"Not unfitting, your name is. Excellent judge of character, whoever thought of the name Bristleback."
Slog raised his wrist diamond-tipped chisels and stood facing the door where Bludgeon had indicated Thunderwing would be coming. "An output for your anger, we shall soon have. For Wildfly's, as well." Slog said, with an aside glance to Birdbrain.
Thunderwing shrugged. "It's simple, my friends," he told Shrapnel and Blackjack. "You're going to go kill Soundwave and Bludgeon for me. And when you're done, you can have the Warworld to yourselves. Consider it...a gift, if you'd like."
Snapdragon chuckled. "Well, I'll explain all about it later," he told Snare. "Just be ready to never recharge in peace again."
Skullcruncher groaned. "Seriously, Snappy, shut up now."
Birdbrain shrugged. "That implies I ever let him back out," he told Slog. "I may not."
He chuckled. "You're welcome to my shell if you're feeling lonely, Slog, but I have to warn you that it has a bit of a vermin problem right now."
"Behind the barricades," Treadshot told Snare. "Unless you plan on fighting the shell hand to hand, all of you should stay behind cover."
He nodded at what Barrage pointed out. "A good start, at least." The the gunner waved at Slog. "Can you magnet that crashed jet over in front of the door? And then some of the other stuff that Turbomaster there pointed out?"
Black Shadow didn't seem surprised by Bludgeon, but then he was invisible so it was hard to judge.
"Escape? Hardly. I have a Pretender shell to replace, and the perfect candidate is walking right toward us. Escaping would be stupid."
Missile Master watched, satisfied, as Moonrock steered the ship competently away from the two smaller craft before turning it on the flight of drones who were approaching to investigate. Moments later, her cannons began to sing as Barrage opened fire on the oncoming enemies.
Missile Master patted the arm of his command chair happily, as if he was saying 'Good job' to the ship itself.
Blast Master gave a friendly chuckle. "There are," he told Cosmos. "We're Micromaster combiners, silly. How else would we be the same size as you in alt-mode?"
"Introductions can wait," Phaser cut him off firmly. "We have a job to do, remember?" Then he addressed Cosmos, saying, "The Imperials won't want to let us aboard, so we should approach the hangar from different angles to divide their forces in two."
Drone Hangar, Warworld
Soundwave transformed and shook himself off, glad that he had a faceplate to hide the abject disgust he was feeling after being slobbered over by a warthog for fifteen minutes.
"It looks like there are two entrances," he told Snarler. "You take this one. I'll loop around and come in from the south. I'll be scanning to see what frequencies his remote is broadcasting on. If it's something I can intercept, or seize control of...that would make our task much simpler."
The communications officer double-checked that his missile launcher was fully loaded, then took his concussion rifle in hand and started creeping farther up the hall.
As he moved, he responded to Flattop. "Understood. I am attempting to neutralize the enemy that is threatening to destroy the ship."
Fangry frowned when he heard Bludgeon's orders. "Wait, that's a bad thing now?"
"Quiet, you." Octopunch glared at the Headmaster. "If the boss says to stop him, we stop him."
"I don't take orders from you, squidface!" Fangry snarled.
Octopunch responded by driving the butt of his trident into Fangry's throat. The beast whimpered and dropped to his knees.
"Shut up," Octopunch told him firmly. "Now."
Ravage loped along the hall, heading toward the drone hangar where his internal homing systems told him Soundwave was. Buzzsaw followed in the air, carrying an annoyed Rumble in his talons.
"Look, I get that we need to kill this Eagle Eye goon," Rumble was nattering. "I'm just saying that maybe we could finish off these Imps first. They killed Frenzy, slaggit!"
"Yes," Ravage told him, "something I owe them a world of thanks for. It's a shame they didn't finish the job..."
"Sh'yeah, as if we would-" Shrapnel began, but Bombshell clamped his hand shut over Shrapnel's mouth.
"A very tempting deal, Lord Thunderwing." Bombshell said, optics friendly. "Please do ignore Shrapnel, he's a bit groggy after unleashing all that electricity. Of course we will accept the deal. After all, we're Insecticons, not Decepticon fanatics... we know how to work with the greater power."
Shrapnel wrenched Bombshell's hand off, but glared at Thunderwing and said nothing. Despite the questions around Bombshell's wishy-washy allegiance, Shrapnel knew what Bombshell was playing at... let Thunderwing believe they are working for him, so that they could formulate a plan when Thunderwing is not going all Matrix-crazy on them.
It was stupid to run his mouth off like that, Shrapnel considered. And since when did he turn into a loyal Decepticon?
He glanced at Kickback, Blackjack and Retcon, silently asking them for their opinion.
Blackjack nodded, face etched into a poker face as he regarded his creator. "Survival's fair enough, Thunderwing. Plus... I've always liked a good gamble." He said. Oh, playing the stakes this high... it was fun. "But can you do something for Tailwind over here? He's not going to make it, and I think one additional soldier would do your cause well, won't it, creator?"
Hangar Bay, Warworld
Snare snorted as he loaded a clip of missiles into his launcher. "Listen to him, Snappy."
The Predator anxiously aimed his weapon at the direction Bludgeon and Black Shadow had just indicated, knowing that Thunderwing won't take too kindly to that open act of betrayal...
Slog sighed at Birdbrain, "Better it is, for Wildfly to be killed by Thunderwing, than to clog up your subspace pocket. A waste of a perfectly good subspace pocket, it would be. Admittedly, without Wildfly, be more peaceful, the world would seem."
Slog turned to Treadshot, and nodded. "Can." Slog raised his arms and pointed it at the late Gutcruncher's Stratatonic Jet, and levitated it, seemingly without much effort, and moved it into a righted position in the middle of the room.
Then he waved his stubby arms around, and the assault shuttles that Turbo Master had pointed out began to scrape against the floor, some levitating, as they arranged into position as crude barricades.
Barrage leapt onto the Stratatonic Jet, activating the weapons systems, optics narrowed. "I am ready." He declared.
Snare, meanwhile, zipped off, happy to find some cover, and hid behind one of the assault vehicles. The remaining Predators did likewise.
"Perhaps you are speaking the truth." Bludgeon hissed. "Be aware that if you try to escape, I shall hunt you down myself, and no amount of parlor tricks can save a Spark claimed by my blade."
Black Shadow would feel the cold, chilling wind around him disappear.
Bludgeon, somehow, stepped out of the shadows on the opposite side of the room, blank optic holes unreadable, his expression forever blank, as his skull-head surveyed the room. "Crude." He hissed, "but efficient."
Bludgeon twirled the energy saber on his hand and caught it again, readying himself for Thunderwing.
"No one is to engage Thunderwing in melee other than Double Punch and myself." Bludgeon whispered, "None of you have the skill to take on a being powered by the Matrix."
"Eh, believe me... I don't think any of us is enthusiastic to fight Thunderwing, let alone in a melee." Snare quipped before he could stop himself.
Bludgeon's head snapped around, hollow eyeholes boring onto Snare, his jaw opening slightly, and Snare shrank under the makeshift barricade immediately. Bludgeon turned to regard the rest of the Decepticons. "Also, allow me to introduce the last of Scorponok's acts in this plane..."
Bludgeon waved the hand not holding the sword, and one of the hangar bays of the Fearless opened, revealing the clones that Straxus had created earlier... (OOC: correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't remember these guys being deployed... right?)
"Oh. Ah... didn't cross my mind, buddy." Cosmos told Blast Master. "Don't get to work with Micromasters often, see, and I'm always on the short size, so, uh... yeah, didn't get to work with anyone often, come to think of it."
Cosmos sighed. That was lame. Powerglide or Warpath would have known how to handle an introduction.
"Yes, we should." Cosmos replied to Phaser, grateful to have someone break the uncomfortable conversation he was having. "Um, which angle... which hangar do you want to take?"
Stranglehold frowned when Fangry spoke, scratching his chin. "Mebbe tha's because we're still on board if the Warworld blows up?" A little proud of being able to spout out a theory for Bludgeon's sometimes-incomprehensible orders, Stranglehold puffed out his chest.
Octopunch attacked Fangry, and Stranglehold immediately pulled out his ball and chain in a ready position, in case his friend needed backup against the unruly Headmaster, but as usual Octopunch proved to be as deadly as befitting a member of the Mayhem Attack Squad.
Stranglehold turned to regard the fourth Decepticon with them, which was proving very quiet. "Well? We go now?" Stranglehold asked Black Battle Convoy. The evil Optimus Prime lookalike somehow radiated an aura of command, just like Optimus Prime himself, that Stranglehold somehow felt complied to ask him, even though he probably would listen to Octopunch anyway.
"Isn't one of your soldiers threatening to blow up the Warworld. If that happens won't we alll be dead and the Warworld be more use to say Gutcruncher than us."
Drone Hangar, Warworld
Snarler licked his chops
"Action at lasttt slurpppppp."
Squash Bison tramped along the corridor. His sensors picked up Eagle Eyes position as one of the senior surviving officers in his chain of command.
Caterpillager followed slinking behind. He had stopped only to pick up Powermole who scuttled behind them. The shortsighted creature had missed the fighting.
"See I know Eagle Eye is a threat and everything he's like gone crazy ,
" Powermole was chattering on. "I'm just saying that maybe we should wreak a terrible vengeance first? They killed Extermivator."
"Yes," Squash Bison replies, "something I need to thank them for if we ever bump into them again. All he ever did was drool and eat and as for you wreaking vengeance . You mostly bump into things and struggle to stay awake.
"What you trying to say? "
Last edited by optimusskids; 2012-02-26 at 04:08 PM.
Seemingly unhappy to be upstaged by Bombshell earlier, Shrapnel pointed at Retcon with one hand across his chest, and said defiantly, "He's got a point, point. This Hawkeye-"
"Eagle Eye." Blackjack said.
"-Eagle Eye's going to kill us all, so unless one of us is going to take care of the maniac, which was what we were trying to do here in the first place, place..." Shrapnel trailed off, not sure that he should be speaking any more...
"Not much good, that is, against a Matrix-powered Decepticon." Slog told Turbo Master, hand raised, ready to move barricades should his services be needed. "Hope for the best, we only can."
Bludgeon nodded at Double Punch.
The Pretender looked at the now-closed gate, which was silent, bereft of any noise from Predators or Thunderwings attempting to get near. But the Master of Metallikato was not fooled; he felt the stench of the corrupted Decepticon Matrix coming near... even though the Matrix was down there, on Cybertron, he could feel the stench coming from the shell, through it connection with Thunderwing.
The black-coloured lightning crackled even more wildly on Bludgeon's open palm, as the Pretender stood very still, his skull head looking blankly at the door, waiting as Thunderwing approached...
Thunderwing listened to Bombshell's spiel, then cocked his head to one side as if he was thinking hard about what the Insecticon had to say. Then he turned to Blackjack and smiled.
"Of course, of course," he told the Micromaster. Then his smile curled back into a menacing grimace as laser blasts erupted from his forehead and sliced through the deck a few feet away from the Micromasters.
"Do I look like an idiot?" he demanded. "No one gets repaired until I see Soundwave and Bludgeon's heads. Throw him in a stasis pod in the bay down the hall if you're so worried."
Then he turned to Retcon and explained, "He's threatening to blow up the ship if your fellow Decepticons aren't brought in check -- a reasonable position, if you ask me. But if you kill their leaders and order the rest of your fellows to stand down...well, what use would blowing the ship up be, then?"
Hangar Bay, Warworld
"True. It'd suck to have to carry all my stuff around." Birdbrain shrugged. "And I suppose I might miss him. You know, some day," he admitted to Slog.
Treadshot nodded with satisfaction as Slog set up their makeshift barricade. He dropped to one knee behind one of the assault shuttles that gave him the best sight line.
"Why don't we bring you along more often?" he asked the other Decepticon. "You're pretty useful."
Then he gave Turbo Master a nod, acknowledging his good idea.
Black Shadow sounded annoyed when he replied to Bludgeon. "Right. I'll be terrified be your empty threats later, I promise. Right now, there's more important things to do."
Snapdragon was going to respond to Snare, but then the doors blew open and a gout of smoke began drifting toward their barricade.
"Oh, boy," the Horrorcon said. "Here we go..."
"Now's not the time for talking, boy!" Skullcruncher told him as he fired his 'softening-up' gun into the smoke.
"Well, in that case it's good to have you on the team for this one," Blast Master told Cosmos chipperly.
Phaser considered, then said, "Main hangar, I think. For both of us. It's big enough that we can approach from different directions, and...well, it looks like there's the ass-end of a warship hanging out of it, so they shouldn't be able to close the door to keep us out.
Drone Hangar, Warworld
Soundwave pressed his back to the wall, his finger on the handle as he told Snarler, "Now!" before flinging the door open and throwing himself inside. He rolled behind a pillar, taking cover as he shouted, "Eagle Eye, we're here to talk!"
Eagle Eye apparently put about as much faith in Soundwave's lies as the mech himself, since his answer consisted of a burst of radar pulses that began to chew through the support pillar Soundwave was hiding behind.
Corridors, Warworld (near the drone hangar)
Fangry growled at Stranglehold, weakly, as he climbed back to his feet.
Octopunch's tentacles curled in annoyance as his fellow Pretender turned to Black Battle Convoy for instructions. Obviously he wasn't as impressed with the evil clone as his partner was.
"What are you asking him for? He's barely even out of training wheels. Hell, even Fangry outranks him."
The Prime clone just gave him an impassive stare...then snapped around just in time to deflect an oncoming energy beam with his sword.
"Thunderwing!" Convoy announced, just before the Pretender charged into him and knocked him into a bulkhead.
Blackjack leapt aside from Thunderwing's blast. "No, but then I'm one to take risks. You built me that way, remember?" Before Thunderwing could blast him again, Blackjack raised his arms. "But I know when not to take risks, so I'm going to shut up right now."
Shrapnel glanced at the direction towards the stasis pods that Thunderwing had pointed out, but made no move to move Tailwind yet. The Insecticon leader folded his arms, thinking about Thunderwing's offer.
Bombshell, however, was not so conservative. "Oh, you see, Retcon? We can turn this so we can win, we'll be on the winning side! Shrapnel, Kickback, surely you understand?" Bombshell narrowed his optics. "Don't need for all that Decepticon honour crap, we've struck gold. Besides, none of us ever liked Soundwave, do we?"
"The three- no, wait... eleven, actually, actually." Shrapnel raised his optic brow, regarding the four Insecticons, three Micromasters, three Insecticon Clones, plus Needler, that are clustered around the corridor. "We can make short work of Soundwave, yes, but Bludgeon, Bludgeon?"
Hangar Bay, Warworld
"Miss Wildfly, you?" Slog chortled at Birdbrain. "Doubt that, I do."
Slog glanced up at Treadshot, and shook his head in a melancholic way. "Warrior, I am not. Artist, sculptor, I am. Illustrate the horrors of battle, remember those that are dead, I do. Kill, only when must. Mock me, no doubt, you all do."
Slog sighed, and raised his arms, ready to move the barricades around should they be needed. "Attack, you should, Birdbrain. Release Wildfly, you should. Every hand, we need, right now."
"Empty?" Bludgeon's hollow voice reverberated in Black Shadow's head (Bludgeon's own lips had not moved, nor did he seem to actually acknowledge that Black Shadow was talking to him). Bludgeon's gravelly voice laughed softly in Black Shadow's head, half-amused, like a whisper, like a gust of wind in the grave, the tone like that of a higher being mocking Black Shadow for even daring to insinuate that Bludgeon's threats are empty...
But Thunderwing entered, and Bludgeon's voice would trail off in Black Shadow's head.
The Pretender still remained as immobile as a statue, though, pointing his blade at the smoke, his other hand raised and crackling with electricity, but the leader of the Mayhem Attack Squad had not moved.
Snare aimed his missile launcher at the smoke, and opened fire, his Megavisor useless in all the smoke. "KILL IT! KILL IT!" Snare yelled, and the remaining Predators that were with him obeyed, clearly more out of fear of what a traitor would face...
Barrage aimed the Fusion Blaster Cannon mounted on the unlamented Gutcruncher's Stratotronic Jet, and opened fire at the smoke in the gates. The missile launchers and infrared laser cannons whined up, ready to fire, but Barrage did not fire them yet.
"The Decepticons do know how to board other ships." Cosmos mused. "Though thankfully they had more sense than to crash the Nemesis to the Ark back then. Let's roll!"
Cosmos did not roll as zip around through space. Not the most maneuvrable vehicle in the atmosphere, Cosmos was in his element here in the void of space, zipping through missiles and laser blasts as he made his way towards the Hangar Bay Phaser and Blast Master had pointed out.
Corridors Near the Drone Hangar, Warworld
Stranglehold opened his mouth to answer, evidently rather upset that he had pissed off Octopunch. "Sorry, Octo. So, whadda we-" Stranglehold began, but Thunderwing had slammed onto Black Battle Convoy.
Stranglehold's battle instincts took over, and he charged Thunderwing, whirling his ball-and-chain in the air, roaring, and he let loose, launching the heavy ball towards the Thunderwing grappling Black Battle Convoy.
He opened a private scrambled, encrypted channel to his comrades at least those whose main preoccupation wasn't eating things and people.
"I have no love for Gigatron, however why doesn't Thunderwing just leave and blow up the ship. It has sustained major damage and in doing so would cause a major blow to his enemies forces and also eliminate the two targets he has set us. Also why would he want us loose in Space with a Warworld. Unless of cause lord Thunderwing you need to keep the rank and file alive. Hard to be General with no army or Emperor with no subjects. So what we have is Eagle Eye offering us almost certain death , Thunderwing offering us pretty much unavoidable death unless we obey him. If we obey him we must battle Soundwave and Bludgeon and possible our former colleagues which will probably mean death for us all ."
Ice Pick looked down at his claws
"I believe that I did not fully think out the implications of planned obsolescence. I believe that when it appiles to oneself. It seems like less of a good idea. "
He slapped a new ammo strip into his fireball bazooka.
"ah well no use moping"
He fired a stream of fireballs into the cloud of smoke.
Bristleback stomped into an assault shuttle and started prepping the dorsal turret.
Snarler charged at Eagle Eye hoping to catch him on one of his horns sonar distorters that would disrupt the flow of Eagle Eyes cerebal impulses and rupture his circuitry
At the same time sending a stream of shells from his rotary cannon at the micromaster.
Last edited by optimusskids; 2012-03-04 at 02:52 PM.
Bombshell replied to Retcon through their secure band. "I have no love for Gigatron, Thunderwing, Soundwave or Bludgeon, but going up against any of them... maybe with the exception of Soundwave... is suicide. I understand Thunderwing. He's just like me, obsessed with control. He needs troops to command, and better willing subcontractors like the Insecticons than faceless armadas of walking chunks of meat shields. Right now I think we're best off taking up the offer that would give us time."
"Wait, you're actually bluffing, bluffing?" Shrapnel asked, still frowning, face not betraying that he was having a conversation in his head.
"Yes, Shrap- wait, you thought I was serious about throwing in my lot with Thunderwing? For good? It's like you don't know me at all."
"No, it's exactly because I know you, you."
"Ah, well, you don't believe I'm doing it out of common sense? Plus, Thunderwing's a prick."
"The real reason is that Kickback still has the trigger to the bomb in your noggin, isn't it, it?"
Bombshell glanced at Kickback, and spoke out, "Well, what about it, eh? I say we take Thunderwing's gracious offer. We'll at least live that way."
"Is difficult to find, perfect philosophy is." Slog told Icepick as he raised his stubby little arms, levitating one of the fallen assault shuttles (one that had no one hiding behind it, naturally). "Valid, planned obsolescence is, to Thunderwing, especially."
Thunderwing shrugged. "Remember...you?" he asked Blackjack. "Not especially. Who are you again, Whisper?"
Then he smiled at Shrapnel. "You won't be alone fighting Bludgeon," he told the Insecticon. "You and your people will inherit the goodwill of the Imperials on this ship by killing Soundwave and rescuing their commander from him, and they'll join you in battle."
Kickback cocked his head to one side, glaring at Bombshell. "You don't have a say," he hissed, acting as outraged as he could to cover up the conversation that the Insecticons were having amongst themselves. "Keep your mouth shut and do as you're told, or I'll shut you up for good."
Then he replied to his brethren over their comm link. "He's toying with us," he told them. "If we agree to join him, he'll kill us anyway. It's what I would do, in his position."
Aloud he said, "Hmmm...I don't know. What would we do after the battle was won? I don't see myself looking good in Imperial Green, after all."
Hangar Bay, Warworld
Treadshot shook his head. "Do I look mocking?" he asked Slog.
He held his fire until Thunderwing emerged from the smoke, then began to fire carefully-placed shots at the Pretender shell's joints.
"I know the value of a good non-combatant."
Birdbrain shrugged. "Yeah, probably not," he admitted to Slog. "He's a piece of scrap. But he's, you know...sometimes useful, I guess?"
He fired on Thunderwing with his double-barrelled laser blaster and did his best not to look like he was cowering behind the barricade. Once the larger Decepticon was visible, Birdbrain summoned his Pretender shell from subspace right above him...and dumped Wildfly onto his head.
"I KEEL YOU!" Wildfly roared as he thrashed blindly, setting into Thunderwing with claws and beak without even realizing who he was attacking.
Black Shadow didn't answer Bludgeon. He simply didn't have time for a silly charlatan like him. Bludgeon was welcome to pretend that he was an arcane monster all he wanted, but unlike the superstitious masses Black Shadow knew that there was always a reasonable explanation for things.
I'm sure I've terrified more than my share of people by appearing out of mid-air, too...
Thunderwing roared with fury as the Decepticons' fire soaked into his armour. He lashed out at the barricade that they had constructed to keep him away, sending huge chunks of metal flying toward the crowd of Decepticons who were firing on him.
Snapdragon ducked under the shrapnel, but Skullcruncher wasn't so lucky. The shrapnel embedded itself into his chest, tossing the Headmaster aside and across the hangar. He hit the ground and seemed content to stay there for the moment, groaning in pain.
Phaser steered the Micromasters' combined shuttle mode in a wide arc away from Cosmos, blasting the occasional drone that crossed their path and doing his best to look like he wasn't heading toward the hangar bay...that is, until he banked hard to port and turned the engines up to full burn, accelerating like a madman on a course that pointed straight at the gaping hangar door.
"Whoaoaoa!" Blast Master shouted from his position as the rear of the craft.
Drone Hangar, Warworld
Eagle Eye jumped away from Snarler's fire, losing a wingtip in the process. Wincing, he waved his self-destruct remote at the Pretender.
"Tut-tut, Decepticon," he said scornfully. "Kill me, or separate me from the remote, and you can say bye-bye to the Warworld and everyone on it. Including you, in case you hadn't noticed."
Fangry whimpered as Thunderwing showed his face, trying to slink back away from the fight...until Octopunch grabbed him by the scruff of the neck and tossed him forward.
"Attack, you useless beast!"
Thunderwing, meanwhile, dropped his shoulder and met Stranglehold's charge, intent on running over the wrestler like a freight train hitting a deer.
"Yes, yes, I'm Whisper. Nice that you remember me, daddy." Blackjack told Thunderwing, voice without the slightest hint of insult. Best not to question Thunderwing, of course.
Bombshell was quelled by Kickback's outburst, and shrank backwards. He was trying to help out, damn it... the Insecticon scowled, but since Kickback had a bomb in his head, he did nothing. Outwards, anyway. Speaking through the commlink: "I know he's toying with us, Kickback... I'll kill us if I was in his position, I'm just trying to buy us some time by agreeing! I'm not that stupid!"
"Could've fooled me, me." Shrapnel replied through the commlink.
Shothole chirped in outrage as Kickback said he wouldn't look good in green, but Shrapnel swatted the clone in the face with the back of his hand, waiting for Thunderwing to reply Kickback's question.
Hangar Bay, Warworld
Slog shrugged at Treadshot. "Wise, you are. Unlike the rabble, you are."
He turned to Turbo Master, "Do it, I am able to." Slog raised another shuttle, launched it and let go of it over Thunderwing's head.... just as Birdbrain unleashed Wildfly onto Thunderwing... and sighed.
"Gave me some warning, you could have. Flatten Wildfly, the shuttle probably will." Slog sighed.
Bludgeon didn't answer Black Shadow. He simply didn't have time for a foolish skeptic like him. Black Shadow was welcome to pretend that the world is formed by statistics and chemical laws and physics all he wanted, but Bludgeon knew why he was so feared was that subconsciously everyone knew that there are sometimes no reasonable explanation for things.
Like the fireball that materialized on Bludgeon's palm, summoned from another plane. It was not made by any flamethrower, or energy gathering device...
Bludgeon launched the blast of hellfire towards Thunderwing, but did not move against him yet.
Snare grunted as chunks of shrapnel slammed onto his left shoulder, but other than that he was unharmed.
Cosmos took the other side of the hangar, zigzagging in his awkward manner, then, when the Micromasters did so, turned his engines to full burn as well and shot towards the gaping hangar door.
Cosmos slowed himself into a halt once he's in. "Okay guys, we're in. Now what?"
Thunderwing's charge slammed onto Stranglehold and bowled him over, sending him tumbling heads-over-heels above Thunderwing. He fell on his back on the floor, and his ball-and-chain slammed onto his own face almost comically, the chain scattering around him.
Roaring with rage, Stranglehold got up, grabbed his ball-and-chain and launched it at Thunderwing.
"Stop calling me that, Hyperdrive," Thunderwing told Blackjack. "It implies that I cared about you Micromasters at some point. I didn't." Then he told the Insecticons, "Well, obviously you would continue to serve me, forming a part of the ruling elite of my new empire." He smiled slightly. "It would appear that you've gotten a head start on the suspicion and infighting that come with the role."
Kickback smiled. "Of course. We Insecticons are quite good at that." He took a few steps toward Thunderwing, a friendly expression on his face. "But we don't want to join your cause only to find ourselves doing the same menial grunt-work that we've been relegated to under Soundwave. I'm sure you understand."
"Menial? Perish the thought. You would be senior commanders in my new world, answerable only to me."
Silently, Kickback signalled the other Insecticons. We have a simple choice, brothers. Either we surprise him or we wait until he surprises us. You know which one I would prefer. Are you with me or not?
Hangar Bay, Warworld
Treadshot shrugged. "You need a brain to do my job," he told Slog. "That's why they pay me the big shanix."
"M'eh," Birdbrain shrugged indifferently. "He's such a one-dimensional person now, would anyone notice?"
He fired several more shots from his double-barrelled laser at the Pretender shell, and crowed happily when he actually hit his target. "Could get used to that," he muttered.
Thunderwing grabbed Wildfly, slamming the Pretender into the bulkhead and then dropping his limp, battered body to the deck.
The distraction, however, gave Icepick and Bludgeon all the time they needed to set the Pretender's shell ablaze with fireballs.
"Hey!" Black Shadow shouted from wherever he'd disappeared to, "don't damage the ride! I need that!"
When Slog threw the shuttle at him, Thunderwing smiled. Still burning, he caught it in mid-air and lifted it over his head with a burst of Matrix-enhanced strength before flinging it back at the attacking Decepticons.
"Oh, shi-" Snapdragon looked up and saw the shuttle dropping down toward him. Flat-footed, he didn't have a ghost of a chance of getting out of the way...until a small, white ship roared through the hangar's magnetic containment field and caught the falling spacecraft in a tractor beam.
"You really must be more careful where you're standing, Decepticon," Phaser told him as he set the shuttle down on an empty patch of ground.
"Uh...now this, I guess?" Blast Master told Cosmos. "They're fighting someone, I can tell that much."
Drone Hangar, Warworld
Eagle Eye laughed. "I'd call you either a liar or a fool," he told Snarler. "But if you want to kill all of your Decepticon comrades, be my guest. Either way, I win."
Thunderwing spun after he knocked over Stranglehold. He saw Fangry lunging at him and drove his fist through the Headmaster's chest, killing the fragile Nebulan who was cowering inside. Fangry collapsed to the ground, spasming.
Octopunch twirled his trident, then fired a burst of lightning at the much larger Pretender. Thunderwing scoffed at the attack...at least until Stranglehold's flail hit him in the back and flung him roughly to the ground.
Blackjack shrugged at Thunderwing's comment. He had hoped Thunderwing might have been manipulated, however slightly, by the fact that the Decepticon Micromasters were his creation, but since Thunderwing's ego had inflated so much, Blackjack had expected this answer. He remained silent, though... if the Insecticons wanted to bear the brunt of the conversation, let them.
"Senior commanders?" Bombshell said, spreading his hands, if only to reply to Thunderwing. "Hmm, that kind of makes us second-in-commands. I think it's a good idea. Heck, I think it's the only idea open to us."
All the way, way. Shrapnel told Kickback.
Let's do this. Bombshell replied to the other Insecticons. He would have preferred them to go with Thunderwing's blessing and hunt Soundwave down, and in the middle of the hunt double-cross Thunderwing... but, hey, never argue too much with the guy who has the trigger to the bomb in your head.
Hangar Bay, Warworld
Slog ignored Treadshot, instead focusing on the battle. Birdbrain's joke did get a noise that was halfway between a chuckle and a snort out of the pudgy Decepticon. "A decent hit you are, Birdbrain, even if lacking, your performance is, standing next to Treadshot."
As soon as Wildfly was slammed onto the ground, Slog raised his arms and attempted to drag his comrade's body away from the fireballs and missiles flying around... then Thunderwing threw the shuttle back at them.
"Look out!" Slog yelled, knowing he won't be able to move the shuttle away in time.... then the Autobots arrived. "Actually glad to see Autobots, I am."
Bludgeon darted towards Thunderwing, moving erratically, as if he was somehow melding into the shadows at the same time. The smoke that enveloped him wherever he moved probably didn't help matters either. "You are toying with powers. Dark powers." Bludgeon whispered, his voice still void of emotion, still a whisper through the grave. "I feel the stench of demons upon you."
The Pretender seemed to blink out of existence for a moment, then he appeared close to Thunderwing, and slashed at the Pretender with his flaming saber.
"I approve of it." Bludgeon hissed. "But since you are actively trying to murder us, you must die."
"Frickin' Autobots. I'm helping a Horrorcon fight my old boss while Autobots are saving my aft." Snare muttered under his breath, as he took aim at Thunderwing and launched missiles at him.
"Oi, mysterious hiding space gangster guy!" Snare called out at Black Shadow, "Any ideas on how to kill him without killing him enough?"
"That's Thunderwing." Cosmos told Blast Master and Phaser as he zigzagged into the hangar bay. "Or his shell, at least. From what I've heard, Arcee said he's got loads of shells under his command. Let's see, though, if we can't get history to repeat itself."
A small opening slid open on Cosmos's side.
"Hey, Thunderwing? Nightbeat says hi." A harpoon line launched out of the opening, shooting straight at Thunderwing.
Cosmos was strangely calm, although having seen into the abyss for so many times, well, it felt like seeing into space. He did not really fear death.
Stranglehold roared as Thunderwing fell onto the ground, and proceeded to continue the attack by lunging at Thunderwing, attempting to tear his head off.
Can you cerebro-shell him? Kickback asked Bombshell. Maybe it will overwhelm his control of the shell, at least for a few seconds?
Aloud he said, "Well, that does sound tempting, but you'll need to point us in the right direction first. Where is Soundwave, exactly?"
Thunderwing gestured vaguely behind him. "That way," he said. "I expect my minions to possess at least a modicum of critical thinking skills, so if you want to work for me you'll need to prove that you can find your own way."
Hangar Bay, Warworld
"I'll try not to let that get me down," Birdbrain told Slog, "since everyone looks bad if you compare them to Treadshot."
"Best not get used to it," Phaser advised Slog. "We won't always be here to pull your fat out of the fire now, will we?"
The small Autobot transformed then, dropping to the ground with Blast Master at his side.
Blast Master chuckled. "Yeah," he told Cosmos. "Don't worry, we were at the briefing too. I'm sure we...well, I'm sure Phaser remembers it all."
Then, laser pistols in each hand, he started firing at the giant Decepticon.
Snapdragon chuckled. "It's a weird day," he told Snare. "We have a lot of those on this planet, so you should probably get used to it."
Thunderwing threw up an energy shield to absorb the incoming cannonfire, then smiled thinly at Bludgeon's backhanded complement.
"Oh, my old servant," he said as he batted the other Pretender's blade away with the bracer on the back of his hand, "you see, but you don't see. 'Dark powers'? 'Demons'? There is no such thing. The powers of the Matrix are mine not through some arcane ritual but through science. It's a shame, you know. If only you abandoned your childish superstitions and embraced reason, you could be the most powerful Transformer in creation. But alas...that mantle must fall to me!"
His smile grew wider and he sent arcs of purple lightning streaming toward Bludgeon's chest.
Black Shadow, meanwhile, had drifted away from the fight as he watched Thunderwing, and didn't answer Snare's question. He didn't want to reveal himself too soon, waiting as he was for the right opening to strike.
Drone Hangar, Warworld
Eagle Eye groaned. "Right," he said to Snarler. "I've given your Micromaster allies time to get in position to attack, either killing me or separating me from my remote, either one of which will kill us all. That sounds entirely reasonable, doesn't it?"
Soundwave, meanwhile, was taking advantage of the distraction to analyze the wireless signal running from Eagle Eye's remote to the ship's computer. He was picking apart each component of the signal, but it was proving frustratingly hard to determine exactly what was what.
I need more time, he transmitted to Snarler. Keep him talking if you can.
"You're really not, though." Thunderwing straight-armed Stranglehold, pushing away from the smaller Pretender and using the momentum to roll away and come back to his feet.
Hands balled into fists, he turned and jutted out his chin at the Mayhem.
"But I'm in the mood for fun, so we'll do this your way. I could do with a diversion, anyway. Fisticuffs it is!"
He emerged from his shell clumsily. Apparently inadvertently sending a length of stray piping rolling to rest against Eagle Eye's foot.
He and his shell sat down on its haunches.
"So I shoot you and we all die , I take the remote from you and we all die. How about I do something clever like slicing off your forearm with a sword thus not killing you and not actually removing the remote from your possession but rending you incabable of triggering it. Or is that just the stuff of bad Tri dees?"