Transformers Versus Aliens


by D.A. James (daj002@acad.drake.edu)


Author's Notes



   Author's Notes:
   
   These are some the continuity things for my little universe, so no one
   gets confused:
    1. Megatron is in charge of the Decepticons. Who's Galvatron? Where
       Meggy appears, I decided to go with the G2 craze, so, yes, he's a
       tank.
    2. Size is constant. Astrotrain is approximately 2.3 times larger in
       shuttle form because his insides hollow out. The communicators,
       however, have very limited power in humanoid form, and must
       transform to get their full ability, and they definitely do not
       shrink.
    3. Starscream is evil, not just a winy dink.
    4. Shockwave is believed to be dead.
    5. This little episode takes place deep in space, and both sides are
       looking for energy sources.

   It has been mentioned to create a continuous universe, however I think
   that it would be easier to divide the fiction into two seperate
   universes, those that use the movie as a bible, and those that don't.
   
   This little universe of mine I don't believe contradicts any of the
   others to tell the truth, except here, the movie never happened (or
   hasn't happened yet, since this is contemporary time for me).
   
   For the character developments, that's different for all of us. For
   me, I never had anything to do with transformers after the third
   series, (with the exception of a slugslinger toy I had), so I don't
   know any of these characters after this, so I have not incorporated
   them.
   
   I have taken liberty with killing a tf or two, (you'll see!), but, uh,
   I don't think I killed a major one, and sometimes, when you think a
   character is dead, there may be more than meets the eye, of course.


Chapter 1



        Orange flowed from the sky.  Howling winds shrieked against the starry
scape as the cloudy surface of the fifth planet of the Ska system came into
view.  Shrieking like a streaking beam of light, the gassy clouds opened and
enveloped the visage of a purple and silver shuttle, ripping a hole in the
atmosphere, allowing a smaller red and white jet to follow in the hole behind
it.

        The surface was passing rushing up quickly now, and the continents
could be seen among frothing, blue oceans of water.  The surface of the planet
was outlined in glowing fires, coming from the interior of the planet.  This
was a hostile world, not welcome to any forms of life.
        
        The shuttle hummed to a slow over a wide plateu, steam apparent in all
directions hundred of kilometres away.
        "Astrotrain to commander Starscream, the grid-data indicates we are
29.5 kilometres and closing in on target, on an azimuth heading northwest.
Request permission to land."

        The response over the communicator was quick and cold.

        "Don't you dare set down on the plateau!  We would be sitting ducks
for any military operation!  Set course past the objective and set down in the
volcanic area beyond it, from there we will approach the target."

        Starscream allowed his scope to pan the desert below him.  He chuckled
to himself at the desert landscape, so reminiscint of an Earthen desert.  He
swooped below and watched the dust swirl below his engines.
        The target was now below, Starscream turned upside down.
        Soundwave, who was riding Starscream in communicator mode was in
cyclical shutdown to conserve energy.  Suddenly he awoke, plummeting to the
planets surface.
        "Soundwave," crackled the voice of Starscream, "scout the target area,
report back to me every detail."

        Soundwave transformed in just enough time to allow his legs to hit the
ground.  His first action was to verbally curse Starscream and then instantly
confirm his orders through the communicator, "yes, commander."
        
        "Fine with me," thought Soundwave, happy enough to strike out on his
own, he didn't exactly care for Starscream in the least.  "I work better
without the direction of puny minds, he thought, opening his chest, and letting
out a sleek black cassete that transformed into Ravage the Jaguar.

        Soundwave stroked the metallic cat and scanned the horizon in all
directions.  Ravage suddenly stiffened and began to growl.
        From beyond a crevice in the plateau a shiny black creature rose.  With
spikes along its body and an enourmous mouth revealing hundreds of teeth, it
reached full height, almost thirty feet, howling a venemous hiss in Soundwave's
direction.
        
        Soundwave lost no time, he raised the barrel of his gun and locked onto
the head of the creature.  He fired, and the creature, screaming, split in
two and collapsed on the ground, apparently dead.
        Ravage trotted forward to investigate.  He sniffed at the carcass and
recoiled in pain.
        The creature's blood was acid!
        
        Soundwave looked around, seeing no other signs of life, he disregarded
the incident as insignificant.  Starscream, of course, would want this
reported to him so that he could come to that conclusion himself.  Soundwave
stuck towards the entrance to an enormous cave entrance at the horizon, by
earthling measures, a hundred stories high.  He delighted in a slight feeling
of ecstasy knowing that he was disobeying Starscream's direct orders.

        Ravage trotted along, scouting Soundwave's sides and rear, continuously
shaking his head, trying to remove the sting of the acidic burn on his nose.
        
**************************************************************************

        Starscream stood on the edge of a great rock overlooking the plateau
below, and surveying the nearby lavaflows.
        Astrotrain was humming to a landing behind him.
        The shuttle bay opened and Scrapper immediately leapt out.
        "By the Matrix!  He barked!  There is no way we are all going back in
this piece of junk shuttle, there wasn't even room to twitch in there."

        "FLY YOURSELF!"  Astrotrain replied.
        
        Hook followed Scrapper out at a leisurely pace and was quickly smacked
by Long Haul, Mixmaster, Frenzy, Rumble, and Ratbat in succession.  Behind
them all was Bonecrusher, pushing ferociously.
        "OUT!  OUT!  OUT!"
        While it was apparent that a case of clausterphobia had gripped the
decepticons, Starscream did not appear to move one micron, but continued to
glare at the lava flows that appeared to be spilling the interior of the planet
onto the surface of the plateau below.
        "Mixmaster," he ordered without looking around, "I want immediate
configurations of the stability of this planet."

        Mixmaster took a sample of the planets surface material and transrormed
into his cement truck phase.  Rumbling, he began to spew out his calculations.
"Mean surface temperature: 86 degreees Celsius and rising, the presence of
electromagnetic radiation is extremely high, and seems to be graded more
predominantly in the planet's interior.  The scorched surface area indicates
that carbon based life form once existed on this planet, but was recently
exterminated.  Also indications of a rapidly thinnning atmosphere.  Volcanic
activity: Heavy."
        
        "Really," murmured Starscream, still transfixed on the distant lava
flow.  "Mixmaster, Hook, Ratbat," set up the converters on those lava flows to
tap energy from them, we must refuel.  The rest of you constructicons take the
metal on this surface, construct the boom crane above the cave entrance and
await further instruction."

        "Commander," said Astrotrain, approaching Starscream, "Soundwave has
just informed me that he has entered the cave entrance."
        "I see," Starscream grinned darkly, "apparently he decided not to
inform me directly?"

        "He is proceeding as planned, and is otherwise awaiting further
instruction, commander."

        "Ah," starscream sighed. " He will let us know when he reaches the
objective."
        "Starscream, commander, if you don't mind me asking, what signal is it
we have been tracking over all this distance?"
        Starscream chuckled.  "Why, an autobot distress signal, of course.  The
autobot is obviously injured, otherwise I would NEVER put Soundwave in such
a dangerous position by himself."  Starscream seemed to delight in the thought.
        
        "All this distance...for the head of an autobot...?  Is Megatron
insane?"

        "Ah, well, Astrotrain, there is something else here that was encoded
along with the signal.  If its true, then this could truly be a great day for
the decepticon glory."

*****************************************************************************

        Behind the second moon of the fifth planet of the Ska system, an
Autobot shuttle orbited in isolation from the decepticons above the planet's
surface.
        
        Perceptor stood over a panel of flashing data, numerical sequences
reflecting on his faceplate.
        In the shadows behind, the imposing figure of the Autobot commander,
Optimus Prime, stepped into view, along with the commicator, Blaster.
        
        "Your findings, Perceptor?," inquired Prime.

        "This is quite intriguing, Prime, quite."  Perceptor chirped.

        "It seems that Cosmos, in his preliminary data of this system
discovered that this is and extremely old system, in fact, the sun appears to
be on the verge of going supernova.
        Also, the fifth planet was once heavily populated by carbon life forms,
littering the planet with carbon crystals, also combined with a high surface
temperature, extremely high radiation readings, and extreme volcanic activity
for billions of years.  This is quite exciting news, and it would appear that
the decepticons are aware of it as well, and must have intercepted Cosmos'
transmissions, or they would never be this deep in the galaxy."

        Prime stood silent for a minute, and looked towards blaster to see a
hint of comphrehension, finding none, he turned back to Perceptor.
        "Er, yes, Perceptor, but what does this mean?"

        "Oh, of course of course of course, I didn't tell you that."  Perceptor
tapped his head feeling sheepish about his own absent minded-ness, and began to
chirp again.
        "The conditions on the fifth planet are just the right conditions for
the formation of adamantium, the strongest metal known in the universe.  It
cannot be produced by any artificial means known, since it must 'bake' in the
interior of a planet under intense radiation, heat, and pressure, for what is
believed to be five billion years.
        Megatron may be out to gain a supply of adamantum, and since the sun
is on the verge of exploding, he's taking a huge gamble by doing it, but one
that is sure to pay off if he can gain even a few tons of adamantum."

        "And the situation of Cosmos?  Do you know how he became disabled,
where is he?" asked Prime.

        "That I can't tell you," furrowed Perceptor, troubled at the unkonwn
fate of his friend, the autobot scout-craft, cosmos.
        "I can tell you, his last transmission before he was obviously disabled
mentioned that he ran into some kind of a hostile situation, as he was entering
a cave searching for geologic evidence of the planet's interior.  I fear that
he may have succumb to the possibly intentse radiation present there.  It could
be anything from a Decepticon probe to a cave in."
        "I just hope,..." Perceptor choked on his words, not wanting to accept
the mortality of Cosmos.
        
        Optimus placed a reassuring hand on Perceptor's shoulder.
        "Blaster," he said quietly, "I want you to find Roadbuster and take a
strike team to the planet's surface.  Approach from the far side, do not engage
the decepticons until it is necessary.  If Megatron has begun extracting
adamantum from the interior, let him do the work, and we'll surprise him and
take it for ourselves.  I want no casualties on this expedition if it can be
prevented, even at the cost of the adamantum.  Your first priority is to keep
it from falling into the hands of the decepticons, your second is to rescue
Cosmos, only the third objective is to secure it for ourselves."

        Roadbuster was oiling his rifle as Blaster played back the mission
imperitives to him.
        Roadbuster guffawed.
        "I'll tell you something, autobots," he drawled, "I've said many times
that I would give up my life to destroy the decepticons, and this adamantum is
the best bet I've seen yet.  We're not leaving that planet without it."
        The team of Jazz, Blurr, Skids, Hound, Beachcomber, Bluestreak, and
Trailbreaker chuckled at Roadbuster's apparent cavalier-ness.  Only Blaster
thought to himself that Roadbuster's insubordinate snub was indicitive of
greater problems to come.
        The strike shuttle landed, it had been skimming the surface of the
plateau, approaching the decepticon position under its radar.  A great dust
storm had helped to shield the autobots from possible detection.
        "This will be a great day, indeed, soldiers, we will have many a
decepticon carcass to decorate our trophy rooms."
        The autobots left the shuttle in a crevice and transformed and
proceeded in vehicle form, with Blaster riding on top of Trailbreaker.
        "How far to target vehicle, Blaster," asked roadbuster over the dust.
        "On our current azimuth, approximately 16 kilometers, and I would like
to refer to the uh...target, as Cosmos, not merely as a vehicle.  Sergeant
Major Roadbuster.   Sir."
        Roadbuster chuckled to himself.  Such compassion a grizzled warrior
like himself could hardly appreciate.  His body already quickened at the
thought of battle, he was beginning to feel the anticipation growing happily in
his limbs.

*****************************************************************************

        Soundwave was now starting to become curious.  He had followed the
interior of the cave for several kilometers and it had become increasingly
narrower.  He was particularly intrigued at the organic material that now
seemed to coat the cave on all sides for the past two kilometers.  Ravage
continued to explore, but growled every time he approached the dripping,
plasmatic material.
        The spotlight from Soundwave's forehead gently brushed along the
interior,  wafting illumination one spot from another.  The dark was
insignificant to him, however, as he relied on radio waves and infrared as
his primary senses.  Ravage was satisfied with his own sense of smell,
already dancing ferociously at the amount of organic material all around.
        Soundwave began to lose himself in grand thoughts.
        "Indeed, Starscream thought that I, the decepticon communicator, would
not recognize an autobot distress signal!  In his obvious condition, this
autobot will not pose much of a challenge, and I will hardly be running
back screaming in terror as Starscream would so much apparently like!  No, I,
and I alone will bring back this autobot's head, and Megatron will see who is
invariably more courageous and loyal!"


        Suddenly, something moved.  Soundwave stopped.  All around, the organic
material seemed to mass together in pods.  He wondered if this material
would pose any kind of a threat, or at least one like the one he had
encountered on the surface.
        
        Ravage growled.

        Soundwave stopped dead in his tracks, his beam focusing on the tiny,
 green body of the autobot, Cosmos, impaled in the organic wall, covered in
the slimy material, having parts of it sprouting from the interior of his body.

        The autobot slowly turned a rusty head in Soundwave's direction.

        "Get out of here, Decepticon.  Run, and save yourself.  You have
seconds before they get you, too."


Chapter 2



        Cosmos was a grotesque site.  He had become implanted with spores, and
 now the bulbous embryos of these strange creatures were straining to escape
 his form.  His body had been drained of energon, running now only on auxiliary
 power. His head and chest rusted by the contact with the acid in the blood of
 the aliens.  Suspended in what seemed to be a mucousy web of breathing life,
 he hung from the wall, a frightening husk haunting the optics of Soundwave.
        Soundwave was speechless, and found himself instinctively moving
 backwards.  Ravage was backing out quickly, growling all the while.
 Soundwave looked up to see the breathing wall start to collapse towards him.
        Rarely had the Decepticon communicator moved with such speed, but he
 had successfully dodged the incoming rain of alien spores that poured on the
 spot where he had been standing moments before.
        The husks split, and creatures similar to the one he had blasted on
 the surface now began streaming forth.  These creatures, however, were only
 about four feet in length, in contrast to the thirty foot monster above, but
 these were much faster, and there more of them than Soundwave's brain cog
 could comprhehend.
        From behind the walls, more poured out, hissing and spitting, immense
 black heads shaped like sicles with visible eyes no where to be seen.
 Tentacles flailing along slippery bodies they hissed, exposing rows of teeth
 and snapping tails.  Their skin was slippery and black, like that of an
 Earthen eel.
        Soundwave deduced that these were not mechanical life forms, but carbon
 based flesh, and therefore his survival would depend on shooting enough of
 them to make frighten them back into their cocoons.
        Still, hundreds of these creatures seemed to pounce on him at once,
 excitedly, Soundwave squeezed the trigger of his pulse cannon as the shrapnel
 launcher mounted on his shoulder simultaneously proceeded to spew forth a
 barrage of fragmentation that would have torn holes in plate metal..
        The black demons, shrieked, splattered and died, but there were too
 many.  The first wave fell dead, but the second wave was twice as numerous,
 and twice as far, when Soundwave swerved to meet them.
        But it was too late.
        The creatures dug into Soundave's skin and tore into him with
 thousands of teeth sharper than razors and harder than anything Soundwave had
 ever encountered.
        In a rage, dizzy with terror, Soundwave turned around and attemtped to
 lift his gun arm directly into the face of a creature above his head.
        It hissed and opened its mouth, releasing a tentacle with a row of
 teeth and a mouth of its own that shattered the beam on the floodlight on
 Soundave's forehead.
        Soundwave placed the pulse cannon to the creature's neck, and what
 seemed to be an eternity, he pulled the trigger, severing the head.  In his
 panic and fear Soundwave had made a mortal mistake.
        The creatures' blood was acid!  Soundwave, already rolling with the
 pain of the teeth sticking in his skin felt his faceplate burning off.  He was
 blind.
        Soundwave lost all semblence of Decepticon military discipline and
 opened every channel on every frequency and began sending a hysterical
 distress signal.
        "Decepticon...Soundwave....LIFE....creatures........teeth...too many...
..SKA system...."
        Ravage, who had been carefully backing away all this time was now
 detected by the creatures who began a rush for him as well.  Instinctively,
 Ravage fired both side-mounted missiles at the moving swarm, blowing them
 backwards.  Wasting no time, he turned and fled at full run for the cave
 entrance.
        Soundwave was now desperate.  Flailing his limbs, blinded, and
 punctured in a hundred places, he made a gamble and transformed.  The
 creatures were still locking onto him, and he could feel their spores being
 planted intside his body.  He could feel them attempting to drain his energon.
        Realizing that his only chance for survival would be rescue, he
 decided to conserve energy by closing all channels except for the decepticon
 distress channel, playing his signal in a loop.  His frustration and pain so
 intense, he attempted to play his last card and searched his audio files and
 began blasting Earthen music at 97% maximum volume.
        The caverns now echoed with the sounds of Pantera, loud enough to
 visibly vibrate solid rock.  This worked to some extent, shocking the
 creatures to slowing down their assault.
        "Now," Soundwave thought to himself, "I have to bide my time, before my
 energon runs out."

        ****************************************************

        Above the entrance to the cave, the constructicons had manufactured a
 500 foot long  boom crane that hung over the entrance, by scavenging metal and
 carbon from the planet's surface.
        Astrotrain manned the crane, as eighty stories below the constructicons
 were digging about in the interior of the cave entrance.
        Already, per Starscreams orders, they had extracted a tiny amount of
 adamantum that Mixmaster was forging into ingots, but it was far too little
 and Starscream was becoming nervous.
        The sleek, white and red visage of Starscream approached the edge of
the cliff and peered over the horizon at the enormous sun that was glowing
white hot over the surface of the fifth planet in the Ska system.
        "If the autobots are not on their way, " the sun itself surely poses
 an immense, problem, Astrotrain."
        Astrotrain peered from the levers of the crane at the sun, furrowing
 his mettalic brow, he saw nothing that he understood and merely nodded in dumb
 agreement with Starscream.
        "The sun," Astrotrain, Starscream hissed, "my scientific background is
 enough to tell me that sun is about to supernova, destroying our supply of
 adamantum for good."
        Starscream peered below at the lime-green vehicles, who appeared to be
 the size of insects.
        "And us along with it, if we don't hurry," he growled.
        Starscream increased the volume of his vocal unit and screamed down
at the constructicons,
        "YOU HAD BETTER INCREASE THE PACE OF YOUR WORK, YOU CRETINS, OR YOU
 WILL BECOME PERMANENT RESIDENTS OF THIS ROCK!"
        Bonecrusher, who stood below, gave a gesture with his middle finger he
 had learned on Earth, confident that Starscream could not see that far.
 Scrapper shouted back,
        "STARSCREAM, THE DEPOSITS SEEM TO INCREASE GRADUALLY THE FURTHER INTO
 THE CAVE, IF WE WERE TO GO FARTHER AND DIG DEEPER,..."
        Just then  the distress signal from Soundwave was plastered all over
 every piece of communication equipment.
        Starscream was visibly enraged.  "The fool!  Every Autobot in the
 galaxy will know we're here!"
        Then the vocal warning came over, and continued to play in a loop on
 the decepticon distress frequency.
        "Of course!  Those creatures that are killing Soundwave must have
 disabled the Autobot as well.  And if the autobot was searching for
 adamantum as well, then it MUST be heavier deeper in the cave."  Starscream
 smiled to himself at his genius, and leapt off the cliff, transforming and
 landing before the constructicons below.
        Reverting back to his humanoid form, he pointed to the cave entrance
 and directed the constructicons.  "Go, deeper into the cave, we must extract
 as much as we can!  Quickly!"
        "Er, what about Soundwave," Scrapper asked.
        "Forget him," Starscream barked, "the fool should have been more
 careful!"
        **************************************************

        The autobots had been observing the decepticons from behind a ridge,
 picking over the carcass of a strange and smoldering creature.
        "Be careful," the geologist Beachcomber said, "the blood of this thing
 appears to be acidic."
        Roadbuster raised a hand for silence, and then lowered it.  He jumped
 down from the ridge, and walked towards the other autobots.
        "The deceps have gone inside the cave, now.  I've got an idea."
        Beachcomber was kneeling over the carcass, holding a backbone in his
 hand.  "Hold on, Sergeant Roadbuster, there's more to these creatures.  It
 appears there is a large amount of adamantum lacing their bones.  It makes
 sense, however these creatures have evolved on this planet, they apparently
 thrive over adamantum deposits, incorporating them in their skeletons, making
 their bones almost industructible."
        He held up a tooth almost two inches long.  "This" he said, "is pure
 adamantum."
        Roadbuster looked at the tooth slowly, turning it in his hand.  His
 face seemed to hang as if bursting with emotion.
        "Whoever holds a metal like this, friends," he choked, "will rule the
 galaxy."

**********************************************************

        Optimus Prime was worried.  He stood in the docking bay looking out at
 the scape of the second moon of the fifth planet of the Ska system.  The
 transmission that they had intercepted had almost assured that Cosmos was
 beyond help and the autobots below were in great danger.
        "Wheeljack," Prime commanded over the intercom.  Pull us into position
 from behind the moon, over the planet's surface.
        Wheeljack, who was residing on the bridge, was cybernetically
 connected to the ship's controls.  Without a twitch in physical frame, he
 brought the great thrusters to life and pulled the drifting craft to cruising
 speed.
        Once around the moon and staring below at the orange, gaseous
 atmosphere of the turbulent world, a great gleam of steal became visible on
 the starboard side of the craft.
        Perceptor, peering through the periscope, shouted a warning,
 "DECEPTICON MOTHER SHIP IN SIGHT!"
        Optimus walked up to the control bridge just as a signal beamed to the
 autobot ship and appeared on a view screen before him.  A grinning, brutish
 face with firey, yellow eyes appeared.
        "Megatron!"
        "Good tomorrow, Optimus Prime.  It seems that you have attempted to
 sneak an autobot strike team by me, somehow assuming I wouldn't know."
        Optimus Prime's silence was the confirmation of this most lucky guess
 on behalf of the Decepticon leader.
        "You see, Prime, we intercepted the autobot distress signal as well as
 you, and placed the decoy to draw you out.  I give you credit, however, such
 a clever trap could never be expected to be discovered, of course."
        Prime's fists clenched, and still, he remained silent.
        Outside the craft, a door opened on the Decepticon ship and Blitzwing,
 Skywarp, Dirge, Thrust, and Slugslinger emerged and and began streaking
 towards the surface.
        "Wheeljack!  Arm our blasters, blow them out of the sky!" shouted
 Prime.
        "Alas, Optimus," was Megatron's sad sounding response, "unfortunately
 I can't let you do that, it seems that I will just have to persuade your
 molecules to leave you for better things."
        The main guns on the Decepticon hulk turned towards the Autobot ship
 and fired two pulse blasts.
        Wheeljack banked, but the second shot was able to clip the far
 starboard side and nearly sever the hull in half.
        
        Optimus Prime and everyone inside were thrown from their feet.
 "Wheeljack," Prime ordered, "return fire and cover our withdraw!"
        Perceptor looked at Optimus Prime puzzled, it was never him to walk
 away from a fight, had he become a coward?
        But no, even as the Autobot ship withdrew, Prime made his way to a
 weapons locker, and removed the largest gun he could find.  It was a beauty,
 based on an Earthen Gatling gun, but this one was more than half the size of
 Prime himself.  He threw it over his shoulder as well as a clip of detonation
 grenades.
        At the door, he was met by Jetfire.  Not a word was said.  Not a word
 needed to be, Jetfire knew what had to be done.
        The cargo bay opened, now that Wheeljack was keeping Megatron occupied
 with fire of his own, Jetfire was able to transform, and with Prime riding his
 back, streak for the surface.


Chapter 3



        The beams eminating from the cabs of Long Haul and Mixmaster
illuminated the shiny, almost slimy, mucous interior of the cave.  The sounds
of industrial heavy metal music echoed through the interior.
        Scrapper felt a shudder in his frame.  It was the ghost of Soundwave
calling them, but Starscream was adamant in his orders, nothing was to be
done to extract the Decepticon communicatro from whatever fate he had
found deep in the cave.  The adamantum was far more important.
        "Starscream," Mixmaster informed, "the ore behind these walls covered
in the organic material is gradually richer deeper into the cave."
        "Excellent," Starscream mused, "we've come far enough, extract what
you can, here."
        From the shadows a metallic Jaguar stepped forth.  Quietly.
        It was a moment before Starscream saw him, standing in mute
contemplation.
        "Ravage!  Why have you not reported to me earlier!"
        Ravage, more animal than transformer, was nonetheless capable of
intelligent thought and speech, and at this moment he chose to do so.
        "Starscream, we must leave this place, you have no idea what you're
up against."
        Starscream felt a sinking feeling in his metallic gut, but his command
of the situation allowed to stifle it in a fit of anger.
        "COWARD!:"  Starscream's lasers focused on Ravage's head, "DO NOT
QUESTION THE ORDERS OF ALMIGHTY MEGATRON!"
        Ravage, quite uncharacteristically, sat on his haunches and said
nothing in compliance.
        
        Roadbuster took aim carefully.  He squeezed the trigger, careful not to
jerk it, and exploded a round straight for the back of Starscream's head.
Ravage, a little more endowed in the physical senses, detected Roadbuster's
presence a split second before he pulled the trigger, leapt straight at
Starscream's face.
        Starscream ducked, as Ravage flew up to meet the blast, that tore
through his torso.
        Starscream whirled to face his would-be assaisan, and rose to see the
forms of Trailbreaker, Bluestreak, Blur, Blaster, Jazz, Beachcomber, Hound,
and Roadbuster standing between the Decepticons and their only way out
of the cave.
        Starscream whimpered for a split second, and then dove behind the
relative safety of a crevice in the wall.  The other Decepticons began a mad
scramble for cover as they were hit by repeated Autobot fire.
        Hook, realizing the desperation of the situation held up a hand to
surrender, but it was suddenly reduced to a mist of steel and carbon by a
blast from Bluestreak.
        Starscream, not one to surrender, leapt from his crevice.  His
incredible speed prevented any Autobot from gaining a bead on him, but
did aid his shoulder mounted cannons in emitting a blast of cluster bombs.
        
        The Autobots fell back.  Hound's backside hit the rocks and a burst of
pain exploded in the back of his head.  Blur, Blaster, and Jazz threw their
arms in front of their faces, but still felt their bodies twist as they were
peppered with shrapnel.
        The world had stopped, and then began again as Jazz opened his eyes
and felt the first warm sense of pain, then immediately increasing to a
white hot sensation snaking through his form.
        The Autobots screamed.

        "COVER!" Was Roadbuster's order, as he fell prone to the ground.  He
felt his fists tighten.  Not now, not after all this, would the decepticons
gain the upper hand!
        Roadbuster reared up and charged with gun blazing.  The Decepticons,
taken somewhat by suprise, now turned and fled.   Long Haul, who was
carrying the load of adamantum in a trailer behind him, found himself
lagging seriously behind the others in speed.
        Roadbuster leapt and caught the end of the trailer, and climbed on
top.  Feeling him climbing, Long Haul screamed for help, unsure of what
else to do.
        Luckily enough for Roadbuster, Frenzy was close enough to flip
backwards and land on Long Haul as well.  Both barrels blazing, he ripped
into Roadbuster's chest.
        Roadbuster yelled and twitched as he fell off the Decepticon cargo,
but as he hit the ground, he immediately steadied himself to aim his rifle.
As Frenzy bounced away from Roadbuster he felt a blast clip him suddenly
in the face.
        Roadbuster was up again, but his pace was slowed, obviously, by his
recent wounds.  "Pursue!"  was his order to the other Autobots.  They'll be
trapped against the far wall!"
        
        As Blaster was running, he strained his audio receptors to sort out the
sound echoeing throughout the caverns.
        "That sounds like...........like PANTERA!"

        Bonecrusher was far out ahead of the other Decepticons when he ran
into a dead-end.  Confused, and then angry, he turned around, disgusted
with the idea of fleeing from Autobots.  With a click and a whirl, he
emerged in his humanoid form and drew his blaster.
        
        Suddenly, a slippery black creature with a head like an axe popped up
in front of him.  Being one to think deeper with his fists than his wits,
Bonecrusher smacked the creature to the ground.
        Ordinarily, it was a hit that would have put a regular transformer out
of commission, but these creatures had adapted to the conditions of life over
deposits of adamantum, and the mineral laced their bones, making them
unbreakable.
        The alien spawn sunk its teeth deep into Bonecrusher's leg.  He yelped
more in surprise than in pain.

        Roadbuster had managed to transform into his hummer form and
was coming up to Starscream.  Fast as he was, with no room to transform, he
could not outrun Roadbuster on wheels.  The Autobot Master Sergeant
undercut Starscream's legs and toppled him.
        With the Decepticon riding his hood, Roadbuster emerged in his
robot form and wrapped his arms around Starscream's head.
        Roadbuster reared up and heaved Starscream in the air.
        "If I die today, Starscream, you're coming with me!"
        In his rage, Roadbuster threw Starscream directly into the cavern
wall.
        "I'm gonna stomp you, Decepticon, I'm gonna crack you like a walnut!"

        Roadbuster pounced and attempted to drive his fist through
Starscream's chest, but the Decepticon was too fast and was out of the way
as Roadbuster dug into the rock.
        
        "You talk well, Autobot, but you fight slow..."
        Starscream placed shot a laser beam through Roadbuster's back,
        "You FOOL!  I AM STARSCREAM!  Pride of the Cybertron war academy,
destroyer of worlds!"
        Starscream heaved a boulder from the rockpile in front of him and
threw it directly on Roadbuster's head.  The body made a sound and
twitched.
        "You do in fact, die today, Roadbuster, but I will be dancing on your
grave."
        Starscream kicked the limp, still body visciously, knocking it over on
it's side.  Roadbuster revealed a pistol that he held in his pinned hand.
Starscream's gaze changed from one of triumph to one of terror.
        The first shot clipped a wing, but the second one dug deep into
Starscream's chest, he yelped and fell backwards.
        Roadbuster got up and picked up his rifle.  He walked over, and with
one foot on Starscream's head, and pointing the rife into it, he murmured
        "It ends now, Starscream."


Chapter 4



        It was then that the other Autobots and Decepticons who had taken
notice and were standing stunned for the moment when a noise caused
Blur to look upwards.
        "manymanymanyohmyheretheycometheregonnagetusohboy!!!!!!!!!!"
        Trailbreaker turned to ask Blur what he had just said, but was
suddenly floored by a pouring of alien creatures from above
        Autobot and Decepticon alike whirled and were met by the hissing
of creatures that now stood six feet tall.
        "What the..." was all Hound could get out before he found himself
being torn into by alien teeth.
        The constructicons regrouped together, and quickly formed into
Devastator, with barely enough room to fit in the cavern without bumping
his head.

        Roadbuster was standing over Starscream, looking around at the
insinuating carnage around him.
        "Roadbuster," was Starscream's plea, "I propose an immediate truce
to put an end to this....situation."
        "Agreed!" replied Roadbuster, and backed off of the Decepticon's neck.

        Bluestreak, the Autobot gunner, managed to free his arms from the
attack and reveal twin double-barrelled machine guns, and began spraying
the creatures.
        "They're mortal!" he screamed, "shoot them and they'll fall back!"
        Autobot and decepticon now fought side by side.  Quickly, they began
to form a perimeter, emptying their ammunition into the greedy mouths
of the alien creatures.
        One of the creatures latched onto Jazz's form before he could move
to shoot it.  He held it back with his free hand as it hissed and drooled.
Suddenly, the inner row of teeth moved out in a free moving tentacle that
sunk deep into his chest.  Jazz yelped.
        Bluestreak, who was alongside him, saw his plight and steadied one of
his guns directly into the creature's gut and squeezed.  The adamantum
bones scattered through the air, but refused to break, sending the shattered
skin and tissue and blood all over the Autobots.  It was then, however, that
they discovered the true nature of their acidic blood.  As it burned into them
Jazz and Bluestreak twitched and barked.
        Now blind with pain, the transformers doubled their against the
alien creatures.  Skids attempted to steady his fire, but was troubled by the
attack.  "These are life forms!  We can't just shoot them all!"
        "Shut up, Skids!" shouted Blaster, you want to end up like Cosmos?
An alien at Blaster's feet reached for his legs, with a swift backhand motion,
he sent the creature flying across the cavern.

        Devastator was confused.  Although heavily armored in his form, he
could do little against the creatures but shoot down at them, and look
confused.
        "Devastator," shouted Roadbuster, "split up into your component
forms, we'll have more success that way."  The constructicons duly followed
their orders, much to the dismay of Starscream.
        From behind, Starscream pointed his laser at Roadbuster's head.
        "If you ever give an order to one of my troops again, Roadbuster, I
will melt your face."
        Roadbuster jerked the gun, and Starscream along with it, to the
ground and placed his rifle deep into Starscream's mouth.
        "If you continue to boast Starscream, I WILL make you eat your ego
quite literally."
        Starscream heaved up his legs and kicked Roadbuster, sending him
flying against the cavern walls.
        It was then that a shower of aliens fell on top of both the Autobot and
Decepticon commanders.
        "This is foolish!" Shouted Roadbuster, "concentrate on destroying these
things before we're overrun!"

        Beachcomber hadn't felt well since first examing the alien carcass on
the surface, and now, he felt "sick to his stomach," to use an Earthen phrase
that he had used often, but never quite understood.  Pacifist, and unarmed,
he stood in the background shadows, attempting to stay out of the way.
Suddenly, he lurched, heaved, and felt his insides twist themselves inside
out.
        A sickening cracking sound ensued as Beachcomber felt his chest
swell, and then, quite dramatically, explode, as an alien larva attemtped to
break its way out of his body, severing his torso from his lower legs.
        "BEACHCOMBER!' Shouted Skids.  He immediately ran over to his
good friend and sprayed his body with liquid nitrogen, hoping to preserve
him to be repaired later.  The larva that squiggled at his feet now attempted
to make its way away.  Skids sighed and stomped on it.  He now felt no
remorse for any such creature.
        Trailbreaker continued throwing up his force field bubble that was
able to bounce back wave after wave of the Aliens, but he was tiring
quickly.
        The aliens poured forth, despite being smashed, burned, and gutted
at every turn.  The odds were overwhelming.  Soon, the transformers were
on their knees and backs, their guns blazing and turning white-hot.
        Starscream turned around and found Soundwave fighting along his
side..
        "Soundwave....?"
        "The creature's left me to attack all of you, if you don't mind."
        Soundwave elbowed Starscream to the ground, and continued firing
his pulse blaster, guided by sonar and infrared to compensate his blindness.
        
        Autobot and Decepticon alike were cornered, tired, burned, bitten,
torn and scratched, they sluggishly raised their weapons to fight off the
next wave.
        Over the pile of smoldering bones, an alien appeared, hissed, and was
sooned joined by others.  As they came forth, all knew this would be the
last of their resistance.
        
        Suddenly, the lead alien burst into flames and fell dead.  This was
soon followed by one after the other in quick succession.
        Behind them, Slugslinger appeared, his gun drawn and smoldering,
followed by Blitzwing, Skywarp, and Dirge.  The Decepticon reinforcements
had arrived.
        Screaming, the aliens fell back as the Decepticons pursued, plastering
bits of blood and bone along the walls.
        
        Starscream wasted no time, he quickly ordered the constructicons to
gather up the adamantum and pointed towards the direction of the mouth
of the cave.
        The Autobots let out a cheer as the aliens fell back and looked back to
see Starscream and Rumble standing between them and the entrance.
        
        "So sorry to leave you like this, Autobots, but we have what we came
for, and after all, it would be rude to leave our hosts without any company.
Rumble, would you do the honors?"
        Rumble grinned and spread out his hands above the ground.  "Sure
thing, boss."
        Emanating sonic waves, the cave began to shake, as the roof crumbled
and fell.
        "NOOOOO!!! " Shouted Roadbuster, as he ran to Starscream's cackling
visage.  It was too late.  The exit was sealed.
        
        The Autobots looked around.  The aliens were hissing and ready for
another attack.


Chapter 5



        Starscream's form was shaking with giddiness.  He couldn't control
his laughter at the thought of the boasting, backward, oaf of Roadbuster
meeting his fate against the acid-spitting aliens.
        Light over darkness.  The entrance to the cave now apppeared.  The
broad plane across the fifth planet of the Ska system stood out before
them.  It was strangely quiet now, compared to the screaming carnage on
the inside of the cave.
        "Astrotrain, transform, load up!"
        Astrotrain complied as constructicons loaded up the shuttle form with
ingots of adamantum, almost three hundred tons worth.
        Astrotrain realized that he would burn fuel all day and never get off
the ground with this much weight.  He turned over, and transformed into
his locomotive form and began to lurch forward.
        "Quickly, decepticons," shouted Starscream, "we must leave this place
with the adamantum intact!"
        Rumble scratched at his metallic head, "uh, boss, what about us?  how
're we gonna leave if Astrotrain is full of that metal stuff?"
        Starscream was visibly annoyed.  "Astrotrain will come back to pick
you up after the adamantum is safely aboard the Decepticon mother ship."
        Rumble said nothing, aware that Starscream was apt to "forget" about
him and the other Decepticons stranded on the planet when the adamantum
was far more important.
        Rumble, Ratbat, Soundwave, Frenzy, and the constructicons remained.
Soundwave sat on a rock, cradling the remains of Ravage.
        "Hook!" he barked.  "Get over here and fix my faceplate."
        Hook was about to follow his order when he was suddenly toppled by
an arcing streak of light that shot out of the cave.
        
        Blur had wrestled the title of the fastest Autobot on the ground from
Windcharger and Tracks many a time, and now he had all the responsibility
that came with it.  As Rumble was closing the entrance to the cave, he
managed to slip by the rockfall quick enough to avoid being sealed in.
Realizing he would now have to test that title, in order to catch Astrotrain
before he gained enough momentum to transform into a shuttle and take
off.
        The plain was rolling away now.  Faster and faster Blur accelerated,
heading towards the bulk of Astrotrain barreling towards the horizon.
Above the Decepticon booty, flew Starscream, Dirge, Skywarp, Slugslinger, and
Blitzwing in low altitude.
        Blur was now close enough to count the rivets in the side of
Astrotrain's hull.
        "Somethin's closing in on Astrotrain, there!" shouted Dirge.
        "Skywarp," said Starscream, "take care of him."
        Skywarp giggled and opened a wormhole in the space before him,
emerging directly behind and above Blur.
        
        Blur was a dedicated Autobot, and was quite willing to die for his
cause, but was also prone to excitement in such situations.  He began
swerving back and forth nervously, being unable to shake off Skywarp.
        "THISUCKSTHISUCKSTHISUCKSTHISUCKSTHISUCKSTHISUCKS!!!!!!!!!"

        A beep in Blur's guidance equipment informed him that Skywarp
had locked in on him.  Skywarp tensed as he released his missiles.  He loved
the feeling, and loved it even more when he witnessed their target explode.
        Skywarp suddenly felt a hot pain in his left tailfin.  It was gone!
Disintegrated by gunfire from...
        It was then that the sleek red and white form of Jetfire buzzed in
front of Skywarp's nosecone at Mach2.
        The Decepticon screamed and dove, but finding that he no longer had
the stability of both tails, began to spin wildly out of control, heading for
the surface, transforming and sliding, spinning along the ground, trying to
slow his descent.  Both missiles went careening off harmlessly into the
distance.
        "It's that throwback, Jetfire!," growled Starscream.  "I'll take care
of this, PERSONALLY!"
        Jetfire too now seemed to be closing in on Astrotrain.  The other
Decepticons pulled low and fell behind, with Starscream in the lead.
As Starscream was gaining a bead on the Autobot's form, he noticed
something moving on his back.  It was Optimus Prime.
        Optimus had hitched a ride on the back of Jetfire, concealing himself
as low to the surface as he possibly could.  Now he stood up, raising the
"special" gatling gun he had brought from the Autobot shuttle and raised it
into the Decepticon flock.
        Despite the attempts to scatter, Prime releashed a blanket of gunfire
that enveloped all of the Decepticons without mercy.
        "I'm hit!"
        "We're all hit, Blitzwing!"
        
        Prime was not finished yet, however, with the great effort of his
powerful legs he launched himself into the air, slinging the great gun on
his back.  Now for a brief moment he floated silently in midair, until his
velocity brought him down directly on the back of his quarry.  Starscream.

        ***********************************************************************

        The cave was dark, devoid of sensation with the exception of the
scream and hiss of aliens and the report of Autobot weapons.
        Finally, Trailbreaker found the control to his emergency floodlight and
splashed the interior of the cave with brightness.
        It was a sight that few Autobots would want to see.  All, without
exception had chunks bitten out of them, and most were sloughing parts of
their metallic skins, corroded with acid.  Across the floor, piles of alien bon
es
were smoking and piling up.
        "A TEAM, B TEAM, REPORT!" Roadbuster shouted.
        "A team leader Blaster, Skids, Hound, accounted for,
Beachcomber terminated.
        "B team leader Jazz, Trailbreaker, Bluestreak, accounted for, Blur is
missing!"
        "Blur!" wondered Roadbuster aloud, as an alien came shrieking within
distance of his head.  Without moving excess limbs, Roadbuster brought up
his rifle and blasted it across the cavern.  He let out an excited whoop.
        "He must have gotten OUT, the son of a bitch!  He may be our last
chance to stop the Decepticons!"
        Blaster continued to throw the aliens back against the wall.  "Sir,
there may be another way to get out of here.  The creatures appear to have
acidic blood.  Perhaps....we can utilize it...to weaken the rocks blocking
our exit..."

        ******************************************************************

        Starscream was desperately trying to shake off Optimus Prime.  He
began to head straight up in the air, reaching the speed of sound.

        Then twice.

        Then three times.

        Prime could feel the seams of his body trying to split apart.  Body
vibrating unstopabbly, he held on.
        "Must.....buy.....Jetfire.....the time.....he....needs..."
        Starscream turned around and fell into a dive heading straight for the
ground.  Prime felt himself scream.  The Decepticon air commander
turned upside down.
        Optimus could see what Starscream's objective was.  Straight ahead
was a butte jutting straight out of the plateau.
        "NO!"
        Prime, his systems stimulated to maximum potential, punched his
fist into the hide of Starscream, and emerged on his underbelly.
        Starscream bellowed.  Prime tightened his grip just as his body
smacked into the rock wall, taking a good size chunk of Starsream with him.
        
        Astrotrain had reached a speed of almost 700 miles an hour, and
transformed into his shuttle form, and began to rise above the plateau.
Slugslinger and Blitzwing had caught up with Astrotrain and were now
providing him with an escort.
        Jetfire, however, had other ideas.  The Decepticons began to head
almost straight up with Jetfire directly behind.  Slugslinger veered left as
Blitzwing began to do a loop-de-loop, falling around and then behind Jetfire.
        Jetfire had taken the bait!  Blitwing couldn't believe it.  He was now
sandwiched between Slugslinger and Blitzwing.  Blitzwing giggled an evil
laugh as he launched two missiles straight for the center mass of Jetfire's
hull.
        But Jetfire was not the most sophisticated aircraft the Decepticons had
ever seen for simply nothing.  Banking hard, he fell towards the ground, and
surfaced again, coming straight up for the sky, directly between Blitzwing
and Slugslinger.
        "Look out!"  screamed Slugslinger, swerving against the clouds.  The
missiles catapulted harmlessly towards the sky as Slugslinger chuckled with
relief.  Before he realized it, however, his trajectory had sent him straight
into the side of Blitzwing.
        THUNK!
        
        Dizzy and reeling, the Decepticons attempted to steady themselves and
look for Jetfire for another pass, when consoles inside their radar equipment
began beeping wildly.
        "He must be behind us, he's got a lock on us, he's...."
        The air was split with the roar air to air missiles as they tore away
the steel skin of the Decepticon warriors.

        Astrotrain had the vacumn stretch of outer space coming up before
him.  He was desperate, he knew once he escaped the planet's gravity, he
would be free from any interference.  He could feel the moisture bead up all
across the surface of his hull as he began to leave the atmosphere behind.
        A monotone beep in a tiny sensor in his frame told him that there
was something behind him that had locked onto him with a weapons
system.  Astrotrain grew desperate, brought his engines up to 100%
efficiency, burning his fuel at a rapid rate, but the beeping didn't go away.
        Finally, on the verge of splitting apart from frayed nerve endings
alone, Astrotrain opened his cargo locker and dumped all of the remaining
Adamantum into the air.
        The ingots flashed and glittered in the light as they fell to the
surface, looking like pieces of glatter falling to the floor of a clear,
Earthen stream.  Astrotrain roared ahead and reached the boundary of space,
disappearing within the flash of an instant.
        Jetfire chuckled to himself.  His weapon systems were already empty,
the Decepticon had fallen for his bluff.
        
*******************************************************************************

        Smacking alien carcasses against the wall, Jazz had managed to burn a
hole barely large enough for a smaller transformer to squeeze through.
Skids pushed the remains of Beachcomber, encased in liquid nitrogen
through the hole.  The body slid out and fell against the floor on the other
side.
        "The time has come," Roadbuster murmurred, "for an orderly retreat."
        "Roadbuster," Jazz remarked, "there just ain't no way we're gonna fit
through that hole."
        Roadbuster looked around and quickly pointed towards Blaster.
        "You're our best hope, Blaster.  In your tranformed state you use less
space and will be able to fit throught the hole.  If you can contact the ship
and bounce the space bridge signal to Jazz, you will be able to pull us out of
here."
        The Autobots heaved the red and yellow boom box through the hole in
the wall, taking occassional time to blast a hissing alien over a shoulder.
Blaster slid through the hole, lubricated with acid and landed with a dull
thud on the other side.
        "Ya...ya...I'm through, I'll take Beachcomber and get to the surface."

*******************************************************************************
        Mixmaster shielded his eyes from the gleaming sun attempting to
focus on the humanoid figure emerging from the cave entrance.  It was
the Autobot, Blaster, carrying Beachcomber.
        Mixmaster yelped, fell backwards and began to run towards the other
Decepticons.
        
        "Cease, Decepticons," bellowed Blaster.  "It looks like you've been
betrayed by your masters.  But with your assistance we can all get off this
rock today."
        Soundwave came forward, blind, but recognizing the voice.
        "Autobot, you and I, with our combined powers we can bounce the
space bridge signal and bring ourselves to our respective ships."
        
        "Agreed, Soundwave.  But of course, you will be our prisoner."

        Soundwave bellowed in a sound that seemed to be half laughter and
half tears.  The dust from the Ska planet formed a plume around his form.
        "I have no desire to spend the rest of my days as a prisoner, Autobot.
I am a Decepticon, blinded and betrayed, but I and my brethen will die with
dignity if die we must.  Either we shall be transported to our own ship, or no
deal."

        Blaster was silent for a second, but only a second.  "Then so be it,
Decepticon.  It would be useless to waste our lives for something as pale
and bleak as dishonor, so you will be granted access to your own kind.
When we meet again, though, I will show you no mercy."
        His eyes brightened for a second.  He felt a tinge of respect in his
form for these transformers.  Perhaps there was no real difference between
them, but only in who they served.

*******************************************************************************

        Perceptor tuned the coordinates into the space bridge.  A shriek of
electricity exploded as a hole opened before him on the command bridge.
Out poured Blaster, Roadbuster, Beachcomber, Hound, and Skids.
        "Success!"  He chirped.
        "Yes, but only part success," Roadbuster growled, getting up and
dusting himself off.
        "Jazz, Bluestreak, and Trailbreaker had to stay behind.  There wasn't
enough energy in the bridge.  Blaster, get ready to bounce the signal back to
Jazz, assuming you won't need the assistance of that Decepticon slime this
time."
        "No, no..." Blaster stammered, "not from this angle in space, besides,
he should be safely within the confines of his own ship by now.
        Roadbuster gazed from the porthole to the surface below.
        "The Decepticons took a load of adamantum with them, but not the
only load.  All those bones lying at the feet of our brothers below are
laced with adamantum.  When we bring them all aboard, we shall balance
the scales."

****************************************************************************

        Per Blaster's deal, after helping relay the bridge signal, the
Decepticons were sent back to their mother ship.  Megatron looked up from
his throne upon the bridge as the constructicons and the communicator
appeared before him.
        Megatron's form was still and deathly silent.  "Starscream has failed,
Soundwave."  My Decepticons now approach this ship with no booty to
show."
        Soundwave came before Megatron and bowed deeply in subservience.
It was then that Megatron launched a beam towards the sun, all within the
control of his mind which was cybernetically attached to the controls of the
ship.


*******************************************************************************
        
        The sun burst like bubble of light.  It had gone nova, triggered by an
atomic bombardment by the Decepticons.
        "Roadbuster," shouted Perceptor above the roar on the sensors, "we
have very limited energon supplies.  I will not be able to transport the
entire mass aboard with Jazz, Trailbreaker, and Bluestreak.  And we must
leave now!  The nova will burn us all within moments."
        Roadbuster approached the viewscreen.
        "Then we shall make a sacrifice, Autobots.  The lives of those three
will always be held as heroes, but we shall have our adamantum!  Relay the
signal to Jazz, tell him to send up the bones!"

        "NO!"
        The Autobots turned.  Standing in the doorway stood the image of
Optimus Prime, Jetfire, and Blur.  The right half of Prime's form was almost
entirely burned away, leaving a naked faceplate staring into Roadbuster.
        "The Decepticon supply of adamantum has been destroyed.  We shall
not leave our kind behind.  That it is not our way.  That it is not the Autobot
way."
        Roadbuster was flustered.  He wished to rebel against this order, but
complied.  "Yes....commander...."
        Then it was complete.  There was a shriek of electricity as the space
split open and poured out Jazz, Trailbreaker, and Bluestreak.  The ship went
dim with a power surge and began to lurch.  Wheeljack was aware of all
controls and parts of the ship at the same time, and bagan to pull it away,
slipping into hyperspace, as the Ska system behind became engulfed in
the fire of its sun.
        The slick-skinned creatures were reduced to ash. The adamantum
became liquid, and then gas.  Then they became merely scattered atomic
particles in space.  Five billion years of formation was undone-in an instant.
                                
                                END
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