The Autobots waited on the bridge of the Ark after Optimus told them what happened in the Matrix. Waiting, the worst part of battle, one that affected young bots worse than the older warriors among the group. Bumblebee drummed his fingers at his station. “I feel like we should be doing something!” he groused.
“Waiting’s a necessary evil of any battle,” replied Ironhide.
“How do YOU cope?!” quizzed Bumblebee.
“I have my ways,” answered Ironhide. Bumblebee groaned as he turned back to his panel.
“We ARE soldiers, Bumblebee,” remarked Optimus. “It’s not always a glamorous job.”
“I think my brother’s worried,” observed Cliffjumper, “that he’s gonna miss the fight.”
“You ARE the older brother, right Bee?” asked Jazz.
“Are you calling me immature?!” hissed Bumblebee.
“Save it for the Cons, you two,” directed Optimus. Cliffjumper then saw a blip on his panel and started studying that area.
“Found a blip?” asked Teletraan.
“I want to see if it pops up again,” replied Cliffjumper. Thankfully, he didn’t wait long. The blip came back a few seconds later.
“Identifying the reason,” reported Teletraan. “Got it! It’s a Warp Field being carefully destabilized. The Harbinger is about to come out of Warp.”
“Red alert,” ordered Optimus.
“Finally, some action!” cheered Bumblebee.
“Prowl, once they’re within range, hail them,” commanded Optimus.
“Make it quick,” gulped Cliffjumper. “Here they come!”
“Once we’re near the planet,” ordered Starscream as he sat on the Captain’s chair, “engage the holo-cloak.”
“Er, Screamer, dude,” gulped Soundwave, “that may be a problem!”
“Please don’t tell me it malfunctioned!” sighed Starscream.
“No,” answered Soundwave, “but the Autobot ship in orbit around Earth won’t be fooled!”
“Autobot ship?! Where?!” yelped Starscream.
“Coming up off our starboard bow,” reported Thundercracker.
“Hail them!” shouted Starscream.
“Actually,” called Soundwave, “THEY’RE hailing US.”
“On screen!” ordered Starscream. Optimus’ face came up. “Autobot, this is a severe breach of the Pax Cybertronia! Return to Cybertron at once!”
“You seriously want to accuse ME of breaking the Pax Cybertronia, Starscream?” countered Optimus. “What’s this registering in my olfactory sensors, the smell of hypocrisy? You’re supposed to be in the Stockade! How did you get out?”
“I have my ways,” hissed Starscream. “This business does not concern you! Return to Cybertron!”
“You first,” directed Optimus.
“I don’t take orders from you!” roared Starscream. “Cease transmission! Blow that ship out of the sky!”
“Starscream,” gulped Knock-out as Optimus faded from the screen, “that’s a Vanguard-class ship, more powerful than the Harbinger.”
“How do you know?!” snapped Starscream.
“I managed to get some technical journals to reward me for good behavior,” replied Knock-out.
“Not freshly washed and polished…” Skywarp didn’t finish his quip as the ship lurched.
“What was that?!” demanded Starscream. “Did the Autobots fire a preemptive strike?!”
“No!” reported Soundwave. “A meteor just busted our engines! We’re venting plasma from one of our port nacelles!”
“Get us out of here!” ordered Starscream.
“We don’t have complete control over the engines!” called Thundercracker. “We can’t escape Earth’s gravity!”
“Soundwave, deploy your minions!” ordered Starscream. “Get them to Engineering!”
“They won’t get there in time!” protested Soundwave.
“Get those runts to Engineering! NOW!” bellowed Starscream.
Oh, for the love of…!” growled Soundwave. He still obeyed, activating a subspace backpack. “Frenzy! Rumble! Laserbeak! Buzzsaw! Ravage! Ratbat! All of you, eject! Operation: Scotty!” Six motorcycle shaped hover-vehicles flew out of Soundwave’s backpack and hurtled down the corridors to Engineering. Sadly, their path was blocked by debris from the ceiling.
“Ravage to Bridge!” called the black hover-bike. “Our path is blocked! We’re finding another way!”
“Too late!” wailed Starscream. “Brace for impact!” The ship bounced on Mobius’ surface, causing great rips in the surface, roughly the width of the ship. Thankfully, no one was in its path.
“Cliffjumper, what happened?!” called Optimus as they saw the Harbinger crash.
“A meteor seems to have hit their engines!” reported Cliffjumper. “They’re in sector 4-2-0, on the outskirts of Green Hill Zone!”
“Ratchet, with me!” ordered Optimus. “Bring your medical kit! Teletraan, beam us down!”
“Yes, Sir!” obliged Teletraan. He beamed them some yards away from the ship as it was still hot after coming through the atmosphere.
“Primus, even at this distance, the heat is still stifling!” gasped Optimus.
“It’s made of Cybertroid alloy,” replied Ratchet. “It will cool in a few kliks.” Soon, they heard crackling, like metal being cut through. It was near the ship’s stern and it was the result of a large hole coming from the metal. After a few seconds, the metal cooled, and the hull was blown open, revealing Ultra Magnus carrying Megatronus and Jhiaxus being held up by Perceptor. “By the Allspark!” swore Ratchet. At that point, the guns on the ship fired at the group.
“Teletraan, emergency Ground Bridge back to base!” commanded Optimus. “Get us out of here!” The Ground Bridge opened up as Optimus and Ratchet led the four through, quickly. They arrived back at the base and Ratchet led them to the Repair bay. He soon got to work treating his patients. It took over an hour, but he told Optimus that it will be a few days before they are cleared for duty. “As long as they recover,” sighed Optimus.
“In the meantime,” remarked Ratchet, “you need to establish a new chain of command, what with Ultra Magnus being here.”
“Right,” confirmed Optimus. “Jazz will have to say goodbye to being second-in-command. He’s not gonna like that.”
“No, but he’ll take the news graciously,” observed Ratchet. “Call the meeting as soon as they’re cleared, that’s what I recommend.”
“Only a fool argues with their doctor,” replied Optimus. He went to his office to figure out who’s above who now that there are three Autobots and one former Decepticon Warlord.