Transformers: Deicide - Issue #3 (2021 Edition)
A darkened command room. Maximus Prime, Magmatron, Silverbolt, Ironhide, Prowl and Lyo are present. Jetstorm and Snapper bolster the Predacon presence. They stand around a circular table, at the centre of which is a 3D holographic representation of Cybertron. Several red dots, representing enemy ships, are in a pattern around Cybertron, as well as a large mass in the distance -- Unicron.
Their ships have formed up around the planet. Our window for any form of pre-emptive strike has closed.
Pre-emptive? What exactly did you have in mind?
A close-up of Snapper. There is no apology on his face.
Stick a rocket up Prime’s exhaust and get him up there.
Lyo and Ironhide each have their arms crossed. They glare back at Snapper.
Are you insane?
You’d risk throwing away the Matrix? Our last line of defence?
Jetstorm leans onto the table. His glare is exaggerated by the light from the display. Magmatron stands next to him, contemplating the hologram.
How many of us have to die before you step up?
As many as it takes.
Silverbolt tries to move the meeting forward.
But that’s why we’re here -- to try and minimise that number.
9 LINK PANEL (SILVERBOLT)
Now, not many of you have seen the Empire in action, but I have, and their methods are simple.
10 LINK PANEL (SILVERBOLT)
Their warships will sit in orbit, just outside the range of any planetary defences and bombard the surface, giving cover while troops are landed.
11 LINK PANEL (SILVERBOLT)
Its equal parts brutal and effective.
Green dots rise from the surface of the holographic planet to meet the red ones.
Here’s the plan.
2 LINK PANEL (PROWL)
Every fighter, starhopper, armoured shuttle and transport we can find will try to take out their landing craft, helped along by whatever the Predacons have hidden away.
Jetstorm tries to argue but Ironhide raises a threatening finger and points it squarely at him.
What makes you think-
Don’t even try it. Primal’s crew still have the scars to prove the Preds have been up to a lot in recent years -- so shut it.
The hologram changes to show a platoon of soldiers in formation. An enemy transport ship flies down towards them.
Our radar systems will keep track and report in on any ships that do get through, giving us time to form up and engage them before they land.
6 LINK PANEL (PROWL)
Chances are the warships won’t waste any time in taking out our global communications arrays, so it’ll be down to shortrange comms after that.
Ironhide put his hands on his hips. He has a slightly more forlorn look on his face as he stares at the display.
Deaf and blind. I always liked an uphill battle, but this…
It’s not ideal, but Maximal Command will relay information to everyone as best it can.
Snapper quizzes Prowl.
But what about these warships? Even if we do manage to take out the troops, they’ll wipe the planet clean!
Once more, we’ll be asking for a miracle from the crew of the Axalon.
11 DIALOGUE PANEL (RATTRAP)
We’re doin’ what?!
Inside a large aircraft hangar, Cheetor is painting a name (AXALON II) on the front of the hull of the Autobot shuttle, which is still showing all the signs of its traumatic return to Cybertron. Optimus Primal and Rattrap walk towards the large doorway on the side of the shuttle.
Have you forgotten our last trip in this bucket of bolts?
2 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
That’s your biggest problem with this plan?
Optimus Primal and Rattrap enter the shuttle.
Oh, no -- ‘cos if Rhinox can actually get this thing off the ground, we’ll have the honour of bein’ turned into fireworks for the rest of the planet!
Optimus Primal and Rattrap walk down the centre corridor of the shuttle. Blackarachnia is typing into a computer terminal.
4 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
Because of the ship’s vintage, it won’t register as a threat to the enemy fleet, allowing us to slip in unnoticed. That’s the theory anyway.
A theory? I’m getting back into this death-trap on a theory?!
6 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
Before you even say it, Rattrap -- yes, we probably will.
Optimus Primal walks into the shuttle’s cockpit. Rhinox is holding tools and covered in grime.
1 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
How’s it coming?
She’s about set to go.
3 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
It helps when you’re not working from scraps.
Rattrap enters the cockpit, still complaining.
And what if someone just happens looks out a window and sees this golden hunk-a-junk?
6 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
Prowl believes their ships will be on autopilot with a minimal crew.
An angle from behind Rattrap, looking up. Rhinox and Optimus Primal look down at him, each with a small smile on their face. Optimus Primal places a consoling hand on Rattrap’s shoulder.
It ain’t too late to ask for a transfer, is it?
8 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
Get strapped in.
Optimus Primal walks out of the cockpit. Rattrap and Rhinox look slightly forlorn.
We’re all gonna die.
A backdrop of swirling black and dark blue tones. It is the Void. In the foreground, the Vok Entity looks around, while Primus stands solemnly, saddened by their surroundings.
1 VOK ENTITY
We know this place.
Yes. The irrevocable nothingness in the wake of Unicron’s other victories.
Primus looks to the Vok Entity, who stares out into the nothing.
“That which does not become part of the one shall become void”.
On one of your other visits to Earth, and in the guise of none other than Unicron, you threatened Optimus Primal with those very words.
5 VOK ENTITY
We sought perfection.
(Flashback) On an alien planet, The Swarm ravages the indigenous population, consuming them.
6 DIALOGUE PANEL (VOK ENTITY)
Our meeting with the Matrix revealed the cost of the Swarm’s destructive nature. We set about rectifying it.
(Flashback) Optimus Primal and his Maximals engage Megatron and his Predacons around the Standing Stones.
7 DIALOGUE PANEL (PRIMUS)
And of the myriad of paths you could have taken, you chose the creation of new life.
(Flashback) The second moon in orbit around the Earth has opened, revealing a weapon set to cleanse the planet of life. A tiny Stasis pod can be seen travelling up towards it.
8 DIALOGUE PANEL (PRIMUS)
You were unwavering in your quest -- willing to sacrifice that which you thought to have strayed from the desired path. But each time, in the aftermath of destruction, you created life once again.
9 DIALOGUE PANEL (PRIMUS)
in doing so, you demonstrated an understanding of the cycle -- of the two opposing forces and the balance that must exist between them.
Back in the Void, Primus gestures to the great expanse of nothing.
I ask you now, staring into the Void -- do you see balance? Do you see perfection?
The same angle as the previous panel, but this time, the Vok Entity is looking up and around for the source of the dark voice. Primus’ head drops slightly.
2 DIALOGUE PANEL (UNICRON)
A serpentine ribbon of energy coils around Primus, like a pulsating, orange tongue made of flame. Primus looks greatly unamused and unthreatened.
How often we’ve danced this little dance…
The coils now wrap around the Vok Entity, who looks much more concerned.
But never for an audience.
The ‘head’ of the pulsating ribbon ‘looks’ at Primus, while still coiling around the Vok Entity.
This, Primus? This is your Xal?
The ‘head’ looks back to the Vok Entity.
Primus has, without doubt, told you of my misdeeds.
7 LINK PANEL (UNICON)
But have no doubt. Primus himself is not without blame.
You will not twist this one as you have twisted others.
The ribbon coils up and down the body of the Vok Entity.
Did Primus mention that it was he who discovered how to move between realities? That he encouraged me to try?
The coiling mass seems to pulsate with anger.
That he watched on, silently, as I was stripped of function?
The coiling mass moves around the head of the Vok Entity, almost lovingly. Whispering sweet nothings into the Vok Entity’s ear.
Abandoned and left to die.
4 LINK PANEL (UNICRON)
Is this starting to sound familiar?
Primus grabs hold of the coiling ribbon and hurls it away.
The ribbon is unaffected and begins to form a more solid, bipedal form, holding a sword.
Violence, Primus? That’s unlike you. Destruction is not in your nature…
The form has become solid, as we have a close-up of Unicron’s eyes, looking evil.
But there is nothing else in mine...
Rattrap clings to the top of the top of the command chair on the bridge of the Autobot Shuttle. Optimus Primal is at the helm. He has a look of deep concentration on his face as he grips the controls tightly.
All I’m sayin’ is why does it have to be our darkest hour? Why let it get that bad?
2 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
Rattrap, now really isn’t the time.
Looking out of the bridge window, the sky is alight with explosions and laser fire as the Autobot Shuttle heads for Space. Cybertronian Empire landing craft are being chased by Maximal ships. It’s a hectic and dangerous environment outside.
If it looks like it’s getting’ a little dim, why wait for it to get any darker before they use the Matrix?
Optimus Primal leans back in his seat slightly, relaxing after a tense few minutes.
4 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
We’ve broken the outer atmosphere. Are we still one piece?
An external shot of the Autobot Shuttle as it moves out into space. All around the planet, Cybertronian Empire Battlecruisers sit in orbit and bombard the surface.
5 SILVERBOLT (OP)
Inside the bridge, Cheetor and Silverbolt stand on either side of the command chair.
Well don’t that just take the cheese.
Suddenly our assignment doesn’t look so bad, does it, Rattrap?
So far so-
The shuttle suddenly lurches. Optimus Primal clings to the controls. Rattrap clings to the top of the chair. Cheetor and Silverbolt are knocked off balance. The lights inside the bridge glow red in alarm.
Rattrap points a finger straight at Cheetor.
You just had to jinx it, didn’t ya, kid?
Optimus Primal looks up at Rattrap.
3 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
It was just some debris. The kind I asked you to keep an eye out for.
Rhinox joins the others on the bridge.
There’s a mass of subspace traffic moving through a ship up ahead.
5 LINK PANEL (RHINOX)
If the automation systems were being controlled from anywhere, that’s our best bet.
6 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
An external shot of the Autobot Shuttle, heading towards a Cybertronian Empire ship in the distance. Cybertron is still getting bombarded by other ships in orbit.
7 OPTIMUS PRIMAL (OP)
Alright, Maximals -- lock and load!
Magmatron walks forwards between the formed-up lines of a platoon of Predacon soldiers.
At the end of the Great War, our armies were betrayed and dismantled by those who commanded them, fearing the wrath of time upon their sparks. But they had forgotten one thing…
Magmatron arrives at the front of the platoon.
We are Predacons! We know no fear!
A close-up of a Predacons cocking their weapons.
4 MAGMATRON (OP)
Today, we reform the lines.
5 MAGMATRON (OP)
Today, we take back our honour.
Magmatron holds his sword aloft. In the distance, a squad of Cybertronian Empire troops march towards them, flanked by their landing craft.
Today, we carve our name into time’s very face!
Magmatron charges towards the reader. The Predacons behind him charge forwards too.
We shall never be forgotten!
In a hangar bay on the Cybertronian Empire ship, the Autobot shuttle has landed. Cheetor and Silverbolt guard the front and rear or the vessel. Blackarachnia and Rhinox are at the bottom of the gangway as Optimus Primal and Rattrap exit the shuttle.
1 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
Alright, listen up. Rhinox, Rattrap -- you’re with me. We’ll head down, trying to make as much noise as we go, then double-back here, ready for departure.
Cheetor and Silverbolt join the group at the bottom of the gangway to receive instructions.
2 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
Cheetor, Silverbolt -- get Blackarachnia to whatever control room you can find. We’ll try to give you as clear a run as possible.
Optimus Primal and Rhinox run off towards a doorway. Rattrap gives the reader a small shrug.
I swear I saw him give Prime’s spark back, but sometimes I wonder…
4 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
Let’s roll out!
Blackarachnia looks to Silverbolt, who has transformed into Beast-Mode.
It’ll be up to your nose to keep us safe, Bowser.
Fear not, my love. My sensors have already calibrated to this strange new environment. Stay by me and I shall lead you safely to your prize.
Cheetor, in Beast-Mode, heads for a different door. Silverbolt has his nose to the ground. Blackarachnia puts her hands on her hips in protest.
We’ll be quicker on all-fours.
Fours, eights, whatever. Let’s move.
Optimus Primal, Rhinox and Rattrap walk in formation down a corridor. The ship is showing signs of age, with wiring hanging out of the high ceiling. Rhinox and Rattrap are at the front, with Optimus Primal keeping guard at the rear. They have their weapons drawn and ready.
So you and the Boss Monkey might have these guys covered, but what about me?
I once heard a story about Grimlock doing a number on Devastator.
3 LINK PANEL (RHINOX)
He went for the joints. Always a weaker spot on a combiner, but the principles are the same for all of us.
A close-up of Rhinox, looking stern.
Cut them off at the knees, then go in for the head.
Rhinox and Rattrap look down the corridor as a Cybertronian Empire troop steps around the corner and glares down at them.
Ehh, care to demonstrate?
Optimus Primal and Rattrap open fire as Rhinox charges forward, transforming into his rhino-mode.
You got it.
8 SFX (BLASTERS)
Rhinox smashes into the knee of the troop, who begins to fall sideways. Sparks fly from where Rhinox makes contact.
An angle from above. Rhinox, in robot-mode, stands on the chest of the trooper who is lying on the ground. Rhinox is pointing a chain-gun at the troop’s head. The side of Rhinox’s beast-head on his back has been scrapped back to the metal, giving it a Terminator-esque look.
1 SFX (CHAINGUN SPINNING)
An angle looking up. Rhinox is illuminated by the blasts coming out of the end of his chain-gun, but we can’t see the damage being inflicted to the troop. Rhinox has a severe look on his face, made eerier by the shadows being caused by the blaster fire.
Rattrap and Optimus Primal both stare blankly at what is happening off panel.
If we get outta this, remind me I owe Rhinox 50 Credits from a long way back.
4 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
So do I.
Rhinox walks up, holding his head slightly, looking a little groggy from the impact.
Urgh. That hurt.
6 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
I’ll take the next one.
Rhinox holds up his two chain-guns once again.
You said we were here to make some noise, so let’s rock.
Silverbolt still has his nose to the ground, but is holding a paw, giving a signal to stop. He is in front of a large doorway.
1 SFX (SNIFF)
If my nose is correct, and there’s any logic to the configuration of this vessel, I believe the bridge is behind this-
An angle from below Silverbolt, looking up. The doors have opened. An Empire Troop glares down at him.
3 SFX (DOORS OPENING0
The same angle as the previous panel, but Blackarachnia has leapt up and latched on to the troop’s face. Cheetor is tearing at its throat. The troop stumbles backwards.
Silverbolt, now in Robot-Mode, stands in the doorway and fires two wing missiles.
Blackarachnia and Cheetor leap away as Silverbolt’s missiles strike the troop in the face.
Cheetor, firing at the troop, barks orders at Blackarachnia. She’s scaling a large terminal.
1 SFX (BLASTER FIRE)
I’m already on it.
Cheetor hits the comm-link on his chest.
4 SFX (COMM-LINK)
Cheetor to Optimus. Come in, Big Bot.
6 COMM-LINK (OPTIMUS PRIMAL)
Arrgh… Go ahead, Cheetor.
Optimus Primal, Rhinox and Rattrap are taking shelter in a doorway. Rhinox fires up the corridor.
8 COMM-LINK (CHEETOR)
Have I caught you at a bad time?
A bad time?!
10 COMM-LINK (CHEETOR)
We found the bridge. Blackarachnia is weaving her magic so we should be out of here any-
A shot looking down the corridor. Optimus Primal fires his back-mounted cannons.
12 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
No. Maintain control of the bridge. We’re on our way up.
13 COMM-LINK (CHEETOR)
An angle from beside Blackarachnia as she looks down to Cheetor and Silverbolt. A radar display is on the console next to her. All the dots are red.
All Empire ships are now registering new targets on their scopes.
15 COMM-LINK (OPTIMUS PRIMAL)
Does that include this ship?
The same angle as the previous panel. The ship takes a hit and everyone is thrown off balance. All the lights on the bridge start to glow red in alarm.
2 COMM-LINK (OPTIMUS PRIMAL)
I’ll take that as a yes.
Cheetor’s brow is furrowed.
3 COMM-LINK (OPTIMUS PRIMAL)
They found the shuttle, so we’re going for Plan B.
I didn’t know there was a Plan B.
5 COMM-LINK (OPTIMUS PRIMAL)
As the ship takes another hit, Cheetor points out the windscreen to the planet below. Other Cybertronian Empire ships can be seen firing at each other. Silverbolt flies up to the controls.
Bolt, take the helm. Point this ship at Cybertron and land it.
Silverbolt looks at the controls. In the background, Cheetor and Blackarachnia are headed for the door.
Propulsion systems are fading.
Then crash-land it! We won’t survive another cycle up here!
An angle looking down a long corridor. Optimus Primal, Rhinox and Rattrap (at the rear) are being chased by a Cybertronian Empire troop.
Grab a hold a somethin’! This is really gonna suck.
Rattrap throws two bombs at the window.
The bombs stick to the window.
The window is blown out and everything begins to get sucked into space, including the trooper.
The troop vanishes out the window as Rattrap makes a frantic lunge for the outstretched hand of Optimus Primal, who is hand in hand with Rhinox, who is holding onto the doorway.
A very tight shot. Optimus Primal and Rattrap’s hands are centimetres apart.
An even tighter shot. Optimus Primal and Rattrap’s hands are millimetres apart.
The same tightness as the previous panel, but Rattrap’s hand has disappeared out of shot.
5 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
Rattrap is terrified as he is sucked back towards the hole in the hull.
Blackarachnia, in Spider-Mode, latches around Rattrap’s body.
Cheetor, clinging to Rhinox’s back, holds on to Blackarachnia’s webbing with one hand. Optimus Primal smiles broadly.
4 OPTIMUS PRIMAL
Well, that’s just Prime!
We see the back of Silverbolt, looking out of the bridge window. Cybertron is filling the window as the Empire ship enters the planet’s atmosphere.
PANEL FIVE (INSET PANEL)
An extreme close-up of Silverbolt’s face. He is very, very concerned and his ears have drooped.
The lifeless bodies of the Tripredacus Council are crushed under a large, beastly foot.
1 DIALOGUE PANEL (TRIPREDACUS)
The paths to ubiquity are well-trodden and paved in failure. Ours is no different. But the missteps of our former masters have provided us sure footing.
(Flashback) Jhiaxus is consumed by a dark, pulsating mass -- The Swarm.
2 DIALOGUE PANEL (TRIPREDACUS)
Jhiaxus was consumed by his pursuit of order but devoured by chaos.
(Flashback) The Liege Maximo is torn apart by white lightning as his ascension fails.
3 DIALOGUE PANEL (TRIPREDACUS)
The Liege Maximo would fall into nothing.
Atop the Predacon Citadel Unicron cultists, kneeling in reverence, encircle a Transwarp Shunt device. The device is powering up.
4 DIALOGUE PANEL (TRIPREDACUS)
Fortune would then deliver us to the very Pit itself, but unlike the untold number before us, this would not be our end, but the beginning of his.
The shadow of the combined form of Tripredacus is cast over the landing pad of the Transwarp Shunt device.
5 DIALOGUE PANEL (TRIPREDACUS)
Our race has no word for one that commands a god. But today, that will change.
6 DIALOGUE PANEL (TRIPREDACUS)
Today, that word will be…
Full-Page image. The full majesty of the combined Tripredacus body is revealed as it roars its name to the heavens. In the distance, Cybertron burns.
--- END ISSUE #3 ---