Optimus had heard the report on the away team’s failure against Starscream. Still, Ironhide made it back in one piece, so he couldn’t complain. Ironhide did that for him. “If I hadn’t tripped, I would had him!” griped Ironhide.
“You’re alive right now,” countered Optimus. “I NEED all bots alive. We’ll focus on the tripping later.”
“I managed to retrieve the offending object,” reported Blackarachnia. She pulled a rock out of her subspace pocket. When she showed it off, it started pulsing in a blue light. As it pulsed, so did the Matrix. “Okay, that’s freaky!” yelped Blackarachnia. Optimus commed Perceptor.
“Yo, Perceptor, if I could pull you away for a minute,” he called, “I need you to examine something for me. Give it as much testing as you need.”
“At once,” confirmed Perceptor. At that point, a four-legged walking science lab came up with the oversized microscope lens pointing at a tray underneath. “All right, place the object on the tray,” directed a male Mobian Labrador in scientist clothing. This was Perceptor’s holo-form. Optimus put the rock onto the tray. “…A rock?” mumbled Perceptor.
“A rock that pulsed with blue light in sync with the Matrix,” explained Optimus.
“Ah, a mystery rock!” cheered Perceptor, more excited. “Fret not! I shall place a scientific explanation to this rock or die trying!” He then stomped off at top speed.
“Don’t spend all day in alt-mode!” warned Optimus. “You know how it puts a bot on the fritz!”
“That bot can be absent-minded,” sighed Blackarachnia.
Over with the Cons, Starscream was patched up and was “assisting” Shockwave. “Tick tock, Shockwave, TICK TOCK!” he grumbled. “Megatron wants results and, given that his original plans were set back and he doesn’t take failure well, I would say we cannot afford to disappoint him!”
“‘We’?” repeated Shockwave as she waved a wand scanner over the two Emeralds. “Unless nagging counts, I haven’t seen you lift a finger.”
“I am the one who gave Megatron the Emeralds!” insisted Starscream. “Do I really need to prove myself further by deciphering how to tap into their energies?”
“Well, perhaps if my research weren’t sidelined by someone’s constant screeching,” hissed Shockwave, losing patience, “I would be further along by now!”
“Oh, just give it here!” snapped Starscream as he snatched the red emerald. He tried concentrating hard, then resorted to banging his fist on the table.
“Oh, gee, why did I think of that?” remarked Shockwave, sarcasm dripping heavily from her voice. Starscream then punched Shockwave in the face! Big mistake! Shockwave grabbed the purple Emerald and reeled back for a punch. Starscream did the same and their fists connected, causing a massive Chaos Blast and knocking them on opposite sides of the room. “Do you think?” asked Shockwave. Starscream and Shockwave, after picking themselves up, got into a ready stance, facing a wall.
“On three ,” directed Starscream. “One.”
“Two,” counted Shockwave.
“THREE!” shouted the two of them together. They then punched the wall and created an explosion, making a large hole in the wall.
“Well, now,” mused Starscream. “It looks like we have progress.”
“The sudden burst of power seems to be coming from our Spark energies,” theorized Shockwave. “However, I have no evidence to support that theory.”
“Then don’t let me disturb your research,” replied Starscream as he walked out of the lab. He then tried to ring up Eggman. “Doctor, Shockwave has made significant progress and a discovery has resulted in a new hole in the lab. She requires a clean-up crew.”
“Doctor Eggman is indisposed,” called Metal Sonic’s voice. “He’s engaged with Sonic.”
“On whose authority?!” bellowed Starscream.
“He IS the master of Robotropolis,” replied Metal, “much to my annoyance. He can come and go as he wishes. Metal Sonic out.” The call ended as a repair crew came up.
“This is why we never bothered dealing with humans in the first place!” snarled Starscream. “They’re too impulsive! The experience with that Cobra organization was interaction enough!”
“Run, run, run, as fast as you can, Egghead!” taunted Sonic as he zoomed after Eggman.
“MUST YOU?!” bellowed Eggman.
“Well, I AM the hero of Mobius, so, yeah!” replied Sonic as he flashed his trademark grin. He was about to spin-dash the Egg-mobile when a purple streak of light caused a medium sized crater to appear in front of him. Megatron then came out of hiding in his alt-mode. His holo-form’s feet were on the driver-sticks as he sipped a soda out of a straw.
“Can you even taste that?” asked Eggman as they headed off with Sonic in pursuit.
“Holo-forms simulate everything for an organic body, so yeah, I can taste it and process it as well as food,” explained Megatron.
“…How?” quizzed Eggman.
“Let’s just say ‘magic’ and leave it at that,” dismissed Megatron.
“I’ll find out how one of these days!” boasted Eggman. “I DO have an i.q. of 300!”
“Never mind the fact,” thought Megatron, “that i.q’s mean nothing without hard work, something you lack.” Megatron took another sip when he got a call. He lazily used his holo-form’s foot to press the accept button. The voice and face of Optimus came through!
“Can’t keep me angry, Mega-twerp!” he laughed. Megatron did a spit-take and seized the controls, hitting the accelerator.
“MEGATRON!” he bellowed. “You know my name is Megatron! I told you that when I left the Autobots! You’re doing this on purpose!”
“Doing what, Mega-twerp?” giggled Optimus. He then appeared in vehicle mode and was led on a chase through the canyon. Sonic ran alongside him.
“Knuckles told me you were confined to base,” remarked Sonic.
“After a training session,” explained Optimus, “Ratchet gave me another psych eval, one with better results. I was cleared for duty soon after. The reason for my confining was… YIPE!” He braked hard when he saw the large pit that opened into lava! He transformed as well and managed to stop Sonic.
“Whatever you have planned,” laughed Megatron as he transformed on the other side of the lava pit, “it will end here!”
“Prepare to be destroyed by Burn-bot!” cheered Eggman. A massive red robot with spikes and pincher-styled claws came up.
“You are, of course, free to scream in agony as Burn-bot reduces you two to ash!” boasted Megatron.
“How am I supposed to do that?” asked Burn-bot in a monotone.
“What?” yelped Megatron as he was thrown for a loop. “What do you mean how are you supposed to do that?! Point your flamethrowers at Optimus and Sonic and unleash Hell!” Burn-bot cocked its head as Megatron got a nagging suspicion. “Doctor, Burn-bot DOES have flamethrowers, right?”
“Flamethrowers?” stammered Eggman. “Er, well, no…”
“Acid?!” snapped Megatron. “Incendiary grenades?!”
“No, no, no!” replied Eggman. “Claws! It has claws! Very painful claws!” Burn-bot then opened and closed its claws.
“A bot called Burn-bot, and it has no means of burning,” sighed Optimus.
“Not one of Egghead’s best,” mumbled Sonic.
“You should have named it Claw-bot! Or the Lacerator! Pit, even Pinchatron 9000!” protested Megatron. “But…BURN-BOT?!?! That’s just false adver…!”
“I NAME THE ROBOTS, MEGATRON!” said Eggman. “Burn-bot, ATTACK!” Burn-bot then went on the offensive and leapt onto Sonic and Optimus’ side of the lava pit. Optimus gave a smirk as Sonic chuckled. They charged at Burn-bot while Burn-bot swiped at them with its claws. Optimus grabbed Burn-bot and flicked it away, sadly leaving him open to a slash from Megatron. Optimus grabbed his axes and combined them into their single form. It was axe against concealed sword. Optimus grinned as he curled up and spin-dashed Megatron.
“HEY! THAT’S MY MOVE!” shouted Sonic as he spin-dashed Megatron as well.
“Pesky annoyances!” roared Megatron as he sent a dark energy wave at them. Optimus and Sonic leapt out of the way.
“You know, some would say you’re getting addicted to Dark Energon!” mused Optimus.
“So it would seem!” agreed Megatron as he used his fusion cannon. Optimus then grabbed his gun and fired.
“You do realize that there’s no room for cover here, right?” asked Optimus. “This place is pretty open!”
“Then why are there plenty of rocks littering the canyon?” countered Megatron as he took cover. “You can’t stop my plans!”
“Tell me, does your plan involve a giant, purple, robot griffin?” joked Optimus.
“NO! Nothing so mundane!” shouted Megatron. “A commander would be unwise to reveal his strategy to the enemy!”
“Even if our plans involve…!” continued Eggman.
“ZIP IT!!” shouted Megatron. “Soundwave, Eggman and I require a ground bridge!”
“But Burn-bot will be destroyed without us!” protested Eggman.
“Leave it!” insisted Megatron as the ground bridge opened. They headed into the portal and left Burn-bot. Sonic spin-dashed it into the lava and it gave off a death rattle.
“Yeah, that’s not gonna haunt me!” gulped Sonic.
“Didn’t the robots you smashed make a death rattle?” asked Optimus.
“No,” answered Sonic.
“I…see,” remarked Optimus. “Eggman’s getting sadistic.”
“Now what possessed you to charge off like that?!” bellowed Megatron.
“I needed to get something for my robots!” replied Eggman.
“You couldn’t send another robot to get it?!” protested Starscream.
“It was too delicate for my robots to retrieve!” answered Eggman. “I needed to be subtle!”
“If you were going for subtle,” mused Shockwave, “then the inappropriately named Burn-bot was NOT it.”
“You have an idea?” quizzed Megatron.
“To be truly subtle,” explained Shockwave, “we need to attack Optimus psychologically. Thankfully, I have discovered a way to achieve such an attack.”