Decepticon Campaigne (TF Movie Base

Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by DaraRex2.0, Sep 1, 2007.

  1. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    Yeah. Another fanfic based on the summers Blockbuster Pirates of the Carribean.... ~ Couldn't resist.

    Anyway, everyone that writes TF fanfics is doing one, you can't really have too many. Er...I kinda spliced the novel and the movie together when I was doing research, just to warn ya. And...readers give me feedback so I can figure how this should end, but I'm thinking on an ending close to that of the video game.

    *edit* Strapping on the veiwer discretion advised: Foul language and violent content

    *edit edit* New readers click this to see a poorly colored pick of Tron-Mega. Also, I take no resposibility of the poor quality of the scanning.

    1 - Message Received


    Characters​

    Autobots
    Optimus Prime
    Bumblebee
    Ratchet

    Decepticons
    Tron-Mega
    Dirge
    Scrapper
    Longhaul
    Earth Quake

    For now....


    "Megatron is dead...."

    In the wake of the battle for the AllSpark, casualties were counted from each faction, bodies of the fallen were terminated on classified location. The non-existent Sector Seven Organization was shut down as a result of contact. These sentient machines were now taking refuge on a small blue planet known as Earth. The AllSpark was destroyed. With it Megatron.

    The remaining Decepticon activity was shattered, unorganized, lost. This left the Autobots to prepare for the future, a brighter future with much more in store for them. They had befriended the people of this province and thus strive to protect them from whatever threat may come, after all they were new to this world, new to this place they now called home.

    But where one sees salvation, another sees potential….

    Beyond the stars, beyond the planets, stretching across the cosmos known to man, beyond: a message travels. One promising sanctuary and fellowship.

    “….I am Optimus Prime, and I send this message to any survivors of my kind who may be taking refuge among other systems, other stars. You are not alone. You have a home here, among others of your kind.”

    “We are waiting.”

    A forlorn metal face comprised of entangled plates studies the encrypted message a single more duration, scrutinizing through every little detail and its alternate meaning, the glare from the holographic visual siphoned through his optical portals, illuminated the portion of his skull that still existed. Concluding the accumulation of data with any possible after notes to add later, he stood from his console and left to locate the authority of this ship.

    While maneuvering among the extensive channels, he reflected on how his captain could not spare a few more resources for a larger craft. It was barely adequate enough for his folded frame, he could not image how this was like for someone with more girth, say, Scavenger. He reached the command chamber and paused beyond the doors as they took a moment to analyze his component signature then slid apart and up allowing his entrance.

    As usual Scrapper and Longhaul were fighting, it was peculiar when they were not. In his centered chair sat commander gazing out the artificial view port one part actual recorded data and another fabricated. It got to him how this machine could sit by while his soldiers fought as if they were not about to rip the ship apart, not only did it freak him out more than his history but irritated his linear function.

    The commander took notice to the newcomer and gestured for him to report. He moved towards the primary console and jacked in his secure slot and proceeded to upload the data with all the proper security ports and additional backtracking. Even the bickering pilots shut up and listened as the decoded transmission flowed between wavelengths with the renowned entente Autobots were well known for. He played the message again before unhooking the uplink cord to his elbow and turned to his captain waiting for his input on the matter.

    “Is this some sort of hoax?” thundered Scrapper

    “You would conclude on that and be proud, wouldn’t you?” poked Longhaul.

    He turned to his comrade adjacent to his position, beyond that of a three dimensional image of the entire ship. “Only because you are so easy to please.”

    While the two oddly colored robots went at it again, the informer shifted to his commander for his captious opinion.

    “…My strut got caught in the cables you slung across your sloppy trail,” spat Scapper.

    “This is very interesting, Dirge,” the larger mech incurred, silencing both subordinates. “What was transmission &$*00451245? Many of those languages were alien and plagued by encryption frazz, but that one was very strange.”

    “This message traveled far from across the cosmos,” began Dirge, “but imbedded data expressed that it was a form of speech frequency contrived through airway whistle crafted by carbon based life forms.” He hated the look of glee his chief gave him.

    “The Autobots hath befriended the result of bacteria evolution? It’s no wonder they seek those of their own smelt.” He rose from his seat and stepped down to the console, placing his hand over the clear view screen he uploaded the datum Dirge had untangled from the primary sequence code. “Me thinks something has occurred if that old slagger is wasting time summoning others from space to safety. Something on a galactic level, perhaps?” Dropping his hand he pivoted to his crew.

    “If Prime is there then so is Megatron,” directed Scrapper. “Autobot commander, Megatron there, the AllSpark—we gather in a lone solar lapse.”

    “I am dubious to the lasting presence of Megatron.” He began making a round of the control antechamber. “The Prime would not risk his allies to fall in a trap if Megatron were still alive, but he is confident to transmit a message of peace without arousing open Decepticon communications.” He stopped beside Longhaul and turned to the silent mechanoids waiting for his point. “If he believed there was a chance for us to retrieve the AllSpark he would not call, but he calls and therefore there can be nothing to retrieve if he is willing.”

    The Decepticons chattered about this new logic. They would have no choice but to agree their captain was right on his accusation, but the idea of Megatron’s demise seemed premature. Was there nothing more for them to fight for if the AllSpark was indeed destroyed?

    Picking up on the exchange the captain broke in. “The Decepticons dream has yet to be realized – the conquest of Cybertron with aid from the AllSpark, the domination of the universe and all its splendors. Already our platoon has taken many words, many ripe with civilization, many that fuel our ships as our frames, that support or metropolitans. This is only a short step back from our previous forthcoming.”

    “Yes,” Longhaul agreed. “But without the AllSpark we are in danger of losing that ambition. Our existence is in question.” He couldn’t imagine who would have the gall to destroy that which gave them life, certainly no Cybertronian in its right contemplation would even think to kill their own kind out, no Autobot would and no Decepticon. This had to be the work of the strange carbon based life forms Dirge mentioned.

    The ideal of losing the AllSpark, the loss of any future Decepticons to strengthen their armies was an alarming detail to add on his mainframe.

    Hot optics burned on the speaker. “Or course,” he said, “there is no life more precious than his own. Do not forget what Megatron did when he had brief say over the AllSpark.”

    “Tron-Mega.” Dirge made a gesture of recognition to his leader with his sharp hand. “What is it we do now? Return to Charr with news or continue to the recent interstellar meteor field?”

    “Neither.” Tron-Mega made way for the exit never bothering a look back. “Chart a course for the origin of that transmission.” The door collapsed behind him.

    “Is he mad?” Longhaul asked, staring the way the mech went. “We are headed towards an alien planet and probable hostile forces with only half energon stores, we are not even absolute if there will be a sustaining source when we do arrive.”

    “We were uncertain if the meteors field would have a stable source of energon when we arrived,” off aside Dirge mentioned.

    “Not my point,” the other Decepticon hissed. “Meteors are predictable, Autobots are not. And what does one of us know what they have given their new allies?”

    Giving little heed to his comrades complaints Scrapper was already tapping in the recovery of the transmission to its trajectory stream. “Sounds like you fear.”

    He turned to his similarly colored ally. “I do not. But for eons our kind have fought the Autobots, we were lead by Megatron. Now he is gone. Why? What was different on this planet that was not on Cybertron? There may be something dangerous there. The Autobots have it with their allies, or they would not be calling.”

    Scrapper emitted a high screech that would have shredded any organic creatures audio reciprocals, but to his kind it was perceived as a uncontrolled laugh. “You fear organics over Autobots? Wonderful. Next you’ll be fearing Frenzy or Rumble because they are small.”

    “I would not take this situation lightly,” Dirge rumbled. Both turn to him forgetting their arguments. “But I doubt anything short of an Autobot will give us any trouble. We will do what we do best, destroy, maim, kill - anything that is not Decepticon or is traitor.”

    ***

    Through the sunny streets of Tranquillity cruised the supreme buff job of a brand new Camero graced by black racing strips slipping up its hood and rolling back its roof. Inside rode his usual passenger listening to the random flipping tunes of the stations, or to someone not familiar with this Camero they seemed like random stations.

    “Two more of your guys? Really?” Sam asked inattentively. He had one hand laid on the steering wheel as the other hung from the open window, the wind thrashed his short hair every way.

    “Don’t leave me. Stay with me,” sang the radio soft rock male voice.

    “So, how many Autobots are out there waiting for this message?” He was aware it could be anywhere near the entire populace of his own world or, as aliens go, a very strange low number. He had no doubt the Transformers would have some trouble getting themselves fitted and hidden, Optimus Prime had informed him before that there were already Autobots on Earth even before his team arrived.

    When they were forced to abandon Cybertron in quest for survival or in search of the AllSpark, most were scattered throughout the universe. Some took residence on new planets disguised in alien forms while others would befriend these beings in order to survive, or in search of the missing source of life. It was basically every ‘bot for himself. The Decepticons were no different.

    “I’m sorry, that’s incorrect….” Applause followed through the corny game show voice, the radio scrambled as a new station was sought and played through. “…Just another day in paradise….” More watered down voices before the next song came through. “…You go when you’re needed and stay awhile, then move on….”

    “You think so? Even if you guys have been separated for god knows how long?” The concept of time to the Transformers still blew his mind. “If we had a leader like Optimus I’d kinda get my ass in gear to meet up with him as soon as I could.”

    “Only time would tell,” an oddly cold voice said over the radio.

    ***

    Hoover Dam, Nevada miles beyond Mission city. A cholo orange and blue flamed Peterbilt semi rolled up to the gates carting an unmarked container. When it stopped it honked the horn twice, paused, honked twice more. Either electrified fencing at its side snapped open and two plain clothes stepped out. The security personal at the booth was just getting off the phone when he hung up and unlocked his reinforced plasteed window. He pressed a button and waved the driverless semi through.

    Rolling across the near vacant air terminal Optimus Prime constantly sent out buffer waves. There were uniformed privates everywhere carrying Sabot rifles slung over their shoulders, he could even identify the plain clothes disguised as workers concealing simple pistols. The first stop was the semi docking area, he rolled in and unhitched his container, as the personal worked to unload the cargo within he rolled around to the side of the largest building in the containment perimeter. Another checkpoint was here with two armed guards. He braked and blared his horn long, the individuals within their booths covered their ears until he was done then one briskly phoned in his arrival. The other adjusted the controls on his panel behind the plasteed glass, before Optimus at the base of the blast doors a passage opened. A ramp from beneath the door lowered and lights blinked on through the interior to the back and continued. He went into gear and rolled down the incline, through their secured window faces the personnel watched it roll.

    “All this technology and it’s sendin’ Morris code?” the guards response was heard over the communicator.

    The other picked up his radio and replied. “Hey, simple is better.”

    Within the tight passage Optimus barely had enough room for his stacks. Thankfully it was only five short miles of rolling down, along, and further down deeper into the mountain. Once he reached the end there was yet another door waiting for his approach, but this time there were no guards waiting to endure his presence. He guided his grill with uncanny precision to the thick door and stopped before two tiny black dots, lenses. The motor rumbled low and deep.

    Identification,” a soulless voice echoed.

    “Optimus Prime,” his voice echoed through the corridor. “Identification Omega-November-0-0-9-Mars-Line-Ocoloation-Landing-7-4-7.” He waited.

    Identification received and accepted. Welcome NBE-3.” After the polite voice a beam of light went from the semis grill into the black lenses. They lit up and the door shifted, it moved aside allowing the large semi to slide through. Once clear of the doorway it stopped, the motor died. Suddenly the portions of the vehicle split and began shifting to rearrange themselves until a pair of arms, legs, torso, and face had emerged. The Goliath machine stood up and looked over as a man approached him.

    “That is very time consuming,” he said, thumbing at the door shutting behind him.

    “For one that knows no bounds to time, really?” inquired Agent Mitchell Simmons, former head of Sector Seven. Two armed guards stepped with him, including Tom Banachek and assistant of Secretary of Defense. “You know precautions.”

    “Indeed I do.” He wanted to sigh but had yet to focus the proper coding of the resonance, it still sounded like a truck hissing. “What is this… relic you wanted me to see?”

    Simmons turned away leading the robot. “This way, in the Old Chamber.”

    Much of Sector Seven, or, the ARD7 as it was referred to now, had been remodeled for the use of the new exotic residents to planet Earth. Simmons brought the visitor to the chamber where experiments on the AllSpark had once been performed, now the room was used for the analyzing of foreign substances brought back to Earth by Cybertronian explorers. With no more reason to hide many Autobots in disguise had revealed themselves to their leader and offered their aid to their new allies.

    This was of course after they made certain Megatron was dead and his followers had either followed or fled.

    “Have you ever seen anything like this?” Mitchell asked after a few minutes of Optimus staring at the item under question. It sat within the contained perimeter of the lock room on a platform while saws and technical instruments went about their duties to pry apart the mineral casing. It was just that with the subtle outlines enhanced by the groves of the body as a curled body, sort of like a mummy in black marble.

    It was a few more moments before he would respond, after further scans beside grid enhancements. “Yes, in fact I have.”

    The response took the humans by surprise, by the way he had been gazing at it they had presumed the alien was just as baffled as they were. Apparently they had underestimated him as well as his perception.

    “It’s a Transformer,” he continued. “As were all autonomous robotic species native to Cybertron, there was a healthy population of them. That was…until the war began. All but a few of them were wiped out, I once believed them to be extinct.”

    Tom Banachek pulled out his laptop and reviewed the data collected on the hard mineral. “There are no life signs within. Are you sure?”

    “Yes. The name best to describe them is…‘Grave Digger.’ That suiting one whom uncovers and digs graves. Megatron hated them for reviving the Transformers he had slain—”

    “Wait-wait-wait,” Simmons broke in as he looked up at the towering robot. “You’re saying these things would bring NBEs back…from the dead?”

    He nodded, a human response he had acquired. “Essentially, they were synergetic mechanical organisms. One would bind its energy to a host and live off their energies, in return they would protect the host from anything, with malice.”

    “If the host died did it?” Simmons asked, taking more interest in the hard piece of calcite.

    “No. It was only that they could not survive long without a host that made them desperate to maintain one. They could choose new hosts if willing, but the initial first must be eliminated before a new could be acquired. I…too had my hand in wiping them out.”

    “Then it wasn’t when Megatron began his conquest of Cybertron that he exterminated them, both Autobots and Decepticons slaughtered them.”

    “I didn’t destroy them out of spite,” Optimus said to Simmons, his voice cold. He gestured to the alien beyond the lock window. “That one there must not be my enemy if he has survived, only those killing for the better specimen were the ones I would eliminate, whereas Megatron slaughtered. The majority of these creatures were impressed by the Decepticons power and sided by them, I could not allow that.”

    “It sounds cruel,” Maggie was saying, “But them killing for no better, I would say you had no choice. It may be that they would have survived, and the Decepticons as well. Then where would we be?” She gave Simmons a cross glance before she turned to another technician. “Have you been able to breach it yet?”

    “No ma’am.” He resumed his work, discussing with another individual the capacities of the lock cage.

    “You won’t ever,” Optimus said to the man. “This Grave Digger shields itself from the elements until its host returns, or else it would have awakened to my presence and attempted to fuse.” He shook his head. “Where is it this was uncovered?”

    “Who said we found it on Earth?” Simmons looked around at his comrades seeking the one that had whispered anything.

    “I detect an aura of energy around it signifying a link to its master, if it weren’t for this affinity it would be active and searching. Where was it located? We must search the area for Transformer presence.”

    A few taps on the laptop and Banachek located the information he needed. “Arizona, Phoenix. A construction crew uncovered it and reported it as junk, attempted to have it hauled away. But anything metal that made contact with it failed, so we were called in. Put a ban on further construction.” He met Optimus’ gaze. “Do you think the host is in disguise and searching?”

    He considered his old information on the Grave Digger patterns, but little helped. “No. He would have already located it if he were searching.”

    ***

    The guard reading his outdated newspaper, fell right out of his chair when the semis horn blared less than twelve feet from his booth. It felt no more than two inches away from his ears. He groped for his console and slapped the trigger that opened the gate, and leaned up to watch as the orange and blue flamed truck rolled out and onto the open road, in his opinion the semi would have looked better in simple red and blue. His heart was still thumping ninety miles a second.

    Once beyond the gates of Hover Dam, Optimus set up a grid system over the map of Phoenix in his internal memory space. Now out of the facility he was able to receive transmissions from his fellow Autobots responding across satellite link. “Ratchet, report.”

    “Sir,” came the reply. “I trust your meeting with the Advanced Research Division 7 went well, or you would not be calling so soon.”

    Over their secure link Optimus did something very unusual, he spoke in his native language. “Is it possible Megatron brought Decepticons from Cybertron on his quest for the AllSpark?”

    “Huh?” Following Optimus’ example he fell into their native accent. “What do you mean? He was the only one to abandon Cybertron searching for it, he wouldn’t bother dragging his soldiers along so long as it meant him reaching it first, regardless what his followers would do in his absence.”

    Optimus considered a moment but Ratchet had already supported his own thoughts in every way. “The humans uncovered a dormant Grave Digger, I left it with them secured but I fear what would happen if it awakened in their care.”

    Shocked by the news Ratchet took his precious time to answer. “A Grave Digger? Are you certain? Could it be…something else? Ravage maybe, he was just as vicious.”

    “No. I confirmed my scans, it was one. I answered their questions but I know like I, they have withheld some information. It was located in Phoenix, you are nearest that area, I want you to scout around and see if you can locate any anomalies in energy flux, suspicious activity for the local perimeter. Ms. Madsen will report to the Secretary of Defense and his people will be searching as well and possibly digging where the Grave Digger was uncovered so keep a low profile. I want your findings in O-eight hundred hours.”

    “Yes sir. I’ll keep a link open just in case something does occur.”

    “I have faith in your judgment, and your abilities. But take heed, we have yet to determine who of those Decepticons are still loyal to their lost leader.” Though as he turned off onto the main highway with traffic, they had no comprehension how many Deceptions would inevitably reveal themselves.

    ***

    In any below average town the weekend fair came to visit with its rides and promise of escape from the average drawl beyond plain average carnival. Cotton candy, game vendors handing out prizes, light shows for when night fell and the moon shown itself, the display over the mountains was always spectacular. The concert was playing soft rock remixs of the 80’s with famous singers coming in to play some old favorites.

    At dusk a yellow car slid into a parking place, its lights shut off with the dying motor and a single door opens.

    Sam hurries out from his side to open the other door. “No, allow me miss.”

    Mikaela Banes smirked as her chauffeur opened her door. “And here I thought Bumblebee was just being rude.”

    An ancient Western style voice shot from the speaker: “Not in your life, pal.”

    Sam winked at the car. “Go on and have some fun, we’ll meet you back here at, mm…midnightish.”

    The car uped its volume to get the next spokes message out. “It’s three PM, where are your children?”

    He pat the hood. “Don’t worry mom, we’ll stay out of trouble.” He stepped back as the engine revved its pristine growl and rolled out, turning on a dime to avoid a large jade green truck just pulling out of its spot. He turned his attention to Mikaela as she looked at him. “What?”

    She was smiling. “Oh, nothing. C’mon.” She took his hand and led him to the ticket booth. Sam paid their overpriced admission and entered with Mikaela. Instantly in their entrance there came a loud crash followed by wails of terror as the roller coaster swung by on its track.

    “Lets get us some giant chilly dogs and go on that,” said Mikaela.

    Sam gave her a look of disbelief. “Uh are you serious? That may not be such a hot idea.”

    She led him on their way to the food vendor. “What? Scared of roller coasters?”

    “No,” his voice quaked. “I just don’t like puking my brains out at the start of the fair.”

    “Aw, come on. You’ve been on something bigger, right? Six Flags? Knotts Berries Farm? This is like a kids wheelbarrow down a slope. Two please, extra cheese.” She fumbled with her wallet.

    “Um, yeah, Sea World a few times. But I never eat before the extreme rides. No thank you.” He pushed the hot dog away when she tried to hand it to him.

    She was already biting into hers. “Come on, it’s part of the experience.” She smiled at him with that sexy ‘I can be a tomboy and still look sexy’ poise.

    Fading from his original hesitation Sam took another glance at the roller coaster as the bucket rattled by and then took the greasy heart stopper. “Fine, but I warned you.”

    More than half an hour later Sam had won Mikaela a corny stuffed snake with green plush body, but they had yet to go on the roller coaster. They went into the Fun House with mirrors and rolling floors, the Fright House, the Pirate Cove, and screamed through one song of the 80’s. It was now dark and the fireworks display would begin in less than thirty minutes leaving Sam with a serious dilemma. Try and get Mikaela on the Ferris Wheel when the show began and bribe the operator his measly wage in order to stop it at the very top, which could back fire in so many ways. Or, ride the Serpent Roller Coaster and hope he didn’t throw up on her, after he had just eaten a Funnel Cake with a box of Gummie bears and Sour Tarto Wormies.

    Drinking a diet sprite and looking around Mikaela was having similar ideas. “In less than an hour the fireworks are gonna start, maybe we should get a place on the shore before it crowds over.”

    Sam looked over at her amd gulped down half-dry kettle corn. “Um, okay.” Confused he looked away missing Mikaela snatching his hand as she led him away. “Wait, hold on. I have a better idea.”

    Surrounding the lake shore many couples and families had located their segregated areas in which to sit in order to enjoy their type of show. Between PG and the overmatched rated R, some parents wanted their kids concentrate to the explosions in the sky rather the birds and the bees on level.

    As the temperature dropped very few people sat nearest to the shore where the wind coasted over the surface and made it cold and miserable. That was just as well. The moist soil lifted and a dull orange crown poked up through carpet grass resembling nothing mother Earth had designed. Its optics gleamed in the dark sockets as it focused on the dotted sky.

    The language in which it spoke was far from Cybertron, far from whatever could be imitated by any alien life form, but its message was clear as it focused on the open waters.

    “Autobot presence negative. Negative alien vehicle sight of liquid accumulation. Area secured.”

    Though there were families in the nearby area watching the water none of them noticed the faint glint of metal, assuming it was the carnivals reflection upon a small puddle.

    Standing in line was taking too much time, at this rate the fireworks would be over and the sun would be rising. “God, please, make this line go faster.” Nervous enough as he was, Sam glanced over at a small pudgy boy eating a bag of cotton candy, he was about six and overweight but he felt better that this kid with his obsession to eat would be on the ride. So long as he did not puke first, he would be cool. If he could do it, I could do it, was Sam’s reasoning.

    He looked at Mikaela and smiled.

    “Not nervous, are you?” Smiling, she looked him up and down as though analyzing him the way Ratchet did on their first meeting.

    “No,” he squeaked. He forced a grin.

    “Got the tickets?”

    With that sinking feeling Sam grabbed his pocket and got them out. “Shit!” He looked around at the families and mothers. “Uh, sorry. Sorry.” He turned to Mikaela with pleading mercy he said, “Hold the spot.” He rushed off digging into his pocket for the money, hopefully he would have enough time to get back if the lines were not so slow.

    Mikaela sighed and tapped her foot. “Hold the line.”

    Adding on another ten minutes to the clocked, Sam thanked the ticket vendor and raced back to the Serpent. He had to weave and leap his way through the slow moving crowds at creeping darkness and people waddling towards the lake. “Excuse me, thank you, sorry, oops.” He charged to the line of the Serpent seeing the next set of riders getting off and the next set getting on, an irritated Mikaela stood beside the drooling ticket manager waiting.

    But he was too late. The loaded ride locked in the passengers and shot off as Sam came running up panting. “Got…got some tickets,” he gasped.

    Mikaela looked from him to the roller coaster riders as they streaked by. “Well, better late than never.” She gestured to the ticket manager. “He said we could get on when you got back.”

    The man gave the attractive woman a toothy grin. “Ma’am, I’d do anything for a lady.”

    She sighed taxed by his existence. “I’m sure you would.”

    At the edge of the lake in the shadows, the Camero pulled up under a large tree and reshaped itself into a short mechanoid in comparison to Optimus Prime. As his yellow plates readjusted along his body, he sat down and scooted back pulling his knees up. Glancing once to the nearby families his eyes lit up with appreciation. Humans had been one of the most fascinating sentient, organic life forms he had ever come across in his long journeys, they were always surprising him.

    A group of children not bothered by the cold air stood at the shore pulling up cattails to fight each other with, one shoeless splashed his feet in the water. A few raced this and that way along the shore in a game of tag, when one player grabbed the other they wrestle arguing who was ‘it’ this time.

    A small boy in his swim trunks noticed the gleaming blue eyes in the shade of the tree, his face brightened with a clash of excitement and fear. “A robot!” He raced over to where Bumblebee sat, anxious by his sudden discovery. Five other children followed the boy while another two raced back to their parents, locating them and pointing with complaints.

    Remembering the words of Optimus Prime, he waited and watched before acting on appearances alone. He could hear the children explain to his and her parents just what they could see but the parents did not even look up. Instead, they pat the kid on the head or dragged him down to sit. That was unexpected, if someone said something to him in relation to danger he would listen no matter how farfetched, or that was how he was programmed by many eons of war now over. He emitted a sound near enough to a sigh of relief.

    The five children reached him, four huddling behind the trunk wearing braveheart. They had thought the robot was part of the fair and free range, but when it had reacted that was a different story. “Hey,” said the shirtless child, “watcha doin’?”

    Bumblebee sought his radio response. “Come down and see the fireworks display at the annual fair….” As low as he could so that the children could hear without alerting the parents.

    “Oh, neat.” Those with him began to relax sensing that if this robot were evil like the ones on TV it wouldn’t bother to answer questions. “I’m Lewis, you got a name?”

    Meanwhile, on the fair grounds the Serpent Coaster cruised its passengers’ back into place and began unloading. Just then the fireworks began erupting into the sky.

    “Shoot, they’re starting already,” Sam hissed.

    “Relax,” Mikaela soothed as she handed over their tickets. “We got time. Besides, the grand finale is the best part.” She and Sam were first on and got the lead seat behind the snakehead, they buckled in a pulled the brace down while snapping up eyes to the erupting sky flowers. “They’re beautiful.”

    “Uh-huh.” Sam was staring at her.

    The attendants went through again checking the restraints on the passengers in the greasy old roller coaster ride. Assured by the security of the restraints, each attendant signaled the okay then double-checked, the final warning was played to them amidst the eruptions of sulfur. One attendant gave the signal and the switch was flipped, the roller riders screamed off into the darkness of a tunnel and came out high, slowing, the view of the fireworks high above the land dazzled their faces.

    “Awesome,” Sam murmured. This had to be the best plan of his that actually worked out.

    “Oh yeah.” With one hand on the bar, she used her other to take Sam’s, she gazed at the blues and golds as they flourished in darkness.

    Taken by her hand in his, he looked down missing the next instant when the cart plunged into darkness hissing steam. He screamed and so did Mikaela.

    Among the erupting blaze the spectators were staring right at it but missed the turbulence of a comet in peril.

    However, the odd head beneath the earth jerked up through moist grass to glare upon the spectacle. “What is this?” he growled. “Attacking? Impossible. Protoform, you are off course. Abort now.” He swung his elongated head one way and another upset by a presence he had not perceived until now. “I sense Cybertronian signatures….” He looked over towards a shady tree far from his location, his optics locate a silver figure in the dark with several life forms sitting on his shoulders and knees. This mechanoid was too transfixed by the sky and the attack to notice him. That was good for now.

    He looked up when his receptors perceived the hissing cry of a Protoform burning through the atmosphere. His optics lit up, the mechanoid would identify what the organics could not. “Abort, enemies in company.” There was still no reply from his arrogant master.

    On the Serpent coaster the passengers scream and wail with glee as they are jerked one way and the other, while trying to keep their eyes fixed on the fireworks and the path they travel to better suit towards the oncoming twists and drops.

    “This! Is! Awesome!” wailed Sam. He felt his grip tighten in his hand, his happiness drained away. All through their ordeal Mikaela had squeezed his hand tighter and tighter, but not like this. He felt it in him that something was wrong, call it paranoia. Now annoyed by the roller coaster ride and the senseless screaming of his fellow passengers, he turned his gaze to Mikaela and saw her eyes toward the fireworks, but she wasn’t gazing at them. She saw beyond. He could see it instantly a sight he would always remember.

    A meteor flying towards the planet.

    But something was wrong with it, that was evident when he looked up and caught the last sight of it among the blossoming booms of fire. It disappeared in his view and his own eyes were blinded by the intense blaze as contact was made. He actually heard a breath of awe from the spectators on the beach. The coaster riders continued to scream happily.

    “It's one of them,” hollered Mikaela. “But it’s in trouble.”

    “Yeah,” shouted Sam over the roar and scream of ride with riders. “And so are we!” He screamed involuntarily as the cart fell into a drop.

    The meteor emerged from the blaze of ice fire and hurtled towards the carnival, its tail crumbling.

    Bumblebee watched it helplessly as it soared overhead towards the assortment of human happiness. He lowered the children from his body and lifted himself to turn and assist whatever matters called upon. Perhaps it was an ally that got lost in the blaze, there would be much to explain after the people were helped.

    A sound came from behind him, he twisted to block but was taken upon by a vicious creature that bit his lower back and ravaged his shoulders with claws.

    “Run kids!” Precautions be damned if he would waste time with encrypted messages, lives came first. The children needed no warning, they screamed and ran to their parents, others had noticed the sounds and turn to see screaming on sight of the large robot with the monster at its back.

    Somewhere among the wails came voices. “See, I told you!”

    He had no time for this, there would be people in need. He rolled over crushing the thing at his back and continued, grabbing an appendage from its body that he could reach. Its noises came of fear and rage and it continued its assault, biting his fists with bladed lips. He latched his hand to the back of its neck and wretched its mouth free, he spun around and around then released letting it fly out to the lakes center. It splashed and thrashed about but did not rise.

    Bumblebee waited with nervous anticipation for a counter-attack, but it never came. He backed away still not convinced until he knew no more time could be wasted and turned around. He winced at the sudden burning crash as more screams of terror came, many in pain.

    A few miles away aboard the roller coaster the ride wracked near out of its wheels as the comet came down in the near vicinity of its passengers. In fact, it was on target slamming in the numerous tracks a few feet before the unloading point. A wave of heat smashed into the foreword facing passengers far enough away to survive the close range impact, but most of the flames were caught within the additional cart lobby. The cart shuddered as automatic brakes lock but shatter in sheer shit luck.

    This time the riders scream in actual terror, these rides were meant to scare not kill.

    “Oh no….” Mikaela whimpered.

    The tracks swooped twisted out from a final drop and there in their path was the mangled passage. The cart would either jackknife and kill all onboard or fly out and plunge, killing all on board and perhaps some more.

    Sam grabbed her and tightened his eyes shut. “Just close your eyes.”

    The cart smashed into the twisted tracks and jerked, nearly wrenching into a calamity of twisted metal but the super heated frame gave way and the cart tumbled down towards the escaping people in the line, those that had not been roasted by the meteors impact.

    Then the crash and rumbling as the cart made contact with a very hot surface, or something very hot making contact with it. The movement came violent but with purpose, and Sam forced his eyes open when it had ceased. His head was pounding after the rattle it was given but he was not a bloody mess and nor was Mikaela beside him, she was in fact unconscious by it all. He twisted his face looked back to something hot…and saw an unmistakable hand. He looked up breathing deeply, barely anyone dared scream now.

    A black face of bladed metal was studying straight through him, or more correctly the vehicle he was in. Inadequate design was what it perceived, so it shoved the mechanism away and stepped over scanning everything it was in contact with. A final fuse spurt from the machine and the carnival went black, whoever wasn’t screaming was shrieking now.

    In pitch black night the moon was all the light the humans had, they could make out the dark form glowing with silver radiance from the rock above. Its body graced by blades and sharp edges, the design unmistakable for a Decepticon. He looked down, acute optics fixing on a stunned boy holding a plush dragon.

    The creature was curious, not the organic, its article. Over his travels he had studied many different forms of life, some he had adapted to his own uses. He scanned it, studied it, considered it. If he were designed by humans the word, Absurd, would have been highlighted in his own mind. But an additional word would give hope. Elaborate. In a meld of black metal coalescing over the already lethal exoskeleton, the blades merged and became solid.

    The man shaped robot became a large lizard of evil death blades and spikes jutting from every crook of his body, large blades upon his back served as wings to his unusual structure. “This design is superior to any of this world,” he stated in Cybertronian.

    During this Sam was struggling to free Mikaela and revive her. “Please, be all right. Wake up, just wake up.” After struggling with his own restraint he found it more difficult to unhinge hers, he had to take a deep breath and really give it his all. The other passengers, those that had survived the trauma and were conscious made their best efforts at escape. “Mikaela. Mikaela!” He pried her eyes open but in the dark he couldn’t tell if she had suffered a concussion or not.

    There were many obstacles in his way that would do best incinerated by his own plasma cannons, but he restrained himself for the moment. That was the one fact about his nature he prided himself over. There would be plenty of time to slaughter later, he had to locate his contact and share intelligence while he was undetected.

    From behind two guards had remained behind to open fire on the monstrous lizard with simple pistols, useless but perhaps it would distract this creature long enough for civilians to escape. The eighteen other personnel with firearms had already fled.

    Uninterested with the small threat currently annoying him, he turned parting his toothy jaws as the plasma cannons rerouted power through his gullet to remove the hostilities. By the time his jaws had powered enough to fire, a bright yellow figure slid in and leapt, thinking before acting would cost further lives. He caught the monsters lower jaws and pulled them down allowing powerful weapons discharge into the surface between his toes, he struggled to hold it while the energy depleted, during which the thing did not seem to mind.

    Once done he swung his head throwing the smaller mechanoid across the fair and against the Ferris Wheel. He emitted a sound and stomped over to where Bumblebee had fallen.

    Mikaela was just coming to when she felt the thundering steps and looked up, she screamed. “What the shits name is that?”

    “What do you think it is? It’ll kill Bumblebee, call Optimus, I’m gonna figure out a way to stop it.” He turned racing away but hadn’t noticed Mikaela stumbling after him in the loudness and the dark.

    The small yellow robot was barely recovering from his fall when he looked up to see the towering powerhouse before him. A sharp hand lined with claws gripped his throat and pushed him back against the twisted metal of his cradle, it made further sounds that perceived more on growling though electrical. Its optics blazed into his.

    The data transfer decoded by Dirge now locked in his systems took only a few seconds to engage and activate, quartered successfully, software uploaded he pursued the satellite connection easiest to access and theft the information required by his cerebral cortex. Only then did the dragon begin emitting intelligible metallic growls of native organisms among Earth, blended and remixed to sound most ferocious. In his grip Bumblebee struggled in fear, for those that would be living after he was gone in the shadow of this thing.

    “Been awhile, hasn’t it Autobot?” The gauntlet opened and the claws melded back into the arm as the entire body reshaped itself into a familiar form of its original design. “Do you know who I am?”

    Bumblebee could not believe his optics, even his internal taxonomy assemblage said it was wrong, but he knew with every ounce of himself that that alone could never change the truth. The war was not coming to an end, not here anyway. “Y-yes,” he strained. “I could…never forget you.”

    He slammed his victim back against the metal frame denting it further. “And yet you still assault me. That earns you…instant extermination.” He tightened his grip on the bright torso throwing the robot into pained glory. “Look into my optics when I am killing you.”

    A swift projectile impacted his side but had virtually no effect. Releasing his grip somewhat on the Autobot he turned his gaze towards the human that had thrown the baseball. “Hey, ass hole! Why don’t you come talk to me a bit?”

    “Get…away Sam, run. Please!” Bumblebee pried at the hands digging into his chest but they were almost melded in place.

    Sam shook his head. “Not leaving you, Bumblebee.”

    “Ah, emotional attachment to this terrestrial native…homosapien. Excellent. Now we can have some fun.” He noted the sway in Bumblebee’s optics in terror to what would happen. He hefted the Autobot high over his head, the fists slamming at his spiked helmet had no effect over him, heedless, defenses were raised against it. He chucked the small mechanoid across the carnival to crash through a game vendor, then whirled on the human wavering at his very looming presence and stomped over. Before Sam could break away and run the massive hand had already slammed its digits down into the dirt over his body, the tips digging deep an inescapable cage. “Amusing how one life will throw its own away in order to bring about its death, and that death of the other I had originally threatened. Had you scuttled away I would have overlooked your existence.”

    “Yeah?” Sam stammered. “Well, I don’t s-sit around when my f-friends are bein’ hurt. It-t’s just not my way.”

    He imitated a strange chuckle as his digits began prying into the thick soil to slice through his victim, the Autobot would be long too late to save him. But his sensors failed to recognize a true threat as it came crackling at his side.

    Once locating live wire on the fairgrounds Mikaela had fixed it to feed out and got enough slack free to deliver it to the Decepticon. It came from the cords near the Ferris Wheel and shoved them towards the large machine’s ankles slamming the frayed tips to an exposed portion of his bladed armor. She cut her arm as she pulled it back from the gap, the results were instant as he shrieked electronically and thrashed about.

    Sam was barely able to slip out in time before the hand clamped down and tore through the earth. He looked over at Mikaela as she came over to him. “You-you could have killed me!”

    She indicated the large robot as he crashed. “It was going to kill you!”

    Staggering towards the humans Bumblebee made a healthy attempt to avoid the quivering body of the Decepticon as he fumbled to remove the ailment. He transformed and rolled the rest of the way snapping his doors open. “No more standing around, get in!”

    “Not arguing,” Sam quipped as he pushed Mikaela into her seat. Looking out as the door shut he saw the effects of electronic surge of armor wear off of the bladed kill machine, it was unstable but rising still jerking from the effects. Bumblebee pushed his gas and raced out of the carnival, dodging an ambulance that streaked in.

    ***

    Parked at one of many truck stops along the main highway through illuminated Las Vegas, Optimus Prime received an emergency signal from Mikaela. He answered immediately dreading whatever it could be she would inform.

    “Optimus, we were just attacked by this…big robot.” Excited, weary, her blood pressure did check out lowering. “It crashed into the fair, could still be there if it’s not following us.”

    “Can you describe him?”

    “Barely. Big, silver, turned into some kind of monster.”

    He reflected that most Decepticons did turn into monsters, at least to humans. “Can you be more specific?”

    “It was Tron-Mega,” Bumblebee uttered on a separate thread. “He will be searching for Megatron or the AllSpark but he does not know both were destroyed, yet, and I aim not to be the messenger of bad news.”

    Tron-Mega, Optimus considered. Until this time he had not given the Decepticon a second thought, he was supposedly dead but that had only been a rumor he had hoped to be true. All along he knew otherwise. “Is he pursuing?” he asked Mikaela.

    She took a moment to answer, obviously checking for any signs of pursuit but it was difficult to miss a twenty-five foot thunder lizard following. “I don’t think so. I gave him a good dose of electricity but it shouldn’t have held him.”

    Mentally Optimus nodded to this. “At least you three are safe.” Putting a message to Bumblebee and the humans he continued. “Take Sam and Mikaela home and conceal yourself from view. He won’t be searching for any of you but if you happen to cross paths he will not dither from taking drastic actions.” He started his motor and began out from his parking space, the individual that had been driving him was just exiting the diner when he turned and rolled out of the truck stop. He ran after Optimus hollering some rubbish about his semi being stolen. “In the mean time I will return to your recent coordinates and begin a search.” Hopefully this incident would be isolated before the government got involved. He rolled onto the interstate and accelerated.

    ***

    “Tron-Mega is a mean Decepticon that takes pleasure not in killing Autobots, but killing off their comrades and leaving the ‘lone survivor’ to deal with the hardship.”

    Sam nodded his head and pursed his lips. “Sounds like a real psychotic Ass-hole to me.”

    “If he finds out about Megatron, what will he do? Retrieve the body, or try some uprising against the world?”

    “Could not really tell,” Bumblebee answered her, how he wished he knew. “Very little is known about his physiology preference, other than how efficient of a killer he is. On Cybertron he was originally a prison guard well known for dragging Autobots to the brink of death by frail pulses and maintaining their life force barely until all the data from their hardware was hacked, t-then extracting the-their…sparks….” He dropped into silence, only the moving road beneath his wheels and the once in a while passer car mentioned to the silence.

    Sam was about to speak but Mikaela put her hand on his and slowly shook her head. They continued to wait.

    “It’s okay if you don’t want to talk about it,” she said.

    “You gonna be okay?”

    “Mm-no, yeah. I mean.” He paused. “I will be all right.” He said nothing more on the issue.

    This was disturbing, the very memory of Tron-Mega absorbed all of the Autobots cheeriness. For Sam, it was not his best thought of a congratulating Decepticon to thank him for his achievement over Megatron by crushing him flat. It seemed Bumblebee would not be looking forward to another confrontation with the enemy.

    They were entering his neighborhood finally, but he wanted to make sure Mikaela made it home safe above all. “Can I see Mikaela on her way, so if this guy does find you I can, err, draw his attention away?”

    She sighed and glared at him. “Very sweet Sam, but I can take care of myself, you know that. And Bumblebee would do a better job at protecting me. No sense in him finding both of us packed away.”

    Applause came from Bumblebee’s radio. “She is right. Besides, I am not returning to your home. I will hide between your locations so if one of you needs me I will not have far to drive. You have my speed dial, contact me if anything looks suspicious.”

    “Something wrong?” Sam asked.

    Mikaela wiped her face and looked at him expressing a smile. “I thought this was over pretty much, Megatron dead and the other Decepticons awol. I just wanted a nice time at the fair.”

    Bumblebee’s radio sympathized with her, singing: “I’m sorry…come back to me….”

    Unsure how to compete with his car, Sam looped an arm over her shoulder. He didn’t need to drive so could focus on her amending her grief. “Well, at least we saw some of the fireworks.” That wasn’t the best thing to say, but really what should he? There was nothing on alien robot invasion to Teen Guide Dating Tips. “We’re alive and that’s what matters.”

    Mikaela put her arms around his chest and hugged him back, she looked at the poor attempt at dressing on her sliced arm, it was not too deep but bled quite a bit, but most of it had stopped after Sam ripped his shirt and wrapped her arm. “For how long, I wonder?”

    With better understanding than his human friends Bumblebee kept much of his words to himself, he had never been big on talk even after the AllSpark had healed his vocal symbology, at least he now had the option of alternative speech available to him.

    ***

    The single father that provided for his family of four struck the cheap plaster wall, his back snapping the under brace buckling to the force. He slammed to his rump holding a bleeding gash in his arm where blood spurted free and the purple muscles beneath shown. Two of his youngest sons came to his aid grabbing him and helping the man deep in shock roll away from the large mechanical creature. He spoke Taiwan begging the creature not to hurt his family, not to kill him.

    “I’m sorry, forgive me! Forgive me, please! If it pleases you then take, take everything and my life, but spare my children! Spare my children at least! Spare them! Spare them!” He sobbed.

    No longer focused on the man the strange machine turned to a cheap computer stationed in the small living room makeshift kitchen. The optics imbedded at the long snouts rear focused on the screen that was off color but useable, he moved and sat at the small rickety chair allowing a portion of its armor to bend from the rear side, more like a tail than anything. It ripped open the towers top, the man and his family screaming at the sight of loss value. He reached in, gauntlet tearing open and wires connecting to the guts of the computer. It had no Internet access, but he did, his other hand tapped at the keyboard, some missing keys. Once the ancient computer had tapped into his software he uploaded browser details that hastened the normal download time. Images flashed as it scanned, searching everything of Earth culture, history, facts, data, anything.

    The third son came to aid his fathers wound, he was still pleading with the death creature.

    He stopped on eyewitness reports of alien machines landing on Earth, comets from the sky landing in baseball stadiums, property values, exchange of liquid assets. “Much information,” he snarled, “none useful.” Numerous fan sites had information on the aliens ‘among us’ but nothing he wanted. There were articles with detailing true confessions of people accepting bribes or being threatened not to say a word of what occurred in Mission city, something on Mountain Dew ‘Beast of Terror” and various many pictures of different vehicles revealing more beneath the hood than just an engine.

    “Government cover up of alien bodies,” reflected the voice of Tron-Mega. “Wherever could he be?”

    “Information not listed. Autobots know. Captive information withheld with higher offices of jurisdiction. This is slag.” He removed his tangles from the computer and rose, turning away.

    “Send out a message. Summon Megatron to me, threaten him if you must, but I want his presence to my knowing.”

    “Other Decepticons? What of they?” He had already snapped his connections into the tower, one simple touch and it was done.

    Among the trees of a high hill overlooking a portion of Tranquillity and the carnage of Tranquil Fair, Tron-Mega hunched down watching and learning. “Unimportant. If it be then Starscream will give me the most trouble, but even I can deal with him.” He turned hiking down the slope rustling among the trees concealing his form.

    Authors Note/: Hope you readers enjoyed this first part, this will be the first fanfic I wrote specifically for a sight :)  Hhr...Tron-Mega and Earth Quake are my char's, unless there really is a character named Tron-Mega which is possible. I think there is one called Earth Quake though, or something close.

    And the Constructicons I'm thinking of making as a sub faction of Decepticon's, but the main group, the primary commanders of the populace and gestalt formers would have been Scrapper, Longhual, Scavenger, Hook, Mixmaster, and...Bonecrusher - or he was until these five betrayed Megatron and went with Tron-Mega. But I'm not sure if I would continue this idea, half way through the story I hint at the possibility and have added two extra Constructicons, but they cannot combine. Bummer.
     
  2. a person

    a person Is not amused.

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    Wow
     
  3. jazz_00

    jazz_00 legen wait 4 it dary

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    nice man. would love 2 read more on this
     
  4. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    A second chapter, the plot thickens, and stuff happens. Things are not as they seem....

    2 - Ploy of Conquest


    Characters​

    Autobot
    Ironhide

    Decepticons
    DareRex
    Sonic Boom

    For now...


    "Now 'Optimus' Prime..."

    It had been several patrols of the city with nothing sited, no signature of energon that would indicate higher life forms, no probable indication of sign from unauthorized Cybertronian activity. There was barely any from known resident Transformers even at these hours despite the low human activity, if someone was to screw up might as well be when the most people would see. The dawn colors would be bleeding into the atmosphere any time now but as this time approached Ratchet doubted he would ever detect any form of uncharted activity, for such a large bustling city Phoenix was down.

    At the outer portion of the city near I-10 he had located the presence of ARD’s boys. They no longer dealt with testing of alien life forms sentient in their way, but rather minerals brought from interstellar travel that had no thought about its treatment whatsoever. But the primary program had been shut down, they no longer withheld information from the Autobots, only the native humans still unaware at the most part - for what it was worth - that they were the only intligent life taking residence on the planet.

    Within the wound of the planet where official excavation crews dug to uncover any potential curiosity to their world, the staff had actually reached something they had yet to inform Optimus Prime of. On the most part they had had some difficulty hailing him when he was on duty to do his part as citizen to the states, and active commander of the Autobot faction.

    Another hulking wheel loader weighted by rocks rolled out the same time Simmons stepped down the slope, he gave it a check over and resumed his movement. Deep near the base of the ‘thing’ excavated little at a time he stopped and held up a small vile with a sample in it, between his other fingers he had another of similar material. At his feet extending across the deep crater was blackened patches and dust pulled from the rock, extending pockets of layering hammered down by a long ago impact. Deeper still was a mineral casing of its own.

    “We’re certain sir, did the checking myself and everything. They match.” The assistant checked his clipboard reading off his palmpilot reading off the notes. “It’s no surprise as they were unearthed in the same location, sort of.”

    “Not quite,” Simmons said as he lowered both. “The original specimen was located twelve feet above the first, testing shows in variable geographic difference.”

    The man held his voice first but nodded and agreed. “Yes.”

    “Tell the men to be careful when they begin reaching the shell.” He handed the assistant the containers and began up the stiff slope toward the openings in the overcast tarp. “I want an entire diagnostics of this area, find out if it’s one of them and what it was. I don’t want to turn it over until we get ever spec of information out of it.”

    Individuals with crisp white suits and face veils slid down into the raw wound carrying sensory equipment in one hand and data retrieval box in the other. One man used a high-powered air torch to blow away flakes of dirt from the shell over bladed helmet, he waves a sensor wand over the exposed patch. Above perched on the growing circumference lingered military marked Humvees.

    ***

    Miles away in Nevada, in the project approved by Dwight. D Eisenhower designed to block secrets from the unknown universe, a shell cracks.

    The people in the next room barely notice, one that does sight the crack forming through the clear mineral directs the attention to his patriotes. Barely a breath was uttered before they began touching in with sensory records, the signals put into the rock were blocked and bounced back but there was diffidently a crack in its side. One holds up a small camera to film as the others continue to seek answers before something goes wrong.

    The covering shatters a layer of casing like ice meeting hot air, an egg with its contents ready to sample first breath. A portion at the underside lifts, the edges crumble away sparse enough to show the gleaming optics beneath.

    “What’s going on?” the supervisor asked as he entered the chamber.

    A man in his suit worked, attempting to figure just that out. “I don’t know – I don’t know. It’s hatching.”

    “Hatching?” he snorts. His attention diverts to the reinforced plasteed as an alien noise screams from the mineral case. “Someone had better call that damn robot back here.” A wise action took hold of him by backing away. Another followed his lead.

    The shell repels from the contents that spill out, uncoiling and twisting to stand upright. It scans those beyond the window, its surroundings, the walls, floor, and lights. Its design would be similar if not leaner to that of the one in company of Tron-Mega, but its hull was a deep gray complementing the brights lights lavishings its design by harsh polish.

    “Lock the area. No one gets in or out,” commanded the supervisor. “Sever all online connections, now!”

    The creature emitted a fierce cry and went to the window, blades unhinged from its arms which were swung at the plasteed. Within a few slices it is able to burst through and charge out from the amassed individuals struggling to avoid its lethal fury while it charged down beneath computer terminals to the thick doors.

    “S-stop it!” The supervisor was wounded by flying ruble, a cut at his forehead bled into his eyes.

    “How?” another man asked. He watched as their charge tore through the blast doors and made its escape, further sounds came as people scream and race to escape. “W-we never held it….”

    ***

    The ground began to quiver. Lights moved beneath the soil through the captive body held long by a natural prison. Mitchell and his people backed away as a deep humming reverberated all around them, rattling through their hollow chest cavities and into his or her skull.

    “What is it?” he howled, quickening his pace towards the pit.

    “Don’t know,” someone answered beside him. “But I bet it comes from that damn thing we’re digging up.”

    He was not sure if that fellow was being serious or smart, he stopped just beyond the edge and stared down. “Restrain it, it might be a hostile.” He looked along as turrets mounted on the military Humvees spread around the tarp zone fired lines through the covering into the crater, where the dormant machine was. The lines tightened on whatever leverage was available, but only so much. He watched in disbelief barely able to retreat back to safety. “My god, what is it?”

    “Come on, let’s go-let’s go! Restrain that mother forker before its on us!” The worker slash drill sergeant hollered. “Simmons! Find your safety zone.”

    He shook his head backing away. “Not far enough.”

    The ground literally lifted up as the casing ripped apart from its occupant, metal arms take rock, soil and drag the body out. Mandatory systems on line, higher functions shut down for energy conservation: basic necessities above all. It tore away the few lines that had bored into its arm and shoulder and continued to ascend from the pit. The overcast tarp ripped and blew away, lights teetering nearby on upper ground quake and fall finally to the rocking. All that was visible were the glowing red optics.

    “Night lights on,” called a still functioning personnel nearby. “Lock on its movement, green and yellow.”

    “Back up lights on,” called a voice from the dark very far away. A man over the edge of the crater with another group had activated the emergency lamps, by hand they break darkness up on the moving automation.

    “Run the lines,” Simmons called. “Drag it down before it gets up.” He looked up again using one part night goggles and the other eye for typical bad sight in the dark.

    At once the turrets fired wrapping cables around arms and midsection, one pierced the shin before it diploid cord causing damage to the leg. The machine gave a frazzled cry in pain and lashed out, tearing from the lines and jerking vehicles free to get at the one that had injured it. It tore into the trucks rear side and pulled it towards the caving crater, all the time rock and dirt drop from over its moving components, the men from the vehicle abandon and run for cover. The truck erupts when the metal fingers rip the gas tank and flint a spark, the metal titan reframed from retreating out of the combustion bellowing ingulfing it.

    A few miles away moving along the flow of early morning traffic, Ratchet was just on the overpass when the fire blossomed. “What on Earth….” Despite the law for speed he accelerates making all fine by flashing his warning lights. Very little of the flowing traffic moves aside, so he helps it along with a friendly push. “Out of my way or I’ll be carting you to the medical ward next.”

    Meanwhile, on sight of the confrontation Simmons had retreated from the burning wreckage of the truck while shielding his exposed face with and arm from the heat. He reached his pistol and though they were not Sabots, began firing with his pitiful ammo. The shots pow and ricochet from metal sheets doing nothing greater to the intensity of the early morning destruction. The animation stepped up the slope and approached him, he hastened his fire parallel to his retreating. The cartridge went dry forcing him slap another in place before persisting, almost sequential in his blurred movement of eject and insert. The mechanoid wasn’t so large as those of its kind, but to him it was huge standing over him staring down considering him as child might judge an insect marching over the hot desert soil, no care in the world for its future.

    He continued to fire and back away, those that had remained out of sheer insanity added aid to his plight but it did nothing at all.

    The machine leaned down and Simmons reeled to run, his ammo spent it was the only logical thing. It snagged his foot in sharp digits and dragged him back turning him over one way and another, holding him still as it pried with his body scanning through his flesh and bone structures, to neuron endings. No matter how he struggled he could not free his body of its clutch, he was pressed to his chest into the ground hard, rolled over, his limbs tested and bent till he cried in pain, only then would it stop and consider. He was flopped over again and his chest crushed until he saw red around the black, it clamped down on his head prying his skull one way and then rotated. It was going to pull his head off!

    A missile could not fly sooner, it impacted the robots high back causing it to whirl away from its specimen to answer the offending party crasher.

    Released from his trap Simmons clawed to his feet, couching and holding his head where the claws had dug. He leapt aside as the mechanoid took a step backwards nearly on him. “Just kill it!”

    The two mechs stare at the other ready for the battle to unleash but hold fire. Ratchet spoke to the other, “DareRex?”

    The other machine lowered weapons and straightened. “Ratchet.” A pause. “You got older.”

    He emitted a screech that caused the remaining humans to flinch, it was a simple chuckle either way. “You’re not getting younger yourself.”

    Hearing the alien dialogue screaming at one another Simmons gathered himself up and straightened his tie. “What are you doing?” He indicated the large machine that held him hostage…once he was a safe distance towards the medic. “This thing shares an exoskeleton similar to those you identified as Decepticons.”

    “If that’s your pet, I think you should get its vocal lines sliced. I wouldn’t have stirred it up if I’d known it’d be making this much noise.”

    Ratchet made another sound towards a half-human guffaw or Cybertronian grunt. “That’s not a pet, it—he’s no ones pet.” He stepped towards the DareRex and passed his hand over its optics. “Data transfer complete, do you understand my speech patterns?” he asked in English.

    It nods. “Earth. America.” He looked again to Simmons gripping. “Why do you want me destroyed foremost?”

    “Foremost?” he roared. “You made the first shot.”

    “No. I was merely escaping. You fired first, I defended myself.” He bowed down to see Simmons better. “An organism so small should not strike first, it is better to accept the first strike that way you’re not the one to blame.”

    He dusted the dirt from his suit but glared at the robot. “If we played by those rules we’d already be annihilated.”

    “Maybe. Is that what you say when you do lose?” He turned to Ratchet. “Who else is here? I came searching for Megatron but during my orbit I shut down, my reserves were gone. I must’ve been pulled into the gravity field of this world, but I know nothing more.”

    “The Allspark too?” He nods so Ratchet answered the questions. Megatron was no more, nor was their source of life. He was not surprised in DareRex’s expression of loss for the late Decepticon lord. “Optimus was victor of that battle. He’ll want to see you now, we all thought Megatron had killed you before you left Cybertron.”

    “No. He was fast but I was always faster.” He glanced around. “I need vehicle forms for my template, are there any nearby?”

    “Hold on, you can’t just take off another NBE without registering it first.” Simmons looked beyond to the workers gathering to repair what could be salvaged. He was paid to uncover a new mineral, not to dig up death deserving machines.

    “Actually, he’s a she.”

    “Excuse me?” Both Simmons and DareRex say.

    Ratchet took DareRex by his shoulder and led it away. “Sorry Dare, only way to classify your difference to—”

    “Inferior specifics to male genre, child bearing, hormone flashing, and mood swinging? This sounds like me?”

    “Ah, no. I was targeting your natural behavior to the term best known as…um, affection for others. A maternal instinct of caring for diverse extraterrestrial species that sparse Autobots have yielded.” He mentions in Cybertronian, “But Simmons was keen, you are a Decepticon.”

    “That means all traitor Decepticons are females in disguise? What about you, medic? You’ll fix anyone with a bullet hole in his head. You kinda have that physic for a female of this world.”

    “Actually, no.” He checked her over then himself. “But I am speaking more on personality specs, as I said before.” He checked Simmons still waiting for his answer. “I’ll get her logged in to the database.”

    “Him.”

    Simmons shook his head slowly as he waved the two away. “Fine, so long as you ID it, him, she, whatever – gender challenged - get it a serial number, everything.” He began making rounds to discover who was wounded and what of the equipment could be salvaged, most of it cost ten grand of tax papers dollars and would never be replaced. Meanwhile, his cash walked away with the other of the species. “Wonderful,” he said as he checked a burnt out light. “Just peachy.” He dropped it, the bulb burnt pops and goes dead.

    ***

    Much of the trauma that had occurred at the carnival was taken care of by the time Optimus Prime arrived in the early hours of dawn. Officials had erased most the tracks and spoken to those sorry souls that were left in the wake of the crash, luckily the most they received was a short threat attached to their lives, or a sum of money that was enough to shut minds. In the near future what they can or cannot tell would be the least of their worries

    He made rounds of the lake itself and gradually made track up the roads leading from the confrontation point, leaving channels on his radio open to contact with local and classified personnel working in the area for ARD. Eyewitness reports confirmed what he had feared most from Bumblebee’s report and some more, he located an amateur footage of the attacker.

    Before he had jettisoned the AllSpark into deep space never to be seen again, it was believed that Megatron and Tron-Mega had fallen into a personal argument, while Starscream lurked nearby as always to perform the dirty tasks for his leader, or clean up what the failed had attempted. With a crew, a ship, and a stock of energon they set out into space. That was what rumors said. The actuality was that Megatron had supposedly killed Tron-Mega for some incident or another. But this day it was clear as always that something about this Decepticon must be done, or all they had sacrificed for, the lives they lost, would be in vain for a short sighted aspect.

    If the situation fell out of hand, if he needed to call soldiers from farthest reaches of space spreading universal peace, he doubted he could hail any single in time.

    It wasn’t enough that still two, possibly three Decepticons were still on the loose and unable to be located, always a looming threat whenever a refinery was attacked. Evidence always indicated Cybertronian presence but never enough to lead on whatever was there, gone. There had been sightings, some lead to dead ends, useful but not yet providing the much-required data of wherever these fugitives may be located. But it didn’t make sense that Starscream would lead the Decepticons to Earth searching for the AllSpark, then when all went to slag went up and disappeared? If there was any of the scattered remnants Optimus held concern for it was the Aerospace Commander gone awol.

    He screeched to a halt when it came to him. A large lizard descended to the grass beside the road, the semi transformed to robot form and looked up at the grinning beast. It was beyond anything monstrous, or anything from a sane humans imagination. An apparition of hell and sorrow clashed as one with blades dominating swiveling gyro components, a short neck armed with a fin of spikes, horns, and sharp gaps through the jaws. Claws extended from the gauntlets, the body was rippled between exposed muscles and snapped bone, wings comprised from stretched flesh made metal, ebony, and a tail more machine than any of its body.

    “Is this the infamous Autobot leader what gives Decepticons so much trouble?” it gurgled.

    Optimus calculated his response carefully. “What sort of form is that for hiding?”

    The lizard reverted to robot as he began rounding Optimus. “You know I was a master of infiltration. Gathering data, studying the target, biding my time, until it is time for force. Then, everything is just slag, before and after.” He looked at the Autobot commander carefully, his shortened wings raised high behind him. “I am unable to hail Megatron, why is that?”

    “He was slain by my hand. Him and many of his fell during the battle for the AllSpark, which fate was preordained for destruction since the moment this war began. There is nothing here for you now.”

    Tron-Mega screeched at this. “Lie! You doom us all for the end of a war, a bypass to victory.”

    “The conclusion would have been the same, a victory for one faction, but a hollow victory at most. I have no pride in this outcome. Megatron wanted this war, I did not, I was entitled to make the sacrifice or I would have been as much at fault. And yet, I always am.” He looked away ashamed by the many centuries of war, sacrifice, loss, and all for what? Hope. Hope that was shattered and destroyed the moment Megatron sought the AllSpark mid deep space.

    But he felt obligated to give Tron-Mega one more chance. “Your kind are not welcomed on this world. If you are willing to surrender you may take residence on Mars, not far from here. It is a baron planet with nothing, no resources, but we would be willing to supply—”

    Tron-Mega emitted an electrical cry of glee. “Surrender? You say Megatron is dead and that instantly curls me into defeat?” He stepped up to Optimus glowering him in the optics, studying his data, and vice versa of the Autobot commander. “The Decepticons belong to me now. I have summoned my units from space, they will be landing soon to aid me. As for those located here on this putrid planet, when they see my lead they will follow.”

    Optimus reached out taking the other mech by the throat and held him. “This is my last offer of peace to you, I do not wish to continue where it should have ended. Give me no choice now and I will not hesitate to kill you as I did Megatron.”

    The red blaze of the optics melted to blue, the black design cut by moonlight rearranged and shifted as brighter colors bled into the dark designs. Then there was no Tron-Mega staring into Optimus’ optics, but himself staring at himself.

    “You are wrong,” Optimus said in a cold voice. “This is not my last chance for peace, it is your last reprieve. Where Megatron focused his conquest on the Autobots, on Cybertron, and failed, I have sought other planets, other worlds, and thrived. You now know victory, I have known victory in abundance, I am no stranger to it.” He pulled away from Optimus’ grasp and reverted to his normal form.

    “Keep in mind that I show no interest in your retinue for the current lapse, however, when it dawns the moment of Decepticons incursion be warned, make yourself known and you will be captured and exterminated. This world, it is ripe for the taking.” He turned his back on the Autobot.

    “Why? I killed Megatron, take your revenge on me!”

    He looked back. “You misunderstand, this is not about Megatron. This is about survival.” He converted to his dragon form and took off, the trees beneath him burn as result of his powerful thrusters.

    Watching the dragon of blades glide through the golden dawn colors he half considered making chase but his better judgment decided against that. At most he would fail alone and only cause more casualties, there would be plenty of fight later he knew well. For the now he would contact his hiding soldiers and make them aware of the threat and gather from them what they would see done in this time.

    He converted to semi and rolled down the road, in no way ready to resume his roll as honest transporter.

    ***

    “What do you mean it escaped?” Simmons sat bandaged and dirty at the back of the booming helicopter, with the laptop playing through to him from four hundred miles away. “It was buried under miles of concrete, maximum security, armed guards with Sabot loaded—”

    “Sabots had no effect, it’s not like the others,” Maggie responded. “The GD awakened, broke out of the building, we were able to track it for ten miles but it went off radar. It…hacked some of the computers it came in contact with, even civilian electronics.”

    “Shit.” Optimus would not like this, not only did he leave it in their charge but it escaped, and escaped with valuable information the public as well as other sources was not to know of. “That Wittiky kids gonna be in some serious trouble if its searching for hostages.”

    “It’s…Wit-wicky,” Maggie corrected.

    He waved her off. “Whatever.”

    “But I was reviewing the time intervals of data you sent me in correlation to the other ones revival and I doubt we have little to fear from its intentions.” She put down her palmpilot and focused on his screen. “It activated in roughly the same time frame, considering state zones, and Optimus did say that it would only activate if its host did. And you did say the host was friendly if not…‘invading on personal space.’”

    It still freaked Simmons out the way the NBE had treated him, like an amusing mouse squirming to escape while it poked and prodded his body. “True, but that is not the cost of national security I am looking at.”

    “The fact that the GD escaped with vital information that if in the wrong hands could mark the human race for mass extinction, and should not be taken lightly? Oh yeah, way ahead of you there, sir. Our people are working on contacting Optimus but, he must have found something very interesting if he’s not answering the phone.”

    He leaned towards the screen. “He cannot be reached?”

    “No sir, shut off communications with the military at o-six hundred. But I doubt he’s found trouble, there’s very little on our world that could actually harm him.”

    Not convinced and less than worried by the news Simmons considered the most recent data he had been given by ARD plain clothes. “Are you aware there was a landing in Tranquillity?”

    Maggie expressed the correct form of shock he had anticipated. “No, I was not notified yet. Was it hostile or friendly?”

    He leaned back and entwined his fingers over his belly. “Well, it crashed into a carnival and took hostilities against ‘‘a giant yellow robot,’’” he quoted, “then abandoned the location. I might be going out on a limb, but that sounds most hostile to me.”

    In flawless poise she expressed her irritation in him. “Then it’s another domination we face from the enemy?”

    “Must be.” He sighed and looked out the window at the passing scenery and the hot desert, the helicopter was not so much better but at least there was some air and he was in the shade, aside from the over padding on his body. “Inform Secretary of Defense that it is time to enhance our defenses, we were unprepared last time but this time will get them before this unravels into a nation wide mess.” And maybe avoid the press’ questions about the entire ordeal, unlike last time. He used up all his best stories.

    “Yes sir.”

    The helicopter made a sudden rock and bounce throwing Simmons over in his seat, the man next to him grabbed him to hold him from jerking about. “W-what was that?” he gasped.

    “Turbulence,” the mustached man answered, without any form of expression. “The wind is picking up.”

    After letting out a deep breath he returned his attention to the laptops screen. “Ms. Madsen? What’s wrong?”

    The woman on the screen was staring beyond, she began to rise slowly. In the background screams played through and firearms chattered in anger to the foe that was upon them. She dove aside abandoning the screen, afterwards a sharp chair flew by against a wall. A cable at the wall snapped raining down hot embers, it wriggled free and thrashed as the chaos ensued momentum. Connection through the laptop was lost.

    There was only one result of an attack. “Madsen!”

    ***

    The large mechanical monster braced its feet, bands embedded with its lower arms blaze as emerald fire shot from what passed as its throat. It seared concrete, wires melted by heat jerked free and screamed. It moved, using whatever was at its disposal to dispatch armed guards as they fought to subdue him.

    Crawling low to the cold concrete floor Maggie was able to pry out her cell phone while avoiding flying debris. She dialed a number and listened, she almost wept when she realized the lines were still intact despite all the destruction to the walls, or else she would get no signal through the miles of concrete. But alas, there was no answer. “Damn it! What are you doing?” She crawled along trying to avoid the noise of devastation as it rampaged, tearing through soldiers and taking the Sabot rounds like mild tranquilizers.

    There was no answer from Optimus Prime, Ironhide was too far away to reach the base in time, but Ratchet did pick up.

    “Ms. Madsen?” his voice said. “What’s wrong?”

    “The Division is under attack, inside! A aggressive life form that Optimus called a Grave Digger parasite, I think it’s—” She ducked as a portion of table hit the rack she was hiding under, the metal crashed down over her back forcing out a scream of pain. “Hurry! It won’t be happy when it realizes that—” She looked up.

    “Maggie? Maggie!”

    A pair of sharp hands reached down and picked her up. The chaos and destruction had ended, the soldiers were either gone or incapacitated. He lifted her up and looked her in the face. He chirped and groaned but nothing emitted made sense to her.

    “W-what?” It shook her hard and pushed its beak to her face. “S-sorry, I…don’t….”

    It caught sight of the phone in her hand, it snatched it away and dropped her. Before she could get a breath it stamped a foot onto her back and held her down, as it placed the phone to what passed as ear like spikes jutting about the lone audio receiver.

    “I’m on my way, Maggie, just hold on,” Ratchet said finally.

    The demonic machine made a low growl into the phone.

    “What? Who are you and what did you do with the human?”

    He took the phone and bit into it turning the device into small pieces. Then he hefted the struggling woman to her feet in front of his body, it began to convert and open, sheets of metal sliding back to reveal a mechanical interior of sharp moving pieces. At the sight of death Maggie fought her last bit to escape, she had no weapon with her but fists and that alone was never enough. It pulled her into its body sealing itself up again as it jumped up bounding toward the access vent it slipped in from, claws latched on and the large body hoisted up and out of sight.

    ***

    The day was turning from morning to afternoon, there was very little to see in the new light. There were many injured to get moved out of the area, Ratchet had escorted the ambulance all the way to location before sliding off and reverting to his own natural form. He watched from behind one of the dams structures as they went about to tally casualties.

    Fires burned black smoke into the sky, the entrance to ARD had been left intact but other areas of access had been ravaged thoroughly. The marks of a lost battle were everywhere. Most of the vehicles had been tossed into the water at the dams far side, somehow, but aircraft were guttered and trimmed.

    The interior was better for it was worth, most sections and security protocol chambers were left intact until they reached the primary chamber in which the AllSpark testing was left. That showed existing repairs began but the evidence was obvious, something tore its way out and through the oncoming forces. Scientists and military lay everywhere, guns shattered and bodies broken, they had fought back but weapons were ineffective. The spans of the computer intelligence room was a war zone of smashed electronics and more wounded, only two computers were noted to hacking.

    Ratchet had located the late signals from Maggie Madsen, but no body. He gave the area a careful search and instructed DareRex to do the same but the results did not harbor on good will. They returned to the surface to wait and watch as the paramedics took away the wounded, more were being called in as the under ground ward was none existent as well as hindered useless.

    “Whatever did this wasn’t too big on finishing them off,” commented DareRex, watching the paramedics work with growing fascination. Whoever thought this little planet would yield such existence? “The worst I saw was a amputated arm.”

    “Do you know who did this?” he asked, turning to the other machine.

    “No.” She expressed confusion and withdrawal, certainly not she as they had been together since her awakening. “And I don’t know if Starscream would do this either, he always had better things to do than attack a base and—”

    “They located your Grave Digger not far from where you were buried,” he finished. “Prime contacted me to brief the situation, that’s why I was there when you activated. He must have responded to you.”

    The robot was speechless. “No, you can’t think that he did this.” She gestured the people wounded. “He knows not to harm other life forms, you know he is incapable of killing anything, he hasn’t done so in over…the climax of the war.”

    Ratchet moved around her scanning. “Were you in mandatory mode when you came online?”

    “Uh—of course. I had no reserves until—”

    “Then he might have been functioning on basic instincts when awakened, he would not know what was going on.” He stood in front of her. “Still, you’ll need to call him in.”

    “But…I can’t. You know I never call him, it’s…not our way.” She looked over as one of the paramedic vehicles came their way. Ratchet transformed while she hid sideways behind the pillar wobbling on the edge, once the vehicle had passed they resumed the argument.

    “DareRex, you know I can’t let this situation go.” He nodded towards the wounded still receiving treatment. “Either call him or I’ll put out high alert for his detainment, at any cost.” She stepped back and lowered her head. “Is that the way you want it?”

    Human responses programmed in for familiarity, she shook her head. “I…it’s my honor. I won’t tarnish it.”

    He nodded. “Very well.” And turns away. “I’m sending out an all alert for the detainment of Sonic Boom, be advised he is extremely dangerous at the current time and will resist.”

    “Wait, hold on.” She stopped when Ratchet held up a hand.

    “You know how his kind is, but no one will harm him unless indubitably forced to, in his state of protocol we cannot take chances.” He continued with the recycling transmission. “Give warning call before affirmative action.” He transformed in step and rolled along the bridge. “We need to locate Prime, he’s requesting soldiers from field.”

    “What, did he say why?” She transformed into an oddly marked jet - Panavia Tornado, orange with dulled stripped marks. Tail identification went zero-zero-seven at the fin.

    “No, only that it’s urgent. He also wants our human allies.”

    DareRex held back raised in altitude to consider this bit of data. “Human allies?”

    ***

    A boulder half buried in the gritty sand cracked from the base up as its buried portioned was shattered, a fast moving row of the desert proceeded from it until arms burst up and a head, he shakes the rocks from his armor and pulls his body up while unhinging the metal over his torso.

    One Maggie Madsen tumbles out, hold the mayo. She slid away from her captor looking worse for her wear, her clothing had been ripped along her sides from internal moving portions of its body. At her side was a rock, not good enough but something to give a fight for her life with. She struggled to her feet preparing to cleave the weapon as the raptor like thing hissed mechanically and moved away. The earth shook with each footstep, she whirled suddenly conscious to how utterly insignificant her shadow was compared to the being she was currently looking up at. The rock slipped out of her hand and made a dull whump on the ground.

    The smaller machine made sounds, some grunts, and a hiss.

    “I know. You were quite thorough in your report.” He focused down on the human. “You used Autobot technology to destroy data before his synchronization into cyber ware, only basic data was retrieved before he was forced to abort. What you will give me is verbal exchange of the Autobots designs for vehicular transport, what are their current locations, all bases of data stores, and which Decepticons were terminated, with locations to their resting place. Now.”

    Terrified, she shook her head. “No, I can’t…—”

    “Cannot or will not, your choice. You have the data I require in your protein-based schematic, give me the information I request and perhaps I will let you live. De facto, I will let you live. You creatures are no threat to me, I only care for Autobot enemies and Decepticon allies. Now speak!”

    “I can’t, really!” She glanced around. Nothing was in her near vicinity but rocks and miles of dirt. “That information was restricted to the data base, only a higher authority will know.”

    “John Keller. Walter Simmons. Tom Banachek. Glen Whitmann.” The other machine spoke to his master.

    The Decepticon cocked his head. “Ah, then you have given me all the information I need.” He leaned forward opening the digits at his arms. “You are disposable.”

    She stepped back working on some way to extend her life just enough to get some sort of warning out, if that would be possible. “I guess I am.” She raised her head to see his optics. “But, did your friend get their locations?”

    Annoyed he looked to the machine, shaking his head simply. He spoke Cybertronian to his ally instructing him to give up information for possible Decepticons, he wanted it to look on its own for the whereabouts of the individuals in case his prisoner lied.

    The little monster jumped onto his back and converted his body as a portion of his armor and selected a slot in his shifting vertebra brace, a small tap and he was done. He leapt down and went on his way, burrowing beneath the sand and gone.

    His metal shifted as he redesigned his body for another form. Blackout had returned from the dead, and said, “He has gone to locate these areas those I seek will be, if you deceive me he will notify me.” He transformed into a helicopter, a MH-53. Pave Lows, tail identification AF4500X, the blades spinning gradually. “Get in.”

    Numb by the capabilities of her capator, Maggie complied to the orders with no other option. Soon as she was climbing in the door the rotors spinning became fierce cutting sand out from beneath, she nearly fell out as it jumped off the ground. She clambered to a control seat and sat down, there were no headsets to block out the hammering wail of helicopter blades, she could only buckle in and cover her ears and hope no one shot the machine down.

    “Deceive me and I will show you just how I transform.” Came the ominous reply from the interior.

    ***

    The morning had gotten off to a bad beginning. First Bumblebee didn’t show up to drive him to school, because he had a car he no longer rode the bus so didn’t get outside in time to realize his car hadn’t come to get him as the bus drove by. He went inside and called up Bumblebee but there came no response, weird. He called up Miles for the ride and was now waiting to see if he would actually show, instead a yellow Camero drove up with Mikaela in his seat.

    He stood up from the porch leaving his backpack to investigate. “Yo, what’s this? What’s going on here?”

    “On the road again,” the radio sang.

    “No. No-no-no!” He realized that wasn’t the correct thing to say so revised. “Why?”

    Mikaela held up her cell phone. “Ops is calling everyone out of hiding, something’s going on and we’re apart of it, obviously.”

    Sam was incredulous. “Why didn’t anyone tell me? I could have called in sick.”

    “In your lavish wisdom you have a cell phone but for some reason, turned it off.” She frowned at him seriously. “Get in.”

    Forgetting his backpack on the porch Sam slid in on the passenger side and looked at Mikaela.

    “What?” She shrugged.

    “You’re in my seat.”

    Once they were on the highway and headed out of the city Bumblebee began speaking again. “Optimus met with Tron-Mega and spoke, I was informed of most that happened but not everything.”

    “Met and spoke, in one piece?” To Mikaela, Autobot and Decepticon meetings must always be violent. “And nothing happened?”

    “Formal introduction among leaders is uncommon on your world as it is ours, mut these two…uh…they have a history.”

    Sam frowned. “History among you guys is kinda bouncy.” He waved a hand showing the rockiness. “Let’s hear it.”

    “Agreed. This is what is.” Bumblebee switched to the fast lane and continued. “Recall his aboriginal task was prison guard for Megatron and though he has a conniving streak unusual even for Decepticons, he never went out on slaughter excursions. Not like Megatron, anyway. Better at incapacitating a soldier and wiping out fields of Autobots, but not uncontrolled. He has something called Pride and Honor, and he lives by a certain code. You get into his code you own him, but no one except Optimus and Jazz has ever gotten into it. He’s respected them both.”

    “But you said earlier he’s a sadistic bastard even among his own guys?” Sam mentioned.

    Bumblebee chuckled metallically. “Yes, by their standards. But I have known he will not fight unless attacked first, it is his belief of conserving energy for a factual challenge. A lot of his views are a tad weird anyway, these qualities are what placed him in little favor toward Megatron. I think. He was tired of senseless killing and nothing gained of the war for the AllSpark, I imagine that is why he left Cybertron with some brother in arms, or that is how the rumor went. It was either that version or he was killed, and sense he is alive I bet he has just only come to comprhend why the war has ended.”

    Mikaela looked to the steering wheel in front of Sam. “So, you’re worried he’ll come after Sam to avenge his leader if he finds out what really happened?”

    “Yes. But Optimus tried to mislead him, he is not to focused on revenge at this time. And if I am right about the information withheld from me, Tron-Mega is aiming to dominate your world.”

    “But, you can stop him?” Sam inquires, “He’s a lone Decepticon out to take on the world.”

    The engine groaned. “It is a bit of a fifty-fifty scenario. Either he shall fight solo and die, or, the Decepticons loyal to Megatron will see him and rise up to aid his campaign.”

    “The military is willing to help and we have Sabots that work well against Transformer armor,” sad to say but true, Mikaela continued, “even if they follow they can’t fight our weapons.”

    “It might not be so easy,” Bumblebee continued. “If the military fights Tron-Mega it only allows him to attack, if they want to take him out they must do so without his survival to deem anything else. If not even destruction cannot stop him from annihilating the human race. What is more, a recent attack on ARD revealed that the Grave Diggers yield no results to Sabots. He will perform sabotage to soften the high target bases down before moving in for the initial strike.”

    “Wait, a what? This Grave Digger thing?” Sam growled.

    Bumblebee emitted a faint sigh and proceeded to explain what one of these parasites actually was.

    ***

    On the distant farm safe from any tragedy of city making the large black pickup truck waited for his passenger.

    “Lennox, hurry! Optimus called us minutes ago and it takes more time to drive there,” he muttered, “given humans slow traffic. Aren’t your soldiers reprimanded for belatedness?” Exasperated by the time consumption Ironhide could not contain his voice in the matter any longer.

    The man came from the doors zipping up his pants, muttering, “Yes, but I exchange my armor out – you know the story!”

    Holding baby child, Sarah followed him out with a baffled expression to boot. “William, who was that? I don’t seen anyone.”

    “I’ll…explain later.” He turned and smiled at her when she chorused his recent excuse of the matter. “Really, I will. Now’s not the time.” He kissed the baby on the cheek and a peck on his wives lips. “I’ll be back soon, gals.” He turned to Annabelle indicating her with a finger. “No alcohol, no boys, be home by twelve.”

    Sarah dressed appropriately for the day laughed. “Try that in ten more years.”

    He put on a pair of shades and gave a kooky grin. “Isn’t that what everyone tells me?” He turned racing to the shiny black truck, it was already rolling away. “Cut that out you crazy military truck experiment, with the homing return drive inside! I’m here now, right?”

    The truck popped a door open. “Yes. And a few more seconds I wouldn’t.” He ground to a halt allowing Lennox, preoccupied with his bemused wife on the porch watching this transpire without understanding, and ran straight into the door and fell back.

    He groaned and sat up. “For being a few minutes late?” He stopped when he heard it at last, a silent thundering sound but there was no cloud in this perfect blue sky. “What is it?” He turned in the direction it came and sighted an F-4J Phantom, normal by all means but for the color. It was a dark cobalt with saffron wings, impossible. The Autobot was already contorting to his biped form as the human twisted to his family. “Get into the house, now!” There was a rifle inside, but he could not reach it or have Sarah retrieve it. She screamed when the truck stood upright and followed her husband’s command.

    Arming his primary cannons Ironhide began shooting at the flyer. “You are trespassing on private property, sir!” The thundering sound grew unbearable forcing Lennox to retreat, a small projectile came into view, one he thought never to see again. It came, plowed into his chest throwing him backwards with incredible force denying its size.

    Lennox looked up as the F-4J came apart and readjusted its armor, it was a robot he didn’t recognize but that did not mean it had to be friendly with him. “What are you doing here?”

    The machine gave an electronic cry and fired, a blast burning a nearby tree, the other incinerating the barn and roof, it aimed shooting at him, he leaped being missed, it turned and aimed for his home.

    “NO!”

    “You dropped this.” Ironhide swung his grip around and tossed something at the Decepticon, a noisy electrical thing that attacked without mercy. The robot frazzled and fell flailing his arms and shooting wild into the sky. “Enough, off him.” He raced up grabbing the robot and held him down. “Dirge.”

    The other machine moved from the two large robots and paced behind Lennox, growling and ignoring him.

    “What are you doing here?” he asked in Cybertronian. To his surprise the Decepticon replied in English.

    “Tron-Mega has instructed us to target and mark Autobots stationed on Earth. It was a mistake I found you, I was only after that little brute.”

    Lennox looked over at the creature that was far more alien than the humanoid shape shifting robots. “Tron-Mega?”

    “I reckon that is what Prime has summoned us for.” He pushed his cannon harder to the Decepticon’s chest, the massive barrel roared with life burning deep in the muzzle. “Didn’t think he’d lead you into a trap.” He flashed his optics over to Lennox and the odd robot.

    “If I had, I would have brought allies.” A pair of plasma cannons embedded in his chest open fire, propelling Ironhide up, off his body. Whirling over he sprang to his feet shooting for the house and the reason of Lennox’s wail, before fire ignited he had already reshapped his design into the Phantom II and shot off into the sky.

    “Sarah! Anny!” Lennox raced to the house stopping when a piece of burning roof fell into his path, he fought back his fear, his rage, his sorrow, and flung his body into the blaze.

    The odd machine accompanying disaster flashed into the flames at the instant and was gone.

    Seeing this act and the way the fire spread through timber, he stopped and fell to his knees. “Please god, let them be safe.” He put his face into his hands. “Let them be safe.” An eternity passed and nothing came, nothing but the rolling blaze and the heat baking off his perspiration. He would not leave, not even when his skin dried and tightened. He barely made notice of the thudding footsteps to his side and lifted his gaze only just.

    “If all else, he tried. I can’t be mad at him for that.” A burst of fire from the house compelled him back a step, he beckoned Lennox away with a hand but the man refused to move at all. Another window shattered to the heat, but it did not burst. It was broken.

    Lennox looked back and saw the machine forcing Sarah from the fire, not being particularly careful despite her out of it ability to stumble in his step. “Sarah! Sarah!” He ran to her ignoring the heat spilling off the robot and took his wife. “Where is she? For gods sake where is Anny?” Jerking his head up with angry accusation, he nearly jumped upon the large robot as the plates from over its body shifted and rolled back a portion, one arm had helped Sarah from the fire but the other was cradled protectively to its chest. He nearly sobbed as he took the fragile baby from the menacing beast machine. “Thank you,” he said. “Thank you.”

    Cybertronian donned to misty memories and amenities to allies….

    “He should not really be thanking you,” Ironhide said to the machine. “You led him here.”

    The robot looked away. “I did not know this would be his reaction. I am sorry to afflict you. I do not ask forgiveness.”

    “You never do.” He looked back at the home as it burned to the ground, all the memories, all the love and affection with bonding. He didn’t get it, but it was precious to the humans. Maybe he would’ve understood a little better if he still had his old home, his old way of life. It was not precious after long eons of combat in a war were ones own survival was key to happiness if not of continued existence, more so for the preservation of other lives.

    The firefighters would be arriving soon, and with them an old friend of his but he could not spare for pleasantries. “Lennox, you’re wife and child should come with me. I’ll leave them someplace safe.”

    “That’s not a good idea, you know that,” he replied. Sarah was still recovering from smoke inhalation but the baby was fine and now laughing. “The Decepticons are looking for Autobots to remove.” But he also could not leave his wife to drive in her condition with their baby. He hated himself for thinking it but he hoped she wouldn’t remember well what had happened, she could already be in shock from the appearance.

    “My brother searches for Autobot vehicle designs, locations. He is having trouble locating them,” said the robot in a deep gravely voice. He looked to Ironhide. “Optimus is here asking for you?”

    “Yes. I am instructed to confine you for questioning, but seeing as that slag spitter muttered about Tron-Mega, I am obligated to improvise that you were framed.”

    “Accidental, I presume,” he hissed.

    He collapsed into his truck form and revved the motor. “Lennox,” the voice was low and empathetic, “if a war is coming, I doubt any place would be safe for you. We must prepare.”

    Still pained by what had occurred, what could have easily occurred, the soldier helped his wife and child into the back seat and slipped in with them. He looked out at the raptor like machine standing and waiting. “You coming?”

    It shook its snout and stepped back. “I keep my distance and use my sensors to locate possible threat. You have suffered enough.”

    “Fine by me.” Ironhide started his motor and began on their way. “I’ll catch up with you when we reach Prime.”

    Moving after the old Autobot, he looked up into the sky and focused his small lenses on comets penetrating the atmosphere and branching off in strategic locations. They looked like miniature suns come to visit the planet they helped give life to and barely noticeable in broad daylight. Crackling and burning apart they crushed the air apart in their descent.


    Author's Comment: Thanks for commenting readers, and those of you who read but don't comment >:\

    I thought at first it would be natural that Lennox's wife was onto the alien robot, she's his wife he could tell her. But, national security forbade him. Sorry Lennox. But I just love that joke... "Cut that out you crazy military truck experiment, with the homing return drive inside!" I've seen one before. It's not as effecient as a Transformer though.
     
  5. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    BAM! Work has been killer lately! If it's not one thing it's the other, ah well. Finally, a Sat day off to sit and post this. And whatever you do, take care who you trust :thumb 

    2 - Master Survivor



    Characters​



    None new. Sorry




    "...of the kill."

    Below a man was speaking with a local law enforcer concerning the issue of a missing article. One moment he had it the next he did not and so was determined on the spot to locate his high speed lap top with customized memory and optimized desktop for those ridiculously long road trips. High above on the roof of a local restaurant sat the thief, a latte in one claw laced hand, his other working at the keys tacking away the information he experted in locating. Cables slithered from beneath the side of his gill were altered to interlink with the systems of the computers outlets, he was scanning any known information overlaying target names, anything from credit card use in the recent hour to home addresses and mailing POs.

    Optics glint darkly as he stopped, interlocked jaws gnashed tightly. Precursor overlap snuffle treads had homed in on an exact lock for the Tom Banachek target, his systems succeeded where the laptop failed to notify at the most recent minute, he had checked in with national security and was under escort to a location of upt most priority. His error was using a credit card to purchase a drink and snack from a diner he typically hit on his way through the city, there was high chances that he was still in the perimeter under heavy guard and easy to isolate.

    The robot left the laptop secured to his cables but fixed it into broken shards of his armor where it would not be loosened in his travel. Standing at the buildings edge he leapt off as a diver would for a plunge but rather a pool of blue water below, the hot tarmac was at his view. No worries, where Scorpinox could not penetrate his micro sharp claws sliced through. Nearby pedestrians on the street halt in sudden appall when the impact reverberated through their feet, but all any one person made out was a brief flash of metal as a wriggling drill blade whirled out of sight. Atop the high restaurant was the tell tale latte with no owner.

    ***

    “Who is he?”

    Maggie looked up from her hands to the control panel at the cockpits front. “Are – are you speaking to me?”

    The metallic voice emitted an annoyed buzz. “If I were not I would be speaking with my actual eloquence. Who is this human?” From between the seams in the control panel a light came, and from the roof as well pinpointing and forming an accurate hologram module of the target his minion was now hunting. “What is his function, rank, everything.” These were demands.

    Maggie hesitated. “Uh, I…I’m not sure,” she lied. “I’ve only met him once, his charge was Sector Seven co opt information analysis, but once the NBE’s appeared the organization was shut down.”

    “Non-Biological Extraterrestrials,” Blackout grumbled. “Familiar with them, perhaps. What sort of contact did he have?”

    Wondering what to say she gazed out the side window at the greening scenery below, unfocused by the conflicting trepidation mounting deep in her joints and weary mind. If she continued to play the civilian there was no telling where the Decepticons patience would end, but if she gave out further information more innocent people could be placed in jeopardy. She personally did not want to die and felt a little too selfish for her reservation in cooporating with the hostile alien to extend her own life; though she continued to warn herself that it was not solely the case with her.

    Suddenly the cockpit began sliding apart and closing in, rearranging the internal mechanisms as wires slipped out of place and reconnected to specific areas, gyros popped loose and spun in no visible attachment.

    Taken by the sudden transformation Maggie was horrified. “No! No! It’s Simmons! In contact with Simmons!” With the end in her grasp she pushed her arms out to hold it off as long as she could until her frail bones would shatter.

    At once the interior paused, then began to retract, wiring slid back under panels and gyros with metal plates snapped back into place through folding gaps invisible to the human optic. “It’s a surprise how alike you are to the Autobot species. Befitting.” He contacted his minion as he continued interrogating the prisoner. “Where does he keep?”

    Ashamed with panicking she answered automatically. “I don’t know. He was on trip to a dig sight, he’s not my boss so I wouldn’t know the location.”

    “Oh, too bad.” He was about to implement torture device 0010001230001, but a message came from his excited minion. He requested immediate input as he altered course, massive blades thundering through the dry air on route.

    ***

    A city block had been converted into a scrap pile of steaming vehicles burning with spilt fluids, overhead a helicopter made its best maneuver overhead the skyscrapers in order to access the damage. People were still screaming as they strive to escape, one man was holding the bloody stump of his hand as his friend tried to pull him away from the wreckage of the hummer. A fire hydrant spewed a geyser high, store builders had cars run through the windows, alarms were blarring though not from medical vehicles, an American flag lay in the muddy gutter.

    Banachek was strewn partly through the remains of the destroyed car he was escorted in, there were other vehicles moved back from the primary target with torn treads and soldiers hanging out. Most had been burned, others torn through, ripped, and otherwise slaughtered. He endeavors to get his body together, to get up and hold his broken arm though the pain flicked at his near senses pulling him down. He looked across as the metal foot came down near his face, the claws alone would peel away his skin, but it wasn’t interested in him. Only what it had stolen.

    A briefcase locked, he had to hold a wristband in his claws to maintain the information, if the two were separated an automatic erase of data would occur, or the destruction of the notebook.

    “Target carried material. Investigating.” Claws ripped steel locks from the brief case and he was entitled to the contents. Opening it, he ejected the notebook from his neck and took the cables, rearranging the tips for accurate incorporation of the system. “Successful. No firewalls. Data downloading complete. Results intriguing.” He dropped the drained laptop and ripped apart the wristband in step.

    Nearby a soldier with a smoldering helmet got his rocket launcher from the ruble and aimed the muzzle on the moving target with his good eye. He activated the weapon and fired, the Sabot bullet burned into the robots lower back dragging a pained electrical growl from its systems. But the damage done was little and quickly began to heal.

    He spun on his attacker thrusting green fire from his gullet into the weapon, it ignited burning the side of the soldiers face and leaving immense trauma to his skull. He nods and snorts, turns to leave. On the link to his master he transmitted important data to his mission.

    ***

    “Maggie Madsen, gifted computer programming and hacker, wanted for several accounts of hacking restricted systems, charges pardoned when appointed assistant to Secretary of Defense John Keller.” Blackout chuckled. “You know more than you say, and the less you say the less your chances for survival. Do yourself a favor and tell me everything.”

    She struggled with her restraints as though it would help, it was not like she was bound in place, as if she would want to go anywhere and fall seventy feet to her death. “Why should I make it easy for you? You’re obviously working for your information, the longer I stall the better chance for my people to survive.”

    “Ah,” Blackout mused, “not interested in your own life, only those that could care less about you. Think they would be silent in your position, think they would care if you lived if it was their life to be spared?”

    The words of the Decepticon did little to sway her decisions thus far, after all it’s name was deception. She reflected how others sacrificed so that she could be safe till this day, what a simple civilian had done in her position to protect all that she knew. How could she spit in his face when it had been his life and not hers.

    “You think little of us. I won’t reward you for what you say, for anything. Besides, you might let me live if I tell you everything, or you could kill me anyway, the difference would be I died without telling you a word.”

    “Wrong,” he growled. “The difference is you could take your chances. Speak and live, or remain silent and die. I’m not interested in killing weak humans, there is no pleasure in tormenting something with such frail boundaries to pain. Now brief me before I rendezvous with my minion, everything about Simmons, this Sector Seven, and what they are planning; for when I reach him your usefulness will end as well as your life. There’s no point in you dying for nothing that I will not gain soon enough.”

    She looked at the control panel annoyed. “It’s the principal of the matter. I would be betraying my people if I gave information to the enemy, even if they already acquired it. I will tell you nothing.”

    “Is that your final answer?” The subject was quiet interesting, Autobots had put up the same wall of defense but those had been Autobots, soldiers, they had a strong resistance to pain. His scans of the flimsy carbon based life form revealed she was less than a soldier and more adept at modeling skin tight suits, or just sitting in front of a monitor with a pencil between her teeth. She did not answer in the slightest, not even a blink. “So be it.”

    ***

    Under the shade of a large tree was the yellow Camero sleek in design, parked with Sam and Mikaela on the hood holding each other and snoozing in the breezy spring day. The sound of an air horn going off awoke both, Sam yelped as he sailed off the side and Mikaela coolly sat up blurry eyed but stable.

    “Geez, why does he do that?” Sam snarled. He stood and walked around the small car as the impressive semi weeded its way among the trees. “What’s wrong with you, don’t you know people can’t stand that noise?”

    “Sorry.” That was said with a shrug. The semis body snapped apart and began rising until the large mech was standing.

    Taking from his leader Bumblebee did the same. “I am sorry I was right in my description,” he said, bowing his head.

    “No need, you did well enough alerting us when you did.” He looked to the two humans. “Sam, Mikaela. Bumblebee has briefed you on what we are dealing with?”

    “Uh-huh,” Sam answered. “Psycho bastard robot with psychopath mini him to boot. Sounds like fun.”

    “And a war is coming?” Mikaela asked. “Not like the battle you fought before, but an actual war of Autobots and Decepticons on Earth?” The battle for the AllSpark was still fresh in her mind though it ended months ago, no one could misremember the devastation the small platoons of Transformers inflicted upon cities, and that was just their battle? It was difficult to imagine what their home world had looked in contrast in the aftermath of the war ravaging an entire planet built of ion based minerals. “I know the military made precautions for this, Sabot specialized tanks, aircraft flankers, but sooner or later these will turn obsolete when they learn how to defend against them.”

    “It won’t come to that,” Optimus promised. “Once Tron-Mega is removed any pre-stationed Decepticons will fall back and possibly leave your planet, perhaps for good. But this will be a serious blow to their position of war.”

    “I’m a little confused,” Sam began. He moved around Mikaela to look up at the red and blue flamed giant. “What is so important about this Tron dude? Why hasn’t any other of his buddies come out of hiding to lead a battalion if they’ve been here and waiting for it since the death of Megs?”

    “It’s….
    —get down!” He hunched his body over the two humans as a jet swooped in and buzzed the gathered with effective ease and ascended high and spun, it turned back and flew in snapping its armor apart as it came down among the trees.

    Raising and turning around Optimus prepared for the strife to hit, at his side Bumblebee joined him with his arm converted to plasma cluster as they waited. The enemy came charging through trees at them taking long strides into the clearing, it slung high an arm catching Optimus’ chin guard. He swayed but held his ground making sure the humans would not be harmed through the exchange.

    The Decepticon spun out of the way as Bumblebee sprang forward and thrust his weapon out to fire, he was knocked down by another arm. “It’s good to see you too, banana britches.” The robot spun him about and shoved him over.

    He tumbled backwards until he crashed into a tree and stopped, emitting a faint whine of disappointment as his plasma cannon powered down.

    Optimus grabbed the Decepticon by the shoulder and pushed her away. “Enough, before someone gets hurt.” He gestured down to the humans as he stepped away to reveal them.

    She shook her head. “Sorry. Just glad to see you after such a long time of…suspended animation.”

    “Sam, Mikaela, this is DareRex.” Looking aside he took a brief moment to gather his thoughts.

    “You’re…not an Autobot, are you?” Sam asked, hesitantly. The features of the robot were wrong, nothing like Optimus’ smooth design or Bumblebee’s open friendliness, this robot looked of evil bladed fury. He voiced so. “You look like you’re ready to kill something, skin it, and possibly raise some demons with lust.”

    “And…you’re very keen for a human.” After a brief review of human culture she averted her attention to Mikaela. “Is he always judging ‘bots by their design?”

    Pursuing her lips and nodding Mikaela had to agree, despite Sam’s defensive “Hey.”

    “Like when we met that guy there, I was ready to run but he was ready to make friends. Even after it killed some gnarly black and white robo muncher.”

    “DareRex isn’t an Autobot, his designer was Decepticon. He has been assisting us in the field since the mid rise of the war from Cybertron.”

    “She.” As the others did Optimus turns to see Ratchet driving up the green slope. “DareRex is a female.” He transformed and walked the rest of the way. “By specifications of this world I have deduced that this…over affectionate Decepticon should be a female.”

    “And…how does one deduce that?” Sam turned his attention back to the Decepticon in question. “How do you figure that, it doesn’t even have a crotch plate, let alone much for chest!” He forgot Mikaela was beside him, so she reached over and reminded him of his manners by popping the back of his head. “Ow, what?”

    “Rude much?”

    “He’s got a point,” DareRex said. “If you guys are all ‘he’s’ why am I a ‘she?’ I was built the same way as you, my spark might be different but that doesn’t mean I’m any more so from Tron-Mega.”

    “It’s not the angle of function, it’s the purpose of reason,” Ratchet explained. “I’ve been telling you since we left Nevada, you are over affectionate among your class of Decepticon and therefore to better entwine our species to humans I have concluded it is best you, as you fit the profile, to designate you female.”

    Bumblebee leaned down to speak with the humans snickering at this conversation flashing about. “In our language we have no designation for what you call sexes, since all Sparks came from the AllSpark - our form of reproduction - we had no need for such discrepancy.” He moved back to watch as Sam and Mikaela muffle their laughter. “It is okay, let it out. I would be laughing too if I were in your shoes.” The glow of his optics brighten as DareRex continued.

    “So I’m propaganda for the humans? To make you feel better and close?” She stamped her foot. “No! Find someone else, that Arcee guy on Cybertron, he—she would have been perfect.”

    “Arcee was a little more affectionate than DareRex, but then again she was an Autobot,” Bumblebee muttered.

    “It’s not a new process, DareRex,” Optimus was saying. “Other Autobots with sleek, agile designs uncommon among the division of our race have taken to the term without argument, some are happy about it. Why is it so difficult for you?” He recalled whom he was speaking to and held out a hand. “Never mind.”

    The discussion was interrupted, thankfully, by a large black truck growling its way up the slick slope. “DareRex, you’re female. End of discussion.” He watched as the trucks door snapped open and a very haggard Lennox stumbled out. “William, are you all right? Ironhide?” He glared at the truck as it came apart to its robot form.

    “Don’t look at me,” he grumbled, as the last pieces of his armor folded down into place. He noticed DareRex staring at him and jabbed a finger in her direction. “That imps Grave Digger led a Decepticon right to his domicile. Burned it down before he abandoned the attack.” Afterwards he replied to the sharp expressions accompanied by alarmed words with his own. “Sarah and the kid were all right, in the least he got them out safely.”

    “But where is he now?” Optimus asked.

    “Ironhide, do I look like a female to you?”

    “DareRex! Drop it.” He looked to the skies wondering. “He didn’t follow you?”

    “No, did. Escort.” He shrugged. “I doubt he got lost, more like distracted.”

    “Hail him, DareRex.”

    She straightened when Optimus turned to her. “No. Can’t. You of all Autobots know I can’t call him.” She lowered her head. “No matter what.”

    “You must,” he urged. “Tron-Mega is on this planet searching for Autobots, Earth Quake may have already intercepted him and lost if they were searching for targets.” DareRex still would not, he could see this.

    Baffled and irritated Sam could not understand why DareRex would prolong the knowledge of where an ally of hers may have gone. “Why won’t you call him?”

    She looked at him expressing sorrow. “He was never mine to begin with. Most, you could claim a Grave Digger if they chose you, own it. I chose not to. He’s my friend, not my property. And he…wasn’t like the others.”

    It was centuries ago, the short time that passed between DareRex’s turn of allegiance toward the Autobots. Not trusted, hated, discriminated against. The Grave Digger that was his current ally was once a Decepticon like him, but was owned by one named Reaper, Gatherer of Sigils. He learned well from his master how to kill, torture, frighten – to peel terror from his victims forcefully. Together they would obliterate entire armies of Autobots, drawing down the morale of the once brave fighters that relied on courage and cooperation to hold against the Decepticons overwhelming forces. These were the times when Megatron was most vile and cruel, known among the Autobots as Darkening Storms.

    But the Grave Digger was young, and so was Reaper.

    One battle in which a miscalculation in power to force left the Decepticon wounded, near death. The battlefront led by Ultra Magnus had been slaughtered, but there were still many Autobots ready to fight the dying Decepticon. In a panic Grave Digger continuously made an effort to revive his master with his own reserves, but the Spark was fading. It was well known that the time for any Grave Digger to die was when its master died, when they were most vulnerable. The Autobots could show no mercy to such creatures that were willing to give up fellowship for power, they were corrupt machines with programming so decayed it was best for any many lives to lose a single.

    The final blow went to the Grave Digger but did not strike, another had taken.

    Though wounded as he was DareRex called clearly: “There must be at least some good in all, or I would truly be damned. I saw him try to revive my brother with his own life. He does not fear death, it is just losing his comrade he fears or he would have abandoned.” He looked at Ultra Magnus. “I take his punishment.”

    “As human religion goes, reincarnation is when one life force returns in a different vessel,” Ratchet continued in present. “When Reaper died then he was no more, no ties to the Grave Digger. His Spark was rejuvenated in a new frame and dubbed Tron-Mega, and that is how he exists this day.”

    “Yes,” DareRex agreed. “He found a new Grave Digger to help him, it was impossible for him not to. As for Sonic Boom, I freed him from control and left it at that. He stays with me, protects me for my words on the field, but I don’t own him. I told him no matter what happens, I refuse to call him to me.”

    Optimus turned to her. “Would you then call him in my aid, at least? He’s the fastest among us to locate Tron-Mega, if he hasn’t already been caught. If you put your honor in way of your duties then this world will become just as Cybertron.”

    She looked at the Autobot leader carefully. “If I lose my honor now, I will only be a Decepticon.”

    Ironhide stepped forward arming his guns. “Now look here you imp Decepticon, if I have tah—” He lifted a foot and stumbled sideways to avoid the impact of the unoccupied motorcycle that sped up the hill, it performed a spin around Lennox and drove straight between Bumblebee’s legs before stopping in front of DareRex and transformed.

    “Sonic Boom?”

    The mean looking machine jumped onto her arm and clambered up onto her shoulders holding on with blades that would gut flesh, he pecked at her helmet hard but that only struck a form of smirk from the robot.

    “You gave us a scare there, Sonic,” Lennox added. His heart was still racing but he felt comfortable enough around this robot.

    Optimus stepped forward looking down at Sonic Boom. “You were escorting Ironhide and William Lennox, why did you deter from your assignment?”

    “Prime,” he growled, “excellent to see you again.” He adjusted his footing to his odd perch and continued. “Protoforms came from the sky at broad daylight, very clever or very impatient. I investigated and apologize. I saw who it was that landed, though.”

    “Allies of Tron-Mega?”

    “None other. Scrapper, Longhaul, and Dozercannon.” He gave the coordinates of their landing up and continued. “They are in contact to him but have not made physical contact, Tron-Mega makes himself busy by searching for your Earth identities but as of yet has failed. Prime, if he discovers what forms Autobots take on Earth he will have his loyals assassinate every one of you.”

    “I know, I know.” He made his best go at a sigh and pinched his helmet between thumb and forefinger. “What we need of you right now is to search for him, determine his location and where he is headed then return to us. Understand?”

    He nods. “Eh. Oh, but that may be difficult.” He tapped his claws together nervously. “With him he has a prisoner identified as Maggie Madsen.” The orchestrated reply caught him off guard as a single “What?” His optics flashed. “You know him?”

    “Damn, what is wrong with you and your interpretation of male and female—?” Sam stopped to cool his jets for a moment, at least while the attention shifted down on him. “She’s a friend of ours, helped us when Frenzy was hacking into national security, and when the Decepticons attacked Hoover Dam to take back Megatron. She’s, you know, sort of important. Part of the White House, , top hacker, sexy…am I making sense?”

    He nods excitedly. “Keep going, it’s neat.”

    “Later. First, Tron-Mega must be located and his intentions known. You said he’s searching for the information of our Earth identities?” To Optimus’ question Sonic Boom nods. “Fine. When you locate him use your best judgment to determine if you can extract Ms. Madsen without causing her harm, remember she is important to us. Any visible trouble you hold back, no exceptions. Continuously transfer your coordinates so that we can locate your exact position. Got all that?”

    The beast bot cocked his head. “Operation pursue and rescue, abort if implications arise, simultaneous transfer of coordinates for appropriate lock. Right, got it. Just like the overtake of Praxus five million vorns before AllSpark lost.”

    Ironhide gave a tight laugh. “Ah, I remember that. I never did see a facility pop so high….”

    “Please you two, no encore.” Optimus motioned Sonic Boom. “Get going, and keep out of sight. Our presence is still unknown to the majority of human populace.” He watched the bladed machine leap off his allies shoulder and plunge into the soil, the hole left was relatively large puffing deep clouds of dust.

    Mikaela turned to the large black robot. “It sounds like you two have good history.”

    He hissed at the comment. “Please, I can’t stand the little ankle biter.”

    Lennox stepped towards the large leader of the Autobots and looked up at him. “So, what’s the plan? Contact the military to smash Decepticocks, or sit back until the Sonic contacts you?”

    Optimus looked up at his small band of warriors and considered them against Tron-Mega’s war machines. They were short a fighter since Jazz’s destruction, DareRex and Sonic Boom added on improved their odds somewhat but there were still no actual Autobots warriors located on Earth of yet, they were still on their own duties across the unknown universe. And Ratchet was not an actual warrior but their medic, and currently the best they had present unless humans would be operating on them, which he wanted to avoid until a better means came way.

    “Lennox, have you notified National Security of this crisis?”

    “Not everything, I’ve been waiting to hear the whole story in order to relay information with one clean sentence.” He took out his cell phone and checked for a signal. “They’re sloppy, I’ll give them that much. Our advantage.” He dialed the number and codes savoring the fact there was no hostile machine shooting at him while he dodged and ducked through a small village searching for no frekin’ credit card in the fatigues of his war buddies.

    Sam looked over his shoulder as he went about dialing the codes. “Tron-Mega not thinking much of humans?”

    “He doesn’t think much of anything unless it’s face to face with him,” said Bumblebee. “Or looking down at him.”

    “Bumblebee.” The small yellow mech whirled to him as though accused. “Take them someplace safe.” He gestured to Sam and Mikaela. “Stay with them, remain hidden, any sign of danger conceal and retreat. Aside from Sonic Boom and Jazz you would be the only one to outrun him. If Tron-Mega does locate them, you will be the only one to keep them away.”

    Upset with his withdrawal from the battle there was nothing more than what Bumblebee would want to do, except protect those he had requested to guard over. “Yes sir. With my life.” He converted to his vehicle form and opened his doors, soft music playing from his interior.

    “Not that we could do anything, really, aside from make a nasty smear on a robots foot,” Sam said as he went around to the drivers side, “there’s nothing we can do to help?” He tapped the doors frame staring up at Optimus with his quizzical expression.

    “I am certain. This is our war, and though this be your world, we must do our part to protect your people.” He bowed slightly to the young teen. “Before I asked you both to preserve our life, now I ask only that you preserve yours. That’s the most I expect.”

    “That’ll be a nice change,” Mikaela added. “At least for the time we have.”

    With his passengers secured Bumblebee adjusted his gears, turned his wheel, and began down the hillside weaving among the trees. He played “Farewell for Always….” As he bounced along.

    “It seems kinda lame to have been big heroes when they first came to Earth, saved the world and everything.” Mikaela sighed as she looked out the window. “And now we’re just spectators given the download of what’s happening, then shipped off home as if everything’s normal.”

    Sam looked at her confused. “Um, oh, yeah. Yeah. I know what you mean.” He remembered the sensation of feel when he actually killed Megatron. He nearly shit his pants so bad when that thing was over him, how he survived he never knew but ever since that day he stirred awake with nightmares and sweat. It wasn’t the most natural experience of his life, really cool no doubt, but would he actually go through all that even if he knew he would survive at the end? Actually, he had to think about that very carefully. He had almost died, a lot of people did die, people that did not know what was going on, only thinking of escape. He had been right at the center of it.

    Sensing the rise of temperature and the rapid heart rate of his driver Bumblebee was immediately concerned. “Sam, you okay?”

    “Yeah.” He took a breath and sighed trying to calm himself. “Just a little…hot in here,” he said, after a glance to Mikaela calm and cool. He lowered the window down. “A little stuffy.”

    “Hmm?” She looked at him. “I’m fine.”

    Sam groaned wishing he were someplace else for the moment.

    ***

    Up on the hilltop Lennox closed his phone and put it away. “Tom Banachek from Sector Seven was attacked, his laptop hacked and destroyed.”

    “By who?” Ironhide demanded. “Earth Quake?”

    “I don’t know.” Taken back by the angry Autobot’s growls he directed the bad news to Optimus. “Witnesses described a vicious raptor creature with drills on his back, wolf ears, and feathers on its head.” To him it sounded like Sonic Boom, only that one was bladed. “Sonic Booms and Earthquakes?” He frowned.

    “He might already have the information of our designs,” Optimus said. “But he cannot pass on the data without physical contact with Tron-Mega.” While it may have been easier to ditch old designs and take on new exoskeleton forms, they would eventually run out of models fitting their forms. But he did consider it, and between the cost of energy running high the spike might be too much to endure with Earth’s resources, in short supply to the countries. All the Autobots switching forms at once, the demand for energy would be at its highest. It would not be fair to their hosts, it would be playing in the hands of the enemy. Best to fight now when they were gathering than later when assembled, there was no other choice. “DareRex, contact Sonic Boom and instruct him to alter orders. He must locate Earth Quake.”

    She sighed annoyed but did as commanded. It was not like she was calling him to her. “What about the human? The Maggie.”

    Lennox looked up at Optimus wondering what his reply would be now, he was curious to know how an alien commander reasoned the sacrifice of civilians. It was something universal he betted.

    “There are more Autobots on Earth than you think hiding in plain sight.” Optimus began walking around the area his fellow soldiers had gathered. “The Decepticons won’t wait for orders once they know what model vehicles to hunt for, they’ll begin eradication. But because Tron-Mega is the only one that can understand and synchronize his information with Earth Quake, this gives us some time.” He paused to consider the random attack on Banachek. “Why would he attack Tom Banachek unless he already had the information he needed?”

    Ratchet added his input to the thought. “The research computers went into emergency slate wipe mode when he attempted to steal their information, because of this there was much he could not obtain. And the information he was searching for could not be located through civilian Internet, it would only be in military cyber pools isolated from outside terminals. Earth Quake must have understood his best logic for gathering data was from the source that put it there.”

    Earlier Sonic Boom had awakened and gone through the ARD7 labs hacking any computer device he came in contact with, but only those attacked would got into emergency blank out mode and any others on the same server. But he had not focused on only military computers many had been left intact with their data while civilian communication devices and even some cameras had their information stolen. When Earth Quake had gone through with intention to thief away data there were less terminals for him to uplink with and therefore he could not steal all the information he had estimated he could, even without the virus, in a way Sonic Boom’s rash behavior had helped the computers prepare for the actual attack.

    “That’s all very elaborate, but why the hell is he going through all this trouble just to figure out who he needs to pick off?” Lennox once considered smoking but it was a bad habit, now he was reconsidering.

    Ironhide shrugged, his mechanics hissing to the action. “It’s a lot better than him flying out to decimate your cities, agreed? To flush out the Cybertronians refusing to fight. As for me, I prefer his meticulous bullshit over Megatron’s free for all. It’s cleaner, easier to get the target in your sights.” He aimed a cannon and fired, unintentionally, at a tree.

    Optimus snapped around. “Ironhide!”

    “Sorry! Must’ve left the safety off again! Bad gun, bad!” He slapped his arm the way he’d seen Sam chide Mojo.

    “Seriously, what is with you?” He shook his head as Lennox fell over laughing. Out of the all today this had to be the most ‘normal’ thing he had seen.

    ***

    The ARD7 lab on location of Hoover Dam was still under heavy observation of what exactly had happened as many people still were receiving medical attention after the attack, they offered information behind what had performed the attack. At the end of the bridge city police were held back from assisting the short handed individuals on Hoover, while the military continued as if everything was business as usual.

    The helicopters transporting not so important cargo touched down a quarter mile further than it usually would, during this time of crisis the terminal needed to be free for those in danger of dying from their wounds. As the air transports powered down the side door opened to allow Mr. Simmons out with a few of his associates, he was joined by another agent that had come out to meet him.

    “Tell me she was found,” Simmons said to the agent as he took a brisk walk beside him.

    He hesitated checking his palm pilot. “Eer, no sir. A witness without a concussion reported seeing the attacker flee with her. She could be dead or alive, or—”

    “I don’t want to know what she could be, I want to know where she is.” He hastened his pace toward a black van parked on the road, further information would be awaiting him. As he approached the vehicle, he noticed a helicopter raise above the side of the landing port just beyond the satellite towers. His heart froze mid beat as he thought the aerial transport looked familiar, but with a passing flush realized that it was impossible, that Decepticon had been killed and dropped seven miles below sea level in a chasm, with a few tons of rock and coral ignited over it.

    But then again, the MHs behavior was not normal in these circumstances.

    He was about to ask what the pilot was doing when he sighted who the pilot was, then further confusion set in. “What in all that’s descent….”

    The helicopter cleared the rail and flew straight for the baffled man with impossible accuracy despite difficult wind trajectories caused by the dams structure. “Your usefulness has ended,” said Blackout mid spiral, another impossible aerial maneuver by a hover vehicle. The side door opened allowing Maggie to tumble out, she barely cleared the whirling blades as the machine twisted, she was lucky enough to collide with a group of scattering officers that ended the drop, and while broken and bruised she was not bleeding to death with a cracked skull.

    “No….” Simmons gasped. “RUN!” He spun away charging not bothering if anyone took to heart his words, if they didn’t then death to their stupid genes. Not again, not twice in one day!

    Soldiers on the terminal took rifles and aimed Sabot shells on the intruder, but the weapons effectiveness was limited. The helicopter came apart at the end of its spiral and slammed a heel to the cement surface and kicked his body towards the fleeing target, some of the heat weapons struck his armor and bore through but it didn’t stop him. A poor fool agent in his flight to escape slipped in step to flop under the Decepticon’s foot receiving instant death with a sopping crunch.

    Simmons dropped backwards when the large machine came round to face him, he crab-crawled backwards to escape some way but for some reason he did not figure he was going to live past today. “What the hells wrong with you robots?” he screamed.

    “Walter Simmons, coordinator of Sector Seven activities.” He ducked low over his quarry avoiding Sabot rounds, but now in a position of which he could not flee the bullets began burrowing into his armored hide flaring briefly through the gaps.

    Meanwhile, Simmons continued to crawl back waiting in misery for the soldiers to mark it with the big guns. “N-no. I—Walter was….”

    Blackout raised a fist, his deep voice grinding out, “Then you are useless to me….”

    “—am! I am!” He looked down as the hand wrapped around his body, but the hand was no longer a hand. It was not even the Decepticon that was once Blackout glaring at him, a series of three transformations took place right before his eyes. The Decepticon he had never seen before contorted its body, all the while Sabot rounds burrowed into the weakened armor, until they burned out within the new formed exoskeleton. Claws lifted him high over the ground as he was carried by a monstrous dragon he would never nightmare about for sake of his own sanity.

    Rankled by the insistent hammering of the painful Sabots the dragon roared burning red plasma through the nearest soldiers. By now the large guns were armed and aimed on him, but before the one targeting could fire he had already bellowed energy through the weapon and the crew member beyond the safety barrier. Jets in his back and wings burn fuel, he pumps his wings straightening out the blades for flight and takes off, charging across the ground before altitude is gained.

    “What do you want me for?” Simmons cried, staring down at the long drop that would undoubtedly kill him before he made impact. “If this is about NBE-one, I didn’t—”

    “NBE-one, Sector Seven Iceman. Discovered by Archibald Witwicky. Designated Megatron in insect English.” The dragon snarled and soared higher beyond range of the cannons. Wounds along his back smoldered, the most damage was done to the plates of armor protecting his vertebra brace where shells ricocheted within denied of escape. “What ‘didn’t’ you do?”

    “Didn’t? I…didn’t….”

    Tron-Mega landed on the highest perch he could find and dropped the man on the small sharp peak between his talons. “Deviate carefully your answers, I am aware of your place and will not hesitate in experimenting my skills of torment on you. The information you have I want, you can either give it to me without incident or…I can locate a highly fortified base to plunder and kill every individual that is stationed there.” He pushed his sharp snout to the man’s face, the jutting teeth bare as bone. “What didn’t you do to him?”

    He turned his face away tightening his eyes shut, his arms tightened around the massive toes his only security from death. “I didn’t…kill it. Him.”

    His maw opened wide in surprise showing rows upon rows of glistening teeth through the throat. “You know who did? Enlighten me to this information and I will let you live.” Though Optimus Prime had admitted to this deed Tron-Mega was no less familiar with his self-sacrifice, if anyone could have killed Megatron it would have most likely been the Autobot commander. However, this human obviously thought himself identical to the next, had The Prime lied to him?

    Beneath the earth. metal components churn through solid rock, though he is of the aerial art he is no stranger to burrowing.

    After a long moment Simmons answered truthfully, “I don’t know. I was told an Autobot had done it, I wasn’t there. Too busy in the bunkers hiding like a coward and calling for help.”

    “You’re a terrible liar. You know the Autobots operations, ever single one to the most minuscule of details, you’ve seen much, I can feel it in you.” He bent the agents arm until he screamed in torment, until the frail bone snapped easily like a dry twig. Simmons was in excruciating pain. “You could refer to me the models of their Earth design, but I can receive that information from my ally. What I want to know now is what you know.” Agent Simmons bawled in pain as he played with the limp portion of the arm. “I can do this to your lower spine.” He twisted spewing plasma at the approaching helicopters incinerating one and wounding the second, the third retreats as its comrade spirals to the water below.

    “N-never.” He couldn’t bare with the pain, tears and sweat poured down his face. “Nnnooooooo. Please.”

    Tron-Mega took his other arm and considered. “Tell me the truth.” He was about to bend the arm between his claws, when the ground across from him burst wide flailing dust and rocks in every direction.

    A tremendous roar flowed from the dust as a small shape was propelled outward at the Decepticon, he spun to meet the attack head on. But before he could a second shape burst from the rock just under the beast machine, with amazing force and collides crosswise to the first. Both crash and wrestle until they reach Tron-Mega’s feet, the dark gray raptor picked his similar up and throws him against the larger mechs chest, he in turn leaps upon the Decepticon’s face without relenting his attack for a second.

    “NO!” howled Tron-Mega as he pitched backwards off his perch, he snarled at his attacker unable to reach.

    In the eye of this experience Simmons laid down on his side gently holding his arm beside him, he was forced to sit up belting his body with a torrent of pain due to his broken limb. The cause of his sudden motion were the talons on the dragons feet digging into the rock he had clenched, the soil quaked from the machines effort to hold itself up as it fought against the Grave Digger.

    “A fool will always die for nothing gained,” he growled. “I have already won.” He snapped his jaws wide and tilts his snout up to fire plasma against his foes chest below him, the Grave Digger mid another sweep took the searing burn to his chest and flew down screeching. Before he could even recover the other of his kind thrust rotating drill pieces into his burning wound and bit his throat with sleek sharp canines.

    Shrieking in pain he had no choice but to draw back and hope for the best, a crackling surge of red electrical currents ultra reactive to metal dazzled his body. The bolts magnetized to his attackers body throwing it into wracks of pain, the infliction was enough to force him away but Tron-Mega was still willing with more plasma burning at his massive throat.

    Body sluggish to the wounds but not the pain he forced himself around and shot up the Decepticons body clearing the rock peak, he darted over snaring poor Simmons in his weakness and incinerated his own thrusters to escape the bellowing hail fire of brimstone belched by Tron-Mega. All the while Simmons was screaming as his hair was singed and his suit caught fire, but the aerial ace was soon out of sight of his enemy and towards safety.

    In a fit of rage the Decepticon clambered up onto the peak stamping his feet and roaring in his most fearsome voice derived from this planets fears. He bellowed at the approaching helicopters shooting at him with Sabots, his voice and fire consumed them as they came too near, none survived.

    Orbiting his master the Earth Quake minion came up behind his left shoulder to alight on his back, he rearranged his components and secured his hardware to the damaged portions of his host. “Less resistance from single human. Information intriguing. Autobot native identities, locations. Areas of Decepticon resting sights, Autobots final sanction. And more.”

    The information originating of human product was very little to sift through of the aliens advance computer systems, it was as though reading a simple sentence. However, the information he was meant to see struck him like a thunderhead and held him fast for fifty seconds Earth time. “A human?” he snarled. “A human slayed Megatron?” He stamped his feet roaring at the F-18s now approaching, his hostile intent was evident from five years away. “How is this so?”

    “In desperation Autobots sought to destroy AllSpark any means necessary. Failed. Desperate humans succeed where Autobots fail.”

    “I suspected a stir but I had no idea it was this bad.” The dragon gnashed his fangs considering. “Conquest of this world is long past due, no more procedures. Locate this human that would be so bold to kill Megatron, the first he will to the eradication of his species.” He leaps forth diving and pulling up to soar high over Lake Mead.

    The dull orange raptor machine jumps from his back slot and snaps into his natural form. Diving to the water he plunges through and to the bottom below where the soil would provide his advantage.

    After inhaling ions to cool his cannons down the dragon is then able to continue shooting, beams of plasma cut through the approaching F-18s still many meters away. Five hit ignite on impact, the remaining three pull out from the fast moving dragon nearly upon them. He ignores them for now and continues.

    On the air terminal crew members work to get the wounded away, including one barely conscious Maggie. The Sonic Boom Grave Digger glides into a rough landing and skids over his knees, careful of the arm he gently lays Simmons down, the man was groaning in glorious pain. A number of medical staff rushed to his aid, a small portion of the military dashed in to aim rifles on the unfamiliar.

    “What…is that thing?” Simmons moaned.

    In a deep icy voice the Grave Digger explained what a Tron-Mega was. He ducks over the personnel attending the agent as the dragon flies overhead spilling fire over any obstruction of his fancy, including the satellite relays stuffed into the buildings roof. Sparks shoot high and people dodge as spires topple over. The dragon gave a feral roar as it continued, jets follow but none would ever land in one piece. “He seeks to convict human Sam for murder of Megatron. Punishment death.”

    Simmons glared through the pain at his rescuer. “How the hell did you know that?”

    “I listen,” he said. “Optimus knows this coming but not ready, still want my recon data.” Turning to the man he scanned his structure through locating the shattered bone within. “He tortures you but you would not talk, you are either very brave for your species or stupid. What are you?” He gazed at the military class aiming rifles loaded with Sabots on him.

    In a moments thought Simmons ordered them to lower their weapons. He looks to the fierce beast. “Why did he come here?”

    “Simple.” The red optics gleam. “To locate answers to questions long ago asked. Now, his questions answered he will fight, slaughter, and dominate. Your species has little chance against his armies, if Autobots cannot defeat them then you are doomed. Even if Tron-Mega killed by your armies, more Decepticons rise to power and lead. If your people kill him, it will only escalate war.”

    “Wait, what?” Simmons winced to the pain of his arm as a medic placed it in a split for temporary. “What are you suggesting? We roll over and let the Autobots have themselves wiped out? That our fate will be better if we stand back and let these things tear apart our planet?” He shakes his head. “I don’t think so.”

    “Don’t be so swift to destroy yourselves,” said the machine. It winced, its body burning on its own from the inside out the wounds left in its chest and throat. “Fighting is your choice, not all…of us have had one.” The blades on his back open as he puts power into his thrusters, he did not think they would work after the trauma his body went through.

    Before he could lift off a woman limped over to him. “Hold on, you mentioned armies?” she groaned, sluggish. “Armies of Decepticons, here?” She held her side where she was certain something was wrong, a metallic-ion taste was on her breath.

    “In position,” admitted Sonic Boom, with a nod. “They will begin eradication of useless militaries, humans, carbon based life forms, everything, once Tron-Mega gives order. Humans kill him he gives order, out of spite. If death by Autobots, he take defeat as honor bound loss. It is something few understand, including humans. Without leader Decepticons withdraw, maybe for while maybe forever. None really know.” He flushed the fire from his thrusters and took off leaving Simmons, and Maggie where she had approached him.

    When the raptor had thundered out of sight Simmons winced and ground his teeth tight, he needed Tums. “That damn reptile machine, what does he know of honor?” He was forced to hold still as the medics checked the gashes over his body.

    “Apparently a great deal if he’s as old as his geometric dating suggests,” put Maggie.

    ***

    The wide open scenery went for miles across open grass like plains derived of water, in the distance there were mountains, but so far away and never moving. It made the entire trip seem never ending, never getting anywhere, never going any place. There came the occasional vehicle, a car, truck, mostly the large rigs with their cargo and what not to arrive on schedule. It frightened Sam every so often to see the mark carefully orchestrated on a hummer, sometimes a row of tanks transported across state, but the Decepticons had no reason yet to come out of hiding and attack.

    Past noon was already moving, soon it would be dusk and no place to sleep but the self animated Camero, at least they had protection. At least they were far from their families. Earlier both had begged to call their guardians and tell what they would be doing for the next week, month, maybe year, but it was forbidden to have any contact. Even if Tron-Mega did locate their shelters he would not attack unless the primary target was indeed able to reveal itself, the less their guardians knew where they were the less likely Tron-Mega was to kill them for the information he sought.

    If it were that honor thing Bumblebee had talked about, Mikaela did not get it. How could someone find honor in killing the weak? But then she remembered these were aliens assimilating their language to their understanding, even if their honor was the same as theirs. The term honor could be a close niche to it.

    They passed a highway sign reading the next few towns to come up along their way, Mikaela read the nearest as Tonopah within ten miles. Apparently Sam had come to the same notion, without anything to look at on their travels but the scenery as his transportation was self-driving.

    “Hungry?”

    “Hmm?” Mikaela looked at him. Now that she thought of it she was, she had not eaten lunch as the meeting with Optimus’ group took up that time with travel there then the following immediate dismissal. “No money.”

    “I’m buyin’ then. Bumblebee, turn off on exit fifty-six, we need to grab us some chow.”

    The music ultra low soft rock vanished as the car spoke. “I am afraid I cannot do that,” he said. “We must keep going until we reach a safe, secluded location.”

    “And how far is this “safe, secluded location,’” Mikaela asked. “We left tree cover for open deserts.”

    “Not much farther,” he answered. “About another hour.”

    Sam rolled his head back on his seat. “Bumblebee, we gotta have food. I don’t know about Mikaela, but I didn’t have breakfast, and without lunch I cannot bear.”

    “Ditto,” she helped. “This was all pick up and go. People don’t run on batteries like you, and…I need a pit stop.” She avoided Sam’s glance. “Soon.”

    Bumblebee’s interior gave a faint metallic whine, of irritation or embarrassment neither human would ever know. “Of course.” When exit fifty-six came along he turned off, Sam snapping his head around cautious driver for the humor of fellow passengers making the turn off.

    The small town was not so sleepy, a healthy populace of people had taken to the route for recharging of body and vehicle. It was an average quiet town with the wild zones for gangsters and the slow moving neighborhoods for families and retirees. There was a park at the center where town square sat, and a monument to the towns founder, no doubt, but neither the Camero nor it’s passengers would sight it. The car stuck to the outer limits of the city and away from most traffic.

    Car with its hapless passengers pulled through the drive through of a Burger King. “What? What? Why here?” barked Sam. “You’re kidding me?” He was still arguing with the vehicle as the voice box crackled out a slurred voice. “Bumblebee, please, we wanted food, not crap. I saw a McDonalds arch on our way here, can we just—”

    “We cannot go into the town further,” replied the Camero. “This will have to do.”

    “No-no-no.”

    “Quickly, order.”

    “I’ll have a the number one.” Sam looked at Mikaela in further disbelief. “No breakfast, no lunch.”

    “All right fine—” He turned back to the speaker.

    “Two number one’s with cokes,” said Bumblebee. On the screen appeared the order.

    “Will that be all for you, sir?”

    Sam was busy rubbing his temple and leaning out the window. “And two apple pies.” He watched the final item of the order appeared and drove up when the employee asked him to.

    In the grueling fifteen minutes passed Mikaela left and came back, they were given their drinks and waited, the car idled at the window rumbling impatiently, since no one came up behind them there was no reason to park off to the side. Finally, the server brought out the orders. “Two number ones with cokes, and two apple pies. Anything else?”

    “No,” Sam had to fight not to growl back. He handed over his money and took the bags.

    The server lingered at the window holding the bags from Sam. “Say, where’s the third guy?”

    “We….” He trailed off looking to Mikaela as she leaned over him.

    “—locked in the trunk. Wouldn’t stop talking.” She smiled and took the bags. “Have a nice day.”

    The sleek ride roared out of the drive through, onto the road and out of sight in less than five seconds leaving the server at the window bemused with his experience.

    “I don’t think I can eat this,” Sam said. “But I can’t help it, I’m so friggin’ hungry.”

    Mikaela was about to compliment his eating while driving at the expense of civilians, when her cell phone rang. Guessing it was her parents calling to berate her on not calling in sooner she thought nothing of picking up the phone. “Hello.”

    “Mikaela,” Optimus answered. “Where are you now?”

    A sharp ping came from the radio as it began up some hostile vicious rock. “Optimus Prime, we are heading towards Wyoming’s military base as planned.”

    Mikaela exchanged a look with Sam, his cheeks bulging with lard and grease.

    “Really?” the voice said. “But that wasn’t planned.”

    The harsh rock continued with “The Sickness is rising….” Bumblebee spoke beside it. “Yes we did. To keep the human flesh creatures safe….”

    “Hey!” “Bumblebee?” Both Sam and Mikaela knew little of what to make of his tone and behavior, and the music was getting louder until their ears were pumping blood slowly through the nerves.

    “But there is no facility like that in Wyoming, or anywhere else for that matter,” Optimus said. “What is going on there Mikaela? Why is Bumblebee acting so strangely, and that music….”

    “I was hoping you could have answered that,” she said. “I think he’s having a malfunction or something.” Despite being a hard core mechanic her limits came short to alien robots. But she could make exceptions. “Bumblebee, I think you should pull over.”

    Sam looked out the window expecting to see the scenery flying by, but Bumblebee’s multi tasking skills blew away his mind. Not only could he play irritating loud tunes, talk over a phone, but he could also maintain his excellent composure while driving.

    A public service announcement came over the radio from the location of Arizona. “Caught on the cell phone while driving will result in arrest. No seat belt while driving will result in arrest. Under the influence while driving will result in….”

    Not knowing what to make from it but knowing Bumblebee would not throw it at them without reason, Sam eyed Mikaela and the cell phone she was on. He snatched it from her and spoke to the Autobot commander. “Yeah, on our way to Wyoming’s Green base, see you there Optimus. Gotta go, Mikaela’s using up minutes.” He shut off the phone and threw it out the window as it lowered, the glass rolled up again without his aid.

    Not believing what had just happened Mikaela scolded Sam viciously for his deed. “Do you know how many hours that thing cost me?”

    The music over Bumblebee spoke again. “I thought you would never perceive my message.”

    “What was that?” Sam asked. “The cell phone. Another mutant from the Allspark, mini-robo hostile….”

    “Neither,” responded Bumblebee. He felt safer now that they were moving out onto the open highway, though exposed, there were no cameras taking images of his license plate. “I was not certain at first but after I realized he did not contact me directly, I knew that it was Tron-Mega.”

    “Oh god.” Sam put his hands over his face and leaned forward.

    “What? He can imitate voices?” Mikaela looked at her food but suddenly she was not so hungry.

    “No. He can mimic other Transformers.”

    “Mimic?” asked Sam. “How? What does he do?”

    “No one is sure how he does it, but it is rumored as an art of his. He can mimic a Transformer down to his scars, energy signals, but he can not get into contact with others he does not have a connection to. He must have located your number hoping to get out your location.” A faint whine came from the engine. “I only beseech he did not receive a lock on its signal, or he will have a definite location to begin searching.”

    “But doesn’t he know Mikaela is with me, or he wouldn’t bother calling,” Sam pointed out. “He got her number, could he already know I killed Megatron?”

    “That would be his only reason,” Mikaela said, as she looked at Sam. “I hope you at least mislead him somewhat, it could buy us time.”

    “Yeah.” He looked at the dashboard. “But what I’m having trouble getting is why you didn’t say anything before. You knew.”

    “I thought it was only a myth,” Bumblebee squeaked. “Optimus must have thought the same as well. It sounds a little farfetched, does it not? A Transformer that can mimic other Transformers?”

    Sam looked out the window wondering if he was really riding with an advanced life form of sorts. “Well, for you maybe.”

    “But when he only mentioned Mikaela, I knew that he was not Optimus or he would have spoken to you both. I am sorry, I did not know.”

    “It’s all right,” Mikaela consoled, picking her cold burger up finally. “We know now, and we’re headed away from here. The farther we are the better chance we have if he tries to contact again.”

    “Yes,” said Bumblebee. “But it only brings him closer to our point.”


    Author Comment: I drew a scribble of Frenzy in a car flippin' someone off, hand holding a cell phone, a latte, and he was on the phone as well. But both hands were on the wheel, so he was a civilized driver. I don't know if Earth Quake would or if he could, but should he have drunk the latte?

    I was also wondering about that conversation mimic Ops had with Mikaela, and about the military facility in Wyoming. I can't remember why Tron didn't know it was there, I think my friend said he was going there for recruitment training. It's starting to bug me what the character was thinking, or if his information was somehow flawed as it was when he mistakened Mitchell Simmons for his father. Ha ha, I have to thank petey for the name >:\
     
  6. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    Ho boy, a long weekend of relaxing and no time to work. I mean, I want to spend my time writing but…it doesn’t pay the bills. Bummer. I wish it did, don’t you other writers wish this stuff we posted paid bills? I know I do. Wouldn’t that be perfect? In fact, it would be so insanely perfect it would have to be Walgreens. >:/

    Anyway, another chapter, another day, another week, another way.


    3 – Father of Questions



    Characters​


    No new characters for now unless you count mimics. … ..Sorry





    “…it all seems very vague.”

    No matter how Mr. Witwicky tried he could never get the soil leveled out through his backyard after the night of strange activity and earthquakes, and the grass growing in the demolished areas always grew much quicker than the rest of his lawn. Even his wives roses went through spontaneous bloom, it was almost impossible to control with regular pruning.

    On the porch at seven in the evening he had almost expected his son to come home after a long day at class, but there had been no sign of him yet. His backpack was left on the front porch driving about concern from the father, even more so when he contacted Tranquillity High only to learn Sam had never shown up for class. It was mentioned that his girl friend Mikaela Banes was also missing and not seen, he was asked where Sam would go if he were in trouble. Though disquieting this news and the accompanying interrogation he had answered as best he could, no matter what he suspected he just wanted Sam safe. Darkness was thickening, four hours it would be curfew time but he doubted his son would show. He took another sip from his wine and turned glancing back at Mojo at the door, barking and scratching. He never acted like this.

    “What is it boy?” His voice was a little hoarse but not noticed. “Is it Sam?” He looked up as Judy came to the screen.

    “Ron, there’s a patrol car staking our home.”

    “What?” Had he heard correctly, a police officer out on stake? That was too much if it were.

    She indicated the back alley. “Over there parked and waiting. I watched him drive up, the lights weren’t flashing either.” She gave Ron her look of all knowing irate for the police that always suspected her son of some crime, while he was all the time innocent.

    “Stay here, I’ll talk to him.” He set his wine on the table and stepped onto the path.

    Judy pushed open the screen. “No, I’m coming too.” Mojo sprang out at full speed, the cast of his leg had been removed months ago and so he could enjoy free flight to his content, though with dire consequences.

    “No, stay here.” Ron continued on even if Judy followed, he didn’t have time to stop her. “I know how to deal with his kind.” He unlocked the gate and stepped out, nearly tripping when Mojo ran under foot. “Get the dog back before he breaks his leg again.”

    There was no vocalization for the sort of surprise that was Barricade when two humans came out to him with the snarling miniature beast. For one he did not know how to take them if they were being serious, or how he should if they were not. He could always kill them, but that would be a waste. However, his files indicated evolved emotional attachment between these spawners and the spawned.

    “What are you doing here?” Ron asked in a low, calm tone. He stood beside the driver door and crossed his arms.

    At this time Judy was chasing Mojo around the car calling him back, as if he would listen after his discovery. “Mojo, come here sweety.”

    The false cop failed to roll his window down but spoke either way, clearly. “I am seeking Samuel Witwicky, he’s required for questioning on a robbery.”

    Ron frowned. Something was not right, beside the fact Mr. Police Officer hadn’t rolled his window down, his lips didn’t seem to move when he spoke. But it was dark. And Ron had some few glasses to drink before he came off the porch. He rubbed his tired face as he muttered, “My sons missing and you didn’t think to alert me on this new problem? What’s wrong with you, got monkeys running the station?”

    “Sometimes.”

    “I want you away from my property.” The cop wasn’t on, but he should really be patrolling neighborhoods and not looking out for a good kid while obvious issues were going down at the station. “When something turns up I’ll contact you.”

    “You don’t know where he is?”

    Ron shakes his head. “I already told you.” He looked closely at the cop. “How long you been on the force?”

    “That’s irrelevant—”

    “I want to know. You look too old to be a rookie.”

    Judy leaned low patting the tarmac with her palms. “Mojo, you get back out here little Mr, or no treats for you.”

    Beneath the patrol car Mojo’s attention was not on treats, but for the one he had located gazing up at the vehicles underside. Advanced as he was there was little reason to strain the concealment of lower chassis, it looked authentic enough except for creases in the engine that revealed something beyond native design.

    “Are you trying to be a big time cop, sittin’ here waiting for the crook to show up?” Ron shook his head with disappointment, trying to faze the other man with his astute comprehension. “If you don’t leave I’ll call the station and report you, you might be reprimanded for stepping out of your jurisdiction, prosecuted for abusing your powers, get sent to jail for a very long…long time.”

    As the cop glared with vaguest expression on Ron, Judy crawled under the patrol car and snagged Mojo before he could run away again. “Bad Mojo, come here.” The dog yelped in her arms and leapt out, snapping at a wire wedged between armor segments. When Judy pulled the Chihuahua again he refused to release the connection, which was nothing more than prop but still attached.

    “Ow!” was the involuntary cry, and the car sped forward with a heavy roar.

    “Whoa!” With inconceivable speed Ron snatched the door open and grabbed the steering wheel, lucky for him it was unlocked. Unlucky him, his arm went right through the false cop but the desired action was grasped. He pulled the steering just enough that the black rear wheel avoided Judy’s head by a scathe. “What-what-what?” stammered Ron as he bolted back. “Judy, get away from—”

    “Mojo!” She reached out taking the dog by his rear leg, something she would never do unless forced. “Down!”

    Ready to make his way to abet his wife this was at the moment postponed as the patrol car right before his human eyes snapped into pieces and rearranged, the body compressed in obsidian and ivory horror. It happened too fast, it was alien.

    “My car stood up.”

    “No,” Ron gasped. He sprint over grabbing Judy. “Run, don’t look at it!”

    Too late. The motherly woman with the strong will gazed up at the towering machine and fell back, her grip on the small dog lost.

    Ron hauled her to the door and pulled the latch open, it snapped out of his grip. He whirled and looked up trying to hold his wife in own arm as his other groped the latch behind him.

    “Human designated Sam.” Barricade towered over the humans, one hand opened and closed in eager anticipation. “Where is he? Tell me and I will let you live.”

    Ron gave the alien a wry smile. “Even if I knew, I wouldn’t sell out my own son.”

    His optics burned red but there was nothing to be gained from these humans, and that on its own was frustrating enough. “Very well. I will settle with—” He glared down at the tiny dog snapping at his feet. “Prelude.” He stamped a foot down upon the small dog. It made a sharp call and nothing more.

    Ron grit his teeth but could not take his eyes off the large foot embedded with the concrete. “Lord no….” He did not see the sharp hands reaching down for his body, could think of nothing greater than to work at the gate though it was held shut by the machine. Death was theirs and there was nothing he could do about it. As husband he was to protect the family, he had to laugh. His son was gone somewhere and now he couldn’t even defend his wife. He was nothing.

    “Let them alone, Decepticon!” A large black pickup truck barreled through the alley crushing trashcans along the wall as it moved. “Pick on someone your own size.”

    “You’ll regret calling me out.” He spun taking a hit to his shins before he could brace himself, he took the roll and got to his feet. “Ironhide, show me your form thus I may mimic you.”

    “If you say so.” The truck came apart and towered, he took a step forward placing his foot between the humans and Decepticon. He aimed a cannon and fired as the other leapt to him, his aim was perfect for the plasma tore into the face of Barricade.

    He crashed to the floor and retreated back holding his burning head. “I don’t have time for this.” He took a wheel from his sharp shoulder and snapped the spikes out, he threw it at Ron still struggling.

    Throwing out an arm Ironhide took the weapon at the joint, the blow forced him backwards knocking across the fence, it fell over the two humans. As he moved to his feet his immediate concern went to where his foe would come at next, instead he watched a patrol car bawling off down the roadway with lights blazzing through the night. No one in their right mind would stop him.

    The danger passed he was free to check on Ron and Judy.

    “Come in, Prime. I encountered Tron-Mega at Sam’s home, mimicked Barricade.” As he communicated he tore the fence away and looked down, a scan over Ron, he discovered a concussion that needed to be checked on, as for Judy she was fine other than massive shock, she just needed to sleep through it.

    “Casualties?”

    “Thank Primus, none. The yard looks like we danced through it but the house is intact, nothing that can’t be fixed and covered up. Hopefully neither will recall what happened.” For their safety as well as others. “The father needs hospital treatment, permission to take him?”

    There was no question about it even if civilians became wise to unmanned vehicles, a life was more important and Sam had risked his life for his own. “Remain hidden without raising questions.” Beside, Ironhide had done well so far, perhaps he was on a good streak.

    Registering a faint whimper the clunky warrior turned to find Mojo laying in a deep crater on his side, his shoulder torn through but otherwise alive. He wagged his tail when Ironhide’s scarred facial expressed its best at a frown. “Erm, their Mojo rodent appears to be wounded as well.”

    “There will be a problem if he goes missing, cover up as much as you can.”

    “Yes sir. I’ll need aid afterwards.” He left Judy on the living room couch, the television left on some odd channel most humans were partial to, then gathered up the brave man and his dog to leave at the medical, both transported in the best shield in black Cybertronian alloys. “Sir, I don’t mean to aggravate your temper, but Tron-Mega wanted to see me. I had no choice but to reveal myself to him.”

    The answer came in a low sigh but no preaching followed. “He sighted me as well, and don’t worry about it. Just keep us aware of your constant position, his flaw will be in acting the odd man out.”

    ***

    Now with his fashionable new cast with Sector Seven written along its side –though that organization was now dead – Agent Simmons was busy yelling at the sleek red and blue flammed semi that was parked in front of him. It looked rather off, the man with the dusty, banged up suit and in bandages yelling at a machine. Some of the workers commented, but few realized this semi was sentient and waiting for the man to take a breath. He was beginning to wonder if his impression of humans was incorrect, did humans really need air to speak or breath? He couldn’t remember which.

    “You didn’t think we needed to know about this? A hostile shape shifting alien NBE?” he screamed.

    “Uh, we did inform you,” Optimus corrected. “Lennox has been in contact with National Security and made the actual call, I cannot help it if you failed to heed his warning.”

    “But not before this?” He indicated the ruined base with the clean up crews working to remove and rebuild what was salvageable. “When did you learn of this Tron-Mega’s presence on Earth?”

    Optimus was silent. Since the night before, when Bumblebee had contacted him. “Yes, I could have contacted your people before hand, but I wanted to first know what we were dealing with.” This response would never go well, he hated admitting his mistakes but it had been his decision and a terrible one at that. The human before him however, seemed to thrive on them.

    “Ah-ha! It and that beast robot came, saw, and defeated because of you.”

    Musing a moment Optimus found the correct response he wanted. “But you did withhold vital information from your own government, people, and made many mistakes before hand, and captured and tortured one of my soldiers trying to protect your people. If I am correct, I have done no worse than you.”

    He pursed his lips and nodded. “Fine, go about it that way. We’re not here to point fingers, we’re here to understand what is to be done about it, him.” He waved his good hand away. “That other one, the raptor machine said we cannot interfere with your battle on the premise it would only make matters worse.”

    “True,” Optimus acknowledge. “I don’t like to admit it but if you fight Tron-Mega with your current weapons he will adapt and retaliate. If he really wanted to he could spend his free time incinerating city upon state he came across, the only reason why he will not is due to his belief humans are too inferior to kill outright. You must attack first to get his attention and when you do he will not hold back.”

    Simmons turned away and sighed. “Wonderful. Lay down and let the conquest of Earth cometh, sounds like fun. What about you?”

    “My soldiers are out searching for him, but it seems he has already discovered the truth of Megatron’s destruction and so it is imperative they remain scanning locations where Sam and Mikaela once resided. Once he is pinned down he can be destroyed, that is prime directive currently.”

    “Yeah-yeah, that monster raptor said so.” He paced in place. “Humans kill Tron-Mega he’ll beckon armies from hiding to eradicate this world, Autobots kill him he is honor bound to die as the sorry piece of shit he is.”

    “That’s why we’re having trouble locating him. He’s gathering information before he makes his next assault, it’s always been his advantage over us. The military has raised defenses, the soldiers weapons have been armed with Sabots, but even I would not recommend his destruction by your people.” This was a difficult thing to tell them now, but the same instance had occurred a long time ago and the outcome had been regretful, not worth the cost. The procedure tedious, painful, just as bad but worse would come if he said nothing and let the humans fight foremost.

    Simmons had a difficult time trusting the semi, for one he was one of these aliens and could have special feelings for his enemies if he were not working on their side. However, what if he were telling the truth? “He won’t attack unless provoked.”

    “He won’t. Earth Quake might, but I doubt it. His function is data retrieval, he’s already done his part all we must do now is play the waiting game.”

    That was something Simmons was familiar with and not too fond of. “Fine,” he said, turning away. “I’ll beg Mr. Keller not to kill the threat to the human race. I’m sure he’ll be thrilled to hear my report.”

    A foreign jet soared overhead. There was no passenger but it flew with genuine grace. “Prime, from what I gathered from Blow Hard’s rambling, down there, is that Sonic Boom did engage Tron-Mega and Earth Quake in a short skirmish, and he was hurt bad. I can’t make contact with him to communicate. I am worried.”

    The large semi started its motor and pulled out. “That’s not good. Did you try all his frequency yields, his solar radical, encrypted lineage?” The fact the Grave Digger was wounded frightened him, he knew the strength of the robot was weakened by low reserves of power since hibernation.

    “No sir, but I’ll keep a thread open trying and secondary spool in case he tries to get through.”

    “Ratchet, locate any useful data from the Internet?”

    The medical ambulance was nearby parked and scanning. “No sir. Nothing in unusual files or the police records, Tron-Mega’s abilities make him illusive. At least no other Decepticon has jumped the gun yet.”

    “For how long, I wonder?” It was only a matter of time before the pre-established warriors became ill with their mundane tasks and sought a little fun at the expense of the humans.

    ***

    The main district police station within Delano was under attack. Communications to the outer stations was sabotaged by electrical interference, either way it would have done no better but get more people wounded. A group of individuals that had survived the initial attack were trying to hold back but any form of weapon was ineffective to this monster.

    It had exploded from the floor in one of the corridors and moved down shooting anyone that implimented aggressive force, most people it could simply throw out of the way but once they had organized the stronger weapons from stores then more of the protectors were taking hits. Papers and broken filing cabinets decorated the area as typical destroyed emergency, some of the white walls had blood. A man brought off the street accussed of steeling from a vending machine had been severely wounded when he jumped the creature, he lay in the corner bleeding and would most likely die in less than a few minutes.

    The drill based machine picked up a desk from the floor and hefted it over its head, it snarled and threw its projectile against the doorways where the last able body humans upheld their station. He did not want past them, only to cease their annoyance until it had done what was necessary.

    There were separated terminals of flat screen computers in the lab for calibrating datum. He entered and went along the rows singling out any stationed he saw fit. Returning to the door he closed and locked it then went to one of the activated computers, hacked into the tower on the floor and checked data files, while doing this he turned to the computer across from his back and hacked it with wires from his throat. Information came from separate streams into his single mind, he continuously altered his trail in order to keep the computers natural AI from guessing what was actually happening to it. With computers one could never tell.

    With a growl he disconnected and moved to another station, stretching this time to connect with a third computer near his main hack. Nothing came from this strain and so he went to another computer, and the next, searching fresh lines for data he needed.

    Apparently his target had not come through this area. He would need to search elsewhere for the lead, but he had wasted time and that would not do.

    At the door the police had unhinged from their prison and came to force him from his station. They were working to break open the sealed chamber into the computer terminal, but those doors had thick hinges, big locks, and were five inches of solid wood reinforced by steel.

    Ready to leave and search elsewhere Earth Quake stopped to hack a final computer, solo and alone. He paused and turned to the screen groaning as he lifted up an image. Comparing this data to the time of cancellation his master had informed him of he was confident in the information as authentic. A yellow two thousand Chevrolet Camero was caught on the main road headed out of the city in a specific direction, a trail that would avoid most major cities along its route. There was no denying the facts, he had found the target, and by judging the image from the streetlight camera, the vehicle could have made fifty miles easily even by abiding traffic laws.

    In joyous celebration he opened his mouth spewing green fire towards the door his enemies worked to unlock, his breath melted steel and reduced wood to charcoal, but beyond there were no bodies. Once the fire had ended five men peered into the room quaking through their bodies, even their flamethrower could not achieve this sort of damage.

    “Messiah Tron-Mega,” he transmitted, “I have located route of target.”

    “Give me the trajectory, I will hunt them down personally.”

    “I-seventy yellow Camero, black stripes, unmistakable. Hour ago. North. Data between transfer of contact device match location to time interval. Possible fifty mile travel.”

    “What is your current location?”

    The raptor gave a high shriek. “Tonopah, Arizona.”

    “Excellent. Continue reconnaissance, I will pass over soon.”

    With a last snarl-growl Earth Quake spun from his terminal snapping cables from his neck free. He passed through the open door the stunned police stand gazing through, they don’t know whether to fight or if they should. Before a decision could be made the raptor jumps into the tile floor drilling up the foundation and through into the earth. A severed water main fills the crater with gurgling liquid.

    ***

    It was sort of like camping out, except without proper provisions of course, and a certain lack of dignity. The barn was ancient, somewhere over sixty years of aged damp boards and mildew hiking through the roof, the ground was cooler, Sam discovered this after an experimental expedition to the loft which nearly ended in tragedy. There was little to see on the ground, aside from interesting curios a younger boy might have thought awesome if he were given the chance to explore the musty old building. Some rope had decayed on hooks along the walls, a rusted pitchfork at one end, hay had decayed into the dirt, the stalls were barely standing and beside one rested the rot of an old horse bridle.

    There was a house better looking no more than fifty feet from the barn, but because Bumblebee needed to remain concealed and it was safer if he stay with Sam and Mikaele it was voted unanimous. Alien beings from another world get three votes instead of one.

    The man that owned the land lived nine and a quarter mile away, had a new barn built beside his new home. He planned to have the old buildings torn down as fire hazard, but that had been five years since that decision was made and no effort put into the choir. Neither Bumblebee nor the humans knew about the man or his plans but because the buildings were well deserted made good vibe for a station to wait until further word came in from Optimus. When Mikaela had questioned the length of time they might be waiting Bumblebee had done his best to answer without sounding too unsure, the plan had been glued together in such haste there was no time to tweak possible scenarios of the inevitable.

    Sitting on the the cars backside and starring up at the moldy ceiling Sam could not keep his mind off home, his parents, Miles, even school. I wonder how Mojo’s feeling about now, he considered, then the inevitable, Oh no, I’ve really hit rock bottom. “I really wish I had my hand held.” It was in his backpack on the porch back in Tranquillity.

    “That would be nice,” said Mikaela, nodding. It would, actually. They could take turns playing but at least she would have something to do rather sit around staring at the barn’s stuffy dark. At least they had satellite radio to listen in on but there was nothing she wanted to know. “How long do you think it will be…before something productive is done about Tron-Mega?”

    That question again. Bumblebee bided his time by swishing his windshield wipers. “I do not have an accurate answer. The military is waiting for his next progression and Optimus is waiting for him to make it. The data he is collecting can only be gained by high access computers from the pentagon, at least.”

    On the other hand Sam tried not to think about the time it would take. Those life and death struggles were a killer on his ego, and he didn’t want to even think about how many days, weeks, he might have to spend in this barn.

    “Can I ask a prying question, Bumblebee?” She looked over at the dash.

    “Yes. You may.”

    She was sitting on the back seat looking out along the front of the car, until the headlights faded out the surrounding with a bright sheen. “You lost your, what were they called, vocal processor on the battles of Tyger Pax? How did that happen?”

    For a long moment the Camero was silent, even the radio had switched off. Mikaela was worried she had hurt the Autobot with the seemingly harmless question, after all what did she know of war? All she knew of was a haunting impression hovering over much of her life and the parole of her father, the way the principal always had that talk with her, the consoling, the everything that was different from any other child.

    “The Decepticons had us pinned down. Four of us to…an army. Captured us, killed one trying to get the information of where the AllSpark was. I was the only one with the knowledge but I told none of them, that they were sacrificing themselves for nothing. Nothing but time.” He paused allowing the silence to tick between the moments of his memories. “Megatron came, demanded to know. I refused to talk still. He soon discovered on his own what orders I had been given, and made ready to undo all I...the team, had given up for. I would not allow it. He took my friends, my arm, and my voice. My arm could be replaced, my voice perhaps in time, but not my friends, whom had entrusted to me their lives. All those vorns ago, come and past, I still wonder if I had done the right thing.”

    Sam craned his head to look back at his car. “As an adolescent new to intergalactic war, in my humble opinion I think you did an ass lot better than me.”

    The reply was simple, no words, just the low radio and some soft rock.

    Despite his encouraging words to Bumblebee, Sam still felt chilled. Bumblebee had lost a lot for withholding information, and while he proved his brawn before when life came to death, there was the chance he might not survive a second time. He could not begin to express how he did not want to deal with that again. He could still see the eyes of Megatron burning into his immortal soul, if he ever made it to heaven he would still feel that scalding glower.

    Those same eyes were on Tron-Mega’s face, staring through his body and into the roller coaster, searching for a form to steal, a form to hide in. He had been nothing then, he was someone know. Someone to be eliminated for his place in history.

    Beneath those coals at the dark reached and arm that grabbed him causing him to jump, he looked wild-eyed into Mikaela’s startled face, breathing hard.

    “Calm down,” she said, a little spooked herself. “You were asleep.”

    He took another breath but his heart was still thudding. Nodding weakly he squeaked, “Yeah.” That was good to know, at least.

    “Come on, it’s late. We should get some rest.” She stretched out on the backseat while Sam took the front. Laying on her back staring up she reminisced about the comforts of civilization. “Would have liked to pick up a sleeping bag.”

    “Why?” inquired Bumblebee.

    Sam picked up his high school sweatshirt from the floorboard and rolled it up, he passed it back to Mikaela. “It’s not a sleeping bag, but you can use it.”

    A little surprised even now she took it. “Thanks.” It was lumpy but made a nice pillow considering there was no other alternative. “G’night.”

    “‘Night.” Feet sticking out and arms crossed behind his head, he just was not ready to let down his guard yet. The headlights went out and there was nothing but darkness and the radio, without the sound he might have gone mad listening to the crickets. I hope mom and dad aren’t too worried about me. He reflected that he was not even able to call them. Could Tron-Mega mimic human voices if he wanted or was it only a full mimic of another Transformer? He hoped to never find out.

    “Bumblebee?” he whispered.

    A pause, then a low hiss, “Yes?”

    “You…are Bumblebee, right?”

    Another pause endless in the sightless. “Yes. Oh-oh, no. Tron-Mega could not mimic me, I am too small.”

    He gave a wary chuckle. “Yeah, too small. Why didn’t I see it before?” He closed his eyes and thought about any possible places to take someone on a date, that would not result in crashing alien hostile. The movies, perhaps?

    ***

    It was amazing how fast a quiet evening at home could turn to shit. A descent day at work had flowed into a fine dinner then, sitting down with the wife in front of the television to watch some sports and read the newspaper. Nothing out of the ordinary, nothing beyond average, nothing to foreshadow Satan’s coming to the natural world.

    First came the tremors, like small earthquakes upsetting the evening and causing no minor damage aside from the flicker of a light, the flash of the screen in which Tonny Davidson raced across the field to score a touchdown. Afterwards was a small sliver of silence, not enough to register on the alarm for the head of neighborhood watch. Above came a primeval roar that caused the entire house to shudder, a mammoth hand ripped the roof away and let the splinters of what was once a firm structure fall to the lawn.

    The occupants screamed when the roof was reduced to leaves in the wind.

    “What is it?” Judy screamed hysterically, “WHAT IS IT?”

    Severed electrical cords sparkled with exposed current threatening to ignite whatever wood the embers found. Insulation from the attic turned to black smoke but it did not catch fire, yet. Water from the upstairs bathrooms spewed down into the kitchen, a hazard if it made puddles for the live wire.

    In distraught the man of the household gazed up as what could not be was in existence, something beyond his time and age, something out of an 80s comic book where the impossible happened regularly on the day-to-day bases. He could do nothing but stare, mesmerized as this horrendous work of a police cruiser clambered upon his home, tearing at anything within reach.

    “My pistol,” he murmured. “Where is my pistol?” It even felt stupid to say but it was the only protection he had in the vicinity, the only thing that came to his numbed mind. “Get to cover!” Rushing to his wife was soon postponed by the large claws thrust down into his path, the palm they attached to was large as his office desk in the next room. He sprawled backwards from it panicked and worked to his feet on a piece of fallen upstairs furniture now in his vicinity. “Judy!”

    “Where is Samuel Witwicky?” the behemoth asked, its voice bellowing shattered the windows inward, to rain down over his victims. “Where is your son?”

    “Never! I’ll never tell you bastard!” He stumbled over the claws but did not make it, they reversed, curled backwards and clamped onto his pudgy body. Grinding his teeth till they shattered he did not know how he would survive if this thing decided to skin him alive. “Get your…hands off me!”

    “Ron! No, let him go!” bawled Judy. Prying at the claws she could not get her husband free. The words, “Till death do we part,” came to his mind. “Don’t hurt my husband or I’ll beat the crap out of you!” Though words were fierce the brave of heart she was not, tears streaked her dust-coated face.

    The thing, the human like mechanical thing crawled part way into the house and pulled the man closer to his bladed fixture of a mug. “Useless human, tell me where Samuel Witwicky is. Fail, and I will dismember your mate.”

    “No,” he gasped. “I’ll never tell you.” It occurred to him at the same time he stated this, he did not know where Sam was, but it did not really strike him that this was also a concern. Only that his son was somewhere else, possibly in just as much danger unaware, and no wiser. “Fuckin’ bastard robot, I’ll never say.”

    The robot said nothing, but the orifice in its mask where words seemed to thunder from opened, it thrust the man into the blackness swallowing him alive.

    ***

    It had been one of the often, usual predictable days, after a decent full shift of work he came home, had a nice dinner with the wife. But things steadily went wrong. Stepping up on the porch he had located Sam’s backpack, no doubt forgot it when he left for school, no reason to worry just yet. Later in the day Tranquillity High called his home informing the parents of Samuel Witwicky their boy had missed another day of class, and this was becoming a problem. Usually Sam missed a day, but he was always able to get in contact with his son. Then, there was the issue of a missing Mikaela Banes, known girlfriend of the missing, missing herself.

    After waiting endless hours for a call, some sort of information on his missing son nothing came. It grew late. Dark. Still no word on the whereabouts of the Witwicky boy. His car was missing, but no one had seen a yellow Camero with racing stripes leave the city and no missing persons report could be filed until twenty-four hours passed.

    Then, something happened. He could not remember what exactly, but it must have happened fast for the next instant he was shot awake on his hospital bed with a bandage wrapped around his head. He winced when the pain pierced through his brain.

    The nurse looked at him with the most fearsome expression, the name tag read Christina. She gave a deep breath of relief and put away the clicker. “Thank god your awake, I was about to call help in here.”

    “What?” Ron’s voice was in another tone, and off, he could barely hear through the pain and gauze on his head. “Why?” Then he realized why, his body was covered in faint sweat and his breath was labored.

    “I thought you were having a seizure, it sometimes happens after head trauma.” She moved around his bed writing down on the clipboard she carried. “I suppose it was just a bad dream from your experience.”

    A flash of black embroiled by scarlet bulbs flashed into his mind, he tried not to think of it. “What experience…exactly?”

    Christina looked at him in confusion. “Well, I was hoping you could enlighten us. I’m not surprised. But anyway, a man in a black truck brought you by and said you had been walking down the sidewalk when you fell and cracked your head, since you were near the hospital he brought you by.” She shrugged. “But when we tried to get more information from him he had gone. We found your ID and did a check in the database for any recent checkouts, but you haven’t been to Tranquillity Hospital since a broken arm from doing your roof two years ago.”

    This story was bogus Ron knew well, he lived five miles from the hospital and had no reason for being in the near vicinity. The last thing he remembered was talking to his wife on the porch, things were a bit fuzzy and otherwise not trustworthy as fact. He remembered one helpful detail, a man with a mustache. “Did the driver have a mustache?”

    She gave the detail a thought. “I don’t know, I could ask one of the staff that was there.”

    “Later. First, do you have a phone, I need to call my wife.”

    “We already tried to when you first arrived, but they only got your answering machine.”

    Another detail to horrify Ron. “Then send someone to my home, someone not law enforcement. She might be in trouble.” Not law enforcement? he echoed unnerved.

    “What? You mean like paramedics? Does she have a medical condition?” The nurse appeared suspicious in Ron, he was a concussion victim, but any emergency could not be ignored.

    He dithered, hating to lie unless completely necessary. It was. “Yes. I was heading out to get her pills, I parked my car someplace but forget. I must’ve been here too long, she could have collapsed.”

    “All right, sir. I’ll call out a team, but at the current time you must lay down and relax.” She went to the door and lowered the light. “The doctor will come to see you and explain what happened, if you’re hungry I’m afraid all I can offer you is an Ensure, until you’re out of the woods.” Christina turned and left, she closed the door behind her.

    Ron sighed and laid back, he prayed that Judy was safe and well, that it had all been just a dream. But how could he really tell, nothing made sense. He tried to watch some TV but gave up, he could not concentrate on the programs. Continuously he played back the image of rouge bulbs the size of basketballs and black metal skeletons covering teeth, not understanding what he had seen if he had seen anything, it was no wonder the doctors were worried about him. To begin with he felt like he was loosing his mind, was it before or after he saw these images that he cracked his head?

    Turning on his bed he looked at the drapes and the coming dawn weaving light through the soft cotton. For some reason he wished it were Sam that had hit him on the head with a baseball bat and disguised himself as a man in a mustache in order to get him to the hospital without too many questions. In the least he would know where that boy was.


    (Author comment: Uh—! I made this error when I was writing this, in fact, it’s a continued error all through the chapters and I never figured out how to get around it. So, I just let it be, much as the fellows doing the original Transformers did when something came up (ex, Rumble and Frenzy the same color). I just thought it’d be fun. And if you don’t believe me, think about it, and the hint’s in this chapter…. >;\

    Ratchet surfs on Wi-Fi. “I’m on ur baze, stealin’ ur netz….”

    ^^Author^^. Anyone reading this have criticism? Any suggestions, requests, is there something a character is doing that doesn’t sound right? Is Optimus being a little too scatter CPU? Ratchet and Ironhide not fighting enough? Yikes, knowing those two they’d tie up the comm line with arguments! Ghh, any other suggestions, drop me a line. I’m swinging at a piñata in the dark here, and everyone’s getting’ whacked. )
     
  7. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    Since this doesn’t pay the bills, I am again behind on the weekly updates. Monday, new day of the week, beginning day, day we got to work, day some of us get to school. *SigH* The day I’d like to slap on with these movie fan fic story. A new chapter to enjoy, scowl at, whatever. :D  Have fun.

    Ack! And I still go with Petey’s name for Simmons, Mitchelle. Wrong or not, Reggie sounds...like….a person I would not picture as secret agent. :( 

    But his story is awesome. Go read it if you haven't, you should. It's required. >;D


    4 – Pity of Evil



    Character(s)​

    More will come along later. Bear with me.



    For now






    “There is no power source—you’re chasing shadows.”

    He remembered the long ago road trips with his mom and dad, how he could fall asleep in the back seat of a Corvette and nothing could wake him up, not until his mom shook him awake or his dad hit him on the head with a rolled up map. At that time they were just naps, short, not needed. This night it was a mutation from the nap, long and needed. No matter how many hours he slept it would never be enough, not in these recent days.

    Awakening stiff and groggy his experience was abetted by the sleeping Mikaela in his arms. How’d she get here, he wondered? But at this time in the morning, in this dastardly drafty dark barn, it was cold. And not just cold, it was bone clinging cold that you couldn’t escape, no matter how many loops your arms lap around your shoulders. It was so uncomfortable, particularly if you needed to pee.

    On and off he went through the morning waking only to find them safe, if not secure in the barn, he would close his eyes and snooze dreaming about the rapid passing of time, wake to find that the cracks of light within the building grew longer, brighter. The cricket sounds gave way to cooing and clucking of birds, quail and doves. The owls in the loft fluttered as they came in to do their time of recharge, the air began to warm outside but inside it was still icy.

    In his arms Mikaela stirred, she turned her body and opened her eyes blinking but not so focused, she looked up at Sam and became warm. “Hi.”

    “‘Mornin.’” His eyes checked her over before checking out the windshield. “Early.”

    “Is it?” She pushed herself up and out of the car reaching in her back pocket for her cell phone, it was not there. She sighed. She looked at Sam as he sat up rather stiffly. “Um, sorry.”

    He looked down at the dirt. “Ah, it was…cool. Cool.” He looked at her nodding seriously. “Very cold last night.”

    She nods. “Yeah, it was.” She looked away and put her hair up. “Hungry?”

    Turning to her numbed beyond any alien interference he had ever experience, he said, “Yeah. Bumblebee.”

    No response.

    “Bumblebee? You okay? You there?” The radio was not going, that could have been what woke him up. “Hello?” He pounded the dashboard.

    “What?” The radio started up in early morning retro chatter and the Camero…sounded odd. “Sorry, shut down for a bit. Required to recharge some energy. What were you saying?”

    “You sleep?” Mikaela asked with surprise to her voice.

    “You could identify it as such. Not like humans, not as long. Good thing for us.”

    “Cool.” Recalling their dialogues original origin, Sam brought the Autobots attention to nourishment. “The town wasn’t too far from here, can we go get us some solid energy intake?”

    “It is not a very good idea,” admitted Bumblebee, “but I know you need regular cycled energizing. We must be careful, fast, and stealthy.”

    Sam nodded still trying to wake up, he would not disagree even if the robot asked him to dress up like a clown for a kids party. “Let’s go.”

    He reversed from Sam. “I cannot decide whether to take you or not, but I doubt Tron-Mega will be searching for a barn like this in the middle of nowhere. If he does locate me, and I cannot outrace him, he will have you.”

    “And I’m safe with you if you ‘cannot outrace, cannot fight?’” Mikaela leaned on one leg and crossed her arms.

    “Yes. He will not care for you. I hope. But I do not want both of you caught. Trust me, please.”

    Sam sighed but gave up, in these matters it was best to listen to experience. “All right, I’ll wait here. But you better bring me back something better than that Burger King crap.”

    Mikaela smiled at him. “I like that Burger King crap.”

    “And so do I.” Sam smiled at her in a sheepish way.

    With Mikaela buckled in on the passenger side, the sleek Camero rolled out of the barn. “Take care the house, honey,” rang the radio.

    Sam waved him off fighting off the urge to flip off the Autobot. “Yeah, you too.” He closed the doors and returned to the interior center. After looking the stalls and the dust covered bench over he decided to sit in the loft to wait, safe out of the question he just did not want to sit in dirt. It was bad enough showering was banished, couldn’t even brush his teeth, he had no way of keeping his clothes clean. “Vanity, thy name is Sam Witwicky,” he sighed. Now began the long wait for food and company in this dreary sanction.

    ***
    The yellow Camero roared down the highway, the delicate systems could detect approaching patrol cars from miles away and in the current state it was safe to push up the speed. This would not be encouraged to human drivers, as the car was far from human it had no worry of a blow out or the erratic crossing of a hare, it could pull a complete flip without denting if need be but that would not take well to his passenger, but two wheels on the road at a time was acceptable. He was in perfect control of this alternate form to take and so no need for worry. A quick stop in town for food and back again.

    However, off the road just as the vehicle thunder by the sand sifts from a rising mound revealing the sleek crown of Earth Quake’s pale orange metal gleaming evil in the rising morning sun. The optics flash, the remaining antenna like ear at its helmet tilt forward, he listens, and responds.

    “Camero two-thousand series located. Identification match. Pursue?”

    “Position?” came the response.

    “Thirty-two miles Northeast of poise.”

    A brief deliberation occurred from the speaking end of the shrieking machine, where would the target be going when obvious cover was located. Doubling back would be too risky, this isn’t like that Autobot, but they are an irregular clutch of machines. “Pursue two miles beneath surface, if possible. Do not lose track of them. I shall proceed to my own instincts.”

    “Yes messiah Tron-Mega.” The snout nuzzled the sand and dug deep beneath, sound traveled well in the earth enabling him to home in on the particular vibration of mechanics residing in human design taken by alien. He could interpret the Camero through the tangles of traffic navigating through concrete to his acute audio receptors, where he was not at home in the frail liquid of this word, he was at home in the densest of soils.

    At the same time the Grave Digger took to the hunt, a black truck chugged out across the open plains of farmland, the property was vast but a grid system and infinite patience helped somewhat. It would have been easier to search from aerial view but what he could see from there, others would see from below, this was safer, keener. Intelligence was not in why one performed his task but how they did it, sentience was not in how the task was undergone, but why. As Ironhide there would be a millisecond of doubt before he was attacked, perhaps a short exchange between Autobots to confirm he was not really the weapons specialist but a mimic, that would be all that is needed.

    Across the land he sent sonic pulses searching for any obstruction, a hole in the ground, a cave, a shack even, anyplace a couple of humans and an Autobot would feel safe. He had made many detours from his course to examine a cliff rise with porous holes, a coyote din much too small for humans even, a small stall where a mother cow was giving birth. A promising structure was high on his sonar, but it was nothing more than a structure in which many of the animals were stored and fed grain, given water, shade, and caroled from the wide out open. Annoyed with the structure he popped a hole in the side and herded the cows out, he had never had so much fun in his life. It was certainly better than checking on a very large bush next to a broken water main.

    The sonar had caught a signal from another structure, two large and three small actually. He averted course for them and moved over two miles of bumbling terrain until he came upon a older than dawn of time barn and the old of dusk house, the smaller signals had come from a bush, a broken down car, and a aged hole that had not been finished.

    This is promising, Ironhide thought, and rolled in closer. He circled the old house but could locate no indication of life aside from the claw marks of animals that had padded about. No tracks were outside either, and the dust over the portals entrance appeared undisturbed.

    Patient as always he left the home alone for now, later he could demolish it. He returned his attention to the barn and circled it. There was more evidence to life within, what he would not catch from the air had he circled. Tracks matching a small vehicle were revealed entering from the rear side, no human tracks of course, some animals. Magnifying sight he checked the handles and found that the ancient doors did work, they had been moved recently by evidence of disturbed earth. This was all he needed to know, but a problem posed itself. The Camero had left without passengers, perhaps they were hiding under a seat? He could not understand why the Autobot would take a chance at doubling back. Maybe he left them here, but why? Where was he going?

    Uneasy and confused by the unusual behavior he had no other choice. Though he yearned to tear the structures to pieces in search of his quarry he was cunning, he could bide his time waiting for his prey, if that failed Earth Quake would have the position for him. Turning, he drove back to the house and parked behind it, he shut off his motor and waited, letting his audio receptors touch every detail across the location.

    After a short time a sound did work its way from the barn. His gears tensed as he waited, this could be the moment all his travel and searching paid off for. The sound he could not identify came from the barns loft, and in little time a form. There came a sudden shriek and flutter, as the owl took flight and flew out into the open light.

    Just a bird, he decided. Nothing. But he failed to inquire why the nocturnal creature would brave broad light after a short time of roost.

    ***

    Not partial to having his knobs turned Bumblebee had for once allowed his passenger the chance to decide on the station in which to listen on, he found he rather quite liked it. It was not Cybertronian sound waves but it was on a frequency he could appreciate, since his coming to this small inhabited world of life forms his kind could co-exist with comfortably.

    Mikaela paused in her humming to sing along with her favorite rock band. On the drivers seat sat some Travel Center bags with instant meals and bottles of water, and a cheap roll of paper towels. They were lucky to have spied the truck stop on their way in or they might have missed self heating meals, this would allow them to stay away from the town for two more days, three tops, and away from possible danger.

    “You have a very nice yield,” Bumblebee said out of the blue.

    She gave the dash a curious glance. “I have a nice what?”

    “Yield. Frequency.” He paused to articulate the meaning. “Voice.”

    “Oh.” Mikaela felt like blushing, or yelling at the odd alien. “Thanks.” She looked out the tinted window on the zipping scenery that was here and gone, but not the mountains in the distance never changing, never moving. “Do you ever miss your home? I mean, even after what the Decepticons did to it?”

    For the longest time Bumblebee considered that question hard. It didn’t ever occur to him to miss the damned, he did miss his original world even when he was still on Cybertron. The way it was, the streets, the skies, the spires rising higher and higher, the dedication to advance learning. It was once home, was still home, just gone to slag after years of war and take without ever giving back. They had essentially starved the planet of prosperity.

    “Even after what became of it when the Decepticons had their way,” he said. “It was my adytum. I can never go back to it, but it will always be remembered. Your planet reminds me of it.”

    “How so?”

    “You fight to protect it,” he said simply. “And you cherish it. It is what I did of Cybertron, and it is what your people do of Earth.” He slowed and turned off the road. Mikaela got out to unlock the gate and let him through, after she had locked it again she hopped back into the Camero and off they went down the dirt road.

    Within fifteen minutes the top of the large barn came into view, then the house beyond it. Bumblebee’s sensors were on high alert scanning every aspect his optical lens could penetrate, from a distance and enhanced everything checked out fine. The barn and house were still standing, none of the nearby brush had been disturbed, from his aspect nothing was out of the ordinary. However, as he cruised off road towards the barn he could make out sight of Sam fifty yards away crawling out from a crack he made at the barn’s back.

    In a few more yards Mikaela was able to make out his movement and peered at him through the windshield with befuddlement. “What is he doing?”

    In a faint hiss Bumblebee quitted her whisper. “Something is wrong.” He made the last few yards for the teen that came out to meet him and opened a door for him to climb in.

    “A vehicle,” he gasped. “Sounded like a big truck, looked like a big truck. Scared the shit out of me, I thought the owner had come by to check on the old place.” He shook his head and swallowed his breath. “But I don’t think it was him. Whoever came and checked the place out didn’t leave, I heard them drive off a ways and park their vehicle.” Looking out he searched across the empty, open plains for such a contraption matching the volume and roar of the motor.

    “Just a vehicle?” Bumblebee clarified. A little spooked but certain of his own experience Sam nodded.

    Mikaela looked between the driver and the car. “It can’t be…Tron-Mega. Can it?” She reached for her seatbelt when the Camero began to back up slowly and quietly, the engine growling like a dog to a rattlesnake.

    “Aw, shit.” Sam tossed the groceries in the backseat, remarkably his appetite had failed him again, unusual for an adolescent male.

    Beneath the hot under chassis, unbeknownst to the passengers and the robot, a dusty cranium cap lifted from the gravel glaring at the engine. Bumblebee stopped moving, the jaws lurch up clamping down on the U-bind in the Camero’s undercarriage. The car pushes the gas trying to escape the snare he had found but the most that comes from this endeavor was the wrench of metal teeth and the strain of hydraulic bundles packed into an armored throat. The Grave Digger digs his claws into the dirt but does not release, refuses to move, and absolutely will not give in. A low growl like grunt came from the machine as it pulled back towards its tunnel as though willing to snap its prisoner in two to drag it down, the vehicles wheels spin through the grit sending up clouds of thick dust with pellets smiting the snout. This is nothing compared to an angry laser barrage.

    “What’s going on?” Sam yelped as the vehicle jerked again. Unsure, he thought that the entire car was sliding sideways through the sand. “Bumblebee, what is it?”

    “Earth Quake’s found us, it must be Tron-Mega!” The stick twisted and the wheel spun, the peddle snapped down and down but no effort could free him. “He has got me.” He tried forwards and backwards, a three sixty, but nothing would deter the raptor machine.

    The doors snapped open either side, the passenger’s bail out at the cost of time. No sooner had they ditched, the car snapped apart and begin rearranging its singular components that crawled across the meticulous metal body. As he pushed himself up on his hands, beneath just under his chest platting the Grave Digger was snarling and hissing, still trying to pull the folding robot down into its burrow.

    “Let him go!” Hefting a nice chunk of quartz Sam threw it right at the machines snout. This action was not without effect, the teeth loosened and in vibrant irritation it growled deeply.

    Reaching down Bumblebee wrapped one hand around its neck before it could pounce on Sam, it gave a high pitched squeal of surprise as he tore it off and threw it down behind him. He spun arming a plasma cannon, the weapon was useless against a fast moving target even for his acute aiming, but the trick was not shooting out of control.

    As predicted the hostile Grave Digger shot to his feet and zoomed right at him, keeping head down for dynamics with beady green optics hot on the target, the torso. He jumped flashing out a pair of cruel scythes identical to raptors, or the bird of prey, they latched onto the larger mechanoids arm as he blocked, a bad error in his judgment. Throwing his burning cannon up he shot Earth Quake square in the chest plate, he slammed the screaming raptor down and held him as he pelt another and another bit of hot plasma into the machines body.

    Giving a short roar it twisted its snout between the fifth and ninth shot, aimed for the humans and parted jaws to spew emerald fire towards the spectators.

    “Down!” Sam leaped pushing Mikaela into the dirt with his body before the beam of fire could incinerate her mortal shell.

    Grasping the Grave Digger over his snout Bumblebee was able to restrain most of the fire, the result backfired into its lower chamber causing thick smoke to bellow from compartments beneath its drill slanted under arms. He pinned it by the back pressing one thick knee to its vertebra brace and supported his weight there. Struggling and huffing it strive to kick its way out for escape then resume the attack…until the large cannon was pressed to his severed antenna array, humming with hostile energies. He ceased fighting for escape.

    “Tron-Mega is here in this area. If you want to live tell him to back off.” He dug his knee a little deeper and pressured his gun a little harder, just to make sure there was no misunderstandings among them. “Comprende?”

    Not ready to admit defeat Earth Quake raised one foot over his head to clamp on the Autobots digits to remove his hand, this only succeeding in a tighter grip over his snout. He snarled through his torso acoustics, still pawing at the gravel with his other leg and arm.

    It was an odd sight to spy Ironhide rounding the barn to find his allies with one enemy. “Are you three all right?” He nodded his head to each.

    Disconcerted by the occurrences but no less wise Bumblebee kept his guard on the evident threat beneath him, at least for now. Even if he did not trust him he would not put the humans in danger until the game of deception could no longer be played. Unfortunately, he was terrible at the deception game.

    “Just dandy, caught Tron-Mega’s little messenger on my first try.” He tightened his grip on the jagged beak. “What are you doing here, I thought you were helping Prime search for his royal ass licker?”

    “Cover up,” said the scarred Autobot. “Sent me after you to watch your back, safer if you didn’t know. I’m not supposed to show myself, but I don’t think it’s safe anymore.” He gestured to the hissing Decepticon. “Tron-Mega will be alerted to his presence now that he’s in danger.” He turned looking up into the blue sky scanning, lowering his gaze he focused on the low horizon in all directions pinpointing any mobile objects, anything that could match to their enemy. “By the way sorry to have spooked you Sam, if I did. I was making certain the perimeter was secured until those two returned, I tried to be quiet, really, but look at me. I’m too big.” He made his best effort at a smile. He was given points for trying, anyhow.

    “I wasn’t spooked,” informed Sam, as he smoothed his dirty hair back. “I was mostly curious to whoever was sneaking around.”

    Bumblebee was unsettled by how close Ironhide was standing to the youth, he had no other choice but to lay his cards out and gamble a life. “Catch.” Jerking Earth Quake from the grit he threw the angry beast at Ironhide as he stared in horror at the jaws that latched onto his chest plate. Moving quickly Bumblebee snapped the black legs out from under him allowing him to fall, in the same motion he twisted down into his Camero form with doors wide open. “Get in, now!”

    About to comply to the orders barked, a second voice infused doubt.

    “Don’t!” wailed Ironhide, as he fought to pry the snapping raptor off his body. “Mimic! Tron-Mega mimicked Bumblebee! Don’t go with him, he’ll kill you Sam!” Shoving the raptor off his body he readied both cannons. “Who lost track of him? when!”

    “Wait,” Mikaela pulled Sam back from the Camero. “I left Bumblebee alone at the store.”

    “But he knew Tron-Mega might be here, he was trying to protect us.” He began for the car again, but was pulled away from the open interior.

    “How did he know? He caught Earth Quake pretty easily.” Flashing sight of the idling car pleasant where it sat, to the war driven Autobot machine struggling to hold back the hissing Earth Quake, she needed to make a life or death decision with a blindfold.

    After a final slash to the Autobot’s black hide Earth Quake spun and leapt at the two humans standing like buoys, he snarled opening the claws over his hands and feet. Before he could come within three feet of their heads he was yanked back by his tail appendage, by Ironhide who proceeded to pummel his body beneath his fists and guns.

    Why this elaborate plot? Why all of this to get him safely away in order to kill him? He did not understand. If Tron-Mega were Bumblebee why pretend to cater to the humans, if he was Ironhide why stop Earth Quake from attacking, why protect? It was too elaborate.

    “He is trying to confuse you with what you already know,” Bumblebee hollered through the heavy metal. “By pretending to be Ironhide he staged a hoax that once implemented, as now, there would be a higher probability you would go with him rather me. Just trust me Sam, I trusted you with the cube, trust me now.” The engine roared heavy diesel lifting harsh dust.

    Snatching Mikaela’s hand Sam piled into the front seat of the Camero. “MOVE!” Before the word was hailed, before the doors shut, the vehicle was flying forward over gravel.

    In a fit of rage Ironhide leapt for the car as it swerved out from under his outstretched body. “No! NO! Earth Quake, after them!”

    As Ironhide ate dust the bleached orange body of Earth Quake bound over his ally, body detangling to turn a multi-limbed robotic raptor form into a slim Ninja motorcyle speeding through the drifting dust. In its wake the ebony hull of the Autobot devoid reflection to alter bwegan to rise, until it was no longer the Autobot but a Decepticon standing, with teeth around his protective face guard.

    “I want the human alive,” he snarled, body cinverted to the form of a dragon. Charging the thrusters at his back and wings he pushed up into the air and pursued his rapid moving quarry. At least he bought just enough time, that he could be satisfied by.

    When Mikaela saw the robot change for herself she swore lightly under her breath. “I didn’t know. He…I couldn’t tell the difference, with him fighting that…thing.”

    “He is excellent opportunist and improviser for their act,” Bumblebee informed. “He knew his activity here was too suspicious so he had Earth Quake attack and work his way towards you, a few more seconds and he probably would have made his move. Very few are able to make the correct conclusion.”

    Sam took another breath, his fingers dug into the dash as the vehicle tumbled over the bare landscape. “Yeah? But it helped that you mentioned that cube, I figured he’d never expect a human to be given such a high priority item for safe keeping.”

    “I figured that as well. Hold on.” He swerved one way over the shrubbery, then the other avoiding hot plasma as it melted sand into glass and vaporized brush. He was having a perilous trial locating the road, if he could not find it then Tron-Mega would most likely catch them in the following moments of his attacks.

    A sleek pale orange Ninja motorcycle pulled up at his right effortlessly shredding the hard rocks under its wheels, what was most surprising about this was it did not have the weight of a rider. A low hiss came from the purring motor, the side of the headlights opened exposing a sharp edge with a gun. In a jump he slammed the blade against the Camero, it did not scar the paint, but a second time left a faint mark.

    “Out of my way!” Going into second gear the sleek car rammed the side of the motorcycle, the other vehicle belched to the side but held its ground, they were grinding together as they went through the desert. He spun his tires forcing his way against the hostile machine in combat, whatever he did he could not give it space. It was a lucky break when the bike hit a bump that screeched it up into the air, the blade slid over the Cameros side, but the car was able to push its way under the motorcycle that haplessly flipped over its back and down the other side. Where is Tron-Mega?

    The inquiry was soon answered when another beam of red fire sliced up the ground beside the car, it cut out a few feet ahead and curved around. With no choice Bumblebee put himself into reverse and twisted his steering, he managed to avoid the fire taking the heat to his side like a badge. “I repeat, Optimus, Ironhide, I am in trouble. Tron-Mega has located the humans position, I need assistance immediately. Tron-Mega is at my position forty-six miles up I-ten.”

    Inside the interior the passengers scream and curse at the plight unfolding outside, unable to hasten restraints on, they cling to dashboard and backseat in order to keep from slamming their brains out. When the Camero halted and turned Sam had sailed up and into Mikaela crushing her against the passenger door, he was just recovering and apologizing under his breath when they were thrown front ways and back, then sideways. Sometimes they would slam up against the ceiling and stick their until the car came back to Earth or tumble down onto the floorboards.

    “I don’t know how much more…I can take this,” Mikaela screamed. All the twisting and turning alone was giving her a migraine, this could not be good for memory.

    Again crumpling into the floorboard Sam just assumed he should stay here out of the way, at least he was not thrown around so much, except the gas pedal was slicing into his left shoulder blade. “Tell you what, Bumblebee distracts him while we make an escape on foot in the wide out open.”

    “It was the cell phone,” she growled. “I wished I knew! Damn it!” She didn’t have time to be angry with herself, she went head over heels backwards and folded up on the back seat.

    Locking on the target was difficult, Tron-Mega always hated hunting small, fast Autobots. Once he was sure his aim was flawless he fired, but like magic the small Camero skid out of the way sideways and continued on its path, sometimes slowing, sometimes speeding up, sometimes stopping out right. “Attack from your home,” he transmitted.

    On the ground the Ninja motorcycle expanded its sides outward and recoiled taking the form of the Earth Quake hostile. He skid on his heels through the sand and leapt like a fish diving into a lake, his tail flicking out of sight. No sooner had he vanished twenty feet from the Camero did its own rear wheels spin upward as the car did a near complete flip, but the rear slammed down again, hard, the black tires grinding into grit until they were mobile once more.

    Under the soil Earth Quake lived his name, he cut through earth with the greatest of ease, his entire body was one drill grinding rock out from his shoulders. Through any sort of media he could penetrate, moving as fast as three hundred forty miles straight, these movements caused baffling geoseismic phenomenon’s on reichter scales in surrounding equipment. Angling his head up and accelerating his cutting allowed him to break the surface and smash his snout to the Camero’s under rear suspension, the vehicles backside flew skyward but the fore wheels kept contact with the desert. When it slammed down he struck up once more, sooner. The wind caught the frame as it sailed high, the passengers wailed as the car slid over itself into a near roll.

    “What’s happening, I don’t see it?” Sam hollered, looking out the windows to locate the thing that was smashing the car. For one he was amazed that this happened a ninth time and his neck didn’t snap. In the rear view mirror Mikaela appeared too stunned to react and fell over. “Jesus, Mikaela?” He whipped around to snare her before the rear side flew up again, this time he dropped beside her unable to compete with gravity’s swift action. “Bumblebee!”

    “Hold on, I am almost to the road. I will have better control there.” He tried swerving now but he could not perform this act in the terrain in such a way that it was productive, the enemy continued to hammer at his under suspension until it was a smoldering burn of raw wires. It was painful to ride on but he had to continue. What was worse he was losing speed with lack of traction, even if his front wheels had their own torque the jerking motion of jumping and falling hampered his efficiency to move.

    At his side came the rapid swoop of a large spiked, metal dragon. Kicking his talons out he caught the Camero and sent it skyward into a spiral ten feet above the ground, rising with soil. It crashed to its doors and slammed to four wheels rocking until steady, the wheels spun through the earth but could not gain after the trauma the small vehicle endured. The doors creak open.

    “Out! Out!” As his passengers tumbled out the vehicle one way, he was already rising up to match brute strength with his own, but he could never compete. “Get to the main highway, hitchhike, get as far from here as you can!”

    The dragon hit the ground in a sprint and came charging up to the smaller mech, snarling with burning flames at his gullet. Mid stride he transformed and twisted around the meet the Autobot full force, the instant his talons kick off the soil the smaller mech lunged out to grab him at the waist. Caught by the action offguard he pitched over head first, under his frame Bumblebee clung tight with his powerful arms arching his back to roll atop the humans as they struggled to get out of the way. They performed one twist before he had his plasma cluster armed and aimed, Tron-Mega rolled awau but managed to his knee and hands as he turned to face his challenger head on. The action to rise was interrupted by Bumblebee as he bombarded his foe’s face with hot energy beams relentlessly, he moved to his feet as the Decepticon accepted the attack and barrled out to snare the weapon. Bumblebee blocked but his strength was beneath his valor.

    The large machine peered down into the fierce blue optics of his victim. “Give it up. Don’t throw your life away for these insects. I have no pride in killing you but I also have no reservation to perform that deed.” He pushed forward grinding the small Autobot back on his heel braces.

    Behind their guardian Sam was hastily trying to get Mikaela on her feet. “Come on, we have to move! Up! Get up!” He recalled the night of the fair, she had a bad shake there as well but now he believed that she might have suffered a sever concussion. If the case be that then she could easily die. “Mikaela! Mikaela, look at me! Come on.” He pried her eyes open unable to determine what signs he should be seeking for if there was head trauma, he hoped she was mostly just stunned from the hit than anything. Though, they could still be as good as dead.

    Pulling her arm over his shoulder he pushed himself onto his feet and dragged her away from the unfolding combat, not far from where he staggered Bumblebee was thrown down hard by the other mech, sand under his body jutted skyward.

    A noise drew his attention ahead to where the sand sank down into a dirt whirlpool and Earth Quake’s appearance was made. Cruel claws lacthed at the soft soil to pull his body proceeding to him hopping up onto his talons. He moved towards them folding drill like appendages back along his body, shoulders, back; he lowered his head growling, his back arched, but failed to advance.

    “What? You wanna a piece of me?” He moved away from the large machines as they shoved at the other. “Well, do ya?”

    The Grave Digger did nothing but hold his ground and glare, snarling beneath his breath. It was creepy his inaction more than his approach.

    “Sam,” Mikaela sighed, “where are we?”

    “The short version, not safe.” He looked back and up as Tron-Mega continued to force the brave Autobot backwards. “Not at all.”

    “I was given orders to protect them, and I will do just that.” Even at his best efforts he could not anchor himself against the larger robot, his orders were to flee not fight but there was no way he could run now. Could not fight, could not protect them. Couldn’t save Arcess, couldn’t save any of them.

    The red optics in the skull like face gleamed. “Your reward for your mettle will be death.” Drawing back he swung out and backhanded the Autobot, as he fell he grabbed him with one arm and threw him.

    At the height of his fall Bumblebee locked his shoulder mount rocket launcher on the Decepticon and fired, but his foe evaded his mortars and hefted his own weapon, an arm that had the dragon skull’s construct reshaped from the materials into what was more of his weapon before transscan. He fired plasma at the Autobot smashing his shoulder and forcing him into a spiral, he shot again and again hitting his target until he hit the earth in a defening collision. Groaning, Bumblebee shoved his arm and gun under him trying to raise up, but his shoulder had sustained inury and would need a moment to compensate. He managed to look up as Tron-Mega came to him.

    “I am…not done with you,” he wheezed, as he was raised up.

    At the sound of fight Sam had turned to watch unable to do anything but, though when he witnessed the killer move to his friend and reach for him he could no longer stare. He lowered his head tightening his eyelids shut but could not block out the unmistakable noises of inflicted torment to metal, screeching, and the alien scream of an Autobot not only being hurt, but tormented. Everything became silent aside for the thudding footsteps and something icy fell across him. He broke his vow and looked up.

    The early morning sun was blotted out by the Decepticon’s hulking shape as he stood over the humans, the odd projections of his armor inflicted a noble state from his black form. Sam could not get Mikaela up enough to move and in any case it would have done him no good. He knelt beside her and raised his head high as he could to glower up to Tron-Mega, the silhouette with the glinting sun just above his shoulder was difficult to get by. He did his best not to locate the broken shape of Bumblebee on the desert, a small circumference of yellow pieces surrounded his unmoving body, the only expression of life the falling embers of his reserves that put flame to the nearby shrubs.

    He was shaking badly, he admitted it to himself. What really did he expect? What was he expecting from his death? There was no more running, no more escape, Bumblebee, his only hope, was barely able to fend for his life if he was not already dead. If the outcome were to be the same regardless his endeavors, he would rather Bumblebee not die as well.

    Emitting a faint gurgle the large machine lowered down carefully playing its optics across the adolescent in analysis to his presence. As his face came within a few feet of Sam’s the bladed hinges around the sides of his guards separated and pulled back revealing a gruesome black grin made worse by the skeletal hole of what was perceived as a boney snout. The lower and upper mandibles were dotted by silver incisors, beyond was nothing but a black void that filtered out sweltering breath.

    “I remember you. The dark of my arrival you were with that Autobot then and your mate.”

    Swallowing much of his courage Sam fought to speak without squeaking. “She’s, uh, not my mate. Just a girl I sometimes hang out with.”

    “Intriguing.” The black bar across the blazing optics lifted slightly. “I would have never comprehended your involvement in our war, but after what was mentioned to spur your action I have fitted the pieces together. The AllSpark’s destruction was a result of you.”

    He wanted to scuttle away but couldn’t leave Mikaela, he could hardly breath. “It was my only choice. Optimus wanted to sacrifice himself by merging with that AllSpark thing, but rather put it in his chest I gave it all to Megatron. Isn’t that why you came here, to kill me?”

    “Yes,” he hissed. “But not at this time. You will be an example to your species, surrender of suffer extinction.” Whirling upright he snared Bumblebee by his throat and held him high, crushing ever so little with his superior grip. “Reserve my place in oblivion.” A pair of claws on his gauntlet extend, he pierced the Autobots chest with them digging deep until the blue optics brighten with pain before the last pulse of energon fades from his cables. He dropped his victim and turned scooping up both humans and lifted off.

    As he raised above the ground his body became Blackout’s and transformed once mimicked, he tossed the two humans into his cockpit before sliding the morphing limbs under his sides in a perfect duplicate of the original AF-4500X that was shot down in Afghanistan a year ago. Kick starting the rotary blades of the helicopter it banked west on rendezvous with a separate signal he had been receiving for the past day and a half.

    On the ground Bumblebee’s arm sputtered, his digits twitch. “Optimus…I…failed.”

    The Grave Digger stalked around the dying robot once and a half before snuffing and leaping down into the soil, it tunneled after his master not waiting to see the optics flare once more on the brave Autobot. He did not catch the final transmission sent in dire necessity.

    ***

    The door opened slowly and through it crept a pale aghast face that had seen better nights at the hospital, when she had been on the table. When the other gauze laced face turned to hers and made the faintest smile she all but worked into tears, and even then she was smiling.

    “Ronald.” She moved to his beds side taking his hand in hers and leaned down to kiss his lips. When she drew back to kneel her eyes turned wide as her voice spoke mystified: “Sweat heart, I awoke on the couch and didn’t know where you were, what had happened. I searched the house, the backyard, Mojo’s pent house….” She swayed her head slowly fighting back her yearn to sob with joy. “I thought I was losing my mind.”

    Still smiling Ron glanced around his ‘suite.’ “If it makes you feel better, change places?”

    That started her, she was weeping. Tears streamed down her face marking the hospital cover with warm wet splotches that expand through fiber. All the aggravation, the isolation, her anxiety for him, his well being, her own mind – all of it flowed from her windows to the world around her. She pulled his hand up and kissed his knuckles. “I thought I lost you.”

    Now eased somewhat he reflected on his dream and the skulking shadows of his own recent misfortune. A dream or wasn’t it—a nightmare more correctly. He looked up at Judy standing over him still weeping, in fear now for her missing son unaware of the terrible happening that had come to his father. “Honey,” he whispered, and checked the room to see how they were to secure. The only other living being with them was the plant sitting on the table, it seemed odd there was no nurse and again he wondered where he was in his mind. The dream seemed more real than anything else he had ever experienced in all his life. He looked up to his consort again and shifted on his bed, sensing his concealment she leaned down to him. “Do you remember what happened?”

    “Hmm?” She tipped back staring at him as though the doctors forgot to screw his head on straight. “What do you mean. The doctor said—”

    “I don’t care what he said,” Ron hissed rather loud. He winced and checked himself, not only did that hurt but he did not need a passing nurse to overhear and report that he was having bizarre hallucinations. “I don’t care what the doctor said. I know it sounds weird, hell the story about me being a few miles from the hospital was bull. You got to try and understand.” He tightened his hand around hers. “I can’t get anything clear, it’s all…dark, and shifty. I think we were in the house…or the backyard, for some reason we went out into the backyard. Someone was there, waiting….”

    “Was this a dream you had?” Judy appeared dubious to either her question or to whatever Ron was trying to explain in his post coma state. “I remember, we did have a few to drink—”

    “No.” He waved his hand and looked at her again, expression cut clear. “No-no-no-no-no-no. No. I was trying to remember what happened.” He peered at her with his dark eyes searching her soul and sight for any sign that she had or could have ever seen something unnatural. “I can’t make out all the details but I know, as our son is straight, I saw something that ended me up in the hospital. And no ass off report of a drunk wandering, late night bonk on the head, a good samaritan in a black truck taking me and my dog to the hosptial sounds any more sane than what I’m cretain I saw. And I am not even directly sure what I saw, but whatever it was gave me a concussion and now I’m here.” He stared at Judy staring at him with that same distant, his head is not screwed on straight. He narrowed his eyes to tiny slits. “What do you remember?”

    Still she stared at his face a long time, until her eyes fluttered away over the details of her husband—his bandages, the sheets covering him, the heart monitor steadily beeping, the walls, tile. Scarcely she ever left out any detail towards whatever was perceived through her eyes, but they were tear stained and weary. She had waited into the long hours of the night after learning of his condition, waiting for Sam to pick up and call them. No such call came. Then she remembered the police, they were waiting for him as well.

    That seemed odd.

    “I’m not sure. Waking up on the couch in the family room, the TV was advertising…I can’t recall quite what led up to my being on the couch, or for the matter the television going. I don’t even like infomercials.” Staring back into Ron’s eyes she wanted to make a connection, see what he had seen, but he just stared at her with equal puzzlement. “I remember talking to you on the porch. I had seen a police cruiser waiting in the alley. I think it was something important.” She nodded slowly. “Very important.” There was a recollection in there too reminding her of their younger days when Ronald was Ronny, when he would carry her across the shore of the lake laughing, they both like fools. Tall, dark, blue eyed…scarred?

    For the moment he wanted to give up, his brain was banging inside his skull like nothing would break, it was getting on his nerves that, and wondering where Sam had gotten off to. Look at how the son makes the mother worry and then the father is not to far behind. “Has he called you yet?”

    “No.” Now that she was more stable she was able to locate the nearby chair and pull it up for a seat, she never let go of Ron’s hand.

    “Not even the Banes girl, Mikaela? She has our number, or should at least.” Thinking about her with Sam made him uneasy. He had no idea why.

    She was shaking her head, studying the walls of the room in the soft white tinted with blue. “I don’t care what sort of trouble he’s in, so long as he calls I will be over joyed to hear his voice again.” Then she took a deep breath and exhaled at her leisure. “And then later when I’m good and ready I will inform him he is grounded for the remainder of his life.”

    He chuckled despite his apprehension. “You may tell him what he’s done wrong, say how much it hurts us more than him, all that other gooshy-mush stuff moms supposed to tell their kids; but I will lay the heat on him.”

    “You will not.”

    “I will too.” Once more he looked at his wife and was suddenly drawn back. She was crying again. “Judy…” He tightened his hand on hers, “he will be found. Trust me, he’ll be all right. And then, you may ground him.” Seeing how upset she was despite his words he knew another method must be undertaken to relieve her stress. “Mojo wake you?” There, that strange look of her eyes, the abolished preservation of her strength to exposure. “What’s wrong?”

    “I received a call from the vet explaining that our Chihuahua had been brought to them by a man in a large black truck, the license plate they entered came up with no match.” She stared at Ron.

    “A black Topkick. The same as the man that brought me to the hospital?” He looked to Judy with resolve lacking direction. “I remember seeing a truck just like that, clear as day…but it was dark. I don’t remember what happened, everything was confused, jumbled.” He put his hand over his eyes. “This has to do with Sam, I know but I don’t understand. It makes no sense.” He embraced his wife when she slipped into his arms.

    “I pray he’s all right, I pray Mikaela is all right. I just wish I knew why this was happening? If only we knew maybe we would find them, safe and sound, someplace waiting to be picked up.” This was silly of course but as a parent she missed those days of driving the old Station Wagon out, beyond date and time as young people knew it. Picking up Sam from school and listening to all the important things he had done during class, like coloring a picture for her mothers day. Times were not so simple. Not so gentle. She could only imagine where Sam could possibly be, perhaps dragged into some alley with—

    She crumpled on Ron’s side bawling. He patted her back and stroked her curls trying to ease her emotional vomit. At the door the nurse entered.

    “Visiting hours are o—” The clipboard slipped to her side as she starred.

    “Just give us a few more minutes.” He nodded to get her going and she turned leaving the room, closing the door behind her. He focused on Judy again, she was in dire need of his support. “Honey, you got to go home now. Wait up for when Sam calls, I’m sure he will.

    Pulling away from Ron she wiped her streaks away with her shirt, thank goodness to no run mascara. “I know, and I feel soon he’ll call…but then again, I don’t think he could if he wanted to. Or else he woul—”

    He clasped her hand in his. “Now don’t say such things. Go home, take a nap, tidy his room. I know today he’ll call, he’s been out all night for Christ’s sakes he knows the rules, he knows you worry. He’ll call and give you a lame ass excuse for not reaching you sooner. All right? Your up to telling him off.”

    She gave a faint smile and nodded.

    “Wonderful. I’ll be here if you need encouraging words, call me. Anytime.” He gave her a kiss and released her hand, he watched her walk towards the closed door and opened it, she hovered at the portal and gave him one last glance. Then, stepped to away. She was gone from him again. He sighed and lay gently back on the soft pillow, his head still ached and his entire body was not far off from sympathy pains, at least he knew Judy was all right.

    But what did his dream mean? They had to mean something, they were no natural dreams of his fantasy, he never had nightmares like this with such creatures. It was too…bizarre for him. And it had asked for his son. Perhaps his poor mind sick with worry had concocted the creature to explain the sudden disappearance of his boy, but it still made no sense. What had happened to Mojo?

    To his inquiry he received a sudden flush of icy tingle through his skin, though warm under the blankets he shuddered. There it was and gone again faster than his memory could perceive a firing of a ripple, those bright globs of fire that could only be the oculus’ of Satan, staring through him. To his perception they had been five feet apart.

    (Author comments: “Humans.” Thanks cafcow, person, and jazz for compliments. U the only ones that have. Again, I say, "Humans, I spare thee." or, Tron-Mega does.... . I don't know.... .

    Most everyone else was doing stories with Arcee and/or Dinobots. Not a bad thing, I like the ideas, I hope they get used. They must in order to clean up the mess the first movie made. But me, I like to do things a little different :D 

    And most readers get to the part about DareRex and wonder “What the slag?” I do, too. I haven’t figured it out and I probably never will. Bottom line: “They’re aliens. Get used to it.” It still blows my mind. :D 

    This chapter had a lot of love in it. I enjoyed writing in Ron and Judy a little more than the typical bumbling parents; loving husband and wife. Where were they when Sam was off at SS7? Getting debriefed? Then comes the giant robots. “There goes the neighborhood.” Ssly, it’s on fira

    I added in the tall, dark, blue eye at the last moment. I couldn't resist.

    And my apologies to those who are apart of FAMOOOR Just staring at this name makes me snicker.

    Forbid Adolescents from Making Out On Our Robots. :lolol 

    Again, my apologies.
     
  8. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    Writing this fic one tap at a time...


    I'm not as well known on the boards as some of these guys, and lots of people have names under other sites providing stories by users they know write excellent stories. All I do is provide, and I have fun writin' them.

    I hope to continue to captivate you and perhaps prompt the views of others to reading - ah, and any sort of criticism is useful; it might not always be agreed upon but it makes a writer think in a new light.
     
  9. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    Man, all because of Delta Prowl my puters so screwed up. And if you have to ask what Delta Prowl has done wrong to make me angry, look at his sig!!! Unless, of course, he’s changed it. Then I humbly apologize to that sig maker. Sorry -.-

    Anyway, the usual stuff. I’ll be posting “The Medics Fatigue” (go read it!) until that ones over with, so this fic might get a bit forgotten. Does it matter? I don’t think so, but I did like the way it turns out. Or, I think. Whatever, really? Y’know? I don’t. q:<


    6 – Aerial Feats



    Character(s)​


    Decepticon

    Barricade (really this time)

    For now….





    “Or what we can’t be.”

    At dawn break Kurzt Douglass had gotten up, his wife had made breakfast as she does every morning before he gets ready for work, allowing the catacombs of the home to fill with the sultry smells of life. By the time he had showered and dressed she had the coffee brewing in the instant mate, the aroma was always what snapped his mind from the dull haze he would awaken and spend the better half of his morning stumbling about in. He sat down and piled his plate with bacon, eggs, toast, poured out a good cup - which neglected the sugar.

    During the morning they listened to the radio, most times it was more informative and they didn’t waste a moment staring at a screen the man informed through. If he wanted that he could stare at a picture.

    Once breakfast was over he sat a bit and spoke with his wife about the day, she reminded him what chores were needed done above all. He worked his schedule with her memory in order to hone what could be done in proper order, in this way he wouldn’t end up at the other side of the farm and recall that cow A-409 needed her shots. Of course, he had his cell phone and she would be able to reach him whenever she felt like it, absorbing a few minutes of the time he could be working in, but of course what were wives for?

    Finally, the man he had been waiting for arrived. Actually, it was a young man, his farm aid come from Tonopah to help and earn his pay. It was a good pay and he was a hard worker to boot, he was also very handy with the bulls when they were in that mood no experienced farm hand would go near.

    When the doorbell chimed Kurzt got up and answered, greeting his aid as he usually did. “Signer, how are you? Come in, sit down. Would you like some breakfast before we began?”

    As usual Homer denied the generosity, but this morning he didn’t enter and appeared spooked by some tragic event. Kurtz wondered why he failed to call in if there were problems at home. “Did you check your property last evening before you turned in?” he blurted.

    “Not since the herd got out yesterday.” He leaned on the frame of the door. “Are the coyotes back? Did rustlers take some of the stock?” Contrary to popular belief that the wild west days were over, people still stole cattle and with so much land and not enough hands to look after it all theft was always a problem. As for the coyotes, he set traps for them but it seemed every one he killed three took its place.

    “None of that, Kurzt.” He beckoned his boss with a trembling hand as he turned away. “If you’ll hurry, get your rig, I’ll show you.”

    ***

    “I still can’t believe I’m stuck carting one of you meat sacks around,” complained DareRex as she scaled the high reaches of sky. “It’s degrading. It’s insulting. It’s intransformer. It’s—”

    “The orders of your commander,” Lennox broke in, smirking. Never in his life would he have thought he would qualify as Tornado pilot at such his age, maybe it was more believable that he was riding with a mechanical alien than earning his wings. It would have taken at least three years more training and simulation before he could earn his license to fly then earn his credit among the pilots, but nonetheless here he was soaring over a city, looking down from his cockpit at the roads below, the buildings raised but never reaching. This was a sight few commercial flyers would ever see. He was thrilled.

    DareRex whined at that in usual accord. “Yeah. And with a useless meat sack I can’t fly, I have to ‘wade’ through the atmosphere.”

    He shrugged in good humor and replied, “Maybe it’s because of your ‘flying’ that got you stuck with a pilot. Besides, you can’t go screeching the proper codes to the watch towers and expect to pass for human.”

    “I like ‘shrieking,’” the smug voice said.

    Again, with little belief at what he saw Lennox checked the symbol embroidered to the hand control in front of him. It was not the one he had seen in the truck and never thought to question, it was a symbol he was sure he once sighted on a police cruiser that was chasing them down a majoy highway. “So, how was it you turned over?”

    “Eeh?”

    “Why did you decide to be an Autobot?” Before he had thought the Autobots and Decepticons were separate species meant to clash in war, such as ants do or as humans seem inclined. It baffled him that a Decepticon could just one day decide it should have been an Autobot.

    “What’s there to tell?” she asked, banking lightly to a draft. “The Decepticons weren’t for me.”

    “I would like to know.” He fixed the collar to his fatigues. He had thought he was off duty and now he was back at it again, perhaps this time he would hold up better now knowing how to deal with the enemy…or then again, it could just prove you cannot stand long among strangers. “I’d like to hear your history, if you don’t mind. I’ve spent hours listening to Ironhide and boy does that outdated clanker have some stories to tell.”

    The term clanker was something he had always called his old trucks that didn’t seem to want to work anymore, though Ironhide was a beauty for his model in contrast to his actual form one would think he bellowed smoke more than profanity, like a football coach sort of.

    “What sort of stories did he tell you? Not the one about Nemfur-two, dear Primus. They said a thousand vorns later we would laugh at it, you know what? They were wrong.”

    He shook his head. “That ones new to me.”

    “Maybe I’m thinking of old Kup.”

    About to ask who this Kup individual was, he realized DareRex was avoiding the subject altogether. He looked past the targeting systems and listened to the voices working through the helmet he wore, he had the mouth piece removed while the jet was cruising banishing actual understandsing that he was not speaking with someone over long distance satellite relay. “If it bothers you so much, I’m sorry I asked.” He took out a locket from his breast pocket and opened it to see what he had to leave behind. “I know a little about how your kind deal with war but obviously I don’t know enough yet. On my planet we get to know our comrades in arms before we’re sent out to the field.” He closed the locket and put it away.

    The radio console was silent, only the rushing air cut by the Tornado came through the silence.

    “You must understand we do not have warfare as your species does. You couldn’t begin to comprehend,” DareRex began. “I once fought for the Decepticons, but I am still a Decepticon, to the core of my programming to the spark that gives me sentience. I only follow the oath of the Autobot and the orders I am given.”

    A painful many eons passed before DareRex went from a cold killer to a honorable soldier. It began with his aid, a smaller mechanoid like Frenzy or Scorpinox, who gave him intelligence during ground combat of confrontration. This aid had been murdered by Grave Digger during their time at a refueling station, the most likely reason DareRex believed was due to the fact he had been an Autobot forcibly converted to Decepticon but had never given up his once ways. It was either by his own whim or the rumors that the Grave Digger had killed him, but these instances were not unusual and perhaps the parasite only felt the simple need to kill him outright.

    Eitherway, the option was open to him to kill the murder as there were no laws to punish this sort of behavior, and to call it a crime was not legitimate. This was most likely the turning point, when he was so wounded by Reaper after his attack that he was left for dead, but Reaper had only survived as well due to his minions actions to save him so terms were a bit flopsided. It didn’t matter, in the end DareRex was taken away as prisoner rather executed, some luck that had been. He was tortured and ordered to give whatever information was availble on the Decepticons but he refused to tell so numerous downloads were inflicted. But DareRex was Decepticon for a reason and rather endure the pain of a prisoner decided to appeal. It meant more torment to convert but once done it would be over and he would still be alive, in some form.

    “I had numerous extractions and switches, assaults sabotaged before I was assigned to Ultr Magnus’ team. It wasn’t easy – the Autobots seem all goody goody to you soft hulled creatures, but they can be nasty when they got priorities. Ghhh, recall if you will I was on Magnus’ team when Reaper was killed and Grave Digger became Sonic Boom. That was a time before the AllSpark left Cybertron and the war came to its stand still. I don’t know yet what’s become of Cybertron, I left it in search of Megatron when he sought the AllSpark. I imagine there might still be survivors there keeping watch over the planet, fighting the war, until their leaders return. I guess one side is going to be disappointed.”

    Lennox had listened carefully to what DareRex had told him and selected a few details that he had no problem trusting their authenticity, but disturbed him. “You said Sonic was originally Grave Digger and he killed this ally of yours?”

    “Yeah.”

    “Why did you help him if he killed your friend?”

    A pause came and went. “It’s like I said, our war is different from yours, our methods are different.” The foreign aircraft banked and the compass revealed it moving west by ninety-two degrees. “When I was with the Decepticons he was nothing more than property, a tool, I was the same to him. We were allies and we could only survive in combat if we worked together, it wouldn’t have mattered much if an Autobot killed him and I never knew. But, because he was murdered by my teammate for no reason, it was like stealing. After I had spent time under Ultra Magnus’ command I did convert, and I looked back at the circumstances I had left and regretted. I even pitied Grave Digger, I guess. I felt he could change like me if given the opportunity.”

    He looked down at the scenery below as they glide high over the crest of a mountain. “And he did, didn’t he?”

    “I doubted it but I gave him a chance.” She dithered. “I tried once to show Megatron differently his ways of conquest and lust for control above, but he was already too mad for power. I wish to have known him before the war.”

    Another question came to him but it had to be postponed for the time when he received a transmission from another frequency. He flipped the switch on his helmet and snapped on the mouthpiece. “Go ahead.”

    “Lennox, DareRex,” Optimus answered, “I’ve received an emergency frequency from Bumblebee, fifty-three miles outside of Tonopah. He sounds like he’s been wounded severly.”

    Next spoke DareRex with concern and irritation. “Wounded? Damn it, if I could only find out where that Sonic Boom is, that’d make things easier.”

    “Could he not know hiw communication hardware’s been destroyed?” Lennox suggested. “He can’t be that unreasonable to listen.”

    “Simmons did say he looked butchered before he abandoned them,” Optimus spoke. “This has crippled our stature to the enemy but we’ll have to cope with it. In the meantime, just get there, Ratchet will be along after you, he’ll cut across the land but he’ll have it hard in rural areas.” That and Ratchet had a long distance to cover.

    Gripping the controls within his reach, Lennox felt the shallow glide of the GR.4 convert to power as the Tornado made an impossible tight turn and fired up the thrusters at its tail, blues flames shot the sky knife forward at air shattering speeds, gust of air burst from the aerial wings. The extraordinary speed at which he was now moving pried an unintentional yell from his lungs.

    “Are you all right, Lennox?” Optimus inquired.

    He had always heard that once the speed of sound was broken the ride became a smooth one, and it was true. He felt like the cockpit he was riding in was lined with silk sliding through heaven, only a faint whisper was at his ears. “Oh, sure,” he gasped. “Just like a roller coaster.”

    “Coordinates of Bumblebee’s position locked in, we’re making a beeline. Lennox, I hope you don’t mind me actually flying. Is it cool with you?”

    He nodded. “Do what you gotta, I’ll be sittin’ tight right here.” He could barely force a turn of his head to look out at the scenery as it passed by, he had not even felt the jet break the sound barrier but was certain the farmland bellow felt the rattle once they passed.

    ***

    The first sensation she was aware of was a heavy dizziness that threatened to drag her back down into unconsciousness, the sound was not helping either. The incessant thrumming of a heavy, metallic fan threading through the wind, she wanted it to go away but it refused. She felt for an ill moment that it would make her sick, not a good idea in the position she was found. Twisting over she did a sort of roll that turned her head down from the seat she was strapped into, her body lolled from the upper torso over and she looked down from the dark strands of her hair. Her arm was numb, very numb in fact she did not know if it was all right, she checked her other arm and it seemed to work well. Revolving her eye behind its socket she looked up and out from a door drawn ajar, the breeze pumping through it was sweltering hot. It felt good. There was scenery beyond, the passing of mountains faster than she had ever seen.

    That instant she bolted up wincing to the pain at her head, she groaned and waited for the throbbing to end. “Sam? Sam?”

    “Right here.” He lifted his hand a bit from the seat beside her. “You feeling better?”

    Mikaela starred at him uncomprehending. Looking up and through the helicopter they were stationed in three question came to her mind: Where were the pilots? Where were they going? Where was anyone? Last time she was in a helicopter she had been conscious and there were numerous other people serving in the same crap she and Sam had stumbled into. “Where…are we?” The look Sam delivered her was both terrified panic and a lost perplexity unlike any he had produced before. “Sam?”

    “I…have no idea. The helicopters driving itself.” The hand gripping his shoulder loosened to direct a finger at the control panel at the cockpits vanguard.

    Maybe this would have been understood if Mikaela had been awake through whatever transpired before, or if she were unknown to these Transformers, but in this case she was even more baffled. “What?” Then she noticed a sound that she had not picked up before in her daze, a low electrical squeal that lifted and died from the radio. She stared at it for a long time endeavoring to put the frustrating small pieces together but nothing made sense. “What’s going on?” she whispered.

    “He’s talking. Not to us, no, I think he’s in contact with someone.” Sam turned his head looking out the windows to the horizon passing. There was even less to see but at least they were moving. He saw oil rigs, semis crossing the highways, endless roads, cities occasionally, open expanse of the world below.

    “How long was I out?” She tilted her head back against the headrest and put a hand on her forehead, no matter what the throbbing ceased not to end.

    “Since we were abducted.” He went on to explain the terrible shape Bumblebee was left in and whom it was they were with. “I remembered seeing this Decepticon before it was moved off the street,” he mentioned.

    She looked at him with a quizzical glare. “Have you asked him why I’m here?”

    “He won’t talk to me, he just talks to whoever he’s been talking to.” Quite frankly he didn’t want to remind it that he was on a death list just above Optimus Prime, if that were possible. Most likely as the case stood Optimus would go down with more effort put in rather than picking on some human meat sack. However, this waiting for nothing was killing him, he wished he could just ask it what was going to happen and what it planned. “Maybe he’ll let us off with good behavior?”

    The low electronic words coming from the radio gave way to a high shriek that shot out of the entirety of the cockpit and caused the two humans to defend their delicate audio receivers. It said nothing, however, and after a short span continued the faint crackle sounds to another.

    Mikaela waited in pain and sickness before responding, “Was that…a laugh?”

    Sam was shaken badly but not deaf, at least. “Was it?”

    No answer.

    Mikaela held her head and shut her eyes, this did not help. “At least he likes your sense of humor.”

    As it turned out that was a laugh, inadvertent but no less not welcomed. Blackout resumed his communications with the soldier excusing himself for the outburst. “Humans are amusing,” he explained.

    “I see,” said the dubious Barricade, but resumed the discussion. “Are you certain you want to challenge the Autobots and the humans? While these organic beings are worthless and weak they do have their moments. Megatron was lost to one and that had not been a soldier.”

    “I know,” answered Blackout, in his dark tone. “I have apprehended him, he will be the first of these creatures to die before the reign of their extinction. Since my abandoning of Cybertron I have become a child of domination, no settlement my warriors have come across has not fallen to us, some civilizations mightier than this planet. We have had ample opportunities to advance our systems, as result Earth Quake is all but immune to these weapons of theirs, and my armor holds some resistance.”

    “I don’t even know why we should consider obeying any order you give, you may be the heir and entitled to claim authority, but where were you when Megatron disappeared? We were left to follow Starscream.”

    A much more jollity screech came from the helicopter to the thought of that bamboozle leading anything more than Femmes. “You jest. No, really, you don’t? That’s rich! You actually followed Starscream? No, please stop saying you agreed to that.”

    When Barricade saw that it was futile to strive past the gnaw he waited until his commander became quiet. “Megatron left him in charge in your absence.”

    “I figured he would, I disregarded he was serious though. Either way, where is he now? I must have a word with him. Oh, did he – he wasn’t slain by humans too. Please, he was too good for that if one killed Megatron.”

    Barricade was sitting at a stoplight and would have shaken his head if he had the chance. “No. He went missing once the war ended. I ask you now, sir, is it worth it to continue? We have lost the AllSpark, if it comes down to it, the Decepticons are endanger to extinction. True we are mightier than the Autobots, superior to their weapons, exoskeletons beyond their designs of transport and transformation, but…there is always a chance. There is no more AllSpark, our numbers were dwindling to the drones when we began running out of the cannon fodder, we could not even spare for that.”

    “If you so fear the destruction of our race, then feel free to sit the sidelines and watch,” Blackout reassured. He was nearing the outer city side Provo in Utah. “My personal unit shall contend with the Autobots and their human forces, if they pose a problem, for whatever in oblivions extent they would want to, I don’t know, and we shall eliminate the last hope of this world. Afterwards, you can settle with the consequences as you shall, and I will find you. It’ll be difficult to hide once all the law enforcing vehicular momentum have been slagged.”

    It always freaked him out how Tron-Mega could make any Transformer he mimicked sound so cold and evil, that was probably apart of it when he mimicked an Autobot such as Optimus Prime. Once this was done to him, he had been paralyzed for a long time following. “Sir, I had not participated in the attack on the Autobots in metropolitan and that is the only pardon I survived, even Scorpinox barely made it out alive. I do not fear them but I respect these weapons, the product of reverse engineering from Megatron’s own exoskeleton. I beseech you, let us return to Cybertron and control what remains of our world. Very soon the remaining Autobots will break, the planet will be the Decepticons, and we are less likely to be slaughtered by them without their greatest leader.”

    “You fear them, these…homosapiens?” inquired Blackout. “Do you?”

    “I fear nothing, sir. But we wiped out their communications array, had the odds against them, fought, and lost. This sort of predicament never occurred on Cybertron.” He continued to reach for his leader. “It is not worth it. The Decepticons cannot afford to lose you.”

    “They won’t,” the helicopter fuzzed. “Cybertron is dying, even if we return to claim it without a fight. We need resources, which this planet has plenty of, the only obstacle is this small fraction of surviving Autobots. We cannot yield after everything we have fought for, the sacrifice of many Decepticons, the loss of our home world. We have one choice and that is to fight.” He waited, and asked, “Do you side with us or hide from us?”

    The patroling car made his usual rounds of Tranquillity, never ceasing, always waiting. He had hoped for a way back to Cybertron, no matter what condition that world was in it was still home, he would rather die there than this infested bacteria laced protein culture. Now, the option seemed far loss, he had no other purpose but to follow his leader where he pointed him and now he pointed him towards death, without any other aspiration than to die. There was no more conquest of the universe, just survival, no more AllSpark, a dying race as far as he saw.

    “I am yours to command, my lord.”

    “Excellent,” spoke the Decepticon. “Excellent. Avert course for Provo, Utah, the outskirts of the city there is the scrap yard. You will meet some old comrades there.”

    “Acknowledged.” The patrol car was sliding out into an intersection but swerved, ran a Pontiac off the road as it screeched black oil against the tarmac and altered course. Barricade punched the gas and rode out of the intersection crossing over the wrong side of the road until he was in the correct lane. Another car swerved to miss him and smashed the next truck beside it into an oncoming truck for impact. The police cruiser lit up its sirens and whooped, it flew out of there bumping along the road while the civilians recover to move about uneasy and broken.

    Beyond the city limit line of Provo the military helicopter glides in effortlessly, with no contest from any other. Numerous times he was contacted but ignored any of the watcher towers reaching him, he could neither reply correctly or pretend to be humans and it was a waste of his energon for this anyway.

    The passenger door slide back shoving in a current of wild air that thrashed Mikaela’s tangled hair and caught Sam by his shirt, both teens turn to look at what the cause of this disturbance was.

    Perched in the portal of the helicopter was Earth Quake gurgling at the sight of the humans, the fine dirt from the earth slid out of the nooks of his body as the air washed him clean. His optics blaze green in his mask.

    “W. T. F?” said Sam. He unbuckled his restraints and stumbled over to Mikaela to protect her in some way from the Grave Digger. “Does he know this thing’s in here, attacking us?” It came to him that perhaps Blackout did and was ready to kill him now, if that were the case he had to leave Mikaela. But what did it want with her? “What’s going on?”

    “Hey!” she shouts. “Your little monster is in her, you’re gonna tell him to beat it, right?” She looked at the silent control panel. “Come on! Let us know what you’re doing!” She looked down at her restraints as they came undone, the buckle slapped her chin causing her to recoil in pain and check her teeth.

    “Cut it out!” Without thinking Sam jumped over and slammed a foot to the helicopters control panel. It did little, it was not a helicopter control station but made of Cybertronian alloys that mimicked anything human made. “Damn it!” He heard a hiss behind him and a human shriek, welcomed to his ears tired of mechanical laughter. He spun back too late and was grabbed around his waist by a spiked gauntlet belonging to the raptor machine, Mikaela was in it’s other arm. “Stop it! Let her go!” He fought his best against the dull armor but only managed to wound his self without its consent.

    Pivoting gracefully on his claws Earth Quake leapt out of the open door of the helicopter, he fell a few feet with his prisoners screaming in both his receptors all the time. Before Sam had a chance to wonder how the thing dug seventy feet to the helicopter a pair of thrusters at its back blazed with hot fire and arrested its descent. He dropped among the ruble and loss of all metal from the city and all that was not metal, meant to rot in the heat and bubble in the humidity. Barely any stretch of the surface was not metal, there was even a landscape made of springs, screws, and overall flint.

    Tired of carrying them, Earth Quake released his charges and turned to walk away. Never wasting a moment of this error both Sam and Mikaela struggle to their feet, Sam helped her up by the arm and urged her to run as they bolted for the nearest opening and only bit of the area that could hope to provide them with cover. He skid to a dead halt in his tracks when he recognized the familiar sounds above his head, Mikaela ran smack into his back smashing his spin with her knee. He was limping and groaning pressing her away as he went, as fast as he could.

    “Back. Back-back-back!” After a few feet he could move no more, he fell over stunned like a rabbit.

    Mikaela bent over him, her head splint in two through the pain of her collision with seating but it was forgotten as she forced Sam onto his feet. “You said back, we’re moving BACK!” Wrapping one arm around his thin chest she braced her feet and slipped over the jagged ground, some sharp thing cut her ankle but was forgotten in her trial.

    The hulking shape of Tron-Mega fell over them and stood his ground, it was not intentional but he had no problem with the humans standing where they stumbled if that was how they felt. “You are to stay here,” he said. “Do not try to run or Earth Quake will catch you and I am certain he bites hard for disobedience.”

    The Grave Digger was busy nosing at a can, his emerald optics glint to his recognition.

    “Behave and when I return, perhaps I’ll be generous enough to spare your mate.” The metal plates along the sides of his face shift in a sort of cruel smirk as he turns away, his heavy steps crush any bit of the rust makings under each foot.

    Raising his voice he called after the machine, “She’s not my mate!” He held his back as he rolled over and looked back at Mikaela, who was looking better. “You okay?”

    She nods vacantly. “But we can’t stay here, no matter what.” She looked back at Earth Quake paying them no mind, but there was always a certain way he moved that suggested his true attention. “We need to figure out a way to escape.”

    “I think he wants us to,” murmured Sam. “Try, at least.” He stretched a bit but the bruise would be sour. “Any ideas? I’m stumped.”

    “Give me a second,” she said, glancing about their surroundings. She was sure there was a way to slip under his perception just as Optimus had the helicopters, it only needed to be figured out. Unfortunately it took precious time they did not have.

    ***

    The rig was only used when some of the stock was being sold off. He took them into the city where a legal transporter would accept them. It was rare when he did sell, most the time it was bulls for breeding or cattle too old to be any good but for their meat. It took him the good part of two hours to get the keys, put gas in it, hook up the trailer—he was corrected by Homer who insisted he needed the flatbed—and off they went down the road for the gate.

    As they rode he noticed Homer looking to the sky, across the horizon searching for something. When questioned he offered a shaky answer, “We have to be quick.” Then checked the rear seat for the shot gun.

    He knows very well I don’t go anywhere without my gun, considered Kurzt. What could it be that he saw? Always eager to help and do any of the work that he wouldn’t, Homer Signer was always very reasonable. “How far out did you say we go?” he asked.

    “Nine more miles. Can we go faster?”

    He chortled lightly hoping to ease Homer from his anxiety. “We go any faster I’ll roll off the path.” Still Homer looked to the sky and the ground in every direction as though expecting to see something come at them. “Mind telling me what is it exactly you saw?”

    Postponing another scan he turned to Kurzt. “I don’t know how to tell you, Kurzt. To be honest I could have just imagined it, I hope to god I did. Here we are.” He indicated off the roads side towards a hunk of something gleaming under the noon sun. “You’ll have to drive the rig to it.”

    Not believing he was actually doing this Kurzt went with what Homer said and carefully eased the large truck off the road and through the uneven dips and ravines of his land. It was not the tires he was worried about so much, the rubber was made for this sort of treatment, he feared more the rocking of the truck to the flatbed would cause it to tip over. From the distance he could not quite make out what it was baking in the sun, the glint was incredible though fathomable to his own eyes it looked as though this construct had crashed here. There were no signs of a stretch but the surrounding terrain did appear to have taken on the better of whatever had fallen.

    As they closed in the last few yards, Kurzt careful in his anxious curiosity not to put on enough speed for a tip, he could make out the edifice as a sort of…thing. The surroundings were littered by its impact, pieces of dark metal there some little yellow flint here. He halted good distance from it intending to figure out just what the thing was before he put the truck next to it, the metal pieces would no doubt be enough to tear his tires or damage the under carriage, they would need clearing out.

    Homer was first out of the truck, he left his door open as he crossed the few yards for the mass of metal. Once more his face searched the air and ground for whatever it was he wanted to avoid before gesturing Kurzt to follow.

    “What is it?” He stepped next to the younger man and checked the thing over. Now that he was closer he could make out, lord forbid, the shape was almost human! Yes, that was right, he decided. Arms, legs, a body, and a head.

    “I don’t know,” answered Homer in a quaking tone. “I was driving here, on time, listening to music and looking around…I saw a giant…thing in the sky. I thought it was a jet but it wasn’t shaped right, it moved, I think it was a demon spewing fire – orange fire. From the road I saw it land but couldn’t see what it was doing, I was too far away. I got to your gate and drove up the road a ways, then I spied another thing, just it alone and barely. It was moving around fast, I almost turned to leave but remembered my cell phone. Before I could dial you up it disappeared, I think. Then a large helicopter lifted up and flew off. I waited a while till I thought it was gone, then I rode up and parked, I walked out to see where it was if there would be any evidence, if the monster was there. I saw this from a distance, alone, and decided to get you personally. I knew it was big, I had no idea it was this big.

    He looked at Kurzt gazing at him with belief in his eyes. “I don’t know where the monster went, I don’t know where the other thing is.” He turned to the rig and the flatbed. “I don’t know if you can haul it.”

    On impulse Kurzt checked the above. “We must try.” He judged the surrounding area would be proof enough of what had happened, there were marks that could only be judged as footprints, and he saw one was driven so deep a cow could stand in it.

    First they had to clear away a path for the truck, it was difficult deciding on the right angle to back up in, the ground was torn up in every direction and provided a difficult decision of what would work best. While Homer cleared away the final pieces, tossing each onto the figure pressed face down, Kurzt started the rig and turned the flatbed around

    Waiting for the truck to back up Homer looked again to the thing, as they could only describe it. The high noon sun was beginning to heat up everything that was under it, standing right beside it was worse. Once he had a closer look at it he was certain now that the two things he had seen on his way out here had attacked it, that was the only explanation for the deep tears through the armor and everything in the perimeter of dirt. He took the knife from his belt and stepped up to it, experimentally he prodded two large gyros connecting a long bundle of metal compressed yellow paneling and a darker colored based that appeared more worn than the remainder of the thing. Tapping a few times then scraping through a crease, he was startled when it moved, the faintest twitch that sent him stumbling into the ground. He scrambled back from it but it appeared this was only a sort of reflex, or so he hoped.

    The truck was still running but a door slammed and Kurzt rushed to his aid. “Signer, Signer! Are you all right?” He took him by the shoulders and looked him in the face, but not before the youth had shoved him back and struggled more. “It’s okay, Signer! It’s just me.” Locking his eyes with Homer’s the connection was made, his fear and flight broke. “What happened?”

    “I-it moved,” he groaned. “Moved.” As one they looked at the metal construction, he spied his knife on the sand broken. It was steel and wood, tough, made to last. “My knife.”

    Seeing the item Kurzt had no trouble estimating what must have transpired. “Be glad that wasn’t your arm. Come on, help me attach the lines.”

    There was no particular way they wanted to tie up and load it up, neither in their experience was certain the flatbed would be able to hold the thing and get through the soft soil to the road without another tow truck being called out. That was the last action any wanted to take, involve anyone else. They had to work fast, there was no mind on Earth that could piece together what had been the reasons behind this, thing, machine, in conflict with a flying…thing…and another being which Homer had failed to explain correctly. There was only the possibility that both would return in due time to collect and anything in their way would be killed, and judging by the condition of this one they had found, there would be no escape.

    While strapping the cables over the construct and taking care not to get any limbs wedge into any possible joint that would result in amputation, Kurzt or Homer would look above or around still mindful of the always threat looming over them.

    The sun was making matters worse for them, they needed to stop and drink water but also could not spare that precious moment. Finally, after an excruciating hour the body of the metal being had been tied and was ready to be coiled onto the flatbed by the wench system, hopefully it would not get stuck on the edge but as this seemed to be the case Kurzt reckoned they could just drag it back to the old barn and store it. They passed the time coming up with any story behind the reasons for this, and another creature maybe like it, and where they came from to purposes of being here. And what was the flying demon really?

    Just when Kurzt was ready to begin the wench, Homer was atop the construct to watch and make certain it wouldn’t get lodged on anything from his view, high overhead a jet streaked by. A normal jet by standards, but the metal coating and finish was an exotic tiger pelt. And it had been flying lower than what was allowed.

    It was that tick there, that no aircraft should be flying like that over his property, scaring his cattle…when it doubled back. Kurzt watched as the aircraft twisted nearly a hundred eighty degrees and came back right for them, losing altitude swiftly as it did so. “Signer! Run, it’s going to crash!” He jumped from the flatbed and turned to locate his aid. However, as he cursed the deer in the headlights he sighted what it was that fascinated him. Nothing normal.

    Meters above the earth the GR.4 slowed and twisted over, the cockpit slipped back dumping what appeared to be a man in fatigues on the ground. Before the man fell the jets sides had snapped open and an arm swooped down grabbing dirt and holding it steady, possibly to keep its mach from killing its passenger.

    But what was this, was it really happening? The flyer was still coming apart, and after the care it shared for the passenger it was nearly to pieces, rotating over on its arms and slamming feet down. It was another metal construct, a being that Homer had alone seen with his two eyes. Coming right at them.

    “The truck!” Kurzt hailed. “Homer, RUN! RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, DEAR LORD!” Pivoting hard he moved faster than his age could hold and slammed into the truck, he opened it up and watched as Homer did sail right through the door and clambered to his seat. He was not far behind and shut the door and smashed his foot to the pedal.

    The sight of the humans standing on a wounded Autobot was enough to make a Decepticon take loyalty as his own form of judgment and kill anything that drove his kind into the dirt. Once dumping the human DareRex had converted fully to her robotic shell and sprint in, her stride carried her faster than the human mind could reboot. She had almost been upon Homer and had him at her grasp when he moved faster than she expected and sort of…flew? without grace, into the immobile rig not far away. The elder man jumped in and shut the door.

    Without another thought she leapt upon the flat bed, her weight crushed the tires in several feet as she moved forward and buried her sharp digits into the roof. It peeled back easily in her grip, she did not bother to remove it and glared down at the shrieking people below.

    “Stop! Stop it!” Lennox was hollering louder than his ears could bear, rolling and stumbling for his feet if only he could get his equilibrium right. The fact he was paniking helped little in its way. “Let them go, they didn’t know anything!” When he saw the machine was not going to listen he took down his own firearm, aimed it and shot at the dense armored back. The Sabots had the desired effect, they caused DareRex to react and turn on him. He almost regretted his panicked actions, those optics were burning with murderous intent. “Whoa-whoa, whoa, okay, calm down.” He dropped the rifle and began to back away as the Decepticon stepped off the flat bed to approach him, the truck rocked deep in its wells when the weight was off. “I’m not your foe, right? But you were going to do them harm and I couldn’t allow that, I had to stop you some way.” Beyond DareRex’s column legs he could make out the man and possibly his son in the truck panicking to get it into motion, but the wheels were buried deep at the rear and Bumblebee was attached, and DareRex was nearly at him. “The Autobots won’t even hurt humans? A Decepticon would. What are you gonna do?”

    A brief moment she studied the brash soldier, it was not so much his words but his actions that intrigued her. She turned and went to the rig stuck to its wheels and tore off the flat bed, with a push from her shoulder the vehicles wheels came loose and it was free to go on its way, shrieking passengers and all. She watched it move feeling somewhat satisfied they would need at least therapy after this encounter.

    Already beside Bumblebee, Lennox retrieved his rifle and had waited to see DareRex’s actions, he was still uneasy about dropping his guard but had to do so to check over the robot. “What am I doing?” he mumbled to himself. “I’m not even a medic.” He moved away as the Decepticon knelt over him, she put her hands on Bumblebee testing his metal then rolled him over never minding the cables latched to his body.

    “Bumblebee? Bumblebee,” she cooed. “You still there?”

    The robot twitched slightly then moved, his voice gave a faint whine of pain. No surprise, Lennox considered, if I were in his condition I would be dead. He flinched at the thought whenever it came, he couldn’t leave his wife to fend for herself and not long ago he almost lost all in the world dear to him.

    “Don’t speak,” DareRex said. “Ratchet is on his way, he’ll look you over and chide you for this mess.” She shook her head. “Though how he will repair your frame without proper materials is beyond me.” A compartment on her back opened with a few clicks and spread of alien metal, she reached in and brought out a single laser tipped needle, she began to work with it over the fallen’s body. “Lennox, gather anything you can carry, I have to do something while we wait.”

    “Yeah, sure.” He sighed and took to the chore, putting his rifle away and wondering if there was some more undermining task she could have given him.

    “S-Ssam,” hissed Bumblebee. “M-mikaaaaeella.” He looked up at DareRex pleading. “M-mmusssst help…them.”

    “Your bravery is admirable but your condition is dire. You need rest and recuperation or you will cease function.” Her head tilt. “I honestly don’t understand why you do this to yourself, the outcome will always be the same.”

    “I thought you had honor and pride, respect—all that stuff normal Decepticons don’t have,” Lennox said as he came back over.

    “Yes, yep. What I’m talking about is, why does he get himself beat up over a mission even though it will always be the same? He loses, nearly has himself killed, only to fail the mission either way.”

    “Obviously he doesn’t want to give up.”

    “That’s what I already figured. No Autobot in his right mainframe wants to give up, nor would any Decepticon. But, I wouldn’t blame Bumblebee if he forfeited a battle to save his own neck. I heard what happened to Jazz, we don’t need another one throwing his life away.” The alien face of metal blades expressed the sorrow only known to man.

    He turned back to the Decepticon caring for one of its enemies. “I think Ratchet was right classifying you as female.” She looked at him with that vicious glare and reached over, he jumped back only to find she was aiming for a piece of some incomprehensible accumulation. Soon he realized it was a portion of the poor Autobots back as she rolled him over and began reconnecting it into place, wires first, and then allowing his regeneration to take some part of it.

    “His build is more female than mine.” Her optics glint as she did the comparison. “Damn medic.” As she laid the Autobot back he reached up grabbing the hand with her welding torch, she looked at him.

    “North…east….Tron-Mega, took them,” he groaned. “Find him. Help them. Pah…lllleeeeeaaaaaaasssssseeeee….”

    Snaring his helmet in hand she pushed him back down. “Give it a rest, I’m not leaving you. At least not until Ratchet gets here.”

    “I can stay and keep an eye on him.” Approaching her, he nodded off in the direction the rig had rolled off in. “If they come back I’ll just flash my identification, call it eminent domain if they make any trouble but I doubt they will, after what you pulled.”

    “I don’t know where Tron-Mega will go, where he would take them, not even what he’s planning. They could already be dead for all I know.”

    Gesturing to Bumblebee, Lennox continued. “If you leave at least to look for them he might do better than he is now. It’ll give him hope. He can’t die on that. He can die if he looses it. Hell, I’d feel better here all alone thinking you might kick that ‘Cons metal ass across the states! That’s something, isn’t it?”

    DareRex stood up and took a step back, she needed time to think. She had nothing against disobeying orders but she really didn’t pine for fightong Tron-Mega, even if he was alone. The aspect of being able to fly again was what won her over. “Ratchet knows your position, but when he locates you, you have him drop me a line.” She took a running start and jumped transforming to the Panavia Tornado that stormed out across the ground, as it ascended and rolled through the sky it broke the sound barrier and shot off.

    Now alone with no one to speak to, or able to, he turned to the battered Autobot. “How you holdin’, Bee?”

    The large hand twitched in response but little was shown for it. “Well…enough,” he wheezed. “Th-thank you.”

    Sensing a long wait under way Lennox sat down and checked his rifle over. “No problem. I know how hard it is to sit tight and wait and know that somewhere out there is your comrade needing your support.” He recalled a time back in the field, in an abandoned town overruled by the bombs his people had dropped. One of the scouts was out looking for water, a incalculable aspect when they were running low on MREs, they could die in less than four days if they declined to locate even a small trough seething with bacillus.

    While his team had been waiting cooking in the shade, thirty most of all above hunger, they gathered a shot fired some dozen streets over carried by the echoing bluntness of war. It had been a single shot, alone, just the one, clear-cut kerpow. Precise. He wanted to go find where the private had gone but his captain denied his request, he could not risk another man to death for a single. He had followed orders not because he wanted to but because he knew his captain was right, and he had hated that. The scout was out looking for water because they would need it, he had died for their necessities and not the war. And an hour ago he had learned the kid was only there because he needed money for college.

    “And then thinking you could help ‘em…but, you can’t.” He looked at the silent machine. Knowing what Tron-Mega was willing to do for his own objectives made him want to fight it as well, he would have gone too if DareRex was unwilling. But, as he was not able to fly and she was, it had to be this way. “Once Ratchet gets here he’ll patch you up and you’ll be good as new.” That was all he could hope for. Bumblebee had been banged up before, he was there as witness, but he had not been this bad. He wondered if or when the Autobot was at his worse and what the extent of his limits were. He prayed to never find out.

    ***

    The distance to travel between Tranquillity and Provo had been a long one in skipping states, but not so long as it might have taken any other black and white. Once he had redirected his course he hit the state highway until he came to I-15 and skipped through Nevada on into Utah, Provo was right on the interstate road. Nothing had been to it, upon his arrival on Earth, Frenzy had uploaded dobbles of information from the human culture to the vital routes he might need instant travel on to a specific location. His design while demanding respect from California was a bit foreign even for accommodating human aspects, in the new state of Utah. It did not matter so much anyway, he did not plan to stay long if he could help it.

    Locating the scrap yard was less of a challenge if one could call sliding through state lines undetected a challenge. The Provo Metal Yard was not too many miles from Lake Utah, he only needed to locate it then trust his compass rose to guide him to the appropriate destination. Like a shark through the ocean reefs he glided among the carcasses of old outdated machines, discarded remains of vehicles, ancient toaster ovens, television sets, and more. The owner of the yard did not even think to stop the cruiser when it entered, it may have been far from its jurisdiction but sported the camouflage that demanded venerate, and despite the idea shape of the automobile, maybe the owner was going to ditch it.

    Searching through the reaches of the old junk walls and mazes he became aware of the knowledge he was being watched, or more in reality sakes injunction, being stalked. In a haste he transformed and stood tall, he removed the spike weapons from his higher back and took to concealing his lighter body among the shadows of stacked automobiles.

    “Scorpinox,” said the voice, “Bonecrusher, Frenzy, Blackout, Brawl….” A large metal dragon composed of spikes rather scales rounded the bend and moved towards the smaller Decepticon, head low and optics glinting with each flash of nuero process. “Megatron.” He stood before Barricade and lifted his head to scan over the actual frame. “Only you and Starscream survived, he is missing, unable to be located, summoned. You came, you are creditable of…praise. You chose well.”

    “Where are the others?” he asked. He registered a motor then a dump truck model T800B rolled into the vicinity. Had the colors been average he would have opened fire but as they were that disgusting green he hated, he reconsidered. Only when the vehicle altered form did he recognize it as Longhaul.

    “Scrapper is on his way, but his chosen design is much more difficult to move, harder to conceal on the open highway.” There was a hint of humor to the Decepticons words as he spoke.

    “Let him join us in his leisure. No doubt your color made you stand out among this world,” growled Tron-Mega, as he turned to the soldier. “Why did you maintain your hue?”

    He attempted to imitate a human gesture, an odd sort of robotic shrug, that did nothing less than annoy the large mechanoid. “We like standing out. It’s the one thing we agree on. Isn’t that enough, sir?”

    He snorted but let it go, later he could floss with his wheels. “That will do for now.” His attention returned to Barricade still standing in the shadow. “I have sent Dirge and Dozercannon on search and mark, they are locating Autobots as we speak but not engaging, not yet. Their positions are being stored for later, after the primary threat is first eliminated.”

    “I have no reserves in joining your band of warriors,” Barricade admitted as he put his weapon away and moved forward. “I agree we must fight the Autobots, what other purpose do we have? But without purpose? If not for the AllSpark, what for? This conquest you speak of?”

    “This planet is no different from any other we have come across in our travels,” Tron-Mega said. “Once the Autobots are removed it will be ours for the taking. But, at whatever pose we must not rush. If it is we cannot stand our ground we must flee, and attack from a different angle, possibly a weaker one. Until they are extinct, we must not engage the humans.” To this Barricade nodded. “One force is enough, a second we may not be so stern. It was…Megatron who commanded the final offense against both, was it not?”

    “Yes sir. A grand fight it was. We would have succeeded and this world already ash, had it not been for the humans.” He looked down. “They will fight us, regardless. They will not allow their allies to be destroyed and thus allowing themselves to be exposed to invasion. They’re not that stupid.”

    “I don’t care if they fight or not, the only matter is that we do not engage them unless forced to. The massacre of their species will come soon enough, nothing to rush in about without thinking half through.”

    “Megatron wasn’t much for thinking through,” Longhaul added. “It was kill and conquer, one-city state at a time. Probably why Tron-Mega has been so successful, you figure, hmm Barricade?” At that moment the dragon lashed out throwing him back with a swing of his spiked arm, he fell backwards and slid, shoving himself to rise he came face to face with the dragons snarling jaws.

    “Megatron led as he did, that is where we did not agree! He taught me all I knew, his mistakes became my understanding, I saw what he was and knew not to be that or I would be no better than him. Dead! Respect that or I will tear you through next time, gestalt or not!” He grabbed the mechanoid and pulled him to his feet then turned to Barricade, his optics burning. “Your leader went missing for over a thousand years, and Starscream led in his place. Why is it you were the only ones to survive the assault?”

    Barely flinching, Barricade explained, “I was only escort. Megatron demanded I hold back, for an opportunity to strike. I followed orders until he was killed, then fled. I suppose Starscream did no better, but he was in charge of aerial combat. He could be anywhere.”

    “If I find him first he will die.” He shifted to glare at Longhaul. “Once your brother arrives, we will take the humans and go. The longer we dawdle the more opt we are to be located.”

    “Humans?” Barricade echoed in a dulled chatter. “What humans, sir?”

    “Forget already?” he thundered. “The human which, as I glitch to vocalize, slayed Megatron. The Decepticons awakened from their mode of wait will come, and we will be at the front. That human dies before any Autobot, then they, then the extermination of this disgusting race so akin to germs. Does that sound satisfactory to you, Decepticon warrior?”

    He knelt before his new leader and balked his head. “It does, sir.”

    ***

    Twenty yards away from the Decepticons meeting Mikaela was looking to the sky listening as electronic screeches and frazzles came over the length of the endless rows of rusted gravestones.

    Behind her Sam was rotating slowly gathering in their location and the uneasy feeling that something was coming for them. “Hey, Mikaela, have you—?”

    “Shh,” she hissed. “Do you hear that?” She listened. “I wonder what they’re saying.”

    He gave an uneasy guffaw and stepped up to her putting his hand to her shoulder. “Inquiry of beauty, I don’t think that’s our big problem at the moment.” She turned to him and followed his gaze to the gaps through the metal maze. “I don’t know how that can be a bad thing, unless it’s someone that just has that typical hate for me. Y’know?”

    Across the clear spanning meadow of dirt and loose rust bits Earth Quake sat on his tail cleaning springs from his talons, his gleaming optics not focused on his prisoners he is comfortable to focus on the work of removing irritants from his armor as a dog picks at fleas. He hefted his large snout snapping bits of the metal and checked on the stare both humans shared. Jerking his snout he looked too, expecting his master to return but they were not ended with the abutment. He knew because they were still speaking, about plans of war and plague. He actually didn’t care what he did, so long as his host was alive and well he would remain content. Lowering his snout he rubbed his cheek to a wound in his shoulder, it was not healing well.

    Yet in his laxed state he did not heed the obvious threat come to him. Among the openings of time lost decrepit fields, a sleek metal body moved, paralleled by the dirt and bird like it went. Through its side and pectoral chest ran groves given in earlier nobility, the red lenses raise and catch a shadow sweeping over its mask. It sighted the quarry and crouched, building the tension through vertebra brace and legs, then sprang out.

    Both humans yelp and fell back while Earth Quake bolted to his feet, he lowered his head growling in his metallic ring.

    “Brother,” said Sonic Boom. “I have followed you here not to fight. Give me the humans, I will go. If we fight, you will die.” His antenna array slid back, out of the way, a series of metal flaps rose and folded over his mask and elongated snout.

    Earth Quake did nothing to prepare, he only growled and hissed, he clicked and chimed, communicated with his other. His indication was simple, he would kill not because he wanted the humans, but because his rival was no better than slag. He sprang.

    Snapping his jaws wide Sonic Boom caught his foe by the throat and wrestled him down, they twisted and fought, scratched and bit, kicked up dust with rust, rolled and spat. It was fast, violent, cruel. Claws tore armor open, pieces of body went flying outward. They jumped back sliding in any state they could, one on his snout the other on arm, then threw back into the other and clashed like thunder, rolling, rolling, fighting, biting, until they slammed into a stack of automobiles.

    The construct swayed but that didn’t bother the fighters.

    Witnessing all of this Mikaela felt otherwise. “Time to leave, Sam.” She grabbed his shoulder and ran to the farthest side, while he tried to catch a look back. He saw the stack fall and crush under it the thrashing enemies. A bellow of dust lifted higher than their calls went with the tremendous response of the fall.
    ***

    “This is extraordinary,” Longhaul said, as he studied his captain’s backside along his vertebra brace. The Sabots had broiled out much of the metal and left ugly wounds that failed to regenerate despite the span of time since the attack. “I see now with my own optics what this weapon does.”

    “Yes,” sneered the Decepticon. “I received these inflictions just for you, Longhaul. Please tell me now if they can be repaired or not.”

    Behind Longhaul stood Barricade watching and taking note as Tron-Mega was checked over. “Why yes, most simply if I am correct.” He gave a faint squeal as a sharp blade flipped up into his palm. “The nanites have been damaged by the heat of the magnesia melting shell, not the initiated explosion that comes ensuing. It is actually the factor that your bind to Earth Quake’s radiation that fortified your nanites against the onslaught.”

    “And that is where the Autobots have their advantage,” growled the uneasy Barricade.

    “Shut up.” He glared back at Longhaul. “How do you repair it?”

    “By removing the damaged nanites, the healthy probes will compensate for the—” Before he had finished the first cavity, he looked up to a distant collapse unfamiliar to his audio reception. “What is that?”

    “Earth Quake?” He pushed away the medic and moved in the direction he had left his prisoners with minion. “Earth Quake answer, you sorry piece of machinery!” He began climbing over the masses of metal waste not caring what would fall or what he crushed, it was no concern of his.

    Grabbing Mikaela, Sam threw her back beyond the cover of a washing machine with its door half hanging open, he held it up as the rumbling machine crawled over them, its intent to reaching the calamity consuming its intelligence. “Okay, let’s go!” He took her hand and ran in the opposite direction it was heading.

    Back at the meadow of junk Tron-Mega lopped over the last few pieces of maze and stood where the vehicles had fallen, noises came from beneath. “Earth Quake!” He began digging at the ruble, his excavation ending when a figure was propelled out of a shredded Sudan roof. “YOU AGAIN!”

    It did indeed seem that Sonic Boom was attacking him not for the last time, his thrusters burning blue throwing him with lightening fast momentum for the Decepticons bladed face. The last moment het twisted around, that was when Earth Quake shot up, he was caught by the other raptors kick and slammed sideways into Tron-Mega’s optic. Falling back he rumbled with rage.

    While the Decepticon was angry and Earth Quake distracted, Sonic Boom sprint away in the direction he knew the humans could have gone. Not more than ten feet away his foe tackled him and both fell, the vicious dull orange began racking his back with his bladed digits. Screeching in pain Sonic Boom kicked him off and turned, grabbing his other he thrashed around with him fighting ferociously, colliding with anything in reach. They threw themselves through two walls of broken rust and continued to roll and fight. Tron-Mega was lost to them, recovered and preparing to locate his targets.

    A few yards away these two targets raced away from the clashing of high definition warfare in HD, for reason beyond them they weren’t escaping the noisy aggression but closer. Were they being followed? “We can’t stop, no matter what!” he rasped.

    She glowered at Sam. “Got it chief. So, stop wasting your breath and follow your advice for once!” Mikaela willed him to a halt when a giant golliath threw himself into their path, or more correctly his foot, and looked on them in the most bemused way a robot with his mug could muster. She pointed and screamed. “Giant robot! Run!”

    Sam picked up her meaning, how vague could it be? “Oh my god, we’re being invaded! Call the president!”

    “Fat chance, insects!” He raised a foot high to crush them as so many of theirs might crush a beetle. Before he could slam his boot down the contorted mess of corrosion at his left side burst spewing out one—no, two Grave Diggers locked jaw to jaw and wrenching around like roosters in a chicken fight.

    After successfully landing on the ground, or at the base of metal junk, Sonic Boom locked his claws into an upturned car motor, groped under Earth Quake’s arms and hefted him up at his beak. He pitched him up against the Decepticons thigh, the cumbrous impact burst out a roaring boom that forced his balance off into a collaps. In a beat of the Decepticons crash, Sonic Boom was on the foes chest sinking his makeshift teeth into the body and ripping with malicious intent.

    Hissing in rancor Earth Quake slipped out from beneath the Decepticon and scrambled up his side, he dug his claws in and lunged for his other. To his utter surprise Sonic Boom flattened down to watch at his joy as the smaller flew overhead. He twirled and jumped away and checked his poise. Down the extent of the alley the human targets moved. He gave chase.

    Earth Quake gave another high shriek as he stood up on the Decepticons head, he was jumping with rage snapping “after him! After him!” But Longhaul was not too hot on the idea of straining his processors and follow orders, even if he couldn’t understand them.

    “Does this remind you of anything?” Sam panted.

    “Uh-huh,” answered Mikaela. “A movie I saw last week. Keep moving!” She looked back, a mistake at any time, and saw a gruesome raptor machine galloping straight for them, its body gutted by deep wounds, its optics a blood red. “It’s gonna catch us! It’s gonna eat us!”

    “Keep running!” Sam pushed Mikaela on ahead and turned searching his nearest perimeter, he located a heavy bar or metal a bit short for his taste but heavy enough to club a pint sized robot. He took the article and swung it out. “C’mon and get some! I’m right here!”

    On one swoop the quadruped raptor jumped to two legs, something shifted in his hip and spine from what Sam could tell so that he could support his weight. As he approached he lifted one leg and took the pipe from his hand, his arm slashed out taking his chest and threw him down. “Why do you lie down? Get on.” He stepped back and transformed, converting his body to the familiar Kawasaki motorcycle.

    Sam raised himself up panting hard. “Shit…Sonic, I thought…never mind.” There was no explaining what he had saw. From his perspective it looked as though this thing were on the rampage ready to kill him, that intent was well evident in the optics that accompanied its ripped mask. He got on the motorcycle, no sooner had he stationed his ass out did it bolt forward. “Mikaela!” he called as they closed in on her. “Sonic! The damn things Sonic! Get on.”

    She turned back and waited till they sped past. Sam reached out an arm for her which she grabbed, it helped little in her flight to the cycles seat but it was appreciated, she wrapped her arms around his waist and held tight. I’ll never get used to— Prior to ending this thought, the ground burst beside the gray cycle.

    Earth Quake lunged partway from his pit snapping at Sam’s leg. The bike wheeled forward taking the intended blow to his rear suspender. He roared in pain and continued as the teeth tore through his metal, he sped to a corner and spun going along the rows of cars. “Hold on,” he growled. The engine bellowed with supreme power and hefted to speeding through the high rising décor of the junk yard, thus far the trajectory taken proved scarce competition from the hostile enemies as the bike rolled through parting dirt in its wake.

    A rolling explosion caught Mikaela’s attention driving her to again look back, with dire consequences at this exact moment. She stared wide eyed as ground burst beyond the wheels reach as a dull crown thrust up and down mid the heavy clods of earth. These eruptions were getting closer and closer along with the maker, a snarling monster that moved at instants through the planet. “He’s gaining on us! Move faster!” She watched as the next land mine came within yards of the rear, then mere feet pouring dust down her back, thereafter right behind her heels.

    As the self driving cycle was not of this world, the rear underside disentangled itself from the primary design and exactly when Earth Quake exploded from the soil at Mikaela’s back a foot jabbed out catching his lower abdomen. Deterred from his objective Earth Quake stumbled back and seemed to sink beneath the littered soil snout first.

    Meanwhile, Sonic Boom swerved around a corner and selected a new direction of travel. In any way he decided from he would come to the same conclusion though with heavier challenge if he were careless, there was escape from any side, the challenge was locating the direction of least resistance. He sped forward at his second highest speed on wheels considering all, fast enough to out pace any rocketcar. His front wheel hit a pipe and the bike elevated above a pile of ruble, his passengers were screaming still as they held on with everything but their teeth.

    A low rumbling lost through his motor came from one side of the collected rust, Sonic Boom had no other objective greater than moving ahead before being buried alive. Without a doubt he would survive, humans would not. The moment he passed, Mikaela barely clung to Sam’s waist strangling anything soft out of his gut and it itself, the row of scrap burst inward crumbling concurrently. As the massive robot stumbled through busting everything within his path he sighted his target and moved in with no other higher central process, the thinking machine on the other hand continued on a few meters then rotated around and went in reverse.

    The rear body re-composed its structure and propelled itself backwards, as it fell its passengers came free and fell with it, Sonic Booms upper body became apparent and his arms caught his charges as they came down. At that moment Longhaul had conformed a rifle at his arm and aimed it down as the raptor skipped backwards with amazing grace, but he wasn’t without defense, his upper back snapped apart and a rifle exposed itself. Lowering his body he fired a rapid strike gatling gun at his enemy piercing the damaged upper torso with tiny bullets that seemed to erupt once inside the exoshell. He thrashed and swung an arm down, the other began to fire.

    Leaping sideways and still skipping in reverse all the time, Sonic Boom put his feet upon the unstable surface all around him and continued to direct his fire, momentarily pausing in some instants to hammer his foe. Longhaul aimed his gun and fired plasma shredding through the frail bits of forgotten metal forming the walls of the maze, the walls explode and fall around his body but he bursts through them and continues on to eliminate at least one if not all the enemy.

    Repositioning himself on the still standing wall opposite his recent poise, he was halfway up the construct and decided it best to move now rather waste his moments. He sprint up and jumped over, once on the other side he doubled back over the remains of burning wreckage and continued, it was tactically wise to move this way and hope he had the chance to dodge once the Decepticon had figured through his deception. After locating a safe zone no more than a few yards from where he had fist come over, Sonic Boom dropped his passengers and whirled back, numb through the experience Sam fell face first into dirt and nearly put his eye out, Mikaela collapsed on top of him and thrashed to rise and defend herself if it came to that. She managed up once realizing the thundering boom was not from above but before them, smashing into their path was the massive Decepticon with his optics scanning one way then the other searching for them.

    When Longhaul sighted his targets he spun and aimed his gun but he was baffled why the Grave Digger had failed to move. It did not matter now, it was dead and so was the fragile humans beyond it, he only needed to lock and fire.

    Sonic Boom hissed at him harshly and opened the blades on his back that acted as wings, they crackled and surged spewing red currents of electricity onto the Decepticons body. The imitation of storm was no less effective, it whirled through the conductive body of his foe like wild fire not damaging the mechanical systems but initiating the desired effect as he shorted in pain, screamed, and fell backwards still twitching. The rifle at his arm fired off into the rows of lost washing machines and arcade games in reflex, the Grave Digger taking to the new threat whirled about, snared the humans and bolted.

    Right in at the curve of the maze, in no particular design of devastation Barricade stumbled into their path, he turned to the raptor-carting humans. He tried to reach his weapons but being smaller than the average mech was no advantage in this situation. Without hesitation Sonic Boom leapt stamping his talons to the ebony chest of his blockade and jumped off continuing on his way, racing through the twisting rows of the junk yard.

    Fly now be shot, while he could evade and escape with no error airborne, he doubted his passengers would survive his aerial talents. Difficult as it was grounded his objective was to save the humans.

    The ground again exploded throwing out one screaming Earth Quake, he lunged right for his other only to be caught by the swinging leg. He was thrown against an outdated oldsmobile from an ancient error when gasoline was fifty-nine cents. He began to rise and correct his mistake but Sonic Boom was already on him, one leg pinning him down as a beak pulled exposed connective wires along the bulging sternomastoid, he spun around and escaped but not before smashing his powerful tail down and lacerating his brothers gut.

    By chance Sam was turned in the right direction when the raptor was penalizing and sighted through a small slice of opening, movement. “WATCH OUT!”

    Twisting, falling, jumping and running Sonic Boom made his escape in a haste belated but no worse for his response time. He performed a sort of mock jump only animals manage when escaping a predator, with his feet pinned under him at his highest leap, it was a wonder he came down without a stumble and jumped again using his thrusters to ascend. Be shot damned, he had no time to rethink any consequences, it was time to at least preserve their lives.

    Storming up beneath the flying machine, Tron-Mega shifted to his robot form and spun around reaching and caught the tail of his dragon form. One swing over his head and he lashed it out up to the raptor just out of his grip, the very tip of the whip was a blade for lacerating the densest armor. In its speed it crushed the rear side of Sonic Boom’s small of back propelling one shriek from his body as his grip was lost with the humans pinned to his sides. Both fell.

    “Sam!” Mikaela yelped.

    Amazingly he caught her shoulder as they fell and reached. “Your hand—give me your hand!” He slipped his grip onto hers—but was torn away at the last instant.

    Taking the dive Sonic Boom had swooped out of harms way gracefully and turned his mask down to go for the second, but stopped.

    Mikaela was screaming, reaching for salvation, until an iron grip took out the fall and she was again descending, though not at the life ending plummet that had stolen her stern valor.

    Thirty feet above, once Sam had seen Mikaela rescued he began struggling in the raptors grip though not considering what would happen to his body if he fell at this height, or how he would help his companion if such an effect were put into cause. “Go get her, save her. Save her!” Sonic Boom ignored him and only stared down while suspended, no thought into the height at which witnesses might view him.

    “Grave Digger!” Tron-Mega hailed as he raised Mikaela in his grip. “This human is nothing to me, but I will trade for that one. Exchange with me and you may have opportunity to rescue him again, deny me and watch her slow demise.”

    Now high over the scrap yard Sam could sight out where the Decepticons were in position, though he could not identify them by name he more or less understood their pose to this leader. They were moving slowly, converging to the point where Tron-Mega awaited the answer of his old ally, they were gazing up hungrily as though ready to kill him at the order, but no matter what their appointed leader would never give that order. It was good to feel that bit secure, he guessed.

    “Do what he says,” Sam ordered. “Trade me for her, I don’t care what happens to me s’long as she’s safe.” He looked back up at the masked machine. “Did you hear me, it’s my decision. He’ll kill her if you don’t, he won’t kill me till he’s good and ready!” It did in that instant occur to Sam that perhaps now was the time Tron-Mega would murder him, but he didn’t care. He was scared witless for his own life, but he could not allow Mikaela to take his fate for him. There was no doubt in his mind that the Decepticon would crush her slowly as he watched. He could not bear that. “Please,” he said, closing his eyes to hide his pain, “just do it.”

    Sonic Boom groaned in a low tone and sighed, but did not act on his order. His gaze dropped to Tron-Mega, he began descending slowly, one level at a time.

    “Don’t do this Sam, please!” pleaded Mikaela. She was crying. “He’ll kill you and that will be that, but if you’re alive he’ll be bitching still about his lost leader. Don’t give him that satisfaction, please! PLLLEEEAAAAASSSSSS! Sonic! Get him away, don’t come near!”

    “Silence, human!” roared Tron-Mega. “His fate is sealed, he shall pay for his crimes one way or the other.” Then he expressed an eerie grin by shifting the plates around his bicuspids. “Or it will be her life for his, Grave Digger. Care to bargain?”

    Puzzled and stationed but with direction Sonic Boom began descending again, just as slow, his optics carefully alighted on the Decepticon. “He will kill you both,” he was saying to Sam, “you can’t do this.”

    But Sam was firm with his resolve and stone-faced glaring at the cruel machine. “I don’t care, I want to say I at least gave it. Whatever happens, I will be glad to know that.”

    “Stay away,” Mikaela screamed, tears at her eyes. “Sam! Please don’t make me regret loving you.”

    Below and behind the raptors reception of view Barricade moved into position, he had one arm aimed and his other supporting it for the recoil value. His tracking range followed the descent of his quarry little by little. Right when he was good and ready to fire he registered a low growl at his rear and turned slowly to spy Earth Quake standing there, snarling at his least noble actions. Before he could reposition his aim the little monster jumped on him slashing and biting with fury. He was reminded how these creatures were as surgical as Frenzy but more sturdy and much more difficult to deter from their actions, they were also mean. This one stabbed the extent of his body for stability and bit down along his belly. He thrashed and knocked a row of vans over.

    Noticing the action from above, Sonic Boom dropped his gaze of Tron-Mega to watch humored as his other tackled nobility, he was not known for that, curious.

    “Grave Digger,” Tron-Mega rumbled. “My patience runs thin.”

    Looking again to the Decepticon there was only once course of action. He spun over opening the rapid gun at his back and spun firing at him as he twisted over and ascended high. “NOOO!” Sam howled.

    “NO!” Tron-Mega spat. Neglecting woe he dropped his prisoner and transformed taking to the sky in rapid movement of his blade wings, his engines propelled him to Sonic Boom in less than a second and he opened his jaws swallowing up the raptor machine in one snap. Before he could snap his teeth however, the smaller machine stuffed the human into the protection of his chest and shot his thrusters at the delicate plasma ports at his pursuers throat. As he spiraled out of sight the dragon threw his heavy head high as his reactors ignited to the charge, he collapsed to the ground below crushing rows of rust under his weight, he coughed up thick rolls of black smoke and thrashed with the cruelty of it all. “That Grave Digger…WILL DIE!”

    Already many alleys away from the angry beast machine, Mikaela was running for her life wondering if Sonic Boom would return for her or if Sam had survived the sudden sonic shock she registered as it took flight. There was only one thing she could do well at the immediate demand and that was escape with her life and not be used as the pawn anymore, it was too dangerous for Sam whom she didn’t want to see pulled into pieces because of her. Nothing could be worse than his sobs of death.

    Obviously she made a wrong turn for she skidded to a halt and looked up as the familiar Decepticon turned and looked down at her. What the hell happened to him, she wondered. Did he do something wrong? While correct in her assumption, the context was beyond placement. She began to back away slowly hoping his sight was damaged, his audio at least. Stupid, but what more would be better?

    He began to approach her and raised his arm, the rifle came into view with a few clicks and flow of embers. “I will have some s-satisfaction…in this predicament,” he said. And looked up.

    “What happened to you?” inquired Tron-Mega in an angry snarl, smoke was puffing from his sides. “Do something I would not approve, no doubt.” Inattentive, he stepped over Mikaela and approached the thrashed warrior.

    Indicating himself Barricade proceeded to explain the outcome of his duty to preserve his leaders way. “Your minion attacked me, and all I desired was to pick out the flyer from the air. Surely, you did not believe for a moment Grave Digger would trade the human for…a female? It’s not his nature to bargain to your desire.”

    “Yes, true,” Tron-Mega said. “He’ll do anything to pry my armor, even if it pangs him. But, you did not think well enough…not well enough at all.” He shook his head. “Aim for Grave Digger you would have killed the human, no matter your intent. Or was that your intent? I will have my chance to acquire him again, his death is single.”

    When the Decepticons had lost interest in her was the cue to make a retreat, not so hasty as she would have liked but better than drawing attention to herself. She went no more than five feet when another one appeared, the insane green one that made her teeth ache even if he was not aiming weapons at her. Mikaela stepped sideways and stood still wondering what it would do, Longhaul gave her a mindful stare but stationed himself where he was content to wait out his time as his captain spoke private with the other lieutenant. He was having a lot of fun nonetheless, how he loved new planets…until they were baron, then he found a new one to tear up.

    “You’ve had communications with Scrapper, what did he say?” asked Tron-Mega.

    Longhaul looked across to him. “He’s entering the city, no interference yet with humans. What are your orders, sir?” Purposely he looked to Mikaela hoping he could at least kill her.

    His next orders came through a mechanical howl. “We rendezvous with him, steer through state Nevada. Move along the boarder line until we receive word from Earth Quake.” Just to be certain of his location he contacted his raptor who was running laps beneath the soil in pursuit of Sonic Boom’s obvious direction. “They wish to keep the human from us. Prime must know my intent.”

    “Then a change of plans is in order,” Barricade grumbled. “Target the Autobots Dirge and Dozercannon have indicated now. Draw out the primary force that will fight. I have a score to settle with Bumblebee, anyway.”

    “No. We do not.” He turned to Longhaul annoyed. “We hold back, do not engage, pretend we’ve lost interest in the human for now. I doubt Prime will buy that strategy, but I want him. Kill civilians if you desire, make them panic, the Autobots, the states government – but Samuel Witwicky is mine.”

    “Civilians, you say?” Longhaul opened the clawed digits along his gauntlet and moved towards the silent human he had cornered.

    “It’s time to move out.” Tron-Mega put himself between his gleeful Decepticon and the human. “Now.”

    “But sir, she is one of their allies. We must eliminate her.”

    “Then she is not civilian. Get going!” As the machine spun away he looked to Barricade just standing there. “You too.”

    Stepping forward Barricade looked up at the large warrior with the skull like jaws. “Why protect the human? You said civilians, and now you defend their allies. Is your programming flawed?”

    “Is yours?” He checked Mikaela staring around them with panicked hope. “She’s no matter to me, but she’s female, the weaker of this species. She was willing to give her life for her mate, despite how hopeless that was. But I admire it.” He grabbed Barricade by the shoulder and shoved him along. “Now move or you’ll be spinning in bits.”

    Was this for real? Mikaela could not hope to wonder that. Why did the Decepticon spare her if she were nothing, what did it matter if she lived or not? She could locate a means of communication and contact Optimus Prime, tell him what she had gathered between the electronic shrieks and what little English they admitted in. Or it could be a cruel ploy to raise hope then watch with satisfaction as she died, the betrayal that would no doubt accompany her eyes. But just to be certain she crept along, through the maze of the junkyard avoiding any sound, any click that might be a hostile life form. Any bit of paranoia she heeded.

    After a long hour or so, she had no way of telling, she came to the edge of the yard and sighted the small hut in which the manager would be stationed. She walked, not ran, to the door just in case she was being watched, she did not want to seem eager for her death. She knocked and waited a few minutes before an older man answered looking as though he didn’t receive too many visitors in his location, least any close to her description of weary eyed, dusty, and bleeding profusely from her gashed shoulder.

    “Do you have a phone?” she asked.

    He nodded somewhat bemused, his interior décor was nothing less a mess worse than his yard. “Yeah. Come in.” He let the young, hot, girl in and went to fetch his cell phone. “I’ll get you some bandages and alcohol for your arm. What happened to you, anyway? Boyfriend dump you?”

    She sighed as she looked up and down the mess of junk, old motors greasing the floor, an ashtray converted from a metal cup holder, various other knickknacks useful in this adobe. She rubbed her face and realized she was crying. Though she knew Sam was safe and far from Tron-Mega’s reach, she was still crying.

    The yard owner returned with his beat up cell larger than his hand and looked at the sad, hot girl. “What’s the matter miss?”

    She turned to him still wiping dust and tears from her face. “Um, nothing. Nothing. You have your phone? Thank you.”

    ***
    In Tulare of California of magic hour, a familiar Peterbilt truck sat at a complimentary gas station receiving its four hundred gallons of refined fuel for the road. In this location on the main state highway through the city the semi was right at place among the various cargo laid haulers, ignoring the key fact that this pristine truck in its prime and shine was without a trailer that was not uncommon between destinations. The stop was always busy with the pilots of these machines going to and from the shop center of the “Fast Track 99.” There was a nice park nearby with fencing so those with four legged companions could stop to get some exercise, and with some of the cheapest gas along the road the temptation was too much.

    Unlike most vehicles whose owners take to precautions and shut down the motor while taking on fuel this semi refused, or it did but the onboard mass functions were not off. While he waited Optimus ran over the many simulations he had assimilated for such occasions as unrestricted fighting might be unleashed on any of one major city. He did not need to be reminded for the uptenth time how long it took Sector Seven, now Advanced Research Division-7, to convince almost everyone in Mission city that what they had witnessed was a great release of Weather Ballons, and all others not deterred from he truth, admired as they were, were not believed when stating in Tabloids…“Giant Robots Bankrupted My Business.” Sad and true, there was nothing more to be done of the issue, and the high sums slipped in banking accounts were never enough.

    While comparing strategic data through filaments of Megatron and Tron-Mega, he received a transmission from his stationed ‘phone number’ and answered, hoping it wasn’t those telemarketers again. “Hello?” he answered.

    “Optimus.”

    Computing systems shut off. “Banes? Where are you?” he hissed.

    “An old scrap yard somewhere, I’m not sure where.” To the background she asked and answered into the phone. “Provo in – where? Utah!”

    Drawing up the map and coordinates between the two cities Optimus calculated a four hundred mile distance between them. “Is Sam there with you?”

    “No,” she groaned. “Tron-Mega caught us…Sonic showed up, got him away but had to leave me.” In her voice, Optimus could sense a breaking. “I don’t know where he is or the others Decepticons, he couldn’t just leave me. Why would he?”

    “Calm down,” he said in a low, gentle tone. “You’re all right. Chances are he and his followers have lost all interest in you, Tron-Mega must be too obsessed with locating Sam foremost of any other priority he might have, this may be his only aspiration and he seems engrossed by it. What you need to do is stay put and wait where you are, I’ve contacted aid for you and it shouldn’t take long for it to reach your location. Are you hurt?"

    Mikaela looked to her shoulder where the dirty yard manager was dressing her wound, the only length of him clean where his hands up to elbows. It hurt like hell but the cut was not deep, it had only been a rusty spring that tore into her shoulder when she was dropped and thus removed. Later she could worry about shots for Tetanus. “I’ve been banged up, dropped, and cut, but I’m good. I’m sure.” There was a throbbing in her head and her sight was not so great.

    “Are you sure?” When Mikaela insisted she was all right he continued. “What is your exact position?”

    Again she consulted the man beside her then relayed to Optimus, though his reception dug through the outdated cell phone. “Outskirts of Provo,” he related, while securing the bandage on Mikaela’s arm. He gave his head a scratch. “How couldn’t you know?”

    This worked well but he knew why that was. “Hang tight, assistance will be there shortly. My connection will remain open, anything - you suspect you’re in danger contact me.” Unsure how this might help her it was still best if he could send the message to DareRex to hurry her ass up.

    “Thank you, Optimus,” she said, relieved by the assurance. “I think I’ll be fine now. Tron-Mega didn’t seem to intent on hanging around…not with Sam gone.” She was relieved by this but also terrified.

    When Mikaela had ended the call, the gas clerk had removed the nozzle and went to the cabs door. “Hey buddy, your totals,” he rechecked the sum, cleaned his glasses and tried once more, with a whistle. “Two thousand four hundred twenty-four an’ ninety-two cents.” The man in the cab failed to respond so he knocked on the polished cholo flames. “Hello, you hear me?”

    “Government fee,” the cab said. “Jurisdiction ARD7.” With that said the motor roared to life and the semi rolled out with the gas teller standing mouth agape as the truck just up and left.

    (Author comments: Shit, I just noticed how much I beat up on Mikaela :lol  I don’t know why, maybe it’s the damsel in distress bit I’m getting at, or that she’s tougher than Sam (sorta) that I can write all this stuff. Would Sam die if someone stepped on his toe? I doubt it. Would he die if Longhaul stepped on him. Indubitably.

    The junk yard collision got really confusing, I basically was tired of writing it and said “Screw it! There’s rusty metal everywhere, es‘plode some stuff and escape! Deal with it!!!”

    Having all sorts of crazy stuff happen to Sonic while he’s carting around passengers is just fun. He’s usually good nature, but he bites really hard, and he’s mean too. That and he doesn’t take stuff lying down. He and Rumble got along real well…until he tore the guys arm off :)  )
     
  10. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    Hope everyone had a Merry Christmas! I forgot this story existed till I actually entered my room last week and reread it and thought “It’s not finished?” Apparently, I’m one of the few people that believes in the typing fairy. Apparently, she’s not real.

    I started writing and hadn’t realized how long this damn thing is, but I do have the idea for the ending, the only problem is getting up to it with the rising of a climatic battle and then the dramatic end. Still thinking about that video game ending.

    Oh yeah, in this chapter more fighting, some mysteries, and the perseverance of new allies.


    7 –Mistaken Regret




    For now….



    “…under our frightened feet.”

    At least fifty-two miles Southeast of Beaver in Utah, in the lower range of desert littered with brittle shrubs deprived of water, the dust parts for a lone, proximal black motorcycle as it rolled across the last heat vapors of the desert. With little shade and no moisture it was no wonder that this approaching fall time of weather could be so heated during the long days growing shorter day by day. The last light glimmered across the visor of the self motivated vehicle howling with power, its travels appeared less worn across its own surface, even if a portion of that travel time were beneath the very soil.

    Finally, the fore portion of the bike splints and the wheel spirals and flips back, the following potpourri occurs once the wheel is out of the way, and subsequent fall and tumble of the raptor machine into its original form. After grinding through rock and dirt it rears back snapping portions of the main body open and ejecting one queasy Sam, who stumbles away as his carrier collapses aside. As for him, he proceeds to throw up in the dust, his clothing is ripped, there were fresh scrapes on his arms.

    As the human jagged on dry heave Sonic Boom was already rolling back onto his side determined to stand but unable to, like a sick animal struck at highway and back broken he twists and turns, collapsed, and tries again. The end result was he lying on his side, unable to move, unable to escape, staring up at the alien world he had only been freed from for a short time.

    Soon as he was done hurling Sam was on him with a vengeance, grabbing his torn through mask and striving to look into the blazing red lenses. “What is wrong with you?” he shrieked, voice distorted by pain. He wiped his mouth hard and continued. “I said ‘trade!’ I said me for her! What part of that didn’t you get through your p-prehistoric brain?” His lower lip trembled.

    “Eck-k,” said Sonic, his jaw clicking. Turning his head he looked back onto his hide.

    Following his gaze Sam saw what ailed the creature. “Jesus.” The lower section of the raptor machine had been shredded through, sparks spilling free, it was a mess he could not begin to take tally on. The base portion of the tail was still attached by wire components and grinding bits of hydraulic pimps, one rear leg had twisted on its peg under its body, he hadn’t noticed til now. A trail of broken pieces were on the ground from where the tire tracks of the bike had moved. It was a blood trail. “You’re dying.”

    “N-nay,” it said. “Wound…unusual, not fatal. But could not…ffff-fight. All us die…if I stayed-d. I…am sorry. If Tron-Mega is wanting…you dead fff-ffirst…he will not fight-t until…you are dead fff-ffirst. Hissss…sstubornessss…isss his greatest flaw. Our advantage. More live if you live, more…die if peg removed. You are…hisss peg.”

    “Yeah-yeah-yeah,” Sam growled. “You keep saying that.”

    “Humans…slow learner, alwaysss forgetting-gh, make bad choices.” He pushed Sam away and moved to his four feet, his damaged side could not rear life to his one leg so it twisted under his body. Raising his head high he searched the horizon while seeking his data banks for the safest possible routes. “Get…on, I will-ll take you…to safety.”

    Sam looked the quadruped raptor over and considered. “You’re in no condition to fly.”

    “Nay-y.” He shook his head. “Walk. Y-you will…lose energyyyy, I will not-t. You’re-re wasting…time.”

    Doubting the wounded robot he still climbed on its back, he had ridden horses before and wondered if a mechanical raptor would be the same. “Are you sure about this? You’re thrashed. I can always camp out under the stars.” Liking this idea even less, he couldn’t just let the thing kill itself. “Besides, where would I be if you died?”

    “Not…dying,” he growled as he began walking. “T-tron-Mega made….one misstake when…hiding you from Autobotssss. He cross-ssed Nevada.” Shifting the vertebra coil through his damaged hip and back he took on his full traction mode, he began at a steady gallop to cover ground with little effort. When Transcanning life forms upon the planet in his first awakening he had used many unique schematics, some proving obsolete over time while others evolved. His frame was a result of that mutation plus his alternate form of current day. Very soon he would lose one rear leg dragging under him.

    “Great, wonderful,” murmured Sam annoyed. “Now, can you contact someone and tell them I’m all right? Get them to go back for Mikaela?”

    “Nay,” he answered. “Opening…communications re-reveals position to other…ll-lllike me, isolation…keep him-mmm confused, you sssafe. Once…you a-are safe you…may contact Optimusss-sss Pr-Prime.”

    Fretted for Mikaela and her fate to Tron-Mega, he decided to listen to Sonic Boom this once. He didn’t want to. More than anything he yearned to know she was safe and well far from the sadistic Decepticon but considering the time it would require an Autobot to discover the truth, perhaps he was better off waiting. He lowered his head to his hands but held his balance on the running machine. This week was so fucked up and he had only himself to blame.

    ***

    “Now miss, that bandage won’t hold forever,” said the yard manager. “You need to get to a hospital and have that looked at. My alcohol was past date and might not be as good as fresh stuff.”

    Mikaela sat at his tacky coffee table, completely stable after the broken leg was repaired with half a golf club welded on. She put down the cup of koolaid she was drinking and thanked him. “I’m fine, really. Just waiting for someone to pick me up.”

    “Friends? Family?” He sat down beside her. “What were you doing trespassing on my property, and making that ruckus?” In truth he had been too afraid to go outside and see for himself, if something was coming down it was best to be as far away as possible. There was no predicting metal junk when it rained, much like the weather reports. Once or twice he had peeked from the blinds to check what was happening, what he saw he could not understand. The top of some living thing that was spiked, at first he thought it was the magnetic crane but it was a solid color, and bent. If he were still a child believing in fantasies he might have told someone it was a dragon spewing and roaring, but that was ridiculous. Then a terrible thunder quaked his flimsy glass and he had jumped back from the window. That was not normal.

    “I can’t really say.” There was nothing to say. She set her glass down and laid back on the couch, it was soft but had the faint sour stink of old furniture. On top of that she had nothing to eat all day, and now night was falling fast. “Excuse me, where’s your bathroom?”

    “Um….next room, door over.” He sat grim faced as Mikaela left, only his own thoughts on this issue to keep him company. He had to tell this story to his poker buddies when they scheduled another game, they would get a kick out of this.

    After a long chunk of time Mikaela came back, slightly cleaner and her hair fixed up. “Thank you.” She sat on the couch again a little further from the yard manager. “Do you…live here?”

    Silence.

    Uneasily, he nodded. “Sometimes my pals come over, we play cards.” In addition to that he added, “I sometimes make a healthy profit and invite them out for a drink.”

    She was nodding to this. “That sounds…nice.”

    “Is someone really coming for you?”

    Nodding quickly she confirmed this. “Oh yes. A friend of mine. I don’t know how long but…it’s dangerous for me to go outside.” He was nodding understand to this but with a glazed expression over his blue eyes. “Very-very dangerous, like…my sadistic boyfriend is out there waiting with a rifle.”

    “Oh.” He chewed on this a moment. “Boyfriend? Did he leave you here?”

    “You can say that.” Following his new transfixed stare she sighted a large rifle mounted to the wall. Whirling to him she shook her head. “Oh, no. He’s not that serious.”

    “Well, if he isn’t why did you say he was?” He smoothed back his dark hair and looked at her. “He’s either one or the other, he can’t be both.”

    “I-uh….” At no better time, or so she hoped, a low rumbling filled the small home. The quacking so violent the half empty cup of koolaid bounced off the table followed by a shrill shriek and then a rumbling. “That…must be my ride.” She stood, looked down at the mess, and proceeded to help wipe it up. “I’m so sorry.”

    “Wasn’t your fault.” Drawing back he looked at her again. “Your ride?”

    She turned and went for the doorway. “I have to go now. Thank you for your help and the drink, I appreciate it.” She waved and closed the screen door behind her.

    No wiser to these events from the first, the man jumped to his feet and followed Mikaela outside. “Hey, miss!” He stopped and turned as an intense gust flooded his yard, he shielded his eyes and flicked the light switch beside him placing bright dull beams onto the open dirt. Something was moving….

    A large jet he didn’t recognize at all was drawing down towards earth, legs uncoiling from under it, but he had never seen one land without a strip or cable. This one seemed to be floating on its own thermals and coming down smoother than he thought a trained fighter could pilot one. And it was landing in his yard. “What in fuck value….”

    Aside from the amazing touch down, the craft sported orange tints and red highlights, or perhaps that was his old eyes playing tricks on him. The carapace slid back revealing nothing inside, he had to watch as the young lady he helped climbed onto the wing and into this empty cockpit. There had to be no one in it or else she would have no place to fit, unless he had been drinking again and there was nothing really there. But he could feel it, smell the exhaust, there was dirt in his eyes. His cameras might catch sight, but would it be visible?

    As the carapace slid over the occupant it performed another impossible stunt, it flew. It rose drawing its legs up into its slots and turned sixty-one degrees away from the man and began a gradual assent over the junk field, fifty meters out it turned and gained speed over his home rattling the foundation again with the roaring engine sucking fresh air through the ducts. The manager took off onto the blazing ground and turned as he watched, he stumbled but maintained his gaze, the aircraft was fading out of sight aside from the burning contours of its engines and the lights flashing on its wings. They winked out and all grew silent finally.

    “Impossible,” he muttered. He ran around the yard to check where the UFO had descended and kicked at the dirt. “It can’t be.” But under the dull gloom of the gold lamps he could make out the tire marks, single marks unmoving where they touched.

    ***

    “I’m not surprised,” spoke DareRex once Mikaela had related her ordeal to the Decepticon. “Tron-Mega will slaughter hordes of Autobots that resist him, but he rarely fights anyone he considers weaker than him.”

    Safe and secure Mikaela looks to the dashboard where the enemy seal was visible. “Why did he maul Bumblebee then?”

    There was not a shrug to the voice. “He was in the way.”

    That was familiar to her human concept, resist and be slaughtered, give in and be dominated. She questioned the concept again but the answer was still the same. “What about Sam? Can you call Sonic?”

    Hesitation. Again DareRex relayed the painful news, though she desired to know her allies condition, he was worse for his wear. She paused after this. “Which way did you say he went?”

    “I’m not sure. I think this way, turn. East of Provo.” She fixed the helmet and mask on her head, just in case it would do any good. “I was on the ground fairly distracted with my own life.”

    “The most cherished possession any living thing has.” The Tornado made a smooth turn and began in the direction Mikaela had indicated, a few ten degrees off course. She questioned the condition of Sonic Boom when he fled and Mikaela mentioned he was able to fly fast. This did not seem to cheer up the Decepticon.

    “Mikaela,” it began softly, “my files of human routine indicate a time interval of every solar cycle in which you must shut down between five to eight hours in which to recharge. They also indicate this relieves stress and ailments. Your shoulder is wounded. If you need you can shut down for the required span and I will continue to search.”

    Mikaela recalled what Bumblebee had said of Transformers shutting down for shorter periods of time for…conserving energon. “Will you be all right?”

    A low hiss in no way related to air currents resounded. “Yeah, I will. But you looked…threadbare when I landed. You’ve been through a lot for a single day.”

    As if a great weight had been lifted from her shoulders Mikaela rested back and relaxed, it felt so good. It was disrupted by a sudden twinge and she looked horrified at the dash in front of her for the Tornado’s controls. “DareRex?”

    “Huh?”

    “You…you are DareRex, aren’t you?” Again that throbbing pain at her head. She could not ignore it and laid her head on the rest.

    “If I were Tron-Mega, I wouldn’t be wasting my time with you,” she said. “He’s out searching for Sam, and Sam’s with Sonic Boom. Don’t worry.”

    As she drifted off into a deep sleep comforted by the smooth glide of the Panavia, she murmured, “But I have to.”

    ***

    Two of the personal soldiers of the ARD facility escorted Mr. Simmons with assistant Glen Whitmann through the thick blast doors and many corridors of the actual research division. Below the catwalk shielded by shatter resistant polyurethane worked the many separate technical teams still deciphering through what little alien technology they had at their disposal to manufacture new, advanced products to enhance the lives of the civilians and the military class that would receive them before the general public.

    They turned down the fifth intersection on route and clomped down the incline, past another man in white smocks carting equipment up. A few more feet they turned stepping into an alcove that like all others was guarded by two men in uniform, on their shoulders was a special identification tag that was white iridescent with black bar-codes.

    Simmons took white smocks from the coat racks and handed one to Glen. “You know the drill.” He began with slipping his cast arm in first, the thing had been giving him trouble night and day.

    With a groan Glen complied. “Yeah, but it messes with my style.” He slipped through the back adjusting his shoes in the bottom, nearly stumbled but got himself situated and slipped his head into the helmet. He turned and zipped Simmons up making sure the seam at the back of the suit covered the zipper properly, then pivoted as Simmons did so that his suit could be sealed in.

    It took two or so more minutes to check their suits over for any slices on the surface, they were pretty tough state of the art but precaution always had to be followed. They fitted on the small oxygen tanks to the backs before proceeding through, the usual locking accordance was always shifting randomly in this area, to prevent anyone from getting in that was not supposed to be in. After Simmons, Glen stepped into the disinfecting chamber and waited as the door shut and locked behind them. Three different gases spewed in cycle from the nozzles around them, once done they were allowed entry into the next chamber, the research room.

    “Mr. Simmons,” Glen began tentatively, “You remember…you gave me that assignment to work on, and seeing how this is interfering with my “no brakes, no overtime” I can’t say I see how it’s apart of my research, sir…Mr.” He followed his guide into the sterile chamber, a special tinted visor blocked out the blinding lights or most of these researchers would have gone blind years ago.

    Simmons looked at him and smiled in his conniving way. “Don’t sweat it.” His good Samaritan smile faded as he turned away. “Come on.” He moved down the long halls of research, machines, tools, to mid way through the overall chamber and stepped down steps into a lower section spreading wide out across and above. Within this section along several men and women worked with tools and items of which design was foreign, even to Simmons. “Mr. Whitmann, this is Lamont Cuirass heading weapons research division.”

    There was little to see of the man aside from his face, he was however shorter than Glen with some white-gray hairs curling into his face, one eye appeared cataract laced and useless. “Mr. Whitmann, a pleasure to actually meet the man that cracked the NBEs code.” He turned from his work and shook his hand. “I so wanted to meet you since I heard the rumors but, alas we are not allowed interaction with the civilian class.” He stepped back turning a sour scowl on grinning Simmons. “Only those filed in the division of our field. Isn’t that right, Mitchell?”

    “It’s Agent Simmons to you, Lam.” He moved towards the oddly designed white capsule stuck between clamps, many wires stuck from them with a wafting mist flowing from the surface. “So, what is it you’ve got for me?”

    “Well, since you asked I reckon it would only be polite to answer.” Lamont returned to his workstation and gestured to his equipment. “This is one of fifteen prototypes my team has been working on since the first encounter with the recently arrived NBE-67, you specially ordered that heat based Sabots would not work on them?”

    Simmons nodded and crossed his arm over the cast. “Yes, that’s what I said. What have you done about it?”

    He cleared his throat and flashed a smile to Glen, then continued. “I contemplated you were moving in the wrong direction. Sabots? What were you thinking?” He slapped his helmet. “Of course it works for a little while, all temporary answers do, but not forever. Sooner than you want them to, they fail.” He shrugged. “But I have analyzed an appropriate aspect for dealing with this complication.”

    On the table sat a cylinder of reinforced steel expressing many years of wear and tear. He took it and put some gloves on over his covered hands, appropriately armed he removed the lid. Vapor began to roll out descending across the old white but never reaching the table. Lamont took a thick metal prod and looked to his audience.

    “You recall liquid nitrogen, the highest freezing point of any known chemical agent.” He dipped the metal prod into the wafting top for a moment then brought it up. “Normally I cannot even bend titanium, but after a quick dip in the liquid its molecular structure is rewritten temporarily, I can….” He took the metal bar and snapped it, the brittle pieces scattered through his fingers.

    Simmons nodded and sighed. “Yes, very lovely, but we’ve already been through this. Liquid nitrogen has little affect on the NBE armor, aside from slowing them down and eventually stopping one in stasis. You had better tell me you have a better use for it.”

    The cooky scientist appeared most happy by the berating. “Oh, I have.” He reached under a shelf and pulled out a second container that was noticeably much neater than the former nitro container. He put the latter away and opened the new container. “Stand back, if you will. This chemical is lethal on contact.” He took out a second container, one housing a yellow metal.

    Glen was staring mouth open. “Say, isn’t that—?”

    “Shush.” Simmons gazed appealed.

    “We’re still working on the composition, but it works satisfactory when it is needed.” He opened the glass container and took out the piece of yellow metal, he clamped a long pair of tongs on it and stood back. He weaved the metal through the thick vapors spilling from the container. “It takes a little longer, but at least in this way I might keep my tongs.” He set the yellow metal down and recapped the container, he put his tongs down but frowned when they cracked. “Oh well,” he sighed. He then balled up his fists and brought it down on the yellow metal.

    It shattered.

    Simmons raised his eyebrows high. “Woow!”

    “What the—what is that?” Glen yelped.

    The scientist smiled. “Liquid nitrogenII.” He took a cone shaped cap and placed it over the top of the vapor releasing visage of the item he had been working with. “As I said we have fifteen prototypes, ten for raptors, five for Abrahams, currently we are working on getting the chemical composition to work within rifles safely but it will require more time.”

    “But what does it do exactly?” Simmons stepped up to the little rocket and looked it over. “Freeze their armor in portions so it can be broken away? That’s not very affective at a distance, and even in time with care the L-nitrogenII will wear off, wouldn’t it?”

    “It will,” agreed Lamont. “But that’s why the casing is reinforced.” He whipped a finger out at Simmons face. “The capsule - or Botte as you should recognize it hereafter – works very similarly to its predecessor. But rather the super heated magnesia tip boring into the armor, the capsule splatters a small portion of the armor allowing the primary warhead to crash through.”

    Simmons flicked his hand out. “Yeah, like the Sabot. Once inside it goes boom.”

    “Unlike the Sabot,” Lamont resumed, “there is an inner core that works with the explosion. Not only does it add damage to the inner portion of the exoskeleton, it prohibits healing via ultra heating, as seen in the specimen brought back by Captain Lennox’s men. Now here is what is really special.” He held the prototype upside down revealing the core rod center. “This core is filled with more Liquid nitrogenII, super heated in the resulting implosion that bores deeper into the armor. The damage is self-inflicted thereafter, the NBE will need extensive repairs if it will want to continue an assault, while the soldiers using these weapons will be pelting away.” He leaned close to Simmons staring him in the eye. “Imagine hitting it in the head with this.”

    He looked at the Botte debating over the governments’ expenses covering this sort of research, the damage it alone could do with reputation against Optimus Prime and his Autobots. He grinned.

    “So, this is more powerful than the Sabot?” Glen asked.

    Lamont turned to him. “Uh, well, no. More effective against the target enemy, yes.” He rubbed his helmet. “The Sabots were designed for tank flanking whereas Bottes wouldn’t get through the dense armor.” He held up his gloved hand using it as an example. “See here, the NBEs armor is porous and extensive, there are internal cables working and moving all at once like our muscles. The charge shatters the armor, but the boring isn’t continuos like the Sabot. Get the charge in, the actual damage isn’t done by the weapon itself, it’s begun. As the NBE continues to operate it does damage to itself, much like we do when we’ve broken an arm and the bone rubs against internal tissue.”

    “Uh, thanks for the example.” Glen had snapped his arm once before when he fell down a set of stairs, he recalled how it burned whenever the paramedics moved it to get the bone back in place. “And now we’re done show and telling, why am I here?” He looked to Simmons uneasily.

    He smirked. “Almost forgot about you, heh.” He turned to an operating computer monitor with the schematics for the Botte on it. “May I?” He held up a small unmarked pad.

    Lamont urged him on. “Please, if it has anything to do with Mr. Whitmann.” He flashed the uneasy youth a smile.

    Simmons slipped the small pad into the jack and ran through the appropriate parameters to open it. “Here we go, Mr. Whitmann. Tell me what this is.”

    He moved forward wiping his foggy visor unsure of what he was looking at. “Hey, that’s my research. But, I never let anyone have access to my notebook, or had it hooked up online.”

    “You didn’t need to.” Simmons continued tacking the keys, it was difficult to do with the cast on his arm. “No one working at our facility needs to.” He stopped reading through the data. “No one listened to Margaret before when she said a non-biological entity might be hacking Airforce one.” He glanced to Glen. “Can you tell me what her latest theory was about.”

    He knew it well, he implied it once he got out of the hospital she was left in. Maggie wasn’t allowed to work in her condition, being dropped a full story while moving at twenty MPH she was lucky to be alive, rather she was rolled away with a sprained neck, dislocated arm, and a few broken ribs. The first thing she did upon awakening she turned to Glen, he would have been there no matter what she knew, and told him of a secret language.

    “She theorized th-that…uh, the raptor thing spoke with Tron-Mega on an ultra high frequency level that only he, no one, not even other Transformers can register, and therefore if it must be honed in on this frequency it must hear on it as well.” He looked from the screen to Simmons before it. “You set me to isolate the frequency, as I was the only guy in this shack able to isolate the Transformers language.”

    “Yes,” hissed Simmons, “but now I’m thinking your talents are wasted there. Know it or not you’ve already isolated the frequency, all I want now is it applied as a weapon.” He turned to Lamont. “And I want you two to collaborate on this project.”

    Glen didn’t like the sound of that. “But, uh—sir, we were ordered not to engage with the enemy Transformers. It’s what all of ‘em have been—”

    “I don’t give a shit what those robots say,” Simmons snapped. He glared from Lamont to Glen challenging either to speak up. “We had enough damage with them fighting each other, what do any of you imagine a full blown war will look like to our world? Huh? You still think this is a video game, that your man dies you smash the reset button? Nah-uh! If we let them go head to head I guarantee cities will crumble and people will die, mass casualties mounting to the thousands. They’ll make Hiroshima look like a dust storm with their war.” He was pacing wildly and throwing his arms up into the air as he shouted.

    “But,” Glen began in a small voice, “a war with us just fighting, won’t more people die?”

    Simmons backed away and noticed along the walls the researchers were frozen from their work watching him. He fixed his helmet and sleeves then looked at the two men. “No. The NBEs don’t care where they fight, it’s wherever that suits them. When we confront the enemy, it’ll be on our terms far from civilians, far from cameras, where if all else fails we can drop a bomb if needed.” He indicated the screen with Glen’s work. “Get to it.” After that he turned walking away, his smock boots swishing over the sterile floor as he left the workers to continue with researching better weapons.

    ***

    The coyotes began howling. It was unnerving. There was nothing in him that feared the Autobot would turn into potential scavengings by them, but he worried more they might take to him. That was ridiculous, coyotes were never known to kill man unless they had absolutely no choice. There were plenty of cattle ripe for the picking on the farm, he could smell them though none were in sight.

    It was still unnerving. He had used his lighter and gathered some brush to make a small fire, without anything but what was on his back he had little for cover. The small ember blaze was a beacon to any that would be wandering about under the lunar less night, but he could not help it, better he not freeze than not protect the Autobot. But so long as it was concealed by the cover of dark it was hidden, and in this small blaze the glimmering light pouring over the mutilated yellow exosekleton. Times like this it wasn’t worth being right or wrong, but freezing his nuts off was another matter. It was freakin’ cold this time of night.

    But he had to be here and there was no other place he would want to be. Bumblebee had saved his life before, it was time to repay the sacrifice despite its form, and there could be no other way he knew. Even if he was unable to comprehend the intricate technology that made these machines alive and aware, even if he could not make the battered systems heal, it was just enough to be here when he needed it. Some company, another living thing in close proximity willing to protect him, even if he could do nothing better than act as bait. It was something to Bumblebee, who needed this assurance from a comforting presence in his state more than any sort of Matrix blessed miracle.

    “Lennox,” came the sick reply again. The Autobot was motionless in the dark, not even the blossoming flames so warm could give the inert body life.

    Jolted from yet again another splint second nap, he croaked, “Here Bee. I’m not goin’ anywhere.” He had been worse settings before. It was just the idea that he was out alone with nothing more than the Autobot lifeless, possibly dying. “Just take it easy, I’m sure Ratchet will be along any time.” Or he prayed. His eyes were heavy and he kept nodding off, sometimes he thought he was awake and Bumblebee would call again. He rubbed his face and slapped himself. Stay awake, William. Can’t sleep. Clowns will eat you. Propping himself up, he slanted to the side again and his eyes dropped. Sometimes the flickering fire made him believe he was seeing lights. He got up and began busying himself by collecting any bits of shrub he could rip up with his bare hands. He had enough splinters already.

    After stumbling a bit in the embers he looked up again and saw the headlights. He squinted his eyes and stared. No, it can’t be. Keep going. Keep going. As he watched his heart sank. I can’t deal with this now. He checked Bumblebee behind him. He was in no condition to argue with anyone. Looking back he caught the headlights as they turned and began on a direct path for them. “No,” he whispered. “Damn, what are they doing?” He actually wanted to curse but that bad habit needed to be curbed, he had a kid to teach good morals to.

    Regardless his hope the headlights continued towards his position. Then, hope stirred in him. The signals began up, silent flashing lights, no sound. Lennox exhaled a deep breath. “Ratchet.”

    Within twenty feet of his position the vehicle in question disappeared, the low rolling motor was replaced by thundering steps as the technician of the Autobots raced to the fallen Bumblebee. As he knelt down he held out one arm converting the accompanying nozzle into a gun tip with a blue tipped flame, it was painful to watch but Lennox knew now the heat at this yield would heal not harm.

    “How are you holding, Captain Lennox?” the robot asked politely, its blue optics burn brighter than the flame he wield.

    “A little tired, but better now that you’re here.” He gestured to the surrounding terrain. “I collected all the pieces I could, large and small, I don’t know what use you can get from the bite size but they’re there if you need them.”

    “Most of the pieces would regenerate without my aid, but it will hasten his recovery and ensure his odds to fight once more.” Pausing in his work he leaned over Bumblebee examining him closely with his optics. “And where is DareRex?”

    “Uh,” Lennox looked across the dark landscape seeming to search. “I—”

    “Prime knows already,” he said, as he worked. “Since he contacted her to pick up Mikaela. You didn’t know, did you?”

    “Not that part.” He looked up at the medic as he resumed work, picking up pieces at the spur and never glancing at him. “Bumblebee begged her to go, I asked her to do that same. I take responsibility.”

    “That’s not your liberty. It was her decision, not yours, to abandon her post. But it’s nothing to concern over now, it will be dealt with later, when I am not in shop over a battered soldier.”

    “He was trying to protect them.”

    “I know. That was his orders, no matter how they pained Prime. He knew Bumblebee could not match against Tron-Mega, maybe in overruling valor, but not strength. It is one of those instances in which we have no choice.” He sighed and took a long look at the Autobot. “I don’t nearly have enough materials as I did aboard the Ark. He has plenty of soul, but his body is another matter.”

    “What about Sector Seven? They reverse engineered from that…Megaton, and this farm has a rig for transport.” He motioned through the dark where the farm would most likely be. “You can cart it.”

    Ratchet shook his head. “It is not that simple, or Sector Seven would have already sent a ship to retrieve him sooner. He must be stabilized before he is moved, even a short trip from this location with minimal stress to his spark casing could prove fatal. He’s just too weak.”

    Lennox was pacing around the two Autobots now, his exhaustion gone with his resolve. “What are you doing just sitting there? Fix him.”

    “I want to,” Ratchet growled. “But I cannot rush. If I do I could make a immutable error.” Hesitantly, he resumed his toil, using the welding torch at his wrist to reconnect the gashed armor that refused to repair. “Once he’s stable then transport will be an option, but I must will him to that point first.” There was another option open to him, it was a long shot but possible in any emergency that proved no other alternative. He first locked communications with DareRex who answered immediately. He requested her endeavor to summon Sonic Boom now, which was condoled by regret.

    She was trying to contact him ever since learning he was wounded but still could not establish connection. “His audio range must not have regenerated yet, or it’s permanently damaged.” A shudder followed this comment recalling Bumblebee’s condition. “I give you my sorrow.”

    “At least you made the effort. If he makes contact with you send him our way immediately.” It was possible DareRex was lying to get out of ordering Sonic Boom but he gave her the benefit of the doubt, the Decepticon wasn’t cruel and she sounded as concerned by her allies isolation.

    The only option now available, while less effective, would to place another request for the Grave Digger. It was received by the other Autobots on standby, even those not participating in the war, thus ensured possible remedies. With that task completed he concentrated all sensors on Bumblebee. He noticed Lennox pacing about the miniature combustion and questioned his behavior.

    “No, I’m not malfunctioning,” he snapped. “Just worried, that’s all.”

    “About your family?”

    He jerked to the Autobot. “Yeah.” He turned away to resume his pacing.

    He felt they were safe at the Desert Cactus, run down out the way cheap place to put the wife and kid on a high budget but at best the safest. Ironhide had informed him safety was concealment as ordinary boring, not flashy. When pressed on his hot Topkick form he stated that was different. It was not exotic, as Jazz was. There followed a tart silence that could not be broken, even by the cries of the baby. He almost expected Ironhide to screech something Cybertronian nonsense at the noisy child, but instead he generated something, a soft pulse that baby Annabelle took to well. It was the best that could be managed while mom was still unconscious, best for her at the time, and maybe it was just what the old warrior needed.

    “You did not need to come, you could have stayed with them.”

    “I know,” Lennox murmured. “But I have a duty to fulfill to my country, my world, as well as them. I might not like the way it goes, I might never come back, but if I didn’t fight, who would?” He looked at the medic engrossed by his task. “An elder man came up to me one time in the street, he asked me, “Son why do you travel so far to kill their babies?” I told him there, “Sir, I don’t kill babies. I fight people who want to kill me, because I have a baby to protect, because they will kill me just the same. I don’t like to kill, I don’t want to, I wish there wasn’t war, I wish to god we could settle our differences before we clean our weapons. But…would you rather a father fight for his child, or a man kill for his bread and water?’”

    Ratchet broke from his work and looked down at the soldier, the fire died just enough that a portion of his face were dark and the optics were icy. “We fought for life, we fought for freedom, we fought because we had no choice. You chose to fight, to protect people you care for. That is what I admire in you, captain.”

    Lennox stared at the alien from galaxies away, here before him and nodded his head solemnly. “Thank you, sir.” As Ratchet resumed his dreary task the soldier sat down and tossed tiny twigs into the hungry flames content to watch as they smolder and curl black. Faraway the coyotes began to call again, long lonely howls into the lunar loss night.

    ***

    “I wish we could inform Sam of his parents condition,” Ironhide muttered in his native language. The large pickup was driving down a city block and parked at the dark red bulbs of a street lamp. “I hate lying to him.” Of course he was worried as well, Sam had proved his worth in courage and if that made a warrior from scrap that was all he needed.

    “He has enough on his mind at the moment,” Optimus responded. “He doesn’t need to know his father had a brief brush with his enemy, the sense of regret would overwhelm h—”

    “I know, sir.” Earlier he had tapped into the hospitals phone line and learned that Ronald Witwicky was doing well, Judy Witwicky was well, both were alive to say the least. And the…rodent was doing well, stitches in the shoulder and a high vet bill would be all his worries, what Judy couldn’t figure was how the dog got in his condition in the first place, and the paradox, how did the GMC Topkick transport her husband and dog to two separate locations six miles apart in less than two minutes? He was considering altering his vehicle form, but his mode was perfect, not impressive as Optimus’ cab, but just to his liking. Besides, who wanted to be a hog-nose anyway. Not him! “Fate does not serve the human well.”

    “I say it serves him well enough,” transmitted the commander. “Thus far only one hundred thirty-seven humans have been wounded by Tron-Mega and Earth Quake’s rampage, five have been killed.” Currently he was en-route for Hover Dam, important matters were needed to be discussed and it would be the location Bumblebee ended up if Primus were with them. Already a cargo helicopter had been prepped and ready for lift off to receive the wounded, but Ratchet did not have faith in immediate transport, even if he were working the entire time. “The fate of the human race depends on our ability to conceal and protect him, which is far to say as none of us can reach contact with Sonic Boom.”

    “Next time I see the little ankle biter, kapow to his face.” He pulled forward moving at a steady speed just under the limit, no hurry, just driving and keeping watch, nothing interesting happened at this time of night.

    “He must be badly wounded if he cannot reach us, but Sam is with him, I feel confident he is safe. However, the matter of restricting his summons, while I agree is frustrating, must be respected to its ends. You know these matters.”

    “Yes sir. But I sometimes wonder, if ever, then when?”

    For a long time Optimus was silent recalling battles, Autobots, soldiers, friends dying, his voice alone they could hope to follow. Some followed to their end. “I don’t know.” His side hissed. “But if Sam dies, and even if Tron-Mega is killed, how is it to be explained to his parents that their child was lost to them in an accident?” Ironhide reserved his silence. “The government will lie for us to protect our secret, and they will be no wiser. They don’t deserve that.”

    The headlights bright glower dims a knotch. “I understand full heartily, sir. I admit…I’ve grown attached to them as well, notwithstanding all conveniences. But that is why I don’t understand why you give the Grave Digger such distance, even back during the times on Cybertron? We could’a used his assistance somewhere in there, we always needed some sort of backup.”

    The powerful semi pulled out of the last city lights of Barstow and continued on I-15, nothing but cruise from here on. “He’s sinned much in his past and he wholeheartedly regrets his guise in the mass extinction. He has to live with that, isn’t it punishment enough? He needs no more.”

    Apart from satisfaction the arms specialist agreed with his leader, he followed him through the most extreme missions guaranteed to end his existence and came out, better than ever, who was he to say no now? He bid Optimus a brief end and silenced transmissions as he pulled up to another red bulb, how annoying they were. Some thought he was almost as violent as a Decepticon if not more and wondered if he were Brawl’s long lost sibling, but unlike that gun toter he had control…. That he was about to lose now if that light did not avert from red to green, or begin praising his his hide.

    A patrol car rolled up beside him. He disregarded it completely…until he realized this vehicle was far beyond its jurisdiction, and rather a comforting message scrawled on its side were the custom chameleon-flage. The marks on its sides and hood were curious as well. Its engine roared in challenge, a race?

    In response the pick up rolled backward two feet. “What do you want, Decepticon?”

    “Your attention,” he growled. “The light is green, law requires all vehicles to move forward at an according pace.” He moved forward.

    With no other reason to do otherwise Ironhide went with him. “Speak now Decepticon, my patience thins for those of your ilk.”

    “Hostile,” he rumbled. “But I have no time either for your idle chit-chat, I’m on business.”

    “Business doesn’t sound too good. What sort of business has your leader sent you on?”

    A faint whine from Barricade pried pleasure from the Autobots casual statement. “This ‘business’ is not for him. It is of my own reconcile. You know well he searches for Ladiesman217—”

    “Sam Witwicky,” Ironhide corrected.

    “—he will do nothing until he has captured him, and taken him to a point of engagement with the Autobots. Then, the battle for this world begins in which you will indisputably fall.”

    “Not unless he’s killed first,” directed Ironhide. “Then where will your great leader be? Slag.”

    “Actually, I am counting on that.”

    “Say what?”

    They pulled to a stop at another light and waited. “He is not the successor I had hoped for Megatron, his ideology of Decepticon mannerism has corroded, I want him liberated of his bequest sect.”

    “So a better leader will come along, is that it?”

    “In my vision, correct.”

    “A leader better than Megatron and Tron-Mega?”

    “A leader more derived from Megatron’s origins,” he corrected. “I have no hope for a future following him.”

    “And you want assistance in this self proclamation?” Not liking the idea the concept was acceptable, Tron-Mega needed to be eliminated, bottom line. “What is your angle?”

    “All I have told you is true.” The cruiser marked six forty-three rolled forward with the truck. “You will have to deal with the next Decepticon in rank after him, but it won’t be me. I flow with power, I avoid directing it. If you do well you may also eliminate his followers with him. I will be sure to avoid the casualty aggregation though, my recompense for my assistance.”

    Ironhide contemplated on the notion for a few blocks. Why was it Barricade wanted Tron-Mega of all Decepticons dead? “How do I know you’re the real Barricade?”

    “Three reasons. One: Why would I try to do in myself if I were Tron-Mega? Two: My wounds are proof enough. And three:” The missile pockets on his sides snap open aiming along a city wall were a group of humans congealed at the doors to night club Aversion Simplicity. “Now or then, killing these humans is no difference to me. Decide.”

    “Fine,” Ironhide shrieked. “What is it you want us to do?”

    “Nothing,” cooed Barricade as he concealed his weapons. “Only know that when the time comes you may trust me. Only once I ask this favor for it itself is not Decepticon to ask the aid of an Autobot, but, Tron-Mega does worse with his nature. “If you can’t beat them, join them,” Is that not the human custom?”

    “Aye. It is,” rumbled Ironhide. “Be off with you then, if you really are you then your master will be baying companionship soon enough.”

    The patrol car huffed with its high performance engine clean and unused torque, it sped ahead and cut a corner sharp on its movement. Beyond Ironhide perceived a car shriek and another crash. What have I done, he wondered? Any Autobot – even himself - in his right cerebral cortex knew trusting a Decepticon was inviting death, he might as well tell Tron-Mega exactly what he had planned and get it over with.

    But he knew well how Decepticons were among the ranks. Always back stabbing and false fronts, the deceptive key in order to fake the other through their position then slide it out from under them, the higher they rose the farther they fall in the end. It was their way hardwired into each system, they knew no better and would have it no other way. It sickened him to think of these systems, and how many Autobots were forced to succumb to it. He killed them quickly.

    “Prime,” he transmitted. “Sorry to pistine your wheel wells again, but this is urgent. I just drove with Barricade a bit, and you won’t believe what he proposed.”

    ***

    At the crack of dawn a police cruiser marked with “…to serve and protect…” raced across the Hover Dam Bridge, sirens blaring and lights flashing. It was moving more than two hundred at least and passed bystanders struck in awe that those wheels were not touching the road. The vehicle careened onto the main province and screeched around avoiding the work crews from the day before marking down measurements for repairs to be made, and what could or not be reused. With expert ease defying normal the car swerved and came to a halt near the main entrance into the building, where Bumblebee and no doubt Megatron had entered through before. The horn harked at the operatives at the opening while the lights continued, the sirens were silent.

    Two doors open, one allowing Sam to slide out wobbly but just as well, he reached across to the back seat and began hauling a large thing out. He waved to the numb personnel. “Hurry, he’s hurt! Get a cart!”

    At once they move racing to the cruiser that was now empty, at the center hood was the Autobot emblem black outlined white and well concealed. When they had the cart over and a good amount of people they approached the youth dragging out…a large mechanical creature. They jumped back startled, this thing had ravaged their base before.

    “It’s all right, he’s not an enemy. Besides, he’s too hurt to move.” Once coaxing the frightened men over, Sam was able to drag the heavy metal body out and heave it to the nearby gurney. The metal crinkled under the weight and the wheels bulged outward. “Careful, his leg came off.” He reached into the cars front seat and pulled out the limb, he gave the vehicle a firm pat on the hood sure this time there would be no dire consequences. “Thanks Prowl.”

    Without a word the patrol car swung back and spun, the doors slammed shut as it turned and sped out of the area at a descent speed.

    At the entrance Simmons had made his way up to see what the commotion was about, when he sighted the Grave Digger on the gurney he smiled. “Ah, so it is your back, is it?”

    Pushing his way through the gathered workers, Sam made his way to Sonic Boom and lay the appendage beside him. He looked at Mr. Simmons with detest. “Can I borrow your cell phone, please?”

    Looking for the poor Transformer to the boy he saw no reason to deny this request. “Since you asked so politely.” He took out the flip phone and handed it over. “See, hanging with advanced aliens can teach any boy some respect for his elders.”

    “Sam, must get away from me…” hissed Sonic Boom. “I sense my brother is near. He finds me, he finds you.” His head lolled back as he groaned in pain.

    “Just a sec.” Sam turned away as the personnel mingled around him and Simmons. “Hi, Ops. Yeah, fine.” He listened. “Thank god.” He rubbed his brow and sleeked his hair back, in the short time outside the car he had developed beads of sweat. Hell, he had even been sticky with anxiety while waiting each minute until they reached the compound sight. It was by a draw of luck the passing Autobot recognized them and offered a ride. A very lucky draw he was a patrol car. “Yeah, I’m waiting there now. Sonic took a bad hit in the rear, but I think they’ll patch him up.”

    “I’m on my way there, now,” said the semi. “Get inside and don’t come out, the bases foundations will secure you from detection.” He had the strangest sense of Deja’vu. “I don’t think Tron-Mega will search there for you but it’s always an option, least likely is best. He might come searching for data, or a reprieve in your absence.”

    “Right-right, sure. Hey, has anyone located Bumblebee yet?”

    Silence.

    Painfully, Sam inquired on the issue… and his worst fears. “Optimus. Do you know where he is? What he did for us? He—”

    “We know well,” he said solemnly. “Ratchet’s working on him as we speak. Agent Simmons can relay everything, a transport is waiting to pick him up. He should do well, he’s gotten through worse.”

    Ill to his belly Sam wondered what could be worse. “Have you seen him?”

    Optimus made a sigh. “No. But he’s still intact, that’s what mattered ultimately,” he lied. “Get underground and wait, I’ll redirect DareRex so she will bring Mikaela your way.”

    To pass the time Simmons made busy by tapping his foot to the concrete or giving the lost personnel meaning in the form of objectives needing to be followed, concerning the unusual situation these people found themselves among the return of that thing which assaulted them. He looked over at Sam as he glanced over and saw there the weariness nesting under his eyes, it reminded him of his self when he was starting out.

    “Right. Thanks. Bye.” He snapped the phone shut and returned it to Simmons. I wish I could call my parents, see how they’re doing, they must be worried to death over me. But he recalled the dark warning, he must have no contact with loved ones, it could only place them in danger as well.

    “My phone.” Simmons put it away and looked at Sonic Boom as it began messing with its leg. He grimaced. “So, what’s the plan?”

    He shrugged. “Get in, seal up, keep quiet. The less attention we draw the better.”

    Nodding, this made sense to Simmons. “Fine. You go in and sit tight, the boys out here will act as normal.” He surveyed the repairs of the building up and down. Thousands of dollars were wasted without tourists able to come in and see the dam, damn it all.

    “Hey, what’s it doing?” someone asked.

    On the gurney Sonic Boom had rolled over and taken his leg, he connected the torn portion to its base and used a cutting torch removed from the capsule on his backside to weld the connective tissue metals at his leg. There was not enough material to succeed most the gaps and so he tore more free from his mask and used that. “I remember the coordinates of Bumblebee, I will help Ratchet fix him.”

    Frowning in confusion Simmons objected, though baffling as that was. “No, you can’t.” He gestured the raptor still fine tuning its mutilation. “You’ve been damaged, you can’t travel that way.”

    “Just like old times,” Sonic Boom growled in his gravely, deep voice. “Have…that cargo ship ready, he may not be able to-to be brought here.” He got off the cart and swayed on his feet but the quick repairs held, he was standing his full seven feet. “This safer, if not better.”

    “But you can’t,” Sam persisted. “You barely got here, they need to look at you.”

    “Rest enough on ride. Time for action.” With a bit of difficulty the raptor transformed, the plates shifting down covered much of the damage but it still appeared as though the motorcycle was now a wreck with a ghost rider. “I did my part insuring your safety, Sam. Now I have a new task.” Putting power to his two wheels he whirled off down the same path the cruiser had taken.

    Simmons leaned over to the awestruck Sam Witwicky. “Is that thing…for real?”

    He shook his head. “I…don’t think so.” No where else to be but below football fields of solid concrete and water Sam turned and went with Agent Simmons into the construction built into the mountains side, and down the many elevator shafts to the underground where it all began.

    ***

    It was not so much as the violent swish of the cockpit as the deep whine sliced by the wings, there was light dripping over the tinted view port of a morning unusual to her senses. Or course this was sunrise at elevation a few thousand feet, very few people could actually wake up in the aircraft they had fallen asleep within and live to talk about that. The sudden dip and twist caused her to snatch at the controls beside her arms but this did little to help as the jet was self auto-pilot and it did no good to argue, but it was a secure hold against momentum working against her.

    She blinked her eyes hard working away the sleepiness, her head ached and her body was stiff but little aliments considering the most image she perceived through her own receptor oculars was a blurred sight around her edged by something of faraway. It was little concern to hers of then and there.

    “Are you awake?” growled DareRex.

    Muddled mind Mikaela did her best to answer coherently. “What’s wrong?”

    “Long story. Ask later. I got a tail.”

    To the term she was baffeled but recalled after a moment thought what her father would sometimes relate to her on late nights. She elevated her head to view the reverse camera sight of the Tornado’s stern and there spied, zoomed in on a target. Another jet pursuing DareRex, one of different design but still human manufactured though the color was off in the hood and the aerodynamics were implemented in other ways, no less the design was inferior to the swifter flier, maybe an F-21 or 20. Military was not a class of hers, she was focused to identify cruisers.

    The crafts actual identification was F-4J Phantom II, sometimes referred to as “Black Bunny.” It was far out of jurisdiction.

    “Do you know it?”

    “Maybe. I can’t identify in that ‘guise. Put your mask on and hang tight, I got to out maneuver him if I can but I know how you humans are. It’ll be a challenge.” Soon as Mikaela had fastened the oxygen mask over her face the jet went into a steep dive, reducing altitude at an alarming rate, but not so fancy as she would have taken to the situation.

    The navy blue flier taking to the Tornado’s peril took advantage of it and fell into a nose drop and spiraled, using the wind resistance to power his thrusters along and close in the twenty meter distance between himself and his target. The instant target locked on the faster craft the Phantom II ignited with missiles and lower yield machine gun pellets from the wings.

    Shipping sideways and reducing speed DareRex avoided the first barrage but had to restrain herself from any of the better maneuvers that would challenge the aggressor and end the engagement in less than thirty seconds. In the cockpit Mikaela hissed against the high velocity ride, it was moving mach one and struggling not to ascend the higher speeds but she felt every movement pulling at her blood. It was her duty not to beg her to stop, if she did they were both done for.

    Plasma skipped over the port wing and another crashed into the back fin on rear side near the base, the Tornado rocked and spiraled but regained control smoothly before the human could be spun into separate liquid and solid. Diving toward a mountain range in the distance she questioned whether her passenger was still well.

    “No,” she screamed, as more plasma pelt the aircrafts wings. “Can’t you get behind it and fire?”

    “Behind him yes, but shooting wouldn’t help much. I have only mandatory weapons, I have no higher range cannons, grenades—” she ducked and spun once, “—missiles—”

    “Nothing bigger?” she hollered.

    “No! My expertise is close range combat.”

    Shit, she thought, as another hit caused the aircraft to jerk sideways through the air. Her screams were muffled by the mask. This was not the kind of roller coaster ride she would ever nightmare about.

    The pursuing Phantom II unleashed twin missiles from its wings that spewed hot ash and went straight for the heat signatures prominent on the jets rear. The Tornado went into a fierce rise pulling back and reduced speed, gradually until the F-4J was out under her, as it continued flying she came down behind it. The missiles descended after her ready to erupt, they would follow their target to the end of the universe and then some. She fired at the Phantom II, now ahead of her but it pulled back evading, no passenger made a difference and she was envious. In subsequent order she fired her own missiles out from the silos and shot simple gun pellets against the deep blue before her, she dropped down more from the missiles as they gained on the backside. There was no telling if Mikaela would survive the eruption even if she shot them from this close range, she had to get ahead of them.

    “Bear with me a little longer.” DareRex put power through her thrusters and moved ahead of the two missiles, she spun over diving and shot again, this time her simple pellets cut through the other Phantoms wing distracting his position enough that one the silos did catch before he could spin out of its way. The charge erupted at his tip causing the other mortar to ignite, the Phantom II went into a spiral moving further from the pursuing DareRex.

    But she wasn’t complete in her task, there were still his two mortars after her and no way to outrun or destroy. Slag it, she decided. “Just one more tactic.”

    Mikaela had already slumped her head against the side of the cockpits controls, then the restraint holding her in place undid itself driving horror and surprise through her senses. She looked up as the canopy whirled back pitching cold air over her exposed cheeks, the entire machine began to come apart around her, rearranging. The Tornado performed an impossible flip in the process rolling her out as the reforming machine took to air bound and spun about to face the missiles. The whole time Mikaela was falling.

    Waiting till the most last moment DareRex merely ducked backwards under the missiles allowing both to pass either side of her, the one at her right scrapped her with its side as it sailed off into open sky, confused and lost. She cut her thrusters and dropped backwards raising an arm, the gun belt was embedded with her wrist allowing her to shoot bullets from between her digits, a few rounds in one mortar and it ignited, the intense heat swallowing its twin pushing through the inferno. Pulsing power through the engines in her back and feet she kicked backwards and pursued the screaming human.

    The contorting mass of aircraft to her left took the unmistakable persona of Dirge, a loyal lieutenant of Tron-Mega. He was falling for the human as well to intercept, only five hundred forty-three more feet to go and the ground was coming fast from below stretching as uneven terrain, ravines, shrubs, and yellow rock.

    With a pulse from her right she threw her bladed shoulder against his chest, he put power behind his left and slashed with a blade from his arm, he raised a fist and smashed it to her face once and twice. This was a mistake on his part, DareRex reached over took him before he could glide back and put her sharp foot to his lower hip and pulled with the kick. The force caused Dirge to spiral out once she released him but also, there was now damage to his shoulder where her digits dug deep and her foot tore in. As he attempted to recover from the brush DareRex flushed energy into her own thrusters pushing down faster.

    One hundred feet above the desert soil she caught the plunging human and spun over curling her boots beneath her, she skid over desert gutting up terrain under her until her momentum failed and she was standing, the ground hissing from the sudden contact sifting the stiff plain.

    A few meters away Dirge made contact with the plain in a less graceful manner, full shoulder impact and rolled over. In a haste he retook himself and stood on his feet, a step back and he had one rifle from his back armor holed out aimed on his chosen target.

    DareRex turned slightly to place Mikaela down in the nearest ravine, her optics always locked on the Decepticon. “Find cover and stay down.”

    Shaken and not well on her feet Mikaela did her best to comply to the orders, unsure where to go or what sort of cover would suit for this situation. She removed the helmet and let it fall to the dirt, her eyes searched the open stretch of land, she found various hills that would be suitable if she could reach them in less than a minute and even better if behind them was an even deeper arroyo. Between the hillcrests she could make out distant mountains, and below their faded regions was a city far away and no closer to be of any good, it might as well have not existed.

    “Stand down, Dirge. I’m not interested in fighting you.”

    “Nor am I,” he replied. “Those who cross my path seek destruction, your head is wanted by Tron-Mega.”

    “Tell him to come get it himself!” She activated a protective guard over her face that allowed only her optics to blaze out red, she charged the dark azure and saffron Decepticon preparing her arms to tackle the task. The Decepticon raised his rifle and shot at her as he stepped back and sideways, his plasma burned fast but struck only her gauntlets as she deflected them taking damage but better her arms than her body. When Dirge endeavored to retreat back further her arms shot out and her digits locked into his chest, she pulled him close glaring into his face. “Last chance, stand down.”

    He pressed the rifle to behind the curving chest shield and fired. The blow had punched into her weaker armor causing her to stagger back emitting a garbled screech, the other Decepticon caught her upper torso and threw her down to earth, the terrain for miles trembled from the impact. He reared the rifle again and pressed the barrel to her chest, DareRex slung her leg up smacking his helmet and sent him pitching over. He continued his fall into a somersault that resulted him standing on his knee as he pivoted back, in the meantime DareRex reversed back to her feet and crouched sprang forward. He hefted his rifle once more and fired near point blank, his target evaded with an awkward spin, following through with the built up momentum she raised a foot to slide glance his head.

    Dirge barreled forward ducking the sweeping boot and caught his foe under the leg, he continued picking DareRex’s body up over his head, his intention to dump her somewhere. Before he could recalibrate his hydraulics to perform this task she had clumped her fists together and smashed them down atop his helmet, she did this a second time when he staggered. He went down and she stumbled off of him searching for her equilibrium, he was already pushing himself to his knees raising his rifle. DareRex caught the muzzle by one hand, a terrible mistake, the gun punched off another round blowing hot energy into her midsection. In pain she buckled and staggered back stunned by system diagnostics, without the necessary time to react the enemy thundered forward and took her helmet in free hand and pressed gun to her chest. Dirge began crushing her protective chest plate with round after round as she thrashed fighting for escape.

    “No Grave Digger to assist you now, DareRex.” He pushed her head up and uppercut her, she was lifted from the ground and fell to her back snapping off armor from her jets tail. He moved forward and stood above aiming the rifle at her throat sheath.

    Through the entire fight, Mikaela had made it to the nearby hill range and climbed behind it, she could lay on her stomach and crawl up enough to see them without too much concern for being spotted or targeted. It seemed the one called Dirge was more intent on killing DareRex, and his forgotten target of herself was a failed fluke to gather the opposites attention.

    There was smoke rising from DareRex’s faceguard, not a good sign if there were any she knew enough. She was not as bad as Bumblebee had been left in, but it was obvious she was in trouble and there was nothing Mikaela could do, unless she really wanted to die.

    “Hey! Decepticreep! Over here!” She was jumping up and down waving her arms. “Potshop you cowardly bastard!”

    It worked, Dirge lifted his attention from his foe and aimed his rifle at the loud mouthed creature. “Destruction to you, human germ.”

    DareRex swept up with her body and caught his gun barrel in hand and shoved it high, her other dug up into his arm locking on the intermixed components of his body and armor shields. Clamping tight she thrust down tearing a bundle of necessary tubes free, Dirge howled in pain and tripped the trigger of his weapon, it went off, plasma sent high but the energy only shredded DareRex’s digit tips.

    Cussing in pain she threw the other mech back with a gut clip and jumped on him, she pressed his sizzling arm and barrel aside and flipped out a blade component on her arm and stabbed him just under the chest. He shrieked in pain and thrashed as she did this again, once more, and again, by now a thick fluid was sputing from the gashs with each puncture, upon hitting the open air it hissed into a thick vapor. Done, she jumped aside and allowed the other machine to rise and stagger back, the smog from her face guard followed her movement in a silky trail.

    “Enough. If we continue this you will be destroyed.” She straightened and swept an arm out. “Go back to Tron-Mega, show him your wounds, they are little compared to what I will do to him when we cross paths.”

    A strange noise came from Dirge’s wounded chest, a similar sound of rattling in a dying man as his lungs hung heavy with blood. “I will-lll…return to hi-im, I will show him my….w-wounds, but we stay….” He clutched his chest as sparks fell to scorch the small bushes beneath his feet. “Fighting…for Aut-tobots, adopting…their doctrine…oppossss-ing your leadeerrrr - your…very hesitage, and now you…strive t-to protect…th-those that…destroyed Megatron? Does that…mm-mean nothing to…you, at-t all…?” He angled his odd shaped dome skull in the direction Mikaela had dropped down. “Lllook at them. These…higheer… bacill..lllus organismsss don’t….deserve preservat-tion, they require…extermination…for their infrac-ctionssss.”

    DareRex lowered her head and shifted her weight.

    “The human…that kill-lled Megatron isss…sss desginated Samuel Witwicky, that one…as-associates with him-mm. Locat-te him. Kill him. You’ll feel better…once-once you have accomplissshhed that. It’sss….the only deed you-u can…perform now.” Finished with his words the Decepticon turned around and painfully transformed into his F-4J form, he cut into the sky disappearing from view in a matter of moments.

    Only when Mikaela was certain he had gone did she come out of hiding, DareRex had failed to move at all in those minutes and thus it was her charge to figure out what had just happened. Again she checked the sky but there was no sign, she looked up at the Decepticon, fearing what would happen if she came in contact with Sam. What would happen? Had DareRex really not known the truth behind her once leaders demise? From here on she would live in fear that the powerhouse would spontaneously attack her or worse, kill Sam.

    “Does it?” Uncertain, she looked up at DareRex. “That…Megatron was killed by a human? But…so were the other Decepticons.”

    Still nothing from DareRex, her unmoving optics stared down at the sand with a devoid expression repressed by sorrow.

    “DareRex—?”

    “Him, it does.” She stepped away and looked up at the faraway condensation vapors, so unusual in their form, so free.

    Cautiously, Mikaela approached unsure of what this sort of alien robot would do under pressure, she knew Ironhide shot things. Not living things but things nonetheless that could be upgraded to live things. “Are you…going to be all right?” She looked back to the city beyond the hillcrests, very far away, she looked across the horizon as the sun crept higher into the sky, the machine might not care about temperature but the desert was already heating up. She returned her gaze to DareRex. “Do you want to talk…about it?”

    Finally, new movement. DareRex shook her head slowly, the hydraulics and pumps clicking and whirling to the movement. With a snap and whirl the mask removed itself, a thick bloom of smoke lifted from her orifice that she looked through at Mikaela, before averting her gaze, lost in thought and apparently hurt. “Tron-Mega doesn’t seek revenge for Megatron’s destruction, and he falses his meaning by claiming it is to show whom is superior. He is insulted and embarrassed by what has happened…and I share his sentiments. It’s more,” she dithered, tilting her head up as a hawk called out, “we’re angry that his fate was given to him by one of yours.”

    Given thought to this, Mikaela answers, “There’s a deeper reason why he’s taken this so personally. Why?” But she already knew. It was obvious, but was it possible? She had to hear it.

    “As humans understand the term ‘family’ Decepticons understand little of it, Autobot squadrons are the closest, they are brothers in arms. But no one chooses who their parents are, or where they come from.” She looked at Mikaela. “You know, don’t you? Why it pangs us. Very few could understand this connection, but its like a part of us has died, and in a way it has.”

    “He is then?” Her voice quaked. “He was your father?”

    DareRex turned away afflicted by the meaning. “That is the best…description.”

    Then she was baffled, as she knew Transformers could not reproduce, how could—

    “At one point before the wars beginning was known, Megatron did come in control of the AllSpark, before his intentions were detected. Its life giving radiation did something, I was never told what exactly, it reacted with his spark and created a new spark. He postponed the war dawn for this purpose, creating duplicate sparks—some strong, some weak, some died, some lost. A few of the more versatile sparks were placed into customized exoskeletons, mine included. We were treated no different from the other followers but we were always given…a distance, and respect. Few knew the truth to protect us, that Megatron’s spark was the original that incurred our life.”

    “Then you have siblings, others like you?” This thought alone broke Mikaela’s heart. More mini-Megatron’s as hard to kill as him, as dangerous, and more.

    “No,” DareRex snapped. “No one knows how many, some may have survived, but no one was sure. Grave Digger…forewarned Reaper that a warrior would come from his assembly and kill him, in rage more than fear he struck out at us. We were gathered to a single location for a meeting, he brought Grave Digger with him and wiped out ever one of us, but for me.” She swayed her head side to side. “When Megatron found out what happened he was outraged and put me under protection. After all, we were his legacy, if he failed in his paranoiac aspiration it was one of us that would ascend to his allotment. Seems that time has come, and Tron-Mega is willing as his heir. Of the entirety of his existence, it is the only sane action he has taken, it seems.”

    She looked at Mikaela, whose ties of family loyalty were powerful, as once before when she was young she had to throw aside much of her life in order to protect her father from prosecution. It had been the sacrifice she made for him. The idea of a sibling killing his rivals was on the borderlines of bestial and depraved. She averted her stare. “If I do meet him, I might not fight. I don’t think I could destroy him now.”

    “But—why?” she yelped. “He killed your siblings, he’s trying to take over our world…I thought you were different!”

    “I am,” she answered. “That’s why I might not. Who will I have when he is gone, my ties to relation are unusual for Decepticons, there are very few cases known. I will be alone. Wouldn’t you sacrifice for your family?”

    It was Mikaela’s turn to look away.

    “Something’s changed in him since those many vorns, he’s not like I once knew him. It’s the realty that he may be alone that frightens him. When he had attacked his siblings, he was firm in belief that Megatron was immortal. Now, he’s afraid that there will be nothing left when he stands from ground zero. But he is as he was created, a Decepticon. He was taught, programmed, trained—it’s something he cannot escape.”

    Mikaela locked her eyes with the Decepticons ember lenses. “You did.”

    She didn’t budge. “No. I cannot.”

    ***

    “Come on, don’t give out on me just yet.”

    During the early morning hours of Utah, Lennox had inevitably laid down and fallen asleep on the dust near the ashes of his weak fire. Soon he would wish he had less fire and more shade as the sun was quickly rising above the horizon line, regardless the intense rays beginning their descent to this section of the globe he still slept deeply in full cover of the light. The night before had been an exhausting one and though he denied it well, without caffeine he could not hope to function well enough for the following hours in which his actions would prove productive to survival or destruction, thus his body had crashed on him and he slumbered in a deep sleep of no dreams, no memories, just heavy dark required to reorder the human mind.

    Heedless of the human snoring no mere feet from his poise, Ratchet did little to cover the fact that he was busy working and did nothing less. Whether Lennox slept now made no difference to him, later he could rest if necessary but at this point of his purpose he had an Autobot to save.

    In all his efforts Bumblebee was making slow progress, exhausting and slow but progress nonetheless, not enough to ensure the small mechanoid out of the clear but enough to show the frame was responding to his efforts to revive it. However, it was instances like this that he could very easily lose a patient, it had happened many times before and how he regretted his powerless ineptitude to do no more than try his hardest to heal and indecisively fail. Much of the smaller clips had recovered and rejuvenated but the major portions that had been literally gutted out were having the hardest trial, even with accepting their own parts that had been torn out the day before. The conclusion was simple, the pieces had been lying in the dirt to long and the systems no longer would respond to them and in order to protect the overall frame it rejected any of them.

    Frustrating stupid system slaggen protocols….

    The most he could do with these parts was melt them down and use them as welding material to adhere crevices until the bodies automotive recovery was able to compensate for the lack in power reserves. Ratchet compensated with his backup stores of energon, much better than the offbrand crude the humans would serve their vehicular instruments and more responsive in the small Autobot.

    “You got through Iacon, raised the troops moral in the overthrow of Altihex, or else no one would have come back in one piece, you stayed with me when I was wounded at Cybercity….”

    The cool blue optics on the smaller mech burn faintly then die. Ratchet hissed. He continued to vocalize softly to the Autobot hoping to rekindle the faint pulse of his spark with the hope of a memory. “You never gave up on me when I thought I was done for, and now I’m medical officer. You’ve gotten through worse before, we all have.”

    But how much longer before he couldn’t? When would the time come that he simply couldn’t fix Bumblebee? It could be in the upcoming war on this very planet, or in a time he was down and couldn’t simple be there. In no shape to fight Bumblebee would still get on his feet and stand beside his allies in the face of annihilation. If it ever came to that Ratchet didn’t know what he would do.

    Across from him and ten yards out the soil burst throwing chunks of hard rock skyward over a dull body, the talons came out first from the miniature hail storm followed by the thrust of the gauntlets tipped with curled claws, and a long snout with blazing red optics.

    “Sonic Boom?” Ratchet choked, surprised by the appearance. “You’re here…where have you been?” he demanded. Another scan of the robot and he withheld further scorn, he actually gawked.

    The Grave Diggers body was overall decayed, the hip which had frazzled and come undone and looked very painful, particularly as it was a main support brace of his overall infrastructure. Some regeneration had occurred but not nearly enough, the soul was willing but the body was failing. Hard.

    “What happened to you?”

    “Noooo…time talk-k,” he stammered. “You neeeeed-ded me, I c-come.”

    “I had…no idea….”

    Sonic Boom crossed the last few yards and hopped onto Bumblebee’s chest, much as a vulture did stare down at its next victim he gazed down on the Autobots optics. He imitated a snort and looked up at Ratchet. “He is…b-baaaaad shape.”

    “As you are,” he muttered. “You can’t help, I’m sorry but you need rest and repairs foremost.”

    Sonic Boom hissed shrilly and reared back from the medical officers hand. “No t-time! Nooo t-t-time! I havvvee come…as Bumble-b-b-beeee is good friend-d. He…hellllped me heal…inside spark-k. You want…me-e help-p, I want-t t-tooo help, I’mmm-mmm here so….help!” He snapped his chops and hissed again. “I…willlll be fine, just do-do usual and…get him recovers-s.” He lowered his head towards Bumblebee’s vacant face and dragged his claws over the scored metal. “He deserves-ssss life….more than…I.”

    With a hiss Ratchet looked to the damaged Autobot ripped to pieces then at the Grave Digger, not so far off. “I can only do a little, but whatever comes of it I will be satisfied of. I’m not going to butcher your needed remains.”

    The raptor machine fixed a strange grin over its visible teeth. “Destrooooy…two livesss-sss or-or savvvee one. Your…ch-choiccce.”

    At this time the commotion of the conversing machines awoke the weary Lennox and he gazed up at an unusual sight, a vulture eating a robot. He bolted up when he realized what he was seeing was Sonic Boom tearing chunks out of Bumblebee’s chest. “What in hells name are you doing?” he screamed.

    Both robots looked down at the human surprised, while Ratchet prepared his welding torch at his arm. “Emergency procedure,” the medic explained. “We’re graphing nano structurebites to armor on the wounded and connective tissue with basis structure, frame, and indo filaments.”

    Lennox frowned. The context was very close to humans, probably to better explain it or it was the same procedure in a sense. Hell, maybe the scientists reverse engineering the ‘Ice-Man’ learned a few tricks for advancing on medical school tactics for burn victims due to the extreme cold. But graphing? He shook his head, still fuzzy. “What the fuck?”

    ***

    The best perspective in which to spy from was that high and covered. Through the low trees moved mobile units keeping watch over the Hoover Dam sight, unseen by the daily public, security was heightened after the recent attack but it was no problem for the stalker. Overhead a helicopter ran its rounds beating through the air and passing on its way, its thrumming blades did little to the green leaves over the hillside. On the main base of the dam and its landing pad wandered the aimless arms, or so aimless from the distant under observation, each had a purpose and a task to complete.

    The man in the woods held up a high powered binocular set and checked on the position of his people below. He tapped the communicator angled before his lips, looked down at his wrist on the watch, called in the code, then resumed on his way. His normal human sight was staring right at a patch of sunlight, but not when it shifted and moved, no technoligical illusion, just good old-fashioned camouflage.

    The dull yellow-orange quivered as it moved beneath the cover and slipped onto a large rock, his designation obscured for the moment was in no threat. Ravage, eat your spark out. He adjusted the long antenna array at the one side of his head, the other set torn and scarred permanently flicked uselessly in its motion.

    “Tron-Mega. Base location secured. No visible sign of Autobot identities. Orders?”

    “Double check your location. Is it confirmed Samuel Witwicky is present at this location?” The notion of invading the same location in the same orn was a sickening one to him. Once done it was time to move on.

    “Communication traffic hacked. Nothing on Internet. Slates wiped clean. Damn Grave Digger-Con. Must move closer, physical contact to data feed required. Permission to move.”

    “Go. Fast. Give them no reason to suspect a second assault so soon.”

    With his orders given the Grave Digger pries back the boulder he was situated on, it was heavy, nearly a ton. He pulled it back earth and all, slipped beneath burrowing a hole where it would be unseen. The rock fell back down just as his tail tip whirled beneath.

    The sheer drop of the mountain carved for the dams location harbored a relatively small hole, considering its immense construct. Skipping down every few feet, pausing to listen and triangulate his movement, Earth Quake continued down with the skill of a man waltzing in the rain. He reached the long bridge and detoured in order the clamber down and drop onto the surface, he crawled along quadruped style to avoid drawing eyes on his hefty six foot body. A Humvee approached signaling him to crouch down and allow it to pass, rather he sprint around the side of a momentum column and move around. As the vehicle passed he rolled out between the moving tires and locked his arms beneath the undercarriage. His ride was leaving the perimeter he desired entry to, but as it went the Humvee passed an unmarked van with a single red light atop it. He dropped-rolled under it and caught the underside, it was weighted down a good deal but the tires were specialized for carrying extra weight.

    The van reached the compound, the guards stopped it in order to check it through above and below. One guard looked under the vehicle staring straight at the barred section of a living machine, but no wiser as it was well equipped for this sort of intrusion, he seemed in a far away trance as he waved the vehicle through.

    Away from the gates, next was the weight station, beneath Earth Quake rearranged his armor to its normal contour and waited until the vehicle had turned, he shot out sliding behind a guard running his rounds and charged on to the back entrance of former Sector Seven.

    The back hangar had been sealed since Sam came through, but the regular entrance was open and more difficult for infiltration. Someone was always watching and there were too many plain clothes to sneak through.

    That didn’t matter too much to him, slipping behind another agent and worker, he reached up poked the one shoulder of a guard and as the man turned around he continued on in the other direction, ducking down before the man spun around full circle. He crawled among some thick pipes scanning them over, guaranteed access they could make but a breech such as this would no doubt be detected, he had to search elsewhere.

    As Earth Quake crawled from the deep trench the water pipes were laid, an armed guard just passing by happened to catch the glint of ice on the spiked shoulder. “Hey—” He was already overtaken before he had the chance to go for his rifle, Earth Quake held him around the waist and punched his foot into his hip retracting the lethal talon, but withheld. Pushing the guard back and back, his head turning around to check if any had missed the man, he dropped the soldier to the ground and smashed down with his fist. He tilted his head, leaned down and checked his pupils. No dilation. He would live.

    The guard had nothing he needed, thus he returned to the outer reaches slinking about in steam and shadows. He had clambered up a corner and peered down when he sighted Mr. Keller of Defense come through. He wanted in. Perfect.

    “I don’t care what Mr. Simmons used to be, Sector Seven was disband. The nonexistent origination is no longer nonexisting, it is over.” He turned from the guard headed for the stairway that ended at a thick metal door. “I want to speak with the Witwicky boy.”

    Mid pursuit of the Secretary of Defense, Earth Quake stopped dead in his tracks. “Conformation of Witwicky position established. Within Sector Seven. Advise.”

    “We’ll need some more steel girders for the wall here.” He wrote it down on his clipboard and gave his goatee a rub, he was giving serious thought to shaving it off. “What sizes were they?” He looked up. “Chuck?”

    Chuck was transfixed by the metal raptor near center of the floor, and no one was seeing it. “Randy, are you seeing this?”

    Tron-Mega’s voice responded, “Locate exact position and respond.”

    Randy didn’t know what he was seeing, maybe he should lay off the beer or get some more sleep, maybe a little of both. “Uh…they said if we saw anything freaky…just ignore it.”

    That sounded great! Chuck nodded. “Yeah. S-sure.” He looked back at the measuring tap he was holding, and looked up again at the machine crouched mere meters away. “Should we—?”

    “Yes, I fully agree! Take down the measurements for the wall!” Randy grabbed his friends shoulder and dragged him away. “Wave to the nice government people.” He waved.

    “I need to see your ID, sir.” The guard stood beside the door with his associate, Mr. Keller looked at them with irritation but brought out his badge. “Thank you sir. You may enter.” He turned punching in the access code, his associate waited until he looked up. They inserted the duel cards and counted, one swipe on precision and the door clicked.

    “Welcome to ARD7, Mr. Secretary of Defense.” He saluted before John Keller stepped in.

    Unseen by all fifty-three guards on duty, eyes on the scene around them, no one but the civilian workers had seen Earth Quake as he slipped in with Keller.

    This was partly untrue. As the guard shut the door behind the elder man, he looked down in time to spy a strange appendage slip in through the portal just as it sealed. But he hadn’t been sure, it seemed this odd shaped drill had passed through the solid steel as it went, banishing any thought in his mind that this could be a security breech. If it was suggested he had mental issues on his shift he could be released from his civic duties.

    ***

    Then came the voices. That distant place between sleep and wake when the world moves around you and your mind can’t seem to get in speed with it. His body ached but he forced his eyes open and saw nothing over him but dark, to his left near his feet was a bright light and shapes moving beyond it. He waited wondering what the place was that he had come to be. Last he remembered was running and tumbling, the distortion overtaking him threatened to make him succumb to a pleasant sleep. He remembered Mikaela.

    Sam bolted up on the stiff cot he had fallen asleep. He hadn’t intended to, he was too worried for his girlfriend despite Optimus’ call that she was safe and on route to his position. Would she, he wondered, be safe near me?

    He looked over at the two men standing in the lit doorway. One he recognized as Glen, a master hacker, arguing with Simmons.

    “I don’t care if it is impossible to recover that data, I want it back on the server and I want it sooner than later.” Simmons threw his arms up, wincing to his broken limb.

    Glen recoiled. “I can do that, yeah. But the data is still in the system, I haven’t been able to bypass the firewalls to get at it. Its like the system still thinks it’s bein’ hacked.” He noticed Sam in the dull illumination staring at him.

    Simmons whirled on him. “Oh, awake?” He pushed Glen back. “Get to it. Another incident and we might lose decades worth of information. You want to be responsible for that?”

    “No sir.” He shook his head.

    “Ms. Madsen recommended you while she’s in the infirmary, I expect to see progress from her assistant. Get on it.” He left Glen to walk away and returned to the open door. “Sleep well?” he said in his upturbed chirpy voice.

    Sam winced when the light flipped on. “Uh, sorta.” He glared at the agent. “Did you drug me?”

    Walking around the room, Simmons laughed and turned to the youth. “Didn’t need to. Restrict caffeine and even the most resilient give in to the bodies basic needs. I take it you didn’t get much sleep with NBE 67.”

    It only took Sam a moment to count up from Megatron and loose focus on the issue, so he took Mr. Simmons word on it. “Not a lot.” He gave his small room a look over. It was bare accept for a picture on the wall and a plain chair with desk, he bet there were nine thousand bugs in the room recording everything from his slightest movement to his current actions. It was a simple dormitory for staff ‘visitors’ of the base, but the facility needed to monitor every individual since the first moving of NBE 1, AKA Megatron. “Is Mikaela here yet?”

    He chuckled and sat on the desk. “No. The staffs been in and out of contact with that DaraMex, but other issues take priority over the communication lines. You understand.”

    “Yeah,” he said, distracted.

    “I’m surprised you’re so worried about your girlfriend, safe as sound as she is, after what happened to your parents.” He pulled out a stick of gum and stuck it in his mouth.

    With a cold shudder he didn’t expect, Sam looked up at Simmons. “After…what happened?”

    He looked at him in shock. “You mean…they didn’t tell you?”

    “Who’s they?” he growled, hoping this was a dream. He gripped the edge of his cot and leaned forward expressing his dire yearn for clarity.

    Simmons hefted a hand high over his head. “They. You’re big alien friends. Didn’t they…I mean, Ironhead. Didn’t he tell you, he got into it when—?”

    “No! What didn’t they tell me? What-what-what?” he screeched.

    Chewing his gum a bit, sitting in the silence, glancing at the walls, Simmons took his good sweet time in responding to the boy’s uproar. “Guess I couldn’t blame them, if they knew you were gonna—”

    “What happened?” growled Sam in a low, deadly voice. “Tell me, please.” He had to grit his teeth, it was all he could do aside from biting the agents head.

    “A few nights ago, Ronald Witwicky in Tranquillity, California was checked into Tranquillity Hospital for minor head concussion. The report follows that a black GMC Topkick transported him after he collapsed on the sidewalk a few miles from the hospital. No match has been made with the license plate number. Convenient, no?”

    “Yeah.”

    “But we know different.” He looked at Sam. “The head honcho of their group called in the report. It seems your friend NBE 67 located your home and sought to extract the information from your parents, but too bad, they knew nothing of where you went or why. He might have had an easier time milking a bull.” He chuckled slightly.

    Sam hunched over and put his face in his hands. How could this have happened? Well, he did know. But why? Why did it go after them? They knew nothing. He reasoned Tron-Mega was ignorant of that and desperate to locate him had sought his strongest source. He wiped his eyes struggling not to cry.

    “Lucky for them they didn’t.” Simmons shrugged. “They might have mentioned something, blight and careless as your old people are, and gotten themselves killed in the end.”

    “My mom okay?”

    “Eeh? Yeah. She just fainted. Your Taco Bell dog ended up at the vet though, seems he tried to piddle on a robots foot.”

    Good boy, Mojo. He hoped Tron-Mega’s foot rusted right off. Why didn’t Optimus tell me? Why?

    “He didn’t want you to worry.” Sam looked up at Simmons surprised, the government tight wade rarely ever said anything supportive of the Autobots. “That’s what you were thinking about, right?”

    “Uh…uh-huh. But—”

    “I probably shouldn’t have told you.” He fiddled with his fingers sticking out of the cast. “Information like that…distorts your judgment. That’s what you need right now, more than woe and self pity.” He got up and pat his hand on Sam’s shoulder. “Don’t worry about it, your dads fine, the dogs got more meds, and your mom is just as loony as always.”

    “What if…they weren’t fine. Optimus wouldn’t have told me either if…they were killed.” It was because of him. “What if…Ironhide, what if he didn’t get there? How’d he even know? What if he didn’t?”

    “He was on surveillance of your home, he only just got to the scene when that Tron fella made his move.” He looked at Sam still sitting with a vacant awe of comprehension of someone who had taken too much shit in one day and had not the prescribed worth of coffee, this was added to the fact he only had two hours of soundless sleep altogether in the past few days. “Wait here a second.” Simmons stepped out of the room and shut the door behind him.

    Sam wanted to lay down again, sleep, escape from the world, but it was too far away. His mind was too blown. So many people were getting hurt, killed, because of his life, his sole existence. It wasn’t enough he was being hunted; now his family was being threatened for what they had no place in. There was no description for the sorrow he felt, of being so powerless and yet so angry with the thing that had labeled him a dead man. He was in no way able to strike back at it, but had to hide. Why was it happening to him?

    He thought of his great-great grandfather, in the asylum going crazy for what he knew and no one believed him. He had known everything that was to come, maybe even the challenge that would lay before his youngest descendent and so powerless to stop it. He had gone insane.

    The door opened stealing him away from his thoughts, Agent Simmons came in and handed him the cell phone. “Talk to him.”

    Confused, he took the phone and put it to his ear expecting to hear Optimus’ voice reassuring him on the tragedy of this world, instead he got another voice he vaguely recognized. Unsure of itself the voice asked again, a little tone loosening so that he could identify the rasp of his father.

    “Sam?”

    He didn’t speak outright, he wanted to cry. “Dad.” His voice cracked. “Dad, is it you? God, is it?”

    “Uh…yeah. You okay?” In the background a female voice called his name but he ignored it.

    “I-I should be asking you that.” He took a deep breath. “Are you?”

    “Mm. Cracked skull, head hurts like hell, don’t know where my son is—pretty good.” He nodded to that and shooed Ms. Christina away. “Excellent, actually. I feel like climbing Mount Everest.”

    “I am so sorry dad.” He rubbed his face. “Really, I am. I-I couldn’t do anything, call you—”

    “That reminds me. Where are you and how did you manage to call me while I’m in the hospital?” No doubt Agent Simmons was using ‘do whatever I want and get away with it’ authority to patch the call through. He didn’t mind it now. “Is this about the government again?”

    He was nodding though Ron couldn’t see it. “Yeah, it is dad. I’m under some…protection, I’m not supposed to have contact with you.” He covered the phone receiver and turned to Simmons at the portal. “Is my family being protected now?”

    “Yes. Of course! The only reason NBE 67 got through the first time was that he infiltrated us. No one said he was a f’in shape shifter.” He didn’t bother to hide the fact he was ticked. “And we got people watching the Banes family as well, what sort of people do you think we are? Letting god damn robots run this organization….”

    Ooookaaayy…. As Simmons continued to mutter to himself, Sam returned to his patiently waiting father. “Sorry.”

    “I’m guessing you can’t tell me where you are, huh?”

    Hoover Dam, in the top secret ARD facility. “Negative, sir.”

    He sighed. “As long as you’re safe.” A pause. “You…are safe, aren’t you?”

    “Safer here than the president at the White House.”

    There came a long pause.

    “I really wish you could tell me what this is all about, why this is so damn important.” He thought about asking if Sam was a spy, but he might not like the silence that followed. “Is there any way you can get out of it?”

    “Not right now.” He thought a moment. “But…I think I’ll try and explain it to you when this all passes over. I’m sure I can then.” He caught Simmons glance when he returned to the room, he tapped his watch. “Dad, I really-really….really want to talk to you some more, I want to tell you everything now, but I can’t. Just hold on, I’m sure they’ll let me see you soon.” He hated lying. His father didn’t deserve it after he had been through, nearly killed, worried to death about him. It might be many more weeks, months, before Tron-Mega was destroyed. “And tell mom I love her. I hope she isn’t too mad with me.”

    “Naw,” he chuckled in his deep tone. “She only wants to ground you forever for not calling her, I’m sure she’ll take off a few thousand when I give her word. Then again, maybe not.”

    They said their goodbyes, and Sam returned the phone to Mr. Simmons. “Was that really him, or some sort of agent?”

    Simmons looked hurt. “I do you a favor and this is how you thank me? Gratitude from teens, damn.”

    Security issues and protocol informed strongly that at this time it was best to keep as many people from grouping as possible, particularly the Autobots who were able to be copied and distinction lost along the way. But he had talked to his father and so was satisfied, for the few hours to follow in his peace. Now Ron knew his remote location and that along with hearing his voice, well enough to speak, had put Sam to great ease.

    “Never mind. Thanks.”

    “He’s right in here.”

    Simmons tilted back from the portal to see as Sam looked up. He stepped back as Secretary of Defense moved through the doorway, one of his guards escorting him with an ARD agent.

    “What are you doing here?” Simmons growled.

    Keller glanced off him to focus his attention on Sam. “You and I, we need to talk.”

    Sam didn’t bother to rise as most were expected to, it was unnecessary. “Yes?”

    “I have received word from a reliable source that Optimus Prime confronted the new NBE and failed an attempt to restrain it.” He stepped closer to the youth. “What was his reason?”

    He shrugged as Simmons gawked. “They got history.”

    ***

    Snuggled between two thick water lines, Earth Quake glared down at Simmons still standing at the portal. He was about to confirm the point location of the target when Secretary of Defense mentioned something off. He rechecked his analysis files, his dialect emissions, it still made no sense. Something was wrong. He opened up transmission lines with his master and spoke.

    “Reviewing files. No detectable communications between target, mate, Prime, or infiltrator. Information leaked.”

    “Leaked? How?”

    “If knew. Would tell. Unknown. Information leaked. Location of target confirmed, twon and quarter mile down. Require escort?”

    “No. Hold your position, if all else fails you will have to retrieve him for me. You might draw attention if you pull out now. Maintain lock and keep on target. I have…a crux that demands immediate application.”

    Earth Quake purred and settled down in his nest, from the sounds of his masters tone he would be here awhile.

    “And he notified no one about it? Failed to inform us this alien could shape shift, probable soldiers underway, and is an effective strategist?” Keller strained. “We are at the brink of war and know nothing about the enemy?”

    He did not have time for this, his brain was too mushed, sleep…needed. “Look, Bumblebee told me everything I know, and…he nearly got himself killed trying to protect Mikaela and me, if he isn’t dead yet.” He still didn’t know. Everything was killing him. “He said we’re not at war yet, at least not until the Autobots are exterminated by the remaining Decepticons, and he doesn’t plan on dying. But if we, human armies, try and confront them, everyone will be killed. No mercy included.” He was trying to make it as crystal clear as he could for the suit. “He gets pissed when people shoot at him.”

    Keller nodded. “And I get pissed when aliens try invading my home land.” He turned to Simmons as he moved to face him.

    “We’ve all had this conversation before. See, this is why my people refuse to play with yours….”

    “Your people work for this government, which I head defense of.”

    Sam directed a finger at them. “Okay, which one of you is going to bench press the two story robot? You can get in line, I’m sure it starts somewhere.”

    Simmons cocked a brow at the odd comment. “What are you talking about?”

    He shrugged. “I thought you were arguing over who was going to fight first, and I’d like to point out that Optimus and the Autobots are first, followed by the US Military, then…any other Autobot in hiding willing to take the Decepticons on, so that makes one of you next?” He pointed to them. “Do you plan to use power tools to dismantle them, or do you have super suits in cold storage?”

    Keller knelt down in front of Sam to look him in the eye. “I know you’re new to this and don’t understand the process…I am too. But…we need communication with these beings in order to coordinate the attack. Lives are at stake and we cannot sit around wondering who’s going to make the first strike. “Optimus says this….” “Bumblebee says that….” What happens when they’re…taken offline? We cannot rely on them to fight alone, when they loose where will we be? Disorganized and vulnerable. This nation will be wiped out.”

    Sam looked on him firmly. “There’s no ‘when’ in the matter, Optimus won’t let them get that far.” He focused on the wall behind Simmons, gray, bothersome. “Besides, he’s gathered too much information from what I picked up. He’s been organized from day one, you’re still trying to fight your way into a league you’re not even aware of. You had the advantage when the Decepticon’s leader was on ice, you don’t have that now.” He stared back into Keller’s gray eyes. “I guarantee if you get in the Autobots way they won’t be able to protect all those people you send out to die. ‘Mercy’ was one term those Decepticons didn’t bother to download.”

    (Author comments: Ha ha! Optimus’ been spending his time roaming around and freaking people out with the “eminent domain” line. He’s just sour ‘cause it sucks to be flightless.

    I had this idea that Cybertron, vast and near boundless as it seems the Transformers would have huge war fronts that would equal across near four hundred Kilometers. This strategy of warfare was carried over to Earth, which is much smaller than Cybertron and rather have war fronts the flight capable Cybertronians would be traversing across hundreds of miles fighting, running, or just hiding. I think this premise was what gave Megatron his advantage on Cybertron as a professional flier. Kinda like in the old G1 days.

    Sabot is French for shoe, so I believe the Botte is French for boot. The Americans are hinting something to the Decepticons, huh?

    I had this weird desire to turn Mr. Keller into a threatening figure and Simmons into a more sympathetic fellow. Of course as the dialogue continued around the three figures, it turns that perhaps the Head of ARD may have darker plans ahead, and that Keller only sounds imposing because he remains concerned that things will fall out of the Autobots control. Hey, our world their war, right?)
     
  11. ironkaty

    ironkaty mystery warrior

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    that was great i read it in one i love it
     
  12. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    Glad you like it, its been fun writing it.

    I just flipped through my WW novel and had a heart drop, I don't think there are enough pages in there to quote 'altered' lines from >:E lol Oo-ps
     
  13. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    The PS2 game. I don't want to ruin the ending for you so I won't tell which faction its based on. As Barricade says "Yah-yah-yah-yah-yah-yah-yah-YAH!"

    Speaking of which, I just recalled where the 'leak' came from.
     
  14. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    Wow, you won’t believe how many Barricade turn good guy stories are out there :lol  I feel sorta left out what with my movie verse Barricade’s a back stabbing slagger that’d eat your face off rather look at it, then puke it out and blast it to smitherings, step on it, smear that, drop a rock on it, blast that, then walk away and blast it from afar.

    >:\

    It doesn’t help that he’s my best char in the video game….aaaannywaaaayyyy—has anyone noticed I have not been posting? It’s this funny story, see, my brother’s got this computer and he likes the elevator music…and, listen, I’m slowly going insane. Just hold on a sec, it’ll be clear very soon.


    8 –Rings and Roses



    Character(s)​


    Decepticon


    Starscream (Sorta….)

    For now….



    “…weren’t you saying something?”

    It was a massacre. Burning vehicles and wreckage lining the US highway, semis propelled far from the scene, the ground scored by blackened splotches and hard glass. In very little time the smoke would draw the authorities to the location, the very few survivors not caught in the meaningless slaughter would be grateful of their fortune and need years of therapy.

    “The irony is so thick one could cut it,” commented Longhaul. “So sad Bonecrusher was not here to revel in it.”

    Not far from where stood the massive machine, were the charred remains of what could be identified by a child as a work sign, warning that the road was under construction and a wait of five minutes was required. Further along the road lay the evidence of this work, though to the untrained eye it appeared as though something serious had been done, to any hard labor employee he would know well enough that someone was screwing around.

    Much of those that did pause to congeal at the head of the set work line began wondering why the five minutes had passed, and the dump truck and the wheel loader were still working. There was the issue of no other workers to keep the traffic in check but humans were so programmed by martial show they thought little on this, and by that time several vehicles had already slid in and before anyone knew it a long line had formed. It was ridiculous, the majority of these people were truckers tacked with schedules to uphold, and no one from the CB had mentioned construction on highway six. They began to get out of their vehicles leaving family in their seats buckled tight, the operators of the vehicles showed no care to this, in fact both men looked like brothers.

    Then, a revelation! A trucker from the line’s rear called a friend at the front and he mentioned to the civilians that the guy’s friend had gone through an hour earlier and there was no road construction, none of it listed in the records. In other words, previously, and foremost of it all, there had been no vehicles in this area to commit this degree of damage. Bottom line that, highlight, copy paste, and memorized. These people were in doing something illegal.

    “His joining of Megatron’s corps was not so disagreeable, as getting himself killed.” A pair of blades that lifted from Scrapper’s back, retracted into a portion of his armor apart to his wheel loader form, the scoop. “I would have made an exception if he decided to rejoin us.”

    “Oh yes, as would I.” He was busying rechecking his arm weapons as he moved past the aflame remains of upholstery and a kiddy seat. “Okay, enough of this sissy nonsense, let’s go back to bickering.”

    “I told you we couldn’t go a astrominute without getting at it.”

    “Shut! up!”

    “Slagger pit!”

    “Frag line!”

    They were just about to rearm themselves and go at it in a fight, when they noticed a patrol car with its lights flashing as it barreled its way through the remains of so many. It came up to the towering figures and transformed into Barricade.

    “I received word of a disturbance, what is going on here?”

    Scrapper pushed him back. “Nothing that concerns you, pig.”

    He took the brush and stepped back. “Tron-Mega has ordered us to move on location in Nevada, Interstate-fifteen Southeast of Boulder city. Time is imperative now.” His optics flicked over the long slid of highway. “Are you quite done here?”

    “We’re done when we’re done,” snapped Scrapper.

    “We’re done.” He gave his other a feint smirk, anyway he could he would always disagree with him.

    “We’re on our way already. See?”

    Barricade was still studying the scene. “What were you doing here?”

    “Having some fun,” quipped Scrapper.

    “Oh.” The black sheen coated the Decepticons armor and he stepped, mid shifting of metal plates as his height rose up and straightened, mechanisms whirled-hiss.

    “Sir!” Longhaul knelt. “I did not recognize you.” Scrapper followed his example.

    “Having some fun, hmm?” Slanting on one leg, he crossed his arms over his rippled chest pieces and scowled.

    Scrapper stood and shuffled to the side, off the highway. “Y-yes, sir. Sorry. It’s been so long since we’ve really gotten to get out, stretch our armaments, kill something. Please forgive us.”

    “At least me.”

    He looked at them a moment, raised his arms as they converted to cannons and pelt them both in the chest. “What a waste of energy reminding you two whom is commander here!” Perturbed, he walked around the recovering soldiers and poked the cinders of burning leather with his toe. “A simple, ‘shut up and obey’ works for most, but you two I have to bang about before you listen.” He whirled back on them. “I said get to I-fifteen, then I’m informed by Dozercannon you two got lost somewhere between…Kansas and Oz!”

    “S-sorry,” groaned Longhaul. “There is no excuse for our actions.”

    Snapping his head around he narrowed his optics on the subordinate. “You are fortunate I am not Megatron, or your actions would not be taken so lightly. But, I must admit I grow weary with this hunt. It saps our energy to continue this campaign against the Autobots.”

    “Then, why is it we forget this human that has your optics and concentrate on the true threat,” Longhaul spoke, his lenses clicked as he stood up. “From what I am to conceive, it was Megatron’s ambition what led to his destruction. Is it your wish to have his legacy of failure end with your destruction?”

    It took a moment for the captain to acknowledge the words of his soldier, he looked at him. “It’s no longer of the human, the Autobots fear now that he is the primary target before the extinction, we fail to provide they fail to confront us.” He whirled stomping away converting to his dragon form. “I said you can kill civilians if it pleases you, I did not say mass slaughter. Transmit on location for primary attack coordination in no less than seventeen hundred or I will find you, and I promise the encounter will discard you from the glorious slay of the Autobots.” With a pulse of heat from his thrusters he was airborne gliding over the horizon.

    “I wonder why he never mimicks Starscream.” Longhaul put his bladed digits across his face rubbing his metal plates wondering, a human gesture but they were programmed into his system response. “Native aircraft is less conspicuous than human fiction.”

    “So says the lime robot.” He was already converted to wheel loader, with scoop lowered and ready to discard the remnants of good times.

    “I’m serious.” His entire body reshaped and shifted in every direction, until he was a dump truck, his back still dusted by concrete.

    “Hmm.” Scrapper rolled forward smashing away junk. “Mayhap as Starscream was listed among the survivors, they failed to log in his exoskeleton during the battle. I imagine it was when he received our specs for this invasion.”

    “I’ll be glad when this slag is over and done with, I’m tired of this form already.”

    “I, however civilized I am, am not discouraged by your structure or mine. It works.”

    “As in the words of Bonecrusher, I hate you.”

    ***

    “You just need to trust me on this, Sarah. I know it’s hard to, I know you’re scared—I was too when I first saw them. But I’ll be just fine, they’ll keep watch over me.” He took his wives’ hand and knelt down before her, proposing his life away for her salvation. “But I cannot stay out of it. I’m apart of it, I’m needed. I report in.”

    Sarah wiped her eyes, beside her was baby Annabelle asleep. “But we need you here. I don’t want you near those…things. It destroyed our home and nearly killed us.” Tears were streaming now. “I lost you once.”

    “You didn’t.” Gently, he rubbed her face with his thumb scaring away her sorrow. “They’re not all bad. One saved you, and Annabelle, he saved you when I could do nothing. If it comes to it I may not be able to protect you by myself, we need them. Please, understand.” He wrapped his arms around her shoulders and rocked her against him. “I promise I will come back, don’t you worry. Take care of our girl and keep her happy till this is all over and I can see you again. I’ll even rock her to sleep just for you.”

    So many things lost to time, so many instants. Moments. A first laugh, a first word, a first smile.

    “Baby, I love you. I love you so much, but I can’t keep doing—”

    “I’m not just your husband,” he said, pulling away to look at her. “I’m a father, and a soldier. The army is big, consisting of men and woman like me, with families waiting for them, scared to hell that they’re never going to get back to the people that need them most. If we all stayed home safe with our dear ones who would fight, who would keep our children safe? I’m doing this because I love you too. I love you and Ann so much I’m willing to throw my life away to make sure that you stay safe, that these…damn robots don’t take away the things precious to me.” He shook his head slowly. “I can’t live without you, please don’t say you don’t love me as much. I know it hurts you oh soo… more than me, but…I’m scared. I’m scared for you.”

    She scowled at him. “But fighting these things isn’t like fighting a man. How can you stop them?”

    “We did it once, we’ll do it again. I’m not letting them – the good ones - go at it alone.” He stood up back from her. “They’re visitors to this planet trying to find peace, it’s inhospitable if we don’t aid them in this fight. Just do this for me, trust me on this, trust me like a wife does her husband, across a sea of flames. I’ll come back for you.” He turned and leaned down to kiss baby Annabelle on the cheek. “You take care of mom, okay?”

    The baby squirmed in her sleep and settled, she curled her hand around his finger when he put it to her palm.

    He kissed his wife one last time and went to the door. Pausing before he opening it, he sighed and turned back. “I know, I know. No alcohol, no girls, home by twelve. Got it, mom.”

    Sarah wiped her tears and managed a faint farewell. “I know you’ll come back, baby. You haven’t lied to us yet.”

    He shrugged in his good natured way. “I could have just forgot about those keys.” Snatching his duffel bag up with his fatigues, he stepped out of the room and far away from his family.

    Less than five feet from the door to the’ room of the cheap motel was the thick grill of the large Topkick. “How long will they be?”

    Lennox shuddered at the voice, it was dark, cold, not what he expected to come from the old clanker. It had also been far away. A strange veil settled over him as he looked past it toward the parking lot, good and long. “What do you mean?” Across the space he noticed a fleet of F-22A Raptors lined, preened for battle. He anticipated they were with the army or the Autobots, sent to escort them to the location where Optimus Prime and the Autobots would be waiting.

    One of the jets near the lead unleashed two heat seeker rockets from beneath its side, but the missiles shot out no more than five yards from it where they seemed to vanish in midair.

    Not first alarmed by this, Lennox tried to make sense why he was seeing it. But the big truck before him reversed and pulled out, it turned and began riding away leaving him stranded. “I must leave.”

    “Hey, wait!” He tried giving chase but no matter how fast he pumped his legs he couldn’t catch up with the truck’s steady crawl, until it was out of sight. He held still out of breath and exhausted…when one of the F-22s rolled around and spun to face him, its massive needle nose just over his head.

    Plates of metal, sheets of wires and circuit boards snaked back, crackled, energy surged, hydraulics wailed as the aircraft reassembled its entire body structure, retracting and sliding back into place. The entire calamity was intolerable, and again he heard a noise he had hoped to god he would never hear in all his life. It was right over his head shrieking, he wrapped his hands over his head, it was all he could do to stop his ear drums from bursting out. When he dared look up, the jet had mutated from the aircraft into the monstrosity of a Decepticon he knew well of. Starscream.

    “I have returned.”

    It raised its foot high, talons bristling in the dark noon, and plunged it down—

    ***


    The man had been in peaceful asleep for some hours, then his movement became erratic as he whimpered and murmured incomprehensible things.

    Near him, Sonic Boom glanced his way before turning to Ratchet still working on the mauled Autobot. “How long will they be?”

    The old medic had to strain his receptors to register the dank faint voice but understood. “Optimus informed us that Prowl signaled them the noon after Samuel arrived safe on location, hopefully they will fall soon.” He recalled they’re own difficulty when flying protoform mode through the Earth’s thick atmosphere. While most organic based worlds followed the similar application of thick atmosphere, adverse ‘weather’ conditions that the protoforms were hindered by, it served its prospect when duty called. “I only hope they are actual fighters.”

    No longer interested in the importance of war and strategy, Sonic Boom had focused on Lennox as he struggled with his sleep. He logged into his acquired files on human consoling and located a thread he could adapt to easily. He looked to Ratchet. “I must leave.”

    “What?” Before he could interrogate further the raptor machine had burrowed down into the tunnel he had formed the day before. He sighed. “Reckless brute.” He looked down onto Bumblebee, still desperate for extensive repairs but not the extent had somewhat recovered since procuring the grafs. His armor was beginning to respond to its treatment but more time was essential if he was to make a proficient recovery.

    Had I only the means to get you to the Ark in the first place, you would have done well enough on your own. But no, he reflected, he was relying much of his practice on archaic methods of repairing such as grafting a donors armor, and no less from Grave Digger himself. While grateful to his aid it still oscillated his systems to conjure forth the files on Grave Digger-Con, who, even now under the alias as Sonic Boom was still in the category of notorious miniature ferals, just as Soundwave’s personal unit and the Terrorcon crew were. Those were machines no Autobot in his right processor would ever want to disturb.

    Looking on Bumblebee at his knees he knew the smaller mechanoid would fight all of them to his last reserve if only it meant a few moments more of survival for those he swore to protect. And, Ratchet considered, so would he. All he needed to know was it was the right thing to do. You couldn’t stray far wrong with that concept in belief.

    He shuddered at the notion of those feral machines coming to Earth searching for Samuel, or just plainly hunting humans for the thrill of it. They so enjoyed killing the things that expressed deep etches of fear.

    “R-Ratchet?” Bumblebee’s optics lit briefly. “What’sss…wrong?”

    “Nothing,” he muttered, and continued his work. “As your licensed technician, I must request you relax and allow me to perform my given task.”

    “No,” he strained, tilting up, “LLLL-Llennox-x?”

    “He’s fine, just experiencing bad imagings.” Expressing improbable delicacy he pressed Bumblebee down and continued his work, welding here and reconnecting cords there.

    Little time passed before Sonic Boom popped up from the hole he had disappeared down, he slipped out stumbling and rounded the Autobot medic repairing patient and moved closer to Lennox checking him over foremost before addressing Ratchet. “I have returned.”

    He gave the raptor an off glare. “So I see.” The damage and result of harvesting fresh nanobytes for the process had left Sonic Boom a mess, he tried to avoid the body view and focus on the beady optical lenses lit at the snouts base. That was difficult to do.

    When he settled near the sleeping soldier, Lennox went ballistic thrashing and scratching at himself as he rolled away from an unseen danger, dirt and shrubs went flying in thick clods. Soon his violent movements were obscured by a solid wall of dust.

    The commotion caused Ratchet to stand high as Bumblebee lifted his head to see what just was happening, where he had sat Sonic Boom was unable to respond in any other fashion but blink.

    “NO!-NO!-NO!-NO!-NO!-NO!-NO!-NO!-NO!-NO!-NO!-NO!-NO!-NO! GETOFFGETOFFGETOFFGETOFFGETOFFGETOFFGETOFF!—GETOFF!-OFF!-OFF!OFF!OFF!STOP!GETOFF!STOP!GETOFF!STOP!STOP!-STOP!”

    “LENNOX!”

    Sonic reacted, snaring the man by his shoulders and holding him down. He emitted a high sonar frequency that caused Lennox to open his eyes, wide and staring, his mind fogged by whatever he had seen. He stared at nothing.

    “Lennox?” Looking once to Bumblebee, he stepped over his charge to see if the human was in any way damaged by his experience. The dust was already settling over his body in dense clumps. “Are you functioning properly?” His focus went to the raptor as it collapsed on his side, a think bloom of powder lifting again. “William?”

    “I h-had a nightmare,” he stammered, his body still quaked hard. He still felt the pain of death linger through his guts and skin, it had felt so real. No surprise, his mind had had much experience in the hellholes of the world, he was not new to mental infractions. “W-where am I?”

    “Still fifty-three miles beyond Tonopah’s city limits.” He scanned Lennox through and found his heart rate escalated oddly for a being just energized, he was perspiring higher than normal, even in the warmth of the day, and his pupils had constricted. “Are you certain you are well?”

    “Yeah-yeah,” he sighed, rubbing his head and taking deep breaths. Just a dream, he told himself. Wasn’t real, everything will be okay. He hoped. He hated doubting, it wouldn’t accomplish anything but his own destruction. “Bad dream.”

    After an instant scan over the Internet connection, via satellite, Ratchet grunted and nodded to the reply. “I understand. A facsimile of your minds conformation ailed your body. The weary soul drags the warrior low.” He knelt and resumed his work on Bumblebee, who seemed much better now after Lennox’s episode.

    About to begin dusting his fatigues off Lennox noticed Sonic Boom impacted in the dirt beside him, his hide dulled by the dust over him. The large raptor was a disaster in every aspect, his armor torn and broken in large gaps exposed the working pneumatic motors that must have dominated the interior structure of each larger machine, there was barely anything left to him but the innards. His own body was streaked by odd fluids, some thick and dry while others luminous under the soft film over the streaks. From all appearance natural it looked dead, or as close as he reckoned its kind could be to death, but within the reptilian mask of its face the blood red lenses glint and whirled watching him.

    He turned to Ratchet to inquire on its horrid condition, when he noticed for the first time out of his daze, Bumblebee sitting up receiving last touches from Ratchet. “Those grafs?” His mouth gaped.

    “Sonic Boom’s internal radioactive filter has difficulty powering his own exoskeleton, especially since awakening he has failed to fully energize himself by his hosts means. However, a receivers nanites react well to his when they are transferred, via armor grafts.” He used his torch arm to resell the damage at the smaller mechs backside, embers smacked his face guard as he worked but he took no notice. “It’ll take time but both will heal fully.”

    “Damn, he looks improved.” He couldn’t get over how Bumblebee looked, his armor had a near complete overhaul if he ever saw one, few of his previous wounds remained aside from temporary scars where the deeper gashes had been. One looking at him now would never understand the damage he had accepted before. “Soon you think we might get out of here? Call up Sevens scouts to clean and probe the area?”

    “Already done,” replied the medic. “The transports are headed to this location to pick us up, and take appropriate protocol as you mentioned. And as you recall, the inhabitants of this terrain witnessed our presence.”

    Indeed Lennox remembered that. How could someone forget it? “Right.” A free ride to ARD facility sounded nice too. “Approximate arrival?”

    Ratchet shrugged his thick shoulders without hindering his progress. “Three, four hours to the most. Even if Bumblebee was repaired to the last diode he would keep up little in the recovery stages.”

    “Thanks…for having….confidence in me, Ratchet.”

    “I have faith in all my patients.” He used his power saw with great skill to cut the edges from over seamed armor plates.

    Lennox turned when Sonic Boom shifted to his side, the chest and broken panels snapped open to release a sack, which he took and held out to him. A simple white bag curled at the top. He stared at it not understanding. He thought it was speaking but he couldn’t make out what it was saying, if it was speaking.

    “Organic organisms such as homosapiens require sustaining energy source in order to maintain mechanical function,” Ratchet explained. “It is in my estimation he brought you some sort of nourishment.”

    “Thanks.” He dithered but took the bag and looked at the curious raptor, then to Ratchet. “How did you—?”

    “He’s vocal,” Ratchet said as he continued his work. “Just too low a yield for your reception. He’s been drained in the harvesting, much of his energy goes to sustaining his life functions.”

    “Why did you let him do it if he would nearly kill himself?” He looked into the bag and found a burrito. Not his first choice of late breakfast, it was past noon now, but he wouldn’t turn down such generosity at the expense of good kindness. Besides, he was famished.

    “Not nearly.” There was a strange note unfamiliar to the healers voice, a sort of hesitation or…. “On the other hand, I could have done nothing and let him tear his own body apart. This way I at least put limits to his shedding.”

    When Sonic Boom saw that the human was satisfied with his food he turned and addressed Ratchet. He had to locate Optimus and help protect the Witwicky human from enemies.

    “Don’t be inane,” hissed Ratchet. “You’ll destroy yourself.” He pushed Bumblebee down when he tried to rise and protest as well. “And you, relax.”

    Setting burrito in bag aside Lennox crouched low to look Sonic boom directly in the optic. “He’s right, you’re in no condition to help anyone but yourself. Even if you reach their location there will be nothing you could do, aside from getting in the way.” He waved his hand around imitating an ‘in the way Sonic Boom.’ Focus returned to the patient stare and he continued. “In three hours the transport will get here and maybe Ratchet can touch you up on our way to the facility. What do you say?”

    Without saying anything Sonic Boom pivoted and buried his snout in the soft soil, he paused before shoving his bladed digits around his snout and dug rapidly until he had disappeared to his shoulder, thighs, then his tail was snapping down into the tunnel and the edges already caving in.

    “The fool.” Ratchet continued working evidently rankled. “He can’t wait until we are fighting, has to go out of his way and get himself decimated prior.”

    “Why can’t he do it? Why can’t he let himself heal?” He took out the burrito and began eating on it. It wasn’t too bad.

    This time Bumblebee answered. “He feels…he owes us, f-for something he did.”

    “What—” He recalled first what he was told in the clearing when all the Autobots had been assembled, that Reaper and Grave Digger were murderers. “Never mind.”

    “It’s past now,” reminded Ratchet. “This is the time to prepare for the present and what will come of our actions. As a soldier, Lennox, you must understand the consequences for living in your own guilt, do you not?”

    He nodded. “Yeah. Puts your entire team in danger.” He looked up at Ratchet, whom expressed a forlorn mask of hurt.

    (Author comments: I flunked out at Ratchet and Lennox’s talk. It sounded better on an Arby’s napkin.

    There’s this question I forgot to ask about Lennox’s thought, “Can’t sleep, clowns will eat me.” This was a trend for the insomniacs chat room, but I was never certain if this came from a song or if someone made this up just because q:< Can someone enlighten me to its origins?

    There is a really good reason for why this chapter is so short, um…but I’ll avoid interrogation entirely by running really fast away from everyone. Until next time.
     
  15. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    I apologize for the delay, we are currently experiencing technical difficulties in which involves a tower flying out a window. Whoops, perchance a little extreme, hmm?

    I’m serious, midway through a story the lag drag tower decide to self terminate and I was sitting there like, “Slag.” So out the window Mr. computer went, with my terrible mouse. It was only after it busted into several thousand pieces that I realized the hard drive could be salvaged and four years of my work saved. Uh…my bad.


    9 – Checkmate

    [C]Characters[/C]


    Decepticons

    Scavenger
    Dozercannon
    Boombox
    Starscream
    Soundwave
    Rumble
    Soundwave
    Skywarp
    Motormaster
    Deadend
    Reflector
    Darklight

    (_ Disclaimer: Boombox belongs to TFW2005, he’s our badass mascot for the sight and I’m only using him under the impression that it is okay, so long as I don’t get anything profitable out of using him, aside from some comments and maybe a “Hell yeah.” Mods, please do not take your wraith out on my poor story if you do not like me using Boombox, or the way I have portrayed him (movie verse, Bay style), as the story has suffered enough after my tower crashed and my delay in actually doing stuff right. Um, that’s it I think. Now start reading the story. _)



    For now….



    “…the Matrix.”


    Somewhere in the Nevada desert not far beyond the city limits of Las Vegas, an airport transported individuals to a unclassified location of desert where military secrecy was priority over preservation to human life. Sonar cloaked the desert alerting to the slightest intrusion from a mouse to a private helicopter, listed signs warned of land mines, the area was off limits and authorization of deadly force was issued on any fool trespassers sighted. Patrols ran daily in random patterns to insure none made it through the electrified lines, or the fields, or the detection.

    High over the desert flew three B-2A Spirits at Delta formation, stealth jets cloaked with black coating. They were apart of a secret aircraft project that would allow them to counter strike the alien threat and slip under radar without detection, though the government did admit the complication of manufacturing effective weapons without their precious specimen, they failed to mention not all the parts of alien bodies made it to the bottom of the ocean.

    These jets were the product of lies advanced for research. When Megatron landed in the Arctic circle he had not been alone.

    “This is T-451 calling to base,” whispered the voice of the pilot. “We are about to begin the test process on buried targets.” He touched knobs lining his cockpit and checked out to his flanking comrades. “C-450, C-452, do you read me?”

    “Copy, C-451,” came one voice.

    “Copy that, loud and crystal, C-451,” murmured the other voice. “Locking targets to the sand, prepped to fire Ultra Sonar.”

    “If this works,” said the lead pilot, “it’ll make the Sabots look like popguns.” He reached up flipping the switches just over his covered canopy and focused on the field vision filtered through external cameras.

    On the red terrain figures began to move under the soil, or began to rise up. The soil slipped between gaps of their armor as they pulled upright arming their weapons, antenna fixtures on the heads topping torso sections avert to the aircraft high above. They emit faint calls and raise guns to fire.

    “Evasive action recommended,” C-451 whispered. He took his stealth jet into a swooping dive, the crafts of C-452 and C-450 followed his movements and spread wide out to confuse the targets below, not so much as avoiding each other.

    A final three machines pulled themselves up making fifteen on the ground, each expressed designs between Megatron and the Energizer Bunny from Hell. One straightened its body to pump rockets from down its chest and midsection. The projectiles zoom out high among the jets and erupt, but the B-2 Spirits soar out and continue to descend towards them. One side cast its body down and raised an arm that converted to a large rifle, it recoiled to the weapon discharge and continued to moved on following the vapor trail of its prey, another nine follow his example and arm guns at wrists.

    “Bank and flank with Ultra Sonar. Make their teeth chatter, if they have any.” Each pilot holding his main control stick taps the red cap at the top, it snaps back revealing the single button for the demonstration. “Fire—”

    Before the order went through a beam of plasma cut through the assembled robots on the ground, terminating five on contact and wounded another. More weapon fire succeeded, cutting bits apart from the machines while the time it took for their destruction, they remained focused on the bemused jets above. In the remaining seconds only shreds remained with twitching bits and parts sparking occasionally.

    “What the hell happened?” C-450’s voice sounded calm on the verge of panic.

    “Hen base, do you read? What happened out here, we don’t—” C-452’s pilot was cut off the transmission. As he turned back the lead pilot registered a tearing noise identical to a ripping hull. He barely had time to see a large gauntlet scraping through his comrades craft just feet from his as he continued on.

    “C-450, what was that? Do you have visual?” He fought the urge to turn his controls back, if he did he would be snared in the same trap the pilot had found himself and die as well.

    The man was staring down from the edge of the cockpit as something crashed to the desert three quarters a mile below. “Captain, we need to get out of here. NOW!” He touched a switch at his helmets side and grabbed the controls, he thumped in his cockpit when sudden momentum came to sudden end. He was near unconscious but could hear more than feel as the craft he was in began descending for the world below. He tried to make another call of warning to Peter, but he couldn’t get his voice to work.

    “What-what the hell is this?” The only pilot left, Peter, struggled with his controls to get moving at mach two, if possible five thousand. Something had killed his men and it would come after him now, he had no vague idea what or how but he had to escape it. “Hen base, come in! Something’s out here, it got Hugo and Frank! I need lock on what’s preyed on us! Hen base? Hen base?” He was nearly ripped in two when his Spirit came to a jarring halt at the edge of a sonic boom, he snapped his neck around in pain trying to discern what it was that had attacked them before he too was dead. Just that much he yearned to know. His vision caught sight of a useless flash accompanied to head trauma but briefly, he was soon focused on the outer canopy of his aircraft as it plummeted to the desert below.

    From near three quarter miles in the air he slammed into, not skid, to the ground and came to another sudden stop, he was no longer moving but his craft was rocking. “What in—” Above he caught a flicker of movement, something big and dark blue with flashes of silver. Any mumbling he had to blabber now was cut off as massive digits tore into the carapace and peeled it back with that terrible ripping, he winced and looked up again.

    “Ya wanned Ultra Sonar, I got ya Super Duper Sonar right here.” The bizarre machine held up a shield, a bar across its near crest flashed and all went black for Peter.

    ***

    “Enough fooling around.” Tron-Mega was ripping his talons through the ship checking on the contents of its basis. “Is it dangerous?”

    “Not anymore.” The robot stepped off the B-2 and approached the dragon. “Humans in stasis, Tron. What’s’it ya wanted now, I forgot?” He gave a partial salute and turned away to sit on a jet and mess with his shield.

    Tron-Mega’s optics burned as he looked to the other machine. “Permanently, I hope, or I will give you to them for testing needs.”

    “Yah-yah, I took care’f’it, catch me?” He motioned to the three Stealth jets on the ground, broken to pieces. “They don’t know t’works yet so less likely t’try it on us, butch’ya never know with humans. M’files show they are one weird alien…. An’way, they pro’bly have more’f’this technology on base, s’unless y’want to invade tehm like y’love to – which I doubt now given certain circ’stance – is’mostly gonna be exper’mental s’there’s not’a lot, not enough to be’a danger. Y’know what I’m gettin’ at, right?”

    “Sadly, yes.”

    “And what’s’t y’say y’wanted done now? Hangin’ out here’s a’real drag.” He put his shield to his back and stood.

    “The primary units are in position, I want you to send out the summon to draw those few in hiding out. They are to report to Dirge or Scavenger.”

    The Decepticon tilt his body back in annoyance. “Pfft, if’I’d known that was it I wouldn’t’ve even bother comin’ outt’a hidin’. Don’t y’have some flowery sta’ment, something extra’gant like old Megs would pull, y’could’ve—”

    “Boombox, my patience is little, I have waited long enough. Summon the Decepticons, later you can transmit my ‘flowery’ statements.”

    The sound specialist shrugged. “Oh sure, why not?”

    “And make sure the Autobots cannot decode it.”

    “Y’want me to do in five seconds what’t’took Frenzy two days t’do? Network crashin’s a hobby f’mine, y’know.”

    “Boombox! The message!”

    He jumped back from the hostile fire spitter and put his hands up. “Already done, fearless leader. Y’want me t’crawl away now, right?”

    “Only at my convenience, by all means.” The dragon spun away and tilt his thick snout back to Boombox. “But next time I call I expect you to answer.”

    “Oh, yah, sure-sure boss ‘bot—‘con.” He watched as Tron-Mega fired up his engines and rose into the sky graceful flyer as he was, there was much to be demanded for his chosen form. Boombox waited with an odd grin in his optics as the commander went beyond his optical perception. “Loser.”

    ***

    The plain was dissolute, devoid of any form of natural life. That’s why the Decepticons landed the Nemesis on Mars, there was no contact with alien organisms, aside from the Rover that was located and terminated many orbits of the Earth to the dominating star structure beyond. It was a nice place to hang up, not so organic, dusty, the sandstorms were murder on the ship, but remedied easily enough. It was the touch down point of Decepticons before they made the final trek to the lone blue planet of so much attention, before they came into understanding of who was boss here.

    Some of them chose to mingle outside the ship while most were aboard in their own stations, quarters were they could be alone and contemplate an existence under lord Starscream’s command.

    Currently lord Starscream was hiking about the Decepticon encampment making the usual rounds toward the center base nearest to the hulking ship of whose design was far foreign to its own origin. It was shaped long and sharp for interstellar cutting, the side turrets along its wings shielded in dormancy, some of the side blast doors were open always for access but the remaining sealed to drive less time in an emergency take off. Not that there was any danger the Autobots ship could pose to the sheer ferocity of the Nemesis, it was still precaution.

    “I am well aware of Cybertron’s condition,” growled Starscream as he neared the sound specialist, “but I have given you an order. Get it done!”

    The dark blue protoform made no indication he registered the mobile vocalization unit screaming at him, instead he made an answer. “It could be our officers have already abandoned the world in order to locate a better means of survival. There is little prospect that I will reach them if that is the case.”

    “Did I ask for your statistics?” He poked a sharp digit to the translucent chest platting. “Reply from Cybertron or nothing at all.”

    At this Rumble approached, a small robot that was much more mass than his late brother Frenzy, it was odd to call this one Soundwave’s protector as he stood only five feet tall. “We try and try but since your return from first contact, nothing comes of it. We can continue trying or do something else, something more productive of our cycles?”

    Some nearby comrades hearing his chatter screech in agreement. “You have us waiting here when there’s a planet ripe for pillaging,” said one. “We do nothing to advance our stronghold,” grumbled another. “We are bored.” “We wait here and rust.” And so forth, and so forth.

    “Shut up!” shrieked Starscream, whipping toward them. “I decide when it is we make our engagement, and until we have conformation with Cybertron that inclination is postponed! I didn’t wait hundreds of vorns for our incursion, only to have it slip short of statute.”

    “I heard he was shot by a thing called a Sabutt,” muttered a large black robot, lower mandibles overlapped his optics.

    After a pause Starscream raised his rifle and shot the machine in his chest, the large powerhouse crumpled back jerking to the null pulses firing through his magnetic synapse. “Must I make another example?” He turned slowly to the crew that had spoken so well before against him.

    “Communications continue to reach for Cybertron and echo back, none makes the endeavor to confirm,” Soundwave reported.

    “Slag Shockwave and his failure to acknowledge. He can rust for all I care, he’s so belated in his efforts of contact.” It was in his belief as well that Shockwave may have resumed control of Cybertron in his absence, though he made it excruciatingly clear how he was not to do such a naughty thing. If ever they crossed paths again Starscream would not postpone time for inquiries, he would simply blow his bright optic out of his skull casing.

    Soundwave straightened then and reached a hand up to press a small button on his upper chest. “Crossing transmission patterns reach our sensory array, designation Earth.”

    Impatiently Starscream motioned his advisor. “What are you waiting for? What is the requisition?”

    He appeared most unpleased by whatever the communication was and expressed the reason of his ire in a simple response. “It is from Boombox - contacting concealed Decepticons upon Earth on standby.” He engaged and played back the encrypted message to Starscream.

    A number of the nearby soldiers registered the title and contrive thus meaning, began moving in on Soundwave intrigued, they had been blissfully unaware of the return of Tron-Mega.

    “I thought he was dead.” “Megatron destroyed him, right?” “No, he abandoned with most the Constructicons.” The soldiers muttered.

    “An abomination no less, was what he was. I am correct.” Starscream let his gaze skewer each voice he recognized outright. “Him and his lot. They didn’t believe in following Megatron, no, he seeks to pick up where I left off. Where would any one of you be had I not agreed to lead this mission for the AllSpark, and risk my own spark in the process?”

    That was fairly tempting. The Decepticons clicked and screeched at the very notion, yes where would any of them be without Starscream? He was the only one at the time competent enough to head the expedition off their world, to Unicron knows what existed beyond the known universe, and risked his spark in a doomed battle only one other of their comrades survived from. He had returned off world, a failure, weary and exhausted after the long years of disguise and suffering to the dominant life forms, of which they understood to be organic. It had required nearly an orn of Mars orbit before he had recuperated and was able to convey the news that the AllSpark had been destroyed, and to make matters perfect only shortly after his liberation from these dominant organics confinement, they’re one and only leader, Megatron, had been lost to the battle. As the only soldier capable of travel he had returned heavy with the burden of carrying this terrible account, and with that, it had been their great leaders wish that Starscream lead them from here on out, to the end of time.

    Soundwave highly doubted this but never said anything of relevance to jeopardize Starscream’s position. After all he remained the only one capable enough to organize their activities into strike, he wasn’t willing to, and the only other Decepticon qualified as leader was out of his reach. Then again, between him and Shockwave little of their personality would win over any of these braintrusts. And thus he attempted to hail Shockwave, or any other willing candidate, to no avail.

    But the aspect of Tron-Mega was promising.

    “Tron-Mega was a failed experiment that developed a code to his nature, and was inferior enough that he began sparing the weak.” Some of the soldiers had gone silent to focus on his vocals, others in the back were still transmitting over the principal of a leader like Tron-Mega. It was repulsing to compute, but Starscream came to the spur of an idea he couldn’t hope to pass over. “However, if those of you are curious I will escort your protoforms to Earth and allow you to see for yourself and decide. But strand yourself in your new form and I cannot bring you back, until a means provides itself.” He cast his optics toward the Nemesis. “Well?”

    When one of the huskier frames had decided to step forward, he added, “Tread carefully, reflect thereupon that it was one of these organic creatures that destroyed Megatron, and I was the only one to flee with my very exoskeleton. Do any of you believe you have the speed you need?”

    He hesitated, but stepped forward. “I will go.”

    “You seem fixed on returning, it can’t be that bad,” another spoke as he stepped forward with another. “The frag, you better not be lying to us,” grumbled the other.

    “I assure you, I do not.”

    On a spur of the thought Rumble moved on his own from Soundwave and looked up at Starscream. “I guess myself as well. It’s not like there’s anything to do on this rust cap.”

    For now Starscream ignored his forewarning that more went into this Decepticons processor foam than he gave credit on, but rather concentrate on the task at hand, he nodded to the smaller mechanoid instead. He turned to a dark mauve, silver protoform that was having a rather nice conversation with a dark blue ally of his. “Skywarp, the Seekers are in charge in my absence. I will not be long.” He checked over the following warriors and moved out to the perimeter of the camp, there he transformed to the F-22A raptor and spiraled out into the planets shallow atmosphere.

    From the dank rust like surface the three protoforms convert to coment form and shoot off after their declared lord searching for answers to curious questions. Their bodies hit the stratosphere and streak out into the dark, what little moisture accumulated over their armor in the brief assent converted to ice, and other gaseous, matter, becoming a realistic camouflage to the comet form semblance.

    ***

    Across the globe through the radio waves flowing throughout the mass of electrical communications, the people of the blue planet receive a signal crackling transmission among those of radio broadcasts, Internet connections, walky-talkies, even simple baby radios set to the right frequency. A message to their own audio equipment was perceived as annoying crackle and screeches, a danger to them all- ignored. Others among them, non-biological extraterrestrial in broad daylight concealed beside their own bodies, registers what is sent and what it means.

    Like the natives around them some do ignore the message sent, while others listen intently and plot their own personal achivements.

    A burly man at a Mac truck lot in Onawa of Iowa was taken out back to view the selection of older models, outdated but still in prime condition ready for the open road of commercial use or for scavenging, they were in top condition whatever the necessity. Reliable good metal, broken in motor, trustworthy design, this was the reason these trucks were still being sold and people were still seeking them for their needs.

    Among the idea Macs set up for purchase, there was one that would not be scavenged from by private buyers. The dash of this giant, black 1978 model truck lit up as the ignition howls to life. It received the message and processed, it was pristine.

    “Decepticons in disguise, this is a convene by lord Tron-Mega….”

    The owner and buyer chase after the truck as it begins riding away, with no gasoline or oil in its engine, it seemed to have developed a mind of its own and was now moving of its own motivation out of the lot.

    The trucks Iowa license plate hunched down between the rear wheels reads in simple code. “MASTR”. Smog began to pump from the massive stacks high from its exhaust, its horn blares as it shifts and drifts in acceleration from the exit of the lot. In its progress a man is run off the side before he is made a smear, that is more to say than its farcical of a containment. The big truck shatters the reinforced fence in its progress out and proceeds straight into the open road skidding across the intersection in order to spin around and face the correct path of its trajectory, its tires squeal over the tarmac until its hulking weight is picked up and moved with the dusty Mac. It continues on through a red light smashing a car aside that sped through the green.

    About two hundred miles away in Broken Bow, the state over in Nebraska, a wrecker ball and crane in the recent 2006 earns the pay of the driver as he skillfully maneuvers the five ton iron ball through the middle portion of a condemned courthouse. Dust ignites away as the orb slams and punches away the supporting structures of the late building, dating back to early fifties. Away from the archaic structures lay the pieces of its worth, bricks white with soot and splintered wood, glass glitters among the remains.

    The pilot peers through his sunglasses at the dash when the CB comes to life at his knees, he is too busy with the controls to post and pry with the small knobs.

    “A flanking cusp is set up in point of Interstate-fifteen Southeast of Boulder city, within the metropolitans designated Las Vegas, and Mission city – all of which located in Nevada, separate units are located at these positions. They cannot be missed….”

    All the man registered was whining static with the faint screeches and frazzed pulse talk. He reached down flicking at the switch, but the transmission did not cease. He frowned. It said it was off, the light was off yet it still babbled with nonsense. What was going on? It must’ve picked up a live signal, nothing he could….

    The sticks snapped out of his gloves and began working on their own. In terror he reached out taking one, frightened the ten thousand pound iron would fly wide and smash something that didn’t need smashing. No matter how he pried with it, how much he cussed, however he pleaded with god he could not gain control of the wreckball.

    Then the large caterpillar treads lurched from their anchor, the supporting pegs coiled up in their sides and the vehicle was rolling on its own through the debris scattered across. He grabbed the controls and fought with the brake but nothing helped, nothing for him worked. The vehicle had come to life and was going somewhere and it was taking him with it.

    Or might have, if it were not so busy.

    The door slid open and the man gapped at it awed, until the seat flipped sideways and dumped him out. It was a good thing he wore a hard hat, he struck concrete and some metal bar but he was alive and would live with these injuries.

    As for the wrecker ball, it swept out around the vehicle and coiled up into the crane as it thumped across the terrain towards the nearest road. From there it could ride along the I-forty and take a nice easy trip to I-seventy and cross onto I-fifteen for the last haul into Las Vegas.

    On the street outside an antique shop of My Home of old Things, sat a midnight gray Porsche enjoying its time in the shade until the sun dropped from early dusk to night. People of Denver city walked by but an owner never claimed it, except one and it only came through a message unheeded by those around it. Over and over it played the same call but did nothing, had not moved yet, was still debating on a course of action that would best benefit his soulless frame.

    “You are to report to Dirge, Scrapper, or Dozercannon and await further orders.”

    The command was played again, again, as the machine mulled over his fate and that of those around him. Go to fight and die - stay, live and exist - to what point at all? Why should he bother? In a few centuries where did he see himself, just another model updated from the latest eighties, that mode was a drag. At least in his new 2006 brand he could call himself a car.

    Who cared, really? He didn’t, why should anyone else? It was just him and his self, on the road, going from town to city, searching for his destiny and finding so little in the quest for that. Maybe his direction was not in his own views, but in that of another. He had always had a place among the Decepticons and he did have his ups or downs, such as questioning the meaning of existence. He was strange to those of his kind but he had never really seen himself falling in life for a cause he simply did not understand. At least he had a purpose with the Decepticons.

    “Oh as that would be all the world, and unto oneself the world in his mind, that there was no other existence. And in the silence he came to see, how little he understood, and in that was the view of existence. Not to see but to understand. And still how little it was to see. The shadows.”

    A man appeared in the fine black seats, a man in black with black hair and a dreary repose of his face. He flickered—

    “Dath is me as I do see.”

    The engine hummed and the vehicle screamed from the parking place and down the road, headed for I-seventy where he would rendezvous with the wrecker headed for Las Vegas.

    A silent desk in some unknown city, in some unknown state was the poise for a sleek digital camera manufactured by Kodak, modeled Z885 with fast shutter speed. It was the idea Fathers day gift for the man that now owned it.

    Currently, he sat in front of the computers screen with his two sons behind him watching as he uploaded the website that concentrated on the occurrences in Mission city, they were big followers of the story since it came out and still witnesses came forward talking of some craziness of giant robots performing melee in the localized areas. To the father and his sons this was fascinating, true or not, but so many people had spoken of similar accounts.

    The simple TFW2005 was the code, its meaning unknown, and they were in to look at snapshots, fuzzy robots, and eyewitness reports.

    On the desk unnoticed by the small family, the digital camera unfolds and stands up as a small mechanoid. One lenses flashes green as he swipes his sharp head around then hops off onto the carpeted floor. He moves off toward the hall and past the bedrooms towards the front door. In a haste he jumped back to press his back to the wall as someone emerged from the kitchen.

    “Honey, kids, dinner!” She ducked back to check the food steaming on the stove.

    The small mechanoid peeled his body from the wall and moved past the gaping door, all the time staring up at the woman as she removed a pot and set it aside.

    A small Pomeranian with long dark fur lifted its head when the robot was halfway past the door. When the small thing locked lens with retina, it turned and bolted.

    The dog went into a barking frenzy and raced from the tile floor and out into the carpeted hall. A few moments after it passed beyond the door came a sharp pow and a YIPE!

    The wife looked up from her cooking, curious. “Domino?” She stepped from the kitchen out into the hall and looked down, she frowned at the sight before her. “D-Domino?”

    The dog was wiping its snout on the carpet growling to herself.

    “Good gracious, Domino! You’re getting blood on the carpet!” She picked the Pomeranian up and took it to the bathroom to get its nose bandaged up, and scold it for whatever infraction for her slit snout.

    Meanwhile, she never noticed the black camera on the floor waiting, believing it was the work of her boys and they would need to be chastised later for leaving it lying around. When she was gone the camera converted back to robot and dashed the last few feet to the door, he jumped up grabbing the knob and unlocked it. After that he undid the dead bolt and chain then kicked the knob, pulled the heavy door back enough to slip out and was gone.

    Dad would need a new camera minus the ambition for conquering the universe.

    ***

    A pair of F-22 raptors streak in close to a Panavia Tornado soaring in parallel of Lake Mead open on the broad extent beneath its currents.

    The pilot at the Tornado’s starboard side worked over nine different frequencies before he reached one he was certain would connect with the foreign aircraft. “GR. 4, Ident zero-zero-seven, you are in restricted airspace. I repeat, you are in restricted airspace. You will be escorted to Hoover Dam landing location where you are to be expected to comply with protocol, do you copy?” He paused.

    In response a violent electrical scream came over the connected communication link, whether it be malfunction or otherwise neither pilot would know until the aircraft landed.

    Though rude in response the Tornado did bank and slide into the slipstream with the other jets and pursued its comrades to the landing space. Within five miles, no less than thirty seconds, the helicopter landing port number two station did come into view below at the edge of the large access tunnel, lights on the surface blinking in response to pre timed programming.

    “Pilot of zero-zero-seven, there is a landing stretch at Las Vegas….” Began the pilot, his voice failing as the oddly colored Tornado streaked ahead and decelerated for the helicopter landing strip. “Pilot, you are unauthorized to land there!”

    The duel raptors roared overhead as on the ground Agent Simmons with a communicator responded to the pilots’ plight. “Attention 009 and 723, this aircraft has authorization to land here. Please proceed to JANAT where you will be debriefed.” He clicked it off and watched as the large Tornado came in for a low landing, its jets booming out hot thermals from the thrusters at its underside and stern. He waited until the aircraft had settled down and cooled its engines moderately before approaching it. “I think I’m obligated to see some sort of ID before we open the facility to you.”

    The jet powered down with a low hissing whoo, then the cockpit snapped and slid back. Mikaela slipped out and hopped onto the wing of the large flyer to lean on its side. “Does my access count?”

    Simmons appeared surprised by her existence. “Hn, unless NBE-67 can make holograms mobile on their own.”

    She glared at him. “Why don’t you just give it up and call them by their names? It’s easier for everyone else who isn’t busy trying to remember what number you tie them up with.”

    He was already walking away motioning the soldiers to get the access doors open. “If I did that I’d have to admit to a load of heat ache.”

    When the blast doors had opened the Tornado rolled itself in without assistance, only following the directional of the men waving glowing torches. Once inside full way the encumbrance doors shut and lock with a muffled clang. Mikaela jumped from the jet’s wing a moment before the entire composition rearranged itself into the Decepticon DareRex.

    “Where is Sam?” she asked foremost. The abrupt question caught Mikaela’s attention before she could wander off.

    About to return to his previous activities, Simmons doubled back annoyed. “He’s in the dorm area in meeting with Mr. Keller,” the Decepticon was already stomping past him as he continued, “its in restricted access to you machines.”

    DareRex was still going until Mikaela called her back, which she responded to by halting.

    “What do you want to see Sam?” she asked.

    The armed soldiers dotted about became uneasy, they began preparing rifles as though they too could sense the tension mounting, even if their guns would be mere effective at best. “I just want to speak with him. I don’t intend to harm him.”

    At that Simmons nearly choked. “Hurt—hurt him? Wha—what’s going on here?” He retaliated on Mikaela while directing a finger back to the powerhouse. “What the hell is that thing?”

    DareRex thumped her heel and stormed out of the main access tunnel. “Never mind Sam, then. Where is Sonic Boom?”

    Mikaela went up to Mr. Simmons nearly grabbing him by his suit. “Sonic? Where is he now?”

    “Um, uh, oh-oh…ah—! That…Grave Digger.” Now he could understand a meaning into that name. “Ran off to assist the NBE-5 and NBE-2.”

    That was the last straw, Mikaela grabbed his collar and rolled her head back. “God! Bumblebee! Ratchet! Is it so hard for you to memorize their names? What am I? Accomplice-45?”

    “Um, no. You’re suspect number—”

    “ARGH!” She took off. “DareRex! Come back here!” She jumped backwards when the large machine stormed into the main entrance.

    “What’s with you? I saw you there before I put my foot down—”

    “Shut up! Come with me!” She went to one of the security officers that used golf carts to cover the grounds of the base and jumped in with him. “To the dorm sector, now.”

    The man seated with a sandwich in his lap starred at the young woman that had just given him strict orders. “Excuse me, I’m on my lunch break and in the workers union that….”

    As he prattled on his life, DareRex took a moment to snap a sample of human culture and bargaining in persuasion. She leaned down to look at the man. “Beat me in a race and I’ll buy you a beer.”

    He put his dinner away and slammed on the brakes. “Hold on, miss!” He drove down fifty feet but the mechanical biped failed to advance, each time he looked back it was only staring. Was it busted? When he looked onto his path once more he suddenly felt the small cart rocking as he drove, before he had the chance to look the robot had already leapt over them and was down the tunnel. Shit, no fair.

    ***

    Sixty or so miles from the location of Hoover Dam the soil in desert splint as a metallic snout thrust its way out, followed by a neck, shoulders, body and legs. Shaking his gutted frame lightly the sand fell from his shifting joints, it irritated his delicate wires too much but that couldn’t be helped. Sonic Boom raised his head high and listened.

    Yes, he had been right, that was a Decepticon transmission flowing through the air. Few like he could collect and decipher it, he had once been Decepticon and the programming was incorporated into his systems still, only the problem was the Autobots could not pick it up, unless Blaster was with them which he doubted. He activated his own communication relay but found it disabled continued, no wonder as he had little opportunity to begin his repairs and he was only running on strong will as of late. There had to be a way to inform his allies of the danger underway, before it was too late for preparation.

    A quick review of his stolen information and he understood there to be a town no more than twenty miles from his position by Northwest. His leg was in bad shape but he could focus much of his energon through his torso and good leg he could make the distance without flight, and so he did travel the twenty miles in fifteen minutes and came to the outskirts of the city Kingman. He avoided the interstate and highway and went straight to the nearest rural area he could locate with computer equipment. Deeper into the neighborhood than he originally intended he located a tall two story home with low tone pastel walls, bike shackled to the porch, no cars in the port or within.

    He shattered the door on its frame and sought the downstairs, there were no computers there, he avoided the main chamber where noises came from, nothing was in the energizer portal but strange scents. Upon locating the stairway he hopped up the side and onto the top flight, he collapsed to his side and struggled to his feet again, Primus he was clumsy.

    A sudden flush came from beyond a door followed by running water, it ended and a small figure came from the entrance five steps forward to his left. He stared.

    The person turned and stopped, he stared at him.

    His optics clicked as they scanned.

    The person took a gasp and opened his mouth wide.

    He fell backwards with a loud thud, dead.

    “Rez, you okay up there?” came the voice from downstairs.

    Hesitantly he approached and stared at the thing. It looked dead indeed. “Yeah, I’m s’okay.” He prodded a foot. It twitched, he leapt back. “There’s somthin’ up here.”

    “Uh-huh, that’s nice. Come back down, cartoons are on.”

    “Not now, I’m lookin’ at it.” He moved closer to Sonic Boom reaching a hand out, he didn’t want to lose his arm but this aberration must be examined thoroughly before his mom got home. “Diana, come up here and see it.”

    “Later.”

    The thing moved and Rez stumbled back about to scream, but it continued moving into a backwards cartwheel and dropped to its hands and knees with its head down against the carpet. He stared, it was still moving, portions in its gaps where moving with it. “H-hey….”

    “Ffff-forgive my intrussssion, d-do you have…net acccesssss…?”

    Rez nodded. “Uh-huh. W-what are you—”

    Sonic Boom looked up at him. “Take me to your Internet.”

    The little boy had a sister, Sonic Boom learned, a younger sister. After threatening to scream Rez let his little sister into his room where the computer was, she stood at the large raptor’s thigh as he studied the sleek HP Pavilion with desktop and flat screen.

    “What’s it?” she asked.

    Rez shrugged. “Don know. Machine, pro’bly govner-ment s‘periment run away, pro’gammed to des’troy, doesn’ wanna des’troy no more. We should help it.”

    “Run away.” She nodded to that.

    Sonic Boom took the front portion off the tower and opened his gauntlet, the access cables snapped into the computer processing chips and activated the Internet connection wireless, he began scanning through.

    “Did you jus break my puter?” Rez yelped.

    “N-nay,” he whispered, optics flashing with information, “_ put it back….” He gurgled and clicked. What he sought was located.

    The little girl leaned over its leg to see. “Whaz that’d?”

    “Jamie, geh back, it might be dan-grous.” He pulled her away and looked for himself mouthing silently the letters he knew. “T-F-W-2-0-0-5?”

    “H-had access to…recent Ssec-tor Sven…Seven,” he strained, “knew…this…was coming. B-but…Sector…Seven…has been…watching…ss-sssince-ce.” He coughed and pumped hard oxygen through his wafer systems absorbing as much ions as he could. “Still…issss.” He used his free hand to tap out a message on the original TFW sight, a simple direct message that would catch the eye of anyone logged on following the events that had transpired in Mission city, but more importantly so that those of the ARD section would recognize and report back with. “All I c-can do.” He looked back on the children. “My grrr-grrr-grrratitude to you….” He put the tower back together and turned to leave, but Rez stopped him.

    “Hold up, do we geh somethin’ for this?” He looked at his sister and beamed with a worthy smile. “Your grat-tude?”

    Sonic Boom’s optics clicked as he turned his head. “Noth-thing…I-I havve—wait, I d-do.” He hissed drooling a liquid from the corner of his sharp beak. The section of his torso fore side snapped open part way and he reached in to pull out a small glowing rock. By all appearances it looked very similar to the AllSpark cube in design, but was oval smooth and polished with hieroglyphics curved and sharp, one was a triangle. He put it in the boys open hand and looked him in the eye. “I shall re-return…for it, kee-keep ----safe, show it-t to…no one. I-I will…give y-you something beyond…its value…later.”

    Rez grimaced at the gift. A rock. Ha handed it to Jamie deciding she could take care of it until the real prize came. “Thanks.”

    He nodded, and turned as the door opened.

    “I got peanut butter and jelly, who wanted plain jelly?” Diana looked up and dropped the plate. “Oh my god, what’d you do to the window?” The glass was gone, shattered outward and they were staring that way. “Your mom is gonna flip!”

    If she were so concerned for the window, she should’ve looked down to the driveway below and the large hole drilled through it puffing dust.

    ***

    The local star that initiated life upon the planet called Earth was drawing neigh low to the curve in order to give night its time to cycle through sleep, soon it would be the time in which humans knew well to be magic hour.

    A monstrous HT220 Ditch Witch sat in the parking lot of the Bestbuy store soaking up information on the nearby computer terminals offering sample of high speed processing to the customers.

    “We wait one more breem then move into position,” the Ditch Witch told his companion.

    It was a large black Mac truck idling, its motor rumbling like a contained beast ready to tear through innocence. “If I knew I would be waiting this long I would have stayed put and dealt with my next victim—I mean driver.”

    Dozercannon was anything but impressed, he dealt with Motormaster before and if it was one thing he learned was let that Decepticon be. It was far less painful that way and he couldn’t afford fresh wounds in the ensuing war about to unleash on this world. At least they would not be tearing more of Cybertron apart. For a splint moment he wondered how his old home was faring, last he saw the planet was in a state of despair. Given its former circumstance upon his abandoning he was surprised that Decepticons had come from that world recently. Then again, from what he gathered of the more recent battle, the Decepticon crew that left searching for Megatron and the AllSpark had left their world many vorns before. The planet could be at any state now and he didn’t look forward to returning to it.

    “This does not bode well for Tron-Mega’s campaign.”

    “There are more of us than Autobots on this planet,” informed Dozercannon. “All we must concentrate on is drawing their attention thus confusing and frightening the humans into a position of paralysis. I have viewed thousands of files of warfare and deduce that this small establishment will not last long, once their back is broken we reap the spoils and move on to the next research facility. These areas are threats foremost, understand? They are not military but the thinking force is enough to disable us.”

    Motomaster gave a deep rumbling sigh that disturbed the grit around his tires. “Yeah-yeah, I know how these strategies go. First gather, then kill, last declare. All I’m interested in is eradicating these human parasites, the very notion that one killed our leader and our very existence is enough to make me slaughter each and every one I do come across from here out. The least most little fact holding my arms from doing so is the principle satisfaction of the pleasure when I am allowed to do so.”

    A sleek digital camera sat beneath a Toyota pickup with camper shell twenty yards away, its lens zooms in on the odd pair of vehicles at the farthest end of the parking lot. It clicks a picture off storing the data away on processor and zooms in on the identification of the large Macs grill.

    The dull lime tractor checked its internal clock and saw to his relief it was time to get moving. “That’s it, no one else is coming. Let’s get into position.” A man appeared in the seat bothering little with the controls as the Ditch Witch coiled its backhoe up and raised the earth saw high, its motor began and it rolled behind the large Mac and attached to the rig.

    Motormaster pulled forward hauling the tractor with him. As he headed for the exit ramp he pulled aside as a giant crane came thundering in with a small Porsche following. “What the slag?” he screeched.

    “Darklight and Deadend reporting, Dozercannon,” uttered the wrecking crane. “We’re moving out already?”

    “You nearly missed us. Laggard is not tolerated.”

    “Frag, berate them later, let’s just get moving. I don’t want to be hauling your ass around all day.” The big Mac pushed forward drawing his tow with him.

    “Hold, circumstances demand this task that needs attention first.” The ditch Witch unhitched and rolled towards the small gray car. “You were left custody of a disk before Tron-Mega abandoned Cybertron, Deadend, I was told to accept it from you.”

    The sleek car continued to idle but responded little on the inquiry.

    “I also have permission to terminate you if you fail to produce this disk.” The large saw hovering high spun once whirling chain.

    “Hey, you can’t threaten my ‘con!” Motormaster roared as he groaned forward.

    “I…don’t have the disk,” Deadend muttered.

    The camera facing the exit ramp clicked another picture off.

    “WHAT?” Dozercannon snarled. “What did you do to it? Where did it go? That disk is wanted by Lord Tron-Mega, it may be the key to our survival! How could you lose such a precious heirloom?”

    In silent Motormaster marked Dozercannon’s alarm. Something so valuable must be worth a great deal.

    “Tis landing on this world to be blamed,” spoke the car with the goth driver. “When I came down the disk was lost, to some corner of the planet that is round. I searched and searched for it but was never found, myself or it. You see, when I lost the disk some of me went with it. I have given up on it.”

    The saw on the Ditch Witch lowered a quarter inch and roared with metal shrieking fury. “And yet you approach a senior officer knowing the consequences for your failure?”

    “It is only in my failure that I approach you,” he said.

    This alone subsided the Decepticons fury, the clamps at his sides flexed in a curious sort of frown had the vehicle been bipedal. “We shall report to point and review the situation once this is over.” He rolled behind the impatient Mac and hitched up. “Where was it you landed?”

    A brief calculation went into the data retrieval. “Current day Egypt.”

    The lens on the camera flashed.

    ***

    From the sky at high dusk fell five streaks of fire that in the ancient times may foretell misfortune, death, tragedy. They crash separately over the southwestern corner of Nevada, lower portion of Utah and one in Arizona. ARD facility dispatched operatives driving vehicles beyond the uniform of normal military protocol.

    Mid way through the night cycle as the base was left at its most vulnerable state, massive fighters were moving into position undetected thanks in large to a Boombox carried on the front seat of a Mustang police cruiser miles out of jurisdiction. Even more conspicuous of the situated cruiser long from home, was that it moved off road among the trees of a forest surrounding Lake Mead.

    Ten miles across this lake, red optics flash among the silent leaves of trees as the metallic face gazed out through onto the vehicles and surveillance squadrons in constant effort around the widest perimeter. The opposite soldiers were beyond them but extended set patrols were sent onward to locate any invaders concealed, but off guard. It was easier to avoid these specific units as they were not very thorough and the darkness gave cover to the stalkers, so long as they were covered and in the motionless trees, deception would be the specialty of the night. Even for Motormaster crawling up a slope in tactical military style with low slants and ducks, his giant form disturbed no branch and called no attention to any of one location among the greenery.

    “We are in position, sir.” On the secure line Dirge listened but no response came through. No surprise there, they were only given orders to move on point and wait until he gave the signal, but it was hinted that toward the rising star of the following day they would begin the strike. Scarce bit more information of the attack was offered to any single soldier, that was the way their captain worked.

    “You two, keep quiet.” On separate location, Longhaul grumbled out of irritation to his noisy comrades.

    “Quiet you,” sneered Scrapper. “I am commander of this squadron.” He was at it in another argument with Longhaul, who always poked fun at him. Scavenger was the last Decepticon anyone considered to be referee but as it was referred to over and over again he kept the team in check with his indecision. “Longhaul, maintain contact with Dirge and Dozercannon.”

    From where he had crouched low, Scavenger hunched forward and held up a hand. “Terrestrial life form, get low.” He dropped down as the rest of the unit did and waited.

    A group of men muttering about their graveyard shifts were passing by, shining lights onto the undergrowth and at the canopy.

    “Let me eliminate them,” Longhaul chattered.

    “You will not,” opposed Scrapper. “They go missing the others will be aware of an infiltration. Let them pass.”

    “What if they grow curious?” inquired Scavenger, challenging his unit commander again. “What will you do then?”

    “As humans say, “play it by ear.’”

    The patrol didn’t even shine their light in the direction of the hidden aliens, if they had one would notice the sharp edges of lime metal thrust over the dug out trench they had excavated in their boredom. It was human custom to dig a nest while waiting out enemy soldiers, it didn’t work too well for impatient Decepticons.

    “We are in position, sir.” Scrapper looked to the two members of his unit, Longhaul was still prying soft earth from their dugout, it was getting on his last synapse. “Shut down, when the signal comes I’ll get you out of offline mode.”

    Scavenger turned to Longhaul muttering on a shared frequency. “I’m certain he means well, but his programming wants to kill us.”

    “I agree.” He nodded to that.

    Onto the farther side of the Hoover Dam awaited the massive ingress locked through the hours of the night and day unless for authorized access, there were many soldiers up and moving with intense lamps blaring down cutting hazy air. The soldiers’ gear glinted under light, each holds a weapon, patrols run at all hours.

    From the distance Darklight could magnify his optics through the end of his long wrecker to sight potential dangers and scout out a position without even moving. “A lot of activity, looks unorganized but I can make out a disciplined pattern suggesting a moderate intelligence.”

    “Hh, how intelligent you reckon?” Motormaster had to stoop down to see the lowered powerhouse in his steady mode.

    “Average for culture building life form. It’d be no trouble exterminating them, once the Autobots have been removed.” He lowered his crane back into his lower arm and backside. “We could be on them if Tron-Mega wasn’t so obsessed with that lone…err, Ladiesman was it?”

    In the leaves overhead a small machine held itself erect as the lens on his chest snapped another picture off.

    “Affirmative.”

    Deadend directed a sharp digit to the compound, lines under his optics were illuminated offering a sullen gloom. “What activity is that over there? One of them leaving or entering?”

    The crane arm snapped and extended into place and Darklight checked through the tracking needle. “Hrm. Appears a high ranking General is vacating the facility. That makes our job all that much easier.” He buzzed a low chuckle.

    The General leaving ARD facility was none other than Secretary of Defense, John Keller, satisfied with his questioning of the target individual. With the armed escorts he left through the small portal and went straight to his limo.

    “Should we eliminate it, if that human is important?” asked Motormaster.

    Darklight tracked the vehicle and escorts for a few miles then retracted his scope. “Dirge can get him down the road.”

    “I don’t advise on that approach.” Dozercannon glanced back at his team. “We are in position now, no point in jeopardizing that for a single kill. There’ll be plenty of Generals to crush once we get started, howbeit given our current poise there will be no pride in it.”

    Darklight rasped and shook his head. “Not enough Autobots.”

    ***

    Samuel Witwicky had become the AllSpark. Or in a sense he was that thing which the Decepticons craved more than conquest, revenge. He was wanted alive by the leader only so that he could die, then there would be nothing to hold those insane machines from invading this world and killing all its organisms.

    Could the Autobots really stop them? How many people would die before the war was over? It was all because the cube came to this planet, its people found it, and his great grandfather found the seeker of it. There was no escaping the shackles of destiny bound tight to those whom had contact with the Transformers.

    Through the night Sam could sleep little, he had wakening dreams in which death came slow and painful. He had little influence to the world of torture that some were flocked by so the pain in his dreams, real to his mind, brought him from short bouts of sleep screeching in terror.

    For the ninth time that night he awoke breathless from a run in which he had not moved his legs to his actual body in escape, it didn’t stop him from feeling that primal instinct to survive death some way. In the end he had died, as if that was new, he couldn’t remember how but his body tingled all over from the experience. He awoke patting himself down to make sure no piece of him had been torn free. He stood from the cot a little unstable on his feet and made a fleeting dash for the lights, to his relief there was nothing in the small room with him. He wanted to check the time but his watch was on his cell phone and that was in his backpack in Tranquility. Seeing as he was probably not going to get much sleep for what remained of the night he opened the door and left the dormitory.

    All the talk with Keller of the potential danger, military, it unhinged him. “How do the guys in the Mafia do it?” he asked himself. Simmons and Banachek went over it and over it countless times, an indefinite of how safe he was several football fields under solid concrete. He didn’t even feel safe in the solid steel corridors leading from the lodgings, the Decepticons were not supposed to be able to locate the AllSpark without detection yet they found its location anyway. Little was in their way from locating him, and there was no infinite power of the universe to make him all that special.

    A pair of solid iron doors that could only be opened by armed guards, were activated on his approach. He felt like extravaganza with access to the one time Sector Seven station, sort of president in the White House with ding-dongs and access to all the playboy he wanted with the CIA there to cover up his not too savory doings. Then that empty feeling came to his stomach, that there was a bounty on his head which kept him from enjoying his time.

    He stepped out and up a flight of grate steps into the full open of the facility, wide open with technicians and military working around the clock on their separate undefined tasks. It was an amazing sight, everywhere he looked there were people in white suits, uniforms, some carried notepads and others pushed around loaded crates.

    The path went right or left proceeding further into the dam, before Sam was a railing with a drop beyond and pipes stretched over with ends disappearing into the concrete floors. He stepped forward and looked up, above was more catwalks with people tapping along and the extending ceiling. A noise came below him causing him to freeze up, his heart skipped a beat, when nothing happened he looked down.

    No doubt something was there, what he could not tell. It was tangled with the pipes and wires of the dam and looked almost apart of it, the metal was pale orange with tan markings—

    “DareRex?”

    Little response to that was the foot tapping a pipe but the robot was no less on its stomach under the pipes, asleep?

    “I was worried she’d find you first, looks like I was wrong.”

    Sam whirled, his chest thumping. It was Mikaela looking very nice. “I—uh, you—ah—uck—” He jumped back from the rail and slapped his face a few times. “I’m not dreaming, I’m not dreaming, I’m not dreaming—not dreaming—not dreaming—not dreaming!” He looked up as Mikaela took his chin and pulled his face close.

    It was like honey. Everything melted away, his fears, his anxiety, everything. All the shit he’d been through didn’t happen, he was all right, his father was all right, his mother was great, his dog….

    Sam stepped away and went to the rail looking down on what of the powerhouse he could make out. “I was scared for you.”

    She approached him tentatively. “Sam—”

    “My dads in the hospital, my mom was nearly killed, Mojo…he was…hurt.” He looped his arm and set his face in the crook. “I left you to that psychotic robot.”

    She put her hand on his shoulder and gripped. “I was all right. It’s…like Sonic meant, if you were left behind he would have killed you.” She shook her head slowly. “I wasn’t worthy.”

    “You were worthy.” Lifting his head he put his eyes inches from hers. “You’re worthy to me. I could have never left you.”

    “You didn’t.”

    “I’m gonna kill that rabid robot.”

    “Don’t, he was just trying to protect people.” She put her arms around Sam and pulled him tight. “Do you think he did it to be cruel to you?”

    Sam closed his eyes and breathed deep. This was nice. “No.” But he didn’t have to like him for it, in fact he hated it more. “When did you get in?”

    “The day before.” She stepped back and looked at him. “Simmons told me what happened to your parents so I decided to give you some rest time and went to see Maggie.”

    Now Sam recalled what happened, she was the first human abducted by Tron-Mega’s evil minion. “How is she?”

    Mikaela tilted her head side to side. “Pretty good, they say she’ll make a full recovery…. What’s wrong?”

    “All this is my fault.” He walked away with no particular destination, only to put himself away from Mikaela. To protect her. “I shouldn’t be here around all these people, I should be far away someplace where he has to come for me.” He turned to her shaking his head unsure of this whim at all. “Where no one will get hurt…because of me.”

    “It’s not your fault.”

    “It is!”

    Mikaela leaned back and pushed her lower lip out, in thought. “Okay, worse case scenario. You didn’t kill Megatron, you took the chance and killed Optimus instead. You’d feel twice as bad, and instead of prolonging the human existence it’s hastened by Megatron’s conquest. How does that sound?”

    “Not too good,” he groaned. “But—”

    “But what?” She went up and put her face to his. “People are getting hurt, killed, and you’re upset because…you’re so special, the thing doing all this wants your head? No one in your family has been killed, not even your Chihuahua, and your upset that it’s all your fault?” She took his face in her hands. “It isn’t. It’s that…cock head doing all of this. He has the choice, you do not. Stop beating yourself up over what you cannot control. It won’t help.”

    A tear streaked down Sam’s stained cheek, unlike Mikaela he had been too haggard to take advantage of the provisions of the compound. “I can’t forget that I made the choice first.”

    A strange electrical scratch came from beside them and both look to see DareRex uncoiling herself from the pipes underside to stand straight. “If I may say something.” She gestured to Sam. “I know if Prime were here he’d give you the mush of how it doesn’t help anyone to get worked up on this slag because of the enemy, plus it’s Tron-Mega’s specialty.”

    Sam frowned. “The ‘lone survivor’ bit Bumblebee mentioned to us?”

    “Yes. There’s no greater enemy to one than your own self. Remember that.”

    As DareRex turned away Mikaela wondered if she should remind the Decepticon after what she had viewed the day before, but at this time did it really matter? “Why was it you…wanted to see Sam for?”

    She turned to the humans. “I’ve…decided to wait for later. Even for human adolescence you look terrible.”

    “Thanks for that.” When DareRex had hiked away to whatever it was Decepticons do in their off time, he looked for Mikaela at his side. “He-she wanted to talk to me?”

    Mikaela shrugged. “It’s a long story, I’ll explain it to you.” She focused to what Sam was now staring at and sighted Agent Simmons with another security officer approaching them. “Um, about racing golf carts through the elevator, I can explain everything—”

    “Later. What I need you two for now has nothing to do with petty juvenile pranks. C’mon.” He led the two to the observatory station beneath the dam in constant contact with the upper deck watchtower, it was a similar terminal to the one in which they could view the AllSpark in its mass from but had windows facing the under ground turbines beyond.

    The observatory network chamber was filled with computer terminals while walls and center stations dominated by visual screens displaying the base from any numerous sections of security cameras, some were even snaps in the forest area surrounding the dam, there were images derived from the local human satellite in space orbiting the planet. The terminals themselves were lined with men and women murmuring softly into headsets and typing out coded sequences, none of which made squat sense to Sam or even Mikaela.

    Simmons guided them to an open console set and showed them surveillance camera views, he with the security officer began tapping out photographs of most recent images. None appeared very interesting, side from a clown car that was pulled over. Earlier.

    “What’s this about?” Sam asked first, out of agitation to the clown car reference.

    “We used these consoles to track the landing of NBE-2,” said the officer.

    Sam turned to Mikaela who in turn reminded him number two was Bumblebee. “Just refer to them by their names,” she sighed.

    “Negative,” the man said. “You don’t name your toaster, or you hairdryer.”

    Mikaela mouthed to Sam how she would kill the man if he didn’t shut up, and he continued to inquire as to what was their business to know.

    “Right here.” Simmons moved over to the security officer. “What do you see?”

    The couple looked to see a familiar Peterbilt headed up the same mountain path each of which took when driving away from the Sector Seven base. “It looks like Optimus.”

    Sam looked up at Simmons. “Is it?”

    He shrugged and smiled. “Maybe, maybe not.” He brought them to the terminal he was working at. “A few minutes later, a half mile behind the first truck.”

    “Another Optimus.” This sent a shiver down Sam’s spine, he knew what was happening but couldn’t tell one semi from the other. “Tron-Mega.”

    “Either he’s in the lead or he’s tailing the real NBE.” The security officer stood straight. “We can take a chance, we have a helicopter loaded with a Botte rocket launcher. I’m certain the real Optimus will hold weapons and order a cease-fire, but the shape shifter will either alter to actual form or attack.”

    Mikaela was shaking her head. “No, that won’t work.” She looked at the macho officer with his clean shaved face and his helmet. “He’ll know how to adapt to that situation, he must have been in a similar one before. All you’ll do is wound Optimus or him and get no closer to actually figuring which one is real.”

    “Have the chopper approach from the rear and target the tail first, we can’t have the other coming across—”

    “No! Didn’t you hear me?” Mikaela shrieked.

    Sam grabbed Simmons cast arm. “Don’t do it!”

    “Agh-agh—hey! Get your hands off me kid, you don’t know who you’re dealing with here! Get this kid off me!”

    Two soldiers raced down the corridor and grabbed Sam, but he was already backing off with a glare of loath for Simmons. “You’re making a big mistake.”

    “This is the thanks I get for protecting your sorry hide and the people?” He straightened his tie and looked to Mikaela. “You know I’m only looking out for the best interest of ungrateful, narrow minded little twats like you.”

    “Yeah? But you don’t have to be a SOB about it,” she remarked.

    He gave a violent signal to the guards. “Get them out of here.” He watched as Mikaela with Sam were led out. “I try and do them a favor….”

    “Sir.” The security officer turned to him. “One of our analyst found something interesting on the TFW sight.” He brought up the image and the thread. “There are responses to this but, I find the starter the most intriguing.”

    Simmons leaned over and checked. “This is bad.” He scrolled. “The patrols, have any of them reported any unusual activity?”

    He shook his head. “No sir. Either they’re not in position yet or…too far back.” He lowered his head. “Reviewing the NBEs chameleo technology, the wide patrols could have walked right over them and known no different.”

    He tapped at the glass screen. “Get the patrols out there searching, and get that helicopter after the semi.”

    ***

    The early dawn was underway, the colors altering the night from dark black to navy, and mauve.

    “Hel’copter inbound f’r’approachin’ semi,” reported the stereo set on the police cruisers front seat.

    “So?” asked Barricade. “What are you getting at?”

    “Same semi s’drivin’ up teh road by two hundred yards. Either I malfu’ction or one’f’them s’a copycat, and I’m bettin’ I don’t malfu’ction.”

    Standing tall and adjusting his optics to the highest most point Dirge could identify the Cougar model air hammer humming through the sky, through the tree cover keeping them hidden made it impossible to sight anymore than its top rotor. “It might be Tron-Mega, it might not, regardless it is in priority to treat him as he mimics.” He armed his long range power cannon at his shoulder and fired sending a rocket burning through the leaves and hissing beyond range. A brief beat then a fiery eruption blooms in the sky of red and orange flames, black smoke bellows high. Soon all is dark again aside from the flicker of hot wreckage.

    On the road Optimus screeched to a halt and reversed, he turns and speeds back toward the burning remains and transforms. He kneels down sifting through the ruble but there is no life to be found, everything was charred and gone. He stood back and scanned the sloping mountain around him, his optics pierce the dark early dawn hours but he locates nothing, and if he did know the exact poise from which the warhead flew he would have no way of reaching the enemies.

    Tron-Mega, you’ll pay for this. He transformed to his cholo flamed semi and rolled up the incline proceeding on to the ARD compound.

    ***

    The footage was filed away, no one needed to see that sort of disaster only once especially since there was nothing aboard it that indicated whether or not the pursuing semi was the enemy or not.

    “Flanking projectile from the side—!” Followed by a blood-curling scream before pilot and assistant became apart to the casualty count.

    “Sir?” The security officer was staring at Simmons. “What should we do?”

    He gestured the man. “Let the first semi through, have the soldiers detain the second. I feel certain that one is the shape shifter.”

    He took out his communicator and contacted the guards at the wire fence.

    “This might be our best opportune to see just how well the Bottes work.”

    ***

    Outside the first semi had crossed the extension of the bridge and rolled down the spiral roadway to come before the access gates into Hoover Dam‘s terminal access. He was stopped of course before the gates were opened and the guards waved him through.

    “Wait.” A guard approached from the side to check the cabs grill. “You were followed here, we have orders to detain you and approach the threat.”

    Optimus reversed and turned himself around. “Followed by who?” From optical cameras he locked on the two moving vehicles through the dark, one civilian a few feet behind the large semi. Tron-Mega. “Let me deal with him.”

    “Negative. Our orders are to confront and eliminate.” The guard gestured other soldiers in close to form the flanking formation. High overhead an Apache helicopter circled in moving close for a strike.

    The semis motor roared. “Discard those orders and stand down, he’ll annihilate you if your team challenges him.”

    The other truck accelerated crossing the last two miles in less than thirty seconds, the light from lamps grace its cholo and flames as it thundered forward, a pair of gun ports flash open on the rim of the hog nose and fire hitting the other vehicle in its grill.

    “Get away from him, it’s Tron-Mega!”

    The assembled soldiers turn their weapons on the vehicle beside them as it comes apart to stand as Optimus Prime, with fluid grace the protective face plate snaps into place while weapons unhinge from his arms.

    “Don’t interfere, run! He will kill you.” He looked up as the fast approaching truck unfolded and leapt up as a duplicate of Optimus, he bounds over the gate to smash into his foe. The two topple sideways in a fierce scuffle.

    “I can’t tell which one is who,” reported one guard. “Both keep telling us to retreat.”

    The captain consulted Simmons deep inside the Dam. “Sir, we can’t isolate either one. We need orders.”

    “Orders?” Simmons bellowed from the device. “Shoot them both!”

    In the poor light it was difficult to distinguish between the two mechanoids as they rumbled in contest, slicing and punching at the other as they backed off then threw himself to his foe again. There were flashes of an energon blade and glitter from resulting machine guns imbedded with wrist, the blue optics streak through black as they move under the lights posted over the dams edifice.

    “Fire at will!” The guard moved into position, raised his rifle and fired. The soldiers scattered into a safer poise as the two story goliaths threw each other around in combat.

    Patches of molten bullets flicker in the gaps of the fighters armor, they recoil noticeably in pain but continue fighting each other as though the soldiers weren’t there at all. It was a good tactic, the real Optimus considered, that Tron-Mega maintain deception for as long as possible. In that way he would be sharing the punishment with his foe.

    A thundering rumble filled the air and from the gray sky dropped an F-4J Phantom whirling, rockets at its wings igniting to fall on the soldiers of the dam itself. “Decepticons,” it pronounced, “ATTACK!”

    Both Optimus’ back off from the other to assess the damage of the soldiers, one raised his head scanning into the tree lining across the mountainside as illumination of weapon discharge streaked forth to smite the construct of concrete and metal. A mortar from behind their position crashed into the Apache helicopter sending it down in a burning wreck.

    The soldiers set onto position across the expanse of the dam race for cover into the interior as plasma and missiles continue out from the trees targeting anything moving, even the Prime’s that had taken action against the unknown threat.

    Optimus turned to the soldiers dazed between following orders and saving their own lives. He had to act fast. “Get inside! I’ll give you cover!”

    The other Optimus whirled to him. “I won’t allow you to follow them.” He raised his cannon.

    Optimus shot him in the chest and turned away. “Come on! Get moving now, that’s an order!” As they make a break for safety Optimus backs away from the other him, its chest still burning with smoke. He rolled aside when his counterpart opened fire again, as he came up he raised his gun and fired. The other Optimus gave chase after the soldiers offering supportive cover in their retreat, occasionally his weapon lifted over the high walls of the dams cover, toward the trees obscuring the hillside where he locked onto the blurred forms of moving Decepticons.

    The F-4J Phantom came skimming through again dropping missiles on the mobile Optimus. He aimed shooting up, soon his weapon turned down as a Peterbilt came racing beside him. A bullet burned the fore tire catching flame to the underside, the vehicle was at a moment disadvantage as its guns were forward facing and there was no way to target the second Optimus beside it. In a desperate sprint to stop the vehicle formed robot, Optimus slammed into its side as his weapon reformed his hand, his digits locked into its wheel wells and pushed it over. The vehicle transformed as this was happening and the powerhouse grabbed his attacker by the shoulders as he tumbled, the two roll in a brawl of kicking and punching.

    A soldier following his comrades raced to the head of the formation, as others turn to face the opposing threat of dopplegangers as they began spinning and crushing into the wall behind them, stumbling not to trip on pipes bunched under their treads. The man winced as concrete flung aside nearly struck him, somehow he managed to pull a panel from the side of the power station column and input a code, the surface and portion of the stations lower sideways to slip open revealing a stairwell into a expanding shaft. The lights flickered but came on one set after the other.

    “Get in, file-file-file!” He pushed the soldiers down the stairs, some tumbled as they went.

    One Optimus picked the other up and hefted him a full nine yards before crushing him to the surface, concrete cracked and the ground shook. The fallen robot reached up punching the other with his palm and grabbed his helmet to pull him down before he could raise a cannon to his face. The other crushed him down and punched, he slapped him with his knuckles and drew back to recover his poise.

    Optimus on the floor kicks out as his other retreats, his heel guards smash the blue shins forcing the Prime onto his knees as he strives to rise up and guard his front. His foe recovers his footing and lowers a cannon burning with plasma, he fires but at the last moment Optimus balled his fists together and lunged to his side cracking armor free. As the other falls away he steps up and opens a blade at his arm, he swings out with it but at the same time the other Optimus leapt at him missing his target when it spun uncontrolled and slid across the pavement raising sparks into the wounds caused by Sabots.

    “No!” The blade yielding Optimus pivoted and jumped reaching to pull back his foe before he skid into the well with the soldiers. By complete accident the shaft seals up over the large robot and the elevator drops.

    Within the lift Optimus barely had enough room for his body let alone the five dozen soldiers now scrunched up along the sides doing anything to avoid him if no less than being crushed. This was a bad situation to be in, he was lucky no one was seriously injured in this accident.

    Weapons click aiming on him.

    “Hold on,” he said. “I’m not Tron-Mega, you’re safe.”

    Above the shaft emitted a metal screeching groan then the lift came to a violent halt, one side sagging only slightly but pinned by the polished rock wall. The lights flicker but most remain bright.

    Pushing his hands out beside him it suddenly occurred to Optimus that he might have to save as many of these people as possible, but how was he to do that in his position? Coincidentally, this Optimus had not been singed on his chest by the first strike.

    A crunch came from above, unmistakable for shattered concrete raining down and the roar of a demon dying. The lift suddenly lost its perchase and dropped several yards before it slanted hard to the side catching on some unseen obstacle, it swayed smashing the wall a few times before it stopped, then slipped sideways further.

    The soldiers wailed and clambered as the elevator dropped, most had lost their weapons and now clung to Optimus seeking security in the metal warrior. As for him, he was upside down holding his arms against the sides trying to avoid upsetting the entire box with his movement. He could scan a few feet through the metal and pinpoint the hold, a cable had not snapped and that alone was what kept them from slipping out into a full drop. There was little chance he could save any of them now.

    The captain climbed up the floor to a control box and pried it open, he punched a button and called in. “This is gunny at section Q-9, we’re in need of emergency assistance. The cables snapped and we’re hanging, I don’t know how long it’ll hold—” He held tight as the entire construct trembled, an explosion had taken place that was felt fifty feet through the solid rock.

    “We read you Q-9,” the voice on the radio said. “What access port are you near?”

    “I don’t know,” he groaned. “The depth reader is dead, I don’t know how far we dropped.”

    The lift began to tremble as a rolling silence seemed to fall through to the small coffin, something was coming down very fast and probably ready to collide with them. “Brace yourselves!” Optimus ordered, though he wasn’t so certain any would survive what he knew was coming.

    Then the entire well twisted violently and dropped, it rocked against the shaft banging and clanking in its descent. From outside a mismatched roar and bellow of pain issued from whatever had collided with them. Through the tumble Optimus knew as well as any of the men that it was Tron-Mega. But unplanned by the Decepticon was this descent, he was in as much dire as they were, maybe more if he were outside being crushed by the large container he had fought to get into.

    Sparks ignited from the sides and metal coiled in on itself, the soldiers were screaming now fearful of death approaching foot up. A gap was torn out of the boxes side and as it whirled, men were flung out into the rapidly passing sheer wall. There were lights flashing through the openings, and for a moment a broken shard of the offenders armor in full view.

    Optimus hoped they landed on him in the least.

    The nightmare of forever tumbling and crashing came to a booming halt as the lift smashed against the wall and plunged into the bottom of the shaft. It cracked wide open but scraping the sides of the walls had reduced the destruction that would have been done had it been free falling. A flash of lights as the electrical current was interrupted then there was a view of dust, carnage, blood, and death. A few taps came from rocks broken free in the descent tapped against metal coffin and bodies of alien metal.

    A low groan.

    This was not Optimus Prime recovering, this was a dragon awakening from a millennium of slumber. He lifted his head, metal and pieces of tarmac slip off with one soldier, he lowered his snout ready to finish what he had begun until he saw the access portal wide open, only a few workers beyond with guards and medics prepared to receive the wounded. He gnashed his jagged teeth in a grotesque grin and stepped over Optimus.

    His hand twitched as internal systems reset themselves, Tron-Mega was just stepping over him but he was still sluggish from the impact. “No…stop….” He reached up gripping for the jointed tail that passed but his optics were not functioning fully yet, he grasped at thin air. “Fight me you…coward.” He rolled over and moved on his hands and knees.

    The dragon was already readjusting its armor for tunnel crawling and looked back. “L-later you’ll…have your time.” Focused forward he gave a roar and slipped through the low hanging access tunnel.

    More aware of the threat now, Optimus simply couldn’t leave the wounded soldiers if any could be saved. He took scans over those he saw but most were dead, others were fatally wounded staining the pavement with their fluids. His head whipped up when the wails of a panicked man came to his receptors, he knew his enemy would not intentionally kill humans until he had satisfied his thirst for vengeance, but they would still die regardless.

    He converted to his truck form and rolled through the tunnels following the claw marks scathed in floors and walls, and the mayhem of slaughter left behind.

    ***

    The missiles had subsided when both machines disappeared down the lift shaft, dust and haze cloaked much of the over standing structure of the dam and the higher level observation decks with lights flickering broken but barely functional if any.

    The soldiers left on the surface helped civilians away, unsure of where the attack was coming from directly they couldn’t hold against the assault so waiting was the only option. None of them really wanted to wait.

    Groans of pain instantly ceased as the odd sound of motors entered the vicinity of the dams road, growing steadily louder as they came across the bridge to an open section of plain on the other side of Lake Mead. The sun was just cracking the Earths curve but it would be twenty minutes more at least before the light reached the surface of human architect that held back the immensity of water from Las Vegas.

    One of the uniforms went to the guard responsible for observing the gate, for the day was going to hell and they were all just being fired upon was no reason to lose priorities. “Who’s watching the gate?” he asked.

    The man, mouth opened in awe shook his head slowly. “N-no one, we-we had to—”

    The reconstruction gate crumbled and two vehicles thundered through, a police cruiser escorting a five thousand pound wrecking crane and D155 dozer plow. The flashing light penetrated the haze as the cruiser broke off and went its separate way avoiding the scattered humans with a weave and slid over its wheels. Upon a twist a stereo system tumbled from its side and rolled upright, a nice melody playing from the vibrating speakers.

    The convoy of arrivals was not over yet, following the crawling wrecker were three lime colored construction vehicles, a wheel loader, dump truck, and ditch witch. The equipment lacking drivers branched off one way pursuing the hulking crane, while the military gazed on stunned to death by the approach. Proceeding further from the shattered walls came a large roaring Mac truck and sleek gray Porsche.

    The Mac truck rolled the extent of the dam up to the man and guard stationed nearest to it, and came apart, reconnecting into a massive machine with knives rather joints and a ragged maw one soldier swore he saw souls wither within. The machine spoke in a deep, loud voice meant to terrorize and frighten.

    “The Stunticons are here to eliminate organic life forms,” he said. “Can you direct us to them?”

    Behind the colossal the Porsche transformed into a smaller robot that kept knelt to knee and directed to the humans his occupied stare.

    The soldier dropped his gun and put his arms up. “Uh, no. I think I saw some far-far out…away from that way.”

    Motormaster’s optics flashed. “I think I’m looking at some now. What do you think, Deadend?”

    He shrugged apathetically. “Whatever.”

    The PhantomII slid through the air and flipped over as the components of its dank blue and yellow armor rearranged for the bipedal shape, his feet caught the spire of metal tower and held his body steady as he turned to the units below. “Decepticons, nothing fancy! Sabotage this facility, grind it to the ground, insure that no more research comes from it but of the failing!” He opened the rocket ports in his shoulders firing missiles at another tower across the dams branch.

    A spike orb slipped from Motormaster’s lower back, he took the spiked chain and swung the mace high overhead. “Eradicate all life forms!” He slammed it down upon the two humans and proceeded on his way jerking the weapon in his wake.

    Deadend jumped high converting to the Porsche and drove through the hordes of scattering humans directing his efforts on shooting up the walls and electrical cables of the nearby power plant decorating every stretch he could make out.

    More military personal came from the buildings extending branches to reinforce what little broken authority there was left. They aimed on the rampaging robot and the sleek car as it barreled by pelting them with super hot plasma round Sabots.

    “Resistance only makes death more painful,” roared Motormaster. A gatling agent opened wide around his fist to pelt a thousand rounds into the assembled humans without remorse, it also shredded metal and cables transporting water. “It also pisses me off.”

    In the high watchtower two hundred feet from the slaughter commencing on the dams sight, the control units struggle to get out warnings, calling in air support from the nearest base possible. They were lucky this time they had communications.

    “What position are you at?” responded the firm voice from fifty miles away.

    “Hoover Dam,” the panicked woman spoke. “Hostile NBE units are attacking, recommended arsenal Sabots.”

    The communication desk went wrong with crackling surges, something shrieked within the housing. “D---d---d-d- copy…what was-zzzzz….”

    “Hello, do you read?” She looked across the station to see similar catastrophe, the watch tower station was receiving but nothing was getting out. “What’s going on?”

    Beside her a man called into his terminal switch. “Watchtower K-0 sector, do you copy?”

    “Yes, we copy. What’s going on? Nothings going out. We’re jammed!”

    He turned to the officer staring across to him wide eyed. “Are the backup relays working?”

    “They should.” She turned and slipped along the computers towards the back of the circular room.

    The entire building vibrated viciously causing much of the cups lining the terminals to fall over with the owners of these drinks, computers shorted-spitting hot sparks out from overloaded relays. The entire chamber rocked sideways and tilted, people screamed, papers went flying. Another fierce vibration threatened the surface and the tower tilted farther towards a steep drop opening over the blue water below, soldiers were on the walkway firing toward the structures base. The tower continued to thunder and rock tilting further and further towards the open space below.

    Shrieking people held onto whatever they could grab, each other or the stations sides itself. A sparkling computer terminal struck a man before both it and he went bursting through the tiny window, down into the lake throwing up a sheet of foaming water. A selfless hero offered his life to save a woman before she dropped from her hold on the shattered glass, both lost their lives after she tried clawing her way up his shoulder resulting in his loss on hold and loss of life.

    Standing at the watchtowers base Dozercannon with Scavenger were working on the construct, the saw from the ditch witch was gutting the concrete and metal as a knife would jelly. The large mech backed off as Scavenger hefted his dozer section and swung the makeshift arm knocking the spire farther over.

    “I think once more will do it,” he screeched in Cybertronian.

    Boombox glanced over his shield but ducked back as the soldiers on what remained of the walkway continued to fire across at them. “Y’know I sometimes think they don’t like us.” He poked a hole forming in his shield from the molten Sabots burning. He groaned.

    “Keep jamming them, we’re almost done here.” Scavenger tapped into the communications line and spoke with the other team. “You had better be half way through over there, or I’ll throw you over the—”

    “Relax! What are you, Primus?” growled Longhual. “We’re doing better than you considering we don’t have the appropriate tools for this—”

    “No excuses, get it done!” He took both fists and slammed them to the tower. The entire spire shuddered with a groan and snapped vertically midway up, it fell into pieces across the lake below, the hollow ton by ton piece of building bobbed in the water until water filled in the open space and began sinking. The wails of its occupants ending instantly, papers and some unidentified piece of machinery strayed at the surface a bit longer as the suction hauled the rest deep. “C’mon, there’s more to complete while Tron-Mega‘s inner.”

    For the mechanical colossal the span destroyed between the watchtowers terminal and the walkway was short, but the humans couldn’t cross it. Scavenger followed by Dozercannon hefted over the wide opening and began discarding the humans too stupid to get out of their way, most of them had spun into retreat but were not fast enough to get out of the way of their thundering steps.

    Boombox jumped over to the walkway, knocking military aside as he stepped along with his comrades. “This would’ve been eas’er had Tron just sucked up and got me t’sabotage, w’wouldn’t be runnin’ around like we don’t know proper strategy.” He pulled out his pistol shooting at the annoying humans still pelting his shield with nasty ooze holes.

    “I process that I liked you better when you were working for the Autobots,” grumbled Scavenger.

    The dark blue and violet Decepticon put his gun to his comrades helmet. “Really? Want me t’make teh switch right now?”

    “Knock it off, both of you.” Dozercannon tilted back, his saw whirling at his arm and back in anticipation as a large Apache helicopter came thundering in armed to the landing gear with guns. “We don’t have time for this.”

    “I do,” quipped Boombox. He heaved his shield smiting a surprised Scavenger with it and turned on Dozercannon as he spun to him, arms wide open with chain teeth ready to snare his metal. “See y’on teh other side.” He shot Dozercannon in the helmet with his photon pistol and shoved his energon shield to his chest knocking him back three steps, while he was busy recovering from the shock it gave him, that was the appropriate chance for Boombox to make his getaway.

    A dump truck carting lime robot screamed over dodging missile fire that dropped from the helicopter. “What happened?” Lognhual hollered as he braked. Scrapper hopped off and raised the portions of his armor that made his scoop using them as shields.

    Clamped down on Scavenger’s arm, Dozercannon hauled him hard to his feet. “Walk it off, it’s just a scratch.”

    “Scavenger, report this to Dirge,” commanded Scrapper.

    He sighed and locked communications but stopped. He turned to his unit commander. “I can’t, Boombox is jamming us now.”

    Missiles began erupting around the sore target causing the robots to converge as vehicles and scatter to their assigned task.

    “Wonderful! This is slaggin’ wonderful!” howled Longhaul. “First Bonecrusher gets his worthless scrap killed, then Boombox betrays us. What next?”

    Scrapper beside him was struck mid side, he gave a cry and spun outwards before slamming into the corner of a nasty concrete building which halts his trek off dam.

    “Now what?” Longhaul rolled beside him and nudged the wheel loaders side with his scoop. “C’mon, quite bein’ a pussy.”

    Scrapper painfully transformed and held his side. “Ah, temperature analysis reads it cold.”

    “So?” He transformed as well and aimed his arm, it converted to a high yield concussion buster which tore into the reverse side of a Cougar helicopter.

    Wounded and not in a particular good mood, Scrapper furthered the mandatory scan of his own infraction. Further analysis confirmed his readings, there was only the residue of the weapon to discern now. “Liquid nitrogen, but the composition is wrong, it’s different. Frag, we struck too late.” His shoulder spit hot embers into the air. “This is going to be a problem.”

    Longhaul checked his shoulder, it seemed whatever struck his ally had cracked his armor through and proceeded to conduct further damage into the interior of his skeletal base. “Better you than me, sir.”

    They duck as rapid fire punched holes into the thick pipes behind them.

    “Get going with you!” Scrapper dragged Longhaul down, forcing his transformation unless he wanted to crawl. He proceeded after him towards the next set of transmitting towers.

    {Authors comments: Boombox's speech is evil. I wrote it but I can't understand what he's saying, unless I just sorta skim through it. He's also bad.

    One Decepticon mumbling with his buddies implies that the Constructicons are a sub Transformer species. For some reason most went with Tron-Mega, but others like Bonecrusher hung back with Megs and Screamer. *shrug*

    I saw a license plate that actually read “MASTR.” My inspiration. I thought since Prime’s a truck and motormasters a mac truck, that he should sorta be Prime’s opposite. Actually in the G1 cartoons, Prime pretended once to be Motormaster along with the Autobots playing other Stunticon characters. Homage!

    I had to read the fight scene between the two Prime’s several times, because I couldn’t figure out which one was actually Ops. I know, I’m pathetic, but it makes for a big surprise when the guy no ones expecting to be Tron-Mega pops up and says pwned! When I can keep track of Tron-Mega’s mimics, its fun to write.

    The other night I remembered that DareRex continues to imply that he followed Megatron to Earth and not the AllSpark, but he never explains to what purpose this was done. I think it has something to do with him being Megs kid, and though they were enemies he still wanted to be with his parent. If you want to get really technical, you could say the sparks didn’t want to be apart or something.

    A lot of references to TFW in here, I know, rediculous. But I thought it was funny to have the sight being one of S-7s TF hotspots. And the fact Sonic Boom’s using it to get their attention, BUAHAHAHAAAHHHHHH…! Mighty Internetz gets out the word. }
     
  16. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    I apologize for the delay, we are currently experiencing technical difficulties in which involves a tower flying out a window. Whoops, perchance a little extreme, hmm?

    I’m serious, midway through a story the lag drag tower decide to self terminate and I was sitting there like, “Slag.” So out the window Mr. computer went, with my terrible mouse. It was only after it busted into several thousand pieces that I realized the hard drive could be salvaged and four years of my work saved. Uh…my bad.

    *edit* Quote


    9 – Checkmate

    [C]Characters[C]


    Decepticons

    Scavenger
    Dozercannon
    Boombox
    Starscream
    Soundwave
    Rumble
    Soundwave
    Skywarp
    Motormaster
    Deadend
    Reflector
    Darklight

    (_ Disclaimer: Boombox belongs to TFW2005, he’s our badass mascot for the sight and I’m only using him under the impression that it is okay, so long as I don’t get anything profitable out of using him, aside from some comments and maybe a “Hell yeah.” Mods, please do not take your wraith out on my poor story if you do not like me using Boombox, or the way I have portrayed him (movie verse, Bay style), as the story has suffered enough after my tower crashed and my delay in actually doing stuff right. Um, that’s it I think. Now start reading the story. _)



    For now….



    "Yes. This isn't madness, where...”


    Somewhere in the Nevada desert not far beyond the city limits of Las Vegas, an airport transported individuals to a unclassified location of desert where military secrecy was priority over preservation to human life. Sonar cloaked the desert alerting to the slightest intrusion from a mouse to a private helicopter, listed signs warned of land mines, the area was off limits and authorization of deadly force was issued on any fool trespassers sighted. Patrols ran daily in random patterns to insure none made it through the electrified lines, or the fields, or the detection.

    High over the desert flew three B-2A Spirits at Delta formation, stealth jets cloaked with black coating. They were apart of a secret aircraft project that would allow them to counter strike the alien threat and slip under radar without detection, though the government did admit the complication of manufacturing effective weapons without their precious specimen, they failed to mention not all the parts of alien bodies made it to the bottom of the ocean.

    These jets were the product of lies advanced for research. When Megatron landed in the Arctic circle he had not been alone.

    “This is T-451 calling to base,” whispered the voice of the pilot. “We are about to begin the test process on buried targets.” He touched knobs lining his cockpit and checked out to his flanking comrades. “C-450, C-452, do you read me?”

    “Copy, C-451,” came one voice.

    “Copy that, loud and crystal, C-451,” murmured the other voice. “Locking targets to the sand, prepped to fire Ultra Sonar.”

    “If this works,” said the lead pilot, “it’ll make the Sabots look like popguns.” He reached up flipping the switches just over his covered canopy and focused on the field vision filtered through external cameras.

    On the red terrain figures began to move under the soil, or began to rise up. The soil slipped between gaps of their armor as they pulled upright arming their weapons, antenna fixtures on the heads topping torso sections avert to the aircraft high above. They emit faint calls and raise guns to fire.

    “Evasive action recommended,” C-451 whispered. He took his stealth jet into a swooping dive, the crafts of C-452 and C-450 followed his movements and spread wide out to confuse the targets below, not so much as avoiding each other.

    A final three machines pulled themselves up making fifteen on the ground, each expressed designs between Megatron and the Energizer Bunny from Hell. One straightened its body to pump rockets from down its chest and midsection. The projectiles zoom out high among the jets and erupt, but the B-2 Spirits soar out and continue to descend towards them. One side cast its body down and raised an arm that converted to a large rifle, it recoiled to the weapon discharge and continued to moved on following the vapor trail of its prey, another nine follow his example and arm guns at wrists.

    “Bank and flank with Ultra Sonar. Make their teeth chatter, if they have any.” Each pilot holding his main control stick taps the red cap at the top, it snaps back revealing the single button for the demonstration. “Fire—”

    Before the order went through a beam of plasma cut through the assembled robots on the ground, terminating five on contact and wounded another. More weapon fire succeeded, cutting bits apart from the machines while the time it took for their destruction, they remained focused on the bemused jets above. In the remaining seconds only shreds remained with twitching bits and parts sparking occasionally.

    “What the hell happened?” C-450’s voice sounded calm on the verge of panic.

    “Hen base, do you read? What happened out here, we don’t—” C-452’s pilot was cut off the transmission. As he turned back the lead pilot registered a tearing noise identical to a ripping hull. He barely had time to see a large gauntlet scraping through his comrades craft just feet from his as he continued on.

    “C-450, what was that? Do you have visual?” He fought the urge to turn his controls back, if he did he would be snared in the same trap the pilot had found himself and die as well.

    The man was staring down from the edge of the cockpit as something crashed to the desert three quarters a mile below. “Captain, we need to get out of here. NOW!” He touched a switch at his helmets side and grabbed the controls, he thumped in his cockpit when sudden momentum came to sudden end. He was near unconscious but could hear more than feel as the craft he was in began descending for the world below. He tried to make another call of warning to Peter, but he couldn’t get his voice to work.

    “What-what the hell is this?” The only pilot left, Peter, struggled with his controls to get moving at mach two, if possible five thousand. Something had killed his men and it would come after him now, he had no vague idea what or how but he had to escape it. “Hen base, come in! Something’s out here, it got Hugo and Frank! I need lock on what’s preyed on us! Hen base? Hen base?” He was nearly ripped in two when his Spirit came to a jarring halt at the edge of a sonic boom, he snapped his neck around in pain trying to discern what it was that had attacked them before he too was dead. Just that much he yearned to know. His vision caught sight of a useless flash accompanied to head trauma but briefly, he was soon focused on the outer canopy of his aircraft as it plummeted to the desert below.

    From near three quarter miles in the air he slammed into, not skid, to the ground and came to another sudden stop, he was no longer moving but his craft was rocking. “What in—” Above he caught a flicker of movement, something big and dark blue with flashes of silver. Any mumbling he had to blabber now was cut off as massive digits tore into the carapace and peeled it back with that terrible ripping, he winced and looked up again.

    “Ya wanned Ultra Sonar, I got ya Super Duper Sonar right here.” The bizarre machine held up a shield, a bar across its near crest flashed and all went black for Peter.

    ***

    “Enough fooling around.” Tron-Mega was ripping his talons through the ship checking on the contents of its basis. “Is it dangerous?”

    “Not anymore.” The robot stepped off the B-2 and approached the dragon. “Humans in stasis, Tron. What’s’it ya wanted now, I forgot?” He gave a partial salute and turned away to sit on a jet and mess with his shield.

    Tron-Mega’s optics burned as he looked to the other machine. “Permanently, I hope, or I will give you to them for testing needs.”

    “Yah-yah, I took care’f’it, catch me?” He motioned to the three Stealth jets on the ground, broken to pieces. “They don’t know t’works yet so less likely t’try it on us, butch’ya never know with humans. M’files show they are one weird alien…. An’way, they pro’bly have more’f’this technology on base, s’unless y’want to invade tehm like y’love to – which I doubt now given certain circ’stance – is’mostly gonna be exper’mental s’there’s not’a lot, not enough to be’a danger. Y’know what I’m gettin’ at, right?”

    “Sadly, yes.”

    “And what’s’t y’say y’wanted done now? Hangin’ out here’s a’real drag.” He put his shield to his back and stood.

    “The primary units are in position, I want you to send out the summon to draw those few in hiding out. They are to report to Dirge or Scavenger.”

    The Decepticon tilt his body back in annoyance. “Pfft, if’I’d known that was it I wouldn’t’ve even bother comin’ outt’a hidin’. Don’t y’have some flowery sta’ment, something extra’gant like old Megs would pull, y’could’ve—”

    “Boombox, my patience is little, I have waited long enough. Summon the Decepticons, later you can transmit my ‘flowery’ statements.”

    The sound specialist shrugged. “Oh sure, why not?”

    “And make sure the Autobots cannot decode it.”

    “Y’want me to do in five seconds what’t’took Frenzy two days t’do? Network crashin’s a hobby f’mine, y’know.”

    “Boombox! The message!”

    He jumped back from the hostile fire spitter and put his hands up. “Already done, fearless leader. Y’want me t’crawl away now, right?”

    “Only at my convenience, by all means.” The dragon spun away and tilt his thick snout back to Boombox. “But next time I call I expect you to answer.”

    “Oh, yah, sure-sure boss ‘bot—‘con.” He watched as Tron-Mega fired up his engines and rose into the sky graceful flyer as he was, there was much to be demanded for his chosen form. Boombox waited with an odd grin in his optics as the commander went beyond his optical perception. “Loser.”

    ***

    The plain was dissolute, devoid of any form of natural life. That’s why the Decepticons landed the Nemesis on Mars, there was no contact with alien organisms, aside from the Rover that was located and terminated many orbits of the Earth to the dominating star structure beyond. It was a nice place to hang up, not so organic, dusty, the sandstorms were murder on the ship, but remedied easily enough. It was the touch down point of Decepticons before they made the final trek to the lone blue planet of so much attention, before they came into understanding of who was boss here.

    Some of them chose to mingle outside the ship while most were aboard in their own stations, quarters were they could be alone and contemplate an existence under lord Starscream’s command.

    Currently lord Starscream was hiking about the Decepticon encampment making the usual rounds toward the center base nearest to the hulking ship of whose design was far foreign to its own origin. It was shaped long and sharp for interstellar cutting, the side turrets along its wings shielded in dormancy, some of the side blast doors were open always for access but the remaining sealed to drive less time in an emergency take off. Not that there was any danger the Autobots ship could pose to the sheer ferocity of the Nemesis, it was still precaution.

    “I am well aware of Cybertron’s condition,” growled Starscream as he neared the sound specialist, “but I have given you an order. Get it done!”

    The dark blue protoform made no indication he registered the mobile vocalization unit screaming at him, instead he made an answer. “It could be our officers have already abandoned the world in order to locate a better means of survival. There is little prospect that I will reach them if that is the case.”

    “Did I ask for your statistics?” He poked a sharp digit to the translucent chest platting. “Reply from Cybertron or nothing at all.”

    At this Rumble approached, a small robot that was much more mass than his late brother Frenzy, it was odd to call this one Soundwave’s protector as he stood only five feet tall. “We try and try but since your return from first contact, nothing comes of it. We can continue trying or do something else, something more productive of our cycles?”

    Some nearby comrades hearing his chatter screech in agreement. “You have us waiting here when there’s a planet ripe for pillaging,” said one. “We do nothing to advance our stronghold,” grumbled another. “We are bored.” “We wait here and rust.” And so forth, and so forth.

    “Shut up!” shrieked Starscream, whipping toward them. “I decide when it is we make our engagement, and until we have conformation with Cybertron that inclination is postponed! I didn’t wait hundreds of vorns for our incursion, only to have it slip short of statute.”

    “I heard he was shot by a thing called a Sabutt,” muttered a large black robot, lower mandibles overlapped his optics.

    After a pause Starscream raised his rifle and shot the machine in his chest, the large powerhouse crumpled back jerking to the null pulses firing through his magnetic synapse. “Must I make another example?” He turned slowly to the crew that had spoken so well before against him.

    “Communications continue to reach for Cybertron and echo back, none makes the endeavor to confirm,” Soundwave reported.

    “Slag Shockwave and his failure to acknowledge. He can rust for all I care, he’s so belated in his efforts of contact.” It was in his belief as well that Shockwave may have resumed control of Cybertron in his absence, though he made it excruciatingly clear how he was not to do such a naughty thing. If ever they crossed paths again Starscream would not postpone time for inquiries, he would simply blow his bright optic out of his skull casing.

    Soundwave straightened then and reached a hand up to press a small button on his upper chest. “Crossing transmission patterns reach our sensory array, designation Earth.”

    Impatiently Starscream motioned his advisor. “What are you waiting for? What is the requisition?”

    He appeared most unpleased by whatever the communication was and expressed the reason of his ire in a simple response. “It is from Boombox - contacting concealed Decepticons upon Earth on standby.” He engaged and played back the encrypted message to Starscream.

    A number of the nearby soldiers registered the title and contrive thus meaning, began moving in on Soundwave intrigued, they had been blissfully unaware of the return of Tron-Mega.

    “I thought he was dead.” “Megatron destroyed him, right?” “No, he abandoned with most the Constructicons.” The soldiers muttered.

    “An abomination no less, was what he was. I am correct.” Starscream let his gaze skewer each voice he recognized outright. “Him and his lot. They didn’t believe in following Megatron, no, he seeks to pick up where I left off. Where would any one of you be had I not agreed to lead this mission for the AllSpark, and risk my own spark in the process?”

    That was fairly tempting. The Decepticons clicked and screeched at the very notion, yes where would any of them be without Starscream? He was the only one at the time competent enough to head the expedition off their world, to Unicron knows what existed beyond the known universe, and risked his spark in a doomed battle only one other of their comrades survived from. He had returned off world, a failure, weary and exhausted after the long years of disguise and suffering to the dominant life forms, of which they understood to be organic. It had required nearly an orn of Mars orbit before he had recuperated and was able to convey the news that the AllSpark had been destroyed, and to make matters perfect only shortly after his liberation from these dominant organics confinement, they’re one and only leader, Megatron, had been lost to the battle. As the only soldier capable of travel he had returned heavy with the burden of carrying this terrible account, and with that, it had been their great leaders wish that Starscream lead them from here on out, to the end of time.

    Soundwave highly doubted this but never said anything of relevance to jeopardize Starscream’s position. After all he remained the only one capable enough to organize their activities into strike, he wasn’t willing to, and the only other Decepticon qualified as leader was out of his reach. Then again, between him and Shockwave little of their personality would win over any of these braintrusts. And thus he attempted to hail Shockwave, or any other willing candidate, to no avail.

    But the aspect of Tron-Mega was promising.

    “Tron-Mega was a failed experiment that developed a code to his nature, and was inferior enough that he began sparing the weak.” Some of the soldiers had gone silent to focus on his vocals, others in the back were still transmitting over the principal of a leader like Tron-Mega. It was repulsing to compute, but Starscream came to the spur of an idea he couldn’t hope to pass over. “However, if those of you are curious I will escort your protoforms to Earth and allow you to see for yourself and decide. But strand yourself in your new form and I cannot bring you back, until a means provides itself.” He cast his optics toward the Nemesis. “Well?”

    When one of the huskier frames had decided to step forward, he added, “Tread carefully, reflect thereupon that it was one of these organic creatures that destroyed Megatron, and I was the only one to flee with my very exoskeleton. Do any of you believe you have the speed you need?”

    He hesitated, but stepped forward. “I will go.”

    “You seem fixed on returning, it can’t be that bad,” another spoke as he stepped forward with another. “The frag, you better not be lying to us,” grumbled the other.

    “I assure you, I do not.”

    On a spur of the thought Rumble moved on his own from Soundwave and looked up at Starscream. “I guess myself as well. It’s not like there’s anything to do on this rust cap.”

    For now Starscream ignored his forewarning that more went into this Decepticons processor foam than he gave credit on, but rather concentrate on the task at hand, he nodded to the smaller mechanoid instead. He turned to a dark mauve, silver protoform that was having a rather nice conversation with a dark blue ally of his. “Skywarp, the Seekers are in charge in my absence. I will not be long.” He checked over the following warriors and moved out to the perimeter of the camp, there he transformed to the F-22A raptor and spiraled out into the planets shallow atmosphere.

    From the dank rust like surface the three protoforms convert to coment form and shoot off after their declared lord searching for answers to curious questions. Their bodies hit the stratosphere and streak out into the dark, what little moisture accumulated over their armor in the brief assent converted to ice, and other gaseous, matter, becoming a realistic camouflage to the comet form semblance.

    ***

    Across the globe through the radio waves flowing throughout the mass of electrical communications, the people of the blue planet receive a signal crackling transmission among those of radio broadcasts, Internet connections, walky-talkies, even simple baby radios set to the right frequency. A message to their own audio equipment was perceived as annoying crackle and screeches, a danger to them all- ignored. Others among them, non-biological extraterrestrial in broad daylight concealed beside their own bodies, registers what is sent and what it means.

    Like the natives around them some do ignore the message sent, while others listen intently and plot their own personal achivements.

    A burly man at a Mac truck lot in Onawa of Iowa was taken out back to view the selection of older models, outdated but still in prime condition ready for the open road of commercial use or for scavenging, they were in top condition whatever the necessity. Reliable good metal, broken in motor, trustworthy design, this was the reason these trucks were still being sold and people were still seeking them for their needs.

    Among the idea Macs set up for purchase, there was one that would not be scavenged from by private buyers. The dash of this giant, black 1978 model truck lit up as the ignition howls to life. It received the message and processed, it was pristine.

    “Decepticons in disguise, this is a convene by lord Tron-Mega….”

    The owner and buyer chase after the truck as it begins riding away, with no gasoline or oil in its engine, it seemed to have developed a mind of its own and was now moving of its own motivation out of the lot.

    The trucks Iowa license plate hunched down between the rear wheels reads in simple code. “MASTR”. Smog began to pump from the massive stacks high from its exhaust, its horn blares as it shifts and drifts in acceleration from the exit of the lot. In its progress a man is run off the side before he is made a smear, that is more to say than its farcical of a containment. The big truck shatters the reinforced fence in its progress out and proceeds straight into the open road skidding across the intersection in order to spin around and face the correct path of its trajectory, its tires squeal over the tarmac until its hulking weight is picked up and moved with the dusty Mac. It continues on through a red light smashing a car aside that sped through the green.

    About two hundred miles away in Broken Bow, the state over in Nebraska, a wrecker ball and crane in the recent 2006 earns the pay of the driver as he skillfully maneuvers the five ton iron ball through the middle portion of a condemned courthouse. Dust ignites away as the orb slams and punches away the supporting structures of the late building, dating back to early fifties. Away from the archaic structures lay the pieces of its worth, bricks white with soot and splintered wood, glass glitters among the remains.

    The pilot peers through his sunglasses at the dash when the CB comes to life at his knees, he is too busy with the controls to post and pry with the small knobs.

    “A flanking cusp is set up in point of Interstate-fifteen Southeast of Boulder city, within the metropolitans designated Las Vegas, and Mission city – all of which located in Nevada, separate units are located at these positions. They cannot be missed….”

    All the man registered was whining static with the faint screeches and frazzed pulse talk. He reached down flicking at the switch, but the transmission did not cease. He frowned. It said it was off, the light was off yet it still babbled with nonsense. What was going on? It must’ve picked up a live signal, nothing he could….

    The sticks snapped out of his gloves and began working on their own. In terror he reached out taking one, frightened the ten thousand pound iron would fly wide and smash something that didn’t need smashing. No matter how he pried with it, how much he cussed, however he pleaded with god he could not gain control of the wreckball.

    Then the large caterpillar treads lurched from their anchor, the supporting pegs coiled up in their sides and the vehicle was rolling on its own through the debris scattered across. He grabbed the controls and fought with the brake but nothing helped, nothing for him worked. The vehicle had come to life and was going somewhere and it was taking him with it.

    Or might have, if it were not so busy.

    The door slid open and the man gapped at it awed, until the seat flipped sideways and dumped him out. It was a good thing he wore a hard hat, he struck concrete and some metal bar but he was alive and would live with these injuries.

    As for the wrecker ball, it swept out around the vehicle and coiled up into the crane as it thumped across the terrain towards the nearest road. From there it could ride along the I-forty and take a nice easy trip to I-seventy and cross onto I-fifteen for the last haul into Las Vegas.

    On the street outside an antique shop of My Home of old Things, sat a midnight gray Porsche enjoying its time in the shade until the sun dropped from early dusk to night. People of Denver city walked by but an owner never claimed it, except one and it only came through a message unheeded by those around it. Over and over it played the same call but did nothing, had not moved yet, was still debating on a course of action that would best benefit his soulless frame.

    “You are to report to Dirge, Scrapper, or Dozercannon and await further orders.”

    The command was played again, again, as the machine mulled over his fate and that of those around him. Go to fight and die - stay, live and exist - to what point at all? Why should he bother? In a few centuries where did he see himself, just another model updated from the latest eighties, that mode was a drag. At least in his new 2006 brand he could call himself a car.

    Who cared, really? He didn’t, why should anyone else? It was just him and his self, on the road, going from town to city, searching for his destiny and finding so little in the quest for that. Maybe his direction was not in his own views, but in that of another. He had always had a place among the Decepticons and he did have his ups or downs, such as questioning the meaning of existence. He was strange to those of his kind but he had never really seen himself falling in life for a cause he simply did not understand. At least he had a purpose with the Decepticons.

    “Oh as that would be all the world, and unto oneself the world in his mind, that there was no other existence. And in the silence he came to see, how little he understood, and in that was the view of existence. Not to see but to understand. And still how little it was to see. The shadows.”

    A man appeared in the fine black seats, a man in black with black hair and a dreary repose of his face. He flickered—

    “Dath is me as I do see.”

    The engine hummed and the vehicle screamed from the parking place and down the road, headed for I-seventy where he would rendezvous with the wrecker headed for Las Vegas.

    A silent desk in some unknown city, in some unknown state was the poise for a sleek digital camera manufactured by Kodak, modeled Z885 with fast shutter speed. It was the idea Fathers day gift for the man that now owned it.

    Currently, he sat in front of the computers screen with his two sons behind him watching as he uploaded the website that concentrated on the occurrences in Mission city, they were big followers of the story since it came out and still witnesses came forward talking of some craziness of giant robots performing melee in the localized areas. To the father and his sons this was fascinating, true or not, but so many people had spoken of similar accounts.

    The simple TFW2005 was the code, its meaning unknown, and they were in to look at snapshots, fuzzy robots, and eyewitness reports.

    On the desk unnoticed by the small family, the digital camera unfolds and stands up as a small mechanoid. One lenses flashes green as he swipes his sharp head around then hops off onto the carpeted floor. He moves off toward the hall and past the bedrooms towards the front door. In a haste he jumped back to press his back to the wall as someone emerged from the kitchen.

    “Honey, kids, dinner!” She ducked back to check the food steaming on the stove.

    The small mechanoid peeled his body from the wall and moved past the gaping door, all the time staring up at the woman as she removed a pot and set it aside.

    A small Pomeranian with long dark fur lifted its head when the robot was halfway past the door. When the small thing locked lens with retina, it turned and bolted.

    The dog went into a barking frenzy and raced from the tile floor and out into the carpeted hall. A few moments after it passed beyond the door came a sharp pow and a YIPE!

    The wife looked up from her cooking, curious. “Domino?” She stepped from the kitchen out into the hall and looked down, she frowned at the sight before her. “D-Domino?”

    The dog was wiping its snout on the carpet growling to herself.

    “Good gracious, Domino! You’re getting blood on the carpet!” She picked the Pomeranian up and took it to the bathroom to get its nose bandaged up, and scold it for whatever infraction for her slit snout.

    Meanwhile, she never noticed the black camera on the floor waiting, believing it was the work of her boys and they would need to be chastised later for leaving it lying around. When she was gone the camera converted back to robot and dashed the last few feet to the door, he jumped up grabbing the knob and unlocked it. After that he undid the dead bolt and chain then kicked the knob, pulled the heavy door back enough to slip out and was gone.

    Dad would need a new camera minus the ambition for conquering the universe.

    ***

    A pair of F-22 raptors streak in close to a Panavia Tornado soaring in parallel of Lake Mead open on the broad extent beneath its currents.

    The pilot at the Tornado’s starboard side worked over nine different frequencies before he reached one he was certain would connect with the foreign aircraft. “GR. 4, Ident zero-zero-seven, you are in restricted airspace. I repeat, you are in restricted airspace. You will be escorted to Hoover Dam landing location where you are to be expected to comply with protocol, do you copy?” He paused.

    In response a violent electrical scream came over the connected communication link, whether it be malfunction or otherwise neither pilot would know until the aircraft landed.

    Though rude in response the Tornado did bank and slide into the slipstream with the other jets and pursued its comrades to the landing space. Within five miles, no less than thirty seconds, the helicopter landing port number two station did come into view below at the edge of the large access tunnel, lights on the surface blinking in response to pre timed programming.

    “Pilot of zero-zero-seven, there is a landing stretch at Las Vegas….” Began the pilot, his voice failing as the oddly colored Tornado streaked ahead and decelerated for the helicopter landing strip. “Pilot, you are unauthorized to land there!”

    The duel raptors roared overhead as on the ground Agent Simmons with a communicator responded to the pilots’ plight. “Attention 009 and 723, this aircraft has authorization to land here. Please proceed to JANAT where you will be debriefed.” He clicked it off and watched as the large Tornado came in for a low landing, its jets booming out hot thermals from the thrusters at its underside and stern. He waited until the aircraft had settled down and cooled its engines moderately before approaching it. “I think I’m obligated to see some sort of ID before we open the facility to you.”

    The jet powered down with a low hissing whoo, then the cockpit snapped and slid back. Mikaela slipped out and hopped onto the wing of the large flyer to lean on its side. “Does my access count?”

    Simmons appeared surprised by her existence. “Hn, unless NBE-67 can make holograms mobile on their own.”

    She glared at him. “Why don’t you just give it up and call them by their names? It’s easier for everyone else who isn’t busy trying to remember what number you tie them up with.”

    He was already walking away motioning the soldiers to get the access doors open. “If I did that I’d have to admit to a load of heat ache.”

    When the blast doors had opened the Tornado rolled itself in without assistance, only following the directional of the men waving glowing torches. Once inside full way the encumbrance doors shut and lock with a muffled clang. Mikaela jumped from the jet’s wing a moment before the entire composition rearranged itself into the Decepticon DareRex.

    “Where is Sam?” she asked foremost. The abrupt question caught Mikaela’s attention before she could wander off.

    About to return to his previous activities, Simmons doubled back annoyed. “He’s in the dorm area in meeting with Mr. Keller,” the Decepticon was already stomping past him as he continued, “its in restricted access to you machines.”

    DareRex was still going until Mikaela called her back, which she responded to by halting.

    “What do you want to see Sam?” she asked.

    The armed soldiers dotted about became uneasy, they began preparing rifles as though they too could sense the tension mounting, even if their guns would be mere effective at best. “I just want to speak with him. I don’t intend to harm him.”

    At that Simmons nearly choked. “Hurt—hurt him? Wha—what’s going on here?” He retaliated on Mikaela while directing a finger back to the powerhouse. “What the hell is that thing?”

    DareRex thumped her heel and stormed out of the main access tunnel. “Never mind Sam, then. Where is Sonic Boom?”

    Mikaela went up to Mr. Simmons nearly grabbing him by his suit. “Sonic? Where is he now?”

    “Um, uh, oh-oh…ah—! That…Grave Digger.” Now he could understand a meaning into that name. “Ran off to assist the NBE-5 and NBE-2.”

    That was the last straw, Mikaela grabbed his collar and rolled her head back. “God! Bumblebee! Ratchet! Is it so hard for you to memorize their names? What am I? Accomplice-45?”

    “Um, no. You’re suspect number—”

    “ARGH!” She took off. “DareRex! Come back here!” She jumped backwards when the large machine stormed into the main entrance.

    “What’s with you? I saw you there before I put my foot down—”

    “Shut up! Come with me!” She went to one of the security officers that used golf carts to cover the grounds of the base and jumped in with him. “To the dorm sector, now.”

    The man seated with a sandwich in his lap starred at the young woman that had just given him strict orders. “Excuse me, I’m on my lunch break and in the workers union that….”

    As he prattled on his life, DareRex took a moment to snap a sample of human culture and bargaining in persuasion. She leaned down to look at the man. “Beat me in a race and I’ll buy you a beer.”

    He put his dinner away and slammed on the brakes. “Hold on, miss!” He drove down fifty feet but the mechanical biped failed to advance, each time he looked back it was only staring. Was it busted? When he looked onto his path once more he suddenly felt the small cart rocking as he drove, before he had the chance to look the robot had already leapt over them and was down the tunnel. Shit, no fair.

    ***

    Sixty or so miles from the location of Hoover Dam the soil in desert splint as a metallic snout thrust its way out, followed by a neck, shoulders, body and legs. Shaking his gutted frame lightly the sand fell from his shifting joints, it irritated his delicate wires too much but that couldn’t be helped. Sonic Boom raised his head high and listened.

    Yes, he had been right, that was a Decepticon transmission flowing through the air. Few like he could collect and decipher it, he had once been Decepticon and the programming was incorporated into his systems still, only the problem was the Autobots could not pick it up, unless Blaster was with them which he doubted. He activated his own communication relay but found it disabled continued, no wonder as he had little opportunity to begin his repairs and he was only running on strong will as of late. There had to be a way to inform his allies of the danger underway, before it was too late for preparation.

    A quick review of his stolen information and he understood there to be a town no more than twenty miles from his position by Northwest. His leg was in bad shape but he could focus much of his energon through his torso and good leg he could make the distance without flight, and so he did travel the twenty miles in fifteen minutes and came to the outskirts of the city Kingman. He avoided the interstate and highway and went straight to the nearest rural area he could locate with computer equipment. Deeper into the neighborhood than he originally intended he located a tall two story home with low tone pastel walls, bike shackled to the porch, no cars in the port or within.

    He shattered the door on its frame and sought the downstairs, there were no computers there, he avoided the main chamber where noises came from, nothing was in the energizer portal but strange scents. Upon locating the stairway he hopped up the side and onto the top flight, he collapsed to his side and struggled to his feet again, Primus he was clumsy.

    A sudden flush came from beyond a door followed by running water, it ended and a small figure came from the entrance five steps forward to his left. He stared.

    The person turned and stopped, he stared at him.

    His optics clicked as they scanned.

    The person took a gasp and opened his mouth wide.

    He fell backwards with a loud thud, dead.

    “Rez, you okay up there?” came the voice from downstairs.

    Hesitantly he approached and stared at the thing. It looked dead indeed. “Yeah, I’m s’okay.” He prodded a foot. It twitched, he leapt back. “There’s somthin’ up here.”

    “Uh-huh, that’s nice. Come back down, cartoons are on.”

    “Not now, I’m lookin’ at it.” He moved closer to Sonic Boom reaching a hand out, he didn’t want to lose his arm but this aberration must be examined thoroughly before his mom got home. “Diana, come up here and see it.”

    “Later.”

    The thing moved and Rez stumbled back about to scream, but it continued moving into a backwards cartwheel and dropped to its hands and knees with its head down against the carpet. He stared, it was still moving, portions in its gaps where moving with it. “H-hey….”

    “Ffff-forgive my intrussssion, d-do you have…net acccesssss…?”

    Rez nodded. “Uh-huh. W-what are you—”

    Sonic Boom looked up at him. “Take me to your Internet.”

    The little boy had a sister, Sonic Boom learned, a younger sister. After threatening to scream Rez let his little sister into his room where the computer was, she stood at the large raptor’s thigh as he studied the sleek HP Pavilion with desktop and flat screen.

    “What’s it?” she asked.

    Rez shrugged. “Don know. Machine, pro’bly govner-ment s‘periment run away, pro’gammed to des’troy, doesn’ wanna des’troy no more. We should help it.”

    “Run away.” She nodded to that.

    Sonic Boom took the front portion off the tower and opened his gauntlet, the access cables snapped into the computer processing chips and activated the Internet connection wireless, he began scanning through.

    “Did you jus break my puter?” Rez yelped.

    “N-nay,” he whispered, optics flashing with information, “_ put it back….” He gurgled and clicked. What he sought was located.

    The little girl leaned over its leg to see. “Whaz that’d?”

    “Jamie, geh back, it might be dan-grous.” He pulled her away and looked for himself mouthing silently the letters he knew. “T-F-W-2-0-0-5?”

    “H-had access to…recent Ssec-tor Sven…Seven,” he strained, “knew…this…was coming. B-but…Sector…Seven…has been…watching…ss-sssince-ce.” He coughed and pumped hard oxygen through his wafer systems absorbing as much ions as he could. “Still…issss.” He used his free hand to tap out a message on the original TFW sight, a simple direct message that would catch the eye of anyone logged on following the events that had transpired in Mission city, but more importantly so that those of the ARD section would recognize and report back with. “All I c-can do.” He looked back on the children. “My grrr-grrr-grrratitude to you….” He put the tower back together and turned to leave, but Rez stopped him.

    “Hold up, do we geh somethin’ for this?” He looked at his sister and beamed with a worthy smile. “Your grat-tude?”

    Sonic Boom’s optics clicked as he turned his head. “Noth-thing…I-I havve—wait, I d-do.” He hissed drooling a liquid from the corner of his sharp beak. The section of his torso fore side snapped open part way and he reached in to pull out a small glowing rock. By all appearances it looked very similar to the AllSpark cube in design, but was oval smooth and polished with hieroglyphics curved and sharp, one was a triangle. He put it in the boys open hand and looked him in the eye. “I shall re-return…for it, kee-keep ----safe, show it-t to…no one. I-I will…give y-you something beyond…its value…later.”

    Rez grimaced at the gift. A rock. Ha handed it to Jamie deciding she could take care of it until the real prize came. “Thanks.”

    He nodded, and turned as the door opened.

    “I got peanut butter and jelly, who wanted plain jelly?” Diana looked up and dropped the plate. “Oh my god, what’d you do to the window?” The glass was gone, shattered outward and they were staring that way. “Your mom is gonna flip!”

    If she were so concerned for the window, she should’ve looked down to the driveway below and the large hole drilled through it puffing dust.

    ***

    The local star that initiated life upon the planet called Earth was drawing neigh low to the curve in order to give night its time to cycle through sleep, soon it would be the time in which humans knew well to be magic hour.

    A monstrous HT220 Ditch Witch sat in the parking lot of the Bestbuy store soaking up information on the nearby computer terminals offering sample of high speed processing to the customers.

    “We wait one more breem then move into position,” the Ditch Witch told his companion.

    It was a large black Mac truck idling, its motor rumbling like a contained beast ready to tear through innocence. “If I knew I would be waiting this long I would have stayed put and dealt with my next victim—I mean driver.”

    Dozercannon was anything but impressed, he dealt with Motormaster before and if it was one thing he learned was let that Decepticon be. It was far less painful that way and he couldn’t afford fresh wounds in the ensuing war about to unleash on this world. At least they would not be tearing more of Cybertron apart. For a splint moment he wondered how his old home was faring, last he saw the planet was in a state of despair. Given its former circumstance upon his abandoning he was surprised that Decepticons had come from that world recently. Then again, from what he gathered of the more recent battle, the Decepticon crew that left searching for Megatron and the AllSpark had left their world many vorns before. The planet could be at any state now and he didn’t look forward to returning to it.

    “This does not bode well for Tron-Mega’s campaign.”

    “There are more of us than Autobots on this planet,” informed Dozercannon. “All we must concentrate on is drawing their attention thus confusing and frightening the humans into a position of paralysis. I have viewed thousands of files of warfare and deduce that this small establishment will not last long, once their back is broken we reap the spoils and move on to the next research facility. These areas are threats foremost, understand? They are not military but the thinking force is enough to disable us.”

    Motomaster gave a deep rumbling sigh that disturbed the grit around his tires. “Yeah-yeah, I know how these strategies go. First gather, then kill, last declare. All I’m interested in is eradicating these human parasites, the very notion that one killed our leader and our very existence is enough to make me slaughter each and every one I do come across from here out. The least most little fact holding my arms from doing so is the principle satisfaction of the pleasure when I am allowed to do so.”

    A sleek digital camera sat beneath a Toyota pickup with camper shell twenty yards away, its lens zooms in on the odd pair of vehicles at the farthest end of the parking lot. It clicks a picture off storing the data away on processor and zooms in on the identification of the large Macs grill.

    The dull lime tractor checked its internal clock and saw to his relief it was time to get moving. “That’s it, no one else is coming. Let’s get into position.” A man appeared in the seat bothering little with the controls as the Ditch Witch coiled its backhoe up and raised the earth saw high, its motor began and it rolled behind the large Mac and attached to the rig.

    Motormaster pulled forward hauling the tractor with him. As he headed for the exit ramp he pulled aside as a giant crane came thundering in with a small Porsche following. “What the slag?” he screeched.

    “Darklight and Deadend reporting, Dozercannon,” uttered the wrecking crane. “We’re moving out already?”

    “You nearly missed us. Laggard is not tolerated.”

    “Frag, berate them later, let’s just get moving. I don’t want to be hauling your ass around all day.” The big Mac pushed forward drawing his tow with him.

    “Hold, circumstances demand this task that needs attention first.” The ditch Witch unhitched and rolled towards the small gray car. “You were left custody of a disk before Tron-Mega abandoned Cybertron, Deadend, I was told to accept it from you.”

    The sleek car continued to idle but responded little on the inquiry.

    “I also have permission to terminate you if you fail to produce this disk.” The large saw hovering high spun once whirling chain.

    “Hey, you can’t threaten my ‘con!” Motormaster roared as he groaned forward.

    “I…don’t have the disk,” Deadend muttered.

    The camera facing the exit ramp clicked another picture off.

    “WHAT?” Dozercannon snarled. “What did you do to it? Where did it go? That disk is wanted by Lord Tron-Mega, it may be the key to our survival! How could you lose such a precious heirloom?”

    In silent Motormaster marked Dozercannon’s alarm. Something so valuable must be worth a great deal.

    “Tis landing on this world to be blamed,” spoke the car with the goth driver. “When I came down the disk was lost, to some corner of the planet that is round. I searched and searched for it but was never found, myself or it. You see, when I lost the disk some of me went with it. I have given up on it.”

    The saw on the Ditch Witch lowered a quarter inch and roared with metal shrieking fury. “And yet you approach a senior officer knowing the consequences for your failure?”

    “It is only in my failure that I approach you,” he said.

    This alone subsided the Decepticons fury, the clamps at his sides flexed in a curious sort of frown had the vehicle been bipedal. “We shall report to point and review the situation once this is over.” He rolled behind the impatient Mac and hitched up. “Where was it you landed?”

    A brief calculation went into the data retrieval. “Current day Egypt.”

    The lens on the camera flashed.

    ***

    From the sky at high dusk fell five streaks of fire that in the ancient times may foretell misfortune, death, tragedy. They crash separately over the southwestern corner of Nevada, lower portion of Utah and one in Arizona. ARD facility dispatched operatives driving vehicles beyond the uniform of normal military protocol.

    Mid way through the night cycle as the base was left at its most vulnerable state, massive fighters were moving into position undetected thanks in large to a Boombox carried on the front seat of a Mustang police cruiser miles out of jurisdiction. Even more conspicuous of the situated cruiser long from home, was that it moved off road among the trees of a forest surrounding Lake Mead.

    Ten miles across this lake, red optics flash among the silent leaves of trees as the metallic face gazed out through onto the vehicles and surveillance squadrons in constant effort around the widest perimeter. The opposite soldiers were beyond them but extended set patrols were sent onward to locate any invaders concealed, but off guard. It was easier to avoid these specific units as they were not very thorough and the darkness gave cover to the stalkers, so long as they were covered and in the motionless trees, deception would be the specialty of the night. Even for Motormaster crawling up a slope in tactical military style with low slants and ducks, his giant form disturbed no branch and called no attention to any of one location among the greenery.

    “We are in position, sir.” On the secure line Dirge listened but no response came through. No surprise there, they were only given orders to move on point and wait until he gave the signal, but it was hinted that toward the rising star of the following day they would begin the strike. Scarce bit more information of the attack was offered to any single soldier, that was the way their captain worked.

    “You two, keep quiet.” On separate location, Longhaul grumbled out of irritation to his noisy comrades.

    “Quiet you,” sneered Scrapper. “I am commander of this squadron.” He was at it in another argument with Longhaul, who always poked fun at him. Scavenger was the last Decepticon anyone considered to be referee but as it was referred to over and over again he kept the team in check with his indecision. “Longhaul, maintain contact with Dirge and Dozercannon.”

    From where he had crouched low, Scavenger hunched forward and held up a hand. “Terrestrial life form, get low.” He dropped down as the rest of the unit did and waited.

    A group of men muttering about their graveyard shifts were passing by, shining lights onto the undergrowth and at the canopy.

    “Let me eliminate them,” Longhaul chattered.

    “You will not,” opposed Scrapper. “They go missing the others will be aware of an infiltration. Let them pass.”

    “What if they grow curious?” inquired Scavenger, challenging his unit commander again. “What will you do then?”

    “As humans say, “play it by ear.’”

    The patrol didn’t even shine their light in the direction of the hidden aliens, if they had one would notice the sharp edges of lime metal thrust over the dug out trench they had excavated in their boredom. It was human custom to dig a nest while waiting out enemy soldiers, it didn’t work too well for impatient Decepticons.

    “We are in position, sir.” Scrapper looked to the two members of his unit, Longhaul was still prying soft earth from their dugout, it was getting on his last synapse. “Shut down, when the signal comes I’ll get you out of offline mode.”

    Scavenger turned to Longhaul muttering on a shared frequency. “I’m certain he means well, but his programming wants to kill us.”

    “I agree.” He nodded to that.

    Onto the farther side of the Hoover Dam awaited the massive ingress locked through the hours of the night and day unless for authorized access, there were many soldiers up and moving with intense lamps blaring down cutting hazy air. The soldiers’ gear glinted under light, each holds a weapon, patrols run at all hours.

    From the distance Darklight could magnify his optics through the end of his long wrecker to sight potential dangers and scout out a position without even moving. “A lot of activity, looks unorganized but I can make out a disciplined pattern suggesting a moderate intelligence.”

    “Hh, how intelligent you reckon?” Motormaster had to stoop down to see the lowered powerhouse in his steady mode.

    “Average for culture building life form. It’d be no trouble exterminating them, once the Autobots have been removed.” He lowered his crane back into his lower arm and backside. “We could be on them if Tron-Mega wasn’t so obsessed with that lone…err, Ladiesman was it?”

    In the leaves overhead a small machine held itself erect as the lens on his chest snapped another picture off.

    “Affirmative.”

    Deadend directed a sharp digit to the compound, lines under his optics were illuminated offering a sullen gloom. “What activity is that over there? One of them leaving or entering?”

    The crane arm snapped and extended into place and Darklight checked through the tracking needle. “Hrm. Appears a high ranking General is vacating the facility. That makes our job all that much easier.” He buzzed a low chuckle.

    The General leaving ARD facility was none other than Secretary of Defense, John Keller, satisfied with his questioning of the target individual. With the armed escorts he left through the small portal and went straight to his limo.

    “Should we eliminate it, if that human is important?” asked Motormaster.

    Darklight tracked the vehicle and escorts for a few miles then retracted his scope. “Dirge can get him down the road.”

    “I don’t advise on that approach.” Dozercannon glanced back at his team. “We are in position now, no point in jeopardizing that for a single kill. There’ll be plenty of Generals to crush once we get started, howbeit given our current poise there will be no pride in it.”

    Darklight rasped and shook his head. “Not enough Autobots.”

    ***

    Samuel Witwicky had become the AllSpark. Or in a sense he was that thing which the Decepticons craved more than conquest, revenge. He was wanted alive by the leader only so that he could die, then there would be nothing to hold those insane machines from invading this world and killing all its organisms.

    Could the Autobots really stop them? How many people would die before the war was over? It was all because the cube came to this planet, its people found it, and his great grandfather found the seeker of it. There was no escaping the shackles of destiny bound tight to those whom had contact with the Transformers.

    Through the night Sam could sleep little, he had wakening dreams in which death came slow and painful. He had little influence to the world of torture that some were flocked by so the pain in his dreams, real to his mind, brought him from short bouts of sleep screeching in terror.

    For the ninth time that night he awoke breathless from a run in which he had not moved his legs to his actual body in escape, it didn’t stop him from feeling that primal instinct to survive death some way. In the end he had died, as if that was new, he couldn’t remember how but his body tingled all over from the experience. He awoke patting himself down to make sure no piece of him had been torn free. He stood from the cot a little unstable on his feet and made a fleeting dash for the lights, to his relief there was nothing in the small room with him. He wanted to check the time but his watch was on his cell phone and that was in his backpack in Tranquility. Seeing as he was probably not going to get much sleep for what remained of the night he opened the door and left the dormitory.

    All the talk with Keller of the potential danger, military, it unhinged him. “How do the guys in the Mafia do it?” he asked himself. Simmons and Banachek went over it and over it countless times, an indefinite of how safe he was several football fields under solid concrete. He didn’t even feel safe in the solid steel corridors leading from the lodgings, the Decepticons were not supposed to be able to locate the AllSpark without detection yet they found its location anyway. Little was in their way from locating him, and there was no infinite power of the universe to make him all that special.

    A pair of solid iron doors that could only be opened by armed guards, were activated on his approach. He felt like extravaganza with access to the one time Sector Seven station, sort of president in the White House with ding-dongs and access to all the playboy he wanted with the CIA there to cover up his not too savory doings. Then that empty feeling came to his stomach, that there was a bounty on his head which kept him from enjoying his time.

    He stepped out and up a flight of grate steps into the full open of the facility, wide open with technicians and military working around the clock on their separate undefined tasks. It was an amazing sight, everywhere he looked there were people in white suits, uniforms, some carried notepads and others pushed around loaded crates.

    The path went right or left proceeding further into the dam, before Sam was a railing with a drop beyond and pipes stretched over with ends disappearing into the concrete floors. He stepped forward and looked up, above was more catwalks with people tapping along and the extending ceiling. A noise came below him causing him to freeze up, his heart skipped a beat, when nothing happened he looked down.

    No doubt something was there, what he could not tell. It was tangled with the pipes and wires of the dam and looked almost apart of it, the metal was pale orange with tan markings—

    “DareRex?”

    Little response to that was the foot tapping a pipe but the robot was no less on its stomach under the pipes, asleep?

    “I was worried she’d find you first, looks like I was wrong.”

    Sam whirled, his chest thumping. It was Mikaela looking very nice. “I—uh, you—ah—uck—” He jumped back from the rail and slapped his face a few times. “I’m not dreaming, I’m not dreaming, I’m not dreaming—not dreaming—not dreaming—not dreaming!” He looked up as Mikaela took his chin and pulled his face close.

    It was like honey. Everything melted away, his fears, his anxiety, everything. All the shit he’d been through didn’t happen, he was all right, his father was all right, his mother was great, his dog….

    Sam stepped away and went to the rail looking down on what of the powerhouse he could make out. “I was scared for you.”

    She approached him tentatively. “Sam—”

    “My dads in the hospital, my mom was nearly killed, Mojo…he was…hurt.” He looped his arm and set his face in the crook. “I left you to that psychotic robot.”

    She put her hand on his shoulder and gripped. “I was all right. It’s…like Sonic meant, if you were left behind he would have killed you.” She shook her head slowly. “I wasn’t worthy.”

    “You were worthy.” Lifting his head he put his eyes inches from hers. “You’re worthy to me. I could have never left you.”

    “You didn’t.”

    “I’m gonna kill that rabid robot.”

    “Don’t, he was just trying to protect people.” She put her arms around Sam and pulled him tight. “Do you think he did it to be cruel to you?”

    Sam closed his eyes and breathed deep. This was nice. “No.” But he didn’t have to like him for it, in fact he hated it more. “When did you get in?”

    “The day before.” She stepped back and looked at him. “Simmons told me what happened to your parents so I decided to give you some rest time and went to see Maggie.”

    Now Sam recalled what happened, she was the first human abducted by Tron-Mega’s evil minion. “How is she?”

    Mikaela tilted her head side to side. “Pretty good, they say she’ll make a full recovery…. What’s wrong?”

    “All this is my fault.” He walked away with no particular destination, only to put himself away from Mikaela. To protect her. “I shouldn’t be here around all these people, I should be far away someplace where he has to come for me.” He turned to her shaking his head unsure of this whim at all. “Where no one will get hurt…because of me.”

    “It’s not your fault.”

    “It is!”

    Mikaela leaned back and pushed her lower lip out, in thought. “Okay, worse case scenario. You didn’t kill Megatron, you took the chance and killed Optimus instead. You’d feel twice as bad, and instead of prolonging the human existence it’s hastened by Megatron’s conquest. How does that sound?”

    “Not too good,” he groaned. “But—”

    “But what?” She went up and put her face to his. “People are getting hurt, killed, and you’re upset because…you’re so special, the thing doing all this wants your head? No one in your family has been killed, not even your Chihuahua, and your upset that it’s all your fault?” She took his face in her hands. “It isn’t. It’s that…cock head doing all of this. He has the choice, you do not. Stop beating yourself up over what you cannot control. It won’t help.”

    A tear streaked down Sam’s stained cheek, unlike Mikaela he had been too haggard to take advantage of the provisions of the compound. “I can’t forget that I made the choice first.”

    A strange electrical scratch came from beside them and both look to see DareRex uncoiling herself from the pipes underside to stand straight. “If I may say something.” She gestured to Sam. “I know if Prime were here he’d give you the mush of how it doesn’t help anyone to get worked up on this slag because of the enemy, plus it’s Tron-Mega’s specialty.”

    Sam frowned. “The ‘lone survivor’ bit Bumblebee mentioned to us?”

    “Yes. There’s no greater enemy to one than your own self. Remember that.”

    As DareRex turned away Mikaela wondered if she should remind the Decepticon after what she had viewed the day before, but at this time did it really matter? “Why was it you…wanted to see Sam for?”

    She turned to the humans. “I’ve…decided to wait for later. Even for human adolescence you look terrible.”

    “Thanks for that.” When DareRex had hiked away to whatever it was Decepticons do in their off time, he looked for Mikaela at his side. “He-she wanted to talk to me?”

    Mikaela shrugged. “It’s a long story, I’ll explain it to you.” She focused to what Sam was now staring at and sighted Agent Simmons with another security officer approaching them. “Um, about racing golf carts through the elevator, I can explain everything—”

    “Later. What I need you two for now has nothing to do with petty juvenile pranks. C’mon.” He led the two to the observatory station beneath the dam in constant contact with the upper deck watchtower, it was a similar terminal to the one in which they could view the AllSpark in its mass from but had windows facing the under ground turbines beyond.

    The observatory network chamber was filled with computer terminals while walls and center stations dominated by visual screens displaying the base from any numerous sections of security cameras, some were even snaps in the forest area surrounding the dam, there were images derived from the local human satellite in space orbiting the planet. The terminals themselves were lined with men and women murmuring softly into headsets and typing out coded sequences, none of which made squat sense to Sam or even Mikaela.

    Simmons guided them to an open console set and showed them surveillance camera views, he with the security officer began tapping out photographs of most recent images. None appeared very interesting, side from a clown car that was pulled over. Earlier.

    “What’s this about?” Sam asked first, out of agitation to the clown car reference.

    “We used these consoles to track the landing of NBE-2,” said the officer.

    Sam turned to Mikaela who in turn reminded him number two was Bumblebee. “Just refer to them by their names,” she sighed.

    “Negative,” the man said. “You don’t name your toaster, or you hairdryer.”

    Mikaela mouthed to Sam how she would kill the man if he didn’t shut up, and he continued to inquire as to what was their business to know.

    “Right here.” Simmons moved over to the security officer. “What do you see?”

    The couple looked to see a familiar Peterbilt headed up the same mountain path each of which took when driving away from the Sector Seven base. “It looks like Optimus.”

    Sam looked up at Simmons. “Is it?”

    He shrugged and smiled. “Maybe, maybe not.” He brought them to the terminal he was working at. “A few minutes later, a half mile behind the first truck.”

    “Another Optimus.” This sent a shiver down Sam’s spine, he knew what was happening but couldn’t tell one semi from the other. “Tron-Mega.”

    “Either he’s in the lead or he’s tailing the real NBE.” The security officer stood straight. “We can take a chance, we have a helicopter loaded with a Botte rocket launcher. I’m certain the real Optimus will hold weapons and order a cease-fire, but the shape shifter will either alter to actual form or attack.”

    Mikaela was shaking her head. “No, that won’t work.” She looked at the macho officer with his clean shaved face and his helmet. “He’ll know how to adapt to that situation, he must have been in a similar one before. All you’ll do is wound Optimus or him and get no closer to actually figuring which one is real.”

    “Have the chopper approach from the rear and target the tail first, we can’t have the other coming across—”

    “No! Didn’t you hear me?” Mikaela shrieked.

    Sam grabbed Simmons cast arm. “Don’t do it!”

    “Agh-agh—hey! Get your hands off me kid, you don’t know who you’re dealing with here! Get this kid off me!”

    Two soldiers raced down the corridor and grabbed Sam, but he was already backing off with a glare of loath for Simmons. “You’re making a big mistake.”

    “This is the thanks I get for protecting your sorry hide and the people?” He straightened his tie and looked to Mikaela. “You know I’m only looking out for the best interest of ungrateful, narrow minded little twats like you.”

    “Yeah? But you don’t have to be a SOB about it,” she remarked.

    He gave a violent signal to the guards. “Get them out of here.” He watched as Mikaela with Sam were led out. “I try and do them a favor….”

    “Sir.” The security officer turned to him. “One of our analyst found something interesting on the TFW sight.” He brought up the image and the thread. “There are responses to this but, I find the starter the most intriguing.”

    Simmons leaned over and checked. “This is bad.” He scrolled. “The patrols, have any of them reported any unusual activity?”

    He shook his head. “No sir. Either they’re not in position yet or…too far back.” He lowered his head. “Reviewing the NBEs chameleo technology, the wide patrols could have walked right over them and known no different.”

    He tapped at the glass screen. “Get the patrols out there searching, and get that helicopter after the semi.”

    ***

    The early dawn was underway, the colors altering the night from dark black to navy, and mauve.

    “Hel’copter inbound f’r’approachin’ semi,” reported the stereo set on the police cruisers front seat.

    “So?” asked Barricade. “What are you getting at?”

    “Same semi s’drivin’ up teh road by two hundred yards. Either I malfu’ction or one’f’them s’a copycat, and I’m bettin’ I don’t malfu’ction.”

    Standing tall and adjusting his optics to the highest most point Dirge could identify the Cougar model air hammer humming through the sky, through the tree cover keeping them hidden made it impossible to sight anymore than its top rotor. “It might be Tron-Mega, it might not, regardless it is in priority to treat him as he mimics.” He armed his long range power cannon at his shoulder and fired sending a rocket burning through the leaves and hissing beyond range. A brief beat then a fiery eruption blooms in the sky of red and orange flames, black smoke bellows high. Soon all is dark again aside from the flicker of hot wreckage.

    On the road Optimus screeched to a halt and reversed, he turns and speeds back toward the burning remains and transforms. He kneels down sifting through the ruble but there is no life to be found, everything was charred and gone. He stood back and scanned the sloping mountain around him, his optics pierce the dark early dawn hours but he locates nothing, and if he did know the exact poise from which the warhead flew he would have no way of reaching the enemies.

    Tron-Mega, you’ll pay for this. He transformed to his cholo flamed semi and rolled up the incline proceeding on to the ARD compound.

    ***

    The footage was filed away, no one needed to see that sort of disaster only once especially since there was nothing aboard it that indicated whether or not the pursuing semi was the enemy or not.

    “Flanking projectile from the side—!” Followed by a blood-curling scream before pilot and assistant became apart to the casualty count.

    “Sir?” The security officer was staring at Simmons. “What should we do?”

    He gestured the man. “Let the first semi through, have the soldiers detain the second. I feel certain that one is the shape shifter.”

    He took out his communicator and contacted the guards at the wire fence.

    “This might be our best opportune to see just how well the Bottes work.”

    ***

    Outside the first semi had crossed the extension of the bridge and rolled down the spiral roadway to come before the access gates into Hoover Dam‘s terminal access. He was stopped of course before the gates were opened and the guards waved him through.

    “Wait.” A guard approached from the side to check the cabs grill. “You were followed here, we have orders to detain you and approach the threat.”

    Optimus reversed and turned himself around. “Followed by who?” From optical cameras he locked on the two moving vehicles through the dark, one civilian a few feet behind the large semi. Tron-Mega. “Let me deal with him.”

    “Negative. Our orders are to confront and eliminate.” The guard gestured other soldiers in close to form the flanking formation. High overhead an Apache helicopter circled in moving close for a strike.

    The semis motor roared. “Discard those orders and stand down, he’ll annihilate you if your team challenges him.”

    The other truck accelerated crossing the last two miles in less than thirty seconds, the light from lamps grace its cholo and flames as it thundered forward, a pair of gun ports flash open on the rim of the hog nose and fire hitting the other vehicle in its grill.

    “Get away from him, it’s Tron-Mega!”

    The assembled soldiers turn their weapons on the vehicle beside them as it comes apart to stand as Optimus Prime, with fluid grace the protective face plate snaps into place while weapons unhinge from his arms.

    “Don’t interfere, run! He will kill you.” He looked up as the fast approaching truck unfolded and leapt up as a duplicate of Optimus, he bounds over the gate to smash into his foe. The two topple sideways in a fierce scuffle.

    “I can’t tell which one is who,” reported one guard. “Both keep telling us to retreat.”

    The captain consulted Simmons deep inside the Dam. “Sir, we can’t isolate either one. We need orders.”

    “Orders?” Simmons bellowed from the device. “Shoot them both!”

    In the poor light it was difficult to distinguish between the two mechanoids as they rumbled in contest, slicing and punching at the other as they backed off then threw himself to his foe again. There were flashes of an energon blade and glitter from resulting machine guns imbedded with wrist, the blue optics streak through black as they move under the lights posted over the dams edifice.

    “Fire at will!” The guard moved into position, raised his rifle and fired. The soldiers scattered into a safer poise as the two story goliaths threw each other around in combat.

    Patches of molten bullets flicker in the gaps of the fighters armor, they recoil noticeably in pain but continue fighting each other as though the soldiers weren’t there at all. It was a good tactic, the real Optimus considered, that Tron-Mega maintain deception for as long as possible. In that way he would be sharing the punishment with his foe.

    A thundering rumble filled the air and from the gray sky dropped an F-4J Phantom whirling, rockets at its wings igniting to fall on the soldiers of the dam itself. “Decepticons,” it pronounced, “ATTACK!”

    Both Optimus’ back off from the other to assess the damage of the soldiers, one raised his head scanning into the tree lining across the mountainside as illumination of weapon discharge streaked forth to smite the construct of concrete and metal. A mortar from behind their position crashed into the Apache helicopter sending it down in a burning wreck.

    The soldiers set onto position across the expanse of the dam race for cover into the interior as plasma and missiles continue out from the trees targeting anything moving, even the Prime’s that had taken action against the unknown threat.

    Optimus turned to the soldiers dazed between following orders and saving their own lives. He had to act fast. “Get inside! I’ll give you cover!”

    The other Optimus whirled to him. “I won’t allow you to follow them.” He raised his cannon.

    Optimus shot him in the chest and turned away. “Come on! Get moving now, that’s an order!” As they make a break for safety Optimus backs away from the other him, its chest still burning with smoke. He rolled aside when his counterpart opened fire again, as he came up he raised his gun and fired. The other Optimus gave chase after the soldiers offering supportive cover in their retreat, occasionally his weapon lifted over the high walls of the dams cover, toward the trees obscuring the hillside where he locked onto the blurred forms of moving Decepticons.

    The F-4J Phantom came skimming through again dropping missiles on the mobile Optimus. He aimed shooting up, soon his weapon turned down as a Peterbilt came racing beside him. A bullet burned the fore tire catching flame to the underside, the vehicle was at a moment disadvantage as its guns were forward facing and there was no way to target the second Optimus beside it. In a desperate sprint to stop the vehicle formed robot, Optimus slammed into its side as his weapon reformed his hand, his digits locked into its wheel wells and pushed it over. The vehicle transformed as this was happening and the powerhouse grabbed his attacker by the shoulders as he tumbled, the two roll in a brawl of kicking and punching.

    A soldier following his comrades raced to the head of the formation, as others turn to face the opposing threat of dopplegangers as they began spinning and crushing into the wall behind them, stumbling not to trip on pipes bunched under their treads. The man winced as concrete flung aside nearly struck him, somehow he managed to pull a panel from the side of the power station column and input a code, the surface and portion of the stations lower sideways to slip open revealing a stairwell into a expanding shaft. The lights flickered but came on one set after the other.

    “Get in, file-file-file!” He pushed the soldiers down the stairs, some tumbled as they went.

    One Optimus picked the other up and hefted him a full nine yards before crushing him to the surface, concrete cracked and the ground shook. The fallen robot reached up punching the other with his palm and grabbed his helmet to pull him down before he could raise a cannon to his face. The other crushed him down and punched, he slapped him with his knuckles and drew back to recover his poise.

    Optimus on the floor kicks out as his other retreats, his heel guards smash the blue shins forcing the Prime onto his knees as he strives to rise up and guard his front. His foe recovers his footing and lowers a cannon burning with plasma, he fires but at the last moment Optimus balled his fists together and lunged to his side cracking armor free. As the other falls away he steps up and opens a blade at his arm, he swings out with it but at the same time the other Optimus leapt at him missing his target when it spun uncontrolled and slid across the pavement raising sparks into the wounds caused by Sabots.

    “No!” The blade yielding Optimus pivoted and jumped reaching to pull back his foe before he skid into the well with the soldiers. By complete accident the shaft seals up over the large robot and the elevator drops.

    Within the lift Optimus barely had enough room for his body let alone the five dozen soldiers now scrunched up along the sides doing anything to avoid him if no less than being crushed. This was a bad situation to be in, he was lucky no one was seriously injured in this accident.

    Weapons click aiming on him.

    “Hold on,” he said. “I’m not Tron-Mega, you’re safe.”

    Above the shaft emitted a metal screeching groan then the lift came to a violent halt, one side sagging only slightly but pinned by the polished rock wall. The lights flicker but most remain bright.

    Pushing his hands out beside him it suddenly occurred to Optimus that he might have to save as many of these people as possible, but how was he to do that in his position? Coincidentally, this Optimus had not been singed on his chest by the first strike.

    A crunch came from above, unmistakable for shattered concrete raining down and the roar of a demon dying. The lift suddenly lost its perchase and dropped several yards before it slanted hard to the side catching on some unseen obstacle, it swayed smashing the wall a few times before it stopped, then slipped sideways further.

    The soldiers wailed and clambered as the elevator dropped, most had lost their weapons and now clung to Optimus seeking security in the metal warrior. As for him, he was upside down holding his arms against the sides trying to avoid upsetting the entire box with his movement. He could scan a few feet through the metal and pinpoint the hold, a cable had not snapped and that alone was what kept them from slipping out into a full drop. There was little chance he could save any of them now.

    The captain climbed up the floor to a control box and pried it open, he punched a button and called in. “This is gunny at section Q-9, we’re in need of emergency assistance. The cables snapped and we’re hanging, I don’t know how long it’ll hold—” He held tight as the entire construct trembled, an explosion had taken place that was felt fifty feet through the solid rock.

    “We read you Q-9,” the voice on the radio said. “What access port are you near?”

    “I don’t know,” he groaned. “The depth reader is dead, I don’t know how far we dropped.”

    The lift began to tremble as a rolling silence seemed to fall through to the small coffin, something was coming down very fast and probably ready to collide with them. “Brace yourselves!” Optimus ordered, though he wasn’t so certain any would survive what he knew was coming.

    Then the entire well twisted violently and dropped, it rocked against the shaft banging and clanking in its descent. From outside a mismatched roar and bellow of pain issued from whatever had collided with them. Through the tumble Optimus knew as well as any of the men that it was Tron-Mega. But unplanned by the Decepticon was this descent, he was in as much dire as they were, maybe more if he were outside being crushed by the large container he had fought to get into.

    Sparks ignited from the sides and metal coiled in on itself, the soldiers were screaming now fearful of death approaching foot up. A gap was torn out of the boxes side and as it whirled, men were flung out into the rapidly passing sheer wall. There were lights flashing through the openings, and for a moment a broken shard of the offenders armor in full view.

    Optimus hoped they landed on him in the least.

    The nightmare of forever tumbling and crashing came to a booming halt as the lift smashed against the wall and plunged into the bottom of the shaft. It cracked wide open but scraping the sides of the walls had reduced the destruction that would have been done had it been free falling. A flash of lights as the electrical current was interrupted then there was a view of dust, carnage, blood, and death. A few taps came from rocks broken free in the descent tapped against metal coffin and bodies of alien metal.

    A low groan.

    This was not Optimus Prime recovering, this was a dragon awakening from a millennium of slumber. He lifted his head, metal and pieces of tarmac slip off with one soldier, he lowered his snout ready to finish what he had begun until he saw the access portal wide open, only a few workers beyond with guards and medics prepared to receive the wounded. He gnashed his jagged teeth in a grotesque grin and stepped over Optimus.

    His hand twitched as internal systems reset themselves, Tron-Mega was just stepping over him but he was still sluggish from the impact. “No…stop….” He reached up gripping for the jointed tail that passed but his optics were not functioning fully yet, he grasped at thin air. “Fight me you…coward.” He rolled over and moved on his hands and knees.

    The dragon was already readjusting its armor for tunnel crawling and looked back. “L-later you’ll…have your time.” Focused forward he gave a roar and slipped through the low hanging access tunnel.

    More aware of the threat now, Optimus simply couldn’t leave the wounded soldiers if any could be saved. He took scans over those he saw but most were dead, others were fatally wounded staining the pavement with their fluids. His head whipped up when the wails of a panicked man came to his receptors, he knew his enemy would not intentionally kill humans until he had satisfied his thirst for vengeance, but they would still die regardless.

    He converted to his truck form and rolled through the tunnels following the claw marks scathed in floors and walls, and the mayhem of slaughter left behind.

    ***

    The missiles had subsided when both machines disappeared down the lift shaft, dust and haze cloaked much of the over standing structure of the dam and the higher level observation decks with lights flickering broken but barely functional if any.

    The soldiers left on the surface helped civilians away, unsure of where the attack was coming from directly they couldn’t hold against the assault so waiting was the only option. None of them really wanted to wait.

    Groans of pain instantly ceased as the odd sound of motors entered the vicinity of the dams road, growing steadily louder as they came across the bridge to an open section of plain on the other side of Lake Mead. The sun was just cracking the Earths curve but it would be twenty minutes more at least before the light reached the surface of human architect that held back the immensity of water from Las Vegas.

    One of the uniforms went to the guard responsible for observing the gate, for the day was going to hell and they were all just being fired upon was no reason to lose priorities. “Who’s watching the gate?” he asked.

    The man, mouth opened in awe shook his head slowly. “N-no one, we-we had to—”

    The reconstruction gate crumbled and two vehicles thundered through, a police cruiser escorting a five thousand pound wrecking crane and D155 dozer plow. The flashing light penetrated the haze as the cruiser broke off and went its separate way avoiding the scattered humans with a weave and slid over its wheels. Upon a twist a stereo system tumbled from its side and rolled upright, a nice melody playing from the vibrating speakers.

    The convoy of arrivals was not over yet, following the crawling wrecker were three lime colored construction vehicles, a wheel loader, dump truck, and ditch witch. The equipment lacking drivers branched off one way pursuing the hulking crane, while the military gazed on stunned to death by the approach. Proceeding further from the shattered walls came a large roaring Mac truck and sleek gray Porsche.

    The Mac truck rolled the extent of the dam up to the man and guard stationed nearest to it, and came apart, reconnecting into a massive machine with knives rather joints and a ragged maw one soldier swore he saw souls wither within. The machine spoke in a deep, loud voice meant to terrorize and frighten.

    “The Stunticons are here to eliminate organic life forms,” he said. “Can you direct us to them?”

    Behind the colossal the Porsche transformed into a smaller robot that kept knelt to knee and directed to the humans his occupied stare.

    The soldier dropped his gun and put his arms up. “Uh, no. I think I saw some far-far out…away from that way.”

    Motormaster’s optics flashed. “I think I’m looking at some now. What do you think, Deadend?”

    He shrugged apathetically. “Whatever.”

    The PhantomII slid through the air and flipped over as the components of its dank blue and yellow armor rearranged for the bipedal shape, his feet caught the spire of metal tower and held his body steady as he turned to the units below. “Decepticons, nothing fancy! Sabotage this facility, grind it to the ground, insure that no more research comes from it but of the failing!” He opened the rocket ports in his shoulders firing missiles at another tower across the dams branch.

    A spike orb slipped from Motormaster’s lower back, he took the spiked chain and swung the mace high overhead. “Eradicate all life forms!” He slammed it down upon the two humans and proceeded on his way jerking the weapon in his wake.

    Deadend jumped high converting to the Porsche and drove through the hordes of scattering humans directing his efforts on shooting up the walls and electrical cables of the nearby power plant decorating every stretch he could make out.

    More military personal came from the buildings extending branches to reinforce what little broken authority there was left. They aimed on the rampaging robot and the sleek car as it barreled by pelting them with super hot plasma round Sabots.

    “Resistance only makes death more painful,” roared Motormaster. A gatling agent opened wide around his fist to pelt a thousand rounds into the assembled humans without remorse, it also shredded metal and cables transporting water. “It also pisses me off.”

    In the high watchtower two hundred feet from the slaughter commencing on the dams sight, the control units struggle to get out warnings, calling in air support from the nearest base possible. They were lucky this time they had communications.

    “What position are you at?” responded the firm voice from fifty miles away.

    “Hoover Dam,” the panicked woman spoke. “Hostile NBE units are attacking, recommended arsenal Sabots.”

    The communication desk went wrong with crackling surges, something shrieked within the housing. “D---d---d-d- copy…what was-zzzzz….”

    “Hello, do you read?” She looked across the station to see similar catastrophe, the watch tower station was receiving but nothing was getting out. “What’s going on?”

    Beside her a man called into his terminal switch. “Watchtower K-0 sector, do you copy?”

    “Yes, we copy. What’s going on? Nothings going out. We’re jammed!”

    He turned to the officer staring across to him wide eyed. “Are the backup relays working?”

    “They should.” She turned and slipped along the computers towards the back of the circular room.

    The entire building vibrated viciously causing much of the cups lining the terminals to fall over with the owners of these drinks, computers shorted-spitting hot sparks out from overloaded relays. The entire chamber rocked sideways and tilted, people screamed, papers went flying. Another fierce vibration threatened the surface and the tower tilted farther towards a steep drop opening over the blue water below, soldiers were on the walkway firing toward the structures base. The tower continued to thunder and rock tilting further and further towards the open space below.

    Shrieking people held onto whatever they could grab, each other or the stations sides itself. A sparkling computer terminal struck a man before both it and he went bursting through the tiny window, down into the lake throwing up a sheet of foaming water. A selfless hero offered his life to save a woman before she dropped from her hold on the shattered glass, both lost their lives after she tried clawing her way up his shoulder resulting in his loss on hold and loss of life.

    Standing at the watchtowers base Dozercannon with Scavenger were working on the construct, the saw from the ditch witch was gutting the concrete and metal as a knife would jelly. The large mech backed off as Scavenger hefted his dozer section and swung the makeshift arm knocking the spire farther over.

    “I think once more will do it,” he screeched in Cybertronian.

    Boombox glanced over his shield but ducked back as the soldiers on what remained of the walkway continued to fire across at them. “Y’know I sometimes think they don’t like us.” He poked a hole forming in his shield from the molten Sabots burning. He groaned.

    “Keep jamming them, we’re almost done here.” Scavenger tapped into the communications line and spoke with the other team. “You had better be half way through over there, or I’ll throw you over the—”

    “Relax! What are you, Primus?” growled Longhual. “We’re doing better than you considering we don’t have the appropriate tools for this—”

    “No excuses, get it done!” He took both fists and slammed them to the tower. The entire spire shuddered with a groan and snapped vertically midway up, it fell into pieces across the lake below, the hollow ton by ton piece of building bobbed in the water until water filled in the open space and began sinking. The wails of its occupants ending instantly, papers and some unidentified piece of machinery strayed at the surface a bit longer as the suction hauled the rest deep. “C’mon, there’s more to complete while Tron-Mega‘s inner.”

    For the mechanical colossal the span destroyed between the watchtowers terminal and the walkway was short, but the humans couldn’t cross it. Scavenger followed by Dozercannon hefted over the wide opening and began discarding the humans too stupid to get out of their way, most of them had spun into retreat but were not fast enough to get out of the way of their thundering steps.

    Boombox jumped over to the walkway, knocking military aside as he stepped along with his comrades. “This would’ve been eas’er had Tron just sucked up and got me t’sabotage, w’wouldn’t be runnin’ around like we don’t know proper strategy.” He pulled out his pistol shooting at the annoying humans still pelting his shield with nasty ooze holes.

    “I process that I liked you better when you were working for the Autobots,” grumbled Scavenger.

    The dark blue and violet Decepticon put his gun to his comrades helmet. “Really? Want me t’make teh switch right now?”

    “Knock it off, both of you.” Dozercannon tilted back, his saw whirling at his arm and back in anticipation as a large Apache helicopter came thundering in armed to the landing gear with guns. “We don’t have time for this.”

    “I do,” quipped Boombox. He heaved his shield smiting a surprised Scavenger with it and turned on Dozercannon as he spun to him, arms wide open with chain teeth ready to snare his metal. “See y’on teh other side.” He shot Dozercannon in the helmet with his photon pistol and shoved his energon shield to his chest knocking him back three steps, while he was busy recovering from the shock it gave him, that was the appropriate chance for Boombox to make his getaway.

    A dump truck carting lime robot screamed over dodging missile fire that dropped from the helicopter. “What happened?” Lognhual hollered as he braked. Scrapper hopped off and raised the portions of his armor that made his scoop using them as shields.

    Clamped down on Scavenger’s arm, Dozercannon hauled him hard to his feet. “Walk it off, it’s just a scratch.”

    “Scavenger, report this to Dirge,” commanded Scrapper.

    He sighed and locked communications but stopped. He turned to his unit commander. “I can’t, Boombox is jamming us now.”

    Missiles began erupting around the sore target causing the robots to converge as vehicles and scatter to their assigned task.

    “Wonderful! This is slaggin’ wonderful!” howled Longhaul. “First Bonecrusher gets his worthless scrap killed, then Boombox betrays us. What next?”

    Scrapper beside him was struck mid side, he gave a cry and spun outwards before slamming into the corner of a nasty concrete building which halts his trek off dam.

    “Now what?” Longhaul rolled beside him and nudged the wheel loaders side with his scoop. “C’mon, quite bein’ a pussy.”

    Scrapper painfully transformed and held his side. “Ah, temperature analysis reads it cold.”

    “So?” He transformed as well and aimed his arm, it converted to a high yield concussion buster which tore into the reverse side of a Cougar helicopter.

    Wounded and not in a particular good mood, Scrapper furthered the mandatory scan of his own infraction. Further analysis confirmed his readings, there was only the residue of the weapon to discern now. “Liquid nitrogen, but the composition is wrong, it’s different. Frag, we struck too late.” His shoulder spit hot embers into the air. “This is going to be a problem.”

    Longhaul checked his shoulder, it seemed whatever struck his ally had cracked his armor through and proceeded to conduct further damage into the interior of his skeletal base. “Better you than me, sir.”

    They duck as rapid fire punched holes into the thick pipes behind them.

    “Get going with you!” Scrapper dragged Longhaul down, forcing his transformation unless he wanted to crawl. He proceeded after him towards the next set of transmitting towers.

    {Authors comments: Boombox's speech is evil. I wrote it but I can't understand what he's saying, unless I just sorta skim through it. He's also bad.

    One Decepticon mumbling with his buddies implies that the Constructicons are a sub Transformer species. For some reason most went with Tron-Mega, but others like Bonecrusher hung back with Megs and Screamer. *shrug*

    I saw a license plate that actually read “MASTR.” My inspiration. I thought since Prime’s a truck and motormasters a mac truck, that he should sorta be Prime’s opposite. Actually in the G1 cartoons, Prime pretended once to be Motormaster along with the Autobots playing other Stunticon characters. Homage!

    I had to read the fight scene between the two Prime’s several times, because I couldn’t figure out which one was actually Ops. I know, I’m pathetic, but it makes for a big surprise when the guy no ones expecting to be Tron-Mega pops up and says pwned! When I can keep track of Tron-Mega’s mimics, its fun to write.

    The other night I remembered that DareRex continues to imply that he followed Megatron to Earth and not the AllSpark, but he never explains to what purpose this was done. I think it has something to do with him being Megs kid, and though they were enemies he still wanted to be with his parent. If you want to get really technical, you could say the sparks didn’t want to be apart or something.

    A lot of references to TFW in here, I know, rediculous. But I thought it was funny to have the sight being one of S-7s TF hotspots. And the fact Sonic Boom’s using it to get their attention, BUAHAHAHAAAHHHHHH…! Mighty Internetz gets out the word. }
     
  17. Dinobot616

    Dinobot616 Member

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    This is one of the best fan-fics i hav ever read. Congrats to you =)
     
  18. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    Thanks! I'll keep at it, even if the forces of evil say otherwise. Damn computer, WORK! WORK! WORK! *snap* ...

    ..

    ... shit
     
  19. DaraRex2.0

    DaraRex2.0 I'd totally eat the leaf

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    Viewer descretion, Shia has really weird lines in here that may offend some people, so if you are easily offended please do not read. That, or keep in mind you will be offended and bear with me. It's nothing nasty, or wrong! It's just the sort of thing you have to post to make people curious so they read Shia's lines. Another disclaimer, I am not Shia in disguise. I know, I look like him and people are always asking me for autographs but that's not the case. I'm actually Starscream in disguise.

    Another installment of ‘Deception Champagne,’ I looked back and realized I had too much boo-hooing and encouraging segments for our sir Sam. *shrug* Can’t change it now. Oh yeah, I have to mutate the quote beginning the last chapter as it’s not really from WW, but a mercy deal since the book was ‘misplaced’ for inconvenient reasons. Grr…messy room.

    That and it looks like the Autobots are a tad bit outnumbered. Hmm, how will they ever survive. . No, seriously, how will they survive? I’m having some doubts.


    10 – Haven Hell

    [C]Characters[/C]

    Autobots

    Firstaid
    Silverstreak





    For now….



    “Don‘t tell me you gave him mercy.”

    A four football fields of concrete down the rumbling explosions continued through the solid rock of the fortification. Inside the cafeteria Sam and Mikaela were just starting on their breakfast when it began, the calm that came was a hopeful sign of victory until the crash came, soon the war began anew. Neither felt much like eating at that point. The alarms began to hail warning personal they needed to reach the emergency exits, while the collisions of weapons to fortified bomb shelter seemed dampened the personal collected in their own tomb scattered from the hollow chambers to seek his preprogrammed destination of retreat as able as he could shove aside the weaker neighbor. These scenarios were exercised every Tuesday varying the time, but the survivors from former invasions remember well how that sort of stone set program went down. If any consolation, they had an idea of what they were doing this time.

    As it was this structure was to insure Sam’s prolonged security there was no reason for he or Mikaela to panic and join the hordes. Periodically she would wonder allowed if this was really ‘safe’, occasionally Sam would wince to the tremors or the question and answer, “they said so.”

    Then Mr. Simmons came rushing around the tables toward them with Mr. Banachek.

    Sam frowned at them. “What? Kill the real Optimus by mistake?”

    “We’re not covering for you.” Mikaela tilt her head back and, just for the hell of it, ate a spoon full of soggy cereal.

    “Not that,” Simmons yapped as he approached. “You two, well, him, has to get out of here now.” He grabbed Sam by the shoulder. “There’s a war going on upstairs and they’re huntin’ for you..”

    “Yeah, sorta figured that when the monster was breathing on my face,” Sam muttered as he was hauled away. He was not in the mood.

    Banachek stepped forward. “We had no time to prepare, we received a caveat notice but the attack is too…advanced for our people to deal with. Come- quickly!” He took Mikaela by her arm and pushed Sam ahead.

    “Wait, y’knew? You knew they were coming and didn’t have time, how—”

    “Someone tried to alert us,” Simmons grumbled, loud, “but we couldn’t find any of the infiltrators. Somehow they got under our lines and hit.”

    A number of the worried civilians filing out of the cafeteria watched as the teens were led out into the open expanse of ARD. Through the cavernous expanse hailed the echoing roar that was undeniably from that which sought.

    “A little faster.” Banachek pushed the spellbound duo towards an awaiting gator cart.

    The dragons optics flicked as he scanned the rocky plane of Hoovers basement. “I’m in ur Damz, wreckin ur secretz.”

    “Messiah,” hissed a voice, “moving again.”

    “Keep tracking him, I want that human!” As he scaled a rocky outcrop he consulted the schematic floor plan that Earth Quake had given him. He shot up between circling catwalks and onto a ledge that led through a cascading chamber, he slipped through and down a waning tunnel that slipped between a track toward large, rusted blast doors. Hot plasma spewed from the his throat forcing the metal to belch out over screaming employees.

    Navigating through the wide track tunnel was the same semi from the road. He was shocked to see Tron-Mega pursuing relentless, he had not located Sam yet which gave him precious seconds to distract the large metal lizard. To his dismay Tron-Mega ignored him and galloped across the tunnels on some guided impulse, he must be tracking or hunting.

    Prime dialed up a private number but the line was busy. “Damn you Simmons.” He tried a second number, this time it rang. Now if only he was in the same vicinity as Sam.

    ***

    Somewhere through twisting tunnels a phone echoed.

    “Yeah, we got the kid and we’re headed to the surface.” Simmons was on his phone preparing arrangements to smuggle the target out of the dam area to a ‘more’ ‘secured’ ‘location.’ “We need F-18s—” He listened. “Because one of them becomes a damn F-22!—We can’t solve the problem by delivering them the fresh meat. WHAT? WHAT? What d‘you mean we got them raptors in the air?” He paused, his face twisting. “Who the hells running the airforce up there--NO! I don’t want a second opinion!”

    Sam appeared ashen in his seat. “I think I’m gonna be sick.” Mikaela rubbed his neck.

    “You’ll be okay. And look on the bright side, when they realize you’re not here they’ll withdraw.”

    Yeah, that would be nice. Except he didn’t want to admit how he really didn’t want them looking for him at all. Cold to admit on that, he’d rather them attack this place than search for him, but he didn’t want to think that way either.

    Banachek frowned as his cell rang impatiently. “Hold on.” He drove one handed ignoring the flash of irritation Simmons gave him, and took his cell from his back pocket. “Agent Banachek, I’m busy at the—” He listened, his jaw dropped and hung from his face. “What?” He handed his phone back to Sam. “For you.”

    He looked at the man as the scenery began to flash by rock and piping, he snapped the phone to his ear. “Hello?”

    “Sam!”

    “Ops! Glad tah hear your voice, listen, what’s goin’—”

    “Tron-Mega is headed straight for your locus, Mr. Banachek needs to find some cover fast or he’ll have you both.”

    A brief thought crossed his mind if this was really Optimus or not, but in the circumstance of cover sounding really smart to this point he decided to go with his gut. “We need cover, the dorms, someplace where he has to dig us out!”

    Banachek dragged his eyes across the extending tunnel they were rolling through, enough space in the cylinder for a small mansion to crawl through. It left them open, this route, but once outside they would be far from the conflict and in better cover. Now that scenario back lashed with malice. “What do you think he told me?”

    He went back to the phone. “Where are you?”

    “Pursuing him. He’s heading through section T-7.”

    Sam relayed what Prime was telling him from the other side, the gator braked to a sudden halt causing him to smash into the back seat. “Aw…shit, what was that?”

    Banachek and Simmons looked back at him. “We’re approaching that sector now.”

    In the bin ahead of them sounded the approaching clack of metal to concrete, lights lined over the curb revealed the shadow of a stalker moving closer to their view in slow steps assured they were fixed by terror. The jutted teeth crested the curve then the form moving along the tracks of the lower wan of the tunnel.

    Pushing between the two gentlemen Mikaela whispered to them, “We need cover. Somewhere he can’t reach us, to give Optimus time to catch up. A hole, vent, crack, anything!”

    “What does this look like?” Simmons hissed. “A hotel. This place is air tight.”

    “Untrue,” Banachek chattered, his eyes locked on the massive dragon. “There’s…there’s these, uh…the pass joints, put into the circular drifts to allow expansion during the winter months. For the dams under laying construction they were built huge for shifting, or else the entire aerie would have cracked.”

    “Great,” Mikaela praised with little enthusiasm, “where would one of them be located?”

    “The nearest one.” He indicated near Tron-Mega, a noticeable crease in the solid rock with metal coating. “The next one would be behind us about eighty-five feet.”

    Sam sighed and stroked his face, with the speed of the gator to Tron-Mega‘s stride there wouldn‘t be a chance in hell. “It might as well not even be there.”

    Banachek considered a moment, staring at the horrendous machine taking its generous time strutting towards them with glee foaming from its bright chrimson lenses. “There’s another one, but its on the other side.” He indicated a ramp sliding up an elevator lift for the heavy equipment, it was ancient and slower than a 30s Macintosh but there was a ladder beside it, at the top of that a doorway to the upper hatch. No cover, but it was faster than the damn gator. “If we can just get up those few levels, there’s a network of catwalks and stairwells, not enough to stop it, but enough to confuse it.”

    “You’re suggesting we race up there and hope he gets so damn confuse he doesn’t melt us?” Mikaela posed.

    “His advantage so far has been knowing his enemy.” He narrowed his brow when the dragon machine reared its head high, listening to them. “It won’t hold it, but maybe long enough to put distance between us and it.”

    Very slowly Simmons began pulling his body out of the golf cart. “I think anything right now is a good idea, as its patience seems to have run--” With him Sam, Mikaela, and last Banachek threw themselves out of the vehicle into a stumbling run when Tron-Mega tilt forward into a dash.

    The trick to getting up a steep incline was to race down the opposite ramp and continue up the other side with the gathered momentum. This was the universal rule. Sadly, suits didn’t go over this rule in grade school and while Mikaela with Sam tugging her along were near top on the other side, Simmons had to go back for Banachek, whom had tripped halfway down the adjacent side.

    Mikaela pulled Sam to a stop and looked down at the two older men struggling up, and getting absolutely nowhere. “What are you doing? This isn’t rehearsal!”

    “Change of plans,” growled Simmons. “Run!”

    She was incredulous. “He’ll kill you!”

    “Go, we’ll catch up!” Banachek took his shoes off and began up the slope, he checked over as the blazing lizard came at them at record speeds for a land animal. We’re dead anyway. The only thing to do when it was your time, was to keep going.

    “Hey-hey-HEY!” Surprising everyone Sam charged out in front of the dragon waving his arms and shouting. “You want me, I’m right here!”

    At the last moment Tron-Mega changed course and dove his jaws down on the human, at the last possible moment in existence, Sam altered his fate by diving between the talons while it put all its weight into running over human. It was Banachek’s and Simmons responsibility to continue their lives by finding creative ways of not getting crushed by angry dragon as he avalanched over them.

    Skidding on his back, Tron-Mega came to a stop and glared up at the humans. Why did this happen to him? Starscream he could understand, but him? A bellowing groan vibrated through his body as he rolled over, his wing appendages flopped out beside him as he struggled out of the ditch.

    “Yo, you’re daddy couldn’t catch me!” called Sam, shuffling back as those red lenses pierced him. He got its attention, all he had to do was keep it. That shouldn’t be too difficult. “You know what he whispered to me when I gave him the AllSpark, huh? Huh! He said, “Aw shiznit, I’m such a booz pimp!’”

    Tron-Mega shrieked, cutting the rocky metal with his chiseled echo. “You dare…mock Megatron?”

    It took a moment for Sam to seriously consider this, he might’ve been dead already if Tron-Mega wasn’t willing to allow him the courtesy of deciding how long death should endure. “Oh sorry, that was his job. Wasn’t it?” A look to that burning glare and Sam knew he had done it, he would die a very slow and agonized death if his legs failed him. He pivoted and flew, behind him snapped the jaws of that screaming dragon now inches from his back as it chomped and spat.

    Watching this procession as it went, Mikaela gawked barely coherent and took a chance to begin screaming, “Run Sam! RUN! Never look back!” Standing alone she quaked with fear. Please, don’t stop. She jumped when a firm hand took her shoulder, but it was only Simmon’s pulling her the rest of the way up the ditch.

    “C’mon, we have to get out of here before he finds us.” With him, Mikaela helped drag Banachek the rest of the way.

    ***

    Meanwhile, Sam was running and the wrath driven Decepticon was chasing. Primus, humans could move fast! He could cut enough distance to get the human within range but couldn’t get his jaws over him, let alone his bladed digits which reached shorter to his neck. There was his longer stride opposed to the blurred legs of his victims pumping, but in an effort to get ahead of him and turn to even slice through the small body his claws failed to lock in his swift movement and he scrapped a few feet and collapsed while the target zigzagged out of the ditch and towards a mesh flight of stairs.

    “Hark, do I hear the other Decepticons sniggering!” He ducked when Tron-Mega clawed over the edge for him, ripping through the stairs he was staggering up, a faint smidge just out of his range. Shit! Shit-shit-oh shit-oh shit! Jesus Christ on crutches, shit! He was racing hand and foot up the remainder of the slope towards a small doorway, speed was reduced alarmingly on the steep wash that the elevators heaved material up. He was nearly to the doorway when a metal fist ripped through it, the under structure leading to the ladder and the catwalk network overhead, and his goal. “SHIT!”

    The other side had a pier leading up, it wasn’t covered but if he could reach it he could do the rest on his two legs. As Tron-Mega swooped his thick neck over his head seeking to crush him with his hands alone, he staggered over a splay of talons towards the elevated steps. The column of whirling, hissing mechanisms lifted the leg giving him a break in labor, he jumped off the foot onto the platform and raced up the next set of steps. Behind him a growl rolled deep before his pursuer dropped his hand down on the stretch of pier Sam’s feet had occupied the moment before he made a sudden dash.

    He almost regretted leading this thing off of Simmons. Why wasn’t he up here taunting it?

    “Come on, you almost got me that time.” He was having a harder time goading Tron-Mega to follow him, especially now that his rage was self-sustaining, he flat out didn‘t want to. He hit the wall as a beam of molten fire shot near his head, enough to scorch his hair and melt through the pier he was tearing up. Not good. Glancing aside he barely had a breath of space to leap out over the snapping jaws that crushed metal he had been standing on, somehow he landed on the gnarled snout with enough sense to leap before it shook him off.

    Tron-Mega shrieked when Sam fell to the slanted walk, prepared to continue his pursuit he pivoted about slanting his frame vertically while the width of the corridor was too small for a dignified turn, no less he had something his prey didn’t. Decision of movement. Sam was at the mercy of gravity and rolling rapidly. Temper heated enough that he could forget intelligent thought, nonetheless, he was able to maintain sanity and lunge smoothly on his four feet guiding his movement. His head tilted on its side tore over the stone and metal, his bull horns ruptured thousands of sparks as his teeth leered over hapless human.

    Something was shrieking sparks near his head, he only had a few glimpses to figure it was something attached to Tron-Mega about to grind his bones to dust but that was as far as he came to knowing it was probably its teeth. Sam dug his elbow into the rough cement, immediately peeling back the flesh as he ceased rolling and took up skin skiing, it helped little. The metal jaws latched onto his body, he was heaved high and for a moment he had surrendered, he was dead and there was nothing he could do to change that. Control of his fate was out of his hands and into the teeth he was between.

    But Tron-Mega goofed up, he was so focused on killing that he hadn’t looked down and seen the out of service lift at his talons. Jagged knees collided with it and his head slung across the ditch onto the rock at the other end. Without thinking twice Sam sprang free and ran, ran like he’d never run before.

    Why does this never happen to Starscream? Dwelled the furious machine.

    Sam was already fifty feet along the higher portion of the canal when Tron-Mega had shredded through the metal elevator he had tangled up with, not several catwalks but it would do. But he was still out in open space, running, and nothing would stop the dragon from powering up the inferno he kept locked in his gullet. At least this run he wasn’t hauling no heavy block of rock coincided to bring life to these massive warriors.

    He sped up as the flames melted the soles of his shoes while he was running away from them, rather charge up another gust of fire the his pursuer snarled and gave chase to overtake him.

    Those tremendous steps were quaking through solid rock, getting closer as the sweltering breath neared Sam’s back, his heart rate escalated to uncharted levels. It was getting closer, it would have him if he couldn’t find a way to get out of this mess. But he was running out of ideas, anything short leaping aside and hoping it stumbled over those sharp talons. Unlikely it would fall for the same trick, but what else should he do? Those red bulbs were reflecting over his skin giving him a bloody sheen, foreshadowing his altered coloration after his body was ground into gravy. Dear Jesus on crutches!

    Suddenly a pair of arms reached out snaring his shoulder and pants as he passed a wide beautiful gap, they hurled him inward through a tight wedge his body barely scrapped through but that breath was no longer gasping at his back. Instead it was cold concrete, icy, and a cool hand touching his forehead. There was darkness.

    “You’re okay,” cooed Mikaela. “You’re safe.”

    When his legs had stopped moving his breath came in deep wheezes, had he been wheezing this hard when he was running? If he’d inhaled some smog he would’ve been dead, deprived of clean air too long, the thunder lizard would have nothing to do with that. Sorry.

    “Safe remains to be seen,” muttered Banachek as he gathered the indignant shrieks of Tron-Mega just outside the concrete and metal opening, it was returning to figure out how to crack them open. “You did good, son. Very good. I didn’t think…it’d work.”

    Simmons nodded as he came over to look down at Sam. “Actually…it didn’t. We’re dead and we don’t know it yet. This is—” He jumped back when bladed fist thrust through the thin opening reaching, not far enough. Mikaela jerked Sam to his feet but it was him pressing her further back and back to the wall with the other two men, far out of the automations reach.

    The stout talons thicker than the opening couldn’t fit deeper, thus retract on the protective brace scrapping and pry at metal, enough that a portion of the opening was stripped by a measure. After a few more tries within the dense opening, the claws retracted and the transformation of shifting metal plates came from beyond.

    In moments the dragons talons had lifted out of place and the robots clods were in view. Sensing well what was coming Sam pressed Mikaela back against the small wall and flattened himself there with Banachek and Simmons. A mechanical hand crashed through, the motorized digits extend out towards the target…barely skimming his face and chest. Sam slipped out but Mikaela drew him back. Rotors twisted spun clicked and whirled, but the gauntlet with metal spikes remained impossibly thick to wedge deeper. Understanding that he pulled his hand back recoiling the sharp digits and began beating at the impassable barrier, a volley of fists, feet, and shoulder was ample ‘safe’ appliance to extracting human alive if possible.

    The calamity of the body thundered and splintered off rock with flint into the open space the collection of humans mashed back into, they shielded each other from the assault but nothing more than splinters in skin was the most pang. They were lucky the solid rock and metal held up to sheer persistence.

    Simmons worked with his pistol as he winced at the blasting construction. “Hold on, I got a nice surprise for it.”

    Tron-Mega tried once more when the hole had been widened enough. The claws of his alternate form caught around the rim but his fists stuffed deeper, however he couldn’t snag the humans clothing without slicing through it. He leaned down peering one optic in on the group, the lens spun and clicked while the red glaze spun bloody splashes over the sleek rock walls. “Human, come out or others suffer in your absence of action.”

    Sam blinked. He was about to step forward but Simmons stopped him.

    “Wait up.” He aimed his pistol and fired.

    Tron-Mega squealed when the bursts caught his facial guard and fell back, the projectile had not hit his ocular receptor but it splattered against the lower portion of his protective platting and breached that into his pneumatic motors. “Wicked! Wicked-wicked human! You!—after The Prime! Earth Quake, that hole’s big enough for you.”

    “Call him off!” Optimus sped in converting as he went to his two story form, he leapt off at Tron-Mega tackling him by the shoulder. “Call him off!” He stabbed Tron-Mega in the chest and spun to locate the minion. His target array indicated the small raptornoid crawling down from the ceiling structure of wires, pipes, and mesh rock. He aimed his gun high but Tron-Mega pulled him down and kicked his side in while pushing him deeper into the trench.

    “Get topside where there will be no interruption between the human and I.” He stepped back converting to his formidable dragon body, halfway through the process Optimus kicked high from the ground, he jumped to his feet and grabbed the half lizard part man like robot and flipped him down.

    “Away from there, Earth Quake. I will terminate your master.” He stabbed Tron-Mega’s chest as he thrashed under him, the robot converted full way to machine and punched him back. Rolling away Optimus perched at the edge of the ditch and sprang off, coiling one red arm about the contenders arm mid flight, he brought his feet down and heaved flinging the mech over him, onto his back. A backhand caught Optimus by surprise and sent him staggering away as he held his breeched cheek guard.

    In the meantime as they fought, Earth Quake disregarded the threat. He had his orders and would follow through unless Tron-Mega was in actual peril. He slid through the broken chunks of the wall and located his target, the Ladiesman. He opened his mouth wide screeching.

    Simmons stepped forward aiming his pistol. “Try some Bottes.” He fired three times, each hit caused the raptor to spew angry sounds with painful shrieks as it retreated out.

    The gun went click click.

    Earth Quake was trembling, more in pain than anger. Huge wounds had been borne out through his torso section and throat, the brittle metal fell away revealing his inner workings beneath, he emitted a faint rattle related to his failing systems.

    Simmons was searching his coat pockets as Mikaela stepped up to him. “Got anymore of those?”

    He shook his head. “Nope, just a sample. Now its Sabots.” He clicked the clip in raising the gun in motion to fire, Earth Quake snapped the weapon away and crunched it between his teeth.

    “Down!” Banachek aimed and fired his firearm.

    Earth Quake shrieked and slapped him aside with his tail as he spun full, he reached out grabbing Sam as he tried to put himself between it and Mikaela. Adjusting his feet he tossed the youth into one ravaged wall, turning he stepped over Simmons on the floor scrambling away and pinned him between his feet. Bone shattered and thick blood spewed through the flesh driving Simmons to wail in anguish as his broken arm was crushed between the machines jagged jaws. Perhaps his head would’ve held up better than the cast?

    Partly on his side but able to lift his pistol up, Banachek had his aim on level with its eyes and began rapid fire, darts speck the raptor’s helmet and upper back. Earth Quake took the threat as it was delivered, he slid on his sharp foot and slammed his snout across Banachek exposed face, he recoiled when a sever tear formed just past his eye but didn’t see the looming Grave Digger as his teeth closed around his throat.

    With one bloody eye he stared as the rogue teeth clench short of his face, but those teeth were attached to a face and that face was below his and drawing away little by little.

    “Hey, your psycho master wanted me, not these guys!” Sam grunted. He was dying, or would die once the thing was through with him. Both arms were wrapped around the sharp interlocked plates of the raptors tail hauling him off, or as much as he could from his self acclaimed protectors.

    Shrieking between pain and rage Earth Quake lifted a foot and kicked Sam back, out onto the slab beyond the ravage barrier. He picked his own body up and spun about leaping, drawing his legs high and extending the lethal talons of his inner foot. He would break his shoulders before Tron-Mega ended his torture. He saw too late a pair of hands snare his own shoulders and whirl him high and up to collide with the farthest wall. He barked and whimpered.

    Too numb to get his body up and going, Sam only stared up at the familiar figure that came into view, face guard snapping over in preparation to a fight.

    “Get up, you’re not dead yet.” She turned her attention to a snarl. From where he dropped Earth Quake was rising and moving towards Sam, his focus was to get him topside. DareRex kept her body between him and the hostile raptor ready to fight it.

    Twenty yards away Optimus and Tron-Mega collide at the other trying to get a hold and shove his enemy up onto the sides of the tunnel. Pipes shattered and water spewed over them, steam came free and alarms began warning of the leak. Upon wrenching out of Prime’s powerful grip he caught sight of his other, stirring him to act with a cheap shot that put a blow in the Autobot’s hip before he shoved him off and shot him in the shoulder where he lay. He spun away before he could recover to overtake him.

    “DareRex!” He stepped closer. “I thought you destroyed. Your existence drops in the loss of the AllSpark following the battle of Tyger Pax.”

    Sam recalled the tale Bumblebee had told them, how he had lost his ability of vocalized speech.

    She took her optics off Earth Quake to focus on him. “I sought Megatron after that battle. He came here.”

    Tron-Mega hinged the armor around his mandibles, now out of battle he was calming down. “And so what Dirge speaks of is true? You are willing to protect the insect that slain our father! I will not accept that. Step aside and let me to the human, I will forget you ever stood before me.”

    Careful not to alert the angry Decepticon, Optimus Prime raised himself up and leveled his duel cannons.

    “I didn’t join the Autobots to betray their trust. They protect the humans, and so shall I.” She aimed a gun on Earth Quake and checked Tron-Mega. “You can make it into a personal issue or I can put a bullet in your head. Your choice.”

    He looked back at Optimus.

    “Give it up now, you’re surrounded and your soldiers are above with no access to you,” said the leader. “There is no way you will survive if you continue.”

    “Then allow me to extinguish your hopes.” He looked to his Grave Digger. “Earth Quake, unlike some you never disappoint me. See to it you do not start now.”

    He gave a deep rumble but remained focused on his X-ray vision staring through DareRex.

    In a spray of mist Tron-Mega spun and converted to dragon form bashing his way over DareRex who had no choice but to collapse backwards. Without the mech in the way Earth Quake lunged forward snaring Sam by his shoulders and kicked off in pursuit of his master. Behind the dragon Optimus fired but his plasma was less effective as the target moved away, resistance to impact dropped.

    Earth Quake was just lifting off when DareRex rolled over and caught his rear leg to yank him back, he yelped and dropped Sam as she whirled him up to crash at a wall. He sagged a few feet before recovering and jumped off onto her, she spun away and tore him off throwing him down and proceeded with a punch to his shoulder.

    “Mikaela, stay with Simmons and Banachek, I have to get Sam out of here!” Optimus jumped onto the walk beside the dizzied teen and collapsed into his semi form, the door snapped open. “Hurry!”

    Hesitating, Sam looked toward Mikaela held back near the opening they had hidden. It wasn’t safe with him, it wasn’t safe to know him, in his heart he felt that if Tron-Mega truly wanted, he would use his emotions to betray him and those he loved. No where was safe for him, if humanity existed in he that was in itself human.

    Mikaela was glaring at Sam, mouthing something, not speaking directly. “Go. Just…go.”

    “SAM!” Optimus hailed. No other command needed to be blared, the youth dived inside the open cab before the door locked behind him.

    Hissing and spitting rage Earth Quake ducked between DareRex’s feet hard on reaching his target before it escaped. The Decepticon spun around and grabbed him by his thigh and arm, she hoisted him up and crashed him down onto his skull. The raptor jerked wildly in fear as she lifted and threw him down while he spun with trauma. A few more collisions with his surroundings and the body began to sag, not incapacitated but calculating.

    Locked in her grip he conjured up his superlative weapon and spewed green fire into her armor.

    DareRex screeched electronically and dropped him. “Damn it!” She gave chase as he scrambled up the incline to reach the truck.

    The only option left to Mikaela was to follow Optimus’ orders and hope Sam survived what was to come. She watched as DareRex caught Earth Quake before reaching the cab, and crushed him under a foot.

    Earth Quake tore his body free and jumped onto his enemies chest tearing and biting through the protective shield armor, without footing behind her, DareRex collapsed back into the track ditch. Momentarily free from his personal fight Earth Quake sprint through the ditch and up the incline, he reached the truck in sparse time and jumped onto its backside, it began weaving trying to shake him but his claws dug deep into the armor.

    DareRex snagged his tail and wrenched him back, his legs came free but he snapped his jaw down taking the semi by the rear near the mud flaps and held on until the pull of the machine tore its own metal to escape. She threw him through the tunnel and prepared to block his next assault, the small raptor dashed straight at her leaping and kicking, his feet connected sent the blockade to its back and allowed him to continue. But his foe was up and behind him the next instant driving him to twist about and snap his jaws wide. With it he spewed fire burning the lower hip section causing DareRex to lose her footing when the column of her leg gave out on the broken concrete and skid backwards, without interruption he spun away and resumed his task.

    ***

    In the cabs cockpit Sam was staring at the side windows as the dull armored raptor raced up. “You’re not moving fast enough!” He jerked back when Earth Quake clamped onto the drivers door and roared. “Optimus!”

    “Get to the other side!”

    Sam scooted over as the raptor pecked at the glass, it didn’t give. It tried the door, locked. As he spread jaws wide to spew flames, Sam found the restraints of the truck snaking over his chest and waist more fascinating than certain doom.

    The large truck suddenly squealed and turned until its construction went over the side into a tumble. Earth Quake gave a surprised squawk when he was crushed but held on, even as he was crunched several more times until the semi had rolled down and up onto the other walkway. The tires squealed and the Peterbilt had resumed chugging hard over the walk.

    Shaken but in one piece, Sam couldn’t say the same for long while Earth Quake smashed the glass in with a sharp spike on his helmet. “Can you roll again?”

    “I have a better idea.” Moving at one hundred miles and hour he carefully guided his form along side the wall. The rocky surface scrapped against Earth Quake’s hide driving further screams of pain from his vocal processor. The door opened slamming him to the side, his scarred optic cracked but he held on. When the door slammed shut he pried his body through the shattered window, his focus all on the stupefied human.

    “I am sick and tired of you!” Sam was kicking its snout with his foot. “Biting, scratching, hissing! Go away! Bad Grave Digger, bad!”

    Optimus braked and popped his passenger door open. “Run Sam!”

    There was no arguing, the restraints came undone and he went flying out. Earth Quake tried to do the same, only the door slammed in his face. Then he went insane, slashing and biting through the upholstery at his disposal, imitation stuffing flew against the window. He attacked the dashboard with a vengeance, his tail stabbing the wiring as his claws worked through every software device he could reach. Fairly soon alien materials came into view and Optimus began screaming in his own requiem of misery.

    Outside Sam was just standing when the semi rolled again, this time over him without causing harm to his person as it struggled to convert from vehicle, the plates shifting over his head clashed a thunder of wail and screeching as they collided with icy rock. He watched as Optimus crashed at the bottom of the track fighting his own chest as his body hadn’t come into clear view yet. “What the hell?” He jumped when sparks shot from the reforming chest portions of metal, Earth Quake was viciously clawing his way out. After dropping to the confines beyond Optimus body he spun around to face the robot, his voice rumbling a deep shriek.

    Finally the Autobot pried his body straight and leveled a cannon on the raptor, he shot it once in the head and Earth Quake went down with a yelp. He moved to his feet still quaking as his internal circuits had just been ripped to shreds, he appeared fairly well from the outside but his insides felt like they were melting into super hot gore. “I-I’m all right.”

    Sam slipped down to get a better look at the robots body, closer now he could see where Earth Quake had torn with savage fury through his more vulnerable sub structure. “Are you sure?”

    “Yes.” He wasn’t too sure himself. “Ratchet…jus-just needs to…look at me.”

    The Panavia Tornado made the last quarter mile and transformed ten yards from Optimus. “Are you okay, sir?” She knelt beside him.

    “Y-yesss…. Just give me a moment.” His chest hissed and popped but the wounds could have been worse had Earth Quake not clawed his way out. “T-terrible mistake.”

    “You sound a little better,” Sam indicated. He was feeling a little better now.

    A growl.

    The next mistake was checking the source when knowing full well what it was, when his optics locked with Earth Quake’s he sprang with hostile prejudice biting clawing at his face guard. He fell over fighting with the hostile creature that now sought his optics, but they were covered with the protective plating.

    “Get off him!” DareRex attempted to grab the vicious brute but he had already leaped high to grab Sam.

    “Help the boy! Save him!” Even as he hollered this Optimus was trying to get up and assist.

    Earth Quake bit down on Sam’s arm, he howled wildly as the raptor hauled him off his feet and bound away lifting up on his own thrusters to fly out of the tunnel. Right at his tail was the booming Tornado twisting with agility that its natural structure was never meant to exceed.

    Barely recovering Optimus forced his body to transform and rolled up the incline to pursue his ally and enemy to the battle above. Sam had saved his life once, he would not fail to repay his deed. Just hold on.

    ***

    Wedged between thick metal pipes a small camera was unmanned and untouched as it flashed off images of the chaos overtaking the surface of the dam and its neighboring generator stockade. There was little Reflector enjoyed more than reconnaissance, particularly when it benefited him. The conflict in Mission city had provided the Decepticons under Starscream’s current control with images of the war, and the brave efforts of their new leader.

    But as he continued his primary objective, an intervention presented itself.

    A blast door at the base of Hoover Dam melted to green fire and the super white metal pooled away moments before a fast moving projectile shot out and banked high. It curved to its peeked ascent and spiraled down to a single most point on the jutting surface of the dams surface.

    Despite his bloodied arm Sam still fought to get the teeth off him, it hurt worse when Earth Quake callously swung his head to inspect his surroundings than anything. Both looked forward.

    From the dust brought about by black fires, fog, and dust came the hulking shape of Tron-Mega appearing much better than Optimus Prime. “You succeed yet again,” he garbled in Cybertronian. Around their poise booms and clatter of weapons exceed the plain of war, manifested by additional war units he was all too happy to accept.

    Earth Quake opened his jaws and walked away from Sam to cover the sides.

    “No one left to save you, human.” He approached arming his primary concussion thrower at his arm. “The extinction of your race initiates with your death. Feel honored.”

    He held his shoulder as it spewed blood, he couldn’t believe he was here again. “I see no honor.”

    “No surprise,” he rumbled. “You are short sighted.” Rifle leveled to the small being, he fired. His aim precise, direct.

    Sam winced covering himself with his arms as the bolt struck to his right and the second to his left, he looked up at Tron-Mega. The weapon was aimed right for him but it dithered to end it.

    It wasn’t savoring and it was no malfunction, but Tron-Mega found himself suddenly afraid of this human. It had killed Megatron, the immortal leader of Decepticons, what more was it capable of? He couldn’t be certain but he had to do this fast, before something happened to him next. He powered up his thrower—

    A sudden crackle boom shirked through the noisy background of pain and death, the air particles swirled backwards from a silent force as it barreled through with unyielding force, optics blazing blood red.

    “Ack—you—!” Tron-Mega averted his aim but caught the full force of a Sonic Boom to his chest, it knocked him to his backside and skimmed into the immense side of the dam.

    Sonic Boom twirled away and galloped across the surface to Sam. “Reinforce-ments on way.”

    “What?”

    Angry and ready to fight his rival Earth Quake sprint forward into his brothers path. Sonic Boom spun on his side falling to kick high, the other raptor took blades in his jaw and spun away, hurt. Sliding continued Sonic Boom rolled to his feet and jumped on Sam.

    “You are w-wounded.”

    He stared at the machine. “You don’t look half bad y-yourself.” The replying roar caught their attention as Tron-Mega stormed to his feet screaming with fury, his optics burning red.

    “Good! You two will die together!” He converted to dragon form and roared, flames gushed from the damaged plasma reactors in his gullet. He charged Sonic Boom clawing at the ground with his hands as he moved swiftly.

    From beside him Earth Quake too lunged shrieking.

    Despite his wounds Sonic Boom was incredibly fast, and agile. He performed a sharp flip that brought his claws down upon Earth Quake’s high back as he slipped under him, his talons locked as he kicked off the other’s momentum and shot under Tron-Mega as he skid through.

    Stepping on his own aid Tron-Mega whirled around, fell, stabbed his claws into the pavement and heaved his body forward. Sonic Boom was kicking his way towards the edge of the dam and shielding. He shoved his own body towards him roaring with rage, absorbing hydrogen from the air, his gullet flared with hot energies before it erupted outward to his intended victims.

    Seeing the burning fire headed straight towards them Sam gave a weak holler moments before Sonic Boom dove over the edge in a free fall.

    Not far behind them was Tron-Mega falling full length towards human and robot. Unexpectedly Sonic Boom twisted on his self and shot up past the dragon’s face before he could turn his own form around and pursue, adding on time for the raptor machine to ascend higher. Relenting a moment, Tron-Mega swooped over to a broken tower half torn into the pool of water in the reservoir of Lake Mead.

    Two jets streaked overhead through the misty morning, not his jets in particular but obvious supporters as they speared off through the thickening haze to punch holes along the generator forest two miles off sight. Beyond the safety of the cliffs outcrop units remained in camouflage and cloak, on the walkway under the Watchtower Dirge hovered into a graceful landing and knelt. Giving him a half glare and gurgle, Tron-Mega focused away to the sky where the small form of Sonic Boom could be magnified with that which he sought.

    “Their defenses are weakened,” bellowed Tron-Mega, his sharp wings snapping wide, “let the slaughter begin!” He kicked off and flipped, dragging his wings back he parted the water beneath him as he shot up toward his desire.

    From the depths of the reservoir several hands reach up and begin scaling the heights of the dam, until they are up over the side the frames uncoil spilling water everywhere as they resume their attack. Four Decepticons with burning red optic casings, their weapons reform from sections of their body or arms and turn these burning warheads on the soldiers remaining at the surface to control the attack. Without communication, air support was a distant loss.

    From the forests cover appear more machines bent on crushing the facility under demolish by the occupant Decepticons. Armor blood red, blue, and black with streaks of gray and silver, the three mechs begin searching for alternative entries into the base. On the secondary entrance of Hoover Dam they spied the entrance that Bumblebee was brought through, and that which catered to Megatron near five decades before. With welding torch in hand one monolith prepares to crack the massive postern wide while his comrades contended with the pathetic forces of the humans. That includes the cannon and rocket launchers they considered would crack metal wide. Thinking was not one of the humans strong suits, one mech commutated before slicing one apart.

    ***

    In the safety of his field but unguarded on all sides, Sonic Boom was hasting a search for the imminent counter strike by the Decepticon’s current strategist. There was only way to shield the human passenger from aerial feats, but in his current state he couldn‘t guarantee it was the best measure taken.

    As for the human, he was tightening his hold on the metal raptor exceeding the depth meter. “High! We’re very high! And I don’t mean high in a good way!” That and he couldn’t see a shit of anything but the smoke choking his lungs into exceptional bursts of coughing. “Serious, bad stuff happens to people when I’m-we’re- this high up!”

    It couldn‘t be helped, he decided in finality. “S-ssam. I cannot f-fight and protect-t you…. I—” He spun and cast back as Earth Quake dashed through snapping his jaws for the humans body, out away from his other the Grave Digger threw his feet into the air and powered the thrusters embedded in his heels powering his speed back into the pale coated flyer.

    Sonic Boom continues higher straightening his body out for least resistance though he dragged a human with him and therefore had to check his speed, he needed to get Sam into his protective casing where harm wouldn‘t be intentional.

    Belching fire and reaching Tron-Mega pushed in for his target, Sonic Boom was able to avoid his grasp and kick off his arm into a sharp dive before he pulled up and continued his flight. Above Earth Quake was tallying his movement and tracking his position for his masters next assault. He angled a rifle up punching one armory piercing bullet into the others body, the choke was a pleasant sound if he ever recorded one.

    “Look,“ Sam moaned, “if you keep at it like this…it won’t matter how long it goes. Just do what you gotta, I’ll be cool.” He looked at the bright red optic beside him. “I didn’t ride roller coasters for nothing.”

    The concept of ‘roller coaster’ was one Jazz would hold expertise in, but he understood the meaning in vague detail. Now in free dawn blazing light one thousand six hundred feet above Earth, no restriction was there to Tron-Mega’s freedom. He came howling in on Sonic Boom’s tail spreading his jagged jaws wide to catch, but the raptor took an unexpected plunge spiraling rapidly. With a disgruntled snort he followed spinning hard to his right before his wings opened to gain his controlled descent.

    Home field was the planet, the earth in which he burrowed, therefore Earth Quake had no business flying in Sonic Boom’s field. However, he still had enough power to challenge his brother and so came in for another sweep, this time throwing his legs out and snaring Sam by his wounded arm.

    He yelped freaking the flyer out of holding him. Now Earth Quake was scaling higher with the victim his master had requested.

    Sonic Boom skimmed through close generating a crackle thunder as he went, he slapped his talons to Earth Quake’s crown and continued as the stunned creature released his hold on the human, much to Sam’s relief as it was digging claws into his flesh. Much to his dismay he was free falling two thousand feet.

    More careful this round Sonic Boom rushed to his aid pulsing out to fall with the human and caught him in his descent, he boomed up increasing his speed aware that in the black smog Tron-Mega was lurking.

    A beam of fiery plasma cut through the smoke nearly catching the flyer, Sonic Boom accelerated and pulled back, he folded his wings to increase his agility. Behind him Tron-Mega skid through snapping, he too adjusted his massive wind ors to match the Mach speed his foe skimmed at. He lunged out snapping his teeth, Sonic Boom skipped through the jaws almost losing his tail to these maneuvers as Tron-Mega swung his maw out lunging, missing each time Sonic Boom spun out gaining speed or decelerating, whichever kept him out of reach.

    In a desperate appeal the swift bird machine snapped his head out and one and another direction as he calculated the wind trajectory to slip stream with Tron-Mega’s porous design. This was done by the audio receivers. Flow of fuel to his engines increased to pull out ahead of another snap of those jaws, he straightened out and spun in a tight whirl before gliding up and flipping backwards, killing his thrusters he let the drag of the dragons immense girth pull him back. Breaking from the selfish wind currents he ducked under a kick from a foot and checked Sam, his distraction was taken advantage of.

    In the murk of air Earth Quake let his presence known with a fierce shriek as he collided with Sonic Boom and fought, in their tussle Sam was released, he dropped screaming like a rock to an inferno below.

    “SONIC!” Above him was Tron-Mega diving, grinning, below him certain death. Little ways for escape unless and angel came out to save him. “HOLY SHIT!”

    “MUAHAHAAA! All your souls are belonging to me!” The immediate danger Sam was in hadn’t gone unnoticed by Tron-Mega, who wanted his life more than the tarmac below and pursued at a vertical drop. Sharp claws extended he snapped for him, missed as the boy pushed himself out away from the daggers and closer to the ground. Hell, the ground would be merciful. One more time Tron-Mega gave his arms a reach determined to smear human flesh along his gauntlets but Sam escaped, he kind of wanted to seek salvation from damnation as it came roaring on him. Impatient with his endeavors Tron-Mega lunged his jaws out snapping. Curse the adverse wind currents! He snapped a second time, then a third, the charm.

    Clamp.

    Unfortunately the dragons teeth were meant for larger prey thus Sam was miraculously saved from a falling death by damnation, that none of the jagged teeth lining the gruesome jaws pierced him through. He sat up gaping from the jagged prison as the world below him whisked away, his shoulder jammed between two daggers that pinched his flesh. “I-I think I could just…cry.”

    “The situation is easily amended.” Tron-Mega gave his snout a shake forcing Sam between his incisors and clamped down—and slurred in anguish when Sonic Boom tore through taking Sam and knocking out two of his front teeth. “Brute!” He turned his head up and pursued but could not gain on the fast moving rocket.

    This time Earth Quake was silent in his attack so came from the front and caught the dark gray flyer by complete surprise as he latched his talons for Sam. But he threw the human out away from danger and took the punishment himself, he shrieked when the blades breached his hull. When Sam was flung out he didn’t fall helplessly as he did before, he grabbed the blades on the raptors back and reinforced his grip. Why can’t I have a normal life, like most kids, he thought.

    The haze parted to the presence of Tron-Mega as he came tearing through. Sam choked a cry, his lungs and eyes stung from the pungent fumes.

    Sonic Boom bit hard on Earth Quake’s throat just under his jaw and kicked back tearing wounded metal away, he spun backwards just between Tron-Mega’s maw as he sliced through. The suction pulled him in upside down, it crushed the back of his skull to the rippling metal knocking some part of his consciousness off line. He began spinning in a plunge he couldn’t escape.

    “Wake up-wake up-wake up-wake up-wake up—c’mon. Wake up!” Sam shook the raptor until his lenses flashed. He wrapped his body around the human and threw his legs out kicking the air. Tron-Mega swept past just out of reach hissing, on this occasion Earth Quake was riding and waited till the sawed edge tail cut through his foes wounded hip joint before he leapt off himself and caught his legs.

    Sonic Boom squealed in agony and thrashed savagely, even as Earth Quake dragged him to the surface of the dam through thick smoke and fire. Jets steaked through, missing as they bank aside to avoid the vicious fighters going at it with merciless rage.

    Slipping down his protectors squirming back Sam, began kicking Earth Quake’s broken optical lens. “How many times we gotta do this?” he snarled.

    Earth Quake snarled back and snapped his foot. Luckily Sam wore shoes or his foot wound have been a bloody mess.

    Spinning over he knocked Earth Quake free and pushed his claws into the others broken chest, pressing him the last two hundred feet to the dam. They began a dangerous spiral that if the gray flyer failed he would only lose the life of another and be at fault for that. Aware of this he made certain his last twist was no better than last then kicked off Earth Quake with his last strength, down to the edge of the solid stone construction.

    Earth Quake hit, his body broken and streaked with his own internal fluids. He turned his snout up challenging more fight from his brother, Sonic Boom complied and crashed down onto him.

    Sam crawled away as the two raptors became violent in their fighting, he was a bit stunned by the impact but was recovering quickly. He checked the sky searching for Tron-Mega but through the smoke he could make out nothing. Renewed screeching drew his attention to the combating raptors.

    The larger deep gray held Earth Quake down by his crumbling throat and stabbed his chest with the blade at his tail, Sonic Boom was shoving him towards the dams edge. A sleek talon locked into the dull orange armor and retracted forcing his foe out over the side to tumble with a horrific screech to the water and rocks below, if he were lucky.

    Sonic Boom rocked on his feet and turned to Sam, he dropped to one leg from his wounds but otherwise would be able to continue protecting—

    He was jerked backwards and screeched at it.

    On the other side Earth Quake hung by his jaws from the blade tip, his arms were not in action. He put his feet to the sheer side and pushed off.

    Another scream of terror issued from the loyal flyer as he fell with his brother, he put power to his thrusters but that had been the main issue of their fierce fight, to disable these engines. He looked up at Sam as he fell sorry he had done such a poor deed.

    Sonic Boom crashed into solid rock and cracked, Earth Quake missed the edge tearing blades from his head but splashed white foam from the water. The surface below grew calm.

    High on safety Sam had clambered up the concrete rail to look down and see. He watched a long time but Sonic Boom failed to move. He presumed the worse from his wounds.

    “First Bumblebee, then my parents, Mikaela, and now Sonic.” He wiped his face, he couldn’t stop it. “Fine. You want me dead you psychotic bastard? Well, where are you?” He spun around and looked up.

    “Right here. Studying you.” The massive robot lowered his weapons. “I’ve had a change of spark, the punishment befitting you I see now is so little. However, allowing your continued existence insures Megatron’s memory does not die.” The hinges around his jaws shift, grin. “I can inflict more pain upon the living.”

    “You…BASTARD! I’LL KILL YOU! I SWEAR I’LL KILL YOU SOMEHOW!” He picked up a piece of pipe and chucked it at the motionless Decepticon. “You will suffer! I swear on my life!”

    Tron-Mega let out an actual human laugh. “Amusing little human, war is for warriors. Not insects.” He waved a finger toward Sam shunning his thoughts.

    “I would appreciate it if you did not taunt my friend.”

    Lifted, Tron-Mega spun to throw a loathing scowl down on the bright yellow figure lurching from a bush of flames at a reactor, embers flying high into the brimstone sky. “I thought I killed you!” he bellowed, before the small yellow fighter crashed across the dam to connect with his hip and managed to lift him from his feet.

    “Only in your dreams…” sang his radio. “Failure runs in your line!” He slammed Tron-Mega into the concrete brace that Sam was standing on, the block cracked but held.

    “And turmoil is my pleasure.” He snapped his digits into Bumblebee’s helmet and neck then raised the smaller mechanoid off his feet, he heaved him over the side narrowly missing Sam where he ducked. With a sharp set of talons set in the cracked brace and the other at its base, Tron-Mega put his jaws near Bumblebee’s optics and grinned. “Give my regards to Jazz, I am assured this time you will shatter.” He thrust the sharp claw in his gauntlet through the small robots helmet and released jumping back, the knife tore through his forehead as he fell.

    ***

    Across the compound the broken Peterbilt semi tore out of the blast doors that had been his original access, no one manned the checkpoints as most people were either doing their best to escape the battlefront or challenge the warriors machines come to invade. He raced down the road and turned headed for the section where the response towers had been sabotaged, he needed his optics to the sky where Sonic Boom would most likely make his final stand.

    Down the road a large black Mac truck pulled around the corner and halts, grumbling angrily at the approach of the hot new semi. “Do I know you?”

    The semi converted the Optimus. “I know that screech anywhere. Motormaster.”

    The grill folded back as the biped pulled its body up and reconnected its features. Large hands open and flex expecting to break something Autobot. “The Prime, what’d ya know? Long time, hmm?”

    Optimus slipped the energon blade out from his hand and raised it defensively. “Your crimes are punishable by execution, but I have no time for you now.” It was a terrible juggle, leave the Decepticon to escape and kill or allow Tron-Mega to begin the process of eradication. “I must speak with your leader.”

    Motormaster tapped a thumb to his sleek chest plate. “You’re optics fall on he.”

    “I don’t have time for your games, I want to see Tron-Mega.” He began to approach the large Decepticon readying his blade. “Stand down now or I will run you through.”

    “Not very political, are you?” Motormaster swung his mace high and slammed it down, Optimus dove aside and stabbed with his weapon. He caught the blade one handed and kicked the Autobot commander back by his shoulder, he spun around off balance and whisked the mace down again.

    Pushing up on his free hand Optimus raised his blade and by complete accident caught the trylithian metal that constructed the spiked chain, it didn’t cut but coiled about his weapon. Without further thought he used all his strength to pull back and pushed himself up, he grabbed the surprised machine by his helmet and twisted sideways throwing him down under him, the chain linked mace was now behind him as the two giants crash.

    The black foe sensed damage to Optimus’ chest casing so lashed out with his other arm punching the brittle metal, he groaned in pain and withered from the Decepticon but Motormaster caught the groove in his chest and wrestled him down. He released his mace and stood over Optimus smashing a foot down to crunch through his damage, the warrior cried in pain and grabbed the boot before it slammed down. He was in agony swimming deep but forced the other down onto a reactor cooler that erupted to his contact, he rolled away as it flourished with destruction and looked up in time to register Motormaster’s next actions.

    He had reacquired his mace and swung it high overhead as he approached from the burning fire, it made his armor beam very similarly to Tron-Mega before he mimicked another Transformer.

    Optimus ducked under the swinging mace as it spun out for his head, he grabbed the spiked chain and pulled Motormaster in as he raised a fist. He cried out as the blade tore through his pectoral platting, Optimus drew back his weapon and slashed throwing the Decepticon down. Angry by his fall Motormaster turned back again and slashed out with his clawed hand, his digits tearing marks through the shredded portion of Optimus’ exposed chest. He brought his blade up to bear and now armed his other arm with his cannon.

    “Enough offff thisss,” Motormaster groaned. He jumped backwards three times, through the fire and stopped where he felt safe. “Check you out…l-later, when there’s…no-no smoke.” He transformed and rolled off, his motor growling in defeat.

    Optimus stepped forward removing his weapons, he looked down and noticed a trail of black fluid leading the way Motormaster had gone. He was defeated but would recover and live to fight another day. He transformed as well and rolled in the opposite direction, where he was certain he sensed Sonic Boom’s presence.

    ***

    Contact with the Decepticons from his strike was isolated, he couldn’t even locate Boombox who would understand this incursion best. The ideal was also that Boombox was the blame for it.

    Next I meet him, his armor will be chewed off. Tron-Mega glanced at the human still stunned by the abrupt end of the Autobot, he turned and continued walking. There remained much to do, now with his renewed freedom he had a facility to demolish, humans to eradicate, and Autobots to terminate. “Jump,” he suggested. “If it’ll make you feel better.”

    “Slagger!” a voice roared.

    Tron-Mega growled in his dragon voice as he whirled back in time to receive a plasma bolt in his face. The shocked impact threw him down, he rolled before managing to his feet.

    DareRex elevated above the concrete block and dropped Bumblebee from her arms. “Here I came spewing from this weir to collide with an Autobot! Who would have thunk?”

    Numbed by the emotional toll Sam gestured to the sheer drop mere feet behind his back. “Sonic’s dead. Did you see him down there?”

    Bumblebee looked at Sam and shook his head. “Did not see him. Are you certain by your perception?”

    “I hope not.”

    “It takes a great deal of punishment to kill a single Grave Digger,” grumbled Tron-Mega as he moved to his feet. “And even more to kill a master of one.” He emitted a high tone shriek to the sky fare, one that forced Sam to shield his poor ears and snap out of his brooding.

    Deeper in the small body of water at the dams base a lone emerald optic flashed in the gloom of depth. The body uncoiled throwing water out from the small canal before it impacted the solid concrete, massive cracks jutting out the sides as something crawled beneath the surface, the entire surface groaned as a wounded animal borne by pestilence. Slabs larger than cattle jut free to crush the rocks beneath.

    It took no more than a minute for Earth Quake to pierce the solid rock, he clambered up Tron-Mega’s backside damaged but self sustaining, he locked into the chest casing becoming a wedge in the center armor where the dragons vertebra column wound form.

    Tron-Mega unhinged the blades around his mandibles full ready for battle, cracks and imperfections in his armor meld as the living nanibytes frenzy their repairs to his structure. Even the liquid nitrogen burn heals below his optic.

    Sam starred speechless. “That should be illegal.”

    “Call Sonic,” Bumblebee urged.

    “You know I can’t. He knows we’re in trouble but he’s got some errands to run or else he’d—”

    “Just call him!” Bumblebee hefted his cannon and fired.

    Tron-Mega lunged with vigor as he twisted over to his dragon body, maw snapped wide to swallow Autobots alive if he could.

    DareRex tossed Bumblebee up onto her shoulders and grabbed Sam. “No time!” She spun out of Tron-Mega’s reach and sprang up from one charred tower of cement to the next in length, until rockets combust violet flames from thrusters in her heels and back carrying them high into the thick smog and smoke. Short on the fleeing mech, Tron-Mega raked his wings through the air skimming the webs of solid rock with his knees as he alighted into aerial. He delivered a primeval shriek as he carried.

    “Samuel Witwicky, I want your soul!”

    ***

    Lingering in the generator stockyard of the Hoover Dam structure, Scavenger and Dozercannon did little but shoot at the remains of human attack squads that they locked on while waiting for the cannon fodder to complete the more demanding tasks of brawn, not necessarily AI. At least until a higher ranked Lieutenant came by and shrieked at them, there was little to do with communications frazzed up. That was their excuse.

    “Soundwave. Now there was a loyal Decepticon,” Scavenger said.

    “Boring as hell,” grumbled Dozercannon. “Ever have a conversation with him? He gives you the cold shoulder and records whatever you say. Then Rumble shows up.” His voice grated as he folded the antennas around his collar structure down along his shoulder pegs. “I hate that spy.”

    “I liked him more than Frenzy. Can you spell over energized?”

    “F-R-E-N-Z-Y.”

    They looked up as DareRex zoomed past with a roaring dragon too few yards behind her thrusters.

    “I thought he was dead.” Scavenger stood tracking their movement until the lead curved into a dive. “All of them, in fact.”

    “Tron-Mega seems to have trouble eliminating a single human. Maybe we were right to fear these creatures.” He had his aim on a soldier racing out to fire on Deadend while his back was turned. A simple plasma shredded the man’s poor armor and sent his remains scattering in all directions. “But for such a flimsy race of warriors, why by Unicron are they so easy to terminate?” He looked up and backed away as what he failed to compute streaked in and caught his chest, it threw him back over the edge to drop below among pipes running under the towering generators.

    Baffled by the happening Dozercannon leaned over to see his comrade. “Scavenger?” A pair of silver arms snapped over his helmet and pulled him down to them. He fell tumbling over metal pipes and broken ruble to slam beside his fellow Constructicon. He looked up as a robot stood before him. “What the slag are you?”

    The dark shape moved from the shadows of the pipes canopy to show its form on the Decepticons. “Silverstreak. Now, what do they call you? I’d like to stamp your names on your carcasses before they’re dropped into the Atlantic.”

    “Frag this! It’s only one ‘bot.” He and Dozercannon moved to their feet and approached the smaller mech.

    “And his friend.” A white and blue stripped robot stood above on the hold with a rocket launcher aimed on the lime robots below. “Give me a reason to pull the trigger, please. Wheeljack made this gun especially for Constructicons.”

    “Wheeljack? Then we have nothing to worry about,” Scavenger screeched a laugh. “He’s full of jack slag!”

    Dozercannon made the first move before Silverstreak could react, slicing out with his whirling blade upper arm, he caught the silver shoulder and pulled him in close to strike. Above the newly arrived robot opened fire burning huge holes in the attackers armor forcing him to retreat or die.

    While they were distorted by the surprise attack Silverstreak reached out punching Scavenger aside and leveled his pistol to Dozercannon’s head intending to repay the favor, he shuffled sideways as the two machines struggle to recover.

    A Cougar helicopter dropped low among the generators above pelting the four robots with fire driving them to scatter out of the pipe run searching for cover from the painful capsules crashing through their outer structure of exoskeletal cover.

    The white and blue robot dropped down with Silverstreak, who had leaned back into a wall covered from the human weapon and the Decepticons. “Slag Firstaid, why are they shooting at us? Can’t they see we’re Autobots?” He tapped a digit to the red badge on his shoulder.

    He shrugged, a recorded response to this intriguing little planet. “We’re not checked in yet. Better safe than sorry.” He jumped up aiming his pistol at Scavenger as he made a rush tactic between a power station and turbine seeking to catch the Autobots off guard.

    “Behind you,” suggested the ‘Con, his rifle pelting blue concussion blasts.

    At the last moment Firstaid ducked allowing the bolt from Dozercannon’s rifle to collide with his allies face. The aggressor stormed forward as the Autobot stood up missing the next confrontation as he assumed challenge with Scavenger. At his back Silverstreak took up a block poise with the angry earth eater, a brash of arms and brawl style attacks that both managed to block well, until the lime robot decided to tackle him sideways, off behind a cooling tank. Sparks burst from a functioning ground cable severed as the Autobots thrashed his sharp limbs with the saw like limbs of the larger machine.

    Poised with the Autobot to contend with as well as his lack of vision, Scavenger was relying on his outer sensors to alert him where to strike and when, with what limb. It was less than effective, and Firstaid managed the better of him by ducking a swing from his arm and upper cutting him. His body crashed back onto a metal drum, he stood up and tore the piece of machinery free, avoiding to double check his maneuver if this was hazardous action before computation. No ill reaction came of this, thankfully as he heaved it hard and struck the robots shins as he was beginning to jump over the intended toss. He crashed to his side, but raised a gun on his arm to fire throwing the advancing enemy onto his back.

    Before Scavenger had even checked his sonars he kicked out, his foot unexpectedly knocking his intended target backwards.

    The Cougar helicopter locating this group hovered low preparing more weapons to fire, but a mortar from the dark haze streaked in destroying the weapon and its precious ammo.

    Dirge spun in under the burning wreck as it fell and retracted to his robot form, his reaction time was lessened since his encounter with DareRex but he still had the power levels required to proceed in the attack. Anything short of death would see little absence. “Scavenger, Dozercannon, cease this nonsense. Our signals are jammed, I want to know why.”

    “Blame Boombox,” grunted Scavenger as he stood up, “the jerk went feral again.”

    Silverstreak armed a second gun on Dozercannon and angled the other up at Dirge. “That’s nice to know.” He fired hitting the ground bound unit beside him but the flyer took off and transformed. “Any other secrets you’d like to blab?”

    “Yeah.” Scavenger snapped his foot out tripping Firstaid mid retreat, he picked the Autobot up before he fell and threw him to the silver biped. “The Decepticons own this base.” He jumped over Dozercannon’s head onto Silverstreak as he struggled to stand, the blades under his boots locked into the Autobots back as he was forced down onto a sharp sphere of pipe.

    Dozercannon covered his rear stepping forward, he unhinged the earth saw at his arm entirely as he moved in and whirled the jagged sharp chain cutting through a column of solid concrete as he approached.

    Firstaid reached out taking his rocket launcher from a jumble of melted pipes it was wedged in at reach, he raised it shooting Dozercannon as he came closer then aimed on Scavenger behind him, but the capsule clicked in the barrel. “Wheeljack! You slag head!” He threw the useless weapon at Scavenger and swung over with a high kick knocking him back, he raised his pistol shooting as the hefty mech reeled further. Now freed Silverstreak stood beside him, a bit out of it but his assistance would be well appreciated.

    Dozercannon dove for cover as Scavenger faced the fury head on, using one scoop as a shield and blasting with his high powered concussion buster forming his other arm. A mortar struck his backside near his neck, the force sent him face first between the two Autobots that separated for his unintended lesson in flight. Rather resume the fighting he spun around as continued fire chased after him.

    Poking his head up Dozercannon decided he too should join his ally and regroup at a safer point. He transformed and rolled out, his scoop on the other end offered some cover as the enemy fire locked his retreat.

    “Nice assist, but who—?” Silverstreak pivoted and sighted a semi rolling up. Unsure who this newcomer was he aimed his own weapon, the native traverses was armed with cannons unsheathed from the long nose. “Ident yourself, terrestrial vehicle.” Now facing the same angle Firstaid decided to join his friend in arms.

    Slowly the semi rose up and converted to the Prime, his chest ravaged by cheap shots but he functioned well for his condition. “Firstaid, Silverstreak, is it? Your presence is much appreciated in this time.”

    “Ah—Optimus.” Recognizing the voice, Silverstreak dropped his arms and gave a respectful Cybertronian salute to his commander. “My apologies, sir. I didn’t recognize you.”

    Firstaid made his first attempt at a human like smirk. “I thought it was you, but I wasn’t sure with all this—” They dive down as Dirge sailed over, this time with DareRex on his tail and Tron-Mega following her. The dragon broke his pursuit and circles to endeavor a few crippling shots for ground bound Optimus. Landing three times and taking off twice he resumes full flight when DareRex sweeps through on a haggard assault, all the time Bumblebee was reversed on the dull colored flyer shooting at the enemy. “Excuse my Cybertronian sir, but what the slag was that?”

    Optimus stood up and answered. “Tron-Mega, fictional dragon state.”

    “No, I know who and what he was, Prowl briefed us on our flight over here. I meant…that ‘Con with the Autobot and…never mind. I’m better off not knowing.”

    Silverstreak looked to his leader once again admiring his regal appearance despite his scars of battle, and the hindering native disguise each of them had acquired. This is was what made him proud to be an Autobot, having a leader like Prime to guide them. “Sir, we know our poise to this battle. Permission to continue, if you have…no higher demanding assignments for us?”

    He nods. “Go ahead. Try and help the humans as much as you can safely proceed. You’ve been briefed, you understand what strong allies they are, despite their physical size and stature. Sometimes they get in over their heads.”

    Firstaid nudged Silverstreak with his curved elbow, slash car door. “We have some stories to share about a fellow called Epps.”

    Silverstreak pushed him away and returned his attention to the red and blue commander. “Sir, do you imagine any of us will come out of this alive? I’ve never seen Tron-Mega intent on victory before, he looks like he’s tired of dangling strays. He’s out for energon.”

    The ageless warrior looked up to the sky skimming his optics through the clods of smog while cleansing sight through regular graphs until he locked on Tron-Mega banking far out. A pair of F-22s soared in to contend with the metal lizard, they didn’t stand a chance. “It seems we’ve only overcome one trial to proceed with the next. The most we are expected is give it our unhindered contest and pray that there will be enough of us left to carry on to the next solarcycle.”

    “We understand the cost and sacrifice,” offered Silverstreak. “We’ll not cease function till we see the end of it.” He converted into a sleek silver 2008 Subaru Legacy, the fresh rubber tires screech over the pavement as he sped past Optimus.

    “Ratchet may have his reservations for preserving life, even Decepticons.” Firstaid shook his head, he fell into the form of his scanned Las Vegas ambulance cruiser with blue strips along its sides. “I care only for those that deserve saving.” He flashed his lights and followed the path of his fellow soldier.

    Nothing said could ever change the hard programming of the soldiers that swore to his name the same oath, the same pledge to protect and serve in the name of freedom. But it wasn’t just about what they were encoded with prior to the exoskeletons manufacture, or the models that came as they were built, but what the soldiers had learned over the many eons of fighting and what they applied to their every passing existence. This factor was well known to Optimus as he had learned much since his time of named Prime, his time with Megatron there and after the war. It changed a person, there could not be no sort of change. He hardly recalled what Lord High Protector Megatron had been like before he was corrupted by the lull of power, but the memory was still there, not the file. Somewhere towards the basic scans of his drive, what was once there existed undeterred by emotion.

    But there was no altering the course of battle that was the end of that day.

    The semi charged through the open spaces of broken construct keeping track of Tron-Mega’s position as he circled the burning flames uncontrolled, the group under pursuit was no longer in sight driving him to worry that they had taken a hit and fell. The painful belief that the Decepticon heir would search the end of a planet for their bodies, then further butcher the lifeless structures. It was only DareRex carting Bumblebee and Sam, a dangerous maneuver but though his field was sky, the Decepticon preferred cover and deception. He was behind Starscream in that line relying higher on his skills of deceiving with his appearance rather his words. But words were important when mimicking another exoskeleton.

    He braked hard to a broken spire of radio tower that had been repaired the day before in time for its destruction, the wires still hung over the sides and plastic was still strapped tight. Beneath the metal mesh was a wounded Grave Digger haggard, and perhaps dying.

    “Sonic?” He transformed and knelt down wondering if it was caught or why it was here and not in the fray. “What happened to you?”

    Reacting to the voice the small mechanoid raised his head up as Dirge zigzagged in a skyward ascent. “I am w-wound-ded,” he said. “I c-can stil-lll fight, but-t D-DareRex-x will not-t-t call me.”

    It was Grave Digger folklore that to go to ones master would foretell destruction to the near future. In the past Sonic Boom had responded to DareRex’s need of assistance without ever being called, a direct violation of religion, hearsay, but it had allowed his continued existence. Now in his current state he could not respond by will without an order no matter how agonized his wounds were, but heedless he would answer a call given.

    “You’ve done enough, Sonic. Just stay here out of the fight and heal your wounds.” Indeed that’s what the machine needed most now, his body had yet to recover from the grafts. It never ceased to boggle his processors how this warrior was able to run on his dry energon wells alone.

    ***

    Through the dodging of black smog Dirge had been lost to hiding or he had become distracted with the process of destruction below to the ARD compound. Tracking exposed none concealed anomalies in the air gave the flyer a moment breather to power down thrusters into suspension while keeping a firm optic out, DareRex needed to locate Tron-Mega before he implemented his next attack on them.

    “Where did he go?” Bumblebee inquired, while he kept a cannon aimed on their surroundings. “How can we lose a monster that size?” He rotated his torso for reverse view as DareRex pressed backwards.

    “I can’t locate him.” She twisted her head and looked up. A thundering crack parted the smoke to her starboard side when Dirge came spiraling through, she took a dive while Bumblebee held on with one hand and fired his cannon off. The small Autobot continued to miss the pursuing craft as it whirled and slide through the hot plasma, it peppered lasers against his torso and exposed arm at his leisure.

    F-22s roared through the airspace and picked up speed as the three aerial fighters splint into different directions.

    Three thousand two hundred feet above DareRex’s current level the large dragon glides above the reach of hindering air choked hard with ion combustion, his wings racking the air but performed little aid to his flight. Thrusters bellowed white flames with each flick of his bladed wings, the craft engines beneath his belly and above lower back spew a constant vent of fire.

    An F-22 descended to his upper side and unleashed one set of rockets. These weapons were nothing to fear by the dragon, however, the ammo they were using was something more to his internals than the previous Sabots. One struck his high back as the other continued far ahead and erupted uselessly against the sky. The missile that struck Tron-Mega’s shoulder punched through his outer shelling into his delicate rotor motors, as well as his second form buried beneath.

    The unexpected wound received a point of cry from the dragon as his flight swayed. The second and third jet came to delta his trajectory sending out their own rockets. Both impact booming against the armor tearing free half ton chunks of armor.

    Enraged by the strike Tron-Mega proceeded to confer no more than an annoyed glare as the reception ocular over his optics snapped high to allow better perception. He tucked his wings back and fell, the jets in turn pursue issuing more rockets into his path and bank out from the attack.

    He transformed still falling, his arm reached up taking a rocket around its side as he spun over and threw it up to shatter a F-22, his other arm exposed the plasma cannon to take out another. The unchecked rockets impact his chest, he took the pain belching flames from his toothy mandibles unshielded during battle, the last jet was streaking out for safety. Wrenching a portion of his wounded chest armor free he threw it with grace that gut the jet without mercy, the burning wreck erupted in multiple levels to its descent on the plain below.

    The sapphire bodied and saffron winged PhantomII orbited far from the hovering Decepticon and converted to robot form still moving as he swirled. “Sir, Boombox has jammed our frequencies. What are your orders that I may relay them to the others?” As he spoke his optics continued to track the multiple signals of Cybertronian signatures moving about, he could not discern friend from foe but he could locate any one easily and at the unexpected approach make the first strike. He was useful that way.

    “A change of plans,” he growled, his body converting unhindered by wound to dragon. “The new weapons the humans use are effective against my construct, I cannot say how they will effect the others. Have them fall back but continue the strike, I want this base rubble before neigh-solar.”

    Orders in check Dirge averted his gaze on a signal he knew to be the only other flyer on the Autobots team. “That human is consuming too much of your time, if you cannot eliminate him then I—” About to take the easy shot, he had his gun out and aimed and proceeded forward but Tron-Mega hailed his halt.

    “No, the human lives. Make sure the others understand this.” The gaps of his maw contorted to his usual leer as he turned to where Dirge had indicated. “It is my whim.”

    Dirge understood immediately and wasted his master not with further questions. He flipped into his F-4J body and tore off towards where he had last seen Scrapper and Longhual retreating, there were energon signatures in that area he could contend with if necessary.

    {Authors comments: I rewrote and rewrote the pursuit segment of Tron and Sam. Originally it was this lame concept with a golf cart, but one day I was watching the TF movie and my friend commented “Wow. Shia runs really fast.” Viola! We have human outrunning angry robot. And for the sake of reality, you’d be running that fast too if you had some terrible thing intending your body harm q:<

    What is Reflector doing taking so many pictures? Hmm….

    Tron spends too much time net surfing, he‘s got too much corny trends. But the corniness is what makes it funny!

    Anyone from the TF cast get to reading this story, give me a holler, because I know you can‘t resist commenting on how I portrayed your character. And Michael Bay, you may use any of my fan characters as extras or cannon fodder in the next movie. But remember! DareRex can only be killed by Megatron, and he has to look all betrayed and stuff before he dies. And Tron-Mega has to kill a bunch of Autobots, and one of them he has to deliver the famous line, “Look into my eyes when I‘m killing you.” j/k >XP

    For now, that‘s all. Until I get the netz hooked up or I drag my carcass to the nearest ihop. Thanks for viewing!!! .V.

    Teaser: Soon to come, awesome aerial battle}
     
  20. ironkaty

    ironkaty mystery warrior

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    so cool i am so into it now yuor a great writer and i hope you will update soon
     

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