Devastator’s rampage on Dinobot Island had left a grim tableau of fallen Autobots enveloped in smoke, flames, and sparks, and surrounded by pools of Energon. Devastator’s bone-chillingly triumphant laughter echoed across the island.
His gloating was interrupted by an interplanetary communication from Shockwave on Cybertron. “Constructicons, Insecticons, the tide here has turned in the Autobots’ favor. We require reinforcements. Head for the Space Bridge immediately.”
Devastator separated into the Constructicons. “Blast it!” grumbled Hook, “There are further adjustments to be made to Decepticon City.” “Nonsense!” countered Scrapper. “To fine-tune it further would be wasteful. Our work here is done. Let us activate Decepticon City’s attack mode and be off to Cybertron.”
With the flick of a switch or two, Decepticon City assumed the form of Trypticon, a bipedal lizard-like monstrosity which towered proportionately above the other Decepticons as a human to ants. With a blood-curdling roar, it took flight and headed for Autobot City.
At that moment, Autobot City was being savagely strafed by Thundercracker and Skywarp in their jet modes while the Combaticons kept the Protectobots busy. Even Autobot City’s formidable weapons systems had little effect as the seasoned pair of Decepticon warhorses repeatedly dodged the heavy artillery.
“We have to expedite this battle.” declared Hot Spot. “Protectobots, combined to become Defensor!”
The five Protectobots merged together into a magnificent Autobot goliath.
“Combaticons,” commanded Onslaught, “let us even the odds! Form Bruticus!”
The Combaticons gestalt form was a growling, ugly menace of a behemoth. Bruticus charged at Defensor with both fists flying, but Defensor put up his force field just in time.
“FIGHT BACK, AUTOBOT COWARD!” challenged Bruticus as he hammered away in vain at the force field. Bruticus’ rash assault caused him to quickly exhaust himself, something which Defensor noted.
“MY TURN!” declared Defensor as he dropped his force field and let fly with a tremendous punch to Bruticus’ face. The giant Decepticon was momentarily staggered.
Defensor seized the day, drawing his twin automatic weapons and firing point blank at Bruticus.
But Thundercracker had snuck up next to the aural sensors on the side of Defensor’s head and created a sonic boom that took Defensor by surprise and disoriented the giant Autobot.
This gave Bruticus a chance to get on his feet and lunge at Defensor. The colossal combatants created a minor tremor as they hit the ground together.
Meanwhile, in the Forbidden Zone, Perceptor was shaking his head in disbelief and frustration. “The destruction was clearly wrought by the forces of nature, fire and wind and such,” he reported to Jazz, “but there is a strange energy pattern that does not compute, and indeed defies any scientific explanation.”
“Magic.” interjected Skids.
“Magic??” replied Jazz and Perceptor in unison.
“In my studies on Earth,” elaborated Skids, “I became fascinated by all things mystical in nature, and it would seem the Forbidden Zone is the last remaining section of Cybertron where such things have not been eradicated by technology and warfare.”
“Must be the season of the witch.” chuckled Blaster.
“Laugh if you want,” replied Skids as he produced a small black box, “but I’ve got this to back me up. I found it buried inside what used to be the underground level of the fortress, and it’s filled with organic substances like honey, salt, roots, and herbs, as well as what appear to be mystical talismans. ” He opened the box so the others could see.
“Way cool!” remarked an awestruck Bumblebee.
“But how is this supposed to help us?” demanded Jazz.
Before Skids could answer, he was interrupted by a badly burned Powerglide, who swooped in for a landing, transformed to robot mode, and made a breathless, trembling report to the other Autobots. “I got bogeyman bogeys on my tail. I tried to shake them, but I couldn’t. And they breathe fire!”
“Relax,” replied Jazz as he drew his weapon, “we’re ready for them.”
A phantasmagoric army of darkness descended on the Autobots like a demonic plague. The Autobots fired at will, but nothing seemed to have any effect on the them, not even Blaster’s sonics, which had helped them escape a mutant monster earlier. The monsters appeared to be adaptable to any kind of non-mystical weapon.
The Autobots quickly fell before the monsters’ magical might, but much to the Autobots’ surprise, the monsters did not finish them off, but rather captured them and flew them toward their master Yarvok’s castle.
At Autobot City, the battle between Defensor and Bruticus was proving conclusively that the harder they come, the harder they fall indeed. With Bruticus defeated, Defensor was free to pinpoint Thundercracker and Skywarp and blast them both with precision. The damaged Decepticons all retreated.
“We won! We won!” gloated Scamper.
“Don’t start celebrating just yet.” warned Prowl. “The Decepticons caused their share of damage to Autobot City, and I haven’t been able to raise any of the Autobots on Dinobot Island.”
Suddenly, the ground started trembling.
“I think I know the reason for that, Prowl.” moaned Ratchet.
A shadow descended over Autobot City as Trypticon made his inexorable approach.
TO BE CONTINUED