"It doesn't look good," Scoot said. "Power's still not restored to any of these consoles. Everything that still might have worked was wrecked from the blast. We're on emergency backups until we can stabilize the core again. And I can't do that from here. How's our patient?"|
Ticker: "He'll live. Barely. If we'd gotten to him any later...."
Scoot: "Well, that's not something we want to think about, is it?"
Ticker: "The point is, he'll be in stasis for quite some time while he heals. Who's in-charge while he's out of commission?"
Scoot: "The second, of course. We have a chain of command to follow."
Ticker: "According to the last computer update, Campaign Car is second."
Scoot: (pauses) "He...never changed it?" (looks over at Campaign car's stasis-locked form).
Ticker: "Apparently not. And no one else here has command training."
(a voice from the back) "That's not...completely true...."
Ticker: "Bunny Convoy, of course. Normally I'd agree, but you're in no condition right now either. We'll probably have to put you in-stasis as well. You took a lot of damage."
Bunny Convoy: "I can still talk. Article 7, General Quarters, initiate Lockdown."
Scoot: "Trying to initiate, but with only the emergncy backup power, we're unable to comply. This base is wide-open. Anyone can get in...or out."
Bunny Convoy: "Sigh. Fine. Then get down to the powercore, and kick-start it if you have to. We need to....nnnhhhhh...." (pain continued to rack his frame).
Ticker: "OK, that's enough for now. You'll be up and running soon, but for now...shut up."
Bunny Convoy: "Yes, Ma'am."(smiles weakly, salutes). "In the meantime...."
(Just then, another transformer arrives at the command center.)
ClutterBug: "Holy cow...!"
Scoot: "Ah, ClutterBug. Welcome to our mess."(thinks for a moment) "You were guarding the prisoner, weren't you?"
ClutterBug: "Well yes, but when the alarm sounded, I thought I should report to the Command Center, as the computer instructed. But the then the computer stopped, and the lights went out, and...."
Scoot: "Yes, yes, we've had quite a problem here. But things are under control now. Perhaps you should help Uncle track down the intruder. He goes by the name of Crackup. He's small, and....pink."
ClutterBug: "Yes sir. Right away." (leaves)
Ticker: "What an energetic cybertonian."
Scoot: "Indeed. She'll go far in this world. Now, about our leadership problem...?"
Ticker: "Sigh....fine. Per regulations, if the chain of command, blahblahblah... oh primus Scoot, will you just get going already? I have patients to attend to!"
Scoot: (smiles, and salutes) "Yes, ma'am. I'll give you a hand first."
Ticker: "I have things handled here. Go fix the powercore."
Scoot: "Yes, of course." (rolls out of the command center, and heads toward the engineering section of the base.)
Bunny Convoy: "Perhaps you should...normally be in-command."
Ticker: "No thanks. I'm more suited to being in-command of people's well-being. Now...what am I going to do with you three? (ponders the situation). Hmmm...one trip should be enough, as long as you don't squirm too-much." Before he could ask what she meant by that, Ticker transformed, activating her tractors and grappling claws, and towing her three patients toward the medical bay for repairs.
"Dis stinks," Uncle said, as he prowled up the corridors after Crackup. "All da lives wrecked because o' dat rotten Decept-bum. And he stole one of our buddies ta boot! But don' worry, we'll get 'em back, eh?"
"Beep," was Windchill's reply. It was a name Uncle thought up himself; the little guy didn't seem to mind it. And it suited his current configuration; after detaching from his cheddar rifle, he scanned and combined with his damaged Blizzard shotgun, creating yet another nifty enhanced weapon. His weapon of choice for the task ahead. He needed to stop Crackup without hurting their little friend...and this seemed to be the best way to do it. The ability of this little fellow was amazing. Uncle wondered why Electrum Beast was still researching the old 'master technology. Everything was already documented, from organic interaction to transectors. A by-product of that research was the Boss' own beast-mode. It seemed silly to take a step backwards in one's research. Luckily, Uncle was more of a soldier than a thinker, so he let the matter drop. He was simply happy to have a new little friend to help in the cause.
Crow was busy arguing with Ron at the ToyStop, a popular shopping place for those who enjoyed collectible toys and action figures. Things were turning heated; apparently, a deal had gone sour.
Ron: "He's not broken, he's, er...resting."
Crow: "Resting?! The bloddy thing's dead! This Primal is no more! He has ceased to be!...."
Optimus Minor could hear the two humans talking loudly as they passed thru the tunnels in the area. His enhanced-hearing made for easy eavsdropping. The thing that caught his attention was the mention of his father's name: Primal. That particular Optimus didn't exist in this time period, so to hear him called by name (not to mention the fact that they somehow realized he was dead) made for a tantilizing mystery. Unfortunately, it would have to wait. He and Crackup were nearing one of the alternate exists to the base. Once they got there, Crackup could escape with his ill-gotten technology, and cull the information from it(information which would be found centuries later and used to create Optimus Minor, but that was another story). The exit was near...but judging by the footsteps closing in on them from two directions, the Defenders were even closer. A complication. And one he didn't need.
ClutterBug raced along the cooridors toward the intruder, and Uncle. "Hot Dog!", shesaid. "If I can help Uncle with this mission, I'll finally get the respect I deserve. No more of these low-end assignments for me, no-sir! ClutterBug made her way from level to level, barely stopping herself from running into the wallsas she rounded the corners. It is such reckless enthusiasm that usually gets a 'bot in trouble....and today was no exception.
Rounding the next corridor, she ran smack into Optimus minor, and Crackup. Her initial surprise gave way to fear as she realized that she was the only Defender present...she must have beaten Uncle to this location. She was outnumbered...and unarmed.
Crackup: "Indeed, young one. Do get out of our way, or we shall be forced to...."(blam!)
(ClutterBug is slammed backwards into the wall, falling unconscious.)
Crackup: (to Op minor) "Was that really necessary?"
Optimus Minor: "You are in no position to argue my methods," he said, retracting blasters back into his forearms. "She's only stunned. Besides, this is your enemy. She would have been killed along with all the others when you blew the base up."
Crackup: "Not true. She was listed as guarding the detention area. The blast radius from the core overload wouldn't have reached to her level. There was no record of who was being detained; I didn't want to risk inadvertantly destroying a comrade. I'm not cold-blooded, after all; I'm simply here to get a job done."
Optimus Minor: "Save your pretty lies for those that they work on."
So Crackup had figured it out, judging by that last comment. He was the prisoner that was being guarded. That's why someone who was seemingly the enemy faction was helping him out. Well, so be it. So he knew he was a prisoner. He still didn't know why he was being guarded, and that was good enough. Knowledge of certain technologies (like timejump) needed to remain out of bounds at this juncture of their relationship. Only later, when the rest was digested...for now, it was better for Crackup to think him a mere turncoat. If he knew all the details of why Optimus Minor was helping him.....
Just then, a blast of frigid air and ice blew past them, hitting the wall behind. The wall was frozen instantly; a large chunk was literally dissolving under its own weight. A rather powerful weapons-blast; if they'd been hit, they would have been frozen solid, and broken apart by the sheer force. Not a pleasant way to go....
Uncle Whiskey Breath: "Eh, dat was a warning shot. Surrender, or I won't miss a second time."
Crackup: "You're insane. You would risk the life of your comrade here(holds up his little prize-bot) just to stop the likes of me?"
Uncle Whiskey Breath: "Oh, I wouldn't, but my little buddy here might. After all, it's his friend you're holding hostage dere. I suspect he could probably hit you and not his little bro, eh?" Uncle Whiskey Breath took careful aim with the Blizzard Bazzoka, and Windchill locked on-target: Crack-up's legs. Immobilize him, and the day is saved. Miss, and their friend would be destroyed. Crackup might yet give up. Bt if he didn't...they were ready.
Things were spiraling out-of-hand. Optimus Minor found himself faced with a dilema; if he interfered now, he risked hurting one of this era's greatest heroes. But if he allowed Uncle to disable Crackup, then Optimus Minor would fade out of existance forever. And he *needed* Crackup to succeed, at least for now....but Uncle was a major player in the future; if he made a wrong move, he could very well erase an entire segment of Autobot history. But if Uncle succeeded, then he, Optimus minor, would be gone, and with him the very future of the maximal cause...Optimus Minor grunted; too-many variables, and not enough time tosort thru them all. Better to act now before the anger got ahold of him again. He couldn't do any good at all if he was blinded by Rage.....
Crackup was oblivious to Optimus crouching behind him. He was more intently focused on what Uncle held in his hands: one of the three little robots. And he was transformed into a weapon. Amazing. That wasn't in the specsheets he read...why was he misusing the little bot, when he could be so much more powerful...
Crackup: "You unimaginative oaf, you're using him as a weapon? Do you not even realise what more these things are capable of? Sigh. Very well. Optimus, if you would do the honor?"
Uncle: "Optimus?! Who....?"
But he didn't have a chance to finish the thought, as a furry-looking robot jumped out from behind Crackup and charged at him, attempting to take Uncle down with one well-placed chop. Uncle blocked, trying to get the gun into position. Maybe if he froze him at a lower setting, he reasoned, he could deal with him later and continue to pursue Crackup. Satisfied with that line of thought, Uncle reached out to Optimus Minor and scooped him up, holding him in one of his large hands. He figured he could toss him aloft and fire, then continue the mission. He'd have plenty of time to come back later and thaw out the furry robot...maybe find out why Crackup called him by Prime's name. He sure didn't look like no Optimus he'd ever seen, and by golly he'd seen a few in his time....
The little furry robot apparently didn't like being held captive. Where there was a cool, calm professional a moment before, a vicious-animal existed instead. Optimus Minor transformed into his monkey-mode, and began slapping Uncle upside the head, spitting and screaming. Luckily, he was small; no bigger than that Bunny Convoy fellow, actually. If Uncle could keep a firm grip on him, he shouldn't be able to do much damage.
That's when Crackup stabbed him in his knee.
Uncle: "Ngggh...stupid con" he said, trying to keep from grabbing at the damaged area. "Take THAT!", he said, slamming the Op minor into him. Crackup went flying into the wall, crashing thru the area that was shattered moments earlier; and Op minor actually stopped screeching for a minute, trying to shake off the stun, and apparently returning to normal. He transformed from monkey back into furry-robot mode. Dropping him next to Crackup, Uncle positioned the Blizzard Bazzoka and prepared to fire on the two of them, stopping them from going any further.
That's when he noticed that Crackup held his knife toward the unconscious Clutterbug's neck.
To Be Continued.