The Search for Leadership

This was a co-work, this first part was written by a friend of mine that goes by the name Sumowrestler. He wrote the entire Autobot section which following this will also be chapter 3. Some time in the future I would like to get this back on track but its going to be a while.

All the names in this belong to their respective creators in Heavy Metal War, on and have been used with permission. Transformers belongs to Hasbro.

Chapter one-Leadership no more

Secluded Region

Rhinedon was walking his usual carefree pace in one of the few undisturbed areas of Cybertron. It was a tranquil place that he and one other only know about. The location isn’t all that big but big enough for a rhino to tread safely without harming too much of the scenery. It is almost surprising that nothing has touched this area being so close to the Sonic Canyons. In a way, this scene was almost too perfect but things have been real quiet on the front. Thankfully a couple of the Autobot scouts were out doing their job. They need the practice anyways considering most of the bots in this sector were green sparks for most part. Some were barely above the rookie stages. No wonder he and Land Seeker were assigned to watch out over them. All of a sudden, he received a priority message from one of the rookies.

“Commander Rhinedon, this is Stunts, Spybot just got in from one of the aerial scouting patrols. It seems that one of our main headquarters has been hit and hard. Commander Land Seeker already took Headlong and Mainline with him to investigate. Do you respond?”

“There was an attack on HQ? Do we know who done it by the scorch marks?” Rhinedon inquired as he was making his way back to base.

“No, sir that is why Commander Land Seeker went to investigate it himself. Should we be ready for whatever hit them just in case it will come after us?” Stunts inquired.

All Rhinedon could do as he approached was shake his rhino head. Too bad he couldn’t go back to the days he had with the Redeemers. Those were the simple and pleasurable days. Sadly, there was that one fateful day when the entire team fell right into an ambush and almost lost Mechanica and Sea Beast. Fembots were hard to find especially ones like those two were. As Rhinedon approached the outpost, he snapped back into reality. He entered the outpost and didn’t even bother to transform. He then went straight into the command center.

Command Center

“All right, what is the status of this location? Where the forsaken place is everyone? We got a situation here and all should be monitoring it.” Rhinedon complained.

“Well, sir, it is like this. Commander Land Seeker took the only two operational bots with him outside of Spybot and Air-wolf. The rest got a little bored and decided to do some melee exercises that got out of hand.” Stunts reported.

“And Commander Land Seeker didn’t know about this? Surely he would have heard something to that kind of noise.” Rhinedon added.

“It was his idea, sir. The thing he wasn’t counting on was how bad it got out of hand. Before anyone knew it, the exercise turned into an out right brawl with anything that wasn’t bolted down flying at whoever was the unlucky one. Let’s just say the ones who didn’t end up in the med-bay were confined to quarters until he returned.” Stunts reported.

“Ok, so how did Headlong and Mainline keep from getting into this exercise?” Rhinedon asked.

“They were out on patrol duty. You don’t remember putting them out on it yourself, sir? I know things been a little slow around these parts but you should have remembered that part considering you are the one in charge of security.” Stunts carefully reminded him.

“Yes, I know my job, Stunts. I’ve just been too occupied with some of the memories that pop up during my rest cycles. That is why I wanted out of this place and be able to relax without having to yell or punish any of you all. Why was I assigned to this outpost? Why couldn’t I’ve been scrapped or captured or simply put out to pasture?” Rhinedon complains as he lowers his head and shakes it.

“Sir, we got incoming message from Commander Land Seeker. Do you want me to patch it over the com?” Stunts said excitedly.

“Might as well, it is probably nothing but bad news anyways.” Rhinedon replied gloomy.

Stunts patch the communication to the main com screen. A picture of a sadden Land Seeker appears.

“It is worse than we feared. The regional commanders and what should have been a secretive convoy of a couple of our high commanders are missing with every single mech destroyed, mangled, or having a gap that is unfamiliar to us. We are dragging one of the mechs with the hole back with us. We’ll be there in the next breem. Commander Land Seeker out.”

With that, the transmission was cut and the screen went blank.

Command Lost

Typical days hadn’t occurred at Durastex in weeks, infighting of the trainees along with the added effect of the older graduates being pulled to war caused uneasiness and confusion. There was never any telling when the next wave of grads would be pulled to the front line. So far Swingwing and his second Hexwing had managed to say and gain control over the facility itself.

At the moment everything was going according to the rebuild plans. Time was short and commanders from high up were coming for a tour the facility, everything had to be perfect, they would have no less. Storm, Novacula and Bandit had been assigned to over see the rebuilding the centerpiece of the campus. It was to be presentable for the Decepticon’s leaders speech. This particular academy as of late had turned out some of the more famous as well as infamous Decepticons the Great War had ever seen. The statue though was behind the podium was that of a Decepticon hero had started take shape again after it had been blasted to slag by arrant blaster fire of the young rowdy recruits.

“Novacula!” Bandit reached where his fellow Decepticon was standing.

“What is it now?” The dark helicopter turned.

“I don’t think we are going to be done in time, Swingwing says they have pushed the time forward again.” Bandit placed his hands on his hip in frustration.

“Slag.” Novacula watched, his arms still crossed over his chest, optics fixed on the base of the statue as the maintenance continued on the progressing statue.

“What now?” Storm came slowly around the production after hearing Novacula swear.

“This is not going to get done and our guests are not going to be happy.” The dark helicopter answered roughly.

“I do not see why not. They never come on schedule anyway.”

“Swingwing sent word that the arrival time was push forward again.” Bandit added.

“ I still do not see how that matters.” Storm answered roughly.

“It DOES matter.” A voice from behind spoke loudly. The three turned to see Swingwing and Hexwing approaching them. “Things should have never gotten this bad. Though we had no choice with pervious command here we can fix things now.” He looked over the progress and back at Storm. “However, you are correct. The command ship has not landed and it was due to land two hours ago.” The two higher-ranking jets steeped closer joining the group. “I have discussed it with Sythonic, and he has agreed that we should send a small group to search for them. He and Star Raider are in The Lancer now preparing for take off. Gather a few more cadets, incase we run in to some Autobot resistance, then met us at the ship.” Swingwing turned on his heel not waiting for a response and started to walk to the hanger bay Hexwing at his side.

“Well you heard him. Bullpen! Impact! Nightraid!” Novacula yelled at those still working on the statue. “This is going to have to wait, we are needed elsewhere.”

Chapter 2 The Search Begins

The breem passes and Commander Land Seeker, Headlong, and Mainline all return with their “evidence”. And it was a rather ghastly sort of evidence, too.

“You guys look like you saw death itself walking about. Come on, it isn’t like this is the first time you've seen deactivated mechs before. So what is the big deal?” Rhinedon complained, seemingly annoyed by something else entirely aside from the unprofessional attitudes of his subordinates.

“If you had seen the amount of destruction that we had today, you would wonder who did it too. The devastation of the compound was so complete... it was a brutal attack. The real ironic thing is though, that the city of Ibex which is only a few clicks away; came away unscathed from any attack. It was as if they knew exactly where to hit and how hard to hit it. Even the base defenses were wiped out.

"Spybot was only able to get aerial view of what had happened. Air-Wolf got a little bit more detail but not to the degree of what we saw first hand. The thing that caught my attention was the shuttle that was destroyed. It had the signature of the High Council on it.” Spoke Land Seeker, his voice quiet but firm, the memory of what he had seen obviously still having an impact on him.

The dark redish brown rhino stared into the optics of his long time friend and co-commander of this little squad. Rhinedon remembered the days when Land Seeker was just as young as the mechs they now commanded. The main difference was he was more intelligent, daring, and even a little on the crazy side at times. Land Seeker, being the white car with silver trimmings along the car’s edges was a good racer back in the day and gained some respect during that time. The passive nature of Rhinedon was almost gone because of the war and only returning to it every now and then has kept what sanity he has left in place.

All of a sudden, Rhinedon decided that he simply had had enough. Once again, it seemed to him, the High Council had screwed something up - and he was expected to clean up after their mess. Since when did he sign up to clean up after their supposed "leaders" who cared so little about him and his squad that they stuck the whole lot of them in the middle of nowhere? He decided to express this opinion to Land Seeker, military protocols be damned.

“Frankly, the High Council can go to the pits as well as this endless war! It is us ground troops and leaders who take the full blunt of the battles they plan and screw up; all the while thinking that they are so brilliant. How many times have you seen them come out to this Primus forsaken part of Cybertron to LEAD the troops and not just to make fancy speeches of how well we are doing?” Rhinedon complained, grunting with obvious disdain for his leaders and the progress of this war.

Everyone could tell Land Seeker was angered by his old friend's disregard for military protocol - and it wasn't just the shift of his optical colors to a much darker blue, almost violet hue. Were Rhinedon not Land Seeker's long-standing friend and were Land Seeker not obliged to set a proper example, he'd had done far worse than simply deck Rhinedon. He was halfway tempted to bring Rhinedon up on charges - but he quickly cooled his gears. Instead, Land Seeker walked past Rhinedon as if he had ignored the whole outburst, but Rhinedon knew Land Seeker had heard every last word.

At the last moment, Land Seeker grabbed the weakest point on Rhinedon's Rhino mode - his short tail. As small as this tail may be, it was still very sensitive and Land Seeker knew it. As Land Seeker walked with tail in hand, he pulled Rhinedon with him trying to dig for footing and still ignoring the pain. Land Seeker dragged the loud mouthed rhino into the private office of the command complex. The door was then shut and locked.

The other Autobots in the room weren't breathing - they hadn't seen any Autobot directly question his superior officer as Rhinedon had just done. They didn't know how Land Seeker would react - as they really weren't too sure about him either.

Private Office

“How dare you criticize the leadership in front of the troops? I know you are still upset with the Redeemers being split up. There was nothing neither you nor I could have done to prevent what happened from happening. You know good and well that we are lucky to be active let alone being paired together again. We have to stand up for the cause we so rightly believed in all of these long years even if we don’t always agree with the High Council. And for your information, the regional commander and her lieutenant commander were taken as well.” The gray and blue mech said to his long time friend.

Land Seeker stood at an average height of about nineteen feet, with a blue chest and torso with gray toned limbs and head. If anybody didn’t know any better, they would mistake him for a Con at a distance. The Autobot symbol was located on the upper right part of his body close to the shoulder. Although Rhinedon was more bulky, Land Seeker had that authoritarian presence about him which automatically identified him as a commander. And perhaps most importantly - the earlier softness in Land Seeker's voice had vanished, replaced with the harsh tones of an officer tearing down a first-year cadet for a mistake he made.

The news about the missing regional commander and lieutenant was unexpected to say the least. It makes sense to take the High Council members but regional commanders rarely knew anything - meaning that it made little sense for them to have been taken as well. It would have been a waste of resources to capture a regional commander who could offer little strategic information.

Land Seeker was very disappointed in Rhinedon, less so for the outburst than he was because Rhinedon had put his own personal feelings ahead of the importance of their mission - conduct unbecoming of an officer like Rhinedon. The two old friends remained in place like that for a few moments; Rhinedon could see Land Seeker was disappointed in him, and slowly Rhinedon brought himself under control again.

“I see the stakes are even higher than I expected. Do we know what else was missing? Anything from the data tracks of the computers? What was this about strange holes in a couple of the mechs? I notice you brought one of them in. By the quick look I got, it seems these holes were cut almost directly over the spark chambers.” Rhinedon commented in a much calmer tone. Although he wasn't done with the subject of the High Council yet - for the moment he remembered he was a soldier in a time of war. He had duties he had to perform, regardless of his personal feelings in the matter.

“Aye, it does seem that way. It is strange that only two mechs were like that though. Neither one was of any significant rank but still... to us it is important for each life is valuable to us. I hadn't thought the Decepticons shared this philosophy." Land Seeker mused, glad that Rhinedon was back on track for the moment.

"The one we dragged in was serving as a guard for the wall. I believe the other was some construction mech. You'll see the really strange thing on the mech we dragged in, but I'll let you in on the secret now; the only visible outer damage was the cutting area itself. There were no blast marks of any kind.” Land Seeker continued, glad to finally be able to get down to business. He had a mystery to solve right now; he'd help his friend get back on his feet later when time and his responsibilities permitted.

“Not to change topics but how could you have let four mechs get into an all out brawl with you here in the command center? I know I’m the advocate for more discipline but you were fairly good on it yourself.” Rhinedon inquired, and Land Seeker sighed. So much for getting back to business...

“Oh, that tag team match up was supposed to be a simple teamwork exercise. In all honesty, I really don’t know because when I got back up to the command center, Spybot reported about the destruction. I hurried out and grabbed the two mechs you put on guard duty to check it out. I was in so much shock that I forgot to relay a message to you until the group was about half way to the command post. That is when I had Stunts send you the message letting you know what was up. Now, shall we go and address the troops and let them know about the situation?” Land Seeker asked, determined to get back to work and refusing to get dragged off the subject.

“We should - but of course after Air-Wolf and Tesla Shot examines the body closer to determine exactly how the damage to the mech's spark chamber was accomplished. It would also be fitting to figure out a more effective and beneficial punishment for the four who got into the brawl. I’m assuming that they are assigned to quarters for now?” Rhinedon questioned, though he made it sound more like a suggestion. He might have backed down from the Council issue, but (in a somewhat ironic circumstance) discipline amongst the troops, for him, was a major issue.

“That was their orders after they went to see Tesla Shot for any repairs they needed. We really need to run these proto forms through the roughness of this war. Too bad we couldn’t do that now instead of looking for our missing leaders.” Land Seeker responded, finally derailed from the topic, which gave Rhinedon a small measure of satisfaction.

“Do we really know why a couple members of the High Council would come out here? I still think that this area is too far away from almost anything except Ibex to be any use to the High Council. Something must have been up to draw that kind of attention.” Rhinedon commented, now back to business again.

“It is unknown at this present moment. Neither you nor I received anything from the regional commander about any visits but this could have been one of those surprise visits as well. The High Council has been known to do that especially in the remote areas just to make sure we aren’t slacking on our duties." Land Seeker's last comment was aimed at Rhinedon is a somewhat playful jest and Rhinedon couldn't help but smile. Land Seeker smiled too and Rhinedon realized he hadn't gotten his old friend off the beaten path after all.

After a few seconds though, Land Seeker continued. "Sadly, if they were doing that, they may not have been very happy with our performance as of late - especially with the brawl. I’ll agree with you that this war has gone on long enough; especially when you look at who is coming out of the gates.” Land Seeker said in a softer tone, gently reminding his old friend that at the end of the day they WERE still on the same side.

Land Seeker and Rhinedon were silent for a few moments. Both knew the time has come to get things ready for the eventual search. They walked out back into the command center, but there was still a bit of tension between the two of them... Rhinedon still had a lot of issues he needed to work through, and Land Seeker was still too caught up in the trap of his duties and responsibilities to offer much help right now.

Command Center

“Air-Wolf, get Mainline to help you drag this mech down to your lab for examination. Tesla Shot, report to Air-Wolf’s lab. You have a new patient to examine. I want results in the next 5 cycles. Give me everything you've got on our victim.” Land Seeker ordered.

“Yes sir!” Air-Wolf and Mainline said as they saluted and then dragged the empty mech to the lab. Air-Wolf was a green mech; the only parts of him that weren't green were his torso and upper legs. Mainline was one of the smaller mechs but not by much. He probably has one of the more unique alt modes of the group considering he turned into a deep blue hovering laser pistol. An excellent fire-support soldier, his colors were a bit brighter than most of the 'Bots assembled here, with light blue coloring and white outlining the edges of his body.

“Let me guess, we now go address our four little mechs who would get severely punished if we didn’t need them this time around. Maybe we can come up with something creative on our way back to the regional headquarters for them to do as punishment.” Rhinedon chuckled with a slightly evil grin.

“Why do you think we will go back there? We already searched the area.” Land Seeker inquired.

“You were always too much in a hurry to get a good and thorough search done. You've been concerned about the basic safety and strategic positions and that was about it. In a way, you still haven’t gotten out of your speed racing days. It is good to be able to think on your feet -or tires in your case- but nothing can replace careful and detailed examination of even the most remote things.” Rhinedon half teased, smiling a bit as he remembered the old days.

“Hey now, who is it that was assigned to the scouting element and first line of the Redeemers? I did my job and did it well for most part. Are you saying that I did a bad job back at the regional outpost?” Land Seeker came back with, his tone only partially mocking.

“You did say that it is still unknown why the High Council was there to begin with, didn’t you? We still need that answer and the only place I can think of to get answers is at the outpost. By no means would Iacon give us anything about it. They probably would say it was classified.” Rhinedon replied that quiet tone of disgust back in his voice, but only Land Seeker could have picked up on it this time.

“You are correct; we probably will need to head back for a much thorough search including a deep examination and reconstruction of the computer core. We will have to get to the bottom of this and soon. Who knows if Iacon even knows about this tragedy?” Land Seeker commented, kind of annoyed by Rhinedon's slip back into a disrespectful attitude, but deciding to think of the fact that Rhinedon at least kept it out of the earshot of the other Autobots this time as progress.

Land Seeker and Rhinedon walked down the hall into the barracks of the tiny outpost that they call home. The walls were gray with lights at the top. This was as typical of a dormitory as anyone could think of. As they entered, they saw two rows of resting chambers for each of the mechs. Then they saw the four troublesome mechs who got into the brawl. Deep Six, Waste Land, Bombast, and Velocity were the four who got too bored with the exercise and decided a much more amusing form of entertainment would be to pound one another into oblivion.


“Ok, who decided to take it one step above what I ordered? I know how much Tesla enjoys seeing each of your ugly faces in his med-bay - especially for something this stupid.” Land Seeker asked.

A green and navy blue mech with most of his body blue with only his torso and hands green; raised his right hand to indicate he was the guilty party here. The missile rack on his left arm looked like some paint had been scratched off of it in the brawl earlier.

“Sir, it got out of hand when someone went beyond the melee aspect of the combat. There was a low level laser blast that went out and then before anyone knew it, tables and chairs went flying. It then turned into an all-out brawl.” Waste Land said sheepishly.

“Ok, so who wants to admit to the laser blast then?” Land Seeker inquired.

No one raised their hand.

“Your commander requested a hand.” Rhinedon said as he transformed into robot mode, his voice clearly hinting at the fact that he was getting annoyed.

Waste Land whispered to his bunkmate below him. “We are in trouble now. The only time Commander Rhinedon transforms to robot mode is when he means business. Someone is going to have to speak up before we all get even worse punishment than what they have already thought up.”

“No joke. I’m surprised he hasn’t yelled at us yet. He must be in one of his rare good moods.” Deep-six, a yellow mech with a dark blue glass windshield on his chest responded. Then he reconsidered his previous statement and whispered back to Waste Land: "Then again, I don't think he's capable of having a good mood. His personality circuits seem to be permanently set to being pessimistic, moody, or just disgruntled."

Waste Land chuckled at the comment his bunkmate made and almost lost his balance. At the last minute, he was able to catch himself before he fell off his bunk.

Rhinedon caught onto the two mechs talking, and considering that it is very rare to see him in robot mode he wasn't pleased that they seemed to be finding all this amusing. He advanced slowly on the bunks, neither Autobot aware of Rhinedon's presence before he was upon them.

“So what is so funny? Is there something amusing that you want to tell me about? Maybe you think this whole little combat exercise getting out of hand is a joke. Maybe it is time to really see how well disciplined you two are and maybe your other two friends can join you since no one wants to confess to shooting the first laser bolt!” Rhinedon bellowed at Waste Land and Deep-Six first than turning to Bombast and Velocity.

“Sounds like a plan to me, Commander Rhinedon. It is time to get these four up and ready for our next mission. By the way, all of them get to carry every single piece of equipment on foot to the regional outpost.” Land Seeker commented, hoping to interject before Rhinedon did something extreme to these four young Autobots.

Rhinedon walks just past the two sets of bunk beds a few feet and then turns around. All is quiet for a few moments until Rhinedon speaks up.

“ALL RIGHT YOU FOUR, YOU HEARD COMMANDER LAND SEEKER!!!!!!!!!!!” Rhinedon shouted at the highest volume his vocalizers could produce.

All four mechs jumped so high that they all fell out of their respective bunks and onto the floor. Land Seeker smiled just ever so slightly at the sight of the recruits being scared out of their chassis. Rhinedon always had a way to get mechs’ attention.

Rhinedon transformed back into rhino mode and pawed the metal as if he was getting ready to charge. There was steam coming from his nostrils as well showing even more signs of a charge coming - and soon. Bombast had the worst position for he was able to see exactly what Rhinedon was doing since his face was facing the back of the barracks. The mostly white mech with blue face and yellow optics was seeing a very scary sight considering he is on the bottom of the pile.

“Hey guys, we have one really steamed rhino ready to bowl us over if we don’t get up and going like now.” Bombast mention as he started lifting the pile off of him in order to allow himself to at least try to move out of the way.

It sometimes pays to be one of the stronger mechs in this small squad. The pile shifted as Bombast shoved the other three off of him and he got up on his feet. He then quickly ran past Land Seeker without giving any salute. Land Seeker forgave this breach of protocol, seeing as how Rhinedon had started moving after the fleeing rookies.

“Wait up for us!” Velocity, a redish orange mech with yellow chest, legs, and body, screamed as he also got up to run like crazy away from the charging rhino. Not that it would do much good of course, but they were young and didn't know any better.

Waste Land and Deep-Six both got up and looked at each other. Then they looked back at Rhinedon still pawing the floor making a sizable scratch mark and dent in it as he passed with steam coming out of his nostrils up to six inches above his head. They both took off running the same direction out the door and down the hallway.

After they were a few feet, Rhinedon took down the barracks at an increased speed, and then turned down the hallway chasing the four of them. Land Seeker couldn’t but help laugh out loud so much that he would have bent over if he was human. After Land Seeker regained his composure, he walked down the hallway following everyone else.

Engineer Laboratory

When Mainline and Air-Wolf got to the laboratory; they found Tesla Shot waiting for them.

“So what is this that Commander Land Seeker wants us to examine that seems to be so important?” Tesla Shot inquired.

“It is this mech that we found at what was left of the regional outpost. He has a gaping hole in his chest where his spark chamber should be. I’m guessing Commander Land Seeker wants us to figure out how the spark chamber was ripped out. The oddest thing is that there was only one other mech whose chamber was ripped out while the rest were extinguished by laser fire and other weaponry. Maybe we can figure out who attacked the base from what we find here.” Air-Wolf explained.

“I would think the obvious answer is the Decepticons. I’ll admit thought, it is unlike them to steal two sparks and kill the rest. The obvious question then is what would they want with the two sparks and why only them?” Tesla Shot mused.

“I’ll leave it up to the two of you to answer that. I’m not good at this type of thing and I figure the best thing for me is to report back to Commander Land Seeker.” Mainline added.

Mainline left the engineer and medic to do their work. He did think it was rather odd and yet interesting that one of their aerial scouts was also the engineer. As long as he knew what he was doing though, Mainline didn’t care.

Tesla Shot, the red medic copter, took a good and deep look into the hole that was some how cut into the mech that was on the table.

“This looks like it was an actual cutting beam instead of a saw or something similar. However, they were in a slight hurry because they didn’t take care while removing any of the wires. If they weren’t being careful, they would have cut all power to the chamber when they were cutting it out. How they did this puzzle me greatly - and worries me a lot.” Tesla commented.

“They had to take some precautions or they could have blown themselves up. This still doesn’t add up to anything besides a big mystery. Let us see if a download from his cortex will tell us anything about what happened.” Air-Wolf suggested as he hooked up the cortex scanner.

The computer screen that was just behind them flickered on with an extremely fuzzy picture of a battle scene. There wasn’t much that could be made out clearly enough to be of use. There was some laser fire here and there - but what was being hit or the origin of the fire was unknown. One thing that was crystal clear though was the audio track - and the screams it recorded.

“Let me see if I can adjust the screen. Who knows what this will tell us - if it tells us anything at all.” Air-Wolf commented as he turned some dials and punched a couple of buttons.

The screen wasn’t all that much better and all that was showing was more chaos as opposed to anything useful. Whatever had been done to this Transformer - it had so badly damaged his internal systems that it had made it impossible to gain any meaningful information from him.

“Well, that helped a whole bunch. Maybe he was knocked in the head and had troubles with his optics while he was watching all of this.” Tesla commented dryly.

“I’ll try to fast forward a bit to see if anything else comes up that would help out.” Air-Wolf said as he tried to skip ahead in the memory banks.

As he skipped ahead, all they could see was an unknown mech reach over to what seems to be the mid section and then everything went black. Another vague clue, which whiles it, provided more new questions - it also didn't answer any of their old ones.

“The only thing we got out of that was the battle was fierce even if it was one-sided. There was no way to tell who was attacking the base. Commander Land Seeker may not be happy with these results.” Tesla said gloomily.

“Since we don’t have much, we should head on up to the command center and report our findings.” Air-Wolf added.

Both Air-Wolf and Tesla went back up to the command center. Neither of them bothered to speculate on the events they had witnessed - the screams were enough to tell them that whatever had happened there... it had been bad. Very bad.

Command Center

“I was about ready to call the two of you. What is the report on the mech we brought in?” Land Seeker inquired.

“All we could tell for certain is that it was a cutting beam of sorts that carved out the spark chamber. We downloaded his memories from the battle and nothing was immediately obvious. In all reality, we got more questions than answers, I’m afraid.” Air-Wolf reported.

“That is disappointing. Hopefully a more in depth exploration of the remains at the regional outpost will help. Since everyone is here now, we shall get started on the debriefing. This one will be brief.

"We are heading back to the regional command post and not leaving anyone here. The base will be shut down to the bare minimum. We will be taking full armaments and as many spare weapons and ammunition as we can carry, two portable power generators, a data extractor in case the computer isn’t accessible, shield generators in case of attack, and any scouting equipment we may have on hand.

"We also have four Autobots who are more than willing to serve as pack mechs. We will scour every inch of that base and its computer to find out who attacked and their reasons why. This mystery will be solved and soon. Do I make myself clear?” Commander Land Seeker asked resolutely, his tone indicating only one answer was acceptable.

Naturally, then, all the Autobots in the room gave one answer - "yes."

“Sounds like everything but the waste disposal units.” Velocity commented under his breath if he had any. Complaining, after all, was something he did very well.

“What was that soldier? Did you say you wanted to carry half of the entire load by your self?” Rhinedon called out.

“No sir, I was just realizing how much we were taking. That is all.” Velocity said quickly, the painful thought of carrying that much equipment on his own quickly reminding Velocity that questioning orders was never a good thing to do in front of your Commanders.

“With that settled, gather up the equipment that we will need and meet me back here in the next three cycles. Dismissed!” Land Seeker barked.

The Autobots gathered up all the things that Land Seeker had listed. Most of the items were of the bulky nature and Air-Wolf grabbed his personal memory reader just in case he was able to find another mech to look at that was in better shape. Then the Autobots returned to the command center at the appropriate time.

“All right, the mechs that are assigned transportation duties shall start picking up the equipment and follow us on foot. The rest of us shall move slowly in our alt modes. Commander Rhinedon will take the back and I’ll take the front. No one shall go ahead or fall behind unless ordered to do so. We don’t want to get caught off guard by the same thing that attacked the regional outpost. Autobots let us get going.” Land Seeker announced as he transformed and moved out.

The twelve Autobots headed out towards the regional base at a fairly slow speed to make sure the ones that were on foot didn’t have to run too much. Land Seeker did go ahead several feet to keep an eye out while Rhinedon kept up with his usual pace also keeping an eye on what was behind them to the best of his abilities. The trip was uneventful, thankfully. The little caravan made it to the remains of the regional base.

Regional Base

“Autobots, transform!” Was the only command that Land Seeker issued to the group. Everyone but the pack mechs transformed into robot mode.

“All right, we are splitting up into three groups. Rhinedon will take Deep-Six, Waste Land, and Tesla Shot to the power core to check out if there is any damage to it. Stunts, you will take Spybot, Headlong, and Bombast to the storage area and scout out anything that looks obviously missing. I’ll take Air-Wolf, Mainline, and Velocity to the command center. As for the supplies that we have brought with us, set them over there in the dark corner out of sight. They will be there if any of us needs them. You have your assignments so move out.” Land Seeker ordered.

Main Power Plant

Rhinedon took his group and headed towards the main power plant. They went in the structure, seeing a few holes where laser blasts went through the walls including some really big ones that were probably made by heavy weapons of some sort. Thankfully the walls were holding together. As they continued to travel through the building, they noticed the dead bodies lying on the ground.

“Whoever done this have to have a fairly large army to walk in and annihilate all of these Autobots. There's no pattern to these blast marks, it's almost as if they just stood outside the base and shot straight through the walls. Then came in to take out whoever was left.” Waste Land commented.

“So could it have been Seekers who have done this?” Tesla Shot inquired.

“It could be depending on who the commander was during the attack. Some of the Seeker commanders have an issue with shooting a place up before they go in while others would simply blow the entire place away if they could.” Rhinedon added.

They continue traveling down the corridor until they reach the main core. It was damaged but not to the extent of being in complete disrepair. The group walked up even closer while Rhinedon looked at the control panel to see the damage it had received. The panel wasn’t really touched and in working condition.

“Should we start this core up or should we fix it first?” Deep-Six asked.

“It would be wise to repair the most obvious damage first. We don’t want any leaks or risks of blowing the whole place sky high by pushing a single button.” Rhinedon responded.

“Yeah, at least Commander Land Seeker won’t be able to punish us if we did since we will all be charred pieces of scrap metal.” Waste Land snickered.

“The bigger question is would you rather go out by being stupid or go out fighting? You can still go out being stupid in a fight but at least you would have somewhat of an excuse by being stupid.” Rhinedon shot back.

“Good point, I think I would rather take some Cons down with me if I’m going to go like that.” Waste Land responded.

“Good answer, Waste Land. Let’s just hope you won’t be going down any time soon if I or Commander Land Seeker can do anything about it.” Rhinedon replied.

Rhinedon then realized that none of them could fix the core properly. They needed some assistance.

“Commander Land Seeker, can you send Air-Wolf down here when he has the chance?” Rhinedon requested.

Storage Room

Stunts took his group to the storage room. As they traveled, they saw the dead bodies and noticed most were shot up. Then they noticed the body right next to the door way of the storage room. It was just like the body that was dragged back to their little outpost.

“So this must have been the other mech that Commander Land Seeker was talking about that had the spark ripped out. It doesn’t look like it was all that pleasant.” Mentioned Headlong.

“Let's leave him alone for now. Our job is to search this storage room to make sure there was nothing of importance missing.” Stunts suggested.

“How are we going to do that? We don’t have a list by chance? Please tell me we aren’t going to inventory all of these crates. That would take all day and I thought Commander Land Seeker wanted this done in a hurry.” Bombast whined, the prospect of heavy labor not a very appealing one to him.

“You forget our friend Spybot here, Bombast. Commander Land Seeker knew what he was doing when he assigned the mechs to their respective groups. Now, what we will do is open each lid and do a quick glance while Spybot will take an aerial shot of the entire room.” Stunts responded, being more patient with the youthful arrogance and impatience of the younger mechs than Rhinedon was.

As the group searched the boxes and crates, there didn’t seem to be anything missing that was of importance. There were some energon cubes that were gone but that was to be expected. The rest of the supplies were still there. Spybot did take pictures of the room at as many angles as possible. The room was hardly touched in all aspects aside from the scars of battle.

Control Room

Land Seeker walked around the room; taking in all of the devastation. It is quite possible that there was a major battle here. Land Seeker then received a communication from Rhinedon requesting the presence of Air-Wolf down in the Core.

“I’ll send him down but it may be a few cycles. The control room took some major damage. We are checking the computer now to see if it is functional.” Land Seeker replied as he points Air-Wolf towards the computer.

“So what are we going to do while the engineer has fun with the computer?” Velocity inquired.

“We will search this room and not leave anything unchecked or unscanned. We want as much information as possible concerning this attack. As you all can tell, there was quite a fire fight in here. Once we gather all the information we can, then we will search for our missing Autobots.” Land Seeker responded.

“No luck with the computer. It seems that power is out up here. I could go to the main power core and see what is going on down there.” Air-Wolf suggested.

“We don’t need to do that quite yet, Air-Wolf. We did bring a couple secondary power generators for such an occasion. I half way expected this from our first quick scouting mission. It was in here that we found the mech that we dragged back with us to our base. Mainline and Velocity will get the generators while you continue to work with the computer to the best of your ability. I’ll be searching the area looking for anything we missed the first time through.” Land Seeker said, gesturing for Mainline and Velocity to get moving.

As Mainline and Velocity left, Velocity turned to Mainline, annoyed.

“How come he gets all of the easy jobs while we get the heavy and difficult ones? He hasn’t done jack for us since we were all assembled at our post. Why can’t one of us be in charge? Sure, we haven’t been in as many battles as he and Commander Rhinedon has been in but it seems they care very little for us.” Velocity complained.

“Look, do you think we could last against the Cons without them? I seriously doubt it. There are only a couple of us who are heavily armored and that won’t be enough without some guidance. None of us have any real command experience. I think Stunts was in charge of his little training squadron and scored fairly high on that command test right before graduation. I doubt even he would know how to handle a large number of Cons.

"Face it, they are all we have and if we give them time, they may prove themselves. We only have been together for a few months. It has been quiet until now so they haven’t really had a chance to show what kind of leaders they can be. Just give them a chance.” Mainline suggested.

“Yeah, and you are a pet mech. You have no trouble following orders. I would prefer being out there on the road exploring some unknown planet or something similar. This labor job isn’t for me.” Velocity continued to complain.

“You are forgetting something here. You just got out not too long ago. You don’t have a choice where you go or what you do especially if you plan to survive. You still haven’t learned from your little walk carrying half of our slagging base how to respect authority. Life isn’t just one big party where you can do whatever you want to.” Mainline tried to explain.

Mainline and Velocity reached the spot where they put the equipment that they brought. They bent down to pick up the first generator. They slowly carried it up the control room. It was so heavy that neither one felt like continuing their conversation. Once they got up to control room, they put it down next to main computer. Land Seeker was rummaging around some of the control panels.

“Sir, we brought the first generator up and set it next to the main computer.” Mainline reported.

“You would figure that the Autobots here took down at least one of their attackers. If any fell, the Decepticons would have left them here. They aren’t always ones for recycling parts especially if it was one of the grunts. Blast it, I can’t find anything that even resembles who did this. If we can’t find any evidence on whom done this, then we will have difficulties tracking them down.” Land Seeker complained, disappointed that he couldn't find any clues to help him solve this mystery.

Land Seeker then looked up and belatedly noticed the power generator.

“Oh, most excellent, you can plug it into the main power systems that feed into the computer, right?” Land Seeker inquired.

“Yeah, we aren’t completely stupid. Some things are just real simple. We take this connector here and find the correct panel. Um, which panel is it that this plugs into?” Velocity says sheepishly.

“Try this one right here.” Air-Wolf says as he yanks the panel he just put back right before they walked in.

“It took me a few moments to find myself so don’t feel completely incompetent. Hopefully this power generator will be able to run this computer. However, I’m afraid to get the whole base up and running I’ll need to head down to where Commander Rhinedon is at.” Air-Wolf continued.

“First of all, get the main computer up and running so we can gain access to whatever information is in there.” Land Seeker ordered.

“Not to sound even more incompetent but what if the files we are looking for are encrypted? I do have some ‘outside’ experience in getting into things I’m not supposed to.” Velocity spoke up.

“So we have a hacker in our midst, do we? How I am not surprised? You do have a thing about disobeying orders in almost every sense. You were extremely lucky not to be drummed out of the academy.

"I am aware of your abilities and that is why you were assigned where you were at. Ideally if you had very limited access to a remote outpost, there would be little you could do. This may scare you all but our outpost isn’t connected to the rest of this region except through our communications. Our systems are independent of everything else.

"The main reason for that is that our little outpost was one of the first ones and most of it was outdated. When they renovated it right before we got there, they didn’t bother hooking it up to the rest of the network. We have a very unique opportunity there if we do it right. Now, back to what we are doing here.” Land Seeker ordered after his little explanation was finished.

Air-Wolf helped hook up the power generator to the main computer. The computer booted up fairly well with very little signs of complications. The only thing was that it was running a little slow due to the lack of main power. Air-Wolf could tell the effort was taxing on the portable generator that they brought because of the computer's power requirements. Hopefully it would last long enough to get the main power control systems operational.

“Commander Land Seeker, the computer is running and should be booted up completely within the cycle. However, with main power down, it is uncertain how long the portable generator will last.” Air-Wolf reported.

“Commander Rhinedon did request your presence down there to fix it up anyways. You may take your leave and go assist them.”

“Understood, sir,” Was the only response that Air-Wolf said as he walked out of the control room and down to the main power core.

“Now, Velocity let me see some of your handiwork on this computer. Hopefully whatever they were looking for will be found here.” Land Seeker said.

This is a little ironic. The thing I got into trouble for is what I’m being asked to do now. I always knew my talent would be useful but I was thinking more of transferring credits into my account from others a little bit at a time. Oh well, at least I get a chance to prove myself to Commander Land Seeker. Velocity thought as he went to work. The computer did boot up and a pass code was requested at the start.

“This shouldn’t take me all that long. There are some typical pass codes that most commanders use. Thankfully I got about 1,000 of them memorized and most of those follow a pattern so if I have to come up with a new one, that won’t be that difficult.” Velocity commented as he started hacking the pass code.

Mainline continued to look around and even out in the hallway that connected the room to the rest of the compound. All he saw was bodies that lay motionless. He be bent down to examine a few of them but all he could tell was where the laser blasts hit them. It looks like that most of them were probably shot down before they could even react. Whoever it was, they were surely powerful.

Main Power Plant

Air-Wolf made his way down to the main power plant. He walked through it noticing the same holes that the rest saw in the ceiling and walls. Then he found the other four Autobots.

“Air-Wolf reporting as requested Commander Rhinedon. What seems to be the problem?”

“As you can tell by looking at it, there are a few holes in the outer shell of the core. We didn’t want to push anything as we were afraid of the shell cracking and the core exploding. Here is the control panel.” Rhinedon showed Air-Wolf the proper panel and let the Autobot get to work.

Air-Wolf walked around the core examining it closely. It is true that the holes would cause some trouble if the system was brought on too quickly. Thankfully they won’t need to use all of the power the Core could provide. The main item is the main computer that is currently being powered by a portable generator. Air-Wolf then walked over to the control panel that Rhinedon showed him a few moments ago. He opened up the control panel and noticed the crossed wirings.

“Oh how sweet, someone played with the wires. Thankfully you didn’t push anything or we all would have been seeing Primus a lot sooner than we might have liked. It looks like that whoever wired this set it up where it would have turned on the core just fine but would have powered it up beyond capacity before anyone would have noticed.

"With the holes and cracks on the core itself, this place would have been the equivalent of a twenty mile across and thirty mile deep crater that was created by a massive core overload equivalent in power to a nuclear bomb. Now, the rewiring won’t be all that difficult and I can even do it in a way that we will be able to just get what we need for the main computer.” Air-Wolf commented as he went to work.

At that time, Rhinedon received a communication from Stunts.

“Commander Rhinedon, my crew is done going over the storage room. Is there anything else you want us to do?” Stunts requested.

Rhinedon thought about it for a few moments and then remembered the High Council shuttle that he saw just outside of the main complex.

“Your team shall go to the High Council shuttle to look for anything there. Don’t be too surprised if you have trouble getting in. Get whatever information you can from there and then report back to Commander Land Seeker in the Control Room.” Rhinedon responded.

“Yes sir, we will get on it right away.” Stunts communicated.

By the time Rhinedon was done, he saw a light blue glow from the center of the room. There were a few brighter spots from the cracks and holes but his sensors indicated no really dangerous levels as of yet.

“A most excellent job, Air-Wolf. Things should be getting back to normal now. We should head back up to the Control Room to report to Commander Land Seeker.” Rhinedon said.

“With all due respect, sir, I would prefer staying down here to monitor things to make sure nothing gets out of line or out of balance.” Air-Wolf requested gracefully.

“I understand and permission granted. Let us know if anything wrong happens. Hopefully this core will remain stable enough for us to get the information that we need.” Rhinedon relied before turning and leaving.

Control Room

Rhinedon and his crew went up to the Control Room to report.

“It seems that they were expecting us to come to investigate this incident. They wired the control panel where it would have overloaded the core real quick. It also seems they had some aerial units shoot holes through the walls and ceiling eliminating several of the mechs before they walked in. Nothing significant of the blast that would indicate who done it except a few holes in the walls and ceiling were on the rather large side, indicating they possessed some heavy weapons.” Rhinedon reported to Land Seeker.

“Ah, it is good to see you. It seems Velocity here has a knack for computers. He has been able to gain access fairly quickly and found some interesting files. Right now he is deciphering them since they were encrypted. Hopefully they will reveal why this place was attacked and by whom.” Land Seeker replied.

“Give me another chance to push a couple more buttons and here we go. This is the file that was encrypted. I’ll admit that was more difficult than the silly pass code that they used to protect the main system. It was a decent challenge but nothing outside of my skills.” Velocity gloated.

The image cleared up and everyone was shocked at what it read. The first was a memo from the High Council stating their surprise visit to see the installation and program that they were working on. The second file was the actual program. It was the gestalt program that both Bots and Cons have used in the past but completely rewritten to create a stable, intelligent, quick, and powerful gestalt program.

Somehow they had developed a core consciousness for the gestalt that would be able to be split among the respective team members and locked away in a shell while they were split. Once they joined up, the shells would open up and the gestalt program would come back together. Unlike the earlier versions of this program, there was no timer due to the safe guards that were in place within each shell. If the gestalt program tried to violate these safe guards, it would be split back into its respective pieces and the gestalt would fall apart physically as well as mentally.

The weapons specifications were adaptable due to the program have yet been tested out on anyone nor were there any designs for future mechs to be built based on the design. The most beneficial and yet dangerous aspect is that this program could be downloaded into any number of mechs to create the gestalt even if they were currently offline.

“Oh my, that would change things in the war if it ever got implemented.” Waste Land commented.

“That is true and the bad news is that this file was .downloaded recently. From this download, I can estimate the time of the attack. It seems that is has been about 15 breems since the download. I have no clue if they did this before or after all of the destruction. Sadly, that is all I can gather from this computer.” Velocity added

At that time, Stunts and his crew walked into the Control Room.

“Commander Land Seeker, we just got done searching the High Council shuttle or what was left of it. We had no problems of gaining access into it considering that someone blew a huge hole into the side. They rummaged through it like they have done with the rest of this base. The only thing we found was some schematics for a team of five mechs. It seems that they were designed for becoming a gestalt. Does this make any sense?” Stunts asked.

“Plenty and I shouldn’t be surprised that Commander Rhinedon had you search it when you didn’t come back with them. Did you find anything interesting from the storage room?” Land Seeker inquired.

“Initially nothing that was a big shock. There was some energon missing which was going to be a given. A few weapons were missing. One of the things that did find a little odd was there were parts for mechs missing. We just assumed that they were some random parts but now looking at this pad, they are the parts for these mechs. Here is the pad and Spybot can download what we all gathered so we can compare what was really missing.” Stunts reported as he handed the pad he found to Land Seeker.

At that same time, Spybot transformed and hooked himself up to one of the free ports of the main computer. He downloaded the inventory list that they compiled. Velocity then searched for the latest list the computer banks had.

“Sir, it is true. All of the missing items are energon, weapons, and parts that would fit any schematic for a new Autobot.” Velocity reported.

Land Seeker looked at the pad and then up at the screen and then back down to the pad.

“If I would have to guess, they might be making a gestalt that may only require two mechs. They already stole the sparks for these mechs from the ones we found. Why they would only build a gestalt out of two mechs is beyond me. This pad has specs for a five-member team and yet the parts only look like enough for two. This doesn’t make sense. We are also no closer to figuring out why they took the two High Councilors or the regional commander and the lieutenant commander for this base. We don’t even know who done this yet!” Land Seeker exclaimed.

At that moment, Air-Wolf walked up and rejoined the group. Then Velocity did a little more digging and found the base tapes of the battle. The entire group watched as their comrades were taken out so quickly. It seemed that most of the forces were practice droids of sorts with simple hand blasters. Then two good sized mechs appeared and it looked like they had Con symbols but the picture wasn’t good enough to get a good look at them or the mechs themselves.

“It seems we have even more questions than answers. We still need to figure out where they went and why they took the leaders. Whoever it was, they were able to do this with simple practice drones, which aren’t typical Con style. This can be a rogue faction of the Cons, a specialized group of Cons, or someone completely different. It seems our search has only just begun.” Land Seeker announced.


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