Megumi, Richard, Scorpainia, Eelinape, Arsha and her spouses, Optimus, and Blackarachnia had gathered in the Conference Room again after various attempts to talk to War. “After Academy’s staff has also tried to get through to War,” reported Megumi. “So far, they’ve had no response. Until they do, we’ve been asked not to get involved.”
“The Autobot High Council,” supplied Optimus, “has requested that we not interfere as War is taking care of the Decepticons’ current leader.”
“And the Realmfleet Council,” finished Arsha, “is saying the same as they believe War is best suited for dealing with Dr. Borg.”
“Unfortunately,” sighed Scorpainia, “the Imperial Tarlaxian Council has made the same decision as going against War would be blasphemous, even though they’re condemning her actions.”
“So, that’s it?!” protested Gorfanth. “We’re not warning the Decepticon Moon Base?!”
“War’s still a member of After Academy’s faculty,” answered Richard. “If we warn the Moon Base, we’d risk causing a splinter within the school.”
“Besides,” supplied Blackarachnia, “what if War’s right? What if Caan really HAS gotten his hands on our main enemies?”
“If Caan wanted their cooperation,” agreed Scorpainia, “that IS how he would do it.”
“Does Caan really need Megatron? Hiro? Dr. Borg?” asked Optimus.
“The issue here is NOT whether or not Caan has tricked our enemies,” interjected Eelinape. “War has told many Tarlaxians that she feels there has been too much peace, that there must be a war in order to survive. Fear of Caan has given her an excuse to do what she does best, to fight and conquer.”
“If she’s so eager for a fight,” quizzed Arsha, “who’s to say she’ll stop with Hiro and his allies?”
“Next target could be anyone,” muttered Foresna, “even the Realms.”
“If I were still a Realmfleet Captain,” mused Malnar, “I’d have my ship help fortifying Vorton.” Everyone turned to her for clarification. “Think about it, what good will it do War to conquer Optimus’ home if she can’t control the Gateway?”
“She’s right,” agreed Richard. “If she’s going back to basics, no one is safe.”
“Then we need to make sure,” declared Megumi, “that possibility is impossible for both sides.”
“How?” asked Falnii softly. “From what I see, we have two choices, both of them bad. If we stand by and allow War to do as she pleases, we risk becoming her next target. But, if we disobey our respective governments, we may risk starting a war with her.”
“Meaning we need a third option,” muttered Lardeth. He then got an idea. “Optimus, Soundwave is the Decepticon Communications Officer, yes?”
Speaking of Soundwave, he was on monitor duty again. In his mind, it was the perfect job. All activities were beamed directly into his brain. He knew that information was power and monitor duty was rich in information. He flicked to a punishment chamber and heard the cries and screams of those suffering physical punishment. He felt anguish was the best way to extract information. “What did I say back in the day?” he asked himself. “Ah, yes, ‘Cries and screams are music to my ears’.” He chuckled darkly until he got a sensor blip. He focused his attention on it and identified the source as a breach in Vorton’s security! He immediately called Hiro, Dr. Borg, and Megatron. “DUUUUUDES!” he cheered. “I just got into Vorton’s systems!”
“On our way!” called Megatron. They arrived quickly and gathered around Soundwave.
“Can you patch into their cameras?!” asked Dr. Borg, giddy with excitement.
“Just a second…” replied Soundwave. “Almost…GOT IT!”
“All together,” Scorpainia’s voice began, “we’re talking about well over 600 ships in just the first wave.”
“That’s no small fleet,” remarked Optimus’ voice.
“A fleet, eh?” chuckled Hiro. He was promptly shushed by Megatron.
“Between ground forces and warships, War’s committed over half her fighting forces to this invasion,” continued Eelinape’s voice.
“Who’s he?” asked Dr. Borg.
“Quiet!” hissed Megatron.
“How long before she reaches her target?” asked Megumi’s voice.
“According to our estimates,” replied Scorpainia, “War should invade the Decepticon Moon Base within the hour and attempt to hunt Caan in that time. With Quake Hammer, Skyfall, X-PO, and Gai Amatsu helping her forces…”
“War’s invading us!” gulped Dr. Borg.
“And is accompanied by traitors, it seems,” mused Megatron as he started regretting not letting the D.J.D. kill Quake Hammer.
“Disengage! Now!” Hiro urged Soundwave.
“What? Why?!” asked Soundwave.
“Because not even Vortech was willing to fight her directly!” answered Hiro. “That means this isn’t a good time to eavesdrop!” Soundwave stopped immediately. “Why would War hunt for Caan here?”
“Perhaps she thinks we’ve been roped into his business,” guessed Dr. Borg.
“Absurd!” hissed Megatron.
“Is it?” mused Hiro.
“Hiro, we need to talk to Megumi,” suggested Megatron. “We need her to stop War. I have enough problems on my plate right now!”
“Having trouble finding this ‘Galvatron’ character?” asked Hiro.
“…How do you know about that?” hissed Megatron.
“I’m afraid, since Igura’s death,” explained Hiro, “internal security ISN’T what it used to be.”
“Yes,” muttered Megatron. “…Shame about your wife. I suppose you’ll need to find her replacement. Her scientific mind set the standard rather high.”
“We can stand here all day,” hissed Hiro, “attacking one another’s weak points and reminding ourselves how much we hate one another, but neither of us have the time! If Scorpainia’s right, War and her fleet will arrive in less than an hour. I suggest we prepare for her!”
“Anything unusual as of yet?” asked War.
“Nothing,” reported Quake Hammer.
“Nothing unusual here either,” supplied Skyfall from her work station.
“Excuse me,” called a voice. A Japanese man in a white suit came in. “Your upgrades are complete,” reported the man. “With them, your fleet will be at 1,000%, all according to my…OUR scenario.”
“Sure,” scoffed War. “And I’m going to bet future upgrades will be a bajillion percent, perhaps a tajillion!”
“…Those…aren’t real percentages,” remarked the man.
“I’m not the only one making up percentages!” snarled War. “I would advise you to stick to mathematically defined parameters in future! Claiming to be above 100% leads to arrogance and that WILL cost us the campaign!” Just then, an alarm sounded. War took out a pair of glasses with a device near the right ear hook. She then typed something on the computer.
“What is it?” asked Skyfall.
“An intruder alarm back at my house,” explained War. “One I had personally set up. Meaning…” Azuliterii, Rojenthi, and Amavorte appeared on the screen, sneaking around the house. “Of course!” groaned War. She turned to the Cybertronians. “Man your stations, I need your help.”
“I feel like a burglar,” muttered Amavorte as Azuliterii continued her work.
“Just keep any defenses at bay,” urged Azuliterii as she continued programming something into War’s computer.
“Come on,” chuckled Rojenthi, “this is War we’re talking about. Her tactical brilliance rivals mine, but her technical expertise is, at best, 0.0001% of yours. I doubt any security measures…” an alarm interrupted her boast and the sound of footsteps in a rapid march drummed in their ears. Multiple soldiers then entered the room and leveled weapons at the three. “…Then again,” muttered Rojenthi. She then touched her hair flower and it changed and grew into a suit of red armor. Amavorte touched both of hers and gained yellow-green armor. They drew swords in their respective colors and attacked the soldiers while Azuliterii continued her programming.
“Come on!” she hissed. “Just need to…NO!” War’s face appeared.
“You didn’t say the magic word,” taunted War’s voice as electricity tore through Azuliterii from the keyboard.
“Excellent move!” War praised Quake Hammer.
“Well, I DID get a computer science degree,” replied Quake Hammer. “Might as well put it to use.” Gai flinched at the idea of a machine getting a degree. War saw him flinch.
“Now, now,” she chided, “let’s not think racist thoughts here. Now that the intruders have been stopped, we must oust them.”
While War was dealing with the home invasion, the Advancement Ceremony was being broadcast with Blancalmarem, Nemengra, Julia, Ultragingana, and Elizabeth commenting on it. “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.
“And we have Julia Caesar, Ultragingana, and Elizabeth helping us this time,” continued Blancalmarem, “as the Advancement Ceremony for the Quarterfinals takes place!”
“Look at them, the winners of the Quarterfinals!” cheered Nemengra.
“I must say, the betting boards didn’t think Optimus would last this far,” mused Julia.
“He obviously balances his luck with his skill,” replied Elizabeth as she twitched.
“…Something wrong?” asked Ultragingana as she noticed the Martian’s discomfort.
“No…yes,” answered Elizabeth. “It’s just…I’ve never commented on anything in a sports capacity. It’s rather…strange.”
“You’ll get used to it,” assured Blancalmarem.
“Here come the floats, dropping off the winners!” called Nemengra.
“They’re receiving their torches, ready to light the Closing Torch!” cheered Julia. Queen Phury, Optimus Prime, Arsha Royana, and Megumi Hishikawa then lit the torch.
“WHOA!” yelped Elizabeth. “That’s huge!”
“Isn’t it?!” giggled Blancalmarem.
“Here comes Rosadera, ready to give her speech!” announced Nemengra.
“Before I continue any further,” called Rosadera, “I need to address the three month period between this round and the previous one. I understand it’s unnatural and not exactly traditional, but it was necessary. All of our competitors have lives outside the 3V2R and sometimes it can hit them like a freight train.”
“A runaway, in my case,” muttered Megumi under her breath.
“Because of that, those competitors needed time to get things settled,” continued Rosadera. “Thankfully, it looks like three months was all that was needed for the competitors in this tournament. With that said, according to tradition, we have the matchups for the Semifinals all set!”
“Already?” quizzed Optimus.
“Already!” confirmed Rosadera. “Optimus, your opponent is Arsha.”
“Ah, bring the two magic users together, huh?” chuckled Arsha.
“Then that means my opponent is…” gulped Megumi as her eyes ran up and down Phury’s form.
“Me,” confirmed Phury. “I was hoping to fight you in the Finals, but I guess I can get you out of the way first. Besides, you defeated Vortech and I want to see how.”
“Then may the best fighter win,” wished Megumi as she held her hand out for a handshake. Phury looked at the hand, then took it, then squeezed as they shook.
“I intend to,” hissed Phury. She released Megumi’s hand and strode off, leaving Megumi to put her hand in her mouth to soothe the pain. Optimus, Arsha, and Megumi returned to Vorton and Megumi excused herself to make her way to the Infirmary. When she arrived, she found Emily treating Rojenthi, Amavorte, and Azuliterii.
“WHOA!” she yelped. “Are they okay?!”
“They survived War’s home security system,” replied Emily, “albeit, a little banged up.”
“We were trying to install a spy program into her systems,” explained Rojenthi. “Long story short, we failed and practically came to Emily in pieces.”
“War’s gotten smarter these days,” muttered Megumi.
“I DID hear a form of good news from Prowl,” continued Amavorte. “War took the Decepticon Moon Base, but she encountered greater resistance than she expected. Our enemies fought as if someone warned them.” She gave a knowing grin.
“Maybe War will think twice,” sighed Rojenthi happily.
“I don’t think so,” countered Megumi. “Now that her campaign has begun, War will settle for nothing less than victory. We need to help them somehow.” Optimus, Richard, and Arsha came in.
“We all got word from our governments,” reported Richard. “The decision to not get involved has been revoked. We’re helping them from a greater threat.”
“Soundwave evacuated everyone to Robotropolis,” continued Optimus. “There’s a universe adjacent to us so they can be safe and we can watch them. I have a safe site plotted to get everyone out of our home universe.”
“We’re also authorized to render military aid as well,” supplied Arsha.
“Then we need to contact Robotropolis,” declared Megumi.
“Madame, I’m a little busy at the moment,” Megatron muttered to Megumi over the comms the next day, “so, whatever you have to say, please make it brief.”
“Megatron?” quizzed Megumi. “I was trying to reach the boss of your alliance.”
“And you have succeeded,” replied Megatron. “You are speaking to the current head of my alliance with Hiro and Dr. Borg.”
“Does this mean Hiro’s not in charge of Shocker Rift?” asked Megumi.
“It means,” elaborated Megatron, “that Hiro has other things on his mind and had to hand over command to me under duress.”
“In other words,” translated Megumi, “you took over the instant the termination implants were disabled.”
“I won’t ask how you knew about the implants, since Optimus must have told you,” rumbled Megatron, “and simply say that taking command of the alliance seemed like a good idea at the time.”
“Megatron, you’ve got to get everyone out of that universe before War reaches Robotropolis!” urged Megumi.
“I’m open to suggestions,” invited Megatron.
“The Autobots have a site for a multiversal ship to get you out of there,” answered Megumi. “Tell me, are the mines around Robotropolis disabled?”
“No, we haven’t even found them,” replied Megatron.
“Then use this code,” directed Megumi as she beamed a code over to Megatron’s computer, “to disable their replication abilities and render their explosive payloads inert. Once that’s done, try to get evacuation ships prepared and meet us at these coordinates.” She transmitted the coordinates. “The multiversal ship will then get you all to a safe universe near Vorton so we can both keep an eye on each other.”
“That is a VERY generous offer,” praised Megatron. “I must say, I’m touched. By saving us, your enemies, you are ensuring…”
“Forget the speech, Megatron,” dismissed Megumi, “just meet us at the rendezvous point.”
“And if War tries to stop us?” asked Megatron.
“Then I’ll try to reason with her,” declared Megumi. “I doubt she’d kill me.”
“I’m not so sure I share your optimism, Hishikawa-san,” mused Megatron. “Then again, I don’t have much choice, do I? We’ll meet you there.” The call ended and Megumi sighed, hoping War WILL see reason.