Beast Hunters - The Homecoming

written by INFERNO

A bright dawn rips across the latest battleground. Amoungst the desolation and destruction, a lone figure steps from the shadows. Taking a burnt piece of bark in hand, looks over the horizon, staring helplessly in the early light, wondering what to make of their latest struggle; and their whole existence.

"Why must it be like this" Huntress whipsered to herself. "Will this total annihalation of everything finally come to an end? Or will we all suffer until nothing is left."A shadow figure steps up behind her.

"That is for fate to decide I am afraid." Huntress spun around startled.

"Wha! Oh...I suppose you're right. But I don't see how that makes it easier."

"It doesn't" Prowl replied. The second in commanders words left little reasurement in the females spark. "But it is what we have to do. It is what we Maximals stand for; justice. As long as the Predicons storm the galaxy, we are to fight for our survival, as well as the survival of every living being."

"Are we not destroying every living being by fighting here?"

"Yes.......and no." Prowl responded. "We have to fight for the future, just like our predecessors did in the Great War."

"I see." She disheartedly replied. "My only wish is that it ends soon."

"Probably, not soon enough."

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In the distant sky a large object falls from space. The Predicon scanners are the first to pick it up.

"SLAG THIS INFERNAL EQUIPMENT! Everytime you want something done it seems to backfire on ya!"

"Shut up and track the pod!" A low voice rumbles. "We need to get to it before the Maximals do."

"But Lord Bludgeon, Its not a pod!" Aquarius quickly responded.

"What is it then?" Razorquill speaks from another terminal

"Looks like a ship.....but smaller. But its bigger than a stasis pod."

"Thunderwing, Aquarious!" Bludgeon ordered. "Get to the....whatever it is! If its not a pod, then I want to know what it is and without delay!"

"Yes sir." The Predicons assemble and move out in a hurry. As they leave the base, another figure looks to see where they are going in such a hurry. Tigershark steps into the light.

"Mmmm. Something must be a brewin if those two are in a hurry. Better find out what." He runs fast to the local river that runs near the base, transforms into beast mode, and races after his two comrads.

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"The UFO has landed! Grid Delta. Who's goin after it?"

"Not you Knio. I seem to have a little pain the last time you decided to go out on an adventure." A disturbing, but humorous tone from Alpha Hound as he looks at Knio out of the corner of his eye.

"Well then, WHO?"

"I will go." Huntress replied as her and Prowl step into the command center. "I need to see that something good can come out of this day."Alpha Hound nods. "I will call in Skysaber and Eclipse from patrol to join you."

Prowl is looking at the screen trying to make out the puzzling blip on the screen. His face grows with concern. "I am going too."

"What?" Alpha Hound is almost blown away by his sudden action. "Normally you wouldn't volenteer for such a 'small mission'."

"Normally, I wouldn't. There is something familiar about this.....whatever it is. Its not a pod, and its too small to be a ship. Something is not right here, and the preds are the last ones who should have this."

"No argument from me. Join up with Huntress and meet Eclipse and Skysaber at coordinates 317 in grid delta."

"Already gone." Prowl says softly.

"Indeed. Something has spooked my old friend. I don't know what it is, but my Primus be with him."

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Streaking across a giant volcanic canyon area, Thunderwing and Aquarius land and transform. Looking over the dense and desolate area, they look for the rather strange anomoly, wondering what they will find. A rumbling in the ground causes both to catch themselves for a second.

"This place is about as stable as Splurge on a good day." Cracked Aquarius

"But even he doesn't make this much ruckuss." Thunderwing glaced over at the volcano. "There. The object is there."

"IN the volcano?"

"No you dolt! But near the opening at the top. Let's get moving before the maximals arrive."

"TOO LATE!!!"As Thunderwing spun around Eclipse and Skysaber let loose on firepower upon their foes.

Dogging the first wave, Thunderwing dives behind a rock as Aquarious starts shooting at the Maximals. Aquarius, thinking he has a victory, is struck in leg by a fireblast followed by the foot of his enemy. Spinning to the ground, he grabs the foot of Skysaber and flips him onto his back. Aquarious struggles to his feet as he grabs his left leg, screaming in the pain.

"Maximal scum!" He cries.

"Better that than a stinkin botched clone!" Skysaber reatliated.

Screaming in rage at the remark, he leaps toward Skysaber, still on the ground. Just about the time he lands on Skysaber, the maximal pulls out a hidden plasma cannon and shoots his nemesis right in the chest. The small, but powerful explosion blows the predicon backwards into the deep canyon behind him. Screaming and laughing all the way down.

"That bots got some issues."His victory is cut short as a missle slams into his side. Rolling on the ground, he crashes into a nearby boulder, shaken and apparently not entirely concious. Scrolling across the barrel of an armatron blaster, Tigershark cracks an evil smile at his bullseye target.

"Don't celebrate just yet, maxi."Thunderwing screams in his direction. "Keep the other one busy! There are two more maximals headed for the target! I have to get there first!"

Eclipse, still shooting at Thunderwing, looks over at her beloved. "NOOOOO!"

Tigershark looks at her. "Ahh. A sentimental one. You will be a fun one you will."

"SHOVE IT UP YOUR CROME PLATE!" She cried and opened what seemed like a series of fireworks on the fourth of july upon her latest adversary. Tigershark quickly ducks out of the way and releases several shot of his own, all which came no where near hitting its target. "My turn!" Eclipse spots a boulder on top of a cliff above Tigershark and takes it down. Looking up in fear, he screams in terror as the boulder puts him to sleep.

"Thunderwing!" She looks. He is gone.

"I hope Prowl and Huntress get there first."

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Landing atop of the large volcano, Huntress and Prowl discover the unidentified obect. Resting at the very edge of the volcanic darkness.

"By the Matrix!" Huntress whispered.

"What is it?" Looking down on the large space object, Prowl replies with a tremor in his voice. "A large stasis pod. It is different from normal stasis pods. This one has the protoform already assembled. Its large escape pod esentially." He looks around the enormous pod and notices something familiar. "By Primus! I never thought I would ever see him again!"From behind a voice cackles.

"You won't for much longer either!" Thunderwing then unleashes several shots from a cannon at the heroes. Doging for cover, Prowl screams back at his opressor.

"Predicon! Don't do this! You don't know what is in there!"

"Don't know......Don't care. I have my own agenda." To the fear in Prowl's eyes, Thunderwing launches a large missles at the defenseless pod, knocking it into the lava pit below.

"The pod!" Prowl dives to the edge to see the half blown stasis pod plummet to its demise. Huntress starts to open fire on Thuderwing, but is no where to be found.

"What was it?" She asked Prowl as he came to his feet.

"Some call him a friend, others a foe. In all essence, he was one of the best. The matrix grows silent today. Let's go home."As they transform and leave, Thunderwings voice rings through the canyon.

"Oh I knew who you were. Yes I do. You will not haunt my dreams again. I have defeated you again old friend. This time, there will be no homecoming." A searing laughter echoes through the valley. Looking down through the volcano, the dishevled remains of the stasis pod sink into the lava.

In what seems like a cave nearby a set of fairly large footprints are seen from the wreckage.

In almost a silent whisper a voice pierces through the volcanic walls.

"I have.......returned."

TBC....

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