Beast Hunters - Fish Out of Water

written by SlipBot

"Basin, you are damaged. This debriefing can wait until you are repaired." Alpha Hound was known as a stern leader, but always knew what was more important in life, even mechanical life.

"No sir," Basin responded to her commander. He looked at her. "I mean, I'm fine sir. It's only surface damage. It can wait," she touched her shoulder gently to show she was not in pain, even though she really was.

"Understood, if that is what you want." Alpha Hound sighed. "Is this the new Maximal?"

"Indeed," she said, standing aside, and allowing the robot behind her to step into the light.

He was a little taller than the average bot. Taller than Basin, but nowhere near the hieght of Alpha Hound. His head was rather small for his wide shoulders. The shoulders were rather large for the oddly thin waist. The waist gave way to large, bulging hips, each with holsters that did not hold guns, but fish. The hips slowly thinned as they move into legs, and at the ankles, they were thinner than a pinky finger. Once passed the ankles, the feet shoot out like clown shoes. In all, a very odd creature.

"What is your name?" the commander asked.

"K-k-kn-Knio!" it responded.

"Knio?" Alpha Hound pondered for a second, rubbing his chin. "What is your faction?"

"Max-Maximal."

"And your function?"

A metalic sound came from the creature's head as he leaned it down on one side, and then the other.

"Your function? What service can you provide?"

"Pro-Vide..." Knio answered. "Unknown."

"Basin?" The former Autobot turned to the wilderness expert.

"Sir," she responded to his unasked question. "His memory logs were fried. From what I could gather, there was not much in them in the first place, but part of it was lost."

"I see. Could the pod have kept a record of his memory logs? I know some did as a precaution."

"It is possible, sir," she responded with a confused look on her face.

"Good," he said to the two, taking a seat in his command chair. "Report to me tomorrow morning. I'll have a mission for you. And bring Riptide with you."

"Riptide?" Knio murmured. "Rip-Tide!" Basin looked at her new companion.

"Yes, sir." she replied to Alpha Hound before turning to Knio. "Come on, I'll show you around." The two departed, Basin strutting along the metal floor, Knio waddling with his odd shaped form. Alpha Hound could only chuckle at the sight.

-------

"Bwuahhahakahuah!!!"

The scream filled the third quarters deck of the Astroplex. Very few people had been assigned rooms here, most would be filled with Maximals recovered from stasis pods. But of the few down here, the scream was enough to wake the dead.

"What in the Cybertronian Estuary is that!" SlewSlander yells. He grabed for the comm button on his wrist. "This is SlewSlander. There was some sort of scream on my deck, should I investigate?"

"This is Wingspan. Confirmed. We recorded an energy disturbance and high level sound waves several quarters down in Knio, the new bot's, quarters. Go ahead and check it out. But don't risk anything. Keep in touch."

"I will."

Slew rushed out of his room and stealthily walked down the hall. He laughed lightly to himself.

"Snrk! This'll be great! Maybe we can have fried Carp tomorrow. Snrk, he he ha!"

He aproached the door and imputed the command overide codes on the lock and the door rolled open. Drawing his blaster, he quickly leapt inside.

"Buah! Help!"

"What the slag?" Slew murrmurs as he stares at the creature inside. It was Knio, flopping around on the floor, in Beast Mode.

------

"So you have no idea how you came to be in Beast Mode?" Alpha Hound asked the Codfish in the morning.

"No."

"And you can't transform?" Riptide asked, a little perplexed by the strangeness of his teamate.

"No."

"How did you do it last time?" Basin asked. Knio hovered in the air, using his transmetal air jets to allow him to be aloft.

"Unknown."

"Hmm, that is not important." Alpha Hound said, rubbing his chin once more. "You will need your beast form for this mission."

All three Maximals turned to their commander.

"Since the three of you are all swimmers, I want you to head up the river to Knio's pod. It will be harder for Bludgeon to detect your movements underwater with the concentrations of energon in the riverbed. I want you three to recover Knio's pod. It may hold some knowledge as to his past. Understood?

"Yes sir," Basin responded.

"Dismissed." The three turned to head out. After the other two left, but before he did, Riptide stopped and turned to his commander.

"Sir?"

"Yes Riptide?"

"Why are you so interested in this pod? I would understand if the pod were intact, but this one is not. May I ask why?"

"Certainly," Alpha Hound responded, leaning back in his chair. "The pod may hold valuble information."

"What kind?"

"I am not sure." Riptide sighed at his commander's reply. "But even if it doesn't, this mission will help us to understand more about Knio. I want you to watch him, understood?"

Riptide seemed to understand now. "Understood."

"Good, now get moving."

------

A few hours later, the trio was making their way up the long, winding river.

"Basin, shouldn't we have been there?" Riptide inquires. "It only took you guys an hour to make it back to the base yesterday."

"True, but we are following the river," she answered her comrad. "The river meanders a lot more. It will take us more time to get to the pod."

"Knio find, Knio find!" the codfish yellped joyfully. He swam towards the shore and ignited his jets, taking him off into the air above the shore.

"The pod?" Riptide murmurred, remainign in the stream. Basin walked up onto the beach.

"I don't think so, were not far enough out." She glanced around before her optics allerter her to a footprint. And then another. "Scavenge," she whispered to herself.

"Knio Find!" he smirked, content in himself.

"Yes, you did, now lets get going." Basin smiled at her comrade in the water. "Its nothing too important." She returned to the current as Knio settled into it, giggling.

"Whatever you say, but let us not get sidetracked. Remember, the river helps shelter our patterns, but we're not far from Pred grounds, we must be carfull."

"Of course." Basin replied.

------

Bludgeon sat content in his command chair, situated in his private command shuttle. Several Comm windows surrounded him. One displayed a map, showing energon deposits, locations of nearby Pred outposts, and one spot, marked with a 'T'. Another window displayed an odd pyramid device. A third showed designs of a mega cannon mounted on a lever. Nearby, one displayed a detailed map of some network of passages below a mountain. The final, and closest of the windows, displayed the image of a horned robotic face.

"Loki, how is the construction coming?" the Predacon commander asked.

"Excelently sir. However, I do not see why I should be overseeing this construction. I thought you wanted me to be working on the designs of the T-"

"Yes I do, but this may elliminate a need for that," Bludgeon

"Understood" the badger/goat replied, revealing a hint of disaproval. The comm window closed and vanished.

"He seemed aprehensive," Bludgeon mused as he sat back in his seat.

"I dont like him," Razorquill replied. "He seems... different. Even more so than other Preds that came from Maximal protoforms."

"You have a point there."

---------

"Here" Basin sighed with relief, walking up onto the shore. In his mind, riptide laughed at the site of Basin, a dolphin possesing four long, white haired limbs, walking across the shore, tail fin raised in the air.

"Basin is weird looking. Knio just noticed."

She took no notice as she transformed next to the pod. Basin had always enjoyed the surge of energy that came as the gears activated and engaged the transformation more enjoyed the quick, sweeping motion of transforming, more so than being in either of her two normal forms.

Riptide transformed from the watter, and walked up shore, feeling comfortable in the new surge of energy that had sweept over him.

Knio struggled to activate his jets and rejoin his two companions.

"It appears his vocabulary is rebuilding," Riptide noted.

"Yes, its to bad though that his circuits are to damaged for him to ever reclaim his full mental capacity."

"But you forget, he may not have had full capacity." Riptide took a glance at Knio, who had unfolded his jets, but backwards so they pushed him into the oposite bank.

"That's what we're here to find out." The Dolphin/Sloth sighed as she reopened the pod.

------

"Computer, identify energy blip."

"Identified as Predacon deflection screen," the onboard computer responded. Scavenge looked up from his wrist interface.

"Predacon deflection screen? How would my computer know that?"

Scavenge shut the metal shielding over his eyes, concentrating for a moment, allowing his systems to relax. In a second, he felt the whiring and churning of gears as his body folded in on itself, alowing synthoflesh and artificial DNA generated features to cover his form.

Now, slightly less noticable in this form, Scavenge rushed off towards the sourceof the energy his systems had picked up.

"I came from a Maximal Pod, so how does my computer know classified Predacon signatures?" he pondered as he neered the base of a mountain.

Using his hyena nose, the independent fuzor sniffed around the mountain, before picking up the scent of several Predacons.

"Initialize Scavenge Transformation Now." It was a clunky phrase, and didn't roll off the toungue easily, but it was the best he could do, not having a faction that would easily lend itself to a transformation code, he needed to have something that would inform his systems to perform the same function.

Relaxing into the metalic, almost uncomfortable, body of his robot self, Scavenge aproached the wall of the mountain. His shoulders wiggled oddly as he thought about how this formed seemed so, unpleasing to him.

He put his hand against the rock face, only to notice there wasn't really a rock face there.

"So this is the Predacon deflection screen. It cloaks an area with a false image. I wonder why no one has ever noticed these before?" Scavenge paused for a moment, pondering what his next step should be. "Convert to Stealth Mode."

A moment after speaking this, Scavnge fels a sensor deflection field go up around his body. Taking a deep breath, resulting from beast insticts, he steps through the field.

----------

"Sometimes I wonder why I choose this side..." Loki muttered under his breath, or he would have, if he had breath.

He was sitting at a Predacon command console, one of the portable ones they had taken from their section of the Astroplex. From here, a Predacon could monitor the spectrum of activity from whatever operation it was currently being used for.

The console was almost completly circular, with a space in the middle for one unit to sit in and operate all the controls. A ramp below the seat would pull the chair out through the small open slot in the back, enabling the bot to leave the controls. Above the console, vid- windows could be opened to show whatever information was needed.

Currently, most of the windows held images of tunnels, spyder-bot images of the tunnels, or tech specs. But one held the plans for a large, pyramid structure, more complex and detailed than the one Bludgeon had been looking at, but with striking similarities.

"I am supposed to be working on Bludgeon's base, not overseeing construction of some childish display of superiority. To think I had thought he was smarter than this. This, this toy, it will never work, will it?" He looked away from the designs he was looking up to make an inspection of the plans for the project he was supposed to be overseing.

"Perhaps it will...." he thought for a moment, a noticable bit of fear in his mind. "If only I could... Bah! That would interfere with my plans even more! No, I must not. But this instalation muct not suceed."

"Stealth field detected. Stealth Field Detected," the computer repeated this several times, in conjuntion with the flashing of one of the controls, until Loki pounded on it with his fist, opening a new view-window.

"Identify source!" he yelled, intrigued by this new information.

"Unknown, source appears Cybertronian in origin, but yeilds niether Predacon nor Maximal energy signatures. Most probable sourse.... Scavenge."

"Scavenge, eh?" Loki's eyes flashed a bright yellow, giving way to a low, cackling laugh. He got to work. "Computer, contact spyder 7938. Load programming and prepare for re- working."

----------

"What is all of this?" Scavenge mutters to himself as he steadily wanders down the winding passages of the laybyrinth he has discovered. Fortunaetly for him, he has a computer system that is recording the exact layout of the caverns, producing a map for his eventual exit.

Up ahead, he notices one of the spyder-bots, the mini flashlight for a head, robotic drones used in all major Predacon projects. It flashes its light over Scavenge. Normally, even under Stealth, alarms would have gone off once visual contact was made, but nothing happened. It turned away and contiuned down the passage.

"Something odd is definetly going on here." He followed the spyder, hoping it wasn't leading him into a trap. For several minutes, Scavenge checked over his shoulder, and kept his scanners on high, until he reached the openign of the cave into an emmense dommed chamber.

"By Primus," he whispered. Before him was an emmense Energon excavation. A couple dozen Preds werre busy mining as much, stable, refined energon as they could. Huge cart loads, and one of the stolen shuttles sat in the middle. All around to cavern, series of tunnels branched off, probably heading off into more passageways.

"Those slagging Preds. There's enough energon here to power there troops for years!"

----------

Loki walked casually down another passage. In his hand he held a mini display unit, showing the passages and a minature image of what spyder 7938 was seeing.

"Excelent, they have reached the chamber." He quickened his pace to a run, and in a minute emerged into the same chamber, but on the opposite side. He leapt down to the floor from the passageway twenty feet above, and walked over to Manterror, who was overseeing the mining from this level.

"Loki," the mantis acknowledged.

"Manterror, we have a," Loki took his time to find the correct way to stress his next word. "Situation."

"Explain," the hulking green bot said, folding his arms.

"Scavenge has discovered us. In fact, he is here now."

"He is? Where!" Manterror shouted and turned around once. Up above, Scavenge grew aprehensive.

"I had better be careful. Manterror seems a little bit jumpy all of a sudden, Loki may know I'm here."

As if on cue, Loki shot a robotic digit in the direction of Scavenge's hiding place. Manterror squinted for a moment before his eyes widened in battle hungry excitment.

"Predacons! We have an intruder, attack!" he screamed, pointing towards the hole the independent was in.

"Scratch the may... and Run!!!"

----------

"Yes, found it!" Basin hapilly reported as she leapt up from the pod's interior. In her hand was a small box, rectangular in shape, only a few millimeters tall, and about three times as long, metallic gray in color. About mid way up its side, a slit covered half of its circumference, in it, a small disk fit comfortably.

"Great!" Riptide replied. "And I just finished attaching the hover-lifts so we can take it back to base along the river. It may be thrashed, but we shouldn't leave it so close to Pred grounds."

From the horizon, a series of explosions rock the land. Knio, a confused look on his face, propels himself up into the air to get a better look. In the distance, he spots the source of the comotion.

"Friend! Knio Find Friend!"

"Friend?" Basin ponders. She was perplexed by what he meant, until she remembered the day before, and the incident on the shoreline a few hours ago. "SCAVENGE!"

"Who?" Riptide responded.

"No time, quick, push the pod intothe water and set the lifts to auto-pilot, we have to go help him."

"Whatever, your in charge." The pair quickly got the pod on its way to the Astroplex before Basin rushed around towards the battle, only a minute or so after first hearing it.

"Yo! Wait Up!" Riptide yelled, following quickly.

----------

"Slaggin' Preds !" Roared Scavenge as he glided through the air, allowing the wind to propel his beast mode through the sky.

Behind him, about five Preds were flying after him, while several ground based ones were following on air boards, carrying some odd kind of weaponry. They were constantly firing. He was constantly dodging them.

Suddenly, an explosion in mid-air sent shockwaves through Scavenge, he shot a glance back, and saw Savage plummeting from the sky. Below, Scave saw Basin, a smoking gun barrel in her hand. He dived.

"What are YOU doing here?" He yelled during his decent.

"Saving your feathered but, not that you seem to apreciate it."

"Knio! Maximize!" The codfish yelled in vain as he dodged shot after shot of enemy fire with surprising skill.

"Oh Maximals!" Loki yelled, hoping up on a rock. In his left hand, he weilded an uncharacteristic energy cannon.

The three Maximals turned around, just in time to see Loki blast Riptide with a greenish beam of energy, knocking him into beast mode, and stasis-lock.

"What did you do to him?" screeched Basin.

"Hurt friend!" Knio bellowed, as a faint blue aura began to surround him before Flashfire hopped up from behind, knocking him out of the air, and then Basin.

"And you, funky-fuzor?" Loki derected his attention at Scavenge. "Have you nothing to say?"

An odd look, one almost of design, the realization of work, crossed Scavenge's face.

"Yes," he said plainly. "Eat Slag." And with that, he pulled out twin blasters and shot out the guns from both Loki and Flashfire's hands. Loki looked up from his smoking hand, his eyes flashing a quick surge of yellow.

"Very nicly done," he chuckled. "But you seem to have overlooked that I brought, three, guns."

Scavenge jumped around at the sound of another presence. He had just enough time to register the presence of Millitant and a surge of green light.

"Initialize Scavenge Transforma-" he tried to complete his transformation initialization, but was hit before he could.

Several hours later, Scavenge awoke.

"Uhhh..." Scavenge moaned as his circuits reinitialized. He noticed he was still in beast mode. "Uhn, I have to get a shorter transformation code."

----------

"So the test-types proved effective?"

"Indeed Bludgeon, they work at peek efficiently." Loki responded to the vid-window of his commander.

"Good, then begin work on the central one."

"Yes sir," Loki replied.

The window blinked closed.

"Unless the Maximals destroy it first..." The Norse Fuzor laughed as he activated a small mechanical bird drone. The red eyes of the black modeled bird glew for a moment before it takes off down the cave.

----------

Within one of the Predacon shuttles, a temporary brigg has been built. Energy bars contained Knio within a circular area. A mechanical box in the middle of one bar controled the device. Knio was still asleep, and oblivious to his confines, designed by Loki.

A low buzz of mechanical wings is heard as a black form, labeled on the inderside with r.a.v.e.n. lands by the ring. The bird like form tilts it's head to the side as it scans the limp form of the transmetal codfish contained in the prison ring.

"Urrrrruuunnnn...."

----------

Knio awoke, finding himself in a void.

"Knio...." An alien, comforting, feminine voice surrounds the fish.

"Knio confused"

"You must understand. Your friends are in danger."

"Friends? Danger? NO!"

"Yes. Now listen. You need to transform."

"Understood."

"Do you know how?"

"Knio no know."

"Do you remember where you came from? How you were formed? How you wound up in this form.

"Knio know not."

The voice is oddly quiet for a minute.

"Then you will have to go on in this form, until you can learn to tame it."

"Tame?"

No answer came.

"What does voice mean?"

"Tame the beast."

----------

"What is going on in this bot? I sense a strange power connected to him." Loki mused as he watched the vid feed from his remote avian vehicular epionage noid. A strange blue aura enveloped the unconscious fish.

An intrigued look covered Loki's face as he watches. The fish's body begins to shudder.

"To work my r.a.v.e.n."

----------

"Knio... trapped?" The fish lept into the air with his air lifts. After doing a quick spiral of the cage he laid his eyes on the mech bird. "Bird. Pred Bird! Bad!"

The r.a.v.e.n. squaked and flung a pin into the control box, deactivating the bars."

"Bird.... good?"

Loki's toy flew off to its master. After a moment of curiosity, Knio turned and flew down another hall.

"Friends. Save friends."

----------

"Where are we Scavenge?" Basin asked her co-captive as she looked out from the bars of their container.

"In a mountain cave, near grid Tri-Pheta-Omig."

"And now the million credit question: Why?" Riptide quipped from the other side of the enclosure.

"They are mining energon, and building something. I'm not sure what, or why," the second bot replied.

"Oh its simple Maximals, heh heh heh." Thunderwing walked towards the group. "Remember those cannons you 'saw' earlier?" The three bots were sudenly reminded of the sharp bursts of pain shooting through their bodies. "That pain is a result of the type of energon in this mountain. It has a wonderful paralysing effect on Cybertronians."

The group suddenly noticed the ground around them was moving. It was a mechanical platform. It emerged into a large cavern, different than the one Scavenge had seen earlier, but similar in construction. The noticable difference was the enormous cannon sitting in the middle.

"Holy Slag!" Riptide gasped as the horror of the device became fully visible.

"With this, we shall finally defeat you Maximals!"

"Um..."

"Oh, of course. You are included in that statement Scavenge."

"Thank you."

"Why are you telling us all of this?" Riptide quieried his captor. "Now we know your plan and can stop it."

"Not after we test it out on you three you won't." Loki said, emergeing from the shadows, laughing maniacly. A black bird pirched on his shoulder.

"Loki! The sensor cameras went down a minute ago. What happened?"

"There was an error while we powered up the device. It is fixed now."

The three Maximals could no longer here the conversation as they were lowered in front of the cannon.

----------

"Commander?"

"What is it K-9?" Alpha Hound asked the interface panel next to his comand desk.

"A thrashed stasis pod just washed up on shore next to the base bearing Maximal issue air lifts." The spark of the former security officer reported methodicly as the information flowed from the computer to his spark.

"Knio's pod?"

"It looks that way. Wingspan and Swoop are investigating it now."

"Any sign of the team?" Somehow, Alpha Hound already knew the answer, but he had to ask.

"That information..." he paused. "Is not yet available."

Alpha Hound sighed with a worried tone. "Understod. Please keep me posted."

"Of course, sir."

----------

"Initiating first stage charge." A computerized voice reported.

"Excelent. Are the subjects in place?" Thunderwing asked his asistant. Enthusiasm bubbled from his voice.

"Yes sir, they are indeed sir, ready and waiting final cannon preparations, sir." Millitant quipped, looking up from a data pad.

"Second stage charged comencing."

"Ready Maximals?" Thunderwing called, hand to the side of his mouth. "And you to of course Scavenge."

"Go to the Pit you slag spouting buzzard!" Riptide called. The r.a.v.e.n. kawed.

"Third stage begining, stand away from unit." At the prompting of the device, the Peds in the area activated miniurature sheilding devices.

"Where is that fish? That fried cod should have been able to follow that ion path easily!" Loki thought to himself as he watched the precedings.

"Third stage charge completed. Ready to commence firing."

"NO!"

The entire cavern full of bots wheeled around to face the voice. Knio jetted in from one of the many entrances, stopping directly in front of his compatriots.

"How did he get loose!" Thunderwing roared, flailing his arms. "Gah! LOKI!"

"My system works under sensor power, it must have dipped to when the power dropped."

"Nevermind then! We shall fix it now. FIRE!"

The massive cannon pulsed and radiated with energy. Waves of electricity swelled around the barrel. All the lights dimmed.

"No, no, no, no!" The blue aura reappeared and grew stronger and stronger. Deep in his mind feelings of kinship, and compassion for his friends, mixed with emotions welling up from a hidden past, grew with the light. All at once, he knew what to do.

"Knio.... Am..... Transformed!"

Everyone was shocked as suddenly all the parts of his body shift. The air jets lengthen and transform into arms, the exhaust ports becoming hands with fingers. The tail fins extend outward, lengthening into legs. The mouth pulls open and a head folds out.

The aura pulses outward, and Knio emerges in robot mode.

"Knio is ticked! You shall all pay!" The bot pulls two metallic fish out of their holsters on his hips.

Fast as lightning, they flew from his hands, smashing the control panels and the power wires of the cannon. Sparks flew madly around the room, detonating several energon deposits.

"We got to get out of here!" Riptide yelled over the commotion.

Knio caught the two fish as they returned and slammed one against the control panel for the energy cuffs on his comrades.

"Lets beat feet!" Scavenge yelled.

----------

Several minutes later the group emerged up top. More explosions riddled the ground.

"Hold it!" Thunderwing steped around the edge of the mountain. His arm was damaged and sparking. His other hand held one of the test-cannons. "Enough shots of this can still take the four of you out!"

"No! YOU are the bad bird!" Knio yelled. He threw one of his fish at the Predacon. The hit knocked the gun out of his hand, and it overcharged and detonated a few minutes later.

"Knio am a regular Lew Zealand!" he laughed catching the fish.

"Stop joking and run will ya!" Riptide called as he and the rest of the group rushed off.

The aura returned and Knio reverted instantaniously to his fish form and jetted off after his friends.

----------

The Maximals and Scavenge continued their long trek towards the Astroplex.

"Knio, who is Lew Zealand?" Riptide asked his teamate, perplexed by his earlier statement.

"Knio no know, who is he?"

"How should I know! You brought him up!" Knio looked more confused than ever at Riptide's remark. The fish fuzor walked ahead of the floating fish.

"Scav?"

"Yes Basin?"

"Why were yout out by that mountain in the first place?"

"I, was looking for something."

"Well, you certainly found something!"

"That's not what I meant," he paused. "I was looking for clues to who I am."

She stopped with him. "Your Scavenge. You came from a Maximal stasis pod like all three of us. Right?"

"There's more to it than that, but I dont know what yet."

"Did you find anything?" Basin was heavily interested now.

"I discovered that me and Knio are the same."

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"Look at him. Tell me what you see," he did not look, he knew what was there.

"I see a transmetal codfish hovering in the air."

"Exactly. We're the same." With that, he took off into the air towards wherever it was he goes to.

"Now I think I am the one who is confused..." Basin whispered and walked off to join the others.

----------

"So all three prototypes were lost?"

"Yes sir," Thunderwing and Loki answered in unison.

"And the plans were all destoyed in the cave-in?" Bludgeon drummed his fingers on the table. He was clearly upset.

"Sadly yes. We should have made that back up." Loki proposed.

"And we can't get more from Megatron's systems..."

"No, we altered the plans to make them a little more problematic if he ever decided to use it. We wont be able to reconstruct the original plans."

"Then it was a failure," Bludgeon turned his glance for the first time to the pair, specifically Loki. "Then continue with our previous plans."

Loki bowed and walked off, smiling contently.

----------

"Knio Am Transformed."

A flash of blue light surged through part of Alpha Hound's command quarters as Knio showed off his transformation.

"Hmm, a very differnt style of transforming."

"Yes. Knio said he thinks his past had something to do with an explanation, but he has no specific memories. It may be on the disk."

"Yes the disk." Alpha Hound responded. "Thank you Basin, thank you Knio, you may go. I wish to investigate the disk on my own first."

"Understood." the dolphin/sloth said. She was glad to go. She really wanted to return to the wild. She was seriously behind in her research after the entire Knio incident.

"Yes, s-, s-, sir." Knio was proud of himself and happily strutted off.

The Maximal commandered fingered the device, and was about to put it into the reader, but something stopped him. His curiosity wasrampant, but his fascination with the entire mystery of the situation was to great.

Pressing a point on the outside of his desk, a drawer slid over. Inside were several badges of valor, a piece of paper with the words "forever" and "friends" scribbled on it in human handwritting, and a holo-image of a female cybertronian, labeled "SoulStar", all scattered about randomly. Alpha Hound put the disk into the drawer and shut it, leaving no trace that it existed.

"Later.... maybe."

----------

Loki smiled as best a Cybertronian could as he worked on the plans for the constantly present structure.

"One day soon," he let out a sigh of contentment and relief. "Everything is working. One day soon, they shall rule the day they ever locked down Loki."

END

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