Salvation: Part II

“I don’t feel like I did, but thanks anyway. Strongest ya got.”

Breig would find nothing that would avail him. Shockwave had kept all his work on a single, grey datapad with the Decepticon insignia engraved on the back. The cyclops picks up the tablet and plugs it into a nearby console, and an array of violet holo-displays fills the lab. The thumbnails and icons that floated around the room projected schematics for experimental weapons, blueprints for warships, data on the predacon clones Shockwave had been forced to design for the New Decepticon Order, and several libraries of files detailing various other projects.


Sh-sh-shhh!” Thrift shushes the Decepticon, hiding behind his ship.


The source of the voice wasn’t visible from here.


Halfrunner obliges, serving Darkside a glass of green liquid that shot up short bursts of yellow sparks.

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Darkside downs it without a flinch.

Sidestep blinked in surprise, not expecting the captain to agree.
“Alright then. Thanks, captain.”

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“By the primes…”
Brieg muttered in utter astonishment. He would have to get his hands on that data pad sometime.

“So, I suppose we start here?”
The scientist said, approaching the predacon symbol.

She tilted her head to the side quizzically.
“Um… Everything alright?”
She asked, following the junkion.

The beast growled. Irritated by whoever interrupted his thoughts and murdered the dramatic tension..

He took hold of his food and flew off. Flying into the darkness. His return would be soon. That was certain. But how? Where? He pondered.

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Back in the Salvation, Pixel scampers through the network of shafts, moving far too quickly to likely be noticed by passerbys. At some point, he shoots to the side before stopping at a single vent. The screws to this particular grate had been stripped down due to being forced from their connections quite frequently, so Pixel was able to kick the grate loose with ease.

The panel was forced forward rapidly, a projectile that slammed into the back of a bot’s head with sharp accuracy.

“Oh!” the bot, who had been kneeling on the floor, shouted.

Pixel snickered before lowering himself on the ground, then noticing the mad scrawling etched into the wall opposite him. Equations and variable with characters Pixel could not understand were dashed across its surface, scratched by a hand. The marks were clear and legible, implying that their author was at least semi-intelligent in its field, yet shaky and rough when paid close attention to, suggesting the author had a shaking hand while writing it.

And the bot kneeling before Pixel, rubbing the back of his hood in search of a tear or dent in his head behind it, had a hand that shook as if it was malfunctioning.

“Come on,” Blight muttered. “I almost had it figured out!” He turned, saw Pixel with his singular eye, and turned back to his work. After a moment, his processor registered the minicon’s identity, and he whirled back around, stumbling to his feet. “Oh, um, hi, uh, Pixel!”

Pixel blinked.

“Oh, um,” the field medic stammered, trembling slightly. “You probably want to know what, uh… what this is, don’t you?”

Pixel blinked.

“I’m trying to create a formula that will both act as a stimulant and an inhibitor, depending solely on the color of paint its target has!” explained Blight, waving his arms at the formula, as if he expected it to magically make sense to Pixel. “It’s fascinating, right?”

Pixel then heeded the crude drawings in the margins of the wall, and pointed at one.

“Oh, don’t worry, there’s no one living in the room next to me,” Blight waved off, before frowning. “At least, I think there isn’t.”

Pixel jabbed his arm forward more, pointing “harder.”

“Oh, this?” Blight neared the illustration Pixel was bothered by, a picture of a cubic minicon being disassembled by four different dinobots, each one digging their teeth into an individual limb. “That is… That’s not you. Yeah, definitely.”

“S-P3ctruM?”

“What? Oh, no, I don’t think there’s any spectrum to this piece, you’re looking into it too hard.”

Pixel folded his arms together, a cross look glowing from his face-screen.

“Okay, I know how this looks…” Blight sighed, shifting his cloak around his neck. He paced across the wall, coming to a side where the drawings were much less clear and a lot more concerning. He stopped by a strange equation, one that did not appear to involve the formula he was attempting to create using math in the place of science.

He fingered this equation, “B + J.”

“I don’t think I actually remember writing this one, Pix,” he noted. “It doesn’t seem to have an answer. What do you think it means?”

However, Pixel was staring wide-eyed at something else, something he found even more worrying. A single sentence, written directly above the inexplicable equation, read:

“The False Prime shall be REBORN.”

“Okay, I definitely don’t remember writing that-”

Pixel grabbed the shaft door and held it high over his head, about to strike Blight with it.

“Whoa, whoa, whoa!” Blight resisted, shielding himself with his arms. “Slow down, Pix! I honestly did not write that! I mean, I had to have, the door was locked, but-”

“D3m0n!” shrieked Pixel, waving his weapon in the air.

“I am not possessed, I just-” Blight bumped into a small shelf to his side, knocking over and emptied glass flask holding only the smallest drop of glowing red liquid. Pixel caught the glass before it shattered across the ground and studied it, before looking back at Blight.

“It was one drink,” Blight sulked, bringing himself to the ground. “I just made it super concentrated because I feel super… stressed. Tense. I can’t sleep, I can barely eat, I’m just-”

Pixel blinked.

“You’re right,” he sighed. “I wasn’t thinking properly. It’s just… it’s Caedia. I feel like half of me really wants to try to restart our friendship, but the other half…”

Pixel blinked.

“I’m at war, Pixel,” groaned Blight. “Which is gross, because I hate war. I keep telling my two sides to get along, that there are more important things to do, things that, like, actually matter, but forcing these two sides to get on the same ship is just not going to work. They’re not a crew, and can only ever pretend to work together. Really, they still hate each other, and want to do anything else other than be productive. Do you get what I mean?”

Pixel nodded.

“I thought that if I couldn’t clear my head around this whole problem,” Blight continued, “maybe I should muddle it.” He glanced at the scribblings again. “That was definitely the wrong move.”

A second passed between them, and neither said a word or made a movement. Then, Pixel stood up, stumbled over to his friend, and held out his hand.

Blight blinked. “Thanks, Pix,” he grinned. “You know, among other things, you’re actually a really great listener. Maybe you should stop messing with people, then you could actually be a really good-”

As Blight received Pixel’s hand, the minicon suddenly snapped towards the door, dragging the flailing Blight behind him.

“Wait, Pixel!” he shouted. “Where are you taking me?!”

Pixel cackled happily and raced out into the hallway, sliding the protesting field medic behind him.

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Halfrunner blinks.

“…Right, then…” he says. “So… how about us winning for once, eh?”


“If you wish,” Shockwave says. “That library contains files on the fourteen predacons that I created for the New Decepticons, while I was their captive.”


“That depends on what happens in the ensuing seconds, my fine steel-feathered friend,” Thrift whispers, watching as the gathering of bots below him conversed among themselves quietly, before departing the hangar.

Phew!” the junkion sighs, rising from his crouch. “Guess I was wrong; there was no danger at all!”


A group of Decepticons cling to the walls as the duo races between them.


“Any time, SideStep,” ■■■■■■■■■■■■ says, before terminating the transmission.

SideStep decided to wait for ■■■■■■■■■■■■’s reply in Shockwave’s lab.


Spectrum left Brieg in the hangar, beginning to search for Facelift.

“I… honestly don’t really know… I’ve never been much of a fighter, heck, I think I only fired my gun twice in that fight.”

“Wait. Fourteen? But there were only four in the battle today.”
Brieg said, noticeably surprised.

“O…kay…”
Starchaser said.
“Look, I need scan data. What do you got?”


Sometime later, in the engine room. The echoes of banging metal and frantic scratches could be heard from above.

“Thunderblast must have been under the assumption that those four would be enough to defeat us,” Shockwave guesses.


Facelift could be found in the insecticon hive, alongside his crew. His equipment and storage tanks were set up in a small room branching off from the main chamber, and now that their presence on the ship was known, the Butcher of Tetrahex and his associates looked to be taking up permanent residence among the insecticons. Drone and Red dragged something into a backroom, while Facelift himself repaired Arthropoda, the insecticon queen.

“The last time I worked on an insecticon was Cycle Sixty-Three,” he comments. “Small little worker drone. Wanted to get bigger so she could usurp her own queen and take over the hive. So I tried setting her up with a couple of alt-modes, a transmetal upgrade, and a duocon retrofit- mostly because Brainpan tried to tell me once that you couldn’t make a six-changing, transmetal, duoconic insection, and whaddya know! She was absolutely right…”

Arthropoda gives the mad doctor a concerned glance, gently pushing him away from her sparkchamber with her claws.


Halfrunner shrugs.

“It takes more’n fighters to win a war, lad,” he says. “So I’ve been told, anyway; don’t have much experience in warfare meself.”


Greasemonkey sighs. He was happy to be getting visitors again, but why were his guests always so disruptive?

“Please quiet down, thank you!” he shouts upward. “And don’t break anything; we wouldn’t want to unravel the fabric of reality around us, now would we?”

SideStep glanced at Shockwave. “You made fourteen clones?”[quote=“Chromeharpoon, post:8204, topic:49995”]
Facelift could be found in the insecticon hive, alongside his crew. His equipment and storage tanks were set up in a small room branching off from the main chamber, and now that their presence on the ship was known, the Butcher of Tetrahex and his associates looked to be taking up permanent residence among the insecticons. Drone and Red dragged something into a backroom, while Facelift himself repaired Arthropoda, the insecticon queen.

“The last time I worked on an insecticon was Cycle Sixty-Three,” he comments. “Small little worker drone. Wanted to get bigger so she could usurp her own queen and take over the hive. So I tried setting her up with a couple of alt-modes, a transmetal upgrade, and a duocon retrofit- mostly because Brainpan tried to tell me once that you couldn’t make a six-changing, transmetal, duoconic insection, and whaddya know! She was absolutely right…”

Arthropoda gives the mad doctor a concerned glance, gently pushing him away from her sparkchamber with her claws.
[/quote]

Spectrum crawled up behind Facelift and tapped his shoulder.

“That’s the problem, my one job, spying, is no good on an expedition like this. I’m not even sure who put me on this boat. I just got a message saying that I had been selected and to show up at 0800 hours.”

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“Of which you and your cohorts have killed five,” Shockwave adds.


Agh!” Facelift cries out in surprise, dropping a blowtorch and jumping around. He pulls out his cannon and sweeps it around the room in search of his assailant.

“Who’s there?! I have a Type-3 EM Heavy Cannon and I’m fairly competent in how to use it!”


“You’re not the only one, kiddo,” Halfrunner says sympathetically. “I’ve been away from cybertronian space since this d*mn war started. I put in my application to join this here voyage as a joke, for spark’s sake!”

“So there are more? Are any of them bigger than that blue cold one?”
Brieg asked.

Shadows dash around the floor as the beast flies from spot to spot. Looking for something. Something missing. The creature swooped down low. Greasemonkey would only be able to catch a brief glimpse of the intruder, but something about it may have seemed somewhat familiar.

^^^^^^

“Wait, wait? Who the H**l was in charge of recruiting for this joyride?” He exclaimed, “Their whole job is to weed out the jokes and fakers from the real applicants!”

Shockwave nods.

“There may be one,” he says, “if their science division has managed to complete specimens one-through-five’s augmentations.”


Thrift reaches into a hatch on his ship and pulls out a swatch of datacards splayed out in his hands like playing cards.

“Everything that drives, crawls, swims, and flies!” he proclaims.

“Okay, before you sue me for false advertising, that’s not entirely true, but my library is still expansive!”


“Let me correct meself,” Halfrunner quickly adds.

“Part of me did want to go out an’ explorethe unknown, save our species, an’ discover ancient relics and whatnot, but I never seriously considered I’d be accepted. It was more of a ‘why the slag not?’ sort of thing.”

“That makes a bit more sense. At least you wanted to be out here. I didn’t even sign up.”

“They must’ve seen something in ya,” Halfrunner says with a shrug. “Shockwave doesn’t make mistakes, I’ll give him that.”

Darkside snorted, “That’s what he wants people to think.”