Joe Colton sat in his cell on Cybertron, his head in his knees. It felt like he hadn’t moved from that position in days. All he could do was sit and think about everything he did wrong.
Betraying his team and his country.
Trusting a man who lied to him about more than he ever knew.
Deciding to commit genocide against an entire planet in the name of protecting his own.
Bringing Miles Mayhem along with him.
“Let us out, you blasted machines!” Mayhem cried out, banging on the walls. His own cell was directly across from Colton’s, allowing the former Adventure Team members to look at each other. “We have rights! We demand due process!”
“Can it, Miles,” Joe said. “If that didn’t work the first time, I highly doubt it’s going to work the eighty-fifth time.”
“Well at least I’m doing something to try to get us freed, rather than simply sitting there brooding! If only my Mask was working.”
“It’s unlikely tae work anyway,” chimed in Destro. The metal-suited arms dealer stood in the middle of his cell, across the hall from Mayhem’s. “I doubt the energy wire would be strong enough to break the shielding keeping us in here.”
“My Mask is capable of much more than-”
“And considering how thick these walls are, the corrosive acid would take several tries before it could melt through them, probably tripping an alarm in the process.”
“Well I don’t see you coming up with any ideas, Destro!”
“I’m waiting for an opportunity tae present itself.”
“Oh, an ‘opportunity,’ eh? Well then, it better damn well get here!” As Mayhem yelled at Destro, Storm Shadow, in the cell next to the V.E.N.O.M. leader’s, rolled her eyes.
“You’re lucky they didn’t put us all in one cell, Mayhem,” she said. “Otherwise, I would’ve already put my swords through your stomach.”
“Earthlings,” Shazraella muttered in disgust. She sat with her legs crossed, eyes closed, at the edge of her cell in front of the energy barrier keeping them in.
Miles returned to pacing the floor of his cell. “Where’s Mindbender?” he asked. “Or the Dreadnoks, for that matter? I haven’t seen them since we departed.”
“If they had any sense, they would’ve returned to Earth as soon as Scarlett figured out our real plan.”
“Yer giving the Dreadnoks an awful lot of credit there, Colton.”
“You know what? I think this is all her fault!” Miles pointed to Shazraella, who remained in her meditative state. “I bet she was working with the aliens the whole time, feeding them information from within!”
“We already know who betrayed us, Miles,” Colton interjected. “Kreiger.”
“Did he? Sure, maybe he wasn’t who he said he was, but our goals were aligned – the destruction of the Transformers. Had we made it to the planet’s core, we would’ve succeeded.”
“Manheim,” Destro tried to interrupt, but Miles continued.
“But she needed a new body! One that would’ve been destroyed had we fulfilled our mission!”
“Miles,” Colton started.
“Look at her! She doesn’t even deny it!” At this statement, Shazraella’s eyes snapped open.
“That is because I have more important things to focus on than the inane utterances of a blathering simpleton like you, human.”
“Like what?” Mayhem asked indignantly.
“This.” Shazraella raised her hands to the barrier in front of her. Her eyes glowed blue with energy at the sound of one word. “Enerchange.”
The blue energy flew from her hands, hitting the red barrier and the surrounding walls. It traveled down the halls, reaching each of the active cells. The prisoners backed away from their own cells, simply watching what was transpiring. When the energy faded, each of the red walls vanished. Mayhem hesitantly took the first step… but nothing happened. No invisible wall, no electric shock, no alarm. He was flabbergasted.
“But… how?” he asked.
“The people of Microspace are able to merge and interface with technology,” Shazraella explained. “And thanks to some residual Time Traveler energy, my corruptive influence was able to shut down the systems of this prison.”
“Impressive. Perhaps I misjudged your loyalties, Lady Shazraella.”
“Believe me, Mayhem, if I was able to only free myself, you would still be behind that wall right now. Still, I will require some assistance in my return to Earth.” Shazraella turned to look at Storm Shadow. The ninja saw her and, hesitantly, extended her hand to the Microspacian, lifting her up to her face.
“This is nothing more than me paying a debt.”
“I’d expect nothing less.” With that, Storm Shadow placed Shazraella in her pocket.
“We’d better get going,” Destro said. “We don’t have much time ‘til the robots check in and find we’re not here.”
“Do you think we’ll be able to access the space bridge?” Storm Shadow asked.
“Aye,” Destro replied. “Once we reach the space bridge, my M.A.S.S. Device should be able to return us to Earth the same way we came in, though we might need the help of your abilities, Shazraella.” He and Storm Shadow nodded to each other and took off towards the space bridge. Mayhem began following them, Mask in hand, but stopped when he noticed Colton, who remained in his cell, sitting in the same position.
“Well, come along, Joe. We haven’t got all day.”
“I’m not going.”
“Are you crazy? This is our one chance to return home. From there, we can come up with a new plan, acquire more resources, and mount another assault on these mechanical monsters.”
“We failed, Miles. The Talisman was our one shot. We missed.”
Mayhem shook his head. “Where’s the G.I. Joe that I remember, Colton. The fighting man, from head to toe? The man who never gives up until the fight is won? What happened to him ?” Colton glared at his former friend, standing up to look him in the eyes.
“He died. Not by Dire Wraiths, or Space Knights, or Transformers… but by putting on a mask and placing his own interests and fears above the good of others. I’m not an American hero. Not anymore. After everything I’ve done… this is where I belong. Paying for my crimes.” Miles gave his comrade one last look before placing his Mask on.
“Very well then,” he said. “At least this juncture ended better than Dolphin Bay.” With that, he took his leave, running to catch up with the others, who had already exited.
Colton sat back down in his previous position. After a few minutes, the red energy barriers keeping his cell locked reactivated. “Finally,” he said. “Some peace.”