This was the first official meeting Optimus ever had concerning command. His bots always knew who’s who in the chain of command, but there were now MORE Decepticons on the planet. Optimus had to tighten up a bit. He entered the conference room with all bots on deck, Jhiaxus included. “Bots,” Optimus began, “I know it’s been a slightly casual command style I tried to maintain, but the Decepticons aren’t going to give us that luxury. We need to strike with all available discipline. Therefore, the chain of command is as follows: Private: First Class Cliffjumper reports to Corporal Bumblebee, who reports to Master Sergeant Ironhide, who reports to Warrant Officer Perceptor, who reports to Chief Warrant Officer 3 and Chief Medical Officer Ratchet, who reports to Chief Warrant Officer 5 Megatronus, who reports to Second Lieutenant Prowl, who reports to First Lieutenant Jazz, who reports to General of the Army Ultra Magnus, who reports to me.”
“What about Jhiaxus?” asked Cliffjumper.
“He’ll be returning to Cybertron,” replied Optimus, “to investigate the currently tense situation within the rest of the Decepticons.”
“He’s not helping us?” protested Jazz.
“He’s not a soldier anymore,” answered Optimus. “He retired the instant he put his signature on the Pax Cybertronia. He’s a civilian and a politician. He needs to find out what’s going on.”
“Very well,” sighed Ratchet.
“In the meantime,” continued Optimus, “Ultra Magnus will brief us on the Decepticons aboard the Harbinger. Ultra Magnus; when you’re ready.”
“Thank you,” bid Ultra Magnus. He then took the floor as Starscream’s hologram came up. “Starscream, leader of the 1st Seeker Trine. Evidently, he answers to a new master, one that stole Jhiaxus’ Decepticon symbol.”
“The one made of Dark Energon crystal?” quizzed Ratchet.
“the very same,” confirmed Ultra Magnus. “the Decepticons’ answer to de Matrix.”
“So he took over as the new Decepticon Leader, as he always wanted!” guessed Optimus.
“No,” replied Ultra Magnus. “Someone else has it, someone we don’t know.”
“Great,” sighed Jazz, “so this person may be on Cybertron!”
“Very likely,” remarked Ultra Magnus, “but getting the Harbinger’s crew behind bars will demoralize the rest of these dissidents and we’ll get things peaceful again.”
“Peaceful or quiet?” asked Optimus.
“…Peaceful,” assured Ultra Magnus, sensing his youngest brother’s question. “Next, we have the straight man of Starscream’s trine, Thundercracker.” His hologram appeared after Starscream’s vanished. “Next is the goof, Skywarp.” Skywarp’s funny face came up as he stuck out his tongue. “Next is Soundwave.”
“Soundwave?” gulped Bumblebee. “The guy with the minions?”
“Yes,” confirmed Ultra Magnus, “and said minions are with him. Last is Knock-out.”
“That quack?!” yelped Ratchet. “All he’s good for is preening himself like a peacock!”
“Careful,” urged Optimus. “A peacock may take offense to that.” At that point, the conference room doors opened and Rouge stormed in.
“I’d like to file a complaint!” she snapped.
“Not now, Rouge!” hissed Optimus.
“A noise complaint against you!” continued Rouge, not allowing herself to be deterred.
“I believe I told Aleena and Topaz,” urged Optimus, “that the Autobots need privacy for a while until our new arrivals are acclimated to Mobius!” Rouge was not going to let her complaint be unheard, so she flew onto the conference table and landed in front of Prowl.
“My quarters are right next to his guest quarters,” she snarled to Prowl. “You wouldn’t believe the racket he makes!”
“Rouge!” growled Optimus.
“Do you know what it sounds like when you practice Cyber-ninjutsu?!” snapped Rouge. “Last night, it sounded like you were throwing ninja stars at the walls!”
“That was for all of five minutes!” protested Optimus. “Once you complained, I did my transform-ups!”
“Yeah,” griped Rouge, not the slightest bit placated, “armor plating and t-cog, making racket in sync!” She then made the transformation noises with her mouth in a repeating pattern.
“You can hear that?” quizzed Prowl.
“Hello?!” asked Rouge as she pointed to her ears. “Sometimes I can hear him humming when he’s meditating!”
“Maybe you should get new quarters,” remarked Prowl.
“Maybe he should have a little consideration!” snarled Rouge. “Cyber-ninja practice in the middle of the night, there ought to be a law on Cybertron for that!”
“Come back in half an hour,” replied Optimus. “I’ll be happy to take your complaint then.”
“Ma’am,” called Ultra Magnus as he took out a silver rod, “how long have you known the Autobots?”
“Put that away,” directed Optimus. “A mind wipe won’t do any good.”
“W-W-What do you m-mean?” asked Megatronus.
“I had a better transition in mind,” sighed Optimus, “but the Turbo-fox is out of the cage now. New arrivals, the entire planet knows we exist.” Ultra Magnus’ optics widened at this, as did the others.
“Brother,” gulped Megatronus, “is th-th-this some k-k-k-kind of j-joke?!”
“No,” replied Optimus.
“Optimus, this is a severe breach of the Pax Cybertronia!” shouted Ultra Magnus. “Article…!”
“I have the Pax Cybertronia in my office on Cybertron,” replied Optimus. “I know where it says that we can’t reveal ourselves to a class C civilization.”
“So why did you?!” snarled Perceptor.
“Hardly our fault,” argued Ratchet. “The media caught us.”
“We have technology to avoid that!” wailed Ultra Magnus. “And I suppose you have…her…as your liaison?”
“You mean me?” quizzed Rouge. She then grinned. “Flustered at a beautiful lady’s presence?”
“Rouge, quit teasing the poor bot,” urged Optimus. “He just gets this way at any attractive lady, be they metal or organic.”
“Not discriminatory, that’s even better,” purred Rouge.
“Y-Y-You should have s-s-seen him g-give the g-goo-goo eyes at-t-t C-C-C-Carly W-W-Witwic-c-cky!” chuckled Megatronus.
“She was married!” insisted Ultra Magnus.
“N-N-Not in T-T-Two Th-Thousand an-n-nd S-S-S-Seven!” recalled Megatronus.
“Shut up!” snapped Ultra Magnus.
“In any case,” interjected Optimus, “Rouge isn’t our liaison. That’s Ms. Alexis SIlverwing’s job.” A bell then sounded. “Speaking of,” muttered Optimus. He put the call through. Alexis appeared.
“Prime, did you see any MECH soldiers in Mazuri garb?” she asked.
“…No, why?” replied Optimus, confused.
“Because,” explained Alexis, “the Mazuri branch of G.U.N reported MECH making a smash and grab in their storage facility. The place looks like it was hit by an army of wrecking balls.”
“Why would they take something there?” asked Jazz.
“Does Project: Sun Blaster mean anything?” inquired Alexis.
“The Solar Cannon?!” yelped Bumblebee.
“With enough power to melt Cybertronian steel,” recalled Optimus.
“As of last night,” reported Alexis, “it was missing its primary focusing lens. But, MECH hadn’t found the tracking device on it yet, so we know where they took it.”
“Then give us the coordinates and we’ll get it back,” declared Optimus, “me, Megatronus, and Ultra Magnus!”
“ME?!” yelped Megatronus. “W-W-WHY ME?!”
“We DO need to test our new alt-modes,” mused Ultra Magnus. “Now is the perfect time.”
“Then what are we waiting for?!” urged Optimus. “While Ratchet brings Perceptor up to speed, the Pax Children are off to get that Solar Cannon part! Teletraan, have you received the coordinates?”
“Got them!” called Teletraan. Megatronus jumped.
“I’m n-n-never gonna g-g-get used to th-that!” he gasped.
“Sorry,” muttered Teletraan. “Opening Ground Bridge.” The vortex opened, and Optimus cracked his knuckles.
“You bots ready?” he called.
“As I’ll ever b-be,” stammered Megatronus. “M-M-MEGAT-T-TRONUS, T-T-TRANSF-F-FORM!” His upper torso rotated to the back and his arms folded onto his chest, his shoulder pads going to where his head sunk in to make a single hover generator. His legs folded onto the back and released two pairs of gun barrels, a large one on top of a small one, and the cockpit for the driver came forward above the front hover generator.
“ULTRA MAGNUS, TRANSFORM!” Ultra Magnus’ alt-mode and transformation were like Optimus’ when he was Orion Pax, just in a white and blue color scheme.
“And, last but not least, OPTIMUS PRIME, TRANSFORM!” Optimus changed and summoned his trailer.
“A t-t-trailer?!” yelped Megatronus as his holo-form came up. It was a gray Mobian Hedgehog in a dark gray suit and a black tube around his right forearm.
“A secret weapon?” asked Ultra Magnus as his holo-form came up. Another Mobian Hedgehog with tan fur and a spikier design to his quills in a hoodie and khakis.
“A battle frame!” replied Optimus. “Let’s roll out, you two!” Ultra Magnus and Megatronus followed Optimus into the Ground Bridge and they headed to Mazuri.