[G1 RPG] Terminus: The Chessmaster (Iacon)

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Post by Warcry » Sat Oct 25, 2014 4:26 am

Prowl's Office, Autobase

"Don't pretend you don't know," Deep Cover told Prowl. His voice was weary, as if he'd had to deliver this speech to far more people than just Prowl in the last few days. Which, in fact, he had. "It's an insult to myself, the Senate and the high office you were entrusted to fill. You've abused the powers of your position and brought disgrace down both on yourself and the badge you wear."

Central Hall, High Council Pavilions

After Rodimus left the stage, Bluestreak shrugged. "Probably," he told Windcharger. "But who cares? It's a celebration! Plus he just got elected Prime Minister and gets to spend the next four years drafting laws with Sundor, so I think he's earned one last night of relaxation."

Sideswipe shrugged. The question about Sunstreaker didn't bother him, surprisingly. Maybe he'd just been asked about him so much that he'd grown numb to it. Or maybe, just maybe, he'd learned to stop worrying about the sibling who he just couldn't control.

"He's gone," he told Jazz with a shrug. "It took a while to track down because he was using fake IDs like crazy, but he left the planet. Must have been two, three years ago. While I was in a coma, anyway. He's gone to live his life, I suppose. And in a way, you know...I'm sort of glad. Now I finally get to live mine, instead of watching over his shoulder and making sure he wasn't doing anything too illegal."

His gaze moved from Bludgeon back to Drift, and he shrugged. "He's a good guy, Jazz. He was just on the other side, is all. I know he killed some people that you cared a lot about, but..." The Autobot sighed. "How many of his friends do you suppose you or I killed, Jazz? We were at war for four million years. A lot of good people died for no good reason. And those of us who are still around aren't the same people we used to be."

"They would probably throw us out," Rage told Shrapnel. "Which would spare us from having to sit through any more tedious speeches, at the very least."

Iacon Spaceport

"You mean you're not having fun?" Needlenose asked Tinker. "For shame! Next time, we'll leave you at the hotel to babysit Misfire."

He gave Darkjet an amused look. "Don't worry. We said the exact same slag about you, and it was garbage then too. Truth is, you all seem like pretty good guys when we're not busy shooting each other."

"I still don't understand how he survived that fiasco with the Quintessons," Spinister told Barrage. "But I'm glad he did. Even if he is a headache sometimes."

He glared at the other Targetmaster, then. "First, we're not buying that ship. It has cracks in the hull, the wing struts are rusted and the starboard engine is clearly on fire. Secondly, we didn't bring cash. You and I both know you'd spend it all on candy. I have a government credit account to draw on when we find what we want."


"Bumblebee already tried that," Sandstorm reminded Springer. "It didn't go over well, remember? So lets not do that. And honestly, I'm sick of blowing stuff up. Would be nice to find some thrills elsewhere for once."

Ramjet watched as Thundercracker fell on the table, and realized he was feeling a bit dizzy himself at the moment. He turned to Dirge and earnestly tried to ask him a question...then stopped when he realized nothing but slurred gibberish was coming out. He tried again, slower this time, focusing on pronouncing every word.

"Too. Drunk. Where. Can. We. Rest?"

Autobase Hospital

The guard opened the door for Aero Blade, then gestured for him to leave in no uncertain terms.

"I'm afraid you won't be able to visit your friend again until his charges are dealt with," he said, not unkindly. "Make sure you've said your goodbyes."

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Post by zigzagger » Thu Oct 30, 2014 6:45 pm

Prowl's Office, Autobase

Prowl maintained a dispassionate expression. "Ah," he answered Deep Cover collectedly. "So we are having this discussion?"

Slowly, he brought his eyes to Red Alert. Prowl always knew it was going to come to this, this 'betrayal' of sorts. "What... interesting company you have been keeping," he finally acknowledged the ISS Security Director. "You, who is distrustful of everyone, conspiring with the Secret Intelligence Service."

Red Alert narrowed his eyes. "Don't worry, the irony is not lost to me," he said. "It's true, I'd have good reason to be distrustful of the SIS. But, this 'conspiracy' as you call it -- it's a step in the right direction to amending Smokescreen's past indiscretions. In the end, we could all do without this cloak and dagger business between the branches. These," he snorted, "machinations in the shadows. I think we're all looking to putting an end to it once and for all."

Red Alert folded his arms, and curled his lip sardonically. "It's the Autobot Military I'm more distrustful of. Or rather, you. After everything Deep Cover has told me -- about you and Smokescreen -- well, the distrust I've harbored towards you all these years, I'm happy to say, has not at all been misplaced."

Prowl's face remained inscrutable. "Oh," he replied, his tone aggravatingly calm, "is that a threat?"

Red Alert glared daggers at him.

The ghost of a smirk played at the corner of Prowl's mouth. "So this is your defense?" He looked back and forth between the two Transformers. "Some wild, unsubstantiated claim?" He paused and held his gaze on Deep Cover. "As you well know, Deep Cover, I had my dealings with Smokescreen -- and your department. It does not mean I was privy to his more illicit vocations, as you both are clearly implying. Quite honestly, I am insulted by the insinuation."

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Post by Warcry » Mon Nov 03, 2014 11:44 pm

Prowl's Office, Autobase

Deep Cover gave Prowl a look that was nothing but scorn.

"We're not in a courtroom, Prowl. You're wasting your breath with the 'plausible deniability' act. You have no audience here, so don't act like you're playing to one."

He smiled, but it was a weary smile.

"It's funny you should mention Smokescreen, actually. You'll be happy to know that the reports of his death were somewhat premature. You see, his paranoia ran deeper than you or I had feared. He revived the GT program, in fact. He had several bodies -- blank protoforms, thankfully, rather than the leakers and Syk fiends that the original program experimented on -- reformatted into new bodies for himself. And he took very, very frequent memory backups. That way if someone killed him, it would only be a matter of days before he was back on his feet again. Which, as it turns out, he is -- he woke up in a military hospital a few hours ago.

"Of course, those memory backups have all sorts of interesting information in them, and it just so happens that a copy of them wound up in the hands of my department. His interactions with you were, in particular, quite illuminating. Even I didn't think you were cold-blooded enough to conspire to release a monster like Repugnus and send him off to kill an Autobot hero like Springer, just on the off-chance he might do something untoward." He pretended to ponder that for a moment. "Tell me, just how many police did he murder on his way out of the city? I lost count.

"Naturally you'd argue that the recordings could be doctored, or that we had no right to look at them without a warrant. And you'd be right. But it's a moot point, since my agents at the hospital report that Smokescreen is quite willing to cooperate with our investigations. As is Silverbolt, who had some illuminating things to say to Red Alert about your unlawful deployment of training squadrons to Protihex. Oh, and Goldblaze was more than willing to talk about the nasty incident with the Skuxxoid transport a few years ago. And then there was that...unpleasantness with those Quintesson civilians that you helped to sweep under the rug right after we retook the planet. Staple was quite happy to hand over the paperwork on that one. And there's a lot more on top of that. Frankly, Prowl, we have more substantiation than we know what to do with. Some of it will probably be ruled inadmissible, but I've been assured that we have more than enough to get a conviction.

"Of course, that's the hitch. You see, neither one of us," he glanced over at Red Alert for support, "really think that's a good idea. As much as we'd like to see you convicted, it would be a disaster. Especially since our former chief prosecutor is about to go on trial for conspiracy and terrorism charges. The dirt that would come out if we put you and Smokescreen on trial...it would be the end of the government, even with Rodimus and Trialbreaker now heading it up. It would, in essence, tear down everything that you broke oh-so-many laws to preserve.

"That's why we're here on our own. Just the two of us. No arrest teams or crime scene units. Because we have a deal to offer you."

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Post by Blackjack » Sat Nov 08, 2014 7:35 am

Central Hall, High Council Pavilions

Windcharger glanced at Trailbreaker, who was still cheering despite the lack of Rodimus and chuckled. "He probably doesn't realize what 'Prime Minister' really means, does he? I'm going to bet someone is going to have to take over in a year or two."

Gears snorted. "Is it too much to ask that he'll sober up? I'd rather have an idiot like Trailbreaker that's too stupid to be bribed or anything than someone competent but dirty. Or whatever."

Trailbreaker draped an arm over Windcharger and Gears each, earning a haughty snort from the latter. "So who's up for going off to Maccadams, guys?"

Jazz nodded at Sideswipe, smiling. "Yeah, sometimes you gotta do that, man. Family's family but you've got your own self to think about."

Jazz followed Sideswipe's gaze and looked at Drift, and let out a sad smile. "True, we did kill a lot of people, didn't we? I know I did... and as much I don't wanna admit it, I still look at their badge and it's still hard to think of them as actual people instead of the enemy. The heartless bastards who killed protoforms and razed cities and blew up planets. And I think to some degree I don't think that can change. They'll still be guilty of all their sins -- nothing can change that. But so are we."

Jazz stepped out of his row and gave Sideswipe a smile. "But someone needs to step in to bridge the gap so that we don't royally screw up Prime's dream of peace, and it would be a damn shame if it's them instead of us."

Jazz then turned around and headed off at a slow walk towards where Drift is, the former Decepticon engaged in a small discussion with Blurr and not really noticing the older Autobot's arrival.

"Or they could probably slice our heads off, off." Shrapnel told Rage. "Bludgeon's here, after all, all."

"You do realize that you are speaking loudly, are you not?" Bludgeon hissed, his mouth not moving even as he spoke. "You do not even need to master Metallikato to hear the disrespectful words you two are talking about."

"True, but I think you won't kill us unless we screw up the ceremony, ceremony. Which we haven't, haven't."

Iacon Spaceport

"It's a bit nerve-wracking, you know? We're just strolling down Iacon and half the time I'm afraid those big autoguns are going to point down and vaporize us." Tinker told Needlenose. "But it certainly beats being stuck with Misfire."

"Not all of us are like this." Darkjet told Needlenose. "A lot of the Imperials are just mindless drones that barely have sparks. But the same applies to you -- you throwbacks are not what we had expected you to be either."

Barrage shrugged. "I have no idea if my teammates survived any of the war. Though I find that I have no such attachments to them as you Targetmasters do."

Misfire frowned. "The engine is on fire? I thought that was a decoration! Like an art statement or something that Needlenose would do to spice up his own design."

"Um, yes, this ship was actually something that was going to the salvage, actually, good sirs." The salesman said, who was really wishing he didn't come to work that day. As if Sixshot wasn't scary enough, even more Decepticons -- like Spinister, the absolutely terrifying air commander -- have approached him.

He brightened up at the sound of candy. "Ooh, candy! Can I have some? You've got that credit account or whatever it is, I want some candy!"

"Even more hyper, you will be. Unwise of a choice, that will. Difficult to keep up, for short legs I have." Slog said as he waddled up to Spinister and the rest of the group.


"Yeah." Springer nodded, agreeing with Sandstorm. "Any particular ideas, though?"

"Tableee'z nice." Thundercracker told Ramjet. "It's like- lkeee really nottt soft. Not soft is gooood righttt."

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Post by Aero Blade » Sat Nov 08, 2014 2:22 pm

Autobase Hospital

Aero Blade exited the room at a moderate place, torn between wanting to stay with Smokescreen and wanting to run from a chamber that reminded him too much of one he'd spent some unhappy memories in. Then the guard spoke to him and Aero Blade stopped stock still.

"Why should I say good bye? I will see him again..."

The tone that he'd spoken came off rather sterile, but for those who knew him, there was an every so slight, veiled hint of menace in the tone. Aero Blade almost immediately after saying it had felt Stratus tapping his helmet. The minicon was on his shoulder opposite of the guard so the movement would go unseen, and the gesture was too quiet to be audible. Aero Blade immediately pushed himself into walking again, resuming the same moderate pace.

Maybe it was the environment finally catching up to him. Maybe it was the guard's veiled warning that this was the end of his friend. Or maybe it was just bad timing that another 'relapse' had chosen such a populated area to occur in. Aero Blade's pace had accelerated to a brisk walk by the time he made it outside, and though he was relieved for the open air, he still wasn't in a 'safe' zone.

"I'll be fine," Aero Blade spoke as Stratus had started to speak some concerned words. "I'll head back to the lab, bar it to visitors. There isn't really any fliers around here, and the only ones who come to visit are Hound and Dirge. Hound's off planet, and Dirge is getting charged up at Maccadams."

The self-reminder did cause Aero Blade to recall pass visits to the bar, and previous antics of his seeker friend. He wondered briefly if him and his old buddies had already managed to get themselves thrown out or not. "Stratus, you'd better go check on them."

"Alright, but you get home quick. I'll be back after I've seen what trouble blue and his buddies are stirring up," Stratus told Aero, transforming and taking off.

Aero Blade himself stayed for a moment, making a sigh as though collecting himself before he too finally transformed and headed back for the science district.


Dirge was about in the same condition as the rest of the seekers by now, managing to stay in his seat only because of his good grip on the bar right now.

"I..I didn't leave yooou guysh... yooou din't come...come get me," He stammered briefly, taking a moment to steady himself. It didn't help. "I-I tells ya what, though.... When we're not shhhoooting at us -er them.... they're some gooood guys...to be around." Dirge was leaning heavily on the bar now. "...They're nice guys....and...and they're got good ener-energon..."

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Post by zigzagger » Fri Nov 14, 2014 7:29 pm

Prowl's Office, Autobase

Prowl sat unmoved. He listened attentively as Deep Cover listed off the strategist's supposed crimes, betraying no indignation, even containing his amusement at the mention of the would-be assassin Silverbolt or the outright falsehood that he released Repugnus.

"You exaggerate," he answered passively, "but then, neither of you are bystanders. Are you prepared to come forward and confess to your own misdeeds?"

Prowl's gaze went to Red Alert first. "Covering up criminal behavior of certain officers, bribery... " He shifted his optics back to Deep Cover. "Black op assassinations, plots to covertly destabilize Kaonian and Polyhexian infrastructure, as well as agitating conflicts to prolong the Decepticon civil war -- I could go on...

"Whether or not you were directly behind those acts is immaterial; you nonetheless sat by, knowingly, while they happened within your respective organizations."

"Oh for Primus sake... " Red Alert gave him a derisive look. "What the hell are you on about? Even if that were true, your crimes pale in comparison."

"So you two keep saying. But, I suppose that is not for us to decide."

"You're not honestly considering fighting this?" Red Alert's tone was incredulous. "It's a no-win scenario for all involved. The people will never trust us -- all of us-- again. "

"It would be disastrous, I agree," said Prowl. "Which begs the question; is there point to any of this?"

The ISS Security Director slammed his palms down on the desk. "Step. Down," he snarled through his teeth. "If you really are looking out for Iacon's best interests, as you have always claimed to, you'll quietly step down. I mean, come on!" He swept his arms out. "Your guilt is plain beyond debate!"

Prowl continued to evince nothing, which only served to further aggravate the ISS Director.

"How -- how can you be so damn smug through all this?" Red Alert was shouting now. "Is there no shred of justice left in you? Do the lives you destroy even remotely wear on your conscious? Well, go on then, sit there assuming you have us in some kind of stalemate because, yes, we wouldn't dare bring this information to light--

He paused, then spitefully added, "Are you willing to hurt Optimus too?"

Prowl's head recoiled slightly as from an invisible blow. It wasn't much, but Red Alert's words had finally, if unexpectedly, hit their mark.

"Do you intend to disgrace all he's done?" Red Alert continued, realizing the implications of his words. He could not back down now. "If Optimus hasn't worked out what you've really been up to, he soon will."

Prowl frowned. "So it comes to blackmail," the Chief Strategist said in a sharp, rebuking tone. "Hardly an admirable quality for one who purports to serve the people."

"I'll do what it takes to see justice served."

Prowl scowled. "Bravo, Red Alert," he replied with venom. "You must be... so pleased with yourself."

He had humored the security director long enough. Without another word, Prowl returned his focus onto Deep Cover. "Very well, you have made your point," he conceded. "It is indeed a...'no-win scenario' for all parties involved--

"State your proposition."

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Post by Warcry » Mon Dec 08, 2014 3:31 am

(OOC: I've tried to write a reply to this thread four times already and gotten dragged away. Fifth time's the charm?)

Prowl's Office, Autobase

"It's not about what we've done," Deep Cover told Prowl. "Frankly, it's not even about what you've done. It's about what people can prove you've done. People like you and I are needed because we'll do the dirty deeds that are necessary to keep our society functioning. But the very nature of our work means that we all have a best-before date. Yours is today. My own is coming up very soon." He shrugged. "That's just how it goes. We owe it to the people we serve to go quietly when our time comes, lest we blow up everything we were fighting to protect."

He sat down in one of Prowl's visitors' chairs, as if trying to appear less hostile that he had been to this point.

"You're a war hero, Prowl. Most of the officers with as many years of service as you have retired after we retook Cybertron from the Quintessons. Frankly, it was a bit of a surprise to some folks that you didn't -- though not anyone that knew you, obviously. And after all that's gone on since then, the Imperial invasion and today's change of government...well, nobody is going to be surprised when you file your retirement papers today. That's all we want from you. No embarrassing trial, nobody demanding your resignation, no memories of you being embarrassingly escorted out of your office. Nice, simple, quiet and most importantly, scandal-free. The way people like us are supposed to go out.

"What happens after that is up to you. You'll be a free mech, a private citizen able to do whatever he wants and go wherever his spark calls him...though if you ask me, I'd say that Optimus Prime could definitely use someone like you. A ship half full of Decepticons and half full of idealists could definitely use solid dose of cynicism."

A brief flicker of a smile crossed his face. "Plus that would save me the trouble of having a team assigned to follow you, and I'm sure Prime Minister Trailbreaker would be happy to hear we're saving him a bit of money. Sundor is still demanding he cut the defence budget, after all..."

Central Hall, High Council Pavilions

Bluestreak shook his head. "You guys have fun," he told Windcharger and Gears. "He'll make you ministers before the night is out, and I'm not a fan of paperwork. I think I'll sit this one out."

Sideswipe grinned a bit as Jazz walked off.

I think he's going to do just fine, he thought to himself with some satisfaction.

"Also, killing the Decepticon leader's bodyguard probably counts as treason." Rage shrugged, obviously more amused than anything by the Pretender's veiled threat. "But you're welcome to try, Bludgeon. But don't be surprised when my sicklesword carves your shell in half. I can ask the Autobots to find a ring for us if you'd like. They'd probably enjoy a good display of swordsmanship! Hell, we can invite Drift and the Dinobots and have a little tournament!"

Iacon Spaceport

"I'm going to choose to take that as a compliment," Needlenose told Darkjet cheerfully. "But a word of advice...maybe drop the 'throwback'. Some folks won't take kindly to that."

"Your teammates are a kleptomaniac, a second-rate copy of yourself and a paranoid psychotic," Spinister reminded Barrage. "I can't blame you for being indifferent. My Targetmasters may be eccentric, but they are at least...approximately likeable."

The salesmech's terrified reaction almost made him laugh, but he stopped himself from doing so because it would have ruined his humourless reputation.

"Ignore the pink one," he advised the ship seller in the friendliest tone he could manage (which was still mildly menacing). "A ship of this tonnage and capacity would suit our needs, though. Although we will require a spaceworthy model. Preferably one with good shields and sensors, and room to add low-profile weapons systems. Could you recommend something?"


"Nope," Sandstorm told Springer. "Not a clue. Sounds like an adventure, though. You up for it?"

Ramjet gave Thundercracker an incredulous look. "Wha? Yu th'nk ima Firecon? N't gunna sl'p onna table..."

He took another sip, then nodded to agree with Dirge. "Def'nit'ly gggd Energon..."

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Post by zigzagger » Wed Dec 10, 2014 6:06 am

Prowl's Office, Autobase

"I must confess," Prowl told Deep Cover, "it is encouraging to hear another acknowledge the necessity of our work, for better or for worse...

"But do not forget," he then warned, "that even during the centuries of conflict, there were respites, lulls. Periods when neither side raised their arms. Barely a decade has passed since we have returned to Cybertron, and all ready new conflicts have emerged. It is premature to assume that this 'peace' will be lasting. Nor can it exist in a vacuum. Defense will always have a place in our society, no matter what form it takes or what role it is to perform in this 'grand new age'. It would be naive, possibly disastrous, to believe otherwise."

Prowl stood up and moved to the mantel behind his desk. The sword and decorative scabbard he had brought with him to the ceremony sat proudly behind a display case. The blade was more a symbol than a weapon, given to those in the highest military role. It is not passed down lightly, being earned through merit rather than faith or tradition.

Prowl opened the case and carefully raised the blade from its stand. He held it from tip to hilt. "Still," the strategist continued, seemingly lost in his thoughts, his optics fixed on the blade, "younger and more sanguine mechanoids, like Skydive, have shown promise." His tone was muted. "In time, perhaps, he will make a brilliant minister of defense."

He lowered his head, his back still to the other two Transformers. "Say nothing of our conversation to Optimus," Prowl said quietly, but stern. He placed the sword back into its stand and closed the case. "Honor this humble request, and I assure you that there will be no dissension between us."

"Fair enough," Red Alert finally spoke up. "You have my word."

Prowl did not regard the ISS Director.

"I shall take your terms into serious consideration," he said, deliberately directing his words toward Deep Cover. "You will know my decision -- and my conditions -- within two solar cycles."

Prowl glanced over his shoulder. "Now... if you would both excuse me. I must deliberate on this matter."

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Post by Aero Blade » Tue Jan 20, 2015 4:29 pm


Stratus would fly straight into Maccadams, easily navigating the space with his small form before transforming and landing right on the bar, a short distance from the Seekers. He took a moment to take in the sight before shaking his head - he coveted his ability to fly and go wherever he wanted whenever he wanted - why would he want to get drunk to the point where he couldn't do it?

"Well, ain't this a sight," Stratus would say in a conversational tone, speaking loudly and in standard, as he sure was Dirge would barely be able to hear or understand him otherwise, let alone any of the others. The minicon came closer to the seekers, but still a distance enough that he could bail out if need be. "Well you guys aren't on the floor yet, can't have been drinking too much..."

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Post by Warcry » Wed Mar 04, 2015 4:04 am

Prowl's Office, Autobase

Deep Cover left Prowl's office without a word. Although he'd been tempted to deflate the other Autobot's pomposity by casually letting slip a few pieces of information that he would have found disheartening -- such as the fact that Optimus surely already knew everything there was to know about what they'd discussed today, but simply chose not to mention it. But there was no point in that. The ticking time bomb of scandal that Prowl represented had been defused. There was no point in making things personal. It was, after all, just business.


Ramjet looked up at Stratus with an expression that suggested mild annoyance (and major intoxication).

"We, mebbee if'n yer bar didn't s'rv such weak drinkzzz..."

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Post by zigzagger » Wed Mar 11, 2015 4:30 am

Prowl's Office, Autobase

Red Alert held his gaze on Prowl, whose back was still to the other two mechanoids in the room.

"Is there something else you wish to add, Red Alert?" Prowl asked, sensing the ISS Director's eyes on him. "How you do insist on having the final word."

"No, Prowl," Red Alert said with full intent. "We're finished." He let the true implications of that statement sink in for a moment.

The message was heard loud and clear.

"Indeed." Prowl's tone was cold and flat, his back kept to Red Alert. "Now, if you would please, the door..."


Without another word, Red Alert turned away and exited the office. He caught up to Deep Cover, and for a brief time said nothing, just walked quietly down the hallway alongside the Secret Service Director.

After a moment Red Alert turned to him. "Sorry you had to see that, me losing my composure earlier," he told Deep Cover. "Mine and Prowl's relationship has always been an antagonistic one, but I could've handled myself more... professionally, I suppose."

The ISS Director chuckled. "Not going to deny it was pretty damn cathartic, though," he added in a muted voice.

Then came another awkward pause.

"Look," his tone became sincere. "I have no illusions that you were doing this for my benefit. There's more at stake than mine and Prowl's ongoing rivalry. Just know that it is appreciated. I've lost many good officers over the years, so this means a lot." Red Alert grinned. "Annnd it also goes some way towards amending the mistakes your predecessor made. There's that too--

"So thank you."

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Post by Warcry » Wed May 20, 2015 7:05 pm


Deep Cover shrugged.

"I'm not doing this for thanks," he told Red Alert, "because I was never here and we never had this conversation. And I'm not doing it to try and wash off some of the proverbial blood that my agency's hands have become caked with over the years, either, because we both know there's not enough solvent on the planet to clean that up. I'm doing it because it's the right thing to do. However..."

He give Red a slight smile. "Strictly off the record, you're welcome. Hopefully we can clean up some more messes like this in the future."

He nodded to the Autobot who shared his body structure, then said, "Until then..."

Silverbolt's Apartment

The knock at the door was unexpected, but welcome. But then, anything would be after what he'd seen a few hours ago. The fact that the door opened to reveal a friendly face only made it better.

"Skydive!" The larger Autobot greeted his friend and successor with a wide smile. "Long time no see!"

"Yeah," Skydive winced, then rubbed his neck with his left hand, nervously. "I didn't want to give you the impression that I was avoiding you, but...well, you know. Work's been busy."

"As I know all too well," Silverbolt nodded. "I used to do your job, remember?"

"Grudgingly, as I recall. I'm surprised you haven't gotten yourself reformatted into a car by now."

"I considered it," Silverbolt admitted, "but then I wouldn't have been able to get a job running the city's biggest flight school. How about you? Are they still keeping you busy in Protihex?"

"They were," Skydive told him. "But the locals have taken charge of the reconstruction efforts, and the Combaticons are up to full strength, so we've been reassigned back to Iacon."

"That's great news!"

"It's definitely good to be home," Skydive admitted. "I just wish I'd been able to make it back for the trial. Did I hear right that it wrapped up today?"

"They just passed sentence this morning," Silverbolt confirmed. His mood turned dark again as he was reminded of what he'd been trying so hard to forget when his visitor had arrived. "Not that there was any doubt...guilty of nearly fifty different charges, including jailbreak, treason, terrorism and murder?"

"Spark extraction?"

"A minimum term of two thousand years," Silverbolt nodded. "Longer, if the rehabilitative therapies don't take -- which they probably won't. It's Slingshot, after all."


"Sentence to be carried out tomorrow, apparently. His defence team will file appeals, of course. Try to get him released sooner. But they'll fail. Kind of hard to get off on charges like this when you were in a highly-visible firefight with law enforcement." Silverbolt glanced down, then added. "Apparently there's a window for visitation before the...procedure, for friends and family. I wasn't going to go, since...well, since I helped put him there. Didn't figure he'd want to see me again. But if you'd like to come with me...?"

"Not particularly," Skydive admitted. "Not after what he did. But I suppose we really should. He was a part of the team, after all. We should say our goodbyes."

"Do you think Air Raid and Fireflight would like to come too?"

"No more than I do," Skydive shrugged. "But they'll be there. We all will."

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Post by zigzagger » Wed May 20, 2015 10:06 pm

Iacon Medical and Research Institute

"O-kay..." First Aid muttered as he worked the controls of a tabletop holoprojector. "Imaging complete. Groove?" He then called out. "Are you still there?"

"Still here," Groove's voice answered from the speaker.

"Alright," First Aid tapped a single key on the interface, "transmitting now."

A virtual, 'hard light' image of Groove materialized in the room, a solid form constructed through the manipulation of photons and force fields. A handy tool for medical staff that need to be in more than one place -- as well as for visitors.

Groove was the last to arrive. Hot Spot and Streetwise had met First Aid an hour earlier and came to the intensive care unit together. The somber mood in the room immediately turned more upbeat with the arrival of the Protihexian Governor, breaking the obvious tension.

Groove twisted at the waist and neck as he looked over his holographic form. "Well? Everything look all right?"

"It's like you're right here with us," said Hot Spot.

"Sorry I couldn't be there in person. I have my hands full at the moment."

Hot Spot moved in and draped his arm over the hard light figure. "So we've heard, Mister Governor." He laughed and gave Groove a hardy pat on the back. While the avatar couldn't register it, Groove himself appreciated the gesture. "Ha! Governor. Who would've thought?"

"We're so very proud of you," said First Aid.

"Ooooh, come on, guys." Groove rubbed the back of his head, a little embarrassed by the adoration. "And what about you three?" He said, immediately turning the attention away from himself. "Soon-to-be Chief Inspector and Associate Director, as I hear it." He looked to Streetwise and Hot Spot. "And you, First Aid, a member of the IMR board of directors."

First Aid shrugged. "Well, I had a good mentor."

"I know." Groove nodded. "Ratchet has always spoken very highly of you."

Hot Spot sighed. "How far we've come, eh fellas?"

"Yeah... yeah," Groove's voice strayed as his gaze moved across the room.

First Aid and Streetwise stood near the foot of the bed. Blades's body lay comatose, hooked up to various equipment. His arms and legs were still strapped down to the slab per ISS orders. No light gleamed behind Blades' optic lenses. No evidence of life, in spite of First Aid's attempts to reshape the mimetic alloys in Blades' face.

Hot Spot motioned his head for Groove to approach.

Slowly, the Governor stepped forward, Hot Spot following. "I can't believe this happened," he whispered. "It's just -- I mean, how could he have...?" Groove stopped short, realizing First Aid was watching him. "I'm sorry. Now is probably not the time to bring it up."

Streetwise, who had been silent up until now, raised his brow at the governor. "Oh? But isn't it?"

The room grew tense.

Hot Spot placed a hand on Streetwise's shoulder. "Hey, hey, come on," he said in a muted tone. "You've more reason than anyone here to feel the way you do, but not now."

Streetwise scowled. "I'm here for First Aid," he quietly hissed. "And you weren't there at the Ampitheater. What he did, what he said..." Streetwise shot a glance toward Blades. "It's not for him. This is for First Aid."

First Aid felt a rush of guilt sweep over him. "I know you didn't want to come," he said meekly. "I hate him for what he did to you -- and to me, but... thank you." He looked to the other Protectobots. "All of you, thank you."

Streetwise's face softened in a look of pity.

"Of course, First Aid, of course," Groove answered compassionately. "In spite of what has happened -- between all of us, and with Blades -- we were a team. Family, in a way. You'll always have my support."

The room went quiet for another moment, their eyes held on Blades.

"Can't remember the last time all five of us were in the same room together," said Hot Spot, breaking the silence. His voice was sad and reflective. "Well, Groove is transmitting from the Manganese Mountains, but you get what I mean."

"It was at the energon reservoirs," Streetwise answered out of courtesy. "It was after the--" he made a scoffing noise in his throat, "the 'Herr Fiend' incident."

"Right, right." Groove nodded. "The disgruntled researcher with the monologues and the nanomechs. It was after that?" He smirked. "I remember me and Streetwise warding off mind-controlled civilians while First Aid scrambled to administer the cure into the reservoirs. Hot Spot and Blades gave chase..."

"Though Blades caught up to him first," First Aid added.

The Protihexian Governor lightly chuckled. "He could've handled that better."

"Yeah," Hot Spot whispered, "he probably could have."

Once more the four former-Protectobots stood silently around the bed. None of them spoke again, but their silence was telling.

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Super-sorry this took so long

Post by Warcry » Thu Sep 03, 2015 9:31 pm

Garrus-42 Maximum Security Prison, Iacon Outskirts

Fireflight couldn't help but stare as the guard escorted him through the steel and concrete corridors, shuddering as he caught sight of prisoners in the cell blocks he passed. He'd never visited a place like this before, and he couldn't help but ponder what terrible things each of the inmates he was glimpsing had done to earn their spots.

Eventually he was escorted into a waiting area, to which he was greeted by a testy "You're late."

"Sorry, Air Raid," he said with a shrug. "I had a hard time finding the place."

"It's the only building for four miles in any direction, surrounded by a gestalt-height fence and dozens of shield generators," Air Raid responded, clearly trying to hold back a groan.

"Yeah, well, nobody gave me directions and it's hard to read road signs when you're an airplane." Fireflight's shoulders slumped and he looked ashamed. "Plus, you know...I didn't really want to come."

"That makes two of us," Air Raid admitted.

"Four, more likely." Silverbolt stood up from the chair he'd been sitting in, greeting his subordinate with a smile. "Does anyone ever want to come to prison?"

"I suppose the guards do, or they'd look for another job." Fireflight said offhandedly.

"Well...yes, I suppose so, but that's not what I mean." Silverbolt's expression turned grim. "None of us really want to be here. I don't think any of us would have called him a friend, but Slingshot was -- is -- one of us. As part of Superion, he's shared a connection with us that we'll never know even with the people we're closest to in the world. And even though he's brought this on himself, it's still a sad day."

Skydive, who'd been staring off into space throughout the conversation so far, finally looked up. "It's a sad day for us, but for him it must be absolutely terrifying."

"I know," Fireflight said, his voice melancholy. "I don't...I never liked him, but I'm still going to miss him. And I hate to see him go through this."

"He deserves it," Air Raid said bluntly. "But yeah...I'll miss him too."

One of the guards came into the room then, a sullen expression on his face. "I'm sorry," he told them. "Prisoner Slingshot has declined to take any visitors."

Silverbolt set his jaw.

"If you'd like a chance to say goodbye," the guard continued, "there'll be a viewing after the...procedure."

The four Aerialbots looked at each other and nodded grimly. They would stay for themselves, even if Slingshot didn't want them. After all, he was family.

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Post by zigzagger » Fri Sep 04, 2015 6:41 am

Iacon Medical and Research Institute

(OOC: No worries. We both got stuff going on -- you especially!)

First Aid sat at the left side of the bed, staring transfixed at the comatose body of Blades. Groove and Hot Spot quietly watched from behind the Chief Medical Officer, while Streetwise looked on impassively, arms crossed, near the foot of the slab.

First Aid hated Blades for all the horrible things he had done. He hated him more for being made to decide whether the former-Protectobot should live or die. But most of all, First Aid hated that he had so deeply missed him.

His body shook with grief and anger.

Groove gently tapped the medical officer's shoulder. "First Aid... ?"

"No, no, it's okay," he reassured the Governor. "Thank you, Groove, but I can do this."

First Aid clasped Blades's hand and leaned in to whisper into his audio receptor.

We have to let go.

First Aid glanced over to the life support machine at the head of the bed, and for a moment watched the wavefront move across the screen.

You and I both.

He squeezed Blades's hand, and slowly pulled away.

Gathering all the strength he could muster, he then sighed, shuttered his lenses, and pressed the first switch.

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Post by Warcry » Tue Dec 01, 2015 7:14 pm

Garrus-42 Maximum Security Prison, Iacon Outskirts

Silverbolt went in first, his square jaw clenched so tightly that its servos threatened to snap. His eyes swept across the room, almost instinctively avoiding the object he'd come here to see. But he could only avoid the sight of Slingshot's cold, motionless body for so long. His fellow Aerialbot had been given a thick coating of convict-orange paint, which Silverbolt figured had probably bothered the egomaniac more than his incarceration.

Skydive, Air Raid and Fireflight followed him in a moment later, with the latter of the three lingering in the doorway rather than coming all the way inside the spartan surgical suite.

"I can't believe he's really gone," the flame-red recon specialist said, leaning on the doorframe for support. Skydive quickly moved over to comfort him, leading him back out into the hall.

Air Raid just stared for a few moments, his hands balled tightly into fists. He muttered a curse, then punched the nearby bulkhead as hard as he could. The overbuilt security wall didn't so much as dent, but if the Aerialbot felt any pain he didn't show it. He just grunted, gave one last glance to his former comrade and walked out of the room himself.

A moment later, Skydive came back in. "Is it always this hard?"

"Yes." Silverbolt shook his head. "And no. Losing a friend is never easy. But losing a friend when they brought it on themselves after doing something so monumentally stupid?"

"I just can't--" The smaller robot choked up for a second. "Why didn't we see it coming? Why didn't we do something to help him before it was too late?"

"What could we do?" Silverbolt shrugged. "We might not have been the best friends to him, but we were there when he needed us. But he chose to spurn us for that pack of reactionaries, he chose to help them make trouble, and when it landed him in jail he chose to throw in with an even worse group and dig the hole deeper instead of paying back his debt to society. Right up until the very end he had a choice and he chose to do the wrong thing every time. I'll miss him, but the only one responsible for putting Slingshot here is Slingshot."

And me, his subconscious added silently. In spite of the clear logic in what he said, he couldn't help but feel guilty for his role in arresting his former subordinate. But what else could he have done? Slingshot had proven himself too dangerous to be allowed to run free.

If I didn't feel bad about it, that'd be the time to worry. Remorse is the easiest way to remind yourself that you're not Prowl.

"I know," Skydive admitted. "I know. It's just..." His eyes dropped to the floor. "We were supposed to be the good guys, dammit!"

"We were. He was." Silverbolt turned away, gently guiding Skydive out the door. "When he had an enemy to fight, Slingshot was every bit the hero he wanted to seen to be. But heroes don't always know what to do with themselves once the shooting starts. Maybe we could have done more for Slingshot, but he's hardly the only one."

"I suppose that's true. Maybe...maybe he'll be a warning to the rest of us, to try to help other people like him before they're unreachable."

"Maybe." Slingshot couldn't help but smile, just a little. "You know, he would have hated that."


The two of them walked out of the room, heads held up high in spite of the hollow ache in their sparks.

OOC: I think I'm pretty much done. I've got one more post to make, but it's for Gigatron and I want it to be the last one.

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Post by zigzagger » Mon Dec 28, 2015 5:56 am

Iacon Medical and Research Institute

First Aid had to force his gaze away from the screen and onto his once friend and comrade.

It was difficult to look upon him; incognizant and incapable of the most basic functions, life support had only extended Blades's spark beyond its natural expectancy.

He was gone long before First Aid had flicked the final switch.

Following First Aid's cue, Hot Spot, Groove and Streetwise stepped in closer.

Within Blades's spark chamber, the life-giving orb flickered in and out of darkness. The rhythm strip on the monitor grew steadily slower with each pass, the delay between each waveform longer than the last.

The room fell into a terrible silence as they watched and waited.

Then, with one last defiant flash, the spark contracted to a speck of light, and disappeared completely.


Prowl's Office

When Optimus entered Prowl's office, he found the Chief Strategist rummaging through his file cabinet. His usually tidy desk was cluttered with stacks of dossiers and boxes. Most of his belongings had already been packed away into large containers that lined the walls.

Prowl gave a partial glance over his shoulder before shifting his attention back to his files.

"I trust that you have already spoken with Deep Cover?"

"Several days ago," said Optimus, moving in closer, "if only to confirm my own suspicions."

The former-Autobot Leader took a seat at the front of the desk. He studied Prowl for moment, whose back was kept to him, before continuing. "Autobots resorting to blackmail... It's all very distressing."

"Yes—yes it is." Prowl pulled a data pad out from the drawer and placed it into a box he had set on top of the cabinet. "It should not have come to this."

"No, it shouldn't have." Optimus's tone was perturbed. "If you, or mechanoids like Smokescreen, believed you were or have ever been ashamed of what you have done, you would have resigned a long time ago—" He sighed. "Please put your compendiums aside for a moment and look at me. You owe me that much."

Knowing full well that he would never refuse his once-commanding officer, Prowl did as he was told and faced his mentor. The strategist was always the stickler for military protocol.

Optimus looked on expectantly. "Well?"

Prowl narrowed his optics. "What would you have me say? That I am without remorse? People will always find the most efficient of means to be objectionable. But, if we knowingly act -- if I knowing act against the greater end, that is the true moral failing. Contrary to common belief, I have always had Iacon's best interest at mind."

"That was never in doubt," Optimus assured him.

The military strategist gave a questioning look. "Then why are you here?"

"Perhaps to shoulder my share of the blame," Optimus told him. "Though make no mistake, old friend, I'm not here to absolve you—"

The once-Matrix bearer sat back in his chair. "That said, we will be departing by the end of this stellar cycle... and this does not have to end with your self-imposed exile."


Iacon Medical and Research Institute

After the coroner had come and gone, and Hot Spot and the others said their condolences, First Aid asked that he have one last moment with Blades.

He stood at the foot of the bed and stared at Blades. The former-Protectobot's body had lost its glow and luster. The discoloration was already beginning to set in.

He glanced back at the door to make certain that it had been locked, then around the seemingly empty room.

Good. We're alone.

The Chief Medical Officer cleared his voice. "Uh.... hello?" he called out. "Dealer, are you still here?"

"Yeah, I'm here." Doubledealer deactivated his stealth camouflage and materialized at the corner of the room.

"Thanks for letting me hang around. It means a lot."

First Aid nodded. "Mm."

The teal-plated mercenary moved over to the foot of the bed next to First Aid. He quietly looked across the slab at his dead friend.

Dealer furrowed his brow. "That dumb kid," he said. "I tried to keep him safe. But I screwed up, doc—

"I really screwed up."

Unable to completely stave of the urge to give Dealer a piece of his mind, First Aid curtly replied, "Yeah... I guess you did."

The medical officer sighed. "I'm sorry, I'm sorry. I'm just a little—"

"Don't be," Dealer assured him. "Primus knows I deserve it... and worse. I was stupid enough to introduce him to Magnificus, after all."

The two Transformers fell silent again, their eyes still fixed across the bed.

"Damn him," First Aid whispered.


"Blades, he's always putting me in positions like this," he told the mercenary. "That, or I let him do it. I'm quite the big push over, or so I'm told." First Aid chuckled.

"I'd hear about him getting into some kind of trouble. Always told myself it would be the last time. It wasn't as if I ever made a difference, but I'd always run off thinking I could save him, nearly getting myself killed by assassins, or mind-wiped, or... whatever."

Dealer snorted. "Oh the lives we live."

"And now—" First Aid scowled. "Now I'm the one that had to brave up and pull the plug— Damn him. That selfish jerk, I want to hate him so much. I should hate him. He's done such terrible things."

First Aid shifted his gaze away from Blades and watched the other Transformer for a moment.

Doubledealer nervously grinned. "What?"

"There's still one thing I'm not clear on," said First Aid. "A few days after the raid on Banzaitron's manison—"

The mercenary averted his gaze. "Mm-hm?"

"I was found at an abandoned apartment complex. Catatonic and with no recollection how I got there. There was evidence of crude shadowplay."

"And you're wondering if I know anything about that?" Dealer anxiously fidgeted with the instruments on a nearby medical cart. "Is that it?"

"You and Blades," First Aid continued to press him, "you were there, weren't you?"

Dealer smiled. "The less you know what happened on that day, the better." He selected a random tool and puzzled at it. "Trust me, don't ask."

"But how?"

"Seriously, doc, don't ask!" The mercenary repeated, his tone now stern. "Otherwise, everything he did -- on that day -- would be a waste."

He met First Aid's eyes with honesty. "Anyway, it was never your burden to bear. There's a reason why you're here with me having this chat— and he's there." Dealer gestured to the bed. "You have to stop suffering for his mistakes, doc. Just know that Blades was looking out for you. And that's gotta say something from someone that was -- let's face it -- an impulsive, selfish prick."

"And murderous," First Aid grimly added.

Dealer shrugged.

"He may have been thinking about saving his own sorry skidplate. I mean, c'mon, let's not kid ourselves here. But he still believed you deserved a better life. He really did. I mean—" Dealer swept his arm across the room. "This hospital you help run? And all those people that I saw come up here for you? You're very lucky."

"I... " First Aid lowered his head. "Thank you."

"If it's comforting words you're looking for to get you through this," said Dealer, "then take comfort in that—

Learn from this, doc, and live."

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Terminus: The Chessmaster (Iacon)

Post by Warcry » Tue Jan 03, 2017 7:55 pm

(OOC: Yes, I know I said I'd do this a year ago, hush. Better late than never, right? :) )

Japan, Earth: 2347

I am the bearer of a legacy of shame. I am the last of my kind. It was inevitable that my troops would perish. To think what could have been, had my predecessors been wiser. I have suffered enough for their follies. The favor will be returned in time. Had the council given me command sooner, perhaps it would not have come to this. But as they no longer live to correct their errors, I shall do it for them.

For this certainly is not my fate.


Protihex, Cybertron: 2028

The city -- nay, Cybertron herself -- was aflame.

Gigatron had seen this coming. He'd warned anyone who would listen, and most of those who wouldn't as well. But what did he get for his trouble? The Decepticons, allegedly his army, had betrayed them. All but a select, loyal handful had abandoned him as soon as the false Megatron had appeared, tossing away the tenative peace that Gigatron had forged in favour of the siren song of conquest and supremacy. And the Autobots -- his putative allies through it all -- had stood by and watched it happen. Decepticons and Autobots both had let Cybertron fall to pieces, all the while a looming, inevitable threat hung above their heads. Gigatron had all but shouted from the rooftops that Thunderwing and his Imperial minions were coming, and nobody had heard a word that he'd said until it was too late.

A lesser mech, a mech with less resolve, would have left these fools to their fate. After all, they weren't even really his people. This wasn't his time. The Decepticon hailed from a time three centuries in the future, a world far different from the one he stood in now. There was nothing tying him to the hear and now. He could go back anytime. But that's also why he had to stay. Because his time, his home, was naught but hell. In 2347, Gigatron was the last Decepticon alive. For the rest of the galaxy, that could have been a good thing. But it was not -- in the intervening three centuries, the Autobots of today had fallen under the sway of Fire Convoy, an ill-tempered facist who'd led a campaign of genocide against Gigatron's people with zero concern for any who got caught in the crossfire. And while Gigatron had eventually slain him, that had only served to pass command on to Convoy's brother God Magnus, an even more distasteful character with an ego even larger than his self-aggrandizing name would suggest. And Gigatron would do anything -- literally anything -- to avert that future.

Circling the chaos that this once-peaceful, neutral city had been reduced to, Gigatron felt at least a smattering of hope. His own troops had mobilized immediately to protect the neutrals of Protihex from the Imperial threat. The Autobots and the remaining Decepticons -- now under the command of Starscream, of all people -- had taken rather longer to join the fray. Between their three forces, the local Combaticon militia and the Imperial invasion force, the city had become a chaotic morass of death and destruction. But it was a morass that was, finally, starting to turn in their favour. And with the news that Thunderwing had been located, there was a chance that they might actually be able to turn the fiasco into a victory.

Seeing one of the few mechs that he actually trusted moving below, surrounded by a team of...adequate troops, Gigatron shifted to robot mode and slammed to the ground nearby.

"I see you have found reinforcements. Let us take this fight to the heart of the enemy."

One of the troops that Spinister had gathered -- Misfire, Gigatron noted cooly, who had chosen to stay with the usurper Megatron clone -- was struggling not to grin like a fool at the sixchanger's arrival. Needlenose and Triggerhappy couldn't contain themselves, while Slugslinger seemed genuinely indifferent. Spinister, for his part, seemed equally relieved and worried.

He probably thinks I'll be annoyed that he's taken one of Megatron's under his command. And I am, a bit. But I'm much happier to finally see his Targetmasters reunited. It was a long quest, my friend, but it seems like it's paid off.

But Spinister was a good soldier, and wasted no time on such trivialities. "Very well, my liege. But I have to ask...which heart? There are several loci of enemy forces that we could attend to."

Gigatron smiled. "True. Perhaps I should have said 'brain', but I fear that gives our one-time comrade Thunderwing too much credit. We have his location, and as luck would have it there is an underground tunnel nearby that will take us directly there."

"Then lets go," Spinister agreed curtly. "I'm scanning the tunnel now. It looks like there's an ingress in the basement of that building," he said with a nod to the half-demolished rubble they were standing next to.

"Excellent. Then we should--"


Gigatron did as Needlenose said without even thinking, and the plasma blast cut through the air where he'd just been standing. Glowering, he looked up and saw a squadron of Imperial jets zooming in at them, weapons blazing.

"Blast! You five, get in the tunnels! I'll deal with these fools!"

"My liege," Spinister disagreed, "it is we who should deal with them while you go on to face Thunderwing."

"I appreciate the offer," Gigatron told him, "but five Targetmasters are going to make more difference to the fight than one Sixchanger, even one such as I." He shrugged, then transformed to dragon mode and took off. "Besides, I can deal with a dozen Imperial fighters with ease. I'll be right behind you. Now go!"

Spinister's loyalty kept him from disagreeing, but his unhappiness was evident on his face. But unhappy or not, the Targetmaster commander would do his job. And Gigatron, as always, would do his. As the five smaller Decepticons carefully picked their way over the debris into the building, Gigatron lunged upwards.

The Decepticon leader's twin dragon heads spat fire at the two nearest enemies. Even as they melted, he converted to jet mode and shot a flurry of missiles that claimed another two. Yet one more died a horrible crushing death in the palm of his hand mode. Gigatron released the corpse and transformed to bat mode to tackle the rest -- or rather, he tried to. His transformation cog wouldn't answer him, and for a moment he just hung there, unable to move as laser blasts honed in on him. A strangely familiar tingling spread over his body just before the lasers hit...hit, and passed clean through to hit the ruins the Targetmasters had just entered.

What remained of the building crumbled to dust, and Gigatron had just enough time to hope that Spinister and company had found the tunnels before he realized what was happening to him.

"Not now!" he screamed with futile rage. "By Unicron's beard, not now!"

And then the creature known as Gigatron disappeared from Protihex, leaving behind no physical trace he'd ever existed.

Iacon, Cybertron: 2347

This wasn't his world.

The future Gigatron had left behind had been a nightmare for the Autobots and a graveyard for the Decepticons. Everyone on Cybertron and her colonies had lived in fear save for Fire Convoy and his inner circle of enforcers. But things were different, now. The Autobots who'd recovered him from the timestream -- Autobots who looked a great deal like enemies who he'd killed in his own time, or who'd killed friends of his -- had practically greeted him as a hero.

In essence: his insane gambit had worked. He'd jumped into the past in an attempt to change his future, and he'd done it. Although he'd gotten too wound up in the affairs of the day at times, and sometimes lost sight of his initial objectives, he'd managed to change things for the better -- and change them enough that he'd inconveniently retconned himself out of existence. Once the events that led to his creation had been well and truly rendered impossible, Gigatron himself had disappeared from reality (inconveniently, in the middle of a battle) and been pulled into unspace for...moments? Lifetimes? He didn't really know. But Cybertron's best minds had puzzled over his fate for centuries, until a team finally discovered the truth and managed to pull him back into reality...ironically, at almost the precise moment he'd originally left.

Gigatron suspected there was some greater design to all that, but if there was anything his decade-long sojourn in the past had taught him it was that he should know better than to try and second-guess the forces that held reality together.

In the few weeks he'd been back, he'd had his mind blown on a practically hourly basis. First, in hearing how Cyclonus had stepped up in his absence and done something that Gigatron himself doubted he could ever do, by eliminating the destructive temptation of the Decepticon Matrix once and for all. And then in seeing how Cyclonus and Blitzwing (Blitzwing of all people!) had held the Decepticons together though a painful transition that had eventually led to the creation of a single worldwide government in which Autobot, Decepticon and neutral factions all held a strong voice in the fate of their world.

The genocidal crusade launched shortly thereafter by the Liege Maximo, in alliance with the remnant of Quintesson forces, had proved a tough test for the newly-strengthened alliance, and many had fallen in the defence of Cybertron, but there, too, they'd proven victorious. The Liege had fallen, and over time many Imperial worlds had joined the united Cybertronian government as well.

Of course, all was not perfect. Both Cybertron and her colonies were still recovering from the ruinous wars that had ravaged them for four million years, and it would be many years yet before they achieved the standard of living that they'd had in the gilded age before the Great War. But things were better than they had been, and they were getting better still as time went by.

Perhaps the biggest surprise, though, was his old nemesis. Fire Convoy -- who was a much less imposing figure since he wasn't wearing a wartime transtector around his standard body -- was actually a personable, intelligent guy. In this timeline the Autobot hadn't been forged in the flames of war or forced into a leadership role for which he was simply unready, and as a result he was much calmer, more patient and generally decent than the angry firebrand that Gigatron had fought so many times. In fact, in his role as the lead contact on the team that was helping him get accustomed to the new future he'd woken up in, Gigatron was reluctantly forced to admit that he actually liked him.

And if that was possible, of all things...well, then anything must be.