Salvation: Part II

“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.”

“Sweet Primus… Don’t tell me you made a predacon gestalt.”
Brieg said. With a noticeable level of shock and perhaps a little bit of disappointment in his tone.

“I need flight modes. Anything that can attack from the air. Show me everything you have.”
She said with a rather serious edge to her voice.

“Well he’s convinced me,” Halfrunner remarks, taking a sip of his own drink.

Away from the bar, captain Topside could be seen sitting at a table with Flyby, Brakeswitch, and Broadband accompanying him. The captain was, at the behest of the other three, regaling them with a tale of a past battle.

“…The bridge is venting atmo, we’ve lost our engines, and if that wasn’t bad enough, Starscream himself is digging his greasy talons into my neck- that’s not an expression, either; the guy has something against personal maintenance, I swear…”

“I can vouch for him,” Brakeswitch says. “He was on the Nemesis a few times back when Flyby and I were assigned to it. Megatron needs to tell him about oil baths.”

This elicits a laugh from around the table.

“It was always a fascination of Megatron and the other Decepticon Lords,” Shockwave says. “The fabled destructive fury of the predacons multiplied and condensed into one easily-controlled form. I had already begun research into modifying the necessary retrofitting procedures for predacon physiology before the truce was called.”

Thrift raises an eyebrow.

“I can see from your wings that you already have a flight mode yourself,” he remarks. “Maybe a couple, actually…”

The junkion narrows his eyes, then widens them again with a gasp.

Hey! You’re Starchaser, ain’t ya? Wow, what an honor. I’d kiss your hand, but I don’t have a mouth- and even if I did, I’m pretty sure you’d rip my face off, no offense.”

His curiosity piqued, Greasemonkey tries to get a better look at the creature.

“Ever hear about the time he lost a bet on a race, even though he was told that the racer wouldn’t win?”

“Really now?” Halfrunner remarks. “Never took Shockwave for a betting man.”

“Well based upon the battle of today, I think its safe to say we don’t stand much of a chance if such a creation is turned against us.”

“None… Taken.”
She replied. Though she did sound a little hurt.
“Look, the game’s changed. So I need to change with it. These new decepticon troopers are a lot tougher than the old autobot flyers I’m used to. So I’m going to need some upgrades.”

The beast perches itself on a nearby support beam. Hidden in shadow, only a long tail with a hooked blade at the end hung in the light. Swinging idly back and forth. Two red gleaming optics looked back at the engineer. It seemed just as much as he was studying the creature, it was studying him as well.

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“Back on Velocitron, there were more than a few race-fixing rings. Shockwave and I had been ordered to break a few of them, hurting our own fixing efforts. His job was to use his access to the treasury to artificially inflate the bet count on certain racers to draw out the rings, and my job was to track the ring down to be eliminated later. However, at one point, I over heard one of the ring members talking about trying to throw us off by fixing the race to a different racer than we anticipated. However, when I tried to tell Shockwave this, he refused to believe that they would switch. ‘It was Illogical for them to change.’ He told me ‘This is the best way for them to make the most profit’. For some reason he refused to belive that someone would choose the illogical path to escape trouble. You should have seen his face when the results came in! He almost shut down for a few minutes while his mind tried to process how in the world he could have lost almost 5,000,000 Shanix.”

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Shockwave taps the predacon files, selecting one code-named “Abominus”. Designs for a fearsome gestalt materialize in front of Breig and SideStep, along with notes on its five individual components.

“Well, you’ve certainly come to the right scoundrel!” Thrift says without missing a beat. “I happen to have a few combat aircraft schematics that I’ve acquired through various entirely legitimate and over-the-table means.”

“Hello?” Greasemonkey says, looking up at the creature.

“May I help you?”

Halfrunner bursts out laughing.

Ha-HA! Ah, that’s priceless!” he exclaims.

“Makes me wish I had a snapshot Charger!” He said, laughing with him.

“My god… We’re doomed.”
Brieg said with a heavy sense of dread.

“Alright. I’m glad to hear it. So let’s see what you got.”

“Help… Help…”
The creature echoed in a rough and raspy voice.
“Help, me?.. Help, you…”
The creature said as old and long past memories came back to the surface. He leaned forward, being an all too familiar face to the light. A technorganic mess of flesh and metal. A long jagged beak on the front and lean sharp crest on the back.

“Help, you… Help, you…”
The creature repeated.

Epsilon knocks on the door to Shockwave’s lab, looking rather worse for wear.

Zepar and Garnad were in the Conflux, observing the effects the Green Key would have on it.

“That some kinda camera?” Halfrunner asks him.

“Possibly,” Shockwave says, doing nothing to dispell the dread. “If the New Decepticons have managed to complete it.”

The door to the lab automatically opens.

Thrift paws through his collection.

“Sounds like you’re looking for air-to-ground, am I right?” he comments. “In that case, I’d recommend this.”

Thrift flicks on one card’s holo-display, and it projects the image of a cybertronian attack helicopter, with twin propellers, a chin-mounted rotary cannon, and a pair of missile pods.

“The 'Con’s had their guys scan these for the sixth Caelum campaign,” Thrift says. “Real good for sweeping the mountains, and the pods could be loaded with a whole buncha different munitions.”

“Broadwing!” Greasemonkey gasps, taking a step forward.

“Goodness, where have you been?! Are you alright?”

With the green key plugged into the conflux, the star map projected around the room begins to update, its damaged edges beginning to weave themselves back into completion as new planets and star systems are added into it. An updated map of OL-2-C also appears above the main console, and strange techno-organic plants begin to creep out of the nooks and crannies of the machinery, with glowing buds and flowers blossoming upon them.

Epsilon looks for Shockwave in the lab.

Zepar and Garand seem curious about the growth.

Shockwave stood in the middle of the lab, conversing with Breig and SideStep.

The techno-organic flora was unlike anything that had been recorded on Cybertron or any of the colonies, as far as anyone alive today knew. As the creepers snaked around the pillars and statues, they seemed to be doing no harm to the machinery. The mechanisms almost seemed to have been designed to accommodate them.

“Sort of. A Charger is this” he said, pulling out his Folding Corners Charger.

Similar to all the rest, it glowed slightly.

“Something only I can use, but these cards give my alt-mode special abilities. This one allows me to fold 90° corners, allowing me to make them easily and instantaneously.”

He sighed.

“I’ve been meaning to have some more made up, but the only person on this ship that can make one is the last person I want to talk to right now.”

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Epsilon keeps quiet and to the side while they discussed,

“Curious…” Garand says.

“Did you at least install some sort of kill switch?”
Brieg asked, speaking as though it was something incredibly obvious.

“Definitely looks promising. But do you have anything for air on air combat? That’s what I’m really looking for.”

The creature gave the best twisted approximation of a smile that it could.
“I’m… Fine. Been in… Tunnels. Alone for… Long time…”
It was clear something in his brain module had been damaged or regressed. Perhaps due to the long period of isolation, or perhaps due to some injury. At the moment it was hard to tell.

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“Hm, that is a problem, isn’t it?” Halfrunner muses.

“No,” Shockwave says, shaking his head. “A ‘kill switch’ was not part of my original designs- I presumed that Abominus’s opponents would try to take advantage of such a feature if they knew of it.”

“Don’y you already have, like…”

Thrift stops to do some quick figuring, counting on his fingers as he did so.

“…Three of those?” he finishes. “Four?”

“Come here,” Greasemonkey says, waving Broadwing over. “Come on, let’s get you to a medical bay.”

Two of the four knight statues in the complex were now standing: those two being of Atlantis and Hyperborea.