“A trade?” asked Ultra Magnus.
“How do we know it’s an equal trade?” quizzed Prowl.
“With the Cons, you really DON’T know,” muttered Ironhide.
“Megatron spoke to me privately,” explained Optimus. “He showed me the prisoner he’s willing to exchange for Hiro.”
“And?” asked Ironhide.
“It’s Quake Hammer,” revealed Optimus. The Autobot Veterans’ optics went wide.
“Not the Con who can punch the ground and cause massive tremors!” gulped Ironhide.
“Lugnut’s grandfather?!” mumbled Ratchet.
“The same Lugnut that takes the Decepticon faction’s views to a religious extreme?!” whimpered Prowl.
“Wait, the same Quake Hammer that was marked on the DJD’s List for desertion under fire?” asked Ultra Magnus.
“The same on all fronts,” replied Optimus.
“He’d be a valuable POW,” mused Ironhide. “But, who’s to say he’ll stay with us?”
“Even if he COULD escape us,” muttered Ultra Magnus, “he’s still risking the DJD by staying alive. They don’t leave survivors.”
“Megatron mentioned that,” answered Optimus. “He said that the DJD doesn’t have multiverse crossing technology.”
“Meaning we need Megumi’s help on this,” realized Prowl.
“Exactly,” confirmed Optimus. “Get me Megumi. I want to arrange it with her.” Prowl hailed Vorton and Megumi appeared with the background indicating it was her and Richard’s room.”
“Do you have any information on the prisoner the enemy wants to exchange for Hiro?” she asked.
“He’s an infamous Decepticon named Quake Hammer,” replied Optimus. “Megatron told me that he’s on a list of Decepticons to punish for desertion under fire. The ones with the list, the Decepticon Justice Division, can’t cross other realities. In short, we need your help in holding him.”
“I think we have something big enough for a Decepticon,” mused Megumi. “We’ll gladly help you.”
“Much appreciated,” thanked Optimus.
“Then Hiro IS returning to Megatron and Dr. Borg?” guessed Ultra Magnus.
“We can’t keep him here,” replied Megumi. “We need to return him to a familiar environment.”
“…Very well,” muttered Ultra Magnus.
“And on that note!” cheered a voice. Everyone yelped in surprise as they spotted a woman in yellow. “I am Amartonadii, the yellow princess of Chizara and the health leader!” introduced the woman. “Optimus Prime, Alfalna awaits. Bat’leths will be provided to both of you.”
“Thank you,” bid Optimus. He turned to his friends. “Wish me luck!” He and Amartonadii then vanished in yellow light.
“Quick! Tune in!” Ultra Magnus called to Teletraan.
“Talk to you later!” Teletraan called to Megumi.
“See you after the bout!” returned Megumi as the call ended. Megumi then activated the intercom. “Minna, Optimus’ bout is about to begin! That is all!” She then made a dash to the Gateway room.
“We’re getting a transmission!” called Shalvey. “Optimus is ready to fight!”
“On screen!” ordered Arsha. The background looked like an elaborate arena with Alfalna and Optimus facing each other.
“I am Amartonadii, the yellow princess of Chizara and the health leader!” Amartonadii introduced as she carried two Transformer sized bat’leths. “The combatants are ready for their first bout! Representing W-1-L-D-F-0-R-3-5-T-5, we have the Great Demoness, Alfalna with home turf advantage! Representing T-R-4-N-5-F-0-R-M-3-R-5-M-0-8-1-4-N-C-H-R-0-N-1-C-L-3-5, we have Optimus Prime! The fight will be a simple Bat’leth competition. Both fighters will use the most famous of Klingon melee weaponry to decide who is the victor. The combatant must send their opponent sprawling or break their opponent’s bat’leth. No other weapons will be used and no outside interference. Alfalna, are you ready?”
“Let us duel!” declared Alfalna. She received her bat’leth.
“Optimus Prime, are you ready?” asked Amartonadii.
“Heghlu’meH QaQ jajvam!” (Today is a good day to die!) announced Optimus in Klingon. He received his bat’leth and waved it in a fashion designed to unnerve his opponent. Alfalna didn’t even twitch.
“In’cha!” (Begin!) called Amartonadii. Optimus charged and swung his bat’leth down hard! Alfalna blocked and shoved the blade aside, then driving the exterior rounded edge into Optimus’ chin. Optimus stumbled and hastily blocked a side swing. Alfalna then tried again on the other side. Optimus spun out of the way and swung his bat’leth near her head. Alfalna blocked and they started pushing against each other with their weapons.
“Come on, Prime!” cheered Jazz.
“Show the Cybertronian Klingon Society,” called Blackarachnia, “who’s the Champion Standing for 50 years in a row!”
“According to his dossier on the subject,” mused Richard, “Optimus has been the Champion Standing for the Cybertronian Klingon Society.”
“There’s a Klingon based club on Cybertron?” asked Lukas incredulously.
Optimus slammed the rounded outer edge of his bat’leth into Alfalna’s gut. Alfalna stumbled, then blocked a sideways slash and shoved it away. She then started swinging the bat’leth down repeatedly, hoping to break Optimus’.
“This is bad!” gulped Megumi. “If Optimus loses out, the Master Wand is that less safer!”
“Come on, don’t lose this!” prayed Emily.
“I must say, that…what is it called…‘bat’leth’ looks highly inefficient in killing by stabbing,” mused Malak.
“It DOES look more like a spiked, metal club,” observed Nazay.
“It looks like something out of Constellation Journey,” muttered Bashoon.
“Mr. Malak, any activity?” asked Arsha.
“None,” reported Malak.
“I’m not getting anything either,” answered Shalvey. “Nor have I missed any transmissions.”
“Same here, no previous activity,” continued Malak.
“Good, carry on,” ordered Arsha.
“Aye, Captain,” confirmed the Mermaid and Troll.
Optimus managed to lock the bat’leths together and gritted his dental plates before giving off a primal roar and shoving Alfalna backwards, snapping her bat’leth and sending her sprawling onto the floor. He got up and stood over her in a rest pose with his bat’leth. “Just sending me flying was enough!” panted Alfalna.
“Klingon instincts took over,” replied Optimus in the same panting manner. He then held his hand out. “MajQa’,” (Well done) he bid. Alfalna took his hand and he pulled her up.
“This contest is over!” called Amartonadii. “The winner is Optimus Prime! Optimus, you will be returned to the bridge of your ship. Great Demoness, Alfalna, though you have suffered a defeat, know that it only brings as much dishonor as you feel necessary. Would you care for an interview with Blancalmarem and Nemengra?”
“I think I will, this time,” accepted Alfalna.
“Then I will take you to them once Optimus is returned,” declared Amartonadii.
“Hey, maybe we should start an interdimensional Klingon club!” chuckled Optimus.
“Just hope REAL Klingons aren’t offended,” muttered Alfalna.
“I don’t think we’d survive long enough to regret it if they ARE,” guessed Optimus. “See you around!” Optimus and Amartonadii vanished in yellow light and Optimus was back on the Ark’s bridge, cheered by all of his bots.
“Congratulations, Sir!” bid Ultra Magnus.
“None of that ‘Sir’ nonsense now, dude!” directed Optimus. “This is a time for celebration!”
“Can we save the party until AFTER the exchange?” requested Prowl.
“…Way to bring the mood down,” grumbled Optimus. “Oh well, he’s right, business first. Has the Nemesis done anything?”
“Arsha’s reported nothing,” reported Prowl. “Megumi should be speaking to Hiro now.”
“Megumi and Arsha want to contact us,” interjected Teletraan.
“Put them through,” directed Optimus. Arsha and Megumi appeared on screen.
“I just spoke with Hiro,” relayed Megumi. “He’s agreed to the Prisoner Exchange. I think he’s going to use this to get revenge.”
“I read the Brigadier’s report,” supplied Arsha. “I know who freed the Skaro Dalek strain.”
“As do I,” confirmed Optimus. “We need to catch Caan first.”
“And convince him that Vortech is dead,” continued Megumi. “In any case, Megatron needs his answer. Let’s contact the Nemesis and discuss where and when the exchange will take place.”
“Shalvey, hail the Nemesis,” Arsha ordered to Shalvey off-screen.
“You too, Prowl,” Optimus directed.
“Rusty, the enemy vessel, please,” requested Megumi.
“Vorton, the Ark, and the Endeavor are all hailing us,” reported Soundwave.
“Open a channel,” commanded Megatron. Megumi, Arsha, and Optimus appeared. “I take it your bout is completed, Optimus,” greeted Megatron. “Who won?”
“I did,” answered Optimus. “My opponent was just as skilled with the bat’leth as I.”
“You fought a Klingon?” asked Megatron.
“No, I fought a different alien who’s just as nerdy as me when it comes to Star Trek,” explained Optimus.
“Because, of course, other aliens would know about it!” groaned Megatron. “Still, that isn’t the reason you called. Your answer?”
“We agree to the Exchange,” replied Megumi. “Where and when?”
“Hiro’s home universe,” relayed Megatron. “One hour from now.”
“See you then,” finished Megumi. The call ended.
“Move us to our meeting place,” ordered Megatron.
“Course laid in,” reported Skywarp. “Going to full impulse.”
“They’re leaving,” announced Rusty.
“Prepare Hiro for transport,” directed Megumi. “We’ll use the Virginia.”
Blancalmarem and Nemengra were broadcasting again. “I am Blancalmarem, the white princess of Chizara and the life leader,” began Blancalmarem.
“I am Nemengra, the black princess of Chizara and the death leader,” finished Nemengra.
“Today, after another bout for Round 1,” continued Blancalmarem, “we have the ruler of the Bindahri people; the Great Demoness, Alfalna, for an interview.”
“She’s accepted and declined interviews before,” supplied Nemengra. “Today, we are fortunate to speak with her again.” The screen behind them played their interview.
“During your previous contests,” recalled Blancalmarem, “you only carried a bat’leth when you introduced yourself to your opponent, but never used it. What made you change your mind?”
“My recent opponent’s dossier,” explained Alfalna. “When I saw he was a Star Trek fan, I just HAD to see if he knew how to use a bat’leth. Thank goodness he read my dossier, otherwise the contest would have been different.”
“What WOULD have been the contest if he wasn’t skilled with a bat’leth?” asked Nemengra.
“A simple hand-to-hand duel,” replied Alfalna. “His dossier mentioned being a ninja and I wanted to see how skilled he was. Perhaps, if I DO fight him next time, I will stick to hand-to-hand.”
“Well, thank you for your time,” bid Blancalmarem. “We know you have many students to train.”
“May we see you again, Beloved Demoness,” finished Nemengra.
“Thank you for this wonderful tournament,” bid Alfalna graciously as she bowed. The screen switched off and Blancalmarem and Nemengra returned to the camera.
“A lovely lady,” praised Blancalmarem.
“We’ll be right back after a message from one of our sponsors, Clansa’s Family Diner!” ended Nemengra. The commercial announcer then took over.
“Clansa’s Family Diner,” he announced, “family friendly fun and food for every version of reality.”