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TBAM: The Last Knight

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(England, the Dark Ages)

Across the surrounding land could the sounds of battle be heard. What was once a vast green grass field, was now covered in scorched earth, broken wagons and catapults, scattered weapons, fire and smoke, and an untold number of corpses. Hundreds of men in armor were still fighting to the death on this burnt and blood-soaked battlefield. On one side were the brave Knights of England, led by their courageous and noble King Arthur of Camelot in defense of their homeland. The other side were the Saxons, Germanic warriors from across the North Sea, who have come plunder these lands. And it was something that Arthur and his knights wouldn't allow. With flaming boulders hurling in the air before smashing into the ground, arrows being shot, metal and wood clashing with one another, it was very clear that the English knights were being pushed back by the Saxons.

From on top of a hill that overlooked the battlefield were several men garbed in silver armor and riding white horses as they watched the battle played out. In the center of the group was King Arthur of Camelot himself. And strapped to his waist was his legendary sword, Excalibur. The men with him were the twelve Knights of the Round Table, England's most finest warriors and Arthur's most trusted comrades. All of them had grim looks.

"Where the bloody hell is that wizard?!" demanded an knight on Arthur's left, with anger and grief in his voice.

"He'll be here, Lancelot," said Arthur as he continued watching as his countrymen were fighting and dying across the battlefield. "I know Merlin won't let us down. Have faith in him, old friend."

"My King, I would lay down my life for you, but your 'wizard' is an imposter. He won't come or give us any kind of aid at all!" shouted a dark-skinned knight.

"Tristan's right, Arthur!" added a brown-haired knight. "Merlin's nothing more than a drunkard! And the Saxons outnumber us almost ten to one. We must fall back to live and fight another day."

"NO!" shouted Arthur, startling his knights and making the horses neigh a little. Dismounting from his horse, the King of England pulled Excalibur out of its scabbard before driving it into the ground. "Without sacrifice, there can be no victory. How can we call ourselves English knights if we run away while our enemy does as he pleases with our people? Merlin will be here, or I will face the Saxons alone if I have too!"

In that exact moment, something really odd happened. The armor and weapons of Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table began to glow first before shimmering brighter than ever. Before they could even ponder this, a massive roar caught their attention, along with every single combatant across the entire battlefield. Soon, a shadow engulfed King Arthur and when he and his knights looked up, they were shocked at what they saw.

Flying over the group was a massive three-headed dragon with two tails! Its entire body was entirely metallic and colored in grey, with its huge wings releasing powerful gusts of wind every time they moved. All three of the dragon's heads released powerful torrents of fire that consumed the Saxons, while its talons tore through the earth and its two tails swatting Saxons and catapults aside. And yet, the dragon didn't strike any of the Englishmen.

It was in that moment did Arthur realized what was happening. "Merlin has brought us aid!" he shouted as he got back onto his horse. Raising Excalibur, the King of England cried out: "ONWARD!!!! FOR CAMELOT!!!!"

"FOR CAMELOT!!!!" shouted his knights all together as they charged into the battlefield.

With the aid of the dragon, the Knights of Camelot began cutting down the Saxons. Strangely, every time a Saxon tried to harm Arthur or any of the Knights of the Round Table, the weapons would merely bounced off the armor. Meanwhile, Arthur was cutting through any and all defenses, whether it be shields or armor. From above, the dragon continued slaughtering dozens of Saxons at a time. Soon, the surviving Saxons fled the battlefield in fear.

Sometime later, Merlin came trotting through the battlefield on his horse towards Arthur, while holding an intricate and beautifully-crafted staff in his right hand.

"My king," said the wizard as Arthur had dismounted from his own horse.

"Merlin," replied Arthur with a tired but happy smile on his face. "On behalf of the people of Camelot and all of England, I thank you. You have saved us all. We owe you a great debt."

The bearded wizard shook his head. "No, my old friend. It is them you should be indebted too, not me."

Looking at the direction that Merlin was pointing at with his staff, Arthur and all the knights watched as the three-headed dragon's form began to shift. In a few seconds, where was once a large mighty dragon, were now thirteen 28-foot metal warriors, with each one wielding a weapon or two. The thirteen towering titans resembled like knights.

Merlin smirked as he looked at the gobsmacked expressions of both Arthur and his men. "These are my dear friends, the Guardian Knights of Iacon."

Arthur regained his bearings before looking at the wizard. "They are not from this world, are they?"

"No, my king. They are not," replied Merlin.

(Cybertron, Unknown Time...)

Across the barren surface of the dying planet, a 16-foot orange and blue-colored mech was running frantically past several Cybertronian corpses lying on the ground behind him. The mech had his Photon Battle Pistol out, with smoke coming out of the barrel after having been used so many times today. The mech's chassis was covered in wounds, burn marks, as well as sparks coming off of damaged parts. A trail of Energon went down his mouthplates, but the mech ignored all of this as he kept focusing on reaching his destination and protecting the object he was currently holding. The mech had just entered a valley when he heard some shouting.

"There he is!" yelled a voice. Above the orange and blue-colored mech were three more Cybertronians. The bulkiest was a 24-foot black and orange-colored mech. With him was a 17-foot green and yellow mech and a 16-foot purple and black-colored mech. The former brought out a Energon Mace and rushed his target, while the other two morphed their right arms into their respective Solar Plasma Cannons. "Surrender, Dion!"

The large mech swung his Energon Mace at the now-named Dion, who sidestepped and dodge it. Dion brought out a gauntlet over his left servo and lunged at his larger opponent. Said mech had no time to react when Dion slammed his left gauntlet-covered fists at his faceplates before firing his Photon Battle Pistol into his chestplates.

"Breakneck!" cried out the purple and black-colored mech as he watched the large mech's offlined frame hit the ground.

"Focus, Tomb!" yelled the green and yellow-colored mech. "You'll flank right, I'll take left!"

Tomb nodded as he and his comrade fired at Dion in an effort to pin him down. Dion swapped his pistol for his Photon Pump-Action Shotgun and fired back, blasting some rocks under the green and yellow-colored mech and making him lose his footing. Then he fired at Tomb, hitting him and blowing off his left arm. Tomb could only give out a short scream of pain before Dion fired another photon bolt through Tomb's chestplates, offlining him instantly.

As the other mech began to get up, he got knocked down again when Dion, in his alt-mode of a Cybertronian Sports Car, rammed into him. Dion then shifted into his biped form before pinning the green and yellow-colored mech beneath him. "Stand down, Clear Cut! I don't want to kill a fellow Autobot!" shouted Dion furiously.

"I'm not a Autobot anymore!" declared Clear Cut as he tried to raise his right arm and fire at Dion.

Said mech saw this, though, and immediately grabbed the arm and ripped it off, causing green Energon to spray everywhere. Dion brought up his left fist and was just about to finish off Clear Cut when a sound caught his attention. A high-velocity projectile struck near where the two mechs were and created a large explosion that blew away rocks and dust.

From the top of a nearby mountain, stood a 50-foot silver and purple-colored mech with silver clawed digits and purple-colored pedes. The mech also had a yellow-colored helm with dark-purple optics and fanged dentas too. Protruding from his back were large, slightly-retracted, silver-colored wings with purple turbines. Currently, he had his quad-barrel cannon sticking out of his chassis before subspacing it.

"I wonder if that had offlined him? Well, as long as the object he was carrying was undamaged, that's all that matters," said the mech aloud before transforming into a Cybertronian Shuttlecraft and flew down towards where Dion was, though, now it was a large crater as the silver and purple-colored mech landed before transforming back into his biped form. Ignoring Breakneck and Tomb's corpses, the mech made his way over to find Dion's frame. But all he saw were the broken remains of Clear Cut, which were only the mech's helm and a portion of his chassis, but no sign of Dion.

"Did he escape the blast?" wondered the towering mech aloud. His optics didn't see the narrow passageway within the valley or that Dion was currently making his way through it. The orange and blue-colored mech was clutching his wounded chestplates, with Energon dripping out of it.

"Thunderwing..." cursed Dion as he finally exited the valley without being spotted. Waiting for him was an Orbital Assault Fighter. Ignoring his injuries, Dion slowly made his way into said craft and activated its systems. "Engage autopilot and sent coordinates to planet Earth," he ordered weakly as he settled in.

The ship's systems glowed in response as it began taking off. As Dion felt the thrusters engaging, he then opened a special subspace compartment on his person that was meant to hold a certain object. And that said object was a talisman that barely covered the palm of his servo. "Have...to get to...Orion and Ariel..." he muttered as the Orbital Assault Fighter left Cybertron's atmosphere.

(The Solar System, Present Time...)

Most beings believed that Cybertronians were split between Autobots and Decepticons. However, there were those who didn't pick a side and they were promptly called Neutrals. There were usual two types of Neutrals. The first and largest were Cybertronians that chose neither faction as they refused to take part in the Autobot-Decepticon Civil War as they instead left their homeworld to find other planets to live in peace, with many of them forming groups to better protect themselves from other threats and to keep their race going. The second type were individuals that were considered way too dangerous for either side, and were usually left alone to do as they pleased, like Lockdown for example. But these Cybertronians were rare as they would become a danger to the rest of their kind and would be terminated quickly.

As the war continued to stretch on, a third type of Neutrals was born. This type consisted of mechs and femmes that were once Autobots and Decepticons that have decided to defect from their respective factions. The reasons differed among these individuals; some of them could no longer handle the war that had killed their homeworld and nearly brought their entire race to extinction, while others had decided to strike out on their own and form their own faction. This category fitted in with the Cybertronians aboard the Longshot, a Kaon-Class Heavy Cruiser, that was currently hovering over Jupiter.

Once part of the Decepticon armada, this vessel was now commanded by the Star Seekers, Cybertronians that could be best described as scavengers, raiders and pirates. These Cybertronians had banded together to survive by any means necessary, even if that meant raiding resources from other inhabited worlds. With Cybertron now dead and no home to call their own, the Star Seekers would travel the universe and take only what they needed to survive. Originally consisting of former Decepticons, they were soon joined by former Autobots and other Cybertronians that were Neutrals. Old wounds between these former enemies were long forgotten as common interest of survival had bonded them together.

In the Longshot's Operations Room, there were several Cybertronians at work. Standing on a separate platform that overlooked said room was the ship's captain, who was also the leader of the Star Seekers, Switchblade. A former captain of a Seeker Armada, the 28-foot blue and golden-colored flyer had decided to strike out on his own sometime around Megatron's first death in the Battle of Mission City in 2007. Switchblade had shown no interest in serving a leader who abandoned his forces to retrieve the AllSpark after it was launched into space, and thus he refused to serve under Starscream. With his entire unit agreeing with him, the rogue Seeker Captain commandeered the Longshot and took off with many weapons, Energon and other supplies onboard with him before he and his crew started looting from other worlds.

Switchblade turned around when he heard the door to the Operations Room slid open. Walking through it was a 20-foot green and black mech with white stripes. This was Anomaly, a former Autobot Soldier/Scientist that was now serving as Switchblade's SiC. Like the former Seeker, Anomaly had grown tired of fighting in what he saw as a pointless war and ignored Optimus' universal-wide message. Instead, he and several of his fellow Autobot comrades defected and eventually joined the Star Seekers. Seeing both the potential and the similar interest in the young mech, Switchblade decided to make Anomaly his First Lieutenant, which also helped show that there was no ill will between the two defectors as they were each from warring factions.

"We've still tried to make contact with him, but we still haven't gotten any word from Lockdown or his crew. It looks like you were right, he's been offlined," reported Anomaly as he stood beside Switchblade.

The former Seeker grunted in annoyance. "I should've known that Lockdown would fail. Bounty Hunter or not, such a mission like that should've been given to soldiers such as us," he commented.

"Don't you mean 'former soldiers'?" asked Anomaly jokingly. "Because I'm pretty sure most would consider this line of work as an act of piracy."

Switchblade ignored the comment. "Either way, we will complete the task that Lockdown was supposed to do. Set a course to Earth."

Suddenly, one of the crewmembers, a 16-foot cerulean, black and cyan-colored femme spoke up. "Sir, we're detecting a weak Energon signature near us and is just passing this planet were currently hovering over."

"Is it Lockdown, Astraea?" asked Switchblade.

The femme, Astraea, reported: "I can't tell. But whoever they are, they aren't flying in a ship and appear to be floating adrift in space. Probably in stasis lock."

Switchblade rubbed his chinplates as he wondered at what it could be. Deciding to take a chance, he ordered: "Lock onto it and zoom in."

Astraea did so and began focusing the ship's scanners on the Energon source. It took a few minutes, but an image of the object eventually came up on the Operations Room's main screen. And what they saw made the Star Seekers opened their mouthplates and widened their optics in shock and surprise.

"Is that really who I think it is?"

"No fragging way."

"What's he doing all the way out here?"

"But that's definitely him. I remember seeing him before he left for Earth."

"Talk about good luck."

The object, or person that was on the main screen was none other than Optimus Prime himself. The Autobot Leader's entire frame was frozen in ice. His form unmoving, with his optics dark and lifeless as he continued drifting through space while floating aimlessly.

"It really is Prime," said Anomaly as he stared at the image of his former leader. "Why is he here out in space."

"I don't know and I don't care," commented Switchblade. "But this makes things much more easier for us. Send a team out to bring Optimus aboard. Make sure he's disarmed before putting him in the brig. Then chart a course to Cybertron."

Chapter Text

Journal Entry #58431 of Autobot SiC and Tactican, Prowl:

It's been three years since the Battle of Hong Kong, followed by Optimus Prime's departure from Earth to search for the mysterious 'Creators'. In his absence, I've taken command of the Autobots under me, with Jazz, Ironhide, Ratchet and Bumblebee assisting me. I felt inclined to hand leadership of the Autobots to Elita, due to her being Optimus' sparkmate and has equal experience as I do. But she personally insisted that I take command, so that she and her sisters may tend to the Hatchlings, who have now become Sparklings.

During those three years, the relations between Cybertronians and humans have deteriorated even further. Deeming us as outlaws, a new human international paramilitary group called the Transformers Reaction Force, or TRF for short, has been formed and is now hunting down and eliminating or capturing Cybertronians, regardless of faction. Unfortunately, 65% of the TRF personnel were former Cemetery Wind Operatives that were completely unaware of Harold Attinger's crimes at the time, and thus they have no problem in eliminating or incarcerating Autobots, including our human allies and sympathizers. Fortunately, I had the foresight to insert an Autobot spy into their main base in the United States, and who's been very quite useful in sending us invaluable info regarding TRF troop movements.

The only nation that grants asylum to Autobots is Cuba, the very same island country that Flak had died trying to protect from Cemetery Wind. I heard that the humans, Seymour Simmons, Dutch Wagner and Leo Spitz are there, acting as the representatives between the Cuban Government and the Autobot refugees there. Said refugees are split into two groups, with one side consisting of combatants lead by Camshaft, while the other side were scientists, engineers, medics and civilians who were all trying to lead a safe life with their families. They're lead by an Autobot named Hubcap, who speaks on their behalf. Due to their larger numbers, I've dispatched the Omnicons, who are Autobots that can safely touch raw Energon as well as find resources that can be converted into it to help the refugees. The three mechs, Strongarm, Skyblast and Signal Flare, are hard at work and were encountering only a few problems.

Me and my team are in a junkyard located in the Badlands of South Dakota, working alongside the human male, Cade Yeager, who has proven to be an invaluable ally. Together, we help newly-arrived Autobots get to safety and away from both the TRF and surviving Decepticons as we assist them to get to Cuba without any problems. Including the members from three years ago, our ranks have been joined by more Autobots. The first one was Armorhide, an Autobot who was an expert on Decepticon tactics and using the 'Cons own thinking against them, much to my chagrin. Next was Brawn, a heavy-fighter with remarkably strong armor-plating. After him was Inferno, who was both a Pyro-Specialist and a Psychologist as he helped fellow Autobots deal with the trauma from the war. We also have another member named Trench who  prefers to remain in his alt-mode as he was content with doing security patrols. Next up were Longarm and Salvage, two former AllSpark Mutations who were originally human vehicles that were accidentally brought to life by the Cube during the Battle of Mission City ten years ago. How did they survive this long is way beyond me and Ratchet, but they both have proven to be trusted comrades. The last one was Grindcore, one of the most recent members, he had been held prisoner by the Decepticons when he first came to Earth. Fortunately, we were able to rescue him before the 'Cons or the TRF offlined him. He mostly helps Fixit, Wheeljack and the Wreckers with construction and engineering.

Also, we've managed to receive additional flyers. Blazemaster is a skilled Bombardment Expert with his Corrosive Gel, while Tomahawk is a Anti-Ground/Aerial Supporter who had exchanged speed for firepower. These two mechs work alongside Stratosphere, one of the largest Autobots who serves as an aerial transport for the smaller Autobots. He helps transporting any Autobot refugees that we find in the U.S to Cuba, while being guarded by both Blazemaster and Tomahawk. We also have Sea Specialists that help with transporting Autobots too. Depthcharge prefers to work alone, but sometimes he provides support for the duo, Seaspray and Breacher.

We had no new sightings of Megatron since the Battle of Hong Kong, along with any major Decepticon incursions as well. I can only conclude that they are in hiding, most likely in preparation for the next big offensive. So far, the only action we've currently seen of them are mostly small skirmishes from their conflict with the TRF or from the 'Cons that decided to head out on their own. We've been content to let them fight one another, as no Autobot wishes to be caught in the crossfire from both sides that wanted us dead.

Adam Nova, a Human-Cybertronian hybrid, has also been staying with us too. Currently, he, Evac, Rewind and a Cyber-Rhino named Ramhorn, are currently in Chicago. They've reported a Cybertronian ship has crashed there. Also, two other Autobots have been spotted there, staying with a human female. Cade, Bumblebee and Hound have left sometime ago to meet up with the boy in Chicago.

(Chicago, Illinois, May 1st, 2017)

"Bring 'em down!" shouted Adam as he fired his Energon Crossbow/Battle-Axe at a TRF Scout Walker Drone, striking it in the left leg and knocking it off balance before Adam fired another shot that blew the walker apart.

Evac was tearing apart a second walker with his servos after destroying its M2HB HMG (Heavy-Machine-Gun), while a third walker fired at the 16-foot blue Autobot before being knocked off by its feet by Ramhorn. The 6-foot tall red-colored Cyber-Rhino fired his dual hip-mounted Photon LMGs (Light-Machine-Guns) alongside with Rewind's Photon Pulse Carbine. The walker didn't stand a chance as the combined firepower tore it to pieces. With all three threats down, Adam hefted his weapon over his left shoulder, along with his backpack.

15-years-old now, Adam had changed very little over the past three years, except for his height thanks to a growth spurt. Currently, Adam and his group had been searching Izabella and her Autobot companions. With Cade coming, the young teen saw this as a chance to convince the black-haired girl for her gang to come with them to safety. Unfortunately, Izzy contacted him first and said that a bunch of kids had come trespassing into the restricted zone and were being chase by the Scout Walker Drones used by the TRF to recon said zone. Fortunately, Adam and his group were nearby and dealt with the walkers.

Evac was in his biped form, and carrying underneath his left arm was a 3'6-foot light-blue Autobot who appeared to transform into a scooter. This was Sqweeks, one of Izabella's friends. He had been injured for sometime, making him unable to shift into his alt-mode and like Bumblebee, his voicebox was also damaged, making him only say one word over and over again: 'Chihuahua'.

"I'm picking up Canopy's signal right around the corner," said Evac as Adam rode on top of Ramhorn, with Rewind flying beside him.

(Meanwhile...)

In another part of the restricted zone in Chicago, an abandoned building was being occupied by TRF Soldiers. They were currently using it as a forward operating outpost for any signs of Cybertronians. The 'Windy City' had become one of the most popular locations for new arrivals. Inside the outpost was Major Mike Graham of the British Special Air Service and former NEST Soldier. With him was U.S Army Major and U.S TRF Field Commander, Santiago Santos. Graham was there to keep a tight leash on Santos and to make sure the former Delta Force Operator didn't kill innocent Cybertronians or make any other mistakes.

"Sir, one of the Reapers spotted five Cybertronians near where we lost three of the walkers, and there are some kids with them too," reported one of the TRF technicians.

Both Graham and Santos looked at the screen. From the MQ-9A Reaper's ball-turret camera, they could see Evac, Ramhorn, Rewind, Sqweeks and Canopy, a 20-foot yellow mech who had taken the alt-mode of a Caterpillar 797B Dump Truck and possessed a hologram device, personally built by Adam.

"Shit, they're holding those kids hostage," cursed Santos as he mistook the situation. "Can we get a team in there?"

"Wait a minute, we don't know which side they're on," said Graham that earned him a glare from the American TRF Field Commander, which the former NEST Soldier ignored it. "Can we at least get a visual on them and confirm their ID?"

"Affiliation doesn't matter to me," spat Santos. "They're Cybertronians and that's all. We need a QRF team ready."

As they spoke, none of them even noticed several small robotic-like spiders crawling around and heading towards their equipment.

(Elsewhere...)

Izabella Garcia's mood brightened when she saw Adam and the others walking up towards her and the group of four boys who have trespassed into the restricted zone. But that changed too when she saw Evac carrying an injured Sqweeks.

"What happened?" asked Izabella as she saw them. Evac had just put down the mech to allow the girl to examine her friend.

"One of the walkers got a good shot in and damaged his right arm, but it's nothing we can't fix," explained Adam before looking at the four boys. "Now, which one of you idiots had the stupid idea of coming here in the first place?"

Three of them automatically pointed at the fourth one, a dark-skinned young boy, who gulped in fear and wet himself.

"Come on, let's get you guys out of here before those pieces of junk come by again," ordered Adam.

"I'll take point," offered Evac. "Canopy, stay with the kids."

"Got it," replied Canopy.

(Back at the TRF Forward Outpost...)

The soldiers continued observing the group of Autobots and kids.

"See, they're escorting the kids safely out of the area. Does that look like Decepticons to you?" asked Graham.

Santos rolled his eyes as he wasn't convinced. "I want one of our armed Reapers on station, we have no idea what faction they are. Be ready for any single sign of hostility."

Graham sighed as he was unable to deal with this man's irrational hatred of Cybertronians. Walking out of the outpost, he then contacted Lennox. Graham was hoping that the newly-promoted Colonel would be able to stop this before it got way out of hand. Again, he still didn't notice one of the small robotic-like spiders climbing up a nearby table as it headed towards one of the computers.

(Back with Adam's group...)

They were just about five blocks away from the fence that separated the restricted zone from the rest of the city.

Evac peeked around the corner for anymore walkers. When he spotted none, he turned to the others. "All clear."

"Okay, let's keep moving," said Adam as they continued moving on. As they did, Canopy started to lag behind as he kept an eye out if anything was to attack them from the rear.

Unfortunately, that was the opening that the TRF Soldier manning the armed Reaper above them needed. With confirmation from Santos, the Reaper dropped an AGM-114M Hellfire II Air-to-Surface Missile at the large mech. Before anyone could react, Canopy cried out in pain as the missile detonated on his back. The blast from the explosion made him crash into a nearby building before collapsing onto the ground with Energon starting to slowly pour out from his wounds.

"CANOPY!!" cried out Izabella in horror at the sight of her injured Autobot friend.

Adam swore under his breath. He knew that the TRF was watching them, but he didn't think that they would dare attack them so long as they remained close to the kids. The sound of large footsteps coming around the block. "Shit, we got walkers heading this way! Rewind, you and Ramhorn get Izzy and the others out of here! Evac, stay with me while I check on Canopy. Sqweeks, hide!"

Ramhorn let out a growl as he ushered the four boys out of here. Rewind pulled on Izabella's right arm as said girl looked like she wanted to protest, but a glare from Adam made her run for it. Said boy ran up to Canopy as Evac tried to help his fellow Autobot up. The yellow mech was slowly starting to loose Energon fast and had a gaping wound on the left corner of his lower chassis that went to his back.

"Canopy, can you still use your Holo-Projector?" asked Adam as he put his weapon down, with Sqweeks taking cover behind a pile of rubble next to the trio.

"Y-yes," replied Canopy before coughing up some Energon. Soon, they were covered by the image of a large pile of debris and garbage. With their presence now hidden, the Scout Walker Drones walked right past them. As soon as they were gone, Adam placed his artificial left hand near Canopy's wound. Taking a deep breath, the young teen's hand began to glow with blue electricity as the yellow mech's injuries began to heal at the same time. Once he was done, Adam pulled out a detonator from his pants' pocket and then activated it.

(Back at the TRF Forward Outpost...)

Graham was currently having an arguing match with Santos outside said building.

"What the bloody hell were you thinking, ya dunce?! What if those were Autobots, or worse, you hit the kids?!" shouted Graham angrily.

"I told you and the rest of your former NEST buddies before, factions don't mean a damn to me! And I made sure that those kids were far away from the blast radius before I gave the order!" yelled back Santos. "Now, I'm calling in a QRF team to find those other Cybertronians and get those kids out of there. You can either hang back or-"

His sentence was cut off when he heard several of his men cried out in both pain and surprise. Back inside the building, Adam's robotic-like spiders exploded as they released small static smoke that fried every single electronic piece of equipment inside the forward outpost. Also, some of the smoke struck many of the TRF Soldiers, incapacitating them as they laid paralyzed and twitching on the floor.

As more TRF personnel moved in to help the victims caught in the trap, Santos only gaped at the scene. Although he too was also surprised, Graham quickly realized that this must've been Adam Nova's doing. Reports had described the young teen as being incredibly skilled with mechanics and hacking. Still, Graham couldn't help but feel smug at the look on Santos' face because it was also worth the whole mess the American TRF Field Commander had caused.

(Back with Izabella and the kids...)

The group hadn't gotten far with one walker currently chasing them from behind, when a second walker appeared right in their path, trapping them. Ramhorn and Rewind had readied their weapons, when suddenly, a black lifted and heavily-modified 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer drove up behind the first walker. Jumping out of the vehicle was Cade Yeager, armed with a Mini-Photon Battle Pistol and a EMP/Stun Grenade. He primed the grenade before tossing it at the first walker, causing it to shake wildly as it tried to reboot its systems. Cade then fired his weapon three times, hitting the walker. As it staggered backwards, Rewind and Ramhorn guided the kids to Cade's vehicle.

And that's when Bumblebee appeared as he jumped out of the wall of a nearby parking garage. Solar Plasma Cannon at the ready, the 16-foot yellow mech with black racing stripes kicked the M2HB HMG off the second walker before ramming his left fist into the first one, pulling out some wires before tossing it at its companion. The young Scout then jumped onto the first one while it was still disoriented before firing two powerful plasma bolts at the walkers head, blowing it apart as he did a back-flip. "I hate people messing with me."

"Canopy!" shouted Izzy as she ran back to where Adam and the others were at. Cade followed right behind her, while 'Bee, Ramhorn and Rewind were watching over the kids.

Canopy's Holo-Projector turned off, revealing the large mech leaning against a nearby building with Evac helping him stay up. With them were Adam and Sqweeks, with the former catching his breath. When he spotted Cade running towards them, the young teen gave him the thumbs-up.

"Well, how'd it go?" asked Cade.

"I managed to repair most of his parts to the point he can shift into his alt-mode, but he should still have an actual medic look at him," answered Adam before Izzy hugged him while crying tears of joy. She was thanking him repeatedly for saving her friend, but the boy seemed confused and just settled with patting her on the back.

Despite being amused, Cade knew they had to get moving before the TRF caught up with them. Evac and Bumblebee were currently helping to move Canopy to where Hound was, while being followed by Ramhorn, Sqweeks and Rewind. Meanwhile, Cade drove Adam, Izabella and the other kids on his vehicle towards the quarantine fence. Despite coming here to save two or three Autobots, Cade was still determined to get these kids out of here. Even for Adam, this place was crawling with Decepticons and trigger-happy TRF Soldiers.

As they got out, one of the kids seemed to have finally recognized Cade. "Wait, you're that guy, the one who's been helping the blue-eyed Transformers. They say you're some kind of legend."

"Am I?" asked Cade with a raised eyebrow.

"If he meant you're one of the most-wanted fugitives, then yeah, you're a legend," joked Adam which earned him a half-hearted glare from Cade.

"You know, they've put a really big reward for you," said the fourth kid.

"Well, how about you guys get moving before I punch one of you in the face really hard?" asked Cade.

And with that, he and Adam ushered the five kids through the fence. Izabella and Sqweeks both gave Cade a look before shifting their gaze at Adam. When Cade was looking the other way, Adam nodded at Izzy and jerked his head to the right while the older male had his back turned. Izzy nodded back and took off with Sqweeks right behind her.

Once that was done, Cade and Adam got back into the Chevrolet K5 Blazer and drove towards the abandoned football stadium where the Orbital Assault Fighter had crashed. When they arrived, Cade got out while Adam remained in the vehicle to stay as a lookout. Cade walked towards the crashed ship and saw that the 16-foot orange and blue-colored mech had already forced himself out of his wrecked ship. He was greatly-damaged and Yeager had a feeling that it wasn't from the crash. The mech tried to steady himself, but he collapsed immediately against his wrecked ship.

"Hey, easy there," said Cade gently as he slowly approached the Cybertronian, with the mech watching him with weary and weak optics. "It's okay, I'm a friend who's trying to help."

"Designation: Dion..." muttered the mech weakly as Cade examined his wounds. "Must find...Orion and Ariel...they're in danger..."

"Don't talk, okay? I'm gonna check you over, so just don't talk," said Cade as he tried to reassure Dion. But even as he did that, Cade knew there was very little he could do. Dion had multiple wounds all over his entire frame, including a large hole in his chestplates as Energon was currently leaking profusely from everywhere. Plus, Adam hadn't fully recovered from healing Canopy, causing Cade to have a feeling that it wouldn't make a difference with Dion's current condition.

He lowered his head as he was ashamed that he couldn't do anything. "I'm sorry..." said Cade mournfully to Dion.

The mech already knew that it was too late for him and he accepted that. However, he was still very determined to complete his duty. Reaching into his subspace compartment, Dion pulled out the talisman he had with him. "Take it. It will...protect you...keep it safe..." gasped the mech as he held said object towards Cade.

At first, he didn't want to take it because he felt like he didn't deserve it because he couldn't save Dion in time. And so, with a heavy heart, Cade took the talisman and put it in his bag. "I will, I promise."

Dion then opened his chestplates and pulled out a glowing disk from a different compartment before handing this also to Cade. "Memory core...show it to the Autobots," he begged. "And please tell Orion and Ariel that...I'm sorry..."

And with those last words, the lights from Dion's optics faded as his frame went limp and his arms fell to his sides. Seeing this, Cade gave a moment of silence for the mech's passing before putting the memory core into his bag as well. As he began walking back to his vehicle, Cade contemplated on taking Dion's frame with him. At the least, he did deserved a proper burial, rather then letting the TRF take his frame away to be dumped unceremoniously into the Laurentian Abyss. But there wasn't enough time and they didn't have any heavy-equipment to carry him with.

As he made his way out of the stadium, Cade pulled out his radio. "Adam, 'Bee, I'm coming out solo. He didn't make it," he said sadly into it as he walked over towards his vehicle. He saw Adam standing next to it with his back facing the older man, and not moving an inch. That made Cade concern. "Adam?"

As he walked closer to the young teen, Cade felt multiple eyes on him. And it was made even more apparent when he saw three green laser dots hovering over his heart. Cade moved his eyes carefully at Adam and saw that he too had three green laser dots on him. Swearing under their breath, the two of them slowly set anything they were carrying onto the ground before slowly raising their hands into the air. Seconds later, several TRF Soldiers armed with either HK416 D10RS Assault Carbines or M249 Para SAWs appeared, soon followed by three 2007 Cadillac Escalade ESVs with roof-mounted M134G Miniguns, three 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab Pickup Trucks with bed-mounted M2HB HMGs, and one M1025A2 HMMWV with a roof-mounted M2HB HMG as they surrounded them. Cade and Adam took it as their cue and slowly got on their knees with their hands still in the air as the TRF Soldiers closed in on them.

The left side passenger door on the M1025A2 HMMWV opened as Santos stepped out with a smug look on his face before he approached them. He stared down at them, before looking at Adam. "Not bad, kid. It's a quite a shame that you're not on our side."

"If I was anything like you, I would've done something a lot more worse for your attempt on murdering my friend," retorted Adam.

Santos ignored him as his attention was now focused on Cade. "Now, where are the others? The ones you're hiding?"

Cade glared back defiantly at the former Delta Force Operator. "Sorry, pal. But I don't sell out my friends."

"'Friends'?" snorted Santos as he knelt down so he could stare face-to-face with Cade. "This is an invasion! One day, when we wake up, they're in charge."

"If you think that, then you're no better than that paranoid racist bastard, Harold Attinger," retorted Adam. "As a matter of fact, I also see some of his goons among your men," he added as he looked at the collected TRF Soldiers. Said mentioned people shifted uncomfortably as they knew the damage their former CIA unit had caused.

"Adam's right," said Cade. "Do you see anybody in charge? They just keep falling out the sky, just trying to find a home. And something's coming, and when it does, you won't be able to shoot your way out of it. Not on your own that is."

Any other words were cut off when the sounds of two car engines were heard. Coming from the left was Bumblebee in his alt-mode of a 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Concept, while coming from the right was Evac in his alt-mode of a 2013 Jeep Wrangler Flattop Concept, as both of them were charging straight towards the TRF. Immediately, the three TRF Soldiers manning the M134G Miniguns on the ESVs opened up on 'Bee with 7.62x51mm NATO Armor-Piercing/Tracer rounds, while the other three manning the M2HB HMGs on the pickups fired on Evac with 12.7x99mm NATO API-T (Armor-Piercing-Incendiary-Tracer) rounds. The two Autobots swerved to the sides and avoided the bullets before transforming into their biped forms when they got closer. Bumblebee did a forward roll and knocked over one of the three ESVs, sending it onto its side and causing the gunner to roll out. Evac kicked the second ESV, causing it to crash into a nearby pillar and knocking out the gunner. Then they brought out their own respective weapons, but kept them at low-power. 'Bee fired a non-lethal blast from his Solar Plasma Cannon that sent twelve TRF Soldiers flying, while Evac fired his dual forearm-mounted Concussion Blasters at two of the three pickups, making them flip and causing some TRF Soldiers to get out of the way of the now-wrecked vehicles. Swinging out his arms, Evac swatted five TRF Soldiers aside, while Bumblebee fired another shot that sent ten more flying. During that time, Cade suckered punch a nearby TRF Soldier, while Adam grabbed his Energon Crossbow/Battle-Axe and hit Santos with the flat part of his blade, sending him to the ground. Bumblebee then pinned the man to the ground with his Solar Plasma Cannon, while Evac raised his Concussion Blasters at the TRF Soldiers.

"I'll burn you so bad that would've wished you had died as a child," said Bumblebee to Santos through the radio.

"Shoot them!" shouted the former Delta Force Operator as he ignored the weapon pinning him to the ground.

Cade pointed his Mini-Photon Battle Pistol at Santos with Adam covering him. "You'll be dead before me and Adam hit the ground, asshole."

None of that seemed to deter Santos, as he continued shouting at his men: "Take the shot! Shoot! Shoot!"

"Don't do it, 'Bee!" shouted a familiar voice that Bumblebee hadn't heard from in a long time.

Walking out of a newly-arrived International MXT-MVA Crew Cab Truck was former NEST Field Commander and U.S Army Ranger, Colonel William Lennox. Following him were Graham and U.S Air Force Chief Master Sergeant Robert Epps, with all three former NEST Soldiers wearing the TRF Battle Dress Uniform (BDU). "Nobody fire!" shouted Graham as he and Epps were ordering the others to stand down. "Hold your fire! Hold it!" ordered Lennox before turning to Cade and Adam. "You two, lower your weapons."

"We ain't lowering anything until these guys do," replied Cade while not looking back at Lennox, with Adam nodding in agreement.

Lennox took a deep breath before looking at Bumblebee. "Hey, the U.S and British Militaries didn't want it this way," began the Army Ranger as 'Bee pointed his Solar Plasma Cannon at him. "You gotta believe me, 'Bee. It's a new world order now and these TRF guys are calling the shots."

"All they want is a home and you know it," said Adam. "If you push them, they'll just push right back."

Bumblebee added to the young teen's statement by moving his weapon back towards Santos as said man was clearly frustrated at how easily he and his team were taken down so quickly.

A loud rumbling engine caught their attention as a Land-Rover 101 FC (Forward-Control) Lorry painted in the Woodland-Pattern cameo arrived before transforming into the 24-foot Autobot Commando, Hound. He did a roll forward and had his X19 Scrapmaker Minigun at the ready. "Whoa, looks like we got ourselves one hell of a gunfight. Sorry for the late arrival, my invitation must've gotten lost in the mail! Hope you're all ready because this round mound is gonna mow you all down. Translation: sayonara, suckers."

The tables have been clearly turned on the TRF now. With three heavily-armed Autobots staring down at them, there was little to no chance for them to walk away in one piece, and Lennox knew that and was currently trying to calm the situation down. Adam and Cade both shared a glance and knew that it was done.

"Me and my crew are rolling out of here, and no one is gonna follow, got it?" Cade said to Lennox.

"And call off your birds," added Hound.

And with that, Cade lowered his weapon, picked up his bag and made his way back to his vehicle. Adam followed behind him, but not before flipping the bird at Santos. As they walked away, Lennox pulled out his radio and reported negative Decepticon activity back to command. Meanwhile, Santos, having gotten up, begrudgingly told his men to stand down.

"I believe that the score is: Autobots: 1 and TRF: 0," commented Evac as he covered his human friends.

Bumblebee and Hound followed from behind him. However, the Commando couldn't help but say one last remark: "You sure don't wanna shoot me, 'cause I'm a big ol' target. What a bunch of wusses."

As the group began driving out of the quarantined zone, Santos marched up to Lennox. Despite being shorter than the Colonel, the U.S TRF Field Commander had no problem with glaring at the man. "Whose side are you on, Colonel? They're all evil."

Lennox only glared back at him while Epps and Graham helped the other TRF Soldiers checking on the wounded. The former NEST Field Commander had disliked Santos from the start. The two of them were always clashing over various subjects, such as whose way of commanding was better or their personal views on the Cybertronians respectively. Keller had warned Lennox that this might happen, and the Army Ranger was prepared for it. But that still didn't make it less annoying for him. "No, not all of them. I've known 'Bee for five years and he and his fellow Autobots would risk their lives for us, while the Decepticons wouldn't hesitate to step on us like bugs."

"Yeah, well don't blame me when one of those 'good' alien robots decides to step on you," replied Santos as he started walking away before speaking into his radio.

Epps walked up to his old friend with his eyes on the former Delta Force Operator's back. "Although he wasn't a part of Cemetery Wind, that guy is still an asshole."

"I know, but we'll just have to deal with him for now," replied Lennox before heading back to base with the rest of the TRF personnel.

As the Autobots were reaching the exit, they were joined by Canopy in his alt-mode with Sqweeks in his bed and secretly Izabella in his cab. However, unbeknownst to the group, a TRF sniper under Santos' orders, fired a tracking device on Bumblebee's spoiler.

(Later that evening...)

The sun had begun to go down over the ruins of the quarantined zone in Chicago. Driving through the empty streets was a blue-blackish and white-colored 2016 Ford Mustang GT350 Police Interceptor. Upon reaching the delivery area of an old factory, the Ford Mustang transformed into the 16-foot biped form of the Decepticon Scout and former Kaon Enforcer, Barricade. After receiving his injuries from Prowl three years ago, Barricade had gained a new frame with this one being sleeker and more streamlined then his previous one. Covering both of his servos was a pair of Cybertanium Brass-Knuckles with the words 'Punish' and 'Enslave' engraved onto each one separately. As he walked into the factory, Barricade activated his left shoulder-mounted high-powered searchlight as he began scanning over the darkened area.

"Lord Megatron," said the former Kaon Enforcer.

Barricade's lights shined onto the 30-foot grey-colored Decepticon Leader who was currently sitting on top of a pile of wrecked cars that he was using as a makeshift chair. Standing next to him was Soundwave, with Laserbeak perched on the 16-foot Communications Officer's left shoulder. On his right shoulder was a 5'6-foot black-colored Mini-Con named Rumble, who was the older brother of the late Frenzy. Although he did possessed a hyper-reactive trans-scanning/reformatting system like his late younger brother, he was a bit more bulkier and his alt-mode was a Gladiator TUGV (Tactical-Unmanned-Ground-Vehicle). When Barricade turned to face Megatron, said mech raised his left servo when the light was shining into his optics.

"Get that out of my faceplates, Barricade," snarled Megatron. Only when the Scout subspaced his searchlight did the Decepticon Leader lowered his servo. "Report, do you have the talisman?"

For the past three years, Megatron had been traveling across Earth as he examined the recent appearance of six large horns coming out of the ground, with Barricade serving as his personal Field Officer and delivering orders to other teams out in the field. Meanwhile, Blackout and Shockwave were organizing Megatron's main forces back at the underground Decepticon base beneath Mount Yamantau in the Ural Mountains. The Autobots had been laying low for now, but only coming out when the situation demanded it. Also, the TRF were interfering with some of his operations, which is why Megatron would sometimes come out and see to it personally. Ever since the past four failures on Earth, the Decepticon Leader wasn't taking any chances in trusting others (like Starscream) out on the field to complete the tasks he gave them.

"I saw the dying mech crash, but the Autobots reached him first and he gave the tailsman to their human ally, Cade Yeager. Also, the number of TRF Soldiers in the area along with their current firepower would've made it impossible for me to retrieve it, let alone getting out of there in one piece," reported Barricade.

Megatron growled out in frustration as he blasted a nearby pile of wrecked cars to pieces with his right forearm-mounted Fusion Cannon. "You let the talisman escape?!" he snarled. "Without it, we can't find the staff! Cybertron is coming here and we must have it by then! Soundwave, can you track the Autobots back to their base?"

"Negative, my Lord. The Autobots have completely shielded their base's position," replied the dark-blue/lighter-blue mech in his raspy monotone-like voice. "Furthermore, their current numbers will make it difficult for us to retrieve the talisman."

"Are you saying that I would fail?" asked Megatron with a raised optical ridge.

"Negative, Lord Megatron. What I'm trying to say is that a large force of Autobots won't let you leave unscathed," explained Soundwave. "And I personally recommend that you request for immediate reinforcements."

"I think I know who can help us with that," said Barricade before tossing a grey-colored door from a 2007 Cadillac Escalade ESV in front of Megatron's pedes. Despite being scratched and banged up, the insignia on it showed who it belong to was clear. "Over the past three years, the TRF have captured many of our fellow Decepticons. If we can find some way to barter with them, we might be able to gain their release and grant us additional forces."

Megatron though about this. While the idea did indeed have merit in it, it was just the thought of dealing with those human insects disgusted him to no end, but the Decepticon Leader knew that this was the only option they had available right now. With many of his current forces currently working on completing tasks that were assigned to them by either him or Shockwave, they were still too important for the troops to just reassigned them. Also, the Vehicons wouldn't be of much help, despite having large numbers on their side, their abilities couldn't be compared to the Autobots.

"Very well. Barricade, I want you to remain here in Illinois and continue watching for any Autobot activities. If you seen none for the next week, then I want you to scout the nearby states and search for any possible locations of the Autobots' presence. Soundwave, contact Shockwave and tell him that any spare troops he currently has available are to be reassigned to my field team. And I also want a report of his Combiner experimenting too," ordered Megatron as he got up.

"Yes, sir," said Barricade.

"Understood, my Lord," replied Soundwave. "I also recommend that you take Laserbeak with you because he'll be able to block any Autobot or TRF sensors from detecting you."

"Very well," said Megatron as the Cyber-Condor landed on his left shoulder. "Await for my orders. Soon, we shall be freed of this wretched planet and walk once again on a living Cybertron."

After that, the Decepticon Leader transformed into a Cybertronian Jet and took off with Laserbeak flying beside him. Soundwave shifted into his alt-mode of a General Atomics Avenger UAV and took off as well, while Barricade shifted into his alt-mode again and drove away.

Chapter Text

(Brig, the Longshot)

Optimus Prime's systems began to reboot due to his energy reserves were now full again, and soon his optics came online. The Autobot Leader let out a groan as he began to get up before he noticed that he was currently sitting on a bunk inside a small room with a small shielded window. On the opposite end of the room were energy bars that quickly made Optimus realize he was in a Cybertronian-designed cell. He also took note of the Energon Cuffs around his wrists, and how they were blocking his scanners, jamming his comms and disabling both his subspaced weapons and T-cog. He also realized that both his Vector Shield-Cannon and the Sword of Judgement have been confiscated.

Deciding to see if anyone else was around, Optimus got up from his bunk and walked up towards the energy bars. And when he did, he saw there were two guards with one on each side of his cell. One of them noticed him and turned to face the Prime. He was a 22-foot white and red-colored bulky mech. It took Optimus a moment to quickly recognized the mech as the Autobot, Showdown.

Said mech appeared to be looking at Optimus with distasteful optics before turning to look at his partner. "Shellshock, go tell Anomaly and Switchblade that our guest has finally woken up."

Shellshock, a 22-foot dark-green and silver-colored mech, nodded before activating his comms.

Optimus looked at Showdown with confusion written on his faceplates. "Showdown, what the frag is going on? Where are we, and why am I locked in a cell?"

"I'm under no condition to answer you, Prime," replied Showdown with a snort as he said the last bit with hate, surprising the Autobot Leader.

"Now, now, Showdown. There's no need for such hostilities," said Switchblade as he and his SiC walked up to Optimus' cell. "After all, Optimus at least does deserve to know his fate."

Said mech frowned as he looked at the flyer before his optics widened in realization. "I thought your name sounded familiar. You're Switchblade, a Captain of a Decepticon Seeker Armada. And you're Anomaly, one of Wheeljack's former students. Why are you serving under Switchblade?"

"It's former Autobot and Decepticon now, Prime," answered Switchblade. "We are the Star Seekers, Cybertronians who have banded together. And this is our ship, the Longshot."

"'Star Seekers'?" repeated Optimus before looking back at Anomaly. "So, you've defected then?"

"It much better than just dying. Do you even know how many of us felt when you sent that message?! The AllSpark, destroyed! Cybertron, our home, slowly dying along with many mechs and femmes, even Younglings! We had to leave in order to survive, becoming exiles in the process!" snapped Anomaly with a snarl as he pointed an accusing digit at his former leader. "You abandoned your own people, Prime."

This made Optimus lower his helm in shame after hearing the former Autobot's words. "There were complicated reasons, Anomaly. Complicated, but very good reasons for what I did."

"Perhaps," replied Switchblade. "But it was both you and Megatron who destroyed our home, forcing us to survive on what scraps we had and what we could find, along with what we could take from others by force."

Upon hearing those words did the Autobot Leader's optics widened. "Yo-you raided other worlds and civilizations?! How could you, Anomaly?!" demanded Optimus as he was both horrified and disgusted at what his former Autobots did.

"It was either that or die, Optimus," said Anomaly. "And with our race on the brink of extinction, we had no choice."

"But now that we have you, it won't be," added Switchblade. "We shall finish the mission that Lockdown was supposed to complete, and finally regain our home."

Suddenly, the Longshot shook a little, but none of the crew seemed to mind. "It appears that we have finally arrived," said Switchblade.

"Arrived where?" questioned Optimus as he walked towards his cell's window and gasped at what he saw.

Up ahead was a massive planet made of both metal and earth, but dark and lifeless. Large fragments had split off the planet, but were all still held together through multiple iron-like cables as almost as if it was still alive. Despite having not seen it for so many years, Optimus never forgot the image of his homeworld and what it had become ever since they launched the AllSpark into space.

"Cybertron," answered Switchblade, as if he was reading the Prime's thoughts. "Our home."

(Junkyard, the Badlands, South Dakota)

It was just another normal day at the junkyard that served as the Autobots' FOB (Forward-Operating-Base). Said yard was surrounded by a wide fence that was backed up with Laser Sentry Turrets, tripwires and other mechanisms they could gather and use. At the opposite end of the junkyard was what remained of the transport ship. With the combined efforts of both the Wreckers and Wheeljack, they were able to take it apart and remodified it as a base. The new features included were a main doorway for the Autobots to come and go as they pleased, a very large hangar for Omega Supreme and some landing pads for their flyers. Next was an overlook that served as an Observation Post that allowed the Autobots to see the entire junkyard and a good deal of the land beyond that. And at the top of the base was a crow's nest that also overlooked the junkyard as well. Inside the former transport ship was a Command Center, Security Room, Medical Bay, Laboratory/Workshop, Storage Area/Energon Vault, Armory and Personal Quarters. Also inside the former ship was a GroundBridge that was built by Wheeljack after the Aerialbots recovered some of Sentinel Prime's mobile SpaceBridge Pillars in South America.

In the center of the junkyard was an old auto-repair shop, gas station, a garage and several trailers that served as homes for Cade, his assistant, Jimmy Connor, and Adam. Surrounding it were several objects and an outdoor workshop/lounge. Next to it was a tower built by Wheeljack that was designed to hide the Autobots' Energon signatures from the scanners used by both the TRF and the Decepticons.

Another of 'Jack's inventions was an extractor converter to make a steady supply of Energon by converting any type of fuel (mostly liquid or gas). Numerous gauges and buttons were dotted on its dashboard, while various tubes that were attached to it were connected to 12-foot empty tanks on its right. This is were the converted Energon was released at. To its left were the drums that currently contained gas, and next to them were the empty drums that needed to be refilled. Simply called an 'Energon Converter', it followed the same principles that the Sun Harvester did, but on a very much smaller scale and much less likely to destroy the Earth.

Currently, the Autobots present there were doing various activities. The Chevy Twins and Cliffjumper were moving wrecked cars aside as both an exercise and to make more room for some more additional security systems. Crosshairs was sitting lazily ontop of an Orbital Assault Fighter. Ironhide and Warpath were using some wrecked cars for target practice. Next to them was Armorhide, the 25-foot black and yellow-stripped mech (who's alt-mode was a 2017 Volo FH460 Globetrotter XL Cabover Truck) was currently checking his right forearm-mounted Ion Pulse Cannon for any possible problems. Sideswipe and Drift, with the latter having gotten a new alt-mode, were currently sparring. Jolt was in the Medical Bay and doing an inspection to ensure that he and his mentor had a full load of supplies. Ratchet was currently inspecting the wrecked vehicles that filled the junkyard for any useful parts. Trench was in his alt-mode (as he usually was) while not minding as the others walked by him. Prowl and Jazz were in the Command Center with Silverbolt as they currently discussed about what the latter had saw on his team's latest patrol. Breakaway and Air Raid were currently recharging in their quarters upon their return. Grindcore, a 22-foot green-colored mech (whose alt-mode was a Caterpillar 930G Front Loader), was currently talking with Wheeljack as they checked on the Energon Converter. The Wreckers: Leadfoot, Roadbuster and Topspin, were currently sitting against some old wrecked cars as they talked with one another. Steeljaw, Leadfoot's Cyber-Bulldog pet, was taking a nap right next to them. Fixit, whose alt-mode was now a Land Tamer SMSS (Squad-Mission-Support-System) UGV, was at the overlook and currently checking the security cameras for anything suspicious. Mirage was in the crow's nest and just lying about as he stared up at the sky. Brawn, a 16-foot grayish-green mech who transforms into a 2008 Hummer HX Concept, was currently using a broken van as a makeshift punching bag. Wheelie and Brains were currently surfing the Internet with Jimmy underneath a canopy next to the auto-repair shop. The Dinobots were in their beast modes as they just wandered around the junkyard aimlessly.

Outside the junkyard, Stratosphere was waiting in his alt-mode of a grey-colored C-5M Super Galaxy as he prepared to transport some Autobot refugees to Cuba. Beside him were his two escorts: Tomahawk and Blazemaster, whom the two 22-foot mechs transformed into a black and grey-colored EC665 Tiger HAP Attack Helicopter and a blue-colored AS565 MB Panther Medium-Utility Helicopter respectively. Helping the refugees was Inferno, a 17-foot red-colored mech who transforms into a 2017 Nissan Armada Mountain Patrol Concept. With him were the two former AllSpark Mutations, Longarm and Salvage. Longarm was a 21-foot white and blue-stripped mech who transforms into a 2007 Ford F-350 Wrecker Tow Truck, while Salvage, who's a 20-foot one-optic mech, can transform into a red 2007 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab Pickup Truck.

Also in the Command Center was Cosmos, a 20-foot green-colored mech with both a round-shaped chassis and a red-colored helm. Being able to shift into a Cybertronian UFO, he would normally be in space, delivering reports to Prowl about things such as Cybertronians coming into Earth's orbit to make landfall. Sometimes, Cosmos would come down to the junkyard and speak to Prowl directly.

And finally, near the base, were Elita, Chromia and Arcee. They had recently setup an outdoor playpen for the twenty-one Sparklings. Having grown out of their Hatchling stage, the young Cybertronians were now displaying their own respective individual colors and had already received names. The Sparklings were currently keeping themselves occupied with toys that Wheeljack had created (all of them non-exploding that is). Despite their current living conditions, Elita and her sisters wanted the Sparklings to grow up safe and happy and receive a proper education as well, unlike what Megatron had originally planned for them.

Back at the auto-repair shop, Jimmy was conversing with Wheelie about the site they were currently looking at. "So this is some kind of 'Autobot hook-up' site?" asked Jimmy to the 1-foot blue-colored Mini-Con.

"Nah, me and Brains just go here to dream," answered Wheelie.

"Yeah, we can't be dreaming about the beauties here, now that they're all taken," added Brains, the 1-foot silver-grey Mini-Con with fiber-optic strands for 'hair', as he and Wheelie continued flipping through the website.

Meanwhile, Fixit was shifting through the live-feed from the security cameras when he saw some familiar vehicles approaching the front gate. "Cade and his team are back!" announced the 5-foot orange-colored Mini-Con over the speakers. "And it looks like they brought a new arrival or two with them too."

Driving up the main road were Bumblebee, Evac, Hound and Canopy, the last one carrying a sack of objects on his bed that he, Izabella and Sqweeks had collected over the years. 'Bee was the first to transform into his biped form, followed by Evac after he let Adam, Rewind and Ramhorn out first.

"Man, destroying those TRF drones really felt good. Right, 'Bee?" Evac asked his friend.

Bumblebee replied only with several beeps before making his way towards the femmes, who were currently leading the curious Sparklings to greet them. The yellow mech sat down as the younger Cybertronians crawled or ran over to him. The air was filled with the Sparklings' trilling, purring, chirping and squeaking as they were happy to see one of their favorite Autobots. While the Sparklings climbed on Bumblebee, Evac stood to the side along with Adam as they waited for Canopy to come up. Ramhorn went off to explore while Rewind went to the Command Center to deliver a personal report to Prowl.

Although their entrance was subtle, Hound's, however, wasn't. His transformation was followed by several small loose gears and a few explosions going off. "Boo-ya, baby!" he shouted as he watched several mini-explosions going off. "Talk about a cluster bomb."

Unfortunately, his actions were unappreciated by the eldest femme.

"HOUND!!" shouted Elita, which caused the bearded Commando to flinch at her tone. "How many times do I have to tell you not to do that?! What if the Sparklings were over there?!" shouted the 20-foot purple femme as she began scolding at Hound.

Brains watched from the safety of the sofa before looking back at Jimmy. "Hey, aren't you going to do something about that?"

"No way. I'm not getting between her ranting. I ain't suicidal," said Jimmy, looking back at Brains as if he lost it.

"I hear that," added Wheelie as the three of them went back to surfing the Internet.

Meanwhile, Canopy drove past Hound and Elita, quickly letting out Izzy and Sqweeks before anyone saw them as he transformed and letting his sack to slide off the bed as he stood up. Wobbling a bit, Canopy was held up, thanks to Evac, who began guiding the yellow mech to the Medical Bay for both Ratchet and Jolt to look over. Adam walked over towards Sqweeks and Izabella, as said girl was looking at all the Autobots in awe.

"Welcome to the Autobots' Forward Operating Base," began Adam as he spread both his arms out. "Doesn't have much of a view, but its habitable for both Cybertronians and humans. Plus, we also got free Wi-Fi and TV too."

Izabella said nothing as she stared at the base behind the auto-repair shop. "Is that a real spaceship?"

"Was," answered Adam. "It took a great of damage in the Battle of Hong Kong three years ago. So we remodified it as a base of operations. From here, we can coordinate our efforts to safely bring arriving Autobot refugees to Cuba, along with steady supplies of Energon. That's what they use to survive. But we do have a 50-foot mech who transforms into a giant plane if you want to see." He then pointed at Stratosphere as he took off with his escort following him. "The refugees heading for Cuba usually ride aboard that big guy."

"This is freaking awesome..." muttered Izzy in complete awe.

Sqweeks turned his helm and his optics widened upon seeing something. "Chihuahua!"

Turning to see what was bothering the diminutive mech, Izzy and Adam saw Cade's 1969 Chevrolet K5 Blazer. Even from this distance, Adam could personally tell that the man was pissed off about something. "Shit, looks like somebody is on the receiving end of Cade's temper. Izzy, you better take cover until he cools down. Hide behind Trench here, he won't mind," he said to the girl.

Izzy nodded as she and Sqweeks went around the other side of the yellow Caterpillar 320F-L Hydraulic Excavator. The young hybrid watched as Cade parked his vehicle beside the auto-repair shop. The man then got out and slammed the driver's door before marching on the junkyard.

"Alright, where is he?! Where's Grimlock?! I know he did something to Sherman's car!" yelled Cade at the assembled Autobots.

"Somewhere back there and he's chewing on something. Probably the Chief's car," suggested Ironhide as he walked up to stand beside his sparkmate before moving his helm to avoid a metal block flying at him.

"X-Grid, no throwing," said Chromia to the giggling glaucous and magenta-colored Sparkling.

"Grimlock!" yelled Cade as he walked towards the Dinobot Leader who was currently in his beast mode of a 60-foot horned T-Rex. With him were Slug and Snarl. Riding on Snarl's back and protected by said Dinobot's upward plates was Skar, a grey and yellow-colored Sparkling. He got his name from Grimlock who noticed the scratch on Skar's left cheekplate, making Ratchet believed he got it from when he was under Megatron's 'care'. Said Sparkling had taken a shine to the Dinobots and would normally spend most of his time with them. Said mechs didn't seem to mind, with Grimlock declaring he would train Skar when he got older.

"I swear, I am wasting my time trying to protect you, Grimlock. Drop the cruiser right now!" yelled Cade as he walked up to the gigantic Knight of Cybertron. "Spit it out, now!"

Mirage walked up beside Hound as the two of them watch the whole thing taking place. "I'm guessing you guys ran into some trouble?" asked the 15-foot rosso corsa Autobot Spymaster/Sniper in his thick Italian-accent.

Hound simply shrugged. "Something like that. Ran into the TRF."

A laugh had everyone turning their heads/helms at Crosshairs as he got up. "I bet 'Bee got distracted by searching the radio for the right words to say. I did tell Cade that he should've brought me instead of the yellow bugger," said the 17-foot neon-green and black 'trenchcoated' Paratrooper.

"Here we go again..." muttered Chromia as the 18-foot light-blue and silver-colored femme put her left servo over her faceplates.

"Shut up!" said Bumblebee through his radio as he put the Sparklings down before he walked right up to Crosshairs. "Before I do some damage that you won't be able to walk away from."

"Oh, you want to go, tough guy?" challenged the Paratrooper before 'Bee tackled him to the ground as the two of them began punching and kicking at one another. The Sparklings chirped and squeaked as they found the whole thing amusing.

From her hiding spot behind Trench, Izabella couldn't help but snicker as she watched the whole show. Meanwhile, Grimlock regurgitated what remained of Chief Sherman's 2011 Chevrolet Caprice PPV 9C1 Police Cruiser before letting out a groan and put his helm to the ground, with Cade still near him as he continued scolding the Knight. Ironhide separated the two wrestling mechs, keeping both 'Bee and Crosshairs separated from one another. Crosshairs shook a fist at the Scout, who just gave him the digit in return.

Back at the Command Center, Evac was giving his report to Jazz and Prowl, while Silverbolt went off to recharge and Cosmos was currently preparing to stack up some Energon before heading back out into space.

"This mech, you sure he was an Autobot?" asked Jazz after Evac finished his report.

"I didn't see him up close, but I was able to get a good sight of his frame when we left," said Evac as he projected a holographic image of the offlined Cybertronian. "Cade said his designation was 'Dion'. But I made sure to hide his frame from the TRF so that we could retrieve it later."

Prowl, the 15-foot white and blue mech, seemed to be surprised at the name, along with the appearance of the deceased. "Dion...it can not be..."

"You know him, Prowl?" asked Jazz.

"I never met him personally, but I have heard about him," replied the Autobot SiC. "Before Cybertron was united thanks to Sentinel, we were all scattered into various tribes. Each tribe was made up of descendants from different members of the Thirteen's followers, primarily Solus, Alchemist, Vector and Prima. Among them were Orion Pax, Ariel, Chromia, Arcee and Dion. Orion and Ariel later became Optimus Prime and Elita respectively. The two of them said that Dion was a close friend of theirs."

The other Autobots in there were surprised by this bit of info. "So what happened to Dion after that?" asked Evac.

"Optimus said that the day before Sentinel came to their tribe in his quest to bring a new age of life on Cybertron, they were attacked by marauders, and Dion was killed in the process. However, they couldn't find his frame. My guess was that he was still alive all this time," explained Prowl.

Jazz, the 15-foot silver Saboteur, commented: "But he clearly was an Autobot, if the insignia that Cade had found proves it. So where was he all this time?"

"It looks like we will never know," answered Prowl sadly. "But in the meantime, I still want to take a look at that object he gave to Cade. While I doubt that Dion would give us something dangerous, its best that we don't take any chances."

The conversation was cut short when the loudspeakers came on. "Prowl, sir. Security cameras have just spotted another Autobot approaching...its Daytrader," reported Fixit as he said the name in distaste. "Orders?"

"Let him in, Fixit. He's a fellow Autobot, whether or not you like it," ordered Prowl as he left the Command Center with Jazz and Evac.

"And by the way, Evac, when were you and Adam gonna tell us about the human girl who came with you?" asked Jazz as he opened a holographic image that showed Izzy and Sqweeks hiding behind Trench.

The young Junior Knight of Cybertron said nothing but gave a sheepish smile instead.

Back in the junkyard, the gathered Autobots watched as a rusted blue and white 1924 Mercedes-Benz L911 Dump Truck that was carrying a huge ridiculous number of items drove down the main road towards them.

"Ugh, here comes the most annoying Cybertronian on this planet. Should I frag him?" asked Hound as he was currently juggling one of his Mk2 Anti-Personnel-Fragmentation Grenades.

"Definitely," replied Drift as the 15-foot black and light sky-blue mech had just finished his spar with Sideswipe.

"Hide the Sparklings," said Sideswipe as the 15-foot silver Frontliner glanced at Arcee. "There's no telling what kind of junk that he's brought with him this time."

Cade, who had just finished scolding Grimlock, also spotted Daytrader. "'This time'?" he repeated before rounding on Jimmy, who had finally gotten up from the couch when Daytrader came driving in. "What did he give you that you would let him in?"

"Nothing," said Jimmy as he tried to defend himself. "I barely have any control over most of these guys when you're gone. None of this has anything to do with me and-"

"Hey, Cade. He got this from Daytrader," said Brains from the top of a nearby table. Beside him was a small Cybertronian blaster that he lightly kicked with his right pede.

"And he wanted it because he thought that it would made him look badass," added Wheelie as he climbed onto the table and stood next to his friend.

An argument began between Jimmy and the two Mini-Cons that Cade had to break up. Meanwhile, Daytrader had begun transforming into his 17-foot biped form once he reached the others. "How's it all going, folks?" asked the bearded scavenger cheerfully.

"That's it, I'm gonna frag him," said Hound as he prepared to pull the pin, but was quickly stopped when Armorhide grabbed the grenade from his right servo. "What the frag, Armorhide?" demanded the Commando.

"Throw that anywhere near the Sparklings, and Elita and her sisters will tear you to pieces," replied Armorhide before tossing the grenade back to Hound. "Plus, I don't want anymore explosions today. Got a processor ache already."

"Yeah, like what he said, Hound. You've gotta stop with starting things off with violence. You do it all the time, right off the bat," commented Daytrader.

"Its because I love violence, that's why," said Hound as he examined his Cybertanium Combat Knife.

By that time, the other Autobots had came over to see what the fuss was all about, with Cade walking past his large friends. "What the hell are you doing here, Daytrader?" he asked.

"Come on, Cade. Don't be like that," said Daytrader said as he walked up to the human as several items fell off his back. "Anyway, Prowl wanted me to come by if I had any news regarding a ship that you guys wanted me to find. But I also brought a new voicebox for 'Bee over here," he added as he held up said device.

Cade took it from him as he recognized it from the images that Ratchet and Jolt had showed him. "You are sure that this is really gonna work?"

"Don't be so doubtful on me. You all know that you guys only get the good parts," replied Daytrader. "I checked it out myself, fully operational. Soon, our yellow friend here will feel like a brand-new 'Bot."

"You hear that, buddy? You're finally gonna talk!" said Cade.

The young Scout responded by playing some music as he did a dance, with the Sparklings squeaking in excitement.

"Yeah, break it down, 'Bee!" cheered Hound, while the other Autobots either chuckled or sighed in exasperation at Bumblebee's enthusiasm.

Some of the other Autobots gathered around Daytrader as they wanted to see if he had anything that might be useful, especially Ratchet, since the 20-foot lime-green and white mech wanted to find some spare parts that he and Jolt could use. While this was happening, Cade was walking back to his trailer. It was there that Izzy took that moment to run after him. Seeing this, Adam followed after her to do damage control. "Izzy, wait!" he shouted.

This caught Cade's attention, and when his eyes settled on Izabella, he groaned as he instantly recognized her.

"Oh no, no, no, no! I am not dealing with this," said Cade as he continued walking towards his trailer. "I don't want to know how or why, Adam. But your girlfriend is definitely not staying here."

"I b-beg your pardon?" sputtered Adam.

"Okay, first off, I'm not his girlfriend," defended Izzy. "Second, I'm not leaving as long as both Canopy and Sqweeks are here. And third, I can fix shit, probably better than you and Adam."

Said young hybrid had by then reached Izzy with Sqweeks behind him. Putting a gentle hand on the black-haired girl's left shoulder, Adam said: "Look, how about you find Evac or Rewind. I'm pretty sure they can take you to see Canopy. The big guy is being fixed up right now by both Ratchet and Jolt as we speak."

Izabella looked like she was about to argue, but she consented and walked away, with the diminutive light-blue mech following behind her. That just left Adam and Cade, with the latter having just sat down on a couch with a can of Coca-Cola in his left hand and a burrito in his other as he gave the young teen a look. "I know what you're going to say, Cade. But please hear me out. Izzy can be useful. Besides, she doesn't have anywhere else to go."

"What do you mean by that?" asked Cade as he took a bite out of his burrito.

Adam sighed before answering. "Both of her parents were killed by the Decepticons in the Battle of Chicago." This made Cade paused in his eating when he heard that. "Apparently, Izzy refused to go into foster care and decided to strike out on her own. And that's how she ran into Canopy and Sqweeks. She took care of them and vice-versa."

Cade said nothing at first until he finished his burrito. Looking at Adam, he asked: "And what do you know of her?"

"She's resourceful and knows a lot about Cybertronian biology. Hell, she would be more helpful than Jimmy. I highly doubt that Izzy would rat us out to the TRF, but she isn't bias as the rest of the planet is. Plus, she can be helpful when we need a less direct approach," explained Adam. "Just please give her a chance, okay?"

Thinking hard for a minute, Cade kept silent before he eventually said: "Alright, she can stay, but she has to pull her part while staying here."

Adam nodded, happy that Cade had agreed to let Izabella stay.

(Cybertron)

The Longshot had finally landed on the dead planet. Immediately, a small escort walked out of the ship. Leading from the front was Switchblade, with a 18-foot white and black-colored mech named Doubletake walking beside him. After them was a 17-foot purple, green and black-colored mech named Firebreaker who was carrying a Phalanx Pulse Blaster. Behind him was Optimus Prime who was still held in his Energon Cuffs. Keeping a close optic on him were Shellshock and Showdown. To the side was a 18-foot purple and orange-colored mech named Pandemic, who was currently carrying Optimus' confiscated weapons. In the back was Catapult, a 16-foot blue and orange-colored femme, and Ripraw, a 23-foot bulky red mech with orange flames.

"Anomaly, we're taking Optimus to the mistress. You're in charge of the ship until we return," ordered Switchblade over the comms.

"Copy that. Good Luck, Switchblade," replied Anomaly.

As they began to walk through the wasteland, Optimus took this moment to look upwards to see millions of stars shining brightly above Cybertron. However, his optics shuddered when the planet, Neptune, passed by overhead. It soon occurred to the Autobot Leader that Cybertron was literally moving, and at its continued trajectory, it would arrive at Earth in several days.

Deciding to try and find out more, Optimus looked at Switchblade. "Where are we heading?"

"Somewhere that you're familiar with, although you might not recognize it in its current condition," replied the Star Seeker Leader.

Optimus was confused by Switchblade's words until a shadow suddenly engulfed them. Before them was a massive structure that was covered in rust from centuries of neglect. The roof had several holes in it and the large entrance was missing its doors that were either had been torn off or merely fell off. It took Optimus a second to recognize what this place was. "The Hall of Records..." he murmured, remembering of how he came here many times during his time as head of the Science Division to speak with his old caretaker and the Master Archivist of Iacon, Alpha Trion. Sometimes to catch up with the ancient mech, inform him of new discoveries that his team had made or ask questions related to their peoples' past. Along with the Simfur Temple, where the AllSpark was held, it was one of the two places where Alpha Trion could be found.

His musings were cut short when Shellshock pushed him forward. Optimus' escort walked inside and allowed the Prime to gaze upon the Hall's interiors. A long time ago, this place was once filled with Cybertronians seeking knowledge and clerks keeping the archives in shape. But now it was empty and completely devoid of life, just like the rest of the planet. It also served as another reminder of the tragedy that the Autobot-Decepticon Civil War had brought to their own homeworld.

Eventually, the group stopped halfway into the building, with Switchblade getting onto one knee. "My mistress, we have brought him," he said to an individual floating in the center of the building and the exact same place that Alpha Trion use to sit.

The person was a 13-foot femme, whose silver-colored frame was giving off an eerie metallic glow. On her helm were metal hair-like tendrils that gave off the impression of living beings as they moved about in a slow hypnotic fashion. She also wore what looked like to be a dress with several tendrils at the bottom. Her faceplates were humanoid and she had blue optics, just like Optimus. But hers, however, held lies and dark secrets that were not comfortable. And when she looked at Optimus, the femme gave a small smile that was very similar to those who viewed others as nothing more than tools.

"Welcome, Optimus Prime," she said in a silky British-accent that would've sent shivers in an organic spine. "I am Quintessa, the Prime of Life, and your Creator."

Chapter Text

(Hall of Records, Cybertron)

Quintessa then made a gesture and multiple chains shot out everywhere, with each one wrapping around each of Optimus' arms and tore off his Energon Cuffs in the process, before another chain pierced his back and lower chassis that forced him to his knees.

The Star Seekers stepped back a few feet as a 42-foot grey-colored mech appeared out of the shadows. He had a demonic appearance with two large curved horns on his helm and red optics. Attached to each forearm was a Nucleon Shock Cannon. The demonic Cybertronian walked behind the Prime as Quintessa floated in front of Optimus' faceplates, her sinister smile never leaving her faceplates.

"WHAT HAVE YOU DONE TO MY HOME, YOU SLAGGER?!" roared Optimus, this caused Quintessa's smile to turn into a sneer before she struck the Autobot Leader's left cheekplate, releasing a bolt of blue-colored energy that caused the cheek to form a dull red mark after the impact. "You dare to swear at your god, Optimus?"

Said mech growled as he struggled against his bindings. "You defiled my world! Put my friends in danger by allowing Lockdown to hunt us down and kill us! You are no god to me! I will kill you!"

Quintessa responded by gripping Optimus by the helm, showing impressive strength for someone of her size. "Your war doomed Cybertron, you fool!" she retorted as she roughly released him from her grip.

But Optimus' death glare never wavered. "Megatron and his master, the Fallen, were the ones who started the war, not I! It's because of them that Cybertron is in ruins!"

"And yet you were the one who sent the AllSpark into space, making Cybertron slowly die," rebuffed Quintessa as the demonic Cybertronian grabbed Optimus' helm from behind and jerking it straight so his blue optics remained on the Sorceress. "You also allowed the Cube to be destroyed! You and your Autobots have foiled every single attempt to return Cybertron to life. The fault is on you!"

The entire chamber fell into silence after that, with the Star Seekers saying nothing. They all merely stood where they were as they watched the whole thing that was happening in front of them. The demonic mech kept his optics on Optimus while Quintessa hovered in front of the Prime.

"You are going to help me fix it, or the Cybertronian race will perish," said the Sorceress as she floated up. "I made you, and you are mine in command."

"I'll never help you," declared Optimus. "As I told your Bounty Hunter: 'I am slave to no one'."

"We shall see," was all that Quintessa said before blue electricity ran through the chains and shocked the Prime as he withheld the urge to scream and did his extreme best to resist the extreme pain as the torture continued.

(Autobot Forward Operating Base)

The sun had begun to rise over the Badlands of South Dakota. Inside the alt-mode of the fully-healed Canopy was Izzy, who began to stir from her slumber with a blanket over her body. Beside her, Skar also began to stir as he came out of recharge. The honorary Dinobot Sparkling let out a purr as his blue optics looked at Izzy's brown eyes, as said girl smiled at him. "Good morning, little guy," she murmured as Skar let out a yawn as he stretched his arms out.

Wrapping the blanket around her, Izabella got out of Canopy's cab, with one arm holding Skar, who was tall as her waist as he snuggled against her left shoulder while Izzy looked around.

Already, most of the Autobots were up as they prepared for the new day. Sqweeks made some noise as he rolled up to Izzy. Behind the base, the sun slowly began to go higher into the sky.

When it was agreed that Izabella would be living with them, there were some discussions of where she would sleep. Cade, Adam and Jimmy lived in mobile trailers (although Adam would sometimes sleep with the Autobots), the three of them had to figure out where Izzy would sleep. Adam had volunteered his trailer for her to sleep in, while he would sleep with Evac, but Izzy had decided to sleep with Canopy. After living for the past six years in the ruined buildings of Chicago, Izabella had grown very accustomed to sleeping outside. And that's why Skar was with her, due to him having inherited the Dinobots' style of sleeping outside without a berth, not that the young girl minded.

Back to the present, Izabella had made her way over to Cade's trailer after handing Skar over to Swoop who had came over to get the Sparkling. Cade was already up, stretching out in his sleeveless grey shirt and brown jeans. "Morning, Izzy. Sleep well?" he asked when he saw Izzy.

"Like a brick," she replied.

Cade only smirked at the girl's response. "Toothbrush and other toiletries are in the old auto-repair shop. We'll be having breakfast soon before planning the day. I've just heard that Prowl had just picked up a lot of new info, meaning that today will be a very busy one," he explained before heading back into his trailer to get dressed.

As they got dressed and began having breakfast, Prowl was in the Command Center, speaking with Jazz, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Sideswipe and Silverbolt.

"I've just received word from our ally in the TRF that several Autobots have been captured and are currently being held near a small suburban town in California in preparation to be transferred to the NBE Supermax in Colorado. We'll have to use the GroundBridge to get there in time and rescue them. Bumblebee, that will be your mission. Take Adam and Izzy with you as well, they may be useful in the mission," said the Autobot SiC.

'Bee let out confirmed chirps and beeps in response.

"Cosmos has also detected a huge stash of leftover plutonium in an abandon mine in Bulgaria. Such a find like this would be useful to be converted into a large batch of Energon. There is also a chance that the Decepticons might also be aware of this find too, so I'm having Ironhide be transported there by Stratosphere. Bring a small team with you as well. The main objective is to secure that plutonium before the 'Cons do," added Prowl.

"I do hope they're some 'Cons there. My cannons have gone rusty," grumbled the 22-foot black Heavy Weapons Specialist as he punched his fists together, with his dual forearm-mounted Ion Pulse Cannons whirling as if they too were in agreement.

"What about me and my team, Prowl?" asked Silverbolt.

"They're have been reports about six large horn-like structures protruding out of the ground in various points around the globe," explained Prowl. "Cosmos has sent me images, but I need you and your fellow Aerialbots to get a closer look at what they are. And try to keep your presence at a minimal, though. The chances that there will be humans near the area, and if so, do not engage, understood?"

"Got it," replied the 22-foot grey and red-colored Aerialbot Leader.

"Ratchet has already left for Cuba through the GroundBridge. Turns out the Omnicons have discovered an energy source that might be very useful to be converted into Energon, and they asked for him to personally inspect it to make sure that it is healthy," added Prowl. "And that concludes this morning meeting."

As the others left to prepare for their designated assignments, Jazz decided to remain behind, and that was something that Prowl noticed. "Something on your mind, Jazz?"

"Has there been any word from Optimus?" asked the Saboteur.

Prowl sighed as he shook his helm. "Nothing. I had Cosmos keep his scanners open in case he picks up Prime's Energon signature, but either he's too far away or something is blocking it. So far, Cosmos has had no such luck."

"Scrap," muttered Jazz as his optics narrowed. "We could use the big man right about now."

"Agreed. With our current situation, Optimus' presence would be very helpful in reassuring the others," added Prowl. "None of them are showing it yet, but our present situation is starting to affect them in a negative way. But right now, we must focus on securing more Energon until we can find a vessel that's large enough for all of us."

"That, and a lot of luck," said Jazz as he let out a huff.

(Havana, Cuba)

It was a normal day in the capital city of the Republic of Cuba, with people either going to work, school, hanging out at restaurants, social joints, or at the beaches. Sharing in the fun with them were the many Autobot refugees that have arrived on Earth for the past four years. Many of them were in their alt-modes, while others were walking around in their true forms out in public. If it weren't for the actions of Harold Attinger, Cemetery Wind and the rest of the world leaders, no doubt the rest of the planet would be like this.

Near a four-story house, was a 20-foot bulky blue mech who was currently bouncing a volleyball. He also had a battlemask that covered his faceplates as his blue optics looked through the windows on the second floor. "C'mon, guys! Get out here and play! I need two more people for the game and you're both it!"

"No, they're both busy, Rollbar," said Tova Anael Fischer, Seymour Simmons' mother, who had also come to Cuba with her son, much to the former Sector Seven agent's annoyance. "Go and find someone else to play with."

"But they're always busy!" complained Rollbar as he put the volleyball under his left arm before trying to take a look inside. "What are they doing anyway?"

Said inside was almost covered with various objects. Hanging on the walls were maps of the world, certain countries, along with both new and old photos. Some of them showed famous landmarks, but the newer ones were showing the six odd horns that had appeared recently. On top of some tables were newspaper articles, with many of these papers had circles on them, along with lines that linked them to different photos, newspapers and maps together. Also in the room were computers, globes and other tools that investigators would normally use. And finally, scurrying in the room, were both Simmons and Dutch.

It was the former S-7 agent who glared at Rollbar. "What me and Dutch are doing, my noisy Autobot friend, is trying to solve a case that could possibly save both Cybertronians and humans alike!" he said. "So if you don't mind, I would like to get back to work. Also, I think we need more ice for both of our smoothies, Dutch."

"Yeah, I'm on it," said Dutch in his German-accent as he rushed off to get more ice.

"In any case, why don't you ask Landmine to play with you," said Simmons to Rollbar before getting back to work.

As if on cue, the garage door next to the house opened, and rolling out was a blue-grey Chenowth DR2 Assault Buggy that quickly transformed into a 11-foot mech. An AllSpark Mutation like Longarm and Salvage, Landmine was originally part of Sector Seven's L.M.-1 Drone Program that was put on hold due to mechanical problems with the transformation sequence. However, four months before the Battle of Mission City, L.M.-1 Drone #52 was accidentally exposed to the AllSpark's energy from one of Sector Seven's experiments on the Cube inside their base at the Hoover Dam in Nevada. #52 left the base's motor pool without being noticed and managed to survive long enough to gain enough sentience in the process. Three weeks after the Battle of Chicago, #52 meet Simmons at his newly-bought mansion, whom the former agent quickly recognized him as the L.M.-1 Drone that went missing four years ago. Naming him 'Landmine', Simmons took him in to live with. When Cemetery Wind was formed, Landmine fled with Simmons and Dutch to Cuba, whom they were later joined up by Leo Spitz and Camshaft.

"Sorry about Simmons, Rollbar. But apparently, he's caught onto something big regarding those large horns popping out of the ground. I'll play if you'll let me, I've never tried volleyball before," offered Landmine.

"Fine, but it wouldn't hurt for those two guys to come out and play a little bit," muttered Rollbar before transforming into a 2017 Renault Master Formula Edition Van and drove off, followed by Landmine.

Elsewhere, at Playa Guanabo Beach, humans and Autobots were playing with one another. Sitting near the cluster of rocks and working on a tan in an effort to attract the attention of the opposite sex and was currently having little luck, was Leo Spitz, Sam's former college roommate and currently a liaison between the Autobot refugees and the Cuban Government.

Meanwhile, riding the water was a red Sea-Doo Wave Pro 215 Jet-Ski. Interestingly, the driver looked like an almost-exact replica of Leo, and was doing a much more better job of getting attention thanks to the impressive stunts he was pulling off. The jet-ski eventually headed back towards the sand before transforming into a 8-foot mech. "Hey, Leo. Are you really sure that its safe for you to be taking in so much sun rays."

"Relax, Beachbreak. I have an umbrella right here with me and I've already put on heavy sunblock. Now, please go away, I'm trying to get the ladies' attention," complained Leo as he brushed off his concerns.

Beachbreak's optics spun as he looked around and noted the lack of human females nearby. "Er...okay. Good luck with that. I'm going to see if the lifeguards need any help," said the mech before shifting back into his alt-mode.

As Leo went back to relaxing, he didn't notice the silver/blue-lined 2013 GMC Terrain Denali Concept and the orange 2014 Peugeot Quartz Concept driving on the road behind him. The two vehicles headed towards a very large garage door built into one of the Escambray Mountains. Said mountains have served as the home for the Autobot refugees here in Cuba, with the natural structure having been dug through heavily for the past four years in order to make more room as more and more Autobots came to Earth.

Once the two vehicles had passed through the door, they soon entered in what was a Communications Center, the GMC Terrain transformed into the 21-foot one-optic mech, Camshaft, while the Peugeot transformed into the 18-foot mech named Hubcap. They waved by passing Autobots as they made their way to the back of the base. Waiting for them was Camshaft's SiC, Dune Runner, a 20-foot tannish yellow mech who had taken the alt-mode of an M998 HMMWV.

"Ratchet and the others are waiting for you two," reported Dune Runner.

At said back was a large door that had the words 'Omnicon's Testing Facility' written there in Cybertronian glyphs. As the door open, both Hubcap and Camshaft were greeted by Ratchet and three other mechs. Next to the Autobot Chief Medical Officer was Strongarm, a 17-foot dark-green and brown-colored mech who can transform into a 1999 Jeep Commander Concept. Next was Signal Flare, a 20-foot buff and brown-colored mech who had taken the alt-mode of an M3A1 GMC (Gun-Motor-Carriage). And finally, Skyblast, the 22-foot white and tan Omnicon flyer who can transform into a EA-18G Growler. The four of them were surrounding a round machine that was currently keeping a chunk of Energon hovering in the air, protected by glass too.

"Ratchet," said Camshaft as he greeted the Autobot CMO, who greeted him back before greeting Hubcap. "Has Strongarm and the others filled you in on what's going on?"

"No, we decided to wait for you two to come before starting," answered Ratchet. "As the respective leaders of the Autobot refugees here in Cuba, the both of you should know what is going on."

"Like what?" asked Hubcap.

Strongarm began the explanation: "As ordered by both Prowl and Camshaft, we had started draining the geothermal energy from the nearest volcanoes to be converted into Energon. We've been successful and got a lot of cubes thanks to that. However, we recently discovered something really weird."

"Define 'weird'," ordered Ratchet.

Pointing at the liquid substance inside the glass, Signal Flare replied: "This was mined from a volcano in the Caribbean. We first thought it was just liquid magma, but then we later discovered that it was in fact raw Energon in liquid form."

"Raw Energon? From the Earth?" asked Hubcap in disbelief. "I'm no expert, but this planet doesn't produce any Energon, right?"

"You can't mine Energon on this planet if that's what you're wondering. However, like as the Omnicons had explained earlier, it's very possible to convert other energy sources into Energon," answered Ratchet as he scanned the liquid substance. "But what if they're saying is true and that this is really actual raw Energon, with no signs of having been converted at all."

"So what does that mean?" asked Camshaft. "Is it safe or not to consume?"

"Ratchet has already confirmed that there are no anomalies in it, meaning that this Energon is good for consumption," answered Skyblast. "But I still think that we should be cautious when distributing it."

"Why?" inquired Hubcap. "If it's okay to consume, then the refugees can drink it. We're already low on Energon supplies as it is. No need to keep them away from perfectly good Energon."

"Easy, Hubcap. They just want to make sure that its 100% safe," said Camshaft in an effort to calm his friend down. The orange mech just vented some air before walking out the door, passing by a confused Dune Runner.

Camshaft let out a sigh before looking at the others. "Sorry about that, but Hubcap was with three other Autobots when he arrived here on Earth. And his three friends were murdered by Cemetery Wind, leaving him with a bit of resentment towards humanity. Besides that, Hubcap knows that there are some good humans. It's just that he's worried about the refugees. Collecting Energon and other useful materials have been rough, due to both the Decepticons and the TRF hunting us down."

"It's fully understandable. These are hard times for us all, due to Optimus having left three years ago," said Ratchet. "But for the time being, let's begin distributing only the converted Energon. This raw Energon we have right now will have to be watched until I can properly confirm that its 100% safe to consume."

(Somewhere in California...)

It amazed Adam that it only took 15 minutes to incapacitate all thirty TRF Soldiers in the convoy with tranquilizer darts. With him were Izabella, Bumblebee, Evac, Skids, Mudflap and Drift.

"Ha! These fools didn't even know we were here," declared Mudflap as he and Skids tied up the unconscious TRF personnel.

"These Energon Dampeners that Wheeljack have invented are working very well," mused Evac as he destroyed the Energon Detectors in the convoy.

Adam then ran to the back of the heavily-modified trailer that held the captured Autobots inside. He spotted the electronic-locking mechanism for the trailer and immediately got to work. "Now to get what we came for," he said as he swiftly hacked the lock. For an ordinary person, this triple-lock encryption would've been nearly impossible to break. But Adam, however, wasn't ordinary and it only took him a minute to break through. "You're up, Drift," said the young teen as he motioned towards the regular locks.

With a nod, the Samurai 'Bot pulled out one of his Cybertanium Katanas and swiftly cut them off. Bumblebee came up and rip the door off easily. Inside were several cars and motorcycles. Attached to each one of them was a Inhibitor Cuff, a round-shaped mechanism that traps a Cybertronian in his or her alt-mode.

"Inhibitor locks, stand back," ordered Adam as he raised his Energon Crossbow/Battle-Axe. Adjusting the frequency of his weapon, he took careful aim as he fired a low-level energy burst that disabled all of the locks at once. As the locks fell off, the vehicles came to life as they revealed their Autobot insignias.

"Everyone outside, now," ordered Drift as he guided the former prisoners outside the trailer. At the same time, Evac was calling in for a GroundBridge before said green portal opened up in front of the group. Bumblebee led the way with the freed Autobot refugees following behind him, with some of them carrying the others in their alt-modes. Drift and the Chevy Twins went through next, followed by Evac who had Izzy and Adam with him. By the time the TRF Soldiers regained conscious, the Autobots had disappeared.

(Somewhere in Bulgaria...)

With help from Stratosphere, the Autobot team consisting of Ironhide, Longarm, Salvage, Inferno, Brawn and Armorhide had finally arrived on the outskirts of the abandoned mine. Also with them was Blazemaster, who was there to provide aerial support. Scattered all around them were old vehicles, mining equipment and other human-made objects that were covered in rust from the many years of being unused.

"I'm not detecting any Decepticon signatures, but I am picking up strong radiation readings somewhere inside the mine," reported Longarm.

"That's definitely our plutonium. Armorhide, stay here with Brawn and Inferno. Salvage, Longarm and I will head into the mine and retrieve it. Blazemaster, I want you to remain on standby," ordered Ironhide.

"Understood," replied Blazemaster as he took to the air in his alt-mode.

The three Autobots ventured inside the mine and began searching for the canisters containing plutonium. They immediately turned on their lights before activating their optical scanners. As they continued walking deeper into the mine, Salvage stopped when his scanners picked up something. In front of him was what appeared to be an old human vault with the faded symbol of the Soviet Union on it. The one-optic mech carefully tore open the upper part of the vault and found several metal canisters inside that were all giving off radiation.

"Hey, guys! I found the plutonium!" announced Salvage.

Ironhide and Longarm walked over to examine the contents in the vault. "Yep, this is definitely what we're looking for. Good work, Salvage," praised Ironhide. Said former AllSpark Mutation looked proud as he and Longarm began pulling the plutonium out of the vault.

Meanwhile, Ironhide contacted the others. "Armorhide, we've found the plutonium and are heading back to you."

The sound of gunfire was the first thing that Ironhide heard.

"You might want to hurry it up, 'cause the 'Cons have showed up!" cried Armorhide.

"Longarm, I want you and Salvage to keep that plutonium safe! I'm going to help the others!" said the Heavy Weapons Specialist before heading back to the exit.

Back outside the mine, Brawn, Armorhide and Inferno had taken cover behind some rocks as multiple 16-foot Delta-Class Vehicons began advancing on them. Up in the sky, Stratosphere and Blazemaster were both having a dogfight with a squadron Alpha-Class Vehicons.

A red 1936 Willys 77 Four-Door Sedan drove up behind the Delta-Class Vehicons and then transformed into the 17-foot mech, Wildfire.

"I don't know why you 'Bots are here, but it feels really good to finally slag you guys!" shouted Wildfire over the noise of his Solar Plasma Cannon.

"Right back at ya, 'Con!" yelled Armorhide as he fired back with his right forearm-mounted Ion Pulse Cannon. A Vehicon's helm was shot off, but the rest just continued their assault. Inferno was firing his Photon SMG when one Vehicon got a lucky shot off and hit the mech in the left shoulder. Inferno cried out in pain as he clutched at his wound, while Brawn helped his fellow Autobot lie down behind the rocks before firing his left forearm-mounted Photon LMG. The Vehicons returned fire with their Fusion LMGs, while Brawn's heavy armor repelled most of the damage.

Suddenly, a large mass of Corrosive Gel fell on top of some of the Delta-Class Vehicons, melting them immediately on impact. Wildfire's optics widened as he watched Blazemaster transform as he landed beside his comrades. Dishing out his dual wrist-mounted 20x102mm GIAT M621 Autocannons, the Autobot flyer fired on the remaining Vehicons with AP-T (Armor-Piercing-Tracer) rounds. Things only got worse for the Decepticons, when two shells flew past and blew up the last remaining Vehicons.

Walking out of the mine, his dual forearm-mounted Ion Pulse Cannons raised, Ironhide kept his optics on Wildfire who began to realize he was now outnumbered. "Looks like I got my wish of blasting some Decepticon punks," said the Heavy Weapons Specialist.

Growling, Wildfire activated his left forearm-mounted Thermo Rocket Cannon before aiming at the rocks that were directly above the Autobots. "Oh, yeah? I do hope you all like this place, because it will become your tomb!" declared Wildfire.

But before the 'Con could carry out his threat, he was suddenly crushed to death by the heavy metal of a giant left pede. Said left pede belonged to Stratosphere. The flyer had both his left shoulder-mounted 105x372mmR M102 Light Field Howitzer and his dual forearm-mounted 40x311mmR Bofors L/60 Autocannons out, having just finished off the remaining Alpha-Class Vehicons.

"I think I stepped on something," joked Stratosphere as he removed Wildfire's remains from his left pede.

The Autobots lowered their weapons. "Salvage, Longarm. The area's clear, you can bring the plutonium out now," said Ironhide through the comms before looking at Inferno's wound. "Are you going to be okay until we get back to base?"

"I'll be fine, the shot just singed the outer layer of my armor," replied Inferno.

"I think by the sound of that 'Con, it's very clear that they weren't expecting us," commented Armorhide as he picked through the remains of both Wildfire and the Vehicons. "Anyway, we should take 'em back to base with us to be used for spare parts."

"Ew, as long as there's room for them and us inside Stratosphere," said Brawn as he scanned the area for more incoming Decepticons.

"I should manage," replied said flyer. "And if not, Blazemaster can carry whatever's left."

"Oi!" retorted Blazemaster, but the flyer knew that Stratosphere was only just teasing him as they began retrieving the parts from the Vehicons and Wildfire.

(The Pentagon, Washington D.C)

Walking through the front doors in his Operational-Camouflage-Pattern (OCP) Army Combat Uniform and wearing his tan beret that identified him as part of the U.S Army's 75th Ranger Regiment, Lennox had never been so grateful at seeing the Pentagon again. After spending the rest of yesterday looking at the captured Decepticons at the NBE Supermax in Fort Collins, Colorado, as well as deal with Santos for a whole day, Will was to go in and report to General Morshower about the recent events. However, as he walked into the Pentagon's lounge, he saw three people waiting for him that made all of the shit he had to put up go away.

"Dad!" cried a twelve-year-old Annabelle Lennox as she got up from the nearby bench she was sitting on and ran up to her father, who happily embraced her in a loving hug. Following behind Annabelle was her mother and Will's wife, Sarah, who was still beautiful then ever. She had a relieved smile on her face as she watched her handsome husband enter the lounge, and in her arms was the most recent addition to their family. Six-months-old with chubby legs and arms, a patch of growing brown hair on his head with matching brown eyes, a pacifier in his mouth and wearing a green onesie, was Aaron Hyde Lennox, who was named after the Lennox Family's former Autobot guardian, Ironhide.

"Hey, how's my little girl?" asked Lennox as he rubbed his daughter's curly blonde hair.

"She's been playing with her little brother while we waited and telling him all of the adventures she had with both Ironhide and Chromia," replied Sarah as she walked up to Will and gave him a loving kiss on the lips before handing Aaron to his father.

"I'm pretty sure that kept him highly amused. Ain't that right, little buddy?" asked Lennox to his infant son.

Aaron said nothing as he kept sucking on his pacifier and patting his father's left cheek with his chubby left hand.

A scoff got the family's attention. Walking through the front doors in his OCP Army Combat Uniform and wearing his green beret, while his shoulder sleeve insignia showed the emblem of the 1st SFOD-D that meant he was part of the U.S Army's Special Forces Groups before being selected into Delta Force, was Santos, who was currently giving the family a dirty look.

"You got a problem with us, buddy?" asked Annabelle harshly with both of her fists touching her hips. Her tone and challenging stance reminded Will very much of Ironhide.

Santos gave the girl a withering glare before looking back at her father. "You might want to tell your daughter not to get too comfortable speaking about those things, Colonel. Some people might take it the wrong way," said the American TRF Field Commander before walking away.

Annabelle looked like she wanted to rush the man, but a look from her mom made the girl stand down, although Sarah also looked rather peeved. Lennox noted how the mood seemed to have dropped. "Anna, why don't you take your brother and head outside? I want to speak with your mom in private and then finish up my report to the General. After that, we can all go somewhere to eat. My treat," said the Army Ranger as he gave Aaron to his daughter, who nodded as she headed back to the bench where her brother's stroller was, allowing the parents to talk privately.

"Will, how can you work with someone like that?" hissed Sarah as she glanced at Santos' retreating form.

"I have no control over that, Sarah. But this is the only way to make sure both humans and the Autobots are safe," replied Lennox as he tried to calm his wife since he understood her anger. Ever since NEST was decommissioned, followed by the creation of Cemetery Wind, Sarah would always wonder when in God's name would humanity get its collective head out of its ass? How many times had arrogant humans as a whole turned on the Autobots, only to have the blue optic Cybertronians save their ungrateful lives? The media didn't need to reveal the war crimes and other atrocities the late CIA black ops unit had committed, Sarah already had a very good idea about them and correctly theorized that they had a personal hand in the deaths of many civilians (she wept when she heard about Sam and Mikaela's brutal murder, making sure to keep in contact with the former's parents). Operatives from Cemetery Wind would sometimes bring her in for questioning and wanting to know if she had been in contact with any of the Autobots ever since Ironhide was forced to leave them for they're own safety. Sarah wasn't blind to the many hidden underlining threats those operatives made towards her and her family, but they never dared to do anything rash, not with who her husband was.

However, Will and Sarah's main concern was Annabelle. Their daughter had taken it the hardest when she was forced to watch Ironhide leave them. Although both parents had explained to her that the Autobot Heavy Weapons Specialist was doing it for their own safety, Annabelle would cry a lot, wailing for her favorite Autobot family guardian to come back so that life could return as it used to be. When Will had told her that Cemetery Wind had been shut down, and the Battle of Hong Kong, Sarah hoped that would be indeed the case.

Instead, the leaders of the world (except Cuba) were being idiots again; all Cybertronians were declared illegal and the TRF was formed. Although Sarah would admit that the international paramilitary group wasn't like its CIA predecessor, it was still nothing like NEST. Many of the soldiers in it were former Cemetery Wind Operatives who were determined to kill or capture any Cybertronians they saw, including Autobots. It didn't matter to them if they were armed or not, all of them were targets. Although they do try to avoid collateral damage as best as they can and don’t make deals with any alien Bounty Hunters like Lockdown, but they still crack down hard on those who sympathize with the Autobots. That's why so many of them, like Simmons, Dutch and Leo, fled to Cuba.

A few minutes later, Lennox was being escorted through a long underground room. Near the center and wearing his MARPAT Woodland-Pattern Marine Corps Combat Utility Uniform (MCCUU) was General Chris Morshower, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and whom the TRF reported directly to, was currently overlooking a light-up table. The escort saluted while Lennox stood beside Morshower.

"Welcome to 'the Tank', Colonel. This is where we deal with the dark shit," explained the Four-Star Marine General.

"Yeah, as if we don't deal with that already," snorted Lennox.

"I was also told about you and your family's brief encounter with Santos," replied Morshower with a smirk. "Your daughter would make one hell of an Army Ranger, that's if her mother let's her when she's 18." The two men chuckled before getting back to business. "Our UAVs have taken shots of several Cybertronians investigating the horns, with the most recent being the trio that we've confirmed to be the Aerialbots. Brief recon and no interaction with the TRF teams at those locations, but that's not why I called you here."

Picking up a very well-detailed thermal photo, Morshower gave it to Lennox. It showed a single mech standing on a cliff overlooking a horn. "We also have confirmed that Megatron himself has been investigating all six horn locations, this one taken by a Predator in Siberia. This is the second time we've managed to learn of his location. The first time was when both the CIA and NSA tracked Barricade in Chicago, where he met up with Megatron and discussed something about both a 'talisman' and a 'staff'."

"This doesn't make any sense," muttered Will. "Over the past three years, he's been using his Decepticons to do field work. If we found him so easily, then Megatron wanted us to know where he is."

"I agree. But when we confirmed that he was in Chicago, we also discovered that Soundwave, Laserbeak and Rumble were with him as well. There's no way Megatron didn't know about the tracer we put on Barricade," added Morshower. "And get this, he actually made contact with the TRF."

Lennox gave him a surprised look as his superior continued his explanation: "He captured two CIA Case Officers and said that he wants to negotiate for them in exchange for the release of several of his men we've captured."

"With him?" asked Will. "And you're agreeing with it?"

The Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff massaged his eyelids, clearly showing that he didn't like it either. "Megatron gave us a very vague description that the Autobots are holding a device of unimaginable power. He wants it badly, but he needs some of his boys to do it."

"Sir, the higher-ups can't actually let-" Lennox tried to say but was cut off.

"It's too late. SecDef and Director Mearing had both told me that the Justice Department and the world leaders have already agreed to this deal," ordered Morshower. "But you're going to be there all the way, with both the TRF and the U.S Military backing you up because he's not our friend. The President wants this device found and brought back so it can be held in a secured place and away from the Decepticons."

"And what about the Autobots?" demanded Lennox. "I'm sure that they would understand if you just give me the chance to talk to them. They know me personally, especially Ironhide and Chromia, the history between us."

"Colonel, if I could, I would personally let you. But Keller believes it isn't safe, not with the current situation. Our kind has already betrayed them once, thanks to Attinger, and I don't think the Autobots will trust us," said Morshower sadly. The United States Secretary of Defense and the Director of National Intelligence were both doing their best to minimize the damage, but it hadn't been easy. The rest of the world was to just affix on their fear towards the Cybertronians, regardless of faction.

Chapter Text

(Hall of Records, Cybertron)

Optimus vented air as his frame went limp, held up only by his restraints. The young Prime had lost how many times Quintessa has used electric torture on him. The only clue he had was that he saw Jupiter through the hole in the Hall of Records' roof. Cybertron was slowly moving towards Earth and will most likely reach it in a few days at this rate.

All that time, the Sorceress was very determined to break the Autobot Leader, but with no success. Optimus was displaying a very strong iron will against Quintessa's methods, much to the femme's aggravation and frustration. The Star Seekers had already left, with their ship following Cybertron from a distance. "I do have to admit, Optimus, is that your will is even greater than I had originally predicted. But I still expect nothing less from my creation."

"I am not your creation...nor will I ever serve you..." retorted Optimus defiantly as he tried to refocus his optics.

Quintessa's optics narrowed at that declaration, with the demon-like mech letting out a growl before forcing Optimus roughly to his pedes. And that's when a new voice spoke up: "It appears that your 'creation' is being much more stubborn than we had originally thought."

Steeping out of the shadows was Thunderwing, whose purple optics stared at Optimus, causing said Prime to shudder at his gaze. For some reason, Optimus had the nasty feeling that this mech was much more dangerous than Quintessa.

Said Sorceress frowned at the newcomer. "Optimus Prime is necessary in recovering my staff, Thunderwing. Only the talisman, or someone who's a direct decedent of the Thirteen can enter that vessel, and its occupants will tear me to shreds at the first sight of me before I could get the chance of reaching it."

"Then perhaps we should trust this endeavor to another individual with the lineage of the Primes," suggested Thunderwing. "Jhiaxus has found the means of creating a new Prime, although we need our guest's CNA in order to proceed. We'll also need the use of your Hunter, Scourge. He's the only one who'll be suitable for the procedure."

"Very well. I'll contact Scourge and tell him to come here, while Jhiaxus prepares his machine so that we can start the process. And what will you be doing?" asked Quintessa as she saw Thunderwing beginning to make his way out of the facility.

"I'll be heading towards Earth. Even if we can't get the talisman right away, we can still acquire the other piece," replied said mech before transforming into his alt-mode and blasted off at breakneck speed, already disappearing from view.

Optimus turned his gaze from where Thunderwing took off towards Quintessa. "Just what is it that you're after?" he demanded.

"I'm glad that you asked," replied the Sorceress before making a gesture with her right servo. Soon, the lights focused on an engraved wall across from Optimus. The wall showed the image of thirteen Cybertronians in the center of it, and in the middle and above the warriors, was what appeared to be a staff that was floating above an image of Cybertron.

"Before you, I created thirteen warriors, the Guardian Knights of Iacon. They served me as both my bodyguards and warriors, but they rebelled against me as they tried to undermine my authority. They took my staff with them when they left Cybertron. That staff amplified my abilities a thousand-fold and allowed me to do things I couldn't do alone. Centuries later, they gave it to one of the humans on Earth, and after that human died, they then hid it away inside their vessel, a vessel that the talisman could lead us too," explained Quintessa. "Without my staff, I cannot restore life back to Cybertron and destroy Unicron."

The last part that she said made Optimus recoil. "Unicron, the Chaos Bringer. I read about him here, in the Hall of Records. The texts said that he was the brother to Primus, the creator of all Cybertronians."

His emphasis on the word 'creator' made Quintessa glare at him as the young Prime continued: "The Chaos Bringer sought to bring about darkness throughout the entire universe. Primus fought his brother for eons, with the tides turning in each other's favors countless times. It was only when Primus made the original Thirteen Primes that he was finally able to defeat Unicron and cast him out into the stars."

"I assure you, that is a fairy tale," stressed Quintessa. "But yes, Unicron was truly defeated. Cast out he may have been, but the Chaos Bringer was never gone. Instead, he's been slumbering in stasis lock for eons. And as he slept to regain his strength, space debris gathered around him due to his gravitational force. As more and more debris gathered around him, its mass grew into the size of a planet, and that planet is the exact same one where your precious humans live on."

"Earth is Unicron?!" said Optimus in shock, unable to believe at what the Sorceresses had just said.

"Yes, and once I retrieve my staff, not only will I be able to destroy Unicron once and for all, but by absorbing his own energies, I shall bring life back to Cybertron," declared Quintessa.

"But that will destroy the Earth and wipe out all of humanity!" shouted Optimus as he struggled against his restraints. "You can't condemn them to death!"

"Enough!" hissed Quintessa as she shocked the young Prime again. "I had originally planned to send you to retrieve my staff. But given your flat refusal for redemption, I shall have to use other options. I'm letting you live, however, so that you may bare witness to Cybertron's rebirth."

(Autobot Forward Operating Base)

It was morning in the junkyard as the Autobots were performing various tasks. Meanwhile, Izzy was busy working on attaching Sqweeks' new right arm that was salvaged from the deceased Wildfire, thus it was a bit larger that it touched the ground. Nevertheless, it was the best that Izabella could find and would suite her friend well.

The fifteen-year-old was wearing old grey gloves so that she can safely hold the blowtorch in her hands, while covering her face with goggles and a large cloth. Wheelie, Rewind and Brains were watching from the side. "You sure the kid knows what she's doing?" Brains asked Rewind.

"Hey, I've seen her fixed much worse shit than this," replied the 3'5-foot brownish-red Mini-Con. "Besides, it'll be good practice for her once she Ratchet gets her to work."

"Stuff of nightmares," added Wheelie.

"Do you guys mind? I need to focus here," said Izzy continued fusing the arm to her friend's right shoulder. After four minutes of welding, the girl turned off the blowtorch before putting it down. Pleased with her work, Izzy declared: "Perfecto!"

Sqweeks clicked in Cybertronian as he tried to move his new right arm. It was a struggle for the first ten seconds, but he eventually got it moving. Brains walked up to him and examined the limb. "Heh, looks pretty ugly to me," was all the ex-Decepticon said before Sqweeks smacked him to the side.

"Ouch, that's gotta hurt," commented Wheelie as he watched his friend hit the ground.

Izabella laughed at the interaction. "You look good, buddy. Muy guapo."

The light-blue Autobot clicked back just as Ramhorn walked up to them, with Adam riding on top. The Cyber-Rhino nuzzled his helm against Izzy affectionately, earning him giggles from the girl. Adam smirked before looking at Sqweeks and nodded in satisfaction at his new right arm. "If you're up for another challenge, Cade and Ratchet want to see if you can help them put that new voicebox into Bumblebee."

In another part of the junkyard, as Izzy and Adam rode off to meet with the others, Elita was paying her final respects to her fallen friend. Built in a part of the junkyard, but far from the rest, laid two tombstones with metal caskets buried underneath. One tomb had Jetfire's name written on it, and the more recent one had Dion's name. Standing beside Elita were Chromia and Prowl, with the former there to give her oldest sister comfort.

"All this time, I thought he was dead..." murmured the purple femme as she stared where her old friend was buried. "Why didn't Dion ever reveal himself to Optimus and me? Why remain in hiding?"

"Who knows. Perhaps he had his reasons, Elita," said Prowl softly. "According to Ratchet's personal autopsy, Dion's wounds had been inflicted before he entered into Earth's orbit. Whatever he was running from, it was doing everything in its power to stop him. Dion proved himself a true Autobot by not letting his wounds stop him from reaching Earth."

Elita nodded as Chromia placed a comforting servo on her older sister's right shoulder. Prowl decided to giver her some space and began heading back to the base. As he walked, he was approached by Fixit.

"Sir, I wanted to inform you that Daytrader and Wheeljack have both left the base a while ago, saying that it was per your orders," reported the orange Mini-Con.

"I did, Fixit. Daytrader said he may have finally found us the ship I've been hoping for. I sent them to rendezvous with Depthcharge in hopes he can repair it," replied Prowl. "In the meantime, keep the surveillance security up and running."

"I'll get right to it, sir. Do you think something is gonna happen today?" asked Fixit.

The Autobot SiC had a deep-thinking look on his faceplates as he stared up at the sky. "I've lived long enough to trust my processor, and it's telling me that something is going to happen very soon. And I want to make sure we're ready for it when it does."

(Bonneville Salt Flats, Utah)

Back in his TRF Battle Dress Uniform, Lennox watched from in front of a row of folding tables as a Cybertronian Jet streaked across the sky. Megatron had arrived.

"Scheduled contact is ID'd and cleared," said a TRF Soldier in Lennox's earpiece. A TRF team with heavy weapons was hiding and ready should Megatron attack. He watched as the Decepticon Leader transformed and landed, dropping his two human hostages on the ground before scaring them off as he approached the line of tables. Perched on top of his right shoulder was Laserbeak, as the navy-blue Cyber-Condor scanned the area.

Behind the tables were two black 2015 Chevrolet Suburbans, as well as a single M1128 MGS (Mobile-Gun-System). Lennox turned around and went to open the doors to the two Suburbans, allowing the occupants to come out. Lawyers from the U.S Department of Justice were there to make sure the deal with Megatron went smoothly. They all had faces of fear as they exited the vehicles and saw the towering Decepticon Leader marching towards them with his Cyber-Matter Sword-Axe in his left servo.

"You know who he always loves to kill first?" asked Lennox to the Asian lawyer next to him as she stared at Megatron in fear. "Lawyers."

The Army Ranger went out to meet said 'Con as the lawyers took up the seats at the tables and setup their laptops. Lennox didn't want to do this, hated it even. But as Morshower said, it was a necessary deal with the devil. Megatron would lead them to this 'staff' and then promptly be put down hard. Although Will wouldn't admit it openly, the Decepticon Leader terrified him as said mech practically gave off a sense of impending doom. And seeing what the 'Con could do in Mission City, Giza and Chicago didn't help lessen that fear.

Megatron finally stopped before Lennox as said mech cocked his helm to the side, red optics staring at the former NEST Field Commander. "Do I know you, human?" he asked offhandedly. Laserbeak let out a squawk as he downloaded data into the Decepticon Leader's CPU. Images of Lennox (Back when he held the rank of Captain) offlining Blackout with help from the U.S Air Force's 474th Tactical Fighter Wing in the Battle of Mission City ten years ago, answered Megatron's question. He let out an 'ah' sound before getting down to business: "I want my crew!"

"Give me names!" said Lennox.

"Mohawk."

Lennox turned to the lawyers and repeated said name. They talked amongst themselves briefly before one of them nodded back at the Army Ranger, who turned back to Megatron. "He's clear. Next."

"Hooligan."

One of the lawyers typed on her laptop in search of said 'Con on the TRF's database. "Hooligan, in for bank robbery. Aggravated assault, murdered nine bank employees and didn't even take the money. No!"

But they quickly changed their minds when Megatron slammed his Cyber-Matter Sword-Axe onto the ground next to Lennox, who didn't even flinched. "What?!" roared the Decepticon Leader.

"Well, uh, we can be flexible," stammered another lawyer. "We'll let him out if he wears a GPS tracker."

Lennox just shook his head before looking back at Megatron for more names.

"Nitro Zeus."

"That's fine, but the Swedish Government requests that he doesn't enter their country," informed the Asian lawyer. "And we're serious about that."

"Alright, alright," muttered Will as he let out a sigh. "Whose next?"

Unsurprisingly, Megatron also requested the release of thirteen more 'Cons: Blitzwing, Tankor, Vortex, Fearswoop, Lugnut, Dirt Boss, Reverb, Kickback, Brimstone, Trample and Tread, Macerator, and Ransack. Lennox was clearly uncomfortable with releasing so many dangerous Decepticons, but both the Justice Department and the world leaders figured that they would be easier to handle when put together. Plus, they would each have a GPS tracker on them.

"And the last two," began Megatron. "Berserker."

Every human gave him a blank look before the female who refused to let Hooligan out earlier replied: "Absolutely not!"

"No, no," Lennox said to Megatron. "There are limits! Whose number two?"

"Onslaught," answered the Decepticon Leader with a scowl.

"Hold on, let me run that up the flag pole really quick," said the lawyer who agreed to let Hooligan out if he wore a GPS tracker as he pulled out his phone and called someone. After the call, he held his phone out and shouted: "Yes, yes!"

After that, the lawyers couldn't have been any faster, packing up their stuff and practically running back into the perceived safety of the two Suburbans.

Only Lennox remained as he looked back at the Cybertronian. "What is it that you really want, Megatron?" asked the full-bird Colonel. The Decepticon Leader must have some twisted reason for all of this. The 'staff' had to be a super-weapon or something. He must have a plan to end Earth, and that's what he had always done.

Megatron attached his Cyber-Matter Sword-Axe to his back. "What every Decepticon wants, human: to go home," he replied before walking off, with Laserbeak hissing from his right shoulder.

Watching the 'Con leave, Will turned around and muttered: "Yeah, that would be alright with me, too."

(Several miles from the Autobot FOB...)

Megatron had just finished the force he had managed to assemble. Including Barricade and the ten that Shockwave had sent, it made a total of 30 soldiers. Most of them weren't his first choice for this mission, since many of them were just cannon fodder. But they would do for now until more of his best troops were done with their tasks.

From the TRF, he was able to secure the release of Mohawk, a 10-foot Knife-Throwing Expert who transforms into a silver 2016 Confederate G2 P51 Combat Fighter Motorcycle. Next up was Hooligan, an 18-foot Dread whose alt-mode was a rusty light-blue 1955 Volkswagen Type 2 (T1) Delivery Van. After him was Shockwave's younger brother, Nitro Zeus, a 22-foot one-optic Seeker/Assassin who can transform into a light-grey JAS-39E Gripen. Next was the Tactician, Onslaught, a 24-foot bluish-green mech who can shift into a 2017 Western Star 4900SF Wrecker Tow Truck. After him were Dirt Boss, an 11-foot light-green 'Con who scanned a Hyster H80XM Forklift, and Reverb, a 9'5-foot red mech who transformed into a 2006 Buell Lightning CityX XB9SX Motorcycle. Macerator, a 26-foot mech, was one of the 'Cons in the first wave of Megatron's invasion force that came to Earth via Sentinel Prime's mobile SpaceBridge in Washington D.C six years ago and managed to avoid Cemetery Wind, no doubt thanks to his alt-mode of a white and green-colored Mack TerraPro Natural Gas Garbage Truck. Following him were Trample and Tread, 18-foot twins who transformed together into a yellow Alexander Dennis Enviro500MMC Double-Decker Bus. Also released was Kickback, a 20-foot reddish-brown Raider who had been captured by the TRF when he tried to assault an oil refinery and scanned a 2017 Dodge Journey Crossroad SUV. After him was Blitzwing, a 25-foot Triple-Changer with three personalities, who can transform into either a tan and purple-colored Panavia Tornado F3 or a Type 74 Kai MBT (Main-Battle-Tank). With him were Lugnut, a 24-foot one-optic Seeker who can shift into a B-25H Mitchell, and the jokester, Fearswoop, a 22-foot one-optic Seeker who can transform into an orange-colored A-11B Ghibli. Brimstone was a 10'5-foot 'Con whose alt-mode was a blue and orange-colored 2017 Harley-Davidson Chopper Motorcycle. Vortex was a 22-foot mech that transformed into a grey and black-colored HH-60G Pave Hawk Combat Search and Rescue Helicopter. The 25-foot idiotic Tankor, who transformed into a blue Merkava Mark IV MBT. And finally was Ransack, a very old 20-foot mech from the times of the Fallen, with a red and tan-colored Albatros D.III for an alt-mode.

Shockwave had managed to send him the 25-foot flyer, Ruination, whose alt-mode was a grey UH-60L Black Hawk Medium-Utility Helicopter. After him was Gunbarrel, a 24-foot Artillery Specialist who had scanned the fitting alt-mode of a dark-blue Flakpanzer Gepard 1A2. Also sent was Hailstorm, a 25-foot Weapon's Expert with a green and grey-colored M270A1 MRLS (Multiple-Rocket-Launcher-System) for an alt-mode. With them was the extremely fast 26-foot Space Case, who transformed into a light-blue Su-27SM3. The 24-foot dirty fighter, Terradive, with an orange-black Su-30SM for an alt-mode, had also been assigned to this mission. Next was the 14-foot Sniper Expert, Hardtop, who had taken the alt-mode of an tan-brown Desert Patrol Vehicle. After him was the 22-foot Bludgeon, a Master Swordsman who can transform into a dark-green Type 10 Hitomaru MBT. With him was his 20-foot partner, Mindwipe, who can shift into a black F-117A Nighthawk. Also joining them was Cyclonus, a 22-foot maniacal purple mech that had scanned a F-5A Freedom Fighter. With him was Scowl, a 55-foot former Knight of Cybertron whose alt-mode was a 45-foot grey Ankylosaurus. Second to last was Skystalker, a 27-foot mech who transforms into a B-2A Spirit. And the last one was Blademaster, a 20-foot Sniper whose alt-mode was a forest-green RAH-66A Comanche Stealth Reconnaissance and Attack Helicopter.

Shockwave had also mentioned that the Stunticons would be ready soon, and they might be operational to come and assist.

"Lord Megatron," said Barricade as he approached his leader. "The TRF have located the Autobots, and we await your orders."

Megatron had a savaged grin as he looked at his collected troops. "My fellow Decepticons, the hour of Cybertron's salvation is at hand. Today, we hunt!" he roared before transforming into his alt-mode and took off with the other flyers following him. Barricade and the other Decepticon ground troops drove off seconds later. Behind them, the TRF prepared to watch the situation from afar while deploying Reaper UAVs from Ellsworth Air Force Base.

(Back at the junkyard...)

"Okay, carefully watch that wire," said Cade as he instructed Izabella.

Presently, the two of them were both elbow-deep in Bumblebee's mouthplates as they tried to remove his old voicebox and install the new one that Daytrader gave to them. It was slow going. Also with them was Adam and Ratchet, with the latter watching over for any mistakes.

Izzy glared up at the inventor. "I know what I'm doing, do not rush me."

Cade raised an eyebrow before looking at Adam. "Is she always this snippy?"

"Rarely," answered Adam with a shrug as he ignored Izzy's glare. "Almost like Ratchet here."

"Ha-ha, very amusing," commented said Autobot dryly. "But can we please get back to focusing on the task at hand?"

Izzy and Cade slowly slid the busted voicebox out, while taking care to avoid damaging anything else that 'Bee might need. When it was free completely, Cade and Izabella worked together to lower the new voicebox into its slot. Cade, Izzy, Adam and Ratchet all tensed up as the final wires were hooked into place. Upon completion of the job, Izzy and Cade steeped back as Bumblebee sat up from the metal slab he laid on and flexed his lower jawplates.

Wiping his hands clean with a dirty rag, Cade looked up at the yellow mech. "Alright, 'Bee, let's hear it. Your real voice. Feel it out."

What happened next caused Ratchet, Izzy and Adam to all snicker.

"This is so exciting," said Bumblebee before quickly realizing that his 'voice' sounded more feminine. "Oh, slag! This isn't my damn voice!"

Cade shook his head, clearly pissed off that Daytrader gave them the wrong voicebox. "I'm gonna kill him, 'Bee," he said aloud before turning back to said Autobot. "You know that I'm not giving up! You're gonna speak with your own voice one day, buddy."

"Daytrader is a punkass bastard!" cursed Bumblebee just as Ratchet removed the voicebox. The Scout then transformed into his alt-mode and drove off, kicking up a large cloud of dust in the process.

"He's right, you know," said Adam as they watched 'Bee tear around a line of stacked cars. From their perch at the nearby base, Flipside, Ironbolt and Strongback were clicking as they watched the yellow mech. The other Sparklings followed to see what the noise was all about.

"About Daytrader being a 'punkass bastard'?" asked Cade.

Adam nodded. "Yeah."

"I know."

"I think we already knew that," commented Izzy.

BAM!/CRASH!

The three of them jumped when they heard something crash nearby. Running outside they saw a downed MQ-9A Reaper UAV with a large hole right through its fuselage. From the fence, several of the Laser Sentry Turrets were standing up with their barrels smoking before retracting. The other Autobots soon followed with their weapons out.

Suddenly, the loudspeakers came alive as Chief Sherman's voice spoke through them: "Cade, Code Red! Code Red! There's somebody coming this way!"

"He's right," said Fixit from the overlook. "Our long-range scanners are detecting a large TRF convoy with multiple U.S Military drones, along with several Energon signatures approaching here at a fast rate."

Prowl came running out of the base. "Our informant in the TRF had just contacted me and told me that they've made a deal with Megatron. We have a Decepticon strike force heading our way."

Cade wasted no time and ran over to the alarm system he recently installed and slammed his left palm down on the red button. Then rushed to find Jimmy, while Adam ran off to find his gear as Izzy went to find Sqweeks.

Meanwhile, Prowl started to give out orders: "Jazz, find the others and them them we're moving out in sixty seconds! Trench, Canopy, Grindcore, get the Sparklings inside the base. Rewind, get Omega Supreme online, and quickly! Fixit, prepare the Energon blocking and cloaking systems. Also have the defense systems on standby, and contact the Aerialbots too! With both Tomahawk and Blazemaster escorting Stratosphere and the refugees, they're the only air support we got!"

The three construction vehicle Autobots hurriedly brought in all of the squeaking Sparklings, while Brains and Wheelie jumped onto their shoulders. Fixit was doing some last-minute adjustments as the Dinobots took off to distract the TRF. The remaining Autobots, consisting of Bumblebee, Jazz, Ironhide (with Steeljaw jumping into his bed), Ratchet, Sideswipe, Elita, Chromia, Arcee, Jolt, Skids, Mudflap, Mirage, Leadfoot, Roadbuster, Topspin, Hound, Drift (in his new alt-mode of a 2017 Mercedes-AMG GT-R Coupe), Crosshairs (who shifted into a 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Z06 Coupe), Evac, Prowl, Cliffjumper, Warpath, Armorhide, Brawn, Inferno, Longarm and Salvage quickly transformed into their alt-modes. After finding Jimmy, Cade hurried about, grabbing both his Battle Rifle-Dagger and Mini-Photon Battle Pistol, along with anything else he could carry. He also told Jimmy to grab as many weapons he could carry. The two of them rushed over to Cade's heavily-modified vehicle and climbed in. The only Autobot that wasn't preparing to head out was Hound, as the Commando was currently searching through his arsenal for the ones that would do the most damage.

"This will definitely mess somebody up good," muttered Hound as he strapped his dual Ion Assault Rifles to his person. "Roll out of here, guys. I'm gonna buy ya some time."

"Don't be a hero, Hound! We're getting out of here now!" shouted Cade as Adam got into the truck.

"Hell, I was born a hero," retorted Hound. "Besides, someone's gotta distract those 'Cons for the systems to hide the base."

"Wait, wait!" shouted Izabella as she came running up to them with Sqweeks rolling right next to her. "You're not leaving me! And if you leave me, they'll take Sqweeks!"

"Leave Sqweeks! He's a survivor!" shouted Jimmy. Although he didn't mean it, but the prospect of being sent to prison or worse, killed, was putting the young man under a lot of stress.

Ignoring him, Adam and Cade together helped Izzy push Sqweeks onto the back of the truck. Once that was done, Cade got back into the driver's seat, while the two teens climbed up beside the light-blue mech. Ramhorn snorted as he stood beside the truck. Once they were all buckled in, Cade turned the truck's engine on and drove off with the Autobots following behind him. As they left, the base behind them began to fade away before being covered completely by the cloak tech.

A few minutes later, the Decepticons arrived. The Laser Sentry Turrets automatically opened fire, but they did little to only annoy the 'Cons who quickly destroyed them. Megatron transformed and landed between a row of rusted cars, growling as he scanned the 'empty' junkyard. There was no sign of Yeager or the Autobots. As he suspected, the TRF had given away their approach (upon seeing the wrecked MQ-9A Reaper) and caused their enemies to flee. Still, the Decepticon Leader knew they hadn't gotten far, the smell of gasoline was still fresh in the air, as well as their fear.

"My Lord, they're gone," said Cyclonus as he landed on top of a wrecked car.

"I can see that, Cyclonus," growled Megatron.

Mohawk walked around the junkyard until his optics spotted something on the ground. Leaning in closer, he saw several tire marks. "Boss, I've found their tracks and it looks like they're heading southeast."

Megatron nodded and he was just about to order his soldiers to pursue when something literally burst from cover, causing old cars and scraps of metal to be sent flying. The Decepticon Leader immediately deployed his battlemask as an Autobot rolled out of the dust.

"Come and get some, ya little bitches!" shouted Hound as he fired his X19 Scrapmaker Minigun.

The barrage hit Megatron first and forcing him to kneel. The other Decepticons took cover as the API-T (Armor-Piercing-Incendiary-Tracer) rounds soared through the air. The others were about to retaliate when Megatron acted first by rolling forward into a crouching position and powered-up his right forearm-mounted Fusion Cannon. Raising his weapon, Megatron fired two shots at the pest. The first one missed while the second hit the ground in front of Hound, with the force from the explosion propelled the Commando back into a pile of cars.

Retracting his battlemask, Megatron turned to his troops. "Decepticons, transform and pursue Yeager!"

"What about him, my Lord?" asked Onslaught, indicating to the wounded Hound.

"Retrieving the talisman is far more important than terminating this pathetic Commando," replied Megatron with a growl. "Now, move!"

As the Decepticons took off, none of them spotted Trench. Once he was sure the coast was clear, the yellow Autobot transformed into his 19-foot biped form as he rushed to help Hound.

(Back with Prowl's team...)

"This is Fixit to Autobots! I repeat: Fixit to Autobots!" said the orange mech through their comms. "The Decepticons are currently heading towards your position. Hound took some damage fighting Megatron, but he'll live."

"Understood, Fixit. We'll take it from here," replied Prowl as the group reached an abandoned town.

"Be advised: it sounds like Megatron is after that talisman that Cade has on him," reported Fixit.

"'Talisman'? As in the thing that Dion gave me?" wondered Cade. "Jimmy!" he shouted, startling the young man next to him. "My bag in the back. I need you to check it for the talisman that Dion gave me back in Chicago."

"Wait, t-the what?" stuttered Jimmy.

"A circular metal thing with odd markings on it!" yelled Cade.

"Okay, okay!" said Jimmy as he leaned back and pulled the leather bag before putting it on his lap to rummage through. It only took a few seconds, but Jimmy pulled out the talisman. "Is this it?"

Cade glanced at it. "Yes, now put it back inside!"

By then, the group had entered the empty town. Due to its lack of populace, it was the perfect place where Cade and the Autobots had rigged with booby-traps that were placed just for a situation like this.

"Alright, Cade, make sure the explosives are ready. Then you and the other humans find somewhere safe to hide. The rest of us will take our tactical positions," ordered Prowl as he cocked his Neutron SMG.

The others quickly transformed and readied their weapons. But before they could continue, a rapid-beeping sound was coming from Bumblebee's back. Drift took out one of his Cybertanium Katanas and carefully knocked a small device off the Scout. He held it on the flat side of his sword for the others to see.

"What's this?" asked Crosshairs as he leaned in to get a look. It was obvious what it was, a tracking device that was used by the TRF. The Paratrooper turned to glare at 'Bee and jabbed a digit at him. "You idiot! You lead 'em right to us!"

"What?! I didn't know anything about this!" said Bumblebee through his radio as he raised his servos in defense.

"Well, that does explain how they found our base," mused Jazz as he took the tracker from Drift before crushing it.

"So, the TRF put a tracking device on 'Bee. It's done and over with. No use getting worked up about it," said Cade, trying to break-up a possible fight, while pulling out his Battle Rifle-Dagger.

"Cade's right. We got 'Cons inbound, so let's get ready for them," grunted Ironhide.

As the Autobots prepared for the ambush, Cade, Jimmy, Adam and Izzy headed into an old hotel. Adam and Cade dumped the bags they had brought onto nearby couches and opened them up, revealing M112 Demolition Blocks inside.

"Jimmy, I want you and Izzy to stay here while me and Adam get these things setup," ordered Cade as he and the hybrid headed out.

"Ramhorn, stay here and protect them," ordered Adam, causing the Cyber-Rhino to let out a snort in acknowledgement.

Izabella looked like she wanted to argue, but they had already left before she could say anything. Huffing, the young girl plopped down on a couch, while Jimmy was fumbling with the blaster he had gotten from Daytrader.

The Autobots had already taken up positions by the time the Decepticons arrived. The eager ones, like Mohawk and Macerator, took the front, while the more cautious 'Cons, like Onslaught and Lugnut, were at the rear. And in the middle was Megatron, with Barricade walking beside him.

Cade's eyes locked onto the Decepticon Leader's appearance. His new form was a towering menace of metal with sharp angles throughout his entire frame, with his red optics seeming to glare at everything around him. And that made him even more terrifying and Cade couldn't help but shudder.

The Autobots had voiced their own opinions through their comms.

"Slag, looks like Megatron got an upgrade," commented Sideswipe.

"He looks like he came out from the Pit itself," noted Mirage.

It was Brawn who then asked the obvious: "Where did he even find the Cyber-Matter for that new frame."

"Must've been from the Seed. Despite Adam and Wheeljack's tampering, there must've been enough Cyber-Matter for the Decepticons to construct Megatron a new frame," summarized Ratchet.

"Oh, yeah! Decepticons are in the street, bitches! Time to take names and lay some hurt!" cheered Mohawk.

Nitro Zeus was next to him as he punched his left fist into his right servo. "Oh, yeah! I feel a fight coming on!"

Macerator banged his fists against his chestplates like a gorilla. "Ugh! I'm really getting anxious! When can we waste some Autobots?!"

"Be quiet, you fool! We will only waste them when Lord Megatron gives the order!" said 'Hothead' Blitzwing before his faceplates changed to 'Random' Blitzwing. "Yeah, hide and seek is fun!"

Hooligan and Hardtop both climbed up some nearby rooftops as they scanned the town.

"Lord Megatron, me and Hooligan aren't picking up any Autobots on our sensors," said Hardtop as he looked through the scope of his left forearm-mounted Nucleon Charge Rifle.

"No, they're here somewhere!" responded Megatron as he waved his left servo. "Spread out and search this town. Find them!"

"Why don't we just carpet bomb the town? Then we can just search for the dead bodies among the rubble," suggested Gunbarrel.

"We can't risk destroying the talisman!" snapped Megatron. "Just continue your scans, but be wary. I suspect the Autobots are waiting in ambush."

Suddenly, the sound of metal falling to the ground caused Cade to snap his head to his right side. There, in the center of the road stood Sqweeks, his cover having blown over by the wind. The inventor swore under his breath as he saw the light-blue 'Bot, because Sqweeks didn't go unseen by the Decepticons. Barricade walked on over and grabbed him before walking back to Megatron. Once he was closed enough, Megatron grabbed Sqweeks from Barricade by the helm and picked him up.

Turning him this way and that, Megatron snarled out: "You're awash in their repulsive scent. Disgusting."

"Hey!"

Cade's head snapped towards the source, and what he saw made his heart dropped. Running out of the hotel was Izzy...heading straight towards the 'Cons.

"Put. Him. Down!" she demanded. "You think I'm afraid of you, cambron?!"

"What is that supposed to be?" asked Kickback.

"A human youngling. Femme, by the looks of it," replied Onslaught.

Mohawk sneered at the young teen. "Look at this little mofo with pigtails walking up in that swagger!"

"Go to Hell!" shouted Izabella.

"This planet is Hell!" retorted Megatron.

But before Cade could do anything, a sharp pinch caused him to cry out in pain. The talisman had literally crawled out of his bag and latched on to his upper left arm. This also caused him to be spotted as Izzy kept on marching forward.

"Ack! Get off me!" yelled Cade as he tried to shake the talisman off. Unfortunately, Megatron heard him.

"Cade Yeager!" snarled the Decepticon Leader as he tossed Sqweeks aside. "I need that talisman!"

Seeing how his cover was now blown, Cade took aim with his Battle Rifle-Dagger and fired, hitting Megatron in the left shoulder and making him stumble backwards a bit. Then the inventor quickly twisted the detonator lever, the M112 Demolition Blocks went off all at once, consuming the Decepticons in a swarm of explosions and debris. Many of them were knocked off their pedes. Seeing the opening, Cade ran up and grabbed Izzy, while Ramhorn dashed from his hiding spot and grabbed Sqweeks just before the explosions hit the little light-blue 'Bot.

"Are you out of your frickin' mind?!" yelled Cade as he scolded the girl while guiding her around an alley. "We don't do this kamikaze shit! You wanna go start screaming at a Decepticon?!"

Back with the Decepticons, despite all of the explosions and debris, none of them were killed, only slightly disoriented. However, Megatron managed to get them back on track. "Get those vile beings!" he roared through the smoke.

"I'm on it!" shouted Barricade as he quickly shifted into his alt-mode and began to chase after them.

"NOW!" yelled Adam from his position on a nearby rooftop. He fired his Energon Crossbow/Battle-Axe at Tankor, hitting him in the right shoulder. At the same time, the Autobots sprung out from their hiding spots.

"Autobots, attack!" ordered Prowl as he fired his Neutron SMG.

The entire town was soon consumed in gunfire and explosions as both sides opened up. Some of the Decepticons gave chase as they went after Izzy and Cade. Barricade dodged the attack and continued chasing after the humans with Nitro Zeus and Hooligan right behind him. Kickback, Macerator, Trample and Tread joined them while driving on the sides. As Barricade turned a corner, Cade fired a shot from his Mini-Photon Battle Pistol that struck the Decepticon Scout on his left side, stunning him temporarily. Megatron fired his Fusion Cannon at Cade and Izabella, but couldn't get a direct hit from his position, even though he was awfully close. However, he was forced onto the defensive when the Wreckers opened up on him. Gunbarrel, Skystalker and Onslaught tried to help their leader, but were cut off by Crosshairs, Ratchet, Drift and Cliffjumper. The Decepticon flyers had taken to the air, but were soon cut off when the Aerialbots finally appeared.

Ruination aimed his left twin forearm-mounted M134G Miniguns at the humans, but he was cut off when Jolt and Sideswipe attacked him. Sideswipe sliced off the 'Con's left forearm with his dual wrist-mounted Cybertanium Swords, while Jolt ensnared Ruination with his dual wrist-mounted Electro-Whips. The larger mech roared as he tried to strike the Junior Medic with his right wrist-mounted Whirl-Blades, only to be shot in the left leg from Sideswipe's dual Fusion Pulse Pistols. Now on one knee, Ruination could do nothing as Sideswipe stabbed him in the chestplates, offlining him instantly.

"Boy, did I miss taking down 'Cons," said Sideswipe as he subspaced his Cybertanium Swords, while Jolt retracted his Electro-Whips, allowing Ruination's corpse to hit the ground.

Meanwhile, Barricade quickly transformed and tried to grab the humans, but was interrupted when Grimlock appeared. Letting out a roar, the Dinobot Leader struck the smaller 'Con with his tail before letting out a stream of flames from his mouthplates. The flames struck Nitro Zeus, who had to use jet engines to get out of the Dinobot's way. Hooligan wasn't so fortunate as he quickly found himself engulfed by Grimlock's jaws. He tried to escape by shooting at Grimlock's faceplates with his Neutron Battle Pistol, but was swiftly offlined by the Dinobot's teeth.

Grimlock ran to attack Barricade again, but got hit hard by a spiked tail that sent him crashing against a nearby building. Getting up, Grimlock's optics widened when he saw a large Ankylosaurus glaring at him. However, his shock changed to anger as the Dinobot Leader let out a roar. "Scowl, you traitor!"

"I figured that would be the response I would get from you, Grimlock!" roared Scowl as the two Cyber-Dinosaurs clashed.

Back with Izzy and Cade, the four other Decepticons had finally caught up to them. Trample and Tread had transformed into their biped forms as they split up to surround the humans. They were just about to grab them when Ironhide suddenly appeared and charged at the twins. He first grabbed Tread and threw the 'Con over his helm before slamming him into the ground and firing his left forearm-mounted Ion Pulse Cannon into Tread's chestplates, offlining him instantly. Trample, seeing his brother whom he shared a split-spark with die so swiftly, let out an angered war-cry as he lunged at Ironhide. But the black mech dodged Trample's punch and fired his right forearm-mounted Ion Pulse Cannon at him, obliterating his spark.

Despite Trample and Tread's deaths, Kickback and Macerator kept on charging.

"Cade, you and Izzy get out of here! I'll deal with them!" ordered Ironhide as he fired his dual forearm-mounted Ion Pulse Cannons. Macerator used his larger size to brush off the projectiles while Kickback circled around, still going after Cade and Izabella. The reddish-brown 'Con towered over them, but was knocked back by Adam who was firing his hybrid weapon from the rooftop. Cade joined in by firing his Mini-Photon Battle Pistol, knocking Kickback a bit before said Decepticon was caught in a wrestling match with Evac, who had just arrived.

Back with Macerator, the larger 'Con grabbed Ironhide and threw him against a nearby building. Bringing out an Energon Battle-Axe from subspace, the white and green-colored Decepticon prepared to deliver the final blow when a large hole appeared in his chestplates before falling on top of Ironhide. Pushing Macerator's corpse aside, the Heavy Weapons Specialist saw Warpath standing in front of him with smoke coming out of the barrel of his chestplate-mounted 120mm L30A1 Smoothbore Tank Cannon.

"Getting sloppy in your old age, 'Hide?" joked the 25-foot red-colored tank Autobot as he helped up said black mech.

"Shut it, youngling," huffed Ironhide before the two of them went to help the femmes, who were fighting against Tankor and Brimstone.

Meanwhile, Hardtop had taken cover behind a nearby building with his Nucleon Charge Rifle at the ready. Peaking over the building's rooftop, the Decepticon Sniper Expert spotted Hailstorm engaging both Ratchet and Bumblebee before the two Autobots took cover as said 'Con unleashed a rocket salvo on them. Raising his weapon, Hardtop took aim at 'Bee's chestplates, preparing to blow it to pieces and extinguish his spark. But before he could take the shot, he was tackled by Mirage. As Hardtop fell to the ground, Mirage revealed his dual forearm-mounted Cybertanium Curved Wrist-Blades, and stabbed the 'Con through the chestplates before decapitating him for good measure.

That's when Ransack flew in, firing his twin-mounted IMG 08 HMGs and knocking the rosso corsa mech off balance. As Ransack was just about to finish Mirage off, he was completely unprepared when Skids and Mudflap pulled off a crazy stunt by jumping off the nearby rooftops and grabbing onto his wings. The twins' extra weight caused the elder Cybertronian to hit the ground and transform into his biped form at the same time.

"Damn brats!" roared Ransack as he tried to get the Chevy Twins off of him. "Do any of you two know who I am?! I am Ransack, one of the ancient Seekers who severed the Fallen! I’ll-“

His ranting was cut off when Skids punched the 'Con in the faceplates. "Ah, do we look like we care who you are, ya old geezer!" retorted Mudflap as he and Skids continued punching Ransack.

Elsewhere, Gunbarrel was having much less luck in his fight when Drift and Crosshairs immediately ganged up on him. He tried to counter with his dual forearm-mounted 35x228mm NATO Oerlikon KDA Autocannons, but was unable to prevent the Samurai Autobot from slicing off his lower left leg, followed by Crosshairs firing his dual Ion Machine Pistols into Gunbarrel's chassis. As the 'Con fell with his back against a nearby building, Drift jumped into the air and stabbed him in the chestplates with his dual Cybertanium Katanas, offlining him instantly.

"Ha-ha! Fantastic!" exclaimed Drift as he landed on the ground and shook the Energon off his blades.

Crosshairs twirled his dual Ion Machine Pistols. "Now that is how it's done-"

The Paratrooper's comment was cut off when a 120mm High-Explosive round struck the ground right behind him, with the force from the explosion sending him flying into a nearby building and causing dust to kick into the air from the impact. He was still alive, but he couldn't move.

"Crosshairs!" shouted Drift before turning towards the source of the attack and his optics widened at who he saw.

Walking towards him was his former mentor, Bludgeon. The 'Con subspaced his left shoulder-mounted JSW 120mm L/44 Smoothbore Tank Cannon while holding his Energon Katanas in both servos. His skull-like faceplates grinned as he stared at Drift. "It's been a long time, Deadlock."

Drift frowned at the mention of his former name as he got into a dueling-stance. "That mech died a long time ago, Bludgeon."

"By the end of this day, both him and you will be offlined," declared Bludgeon before the two former comrades clashed, with sparks flying into the air every time their blades struck one another.

Meanwhile, Armorhide fired his right forearm-mounted Ion Pulse Cannon at Skystalker. Said 'Con dodged the barrage of explosive energy projectiles before pouncing on his opponent. Bringing out one of his Energon Scythes, Skystalker tried to cut through Armorhide's chestplates in order to reach his spark-chamber. Growling, said Autobot held the weapon back before he spotted a nearby knocked over telephone pole. Grabbing it quickly, Armorhide rammed it into Skystalker's right shoulder-joint, causing the Decepticon to roar in pain as he backed up and allowing Armorhide to get back up.

"That's dirty, you slagging Autobot!" shouted Skystalker as he tried to pull out the telephone pole.

"Deal with it, punkass 'Con!" countered Armorhide before firing his Ion Pulse Cannon. The close-range between them caused the explosive energy projectile to shoot through both Skystalker's chestplates and spark-chamber, offlining him instantly.

Meanwhile, from his perch on a nearby rooftop, Mindwipe watched as his partner, Bludgeon, dueling his former student. The Seeker/Hypnotist was thinking of what to do when his scanners picked up five Energon signatures heading towards them. Turning his helm, he zoomed in on the sources' location and saw five Earth vehicles. From front to back were a red 2000 Dodge Viper GTS-R Concept, a white 2017 Lamborghini Huracan LP610-4 Coupe, a black 2002 Ford GT40 Concept, a yellow 2012 Honda NSX Concept, and finally a black and grey-colored 2017 Kenworth W900L Day Cab Semi-Truck.

"Looks like things are starting to get interesting..." muttered Mindwipe while chuckling at the same time.

Elsewhere, Cliffjumper had just delivered a right uppercut at Onslaught when several cars nearly knocked him over. "What the scrap?!" exclaimed the dark-red Autobot before diving into cover when Onslaught began firing his left forearm-mounted X20 Subsonic Minigun.

Megatron had just thrown Steeljaw off his back when he saw the new arrivals. "Stunticons, show the Autobots your new power and slaughter them!"

"As you command, Lord Megatron," said Motormaster, the Kenworth. The Stunticon Leader transformed into his 26-foot biped form before turning to his subordinates. "Combine into Menasor!" he shouted before shifting into a large chassis.

Dead End, the Dodge Viper, transformed into a left arm while Drag Strip, the Honda NSX, shifted into a right arm. Next, Wildrider, the Ford GT40, and Breakdown, the Lamborghini Huracan, transformed into a left leg and a right leg respectively. When the four of them attached to Motormaster, a large helm popped up from the top of the chassis. The combatants stopped when they saw the now-larger Cybertronian.

"Mensaor, destroy!" shouted the 50-foot Combiner as he fired his right forearm-mounted Double-Barrel Concussion Cannon at Cliffjumper. Brawn quickly grabbed his fellow Autobot and used his more durable frame to take in most of the damage, but the shockwave from the blast still sent the two mechs flying. Menasor continue to fire more blasts, forcing the other Autobots to cover. Ironhide fired both his Heavy Iron 1.0 Assault Rifle and his Heavy Iron 2.0 Battle Rifle at Menasor, causing the combiner to fire his dual shouder-mounted Six-Tubed Ion Rocket/Missile Launchers at him and Warpath, causing them both to dive for cover. The Aerialbots were unable to help as they were currently still facing against some of the Decepticon flyers.

Back with the humans, Jimmy was currently hiding underneath the couch he was previously sitting on as Cade, Adam and Izabella came running in. "Holy shit, what the hell is that thing?!"

"I think that's a Combiner. Ratchet told me about those things. It's a lost art from the Dynasty of Primes," explained Cade as he took cover behind a dusty desk.

"Well, that's great and all, but how do we kill it? None of the Autobots have the firepower to take it head-on, and those other 'Cons are just going to keep attacking until they get that talisman," added Izzy.

"You got that right, fleshling!" yelled a voice, just as a red 2006 Buell Lightning CityX XB9SX Motorcycle crashed through the hotel's front doors. Quickly transforming into his biped form, Reverb morphed his right forearm into his Solar Plasma Cannon before firing at the group. Jimmy screamed like a little girl as he ducked for cover with Izzy, while Cade and Adam tried to fire back with their own weapons. But the Decepticon was too nimble as he dodged their attacks and firing back at the same time.

"Lord Megatron, I have-" Reverb's transmission was cut off when a powerful photon bolt struck him from behind and blowing a large hole in his chestplates, offlining him instantly, while tearing off his right arm at the same time. As Reverb's corpse fell to the ground, it revealed the shooter: a certain Mini-Con hovering in the air due to his jetpack.

"Great shot, Rewind!" exclaimed Adam as he was happy to see his best friend.

"I hope you guys don't mind me cutting in, but I also brought some help too," said Rewind as a huge shadow engulfed the town.

Back outside, Fearswoop, in his alt-mode, had managed to pin down both Sideswipe and Prowl by strafing them with 20x102mm NATO SAPHEI (Semi-Armor-Piercing-High-Explosive-Incendiary) rounds from his M61A1 Vulcan Rotary Cannon. As their cover began to wear down, the orange Seeker turned to make another pass as he readied two BLU-129/B Low-Drag General-Purpose Bombs (LDGPBs) to be dropped from his wingtips.

"Looks like I'll be mowing down two Auto-weeds! Ha! Get it?" asked Fearswoop as he prepared to drop his payload. But before he could, the Seeker suddenly felt himself being pulled backwards. Fearswoop could only scream in terror as he was trapped in the tractor beam before being swiftly crushed to death by the digits on Omega Supreme's left servo. The 105-foot Autobot threw the Seeker's remains to the side before focusing on the remaining Decepticons.

Upon seeing Omega, Megatron knew that he and his troops were now outgunned and quickly ordered a retreat. Following him were Barricade, Mohawk, Nitro Zeus, Onslaught, Dirt Boss, Kickback, Blitzwing, Lugnut, Brimstone, Vortex, Tankor, Ransack, Hailstorm, Space Case, Terradive, Bludgeon, Mindwipe, Cyclonus, Scowl, and Blademaster. The Stunticons quickly disconnected and joined the others.

"They're falling back!" shouted Inferno as he fired his Photon SMG.

"Chickens!" added Crosshairs, who managed to get back up from Bludgeon's surprise attack.

"We were lucky, Crosshairs," said Jazz as he and the others regrouped. "If Omega hadn't arrived in time, this could've turned out very differently. Anyway, sound off."

The Saboteur got various responses from all the others, including Brawn who was still a bit shaken up from Menasor's weapons.

Suddenly, the comms came to life as Cosmos desperately shouted: "Prowl?! Prowl, do you read me?!"

"I'm here, Cosmos. What's the situation?" replied Prowl immediately, wondering what was causing the Scout to sound so scared.

"A few seconds ago, something or someone, just flew right past me at an incredible speed. I'm also picking a massive Energon signature from it, and it's heading right towards you!" reported Cosmos.

"I'm also detecting multiple TRF Aerial Scout Drones approaching the town, they're after the humans," added Jolt as he saw several UAVs approaching them.

BOOM!

A loud explosion caught the group's attention. Turning around, the Autobots were shocked to see Omega had been hit in the back. As the behemoth Autobot fell to the ground, his attacker appeared in the sky before transforming into his 50-foot biped form. Ratchet and Jolt ran on over to help Omega, while the other Autobots readied their weapons.

Standing up, Thunderwing looked down at his smaller opponents. "So, I'm looking for some humans. Have any of you seen them?"

(Meanwhile, 30 minutes earlier...)

The TRF Convoy (Consisting of eight 2014 Chevrolet Silverado 1500 Regular Cab Pickup Trucks, four 2007 Cadillac Escalade ESVs, two 2000 Chevrolet Suburban 1500 LS 4WDs, two M1025A2 HMMWVs, two M977A4 HEMTTs (Heavy-Expanded-Mobility-Tactical-Trucks), one International MXT-MVA Crew Cab Truck and a International MaxxPro Dash DXM MRAPV) was driving towards where their Reaper UAVs had found the Autobots before being shot down. Two of the Cadillacs were up ahead while the rest of the convoy was coming up from behind, with two AH-64D Apache Longbow Attack Helicopters flying above them.

"Our latest feed shows the targets are heading to a nearby abandoned town," reported a TRF computer technician riding in the International MXT-MVA with Lennox, Epps and Graham as he looked from his laptop.

"Remember: our main goal is to detain Cade Yeager. And that means alive," reminded Lennox through his radio. "Be advised: the Autobots will defend themselves if they feel threatened."

Santos, who was in the International MaxxPro, let out a snort before muttering: "Yeah, we'll see how that goes."

Suddenly, the same TRF technician checked his laptop when said device began to make beeping noises. "Colonel, I'm detecting a large seismic movement up ahead."

As if on cue, the road ahead of them exploded as the Dinobots came out of the ground, roaring through the dust and debris. The two forward Cadillacs didn't stand a chance as they were smacked aside by the large Cybertronians. They made no move towards the others as the rest of the convoy stopped upon seeing the destruction wrought by the Dinobots, while the two Apaches stayed hovering above the convoy.

The TRF Soldiers immediately disembarked from their vehicles, with Epps looking through his high-powered binoculars and let out a low-whistle before remarking: "Damn, those are some big-ass dinosaurs."

"It doesn't look like they're going to attack us, Colonel," Graham said to Lennox. "My guess is that they're just making sure we don't get in the way."

The Army Ranger didn't say anything because from the corner of his right eye, he saw Santos marching back towards the International MaxxPro.

"Hey! Our orders are to bring in Yeager, alive. He's got vital info on a dangerous weapon," reminded Lennox as he caught up with the U.S TRF Field Commander. He knew that the deaths of those soldiers would anger Santos.

And right he was when the former Delta Force Operator roughly pushed him back. "I'm very well aware of that, but this is a TRF operation only, so stay out of my way," said Santos as he glared at Lennox. "Those were my men."

On Santos' orders, ten TRF Aerial Scout Drones were each launched from the two M977A4 HEMTTs. Under the control from the computers inside the International MaxxPro, the twenty of them made their way off towards the abandoned town where the Autobots and Decepticons were fighting each other. Lennox could only watch as the drones took off. He could only hope that this wouldn't get any worse than it is now. Looking back at the Dinobots, Will watched as Grimlock turned around while his fellow Dinobots remained where they were as they watched the TRF from a distance. The former NEST Field Commander could only assume that the Dinobot Leader was going to aid the Autobots.

Suddenly, a honk caught Lennox's direction. Coming from the opposite direction was a blue 2012 Freightliner Revolution Innovation Concept Semi-Truck, and behind it was a dark and light-green T-98 Kombat FAV (Fast-Attack-Vehicle). They were both driving straight towards the halted convoy. Naturally, some of the TRF Soldiers tried to halt the oncoming vehicles. But when they got closer, Lennox finally noticed the Autobot emblem on the front of the Freightliner.

"MOVE!" shouted Lennox to the TRF Soldiers as he pushed one of the men out of the way. The International MaxxPro (with Santos inside) moved to the side as the Frieghtliner bashed one of the Suburbans aside as it drove through. Sending a signal through the Autobots' comms frequency, the Dinobots made room for the semi-truck to drive by.

Some TRF Soldiers tried to fire on the Kombat, but the Russian-made armored vehicle unexpectedly transformed into a AH-64D Apache Longbow Attack Helicopter as it flew over the men and easily passed by the two TRF choppers before heading towards the town.

As the soldiers were helping the others and checking on their vehicles, Graham walked up to Lennox. "Bloody hell, was that Optimus?"

"I don't know," replied the Army Ranger. "But whoever it is, the Decepticons are in for a surprise."

(Back with the Autobots...)

"Cover! Take cover!" shouted Salvage as he, Mudflap and Cliffjumper jumped out of the way as a laser beam struck the ground they once stood. Skids joined them as he was sent flying before crashing ontop of his brother. The twins began to bicker as Cliffjumper and Salvage fired their Solar Plasma Cannons.

Seconds after landing, Thunderwing began his attack by releasing a powerful EMP pulse, with the shockwave causing the Autobots to be knocked back, along with nearby buildings. Once that was done, he unveiled his right forearm-mounted Concussion Cannon, with the large Cybertronian opening up on the Autobots. The others managed to quickly recover and headed for cover. Ratchet and Jolt immediately dashed over to Omega, who had taken damage from Thunderwing's surprise attack. The giant mech had scorch marks on his back and small leaks of Energon dripping out from his wounds.

"Who the scrap is this guy?!" shouted Ironhide as he fired his dual forearm-mounted Ion Pulse Cannons at Thunderwing, but the projectiles merely bounced off his armor.

"Well, whoever he is, he's really tough!" replied Brawn, who was shooting from behind a building.

Elita and her sisters ran by, firing their Photon Cannons at Thunderwing as they ran passed him. The large mech tried to stomp on them, but they were moving too fast. The femmes continued shooting at him, hitting him in the faceplates, but their photon bolts did nothing but annoy him. Thunderwing soon became mad enough that he released a concentrated stream of fire from his mouthplates. The sisters had just barely gotten out of the path of the flames in time as it consumed the ground and buildings.

Thunderwing then became distracted when the Wreckers fired their human-based weaponry at him. Turning his right forearm-mounted Concussion Cannon at them, the silver-purple mech was about to fire, when Sideswipe and Bumblebee jumped onto his back. Hanging onto his shoulders, the two 'Bots fired at Thunderwing's helm, causing said mech to growl. Their attacks did very little damage, even at point-blank range, as Thunderwing managed to grab the two Autobots and threw them aside.

Grimlock tried his luck next by biting down on Thunderwing's right arm before throwing him into a nearby building. The Dinobot Leader followed it up with a torrent of flames that consumed Thunderwing, but it did very little to stop him as said mech immediately recovered and grabbed Grimlock by the neck with one servo and used the other to close the Dinobot's jaws.

"Useless and obsolete Knight!" roared Thunderwing as he tried to tear Grimlock's helm off.

Fortunately, the Dinobot Leader was able to avoid that fate by transforming into his 84-foot biped form. With a growl, Grimlock swung his Cybertanium Mace at Thunderwing, hitting him in the lower chassis before delivering a right uppercut to the chinplates. But Thunderwing wasn't deterred however, and simply retaliated by kicking Grimlock back before firing his Concussion Cannon, hitting the Dinobot Leader in the lower chassis and sent him rolling backwards. Thunderwing was about to finish him off when the other Autobots continued their assault on him.

The Aerialbots took the stage this time by unleashing a wave of AGM-65B Maverick ASMs (Air-to-Surface-Missiles) at Thunderwing, making the large mech stumble a bit but left no visible damage on his armor. Growling in frustration, Thunderwing glared up at the three Autobot flyers as they turned to make another pass. The turbines on the large mech's wings shifted and began spinning around as they hovered over his shoulders. They soon began to glow as Thunderwing took aim.

From his cover, Jazz saw what was happening. "Silverbolt, get your team out of there, now!"

But the Saboteur's warning came too late as Thunderwing fired a barrage of Proton FlaK Rockets from his dual shoulder-mounted Four-Tubed Proton Rocket/Missile Launchers. The Aerialbots only had five seconds to move out of the way before the rockets detonated. Though they barely avoided a direct hit, but the shrapnel caused the three flyers to crash into the ground, effectively putting them out for the rest of the fight.

"Slag!" cursed Jazz as he fired his Crescent Shield Cannon at Thunderwing. "Brawn, Cliffjumper, Longarm! Check on those three and get them out of the line of fire!"

From afar, the humans watched as the Autobots fought Thunderwing. Suddenly, a whirling sound caught their attention. Closing in on them were twenty TRF Aerial Scout Drones that were launched half an hour ago, and had now locked onto the group and were moving in.

"Run! Run! Move, you three!" ordered Cade as he, Adam, Izzy and Jimmy started running.

"Those things are supposed to hunt down terrorists, not taxpaying Americans!" bemoaned Jimmy as he ran into another old building with the group.

The four of them immediately ran up the stairs as fast as they could. When they reached the third floor, they stopped for breath. Cade waited to see if the drones would enter. His answer was in the sound of minigun fire and shattered glass, followed by the drones' whirring sound being amplified inside. As they pursued them, Cade was able to down four of them with his Mini-Photon Battle Pistol as he and his group kept running through several rooms and going up a few more floors.

"Over there!" shouted Adam as he pointed to a nearby large room. Cade immediately ushered the three inside said room.

The room had a few pillars supporting the ceiling while debris filled the place. The four of them took hiding spots and keeping as quiet as they could, while listing for the drones' whirling.

The wait wasn't long as three TRF Aerial Scout Drones flew into the room slowly. Cade held his breath as the drones began entering the room. As the last drone entered, the inventor brought one of them down by firing his Mini-Photon Battle Pistol through a ripped sheet that was hanging off the bed that he was currently hiding behind. The two remaining drones retaliated by firing their miniguns into Cade's hiding spot, but he had moved before they opened up. Springing up from his hiding spot, Adam brought his Energon Crossbow/Battle-Axe on another drone, cutting it down. The young hybrid immediately took cover behind a nearby pillar before the last drone could spot him.

The final drone focused its attention on Cade, and that's when Jimmy ran up and stood in front of a pillar with his hands raised in the air before the drone could fire.

"Jimmy, what the hell are you doing?!" demanded Cade.

"It has built-in facial recognition software," explained Jimmy. "They won't fire on someone who isn't a target."

Cade was unconvinced. "Are you out of your goddamn mind?!"

"Stay behind me!"

"Jimmy, don't do it!"

"I got this, just stay behind me."

"It's a very bad idea!"

"Look, it's not even shooting," said Jimmy as the young man relaxed as the drone was face-to-face with him. Suddenly, metal plating on the TRF Aerial Scout Drone slid back to reveal a 40x46mmSR automatic grenade launcher.

Cade saw this. "Shit!"

There was a loud thump, followed by Jimmy flying into the weak wall behind him. Cade pivoted out of cover and shot the drone, causing it to hit the floor, but it wasn't out. Izabella, who was nearby, finished it off by pushing a lose pillar on top of it and crushing it. Meanwhile, Cade and Adam rushed over to the hole that Jimmy went through. Said man was laying on the ground with a few planks of wood on top of him.

"You okay, man?" asked Cade.

Jimmy coughed before looking at the inventor. "Hey, Cade...I just wanna tell you...that I love you, man."

Both Adam and Cade gave Jimmy a look as if he was a fucking idiot. "What the hell are you doing?"

"Although this job isn't what I thought it was...but I still appreciate everything," continued Jimmy.

"I have no idea what you're babbling about," said Adam.

"I'm dying here, guys!"

Izzy walked over to the hole as all three of them stared at Jimmy with incredulously. "Dude, you got hit with a beanbag," she said.

Slowly lifting his head, Jimmy did a double-take when he checked his chest. "There's no hole?"

"No hole, no blood, nothing, now get up," said Cade as Jimmy quickly gathered himself while trying to recover his lost pride as the inventor told him to hurry.

The group ran out of the building and back onto the streets. Even from their spot, the sound of gunfire and explosions could be heard. They could also see the upper part of Thunderwing's chassis, as well as Omega Supreme, naturally. Cade turned his attention and looked around until he spotted what looked to be a large hotel that had fell long ago in disrepair. He led the other three into said building.

They soon reached the elevators and called one down. When it arrived, they all quickly filed inside. The back of the elevator that they were currently in was glass, allowing anyone inside a view of the city. Cade, Izzy and Adam were looking for any signs of the remaining TRF Aerial Scout Drones, when their attention was diverted when Jimmy screamed out: "Jesus fuckin' Christ, a leprechaun!"

Standing in the corner of the elevator was a 4'5-foot humanoid-like silver Cybertronian with blue optics. Cade also noted that he had both a steampunk look and his right optic seemed to twitch frequently too.

"Who the hell are you?" asked Cade as he moved in front of Izzy and Adam protectively.

"Leprechauns are tiny, green and Irish, and that is offensive," said the mech in an uptight British-accent before he noticed Izabella staring at him. "What are you looking at, young lady?"

The mech then bowed his helm to Cade. "Hello, Master Cade, I've come to collect you and young Adam." He then did the same gesture to said hybrid. "It's a pleasure to see you again, Adam."

That made Adam give him a bewildered look. "Sorry, have we met before...?"

"Cogman, at your service," replied the mech. "And yes, we have met. But you were just a toddler at the time, so I don't blame you for not remembering me. Now, I believe it's time for us to go."

"Oh no, no, you're not collecting anybody," said Cade as he went to grab the mech, but Cogman moved out of the way and threw a few punches at the inventor. "What is your deal, man?"

"Oh, you wanna play rough, huh?" asked Cogman as he got into a boxing stance, fisticuffs at the ready.

It was then that the elevator dinged before the doors opened. And they were all greeted to the sight of a malfunctioning TRF Aerial Scout Drone as it flew forward. Cogman moved out of the way as it collided with Cade and taking him out through the glass window of the elevator. The inventor hung on for dear life as the drone tried to correct its flight pattern, but couldn't because of the added weight. Adam, Izabella and Jimmy shouted from the elevator, but Cade couldn't hear them due to the drone's motor. The thing then flew him into the side of a nearby building, and Cade honestly thought he was going to lose his grip and fall to his death. Below him, the Autobots' battle with Thunderwing had entered this part of the abandoned town as explosions and debris were flying everywhere. If the fall from this height didn't kill Cade, then the shrapnel from the explosions most likely would.

Then, the drone he was hanging onto for dear life, finally smashed into the side of the building that had a flag pole on it. Sliding down, Cade managed to grab the flag pole as he dangled over the edge, but his hands were so sweaty that he soon lost his grip and fell a short distance to the lower roof down below, but not before a piece of rebar hit him the chest. The inventor checked the spot the piece of rebar hit him, and all he found was a hole in his shirt and the talisman attached to his upper right chest. The thing had somehow moved from his upper left arm to where it was right now, and if it wasn't for that though, the piece of rebar would've skewered him and puncture his right lung.

Meanwhile, down below, Adam, Izzy and Jimmy had exited the hotel, followed by Cogman as said mech appeared to be talking to someone, having pulled out an old phone from his chestplates. That's when Sqweeks appeared and began clicking like mad as he rolled up to Izabella. At the same time, Thunderwing was tackled by Armorhide, Warpath and Ironhide. The larger mech was able to throw the three Autobots off him before focusing his optics on the humans and smaller mechs. He then reached out for the light-blue Autobot.

"Sqweeks, look out!" shouted Izzy as she ran up to her friend.

Adam raised his Energon Crossbow/Battle-Axe and fired at Thunderwing, hitting the mech in the faceplates and causing him to hiss at the sting.

"Nice shot!" congratulated Cogman as the hybrid ran over to help Izzy and Sqweeks.

Unfortunately, Thunderwing was less than pleased as he stood up and brought out his chassis-mounted Cyclone Cannon. The quad-barrel weapon fired a single energy bolt from each barrel before they quickly merged into a larger one with greater speed as said bolt was heading straight towards the three. Adam only had a few seconds to push Sqweeks and Izabella out of the way before the projectile struck next to him. The shockwave from the explosion had sent all three of them flying, but Adam's landing was much less graceful. The young teen slammed against a nearby building wall hard, and smoke could be seen rising off of him due to his clothes being slightly burnt.

"ADAM!" screamed Izzy in horror as she got up.

Thunderwing ignored her as he reached out to grab Adam, who could tell he was still alive thanks to his scanners. But before he could grab the boy, the blue Freightliner appeared and drove straight into Thunderwing's legs, knocking the large mech over. Cogman took this chance to pickup Adam and move him to safety.

The Freightliner then transformed into a 29-foot blue, grey and red-colored mech who looked almost like Optimus Prime but with a bulkier build. The mech also had what looked like extra guards on his thighs, arms and legs.

"Ultra Magnus..." murmured Ironhide aloud as he tangled himself free from Warpath.

The mech, Ultra Magnus, immediately pulled out his Magnus Battle-Hammer with built-in rocket thrusters from subspace. Swinging the hammer as the opposite end of it released propulsive energy that increased its speed, it struck Thunderwing in the faceplates. The mech looked to be in pain from that blow as Energon flew out of his mouthplates before Magnus delivered several more hits that sent Thunderwing staggering backwards. Snarling, said mech raised his dual forearm-mounted Concussion Cannons and fired.

The former commanding officer of Cybertron's Elite Guard did a barrel-roll to avoid the projectiles as he swapped his hammer for his Neutron Assault Rifle. Getting down to one knee, the large Autobot unloaded his eight-barrel weapon at Thunderwing, hitting him with 200 rounds per second. Magnus was soon joined in by the dark and light-green Apache as it fired 30x113mmB HEDP (High-Explosive-Dual-Purpose) rounds from its M230 Chaingun at Thunderwing.

As the other Autobots began to regroup, a familiar black and grey-colored EC665 Tiger HAP Attack Helicopter appeared before transforming into Tomahawk as he landed beside Crosshairs. "You guys okay?"

"What the slag took you guys?" demanded the Paratrooper as he watched Blazemaster joined in attacking Thunderwing. Stratosphere transformed and landed on the ground nearby before readying his weapons.

"Air traffic," replied Tomahawk as he brought out his left forearm-mounted 30x113mmB GIAT 30M-781 Revolver Cannon.

Back with Thunderwing, the silver-purple mech took notice of the additional Autobots that had just appeared and also saw Omega Supreme slowly getting up. This is what made him realized that perhaps it was time to retreat. Thus, Thunderwing ignored the projectiles hitting his armor as he transformed into his alt-mode and took off.

"That's right, you better run, you coward!" bellowed Ironhide as he fired his dual Ion Pulse Cannons.

"Stand down, Ironhide," ordered Ultra Magnus as he subspaced his Neutron Assault Rifle, while the Apache transformed into a 21-foot visor-wearing mech. "Springer, help the others with the wounded. I'll contact Gears and tell him to land the ship."

"Ship? Did someone say 'ship'?" asked Crosshairs, but his question was ignored as Cade and Izabella ran to Adam's side, while said boy was gently placed down on the ground by Cogman.

"Adam, talk to me, kid!" yelled Cade as he checked over the young hybrid. Rewind also joined them as he scanned his friend's vitals. Evac and the others had finally arrived, but his optics widened in horror at the sight of Adam's injured form. "Ratchet! Jolt! Adam's down!"

"I can see no mortal or fatal injuries on him," reported Cogman with relief in his voicebox before looking back at Cade. "Although my orders were to bring the both of you, I'm afraid young Adam is in no condition to accompany us. So you must come with me alone."

Cade brushed the mech aside. "Go where with you? And why the hell are you even here?!" demanded the inventor as he steeped back to let Jolt and Ratchet scan Adam.

"I'm here because of that," replied Cogman as he pointed to the ground next to Cade, and there sat the talisman. How the hell did that come off? "And that is here because of you," continued Cogman as the inventor picked up the talisman, only to regret it as it began to stick to him and slide up his right arm. "It won't leave you until you have fulfilled your quest. You've been chosen."

"What do you mean 'chosen'?" demanded Cade as he tried and kept failing to shake the talisman off his person.

"I will explain everything if you come with me," said Cogman.

Skids walked up behind Cogman as he stared down at the smaller mech. "Hey, Cade, who's the C-3PO ripoff?" he asked as he made to reach Cogman.

Without even looking, the smaller Cybertronian kicked the 10-foot light-green twin in the 'nuts', causing Skids to cry out in pain as he sank to his knees, while Cade just gawked in surprise at Cogman's surprising strength for someone of his size.

"Don't kill the messenger or the messenger will kill you," warned Cogman before turning back to Cade. "Now, I'm afraid all of this ballyhoo is on your account. If you want to save your friends, you will leave them here and come with me to the U.K. I have a plane ready to take us there."

"And why the hell should I go with you?" retorted Cade. "I've got no reason to trust some crazy ninja butler."

"Cade Yeager," said Ultra Magnus as he calmly approached the inventor and Cogman. He also made sure to give Ratchet and Jolt some space as they worked on Adam. "I've heard many things about you from the World Wide Web, and your efforts to help my fellow Autobots. However, there are things that you are unaware of, and things that will affect both humans and Cybertronians alike. While the current situation isn't the most suitable, I believe that traveling with him to the United Kingdom would be the best course of action."

"As Ultra Magnus had just said, it is the wisest choice. Your friends will be safe in your absence," replied Cogman as Cade stood up. "You are urgently needed, sir. As my master often said: 'the important decisions in life often come down to just one moment'."

(Back with Megatron's team...)

The survivors of the botch attack were currently recovering near the border towards Iowa. Most of the Decepticons were busy licking their wounds while Megatron and Barricade were speaking from afar.

"I've contacted Astrotrain, my Lord. He'll transport our ground troops and will follow you and the others," reported the former Kaon Enforcer.

"Excellent. Now, according to Soundwave, Yeager and the talisman are heading towards the U.K. We'll rendezvous with Fracture's team there and continue the hunt," said Megatron.

"Lord Megatron, why are we allowing the TRF to continue monitoring us? Wouldn't it be simpler to just remove the GPS trackers they've put on us?" asked Onslaught as he approached the Decepticon Leader. "We can easily do it."

"The TRF still have their usefulness to us. Their presence will pressure both Yeager and the Autobots to continue on running, and will take most of the damage while the rest of our troops prepare for Cybertron's arrival," explained Megatron. "I know they plan to double-cross us once they've captured Yeager and the talisman, but that will be dealt with when the time comes."

And that's when Megatron's comms unit came to life: "My Liege, this is Shockwave. I've just been contacted by a former Decepticon who is heading to your location now."

"Understood, Shockwave," replied Megatron as his scanners soon picked up an approaching Energon signature. The rest of the Decepticons all got up when they spotted a dark-green 2017 Infiniti Q60 3.0t Sport Coupe driving up to them. Some of them prepared their respective weapons, but stood down when Megatron raised a servo. The car immediately transformed into a 16-foot visor-wearing mech. He had a thin build and clawed digits. On the back on both of his servos were tubes that gave the clawed digits the appearance of syringes. Attached to each side of his cheekplates were what looked like two gas mask oxygen tubes, with pipes trailing down from them and ended at his shoulders. And finally, parts of a retractable battlemask could be seen on his forehelm. His green optics (shielded behind his visor) spun as they focused on the Decepticon Leader.

"Oil Slick, Chemical Specialist and defector," growled Megatron as he immediately recognized the mech. "From what I last heard, you joined Lockdown's crew."

"That was in the past," replied Oil Slick. But the way he talked made it sound like he was speaking out of a gas mask as it vented out air. "After Hangnail was offlined, Lockdown appointed me as his new SiC, before he too was offlined by Optimus and the Axalon was shot down by Omega Supreme. I barley managed to get out before it took anymore damage, while the others were forced into stasis lock by the ship's protocols."

"So that's what you're offering? The ship's location in exchange for a full-pardon for defecting?" questioned Megatron.

"That, and also an army of trained Cybertronian Mercenaries, advanced weapons and vehicles for you and your troops to use," added Oil Slick.

Megatron eyed Oil Slick very carefully as he processed in this bit of information. On one servo, it would just be easier to offline him right now, as he does with all Decepticons who chose to defect. However, the Axalon was one of the most advanced ships ever built before the fall of the Dynasty of Primes. That, and its horde of secrets, as well as Mercenaries as they would be a welcome addition to his army. "Very well, I shall give you this one chance to prove yourself to rejoin our ranks, Oil Slick. But..." Megatron then pulled out his Cyber-Matter Sword-Axe and held it in front of the 'Con's faceplates. "...if you failed me, I will personally have you drowned in your own chemicals."

Once he made sure he got his point across, the Decepticon Leader then contacted Shockwave. "Shockwave, are there any additional forces that are currently available?"

"There is only one unit available, my Lord," reported the Decepticon Scientist/Assassin. "The Mayhem Attack Squad had just finished their mission in locating the center point of the horns that links to Unicron's spark. I'll have them prepared in an hour."

"Excellent. Once Astrotrain drops my team off in the U.K, I'll have him come and pickup Smolder's team and transport them and Oil Slick to where the Axalon is at," explained Megatron.

At that moment, a purple and grey-colored NASA Space Shuttle flew down from the sky and landed in front of the Decepticon Leader.

"Ready for pickup, my Lord," said Astrotrain as his doors opened.

"Onslaught, Barricade, get the troops on board. The hunt isn't over yet," ordered Megatron before he transformed into his alt-mode and took off, followed by Nitro Zeus and the other Decepticon flyers.

(Back with the TRF convoy...)

Santos stared at the wreckage of the two Cadillacs. The Dinobots had already left and mostly likely regroup with the Autobots (who have recently left the abandoned town). The count was 10 wounded but in stable condition. A clean-up crew had entered the town recently to retrieve the remains of Ruination, Hooligan, Trample and Tread, Macerator, Hardtop, Gunbarrel, Skystalker, Reverb, and Fearswoop. And the Colonel wanted to go easy on the Autobots. You don't go easy with those things. It didn't matter what faction they belonged to, all Cybertronians were the same. And the only thing you can do was to take them down very hard.

"Sorry about your men," said Lennox as he walked up beside the U.S TRF Field Commander. "Trust me, I know the feeling."

"I would feel more comforted if you didn't try and protect these monsters at every goddamn turn," growled back Santos. He then headed back to the International MaxxPro, with Lennox following behind him. Epps, Graham and the remaining TRF Soldiers gathered around as the two officers approached.

"Listen up. Before they were shot down, our scout drones were able to track Yeager. He and that yellow Autobot followed some human-size Cybertronian onto an YB-35/YB-49 hybrid bomber and took off. Their last calculated flight trajectory has them heading to the U.K," explained Lennox. "General Morshower has already been notified and is contacting our counterparts there. Also, the GPS trackers on the Decepticons are showing that Megatron is heading there too. Although we have a deal with them, the 'Cons are not our friends. With that said, prep up and get ready to move. We're going to England."

(An hour later at the Autobot FOB...)

The Autobots had managed to regroup back at the junkyard. They were also able to get Omega Supreme back without much difficulties as said mech was currently sitting on his back, while the Wreckers looked over him. The injured Autobots were in the Medical Bay, along with Adam. The others who weren't injured were currently in the Command Center where Ultra Magnus was at. Meanwhile, Izabella wanted to remain next to Adam because she felt partially responsible for his current state. Jimmy was currently sleeping in his trailer, due to the whole fiasco being too much for him to handle. Cade had just left with Cogman a while ago, with Bumblebee accompanying them.

Along with Springer, three more mechs had come with Ultra Magnus aboard his vessel, the Iron Will. One was Gears, a 20-foot white-silver visor-wearing mech who transforms into a 2011 Toyota Sequoia Limited. The other two were members of a team called 'Protectobots', first was First Aid, a 19-foot visor-wearing mech who was one of Ratchet's former students who transforms into a white and red 2017 Mercedes-Benz Sprinter MX-152 Ambulance, and finally Blades, a 20-foot red and white mech who transforms into a MH-56C Dolphin Search and Rescue Helicopter. First Aid had assisted Ratchet and Jolt with treating the injured Autobots and also managing to stabilize Adam and heal most of his wounds, although he was still in a coma.

"Now that we're all assembled, I shall explain everything," said Ultra Magnus to the gathered Autobots in the Command Center. "Four years ago, I was tracking the Star Seekers, a group of former Autobots and Decepticons who have resorted to piracy, raiding entire worlds for Energon in order to survive. I also picked up Gears and Springer along the way when I made a very startling discovery: Cybertron is moving and is currently heading towards Earth."

Now that got the Autobots' attention. "Cybertron is moving?! How is that possible?!" demanded Drift.

"I don't know, though I highly suspect its being caused by the strange power source I had detected when we were following the planet. I can only assume that it's being done by these 'Creators' you told me about," replied Magnus. "That's why I came here to Earth to inform you all of this."

"And that's when we ran into Blades and First Aid," said Springer as he picked up conversation. "Their team, the Protectobots, were captured sometime ago and were experimented on by Shockwave and Flatline. Apparently, the two 'Cons are trying to replicate the Combiner process. First Aid and Blades were able to escape and run into us."

"Last scans indicate that the rest of the Protectobots have been moved to Cybertron, perhaps to be experimented on more," revealed Ultra Magnus. "I plan to infiltrate the planet and freeing them, along with any other POWs that might be there. But I'll need Cosmos' help though."

Prowl nodded. "I'll tell him of the situation and he'll be waiting for you up in Earth's orbit. However, this also changes our current situation. The only other place that has many Autobots is Cuba, and the majority of the Autobot refugees in that island country aren't fighters. If this is a Decepticon ploy, I don't know if we'll be able to hold."

"And that's why we need a fragging ship," grumbled Hound, who had been fixed up by Ratchet and was now here in this meeting.

"Daytrader said he finally found the one we've looking for. That's why Wheeljack went with him to make sure it's operational," revealed Prowl. "Unfortunately, all we can do now is wait for them to contact us."

"While you do that, I'll prepare my own team to head for Cybertron and rescue the remaining Protectobots. Perhaps we'll even find out what or who is piloting the planet. Jazz, Prowl, if you two could come with me," said Ultra Magnus as he ended the meeting.

While everyone went off to do his or her own thing, Magnus led the two smaller 'Bots into a hallway. Once the door to the Command Center closed, the high-ranking Autobot officer turned to the others. "I didn't want to reveal this in front of the others because I fear of how it might affect their current morale, but a few days ago while me and my crew were following Cybertron, we picked up Optimus' Energon signature on the planet."

"WHAT?!" exclaimed Prowl, while Jazz was also seemed to be in shock too. "What the frag is he doing on Cybertron? Do you think Prime was captured or something?"

"I tried contacting him, but his comms unit was jammed. And if that is the case, then it's a very good possibility he's being held captive," replied Magnus. "Rest assured, I will make sure that Optimus is rescued. I did say I was going to rescue every POW we find, did I not?"

Jazz and Prowl looked at each other. Both of them wanted to go with Magnus to see if Optimus had truly been captured. But they knew though that if they did so, the others would grow curious and want to know what made them decide that. And Ultra Magnus' ship didn't have enough room for all of them. Plus, it would leave the FOB undermanned. With that in mind, Prowl looked at the taller mech. "In that case, we'll leave it in your servos, sir."

Ultra Magnus nodded in thanks before proceeding to where his ship was parked.

(Somewhere in the Bermuda Triangle...)

Also known as the 'Devil's Triangle', this loosely-defined region in the western part of the North Atlantic Ocean had always been one of both mystery and superstition due to the large number of planes and ships that have disappeared going through it. There have been a lot of theories towards the reason why, some were logical while most were ridiculous. But the truth, however, was far more sinister.

Still in his alt-mode, Thunderwing entered the triangle and flew through the storms and hurricanes that covered the region. Eventually, he reached a small island made up in jagged rocks with a tunnel in the center. Thunderwing flew straight into the cave, going deeper into the Earth. After ten minutes flying, he transformed and landed on metal ground. The large cavern was covered in black metallic walls and crisscrossed with metal web-like beams all over the place. A platform stood in the center of the floor near where Thunderwing had landed, and began to shift and transform. After it fully transformed, a mech, double the height of Thunderwing's, looked down upon him. His jagged armor made him very terrifying, along with pointed shoulders, feet, clawed digits and horns on the top of his helm made the individual look like the Cybertronian equivalent of the Devil himself.

Thunderwing immediately got down to one knee, bowing his helm towards the intimidating entity.

"Rise, my herald," said Unicron, the Chaos Bringer. "I've seen all that has happened on Earth. You have failed to retrieve the boy."

"I have no excuse, my Lord. I shall accept any punishment, so long as I can get another chance to complete my task," replied Thunderwing solemnly.

With a chuckle, Unicron said: "Your devotion to me is noted, Thunderwing. You will have your second chance to fulfill your usefulness to me. Continue your covert role as a servant to Quintessa. The Sorceress will want things done quickly so that she may restore Cybertron, unaware that her vain efforts will end with my freedom. And with her capture of Optimus Prime, we can destroy the Matrix of Leadership whenever we want too. For now, make sure that her staff is recovered at any and all costs, the boy will be secondary. Understood?"

"Yes, my Lord. But don't worry, I have already brought several Cybertronians to serve you. Soon, you'll be revived and the universe will be yours for the taking," declared Thunderwing before transforming and took off, while Unicorn's avatar merged back with the room.

Chapter Text

(Somewhere in the Caribbean, a few hours before Cade and Bumblebee left for the U.K...)

Moving through the waters of the Caribbean Sea was a blue Freedom-Class Littoral Combat Ship (LCS), followed by a white and blue-colored LCAC-1 (Landing Craft Air Cushion) Hovercraft that was carrying a blue Ratel 90 IFV (Infantry-Fighting-Vehicle), and flying above them was a dark-grey Mi-24P Hind-F Helicopter Gunship. Riding on top of the LCS were Wheeljack and Daytrader as the group were currently heading straight towards a small unnamed island.

"You're absolutely sure that this is where you detected it?" asked Wheeljack.

Daytrader nodded. "Two days ago, my scanners picked up a brief Energon spike before it was hidden by a jamming device. I matched said spike to the same signal as the Axalon, and said signal was coming from this island. The place is completely uninhabited and located in the middle of nowhere. It's the perfect place for a large Cybertronian ship to hide."

"Well, let's hope so. This could be our major big break in finding a ride for everyone," commented the Autobot Scientist/Inventor as they reached the island.

The ships moved closer towards the shallow end to allow Daytrader, Wheeljack and Breacher, the Ratel who just transformed into his 20-foot biped form, to get off and walk on the sandy beach. They were followed by the LCS and LCAC-1 as they transformed into the 27-foot and 22-foot biped forms of Depthcharge and Seaspray respectively. Skyhammer, the Mi-24P Hind-F, changed into his 20-foot biped form and landed beside his fellow Autobots.

"Okay," said Depthcharge as he looked around. "Where do we first start?"

Pulling out a scanner-like device from subspace, Daytrader pointed to the left. "I'm picking up a faint signal coming from that way," said the junker as he began guiding the others.

"I still can't believe that something as big as the Axalon was hiding here for these past three years," said Seaspray as he began to scan the surrounding area.

"It was built by the Knights of Cybertron during the Dynasty of the Primes, and was later improved after Sentinel Prime unified Cybertron. To be here and remain undetected wouldn't be that much of a surprise," commented Wheeljack.

A few minutes later, they've found the Axalon, the large vessel used by the Knights of Cybertron, was half on the beach while the other half was still in the water. The hull showed signs of damage in multiple areas that were caused by Omega Supreme three years ago in the Battle of Hong Kong. Starfish, seaweed, barnacles, coral and other sea life were attached to the bottom of the ship. And finally, there were several dark-grey Cybertronian frames hanging from the ship or lying on the beach, Lockdown's Mercenaries.

"Well, at least it's not as bad as I originally thought it would be," said Daytrader as he stared at the vessel's condition.

"On the outside that is, but we still don't have any idea what the damage on the inside is like," added Skyhammer.

"And that's what we're going to find out. Skyhammer, take to the air and patrol the ship from the outside. Keep us inform if anything pops up," ordered Depthcharge.

The dark-grey Autobot flyer nodded before transforming into his alt-mode and took to the air. The other five Autobots then began their trek into the Axalon. Before he entered, Wheeljack spotted something from the corner of his left optic. As an inventor, the 15-foot white-colored mech with red and green racing stripes had a knack for spotting damaged areas or repairing them, and he could clearly spot a section of the ship's exterior hull that had been fixed recently, with the hole having been covered up. Or at least, it looked like it had been fixed and judging how the hole was smooshed, it must've become like that when the ship crashed. Shaking his helm, Wheeljack followed the rest of his fellow Autobots inside.

(Burton Castle, near the outskirts of London)

To say that the flight was uncomfortable was an understatement as it was hot, cramped, no bathroom onboard, no food or drinks, the pilot was some kind of Cybertronian ninja butler, and Cade was 82% sure that the old YB-35/YB-49 hybrid bomber would come apart at any second. It was clearly one of the inventor's worst moments.

Fortunately, the flight came to an end after several hours. Currently, the trio (consisting of Cade, Bumblebee and Cogman) were walking up a driveway towards an old castle in the middle of a wide, open grassy field. Said castle looked like it was pulled straight out of some Medieval story. The walls were spotted with vines and moss, but they still held the vibe of being old and yet sturdy. At the end of the driveway was an older gentleman walking with a cane and currently smoking a pipe and wearing a flat cap, a dark-greenish Panther Ausf. G Medium Tank from World War Two and a 120-inch long bug-like robot that had a leash around its neck. The old man was currently holding said leash as if said robot were a dog. The Panther rolled up to them before transforming into a 16-foot bulky mech with the Panther's 75x640mmR KwK 42 L/70 Cannon mounted on his right forearm, along with a retractable blue battlemask and a white-colored helm.

"Oh good, you're here," said the man to Cade. "Cogman told me about Adam. I do hope he fully recovers. Besides that, did you have a pleasant flight?"

"No," replied Cade dryly. "Now would you please explain to me as to why Psycho-Ninja Butler here," he jabbed his left thumb at Cogman who took the leash from the old man just recently, "just flew me here to the U.K and saying that I'm needed and stuff? And what the hell does Adam have to do with this?"

"All in due time, Mr. Yeager, all in due time," answered the old man with a chuckle. "We're still waiting for a few more people."

Cade didn't seem happy but complied. He also took note of the transformed tank, who was currently speaking with 'Bee in their native tongue. "So what's with Mr. Panther here? You're running some kind of sanctuary for Cybertronians?"

"You can call it that. When Cemetery Wind was formed and Harold Attinger began to secretly hunt down all Cybertronians, I opened my doors for any Autobot that my message could reach. Guzzle here was one of them," said the old man as he gestured at the transformed German-made tank, while the metal robot-like insect let out a hiss. "Oh, and Bob too. He's an Insecticon who arrived with one of the most recent refugees. Don't worry, he will only kill you if you're either a threat or if he dislikes you."

Cade glanced nervously at said Insecticon, who was busy purring as Cogman scratched him from behind his antennas. "Right..."

"There's several more inside, and all of those that arrived are hiding as older vehicles; it lets me claim them as part of my private collection," continued the man. "But we're getting off topic, and you wish to know why you're here."

"Yeah, and if I don't get any answers soon, me and 'Bee are walking out of here," said Cade.

"Ah, but you want to know, don't you, Mr Yeager? Why you..." the old man moved Cade's left sleeve up with his cane to reveal the tailsman latched onto the inventor's upper left arm, "...and that are so important?"

Suddenly, the whine of a sport car's engine caught their attention, echoing around them as it got louder when it approached the driveway.

"Ah, I do love perfect timing," said the old man.

A black and orange 2016 Lamborghini Centenario LP700-4 Coupe stopped halfway up the driveway before the hood opened and shot out a black-haired woman who was exactly the same age as Cade. The Lamborghini then began to transform in a break-dance style into a 17-foot mech with doorwings protruding from his back. Cade looked on in amusement as the woman freaked out, even using a polo mallet as a weapon.

"Is this a kidnapping or her first Cybertronian experience?" asked Cade.

After a moment of silence, the order male replied: "A bit of both, really."

The three Cybertronians and two humans continued to watch in amusement as the black and orange mech tried to calm the woman down. Instead, she only freaked out more and even managed to hit his left servo with her polo mallet, causing said mallet to break in half. When the woman fell backwards and rolled down the little hill by the driveway, the mech gave a shrug to the others. "She's very difficult!" he shouted in a thick French-Algerian-accent.

The old man turned to face Cade. "Well, how about we go inside? Proper introductions can be made then. I'll have Cogman escort you to your room, were fresh clothes are already there. The one's you're currently wearing appear to have seen better days," he said as he took Bob from Cogman. Cade looked down and noticed his clothes were slightly torn and dirty. Reluctantly, the inventor followed the Cybertronian butler into the castle.

(Junkyard)

Prowl was currently walking through the base, his processor going back to the last few minutes. Most of the Autobots had recovered from their injuries, with several of them outside and were currently using wrecked vehicles as target practice. Meanwhile, Grindcore, the Wreckers and Fixit were busy repairing the base's defense systems. The femmes and Jolt were checking on the Sparklings, making sure that none of them were injured in anyway during the whole fiasco. The group were also working on making preparations in the event something like that happened again. It wasn't spoken aloud, but everyone could feel it; a big fight was coming, and they wanted to be prepared because they didn't want to be caught unaware like they had been in the past.

Prowl stopped by the Medical Bay, where Ratchet was overlooking a still comatose Adam Nova. The hybrid had several tubes stuck to him, along with an oxygen mask over his mouth and nose. Nearby monitors were showing his vitals and other stats.

"How is he?" asked Prowl.

"His vitals are stable and all of his injuries have fully-healed," replied Ratchet, while not looking from his work. "And I can't find any anomalies for the moment..."

"I'm sensing a 'but' coming," commented Prowl.

Sighing, the Autobot Chief Medical Officer moved his optics towards Prowl. "Adam's showing no signs of waking up. To be honest, I have very little understanding of his physiology, due to him being a mix of both human and Cybertronian. And worse, he's lost a lot of blood, and I don't know if he'll accept either an Energon or blood transfusion. I thought of trying to scan his brain and seeing if I can somehow upload his memories, like how one would do with a mech or femme's CPU, but..."

"But you can't risk it since we don't fully understand his physiology," finished off Prowl. "And Optimus wouldn't approve of risking another living being, even if it were for said being's sake. Continue monitoring him for now. If you feel like there's no other choice, you have my permission, Ratchet."

The 20-foot lime-green and white mech nodded and went back to work. But before Prowl left though, Ratchet said one last thing: "I almost forgot to mention this, but Elita wants to speak with you. She should be in the Sparkling Daycare Center."

Knowing what she wanted to discuss with him, Prowl merely continued his walk, but this time heading towards the daycare center. Due to the reconfiguration of the old transport ship, he had to exit the base and walked outside to reach his destination. That enabled the Autobot SiC to spare a spare a glance at what some of the others were doing.

"Those damn cannons didn't do anything!" complained Hound. Said Commando was with the Wreckers while currently next to one of the Laser Sentry Turrets that made up the base's defense perimeter. Hound was chewing on one of his cy-gars. "All they did was give the 'Cons a few scratches. I could've done more damage on my own."

"The damn things weren't designed for heavy engagement in the first place!" retorted Leadfoot in his Cockney-accent as he helped Roadbuster welding the turret's head to the main body. "There also wasn't enough Energon for full-power, and Prowl wanted the base's cloaking system fully-operational anyway. Besides, they did make sure the 'Cons couldn't find the young one's right, eh?"

Steeljaw barked in agreement as said Cyber-Bulldog stood beside his owner.

"If ya gonna complain, Hound, then get yer fraggin' aft outta of here!" shouted back Roadbuster in his Scottish-accent.

"Yeah, we have enough problems as it is," added Topspin in his Irish-accent, while holding a wrench.

Hound sulked off while grumbling to himself. Prowl's attention was then shifted to Cliffjumper, Salvage, Longarm and the Chevy Twins. The five Autobots were currently sitting in a circle as they conversed with one another.

"Man, that big mech was crazy. Me and my twin hadn't seen any evil Cybertronians that aggressive since Devastator," commented Mudflap.

"Yeah, and that bastard was big!" added Skids.

Cliffjumper let out a snort. "Gotta admit, we all would've been scraped if Ultra Magnus hadn't arrived in time. Plus, the weapons that mech had were nothing I have ever seen before."

"That's new. Usually, you're all gung-ho about any Decepticon that gets in your way," noted Salvage.

"Hey, I'm not that rowdy. And I know when to move forward and when to pull back," retorted Cliffjumper.

Longarm nodded. "I hear that. We were just fraggin' lucky that we were able to get the drop on them before that, or maybe because they were so weak."

"I would go with both. I've fought many 'Cons back on Cybertron, and I can personally tell that some of those guys weren't high-level fighters," commented Cliffjumper. "If you ask me, I say that Megatron is running low on high-quality troops."

Prowl kept on walking as he left them to their conversation. He soon reentered the base and made his way to the daycare center. As he kept on walking, he past by Fixit and Grindcore, who were currently carrying supplies.

"Hey, Prowl. We're just about done with updating the security system," reported Grindcore as Fixit waved at the Autobot Tactician.

"Good work, you two. Keep me posted," replied Prowl.

A few minutes later, said Autobot arrived at the daycare center. The femmes and Sparklings were there, along with Canopy, Sqweeks, Ironhide and Izabella. Sqweeks and Canopy were helping the femmes with keeping the Sparklings occupied, while Ironhide was showing Izzy, said girl was holding Paddles, a holo-image of a six-year-old Annabelle Lennox, his former human charge.

"This is when me and Will had gotten her a Nerf N-Strike Vulcan EBF-25 Dart Blaster for her birthday and she wanted to try and shoot some Decepticons. Naturally, we couldn't let her, but Will and I made some out of old cardboard boxes, and she hit everyone of them with ease," said the Heavy Weapons Specialist. Paddles squeaked as she sucked on her digits while staring at the image.

Prowl was distracted when something hit his left leg. Looking down, he saw Ramjump, the turquoise-colored mechling, happily banging a rattle on the mech's left pede.

"Ramjump, that's not nice," chided Elita as she walked on over and gently picked up the Sparkling. The little mechling was annoyed that his 'fun' was ruined. "Why don't you go play with Gasket and Firefly at the castle," suggested the purple femme as she put Ramjump near said Sparklings. Arcee took over as she gently guided the mechling towards the structure, where several Sparklings were sticking their helms out of.

Once that was done, Elita swiveled around and glared at Prowl. "We need to talk, now," ordered the femme as she walked out of the room, with Prowl quietly following her.

When the two were out of hearing range, Prowl started first: "I assume this is about Optimus."

"It is," replied Elita. "Lately, I've been feeling pain, or rather the pain that Optimus is feeling through our bond. I was never comfortable with him going after the ones who hired Lockdown in the first place, but-"

"It's almost impossible to stop him once he has his processor set," finished Prowl.

"I know that better than anyone, Prowl," remarked Elita. "I want the truth. I know that you and Jazz were discussing something related to Optimus with Ultra Magnus after that last meeting. I understand the need for secrecy, due to the current morale here, but this is my sparkmate were talking about, and I deserve to know."

After being quiet for a moment, Prowl relented. Elita was right, she above anyone knew what might have befallen Optimus. "Magnus believes that Optimus has been captured and taken to Cybertron, which is currently moving. If that is true, then we can only hope that Magnus will be able to save him and the Protectobots."

Elita remained quiet, but you could see the surprise and worried look in her optics when she heard this bit of news. However, she managed to remain calm and give a nod to Prowl. "Thank you, Prowl. I admit I don't feel cheered up by this, but I'm grateful that I at least know what is going on," she said before returning to the daycare center.

"Elita," said Prowl as he caught the purple femme's attention. "If Optimus is truly in danger, we can only rely on Ultra Magnus and his team to save him. He wasn't Optimus' number two for nothing. And if not, I've also received word from Wheeljack that he, Daytrader, Breacher, Skyhammer, Seaspray and Depthcharge have found the Axalon. I know they can get it working."

Although she didn't respond, Elita gave a grateful nod before heading back inside and picked up a waddling Dusthorn who was trying to sneak out of the daycare center.

(Back at the Burton Castle...)

While Cade was being taken to a room where spare clothes were, Guzzle and Hot Rod took Bumblebee to meet up with the others. The castle had clearly been redesigned to hold numerous large objects, to serve as a resting place for Burton's private 'collection'. Like Guzzle, the other Autobots were disguised as old vehicles in order to keep themselves better hidden from the TRF.

Located in an inner courtyard were the rest of the Autobot refugees. The first one was Kup, a 20-foot Cybertronian (who was currently smoking a cy-gar) who was the unofficial leader of the group, and whose alt-mode was a bluish-grey Chevrolet G4112 Cargo Truck. After him was Sunstreaker, much to Bumblebee's surprise. The 15-foot golden-yellow mech and Frontliner was Sideswipe's twin brother and Bob's owner. He recently scanned a 1971 Lamborghini Miura P400SV Coupe, much to the vain Autobot's annoyance since he always did like the latest models. After him was Trailbreaker, a 22-foot black mech like Ironhide, but less bulky and possessing a built-in Energon Forcefield. His alt-mode was Steyr Type 1500A/01 Kfz.21. Next up was Clocker, a 16-foot former racer who had rocket thrusters attached to the back of his shoulders, elbows and heels, with a light-blue 1971 Clan Crusader Two-Door Coupe for an alt-mode. Then there was Perceptor, a brilliant 20-foot Scientist/Physicist who had scanned a 1950 Willys Model 473 Pickup Truck. Beside him was Hoist, the Autobot Chief Surgeon. Like Trailbreaker, he was 22-feet tall, but not bulky, and he had a dark-green 1961 Toyota Stout RK101 Light Truck for an alt-mode. Next was Smokescreen, a 15-foot visor-wearing mech with swept-back audio horn receptors, who was the Autobot Chief Diversionary Tactician that transformed into a dark-blue and red 1952 Datsun DC-3 Roadster Coupe.

There were also three flyers among the group too. First up was Highbrow, another old Seeker and friend of the late Jetfire. The 25-foot sage-green mech had scanned a Henschel Hs 129B-3/Wa long ago. Unlike the others, both he and Guzzle seemed to like their current alt-modes. After him was the 20-foot Wingblade, who was second to Ironhide in the number of confirmed Decepticon kills, and had scanned a grey Hurricane Mk-IID with lime-green trims for an alt-mode. And the third flyer was Whirl, a 20-foot one-optic Autobot with pincer-like digits and whose alt-mode was a white Dragonfly HR.1 Search and Rescue Helicopter.

There were two more Autobots: Windcharger and Knock Out. But they were currently patrolling London and the surrounding area of the castle, so they weren't present at the time. Hot Rod said he had already informed them of the current situation and they sent their greetings back in return.

"It's good to see ya again, lad," said Kup cheerfully in his Irish-accent as he patted the yellow Scout on the back. 'Bee let out some chirps as he greeted him and the others. "I was wondering when Burton was going to bring you lot here."

Sunstreaker was currently scratching underneath Bob's chinplates, pleasing the Insecticon. "I'm still glad to hear that Sides' is still kicking. Hey, do you have a holo-image of his alt-mode?"

Groans filled the courtyard. "C'mon, Sunny. You just want to scan a newer model," commented Whirl in exasperation.

"Can you blame me?" asked Sunstreaker as Bumblebee brought up an image of Sideswipe in his alt-mode of a 2009 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray Centennial Concept. With glee, Sunstreaker swiftly scanned the image (he always made sure to bring his advanced scanner with him so that he could even scanned images of vehicles that caught his interest) before transforming into a now golden-yellow version of said vehicle, with Bob hissing in approval at his master's new alt-mode. "If we are to remain in hiding, I want to have the best look as possible."

"Young ones these days," muttered Highbrow as he crossed his arms. "Back in my day, it was usefulness that was important, not appearances. And I know that Jetfire would agree with me, Primus rest his spark in peace."

"Can't disagree with you there, Highbrow," chuckled Kup. "These lads have always been very picky about appearances. Reminds me of a mission I took, where my team had to pick suitable disguises to blend in with. And it took us forever to find the ones we could approve of."

"All I care about is getting a suitable alt-mode that will let me deploy all of my weapons at their full potential," said Wingblade.

As the others continue to converse with one another, 'Bee headed over towards an open window that connected to the living room where the humans were meeting. Cade, Cogman and Burton were already inside. The inventor was examining the place and saw that said room had a few paintings on the wall. Some were from the First World War, while the rest were from the Medieval Ages, and the only connection that each painting had was that each and every one of them had a Cybertronian in it. Burton was near another open window in the corner, while Cade sat down on a nearby chair and Cogman was currently setting out cups of tea.

"Ah, Mr. Yeager," said Burton as he acknowledged Cade's appearance. "We're just waiting for Miss Vivian now."

Seconds later, the inventor heard the telltale sound of high-heels tapping rhythmically on the hardwood floor. The end of a black dress caused Cade to look up and blinked, his eyes widening as if someone just slapped him. The woman, who had just been freaking out nearly half an hour earlier, was now clam and composed, and currently wearing a stylish black dress that outline the curves of her body very tastefully.

"Hey, what's up?" was the first thing Cade said to her. Vivian gave him a brief glance that very clearly read: 'Oh, please.'

"Now then," said Burton as Vivian sat down on another chair. "Since everyone is now all here, I believe that introductions are in order. I am Sir Edmund Burton, Commander of Her Majesty's Royal Navy, retired. 12th Earl of Folgan and the last surviving member of the Order of the Witwiccans."

And that's when Hot Rod chose to poke his helm through the open window that Burton was next to. This gained the attention of Vivian who asked: "Does he have to loom like that?"

The black and orange mech did an exaggerate bow. "Bonjour, cherie. Je m'appelle Hot Rod."

Vivian was unable to figure out what he was saying due to his accent. "Beg your pardon?"

It was Burton who came to the rescue. "Hot Rod." Said mech nodded in relief. "It's his French-Algerian-accent."

Vivian then asked: "Is he French-Algerian?"

"Nah, he just likes the accent," answered Burton.

Unfortunately, Hot Rod didn't seem to agree with him. "No, no, no, no, I HATE the accent! I just can't get rid of it and I'm stuck with said accent!" he complained to 'Bee, who began to chuckle with the other Autobots.

"He's a soldier, Miss Vivian. He swore an oath to your father on his deathbed to protect you," explained Burton.

"Well, that's some cool dad you got there," commented Cade, getting the woman's attention. "That's a very nice ride you got. I mean, you could ride up to Buckingham Palace in that thing."

Vivian rolled her eyes in annoyance. "Okay. You, American man, shut it." Cade jerked back as she looked to Burton. "What am I doing here?"

"Yeah, why is she here?" asked Cade.

"Oh yes, introductions," said Burton. "Miss Vivian Wembley: Master of History and Doctor of Philosophy and Letters, Oxford. Anyway, meet Cade."

The inventor waited for him to continue. But when Burton didn't, Cade took it upon himself to do so: "Yeager. Cade Yeager. I'm an inventor from Texas."

Vivian looked at him with a raised eyebrow. "You're an inventor?"

"Of course, I am."

"And what have you invented?"

"Well, a lot of things."

"Like what?"

"Like a lot of things," repeated Cade. "Like things you haven't heard of yet."

That just made Vivian repeat her previous question.

"Well, things that you will soon hear of, once I get patent pending on them," explained Cade.

"Ah," responded Vivian.

The inventor just looked at her. "'Ah'? What's 'ah'? You know I can do that too: 'Ah, I'm British and I'm too cool for feelings." He then looked at Burton. "Did you just dragged me here just to be insulted by some over-educated ivy tower princess in a stripper dress?"

Burton gave a very highly-amused expression at what Cade had just said. "'Stripper'?"

Rather than being insulted, Vivian also seemed to be highly-amused. "Only in America is a finer education an insult, and if my dress is making uncomfortable, then maybe I should take it off here and right now in this room."

Cade blinked twice, clearly not expecting that, as he just looked at her blankly before responding with: "Okay..."

On the other side of the room, Cogman's right optic twitched before he literally jumped over the table and lunged at Cade, knocking the chair he was in onto the floor. Cogman then began to throttle the inventor. "Shall I tear his head off, madam?"

"Tempting, but I can defend my own honor," replied Vivian.

"Oh, but I do so want to crush his windpipe!" said Cogman as he spun his helm 360-degrees while both of his servos were still around Cade's neck.

"How many times do I have to tell you, Cogman, you need to learn to control that impulse of yours," said Burton in exasperation. "You're a Headmaster, for Christ sake, try channeling it into other things."

At last, Cogman released his hold on Cade, who began taking large painful gulps of air. "Yes, my Lord. Like making the bed, cooking food, or maybe even polishing the silver," muttered the Headmaster as he bent down and lifted Cade's chair back up into the correct position. "I am trying, my Lord."

Once he was finally able to breathe normally again, Cade sent a death glare towards Cogman. "And while we're on the focus of that crazy ninja butler," said the inventor as he looked at Burton. "How the hell does he know Adam? He said that he met him when the kid was just a toddler."

Vivian didn't seem to know who Adam was, but Burton did. "Ah, yes. I was hoping you'd ask that," he said as he began walking to another room, ushering Cade and Vivian to follow him. "It can be explained better if you'd follow me."

The first room they entered was the dining room that was filled with paintings of various members. "These are all of my predecessors, the Folgans before me. But the answers to your questions are in here," explained Burton as they kept on walking.

The next room was indeed quite to behold. Paintings, pictures and statues all over the place. Cade saw more Cybertronians in each painting and pictures, even a few statues. Burton then began to list off the people who were part of the Witwiccans. Said man also kept a small (still alive) Cybertronian that turned into a pocket watch inside a small bulletproof glass case. "That was the one that caused Hitler to commit suicide in his bunker during the Battle of Berlin in 1945," he added.

It honestly blew Cade's mind of the many famous people (like Winston Churchill, the Wright Brothers, etc...) that Burton had listed who have kept the secret history of the Cybertronians on Earth. Said man even had a Witwiccan family tree that spanned back over forty generations, all the way back to King Arthur and Merlin. Even Vivian was surprised to discover that her late father was also a member of the Order, much to her shock. However, what really got Cade's attention was the picture of an attractive woman below Burton and Vivian's father. She looked to be around her late twenties or early thirties, and had long, wavy brown hair and matching eyes as well. But what widened the inventor's eyes were the words underneath the picture that said: 'Sophia Nova'.

Noticing Cade's focus, Burton went into detail: "Sophia Nova, daughter of Emily Nova, an old friend of mine. Graduated from Harvard University with Majors in Electronics, Engineering, Architecture, Chemistry, Astrology and Sociology. Also a member of the Witwiccan Order and later in Sector Seven as an undercover agent and head of the team that was studying the AllSpark."

"'Undercover'?" repeated Cade. He had heard of Sector Seven, the predecessor of NEST before it was shut down by the U.S Government after the Battle of Mission City ten years ago. "She was spying on S7?"

"Yes, in order to what they had learned about the Cybertronians and to make sure that the Cube never fell into the wrong hands. Sophia left upon learning that she was pregnant. I personally helped her with her financial needs during the first few years when she was raising Adam. Before the Battle of Hong Kong, I thought that Adam was killed with his mother in Chicago," said Burton as his voice took a sad tone. It was very clear that the old man had been very fond of Sophia.

"But let's get back on track," said Burton. "You see, it all began in 480 A.D when King Arthur and his wizard and friend, Merlin, stared down and vanquished the Saxon hordes at the Battle of Badon." He then pointed to a set of weapons on a nearby table. "Those are his sword and shield there."

He then led the two of them outside and into the inner courtyard, with Cogman following them. They passed by the Autobots. A few waved at them, while the rest were currently listening to Bumblebee's stories of what had happen when he first came to Earth ten years ago.

"But the myth of King Arthur and Merlin are just that, a myth," retorted Vivian.

"And every myth, every legend, and every story whispered around a campfire has a logical explanation," replied Burton.

"And I whole-heartedly agree with that, but logic has left the building. You're talking about magic now," said Vivian with a frown.

Cade scoffed. "You mean like your walking and talking Lamborghini Centenario? 'Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic'."

Vivian raised an eyebrow as she recognized that line. "Arthur C. Clark. Impressive," she admitted while Cade smirked.

Burton soon guided them inside a building that looked like a church with both the ceiling and the windows up high. It clearly held an air of importance. And in the center of said building was a very uniquely crafted table, a round table to be exact, and its grey metallic-like material reflected the light that seeped through the windows. Burton walked over to the table before gently running his fingers across its surface.

Looking at Vivian and Cade, he said: "This place was built around the original Round Table. Tristan, Gawain, Percival, Lancelot and Arthur. They all sat here, all twelve of them. And behind them were the thirteen that came from Cybertron. Thirteen alien knights who saw in Camelot what humanity could be at its finest, a race of honor." Burton ran his right hand over a piece of armor on a chair. Like the table, said armor shined and giving it an almost divine appearance. "This belonged to King Arthur himself. Legend says that when a time of great peril for both Cybertronians and humans alike, the one dubbed 'the Last Knight' and Merlin's descendant, would help the one known as 'the Prime of Life'. A being who would carry the blood of both King Arthur and Primus, and save both our worlds."

He then pointed his cane at Vivian. "You, Miss Vivian Wembley, are the direct descendant of Merlin, just like your father." Then he shifted his attention at Cade, or more precisely, the talisman on the inventor's upper left arm. "That talisman there, is said to be the key that the Last Knight would need to awaken the Prime of Life. And since it has chosen you, I believe that you, Cade Yeager, are the Last Knight, the one who will guide the Prime of Life to his destiny."

Both Vivian and Cade were silent for a moment, with the former having a very hard time even believing at what she perceived as rubbish, while the latter's thoughts were on to something.

"Wait a minute, you said that the Prime of Life would be of both Primus and King Arthur's blood. That would mean that they would be half-human and half-Cybertronian, but the only person I know who's like that is..." Cade's sentence trailed off as he put the pieces together.

"Exactly," answered Burton upon seeing the realization in the inventor's eyes. "Adam Nova, who like his mother and grandmother, is a direct descendant of King Arthur himself. And through the powers of the AllSpark, along with a fraction of Primus' spark, he is the Prime of Life."

Chapter Text

(Somewhere near Ditchling Beacon...)

Everything was normal in the area around the hill. When suddenly, there was a brief explosion far away from any civilized location. Grass and nearby trees were burnt to ashes and the ground itself was also charred. In the center of the explosion was a crater, where a 29-foot shadowy figure walked out with purple dots glowing from its faceplates. Slowly, it made its way towards whatever place had vehicles.

After a few minutes of walking, the Cybertronian came upon a small parking lot near the summit of the hill. The one vehicle that caught his interest was a black and cyan-lined 2017 Ram 1500 Rebel TRX Concept. Seeing it as a suitable alt-mode, the mech quickly scanned the vehicle when no one was looking. Seconds later, another black and cyan-lined 2017 Ram 1500 Rebel TRX Concept could be seen driving out of the parking lot before heading straight for London.

(Back on Cybertron...)

Said planet had already passed by Jupiter and was slowly nearing Mars. Quintessa and two other mechs were currently watching a screen that showed what the mech down on Earth was seeing at real-time. "It appears that Scourge, or Nemesis Prime, has managed to secure a suitable alt-mode and is heading towards where the talisman is currently located at," commented Quintessa. "Also, I must commend on the success of your work, Jhiaxus."

Said 20-foot mech had white and orange-colored armor, along with red optics and was slightly hunched. Next to him was the 22-foot mech, Straxus, who was dark-blue and bulkier. In his servos was what looked like a Cybertanium Pickaxe. Behind them were an exhausted Optimus Prime and the demonic-looking Cybertronian, with the former looking drain.

"Thank you, my Lady. I admit that I wasn't sure if Scourge would be able to accept Optimus' unique CNA. But it appears that I was incorrect. Excluding a change to his faceplates, Nemesis Prime still retains all of his functions, and will be more than capable than just recovering your staff," said Jhiaxus as he rubbed his servos eagerly. "But I'm curious though about what is to become of Optimus Prime?"

Quintessa frowned as she floated over to said Autobot Leader. Raising his helm, Optimus was able to give her a weak death glare. "Take him to the holding cells, Infernocus. He and those Protectobots can watch from their confinement as we restore Cybertron and end the only threat to our existence."

Said demonic-looking Cybertronian gave a growl in acknowledgement before grabbing Optimus by the back of his neck and pulling him down from his bindings. The weaken Autobot Leader could put up very little to no resistance as he was dragged off to a holding center. Quintessa didn't give him a second glance as she went back to looking at the screen that currently showed Nemesis Prime was already halfway towards London. As she kept watching, she asked Jhiaxus: "Speaking of we, what happened to Thunderwing?"

"I'm afraid we lost contact with him after he retreated from his battle with the Autobots," replied Jhiaxus. "Despite that, I can assure you that he's still on Earth."

The Sorceress frowned. Ever since Thunderwing first arrived on Cybertron and revealed that Earth's true identity as Unicron, Quintessa had her suspicion of said mech. Still, he had been very useful so far in her plan to revive Cybertron. That didn't mean she wasn't prepared to offline Thunderwing if he got in her way.

In the meantime, other things called for her attention. "Nemesis Prime, remain in the shadows and let the humans and the Decepticons do the work. They'll force the Autobots to find my staff and lead us to it," ordered Quintessa as she continued watching the screen.

(Somewhere in the Atlantic Ocean...)

Several hundred miles from the shores of the United Kingdom was a grey and light-green Gerald R. Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier. On the ship's flight deck was a large version of the Decepticon insignia. For this carrier was the Decepticon known as 'Tidal Wave', a living carrier who can carry multiple Decepticons at once. On top of Tidal Wave's flight deck were Soundwave, Starscream, Skywarp, Thundercracker, Slipstream, Sunstorm, Acid Storm, Hotlink, Bitstream and Nacelle. The 'Cons watched as Megatron's form came into view from the sky, followed by Cyclonus and Nitro Zeus. The Decepticons made room for their leader as he and the other two new arrivals transformed and landed on Tidal Wave's flight deck.

"Welcome aboard, Lord Megatron. I trust that your little skirmish in the U.S gave you some satisfaction?" asked Starscream with mock kindness. The 31-foot grey-tan Seeker was very well aware that his leader had failed to retrieve the talisman from Yeager.

"Spare me from your false compliments, Starscream. I have little to no patience for it," snarled Megatron as he walked past said Seeker and stopped in front of Soundwave. "What is the current situation?"

"The remaining members of your task force have already arrived in the U.K and have rendezvous with Fracture and her team. Flatline has also arrived to do repairs on the wounded, and Barricade has gone ahead to patrol London for any signs of Cade Yeager and the talisman," reported the Decepticon Communications Officer.

"And the location of the staff itself?" demanded Megatron. He very well knew that the ship which held it was somewhere around the British Isles. Unfortunately, it possessed a powerful cloaking device that made it impossible for Soundwave to locate it.

"Unable to pinpoint," replied said mech. "However, me and Shockwave believe that it's somewhere beneath the English Channel. But we still need to require the talisman to find it, though."

Megatron growled in frustration, although as before, he somewhat expected this. His thoughts were broken when Slipstream, the sole femme Seeker with a 25-foot sleek purple-colored frame, approached him. "My Lord, Barricade has reported a faint Autobot signature that matches to the one named 'Bumblebee', but it appears the signature has disappeared before he could get a proper lock on it."

The Decepticon Leader nodded. "Soundwave, download the signature and locate its current position. Then notify the TRF so they can surround the Autobot and Yeager while Fracture's team moves in to retrieve the staff."

"As you command, Lord Megatron," said Soundwave before taking off.

"Starscream, you and the Seekers will patrol the area around London from the skies. Tag any British Military presence in said area. We shall deal with them once we have what we need," ordered Megatron to the treacherous Air Commander.

"By your will, my master," replied Starscream with a dramatic bow before transforming into his alt-mode, followed by the other Seekers. Soon, twelve F-22A Raptors took off into the air, leaving Megatron, Nitro Zeus and Cyclonus aboard Tidal Wave.

(Burton Castle)

There was a moment of silence following the English gentleman's declaration. It was broken when Vivian snapped out of her stupor and asked in a voice that said she didn't believe it: "Hold on, are you telling me that I'm a direct descendant of Merlin himself? With all due respect, but that's a bunch of bull. King Arthur, Camelot, Merlin, the whole thing is just a legend, sir. You don't honestly expect me to believe all of this."

"It doesn't matter if you believe in it or not, Miss Vivian, but you are Merlin's last living descendant. And as such, you're the only one who can retrieve the staff that our enemies desire. It will only activate from your own DNA, the same exact DNA of the wizard," said Burton. "The Autobots and the Decepticons' homeworld, Cybertron, is slowly approaching Earth. And if it reaches us, it could mean the end of humanity and possibly even the Cybertronian race. We must find that staff."

"Look, unlike Miss University Teacher here, I'm willing to believe what you're saying," said Cade, while ignoring the woman's glare at him. "But how do you suggest we find the staff in the first place? We don't even know where to start."

"Vivian's father had been searching for the staff for almost his entire life. Most likely the clues to finding it are in his studies," answered Burton.

"Well, all of my dad's stuff is back at my flat in London," said Vivian, who had finally calm down, but was still having not fully believing all of this.

Anything else was cut off when Cogman came running in and shouted: "My Lord, Knock Out just contacted me! The TRF are on their way here!"

"Bloody hell..." Burton cursed under his breath. "Cogman, grab the armor and inform the others and get the car ready. We're all going to have to escape into London if we're going to get this done. Cade, Miss Vivian, you two need to find those notes. They're the only thing that can lead us to the staff!"

Outside in the courtyard, the Autobots were preparing to move out. Kup started to shout out orders: "Listen up, we all planned for this, mates. Highbrow, take Guzzle somewhere safe. His alt-mode is too obvious. Wingblade, I want you to take the armor to the U.S, while Whirl distracts their aerial support. The rest of us will stay on the ground and separate the bastards. 'Bee, you take Cade and Vivian, Hot Rod will follow you from behind."

"Won't the humans use their thermal scanners to follow them?" asked Trailbreaker.

Kup looked at the sole scientist among them. "Perceptor?"

Said mech pulled out several circular-looking disks from subspace. "Sensor Scramblers, they'll confuse and disrupt any and all GPS, thermal scanners and other tracking devices," explained Perceptor as he tossed one to each ground Autobot.

Bob began hissing, alerting the Autobots and humans as several black 2004 Land-Rover Range Rover Vogue V8 Series III SUVs coming up from the driveway. Above them was a AH1 Wildcat Reconnaissance Helicopter that was currently flying towards them.

"Here they come!" yelled Clocker.

"Non-lethal action, boys. Hot Rod, you know what to do!" ordered Kup as he transformed into his alt-mode.

Hot Rod watched as several armed TRF Soldiers came out of the Land-Rovers. "Oui! Just leave it to me, my weapon will slow down the time!" said the black and orange mech as he pulled out his Photon Battle Pistol before firing a single bolt from it. The projectile struck in the middle of the group and engulfed them in a dome of chrono-energy, slowing their movements greatly.

"It is done! Now, we move!" exclaimed Hot Rod as he transformed into his alt-mode, followed by the others.

Cogman ran up to the sphere, watching the slow-moving soldiers with amusement. "Einstein would be laughing his head off if he saw this," he cackled before he entered into a silver 2016 Aston Martin DB11 Coupe, with Burton in the front passenger seat.

The group began driving down the driveway towards the main gate, with Whirl and Wingblade flying over them. Highbrow had gone off in a different direction, with Guzzle hanging onto him. The Wildcat tried to pursue them, but was stopped by Perceptor when the scientist quickly transformed and brought out his right forearm-mounted Nucleon Charge Rifle and fired at the chopper's rotor blades, disabling it. Whirl grabbed the Wildcat and put it down carefully on the ground. Before rejoining the others, the one-optic mech scanned the Wildcat and transformed into his new alt-mode.

As the group continued on driving, Kup spotted some black 2016 Land-Rover Freelander 2 Metropolis SD4 SUVs near the main gate. The TRF Soldiers had already taken up firing positions with their HK416 DR10S Assault Rifles at the ready. "Knock Out, we could use some help in clearing the road."

"I'm on it!" said a mech's voice through the comms.

Driving from the side, a black and green 2008 Can-Am Spyder RS Roadster drove up to the blockade and immediately transformed into a 7-foot mech before jumping ontop of one of the Land-Rovers. Bringing out his dual wrist-mounted Solar Plasma Cannons, Knock Out fired low-powered shots at the soldiers, forcing them back and out of the way, giving the Autobots the chance to ram through and knocking aside several Land-Rovers in doing so. With his job done, Knock Out shifted back into his alt-mode and joined them.

(Near the coast of England...)

In British territorial waters, was Task Force 51 of the U.S Navy's 5th Fleet. Just arriving aboard the USS Iwo Jima (a Wasp-Class Landing Helicopter Dock (LHD)) via helicopter was Lennox (in his Army Combat Uniform), Epps (in his Airman Battle Uniform (ABU)), Graham (in his Multi-Terrain Pattern (MTP) Personal Clothing System-Combat Uniform (PCS-CU)), Santos and the rest of his TRF team. The commanding officer of Task Force 51, Rear-Admiral (Lower-Half) John McConnor, and the commanding officer of the Iwo Jima, Captain Joseph O'Brien, were waiting for them in the ship's Combat Information Center (CIC).

"What've we got?" asked Lennox as he and the rest of the team approached.

"There's a total of eleven Cybertronians entering London. Also, three planes and a tank had disappeared after the others left the castle," replied McConnor. "We also have reports of a large group containing Triumph Thruxtons, Cadillac Ciels and Chevrolet Express vans currently heading towards them. We were able to confirm them to be Decepticons, but the only ones we were able to identify were Fracture and Barricade."

Pressing a few buttons on a nearby console, a screen appeared, showing multiple vehicles entering London together. One was a very familiar 2016 Ford Mustang GT350 Police Interceptor and a white and red 2014 Audi TT Coupe with black lines over it. With them and the Vehicons were Sideways, Dropkick, Overkill, Payload, Swindle, and Flatline, with the later having a black and red 2017 Mercedes-Benz E-Class Hearse alt-mode. TRF vehicles (later joined by the London Metropolitan Police) have also entered the city, chasing after the Autobots.

Lennox studied the screen before looking at O'Brien. "Can we confirm which Autobot that Yeager is with?"

"We think that he's riding inside the Autobot designated 'Bumblebee', along with an unknown woman. But reports on the field is that the owner of the castle, a retired Royal Navy Commander by the name of Sir Edmund Burton, is inside another vehicle. However, it's difficult to tell because all of them are giving off thermal readings of humans inside. Its very possible that they're using some kind scrambling/jamming device," reported the Captain.

The former NEST Field Commander sighed. He should've known by now that the Autobots would never make things easy for them. "Alright, have our boys in the air keep track as many of them as they can. Firearms are not permitted inside the city, we can't risk injuring civilians during the pursuit."

(Back in London...)

The Autobots had entered the British capital city a few minutes ago. Since then, several of them had new alt-modes since their old ones were no longer needed. Retaining their colors, Preceptor had scanned a 2016 Toyota Land Cruiser 200-Series TRD Concept, Hoist became a 2017 Toyota HiLux Tonka Concept, Kup took the alt-mode of a 2005 Honda Ridgeline Street Sport Concept, Smokescreen's was a 2000 Jaguar F-Type Concept, Trailbreaker became a 2015 Chevrolet Tahoe Premium Outdoor Concept, and Clocker's was a 2017 Subaru Impreza Future Sport Concept. They, along with Bumblebee, Sunstreaker, Hot Rod, Cogman and Knock Out were currently on a three-lane street inside London, when the sound of sirens caught their attention.

"Scrap, the wankers are right on our arse!" cursed Kup. "Whirl, what's the sit-rep up there?"

Flying above them was Whirl, as the one-optic mech scanned the area ahead. "Kup, I see an intersection up ahead!"

"Good. Alright, listen up everyone. 'Bee, I want you to head towards Vivian's flat. Cogman, you guide Sir Burton wherever he needs to be. The rest of us will split up into twos and keep these buggers off your tails for as long as we can. And watch your sixes, my scanners are picking up Decepticon signatures too," ordered Kup as he took a left turn. "You're up, Smokescreen!"

"Copy that. Everyone, keep your sensors protected!" advised Smokescreen as he drove up ahead. As soon as he reached the intersection, the dark-blue and red mech released a powerful burst of smoke from his exhaust pipes before doing a complete circle that spread said smoke to cover the entire street. The nearby human civilians shouted out in surprise when their vehicles came to a halt. The pursuing black-colored TRF vehicles (which were 2016 Lexus RX 450h F-Sport SUVs) also stopped when the electric-smoke began to scramble their systems.

Using this to their advantage, the Autobots broke up into different groups: Bumblebee continued driving towards Vivian's home, Cogman was driving Burton to the British Library, having received a phone call from Simmons in Cuba. Meanwhile, Hot Rod drove down a different route, Smokescreen and Clocker took another one, followed by Trailbreaker, Perceptor and Hoist taking a fourth one, while Knock Out and Sunstreaker took separate ones. As predicted, the London Metropolitan Police (driving in 2016 Land-Rover Discovery SDV6 SE Series IV SUVs and 2014 Vauxhall Insignia Estate Mk-I Police Edition Hatchbacks) and the TRF split up after each one. The Decepticons and their drones did the same thing, with Dropkick going after Hot Rod and Kup, Payload, Sideways and Swindle went after Smokescreen and Clocker, and finally Barricade and Fracture were pursuing Bumblebee.

(Back with Sunstreaker...)

The golden-yellow mech was currently swerving left and right in order to get ahead of each vehicle in front of him, while the TRF was still right on his tail. Suddenly, Bob began hissing and clicking inside.

"Yes, yes! I know they're still right behind us! Just chill your processor!" exclaimed Sunstreaker.

And that's when a yellow and white 2011 Bugatti Veyron 16.4 Super Sport Coupe popped out from a coming turn and rammed right into him. The impact sent Sunstreaker flipping through the air, with the Frontliner transforming into his biped form and Bob landing on the ground. The nearby human civilians screamed and ran away.

The newcomer, Overkill, immediately shifted into his 15-foot biped form and deployed his dual wrist-mounted Cybertanium Chainsaws before charging at Sunstreaker who had just enough time to move back, but not before the Decepticon managed to graze his chestplates.

"You ruined my paint job, you slagger!" yelled Sunstreaker as he pulled out his dual Fusion Pulse Pistols.

"But that's not the only thing I'm going to ruin!" shouted back Overkill as he swung his weapons again.

The Frontliner managed to dodge the attack much more better this time, and followed it up with firing his dual Fusion Pulse Pistols at Overkill, blasting off several bits of the 'Con's armor. Sunstreaker followed it up with a kick to Overkill's faceplates that sent said 'Con tumbling backwards before crashing into a nearby building, sending debris falling downwards.

Growling, Overkill brought out his left shoulder-mounted Photon Pulse Cannon as he prepared to fire it. But before he could, Bob leapt at him, digging his claws into the Decepticon's armor before ripping the cannon off with his mandible-like dentas.

"Argh! Get off me, you bug!" shouted Overkill as he pushed the Insecticon off him. Those were his last words as Sunstreaker aimed one of his Fusion Pulse Pistols at the 'Con's chesplates. Quickly pulling the trigger many times, Overkill was both offlined and decapitated at the same time. The helmless corpse slid down the building, while Energon was leaking out.

Sunstreaker smirked as he looked down at Bob, said Insecticon was currently chewing on Overkill's Photon Pulse Cannon. "Good boy. Now, let's get going," said the golden-yellow mech before transforming into his alt-mode. He opened his passenger door to let Bob climb in. Then the Frontliner took off just as the TRF and the London Metropolitan Police caught up.

(Meanwhile, in another section of the city...)

Sideways, Swindle, Payload, along with several Delta and Zeta-Class Vehicons, were still chasing after Clocker and Smokescreen. The two Autobots had already lost the humans, but had yet been able to shake off the 'Cons. The narrow streets have made it difficult to maneuver and neither mech wanted to start a fight with the odds stacked against them. And that's when Clocker got an idea.

"Smokescreen, do you see that narrow street a few turns up ahead?" asked the former racer.

"Yeah, what about it?" replied Smokescreen.

"On my signal, I want you to release another burst of electric smoke. Then we'll make a turn onto that street," explained Clocker.

"Got it!"

Smokescreen moved upward so that he was driving right beside Clocker. Meanwhile, Payload began to slowly speed up too and was slowly gaining on the two Autobots, with Swindle right behind him. The purple Decepticon was just about to transform into his 20-foot biped form and grab Smokescreen, when said Autobot released another burst of electric smoke. At the same time, Clocker fired up his extra rocket thrusters from the sides of his trunk. The extra burst of air pushed the static smoke straight over the Decepticons, covering them and the Vehicons in it.

"Argh!" cried out Payload as he and the others felt their systems being electrified.

"NOW!" shouted Clocker as he disengaged his thrusters before making a sharp turn onto the one-lane street, followed by Smokescreen. The Decepticons weren't able to make such a turn and crashed into one another, with the Delta-Class Vehicons short-circuiting as they were unprepared for Smokescreen's electric smoke. Sideways, though, had managed to get onto the one-lane street and continued his pursuit of the Autobots, followed by several Zeta-Class Vehicons.

"Scrap! They're still on us!" shouted Smokescreen as Sideways began to slowly reach them.

It was at that moment, while passing a closed gate, said gate suddenly burst open as a 21-foot red and grey mech jumped out. With his blue optics focusing on the 'Cons, the mech raised his left arm. Using magnetism, he pulled nearby dumpsters and other metallic objects between the Autobots and the Decepticons. The latter had no time to react as they were forced to transform and sent tumbling across the street. The Zeta-Class Vehicons who were behind Sideways crashed into the dumpsters, piling on top of each other.

"Windcharger!" cried Smokescreen as he spotted the mech who saved them.

Said mech quickly transformed into a 2016 Honda S660 Concept Edition and followed Clocker and Smokescreen onto the main road. "Got the word from Kup. I was supposed to meet up with Burton and Cogman, but Burton told me to help you guys out instead," explained Windcharger.

"Well, we owe ya one. But for now, let's keep moving. My audio receptors are picking up sirens not too far from us," said Clocker as the group of now three Autobots continued driving.

(Back with Burton and Cogman...)

The two of them were still inside the 2016 Aston Martin DB11 Coupe. The old man had just finished a long conversation with Simmons over the phone, with the latter demanding to be sworn into the Order in return for the information he had. Meanwhile, several London Metropolitan Police and TRF vehicles were on their tail, but thankfully, no Vehicons were chasing them. Knock Out was also following them from another street. The chase had left behind several crashed pedestrian vehicles, traffic jams and other minor collateral damage. Burton took notice of one scene where civilian car was forced to the side by Cogman and rammed headfirst into a police car, nearly toppling the former over.

"Damn it, Cogman! You don't have to kill people!" exclaimed Burton. But the Headmaster just laughed maniacally as he turned down onto a one-lane road. People walking on the sidewalks nearby gave out shouts of surprise as the fast moving cars drove by.

"Get out of the way!" shouted Burton to the pedestrians over the sirens. "Ugh, I swear to god why people have to be moving about in this time of the day?"

"Ah, that reminds me," said Cogman as he made another turn. "Agnes called and wondered if you're available for a snuggle this evening."

"As much as I would to snuggle with her, but do I look like I'm available, Cogman?" asked Burton rhetorically.

They soon got back onto the main road, giving them a clearer street to drive on. The TRF and London Metropolitan Police vehicles that hadn't been damaged were right on their tail. They were going so fast that Cogman actually went through a red light. Unfortunately for the pursuers, a car that was driving on the right side of the road chose that moment, causing a TRF vehicle to crash into it.

"Ha-ha!" laughed Burton as he saw the whole thing. "Kamikaze pilot!"

"Move hag, get out of my way! Move hag, get out of my way!" said Cogman in a singing-like tone as he kept on driving.

It was at that moment that Burton's cellphone rang. Looking at the caller ID and it said 'Vivian', he answered it. "Yes?"

"We got it. It's a set of coordinates!" said Vivian.

"Excellent!" cheered Burton. "Let Kup know, he'll tell Bumblebee where to go. We'll meet up after we lose these arseholes!"

(Meanwhile, back with said mech...)

Kup and Hot Rod were currently speeding through traffic, with several London Metropolitan Police vehicles on their tail, as well as Dropkick and some Delta-Class Vehicons. They were trying to shake them while at the same time regroup with the others, or at least get to where 'Bee was with Cade and Vivian. That's when Hot Rod got news from Kup: "Kid, the lass has gotten the coordinates. Break off and regroup with Bumblebee. We need to get them to the ship. I'll keep these bloody bastards off ya!"

"Quel vieil homme, are you sure?" asked Hot Rod as he readied himself.

"Don't worry about me lad! I can handle a bunch of Vehicons and a single Decepticon punk. Now get your aft moving!" ordered Kup.

"Understood! La Victoire!" cheered Hot Rod as he made a sharp turn. Kup moved to the side to stop the Vehicons from going after the younger Autobot. They knocked over or bashed aside anything that got in their way, forcing the nearby humans to flee. Kup took a right turn and headed into a public park that was covered with trees and stone bridges. The Autobot veteran knew that this place would have a low number of pedestrians and that they would be spread out. This would prevent getting innocent bystanders involved.

Once he was ready, Kup did a hard U-turn and transformed into his biped form at the same time. He then pulled out his Solar Plasma Semi-Automatic Shotgun from subspace and fired at the closest Vehicon, blowing it to pieces. Kup was forced to jump out of the way when Dropkick tried to ram him. When he missed, the one-optic Decepticon transformed into his 21-foot biped form, along with the remaining three Vehicons.

"Kill him!" snarled Dropkick as he readied his right forearm-mounted Thermo Rocket Cannon. The Vehicons deployed their left forearm-mounted M134D Miniguns as they prepared to fire, but they weren't fast enough as Kup moved first. Using the butt of his weapon, the Autobot veteran bashed at the chestplates of the closest Vehicon, knocking it off its pedes. When said drone hit the ground, Kup delivered a very painful helm stomp, splattering Energon everywhere.

Raising his weapon, Dropkick fired several Thermo Rockets at Kup while the remaining two Vehicons also fired their weapons. Kup performed a barrel-role, dodging the first barrage as the projectiles blew up the trees and ground behind him. He then fired his Solar Plasma Semi-Automatic Shotgun again, damaging Dropkick's armor and allowing Kup to get behind another Vehicon. Dropkick recovered quickly and launched more Thermo Rockets, only for Kup to use the Decepticon-made drone as a shield. As it was destroyed, Kup tackled the last Vehicon and ripped its right arm off before blasting its helm off.

"Slagging relic! Why won't you offline?!" screamed Dropkick as he fired his Thermo Rocket Cannon again.

Kup used the severed Vehicon arm as a makeshift club, batting Dropkick's weapon away.

"It will take a lot more than a Decepticon punk like you and some tin-helm drones to put me down!" shouted back Kup as he grabbed Dropkick by the back of his helm. The 'Con tried to get Kup to let go by repeatingly punching the older Autobot with his fists. But Kup merely ignored the blows as he roughly snapped the cables in Dropkick's neck before ripping his helm from his shoulders.

As the Decepticon's emergency stasis lock frame fell to the ground, Kup casually tossed Dropkick's severed helm aside. "And that's how we dealt with wankers like you back in my day," chuckled the veteran.

Suddenly, Kup's comms unit came to life: "Kup? It's Perceptor. Me, Trailbreaker and Hoist have made it to the rendezvous point and are getting everything ready."

"Glad to hear that, mate. I'll be there in a jiffy," replied Kup before transforming into his alt-mode and heading off.

(Back with Burton and Cogman...)

The duo were still being chased by the authorities. Worse, several Zeta-Class Vehicons joined in as the grey-colored 2014 Triumph Thruxton 900 Motorcycles moved nimbly through traffic as they pursued them.

Eventually, the TRF and the London Metropolitan Police were slowly ganging up on them, and Cogman was making his displeasure known by banging on the car's horn. "Goddamn it, they're all around us, and I have so much road rage!"

This gave Burton an idea: "Actualize the rage. That's it!"

One of the Zeta-Class Vehicons was approaching the back of the vehicle, and that's when Cogman moved the car to the side, hitting the Decepticon-made drone and sending it flying backwards. The other Vehicons dodged their flying comrade as they revved up their engines.

"Oh, you want some too?!" roared Cogman at one of the TRF vehicles as it drove alongside them. Burton meanwhile was flipping the bird at the TRF vehicle on his side. Cogman struck the TRF vehicle on the right as he drove past a pedestrian car. The TRF vehicle was sent spinning as the driver tried to regain control.

The other TRF vehicle was trying to catch up. "Blast 'em, Cogman!" ordered Burton.

Rolling down his driver's side-window, Cogman opened his mouthplates to reveal a Micro-HE Rocket before firing said projectile. The Micro-HE Rocket hit the black TRF vehicle dead center, blowing away the forward wheels and causing the driver to loose control.

It was at that moment they had reached a main gate, while Burton laughed as they drove through said gate. Meanwhile, the damaged TRF vehicle crashed into a nearby pillar, causing it to block the main gate. Unfortunately, this lead to the other TRF vehicles to crash into it, stopping any chance to continue the pursuit.

"Good boy!" said Burton as he complimented Cogman.

Unfortunately, the celebration was brief as the remaining Zeta-Class Vehicons jumped over the wrecked TRF vehicles and continued the chase. Now in their 8-foot biped forms and using their wheeled-pedes, the Decepticon-made drones started to catch up with the silver Aston Martin.

"Bugger..." muttered Burton.

It was in that exact moment did Knock Out appeared. Jumping out of a nearby alley, the black and green-colored Autobot transformed into his biped form. Deploying his dual ankle-mounted wheels, Knock Out fired his dual wrist-mounted Solar Plasma Cannons at a Zeta-Class Vehicon and destroyed it before doing the same thing to the others. In no time, all that remained of the Zeta-Class Vehicons were a bunch of parts lying across the street.

"Good show, Knock Out! Well done!" said Burton to the transforming 2008 Can-Am Spyder RS Roadster as said Autobot drove alongside them.

(Back with Bumblebee...)

Said Autobot was driving swiftly through the city, with Cade and Viviane inside. Hot Rod had joined them not too long ago, which was fortunate as they were now being chased by multiple London Metropolitan Police and TRF vehicles. At the front were Barricade and Fracture, who had just appeared.

"We have Decepticons on our tails, mes amies!" reported Hot Rod.

"Decepticons?!" shouted Cade, though he should've expected that the 'Cons would be chasing them.

"Yes, sir!" replied Bumblebee through the radio.

Cade let out a grunt before turning at Viviane. "This is where things get intense."

"Wait-you mean more intense?" she asked as if she felt things were hard enough for her to handle.

Barricade and Fracture were barreling through traffic to reach the Autobots. They had already gotten word from Flatline that the others had failed to capture or kill their targets, with Overkill being offlined and Dropkick in emergency stasis lock. The former Kaon Enforcer was sure that their human targets were within the Autobot Scout. Still, according to their latest intel, the other Autobot was the guardian of Merlin's last descendant, so they couldn't rule out anything.

"One-way street! One-way street!" shrieked Viviane as Bumblebee made a hard turn, while Hot Rod had to turn around the corner onto another street in order to keep up.

"Don't look at me! He's the one that's driving!" retorted Cade.

Behind them, several London Metropolitan Police and TRF vehicles crashed into one another as they were unable to move fast enough in time to avoid several parked vehicles. Barricade and Fracture were able to get by, though, with the former now beside Bumblebee. The transformed 2016 Ford Mustang GT350 Police Interceptor began ramming against the Autobot, trying to knock Bumblebee off the road.

Viviane and Cade could feel the hits as they bounced from side to side inside the transformed 2016 Chevrolet Camaro Concept. "'Bee, you gotta shake this guy!" yelled Cade as he held on to his seat for dear life.

Bumblebee did so by deploying his Stealth Force mode and aimed his Solar Plasma Cannon at Barricade. Before the Decepticon Scout could react, 'Bee fired several plasma shots at Barricade, causing him to be knocked off the street and forced to transform into his biped form.

"Now, that's how it's done!" declared Bumblebee through the radio.

Barricade let out several painful grunts as he skipped across the road like a pebble, only stopping when he hit an oncoming garbage truck before lying on the pavement. "Scrap, that hurt," groaned Barricade.

Bumblebee shifted back into his alt-mode, with Cade looking in both shock and disbelief at what the young Autobot just did. "You never told me you could do that!"

The inventor had little time to say anything else when Fracture rammed 'Bee from behind, earning annoying clicks from the Scout. However, the Decepticon femme wasn't done. Deciding that subtle was no longer an option, Fracture transformed into her 16-foot biped form while performing a jump in preparation to use her dual Seismic Energy Dischargers mounted on the bottom of her pedes. But before she could, Hot Rod appeared.

"Oh no, you don't, madame!" yelled the French-Algerian speaking Autobot as he fired his Photon Battle Pistol, launching another time bolt that engulfed Fracture in a time sphere, trapping her in mid-air. The black and orange mech quickly shifted back into his alt-mode and drove off. By the time Fracture got herself free, the two Autobots and their two human passengers were already heading towards the River Thames.

Chapter Text

(Before Cade reached England, the Axalon)

The group of five Autobots had been investigating the interior of the Knight's Ship for over an hour. Much of what they found outside the ship were found on the inside: the sound of water dripping, sparks from damaged machinery and other parts of the Axalon, and the scattered crew of Lockdown's Mercenaries. Some of them were in forced stasis lock, while others weren't so lucky. The Autobots took notice that several of the holding pens that they had walked by were empty, the glass shattered and bindings broken.

"That doesn't bode well," muttered Depthcharge as he examined one of the large empty cages.

"Yeah, this is nice and all, but where exactly are we going?" asked Daytrader, who was currently picking up anything that caught his attention.

Wheeljack activated his Holo-Projector, which showed a layout of the Axalon. "According to the info that Fixit gave me, we need to head for the bridge. Supposedly, power can be restored from there. We also might be able to activate the ship's scanners to find out if anything or anyone is still on board."

"Well, we'd had best be careful as we can," noted Seaspray. "Me and Breacher will take the lead, while Depthcharge watches our rear incase we encounter any hostiles."

The Autobots continued moving through the Knight's Ship, using their attached lights to see through the pitch-black halls. None of them, however, noticed that they were being watched from the shadows, as blue optics were focusing intently on the group.

(Meanwhile, outside the Axalon...)

At the sandy beach near the Knight's Ship, some new arrivals had come. Twelve mechs to be exact. At the front was Oil Slick with Cosmic Rust Rifle at the ready. Next to him was Smolder, the leader of the Mayhem Attack Squad. He was a 24-foot red mech whose alt-mode was a Boise Mobile Equipment's Wildland Type 4 Fire Engine. Next up was Bombshock, a 25-foot green mech who can transform into a Tatra T816-6VWN9T Prime Mover. After him was Icepick, a 25-foot degenerate bluish-white mech with a G6 M1A3 Rhino SPG for an alt-mode. Following him was the 22-foot lime-green Steamhammer, having scanned a Caterpillar D9N Bulldozer for his alt-mode. Next was the 20-foot Mudslinger, whose alt-mode was a green and blue Sherp Pro Kung ATV. Transforming from his alt-mode of a CH-47F Chinook Heavy-Lift Helicopter, the 24-foot bluish-grey Windburn landed. Beside him was the destructive 22-foot Sledge, whose yellow-colored armor was reflecting off the sun, having scanned a Rockwheel 500P Trencher as his alt-mode. The 17-foot Darkstream, having transformed from his alt-mode of a grey-colored BAE Systems Corax UAV. Next up was Over-Run, with the 16-foot yellow mech having scanned a McLaren MCL32 Formula One Racing Car for his alt-mode. And finally, Undertow, the Sea Specialist on the team, whose alt-mode was a Mark V SOC (Special Operations Craft). His black-colored armor contrasted the light shining down on him. Also with them was Mindwipe, who had been personally sent by Megatron to assist in both the recovery of the Axalon and the 'recruitment' of the Cybertronian Mercenaries.

"Looks like you were right about the Axalon, Oil Slick," commented Smolder to said 'Con. "Now, are you absolutely sure that there any Mercenaries that survived the crash?"

Oil Slick nodded while currently making minor adjustments to his weapon. "Yes, but they're probably in forced stasis lock. The Knight's Ship has a built-in Energon Wave Disperser Generator. If we can turn it on, it will immediately disperse a burst of Energon throughout the vessel and will bring any Cybertronian out of forced stasis lock, though they might lash out upon waking up."

"Uh, Smolder," said Mudslinger, getting his commander's attention. "My scans are detecting a dozen or more Cybertronians inside the Knight's Ship, but five of them appear to be moving."

"Survivors that have woken up recently?" suggested Darkstream.

"Or Autobots," said Smolder. "Undertow, patrol the areas still in the water. Darkstream, you, along with Windburn and Mindwipe, will take to the air and give us a bird's eye view report. The rest of us will move in and split up into different groups. One group will go into the Knight's Ship and activate the Energon Wave Disperser Generator, while the other group will search for this unknown lot."

The 'Cons nodded. Undertow immediately shifted into his alt-mode and hit the water. The three flyers took to the air in their respective alt-modes as they flew over the Axalon. Back on the ground, Smolder, Oil Slick, Icepick, Over-Run, and Sledge went in one direction, while Steamhammer, Bombshock and Mudslinger went another way.

It wasn't long until Darkstream spotted another occupant above the Knight's Ship. Skyhammer was patrolling the skies, and was completely unaware of the two Decepticons above him.

"Well, well, lookie here, Windburn. An Autobot, all alone," said Darkstream.

"Looks like Smolder was right," replied Windburn. "I'll let him know. This one is all yours, Darkstream."

"With pleasure!" declared Darkstream as he launched two AIM-92 Stinger Block II Air-to-Air Missiles (AAMs) at Skyhammer. Said Autobot only had a few seconds to realize that he wasn't alone.

(Back with the Autobots...)

BOOM!

The explosion outside caught the attention of the Autobots who were inside the Knight's Ship and had their helms looking around. "What the frag was that?!" demanded Daytrader.

"I don't know. Skyhammer, what's going on out there? Skyhammer? Skyhammer, do you copy?!" Depthcharge tried to contact the flyer through the comms, but to no avail. "This is so not good."

"We need to keep moving. Chances are that the Decepticons are here too," said Seaspray as the group began to move forward.

Eventually, they reached the walkways of the outer parts of the Axalon. The Autobots had to be careful because some of the platforms had broken off, either from the Battle of Hong Kong or from the crash, while others were close to breaking. This made walking more difficult for the Autobots and yet the group was able to move on. Seaspray, Depthcharge and Breacher kept their respective weapons out incase of the event that a firefight broke out.

The Autobots had finally reached another corner when Steamhammer and Bombshock suddenly appeared in front of them. Both sides were shocked to see the other, but the 'Cons reacted first.

"Autobots! Frag them!" shouted Steamhammer as he used his dual wrist-mounted Tread-Whips to slam Breacher into the wall. Said Sea Specialist let out a grunt of pain as he tried to deploy his left forearm-mounted 90mm Denel GT-2 L/33 Smoothbore Cannon. Seaspray tackled Steamhammer from behind before banging his fists against the 'Con's helm. Bombshock opened up with both his dual wrist-mounted and shoulder-mounted Micro-LMGs at the other Autobots. Depthcharge moved in front of Daytrader and Wheeljack, letting his more durable armor take the brunt of the Decepticon's attack.

Unfortunately, this left them open to an attack from their rear as Mudslinger struck Wheeljack with his Energon Battle Hammer, knocking him down. Daytrader let out a yelp as the 'Con attacked him next as said Autobot was trying desperately to dodge Mudslinger's swings.

Just before the 'Cons were about to overwhelm the Autobots, a 10-foot figure jumped down from a walkway up above and landed on top of Bombshock's shoulders. Morphing his left arm into a Solar Plasma Cannon, the newcomer fired at the Decepticon's neck, decapitating him and destroying his spark-chamber.

"Bombshock!" cried Steamhammer as he tossed Seaspray aside before trying to attack his comrade's killer, but said figure was too quick as he used his smaller size to avoid the larger 'Con's attacks. He then transformed into a white-silver 2017 Smart Vision EQ Fortwo Concept that zoomed right underneath Steamhammer's legs. Knowing what the smaller mech was planning, Steamhammer tried to kick the mech, only for his opponent to transform back into his biped form and grab the Decepticon's right leg. Moving swiftly, the mech climbed up towards Steamhammer's chestplates and began blasting it with his Solar Plasma Cannon, ignoring the Decepticon's attempt to shake him off.

Seeing Bombshock's offlined frame and that Steamhammer was about to be killed, Mudslinger decided to retreat. But before he could, he was suddenly grabbed by Depthcharge, who roughly tossed the smaller 'Con into the nearby wall. Deploying his right forearm-mounted 57x438mm Mark 110 Mod 0 L/70 Naval Gun, the Sea Specialist fired a single HE round that destroyed the upper portion of Mudslinger's frame and offlining him instantly. By then, the newcomer had already finished off Steamhammer as he walked off said 'Con's corpse.

"Everyone alright?" asked the figure.

"Yeah," answered Depthcharge as he helped Wheeljack up. Daytrader was secretly shifting through the Decepticons' remains for anything useful, while Seaspray and Breacher got their systems together. "Question is, who are you?"

Now that the action had died down, the five Autobots were able to get a better look on the mech. He was slightly less bulky than Skids and Mudflap, but he had light-silver armor as his blue optics stared up at the larger mechs without any fear.

"Normally, I would ask you all that, but I suppose I can begin the introductions," said the mech. "My name is Roller, one of the Knights of Cybertron and captain of the Axalon, before that slagging Bounty Hunter took over."

"Wait, you're the captain of the Knight's Ship?" asked Wheeljack, who had just regained his bearings. "But Fixit told us you were offlined."

"Fixit? Well, at least I'm relieved to hear that one of my crew members have managed to survive," commented Roller. "To answer your question, no, I wasn't offlined. As a matter of fact, Lockdown couldn't risk my offlining because I had both the control schematics and security codes loaded up into my processor. It was a safety precaution that Alpha Trion had setup in the event that the ship was captured. Instead, Lockdown had his men lock me up inside the Axalon's main terminal, that fragger used me as a living computer."

"Then how did you get out?" asked Breacher.

"When the Knight's Ship hit the water, the damage must've brought me out of forced stasis lock and freed me of my bindings. From there, I was able to regain control of my ship, killing any Mercenaries or other occupants that survived the crash. I brought it here where I could hopefully do repairs in peace, while heading out in the dropship to find more supplies. That's also how I got my new alt-mode," explained Roller. "I already know who you guys are, thanks to some of the data logs from the Axalon. If you're all with Optimus Prime, then I'll help you guys repair the Knight's Ship."

(Back with the Decepticons...)

For the rest of the Mayhem Attack Squad, the offlining of three of their own came quickly to Smolder's scanners. "Mudslinger, Steamhammer and Bombshock are all offlined."

"By the Autobots, no doubt," commented Oil Slick as the group made a turn. "We'll have to move quickly if we want to gain control of the Knight's Ship."

"Darkstream, Undertow, Windburn, keep your optics sharp and your scanners online. We got more Autobots inside the Axalon," ordered Smolder.

"But how are we going to take over Lockdown's crew?" asked Icepick. "It doesn't seem like they'd be willing to listen to us if they've been with that Bounty Hunter all this time."

"Shockwave has already devised a plan for that," replied Smolder. "He gave Mindwipe a device that will allow him to control the processors of all those that are synced with a certain comm frequency. In this case, it will be the one that the Mercenaries are currently using."

After the explanation, the group arrived in front of a large door. Oil Slick walked over to the door's keypad and typed in the security combination for entry. When the door opened, the 'Cons were greeted by the sight of a large circular room with several control panels. In the center was what appeared to be some kind of power core or generator.

"This is it," said Oil Slick as he walked on over to one of the control panels and began pressing several keys. Soon, the generator began powering up. "Preparing the Energon Wave Disperser Generator, all systems operational."

"Mindwipe, prepare for programing subjugation," ordered Smolder through the comms.

"Understood," hissed the black 'Con.

In just a few seconds, the machine began powering up as lights began to glow and a humming noise filled the room. Soon, it released a powerful burst of energy that moved throughout the Knight's Ship and covering every corner of the giant vessel. The surge made the Axalon shift in the sand before slowly sliding into the water. As the energy past over the forced stasis lock Cybertronians, they each began to wake up with their optics glowing and their systems rebooting. At the same time, Mindwipe's hypnosis began to seep through their processors and taking over their functions. One by one, every Mercenary and Cyber-Wolf began to rise, now under the control of the Decepticon Hypnotist.

(Back with the Autobots...)

The group, now made-up of six mechs, felt the surge of energy passed over them as they stumbled a bit when they felt the rush of Energon temporarily surged through their systems. When they finally managed to recover, it was Wheeljack who asked the obvious question: "What in Primus' name was that?"

"The Energon Wave Disperser Generator," answered Roller. "It's only to be used in the event that the crew of the Knight's Ship is rendered in forced stasis lock. If the 'Cons were the ones who activated it, then every Cybertronian in this ship will wake up."

At that exact moment, what was originally a motionless frame nearby, sprang to life. The 19-foot Cybertronian Mercenary lunged at the nearest Autobot: Daytrader. Said Scavenger let out a surprised yelp as the mech grabbed him by his left shoulder. Daytrader fumbled for a bit before he was able to pull out a Photon Battle Pistol from somewhere among his pile of items on his back. Firing several shots into his attacker's chestplates, the Mercenary fell back to the floor offlined.

"Holy slag! That scared the processor out of me!" exclaimed Daytrader as he edged away from the now-offlined corpse.

"It's only gonna get worse," said Depthcharge as he readied his weapons. "If all of those Mercenaries wake up at once, we'll be overrun."

"I know a way we can get rid of them," replied Roller. Once all optics were on him, he continued: "Before I found you guys, I managed to finish setting up all of the Axalon's systems back at the terminals. If we can get to the bridge, I'll be able to bring the security turrets back on and they'll gun down those Mercenaries in seconds."

"That is only if they don't rip us apart first," commented Seaspray as mutiple voices were coming from around the corner. None of them sounded friendly, and this prompted the Autobots to begin moving towards the bridge.

As they fled, the Mercenaries, whose heights ranged from 16 to 19-feet tall, began to catch up. Those that were armed fired their Fusion SMGs at the Autobots, who promptly returned fire. 6-foot tall Cyber-Wolves were also in the mob that was currently chasing them. They all had a dead look in their optics as if they weren't in control of their actions.

"Is it just me or are those guys a bit zombie-like?" asked Breacher as he fired his right forearm-mounted 20x139mm M693 (F2) Autocannon.

"Doesn't really matter since I'm very pretty sure that they would try to kill us either way," said Depthcharge.

The group went running through a cross-section when suddenly, the floor caved in. Seaspray and Breacher were both sent plummeting down several levels of the Knight's Ship. The two Autobots kept on yelling in terror until they were cut off by a loud splash.

"Seaspray! Breacher!" shouted Wheeljack as he turned back to the hole where the floor once was. He was stopped by Depthcharge.

"We can't help them right now. They'll be fine if they landed in the water. Right now, we need to get to the bridge," said the Sea Specialist as he pulled the Scientist/Inventor along.

(Back in the chamber containing the Energon Wave Disperser Generator...)

The Decepticons could hear the Axalon's crew were moving about. "Looks like the generator worked," mused Smolder.

"But what about the Autobots?" asked Icepick.

Oil Slick pressed a few computer keys and turned on a screen inside the chamber. A live-feed video appeared on said screen, showing them the Autobots as they were running from the Mercenaries. "Judging by the area that they're currently in, the Autobots are heading towards the bridge. If we take the route that we recently came through, we might be able to cut them off."

"Icepick, Sledge, Over-Run, head out and corner those Autobots. Me and Oil Slick will check to see if some of the Orbital Assault Fighters are still useable," ordered Smolder. The three 'Cons nodded and headed off to engage the Autobots.

"The fastest way to reach the fighters is to go around on the outer walkways," explained Oil Slick.

"Good. Undertow will cover us from the water. I'm not taking any chances of the Autobots attacking us on the way there," replied Smolder as the two of them began making their way towards the lower hangar bay.

(Back with the Autobots...)

Said mechs were still running from the mob of Mercenaries and Cyber-Wolves, while dodging gunfire as they ran. Trying to help, Daytrader pulled out several miscellaneous items from his stash before tossing them to the floor. Whatever they were, they were surprisingly quite effective in keeping their pursuers a good distance. Meanwhile, Wheeljack was trying to contact Seaspray and Breacher on the comms, but with no luck.

"How much further?!" shouted Depthcharge as he fired his right forearm-mounted 57x438mm Mark 110 Mod 0 L/70 Naval Gun.

"The next turn, up ahead!" replied Roller as he fired his Solar Plasma Cannon. He inwardly grimaced as he watched more bits of the Knight's Ship falling apart as they kept on running.

True enough, the Autobots were greeted to a large sealed door with two more pathways connecting to theirs. Behind them, the Mercenaries and Cyber-Wolves were getting closer.

"Cover me while I get the door open!" said Roller as he tried to hot-wire the control panels to said door. Depthcharge stood in front of him to cover the smaller mech. Wheeljack brought out his Experimental Energon Battle Rifle, while Daytrader kept firing his Photon Battle Pistol. Many Mercs and Cyber-Wolves dove for cover as the three Autobots fired their respective weapons, knowing full well that any hesitation would mean instant offlining.

"Got it!" cried Roller as the door fully-opened. The group wasted no time in running inside as the Mercenaries fired at them. Roller quickly sealed the door shut before their pursuers could get in. A few seconds later, banging could be heard from outside the door, forcing Depthcharge to remain on guard.

Wheeljack took this moment to look at the bridge. Like the rest of the Knight's Ship, it had been damaged in the crash. Some of the control panels were inoperable and the heavily-reinforced see-through glass was gone, allowing air from the outside to come in. But amazingly, the captain's chair was completely undamaged. "Well, at least I've worked in conditions more worse than this," muttered the Scientist/Inventor as he analyzed one of the control panels.

"No time to lounge around. We need to get those security turrets active before those Mercena-" Roller was cut off when he was suddenly hit by multiple 7.62x51mm NATO API-T (Armor-Piercing-Incendiary-Tracer) rounds, with the force of it sending the smaller mech to crash into the nearby wall.

Daytrader and Wheeljack both spun around towards the source of the attack. Floating outside the bridge's main window in his biped form, with the barrels of his left forearm-mounted twin M240D MMGs (Medium-Machine-Guns) smoking, was Windburn.

"Smolder, I found the Autobots in the bridge! They mentioned something about 'security turrets' and-" Windburn was cut off when he was hit by a pair of S-8KOM HEAT Rockets from behind. The Decepticon was sent crashing into the outer hull of the Knight's Ship before falling into the water down below. Coming up from behind Windburn was a damaged Skyhammer in his alt-mode. The Autobot flyer transformed into his biped form before landing in the bridge.

"Skyhammer, what the frag happened to you?" exclaimed Wheeljack as he ran over to the injured flyer.

"Decepticons...they managed to get the drop on me awhile ago. Thankfully, they didn't hit anything fatal. Just put me into temporary stasis lock. I woke up a few minutes ago," replied Skyhammer as he tried to get up. Sparks were popping up from different parts of his frame, along with signs of damage being visible too.

"Daytrader, get Skyhammer somewhere safe while I check on Roller before we begin activating the security turrets," ordered Wheeljack.

"Don't worry, I'm fine. I've been through worse things than that," grunted Roller as he got up from the floor before making his way over to the nearest control panel. Pressing several keys, several images popped up that showed multiple areas of the Knight's Ship. Many of them showed Mercenaries and Cyber-Wolves moving about, no doubt heading towards the bridge. Other images showed the outside of the Axalon, and giving the Autobots a good view of the two remaining Decepticon flyers.

"Mindwipe," said Depthcharge as he immediately recognized one of them. "No wonder those Mercenaries and Cyber-Wolves were acting like zombies. That 'Con must be using his hypnosis to control their processors."

"Can we find where Seaspray and Breacher are?" asked Wheeljack as he joined Roller at the control panel.

(Back with Oil Slick and Smolder...)

"Windburn? Windburn, come in! Windburn?!" shouted Smolder over the comms. When he got no response, the leader of the Mayhem Attack Squad growled in both anger and frustration. "Slag it all. Change of plans, we're going to the bridge."

"What?!" exclaimed Oil Slick. "What about the Orbital Assault Fighters? We can't just change directions now."

"Listen to me, you deserter," snarled Smolder as he pointed a single digit at the ex-Decepticon. "Lord Megatron's orders were to reclaim this ship. If the Autobots reactivate those security turrets, we're all slagged. Now, get moving before I melt you down myself." He added to that threat by shoving his left forearm-mounted Flame-Cannon at Oil Slick's chestplates.

And that's when the section of the wall in front of them suddenly exploded. Flying out was a white and blue-colored LCAC-1 with a blue Autobot hanging onto it. Oil Slick and Smolder were knocked onto their afts as the hovercraft hit the water with a loud splash.

"What the slag?!" exclaimed Oil Slick as he tried to make out of what had happened.

Breacher, who was still riding Seaspray, began firing at the two 'Cons with both his right forearm-mounted 20x139mm M693 (F2) Autocannon and his left forearm-mounted 90mm Denel GT-2 L/33 Smoothbore Cannon. Although, the two Autobots were just trying to find an exit after crashing through several decks of the Knight's Ship, they still couldn't miss this opportunity to take down two Decepticons. Especially after they got the drop on them.

Smolder managed to take cover behind a support beam, while Oil Slick was forced to move about while firing his Cosmic Rust Rifle back at the same time.

"Undertow, get the slag over here! We got two Autobots firing on us from the water!" ordered Smolder.

A few seconds later, the Decepticon Sea Specialist arrived. Quickly transforming into his biped form, Undertow morphed both his pedes into water-skis, allowing him to surf through the water while firing his left forearm-mounted twin 25x137mm Mark 38 Bushmaster Chainguns, his left forearm-mounted twin GAU-17/A Miniguns, and his back-mounted 40x53mmSR Mark 19 Mod 3 Automatic Grenade Launcher at Seaspray and Breacher. With the Autobots' attention on him, Smolder and Oil Slick were able to counterattack.

"Breacher, looks like we'll have to use our combo," said Seaspray as he dodged shots from five different weapons.

"Copy that. Get ready to launch me," replied Breacher as he got himself ready.

After avoiding another Cosmic Rust projectile, Seaspray began leading Undertow to follow him, while Breacher pretended to fire back. Only when Undertow was directly in front of Oil Slick and Smolder did the duo act. Breacher jumped into the air, allowing Seaspray to transform into his biped form. The latter deployed his dual wrist-mounted M2HB HMGs while powering up his turbines. Before the Decepticons could react, Seaspray released a powerful gust of wind from the blowback. At the same time, he and Breacher fired their respective weapons. The blowback not only sent Undertow flying right towards Oil Slick and Smolder, but the wind increased the speed of the Autobots' projectiles, tearing through Undertow's frame, offlining him, and tore Smolder's right arm off at the shoulder.

The two Autobots watched with satisfaction at their work, while Breacher landed on some nearby rocks that stuck out of the water.

"Looks like our combo move worked once again. Not that I would expect anything-" Breacher's sentence was cut off when a beam shot out from the smoke and struck him in the waist, causing him to yell in pain.

"Breacher!" cried Seaspray as his best friend got to one knee. The Sea Specialist immediately ran to his side to check his injuries, and was shocked to see Breacher's armor was very slowly being eaten away by Cosmic Rust.

As the smoke cleared, the shooter was revealed to be Oil Slick with his Cosmic Rust Rifle raised forward. Said Chemical Specialist morphed his right arm into a Cosmic Rust Grenade Launcher. Taking aim, Oil Slick fired three HECR (High-Explosive-Cosmic-Rust) grenade rounds at the Autobots. Seaspray's optics widened in horror as the projectiles were heading right for them. With no other options, he grabbed Breacher and dove underwater, diving deeper as fast as he could. The HECR grenade rounds detonated upon contact with the water, covering both the surface and the air in that area with Cosmic Rust. Seaspray just barely avoided the explosions, while still feeling tiny bits of Cosmic Rust going against the back of his armor.

Oil Slick vented some air before subspacing his Cosmic Rust Grenade Launcher. "If that didn't kill them, then at least it severely injured them," he said to himself before turning his attention to Smolder, who had managed to overcome the pain from losing his right arm.

"Can you still walk?" asked Oil Slick.

"Ugh, yes. My legs are still functional," replied Smolder. "We must proceed to the bridge. Stopping the Autobots from reclaiming this ship is vital," he finished as the two of them continued moving forward.

(Back on the bridge...)

Wheeljack flinched as another loud bang vibrated against the sealed door. Skyhammer had managed to recover from his injuries long enough to help Depthcharge reinforce said door. Meanwhile, Wheeljack and Roller were working to bring the Axalon's back online. Daytrader had thankfully deployed the bridge's emergency blast shutters, ensuring that there would be no more surprises from the windows.

"Almost there...just a few more seconds," murmured Roller as he opened a panel lid while working underneath one of the control panels.

Wheeljack nodded as he clicked a few computer keys. "I still can't get through to Seaspray and Breacher. I do hope they're okay."

"Wherever those two guys are, they're probably better off than we are," added Depthcharge as he held the sealed door back.

As he kept on working, Roller let out a frustrated grunt. "Bah, some of these gears and wires are busted. I need new ones."

"I got some on me," replied Daytrader. Reaching into his large pile of miscellaneous items on his back, the Scavenger handed several objects to Roller, who quickly took them before ducking back underneath the control panel he was currently working on.

It was in that exact moment that the sealed door was smashed open. Skyhammer and Depthcharge were spent sprawling backwards before falling on their afts. Tearing through the remains of the doorway were Icepick, Sledge and Over-Run, with dozens of Mercenaries and Cyber-Wolves behind them. They all had their weapons out and ready.

"Oh, scrap," muttered Wheeljack.

"Kill them!" ordered Icepick as he aimed his left forearm-mounted 155mm G5 L/45 Heavy Howitzer at the Scientist/Inventor.

"Not on my watch! Fire in the hole!" exclaimed Daytrader bravely as he threw several small sphere-shaped devices at the invaders. Said devices immediately attached themselves magnetically to the three 'Cons and several Mercenaries and Cyber-Wolves behind them. They soon began beeping as the devices showed a blinking red light that started to speed up. Before anyone could speak or react, the devices detonated, rendering the Decepticons, along with the Mercenaries and Cyber-Wolves, into bits of scrap metal. The ones directly behind them were also offlined, due to them being hit by flying shrapnel.

The Autobots were all silent as they were unable to believe at what had just happened. Finally, Skyhammer broke the silence: "Holy slag..."

No sooner did he say those two words than the entire bridge began to light up as the power finally came online. Control panels lit up as they showed multiple images of both inside and outside the Knight's Ship. The sound of said vessel coming back to life surrounded them.

"The Axalon is alive!" exclaimed Roller as he crawled out. "Wheeljack!"

"Right!" replied said mech as he looked over one of the control panels before giving a rundown. "All systems are operational, including the security turrets! Activating them...now!"

(At the same time...)

In that second, all of the security turrets inside the Knight's Ship came to life. Before the hundreds of Cybertronian Mercenaries and Cyber-Wolves could react, they were all gunned down instantly by the turrets. None of them had a chance to react as they were cut down exactly from where they stood. Oil Slick and Smolder fared no better, with the former being offlined instantly while Oil Slick was sent falling down a nearby chute.

(Back with Darkstream and Mindwipe...)

Outside the ship, the two 'Cons flew overhead in their alt-modes as they watch the event take place.

"NO!!" cried Darkstream. He had already seen Undertow and Windburn both get offlined, and was now watching the remainder of his team get massacred. "Curse them to the Pit! I'll slaughter each and every one of those Autobots!"

"You will do no such thing," said Mindwipe. "The mission is a failure. We must head to the U.K and report back to Lord Megatron."

"No, I won't let the offlining of my squadmates go unanswered! If you hadn't-" Darkstream's rant was cut off when Mindwipe, who had been flying right behind him the entire time, launched two well-placed Fusion Short-Range-Air-to-Air-Rockets (SRAARs) at his fellow 'Con. Said projectiles struck right into Darkstream's thrusters, destroying them and sending him spiraling downwards the water as a smoking heap. With that, Mindwipe turned around and flew towards the U.K.

(Back on the bridge...)

The Autobots felt their joints were finally relaxing as the immediate danger had passed, though they came back to focus on the other tasks they had to follow through with. "Okay, that's enough lounging around. We still got work to do. Wheeljack, help me do a check on the ship's systems. We don't know how much is damaged and if this thing is still flight-worthy," ordered Roller.

"Got it," replied Wheeljack as the two of them got to work.

"I'm gonna look for Seaspray and Breacher," said Depthcharge as he immediately hurried out through the ruined doorway.

"I think I felt the ship move a little," noted Skyhammer as he stood up while leaning on the nearby wall due to him still being slightly-injured from Darkstream's earlier surprise attack. "We must've dislodged from the island and begun floating across the water."

"In that case, I'll see where we are right now," said Wheeljack as he pressed a few keys on a nearby control panel. A screen popped up as it showed them their current location. "This is a surprise, we're only a hundred miles out from Cuba. We might as well let Camshaft and the others know the good news."

Chapter Text

(Junkyard, Present Time)

"I think I need to get my optics fixed. Is anyone else seeing what I'm seeing?" asked Evac.

He and a few others had waken up from recharge early this morning. There still hadn't been any word from Cade or Bumblebee, and the Autobots were getting restless. What's more was that Adam's condition still hadn't changed, though thankfully it hadn't worsened either. Ratchet was still keeping a close optic on him just in case. Meanwhile, Prowl had decided to schedule the other Autobots for guard duty, switching them every four hours. After the combined Decepticon/TRF attack, the Autobot SiC didn't want to take any chances.

However, when Ironhide, who was on guard duty at the time, noticed something in the sky, he immediately awakened the others to see it too. Said thing was none other than Cybertron, their homeworld. It could just be faintly seen just past the clouds, but enough for the Autobots and probably everyone else on Earth to see it too.

"You ain't going crazy, Evac. I'm seeing it too," replied Hound as he chewed on his cy-gar. "Looks kinda creepy if you ask me."

For the Autobots, (except for Jazz, Ironhide, Ratchet, Sideswipe, Arcee, Chromia, Elita, Jolt, Wheelie, Brains, Mirage, Leadfoot, Roadbuster, Topspin, Steeljaw and Omega Supreme) it had been an untold number of years since they last saw their planet. Cybertron had become nothing more than a dried-up husk with tiny bits of it breaking off. What should've brought comfort to the Cybertronians present had instead only filled them both with uneasiness and trepidation. The Sparklings were also making their displeasure known from their whimpering as they tried to make themselves even smaller. Arcee and her sisters were doing their best to ease the young ones' worrying.

"Looks like Ultra Magnus was correct after all," commented Ratchet. He had left the Medical Bay, while leaving Jolt in charge to watch over Adam. "Cybertron is indeed heading here."

Prowl frowned as he stared up at their homeworld, while clenching his fists subconsciously. "This isn't good. We might have to leave on Omega Supreme if the situation worsens."

Suddenly, the comms burst to life: "Prowl, this is Fixit. I'm picking up a lone aircraft entering our perimeter from the east."

Most of the Autobots turned their helms towards said direction. Sure enough, flying towards them was a grey A-10A Thunderbolt II with lime-green trims as it headed on a direct path towards the junkyard.

"Decepticon or TRF?" asked Silverbolt as he and his team readied themselves to fly and intercept it.

"The humans wouldn't do something very foolish as sending one of their pilots after us, and the 'Cons know better than that too," replied Prowl. "Fixit, is the aircraft giving any kind of signal?"

"Just a sec, sir," said the orange Mini-Con as a few computer keys could be heard in the background. "Yes! I'm getting an Autobot signal from that Warthog!"

A few minutes later, said aircraft finally arrived at the junkyard. Still in mid-air, the A-10A Thunderbolt II transformed into a 20-foot biped mech as he skillfully landed on the ground. Said mech was none other than Wingblade.

The Aerial Weapons Specialist's appearance brought positive reactions from his fellow Autobots. "Wingblade!" exclaimed Ironhide as he quickly recognized one of his cadets from the Defense Force Academy before the war.

"Wassup, old timer," said Wingblade as he greeted the others.

"I haven't seen ya since the Battle of Iacon. Where have you been?" asked the black mech as he and the others crowded around the new arrival.

"I was in the U.K with some of the other Autobot refugees," explained Wingblade.

"The U.K? Does that mean you saw 'Bee and Cade? Are they okay?" asked Arcee as she walked up to them.

Wingblade nodded. "Yeah, the last time I saw them they were good. I was told to come here and deliver this to a 'Adam Nova'," said the flyer as he pulled the armor of King Arthur out from subspace. "I even managed to get myself a new alt-mode," he added, referring to his new form.

Ratchet took the armor from Wingblade to examine it. A brief scan showed that said armor was made from Cyber-Matter. From an outside view, it looked like fancy armor. But Ratchet's scans showed him that the armor he was holding was like the outer shells that all Cybertronians have when they reached a certain age in their growth.

"Wingblade, just where did you get this?" asked the Chief Medical Officer.

Before said flyer could respond, Ratchet's comms unit came to life: "Ratchet, its Jolt! We got an emergency here!"

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

"It's Adam, his vitals have just spiked! It looks like he's having a seizure, and I'm also picking up a change in his bloodstream as if its being altered," explained the Junior Medical Officer.

"How could that have...unless..." muttered Ratchet as he looked down at the armor in his left servo. Without another word, the lime-green and white mech ran back inside the base, while the other Autobots looked at one another as they were unsure of what was going on.

"Hey, what's that?" asked Izabella suddenly, who was currently sitting on Canopy's left shoulder. In her arms was Matchstick, as said carmine-colored Sparkling was clicking with curiosity.

The other Autobots joined her to see what she saw as said object was floating in the sky, but below the clouds. It originally looked like a large black dot, but it soon got bigger and was taking on a more intriguing form. Only when it was a few miles away did the group finally recognize what it was.

"Haha! It's the Axalon!" cheered Hound, which was a sentiment that was shared by the other Autobots. "Daytrader and Wheeljack have both gotten us a ship!"

"About damn time!" commented Sideswipe.

"C'mon boys, let's go greet them!" said Silverbolt to Breakaway and Air Raid. The two Aerialbots nodded and the three of them took off, followed by the other Autobot flyers.

Chromia, who was holding Terraquake, walked up to Elita. "Looks like things are starting to look up. Right, sister?" asked the light-blue and silver-colored femme as the tan-colored Sparkling in her arms began squirming. Unlike when Cybertron appeared, the massive Cybertronian ship made the Sparklings feel excited. Arcee was currently trying to keep the young ones from going too far in their attempt to reach the Knight's Ship.

Half an hour later, the now fully-repaired Axalon was currently floating near the Autobots' FOB. Said ship was being manned by the Autobot combatants, including Camshaft, Landmine, Dune Runner, Rollbar, Hubcap and the Omnicons. Simmons, Dutch and Leo had also come along for the ride too, and were currently helping the Autobots at the FOB in moving all necessary supplies onto the Knight's Ship. Omega Supreme had left with Daytrader and Fixit to drop off the Sparklings in Cuba, where they would be cared for by the Autobot refugees that remained there. They would come back for them once Cybertron was deemed safe. Izzy and Jimmy were gawking at the ship, while Jazz, Wheeljack and Prowl were in the bridge, with Roller sitting in the captain's chair as he prepped the Axalon. Brains and Wheelie were proving helpful by using their small frames to move around the bridge as they looked for any problems that might've been missed.

"And that's what happened," said Wheeljack as he finished his story.

"Well, that was a pretty interesting story. Right, Prowl?" mused Jazz.

The Autobot SiC nodded. "Indeed. But what about Seaspray and Breacher?"

"Fortunately, Depthcharge managed to fish both of them out and got them to the Omnicons in time," replied Wheeljack. "Both of them took some hits from Cosmic Rust, but the salt water managed to wash most of it away before it could do any irreversible damage. They're currently recovering in Cuba."

"That's good to hear," commented Jazz. "What the status on the Knight's Ship?"

Wheeljack looked at said vessel. "The good news is that we have repaired it enough so that it can now fly properly. Thanks to the Omnicons, the Axalon's Dark-Matter Drives are at 100% operational, and all of the heavy damages have been fully fixed. The bad news is that a good bunch of the ship's turrets were destroyed, and even with the repairs done, only a third of them are working properly. Same for the Orbital Assault Fighters, almost all of them were unrepairable, but I did managed to fix at least two of them. The dropship is also fully functional too. I took the weapons off of the remaining fighters to replace the turrets that we couldn't fix."

"What about the transport ship? Do you think you could fix it and reattach it to the Axalon?" asked Prowl.

"I don't know if I can. Me and the Wreckers have done a lot of customization, and even before that, it was pretty messed up from the crash during the Battle of Hong Kong," answered Wheeljack. "However, we did managed to find Teletraan-1. She must've been taken by Lockdown when he captured the Ark back on Mars. Roller is currently working on uploading her into the Axalon's systems."

Prowl nodded. "Good. I'm pretty sure she'll appreciate being back online after several years of inactivity. Thanks, Wheeljack."

Said Scientist/Inventor nodded before walking off to help with the preparations. That just left Jazz and Prowl. "Now according to Wingblade, Cybertron is currently under the command of a femme who claims to be our people's goddess. It doesn't take a genius to know that she has ill intentions for us, especially if she's the one who personally sent Lockdown."

"The bad news is that a lot of folks just want to leave Earth to whatever that bitch has planned. Many of them are still holding grudges over what both Cemetery Wind and the TRF have done," said Jazz. "It'd be really good to have Optimus back right now. He'd know how to settle matters."

"Knowing Ultra Magnus, he and the others have probably reached Cybertron by now. We can only hope they succeed in finding Optimus and the other Protectobots," commented Prowl.

(Meanwhile, inside the Autobot FOB's Medical Bay...)

Ratchet and Jolt were running around in an effort to stabilize Adam, as said teenager was breathing heavily and his body was struggling against the bed he was on with sweat pouring down his face. Machines that were watching his vitals were beeping rapidly as if they were expressing Adam's discomfort. The armor that Wingblade had brought earlier was resting to the side.

"I just don't get it. What could be causing Adam so much pain?" asked Ratchet out loud as he looked at several of the machines that were hooked up to Adam.

"It could be that he's having a seizure, but I'm picking up a massive amount of bio-energy from him as well," replied Jolt. "It's steadily growing and repairing the wounds he suffered, but it's now spreading to the rest of his body. At this rate, he might burst from the build-up. If only we had something to help him contain it."

Those words made Ratchet paused as something about them was forming a thought in his processor. He looked at Adam's moving body and then at the Cyber-Matter made armor several times. It was only after a few seconds did the solution hit the CMO like one of the shells from Ironhide's Heavy Iron Rifles.

"That's it!" exclaimed Ratchet, startling Jolt in the process. "Why didn't I see it sooner?" he asked himself as he began to carefully pick away at the armor.

"Sir, what are you doing?" asked Jolt, who was somewhat confused at what his mentor was up to.

Without looking up, Ratchet began to explain: "Adam was born when the energies from the AllSpark impregnated his mother. As we already know, Adam possesses some of the Cube's powers and is technically half Cybertronian. If the injuries he sustained were great enough, then the energies inside him must've kicked in and begun to rapidly heal him. But that's not all they did. The AllSpark's energy is slowly merging Cyber-Matter with his organic human body. The massive build-up of energy is too much for Adam's pure flesh form, however, this is where this armor comes from, or should I say..."

Ratchet managed to carefully take the chestplate of the armor off. Walking past Jolt, the lime-green and white mech carefully placed the armor piece over Adam's chest. The moment it made contact with the young teen, the armor completely merged with him as it shined briefly before dying down. Adam began to relax a bit more and his vitals started to return to normal.

Jolt, who watched the whole thing take place, was flabbergasted. "What just happened?"

"This isn't just armor, it's an outer shell," answered Ratchet. "Like when Cybertronians naturally form an outer shell when they get older, this armor is to help accelerate the merger between Adam's human and Cybertronian biology. That way, the increase of bio-energy flowing through him won't harm his body. Whoever made this armor must've seen this event beforehand. Anyway, help me prepare the next pieces, Jolt. And make sure to keep track of Adam's vitals and any other changes you see."

Now fully understanding what was going on, Jolt nodded seriously. "Understood!" replied the Junior Medical Officer before assisting his mentor.

(Back in England...)

After losing the Decepticons, the London Metropolitan Police and the TRF, the Autobots were able to reach the rendezvous point. Not too far from London, with Hot Rod leading them, Bumblebee, Cade, Vivian arrived at an abandoned harbor next to the River Thames. Waiting for them there were Kup, Knock Out, Trailbreaker, Hoist, Perceptor, Cogman and Burton.

As Cade and Vivian got out of the transforming Camaro, the inventor spotted something resting in the water. It was a large submarine that was big enough to fit all of the Autobots present. The metal wasn't that from Earth, but was instead made from Cyber-Matter. Cade had been with the Autobots long enough to recognize it.

"Well, its about time," huffed Cogman, his left optic twitching as he climbed into a smaller doorway of the sub. "We have much to do and very little time to dilly daily."

Burton rolled his eyes. "Please forgive him, Cogman gets cranky at this time of the day. Do you have the coordinates?"

"Here," said Vivian as she pulled out a small piece of paper from her pocket before handing it to Burton. Instead, it was Perceptor who took it. "I think they're coordinates, and they're written in some kind of language that I can't understand," explained Vivian.

"It's Cybertronian, our language," revealed Perceptor as he scanned the letters. "Fascinating. This must've been left behind by Merlin himself before his passing. I can only assume he left clues in various scriptures for his descendants to decipher, and it appears that your father was able to do so."

"Then all we have to do is key in the coordinates and the old girl will take us there," summarized Kup as he motioned at the submarine.

"Yeah, what's the deal with that thing? Did you guys built that?" asked Cade as he examined the vessel.

"Not exactly. Most of it used to be a Cybertronian that lived on Earth since World War 1. Sadly, with the damage she took, along with a severe lack of Energon, most of her higher functions have shut down. I doubt even Ratchet could fix her. There was nothing we could do when we found her. With the old girl's consent, we managed to modify her by using the parts from a destroyed Orbital Assault Carrier that the U.S Military dumped into the Laurentian Abyss after the Battle of Chicago to make her a bigger submarine. We named it the Miranda by some of the lads," explained Kup. "According to her, the staff is at the bottom of the English Channel, but she didn't have the power to reach there. That, and she lacked its location too."

"Until now that is," finished Knock Out.

"With your father's work, we'll finally be able to find the staff. Though, to be precise, you will. I must get back to London," said Burton before walking towards the silver 2016 Aston Martin DB11 Coupe.

This caught Cade by surprise. "Wait, you're not coming with us?"

Burton sadly shook his head. "No, I'm afraid I have other things to do. Rally the defense for the coming storm."

"But, my Lord," said Cogman as he popped his helm from the submarine. "You've been waiting over fifty years for this moment."

"I have, Cogman, I have," replied Burton. "But we are all needed somewhere, and I am needed back in London. You are needed here, with Vivian and Cade."

"Edmund," said Kup as he used Burton's first name. "I'll have Knock Out and Hoist go with you. Hot Rod will follow you near the city limits before regrouping with the others. Don't get yourself killed, okay?"

Burton smiled at the old mech. Besides Cogman, Kup had been with Burton and his family since the First World War. He was one of his oldest friends and one of the few who could call him by his first name. "Thank you, Kup. And Cade," he said, getting the inventor's attention. "I want to truly thank you for taking care of Adam. To be honest, his mother was like a granddaughter to me. And knowing he was still alive ever since Chicago has made me feel very happy."

Cade was quiet for a moment before offering a smile of his own. "No problem. But to be honest, he was taking care of me for these past three years. Just make sure that you live through this so that you can meet him in person."

Nodding, Burton entered the Aston Martin before taking off with his three escorts following behind him. This just left Cade, Vivian, Bumblebee, Trailbreaker, Kup, Perceptor and Cogman. Along with a large submarine.

Kup clapped his servos, getting everyone's attention. "Okay, enough with the emotional moment, we got work to do. Perceptor, Trailbreaker, prep the sub for launch. 'Bee, I'll guide you through the controls, might as well make yourself useful. I suggest that you three get yourselves comfortable in the smaller quarters. The moment we leave this harbor, the TRF will be on us like Sharkticons after a meal in the water."

And with that said, they all began making their way into the Miranda. As the humans and Cogman entered through a side entrance that was fit for their size, the Autobots got through a hatch at the top of the sub. The interior of said vessel was surprisingly large enough for the four mechs to move around with ease. It also had several sections made for the humans, which included a platform for them to walk on that was located on both sides of the sub's control room.

Cade and Vivian were in awe of the interior, looking up and down as they moved slowly in circles as they tried to take in everything. They were snapped out of their stupor when Kup spoke from the steering wheel: "Miss Wembley, if you would do the honors?" He gestured at a scanning machine near the platform. It had already been turned on and was waiting for the coordinates to be put in.

Swallowing hard, Vivian nodded. Slowly, she placed the piece of paper on top of the machine. A small light appeared and scanned said paper, with the letters shining as the light ran over them. Seconds later, the entire submarine began to shake for only a moment, followed by the interior coming to life and machines were being turned on, with the engine activating with a humming-like sound.

"Haha! We're in businesses, everyone!" laughed Kup as he began moving the steering wheel.

As the Miranda started to move away from the harbor, the four Autobots, two humans and one Headmaster, were unaware of the black and cyan-lined 2017 Ram 1500 Rebel TRX Concept watching them from afar. As the vessel moved through the River Thames towards the English Channel, Nemesis Prime followed them while keeping a distance.

(Back with Task Force 51...)

Said task force had been struggling to locate the Autobots. After the whole car chase in London, the Cybertronians had vanished. There had been no causalities, except for Overkill, Dropkick (whose frame and helm had been retrieved by Flatline before he went through a GroundBridge portal), and several Vehicons. Luckily, no civilians had been gravely injured, something that Lennox rubbed into Santos' face. Ambulances had been dispatched to help with the wounded, while the British-based TRF and the London Metropolitan Police have sent clean-up crews to retrieve the remains of Overkill and the offlined Vehicons, thus leaving the American-based TRF and the U.S 5th Fleet to handle the rest of the operation on their own.

That's when something came onto the USS Iwo Jima's AN/SPS-67 Surface-Search Radar. An Operations Specialist First Class named Turner, who was at his station in the ship's CIC (Combat Information Center), turned to his superior and reported: "Sir, I'm picking up an unclassified sub moving through the River Thames."

"'Unclassified'? What do you mean by that?" asked O'Brien.

"It's a Transformer," answered Santos as he looked at one of the screens that was currently showing a live-feed from a helicopter, showing the submarine passing under the Tower Bridge.

"The Autobots are in there, probably Yeager too," added Graham.

Lennox looked down at the map table. "They must be making for the Channel, towards open waters. We need to box them in and surround them before they get too far."

"I want two of our closet subs from Task Force 54 on that vessel. Stop them from getting too far. Orders are to incapacitate, not destroy," ordered McConnor to his chief communications officer.

"Epps, Graham, Santos, get the submersibles ready. We're going to follow them and retrieve that staff," ordered Lennox as he and the other TRF Soldiers proceeded out of the ship's CIC.

(Back with the Miranda...)

Said Autobot submarine had already passed the White Cliffs of Dover before diving. They had gone down several miles when the sub's general alarm was heard. The humans stiffened as they heard the noise, while the Autobots remained focus on their assigned tasks.

"What's that noise for?" asked Vivian.

Cogman walked up to a nearby human-sized sonar screen. Said screen was showing two white-colored blimps closing in on them. "Oh, nothing much, ma'am. Just a pair of Los Angeles-Class Fast Attack Submarines closing in on us."

"Wait, subs? As in hostile?!" exclaimed Cade.

"Two of them to be precise," added Trailbreaker.

"Looks like those blokes have found us. Hang on tight, everyone! This is gonna get a little rough!" declared Kup as he started making more complex turns on the well. The Miranda started to descend faster, with the two fast attack subs, USS Albuquerque and USS Dallas respectively, in hot pursuit. The Dallas fired a Mark 48 Mod-7 CBASS (Common-Broadband-Advanced-Sonar-System) Heavyweight Torpedo that barely scratched the edge of the Cybertronian-made sub. The impact still caused said vessel to shake a little and nearly knocking the two humans off the platform.

"Oh my God, they're shooting at us!" exclaimed Vivian as she tried to straighten herself.

"No, that was a warning shot. They can't risk killing us so long as we have the one thing that can lead them to the staff," explained Perceptor.

"But, we'll be okay, right? It's not like they can actually blow this sub up, right?" asked Cade as he held onto the platform's railing bar to steady himself.

"This ship wasn't designed for naval warfare. Its plating will protect us for a good while, but not indefinitely. And when water starts to leak, you humans will be running out of oxygen," replied Trailbreaker.

Suddenly, the Miranda shook again, meaning that another torpedo had managed to hit them. This made Kup scowl. "That's it! I had enough of this. Time for some fancy maneuvers!" he exclaimed.

The Cybertronian-made sub began going upwards as another torpedo shot past them. The Autobots held onto their seats, while the two humans tightened their grip on the railing bar.

"WHOA, WHOA, WHAT ARE YOU DOING?!!" shouted Cade at the top of his lungs as he and Vivian plopped on the platform with a light thud.

"A trick I did back in the Pallas Asteroid Belt when dodging Decepticon warships in a unarmed freighter," answered Kup. "Trailbreaker, I'm gonna need ya to create one of your Energon Forcefields around the entire ship! Perceptor, get him setup and be quick about it!"

"We're on it, Kup!" shouted Trailbreaker as he and Perceptor got to work. Said Autobot Scientist/Physicist began to hook cables onto the larger mech, connecting him to the ship's power generator in order to boost Trailbreaker's barrier.

"Wait, what's going on?" asked Vivian as she looked out through the front window with Cade. From there, they could see them slowly nearing the two fast attack submarines. Said vessels were trying to move out of the way, but weren't going fast enough.

Just as the Miranda was few feet from contact, a see-through barrier covered the entire ship and smacked the two subs aside. Although their hulls weren't ruptured, the impact still caused them to spin a little and disorient the 129 U.S Naval crewmen and crewwomen aboard each sub. Meanwhile, the Miranda continued diving deeper and deeper into the English Channel.

Bumblebee looked at the Cybertronian-sized sonar screen and he gave a series of chirps and clicks when he saw no new blimps appearing on said screen.

"Haha! I knew it would work. Great job, you two!" said Kup after hearing the young Scout's report.

Perceptor had removed the cables from Trailbreaker, who promptly collapsed on his aft as he was exhausted from the amount of energy he had to use for the barrier. The lights of the submarine soon returned, revealing Cade and Vivian in a rather compromising position, which was something that Cogman didn't appreciate it.

"Come on, you, get off her," ordered the Headmaster as he roughly pulled Cade up. "There is a time and a place for everything, and this is neither of them." He then walked ahead towards one of the old forward torpedo tubes. "Kup, I'm going out for a bit, but I'll be back soon."

"Roger that, Cogman. It's smooth sailing from here, so take your time," replied Kup as Cogman proceeded to shoot himself out into the water. Cade and Vivian just watched the whole thing with gobsmacked expressions on their faces.

Vivian was the first to find her voice: "H-he just launched himself out like a torpedo!"

"I know," replied Cade, much to the amusement of the Autobots.

(Back in London...)

Currently parked outside not too far from Number 10 Downing Street was Burton's silver Aston Martin. Across the street was Knock Out in his alt-mode, while Hoist was around the corner in his alt-mode as well. The distance between them was to keep suspicion off of them, while Burton tried to get an audience with the British Prime Minister. As they waited for him, the two Autobots decided to talk privately on the comms.

"Do you think that Burton will be able to convince the Prime Minister?" asked Knock Out.

"That depends if he can get past security," commented Hoist. "Still, many members of the Order, like Winston Churchill, became the British Prime Minister. It's possible that the current Prime Minister might listen. I'm more concerned about the others. With both the TRF and the Decepticons after us, there's a good chance they might have been intercepted."

"I'm not worried. Wingblade is one of our fastest flyers, so he probably got to the U.S okay. And Kup is with the others. That old geezer has been through enough to know how to escape every situation he's in," said Knock Out reassuringly. "And speaking of old geezers, Burton's coming back and he looks pissed off."

Sure enough, Burton was walking away from the entrance of Number 10 Downing Street, but with a hard frown set on his face as he gave the men of the London Metropolitan Police's Parliamentary and Diplomatic Protection Group. "Bloody dickheads," he muttered to himself before looking at Knock Out. With a brief nod from his head, Burton then made his way through an alleyway between Number 10 Downing Street and the building next to it. No doubt he knew of the secret entrance and passageway that would lead him to the Prime Minister's office.

"Hoist, Burton gave us the signal. I'm going ahead and meet up with the others," said Knock Out before activating his holoform driver and took off.

"Copy that, I'm right behind you," replied Hoist as he turned around the corner. Stopping in front of the silver Aston Martin. Hoist activated his holoform driver as it came out and attached the tow crane's hook underneath the silver car. When that was done, Hoist drove off while pulling along the Aston Martin behind him. The humans around them none the wiser.

(Near Cybertron...)

As the homeworld of the Autobots and the Decepticons was making its way towards Earth, the Iron Will was making its approach silently. Aboard said vessel was Ultra Magnus in the cockpit, while Gears, Springer, Blades and First Aid were readying their respective weapons. With Magnus in the cockpit was Cosmos. Said Autobot had been picked up to help with any info he was able to acquire with Cybertron's approach.

The ship was currently heading towards the ruins of Iacon, the once proud capital city of the Autobots. "You're absolutely sure that this is the place," asked Magnus.

Cosmos nodded in confirmation. "Definitely. I picked up multiple chatter on the comms when I was doing recon. I heard several mentions of POWs being transferred near to the Decagon. There's also a large number of Cybertronians guarding that facility. If Optimus and the other Protectobots are being held somewhere, it has to be there."

"Very well," decided Ultra Magnus as the Iron Will soon landed on the most closest and the most stable landing pad. "I'm activating our jammers so we won't be spotted on their scanners. Gears, you and Cosmos will remain here with my ship. Something tells me we'll be needing to make a quick getaway. Springer, you'll take First Aid and Blades to find their brethren. I'm gonna look for Optimus," he ordered as he readied his Neutron Assault Rifle. "Be ready to face either Decepticons, Star Seekers and who knows what else. Don't show any mercy, because none will be given to you."

Chapter Text

(Decagon, Cybertron)

The former Autobot fortress was dead quiet, saved for the sound of creaking metal underneath Ultra Magnus' pedes. The mech moved great caution so as not to alert any possible sentries. His Neutron Assault Rifle was at the ready as Magnus' optics scanned his current surroundings. There had yet to be any signs of other Cybertronians, but that didn't mean he could let his guard down. It could be that most of their troops were concentrated at the Hall of Records. That meant this was the best opportunity to free Optimus Prime.

As he reached the corner of the hallway he was in, Magnus' audio receptors picked up voices. Leaning against the wall, he very carefully peeked his helm around the corner. Up ahead were three Cybertronians. The first one was Bombast, a 22-foot green mech. Next was Cameo, an 18-foot pink-colored femme armed with a dual pair of Neutron SMGs. And finally, there was Contagion, a 20-foot navy-blue and yellow mech with a hunched back and two pumps on his shoulders. He was carrying a Corrosive Slime-Shooter, a dangerous weapon that was second only to Sentinel Prime's Cosmic Rust Pistol. However, what caught Ultra Magnus' attention was the sealed door behind them, as well as the Sword of Judgement and Vector Shield-Cannon in the center of the three Star Seekers.

'That has to be where Optimus is being held,' thought Magnus as he pulled out an EMP Grenade from subspace. With a strong throw, he threw said grenade right at Bombast's pedes.

"What the..." said the green mech before the EMP went off. The three Star Seekers shouted in surprise as their systems were temporarily disabled. That was Ultra Magnus' signal to charge forward. Raising his Neutron Assault Rifle, he immediately gunned down Cameo, who didn't even stand a chance. Magnus hit Bombast with his left shoulder before being forced to dodge a burst of corrosive slime heading his way. Contagion had managed to recover somewhat and was now firing his Corrosive Slime-Shooter wildly in order to hit Magnus.

Said Autobot responded by firing his own weapon at the Star Seeker, knocking Contagion's weapon out of his servos. The mech was finished off by a burst to his chestplates. That just left only Bombast, who had managed to recover long enough to be shot through the spark-chamber by Ultra Magnus.

With the Star Seekers down, Magnus made his way over to the cell, but not before grabbing both the Vector Shield-Cannon and the Sword of Judgement and mounting them on his back. Deactivating the lock, the door slid open and revealed Optimus Prime. The Leader of the Autobots was being held up by chains around his wrists and he looked rather weak and didn't seem to respond to Ultra Magnus' presence. Said mech ran up to Optimus and did a quick scan of his leader, showing that the young Prime was low on Energon and was currently in stasis lock.

Magnus quickly removed the bindings and gently laid Optimus against the wall. He then pulled out an Energon Cube from subspace before feeding it to Optimus. Magnus watched as the Energon went through Optimus' systems as life returned to his optics. "Optimus? Optimus, can you hear me?" asked Ultra Magnus.

As his optics and audio receptors started to come back online, Optimus let out a groan as he looked up. "Ultra Magnus?"

"On your pedes, old friend. We're busting out of here," said Magnus as he helped Optimus up before handing him both his Vector Shield-Cannon and the Sword of Judgement. "Can you still fight?"

Optimus nodded as he balanced himself before grabbing both of his weapons and checking them over. "Do you have a plan of escape, Magnus?"

"My ship, the Iron Will, is waiting at the highest landing pad in order to avoid detection. However, there are other POWs here. I have Springer, Blades and First Aid searching for them," explained Ultra Magnus.

"Then we should assist them. I may have been weakened, but I won't let that stop me in saving our fellow Autobots," declared Optimus as he put the Sword of Judgement on his back before unsubspacing his Ion Blaster.

The two of them proceeded to walk out of the cell and head to where the other rescue team was at. They hadn't even made it a hundred feet when a familiar female voice filled the hallways: "Can you hear me, Optimus Prime?"

"Quintessa..." growled Optimus.

"I detected an intrusion the moment your guards were offlined," said the Sorceress in a haughty tone. "Know that everything you are doing right now is futile. I will have my staff, Unicron and Earth will both die, and Cybertron will be restored."

"We won't allow you to do that, Quintessa! I will not let an entire species be wiped out just to destroy Unicron!" declared Optimus.

Quintessa merely chuckled sinisterly. "Fighting for others who are not of your kind, and unwilling to make the hard decisions needed for victory. Just like how Alpha Trion was, even when he fought to the bitter end."

"What do you mean by that?" demanded Optimus as he wondered how she knew of his mentor and caretaker.

"It doesn't matter. You are no longer needed, seeing how you won't fulfill the purpose that was given upon you. Farewell, Optimus Prime," replied Quintessa as her voice went silent.

"I have a very bad feeling about this," muttered Ultra Magnus.

And that's when the two Autobots' audio receptors picked up a noise from outside. Before they could react, the wall they were next to exploded, sending both Optimus and Ultra Magnus falling out of the building and down below. Fortunately, they were able to use the various parts of the Decagon that stuck out to lessen their 30-foot fall. Both mechs landed with a loud grunt when they finally hit the ground.

As they recovered, the two Autobots quickly realized they weren't alone. Surrounding them were members of the Star Seekers. Also with them were Switchblade and Straxus, with the latter having his Cybertanium Pickaxe out.

"Take them!" ordered Straxus.

Snow Cat, a 25-foot steel-blue and white-colored mech, roughly grabbed Optimus' neck from behind. Pitstop, a 24-foot blue mech with yellow stripes, deployed his right forearm-mounted Thermo Rocket Cannon.

Before they could execute the two Autobots, Springer came flying out of the building in his alt-mode before transforming. As he dived towards the ground, the Autobot Triple-Changer pulled out an Energon Double-Edged Sword from subspace. Snow Cat had no time to react when Springer swung his weapon, slicing off the Star Seeker's right arm and then skewering him in the chestplates, offlining Snow Cat instantly.

"Springer!" exclaimed Ultra Magnus before the three Autobots were forced to find cover.

"Don't worry!" said Springer as he fired his left forearm-mounted M230 Chaingun. "The cavalry is right behind me!"

And true enough, the sound of multiple engines soon filled the area. Driving out from the Decagon's main entrance were six Earth-based vehicles. Two of them were Blades and First Aid. After them was the Protectobot Leader, Hot Spot, a 25-foot light-blue mech who had taken the alt-mode of a Pierce Manufacturing Enforcer Pumper Fire Truck, which the largest vehicle among the six. Next up was Groove, a 10-foot white, blue and yellow-colored mech who had taken the alt-mode of a 2017 Yamaha FJR1300A Sport-Touring Motorcycle. And the last two were Streetwise and Rook. Streetwise was a 16-foot white mech with red stripes who can transform into a 2013 Nissan 370Z Nismo Police Cruiser, while Rook was a 22-foot black and white mech whose alt-mode was a BearCat G2 4-Door SWAT Tactical Armored Truck.

They knocked aside several Star Seekers blocking their path before positioning themselves between the enemy and their fellow Autobots. The Protectobots immediately transformed into their biped forms, showing their pissed off expressions. "Time for some payback! Protectobots, combine!" yelled Hot Spot as he transformed into a lower chassis and upper legs.

Streetwise and Rook followed next, with the former forming a lower right leg and pede, while Rook formed a lower left leg and pede. First Aid shifted into a left arm that attached to Hot Spot, with a servo popping out. Blades did the same, though he instead transformed into a right arm with a servo. And finally, Groove transformed into an upper chassis with a large helm.

"Defensor, online!" bellowed the now 40-foot Combiner as he stared down at the Star Seekers. Said Cybertronians were slowly backing away upon realizing the opponent they were now facing. Before they could react, Defensor deployed his dual forearm-mounted Photon Pulse Cannons and fired. Said cannons released explosive energy that automatically offlined Pitstop, a 16-foot red and grey mech named Vectorium, and Rollcage, a 17-foot black, purple and yellow-colored femme. More Star Seekers were sent flying while the others immediately took cover. Straxus also joined them while firing his left forearm-mounted Neutron LMG. Defensor paid them no mind as he activated his Energon Forcefield before firing his cannons again, forcing them back. Along with that, he deployed his back-mounted Nucleon Missile Turret. Said missiles caused massive casualties among the Star Seekers, spreading them out. The Combiner was soon joined by the other Autobots.

However, Defensor's armor would wear down eventually, and Ultra Magnus knew that. "Gears, we're near the main entrance to the Decagon! Where the frag are you?!"

"We see the explosions, Magnus! Me and Cosmos are beginning our descent. Get ready for a quick exit!" said Gears through the comms as the Iron Will came into view. Said ship landed behind the Autobots as its ramp descended, revealing Gears armed with a Photon Battle Pistol. "Hurry! Cosmos has the engines running! I'll cover you!"

The first to move towards the Iron Will was Springer, followed by Optimus Prime and Ultra Magnus. Some of the Star Seekers fired a barrage of rockets at the ship, but were thwarted when Defensor got in the way and generated an Energon Forcefield that blocked said projectiles. The smoke from the rockets gave the Protectobots enough time to decombine and run towards the Iron Will, while Optimus and Gears gave them covering fire. The ramp ascended back into the ship once everyone was aboard.

"Cosmos, full power to both the thrusters and shield! Get us out of here!" ordered Ultra Magnus.

"Understood, sir! Hang on tight, everyone!" said Cosmos as the Iron Will took off, scattering the Star Seekers as they tried to ground said ship. The Iron Will was soon in the sky and heading straight to Earth. Due to the path they were currently taking, the Autobot spaceship flew right over the Hall of Records, where Quintessa and Infernocus were both standing outside of said building as they watched the Iron Will flew over them.

With a snarl forming on her faceplates, Quintessa turned to her bodyguard. "Shoot them down!"

Infernocus let out a growl of acknowledgment and fired his dual forearm-mounted Nucleon Shock Cannons. The barrage of neutron bolts covered the sky as it tried to hit the Autobot spaceship with little success. Just as it was nearing Earth's atmosphere, one of the bolts managed to hit the bottom of the Iron Will, causing the ramp to open. And unfortunately, Optimus was near the ramp when it did. The sudden shake from the blast caused the Autobot Leader to loose his footing and fall out of the ship.

"OPTIMUS!!" yelled Springer as he tried to grab said Prime, but only to miss him by a few inches. Optimus then felt himself being pulled down by Earth's gravitational pull.

"Slag! Cosmos, hurry and get after Optimus!" ordered Ultra Magnus as he sat in the pilot's seat next to said Autobot.

"I'm trying, sir! But he's already being pulled down into the planet's atmosphere. If we push this ship too fast, we'll risk having it break apart from the intense heat!" said Cosmos as he tried to catch up to the falling Autobot Leader.

As Optimus began moving through Earth's exosphere, he struggled to grab his Vector Shield-Cannon. Once he got ahold of it, the young Prime held it in front of him to protect his chassis from the intense heat. He was going too fast to use said shield-cannon's thrusters to stop his descent, but Optimus was able to scan for large bodies of water to hit instead of the hard ground of Earth. And thus, he used the Vector Shield-Cannon's thrusters to control the direction of which he was falling. And all the while, Optimus did his best not to fall back into stasis lock.

(Somewhere in the North Atlantic Ocean...)

Megatron had his arms crossed as he stood on Tidal Wave's alt-mode. The transformed Gerald R. Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier had already picked up the rest of Megatron's team, along with Fracture's, and all of whom were situated in the lower decks. He had ordered both Barricade and Fracture to remain in the U.K in order to be ready to secure the center point once the staff has been retrieved. In the meantime, the Decepticon Leader took this moment to stare up at his homeworld, which could be faintly seen through the clouds. "It won't be long now, Cybertron. Soon, all will be as it should be."

"Lord Megatron," said Soundwave as he walked up to his master. "We have received confirmation from Storm Surge. Yeager and the Autobots are currently heading towards the staff's location. The TRF is currently pursuing them, as well as Nemesis Prime. What are your orders?"

Megatron grinned as he was glad to hear such good news. "Tell Storm Surge to continue tracking them, but remained from being detected. Have Starscream, Cyclonus and Nitro Zeus join me. We'll be going to the staff's location if it comes down to it. Then tell Shockwave to begin mobilizing our troops and have them head to Cybertron and prepare a defensive perimeter.

"As you command, my Lord," replied Soundwave monotonously.

"Oh, and one more thing," said Megatron suddenly. "Tell Rumble to begin the second phase of his mission. The TRF's usefulness is nearing its end."

The Decepticon Communications Officer nodded before leaving to carry out his orders. Megatron returned his attention to his homeworld floating above him. He frowned for a split-second when his scanners picked up what appeared to be a burning projectile falling from the sky, but merely shrugged it off.

(NBE Supermax, Fort Collins, Colorado)

Within the joint-Cybertronian prison/TRF base, Rumble was waiting patiently in his alt-mode alongside the other Gladiator TUGVs. It hadn't been easy, but he managed to sneak inside the base, having uploaded its coordinates during Megatron's meeting with the TRF and U.S Department of Justice officials back in Utah. The Mini-Con had finished his entire scanning of the base already, along with the location of the remaining imprisoned Decepticons. Surprisingly, there weren't any Autobot prisoners, though Rumble could only conclude it was thanks to the efforts of Cade Yeager and the other Autobots.

Suddenly, he got a signal from Soundwave, indicating it was time to begin the second phase of his mission. Obviously happy, Rumble shifted into his biped form once the coast was clear. He then made his way to the nearest ventilation shaft and began moving through the air duct system, heading towards the base's control room. If he could just make it there without being detected, all he had to do was wipe out the staff there and then hack the systems to release his fellow Decepticons.

After a few minutes of making right and left turns, Rumble reached his destination. Looking behind the ventilation door, he scanned the room while taking note of the several TRF Soldiers and other personnel there. All of them were busy with their own work and didn't even notice the small Cybertronian looking at them. Once he had marked every single human in the room, Rumble loudly kicked the ventilation door off its hinges before landing ontop of a console. His presence had the expected reaction as the personnel manning the consoles shouted in shock and alarm, while the TRF Soldiers scrambled to grab their weapons.

But Rumble wasn't giving them a chance. "Get ready to crumble before Rumble!" yelled the Mini-Con as he morphed both of his arms into pile-drivers. He then started to pound them on the ground, creating shockwaves that knocked the humans off their feet and destroying several machines too. With them disoriented, Rumble deployed his left shoulder-mounted M240G MMG before firing it wildly and killing several people. He targeted the TRF Soldiers first, before going after the remaining personnel. Only eight (five TRF Soldiers and three unarmed personnel) were able to escape, but Rumble only needed a few minutes to hack into the system.

"Alright, you slaggers! Get ready for freedom!" declared the Mini-Con as he finished hacking the cells into opening their doors. Soon, every Decepticon was free from their bindings or cages, and were now running amok across the base, killing any humans that were in their way. A few TRF Soldiers were fighting back, but it was at best a delaying tactic for the others to evacuate. With his work done, Rumble made his way out of the control room, joining the other Decepticons before contacting Soundwave on the completed mission.

At one of the base's hangars were several staff members that were being protected by some TRF Soldiers. They were rushing to reach the vehicles that were parked in the motor pool to escape the massacre. Unfortunately, Berserker chose that moment to smash through the nearby wall with his dual forearm-mounted Fusion MMGs at the ready. "Die, you meatbags!" shouted the 18-foot black-colored Dread as he fired. Several humans were killed instantly while the TRF Soldiers returned fire, but the 5.56x45mm NATO Armor-Piercing/Tracer rounds were having little effect against the maniacal Decepticon.

Fortunately, Berserker's killing spree came to an end when a familiar M1128 MGS came charging through. Said vehicle struck the 'Con in the legs, knocking Berserker over, who began screeching profanities in his native tongue. Then the M1128 MGS transformed into a 25-foot dark grayish-blue mech with blue optics. The mech deployed his right forearm-mounted M2A1 HMG and fired 12.7x99mm NATO API-T rounds that burned through Berserker's armor. Said 'Con scrambled to get back up and fire at the Autobot. The unknown mech used his left arm to shield his faceplates from the bullets, while continuing to fire back. Berserker tried to tackle his taller opponent, only for the Autobot to grab him by the right arm and toss him over his shoulder and onto the ground, hard. The mech then deployed his left forearm-mounted 105mm M68A2 L/70 Cannon and fired a single 105x607mmR Kinetic-Energy-Penetrator (KEP) round at Berserker's chestplates, offlining him instantly.

With his work done, the mech turned to check on the humans he'd just saved, only to see them flee in SUVs, cars and even trucks. They had used their brawl to open the motor pool doors and escape. In a show of gratitude, they left the doors open, as well as the base's outer gate. With that said, the mech wasted in no time in transforming back into his alt-mode and evacuating the soon-to-be-overrun base. He knew that it would folly to try and save the other humans, as he was completely outnumbered.

Once he was far away from the base, the Autobot activated his comms unit: "This is Scattershot calling Prowl. Do you read me?"

A few seconds later, the Autobot SiC's voice spoke back: "Prowl here. What's the situation, Scattershot?"

"Not good. Someone hacked into the NBE Supermax's systems and freed all of the Decepticons there. They're completely running riot and killing any humans that are in their way. I managed to save a few before evacuating myself," explained Scattershot. He could see some other vehicles and a few choppers leaving the smoking base, probably more humans that have managed to escape.

There was a surprise grunt from the other side. "It seems that the time for stealth is over. I'm sending you some coordinates. Head there and Stratosphere will be waiting to pick you up. We've managed to secure the Knight's Ship and are currently on our way to the United Kingdom. Stratosphere will fill you on the details," said Prowl.

"Understood, sir. It'll be good to see everyone again," responded Scattershot as he made his way to the location given to him.

(Back with the Miranda...)

It had been an hour since the Autobots' little encounter with the U.S 5th Fleet. The Cybertronian submarine was making good time as its navigation system continue to follow the coordinates. Vivian and Cade had already calmed down and were enjoying, as Cogman described it, a 'last meal' of sushi from the fish he managed to catch.

Back at the wheel, Kup kept his optics up front. "Any sign of us being followed?"

"Negative, Kup. We might've lost them, but its also possible they still could be following us and are somehow jamming our sensors," replied Perceptor as checked the sonar screen.

"Yeah, I've experienced that kind of stuff before," commented Kup. "'Bee, Trailbreaker, how's the sub's platting so far?"

Bumblebee let out several chirps and clicks. "We didn't take that much damage from those torpedoes, or that stunt we pulled off. And the sub is handling the water pressure well," explained Trailbreaker.

Kup nodded as he continued to steer the Miranda. And that's when the sub's sonar began to ping loudly, catching everyone's attention. "Perceptor?" asked the veteran as he slowed down.

"I'm detecting a massive structure ahead of us. This is also the place where the coordinates have led us," said Perceptor. "I can only assume that we've arrived."

"What's going on?" asked Cade as he, Viviane and Cogman came onto the deck the moment they heard the pinging sound. On the inventor's left arm, the talisman was beginning to shift and shine as if letting out excitement.

"Turning on the lights," announced Kup as the submarine's forward lenses flashed on, and what they revealed was nothing less than spectacular.

In front of the Miranda was a massive Cybertronian ship. It was about the same size as the Axalon, but its unique shape, however, made it appear taller. As the sub made its approach, the ship suddenly lit up as if responding to the talisman's presence.

"By the AllSpark..." murmured Trailbreaker as he looked at the large vessel with wide optics.

"Behold the Steelhaven, the vessel of the Guardian Knights of Iacon. Final resting place of Merlin and his staff," narrated Cogman. "We'll be the first beings in centuries to set foot on it."

Suddenly, the doors of a large airlock opened before the Miranda, and yet no one was there to greet them.

"I guess the ship is letting us in," commented Kup as he steered the sub forward. The Miranda slowly went through the airlock, and it was only when the submarine was fully through did the doors behind them closed.

(Meanwhile, outside of the Steelhaven...)

The two U.S Naval submersibles watched as the airlock closed. They had been momentarily awestruck when they watched the massive Cybertronian ship come to life, and missed their chance to get in.

"We need to find another way in before we lose them," said Lennox to the man who was steering the sub with the U.S Army Ranger, Graham, Santos and the other ten TRF Soldiers inside. "Epps, you see anything?"

"Negative, I don't-wait..." said the U.S Air Force Chief Master Sergeant through the radio. The second sub (which had Epps, who was steering said sub, and eleven TRF Soldiers onboard) focused its lights on a small opening. It was narrow, but still big enough for them to get through. "I think I found our entrance."

"Okay, we're going in," ordered Lennox as his sub was moved to follow Epps'. "Take it slow and steady, we don't know what's in there."

(Back with the Miranda...)

Said submarine had managed to surface, though it was still half in water. "This is as far as we can go, everyone," said Kup as he stopped the sub. "Perceptor, can you give us a scan of this ship?"

"One moment," replied said Autobot as he typed in a few commands on a control console. A minuter later, a holographic map appeared at the front of the vessel for everyone to see. "I'm reading several Energon signatures at least a deck below us. They're active, but unmoving. I can only assume it's the Guardian Knights in emergency stasis lock."

"Well, if we're going with tradition, wherever there are knights, that usually means they're guarding something," said Vivian as she recalled one of her lessons back in Oxford.

"There's logic in that. I'm also detecting some other Energon signatures which matches those of drones. After that is an unusual signature that keeps fading in and out, as if it's being covered by something. But I'm 100% positive that it is the staff," answered Perceptor.

"Okay, then it looks like you lot will have to go downward. Cogman and 'Bee will go with you, while the rest of us will stay here and wait for you guys to get back. Good luck," said Kup.

And with that said, the four of them got out of the sub. Bumblebee went into the water, where everything above his waist didn't sink in. Cade, Cogman and Vivian were walking on top of the sub. Vivian, now wearing a jumpsuit over her clothes, was holding a lantern. Cade (now wearing a green beanie) was carrying a single-strap bag over his right shoulder, as well as two Mini-Photon Battle Pistols he brought with him. Bumblebee already had his Solar Plasma Cannon ready, with a built-in flashlight on too.

"So, where to now?" asked Cade through his earpiece communicator.

"According to the map, keep going straight for now. And be careful, some parts of the ship may have deteriorated over the centuries of being underwater," advised Perceptor.

Cogman frowned when he looked over the edge of the sub. "I'm not going into that saltwater, It'll ruin my gears."

Bumblebee, who had enough of the Headmaster's complaining, knocked the smaller mech into the water and causing Vivian and Cade to both snicker as they watched the whole thing. Cogman gave all three of them a death glare. "The three of you are now on my shit list."

The four of them finally reached the edge of the water, now walking on a metal surface. They had only made it a few steps before coming upon a slightly collapsed entrance. There was still enough room for the two humans and Cogman to move through, but definitely not enough for Bumblebee to squeeze through. "Uh, Perceptor?" asked Cade.

"Yes, I see it. One sec," replied Perceptor as he took a moment to find an alternate route. "Ah, here we go. 'Bee, there should be another passageway somewhere on your right. As for the rest of you, that one will take you to the next chamber. There should be an opening there that will lead you down to the chamber where the staff is at. You'll be able to regroup there."

Bumblebee chirped in response before heading towards the right, while the remaining three continue moving forward. They had to duck a little, but they eventually got out on the other side. There, they found the opening that Perceptor had mentioned earlier. Fortunately, there were some debris that were stable enough for them to climb down on. Cade pulled out some flares for more light, and what greeted them all was a large chamber with thirteen statues. Each statue was of a different Cybertronian, with each one having a different form. And all of them were in pristine condition, although one of them was missing its helm.

"Whoa, who the hell are these guys?" asked Vivian out loud.

"Those 'guys' are the Thirteen Primes, our original leaders and the ones who fought alongside Primus to defeat Unicron," said Cogman as he pointed at each statue. "At the front is Prima, the very first Prime and the leader of the Thirteen. To our right are Amalgamous Prime, Quintus Prime, Onyx Prime, Logos Prime, Solus Prime and Alpha Trion. And to our left are Liege Maximo, Alchemist Prime, Micronus Prime, Nexus Prime, Vector Prime, and the one missing his helm is Megatronus Prime, who later became the Fallen." The Headmaster then stared at the helmless statue that had the form of a lean, bulky mech. "This was probably his frame before his betrayal. But that's not important right now. We must keep moving." Cogman proceeded forward as he went past the statues, with Cade and Vivian following behind him as their eyes where still somewhat locked onto the figures.

A few minutes later, the trio came upon a hallway. But what made this hallway so special was that on both sides were the stilled forms of large Cybertronians. Each one was holding a medieval-like weapon, either a sword, mace, axe, or spear. The three concluded that these were the Guardian Knights of Iacon. And if what Perceptor had said earlier was true, they were currently in emergency stasis lock. With that thought in mind, they did their very best not to wake the mechs up.

Eventually, the trio reached a large chamber, overlooking a deep chasm below. There were also small openings in the floor that allowed flames to shoot out every few seconds. Said chamber was also filled with statues of knights and knight-shaped drones too. Some of said drones were out of their position as they lied across the floor, with many of them heavily damaged. In the center of the chamber, which was being illuminated by a mysterious source of light from above, where two knight statues were facing each other. In between them was large cross symbol, which was exactly like the one on the talisman. Surrounding said mark were smaller runes that formed a circle.

"The staff has got to be here, 'cause this place screams 'important'," said Cade as he looked around the rather large chamber, while taking care not to lose his footing.

"Good deduction, Sherlock. Figured that all by yourself?" snapped Cogman.

Cade glared at the Headmaster. "Do you ever stop acting like a dick?"

As the two of them bickered, Vivian made her way over to the symbols. Bending down to examine them, she noticed that they did look familiar.

(Meanwhile, not too far where the trio had been...)

Lennox, Epps, Graham, Santos and the twenty-two TRF Soldiers with them, were slowly making their way towards the trio. They had been held back because they had come through one of the upper decks of the Steelhaven. Currently, they were in the same hallway where the Guardian Knights of Iacon were. Santos stared at his Energon Detector.

"Careful," said the former Delta Force Operator quietly. "I'm still getting Energon readings." Warily, Santos stared at the unmoving Knights. "These guys might still be alive."

Lennox calmed the men down when a few of them raised their weapons. "No sudden moves. These aren't are targets. We're here for that staff, remember?"

As the group continue to move forward, they didn't see the large shadow silhouette behind them or the glowing purple optics watching them from the shadows.

(Back in the main chamber...)

Vivian brushed away some of the dust off of the symbols. "I recognize these symbols. They're Celtic runes," she explained before touching some of said runes.

The moment her fingers made contact with the runes, that section of the floor started to move in response to her DNA.

(Back with Lennox and his group...)

The noise from the vibration was loud enough that even the TRF team heard it as they raised their weapons on reflex.

(Back in the main chamber...)

The circle began to spin in different directions at once, before the large symbol in the center opened up. As it did, a human-sized sarcophagus came rising out from underneath right in front of Cade and Vivian. Written on said sarcophagus in Celtic runes was: 'Here lies Merlin, the Great Wizard and friend of the Guardian Knights of Iacon'.

A moment of silence filled the chamber as the two humans stared at the sarcophagus. Laying before them could possibly be the goal of this little adventure of theirs, and it was a bit hard for them to imagine that it might be over. However, it was Cade who eventually came back to reality as he looked at the sarcophagus and then at Vivian. "Well? Aren't you gonna open it?"

That snapped Vivian out of her daze as she gave the inventor a look. "Of course I'm going to open it."

The two of them then worked together to push the sarcophagus’ heavy lid back. After a few seconds, the lid slid off completely to reveal the contents inside the sarcophagus. Inside it was the mummified body of Merlin himself. His arms were crossed over his chest and they were, as if hugging it for dear life, was a long object that had to be the staff. However, it wasn't extravagant as Vivian and Cade had imagined as it was nothing more than wood.

Its appearance didn't go well with Cade. "This? This is it?!" he exclaimed angrily as he picked up the wooden staff from the corpse. "This is what we were looking for?! Nearly getting shot at by both the TRF and the Decepticons, and all just for some piece of wood?!"

With a growl, Cade chucked the staff to the side with a loud thump! Vivian also seemed a bit disheartened, for she had been expecting more from all of this.

During the whole thing, Cogman was inspecting a 26-foot Knight Drone that had collapsed from its post and lost most of its armor. It was also missing parts of its faceplates, giving off a skull-like appearance. "You know, I would honestly thought that the Guardian Knights of Iacon would do a better job of keeping this place together. Guess not," commented the Headmaster as he climbed on top of the Knight Drone before lightly knocking against its faceplates.

Unfortunately, that act caused said drone's optics to turn on and with a sudden roar, it got back up and knocking Cogman off. Picking up its dual Cybertanium Claymores, it roared out: "Intruders! They have come for the staff!"

Cade and Vivian, who had by now noticed the active Knight Drone, ran as it chased after them. Said drone swung its Cybertanium Claymores wildly as it tried to kill the 'intruders'. Cogman had managed to recover and fire a Micro-HE Rocket at the Knight Drone, getting its attention.

Cade pulled out one of his Mini-Photon Battle Pistols and fired, hitting the drone in the chestplates. Unbothered by it, the Knight Drone instead went after Vivian, who was closer to Merlin's sarcophagus.

Cade rushed up to her and grabbed her left arm. "MOVE!" shouted the inventor as he pulled Vivian with him, and just in time too as the drone swung one of its Cybertanium Claymores at the spot she was just at, destroying Merlin's sarcophagus. However, the shockwave had sent Cade and Vivian flying in two different directions, with Cade almost falling over the edge (while still holding onto his Mini-Photon Battle Pistol), while Vivian landed beside the wooden staff.

It was at that moment did Lennox and his team arrived. Spotting the rampaging Knight Drone, the Colonel gave the order: "Everyone, open fire! Aim for the optics!" Lennox, Epps and Graham fired their Salient Arms International Tier One GRY Assault Rifles, while Santos and the other twenty-two TRF Soldiers fired either their HK416 D10RS Assault Carbines or their M249 Para SAWs.

The Knight Drone growled at the new attacks. Still yelling to protect the staff, it focused on the TRF team, but had to protect its left optic when its right one was destroyed by a single 5.56x45mm NATO Armor-Piercing round from Graham. This gave Epps the opening to charge at it. Once he was close, the U.S Air Force NCO placed an M112 Demolition Block with a seven-second delay detonator onto the drone's left leg, badly damaging it and ruining said drone's footing.

"It's weakened, push it over the edge!" shouted Graham as he, Lennox, Santos and the rest of the TRF team concentrated their fire on the Knight Drone's helm before a TRF Soldier pulled out an AT4-CS Rocket Launcher and fired an 84mm HEDP (High-Explosive-Dual-Purpose) Rocket that hit the drone in the chestplates. The impact from the rocket was the finishing blow as the Knight Drone was sent over the platform, roaring as it plummeted downwards into the ship's bowels.

Vivian started to get up when she saw the staff right next to her and instinctively grabbed it. And when she did, the staff shed its holographic disguise to reveal its true Cybertronian metallic form. The tip of said staff began to glow a bright blue. The English woman was being overwhelmed by the memories that were currently pouring into her mind, showing her images of Merlin being given the staff by the Guardian Knights of Iacon. At the same time, several individuals also felt the staff being activated.

(Back on Cybertron...)

Quintessa sharply turned her helm towards Earth as a sinister smile was formed on her faceplates.

(Across Earth...)

Unicron's horns began to shake a little as said planet eater felt the power.

(Back in the Bermuda Triangle...)

Thunderwing readied himself, knowing that the hour of his master's revival was at hand.

(The Axalon, halfway across the Atlantic Ocean...)

A still comatose Adam Nova, now garbed in King Arthur's Cybertronian armor, twitched a little. Unbeknownst to Ratchet, who was watching over the boy, the armor began to merge with Adam's body even quicker before the young teen burst out of the Knight's Ship’s Medical Bay and flew out of said vessel, startling the Autobot Chief Medical Officer and everyone else aboard too.

(Back aboard the Steelhaven...)

Said ship was reacting too. After centuries of inactivity, the large Cybertronian vessel began to rise to the surface. Everyone inside the ship felt its movement as they nearly lost their footing. Cade was able to get himself back onto the platform and pull out his spare Mini-Photon Battle Pistol before his earpiece communicator came to life: "Cade, what's going on there?!"

"Sorry, Kup. But I'm gonna have to call you back later, 'cause we got problems of our own here," said Cade, who was currently dual-wielding both of his Mini-Photon Battle Pistols at two TRF Soldiers who were aiming their HK416 D10RS Assault Carbines at him. Meanwhile, four more had also surrounded Cogman, who appeared to be contemplating between going down fighting or surrendering. The rest quickly surrounded Vivian, who still had the staff in her hands, but was now standing.

"Ma'am, drop the staff!" ordered Lennox with his Salient Arms International Tier One GRY Assault Rifle aimed at Vivian.

However, a determined look appeared on the woman's face as she quickly ran over to the nearest edge of the platform. Then she raised her right arm until the staff was hovering over the chasm. "Lower your weapon or I'll drop it!" she said, indicating to the former NEST Field Commander's weapon.

The entire chamber became an intense Mexican stand-off, with Lennox, Epps, Graham, Santos and the other TRF Soldiers were trained on Vivian, but were very hesitant to fire for out of fear of losing the staff if she fell into the chasm with it after shooting her. All the while, the ship was getting closer to the surface. At the corner of the chamber, Bumblebee had finally arrived. Said Scout kept his position hidden with his Solar Plasma Cannon ready, while waiting for the right moment to make himself known.

Trying to appeal to the Army Ranger, Cade said: "You don't know what you're doing, Lennox! We need this staff or the whole Earth is doomed!"

"My orders are to bring that weapon in!" Lennox said back, while his eyes were still trained on Vivian.

"In that case, go ahead and shoot me!" dared Vivian, which earned surprised looks from everyone. "However, it's been encoded with my ancestor's DNA, meaning I'm the only one here who can wield it!"

The intensity in the chamber began to increase even more until a groaning sound caught everyone's attention.

Two more Knight Drones appeared from the hallway, weapons out as they swatted aside two nearby TRF Soldiers. "Protect the staff!" yelled one of the drones as more were coming up from behind them.

Then, the 'statues' that had been near Merlin's sarcophagus came to life before pulling out their Cybertanium Claymores. With war cries, they attacked the humans, who returned fire. The entire chamber had become almost an all-out brawl. Bumblebee chose that moment to make himself known as he fired at the Knight Drones that were closest to Cade and Vivian. One was shot in both the helm and chestplates, offlining it immediately, while the other one staggered before engaging the humans again before they gunned it down. Cogman also chose that moment to break away from the TRF Soldiers who were surrounding him, while Cade ran to get to Vivian.

Before the fight could escalate further, the sound of Cybertronian gunfire came from the hallway as the Knight Drones were being gunned down by an unknown assailant. From the shadows was Nemesis Prime, armed with a dual pair of Laser Pistols as he fired more beams that cut down the remaining drones. Subspacing his pistols, Nemesis pulled out an Energon Broadaxe from his back before swiftly cutting down one of the two remaining Knight Drones and decapitated the last one. All that were left in the chamber were Bumblebee, Cogman, Cade, Vivian, Lennox, Epps, Graham, Santos and the other twenty-two TRF Soldiers.

Everyone seemed to stare in silent shock at the 29-foot black and cyan-lined mech who looked much like a certain Autobot Leader. 'Bee had even subspaced his Solar Plasma Cannon when he had thought it was Optimus, but his spark froze when Nemesis' purple optics momentarily set their gaze on him.

"Optimus?" asked Cade. However, it soon became apparent that something was very, very wrong. And that this mech wasn't the same Autobot Leader that the inventor knew.

When his purple optics locked onto Vivian, or to be more precise, the staff in her hands, Nemesis Prime retracted his battlemask. This allowed everyone to see his demonic faceplates and sharp dentas as he declared out loud: "I have come for that staff."

Chapter Text

(Onboard the Axalon...)

Said ship was full of life again. After three long years, Cybertronians walked across it's decks. Unlike how it was under Lockdown's command for the past thousand years, there were no POWs or gruesome trophies, just only Autobots moving about as they either conversed with one another or checking the weapons and other systems of the Knight's Ship. In the lower hangar bay, Omega Supreme was landing after his return from dropping off the Sparklings in Cuba. Inside the CIC, the officers, consisting of: Prowl, Jazz, Ironhide, Camshaft, Silverbolt, Armorhide and Hubcap, were currently holding a meeting. The other Autobots around them were hard at work.

"In the past few hours, we've detected multiple Energon signatures heading towards Cybertron," explained Camshaft. "I have reason to believe that these are the Decepticons that have originally been in hiding back on Earth."

"Which means they knew about our homeworld's approach long before we did," concluded Jazz, with Prowl nodding his helm in agreement.

"Judging by the number of Energon signatures we've detected, I would have to say the Decepticons' current forces outnumber us. Any head-on assaults wouldn't work for us," said the Autobot SiC.

"We've always dealt with those 'Cons who were having the larger forces many times over, but it hasn't stop us yet," retorted Ironhide. "Although they outnumber us, they can't overpower us, since we have both the Omega Supreme and the Knight's Ship with us."

Prowl sighed as he made no comment. The Heavy Weapons Specialist was always gung-ho, but he still had some points though. Looking at the Aerialbot Leader, Prowl asked: "What's our current distance?"

"We're about ten kilometers from the U.K. According to Wingblade, there's a group of Autobots waiting for us there," explained Silverbolt. "They should be contacting us now."

As if on cue, an Autobot technician brought up a holo-screen, revealing Hot Rod. "Bonjur! Is anyone there?"

Ironhide's optics widened as he recognized the mech. "Hot Rod, is that you?"

"Oui! And I'm currently with the whole group too!" replied the French-Algerian-speaking Autobot.

Prowl walked up to the holo-screen. "Where are you and your team right now? We'll come and pick you up."

Hot Rod shook his helm. "Non, non! Don't do that! Kup and 'Bee have gone with the humans to retrieve the staff. We lost comms with them awhile ago. They might need your help."

Prowl frowned but complied. "Roger that. Send us their last known coordinates and we'll find them. What are the rest of you going to do?"

"We're preparing to setup an ambush at Stonehenge. That's where the 'Cons will have to put the staff in inorder to begin transferring the energy to Cybertron. Can't tell you the rest of it, but Bumblebee and Kup will fill in the gaps for you guys. Got to go! Souhaitez-nous bonne chance!" And with that, the connection ended.

The Autobots blinked their optics as they took in the information. They had barely enough time to process it when suddenly, the whole ship shook, before something could be seen shooting out of the Axalon and flying in the direction of the U.K. The reaction was everyone onboard the Knight's Ship were scrambling in preparation for a possible attack.

"What the scrap was that?!" bellowed Ironhide, who had his dual forearm-mounted Ion Pulse Cannons at the ready.

The rest of the Autobot officers all ran out of the CIC as they saw other Autobots moving wildly about while trying to figure out what had happened. Hound, who had his X19 Scrapmaker Minigun out, was currently swearing in both English and Cybertronian: "Where are those fraggers?! I'll slag those bitches good!"

"Stand down, Hound!" ordered Prowl, before they saw Ratchet and Jolt stumbling towards them. Both mechs were covered in soot and appeared to be a bit disoriented. "What the hell happened to you two?"

"The same thing that caused this ship to shake," answered Ratchet. "Me and Jolt were performing some tests on Adam when the Youngling suddenly woke up, burst out of the Medical Bay and flew right out of the Knight's Ship. It also happened at the same time when we detected a large energy spike."

"Wait, are you saying the little squirt caused the whole vessel?" asked Hound in disbelief.

"Whatever the reason, we need to track him. He's heading near where Hot Rod had said they had lost contact with 'Bee's group. If we follow Adam, we'll find the others," said Jazz.

(Back aboard the Steelhaven...)

The entire chamber had gone silent as all eyes/optics were on the Optimus Prime doppelganger, whose purple optics were focused solely on the staff in Vivian's hands. With a snarl, he stomped forward. "The staff. Hand it over."

Several TRF Soldiers tentatively moved out of the way as Nemesis Prime made his way over. Vivian, who had both of her hands on the staff, was frozen stiff. The only thing she could do right now was to just stare at the large mech towering over her.

Beside her, Cade was also staring at who he believed at first was Optimus Prime. "Optimus, what are you doing?" asked the inventor, but he got no response from Nemesis. Cade tried again: "Don't you remember? It's me, Cade Yeager. We fought together in Hong Kong three years ago. Optimus!"

Upon hearing that name, Nemesis sent a death glare at the human, causing Cade to subconsciously step back. "I'm not Optimus. That fool had failed both my mistress and his purpose. I am Nemesis Prime, his successor. And my mission is to retrieve that staff," he declared before looking back at Vivian. Getting down to one knee, Nemesis lowered his helm closer to her. "Now, hand it over."

Vivian was still frozen in terror as she looked face-to-face with glowing purple optics. "C-c-cade?" she stuttered.

"Give me the staff, human, or I will kill you," threatened Nemesis.

"Cade?" repeated Vivian.

Said inventor looked between Vivian and Nemesis. He could tell that this mech wouldn't hesitate to kill everyone in this chamber just to get that staff. With a resigned sigh, Cade said to Vivian: "Give it to him."

All around them, the other TRF Soldiers didn't move as they were unsure of what to make of this situation. Lennox was staring from Cade to Nemesis, to Vivian and back again. Bumblebee and Cogman also glanced at each other, before the former looked back at his supposed leader.

"Do it!" repeated Cade, this time with more force.

Vivian didn't reply, but instead just slowly raised the staff to Nemesis in defeat. Without a word, said mech snatched the staff from her before putting it in a hidden subspace compartment on his chestplates.

The TRF Soldier next to Santos was about to act by raising his M249 Para SAW, but a hand on his right shoulder and a shake from the former Delta Force Operator's head caused said soldier to stand down. However, Nemesis saw the whole thing from the corner of his right optic, and responded by pulling out his dual Laser Pistols out from subspace and aimed it at the group, causing everyone to suddenly subconsciously take a few steps back. "Anyone who tries to challenge me will die," snarled Nemesis as he calmly walked out of the chamber.

Vivian was still in a state of shock of what had just happened, while 'Bee let out some disheartened sounds before Cade got his attention.

"We gotta stop him, 'Bee," said the inventor. "You heard what he said, that is not Optimus. And the Prime that we know would never do something like this. Whatever it takes, we can't let him get away with the staff."

Bumblebee nodded as he pulled out an Energon War-Hammer from subspace before heading off to stop Nemesis Prime.

Cade turned to Cogman. "I need you to get Vivian back to the sub. Got it? And this isn't the time to be acting all snide."

The Headmaster was about to let out another witty remark, but stopped upon seeing the serious look in Cade. "As you wish."

"Wait, what about you?" asked Vivian, who had finally snapped out of her shock.

"I gotta go help 'Bee. He's been there for me for the past six years, so I gotta be there for him," said Cade with determination as he attached both of his dual Mini-Photon Battle Pistols to his belt, before getting ready to follow after Bumblebee.

"Santos, Graham, help with the wounded and get the others back to the mini-subs. Epps, contact the task force and the rest of the fleet, inform them of our current situation. Now!" ordered Lennox as the uninjured TRF Soldiers were moving about. He then turned to Cade. "I'm coming with you. You're going to need all the help you and 'Bee can get against that mech."

Cade stared at the former NEST Field Commander for a moment, contemplating whether or not to let him come. Eventually, he relented and the two of them headed after Bumblebee. As the others started to evacuate, none of them paid any notice to the thirteen Guardian Knights of Iacon. Slowly, their optics started to light up as they started to wake up.

A few minutes later, Vivian and Cogman finally reached the Miranda. There, they saw Kup standing outside of the sub with his Solar Plasma Semi-Automatic Shotgun at the ready. Said mech must've felt the old ship vibrating and immediately gotten out to investigate. Kup's stance lightened when he saw the two. "What the slag is going on?!"

"We found the staff!" exclaimed Vivian as she wadded through the water towards the sub, before being helped up by Kup. "But someone looking like Optimus Prime appeared and took it. Cade and 'Bee are currently after him as we speak."

Kup frowned as he chewed on his cy-gar while processing this info. He eventually shifted his weapon so that both servos were holding it. "In that case, you two get inside. Tell Trailbreaker and Perceptor to start the sub and get out of here. I'll gonna help the lads. Now, get moving!" he ordered before jumping into the water and making his way up.

(Outside of the Steelhaven...)

During the whole time, said vessel had reached the surface. The top of the massive Cybertronian ship emerged from the English Channel with large amounts of water shooting out into the air as a number of waves began to spread out. In a certain part of the vessel, Nemesis Prime and Bumblebee shot out as if they were flying from a cannon. Nemesis managed to land, but that left an opening for Bumblebee as said Scout swung his Energon War-Hammer, hitting the Optimus Prime doppelganger right in the faceplates and sending him backwards. 'Bee followed it up by grabbing Nemesis' helm and slammed him against the ship's hull. Letting out a growl, Nemesis deployed his battlemask before delivering a right uppercut that sent Bumblebee flying while pulling out his Energon Broadaxe from subspace and engaging the young Autobot Scout.

Nemesis swung his weapon down, but Bumblebee stopped it in time with his Energon War-Hammer. Kicking him back, 'Bee swung his weapon at his opponent, but Nemesis grabbed it with his free right servo before kicking Bumblebee in the left leg, knocking the Scout off his pedes. He then delivered another kick into 'Bee's chassis before their weapons clashed again.

Not too far away from the fight, Cade and Lennox had finally gotten outside, while large waves were moving across the ship's hull as it continued to rise above the water. The two humans had to be careful not to be swept overboard by the waves.

"There they are!" shouted Lennox when he spotted Bumblebee fighting Nemesis Prime. "C'mon, we gotta get closer!"

'Bee and Nemesis were both still locked in combat, with neither giving the other an inch. It was only when the Optimus Prime imposter managed to disarm Bumblebee did the fight begin to turn against the Scout.

"Do you think you could defeat me?! I am Nemesis Prime! And you are nothing!" he roared as he grabbed 'Bee by his left arm before tossing him aside.

Chirping and clicking in annoyance as he regained his balance, Bumblebee deployed his insect-like battlemask and brought his Solar Plasma Cannon out before charging forward. Nemesis dropped his Energon Broadaxe and brought out his dual Laser Pistols as the two mechs began to fire at one another, with neither side being able to land a fatal blow except a few scratches and 'Bee was able to reach Nemesis. Performing a powerful leap, Bumblebee lunged at the black and cyan-lined mech before delivering a strong punch to the faceplates. However, Nemesis took that opening to bring both of his fists down on top of 'Bee, causing said Autobot to hit the ship's hull with a loud clang!

With his opponent temporarily stunned, Nemesis retrieved his Energon Broadaxe and raised it over his helm. "Die!" he hissed as he prepared to bring it down on Bumblebee, only to be stopped, though, by the timely arrival of both Lennox and Cade. Lennox fired his Salient Arms International Tier One GRY Assault Rifle, while Cade fired his dual Mini-Photon Battle Pistols. Nemesis growled as he felt the projectiles hit his left shoulder before raising his dual Laser Pistols to fire back. This time, he was stopped by Kup, who had just arrived. Said mech fired his Solar Plasma Semi-Automatic Shotgun at Nemesis' back and forcing him to stagger away from Bumblebee.

"Get up, lad! This fight ain't over yet!" yelled Kup as he kicked 'Bee's Energon War-Hammer to him. Said Scout let out a chirp of gratitude as he grabbed his weapon before using it to strike Nemesis in the chassis, causing the Optimus Prime imposter to lose his dual Laser Pistols.

Another wave came in that knocked both Cade and Lennox off their feet. Bumblebee had turned to check on them, but that second of a distraction was all that Nemesis Prime needed to bash the young Autobot to the side. He then turned his attention towards Kup while dodging the veteran's attacks while charging at him. Nemesis brought his Energon Broadaxe down on Kup, which forced the bluish-grey mech to raise his Solar Plasma Semi-Automatic Shotgun in defense.

"Ancient relic! You don't belong in my mistress' vision of a new Cybertron," growled Nemesis.

"Better to be a relic than be a damn phony like you, punk!" retorted Kup.

That comment didn't sit well with Nemesis, who let out a roar as he shoved Kup back before striking the old mech in the left knee with his Energon Broadaxe, causing Kup to cry out in pain as he felt said weapon cut several wires and damaged some gears. Nemesis then grabbed the old Autobot by the neck and was preparing to offline him when he was tackled by Bumblebee. Kup fell on his aft while tending to his damaged left leg. Cade had managed to get back up and rushed over to help 'Bee, while Lennox was getting back up too.

The Autobot Scout's tackle had sent both himself and Nemesis sliding/rolling down towards the center of the ship's hull. The Optimus Prime imposter was the first to recover as he grabbed Bumblebee by the neck before delivering a brutal punch to the Autobot's chassis and following it up by slamming him against the hull. Nemesis then picked up his Energon Broadaxe as he stood over 'Bee. Raising his weapon, he snarled out: "I told you earlier: 'Anyone who tries to challenge me will die!'"

Then, Nemesis Prime brought his Energon Broadaxe down on Bumblebee...

...only for a Cybertanium Claymore to stop its descent, with the broadaxe's blade inches from 'Bee's chestplates. The two mechs' optics widened as they looked at the source. Above them, Lennox, Cade and a limping Kup had arrived and were also surprised at the newcomer.

Standing there, with the Sword of Judgement against his doppelganger's weapon, was none other than Optimus Prime himself (who had his battlemask on). "Not on my watch," he said.

(Half an hour earlier...)

Optimus was still falling through Earth's atmosphere. Earlier, he had used his Vector Shield-Cannon's thrusters to slow down his descent and angle of approach so that he would hit the water. And the Autobot Leader's gamble paid off as he struck the saltwater of the English Channel. His systems recovered quickly as Optimus poked his helm out of the surface.

"Ultra Magnus, this is Optimus. I'm alright," said Optimus through his comms unit. I managed to land in the English Channel without serious damage, and I'm currently sending you my coordinates for pickup."

As soon as he finished his transmission, Optimus suddenly felt something solid hit the bottom of his pedes. Soon said object began to rise until it breached the surface. The young Prime quickly realized that it was the hull of a large ship and was rising fast. Optimus immediately pulled out the Sword of Judgement and impaled it through the hull, ensuring that he wouldn't fall off. Once he felt a steady grip, Optimus began climbing the vessel to get to the top.

By the time he got to the top, the ship was fully out of the water and moving. Looking at it, Optimus came to the realization that this was the Steelhaven, an ancient but advanced Cybertronian vessel that Alpha Trion had told him about long ago. But his audio receptors soon picked up the sound of fighting close by. As he moved against the waves across the slippery metal, the Autobot Leader's optics saw Bumblebee fighting against Quintessa's clone. Without even thinking, he dashed towards them, while pulling out the Sword of Judgement. Optimus was able to reach them just as Nemesis Prime was about to finish off the Scout.

(Back to the present...)

Optimus shoved Nemesis back before engaging his doppelganger in combat. Nemesis tried to fight back, but he was being pressured by Optimus as said Prime was filled with rage at the thought that one of his own comrades was nearly offlined by an evil clone of his. And add to that was that this clone would have a hand in Earth's destruction and was affiliated with the same person who hired Lockdown to hunt down his fellow Autobots three years ago, only fueled Optimus' fury.

Nemesis quickly lost his Energon Broadaxe as said weapon was knocked out of his servos. He tried to raise one of his dual Laser Pistols, but it was also quickly destroyed by the Sword of Judgement. "No!" yelled Nemesis as he made a desperate lounge towards Optimus. "I will not lose! I am Nemesis Prime!"

Optimus easily moved to the side and dodged his evil clone's attack. "Wrong! You are nothing!" declared the Autobot Leader as he brought the Sword of Judgement down from behind his opponent's back. In one swift move, the Sword of Judgement brutally bisected Nemesis Prime right down the middle. Both ends hit the ship's hull at the same time. The purple optics of the clone faded away two seconds afterwards as a pool of Energon began to spill onto the hull.

With his foe now offlined, Optimus vented deeply as he put the Sword of Judgement onto his back before walking over to Bumblebee as he offered the Scout a servo. "Bumblebee, can you stand?"

'Bee was frozen stiff for moment, as he was unable to believe that his leader had returned. Eventually, he recovered and nodded. Taking Optimus' offered servo, said Prime pulled his fellow Autobot up.

"Optimus!" yelled a voice that got the attention of the two Autobots. Sliding down the ship's hull towards them were Cade and Lennox, who were followed by Kup, who was currently using his Solar Plasma Semi-Automatic Shotgun as a makeshift crutch.

"Lennox, Cade, Kup!" said Optimus as each individual approached the two. "It's good to see you again, all of you."

Cade looked at the Autobot Leader. He and Lennox didn't need to ask if this was the real one, for this was indeed the Optimus Prime.

"It's good to see you too, sir," replied Kup. "But right now, we need to get the staff out from that corpse before anymore trouble arrives."

Unfortunately, 'trouble' did come when explosions appeared all around them, sending the three Autobots and two humans flying. And that's when Megatron, along with Starscream, Nitro Zeus and Cyclonus landed. Nitro Zeus grabbed 'Bee by the neck and slammed him hard against the ship's hull. Meanwhile, Cyclonus put his left pede on 'Bee's chassis, pinning the young Autobot down and aimed his right forearm-mounted twin 20x102mm M39A2 Revolver Cannons at his faceplates. Deciding to go after Optimus, Starscream held the Prime down with his left forearm-mounted M61A2 Vulcan Rotary Cannon aimed at the Autobot Leader's spark-chamber, while Megatron walked on over to Nemesis Prime's corpse. Giving little regards to the offlined frame, the Decepticon Leader roughly pulled the staff from Nemesis' subspace compartment. Said object extended itself so it would better fit in the mech's servo.

"You ruined your chance to offline Unicron!" taunted Starscream as he stepped to the side.

Megatron then grabbed Optimus by the top of his helm before their optics were glaring at one another. "I know you wouldn't do it! And that's why Quintessa created that clone in the first place," said the Decepticon Leader. "You've turned your own back on our homeworld, and as punishment, you will watch Earth die!" And with that, Megatron shoved Optimus back and took off, followed by his fellow Decepticons.

As soon as they left, the Guardian Knights of Iacon appeared. "There he is!" yelled one of them in English. They were all armed as they charged straight towards Optimus, as said Prime barely had a moment to get up when the closest Knight, Steelbane, smacked him in the back with his Energon Spear. Another Knight, Dragonicus, slammed his right fist into Optimus' faceplates, knocking him back down.

The rest of the Knights began to surround the young Prime, while pushing back Kup and Bumblebee. Meanwhile, Lennox and Cade were trying their very best to avoid being stepped on. Not too far away, Trailbreaker and Perceptor had managed to get onto the Steelhaven before it took off. Perceptor was currently carrying Vivian and Cogman in his servos, as they and Trailbreaker could only watch in horror as the Knights ganged up on Optimus.

"You allowed the Great Deceiver, Quintessa, to corrupt the sacred essence of the Primes!" yelled one of the Knights as he kicked Optimus in the chassis.

"The killer of Alchemist and Quintus Prime has the staff! And you didn't do anything to stop her!" shouted Dragonicus as he slammed the flat side of his Cybertanium Claymore against the Autobot Leader's back, which was followed by another Knight with the flat side of his Cybertanium Broadaxe.

The red-colored mech and the leader of the Guardian Knights of Iacon, Stormreign, then approached Optimus before declaring to him: "You have betrayed your own kind and have broken the Knight's oath!" Then he smacked the young Prime with his Cybertanium Mace before nodding to Dragonicus as said mech walked up with his Cybertanium Claymore at the ready. "The judgment is death."

Cade couldn't take it anymore as he watched Optimus taking a beating for something that he had absolutely had no control over was too much for him, and now they were going to offline the Autobot Leader. In a hopeless attempt to stop the execution, Cade got in between Optimus and Dragonicus, while unaware that the talisman that was attached to his left arm was moving towards his left hand while slowly transforming. In that one second, several things happened: a fast-moving object landed between Optimus and Dragonicus just as Cade was nearing them. The impact from the landing caused a small shockwave that pushed Cade back a bit. At the same time, the talisman flew off and shifted into a European Longsword and into the newcomer's right hand, before said person raised the blade and blocked Dragonicus' Cybertanium Claymore with surprising ease.

Everyone looked at the arrival, who was a Cybertronian mech. But this one had a silver-colored frame that clearly almost looked like armor. He was also the same size as a 15-year-old human as his blue optics scanned the Knights. In his servos was the European Longsword, now in its true form as Excalibur. Despite his appearance, Cade, as if feeling a bond with this newly-arrived mech, instantly recognized him: "Adam?"

The thirteen Guardian Knights of Iacon all gathered around the former human teen as they formed a circle. As one, they all raised their respective weapons.

"Seglass ni tonday," uttered Stormreign in Cybertronian.

"Seglass ni tonday," repeated Dragonicus.

"Seglass ni tonday," repeated a Knight named Steelbane.

Each and everyone of them repeated those words until it came back to Stormreign, who said: "Nova Prime, the Prime of Life himself, has come to us."

Adam took a moment to look at himself as he inspected his new servos before feeling his faceplates. "This feels both weird and yet so normal, as if I have just woken up from a dream or something," he commented as his new mouthplates moved naturally.

"Cade, Lennox, Adam," began Optimus as he slowly got up. "I have failed you all. I've allowed Megatron to take the staff and doomed Earth, which is the only other place besides Cybertron that I have called 'home'. I am unworthy of being a leader."

"That's not true, Optimus," said a voice. This time it came from none other than Bumblebee himself, shocking the humans and Autobots present. It wasn't a quote from a movie, tv show or the radio, it was 'Bee's real voice. "Sir, I would gladly give my spark for you, because I believe in you."

Trailbreaker, Kup and Perceptor all nodded in agreement.

"He's right, Optimus," said Lennox. "We can't do it without you. You're the only one who can lead us through this."

"One chance, that's all we got. And we can't achieve that without you at the front, Optimus," added the newly-christened Nova Prime.

Hearing their words had filled Optimus' spark with determination. With a stance that spoke of confidence, the Autobot Leader stood up and looked at the Guardian Knights of Iacon. "My brothers, I swear on my spark that I will never fail our people again." As he spoke, the Iron Will had finally arrived, and was currently hovering above the gathered Cybertronians and humans. "To save both our races and our homeworlds, we must go to Cybertron and stop Quintessa!"

Chapter Text

(Aboard the Iron Will...)

The flight had been tensed. After picking up the seven Autobots (Nova Prime and Cogman were counted as one of them), three humans and the thirteen Guardian Knights of Iacon, Optimus ordered Ultra Magnus to retrieve Epps, Graham, Santos and the other twenty-two TRF Soldiers who were able to escape the rising Steelhaven in their submersibles. Some of the Autobots were clearly uncomfortable with the idea of being aboard the same ship with those (except for Lennox, Graham and Epps) who had been hunting them for so long. But duo to the current situation, it was best not to argue.

Currently, Bumblebee was being tended to by First Aid, along with Kup. The Junior Medical Officer was given assistance by Perceptor as said Scientist/Physicist had some knowledge of medical skills. At the pilot seat in the cockpit, Magnus was contacting Hot Rod's group and the Axalon of their current situation. The rest of the Autobots were with Cade, Vivian, Lennox, Epps, Graham and Nova, standing somewhat protectively away from Santos and the rest of the TRF Soldiers. The Knights were especially making sure the humans did no harm to Nova. Santos and his men were also a bit uncomfortable, with some of them fiddling with their weapons.

During the flight, Nova had begun to reveal the actual history behind Quintessa, which he had learned of this when the armor, which was crafted by Alpha Trion himself and who gave it to the Guardian Knights of Iacon for safekeeping, had merged with him. Quintessa was part of the earliest generation of Cybertronians created by the AllSpark, with said cube being a fragment of Primus' own spark itself. The femme herself was among the select few known as the Disciples of Primus, which were a group of Cybertronians who each served a specific Prime. The Guardian Knights of Iacon were also members of this order, while serving under the very first Prime, Prima, as both his bodyguards and his most trusted warriors. Quintessa was both the personal aide and the greatest student of Quintus Prime, the scientific mind of the Thirteen. She was also noted to be very highly-skilled in the knowledge of Cybertronian biology to the point that she was on an equal footing with her mentor. However, this made her arrogant, as Quintessa believing in herself to be on the same level as the Primes.

Unfortunately, the fall of the Dynasty began when the Primes had discovered Earth, with Unicron himself as its core. At first, they had simply planned to destroy the planet in order to end the Chaos Bringer once and for all, but upon discovering that Earth had life on its surface, especially humans, the Thirteen immediately put a halt on their original plan as they valued all life and began to search for an alternative. The only one who didn't agree was Megatronus, for he believed that the Primes' care for life was endangering both their species and their homeworld. And to make matters worse, he was also sickened of how some of his fellow Primes began to create new Primes from their own sparks. Four had already been born, the eldest was Omega, followed by Zeta, Sentinel, and Optimus.

It was also around this time when Alpha Trion, who was in charge of overlooking the AllSpark, received a vision from Primus himself, who told him that one day, when Unicron returned and the fate of all Cybertronians came, a new Prime would be born. When Alpha Trion asked him who this new Prime was, Primus gave him no name except that this one would be known as the 'Prime of Life'.

Upon hearing this prophecy, Megatronus approached Quintessa and was able to manipulate her into thinking that she was this new Prime in the prophecy. He then coerced her into helping him overthrow his brothers and sister in order to gain control of the AllSpark so that he could become the sole ruler of Cybertron. While it was still unsure if Quintessa would be fine serving under him, both her arrogance and her pride made her join Megatronus Prime.

Their first act was to get the Matrix of Leadership, which was a relic that Primus bestowed onto Prima during the battle with Unicron in order to power up the Sun Harvester, which was currently in the servos of Solus Prime. Megatronus promptly murdered his sister in cold Energon, followed by Liege Maximo after the latter had learned of his treacherous plans. Megatronus, now dubbed as the Fallen, also gave Quintessa temporarily powers of the Primes, allowing said Sorceress to offline Quintus, while framing her mentor's murder on the Fallen in order to cover her own role in the coupe and this would help her in gaining Quintus' knowledge on manipulating life.

Afterwards, the seven remaining Primes: Prima, Nexus, Micronus, Vector, Onyx, Logos and Amalgamous chased after the Fallen to Earth, where their loyal forces faced off against those who were fighting for the corrupt Prime. The battle was intense as both sides suffered heavy losses, but the Fallen's power had grown, which allowed him to slay all except Prima and Logos, with the latter being close to death. However, the leader of the Thirteen was able to gather the energies of his late brothers and sister to heavily-injure the Fallen, which was soon followed by Logos as he used the last of his remaining strength to seal the corrupt Prime in a pocket dimension for all eternity. What followed next was already known, Prima sacrificed himself to create a tomb that was made from both his and his brothers' frames to hide the Matrix of Leadership away from those who would misuse its power.

The two remaining Primes: Alpha Trion and Alchemist, along with the young Omega and Zeta, tried to lead Cybertron while searching for a new way to keep the AllSpark going. One of their ideas was to teleport a nearby sun to their homeworld in order to energize the cube indefinitely, while another idea was to somehow get their homeworld to move. The remaining Disciples of Primus, which were the Guardian Knights of Iacon, also helped the two Primes as well. However, none of them had suspected that Quintessa was forming her own plans, due to the Fallen's defeat and the loss of the Matrix of Leadership, had caused her to change her strategy to gain rulership of Cybertron. She took Scourge, the Fallen's last remaining servant, under her wing, along with her own creations: the Infernocons. Later, Quintessa was able to deceive the Guardian Knights into thinking that she was in fact the Prime of Life, though some say that she may have been deceiving herself as well.

Quintessa eventually came to the conclusion that she could usurp control of the planet and keep Cybertron's flow of Energon going in a single stroke. And that conclusion was none other than her staff, which would drain Earth's core in order to empower her homeworld's core. But in order to do that, she needed to get into Cybertron's core itself, and that could only be accessed by a Prime. So, Quintessa manipulated the Guardian Knights into kidnapping Optimus, who was still a Sparkling at the time, so that she could control him and get into the planet's core. Naturally, when the Primes discovered this ploy, they tried to stop it before it was too late. The resulting clash ended when Alchemist Prime used his powers to send both Quintessa and the Infernocons to the other side of the universe, and far away from Cybertron. But sadly, the battle had left Alchemist mortally wounded and his spark was eventually extinguished.

The Guardian Knights of Iacon, upon realizing that Quintessa had deceived them, awaited judgement from Alpha Trion, the sole survivor of the Dynasty of Primes. Instead, the scholar had the thirteen Knights swear an oath to guard the staff for all eternity, should Quintessa ever return. The Guardian Knights took their ship, the Steelhaven, and traveled to Earth. There, they could both protect the staff and watch over Unicron and the humans.

"And that's basically what happened," said Nova Prime as he finished his story.

The five humans and Autobots were silent as they took all of this in. The Guardian Knights backed up what Nova had said, confirming that his story was correct.

"So, basically, this 'Quintessa' is suffering from a very serious case of self-delusion?" asked Graham incredulously.

"Pretty much," replied Nova. "But that means is that we cannot underestimate her. Although she's no longer has the power of the Primes, her mastery over life has improved over the centuries, meaning that she is on the same level as Quintus Prime."

"He's telling the truth," said Optimus. "I've seen her powers first-hand, and she won't be an easy adversary to defeat, though we must try anyway."

"The only thing that I want to know is whatever happened to the other two Primes, Omega and Zeta?" asked Cade.

Everyone looked at Nova, expecting an answer. However, the newly-born Prime merely shrugged his shoulders. "It was never said. By the time Quintessa and the Infernocons were both banished, Cybertronian society had fallen into various tribes as they contested for whatever resources that remained. All I know is that Alpha Trion personally raised Optimus, while Omega Prime raised Sentinel. Zeta apparently wandered around the planet and disappeared without a trace."

"It was probably Omega who taught my former mentor about his lineage. Whenever I asked Sentinel about him, he would never tell me. But after hearing your story, I can only conclude that something happened to Omega that would make Sentinel remain silent. It's possible that the same outcome has also happened to Zeta Prime too," commented Optimus.

Suddenly, Ultra Magnus' voice was heard from the ship's speakers:"Everyone, we're approaching Stonehenge, and the Steelhaven is also directly above the structure. I'm also picking up a lot of chatter from various human radios and TV news channels about large debris from Cybertron impacting from the U.K down to North Africa. This is going to get a bit hairy."

(Stonehenge, England)

Megatron and the other three Decepticons had finally arrived at their destination. The prehistoric monument were large pieces of Cybertron that had hit the Earth, with chunks of the planet floating above them as it nearly blocked the sun out. Waiting for them were Shockwave, Barricade, Blackout, Astrotrain, Fracture, and Storm Surge, who was a 27-foot mech who could transform into a blue and white-colored Zubr-Class LCAC (Landing Craft Air Cushion) Hovercraft. The four of them quickly transformed into their biped forms as they landed next to the ring of standing stones. There weren't any signs of humans, military or otherwise, around them.

Nitro Zeus immediately ran up to Shockwave before embracing his older brother in a bear-like hug. "Ha-ha! Big bro!"

Shockwave just merely gave a nod to his more enthusiastic younger brother. "Greetings, Nitro. It's good to see you as well."

"You betcha it is!" said Nitro Zeus as he let go of his brother. "The Assassin Duo is back together!"

Meanwhile, Fracture and Blackout approached Megatron before the two of them bowed their helms in respect to their master. "My Lord, all of our remaining forces are currently stationed around the Ignition Chamber. Once the device here is activated, we can head there ourselves," reported Blackout.

"Tidal Wave has reported that he had did a minor strike on the nearby human fleet before heading up towards Cybertron," added Storm Surge. "If the humans try to retaliate, they'll have little to send after us before the process is complete."

"We're also picking up multiple Autobot signatures heading here. However, they won't make it in time due to their current speed," reported Fracture as she looked at Megatron with adoration. "It's time, Lord Megatron."

The Decepticon Leader nodded before looking up. Above them, the Steelhaven had finally arrived as it hovered directly on top of Stonehenge. "At last, the ship of the Guardian Knights of Iacon has arrived. Now, we can begin the first stage to Cybertron's restoration."

"And the death of Earth," said Barricade while cackling. "I have always wanted to kill a planet."

"We won't be just killing a planet, but a god too," added Astrotrain with a laugh.

Raising the staff for everyone to see, Megatron announced: "Rejoice, my fellow Decepticons! For a new age is among us! In the name of our homeworld, I will activate this portal and witness the rebirth of Cybertron, and the death of our enemies!"

His declaration was met by roars of approval by the other Decepticons.

Unbeknownst to them, both a nearby platoon of four FV4034 Challenger 2 LEP (Life-Extension-Programme) MBTs from the King's Royal Hussars and a rifle platoon from the 1st Royal Welsh Battalion (both units were part of the U.K's 12th Armoured Infantry Brigade) were hiding nearby. Burton was also there, and thanks to Perceptor, the old man was using a device that was currently cloaking both him and the nearby British military units from the Decepticons' scanners. The moment Megatron was in his line-of-sight, Burton transformed his cane into a Cybertronian rifle and fired at the Decepticon Leader. Said mech let out a gasp of pain as the energy projectile struck his left shoulder. It was also the signal for the British military in the area to attack. Starting it off was Guzzle, in his alt-mode, who fired a 75x640mmR APCBC-HE (Armor-Piercing-Capped-Ballistic-Cap-High-Explosive) round that hit Barricade in the lower chassis and nearly knocking the former Kaon Enforcer on his aft. Soon, the rest of the Autobots, along with the British Armed Forces, appeared as they open fire at the 'Cons.

Shockwave was able to damage the barrel on one of the Challenger 2 LEP MBTs with his right arm-mounted AstroMag Cannon before taking cover alongside Astrotrain, as the Triple-Changer let rip with his Ionic Displacer Rifle. Blackout immediately got in front of his leader, while firing back at the Autobots and humans with his left forearm-mounted GAU-2/A Minigun. Fracture and Barricade were firing their Fusion SMGs respectively, while guarding Megatron's rear. Storm Surge was currently firing his dual forearm-mounted 30x165mm GSh-6-30K Rotary Cannons, while Starscream was letting lose with his left forearm-mounted M61A2 Vulcan Rotary Cannon, and Nitro Zeus with his right forearm-mounted 27x145mm Mauser BK-27 Revolver Cannon. Cyclonus was taking cover and firing back with his right forearm-mounted twin 20x102mm M39A2 Revolver Cannons. With a loud roar, Megatron joined in as he fired a few shots from his right forearm-mounted Fusion Cannon before slamming his left fist into the center of Stonehenge. Doing so revealed a piece of Cybertronian machinery that released a burst of electricity that went into the Steelhaven. Additional stone pillars popped out of the ground around the Decepticons, giving them the signal that the device was ready.

As he got up, Megatron spotted Burton and quickly realized that he was the one who shot him in the left shoulder. "You wretched insect!" he snarled as he fired his Fusion Cannon, the projectile hit the ground in front of Burton and sending the elderly human flying through the smoke and piles of Earth before hitting the ground.

"Lord Megatron, Autobot forces have arrived!" yelled Astrotrain over the sound of his Ionic Displacer Rifle.

And sure enough, both the Axalon and the Iron Will could be seen not too far away. With a frown, Megatron picked up the staff. "Decepticons, fall back to Cybertron!" he ordered before transforming into his alt-mode and flying upwards. Starscream, Nitro Zeus, Blackout and Cyclonus soon joined him as they ignored the gunfire. Astrotrain shifted into his alt-mode and opened the doors to his Cargo Bay for Shockwave, Barricade, Fracture, and Storm Surge to get in. Once all four were onboard, the Decepticon Triple-Changer took off and followed the others.

A few minutes later, the two Autobot vessels had finally landed. Coming out of the Axalon were Prowl, Jazz, Ironhide, Ratchet, Arcee, Chromia, Elita, Sideswipe, Jolt, Mirage, Hound, Drift, Crosshairs, Evac, Silverbolt, Air Raid, Breakaway, Warpath, Camshaft, Armorhide, Ramhorn, Wingblade, Inferno, Brawn, Stratosphere, and the Dinobots. Following them were Izabella, Sqweeks, Simmons, Dutch, Leo, and Jimmy. Coming out from the nearby forest to meet them were Hot Rod and the rest of his team. Sideswipe's optics lit up when he saw a familiar 15-foot golden-yellow mech with wheeled-pedes. "Sunny!" shouted the silver-colored Frontliner as he skated over to greet his twin brother in a hug.

"It's good to see you too, Sides'!" said Sunstreaker, while Bob hissed happily. Surprised by the Insecticon's presence, Sideswipe nevertheless bent down and gently scratched him from behind the antennas.

As the rest of the Autobots greeted one another, Ultra Magnus' ship had finally landed. When the Iron Will's doors opened up, Cogman immediately dashed out towards where Burton was lying, while being followed by Nova Prime.

"My Lord! Lord Folgan!" cried Cogman as he ran over to Burton. Said man had multiple scratches on his face and his clothes were heavily burnt. His breathing was also becoming shallow too. The Headmaster knelt beside his Lord in order to try to find some way in order to help him, but soon came to the sad conclusion that Burton wouldn't make it. The man tried to raise his shaking left hand, which Cogman took with his own right servo.

"I had it, Cogman. I had my moment," whispered Burton.

The Headmaster nodded sadly. "You did, my Lord. It was magnificent. This was always the hardest part of my job. Watching Folgans pass into the next life. But out of all the Earls I have served, you were the bravest of the Burton Family." The sound of footsteps could be heard and yet without even turning his helm, Cogman knew that Nova was standing behind him. "He's here, my Lord. Young Adam is here."

Through hazy eyes, the dying Sir Edmund Burton looked upon the son of the woman who was like a granddaughter to him. Shifting back into his human form, Adam got down to one knee and took Burton's left hand with both of his hands.

"Thank you for everything...Grandpa," said Adam Nova/Nova Prime gently.

Burton managed to form a weak smile at that title. He then looked at Cogman and said: "Cogman, please serve him as you did for me and my family. Promise me that."

"Of course, my Lord," replied the Headmaster. "As you wish."

"Thank you, Cogman. Carry on," said Burton before his breathing had finally ceased and his chest had stopped moving. It was at that moment that Sir Edmund Burton, Commander of Her Majesty's Royal Navy, retired. 12th Earl of Folgan and the last surviving member of the Order of the Witwiccans, passed on to the next life.

Highbrow and Kup had finally arrived at that moment. But upon seeing Burton's status, they looked down with sad optics as the human they had watched as a kid, passed away. Adam stood up as he shifted back into his Cybertronian form. "Highbrow, right? Take his body, gently, and bring him to the Axalon. We're not leaving him here."

The ancient Seeker nodded. "Understood." With gentle servos, Highbrow picked up Burton's body and cradled it close to his chassis, right near his spark-chamber.

As Highbrow took care of Burton's body, the remaining three went back to rejoin the others. When they were close enough, Nova was nearly knocked over by an overexcited Ramhorn, as said Cyber-Rhino began to lick the young Prime's faceplates. "Good to see you too, Ramhorn," said Nova with a laugh.

"Adam!" cried Izzy as she hugged her friend. Nova was a bit surprised, but he returned the hug before bumping fists with Evac and Rewind as they took in his new appearance.

Back with the other Autobots, Optimus, Bumblebee, Ultra Magnus, Springer, along with both the Protectobots and the Guardian Knights of Iacon, had finally regrouped with their comrades. The Autobot Leader saw Elita run up to him. As much as the couple wanted to express the joy they have both felt for finally seeing each other, they knew that now wasn't the time. With a heavy spark, Optimus faced his comrades as they were joined by Cade, Vivian, Lennox, Epps, Graham, Santos and the other twenty-two TRF Soldiers with them.

"Knights, Autobots! This cannot and will not be the end. To save both our worlds and our people, we are going to steal Quintessa's staff and restore Cybertron's core. Only you, Vivian Wembley, can take back the staff, whereas Nova Prime and his powers from the AllSpark, can re-energized the core. This will, no doubt, be one of the greatest battles we have ever fought. And when the account of the ages is etched into the cosmos, let those exist long after us know that this was our finest hour!" declared Optimus as the other Autobots shouted in agreement.

Crosshairs nudged Hound's arm as the Paratrooper commented: "Love that guy. Gives me goosebumps all the time."

Suddenly, Lennox's radio came to life: "Colonel, its Perkins! I got Burke, Donnelly, Eckerson, Tanaka, Eddie, Stone, Mongo, Larson, Hooch and Zimmerman with me. And we're inbound on Ospreys. You should be having a visual of us now."

Sure enough, three MV-22B Osprey Tiltrotor Transports were seen approaching towards Stonehenge. Graham was currently giving out orders to both the TRF and British Army Soldiers to be ready to move, while Lennox, Epps and Santos watched the Ospreys make their way over.

"That's it? Only three Ospreys?" asked Epps as he looked at the small number.

"Task Force 51 and the rest of the 5th Fleet had reported being attacked by a Gerald R. Ford-Class Aircraft Carrier before it literally took off into the air. It was probably a Decepticon. This, along with a couple of Harriers from the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade," explained Santos before turning to Lennox. "You think it will be enough?"

"No, nowhere close," answered the former NEST Field Commander. He then looked back at the Autobots, who were still cheering after hearing their leader's speech. "But me and my old buddies from NEST have been in situations like this before. We'll manage."

That's when Camshaft looked up. His optics widened before he shouted "LOOK!" as the chunks of Cybertron started moving.

(Ignition Chamber, Cybertron, 21,000 feet above Earth)

Megatron soon arrived at the ruins of Iacon. Surrounding the former Hall of Records were hundreds of Decepticon Protoforms, Vehicons, Orbital Assault Fighters and heavy AA guns. Hovering over the ruined building was Tidal Wave in the flight configuration of his alt-mode. Behind the Hall of Records was the Longshot, the vessel of the Star Seekers. Escorting the Decepticon Leader was Blast Off, a 25-foot mech and member of the Combaticons who had just arrived, and had taken the alt-mode of a blackish-brown F-15C Eagle. Blackout and Starscream were also with them. Once they had reached the entrance to the Ignition Chamber, Blast Off flew off to regroup with the other Combaticons while the other three Decepticons shifted into their biped forms and went inside. Waiting for them were more Decepticons, as well as Infernocus and Quintessa. The troops roared as their leader came striding in with the staff in his left servo.

Soundwave, who had both Rumble and Laserbeak riding on his shoulders, walked up to his master. "Lord Megatron, all of our forces are in defensive formations and positions."

"Excellent," replied Megatron as he approached the center of the Ignition Chamber. There were two large statues on the side, holding swords up, and floating in the center of them was Quintessa.

"I have recovered your staff of power!" declared the Decepticon Leader proudly, with his army shouting out in triumph.

"You have done well, Megatron," commented Quintessa as she called her staff up to her by telekinesis. "The Autobots and their human allies will try to stop us. However, one of them, a woman by the name of Vivian Wembley, is a true threat to our plans. I have felt her just as I felt my staff. Because of her ancestor's DNA, she's the only one can regain my staff and stop the transference. We can't allow her to enter."

"Don't worry. My army will stop them," responded Megatron as several Orbital Assault Fighters flew out of the chamber.

The Sorceress nodded before saying out loud: "Then watch. For with my staff, the healing of Cybertron shall begin. Earth shall die, and our homeworld reborn!" Then, with both of her servos, Quintessa pushed her staff into the mechanism below her. Energy surged outward as it momentarily covered the entire chamber before arcs of lightning shot up towards her. Quintessa held her servos out as electricity moved through her frame and out through her digits. The lighting then traveled up the swords on the statues as the chamber began to light up in response.

(Back down at Stonehenge...)

The Earth's thermal energy, along with the energy of Unicron, were both starting to get sucked up. They came out from under the ground and into the bottom of the Steelhaven as the energies surged through said ship, both inside and outside, before being shot out from the vessel's roof and hit the floating chunks of Cybertron. Slowly, the planet's pieces started to come together rather violently as some pieces broke off.

(From North Africa and the United Kingdom...)

The giant pieces of Cybertron began to cause a good amount of damage in Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, and the English countryside.

(Back at Stonehenge...)

The parts hovering above the prehistoric monument were also acting up, as the humans, Headmaster and Autobots were witnessing. There were even a few close calls where a chunk of Cybertron that had broken off had almost crushed them.

"HOLY SHIT!" shouted Epps as a cable-like structure almost crushed him and two TRF Soldiers next to him.

"Quintessa has begun the transfer! We must get onto the Axalon!" ordered Optimus as he started running to the Knight's Ship.

"You heard him, Autobots! Get your afts moving!" roared Prowl as he and the others followed their leader.

"Move! We gotta get out of here!" ordered Lennox as he, Cade, Graham, Nova, Epps, Vivian, Izabella, Jimmy, Leo, Simmons, Dutch, Santos and the other twenty-two TRF Soldiers followed him. Both the British Army rifle platoon (made up of twenty-eight men) and the sixteen British tank crewmen from the tank platoon (who have abandoned their vehicles, but not before grabbing their personal weapons) also followed them, since they had been ordered by both the British Prime Minister and the British Secretary of State for Defence to assist the TRF and the Autobots. Flying above the group of combined forces were the three Ospreys, the Iron Will, and the Autobot flyers.

"GET TO THE OSPREYS! GET TO THE OSPREYS BEFORE WE'RE CRUSHED!" hollered Santos at the top of his lungs.

"They're gonna roll right over us!" shouted Mirage as he kept running.

Hound jumped as a piece of debris nearly hit him. "How the slag is this 'healing' Cybertron?! It looks like she's only causing more damage!"

Evac was currently shielding both Nova and Izzy as they kept on running. He then picked up the young girl when she nearly lost her footing. "Less talk, more running!"

(Onboard the Axalon...)

Fortunately, they had all managed to reach the Knight's Ship with little trouble. The three Ospreys and Ultra Magnus' ship landed in the Axalon's upper hangar bay before the Cybertronian vessel went up. It easily bypassed large falling debris and the various floating sections of Cybertron. As the Knight's Ship flew up, the Autobots and humans had managed to organize themselves once they had relaxed from their little sprint.

Now, preparations were being made for the coming battle. Turrets were being loaded with ammo, Ospreys were preparing for take-off as their crews checked their weapons. Autobots, British and TRF troops were readying their respective weapons. Meanwhile, Optimus, Ultra Magnus, Perceptor, Wheeljack, Nova, Grimlock, Springer, Lennox, Epps, Graham and Santos were in the Axalon's CIC. Also with them, and wearing their old black-colored NEST Battle Dress Uniforms (or BDUs) were U.S Army First Sergeant Roy Perkins, Master Sergeant Brian Burke, Sergeant First Class Jake Eckerson, Sergeant First Class Aaron Mongo, Sergeant First Class Mikal Hooch, Staff Sergeant Patrick 'Don' Donnelly, Staff Sergeant Michael Tanaka, Staff Sergeant Josh Stone, Staff Sergeant Marc Larson, Sergeant Eddie 'Hardcore Eddie' Speight, and Sergeant Marcus 'Baby Face' Zimmerman. Currently, a holo-screen was on in the CIC, showing the live images of General Morshower, U.S Secretary of Defense John Keller, and members from NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. In the center of the room was a holographic projection of both Earth and Cybertron. It was there that Perceptor and Wheeljack took the stage.

"Now, according to what Optimus told us, Quintessa is draining Earth's energies and leeching it to restore Cybertron," began Perceptor as he pointed at the image that obviously showed energy coming up through the Earth and through the Steelhaven like a funnel before spreading throughout the Cybertronian homeworld. "The energy is the geothermal energy coming from Earth's core. After further analysis, Wheeljack and I have deduced that the planet's core also forms the magnetic field that protects you humans from deadly cosmic radiation. If the energy siphoning isn't stopped, then the core's temperature will drastically decrease, causing the magnetic field to dissolve."

"What would happen then?" asked Keller, even though he had a pretty good idea of what the outcome would be.

The lead engineer at JPL answered that: "If our hypothesis is the same as their's, it will turn the entire Earth into a microwave oven, and with us as the unprotected popcorn."

"A rather interesting way to describe it. But, yes, that would definitely be the most likely result," added Perceptor.

There was moment of silence as the humans in the CIC took that in. The idea of such a thing that would happen to them wasn't a very pleasant one.

Ultra Magnus leaned his helm closer to Optimus' and whispered: "Aren't we going to tell them that their core is actually Unicron?"

The Autobot Leader shook his helm and whispered back: "It would bring up too many questions, and telling them now isn't the right time."

Wheeljack took over from Perceptor. "From Cosmos' earlier scans, the 'Ignition Chamber', as we dubbed it, is serving in a similar manner as the Sun Harvester that was used by the Dynasty of Primes. But in this case, however, the chamber is also acting as a battery charger. The energy from the Earth is being transferred to Cybertron's core, which in turn is having the planet reconstitute itself. The multiple impacts between the separated chunks are merging together by generating new Cyber-Matter, which is acting like makeshift glue."

"How do we stop it?" asked Morshower as he said the main question.

It was Optimus who answered it: "Because Merlin's DNA was etched into the staff, only his descendant, Vivian Wembley, can retrieve it and stop the transfer."

"Okay, I know it isn't my place to say it, but I would have to disagree with, what is to me, a very dumb idea," said the leading JPL engineer. "Personally, I'm gonna rely on both physics and mathematics to save our planet, instead of mysticism, fairies and some hobogoblins."

A few people gave the man a few odd looks before Keller asked: "And what's your answer to this dilemma?"

A second image appeared on the screen, which showed what had been designated as the 'Ignition Chamber' before focusing on another chunk of Cybertron that was hanging above said chamber. "See this. If we drop a dozen or so B61 Mod-12 Thermonuclear Gravity Bombs that are set in the low-yield at this chunk, it will detach and swing down, knocking off the chamber and boom! Earth is saved," said the leading JPL engineer with a satisfied look on his face.

"An interesting but flawed strategy," retorted Perceptor. "First is that the Ignition Chamber has its very own gravitational field, which is being powered the more it drains from the Earth, and it won't go down even if you dropped those thermonuclear gravity bombs on it. The second is that Cosmos' scans have shown that the Decepticons have launched multiple Orbital Assault Fighters into the air and deployed AA turrets to protect the chamber, meaning that any aerial craft carrying those bombs will be shot down before they can even get close enough to drop them. The final and most important reason is that the same gravity field that's holding the chamber is also extended to the rest of Cybertron. That is why the planet didn't violently collide with Earth in the first place. And if, by some chance, your plan did indeed work, the rest of the chunks would cease to remain afloat and fall back under the control of Earth's own gravity field. By my own calculations, the impact would wipe out at least two-thirds of humanity and render 80% of the Earth as a wasteland and uninhabitable, 60% if were lucky."

A long silence filled the CIC as the Autobot Scientist/Physicist finished his explanation. The leading JPL engineer had a look of disbelief on his face towards how Perceptor easily brought down his idea. It looked like he had gone catatonic and his screen soon went off.

Keller cleared his throat in order to get everything moving again. "Then it sounds like removing the staff would also deactivate the field too."

"Correct, which is why we must also restore Cybertron's core in order to heal our homeworld, ensuring the survival of both planets," replied Optimus as he gestured to Nova Prime, who was currently standing next to his right leg. "When young Nova gained the powers of the AllSpark, he also possesses the infinite energy that the cube had in order to recharge our planet's core."

Magnus walked up to the table as the holo-screen shifted to show the area between the Knight's Ship and the Ignition Chamber. "The Axalon's shields can easily protect it from the numerous chunks, though its speed will be reduced. Megatron, however, won't allow us to get close and will most likely send his flyers to keep us occupied. That's why we'll be taking both the Ospreys and the Ark to drop a small strike force, commanded by Colonel Lennox and me, close to the Ignition Chamber, while the rest of our troops keep the flyers distracted. At the same time, Stratosphere will take both Optimus and Nova to where Cybertron's core is located. It's very imperative that Nova Prime begins recharging our planet's core before the staff is removed, since it's the only way to ensure that Cybertron doesn't crash into the Earth."

"The Autobot flyers and our own pilots will be escorting us towards the chamber, as well as keeping any Decepticon flyers off us as we head in," added Lennox as he walked up beside Ultra Magnus. "But we have also spotted another ship near the Ignition Chamber."

"It's the Longshot, the vessel of the Star Seekers," said Springer. "If it gets into the fight, the Axalon won't stand a chance."

"Which is why we'll be sending a small force to infiltrate the ship to take it down before it can even get into the fight," added Optimus before turning his helm to look at Grimlock, who had been quiet the whole time. "Can we count on you and your fellow Dinobots, Grimlock?"

The Dinobot Leader nodded. "Just leave it to me and my team. We'll slaughter them all."

"We're deploying Harriers from the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade to give assistance. My U.K counterpart has also dispatched two fighter squadrons from RAF Coningsby too," added Keller. "We're not staying out of this fight."

Suddenly, a holo-image of Drift appeared. "Sensei, we have a situation here."

"What's happening, Drift?" asked Optimus.

"Some of the others are reacting aggressively towards the TRF Soldiers in the upper hangar bay. It's best if you come and see for yourself," answered the Samurai Autobot before signing off.

The Autobots and the humans in the CIC didn't even say anything as they made their way towards the upper hangar bay. When they got there, they saw several Autobots surrounding the twenty-two TRF Soldiers. The 'Bots were shouting, swearing in both English and Cybertronian, while looking ready to kill them. A few even had their respective weapons out. The TRF Soldiers were also a bit uneasy too, since they were both outnumbered and outgunned, and it didn't seem like the Autobots were going to show them any mercy. Hound and Ironhide were trying to break them up, but to no avail.

"What's going on here?!" demanded Ultra Magnus as he and Optimus approached the group, while Santos ran over to check on his men.

It was Hubcap who answered. "Why the slag are these murdering fraggers here?" demanded the orange mech with venom in his tone as he pointed an accusing digit at the TRF Soldiers. Several Autobots also nodded in agreement, while voicing their own protests.

"They've been hunting us down like animals! I have no reason to work with them!"

"I lost my best friend because of them!"

"They're no different than Cemetery Wind!"

"My sparkmate was almost murdered by these bastards!"

"I've seen them offline non-combatants without any mercy!"

"They don't deserve our help!"

"Kill them!"

"Throw 'em off this ship!"

More and more Autobots were starting to get riled up, and it wouldn't be long before they start to get violently and actually kill the TRF Soldiers. Fortunately, any hostile action was ended when Optimus intervened.

"ENOUGH!!" he yelled as he got everyone's attention. Once all optics and eyes were on him did the Autobot Leader continued: "Now isn't the time to be focused on grudges. I know that many of you are holding resentment towards the humans for what they have done to us for these past six years. Believe me, my fellow Autobots, I know. But what we are facing right now is a threat far greater than we could've ever imagined. If we failed here, then Earth will be destroyed, and Cybertron will be ruled by a tyrant. I don't expect all of you to forgive the humans, but what I do expect from all of you is to put aside your anger for the time being."

None of them seem pleased, but at least they didn't resist, although there was a few grumbles. Slowly, the crowd dispersed and went off to their assigned posts. The twenty-two TRF Soldiers let out long breaths of relief, while Santos kept a wary eye on the Autobots as they walked away.

"You know, a 'thank you' would be the polite thing to say," commented a voice.

Turning around, Santos saw Cade leaning against a wall with arms crossed. He, along with Vivian, were now wearing flight suits. Nova, Izabella, Sqweeks, Lennox and his old NEST team were also with them, while Canopy towered over them.

"You got something to say, Yeager?" asked the U.S TRF Field Commander.

Cade let out a snort. "If those guys went through with murdering you and your men, they would've been in the right. I know that I wouldn't bat an eye." Some of the TRF Soldiers flinched at his brutal comment. "For the past six years, Harold Attinger and Cemetery Wind, Lockdown, and then you guys, have been hunting them down like animals. Yet not once did they ever try to fight back, except in self-defense, but nothing else. The only time they brought the fight to the enemy was when they discovered what Cemetery Wind and KSI were doing to the bodies of their fallen comrades. I would probably do the same thing if I was in their place. Also, did you know that we had an Autobot spy inside your base this whole time?" He had a satisfied look on his face when he saw the surprised look on Santos' face. "We knew what you guys were doing the whole time, and yet we had never thought of attacking your base. Because if we did, it would just be showing that humanity was right about the Cybertronians from their point of view. And finally, you guys specifically never stopped hunting me."

Santos shifted his gear, as he was feeling a bit uncomfortable. "Orders. You were with them."

"With 'them'?" asked Cade. "I believed in one of the great ones: Optimus Prime and his Autobots. I never lost faith in them. Neither did Lennox and his old NEST buddies. Hell, even a kid knew the difference between the Autobots and the Decepticons. But you guys did. The whole world, except for Cuba, did ever since Chicago and Hong Kong. Now, you want to fight with us? Well, I appreciate you guys on making that choice, thank you."

Cade and Nova then walked off to join Vivian as she stared at the clear sky. Lennox and his team left to check on their weapons and other equipment, while Canopy picked up both Izzy and Sqweeks before leaving too. This just left Santos and his men with contemplative looks. Eventually, the former Delta Force Operator came to a decision and tore off his TRF right shoulder sleeve insignia from his BDU. One by one, the other twenty-two TRF Soldiers did the same thing, with Nova and Cade both watching in approval. Seeing how they were preparing for the endgame and that this might be the last chance to call or text his daughter, Cade pulled out his phone and typed in: 'I will always be in the sky for you, Tessa'.

(A while later...)

The Autobots and the humans were still in the upper hangar bay as they prepared for battle. There was an awkward atmosphere from the recent confrontation, but at least they weren't trying to kill each other. Nova Prime was checking his new frame, trying to do a quick run through of what he could do. Surrounding him from a good distance were the Guardian Knights of Iacon, and all thirteen of them had their own respective weapons out and ready, while some of the Autobots took a moment to look at them.

"Very mean looking, aren't they?" noted Drift.

Hound chewed on his cy-gar. "Nah, they look like wussies to me."

"Try saying that to them when they beat the crap out of you," said Bumblebee with his real voice.

It took a moment for them, but it finally occurred to the Autobots that the young Scout was actually talking.

"'Bee!" roared Ironhide as he lifted the smaller Autobot off the ground in a bear-hug. "Your voicebox, it's working!"

"Y-yeah. I guess it got back into place when I was fighting that Optimus doppelganger," said Bumblebee as the Heavy Weapons Specialist put him down.

As the rest of his friends crowded around him and congratulated 'Bee on getting his voice back, Lennox's old NEST teammates made final checks on their weapons. Burke, Eddie, Mongo and Zimmerman had armed themselves with M249 Para SAWs, while Donnelly and Tanaka had equipped themselves SCAR-L CQC Assault Rifles. Marc had armed himself with a LaRue Tactical OBR 7.62 Sniper Rifle, while Eckerson and Perkins were carrying Colt Model 933 Assault Carbines. And finally, Stone and Hooch had armed themselves with M4A1 Assault Carbines with underslung Knight's Armament Company M203A1 Grenade Launchers.

Currently, Izabella was talking to Epps, while Tanaka did last-minute comm checks with his AN/PRC-117G(V)1(C) Harris Falcon III Multiband Networking Manpack Radio. Beside her was Sqweeks, while Canopy stood behind them. Izzy then looked at the AT4-CS Rocket Launcher that Epps was adjusting before asking: "Is that thing supposed to kill Decepticons?"

"Nah, that's our job, kid," replied the U.S Air Force Chief Master Sergeant as he strapped the launcher over his right shoulder.

Suddenly, Roller's voice came through the ship's speakers: "Everyone, you might want to get moving now! Our scanners are picking up a large number of hostiles incoming!"

Flying through the clouds and around the chunks of Cybertron, several dozen Alpha and Epsilon-Class Vehicons were flying towards them, as well as other Decepticon flyers. Leading them were the Seekers: Starscream (who was flying at the front), Thundercracker, Skywarp, Slipstream, Dirge, Thrust, Sunstorm, Ramjet, Acid Storm, Nacelle, Hotlink, and Bitstream, with Dreadwing also joining them. And they were all heading towards the Knight's Ship.

"Wheeljack, activate the Storm Generator!" ordered Optimus through his comms unit.

"Copy that, sir. Activating it now!" responded the Autobot Scientist/Inventor.

As the humans boarded the Ospreys, the Autobots who volunteered for the assault got onto the Ark. That included Prowl, Jazz, Ratchet, Arcee, Chromia, Elita, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Jolt, Mirage, Leadfoot, Roadbuster, Topspin, Steeljaw, Crosshairs, Drift, Cliffjumper, Warpath, Guzzle, Kup, Ultra Magnus, Brawn, Armorhide, Inferno, Smokescreen, Clocker, Salvage, Longarm, Trailbreaker and the Protectobots (minus Blades). The flyers: Silverbolt, Air Raid, Breakaway, Blades, Wingblade, Tomahawk, Springer, Whirl, Skyhammer, Highbrow, and Blazemaster. Joining them were Bumblebee and Hot Rod, as they would be using the only two functioning Orbital Assault Fighters. They were all preparing for take-off. The Dinobots were herded aboard the Iron Will by both Windcharger and Cosmos, while Gears did some last-minute system checks. Stratosphere opened his alt-mode's nose assembly as Optimus, Nova, Evac, Rewind, Cogman, and Ramhorn got on board. Camshaft, Hoist, Dune Runner, Trench, Wheeljack, Perceptor, Knock Out, Strongarm, Rollbar, Grindcore, Scattershot, Landmine, Signal Flare, Hubcap, Wheelie and Brains have elected to remain on board the Knight's Ship with the other Autobots when the Decepticons attacked said vessel. Sqweeks and Canopy were also hanging back to watch Izzy.

"Depeche Toi, 'Bee! Get aboard!" shouted Hot Rod to the young Autobot Scout. Ironhide was currently gripping the back of the Orbital Assault Fighter that the French-Algerian-speaking mech was piloting, while Hound was on Bumblebee's. Once said Autobot was seated in place, both mechs powered up their fighters.

The three Ospreys began spinning their rotor blades, while Omega Supreme and the other Autobot flyers readied their engines. The remaining Autobots were all cheering for the strike force. Canopy was also cheering until he noticed that Izabella and Sqweeks were both missing. "Izzy? Sqweeks?" he asked as he looked for his two friends, who were originally just near his pedes.

In the Osprey that had Lennox, Epps, Graham, Mongo, Burke, Eddie, Tanaka, Donnelly, Marc, Perkins, Eckerson, Hooch, Stone, Zimmerman and Santos on board, Cade and Vivian were needing some help with getting their seat straps on. "Listen up, everyone! We're way above the service ceiling that the Ospreys are meant to fly at, so be prepared for a very bumpy ride!" said Lennox.

"That doesn't make me feel better, Lennox," said Cade.

"Wasn't supposed to," retorted the U.S Army Ranger as he ordered the pilots to take off. As the Osprey started to lift off, a tarp came off to reveal Izabella and Sqweeks. Cade did a double-take when he saw the pair. "What are you doing here?!"

Izzy seemed to be a bit stunned at being caught. "I-I don't know. Sqweeks had snuck aboard, and I got worried."

"Well, now I'm worried. We need to get her off of here!" yelled Cade to someone who would listen. "Damn it, Adam's gonna kill me." Unfortunately, no one heard him as the Osprey's rotor blades began to spin faster.

"This was probably a very bad idea," commented Izzy.

The Axalon's Storm Generator soon dispersed static smoke as said smoke covered the upper hangar bay that the strike force was at. Its electric field caused the Decepticons to fly above it and away from the upper hangar bay, but this also left them in the open for the Knight's Ship's weapon systems.

(On the Axalon's bridge...)

"Sir, the 'Cons are preparing to dive towards us," reported an Autobot.

Sitting in the captain's chair, Roller nodded as he began giving out his orders: "Tell the gunners to open fire once they're in range. Divert all power from both the magnet and the Storm Generator once the strike force is out. Have all response teams on standby to repel any possible boarders, and also have medic and repair teams on standby too. I'm not losing my ship or anymore of my crew again. Am I clear?"

There were multiple responses as his orders were carried out. Roller then contacted the strike force: "Strike team, you're clear to depart. May Primus be with us all."

(Back at the upper hangar bay...)

The first to fly out were Wingblade and the Aerialbots. After them were the three Ospreys, along with Blades, Skyhammer, Whirl, Springer, Tomahawk, and Blazemaster. Omega Supreme followed behind them, along with Highbrow and the two Orbital Assault Fighters. And finally, the Guardian Knights of Iacon combined into Dragonstorm before taking off, roaring as he flew behind the others.

Meanwhile, the Axalon's automatic ball turrets had already opened up as Autobot gunners fired them from their stations on the bridge. Numerous Vehicons were destroyed, and the rest were forced to scatter as they opened up on the Autobot vessel. Starscream dropped a GBU-39/B SDB-I Precision-Guided-Glide-Bomb (PGGB) that destroyed one of the automatic ball turrets as he flew over the Knight's Ship before spotting the strike force. "Lord Megatron, the Autobots and the humans have dispatched a small task force and are heading your way," reported the Decepticon Air Commander through his comms unit.

(Back at the Ignition Chamber...)

Megatron nodded. "Continue your attack on the Knight's Ship. If it reaches here to support the Autobots and the humans, we won't be able to hold it back. Dispatch some of your Seekers to go after them." Once finished, the Decepticon Leader turned around and looked at the Orbital Assault Fighters that have been held in reserve for situations like this. "Intercept them!" he ordered as the fighters took off.

(Back with the Seekers...)

"It will be done," replied Dreadwing as he took out one of the Axalon's automatic ball turrets with his 30x165mm GSh-30-1 Autocannon at close-range. "Alpha-Class Vehicons, continue with engaging those turrets. Epsilon-Class Vehicons, begin boarding the Knight's Ship and engage the crew."

(Back with the strike force...)

"Yee-haw!" cheered Hound as they soared through the air.

On the Ark, the Autobots were preparing themselves for when they landed. Kup, Crosshairs, Armorhide, and Brawn were manning Omega's rear, starboard, port and upward ball turrets, since the large Cybertronian couldn't multi-task all at once. They fired the turret-mounted Heavy Autocannons at anything attacking them. Ultra Magnus was in the cockpit as he looked at the scanners. "Cosmos, Stratosphere, we're nearing the checkpoint, so be prepared to split off towards your assigned posts."

"Understood, sir," replied Cosmos through his comms unit.

"Copy that, Magnus. I'll make sure to get these guys there safely," said Stratosphere.

Suddenly, Omega spoke up: "Warning: Decepticon flyers detected from both the rear and front."

The Orbital Assault Fighters arrived first and opened up on the Autobots and humans. At the same time, the Seekers did a dive and attacked from behind. The Aerialbots took the lead as they launched AIM-9X Sidewinder SRAAMs (Short-Range-Air-to-Air-Missiles) and managed to down five of the Orbital Assault Fighters. Some of said fighters tried to attack from the sides, but were intercepted by both Bumblebee and Hot Rod.

"Take 'em out!" yelled Ironhide from behind Hot Rod before firing one of his dual forearm-mounted Ion Pulse Cannons at the closest attacking fighter, damaging its weapons. Hot Rod then finished it off with a burst from his fighter's Light Autocannons.

Thundercracker launched one of his AIM-9X Sidewinder SRAAMs at the nearest Osprey, but fortunately, the pilot was able to launch flares in time to confuse the Sidewinder's built-in infrared homing system to detonate at one of the large chunks of Cybertron. Next up, Skywarp was firing his 20x102mm M61A2 Vulcan Rotary Cannon at a different Osprey, but was blocked when Omega Supreme got in front of the human aircraft.

Izabella was clutching Sqweeks tightly to her chest. "It'll be fine. Everything will be okay," she said in an effort to reassure both herself and her friend, who was clicking wildly.

"Viper and Cobra Flights, we need you guys to distract those enemy ships or we're not gonna make it!" ordered Lennox into his radio.

The AV-8B Harrier II Plus' from the 5th Marine Expeditionary Brigade, along with the Typhoon FGR4s from the RAF's No. 1 Group (Air Combat) immediately opened up on the Orbital Assault Fighters and were able to down four of them before the rest of them turned their attention on them. It soon became a dogfight between the Aerialbots and the human-manned fighters against the Decepticon-manned Orbital Assault Fighters.

Back on Omega Supreme, the Autobots immediately fired at the Seekers, forcing them to scatter. "Keep them off the Ospreys," ordered Magnus to the 'Bots manning the ball turrets.

"Sir, we've reached the final checkpoint," reported Prowl.

Ultra Magnus nodded and contacted the others through his comms unit: "Optimus, Cosmos, you can now detach from the main force."

Once that was said, the Iron Will made a hard turn to the left as it headed towards the Longshot, while Stratosphere made a hard turn to the right. As expected, some of the Orbital Assault Fighters went after them. Dragonstorm automatically went after the ones that were pursuing Stratosphere, while Wingblade went to support Cosmos. Letting out a stream of flames from one of his three helms, Dragonstorm destroyed one of the fighters before one of his others helms latched onto a second fighter that got too close and destroyed it with his jaws.

Meanwhile, Wingblade fired his 30x173mm GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling-Style Autocannon on the Orbital Assault Fighters chasing after the Iron Will, quickly gunning down two of them with 30x173mm API (Armor-Piercing-Incendiary) rounds before destroying the remaining four with AIM-9X Sidewinder SRAAMs. Once the ship was clear, Wingblade did a U-turn and regrouped with the others, but not before shooting down another fighter that was about to destroy an Osprey.

On board the Ark, the Autobots were extremely busy trying to shoot down the Seekers, but said Decepticon flyers, however, were very nimble as they dodged every attempt to bring them down.

"These fraggers won't stand still!" complained Crosshairs.

"Quit complaining and keep on shooting!" yelled Armorhide as he managed to shoot down one of the Orbital Assault Fighters. "At least the fighters are easier to hit than the Seekers."

The Ark shook a bit, causing some of the Autobots to tumble. Skids and Mudflap both collided with the nearest wall. "Those fools are gonna be in a world of hurt when I get my servos on 'em!" complained Mudflap.

"Yeah, those bitches are gonna have their asses whooped!" added Skids in agreement, while currently upside down.

Ratchet and Jolt were currently checking on Omega's status. "The big guy is still holding strong, Magnus. But we can't protect the humans and fight off those Seekers at the same time," reported Ratchet.

Ultra Magnus nodded and contacted the others through his comms unit: "All Autobot flyers, except Blades, break off from formation and engage the Seekers. We'll provide cover for the humans."

"Copy that, sir. We're on it," replied Silverbolt as he turned around, with Breakaway and Air Raid following him as they fired on the Seekers. Wingblade and the helicopter Autobots also followed. Blazemaster began firing his dual 20x102mm GIAT M621 Autocannons at Skywarp, who was forced to turn around as the blue-colored Autobot chased after him. Wingblade had engaged himself in a dogfight against Dirge and Thrust, while Tomahawk and Skyhammer were duking it out with the other Seekers. Despite having the numbers being stacked against them, the Autobot flyers were able to hold their own. Highbrow, despite his older alt-mode, began chasing after Thundercracker and Ramjet, and was doing quite well.

"Time to show these Younglings what real flying is all about," said Highbrow as he continued the pursuit.

By then, the three Ospreys and Omega Supreme were flying above a large piece of Cybertron, which was the exact same one that the Ignition Chamber was on. Also, the human fighters had rejoined them by then and had spotted a heavy AA turret that housed three barrels. "Colonel, we've spotted a heavy AA turret near the Ignition Chamber. The Ospreys might be able to get close enough, but the larger ship won't be able to get close to it with that turret in the way," reported the leader of Viper Flight.

"Copy that, Viper Leader. You got that, Magnus?" asked Lennox through his radio as he was jostled around a little.

"Loud and clear, Lennox. Omega will land us a bit farther back, so it will take us a little bit to regroup with your team. Bumblebee and Hot Rod will support you until then," replied Ultra Magnus.

(Outside the Ignition Chamber...)

"Ha-ha! About time we have some fun here, fools," cheered Mohawk as he stood on top of a rock. He, Blackout, Nitro Zeus, Long Haul, Tankor, Kickback, Wreckage, Ransack, Soundwave, Laserbeak, Rumble, Brimstone, Barricade, Overcast, Scowl, Divebomb, Storm Surge, Incinerator, Payload, Terradive, Fracture, Cyclonus, Astrotrain, Sideways, Stockade, Lugnut, Dirt Boss, Space Case, Blitzwing, Hailstorm, Jetstorm, Mindwipe, Bludgeon, the Stunticons and the Combaticons had all gathered together with other Decepticons and Vehicons. They all watched as the three Ospreys approached, as they were eagerly awaiting for battle. Also with them were Infernocus and Straxus.

Nitro Zeus chuckled. "Not if big bro blows them all up first."

Megatron watched as the three Ospreys were heading towards them, while the human fighters were doing their best to provide them with air cover. Snarling, the Decepticon Leader turned to Shockwave. "Blast those insects out of the sky!"

"As you command, my Lord," said the one-optic mech emotionlessly. Walking forward, the other Decepticons and Vehicons made room for Shockwave as he cocked his right arm-mounted AstroMag Cannon with his left servo. Taking aim, the grey-purplish mech fired a cluster round that soon broke apart into AstroMag HE Submunition Rockets at the Ospreys.

The Marine pilot flying the lead Osprey saw the cluster round first before it broke apart. He was able to shout a warning as he barley managed to dodge the submunition rockets with the other Ospreys. However, the sudden shift had caused all three aircraft to lose their stability, and they began to descend down to the ground at a fast rate.

"WE'RE GOING DOWN!! HANG ON!!" hollered Lennox as he and everyone else held onto their seats tightly. Izzy was hugging Sqweeks as tightly as she could.

"Brake, brake, brake! Keep away from the edge!" shouted the Marine pilots and co-pilots to one another as they slid across the chunk of Cybertron. The rotor blades broke apart, with some of the wings flying off too. None of the Ospreys landed gracefully, but more amazingly, all of the crews from all three Ospreys, along with their entire cargos, had survived the crash-landing with only a bruise or two.

The soldiers had little time to relax as the Decepticons were already moving in while firing their weapons. Already use to this, Lennox was already giving out orders while helping Marc up. "Everyone, get out, out!"

"Get the SAWs out to cover our boys, c'mon!" shouted Perkins as he and Epps fired their AT4-CS Rocket Launchers before discarding them. The TRF Soldiers, the former NEST Soldiers, the British Army infantrymen and tank crewmen, and the U.S Marine Corps pilots and their crew rushed out of the crashed Ospreys as they fired at the oncoming Decepticons. Some were sent flying back either wounded or dazed from the explosions.

Walking calmly towards the battlefield was Megatron. Beside him were Shockwave, Nitro Zeus, Blackout and Infernocus, while Decepticon Protoforms and Vehicons ran past them as they were eager to get into the fight. Infernocus also split into his six 21-foot components before racing off. Megatron raised his right forearm-mounted Fusion Cannon and deployed his battlemask before declaring: "KILL THEM ALL!!"

To the right side, and situated on a small hill, was the heavy AA turret as it fired at both human air and land units.

"That damn turret is tearing us apart!" cursed Lennox as he fired his Salient Arms International Tier One GRY Assault Rifle, covering Cade as he helped Vivian and Izabella to cover.

"Sir, there's cover up ahead!" shouted Graham over the sound of gunfire and explosions as he pointed at a very large crater.

Lennox winced as gunfire from a passing Orbital Assault Fighter nearly hit him and Stone. "Alright, everyone to the crater! We're too exposed here!"

Anyone that heard him made a mad dash towards the crater, while stopping every now and then to avoid getting blasted. The 'Cons were unrelenting as they continued to hold the humans back. Up above, Hot Rod and Bumblebee's fighters had arrived before they saw that their human allies were in trouble.

"Looks like they need some help. Let's get down there, guys!" shouted Ironhide.

"Let's rock, 'Bee!" yelled Hound.

"Let's kick aft!" added Hot Rod.

The two Autobot-manned Orbital Assault Fighters shot down some Alpha-Class Vehicons as they made their way towards the humans. Not too far behind, the other Autobots had already disembarked from Omega, and were making their way towards the frontline. Omega Supreme, having transformed into his 105-foot biped form, was coming up from the rear. The old mech was shielding his allies from aerial Decepticon attacks. He then fired both his dual shoulder-mounted Heavy Laser Cannons and right arm-mounted Mega-Thermo Rocket Launcher. The barrage destroyed multiple Vehicons and Decepticon Protoforms, giving both the Autobots and the humans some temporarily breathing space.

Back with the humans, the majority had managed to reach the crater and took cover as energy bolts flew over them. Burke, Mongo, Eddie and Zimmerman quickly setup the bipods for their M249 Para SAWs and let loose with 5.56x45mm NATO Armor-Piercing/Tracer rounds. The British Army rifle platoon soon setup both their six L110A2 LMGs and their single 60mm M6H-640 Mark 1 Light Mortar. Bumblebee and Hot Rod flew over their human allies, close enough for Ironhide and Hound to both jump off and land.

"Let's get down with the big boys!" exclaimed Hound as he let loose with his X19 Scrapmaker Minigun, while Ironhide quickly powered-up his dual forearm-mounted Ion Pulse Cannons and fired. The additional firepower from both the Heavy Weapons Specialist and the Commando had made the Decepticons pause as several Vehicons were destroyed before the rest took cover.

"'Hide, we got a 'Con on the high-ground!" shouted Lennox as he spotted Hailstorm readying his dual shoulder-mounted Six-Tubed Ion Rocket Launchers.

"I see him!" shouted Ironhide as he grabbed his Heavy Iron 2.0 Battle Rifle from his back and fired, hitting Hailstorm and knocking him off balance just before he launched his rockets.

Two TRF Soldiers were wounded when the heavy AA turret fired at them. "We can't move forward unless we take out that turret!" exclaimed Marc as he kept his head down. Cade, Izabella and Vivian were also in the crater. Izzy was being shielded by Vivian when she heard Marc. Looking back at one of the wrecked Ospreys, she saw Sqweeks hiding under said wreckage. An idea began to form in Izzy's head as she quickly got up and ran off.

"Izzy, get back here, now!" ordered Cade over the gunfire and explosions.

"I'll be right back!" shouted Izabella as she ran behind Hound's right leg before safely making it over to Sqweeks. "Sqweeks, listen to me. Do you see that turret over there?" asked the young teen as she pointed at the emplacement. When the light-blue mech nodded, Izzy continued: "I need you to head over there and blow it up sky-high."

Sqweeks let loose a torrent of chirps and clicks as he looked at her as if she was crazy, but Izzy wouldn't hear it. "It'll work! You're small and ugly! No one will see you!" She then screamed as an explosion went off near them, but Izzy remained steadfast as she yelled out: "Now, blow it up sky-high!"

Sqweeks was silent for a moment as he shifted his optics between the heavy AA turret and Izabella. Then, he let out a confident "Chihuahua!" as he rolled off.

By then, the other Autobots had arrived, but their flyers were still engaged with both the Seekers and the Orbital Assault Fighters. They also had to contend with Nitro Zeus, Space Case, Ransack, Terradive, Divebomb, Incinerator, Blitzwing and Lugnut.

"Omega Supreme, support our flyers," ordered Ultra Magnus.

"Understood," replied Omega as he fired his dual Heavy Laser Cannons, destroying several Orbital Assault Fighters, including Bitstream and Hotlink, as the teal and purple-colored Seekers respectively, were too slow to avoid the beams.

"All Seekers, focus all of your firepower on Omega Supreme! Destroy that annoying relic!" ordered Starscream as he fired his AIM-120C-7 AMRAAMs (Advanced-Medium-Range-Air-to-Air-Missiles) at the giant Autobot. Omega raised his left arm to block the attack before firing back at the attacking Seekers.

Meanwhile, Megatron was firing his Fusion Cannon at the Autobots and humans. Seeing that the enemy was gaining ground, the Decepticon Leader snarled out: "Infernocons, Stunticons, Combaticons! Transform and kill them!"

The Stunticons quickly combined into Menasor, while the newly-named Combaticons: Onslaught, Brawl, Vortex, Swindle and Blast Off, did the same. Brawl and Swindle formed the left and right legs respectively, while Vortex formed the left arm as Blast Off became the right arm. All four components combined with Onslaught, who formed the chassis and unveiled a different helm. The six Infernocons quickly formed into Infernocus right after them.

"Bruticus, online and ready for action!" declared the new 50-foot Decepticon Combiner.

"Ugh, I don't have enough ammo for those guys!" said Hound as the three Combiners unleashed their firepower. Bruticus fired his dual shoulder-mounted Six-Tubed Proton Rocket Launchers while preparing to fire his dual forearm-mounted Sonic Shock Cannons. The Autobots dived for cover as the projectiles exploded all over the place, while the humans kept their heads down. Menasor fired both his right forearm-mounted Double-Barrel Concussion Cannon and his dual shoulder-mounted Six-Tubed Ion Rocket/Missile Launchers at the Autobot flyers, although he had no such luck in shooting them down.

Seeing that their comrades were in trouble, Hot Rod and Bumblebee dived in to assist them. "The Grey Hound!" shouted Hot Rod as he pointed at the mech who was given that dreaded nickname: Infernocus. The two Autobots fired their fighters' weapons at the demonic mech, hitting him several times in the back as they flew past him. Annoyed with them, Infernocus fired at them with his dual forearm-mounted Nucleon Shock Cannons. The Orbital Assault Fighters were shot down and the two Autobots were forced to abandon them before they crashed. Unfortunately, Bumblebee and Hot Rod had landed not too far from Infernocus, who was quickly upon them.

"Hot Rod, 'Bee! Get out of there!" yelled Whirl as he flew to their side as he fired his 12.7x99mm NATO L1A1 HMG at Infernocus, who was stunned as the 12.7x99mm NATO Armor-Piercing-Incendiary/Tracer rounds hit him. This gave time for the two Autobots to retreat to safety. Unfortunately, Infernocus managed to recover quickly enough and fire one of his Nucleon Shock Cannons at Whirl, hitting said Autobot flyer head-on. Whirl was forced into his biped form as he violently hit the ground.

"WHIRL!!" cried Hot Rod as he ran over to his comrade. "Ratchet, get over here!"

"It's no good," croaked Whirl weakly as his left clawed servo went to his chestplates to reveal that his spark-chamber had been hit and he was also leaking Energon profusely. "He got a lucky shot..." whispered the Autobot flyer as his frame went still and the light in his single optic went dimmed. Hot Rod cursed as he was forced to leave Whirl's corpse when the Decepticons pressed their attack.

"Slag it all!" cursed Hound as he gunned down a 20-foot Gamma-Class Vehicon. "We got an Autobot down! Repeat: Autobot down!"

"Everyone, get to cover!" ordered Prowl as he fired his Neutron SMG at a 16-foot Delta-Class Vehicon, offlining it. Using his left forearm-mounted Energon Riot Shield, he protected two British Army tank crewmembers and a U.S Marine pilot as they joined the others in the crater.

"Flyers, avoid those Combiners and that heavy AA turret! Continue supporting us from the air!" ordered Ultra Magnus as he fired his Neutron Assault Rifle at Menasor's helm, stunning him and saving Chromia from getting hit.

All the while, no one saw Sqweeks moving across the battlefield, with his large optics locked onto the heavy AA turret. With a chirp, he continued rolling towards his target.

Chapter Text

(On board the Knight's Ship...)

Gunfire and explosions filled the skies around the mighty Cybertronian vessel. Alpha and Epsilon-Class Vehicons flew in the air, with many being shot down by the Axalon's ball turrets. However, a good number of Autobots were also wounded, with several of them having been hit by shrapnel as the enemy fired their weapons. Non-combatants were helping their wounded Autobot comrades to the Medical Bay, with Hoist taking command over the medics as he was running about to help the injured. Engineers were also hard at work, repairing any damage that had been inflicted on the Knight's Ship from the assault. Leading them were Wheeljack and the Omnicons. On the bridge, Roller was sitting in the captain's chair, while giving out orders right and left as Autobots were running about.

Meanwhile, several Epsilon-Class Vehicons had penetrated through a hole in the doors to the lower hangar bay. Transforming into their 25-foot biped forms, they opened fire with their right forearm-mounted 20x102mm M197 Rotary Cannons and wounding several Autobots while the others took cover. Among them were Camshaft, Dune Runner and Rollbar. Camshaft ducked as 20x102mm HEI-T (High-Explosive-Incendiary-Tracer) rounds soared over his helm before deploying his left forearm-mounted Thermo Rocket Cannon and firing at the closest Vehicons. The javelin-shaped rockets impaled them through either the chassis, neck or faceplates before detonating, destroying them and any Vehicons near them. And while Camshaft was doing this, an Epsilon-Class Vehicon had managed to sneak up on him and fired its M197 Rotary Cannon at the Autobot's back. The 20x102mm HEI-T rounds stung at first, but the one-optic mech's AllSpark enhanced adaptive armor was able to overcome the damage by hardening Camshaft's back armor. Once that was done, the Autobot deployed his right forearm-mounted Photon LMG and fired, destroying the Vehicon's helm.

Meanwhile, Rollbar morphed his right arm into his Solar Plasma Cannon, while Dune Runner had his dual shoulder-mounted Fusion Pulse Miniguns out. The two young Autobots opened up on the remaining Vehicons, gunning them down before they had a chance to react. Other Autobots soon joined in, pushing the Decepticon drones back as Camshaft made his way over to the lower hangar bay controls. Moving quickly, the Autobot keyed in the order on the command console and soon the emergency blast doors began to go down. He could hear the Decepticon flyers outside shooting at the doors as they closed over the hole and covered it.

"This is Camshaft in the lower hangar bay. Enemy boarders have been repelled and the emergency blast doors have sealed the breach," reported the one-optic Autobot through his comms unit.

"Copy that. But leave a team there to guard it in case the 'Cons try to breach it again. I want the rest to head towards the upper decks. Our comrades are getting hit hard up there," responded Roller. "You'll have to cut through the ship, near the Dark-Matter Drives, in order to reach there quickly."

"Got it!" said Camshaft before ordering the wounded Autobots to be taken to the Medical Bay.

Rollbar was helping to move some of his wounded comrades when the Knight's Ship shook suddenly again. "Slag, those Decepticons are really hitting this ship hard."

"The harder it gets for them, they more they get desperate," added Dune Runner. He was looking at some of the Vehicon parts for anything useful. "The number of the drones they're losing is going up fast. It's only a matter of time until they try to pull something crazy off."

"Hey!" shouted Camshaft. "Less talking, more moving! We got wounded Autobots here and there's no telling when those Vehicons are going to come back!"

(Meanwhile, outside the Axalon...)

Dreadwing transformed into his 28-foot biped form upon landing on a nearby chunk of Cybertron. From there, he observed the battle from a safe distance. The Alpha and Epsilon-Class Vehicons were zooming around the large Cybertronian vessel with explosions appearing in the sky as weapons were fired. There were a few skirmishes on the Knight's Ship itself, but none of the Decepticon-made drones were able to push deeper in. Dreadwing had to hand it to whoever was commanding the Autobots on the Axalon; they knew aerial warfare very well. At this rate, the Vehicons would be wiped out before they could even do serious damage. It was time to call in reinforcements.

"Dreadwing to Longshot. Me and my troops require assistance against the Knight's Ship. Their defenses are a lot stronger than we had originally anticipated," said the bluish-grey Seeker through his comms unit.

"Copy that. We've just finished resupplying ourselves with the Energon that Quintessa has harvested from Earth. We're moving out and preparing for interception," replied Switchblade.

Ending the transmission, Dreadwing looked back towards the Axalon. The battle was still pretty much even as neither side was unable to push the other back. It was only a few minutes later when he heard the sound of a Cybertronian engine dying. The Seeker was confused at first until his single optic widened when the Knight's Ship suddenly began to tip a little to port. Had something happen? Were the Vehicons able to do enough damage to make the vessel lose its balance? Dreadwing decided to transform into his alt-mode of a MiG-29KVP Fulcrum-D and get a closer look, while at the same time ordering the Vehicons to press their attack.

(Back aboard the Axalon...)

Autobots were scurrying about on the bridge. The sudden shift had caused some of them to either slide into the wall, the consoles or into each other. A few were able to latch onto anything they could grab to remain in place. Roller held onto the sides of the captain's chair, while spluttering curses in Cybertronian as he tried to make sense of the current situation. "What the slag just happened?" exclaimed Roller as the Knight's Ship regained its balance.

Having held onto his console, Perceptor was able to see the problem: "The power generators that siphon from the Dark-Matter Drives have been damaged, and we've lost 30% power that holds this ship in the air."

"Can we repair it?" demanded Roller, who didn't even flinched when an explosion hit the shield outside the bridge's windows.

"Not from here," answered Perceptor. "Someone will have to go down to the power generators and fix them manually."

Roller got onto his comms unit: "To all Autobots: damage to the power generators have destabilized the ship. We need any available engineers to get down there and initiate repairs!"

"Wheeljack here. Me and Trench are near where the damage is, and we're already on our way there!" replied the Scientist/Inventor.

"Me and my fellow Omnicons will be following you from behind and will be with you shortly," added Strongarm.

(Down below at the power generators...)

Trench and Wheeljack were unsure of what to expect when they arrived in the chamber that housed the power generators. The sight of the controls being partially melted took the Scientist/Inventor by surprise. Sparks and smoke were coming out from the nearby console, along with the power generators themselves, were also in similar shape. Much of the chamber itself was also in bad shape, with debris covering both the floor and the walls.

"What the frag happened here?" muttered Trench as Wheeljack ran over to the console. Said Autobot scanned the controls before letting out an angry groan.

"Whatever happened here, has completely fried this console here. I'll have to repair it before restarting the power generators," declared Wheeljack as he pulled out his Cybertanium Multi-Action Wrench from subspace. Then he tore out the metal plating under the console, exposing the numerous wires and gears that powered said console. The Scientist/Inventor had just gotten his digits around the wiring when the sound of a Cybertronian weapon being fired was picked up by his audio receptors. If it wasn't for Trench pulling Wheeljack out of the way in time, then it would've been him, instead of the console, that would be hit by a blast of Cosmic Rust.

The two Autobots followed the shot's trajectory, and limping out from the shadows of the power generators was Oil Slick with his Cosmic Rust Rifle in his right servo. The former Decepticon Chemical Specialist had multiple scratches on his armor, and his left leg was badly damaged with sparks flying out of it.

"You?!" exclaimed Wheeljack as he instantly recognized Oil Slick. "How are you still online? The automatic security turrets should've cut you down."

The former 'Con snarled as he refused to answer.

(Flashback...)

When Smolder had been cut down by the ship's automatic security turrets, Oil Slick was somehow knocked down into the nearby chute, which sent him to the Axalon's waste disposal chamber, with the impact upon landing had sent him into stasis lock. It was a couple of hours later when the mech woke up did he realized that the Autobots had taken over the Knight's Ship. Oil Slick quickly checked his options: It would be impossible to escape the ship with the Autobots running about, for he would be gunned down in seconds. But even if he did managed to escape, he would have nowhere to go, for Megatron would personally execute him for failing to capture the Axalon and getting the entire Mayhem Attack Squad wiped out. Thus, Oil Slick's only chance of survival was to damage the Knight's Ship so that the Decepticons could capture it, and hopefully avoid Megatron's wrath. Hence why he damaged the ship's power generators.

(Back to the present...)

"You don't need to know anything. Just die!" said Oil Slick as he raised his weapon. He was about to fire when Trench charged at him. Said Autobot grabbed Oil Slick's right arm and raised it upwards, causing the former Decepticon to fire his weapon at the ceiling. Trench then grabbed Oil Slick's waist with his left arm, pushing him back.

Not taking his optics off of his opponent, Trench shouted at his fellow Autobot: "Wheeljack, hurry and fix the power generators! I'll hold this bastard off as long as I can!"

"Unhand me, you piece of scrap!" demanded Oil Slick as he struggled against Trench, while firing his Cosmic Rust Rifle wildly. Fortunately, Trench managed to knock the weapon out of the former 'Con's right servo.

Wheeljack, meanwhile, got to work on repairing the power generators. The Scientist/Inventor wasn't foolish enough to believe that Trench would be able to hold the veteran ex-Decepticon back for long. Thus, Wheeljack had to focus on fixing the power generators before he could help his fellow Autobot. Although he wasn't an actual combatant, the Scientist/Inventor had enough experience that he and Trench should be able to take down Oil Slick.

Unfortunately, said ex-Decepticon wasn't going to wait. Freeing his left servo, he activated the tubes on his clawed digits before stabbing Trench in the waist. The tubes then sent a small chunk of Cosmic Rust into the Autobot's frame, with said rust very slowly starting to eat away at the inner gears and parts. Trench screamed in agony as he collapsed onto the floor before the ex-Decepticon.

Wheeljack gasped in horror when he heard his fellow Autobot's cry of pain. Oil Slick then turned his attention towards the Scientist/Inventor, but was stopped when Trench grabbed his damaged left leg. Ignoring his pain receptors, the young Autobot tightened his grip and caused Oil Slick to lose his balance and fall to the floor. With a growl, the ex-Decepticon started to kick Trench in order to get said Autobot to release him. But despite the repeated kicks to his faceplates, Trench refused to let go, for he was determined to give Wheeljack the time he needed to repair the power generators. Oil Slick continued to kick Trench in the faceplates, having even damaged the Autobot's left optic. He would've continued if he hadn't suddenly heard a humming sound. Looking up, Oil Slick saw that the power generators were back online. The mech had little time to react when Wheeljack struck him in the helm with his Cybertanium Multi-Action Wrench. The impact from said wrench had caused sparks to fly from the blow as Wheeljack prepared to land another hit. However, Trench's grip had weakened, allowing Oil Slick to free his right leg and dodge the Scientist/Inventor's next attack.

Quickly getting up, Oil Slick grabbed Wheeljack by the neck and slammed him against the nearest wall, causing the Autobot to drop his Cybertanium Multi-Action Wrench. "You think you've accomplished anything?" snarled Oil Slick as he tightened his grip on Wheeljack's neck, denting the metal. "It will only take a minute for me to offline you for good and sabotage the power generators again. All that you and your fellow Autobot did was delay the inevitable."

"Actually, he bought us the time we needed to get here!" shouted a voice.

Surprised, Oil Slick turned his helm towards the entrance. Standing there were Skyblast, Strongarm and Signal Flare. They all had their respective weapons out and aimed them at the ex-Decepticon. Said mech didn't even have a chance when the Omnicons fired on him. The first shots caused Oil Slick to lose his grip on Wheeljack, making the Scientist/Inventor hit the floor. The mech tried to defend himself, but soon realized that he was going to be offlined, so he fled through the back door. Strongarm and Skyblast were still firing at Oil Slick as he ran, while Signal Flare checked up on Wheeljack.

"You okay, 'Jack?" asked the Omnicon.

Rubbing his neck, Wheeljack nodded. "I'm fine, Signal Flare. But we need to get to Trench to the Medical Bay, fast." The two mechs ran over to help the young Autobot, who was in emergency stasis lock. Meanwhile, Strongarm went to check on the power generators, while Skyblast contacted Roller about Oil Slick's presence.

(Back with Oil Slick...)

Said ex-Decepticon had managed to escape the Omnicons, but lost both his right arm and his Cosmic Rust Rifle in the process. With his presence now known across the entire ship, his plan was now scrapped. Oil Slick knew that his only chance to escape was to reach the dropship in the lower hangar bay. It had enough power for him to escape offworld. The mech had just turned around the corner that would lead to the elevator, when he found himself staring at Landmine. The former L.M.-1 Drone had been guarding Simmons, Dutch and Leo as the Autobots battled the Decepticons. Leo screamed like a little girl at the sight of Oil Slick, while Simmons and Dutch both nearly fell over in surprise.

Landmine was the one who acted first by quickly pulling out his Ion Rifle Grenade Launcher from subspace. With no means to defend himself, Oil Slick could do nothing but say "Oh, shit" before being gunned down.

(On board the Iron Will...)

Said ship flew through the air, while skillfully dodging the large chunks of Cybertron. Inside Ultra Magnus' vessel were the Dinobots as they prepared their respective weapons for action. Cosmos and Gears were at the pilot and co-pilot seats as they steered the ship, while Windcharger was manning the rotating ball turret.

"I don't think were being tailed anymore," said Windcharger as kept an eye out for enemy fighters.

"Good, 'cause we're approaching our target," said Gears out loud for everyone to hear.

And true enough, the vessel of the Star Seekers, the Longshot, could be seen from the cockpit of the Iron Will. The Kaon-Class Heavy Cruiser was moving through the large chunks of Cybertron slowly, while any debris that got close to it was knocked aside by an energy shield that surrounded the entire ship.

"About damn time. My blades have been starting to get itchy," said Slash as he readied his dual Energon Scythes.

Sludge let out a snort. "Not if I get to the action first," boasted the 71-foot Dinobot as he hefted his dual Cybertanium Spiked Lances over his left shoulder.

Before the other Dinobots could put in their own words, Gears beat them to the punch. "Nobody's getting any action until we get that energy shield down. The fraggers must've managed to get their servos on a power generator that's powerful enough to cover the whole ship."

"Fortunately, we're prepared for this," noted Cosmos as he went to the back of the ship and grabbed an object. In his right servo was a silver cylinder-shaped device that had several blinking lights on it. "Something that's the size of our own ship won't be able to slip through that shield of theirs, but an EMP bomb of this size will certainly get through with 0% chance of detection."

"So, we just get close enough and throw it through the energy shield?" asked Grimlock.

"Unfortunately, no. Although the EMP bomb doesn't have enough power to deactivate their whole ship, our vessel will completely shut down if we get too close," answered Gears. "Also, our ship's Ion Rocket Launcher won't be able to make that distance either, so once we launched the bomb, Windcharger will magnetically move it closer until it bypasses their energy shield. Then, I will remotely set it off."

"We'll soon be in the range of their scanners," announced Windcharger as he climbed down the ball turret's ladder.

"Understood. Cosmos, load the EMP bomb while I activate the Iron Will's jammers. Windcharger, get up top and be ready to show us your magic. And Dinobots, just sit back and watch us work," ordered Gears.

Cosmos walked towards the ship's Ion Rocket Launcher and loaded the EMP bomb. "Okay, I'm all set here."

Windcharger had already climbed out of the Iron Will as he felt the wind hitting him, while gripping onto the hull. He then adjusted his optics as he focused on the Longshot. "All ready up here."

Cosmos gave a nod to Gears, with said mech nodding back before activating the Ion Rocket Launcher. "Firing the EMP bomb...now!" and pressed the trigger.

The tube for the Ion Rocket Launcher hummed as the EMP bomb was shot out, and made a direct path towards the Star Seekers' ship. Windcharger locked onto it and quickly activated his electromagnet on his left arm and latched onto the EMP bomb just as it was starting to lose its momentum. The Iron Will began to move forward at a slow pace, making sure not to be sighted, along with remaining just a few feet from the EMP bomb's blast radius. Windcharger paid no heed to either the ship's movements or the large floating debris around him. The mech was soley focusing on his task and ensuring that his grip on the EMP bomb didn't weaken, as said bomb was slowly reaching the energy shield of the Longshot.

"Windcharger, how much longer? If we go any further, we'll either be caught in the blast or they'll detect us," said Gears through his comms unit.

"Just a few more meters..." replied the mech as he could feel his power supply beginning to slowly overload. If Windcharger didn't get the EMP bomb through soon, then he would lose his hold.

Fortunately, it seemed as if Primus himself was on his side. Just a few seconds away from losing control, the EMP bomb made it fully through the energy shield. Windcharger collapsed on the ship's hull at the same time that Gears triggered the EMP bomb. From their position aboard the Iron Will, the Autobots watched as the EMP bomb went off. The energy shield soon disappeared as signs of power outages throughout the Longshot could be seen.

"Okay, energy shield is down. Cosmos, go and get Windcharger back inside! I'm flying in fast!" declared Gears as he punched the accelerator forward.

Cosmos scrambled madly up the ladder and helped bring in an exhausted Windcharger, who was pretty close to falling into stasis lock. The Iron Will's thrusters flared up at the same time, with the ship blasting forward as it hovered the much larger vessel. A few seconds later, the energy shield came back up as the Longshot began to move again.

"Alright! We made it inside their energy shield and they haven't picked up our signal yet," announced Gears as he scanned the top of the pirates' ship before locating a hatch big enough for the Dinobots. "Alright, you guys. Hope you're all ready for some action."

"We live for action!" declared Grimlock as he slammed his left fist into his right palm. "Let's rock, boys!"

(Bridge, the Longshot)

"Get me a status report!" ordered Switchblade.

The Star Seekers had begun moving when Dreadwing called for assistance in dealing with the Knight's Ship. The pirates were planning on bombarding the Axalon for a little bit to weaken said vessel. Then they would send boarding parties and take over the Knight's Ship. It was a very simple plan and one that would be easy to complete. The Autobots were already taking a beating from the Vehicons and another ship, like the Longshot, would overwhelm them.

Then, in just a few minutes, the entire ship suddenly staggered as the energy shield went down momentarily. Several other systems have also gone down and for a moment, it seemed like the Longshot would fall from the sky. Fortunately, the power generator came back online and the warship remained stable.

"All systems appear normal now, sir! We're still working on getting the energy shield back to 100% operational. We still have no idea yet of what caused the power outage!" reported Astraea.

"Well, get to it! We need to be fully operational before we engage the Knight's Ship," ordered Switchblade before the entire ship suddenly shook. "Now what?!"

A 20-foot yellow and teal-colored mech named Meltdown checked the nearby scanners. "Sir, the outer hull of the ship has been breached and we've also lost contact with all crewmembers in that sector! Enemy boarders have breached the Longshot!"

Switchblade slammed his left fist against the captain's chair. "I want a response team there now! Find those boarders and neutralize them!"

(A few minutes later...)

A team of Star Seekers were standing in front of a large door. On the other side was the section that had gone dark. Among the response team were a 18-foot blue and orange femme named Catapult, along with Shellshock, Showdown and a 16-foot white mech with red and blue stripes named Swagger. Catapult had her Fusion Pump-Action Shotgun out before giving a signal to the others to stand back while she opened the door.

But before she could do so, a loud bang echoed, causing the door to shutter. That caused the Star Seekers to back up, weapons raised. Several more loud bangs impacted the door, and it was then that Catapult realized that her team was no match for whatever was repeatedly hitting that door. "Everyone, fall back and regroup at-"

Whatever else she was going to say was cut off when the door was finally knocked down. The femme had no chance to react when the massive metal door fell on top of her, fatally crushing the Star Seeker beneath it. As for the others, they had no time to gawk as the Dinobots, now in their dinosaur-modes, stormed through the hallway while roaring loudly.

Slug took a moment to look at Catapult's crushed corpse, with the upper part sticking out from under the metal door. "Excuse me," he said mockingly.

Showdown and Shellshock pulled their respective weapons out from subspace and opened up on the Dinobots, with the rest of their team joining in. Swagger pulled out an Energon Katana and tried to attack the Dinobots from the right side. He was aiming for Grimlock when Slash pounced on him. The Star Seeker didn't stand a chance as the 47-foot Velociraptor tore him to shreds. Shellshock and Showdown were fatally impaled on Slug's horns before their corpses were tossed aside without a care. The remaining Star Seekers tried to make a run for it, but they were completely massacred before they had a chance to do so. The Dinobots shifted into their true forms before bringing out their own respective weapons as they made their way to the next hallway.

As Grimlock tore the door down, they were greeted by more Star Seekers. At the front were Firebreaker and Front-Line, and this time, the Cybertronian pirates were ready for them. But that did nothing to deter the Dinobots.

"Dinobots, slaughter them all!" roared Grimlock as he raised his Cybertanium Mace.

(Back at the bridge...)

"What the slag is going on?!" roared Switchblade, who could still feel the shaking and the sounds of explosions.

"We've lost contact with several of our squads! Our forces are being mowed down one by one! But we were able to confirm that the boarders are the Vanguard Knights!" reported Anomaly from his station.

Switchblade widened his optics. "You mean the ones that Lockdown had captured a long time ago?! Damn that Bounty Hunter to the Pit!" he swore as he slammed both of his fists down against the captain's chair. "Can we at least get a visual?"

Several holo-screens came up, with some showing the corpses of Star Seekers, while others showed the Dinobots carving a path through their forces. A few of the Star Seekers were able to put up a better fight than their comrades, but were soon cut down as well. Sludge had fatally impaled Firebreaker, Diabla, Mismatch and Front-Line with his dual Cybertanium Spiked Lances, while crushing Outsider to death beneath his pedes. Slug had smashed aside Duststorm before turning his attention towards Derail. Sparkscape was trying to fend off Scorn with his Energon Flamethrower, before getting swatted by the Dinobot's left forearm-mounted Cybertanium Spiked Whip before the 87-foot mech moved his attention towards Hotwire and Rampart. Pandemic was trying to crawl away from Snarl, who was battling Triage, Overclock and Ripraw. Slash, meanwhile, had cut down Marco and Conduit before engaging Drive-By.

Switchblade blinked his optics when he notice that two Dinobots were missing. "Where's Grimlock and Swoop? Did we loose track of them?"

His answer came when the door behind him was slammed open, with the hinges flying off and fatally impaling one of the Star Seekers. Flying through next were Monsoon and Doubletake. Following them were Grimlock and Swoop. Meltdown morphed his left arm into his Solar Plasma Cannon, but was quickly shot down by Swoop's Fusion Crossbow.

"To the Pit with you!" roared Switchblade as he pulled out his Energon Battle Hammer from subspace before lunging at Grimlock. Anomaly joined him by firing his Positron Tactical Shotgun at the Dinobot Leader. Grimlock shrugged off the shots as he focused his attention on Switchblade as he swung his Cybertanium Mace against the Star Seeker's Energon Battle Hammer. Meanwhile, Doubletake and Monsoon had both managed to recover and got back up to engage Swoop. Astraea was busy trying to keep the Longshot in the air, even as smoke and sparks appeared everywhere.

Switchblade tried to land a powerful blow on Grimlock, but the Dinobot's armor was just too strong. And despite his size, the Dinobot Leader was pretty quite agile, which was making things extremely hard for Switchblade to fight properly. Swoop had already dealt with Monsoon and was now locking his Cybertanium Sword with Doubletake's dual wrist-mounted Energon Saws. Meanwhile, the other Dinobots were finishing up their own fights too, making Switchblade wondered if he should just try to flee now.

His musings were broken when Grimlock smacked his Energon Battle Hammer out of his servos. The Star Seeker tried to pull out his dual Laser Pistols from subspace, but the Dinobot Leader smacked him into the nearby wall, burying Switchblade under a pile of rubble. Grimlock then brought out his Energon Flail and swung it down on top of Astraea, fatally smashing her on top of the consoles. The Dinobot Leader followed it up by swinging his weapon at Anomaly, with the blow shattering both of the ex-Autobot's legs and making him hit the floor hard.

Swoop had also dealt with Doubletake by impaling him through the spark-chamber with his Cybertanium Sword. As he kicked the Star Seeker's corpse off his blade, he and the other Dinobots nearly lost their balance when the ship began to dive. Swoop looked at the consoles and saw that they were completely destroyed.

"Grimlock, you and your team need to get out of there, now! I'm seeing red all across the board! The Longshot might explode before it crashes!" shouted Gears through his comms unit.

With a growl, the Dinobot Leader looked at his team. "You heard him! Move-" ordered Grimlock before letting out a surprised yelp.

The ship's tilting had caused Grimlock to lose his footing. And thus, he slid towards the bridge's windows with no time to grab onto anything to stop his descent. The Dinobot Leader smashed through the windows and was now falling through the sky. Grimlock could feel the wind hitting his back as he fell, and there wasn't even a small amount of floating debris for him to grab onto. Fortunately, Swoop transformed into his Pteranodon mode and dove in after him and grabbed his leaders by both of his shoulders.

"Scrap, Grimlock! You're heavy!" commented the Dinobot flyer as he managed to adjust his 53-foot wingspan.

"Shut it!" snapped Grimlock before wobbling as Swoop lost his balance. "What the slag, Swoop?!"

"The wind up here is too strong! I can barely keep myself steady!" yelled Swoop.

Grimlock let out a growl before adjusting his optics. Not too far away, he could see his fellow Autobots and their human allies fighting near the entrance of the Ignition Chamber, where the sounds of gunfire and explosions could be faintly heard. "Get as close as you can towards the others. I'm not sitting out of this fight yet!"

Chapter Text

(With Optimus' team...)

Stratosphere soared through the air as he moved past floating sections of Cybertron. Dragonstorm had been flying behind him, but had to distract a squadron of Alpha-Class Vehicons from following the transformed C-5M Super Galaxy. Riding inside Stratosphere were Optimus Prime, Nova Prime, Evac, Ramhorn, Cogman and Rewind. The group had moved further up through the Earth's atmosphere to the point that there was barely any oxygen for humans to breathe through.

"Optimus, I have a lock on what appears to be the core's entrance," reported Stratosphere before projecting a large holo-screen for the occupants to see. The screen showed a large piece of floating debris that was almost the size of the Moon, while surrounded by multiple smaller pieces. The holo-screen zoomed in on a specific spot, showing a large sealed doorway. On it were various ancient Cybertronian glyphs that looked like the ones from the AllSpark.

"That's it, Stratosphere! I recognize it from the holo-projections that Alpha Trion showed me," said Optimus. "How close can you get us there?"

"I can get you and your team to the edge, but the floating debris hanging around here is making it difficult for me to maneuver," responded Stratosphere.

"That will have to do," said the Autobot Leader as he readied his Vector Shield-Cannon. Nova was preparing his Energon Crossbow/Battle-Axe, while Evac, Ramhorn and Rewind readied their own respective weapons. Cogman had transformed into a larger version of his helm, while the silver 2016 Aston Martin DB11 Coupe transformed into a 20-foot frame that he attached himself to. "Be prepared for anything. Although I don't think Quintessa was able to enter Cybertron's core, we should still be wary of a possible ambush," warned Optimus.

Stratosphere reached the edge of the large piece of floating debris before making a hard turn and opened his rear cargo ramp door. Once it was fully down, the group jumped out. Due to there being no gravity, the five of them floated for a few seconds before they eventually touched solid ground.

"I'm heading back to regroup with the others. Good luck, guys," said Stratosphere before heading back down to Earth.

Nova was staring at the remains of Cybertron in awe before turning his attention to the darkness of space, with the millions of stars being the only thing that were alight. "Amazing..." he whispered. This was the very first time he had ever been into space before. And walking upon Cybertron (even if it was in ruins) felt like he had come home.

The group began making their way towards the sealed doorway that covered the entrance to the planet's core. The door itself was massive, it was even larger than Omega Supreme himself. Upon closer examination, it was covered in Cybertronian hieroglyphs and images that showed various Cybertronians and objects. Optimus approached some of the glyphs before brushing his left servo against the metal.

"What do they say?" wondered Evac out loud.

"It appears they speak of Primus' tale," answered Optimus as old memories of Alpha Trion teaching him of the ancient language of the Primes came back to him. "After defeating his arch-enemy and brother, Unicron, Primus transformed his frame into the world that we know as Cybertron. But despite being victorious, Primus was unfortunately left weakened from the battle. In order to regain his strength, he split a fraction of his spark that would form into a massive cube known as the AllSpark. Primus left behind instructions for the Thirteen Primes, the very first Cybertronians that were born. They were to gather the energies from suns to not only just recharge the AllSpark, but also to restore Primus' power so that he could continue providing Cybertron with life."

"I suppose that when we launched the AllSpark into space, we also hurt Primus too," noted Evac, for he felt awful that they had left their creator in such a state.

"A problem that will be fixed today," replied Optimus as he scanned the door for what looked like a way to open it. His optics then spotted some glyphs that were together, and they were also the only ones that were carved into the center of the door. Together, they spelled: 'Till all are one'. Placing his right servo on the door, a light from both Optimus' spark and the Matrix of Leadership began to shine. The glyphs then began to glow as well, and the door slowly moved outwards until they were fully opened, revealing a deep passageway that seemed to go on forever.

"Let's move," ordered the Autobot Leader as the group proceeded to enter.

They had just gotten through the entrance when the sound of Cybertronian thrusters caught Nova's audio receptors. Turning around, his optics widened when he spotted a Cybertronian Shuttlecraft flying towards them. "Uh, Optimus?" asked Nova, getting the group's attention.

The shuttlecraft bashed aside any debris blocking its path as it made its way to the gate before immediately transforming into Thunderwing, who sneered at the smaller mechs. Bringing out his right forearm-mounted Concussion Cannon, the servant of Unicron opened fire on the Autobots.

"Everybody, move!" ordered Optimus as the group of five jumped out of the way.

"At last, the entrance to Cybertron's core. Now all that remains is the final piece," said Thunderwing before turning his attention to Nova, with said hybrid was stumbling to pull out his Energon Crossbow/Battle-Axe from subspace.

"Oh no, you don't!" shouted Cogman as he leapt at Thunderwing while bringing out his left wrist-mounted Energon Sword and stabbed the larger mech in the left shoulder, cutting some minor circuits there. Thunderwing growled as he tried to shake the Headmaster off of him. Soon, Evac charged in while firing his dual forearm-mounted Concussion Blasters, with Ramhorn following it up by firing his dual hip-mounted Photon LMGs.

Rewind ran up to Nova, helping his best friend to his pedes as Optimus joined them while firing his Vector Shield-Cannon at Thunderwing.

"Rewind, get Nova to the core! And hurry! We'll hold him off!" ordered Optimus before charging towards Thunderwing.

"But, I-"

Nova was cut off by Rewind. "Optimus is right. You almost died once at the servos of that fragger. We can't risk losing you again." With no other option left, Nova and Rewind began running further down the deep passageway.

Meanwhile, Thunderwing had finally managed to throw off Cogman and kick aside both Evac and Ramhorn. He was about to give chase when Optimus delivered a powerful kick to the larger mech's chassis. Thunderwing staggered for a moment before bringing his right fist down on top of the Autobot Leader, but Optimus was able to block the blow in time with his Vector Shield-Cannon.

"You Primes are always getting in my way!" snarled Thunderwing.

"I will stop anyone who is like you, Megatron or your mistress, Quintessa, from slaughtering innocent lives, Thunderwing! No matter what it takes!" declared Optimus as he slashed at Thunderwing's left arm with the Sword of Judgement.

Letting out what sounded like a snort, the larger mech grabbed Optimus by his right shoulder and threw him against the nearest wall hard. As the Autobot Leader tried to balance himself, Thunderwing began to speak: "Do you really think that I'm subservient to that foolish femme? Please, if it wasn't for me, she would've never gotten back to Cybertron. No, my true master is, and always has been, Unicron! My sole purpose is to offline the Primes, just as I did with Zeta, Omega and Alpha Trion."

Optimus' optics widened and his mouthplates were left slightly opened. "What did you say?"

"I needed the Prime of Life to get past the core's protective shell, because his Energon signature is the only thing that can open it. There, I can extinguish Primus' spark to make for my master's spark to take over once Quintessa finishes her ritual," explained Thunderwing.

"So that's why you want her to transfer Earth's energy to Cybertron. You want to revive Unicron!" exclaimed Optimus.

"And offline Primus at the same time. 'Killing two birds with one stone', as the old human saying goes," said Thunderwing with glee, before he begrudgingly added: "However, that damn Alpha Trion and those two younger Primes sealed the gate before I could enter, and gave the talisman that was needed to awaken the Prime of Life to that mech, Dion. Not even my own power could bypass it, so I needed a Prime to do it. And you did so perfectly."

The larger mech's words made the Autobot Leader snarl. Getting up, Optimus swung the Sword of Judgement at Thunderwing, who merely slapped it aside. The Prime then followed it up with a blast from his Vector Shield-Cannon, hitting Thunderwing in the chassis and causing said mech to stumble back a bit. He was also unprepared when Evac got back into the fight, firing his Concussion Blasters at Thunderwing alongside Ramhorn. Cogman was also ready to go as he swung his Energon Sword at every bit of the larger mech that he could reach, but the armor of Unicron's herald was too durable to leave any real damage.

Thunderwing retaliated by grabbing Cogman's right arm and tearing it off. Undeterred, the Headmaster rammed his Energon Sword into an opening in Thunderwing's right leg, burying said blade deep. The larger mech snarled as he rammed his Concussion Cannon into Cogman's chassis before firing a powerful shot that tore the frame in half. Luckily, the Headmaster swiftly detached himself from the chassis and avoided Thunderwing's pedes. Cogman was picked up by Ramhorn as he too evaded the larger mech's attacks.

The herald of Unicron was distracted when Optimus and Evac fired at him. Getting annoyed at these two, Thunderwing deployed his dual shoulder-mounted Four-Tubed Proton Rocket/Missile Launchers and fired. The Proton HEDP Rockets sent the two Autobots flying. Optimus was able to balance himself, but Evac, however, crashed against the wall and hit the ground hard. The Autobot Leader had lost both his Vector Shield-Cannon and the Sword of Judgement, and thus deployed his dual wrist-mounted Energon Swords and charged. Optimus slashed at Thunderwing, cutting the larger mech's left leg lightly. Snarling, Thunderwing quickly deployed his left forearm-mounted Energon Blade and sliced off both of Optimus' legs below the knee. The Prime didn't even get a chance to scream as the larger mech delivered a powerful kick that sent him tumbling across the floor.

Cogman was nowhere in sight and Thunderwing decided that eliminating him and Optimus were less important than getting to the core. Looking at the unconscious form of Optimus Prime, the larger mech said: "Be grateful, young Prime. By the time you come out of stasis lock, Cybertron shall be reborn as Unicron's new frame. Perhaps he'll be merciful and give you a swift offlining." And with that, Thunderwing transformed into his alt-mode and took off, flying deeper into the planet. But he didn't notice the glowing blue light emanating from Optimus' chestplates, nor the grey blur approaching from the distance.

(Back with Nova Prime and Rewind...)

Said duo had managed to make excellent time, thanks to Rewind using his jetpack to fly them to Cybertron's core. Obviously, the two of them were deeply worried about their friends fighting against Thunderwing, and yet, they also knew that everything depended on them reaching the core so that Nova could rejuvenate the entire planet. Although Nova Prime had no idea on how he was going to do that, it was better than the alternative.

Eventually, Rewind had to land in order to conserve energy. By then, they had reached the end of the passageway and when they walked out, the two of them were shocked at the sheer size of the inner chamber that housed Cybertron's core. It was massive with a circular shape. The floor was covered with both rust and debris as they led to the large casing that covered Primus' spark. Even from where they were, both Nova and Rewind could feel the energy being released from the core, even in its weakened state.

Getting back on track, Nova looked at Rewind. "C'mon, we can't waste time staring."

The Mini-Con nodded before the two of them slid down a nearby chute. Landing safely on the platform, they headed towards what looked like the entrance to the casing itself. But as they got closer, the two of them were greeted with an unexpected sight. Lying against a pillar was the broken frame of a 29-foot blue and gold-colored mech, with dried Energon coming out of a mortal wound near his spark-chamber. His optics were lifeless as he leaned his helm against the pillar.

"No way..." murmured Nova Prime as he recognized who this mech was from his memories: "Zeta Prime."

"One of the Primes born after the Thirteen? You mean to say he was safeguarding Cybertron's core the entire time?" asked Rewind in surprise.

"He must've sealed the entrance to Cybertron's core in order to prevent anyone else from reaching here, while preparing it when the prophecy came to pass," said Nova as he rubbed his digits against the edge of the hole in Zeta's chassis before adding sadly: "Looks like it was his final act."

Rewind put a servo on Nova's left arm, getting his attention. "C'mon, we need to finish what he started."

The young Prime nodded as the two of them made their way over to the platform's edge and towards the casing, which was covered in various Cybertronian glyphs.

There, they could see what appeared to be a small podium that had an empty slot in it, and it looked just the right length as the blade of Excalibur. Nova quickly realized that he was supposed to insert the blade into the slot in order to reach the core. Pulling out the sword from subspace, the young Prime gripped the handle with both servos and plunged Excalibur into the opening. While the blade fitted through easily, nothing happened. Nova and Rewind waited for a minute, then two more, and still nothing happened.

"What the hell?" muttered the young Prime as he searched for any changes, but couldn't find any. "Why isn't anything happening?! I accepted both my Cybertronian heritage and my name from the Primes, but why isn't it working?!" exclaimed Nova as frustration and fear was building up inside of him as he felt powerlessness started to fill him.

Rewind was about to console his best friend when the sound of jet engines got their attention. Spinning around, the duo saw Thunderwing fly into the chamber and transformed, landing hard onto the platform just several feet away from them. Without warning, the larger mech raised his right forearm-mounted Concussion Cannon and fired at the core. But when it hit, a powerful energy shield briefly appeared and deflected the shot with ease. Seeing this made Thunderwing snarl before turning his attention towards Zeta Prime's corpse.

"Even when you're offlined, you Primes continue to defy the inevitable," mocked the servant of Unicron before shifting his optics to Nova and Rewind. "It looks like that I will be needing a 'key' after all."

Rewind got in front of Nova as he pulled out his Photon Pulse Carbine from subspace. "Get back, Nova. Keep trying to open the pathway into the core. I'll hold him off for as long as I can."

"No way! We're fighting together!" declared the young Prime as he pulled out his Energon Crossbow/Battle-Axe from subspace.

"Don't be stupid! If he gets you, then it's all over," argued Rewind. "I'm planning to hold him back until reinforcements arrive. Now, go!" The Mini-Con activated his jetpack and shot straight towards Thunderwing, while firing his Photon Pulse Carbine at the larger mech and hitting him in the chassis. Growling, Thunderwing tried to grab Rewind, only to miss him as the Mini-Con zoomed around him.

Nova frowned as he wanted to help, but he knew that Rewind was right. Turning his attention back to Excalibur, the young Prime tried to get the mechanism to work. He tried to pull the sword in and out, along with any other methods that might work. As Nova did this, Rewind kept on firing at Thunderwing. Although his attacks weren't doing any damage, but they were getting the larger mech's attention. The Mini-Con would use his jetpack to zip around his opponent, as well as using the pillars to take cover or jump off to escape Thunderwing's servos.

Unfortunately, the servant of Unicron had finally lost his patience and unleashed a powerful stream of flames from his mouthplates. Said flames blocked Rewind's path and the immense heat from it caused him to back away. Thunderwing took advantage of this and swiftly grabbed Rewind in his left servo. The larger mech's grip was tight, and Rewind could feel his chassis being crushed. Ignoring the pain, the Mini-Con saw Nova Prime, no, Adam Nova, staring at the scene with a look of horror on his faceplates. In those few seconds, memories of the time that Rewind had spent with Adam came flooding back. All those joyful times, even after the Battle of Chicago, gave the Mini-Con the courage he needed to aim his Photon Pulse Carbine at Thunderwing's faceplates. Charging his weapon for one last time, Rewind fired directly at the larger mech, but the power of the blast was strong enough to leave only a large burn mark on Thunderwing's right cheekplate.

"Till all are one," said Rewind as he felt both his chassis and spark were destroyed in one strong squeeze.

"REWIND!!!!" cried Nova in horror as he watched his life-long friend was swiftly offlined in front of him. Thunderwing unceremoniously tossed Rewind's remains to the side and sending them plummeting to the depths over the platform. Only the Photon Pulse Carbine remained, with smoke coming out of the barrel.

Suddenly, a roar got Thunderwing's attention. Flying out of the tunnel was Dragonstorm, with Optimus Prime riding on his back. The Autobot Leader's frame was glowing blue, along with showing a pair of newly-repaired legs.

"What?! Did the Matrix repair your legs?!" exclaimed Thunderwing when he saw the damage he'd caused earlier was now fixed.

Optimus didn't answer him. Instead, he jumped off Dragstorm and landed a powerful punch to Thunderwing's faceplates, causing the larger mech to stagger back a little. Optimus pulled out both the Sword of Judgement and his Vector Shield-Cannon from his back, while Dragonstorm let loose a torrent of flames on Unicron's servant. Optimus joined him by firing his Vector Shield-Cannon, hitting Thunderwing in the back. With the Matrix of Leadership energizing him, the Prime's attacks were doing some actual damage to the larger mech.

Meanwhile, Nova Prime was still in a state of shock. He just couldn't comprehend that Rewind, who had been with him all this time, was gone. Everything they had been through together ran through his processor as both his shock and grief was slowly turning to anger. And it wasn't just anger he felt inside of him, something else was beginning to stir inside the hybrid. Electricity began to dance around the tips of his digits before surging around his whole frame. When his rage reached the boiling point, Nova let out a cry of anger, while releasing a burst of electricity that surprised the others. The young Prime magnetically called the Photon Pulse Carbine to him. The moment his right servo touched it, the weapon was reformed into a Photon Pulse Cannon as it merged with Nova's right forearm. The young Prime then fired a powerful photon blast at Thunderwing, knocking said mech off his pedes.

Optimus was amazed at Nova Prime's power. "Is this the true power of the Prime of Life?"

Suddenly, an electromagnetic field surrounded Thunderwing and lifted him into the air. "What?! Electromagnetism manipulation?!" he cried out in shock at the display of Nova's new power. Struggling, Thunderwing tried to break free, but the electrical pulse that the field released was disrupting his systems. He even tried to fire his chassis-mounted Cyclone Cannon, but all that did was backfire on him and damaged himself instead.

"GET! OFF! OUR! PLANET!!" roared Nova as he launched Thunderwing out of the chamber as if he was shot out of a cannon. The momentum was so great that the mech couldn't give any resistance at all. All Thunderwing could do right now was cry in rage as he sent flying into space, sailing far, far away from both Cybertron and Earth.

With Thunderwing now gone, Nova Prime turned his attention back to Excalibur. Feeling a new sense of both confidence and determination, he gripped the handle with both servos. Energy surged out of his body and across the sword and down into the podium itself. In response, a bridge extended from the platform towards the core's casing. Said casing opened a doorway for Nova to enter as he walked across the bridge.

Optimus Prime, Dragonstorm and the just-arriving Evac, Ramhorn and Cogman watched as Nova Prime entered the core as the doorway closed behind him. A few seconds later, the core and the entire chamber lit up as it was brought to life. A soft humming sound could be heard throughout the area as energy surged outwards. And although the group couldn't see it, they could feel that Cybertron was slowly repairing itself.

Evac was the first to snap out of his amazement. "Optimus, I just got word from Ultra Magnus. They're pinned down outside the Ignition Chamber. If they can't stop Quintessa in time..." trailed off the young Junior Knight of Cybertron.

Optimus nodded and looked at Evac before noticing that the young Autobot was clutching at the wound from Thunderwing's attack earlier and had to be supported by Ramhorn. Neither they or Cogman were in any condition to fight. "Will you three be okay here?"

"We'll manage, sir," answered Evac. "I won't let Rewind's sacrifice be in vain."

Ramhorn let out a huff of air as if in agreement.

"I shall protect Lord Nova with my spark," said Cogman determinedly.

Seeing their resolve, Optimus turned to Dragonstorm. Without even speaking, the Combiner roared as he flapped his wings. Optimus Prime put both his Vector Shield-Cannon and the Sword of Judgement onto his back and jumped onto Dragonstorm. The duo took off as Cybertron began to heal around them.

(Outside the Ignition Chamber...)

The battle was a stalemate, with the ground being littered with Decepticon Protoforms and Vehicons, but the 'Cons themselves still held their ground. With the heavy AA turret assisting them, they had effectively pinned down both the Autobots and their human allies. Tidal Wave had also joined the fight. Said Decepticon was 105-feet tall and was firing both his three Phalanx Mark-15 Block 1B Close-In-Weapon-Systems (CIWS) that were mounted on his chassis and his four M2HB HMGs on his right forearm. He would also fire his left forearm-mounted Ion Plasma Cannon every now and then, with the explosions starting to corner the humans and the Autobots.

Said groups weren't doing so well at the moment as they were heavily pinned down by the Decepticons. Along with Whirl being offlined, Smokescreen, Arcee and Cliffjumper were injured and all three of them were taken to the side and placed near a small hill that shielded them from enemy fire. Ratchet and Jolt were tending to them while Trailbreaker protected them with his Energon Forcefield. Meanwhile, Bob and Steeljaw were protecting the injured humans as medics treated them, with the latter firing his dual hip-mounted Photon LMGs at any Decepticon or drone that got too close. From above, the Autobot flyers were fending off the Alpha and Epsilon-Class Vehicons. Fortunately, most of the Seekers were busy keeping Omega Supreme occupied as Tidal Wave fired at him from a distance. Defensor was fighting both Bruticus and Menasor, but was relieved of the latter when Stratosphere appeared and tackled the Combiner.

Ultra Magnus fired his Neutron Assault Rifle at a 25-foot Beta-Class Vehicon, gunning it down before dodging return fire from the 'Cons. Beside him, Ironhide fired his dual forearm-mounted Ion Pulse Cannons at Blackout and Hailstorm, forcing the two Decepticons back. "We aren't making any progress here!" yelled the Heavy Weapons Specialist.

"That heavy AA turret is what's causing all the trouble," responded Magnus. "It's keeping our flyers away from helping us and is preventing us from advancing."

Back with the humans, they were still taking cover in the crater. Izabella flinched whenever an explosion occurred nearby. Cade and Vivian were with her as the soldiers fired back at the Decepticons. The only heavy weapons they had available right now besides underslung grenade launchers were the British Army rifle platoon's 60mm M6H-640 Mark 1 Light Mortar with Stone manning it after its original crewmember was wounded by shrapnel and a M240B MMG that was recovered from one of the wrecked Ospreys with Perkins manning it. They also had to strip their dead comrades for ammo, but not before retrieving their dog-tags.

Epps crouched back down as he reloaded his Salient Arms International Tier One GRY Assault Rifle. "This is the shit!"

"Yeah, complete bollocks!" agreed Graham. "Those bloody 'Cons are keeping us away from the Ignition Chamber and that damn turret is hammering us hard."

"We're running low on ammo!" shouted Donnelly as he finished off a damaged Zeta-Class Vehicon with his SCAR-L CQC Assault Rifle. Beside him, Hooch fired the last 40x46mmSR HEDP round he had left for his underslung Knight's Armament Company M203A1 Grenade Launcher before switching back to using his M4A1 Assault Carbine.

Burke and Zimmerman fired their M249 Para SAWs at a 16-foot Delta-Class Vehicon, destroying both of its legs. Said Vehicon was finished off by a 7.62x51mm NATO AP round fired from Marc's LaRue Tactical OBR 7.62 Sniper Rifle that went through its left optic and into its processor. Meanwhile, Eckerson was applying morphine to a British Army infantryman whose right leg had been singed by a stray plasma round.

"This is the last round for the mortar!" cried Stone as he fired the last 60mm HE round for the M6H-640 Mark 1 Light Mortar, with said round destroying a Zeta-Class Vehicon and blowing the left pede off a 20-foot Decepticon Protoform.

More explosions filled the air as Lennox, Tanaka and Santos scrambled towards them while Eddie and Mongo laid down covering fire for them. Lennox slouched beside Epps and Graham. "We need to evac now! General Morshower said they're calling in the nukes on the Ignition Chamber."

"What?! Did they not heard what Perceptor said earlier?!" exclaimed Cade. "If the chamber goes down, all of Cybertron will hit Earth!"

"We're out of options. But if we don't do anything, we'll lose the entire planet," replied the Army Ranger, though it was clearly obvious that he wasn't pleased with the plan either. But so long as they were pinned down, they had very little options.

And that's when the debris they were on started to move and made some noise. All the fighting stopped as energy surged across all the cables. Slowly, the pieces of Cybertron began to come together. But unlike before, they merged carefully instead of colliding violently with one another. The chunks of the planet that had run across both the U.K and North Africa began to rise up before joining together with the others.

Ultra Magnus immediately contacted the Knight's Ship: "Wheeljack, Perceptor! What's going on?!"

"Sir, we're reading a massive energy surge coming from Cybertron's core! Optimus and his team have done it! Nova is healing our world!" exclaimed Wheeljack in joy.

"However, it appears that the energy that Quintessa is transferring is conflicting with the energy from the core. If we don't stop the transfer sequence, Cybertron will explode and take Earth with it!" warned Perceptor.

"Autobots, we need to push forward! Concentrate your fire on that heavy AA turret and take it out!" ordered Magnus as he fired his Neutron Assault Rifle.

Meanwhile, as both sides were duking it out, Sqweeks had made his way to the heavy AA turret. The only Decepticon near it was Mohawk, who had his attention at the battle down below him. Slowly, the Autobot rolled over towards the turret's power generator. Using his Decepticon right arm, Sqweeks was in front of the power generator, just as one of the mini-turrets that were defending the heavy AA turret noticed him. Mohawk also spotted him, but Sqweeks moved faster as his right arm morphed into a large Solar Plasma Cannon before saying: "Frag you."

Mohawk gaped at the weapon before muttering "Ah, slag" right as Sqweeks fired his weapon. The blast's recoil sent the light-blue Autobot tumbling down the small hill as the heavy AA turret was destroyed, but Mohawk was able to jump out of the way in time.

The reaction was instant. With the heavy AA turret gone, the Autobot flyers performed a dive and did an airstrike, offlining several Decepticon Protoforms and Vehicons. Stratosphere had finally gotten the advantage over Menasor by ripping off both Dead End and Drag Strip, causing said 'Cons to transform back into their biped forms, followed by Breakdown, Wildrider and Motormaster. Before the Stunticons could retreat, Wingblade transformed into his biped form and landed in front of Dead End and Breakdown.

"Get sliced, Decepticon punks!" yelled Wingblade as he deployed his dual wrist-mounted Energon Swords. The two Stunticons had no time to react as the Autobot flyer sliced them in half before stabbing them through their spark-chambers for good measure. Motormaster, Wildrider and Drag Strip tried to retreat, but Highbrow intervened. Firing his 75mm BK-75 Anti-Tank Autocannon, gunning down all three of them each with a single 75x640mmR HEAT round to the spark-chamber.

"Now, that's how you get it done!" cheered Highbrow before going after Divebomb.

Wingblade decided to remain on the ground as he deployed his right forearm-mounted 30x173mm GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling-Style Autocannon and fired at Bruticus. Said Combiner used his left wrist-mounted Whirl-Blades to deflect the 30x173mm API (Armor-Piercing-Incendiary) and HEI (High-Explosive-Incendiary) rounds, but seeing as the Stunticons were now offlined and Stratosphere approaching him, Bruticus decided to retreat back to friendly lines. Pushing aside Defensor, the Combaticon Combiner fled quickly. With their adversary gone, Defensor detached back into his components.

"You guys okay?" asked Wingblade.

"We're fine," answered Hot Spot as he got up. The rest of his team did the same, but Rook wobbled a bit until First Aid let him lean on him. "But it looks like Rook is a little beaten up from Bruticus' Sonic Shock Cannons."

"Fall back to the rear. We'll join the others in pushing forward," said Wingblade, with Stratosphere nodding in agreement.

Seeing how they could do better there than at the front, Hot Spot nodded and helped in guiding the others. Wingblade and Stratosphere covered them as the two flyers joined the other Autobots.

"All Autobot flyers, target Tidal Wave and keep him away from Omega Supreme!" ordered Prowl while firing his Neutron SMG.

"Copy that! We're engaging now!" replied Springer as he, Skyhammer, Blazemaster and Tomahawk focused their attacks on Tidal Wave as they fired all their weapons at the giant Decepticon.

"Tidal Wave, destroy," said Tidal Wave in a monotone voice as he focused his attention on the Autobot flyers.

Meanwhile, Omega Supreme could now give the Seekers his undivided attention. Deploying his back-mounted Heavy Ion FlaK Cannons, the Autobot fired at the Decepticon flyers. Despite being surprised, the Seekers were still able to maneuver and avoid the attacks, but two of them, however, were not so lucky. Acid Storm and Nacelle were both taken down, with the latter being struck in the thrusters and crashing violently against the ground. Acid Storm was hit in the left wing, but was able to control himself. However, that left him wide open to Ironhide, who swiftly gunned him down with his Heavy Iron 2.0 Battle Rifle. By then, Starscream and the other Seekers had pulled back.

Back with Sqweeks, said Autobot came rolling out of the smoke. He fired his Solar Plasma Cannon and hit a Delta-Class Vehicon in the right leg before getting himself back up. Hot Rod ran beside him as he fired his Photon Battle Pistol at the same Vehicon, offlining it. "Well done, little friend!" he complimented Sqweeks.

"Humans, fall back! We'll push on from here!" ordered Ultra Magnus before looking at Omega Supreme. "Omega, transform and escort them and our wounded out of here!"

"Orders, confirmed," replied Omega before transforming into his alt-mode, with the main doors being opened and the main ramp being deployed soon after.

"Go! Get moving!" shouted Lennox as he scrambled to his feet. Epps, Graham, Perkins, Burke, Eckerson, Mongo, Hooch, Donnelly, Tanaka, Stone, Marc, Eddie, Zimmerman, Santos and the rest of their team did the same as they made a mad dash towards the Ark.

"Move, we've got ya covered!" yelled Hound as he and the other Autobots fired at the Decepticons. Hot Rod grabbed Sqweeks and passed him off to Streetwise. Ratchet helped up Cliffjumper to his pedes. Guzzle came to help as he shot down two Orbital Assault Fighters with his right forearm-mounted 75x640mmR KwK 42 L/70 Cannon before carrying Smokescreen. Clocker was right behind him, firing his dual forearm built-in Solar Plasma Cannons at the 'Cons. Steeljaw ran past them as he carried the wounded human soldiers on his back. Trailbreaker was near them, still deflecting oncoming projectiles with his Energon Forcefield while the Protectobots fired their own respective weapons. Warpath was the last to follow as he fired both his chestplate-mounted 120mm L30A1 Smoothbore Tank Cannon and his left forearm-mounted Thermo Rocket Cannon. Skyhammer joined him as he fired both his dual shoulder-mounted ORO-57K Rocket Pods before switching to his right forearm-mounted 30x165mm GSh-30-2K Dual-Barrel Autocannon. He also dished out his left forearm-mounted Energon Sword at a Decepticon Protoform that tried to ambush him.

Meanwhile, Tomahawk transformed into his biped form while staying in the air. Deploying both his left forearm-mounted 30x113mmB GIAT 30M-781 Revolver Cannon and his dual shoulder-mounted Matra Type 116M Rocket Pods, the Autobot flyer fired down at the 'Cons before slashing an Alpha-Class Vehicon with his right wrist-mounted Whirl-Blades. Blazemaster was beside him, firing both his dual shoulder-mounted Corrosive Gel Launchers and his dual wrist-mounted 20x102mm GIAT M621 Autocannons. Multiple Vehicons were immediately destroyed by the Autobots' firepower. Once the area was clear, the Autobots began falling back. Warpath, however, paused to pick up Whirl's corpse before following the others.

Elita and Chromia helped up Arcee. "Take her with you and get out of here," ordered Elita to her sister.

Chromia took their younger sister before looking at the eldest in surprise. "But what about you?"

The purple femme deployed her left forearm-mounted Photon Cannon before growling out: "I'm staying here with the others, and I also have unfinished business with Quintessa."

Knowing what her sister had meant, Chromia nodded and walked off as she carried Arcee to the Ark. "Stay alive!" she cried back.

Izabella was running with the other humans. But since she was smaller, she was moving slower than the others, and causing her to lag behind. This allowed for one Decepticon, Terradive, to her cut her off from the others. Izzy screamed as she landed on her butt as the 'Con laughed. "Gotcha, you fleshling! The Autobots ought to back down with you as my hostage!"

However, Terradive wouldn't be able to carry out his plan. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker zoomed towards him, while avoiding his attacks. The silver twin slashed at Terradive's left side, making him roar in pain. The 'Con tried to strike Sideswipe with his Energon Spear, but was intercepted by Sunstreaker who blocked the attack and then disarmed him with his dual Fusion Pulse Pistols. He then fired at Terradive's knee-joints, forcing him to his knees. Defenseless, the 'Con could do nothing as Sideswipe rammed both his dual wrist-mounted Cybertanium Swords into his chestplates, offlining him instantly.

The silver Frontliner looked at Izzy. "You okay, kid?"

Izzy nodded. "I think so."

Bob came over and helped the girl climb onto his back.

"Let's get you to the ship while we deal with the rest of the-WHOA!!" Sunstreaker's sentence was cut off as the ground beneath them began to crack. Said crack began to spread until it split the floating piece of land in half. Unfortunately, this separated the Autobots, leaving Bumblebee, Jazz, Ironhide, Mirage, Sideswipe, Jolt, Elita, Hound, Drift, Ultra Magnus, Hot Rod, Armorhide, Inferno, Longarm, Salvage, Stratosphere, Wingblade, Skids and Mudflap on the side where the Decepticons were at.

"The Autobots' forces have been separated. Advance and gun them down!" ordered Megatron when he saw this. He then turned his attention to a 49-foot white and grey 'Con firing his right forearm-mounted Photon HMG. "Jetstorm, attack the Ark and prevent the Autobots and their human allies from escaping!" ordered Megatron before firing his right forearm-mounted Fusion Cannon and hitting Salvage in the back. The red-colored Autobot cried out in pain as he fell on his front. Longarm immediately came to his friend's aid.

"With pleasure, my Lord!" shouted Jetstorm as he transformed into a An-225-100 Mriya and took off.

He flew over the Autobots, while ignoring their attempts to stop him. The Decepticon took aim at the Ark, which was still waiting for the humans to finish boarding. The Autobot flyers tried to intercept him, but the Seekers got in their way.

Jetstorm was about to deploy his weaponry when a massive stream of flames struck from above. The Decepticon had to withdraw in order to avoid getting his jet thrusters from combusting by ducking into the clouds. Surprised, Megatron looked up and saw the source of the flames.

Izabella did as well from her position on Bob's back. "Optimus..." she whispered when she saw the Autobot Leader riding on Dragonstorm's back. Realizing his presence meant that Adam had succeeded in powering-up Cybertron's core, the girl let out a cheer. "YEAH!!!!" she cried as Dragonstorm flew over her and Bob.

Infernocus focused his dual forearm-mounted Nucleon Shock Cannons on the Cyber-Dragon, firing as Dragonstorm neared him. Optimus jumped off the Combiner and slid across the ground. Meanwhile, Dragonstorm struck Infernocus, knocking the demonic Combiner off his pedes before taking to the air and pursuing the Decepticon flyers. That gave Optimus time to get behind Infernocus. Said Combiner tried to stomp him, but the Prime dodged it before latching onto the larger mech's back. "You wretched piece of filth!" he snarled as he stabbed the Sword of Judgement into Infernocus' chassis.

Unable to shake off Optimus, Infernocus split apart into the six Infernocons, who immediately pulled out their respective melee-based weaponry from subspace. Undeterred, Optimus raised both his newly-repaired Barrage Cannon and the Sword of Judgement before asking rhetorically: "Did you forget who I am?"

Roaring, the six Infernocons charged, but Optimus reacted faster by gunning them all down with his Barrage Cannon in one move. "I am Optimus Prime," declared the Autobot Leader as the corpses fell to the ground.

Turning to his troops, Optimus raised the Sword of Judgement and pointed forward. "Autobots, attack!"

Invigorated by their leader's arrival, the Autobots followed his lead. Joining them was Grimlock, who had been dropped off by Swoop. The Dinobot Leader quickly transformed into his Tyrannosaurus Rex form and roared as he followed the others. Any Decepticon Protoform or Vehicon that got in their way were swiftly offlined as the Autobots powered on through.

Optimus then noticed that Vivian was nowhere to be seen. "Where's Vivian?!" Without her, they wouldn't be able to get the staff and end the transfer.

"The humans fell back! They're on the other side of the gap!" shouted Ironhide over the sounds of gunfire and explosions.

On said piece of land, Crosshairs cocked his dual Ion Machine Pistols. "C'mon, let's follow them!"

"Negative! The surrounding floating debris is drawing closer together as Cybertron is healing. We need to leave, now!" said Ratchet as he passed Smokescreen to Brawn, who helped his comrade aboard the Ark. The Chief Medical Officer looked at Stratosphere, as said Autobot had chosen to help Longarm and Salvage, with the latter still being injured. "Stratosphere, get Salvage and Longarm out of there and follow us back to the Knight's Ship!"

"Wait!" cried a voice. Running up to Ratchet were Cade and Vivian. "We need to get to the other side, so that we can get the staff. And Vivian is the only one who can pull it out, remember," said the inventor.

The Autobot CMO frowned. He knew that Cade was right, but as he said before, the other floating pieces of Cybertron were begging to come together. It was at that point that the other Autobot flyers had to fall back without being crushed. The only other way for the two humans to get to the other side was...

"Get on my servo," ordered Ratchet, kneeling as he opened his left palm. They did as he said. "And brace yourselves!" he shouted as he threw the two humans at Stratosphere. Seeing them, the large mech saw what Ratchet was doing. Stratosphere caught them and then placed them on the ground, allowing Cade and Vivian to run towards the Ignition Chamber.

Back with the Decepticons, they had fallen back since the Autobots began their second advance. Because of the shifting, many of the 'Cons had been separated. Tidal Wave was forced to transform in order to avoid being crushed, with some of the others climbing aboard. That just left Megatron, Starscream, Shockwave, Nitro Zeus, Soundwave, Laserbeak, Rumble, Barricade, Blackout, Thundercracker, Kickback, Fracture, Scowl, Bludgeon, Cyclonus and Straxus to guard the Ignition Chamber.

Optimus fired his Barrage Cannon when his scanner picked up two humans approaching. Turning around, he saw Cade and Vivian. "Vivian, this way!" he shouted over the gunfire and explosions.

"Yes, my little lady!" cheered Hot Rod as he covered the two humans.

As the group of thirteen Autobots and two humans were reaching the Ignition Chamber's entrance, a dozen B61 Mod-12 Thermonuclear Gravity Bombs set in the low-yield plummeted downwards until they detonated when they struck the cables that held said chamber. The cables snapped, and the entire chamber began to fall. Despite that, the electricity was still coursing from the Steelhaven to the Ignition Chamber and then towards Cybertron's core. The now purple-colored lighting was colliding with the blue-colored lighting from the planet's core.

The chamber began to tip, causing everyone to lose their balance. Cade and Vivian were sent sliding and were nearly killed by a broken pillar if not for Optimus who deliberately slammed into said pillar, knocking it aside. He was then engaged by Blackout as said 'Con tackled him. Not too far away, Prowl had gotten into a wrestling match with Kickback. The Decepticon pulled out an Energon Dagger from subspace and tried to stab Prowl through his spark-chamber, but the Autobot SiC dodged it and then bashed his left forearm-mounted Energon Riot Shield against Kickback, knocking the 'Con off him. Pulling his Neutron SMG, Prowl quickly gunned down Kickback before he had a chance to react.

Eventually, the Ignition Chamber started to stabilize, but was still descending. Everyone soon got back up and the battle continued. All the Decepticons appeared to have either been split between guarding Quintessa and attacking Vivian, knowing that she alone can stop the process. Thus, the Autobots were focused on both attacking the Cybertronian Sorceress and protecting the humans. Shockwave attempted to shoot them with his right arm-mounted AstroMag Cannon, but was intercepted by Bumblebee, Mirage and Sideswipe, with the trio attacking with guns and blades. Seeing his older brother in trouble, Nitro Zeus tried to go over and help. But Skids deployed his left forearm-mounted grappling hook and wrapped it around the 'Con's waist. With him and Mudflap tugging on the line, Nitro Zeus fell on his back.

Cade and Vivian were running across the chamber, avoiding Cybertronians and gunfire, while the latter's Autobot guardian made sure to stay by their side. "Stay with me, I'll clear a path for you two!" said Hot Rod as he fired at Megatron with his Photon Battle Pistol. The Decepticon Leader was between the humans and the staff, and was very determined to not let them succeed.

"You see it?" asked Cade as he helped Vivian lean against a fallen statue.

The woman nodded as she watched as Hound and Jazz join Hot Rod in fighting Megatron. The Saboteur fired his Crescent Shield Cannon at the Decepticon Leader, distracting him. Megatron fired his Fusion Cannon at Jazz, only to be tackled by Hound and Hot Rod, with the latter punching him in the faceplates. Jazz then grabbed Megatron by the back of his neck, and all three Autobots managed to pull the Decepticon Leader out of the way as Cade and Vivian made a mad dash for the staff. Seeing them, Megatron grabbed Jazz and Hot Rod and tossed them aside before kicking Hound across the chamber, nearly crushing Vivian and Cade. Megatron pulled out his Cyber-Matter Sword-Axe and prepared to bring it down on the Commando.

"Stop the time!" shouted Hot Rod as he fired a time bolt. Megatron lost his grip on his weapon as he was caught in a time sphere.

Recovering, Hound raised his X19 Scrapmaker Minigun. "I'm gonna fill ya full of holes, Megatron!" shouted the Commando as he fired API-T rounds that were stopped by the time sphere. When said sphere dispersed, the rounds hit Megatron so hard that he was sent flying into the nearby wall. The mech recovered and fired back with his Fusion Cannon, forcing Hound to dodge, but left Megatron opened to Jazz's attacks, dividing the former's attention.

"Decepticons, stop those humans!" roared Megatron.

Scowl tried to trample Cade and Vivian, but was tackled out of the way by Grimlock. "Your mine now, traitor!" roared the Dinobot Leader as he smacked his former comrade in the faceplates with his tail. Scowl snarled and rammed into Grimlock, who merely hit him back with his horns. The Dinobot Leader proved to be stronger as he sent Scowl back. In response, Scowl transformed into his biped form and brought out an Energon Battle Shield and an Energon War Hammer. Grimlock followed and waved his Energon Flail, hitting the traitor's shield. Straxus then tried to take a shot at the two humans, but was forced back when Inferno unleashed a stream of flames from his dual forearm-mounted Flamethrowers.

Fracture and Soundwave were both facing against Ultra Magnus. The femme slammed her left pede down, releasing a powerful seismic wave that caused the floor to shake. Magnus lost his footing, which allowed Soundwave to land a blow on the Autobot's faceplates. Staggering back, Magnus received a kick to his back from Fracture. The two of them were about to attack again, but Magnus was able to recover and pulled out his Magnus Battle-Hammer, forcing them back.

"Magnus, duck!" shouted a voice from behind. Recognizing it instantly, Ultra Magnus bent down to reveal Ironhide with his Heavy Iron 1.0 Assault Rifle out. Before the Decepticons could react, the Autobot Heavy Weapons Specialist fired HE rounds from his weapon, knocking both Soundwave and Fracture off their pedes.

Fracture got up and readied her Solar Plasma Battle Rifle. She was about to pull the trigger, but was struck by Jolt's EMP Battle Pistol. The Decepticon femme jumped out of the way and fired at the Autobot Junior Medical Officer, who avoided it and engaged Fracture. While that was happening, Ironhide fired his dual Ion Pulse Cannons at Soundwave, while Elita fended off Rumble and Laserbeak, preventing them from helping their master. Magnus took the chance to run off and fight Shockwave.

Said one-optic 'Con was still battling the three Autobots. Bumblebee and Sideswipe would fire their weapons from a distance, while the latter would switch to attacking with his dual Cybertanium Swords with Mirage. Shockwave growled as he waved his left forearm-mounted Cybertanium Blade at the Autobots, while trying to aim his AstroMag Cannon. He fired AP round after AP round, each shot forcing the Autobots to move. Mirage rammed his dual forearm-mounted Cybertanium Curved Wrist-Blades into the Decepticon Scientist/Assassin's back, trying to cut the cord from Shockwave's powerpack that connected to said mech's AstroMag Cannon. Unfortunately, the Decepticon reacted quickly enough and grabbed Mirage with his left servo. "Your target was logically obvious," said Shockwave as he threw the rosso corsa mech at Sideswipe, knocking both of them to the ground.

Bumblebee charged at Shockwave, jumping and slamming into the larger mech's chassis. The Decepticon stepped backwards, and right into Ultra Magnus' line of sight. Powering up his Magnus Battle-Hammer, the Autobot landed a powerful blow onto Shockwave, with the impact sending the grey-purplish mech flying out of the nearby wall.

"Big Bro!" cried Nitro Zeus as he watched his brother being hit. Snarling, the Seeker/Assassin grabbed Mudflap and Skids, who were banging on his armor, and tossed them aside. Running past Magnus, Nitro Zeus transformed into his alt-mode and flew after Shockwave.

In a different part of the chamber, Drift was dueling his former mentor, Bludgeon. Their respective swords clashed with one another as the two mechs glared at one another. "I see that you haven't let your skills dull since your defection, Deadlock," commented Bludgeon.

"As I said before, I'm no longer that mech," replied Drift angrily as he pushed Bludgeon back. "However, my skills are greater now that I have a true cause to fight for."

"And so do I, Deadlock," said Bludgeon as he fired his left shoulder-mounted JSW 120mm L/44 Smoothbore Tank Cannon. Drift managed to dodge the shot and pulled out his other Cybertanium Katana. "I too have a cause, and one that I intend to live to see in all of its glory, once my master returns."

Drift was confused by what his former mentor had meant, but he brushed it aside as he continued to duel with Bludgeon. From the corner of his left optic, Bludgeon saw the humans were almost to the staff. He pushed back Drift with his right pede before firing his cannon at Cade and Vivian. He would've hit 'em if Barricade hadn't slammed into him, ruining his aim. Armorhide stood over them as he fired his right forearm-mounted Ion Pulse Cannon at them, although the two 'Cons were able to avoid the projectiles. Barricade fired his Fusion SMG at the Autobot, while Bludgeon took that moment to escape.

"Wait!" shouted Drift. He was very tempted to go after his former mentor, but then decided that dealing with the larger threat was more important.

Elsewhere, Wingblade threw Starscream across the chamber and then fired at Thundercracker. The 31-foot blue and silver-colored Seeker brushed off the attack before bringing out his Energon Battle-Axe from subspace, which he clashed it against Wingblade's dual Energon Swords. The Autobot flyer pushed him off and slashed Thundercracker across the lower chassis. Hissing, the Seeker fired his left forearm-mounted M61A2 Vulcan Rotary Cannon at Wingblade, who raised his arms to block the 20x102mm SAPHEI (Semi-Armor-Piercing-High-Explosive-Incendiary) rounds from hitting his chassis. Starscream got up and morphed his right arm into his Eaglefire Rocket/Missile Launcher before firing two Eaglefire HE Rockets that hit Wingblade in the back and nearly hitting Thundercracker. "Slag it, Starscream! Watch were you're aiming!" roared the blue and silver-colored Seeker as he fired his M61A2 Vulcan Rotary Cannon.

"Quit whining and offline him!" yelled Starscream as he fired his left forearm-mounted M61A2 Vulcan Rotary Cannon at Wingblade.

But this time, the Autobot dodged their shots and slashed Thundercracker across the left shoulder. "Don't think that you can take me down like that!" exclaimed Wingblade as he kicked Thundercracker back. Deploying his right forearm-mounted GAU-8/A Avenger Gatling-Style Autocannon, Wingblade fired at the two Seekers. Starscream and Thundercracker dodged the barrage of 30x173mm API rounds as they continued to fire their own weapons, slowly moving closer to each other, which was what Wingblade wanted. Subspacing his GAU-8/A Avenger, the Autobot flyer's back shifted to reveal a dual pair of Ionic Pulse Rocket/Missile Launchers. Charging up, Wingblade fired at the Seekers, with the Ionic Pulse HE Rockets struck Thundercracker and Starscream hard. The impact from it even caused the nearby wall behind them to be destroyed.

The two Seekers managed to recover. However, after seeing how that staying here would be a death wish, Starscream decided to flee. "Frag this, I won't offline here!" yelled the grey-tan Seeker as he transformed into his alt-mode and flew off.

"Starscream, you fragging coward!" cursed Thundercracker as he watched this before deciding to retreat as well.

Wingblade huffed, for he was disappointed that the fight had ended like that. "And they give us flyers a bad name," he muttered before going to help Prowl against Straxus and Cyclonus.

Quintessa snarled as she continued the transfer. The femme could feel the power coming from Earth going to Cybertron. And yet, she could feel the planet resisting it, resisting her. And now there was another force fighting back and at the same time restoring Cybertron on its own. Quintessa wouldn't accept it, she wouldn't! She had given too much to get this far; her mentor, her position, everything to get here and complete the destiny that she deserved, the Prime of Life.

She then spotted Vivian going for her staff. Snarling, Quintessa shouted: "Megatron, kill her!"

The Decepticon Leader had thrown off Jazz when he heard the Sorceress yell at him. Aiming his Fusion Cannon at Vivian, he was about to fire when he saw Optimus lunged at him with the Sword of Judgement. He would've lost his right arm, but Megatron dodged it and grabbed the blade. Twisting Optimus' left arm, Megatron pinned the Prime against the floor as the two former comrades glared at one another.

Memories flooded them as their optics stared at one another. How the two fought alongside one another to unify Cybertron's separate tribes in Sentinel Prime's quest to bring a new age of life to their homeworld by finding the lost AllSpark and energizing it after the Dynasty's fall. The victories and defeats they shared together until they had managed to energize the AllSpark and restoring Cybertron. All of that eventually leading up to them becoming the heads of the Science Division and the Defense Force respectively, and earning the trust of their fellow Cybertronians. Maybe it was these memories that what compelled Megatron to snarl out: "We were brothers once!"

Optimus frowned under his battlemask. The Autobot-Decepticon Civil War had cost them everything, from their world to their race's very own survival. Even if he revealed the deception of Quintessa and Thunderwing's plans, Optimus knew that Megatron wouldn't believe him. The former Lord High Protector had been filled with both arrogance and rage for far too long, thanks to the Fallen corrupting him. "Once," said the Autobot Leader before flipping Megatron over him and following it up with a strong kick to the Decepticon Leader. The blow sent Megatron crashing through the nearby wall of the chamber.

"Lord Megatron!" cried Blackout, who had finally gotten out of the debris that Optimus buried him under. Fracture also joined him as the two of them raced to save their leader.

The Autobot Leader let them go, seeing how Quintessa was far more important. Unfortunately, the gravitational field around the Ignition Chamber became unstable. Gravity was lost as Cybertronians, humans, Kickback's corpse and debris all began floating.

Vivian, who had just grabbed the staff, lost her grip on it and started floating away from the staff.

"Optimus!" cried Elita as she tried to reach her sparkmate. A large mass of debris nearly struck her, but Optimus pushed it back before grabbing the purple femme.

"It's zero-gravity here, man!" yelled Mudflap as he tried to grab onto something. He then grunted when his twin crashed into him. "Watch it, ya idiot!"

"You watch it, ya dumbaft!" shouted Skids before the two began to wrestle with one another.

Hound was waving his arms and legs as he passed by Cade. "I'm weightless, weightless!" he bemoaned as he reached for his weapons.

Bumblebee, seeing how the staff wasn't removed, landed on Cyclonus' back, freeing Prowl who had been grabbed by the Decepticon. 'Bee immediately blew away Cyclonus' spark before using the momentum to launch himself at Vivian. Cyclonus' corpse knocked into Scowl, pushing him straight towards Grimlock. Unprepared, the former Knight of Cybertron couldn't prevent the Dinobot Leader from grabbing his helm and punched through his chestplates before ripping out his spark and crushing it. Satisfied that the traitor was now offlined, Grimlock tossed Scowl's corpse aside before grabbing both Mirage and Sideswipe.

Back with Bumblebee, said mech used his left pede to lightly kick Vivian upwards to where Cade was. Seeing her coming towards him, the inventor grabbed Vivian's right hand and with a nod, threw her towards the staff. Straxus, who was using his Cybertanium Pickaxe to keep himself balanced, spotted Vivian going for the staff. He then deployed his left forearm-mounted Photon MMG and took aim, but before he could fire, Hot Rod tackled him.

The two mechs began to wrestle each other before slamming against a floating piece of debris, with Straxus hitting it with his back. Hot Rod shot off and fired a time bolt at the mech, freezing him in place. The debris slowly spun around as it headed for the chamber's nearest wall. When Straxus was freed from the time sphere he was in, he only had enough time to widen his optics and scream before being crushed to death between the wall and the debris.

Optimus leapt at Quintessa with the Sword of Judgement at the ready. "Quintessa, get off our planet!" roared the Autobot Leader as his blade struck the floating femme, but it hit a forcefield that surrounded the Sorceress, disabling it and knocking her away from the staff. Quintessa snarled as she shot lighting from her digits at Optimus, holding him back.

"Traitor!" yelled the Sorceress.

Optimus glared at her. "Wrong. You're the traitor. You murdered your mentor in cold Energon, helped the Fallen and brought the fall of the Dynasty of the Primes. You claim to be the Prime of Life, but the true Prime has already begun restoring Cybertron without destroying the Earth. You're nothing but a liar, schemer and a fool!"

"Silence! I will hear no more of this!" screeched Quintessa as she intensified the power of her lighting, charging it up for an energy bolt.

Optimus grunted, but held firm. "Let me say one more thing. Say hello to my sparkmate: Elita!"

Sensing a presence behind her, Quintessa spun around to see Elita holding onto a nearby pillar with her right arm. Photon Cannon at the ready, the purple femme fired a fully-charged blast at the Sorceress. The shot sent Quintessa flying, screaming as she disappeared in a dispersion of blue-colored dust.

"Nice meeting you, bitch," said Elita with a satisfied look on her faceplates.

Vivian gripped the staff with both of her hands. With a strong tug, she pulled the device out of the machine.

(Meanwhile, outside...)

The black-colored electricity receded back into the Earth, which was seen by the Autobots and their human allies, who had landed their ships a safe distance away from the falling Ignition Chamber. They watched as said chamber crashed into the ground, causing a huge cloud of dust to fill the air. Everyone waited for baited breaths. Suddenly, a large roar came from the dust cloud. A second later, Grimlock ran out of the dust cloud in his T-Rex form, followed by Optimus and the rest of the Autobots in their alt-modes. Cade and Vivian were riding inside the Autobot Leader as he took point.

Cheers filled the air, with their voices loud enough for the entire British nation to hear. When Cade got out, Izzy immediately hugged him. Although surprised, the inventor returned the hug. The Autobots also held their own reunions, while cheering over both their survival and their victory against Quintessa and the Decepticons. Dragonstorm flew above them with all three of his helms roaring before separating into the thirteen Guardian Knights of Iacon. Above them, Cybertron had finished its recovery and was now whole once more. It was also twice the size of Earth and was glowing with a bright blue light as if it was a newborn star. Suddenly, the comms came to life.

"Any Autobot receiving?" asked Evac.

"Loud and clear, Evac," answered Optimus. "What's your status up there? Is everyone alright?"

"Oh, thank Primus. We got worried when we saw the Ignition Chamber falling," replied Evac. "Anyway everything's okay up here. Our homeworld is 100% ready for inhabitants. Nova's getting ready to move Cybertron to a more stable position."

"Understood, Evac," said Optimus before ending the transmission. "Magnus, take the Ark and go and pickup the refugees in Cuba.

"Yes, sir," replied Ultra Magnus before heading towards said ship, with some of the other Autobots joining him.

"Autobots," began Optimus as he looked at the gathered Cybertronians. "It is time for us to go home."

Chapter Text

(Iacon, Cybertron, one month later...)

Optimus Prime stood inside the Hall of Records, while gazing at a Datapad that he was currently holding in his left servo. Much of it had been restored when Nova had finished reviving Cybertron. Furthermore, a chamber near the planet's core had been found filled with backup Datapads that showed the history of the Cybertronian race. Optimus had a good feeling it was Alpha Trion's doing, his final noble attempt to preserve their peoples' past. The Autobot Leader had gone through each and every one of them before cataloging them into their new homes.

It had been a month since the battle and the restoration of Cybertron. The Autobots on Earth were quick to return home before the Decepticons or anyone else tried to lay claim to the reborn planet. Surprisingly, the first city to be repaired was Iacon, the former capital city of the Autobots during the war. The buildings there were rebuilt and brand-new, as if they were never in ruins to begin with. Although some were still without power, but were slowly charging up. As for Energon, it was gushing out like water from a broken dam. There was so much that the Cybertronians were having trouble collecting it all.

While most of the Autobots were working on fortifying Iacon, small teams under Ultra Magnus' command had been dispatched to explore the rest of the planet and to find any other Energon reservoirs that might be sprouting up, while others were working at the starport and welcoming new arrivals. Since Optimus' message of their homeworld's restoration had gone out, more Cybertronian refugees were pouring in everyday. Some came on their own, while others came in either small groups or large spaceships. Many of them were Autobots, while others were Neutrals or former Decepticons. Regarding the latter, many of them had followed under Megatron because they feared him. However, after hearing how Jetfire, Drift, Wheelie, and Brains had defected to the Autobots, these 'Cons also decided to do the same. It was also very clear that they were tired of fighting and simply wanted to return home. Given the shortage of servos and that there was a lot of work to be done, the Autobots figured that accepting them was the best course of action. Plus, Optimus believed that it would invite other Decepticons to defect too.

Regarding Earth, much was being done to repair the relations between the humans and the Autobots. The leaders of Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Algeria had demanded compensation for the damage that Cybertron had done to their countries, such as access to Cybertronian tech. Algeria was the loudest in this group of people, but Nova silenced those voices when he released a video to both the United Nations and the rest of the world that showed all the war crimes and other atrocities that Harold Attinger and Cemetery Wind had done to both species. This in turn caused many civilians to setup peaceful protests against the U.S Government for allowing the rouge CIA agent and his black ops unit to commit such acts, while also stating that Attinger and his men were no better than the Nazis and the Ku Klux Klan as a whole. Although it was a rather cruel move, but many of the Autobots, with Prowl being especially vocal, saw that it was a necessary play in order to gain peaceful resolutions in their favor. The President of the United States, Secretary Keller, General Morshower, and Charlotte Mearing, the Director of National Intelligence, supported him and were quick to confirm that the videos were 100% real and that measures were being taken to ensure that such a thing will never happen again. Starting with shutting down the TRF and recommissioning NEST.

As for the Decepticons who survived the battle, Optimus had dispatched what flyers he had available to scout the Earth. After two weeks of relentless searching, they had found no sign of them. However, the Autobots, NEST and the Russian Federation's 45th Guards Spetsnaz Brigade were able to discover their hidden base under Mount Yamantau, but it had been thoroughly cleaned out. The only plausible explanation was that the surviving Decepticons had somehow fled Earth after their defeat. Wheeljack hypothesized that Tidal Wave, Astrotrain and Jetstorm were used as transportation to carry them off world. Prowl then suggested to setup sentries around Cybertron just in case Megatron decided to attack.

Jetfire, Whirl, Rewind, Dion and Zeta Prime were the very first Cybertronians to be given official burials with full military honors on Earth, since Optimus believed it was the best honor that could be given to them. Sadly, very little of Rewind's remains could be found. All that could be recovered was his right arm and his weapon, with the latter being kept by Nova as a memento from his fallen childhood friend.

"Optimus," said a voice that brought the Prime out of his thoughts. Turning his helm, the Autobot Leader saw Prowl standing at the entrance. "Magnus' team have returned from their scouting trip."

Optimus nodded and subspaced the Datapad that he was reading. The two of them made their way out of the Hall of Records and onto the streets. They quickly transformed into their alt-modes and drove off towards the Autobot HQ. They passed by Cybertronians who were hard at work. Although much of the city had been restored, thanks to Nova, there were still many things that required manual labor.

"By the way, sir. Were you looking up info on Unicron?" asked Prowl as they made a right-turn.

"Yes, I'm hoping that Alpha Trion had left something about the Chaos Bringer," replied Optimus. Information on Unicron was still being restricted between the Autobots and humans, with only Cade, Vivian, Lennox and the closest members of NEST knowing that Earth's core was the Cybertronian version of Satan. Since learning this, Optimus had studied everything on the Chaos Bringer. Unfortunately, there was very little info on him. The only definite thing that Optimus had learned about Unicron was that he could produce a corrupt variant of Energon called 'Dark Energon'. When used, it could reanimate offlined Cybertronians into Terrorcons or give power to the living, but at the cost of putting him or her under Unicron's thrall.

Optimus and Prowl arrived at what use to be the Citadel for the High Council that had ruled Cybertron alongside Optimus and Megatron before the war. Now, it was the Autobot HQ. Autobots were going in and out of the large building, which was one of the few structures at full-power and 100% operational. Guards were stationed both outside and inside the building, while being commanded by Armorhide at the time. Some of the Autobots greeted their leader, who greeted them back, while others continued their work. Optimus and Prowl boarded an elevator and headed towards the top floor. When they arrived, several officers, including Ultra Magnus, Wheeljack and Perceptor, were already present. They were currently surrounding a large round table while looking at a holo-map.

Magnus turned around when he heard the doors to the elevator opened. "Optimus," he said as he greeted his commanding officer.

The Autobot Leader nodded as he and Prowl approached the table. "What's the status on your latest findings, Magnus?"

"So far, we've found at least three more polities that have enough power that we can start moving people into, but I still think that we should hold off on that until we have a more stronger security detail," replied Magnus.

Optimus nodded. "I agree, since most of the refugees that have arrived are civilians, and we can't risk spreading them out too much until the automatic sentry turrets are 100% operational. What else?"

Magnus pointed at specific spots on the holo-map. "We've also discovered several large Energon reserves. I'm having Roller take the Knight's Ship to mine them and bring them back to Iacon."

"Good. Although we have a steady supply for now, but with more refugees coming in, we'll need more," said Optimus before turning to Perceptor and Wheeljack. "What's the status on your end?"

"Regarding the automatic sentry turrets, we have only about 64% of them online," said Wheeljack. "And with the low number of flyers that we have, I'm trying to repair as many of the recovered Orbital Assault Fighters as I can. I also suggest that we try to add armaments to the ships that the refugees came in."

Optimus nodded. One of the major advantages that the Decepticons had in the war was their larger number of flyers. Aerial power would be needed to defend Iacon until better defense systems were placed. Speaking of the Decepticons, "We've still been unable to locate Megatron and his remaining Decepticon forces?"

"Correct," answered Prowl. "Some of the defectors said that Starscream had setup a base on a moon in this system a long time ago, but they don't know which planet it's orbiting. And with most of our current forces focusing on both defending Iacon and working on repairs, I highly advised against sending out search parties for the time being. We've also had no such luck finding Thunderwing after Nova jettisoned him off Cybertron, or the mech, Jihaxus, that we have already confirmed was working with Quintessa, especially with that doppelganger of yours, sir. He was nowhere during the battle or on Cybertron at all."

"Do we have any info on Jihaxus?" asked Optimus.

"Very little, unfortunately. According to our findings on him so far, he used to be a scientist during the Dynasty of Primes, but after the fall, he disappeared," reported Perceptor. "I'm still searching through any databases, as well as going over whatever we managed to retrieve from the Ignition Chamber. Besides that, I have nothing else."

Optimus sighed. "Then we'll just have to keep our optics opened. And those on Earth?"

Even with Cybertron's restoration, some Autobots had decided to remain on Earth for different reasons. Most of which was that some of them had developed close bonds with the humans there. Landmine continued to live with Simmons and Dutch, with the former having regained both his mansion and his former popularity. Camshaft had gotten close to Leo, and the two of them had moved back to the United States to work as acting ambassadors for the Autobots. Bumblebee, Arcee, Canopy, Sqweeks, Evac, Wheelie, Brains and Cogman were naturally staying with Adam, Cade Yeager and Izabella, who had been officially adopted by Cade. Bumblebee, Arcee, Wheelie and Brains would also pay visits to the Witwickys, telling stories to the toddler Daniel Witwicky about his parents.

As for Ironhide, he retook his role as the Autobot guardian to the Lennox Family. From what Optimus had heard, the moment the Heavy Weapons Specialist and Will had arrived at the family farm, a tear-stained Annabelle had all but jumped into Ironhide's large servos. The black mech also met the young Aaron Hyde Lennox too, as said toddler soon became attached to Ironhide as much as his older sister had been when she was his age. He would even cry if he was separated from the Heavy Weapons Specialist for too long. Chromia had decided to stay with the Lennox Family as she didn't want to be separated from her sparkmate anymore, which was something that Optimus and Elita could both relate too.

"Relations are improving somewhat. There have been many humans who knew of our effort to save their kind and are supporting a truce with us. Although some are still pushing for access to our tech under the claim to better defend themselves, those voices are now fewer, thanks to Nova's video," said Prowl. "Details of an official ambassador are still in the works and we have yet to receive world of one being selected. However, Nova did receive an invite from Cade Yeager about something called a 'barbeque'? Several other Autobots have been invited as well, including you, sir."

(Burton Castle, near the outskirts of London)

After Burton was buried with full military honors, his will was discovered and it was revealed that he would leave everything to Adam. This included both his castle and the surrounding property. Nova decided to allow his new family to live there too, and thus became the new home of the Yeager Family. Upon being officially pardoned by both the President and the British Prime Minister, Cade could finally reunite with his daughter, Tessa. Also living there now were Izzy, who was officially adopted into the Yeager Family, Jimmy and Vivian, who was now Cade's fiancé.

Presently, Cogman was prepping tables, chairs, a grill and other items for the upcoming barbeque, with help from both Evac and Canopy. Sqweeks was at the front entrance of the castle, keeping his optics out for Bumblebee to return. With Cybertron restored and the world back to the way it was, Cade thought it was a good idea to celebrate. Sure, it was a little odd thing to do, given how much work still remained and the 'Cons were still on the loose, but the inventor figured it would be good just to kick back and relax.

Nova Prime, now in his human form, was currently sitting above the castle gate while looking at the driveway. Also with him was his now girlfriend, Izabella. It was very pretty clear to both the Autobots and humans that the two young teens were deeply attracted to one another. Guess it took the near end of the world to finally make them realize their true feelings for one another.

"So, what's it like being able to turn into a Cybertronian?" asked Izzy.

"Still feels weird, though," replied Adam as he raised his left arm and watched as it shifted into a Cybertronian arm. "It still feels like my own body, but that just what makes it so weird because its Cyber-Matter." Adam then magnetically picked up an empty soda can before tossing it into the recycling bin down below. "Though having electromagnetic powers is pretty cool." Both teens laughed at the comment.

Suddenly, a car engine could be heard approaching. Driving up the driveway was Bumblebee, who parked near the castle's entrance. Stepping out were Cade, Tessa and her boyfriend, Shane. The two young adults waved at Adam and Izabella before unpacking their luggage from 'Bee's trunk. Once everything was out, the Autobot Scout transformed into his biped form and headed off to help Evac for the upcoming barbeque.

An hour or two later, the rest of the people came. Lennox and Epps brought along their respective families. Ron and Judy Witwicky had also come, having been personally invited by Cade, and brought their grandson too. The others were Simmons, Dutch, Leo, Burke, Donnelly, Eckerson, Tanaka, Graham, Stone, Hooch, Mongo, Marc, Eddie, Zimmerman and Perkins. For the Autobots, there was Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Jazz, Ironhide, Ratchet, Sideswipe, Sunstreaker, Arcee, Chromia, Elita, Jolt, Skids, Mudflap, Mirage, Wheeljack, Leadfoot, Roadbuster, Topspin, Steeljaw, Wheelie, Brains, Bob, Hound, Drift, Crosshairs, Evac, Hot Rod, Canopy, Cogman, Sqweeks, Landmine, Salvage (now sporting a brand-new red and orange color scheme) and Longarm.

Soon, the celebration barbeque was underway. Epps was carrying bowls of shrimp and nachos as he passed by Eckerson, who was working on the grill with some meat. In another part of the property, Annabelle was hanging out on Ironhide's right shoulder, with Aaron safely in her arms. The Heavy Weapons Specialist had several empty Energon Cubes beside him. Also with Ironhide were Chromia and Hound, with the latter showing the young human girl his X19 Scrapmaker Minigun.

"So, compared to 'Hide's Ion Pulse Cannons, which one can do the most damage?" asked Annabelle to the Commando. She smiled when she heard her little brother squealed at the mention of 'cannons'.

Hound took a puff from his cy-gar. "Well, I won't deny that Ironhide can do some pretty damage with his cannons. But my baby here can tear a 'Con apart in ten seconds flat," said the Commando as he patted his weapon.

Ironhide let out a snort in response. "Yeah, after using a hundred bullets or more. And I just need one or two shells to put any of Megatron's goons down."

"That's because there's a difference in ammo size!" argued Hound.

"Oh brother," muttered Chromia as she rolled her optics while watching her sparkmate argue with the Commando some more.

The rest of the party members were interacting. Ron and Judy were sitting beside one another, sharing a glass of wine as they watched Bumblebee, Wheelie and Brains tell stories to Daniel about his mom and dad. Their grandson was captivated by the deeds that his parents did with the Autobots.

Epps' only son was playing around with Bob, for the boy had taken a shine to the Insecticon. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker were keeping an optic out to make sure Bob didn't hurt the boy. The Chief Master Sergeant's four daughters were looking at the Sparklings that the Autobots had brought with them. Arcee and Elita were there to supervise as the young Cybertronians were inspecting their human counterparts. From a distance were Sarah Lennox and Epps' wife, Monique, who were keeping an eye on their own kids. The two mothers were also talking with Vivian about her engagement with Cade.

Lennox and Simmons were currently discussing topics related to NEST with Landmine sitting with them, content just to listen. Specifically, about the changes that were needed to be put in place now that the Autobots had their homeworld back. Despite that, they too were enjoying the festivities with the other NEST Soldiers and Autobots. Donnelly, Burke, Eddie, Tanaka, Stone and Mongo were playing fetch with Steeljaw, while Perkins, Hooch, Marc, Zimmerman and Graham were trying out the new outdoor basketball court. Meanwhile, Leo was talking to Skids and Mudflap as the young man caught up with the two troublemaking twins. He also got along well with Jimmy. Surprisingly, even Santos had been invited, but the former American TRF Field Commander seemed to prefer sitting on the side as he wasn't yet comfortable being around the Autobots. Still, he also seemed to be relaxed and would greet anyone who spoke to him.

Optimus stood to the side, taking in the sight of his Autobots and their human friends conversing with one another again. After Harold Attinger and Cemetery Wind, the Prime had feared that the tensions between the two races would never fully heal. And his mood was lightened further now that Cybertron was fully restored. His attention shifted when he spotted Cade walking up to him.

"Enjoying the party, Optimus?" asked the inventor.

"It is a comforting sight, yes," replied the Autobot Leader. "To be honest, I had long since lost hope of ever bringing Cybertron back to life. But seeing it now, though, makes me feel as if this tragic war may finally come to an end soon."

Cade nodded, smiling as he watched Tessa converse with Izabella, with the former seeming to have gotten quite attached to her new little stepsister. "Megatron and the Decepticons are still out there, though. And there's Unicron too."

"Its true that we still have a long way to go, but after everything that has happened, I believe we can face it together when that time comes," replied Optimus confidently as the two of them continued to watch the party.