Within the Conference Room of the iconic Command Center in Iacon Central, Prowl checked the incoming alert, and immediately opened a communications link to Optimus Prime. “Sir… Sentinel has arrived. I’ll send a security team to meet him right away.”
“No, Prowl. I’ll do that myself. Thank you,” the Autobot Commander’s voice answered him after a momentary pause.
“Understood.” Prowl disconnected the link and sat back in his chair, allowed his thoughts to return to the Autobot he’d just finished interviewing. In the quietness of the room, he went over the responses in his mind, and then checked the name and designation of the next Autobot who was scheduled to present himself for a review that morning. And then, right on cycle, the door chimed. Prowl stood and headed over to it, pressed the button on the control panel, and took a few seconds to observe the Autobot standing on the other side of the door as it opened. He beckoned him to enter, and the Autobot did so without hesitation, taking a seat at the conference table without waiting to be asked.
Prowl sat down again in his seat opposite and watched him with his usual, impassive manner. “State your name and function.”
“My name is Roadburn; my function is Class 4 Courier, sir.”
Prowl nodded slightly. “Where are you currently stationed?”
The red Autobot remained motionless, almost expressionless, as he answered the questions without emotion. “I am currently stationed at the Transport Control Tower within the Autobot-Neutral Command Outpost in Antihex.”
Prowl nodded again; so far, the replies were standard. Now for a not-so-standard question. “You were one of the Autobots who was reported missing on star date 143601.4.70… are you aware of what happened to you?”
“No, sir. I was not aware that I was missing or absent from my station for any length of time.”
“What were you doing on that star date?”
“Performing my duties, sir.”
Prowl watched the Autobot’s behaviour closely. Roadburn was lying, or his memory had been compromised; either way, Prowl didn’t like the responses he was getting – added to that, they were almost identical to the previous Autobot’s responses. Finally he stood up, indicated for Roadburn to follow him out of the room. “You are hereby relieved from active duty until further notice. You are to submit to a complete systems check at the Maintenance and Repair Bay immediately. Is that understood?”
Roadburn slowly stood up and walked past Prowl towards the exit. “Understood, sir,” he replied, and started down the hallway without looking back.
Nine, zero, four, three, three, one, zero, Cyber Jack.
The code kept repeating over and over in his mind.
Ratchet had not been able to power down again for a recharge. His thoughts kept returning to the vivid dream he had just experienced and, after several breems of attempting to dismiss the whole thing as just some silly glitch of his memory, his curiosity and indomitable need to unravel the puzzle of his best friend’s disappearance had finally gotten the better of him.
He’d headed out to east Iacon, alone, in the hopes that, by some small miracle, he’d be able to make some sense of his dream.
But the closer he’d gotten to Wheeljack’s old workshop, the less likely it seemed. Perhaps he was wasting his time and besides, there were more important things he could be doing, such as making sure that Optimus Prime and the rest of those who’d participated in the recent mission to Polyhex had not been adversely affected by their strange experiences; they’d have no other choice but to submit themselves to a thorough check-up upon his say-so, should he decide to exercise his authority on the matter.
Still, some basic, instinctive part of him would not allow him to stop or turn back. So, he kept on driving, his thoughts continually returning to that same, cryptic message.
Nine, zero, four, three, three, one, zero, Cyber Jack.
He had already checked Wheeljack’s research notes thoroughly and several times during the past vorn. In fact, he knew them back to front. Every line of code, every description of the plague, even down to every last comment his friend had inserted after each new piece of experimental data. He wasn’t sure, exactly, what bothered him more; that the only new piece of information he had to go on had come from some dubious vision he’d just experienced or that, for the life of him, he could not work out what Wheeljack’s message was supposed to mean.
He pulled up outside of the workshop, and transformed into robot mode. Approaching the building, he input his access code and watched as the door quietly slid open. He activated the overhead lights and quietly looked around. Wheeljack’s research notes would not be here; Ratchet had removed them long ago, locked them away inside a secure storage facility off-site for safe keeping.
‘You made me a promise, Ratch. Find my research notes, and you will find the answers.’ That’s what puzzled him the most. He already had the research notes, and there wasn’t anything in them that could help him find any sort of real answers.
“Dammit, Wheeljack,” he said aloud, venting his frustration. “If you think that by some miracle I’m going to save your sorry aft–” The research notes. Wait a micro-second. What if…
What if… the research notes that Wheeljack had referred to in his vision were not the same ones Ratchet had found in the engineer’s old workshop? He wasn’t even aware that there might be a second set of notes, as yet undiscovered; in fact, the possibility hadn’t even crossed his mind – not even once.
It was still a long shot. But what else could he do? He had nothing to lose, so he carefully set about searching the room for anything that might remotely resemble research data. It was a pointless exercise, he knew, but he decided that he needed to begin somewhere, which was always better than nowhere.
After going through all the usual places – inside drawers, on shelves, inside storage units – he realized that he would have to do something much better than this. Perhaps Wheeljack had hidden his research notes. The possibility certainly wasn’t out of the question, particularly if he had wanted to keep them away from someone’s prying optics. For what reason, Ratchet had no idea, but he had to entertain all possibilities if he was going to uncover any new information, however unlikely it seemed.
He slowly walked over to one end of the main work bench, and looked down at the data pad lying there. Disconnecting it from the main terminal, he gently put it aside and then powered up the terminal, watched it as it suddenly flickered to life.
Scanning through the stored files, there was nothing there of interest. He’d already searched through this database before, but it had never occurred to him that Wheeljack might have locked the research notes away in some inaccessible location. With this in mind, Ratchet narrowed his search to display only high security clearance files.
He stared at the display screen in utter surprise. “Well, I’ll be damned…” There, as clear as day, were a set of research notes. He immediately noted the date stamp on them; it revealed that they were an earlier copy. Wheeljack‘s original notes.
Ratchet hit a few keys on the terminal’s control panel, and the words ‘Access denied’ appeared across the screen. The files required some sort of security code to open.
Access code. Voice override command.
Nine, zero, four, three, three, one, zero, Cyber Jack.
That must be it. Ratchet took a moment to gather his thoughts, prepare his mind for some untold secret the files had been closely guarding for more than a vorn – if, indeed, there was one. “Nine… zero… four… three… three… one… zero… Cyber Jack,” he said and, after a few tentative seconds, the computer replied with the message: ‘Voice command accepted.’
Ratchet inhaled deeply. “Alright, old friend, show me what you got,” he said, and began to read through the notes.
Sentinel Prime radiated just as much authority and power as Optimus Prime remembered of him. He stood tall, accompanied by a small, personal legion of Neutral warriors, and observed the Autobot leader with an air of unspoken eminence as he approached. “Ah. Optimus Prime… it is good to speak with you again. How long has it been?”
“Too long, old friend… too long.” Optimus faced his predecessor and mentor, watching him with reserved awe. Though Sentinel was physically larger, Optimus’ assured sense of purpose and strong-willed determination placed him on an equal footing with the former Autobot. He noted Sentinel’s entourage, but said nothing of it.
Sentinel smiled confidently. “I understand that you have something urgent you wish to discuss?”
“That is correct. Thank you for coming at such short notice.” Optimus indicated for him to follow him into the Command Center.
“I came as quickly as I could.” Sentinel turned to his security team, directed them to remain where they were before he followed the Autobot leader inside the command post unaccompanied.
They walked together along the brightly-lit halls in silence for a short while, until Optimus spoke again, his pace steady. “Were all those guards really necessary?”
There was a pause as Sentinel assessed his question before shrugging it off. “One can never be too careful, especially with the recent… Decepticon attacks.” Another pause, and then, “Of course, I’d be more than happy to send you extra reinforcements. Perhaps… we could discuss some defensive strategies whilst I am here?”
Optimus did not give him any reply, but instead showed the former Autobot leader to an unused briefing room adjacent to Communications Central, where they would be able to speak in private. He ordered for high-grade refreshments to be brought to them, all the while contemplating Sentinel’s position. It wasn’t until the attendant had served them their drinks and had closed the door behind him upon exiting the room that Optimus finally answered Sentinel. “Do you believe the Decepticons are responsible?”
Sentinel seemed taken aback by this question, but his expression of incredulity was quickly masked by concern. “Do not drop your guard in the face of the enemy, Optimus Prime, and do not allow them to deceive you, or permit the seeds of doubt to take root within you. The moment you do that is the very moment that you have lost the battle.” He kept his gaze fixed upon the Autobot Commander, watching him intently, and then leaned forward slightly. “But I sense doubt in you. Have you forgotten who and what you are?”
Optimus tapped his fingers lightly on the table top, and then slowly exhaled. “No. I only seek the truth, Sentinel.”
The red and black Prime straightened, took on an authoritative demeanour. “The truth? Isn’t it obvious?” Optimus did not answer him. “Perhaps… if you would tell me what is troubling you, I can do something to help. But if you don’t talk…”
Optimus sighed, slowly nodded. “There have been… some incidents… that I have yet to fully understand.”
Sentinel was unwavering in his assurance. “Do not be fooled by what you can only see or hear, for such distractions are only there to test you, Optimus Prime. Think of it… as a guiding force, to help forge you and strengthen your resolve. All great leaders must travel the warrior’s path, and conquer it, should they wish to defeat their enemies.” He paused for a long while, contemplating his former student. “Do you remember what I told you long ago? I warned you about the coming of the Great War, and what would occur should any Decepticon be allowed to remain functional.” Optimus remained motionless, listening to his words. “Did not the Great War come to pass… exactly as I had foretold? Do you doubt the validity of my words, just as I spoke them all those vorns ago? Tell me… Optimus Prime… he who seeks the truth… what is it that you are afraid of?” Optimus forced himself to look away, the intensity of the other’s gaze somehow too much to bear, but Sentinel was relentless, as if he could glimpse into his spark and capture the essence of his very being. “If you truly care about Cybertron, and the danger that the Autobots must soon face, then you will listen very carefully to what I have to tell you.”
“What do you mean… what danger?” Optimus’ optics glowered, suddenly alerted, and for an instant nothing else mattered to him but the safety of his home planet, and all those who ultimately depended upon him.
Sentinel gave him a knowing nod. Now that he had the Prime’s full attention, he was certain that his message would not be easily overlooked. “You must forgive my… hesitation, but I did not want to say anything until I was absolutely certain.”
“You must tell me what you know…” Optimus’ voice was tense, though he tried his best not to show what he felt.
Sentinel‘s expression hardened. “I have received information that the Decepticons have been covertly gathering their forces from all over the Sector, for some time now. They plan to attack soon – but you will not realise it until it is too late. If nothing is done, Iacon will be the first city to fall, and before the third day it shall lie in ruins.” Optimus imagined that he felt a barely discernible drop in the room’s temperature, as if an eerie coldness had begun to fill the space around him. “Together, we must stop them before they bring about the war that will end all wars.”
“No… it’s not possible. The Decepticons were defeated during the battle at Kaon. They are no match against the Alliance.” Optimus understood full well Sentinel’s uncanny ability to know things he couldn’t otherwise know; his former teacher had accurately predicted the Last Great War before it had happened in a way that Optimus had never understood – yet it had all come to pass exactly as he’d described, including the Dark Plague and the unexpected end to the war. He was reminded that Sentinel never revealed the identity of his sources, except to say that he utilized the services of highly trained informants who were able to infiltrate any command structure without too much trouble.
The war that will end all wars…
Sentinel nodded in understanding. “Indeed. However… things have changed. I do not know how, but they will return in full force, and they will refuse to negotiate with us. Time is of the essence.”
Optimus slowly leaned forward, this sudden revelation news to him. “How can you know this?”
Sentinel gave him a shrug and a small smile as reassurance. “I have my sources.”
“There have been rumours of a Neutral takeover…” Optimus’ voice remained calm, despite the seriousness of the statement; he could no longer ignore the growing number of Autobots who had insisted that, in one way or another, things were not as they seemed.
The former Prime held his gaze steady. “That is preposterous. Where did you hear such rumours?”
Optimus lowered his voice, yet the conviction of his words remained. “I, too, have my sources.”
“Surely you do not believe there is any truth to them?” Sentinel’s own voice softened significantly, and he inhaled deeply before answering. “It is clear, then, why you have come to doubt our cause. You cannot allow yourself to be weakened by those who would deceive you… you must remain strong. The Alliance needs you, Optimus Prime, now more than ever. Are you willing to throw away our future because you are willing to listen to such lies?”
“Of course not. However… I cannot believe that my own trusted warriors would lie to me.”
“Ah… yes. Dare I mention your trusted Jazz… who disobeyed direct orders in an act of utter betrayal? Or, perhaps, your precious Elita One… who, along with her merry crew, departed on an unauthorised expedition into the Gamma Sector only to be brought down by the enemy, and who now remains stranded on Alternity City?” Sentinel spoke candidly, almost harshly, in order to drive home his point.
Optimus visibly stiffened at the mention of Elita’s name as anger stirred within him, though he wasn’t sure whether it was directed towards Sentinel, or Elita herself. “Elita One… is she alright?”
Sentinel’s expression softened once more, a glimmer of empathy in his optics. “For now… though, I fear for her safety. There are many on Alternity City who would seek to harm her, should they find her. You… were not aware of her situation?”
The Autobot leader shook his head. “No. We have not spoken since she left.” He looked up at him suddenly. “I must go to her.”
“No.” Sentinel shook his head. “You will be needed here, on Cybertron. But you needn’t worry; I can arrange to have her returned to you… if you so wish.”
Optimus hesitated. It was an offer that he found very hard to turn down. On the other hand, however, doing so would only serve to widen the existing rift that had come between him and Elita One. Ultimately, though, her safety was more important to him than any resentment she may feel towards him. He finally nodded in acquiescence. “Make sure that she comes to no harm.”
Sentinel smiled graciously, glad to be of help. “Of course – you have my word. Now… as for Jazz, I can send additional search parties to assist in apprehending him–”
“No,” Optimus cut in before the other could finish his sentence. “That won’t be necessary. He has been granted a special leave of absence.”
“I see.” Sentinel looked back at him with a wary optic. “You still trust him, don’t you?”
Optimus wondered just how much Sentinel knew about Jazz’s off-the-record mission, and was about to reply when he was interrupted by the beeping of his com link. He watched Sentinel intently, allowed several moments to pass before answering his com. “Go ahead.”
“Prime, this is Prowl. Sideswipe’s just arrived. He is demanding to speak with you, sir.”
“Tell him I’ll be there shortly–” He was cut short by Prowl, who spoke with a terse, strained voice.
“Prime… I think you should deal with him as soon as possible.”
Optimus did not need to be told a second time; the urgency in Prowl’s voice, more than anything else, indicated that something was wrong. “Very well. I’m on my way.” He disconnected the link, and then looked back at Sentinel. “I’m afraid that something has come up. Perhaps… we could continue this discussion later?” He stood up from his chair, and opened the door to the briefing room to let them both out.
Sentinel followed him out into the Communications Center, smiling warmly. “Ah, of course… your duty as Autobot Commander must always come first.”
The first waking thought that went through Sunstreaker’s processor as he regained consciousness was that he had crossed over into the heavenly abode of Sparks, guided by the Light of Primus. Then his short-term memory module kicked in, and he remembered his encounter with the rather unconventional, outspoken, reluctant Decepticon who had told him his name was Comet. Then he recalled the unfortunate events that had landed him here, inside a secure scrap metal recycling facility in Hitec, owned and controlled by the self-proclaimed Master of the Universe himself – though to everyone else he was known as the one and only High Commander of the Subterranean Base. Or was that the Supreme High Commander? He couldn’t quite remember.
Not that it really mattered. What mattered was that he was still alive, yet those who he had left behind on Cybertron more than a century ago were in very real danger. It had taken him all this time to finally comprehend the true extent of the evil that was the Autobot-Neutral Alliance, and the bizarre, controlled manipulation that was behind the Dark Plague and, to a large extent, the Last Great War. The implications were profound, and he became overwhelmed by it all, at a loss to know exactly what to do with the knowledge he now possessed. He realized, with grim clarity, that this very knowledge had almost cost him his life.
From the edge of his optical sensors, he could see Comet, his back turned to him, working on some kind of device that he’d put together from junked parts, and he hesitated. He looked down at his damaged and heavily beaten frame, and slowly willed his right hand to move, then his left knee joint. Relieved, he slowly pushed himself up onto both elbows and sat up. It seemed that Comet had, indeed, fixed him, just as he’d said he would. But despite his apparent deed of kindness, Sunstreaker’s programmed survival instincts told him not to trust anyone who even remotely resembled a Decepticon, regardless of their words or actions, and he saw himself fatally damaging the seeker’s spark chamber and permanently deactivating him using his electron pulse blaster whilst he had his back turned.
He quickly berated himself for his instinctive programming and for allowing such thoughts into his processor, and grunted, reminding himself that Comet, despite all outward appearances, had saved his life and, regardless of whether this act had been intrinsically selfish or not, he owed him at least the same in return.
Comet glanced back at him, alerted to the Autobot’s conscious state by the grunt of his vocal processor. “Oh. You’re awake. Good. I can do with some help.”
Sunstreaker watched as Comet returned to his task, and for a long while remained where he was. He had no idea whether the seeker could be trusted, but after his recent ordeal at the hands of the High Commander, Comet did not concern him nearly as much as he once would have. He slowly stood up, careful not to place unnecessary strain on his newly repaired linkage, and made his way over to Comet. Standing shakily on his feet, he dropped down to sit beside him. “Not sure what… I can do to help. I’m a… warrior… not a mechanic,” he said. “Besides, I’m dangerously low… on fuel…” he added uncomfortably, trying to ignore his internal warning systems of his low power situation. He was quietly thankful, at least, that his vocal processor was returning to normal functioning.
Comet responded without skipping a beat, putting down his current project carefully on the ground and reaching across to pick up a dirty canister that was half-filled with a translucent pink fluid. “Here, this should get you through another couple of days, at least.”
“Ah, thanks…” Sunstreaker tentatively reached out to grab it. “What about you?”
Comet shrugged. “I’m fine.”
“Oh…” Sunstreaker ingested the fuel, and then placed the empty can down on the ground. He sat there in silence for a time, allowing his internal fuel converter to process the liquid into a useable form of energy. “So… what’s that you’re building?” He said finally, nodding towards the device.
Comet picked it up again and proceeded to connect two loose wires together. As he did so, a surge of energy suddenly crackled across the connection. Comet quickly disconnected the wires before the surge caused the power pack to overload, and then he shook his head and sighed, handing Sunstreaker the device. “Here – maybe you can get it to work.”
Sunstreaker took the assembly and carefully examined it, turning it over in his hands. Comet stood up, his attention now diverted to the sealed doors of the facility as he began to walk over to them. Sunstreaker followed the wiring from the terminals of the power pack unit to the rest of the makeshift assembly and then gently put it down again, silently admiring Comet’s valiant attempt at putting together a triggered explosive from a collection of discarded and mismatched components. It could almost work, except… “I can see your difficulty. You need a regulator.”
Comet attempted to force the door panel control away from its wall recess, but the presence of the energy barrier made the task impossible. Nonetheless, he kept trying. “Yes… but I don’t have one at hand, unfortunately.”
The tall, yellow Autobot slowly stood up and looked around. He saw the many piles of scrap metal that filled the space around them and watched as powerful machinery nearby continually processed the material. His mind once again brought his electron pulse blaster to his conscious awareness, and he transformed his right hand and forearm, extracting his weapon. Holding it in his hand with a firm grip, he felt reassured by its presence, the feeling of power that it gave him as his finger played with the trigger. He saw Comet turn to look at him, standing motionless and on alert, and flipped the weapon around in his hand with one swift, easy motion, then held it out towards the seeker. “You do now,” he said.
Comet made his way back to him, keeping his optics focused upon the weapon but reluctant to take it. Finally, he shook his head. “You’re going to need it. We’ll find another regulator–”
Sunstreaker interrupted him. “Just take it. If we don’t… get out of here, my weapon’s… not going to be of any use to me… if I’m dead, now is it?” His tone of voice was insistent and aggressive.
Comet observed the Autobot with interest, and realized that he probably wouldn’t take no for an answer, so he accepted his offer and took the weapon. Then he began to disassemble it.
Sideswipe tried to ignore the sidelong glances being cast his way as he looked about the large, enclosed waiting area on the ground floor of the Command Center. At first, Prowl had told him that it wasn’t the best time to speak to Prime and had refused him entry, but then Sideswipe had insisted, threatening to make a scene outside the Command Center if his request to see Prime directly continued to be ignored, so Prowl had reluctantly agreed to let him inside, and had told him to wait here.
Sideswipe became more agitated with every passing second until finally, after what felt like stellar cycles, he saw Prowl re-emerge from the entrance to the main Command Center, Optimus Prime by his side. He rushed forwards in anticipation; there was so much that he wanted – no, needed – to say. “Optimus…” He started in greeting, approaching the Prime Commander, but then took a step back in sudden shock, turning his head to gaze upon the large frame of Sentinel Prime as the leader of the Neutrals stepped away from behind Optimus and into full view. For several tense seconds Sideswipe stood motionless, as if petrified, unable to speak or move. Then his optics widened with alarm and what looked like dread, as he recoiled inwardly, his defensive mechanisms fully engaging.
Optimus, noticing his panic, attempted to dissipate the sudden tension as he looked for a way to try and prevent what he feared might happen next. “Sideswipe... it is good to see you again.” He stepped slowly forwards, extending a hand out to the Autobot, but Sideswipe was no longer registering his presence, his audio sensors now deaf to his words.
In a move that took everyone by surprise, Sideswipe retrieved his missile launcher from its shoulder mount and pointed it directly at Sentinel, all the while not taking his optics off the former Prime. “You!” He could feel his warrior instincts kick in, and he momentarily redirected the launcher at Prowl, fully prepared to make good on his unspoken threat if the Chief of Security made a wrong move to try and intervene. “Don’t!”
Prowl glanced towards Optimus, ready and willing to take whatever action was necessary to stop Sideswipe from his aggressive actions, but the Autobot leader gave him no indication to that effect. Instead, he gave Prowl a silent nod that told him not to take any immediate action, at least for the moment. Optimus would try to handle the situation his own way, before the use of force became necessary.
Sideswipe watched this interaction, knew that Optimus would first try to negotiate with him in a peaceful manner, and he used this opportunity to confront Sentinel Prime, training his missile launcher towards him once again. The large entry hall suddenly fell quiet as several Autobots and Neutrals around them stopped in their tracks to watch the unfolding confrontation. “You…” Sideswipe spoke in a soft, ominous tone, his launcher shaking from the unbridled anger and humiliation that he felt. “My brother was right about you… he was right about you all along… but you had us all fooled... didn’t you?” He shook his head slowly in disgust, gave Sentinel a twisted sneer. “Tell them!” He shouted suddenly, and Prowl instinctively reached for his weapon, but Optimus held out a hand, signalling for him to hold back.
Despite the hostility that was being shown to him in this moment, Sentinel remained calm and in control. He held out his hands in a show of pacifism, as if he were being unfairly victimized yet was all too ready to forgive his aggressor, should Sideswipe start to see reason and decide to back down. He carefully took a step forwards, but Sideswipe would have none of it. “Tell them!” He insisted again, and stepped closer to reassert his dominance with his missile launcher. “Tell them the truth, Sentinel. About the virus… and what you did to my brother…” He glanced briefly towards Optimus Prime and, for the first time since the Last Great War, each recognized the other for who he truly was – a friend who, burdened by responsibilities that no mech should ever have to endure alone, had lost his way. “…What you’re doing…” He forcibly looked away from Optimus, refocused upon Sentinel. “Tell them, Sentinel Prime… tell them the truth… tell them who… what… you really are. No… more… lies!”
Sentinel’s expression was filled with sympathy and concern for this obviously troubled and emotionally unstable Autobot. Careful not to make any sudden moves, he spoke gently, reassuringly. “I understand your concern… Sideswipe. Please, put your weapon away. I can explain everything… if you’ll only give me a chance to help you.”
Sideswipe’s expression only hardened, his arms visibly shaking from his anger. “Help me? You want to help me – then tell me where my brother is!”
Before Sentinel could respond, Optimus spoke up. “Don’t do this, Sideswipe. Please… you are only doing yourself harm.”
Sideswipe refused to look at him, and he shook his head in defiance. “No! Can’t you see what’s happening? Don’t let him fool you.” He paused, and a moment of such strained silence followed that the background whisperings felt like they were assaulting him at full volume. “He’s a traitor!” He burst out suddenly, his voice resoundingly loud as it infiltrated the surrounding space.
But Sentinel remained unperturbed, almost unaffected by Sideswipe’s accusations to the point that it appeared unnatural. He gave Optimus an assured nod, letting him know that he was more than capable of taking control of the situation. “I do not know what has happened to your brother… please.”
“Why should I believe anything you say?” Sideswipe’s face contorted into a vengeful smirk. “I should have listened to him. He tried to warn me about the Alliance. He tried to warn us all… but I didn’t listen… oh, no… I just let him leave! Sideswipe shook his head, and then turned to Optimus, his weapon still locked on Sentinel. “And now… he’s probably dead… because of me! Because of him!” He indicated towards Sentinel, and felt himself losing control as the anger and hurt he’d harboured deep inside for so long were suddenly given expression, as he stood face to face against the very mech who was responsible for all his suffering.
“Sideswipe…” A gentle voice suddenly called out from behind him, and he turned sharply around to face Arcee. “Don’t do this to yourself, please.”
But that split second of distracted focus was all Sentinel needed; Arcee’s shocked expression, one hand over her mouth, was the last thing Sideswipe’s optics registered before he felt himself crash violently to the floor – a well-aimed, powerful impact from Sentinel’s blaster knocking him offline.
“Well,” Comet said, holding the crude bomb in his hand and walking back to the doors. “If this doesn’t stop him, nothing will.” He looked for a suitable location to place the bomb, and finally secured the explosive to an anchoring point in the wall only a couple of mechano-meters from the doors.
“Now what?” Sunstreaker asked, as Comet returned to face him.
“Now we wait,” the seeker replied, sitting back down on the ground.
Sunstreaker peered down at him. “What if… it doesn’t work?”
Comet shrugged. “You could always pray to Primus, and hope that we find some other way of escape.”
“Don’t get me wrong, Comet… but if I didn’t know you any better… I’d say that you’re not too concerned.” Sunstreaker slowly sat down on the floor across from him. “Oh, that’s right… I don’t know you. Do I?” But Comet did not answer him; he seemed lost in some distant, long forgotten memory. Or, perhaps he was avoiding the question; Sunstreaker didn’t know. “Alright. So, what’s your plan… if we do get out of here, you know? That is… if you have a plan.”
Comet seemed to refocus his attention back to the real world. “Plan? Well, first, I’m going to take control of the Hitec Base… and then, once I’ve done that, I’m going to use Scorponok’s army to take Alternity City. Then, Cybertron won’t stand a chance against me,” he said wryly.
Sunstreaker looked at him intently, unsure of the seeker’s intentions. But then he began to chuckle, before breaking into laughter as he caught the satire in Comet’s speech. After many moments, he regained his composure and spoke again. “You know about Scorponok?”
“Only enough to know that he’s the biggest slag maker this side of the galaxy. Along with everyone who works for him.” Comet leaned his head back and rested it against a drum that had been cut in half and then discarded. “So, Autobot… how did you end up here?” He asked after a long moment. When Sunstreaker did not respond straight away, he added, “If I were to fathom a guess I’d say that you’ve had an unfortunate encounter with the slag maker himself.”
Sunstreaker recalled the moments of his capture and subsequent torture and humiliation at the hands of Hitec’s High Commander, and replied. “It… was my stupid fault. I’d tracked Sentinel’s movements to a nearby relay station… and that’s where I found…” He faltered, found it difficult to continue.
Comet slowly raised his head, intense red optics watching him. “You found what?”
Sunstreaker looked downcast, his expression sorrowful. “I wanted to get a closer look… I was caught off guard… didn’t see his two goons behind me.”
“What did you see, Sunstreaker?” It was the first time that Comet had used his name since they’d met, and he looked up at the seeker in unspoken encouragement.
However, the memory of his recent discovery was anything but encouraging, and he found it too difficult, too painful even, to put it all into coherent words. Still, he tried. “Autobots… what was left of ‘em, anyway… deactivated. Dead.” He sat there, quietly staring down at his hands, forcing himself to remain still lest the anger that dwelled deep within him should be released in a sudden, uncontrolled outburst.
Comet looked away for a brief instant, contemplating the implications of what Sunstreaker had just told him. “You said that Sentinel Prime has something to do with… all of that?” He asked.
The yellow Autobot slowly nodded. “I wasn’t sure before.” He inhaled deeply, tried to re-center himself. “But now I know for sure. He helped create the Plague, and possibly even…” He paused, thought about how to form his next sentence. “He may have even played a part in bringing about our own war…” Sunstreaker indicated the two of them with a wave of his hand as he spoke these words. “The war between us – Autobots… and… Decepticons.”
Comet listened carefully, his expression fixed, unchanging. Then it was his turn to speak his truth, to allow himself to acknowledge the anger and disappointment that had held his own conscience hostage with an iron grip since the day he had been banished from Cybertron. “The Autobots blamed that virus… on a Decepticon.” Comet stood up, feeling uneasy, and turned away from the Autobot. “One of us.”
He heard Sunstreaker’s voice from behind him, and his preliminary fears were alleviated; the Autobot did not accuse him or judge him, but seemed to empathise with him, understand him. “I remember. He… was sentenced to death, wasn’t he?”
“Yes.” Comet’s voice was filled with bitterness, though he managed to control it, directing it away from his present company. For reasons that he didn’t fully comprehend, he welcomed this conversation, finding comfort and reassurance in a most unlikely source – an Autobot. “I…”
Sunstreaker sensed the seeker’s difficulty and genuinely wanted to help him. “Listen… Comet… I think we ought to stick together. Help each other out, you know? Once we get out of here.” Comet did not respond, so he continued. “If I help you conquer Alternity City… well, maybe you’ll help me find a way to return to Cybertron… so I can try to warn the others.”
Comet turned back around to face him, his arms crossed in front of him. “You mean, if we get out of here… and if I’m willing to tolerate the company of an arrogant, self-important Autobot such as yourself,” he said, though with a hint of a smile.
Sunstreaker shrugged. “Hey… if I’m willing to put up with one overbearing, conceited… overconfident, cocky Decepticon such as yourself… then you could at least try to do the same for me.”
Comet laughed; a spontaneous, care-free response that meant much more to him than he’d ever let on. “We’ll see,” he said.
“The Neutrals!?” Chromia exclaimed in exasperation, looking towards her team leader. “Elita?”
The pink and white femme took a few moments as the penny dropped. Her voice lowered considerably in volume. “I should have known… I should have seen it. This whole time… I can’t believe it.”
“So… what, exactly, are we talking about here?” Moonracer said, confused. “You should have seen what, Elita?”
“Shutup, ‘Racer,” Firestar rebuked, as they all waited for the femme commander to continue speaking. Devcon remained silent, watching them, allowing them the space they needed to arrive at their own conclusion.
“The rumours from this Sector… the Autobot disappearances soon after the sudden end to the war at home, especially at a time when the Decepticons were far from being defeated…” Elita rose from her chair, slowly paced away from them in thought. “The Cybertronian High Council’s increase in power soon after the formation of the Alliance…” She spun around to face her crew. “Think about it… why would the Neutrals attack our ship? We’re supposed to be their allies.”
Chromia interjected. “That’s if it was the Neutrals. We can’t be sure. I mean, how do we know it wasn’t… the Supremacists – as Devcon mentioned – or someone else entirely?”
“Such as?” Elita rebutted, and then went back to her seat, looking Chromia straight in the optics. “Okay, just humor me for an astro-second – let’s just say that it was them. It would explain why the Neutrals formed an Alliance with the Autobots, and why the Council then gave them power to act on their behalf… power that could be used to gain total control… with the combined numbers and additional resources to pull it off… and what about their directive to capture all Decepticons – why?”
“Elita – listen to yourself. It all just sounds… crazy!” Chromia replied, shocked that her friend was actually thinking the impossible.
“I know…” Elita sighed. “And maybe… maybe that’s what they’re relying on.”
Firestar spoke next. “But it still doesn’t explain why they attacked our ship. Or… why Autobots are being targeted.”
Elita nodded. “True, and that’s exactly what I intend to find out.” She looked back at Devcon. “We’d appreciate any help, Devcon, and if there’s any truth at all to what I’m saying, then that attack on our cruiser is only a part of something much bigger than any of us realize.”
Devcon contemplated her words carefully and then slowly nodded. “I’ve got no plans to return to Cybertron any time soon… but next time you’re in need of a space cruiser, just let me know.”
Elita relaxed her shoulders a little and smiled. “Thank you,” she said.
Jazz had arrived at Darkmount’s central co-ordinates, and had been surprised to find that the ruins of the former fortress no longer existed; instead, a large, spired tower was all that stood in their place. He had transmitted the encoded distress signal that Drift had given him several hours ago, and had remained parked not too far from the main road in his alt mode, watching and waiting for something to happen.
But nothing did. He had watched as a couple of Neutrals scanned the area from a safe distance and then left, but other than that there was nothing to indicate the presence of any Decepticons, let alone that they had picked up his signal, or even knew he was there.
As he waited with waning expectations, he entertained several scenarios in his mind as he mentally dealt with all the possible outcomes of his current course of action. He considered the most likely event that the Decepticons would capture him; he doubted that they would terminate him on sight, but that possibility always remained active in the back of his mind. With some effort, he pushed the thought away, and then reaffirmed his resolve; this was an all-or-nothing deal, and he realized that it was easier for him to fully dedicate himself to his current direction for all it was worth rather than try to look for alternatives. Any reservations that he felt he would just have to ignore.
As the fading daylight gave way to the blanketing darkness of the night cycle, Jazz got the distinct sense that he was being watched. His scanners did not reveal any obvious presence, though he had learned long ago not to rely solely upon his external sensors, and remained alert, ever-watchful, and then his patience finally paid off.
There, perched atop the spire, Jazz could make out a small, robotic shape that resembled a bird of one of the many organic alien species known to exist. Laserbeak, Jazz thought with both a sense of relief and trepidation at the same time.
Jazz was not certain how long the Decepticon spy had been watching him, nor whether he was here in response to the signal he’d sent out, but what he was certain of was that he had come to the right place; wherever there was Laserbeak, there’d be other Decepticons as well – however many of them there were. Several minutes went by, as each continued to watch the other, neither of them moving. Then Jazz took action. He transformed into robot mode and began to slowly walk towards the tower. He tried to appear non-threatening; his movements were deliberate, and he did not retrieve his weapon. He kept his sights on Laserbeak, watching him intently, hoping that he wouldn’t fly away and disappear before he’d had a chance to give him a message.
Laserbeak suddenly lifted himself up into the air, hovering near the spire, and projected his telescopic viewer from the top of his head, most likely to get a close-up look at the Autobot. Then he swooped down and landed on top of the tower.
Jazz did not slow down until he was only a few mechano-meters away from the structure. Then he stopped and peered up at the Decepticon, half expecting to be fired upon at any moment. “It’s just me here,” Jazz called out, his voice sounding weak in the vast, desolate expanse around them, and then paused to watch the mechanical bird’s reaction. “Tell Megatron we need to talk.”
He watched as Laserbeak received his message and, once it had become clear that the Autobot did not have anything further to say, Laserbeak lifted off into the air once more. With a high-pitched screech, he doubled back and disappeared behind the tower.
* * *
More time passed, and Jazz remained where he was. Any moment now, he would come face-to-face with one or more members of the Autobots’ declared enemy, and he’d have to bring to the fore all his improvisational and negotiating skills if he was going to pull this off successfully. But, as it turned out, his initial encounter with a Decepticon did not quite happen face-to-face.
He heard the familiar sound of a weapon being readied from somewhere behind him, and he knew that the moment he’d been waiting for had finally arrived. Without turning around, he slowly raised his hands and waited for the other to make a move.
“Why are you here… Jazz?” A mech said from behind him.
Jazz instantly recognised the voice; it belonged to the leader of the Constructicons. He thought carefully before responding; an honest, direct approach would be his best option. “I just want to talk.” A long moment went by in silence, and then he added, “I’m alone.”
“Turn around… slowly.” Jazz immediately did so. His blue optics met the red visor of the green and purplish-magenta Decepticon, his own visor retracted in an open and non-threatening gesture. Scrapper slowly lowered his weapon, but kept his gaze fixed upon the Autobot. “How did you know about that frequency?”
It took Jazz a few seconds to realize what Scrapper was referring to. “Drift gave it to me.” When he realized that the Autobot’s name might not mean anything to him, he clarified. “Ah… you might have known him as Deadlock.”
The Constructicon did not react at the mention of either name, but instead changed the subject. “Megatron’s agreed to meet with you.” He paused, and then his voice lowered a little. “We told him about… what you did for us.”
Jazz nodded in understanding. He knew, instinctively, that his request at a meeting would never had been granted so easily had he not risked his own life to save Scavenger, and he was thankful for the opportunity.
But it could still all too easily come to naught, if the Decepticons suspected even the slightest hint of trickery; this was the first thought that came to Jazz’s mind when he heard the sound of screeching tyres rapidly approaching their location from the main road in the distance. Jazz grimaced, watched as Scrapper raised his weapon again and turned his head towards the source of the noise.
A lone car, probably an Autobot, was heading straight for them at top speed, his form mostly obscured by the darkness. This could not be happening at a worse moment. “I don’t know anything about it… I swear,” Jazz said in alarm, hoping beyond reason that Scrapper would believe him. “I might have been followed,” he added, though he was pretty sure that he hadn’t been. Scrapper ignored him, and instead stood his ground, watching the approaching car.
As he came into view, the mech transformed into robot mode and immediately brandished his photon pistol at Scrapper. “That’s what you get for trying to help these scum bags… isn’t that right, Jazz?” He called out after several tense moments.
Jazz shook his head in disbelief. “This isn’t what it looks like,” he said, and watched as Streetwise made a dismissive gesture, but he could tell that the Protectobot was angry, ready to explode at any moment. “You really shouldn’t have come here.”
Streetwise ignored Jazz; all that seemed to matter to him now was exacting his revenge for the brutal attack of his team mate, beginning with the Decepticon standing in front of him. Charging up his photon pistol, he brought it level with Scrapper’s spark chamber, and appeared unaffected by the fact that Scrapper’s own weapon was still trained on Jazz.
“Streetwise… put your weapon away,” Jazz told him, as calmly as he could, but he was ignored yet again. “That’s an order, Streetwise.”
Streetwise shook his head incredulously. “I don’t take orders from a traitor!”
Jazz’s voice became firmer, his tone darker. “I outrank you, or have you conveniently forgotten that fact?” Jazz weighed the possible outcomes in his mind. He knew that Streetwise was a highly intelligent and capable tracker, but he also knew that he could be easily played when his emotions got the better of him, as was evident now. Jazz took a few steps forward, drawing his own weapon, hoping that Streetwise would take the bait.
Streetwise did, indeed, react, but not quite in the way Jazz had expected. The Protectobot immediately fired a couple of shots at Scrapper, hitting the Constructicon in the chest, and then, barely a micro second later, he had his pistol aimed squarely at Jazz before he fired off another two shots.
Jazz did not have enough time to pre-empt his move. He felt the force of the blasts impact his midsection, and he fell to the ground, his blaster knocked out of his hand. Scrapper stumbled backwards but did not fall; the hits he had taken had not been sufficient to disable him and, without hesitation, he fired back at his attacker.
Like a mad mech, Streetwise cried out in rage, turned and began to charge towards the Constructicon with all the strength he could summon, spurred on by pure hatred and revenge. He tackled Scrapper to the ground, and the two of them were locked in a battle of brute strength as each fought to overpower the other.
Watching the scene unfold before him, Jazz slowly reached across for his blaster. Several other Constructicons appeared from somewhere near the tower, and then rushed forwards to help their team mate, blasters at the ready. They stopped when they saw Jazz on the ground nearby, and for several moments were unsure of what to do.
Jazz set his weapon to maximum intensity, then carefully aimed it at the enraged Protectobot and fired.
Dirge looked around at his team of flyers and wondered whether Astrotrain had abandoned them all, or had simply forgotten that he was supposed to have met them here several hours ago. He had been strictly forbidden to make contact with the triple changer on his com link, except under the direst of circumstances, and their circumstances, although uncertain, were certainly not dire.
Thrust got up from his seat on a bench and walked over to his team leader. “That glorified space train’s forgotten all about us. What are we going to do now?” They had arrived in Binaltech right on schedule, but it had soon become apparent that Astrotrain was a no-show, and so the five of them had taken shelter inside a crowded information exchange hub, where they had a good chance of hiding from the optics of any would-be pursuer in plain sight, at least for the time being, provided that they hadn’t been followed.
Dirge gave him an annoyed look. “Something might’ve happened. We don’t know for sure. All we can do now is wait.”
“Fine…” Thrust grumbled in frustration, but then returned to the other three jets in resignation.
The blue and black team leader continued to peer out into the Binaltech crowd, watching the horde of city denizens come and go, and then stiffened slightly as he caught sight of a solitary figure moving towards them. He magnified his optical sensors to get a better look at the form; a smaller framed, yellow and purple Cybertronian femme. He decided that she would pose no threat to them unless, of course, she was not here by herself, but Dirge could not see anyone else with her, and so he remained where he was, watching with detached interest as she came right up to him. His team mates all rose from their seats and went to stand beside him.
“Well, well, isn’t this a pleasant surprise?” She greeted them, putting on a show of affection and admiration. “What brings you boys to Binaltech, hm?” She grabbed Dirge’s arm, pulling herself towards him.
Dirge tried to pull his arm away, but she clung to him. “Do I know you?” He asked, peering suspiciously down at her.
The femme laughed playfully. “Not nearly as much as you should,” she replied. Her expression became solemn as she noted the disapproval upon his face, and then distanced herself from him. “Okay, how about we start over? I’ll introduce myself to you, and then you can all tell me who you are. How’s that sound?” She offered. No one answered her, and so she continued, grinning. “Great. I’m the femme of your dreams… but you can call me Thunderblast,” she said, half-joking. She pointed at Dirge. “Oh, let me guess. You’re the leader, right? Dirge?”
He glanced uncomfortably over at Ramjet and Thrust, who stood to his left, before looking back at her. “How’d you know my name?” He replied sternly, crossing his arms in front of him.
But Thunderblast simply smiled at him admiringly, and then moved closer to Thrust, lightly caressing his arm with her finger. “And you… you look like my kind of mech. Strong, smart… oh, I know you! Why, you’re…” She hesitated, and the red jet took the bait.
“I’m Thrust,” he said, and she smiled.
“Thrust! Of course. That’s a great name. Really suits you.”
Dirge interjected her fun before she could get any further information out of his team. “Look, Thunderblast… I don’t know what exactly you’re after, but you should really be running along now...”
The femme gave him an insolent, almost hurtful, look. “Well, if that’s what you really want, then fine, I’ll leave.” She turned to go, but then stopped short, made a gesture that indicated she’d almost forgotten something really important. “Oh… by the way… I spoke to your friend just the other day. I’ll let him know you said ‘hi’.” She began to walk away, but then Dirge stopped her.
“Wait…” He rushed forwards, caught her by the arm and roughly spun her around. “What do you mean? What friend?” He demanded. She pouted, looked away, and he snarled. “Come on… don’t play games. Who did you speak to?”
She attempted to break free of his grasp, but it was all just part of her act; she was playing with his emotional responses and he was buying right into it. Loser. “Alright, I’ll tell you… if you let me go.”
Dirge released her, and watched as she rubbed her arm. Then she looked up at him with the most sincere expression she could manage. “Something’s happened to Comet – I think he might be in some kind of trouble.” Then she smiled teasingly. “But you knew he was here, right?”
“Comet?” He frowned. “We don’t know any Comet. And I’m getting really tired of your–”
She looked at him quizzically, her yellow optics narrowing. “You mean to tell me you don’t know Comet? He’s a Decepticon seeker – one of you guys!” She wiggled a finger towards Bitstream and Acid Storm. “Well, more like one of them! Except maybe a little taller, a little more – I dunno, handsome?” The two seekers behind Dirge gave her disparaging looks, but she ignored them. “Look, I’m telling you the truth. But don’t believe me if you don’t want to – that’s your business.”
Dirge scanned the immediate vicinity to ensure they were still alone. They were. “How’d you know about us?” He asked her finally.
Thunderblast offered them an elusive smile. “Let’s just say… I’ve had my optics on you all – for a little while.”
Dirge leaned threateningly closer. “Yeah? Why?” He demanded, drawing out the last word in emphasis.
She huffed at him impatiently. “Because – can’t a femme admire a group of striking Decepticon jets from a distance? Besides… it’s what I’m good at.”
“Don’t flatter yourself. The only thing you’re good at is being a pain in the afterburner.”
“Oh, you have no idea!” She giggled, and then checked her internal chronometer. “Oh, would you look at the time – I’ve gotta run. It was really nice meeting you guys!” She smiled mischievously, and then gave them a wave before turning to leave.
Dirge watched her go, her small, nimble frame quickly disappearing into the crowd, before turning to his team mates. “Who the frag’s Comet?” He asked them.
“No idea,” Thrust replied, as the others shrugged or shook their heads, equally clueless.
As the all-femme Cybertronian crew re-entered the busy communications hub, Moonracer grabbed Elita’s arm and pointed. “Look! Isn’t that…” She paused, trying to recall a name, but then gave up. “I know her from somewhere.”
The femme commander stopped to track the femme in the crowd, and then looked over at Chromia, who nodded.
“That’s Thunderblast…” Chromia said wryly. “Now what can she possibly be doing here, I wonder?”
Elita One gave her a knowing look. “That femme’s nothing but trouble. We’d do well to stay away from her prying optics.”
“You can say that again,” Firestar replied, glancing towards a group of mechs in the distance, a clear view of them obstructed by the crowd. “Looks like she has her hooks into those Cybertronian jets – check it out.”
The other three followed her gaze, taking a closer look. They could make out Thunderblast’s smaller frame as she waved a quick goodbye to the jets before turning and walking away from them. “They’re not just Cybertronian jets, Firestar. They’re Decepticon jets,” Elita informed her. “Come on, let’s go talk to them.” She began to walk towards them, but Chromia stopped her.
“Elita! What are you doing?” Chromia looked at her quizzically. She hesitated, and then added, “Look… I know that you want to find out what’s going on – we all do – but do you really think it’s wise to let them know we’re here?” She said, gesturing towards the five jets, who were now talking amongst themselves.
The femme commander backed down, respecting her friend’s counsel. “I suppose you’re right. I just… how did we let this all happen, Chrome? How did any of us let this happen?”
The blue femme looked into her friend’s optics, and saw the all-too-familiar inner fire that had attracted Optimus to her in the first place. “’We’?” She paused, concerned, unsure of what Elita was trying to convey to her. But then she understood. “Elita… if what you said is true... it isn’t our fault. None of it is our fault.” The compassion in her voice resonated strongly. “We couldn’t have known.”
Elita took one last look at the Decepticons in the distance. “Come on… we’re going to need some credits,” she said, before turning and walking away.
Jazz looked down at the still unconscious Streetwise lying face down on the floor beside him, and hoped that his little show of vengeance had not caused too much damage. The two of them were alone in a small, empty room, behind energy bars to one side. A sealed door was set into the wall opposite.
He had checked the Protectobot’s vital signs a short while ago, and was satisfied that his state was not critical; he had aimed and fired his weapon with the sole intention of stopping Streetwise’s assault of the Constructicon, and it had worked. But he had no memory of what had occurred afterwards, or how the both of them had ended up in this holding cell.
The Protectobot stirred awake, and after several seconds pushed himself up with his hands, staggering to a standing position. He quickly noted the energy bars, and then spun around to face Jazz. “Where the frag are we?” He asked in anger.
Jazz did not return his gaze, but turned his head towards the sealed door across the room. “Inside a Decepticon holding cell, most likely.” His voice was calm, yet there was a calculated impassiveness to it that Streetwise didn’t like.
“Hey, what the hell were you thinking… helping them out the way you did? Have you forgotten what side you’re actually supposed to be on?” Streetwise confronted Jazz, raising his voice at him. “Those fraggers are going to pay for what they’re doing – every last one of them!”
“They can probably hear you, you know,” Jazz said, ignoring the other’s ire.
“Good. Then I hope they hear this.” Streetwise turned away from him, and then spoke through the energy bars into the empty room. “You’re all a bunch of slaggin’ cowards! You hear me, Decepti-creeps?! Your time’s up!” But all that he got in return was silence. “Let me the frag out of here!” Streetwise kicked at the energy bars, and felt the shock from the plasma as it kicked back at him, surging through his systems.
“Give it a rest, Streetwise. It’s not going to get you anywhere,” Jazz told him, and then added, “You shouldn’t have followed me here.”
“Hey, for the record, I didn’t follow you here,” Streetwise answered. “And as far as I can tell, Jazz… you’re no better than they are, so don’t tell me what I should or shouldn’t do.”
Jazz didn’t bother arguing with him. Streetwise was obviously angry and unreasonable, and there was nothing to be gained from trying to explain to him the truth of the matter, particularly when he wasn’t listening.
They spent the next half hour in silence. Jazz used the time to try to figure out his best strategy from this point onwards, and what he was going to say should he be questioned on Streetwise. Meanwhile, the Protectobot did his best to ignore him, and Jazz was quite content to let him be.
Then the door opened and three Constructicons entered the room. Jazz immediately recognised them; Bonecrusher, Scrapper, and Scavenger – the one whose life he’d saved, and probably the reason that Streetwise was here in the first place.
The three of them came to stand near the energy bars, Scrapper in front, all with their blasters at the ready. Streetwise snarled at them. “Let me out of here, you slaggers, or you’re all going to regret the day you were ever created!” He said to them threateningly.
Scrapper ignored him, his gaze resting upon Jazz instead. The energy bars disappeared, and Scrapper motioned with his blaster for him to step forwards into the small room. “Come with us,” he said.
Jazz did as he was told. As Streetwise watched them, his fuel pump churned in agitation; all he could think about was what had happened to Groove. “You pieces of scrap!” He cried out, and tried to push his way past the three Decepticons in an effort to escape the holding cell.
But his attempt at breaking free was futile as he was pushed roughly back into the wall behind him, the energy bars reactivating before he had time to charge forwards again.
Streetwise watched Jazz being led out of the room by the Constructicons before the door closed again behind them, and then he was alone in the holding cell.