Disclaimer: No money, no rights, no life.

Author's notes: This is set after the last episode, and will probably be the only story I write that takes the last three eps into account. Well, enjoy....................

Graveyard Shift
By: SilverGirl

Staring down at his cards, Depthcharge came to the conclusion that being dead was not fun at all. He looked around the poker table at the rest of the players, namely, all of those who had perished in the Beast Wars. Terrorsaur, Scorponok, Tigerhawk, Inferno, Quickstrike, *both* Dinobots, Tarantulas, Rampage, and of course, himself. He stared back at the cards. He had a hand of complete slag, but it didn't matter. He was dead, after all.

"I start with fifty," Terrorsaur began, depositing his chip in the center of the table. Scorponok grinned.

"I see your fifty, I raise you seventy-five. You know, the rest of you are so lucky."

"Why?" Tarantulas asked.

"At least you got to be Transmetal," Scorponok replied. "And you guys," here he indicated the second Dinobot and Tigerhawk, "got to go Transmetal Two!"

"Yes," the winged tiger replied, "but at least you stuck around for more than three episodes." He delicately selected two of his cards, sliding them facedown under the deck and drawing another two from the top.

"Hey, y'all had it easy," Quickstrike said, trying to hold his cards with his impossibly long claws. "At least yer leader didn't blow you up." He turned to Scorponok. "I see yer seventy-five."

"Yes," Inferno added sadly. "The Royalty betrayed us. I see the seventy-five.""

"Damn straight," the Fuzor replied.

"Well, I might have gotten a death scene worthy of an Emmy Award, but I got the worst comeback," the first Dinobot said, glaring at his cards. He growled in frustration. "I fold."

"Now, you stuck to your guns to save those pitiful protohumans, but you fold out of a stupid game of cards?" the second Dinobot countered. "Where's the honor in that?"

"Where's the honor in winning by deceiving your opponents?" the other shot back.

The second Dinobot grinned. "Touché. I see the seventy-five."

"And what does it matter?" Tigerhawk put in. "We're dead. And no, Dinobot, you did not get the worst comeback. We did. We were brought back and killed in two-and-a-half episodes just so Hasbro could make another toy and rake in more money."

"True," the resurrected raptor agreed. "I at least had some point in the show, not to mention that I still got to keep my honorable reputation."

"None of you had it worse than me," Tarantulas spoke up. "At least you didn't get fried by the rent collectors. I see the seventy-five also."

"That was your own fault," Rampage said, turning to Quickstrike. "I see your seventy-five, I raise you eighty."

"Yeah, well, at least none of you got stuck dying with *him,*" Depthcharge said, indicating Rampage. "Don't you dare forget, X, I killed you first."

"No, I think you have it wrong," Rampage replied. "I killed *you* first."

"No, you're the one who's got it backward. I killed *you.*"

"Does it really matter?" Tigerhawk said. "Come on, Depthcharge, make your move already."

Depthcharge stared around the table from behind his cards for a minute, then turned to Rampage. This called for some heavy bluffing. "I see your eighty, I raise you a hundred and ten." A hush fell over the table, as everyone else nervously looked at their cards, save for the original Dinobot.

"I fold," Terrorsaur said, laying his cards down.

"Um, me too," Scorponok added.

"I second that."

"Stakes are too durn high for me. I'm outta here."

"The same goes for me."

"There can be honor in defeat. I fold as well."

"Me too."

Rampage looked thoughtfully at his own cards. "I call."

*Slag,* the hunter thought, laying his cards out face up on the table.

Rampage's hand was just as bad. Absolute slag, and his highest card was a Jack.

Depthcharge grinned, taking the chips from the center. His highest card was a Queen.

Rampage laughed good-naturedly. "Like it matters."

"What do you think's going to happen to the others in the next series?" Quickstrike asked. "From what I've been hearin' *we're* the lucky ones."

Depthcharge never lost his grin. "Well, since you asked." He reached under the table, bringing up a small holo-projector. "This is the future of our former comrades-in-arms." He flicked it on, playing with the knobs for a little bit to get the small 3-D image in focus. He finally did.

It was one of what seemed to be Optimus Primal. If it was, it looked as if he'd stolen costumes from *G.I. Joe." The original Dinobot was the first to break the shocked silence.

"What have they done to him?"

"After going Optimal, I didn't think he could look any worse," Tarantulas added. "Looks like I'm wrong again."

Depthcharge flipped to the next image. It looked like Cheetor after a rigorous workout and an accident that turned his legs backward. The first Dinobot growled in indignation.

"Why? That is my only question. Why?"

"I don't think you want that answered," Rampage put in.

Depthcharge called up the next image, which drew a collective gasp from everyone. It looked like an anorexic female squid who had jumped into twenty different cans of paint and cut her feet off.

"What happened to my Sugarbot!" Quickstrike cried in indignation. "Somebody's gonna pay fer this!"

"You thought her beautiful once," Tarantulas said.

"She got *real* ugly," the Fuzor replied.

Depthcharge changed to the next image. It looked like the face of a monkey, and the body ended in two wheels instead of legs. Both Dinobots' jaws hit the table.

"*That's* the rodent?" they said in unison. The original raptor shook his head.

"Not even I would wish that on him."

"Please tell us there's no more," the other said.

"Sorry, I'd be lying. I've saved the worst for last," Depthcharge replied, bringing up the final image. This one looked compact and muscular, with a face that hardly looked like a face. It wore a long robe of sorts, and behind it flowed what was either hair or tentacles.

"The Royalty!" Inferno shouted. "They have murdered the Royalty! They will *burn!*"

"Calm down, Blender Butt," Quickstrike said. "There ain't nothin' you can do."

"You know," the second Dinobot said thoughtfully, "I'm actually glad we didn't make it."

"Ya got that right," Quickstrike said. "After seein' what happens to everyone else, being dead ain't so bad."