Previously in Transformers Vs. Visionaries...
But by then it was too late. Virulina drove her spear into his chest. Kup could feel the magical energy surging throughout his body, overloading his circuits and breaking down his metal frame. As his body began to crumble into dust, he turned to look at Ironhide.
“DON’T LETTTTTT IT ENNNNDDDDD-D-D-D-D LI-I-I-I-IKE… …TH-TH-TH-THISSSSSSSZZZZH!”
And with those final words to his friend, Kup fell.
Next thing he knew, Kup awoke in a dark, metal hallway. He looked around, taking in his surroundings before turning his attention to himself. While just a moment ago he saw his color fade and felt his hands disintegrate, now he couldn’t register any sign of damage to his systems. Running a self-diagnostic, he found he was as healthy as ever. A little cold, maybe, but he was in fully functional condition.
“Ugh, what the heck happened? ‘Coulda sworn that I was a goner. Guess that magic lady musta just teleported me somewhere. Sure hurt like hell though. The question now is… where am I?” Kup looked around the dark for signs of anyone else. “Ironhide? Wheeljack? You guys there?” Kup began walking down the corridor, hoping to find someone who could help him. As he walked, he examined the structure around him. “Well it certainly don’t look like I’m anywhere on Cybertron. It looks almost human-built. In fact, it feels familiar, but I can’t place my finger on it. Almost as if… Oh.”
As Kup arrived in a large room, he suddenly realized where he was. In the room, lining the walls, were objects that resembled the Talisman, only crudely constructed. At the end of the room stood two figures that, for all intents and purposes, appeared to be Optimus Prime and Shockwave, offline and unmoving. And in the middle of the room, standing in front of some sort of control system, were two humans, a man clad in sharp armor and a woman wearing a brown overcoat. Kup had hoped he’d never see either of these two again.
“I’m telling you, Count, it isn’t going to work,” said the woman. “Without Mike Power, the system has no way of interfacing with the Cybertronian bodies. And while I may be an expert on many things, this was Kreiger’s project, not mine. I barely understand how the Talisman works in the first place, let alone whatever twisted experiments Kreiger performed on Power to get him to control the metal puppets.”
“Relax, Doctor,” the Count chuckled, his laugh reverberating through his metal skull mask. “And please, use my preferred name. With Kreiger vanished and Colton locked up on the alien homeworld, I’ve taken over every aspect of the Iron Ring, including this facility.”
“I still think that name sounds silly.”
“And with the former Baron out of the way and Cobra on the rise once more, our enemies are likely to assume our dissolution. This gives us plenty of time to unlock the secrets Kreiger hid from us.”
“From what I could gather, Power’s atomic limbs were derived from the Talisman. It was because of that symbiosis that he could command the I.R.O.N. Cybertronians. You would need someone with those same attributes to act as a conduit for the machine.”
“My dear Miss Gale, trust me. Kreiger and Power are far from the only ones on this planet with Talisman-derived cybernetics. There remain plenty of candidates.”
This can’t be good, Kup thought. I gotta get outta here and warn Prime about this.
“Perhaps we don’t have as much time as we thought. It appears we have company.” The woman turned to face Kup. If there was any doubt to her identity before, the X-shaped scar on her forehead proved it.
Suddenly, Kup was struck down from behind. He felt a familiar slashing on the base of his neck, hitting him in just the right spot to affect his mobility, forcing him to fall over onto the floor in front of the two villains. They were then joined by his attacker, a masked ninja clad in white.
“Thank you, Storm Shadow,” said the woman. She leaned down and looked at Kup, placing a round device on his shoulder. “Well, well, if it isn’t Ian’s robotic pal. It’s been awhile.”
“Not long enough, Doctor X,” Kup said, looking up at his adversary.
“I believe you know my associate,” Doctor X said, gesturing to the Count. “Count van Rani, the Iron Klaw of Kalistan.”
“Wish I didn’t, but it’s hard to forget a face that ugly-UGH!” Before he could finish, Iron Klaw slammed his foot down on Kup’s head.
“I recognize you,” he said. “You were one of the Revolutionaries that invaded my castle. You lost me my pets!” Iron Klaw proved an apt description, as the masked villain slashed at Kup’s face with the metal claw of his gloves, digging into his metal skin and shaving off a chunk of it. “Still, your presence here should prove useful to us. It will be much better to study a live specimen rather than mere shells.”
“When I get my hands on you…” As Kup began to stand up, Doctor X quickly pulled a remote out of her coat, pressing a button at its center. Suddenly, Kup was overcome with painful convulsions as energy surrounded him, emanating from the device on his shoulder. “Oh c-come on, s-s-seriously? How many t-times is this g-g-gonna happen to me t-today?” Try as he might, Kup was unable to stand. Doctor X chuckled.
“Looks like my neural agitator is working perfectly. That should stall him while we make our escape.”
“Escape?” Iron Klaw questioned. “I think not! This is a wonderful opportunity for us to test the Talisman conduits’ ability to control living Cybertronians.”
“Are you forgetting? This one has been working with the Action Man Programme for the past few months,” X reminded Klaw.
Aw man, Kup thought, my little buddy doesn’t even know I’m here!
“If he’s here,” she continued, “then it’s only a matter of time before–”
At that moment, an explosion went off above their heads. The ceiling to the facility burst open and through the smoke came a rain of bullets from the sky, fired by a young man in black and blue tactical gear wielding two submachine guns. The bullets ceased as he landed on the ground, keeping his weapons aimed on the three villains while the smoke cleared.
“Alright, you lot,” he said. “Time to come with me and…” He trailed off as he noticed the robot behind his targets. “Kup?”
“What have you done to him, Mercy?” he asked, aiming both of his guns at Doctor X.
“Not to worry, Ian, no permanent damage has been done to your friend.”
“Why do I find that hard to believe?”
“I can assure you, Action Man,” Iron Klaw said. “The last thing we want is for such a valuable asset to be inoperable. For now, at least.”
“Alright, Iron Klaw. If you and your associates surrender peacefully, then I won’t have to make you inoperable. Sound good?”
“Hah!” Iron Klaw balked. “As tempting as that sounds, I’m afraid I’ll have to decline.”
With that, Storm Shadow moved, throwing a shuriken at Action Man before leaping at him with her twin swords drawn. As the Arashikage ninja engaged the hero, Doctor X and Iron Klaw made their way to the control console.
“Oh, bollocks.” Action Man jumped to his right, just managing to miss the shuriken and blocking Storm Shadow’s swords with his guns. “I must say, Storm Shadow, you’re acting a bit more ‘lone-wolf’ than normal. Usually you have a whole entourage in red. Where are those guys?” Storm Shadow glared at him and moved to slice at him again. Action Man took notice and quickly rolled to his left side, narrowly avoiding getting sliced into thirds. “I mean, I don’t know about you, but I was really starting form a connection with… Whatshisface. Bob?” Action Man fired another series of rounds at Storm Shadow, who maneuvered around them with ease. “Or was it Steve? I’m pretty sure it wasn’t Gary…”
“If you’d rather face an army, Action Man,” Iron Klaw said, “I’ll be more than happy to provide you one.” He then hit a button on the control panel. Around the room, the man-made Talismans lit up. Energy crackled through the air and fed into the bodies of “Optimus Prime” and “Shockwave.” Inside the Cybertronian shells, dozens of IRON Troopers began to activate and emerge, leaving the shells to fall apart behind them. “Troopers, attack!” At Iron Klaw’s orders, the mechanical soldiers advanced on Action Man’s position.
“Oh no, not again,” Action Man sighs. He fired at the oncoming onslaught of automatons, hoping to hold them off while he calls in backup. “Salmons,” he said, radioing his fellow AMP agent outside. “Requesting immediate backup! It’s the bloody I.R.O.N. robots again.”
“Hey, k-kid!” Kup called out to human. “M-M-Maybe when you g-get a ch-chance, you can take out this th-thing on my arm?” Without another word, Action Man turned around and fired at Kup’s shoulder, disabling the neural agitator and freeing the Autobot. “Ah, finally!” With his mobility restored, Kup transformed into his pickup truck mode and drove straight into the horde of IRON Troopers. “Just another day of you and me taking on evil robots.” He transformed back into robot mode and began stomping on the Troopers. “Kid, this is the life!”
“Glad to see you, mate,” Action Man said, still firing on the robots. “Why didn’t you tell me you came back to Earth?”
“I just got back. Honestly, I’m just glad I’m not dead.”
“Don’t worry, kid, I’ll fill you in later.”
“Oh, you know what we should do after this? Movie night! Just like we talked about before things went mad on Cybertron. I even know the perfect film.”
“Sure thing. But first, we’ve got some folks to take care of.” Kup turned his attention to the control console, where the trio of villains had regrouped.
“Everything’s ready to transport, Klaw,” said Doctor X, as she finished pressing a series of keys on the console.
“Excellent.” Iron Klaw activated the communications in his gauntlet. “Steel Raven, activate the M.A.S.S. Device.” Before Kup could reach them, the villains disappeared, with the Talisman facsimiles and the remains of the Cybertronian shells vanishing along with them.
At that moment, Terrence Salmons arrived, repelling down from an AMP aerial vehicle. Salmons engaged the IRON Troopers with a machine gun, taking out the remaining robots alongside Action Man.
“You okay, Ian?” Salmons asked his partner.
“Yeah, Salmons, I’m alright. Luckily, I had some good help,” he said, gesturing to Kup.
“Good to see you again, Salmons,” Kup greeted, sticking out his finger for Salmons to shake.
“Kup,” Salmons nodded curtly before turning to Action Man. “Where’s Doctor X and the others?”
“They got away,” said Action Man dejectedly. “Again.”
“An’ it looks like they took their toys with them,” Kup added. “Guess I missed some stuff while I was Cybertron.”
“Don’t worry, big guy. We’ll get you filled in. Fancy a trip back to London with me?”
“Sure thing, kid.”
“I’ll phone Bestley,” Salmons said. “Let her know our independent contractor is coming back to visit.”
“Thanks, Salmons.” Kup took looked around at the remnants of the battle. “It’s good to be back.”
In the control room of the Iron Castle, Iron Klaw, Doctor X, and Storm Shadow materialized, the various Talismans and Cybertronian remains following suit behind them. A phalanx of Iron Grenadiers stood behind the M.A.S.S. control panel, which was commanded by a woman dressed in a traditional Kalistanian Army uniform and with an eyepatch covering the right.
“Well that was a waste,” Doctor X said. “Once again, we’ve lost the Project: Ice Man facility to the Revolutionaries. First Schleteva, now this? Our pieces are disappearing from the board, Count!”
“You fret too much, Doctor. Without sacrifice, there can be no victory. We may no longer have access to the Axalon crater, but the prizes it contained remain in our hands.” Iron Klaw motioned to the Talismans, which were being carried away by the Iron Grenadiers.
“Welcome back, sir,” the woman greeted, saluting her commander.
“At ease, Raven,” Iron Klaw said. “It is good to be home. Take these Cybertronain parts and store them with the others.”
“Yes, sir!” Steel Raven pointed at a pair of Grenadiers. “You two, take these to Project: Cyber Falcon.” Dutifully and without a word, the Grenadiers gathered the pieces and stepped into the M.A.S.S. device, teleporting away. “Inferno is sure to enjoy adding more pieces to the collection.”
“Just remind him not to advance any further until I get there. Do you have the files I asked of you?”
“All potential candidates for the “Ice Man” control process have been compiled. I believe both Mr. Sheppard and Mr. Alexander to be prime subjects.”
“Excellent. We’ll review them later.”
“Well,” Doctor X interrupted. “If that will be all, I think my associate and I will take our leave.”
“Yes, thank you, Doctor X. Your services have been appreciated.”
“Just remember our deal, Count. You keep your end, I’ll keep mine. Let’s go home, love.” Doctor X and Storm Shadow entered the M.A.S.S. and teleported away, leaving the two Kalistanians behind.
“Trust me, Doctor. My deals are always ironclad.”
To be continued...