BOOK I: SALVATION
PART 1: Journey into the Unknown
Prologue: Aftermath of the Fall
Cybertron is dead and the universe is in peril. From what started out as a struggle for freedom and equality had turned into the bloodiest, most destructive, full-scale war the Universe has ever witnessed. Formerly a peaceful civilization, the majority of the Cybertronian race had been annihilated from the violence that has ravaged almost the entire cosmos. It all had started with a tough gladiator named Megatron who began a violent revolution against the greedy Magnus Council; it then escalated into a civil war—better referred to as the Autobot-Decepticon War— that ravaged the planet until it was consumed by death. With his malevolent army known as the Decepticons, Megatron sought to overwhelm every planet to ensure the superiority of the Cybertronian race. Opposite of the evil Decepticons, was Optimus Prime and his righteous Autobots and they stood in Megatron’s way from achieving universal domination.
Those planets untainted by the war would only temporarily remain as that, as the devastation would come inevitably. After the fall of Lo Kieppo to the Decepticons, Megatron appointed himself the Emperor of Destruction and declared all Decepticon-occupied worlds the Decepticon Absolutism Empire. He later decreed the vast production of an armada so vast, that the entire cosmos would tremble at its very existence, and dubbed it: the Imperial Decepticon Fleet of Pure Annihilation. Any warship commissioned for service was designed for one purpose: universal conquest. One by one, the autonomous worlds became subdued by the Decepticons and those they let live, were forced into brutal slavery. Refusing to surrender, the Autobots gathered what they had and quickly secured several planets as sovereign, Autobot-safeguarded territory.
With the death of Cybertron, came the depletion of the most essential substance to the Cybertronian race: Energon. Due to the planet’s unique, integrated properties, it was the only known world capable of produced it naturally. All other forms they laboured to create were not pure Energon but would keep them going… for a bit longer. And so both factions have searched desperately for a planet with the same properties that Cybertron had. Because of the frantic search, both sides found themselves invading planets in which they believed to be capable of sustaining Energon naturally. However, the only way to know for certain was to release a chemical called tritonillyphium into the atmosphere; it would then become visible in a green form once it reacts with natural Energon. Alas, due to the toxicity of the chemical, it would wipe out entire organic species within millicycles of its release.
The Autobot commander, Optimus Prime, had never realized the level of toxicity presented within the tritonillyphium. When his top Autobot code-breaker, Hound, intercepted a Decepticon transmission that claimed it could locate any form of Energon, Optimus authorized the use immediately. Alas, none of his scientists were familiar with the chemical. As a result, an Autobot-captured planet identified as Rystolth, which his scientists assumed could possibly sustain Energon naturally, was tested with the chemical. Within ten millicycles, every species the planet had to offer was wiped out, and Rystolth was completely devoid of life. Optimus Prime witnessed the death as he was present to oversee the test that went absolutely wrong. He was devastated at the lives lost because he failed to have the chemical tested for toxicity. After holding a small ceremony for the deceased victims, he gave command over to Captain Powerglide to establish a science and weapons experimentation laboratory.
Eventually, a highly-ranked Decepticon lieutenant designated Soundwave, who was also Megatron’s chief intelligence and communications officer, learned of a powerful soldier under construction at the secret Autobot research base located on Rystolth in the Dystros Region. The Decepticon leader began formulating plans on storming the base and journeyed to Gdo Plnio, where a battle was currently taking place…
Chapter 1: Decepticon Domination
Screams of terror and death filled the night as billows of thick, black smoke clouded over the atmosphere, blocking out the moonlight of the satellite orbiting the world of Gdo Plnio. The only light radiating out of the darkness was the glow of the fires consuming everything, the glow of an energy weapon, or the blood-red optics, piercing the night. Several fighters flew over a city, dropping incendiaries from their bomb-bays, exploding on the hapless victims far below.
Ever since Soundwave, the chief communications and intelligence officer, obtained rock-solid evidence of the planet harbouring Autobot refugees amongst its inferior civilization, Megatron immediately ordered Blackout, Shockwave, and Onslaught to take several invasion battalions to annihilate everything within it. Gdo Plnio may not had been or had any strategically importance but it lay too close to territory claimed and conquered by the Imperial Decepticon Military. The Decepticon leader was not risking the hated Autobots to establish a military base or a listening outpost anywhere near his territory. Solution: remove Gdo Plnio from the equation completely.
One Autobot was harmless, two were coincidental, four were trouble, and six or more Autobots implied an attack force, listening post, or an enemy centre… this was Megatron’s logic in maintaining the security in his Empire. And unfortunately, Gdo Plnio hosted a large company of thirty eight adversaries; thus, the planet was to be invaded and promptly obliterated. No battle plans were crafted as the tactics were quite simple: invade and annihilate.
A vast, Decepticon battlecruiser dubbed Nemesis descended from the smoke-covered skies, and hovered above the ensuing battle. Leaping from the warship was the most feared of all the Decepticon warriors, and it was none other than their nefarious leader. His name is Megatron. When his chassis reached the ground, it created a small crater and he regained his stance, heading into the chaos. Powering up his most lethal weapon— his fusion cannon—he began to eradicate anyone and anything that lacked the insignia of his military.
While he made his way through the mayhem, wreaking further destruction as he ventured on, Megatron did not have to be concerned with his thoughts being sporadic; only one processed in his circuitry: destroy all adversaries. Working in sync with his thoughts, was the absolute brutality of his hatred that carried out his actions, whether they be genocide or leading the spearhead of an invasion force. Either way, no matter what his logic chooses, is always the same net result: sheer devastation and total annihilation.
“Look! It’s Megatron!” a Decepticon soldier recognized him, and stood at attention as his leader moved past him, “HAIL LORD MEGATRON!!!”
Ignoring the soldier, the Decepticon warlord transformed into his Cybertronian main battle tank alt-mode and crushed over the bodies and debris that overlaid the ground. Noticing the forward operations centre where his officers in command of the invasion were currently overseeing the battle, he made his way over to them.
“Blackout, report!” he barked at them as soon as he entered the makeshift base, transforming back into his robot form.
Taken aback by the sudden appearance of their leader, one of the Decepticons spoke up, “All hail Megatron! We have nearly overrun the planet, and we are right now ‘cleaning up’ the remnants of those creatures and their pathetic Autobot allies. Everything is going according to your plans, my lord.”
“Excellent! Do you know the location of Shockwave?”
Blackout snorted in disgust, “I last saw him some fifty clicks from this position, unleashing toxins on a city that many fled to for refuge. He called it ‘experimenting’ when I questioned his tactics…”
“Feed me the coordinates!”
Without hesitation, the officer transmitted the coordinates of Shockwave to him. Megatron reverted back into a tank, and rolled over to where his pet scientist was lingering.
Two Autobots attacked him along with several of the planet’s locals but the energy bursts of their blasters were futile as his interlocked, layered armour carapace configurations of his alt-mode was able to withstand the most intense artillery barrages and airstrikes. Feeling the useless energy blasts against his chassis was enough to enrage the Decepticon leader, who, in turn, retaliated by aiming his powerful fusion cannon mounted on the top of his alt-mode at them. Firing one single salvo of pure, pressurized energy was enough to obliterate all nine adversaries and parts of a building that was within the blast radius. The fusion cannon was one of the most powerful weapons ever created as its blast radius could extend well-over two hundred sixty metres, and could penetrate through up to five hundred walls of thick concrete.
It was not difficult locating Shockwave once he neared the coordinates; the scientist was conducting an experiment using corrosive gaseous substances on Autobots and Gdo Plnio inhabitants, observing the effects that it had one either specimen, then recorded it in a datapad.
Once again, Megatron announced his presence abruptly, “Have you completed the initial report that was assigned to you, Shockwave?”
Glancing up at the Decepticon leader casually, his scientist nodded, “Affirmative. Do you demand the details of it immediately?”
“If it has been completed, summarize the key points of the document.”
Opening another datapad, the scientist enabled it to display holographic statistical graphs and information recorded in ancient Cyberglyphics that was accustomed to the Deceptions usage, “According to my findings, Energon has been terribly depleted and only exists in what miniscule quantities that are possessed by both Autobot and Decepticon factions. And out of all the planets in our universe, I have concluded that Cybertron was the sole natural producer of the essential sustenance. From the data gathered, I calculated the span of our race which is estimated no longer than three hundred stellar-spans. Our only chance of survival is to either adapt to a new form of sustenance—which is impossible—or locate a new source of Energon.”
“All you have supplied for me is bad news? I expected MORE from you, Shockwave…” the Decepticon leader’s fists clenched in anger.
“On the contrary, my lord, I did attain some ‘good news’ from my research. When I referred to ‘our universe’, I was merely implying the universe we have already discovered. I factored in the probability of other worlds existing beyond the Gridder Mark and the Benzuli Expanse into my data and, thus, I contrived the inescapable truth of another world—resembling Cybertron—in existence. But it has not yet been located, leaving us to merely ‘guess’ the features, statistics, and advancements of the planet. It is logical to assume every possibility of this equation, especially the ludicrous scenarios, Lord Megatron.”
Turning his head over to view Shockwave’s demented experimentation, the self-proclaimed Emperor of Destruction watched as an Autobot corroded from the effects of ollynthium gas, “And I presume that you ‘imagined’ such a planet?”
“To a certain extent, yes. However, I have managed to locate the system where I conceive the existence of the Energon-enriched world…”
The scientist was motioned to accompany his leader as he began the journey back to the command centre, “I expect a full report on the planet within two solar deca-cycles. Now, onto more pressing matters at hand. Soundwave informs me of a classified Autobot research and weapons laboratory located in the Dystros Region. Apparently he has an aide on the inside supplying him with the data about the base. According to his information, the Autobots are fabricating new, advanced weapons to help turn the tide of war in their favour. Perhaps the only intriguing matter—and worthy of my recognition—is the fact of them constructing a super soldier. I am authorizing a full-scale invasion immediately.”
The cyclopic Decepticon seemed to be intrigued by this notion, “Fascinating. I never assumed that one such as Optimus Prime would authorize the creation of a super soldier.”
“I came here to put together a quick-strike assault team for the job; naturally, I will be leading the mission. And I want you to be on the team.”
“Affirmative. I am yours to command.”
The two transformed and drove over the ruins and the decaying corpses, crushing the organic bodies under their powerful treads causing the intestines to explode out and splatter on the fellow Decepticons and whatever else was within the proximity. Blackout—accompanied by both Onslaught and a small Seeker-class soldier—approached the self-proclaimed emperor and bowed respectively.
“Lord Megatron,” he stood back upright at the gesture of his master, “The annihilation of Gdo Plnio has been completed, my lord. What is your next command?”
A holographic image of a planet was projected from Megatron’s hand, “The target planet is Rystolth. Soundwave informs me of a concealed Autobot weapons and research laboratory in the area. From his inside mech, he has confirmed the assembly of an Autobot super soldier. Our mission is to infiltrate this planet and capture the super soldier before it is released with a philanthropic bearing. All Autobots are to be executed with extreme prejudice; no prisoners.”
Onslaught raised an optic, “That seems… illogical. Your loyal Combaticons have scouted out the Dystros Region a myriad times and never encountered any signs of Autobot presence within that galaxy.”
“Soundwave also noted that it is a facility established no longer than thirty-eight stellar spans, and according to the Archives, there is no such information of any Decepticon patrol units within the Psyno space quadrant during that period of time.”
“That is correct, my lord. I apologize for defying your knowledge…”
Ignoring him, the Deception warlord briefly enquired to Shockwave silently. The cyclopic Decepticon nodded, “Affirmative. The space bridge has successfully been established.”
“Charge up the generators and punch in the coordinates for Kage Raksis.”
“It is already done.”
A humming of electricity filled the air and a crackle of four beams of lightning ripped through the air between two obelisks, forming a massive rectangular perimeter. In the middle was a tear between space and time—a wormhole—that the Nemesis passed through.
Megatron activated his booster engines in his pedes and leapt over to the space bridge, “Come my brethren, there is much work to be done!”
Blackout transformed into a monstrous Cybertronian helicopter and flew over to his master, followed by the smaller Seeker which had reverted into a jet. Shockwave and Onslaught also activated their boosters and jumped over to the space bridge as Megatron leapt into it.
Upon exiting on the other side, they came upon a massive Cybertronian-styled city in the middle street with Decepticon banners and propaganda lining one end of the street to the other. As they walked forward, thousands of citizens hailed their conquering emperor. And they were not all Cybertronians—a myriad of other species existed among them and they cheered at the sight of their master.
HAIL LORD MEGATRON!!! HAIL LORD MEGATRON!!!
Megatron accepted the praise and promptly made his way over to the coliseum located at the centre of the city, Kaodyol—the headquarters of the Imperial Decepticon Military. Walking onto the platform, he watched as the theatre quickly became packed with the citizens of his city, eager to hear the victorious statements from him. As he walked over to the podium, the applause of the Decepticon supporters shook the entire stadium. Motioning them to be silent, he glanced behind just as his high-ranking officers accompanied him on the stage.
“My loyal subjects,” his voice was deep and coarse, “Gdo Plnio has been punished for its errors once and for all! No planet near my Empire will harbour any Autobot traitors without my knowing about it.”
The crowd went into an uproar, booing and shouting: DEATH TO AUTOBOTS!!! DEATH TO AUTOBOTS!!!
Once again, they were silenced, “The heroic actions of the Decepticons who participated in the attack will be commended, henceforth. As you all know, my second-in-command and successor, Hellscream, was brutally slaughtered by Optimus Prime and his vile sympathizers. He died a true warrior but was shot in the back by the cowards! Now I mention this… appalling event to coincide the introduction of a new second-in-command.”
COMMANDER HELLSCREAM, MAY HE NEVER BE OVER.
“Thank you for that… sentiment. And I am certain you are all familiar with the talented and brilliant, young air commander, Starscream?”
A massive applause filled his audio receptors, and he hushed the citizens yet again.
“After much thought and debate, I have selected Air Commander Starscream to be the second-in-command officer of the Imperial Decepticon Military and to serve as Hellscream’s successor.”
As the small Seeker-class Cybertronian walked over to the warlord, the cheering that filled the coliseum caused several officers of the Imperial Riot Police observing to become uneasy of whether or not to react. But Megatron gave them no indication to intervene, so they allowed the celebration to continue. After Starscream received his title and returned to his seat, the crowd went silent as the announcement had not yet reached its conclusion. Yet, not one soul noticed the utter disbelief in Blackout’s expression when the position was declared both loudly and publically.
“Now those other courageous Decepticons will be rewarded in due time for their efforts. However, a new pressing matter has reached my audio receptors and it must be dealt with immediately. Optimus Prime has commissioned the assembly of an Autobot super weapon at a secret Autobot weapons and research facility. Thanks to the wonderful efforts of the Imperial Intelligence Agency, headed by Lieutenant Soundwave, they have discovered this information and brought it to my attention immediately. I entreat you to allow me as your Emperor to take an invasion force to Rystolth and stop this evil before all hell breaks loose. According to Soundwave, the super weapon is being designed to counter any Decepticon opposition and to eradicate our Empire, targeting both soldier and civilian with sheer prejudice. They will come to destroy our cities and all that we achieved if we do not act now! What say you, people of the Imperial Decepticon Kingdom?”
DESTROY!!! DESTROY!!! DESTROY!!! The audience yelled. NO MERCY!!! NO MERCY!!! NO MERCY!!!
“As your Emperor, I will see that every last Autobot on Rystolth is murdered for these nefarious actions and that every slave of theirs is freed. NO harm will befall my people; on my Spark and my honour, I swear that to you. FOR GLORY!”
HAIL MEGATRON!!! HAIL MEGATRON!!!
Megatron turned away from the podium and was accompanied by his top officers—Barricade, Blackout, Crankcase, Grindor, Mixmaster, Onslaught, Shockwave, Soundwave, and Starscream. All of them were discussing the highlights of the recent solar-cycles, while Blackout remained dead silent, refusing to engage in speech.
“It is provin’ to be too damn difficult to remain taciturn with your speeches, Boss,” Barricade chuckled, “When you gave mention of the death of Hellscream, it still causes me to crack up! I find it highly amusin’ that these dumbafts are obtuse enough to believe it! You ordered me to have that twitchy fragtard executed. Also, where you identified the Autobots as ‘vile sympathizers’ added quite nicely to the deception.”
“On the contrary, Barricade, this is to ensure that Optimus Prime and his insipid followers cannot launch an attack on our territory without any civilian casualties.” The Decepticon leader noted, “I have exposed this to be his weakness when we assaulted that pathetic planet, Kiimilei.”
“My only issue with your logic on this—not that I’m questioning it or anything—but what if Optimus Prime views it as cowardice as we are hiding behind civilians?”
The other officers knew that the Law Enforcement Officer’s vocal processor was going to get him into deep scrap one day, yet Megatron was aware that was just his personality, “I presumed that you knew that doing so ensures that we do have slaves for ourselves who willing choose to serve us. These simpletons have no conception that they are enslaved.”
“Right. And when we imply that Prime and his fools are evil, they allow us to do what we please with those Autobot cretins, while at the same time, it makes them view our enemies as their own. Now that I considered all the pros and cons, it is quite clever as long as we have plenty of deceptions to keep them blinded from the truth.”
Megatron smirked, knowing that Barricade eventually silences himself with his own words. Although that he could be considered quite “fractious”, there was no doubt that he is a faithful soldier.
A new, sleek quick assault destroyer dubbed the Verdict landed in front of them and a Decepticon pilot and navigator named Stockade, opened the main door of the vessel.
“I have my team for the assault; I now require my officers. Once we enter the Dystros Region, our vessel alone will penetrate through their defences and commence the first wave of the assault. Starscream, I want you to remain behind on the Nemesis to provide reinforcements when it is required.”
“Good!” Blackout snorted coldly.
“It will be as you request it, Master.” The newly-appointed second-in-command bowed, “Yet you leave your best soldier behind to provide aid ‘if’ needed?”
A deep grumble escaped the orifice of the monstrous Decepticon as he loathed how Starscream fitted “your best soldier” in that enquiry. He was willing to openly debate that impulsive, self-proclamation… however, he silently positioned himself behind the right shoulder of Megatron. Blackout was not about to defy His master’s wishes nor had he had any intentions on doing so.
“I rather this be you first tasking, Commander. That is all I will comment on the matter. And to my other officers, who will be joining?” Megatron turned around to his other officers.
Onslaught shook his helmet, “As much as I love to kill Autobots, Mixmaster and I have to return to our units on Tyrannus. But you may use Brawl for your assault.”
As the two officers departed over to the space bridge, the Combaticon heavy soldier identified as Brawl approached, “What is the target world, Lord Megatron?”