Part Three

The shots continued to rain down.

Uncle Whiskey Breath dodged and weaved as best he could, but without a targetlock, he was literally operating blind. He radioed Windchill, still up in orbit:

Uncle Whiskey Breath: "Ey, gimme a little cover-fire, and tell me where dis idiot is, okay?"

Windchill acknowledged, scanning the skies until he found the source of Uncle's problem: a M.A.R.B. unit, operated by an unknown assailant, firing weapons on his partner. Still in orbit, Windchill relayed the coordinates to Uncle, who took aim and fired upwards with his blizzard gun. At the same time, Windchill fired his wingtip lasers straight downward. The target, sensing the incoming shots but unable to dodge in-time, took the hit from both ends. Crippled, the MARB floated to the ground near where Uncle was standing. Landing roughly, the passenger, wounded, tumbled out. Uncle pointed his Blizzard Shotgun directly at the assailant's head.

Uncle Whiskey Breath: "Eh, now that yer shootin' gallery is on ice, hows about you tellin' me what's goin' on?"

Bailjumper: "I got nuthin to say. You don't scare me."

Uncle: "Really? What if I did this?"

Uncle placed his foot on Bailjumper's leg, and began to step down. Being quite a bit larger than the small Decepticon, and thus more massive, Uncle was able to activate Bailjumper's pain receptors with little effort. Though obviously discomfited, Uncle continued to step down, feling the metal in Bailjumper's leg begin to rend and buckle. Alarms lit up in Bailjumper's hud as the pain worsened and damage reports scrolled forward. Finally, not wanting to risk further damage to his exostructure, Bailjumper capitulated. He'd never come across an Autobot that could be so ruthless. He supposed that being the last one of his kind on the planet mightupset the old wanker a little, but to this degree...

Bailjumper: "Allright, allright, I'll talk! Geez, you have to make it so personal."

Uncle: "My friends are missing, and since dat somehow ties into youse..."

Bailjumper: "Yea yea, I get the picture. Look, I'm just the cleanup crew. I got nothing to do with your friends disappearin'. I'm just here to get you." (pulls a small device from his hip compartment)

Uncle: "And what's dat little toy you got dere?"

Bailjumper: "What, this? (hits button) This is a little something they cooked up in another reality. The slang name is, 'Megatron's Virus'(points it at Uncle Whiskey Breath...but nothing happens).

Uncle: "Oh ya.(knocks box out of Bailjumper's hands). Heard about it. Dat litle gizmo s'posed to modelock me, eh? Pull de utter one. I'm protected against dat."

Bailjumper: (incredulous)"But...but how? You should be falling over as we speak!"

Uncle: "Yea, and if I'd evera let 'em tinker wit my innerds, it mighta worked. But I'm old school. Nothing new here. My lasercore's still running DOS, fer pete's sake. You could fit my entire brain on a floppy disk."

Bailjumper: "That's...but...you...ugh!"

Uncle: "Ehehe. Don' worry 'bout it, junior. It's lights out now."(punches the top of Bailjumper's head; Bailjumper falls unconscious. Uncle Whiskey Breath looks around and, spying a ditch about twenty meters away from the roadside, drags Bailjumper there. Seeing that the drainage pipe is just large enough to fit him, Uncle shoves the unconscious Decepticon into it, then crimps the end closed.

That duty having been completed, Uncle approached the m.a.r.b. The unit, though damaged, still bore familiar markings. Bailjumper was using a piece of equipment that was originally part of Milwaukee Base. How a Decepticon had gotten ahold of it was still a mystery, but one that could hopefully be traced to its source("For that matter," Uncle thought, "that Decepticon kinda looked familiar, too. Or at least, his shape did. I seen him somewheres before, but where?"). Uncle accesed the flight record of the marb. Scrolling, he traced the unit's path backwards, from where it was currently...to where it started from. Adding the coordinates to his database, he radioed Windchill: "Eh, I got a lead on where dis clown came from. I'm gonna trace it back to da source. Keep an eye on me, eh?" Winchill beeped in the affirative. Uncle transformed, and headed down the highway, to the source-location of the stolen property. With any luck, he might find a clue to his friends' wherabouts...or even better, the friends themselves.

Back in the drainage ditch, in a crumpled pipe, a dented but conscious Bailjumper sent out a coded communique: "He fell for it. He's on his way." Closing the comm channel, Bailjumper decided to rest for a bit. No sense trying to get out of the pipe now. Better to wait until the hard work was done, and that big lunk of an Autobot was captured. He'd done his part already.

On the other end of the comm channel, a sinister face grinned at nothing in particular. He spoke to the person next to him: "Bailjumper has reported in. Soon, very soon, the Last Autobot will be in my clutches. My victory will be complete. How does that make you feel?"

Stepping out of the shadows, Washout didn't reply. He saw no point; Autobot, Decepticon, Maximal, Predacon, none of it really mattered anymore. The members of Milwaukee Base, and Flatfoot in-particular, had turned their back on him. He saw no reason to help them - and said as much. "You're the boss. You hired me to do a job, and I'm doing it. The rest is not my concern. Hardly matters to me which side wins. Just fill my beaker with energon."

The Leader: "And so it shall be. You were wise to choose the winning side. You have useful skills; it's the only reason we are talking here now. Otherwise, you would be with the rest of your friends, shut down and in cold storage on the ship."

Washout: "Speaking of which, why are we in this warehouse, and not on the ship? It hardly seems like a wise tactical move to be out on the open like this."

The Leader: "Ah, but we'll not be long. Only one more pickup, and then we'll be leaving for Cybertron."

Washout: "Good." Turning, he walked away from the Leader, back to the ship. SunBeam, in-charge of the egress ramp, allowed admittance. Without a word, Washout clanked by. SunBeam kept his own counsel, but he wondered; what would make a 'bot turn so fully on his comrades like this? Even Sunbeam didn't think it was right, what happened to the Dairycons and all, but Washout...he was one of them. And it didn't seem to bother him at all. How...strange. Did he not care at all that his comrades were stuck in cold-storage, on this very ship? He'd had free access for a week now; SunBeam had closely (yet unobtrusively) monitored him, bt Washout hadn't ventured even near the lift to the storage deck. And the Leader certainly put enough trust in him, giving him free access. What *was* going on here? It made no sense. It....nnnnh.

Sunbeam abandoned his train of thought; if he contined, he would only start to think about his role in the entire charade, and that was unsettling enough as it is. No sense in him wasting any more processor time on someone else's motivations. He should be concerned only with himself. It must be a glitch in his software that he kept thinking like this. A proper Decepticon woudn't give this any thought at all. Must be the weather in this particular region of earth. Stupid mudball. Closing the lift door, he activated the cloaking device. The ship wavered, then disappeared. The Leader chose to stay farther out, in the warehouse several hundred meters away. Apparently, the goal was to meet this Uncle hiskey Breath in-person, and...and what, he didn't know. Perhaps rend him limb from limb. Perhaps the Leader grew tired of just letting others do all the work. Perhaps he wanted to stretch his talons a bit. Perhaps he saw the Last Autobot as a challenge...or perhaps, no challenge at all. Either way, SunBeam figured, the answer would be known shortly. Sensors picked up a vehicle of Cybertronian design heading toward the leader's positon.

Let the games begin.

To Be Continued.

Onward to Part Four!

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