"Cybertron Air Command this is Wheeljack aboard the Jackhammer, I have just left the harbor and will be gone for an unknown amount of time." Wheeljack gave the classic description to the command center so they knew where he was headed.
"Affirmative Wheeljack you are clear to fly." a voice responded. "Safe travels."
Wheeljack closed the communications line and flipped a switch on the dash and his ship's radio came blasting online. His favorite song from his favorite band, Slash Monkey was the first one that played. He hummed to himself and pushed a few more buttons before the new compulsion system activated, sending him lurching backward into his chair at the force of it. The bright stars beside him faded to blurred lines as he flew past them.
"Woah!" Wheeljack cried, not ready for the increased thrust power. He touched his comm link button, laughing as he adjusted himself to the increased thrust. "Kup, you're amazing, you know that?"
Kup's voice came through the comm system. "So I hear. But what for this time?"
"You compulsion system, buddy. Faster than anything I've ever flown." Wheeljack replied back, still chuckling a little to himself.
Kup chuckled. "Good to hear. Gotta sign off pal, comm back when ya can when ya reach a new planet or whatever. And turn down that Pit-forsaken music before ya ruin your audio receptors. It's ruinin' mine and I ain't even on that ship."
Wheeljack responded by turning up his music to full volume, almost drowning out the noise of Kup cussing him out before he turned off the comm link. He turned it back to a normal level so he would be able to hear himself think.
Wheeljack watched as Cybertron became little more than a dot among the other stars, insignificant to him now. He hummed along to his heavy metal music, tapping his digit against his chest when he crossed them over his plating.
The time period between leaving Cybertron and arriving at the assigned planet was the best part of the flight to Wheeljack. He got to have hours to himself to blast his music as loud as he wanted, clean his equipment, write data reports that were long overdue, or catch up on some much needed sleep, just to name a few.
But most importantly, being alone for a few hours at a time gave him plenty of time to think.
Sometimes he would think about his job at the lab. He'd think about how excited he'd been when he got the job, and his excitement that didn't leave in the eons that he'd been working there. He chuckled as he realized he'd left Skyfire alone with Brainstorm and Perceptor, and as much as Wheeljack loved his coworkers, he wouldn't wish his worst enemies to be stuck with them for more than three hours.
Other times, Wheeljack would think of the future, what it held for him. He wanted to continue to move up at the lab, maybe even become a chair member of the board someday and help make some of the difficult - but exciting - decisions about the organization and engineering division.
He wanted to move out of his apartment and move into a house just outside the city; a house that he would build with Impactor and Springer and have it be exactly what he wanted. He imagined the garden he'd have, the recipes he would try in the modern kitchen.
He would think of his future husband and maybe a sparkling or two coming home to him after a long day at school or their job.
Those thoughts, and any thinking sessions Wheeljack would have aboard the Jackhammer would remind him of several things: he hated his apartment more than he hated anything in his life, and he was annoyingly single.
Wheeljack huffed to himself, muttering a few things under his breath. He leaned forward and checked the navigation system, turning it on, then off, then again right away.
The coordinates the Voice - that's what Wheeljack decided he would call it, since he still couldn't figure out where he'd heard the voice before - had put into the Jackhammer's system were still there, sitting innocently on the screen.
The autopilot was set, all Wheeljack had to do was turn it on.
He digits hovered above the autopilot button; something was pushing him to commit to it, a distinct feeling in his gut, but his logical side was telling him to ignore it and explore on his own.
"Screw it." He muttered. "Let's do this."
Wheeljack pushed the autopilot control and the system activated easily, different logistics popping up on the screen. It would take about two days to reach the coordinates. It wasn't the farthest he'd flown, but the white mech noticed he hadn't traveled into that sector very much prior to this.
"This should be fun." Wheeljack muttered again, leaning back in his seat.
With the soothing sound of the engine filling his audio receptors and the blurring of the stars as he flew past, Wheeljack was asleep within minutes.
"Optimus, no. We've discussed this before."
Optimus smiled warmly as he snapped his fingers and one large white plate appeared in his servo. He placed it down on the table before taking the utensils from his husband and placing them down in their proper places.
The pair was in the main temple in the center of them all, setting up for the nightly family dinner. Every night, the Gods and some of their Valeran family members sat down to eat a feast prepared by one of the Gods, share stories and laugh until their sides hurt. These dinners had started out as nightly business discussions between the Valerans and the Gods, but someone at the third meeting or so mentioned that they were hungry, and the Gods revealed they could create food out of thin air.
The tradition had stuck and it was Optimus's favorite part of the day.
"Ratchet, I am not asking you to do something ridiculous, merely - " Optimus began and Ratchet stopped him with his classic "Yip yip yip!"
"Optimus, I don't place bets because I always loose. So no, I will not bet on whether or not Cliffjumper will place a bomb or some sort of other surprise in his meal tonight." Ratchet raised and optic ridge and tilted his head as he made several new forks and spoons at the ready for whenever Optimus needed them. Optimus smiled a little wider and looked down at the shorter mech, who glared back at up at him.
"You know he will." Optimus joked, the humor filled tone of his voice as pleasant as it was rare. The large mech kept the smile on his face, placing the final plate down on the table and putting the utensils in their proper placing, but his optics never left Ratchet's. A smile was threatening to overturn at the corners of his lips, but Ratchet was fighting it with everything he could.
"Of course he will," Ratchet conceded as Optimus took a step closer to him. "But I still don't bet."
Optimus wrapped his arms around Ratchet's waist, and Ratchet's own arms came to rest around Optimus's neck. "Not even for me?" The taller red and blue mech asked, a sweetness in his voice.
Ratchet shook his head and chuckled. "Especially not for you." Ratchet said firmly. "Besides, you're the leader Optimus. Wouldn't it do something for the spirits if everyone found out that we place bets on their cooking abilities?"
Optimus said nothing, a smile still on his lips. He settled for leaning down and pressing his lips against Ratchet's, and the former huffed into the kiss. Ratchet let out a squeak as Optimus's glossa roamed into his mouth, their servos exploring the plating and armor they'd spent centuries memorizing.
"Ew! Arcee! Optimus and Ratchet are making out before dinner again!"
The pair split apart to see the rest of the Gods making their way into the temple. June and Fowler were sitting in Ultra Magnus's servo, talking with him about the increase in crop production. Miko was sitting on Cliffjumper's shoulder, while Jack was walking beside Arcee, and Raf was talking with Bumblebee. Smokescreen was covering Bumblebee's optics and the yellow God was trying to brush them off.
"Don't look Bee!" Smokescreen exclaimed to his lover as Optimus and Ratchet pulled apart to sit at their respective seats at the table. "It might burn your optics out!"
Bumblebee eventually succeeded in tearing Smokescreen's digits off his face. ::Smokey, I'm only a few minutes younger than you::
Smokescreen shrugged and pulled out his chair, sitting down beside Bulkhead and Cliffjumper. "I know, just tryna protect ya, Bee." Smokescreen said, and Bulkhead rolled his optics.
"Only thing he needs protecting from is Cliff's cooking." Bulkhead scoffed and Cliffjumper leaned over to give him a pained expression. "'Cee, confirm it for me."
Cliffjumper turned to look directly across from him at his spark mate Arcee, who only shrugged with a warm smile on her face. "I'm sure you'll just blow us away, Cliff."
Smokescreen and Bumblebee snickered at the joke.
Cliffjumper slumped in his chair as everyone took their seats at the table. Once everyone was situated, Ultra Magnus filled the Valeran's glasses with water, and energon appeared in the glasses of the Gods. Optimus flicked his servo, and across the temple, a little music box started to play a calming instrumental tune.
Cliffjumper rose from his seat then, the legs creaking against the floor as he stood. The attention in the room shifted to him, and the red God lifted his servos. "Today, I have prepared all-you-can-eat burger buffet."
No sooner than the words left his mouth, several full plates of food appeared on the table, and the plates of each God and Valeran was suddenly chocked full of their first helping of burgers. The table was now overflowing with different kinds of condiments and sides, all of them sizzling hot and fresh.
Miko's eyes went wide and she took a massive bite of her burger, before she began to try and shovel the rest of it into her mouth in one go. Bulkhead gave her a concerned look from across the table, but said nothing and took a sip of his energon before he dug into his own burger.
It was probably a good thing that Ratchet didn't bet his husband about Cliffjumper placing something into their food, because he would have lost.
Ultra Magus had been biting into his salad when the small leafy greens exploded before they could reach his mouth. Streamers and confetti flew out all across the table, evaporating before they could land in the food. While the 'adults' per say were able to hide their laughter, the children and younger Gods burst out laughing, Cliffjumper nearly falling out of his chair as he gripped his stomach.
"Cliffjumper," Ultra Magnus seethed after he recovered from the surprise. "I have asked before that you do not conduct your pranks at the dinner table."
Cliffjumper chuckled and in the blink of an optic, an exact copy of Ultra Magnus was glaring at him from across the table. He picked up his fork and sat exactly how Ultra Magnus was sitting, his expression downcast and serious.
"Cliffjumper, I have asked before that you do not conduct your pranks at the dinner table," When Cliffjumper spoke, it was Ultra Magnus's voice that came from his mouth. The taller blue God was not amused in the slightest as he slammed his servos down on the table, rising slightly from his seat.
"Calm down, Mags. He's just lightening the mood," Smokescreen jumped in as Cliffjumper changed back into his regular form, shooting Arcee a wink and a smirk. "no need to get your shoulder pads in a bunch."
Ultra Magnus's face twisted in an unreadable emotion and he huffed, but he sat down and returned to eating his food nonetheless. He always waited a moment or two before he took each bite of food, just in case it exploded in his face.
The dinner table faded into easy conversation after that, Optimus, Fowler and Ultra Magnus talking about patrols and MECH activity while June and Ratchet talked about how the last of the Novian people were recovering from the recent outbreak of the flu. The children were engaged in their own loud conversations, Miko demonstrating with her chips as a diagram on how she and Raf had to corral the cows back into their pens after Jack had opened the door to their pen on accident.
After everyone was stuffed with burgers and chips and salads, Arcee revealed that she had been in charge of dessert. After she snapped her digits, a beautiful piece of pie appeared on everyone's plate, ranging from blueberry to apple to pecan.
Cliffjumper was quick to compliment his wife after he had one bite of the pie, and miscellaneous comments filtered in from everyone else after they had a few bites of their own pie.
And maybe it was Optimus and Ratchet complimenting each other in their old married couple fashion or Cliffjumper and Arcee cracking inside jokes with each other, but a sad feeling started to pool in Bulkhead's gut. He watched the interactions of the bonded pairs in front of him and he couldn't help the jealousy that settled into his spark.
Bulkhead would never admit it to anyone - Pit he could barely even admit it to himself - but he was lonely. He hated it, he hated it with every fiber of his being that he felt this way, but he couldn't help the feelings of jealousy settling in his spark as he watched Arcee and Cliffjumper bicker and laugh at each other.
Part of Bulkhead had given up any hope that he could find someone; someone who made him happy in a way that no one else could. He had determined that the reason that he was still alone was because Primus was a sick fragger and he just loved to watch him suffer any chance he got.
Sure, Bulkhead wasn't the only single mech in the group of Gods, but Ultra Magnus was Ultra Magnus, 'nough said. At the last meeting, Dreadwing had confirmed that plenty of them still remained single, like himself and Shockwave and Airachnid for example.
Bulkhead didn't really find that encouraging, but he kept that to himself.
Bulkhead must have gotten so absorbed in his jealousy and self-loathing because he failed to notice Miko drawing her arm back, a clump of pie clutched in her fist.
Bulkhead grunted as blueberry pie made contact with his right cheek, and he whirled his gaze to focus on the small girl. Miko chuckled and reached over to grab two giant fistfuls of Optimus's pie, while Bulkhead grabbed one of his own giant fist fulls of Smokescreen's pie.
"Hey!" The white mech protested, grabbing Bulkhead's leftover pie to launch at him. Bulkhead was faster and hurled his pie at Smokescreen's face, hitting him dead on.
Bulkhead had barely any time to relish his small victory before he was belted in the back by a few splatters of pie. He turned around to see Arcee getting ready to launch another. But as Bulkhead tried to throw a piece of apple pie at her, the blue femme ducked, causing the pie to collide right onto Ratchet's chest.
The dinner table collectively froze as they waited for Ratchet to throw them out of the temple. The white and red God wiped the pie chunks off of his chest with a grimace before he glared up at Bulkhead. The Earth God offered an awkward smile and opened his mouth to apologize, but Ratchet surprised them all by picking up his own pie and throwing it in Bulkhead's direction.
He missed and hit Smokescreen, but the effort was there.
The main temple resumed in loud laughter and screams as a full out food fight ensued, the teams switching from Gods against Valerans to girls against boys to every man for themselves, and it was spectacular.
A little while later, Bulkhead was hiding behind a flipped over table that was being used as a makeshift shield, generating a new piece of food in his servos to launch towards Bumblebee, who was hiding across the room behind his own makeshift protection system. He made a smaller piece of food for Miko, who graciously took it, ready to attack Raf whenever Bulkhead gave the word.
"Wait," Bulkhead said quietly as food flew over the table. "Now!"
Miko spun around the corner, a battle cry rising from her throat and Bulkhead stood up over the top of the table, his servo drawn back to launch his food. He tried to launch the food, but was stopped short as his spark twisted in his chest.
Bulkhead grunted and gasped in pain, dropping the food and almost hitting Miko as it fell.
"Hey! Watch it-" Miko gasped as she looked up at Bulkhead, who was turning a different color and stumbling on his pedes. "Ratchet! Bulkhead needs help!"
Bulkhead was starting to loose focus as his vision began to black out, his audio receptors barely able to focus on any noise in the temple. He was seeing triple and the room was spinning; he could barely tell if he was still standing from the immense pain. He gasped as his spark twisted before it seemed to pull in his chest, like it was trying to tear itself out of his chest cavity.
Bulkhead groaned as his body convulsed and he felt his wires and gears shifting apart inside of him, as if he was being split in two. It felt like someone had thrown acid all over his body and then tried to pump it down all of his wires instead of energon. Bulkhead's vision whitened out for a brief moment and he let out a cry of pain.
'What's…happening to me?' Bulkhead thought to himself as he felt a strange feeling of nausea pass through his gut and he placed a servo over his mouth as he realized it was a very likely possibility he could throw up Cliffjumper's meal. 'Am I dying? Is this what dying feels like?'
"What's wrong with him!"
"Give him some space!"
Bulkhead groaned as he felt himself falling, his optics off lining before he hit the temple floor.
Sleeping was supposed to be therapeutic. Relax the muscles, calm the brain. Benefit the whole body and whatever.
Sleeping for roughly three hundred years? Not so therapeutic.
Her entire body ached. Every inch her form moved was pure agony, especially since she wasn't possessing a form at the moment.
She forced herself to open her optics, taking in the scene around her.
She was surrounded by tall trees, the ground beneath her feet soft and slightly damp. Around her, birds were singing and there was the sound of trickling water in the distance, and if she listened closely she could hear a few fish swimming around in the water, a frog or two singing their tunes.
She raised her hand and clenched her fist, and immediently, dark tentacles shot up from the ground, enveloping the small pool of water in its pure blackness. There was a sickened squelching noise followed by a rumbling noise; the ground beneath her feet shaking slightly.
When the shaking stopped, the pool was gone, buried underneath the ground. A large black hole had taken its place, the swarm of blackness slowly spreading out around it.
She rose to her feet and looked around.
Her brothers and sisters weren't with her.
She scoffed. Weaklings. Must she do everything for them?
She raised her arms, looking up towards the sky. Immediately, the clouds above her darkened and lightning flashed around her, loud booms of thunder following soon after.
She didn't have to wait long before her brothers and sisters began to appear.
They were moving in their spirit forms; flying balls of darkness flying at unnatural speeds towards her. Flecks of darkness flew off the back of them, and shrill screams filled the air around her the closer they got.
The sun was blotched out of the sky, taken over by the dark storm clouds she'd made.
Her brothers and sisters landed beside her, staining the ground with their darkness where they stood. They snarled and screamed in their unnatural ways, rising to their full heights.
She rolled her eyes.
"Must you all be so dramatic?" She demanded, putting her hands on her hips.
"We've been asleep for hundreds of years, Obscurity. We have a right to be dramatic." One said, and Obscurity chuckled.
"No Null, we have a right to destroy the Gods and fulfill our destiny." One of Obscurity's sisters spat.
"Now now, Crash. We will destroy the Gods in due time. Let them suffer for a while, waiting for us to strike. The waiting game is the best part." Obscurity argued.
"Do they know we wake?" Null asked, his voice shrill and he screamed once he finished his sentence.
Obscurity took a deep breath in, closing her optics at the pure sensation of breathing after hundreds of years of simply not breathing. "I hope so. I do hope they know we're coming, that we are coming to destroy everything they've ever loved." Obscurity allowed a smile to come to her lips. Twisted as it was, it was the brightest she'd smiled in a long time. "Fear is our greatest weapon after all."
"But what of The One?" Null asked, his optics narrowing. "Can we see him?"
Crash sniffed the air, turning slightly as she tried to find the scent of The One. "I can't smell him. Either he's dead or far from the Gods."
Obscurity smiled wider, the right side turning up farther into more of a smirk. "Let us use this to our advantage."
Crash sniffed the air, opening her mouth in a sickening laughter. "I can smell them. They are far, but we can find them."
"They've run, they've hidden, but now, the chase is on." Another one of Obscurity's brothers hissed, and the others joined in the laughter, the sky above them getting darker by the second. Beneath their feet, the ground was becoming black, the trees around them shriveling and fading away into nothing but ash, flowing away into the wind.
It wouldn't be long now before the planet crumbled.
"Then let's not keep them waiting," Obscurity hummed. "Let's go pay our beloved cousins a visit."
The Children of Unicron let out shrill screams once more, puffs of smoke surrounding them. When the smoke cleared, Predacons of pure darkness were in their place, the blackness oozing off of their plating in waves, flecking off into the air around them. Their optics were lit in a red flame, the backs of their throat glowing with their dragon fire.
They wasted no time in taking flight, roaring and screaming as they left the atmosphere, and flew into the vast space beyond.
The planet crumbled into darkness not five minutes after they left it.
Just like Unicron had done.