“Sir, Madam,” a Transformer-sized War began as she, Skyfall, and Quake Hammer stepped onto the bridge of the new flagship, “welcome aboard the Ruthless!” The bridge…was NOT as opulent as either bot imagined. It was a bare room with grid lines.
“It’s…er…” floundered Skyfall.
“Unimpressive, dull, and boring as Hell, I know,” chuckled War.
“You seem happy,” muttered Quake Hammer. “Honestly, I’m not too sure about the décor or bareness of this bridge.”
“That’s all part of the design, I promise you,” assured War. “X-PO, decloak Omni-console!” X-PO and the device he was attached to shimmered into view. “Presenting the Omni-console. It can turn into any form of control console as I wish. Since I don’t have the support of my old colleagues, I decided to go with a single control console handling everything.”
“What happens when that console explodes?” asked Quake Hammer.
“There ARE other Omni-consoles that will come out of the walls and take over,” assured War. “Now, to explain why the room looks the way it is.” War keyed in a command and a bowl of fruit appeared.
“…A holo-deck for the bridge?” realized Skyfall.
“Using Cybertronian hologram technology,” continued War, “I can make the bridge look like anything I want. So, let’s say I’m eager to try my hand at a Daedalus-class starship, I just key in a command and…” War demonstrated by keying in a command and the room became the bridge of Linkara’s ship, Comicron-1. The Omni-console then turned into the main console under the viewscreen.
“So, you can turn it into anything you want?” asked Skyfall.
“Yep,” confirmed War as she headed to the main console. “So, let’s say I’m feeling a little Klingon,” she keyed in another command and the bridge turned into the bridge of a Vor’cha-class Klingon Bird-of-prey as the Omni-console became the main console again, “or I want to explore time and space,” another command was keyed in and it turned into the current TARDIS interior, complete with the Omni-console becoming the TARDIS’ console, “or I’m in the mood for something weird,” the next command turned the bridge into the set of Jeopardy! as the console became Alex Trebek’s lectern, “or I just want the comforts of my old office,” the new command turned the entire bridge into War’s office and the Omni-console turned into War’s workstation, “and we should be all set! So, if anything should happen requiring non-essential power to be turned off, the bridge will turn into its bare design and the Omni-console will go back to its original shape, so our rears should be covered.”
“Makes me wonder why you don’t just move your office to the bridge,” muttered Quake Hammer.
“If a pack of internet reviewers have had bad experiences with houses being turned into starships,” replied X-PO, “I don’t think turning your office into the bridge of a ship is a good idea.”
“I believe that’s everything,” mused War. “All set for this ship’s maiden flight.”
“Control to Ruthless, all lights green,” called a person over the comms. “You are go for launch.”
“Excellent!” cheered War. She then typed something onto the keyboard. The ship’s lights then lit up like a Christmas tree and the mighty engines roared to life. As the smaller dock ships lined up for a makeshift runway, the Ruthless glided slowly out into the vastness of space, inspiring her allies and frightening her enemies.
Megumi looked over her homework in the Captain’s Ready Room on the Virginia. She seemed to be stuck on a math problem. “What am I getting wrong?” she muttered. She decided to read the problem aloud. “5(-3x-2)-(x-3)=-4(4x+5)+13…Come on, work, brain! You’re at least better than Usagi at Math!” The door chimed. “Come in,” she called. “I’m getting nowhere with this.” Richard entered.
“Megumi, there isn’t a delicate way to say it, so I’ll just say it straight,” he declared. “Your psychological evaluation is subpar. The medical staff and our visiting doctors all agree that you need to be relieved of command.”
“NO F***ING WAY!” roared Megumi. “I’M FINE!”
“All of our doctors say otherwise!” argued Richard. “I’ve noticed that you’ve been acting WAY out of character for a while! When did you decide making Hiro hurt was our end goal?!”
“He’s taken too much from us!” snarled Megumi. “I intend to show him how much!”
“That kind of talk wasn’t exactly used in Chima!” countered Richard. “Tanisha told me about how you wanted to give Hiro mercy before he exploded! And, lest we forget, you offered him mercy when Igura died! Losing Mickey, War, and Turretorg made you lose your sense of mercy!”
“So you’re relieving me of command,” hissed Megumi.
“And we all feel you should return to Vorton,” continued Richard. “We can handle Hiro ourselves, believe it or not.”
“…Fine, I’ll take a shuttle back to Vorton,” grunted Megumi. She picked up her homework and stormed out of the Ready Room, making a beeline to the hangar. Richard sighed as he returned to the bridge.
“How did it go?” asked Hiroki.
“As well as can be expected,” sighed Richard. “Mikhail, see if Megumi’s heading back to Vorton in a shuttle.”
“A shuttle’s requested permission to go to Vorton,” reported Mikhail. “Megumi’s onboard.”
“Give that shuttle permission to go,” ordered Richard as he sat in the Captain’s Chair. The shuttle left the hangar and made its way to Vorton. Mikhail got confirmation that the shuttle made it to Vorton and relayed the message to Richard. Richard sighed. Removing Megumi from command was going to be awkward, no matter what he did.
The shuttle arrived back on Vorton and Megumi stormed to her room. She flopped into her chair and spent 20 minutes staring at the ceiling with an expression that would make a pair of holes above her. She heard her door chime. “Go away!” she snarled.
“Not a chance, Megumi,” replied Scorpainia’s voice as she came in.
“I know your language,” hissed Megumi, “has a variation of the phrase ‘Leave me alone’, so go away.”
“No,” countered Scorpainia. Megumi then glared at Scorpainia. “I want to know why you’re acting the way you are. I’m perfectly content to sit here and stare at you for as long as you stay silent.” Megumi returned to staring at the ceiling in anger, as if she were calling Scorpainia’s bluff. This lasted for a good half-hour before Megumi became uncomfortable with feeling Scorpainia’s eyes on her. She sighed before speaking.
“They’re going to get themselves killed,” she muttered. “I’ve fought Hiro more than they have. Only I can understand how he works. Only I can beat him! He’s taken too much from us and I intend to show him how much it hurts! I intend to show him pain!” Scorpainia just listened to the rant. “…Well?!” asked Megumi. “Opinions?!”
“You’re not going to like it,” warned Scorpainia.
“Tell me!” roared Megumi as she shifted into Tora-Onna.
“…All right,” resolved Scorpainia. “You’re acting way too much like the daughter he intended for you to be.”
“…You’re right, I DON’T like it!” snarled Tora-Onna.
“Look, I, of all people, understand how evil Hiro is,” continued Scorpainia, “but I’m seeing him bring out a side you usually have under control. I see someone who is turning as vindictive as the person she hates the most and has forgotten her greatest weapon; mercy.”
“You’re overstating the case here!” hissed Tora-Onna.
“Am I?” asked Scorpainia. “Megumi, when was the last time you thought back to any of the good that has happened in your life?” Tora-Onna opened her mouth…then her eyes shifted, trying to recall what she heard, then what she saw. “Was it any time recent?” continued Scorpainia. “And, when your career started, did you ever think you would ever talk about taking revenge?” Tora-Onna’s eyes continued shifting along the left, then she shut her eyes in shame. “Megumi, you once believed that the best way to seek revenge is NOT to seek revenge. If you, of all people, would throw that out, then what hope is there for us?” Tora-Onna then brought her knees up to her chest and hid her face behind them, shaking as she cried. “…All right, I think I’ve made my point,” sighed Scorpainia. “Do you need anything?” All Scorpainia could see was Tora-Onna shaking her head as she cried. “…Very well,” she sighed as she departed.
Richard sighed as he sat in the chair in the Captain’s Ready Room. He was thinking about what happened earlier. The comms interrupted his thoughts. “Yes?” he asked.
“Optimus wants to talk to you,” reported Mikhail.
“Put him through,” ordered Richard. Optimus’ head then appeared on the small screen. “What can I do for you, Prime?”
“I wanted to discuss something with you,” explained Optimus. “I’ve only known her these past few months, but I don’t think Megumi’s behavior is exactly like her.”
“It isn’t,” confirmed Richard. “I just relieved her of command and sent her back to Vorton. Her psych eval was subpar.”
“…Que the flashbacks of when Ratchet had to relieve me of command for a bit,” muttered Optimus.
“You? Relieved?” asked Richard.
“Twice,” replied Optimus.
“That doesn’t speak well of your command,” remarked Richard.
“Well, the second time, I asked to be relieved,” recalled Optimus.
“Why?” asked Richard.
“I was seeing things that weren’t there and hearing things that no one else could,” elaborated Optimus. “When I got confirmation that the other Autobots didn’t see or hear what I did, I got the impression that I was hallucinating and figured it wasn’t good for a commander to have hallucinations, especially on the battlefield. So, I asked Ratchet to relieve me of command.”
“What happened the first time?” asked Richard.
“Much like Megumi, I was letting my anger and self-loathing dictate my command decisions,” answered Optimus. “Megatron had just revealed he was the new Decepticon Lord. He hid his intentions too well and I felt like I was supposed to have seen it coming.”
“Angry at both Megatron and yourself,” Richard summed up.
“To put it mildly,” muttered Optimus. “In any event, I was going to tell Megumi that our Sky-Spy has determined the enemy fleet to be too large for our ships to handle.”
“Then we need to figure out a sneaky way to disable it,” declared Richard. “Get Sh’Kar out from your holo-deck. I’ll get Arsha and we’ll all figure out a plan of attack that doesn’t involve a suicide run.”
“Sh’Kar’s gonna be disappointed,” mused Optimus.
Optimus, Arsha, Sh’Kar, and Richard met in the Ark’s conference room. “No, I don’t feel disappointed,” called Sh’Kar as she looked at the size of the enemy fleet above Wyldstyle’s home. “A suicidal battle like that will not secure victory. I’m sure you would know what Kahless would have said in this instance.”
“‘Destroying an empire to win a war is no victory and ending a battle to save an empire is no defeat’,” quoted Optimus.
“Exactly,” confirmed Sh’Kar. “What do you have in mind in terms of a sneak attack?”
“The old disguise bit,” replied Richard.
“I have various spells to help with that,” offered Arsha.
“I can just scan a vehicle mode and change my holo-form,” supplied Optimus.
“And my Chief Engineer revealed the secrets of her people’s genetic alteration procedures,” finished Sh’Kar.
“…Genetic alteration?” asked Optimus.
“What race in the Federation was she from?” quizzed Richard.
“She wasn’t from the Federation,” explained Sh’Kar. “She was from Cardassia Prime.”
“You had a Cardassian as your Chief Engineer?!” yelped Richard.
“She didn’t agree with the government during the Dominion War,” replied Sh’Kar. “She started a new life on Earth, had a letter of recommendation approved by Starfleet, and moved up the ranks so that she became Captain of the starship Voyager-B.” Optimus whistled in praise.
“So, you know a thing or two about Cardassian genetic alteration,” he summarized.
“Well enough,” replied Sh’Kar.
“All right, here’s what we’ll do,” declared Richard.
Marvin the Martian grumbled as he cleaned a glass at the new Shocker Rift bar set up in Wyldstyle’s home. “I was a highly respected Commander of the Martian Empire!” he grumbled. “Now, after a few failures from the Earth duck and Earth rabbit, I’m just a bartender and a servant instead of a commander! How fair is that?!”
“Excuse me,” called Megatron’s voice as he sat at a table for someone his size. Marvin rolled his eyes and activated the hover pad he was standing one.
“What can I do for you?” he muttered when he was eye to eye with Megatron.
“Might I trouble you for a glass of Engex?” requested Megatron.
“You can have the whole bottle, if you want,” grumbled Marvin. “On the house.”
“That’s rather generous of you,” mused Megatron as Marvin piloted his hover pad to the bottle of Engex. He activated two arms, one to grab the bottle and the other to grab a cubical glass, then returned to Megatron’s table and set them down. “Tell me, what ails you?”
“My position, that’s what,” grunted Marvin.
“I take it you have the implant as well?” guessed Megatron.
“Unfortunately,” grumbled Marvin.
“I’m not exactly free of it myself,” muttered Megatron as he poured a glass of Engex. “I should have taken my cousin’s advice. She said to me ‘There’s a bright future in teaching now that the war’s over!’ No teacher on Cybertron ever goes broke. But, did I take her advice? No. Why? Because I wanted to command something! I prefer trying to change societies and see what happens! I prefer to gather information on people, like you and I are doing with each other right now!”
“You know people like me all too well,” observed Marvin.
“When you’re teaching others, though,” continued Megatron, “all you’re doing is relaying knowledge and enforcing a status quo.”
“Your ideas would only fall on deaf ears,” guessed Marvin.
“Exactly!” hissed Megatron as he sipped. “And now, I’m a slave to a glorified monkey that thinks it’s the greatest thing since the discovery of planets orbiting a sun. Meanwhile, my cousin has her own mansion on one of my planet’s moons! You know what the worst part of it is? I’m actually praying for my brother, Optimus, to beat Hiro so I can get out of slavery! My younger brother, an idealistic child, and he’s my only hope of salvation!”
“As someone who teamed up with his arch-nemesis on more than one occasion, I know EXACTLY how you feel,” sympathized Marvin.
“…Marvin, tell me,” mused Megatron, “did you ever try any Earth drinks? Beer, for example?”
“No, I can’t say that with honesty,” replied Marvin.
“Perhaps you should at least try a sip,” offered Megatron.
“I don’t know,” muttered Marvin.
“Come on,” urged Megatron. “Aren’t you the least bit curious?” Marvin sighed, then directed his hover pad to the bar and poured the tiniest shot of beer he was prepared to stomach. He sipped it…then he gagged and coughed the instant the alcohol entered his…er…mouth. “Well?” asked Megatron.
“Vile!” coughed Marvin.
“I know,” muttered Megatron. “It’s so angry and fiery and leaves a bad taste in your mouth.”
“…Much like Hiro,” realized Marvin.
“You know what the worst part is?” asked Megatron. “If you drink enough of that, you begin to feel only that just so you can drown out whatever pain you’re feeling. It pretends to be your friend, but it’s just slowly killing you.”
“It’s insidious,” supplied Marvin.
“Just like Hiro,” confirmed Megatron.
“Do you think your brother will save us?” asked Marvin.
“I hope so,” sighed Megatron. “I really do.”