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Verno 21st March 2012 11:12 AM

TransWarp
 
TransWarp is the story of the end of the Great War.

It draws on G1, G2 and Furman's unofficial Alignment story, and paves the way to the Transformers universe as we know it at the beginning of the Beast Wars.

To do this, I've written 4 stories, some long, some short, but all tie together to create the final few months of the epic conflict. The stories follow:
  • Csirac - A Maximal Scientist
  • Ravage - Yes, Ravage.
  • Primal - A Maximal Pilot
  • Maxim - A Maximal Soldier

At the beginning of the story, Earth has been destroyed by the Predacons under Razorclaw, the Maximals have arisen as an off-world Autobot counter force to the new Predacon threat, and the Decepticons as a faction have ceased to be after the death of Megatron at the Hub Assult.

I hope you enjoy: TransWarp.

Verno 21st March 2012 11:13 AM

1
[From TransWarp: Ravage]


“The Decepticons are no more”, said Magnus, studying the two figures before him in the chamber, “but this war is far from over. The Predacons have thrown the rulebook out the window, so we’ve had to do the same.”

Rodimus spoke up. “As you’re both aware, some of your buddies are stupid enough to want to keep fighting and are now flying the Predacon banner. But when the Autobots win, and trust me, we will, ‘Cons will still have to answer for everything they’ve done during the course of the War - ‘bots like Megatron and Soundwave have got the easy way out.”

The comment stirred the Sparks of the two Decepticons.

“I don’t like the idea of cutting deals with the enemy, but it’s come to our attention that Megatron had you both running sight-seeing trips behind Pred lines before the Hub assault”, continued Magnus. "If word of that reached Razorclaw, he’d be quite interested in finding both of you - so here’s the deal: You keep making those trips, but you’ll be reporting back to us instead. And when it’s all over, your assistance in ending the War will be shown on your records, might even get you off some of the heavier charges."

Magnus let the proposal get worked through by their processors.

"This is your chance to make amends”, said Magnus.

“And get some payback”, added Rodimus. “What do you say?”

The two Decepticons looked at each other, then nodded to their new Autobot allies.

----------

2
[From TransWarp: Ravage]


The shadowy command room is alive with talk between large figures.

"How long until our stores of Energon are depleted, Lash?" asked a raspy voice in the gloom.

"With no new sources found and expenditure remaining constant... Three months", Lash replied.

"And with an increase in activity?" asked a figure to the left of the raspy-voiced form.

"With the increases you've outlined, General Rampant: a week, perhaps two", was Lash's reply.

"The end draws near, whether we are ready or not", Razorclaw sighed in the darkness. "Seethe, give me some better news."

"Our supply of Protoforms has reached its lowest ebb. We have ceased the transference of Sparks until a new resource can be located”, said General Seethe. This was hardly good news.

"The likelihood of which?" asked Razorclaw, but already had an inclination of the answer.

"All Maximal off-world operations have seemingly been shut down", said Seethe. "Production of the Protomatter is now exclusively on Cybertron."

"No doubt a response to the events on Earth", came a croaky voice.

"You believe that to have been a mistake, Cinder?" asked Razorclaw of his General.

"Only Time will be the true judge of that", replied Cinder.

"No location of any such stores has been discovered, but our vigilance in scouring their communications may possibly have yielded another target", said Seethe, getting the conversation back to a civil tone. "We've deduced the location of what we believe to be a Maximal research facility - their TransWarp laboratory."

"What evidence do you have to support this hypothesis?" asked Lash.

"Just a name", Seethe replied. "Csirac."

"Suggested course of action?" asked Rampant.

"A raid", replied Seethe simply.

"A hit-and-run, based solely on a name?" questioned Lash.

"He is the head of their study into the technology", said Cinder.

"His capture would instantly catapult our research forward", Seethe continued.

"Why are you afraid of 'Time', Seethe?" asked Razorclaw. "What horrors in your past are so terrifying that you feel the godlike impetus to control it?"

"The unknown future is the greater fear, my Lord", said Seethe.

"Rest assured, when we crush the Autobots, we will take their research as our own", said Razorclaw.

"With all respect, my Lord, you used the same reasoning in regard to our research into Protomatter", pressed Seethe.

"If the time and energy wasted tinkering with toys had been channelled into the effort on the front, the Decepticons would have won this war an age ago", replied Razorclaw, now becoming angered.

Seethe pressed on. "But my Lord-", only to be cut off.

"I've heard enough", growled Razorclaw. "The raid will not proceed. Our efforts are better spent elsewhere." Seethe sat back in his chair. "Is that everything?" asked Razorclaw, but didn't wait for an answer. "Good. Now, if you will excuse me, I have a meeting with some old friends."

Verno 21st March 2012 11:14 AM

3
[From TransWarp: Ravage]


The two Decepticons stood in the light at the centre of an enormous room, surrounded by a number of Predacons in the darkness, as a large, familiar form entered. “Laserbeak, Ravage. Welcome to the Predacons!”, announced Razorclaw, with little warmth in his raspy voice.

“I was saddened to hear about Soundwave. A great warrior, his talents wasted under Megatron”, he said, twisting the knife in the back of his dead former leader, to the laughter of the Predacon troops in the darkness surrounding them.

“Our forces grow stronger by the day”, he continued, motioning to the hall full of Predacon combatants, who were studying the two ancient warriors, “and are buoyed by recruits such as yourselves.” There were sniggers from the Predacons. Ravage and Laserbeak felt uneasy in the spotlight.

“But there is little time for reminiscing about the good old days, we must get down to business.” Razorclaw produced a large blaster, and from point-blank range, blew a hole through the chest of Laserbeak, who crumbled lifeless to the floor. Raucous cheering exploded from the audience of Predacons. Ravage prepared himself for the end.

“I won’t suffer fools!”, boomed Razorclaw. “I learnt that from Megatron, though he changed his tune towards the end - desperation will do that to you”, continuing his rant against his old master. He stepped closer to Ravage.

“There have been whispers, Ravage, voices in my ear asking why you’ve come. A more loyal Decepticon could never have been found: Megatron’s favourite pet, yet here you stand, ready to serve a turncoat.” The room was silent.

“You have talents I can utilise, Ravage, but let Laserbeak’s smouldering wreck be a lesson to you - if your resolve wavers even for a moment, you’ll end up on the slag heap next to him. Have I made myself clear?” Razorclaw was now face to face with Ravage. Ravage held his gaze.

“As I said before”, Razorclaw said as he turned and exited into the darkness, “Welcome to the Predacons.”

----------

4
[From TransWarp: Ravage]


Ravage found himself in an unfamiliar location, filled with unfamiliar faces.

“The famous Ravage…” said a voice. Ravage turned to see a large red ‘bot approaching. “Or should that be infamous. Stories of your endeavours are legend. Major Magmatron. It’s a pleasure to-"

“General Seethe", an imposing dark figure cut over Magmatron's introduction. "I’m sure you’ve heard tell me". Ravage certainly had.

“His reputation for tactics precedes him. That of his courage...” said Magmatron, making no attempt to hide the bite of the cutting remark.

“Your addition to the ranks will only boost the fearsome prestige the Predacons enjoy”, Seethe added, apparently unaffected by Magmatron’s jibe.

Magmatron gave a derisive laugh. “It’ll soon be clear to our honoured recruit who’s earned their prestige ." The distrust between the Predacon leadership was clear. Ravage was sure the Autobots would be interested in this.

“If you wish to discuss leadership styles, then I would be glad to oblige you, at another time”, said Seethe, dismissingly. “I believe you have your orders", Seethe said to Magmatron. Ravage wondered what they might entail.

Magmatron knew the conversation was over, and turned back to Ravage. “It'll be an honour to serve beside you.” Magmatron turned and walked away without so much as a look towards his commanding officer.

Seethe watched him leave, before ushering Ravage to accompany him. “Come, Ravage, we have much to discuss.”

----------

5
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Note: The events of Scene 5 take place during the Beast Wars, just after Coming of the Fuzors Part 2.

Optimus Primal, in his new Transmetal form, stands in the doorway of a room on board the Axalon. An odd-looking table with arms can be seen in the room. The figures of Rhinox and Rattrap approach.

“They’re impressive new forms”, said Rhinox as he entered the room.

“They’ll certainly take some getting used to”, replied Primal, briefly looking at his new body - his old one currently littering space in a million pieces. “Thank you, old friend”, he said to Rhinox, who simply shook his head at the gratitude. “So, what is it, exactly?” asked Primal, looking at the table.

“You mean besides ugly?” snorted the small Transmetal Maximal.

“Shut up, Rattrap”, Primal replied.

“It was designed by a Maximal scientist towards the end of the Great War. And now that you’ve seen what it can do, you understand its danger”, said Rhinox, gathering tools.

“Danger?” questioned Rattrap. “Are you kiddin’? We could bring back anyone! The Beast Wars would be over tomorrow!”

“But if the Predacons got hold of it, they could do the same thing”, said Primal, studying the device.

“Exactly”, said Rhinox, taking a seat at the foot of the table. “Until the tear in Space-Time has healed, feats like this remain possible. The sooner I dismantle it the better.”

“What?!” protested Rattrap.

“Agreed”, said Primal, ignoring Rattrap.

“You just gunna throw away our best hope of endin’ this war anytime soon, huh?” continued Rattrap in his protestation. Optimus and Rhinox simply looked at Rattrap - they didn’t have to say anything. “I know, I know, ‘Shut up, Rattrap’…” he said, rolling his optics as he left the room, carrying on his complaints to himself.

“Who was he?” asked Primal.

“His name was Csirac”, said Rhinox, beginning the disassembly. “He was a good friend of mine.”

“Well, I owe him my thanks”, said Primal as he left the chamber.

“We all do”, Rhinox said to himself, “more than we know.”

Verno 21st March 2012 11:20 AM

6
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Note: The events of Scene 6 are back in the normal timeline with the previous scenes.

Three Maximal engineers are working on an engine, but keeping an eye on a fourth, who is working alone.

“I don’t know how he keeps going”, said an Autobot-sized Maximal to his colleagues. "He's gonna burn himself out!"

“His work is all he’s got left", replied the bulky but smaller brown and green robot beside him.

"I know there’s a war on, but everyone needs to cool their processors every once in a while. Someone should talk to him", said the third, larger Maximal, looking between his two colleagues, not wanting to be the one to do it. The focus of the two larger Maximals fell on their small partner.

"Fine. But get this thing built", he said, putting down his tools and moving off.

"Csirac", he said to the Maximal staring into an interface.

Csirac pulled back and rubbed his optics. "How’s that engine coming, Rhi-“

*BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!*

A massive explosion rips through the facility.

Predacon troops swarm into the lab with weapons drawn but everyone inside is offline.

"Find him!" roared a large red Predacon, clearly in command. "Leave the others, they're dead anyway!"

His troops spread out among the offline Maximals, checking them.

"Is this him?" asked a dark Proto-Predacon hopefully.

The commanding Predacon smiled. "Finally you've done something right, Ticker! Bring him!"

"Yes sir", replied Ticker, as he and another Predacon hauled the Maximal out.

The red Predacon surveyed the carnage. "Mangle!" he yelled to one of his troops, "I said leave the others!"

Mangle was holding the small brown and green Maximal up by one of his legs. "Come on, Magmatron, this is too easy! These little ‘bots were meant to put up a good fight!"

Magmatron had no time for this. "Let's go!" he barked, as he made to cover the exit.

Mangle held the smaller ‘bot up. "Next time, Maximal!", he said, before dropping him.

"Move out!" cried Magmatron, as he hurried his remaining troops out the exit. He took one last look at the lab consumed in flames, then was gone.

The brown and green Maximal rolled onto his back and looked around the room. "Oh no..."

----------

7
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Note: Memory/Dream Sequence.

The cockpit of a fighter is in focus as a countdown begins.

10 - Lights are green across the board. The cell is holding steady…

9 - MAD Wing is reporting a clear scope. The sky is yours…

8 - Reading small power fluctuations but within expected ranges…

7 - Final checklist complete. Lights are still green. We are a GO, repeat GO…

6 - Sequences locked in. Diverting engine power through the TransWarp cell…

5 - Power surges through some minor systems. Vibrations through the ship…

4 – MAD Wing, give me some room up here…

3 - *Woorp Woorp* Alarm! Major power fluctuations throughout the ship!

2 – Systems are crashing but the engines are continuing to draw power. Shut it down… Shut it down!...

1 - My darling…

*BOOOOOOOOOOM*

----------

8
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Csirac came back online with a jolt, his sensors screaming. The same dream. He groaned as he tried to move.

"Ah excellent, you're awake", said a croaky voice.

Csirac tried to focus his optics but everything was still a blur. Details started to whir back into his processors.

"Peh.. Prehh..." he slurred.

"Give it a moment. You're vocal subroutines are still coming back online", said the voice, whose form was becoming clearer, then suddenly came into sharp focus. Spindly, creepy, most definitely...

"... Predacon..." Csirac finally managed to get out.

"Of sorts", replied the slender, purple Predacon, before giving a metal-chilling cackle. "I am Taranachus."

"The lab... How did you know..." said Csirac, pulling himself up, as the details of the raid came back to him.

"Oh, we know a lot of things", replied Taranachus, "but that should be of no concern to you now. What you should be asking is..?" he posed, playfully.

Csirac knew where Taranachus was going with this. "What do you want with me", he said.

Taranachus cackled, gleefully. "Yes! A much more interesting question! One with an easy answer, really..."

Csirac was now sitting upright and again knew exactly where Taranachus was leading him. "A TransWarp cell."

Taranachus cackled once again. "Yes." A control panel behind him began to beep. Taranachus turned from Csirac and addressed it.

"And supposing I refuse?" Csirac asked futilely.

Taranachus gave a blunt answer whilst typing rapidly. "Then I'll extinguish your Spark and extract the information I require from your data-tracks."

"There's just one problem", said Csirac, as he began to study the contents of the room, “unless you hadn't noticed, we haven't got one to work yet."

Taranachus was distracted with the panel but continued in the banter. "Yes, we watched the last launch with great interest. The finale was spectacular!" The failure of the Lexor, the Maximals’ 1st TransWarp test ship, was still an open wound for Csirac, for many reasons.

Taranachus gave a frustrated squeal and moved from the panel towards to doorway just as it opened. Two solid Predacons were dragging a battered form between them. They dumped it unceremoniously on the floor before exiting without a word. Csirac recognized the crumbled ‘bot instantly.

"Commander Silverbolt", said Taranachus. He was heavily damaged and Csirac feared for his Spark.

"Is he..?" he asked, unable to bring himself to say it.

"Just in Stasis. Fix him up, I need him online”, said Taranachus, before turning and exiting himself, the door closing and locking solidly behind him.

Verno 21st March 2012 11:21 AM

9
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Rhinox had spent a few quick cycles in a repair bay, but now found himself sitting at a desk in one of the Autobot command rooms.

"For his sake - I hope he's dead." Rhinox looked up at the Autobot commander. "And as his friend", Magnus continued, "you should too." Rhinox could never hope such a thing. "But if they took him alive then reason would dictate that he remains so; they obviously have a use for him." Magnus sat back in his chair. "What does he know?"

"Nothing tactical", replied Rhinox. "They'd be after his technical knowledge."

"TransWarp", Magnus stated, unhappily.

"Amongst other things", said Rhinox. "He was part of Project: Macpherson on Earth, and was actually one of the first to adopt a Protomatter body. That knowledge could be dangerous in the wrong hands."

Magnus sat in silent contemplation for a moment before continuing. "We haven't got the resources to mount a search and rescue mission. I'm sorry."

"So that's it?" Rhinox asked, unable to hide the anger in his voice.

"No. Has the raid delayed the launch of the next ship?" asked Magnus.

Rhinox shook his head. "Looking at the lab you wouldn’t think it, but we got lucky. A few stray blasts could have seen us back at square one."

"The relocation of the lab is underway as we speak", continued Magnus. "Let's hope this one stays a secret longer than the last, but I can't guarantee anything.” Rhinox admired his honesty; there were no guarantees in war. "You're all going to have to take some matters into your own hands", said Magnus, reaching for something behind the desk.

"Like what?" asked Rhinox, puzzled.

Magnus produced a set of chain guns and placed them on the desk with a solid thud. Rhinox simply stared in silence, his mouth agape.

"Welcome to the party."

----------

10
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Csirac approached the massive form of Silverbolt to assess the damage.

"Maximal?" murmured Silverbolt. Csirac jumped back in alarm.

"Sorry, I thought you were offline", he said, reapproaching.

"Are you Maximal?" Silverbolt asked again.

"Yes. I'm Csirac."

"Silverbolt." He tried to lift himself.

"It's a pleasure to meet you", said Csirac, attempting to offer Silverbolt support as he got up, but Silverbolt's leg was badly mauled. "The joint is shattered", said Csirac, surveying the damage. “I doubt there's the equipment here to fix it properly", he said, turning to look at the rabble of stolen Maximal equipment behind him, "all I can do is fuse it so you can stand. You'll limp worse than Kup though."

"Do it", said Silverbolt as he rolled over to let Csirac attend the joint. "Knew Kup, did you?" Silverbolt asked.

Csirac shook his head. "I've only heard stories."

"Yeah, we'll he had plenty of them", said Silverbolt, as he began to take in his surrounds. "What is all that stuff?" he asked, motioning to the stash of equipment.

"Maximal tech. Stolen from Earth most likely", said Csirac, his optics not moving from his work.

"They continue to surprise. Taking prisoners isn't usual Predacon practice. Where did they find you?" Silverbolt asked.

"They raided a lab. I woke up here. And you?" asked Csirac, continuing the operation.

"A raid? Led by a big red 'bot by any chance?" asked Silverbolt.

The rest of their conversation was cut short by the sound of the chamber's door unlocking. Two heavy-set goons entered, the same ones that had dumped Silverbolt in earlier. They said nothing as they stood either side of the doorway, which was soon filled with the terrifying figure of Razorclaw.

Csirac had only ever heard stories of the Predacon leader, but now standing before him, they seemed more like nightmares.

Silverbolt tried to stand but was still recovering from his violent capture. "Don't do it on my account", Razorclaw said to Silverbolt. "You've earnt a lie down.” Silverbolt's hatred towards Razorclaw was clear, but he said nothing.

"We are in the presence of our own future, Silverbolt", Razorclaw said, but now staring squarely at Csirac. "We're no longer the pinnacle of technology. Never could we have imagined that our fate would look quite like this", Razorclaw finished, clearly in reference to Csirac's Maximal Protomatter body.

"I take it you're not a fan?" asked Csirac, attempting to sound as in control as possible, but failing.

"On the contrary", came the reply. "I foresee a day when every Spark on Cybertron will be clad in Protomatter. Why else would I have tapped the rich supply of it on Earth?"

"Tapped?!" Silverbolt said with disdain in his voice. "You blew the planet up! Killed billions of humans in the process!"

"It was a brutal planet. Always had been and was until its end", Razorclaw said simply. "And the humans? Nothing more than savages. I watched them scramble over each other, trying to get aboard evacuation ships, hoping to escape - only to be shot down by our fighters waiting in orbit".

Csirac was shocked by the casual tone of Razorclaw's words.

"Our intelligence says that you were stationed there", Razorclaw continued to Csirac. "Given your talents, and appearance, it's easy to surmise that you had a hand in the creation of the Protomatter technology".

"Right so far", said Csirac, uneasy under the extreme focus. "What else does it say?"

"You're a... Pacifist." Sniggers came from the bulky Predacons at the door. Csirac was surprised they knew what it meant. "Excuse my mentioning it but we have a different name for ‘bots like you: Target Practice.” The sniggering at the door continued.

"Is that what I'm here for?" Csirac asked, gaining confidence as he became more incensed.

"No. I have a greater task for you.” Csirac now knew what prey felt like. Razorclaw's stare was hypnotizing.

"And what about me?" said Silverbolt. Csirac had almost forgotten he was in the room.

"You're here just so I can see the look of terror on your face.” Razorclaw gave no clarification as to what that meant as he turned to face his troops at the door. "Bring them", he said, then exited the chamber. Csirac went without a fuss. Silverbolt, however, was scuffed and paraded through the corridors of Predacon onlookers, all glaring at the captured enemy. Whatever and wherever this facility was, it was big.

"Tell me", said Razorclaw, whom Csirac found himself walking next to, "did you ever attempt to construct a Protomatter combiner?"

Answering would usually have been considered an act of treason, but given Csirac's current situation, he felt he had little choice but to answer. "No", Csirac said truthfully. "The priority was production once we'd perfected the technology.”

"Pity. It will make your task all the more difficult.” Csirac made to enquire about just what this task was, but Razorclaw continued. "I thought of entrusting it to one of our engineers, but to have it built by someone who knows the full capabilities of the technology, then all the better for us.”

"Have what built?" asked Silverbolt before Csirac had the chance to, who was still fending off evil looks as they continued through the seeming labyrinth of corridors.

"We are brothers, Silverbolt", he replied, cryptically. "Brothers in loss. You took away mine, I took away yours.”

Word of the defeat of the four other original Predacons had reached even those working in the TransWarp lab. It was met with great cheer. The death of the other Aerialbots however, that was news to Csirac - terrible news. He turned and looked at Silverbolt, who had a look of pain and anger on his face.

"I wish I was there to see them burn! A big Predacon roast!" spat Silverbolt, who earnt a solid punch to the torso for his efforts, but his head came back up with a smile on it. "We celebrated that night! Four Preds down, one to go!"

"And yet here I am, alive and well - and also the bearer of bad news", Razorclaw said as he turned to face the Autobot. They had arrived at a heavy set of doors, guarded by two enormous Predacons, so big they put the two Predacons scuffing Silverbolt to shame. Whatever was behind this door was incredibly important.

"Perhaps instead of celebrating you should have been more thorough in your work", said Razorclaw, coldly.

"What do you mean?" asked Silverbolt, who'd momentarily stopped wrestling in the grip of his handlers.

Razorclaw smiled. Csirac really wished he hadn't. "Open it", he commanded to the enormous guards.

The doors swung back to reveal a vast chasm of what seemed endless blackness. But as they entered and Csirac's optics attuned to the light, there began to emerge a blue hue to the light. They approached two vast cylinders from which the blue light was emanating. Their contents couldn't yet be made out clearly.

"While Rampage and Tantrum are lost to me..." said Razorclaw, as Csirac approached the cylinders, whose contents were now clear to everyone.

"No... NOOOO!!!" screamed Silverbolt.

"The Sparks of Divebomb and Headstrong pulse on!" boomed Razorclaw.

There, suspended in the blue liquid, we're the damaged forms of Razorclaw's two, surviving, Predacon brothers, hooked up to all manner of tubing and life support equipment.

"You want a new body", said Csirac, stunned by the sight.

"I want a new PREDAKING!" roared Razorclaw.

----------

11
[From TransWarp: Ravage]


“Have you read Ravage’s report?” asked Rodimus, throwing the tablet containing the report over the desk.

“He’s good, very detailed”, replied Bumblebee.

“Oh yeah, infighting amongst the Generals - who would have thought?" Rodimus asked sarcastically.

“If Magmatron's promotion to General has caused that kind of friction in the leadership, then it lends itself to implosion", said Magnus. "If Razorclaw could be removed-"

“Because that’s been so easy to do before now”, said Rodimus, cutting him off.

“We didn’t have a man on the inside before now”, said Magnus.

“Ravage?” questioned Rodimus.

“If he can get close enough”, said Magnus. Rodimus shook his head. "With four Generals to pick from, the faction could splinter", Magnus pressed on. "The only uniting factor is Razorclaw.”

"He certainly rules with an iron fist", Bumblebee chimed in. “I mean, Laserbeak wasn’t just some ‘bot off the street, he was an experienced warrior, and he killed him, just like that!"

Rodimus still wasn't convinced. "And what kind of Energon-filled carrot are we offering to get him to agree to all of this?"

“Amnesty”, said a commanding voice in the doorway. There, back on his own two feet for the first time in far too long, stood…

“Optimus!" Bumblebee said, rushing to shake his hand, delighted to see his leader back in the land of the living.

“You can’t be serious, Prime", said Rodimus, who was also glad to see him, but couldn't help being against of the idea.

Optimus took a seat at the table. “If Ravage can stop Razorclaw, then we owe him his freedom.”

“You’re putting all your hopes in a Decepticon?” queried Rodimus.

“In the Spark of an enemy, there will be salvation, and in the darkest hour, there will be a light”, said Prime, quoting the Covenant, for which Rodimus had never held much stead.

"Ok, it's an option", Rodimus conceded.

Prime shook his head. "It's our only option. We're taking the fight to them."

"Prime?" questioned Bumblebee.

Prime studied his commanders. "Too many friends have been lost to us. We're ending this war."

A smile crept across Rodimus' face for the first time. Prime's tone was resolute. "Alright. Let's do it", agreed Rodimus.

Verno 21st March 2012 11:22 AM

12
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


"I'm not too thrilled about it but what choice do I have?" asked Csirac.

"You can tell them to cram I up their exhaust port!" said Silverbolt, limping as he paced the room.

"I value my Spark a little higher than that", retorted Csirac, taking a seat at the large table in the room. “Given the option of building him a new body or a TransWarp cell, I’d pick the body every time.”

Silverbolt looked at him and asked "But what do you think they'll do with you after you build it? You’re dead no matter which way you look at it." Csirac began to sketch out details on the data-slate. "Fine. Do their dirty work for them, as long as you realise your clock is ticking."

"Then I'll take as long as I can to do it", snapped Csirac. "Buy us time to figure a way out of here."

Silverbolt laughed bitterly. "Us? Unarmed and injured, against the entire Predacon army. You saw what's on the other side of that door!"

"Then we wait for rescue", said Csirac, unwilling to concede.

"They're not looking for us", said Silverbolt dismissively. "They don't even know this place exists." Silverbolt took a seat opposite Csirac at the table. The silence between them stretched.

"You want to hold out for something?" Silverbolt finally asked. "Hope that the Autobots win soon and that you're somehow still alive at the end. Whatever plans you might have had, forget them. Our part in the war is over." Silverbolt folded his arms on the table and rest his head upon them.

"I'd have never believed it", said Csirac. "An Autobot Commander giving the order to give up."

Silverbolt laughed without surfacing. "That's ironic, coming from the pacifist - someone who never had the courage to pick up a blaster in the first place."

"True, I've never fought, but I worked to bring an end to the war through peaceful means. Discouraging the Predacons from continuing to fight."

"They won't be coerced into peace!" said Silverbolt, finally lifting his head. "Razorclaw will fight til the end." Csirac again fell into silence, but Silverbolt was angry now. "And what then? Huh? The day will come when the Autobots are desperate enough and actually use the weapon you've created."

"It's not a weapon!" Csirac stated firmly.

"Temporal erasion", said Silverbolt. "If that's not a weapon I don't know what is."

The door unlocked and two big Preds carried three Protomatter pods in and deposited them. Silverbolt gave Csirac a scowl.

"Come with us", said one of the Predacons.

Csirac stepped forward. "What do you want now?"

The Pred shook his head. "Not you mini-bot."

Csirac turned to see a stern look on Silverbolt's face.

"Good, get me out of here", said Silverbolt. "The company can't get any worse."

From behind one of the big Predacons stepped Taranachus.

"Don't be so sure..." he said, with a cackle.

----------

13
[From TransWarp: Ravage]


General Seethe had held several meetings with Ravage to help bring him up to date on Predacon activities, as well as to introduce him to Razorclaw’s other Generals: Cinder, who oversaw the Predacon Air force, and Rampant, who led the majority of the ground forces. The newest of Razorclaw’s Generals, Magmatron, was not at the meeting however.

"Part of my command is intelligence gathering - intercepting Autobot and Maximal communications; something I've had great success with. Your addition to the fold will improve our abilities in this area to no end”, said Seethe from the other side of the desk.

“Given the amount of information Seethe intercepts, both foreign and friendly, together with Rampant and myself, we have become an unofficial force for policing our own troops, weeding out disloyalty”, said Cinder. Ravage suddenly felt on edge.

“We’re under no illusions as to why you’re here”, said Rampant, coldly. “With Soundwave and Megatron dead, you suddenly find yourself without a strong leader to stand behind.” More talking isn’t what Ravage was expecting from Rampant.

“You’re not a coward; you simply have no aspirations higher than post. You’re a soldier, you live to serve your faction.” Seethe’s words weren’t calming Ravage’s circuits just yet. “We are no different”, he continued. “Our aim is to strengthen the Predacon Army in every capacity we can.”

“We want you to kill Magmatron.”

Silence greeted Rampant’s words. “He is reckless, brash, naďve and foolish, and breeds such poor qualities in the troops he commands”, spat Rampant. Ravage couldn’t believe what he was hearing. These Predacons would have put Starscream to shame.

“For the Predacon leadership to stay strong, we can’t put our hopes in an accident to see out our wishes”, said Cinder, re-joining the discussion. “For the good of the Predacon cause, it must be a precise strike that finds its mark with full lethality.”

“In order for the future to remain bright, Magmatron must be removed”, pressed Seethe. “Your skills for this task are second to none, and you’ve witnessed firsthand what an unstable leadership can do to a faction.”

“We will confirm with you when you are to proceed with the task", added Cinder. “Have no doubt - it is for the good of the Predacon cause.”

----------

14
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


The doors of the chamber opened and the two large Predacons dragged the drained figure of Silverbolt in, dumping him unceremoniously on the floor, before leaving without a word. Once the doors closed and locked, Csirac went to help Silverbolt.

"What did they do to you?" he asked, assessing Silverbolt's damage.

Silverbolt pushed the small Maximal away. "Tried to install some kind of programming", he said, struggling to his feet. "Why? Want to give them a hand with that too?" Silverbolt said bitterly.

"What kind of programming?" Csirac asked, ignoring the jibe. This was concerning news.

Silverbolt shook his head. "Whatever it is, it works on Protoforms but didn't want to take to old technology", said Silverbolt, giving in to the fatigue and sliding down against the wall.

"A shell program", Csirac said more to himself than to Silverbolt.

"Which is?" Silverbolt asked with a sigh.

Csirac was worried. "We designed the Protomatter technology with Maximal coding as a failsafe. If the technology was stolen or copied, it was hoped the Predacons would be unable to use it."

"You were wrong there. I've seen plenty of pint-sized Preds", said Silverbolt.

Csirac nodded sadly. "They developed a shell program, an override. From what we know, it takes the core consciousness hostage and alters facets of a Protoform's personality. Attempts to remove the program haven't ended well."

Silverbolt was now paying attention. "So if they get it to work..."

"You'll be a Predacon", said Csirac, sadly. But his processors were still working through the details. "The question is why".

"Pretty obvious, isn't it? Preds would have an agent within Autobot Command." Silverbolt struggled to his feet. "That can't happen."

"It hasn't happened yet", said Csirac, unsure what Silverbolt was thinking.

"It won't happen", said Silverbolt, his eyes scanning the chamber. He moved towards the desk, flipped it violently and ripped one of the legs from it.

"What are you doing?" pleaded Csirac, his processors whirring faster than ever. He moved closer wearily.

Silverbolt had a look of utmost conviction in his eyes as he lifted the leg to his chest. "Better dead than Pred..."

"Noo!" yelled Csirac as he ran and collided with Silverbolt's legs, knocking him slightly off balance.

"Get off!" said Silverbolt, attempting to shove the Maximal away. Silverbolt over-balanced and came crashing down, the table leg flying from his grasp.

"I won't sell the Autobots out!" yelled Silverbolt, as he struggled to get back up.

"Killing yourself isn't the answer!" Csirac cried, still clinging to his leg.

"What else am I supposed to do?!" yelled Silverbolt, who thrashed around in frustration. Csirac was flung into the wall.

Everything went black.

Verno 21st March 2012 11:22 AM

15
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Note: Memory/Dream Sequence.

"Am I allowed in here?" asked a slender fembot as she nervously entered the Maximal lab.

"Just look official", said Csirac, ushering her in, smiling.

He led her to a workstation, covered in components of unknown use. "You have to see this", he said, directing her attention to a viewing device, much like a microscope. She looked into it, still unsure that she should be in the lab at all.

"They're beautiful", she said as her optics studied the glowing particles as they flew around under the lens. "What am I looking at?"

"Trans-Ion particles", said Csirac triumphantly. "The building blocks used to construct a TransWarp cell."

The fembot looked up from the scope. "It works?" she asked, slightly stunned.

"We created the first small cells for testing some time ago and have now received the green light to compile a larger cell for further testing", said Csirac. "We'll have a full scale test very soon", he said smiling. "Yes, it works."

The fembot threw her arms around Csirac and embraced him. "My darling..." she said, as the scene was consumed in a flash of light.

----------

16
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Csirac awoke in an all-too familiar way of late: with a groan after bad dreams. He was at the foot of the wall. Silverbolt was sitting beside him. The silence carried on a few moments longer.

"Who's Venus?" Silverbolt asked softly, his optics still staring at the opposite wall.

"How..?" began Csirac.

"You were mumbling the name as your systems came back online", said Silverbolt. "A friend of yours?"

Csirac took a moment to answer. "Sparkmate."

Silverbolt laughed. "That's a word I haven't heard in a long time. You’re a lucky ‘bot."

Csirac hadn't discussed it with anyone. "She’s… a pilot with the MAD Wing.”

“My kind of girl”, said Silverbolt. Csirac looked at him; he was smiling. “Earth culture rubs off on you after a while.” Csirac remained silent. "Are you alright?" asked Silverbolt.

"Yes", said Csirac. The two of them sat in silence for a few moments, both in quiet contemplation.

"I came into this war and I knew my place; I had a purpose", said Silverbolt. “Now... I don't know. What good can one part of a combiner do? I wish I'd died with them."

More silence before Csirac replied. "I got to see you in action once. I was on board the Laraam. We came under Predacon fire on re-entry. You performed a solo bombing run to take out the Predacon artillery, and then escorted us in. If it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be here."

"The Laraam, huh? The last shuttle from Earth”, said Silverbolt. “Beautiful planet."

"I'm not dying in here, Silverbolt", Csirac said with resolve. "And neither are you."

"I like your optimism", came the reply with a smile.

“I want to be able to see the stars when I go, not some filthy bunker wall.” Csirac turned to look at Silverbolt. “I have an idea how to get us out of here”, said Csirac, “but with him crawling around in your circuitry I can’t risk telling you yet.”

"Understood", said Silverbolt, with a nod. “What do you need from me?”

“I need you to trust me”, said Csirac to his Autobot friend.

----------

17
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Silverbolt studied the holo-display images emanating from the data-slate. He had a look of concern of his face. "Is Razorclaw killing you part of the plan? Because that's what he's going to do if you build this."

"What's wrong with it?" asked Csirac, who was unrolling some cables.

"The combined mode is incredible", said Silverbolt, scanning through the 3D images. "But with no individual robot modes, he's not going to like it."

"Concessions had to be made because of the intricate nature of the combination", said Csirac, still absorbed in his work.

"What's this second shield? It doesn't fit with the rest of the design", asked Silverbolt, having a closer look at the specifications.

"That's for me", Csirac replied, without looking up.

"Oh, so you are expecting some fireworks", said Silverbolt. "At least you're prepared."

"It's his nature", said Csirac, assessing Razorclaw's mentality.

"But it's all part of the plan?" quizzed Silverbolt, looking for reassurance.

"Yes. Now help me hook up the pods", said Csirac, with his head buried under the data-slate.

Silverbolt clicked off the display and walked to the pods. "This trust thing would be easier if you gave me something", he said with hope.

"Alright", said Csirac, emerging. "The plan has one major flaw."

Silverbolt didn't know whether to laugh or cry. "Terrific..."

Verno 21st March 2012 11:23 AM

18
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Csirac crashed back to the floor and skidded into the far wall. He'd been expecting the hit for some time.

"Mistakes...", growled Razorclaw, as he approached the Maximal after sending him flying. "I was foolish to give you as much freedom as I did; I can see that now. It won't happen again", he said as he crouched down. "As for you, Csirac, you disappoint me. It's almost as if your Spark wasn't quite in it. That too will change, or you'll be melted down and used as mortar casings. Alive or dead - used to kill your own kind."

Behind Razorclaw stood a congregation of Predacons surrounding an imposing, lifeless form.

"What do you want us to do with it, my Lord? Scrap it?" asked a large ‘bot.

Taranachus, who had been intently studying the Protomatter combiner, spun around at this comment. "Might I suggest we keep it, Lord Razorclaw. It will aid our understanding of the technology."

"Just get it out of my sight!" barker Razorclaw without taking his stare from the small form below him.

Two burly Predacons lifted the body and removed it from the chamber, Taranachus trailing it out.

"All designs will pass before my optics before they're executed. I see that to be the best way to avoid any unnecessary violence, wouldn't you agree?"

"Yes", said Csirac, not daring to look up.

Without another word, Razorclaw stood, turned and led his fellow Predacons from the room, the door locking with its usual clunk.

"Are you alright?" asked Silverbolt.

Csirac sat up with a groan. "All part of the plan."

----------

19
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Silverbolt was hurled back into the chamber by the bulky Predacons. Another session was over. He rolled onto his back after the door locked. "He's given up on the programming, for the moment at least."

"Why take you in then?" asked Csirac, bringing up the 3D display.

"I think he just likes crawling around in there", said Silverbolt, with a shudder. He stood up and approached the desk. "How's it coming?"

"Slowly", said Csirac, disappointment in his voice.

Silverbolt assessed the schematics. "Not bad. An improvement on the first one for sure."

"It served its purpose", said Csirac.

"I hope so. You were off the ground for a few nano-cycles", said Silverbolt, smiling. "Your shield would have come in handy", he said, picking up the object. "Are you going to tell me what it is yet?"

"No", said Csirac, still engrossed in his work.

Silverbolt laughed at the short reply. "Prowl always said: 'play to your strengths', and yours is definitely secrecy", said Silverbolt, putting down the object and returning his focus to Csirac's work. "Aircraft design on the other hand, not your strong suit."

"You knew Prowl?" Csirac enquired.

Silverbolt nodded. "He was a good one for secrecy, too. Very important when it came to strategy." Silverbolt sat down at the desk with a sigh. "We could have used him at the Hub assault. That was a fiasco", Silverbolt said sadly, lost in memory. "Some more heavy-hitter wouldn't have gone astray either."

"Like who?" Csirac asked, continuing his line of questioning.

"Take your pick", said Silverbolt. "Blaster, Kup... Ironhide was always good in a tight spot."

"Like this one?" asked Csirac.

"Yeah", said Silverbolt with a smile. "But reminiscing will get us nowhere", he said, taking control of the data-slate from Csirac. "Let me show you what a real jet looks like."

----------

20
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Everyone in the room was tense, none more so than Csirac - a lot was riding on this design. He'd been part of two great projects in his life, whose effects were sure to leave their mark on Cybertron. But as important as those two were, this one stood beside them. It was an incredible piece of engineering.

Razorclaw was studying each form of the holo-display in detail. A final click displayed the combined form. Razorclaw's optics narrowed. He turned to face the room and stared squarely at Csirac.

"Build it", he said simply. There were noises of agreement from his troops. He stepped towards Csirac and the room fell to silence again, but his optics lifted to meet Silverbolt's, who was standing cross-armed behind Csirac.

"I am told you had a hand in the design, Silverbolt. I'd say you missed your calling", Razorclaw said with a sneer.

"You understand the additional requirement?" asked Csirac, drawing Razorclaw's attention, whose optics fell back to the Maximal.

"A fourth pod..." he said.

"Four?" queried one of Razorclaw's underlings. "My Lord, our resources are-"

Razorclaw sharply lifted a hand to silence him; his eyes not moving from Csirac. He went to speak, but the voice of a Predacon broke in.

“My Lord, I’m receiving reports of increased Autobot activity. They’ve pushed our forward positions back and there are unconfirmed sightings of... of...” The young Predacon didn’t want to say the name.

Razorclaw’s face twisted into a smile. “Prime”, he said with a growl. “Back and leading the Autobots once again.” Razorclaw turned to face his squad. “The war ends today, Predacons!” he growled again. “To your posts!” he barked to the troops, who scattered instantly, as he turned back around to face the prisoners. “Come tomorrow, I’ll be wearing Prime’s head as a crown!”

“Ha! He’ll have you stuffed and mounted on a wall!” rebuked Silverbolt.

Razorclaw drew his sword out slowly from the subspace pocket behind his head, his eyes narrowing. Silverbolt ran at Razorclaw, pushing Csirac out of the way. With a single slash, Razorclaw removed Silverbolt’s leg, sending him sprawling onto the ground.

Razorclaw stepped onto Silverbolt’s chest, triumphant. “You see how easy it is?” Razorclaw asked rhetorically, stashing his sword. “You and everyone you know will soon be offered the choice between death and servitude. I give you time now to consider your answer.”

He turned and walked from the chamber. Csirac yelled after him. “The pods! What about the pods?!” but received only the sound of the door locking in reply. This was followed by an odd sound – laughter.

Silverbolt lay in a growing pool of liquid flowing from his severed leg, but was laughing. Csirac raced to find something to stem the flow.

“Why are you laughing?” asked Csirac, as he attended the wound.

“I’m just picturing his head sitting over a fireplace”, said Silverbolt, obviously in some kind of system-wide shock from the attack.

Verno 21st March 2012 11:24 AM

21
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Csirac placed a hand upon the device propped up against the wall. "I'm sorry", he said quietly.

"For what?" asked Silverbolt, who seemed far too cheerful for someone who'd just lost a limb.

Csirac hadn't been directing his apology to him, but answered anyway. "Many things."

"Are you going to tell me what that thing does?" queried Silverbolt, looking at the device.

"Nothing, now", said Csirac. "Without the Protoforms it's useless." Csirac took a seat at the table as Silverbolt lay on the floor looking skyward.

"I'd give anything to be out there right now, flying circles around some ex-'Cons", said Silverbolt. Csirac only realized for the first time how cramped Silverbolt must have felt in this room. "You said Venus was a pilot", Silverbolt continued. "I bet she's out there kicking some Pred exhaust. Those Maximal Fighters are-"

"Venus is dead", said Csirac, surprising even himself. "I killed her."

"What?" said Silverbolt, sitting up.

"She'd volunteered to be the test pilot for the Lexor. I couldn't dissuade her - she had complete faith in my work, and it cost her everything", said Csirac, staring into nothing. "She died in the TransWarp explosion that consumed the ship. And it was my fault."

"You can't blame yourself for an accident - a tragedy", assured Silverbolt.

"I can if you can", said Csirac.

"That's different. I gave an order, they followed it and they were killed", said Silverbolt, sternly. "Their deaths are on my account."

"And hers is on mine", Csirac replied, finally looking at Silverbolt. "And I couldn't live with that. That's where the ..." Csirac gestured to the device, "thing came in."

"What are you saying?" asked Silverbolt, concerned.

"The TransWarp technology works, however it's far from efficient. The firing cell tears a hole in the fabric of Time, leading to what we've named 'TransWarp Space', but in reality, is something much more. TransWarp Space is home to the Many who are of the One. We'd touched the very edge of the Allspark."

"Incredible", said Silverbolt, captivated.

"The device is a Laser Core Amplifier", said Csirac, "allowing me to stretch the link between Spark and core consciousness. Utilizing a wave of Trans-Ions, I'd travel through the tear, find her Spark and bring it back. But now I'll never know if it would have worked."

Silverbolt sat there, stunned. "The tear. That was the flaw in the plan."

Csirac nodded.

"You just need another ship to fire a cell", said Silverbolt, now comprehending the sheer scale of Csirac's plan. "But that could still happen! If the Autobots are making a push for the end, they could be doing it right now!"

"But I'm in here, how would I know for sure? That part was always in the hands of Primus. And besides, with no pods-"

The door of the chamber suddenly unlocked and opened. A Predacon rushed in and dumped four Protopods on the floor. "With compliments of Razorclaw. Something to help take your mind off the death of your friends", he said with a sneer across his face. He turned and ran to join his comrades.

"Maybe Primus is listening", said Silverbolt with a smile.

"Maybe he is", agreed Csirac, unable to believe what he had just seen.

----------

22
[From TransWarp: Ravage]


Note: A montage of images, denoted by *…*, to accompany Ravage's inner monologue.

*Ravage walking through Predacons troops preparing for battle*

It is the eve of War and I don’t know who or what I’m fighting for: The battlefield is familiar, but not the names. I’ve joined a faction founded on the betrayal of my old one, but only because I’d made a deal with the enemy, and since arriving, I’ve been recruited by three ambitious Generals to do in another, whose only crime is his success.

*The Autobots and Maximals also preparing for battle*

The Autobots - are still the enemy; I’ve made no peace with them. Who are they to dictate the terms of my freedom?! They haven’t won yet.

*Razorclaw sharpening a sword. A highlighting 'Razorclaw' insignia branded over the top of a Decepticon one on his arm*

Razorclaw - The Autobots have failed to extinguish his Spark, and he’s proven himself a true leader throughout the course of this War - who am I to kill him? After all, he’s made of Decepticon parts. If he can win the day, then my freedom is assured, and with no Autobot strings attached.

*Magmatron in deep contemplation before battle (much like the image of him in a chair at the start of BW: The Gathering)*

Magmatron - ‘sigh’. Deceit is at the very core of a Decepticon: we serve ourselves. These usurping Generals are some pieces of work, but their brutality is feared by enemy and friendly tools alike. To be in their favour in this new faction can only be advantageous. In order to secure it, and perhaps to the detriment of the Predacons - Magmatron… must die.

----------

23
[From TransWarp: Ravage]


Note: Same as above.

*Ravage is in hiding, not far from the frontline. He is watching Magmatron and his troops engage the Autobot enemy head on.*

*From inside Ravage's optics looking out, showing he has target lock on Magmatron*

He is a warrior of great power and courage. He stands beside his troops, shoulder to shoulder, against the enemy. True leadership like this is in short supply - I’ve only ever really seen it in two others: One carried the Matrix, the other wished to rip it from his chest...

*Montage of images of Magmatron delivering some good old fashioned ass kicking*

I served Megatron loyally until the end, with complete trust, even when others doubted it. That kind of trust can only be earned here, forged on the frontline...

*Close up of Magmatron enjoying tearing an Autobot apart*

There is much of Megatron in this young Predacon. Perhaps he is what this faction needs for the future - someone who will lead, instead of manipulate...

*Magmatron leading his troops forward*

Yes...

*Ravage following them in full stealth mode*

He is a leader of the future. For the future. There is desire in his eyes. There is hope for those around him. There is…

*Magmatron is cut down with very heavy blaster fire, taking extremely heavy damage and falls to the ground, we presume dead*

No!

Ravage froze. Magmatron’s troops were returning fire in the direction from where the shots had come. They were yelling orders to each other to get Magmatron’s smoking body back to cover. Ravage could have helped, should have - the bright future for the Predacons he'd just seen now lay dying with Magmatron amidst the rubble. But Ravage did nothing. The troops soon retreated carrying the lifeless body; all Ravage could do was watch, thoughts racing through his processors. He was suddenly jolted back into action by the sound of approaching Autobot and Maximal forces. He ran. He made for the Predacon line. Ravage had witnessed the very thing he’d been charged with doing. Magmatron was dead, but he wished he wasn’t.

Verno 21st March 2012 11:24 AM

24
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Csirac and Silverbolt were busily connecting the Protopods to the amplifier when the door of the chamber burst open and several Predacons poured in.

"Maximal! Come here!" yelled one of them.

Csirac was weary as he approached. "What's going on?" Two Predacons dumped a smoking wreck onto the floor before him.

"There's a war on! Help him!" the Predacon yelled again.

Csirac examined the body but looked at the Predacons and shook his head. "The damage is too extensive. There's nothing I can do."

"You better think of something!" came the reply, accompanied with a blaster being pointed at Csirac's chest. Silverbolt limped closer but was greeted with blasters too.

Csirac tried to explain. "His body can't support his Spark. It's beginning to re-join the Matrix."

"Then move it!" yelled the Predacon, not taking no as an answer.

"Where?" asked Csirac.

"Those!" suggested one of the other Predacons, pointing to the Protomatter pods against the wall.

"No", said Csirac quickly.

"Do it! Or I'll rip your Spark out and put his in!" threatened the Predacon, continuing to yell.

"Skeeto, they 're for Razorclaw, I heard him say it himself", said another Predacon.

“All of them, Masher?” Skeeto demanded of the troop.

“Something about four pods to make a bigger body. The first one was too small”, replied Masher.

"First one?” queried Skeeto. “Use that then! Where is it?" he asked, not yelling for the moment.

"It’s in storage. I'll get it!" said Masher. He grabbed a cohort and ran from the room to retrieve it.

"Hurry!" Skeeto yelled after them.

"That won't work", said Csirac. "It needs three Sparks to function, so unless you're volunteering to get in with him..?"

Skeeto cocked his gun. "I'm not gonna tell you again, Maximal!"

"It won't-" Csirac began, but a blast narrowly missed his feet. "...Ok", said Csirac, who knew the next shot wouldn't miss.

The Predacons returned carrying the monstrous form and lay it beside the lifeless form of Magmatron. "Careful now, Maximal", sneered Skeeto in Csirac's ear as he made to open the chest cavity.

With all the delicacy he could, not helped by his shaking hands, Csirac transferred the Spark from the tattered body to the new Protomatter form. He closed the lasercore and stepped back.

Suddenly the form began to convulse wildly. Limbs flew in every direction as the Spark tried to integrate into a form that would probably tear it in three.

"What's happening? What's happening?!" demanded Skeeto.

"I don't know!" Csirac replied, he'd never seen anything like this before.

A terrifying, tormented scream emanated from the body's mouth. Then silence.

"Magmatron? Magmatron?!" Skeeto lent over the deathly still body but received no reply.

"I'm sorry", said Csirac.

"Sorry? Not as sorry as you will be." Skeeto was enraged at having just witnessed his commander die in front of him. He encroached suddenly on Csirac.

Silverbolt, still bearing the scars of his last fight, jumped in to protect the Maximal. "He did all he could!"

Skeeto smashed him aside. "Shut it!" he roared. He was not in a good frame of mind.

"Skeeto, I'm picking up heavy chatter", reported one of the Predacons.

Skeeto, still staring at Csirac, took a moment before answering. "Let's hear it."

The Predacon on the comms turned it up. A voice broke through the static. "...sshhhzzlaw is missing. His squad is non-responsive..."

A different voice came through. "Scouts are reporting the Maximals have launched ships into orbit..."

Another new voice broke in. "Where's Magmatron. I ain't taking order from that bast-..."

The communication was cut as a clear signal broke through.

"This is General Rampant. Razorclaw is dead..."

"What?!" gasped one of the Preds.

"Shut up!" yelled Skeeto.

"I am assuming command. Predacon forces are to regroup at the incoming coordinates before we restart the push. I repeat, Razorclaw is dead. I have taken command of the Predacon forces..."

"Shut it off", barked Skeeto over the top of the transmission.

"We gotta get back out there", said a Predacon.

"Shut up!" was the reply from Skeeto, his processors racing.

"Magmatron is dead, Skeeto", another continued.

The events were unfolding too quickly for Skeeto to keep track of. "I said Shut up! Shut AAARRRRRGGGHHHH!!"

*Booom!*

In his frustration, Skeeto took aim at the fourth Protomatter pod and blew it to pieces.

"Noooo!" screamed Csirac.

Skeeto turned back to Csirac. "This is your fault! You killed him!"

"Get away from him!" yelled Silverbolt who was having trouble getting back up.

"You killed him, but he ain't gonna die alone down here!"

*Booom*

Csirac crumbled to the floor, half his torso missing.

"Get out of here! Go!" he yelled to the Predacons, before turning back to the carnage. "Enjoy watching another pal die, Bolt!" he yelled, before running from the room.

"You fracking piece of slag!" Silverbolt called after him. "Csirac!" Silverbolt crawled to him and turned him over.

"A ship... They've launched a ship" Csirac muttered, cradling his wound.

"Don't move. I'll get you patched up", said Silverbolt, looking around for anything that could help.

"Don't... worry", said Csirac, with a grimace. “It's alright, but I think it's time we got you into your new body."

----------

25
[From TransWarp: Primal]


The MAD Wing burst through the thin atmosphere of Cybertron and found a safe orbit. The ride up had been turbulent to say the least.

“I was crazy to put my hand up for this”, said Rhinox, his large form snug in the Maximal fighter cockpit.

“The word you’re looking for is MAD!”, said Primal.

“You made your case quite clearly”, said a voice over the comm.

“Some would say he argued his way into the cockpit”, said another, ribbing the newest member of their Wing.

“Cut the chatter”, said Spiral, with authority. “Looks like we’ve got the jump on them, let’s make the most of it. Wide perimeter on the Xelor. Rhinox, we are a GO!”

“Roger”, said Rhinox. “Powering up the TransWarp engine.”

“MAD Wing, optics sharp. If this works the ship could pop out anywhere”, said Spiral. “Prepare for defensive evac or fast recovery of the Ball.”

“Primal to Rhinox. How’s it coming?”

“Lights are green. TransWarp cell to 78% power.”

“This is it ‘bots”, said Spiral, addressing the Wing. “You all know what happened last time, and you’re all here voluntarily. You’re the bravest pilots I’ve ever had the privilege to fly with. Let’s see this through to its end.”

“MAD Wing!” came the call from the pilots over the comm.

“Cell to 100%. Engaging TransWarp Drive in 3… 2… 1… Now!” A rippled window in Space opened up and engulfed the Xelor.

**2 minutes earlier**

“I was crazy to put my hand up for this”, said Rhinox, his large form snug in the Maximal fighter cockpit.

“The word you’re looking for is MAD!”, said Primal.

“You made your case quite clearly”, said a voice over the comm.

“Some would say he argued his way into the cockpit”, said another, ribbing the newest member of their Wing.

“Cut the chatter”, said Spiral, with authority. “Looks like we’ve got the jump on them, let’s make-“ *Woom Woom* The rest of Spiral’s words were cut off by an alarm. “Detecting an anomaly, Sector 159!”

“Energy signature matches the Xelor!” came a voice over the comm.

“This is Rhinox, reporting successful test! But systems are beginning to short out. The Cell must have overload…” Rhinox was suddenly plunged into darkness. The whole ship had lost power. “Oh no…”

“Blue Feathers, stay with the Xelor until entry, then regroup”, commanded Spiral. “All remaining Feathers, recapture the Ball!”

Ships broke off and headed for Sector 159 at full steam.

“Spiral to Autobot Command. Reporting a successful TransWarp Test. Awaiting further orders?”

“This is Command. Maintain safe orbit and stay out of troub… Scratch that. Receiving reports that Cinder has diverted a squad of fighters to intercept. They’re in bound, and fast. Protect that ship with your Sparks!”

“Roger, Command. You heard the ‘bot downstairs: Nothing gets through us!”

Rhinox sat in the Xelor, now with only the four Blue Feathers for company, but his optics were glued to the dial, watching the power climb upwards, until it reached the top. “Cell to 100%. Engaging TransWarp Drive in 3… 2… 1… Now!” A rippled window in Space opened up and engulfed the Xelor, again.

“This is Blue Feathers, he’s away!”

“Roger that. Regroup and prepare to engage incoming Predacon ships!”

----------

26
[From TransWarp: Csirac]


Silverbolt stepped from the Pod and found himself staring at himself, or at least, it used to be. His larger form, battered and scarred from countless battles, which had seen him safely to this point, now lay lifeless on the floor of the chamber. He looked at his new form – smaller, with an altogether different colour scheme – he wouldn’t recognise himself in a mirror. But there was no time to waste. His friend was wounded, and he couldn’t see him.

“Csirac”, he called out to the now seemingly larger room, as he clambered over his old body to find him.

Csirac was under the amplifier, powering it up.

“Hey!” said Silverbolt, rushing over.

“How does it feel?” asked Csirac. “Throws you off for a while but you get used to it.”

Silverbolt ignored Csirac’s attempt to divert the conversation. “You can’t go anywhere like that!”

“We don’t have time for this, Silverbolt”, said Csirac, attempting to lower the hatch over himself, but Silverbolt stopped it.

“Two Pods. Two bodies. One for you. One for Venus. Whatever the plan was with the other pod, forget it”, said Silverbolt.

“No”, said Csirac defiantly. “Primus has made it pretty clear that this is it for me. Warriors win wars, and right now, we’re two short.”

“What about Venus?” demanded Silverbolt, as Csirac struggled to close the hatch.

“Venus is gone!” shouted Csirac, looking into Silverbolt’s optics, utter resolve on his face. “And so am I. But I can still help end this stupid war if you’ll let me.”

“And I’m supposed to just sit here and watch you die?!” Silverbolt demanded again.

“You’ll be busy enough”, said Csirac. “Something tells me this process won’t go unnoticed, so I need you to protect this chamber, or more specifically, protect me. Any disturbance will result in the loss of my Spark before it returns. Can you do that for me?” asked Csirac, who received no reply. “Consider it a chance to test out the new body”, he pressed, appealing to the warrior inside Silverbolt.

“Csirac, this is suicide”, said Silverbolt.

“The plan was always flawed. I can still get part of it to work though, and Time is no longer our luxury. Please, Silverbolt”, Csirac pleaded.

Silverbolt released his grip of the amplifier. “Do what you’ve got to do”, he said, sadly.

“I’ll be back soon”, said Csirac, engaging the amplifier. Silverbolt turned to face the doorway, drawing a large sword as he did. He leant on it, ready to tackle whatever and whoever tried to get into the chamber.


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