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Chapter 98: Others

The fading light of the afternoon sun filters through the grimy windows, casting the garage in a warm yellow haze. In the center of the room, surrounded by high shelves, Throttle and Ground sit on worn, dented folding chairs, while Pound rests contentedly at Ground's feet. Drifter joins the duo, leaning forward on his backward chair, his gaze fixed on the garage's other two occupants, Bumblebee, and Beachcomber.


Beachcomber captivates the group with vivid tales of their homeworld, Cybertron. He speaks of the devastating wars that ravaged their planet, recounting heroic battles against the nefarious Decepticons. He explains how the Autobots came to be on Earth and how they were separated and scattered worldwide.


"So, there are more of you?" Ground asks with trepidation.


"Yes." Beachcomber replies, "There were over 1000 of us on Earth, before the spread of the undead." His eyes reflect a long and exhausting search, "I've spent all this time looking for survivors." He kicks a stray screw across the floor, "I had given up when I detected a faint Energon spike, no doubt a result of your altercation."


"The one that Bug dealt with? Who was it?" Throttle interrupts.


"From your description and the footage captured by Bumblebee, I believe that it was Soundwave," Beachcomber flinches at saying the name, "He is one of Megatron's most loyal Lieutenants."


"And Megatron..." Drifter adds with concern.


Beachcomber locks eyes with Drifter, stating firmly, "Megatron is the embodiment of pure evil." He turns to address the group, "If he is still out there, he poses a greater threat to life on this planet than the zombie hordes." His words send a shiver through the group.


"What's our next move?" Ground asks.


Beachcomber responds, "If I detected the Energon spike, others may have as well."


"Let's hope they're on our side," Ground responds, "Imagine if Cobra aligned with more of you guys?"


___________________________


New Springfield


The formidable Decepticon Soundwave stands before Cobra Commander, his metallic voice resonating in the space, "Commander, I have located Megatron."


"You're certain?" The Commander questions.


"Affirmative. I am currently endeavoring to establish communication. Based on my calculations, once contact is verified, he should arrive in 5 days."


The Commander pauses, his steely gaze locked on the robot standing before him, "Very good. You, are dismissed."


The robot turns and walks out of the office, the only sound being the movement of his metallic joints.


"Bludd." The Commander calls out sharply.


From the darkened corner of the room, Bludd emerges, "Yes, Commander."


The Commander's voice was tense, "Will the weapon be ready? If this Megatron is as dangerous as Soundwave has led us to believe," he pauses for emphasis, "He jeopardizes everything I have worked so hard to build."


Despite the intense situation, Bludd responded confidently, "Hotwire and Scrap Iron have given me their assurance that it will be."


"Good." A noticeable release of tension seemed to wash over the Commander as he reclined slightly in his chair. "See to it that it is."


"Yes, Commander." Bludd snaps a sharp salute and pivots to leave the office, leaving the Commander to his thoughts.



_____________________________


Elsewhere


"Are you confident about your readouts?" The towering robot asks.


"Absolutely," the shorter robot responds. "The surge of Energon was brief, but it was sufficient for me to get a track on the general area." He swiftly tapped a button on his forearm, causing a holographic map of the American Southwest to materialize and bathe the group in a faint blue glow, "It came from this area," he stated emphatically, pointing to a spot in the desert.


A human among the group spoke up, "Then that's where we should head next. If we detected it, others may have as well."


"An astute observation, my friend," replies the larger robot approvingly.

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