Here's something I wrote about six years ago. It was to be the first part of a twelve-part story, with each part focusing on a single Transformer like a Spotlight issue while also advancing the main plot. I wanted to do something different with each character, something that might turn previous official versions on their head or give things a new slant. With this one I wanted the heroic Optimus Prime to do something you'd never expect to see him do. What I knew I wanted to do was show a darker side to G1 and that Autobots don't always win. Unfortunately, even though the twelve parts are all plotted out in notes with the main themes and beats, when I came to write proper I ran into a serious logic problem in the second part that I just couldn't solve to my satisfaction so I never took this project any further. It's a real bummer, but hopefully one day I'll have a 'Eureka!' moment to solve it and pick it back up. Anyway, this part is still a bit rough and my skills have improved in the time since I wrote it, but I thought I'd still throw it up here regardless. Just imagine any devious Decepticon plan you fancy happening after this first part ends. The Sting "Mommy, it itches." "I know, sweetie, but this will make it all better." The woman took the tube of salve from the box and tossed the bag it came in into a nearby trashcan. She popped the cap and squeezed a blob of the pink cream onto her finger. "This may be a little cold..." She pushed her four-year-old daughter's hair to one side and dabbed the cream onto the red welt on her neck. "Why did it bite me?" the little girl asked. "Oh, I'm sure it just wanted to taste you and see what a sweetie you are," her mother smiled. "There." She dropped her daughter's hair down and lovingly stroked it back into place. "Your Granny always did say you were her Little Candy Princess." She kissed the girl on her forehead. "Any better, Emily?" "It feels hot. I hate bugs." "Well, next time we see Mr Bug, we'll tell him off, okay?" "Okay, Mommy." The little girl grinned at her mother and held out her hand. "I know what would make it feel better." "Really?" the woman winked, already knowing what the solution to the problem would be. "And what's that, Emmy?" "Ice cream!" "Okay," the woman said. "But only a small one - don't want to ruin your dinner." She took the eager outstretched hand of her child and they headed off to find an ice cream vendor. Optimus Prime gunned his engine as he pushed it harder than he ever had before. Time is running out... He tore from the dusty track he was travelling on and felt his tyres better grip the road as he hit the asphalt of the highway. He changed gears and willed more speed from his already over-taxed motor. My trailer's holding me back. He checked his wing mirrors and saw several human-driven cars not far behind him. He didn't have much choice. Optimus sent the mental command to his couplings and let the trailer fall loose. The huge metal box skidded backwards and then lurched, it tipped sideways and then fell over off its wheels. The following cars tried to get out of the way, but two were hit full-on and crushed. Optimus just hoped the drivers hadn't been killed. Now free of his weight burden, he picked up even more speed. Must hurry. So little time left... He cut across a police car that had been in front of him mere moments before and took the next off-ramp. The signal he was tracking was screaming at his sensors now. He was getting close. Sirens began to wail at his rear as the police car took chase. In the receding distance behind, Prime's trailer exploded. His Cybertronian engine was lengthening the gap between him and the human law enforcer, which probably explained why the police car suddenly slammed on its brakes and made a sharp turn to go back and probably try instead to help any injured from the explosion. One less innocent to get in my way. The lights at the intersection ahead turned red against him, but Optimus had to press on. He surged across, taking out a car crossing his path and spinning it around on its wheels. As the car came to a halt, the human inside staggered from his smashed vehicle and angrily shook his fist at the fleeing Autobot Commander. Prime hoped desperately to the Creator that only one human had to die this day... At last, the signal he'd been following came within close scanner range and he could pinpoint his direction more accurately. To his right... He turned and mounted the kerb, then ploughed into a shop window, where patrons and varied merchandise scattered as he took the unconventional shortcut. Less than three hundred metres now... Prime crashed out of the back of the shop and into a plaza that opened onto a bay teeming with small boats and people fishing in the noon-day sun. A family were sat on the grass nearby, having a picnic as the father videotaped the fun they were having on their day out. So many humans. This is very bad... He activated an anti-grav burst as part of his transformation process, Optimus boosted off of his wheels and changed from his truck mode to his robot form. Some humans ran in terror as they saw a giant humanoid machine suddenly emerge from the shape of a truck, but by now the Transformers and their war had become common knowledge on Earth, so a few braver humans started to run toward him as he scanned the area. Prime could take no time for conversation and autographs however. Where..? He narrowed his scanning beam as the signal became more distinct. And then his main processor lurched as he finally saw where the signal was coming from. Across the water fountain in the centre of the plaza, he could see a woman with a little girl who was eating some kind of white substance on a cone. He hoped to the Matrix that it was the older human who had been the origin of the signal, but already he knew that wasn't going to be. His sensor-net confirmed what he didn't want to be true. It was the girl. She was the source. You slaggin' evil... He checked his internal chronometer for the current status. Just over one Earth minute left. One minute to decide what to do. He had to act. Now. Optimus splashed through the fountain and made for the girl. What to do..? What? Think of a solution in a second. First I need to secure the human… He jumped a low wall the other side of the fountain and stopped by the girl and her mother. The child screamed at the sight of him. “It’s okay, Emily,” the woman said. “That’s Optimus Prime – he‘s one of the good Transf-“ Optimus snatched the girl up from her mother’s hand and scanned around desperately for inspiration as the woman shrieked at him. He looked out over the bay. The water. It was his only chance. He drew his arm back to throw the child. Prime hesitated. It was only a nanosecond in the real world, but to him it seemed an eternity. From his arm position with his hand near his head, he could hear the screaming human child as if she was within his very spark. It was a sound that chilled his central processor and froze his gears. He chanced a quick sideways glance at her. She barely filled his hand. So much potential for the future... Humans are amazing creatures. But this one was never going to get a chance to fulfil her potential. In fact, she only had twenty seconds left to live… Prime’s internal chrono urged him with the knowledge that time was rapidly passing; the countdown reaching zero. If he didn’t act this very second, all would be lost. Everyone nearby would die. He let out a synthesised sigh through his air filters and thrust his arm forwards. He let the little girl free of his grasp at full extension and set her flying across the bay and out to sea. He only hoped the force of acceleration would kill her instantly. It’d be better than experiencing… The regret about his immediate action shook Optimus to his core. It loaded recent memory files into his thoughts. Things had been so much calmer only fifty minutes ago… “So, Wheeljack, how does it work?” “Simple, Optimus. It uses the Ark’s hull to create a scanning resonance field which is bounced around the sensor beacons Huffer and I placed discretely throughout this area. If anything should disrupt this field – something, say, with a Transformer life signal - then we’ll get an alarm going off in the Ark to tell us.” “I’m sure it sounds more simple than the technology actually is.” “The best ideas usually are. And even better – this invention hasn’t exploded.” Huffer stuck his head up from behind a nearby scanner console. “Yet,” he pointed out. “Shut up, Huffer!” Wheeljack shot back. Optimus looked out across the range of mountains where the crashed Autobot spaceship had impacted four million years ago. With all the varied terrain, it had been difficult to get accurate security scanner readings as they bounced all over the place and were usually degraded by the time Teletraan had a chance to analyse them. If it wasn’t for regular patrols around the immediate area by Bumblebee and Hound, the Ark could be surrounded by Decepticons and no-one would be any the wiser. “How long until it’s operational?” he asked. “Could be days…” Wheeljack started. “Done!” Huffer suddenly exclaimed. “Wheeljack, your timetables suck.” “You cheated!” Wheeljack fumed. “You got Perceptor to help you.” “Yes. Yes, I did. I have better things to do than mess about with one of your stupid death-trap devices.” Prime sighed. “Huffer?” he said. “I know… ‘Shut up!’…” “Thank you.” The Autobot Commander turned back to his engineer. “Shall we get it powered-up then?” Wheeljack nodded and made a hand gesture to Huffer. Huffer replied with a hand gesture of his own – one he’d learnt from humans when they were stuck in bad traffic – and hit the ‘activate’ button on his console. After a moment of nothing, a growing ‘thrum’ of vibration filled the air as the Ark created the core of a resonance field. Wheeljack pointed a finger up to highlight the odd feeling. “That can’t be avoided – we’ll just have to get Ratchet to adjust everyone’s sensors to block it out.” Huffer pressed a few buttons on his console. “Full resonance spread achieved,” he reported. “We’re up and run- wait an astrosecond! I have an incoming Transformer signal!” Wheeljack jumped to the console and scrutinised the readings. “Airborne. Too small and slow to be Starscream or one of the other Seekers though. And too fast to be Megatron or Soundwave in robot mode flight.” “Laserbeak or Buzzsaw?” Prime offered. “Perhaps.” Optimus flipped up the comm unit in his arm. “Sideswipe: Code Airrazor.” “Understood,” came the radio reply. A few seconds later, Sideswipe ran out of the main entrance of the Ark as he hooked on his rocket pack. A quick burst of flame, and he was skyward. Wheeljack tapped at the console. “Uploading the directional co-ordinates to him now.” Prime couldn’t see anything in the sky. The intruder must be pretty high. “Mind out!” Huffer yelled. Next thing Optimus knew, Laserbeak had crashed violently at his feet. A few seconds later, Sideswipe touched down next to the fallen robotic bird. “Didn’t even put up a fight,” he said with evident disappointment. Optimus glanced down at the unconsciousness Decepticon. “Then why did he crash?” Sideswipe grinned and cracked his knuckle couplings. “No idea…” Prime sighed again. He really needed to get Sideswipe to give that rocket pack to someone less likely to trash what was evidently a messenger from Megatron. “I don’t like this, Prime.” Ratchet finished reconnecting the last few wires in Laserbeak’s head and closed the casing. “I may be a medic, but repairing a Decepticon just feels wrong.” “I thought you took some kind of oath? ‘Do no damage’ or something.” “It wasn’t me that damaged him.” Huffer stood nearby and glowered at the Decepticon. When was all this going to end? He had things to complain about, and no-one was going to listen to him while there was some kind of enemy threat happening. A faint squawk snapped their attention down to the unwelcome patient on Ratchet’s repair bay table. Laserbeak, natural coward that he was, quickly assessed his situation and decided he wasn’t in any immediate danger. He looked to Prime. “I have a communicator tab for you, Autobot,” he informed with distain. A small hatch opened on Laserbeak’s back. “Careful, turkey,” Ratchet warned as he pointed a heat sealer to the Decepticon’s skull. “This can cut just as easily as weld. No tricks.” “Pah!” Laserbeak spat. “Do you really think I’d take part in a suicide mission?” Ratchet continued to hold the sealer anyway. A small device slid out of the hatch and Optimus took it. Laserbeak went to stand up to leave. “I don’t think so,” Ratchet pointed out as he jabbed the sealer at the robotic bird. Laserbeak let out a ‘caw’ of irritation. Optimus knew what this gadget was. He pressed the button on the top and tossed it into the air in front of him. The device stopped and hovered, and then a second later emitted a holo-comm screen. “Megatron,” Optimus said with authority, “show yourself.” The face of the Supreme Decepticon Commander faded into view. “Finally, Prime. You don’t know it yet, but you’ve been wasting precious time.” “What do you want?” “Only to help you save the lives of some humans.” “I doubt that.” “Then you doubt wrong. But first…” He motioned at Laserbeak with a nod. “My spy – let him go.” Prime considered for a moment if this was some lazy trick on the part of his greatest enemy to get a bomb into the Ark, but something about all this felt ominous. He didn’t know how, but suddenly he was certain that Megatron wasn’t lying about humans in danger. He waved his hand to Ratchet. “Release him.” “But…” “Now.” Ratchet stepped back and Laserbeak wasted no time in rising back into the air. He had already spotted a way out when he’d assessed his surroundings after coming back online, so the open mouth of the volcano above him which housed the Ark was where he immediately headed. With a screech and a surge of jets, he was gone. That small matter taken care of, Optimus turned back to Megatron. “What humans are in danger?” he demanded. “What evil plan have you concocted this time?” Megatron’s mouth formed a grin that made Prime’s oil run cold. This isn’t going to end well… Megatron moved a little closer to the screen. “Do you know what ‘Cybex’ is, Prime?” Optimus scanned his internal data-tracks; he knew he’d heard the word before. Megatron snorted. “I shall save you the trouble. Cybex is an Energon explosive, formed when two opposing atoms of a certain type of Energon come into contact.” Optimus had found the data-tracks now. Cybex had been created in an accident eight million years ago, when the Transformers had been attempting to resolve their energy crisis on Cybertron. The final result had been the creation of Energon cubes, but a good many Transformer scientists had lost their lives in one particularly bad accident during an experiment preceding that breakthrough. The new substance had been dubbed ‘Cybex’ in memory of the project leader that died that day, although the name was to become more synonymous with death in the following years. Cybex was a powerful form of energy, yes, but too unstable to use as a source of power. Instead, when the Great War started, the newly formed Decepticon army started their assault on the civilian population by using Cybex bombs. The war could have been over in a mere matter of vorns if one of the bomb depots hadn’t gone nova and killed the Tripredacus Council during an inspection of a weapons storage facility. Even Megatron, with his lust for conquest, had seen reason and decided that the continued creation of such bombs could destroy Cybertron itself should a bigger accident occur. And so, Cybex faded into history. Until now, apparently… Prime was really concerned now. “You haven’t..?” “Made a Cybex bomb here on Earth?” Megatron interrupted. His face gave Optimus the answer without needing it to be said. Megatron’s grin grew larger. “Ah, but it gets better.” “What have you done?” “Earlier today, I sent Bombshell out on a mission – a mission to inject a human’s weak fleshy brain with one of his cerebro shells. But this was no ordinary shell, oh no; it isn’t for taking control of a human’s mind…” Prime’s spark pulsed with realisation. “No…” he whispered. Megatron could see that Optimus was ahead of his explanation now, so he skipped a few pages. “That cerebro shell has two chambers, each with one of the opposing atoms of Cybex Energon. The power emitted by those atoms is slowly dissolving the shell, and when those two atoms come into contact…” Optimus clenched his fists in anger. If this Megatron wasn’t just a holo-comm image, he’d be under a flurry of punches by now. Megatron seemed to be telling him all this for a reason, but currently, all Optimus wanted to know was: “Where is this human?” he demanded. “Tell me. Now!” Megatron let out an evil chuckle. “I fully intend to.” He stepped back and a map appeared in the image with him. On the map was a signal frequency code, and below that, a timer, rapidly counting down. Megatron pointed at the frequency. “Download that into your personal sensor-net. It will guide you to the cerebro shell. And, of course, the pointless human it resides within.” “Give me specific co-ordinates, Megatron.” The Decepticon Commander shrugged. “Ah, but that would make things too easy. And where’s the fun in that?” Optimus could tell that the exact co-ordinates were one piece of information that Megatron wasn’t intending to surrender. The Decepticon Leader cocked his head to one side and looked at Optimus. “Still here, Prime?” He pointed to the timer, and the total as it quickly diminished. It showed less than thirty-two Earth minutes remaining. “Time’s a wasting…” Optimus shook the gathering shock from his head and scanned the holo-comm information. He then turned and transformed to his truck mode, his trailer automatically dropped from subspace storage and linked on behind him. Perhaps I can somehow use it to contain the blast. He turned over his engine and powered out of the Ark. The holo-comm Megatron started to laugh. The terrible sound echoed around the Ark like an invading demon. Huffer reached out and grabbed the floating emitter device that was projecting Megatron’s image and that spark-chilling laugh. “Megatron?” Huffer said. “Shut up!” He crushed the emitter with his clawed hand. Optimus lurched out of his memory as the girl hit the water two miles away. He adjusted his optical sensors and scanned the waves. Cushioning the blast was all he could hope to do. The cerebro shell could never have been extracted without permanently damaging the girl’s fragile human brain. Besides, there wouldn't have been time for such a delicate operation to take place anyway. His internal chrono ticked off the final second, and out to sea the water boiled with the released energy of the Cybex bomb as it detonated. A light shower of rain started to fall as the explosion was reduced to just a spray in the wind. It worked. I saved them. Something suddenly thudded against his leg. Then again. Repeatedly. It was the child’s mother, tears in her eyes as she beat upon him with her fists. “Why!?” she demanded. “Why!? My baby! My poor baby!” A second human voice was heard. “What the hell!?! Did you see that!?” Then another. “Optimus Prime just killed that girl! Threw her into the sea like trash!” Then more. “You bastard!!!” All the humans from nearby were shouting at Optimus now. They don’t understand. “I – I had to…” he started, but no-one was listening. He saw the human from the picnic as he talked heatedly on his mobile phone. “Channel NewsBox? The most awful thing has just happened. Optimus Prime – he – look, I’ve got it all on camera.” Before Optimus could stop the man, he had run off through the gathering angry crowd and vanished. Very soon the whole of the human world was going to hear of this… Megatron sat on his throne at Decepticon Headquarters and cast his eye over hundreds of floating screens. Each one showed a human television channel. One by one they all changed from whatever programme they had been showing to display the images of Optimus Prime snatching a little four-year-old girl from her mother and then hurling the child out to sea. No-one seemed to bothered about the swell of water that had happened where the human youngster had landed – all they could focus on was that a Transformer – and Leader of the Autobots, no less – had just killed one of their kind in the most horrible way possible. Soundwave came to stand next to his Commander. “Report,” Megatron ordered. “The human President of America has just ordered a military strike on the Ark in retaliation for Prime’s actions.” “Excellent! For too long now the humans have feared only the Decepticons. The Autobots will no longer have the support of these weak fleshlings, and instead of defending themselves like any right-minded Transformer should, Optimus will be forced to turn all his efforts to a peaceful resolution of the event - although I doubt the humans will be quick to listen to his side of things. The chaos will be all the distraction we need.” Megatron took one last triumphant glance at the mosaic of floating screens and then finally jabbed at a button on the armrest of his throne as he killed the displays as easily as Optimus had killed that human girl. He flipped up the communicator on his forearm and spoke into it. “Starscream, assemble my warriors. It’s time to initiate Phase Two…” End.