Somewhere in the galaxy, a small band of cybernetic lifeforms had just reawakened from a long stasis and arrived at the designated rendezvous. However, there was nothing but them on this barren world. "This is boring Tarn…"
"Then go back to melting rocks again, Helex. These are the coordinates where we're supposed to meet after Shockwave's plan finally succeeded and we awakened."
The second largest of their group walked over, "It's not like we haven't tried to keep ourselves occupied, but we've been waiting for over a solar cycle. Shouldn't the others have gotten here by now? We can't be the only ones not to ignore the offer of those ships and we can't be the first to make it here."
Tarn crushed the rock he had been fiddling with for a few hours now, "I'm aware of that, Tesarus. But without a ship or valid energy readings, we don't have any direction to start searching."
Kaon finally returned, leaving Vos with keeping the Pet busy. "It is rather disconcerting, Tarn. I haven't detected any Cybertronian communications or spark signatures nearby. We should consider the possibility that we are the only ones to survive…" Kaon's sudden silence had everyone, even the Pet turn to him. "A ship full of Decepticon signatures approaching now."
"Impossible…" Tarn looked to the sky, "We have a fragment of the coordinates for the weapon stash. Even if someone as ambitious as Slipstream managed to find it on her own, it would have taken her years to find it." Tarn got up for sitting, kicking the rock he was sitting on. "Decepticon Justice Division, prepare for anything."
They appeared to just be standing around, but this lethal group of killers was ready to spring into action at a moment's notice. Yet as the signal came closer, there was nothing that they could visually see. Soon enough however a jet zoomed through before it transformed into a very familiar form.
"Slipstream? Where are the others? And where is the ship you came on?" Tarn demanded.
"It would seem that very little has changed about the DJD. You even kept your cursed 'Pet' with you. How precious." The Pet tried to snap at her when she looked like she was about to pet it.
Tarn was suspicious of this strange behavior. "Why act surprised, Slipstream? You were there when we chose not to follow Shockwave and fuse with those ships."
Slipstream was smirking, "That's quite simple. Because I wasn't there." The DJD were ready to attack now, but Slipstream then fired a shot into the air when a second flying Decepticon came around. Much to their surprise it was giving off the same signature as Slipstream.
It even transformed to the same build as her. "I was the one apart of that crazy mess Shockwave got us into."
Helex however seemed rather amused. "So what, you managed to find yourself a blank pod and give it a portion of your spark?"
"Nothing so crude, you walking smelting pit." The first Slipstream walked around them, "I come from another dimension. One that isn't infested with Reapers, but still has an Autobot problem. A problem that, unfortunately, spilled into your universe. I just want to finish what was started back home on Cybertron, then help conquer this universe in the name of Megatron."
"But…Megatron is dead…"
"And that's the beauty of coming from an alternate universe, Kaon." Slipstream slowly caressed Tarn's Decepticon insignia over his faceplate, "My Megatron still lives…but I should warn you, we also have a Decepticon Justice Division loyal to Lord Megatron."
The second Slipstream added, "But that doesn't make you any less valuable. The other DJD could continue to aid Megatron with ensuring that universe will find peace while we spread that peace here where we'll only have a handful of Autobots and a band of reluctant neutrals."
Tarn looked up, noticing the flicker of a cloaking field overhead. "Fine, but I want to be filled in on all who have survived and what we have planned…"
A space bridge portal opened up as two more Decepticons appeared, "And do we have some interesting things to show you all…"
The two Cons who interrupted Slipstream and the DJD were Deluge and Flamewar. The two of them brought their fellow Decepticons to a lunar base. Nightbird didn't like this. She quietly chatted up Blackout. "I was under the impression that Megatron wanted us to terminate these guys."
"Trust me when I say Slipstream is doing the smart thing when she found out that the Justice Division were in stasis. They're the deadliest hit squad to have ever existed on Cybertron. And they don't just hunt Autobots. They make it their personal mission to torment and torture any Decepticon who disobeys orders or abandons his post. Even Sixshot would have difficulty fighting against them."
Nightbird's eyes shifted to Deluge and Flamewar. "Can we really trust these two?"
Blackout fought in a few battles with Flamewar, though he only knew Deluge by reputation. "The Flamewar I know has always been obsessed with scrapping Arcee, not so different from Slipstream and that Vibes bot. As for Deluge, he's got a few bolts loose in the cranial circuits. You've meet Shockwave, think of Deluge as a more deranged Shockwave with ambition and emotions. But for Shockwave to have these two working together…that can't be good for someone."
Deluge continued through their lab, "Long ago, when Cybertron started to die and before he eliminated Megatron, Shockwave initiated a special project he called Regenesis. He launched thirteen energon ore samples to different planets across the galaxy in the hopes to harvest a new plethora of energy to fuel us. He stalled and forced us to cannibalize energon from each other to give his ores time to spread across their respective planets, but then of course we had our encounter with those vessels this galactic cycle and the previous one have called the Reapers."
Flamewar continued, "Shockwave was paranoid enough that we were left in the dark about how many of us were in stasis. Except for a small group of us. After I was allowed to kill Arcee very painfully, I needed a new outlet. So Shockwave gave us the task of ensuring his last project bared fruit for us when the rest of you finally woke up."
"And what fruits they have given us. Each ore sample developed unique properties and each different from the last." Deluge was now displaying various number of energon samples in containers. "We couldn't get to a few of the samples, but we have cataloged most of their effects. The first one helped us exceptionally with the passage of time, allowing us to skip several stellar cycles to avoid detection by those Reapers."
"A few of the others we couldn't reach because of the danger they presented."
"But this…" Deluge activated recordings that had of strange mechanical creatures, almost resembling Cybertronian wildlife armed with weapons. "This ore has developed something rather spectacular. Creatures like us, and just as powerful. Even greater, this ore has another unique property to it. Scan us."
Kaon was uncertain… "I detect nothing…no spark signatures. No energon readings."
"Because this ore simply emanates with energy for our systems to feed on. It's strong enough that it even reaches the moons of this planet, even in a relatively dormant state."
Flamewar was already pulling up images on the monitor of a valley, "And before you ask, we've already tried finding the source. But every time we try we encounter a strange element that causes our systems to go sporadic."
"Yes, quite. We've lost Ruckus, Windsweeper and a few others to this madness inducing element. We have yet to observe the inhabitants develop a defense against it, but what are we to expect from organic minds?"
One of the Slipstreams stopped Deluge, "Wait a nanoklik. This planet is also infested with organics?"
The other Slipstream wasn't as surprised, "So then this star system has a mass relay as well. The Autobots will be in for quite the surprise when they get here."
"That's just it." Deluge now displayed the solar system, "This system has no mass relay. Nor did most of the other worlds with the ore samples. Of the worlds that did however they mostly carried the lethal energon that have killed their respective planet."
Flamewar pulled up what information they had on these little pests, "They won't be a problem. They're frail little things, and we can easily disrupt most of their comms. The only worries will be the true natives of the planet," displaying the creatures again, "and their pilots."
Slipstream had an ingenious plan hatching now, "Pilots you say…"
A few months have passed since the defeat of the Reapers and majority of the Autobots and Decepticons returned to their dimension. The Autobots who did not participate in the battle for Earth, it seemed that green tears in space appeared for them to enter, promising passage back to their home. Most of the major mass relay lines had been brought back to functioning order as reconstruction efforts on all of the planets attacked by the Reapers continued. The volus have seen an unprecedented need of Elkoss Combine's quick and efficient mass-produced products. And without the Decepticons looming overhead, the raloi people have quickly started reopening negotiations between the known races. But without the Autobots and their fellow Cybertronians, this incredible progress might not have been achieved so quickly.
The only one not happy with doing all of this charity work was Whirl. "This is getting old!" Whirl's tantrums have started to become a regular thing on the Xantium.
The only one there who could actual talk Whirl out of his semi-psychotic tendencies from escalating further was follower Wrecker Roadbuster. "And do I really have to beat the exhaust out of you again? This is going old just as quickly, cyclops. Plus, do you really want to deal with dragon breath again. Or maybe you want to confront his sister instead? Cause if I memory serves, given half a chance, she is willing to tear you to pieces for the slag you did back on Cybertron to start the war. Being a neutral, I can't really help you if she does end up slagging you."
"You know how that'd look to them organics Vibes befriended."
Dropshot joined Roadbuster, "You of all bots are the most likely of us to go off and try fighting the Cons on your own. And we can't really do that if we don't have a trail to follow. The Cons have been awfully quiet out there. I don't like it, but I would rather not pass up this time to help the humans and the other races with reconstruction efforts. So unless you have something constructive to give regarding finding the Decepticons, then we just have to continue with what we're doing until a lead presents itself. If you ever want to go back, you can when Silverclaw and the others finish that space bridge back home."
"That's enough." Vibes walked over to the cockpit, "I think Whirl's had enough for one day." Vibes has been reviewing everything she knew about Slipstream and what her next move might have been. The relative silence and no other Decepticon activity could mean any number of things, none of it good. She moved to their communication, "Silverclaw, how are things on New Iacon?"
"No Decepticons, if that's what you're asking. We think we have the theoretical aspects down. Now we're just working on building the thing and hoping the coordinates work."
"Just be careful. I know we installed a few defense turrets, but I don't think that would stop Slipstream if she really wanted to destroy the place."
"We've made some improvements. Silverclaw, out."
Dragonblade walked up to Vibes, "Don't worry so much. It'll only wear out your gears faster."
"If we don't help out, we seem incompetent, if we can't defeat the Decepticon we look powerless, and with so few of us around…"
"Vibes, this is Shepard. Do you read me?"
"Go ahead Commander."
"Major Kirahee has just sent word about an unknown Cybertronian presence. Broadside was on Ilium when this was reported near the colony Elysium, and I see you aren't anywhere near there either. The Normandy will be heading out there to check it out, but there haven't been any reports of attack, yet."
"Understood, Commander. We'll rendezvous to provide support if needed. Vibes, out." She turned to Dragonblade, "Is there a chance Silverclaw and the others decided to build themselves another ship without telling us?"
"Not Silverclaw. She'd never do that without telling me."
"Just as I feared… We'll find out who they are soon enough."
It took the Normandy a bit longer than it used to since there were still relays that needed to be rebuilt out here. "There's the Xantium. Now let's see what we can find out here. EDI, are you picking up anything?"
"There is a strange ion signature entering the system, but then it abruptly stops."
"Don't suppose they ran out of fuel, so they decided to get out and push to the nearest fueling station." Before Joker could really make fun about it, a ship suddenly appeared where the trail ended, "What the hell?!"
EDI did a quick scan, "The ship was optically cloaked and the engines are cold." Just then the unknown ship activated, "We are received a transmission. They are requesting parley."
"Parley? Who uses that beside pirates?"
"Patch it through EDI."
"Commander Shepard. Autobots. What an interesting meeting."
It was hard to tell, but it seemed that this guy wasn't organic. "Identify yourself."
"I think your Autobot friends are more than capable of identifying me for you."
Vibes came on the channel, "That ship is known as the Death's Hand, belonging to the bounty hunter Lockdown. He's captured many Autobots and sent them to Megatron. He's also famous for taking components from his prey before sending them to their death."
"I prefer to call it 'rescuing' useful parts before sending the rest to the scrapyard. But I'm out here on business. I was already paid, and it will be done." Shepard was about to order EDI and Joker to get the Normandy combat ready, but Death's Hand transmitted coordinates to them. "My job is done. Now to get back to what I do best."
"That's it? You aren't here working for the Decepticons?"
"Don't get the wrong idea, human. The Decepticons pay well, Megatron particularly before he was removed. But now that you've destroyed the Reapers, I don't have to go back into hiding for a few stellar cycles. There is one more thing I'm supposed to tell you, though. Autobots, Slipstream has managed to build herself an impressive army using the sleeping Decepticons and something else. I doubt she has plans of leaving until she can claim to have captured an entire universe for her Megatron. I have no idea what that means, that's just the message I'm supposed to relay."
Roadbuster yelled, "Why should we believe you?! You're a bounty hunter, not a messenger bot!"
"I deliver messages, though it's usually to the one I'm capturing. I was paid a modest amount to get this message out to you and nothing more. What you do with it and the coordinates is none of my business. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a contract lined up with Aria T'Loak and I plan to see it through. Autobots, I hope your luck to survive the war hasn't run out yet, or was it cowardice?"
Death's Hand turned away from them before jumping out of the system. "Vibes, what do you think about all of this?"
"By reputation, Lockdown is usually good on his word. He almost never fails an assignment, and he only gets paid if he succeeds. Most of the time it's usually in upgrades, though just as often as it is for the money. High Command has tried buying his services before, though he rarely responded. But when he did take their contracts he always came through."
"EDI, I want to know where these coordinates lead."
The galaxy map started zooming in now, though this is where it got strange. Traynor checked the data again, "That can't be right. This cluster isn't on any known star map."
"Which probably means there won't be an active relay there. Maybe no relay at all." Shepard looked to the crew before him. "I can understand if any of you don't wish to continue this mission. I won't hold it against any of you, and this could very well be a trap. We'll return to the Citadel to report this and resupply. Anyone who wants to continue, I thank you for your dedication."
Traynor turned to him, "Commander, I believe I speak for the crew when I say we will gladly follow you on this mission."
"Thanks." Shepard checked on one last thing, "Vibes, is the Xantium big enough for the Normandy to catch a lift?"
"We'd probably have to rearrange the hangar and some of our supplies, but I believe we should have more than enough. Broadside has said the only reason he doesn't like flying in the Xantium is because his size forces him to remain down there in one of his jet altmode. Give us some time to drop off the excess cargo on New Iacon and we'll rendezvous to the closest relay system possible."
Things had become rather peaceful on the planet Zi since the destruction of the Ultimate Death Saurer. The newest generation of Guardian Force fighters have taken on the responsibilities of maintaining the peace. On one such patrol a Blade Liger rushed through the desert as a Dark Spiner and Dibison tried to keep up. "Come on you slowpokes, let's go faster! Normally you could keep up with me, Major Shubaultz. What's the matter, you aren't capable of doing it today?"
"That's because your father let you use his Blade Liger and Organoid today, Lieutenant Flyheight. I earned the right and skill to pilot my Dark Spiner. If you were a part of the Imperial Army, you wouldn't have made it to Lieutenant or gotten your hands on such a Zoid as easily as you have. Isn't that correct, Colonel Shubaultz?"
"I know my brother is very strict about how to address superiors, and he has to be since becoming an Admiral and Emperor Rudolph's top military advisor, but I've told you there's no need for such formalities between us. But to that point however, Vera is right. This kind of showboating can get you into some serious trouble, Dan."
"You're just saying that because your Dibison has always been so slow."
Thomas stopped the arguing from continuing, "Just take it easy, Dan. This is just a patrol. We aren't in any hurry and we aren't expecting too much trouble today."
Dan groaned, "Ever since dad and everyone brought down that Death Saurer there aren't many people stupid enough to think about cross the Guardian Force. Even the bandits quickly flee or surrender before we can do anything."
Vera quickly pointed out, "And that lethargy will get you in trouble! We are the Guardian Force, the frontline for peace. We must be ready to respond to any situation at a moment's notice while others lax during this unprecedented time of peace."
"Fine…" Dan looked at their current coordinates. "Hey, if we can, maybe we could swing by the Valley of Heroes to see if anyone is fighting tomorrow? It might be what I need to get myself focused on our patrols. What do you say, Colonel Shubaultz?"
Thomas smiled, "I don't think it would be all that bad for you to blow off some steam there. But remember we can't stay there for long. Your mom will have my neck if she heard anything happened to you. I'll be reporting back that we're going to extend our patrol to that region."
A/N: I have to thank a friend of mine for the suggestion and seeing the connections that have lead to the continuation/creation of this story. Decepticons lying to Decepticons, nothing really new there. Zoids is truly one of those underappreciated franchises that needs a resurgence from a good reboot or revitalization.