Ratchet was put into stasis as Optimus checked both him and Megatronus over. “By Primus, this is nerve-wracking!” he muttered to himself.
“It’s-s-s n-n-not s-so b-bad,” assured Megatronus.
“You’re not the one wielding a laser scalpel!” gulped Optimus. “Now, please be quiet. I have to put you in stasis.”
“G-G-Good luck,” bid Megatronus. He laid down on the table and Optimus was about to induce stasis when a call came through. Grimlock came up.
“Prime? Where’s Ratchet?” he asked.
“C-C-Currently b-busy,” replied Megatronus.
“Oh, Primus,” growled Grimlock as irritation crossed his features. “Look, we spotted MECH running around with a t-cog in tow and need your help to get it back, so we can properly lay that bot to rest.”
“Th-Th-That’s n-not a d-d-dead t-t-t-t-cog!” yelped Megatronus. “W-W-We n-need…!”
“OH FOR THE LOVE OF…!” roared Grimlock as he couldn’t stand people with a stutter. “GIVE ME SOMEONE WHO HAS A FUNCTIONING VOICE-BOX!”
“Danger!” announced his warning.
“Hey! Don’t be dissing my brother!” snapped Optimus.
“What?!” called Ratchet as he sat up suddenly, looking loopy. “Do I hear a Fuzor in need of voice-box repair?!”
“WHAT’S A FUZOR?!” roared Grimlock. “WHAT’S GOING ON OVER THERE?!”
“Danger!” his warning said again.
“I am able!” slurred Ratchet, sounding like a drunk. “Just ask Bantor! He was all mandrill before I…put a tiger in his tank!” He crashed back onto the berth. Grimlock’s anger was replaced by confusion.
“Look, Megatronus lost his t-cog at the hands of MECH,” explained Optimus. “We need their coordinates to get it back.”
“But, what about Ratchet?” protested Teletraan.
“Keep watch on him and tell him what’s going on the instant he wakes up,” ordered Optimus. “Well, Megatronus, surgery’s been postponed. Let’s roll out!”
“R-Ratchet’s not g-g-gonna be happy,” gulped Megatronus as he followed his brother out of the med-bay.
“The Prowler 500!” announced a female Mobian Exotic Shorthair cat, Mrs. Samantha Urbana of Urbana Industries. She wore a red evening dress with one strap on her left shoulder and frill around the neckline and armhole. She had a red rose behind her left ear and had a hidden microphone on her ruby necklace. “Sleek! Fast! Fuel Efficient! Those words describe our newest car exactly! Perfect for a little racing or for a soccer mom! That’s right, the Prowler 500! Autobot tested and approved! It won’t just rock your world; it will transform it!” The crowd gave their applause as the event ended. As she headed off to her car, Prowl cleared his throat. He was in his holo-form. “Ah, Officer Prowl!” she said pleasantly. “What can I do for the Station Square Police Department and the Autobots?”
“We’d like to know why you’re advertising a vehicle that hasn’t been retired from police service yet,” explained Prowl. Samantha’s tail stopped moving as her ears drooped slightly and a look of confusion crossed her features.
“The police HAVEN’T retired that type of car?” she asked.
“No, Ma’am, the current fleet of police vehicles still has the type of cruiser that I turn into,” confirmed Prowl.
“Let’s talk somewhere private,” directed Samantha. When they were alone, she went deep in thought. “What you said doesn’t make sense. Market Research was told that the police is retiring their fleet for new cars.”
“That’s unusual, given the record of your Market Research department,” mused Prowl.
“Didn’t our dad say that it was poor taste to whisper in corners?” asked a sleazy male voice. Samantha’s ears flattened, and her tail was moving back and forth in anger. She allowed a growl to escape her throat as a large male Mobian Exotic Shorthair cat approached them. He had a white suit with mauve trim and a mullet. “Samantha, my dear sister,” said the cat with slime ball sleaziness practically oozing out of his words.
“Porter,” she hissed.
“Mr. Powell,” muttered Prowl.
“And Officer Prowl,” bid Porter C. Powell. “Tell me, did you register the patent and copyright your name and image?”
“…No…” replied Prowl.
“Good, because it wouldn’t have helped,” chuckled Powell. “Francine was very clever in finding loopholes for you to get ahead, little sister.”
“…She lied!” hissed Samantha. “She’s one of your toads!”
“Samantha, Prowl is a public figure,” countered Powell, “and our respective companies have been making and selling these exact same police cruisers for years, supplying police departments and paramilitary organizations across the planet with these EXACT…SAME…VEHICLES. He’s lucky I don’t sue him. Besides, Francine’s a Pig, not a Toad.”
“Porter C. Powell, this is corporate sabotage at its finest!” snarled Prowl.
“And where’s the proof that this conversation happened?” asked Powell. “Or your arrest warrant?” Prowl gave off a dog’s growl. “Just keep in line and we’ll call it even.” He then sauntered off. Once out of visual and hearing range, Samantha gave off her angriest yowl.
“Awkward position for your company?” guessed Prowl.
“Urbana Industries can’t afford a recall at this stage!” she hissed. “And I can’t ask Powell to cover our rear, he’ll attach strings to it!”
“Well, I don’t need a canine’s nose to smell the guilt radiating from Powell,” remarked Prowl. “The Station Square Police Department and Autobots will assist you in any way we can.”
“I appreciate that, Officer Prowl,” replied Samantha. “In the meantime, I better get some help from my lawyers and start finding out how many of Powell’s flunkies are in my company.”
“YOUR company?” quizzed Prowl.
“My husband willed his company to me,” explained Samantha, “on the condition that I run it better than he did. I like to think I am and I’m not letting my brother drag it through the mud!”
“Any particular reason why he wants to?” asked Prowl.
“Probably to ‘teach me a lesson’,” she hissed. “Urbana Industries and Powell Motorworks were rivals once, and the fact that my husband was a Mobian Rex Fancy Rat stirred up the old racial purity thing!”
“Even among Mobians, there’s a belief in racial purity?” wailed Prowl.
“Disgusting, yes,” agreed Samantha, “but most of us believe love conquers all. We just need to be vigilant with the rest of the population so we don’t have any race riots.”
“I see,” sighed Prowl. “In any case, I need to tell the Chief and Optimus about this. Let’s meet tomorrow to discuss this.”
“All right. Police HQ at 9:00 work?” inquired Samantha.
“Perfect,” confirmed Prowl. He then got a chime on his comms. “Yes? …Really?! Where?! ……On my way!” He hung up. “Sorry, ma’am. Autobot business.”
“Good luck,” she bid. Prowl headed to his vehicle mode and sped off to where he got the transmission, leaving Samantha Urbana to ponder her next move.
Ratchet stirred from stasis. He did a visual sweep of the med-bay. “Where did everyone go?” he asked.
“They’re off fighting MECH,” explained Teletraan.
“NOW?!” yelped Ratchet. “Megatronus is still recovering from surgery!”
“Er, about that, you may want to switch on your laser scalpel,” gulped Teletraan.
“How?!” quizzed Ratchet, Subconsciously, he activated it. The instrument came out of his forearm. Ratchet then put two and two together. “There wasn’t a surgery! Those idiots! Why did they let themselves get distracted by MECH’s move?!”
“Grimlock found Megatronus’ t-cog,” elaborated Teletraan. “They’re fighting for it right now.”
“Give me a Ground Bridge there!” ordered Ratchet.
“You’re still recovering from induced stasis!” protested Teletraan.
“I’m the doctor and I say I’m fine!” dismissed Ratchet. “Ground Bridge! Now!” Teletraan, reluctantly, complied and sent him to the area MECH had set up their base of operations. Optimus, Prowl, Megatronus, and Grimlock were caught in a firefight. “You just couldn’t make the incision, could you?!” snarled Ratchet.
“Not now!” snapped Optimus. “We need a way in!”
“Allow me!” called Grimlock. He fired a shot through the line and then ignored his warnings, turning into his t-rex mode and barreling through. The rest followed him as they headed for the storage barn holding the attempted MECH Transformer and Sylvia and Blackarachnia. The Spider-bot fired her webs, but the two Pax children dodged. Sylvia then pulled out her gun and fired on the bots. The Autobots fired back while Grimlock tossed the soldiers around.
“This is getting intolerable,” hissed Sylvia. “Blackarachnia, stay behind to keep the Autobots in check while we move to our new facility. Purge the place of any sensitive materials. MECH, move out!”
“I’m not one of your foot soldiers, I’m a consultant!” protested Blackarachnia to the retreating MECH soldiers. At that point, Grimlock headbutted her right into a wall near the robot. When she recovered, she swiped the t-cog from the robot and leveled her gun at it. “One more step and the t-cog is fried!”
“Blackarachnia, you’d never dare!” shouted Optimus.
“I’m a Decepticon, try me,” countered Blackarachnia.
“Y-You’re b-b-bluffing!” stammered Megatronus.
“B-B-Bluffing, am I?” mocked Blackarachnia.
“Blackarachnia, hand over the t-cog!” ordered Optimus.
“You’re in no position to make demands!” shouted Blackarachnia. She forgot a rampaging Grimlock as she was tail-swiped by him She lost her grip on the t-cog, so she took the opportunity to fire on it. The two Pax children tried to reach for it, but to no avail. The shot hit its mark. They hit the floor, slowly to them, as the charred remains of a t-cog bounced uselessly before stopping. “Time to roll out, because I can!” boasted Blackarachnia as she transformed and sped off. Grimlock stopped in his rage long enough to see what had happened. The Autobots snapped out of their daze and scooped up the t-cog, rejoining Prowl and Ratchet.
“Teletraan!” called Optimus. “Ground Bridge to Med-bay! NOW!”
The Autobots had gathered outside the Med-bay as Ratchet worked on Megatronus’ t-cog. All the Dyno-bots were there too. Grimlock was leaning against the wall with his arms folded, his features hiding his guilt. It didn’t fool Optimus. “It was hardly your fault,” he assured.
“I allowed my anger to control me,” argued Grimlock. “If I didn’t tail-swipe her, Megatronus wouldn’t be in this state. I owe him an apology. Don’t bother saying it wasn’t my fault; it was, my emotional state be damned.” At that point, they heard the hiss of the Med-bay door opening. Ratchet and Megatronus came out.
“I…I did what I could,” sighed Ratchet.
“My brother could not have been in better hands, my friend,” assured Optimus.
“W-W-Well,” gulped Megatronus, “time to t-try.”
“Megatronus, easy,” urged Ratchet.
“B-But I n-n-need to t-t-transform!” protested Megatronus.
“Megatronus, please!” begged Ratchet. “Recovery takes time!”
“T-Transform!” ordered Megatronus. The armor twitched, but no transformation happened.
“The damage was…severe,” said Ratchet.
“T-Transform!” repeated Megatronus. Still nothing. “M-M-MEGAT-T-TRONUS, T-T-TRANSF-F-FORM!” Still nothing. Megatronus sighed. Then, just as he gave up hope, the armor shifted and he folded into his vehicle mode! His holo-form came online, and he jumped for joy! “I-I-If you w-will excuse m-me,” he called as he climbed inside hid vehicle mode, “I n-n-need to g-g-go for a d-drive!” He then sped out of the base.
“Easy on the t-cog!” shouted Grimlock. “Don’t wear it out!”
“Speaking of t-cogs,” replied Swoop. He then jabbed Grimlock in the back with a needle. Grimlock then grabbed Swoop and slammed him against the wall.
“Give me one good reason I shouldn’t tear you a new one!” he roared.
“Did the warning flash?” asked Swoop.
“At the moment, I feel like…like…like…like…like I haven’t heard it, what the scrap?” quizzed Grimlock as he let Swoop down. Grimlock got an idea in his head, then decided to try something. “GRIMLOCK, TRANSFORM!” He did so, then the dino looked himself over. “I…don’t believe it!” he gasped. “I can transform at will again!”
“So can the rest of the Dyno-bots,” reported Swoop as he held up a gun-like device. It had a syringe on the end of it. “We finally found the genes that made us slaves to our rage. Granted, because genes are unique in every lifeform, it was different for us all. Long story short, we’re cured. Tails, Ratchet, and Perceptor are geniuses.”
“I did say my technical staff would help you,” reminded Optimus. “I make it a policy to keep my…” he was cut short as Grimlock transformed and started hugging him. Que the awkward pat on the back from Optimus. “You DO realize some people will take this as an excuse to write a fanfic about us?” mumbled Optimus.
“What do I care?” countered Grimlock as he released Optimus. “I ain’t gonna read it.”
“What ARE you going to do?” quizzed Optimus.
“Well, we knew what we were doing was breaking the law,” sighed Grimlock, “ so we made a promise to return the guns we stole, stand trial, and serve our sentence. If we do get an amount of jail time, we’ll wait until we’re released to undergo the Rite of the Autobrand.”
“That’s quite a commitment,” observed Ultra Magnus. “Are you sure?”
“Beyond the shadow of a doubt,” assured Grimlock. “I want this temporary symbol covering up my Deceptibrand to be real!”
“We don’t have the machinery to give you the Autobrand,” offered Optimus, “but, if you’re willing, you CAN take the oath.”
“Are you sure about that?” asked Grimlock.
“Very sure,” declared Optimus. “Now, do you want to take the Oath?”
“At once!” replied Grimlock. He was about to kneel when Optimus stopped him.
“We don’t kneel,” explained Optimus. “We use the Old Cybertronian Salute.” He crossed his arms in front of his chest and the Dyno-bots did the same. “Now, repeat after me: I pledge my undying service to my Prime and the Autobot cause.”
“I pledge my undying service to my Prime and the Autobot cause,” repeated the Dyno-bots.
“I shall devote my Spark to achieving our goal of galactic peace,” called Optimus.
“I shall devote my Spark to achieving our goal of galactic peace,” echoed the Dyno-bots.
“Even if I must give up my life,” continued Optimus.
“Even if I must give up my life,” recited the Dyno-bots.
“I will defend the weak and helpless,” proclaimed Optimus.
“I will defend the weak and helpless,” repeated the Dyno-bots.
“And remove any threats from the planet that which we protect,” said Optimus.
“And remove any threats from the planet that which we protect,” recited the Dyno-bots.
“’Til All Are One!” finished Optimus.
“’Til All Are One!” repeated everyone in the room.
Blackarachnia sped through the forest, hoping the Autobots weren’t on her tail. It would disrupt her plans if they were. She encountered Sylvia’s MECH company and stopped. “The t-cog?” asked Sylvia.
“Destroyed in the firefight,” explained Blackarachnia, “but we can get another one soon enough.”
“Not soon enough,” declared Sylvia. The tanks then leveled their barrels at Blackarachnia. “Now.”
“DECEPTICONS FOREVER!” roared a voice with a Russian accent. At that moment, a black motorcycle with hover generators replacing the wheels came into view with a male Mobian Panther riding it. He pulled out twin pistols and fired.
“GET THAT FUZZY!” shouted Sylvia.
“Devotchka! With me!” called the panther. Blackarachnia changed her holo-form back into her Mobian one and followed the panther. MECH fired on them until Sylvia gave the order to stand down. They found themselves in a clearing.
“BLACKARACHNIA, TRANSFORM!” announced Blackarachnia.
“RAVAGE, TRANSFORM!” called the panther. The front, paw-like wheel fork released the hover generator as it went into the bike. The fork then lowered to the ground as paws came out. Rear legs twisted from the underside of the bike as large rockets were deployed to the rear hips. A tail unfolded with the seat acting as a flail. The handlebars went to the shoulders as the whole thing stood up to reveal a panther-like head. The Decepticon symbol was displayed proudly on the new mech’s chest. This was Ravage, the spy and hunter of Soundwave’s minions. “I’ve observed your entire operation,” he explained to Blackarachnia. “Quite the ingenious bit of scheming you put together.”
“Great,” muttered Blackarachnia, “I have a stalker.”
“You will pardon me for not helping you in the firefight with the Autobots earlier,” replied Ravage. “I only wished to avoid any regrettable…accidents to my person.” A Cybertronian sized, non-Mobian, Sydney Funnel web spider appeared in a hologram.
“Next time, try some loyalty to your team, you punter!” shouted the spider in a female Australian’s voice.
“Funnel, please,” bid Blackarachnia.
“PLEASE?!” complained the spider. “Come on! The only thing worse than Soundwave are his minions!”
“Shut up, Funnel,” hissed Blackarachnia as she switched off the hologram. “Forgive me, I just suffered a lot in my alliance with those fleshlings.”
“For which, the Decepticons are DEEPLY apologetic, I assure you,” answered Ravage. “However, our plans need an expert on this planet, and that is you. You need to tell us what you know, and I was sent to bring you to us.” He then stood to attention and saluted. “Covert Agent Ravage, at your service.”
“Wait a cycle,” snarled Blackarachnia, “why didn’t your master come himself?!”
“I’m afraid Soundwave is busy with getting our communications online,” elaborated Ravage. “Only I was available to assist you. You understand, given our current fugitive status, we would prefer to handle things…discreetly. I must say, you’re…different than what I was expecting.
“I’ve had some interesting times,” remarked Blackarachnia.
Megatronus had arrived at a small grassland where no one could see him. He transformed and set up a communications terminal. He grabbed a microphone. “Soundwave, this is your master,” called Megatronus. Noise came out before Megatronus got a response.
“DUUUUUUDE!” cheered the surfer-dude voice of the Decepticons’ Communications Officer. “We just picked up a sweet Arachnoid Femme!”
“Be careful about her!” barked Megatronus. “Prepare to receive a list of all Autobots on the planet, including Spy-changers!” Megatronus then plugged a cylinder into the terminal and pressed a button. The data was sent over to Soundwave.
“Sweet!” replied Soundwave. “Data received and…wait, the spider-femme’s how old?! Dude, way too young for me! And…a Spy-changer?! Man, what a buzz-kill!”
“Let her stay the night,” ordered Megatronus. “Get rid of her tomorrow.”
“Done and done!” confirmed Soundwave. “Would you want her alive or dead?”
“Dead bots tell no tales,” answered Megatronus.
“Dead, it is,” cheered Soundwave. “I’ll tell Starscream. Over and out!” The call ended.
“Best return to base,” mused Megatronus. “Need to keep up appearances until the plan is set.”