“The Metarex Five?!” yelped Ratchet.
“Scarship?!” wailed Ironhide.
“Yes on both counts,” sighed Cosmo.
“Not good,” gulped Prowl.
“That’s an understatement, if my history is correct,” replied Optimus between handfuls of Energon Munchies.
“It would take an entire fleet of ships to scratch Scarship!” sighed Ironhide. “We don’t have that kind of strategy.”
“The Metarex clearly place Mobius very high on their list of priorities,” mused Prowl.
“Well, we’re just going to have to find out what those priorities are,” replied Optimus as he finished another handful of Munchies.
“How, pray tell, are we going to do that?!” asked Ironhide. “Prime, this is Scarship we’re talking about!”
“He’s taken more than a few Planet Eggs in his day!” supplied Ratchet.
“If we play our cards right,” remarked Optimus as he fished for a new package of Munchies, “he won’t take this one.”
“Sir, how you can lean back in your chair,” Prowl snapped, “calmly eating Energon Munchies when we’re in this mess, I just can’t fathom! You seem to be perfectly Sparkless!”
“I can’t eat Munchies in a worried manner!” protested Optimus. “The liquid Energon inside them would go everywhere and get into my joints! Then it would crystalize again and I’d have joint problems at an early age.”
“I say it’s perfectly Sparkless for you to be eating Munchies at all,” hissed Prowl, “given the circumstances!”
“When I need to think,” remarked Optimus, “Munchies and exercising the extra calories off are what help me. Indeed, when there’s a HUGE problem that demands my attention, as anybody who knows me intimately will tell you, I refuse everything except some form of kinetic thinking. At the present moment, I’m eating Munchies because I have an inkling of an idea. Also, I’m particularly fond of Energon Munchies.”
“An idea, sir?” repeated Prowl.
“You three,” recalled Optimus, “met Ms. Cosmo through your then-fiancés, right?”
“Right,” replied Ironhide. “That was after they…foiled…the Metarex……twice in a row…you’re getting reinforcements relating to this problem!”
“I’m getting reinforcements relating to this problem,” confirmed Optimus as he offered bags of Munchies to his bots. Cosmo, while she was a member of one of few species that could safely consume Energon, politely declined. The rest of the bots in the room accepted.
If Prowl were not a mech who kept a lid on his emotional reactions, he’d be bouncing off the walls that day. All Autobots patiently waited for the Ground Bridge to switch to Space Bridge functions. After 10 minutes, a Space Bridge portal opened and two figures appeared. As they got nearer, the details became clearer. Soon, Strongarm and Chromia were standing in the Command Center, wearing new armor that matched their now Mobian vehicle modes. “Somebody call for a Metarex Pest Control team?” Chromia joked. Strongarm saluted.
“2nd Lieutenant Strongarm and Master Sergeant Chromia, reporting as ordered,” she called.
“Will you relax, Regs?” sighed Chromia.
“Okay, you two,” interjected Optimus. Strongarm put her hand down. “I assume you’ve been briefed?”
“We DID get updates on your battles here, Sir,” replied Strongarm.
“You bots have had a hard time of it,” remarked Chromia. “And now, Scarship’s in orbit.”
“Which doesn’t make sense, Sir,” mused Strongarm.
“How so?” asked Optimus.
“During the…‘Great War’,” Strongarm shuddered at hearing a war she fought in called great, “this planet was considered contested ground between the two factions. So far, there’s been no resolution.”
“Might I ask how you know such things?” quizzed Optimus.
“Regs and I,” replied Chromia, “still have ties to the Stellar Council.”
“…‘Regs’?” repeated Optimus.
“Short for ‘Regulations’, Sir,” explained Strongarm.
“I see,” remarked Optimus. “Regretfully, we don’t have time for a full tour. What can you two tell us about Scarship?”
“Even without his formidable shields,” reported Strongarm, “Scarship’s hull armor is made of tri-folded rezardium. It took the Nemesis to scratch him.”
“Rezardium’s not something that can be scratched easily,” recalled Optimus.
“There are two areas that aren’t so tough in terms of materials,” interjected Chromia. “He uses a pair of…what’s the Star Trek term…warp nacelles.”
“He uses nacelles?” inquired Optimus. “Our starships use warp sliders, much more efficient and safer. So, a shot to the nacelles will stop him?”
“If you get past his Quad-rotating shields,” replied Strongarm.
“Of course he has those,” grumbled Ironhide.
“And, against all logic,” continued Chromia, “his warp nacelles have weapons on them.”
“Weapons on warp nacelles?!” yelped Optimus. “How’s that possible?!”
“And is Scarship compensating for something?” asked Ironhide with a slight smirk.
“Tell me,” called Cosmo, “have you heard of Airlandia? Taros IV? Mirtonia? No? Thank Scarship for that. After their Planet Eggs were extracted, all manner of life died, plant, animal, bacterial, all of it.”
“So, how do we get past the shields?” quizzed Optimus. “Maybe a raiding party could clear Scarship out.”
“Ill advised,” countered Chromia. “Scarship’s gonna be crawling with Metarex.”
“Besides,” supplied Strongarm, “Quad-rotating shields would take too long for our firepower to drain.”
“So, in other words,” sighed Prowl, “we have an uphill battle ahead of us.”
Dark Oak entered the bridge and sat on his throne, between the rest of his commanders. The commander in the green cloak turned to him. “I have noticed you are going through with this mission in your full image,” the figure grunted. “May I share that honor?”
“All of you may,” replied Dark Oak.
“Thank you!” cheered the green cloaked figure. All of Dark Oak’s commanders undid their cloaks so they would become capes. The one with the turquoise cape had a mix between humanoid and insectoid. It had three eyes, triangular shoulders, a pair of horns, and was thin in appearance with a pale-greenish tint to his body. The light-blue cape owner had an insect head with a single large purple eye, large shoulder armor, and a thin, black body. The green cape owner was short for the Metarex, bulky, yellow, had a pair of broad horns, a green visor for his eyes, and a matching green jewel on both his forehead and his chest. The red cape owner had a stocky build, about the same height as the yellow one, wore crimson armor with many horns on his head, an orange eye, and similar orbs on his chest and forehead.
“Urgh!” grunted the crimson one. “My back was killing me, being hunched over like that!”
“A true warrior never complains about pain!” bellowed the yellow one. “And the only one who is a true warrior is me, Yellow Zelkova, the Eternally Strong!”
“More like Eternally Dim!” snapped the black one. “How you managed to get to where you are today, I can’t make out.”
“And you’re the Eternally Vain, Black Narcissus!” roared Yellow Zelkova.
“My title is the Eternally Observing, you dolt!” shouted Black Narcissus as he got ready to fight.
“That’s enough!” called the pale-green one. “It seems I must take over Red Pine’s role and play the Eternally Mediating.”
“Pale Bayleaf, please,” interjected the crimson one. “I’m the Eternally Mediating. You stick to being the Eternally Scheming.”
“Enough, all of you!” bellowed Dark Oak. All hostility stopped. “Our ally is coming to report on the test’s progress and I would like to give, at least, the illusion that the Metarex Five is not a group of children.” The teleport pod then flashed and Tower appeared in his Silas persona. “Greetings, Silas,” bid Dark Oak.
“Good day to you,” returned Silas. “I see that your companions aren’t hunched over. I’ll have to get their names soon.”
“And you will have them when we get your report,” replied Dark Oak.
“You won’t be disappointed,” assured Silas. “The spores you gave us grow well in our atmosphere.”
“Excellent!” cheered Dark Oak.
“Though, you DID say the spores were toxic to animal life,” muttered Silas. “Why test them at an abandoned town?”
“We cannot afford to attract attention to ourselves,” answered Pale Bayleaf. “If we start killing populated areas now, defenses will be raised and, with the Autobots involved, I hesitate to imagine the damage they could do.”
“Besides,” continued Red Pine, “there’s plenty of time for us to savor their fear.”
“The test site will be found,” supplied Black Narcissus, “and the Autobots will be notified. Their confusion will baffle them until we launch the assault. MECH will then take the survivors and whatever non-Mobian animals necessary for survival. They’ll hang in orbit for a few days until the air is safe again and humanity will dominate the world again.”
“And your name is…?” asked Silas.
“Black Narcissus,” introduced the black Metarex commander.
“And you try and stroke MY ego?” chuckled Silas. “What about your own?”
“Stroking yours strokes mine,” explained Black Narcissus.
“Silas, you held up your end of the deal spectacularly,” praised Dark Oak. “Now, we will hold up our end.”
“Very well,” chuckled Silas. “See you in the Winner’s Circle.” He stepped into the pod and returned to Mobius.
“…Why did he mention my stroking his ego?” asked Black Narcissus.
“He’s making a reference to one of his planet’s old deities called Narcissus,” explained Red Pine. “A vain, self-centered creature, centered only on himself. He was a vain creature, falling in love with his own reflection and committing suicide when his love could not materialize. I’d say it describes you perfectly!”
“At least I care about my image!” snapped Black Narcissus. “Unlike you! You’re the only one of us I know that actually converses with the troops!”
“At least the troops under my command,” countered Red Pine, “give me the same respect I give them!”
“Enough! Both of you!” shouted Dark Oak. “You both raise meritorious points, but your delivery of those points leave a lot to be desired.”
“I can’t wait to see the look on his face,” laughed Pale Bayleaf, “when the plan comes to fruition!”
“I eagerly await such an event myself,” boomed a voice. “Although the inaction bores me.”
“Your patience will be rewarded, Scarship,” assured Dark Oak. Scarship’s engines hummed in delight and anticipation. “With this victory, we’ll show the entire galaxy that only through being unchanging will life flourish! Eternal! Unyielding! Unchanging!”
“Eternal! Unyielding! Unchanging! Eternal! Unyielding! Unchanging! Eternal! Unyielding! Unchanging!” The Metarex continued chanting, pumping themselves up for battle.