It was pretty safe to say Wheeljack was pretty uncomfortable in his current situation.
On one end there Silas and his group of fleshies shoved into robotic bodies and multiple canons aimed towards the opposing team, which was made up of living metal organisms much like Wheeljack himself. Most of their optics were glowing now and they drew themselves back into a guarding stance, some of their servos clenched and glowing with their own light.
The tension was high out in this little field, the rubble of the Jackhammer still hot behind Wheeljack himself. He felt like a piece of meat, about to be fought over by two apex predators.
"It's your choice, Optimus," Silas broke through the silence of the standstill. "Walk away and let us take him back to our base, or we kill him."
"If it helps, I don't like either of those options." Wheeljack hollered from where he was still held down, and the rebuttal to his input was that blasted organic pressing the button on that damned control. Electricity shot through his systems more painfully than the last time, and the smell of rotting plating made him want to gag.
"Do not harm him!" A booming voice came from Wheeljack's right, but he didn't recognize who was speaking.
"Temper, temper," Silas hummed, and the electricity stopped. Once again, a few small puffs of smoke rose off of Wheeljack's plating, floating away into the air above him. He exhaled sharply - which hurt immensely - and worked his way into a sitting up position. "I'm almost tempted to let you keep him, I've never been one to be fond of a feisty attitude."
Silas's stance shifted and he gained a gleam in his eye, an expression of gloating. "I'm sure the precious Tailgate could tell me all about my dislike for a feisty attitude."
"That's it!" It was a femme voice that said that, followed by a loud battle cry.
But the fight had already begun.
Wheeljack turned his head just in time to see a small blue and pink femme leaping up into the air, hovering several feet off the ground. Above him, the sky was beginning to swirl a dark gray, the clouds thundering and jolting with lightning.
The blue femme still remained where she was, and all optics were trained on her.
Her optics were glowing fiercely bright, her servos clenched at her sides. The clouds began to swirl above her, beginning to sink lower and lower in the center like a tornado touching down until it was almost on top of her. A few flashes of lightning flashed near her, and thunder followed close behind.
The femme let out a loud roar and clapped her hands over her head, and lightning suddenly shot down from the sky, crashing down towards the earth at a remarkable speed.
The earth scorched where the lightning touched down, the thunder loud enough to shake the ground. It was doing the trick; Silas and his precious creations stumbled and swayed where they stood, and the canons jumped off the ground. Wheeljack let out a surprised yell as he bounced up and down on the ground as lightning struck the earth beneath him.
The lightning paused for a moment, and Wheeljack turned his gaze upward in time to see the femme letting out a loud scream, before she began spinning in rapid succession; her helm tucked into her chest and her arms straight out beside her.
The swirling ball gained speed the farther she fell, and soon she collided into one of the large robots, blue liquid and sparks flying from where her fist made contact with it.
The man in the machine was quick to strike back, stepping away from where he had been hit and gaining his balance. He drew his arm back and clenched his fist, before driving it forward and hitting the femme in the stomach. Wheeljack couldn't help but flinch as the femme flew backwards, tumbling a few times before she gained her footing. Her optics were glowing in white fury, her mouth set in a deep scowl.
As Wheeljack watched the femme get up and charge again, his optics traveled to the other areas of the fight. There was a group of two - the tall red mech, the short black and yellow - who were trying to get closer to the canons without being hit by the purple blasts. There was a second group - a bulky blue mech and a red mech with horns - helping the short femme fight the men in suits.
Wheeljack flinched back as a bright, smiling face suddenly filled his vision.
"Hi there!" The mech was yelling at him, the grin firmly planted on his face. "The name's Smokescreen! I'm the God of Speed and Courage; not that means anything to you right now."
"Smokescreen!" Wheeljack looked up and saw the large blue mech standing in the way of the sunlight., his shoulder pads casting a strange shadow on Wheeljack's form. One of his servos was shifted into a blaster and he was facing out towards the battle, but Wheeljack could see the annoyed look on his face plates. "Stop talking and untie him!"
"Right, sorry!" Smokescreen's optics glowed a bright white and his servos glowed a silver lining as he grabbed onto the cables surrounding Wheeljack.
"Blasted MECH! I should have known they would have pulled something like this after we found their cameras on our territory." The blue mech hissed out as he watched the battle unfold. He looked down at Wheeljack, his gaze hard to read. Something flashed in his optics, an emotion Wheeljack sworn he had seen many times before it was gone.
Wheeljack had never enjoyed full range of movement more than when the cables snapped and his legs and arms fell from where they had been held against his body. He sighed in relief, the sensation that came from relaxing a little enough to make him want to curl up and take a small recharge nap.
He did a quick once-over of himself to see if there was any new damages, and he was upset to see there was. Some of his plating still carried the burn marks from the rope and he had a few open wounds, but nothing life threatening.
A servo was thrust into his face - he was really getting sick of things filling his vision without his permission - before he could contemplate that nap or his escape plan.
Wheeljack looked up at the owner - it was the silver one, Smokescreen - his optics still eager and glowing.
He hesitated for a few moments before he accepted the outstretched hand. The mech barely showed any sign of effort as he helped haul Wheeljack to his feet, and when Wheeljack was being pulled he almost felt weightless. He coughed and quickly pulled his servo out of the silver mech's grasp.
"Kid? Buddy, I'm at least a couple hundred years older than you -"
"Blah, blah, blah. Look, I just need to get outta here."
"I am afraid we cannot allow you to leave."
Wheeljack looked up, one optic ridge raised in confusion. "I beg your pardon?"
The blue mech straightened, his mouth set in a thin line. He was taller than Wheeljack by a few head lengths and he was definitely the stronger of the two - Wheeljack wasn't sure if he wanted to find out what this mech's power was - but Primus himself be damned if he was going to be backed into a corner by this guy.
Wheeljack glared up at him, unflinching even as Smokescreen awkwardly stood between them.
"What is your name, mecha?"
"Wheeljack. Not that it means anythin' to ya."
"It does, actually. Since you will be coming back to our village, immediently."
"That's rich. I'm not gonna be a pretty damsel in distress or be your prisoner."
"It's for your protection."
Wheeljack scoffed. "I'm sure it is. And I've been lobbing with the Fallen."
The blue mech's optics widened then, as if something struck him as familiar, before his expression hardened again.
"Look, it is in your best interest to come back with us, so we may protect you from MECH and others who seek to harm you." The mech insisted, his sentence pleading but his voice was demanding.
Wheeljack stepped back. It alarmed him that this mech seemed to act like he knew him, but that was really the least of his worries at the moment. "Listen, shoulder pads -"
"Shoulder pads," Wheeljack continued as if he hadn't spoken. "I just need you to make me a ship, and I'll get out of yer way. I have no interest bein' here if I'm just a piece of meat to you guys."
"You're not a piece of meat! You're actually very important!" Smokescreen yelled again, jumping fully in between Wheeljack and Ultra Magnus. His back was to the blue mech, and his optics were wide and pleading to Wheeljack.
"Smokescreen, stop it, now." Ultra Magnus barked. Wheeljack looked up at him for a moment before he glanced down at Smokescreen.
"Why am I so important, kid?" Wheeljack demanded, and Smokescreen took a step back, clearly alarmed and knowing he messed up. "Tell me."
"Smokescreen, do not."
Smokescreen looked extremely conflicted, his mouth moving even though no sound came out. His door wings twitched on his back, as if they could sense the anger coming off of Ultra Magnus's plating.
Suddenly, the smaller mech's optics narrowed and he took up a battle stance, his gaze directed at something behind Wheeljack.
The white and green mech turned, and was greeted with several dozen missiles launching straight towards him.
"Get behind me!" Ultra Magus demanded, and Wheeljack felt a few droplets of water fall against his back.
Wheeljack grunted, concentrating on his powers, which he was surprised to notice were already awake inside of him. The familiar rush of his powers coming to life ignited in his spark, and he felt the itch like sensation of the fire crawling out of his plating, remaining on his servos like a gauntlet.
Ultra Magnus turned and looked down at him, his expression changing from battle ready to shocked in a nano-second. He moved out of the way as Wheeljack stepped in front of him, and he didn't say anything as Wheeljack turned his attention to the sky.
"Like I said," Wheeljack's adrenaline was at an all time high. "I ain't no damsel."
He opened his servos and clapped them together in front of him, a large beam of fire shooting out of his fingertips. The fire wormed through the air like a fierce dragon, the flames flickering in the air as they shot forward towards their target.
The red hot fire hit the bombs head on, and within moments, the sky was filled with explosions that shook the ground. Metal pieces from the bombs fell around Wheeljack's feet, but he didn't stop,
Wheeljack recognized that someone was speaking and there were several triumphant cheers coming from the people around him, but he ignored them in favor of continuing to release the fire out of his systems.
The fire from the sky seemed to gain a mind of its own, and instead of vanishing into the air, it began swirling back towards Wheeljack and engulfing him in a bright orange cocoon. The fire was dancing on his plating but not burning him, he could feel the hotness and itchiness of it, but he had never felt more at home.
Wheeljack hadn't even realized he was levitating until he looked down and saw the earth was a ways down beneath him, all eyes and optics trained on him in awe.
Destroy the pests. A voice demanded.
The voice was foreign and unfamiliar, a distorted and ugly sound in his mind. He'd never heard it before in his life, but for some reason it felt so natural beside his thoughts.
There was a sound of a distance screaming, a horrible warped sound that managed to chill Wheeljack to the core despite being surrounded by fire. He clenched his fists and closed his optics, the fire burning to the surface of his armor before it seemed to seep out of every pore.
Wheeljack was confident he was giving off more heat than the sun at this point.
Wheeljack jerked his fists outwards, and the flames followed.
His flames were so bright they were almost white hot, falling towards the ground like meteors.
The fire balls hit MECH's canons and machines spot on, and the explosions came seconds after.
"Ultra Magnus! The fires!"
Wheeljack once again could register that people were screaming, but he was so tired now he couldn't focus on the white noise.
The fire was fading around him, and he could feel the anger and hunger fading in his gut. He felt cold now, the lack of flames surrounding him more deafening than anything. The voice was silent, but he felt like a presence was missing from his mind now.
Darkness was sweeping at the edges of his vision and his entire body felt numb. He could faintly feel himself falling towards the ground, but he didn't even have the energy to react.
"Bumblebee, save him!"
Wheeljack felt a gust of wind stop his fall, but that was the last thing he could comprehend before the darkness overtook him.
"My darling, you know the moonlight doesn't help you think any better. We have talked about this before."
Crow didn't turn to look over his shoulder at the sound of Airachnid's voice. He wondered if he ignored her that she would leave him alone, but past nights of similar conversation openers told him that she would not leave him alone.
Crow was standing on the balcony of his castle, looking out at the village and the great world beyond. The moon was glowing overhead, the stars twinkling beside it. There were multiple lights lining the side of the roads in the village, and several lights on his own balcony, so Crow could easily see the last of his subjects retiring into their houses for the night.
Crow sighed and dropped his arms, letting his palms rest on the cool stone of the railing. Behind him, the soft, almost delicate noise of Airachnid's bi-pedal feet on the side of his wall was almost soothing to him, a comfort ever so strange.
Airachnid landed with a thud that shook the ground a little, but Crow didn't react.
The King kept his gaze trained on the horizon, breathing in the cool night air.
"What's on your mind, my dear King?" Airachnid asked, picking herself up and sitting down on the railing beside Crow. She turned her gaze out to try and see what Crow was looking at, but she gave up on that after a few seconds of attempting to look for some strange object or flying Predacon. "I see nothing out there of any interest."
"I'm not looking for anything out there," Crow shrugged, tapping his fingers against the stone. "it's like you said. I'm thinking."
"Do you need to know or are you just being nosy again?"
Airachnid chuckled. "Call it a healthy interest."
Crow rolled his eyes and leaned back, crossing his arms over his chest again. He sighed and pinched the bridge of his nose for a moment before he spoke. "Look, I know that you hate the Titans and all -"
"Hate is a weak word. Loathe with my entire being would be closer, but it is an anger one cannot quite put into words."
" - But in all seriousness, why can't you just…mend your differences? You always tell Fowler to try and make amends with MECH, and for Dreadwing to move on from his brother's death, but yet you can't move on from the quarrel you had with the Titans."
Airachnid scrunched up her face, a disgusted sneer written all over it. She didn't say anything for a moment, her servos clenching and opening at her sides.
She opened her mouth before she immediently closed it again, then opened it again before she huffed and turned away from Crow, crossing her arms over her chassis and putting her fingertips on her forehead. Crow could hear her counting to ten in her native language, and her let her take her time.
"I know the basics of the…history…you share with the Titans. But are they really beyond reason?" Crow asked a little hesitantly. He normally wasn't afraid of Airachnid; he had grown to be very fond of her and her slightly sadistic presence, but at the moment he knew better than to push her. He knew she would respond negatively to his question, but the counting showed she was struggling to see straight in her anger, instead of subduing to her power.
After a few moments, Airachnid sucked in a breath and exhaled sharply, turning back to Crow. She materialized a chair for herself beside him and sat down, crossing one leg over the other.
She turned her gaze on a specific star in the distance, her optics blank but full of so much emotion at the same time.
"We tried," She said slowly. "Right after we won the War and banished Unicron, we attempted to make peace with them. We had them captured and were prepared to live peacefully beside them."
Crow waited as she paused. Her voice was changing to become less attached, the emotion was nearly gone from her voice. She did that sometimes.
"But they refused. Their mindless husks could not comprehend peace between violence. All they wanted was revenge for Unicron's defeat. They did horrible, terrible things, before we banished them as well. They couldn't possess us, but they could manipulate from their cells, get Gods to kill themselves or others by a few simple, well phrased sentences."
Airachnid's emotion was void of all emotion.
"They were starting to get close to Optimus, the tender soul he is, and Megatron, who wanted nothing more than to rip out a spark. So we sent them out. Far, far away, but not before they bound us together for eternity."
Crow looked up as he felt Airachnid's optics on him. "It is quite literally inside our sparks that we have to avoid them, my darling. It's not hard for us to hate them."
Crow nodded, not wanting to comment any further. Airachnid gave him the answer he had been expecting, but it still made him wonder.
"You want to see the Titans," Airachnid mused, the faintest of smirks on her lips. "you want to see if they really measure up to the rumors and stories. Well, if they could get a formerly kind femme to kill seven other Gods in cold blood, imagine what they could do to a little fleshie like yourself."
Crow scoffed, rolling his eyes. "Then what do you say we find that mech of your little prophecy and make sure they never find a little fleshie like myself?"
Airachnid didn't smile then, but her optics brightened. "Agreed. Now, it is far too late to be this angry, so it's about time we headed to bed, don't you think?"
Crow did smile. "I would love nothing more."
"Stop!" Obscurity barely noticed when one of her sisters halted suddenly, clutching her helm and curling up in a ball among the stars. "Stop!"
Obscurity did stop then, confused by the anger and pain in her sister's voice. She recognized Null's form as she turned around, blackness tracing her movements, strikingly visible against the contrast of space around them.
Crash and another brother Faus flew to her side, disgusted looks on their faces as they attempted to coerce her to speak. Null clutched her head a little tighter, her glowing optics closed.
She let out a twisted scream and her body snapped into a straight line so quickly Obscurity pondered for a moment if she had snapped it or was possessed; a sick joke by one of her siblings. They always had a habit of attempting to tear each other apart more than the Gods did.
Null let out another scream and Obscurity waited for her to finish.
After a moment, Null relaxed, her optics opening and glowing a bright orange now.
Obscurity raised an optic ridge.
"His powers have been activated." Obscurity said simply, and Null nodded. There was a chorus of roars and cries of anguish from her brothers and sisters, and Obscurity rolled her optics. She raised a hand and the cries died down instantly, nothing more than the deafening silence of space as white noise.
"This complicates things." Crash spoke. "It will be much more difficult to kill the Gods now that they have Primus's special one among them."
"This changes nothing." Obscurity hissed out, narrowing her optics at her brother. "The Gods possess the same powers. This new Primus child is just an addition to their egos."
There were murmurs of agreement and Obscurity turned to Null. "What did you see?"
"The mech accessed his powers and used it to destroy a group of organic life forms and their technology. He passed out right after he used his powers."
"Did he even fully access his powers?"
Null hesitated a moment, recalling what she had seen. A few moments passed before she shook her head and Obscurity scoffed.
"Precisely. We have nothing to fear." Obscurity turned and began to fly on, not waiting to see if anyone followed her.
They had seen the fiery ball of a mech in the sky from the courtyards by the temples. After all, it was hard to miss the fact that the sky had ignited into a burning inferno.
Knock Out stood beside Starscream, watching as the Predacons came closer and closer, their roars filling the sky. Knock Out clenched onto Starscream's servo as he saw Breakdown's large form off to the left, and Starscream said nothing about it.
Dreadwing and Megatron stepped up beside the red God, their optics trained on the Predacons as well. Megatron's fists were clenched and when Knock Out cast him a quick glance, he looked as if he was about to jump up into the sky instead of wait for the others to land.
Knock Out didn't really blame him; the tension was so thick in the air it was almost choking.
Did they find him?
The question stung on Knock Out's tongue, but he dared not say it out loud.
Ratchet pushed his way past and grabbed Knock Out's arm as he moved by, a silent request to help him if there were any injuries.
Arcee and Ultra Magnus landed first, Arcee's tiny clawed pedes touching the ground almost elegantly, where Ultra Magnus hit the ground without focusing on gentleness. They shifted back quickly, and Knock Out noticed Ultra Magnus looked eager for Optimus and the others to land.
The blue God looked to Ratchet, who recognized he was being summoned and walked over to meet him halfway. Ultra Magnus leaned down and attempted to discretely whisper something into the God's audio receptor, but Knock Out heard him anyway.
"He's the one."
Ratchet responded just as discretely. "Then he cannot be put with Bulkhead. We'll place him in the main temple, I'll have Bumblebee and Smokescreen prepare a berth. Soundwave," The silent mech moved forward, barely making a sound as he moved across the grass. "ensure Bulkhead and the children don't come out of the medical bay. Bulkhead and the new mech should only be allowed to see each other in a controlled environment."
Knock Out gave Ratchet a confused glare as Soundwave nodded once and turned away. "Why can't the big rig and the guy see each other right now?"
Ratchet sighed, his gaze focused on his mate, who was flying closer by the second. "This new mech is Bulkhead's Soul's Exit."
Knock Out was taken back, but he forced himself to keep his face and emotions in check.
"And you didn't mention it before right now?" Some of his anger slipped out into his voice.
"There was never time. I expected Bulkhead to be out for much longer than he was. It might have something to do with this mech being here." Ratchet paused. "I'm sorry, that once again you were left out of the loop. But trust me when I tell you that you all would have been informed as soon as we could sit down, we just haven't had the opportunity."
Knock Out huffed and tried to push down the feeling of annoyance that was settling in his gut. He supposed it was acceptable that this detail had been left unsaid, what with the Gods from Tonin just arriving and the new mech arriving hours after they did. And he supposed they were all together now, which meant everyone would be included in all of the updates and decisions from that moment on.
Knock Out looked at Ratchet for a moment longer before he turned his gaze to the stars as well. "Do we know what will happen when Bulkhead and this new mech see each other?"
"Not a clue." Ratchet replied honestly.
"Which is why you're not letting them anywhere near each other."
They said nothing more as the rest of the Gods landed around them, roaring to each other before they shifted back into their regular forms.
"Well?" Starscream demanded, never one for patience. "Was he really there? Or did he implode himself in the sky?"
Optimus, who was still in his Predacon form, narrowed his optics and huffed out, causing smoke to come from his nostrils. The large red and blue Predacon shifted so everyone could see his back. He unfurled his wings to reveal Arcee, and the limp form of a new mech.
The first thing Knock Out noticed was his finish was in desperate need of buffing and polishing. He looked like he hadn't seen in the inside of a spa facility in eons.
Knock Out noticed the fading burns second, and when he reached forward to check for a pulse, the mech's plating was hot to the touch. The God pulled his hand away quickly and shook off the burnt feeling, swearing under his breath.
"Starscream," Knock Out said over his shoulder without turning around. His fellow God was quickly to his side, silent as he examined the new mech for himself. "cool him down."
Starscream did as he was told, his optics glowing a bright blue as he activated his ice powers. Frost flew out of his fingertips and settled on the mech's plating, melting almost the instant it made contact with the white coloring. A few moments passed before the frost began to stick, and when Knock Out checked for a pulse again, he was much cooler.
"I'll carry him." Ultra Magnus was suddenly pushing Knock Out out of the way, and neither Ratchet or Knock Out protested. Arcee jumped off of Optimus's back and the God shifted into his natural form, watching as Ultra Magnus flew over the hill and towards the main temple, while Bumblebee, Smokescreen, Knock Out, and Ratchet followed.
Megatron approached Optimus and stood by his side, and Optimus didn't need to see his facial expression to determine what he was about to say.
"I was beginning to think he would never really come." Megatron said plainly, his voice cracking on the last note. A sign of emotion that was rarely seen from the intense God.
Optimus hummed his agreement. "Neither did I, old friend."
"How fortunate that we were proved wrong today." Megatron replied, their gazes still trained ahead of them.