Chapter 20: Breakout
Hey everyone, I'm not dead! This chapter was brought to you by my new job (which doesn't suck out my soul and every ounce of creative energy I might have) and by the somewhat improved Google Drive document editing function, which lets me move my drafts from machine to machine. Even if it still doesn't have a document merge function.
Also, great thanks to Darth Krande for the beta reading, and to all the reviewers who have been nudging me to work on this story.
Despite what rumors might say, There were things Shockwave genuinely feared, and this was one of them.p
Had the subtle signals really been his imagination, or had it been some sadistic Autobot mind game? He struggled against his bonds, dimly realizing the futility, as even the limited shape changing of his primary form was useless here. He couldn't change the dimensions of his limbs, or shift into his smaller Longarm Prime form to escape. The stasis cuffs began to short out, and he experienced a moment of hope, but then one of the guards hit him with a disruptor, and he collapsed back into the restraints, twitching.
He was helpless and alone in enemy servos, and they were looking to make the situation intractably permanent.
He had thought he was going to be rescued. Instead, it looked like they were going to bind him to that arrogant moron, Sentinel. Frag them all. He would see both himself and that mech dead instead of in a slaver's version of a spark bond. He could pretend to be a good little drone until he had an opportunity to make fatal mischief for his master, or better yet his comrades would be able to take the blue Prime out once they left this pit hole.
Assuming any other free Decepticons were out there.
The blue Prime strolled up to Shockwave, ignoring his struggles and the uneasy techs who were scampering around them. One of them shot a frightened look at Shockwave, then averted his optics.
"We heard the Deceptislaggers were planning to try to rescue you, traitor. "The blue mech sneered. "Too bad for you, we know your tricks now. I'm not about to let you escape, and threaten the Autobots further. Soon you'll be nice and domesticated, just like your leader."
The Great and Glorious Megatron would never be domesticated, no matter what was done to him. Shockwave found his voice. "If you think making us slaves again is going to win the war, you're a fool, Sentinel. And if you imagine that you of all mechs can match your spark to mine, you're an arrogant and clueless fool. We killed mechs like you for sport in the early days of the rebellion."
That smirk was back. Shockwave wanted to wipe it from the face of the universe, permanently.
"Things have changed since the old days, traitor. See, the Iaconian medical board interfered with Megatron's sentencing, and the Elite has decided they're just too soft to be making these kinds of decisions. The council thinks you Decepicreeps are more useful as hostages, but letting you rot in a cell is just asking to have you escape. Personally, I think we should just shoot you, but they have a point, so I've volunteered to deal with you." He grabbed one of Shockwave's antennae, making him hiss in pain.
"If the slave bond doesn't cut it, they're going to frag your processor. You can be a hostage if you're a heap of dumb circuits, too. We can wheel you out where your buddies can see you every so often, and that should take care of things."
"They'd see me offlined first. And I would welcome it, before I became your toy, Autobot scum." Shockwave hissed.
Sentinel struck him across the face. Unable to dodge, Shockwave took the blow right across his optic. He felt the delicate component crack, and couldn't stifle a gasp of pain. Trust this fragger to immediately go for his root mode's weakest point. He was glad he didn't actually have a face in his true form, so the Autobots couldn't see his expression.
Sentinel gestured to one of the lab techs, who looked frankly terrified. "Open up his helm and do whatever it is that you do. Let me know when it's my turn."
"Oh, it's your turn now, you waste of metal." A purring female voice said.
The voice was coming from the ceiling. Abruptly, and entire section blew out, the heavy, reinforced materials cracking. Sentinel looked up, and was promptly smashed to the floor by several tons of structure.
Deep in his chassis, Shockwave's spark sang. He knew that particular style of mayhem!
A compact, streamlined form followed the debris, landing lightly on the rubble (and Sentinel, who groaned). "Hello commander!" the femme chirped brightly. "General Strika sent us to retrieve you. Reflector should be along with the others shortly."
One of the guards rushed her, and she blasted him. He went down with a scream.
Several others came rushing in, only to fall to a barrage of gunfire from the triplets. Thunderblast produced a plasma blade and used it to slice through Shockwave's bonds.
"The rest of my team is extracting Generals Lugnut and Blitzwing" she said. "Now let's get the frag out of here."
"We won't be able to make it." Shockwave said. "This place is crawling with guards and Autobot soldiers. You shouldn't have come after us if it means you getting offlined. Or worse, captured."
"Well, that would be the case if it wasn't for all the explosions!" Thunderblast said.
"Explosions? I haven't heard any..."
There was a dull thud, like something massive had hit the ground.
"That's the first one." Spyglass said. "Lets go!"
Shockwave could feel them now, more a vibration than a sound. They were staggered a little, either by accident or design, to create the most havoc. The whole fortress was shaking around them, and emergency sirens and warnings were going off . The remaining lab techs had scattered or taken what shelter they could find. The Autobot soldiers were all down.
"Excellent. Reflector, Thunderblast, lead the way." Shockwave was proud of his Decepticons. They were good at whatever they did, especially if what they were doing was massive destruction.
Thunderblast lived up to her name and used her signature ability to reduce the wall behind them to tiny gravel and malted slag. She casually handed Shockwave the plasma blade and a laser canon. "Welcome back, commander." She said. "Now let's go meet our ticket out of here."
They escaped the room just as a newly arrived cadre of Autotroopers burst in, guns blazing. Thunderblast brought the rest of the roof down behind them, and they ran.
The door of the cell was thrown open, causing Skywarp to jump and let out a tiny shriek of fear. Naturally, he then dived behind Sunstorm, who would have been considerably more irritated if he hadn't also been sort of scared by the unexpected intrusion.
There had been strange noises and vibrations from outside for a little while now, and none of them really knew what to make of it.
Wheeljack was here! Sunstorm liked Wheeljack. He'd totally hug him and keep him if he had the chance.
"Are you three all right?" asked the inventor.
"No." answered Ramjet.
"Oh, thank Primus." Wheeljack said. "Have you seen any giant Decepticons around, by any chance?
"Yes, lots. And we are absolutely not wondering what's going on". Said Ramjet, looking hopefully at the inventor.
Wheeljack reached up and grabbed the seeker clone's arms. "Listen kiddo" he said, earfins flickering little patterns of light across their armor. "You three need to get out of here, right now while you can. I'll be slagged if I let them experiment on a bunch of younglings, Decepticon brands or no Decepticon brands. "
A set of… metal things slid from the engineer's fingertips.
"What are those?" Sunstorm asked nervously.
"Tools." Wheeljack answered. "You three are wearing inhibitors and tracking devices, and I need to take them off you. Trackers first, then we blow up this cell, slag the recordings, and get you lot out of here."
He sighed. "I really wanted to try to get you fixed first, but there's no way you're making it to the Allspark here in Iacon. Not with a bunch of Decepticon heavy-hitters tearing this place to rubble."
"Heavy Hitters are scary." said Skywarp.
"No they aren't" Said Ramjet.
Wheeljack sighed. This was going to be a bit of a challenge.
He needed to get three hulking Decepticon seekers out of a military compound without anyone noticing. Normally that would be difficult, if not impossible. In this case, however, the whole place was filled with smoke, explosions, gunfire, and of course other Decepticons. It was chaotic, but it was definitely something he could work with. As far as Wheeljack was concerned, explosions were a bot's best friend. He might even add a few to better cover their escape.
"Sit down, sparkling." He said. "I need to remove your trackers, then we get you the frag out of here, posthaste."
He had sent Red Alert and Perceptor to cover their trail in the security system, but there was only so much the three of them could do. The original plan had been a lot different, but since the Cons were in the process of busting Lugnut and Shockwave out, things had changed. There went the whole lot of careful plotting to get the youngling seekers' code fixed and then carefully arrange for them to "escape" using Skywarp's special ability.
Since that plan was now scrap, Wheeljack was hoping the three could hitch a ride with the escaping generals, because otherwise he didn't have a backup plan to get them off planet, and he assumed the senior Decepticons did.
Wheeljack made short work of the trackers and the crude inhibitor code, since Red Alert had thoughtfully left a trapdoor in it, and herded the three seekers out. They passed the unconscious guards (Wheeljack had a lot of tricks) and used the cover of a "convenient" explosion of smoke to exit the wing.
It was the middle of the night cycle, and something was up. Optimus wasn't quite sure what it was, but there was a column of smoke on the horizon, off to the West. He could see the city lights reflected off of it. A little while ago, the news feeds had been reporting on an explosion out by Autobot HQ, then at the Citadel. Then the feeds had all clammed up, and started talking about some kind of vaguely defined "accident". Personal accounts, on the other servo, were indicating multiple blasts, and possibly fighting.
An announcement had gone out from Ultra Magnus's office that everything was under control. It had been one of the Magnus's spokesmechs, looking all polished up and professionally earnest, telling bots to stay where they were.
This. This is what the humans called "BS." There was something going on, and as an Autobot Prime, he should be there to help. Optimus hadn't even been called up. There was a military emergency at the Citadel, and they hadn't called him to active duty. He contacted the main frequency, and was told that he was on leave, and not authorized for combat.
Growling his engines with aggravation, he pulled up Cliffjumper's personal comm.
::What!:: Came a snarled reply.
::Cliffjumper! What's happening? Do you need help out there?::
::Frag. Optimus? Grab the fragging Warlord and go to ground! Now!::
::I can help!:: Optimus sent. He had more experience fighting Decepticons than almost any of the mecha there.
::Unicron's Heralds! No! The Cons are after the prisoners, and you have the Slagmaker in your apartment! Get the frag out of there, and take him with you! That's an ORDER, mech!::
Frag. If this was Earth, Optimus and his team would already be there, where they were needed. He could… He was a loyal Autobot soldier, and they couldn't let the Decepticons take Megatron back, coding or no coding.
He slammed into his Decepticon's room. "We have to go. Now."
Megatron's had looked affronted at the intrusion, but the expression melted into a calculating look as he took in his captor's obvious agitation. Something very much like a smirk formed on his lips. "Problem, Prime?" He drawled. Optimus suspected that the warlord had been able to feel his agitation earlier, and was probably looking forward to some kind of trouble.
"Come on." Optimus gritted. He started out the door, thought better of it, and headed to the window. He had put on his jet pack as soon as the first report came in, in case bots needed his help. Instead he had been ordered to run and hide.
"We have to go." He said. "I have my orders."
It was hardly the last order he had hated but obeyed recently. He hoped this sort of thing wasn't going to become a habit.
The escape plan was a thing of beauty.
The Rflector gestalt, Blitzwing and Lugnut met Shockwave, Thunderblast and Blastoff, (who was going to be their ride) outside what was left the cell block. So far, so good. They just needed to get the mini-jump gate up and running, and it would drop them off in orbit around Luna 2, where Blastoff would transform, and they'd all scram. Oil Slick and Cyclonus were working on the jump gate, and now that they had the prisoners, they just needed to make it back to the meet point where they were staging it.
Thunderblast was really quite proud of it.
There was just one problem.
"Where are the Starscream clones?" Shockwave demanded.
"Uh…" Thunderblast said intelligently. "We… aren't actually sure."
"What." Shockwave said.
"Uh, we aren't sure." Thunderblast repeated. "When we found out that they were planning to hack you, we moved the operation up, and you and the generals were our main priority."
Shockwave didn't like that, but it was the proper logistical choice (and had saved him from a spark merge with Sentinel). They couldn't risk loosing two of the faction's best fighters and their top spy for a bunch of Starscream spawn, even if they were just younglings.
He kept silent as they charged through wreckage and clouds of dust and smoke to where Oil Slick and Cyclonus waited with the bulky jumpgate equipment. Then winged shapes appeared out of the smoke, accompanied by… An Autobot?
"Eeep." Said Wheeljack, his vocal indicators flashing.
One of the clones snatched him up, holding him like a stuffed toy. "Mine!" the bright yellow seeker exclaimed. Glitches. Still, Shockwave wouldn't want to see them left here at the Autobot's extremely dubious mercy. The Autobot engineer looked at the senior Decepticons with comically wide optics.
"I'll just, uh, leave you three to get home with your comrades, then?" He said hopefully.
The seeker just clutched him closer. "You said you were getting us out." The flier said. "That means you're coming with us."
"We don't have time for this." Thunderblast snarled. "We have to go. Now."
"Right." Shockwave said. He hurt all over, didn't have any weapons besides his claws and his wits, and they were in the middle of Autobot territory with troops converging from all directions. Lugnut and Blitzwing looked even worse than he did. "Get us the frag out of here, and we can figure out any extra details after we escape."
Moments later, Oil Slick brought the jumpgate up, and the group of Decepticons, plus one struggling Autobot, vanished through it.