Spot wasn't a happy 'bot.
He rolled out of the fire station, sirens blaring, heading up highway 41. Most local citizans had gotten used to the sight of the blue fire-engine with the cow-spots on it, and pulled over without a second glance. Had they taken a closer look, they might have wondered why there was no one driving...
Rolling northward, scanners peeled, Spot roared up the highway looking for Campaign Car. He figured if he could stop the Decepticon before he got to one of the more populated areas, he could minimize risk to the humans. That meant one of the wooded spots along the highway.
He didn't have to search long. Coming up the wrong lane, at about 120 miles per hour, was Campaign Car. Spot fired; or rather, tried to. The Blizzard bazooka jammed; he hadn't used it in so long that the mechanism had frozen up. "Ok, plan B." Hotspot transformed, and stood across the highway, looking to get Campaign Car's attention. And he did. Knocking a few more vehicles off the road, he transformed as well, and faced off from the would-be-hero.
Campaign Car: "Looking for a fight?"
Spot: "Looking to stop you. You'd think you were trying to imitate Motormaster, with that paintjob and lack of driving ability."
Campaign Car: "You're one to talk about appearances. You like like what the fleshlings call a cow."
Spot: "At least I remember that fleshlings are all around, and act accordingly. Have you forgotten everything?"
Campaign Car: "Not forgotten...I had my eyes opened. You and Prime are wasting your time on these primitive organics."
Spot: "You know I have to stop you."
Campaign Car: "And you know I refuse to let you stop me. That brain-dead oaf wasn't much of a challenge. He's one of ours now. Do you think you can do any better?"
With that, Campaign Car fired. Spot dodged, then returned fire, scorching Campaign Car's arm. The autobot symbol previously covered up with black paint was revealed.
Spot: "You see that? That's what you used to be. One of the good guys. You didn't even have the autobrand removed. Maybe having second thoughts about your allegiances?"
Campaign Car: "You're a fool if you think that. I keep it because it serves my purposes to decieve."
Campaign car fired again, this time hitting Spot square in the chest. The shot bounced off, leaving him unharmed.
Campaign Car: "What!?"
Spot: There've been a few improvements since we last met. I'm giving you one last chance...surrender."
Campaign Car: "Never! I'd sooner die than bow down to YOUR wishes!"
Campaign car fired off his sparkle-effects. Spot was momentarily distracted, giving Campaign Car enough time to transform and make a run....directly at him. The big rig smashed grill-first into Spot's legs, halting the truck, but knocking Spot over. Campaign car transformed again, and fired off a volley of shots randomly across the now-prone Spot's body. Most of the shots bounced harmlessly off, but a few seemed to do some considerable damage. "Eh?" Campaign car thought to himself. Setting his circuits on the task, he scanned the ares where damage was taken...and found a considerable surprise. "So," Campaign car said, "You're not completely invulnerable, are you? Setting his gun to maximum power, Campaign car targeted Spot...directly on his shoulder, in an unprotected area. He fired....
Meanwhile, back at base, Electrum Beast had problems of his own. He wanted to evacuate the city...but was unsure how. He knew, from experience, that Milwaukeans were a rather stubborn breed, resolved to digging in versus running away. An admirable trait, to be sure, but one that would prove to be their undoing if Campaign car got thru. Even if he surrendered, gave himself up to Campaign Car, Electrum Beast knew that he would simply kill him, then go on to trash the city. Besides, he didn't have the resources to move an entire population. Even if he did, what were the odds that they would listen to a giant talking robot? They would probanly just fire on him, as well.
He needed options....but he seemingly had precious few. Most of his fellow transformers were scattered around the globe. He wasn't sure he could get enough of a strikeforce together in-time. Summoning help from Cybertron wasn't an option either...it would take a shuttle too-long to get here. Plus, he didn't know who was there to even call. Forces were spread rather thin, lately. Perhaps....perhaps they could use the old spacebridge...yes, they could use the spacebridge! The thought excited him for a moment, but then his heart sank again as he realized, "who would come?" What to do, what to do....
Scrolling thru the active-duty roster, he hit upon the names of several likely earthside candidates. If Spot could delay Campaign car long enough, they might be able to get back to base in-time...but then what? There would still be considerable damage to the city, countless lives lost...assuming even several of them could stop him. He had no choice. He couldn't sit here and do nothing. He would recall his soldiers, and hope for the best. But first, he would call for...Reinforcements from Cybertron.
Spot rolled out of the way....almost. The blast didn't hit him square, but grazed him enough that he took damage. And dropped his weapon, his arm hanging uselessly at his side. He considered his remaining options. Without his fireball gun, things were not looking good. And he was a lousy shot with his other hand....He braced himself, rolled, and got into a kneeling position, bringing the Blizzard bazzoka online once more. He rotated it into position above his damaged shoulder. He couldn't hold it properly, but he could approximate. He locked on, braced himself, and gave the mental command. Nothing. He pulled the trigger. Nothing. Frustrated, he pounded on the bazzoka, shouting out, "Dammit, fire!".
The gun fired.
"Well, what do you know....it's voice activated," Spot thought to himself as he was knocked down from the backlash. Campaign car attempted to dodge, but could not get completely out of the way. He put up his hands to cover his face from the blast, the shot hitting him square. He screamed...and fell.
Was the battle over?
"Autobase. Cybertron. This is Overdrive."
The call had gone thru. Electrum Beast swallowed hard, and began.
"This is Electrum Beast, Earth. We have a situation. A rogue Cybertonain is threatening the human population surrounding this base. I do not have sufficient forces to repel the attack. Requesting backup. Sending details. Over."
The message sent, he transmitted a series of datablocks describing the problem in more detail. On Cybertron, Overdrive recieved the message, and the datablocks. "Recieved. Hmmm...not good. You say the motivation is a personal grudge?" "Yes," Electrum Beast replied. "Therefore, standard rules of engagement do not apply."
"This is most unfortunate...and untimely," Overdrive replied. "All of our available forces are occupied with mop-up efforts at The Hub. I don't even have a complete battle unit to send you. The forces earthside were supposed to be enough."
"Isn't there anyone you can send?" asked Electrum Beast. "One of our number has already been disabled, and I suspect another will be shortly. No one else planet-side can get here in-time. We don't have the intra-transport bridge functional yet. Cybertron, and the space bridge, may be our only hope."
Overdrive paused, then responded. "Well, there *is* one possibility...."
Spot got back to his feet, shaken, but mostly intact. Repair systems had kicked in, but it would take time for his arm to be useful again. Locking the bazooka back into place, he started toward the prone form of Campaign car. He would need to make sure he was fully deactivated before he contacted base for a retrival. He bent over him, preparing to scan, when a blood-thirsty scream filled the air, and Spot came face-to-face with the muzzle of a gun....
Electrum Beast: "...you're sending me who?!"
Overdrive: "They're the closest ones to you."
Electrum Beast: "If Prime were there, he'd consider this an outrage! The humans are in danger here!"
Overdrive: "I KNOW that! But Prime isn't here, and they're all we have! I want to save the humans, too...primus knows this isn't their war...but this is the best we can do for now. I'll activate the spacebridge north of your location momentarily. I'll be there, as well. This is all we have...and, if I might point out, this is your fault. Consider yourself grateful. Overdrive out."
Another cut connection. Electrum Beast sighed. Things were simply not going his way today. "Everyone keeps hanging up on me. Well...maybe third time's the charm." Activating the communications console again, Electrum Beast prepared to summon the earthside forces.
Spot heard the shot, and even saw it...but it couldn't be said that he ever felt it. Truth be told, after that brief, blinding flash, Spot would never feel anything again. A headless body crumpled to the ground next to Campaign car, who was still screaming. No small wonder; the Blizzard blast destroyed his hand, and a good portion of his face. There was cerebral damage, as well...but Campaign car wasn't aware of his self-diagnostic reports anymore. All he was concerned with was the pain. The horrible pain. Getting back to his feet, he fired several more shots into Spot's corpse. He continued firing until the gun clicked over, empty. Spent, he tossed it aside and, using his one remaining optic, scanned for a location fix. He transformed, and rolled onward for his destination.
The priority-one alert rang thru his comm circuits, causing him to jump. "Dang-it! I almost welded my hand together! Now what does he want? Sigh." Putting down the micro-welder, ***answered the call.
Scoot: "What's the hubub, bub? Ran out of post-it notes again?"
Electrum Beast: "I wish it were that simple. Report back to base. Bring your partner. We're going to be under attack shortly, and I need all available forces. That means you, I'm afraid."
Scoot: "Um...ok. But how do you expect us to get there on such short-notice? We're halfway around the globe from you."
Electrum Beast: "I don't. But you have to try. Many human lives depend on it. There might not be a city left if you don't give it your best shot."
Scoot: "will-do. Scoot out."
Clicking off the com, Scoot called out to his counterpart the next room over. "Hey Ticker, warm up. We're needed back at base."
Ticker: "What about our work here?"
Scoot: "It will have to wait, I suppose. But don't worry; we'll be back soon enough. Just a short beer run, as the humans call it."
Scoot: "Energon, in our case. It's probably nothing, but....well, let's check it out. You know how the boss is."
Ticker shrugged, and transformed into space-shuttle mode, lowering an egress ramp. Scoot transformed, and entered the shuttle's cargo bay. Thus secured, the two took off, heading east, towards the continental US...
A hum of electricity filled the air over the highway, as the one-way spacebridge materialized into heavy traffic. Three figures emerged to a cacophy of horns and screeching tires as their transport beam disappeared, leaving them to figure out why the sensors had disgorged them into such a populated area. Two cars flipped and overturned, landing on their roofs. Other cars screeched to a halt behind them, and still other cars behind them. Within moments. traffic on highway 41 was at a standstill, thanks to the new arrivals from Cybertron.
Overdrive: "Stupid computer. We were supposed to be transported to a clear area."
Washout: "Well, from the computer's standpoint, we were. It didn't consider if there would be human traffic here, just a flat surface in-between target and destination."
Overdrive: (hitting his head on an overpass sign as he righted one of the overturned vehicles) "Ow! Yea, you would say that, considering you programmed the coordinates."(rubs his head)
Washout said nothing, merely looked away, as the others helped to clear traffic on the southbound lane. Once things were properly taken care of, they stepped over the traffic, and into the opposite lane. "Flatfoot, lead the way. We'll intercept the target quicker if we follow you. Autobots, transform!" The three figures converted to their vehicle modes, Flatfoot heading the group. Campaign car was only a few miles in-front of them. He would need to be stopped shortly, before any more lives were lost. Little did they know about the already-rising body count...
To be Continued.
ONWARD to part 4!
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