Gronius was woken by a very bad headache. He stood up, a little confused and without any memory of what happened. He looked around: he was in a destroyed, small shuttle. The ship was looking like it was assaulted by terrorists, or like it was bombarded by a meteor shower.
Other than him, there were two more figures inside the pod. One of them was definitely dead. Energon was leaking from the wholes in his body. He was a black Maximal, with a kangaroo alternative mode. Gronius didn’t really remembered who the Maximal was but decided to ignore him after he saw the second being.
It was Wildsong, Gronius’ twin sister. She was a blue Predacon with four arms and dark blue armor. She was lying unconscious on the floor. Gronius took her in his arms. She was alive. She also had a weird piece of armor in her hands: it was looking like a golden chestplate, with some extensions that would attach by different parts of the body.
Gronius opened the door and left the ship, while carrying Song. Memories were slowly returning to his head. However, he almost dropped his sister when he saw what was happening outside: he was in the middle of a desert. At least 20 weird alien beings surrounding them, pointing what seemed to be an advanced type of blasters at him.
Gronius was still too dizzy to fight, or to protect himself. He looked around, panicked, not knowing what to do or how he got there.
It all started a few days ago, on the beautiful planet of Cybertron. A long time ago, Cybertron was populated by a variety of robotic species, from the kind Autobots to the aquatic Seacons. However, a few thousands of years ago, a big part of the Cybertronians was banished, leaving only two major factions on the planet: the Maximals, that had the ability to turn into different animals, and the Predacons, which had the ability to turn into a large variety of monsters and beast. A war broke out between the two factions, known as the Beast Wars, in which the Maximals eventually won. The Predacons became a second-class species, and they are considered by some Maximals brutes, or criminals, even though some of them would never hurt anybody.
One such Predacon was Gronius. Gronius was a big, dark red armored Predacon, with the ability to turn into a huge and powerful dragon. He had a talent in engineering and sword fighting, and he was always seeking for adventures.
That’s why he became part of an organization called the ‘Thunders of Iacon’. The Thunders of Iacon (or ToI for short) were a group of agents that were protecting the peace of Cybertron. They were helping the leader of the planet, the great Maxima Prime. They were above the police, investigating the more important cases, and they were seen as heroes. Even the Predacons of the group were more appreciated than the civilian Predacons.
Gronius was a ground agent, meaning that he should see a lot of action. However, he was rarely leaving his desk. When he was, his missions were not very important. One day he was standing at his desk, waiting for something interesting to happen or for somebody to ask for his help. Suddenly, he received a message on his computer. It was from his twin sister Wildsong.
‘Hey, G!’ the message was saying. ‘How’r’ya doing?’
Gronius looked around, to assure that nobody was seeing him.
‘I am working.’ He typed her.
‘You are always working!’ came the response.
‘Exactly. What do you want?’ he typed, a little annoyed.
‘I just wanted to see what my favorite twin is doing!’
‘I am your only twin, Song!’
‘Aren’t you supposed to work too? What if your boss is going to find out that you are talking to me?’
‘Don’t worry! His secretary Kelia is going to cover me. She always does.’
“Gronius!” sounded a voice in front of the Predacon.
Gronius quickly rose his head from the screen of his computer. It was his boss, Dreadclaw: an orange Maximal with a falcon alt mode. When he saw him, Gronius quickly stood up and rose his head to his forehead, making a militaristic salute.
“Stay down.” Dreadclaw said, annoyed.
Gronius did so.
“Yes, sir?” he asked, trying to pretend that he was working on his computer, instead of talking to his sister.
“What were you doing?” asked Dreadclaw, irritated.
“I was just finishing this report about my last mission!” he said, raising a random piece of paper.
Unfortunately for Gronius, the piece of paper was empty. Dreadclaw folded his hands to his chest, eyeing him angrily.
“It is empty.” The orange Maximal said.
“Exactly! I was starting to write the report!” Gronius said, smiling.
“But you said that you were going to finish it.” He said, raising an eyebrow.
Gronius chuckled nervously.
“Come on, boss! How long could it take to write down a report about a… failed attempt to catch a rogue agent…?”
Gronius said the last part a little disappointed on himself. He could remember that night very well: he supposed to catch Qingour: a rogue ToI agent that was now working for an unknown boss. Qingour was a tan maximal, with a kangaroo alt mode. He almost caught him trying to sell some drugs, but he failed miserably, and the whole agency laughed of him. Dreadclaw remembered it and decided not to talk about this.
“Do you want another chance? Another mission?” the Maximal said, to which Gronius rose his head, full of hope.
“Yes! Yes of course!”
Dreadclaw put a green stick on the desk, and then left, saying “Don’t screw this up again, Gronius.” Gronius quickly took the stick and plugged it into his computer. A few files opened, as a voice started informing Gronius about the mission:
The brilliant minds of DroneMax Industries did it again. This time, they built yet another technological wonder: The Shielding, Healing and Self-defense Chestplate, or SHASC for short. This chestplate, connected to any user, is able to absorb any type of fire, absorb it, and either use it to fully heal the user, like an advanced CR Chamber, or shot it to the attacker in form of energy bolts. The only finished prototype of the SHASC is still at the headquarters of the company, together with the blueprints that will be downloaded into the main computer of the industry later this evening.
The prototype is going to be send to Maxima Prime’s head scientists that will study and upgrade it. However, the SHASC needs guards, in case somebody is going to try to steal it.
Your mission Gronius, should you choose to accept it, is to participate to the team that is going to guard the SHASC prototype. Here are the coordinates where you are going to meet the rest of your team, this afternoon, at 6:45 PM.
A set of coordinates popped up on the screen, together with a bunch of images that were representing the SHASC, the ones that created it, and other things.
Gronius was extremely happy. He was going to show to the whole agency that the whole Qingour incident was just a mistake, and that he is a good agent. In addition, Song was working at DroneMax, so he could see her too.
He stood up, fists in the air and said:
“Yes! This is my chance to prove myself!”
He was so happy, that he completely ignored the fact that some bots outside his office could see him through a transparent wall.
That afternoon, Gronius came to the requested coordinates, which were right in front of the DroneMax tower. The tower was huge, with at least 36 levels, and most probably a few more underground. It had a huge garden around it, with short grass, some bushes, and a few statues of different scientist. Some of them were representing Autobots too, like Perceptor and Wheeljack. Most probably the company payed high taxes to the government to let them have statues of the banished ones.
In the garden there were 8 more agents, all of them being Maximals, with riffles ready in their hands. There were a few more bots that were representing the DroneMax company: three scientists (most probably the ones that have created the SHASC), the head of the company (a silver Maximal with a lion alternative mode), and his secretary Kelia, a white dove bot. In front of the garden were three hover vehicles, one of them carrying a trailer.
Gronius approached the other agents, just in time.
“Ah, perfect! The last agent!” the purple lion said. “We were waiting for you!”
“I am sorry, sir…” Gronius said, laughing a little awkwardly.
“Anyway…” the head of the company said, turning to the rest of the agents. “The road is going to take about two or three hours. I hope this is perfectly fine for you all.”
The others nodded. The head of the company, called Silvertail, gave them a few more clarifications, after which the agents entered in the trailer. Inside there was a box made out of strong steel, with two lasers attached by the ceiling protecting it. Six of the agents sat on the benches on the sides of the trailer, while the seventh flew above the convoy, and the other two jumped in the other two vehicles.
After the leaving formalities, the convoy started it’s journey. Everything seemed all right in the first half of hour, until the convoy temporarily left Iacon for a shortcut. Gronius looked around at the other five ToI agents. The leader was a rhino, the second in command was a tiger, and the other three were a monkey, a giraffe and a zebra. The zebra and the tiger were talking about their past missions, laughing. At some point, the tiger looked at Groius.
“What about you?” the tiger asked. “I haven’t seen you around too often. I am Wyclaw.”
“Gronius.” The Predacon answered.
“Wait, Gronius? The Gronius?” the tiger asked unexpectedly, trying not to laugh.
“The one that screwed up that mission with Qingour?” finished the zebra.
“Yes…” said Gronius full of shame, trying not to show this.
The zebra and the tiger laughed.
“Oh, my!” the tiger continued. “The whole agency knows what you’ve done!”
“Or what you haven’t done!” the zebra said.
“Come on, boys!” said the giraffe. “What would you expect from him? He is a Predacon!”
Gronius’ shame turned into anger. Yes, he screwed up one mission, but who didn’t? This wasn’t a reason for them to judge him by his faction. He opened his mouth, ready to protest the giraffe’s affirmation, when the whole trailer shook crazily.
“What was that?” asked the monkey who, to that point, was standing asleep with his riffle in the hands.
“I don’t know.” The rhino said, standing up. “Wyclaw, call Airguard. He is flying above us, he must know what shook the trailer.
The tiger nodded and turned on his comms.
“Airguard?” Wyclaw called with no response. “Airguard, do you hear me? Airguard!”
Wyclaw continued like that for a few more seconds, before stopping and shaking his head to the leader.
“Nothing.” He said. “He is not responding.”
One by one, the agents stood up. Gronius did the same, looking confused at the Maximals. Suddenly, a weird sound caught all of the agents off guard: somebody was firing his riffle. There was a battle outside.
“By the Primes…” said the rhino. “You, open the door!”
He said to Gronius, motioning to the door of the trailer. The Predacon nodded and opened it. The only thing that they could see was the hover vehicle from their back, where one of the other three agents should be. The agent was sticking his head and arms out on one window and seemed to shoot something from the air. He then observed Gronius and yelled:
“We are under attack!!”
But then somebody shot him from the air in the left shoulder, then in the right one, and then in the head. The agent died immediately, and the hover vehicle derailed. Gronius turned around to the others, who were looking just as scared as he was.
“All right!” the rhino said. “We have one mission: to protect the SHASC prototype! Are we going to get scared by a little ambush?”
“No!” everybody said at unison.
Gronius thought that this was one tradition of the team. He smiled. Now he was part of the team too, right? Well, he could be part of this too.
“I can’t hear you!” the rhino said.
“NO!” Gronius yelled together with the others.
The closest bot to him, the giraffe Maximal, turned his head to him and frowned, irritation being clearly visible in his eyes.
“Perfect!” the rhino said, not observing the giraffe’s reaction. “Maximals or Predacons, we are going to do it! Because we are a team!”
“Yes!” the team said. This time Gronius shouted up. Clearly, the tiger, giraffe and zebra were not agreeing with the rhino.
Suddenly, something hit the top of the trailer. The sound scared the monkey, which fell on the floor and hid under the benches.
“Come on, man!” the rhino said. “I just said that we are not afraid of…”
But before he could finish his sentence, a shot perforated the top of the trailer and hit the rhino maximal right in his shoulder. The leader cried in pain, when another shot hit him in the head and killed him.
The rest of the team, excluding the monkey, started to shoot at the ceiling of the trailer, hoping that in this way they will kill the attacker, but then the right wall of the trailer exploded, and another bot entered inside.
The bot was clearly a Maximal with strong, double-jointed legs. He had black armor, with some tan accents, and a big visor in front of his eyes. He also had a pair of black wings, with some trans-blue parts. The maximal had his hands turned into two blasters and was prepared for fight.
Before the agents were able to stand up, the attacker shot the zebra in his head. The monkey (who was encouraged by Wyclaw to help them) tried to jump on his face, but the attacker quickly turned his left hand into a blade and stabbed the poor Maximal right in his spark.
“Screw you!” the Giraffe yelled as he lunged at the kangaroo.
While the Giraffe was keeping the kangaroo busy, and while Wyclaw was trying to find a weak spot, Gronius recognized the attacker.
“No!” Gronius exclaimed. “Not you again!”
“Again?” Wyclaw asked. “Do you know him?”
“He is… He is Qingour, with a new color scheme.”
How could the Predacon forget the Maximal that shattered his public image and his dignity? Gronius wished to never see him again, but clearly the Primes had other plans for him.
“No kidding?!” Wycom said, rather excited than scared. “Sit down and let me show you how a maximal is saving the…”
But before Wyclaw could finish the sentence, Qingour threw the dead body of the giraffe off the trailer and shot him in the chest. Wyclaw felt down, barely breathing, and leaking Energon.
“No!” yelled Gronius.
Qingour looked at him. When he saw who the Predacon was, he grinned.
“Hello, Gronius! Did you miss me?”
Gronius looked at him. He was nervous, but angry in the same time.
“N-No, actually. I see that you got a new paintjob. And wings.”
“Oh, these?” he said, looking at the wings. “Yes, I really like them, although they aren’t really mine. And about the new colors, besides the fact that I like black more, I’ve got it after one of my friends allowed me to enter to his group after you failed to stop me. Remember? Hm?”
“What are you doing here, Qingour?”
“Isn’t it obvious? I am here for the SHASC!”
“Well.” Gronius said, raising his fists. “You are not going to get it!”
“Oh, come on, G! You know you can’t do this. I defeated you before I had my mods, what makes you believe you can do it now?”
Gronius didn’t respond. Instead, he charged at the Maximal. Before the Predacon could punch him, Qingour jumped on his black tail, and used his double-jointed legs to hit Gronius with all his force. Gronius flew in the air, hitting the steel box where the SHASC was. The two lasers automatically shot him in the shoulder and in the head.
Gronius fell down. He was feeling that the world was spinning around him, but before he could do anything, Qingour hit him with the leg in the stomach so hard, that Gronius flew through the wall of the trailer. The Predacon flew out of the trailer. After a few seconds, the vehicle carrying the trailer stopped, and Qingour got out of it, with the metallic box in his hands.
“See you next time, Gronius!” the Maximal said, before flying off.
However, Gronius couldn’t hear him. The fire of the lasers and the hits of Qingour’s legs exhausted him, forcing him into stasis.