“Cyclonus.” Ultra Magnus holstered his pistol; he wouldn’t be needing it for a while.
Cyclonus nodded in acknowledgment. “Magnus.” The whine of his weapons ceased as he powered them down. “Where are we this time?”
“No idea,” Ultra Magnus replied. “I arrived just before you. Preliminary scans show no signs of life, mechanoid or organic.”
Cyclonus looked up, and Ultra Magnus waited while the Decepticon ran his own scans. “Binary star system,” he said after a while. “That should narrow it down somewhat.” He knelt, trailing his fingers through the planet’s lifeless dust. “I’m picking up trace readings, Quintessonian in origin, but they appear quite old.”
Ultra Magnus sighed; that would have been the drone ship, sent to install the hidden cameras. Every thirty solar cycles, the Quintessons found a way to abduct the both of them and maroon them on some remote, deserted world. And every thirty solar cycles he and Cyclonus were forced to work together to un-maroon themselves. Rodimus had joked that the Quintessons were playing cupid, and Kup had laughed until his vocaliser glitched, but Ultra Magnus hadn’t thought it was particularly funny. It sounded exactly like something the Quintessons would do.
He re-set his scanners and tried to look anywhere but at the Decepticon SIC. “How are your fuel reserves?” he asked.
“Low,” Cyclonus replied. “Hardly enough to reach escape velocity. I was on my way to refuel when I found myself here.” He paused, then picked up another handful of the dust. “The geology is energon-bearing,” he said. “We have our way out.”
“Good,” Ultra Magnus said, but he couldn’t help a surge of regret that their difficulties would be resolved so easily. Much as he hated to admit it, he enjoyed these joors alone with his enemy. Cyclonus was good company; he made intelligent conversation, and it was always a rewarding challenge to work with him to figure out exactly where the Quintessons had left them, and how they could get home.
“Of course,” Cyclonus said, “the mining could prove problematic. We need to locate a viable seam, extract the ore without causing it to destabilise, and refine the fuel.” He turned away, but Ultra Magnus caught what he thought was the hint of a smile. “It may take some time.”
“It probably will,” Ultra Magnus agreed. He stood again, unable to stop himself from smiling in response. “Let’s get started.”