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Chapter Four - Harbinger of Chaos
Earth Date August 3, 1986

Thunderwing transmits to Soundwave: "Soundwave? Do you have a moment?"
Soundwave transmits to Thunderwing: "Indeed, Lord Thunderwing. How may I assist you?"
Thunderwing transmits to Soundwave: "Yes. You wished to speak to Armada, concerning his nature and such knowledge he might possess, I believe?"
Soundwave transmits to Thunderwing: "Affirmative. I believe he may have additional knowledge that will be of assistance to us."
Soundwave transmits to Thunderwing: "He has, however, made himself unavailable while my attention was turned to other things. Is there information you can provide?"
Thunderwing transmits to Soundwave: "Very likely, he would be of great use in this matter. That said, I would like for either me or Ravenwing to attend such an interview. Information? No, though I believe he is touring Polyhex at the moment. No doubt he will seek you out shortly."

Soundwave transmits to Thunderwing: "I understand your desire to protect a warrior under your command, Lord Thunderwing, but you must understand - while I was attempting a telepathic scan of Unicron, Unicron was simultaneously reaching out to your warrior. The echoes of what I detected have only raised further questions.  And our time grows short. I will make every attempt to bring you or your security director onto the scene, but I can make no promise."
Thunderwing transmits to Soundwave: "If there are questions which somehow involve one of my officers, then there is all the more reason for myself or Ravenwing to be present. Rest assured you will find us available when the time comes."
Soundwave transmits to Thunderwing: "Understood."

Thunderwing transmits to Soundwave: "Oh, another thing, as I imagine you are in a good position to tell me; Is it true that CatsCradle is nowhere to be found?"

Soundwave transmits to Thunderwing: (brief pause, then) "I have two of my creations out tracking her down."
Thunderwing transmits to Soundwave: *dryly* "I shall take that as a 'yes'. -Wonderful-... Ah, well, I wish your creations happy hunting."

Soundwave transmits to Thunderwing: "Is there some message you wish me to convey to her?"
Thunderwing transmits to Soundwave: "Yes. I had hoped for any insights she might be able to share concerning the Brotherhood of Chaos and Unicron and all related matters. What happened to her lifemate is unfortunate, but we may yet be able to save others from sharing his fate."

Soundwave transmits to Thunderwing: "I will be certain to impress that point upon her *when* she is found."

Thunderwing transmits to Soundwave: "My thanks."

****

Command Center-Polyhex

Soundwave steps into the command center, searching for someone.

Thrust looks back to Soundwave, then glances to Megatron.

Soundwave nods a brief greeting to Thrust, then steps over to Megatron and waits quietly to be acknowledged.

Megatron looks up, having the feeling that someone came in. He looks up, facing Soundwave. "The mechanism we need," he remarks.

Thunderwing transmits to Megatron: "Pessimism? You? Hmm ... I shall have to watch for the heavens shattering and falling to the ground now."
Thrust senses his presence probably shouldn't be here, so he just blends into the shadows as best he can.

Soundwave notices that Thrust seems unusually tense and in a sense "fidgety," though there is not much outward indication. He himself seems calm and serene as always - as though the planet were not staring down the gunbarrel of certain doom.

Thunderwing transmits to Megatron: "The thought had never crossed my mind."

Soundwave waits patiently, while Megatron concentrates on his conversation over the radio.
Thrust concentrates on the computer in front of him. He thinks of something to do on it and starts in on it in earnest.

Megatron glances at Soundwave. "We will evacuate important data and non-essential personnel to a safe place, Soundwave."
Soundwave says, "Is there such a thing as non-essential personnel, Commander? We may need every hand to hold a laser."

Thrust hears what Soundwave says and can't believe it. He looks at him. "Hold a laser? Againstthatthing?"

Soundwave says, "Individually, we are ineffectual. In large numbers - and with additional back-up - we may stand a chance."

Thrust continues tensely, "But it eats planets ... how many lasers would we have to hold against it at the same time to make any difference?"
Soundwave says with complete calm, "Unknown, Thrust."

Thrust asks, "Unknown? Unknown? Oh and how are we going to find out how many we need if we don't know? There's not enough of us to do a field test on this."

Soundwave takes Thrust's quite justifiably worried tone in stride, and replies, "I am aware of that, Thrust. Our added defenses and shielding may well take up every remaining drop of energon Cybertron possesses. However, we must be prepared to throw everything we have into the battle. The alternative is certain extinction."

Megatron smirks painfully. "That should have been my quote, Soundwave." He turns serious. "I have to think of the survival of our race and culture. Therefore I want a group of Decepticons to accompany the evacuation of data."

Soundwave nods. "I shall see to assigning those who may be of least assistance in the battle, in that case."

Thrust asks, "And go where? This thing eats planets. This thing sees the universe as its buffet ... there's no place to go where it won't eventually stop in for dinner.  Why bother?"

Soundwave says, "If the tales are true, it seeks Cybertron specifically. That which it encounters along its path, is merely fuel to power the journey."

Thrust looks to Soundwave, "But why does it seek Cybertron?"

Megatron rubs his chin. "That is something I asked myself. But it's heading for Cybertron, that is a fact."

Thrust wonders out loud, "I wonder if there's something way back in our history that might explain why this thing is after the best planet in the universe."

Soundwave inclines his head to Thrust, and says "That too is a valid question."   He turns back to Megatron.  ďThere is another matter I wished to raise, Commander."

Megatron shrugs at Thrust's question. He has no answer ... yet. "Yes, Soundwave?"

Ruse suddenly walks in ... and past Soundwave and Megatron. She goes over to the computer console, and then stops a moment before looking back to Soundwave and smiling.

Soundwave glances aside at Ruse and nods a greeting to her, but his attention is on Megatron. "I have it on some authority that Unicron can be defeated. We must simply have the correct weapon."

Ruse says, "Not this unknown weapon that can stop Unicron thing again...."
Soundwave says, "I do not believe in miracles, Ruse. And yet, we must consider every option. I have learned some things in the last days that have reminded me of an experience from long ago. You will remember, Commander..."

Megatron leans against the computer console, his arms folded across his chest again. "And it is relatively small, I guess."

Thrust folds his arms and looks to Ruse. "Yes, that again ... but remember, Armada told Megatron what it was ... or so he said..."

Ruse glances to Soundwave.  She has, it seems, spoken with Armada already. Irritation laces her voice, though, since he wouldn't tell her what it was. "Tell me, have you attempted contact with Unicron? Just ... even out of curiosity?"

Soundwave nods to Ruse. "We almost did not survive it. But from my scan of Unicron's mind, which of necessity had to be superficial, I did catch the designation of a 'Matrix', an artifact or weapon that he knew of and wished destroyed. It seemed to me to be the sort of thing superstitious Autobots build into a sacred symbol. However, I have had contact from another time and place in which Unicron was in some manner destroyed, and perhaps this item was involved."

Ruse hms and tilts her head. "Chasm, you mean? Interesting." She makes a strange almost rumbling sound in her throat, leaning back. "Matrix. That was mentioned by the creature on Dinobot Island as well," she says, having a seat in a chair casually.

Soundwave says, "Not Chasm."
Ruse says, "... Armada? Who else do we have that comes from another timespace?"

Megatron says, "I suppose that is the artifact we're chasing?"  He rubs his chin again. "Have you found an image of it, Soundwave?"
Soundwave says, "I do not have an image. But you recall, Commander, before our ship left Cybertron. I came to you with a message that had been sent to me by a traveler in time and space. A message from myself, in a dismal future. So that I might warn you and spare you from the fate that befell you in my counterpart's time.  When the time comes, I impressed upon you at the time, you must heed my advice. Or your life, and the cause itself, are forever destroyed." A brief pause. "The time is now, Commander. Unicron, in the future in which my counterpart existed, was defeated. But you were destroyed as well, and what was left behind was a mockery that destroyed all that was left. You must not, under any circumstances, engage Unicron in direct confrontation."
Thrust listens to Soundwave quietly and isn't sure he's supposed to be here, to hear all this, but he knows he won't speak of it outside this room.

Ruse tilts her head.  How much she was not privileged to back then. She looks to Soundwave, amazed he has such hidden pockets of future knowledge locked away ... and has remained silent about such for so, so long.

Though their initial conversation was a private one, Soundwave apparently does not find this so personal a matter as to not speak of it in front of others now. Or perhaps - despite his outwardly calm demeanor - he feels a particular sense of urgency about this.

Laserbeak stomps in, picking up the end of Soundwave's comments, and they most certainly trouble him.  He then notices Ruse and is so stunned he's speechless. "Um ... Um.  He-llo, Ruse!" He then nods to Thrust, his father, and the boss before returning his gaze to Ruse. "Where ya been?"

Megatron narrows his optics. "As far as I remember, the schedule of this thing's arrival has already changed, and so therefore has the timeline. So are you sure that your information is still valid, Soundwave? However, I don't see any chance of beating the planet-eater in a direct confrontation anyway."

Thrust nods to Laserbeak and then continues to watch Soundwave and Megatron.

Soundwave says, "The course of history has already been altered, you are correct. None the less, you must take all precautions. The good news in the story of doom, however, is that Unicron in at least one other time and place was defeated. Whether the rules of our time apply, and what factors may be similar, I cannot yet say. We should not place all of our hope on a weapon we do not even possess, though Ghost will continue to search for it."

Ruse smiles at Laserbeak, "Awhile ... working behind the scenes in my strong suit." She glances to Soundwave. "So what options are viable right now?"

Megatron says, "Well, I already took into consideration the use of less conventional forms of defense, like viruses - computer and..." he looks at Soundwave, "...do you think that cosmic rust might have an effect on that mechanism?"

Soundwave says, "Possible. It is a physical structure, despite the disconnected ravings of the Brotherhood of Chaos."

Laserbeak frowns.  He doesn't mean to sound disrespectful ... but, "Rust? RUST? The thing eats planets. Rust! Blow the fraggin' thing up! Rust. Primus, I need a drink...."
Ruse says, "Laserbeak, it laughed off a moon filled with antimatter.  I don't think anything short of a black hole in that department would phase the planet."

Soundwave says, "We must consider all our options, Laserbeak. Various defenses are being prepared. No single weapon may stop the creature, but in combination, perhaps."

Megatron says, "Good. Then send out a probe to gather germs, Soundwave. I want to surprise our big visitor with a corrosive present. And take care we have enough antidote to protect those who are not yet vaccinated."
Soundwave says, "I will make the assignments."

Ruse tilts her head to the side a bit, "..."

Laserbeak growls. "Turn those darn Combaticons loose on Unicron.  It's a win win situation."

Megatron says, "And tell Chasm to work on a computer virus. Maybe we can transfer it somehow into the mechanism systems.  And if someone has a brilliant idea, spit it out! This thing should get the worst possible welcome from us."

Soundwave says, "Laserbeak raises another matter I wished to bring up. The Combaticons."

Thrust muses, "Reverse the polarity of the whole planet and give him a negative charge out of life if he takes a bite..."

Ruse finds once again that her main skills in this situation will be of little use. She instead jests, "Let me go inside of it and do a little playing around..." She then hrms, "Combaticons, Soundwave?"

Laserbeak snorts. " Play tag with him. I volunteer, and I'm sure the Seekers will join me. Strafe him with some fire, distracting him so you guys can lower the boom on him."
Megatron frowns. He does like being reminded of the Combaticons. Maybe because that reminds him of what happened to Starscream. "I will take that into consideration, Soundwave."

Soundwave says, "The combined might of Bruticus and Menasor can only be of value at this time. I formally recommend the release of Onslaught for the duration of the crisis, in order to complete the team."

Megatron hisses, "I said, I'll take this into consideration!"
Soundwave nods, apparently unbothered by Megatron's tone.

Thrust is not used to Megatron talking that way to Soundwave, and looks away quickly.

Ruse seems a bit afraid for only a moment of her father's temper ... but it fades fast as she remembers Moto's words to her of what happened while she was gone. oO(Still ... Starscream.)

Laserbeak is troubled by the tone of Megatron's voice. "My Lord ... if I may, now is not the time for bickering. If we plan on surviving, we must be calm and calculating, not brash and illogical. " Laserbeak taking about staying calm ... ahh irony.

Soundwave says, "We are all somewhat on edge, Laserbeak. Commander - I will set other options into motion."

Megatron indicates he's heading out. "I have a few more things to work on." He looks around. "And so have you! No time for being lazy now!"

Anyone but Soundwave might bristle in offense at that admonition, seeing as he's been at work on the problem in his own way since they returned from their encounter with the Great Devourer - but Soundwave merely nods to his leader, and takes his usual place at his computer station.
Ruse stays where she is. For now. What can she do at the moment?

Thrust stands. "What are your orders?"

Megatron says, "Soundwave will give you and Ruse a task."

Thrust nods. "As you command." He waits for Soundwave's orders.

Ruse says, "... I should have stayed on sabbatical." Her tone is not serious, however.

Soundwave taps something into his console, and then turns to look at Ruse and Thrust. He takes a small clear container out of a storage compartment in his side, and hands it to Ruse. "You and Thrust are to take the space bridge to Earth and enter our old undersea base. There is damage, but you will be able to find what you seek in the science section.  I retained a sample of Cosmic Rust in a sterile containment field. You will find it in the lowermost shelf of the storage closet in the northwest corner of the room.  You will recognize the glow of the containment field around the unit. Do not disrupt the field. Retrieve this, and return it to me."

Laserbeak looks to his father. "I think we should launch a full assault on Unicron ASAP... there is no other recourse."

Soundwave says, "Our resources are here on Cybertron, Laserbeak. To strike at full capacity, we must wait for him to come to us. But perhaps there is still a chance to divert him before he gets here. By other means. Viruses, physical and computerized, for instance."
Ruse looks at Soundwave ... then sighs and stands up, going for the door. "Forklift duty ... again. Some things just  never change."

Laserbeak nods hesitantly. "It might even be necessary to work with the Autobots..."

Soundwave says, "It is an unpleasant thought - but if they possess this weapon which may be effective, it is in their best interest to utilize it as well."

Thrust starts for the door to retrieve the Cosmic Rust sample.

Soundwave says, "Laserbeak, accompany Thrust. Your brother Buzzsaw is still on the search for CatsCradle. She too may have knowledge that will be of use to us."
Thrust pauses and waits for the condor.  ďLetís go.Ē

Laserbeak strolls along after Thrust. "Ahh, the duties of the great spy bird..."

Soundwave, turns back at work at his console, working as the others head toward their own duties.

Ghost makes her way into the command center almost on instinct alone. Slightly groggy but waking, she's rubbing at her optics to finish clearing them while she gathers her thoughts, trying to figure out exactly how long she slept.

Soundwave picks up the soft footfalls, but does not immediately turn from his work, as he's typing something. On a screen before him, a stylized starmap is visible with Cybertron and a ringed metal world shown, the path between them filled by symbols and calculations.

Ghost's footfalls take her to another console, currently unoccupied as she pulls up reports and records of current patrol routes, something simple to get her mind jump-started back into focus.

Soundwave speaks to her without turning his attention from his screen, "Greetings, Ghost. You are recovered?"

Ghost glances over, managing a smile. "I am ... recovered if a bit groggy." She pauses, "Thank you."
Soundwave inclines his head a bit - then leans slightly forward as a reading on his console catches his attention.

For those that watch the Cybertronian skyline, the keen-eyed observer would spy a fast moving crimson object in the perpetual twilight, streaking towards the still incomplete orbital defense systems of the planet. As the object nears one of the defense platforms, it slows slightly and begins to glow a deep purple, energy flickering over its frame before bursting out a lance of terrible force that rips into the half armor of the platform and then through it, cascading explosions through it and sending it into a terminal decaying orbit before it moves onto its next prey.

Soundwave quickly makes an adjustment, and the stylized starmap disappears, to be replaced by an image of the remains of an orbital platform burning down through Cybertron's thin atmosphere.  He adjusts the sensors, to follow the moving shape.

Ghost's attention focuses on her reportsí screen for a moment before she glances back, watching Soundwave's screen flicker. A pause, and she pads over, curious.

Soundwave brings the image in closer. It's the crimson winged creature that was spewed out in Divefire's place. Just as quickly as he captures it on screen, it's gone out of range.

Ghost's optics flicker at the creature's image on the screen. A shake of her head is given before she simply states, "This does not bode well."

<Cybertron> Soundwave says, "Soundwave to Polyhex defense forces.  Be on the lookout for this individual (picture of souped-up crimson Divefire-like being) and apprehend.  Attempt to use non-lethal force if at all possible."

Even as alarms go off on the console and one of the screens switches to a firefight on Polyhex plaza, Soundwave detects a commotion out in the hall and turns away from his station, drawing his rifle.

Ghost's head snaps up at the sudden peal of alarms, optics flickerflashing as she looks at Soundwave. Seeing him drawing a weapon, she spins on a heel, sidestepping in order to draw one of her own weapons, a sword. "Alright, *this* does not bode well," she reiterates.

Soundwave sends out a signal that slams shut the doors to the command center as a precaution. If any part of the city should be protected, it's the access to the mainframe in here.  "Ghost, be on guard."

Ghost nods once, optics flashing violet as she grips her blade. "Yes, sir."
Through the doors of the command center, the echoes of a heavy firefight echo down the corridor, explosions drawing near as more sentries can be heard running past, lasers firing. Then silence for a second, before a sound of what can only be defined as fusion energy rips along the corridor, ending any remaining resistance for now.  He stops in front of the doors to the command center, a dark figure  whose shape is certainly different, but with a strange resonance of someone else.  His optics burn into the doors with fierce intent, and his hands raise out before him. Deep purple energy flickers over his hands and builds up, tendrils flashing over his frame and highlighting sections of his crimson armor as he brings his hands back, now holding a glowing ball of energy and hurls it forward towards the doors with immense force...

<Cybertron> Soundwave says, "All available warriors in Polyhex to the command center immediately!"

<Cybertron> A growl echoes out over the comm channel, sounding oh so familiar yet tinged with something else, something darker and far more malevolent. "Bring them! Come warriors, face your destiny at the hands of the Harbinger of Chaos!"

Nightbird charges down the corridor to the command center with a sword in one hand.

<Cybertron> Shockwave says, "Report situation, Soundwave!"

<Cybertron> Soundwave says, "Polyhex attacked by a warrior with enhanced powers, Shockwave.  Sentries have been unable to prevent his entry.  One orbital defense platform destroyed."

Armada steps off the lift, totally oblivious...

Nightbird wastes no time, coming right up behind the intruder and slashing him across the back with her sword.

Armada isn't at first sure what's going on, but it doesn't take long to figure out. He immediately summons his plasma rifle from subspace and surveys the scene. Nightbird he recognizes, the former Divefire he does not... but if there's anything he does recognize, it's a Unispawn. He takes up a defensive stance, waiting to see what this Herald will do.

Outside in the corridor, the intruder's back arches forward as the blade of the ninja slices down his crimson wing cape, sending out a shower of sparks from his form. Annoyance plays over his features as he spins around, the beam of energy he had been sending into the door cutting off and the doors sagging with relief.  He snarls in aggravation towards Nightbird, his hands already raised and power rising once more. "Foolish ninja, your prowess merely serves to delay the inevitable! My time is precious and my price lies within this inner sanctum!" With a flare of rage he strikes, but not at the femme, at the doors to the command center, cape flaring with power as it drives him into and through the weakened bulkhead.

The doors to the command center whimper, and the sound of fusion energy powering into hardened metal screams out down the corridor as the doors lose the battle against this being.

Soundwave listens to the commotion outside even through the thickly plated doors of the command center, and hears the strain of the metal. He raises his rifle to aim at what will surely come through. "Our visitor is making his way in," he says to Ghost, the tone almost the usual calm harmonics, but not quite so melodic.

Ghost glances at Soundwave once more before she sets herself, watching the door, frame tensed. She doesn't flinch, just seems to relax as the doors to the command center begin to take a pounding. A brow rises, "Noted, Commander." She flips her grip on the one blade, deciding to take things up another notch of paranoid, summoning her own rifle to rest on her forearm, taking aim at the doors.

The doors to the command center sag further from the onslaught outside, then a pause before they are struck with a hammer like force, tearing asunder the weakened metal as the Harbinger of Chaos rams through into the command center, his cape wing flared outwards and glowing with propulsive energy as he tumbles neatly through the air and lands gracefully on his feet, knee joints bending to absorb the impact and the sudden loss of momentum by. He stands slowly, cloak drawing back in and optics burning an iridescent dark green as he regards the familiar chamber, smirking with an intent hauntingly familiar, yet with a desire far removed from what it once was.

There is a crash from the passageway from the Linking Shafts, a soft echo of the doors blowing asunder. CatsCradle stands there, a pile of tumbled crates on the floor at her feet. She looks like she has spent much of the last two days crawling through garbage pits, filthy, her paint darkened by grime, making her seem small and fragile. Her face has aged with a mixture of pain, fatigue, and lack of fuel, her optics huge, bleached of color to an almost-white. Her hands flutter in front of her mouth for a moment, shaking noticeably, the palms torn open and stained with blood. Her mouth frames a silent word... "Diver?" She takes a hesitant step forward, tripping over one of the crates and not even noticing, her signature grace gone.

Nightbird takes the opportunity while Divefire's back is turned to attack him again with her sword.

Armada gives a snarl as the other Unispawn ignores Nightbird's attempt and crashes through the doors to the command center. Armada dashes after him, plasma rifle already drawn. Admittedly, this is a strange encounter for him, and he has some idea of the power Divefire now has at his command. He barks, "Son of Unicron! I challenge you!"

Soundwave needs only to raise his rifle just a bit to have it aimed dead-on at the intruder, but he does not immediately fire.

Ghost's rifle is aimed at the door, a sword in hand as she turns her head slightly, optics adjusting quickly to the sudden flash of overheated metal peppering the interior of the chamber. As taunt as a bowstring, she waits for the command to attack.

CatsCradle scrambles over the remains of the doors, nearly falling over the pieces and just barely catching herself against a console in time. Her grimy appearance might give some hint to the others of where she had been; the dropped pile of crates containing energon in the outer passageway might give another. She clings to the console as if it was the only thing keeping her on her feet, and her hands shake hard enough to be a strong indication of the effort it is taking. Her optics never leave the crimson figure in front of her.

Soundwave's optic band flickers faintly as he glances at CatsCradle, but he remains locked in place, his weapon aimed at the intruder.

The ninjaís strike on the intruder catches him on his side as he spirals on the spot to meet her charge, a lance that echoes his own lines suddenly in his hand and starting to glow with a telltale purple energy trace. "Ninja, you begin to annoy me!" He glowers as he stances, one hand holding the blade in a blocking position as he raises a hand towards his other universe brother. "Ah, you challenge me, do you? You who would deny your own maker?! Our master would be most pleased, should I bring you to him!" he barks out in dark, angry and dangerous tones as energy begins to concentrate around his hand once more. It seems that no one who directly challenges him is not worthy of his attention so far...

Armada reaches down to maglock his rifle to his hip and then takes up a knife-fighting stance, long curving blades suddenly appearing on his wrists with a -snick.- He hopes the remaining Decepticons will take the time he hopefully buys to either flee or paralyze the Herald. "I do indeed deny him. Any creature who would sacrifice the universe for his own hunger deserves no fealty. Fight his control, brother. He does not control you wholly." He does not move to strike first, as he knows the full-powered Unispawn is infinitely more powerful than himself, who has been diminished and severed from his former power.

Ghost's optics darken to a near black violet as she simply does not move. The soft whining of something powering up is lost in the words and other weapons being deployed in the area, but it is present none the less. With a sideways glance at Soundwave, she lifts a brow peering quickly back at the interloper, fingers tightening on her sword.

Suddenly the doors to the Transmat chamber open and Ruse walks forward Laserbeak and the others on their way... if not delayed. She has in her hands a strange glowing pink cube... almost like a energon cube but more then that. She just stops and stares at those inside and then to the doors.. forced open... and with one swift movement draws her rifle saying nothing as she targets Dive.. the only Con she does not recognize.

Soundwave makes a surreptitious motion to Ruse with one hand. If she notices it, if she can imagine what he means, he seems to be saying "Hold your fire, for the moment." He falls back to his motionless stance, his optic band shading brighter as he takes in everything with focused attention.

Ruse side-glances to Soundwave and does just that... having been around him enough to read his gestures for the most part. She just stays frozen where she is with weapon drawn, keeping at an angle so the cube is almost hidden from the intruders sight.

Nightbird takes her cue from the others not firing and circles around the unknown enemy, her sword blazing.

A dark, rolling laugh echoes out from the intruder in the room, cutting short as he regards the ninja with a cautious gaze, lance still set defensively and energy rippling over it's frame. "You would think that." He starts towards the one known as Armada. "Wouldn't you? Really, you know what power you have given up, what the lord of Chaos once provided you and your brothers..." A low, thin smirk crawls over his face as he steps towards his 'brother' in short, slow strides. "I have no desire to turn away from Chaos, I am Chaos! I am Chaos incarnate, its ultimate personification! Come and embrace me, feel once more what is like to touch Chaos, Armada! Feel once more like yourself, like Cyclonus, Scourge and Galvatron! Let it rise up from inside you and take you in its loving embrace! Be whole, brother!"

Soundwave's optic band flickers again.

CatsCradle lets out a soft whimper, barely audible. She seems frozen in place, a statue... except that a statue does not tremble.

Nightbird looks to Soundwave, her sword raised and steady, and says, "Shall I?"

Soundwave isn't currently responding to the others in the room. For a moment the optic band shades dark, very dark, then steadies again. In a quiet tone almost devoid of reverberation he says, "Divefire. You speak of a universe that must never be. Listen to your own words, and examine the images in your own mind, and you will acknowledge this for yourself."

Armada's optics vary from a dull, flat red when Divefire speaks of what he gave up, to a blazing crimson fire as he speaks the names of his brothers and Lord. A low, grating voice echoes from his horned helm, "You dare to speak those names? They are profane on your lips, defiled! I will embrace you in what you seek... oblivion!" With a wordless cry, the doomed ex-Unicron minion dashes forward, leaping several meters before he reaches Divefire and twisting his body around gracefully, arms slashing out in a blur of motion, energy-charged blades aiming for the twisted Decepticon's throat.

Ruse brightens her optics... and says suddenly, "DIVEFIRE?" She suddenly leaps back and transforms shunting the cube away. She lands in her fox form and barks, "Soundwave get Armada back!" Now that all hope of keeping things calm is gone only stunning remains an option... and if that IS Dive she isn't going to fire on him... not without trying something else first!

Ghost sidesteps away from Soundwave, watching where the rest of those that belong are positioned as she adjusts her own placement to aid in making more of a circle around the.. renewed... A shake of her head as she freezes utterly as Armada simply vents forth perhaps more than he meant for all to hear, her grip on her blade tightening enough to trigger its cascading into an energy state..

Soundwave lowers his rifle just an iota, perhaps a signal to the others not to interfere right now.

Ruse looks to Soundwave... then to Armada... then back as the blue commander does nothing. As much as she wants to stop whatís going, on for now she waits.... Despite every chip of her being telling her to act now before things get out of hand if they have not already. oO(What IS he thinking?!)

The optics that were so intently on Armada flicker as the Harbingerís head snaps towards Soundwave, brow knitted in hardly suppressed rage. "That name, means nothing to me, Communicator! He was the template, the beginning! I am the Harbinger of Chaos, the chosen one of Unicron himself! The Decepticon you speak of is dead! Nothing more then memories and a distant voice in a storm of destruction!" And then Armada's cry of rage turns his attention back to what he originally had started, in time for a blade to dig deep into his shoulder, slicing into the guard made from his third mode. The impact makes him take a step back, bringing his lance down as his optics meet his brotherís. "Fool! All of you fools! Taste the power of Chaos then, taste what is to be your destiny!" And with speed beyond even that of what he commanded before his lance becomes a blur of weaponry, slicing across Armada's frame in an attempt to send his brother across the command.

In a brief second of silence between words and attacks, a soft voice says, "Diver?"

Armada amazingly deflects the blow, but it sends him staggering back from the force. He pants, "It doesn't have to be this way, Divefire." However, he holds pressing the attack as CatsCradle speaks, watching.

Divefire glowers and rages as once again that infernal name is called to him. Such is the rage in his optics, the light cascades over the edge of his helm, highlighting just how much this Harbinger looks like its host. "Chaos has no way! It exists and destroys and consumes and..."

The rant to Armada and all cuts off mid-word as a simple word cuts through it. A name and a memory and suddenly his optics dim to nothing and confusion hallmarks his expression. "Cats..?" he calls out in a whimper, blindly, before... "NO! I am Chaos and this is my gift to you all!" With a thrusting of his hands, energy builds up far faster then before, literally ripping over his frame and cascading down his arms, as he throws them towards the roof of the command center and lets fly with a beam of awesome force.

As the chaos reigns for the impact, the bringer of it is gone...

Ruse slowly pushes some of the ceiling off her frame after the dust settles from the roof having a hole blasted in it, ".... Cats... ugh... that really made him mad... don't do it again."

But before the dust has settled, CatsCradle has slipped out the remains of the doors and has disappeared.

Soundwave flinches back from the blast of light and the shower of dust and molten metal that cascades from the ceiling.

Motormaster comes charging into the Command Center the minute the sound of the explosion reaches him, slamming around the corner at high speeds and skidding to a halt as he sees the destruction, optics widening, "How in the..."

Ruse coughs and looks to Motormaster, "Divefire. Nuff said..." She slowly climbs to her feet... making a rather angry almost growling sound as she does, oO(Chaos made one really poor choice for a herald. Dive was about as radon as a atomic clock.)

Soundwave hurriedly recovers and looks after the disappearing spawn of Chaos.
He ejects a black cassette, who transforms into Ravage and lands almost soundlessly, slipping out through the destroyed Command Center doors after the other one who disappeared.

<Cybertron> Soundwave says, "All Polyhex sentries, apprehend the individual fleeing the city.  *Do not* use lethal force if possible."

Motormaster looks to Ruse, and his lips tighten, absently gesturing and summoning his sword as with the other hand he flips up his radio and speaks into it, purple optics blazing hotly.

Motormaster receives a radio transmission from Divefire: "Ah, the leader of the shock troops! Such minions of Chaos already and you don't even know it! Irony is not lost on the Herald of Unicron!"

Ruse dusts her slightly battered frame and looks to Motormaster, smiling a bit. "Looks like Uni can't wait to start tormenting us.  Gonna have to find his herald and show him what some real chaos is." She watches Ravage leave and looks to Soundwave, wondering if she should join that other stealth unit?

Armada comes forward through the debris falling from the ceiling, where he was pushed back by the shockwave from the fusion blast. His arm blades retract with a click and he looks after the vanished Cats, then towards Soundwave. "He will return. And probably even more powerful next time."

Soundwave says, "You speak from experience, Armada?"

Armada says, "And intuition. That was a test."

Soundwave says, "Of what, precisely?"

Motormaster notes harshly, "A regimented schedule for probing defenses? That doesn't sound too chaotic to me."

Armada nods towards Motormaster's statement. "It doesn't truly matter to Unicron what happens here before he arrives. He's confident that we have nothing, except that one object he fears, that can defeat him."

 Ruse snaps her fingers and summons the containment cube from subspace. She walks over to Soundwave and holds it out. "Here. Sorry about the bark.  Wish we could have stopped him this time, though..."
Armada frowns, "I apologize if I acted hastily, Soundwave. My anger got the best of me."

Soundwave accepts the cube from Ruse with a nod of thanks. "Perhaps the *one* object Unicron fears can be augmented," he says. "I only wish we had been able to contain Divefire." He looks to Armada searchingly. "I have many questions for you, Armada, but your Lord has requested that he be present during the debriefing. Perhaps he too can add to the information. And I have another approach to follow at this time. Remain close, and I will contact you."

 Armada nods to Soundwave, conspicuously not saluting. He does, however, look at the special cube with much interest.
Ruse murmurs something about stunning and holding back as she wanders over to Moto. She speaks up, noticing, "You seem elsewhere.. ?"

Motormaster snaps his radio shut again decisively after hissing something into it, and turns cold optics down onto the young femme. "Just having a chat with an old friend."

Soundwave takes the precious, dangerous item that Ruse retrieved from Earth, and makes his way out of the Command Center with it.
.
Armada rubs his chin thoughtfully. "Curious. He is not changed in the same way I and my brethren were. It seems less ... extensive restructuring."

Ruse looks disbelieving about the friend part, but just nods and moves to somewhat lean up against Motormaster as she crosses her arms. "Maybe Unicron is attempting to be subtle," she says, gesturing to the hole in the ceiling.
****

CYBERTRON NEWSCASTS

ARMADA

<This is probably a first. Armada's serial number precedes the following report:>
     There was an incident last night with the reconfigured Decepticon formerly known as Divefire. He broke into the Polyhex command center, and between Nightbird and myself, we managed to prevent him from causing any significant casualties, although he did blow a sizable chunk of the command center's ceiling out. Also, the reinforced doors will need to be replaced as they were slagged. After encountering CatsCradle and numerous injunctions to cease, he fled in anger. But I suspect he will return again soon and that all sentries be on extra alert.


GHOST
     Text report relayed from outpost to outpost. Encrypted with older recon codes. Attached is a small file with additional information and a voice-over.
TEXT:
     Datum gathered gives conclusive evidence that Autobot artifact sought is deemed 'The Matrix'. Information followed along those lines has exposed certain key points about this mysterious object. Gleaned and cross-referenced points in archives located in older cities lost point to the 'Matrix' as an object of great power among those called Autobots. The probability of this being a true object or artifact has grown ever higher since this mission began.
     Further evidence points to the information taken from sources as it having been held by those with the power to hold it. Perhaps a reference to physical strength or perhaps the ability to keep it from others. Protection or greed or a combination of both? A theory if anything. What concrete information that has been gathered points to its mystical connotations with the Autobots very leadership itself, a method of choosing a leader or perhaps only being able to be used by a particularly programmed 'chosen' one.
     *Attached file, voice only*
     I'm still tracking a small group of Autobots in the Megacity area near old Iacon. What I've heard so far isn't much but the choice to take one and question verses continuing to listen leans towards listening onwards. There was a chance to target one and lift some possessions that may hold possible data on the Matrix or imagery. Overheard also was the fact that this particular object has not been seen or heard of in some time, the last.. bearer *quizzical voice* went missing. My guess, based on what I've read and heard is that someone with rank or that once held such a thing either has it or knows where it is at. Ending transmission now, returning to comm blackout for duration of mission. Ghost out.

****

OVERHEARD
     Two nameless mechs stand guard during the night as done so many times before. As normal a conversation starts up between the two.*
      Mech1: "So, you hear the latest gossip going around? About the sightings of Megatron's stray 'daughter' thatís been absent lately?"
      Mech2: "Heh, ya that foxy one that liked to play all those pranks. So what? Nothing new there, considering she has took off before and come back when she sees fit. Thatís what most spy-types do you know. Reporting only to the top brass with need to know info is their job." Mech1: "So, remember how she always used to sing about chaos and that slag? I mean it is kinda funny she comes back now."
      Mech2: "Oh ya, heh she sounds almost like one of those... hey you don't think she is... you know, back because of Unicron?"
      Mech1: "Don't ask me. Who knows what is going on in her head. I am just mentioning it in case she comes around the defenses so you wont let your guard down."
      Mech2: "Hey I never let my guard down!"
 The two continue to talk a bit more while standing watch, as the screen fades out.

OVERHEARD IN THE STREETS OF THE CAPITOL CITY:
        "You heard that they got some kinda Transformer made by that Unicron up in the base?"
        "I heard he wasn't really one of em... some sort of parallel universe type, made by Unicron by they blew the big guy up there and now he's got free will or whatever."
        "I dunno... maybe, but once a Unispawn, always a Unispawn if you ask me. Can't be trusted."
        "Yer probably right. They should tear that guy apart and see what makes him tick. Maybe they'd find some blueprints for old Uni inside. Betchya Megs'll have him hanging from Soundwave's research table before long."
        "Guess we'll see. I just hope I don't see him around here."

OVERHEARD
     Mech 1: Did you hear that Chaos guy used to be a Decepticon?
     Mech 2: Yeah. Heard he was busting up the Command Center like it was made of tissue paper or something, until his mate stopped him.
     Mech 1: You know the rumors about /her/, donít you? She appeared out of nowhere, a few millennia ago. Said she has a memory glitch and cant remember where she comes from. Wont let anyone fix it, neither. Thatís probably why they sent her off to that dirtball. Who could trust someone like that? Now her mate turns up as one of Unicronís get, and sheís disappeared, too.
     Mech 2: You think sheís one of them too?
     Mech 1, shrugging: Donít know, but I sure hope I never have to be on the same team with her. They never shoulda let someone like that become a Con in the first place.
     Mech 2: Hey, speaking of strange stuff, who do you think keeps leaving all that energon around in the base?
     They keep talking as they walk out of audio range.


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