Megatron, the Seekers, Dark Oak, Eggman, and Zarak and his flunkies were at the podium for the Council of Peers. “My peers,” called Zarak, “this is a momentous occasion! The Disease finally has a cure! Under the direction of Vorath, Galen provided us the necessary data towards the cure and now, thanks to Galen’s great sacrifice, the Disease is no more! No more will children be born out of wedlock! No more will our daughters be forced into their intended mates’ lust! No more will we…!” His speech was interrupted as Llyra flung the doors open, flanked by Trema, her family and her friends. “Ah, Llyra!” greeted Zarak. “You’re just in time. Your future mate…”
“YOU!” bellowed Megatron as he and Eggman clapped eyes on Amy.
“Llyra, are these the outsiders that helped release Galen?” asked Zarak.
“They are,” answered Llyra, “and they are here on Trema’s request, enjoying the delights of our planet, expanding their magic knowledge.”
“Their WHAT?!” roared Zarak. “You consort with Witches?!”
“I do!” answered Llyra. The Council started talking amongst themselves at this revelation.
“Llyra, how dare you!” bellowed Zarak. “After your mother died at the hands of a magic-user, you dare disgrace her name?!”
“YOU’RE the murderer disgracing her!” Llyra bellowed back.
“I beg your pardon?!” protested Zarak.
“I’ve found the Ledger and diary!” hissed Trema. “It detailed your confession! Observe!” She activated a screen and the confession was played. In it, Zarak had admitted to killing his wife because she displayed magic where she thought she was alone. As the confession went on, Llyra detailed other crimes her father had committed.
“END!” boomed Zarak. The screen switched off. “Llyra, I do recall telling you,” he hissed, “that what I have done was in the best interests of Nebulos.”
“You mean YOUR personal interests!” argued Llyra.
“Llyra, I do NOT appreciate having my name dragged through the mud!” roared Zarak. “Guards, escort her back to her chambers!”
“Belay that!” called a voice. Galen then stormed in. Trema’s mind was filled with concern that her baby boy was made a slave to Zarak. “All of Nebulos saw what you did!” shouted Galen. “You are of dubious honor!”
“Galen, what are you doing?!” snarled Zarak. “You are acting out of line! Think of poor Recoil!”
“I’m not binary-bonded to Recoil,” answered Galen.
“…Could have fooled me,” laughed Vorath.
“I’m afraid my partner did,” replied Galen.
“Pardon?” asked Zarak.
“Recoil died in the fight against the Autobots to drive them from our planet,” explained Galen. “There was another bot that volunteered under his name.”
“But…” stammered Vorath, “but I bonded you to him! You’re his head now!”
“I AM a bot’s head, but not Recoil’s,” corrected Galen. “Scan the area. My partner’s in alternate mode in our airspace.” Megatron did so and found a match. He transmitted the findings to Zarak, who read them over in shock.
“Whom are you bonded to?!” yelped Zarak. “Name the bot!”
“Oh, Lord Zarak,” laughed Galen, “I’m Cerebros’ Headmaster. That name mean anything?” Fear then seized Zarak’s heart. Megatron then contorted his face into a snarl as he keyed in a command. He then spoke into his comms to confirm the command.
“Master Brace Override!” he ordered. All Headmasters’ wrists sparked. “None may connect to their binary-bond partners unless I give the order! As for you, Llyra, you have caused undue stress to your father!”
“What I am about to do,” snarled Llyra, “will put Zarak’s title of father to the test.”
“Are you seriously…?” hissed Zarak.
“Father, I hereby challenge you to a Duel of Honor,” declared Llyra. “The winner will lead the crowd in the Discommendation Ritual for the loser and their associates!”
“You know as well as I do,” argued Zarak, “that a child cannot give Discommendation to their parent. Such a duel will require a champion. And I know you don’t want to risk your precious Galen.” At that moment, Galen stepped forward.
“Maybe she’s not willing for me to risk Discommendation,” replied Galen, “but I AM one of her associates. I would be stripped of honor even if she lost. I request that I be her champion.”
“Galen!” protested Llyra. “I can’t let you do that!”
“He has that right,” argued Trema. Llyra considered, then nodded to Galen.
“I will allow Galen to fight in my place,” she proclaimed to Zarak.
“Very well,” remarked Zarak, “but we will not fight here. Rather gauche to fight in a place of politics. The Sornak Grounds.”
The Sornak Grounds, according to Nebulan Legend, was where the first four Nebulans slew their gods before casting them off the planet. The Grounds were considered a sacred area for duels and only the most heinous of dishonor could be judged. A crowd had gathered to see the duel and pass judgement. Galen and Zarak faced opposite each other wielding their Ban’grazas in a ready stance. A Nebulan Priestess was serving as the main judge. “As ordained by our ancestors,” she declared, “no guns, no assistance, and no killing. Duel until one of you is unable to fight. On my mark……GOREN!” (BEGIN!) The battle began with Zarak making downward slashes with both his blades. Galen blocked them with his left blade and slashed with his right, but Zarak kicked it aside. Zarak then rotated his blades and punched Galen square in the jaw. Galen then swept his leg under Zarak and tripped him up. Zarak grabbed Galen’s shoulder and they both fell. Galen got up first and was about ready to stab Zarak in the leg, but he was tripped up by Zarak sweeping his leg under his opponent.
“This is a standstill,” sighed Megatron. He then keyed in a command and whispered into his comms. “End Master Brace Override, Decepticon Headmasters only.” The wrists of Zarak and his flunkies then sparked again and functions were restored. Zarak knew what happened but decided to give a lie.
“Well now,” mused Zarak, “it looks like the fight has knocked Megatron’s override loose. Apologies, Lord Megatron.”
“Quite all right,” replied Megatron, playing along.
“Still, it DOES leave an option open,” said Zarak. He put his left fist to his hip and thrust his right hand across his front in a diagonal fashion and slowly rotated it to his right side. “HEAD…” he bellowed. He then pulled his right hand into a fist and put it to his hip and thrust his left arm across his front. “…ON!” At that moment, a giant, mechanical spider appeared. Zarak then leapt into the air…and transformed! His legs swung up to his face and his arms sunk into his sides. He then flipped himself so his head was facing down and backwards and everyone could see the face on his backside, right-side up. It had a visor on it and two fangs protruding from the mouth. It then spoke.
“BLACK SCAR, TERRORIZE!” it announced. The spider then changed in a fashion similar to Blackarachnia, but the mouth parts and pedipalps formed pincer-style claws. The bot was also missing its head! That’s when the head Zarak turned into attached itself to the upper torso. The visor flashed red and the robot started laughing. “Sweet Primus, I’ve been in alt-mode for too long!” cheered the Decepticon, Black Scar.
“…Zarak just turned into his head!” gulped Amy.
“That’s the charm of ALL Headmasters,” replied Trema. “In this instance, however, that MUST be cheating!”
“He DID receive assistance,” agreed the Priestess. “However, he won’t acknowledge defeat in this mode. I have something that will rectify that.” She pulled an orange dome that fit into her hand.
“A mode-lock!” breathed Trema.
“I’m going to assume,” mused Natalie, “that it locks a Transformer in a certain mode?”
“And it’s set for the alt-mode,” confirmed the Priestess. “That will eject Zarak from Black Scar.” Unfortunately, Megatron saw the mode-lock and guessed her plan.
“HEADMASTERS, STOP HER!” he bellowed. Zarak’s flunkies saw what was going on and assumed ready-stances. Grax, stuck both arms to her right, then rotated them to the left until the left arm held her fist up and the right held her fist sideways.
“Head on!” she called. A green and pink crocodile appeared, then spoke.
“SKULLCRUNCHER, TERRORIZE!” The tail split down the middle from the tip and attached to each side, then the backside folded out to reveal legs. The lower torso then rotated to face the audience. The head swung down to reveal the robot’s shoulders and robot hands came out as the front beast feet folded onto the wrists. Grax transformed as Zarak did and his head-mode, one with a yellow face and a red visor, attached to the robot’s shoulders. Skullcruncher was complete as he roared to the heavens. Vorath was next. He swung both arms to his right side, then rotated them to his left, then pulled his right hand back before putting it back to its original position while his left hand went to his hip.
“Head on!” he announced. A bat appeared and Vorath changed into a head with a visor and a ‘Fu Manchu’ moustache.
“MINDWIPE! TERRORIZE!” shrieked the bat. The bat’s tail swung towards the front as the rear of the bat swung down to make legs. The areas where the wings were attached swung 180⁰ and unfolded arms with the hands popping out. The bat head swung down to allow Vorath’s head mode to attach to the shoulders. The rear of the bat was now the front of the robot. Mindwipe was now complete as he gave a screech. Monzo stuck his right arm to the side and his left arm pointed towards the right. He then rotated his arms so they were sticking out to the left.
“HEAD ON!” he called as he pulled an imaginary rip cord on his left arm with his right. He transformed into a head with a red visor and a red face. A yellow and blue wolf appeared.
“WEIRDWOLF, TERRORIZE!” it howled. The tail detached from the rump as it went up to allow the rear paws to fold into the legs. The legs then folded up and straightened to make robot legs. The front paws folded back to reveal humanoid arms as the wolf head folded back to allow Monzo to attach to his shoulders. Weirdwolf howled like a wolf when he was complete. Spasma was next as she placed her right elbow on her left wrist and moved the arm configuration across her chest, then she placed her wrists together with one hand on top of the other and pushed outwards.
“Head on!” she roared as she rotated her hands. She jumped up and turned into a head while a gorilla came up, wearing parts of a jet.
“Wait, that gorilla has a head already!” protested Amy.
“That’s not his robot mode, that’s one of his TWO alt-modes!” corrected Trema. “And Snapdragon has two alt-modes as well!”
“…They’ve got THREE modes?!” yelped Amy.
“Hence the name, Triple-changers,” replied Trema.
“APEFACE, TERRORIZE!” roared the gorilla. His gorilla arms swung backwards and the forearms and hands folded upwards. The sides of the gorilla’s chest swung up and extended to become legs. The turbines he was wearing extended to reveal arms and the gorilla legs swung up to become shoulders. Spasma’s head-mode connected to the shoulders, completing Apeface’s robot mode as he pounded his chest, roaring. Krunk was the last as he brought his fists up to his head’s right side, right above left, and clenched harder. He then brought his right hand to his hip while his left arm extended. He then rotated it over to his left.
“Head…” he hissed. He then extended both arms to his right. “ON!” he shouted before turning into a head. A bipedal-saurian robot with jet parts on it appeared.
“SNAPDRAGON, TERRORIZE!” he roared. The feet flipped up and the legs straightened. The head swung backwards while the forearms swung into the upper arms. The jet’s nose cone he used as a tail swung out as the dino-arms’ bases swung down. The arms’ bases then pivoted down and the whole assembly extended to make legs. The rear platform then swung down to allow the nose cone to pivot down. The jet turbines extended and revealed arms and hands. Krunk’s head-mode came onto the shoulders and Snapdragon gave a terrifying roar.
“And THAT’S a whole mess of trouble,” gulped Amy.
“Cover the Priestess!” ordered Trema as she got her Ban’grazas out. Llyra snarled and got hers out as well. Amy summoned her hammer while Sira summoned a small fireball and Natalie coaxed the air around her to circle her.
“We will assist the Headmasters,” called Megatron to Eggman, the Seekers, and the Metarex. They nodded to confirm as Eggman docked his Eggmobile into a new robot, looking a little like Snapdragon’s beast mode. The Seekers then drew swords. Starscream with a broadsword, Thundercracker with a foil, and Skywarp with a katana. The Metarex got into a fighting stance as well, Dark Oak drawing his sword, Red Pine pulling out a knife, Yellow Zelkova slamming his hands together, Black Narcissus cracking a whip, and Pale Bayleaf drawing a gun.
“Natalie and I will handle the Metarex,” declared Sira. “Amy and Trema, you deal with the normal Decepticons and Eggman while Llyra and the Priestess try to get the mode-lock on Black Scar.”
“Understood,” replied Trema.
“Arkoom, grazin oom, orgtagh!!” chanted Llyra. With the Ancient Nebulan Battle-cry having been said, the group attacked. Amy dealt with the Eggman Robot.
“You’re on an alien world!” she taunted. “Try some new tricks!”
“This new enough for you?!” asked Eggman as he unleashed missiles. Amy just knocked them towards him with her hammer.
“Not even close!” she laughed. One of the missiles then blew the robot sky-high while Eggman tumbled out, smoking and sooty. “Now I understand the whole thing about old dogs and new…” Amy didn’t complete the sentence as Megatron’s left hand caught her and hoisted her up to his optic level.
“Miss Rose,” hissed Megatron, “don’t think I’ve forgotten when you slammed your hammer onto my head repeatedly, turning my helmet into an echo chamber! I still owe you for the massive processor-ache!”
“Haven’t you heard of…‘forgive and forget’?!” strained Amy.
“I seem to have forgotten that,” replied Megatron as he raised his fusion cannon. “But, I still remember ‘Goodbye’!” Megatron was then slashed across the back by Trema. The pain made him release Amy as she chose a new target, Thundercracker. He fired off a pair of shots from his guns but missed both times.
“Let me guess,” remarked Thundercracker, “you’re gonna play counselor while Blackarachnia’s out of the picture?”
“I guess you overheard Skywarp’s story,” replied Amy as she jumped above one of his sword swings.
“I did,” confirmed Thundercracker. “I was there when Jhiaxus convinced him to join us.”
“Did you know they butchered all those people?!” accused Amy. “All of those children, dead because of you!”
“NO!” shouted Thundercracker as he fired again. “Those children did NOT die at our hands! That was on Zeta Prime’s head as well as the Decepticon that didn’t listen!”
“And I supposed you wouldn’t?!” argued Amy.
“I WOULD NEVER…! I would never…!” Tears started going down Thundercracker’s face. “…I always thought I would never!” he sobbed as his sword dropped. “…but I did! Tell me, what do you know about Firestar?!”
“Ironhide’s daughter?” asked Amy. “Died in Washington D.C. around 2014 while protecting Then-President Barack Obama and his family. A Seeker killed her when a fire started.”
“…I guess Ironhide told you,” mumbled Thundercracker. “Did he say who?”
“No,” answered Amy. “He couldn’t tell who because of the blaze after Starscream shot some Energon and set the place on fire.”
“Well, I guess the flames would obscure what happened,” sighed Thundercracker as he picked his sword up. “And they were fitting, really. The bot that killed a child deserved to be cast into the Pit! I don’t care if the child was named a soldier! She still didn’t need to die! She was too young! Primus, SHE HAD NO REASON TO FIGHT!” Amy then realized what Thundercracker was talking about.
“Are you…?” she asked.
“Figured it out, did you?” muttered Thundercracker. “You’re looking at Firestar’s executioner! I killed her!”
“THUNDERCRACKER, KEEP YOUR MIND ON THE JOB!” bellowed Starscream as he joined the fight. He swatted Amy aside just to berate his subordinate. “Frankly, I don’t give a retro-rat’s aft if you feel guilty about Firestar’s death, I just want to know that you can keep your mind on the present! Now do your job, soldier!” While the altercation went on, Megatron joined the Headmasters to stop Llyra and the Priestess.
“Megatron, look away!” warned Mindwipe as he started doing some hand motions. Megatron decided to switch his optics off so he could use the vibrations of his surroundings to fight. While his leader fought blind, Mindwipe started chanting, then closed his hands before putting his pinkies, pointers, and thumbs together. The Priestess, unfortunately, looked into Mindwipe’s optics as they flashed. Her mind was then filled with a voice urging her to let go of her will. “Listen well, Priestess,” called Mindwipe in a calming tone, “there is no need to interfere in Zarak’s fight. Let the mode-lock go. Let our lord finish his…” a stream of water slammed into his face as the Priestess nearly dropped the mode-lock. “MY OPTICS!” shouted Mindwipe as his hypnotic hold was released. The Priestess shook her head and continued on towards Black Scar. Mindwipe snarled, then found who fired that stream of water. Llyra was levitating water globes with various hand motions. “Impossible!” breathed Mindwipe. “You’re a…!”
“Witch of the Blue Order!” finished Llyra. “Your hypnotic powers have no effect now!”
“Bah!” dismissed Mindwipe as he drew his gun. “Powers or no, I can still vaporize a foolish girl like you!” He fired but Llyra dodged. The Priestess managed to dodge Apeface and Spasma’s shots, almost losing her head to Dark Oak. Natalie fired an air gust that knocked the Metarex leader off his feet, causing him to fall onto Black Narcissus.
“WATCH THE ARMOR!” roared Black Narcissus.
“WATCH HER!” argued Skullcruncher as the Priestess made it to Black Scar. She attached the mode-lock to his leg and he started sparking and changing back into his spider mode, ejecting his head and causing it to turn back into Zarak. Blind rage filled his eyes as he saw the Priestess. He grabbed a gun and shot her right in the chest. The laser sound rang throughout the grounds and all activity stopped. The Priestess looked at the hole in her chest, then looked at Zarak.
“You broke…all three…” she gasped before slumping to the ground, dead. A few members of the crowd went to her to try, and fail, at waking her up. All eyes then turned to Zarak.
“What was it she said at the beginning of this duel?” hissed Llyra. “Ah, yes. ‘As ordained by our ancestors, no guns, no assistance, and no killing.’ I see a gun in your hands, you killed the Priestess, and you received help from Black Scar. I can see that Galen is a mess, but still alive. Even if he is unable to fight and you won, you still lost this duel by breaking all three sanctions. You will not receive victory. You and your associates have no place in Nebulan society!” She then crossed her arms over her chest, then opened her hands in a claw fashion to show that Zarak’s honor was shattered. The crowd followed her one by one, even Amy, Natalie, and Sira joined. Zarak, Megatron, Eggman, Dark Oak, and their respective followers were stripped of honor and a good deal of rights. Megatron turned to Zarak.
“You idiot!” he roared. “As I recall, killing a Priestess is grounds for Discommendation! Nebulos is lost to the Decepticon Empire! You and the other Headmasters are to go to their home-world of Animatros. You will seek asylum there.” He turned to the crowd. “Know this, Nebulos, the Decepticon Empire will remember what has happened here! You have sided against us in battle! And this, we do not forgive or forget! Eggman! Dark Oak! We will return to Mobius!” He took his retinue out of the Sornak Grounds and went Northeast to a nearby Space Bridge. Zarak and his followers looked at the crowd in disbelief.
“…Do as he says,” sighed Zarak. “We’ve failed. Everyone, board Scorponok. We’re leaving.” He managed to get the mode-lock off of Black Scar. “Head on.” Zarak didn’t even bother with the poses as he turned back into Black Scar’s head.
“Black Scar, terrorize,” muttered Black Scar as he assumed robot mode and his head reattached to his shoulders. The Decepticon Headmasters then left the Grounds. Once they had departed, Stylor came to the Priestess. Amy followed as did Trema.
“What was her name?” asked Amy.
“She was Starna, Stylor’s sister,” replied Trema. “A noble warrior.” Stylor then opened Starna’s eyes and looked angrily towards the heavens.
“Gana, barten te!” (Gods, warned, be!) bellowed Stylor. “Starna, gota ga tami falen, sag bem yan, al fergat tam an tam bemi fergator ge nar skema sepo, palerta!” (Starna, born of your blood, she who was, to defeat you as you were defeated by the first four, arrives!) He then shut her eyes and picked her up, bridal style. “I will keep vigil over her,” declared Stylor. “I will not allow evil spirits to enter her. You may continue with the rites as you see fit.” He then left the grounds. The Deputy Supreme, who had attended, was holding the Sash of Rule, the symbol of the Supreme Councilor. He placed it onto Galen.
“Hail Galen, leader of Nebulos!” he proclaimed. He then pounded his staff twice. “Galen!” he pounded his staff twice again, this time more people joining him. “Galen!” More people joined. “Galen!” At that point, the crowd was chanting Galen’s name.
“Wait, hear me!” called Galen over the din. “HEAR ME!” The chanting stopped. “What I have done,” spoke Galen, “was for our planet! A new day must dawn. I am not the one to usher in that day. That honor belongs to the woman who will be my wife.” Llyra’s eyes went wide as Galen took the Sash off.
“Galen, no!” protested Llyra.
“It is yours by right of duel,” answered Galen. “A champion can put that kind of power in the hands of the one who the champion fought for.”
“Galen, you saw me use magic!” yelped Llyra. “Witches already have more than enough power! We do NOT seek more!”
“Great leaders do not seek power,” answered Galen. “Power is thrust onto great leaders.” The crowd looked at Llyra expectantly.
“…Is this the will of my Peers?” she asked. The crowd nodded. Llyra sighed. “Very well, I accept.” Galen set the sash around her.
“Hail Llyra!” cheered Galen. “Leader of the Imperial Republic of Nebulos! Leader of Fate!”