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TRANSFORMERS: Towards Peace - Episode 1: What's So Funny 'Bout...

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https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ebk52iDL4tw

 

Everyone had been to too many funerals. But the universe insisted on throwing everyone one more.
 
The Autobot known as Bumblebee was never the strongest Autobot, or the fastest, or the most scientifically inclined. At the end, after the events of the past several years, he wasn't even the most beloved. But even many of the Decepticons who'd tried for millenia to kill him had to admit that he was the most Autobot of Autobots; fiercely loyal, intensely compassionate, and committed to his principles. His funeral was well-attended.
 
Prowl, ever the forward planner, had dispatched guards in the event that someone tried something - but no attack came. Maybe it was the final stand-down order that Megatron had given the previous day; maybe it had been the recent attack by the ancient Metrotitan, amidst the machinations of the long-lost Transformers of the Dead Universe; maybe, after years of infighting and scrambling to maintain a fragile peace, no one was in the mood to fight.
 
As speeches were given, those in attendance reflected on the day.
 
For the Decepticons, everything seemed to change on that fateful day two years ago, when Galvatron - manipulated by the primordial forces of the Dead Universe - momentarily caused the combination of every single Decepticon on Cybertron to merge into a giant "omni-combiner." Robbed of will, that being was then forced to fight their leader, Megatron. After Galvatron's defeat - after Optimus Prime and Rodimus used the Matrix to heal Galvatron's infection of Vector Sigma - and without their leader, the Decepticons had surrendered. All were faced with the problem of how to peacefully co-exist with the Autobots - a state of affairs made somewhat easier by the ascent of Starscream to the role of supreme ruler of Cybertron.
 
For those unaffiliated, everything had changed with the healing of Vector Sigma - the origin of, one way or another, all Transformer life - and the signal it had sent out to every single Transformer in the universe: "the war is over. Come home." They had arrived to see a Cybertron that had come alive with strange phenomena that were barely understood - resurgent wildlife, strange weather, energon anomalies - and cities that had been ravaged by war. The war may have been over, but its wounds were still open wide and unrepaired.
 
For the Autobots, the loss of the Matrix of Leadership - something considered a myth by many unaffiliated, a useful prize by Decepticon orthodoxy, and a holy artifact by the Autobots - stung most of all. Without it to splice sparks from and create new, constructed-cold Transformers, and without any new hotspots that gave birth to naturally occuring sparks that could be forged into new bodies, the future of the Transformer race was in doubt like never before. It had saved them all from one threat, and its loss had created another.
 
The Autobots closest to Bumblebee gave their speeches. Prowl gave brief, utilitarian praise to Bumblebee's pragmatic nature. Rodimus spoke of how Bumblebee had the biggest spark housed in the smallest body, and only used the phrase "until all are one" twice (a new record.) Optimus Prime, who would always be a leader of the Autobots even if he wasn't necessarily the current leader, gave the kind of inspired speech that had made him respected, even by his enemies.
 
Then Prime gave Bumblebee his last rites. He touched the center of his chest, where his spark would be.
 
"I commend your spark to the Allspark and the Allspark is one spark and the one spark is your spark and in this way we are all connected."
 
All mourners present spoke in unison.
 
"And in this way we are all connected."
 
*   *   *
 
After the funeral, several Transformers - both those in attendance at the funeral, and those who had been elsewhere on Cybertron - received summons from on high. For the Autobots Seahawk and Highlift, it came from Optimus Prime himself; for Arsenal, it came from President Starscream; for Redline and Raker, it came from former Decepticon Supreme Leader Megatron; for Algorithm, it came from Captain Rodimus.
 
Optimus was at the embassy, helping with newcomers from Cybertron's lost colonies. Starscream was in his office at the tallest building in Iacon, Cybertron's capital city. Megatron was moving into the captain's quarters aboard the Lost Light, while Rodimus sulked worked on a hobby of his in the hangar of that ship.
 
Everyone had heard of the Nova Praxis, the recently built sister ship to the Lost Light; a faster-than-light quantum ship, staffed with diplomats and support staff, on a mission to a station in neutral territory, in help finalizing post-war reintegration between Cybertron's factions and the rest of the universe. Some had already signed up; others were weighing their decision. Wherever they stood, the Nova Praxis was on everyone's lips, and whatever was about to be discussed had to have direct bearing on that mission.

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Seahawk, sans Autobot markings and her colour scheme
EC83NCP.jpg

The tell-tale chirp on the communicator Seahawk had could have come from one 'bot. "Hmm... not suprised Optimus is summoning me... after all our time on earth."

 

The spindly Seahawk had a lot of conflicted feelings. As a flight-capable Autobot, she was already something of a novelty. Some even looked at her with distrust as she was a aircraft type. Something that usually screamed Decepticon back in the bad days... the dark days of the civil war. Being a triple-changer was something that threw bots for a loop as well, but with the number of such versitile forms becoming more common started to make Seahawk feel more like she was among peers.

 

But her odd form, the bird-like feet, the spindly body, her face that she most of the time hid under a helmet's visor, it made her stand out no matter the circumstances.

 

But all of that had become moot in the birth pains of this new era, and a confusing one at that.

 

The blue and white Autobot walked to the room Optimus awaited her in. As always the brilliant red chassis and his form commanded respect. Then again that old Semi has seen his share of battle. As she walked in her foot pads clinked when she stood at attention.

 

"Sir, Seahawk, Forward Scout. Present as ordered, Sir." She said, her vocalizer taking to the accent known on earth as "British" as she saluted. Her chinguard and visor sliding open revealing her glowing blue eyes and steel face to the Autobot leader... at least one of them...

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The service was the healing of one rift, as Arsenal recalled the spunky little Yellow Autobot from the Great War.   He was never deemed a high priority target, yet somehow he could stand in the company of legends, and his name would be spoken with the same sense of awe, if not respect.  He was the everybot cybertronian, and for many, his rise was a sign of a bright future.

 

Being summoned to Starscream's office was like a bad joke in a way.  He'd served under him tentatively when he as the Air Commander of the Seekers, but so often he was on detached duties that he had little real interaction with Starscream, having spent far more time with other seekers.   Still he ruled Cybertron now, and Arsenal found his way there.    Rattrap, the flunkey that Starscream kept around wasn't there when he arrived.

 

As the door opened, Arsenal strode within, seeing Starscream standing at the window overlooking what was left of Iacon.  "You called for me, Starscream?"

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Raker prowled the byways after the funeral of the Autobot, all that potential prey. She sighed heavily, no war, no prey, she felt useless. She was still Loyal to Megatron that would not change ever, she had never cared one wit about the reasons for war, the politics behind it. Only that Megatron had  inspired in her that loyalty which was a unwavering and in his own way had returned it.

 

When the war ended she had been on a hunt, had technically killed an autobot after peace had been called which she suppose made her a murderer, but she hadn't been called off the hunt, Repel had been a difficult run her a merry chase but nonetheless she got him in the end. When she had reported her success she hadn't been prepared for the reaction she had received from Megatron his sadness at her success, the regret as he had dismissed her without any other orders. She hadn't herd from him again after that indeed she had been lost with out his guidance. Until today.

 

Raker in alt mode climbed down the wall onto the field where she transformed to her sleek robot form and strode across to the great star ship. Raker's sleek form, unmistakeably female in shape, Drew looks from those guarding the entrance to the ship, both Autobots.

 

"I've been summoned by Megatron." She says coldly.

 

"You're expected, Raker, He is in the Captains cabin, Binge here can show you the way."

 

Raker turns her gaze upon the smaller autobot, what sounds like a low purr or growl resonates deep inside her, the small transformer sort of flinches away.

 

"No need, I can find him. After all its what I do."  She strides aboard the ship and in  minutes is standing at the open door of Megatron's Cabin.

 

As she pauses as she sees Him a sense of belonging fills her this is where she shuld be, At Megatrons side or fulfilling his commands. He notices her and motions her into the cabin with one word and a gesture, "Raker".

 

She steps in the purr audible as she speaks. "Sir, it's good to see you, I await your orders."

 

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Redline sat off in the distance, watching the funeral from afar in a foul mood.

 

"One, little Autobot dies and half of Cybertron turns out for the funeral..." she muttered to herself as she shook her head.

 

"Where were you all when I lost MY family, hm?" she asked angrily.

 

"I only lost them because of that stupid war... Because you all couldn't activate your optics and get with the program. Thanks a lot, Optimus." Redline cursed as her communicator beeped.

 

"Hrumph." she muttered as she looked down at it. She then rose from her seated position, turned and ran several steps before diving forward. Her form twisted and shifted in mid air, ending wither her tires hitting the ground. With a loud rev of her engine and a squeal of her tires she proceeded toward the Lost Light.

 

Redline strode down the hall of the ship as an Autobot rounded the corner walking towards her.

 

"Uh.. you're.." he said before Redline cut him off.

 

"I'm expected. I know." she told him, as she strode past him.

 

"Sir, it's good to see you, I await your orders." Redline could hear up ahead as she entered Magatron's cabin.

 

"You called, Megatron?" she asked.

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When Algorithim returned home, he barely recognized Cybertron. This was saying something significant, because the galaxy was not teeming with wholly metallic, completely mechanical planets. In general, if you found one you could assume it was Cybertron. It seemed however that millions of solar years of warfare, utilizing weapons of astonishing energy and destructive force, made a mark on a planet. And it wasn't just things like, 'oh, that place I used to have Energon-Burritos is a Wash'N'Wax now.' There were cities reduced to dessicated metal skeletons. Cities he remembered bustling with life. The lay of the landscapes had changed in some places. And of course, there was the energon.

 

...well, the lack of it, really. Yes. That was more accurate.

 

All these things he saw from orbit as the ship he'd 'procured' was granted a geosynchronous position above what was left of the capital city. Once the seat of the Council; the guardians of Functionalism. Now little more than a hovel inhabited by the wretched survivors of a conflict that had raged across times long enough for species to evolve to sentience and flicker out again.

 

And we wonder why so many view us so dimly, Algorithim thought as he went to the drop pod bay. As he went the ship informed him of an incoming signal. The old scientist accepted it.

 

The transformer greeting him didn't immediately trigger recognition. Bright red with gold highlights. Gaudy. He had shadows in the bright blue gleam of his eyes though. He'd seen things.

 

Algorithim, who held out the idea that friends might call him 'Al,' though he'd yet to put that to empirical testing, listened to the message, from one 'Rodimus' requesting his presence in connection with some search for the so-called 'Knights of Cybertron.'

 

If he'd had nostrils, and some kind of reservoir of air or similar gas, he'd have snorted. Everyone thought they were an expert.

 

His reply was a terse affirmative. It sounded more interesting than a funeral, even for a hero. And certainly more interesting than an audience with whoever was serving as 'president' now. This Rodimus at least seemed to respect his experience.

 

He assumed his alternate mode; a six-wheeled blocky vehicle made to traverse difficult terrain, festooned with scientific instruments that immediately began relaying more information into his mind. The situation on Cybertron was worse than the ship had been able to tell him. The new measurements indicated the planet was catastrophically low in energy. What would happen if it finally failed entirely?

 

We should never have had to find that question out.

 

The drop pod was a system of rockets that latched onto Al's chassis with high-torque clamps. The doors in the belly of the ship pistoned open, and those engines pushed him out on a re-entry vector.

 

He fell back home, surrounded by the blue-white flares of rockets and the scream of superheated air parting around his metal hide.

 

Once on the ground, Al left the drop pod on the landing platform...it had sufficient reaction mass and power to lift him back to the ship when, and if, he was allowed to. He followed the instructions he'd been given to the area of the city where the 'autobots' had largely camped, even though those factions had in theory become obsolete after the war. Right? Riiiiiiight?

 

On reaching the approximate location of the building in question, he resumed his robotic mode and made his way up. Up to where what should have been the future desperately sought the past.

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For her part High Lift, saluted Bumblebee.  She never met the little guy personally, but even someone like her remembers tales of his deeds antics.

 

She Transforms into her alt-mode, a space shuttle,  and takes the slow route on her way to her meeting with Optimus Prime.   Mostly to look over Cybertron.  Primus, so much had changed....some places she would just chat with her fellow explorers were wiped clear off the map, along with entire cities.  "Glad it's all over...maybe we'll fix this place up and make it better than ever now..."  She mused.

 

 

She lands near the Embassy

 

"High Lift, Transform!"  She transforms and walks in.

 

"High Lift reporting for duty, Sir!"  She salutes Optimus and then nods to Sea Hawk.  She's never actually worked with the triple changer, but has heard she does good work.

 

 

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Seahawk & High Lift

 

Seahawk and High Lift were ushered into the room with other Autobots, some of which had been part of the mission to stop the Decepticons on Earth, and some of which having come home from being scattered across the galaxy. Most of them were familiar, and so a little small talk was spent as they waited for their commander.

 

He didn't keep them waiting long. Optimus Prime entered the room, heavy footsteps echoing on the solid metal floor. He regarded each of them in turn with his famously stoic countenance, his face hidden behind the faceplate he nearly always wore. "Autobots... my friends. At ease. I hope there will be no more need for salutes and ceremony shortly."

 

He walked to the center of the room, regarding all the 'bots assembled. "When I became a Prime, I did so knowing that the path back to peace, and to a new way of life, would be long in coming and hard-fought. Even today, my thoughts turn to wise words I heard on the planet we most recently fought the Decepticons on - that a true peace is not the negative peace of the absence of tension, but a positive peace born from the presence of justice.

 

"Standing here today, I fear we may be caught in the former - and that's why we must fight for the latter."

 

Optimus gestured, and the office came alive with a holograph of what looked like a space station in the shape of several spinning tops piled atop each other. "This is the Unfolded Nebula space station. It is neutral ground, and has a history of mediating galactic conflicts. It is overseen by the Galactic Council, and they have offered to let us mediate a long-lasting solution to our conflict. They have a vested interest in seeing an end to our war, and an end to the technoforming of organic ecosystems.

 

"Since it is in neutral space, the journey will be long, and due to the pressures of diplomacy, neither I nor any other high-ranking Autobot or Decepticon will be on board the ship that will take us there. So I ask of those present: will you represent us, and the Autobot way, and help to end a conflict that has already taken too many of our brothers and sisters?"

 

Redline & Raker

 

When the two Decepticons showed up at the entrance to the Autobot ship Lost Light, tempers were already running high.

 

Several Decepticons were gathered around already, and there was a tension in the air between them and the doorman, the famed Autobot law enforcer Ultra Magnus. He towered over most of the robots present, but there were a lot of Decepticons present. Some of them would die doing it, but they could overcome him to get on board.

 

Ultra Magnus was having an argument with one of the Decepticons present - some Transformer named Hatchback - and the calmer Ultra Magnus was, the angrier Hatchback got.

 

"He is our leader! We demand to see him!"

 

"He is busy, and under section 1281 of the Tyrest Accord, a captain's ship is considered their personal residence and may not be entered without a - "

 

Hatchback bristled at Ultra Magnus' citing of the law, and the faint spinup of integrated plasma cannons could be heard by those with sensitive audio receptors. "Now listen, Magnum, I'm going to give you one chance to - "

 

"There will be no call for violence, unless given by me."

 

The door swished open. The ramp of the ship shook slightly as Megatron trod out. He was missing the massive plasma cannon, which wasn't such a shock; hardly anyone expected him to be on board an Autobot ship with it bolted to his arm. He was also missing his Decepticon symbol, and in its place was A hastily applied Autobot symbol - one that looked like it had been ripped off a fallen robot.

 

"Thank you, Ultra Magnus. I will take it from here."

 

Ultra Magnus frowned, but started back into the ship. "That badge is crooked."

 

"Noted. Leave me with my people."

 

The Autobot entered the ship. Megatron turned to Hatchback. The former Decepticon leader towered over the other Decepticon, who looked upon Megatron in awe. "Lord Megatron. I - we have some questions - "

 

Without a further word, Megatron reached down and grabbed Hatchback by his head. He lifted him up with one arm, and held the struggling Decepticon off to one side as he spoke.

 

"To answer the same questions I have been asked every day since the death of Senator Shockwave: no." He pointed to the symbol on his chest. "This is no trick; this is not shadowplay or mind control. No, Optimus Prime is not wearing my old symbol via some mutual swap. It looks like it was taken from a dead Autobot because it was taken from a dead Autobot - "

 

A Decepticon in the back cheered.

 

" - who, shortly before he died, happened to become my friend. His name was Bumblebee."

 

The cheering died down.

 

"The big question dancing in everyone's brain module is, why wear it? The answer is: because I believe that the time for Decepticonism has left us. There was a time when the destruction of anything not Cybertronian was a goal I welcomed; there was a time I believed that only the peace of the grave would end the war with the Autobots. But our first goal - the goal that first moved me to act - was to tear down the old order that held its boot upon all our necks for so long.

 

"That order is gone. The functionists are gone. Mode determinism is a joke, even amongst the cowards that left. Even the Autubots reject it now. That is because of us. All the rest - the extermination protocols, the goal of peace through tyranny - those came later. And now I believe they should not have come at all."

 

Hatchback delivered a few ineffectual kicks against the side of Megatron's arm. The larger robot didn't notice. "There is no simple masterstroke solution to the problem of peace; my friend Bumblebee opened my eyes as to how it is composed of a dozen daily battles. There is a station out in the space of the lesser - the organic races, that presents itself as the solution to this problem and an arena within which those battles will be fought. I have called you all here, because I have decided that in spite of Decepticons like this one - " 

 

He dropped Hatchback unceremoniously to the ground.

 

" - the rest of you know that a war without purpose is a war that must end." He looked over the Decepticons present. "I... have my own duties to attend to. So I ask of you: in my stead, who amongst you will go there - alongside those that left, and those that fought us - and see the last heap of scrap piled onto the old ways?"

 

Algorithm

 

The office that Algorithm had been called to was less an office and more a garage, out near one of Iacon's spaceports. When he rang the bell, a sting of some kind of music rang out. Algorithm thought for long moments, trying to place it, before he realized it was what the humans termed a "power cord" from an "electric guitar." 

 

Algorithm was about to try and recall the difference between an electric guitar and a normal one when the door opened. 

 

Rodimus held his arms open wide. "Al! Come in, come in. Step into my - well, not my office, that's back on the Lost Light, I just come out here to work on a hobby."

 

Algorithm was led into a large garage, and stopped dead at the sight of what was in the center of it - a large spherical house-sized craft, that looked like it was both spaceworth and seaworthy. It had a paint and customization job in red and gold and the top half of it was shaped exactly like Rodimus' own head.

 

He beamed at it. "Neat, huh? I call it the Rodpod." He waved Algorithm over to the workbench, and hopped up on it. "So listen, glad to have you back. Four million years, huh? Back before you left they called me Hot Rod, but, y'know: a lot's changed. Energon stick?" He popped a small container full of glowing pink sticks open, shaking one out for Algorithm to eat.

 

"So, why I called you here. There's a couple of missions blasting off soon. Some crew getting shuffled around - some 'bots are familiar with how my ship's quantum engines work, so they're going to help with its sister ship, the Nova Praxis. So there's openings on both ships."

 

Rodimus stuck an energon stick on one of the flanges on his head, behind where a human's ear would be. "Now I know you've been out there a real, real long time and so I get that exploring is a little really your thing, and that's what we do: we're looking for the Knights of Cybertron. We figure that with their lost knowledge we can find our heritage and maybe find a new place for us all to live, or figure out how to fix the old one. And in the meantime, there's so much out there to see! I figured you'd be a natural for all that.

 

"But, well..." He nodded. "I'm also supposed to be recommending to Optimus Prime - you might have known him as Orion Pax? - people for the Nova Praxis, which is a mission taking a bunch of diplomats to neutral territory so they can figure out a way for us to live with the other races of the galaxy. It was the kind of thing 'Bee was interested in more than I was, but..." He trailed off, looking uncomfortable. "Yeah."

 

"Look, 'Bee and me didn't always get along, but he was a good little bot. And I want peace too. But I would also love - maybe not Conjunx Endura love, but love - to have you on board my crew. Percy would - sorry, Perceptor would love having someone to talk to that he doesn't have to stick to shorter sentences with. But, you know: totally your choice. And I figured if you up and left home rather than have anything to do with the war... well, maybe you'd be interested in seeing the end of it."

 

Arsenal

 

The door to Starscream's office opened, and Starscream emerged.

 

He was wearing his "casual" regal cloak, but he still had the crown. Every time he showed up on planetary broadcast, he had it on, to the point people wondered if he'd had it integrated with his transformation cog. He beamed at Arsenal.

 

"Arsenal! Yes! I - your newwwww leader!! - requested to speak with you!" He chuckled. "I will never get tired of saying that."

 

He walked past Arsenal and towards his balcony, overlooking Iacon. "Amazing, isn't it? How much we can achieve when we set aside our differences and work together - with the aid of strong leadership, of course." He waved towards a building that several Transformers were rebuilding. "One of the many, many buildings destroyed during Megatron's last botched uprising. To think that after four million years, he'd learnt so little.

 

"Talking, Arsenal - or do you prefer your older name, now that the fighting is all over? Talking. That's what wins hearts and minds. You can't beat a world into loving you. Megatron failed at that. We will not. A new Cybertron is rising, and I plan to be at the center of it for a very long time to come." He clapped Arsenal on the shoulder. "And that's why you're here."

 

He shut his windows. "There is a diplomatic mission heading out into galactic council territory. A space station that is all about the art of the deal, the art of stopping wars with a handshake. Unfortunately, due to my actions as Decepticon Second in Command and my command of the Seekers, I'm forbidden from going. People think I may disrupt delicate proceedings. Ah, but you, Arsenal?" Starscream grinned a devil's grin. "You, have no such notoriety - not for lack of trying, of course! You sent many an Autobot into the afterspark. But you can go in my stead. And I'm asking you to do so. Uphold the honor of the Seekers - and the Decepticons and Cybertron also, of course - one last time."

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"Dotting I's and Crossing T's... logical, but doesn't that feel like it's poking a Drone Wasp's Nest, Sir? Something goes wrong and we're back to shedding energon all over the place. To be honest I like the fact I'm not racking up a requisition list for the torpedo missiles I'd been belching out." She crossed her arms. "That and a forced peace isn't well liked by the rebellious sort on either side. There will be political bank made to try to either disrupt this, or to use the goings on as some sort of conspiracy to hold down one side or the other."

 

Her visor and chinguard closed. "I'm in, if only to take down any disruptions. The possibility of saving organics as well as ensuring our peace I'm all for."

 

She looked over to her fellow winged colleague, although her form was a bit odd. There were many military grade aircraft that could lend to be converted for a Aerospace vehicle. "How about you, High Lift? Might need to be ready for an evac of civilians if some terrorist decides with the concentration of diplomats that a point could be made."

 

The antennae on her head pinned back. "Not looking forward to space... not my best environment. Give me the open sea and the blue sky any day."

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He started the conversation on guard, and could easily recognize that Starscream was using him, just like everyone else.   "Arsenal is who I am now, should I ever decide to return to what I was, then it will be time for a new name."

 

"That isn't all you want though is it Starscream.  We've known each other so long it hardly matters now.  I know you have some other scheme, some big plan that ends in your mind with you being the lord of everything.  I admit, the way you've played everyone so far, Especially once that Metrotitan spoke before us all, it's been a masterwork.  Still I KNOW you.   You epitomize the old Decepticon Order, good and bad.  Megatron's Second, promoted ever over Soundwave and so many others who might have been more qualified in ways.   Still you remained a constant, and we all heard when he came back, that was why you still lived.  He knew one day you would succeed him, when you earned it, even as he beat you into stasis."

 

The Red visor that was his eye now seemed to glow.  "I will go, to promote the idea that we can set aside old grievances.   The War is done, and Cybertron must transform itself into something new, hopefully more glorious than ever."

 

The larger decepticon joined him at the balcony.  "While I go, and help earn this galactic peace.Do not fail the mandate of the people.  You were elected leader to make Cybertron great again, to unite us and move us past the War.  Put the common bot first, and they will remember you forever, the first great leader after the War, a chance to show the greatness you believe is inside you to everyone, and let them judge it.   If you only pursue power, your own goals, you will fail, this time like so many others, and take all Cybertron with you."

 

No one will think to spare you if you squander this final chance.  The old order is gone, This is your last big chance, the biggest yet.  You possess a brilliant mind, and know all the old sins.  Do not forget them, and don't repeat them, and just maybe Things will benefit you more than even you could imagine."

 

It was a delicate balance stroking Starscream's ego and reminding him of his failure.

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Redline & Raker

 

Without a further word, Megatron reached down and grabbed Hatchback by his head. He lifted him up with one arm, and held the struggling Decepticon off to one side as he spoke.

 

"To answer the same questions I have been asked every day since the death of Senator Shockwave: no." He pointed to the symbol on his chest. "This is no trick; this is not shadowplay or mind control. No, Optimus Prime is not wearing my old symbol via some mutual swap. It looks like it was taken from a dead Autobot because it was taken from a dead Autobot - "

 

A Decepticon in the back cheered.

 

" - who, shortly before he died, happened to become my friend. His name was Bumblebee."

 

The cheering died down.

 

"The big question dancing in everyone's brain module is, why wear it? The answer is: because I believe that the time for Decepticonism has left us. There was a time when the destruction of anything not Cybertronian was a goal I welcomed; there was a time I believed that only the peace of the grave would end the war with the Autobots. But our first goal - the goal that first moved me to act - was to tear down the old order that held its boot upon all our necks for so long.

 

"That order is gone. The functionists are gone. Mode determinism is a joke, even amongst the cowards that left. Even the Autubots reject it now. That is because of us. All the rest - the extermination protocols, the goal of peace through tyranny - those came later. And now I believe they should not have come at all."

 

Hatchback delivered a few ineffectual kicks against the side of Megatron's arm. The larger robot didn't notice. "There is no simple masterstroke solution to the problem of peace; my friend Bumblebee opened my eyes as to how it is composed of a dozen daily battles. There is a station out in the space of the lesser - the organic races, that presents itself as the solution to this problem and an arena within which those battles will be fought. I have called you all here, because I have decided that in spite of Decepticons like this one - " 

 

He dropped Hatchback unceremoniously to the ground.

 

" - the rest of you know that a war without purpose is a war that must end." He looked over the Decepticons present. "I... have my own duties to attend to. So I ask of you: in my stead, who amongst you will go there - alongside those that left, and those that fought us - and see the last heap of scrap piled onto the old ways?"

 

Redline stood there, hands on her hips, as she listened to Megatron. Her optics were drawn to the crooked Autobot badge slapped on his chest time and again as he spoke.

 

'So it was Bumblebee's badge then, and Megatron considered the little 'bot a friend. Hrumph.' she processed. Redline had not given much thought to the things Megatron was saying... pointing out, really... she had been absorbed in her own grief and selfish deathwish to be sure. But as she processed his speech, it rang true, more or less, in her brain module.

 

The functionalists are gone.

 

The Autobots do reject functionalisim now... or at least they claim to. If so, it only took them nearly 5 million years to activate their optics, process the error of their ways and get with the program. 'Slow learners' would not even begin to describe them...

 

The time for Decepticonisim is past... more or less...

 

The War is over.

 

If that dead, little 'bot taught Lord Megatron something, and he considered Bumblebee a friend, then that was good enough for Redline... more or less. It is a long way to that station. Who knows what they might encounter along the way and there are sure to be diehards on both sides that only consider this a lull in the fighting and will push to make it nothing more than that. There would probably be plenty of chances to die along the way, right? And maybe even be remembered at a hero, so that she and the others might never be forgotten, she allowed herself to muse.

 

And maybe... if the War was finally and truly over, then all the best minds could come together and maybe.. just maybe they could find a way to...

 

It was a thought that Redline felt selfish for even thinking, like she was being disloyal to to her family, but her spark ached for it sooo bad...

 

She shook her head, bringing her brain module's processes back to the present.

 

"Hrumph" she muttered, and raises her hand.

 

"I volunteer, Megatron!" she boomed, using the speakers and sound system of her altmode to amplify her voice so that it could be heard over the murmurs of the assembled Decepticons.

 

Wait...

 

'Former Decepticons'.

 

Right.

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Raker didn't really pay much attention to what Megatron was saying her attention was on Hatchback how dare the foolish little piece of junk speak that way to megaton. She edged closer to the bot when Megatron dropped him and as he finished his speech she  was drawing back her arm to ignite her blade when Megatron spoke again directly to her

 

"Raker!, leave him alone no...more....killing."

 

Hatchback turned eyes wide looking up at the remorseless face of Raker. "As you wish sir. what are your orders?"

 

Megatron turned to his former bounty hunter, a hint of sadness in his voice. "Raker I don't give you orders any more. You are free to make your own decisions, forge your on path. Do what ever you want. I can no longer be your purpose. That is for you to determine now."

 

 

Then Redline bellowed her intentions to volunteer for the mission.

 

Raker recalled the speech Megatron had given and decided that if he was going to give her an order well asking her to volunteer was close enough.

 

"I will volunteer also Megatron."

 

 

 

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"Hot Rod," says Algorithm, "And Orion. Both Primes. Hnnngh."

 

He turned away and ambled to the large crystal window overlooking the city. War had winners and losers. But which was which?

 

"I've spent a long time out in space, looking for legends," he said in his somewhat raspy voice. "Cybertron isn't the home I knew, but perhaps it can be again." He shook his head. The heat-dissipating vanes and antennae jutting crazily off of it waggled.

 

"As much as my professional interest is piqued by your offer, I think the Nova Praxis is better suited to where I am now."

 

Algorithm nodded pensively, and because he was who he was, his next words had an ominous tinge to them. "Yes. Yes, there is much that can be done at a meeting like that."

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"Dotting I's and Crossing T's... logical, but doesn't that feel like it's poking a Drone Wasp's Nest, Sir? Something goes wrong and we're back to shedding energon all over the place. To be honest I like the fact I'm not racking up a requisition list for the torpedo missiles I'd been belching out." She crossed her arms. "That and a forced peace isn't well liked by the rebellious sort on either side. There will be political bank made to try to either disrupt this, or to use the goings on as some sort of conspiracy to hold down one side or the other."

 

Her visor and chinguard closed. "I'm in, if only to take down any disruptions. The possibility of saving organics as well as ensuring our peace I'm all for."

 

She looked over to her fellow winged colleague, although her form was a bit odd. There were many military grade aircraft that could lend to be converted for a Aerospace vehicle. "How about you, High Lift? Might need to be ready for an evac of civilians if some terrorist decides with the concentration of diplomats that a point could be made."

 

The antennae on her head pinned back. "Not looking forward to space... not my best environment. Give me the open sea and the blue sky any day."

 

 

High Lift nods.  "We'll make sure this goes well, Optimus"  She said with respect and commitment.  "Too many, Transformers or otherwise have been lost as it is.   We need to make sure this peace sticks as the Humans like to say."  High Lift nodded, having a small fondness for the humans.

 

She faces Seahawk and extends a hand.

"Glad to work with you, Seahawk.  I think I'll be able to get them out.  My Alt mode is fairly large and will have a good hold for them to stay in everything goes to Scrap."

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"That's good... this is too sensitive to be lax." She said, taking High-Lift's hand to shake it. "Let's hope you'll only be needed for tours."

 

She looked over to Optimus. "So, what sort of security detail are we having there? To be honest with I and High-Lift here volunteering, I would hope we have more assets to rely on? That and last I checked neither of us are diplomats."

 

She crossed her arms. "I'm... not savvy as to what's being arranged for us."

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Seahawk & High Lift

 

"The arrangement is with Heatwave, the captain of the Nova Praxis, a conscientious objector who left Cybertron rather than be conscripted. You would have to ask him what specific roles he needs filled, but it is my understanding that everything from navigators to security detail will be required. I have faith, however, that any of you here will do us all proud should you be called upon, or volunteer, to broker peace."

 

There was a chirp sound from Optimus' forearm, and one of his storage compartments popped open. A communicube - a common communications aparatus amongst Cybertronians - emerged. Optimus Prime held it up. "Optimus Prime here."

 

Raker and Redline

 

"Understood," said the former Decepticon commander. He thought for a moment, then spoken again. 

 

"Many of our former comrades have left Cybertron, searching for rumors that Galvatron has re-emerged and flocking to his banner. Be wary, for I am given to understand that they reserve their greatest anger for those they feel have failed Decepticonism. If you must defend yourself from your former comrades, that is regrettable, but it may be necessary. And it is their own fault for their willingness to follow a path I have renounced - "

 

A chirping sound came from inside Megatron's chest compartment. With a grunt of faint annoyance, he withdrew a communicube, and turned it on. "This is Megatron. Speak."

 

Arsenal

 

"Of course, Arsenal. Of course." Arsenal could hear some - not all, but some - of the oiled, practiced tone leave Starscream's voice. "Do not doubt that the future of our race is always foremost in my mind. You know me well enough to know how warmly I have embraced the path of enlightened self-interest. What benefits us all, benefits me personally."

 

"Of course, some aren't going to see that, but - " Starscream patted the fusion cannon that hugged Arsenal's arm. "That's what this for, and any wise rule knows when to use the energex and when to use the stick."

 

A chirping sound came from Starscream's desk, and he rolled his eyes derisively. "Rattrap, I gave specific instructions that I was - he's not here. Fine." He picked up the cube. "This is your newwwwww leader, Starscream. I'm very busy. What?"

 

Algorithm

 

"Ha, not 'Prime,' not yet, but..." He sighed. "Nah. Not ever, really. I know my limitations. It's a long story." He sat down on his workbench, paused, then shifted to remove a tool that had gotten lodged in a joint.

 

"Well, the Nova Praxis is a good ship. You'll like it there. Just remember, don't stand next to the engines when it's performing a jump. We lost half of half of the Duobots that way - a Quarterbot. Halfbot. I think? No, hold on - " He counted on his fingers. "Two bots and one of them got halfway phased through the engine leaves - yeah, I was right. Quarterbot."

 

The sting of a guitar power chord came from somewhere on his bench. Rodimus swept a few things aside, looking for the source. "Come on, come on... I keep losing the - damn - piece of scrap - ah, there it is." He pulled out the communicube, turning it on. "Rodimus here! What up?"

 

Everyone

 

A holographic face was projected out of everyone's communicube, of a stocky robot with a thick helmet-like head, a silver face and blue-hued eyes. It was joined, in succession, by holographic projections of the other four robots - Optimus, Megatron, Starscream and Rodimus - on the call. "Heatwave here. Just dialing in to touch base, and to let you all know that the ship is ready for our big meeting. All of you, and your newcomers, are welcome - our main hall is big enough. Artemis is at the gate, clearing newcomers and fitting them with inhibitor chips - "

 

"Those are a blatant violation of Cybertronian liberties - " began Starscream.

 

"It's just while it's open to the public. No detonators, they just shut down access to weaponry. I mean, unless you want to be surrounded by a hundred Cybertronians that are fully armed?"

 

"Hmph." Starscream's lip curled.

 

"Artemis is trustworthy. She's my second-in-command. She'll make sure you're all safe while we fill out crew assignments and have the big in-person sendoff."

 

"A clearly defined chain-of-command?" said Megatron, a hint of sarcasm in his deep, raspy voice. "What a novel concept. I can only hope Optimus decides to implement it on board the Lost Light - Rodimus, is your finger broken?"

 

"Yeah." Rodimus folded his middle digit back down. "I'll get Ratchet to look at it sometime this century. Keeps doing that. Whoops, there it goes again."

 

"If we can return to the minor matter of ending a four million year old war?" injected Optimus. "Excellent. Heatwave, thank you for your invitation. I will be there."

 

The others on the call paused, then muttered their agreement.

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"Okay when were we going to be appraised on this security measure?" Seahawk quickly interjected. "This is just as bad of a security risk as allowing us to be armed. What if some rogue does attack? The amount of time it'll take to disable the collars will open a opportunity for a greater disaster. Particularly if the systems regulating them is knocked to blazes. That, and this shows a lack of trust that we won't decide to blow each other into scrap."

 

She crossed her arms. "I protest. Vehemently. You can't trust we won't behave like adults here, then how will you broker a peace we can agree on?"

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Arsenal went very quiet for a moment, considering the implications.   Coming to his own decision, he nodded once.  "Very well, I'll go down and agree to the terms.   If we cannot do even this small and simple thing, in the name of peace, then it is over before it begins."

 

He turned his gaze to Starscream, then to the Holoprojector.  "Some of us lived in those conditions for a very long time, you get used to it."

 

Inwardly he sighed as the fact he was more than capable of killing bots without weapons came to the fore unbidden.  He banished the thought, and looked at Heatwave.   In the game of political brinkmanship, Arsenal was taking a calculated risk.  As Starscream's agent, his own acceptance of the terms might be seen as weakness, but more likely it would be spun by the master deceiver as a true desire to do what was necessary to move beyond the war that had defined the species nearly as much as their innate ability to transform.  It would be a coup of capital for Starscream, at the simple cost of a bit of discomfort on the part of Arsenal.

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Seahawk while her arms were crossed she tapped an arm with her fingers. "Something tells me there is a lot about this plan that can't be told over communications..." She said, then sighing... "Alright... I'll see what's up. I'll be there shortly."

 

She turned from where she was to head to the ship. "This isn't gonna get sorted out here, High Lift. Seems the security detail's gonna be waaaay more involved than I thought."

 

She didn't like the thought of being disarmed, but something told her there was a plan... wether it was a good one or not remained to be seen.

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hmmm, she smiled to herself inwardly laughing at what she was hearing over the comlinks. A weapon is anything you can find and even without guns or energy sword she , at least was far from defenseless.

 

"Should we get going Megatron? I would like to get there before everyone else...so we can get a good position."

 

She cocked her head looking at her commander...no, her former commander, and waited for Megatron and Redline to lead the way.

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"Inhibitor chips!? What kind of scrap is that!?" Redline snarled as her red lighting flared brighter for a moment, an obvious display of her outrage.

 

At least Rodimus was suitable outraged as well by the idea...

 

She looked over at Megatron, who she just realized agreed to the chipping... Hrumph.

 

"Fine. Let's get it done and overwith. I want that thing out of me as soon as possible. My internal components have already been through the ringer enough as it is." she relented.

 

 

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"It would seem that peace is still a fragile thing," Algorithim said gravely. "That convinces me that this is the right path. Good luck to you, Hot...ah, excuse me...Rodimus. If you seek the ancients of Cybertron, you will assuredly be needing it. I cannot say what you will find, except that it is certain not to be whatever you're expecting."

 

He backed up enough from the crystalline window that he could see his reflection in it, and ran his hands over the top of his head, forcing the cooling vanes and antennae wires to lay flat against his scalp. For an instant. Then they sprang crazily back up with a series of twangs. He nodded, satisfied that he looked his best for this important meeting.

 

"I will need luck too I think, in trying to make sure there's still a Cybertron left when you return from your journeys."

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"Call me a idealist, but I don't think I'll mind having my weapons disabled.  I mean, we're going to be dealing with others who never had lasers build into them."

 

She said as she looked at Seahawk.

 

"Don't worry to much, Seahawk.   I'm sure we're gonna be fiine.   Worse comes to worse between the two of us, we'll be able to lickety split , as humans say, folks caught up in there.:"

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Seahawk harumphed. "Then again, I'm an experienced hand-to-hand fighter... And got the superstructure repairs to prove it." She said, and many, many scars were evident. She has had a few close-in scraps, but she doesn't look like she came out on top. "Then again... those were heavy mistakes on my part. Just make sure to carry a collection of vacuum suits in case you gotta ferry biologicals. Maybe a medkit or two too. I can interact with my Holoavatar in that function."

 

"To be honest I don't know what to expect, and that's what's bothering my caution algorythyms right now."

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"Understood," said Heatwave. Then added, "If you change your mind about the chips, talk to Artemis. She's currently screening newcomers to the ship and we may have something else for you should you choose to remain armed."

 

*   *   *

 

The arrival at the exterior of the Nova Praxis was well-managed pandemonium, the air thick with the sounds of activated t-cogs as Transformers arrived and assumed robot mode. Numbers were assigned by a hastily erected numbering machine, dispensing holochips with a queue number. With little to do but wait, robots milled around in front of the ship.

 

The Nova Praxis was a boxy looking ship, bulky and unsleek. Making planetfall in an atmosphere thicker than Cybertron's would be difficult. Its most distinct feature was the exterior engine rods, which made the ship look like it had a mohawk. Some engineering modifications had been made, with retractable armor panels for the rods should armed conflict be necessary.

 

The Transformer at the door looked like she'd been in a few herself. She had that new-exoskeleton look to her, with a fresh coat of paint and the dents carefully removed, but her turquoise and yellow frame bore the bearing of a trained warrior. A few present may even recognize her - Artemis, member of the Wreckers, the Autobot special missions group.

 

Currently, Artemis and a few other subordinates were fitting a small chip into the chest chassis of a fidgeting Decepticon. Artemis seemed all business; the Decepticon seemed to be trying to goad her into attacking.

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"Oi, stow it, she's outta yer league, buddy." Seahawk said, leaning on a bulkhead.

 

"Artemis, is it?" Seahawk said, the visor and chin-guard moving away to reveal her face. "Seahawk. Looks like ye' got yer hands full, eh?"

 

She sets down a large carrying satchel with her missile launchers, rifle, and melee weapons. "My stuff is all external. Either attached or carried. Gotta keep the frame light, ya know?"

 

"Heatwave says ya got a plan... willin' to hear it once the others arrive. I'm concerned more about lone operators not someone like chuckles over here." She said, pointing to the Decepticon.

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Arsenal arrived and took his number like so many others.  Those who knew who he was kept their distance.  Seekers were known to be Decepticon elite, all of them gifted warriors, and despite giving up many weapons he once carried, he was still an imposing bot, the largest of the Seekers.  He saw the commotion at the front and sighed.  "Some thing all the old entitlements are still in place.  If we are to go forward, me all must play by the new rules being established."  several nearby that heard him nodded in agreement, though one Decepticon looked up at him.  "You were a seeker though, not just some grunt."

 

"We were all expendable for the cause, Even Megatron should the need have arisen."

 

"He renounced the cause, donned an autobot's badge, he betrayed everything.." 

 

Arsenal looked at him.  "He was true to himself, and asked us  all to be the same.  I still wear my badge because one of the cores of the movement still holds true, We are being Deceived.  When that ceases, then it may be time to don a new badge, or Primus willing, a time with no badges at all."

 

The smaller decepticon could not reply to this, and so didn't returning to what he'd been doing before speaking to the former Seeker.

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"Times change, even for us, Arsenal."

 

"Just a few years ago I could have been given the order to scout out where you were and report back to my superiors to take you out. HVT." She said, although she was speaking more a matter of past fact than any want to go balancing manipulator to balancing manipulator with a Seeker... and a rather massive one at that. She held out a hand. "Seahawk, and to be honest, more than likely I would be dead the moment you saw me back in those bad days."

 

"As for Megatron, I think he has a point. We gotta be flexible." She said. "Perhaps Megatron's seein' somethin' that we aren't savvy to just yet, eh? Don't be so willing to call that guy a traitor... not just yet. From what I know of old Megatron he don't give up an idea easily. Not without good reason. The war's over... nobody won. We all lost somethin'. That's why we're headin' to that station to put a framework in place to keep another war from startin'. Maybe he sees that too. Adaptus didn't make us adamantine blocks, after all. Nothin' wrong with changin' your mind."

 

"We aren't slaggin' eachother no more, I'd consider that a good thing."

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Artemis regarded Seahawk with a nod. "Seahawk. Glad you made it off Earth in one piece. I hear the indigenous life includes those, what do you call them, 'rust monsters.' That's what Swerve said, anyways. You never know with that 'bot."

 

She stiffened slightly at the approach of Arsenal, but didn't seem hostile. "Arsenal," she said, plainly. Then, after too long a pause: "So I guess since we're not shooting each other, the war's over."

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"It is.  Our world knows peace, even if it is uneasy, for the first time in four million years.  Across the cosmos species have evolved and thrived and died within that span, and all we have done is wage war.  It is good that we have finally relearned that there is more to life that that."

 

He looked to the Autobot, one of those from the world, Earth.  "I would hope no one finds cause for quarrel today."

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Seahawk smiled. "None at all. Hopefully we can start callin' ourselves friends... or at least colleagues. Optimus always saw me as a optimist."

 

"And no, Artemis, they aren't rust monsters. It's a natural effect of the environment there. Oxidation of metal. It's the humidity. Damage your paintjob or outer covering on your exoskeleton and you start getting a case of it. You wouldn't believe how paranoid I'd get in keepin' things in order with my paintjob and other things to ensure if I'm in Sub mode that I don't start degradin' my internals."

 

"But the flyin's glorious. That and putting about on the surface of their Dihydrogen Monoxide oceans is a dream."

 

She smiled. "Maybe someday we can go back... on better terms."

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"Oh you have got to be kidding me." Redline said as her T-cog activated, shifting her form from the unconventional cybertronian muscle car to that of her sleek, feminine her robot mode.

 

"They force us to get chipped, but aren't really even ready to do it in the numbers needed. At this rate a new war will start and end before everybody here gets chipped." she groaned, shaking her head.

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Totally Indifferent to the quandary of chipping facing the autobots and former decepticons, Raker, after shifting to robot form (so as not to keep the other Transformers uneasy even though she felt more comfortable in Panther mode), leaned on a stack of crates. She studied those who were here and listened without speaking to those she thought had a bit of snap over the other more common 'bots it looked like would be joining them. Arsenal and Redline she knew of though had never encountered either in her service to Megatron, the autobots she had only herd of the names and wouldn't have thought of them in any case except as targets.

 

She had never been free before. she had always followed orders and now she found that not having that left a big emptiness inside her.

 

"Since we are trying to form a lasting peace shouldn't we do away with those old badges, those old names? If we are really starting a new page, shouldn't it be a fresh blank page?"

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"You can do what you want to, of course. I'm keeping mine. A lot of memories bound up in it." Artemis looked at the assembled 'bots. "So, so far, let's see... Arsenal, Raker, Seahawk and Redline. Hmm." She checked a small datapad, and nodded.

 

"So for any 'bot that doesn't want to be fitted with an inhibitor chip, we have another option. Internal security has all been, or is being, vetted personally by me - but that's only half the security question. Anyone who's been vouched for can choose to be part of external security instead, in case anyone forgoes subtlety and tries the direct approach in attacking the ship. And it looks like you've all been vouched for. So: if you are opposed to inhibitors for whatever reason, you can stay out here, under my personal supervsion, and make sure that the Nova Praxis doesn't get anything crashed into it."

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Algorithim stepped up to Artemis, as 'lanky' as a large robot can be, with oversized optical sensors and the vanes and antennae making a jagged mane around his crown. He offered up for inspection a strange dark cylinder that emitted a high pitched whine, flashed little lights, and suddenly twisted and locked into a slightly different configuration.

 

"It's not a weapon," he said grudgingly, "but as it could conceivably cause destruction if used unwisely, I expect you'll want to keep it somewhere safe. Well. Not that it's not safe with me, but I'm not really going to argue about it."

 

His round blue eyes took in the other transformers gathered nearby and he nodded to himself, reaching some conclusion that he didn't see fit to share.

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Highlift quickly runs in

 

"Sorry I'm late!  Just was looking over the ship and got lost."

 

She said scratching the back of her head before looking at her fellow transformers.
 

"I think I'll stay unchipped.  No offence Seahawk, but I'm more combat ready than you and we should have things split between us, in case some Yahoos decide that peace shouldn't happen."

 

She spy's Redline and offers her hand.   "Howdy.  Name's Highlift.  Nice to meetcha."

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"Yes Rubbing Grit into the Gears of the ones you are trying to pacify is always the way to go. If this is the best the Autbots have to offer then we should go directly back to war. After all you didn"t win, we simply stopped."

 

She looks around at those assembled who have basicly gathered in their respective groups Autbot and  Decepticon.

 

"I did not follow a cause or a philosophy I followed Megatron. But he doesn't want a follower anymore, so here I am. But i am neither an Autobot nor a Decepticon. and none of you should be either."

 

She points at the ship.

 

"This is the new beginning we are supposed to forge a piece as one unit not as former this or that's. And I for one will not follow an Autobot, nor a Decepticon. As I stand here letting you put a chip in me willing ly, I call upon all of you to make this day a new beginning. Throw away the old shackles those badges represent and take up a new one."

 

She touches the ship reverently.

 

"This is hope, Lets us make a new badge that represents that hope."

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She spy's Redline and offers her hand.   "Howdy.  Name's Highlift.  Nice to meetcha."

 

Redline glances down at the hand and back up to Highlift.

 

"Yeah... That's not gonna happen yet." she says flatly.

 

"The term 'too soon' is a bit of an understatement." she adds in a dry tone a she looked at the others slowly getting chipped..

 

"What's the holdup?" she asks in frustration.

 

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"I'll take care of it, Algorithm." She looked him over, sizing him up, and nodded, then turning to High Lift. "Okay, High Lift: you're with me, on exterior patrol, along with any other volunteers we have. The rest of you, I'll get you chipped as soon as - "

 

She paused, as Raker made her proclamation. "All right then. Raker: Heatwave, the captain of the ship, is unaffiliated. He's been doing... whatever it is the unaffiliateds have been doing for the last four million. Search and rescue, robotitarian aid, though I suppose in their case it was biologitarian aid, I'm not sure what the nomenclature is. If you're worried about following an Autobot: he's the 'bot in charge, and I report to him. That goes for us Autobots worried about following a Decepticon. That's not going to be a problem."

 

"But personally, I'm keeping this." She tapped her Autobot badge. "You all do what you want with yours since my days of killing everything with a purple badge are over, but I have had this since the day I was constructed cold for the Firaxia campaign. This is part of me. I am going to work until my chassis cracks to ensure that there's never another made-to-order soldier in another Cybertronian civil war, but I still am one. 'Those who forget history,' etc.

 

"Now: Algorithm is getting chipped, High Lift is staying out here. Redline, I'm going to assume you're going in unless you say otherwise. Raker, Arsenal: going in to make nice, or going on patrol with my charming skidplate?"

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"Do we just pick a cabin," Algorithim asked gruffly, "or is there assigned seating? I've got better things to do than see how the 'security versus liberty' farce plays out."

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