Heffer didn't like Cybertron.
It wasn't how he remembered it. Used to be, a bot could pull into a spot, even during the war, grab a pint of energon and relax. The grime made the liquid go down smooth.
But this? It looked like something out of a horror-show. What wasn't overly gray was covered in some kind of plant matter. Looked like it was being lasered off, but still, plants here? Heffer didn't know nothin' bout any plants. It was unnatural. Where were the golden spires of Iacon?
Of course, to hear that little Ticker gal tell it, his memory was plumb glitched anyways, since the Universe reset.
That's what they called it. You didn't have to be the last one off the turnip truck to realise that what they were saying sounded just plumb loco. The gold one, Electro-somesuch, had waved a scanner over him and said that ol' Heffer wasn't even originally part of this universe, but from another one, and that when things reset, he was 'written into the timeline' or somesuch.
Bunch of hooey, if you ask Heffer. He remembered most things just fine. Holding his glass of energon, looking out at Cybertron, he did have to admit that home didn't quite look the way he remembered it. There was a war going on when he left, but to look at it now, you'd think it was the dawn of the second Golden Age again or something. Man, those were the days. Cybertron's surface all shiny and smooth. Vector Sigma had re-energised the planet. Course there was a hint of what was to come, what with the fleshlings acting all like weapons and heads and all that. And then before long the next war started, of course.
But whatever happened to the color? Heffer watched as clean-up crews worked to rid the surface of some more techno-organic growth. Apparently, somewhere along the line, Cybertron had turned into a mix of plant and cyber-life.
Heffer shuddered at the thought; he didn't mind mechanical things *looking* like organic life, but to actually have organic components? No sir, not for him, thanks.
These were big thoughts for Heffer, so it was understandable that he didn't see Washout in the corner of the bar, nursing a drink, and watching him watch the outside. He waited, pondered, then finally picked up his glass, walked over to where Heffer was sitting, and sat down. There were few other patrons at the establishment at this time of day to take notice. Or to listen:
Heffer: "Whoa there, who are..."
Washout: "You're Heffer. The Leader's former bodyguard."
Heffer: "Now listen, I don't know who you are, and I sure don't appreciate you acting like you know me, but _."
Washout: "You don't remember. Of course. When the Universe reset, your memories would have been erased."
Heffer: "Listen, you're not the first one to say that to me, and I'm tellin' ya, I don't appreciate it. Now leave me to my drinkin' unless you want some trouble."
Washout: "I'm not looking for trouble. We were... associates. I'd like to be again."
Heffer: "Look, I'm real sorry, but things are kinda fuzzy right now. Just because you're wearin' that symbol (points to Washout's arm) doesn't mean that you and I are friends. I'm just lookin' to be left alone while I sort things out."
Washout: "You a drinkin' bot?"
Washout: "I fancy a drink or two myself now and then. Probably shouldn't. Been told more than once it was the reason I ended up where I am. But that doesn't mean I'm not still useful, you know? But here I am, and here you are. How about we have a drink, and we can talk?"
Heffer: "Look, I'm tellin' you, I ain't yer friend. Go someplace else with your troubles."
Washout: "I'm buying."
Heffer: "... well, why didn'y ya say so? Hello, friend."
Washout signals the servo-bot, who rolls over with another energon order.
The Mexican Outback:
It was another hot, dry day in the desert. The kind of day he appreciated. It was peaceful here. Few people bothered him, and no robots ever came this way. It was a day of celebration, just as yesterday!
"...and the day before, and the day before that. And what better way to celebrate than with a little hotsauce, and afterwards a seista?", thought Nachos Belgrande. After many millenium of war, to have his spark wind up here, of all places, where he didn't have to fight, only live and love life? well, that was an interesting and wonderful thing.
He sometimes wondered what happened to the others, after they left this part of the world. Wondered if they were happy with their new lives, their new identities. He was happy enough to guard this part of the planet from outside forces, but after more than 2 deca-cycles of rotation, with not so much as even a blip in either mexico or central america... well, a fellow could get used to this. Sure, there was that mess in Brazil, but that straightened itself out without his interference. The culture, the history, the celebration of an entire continent was his to enjoy, and enjoy it he had.
But it was the peace and quiet he had come to enjoy the most.
Which is what made it all the more disturbing when the air crackled to life in-front of him. A vortex opened, and a hand reached out to take ahold of him. Before he could even say, 'Aye Carumba!', Nachos BelGrande, self-appointed Leader and Last of the MexiCons, was transported away.
"...so then it turns out that my old partner gets turned into a rabbit. A Rabbit! Can you believe it? Hahaha! And they called him Bunny Convoy!"
"Bwahahaha!" responded Heffer, tears rolling down his faceplate. Many hours, and many more drinks had passed, and the both of them were in quite the festive mood. Washout was in the middle of a story about how he became assigned to the Dairycons at Milwaukee base, and how his old partner, the omnibot Overdrive, had come to be one of them.
Heffer: "Man, I tell ya, that is the funniest thing I ever heard of. What about the other feller, the cop car... flatfeet, was it?"
Washout: "Flatfoot. And yea, same thing happened to him. He did get his old body back, after one of our guys took his chassis for a testdrive. Never did figure out what he did with the animal mode, though. I think he keeps it in his trunk or something, just in-case."
Heffer: "Haha! Testdrive. That's a good one."
Washout: "Yea, I tell ya, it was a long time before he forgave me for that one. I think it's part of why I don't drink anymore."
Heffer: "But, you're drinking now."
Washout: "I am? Well....so I am! Come on, let's have another one to celebrate, then! Barkeep! A round of energon for me and my friend here, to celebrate my sobriety!"
Barkeep: "I think you two boys have had enough. Go home."
Washout: "That, my good fellow, would be a problem. We don't have one of
those at the moment. Unless you count Cybertron, in which case we *are* home!"
Barkeep: "Well then, go to some other part of your home. You can't stay here."
Washout: "...No, I suppose not. And you never really can go home again either, can you?"
The Barkeep didn't have an answer. Washout's festive mood and apparent drunkedness evaporated just as quickly as the last swallow out of his glass of Energon. Heffer, not picking up on the mood-change, could only sit there and finish his glass. It had been a long time since he was this fueled up, a real long time, and he was enjoying it. Setting his glass down, he attempted to get up from his barstool, and promptly fell to the floor instead.
Heffer: "Hehe. Guess this room's movin' a bit much for me to get ahold of m'self(hic)."
Washout: "That's ok, we have places to be, anyways."
Heffer: "We do?"
Washout: "I'm afraid so. If this timeline stays the way it is, we're destined to rejoin the ranks of Dairycons in a convenient plot twist."
Heffer: "Do what now?"
Washout: "Oh, nothing. Say, how about we have ourselves an adventure? I know of this great place on the other side of Polyhex where the servo-bots go
around minus their torso-plates, if you know what I mean."
Heffer: "Well then, saddle up, pardner! We've got places to go!"
Washout and Heffer shuffle somewhat drunkedly out of the bar. Outside, they transform to vehicle mode, and weave their way out of town. More than one lamp/communications post either jumped out of their way or risked being dented as they bobbed and weaved on the road to Polyhex.
"I don't care what you say. I've checked the history tapes twice, and you simply can't be who you say you are. I've known you as Clutterbug for some time now, and that's what I'm going to keep calling you."
Scoot: "My dear, you can understand why we might be hesitant to believe... after all, even assuming you were undercover, accidently got over-written, well...it's been a long time. And most of what you would be warning them about is no longer an issue."
'Clutterbug' was frustrated. Bad enough she was in the condition she was in, but to be held here and not believed? That was too-much to take. Granted, the danger that The Leader had represented previously was diminished, but it wasn't over, not by a longshot. The fact that Crackup's sparkcore and chassis had gone missing (which Campaign Car was investigating, but no luck so far) was even more distressing. And no one at all could tell her about the other missing 'bot.
'Clutterbug': "Don't you see? I have to get back to Optimus! Or at least Prowl. They need to know this."
Ticker: "Look sister, I've been around the block myself a few times, and believe me when I say that they have bigger things to worry about at the moment than us. If this is such a problem, take it to Electrum Beast or Bunny Convoy. But if you keep insisting that you're... her, and that you have to talk to Prime, then I'll have no choice but to deactivate you and look for whatever's made you go wonky."
Clutterbug: "You wouldn't dare."
Ticker: "Try me."
'Clutterbug' sighed. It was obvious that she wasn't going to get thru to her friend. Ironic, considering who she used to be, but in the end that didn't matter. It would probably take another crisis point before -he- would appear. He'd set things right again. She'd just have to bide her time, and hope that the universe would weather yet another crisis...
This was NOT where he wanted to be.
The traffic, the noise, the people... it was too-much. Maybe other Transformers thrived in this enviroment, but Nachos BelGrande was not one of them. Stepping back from the blinding glare of The Palace, he fell into yet another building. It was the third one he'd bumped into upon being transported here against his will, and the people around him, to judge by the noise, were not one bit happy.
Neither was he, for that matter. Who had put him here, and why?
What was he doing here, and Why?
That was the question that Defensis was asking himself the moment the vortex opened in-front of them and disgorged the hapless Transformer. One minute, they were driving away from SunBeam, the next minute, they were driving into another 'bot. Defensis didn't recognise him, though the chassis-style was certainly Classic in nature. He fancied that design himself, he thought, until he plowed into one of its legs, knocking him over into a building and causing widespread distress. Checkers, driving on the left, managed to avoid running into the newcomer, and made sure to let Defensis know it.
Checkers: "Geez, meathead, kinda suprised. Didn't think you could miss something that big. Looks like I was right."
Defensis: "Oh shut up, and help me protect the humans."
Checkers: "Again with the humans. I swear, you should just marry them, you love them so much."
Checkers and Defensis transformed, scooting various humans away from falling debris. By the time the area was cleared, at least three buildings looked like they had been sat on. The newcomer was definately high on the destruction scale, but it didn't appear to be his fault; Defensis could have sworn he saw a hand pushing him out of the vortex and into the street. There was little time to wonder however, as when they grabbed hold of him in order to restrain him, the bot became angry instead of confused.
"Carumba, I *said* let go of me!" Nachos BelGrande's vision had finally cleared, and he got a good look at who grabbed him and shoved him thru the vortex. It appeared to be a small yellow 'bot, and a larger blue one. Odd that there were two now, as before he thought he saw only one, but that must have been the tequilla talking. That would explain the flash of purple he saw before he was suddenly blinded and thrown here. It would also explain why the bot he thought was red and blue was not just blue. From the look of things, he surmised that he was in the Northern Hemisphere, not too-far from his original location.
Nachos BelGrande: "Ho-kay, fun's over. I don' know why you took me from my home, but you can be sure I'm going back! Montesuma's Revenge!"
The aptly-named MexiCon pulled out a golden disk with Mayan inscriptions on it. Defensis was startled; he'd seen only two Golden Disks previously, in the Hall of Records, but they didn't look anything like this. Could there be a third Golden Disk? He didn't have time to ponder the question further, as in MexiCon's hands the disk began to spin rapidly, giving off a golden light, and finally, when he threw it -
Zing! The disk sailed thru the air, neatly slicing the top of the Palace
sign off. Defensis looked up; if he hadn't have ducked, that would likely have been his head on the sidewalk below, and not the sign.
There was no time left to play games or figure out why this 'bot was attacking them. It was time for action. He transformed into combat vehicle mode, and activated his weapons systems.
Defensis: "Hero Cannon!"
Defensis Maximus didn't play around. If this Transformer had Golden Disk technology available to him, it was best to go with the heavy weapons right off the bat. Shoot now, ask questions later. "Fire!" A great glow built up on the barrel of the weapon, and suddenly, bwooooom!! The report echoed for miles as the hyper-fusion blast blew out of the cannon and toward its target. A dead-on shot, and it looked like-
MexiCon: "Siesta Shield!"
Unbelievable! The blast from the Hero-Cannon bounced right off a forcefield generated by... a large hat?! Defensis didn't know what to think. Something was definately wrong. It looked as though the 'bot was about to pull another weapon out of his side compartments. Defensis Maximus had to stop him.
Making a run toward Nachos BelGrande, he managed to enter thru the force shield (which was apparently keyed for energy-weapons, and not a physical attack). Defensis knocked what appeared to be a small red gun out of the MexiCon's hand, which went spinning away and landed in the rubble. Nachos responded by knocking D-Max to the ground. Nachos then pulled out yet another item from his compartment, and began an incantation: "Oh most loyal Taco of Leadership, grant me the power and wisdom to see my way to victory over these gringos..." Nachos finished the incantation, but had no time to react as Defensis got up, and grabbed ahold of the middle of Nacho's Taco of Leadership.
A flash of light, and suddenly an undescribable power began to pour forth from the Taco of Leadership, and into Defensis Maximus. His colors changed; gone was the standard blue of his robotic and vehicle forms, now instead stood a robot of unimaginable blinding reds and blues. The Taco spoke: "Gone is Defensis Maximus. Arise, Defensis Prime!"
From an undisclosed location in Limbo, Crackup and The Leader watched their monitor screens in amusement as power was transferred from Nachos Belgrande into Defensis Maximus.
Crackup: "Haha. That ought to make a mess of things."
The Leader: "Yes, indeed. Let's see him resolve *that* particular Plothole, posing again as Defensis Prime. Could prove interesting, yeesss."
This was not good.
He hadn't been Defensis Prime for decades, not in this universe, and not since..well, that wasn't important right now. What *was* important is figuring out who had done this to him, and why? Obviously, that artifact that Nachos was trying to use had inadvertantly revealed one of Defensis' previous incarnations. That can't have been it's original purpose... or was it?
Nachos BelGrande: "Carumba! The Taco reveals all."
Checkers: "Oh look, the little MexiCon changed yer paintjob. And I thought you was ugly before..."
Nachos: "No no, senoir. The Taco reveals the Truth and Wisdom of all things. It has shown your friend to be a person of great power and wisdom."
Defensis Prime: I....don't know what you're talking about."
Nachos: "Don't you see? This has happened for a purpose."
Checkers: "Geez, D, my optics are bleedin' here. Can you turn down that colorscheme of yours a bit?"
Defensis lets go of the Taco, and the glow fades. The red and blue colorscheme remains, however. Almost immediately, a crackle of lightening appears in the air behind Nachos, and a vortex opens. Nachos looks at it, smiles, and steps forward.
Nachos: "Now I understand why I was sent here. I was a small part of a greater purpose. What that is remains to be seen, but that is not my concern. It is obviously yours. Goodbye, senoirs. I now return to the peace and quiet of my homeland."
A purple hand beckons. Nachos BelGrande, first and last of the MexiCons, steps thru the vortex, confident that the next leap will take him home.
The portal closes. Checkers, and a newly-revealed Defensis Prime are left behind, staring at each other, and staring silently into the mess of the Vegas strip as the sun came up over the horizon.
It was going to be a long day.
TO BE CONTINUED.