The Leader didn't have to wait long.
Uncle Whiskey Breath spotted him in the distance. The location of the unknown figure matched the coordinates of the MARB platform's departure point.
There was no mistaking it.
This fellow knew something about Uncle's missing friends.
And he was waiting for him.
Uncle: "Eh, Windchill, swoop down and transform. We've got ourselves a target down here, and he's big. I might be needing some help, der-hey."
Windchill beeped his acknowledgement, and began to deorbit, locking in on Uncle's location. When he was close enough, he signaled Uncle, who transformed to robot-mode, tossing his weapon in the air near the decending spacecraft. Windchill transformed as well, locking onto Uncle's weapon, and combining with it, forming his trademark weapon.
Uncle grabbed his partner/weapon, and squared off against his opponent.
And what an opponent it was. Uncle was no slouch himself (being the oldest, and largest Dairycon) but The Leader was something else entirely. Bristling with weapons, and bearing the unmistakable air of someone who was used to being in charge.
The Leader: "Ahh, the famed Uncle Whiskey Breath. The final piece in this assorted collection of fools."
Uncle Whiskey Breath: "You tryin ta tell me somethin, buddy? Cause I got an earful fer you."
The Leader: "Oh, how quaint. You've affected the local fleshlings manerisms of communication. You're even more defective than I thought. It's a wonder you even got here."
Uncle Whiskey Breath: "Expecting me?"
The Leader: "Indeed. I fairly shouted my invitation to you."
Uncle Whiskey Breath: "Where are my friends?"
The Leader: "Oh, have no fears, you'll be joining them soon."
At that, The Leader brandished his weapon, while Uncle took aim with the Blizzard Bazooka. The fight...was about to begin.
Sunbeam couldn't help it.
He knew he shouldn't be here. Yet the doubts he experienced earlier continued to nag at him. Ever since he was pulled for this mission, he'd been plagued by them.
It was not his place to question The Leader.
Yet this course of action made no sense.
The motley crew that referred to themselves as Dairycons were to have been restored to their original forms, and returned to their rightful place in the timestream. Yet for some reason, The Leader had them all placed in cold storage, and...left there. There was no attempt made to modify them, reprogram them, or even restore them to their original forms. Indeed, with the exception of the one called Spot, they were all simply placed in stasis-lock as soon as they warped aboard.
And even the Dairycon called Spot wasn't having a good time of it. True, they managed to regenerate a goodly portion of the body structure, but the essense of the being, the lasercore, or 'spark'- that was proving elusive in resurrection. They had their best men on it, but so far the two techniques being used- trolling the matrix for the missing spark, and scouring the timeline for the exact moment that the spark left the structure in the first place- was proving fitful. And even if they did recover the spark, and fully regenerate the body, matching the personality component with the correct spark, what was the point? If The Leader was simply going to keep him - them - all in cold storage, then this entire exercise was a colossal waste of time and energy.
And perhaps it was the injustice of it all, and not just the broken promise to Campaign Car, that finally caused the shift in Sunbeam. From proud Decepticon warrior to Dairycon sympathiser. That's what he'd be labeled if he actually considered doing what he was thinking about at this precise moment...
And then the time for thinking was done. Sunbeam entered the bay where all the Dairycon stasis pods were being kept. He walked over to the access wall, typed in a few simple keystrokes, and brought up the core consciousness of his friend. Campaign Car, who should have been helping Sunbeam and the others in their mission, now being held in stasis like any other common criminal.
It wasn't right. Autobot, Decepticon, these designations held no meaning in the grander scope of things. Were they not all Cybertonians? Had they not all felt the pain of their mother planet during the time of Unicron, the time of the Vok? Was there no way to resolve the differences that plagued their species? Would their mission to repair the timeline end in failure?
And why was it he, and not Washout, who was about to do this? Why was their enemy, the very person who placed them into this state in the first place, about to be the one to set them all free?
It bore no reason. Clarity of thought beofre rashness of action; that's what they said at the academy. But what about gut instinct? What about righting a wrong that you caused?
The Leader would have his head for this.
A few more keystrokes, and it was done. He placed all of his thoughts, concerns, and information up to this point into Campaign Car's core consciousness, then set all the stasis pods in this room to open up in 8.3 earth minutes. That being done, SunBeam left the room, and headed down to the medbay, to see how work progressed on the one called Spot.
He didn't see Washout lurking in the stasis room during the entire process.
But Washout saw him. He activated the comm on his arm and spoke into it: "Washout to Designate: plan is progressing as charted." Flipping off his comm, Washout stepped back into the shadows, and awaited further instructions.
Or the end of the Universe.
Whichever came first.
Bailjumper decided he'd waited long enough.
Prying the sides of the sewer pipe open, he slowly pulled himself out of his temporary prison. Now that the stupid hulking Dairycon was on his way to the Leader, Bailjumper's portion of the mission was over. And since he wasn't given any instructions for what to do *after* the mission was over...
Bailjumper transformed into his vehicle mode, and headed down the highway, away from the Warehouse and the Leader's ship.
No sense wasting a golden opportunity like this.
Ever since his arrival on earth, Bailjumper had marveled at the gullibility of the fleshlings on this planet. Any other time, they'd flee in terror. But ever since the mistake in his reformatting process, he could go wherever he wanted to, and no-one would alert the Autobots.
Needless to say, he took full advantage of this. Being one of smaller stature, he could fit his robot mode more easily into areas of human egress. And his vehicle mode didn't seem to bother people on this part of the planet either. If anything, they would inadvertantly help him, if he played his words right.
Spying the off-ramp to his destination, Bailjumper turned, and prepared for his next target. The humans had been kind enough to tell him about this place earlier. Ostensibly, he was here to aid in the reconstruction efforts.
But truthfully, he was here for only one reason:
To Be Continued.