(Pripyat, Ukraine, June 7th, 2011)
Laserbeak watched from his hiding spot at the abandoned Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, waiting for the targets to approach the area. He growled quietly, making sure not to alert any of the fleshlings to his presence when he spotted a red and blue-colored 1997 Peterbilt 379EXHD Sleeper Cab Semi-Truck carrying a 2011 Great Dane Everest Super Seal Trailer entering the ghost town of Pripyat. Following it was a heavily-customized lime-green and white Tranquility Fire Department Search & Rescue 2004 Hummer H2 Adventure, four grey 2009 Hummer H3T Standard Crew Cab Pickup Trucks, and one white 1971 Mercedes-Benz 300SEL Stretched Limousine. The convoy came to a stop just outside the power plant. Stepping out of the vehicles were 20 NEST Soldiers and their human operative.
"Shockwave, Optimus has arrived and our operative is bringing the human soldiers inside the plant," reported Laserbeak on the comms.
"Good, I'm in position with my pet. Remember, while I deal with Optimus, you shall 'thank' our operative," reminded the one-optic Decepticon.
"Understood," said the Cyber-Condor with a sinister grin as he watched the NEST Soldiers and their human operative entered the nuclear power plant.
NEST Field Commander and United States Army Ranger, Lieutenant-Colonel William Lennox, felt something was wrong here. The fact that he was in the area of what many people have called the worst nuclear disaster in history that happened here 25 years ago wasn't the problem, but their contact: Alexi Voskhod, General Counsel for the Ukrainian Ministry of Energy and Coal Mining. He secretly met with the man in Kiev who informed him that his people had discovered an artifact that they believed to be Cybertronian in origin, thus earning NEST's curiosity.
Coming with him and his team were Optimus Prime and Ratchet, thus leaving Jazz in charge of the Autobots back in D.C. Earlier, Lennox had his SiC, Captain Mike Graham of the British Special Air Service, to remind everyone to have their HazMat suits on once they reached the area.
Meanwhile, Optimus and Ratchet, both of whom were still in their respective alt-modes, had begun scanning the area for anything unusual.
"Did you find anything, Ratchet?" asked Optimus.
"Hard to tell, Optimus. The radiation from the power plant is scrambling my sensors, so it's very hard to get an actual fix of what this human had found," replied the Autobot Chief Medical Officer.
"Then all we can do is wait for Lennox and his team to report in their findings," stated the Autobot Leader.
(Back with Lennox...)
The closer he and his team got to the artifact's location, the more that the Army Ranger could smell a trap. Lennox's first realization of it was when he asked Mr. Voskhod why he wasn't wearing a HazMat suit, who replied that 'it doesn't matter anymore'.
The next part is when they were close to their destination, which was underneath the floor that housed Chernobyl's No.4 RBMK-1000 nuclear reactor, that the Lieutenant-Colonel felt like something or someone was watching him and his men, but couldn't see it. Whatever it was, Lennox had a hunch that Alexi knew. His reasons for believing this was because the Ukrainian Government official had pulled him to the side to tell him something about 'energy experiments', but before he could say anything else, he freaked out and left.
A few minutes later, the team then entered the floor where the artifact was, and saw something they didn't expect to see. It was a large curved-like machine that was holding a smaller, spherical-shaped component with several bundles of cut cabling attached to it. Next to the machine was a large empty container bearing the emblem of the Soviet Space Program on it. This has to be the artifact they were looking for, because it was definitely giving off a decent amount of Energon readings.
"Optimus, we got a visual," radioed Lennox. "It looks like the object is clamped in some kind of metal harness. Plus, this thing's container has the markings of the Soviet Space Program on it-"
He was cut off when something shook the power plant. At first, nothing happened, but the shaking continued and the NEST Soldiers were getting more nervous.
"Sir, the Energon Detectors are going crazy! Something really big is coming this way!" shouted Graham.
"How close?!" demanded Lennox as he flicked the safety off of his Remington ACR Assault Carbine.
With almost no warning, four huge 9-foot metal tentacles with blades spinning around them, punched through the nearby wall and started destroying the room. The NEST Soldiers shouted in alarm as they tried to avoid the tentacles. When the team saw how the tentacles were moving did they realized they were the limbs of a very, very large creature. Lennox and the soldier next to him barely dove out of the way of a tentacle as it grabbed hold of the artifact before withdrawing with the others.
"Shit! Everyone topside, now! Don't fire till we're outside with Optimus and Ratchet backing us up! Come on, Corporal!" ordered Lennox as he helped said man up to his feet.
Optimus was racing alongside the submerged creature that he currently had on his scanners. Judging by its form, there was no need to question its identity.
"A Driller," said the Autobot Leader, who was currently speaking with Ratchet on the comms. Drillers were very large and dangerous creatures that lived underneath Cybertron's crust.
"The chances of a wild Driller coming to Earth is impossible, meaning this one's been tamed. And you and I both know there is only one Decepticon that has both the strength and cunning to accomplish such a task," added Ratchet.
"Shockwave," answered Optimus, the name bringing dread and grief to his spark. The Decepticon Scientist/Assassin was the only Cybertronian considered to be an equal to Megatron, excluding Optimus Prime. He was very deadly, combining raw power with ruthless logic to win his battles. Shockwave was also responsible not only for the deaths of many Autobots, but rogue Decepticons as well.
"Ratchet, when we reach Lennox and his team, stay with them while I deal with the beast," ordered Optimus.
"Understood," replied the Autobot CMO.
Optimus continued to scan the area for any signs of their human allies, while keeping his optics out for any sign of the Driller too. Finally, his audio receptors heard Will's voice, calling his name as he and his men ran outside the nuclear power plant.
Suddenly, the Driller's head, a massive lamprey-like mouth with countless grinding blades, burst out of the building next to Optimus. Two of the Driller's tentacles came right out of the ground underneath the Autobot Leader, flipping the mech and his trailer into the air. He managed to transform into his 28-foot biped form, grunting as he landed with a thud!
As Optimus' trailer landed, it quickly transformed into his Mobile Armored Weapons Platform or MAWP for short, out and ready for action.
Lennox and his entire team had managed to get to Ratchet and gave Optimus the space he needed to fight with. The Prime ran towards the MAWP and grabbed both a Cybertanium Shield and a servoheld variant of his Energon Swords from it.
"Stay behind me!" ordered Optimus as he charged the tentacles that were currently harassing the NEST Soldiers and Ratchet, who was currently in his 20-foot biped form.
The Autobot CMO was using his Energon SMG to keep the tentacles back, but this caused him to get separated from the humans, who were having slightly less luck than he was.
Suddenly, the tentacle holding the artifact appeared, attacking Graham and four other soldiers. Jumping into the air, Optimus sliced off the tip of the tentacle with his Energon Sword, releasing the artifact as it landed on the ground.
Farther back along the Driller's 1080-foot long form, near the deep pit it had emerged from, a 'passenger' compartment opened up to reveal a 35-foot grey-purplish mech with a single red optic, a right arm-mounted AstroMag Cannon with its powerpack mounted on his back, and a left forearm-mounted Cybertanium Blade.
"Optimus," snarled the mech as he glared at said Autobot.
Optimus responded by getting into a battle-stance as he prepared to charge the Decepticon. But the massive mech retreated underground with his pet. The Prime stared at the pit before returning to Ratchet and the NEST Soldiers.
"You alright, Optimus?" asked the Autobot CMO as his leader threw his Energon Sword to the ground in frustration.
"I'm fine, old friend," replied Optimus before looking at Will. "How are your men, Lennox?"
The Army Ranger just nodded, still looking at the spot the Decepticon had disappeared to. "Who the hell was that guy?"
"That was Shockwave," answered Optimus. "One of Megatron's most powerful and vicious soldiers."
"Why the hell was he after this?" asked Graham as he nudged the artifact at his feet.
"It can't be..." murmured the Prime as he dropped his Cybertanium Shield before getting down to one knee to inspect the artifact closer.
"You know what it is?" asked Lennox.
Ratchet got a better look at the artifact and his optics widened as he recognized it. "This is an engine part from a very long-lost Autobot ship."
"So what were the Soviets doing with it?" wondered Lennox aloud.
"What indeed..." rumbled Optimus.
Laserbeak watched as Alexi scrambled to his limo with fear in his eyes. The Mini-Con had already received Shockwave's transmission about his engagement with Optimus and now was the time to act.
Squawking, the Cyber-Condor with a 114-inch wingspan flew from his hiding spot towards Voskhod's limo, shooting at the front part of the vehicle with his dual chassis-mounted Sonic SMGs. Once he was done, he landed on the limo's roof to take a peek and was delighted to see the bullet-ridden corpse of Alexi Voskhod laying in the driver's seat.
Giving a cackling laugh, Laserbeak said to the corpse before flying off: "Pleasure working with you and your late uncle."