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Return of Optimus Prime part 1
5/18/02

Command Center

        This circular room was formerly the bridge when the base was a viable spaceship. Now used as the Command Center, it is dominated by the large central viewing screen. The screen is linked to the main computer system, and can display anything from energon production reports to tactical updates to topside weather information. The various other bridge control stations have been converted to monitor and control the various mechanisms and activities of the base. They curve around the room from the door to the central viewscreen.


Nightbird walks into the command center briefly looking around at those already gathered.

Megatron is talking to Soundwave.

Macabre is off to the side. Thinking? Maybe. She's got something of a faraway look.

Soundwave has appeared back at his communications station as though he'd never been missing. Who knows what project he's withdrawn himself to for the last few weeks.

CatsCradle is perched on her usual console, legs tucked underneath her.

Megatron looks up as he hears the door open, smiling at the new arrivals.

Tempest slinks in at the back of the group, noticing everyone in the room as she makes her way to a seat near the back.

Macabre drops back into attention. Where did all these people come from? She tries to slowly move back against a wall. Try to keep herself... away. She looks around warily, as if the danger that all of these people will turn into deformed beasts of saliva and thorns is present.

Tempest is already back against that wall, but unlike Macabre, is folding her arms and looking out at every one else as if that was /her personal wall./

Soundwave tilts his head a bit and watches Macabre curiously. She seems every bit as uncomfortable now as she was when he first met her briefly.

Nightbird isn't glaring at everyone, but looks from one Decepticon to another, calmly watching the everyday activity of the base.

Macabre glances over her shoulder at the wall. Sees Tempest against it. Sees that look and translates it accurately. Without any sound she looks for another wall.

Tempest appears restless, fidgeting against the far wall. There's not enough...action...on this planet any more.

Megatron says, "I see, the ladies want to participate in our next glorious action."

Tempest grins. "Action! At last!"

CatsCradle blinks and looks up at that. "Our what?" She manages to stop herself from launching into a list of what their other .... er, glorious actions.... have turned into.

Scorcher slips into the room

Soundwave muses, "I would hope our next glorious action will be more uneventful than past adventures."

Thrust stands in typical guard stance behind Megatronís command chair

Macabre uhs? Glorious action? Uh-oh.

Thrust states confidently, "With Thrust on the scene it will all be glorious."

CatsCradle brightens. "Are we going to go human again? If so, I want a coffee maker this time." She studies her hands for a moment, as if looking for tremors. "Although I think I went through caffeine withdrawal after that."

Tempest gives Cats a /look/. "I hope not." The tips of the wings quiver...underlying nerves, perhaps?

Macabre looks over at CatsCradle as well, but not a -look.- It's like a timid glance. It -is- a timid glance. Why would anyone want to be human again?

Megatron laughs. "No coffee this time Cats, but Millions of astroliters of energon.

Megatron says, "The vast oil fields of Saudi Arabia will be ours."

Nightbird's optics flash a bit in approval of that thought.

Soundwave says, "More suitable than 'coffee,' surely.""

Scorcher winces at the mention of Saudi Arabia

CatsCradle looks mildly disappointed. "Oh, well. I guess energon's a good substitute." Although she sighs a bit wistfully.

Tempest says, "I heard Starscream talking about that area. Good fuel. If you don't mind the wars." Somehow though, the thought of war makes her optics spark.

Macabre doesn't know what Saudi Arabia is. Or where it is. Or whatever. So she keeps quiet.

Megatron smirks at Soundwave. "Nevertheless it has an astonishing effect on humans this coffee.

CatsCradle lets out another wistful sigh. "And then there was chocolate..."

Scorcher mutters to herself "great. Lots of dirt to get under my armor"

Tempest grins at Scorcher. "Lots of things to shoot at." A pause. "Just...don't hit the fuel, ok?"

Nightbird looks over to Scorcher with what could be an expression of concern.

Scorcher throws Tempest a pained look

Megatron says, "We will bring this region peace, Tempest - under our rule... Now, Decepticons, prepare to enter the shuttle. We are leaving for Al-Ghawar."

****


Saudi Arabia

Al-Ghawar Oil Field

Scorcher takes off, preparing to fly a perimeter in case anybody dares to interfere with the Decepticons

Megatron heads directly for the Al-Ghawar Oil Field.

****

Al-Ghawar Oil Field

        The largest oil field on Earth at 150 miles long by 22 miles wide, it has over two hundred separate wells and pumps out more than a million barrels of crude oil every single day. Most of the oil is then sent through a pipeline to the ocean where tankers wait to export it throughout the world. The scale of just one well site is impressive, even by Cybertronian standards.

Nightbird looks around at the vast machines that extract oil from this place. She says to Megatron, "It's difficult to imagine that something that's taken from the ground of this planet could produce so much energon."

Scorcher continues to fly in a wide circle around her fellow 'cons, scanners open for any intrusion with Megatron's plans

Soundwave regards the surroundings in silence. They've hit oil wells before, but never such a vast field of them.

Macabre looks around. "... ... ... ... ..." Wow.

Megatron says, "The planet itself is rich of energy. The plague is on the surface."

Megatron explains to his troops: "On this site, we will build a refinery that will convert all the oil being produced here directly to energon. Then we will transport it with the existing pipeline to the storage facility the Constructicons are building." He points into the direction of the pipeline: "Think of it! Millions of astroliters flowing out every hour!"

Soundwave ejects Ravage, with a silent command for him to prowl the perimeter of activity and keep any troublesome humans at a distance.

Megatron says, "Decepticons, to work."

The humans are indeed now starting to come out of their assigned work places and looking at the Decepticons. Surprisingly though, most of them simply go about their jobs again, paying little heed.

Tempest blinks. "Build a refinery? That's it?"

Macabre thinks of it, as ordered to. Well, it probably wasn't an order, but it was in the imperative tense... and that's good enough for her. She's sorta awed by the idea.


Soundwave explains patiently, "In its raw form, this resource is inefficient. Processed into energon, it is more portable and more concentrated. We are preparing it for shipment, as you recall." He doesn't seem at all disappointed that this may be a straightforward project for once - but at the same time he keeps in telepathic contact with Ravage, just in case there are surprises. Wouldn't be the first time.

CatsCradle trots happily around, filling energon cubes, giving little waves to the humans, and humming softly.

Soundwave tilts his head a bit, then, as though listening to something. "And Scrapper informs me, the Constructicons have completed the first segment of the storage facility."

Scorcher completes another ten mile radius circle around the site. She is getting bored with what looks to be another routine recon mission.

Tempest looks at Megatron and says, "Isn't there going to be /any/ resistance here?" Almost...pleading.

Nightbird says softly to Tempest, "They can't all be death-defying epic battles." She turns to Megatron and says, "So we're going to convert energon here and then store it nearby? Since it's too much to be used right away?"

Megatron watches the humans, smirking. "This humans seem to know that they better offer no resistance to us.

Macabre works in a way that could be considered the diametrical opposite of CatsCradle's. She shuffles, her silence deafening, doing her best to put those little beastly pink things out of her mind.

Soundwave seems to ignore the humans, though he remains aware of their activities both through his own senses and those of Ravage, as he produces and fills energon cubes.

Tempest says, "How about any /other/ kind of battles?" in return, and then does the only thing she knows what to do...pick up cubes, lift things, follow Soundwave's lead.

A human that seems younger than most, wearing the traditional white headgear of this region, approaches CatsCradle, despite warnings from the others. He says something in his native language, roughly translated as "Greetings from God's children."

Scorcher strains her scanners. Despite knowing it is impossible she keeps expecting a dustcloud to show up, created by the Autobots who had the annoying habit of showing up just when a plan was almost completed

CatsCradle gives another little wave and promptly sits down in front of the human, smiling.

His nerve broken by the sudden motion, the small human runs off in a panic, screaming something about the giants.

Tempest resists the urge to make a chew toy of Cats' new friend and tries to not think about her rising agitation or urge to hunt.

Megatron chuckles. It seems CatsCradle found someone to play with.

CatsCradle gives a sad sigh. "Well.... phoo." She flows to her feet, cube in her hands again.

Nightbird, lacking the ability to make cubes as her teammates do, settles for climbing the machinery and scouting as well.

Soundwave glances at the small creature's sudden burst of noise only briefly, and continues with his work, until once again he pauses a little, listening intently. He calls to Megatron, "Commander. Receiving a signal from Cybertron. Very faint. Will attempt to amplify."

Macabre glances over at the running screaming lad. No. Don't pay attention to them. Work comes first. Still, what happens if you're not paying attention and you step on one? But it's not like it'd matter anyway. But they might attack and it'd be your fault. But then... no no no. Don't think. Just do what you're told and everything will work out okay.

Tempest watches Nightbird and wishes she'd never got the upgrade to make cubes...ah, the old days. No cubes, no subspace... A sigh. No food.

From Soundwaveís radio comes the precise and slightly accented voice of Shockwave. "Cybertron calling Soundwave. Do you receive? I have an urgent message for Megatron."

Soundwave speaks into his own radio, amplifying the signal. "Receiving you with interference, Shockwave. Proceed. I will convey your message."

Megatron stares at Soundwave. "Louder, Soundwave, I want to know what is going on.

Scorcher picks up images of a human war fought several hundred miles away. She grins and relays it to Tempest

Soundwave enhances the signal further.

From Soundwave's radio, and now clearer, Shockwave says, "Readings indicate we have lost contact with the space bridge receiver on your end. Do you have any information on this?"
Tempest tilts her head as she listens, and then she sighs again First cubes, now technical glitches. This just isn't her thing any more. Does she even still belong in this army?

Megatron says, "No contact to the receiver? Are the Scanners working properly."

Soundwave speaks into his radio, "Investigating now, Shockwave. Stand by."

Nightbird leaps down from where she was climbing and heads over to Soundwave and Megatron. "Trouble?"

Macabre listens. This isn't good. Why isn't anything simple around here? Life was a lot simpler when all she had to worry about was making sure she put the right parts in the right receptacles... just cutting up body after body with no surprises to ruin the lovely monotony of it.

Thrust merely stands guard and waits for the command to decide what they will do next.

Scorcher, unaware of the trouble brewing, radios to Tempest "Seen those images? These humans can't even fight a war properly"

Megatron says, "We have to investigate. I hope for the Autobots little human pets they don't have sabotaged our property."

Megatron says, "Soundwave, can you get access to our satellites from here?"

CatsCradle trots over. "What, the 'bridge is broken again? Again?"

Tempest mutters '... ... hope the humans /did/ sabotage ... bridge--then ... have ... ... hunt! '.

Soundwave nods to Megatron and sends a signal to one of the observation satellites orbiting the planet, to bounce an image down to their current location. He folds down the door to his tape compartment, revealing a seldom-seen video screen that displays a familiar desertscape - with one exception. The metal ring that should normally fill the view, is nowhere to be seen. The hard ground is scorched and blasted, with some metallic bits of debris scattered about.

Macabre looks at the video screen's image and is aghast with shock and a bit of terror. She almost drops her cube, but checks herself just in time. "Um."

Megatron is obviously shocked. "The space bridge," he gasps. Then he clenches his fist, hissing. "These dirty little retrorats!!!"



CatsCradle tilts her head, studying the view. "Now, this might not be a bad thing. After all, we've got energon to power shuttles, and the 'bridge does have a history of eating people and spitting them up in the wrong places."

Nightbird's optics glitter at the sight of the bridge. "The same humans who tried to switch forms with us?"

Tempest whistles at the damage. "You know, I'm almost impressed."

Soundwave's optic band darkens just slightly. "The true question, CatsCradle, is what would have had the ability to conduct such an attack?"

Soundwave transmits the image to Shockwave on Cybertron by way of explanation, so the Guardian has an explanation of why he's lost the signal.

CatsCradle grumbles slightly something about liking her view better.

Megatron's expression darkens. "We are going to investigate the site. Meanwhile, the Constructicons will deal with the Oil here." He glances at Tempest. "I think you will have your chance for a hunt. I just wonder how they tricked the sensors..."

Soundwave says, "Furthermore, we should have received warning of a hostile approach."

Scorcher glances back and notices all the Decepticons have stopped working.. She turns sharply and heads for them, coming in with an ear shattering roar of afterburners

Scorcher transforms into her Robot mode.

Nightbird seems interested at this. "Some sort of stealth ability then it seems."

Megatron says, "Decepticons, aboard the shuttle. And be ready for punishing the responsible."

Scorcher looks around, puzzled "what's up?" she asks

Soundwave's optics flicker slightly at the roar from Scorcher's engines, but otherwise he does not visibly flinch. He folds up his "video screen" and follows Megatron to the ship.

Megatron heads for the shuttle.




Tempest says to Megatron, grimly, "I promise to leave them alive /just/ long enough for us to find out."

Scorcher walks in the shuttle, still looking puzzled, but seeing the furious expression on her commanders she refrains from drawing attention to herself

Nightbird quietly explains to Scorcher, "The space bridge has been destroyed. We're going to investigate."

Soundwave doesn't exactly look furious - indeed, one would be hard-pressed to imagine an expression of fury on his face, though his creations could tell you it has indeed happened on one or two occasions. He does seem concerned, however.

Ravage slips silently into the ship and resumes his place inside Soundwave's tape compartment.

Scorcher says "What?" a little louder than she intended to

Tempest seems to relish the upcoming encounter. "We'll find who ever it was and we'll teach them to mess with us!" And despite her posing, she's using "We and us"--not "I and me."

The Decepticons fly at a blazingly fast pace over the ocean, breaking all the human speed records easily, and doing so in massive building-sized ship to boot. As they are approximately half-way to the United States, another radio message comes in.

Scorcher looks severely shocked by the news "You mean I can't get back home?"

CatsCradle lets out a short sigh. "We have shuttles, Scorch."

Over the shuttle's radio, Grimlock says, "Me Grimlock demand Megatron answer!"

Megatron takes the microphone. "This is Megatron. What do you want, Grimlock?

Macabre is gripping her armrests tightly. She's useless should it come to a fight, and she knows it, and she knows everyone else knows it. She silently hopes it doesn't come to a fight.

Scorcher winces at Catscradle "Those take forever. If something happened back home I could not get back to help. Not in time"

Tempest rolls her optics. "Uh oh. Looks like we're getting a call from Tweedledumb, Tweedledumber, and TweedleI'mafrickin'moron." Has she been hanging out with Wildrider lately?

CatsCradle snorts. "Yeah, well with the bridge, you might not get back at all."

There's a loud explosion from the radio, then Grimlock says, "Dinobot base under attack! Us can't see who's bombing Dinobots!"

Several more explosions are heard, then a bizarre high-pitched humming sound.

Megatron's optics glow brightly in anger. "Message received, we are on our way." He turns to Soundwave. "Cancel last course, Soundwave. We head for the desert base!"

Tempest raises an optic ridge at Megatron. She murmurs, "Last week Grimlock almost /stepped/ on us and now we're rushing to /save/ him?"

Scorcher looks wide-opticed at the radio "Autobot guerrillas?" she suggests

CatsCradle sits back in her seat. "At least this time, we're the right size for it."

Soundwave shifts course almost before Megatron gives the order.

Megatron grumbles. "We are rushing to save our base, Tempest.

Macabre is dismayed to learn that a fight is indeed in the cards. Joy of joys.

<LongRange> Divefireís voice scratches over the interstellar distance, although his usual deep mutter of general annoyance is rather unmistakable. "...epeat, Divefire to, well anyone... I was just about to leave for Earth when Shockwave informed Earth end of the spacebridge is dead, what's going on?

Tempest nods, understanding that protecting the base is important. Besides, if that's where the fight is, then that's where the enemy is.

<LongRange> Soundwave replies, "Confirmed, Divefire. Do not activate the space bridge.  There has been an attack by an unknown assailant.  We will engage shortly.  Join us by conventional means if you can."

Scorcher mutters in response to Soundwave's message "Yes. We'll see you next week then"


<LongRange> Divefireís tone either switches from indignant or amused, it's hard to tell with all that space static... "Right... Want me to being any spares?"

Megatron clenches his fist. That happens if you do not have enough spies to be constantly informed about everything...

<LongRange> CatsCradle's voice sounds as if she's leaning over someone's shoulder.  "I woulda thought you'd learned by now not to take the 'bridge!"  Her tone is the scolding sound trying to hide relief and failing.

<LongRange> Divefireís voice half smirks in response to his mate. "Tell that to the bean counters, Cats. I'll be with you all shortly."

During the conversation with Divefire, the Decepticons speed their way toward the desert base and whatever or whoever attacked it.

CatsCradle grumphles something and stalks back to her seat

Scorcher looks longingly at the hatch, hating to be locked up inside a tiny space. Especially when it is heading towards a fight

Megatron activates the scanners, searching for intruders.

Scorcher tumbles out of the shuttle, ready to take of at the first sign of hostility

Where the base used by the Dinobots used to be, there's only a smoking crater and a pile of rubble and debris. Anyone familiar with the site of battle will recognize it as the work of lasers, plasma bolts, and explosives. Massive amounts of them.

Macabre keeps to the center of the group as best she can. She's about as adept at handling this sort of situation as an armless person is at handling anything.

Scorcher says "Wow!" Impressed despite herself

Tempest takes a few steps forward...standing in the rubble at the edge of the crater. Her swords are in her hands, but for once they are clean, and hanging uselessly at her sides. She can smell cordite and destruction. Her optics are...flat, as what she is seeing appears to be projected within her own head, optics as a screen.

Nightbird's optics are bright as she looks around the devastated area. She begins a quick search on foot of the perimeter.

Soundwave looks around at the devastation, his expression unreadable.

Megatron stares at the crater for a moment, then his optics search the area for the Dinobots. "Grimlock?! Grimlock, respond to me!!"

Chasm flaps out of Soundwave and purchases on Soundwave's shoulder.

Chasm hastily corrects that to 'perches', but still, the price for Soundwave's shoulder could be interesting.... Hmm.

CatsCradle squeaks at the crater, then drops to the ground, sword in hand. She kneels next to the crater, examining it, then looks around. "Where are the Dinos?" she asks in a murmur, more to herself than to anyone else.

Soundwave tries Grimlock's radio frequency. "Chasm, circle the area and observe from above," he instructs.

Tempest breathes in the scent of Chaos, the aura of Destruction... Her optics flicker. "Earthbase," she says, voice barely above a whisper.

Chasm sighs and leaps up into the air, circling around cautiously.

Scorcher transforms into her Cyberjet mode.

Scorcher takes off as well, hoping against knowing better, that she might be able so see something from above

Megatron says, "GRIMLOCK!!!!!!!!!"

Chasm reports to Soundwave, "Just a mess - lots of collateral damage everywhere. No handy clues unfortunately."

Nightbird comes back from her scouting to where Megatron is, holding something. "No sign of any survivors or hostiles. I found this." She holds up a piece of armor, gold and silver. It looks for all the galaxy like a chunk of one of the Dinobots.

Scorcher reports back "no sign of movement either within a twenty mile radius"

Chasm sighs, "Not even a database left to extract the information from - if Grimlock bothered maintaining any records, that is..."

Soundwave looks to Tempest. "Earthbase would be the next reasonable target."

Macabre looks at that scrap of armor. She looks just about ready to pass out from fear.

CatsCradle comes back to the group. "It would have had to be a huge force to take down the Dinos. Or a Guardian."

Megatron takes the piece from Nightbird. "Impossible," he whispers nearly soundlessly. Slowly turns to Soundwave. "We have to head back for headquarters. Quickly!

Chasm circles over Soundwave's head. 'They could have blown themselves up in one of their scuffles..." he suggests, not very tactfully.

Nightbird nods her head, obviously she's thinking the same thing.

Tempest nods, once, to Soundwave. She isn't sure if the other mech has read her thoughts or come to the same conclusion as she. For once, she doesn't seem to have an interest in the answer. She turns around, moving for the shuttle before Megatron orders.

Space bridge or no space bridge, for some traveling the vast distances of space isn't quite so hard as for others, and in some extreme cases it is in fact,  really rather quick... Which would explain why a cavalcade of thunder rolls in on a clear day, only preceded by a black bolt of lightening. It would seem Divefire has arrived then...

Scorcher returns to the group

CatsCradle glances up at the familiar engines and waves briefly, then turns back to the others.

Divefireís jet form blasts overhead, already having seen the remains off the Desert base from on high he takes a closer look, engines almost on idle as he takes in the scene of devastation...

<Earth> Divefire says, "What in the blazes happened here..."

Chasm sighs and lands on Soundwave's shoulder again. Once again, a perfectly reasonably theory of his has been discounted. He rubs at his left wing with a polishing cloth. "I must have pulled a circuit on that recon flight. Soundwave, isn't that what Buzzsaw and Laserbeak are for? I will point out that I am a capable /technician/ in the field of information and data structures."

<Earth> Soundwave says, "Unknown attacker, Divefire. There has been a pattern of attacks on our holdings. We are returning to Earthbase, as another likely target."

Soundwave is unwilling to simply abandon the Dinobots to their fate. Once again he calls upon his most competent creation for such matters, and ejects Ravage, instructing him to see what he can find out, if he can pick up any trail whatsoever. The usual parental warning to stay in contact and be careful are added.

Divefireís engines nearly instantly spool up as if in reply to hearing Soundwave's statement over the radio. With another over exaggerated blast of sound, the dark space jet is on the move again.

<Earth> Ramjet says, "This is Ramjet. I'm at the earthbase. Everything seems quiet here."

Macabre is still paralyzed with terror as to the current situation and the possible destruction of the Dinobots... usually, she doesn't speak as a display of submission. But now she couldn't speak if she wanted to.

<Earth> Megatron says, "Yet! Ramjet, keep your optics open. We will return as fast as possible."

Megatron says, "Into the shuttle!"

Nightbird is still looking around, her and Ravage moving similarly throughout the area.

Tempest is already aboard, firing up the engines for a quick takeoff.

Chasm radios Ravage, asking him to bring back any 'black boxes' or data devices that may still be around...

Soundwave steps over to Macabre and takes her by the arm, drawing her along with them toward the ship, lest she remain rooted to the spot.

Starscream doesn't seem to express much at the moment. The destruction of the Dinobots...oh well. They made stupid allies anyway....

The Decepticons quickly board the shuttle and head back to the undersea base.

****
Command Center

Megatron rushes into the command center.

Megatron says, "Have you spotted anything unusual, Ramjet? Any alert from the Scanners?"

Ramjet is sat infront of the sensor screens, looking for trouble. "Negative commander. Only our returning forces."

CatsCradle peeks in from behind Megatron. "Nothing from the Dinobots?"

Tempest seems almost surprised to see that the base is still standing.

Nightbird's optics are bright as she considers what's been happening. In a way, she respects whoever is doing it. Strike with unyielding force from the shadows and then fade away before the enemy can respond. Almost worthy of a ninja.

Soundwave goes directly to his communications station and starts checking the airwaves, to see if there's any clue on the human channels.

Scorcher looks around, itching to be out and about, doing something. Anything

Ramjet shrugs, "I havenít heard anything from them. If you ask me it's no loss if they are all wasted.

Macabre is relieved somewhat to be back home. But how safe is home? She's still leery of being... anywhere, she supposes.

CatsCradle slips up on to her usual console, but uneasily and not in her usual comfortable position of legs tucked under her. Instead, she leans slightly forward, as if ready to bolt at any second and in any direction.

Soundwave shoots a brief look at Ramjet, but then continues scanning the radio channels for any hint or disturbance.

Megatron clenches his fist. He is concerned and this concern is expressing in anger. He can feel, something is about to happen and he can't do much against it. "Ready the external defense systems!"

Thrust remains silent and at his usual position when heís in the command room

Chasm says, 'What external defense systems?', paraphrasing the previous occasion when they had to rely on base facilities.

Ramjet leans forward and presses a few buttons, throws a few switches. eventually he gets the one to activate the defenses.

The dragon cassette's question is answered as a blaring alarm sounds from the perimeter warning system, just inches from Chasm's head.

Scorcher jumps at the sudden sound

Nightbird's optics flash at this. "It seems we did not have to wait long."

Chasm eeps, and claps his paws over his audio receptors. "Oooh, my delicate wiring systems..." he groans.

Megatron looks up. "On screen! Whatever it is, on screen!

Ramjet can't really do any more so stands up. "It's here." He turns and heads for the exit, checking his launchers are loaded.

Tempest is also tense, head flying up

Macabre gasps silently. She prays that this isn't... you know... the end.

Ramjet actually rather hopes it is...at least thereíd be no more guard duty.

The viewscreen is activated, and visible on the monitor is a sight to freeze the energon in ones linkages. Hundreds and hundreds of circle-shaped drones are dropping down the water toward the base. They have twin lasers at the ready.

Scorcher says, "oh dear"

Starscream narrows his optics. "Any identification on this?"

Megatron stares. "What on Cybertron are those? And where did they come from?

Ramjet says, "Something must be deploying them from the surface...I'll go shoot it down."

Chasm throttles his tail around Soundwave's neck, "We're doomed!" he screeches. "We're doomed!" He tries to faint but instead finds himself hanging down from Soundwave's back, his tail the only thing securing him to his perch.

Megatron says, "We have to keep these little pests away from our base. Decepticons, battlestations!"

Macabre says, "... ... ... ... ..."

CatsCradle frowns. "Those destroyed the desert base, /and/ the dinobots? Must be the first wave?"

Nightbird seems concerned or even worried. Her weapons don't work well at all under water..

Scorcher looks around helplessly, not really having a battle station around the base

Soundwave takes no notice of Chasm's histrionics, as his fingers fly across the sensor console, trying to detect anything that would help identify the things, or their origin.

Chasm pulls himself back onto Soundwave's shoulder like a stranded bunjee-jumper and sits there, nervously twitching, unable to even dispense any helpful advice to Soundwave as he usually does.

Divefire sort of, blinks, at the screen. "Cats..." He mutters in a half hearted tone. "Didn't we watch this one last week...?"

Tempest nods once to Megatonís' command. "I'll be down in the under passages unless someone needs me."

Starscream instantly bolts to the tactical stations. "Shield status!"

The external laser emplacements and missile arrays start doing their job, taking out the invaders. It quickly becomes apparent though that the defenses weren't meant to keep out such a huge number of small targets. Hundreds or even thousands of them, are dropping through and attaching to the outer hull.

Tempest disappears into a hatch in the floor.

Megatron says, "We have to get them away from the hull."

Starscream smirks ruefully at Megatron. "Then I would suggest a decoy, Mighty Megatron...."

The drones start to fire their lasers, systematically draining the force fields. At least two hundred are attached to the hull, blasting away at the shields, with more arriving every moment.

Nightbird says, "Do we go and fight them directly?"

Megatron narrows his optics. "I suppose we do not have much other possibilities.

A warning klaxon sounds. The shields have failed.

Divefire mutters in a low growl. "I'd presume electrifying the hull is out of the question too..."

Scorcher grabs a nearby chair, not having much in the way of weapons capable of dealing with hundreds of drones. Unless she wants to blow up the base herself that is

Chasm complains, "I'm too young to die, Soundwave! All of my precious investments - I'll never see them again..."

Starscream seems deep in thought. "Can we tell what type of energy they're running on?" he barks urgently.

Soundwave says, "Retain your composure, Chasm. Or you may fulfill your own prophesy." He turns to Megatron. "Suggest sending the fastest flyers to attack from outside, Commander.""

Megatron says, "Starscream, take your seekers and free us from this pest!"

Soundwave says, "Unfamiliar energy signature. They are draining our shields."

Another warning sounds, this one for multiple hull breeches. On the viewscreen, drones are burning their way in at a dozen or more spots.

Starscream snaps back at Megatron. "That's what I'm trying to do! I'll need more than just my seekers to do this!"

Nightbird points to the screen. "I fear it's too late."

Soundwave says, "Then we must defend from within.""

Megatron turns at Starscream and his optics say that it is not the best moment to contradict him.

Starscream activates his null rays.

With a crash and a flood of water from the corridor, wheeled robots of some kind come rolling into the command center, lasers firing.

Chasm squeals and covers his optics.

Scorcher raises the chair she is holding, ready to bash it into the first drone coming within range

Starscream fires his null ray at the first drone.

<Earth> Ramjet can be seen on screen, flying out of the coning tower. There doesnít seem to be anything else in the sky over the base. As soon as it's raised tho the tower starts taking fire from the drones.

Megatron activate his arm shield to deflect a laser blast. "Decepticons, defense positions!"

Soundwave spins around and draws his plasma rifle, firing off a blast of bright plasma and simultaneously activating his shoulder cannon. If these things overpowered the Dinobots, they're targets to be taken seriously.

Starscream attacks Wheel Drone 105 with null_ray, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 105 attacks Soundwave with Laser1, and strikes him!

Wheel Drone 105 attacks Starscream with Laser1, but misses him!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 106 with blade, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 106 attacks Scorcher with Grasp, and strikes her!

<Earth> Ramjet says, "This is Ramjet. I can't detect anything up here...where are they all coming from?"

Wheel Drone 106 attacks Scorcher with Punch, and strikes her!

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 105 with cannon2, and strikes it!

Scorcher yelps "Ouch" as she is being hit from several sides at once

Wheel Drone 105 attacks Megatron with Laser1, but misses him!

Soundwave attacks Wheel Drone 105 with laser, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 105 attacks Soundwave with Laser1, and strikes him!

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 105 with cannon1, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 105 attacks Megatron with Laser1, but misses him!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 106 with blade, and strikes it!

Starscream backs up, readying his staff as he powers up his cluster bombs. "Let's show these creatures who's the surperiour lifeforms!

Wheel Drone 106 attacks Scorcher with Punch, but misses her!

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 105 with cannon2, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 105 attacks Megatron with Laser1, but misses him!

CatsCradle draws her sword and darts in at the drones.

Chasm uses Soundwave's neck as cover and tries to fire off a few laser pulses.

Nightbird draws her swords and ignites them, jumping into the fray.

Starscream attacks Wheel Drone 110 with clusterbomb, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 110 attacks Starscream with Laser2, but misses him!

Chasm attacks Wheel Drone 105 with laser, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 105 attacks Chasm with Laser1, and strikes him!

Megatron grumbles. "Nasty, little beasts..."

[CatsCradle attacks Wheel Drone 107 with sword, but misses it!

Macabre takes cover. She can't fight. What, is she going to try to stab one of them with her scalpel? She'd be hyperventilating if she had lungs.

Scorcher gets hit by fragments of Starscream's clusterbomb and is blown off her feet

Wheel Drone 107 attacks CatsCradle with Punch, but misses her!

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 105 with cannon3, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 105 has been deactivated from severe damage.

Thrust arms his weapons and attacks the closest drone

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 106 with blade, but misses it!

Thrust attacks Wheel Drone 107 with laser, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 106 attacks Scorcher with Punch, and strikes her!

Wheel Drone 107 attacks Thrust with Rocket, but misses him!

Nightbird attacks Wheel Drone 107 with ENERGY_SWORD, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 107 attacks Nightbird with Kick, but misses her!

Divefire takes one look at wheel drones and feels some what indigent to the whole affair. "In the absence of Motormaster and the other Stunticons, time for some driving lessons..." As he folds down and compacts, then nails the accelerator...

Starscream snaps out his staff and thrusts downward on the drone.

Divefire transforms into his Mk III Trans-Am mode.

Thrust side steps the rocket and sets himself up to fire again

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 106 with kick, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 106 attacks Megatron with Grasp, but misses him!

Soundwave dodges aside as a laser sizzles past his head to strike Chasm, and he fires on the next nearest as the first one falls.

Nightbird attacks Wheel Drone 110 with ENERGY_SWORD, and strikes it!

Chasm howls and drops behind Soundwave. "I fear.... I've taken a mortal injury..." he gasps, staring at the smoke rising up from his crisped finish. "I'll never polish this out... Farewell, cruel world..."

Wheel Drone 110 attacks Nightbird with Kick, but misses her!

Soundwave attacks Wheel Drone 106 with plasma, and strikes it!

Scorcher's side begins to smoke from the damage she's taking

Wheel Drone 106 attacks Soundwave with Laser1, but misses him!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 106 with blade, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 106 attacks Scorcher with Rocket, but misses her!

Divefire attacks Wheel Drone 110 with ram, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 110 attacks Divefire with Kick, but misses him!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 106 with blade, but misses it!

Thrust attacks Wheel Drone 107 with laser, but misses it!

<Earth> Ramjet says, "Ramjet to command centre. Is there any sign of a cloaked ship on sensors? Over?"

Megatron nearly misses one of the drone with a kick, having to duck another.

Wheel Drone 106 attacks Scorcher with Punch, but misses her!

Wheel Drone 107 attacks Thrust with Laser2, but misses him!

Nightbird swings her swords like part of her arm, deflecting lasers and slashing down at the invaders.

Starscream attacks Wheel Drone 110 with quarterstaff, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 110 attacks Starscream with Kick, but misses him!

CatsCradle easily ducks the drone's blow and swings at it again.

As the fight goes on, the screen changes to show a warning of flooding throughout the base.

CatsCradle attacks Wheel Drone 107 with sword, but misses it!

Nightbird attacks Wheel Drone 110 with ENERGY_SWORD, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 107 attacks CatsCradle with Punch, and strikes her!

Wheel Drone 110 attacks Nightbird with Punch, but misses her!

<Earth> Chasm says, "*Ffzzz. Crackle.* Sounds of laser fire in background."

Starscream swings his arm, reading his laser towards the 110 drone.

<Earth> Megatron says, "Return to base, Ramjet, we are under attack!"

Starscream attacks Wheel Drone 110 with laser1, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 110 has been deactivated from severe damage.

Soundwave in a single motion reaches out and pulls Chasm back up and urges him into the air. "Remain in motion," he says as he fires off another plasma bolt. Then the warning klaxon breaks through his concentration.

Scorcher barely manages to avoid being hit by the drones that race around her as she

Nightbird whirls around and ducks two laser blasts, then sends her foot out to strike the drone.

Soundwave attacks Wheel Drone 106 with plasma, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 106 attacks Soundwave with Rocket, but misses him!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 106 with blade, but misses it!

<Earth> Ramjet doubles back towards the tower.

Wheel Drone 106 attacks Scorcher with Punch, but misses her!

Nightbird attacks Wheel Drone 108 with kick, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 108 attacks Nightbird with Punch, and strikes her!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 106 with blade, but misses it!

CatsCradle's swing misses again, but the drone doesn't. She rolls with the punch, using the momentum to swing around again.

Wheel Drone 106 attacks Scorcher with Rocket, but misses her!

CatsCradle attacks Wheel Drone 107 with sword, but misses it!

Starscream dives towards another drone, his staff into the back of 109.

Thrust attacks Wheel Drone 108 with laser, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 107 attacks CatsCradle with Kick, but misses her!

Wheel Drone 108 attacks Thrust with Laser1, and strikes him!

Chasm finds himself rudely tossed into the air by Soundwave. He digs his claws into the ceiling and projects a hologram to hide under.

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 109 with cannon3, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 109 attacks Megatron with Laser2, but misses him!

Starscream attacks Wheel Drone 109 with quarterstaff, and strikes it!

Divefire rams through his target, neatly dodging the returning fire as he transforms and back and bursts off one of walls in a back flip, aiming a fast punch at what ever gets in his way. "Damn it, these things are taking way to long to put down!"

Wheel Drone 109 attacks Starscream with Punch, but misses him!

Divefire attacks Wheel Drone 106 with punch, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 106 attacks Divefire with Rocket, but misses him!

Starscream pulls his staff out of the drone, then fires another laser at it.

Megatron is firing and ducking at the same time. These little mechanoids are really nasty. "Keep on firing!"

Starscream attacks Wheel Drone 109 with laser2, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 109 attacks Starscream with Laser2, but misses him!

Soundwave calls, "Megatron! The hull has been breached at multiple points. As we defend ourselves, more are attacking from outside."

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 109 with punch, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 109 attacks Megatron with Grasp, but misses him!

Scorcher dives to the ground, barely in time to avoid being flattened by one of the drones. Then dives away again as one of the other drones aims for her

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 109 with kick, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 109 attacks Megatron with Punch, and strikes him!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 106 with blade, and strikes it!

Thrust takes the hit and staggers back a bit. Recovering his sense quickly he sets himself for another attack and picks a target

Wheel Drone 106 attacks Scorcher with Kick, but misses her!

Nightbird attacks Wheel Drone 106 with ENERGY_SWORD, and strikes it!

Starscream growls. "Seekers! WITH ME!"

Thrust attacks Wheel Drone 106 with laser, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 106 has been deactivated from severe damage.

Soundwave attacks Wheel Drone 106 with sonics, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 106 has been deactivated from severe damage.

CatsCradle grumbles as her sword misses yet again, and in a quick motion, pops her wrist lasers and fires at the same drone

CatsCradle attacks Wheel Drone 107 with laser, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 107 attacks CatsCradle with Laser1, but misses her!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 109 with blade, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 109 attacks Scorcher with Rocket, but misses her!

Nightbird sweeps one drone with her sword, then sends another crashing into its companion.

<Earth> Soundwave says, "Ramjet, what is your status?  Can you see the entrance points of the drones from outside?"

Megatron ignores the hit on his belly, concentrating on other targets.

CatsCradle grins as her shot hits. "Now, that's more like it," she says, optics flashing, and sends another burst of laser fire at the drone.

CatsCradle attacks Wheel Drone 107 with laser, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 107 attacks CatsCradle with Rocket, and strikes her!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 109 with blade, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 109 attacks Scorcher with Kick, but misses her!

Starscream swings another staff attack into 109.

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 108 with cannon3, and strikes it!

Macabre peeks out from her hiding spot. Are they winning? She wishes more than anything right now that she had some way of aiding them aside from patching them up afterwards.

Wheel Drone 108 attacks Megatron with Laser1, but misses him!

Nightbird attacks Wheel Drone 107 with kick, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 107 attacks Nightbird with Kick, and strikes her!

Starscream attacks Wheel Drone 109 with quarterstaff, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 109 attacks Starscream with Punch, but misses him!

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 108 with cannon2, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 108 attacks Megatron with Laser1, but misses him!

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 108 with cannon3, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 108 has been deactivated from severe damage.

Starscream sees that this strategy is working fine, and blasts another volley of laser at the current drone he's fighting.

<Earth> Ramjet approaches the raised tower...as he gets close, he's targeted by the drones under the water and blasted by a hail of fire from the submerged attackers.

Starscream attacks Wheel Drone 109 with laser1, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 109 attacks Starscream with Laser1, but misses him!

Soundwave draws back a little, casting a quick look at the damage read outs. Hurriedly he starts to seal off corridors, trying to contain the inrushing water in other areas of the base.

Nightbird attacks Wheel Drone 109 with SHURIKEN, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 109 has been deactivated from severe damage.

<Earth> Ramjet says, "I can't see anyth-AAARRRG!"

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 107 with cannon2, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 107 has been deactivated from severe damage.

Wheel Drone 107 has left.

A stray shot knocks the chair out of Scorcherís hand. It skitters across the floor ending up in front of macabre

<Earth> Ramjet is shot down by the volume of fire and crashes into the site of the conning tower.

Divefire manages to twist past the rocket that was fired in his direction, his form momentarily highlighted by an explosion of fire as the projectile impacts on one of the consoles as the last of the drones fall silent. "Several down... Millions more to go..."

Nightbird hurls a shuriken dead center into the optic of one drone just as Megatron disables another. All that's left is Decepticons and spare parts.

Thrust kicks at a few drone bodies nonchalantly and then looks around for any cons down.

Starscream turns to Thrust. "With me....we're going to assess the situation outside. EMP weapons are best..."

Megatron checks the systems (as far as they still work). "The geothermal station is down, water is floating into the base.

Something scuttles across the ceiling.

Scorcher looks around "where's ramjet?"

CatsCradle whirls, her armor smoking from a laser shot she almost doesn't notice. Her optics fade in their flashing slightly as she searches for another target and realizes there isn't one. She lowers her sword, taking a step back.

Thrust picks his head up suddenly and looks to the wall, "I think somethingís hit the tower."

On the viewscreen, the drones can be seen outside blasting the geothermal stations and other exterior structures.

<Earth> Soundwave says, "Ramjet, can you respond?  I am sealing off sections of the base.  Do not attempt to enter."

<Earth> Ramjet says, "*static*"

Thrust looks to Soundwave, "what if heís damaged? Someone should go get him

Nightbird frowns at one of the displays. "There's flooding in every area."

Divefire glances a fast look over to Soundwave. "I'm guessing it's to much to hope they're being controlled by remote and you can just shut them all down by turning into a tape deck?"

Thrust hears the static and heads for the door

Thrust states "Iím going after him."

Starscream growls and follows Thrust.

Macabre slowly looks around. "... ... ... ... ..."

Soundwave confirms Nightbird's observation. "Considerable damage. It could be repaired, but the next wave of intruders is already cutting its way through."

Megatron barks: "Thrust, Starscream! Darn idiots..." However, he is concerned too.

Megatron nods to Soundwave. There is only one option left...

A small shape, concealed with optical camouflage that distorts the light around it, drops from the ceiling and lands on Soundwave's head.

Nightbird says, "There are hundreds more outside still, blasting the external areas."

Wheel Drone 103 attacks Starscream with laser1, but misses him!

Starscream huffs. "Thereís more out there...!

Wheel Drone 104 attacks Megatron with laser2, but misses him!

Megatron jerks around.

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 104 with cannon3, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 104 attacks Megatron with Laser2, but misses him!

Wheel Drone 101 arrives from Access Corridor.

Wheel Drone 101 has arrived.

Megatron hisses: "Dirty pest!!

CatsCradle whirls again at the sound of the lasers and fires her own at the new drones.

Wheel Drone 101 attacks Nightbird with laser2, but misses her!

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 104 with cannon2, but misses it!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 103 with blade, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 104 attacks Megatron with Laser2, but misses him!

Wheel Drone 103 attacks Scorcher with Punch, but misses her!

Starscream shouts intangibly, firing his laser at the nearest one.

CatsCradle attacks Wheel Drone 101 with laser, but misses it!

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 104 with cannon1, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 101 attacks CatsCradle with Laser1, and strikes her!

Wheel Drone 104 attacks Megatron with Rocket, but misses him!

Starscream attacks Wheel Drone 103 with laser2, and strikes it!

Nightbird attacks Wheel Drone 101 with SHURIKEN, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 103 attacks Starscream with Laser1, and strikes him!

Wheel Drone 101 attacks Nightbird with Laser1, but misses her!

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 104 with cannon3, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 104 attacks Megatron with Laser1, but misses him!

The optically-shielded shape digs its invisible claws into Soundwave and then leaps up into the ceiling again.

Nightbird starts toward the latest batch of them, a grim expression on her optics.

Scorcher icks "How many more of these things are there?" before the tries again to hit something.

Starscream falls back from the attack. "Loathsome pest! Take this!" With his staff, he stabs it into the drone...

Nightbird attacks Wheel Drone 101 with ENERGY_SWORD, but misses it!

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 104 with punch, and strikes it!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 101 with blade, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 101 attacks Nightbird with Punch, but misses her!

Wheel Drone 104 attacks Megatron with Punch, but misses him!

Wheel Drone 101 attacks Scorcher with Kick, and strikes her!

Starscream attacks Wheel Drone 103 with quarterstaff, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 103 attacks Starscream with Grasp, but misses him!

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 104 with kick, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 104 attacks Megatron with Kick, and strikes him!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 101 with blade, but misses it!

Nightbird attacks Wheel Drone 101 with ENERGY_SWORD, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 101 attacks Scorcher with Rocket, but misses her!

Wheel Drone 101 attacks Nightbird with Grasp, and strikes her!

Starscream snarls angrily, firing another laser round.

Wheel Drone 101 attacks Nightbird with Grasp, and strikes her!

Megatron now is really angry.

Wheel Drone 101 attacks Nightbird with Punch, and strikes her!

Starscream attacks Wheel Drone 103 with laser1, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 103 attacks Starscream with Laser1, but misses him!

Soundwave unleashes another bolt of plasma.

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 104 with cannon3, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 104 attacks Megatron with Laser2, but misses him!

CatsCradle's duck isn't quite fast enough and she takes another shot, still not really noticing. She fires again, figuring her shooting overall had been better than sword-work

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 104 with cannon2, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 104 has been deactivated from severe damage.

Starscream orders "Concentrate your attacks on one drone!"

CatsCradle attacks Wheel Drone 101 with laser, but misses it!

Scorcher screams in pain as one of the drones claws through her armour.

Wheel Drone 101 attacks CatsCradle with Laser1, but misses her!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 101 with blade, but misses it!

Scorcher struggles in the grip of one drone as it manages to get a hold of her. She twists free after being struck several times and swings her sword at it.

Wheel Drone 101 attacks Scorcher with Kick, but misses her!

Starscream , with that, fires another volley into the drone.

Wheel Drone 104 has left.

Starscream attacks Wheel Drone 103 with laser2, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 103 attacks Starscream with Laser1, but misses him!

Nightbird attacks Wheel Drone 101 with ENERGY_SWORD, and strikes it!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 101 with blade, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 101 attacks Nightbird with Punch, but misses her!

Wheel Drone 101 attacks Scorcher with Punch, but misses her!

<Earth> Megatron says, "Decepticons, red alert! Evacuate the base! I repeat, evacuate the base!"

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 101 with blade, and strikes it!

Starscream swings down with his staff to his "opponent." "Pathetic creature!"

Wheel Drone 101 attacks Scorcher with Punch, but misses her!

Nightbird attacks Wheel Drone 101 with ENERGY_SWORD, and strikes it!

Divefire would of course love to concentrate his attacks, if he could get close enough to the drones with out getting nailed by friendly fire of course, so his often underused arm rifles power up and lay a hail of bullets towards the drones.

Wheel Drone 101 attacks Nightbird with Punch, and strikes her!

Starscream attacks Wheel Drone 103 with quarterstaff, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 103 attacks Starscream with Punch, but misses him!

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 101 with cannon2, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 101 attacks Megatron with Laser1, but misses him!

Divefire attacks Wheel Drone 103 with ARM_RIFLES, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 103 attacks Divefire with Laser2, but misses him!

Scorcher attacks Wheel Drone 101 with blade, and strikes it!

Nightbird attacks Wheel Drone 101 with ENERGY_SWORD, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 101 has been deactivated from severe damage.

Starscream following through ,he attacks again with another swipe as he readies another laser....

CatsCradle attacks Wheel Drone 103 with laser, and strikes it!

Nightbird and Scorcher make a good team and they cut one drone into several pieces.

Wheel Drone 103 attacks CatsCradle with Laser1, but misses her!

Starscream attacks Wheel Drone 103 with quarterstaff, but misses it!

Wheel Drone 103 attacks Starscream with Punch, and strikes him!

Scorcher gasps as she manages to hit a drone, and is relieved to see Nightbird cut the offending construct in small bits

Starscream falls back, clutching his arm as his staff skitters across the floor. "Dammit!" And fires his laser.

Megatron attacks Wheel Drone 103 with cannon2, and strikes it!

Wheel Drone 103 has been deactivated from severe damage.

Starscream huffs, standing. "Let's try this again.

Starscream transmits a message via radio.

Megatron says, "Lets get out of here. Nightbird, stay close to me."

Scorcher slowly sags to the floor, the sags in her armour sparking

Starscream rolls his optics at Megatron

Chasm transforms into his Green Cassette mode.

Divefire blinks, almost in shock he hit something he was aiming for, then on pure instant dives to the floor in a roll as high powered laser shot skims in his direction, as he comes up to stand, he notes there drones are dead. Again. "Alright, this is losing its fun status..."

A small floating cassette collides into Soundwave...

Chasm enters Soundwave's tape compartment.

Nightbird says to Megatron, "I am prepared."

Macabre's fuel pump is still drifting around in the vicinity of her eye sockets. She offers herself to Scorcher as a crutch, not saying a word.

Scorcher slowly gets up, leaning heavily on Macabre for a moment

CatsCradle stops long enough to rest a hand on Scorcher's shoulder. She hasn't seemed to notice her own scorched and smoking armor. Then as Macabre takes over, she glances to her mate.

Scorcher readies a missile in her launcher, not wanting to risk more melee fighting

Soundwave takes hold of the cassette in one hand and keeps his rifle ready in the other, and follows Megatron.

Divefireís optics narrow in a rather pissed off and deadly serious manor as he looks back at Cats. "I'm going to get what files I can out of the database... You stay with the others, right?"

CatsCradle's optics stay on her mate for a second, then she nods and ducks out of the room.

<Earth> Soundwave says, "Decepticons, evacuate Earthbase.  Repeat, evacuate.  Utilize any available exit or hull damage."

****
Energon Storage Room

Scorcher limps a little, looking back nervously as if expecting any moment for hundreds of drones to show up

CatsCradle leans against the wall, only now beginning to notice her own wounds.

Where the access tube to the geothermal stations used to be is now just a gaping hole. The stations themselves are either destroyed or close to it as hundreds of drones finish their task. They turn their attention to the exiting Decepticons.

Macabre does her best to help Scorcher along...

<Earth> Soundwave sends out a homing signal, for the others nearby to pick up on and converge on his location.

From inside Soundwave, Chasm homes in on Soundwave. "I don't think I can get any closer..."

Megatron says, "We have to get into the air. It seems they cannot fly."

Soundwave replies quietly to the clinging dragon, "Somehow I agree with you, Chasm."

Starscream picks up Ramjet by one wing. "Thrust! Aide me!"

Nightbird holds on to Megatron. She can swim, but not as fast as Megatron can fly through the water.

Soundwave too can fly through the water using his thrusters, and keeps up with the others as a swarm of drones follows them.

****

Atlantic Ocean <Central>

        The ever-moving glassy blue waters of the ocean stretch out endlessly to the horizon. In times of calm, the sea is almost hypnotic in its way, as the waters slosh and stir in an endless dance as the rays of sun reflect off the waters in slivers of light. In times of a storm, the sea becomes a dangerous place indeed, as waves and breakers can deluge a ship or even on occasion swallow an entire vessel and drag it to the bottom. The vast expanse of amethyst can make even a Decepticon feel tiny.

Megatron breaks through the water surface, Nightbird on his arms.

The Decepticons reach the surface of the sea, with drones in close pursuit.

Soundwave rises up from the waves, still holding Chasm. That should solve *that* complaint, at least.

Starscream powers up his lasers, watching for the drones...

Chasm sits up on his haunches. "I'm wet. I've been shot at. My finish is ruined.." he plucks at the scorched mess on his chest. "Can it get any worse?"

Megatron says, "We are going to take the shuttle. And then find a way to get these clones under control."

Soundwave hovers for a moment, looking back at the dark mass of drones moving just under the waves. "Perhaps we will find out, Chasm," he says inflectionlessly.

Chasm says dazedly, "I could virus the master computer that controls them. If they are controlled by a master computer. If we knew where it was."

Chasm picks up a flake of green paint that suddenly fell off him... "Waargh, this is certainly the End..."

Scorcher fires her lasers at the advancing mass of drones. Of course there's too many of them to make a difference, but at least one of them explodes in a nicely satisfying display of pyrotechnics and flying metal fragments

Unable to live with his flaking paint, Chasm retreats into Soundwave...

Under the comparatively calm currents of the Atlantic ocean, the dark mass of the drones lights up suddenly. Flashes of laser light illuminate the eons old water from inside, highlighting a sporadic and fast moving battle, the lights inside the ocean cascading almost like the random pattern of lightning in a dark sky. The intensity is such that the ocean seems to boil in protest, sending plumes of water spray into the air, ripping the smooth ocean into a chaotic mess as the whole area beings to froth with anger. And then it happens... A gyser, pillar of water erupts from the ocean depths, blasting high into the sky and sending with it, or being from it's hard to tell, the scared and steaming image of the black space jet, trying to find a moments peace in the Atlantic skyline...

Soundwave decides it might be less nerve-wracking for Chasm (as well as for others) if the little dragon rode inside the tape compartment for a while.

CatsCradle lets out a quick sigh of relief at seeing the black jet.

The Decepticons fly toward their shuttle, and thankfully the drones aren't able to fly after them. They aren't giving up easily though as they speed along the surface of the water, keeping pace with the Decepticons and firing shots at them on occasion.

Starscream grumbles, his shoulder still sparking. "Insolent creatures....I should have snatched one when I had the chance to find out more...."

Scorcher looks down dubiously at the seething mass of drones and says "I could go try and capture one?.."

CatsCradle lets out a long sigh, also looking at the drones. Energy begins dancing from her fingertips, weaving into a net. "How badly do you really want one, Starscream?"

Starscream smiles at Scorcher. "Please do..."

CatsCradle lets the energy dissipate as Starscream goes into the shuttle. "I'll take that as a Not Very Badly." She glances one more time at her mate for reassurance, then slips into the shuttle herself.

Outside the shuttle, the drone mass settles right under it, firing uselessly at the hull from long range. There must be at least two hundred, perhaps three.

Megatron rubs his chin. His mental processor is working feverishly.

Divefire arrives at the airlock of the shuttle and transforms, glancing a look over to Scorcher with a little concern. "Why arenít you inside the shuttle, Scorcher?"

Soundwave activates the viewscreen and the sensors, bringing up an image of the undersea base. Computer enhancement fills in the picture created by sonar imaging: the hull of the ship torn in hundreds of places, the outlying geothermal power stations destroyed, the wreckage of drones lying about.

Scorcher frowns "The air commander told me to capture one of those drones"

Scorcher adds "I am trying to figure out how"

<Earth> Megatron says, "Thrust, Scorcher, just distract them for a while, while we are going to set a trap for them."

Scorcher transforms into her Cyberjet mode.

Starscream crosses his arms over his chest, seemingly deep in thought.

Divefire blinks slightly, and then shakes his head with some disgust. "If you can fly above mach 3 you might manage to get down there, but you'll be blown out of the sky before you get back up here." He musses, looking rather hard at Scorcher...

Macabre looks around. Seems like she's the only one lucky enough to get by without so much as a deep scratch. She feels guilty about it.

Scorcher makes a half-hearted dive towards the drones, firing her lasers at them. She pulls out well before she has to

CatsCradle passes Starscream on her way to a seat. "She'll probably get herself killed trying to capture one, now, and then we'll be short a fighter." She kerflumps into her seat, wincing as her wounds are now making themselves clearly known.

Starscream shrugs nonchalantly. "She volunteered...and it isn't my fault if she took me seriously."

The drones respond by the suddenly appearing target by aiming all their firepower on it. Scorcher barely manages to avoid the laserfire that streaks at her from all directions. Several near misses scorch her wings and fuselage

Divefire glowers after the cyberjet and pointedly yells over the tight beam. "Scorcher, get your blasted aft inside of that slagging shuttle before I rip out your engines myself and weld you to the damn thing!"

Scorcher radios "ouch. ouch. ouch"

CatsCradle glances back at Starscream. "Keep saying that, when we're in a firefight and her missiles could be covering you nicely."

Megatron says, "Well, at least it is your problem, Starscream. If Scorcher gets captured, I will feed you to those drones."

Thrust hears Megatronís order and dives down firing at the drones

CatsCradle rubs at her arm, the elbow sparking and leaking fluids. "I don't think they're interested in capturing."

Macabre looks from Starscream to CatsCradle to the viewscreen. "Um," she says in a low voice. Inaudible, almost. That's the only expression she has for coping with all of this.

Starscream waves Megatron off. "She will not get captured....I'd like to think she's smarter than that."

Megatron says, "Soundwave, help me. We have to built an energon bomb that is big enough to finish off these pests. We will bring it under them, while they are distracted."

Megatron says, "Pray for your own sake she is, Starscream."

Soundwave nods to Megatron. "There seems to be no central guiding program directing these drones. If they are responding to our energy signature, we can lure them to such a situation with the shuttle."

Nightbird looks toward the door of the shuttle, perhaps once again regretting her lack of flying ability.

CatsCradle settled back in her seat, optics closed briefly, then she sits up again. "A bomb that large will take out EarthBase, won't it?"

Scorcher keeps dodging the Drones' fire. Her attempt to climb back to safety flattened out almost entirely

Starscream scowls at Megatron's backside. Idiot.

Starscream walks to the edge of the bay door and looks at the situation.

Megatron transmits a message via radio.
A radio transmission is received by Scorcher.

Divefire yells out a rather frustrated growl and transforms and in an instant ignites his somewhat fearsome engines. 10 seconds later the black jet dive bombs the drones, right under Scorcher's flight path, drawing away some of the laser fire. "Get in that shuttle cadet, now!"

Starscream transmits a message via radio.
A radio transmission is received by Scorcher.

Megatron says, "Don't worry. The base is too far down to be affected."

Soundwave says, "If we can lure the drones to the mainland, we will not damage Earthbase further." He guides the ship toward the nearest coast.

Scorcher radios to thrust "Stay clear of them or they'll fire at you. All at the same time" Then she yelps in surprise as Divefire suddenly appears underneath her and begins to scream at her while at the same time Megatron gives her contradictory orders

Thrust replies, " Understood Scorcher." he pulls up and comes in from a different angle to fire again

With most of the drones' fire now aimed at Divefire Scorcher manages to gain enough altitude to be somewhat safe from them

Starscream keeps an optic on Divefire and Scorcher, he launches a volley of clusterbombs down upon the attackers from his vantage point....

Scorcher radios to Thrust and Divefire "Is it me, or are those things climbing slowly?"

Starscream's subsystems are functioning at 81.428571% of maximum efficiency.

Megatron says, "Soundwave, the drones are following us. If they get on land, my plan will not work. Stay above ocean."

Divefire banks, twirls, skims, slides and generally does all that other aerobatics stuff that helps you from being blown out of the sky when 600 odd laser bolts are blasting in your direction... "This..." He growls as a shot hits his under belly, "is becoming a very... bad... Experience!"

Nightbird looks away from the fliers keeping the drones busy. "What is the plan exactly Megatron? We're going to drop an energon bomb on them from here?"

Soundwave nods, and notes the flyers' position relative to the drones. "We have sufficient energon on board to destroy the drones if we were to ignite it."

Scorcher yells "Incoming" as Starscream's clusterbombs drop by. She fires barrage of lasers into the pack of drones

Macabre continues looking around the room slowly. She'd never be able to be a leader like that. She knows it. She's grateful that someone else has the job. Someone who deserves it.


Megatron shakes his head. "Someone has to bring it beneath the drones from where it will be sent up to them.

Thrust hears the warning and banks back, " What the..............." one cluster bomb singes his undercarriage and in a fury he blasts upward, "Watch the bombs...COMMANDER..... or else...." oh heís mad now.......

Nightbird's optics sparkle as she understands. "I see. So we'll dive under the water and just let it go right under them."

Soundwave says, "If the flyers remain in the air, we can take the ship beneath the waves and release the energon from there.""
CatsCradle pushes herself out from her seat and makes her way to the air lock. She slips out, transforming as soon as she is clear from the shuttle. Energy crackles around her, tendrils of it weaving into her 'field as she flies to her mate. "I can't keep up with you if you get too fancy-quick," she radios. "But you should be able to get behind me and shoot from around my 'field.

Scorcher winces as a clusterbomb almost knocks Thrust out of the sky

Soundwave brings the ship around, pausing for just an instant to give CatsCradle a chance to leap out into the sky.

Megatron nods. "Exactly. Someone of us has to bring the bomb down.

Scorcher fires a missile at the drones, only to see it pass harmlessly through the pack and explode deep below against the surface of the ocean

Divefire banks around, spinning his wing tips in the air to cool of some of the laser heat they've been receiving... "Which would be an excellent plan..." He intones back on the radio, "If I had anything in my arsenal that could hurt those slotting things!"

Macabre looks up. If only she had the courage to volunteer. But what if she did, and they laughed it off, saying she wouldn't stand a chance? Because she doesn't, she knows. But if she were brave enough, that wouldn't matter. But it's not her decision to make. She glances at the floor.

Thrust channels his anger at his commander in a fresh attack below

Soundwave drops the ship down under the waves, trusting the seekers to keep the drones busy. He maneuvers the vessel downward, almost all the way to the sea floor.

CatsCradle radios back, her voice sharp from fatigue and pain. "You got lasers, dontcha? Use 'em."

Scorcher fires another barrage of laserfire at the drones

Megatron gestures Macabre. "Come over here, Macabre, I have an important task for you to fulfill.

Macabre gets up and steps over. "Um. Yuh. Yessir."

Nightbird mummers softly to Macabre, "Fear is an enemy unto itself. Defeat it, and none will stand before you."

Divefire glowers but says nothing as he transforms and slips back into Cats field, priming his arm rifles and letting lose with a stream of bullets. "I defiantly need more guns..." He mutters.

Megatron says, "Listen, Macabre. Once we are directly beneath the drones, you will bring the bomb outside, placing it in the right position. Your energy pattern is weaker than that of the seekers above, so they should oversee your presence."

Macabre looks at Nightbird with the same sort of comprehension that a baby has for quantum physics, but only for a moment. Her attention quickly returns to Megatron and nods. "Yessir."

Macabre looks at Nightbird with the same sort of comprehension that a baby has for quantum physics, but only for a moment. Her attention quickly returns to Megatron and nods. "Yessir."

Soundwave brings the ship to a "hover" in the water and opens an access panel inside the ship. He takes out an armload of glowing energon cubes.

Nightbird takes some detonators from her backpack and places them on top of a few cubes, nodding to Soundwave.

Megatron radios to the troops above water. "Hang on just a few more minutes. We will soon be released from that plague.

Megatron smiles at Macabre. "I know you will fulfill your task perfectly.

Macabre is inspired. Sort of. A little. She tries her best to look like she's not about to stare death in the eyes. "Yuh. Yessir."

Soundwave hands Macabre the armful of cubes, and additionally draws a small laser handgun. "Release the cubes and allow them to float toward the mass of drones. Then fire on them from below. Be certain you are at a safe distance."

Scorcher makes another attack run, again firing a missile. This time she tries to shoot the missile while it is just above the drones

Macabre takes the mass of cubes and detonators, and the pistol. "Yessir," she says, her voice meek and small. And with that she exits the shuttle.

Scorcher of course misses, and again the precious missile passes through the mass of drones and explodes against the waves

Thrust barks to Scorcher, "Watch yourself.....before our commander helps us again with more missiles

Macabre leaves the hatch, in the water below the drones. After flying through the water for a very short distance, she releases the cubes so that they can float up toward the horrid little machines that have been besieging them. After launching herself a ways away, she takes the pistol Soundwave gave her and carefully aims. Careful. Keep steady. Ignore the fact that this whole thing is on your shoulders. She finally squeezes the trigger after making sure she has a peach of a shot.

Scorcher looks around wildly to see where the Air Commander is

As soon as Macabre's laser touches and penetrates the force field that contains the energon, it ignites, sending a massive cloud of plasma in a sphere outward. The drones nearest are vaporized, while the shockwave and steam explosion rips the others to shreds. It seems the bomb was a little more powerful than was strictle needed.. Parts and pieces fly high up into the air.

Soundwave monitors the exterior scene on the shuttle's viewscreen and sensors.

Macabre flies flies flies quick quick quick go go go! Can't let that shockwave thing hit can't get blown up not can't die don't wanna die go go go! She heads right for the ship as fast as she possibly can.

Divefire looks at the growing cloud of plasma, and the rather fast moving shrapnel heading their way and tries very hard to remember if Cats field blocks physical projectiles as well as energy ones...

Megatron narrows his optics, watching the screen as well. "Looks like we made it."

Nightbird opens the airlock for Macabre, gesturing for her to hurry.

Megatron says, "Congratulations on a job well done, Macabre."

Macabre flings herself inside and lands on her head and shoulders with a resounding bonk. After a few moments, she moves slightly. "... owww."

Nightbird's optics sparkle in a smile as she reassures Macabre. "Well done Decepticon." She goes back to look at the view of all the drone parts.

Scorcher, who was not protected by any forcefield and who had just started another strafing run, gets the full blast of debris in her face

CatsCradle squeaks as she sees a whole buncha nasty stuff flying at her, and wonders herself if her 'field will hold.
<Earth> Megatron says, "Decepticons, the battle is over. We were victorious. Now it is about time to return to base, repair it and to take care something like this will never happen again."

Soundwave guides the ship upward through the gentle rain of drone parts that drifts down through the layers of water.

<Earth> CatsCradle says, sounding tremendously exhausted, "Finding out who did this would be real nice, too...."

Macabre slowly gets to her feet, clutching at a wall for balance. "Ugh." She decides to keep away from excitement for a week.

Scorcher tumbles from the sky and crashes into the ocean

Scorcher seems barely conscious

Soundwave brings the ship to the ocean's surface so the flyers don't have to drop down into the water.


Divefire breaths a well hidden sigh of relief as the cloud of debris rains down on the ocean. "Time to head back to the shuttle, I think." He breathes to Cats.

Drone fragments, most of them very tiny, continue to rain down in a huge area

CatsCradle's 'field winks out and she wobbles in mid-air for a second, then she steadies and slowly flies to the shuttle. She transforms, then climbs into the shuttle. She falls into the first empty seat she finds, and curls up into a silent ball of hurting.

<Earth> Scrapper's voice comes in a burst of static. "Scrapper to Megatron, Scrapper to Megatron. Unknown ship directly above our position!" Mixmaster adds, "It's giant!"

Macabre looks around. She doesn't quite feel so useless anymore, as she rubs her finger along the button to withdraw her scalpel.

Soundwave is about to reassure Macabre of a job well done, when Scrapper's voice comes in.

CatsCradle looks up and glares in the general direction of the radio message. She snarls wordlessly and pushes herself to a more upright sitting position.

Megatron groans: "What is wrong now?

Megatron says, "Soundwave, how much energy do we have left?"

Soundwave turns back to his sensors, directing the satellites toward Scrapper's position to bring up a view on the shuttle's main screen.

Divefire glances up from leans forward against one of the chairs in the shuttle, looking as weary as the rest of the veterans. "This can now officially go down as a really bad day."

Soundwave says, "We used our reserve energon to destroy the drones, Commander."

Megatron tiredly rubs his face.

The viewscreen flickers to life, showing a huge space ship hovering directly over the partly completed storage facility. It seems to be a mass of spiked projections, roughly in the shape of an oblong ellipse. From the bottom of the ship comes a rain of laser and plasma bolts, striking again and again at the storage facility. The Constructicons built it to withstand massive assault from an entire army, yet this ship seems to be making short work of it. In no time, it's glowing white hot and parts of it start to crack and melt away.

CatsCradle says in a low growly voice, "There any energon in that facility? As in, enough to destroy that ship if the Constructicons set the energon to explode?"

<Earth> Megatron says, "Scrapper, retreat from there. If possible take some energon with you and return to base... or to what is left of it."

Divefire mutters in a low tone of disapproval, watching the ship shoot things. Alot. "What is it with this planet, anyway. It's like a damn chaos magnet..."

Soundwave watches the scene intently. "We had not yet shipped the products of our oil field to the facility."

CatsCradle glances to her mate with a very faint glimmer of amusement in her optics. "It's not my fault," she says in a soft voice, too tired to even smile.

The ship finishes its work, and the storage facility, months of careful work by the Constructicons, is melted to a puddle of slag. It ceases the bombardment and hovers in place, as if deciding what to take out next.

Megatron sets his jaw plates. "As long as I am functional I will not give up," he states. "Whoever is behind this, they will pay dearly for it.

Nightbird looks at the monitor grimly, her glowing optics revealing a tired determination.

CatsCradle's attention is turned back to the melting. "Oh, well... nevermind," she says just as faintly and curls up back in her seat again, optics closed.

Soundwave says, "It would seem unwise at this moment to confront the enemy directly until we have more information and our warriors have received repairs. Shall I recall the Constructicons, Megatron?""

Macabre shakes her head slightly. What the hell is behind all this?

Megatron grumbles. "And there are some who say I would destroy everything that stands my path..." He nods to Soundwave.

There's a click from the broadband radio, and a moment of static. Telemetry confirms the signal is coming from the space ship that just melted the storage facility. A very familiar voice says, "Citizens of Earth. This is Optimus Prime. The Autobots and I have been away for a long time. I trust by now you've learned not to believe false promises made by your enemies. We're back and serving notice - as of right now, we're taking back the Earth, one Decepticon at a time."

Divefire mutters in a low tone, running over there possible options for bases at this stage. "What about taking a sabbatical at the left overs of the Ark? It..." He stops speaking and sort of stairs at the onscreen image... "That slagging bastard!"

Soundwave is about to call the Constructicons to regroup and join them, when the unmistakable voice of Prime cuts through the communications channels.

CatsCradle doesn't seem to react, except for curling into a tighter ball.

Macabre is in full deer-in-your-headlight mode.

Megatron looks up, now really startled. "This cannot be..." he whispers hoarsely. "I saw him being destroyed..."

Nightbird's optics flash as she sees who's behind it all. Reflexively she draws her sword and stands with burning eyes. If only she could get her hands on him at this moment..

Soundwave remains completely still for a long moment. A tape reel spins in his chest, whispering through a series of rotations. Then he says evenly, his optic band devoid of expression, "Voice analysis and comparison with recorded information confirms a 98 percent certainty that this is indeed Prime." He does not attempt to explain the incongruity between what they're hearing now, and what they knew to be the truth some time ago.

Reflector rendezouses with the shuttle as it flies back, having been on a reconnaissance run at an Earth power production facility, and then having evacuated himself at maximum priority. "How did the Autobots survive!?!" He's just in time to hear the speech.

Megatron heavily rests on the console. This is depressing, but not a reason to give up. "Well, then let all start from the beginning..." he says. "We need a place to stay until were we can stay for repairs and regain energy.

Soundwave watches the screen flicker to darkness. His mind shifts to the immediate problem at hand. If the Autobots have indeed somehow survived their collision course with the sun, then it's even more vital to draw the Decepticons together and start repairs. "We can use this ship as a base and land near our headquarters, to affect repairs from there."

Reflector nods, and he says, "We will deal with the Autobots when the time comes... For now, we must repair and rearm."

Nightbird puts an arm on Megatron's shoulder, giving her support to him.

Megatron says, "Well, Soundwave, lets head back to the remains of our base. Maybe we can find something we could use there."

Soundwave nods, and begins steering the ship back toward the damaged undersea base. A soft rain of drone bits is still drifting downwards through the water outside the shuttle.

To be continued.....


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