Part Eight

The bodies were definately not in good shape.

It's a wonder that they were still functioning at all, considering the wreckage they were pulled from. Between the explosions, and the cold vacuum of space, there wasn't all that much left to salvage. But the sparks were still there....somehow.

Optimus Minor wondered at Crackup's actions on this one. He destroyed their ship, yet took the time to retrieve their bodies, just-in-case they could be salvaged. It seemed a tremendous waste of resources all-around, but it was not for him to say one way or the other...

The r-chambers were doing their work, keeping the sparks stable while the bodies inside were being repaired. Crackup hadn't even hesitated about having these two repaired...yet he'd left Ironhide for dead not a few hours ago. Strange...

Optimus Minor continued to monitor the readouts ont he pods, ensuring that everything was going as-planned. Satisfied that it was, he turned to leave the emdbay. That's when he ran into Crackup coming in.

Crackup: "Ah, there you are. Seeing to our 'guests'?"

Optimus Minor: "As you instructed, yes. Although I must admit, I question your motives. After all, you were intent on destroying them earlier."

Crackup: "Only their ship, not them. I can make better use of them alive than dead. They will help augment my research, allowing me to get a 'jump' on things when we return to Cybertron. We'll be heading there shortly."

Optimus Minor: "I see."

Crackup: "Besides, I can't imagine why you would be concerned about my repairing seem more concerned about who I *don't* repair."

Optimus Minor: "So you are aware of my work on the Autobot?"

Crackup: "I am aware of everything on this ship. Did you intend to hide it from me?"

Optimus Minor: "Not at all...there simply wasn't an opportune moment to explain my actions to you, what with everything that has been going on."

Crackup: "You can explain now. I'm all ears."

Optimus Minor: "The timestream needs to be preserved. This one has a future that must not be ended in the past."

Crackup: "That's it?"

Optimus Minor: "I wasn't aware you needed more."

Crackup: "When it comes to countermanding my wishes, I would say yes, it requires more."

Optimus Minor: "I have no more to offer, for the time being. You will simply have to trust me."

Crackup: "I see."

With that, Crackup proceeded to exit the medbay, but not before turning to face Optimus Minor, and adding: "I'll let this one pass. Do not cross me again, or you may find my reaction less...favorable." Not waiting for his reply, he left the medbay. Optimus Minor could only stare at him in silence.

He was not alone in doing so.

Ironhide stepped out of the shadows.

Ironhide: "So he was going to leave me for dead, eh? Not surprising."

Optimus Minor: "I still don't understand why you were helping him in the first place."

Ironhide: "Believe me, it wasn't by choice. He'd disconnected my higher-brain functions. I was nothing more than a vehicon drone, blindly taking orders from him."

Optimus Minor: "But you're ok now?"

Ironhide: "Thanks to you. But I gotta ask: whose side are you on? I mean, you're helping him, but you helped me, too..."

Optimus Minor: "I am on the side of the future. I have to do whatever it takes to preserve that."

Ironhide: "Even if it means helping him?"

Optimus Minor: "Even if...."


"I don't care, ya dang butcher...I ain't gonna get no 'upgrade'."

Uncle Whiskey Breath was in the middle of an argument with Scoot. The latter wanted to help Uncle Whiskey Breath adapt to the times; the former was having nothing to do with it.

Uncle: "I don' care what youse wanna do...keep yer mitts offa me."

Scoot: "Look, for the last time, I am not trying to change you into a maximal beast; I'm merely trying to provide you with the means to fight against this new breed."

Uncle: "I been fightin' fine jus the way I am; ain't needin' none o' yer contraptions."

Scoot: "But this driver would allow you to call upon untapped power from your partner...."

Uncle: "An I tol ya; it ain't happ'n. Now go tinker wit someone else."

Scoot: " you wish."

Scoot rolled off to one of the other patients in medbay. Ever since Electrum Beast told them of the real war they'd been fighting, there was a mad rush from the others to medbay, to make sure everyone was in fighting shape. Of course, since the boss made it an order was besides the point- people wanted to be at their best. And considering the technology that was available...

Uncle didn't like it. For reasons he couldn't articulate, this desire of everyone's to embrace change didn't seem normal. A 'bot ought to be happy the way he is...why change it? Even if you're going against advanced beings, all you really needed was guts to get you thru. Besides...he didn't think these future 'bots were as big of a threat as everyone made them out to be. After all, Uncle was able to hold that one of 'em without any trouble. He would still have him if they hadn't taken the little lady hostage. Hmmm.....

Uncle: "Hey, anybody seen Clutterbug? Da little lady was here a few hours ago...."

Scoot: "I haven't seen her since she went to help you."

Uncle: "Hey Ticker, hows about you? She still here?"

Ticker: "Not that I've seen...she must have reactivated, and wandered off somewheres."

Uncle: "Without even saying howdy to me? Dat don't seem right... Computer: locate Clutterbug, eh?"

Computer: "Unable to comply. Clutterbug is not present in Milwaukee Base."

Uncle: "What?!"

Computer: "Records indicate that Clutterbug and test subject mc2 boarded a shuttle at 1300-breems, at which point they left scanner range. As the shuttle is no longer present in the bay, it is postulated that they used it to leave the base."

Uncle: "Hey, did she have permission to do dat?"

Ticker: "I certainly didn't authorise it."

Electrum Beast: "Nor did I. It appears we have a deserter on our hands."

Uncle: "She ain't no deserter!"

Electrum Beast: "Do you have an explanation for why she took off, instead of guarding the prisoner?"

Uncle: ", but it wasn't as though she had a prisoner to guard anymore anyways."

Now it was Electrum Beast's turn to be shocked.

Electrum Beast: "What?!"

Uncle: "Yea, she said that the lil' monkey that helped Crackup escape was the prisoner she was guarding."

Electrum Beast: "Optimus Minor has escaped?! Why wasn't I informed of this sooner?!"

Uncle : "Opti-who?"

Electrum Beast: "The name of the prisoner is...look, never mind. How long ago did this happen?"

Ticker: "Several cycles, I'd imagine, if you count from the time Uncle brought her into medbay for repairs."

Electrum Beast: (bad word)

Scoot: "I don't think that's possible with sheep."

Electrum Beast: "Red-Alert. All base personell report to medlab immediately for a briefing. This is not a drill."

Once again, the familiar sound of the alert-klaxxon filled the base. In a few moments, those who were not already in medlab for a checkup arrived, per Electrum Beast's order. When the crew was assembled, he began his briefing.

Electrum Beast: "I know you recieved your briefing only a few hours ago, so I apologise for calling you back here again. However, we have a crisis on our hands."

Flatfoot: "What, you run out of test-victims?"

Electrum Beast: This is not the time for jokes, soldier. The short version is that we were keeping one of the transwarpers in-custody here at the base. He's escaped. Clutterbug and our shuttle have also gone missing. I can only assume she might have been going after him of her own accord. Whatever the case, we need to go after her...him...them. If Optimus Minor falls into Crackup's hands, the sitiuation could be disasterous."

Uncle: "Eh, I hate to break dis to ya, but da monkey fella was *helping* tha decepti-bum escape."

Ticker: "*helping* him? But that doesn't make sense; he was a Maximal Defender...."

Uncle: " I know what I saw. I woulda had the lil' pink monster if Opti-whoever hadn't helped him."

Electrum Beast: "That news is disturbing, to say the least. But our mission remains the same. We have to recover them both."

Scoot: "If I may ask, how exactly do we do that?"

Electrum Beast: "Ticker....?"

Ticker: "Uh-uh, I'm only built to carry one or two people, not a whole platoon!"

Electrum Beast: "Then we'll just take the smallest warriors among us. Flatfoot, Bunny Convoy, and myself will board Ticker. The rest of you will remain here. Campaign Car, you're in-charge while we're gone."

Campaign Car: "Me?"

Electrum Beast: "It's time I started learning to trust you, right?"

Campaign Car: "I....thank you."

Electrum Beast: "Mind the store, CC."

With that, Ticker transformed, the the three warriors boarded. The ceiling retracted, and they blasted off, heading for orbit. The others watched until they were only a spec in the horizon, at which point they all turned toward Campaign Car.

Uncle: "Well, 'boss', what now?"

Campaign Car: "Cancel red alert. Return to your stations. We'll resume our normal duties until we hear from them."


Rapidly achieving orbit, Ticker sped toward the stars with her comrades in-tow. She had but one question:

Ticker: "So....where are we headed?"

Electrum Beast: "Cybertron. That's where the others will have gone. We have to stop them before they arrive."

To be Continued.

Onward to Part Nine!

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