Somewhere in Dairyland....
When we last left our heroes, they had won the Battle against the Dark Force, though not without suffering great losses of their own.
Our stalwart Dairyons buried their Fallen, concealed the great City, and left VSQS for Earth.
The great shuttle that Optimus Prime had called for arrived to transport the Dairycons. Feeling their mission was finally at an end, they boarded her in anticipation of returning to the adopted planet that they called home. Little did they know that Fate would have other plans for them.
They thought the Universe was safe.
They thought their job was done.
They were wrong.
"So, how do you think they're doing?"
"Who do you mean?"
"Our dopplegngers. The signal cut off about halfway thru the battle. You think there was anything left?"
"I can't believe you would question my work. Of course I believe our 'replacements' did just fine. No doubt the battle was won entirely by my handiwork."
"I'm not so sure. The combined form was essentially sparkless. We really should have gone ourselves."
"I have no doubt that those other dreadful members of our little team would have said the same thing. Of-course you know how I would answer that, hmmm?"
"Sigh. Yes, yes, you don't see the need for us to risk ourselves or become directly involved. That's why our transponders are disabled, we don't communicate directly with outsiders, and you built any number of duplicate chassis to send in our place in-case of emergency. Seems kind of strange to me, though. Even Uncle Whiskey Breath can find our Brew City still. Why are we powering what essentially is an Autobot Task force when we're not even involved in the War?"
"My dear Kugel, perfection is found in the Brew. I suggest you return to it."
Turning away from his fellow BrewMaster, Hook once again tended to his brew. He'd spent considerable time tweaking this particular concoction; it was almost ready, and he did not intend to get drawn into what was, essentially a moo point. Line never questioned Hook's motives; Kugel always wanted revisit the subject again. And again. It was an admirable trait in tweaking a fuel's octane ratio; quite another thing when it came to protecting their secrecy.
Hook did something he had not done in a considerable time: He wondered.
He wondered why he followed Line and Kugel out here; he wasn't particularly as fond of the fleshlings as they obviously were. But then he'd remember that the War could not easily find him here. The endless War that marred the perfection of anything he'd attempted to build. The War that finally cost him, if not his friends, precisely, then his purpose. There seemed no end, even when an official end was delared. He knew it was only a matter of time before he would be called upon again. Weary, he'd searched the Hall of Records for something, anything that would get him away from his past and away from the pure drivel of the Pax Cybertronia.
An odd being, one of those Maximal beasts, had put him onto it, at the end.
It was a small thing, really, something that the small donkey-shaped Cybertronian had said about hiding in plain sight. Finding that a Maximal expedition force was soon leaving for Earth, he decided to petition to be allowed to join them, as a neutral observer.
It wasn't easy; the Maximal High Command (why they didn't just call themselves Autobots, he'd never know) insisted on some kind of good-faith effort on his part. Though he was one of the Decepticons pardoned at the Trials, they simply didn't trust him. They reminded him of what happened to his former ally Ravage, how he'd been pardoned, and what had happened to the Timeline as a result. Hook sighed; he knew all of that, and of all the work that had gone into restoring things back to their natural ebb and flow, but it wasn't as though he was asking to go to a different dimension. He just wanted to escape the Reservation on this particular planet. The High Command didn't see it that way. Once again, someone stood in-between him and his goal.
Hook considered; at this stage, much of what he knew or had access to would essentially be considered (by Swindle, anyways) as Wartime Surplus. With what they now knew of other times and dimensions simply by searching the vast VectorSigma database, it was doubtful that there was anything he could offer them.
He'd planned for that. And he would change their minds.
To those lesser beings who found themselves in-charge, Hook outlined his plan. It was, he surmised, suprisingly simple; send him, and him alone, off on an exploratory journey, away from Cyberton, and away from any other potential sources of trouble. With him gone, they could never recover and reactivate Devastator.
That was rejected out-of-hand. A fine idea, but too-much effort to equip a single-being exploratory force, and who would watch him and see that he stayed out of trouble?
He made a second offer. A compromise, of sorts: send him along with the crew of five active Maximals that was set to depart on an already-equipped exploraory mission. He could be a neutral observer; the ship was already loaded with a number of stasis-pods containing former friends and enemies alike. His other combiner-brothers would still be on Cybertron. He would be outnumbered five-to-one. What harm could he do?
Maximal High Command pondered, but they were still not completely convinced.
He made a final offer: he would download the complete contents of his Secured DataBase for High Command to use. Although they had access to a large amount of information, he correctly surmised that they'd never had an offer like that. He was offering them everything: historical precedent, battle strategies, the musings of Megatron's inner circle... everything. Hook offered that he was highly placed in the organisation, so he could offer information that they didn't already have from other sources, unless they planned to get Megaron himself, or his leutinent Starscream in here to spill their guts...
Hook had done his research well. High Command accepted, as he knew they would. It was what he (and they) wanted in the first place.
High Command would finally let him go.
He knew he could finally have peace.
The ship had crashed on its own, of course. No help this time, simply a malfunctioning computer. The others were damaged; he loaded the crew into their respective cr chambers. The scanners were down, as was the main computer. There was nothing for the reformatter to lock onto, no way to know what they would be facing once they opened the doors.
This was unaccustomed territory. This was not what he'd planned. So Hook did something he'd never done before...
He took a chance.
Glancing around to see if their was anything amiss, Hook downloaded the plans from his own hardrive into the Maximal CR chambers. If all went as he planned, he'd both save their lives and reformat those other five into something a little more... manageable. This is not how the history tapes showed it happening. Perhaps he'd muddle things a bit after all, but then again... at least now they would avoid the BeastWars. So perhaps this was the way things were supposed to go this time around.
Hook prepared a stasis chamber for himself. If all went well, he would wake up and find that which he had struggled so hard to find.
If he didn't wake up, well... at least he'd finally found peace.
Either way, he mused, he would win.
End Part One.
To Be Continued in 'Dairycon 2011: Changing Steers! The Rise of Elowmeno!' Part 2.
Available in 30 days.