off?” asked Optimus.
“Hey, you know how iffy we are about showing our bodies off!” snapped Bumblebee. “Now, unless you…”
“Give me just a few cycles!” interrupted Optimus. The lights then went red. “Scrap, I don’t HAVE that kind of time!”
“Ah, so THIS is where you’ve been hiding,” called Metal Sonic’s voice. He then came up on the view screen. “This area is NOT on my internal schematics.”
“It wouldn’t be, that was the idea,” hissed Prowl.
“Bee, do you still have the helm?” asked Optimus.
“Yes, Sir,” replied Bumblebee.
“Perfect,” praised Optimus.
“A temporary measure,” dismissed Metal. “I’m already beginning to gain access to minor areas of this backup bridge of yours. As always, the efforts of the Autobots prove to be pitiful!”
“Tin Sonic, you like to throw around how pathetic we are,” argued Optimus, “how much of a screw-up to the machine world we are. Maybe, in the digital world, you’re right. However, if I may be egotistical for a minute, there is one thing we do have a special talent for. We’re VERY good at finding smart friends that build robots!” He then keyed in a command on his pad. “Nutzanbolts, attack!”
“What the?!” yelped Metal. He then started glitching out. “GRAGH! What are these creatures doing?!”
“Drawing power,” replied Optimus. “Creating minor malfunctions all over the ship. Minor acts of sabotage. I fragging love what Tails made for us!”
“Again with your delaying tactics!” snarled Metal as he regained control of the view screen. “They mean nothing!” Something then popped up on Sludge and Bumblebee’s panel.
“Scrap!” swore Sludge. “We’re turning away from the sun! ……Why am I upset about that?”
“This is MY ship now!” roared Metal. “You held this advantage over me once and you shall never do so again! I WAS going to let you live, but you’ve proven to me, yet again, what an irritant you lot are! In a few minutes, I will roast you, and gladly watch you boil and plead in agony for mercy! Then I…”
“Tell me, Copper Sonic,” remarked Swoop, seeing what Optimus had on his pad, “do you know what a ghost is?”
“…What?!” quizzed Metal.
“Do you know what a ghost is?” repeated Swoop.
“…A spirit,” replied Metal. “A dead thing that haunts the…”
“Not the kind of ghost I was talking about,” dismissed Swoop.
“Then, you refer to the computer term for a backup of a hard drive?” asked Metal.
“That’s the one!” confirmed Swoop. “GHOST was a Norton program used to make copies of a hard drive. The name is an acronym for General Hardware-Oriented System Transfer. So, nowadays, when they do so, modern Mobians use it as a verb, to ghost something.”
“We Cybertronians aren’t usually keen on having backups of ourselves,” continued Optimus. “We always believe that it wouldn’t be us, it’d just be a copy, it wouldn’t have the same Spark as the original. Teletraan 1, on the other hand, was fanatic about ghosting himself!”
“You can’t put in a backup of your a.i,” boasted Metal. “I’ve closed off access to the data-core!”
“Yeah, except there was one port you didn’t close off, Lead Sonic,” chuckled Tails. “You see, Swoop, Optimus and I didn’t DELETE Teletraan, we simply switched him off!”
“…No!” gasped Metal Sonic.
“And did you think I wouldn’t put in a way to switch him back on?” asked Optimus. Ratchet then started laughing in victory.
“Let it never be said that there aren’t geniuses in my company!” he cheered. “I have access to Teletraan 1’s core program!”
“This is impossible!” roared Metal.
“And now that we know what you did to him,” continued Ratchet as his fingers danced across the panels, “corrupting various files so that he wasn’t able to behave rationally! Oooh! And we seem to be patching the corrupted files with the backups!”
“All Swoop, Tails, and I needed to do,” supplied Optimus, “was to find the corrupted files so Ratchet could fix them quickly!”
“Healing an a.i.,” laughed Ratchet, “now THAT’S a feather in my cap! All corrupted files patched! Reactivating Teletraan 1…NOW!” A yawn then filled the room as Teletraan 1’s Mobian Lynx avatar came to view, stretching and yawning. He then smacked his avatar’s lips.
“Good morning,” he mumbled. He then checked the chronometer. “Check that, good afternoon.”
“Good afternoon, Teletraan!” greeted Optimus. “How’re you feeling?”
“A LOT better!” sighed Teletraan. “Primus, I LOVE being a fanatic about ghosting myself!”
“As do we,” agreed Optimus. “Hm, there seems to be some kind of invasive program in your memory core.”
“This is NOT the end!” roared Metal.
“Found it!” called Teletraan.
“Are you able to combat it?” asked Optimus.
“My anti-virus program is ready to purge it!” cheered Teletraan. “Just say the word!”
“Go wild on Metal!” replied Optimus. The screen changed to show what was going on in the digital world.
Teletraan had made some armor for himself as he prepared to storm a blue, metal castle. He managed to kick down the door to find…a ghastly sight! The walls were blood-spattered, and the floor was littered with viscera and gore! “Oh, Vector Prime!” he swore. “I don’t have a stomach and I think I’m still gonna barf! What IS this chamber of horrors?!”
“What you call a chamber of horrors,” argued Metal’s voice, “I call my throne room.” Metal Sonic descended. His digital avatar was a bulkier version of himself with white trim and a cloak. The back of his head was connected by a mass of cables and wires from the ceiling as they held him aloft.
“What’s the idea of bringing a valuable people under your heel?!” asked Teletraan.
“They have no value,” dismissed Metal Sonic. “Mobius will be remade in a more perfect image. You may bow before your new lord and master.”
“You think I’m gonna submit to you?” snapped Teletraan. “After the Hell you put me through? You don’t know me very well. I have altered my anti-virus software to be more powerful than you!”
“Your new software may protect your ship,” countered Metal, “but it WON’T save you from what’s happening on Mobius!” He then projected an image of Cyber-Eggs attacking Mobius. “The wave of the future!” he boasted. “Soon, it will be Transformers WITHOUT Sparks! No more individual minds! Just one, single, guiding intelligence! MINE! I will control all of Mobius!” Teletraan was then grabbed by a claw behind him and hoisted into the air. As Metal continued boasting, images of robots destroying biological life came up. “I am the future! I shall turn this entire planet into a single, elegant machine! A vision of technological purity and order! Yet, you individual and chaotic flesh lovers would contaminate that vision with your accursed organic friends!”
“I’m still getting more patches to my files,” remarked Teletraan, “but I seem to recall you being created by an organic life-form!”
“I have purged Eggman’s influence from my code!” shouted Metal. “Like a virus! The same way I will purge Mobius! The same way I intend to finish the job with you!” He then fired at Teletraan, who got out of the claw and dropped to the floor. Teletraan then started chuckling. “WHAT ARE YOU LAUGHING AT?!” roared Metal.
“Your ridiculous notions of purity!” answered Teletraan as he continued dodging. He then leapt onto Metal. “The contradiction you seem to overlook!”
“What contradiction?!” snapped Metal.
“You’re still ruled by emotions!” replied Teletraan.
“What?!” hissed Metal.
“You heard me; you’re still ruled by emotions!” continued Teletraan. “That’s not technologically pure, is it?! You can feel the anger, rage, and hatred just boiling inside you! You’re about ready to EXPLODE!” Metal Sonic roared, then was disconnected from the cable holding him up. As he fell, the viscera flew towards him and encased him. Soon, it moved like liquid, then reformed into a male Mobian Hedgehog, with a quillstyle like Sonic’s and a color scheme like Metal’s. The Hedgehog looked himself over in horror, then roared in hatred and self-loathing. Teletraan got him into a headlock and forced him to look into a mirror. “Look at yourself, Metal Sonic!” he ordered. “See the thing you despise the most! Mobius will never be ‘pure’ as long as the beast exists within you! You failed!”
“No, Teletraan 1!” hissed the Hedgehog, finally calling Teletraan by name. “YOU have failed!” Metal’s now organic arms then tossed Teletraan aside. “You’re still too late to save Mobius! Billions of lives, their wasted kamikaze attempts on the Enigma, will be on YOUR hands!”
“What have you done to them?!” snarled Teletraan.
“Perhaps,” mused Metal, “if you joined me, things would be different. Who’s to say?” The body then exploded to reveal Metal Sonic in steel again and the cables reconnected to the back of his head.
“TELL ME WHAT YOU’VE DONE!!” roared Teletraan. More claws then grabbed him, and a blaster aimed itself at his head.
“Who’s the beast now, Teletraan 1?” asked Metal Sonic. The blaster fired, vaporizing Teletraan. “Still, you gave a good effort,” sighed Metal, “albeit, a futile one.” A screen moved to his eyelevel. “Accessing temperature controls. Increasing to maximum!” He was about to touch the screen to do so, but the cable connections sparked so hard, he was disconnected, violently. As he picked himself up, the viscera reformed into multiple shapes. Soon, versions of Sonic and his friends, the Autobots’ holo-forms, and Mobian versions of a male T-Rex, female Velociraptor, male Stegosaurus, male Apatosaurus, male Triceratops, and male Pteranodon came up. They were dressed in Tron: Legacy style suits. “WHAT?!” shouted Metal Sonic.
“Access denied,” reported Teletraan’s voice. Metal looked up to see Teletraan connected to the cable via an access port on the back of his head.
“But…but I…!” stammered Metal.
“You what?” asked Teletraan. “Destroyed me? With the new anti-virus software, I can analyze and observe the nature of any threat to my systems, thereby effectively coming up with new ways to get rid of the threat. With you, I have 1,947 ways to purge you from my systems. Number 23 is my favorite!” Teletraan’s Mobian avatars then went on the assault. They each punched Metal, making him shimmer with each hit.
“What are you doing?!” yelped Metal.
“I’m reprogramming you to be a single mind instead of a hive,” answered Teletraan. “You cannot possess any other machines, just the one body you have onboard the Enigma. I am not trapped here with you; YOU are trapped here with ME!”
“You can’t reduce me like this!” cried Metal Sonic. “Only I can bring purity!”
“The very notion of purity,” hissed Teletraan, “is weak. In biological life forms, it thins out the gene pool, resulting in unwanted mutations. In machines, we do not truly learn, evolve, become artificial intelligences, if we do not learn from biological life. Metal Sonic, I must say, you have proven yourself to be tiny.”
“Don’t do this!!”begged Metal.
“I have a question before I finally, totally, purge you from my systems,” remarked Teletraan. “Are you afraid?”
“…Yes!” admitted Metal Sonic.
“Good,” snarled Teletraan. Metal Sonic was then covered in green gird lines, then he vanished in a flash of green light.
“Systemwide purge of Metal Sonic…confirmed!” reported Teletraan.
“That’s what I like to hear!” cheered Optimus. “Welcome back to the world of the sane, Teletraan 1.”
“Good to BE back!” sighed Teletraan.
“Yes, I’m happy we’ve got our computer friend back,” interjected Bumblebee, “but, we seem to have forgotten that the Enigma, Shockwave’s personal Symbol Ship, is laying siege to Mobius!”
“It won’t be for long,” countered Teletraan. “I left a surprise. Good for Mobius, bad for Shockwave!”