“My lord?”  Asked a tentative Dinobot voice.  A bipedal figure stepped into the cavern’s light, with sharp claws and a long tail. It bowed briskly before looking up to where two blue optics tracked her movements. There was a long pause before the much larger creature spoke in a powerful, mystifying voice.

“Yes, my messenger?”  he replied. The smaller Dinobot’s nostrils pulsed nervously as she rose. She spoke again in a sickened tone.

“You may want to see this…” She sidestepped, revealing two other Dinobots with a similar build. They held a large box with their tails, which they set down.  With a nod from the messenger, the pair slid the lid from the top.

Inside the box was a figure smaller than any of the other Dinobots, about the size of a human.  His once purple body was scorched black.  His wings and limbs flailed out, with the face twisted in an expression of pure horror that made all the Dinobots cringe. Claw marks covered every inch of the body, signs of an obvious fight.

“Na...Nano!?” The large Dinobot stepped off his throne  and closer to the coffin.  He fell to his knees, shaking the ground.  “Who...Who did this?” he asked the messenger with rage.

She paused for a moment before flipping over Nano’s corpse.  Between his shoulders was an oddly familiar marking. The Dinobot leader bent down to peer at it. A red Predacon insignia had been plastered onto the body.

“I swear they will pay…” Staroveky hissed.

Chapter 1: Trespassers

The sun blazed overhead, and the canyons rung with the sounds of crunching metallic soil.  Five reptilian made their way down the perimeter of their territory with  a large, blue Predacon walked in the front.  She was strikingly pretty, with green optics that looked like gems, and stunningly sharp and gleaming claws. Her tail that sprouted blue flames, and her muscular build towered above the others.

The serene horizon was interrupted by a whooping figure that zipped overhead.  Despite Flarina’s previous orders to keep their feet on the ground, a black predacon, much smaller than Flarina, soared far overhead. Diving, she slammed mere meters in front of Flarina, bathing her in sand.  She spread her starry wings triumphantly.

“Whaddaya think, Flarey?” She yelled in her obnoxiously loud voice while proudly displaying her starry wings.  “My flying skills improved since yesterday?”

Dusting herself off, Flarina sighed.  “Starfox, you must learn that training takes time. And did I not tell you too keep all four talons on the ground?” She scolded.

“Well, why?” Starfox pushed. Flarina opened her mouth to respond, but high-pitched voice piped up instead.

“Actually, when you’re flying, any intruders can see you easier.”  corrected Starfox’s younger sister, Rain Jay. Her voice had a snarky tone to it, and her purple eyes glinted as she continued. “ So then, the enemy  can get away faster. Training is also about strategy. It’s about knowing how your enemy thinks, and-”

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. All that strategy scrap. You overlooked one fact,”  Star Fox jumped back into the air, spraying everyone with dust again.  “That Predacons are AWESOME, and no one would DARE intrude in OUR territory! Predacons! Kings of Cybertron!”  Her voice rang across the canyons, echoing off the cliffs.  Flare stared at Starfox, trying to wipe away her mild amusement.

“It’s not scrap, you stupid fox!” Rain Jay snarled. “Tomorrow, when you recklessly get captured, lets see how strategically you can escape.”

“Let’s see how strategically you escape this!” Starfox dove on Rain Jay, sending them rolling and tussling across the Canyon floor.

“I am sorry, Flarina Pristine. All my sisters are trying to convey is that they are… excited… to be here.”  A mortified, silent Predacon, with a similar design to the other two,  stepped out from behind Flarina, bowing her orange head shamefully.   Blazewolf: the eldest of the three sister.

“It’s alright,” Flarina smiled. “I remember I was excited for a first day as a scout. It’s natural.”

“Well, General,”  huffed a gruff voice.  Flarina turned to the slightly smaller Predacon next to her, just one stride behind her.She was equipped with rippling muscles and jagged wings, and ferocious scars covered every inch of her giant body. The visible scales ranged from maroon to crimson, and they were splashed over her body like water..  “I must say, you did select the rowdiest bunch of Predacons I’ve seen. And I’ve seen quite a lot.”  From the corner of her optics, Flarina could see Blazewolf shrink back in humility.

“Bloodshed, they’re young. It’s natural,” Flarina huffed at her commander. From a distance, she could see Rain Jay and StarFox fixed in a heavy shoving match, with Blazewolf rushing over to break them up.  “So much for staying in formation,” she muttered.

“Well, call ‘em back already!” Bloodshed said impatiently. “We’ve still got the entire desert to cover!”

“Bloodshed, please.”  Flarina sighed.  “For the Allspark sake, let’s go.”  They were halfway towards the Triplets before Bloodshed spoke again.

“You know, General, if you’re ever too stressed, you can always come take my advice”  Bloodshed offered.  Her eyes glinted weirdly, practically relaying her thoughts; You contemptuous Predacon. That Pristine position was mine- MINE! Don’t think it’s over, just because Predaking chose you.

“Thank you, Bloodshed,” Flarina nodded. Bloodshed face lit up for a moment. She open her mouth to say something, but Flare cut her off;  “ But Predaking chose me as the War Pristine, for a reason. I assure you I have this situation under control, and that I intend to hold command of this patrol.”  More or less.  From the corner of her eye, she could see Bloodshed grumble with disapproval.  

“Of course, my Pristine,” Bloodshed grumbled. She didn’t make another remark.  

The group’s eyes vigilantly swept the Sea of Rust as they continued to tromp through the desert. Nothing escaped their sharp gaze.  A sudden, ominous rumble sept through the desert, stopping the patrol mid-step. Flarina held up a wing, motioning for everyone to be silent.

The rumbling stopped.

Flarina stepped forward again, cautiously.

The sound repeated, but this time it heightened to an outright roar.  Something rose up from the sand, grazing Flarina’s talon with its sharp fangs. She could see the outline of the being, with sand running down his scales as he rose to his full height.

He was an Allosaurus, to be exact. The Dinobot insignia glowed on his chest. He was larger than even Flarina, and his sudden appearance made all the Predacons stumble back.  He roared again, and nine more figures popped up around the Predacons. Not as large, but equally terrifying.

“What… Who..?!” Flarina blinked bewilderedly at the sudden sight. “Who are you!?” She demanded. The lead Allosaur stepped forward to sniff her.

“I smell you fear…” He hissed like a snake.

“Yeah, that’s great and all,” Flarina muttered. “But do you mind? I don’t know if you realized, but you’re trespassing in Predacon territory.”

“This soon will be Dinobot territory,” grumbled the Allosaur. “Once your kind has been exterminated!”

There was a shocked silence from the Predacons. They shifted closer together while the Allosaurus neared, manic smiles glued to their faces.

They were outnumbered, Flarina realized. Two-to-one. The Dinobots would tear their metal flesh to pieces!

“Get to the air!” She yelped. Beating her wings, she rose up. Three Allosaurus made a dive for her, their jaws snapping at her limbs and tail. Bloodshed was right beside her.  Sunwolf, the last triplet, had been knocked to the ground by a stray guard, but managed to flap away before he could dive in for the kill.

An Allosaurus attempted to blast the airborne Predacons with the flames that all Predacons and Dinobots carried with them.  Flarina threw herself in front of the other two with outstretched wings, taking the fire’s full impact.  The soldier's jaw dropped when Flarina didn’t.

“Thanks for the warm up,” Flarina hissed ominously. “My name sounds like Flare for a reason...” The guard backed up a few steps.  

She let out a rumble, and her chest begun to glow. A trail of light ran arched from her chest to her mouth, visible from her mouth.  Feeling its burning heat, she let the fire build into a large ball of flame built at the back of her throat. The Allosaurus gasped before attempting to dodge it. Though he managed to maneuver his large bulk inches from the flame, one of his claws had been hit,and scorched to a crisp.

“That was a warning shot!” She called Flare.

“HELP!” cried a voice. Flarina turned to see Rain Jay and Star Fox. “My tail!” A dinobot had the blue Predacons tail in his jaws. It was clamped down tightly. Jay held her sister’s talons, she and the Allosaur tugging for the prize. Fox’s tail and the Allosaurus fangs were soaked in blue liquid.

“STAR!” Roared Sunwolf. She attempted to dive for her twins, but Flarina held her back.

“Relax, I’ve got this.” She raised her wings, looking at her second in Command. “Bloodshed?”

“Actually, me and Sunwolf have to hold of the other guards. We’ll keep you clear.” Bloodshed replied. Flarina raised an eye ridge.

“All right...Keep me clear.”  With that, she dove towards the sisters.  Star Fox was struggling, kicking the Dinobot in the nose, but she was practically kicking a rock. Flarina turned  the last moment before impact with the Allosaur, her own blazing tail striking his optic.

“AURGH!” He stumbled back, clutching his face. Supported by Rain Jay, Star Fox begun to flap away. Flarina turned to follow before something struck her back, causing her to crumple.

Obviously, Sunwolf and Bloodshed hadn’t done a good job holding off the Allosaurus. Because in an instant, all ten were there, ripping and tearing at her body. Strong, sharp forearms with strength to snap bones dug into her flesh. Fangs slammed into her bones, lacerating the flesh and exposing her bones to the air.

She tried to defend herself, raising her torn limbs to push away the mangling snouts and clawing talons, but she was too weak. Too much energon had leaked out of her body. Sparks flew from the exposed circuits, and her beautiful mesh was ruined.

“Flarina!” yelped a voice. The Blue Predacon turned a blurry optic to see an orange figure diving towards her. Sunwolf...loyal as usual.

“No…” She groaned. Sunwolf stopped to hover. The Allosaurus stopped tearing to hiss and snap their stained blue fangs at her. “Tell Predaking. Get help.” Sunwolf paused, reluctant to leave her General to the enemy’s mercy.

“All right, you heard her girls. “ Bloodshed said, putting her talon on Sunwolf’s shoulder. Star Fox and Rain Jay had started arguing again, shooting Flarina worried looks.  “We have to get back to the palace. We’ll try an be back Asap, Flarina!” Without a second glance, she swooped away.  Without much of a choice the Triplets shot each other worried looks before following her.

The lead Allosaur turned to flarina  and smiled.  “I doubt you’ll survive that long, General.” He raised a claw and powerfully backhanded her face. With that, Flarina’s eyes switched to static, and her gaze went black.

Chapter 2: Prisoner

It was dark, and the Dinobot Leader paced back and forth in his throne room.  His footsteps echoed in the empty chamber. Every few seconds, his gaze would flicker to the door. Under his orders, the entire palace had been bathed in darkness. Black curtains shrouded every window and door in the palace. The sunroofs that were normally open to allow in the crisp air were close off. The palace was open to no one, besides the workers and the soldiers. A general feeling of dread hung in the air. Staroveky still mourned for his assistant’s death.

A new, recently-forged Microraptor assistant perched atop Straovekey’s throne. A shy femme named Nina. She was quite feisty, staring between her lord and the door. Her tiny claws and wings were constantly shaking.

“My Lord?” She questioned. Staroveky promptly turned his beak to glance up at her.  “Are you alright?” She squeaked.

“I’m alright Nina. I appreciate your concern,” he replied before returning to pacing. No, he wasn’t alright. He had sent some of his loyalist, strongest soldiers to face Primus knows how many Predacons! They could come back dead, like Nano, or desperately injured. He didn’t like wars too much, considering the effects it imposed on his friends and subjects. But Nano, I will not rest until you are avenged. Those Predacons will pay.  Dearly.

The door began to creak open, allowing light to spill into the dark room. Staroveky turned, puffing his chest outward and flaring his wings in a dignified posture.  A sleek Hadrosaur marched into the room. She bowed her crested head respectfully.   “Milord.”

“Arise Zephyr,” boomed Staroveky, “Report on the Allosaurus?”  He appeared calm on the surface, but worried thoughts zipped around his mind. Zephyr rose from her bow.

“My lord,” She begun. “I am not here to report on the Allosaur soldiers, though I will inform you all are safe and accounted for.”  She paused for a moment, and Staroveky breathed a sigh of relief. “I am here to address the matter of the prisoner.” Strafe blinked in surprise.

“Why is a medic coming to inform me about him, the prisoner? Shouldn’t that be a guard?” Staroveky questioned.

“Her, my lord,” corrected the medic. “The soldiers did quite some damage to her. Luckily-or unluckily- she’s stable. Just informing you, she’s in the Medical Ward.”

“And the Allosaurus? Any Wounds?” He pushed.

“A couple of torn scales, scratched plating. Nothing major, Sir. Besides...We can always forge new ones if these get damaged…” Staroveky caught Zephyr’s eye and snorted. She blinked, looking down and rubbing her talons together. “It would be a shame, of course…” she muttered. “ Anyways, the Allosaurus themselves are waiting to brief you in the medical ward.” Zephyr remained respectfully submissive, even while speaking, with her tail and head tucked into a submissive posture.

Staroveky nodded once more. “Very well. Dismissed.” Zephyr rose to leave. Strafe turned his head to his assistant. “Nano- Nina! Oh, sorry…. Would you be kind enough to look after the throne room until I return?”

The Microraptor appeared slightly offended, but she nodded stiffly. Strafe flapped of his throne after Zephyr, exiting his chamber and entering a hall of numerous Dinobots. Indeed, there were many of them. Soldiers making their way to training, servants carrying around platters of Energon, butlers trying to keep the halls clean. All performing errands to keep the empire going. Some stopped when they saw him, bowing and saluting King Staroveky. He forced a smile onto his face, returning the respectful greeting. All he wanted to do was get to the ward and check on his soldiers.

Upon entering the ward, he was greeted by two more Hadrosaurs and Zephyr.  They lead him to a seperate room where ten Allosaur soldiers awaited him. They bowed upon his entrance, to which Staroveky waved a wing.  “Congratulations on completing your mission, my loyal soldiers. Tell me about your success!” The Allosaurus shifted uncomfortably before their leader stepped up to talk.

“We...only managed to catch one prisoner, sir…” He mumbled, tucking his tail between his legs. Staroveky could see that Zephyr had clearly given him an understatement about their condition. One Allosaur seemed like he could barely stand straight, leaning on his comrade. Another clutched his claw, which was signed and half burned off. Visible patches had been roughly placed over their scratched plates.

“Well, one prisoner’s a  start.” Staroveky offered. He had been hoping for more, but he didn’t want to make these soldiers feel any worse: they’d done well.

“I suggest you allow us to bring more soldiers on another raid.” Added another soldier. Staroveky grimaced at his shattered optic.

“I thought so.”

The Allosaur continued; ”This one took quite an effort to bring down. She was the largest, possibly the strongest in her group. We would have originally caught one or two smaller Predacons. I swear on the Allspark! I had her by the tail! I just couldn’t hold on long enough. I was so close to- ”

“It’s fine”. Staroveky shook his head. “Focus on the details.”

“Sorry, sir. Anyways. I was yanking one of the smaller predacons from the sky.The current Prisoner came and tackled me.  We took the opportunity to keep her grounded.”

Staroveky nodded thoughtfully for a moment. “So..You’re telling me she sacrificed herself? For her teammate?” He already had a small amount of admiration for this captive. Honor was something he admired, even in an enemy.

The Allosaur shrugged. “I wouldn’t say that. They’re all jerks.”

“Where is she now?” Staroveky asked, ignoring that last remark. The Allosaurus shot each other confused looks, shrugging.

“She’s here, in the ward, actually!” piped up Zephyr. She beckoned Staroveky to follow through a metal door. They ushered him and down a seeming eternity of stairs, and into an isolated and dreary cavern that was kept for injured prisoners. It wasn’t exactly the brightest place in the castle. The cave was bare, with the exception of a wall of bars and curtain that separated the patient from the stairs.  There was a faint beeping of monitors and the sound of mechanical breathing. A chill ran through Straovekey’s plates.

“So, what’s the Prisoner’s status?” Staroveky inquired.  The medic appeared reluctant for a moment.

“Critical.. If she’d gotten here a moment later, she’d be scrap metal.” The nurse lashed her tail, refusing to look back at Staroveky.  The leader blinked in surprise. The point where the Predacon almost died? This prisoner was obviously a persistent fighter. He hoped she’d be worth the effort taken to get her here.

Show me to her.” Straovekey commanded Zephyr. She obeyed, pulling aside a small corner of the curtain as Straovekey peeped through. A beam of light fell onto the prisoner.  She was half conscious.  Wires were hooked from her chest and obvious wounds to the beeping monitors.  Chains wrapped around her wings and talons. She was attached to the table, preventing escape.

She was scratched and scarred.

But even in such a state, she was simply beautiful and stunning.

Robust, metal plating rippled with every heaving breath. They way her chest rose and fell in tune with her breath almost seemed mournful. Her muscular limbs tensed and rippled at random, like she was physically fighting a Nightmare. With raised eye ridges and bared fangs, she had an expression of war plastered on her face. Yes, she was obviously a warrior. Her slender and muscular build, her always-tense body,  her heavily padded armour. This Predacon was definitely a warrior.

Staroveky couldn’t help but stare at the scars his own soldiers had caused, and feel a twinge  A twinge of sympathy overtook Staroveky as he stared at the Predacons mournful state.

No.  He wouldn’t be overtaken with pity for a prisoner. He would avenge Nano. Staroveky lifted his wing and set it on the prisoner’s shoulder, lightly shaking her.

“Predacon,” he hissed threateningly.  The prisoner’s talons slid as far as the chains would allow. Her eyes slowly fluttered open.  Stiffly, she sat up and glared at him. Her calmness struck the Dinobot, but he maintained his toughness.

A small silence.