Meltdown: Part Three: War

        "Many have speculated on what cybertron might have become if not
for the war. Some say it could easily have become a galactic trading
port. Orbiting Alpha Centauri (the closest star to earth's sun) it was
bound to be the first contact we made with an alien species. As a matter
of fact, they probably would have responded to our radio signals back in
the nineteen fifties if they had been there to hear them.  The biggest
result of the war though, was that it caused us to be dragged into it.
We didn't make this war, but we had to fight it."
                                       Meggan McTavish
                         Interview on _Good Morning America_

        "Ravage;  Ratbat;  Frenzy;  Eject."  Soundwave said musically.
And they did, each growing and transforming.  "At dawn we attack.  We
will try to catch them at the riverbank."
        "What makes you so sure they'll go there?"  Vortex sneered.
        "Seventy five percent of autobots cannot fly.  The jungle on
foot will slowly corrode them to death if they attempt the trip to
Ciudad Del Fuego.  Intelligence shows that Broadside is currently in the
Atlantic ocean.  Sixty six percent chance that he was their original
destination. Seventy nine percent chance is that they will continue on
their original course."
        "And If they CAN fly?"  Vortex said.
        "They can't."  Frenzy said, "If one of them could fly even as
fast as you he'd be well within range of Ciudad by now.  We'd be facing
a long range artillery strike and/or satellite strike.  We'd all be
dead, or at least flushed out of this thing."  Frenzy was small, but
knew warfare better than anyone.  "Ciudad's two-ton guns would have had
us for breakfast..."  He seemed to be checking his internal chronometer,
"..six minutes ago."
        "It took you nearly three hours to get back here." Soundwave
said emotionlessly, but they all knew it was a reproval.
        "Sir, you SAID to remain on the ground, and to maintain long
range radio silence.  If we'd have taken to the air, Ciudad's guns would
have pounded this place to ash three hours ago."
        "So six hours to sunup.  Not good."  Thrust put in.
        "All decepticons report to Hook for pre-combat inspection.
Laserbeak.  Report to Chopshop and brief him.  We will be abandoning
this installation."

                                *  *  *

        "Daniel. Wake up."
        "Ngg."
        "Daniel. Please put your systems back online, and move into
standby mode." Came Ratchet's voice.
        "C'mon dad. Ten more minutes."
        "Daniel, I am not your father."
        "Huh? Oh!" He snapped up with a start.
        "Hey. I was wondering how you could sleep through that!"  Meggan
said, kissing him. She had removed her exosuit and was in her underwear.
Daniel hadn't realized, but he was still wearing his exosuit.
        "Sleep through what?"
        "All the rocking and bumping and shaking. Every time Ratchet
took a step, I woke up!"
        "HA." Daniel chuckled. "I can't count the number of transformers
I've slept in. My grandfather once actually rode inside Starscream. I
don't think any other human ever had that `honor'."  He stretched and
yawned, "You should put your suit back on. He said, though he wished she
didn't have to.  Her red hair was free for the first time in months, and
it was catching Sol's light as it could only on earth. One of these
days, Daniel thought, One of these days...
        "Where are we, Ratchet?"
        "Map says that we're a few meters from the river. Sun comes up
in fourteen minutes, ten seconds."
        "What's the weather like?"
        "Twenty degrees Celsius, forty percent humidity. Wind at ten
knots from the east."
        "Sounds like a nice day." Daniel said, looking back at Meggan.
She was putting her Exosuit back on. Daniel rarely thought much of his--
he practically lived in it. He got up and helped her, and showed her
some of it's weapons systems.
        "C'mon, lets go outside and we'll do some shooting."
        They climbed up on Ratchet's shoulder and shot at various
fruits, which they would catch as they fell, and had a decent breakfast.
They broke through the trees to the riverbank.
        "Look, Blurr." Kup started, "I know you've done this before,
but."
        "Don't worry." Blurr said, slowing his voice down for the first
time since Daniel had known him. "I can make it."
        "But no regrets, buddy." Bluestreak said. "We won't blame you
if-- y'know."
        "Don'tworryboutmeI'mthefastestthingeverbuiltonland!"  Blurr
smiled and transformed. He hovered down the riverbank and hit the water.
He sunk a little lower off the water's surface, but was still well above
it.
        "Wait. Take this." Wheeljack stepped forward and held out a
small pack. "It's an emergency power cell. If we make it, and you don't,
hook the cell up to the socket in your hand before you sink, then switch
to stasis mode. You should last several weeks that way." He put the pack
inside Blurr's cockpit.
        "Thanks." Blurr said, and his engines revved up, the high
pitched whine piercing through Daniel's ears.

                                *  *  *

        >Ba-Doom!<

        "Whut the-- artillery fire??" Rumble said, covering his head,
they were approaching the riverbank.
        "No. Not an explosion. Amplitude and harmonics indicate a
large-scale sonic boom." Soundwave said from inside Vortex.
        "Like Thundercracker?"
        "Exactly, bro." Frenzy said.
        "Autobots!" Chopshop rubbed his palms together and transformed.
Ravage ejected and did the same. Blitzwing went to tank mode.
        "Ravage, move ahead, Operation: Reconnaissance"  Soundwave
ordered.
        Ravage and Soundwave make a unique team. Ravage linked his own
senses to Soundwave via a tight unidirectional beam,
enabling him to see everything Ravage did.
        "It looks like autobots all right. And humans." Ravage
whispered. "I see Kup, Ratchet, Springer, Wheeljack, and Bluestreak.
There's also two micros- scratch that, they're humans."
        "What about Grimlock?" Rumble said. "I saw a dinobot."
        "No Grimlock in sight." Ravage reported.
        They all looked to Soundwave, but they knew what the order would
be. "Decepticons. Attack."
        They came out of the air like turbine powered hawks. Vortex and
Thrust leading the way.  In seconds the area was in flames and the sky
full of smoke and shells.
        Soundwave leapt from Vortex's cockpit, transforming as he fell.
Kup took a couple of potshots at him, and missed. Soundwave responded
with the massive gatling cannon on his shoulder.
        "Dammit, decepts, I've had it!"  Wheeljack yelled.  He ignited
his rocket boosters and rammed Thrust as hard as he could, holding on
and dragging him down into the river.  They landed, waist deep in murky
water.
        Kup kept shooting at Soundwave, but Soundwave was actually a
pretty good warrior, and anticipated them. Unfortunately he didn't see
Grimlock surface in the water behind him, or he might have kept his arm.
        Grimlock flew vertically out of the water and clamped down on
Soundwave's shoulder, the wrenching of steel and snapping of connections
in his body filled the air, until Grimlock finally shoved one foot
against Soundwave and ripped the arm and a good deal of the shoulder
clean out.
        Soundwave fell in the water, and landed sitting in it. Grimlock
made a move toward him, but Soundwave held out his left arm and Grimlock
fell to the ground, hit by a hypersonic pulse.  Cracks spread all over
his nose and chest armor.
        Daniel was trying to find cover. He turned away from the river,
only to see Rumble block his way. Meggan shrieked. She'd never been this
close to a Decepticon.
        "Ha! Ya puny humans thought ya could run?"  Rumble grinned. At
two meters tall, he wasn't much bigger than a human, but he was a lot
heavier and tougher.
        "I don't do that any more." Daniel said, and smashed rumble
across the side of the head, sending him flying four meters.
        "Whatsamatter, Rumble? Exosuit's gotten a little better since
you last saw me?" He fired a shot that blew a hole in the small
decepticon's chest. Rumble staggered to his feet.
        "But you're a human! A fleshling!"  he was clearly terrified.
        "Yeah. We're not just for breakfast any more!" He smiled.  "This
is for Prime!" He swept rumble's feet out from under him, and he fell.
"And my MOTHER!" Dan smashed Rumble in the face, all rumble could do was
watch in horror. He'd bitten off much more than he could chew. "AND
IRONHIDE" He tore an arm out, and Rumble finally cried out.
        "Ravage!! Help me!! Laserbeak!"
        There was a blast from behind Daniel, knocking him to the forest
floor. He smelled burning flesh, but curiously didn't feel anything. He
rolled over to see Laserbeak finish a flyby.  He turned to see if Rumble
was seeking retribution, but the small decep was unconscious.
        Daniel tried to get up, but couldn't move. He couldn't feel his
arm. He looked down and saw that his arm was lying, severed just below
the shoulder, beside him, and there was a shimmering wraith slowly
stalking out of the jungle at him.
        And It moved like a cat.
        No time to think. No time for anything. Just act. Just hit it.
Just jump!
        Meggan leapt onto Ravage's back, punching him in the head as
hard as her suit would allow.  She could barely make out his cloaked
outline, but had a firm grip, and pummeld him by touch Ravage fell to
the ground, and then threw her off. He turned his attention to her, but
when she opened up with the flamer built into her suit, he elected to
leave the fight, and disappeared into the forest.
        "Dan! Oh, my god, Dan..." She kneeled by him
        Bluestreak fired into the woods.  His targeting system showed
massive heat signatures there.  The explosion was horrendous, setting a
hundred yards of rainforest on fire.
        The return fire was worse.
        It hit him square in the chest, knocking him into a tree.  The
tree gave under his weight.  He stood, the right half of his chest in
flames, and walked into the water to put them out. He went in deep until
only his head and shoulder cannons stuck out.
        Blitzwing finally rolled out of the forest.  The left side of
him was blackened badly, but undamaged.  Apparently Bluestreak had just
missed a direct hit.
        He fired, and this time smashed a concussion grenade right into
the nose of Blitzwing's tank form.  This knocked him back nearly five
meters and put a huge dent in him. Bluestreak was now below his field of
fire, and Blitzwing had to transform.
        He shot at Bluestreak, clipping him across the eyes and blinding
him.  Bluestreak dropped underwater and transformed to activate his
secondary sensory package, which was also shot up pretty bad, but The
exposed electronics in his head immediately shorted out on contact with
water, sending him into siezures.
        Wheeljack was winning.
        This was not Thrust's kind of fight, and he knew very little
about and to hand combat.  All he could do was roll with the punches and
look for an opening while Wheeljack struck sparks off his head.
        He found it.
        He fell backwards on the next punch, completely submerging in
the water.  When Wheeljack moved to grab him, he raised his arm.
        The missile hit Wheeljack square in the shoulder cannon, which
exploded in a fury.  Half of the outer armor on Wheeljack's head was
blown off, revealing the structure beneath.  The wires and circuit
boards in his face arced and fizzled.
        "That hurt."  Wheeljack said, and put his foot through the
cockpit dome on Thrust's chest.  He began to fire laser bolts into the
water, sizzling away at thrust's circuits.  But thrust had one more.  He
raised the other arm, this time firing right into Wheeljack's chest.
They both fell.
        Kup shot Soundwave in the hand, and then dove in to help
Grimlock. Grimlock shook his head, trying to break the effects of the
pulse, while Kup held on to Soundwave's back And pounded on his head.
Grimlock finally recovered and spun in the water, smashing his tail
across Soundwave's head.
        Vortex came out of nowhere. He dropped a bomb right onto
Grimlock's head, which blew to pieces along the previously made cracks,
forcing him to transform and use his secondary sensory package in his
human head. Kup began shooting at Vortex, but couldn't get a bead on
him.
        Chopshop was all but killing Springer. The hurt Autobot had
already lost motor control below the waist, and was rapidly going
downhill. The last thing he saw before blacking out was Chopshop's huge
jaws.
        They were the only ones left.  Grimlock, the toughest son of a
bitch on any planet, and Kup, the perennial survivor Ratchet was in the
woods somewhere, probably attending to one of the others.  Hopefully the
cassetss hadn't found him Chopshop was on one riverbank, Blitzwing on
the other.  Vortex and Laserbeak above, and Soundwave in the water with
them. Ravage and Frenzy were present too, but Kup couldn't see them.
        "I always hoped I'd go down fighting"  Kup said to his friend.
        "Glad it's with you."  Grimlock replied.
        Then something happened.
        A streak went by, knocking soundwave off his feet again.
        >SKoooooooooM!!!<
        The roar of engines filled the air, and Kup looked up at a sight
that would have made him cry if he'd been able to.  A red and white
angel cruised by, and transformed, raining death down on the
decepticon's heads with his autocannon.
        "Jetfire!"  Grimlock said, and he wasn't alone.  Skylynx was
backing him up!
        Skylynx split up into his two parts, and Jefire rammed 250mm
depleted uranium rounds into Soundwave's back, causing total system
shutdown. Soundwave fell.
        The Lynx half of Skylynx hit the ground running, picking up
Daniel And Meggan into a small bay which he had been retrofitted with.
Daniel was fading into unconciusness.
        >Rathcet? You functioning?< Meggan called over the radio while
Skylynx stomped Casettes.
        >Here, young lady.< He said, pushing a tree aside and stepping
out of a thicker section of jungle. He was blackened, and was dragging
one foot.  He was covered in bite and claw marks.
        "Dang, Ratchet. You seen better days." Skylynx said, switching
from radio to speech.
        "So has Ravage" Ratchet said, holding up a smoking laser
scalpel. He climbed on his four-legged freind's back.
        "You think adding these two will save your autobot hides?"
Blitzwing boasted, transforming.
        "They don't have to.  I've got two words for you, triple
changer: Satellite Strike."  Jetfire smiled under his mask.
        There was a smashing, wrenching, burning sound, as Omega
Supreme's massive canon struck from orbit, obliterating a huge swath of
jungle and crippling Blitzwing, Laserbeak, and Vortex.  A huge section
of the river was vaporized to steam, and the water on either side rushed
in to fill the gap.  Ozone filled Meggan's nostrils even through the
filters 'Lynx provided
        The remaining decepts took one look at the level of raw power,
and decided they wanted no part of it.
        "We surrender"  Frenzy said, taking charge.  No one questioned
him.
        "Cosmos.  This is Jetfire.  Link me to Ciudad and Omega."
Jetfire spoke into a long range communicator
        >Done Good buddy<
        >Ciudad here.  How's it swingin'?<

        >Omega Supreme.  Standby mode.< came over the radio.
        "Ciudad:  Stand down your weapons.  Things aren't that bad.
Omega: Thanks for your help, but we're cool."  Jetfire said as he landed
and took the humans from Skylynx.
        >Bueno!  I'm outy holmes.  Tell Daniel I said `Hi'.  Hasta!<
Came Ciudad.
        >Omega Supreme:  Orders Recived and understood.< and a click as
he shut down his channel.
        Daniel awoke to see Both Meggan and his father standing over
him.  Meggan kissed him when as soon as he opened his eyes.
        "You okay, son?"  His father said.
        "Yeah,"  He looked at his missing arm.  "I'll live."
        "We were unable to save your arm, Dan."  Ratchet said as if it
were his fault.  "It was burnt up pretty bad."
        "I know.  I saw it." He thought a moment.  "Well, it looks like
you're finally gonna get your wish, Ratchet.  At least in part."  He
nodded to his missing arm.
        "I'll get right on it."

                                END
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