Transformers: Hellbound

Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by Prime_Directive, Feb 28, 2010.

  1. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
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    Yeah, I know. What a creative title. Anyway, this is my first successful Transformers story. I'd started one a few months after the first live action movie as a sequel, but it dissolved into incoherence and got too big for its own good, so I let it die. Eventually, I decided to revisit it (this was about two months before RotF was released), and I divided it into two halves, but it never went anywhere. A few months later, I came up with the idea to write three rather than two, and start in a new continuity. A quick note- there's no actual "Wreckers" in this continuity, but I decided to repurpose the name to refer to the female Autobots, because "Female Autobots" is a stupid name for a squad. But I've kept you long enough, let's get on with the story! Rated PG-13 for violence and mild language.


    The sun glared down on the tarnished streets of Iacon City. No adult Cybertronians wandered down the streets, greeting each other in passing. No hatchlings played on the sidewalks. None of the elderly sat on the titanium benches placed in alternating intervals along the roads. Those days were long gone.

    Civil war had torn Cybertron and its inhabitants in two: the Decepticons, led by Megatron, and the Autobots, led by Optimus Prime. Megatron was once the pride of Cybertron. A genius, brilliant strategist, unbeatable combatant. He had entered the Cybertronian military immediately after graduating from Iacon University as valedictorian. Eventually, he had risen to the position of Supreme Commander during a war against another race of beings from a nearby star system, and then ascended to a position equal to Alpha Trion’s, with the citizens’ full support. Soon after his crowning as one half of the first Duumvirate, Megatron revealed his true intentions.

    It seemed so long ago to Optimus Prime, as he stood on a balcony near the top floor of the University’s science tower, overlooking the city. That day…

    He remembered it as if it had only happened the day before. Orion Pax, salutatorian of Megatron’s same graduating class, at last leading his own archaeological expedition to the Valley of the Primes, south of the Great Rift and west of the Allspark temple, where Alpha Trion was said to converse with Primus.

    Elita-1 had burst into his tent, alerting him to a discovery made by Perceptor. “There’s some sort of slab. Arcee and I went to look, and it seems to be related to the legend of the Creation Matrix. Perceptor found it in that cave we had to set up supports in.”

    Indeed, written on the slab was a record of the events leading to the loss of the Creation Matrix, which is said to have been given to the Original Thirteen along with the Matrix of Leadership by Primus after their creation, and was said to contain enough Energon to power Cybertron forever. Little was known about the Cybertronian Civil War, other than that Vector Prime, leader of the Original Thirteen, led his brethren into battle against one of their own, a traitor called the Fallen. According to legend, Vector Prime had launched the Creation Matrix into outer space, to prevent the Fallen from obtaining it and using it for his own nefarious deeds.

    The other Matrix, the Matrix of Leadership, was never ejected from Cybertron’s atmosphere like its brother. Upon Vector Prime’s departure from Cybertron, along with the rest of the Original Thirteen, to imprison the Fallen on a distant planet, the Matrix chose its next holder, who was given the title of Prime. This tradition carried down to the present day.

    Upon learning of the slab, Megatron proposed an expedition to find the Creation Matrix, based on the trajectory listed in the record on the slab. Sentinel Prime, the then-current Holder of the Matrix of Leadership, and Alpha Trion firmly opposed this move, on the grounds that Primus himself had ordered the Creation Matrix launched, and they were in no position to go looking for it.

    When dawn broke the next day, Sentinel Prime had been found murdered, presumably by Megatron in an effort to gain the Matrix of Leadership, which he thought could lead him to the Creation Matrix. But Sentinel Prime, foreseeing Megatron’s next actions, left the Matrix of Leadership with Alpha Trion, who had passed it, in turn, to its next holder: Orion Pax, who was retitled Optimus Prime.

    Megatron declared war on Alpha Trion, declaring him a traitor. In retaliation, Alpha Trion proclaimed that Megatron was the true traitor, and revealed that he had murdered Sentinel Prime.

    Megatron and his Decepticons were mostly from the Cybertronian military. Optimus Prime and his Autobots were mostly civilians. The only exceptions were Ironhide, heavy demolitions expert, Chromia, sniper, Ratchet, medic, and Prowl, military police, who was a Decepticon defector. The rest were like Bumblebee, who had come from Mixmaster Construction, or Jazz, seven-time Champion of the Cybertron Grand Prix.

    A low buzzing shook Optimus from his flashback. The space outside of the city became distorted as the plasma shields activated, coating the city in an impenetrable mask. The only ways in were the gates along the massive wall encircling Iacon, and most of those were several yards thick.

    Then came the ominous thud. Thud. Thud. Optimus turned to see Arcee approaching him. “Optimus,” she said, “they’ve arrived.”

    Optimus turned back to the source of the noise, one of the gates. “Megatron…” he growled. “Tell Ironhide and Chromia that they need to get that space bridge ready. I know it’s experimental, but if we can hit Megatron with it, we might stand a chance of finally ending this war.”

    “At once,” Arcee said, before turning and running back into the building.

    Optimus heard a grumble from the balcony directly above. “Prime! We’re moving back a few feet now!” Ironhide warned. Gears whirred as the balcony slid back a short distance into the wall. When it stopped, Prime could see Ironhide, Chromia, and Arcee readying the space bridge.

    He pressed a button on his arm, and a hologram of Elita-1 appeared. “Yes?” she asked.

    “Tell the other Wreckers to get ready. Chromia and Arcee are up with Ironhide preparing the space bridge. And tell Bumblebee, Jazz, Prowl, and Brawn to get their platoons out,” Prime said.

    “Right. Don’t get too banged up, or else I won’t have anything to take home,” Elita replied.

    “Don’t worry about me. I’m the only one who can take Megatron one-on-one.”

    “I don’t like your chances.”

    “Prime out,” Optimus said, flicking off the communicator.

    He reached for the rifle attached to his back, and hoisted it out in front of him and to the side, letting the butt rest in the inside of his elbow. Each thud grew louder. Prime knew that the gate wouldn’t hold much longer under this kind of stress, especially if he could hear it so clearly from so high up.

    The thuds gave way to booms, and the gate exploded, sending shards of metal flying into the vacated dwellings. Hordes of Decepticons swarmed in, guns blazing, destroying everything they could.

    An engine roared as Smokescreen shot into action. The small blue vehicle blazed down an empty street, and transformed in mere nanoseconds. The rat-tat-tat of machine guns reached Prime’s ears before he could see his fellow Autobot riddled with holes, just as the hologram faded. Behind his mouth plate, Optimus smiled. Smokescreen was, after all, a master of distraction.

    More engines gunned as Prowl led his division into battle, ambushing the Decepticons from the side. The white robot smashed through a red Decepticon before transforming and letting loose a volley of machine gun fire. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker raced down an alley, transforming and slashing several Decepticons’ limbs off, before shifting forms and racing off again, red and yellow blurs.

    “Prime, the civilians are safe below the university,” came Wheeljack’s voice over Prime’s communicator. Optimus pressed the button, and Wheeljack’s hologram appeared, just as Elita-1’s before it.

    “Take every precaution you possibly can. Put all sentry drones on red alert. I don’t want Ravage and Laserbeak breaking in this time,” Prime commanded.

    “Righ-” the line went dead.

    “Soundwave’s above!” Chromia shouted.

    “Get that bridge ready!” Prime yelled back.

    A red Decepticon transformed into a streamlined jet, and took flight. Ironhide responded with a volley of missiles. “It’s Starscream!”

    “Arcee, take care of the bridge, I’ll take care of Starscream,” Chromia said. Several rounds fired from Chromia’s sniper rifle, pinging off of Starscream’s armor.

    “Is that the best you’ve got?” Starscream, the former Imperial Guard Commander, shouted in reply.

    The sound of the tower-to-air battle faded away in Prime’s ears as he watched a tank roll through the gate. His optics focused intently on this silver war machine. Surely it had been the one to blast down the gate.

    One name ran through Prime’s processors.

    The tank’s armor shifted, the cannon folded back and rotated 180 degrees, coming to rest under the vehicle. The side armor clamped together and unfolded into wings tipped with blades. The treads folded up and under, and the engines roared. “PRIIIIIME!” Megatron screamed, taking flight in his jet mode.

    Megatron raced over the groups of combatants, his mind set on one goal: Kill Optimus Prime. Prime looked on, nervousness creeping into his sensors. Megatron had never seemed so fast, or deadly.

    Megatron transformed as he slowed down, landing on his feet at the edge of the balcony. Seven blade-tipped fingers hung from each hand, his helmet gleamed in the stark sunlight. “I’ve waited an eternity for this. It’s over Prime,” he growled.

    “You’ll never win, Megatron,” Prime spat.

    Megatron crouched forward, and then pounced, his legs like springs. The two collapsed on the ground. Prime could feel Megatron’s fingertips digging into his armor. He landed several jabs to Megatron’s face, knocking away a few of the Decepticon Commander’s teeth.

    Megatron’s optics seemed to see right through Optimus. “This is so like you, choosing our old Alma Mater to be our final battle ground,” Megatron taunted, scratching Prime’s chest. “OH IACON! HOW GREAT THOU ART! WITH OUR MEMORY OF THEE, WE SHALL NEVER PART!” he mocked.

    “This is the end,” Megatron declared, slamming his knee into Prime’s torso.

    “Only for you!” Prime returned. A buzzing similar to, but distinct from, the plasma shield began above. “Goodbye, Megatron!”

    A multi-colored beam of light shot from the space bridge generator and began to drag Megatron away from Optimus, who sat up to watch Megatron. “NO! Cybertron… is mine!” Megatron said, struggling against the light. “You… Can’t…. defeat me… Prime!” And he was gone.

    Prime let out a sigh of relief. He stood, and picked up his rifle, which Megatron had knocked from his hand during their short scuffle. He fired off several rounds at Starscream, who promptly retreated.

    “Decepticons… Megatron has been defeated! Retreat!” Starscream ordered.

    The Autobots cheered as the Decepticons retreated, swarming back through the gate they’d stormed through only minutes earlier. “Great work, Arcee!” Prime shouted as he gazed down at the city.

    “’Bout time you lazy Autobots got that thing workin’!” Prowl grumbled over the communicator link. His voice carried a condescending tone.

    “Prowl, that machine is highly experimental technology that my physicists and I were barely able to put together,” Perceptor replied over the link.

    “Let’s hope that nobody ever finds him again,” Elita-1 said.

    “I do, Elita. I hope that this is the last we’ll ever see of Megatron,” Prime said.
  2. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
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    Chapter 1
    Groups of students shuffled past Spike Witwicky as he hurriedly stuffed one text book into his locker, only to pull out another. He ran one hand through his short, dark hair, before swinging his backpack around to rest on his knee. He unzipped it and stuffed the new book inside.

    “Hey, Spike!” someone called.

    Spike turned to see another student, rolling down the hall toward him in a wheelchair. “Hey, Chip,” Spike said back.

    “Mr. Simmons was grilling us today. We had another test over quantum theory,” Chip said.

    “You know, I really just don’t see how you can understand such… advanced… physics… er, stuff. It just goes in my left ear and out the right,” Spike said.

    Chip let a chuckle escape. “Well, when you start out being unable to play football with the rest of the kids your age, you tend to have a lot of free time.”

    Chip was exaggerating, and Spike knew it. The wheel-chair bound honors student had been born perfectly normal. When he was only three, though, a mishap with a car seat resulted in his current paraplegic state. His back had broken, severing the nerves that controlled his legs.

    “I don’t play football,” Spike offered, shutting the locker door. “Besides, the girls’d be all over you if you did. You’d have no time to hang out.”

    Spike turned and started walking. Chip followed. “Dude, ‘kick me’,” he warned.

    “Huh-” Spike started, as his friend’s words registered. He grabbed at the back of his neck, just below the collar of his shirt, and tore off a yellow sticky note bearing the words. He pulled his backpack up to cover the area and tossed the paper in a trash can the two passed.

    “Algebra next up, you ready?” Chip asked.

    “You know I’m not. You spent half the night tutoring me on four-by-five matrixes-”

    “Matrices,” Chip corrected.

    “Matrices, and I still don’t understand.”

    Chip sighed, slightly frustrated. Although the two boys had known each other since childhood, they were almost complete opposites. Chip had always had an unusually high intellect. He had always been convinced that he was special, and he knew that he’d be able to put his skills to use one day. Spike, on the other hand, always said that there was nothing special about him, and expecting any so-called “gifts” of his to be used one day was like expecting lightning on a clear day.

    Despite Chip’s continual encouragement, Spike always just shrugged it off.

    They turned into their Algebra classroom, and Spike took his seat at a desk. Chip wheeled to the table provided for him by the school and removed his binder from the backpack hanging from the back of his wheelchair.

    Next to Spike, a girl sat down, carefully lowering her bag to the ground, sliding the strap off of her shoulder. She brushed her blonde hair back with her fingertips, and with her other hand, pulled out a yellow folder. Her name was Carly. She was the captain of the cheerleaders, daughter of the richest people in town, and the object of Spike’s affections.

    She noticed Spike’s eyes drift unconsciously toward her. “Hi,” she said quietly, subtly waving.

    Spike jerked from his stupor, as the teacher walked to the marker board and began to speak.


    G. B. Blackrock walked hurriedly down a shaft that was part of his mining operation in the Mojave Desert. He was accompanied on either side by his aide and his secretary. Something had been found, far below the surface.

    The three came to a security door. Blackrock punched a code into the number pad, and the door slid open, then closed behind them. One of the workers approached Blackrock.

    “What is it?” Blackrock inquired.

    “We don’t know yet, sir. Whatever it is, it’s not from here,” the worker replied.


    “Old. It’s been here for at least fifteen thousand years. The thing itself is older. We’re still calculating.”

    The four humans continued down the shaft, until they came to a large underground chamber. The aide and secretary gasped, but Blackrock remained composed.

    Cart after cart stopped beneath a conveyor belt, carrying away large amounts of chiseled rock. Four workers sprayed an odd-looking blue substance at something stuck in the rock.

    The thing, whatever it was, was, just as the worker described, definitely not from here. Not from Earth. It seemed almost humanoid, but it was gigantic! Two arms clawed forward at an unknown enemy, hands terminating in seven blade-tipped fingers. A helmet-like object protected the head from possible attack. The lower portion of the body was still concealed in rock. The body of Megatron gleamed a bluish color, reflecting from the super cooled gas being used to contain him.

    “Have you contacted the government yet?” Blackrock asked.

    “No, sir. We-” the worker began, before Blackrock grabbed him by the collar.

    “Listen, you. You work for me. This thing could destroy us all if it gets out of containment. I want military support for when we transport it to the labs,” he said, his face showing his dark mood.

    “And, if its friends come looking for it, look who has him? We can’t afford another lawsuit,” he added.

    “Should I cancel your lecture at that high school tomorrow, sir?” the secretary asked, hurrying behind him as he walked quickly toward the mine’s opening.

    “No. Those students are the future of this world, and the future of my company,” Blackrock replied.


    High above Earth, evil lurked.

    This place was a cosmic wasteland, only inhabited by space junk, NASA’s trash, and the occasional communications satellite. Just what this dark blue Decepticon needed.

    Soundwave glided soundlessly through the vacuum, searching for a suitable module to highjack. He scanned each that he passed, a malevolent claw swooping through space.

    His red eyes glowed intensely as he approached a satellite marked “USAF” in bold black lettering. The light blue glow from his boosters dimmed, and he slowed himself down.

    This alien claw seemed to grip the communications satellite, as Soundwave locked himself onto it. Small, clear, root-like wires snaked along the satellite’s surface, until they came to a metal panel that could be unscrewed to give authorized personnel access to the satellite’s innards, which would contain a treasure trove of information.

    Soundwave’s probes simply forced the panel off, leaving the dented metal square floating aimlessly in perpetual freefall. They slithered and writhed their way inside it, and the information began to flow like water, images of battlefields, military transmissions, everything came before (or rather, behind) Soundwave’s optics. He shuddered almost as if he were one of the pathetic organic pink insects below that was injecting itself with some harmful substance as this wealth of data became his own, another mass to add to his collection.

    He released his own program, a self-replicating virus to bring Earth’s entire communication field under his control. Surely, no human could break this virus. Soundwave had, after all, been developing it since the disappearance of Megatron and Starscream’s rise to leadership.

    Soundwave uttered a disgusted noise, which was only barely audible to even his own audio receptors in so thin an atmosphere. Starscream… what an arrogant pig. Thinking he’s so much better than Megatron… In Soundwave’s mind, no command rang truer than that of Megatron’s.

    And now, at last, they had found him. Starscream, under extreme political pressure from his supporters and the supporters of the Decepticon cause, had begun a scan, for any electronic signature of Cybertronian origin. And they’d found it, along with multiple others, on a large planet (compared to war-torn Cybertron), Sol 3, locally known as Earth.

    Soundwave had secretly hired the bounty hunter Lockdown to confirm Megatron’s precise location, and, by now, the bounty hunter was well on his way to the unsuspecting planet’s surface.

    Not that Lockdown was as strong as Soundwave OR Starscream. By no means. Soundwave merely didn’t want to do it himself. He didn’t want to be stained or corrupted by such filth as organics. They were disgusting creatures that needed exterminating. And that would happen, as soon as the Decepticons located their long-lost leader.
  3. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    Chapter 2
    Two masses blazed across the dark sky, almost unnoticed by human intelligence networks. They had been shrugged off as mere meteorites; the objects would probably disintegrate on the way down. But these two objects- beings- were specially equipped to handle the temperatures associated with atmospheric entry.

    Twin bright streaks in the sky, the two Cybertronians slowed as their boosters activated, and their trajectory eased to an angle that was almost parallel to the ground. They shot over a highway constructed and maintained by the locals, keeping their distance from the ground and each other, as well as any obstacles that might present themselves. Below, a blue-and-white police car doggedly chased a yellow sports car, providing the two with a means of cover.

    Not in the ordinary sense, however. Slowly, one meteorite’s pigmentation shifted to match the yellow of the speeding automobile, and even black patches were incorporated, which would shift to correspond to the racing stripes running along the vehicle’s hood, roof, and trunk. The other shifted to match the pursuing vehicle.

    They continued to slow, and the descended at an easy angle. Ever so gently, they grazed the planet’s surface, turning left, away from the highway and into an open field. Finally, with a soft thump, they halted completely.

    The two masses issued clicking noises, and soon whirrs, and all sorts of other mechanical noises joined the cacophony. They unfolded slowly, shifting from their entry modes, taking more humanoid shapes, bluish white reflections of the moon above dancing in the ordered chaos.

    The white and blue one was up first, almost immediately. As usual, the bumbling yellow one was taking his time.

    Prowl lifted his scarred white hand to his stern face, as the police car’s doors began to take shape like wings on his back. “Bumblebee, will you hurry? The Decepticons are already here, and Prime needs us to locate Megatron’s whereabouts before they do,” he growled.

    “Come on, Prowl, don’t be such a jerk. Just bend over and let me see which of the Insecticons has attached himself to your undercarriage,” the young yellow Autobot retorted, still shifting into his true self.

    Prowl let out a burst of air, a Cybertronian’s equivalent of a sigh. Bumblebee had studied the humans’ slang far too much before arriving. Prowl understood the importance of understanding the humans and being able to communicate with them, but the ‘bee was taking it too far. He was becoming obsessed with Earth cultures. “Bumblebee, can we not do this now? Soundwave’s already in orbit. We passed him on the way down, and I’m sure Starscream won’t be far away. After all, he’s been working his ass off trying to maintain control of the Decepticon horde. They both have.”

    Bumblebee immediately understood that he’d offended his senior officer. Prowl didn’t have a very good reputation amongst the other Autobots, being a former Decepticon, even though Prime held him in such high regard. “Look, I’m sorry-“ Bumblebee began.

    “It doesn’t matter,” Prowl said, rubbing his fingers against his nasal structure and squinting.

    “Where do you think Megatron could be?”

    “I have no idea. There’s a whole planet out there to be searched, and the machine that the Decepticons used to find Megatron’s signal was left behind on Cybertron. If we get close enough, we’ll know it, though,” Prowl replied, regaining his composure. “Once we accomplish that, we’ll signal Prime and the others to come down from Sol Four.”

    “Once Prime gets here, the Decepticons will turn tail and run like the cowards they are.”

    Prowl’s facial features shifted into a smile, rare for the battle-hardened warrior. Bumblebee was the youngest, only about thirty thousand Earth years old. He was naïve and brave, and so much else. Most of the Autobots had settled into their own, unshifting personalities, but Bumblebee was so complex. Perhaps this was because his perceptions of the universe were still developing, along with his ideals and intelligence. “My young yellow friend, they always have. But we can’t worry about the Decepticons at the moment. Our first priority is Megatron. Find him. Obtain information somehow. And don’t let him escape, or harm the natives. Other Decepticons come second, unless the situation calls for it.”

    Bumblebee nodded his round head, as his own “door-wings” took shape. “U”-shaped structures unfolded and clamped down on both of his arms. He tested these “stingers” by channeling electricity through them. They were functioning normally. Everything seemed to check out all right.

    “All systems go, how about you, Prowl?” Bumblebee asked.

    “Operating at optimum efficiency,” Prowl replied.

    “Well that’s just Prime!” Bumblebee said, laughing at his own joke.

    Prowl wanted to smile again, but he knew that it would only encourage Bumblebee to waste more time fooling around. “We have to get going soon,” he said.

    “Right,” Bumblebee said. “Umm… Prowl, where are we?”

    “Area is designated as Oregon. Prime wants us to start searching with Blackrock Industries, based in a city called Los Angeles, a few hundred miles south of our position. Some transmissions intercepted by Blaster indicate that they have captured some sort of new technology,” Prowl explained.

    “‘Captured’ is a weird word to use with technology,” Bumblebee said.

    “Exactly. Prime wants us to investigate the ‘captured technology’ without causing any damage, so don’t drive too fast.”

    “Aw, c’mon, Prowl! I’ve been practicing with Jazz for years now. I’m way better at driving now,” Bumblebee protested.

    “It doesn’t matter who you’ve been training with or for how long. Drive just under the speed limit. We don’t want to damage anything or attract any attention to ourselves. Prime wants this to be quick and precise.”

    Bumblebee groaned. “Fine.”

    “Let’s go now,” Prowl commanded, walking toward the highway. He leaned forward, but didn’t fall. His chest rotated ninety degrees forward, forming the front of an exact replica of the police car, which was now several miles away. The rest of his body shifted, individual pieces with more organization than any human construction effortlessly spun, flipped, slid, and rotated into place, until Prowl had, for all intents and purposes, became the police car. Bumblebee followed suit, and the two pulled completely onto the now empty highway before revving their engines and speeding down the deserted road.


    The tense air stifled the soldiers scrambling to set up their weapons around Captain White. Two unknown objects had already passed through the planet’s atmosphere, and had surely crashed by now. Whatever they were, they definitely weren’t meteorites- there had been no damage done to the descending masses. No disintegration at all.

    The first two had been virtually identical to the one now bearing down on White’s troop’s position. But there had been on key difference: the first two hadn’t abruptly changed course to smash a communications satellite. How that was possible, no one knew. No natural formation or man-made machine had the capability to perform such a feat.

    A rumbling reached his ears from above, so faint yet so menacing. A bead of sweat formed near White’s eye and traveled swiftly down his cheek, and dripped onto the parched ground. The harsh desert winds of the Mojave whipped up sand, and White squinted to protect his dark brown eyes. He could feel the sweat saturating his dirty blonde hair. He breathed deeply, trying to keep calm in the face of possible attack.

    “Man, I can’t believe this!” one of the soldiers shouted. “Thrown out here in the desert at twilight! We’re gonna freeze our asses off!”

    “Will you shut up?” another responded. “There’s probably a reason we haven’t been told what we’re doing out here.”

    “Captain White!” called yet another.

    White looked up, spotting Sergeant James Lars heading toward him. Lars was one of White’s most trusted officers.

    Lars stopped next to his superior, and squatted down next to him. “Do you really believe it? Defense said it was possibly alien,” he whispered. Only the officers had gotten the full brief. This matter was to remain top-secret.

    “I don’t know. Whatever it is, we’ll have to take it into the custody of the US government,” White responded. “And if it resists, we’ll have to give it a taste of what we can do.”

    Their conversation ended almost immediately as the rumbling began to grow louder. Some of the soldiers shouted obscenities and pointed in shock, anxiety, and fear at the sky, seeing the encroaching object for the first time.

    Lars hurried to take his place in the command tent, ready to give out orders as White relayed them to him from his place on the front lines.

    The sky shone brilliant shades of orange, red, and purple, a peaceful setting that defied the dread that was forming in each of the soldiers’ hearts.

    The rumbling of the alien object seemed to penetrate into the very earth as weapon emplacements, tents, vehicles, even the soldiers themselves shook in the malevolent vibrating waves. The hairs on the back of White’s neck pricked up.

    The roar grew, grew, grew, and kept growing, as the meteorite approached the planet’s surface rapidly. It was hardly even a blur when it ripped into the sand several hundred meters in west of the soldiers, throwing plumes of reddened sand into the sky and producing minor shockwaves that knocked over most of the tripods and other equipment.

    A clicking was barely audible over the frightened shouts of the soldiers scrambling to hoist their weapons back into place and the clanking of the metal guns themselves. White felt each click like a deep slash through his body, somehow knowing what was about to occur.

    The clicking accelerated, and was accompanied by the groaning of heated alloys, and some shrill, unintelligible shouting. Finally, over the dust, a rhombus appeared, adorned with two shining red jewels. White leaned forward slightly and squinted. Most of the shape’s details were veiled in silhouette, the sun breathing its last breaths directly behind it.

    A dull thump was issued from the dust cloud as the shape raised and lowered, seemingly testing itself. It was walking.

    White could feel the wind pick up ever so slightly, but it brought no relief, only the chill of sweat on his back and a horrifying revelation: the thing was HUGE.

    As the sun set behind the bipedal monster, more of its appearance became visible. It was mostly dark green, with neon highlights. The rhombus was the thing’s head, planted at the top of a thick neck. An object resembling an engine block jutted out from its left arm, and the other terminated in a wicked, shimmering hook.

    One of the officers in the command tent appeared with a bullhorn in hand. “We have been ordered to take you into custody. You will not be harmed unless you display hostility. Please, enter the trailer peacefully,” boomed the officer’s voice, as he indicated a semi-truck and its trailer nearby.

    The gibberish clicking and beeping increased speed. As the monster continued closer, White could make out something like a mouth, moving rapidly, spitting out word after alien word in lightning-fast succession. It was talking.

    The monster raised its right arm, brandishing its hook threateningly.

    “Very, very angry,” White muttered under his breath with a worried look on his face.

    Lockdown gazed at the jellybags in disgust and contempt. He scoffed at their tiny, pitiful weapons and lowered his hook-arm to his side. This confrontation was dragging out too long, and time was upgrades.

    The clicking as the ammo belts loaded inside his left arm played like the most beautiful orchestral symphony to the bounty hunter. Only the painful burning of a new upgrade being installed was more pleasurable.

    As the monster’s left arm raised toward the group of soldiers, White’s eyes widened, and he knew immediately what was about to happen.

    “Open fire!” he commanded, and the rat-tat-tat of mini-guns shattered the tense, stifling air like a hammer.

    Lockdown laughed condescendingly as he felt the pinging of the bullets slam into his armor and bounce off into the sand. He responded with a round of his own, tearing away at the soldiers.

    White saw everything in slow-motion. Several of his own men were instantly sent sailing backwards by the hailfire. The command tent was ripped from its supports, and he could hear the screaming of the officers inside. His heart rose momentarily as he heard the thump of tank fire, but it sank again when the slug had no effect. Blood spilled on the sand by the gallon.

    The hail of bullets ceased suddenly, as Lockdown began to shift the very shape of the wrist-mounted weapon. The two barrels combined into one and the individual pieces came loose but moved along the gun, extending it. He raised it once again, aiming directly for the squad of tanks, and a missile erupted from it.

    The explosion of the tank deafened White, as he hurled himself to the ground and curled into a protective position to avoid flying shrapnel.

    Lockdown rushed forward, retracting his gun back into his arm, and grabbed another tank’s turret gun with one hand, and firmly anchored his hook into the tank’s vulnerable underside, and grunted as he hefted the massive machine over his head before tossing it into another tank, enjoying the sound of crunching metal as both were smashed.

    “Nothing like a good smashing after a long flight to work the joints,” he said, in plain English.

    He tossed another tank toward the soldiers, who continued to fire upon him. It rolled, crushing everything in its path, before coming to a halt directly over the curled form of Sgt. White, who had been saved from the same fate as the others by the sandstone rock he’d fallen adjacent to.

    Lockdown grunted, surveying everything he’d done. The tanks lied destroyed on the ground, dead bodies of crushed and bullet-ridden soldiers littered the battlefield, and their weaponry was shattered all over the sand. “Too easy. That flamethrower’s as good as mine,” he said, letting out a boisterous, cynical laugh. He made one last pass, stomping on the bodies of the fallen soldiers for good measure, but left the tanks alone.

    “Soundwave,” he said, speaking into the communicator on his hook-arm, “I have landed and dispatched native military units. Send the data for my disguise immediately.”

    “Soundwave acknowledges,” came the sinister computerized voice. “Transmitting data now.”

    The data for Lockdown’s new alternate mode appeared in his heads-up display as he received the signal.

    It’s almost as good as a new upgrade. These locals have style, Lockdown thought. He transformed, showing off the dark green frame, red-orange headlights, red-tinted windows, and spikes galore, as if the soldiers were still alive.

    He gunned his engine, tires spinning and throwing up plumes of sand for a second, before catching and racing off through the desert, homing in on the nearest major metropolitan area.
  4. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    Chapter 3
    The chill of night had fallen over the Midwestern United States. The waxing moon shone down on semi-ripe fields of grain and corn, only a few weeks from harvest. The clear October sky was a transparent crystal, far away from the heavily-settled metropolitan areas in the east and west, and the stars twinkled against the pitch black backdrop. Nobody noticed the rogue jet high above these calm fields.

    Most jets didn’t fly at night, but this was no ordinary jet. It was light gray, with red accents around the wings, some blue along the bottom. Double “S” markings were embossed on the dorsal stabilizers. The wicked, purple Decepticon insignia adorned both wings in the center, both top and bottom. Starscream.

    The current Decepticon Commander sailed through the air, almost silently. He’d modified his disguise ever-so-slightly to be practically unnoticeable by audio until he was right up on his target. This capability was just another aspect of himself that he adored.

    By now, Starscream knew, Lockdown had landed and was searching for information on the whereabouts of Megatron. Starscream cursed in his native language, at the thought of Megatron being found. It was highly unlikely that Megatron was even alive after so long, but if he was, Starscream was determined to get to him before Soundwave or his minions could, and strike him down before he could be brought back online.

    There was nothing to stand in his way now, though. Soundwave wasn’t much of a fighter. That’s why he always stayed behind the scenes. And Lockdown would get his upgrade, all right. With a laser blast through his spark.

    But the Autobots did present something of a challenge. Optimus Prime was surely not far away, and that meant that bumbling yellow twerp, the traitor, their doctor… and Ironhide would be close by too.

    “Ironhide…” Starscream growled.


    Warriors clad in green and white took their positions on the battlefield. They lined up along an invisible divider, almost mirrored by their red and yellow opponents. A teammate in the middle of the line held in his hands a small brown, round object.

    Their goal was simple. Deliver this object to the designated drop zone on the opposite side of the field. Their opponents would do anything they were able to prevent them from achieving this. Their helmets gleamed under bright lights, as the tension in the air built. Only a few seconds remained before they would be unable to accomplish it.

    The commander barked orders and took his position, as the teammate with the ball tossed it back between his legs to him.

    The warriors broke formation, smashing into the opposing team, and one managed to break through. He ran, ran as fast as he could, and the commander wound up and shot the ball off through the air. The intended receiver twisted his body, and the ball landed firmly in his hands. He continued to run, leapt over a member of the opposing team, and kept running, until he reached the drop zone, and tossed the ball at the ground, and did a short dance as the referees blew their whistles.

    Carly leapt into the air in her matching green and white outfit, swinging her pom-poms wildly, screaming, “Go Warriors!”

    Above her on the home side of the field, the bleachers came alive with cheering spectators, throwing their arms up into the air and shouting with the squad of cheerleaders. At the bottom of the stands, Spike stood and shouted along with everybody else, and Chip whistled.

    The voice of Ronald “Sparkplug” Witwicky echoed across the stadium, “And that’s the game, folks! Archer High Warriors: 31, Weston High Joes: 27! Warriors improve to 7-2 with one game remaining in the regular season! Come back next time to see the Warriors face off against the Edlund Ticks! This is Sparkplug Witwicky, signing off! Good night, everybody!”

    “You wanna go to the fifth quarter at Frieda’s?” Spike asked Chip.

    “Sure,” Chip replied.

    “All right, I gotta go make sure it’s all right with my dad first.” With that, Spike turned and ran up the stairs, passing between the rising and leaving spectators, arriving at the door to the press box right as his father exited.

    “Hey son, good game, huh?” Sparkplug said.

    “Uh, yeah. And what is it with the Sparkplug thing, dad? I mean-“

    “Aw, son, you know my policy. Who’s gonna know who Ronald Witwicky is, huh? I mean, it’s on the sign: ‘Sparkplug and Son Automotive’. I’m Sparkplug, you’re son.”

    “I know, I know. There’s a fifth quarter over at Frieda’s, and me and Chip wanna go.”

    “All right. Just be home by midnight.”

    “Thanks, dad!” Spike said, before turning to run back down the stairs.

    “All right, Chip, we can go, but we’ve only got an hour and a half,” he said, looking at his watch.

    “Can that jalopy of yours get us there in time?” Chip teased.

    “I’ll show you jalopy,” Spike retorted, rolling his eyes.

    Soon, they approached the blue car, which was parked in one of the handicapped spaces. Chip’s handicapped tag hung from the mirror in plain view. “Let’s get going,” Spike said as he pressed the button on his remote, with the accompanying beep indicating the doors had unlocked.


    She hated herself. She hated this truck, the mirror she glared at, and the boy in the driver’s seat with one arm holding the steering wheel and the other around her. She hated her whole situation, wished she could just get out of it.

    He smelled of body soap, and was slightly damp after showering. True, he’d just helped achieve Archer High’s highest score ever in a football game, but he just… he seemed like an animal. He didn’t think, he didn’t talk, and he was a jerk. And now, she was going with him to the party at Frieda’s Restaurant and Grill. No telling what he’d try on her. He’d already told her that he thought she was “hot” in her cheerleading outfit.

    “So, babe… How long have we been together now,” Trent said, giving her a wink.

    Disgusted, Carly replied, “Let me out of the car.”


    “Let me out. Now.”

    “I’m not letting you go anywhere. We’re going to the party, you ungrateful little whore!”

    Carly sighed in disgust. He’d finally done it. He’d gone as far as she’d been afraid he’d go, and that ended it. That was it. She wanted to preserve what was left of her dignity.

    “Fine. I’ll go to the party, but don’t expect me to even acknowledge your existence.”

    Trent frowned at Carly’s words. Nobody he knew talked like that. At least, nobody he paid any attention to.


    Starscream flashed a toothy grin as he descended in his true form. Boosters on his back slowed his fall, and when he touched down, they shut off.

    He was surrounded by all types of militaristic vehicles, and a field of concrete. They were bleached black and white in the dead moonlight, but they were all familiar to him. Most of them were similar to many Cybertronian inventions.

    But one vehicle in particular reminded him just how vicious Megatron was. The jet stood idly in a nearby hangar, nose just barely hanging out the open corrugated steel door. A wave of some horrific version of nostalgia overcame him, and suddenly, he was back in the lab at Kaon.

    Carcasses of failed experiments littered the floor. Megatron frowned as he worked across the operating table from Starscream. Between them lied a light brown body with purple accents dashed in several places. The test subject moaned, stirring to life.

    “Starscream, EMP,” Megatron commanded.

    Facetiously obedient, Starscream complied, lifting a small rectangular box from the table, punched in the settings, and a yellow wave of energy left the opposite end of the box and enveloped the body of the Decepticon Blitzwing.

    The monotonous beeping of the spark-monitor began to slow, and Megatron’s optics widened. “No! I will not fail again! The power of flight will be mine!” he shouted, slamming his fists into the table.

    “Bugbite! We need jumper cables, stat!” Starscream commanded.

    The diminutive gray Decepticon entered the bluish-gray OR carrying a set of cables in his hands, grumbling under his breath. “Here,” he mumbled.

    Megatron jerked the cables from his subordinate, clamping one end of each cable to Blitzwing’s open spark compartment, and forced open Bugbite’s, clamping the other end into him. Bugbite began to mutter something, but thought better of it and shut his mouth. His knee joints shuddered as he felt part of his own life force draining, but quickly, the spark-monitor’s beeping stabilized, and Megatron detached the cables.

    “Starscream, put the EMP generator down and get back to work,” Megatron growled.

    Starscream gave Megatron a quick glare before complying. The Decepticon leader worked quickly, all seven fingers on each hand working with precision, blades retracted. It was all Starscream could do to keep up with only five fingers on either hand. But his pride, or perhaps arrogance, would not let him fall behind his superior.

    “Come on, come on,” Starscream mumbled, connecting wires in Blitzwing’s chest compartment. Almost everything was finished; if Blitzwing survived, the triple-changer project would be a success, and Megatron himself would be able to undergo the process. Blitzwing himself was practically a precursor to what Megatron wanted: the tank treads on the Decepticon warrior’s legs, the wings folded and stored behind his body. Tank and jet. Perfect for raining terror down on the Autobots from above while also being able to take heavy fire in stride and simultaneously being able to deliver it… The jet was a perfect complement to Megatron’s tank alternate mode.

    At last, all the wires in Blitzwing’s chest had been reattached and directed in the correct paths. The Decepticon’s optics flashed red, and, once Megatron shut his chest compartment, he rose from the table, ripping out the wires providing spark support. He extended the dual blades on his wrist, brandishing them, and then retracted them. “I feel… powerful!” he said.

    “At last, we have succeeded! Now, I shall undergo this surgery, and conquer the Autobots as both jet and tank!”

    “I would expect such an all-knowing leader to know that speed and the power of flight are superior to such a sluggish vehicle, and that he could, at any time, scan a fighter without going through such a complicated ordeal as you’ve put us through, Megatron,” Starscream spat.

    “Starscream, you’re an idiot! How many times have you been shot down in battle, and had to have Bugbite repair you?” Megatron retorted.

    Starscream shrank back against a wall. “Once… twice maybe,” he answered in a small voice.

    “Seven, sir,” Bugbite grumbled.

    At this, Starscream returned himself to the present. It had embarrassed him to admit it, but… maybe Megatron had been right. But Starscream still preferred speed… And maybe he was only the slightest bit afraid of undergoing the procedure himself.


    The sound of sizzling meat and talking and glasses clinking drowned out the four televisions positioned around Frieda’s. The smell of cigarette smoke drifted into the entrance area from the smoking section, mixing with the scent of cooking meat and frying oil.

    Spike scanned the crowd as he entered the restaurant, with Chip directly behind him. He noticed Carly and Trent arguing with each other through the smoky air on the opposite side of the room. He stopped abruptly, and Chip wheeled right into him, and he fell.

    Some of the patrons laughed at his clumsiness, others ignored him, but he just shrugged it off and got back on his feet. “Spike, you can’t stop like that right in front of me,” Chip said.

    Spike walked toward Carly, not hearing his friend behind him. “Spike, what are you doing?” He tried to grab Spike’s arm, but Spike jerked away, continuing toward the two arguing partygoers.

    The moment he got close enough to hear what they were saying, he noticed the tears running from Carly’s blue-green eyes.

    “I can’t believe you won’t do this for me,” Trent was saying.

    “I can’t believe you expect me to,” Carly spat.

    “Come on, you’re making a scene!”

    “I told you I’d go to the party, but I didn’t say anything about what I’d do!”

    Spike squeezed in between them. “Hey man, she doesn’t have to do anything she doesn’t want to.”

    “And what do you have to do with anything?” Trent demanded, puffing out his chest.

    Any other teenage boy would’ve shied away at the sight of the Archer High quarterback looming over him, but Spike wouldn’t back down.

    “So what if I don’t have anything to do with your sexual frustrations? Carly obviously doesn’t like dumb guys.”

    “You tryin’ to say somethin’, little man?” Trent said, threateningly lowering his face to Spike’s.

    “What- what if I am?” Spike said, glaring directly back at the massive quarterback.

    Trent’s fist delivered his retort by itself. A right hook sent Spike flying left to the floor. Carly was immediately hunched over him, checking his pulse and making sure he was breathing.

    “What the hell, Trent?” she shrieked. “You’re a monster!”

    “Come on, we’re leaving!” Trent said, leaning over with his hand reached out.

    “No,” Carly said, producing a can of pepper spray from her purse. “Don’t make me use this!”

    Trent’s eyes widened and he took a step back, holding his hands out in front of him defensively. “Hey now, we don’t want to do anything stupid, right?”

    “Give me a reason not to,” Carly said. She growled, flicking the lid off with her thumb.

    Trent shook his head, but turned and started to leave anyway.

    On the floor, Spike opened one eye. “Is he gone?”

    Carly laughed. “Yeah, he’s gone. But you might want to get your right eye under some ice. It’s starting to look puffy.”

    “I figured, considering I can’t open it.”

    “We… we should go,” Carly said. “Trent’s friends’ll probably be here in a minute.”

    “Um… Okay.” Spike dug in his pocket for a moment, producing his car keys. “Let’s go.” He grunted as Carly helped him stand up, and the two turned toward the door.

    “Where are we going?” Chip asked as they passed him.

    “Home. Fast,” Spike answered.

    They left the doors and walked into the grayscale world under the moon. Wisps of smoke from inside the building escaped as the doors swung shut. Spike unlocked his car and the trio immediately started toward it.

    They came at them from the right. Two of Trent’s friends shouted as they charged at Spike, Chip, and Carly. “Oh, not again,” Spike said, tenderly touching his swollen eye.

    “You two get in the car, fast!” Carly shouted. Spike nodded, and ran toward his car with Chip’s wheelchair in tow.

    “You want a piece of me?” they heard Carly shout.

    Spike opened the passenger door, and, as Chip climbed in, folded up the wheelchair and stashed it in his trunk. He slammed the trunk shut, or so he thought, as it rose up slightly as he started back toward the driver’s side door, stopped, and slammed it once again. Spike stood there for a minute, making sure it was closed this time. It didn’t rise up again, so, satisfied, Spike bolted for the door, opened it, slid in, slammed it shut again, and yanked his seat belt into its buckle.

    He barely registered the screams of the two attackers before Carly sped into the back seat behind Chip.

    “What’d you do?” Spike said, twisted around in his seat to get a look at her. She was sliding a black, rounded object into her purse. “Did- did you tase them?”

    “Spike!” Carly replied.


    “Start the car!”

    “What she said!” Chip chimed in.

    “I’m goin’, I’m goin’!” Spike said as he turned back to face forward, shoved his key into its slot and turned it. The engine immediately turned over, and Spike backed out of his parking spot, careful not to run over the two spasming bodies in the lot, and left the restaurant.
  5. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    Chapter 4
    Cool wind stirred the coarse sand. Captain White’s eyes slowly opened, the bluish sunlight gleaming off of them. He groaned, picking himself up off the ground and let out a yelp when his head slammed into something hard directly above him. He rolled over, holding the painful back of his head tenderly, and looked at what he’d hit.
    Nothing. There was nothing there. But wait- White reached out, and felt cold metal on his fingertips. The tank that had hidden him from… from that thing’s attack. This tank had saved his life.

    Or had it? White clambered from his spider hole, staying low, and scanned the surrounding area. Nothing. Nothing but the twisting columns of wind-blown desert sand in the cool morning air. The monster was gone, and the wind had destroyed any trace of it ever having been there.

    He needed to get help. His entire body ached, and there was no way to tell if he was hemorrhaging or had fractured any bones. He slowly rose to his feet, careful not to let the blood rush from his body. He didn’t want to black out and fall, especially not now.

    He held up his hands to his mouth, and shouted, “Is anybody alive?!”

    No reply came. There was no sound, nothing he could hear.

    “Hello!? Can anybody hear me?”

    Again, he heard nothing. His heart sank, and he squat down, leaned forward, and expelled the contents of his stomach. He retched several times before finally standing and wiping his mouth with his sleeve.

    He could see them now, scattered about the battlefield. Goosebumps erupted across every inch of his skin, as he slowly approached one. The body of this soldier was riddled with bullet holes, the chest was crushed, and bones extended through the torn skin in places.

    He wanted to throw up again at the sight of the mangled remains of his fellow soldiers. He leaned forward and retched violently, but there was nothing remaining in his stomach.

    “I’ve got to get help,” he muttered to himself determinedly.

    He turned back to the tank, hoping against hope that the communication systems were still functioning. He climbed up the side of the wayward tank, trying not to think about what was inside. He laid on the slanted top of the war machine for a moment before standing, arms out to either side to steady himself. Once he regained confidence in his balance, he dropped his arms back down to his sides, and stepped cautiously over shreds of the tank’s treads, shrapnel, and loose wiring.

    He dropped to his knees at the hatch, and pulled it open, shielding his face from the death-scented air. He winced as his eyes adjusted and he was able to see the two operators, jumbled against the floor. One was strapped into his seat, but his head was missing; he was obviously a victim of the monster’s guns. He dropped inside the tank, falling to his knees, then stood back up.

    There it was; the red light blinked on the radio transmitter. Hopefully, it would still be able to transmit despite the damage to the entire vehicle.

    White unlatched the seatbelts holding the dead operator back, and the body crumpled to the floor. White squinted his eyes, trying to focus his mind on getting help. “Out of sight, out of mind,” he repeated to himself.

    He grabbed the receiver, pressed the talk button, and began talking. “Mayday, mayday, we’ve been attacked. Send help now. There are few survivors, and they may be in danger. We need medevac now!”

    He felt the vibrations of noise emanating from the receiver the instant he let off the talk button, but he heard nothing. He sighed, and tried again. “If anybody can hear me, please, we need medevac immediately.”

    Again, he heard no reply. He sighed in disappointment and climbed out of the tank. In the west, the dust was stirring. “Sandstorm?” he said to himself, jumping to the ground.

    Five black shapes burst through the red dust, hovering low above the ground, intent on their target. Another red and white shape followed suit.

    “Air force…” White ran to the remnants of the command tent and grabbed a sheet of torn fabric. He reached in one of his pockets and pulled out a lighter. “And they said smoking kills you.”

    He dipped one end of the fabric in a puddle of oil leaking from the tank, flicked the starter on the lighter, and set the saturated fabric alight. The makeshift torch was hopefully enough to attract the attention of the approaching squadron of helicopters.

    As the helicopters neared, White noticed that they made no sound. That was odd. He cocked his head to one side, squinting in the dust storm kicked up by the revolving blades, and listened intently, but he heard nothing. He couldn’t hear the motors’ humming slow, couldn’t hear the men shouting orders as troops exited the vehicles.

    One approached him, holding out his hands and leaning forward slightly, knees bent. The trooper looked like he was trying to keep something calm. He moved his mouth in regular patterns, but no sound came out that White could hear. Finally the man was in reach, grabbed White’s shoulders, and opened his mouth in wide, exaggerated syllables.

    And then it hit White. He was deaf.

    He pointed at his ear, made circles in the air with his index finger and shook his head. The man turned toward the idle helicopters and started toward them. He gestured to White to follow him. White complied, and the trooper led him directly to the medical helicopter.

    Spike held the phone in front of him, eyeing the numbers and letters on the screen. Highlighted was the name “Carly”. The morning light filtered through the windows of his bedroom, and he barely heard the droning of a reporter on the television.

    “This is Walter R. bang! Path here. Moments ago, we pow! received word of an attack on a zoom! military convoy in the womp! Mojave Desert. This is likely the work of kaboom! terrorists, according to Head of Homeland Security bang! R. H. Nox. We do have at least one confirmed bam! survivor, and the military had stated that rescue operations are crash! on the way. However, we were kaboom! not told the precise location of the convoy at the time of the woosh! attack, nor what units were sent for zoom! search and rescue or how many. Stay tuned to bang! News Seven at Nine and we will keep you clang! updated. Back to you, Tom,” the man said.

    Spike sighed. “Considering the alternative…” he said, pressing the green button on the keyboard. The phone’s screen switched to a group of warped rectangles rotating around a central point on a white background with the letters “Connecting. One moment please,” in bold yellow.

    Spike held the phone to his ear and listened to the dial tone. A few seconds later, Carly’s voice came across clearly. “Hello?”

    “Hey, Carly, this is Spike.”

    “Oh, hi. How’s the eye?”

    “Better. My mom laid me down on the couch and held an ice pack over it while she cried.”

    “That bad?”

    “You haven’t met my parents.”

    “My dad has. He worked for your dad for a while at Sparkplug and Son.”
    “I didn’t know that.”

    “You learn something new every day.”

    “So… what went on with you and Trent last night?”

    “Oh, the usual. He wanted something, and I wasn’t about to give it to him.”

    “There’s more than that.”

    “You know too much,” Carly joked, and laughed. “I’m just tired of surrounding myself with people like that. I feel like I can’t be who I want to be because of the way I scratched and climbed to popularity back in Junior High.”

    “Huh…” Spike said. “You know, I think you should just be you.”

    “You… don’t think I’m shallow?”

    “No… uh, I think that… there’s, uh, more to you than meets the eyes,” Spike replied, wincing at his own joke.

    Carly laughed over the phone. “That was corny.”


    “But sweet.”

    Spike sighed in relief.

    “You know, I really don’t know why I’m telling you all this. We’ve barely just become friends.”

    “Well, maybe you feel like you can talk to me,” Spike suggested.

    “Yeah, I think you’re right. You’re not like Trent. You’ve got a brain.”

    Spike laughed, and sat down on his messy bed. “So, uh, speaking of talking to me, I though that… maybe you’d like to uh, talk over- over lunch?”

    “I’d love to, Spike, but I can’t right now. We’ve got an Algebra test Monday, remember?”

    “Oh, yeah. Studying?”

    “Wish I wasn’t. I really would like to talk to you. You’ve got an honest air.”

    “Honest air?”

    “Just a feeling I get.”

    “Oh. Well, I guess I’d better let you go so you can get back to studying.”

    “Okay, bye,” Carly said.

    “Bye.” Spike pulled the phone away from his ear and pressed the red button, ending the call. He laid back on the messy bed, and said to himself, “She totally digs me.”

    Then the doorbell rang. A few seconds later he heard his mom call, “Spike! Chip’s here!”

    Spike jumped to his feet, opened his door and stepped out into the hall. He walked down toward the living room, the hardwood floors creaking under his bare feet. As he entered the living room he greeted Chip with a high five. “Come on back, man,” Spike said, smiling.

    “I’ve got something big to show you,” Chip responded.

    Spike tried to hold back his laughter, but a chuckle escaped.

    “What?” Chip asked.

    “Nothing, nothing,” Spike replied as he led his friend back to his bedroom.

    “Shut the door,” Chip instructed as the two entered the bedroom.

    “Okay, okay. What is this,” Spike said as he threw the door shut.

    “Lemme show you,” Chip said, pulling his laptop out of the black bag hanging from his wheelchair. “And shut the curtains, too.”

    As soon as Spike had pulled together the curtains over both windows in his room, Chip placed the small computer onto Spike’s desk next to his T.V. and booted it up. He clicked on an icon reading “Blackrock Industries Feed”.

    “Watch this. They’ve been talking about some big news since five this morning,” Chip explained.

    “Chip, I thought you said you weren’t gonna hack anymore?”

    “Just Government feeds. Don’t want to get my parents in trouble with the FBI or something.”

    “And you’re not afraid Blackrock will sue you?”

    “I don’t think he’s such a bad guy. And he could probably use my skills in the future for industrial espionage or something.”

    “Chip, neither of us even know the guy-“ Spike began, but Chip shushed him.

    “Here it comes…”

    Spike and Chip watched intently at the screen. A window came up asking Chip for a password. The wheelchair-bound genius typed in a few keys, pressed “Enter”, and the window disappeared, to be replaced by a new one reading, “Insert Antenna Now.”

    Chip twisted in his seat, and produced the requested antenna from the same black bag, as Spike leaned in over Chip’s shoulder. Chip inserted the antenna into a slot on the side of the computer.

    Finally, a stream of text began to scroll across the screen. “Subject will be transported to Blackrock Industries Headquarters this Tuesday. Subject will be contained in a super-cooled, airtight trailer pulled by one of our most trusted drivers. Subject is highly valuable, and may be able to be reverse-engineered for extreme technological gains. Subject is also possibly highly dangerous, so take extreme caution.”

    “Whoa,” Spike said.

    “I think I have a few questions to ask Mr. Blackrock at his presentation Monday,” Chip said.


    Lockdown clutched at an invisible neck. “No!” he shouted, as the feed from this “Blackrock Industries” faded. His HUD displayed the words, “Signal faded.”

    Lockdown tapped a few buttons on his arm. A hologram of Soundwave still attached to the military satellite appeared. He squatted down, hiding from passersby on the nearby highway, the thick trees concealing him from view. “Soundwave, this is Lockdown. I had a feed detailing the location of Megatron, and where I can find him, but the signal faded.”

    “Signal not faded. Signal intercepted,” Soundwave replied coldly.

    “Who intercepted it?”

    “Identity: unknown. Confirmed non-Autobot. Location: Settlement designated Archer, north-east of Settlement Los Angeles.”

    “Archer? According to my maps, it’ll take a day to get there. But I’ll get the information from these hackers, Autobot or not.”

    “Do not fail the Decepticons, Lockdown,” Soundwave threatened.

    “Don’t get your exhaust pipes in a twist. I’ll get your Megatron back to you, or my name’s not Lockdown. Have I ever failed you before?”

    “Heads of Alpha Quintesson still in possession of Shockwave. Proceed.”

    “Lockdown out,” Lockdown said, ending the conversation. He emerged from his hiding spot in his disguise. His engine gunned as he pulled out onto the vacant highway, and he turned in the direction of Archer, California, intent on obtaining his goal.

    “I haven’t failed a job yet,” he growled to himself, before speeding off down the highway.


    Prowl tapped a button on the side of his head, and an antenna retracted into his armor. “You heard Soundwave,” he growled. “Move out.”

    Bumblebee complied, converting into the yellow sports car while Prowl simultaneously converted into the blue-and-white police car, and the two pulled out onto the highway.

    “It’ll take a day or so in this form. We’re in northern California right now. Archer’s in central California,” Prowl said.

    “Aw, but Prowl! That’s practically forever!”

    “What would Prime do?”

    Bumblebee fell silent, aside from the humming of his engine. He knew Prowl was right.

    “I won’t let it happen again,” Prowl muttered to himself.

    It was there, in Tyger Pax. Bombs exploded, smashing structures into scrap. Shrapnel sailed through the air, shredding streets and fleeing civilians. The sky was dyed a bloody red by infernos raging throughout the city. Prowl bore his Decepticon symbol proudly, firing his rifle at approaching Autobots.

    Their leader transformed, revealing the awe-inspiring form of Optimus Prime. “Autobots! Halt their advances!” he commanded.

    A white Autobot transformed into his own true form covered in red and blue armor, and swept forward, swinging a massive hammer into a Decepticon, whose chest plate shattered at the impact. He jabbed the hammer into the air toward the Decepticon ranks, and it began to emit a sizzling sound. Lightning arced and crackled from the dark blue and silver weapon, drying the air.

    Above, the black and purple Skywarp screamed. “It’s Ultra Magnus!” He converted into his fighter mode and shot into the air above the battlefield, shaking in fear all the way.

    Thundercracker’s face fell into his palm. “Idiot,” he growled. The blue Decepticon shot forward over the Autobot, boosters glowing white-hot and emitting the all-too-familiar sonic booms. The seeker fired downward into the crowd of Autobots, who scattered and engaged the Decepticons.

    Megatron converted into his true form from his tank form, and blasted a hole in the street with his massive arm-mounted cannon. He dove into the hole, down into the sewers beneath the city. Prowl followed his leader, bravely following him wherever he would go.

    “Megatron, where are we going?” Prowl asked.

    Megatron turned to him in the darkness, eyes glowing red. “To our goal. This is a shortcut.”

    Prowl followed Megatron through the maze of underground passages for what seemed like hours, determined to impress the Decepticon leader. Finally, they approached a stairwell leading to the city above.

    The chaotic cacophony of battle sounded all throughout the Cybertronian city as Prowl followed Megatron up to the surface. In front of them stood a building, one side covered in the Autobot insignia. The rectangular structure’s guards had left their posts to help fight off the invaders.

    “Excellent,” Megatron said, balling his hand into a fist and rubbing it with the other hand. “Prowl, you have proved your loyalty by following me all the way here. Now you will prove your worthiness by destroying this Autobot nursery!”

    Prowl shrunk back at his leader’s words. “Nursery?” he asked, stunned. His mouth hung agape and his eyes wide. “As in, where hatchlings are educated and raised?”

    “Prowl, you’re not an idiot. What other purpose do nurseries on Cybertron serve?” Megatron taunted.

    That was when Optimus Prime reached them. “Megatron, don’t do it!”

    Megatron turned to his arch nemesis. “Oh, I’m not going to do it,” he growled, indicating Prowl, who was stepping forward and preparing his shoulder-mounted missile launcher to fire.

    Prowl shook with agitation. Megatron was his leader! But these were hatchlings and nurse-bots! Megatron would restore greatness to Cybertron! But without hatchlings, there would be no future for Cybertron! The humming of his missile launcher pierced into his audio sensors, furthering the internal conflict.

    Prowl’s spark tightened. His joints jerked. He closed his eyes, opened them, closed them again, opened them again. He expelled a burst of air, not hearing the arguments of either Prime or Megatron.

    He turned, determination evident on his face. “No.”

    Megatron looked at Prowl, enraged. “WHAT? YOU DARE DEFY ME?”

    “I will not sacrifice our future. These are hatchlings, for Primus’ sake!” Prowl shot back.

    “You know the price for treason, and this, traitor, is most certainly treason!” Megatron spat, adding extra venom to ‘traitor’. Megatron raised the arm attached to his cannon, charging his most infamous weapon.

    “No, Megatron, don’t!” Prime shouted.

    “Prime, back away!” Prowl shouted, as he heard once again the humming of his launcher.

    “You wouldn’t dare!” Megatron shouted.

    “I would,” Prowl retorted.

    The missile fired, and Prowl saw it all in slow motion. The instant the missile reached Megatron, the micro-fusion cannon fired. But the blast of the missile sent the Decepticon leader into a backwards tumble, and the burst of energy from his cannons missed high, exploding against the outer wall of the nursery.

    Prowl turned back toward the building. “No,” he whispered to himself. He could hear the screaming of the nurses inside as the wall collapsed, the crunching of smashed metal, the booming as it all came down. He fell to his knees, horrified. He paid no attention as Megatron climbed back to his feet amongst the debris from Prowl’s missile. He didn’t hear Megatron swear revenge. He didn’t see Megatron convert into his fighter jet form and blast off into the sky, to lead the Decepticons into retreat.

    Prime approached Prowl and placed his hand on the now-former Decepticon’s shoulder. “You did the right thing, soldier.”

    Shaken from his stupor by the Autobot leader’s words, he stood and faced the red and blue form. “I want to be an Autobot, sir.”

    Prowl’s thoughts returned to the present, as he faded back into his body. Worn, scratched Prowl, with the slashed Decepticon symbol on his hood, and a smaller Autobot symbol beneath it.
  6. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    Chapter 5
    Doctors rushed around him, some carrying other soldiers on stretchers, some wheeling away those who had been confirmed dead to the morgue. He blinked in the harsh white hospital light, hooked in to life-support machines, EEGs, and IVs. One of them hovered over his face, making exaggerated movements with his mouth, obviously trying to talk to him.

    White rolled his eyes. He’d explained a thousand times: he couldn’t hear anything. Yet they still tried to talk to him. He sighed.

    Suddenly, a man in a black suit burst in. He showed the doctor his identification, and began to speak quickly. The doctor replied to what seemed like questions, but White still couldn’t hear anything.

    But- now that he thought about it, he almost could. The man in the black suit spoke much more quickly than White had thought, seemingly worried. This was only supported by the short glances the man cast in White’s direction. The man seemed familiar, like a famous CEO or something. Then White noticed an emblem on the man’s jacket. There was a stylized “B”, which he recognized to be that of Blackrock Industries.

    But… why would G. B. Blackrock be concerned with something like this? He was a technology mogul, not an intelligence agency director.

    He couldn’t make out any words, and the man’s voice was muffled, almost like he was listening from underwater.

    “So, have you confirmed the attacker?” Blackrock asked grimly.

    “Not yet. There were no physical remains left,” the doctor replied. “Only an empty crater and the wreckage.”

    “If it’s related to my cargo, I want military protection immediately. This thing is too valuable to just hand it away.”

    “Sir, as soon as we have confirmation, my superiors will send you a unit or two, but for now, we have no idea what attacked them.”

    “What about him?” Blackrock said, gesturing toward White.

    “He’s gone deaf from the shock. It might be weeks before he gets his hearing back.”

    “Then why don’t you try writing?” Blackrock glared at the military doctor.

    “We tried that, too. He doesn’t seem to know.”

    Suddenly, a man in a black suit burst through the door. “Blackrock, Shane Korosky, FBI,” the man said, flashing his badge and extending his hand. Blackrock shook it, and the agent gave a curt nod to the doctor. “By the order of the United States Government, you are all under quarantine.”

    “What?” Blackrock said, his eyebrows raised in an incredulous expression.

    White still couldn’t make out what the three men were saying, but he chuckled to himself at Blackrock’s reaction.

    “We have reason to believe that your ‘cargo’ and this attack are somehow related.”

    Blackrock rolled his eyes. “Really?”

    The agent sighed. “Sir, I’m just following orders. We’re currently tracking three objects similar in size and shape to the last three, plus whatever you found in the basement. Intel’s gone into a frenzy and DEFCON Two has been declared.”

    “Wait- DEFCON Two? That’s not that bad, is it?”

    “You shouldn’t always believe what you hear in movies, Mr. Blackrock. You’ve heard of DEFCON Five as being the highest, but it is, in fact, the lowest. DEFCON One is the highest.”

    “Well…” Blackrock stuttered, at a loss for words. “Damn.”

    “Just call your truck and tell him not to pick up whatever it is. Don’t tell him anything else.”

    “It may be too late for that, but I’ll try,” Blackrock said, nodding. He produced a cell phone from his pocket and dialed in a number. The phone made a hissing noise, and the call cut itself off.

    “That’s odd,” Blackrock said, furrowing his eyebrows. “Just a hissing noise.”

    The agent pulled out his own phone and pressed a button, and held it to his ear. A moment later, he pulled it away from his face and shut it, and then jammed it back into his pocket. “It’s down.”

    “What does that mean?” the doctor asked.

    “It means we should go. All communications could be down. I don’t know,” the agent answered.

    “Look, Mr. ‘Kofofsky’, or whatever the name they gave you is, do you really think there’s an alien… attack or something coming?” Blackrock asked.

    “The FBI thinks so, from all the information we’ve obtained.” Korosky turned to the doctor. “Can he walk?”

    “Physically, he’s perfectly normal. Vital signs stable, no bone fractures, no muscle tearing, no-“

    “Can he walk?”

    “We don’t know. Probably.”

    “Put him in a wheelchair, then. And take out all of those IVs.”

    “But it’s not-“


    “Proper procedure…” The doctor abandoned his attempts at arguing with the man. He sighed, and quickly removed all of the tubes and needles attached to White’s skin, and hoisted him into a waiting wheelchair.


    “So you’re telling me I can’t even pick up this phone and call my family?” growled the President. His bloodshot eyes glared at Agent Korosky, and he picked up the phone in front of him, but only heard static, so he returned it. His hair was largely grayed, and five o’clock shadow littered his worn face.

    “Whatever they’re doing, they’re getting away with it, and there’s nothing we can do,” Korosky responded.

    “It’s all his fault,” the President said, jabbing his finger in the air toward Blackrock. “It’s all because of that stupid… whatever it is. Alien.”

    “All due respect, Mr. President, but that thing could prove to be a gold mine of technology if we can reverse-engineer it,” Blackrock said.

    “You mean it could’ve. This project of yours is terminated.”

    “What? You can’t do that!” Blackrock shouted, indignation showing on his face.

    “You don’t understand, Mr. Blackrock. This is a matter of homeland security now. We’ve got aliens at our doorstep, and what do you want to do? Dissect one of ‘em!” the President retorted. “I don’t believe this. I come to California to give a speech about economic something or other, and suddenly, we’ve got ETs running around everywhere!”

    “You don’t understand… If I can get my specimen to the lab, we might just find a weakness.”

    The President sighed. “You’re persistent.”


    The four masses streaked through the pink sun-stained clouds, blasting away the tiny water droplets that had yet to condense. There was a grim silence between them, and, other than the roar of their entry, they were silent. They had all feared this day would come: the introduction of their war, their mistake, into the world of innocent and ignorant bystanders. And what was worse, these bystanders were extremely fragile.

    Extremely fragile… Those had been Prime’s words before they’d left Sol 4. The smallest of the four Autobots approaching Earth’s surface, white with blue and red accents here and there, the celebrity, Jazz, knew fragility all too well.

    It had happened back at Uraya, on Cybertron. A lower-class city that grew around the massive Energon refineries established shortly after the beginning of the Second Golden Age. The towering structures straddled the city like a colossus, obese curving cylinders scratching through the thin atmosphere of the metal planet.

    The train surged along the elevated track, startling the tiny cybernetic wildlife. Jazz watched as a petrorabbit shot out from its nest in the rust-holes in the titanium anchoring the track’s support struts. Its speed astonished him, although it was sluggish compared to himself and his companion seated on the opposite bench in the cabin. Jazz smiled to himself, and glanced over at the gleaming golden trophy.

    The rush of traveling at such speeds as he was capable of hadn’t been the original draw to the many Cybertronic racing circuits. It started as a reluctant way to support himself and his family. He chuckled quietly, remembering clearly. The first race in the massive sewers beneath the city, spraying up the arsenic-saturated water high into the subterranean structures, the revving engines… It was one of those races where he’d met and begun his friendly rivalry with the blue ‘bot opposite him.

    The train experienced momentary sweeping darkness as it passed through a hole in the mighty walls encircling the city, a silver dart passing like a ghost through the super-dense defenses.

    An explosion rocked the train, sending the back of the train shuddering off of the tracks, dragging the rest of the train with it as the engine transformed, turned, and planted his hands firmly into the frame of the following car and then slammed his feet into the track. There was a thump and Jazz twisted and watched in horror as the train continued, sucking the engine robot beneath and shattering his body under the magnetic force.

    Jazz turned back to the other racer, but he was already on his feet, racing down the corridor to evacuate any other passengers. “Blurr!” he called.

    “Don’tworrythere’snotmanypassengersbecauseofthewar!” the other racer called back.

    Jazz sighed. “Can’t you at least slow down your speech patterns?” he said to himself. He leapt into the corridor, shifting in mid-air and racing down toward the front of the train, dodging sparks and shattering glass. The gray steel seemed like a death trap to Jazz, and he chanted lowly to himself, “faster, faster, must go faster,” urging himself forward. “Faster, faster, faster…”

    He shot like a lightning bolt from the open front end of the train as it slowed to a tilting crawl, and finally fell from the track, slamming into the ground a few feet below with a muffled thump. At the other end, he saw Blurr ushering out what few passengers had been riding over blackened debris and burn marks etched into the titanium streets by the rear cars as they were dragged along.

    He immediately converted back into his humanoid form, bounding to the overturned train to help out anyone remaining.

    A flash of red flared directly in front of him, and he was hurled in the opposite direction before the thunderous sound registered in his audio receptors. He hit the ground, bounced, hit again, and screeched to a halt against a building.

    He staggered back to his feet and gazed around himself for a moment, dazed. Another blast to his right shook him back to reality as shrapnel rained down on the street. The train passengers were racing down the street toward him, turned down another street, and disappeared from his field of vision.

    Then he called out, “Blurr! What’s going on?!”

    True to his namesake, Blurr was speeding up and down parallel to the wall, occasionally leaping to astonishing heights in the air, trying to get a better view. “We’vegotDecepticonsintheair! Decepticonsatthegates! Decepticonsatthewalls! Ifwetake’emoutatthegatesthey’llstillbeintheair! Ifwetake’emoutintheairthey’llstillbeatthewalls! DecepticonsDecepticonsDecepticons!”

    As if on cue, the white and red Decepticon Air Commander, Starscream, streaked over the wall, transformed, landed lightly on his feet on top of a building, and deployed a missile launcher from his hand. The Decepticon symbols on both wings gleamed, a menacing sight even from that distance.

    Jazz rolled his head on his neck. “I’ll be paying for this when I’m older,” he grumbled to himself. Three missiles where already screaming through the thin air when he leapt forward, rolled, and converted into his vehicular form. His engine gunned, and he shot under the missiles’ path and into safety. Before he’d even reformed himself into his true form, Blurr had leapt to the top of the building and roundhouse kicked Starscream and raced off again.

    Starscream leaped into the air, performed a perfectly-executed back-flip while converting into his alternate mode, and shot off after the blue racer, who had converted into his own alternate form. Blurr raced into the open air, landed elegantly on the ground, and made a u-turn. Starscream growled, pursuing him with deadly intent, enraged that he could be sucker-punched and then out-sped by a grounded civilian.

    Jazz instantly realized what Blurr’s intent was. He grabbed a shard of blackened metal and waited for his rival to lure Starscream into range. The instant the Decepticon Air Commander passed in front of Jazz, the makeshift spear had already left his hand. It smashed into Starscream’s wing, knocking him off course and into an evacuated store front.

    A shell exploded above Jazz as Blitzwing came to a stop in tank form. He hadn’t even seen the Decepticon descend from over the wall in his jet form. “Maybe I’m not as hot as I thought,” he muttered to himself, returning to his vehicular form and speeding off in the opposite direction.

    “I’ll squash you like the pest you are!” Blitzwing growled, converting back into his jet form. The roar of the Decepticon triple-changer’s engines drowned out the gunning of Jazz’s own, and Blitzwing bore down on the smaller being laughing boastfully. “All of you insignificant pests will serve us or die! It is the right of the superior beings!”

    Jazz sped past traffic signals, directing Blitzwing away from the fleeing civilians. He chuckled to himself as he transformed, grabbed a signpost, swung around the corner of a building and transformed again, racing down a street he knew ran under the magnet train’s tracks. He chuckled quietly to himself, “You just keep on following me, Decepticreep, dig?”

    Jazz could see the tunnel ahead of him. “I’ll tear you apart myself, you insignificant insect!” Blitzwing screamed behind him, gaining more and more ground with each second passed.

    “Almost there…” Jazz muttered to himself, pushing for every last ounce of energy running through his circuits. The silvery ground seemed tarnished by the betrayal of the Decepticons, scorch marks and blast craters blemished the formerly pristine streets, and he felt as if his spark were screaming from the immense effort. He couldn’t hold out forever.

    Just as Blitzwing’s shadow enveloped Jazz’s alternate form, he was shadowed by the tunnel beneath the tracks. “Hah! You think I would be stupid enough to crash into mere train tracks!?” But as he uttered the words, he realized his mistake.

    “No, just stupid enough to get caught between a rock and a hard place!” Jazz laughed, transforming into robot mode. The tips of both of Blitzwing’s wings had left trenches in the sides of the tunnel, and he himself was stuck. His engines blasted at full force, digging him deeper into the metal.

    “RAAAUGH!” Blitzwing screamed, shaking violently with effort, trying to free himself.

    Jazz turned and exited the tunnel on the other side. The sky was dyed red and fires raged throughout the city. Columns of smoke loomed menacingly above. Jazz watched in terror and awe as a silver jet darted through the black veil, transformed, flipped forward in the air, and landed gracefully on a suspended catwalk on the outside wall of one of the Energon refineries.

    “No…” Jazz gasped, and he knew in that instant who the Decepticon was. Megatron roared triumphantly on the catwalk. His hand clenched into a fist and detached from the wrist, dangling from a chain. It began to glow purple as it heated up, and the air above it shimmered like water, distorting the path of light through it.

    Jazz tapped a button on his right arm, and began speaking. “Are there any Autobots within range of the communication? Hello, hello! Mayday!” Jazz called, converting back into his alternate mode. “Any Autobots… at all?”

    On the catwalk, Megatron smashed through the wall with his flail, and was quickly joined by the blue Thundercracker and the black and purple Skywarp. “This cannot be happening…” Jazz said to himself. He felt despair creeping like a virus throughout his body, and prepared himself to take on the enemy himself.

    “State your position, soldier!” came a voice over the communication waves.

    “I am approximately seven blocks from the primary Energon refinery. We got Decepticons like the Quintessons have faces! Who is this?”

    “A friend.” Suddenly, a red blast of energy slammed into Megatron, knocking him from his perch. He transformed in midair, and descended to the street. Optimus Prime leapt from the tracks above Jazz, legs bent and feet facing outward, arms in front in a defensive pose.

    “Leave this place, Megatron. You’ve caused enough damage here,” Prime said. Jazz recognized his voice as the voice from the communication.

    “This Energon will lead us to victory, Prime,” Megatron growled, jabbing a finger at Optimus. “I will not ignore such an opportunity!”

    “Then it must be done,” Optimus declared. His own hand folded back, and an axe flipped forward, heating the air around it. “I will stop you from harming these civilians!”

    Megatron leaped forward, slinging his flail around him. Optimus blocked it with his axe. “Get away, soldier,” he said to Jazz.

    The vision of Cybertron faded as Jazz returned to the present, smashing into the ground and sending up a cloud of dust. Clods of dirt rained down around him as he climbed out of the crater. Optimus, Ratchet, and Ironhide would be somewhere near, but not in the immediate vicinity to avoid attracting attention.

    He surveyed his surroundings, looking for any vehicle to disguise himself as. But there was nothing. The highest limbs of a tree he’d almost smashed were smoldering with embers. Several more were untouched. The dust and dirt thrown around had snuffed out any fires that might’ve started in the thin and haphazardly-distributed grass. Nearby was a dry shallow trench that bore the wavy carvings of water.

    “Just gotta find me a sweet ride,” he said to himself, slipping away silently in the dying sunlight.
  7. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    Chapter 6
    Ironhide grunted as he clambered out of the impact crater left by his entry form. “I’m gettin’ too old for this crap,” he growled, spitting oil onto the sparsely-grassed ground below. His armor was dyed maroon by the sun, a bright red sliver far on the western horizon. The sky was reddened as if the dying sun had left bloodstains streaking across the darkening expanse. The crest on his forehead was slightly dented on the left side, a detail he’d refused to let Ratchet repair after the battle at Kaon. He wanted it to stay that way as a reminder of the Decepticons’ treachery.

    Just another scar among many, all of which he wore proudly, like a medal of honor.

    He surveyed the landscape, desolate, isolated, and lonely. The sand bore the setting sun’s red coat with silent dignity, interrupted only by the scattered cacti and other low-growing desert plants. A wave of nostalgia swept through his wiring, and he shuddered. The shifting red sands continued on for miles to the east, and ended to the near west, where the rendezvous point was. The sand… too much of it… It reminded him too much of the Rust Desert back on Cybertron…

    A stranger barged through the door, babbling in gibberish and gesticulating wildly. His exoskeleton was slashed in places, and loose wiring hung from the wounds, sparking and hissing helplessly, until he finally collapsed. The bartender left his normal position in front of the shelves of bottles and canisters containing rare oils from anywhere one could think of. He knelt down over the newcomer, and calmly asked, “What happened?”

    The stranger could only answer brokenly: “Pi- pira- pi… rat…” His body shuddered and convulsed suddenly, and coolant sprayed from his mouth.

    “Ironhide, get the medical kit,” the bartender said, but it was too late. Before Ironhide stood up from his seat, the stranger’s body went limp, and the light faded from his optics. “Nevermind.”

    “You don’t see something like that everyday,” Ironhide grumbled.

    “Not away from the front lines, you don’t. You shoulda seen all the things the Quints did to my garrison when we were captured. And that was at the start of the war, so there’s no tellin’ what they’ll do now.”

    “You think the Quintessons did this?”

    “What else could have?”

    “Sounded to me like he was saying something about pirates.”

    “Pirates? Out here? No way. Not now, at least. Not anymore. Not since the purge.”

    “I dunno. It’s been ages since the purge. And it couldn’t have wiped ‘em all out,” Ironhide argued.

    “Well, whichever way, I hope they don’t come here.”

    “You know what kinds of guns in the back they give me access to?”

    “No. Which ones?”

    “All of them. Long as I’m shootin’ Quints ‘r outlaws, I got free reign.”

    “Well I’ll be a spawn of Unicron,” the bartender said, returning to his place behind the bar.

    “I’ll call the medical services. They’ll take care of the body,” he said.

    “Good. I don’t want him rustin’ where I take my oil,” Ironhide said, sitting back down. “Got enough troubles with Central Command tryin’ to send me back to the battlefield.”

    “Good ol’ Megatron,” the bartender laughed, “Always puttin’ the war first.”

    Suddenly, a thunderous scream from above the complex drowned out all other noise. The bartender dropped a canister he’d been cleaning, and Ironhide glanced out the window. The noise quieted as a red and white figure outside transformed and alighted, throwing up a cloud of ruddy sand, engines dying.

    The new arrival threw open the door and strode to the bar. “Howdy,” the bartender greeted. “What’ll ya have?”

    “One can of Nebulan.”

    “Comin’ right up,” the bartender said. His torso clicked as it rotated, and he reached up to grab one of the silver canisters labeled, “Nebulan” in bold black lettering. He rotated back toward the customer and handed him the drink. “That’ll be four-point-five credits.”

    “Four-point-five? This is megahighway robbery!”

    The bartender shrugged. “Hey, with the war and all, everything’s goin’ up. You know how much a quartex of Energon costs nowadays?”

    “Last time I checked, three-point-seven-one credits.”

    “Mmm-hmm. Know how much it was when I was your age? We could get a full recharge for point-twenty-five. A night out with the fembots wasn’t even twenty credits. A titanium platter was six-point-five, and a full petrorabbit was five.”

    “Okay, okay. Primus, I didn’t ask for your life story.” The customer took his beverage and took a seat near Ironhide. “You look familiar,” he said. “Like I’ve seen you before.”

    “Uh, no, no. It couldn’t have been me. I’m just a passerby,” Ironhide said.

    “No, no, I swear, I’ve seen you- Oh Primus, you’re him aren’t you?” he snapped his fingers several times, trying to recall the name at the back of his mind. “Ironhide! You’re Ironhide, aren’t you?”

    Ironhide grunted. “Yeah. What of it?”

    “They said on the broadcasts that you took out five Quintesson cruisers at the Battle of Goo! You’re amazing!” He held out his hand and shook Ironhide’s. “My name’s Starscream, by the way. It’s so cool to meet you.”

    “Junk,” Ironhide replied.


    “It was the Battle of Junk. And the Junkions did most of the work.”

    “Oh. So, what are you doing in a place like this? I mean, you must have important military things to do, right?”

    “I’m not at liberty to say,” Ironhide said. In reality, the bar was only a façade. The real purpose of the installation was to store experimental weaponry.

    “What’s the matter, Megatron got your tongue?” Starscream prodded.

    “No, but the Sharkticons got a toe or two.”


    “They’re the Quints’ personal soldiers and guards. In peacetime, they’re used for executions.”

    “Who do they execute?”

    “Everybody. Only guy I know that ever got away from ‘em is Kup, and he’s probably on the other side of the galaxy with Ultra Magnus.”

    “So the Sharkticons got your toe?”

    “They took a whole foot, but I took it back. They only kept a toe or two. That new kid, uh… Ratchet, got me all patched up, but told me I needed to stay out of fire for a while.” Ironhide grunted and tossed back his head, downing the canister of oil in his hand, before slamming it down on the table and wiping his mouth with his wrist.

    “Good stuff, Chaaran,” he said. “Chaar itself might be barren, but it used to be a jungle, filled with animals the likes of which no one’s seen for millions of years. It all went under, though. The oil there’s perfectly aged.”

    “What happened there?” Starscream asked.

    “The Quintessons happened.” Ironhide’s tone suddenly turned grim, his head fell slightly forward, and his shoulders hunched. “They went in and strip-mined the place. Took the dominant species as slaves, exterminated everything else. Left every animal where they killed it. Downed trees to make room for excavation camps. Y’see, Chaar was rich in minerals, and the Quints wanted them. Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for progress. But what they did…” Ironhide trailed off, shaking his head glumly.

    There was a pinging sound and a touch screen was revealed as the bartender’s placemat split in half and retracted. The soft buzzing of a camera focusing, a clicking, and then they could hear it. Engines revved wildly, and something fluttered violently. The ridges above the bartender’s eyes rose, and he felt his spark pulse quickly. “Ironhide, we’ve got pirates.”

    Ironhide exhaled exhaust. He scrutinized Starscream for a moment, analyzing his fighting capabilities, before staying silent for a moment, mulling the situation over.

    Finally, he stood and said, “Like to live dangerously, kid?”

    Starscream jolted upright in his seat, spilling oil all over himself. “Would I?”

    “Come with me. We got any kinda weapon you could possibly dream up down below.” Ironhide turned to the bartender. “Get the cannon ready.”

    The bartender nodded and Ironhide tapped a sequence of numbers into a keypad next to a shelf holding several rows of barrels full of exotic oils. The keypad beeped, and the shelf slid upward on hydraulics into the ceiling, revealing a staircase leading downward into a basement level. Ironhide disappeared down the steps, metal clanking on metal.

    Starscream turned back toward the entrance to the building and staggered backwards in shock. He felt his chest contract in surprise as the entire room shifted its form. Tables retracted into compartments in the floor. The oil shelves retreated into compartments in the walls and ceilings. The open end of the bar swung on a hinge-joint to join with the wall, and monitors in all colors unfolded and revealed themselves. The brown, rusted panels of the walls rotated individually to reveal shimmering titanium plating.

    The bartender wrapped his fingers around a small control panel, and stared apprehensively at the monitors showing views from every camera positioned around the compound.

    Starscream stared at one of the monitors intently. “I don’t see any pirates.”

    “Keep watchin’ kid, they’re there all right,” the bartender replied.

    Starscream nodded, and kept his focus trained on the monitor. All he could see was red sand floating into the air like a cloud. It was almost like a sandsto-

    He saw them.

    There were seven vehicles in all. Three barges and four bikes. The barges were mostly brown with some dark, mossy green symbols painted on them. Sandblasted rails on either side held back about five pirates each. The bikes were a single wheel, driven by operators located in a seat in the center. Machine guns hung off of either side.

    Starscream heard a grunt and turned back to see Ironhide emerge from the basement, arms full of rocket and missile launchers and machine guns. The red warrior tossed a machine gun to Starscream, and sat the others down on the floor. “You know how to work those things?”

    “Don’t you just point and shoot?”

    “Pretty much. They’re automatic. They reload by themselves, so you oughtta do fine,” Ironhide replied.

    Connecting a missile launcher to his lower left arm and a machine gun to his left, Ironhide kicked open the door and charged.

    The desert sand was completely rust. Nobody knew why only this area of Cybertron had rusted, but right now, that was not on Starscream’s or Ironhide’s minds.

    The pirates bore down like a malevolent pincer, fanning out into formation. Ironhide sent a missile directly into the middle barge, sending shrapnel and the occupants flying. The bikes directly adjacent swerved to avoid debris, but otherwise continued directly on course.

    “That oughtta wake ‘em up.” But as soon as Ironhide had voiced his opinion, the crashed pirates were already on their feet, rushing toward the two defenders.

    Starscream raised a weapon, forming a straight line directly at one of the bikes. “What do I do?”

    “Just pull the trigger. But be…” Ironhide began. The sound of a rocket blasting from the black barrel of Starscream’s weapon drowned the remainder of his sentence out, and Starscream slammed back against the now-fortified wall of the outpost.

    “As I was saying, Screamer, careful. Those rocket launchers got a kick.”

    Starscream spat rust spastically. “Ew, ew. It’s in my mouth, it’s in my mouth.”

    A round of returned gunfire immediately brought Starscream back to the fight. Ammunition left a line of charred dots on the metal wall above Starscream’s head. He kneeled down, bracing himself with his legs, and fired again. The rocket hissed through the air, smashing into a bike. A joint in the tread shattered, and the entire thing unraveled from the machine, the machine guns shot off in opposite directions, and the top half of the operator’s body flew backwards. The bike bounced, slamming into the ground and tossing up a cloud of rust, and the bottom half limply fell from the seat.

    “One down!” Ironhide shouted. “Now, if only we could get ol’ Devcon in there to get that cannon firin’.” He raised his left arm and let out a burst of machine gun fire, knocking down several of the pirates encroaching on foot.

    Starscream’s eyes widened, spotting an incoming missile. “Scatter!” he shouted, and threw himself down.

    Ironhide grunted, and tossed himself into the air in front of the missile. Starscream watched in star-struck awe as Ironhide grasped the missile and spun with it in the air, sending it right back at the pirates. Starscream lost track of it, but soon a barge exploded, taking its pirates with it.

    “Seven down,” Ironhide growled.

    Starscream’s jaw fell to his chest. It had all happened so fast, it couldn’t have taken more than one twentieth of a second, but he’d been able to observe every detail. He felt his spark pulse rapidly in its chamber inside his chest, felt the wind whipping rust around his exoskeleton, saw Ironhide spin two hundred degrees and let his grip on the missile expire.

    “’Ey, you can fly, right?” Ironhide called.

    “Yeah. I got my license.” Starscream smiled vainly, Ironhide’s intention lost on him.

    There was a small pause. “Then fly, ya idiot!”

    Starscream’s smile faded and was replaced by a look of urgency. “Right! We’ll take ‘em from the air! We’ll strafe ‘em! We’ll leave ‘em a bomb or two!”

    “Right. Er… you will.”

    “Righ- me?” Starscream squeaked incredulously.

    “Just do it!” Ironhide commanded, letting out another burst of machine gun fire.

    Starscream leapt into the air and shifted his form. His white wings were slightly swept back, and red tail fins formed a V shape. The rocket launcher was positioned directly under the main, triangular body of the jet. Starscream rocketed off, circling out and then back toward the pirates.

    “A little rusty, but he’ll do,” Ironhide muttered to himself, chuckling at his own joke. He watched, satisfied with the young Cybertronian’s prowess as two bikes exploded. “Ten down,” he counted. His scanners showed nine remaining.

    A painful scream carried across the desert back toward Ironhide. “No…” He could barely utter the words as his mind registered the kid on fire, smash into the sand away from the pirates, and stop. Ironhide charged forward, machine gun rattling ammunition off at its maximum rate, downing three pirates, then pause, then a missile took out the last bike.

    “Fourteen down,” he counted. “Five to go.”

    He raised his machine gun to continue the assault, but it only gave a horrifying purr as it spun. He lifted the missile launcher, fired, but realized it was out of ammo, too. “Come on, Devs. Get that cannon up and going.”

    Ironhide sighed in relief when he heard the mechanical whine of panels on the roof retracting, and he dove to the ground as the big gun emerged from its hiding spot. Twin barrels extending from a rectangular box terminated in dark voids, and he could hear the whirring as it heated up, and, faster than his eyes, the first shell smashed into the ground in front of the pirates, sending them all flying in different directions. The explosion was magnificent, glowing orange and red, incinerating the helpless rag-doll pirates and upending their last barge.

    Ironhide ran to Starscream, who had already converted back into his normal form. “Kid, you all right?”

    Starscream coughed and climbed to his feet, swatting out a small flame on his hip and another on his shoulder. “I’m fine.” He wiggled his fingers, lifted one foot off the ground, then the other, then bent one elbow. When he tried to bend the other one, sparks shot from his shoulder.

    “We’ll get you patched up nice,” Ironhide said.

    Starscream’s eyes were wide, but with excitement this time. “Great! I want to be in top form when I get to the air force academy!”

    Ironhide chuckled. “Starscream, when I go back to the battlefields, it’ll be knowin’ that you’re gettin’ yerself ready to do the same. Who’s to say, maybe we’ll be shootin’ down Quints at the same time.”

    Ironhide shook himself out of the past. It had been a long time since the war with the Quintessons ended. And it had been a long time since Starscream had lost his drive to do right. He’d only become vainer, convinced that he had the right to rule Cybertron.

    “I need to stop gettin’ those war flashbacks,” he muttered to himself.

    He scanned his surroundings. Having wandered north from his initial impact point, he was now near a desert road. Not much else had changed.

    There was a soft rumble, like faraway thunder, and he spied the source of the sound: a dark red boxy vehicle. The silver H2 logo was barely visible in the lack of light, even to Ironhide’s optical sensors, but it was there.

    He crouched stealthily behind a large yucca bush until the vehicle passed, heading east. Ironhide stood and walked onto the warm blacktop and shifted his form, parts folding and retracting and extending, until he was nearly identical to the vehicle. The only difference was his license plate, which read “DCPS-RSLG.”

    Ironhide chuckled to himself and said it aloud. “Decepticons are slag.”
  8. Cryptwire

    Cryptwire Cybertronian Engineer TFW2005 Supporter

    Mar 28, 2010
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    Awesome read!!
  9. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
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  10. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

    Jun 25, 2002
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    Diggin' your mixture of Movie/G1/Animated themes. Hope you're continuing this, found myself enjoying it quite a bit (and I'm not a movie fan, so that's saying something).
  11. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
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    Thanks! I am continuing with this, I've just not really gotten down to write the next chapter yet. I've got a solid start for it, so hopefully, it'll pick up sometime this week, since school's almost over. I really hope school won't interfere too much with the next two installments, although I hear the Junior year is the toughest.
  12. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
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    Chapter 7
    Ratchet crept silently through the dark alley. Swirls of oil spiraled slowly in puddles of water in pot holes in the pavement. Trash cans varying in size shape lined both sides, paired gargoyles standing sentry at each rusted door. In the distance, a frightened cat yowled and streaked off into blackness, and a horn blared as it sped across a dimly-lit street. The stars above were mostly obscured by smog reflecting the light from street lights on the opposite sides of the brick buildings.

    The red chevron on his forehead caught a line of clothing hung from one of the towering apartment buildings, and he reached up and delicately removed the string from the point. Even though he would be easy to spot in the darkness, a shimmering white and red figure, there was nobody to do so. The humans were all in their beds, sleeping soundly, aside from a few night owls. According to his internal clocks, it was one hour after midnight, local time, on Sunday night.

    He sniffed and frowned, his olfactory sensors capturing an unpleasant malodor emanating from nearby. His face scrunched, and he waved his hand in front of his nose, dispersing the scent. “I don’t understand how they can live like this. It’d rust even the likes of us,” he said silently to himself.

    No time for exploring, he thought. The rendezvous was fast approaching. Optimus, Jazz, and Ironhide would be on their way if not already in waiting in Archer’s local junkyard. Bumblebee and Prowl would be surveying the area, searching for the source of the signal that had interrupted the transmission being overheard by the bounty hunter Lockdown. Ratchet hoped that any humans targeted by Lockdown would be safe. Lockdown was ruthless in his pursuit of his targets, and there was no reason to assume it’d be otherwise here.

    Either way, Ratchet thought, he needed to find a disguise, and fast. He didn’t like the idea of hiding in this place. It wasn’t just the fact that he wouldn’t be hard to spot- this place reminded him of the backstreets of Iacon, back before the War had broken out.

    Back then, he was studying the mechanics and functions of the Cybertronian body and systems at Iacon University. He had memorized every detail, every crease, every shard, slab, sheet, and plate in the entirety of every Cybertronian’s being. As a result, he had become renowned as the single greatest med-bot on Cybertron. He wasn’t much of a fighter back then, but training under Optimus Prime had proven useful, and it wasn’t rare for the Autobot medic to use a medical tool or two to sever a Decepticon limb.

    He felt the kick to his back almost as if it had just happened. Ratchet collapsed in his mind, slammed to the ground under the weight of another Cybertronian. His superstructure groaned under the pressure.

    Perceptor gasped. “I knew we shouldn’t have come here!” he shouted, before a hand lifted his by his head from the ground and tossed him into a wall. The purple hand seemed familiar to Ratchet, but he couldn’t place it.

    “You nerds shouldn’t have come here. Everybody knows Blitzwing’s territory, and everybody respects Blitzwing,” the attacker growled.

    “We… we don’t have any money!” Ratchet cried.

    “Oh, I don’t want your money. I’ll take my payment from your exoskeletons!”

    In the present, a woman screamed. Ratchet’s head jerked up, alert, and he took in the scent of the area, detecting pheromones, hormones, and molecular residue. His audio sensors indicated fright in the cry. His scanners worked, analyzing every aspect of every object in his field of view. A cat yowled and darted off, leaping out of a trash can and disappearing into the darkness. But there was no sign of the endangered woman.

    Ratchet groaned. What would Prime do? he wondered. What would Optimus Prime do in a situation like this?

    Perceptor groaned, pinned against the metal wall. Ratchet couldn’t move. Blitzwing growled above, hunched over the white and red medical student. Perceptor’s black hand grasped at Blitzwing’s thick, light brown arm, pathetically attempting to pull it away.

    “Wh… what are you going to do to us?” Perceptor rasped.

    The scream came again, and Ratchet was again firmly on Earth, in the present. It was coming from somewhere up ahead. Acting quickly, Ratchet leapt into the air, landed on his hands and vaulted across the open road, rolling nimbly into the next alley. Again the scream came, and Ratchet stood hunched, and hurried lightly toward the source of the sound. He could hear sirens in the distance.

    Perceptor’s answer came promptly. “Nothing, if I have anything to say about it.” Blitzwing was effortlessly tossed away from the two victims by a well-placed kick, slamming against a wall, bounced against the opposite, and hit the ground hard. Megatron stepped into Ratchet’s view. Ratchet was lifted to his feet by another being, and then Orion Pax stepped over to help Perceptor up.

    “I don’t know what you two were doing here, but you must leave immediately,” Pax suggested politely. “Megatron and I will handle this.”

    Dazed, Ratchet nodded, seeing Blitzwing climb to his feet and rush Megatron. Megatron easily side-stepped and tripped him, allowing Pax to tackle him and restrict his movement. “You are nothing but a bully,” Pax declared. Blitzwing struggled to escape in vain.

    “You’re not going anywhere,” Megatron added. “Not until the police arrive. You’re going to be put away for quite some time.”

    Blitzwing only growled in reply, and clawed at the ground, squirming. Megatron lifted his foot and placed it firmly on the back of Blitzwing’s head. He turned and flashed Ratchet a kind smile, and Ratchet took comfort in it. Those two could handle it. Ratchet nodded and turned to Perceptor, gesturing that they should leave. Perceptor nodded in reply, and the two turned and ran back down the alley.

    That’s the last time I’ll ever take the back way, Ratchet thought to himself. The campus’s Energon café wasn’t worth getting pounded on by freaks like Blitzwing.

    Fully confident, Ratchet returned his thoughts to the present. At the peripheral of a lit circle beneath a buzzing streetlight, a woman kicked and slapped at a man trying to abscond with her purse.

    Ratchet leapt forward into the lighted area, revealing himself fully. His right hand folded under into his wrist, and a triangular piece of metal rotated forward, suspended away from his arm by two metal rods. The metal split into multiple segments along its width, spread out along its axis, and compressed into a single blade. The jigsaw began spinning, letting out an unworldly buzz that filled the air.

    Both humans froze, gazing stupidly at this new development. “I believe the phrase is, ‘stick ‘em up’,” Ratchet said.

    Immediately, the criminal bolted, dropping the woman’s purse and running to save himself. His figure quickly disappeared into the murk, footsteps drumming out a frantic rhythm.

    Once the footsteps faded, Ratchet relaxed. “Go ahead, reclaim your belongings. The criminal won’t harm you now. Call your local medical services and have yourself checked for damage.”

    The woman’s eyes grew wider as she realized that this… this thing, this monster was speaking to her… in English. She dropped forward over her purse, grabbed it hastily and scrambled to her feet, and fled as well. Ratchet retreated into the darkness, and began to wait.

    If the human female had followed his advice, a medical transport would be en-route at any moment. It would be his preferred disguise; not only did it match his natural coloration, it fit his function and background, as well.

    The minutes passed quickly before Ratchet’s audio receptors detected the sound of the siren present on most of Earth’s emergency service vehicles. He activated his visual scanners, searching for the source of the sound, no doubt the disguise he’d picked before the Autobots had even landed. He crawled forward, avoiding the light, until he finally spotted it.

    The drivers of the ambulance did not notice the line of green light that flashed over their vehicle, nor did they notice when another, perfectly identical ambulance pulled tentatively out of the alley, and angled its front axle in the opposite direction. The only difference was the red alien symbol painted on the roof, and another molded into the grill.


    G. B. Blackrock yawned deeply, stretching his arms and legs, and downed a cup of black coffee. He glanced at his watch, which read in black digital characters, “1:24 AM.”

    “I understand, sir,” Korosky said, speaking politely into the receiver. “Yes, sir, we’re allowing him. Yes, yes, I know how important it is. Yes, I know- ye- yes. Uh-huh. Good night to you, too.” Korosky sighed and hung up.

    As he passed the long plastic table set up against the wall covered in a mocha-colored fabric, he grabbed a ceramic mug and filled it with the dark caffeinated brew. He sighed and sat at a chair across from Blackrock.

    “The President can’t be let out of his cabin at the back of the plane, and he’s not very happy. If this gets out, it could be his Katrina,” Korosky said.

    “And it may well be my Exxon-Valdez,” Blackrock replied.

    Korosky cleared his throat. “I know. That’s why Washington’s mobilizing the armed forces and is allowing you to go to that school- what is it again?”

    “Archer High School. It’s a small town northeast of Los Angeles. Hell of a football team, though.”

    “I just hope to God we don’t bring anything we don’t want along with us.”

    Blackrock didn’t reply, but yawned and stretched again.

    “White’s fine. The doctor says his hearing’s coming back slowly. He should be fit to lead any military operations we might be forced into against these things, if necessary.”

    “Good. I just hope it doesn’t come to that. My company would be devastated.”

    Korosky rolled his eyes.

    “But what I want to know,” Blackrock continued, “is why you’re so obsessed with destroying these organisms, and why you’re so sure they’re all malevolent.”

    Korosky sighed and bent over to reach for a thick suitcase under his seat. “What you’re about to see is classified above top secret. I’ve been put at the head of the unit investigating these things.” He lifted the suitcase to his lap and flipped open the latches, and slowly opened the case.

    Blackrock’s eyes widened, he sat up straight, and his jaw dropped. Inside the suitcase, held in place by tight rubber restraints, was a head. The head was human-sized, faded-blue metal with red-tinted eyes and razor-sharp teeth. Two black, segmented metal antennae hung menacingly from the top. A faded purple insectoid face was printed between the antennae.

    “We found this in Africa, near the fossilized remains of a very old human settlement. Scorch marks burned into stone around him indicate a very heated battle, and I mean that literally. It would’ve taken plasma to burn stone that darkly and deeply, yet the metal of this head is unmarked. When we analyzed a rogue F-22 that had transformed, we found that the exoskeletal structure is ninety-five percent identical.”

    “Okay,” he stammered, “but why are you so sure they’re hostile?”

    “A few of these early humans were found with shattered bones or bones missing entirely- one had a hole in its skull, and we found more of this guy scattered throughout the village.”

    Blackrock’s face grew grim. He gulped sharply.

    “They’ve been here before, trying to exterminate us before we even began as a race. Now they’re back, and they’re much, much bigger. Seems like they’ve undergone some sort of great upgrade,” Korosky explained.

    “I see.”

    “We need you to go through your speech as planned. Do not give a single indication something may be wrong. As far as the American public is concerned, nothing is happening.”

    Blackrock nodded. He sighed, glanced out the window. “I am death, destroyer of worlds; look upon ye mighty, and despair.”


    “I think I’m going to throw up,” Blackrock groaned.
  13. Kickback

    Kickback Proud father Administrator Super Mod News Staff

    Jun 25, 2002
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    Lovin' it dude :) 

    (Changed the title per your request, btw)
  14. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
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    Thanks! It took me forever to think of a good subtitle.
  15. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
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    Chapter 8
    Bumblebee wheeled slowly into the parking lot at Archer High School, reflecting the soft light of the slowly-rising sun. Birds chattered cheerily in the distance, a steady stream of cars rolled calmly down the highway nearby, and the aroma of cooking bacon, sausage, eggs, pancakes, and multitudes of other breakfast foods filled the air, carried on a light morning breeze, as workers sleepily filed in to work and attended their stoves and deep-fryers.

    Archer High School was a two-story red-brick building. The front entrance was a room walled by glass windows. Massive brick columns stood, holding up an extension of the roof that covered a waiting area where students too young or unlicensed to drive waited for their rides home. Small young trees lined the divisions of the parking lot, swaying gently in the breeze.

    It was a calm atmosphere, much like Cybertron upon the dawn of the War. He saw himself, in third person, walking to work like every day. But the road was empty today. None of Bumblebee’s acquaintances who he passed each day were out. Flyers encouraging eligible citizens to support Megatron’s rise to duumvirship floated lazily in the cool breeze.

    He felt like the coolant in his body was freezing, and he shivered, chilled.

    He saw a Decepticon insignia painted hastily on a building across the road, and felt dread welling up deep within his spark. He shivered again. Everything was silent.

    With the passing of the Matrix came the passing of an era. The Second Golden Age of Cybertron was coming crashing to an end. Bumblebee had heard that the new Prime had formed his own army to counter Megatron’s Decepticons. They were called the Autobots or something.

    He breathed a sigh of relief as he came to the Mixmaster Construction building, his place of employment. “Thank Primus…” he muttered.

    As he approached, his co-workers emerged from the building to greet him. The Constructicons were all a soft green color, with some dark purple, mostly in their joints. Scrapper was stout with short legs and long arms. Long Haul had thick, strong limbs and an armored back. Scavenger, the largest of the group, had a scoop for one arm, one normal arm, and average legs, but his upper body was large and strong. Bonecrusher had long arms and treads on his legs, allowing for speed, and hunched forward angrily at all times. Hightower was squat but massive, concentrated low for balance; much of his back half was dedicated to a crane that folded up outside of his alternate form. Mixmaster, the leader, stood hunched with thin lower legs and long, thin arms covered in plates of armor.

    Bumblebee realized with horror that all six were branded with the symbol of the Decepticons. He hesitated and took one step back. There was a loud crack, and Bumblebee was constricted by a cable. Hightower growled, “Leaving so soon, Bee?”

    Mixmaster held his hand out to his side, and Hightower immediately relaxed the cable.

    Scrapper turned and swatted Mixmaster to the ground. “Megatron made me the leader, remember?” he growled. Mixmaster grudgingly nodded and crawled back to his feet.

    Scrapper turned his attention to Bumblebee, took a friendly step forward. “Bumblebee, I know what you’re thinking. You’re from a very conservative family, I know, and, to you, the launching of the Creation Matrix was Primus’s word, and of course, Primus’s word is law.” Scrapper held both hands casually out to each side. “But you’ve got to understand, what Megatron has in store for Cybertron… Oh, it’ll be wonderful. We’ll become the great empire we were always meant to be.” Scrapper’s demeanor was persuading, familiar. He put a hand on Bumblebee’s shoulder.

    “Come on, Bee, look at the future. With the Creation Matrix back in our possession, we’ll be able to take this universe for our own, and the flag of Cybertron will fly on every planet in existence.” Scrapper pulled closer to Bumblebee, wrapping his arm around Bumblebee and gesturing grandly.

    “Scrapper, I don’t…” Bumblebee hesitated at each word, stumbling through his own vocabulary. He looked pleadingly at his friend, wanting desperately for this to be some sort of joke, a hoax.

    “Bee, if you don’t join the Decepticons… we’ll have to force you, and you know that I don’t want to hurt such a valuable employee.

    “Scrapper, I can’t… I couldn’t possibly…”

    “Bee, this is how it will be, whether you want it that way or not.” A panel on either of Scrapper’s arms opened, and whips uncurled and fell to the ground, suspended from the new Constructicon leader’s wrists.

    A large form dropped from above suddenly, knocking Scrapper away from Bumblebee, sending him skidding toward the other Contructicons. Sparks shot from under his body until he stopped at Scavenger’s feet.

    “It will be however the young one wants,” the form boomed.

    Bumblebee took an awe-struck step backwards, fell on his backside, and continued to stare up. Optimus Prime stood heroically over the young Cybertronian, poised to defend. The harsh sunlight gleamed off of his red and blue armor. He held his fists in front of him, elbows in, feet spread at shoulders’ width.

    Scrapper leapt back to his feet and charged forward. Optimus sent him slamming into a wall with a well-placed roundhouse kick to the chest plate. “You’ll stand in the way of progress to preserve one insignificant young being?”

    “For a friend!” Prime declared. “Any Cybertronian who defies the Decepticon cause is a friend of mine! If I must, I’ll take you all on!”

    “Happy to oblige,” Bonecrusher said, extending blades from his fingertips.

    “But you’re never happy…” Scavenger said.

    Bonecrusher shot his larger teammate a dirty look before all five Constructicons rushed forward. Optimus slammed his fist into Long Haul’s torso, sending him stumbling backward. Hightower launched a cable at Prime, who took it in his hands and ducked low, using it to bring the massive Scavenger crashing to the ground before whipping Hightower off his feet.

    Bonecrusher knocked away his larger comrades and charged at Prime, whipping his arms around, fists carving bluntly through the air. Prime flipped nimbly over the raging Constructicon, placed his palm firmly between his shoulders, landed lightly on his feet, and shoved hard. Bonecrusher lost his balance and fell face-first into the sidewalk, skidding on metal.

    “You are inexperienced. I do not wish to cause you further harm. Let us leave and we will do so in peace,” Prime stated.

    Mixmaster laughed, then wheezed, then coughed into his clenched fist. “You think it’ll really be that easy?” He produced a vial containing a glowing green substance with shimmering red swirls spiraling throughout the mixture, and tossed it carelessly.

    Prime jumped back, knocking the rising but unaware Constructicons away, as the vial shattered on the sidewalk, causing a small explosion. Smoke billowed even as the flames cleared, and a hissing reached Prime’s audio receptors. As the breeze carried the smoke away, Prime could see a hole in the metal growing larger, as the hissing continued. Acid.

    Scrapper rose and charged Prime from behind, but Prime reacted quickly, turning and holding the Constructicons’ new leader’s arms apart, restricting his movements, and then, with a flick of his wrist, used Scrapper’s own whips to knock a second vial out of Mixmaster’s hand. Mixmaster grunted, climbed back to his feet, and repositioned his armor to resemble a riot shield, which seemed to grow until Prime realized Mixmaster was charging.

    Prime shoved Scrapper aside, and dodged around Mixmaster just as Scavenger and Bonecrusher clambered to their feet, and all three collapsed in a heap in the ground.

    Long Haul took a tentative step toward the Matrix holder. Prime simply looked into his optics, and Long Haul was folding, rotating and bending, forming a material transport vehicle, about the height of Prime’s waist. The Decepticon shivered in fear.

    Prime turned to see Scrapper rise once again and charge, this time followed by the rest of his team. Prime launched himself into the air, vaulting over the smaller Constructicons and landing on Scavenger’s shoulders. “Constructicons, we must unite!” the massive Construction worker dumbly suggested.

    “Quiet, you fool!” Mixmaster hissed.

    “That’s supposed to remain secret!” Scrapper said.

    Taking advantage of the momentary distraction, Prime shifted his weight forward, then backward, then forward again, then backward again, then forward one last time, before he jumped, landing at the precise instant that Scavenger collapsed on top of his teammates with a solid thump.

    “Oh, forget this!” Long Haul declared. “It’s like every five minutes, it’s a bomb or something!” he yelled. Then, quietly, but clearly annoyed: “I’m leaving!” With that, Long Haul gunned his engine, and lurched down the road, retreating.

    From beneath Scavenger’s incapacitated form, Scrapper grumbled. “Lazy hunk of slag.”

    Optimus Prime turned gravely to Bumblebee. “Are you injured?”

    Bumblebee didn’t answer at first. He realized his mouth was opened, and he quickly shut it. He stood, gazing, awestruck, at this masterful fighter, this Primus-sent hero. He stuttered something gibberish, stumbling over words, but couldn’t pull together any comprehensible sentence.

    Prime repeated his question: “Are you injured?”

    “N… No. No, sir,” Bumblebee finally answered.

    Optimus retracted his mouth plate. “Good. I am… pleased to hear it,” Prime said hesitantly.

    “Who are you?” Bumblebee asked.

    “I am Optimus Prime, and I have been chosen by the Matrix of Leadership to lead Cybertron in this darkening time.”

    Bumblebee up gazed into Optimus’ face in awe.

    “We must leave before these Decepticons are able to reactivate,” Optimus suggested, lowering himself and converting into his streamlined red and blue alternate form.

    “Uh… Right,” Bumblebee responded, converting into his own, much smaller vehicular form.

    “I just… don’t understand it. The Constructicons haven’t really ever been the best guys, but they weren’t ever evil,” Bumblebee said.

    “Megatron has that effect,” Prime replied darkly. “But for now, let us retreat to Protihex. The Decepticons have no influence there.”

    Their engines revved, and Bumblebee found himself returning to the present situation. The birds were silent, and dogs barked viciously and mercilessly somewhere nearby. The grass undulated lightly in the gentle breeze, making quiet whispering noises, but otherwise, a silence had fallen across the area that seemed as if it could be heard thousands of miles away.

    In the warm sunlight, Bumblebee felt a chill. He silently put himself back into gear and wheeled around to a side parking lot, out of sight from the main lot.

    That was when the tension was broken. A loud engine gunned. Bumblebee stuck the nose of his vehicle form around the red brick corner, just enough to see. He immediately pulled back out of view; the visible Autobot sigils on his driver’s side door and trunk retracted into the vehicle’s faux fiberglass exterior and were instantly veiled by a holographic representation of the spaces on the template car.

    The other car, the intruder, was dark green with some neon green, red-orange headlights, red-tinted windows, and was covered in spikes. Spikes reached from each hubcap, lined each fender, and hung menacingly from both bumpers. Four short spikes curved upward and backward from the roof. This muscle car, so heavily modified, obviously didn’t quite fit with the smoother, more aerodynamic models so prevalent on this planet.

    “Lockdown…” Bumblebee whispered. If only Prowl were here, Bumblebee thought. He could radio his mentor, who was scouting the city for Decepticons, at any moment, but it would alert the bounty hunter to his location.


    Starscream circled above a remote field. He converted into his true form, and slowly descended, totally focused on his Decepticon team below. A light brown and purple tank, a desert-camouflaged tank, a dark gray military helicopter, and a tan mine-protected vehicle all shifted and moved, millions of pieces reconfiguring their positions to reveal themselves as Decepticons.

    The light brown one stood first. Wing-like structures hung from his shoulders, and the barrel of a cannon stood erect behind his head. He smirked, and the red light glowing from his visor grew brighter briefly, and then dimmed to normal again. Boosters to be used in an aerial alternate form became the heels, lifted and held off the ground by panels that slid forward and rotated and condensed, as feet. The Decepticon symbol was like a gargoyle perched in the center of Blitzwing’s chest.

    The next tank rose. Rounded rectangular plates above both eyes on its square head were angled downward at the center, and its mouth was angled downward as well, giving the impression of pent-up rage and anger. The cannon swung around under its right arm, resting adjacent to the hip structure. Two toes on each foot dug anxiously into the dried and dead grasses. Three main clawed digits hung from either arm, with smaller clawed digits branching away.

    The helicopter’s blades split into two groups of three, and the rotor split as well, eventually coming to rest on the lower arms of this massive Decepticon. Missiles, rockets, and machine guns all shifted and rotated, becoming parts of the shoulders, the chest, the legs, and the wrists. Triggerhappy stood approximately thirty-five feet tall, enabling him to loom over even Megatron’s shoulders. He twitched slightly, one optic appearing to shrink for a second. He issued a crazed cackled.

    The final Decepticon’s roof split laterally before the rest of the mine-protected vehicle began to join the ordered chaos. This Decepticon’s feet were wheels suspended from the ground by clawed “toes” in a digitigrade manner. The long, slender arms terminated in hook-like claws at the ends of eight fingers on each hand. Ransack stood hunched, his head shifting constantly, scanning the area.

    “I know what’s wrong with Triggerhappy,” Blitzwing scoffed, “but why in Primus’s name are you twitching, Ransack?” Both Blitzwing and the imposing Wreckage laughed degradingly.

    Starscream glared angrily at the unruly Decepticon. “Blitzwing, remember well! Megatron only pardoned you to be in his army.”

    “I know,” Blitzwing growled in reply.

    “And this isn’t Megatron’s army at present, or am I wrong?”

    Blitzwing stared downward. “You are correct, Starscream…”

    “I am correct, who?”

    Blitzwing gave a heavy sigh. “You are correct, Lord Starscream.”

    “Good,” Starscream said, his face melting into his usual manipulative grin. “Decepticons, as you know, the bounty hunter Lockdown has been tracking down a possible source of information on Megatron’s whereabouts.” Starscream turned and began pacing, hands held clasped behind his back. “It pleases me to say, he is almost successful.”

    “Almost successful?” Ransack repeated. “So that means we won’t have to fight? I can just go ahead and have the usual, you know, pillage rights?” Ransack spoke in a raspy voice, almost a paranoid whisper. He twiddled his thumbs nervously.

    Starscream glared at Ransack. “Do not interrupt me, do you understand?”

    Ransack nodded promptly.

    As I was saying,” Starscream hissed, “Lockdown will soon obtain this source of information, which was located by Soundwave. We will then approach the coordinates specified and engage any being who stands in our way. We will recapture Megatron, and all of Cybertron will be led into a new, glorious golden age!”

    Starscream turned away from the Decepticons, pretending to stare into the distance. “But I will be the ones to lead them there, not Megatron. Once I’ve destroyed Optimus Prime…” he whispered to himself, before turning back to face his troops.

    “The day of the Autobots is ended; the sun now rises on the time of the Decepticon,” Starscream declared, gesturing grandly as he always did when ending dramatic orations.

    “All hail Megatron! All hail Starscream! All hail the Decepticons!” the other Decepticons chanted.

    Starscream smirked evilly.


    Lockers clanged open and shut as students removed and replaced text books, added last-touches of makeup to their faces, or high-fived and cracked jokes amongst each other. Spike shoved a green English text book into his locker and produced a red-orange Algebra book. Chip wheeled up and yawned, stretching his arms.

    Spike glanced out the window for a moment, noticing an odd green muscle car covered in spikes.

    “You won’t need that,” Chip reminded Spike, but Spike had already slammed his locker shut.

    “Oh right. I totally forgot, man.” Spike turned back to the tiny metal storage unit, turned the dial three times to the right, twice to the left, and one last time to the right before opening it again.

    “I don’t understand how. I mean, the ramifications of the Blackrock message imply…” Spike quickly placed a hand over Chip’s mouth and shushed him.

    “It’s top-secret, remember, smarty-pants?”

    “Right,” Chip said as Spike removed his hand. Spike nodded, and replaced the Algebra book and shut the locker, before turning and walking down the hall toward his Algebra classroom, with Chip in tow.

    He sat in his desk, quietly drumming the plastic made to look like wood, anticipating the bell. He hummed to himself, before something caught his eye.

    Carly walked in the room, dressed in jeans and a blue t-shirt, her long blonde hair held back out of her face by a matching headband. People in the hall stared at this abrupt change, pointing and whispering in groups of two and three. Carly looked downward slightly, holding a book against her chest and her purse hanging from her shoulder. She sat without a word.

    Spike turned to her. “Hey.”

    “Hey,” she said quietly. “I look horrible, don’t I?”

    “No… no.” Spike replied. “I think you’re beautiful.”

    Carly blushed. “Thank you. I just… I decided to finally be myself for once.”

    “Well I like it.” Spike smiled.

    The bell rang, and Spike turned back to face the front of the classroom, as the teacher shut the door and then positioned himself in the center of attention. “Now, class,” he said, “for some reason, your principal has deemed it ‘necessary’ for you all to miss out on some very important mathematics to attend this assembly.”

    There was a cheer or two from the class. The teacher looked annoyed. “Chip, I want you to keep a list of all the trouble-makers in addition to your normal aid duties from now on.”

    “Yes sir.”

    “Everybody stand up and I will lead you to the auditorium.” Following the teacher’s instructions, each student stood and all were led in single-file down the hall and down a flight of stairs, where they joined the major body of students slowly drifting into the auditorium.

    The auditorium was a two-story tall room with two and a half thousand seats enveloped in a rough red fabric. The air conditioners loudly blew frigid air into the open space, and students shivered in the back, while beads of sweat rolled down the necks and faces of students toward the front. Spike quickly took a seat at the end of one row, and Carly sat down beside him. Chip quickly wheeled himself up on the open side.

    Once everybody had been seated, the lights dimmed and the curtains on-stage parted, revealing the principal standing proudly behind a podium. The principal was a heavyset man, bald on top, with a thin, curly mustache. His skin was tinted red.

    “Oh boy, it’s Principal Pompous,” Carly commented. Spike and Chip snickered.

    “Students of Archer High School, you are almost finished with your course of education, and will soon be cast out into the real world. You will all face challenges. Some of you may not be able to overcome these challenges, but you all have the ability to do so. Unfortunately, the idea is prevalent amongst your generation that you are unable to change your current state, or nobody wants you to, or somebody is preventing you from doing it. Some of you are simply too lazy to do it,” the principal said. Carly, Spike, and Chip all rolled their eyes. It was the same thing they’d been told every year. It was tiring, and hearing about how bad you and your peers were thought to be was annoying.

    “Therefore, the good faculty and staff of your school, as well as this fine city’s equally fine government, have allowed you, nay, brought this famous businessman to speak to each and every one of you, in order to instill within you all the motivation to do your absolute best and use your individual valuable skills. Now please, help me welcome Mr. G. B. Blackrock, Chief Executive Officer of Blackrock Industries, Limited!”

    Applause drowned out all other sound as Blackrock graciously waved, a large, friendly smile on his face, and walked to the podium. Spike felt a tiny prick on the back of his neck, and turned his head to look for the source. He saw Trent and his goons laughing and high-fiving, Trent holding a paper tube. When they saw Spike looking back at them, he loaded another tiny ball of paper and launched it with a burst of air. This one hit him in the center of the forehead. Spike turned back to the front, crossed his arms, and sunk down in his chair. Carly glared angrily at the four boys.

    “Thank you,” Blackrock said as the applause died down. “It pleases me so much to see so many smiling faces, ready to take on the world.” Blackrock chuckled. “You know, when I was in school, we had to walk uphill both ways, barefoot, and in driving rain, freezing snow, and blistering sun.”

    When nobody said a word, Blackrock said, “I’m joking, of course.” At this, the principal issued a hearty, though fake, laugh, and clapped his hands and stomped his feet, his face reddening even more than normal.

    “I didn’t think his face could get any redder,” Spike joked.

    Carly laughed out loud. “Good one,” she whispered. The two locked eyes for a moment, before Carly jerked her head back to face forward and blushed. Spike shrugged and looked forward as well.

    “I graduated from a school in Los Angeles in nineteen-eighty-five. Back then, hair was big, music was loud, and greed was good. They told me I was a genius when it came to technology, and I was. I began building and selling computers from my parents’ garage when I was eighteen. As I continued to construct these machines, I learned more about them, and grew better and better at what I did, and my computers increased in quality with each passing year. Eventually, I had to buy my own building and hire my own employees. By nineteen-ninety, I had made my first million, and by two thousand, I found myself at the head of a corporation known as Blackrock Industries. Today, my corporation is a multi-billion dollar business, and we manufacture thirty percent of the world’s computer technologies.”

    There was scattered applause. Spike felt another wad of paper hit the back of his head, but ignored it.

    “But this isn’t about my success story. This is about you. I just happened to have that particular skill. The truth is, no matter how much you deny it, that we all have a certain skill we can use for not only the betterment of mankind, but for the betterment of ourselves and our own lives. Perhaps one is exemplary at repairing bicycles. Perhaps one is skilled at the arrangement of plants. No matter what your skill is, it is imperative that you use this ability to your own advantage…”

    Spike’s eyes flickered shut, then open. He fell in and out of sleep as Blackrock droned on, repeating his point about skills and abilities… It was so… boring… Spike’s eyelids felt very heavy…

    He felt Chip jab him sharply in the ribcage with his elbow. “Spike, we gotta get up there to him!”

    Spike glanced at his watch. Almost forty-five minutes had passed since the assembly had begun. Spike guessed that the bell would ring in-

    The bell came sharply, shaking the sleep out of Spike. He stood abruptly, and tried to get through the flow of people in time to catch Blackrock’s attention as he apologized for taking up the whole period. Chip held fast to the armrest on Spike’s now-vacant seat. Carly looked confused.

    It was too late. Blackrock cleared the stage, and the principal announced that students should go to fifth period.

    Spike felt a sudden, sharp pain in the back of his head that knocked him forward. He spun around to see Trent winding up for another punch. Carly screamed at him to stop, and Chip wheeled himself around Trent in front of Spike.

    “If you want to get to him, you gotta go through me,” Chip said hesitantly.

    Trent simply laughed and knocked Chip’s wheelchair over, spilling the paraplegic into the emptying path. By now, a group of students had surrounded the three, chanting, “Fight, fight, fight, fight…”

    Carly slipped between Trent and Spike, holding the two apart. “Trent, stop this!” she pleaded. Trent grabbed Carly’s arm, and Carly slapped him in the face, leaving a bright red handprint on his cheek.

    The circle of students abruptly cleared as the Algebra teacher shooed them away. His face was red. “You four… detention… my room… after school,” he fumed.

    “Wait, but Mr. …” Carly began.

    “I do not want to hear it, young lady. You know fighting is prohibited in this school.”

    Carly stood, aghast. “But… I’ve never had detention before in my life… I’m not gonna get to go to the dance now… I’ll be grounded for a month…” she trailed off as Spike helped Chip back into his wheelchair.

    “Carly, I’m sorry,” Spike said.

    “It’s okay,” Carly replied quietly. “It’s not your fault.”
  16. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    Chapter 9
    The air conditioner vainly puffed cool air into the classroom. Spike, Carly, and Trent each sat at different corners of the grid of desks that took the majority of space in the room. Chip sat in his wheelchair, next to the desk closest to the door. The teacher sat at his desk amongst stack of paper, quietly grading the latest test.

    Spike glanced at his watch. 4:15. Fifteen more minutes, and he could leave. He gazed lazily out the window, taking in the detail of the outside of the school. He could see the baseball field, empty at this time of year, the football field, where most of the football team was running drills and practices, and the track, where groups of two and three athletes sped past older couples enjoying the fresh air.

    He noticed a dark blue and white police car drive slowly, unthreateningly, up the drive toward the parking lot. There was an odd purple symbol painted on the hood, with a slash that ran deep in the metal, albeit not deep enough to expose the engine concealed beneath. Under that symbol was a smaller, red symbol, but Spike was unable to make it out in detail because of the size.

    Spike wiped sweat from his brow on the back of his arm. “I don’t get how it can be so hot in October.”

    “They said there was a heat wave about to hit,” Carly answered coldly.

    Spike glanced at Carly, then shrugged, and returned to his isolation.

    “No talking,” the teacher said absently.

    Trent belched loudly, and Carly turned toward him, glaring daggers. Trent shrugged at her, and winked suggestively, mouthing, “We gotta get sensational.”

    Carly tried not to laugh in shock and at Trent’s bombastic vocabulary, but what he’d meant disgusted her, so she looked away, opened her text book, and began reading.

    Chip leaned on the desk he sat next to, propping his head up with one arm and drumming his fingers slowly.

    The teacher slammed his hand down on his larger desk, startling the four students in the room. “You’d think that they’d be able to come up with an air conditioner that, y’know, conditions air,” he sighed, shaking his head.

    The four students furrowed their brows, shrugged, and returned to their damp stupors.

    Carly unzipped the backpack hanging from her chair, produced a sheet of lined paper, and folded it in alternating opposing directions, creating a make-shift fan, and waved it slowly, in wide arcs, in front of her face.

    The school phone, located on the wall next to the door, rang; each person checked their own cellular phone before realizing which phone was issuing the noise. The teacher stood and walked to the phone, and answered it.

    “Yes. They’re all still here… Oh my God, really? Really? His father? Yeah, okay. I’ll be right down.” He hung the phone back on the hook and turned to face Spike, Carly, Chip, and Trent.

    “Well, the famed Sparkplug,” the teacher sneered, “is here to rescue Son.”

    Trent laughed. The others shot him glares. The teacher looked pleased with himself.

    “Everybody get your things. I need you to follow me quietly and orderly, IF you can manage.”

    All four students groaned, and all but Chip reached to grab their bags and hoisted them up on their backs. Chip’s bag hung from the back of his wheelchair, as it was normally. They filed out the door one at a time, and the teacher flicked off the lights and shut the door behind him.

    Chip stopped halfway down the hall at the elevator, which opened immediately after the “down” button was depressed. The other four continued on, marching down the warm hall, then down the main stairway beneath large skylights, through which sunlight poured mostly unhindered and contributed to the uncomfortable temperatures.

    Chip met them at the bottom. They could already hear Sparkplug Witwicky shouting angrily at someone.

    They rounded a corner, where they found Sparkplug standing in the main office, the door thrown wide open, red-faced and gesticulating wildly and rapidly. “So you’re telling me my son is being punished for defending himself?” he said indignantly. “If anything, you should be punishing the other guy for starting the fight in the first place!” He pounded his palm onto the counter, causing the three secretaries attending the office to jump. Sparkplug turned and exited the office, stopping within an inch of the teacher.

    “So you’re the ass hole whose decision it was to put Spike in time-out for standing up for himself and his handicapped friend,” he said, jabbing his forefinger angrily into the teacher’s chest.

    “Mr. Witwicky, this school does not allow physical conflict of any kind on these premises.”

    “My son was not at fault.” Sparkplug pointed at Trent. “This is the one that instigated the whole thing, right? Why not put his in in-school suspension or something? Surely you have something like that?”

    “Mr. Witwicky, I can tell you with confidence, I saw strikes being thrown from both sides. If I were to put one of these kids in ISS, I’d have to put them all in ISS.”

    “Strikes from both sides, eh? Well, prove it. I know my son. He wouldn’t throw a punch unless somebody was really going to get hurt. Throwing Chip out of his wheelchair might hurt him, but it wouldn’t be enough to get Spike to throw a punch.”

    The teacher sighed. “Fine. I’ll see if security’s got the tapes. We’ll see who’s right then.” With that, the teacher turned and rounded a corner, disappearing from sight.

    “This is bull,” Sparkplug said.


    “I mean, you can’t punish someone for sticking up for someone else!”


    “Seriously! I mean it!”



    “I think you’re over-exaggerating. I mean, first, it’s I’m defending Chip, then it’s I’m not doing anything.”

    “Well, what did you do?”

    “Dad, I didn’t touch the guy,” Spike explained.

    “The guy? I’m right here, you moronic monkey!” Trent said, a smug smile on his face, clearly happy with himself.

    Spike, Chip, Carly, and Sparkplug all gave him a weird look, then returned to the issue at hand.

    “Yeah, Mr. Witwicky. I stepped in to try and stop them from fighting, but Trent just spilled me out into the walkway,” Chip added.

    “And I slapped him,” Carly said.

    Spike turned to Carly. “You didn’t have to. I mean… I could have.”

    “Yeah, but you didn’t…”

    “What if I did?” Spike said, smiling broadly.

    “You mean… No, Spike! Don’t take the blame. It was my fault. I shouldn’t have gotten you involved.”

    “I got myself involved, Carly,” Spike said. “I’ll tell your dad that it was my fault, ‘cause it was. I’ll tell him I hit Trent, but the teacher didn’t believe it, because I’m usually a timid guy.”

    Carly rolled her eyes. “Spike, my father has only the highest expectations for me, both academically and in conduct. I have to face up to the consequences, even if it means I can’t go to the dance… I’ll have to return my dress.”

    “Oh, can we cut the crap? Carly, you know you want me, and me only” Trent chimed in.

    The four others looked over at Trent, and in unison, said, “Shut up, Trent.”

    Spike looked back at Carly. “I know you wanted to really impress everybody. I know how much it means to you, and I want you to go.”

    “Spike, that’s really sweet, but I can’t let you take all the blame…”

    “So now it’s all the blame?” Spike smiled. “So you admit it’s not all your fault.”

    “You just did the same,” Carly said.

    Spike moved closer to Carly. “Look, I’ll take care of it.” He glanced over at the glass entry hall. “I’ll take my car… My car… My car...” Spike trailed off.

    “Oh my God… My car!” Spike shouted, shoving everybody out of the way as his own car smashed through the front glass doors, sending shards flying. The car rolled in the air before hitting the ground, rolling once more, and slammed hard into a brick wall. One wheel fell off.

    “Jesus,” Sparkplug said, climbing back to his feet.

    “What on Earth?” Chip said.

    Carly pointed out through the now-gaping hole. “Look!” she said in terror.

    Outside, a tall, slender figure loomed maliciously. The details were mostly washed out by the harsh sunlight, but Spike could see that it was mostly green, with some lighter green and some brown. A wicked hook gleamed at the end of one arm. Glowing red eyes glared directly at the five humans. It vaguely resembled the spiky muscle car Spike had seen earlier in the day.

    Trent let out a high-pitched scream and bolted toward the cafeteria. Spike let his glance follow for a moment before he returned his attention to the monster, which was now stooping to enter the front doors.

    “Good God, what is that?”

    “I am a bounty hunter,” the thing answered. He pointed at Chip, coming into the main lobby of the building. “And you have something I want.”

    Spike and Chip glanced at each other. “The laptop…” Their eyes widened.

    Spike could feel the vibrations pulsing through the ground with each step the monster took. He could see the spinning and churning mechanisms inside the monster’s metal armor. He could smell the exhaust fumes emanating from inside it.

    The monster seemed to well up like the ocean in front of the terrified humans, like an inevitable disaster waiting for the perfect moment to occur.

    “Lockdown!” said a gruff voice from behind. Suddenly, the monster was tackled to the ground beside the humans by another monster. This one was white with dark blue stripes, and…

    “Protect and Serve?” Spike read incredulously. The police motto was printed plainly on the new monster’s wings, which highly resembled the doors on the police car he’d seen earlier. The blue glow of its eyes was almost reassuring.

    The first monster slammed its elbow into the face of the second, knocking it away. Spike could now see the purple symbol with the slash through it, and the tiny red symbol below it, on the monster’s chest. The second monster stood, spat what looked like oil onto the floor, and launched itself into the air, executing a jump kick like a master of some martial art.

    The first monster blocked the kick with its hook arm, and then let off a few rounds with the machine gun mounted on its other arm. The second monster leapt effortlessly over the ammunition, landing lightly on his feet and dropping to the ground. It spun, delivering a roundhouse kick directly to the first monster’s feet, knocking it off balance.

    “It’s been a long time Prowl,” the first monster said, flashing a menacing smile.

    “Not long enough if you ask me, scum,” the second responded, before directing its attention to the frightened humans, who had backed against the wall in a huddle. “Run!”

    Spike felt his heart leap into his throat. The monster had spoken to him! It had said something… something… Then it registered in Spike’s mind, and he was instantly bounding off toward around the corner, pulling Carly and Chip along with him.

    He lost his grip on Chip’s wheelchair and fell against the ground hard. He looked back, hearing Chip’s screams, and gasped when he saw the first monster- the evil monster, he decided- grasping the metal rods in the back of the chair, pulling Chip back toward it.

    “You didn’t really expect you’d be getting away with this?” it growled, letting out a condescending laugh.

    The monster tore away the outer pocket of Chip’s backpack, spilling folders and papers, before ripping out the laptop, holding it carefully in his cold, alien fingers. It promptly let go of the wheelchair, and Chip hurdled forward, pulled along by Sparkplug. The four humans shook with fright, wide-eyed, huddled around the corner.

    Prowl shook his head. “Nobody ever keeps running,” he griped.

    Spike took one tentative step toward the evil monster, Carly grasping desperately on his sleeve. “Give that back! There’s nothing on there that you need!”

    Sparkplug turned to Chip. “What’s he doing?”

    “Well, sir,” Chip said, hesitantly, “We kind of… hacked a Blackrock Industries transmission.”

    “You- you what?”

    “I did it. That’s why we didn’t see Trent coming. We were going to ask Blackrock himself about it, and he just… snuck up on us.”

    “But what does that have to do with monsters or whatever the hell this is?”

    “The transmission said something about valuable experimental technology or something. Maybe that’s why that thing wants it. And it looks to me like the other one really doesn’t want him to get it.”

    Sparkplug turned back to look at his son. “Oh my God. My son’s an idiot hero!”

    “Who’s gonna make me?” the evil monster sneered.

    A flash of yellow and a burst of air marked the entrance of a third monster. This one flipped nimbly, lightly grabbing the laptop away from the first. The yellow monster took a defensive stance in front of the humans.

    “You’ll have to go through me first!” it shouted.

    A roundhouse kick to the face sent the yellow monster, which was smaller than the other two, sprawling to the ground, gingerly guarding the laptop in its hands. The white monster grabbed the evil one from behind, and tossed it into the stature of the school mascot, shattering the marble figure of a roman soldier.

    Carly yanked Spike back to relative safety, and they embraced. Carly quickly realized what was happening, and backed away, blushing.

    The evil monster leapt to its feet immediately, and, as the yellow monster rushed at it, grabbed under his chest with its hook, and tossed the yellow monster aside.

    “Bumblebee, get them out of here!” the white monster commanded.

    The yellow monster sighed, and rolled away from the green monster, ducking agilely beneath another blow with the claw. He stopped in front of the humans, facing the gaping hole where the glass doors had once stood, and moved.

    But it didn’t move in the traditional sense. Millions of pieces, segments, and parts rotated, shifted, flipped, and spun, and the monster transformed- literally transformed!- right before their very eyes. This monster, this alien, this… whatever it was, had taken the shape of a yellow sports car with black racing stripes, and that red symbol like the one on the white monster tampographed in several places.

    The passenger door opened by itself, and the seat leaned forward. “Get in!” it said.

    Spike hesitated. He had no idea what was going on. It was all so confusing. It was pure chaos!

    “Well, I’d rather go with the one that may discreetly want to kill us than the one that wants to do it openly!” Sparkplug decided, helping Chip into the back seat. The trunk popped open, and Spike jumped forward, folding the chair and placing it inside. He noticed the laptop sitting undamaged on the floor a few feet away, realized the yellow monster must’ve sat it down before attacking the green one, dove for it, and grasped it firmly.

    The driver’s side door opened, and Spike jumped in, buckling his seat belt as the door shut itself. He passed the laptop back to Chip, who took it, nodding gratefully, and then buckled himself.

    “Everybody have their seatbelts on?” the monster asked. When nobody answered, it said, “Just kidding! I know you all do! Get ready, you’re all in for a wild ride!”

    With that, the monster screeched off, leaving black tire marks on the faux-marble floor, and all four humans felt themselves being pressed backwards against their seats. The engine gunned dramatically, and the monster raced out through the doors into the red sunlight.

    Prowl lunged forward, swinging himself around Lockdown’s leg, and sighed in relief as Bumblebee disappeared from sight. He swept around, bowling the bounty hunter over.

    Lockdown clambered to his feet, brushed himself off with his good hand, and glared at Prowl. “Looks like I’ll have to deal with you before completing the job after all. That’s a first.”

    “Here’s another first: you’re not gonna get that chance!” Prowl leapt into the air, landing a flying kick at the center of Lockdown’s chest plate, which had been the roof of his vehicle mode.

    Lockdown grunted. “I got a few tricks up my sleeve!” Lockdown’s feet lifted into the air, pulling the rest of his body with him, slamming into Prowl and knocking the Autobot to the ground.

    Lockdown put his entire weight on Prowl’s chest, causing his superstructure to groan in protest. Prowl grasped at Lockdown’s ankle, trying to jerk it away, to get free, but Lockdown pressed harder, using the ceiling for leverage.

    The ceiling… Prowl’s optics widened as the thought came to him. The hissing of fuel igniting came like nails on a chalkboard to Lockdown’s audio receptors, but he was too slow to prevent the missile launching from Prowl’s shoulder launcher and screeching up past him, destroying much of the ceiling above. Desks and chairs fell through the hole, scattering pencils, erasers, and other objects all around the floor.

    Lockdown balled his normal hand into a fist as Prowl leapt to his feet, using the momentum to increase his own punch’s force. Prowl jerked his head to the side, barely dodging the blow and countering with a knee to Lockdown’s torso, knocking the bounty hunter aside.

    Prowl begrudgingly grabbed Lockdown by the head, and brought him to optic-level. “I’ve had enough of you.” Prowl produced a pistol from a compartment on his hip, and jabbed it into Lockdown’s neck.

    “You don’t have the guts. You lost your spark back when you quit the ‘Cons, and you know it,” Lockdown taunted.

    Enraged, Prowl fingered the trigger, mulling over his options. He shouted in frustration, and tossed Lockdown across the lobby, leapt atop him, and pounded fist after fist into Lockdown’s armor, denting metal and sending sparks flying.

    Lockdown grunted with each blow, feeling it deep inside his spark. He half-coughed, half-laughed at the Autobot’s anger and frustration. “You never were much of an Autobot. They’re all too idealistic for you. They’re all about the setup, but you… You’re more interested in the punch line. You’re much more Decepticon about your goals. I like that.”

    Prowl brought down his fist hard on Lockdown’s wrist, severing the massive hook. “I am nothing like those monsters!”

    Lockdown coughed again, this time with a wheeze. “Oh, but you are. Just look at my arm.”

    Taken aback, Prowl gazed down at the shattered wrist, horrified. “No… I didn’t… No…” He staggered backwards, stopping against a brick support pillar. “I couldn’t have…”

    “Looks to me like you’re still struggling with those tendencies Megatron drilled into you way back during the Quintesson War,” Lockdown taunted, still lying on the ground.

    Wordlessly and silently, Prowl launched himself at Lockdown, slamming his foot into the bounty hunter’s face. Prowl stood still for a moment, waiting for Lockdown to move again, or utter more of his blasphemy, but the lanky Cybertronian laid silent and unmoving. The panels over his optics were shut tightly, preventing Prowl from seeing if they were lit or darkened.

    Prowl shifted his gaze downward, staring at his open hands, dropping the pistol to the ground. He sighed regretfully. “That wasn’t the Autobot way…” He picked up the pistol, re-holstered it, and faced the shattered doorway. Prowl converted into his vehicular form, and somberly started after Bumblebee.


    The roar of the yellow monster’s engine softened as it slowed, merging with Archer’s pre-rush hour traffic. Spike marveled at the interior. The seats were a soft, neutral gray fabric, and the dash was a similar color. But everything was so clean, like it was a real brand-new car.

    “So,” Spike said.

    “Whaddaya wanna know?” the monster asked.

    “Do you have a name?” Chip asked from the back seat.

    “The name’s Bumblebee,” the monster asked.

    “I got one,” Sparkplug said. “What the hell are you?”

    “I am an Autobot. We’re here to protect you from things like the freak at the school.”

    “What’s an Autobot?” Spike asked.

    “I’ll let the big bot explain.”

    “The big bot?” said Carly.

    “Yeah, our leader.”

    “Can you at least tell us where you’re taking us?” Carly asked.

    “Well, I’m taking you to the junkyard, to see the big bot. To see Optimus Prime.”


    The junk yard was a large area contained in the industrial park. The multitudes of rusted objects cast a red glow upon the patches of dried and dying grass and the molding, rotten wooden fence. The mountainous piles of debris were easily large enough to hide multiple large vehicles, and Bumblebee knew that they did as he drove through the open gate, the chain already shattered. Prowl followed seconds after.

    Bumblebee slowly rounded a pile of junk, revealing a dark red Hummer, a white Japanese sports car with red and blue striping and a black “4” centered on either door, a white and red ambulance, and a red and blue long-nose semi-truck. The semi-truck’s trailer was unattached, but stood nearby, gray with white and blue stripes, and that red alien symbol embossed on both sides.

    Bumblebee slowed to a stop in front of his allies, opened his doors and trunk, and let the humans inside exit. Sparkplug hoisted Chip into his wheelchair, and all four humans gave the yellow Autobot room to convert into his humanoid, true form. Prowl was already standing behind them.

    Suddenly, the four vehicles in front of the humans began the same process of shifting, hundreds of millions of shifting and rotating pieces, all moving in perfectly ordered chaos.

    The small Japanese sports car stood first. This one stood taller than Bumblebee, but around the same height as Prowl. Spike could make out the grille and headlight on the Autobot’s chest, doors as wing-like structures, much like Bumblebee and Prowl, with the lower wheels located on the ankle. The head was mostly black, with triangular structures stretching vertically upwards on both sides, comparable to ears in humans. Instead of the normal two glowing “eyes”, this one had one glowing visor. Beneath the visor, the Autobot smiled confidently.

    The next to rise was the ambulance. Red medical crosses adorned both shoulders, and a red chevron rose from the round, white head. The windshield became the chest, and underneath, Spike could see medical tools similar to those used on Earth. This one smiled in a friendly manner.

    The red Hummer struggled up, cursing in its native language. “Leakin’ lubricants! Can’t hardly even transform!” This one possessed wheels in its upper arms, as well as large cannons attached to the lower arms. It wore the front bumper like armor on its chest. Its rounded head resembled a Roman soldier’s helmet. This one didn’t smile, only grimace.

    Finally, the semi-truck stood. The front windows were displayed prominently on its chest. Spike could see the two halves of the hood reinforcing the armor on both arms. The chrome smokestacks stood attached to the back of each shoulder. The red alien symbol was embossed on one. The legs were long and slender, almost muscular-looking. The head possessed similar structure to the white one on both sides, but longer, more elongated. The mouth was covered by a three plates converging from three angles. This one conveyed an air or majesty, leadership, and reassurance.

    It looked straight at Bumblebee, speaking in Cybertronian. He didn’t seem angry, only stern.

    Bumblebee issued a whining noise, obviously a protest.

    The large Autobot turned his head to Prowl, and asked what seemed to be a question.

    Prowl said nothing, only nodded.

    The large Autobot turned to face the blood-red setting sun. It seemed to contemplate something.

    “Whoa, whoa,” Spike said. “Slow down. What did Bumblebee do wrong?”

    The large Autobot turned to him, kneeling down, coming face-to-face. Its mouthplate retracted. “Quienes son?” it said.

    “Um… what?” Spike replied.

    “Pardon me,” it said. “I am unfamiliar with the cultures and geographical locations of Earth’s peoples. According to my databanks, ‘what,’ is a word in the English language, is this correct?” It spoke precisely, swiftly.


    “I am Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots. This is First Lieutenant Jazz,” Optimus said, gesturing toward the white Autobot. Jazz back-flipped and sat casually on the hood of a rusted car. “This is Weapons Expert Ironhide.” Ironhide simply grunted. “Our medic Ratchet.” Ratchet raised a hand and nodded. “You are already familiar with Bumblebee and Prowl, our reconnaissance team.”

    “Uh… right.”

    “Who are you, young human?”

    “My name is Spike Witwicky. My friend in the wheelchair is Chip Chase. The girl is Carly… uh…” Spike turned to Carly, who simply shook her head. “Right,” Spike continued, “and the adult is my father, Ron Witwicky.”

    “Sparkplug!” Sparkplug corrected.

    “Sparkplug Witwicky. Whatever,” Spike said, rolling his eyes.

    “Spike Witwicky, our purpose here is to destroy Megatron, leader of the Decepticons, before he can be reactivated and lead his army to victory on our home planet, Cybertron. Our second priority was to leave all humans uninvolved with our conflict. It is our fight and our fight alone; you may leave if you wish, but you must promise that you will not alert your authorities to our location,” Optimus Prime explained.

    “Bu- but I have the laptop,” Spike said, holding up the small computer. “That thing the other guy wanted.”

    “Yes. According to Decepticon transmissions listened to by Prowl and Bumblebee, that is the computer that intercepted the message from Blackrock Industries, Limited, containing information about Megatron’s whereabouts and plans for shipping. We are to stop the transport and retrieve the body of Megatron before it enters any major human settlements.”

    “Okay… I have to ask, who’s Megatron?” Spike asked.

    Prime straightened up. “Megatron is, as designated before, the leader of the Decepticons. The Decepticons are our enemies. Civil War has ravaged my planet for thousands of years, but we managed to send Megatron to an unspecified location in the universe using experimental technology.”

    “Let me guess,” Spike said. “That location ended up being Earth.”

    “You are correct,” Prime said. “And now several Decepticons are here to locate Megatron’s body and reactivate him to lead them to victory.”

    “But you said Megatron was their leader. How are they doing anything without a leader?”

    “Megatron’s lieutenant, Starscream, has led the Decepticons since the Battle of Iacon, when Megatron was sent here. He at first proved more effective than Megatron, masterminding one final push to take Cybertron. However, this ‘final push’ became many stalemates, and the threat of mutiny from his own Decepticons and politics amongst Decepticon-supporting civilians forced Starscream to locate Megatron. His findings led us here.”

    “Okay, okay. I understand. But what I want to know is why Megatron’s so bad, and why the whole war is going.”

    “And I will oblige,” Optimus said, before sitting and beginning the tale of the dawn of the War.
  17. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    Chapter 10
    Cybertron shimmered beautifully, silver with some specks of golden cities. Rivers of glowing yellow liquid Energon made their way peacefully from the highlands, down through the valleys, and into spacious caverns beneath the Rust Desert, before finally dropping in spectacular falls, deep into the Great Rift, down into the heart of Cybertron itself, where they would bubble up once more in the multitudes of springs, beginning the cycle again.

    In the gleaming metropolis of Iacon, sprawling apartment complexes rose high into the air. The great walls encircling the city stood strong and tall, freshly repaired after the end of the Quintesson War. The domed Senate stood like a victorious symbol of democracy.

    In one apartment building, Orion Pax sat at a desk, lamp positioned to shine directly onto the small, sandy object he held in one hand. Orion Pax was an average-sized Cybertronian, with red arms, hands, and torso, and blue legs and head. His head was shaped like the inside of an arch, with friendly eyes that had a reassuring quality to them. At the moment, they were concentrated intently on the piece of history before him.

    Pax’s study was dark aside from the light, which was barely enough to light the room. The dark gray metal walls seemed almost black in the dancing shadows. Data tracks littered the walls in haphazard stacks. At the edge of his desk hung a data file labeled “Top Priority” and below that, “To Orion, from Megatron.” The hologram inside was a recording of Megatron requesting that Pax delve deeper into the history of the Cybertronian Civil War.

    A small rotating sander extending from his left index finger, and he tenderly chipped away at the sand-blasted rock. If he was correct, the object inside would bear an inscription detailing the leader of the legendary Original Thirteen. Some sources indicated Vector Prime, while tradition and other sources pointed to Prima, wielder of the Star Saber.

    A tone played throughout the apartment, and he could hear Ariel, who would later become Elita One, pause her holographic soap opera. There was a slight squeak as her chair rotated automatically toward the door. Light footsteps as she glided gracefully through the living room. A low hiss as the airlock door slid open.

    He could hear a low voice, but was unable to make out what it was saying. The he heard Ariel call, “Orion! Alpha Trion is here to see you!”

    Pax sighed, and tapped a button on the chair’s arm. The chair rotated 180 degrees and slid to the door, which retracted into the wall with a hiss. Pax stood, and entered the living room.

    The living room was a conservatively-furnished area. Against one wall, on a small stand, was the hologram generator, its image frozen on an actor pierced by ammunition rounds from a pistol, in the arms of his loved one. Ariel sat, legs crossed, in one chair positioned at an angle from the hologram projector. Adjacent was a seat with room for two average-sized Cybertronians, occupied by Alpha Trion and his apprentice, the renowned prophet Emirate Xaaron. Pax nodded graciously and took a seat in the other chair, opposite a small table from Ariel. On this table, mugs of fresh Energon steamed welcomingly.

    Alpha Trion was one of the oldest Cybertronians still alive, and it showed. His body was cloaked in red ceremonial garments with neutral purple trim. His gray face and hands were all of his body that remained visible, and they were marked by millennia of weathering. Every corner and edge was rounded. Lines of erosion marked his face. A light, loose white appendage hung from his chin. A matching cone-shaped hat adorned his head.

    Emirate Xaaron was mostly yellow with a plain body: rectangular chest and torso, boot-like lower legs, and shoulders bearing the apprentice armor. His upper legs were silver, as was his head, the top of which resembled a crown.

    Alpha Trion nodded elegantly, long fingers folded in his lap. Xaaron simply gazed inquisitively at Pax.

    “Alpha Trion, it is an honor to have you as a guest in our humble home,” Orion Pax said.

    “Let us dispense with the formalities, my friend. We have known each other for several millennia now,” Trion responded, smiling kindly.

    “What brings you here?” Orion Pax asked, leaning forward.

    “Sentinel Prime died last night.”

    Ariel and Pax both focused their gazes on the ancient Cybertronian. “What?” Ariel gasped.

    “The fourteenth Bearer of the Matrix of Leadership, Sentinel Prime, was killed overnight. His body was discovered this morning by a maintenance worker investigating malfunctioning security,” Alpha Trion explained.

    “Who would’ve done such a thing?” said Pax.

    The reply was swift and prompt. “Megatron.”

    Pax looked incredulously at Cybertron’s religious leader. “Megatron? I know they disagree on the subject of the Creation Matrix, but Megatron’s a political idealist, not a murderer.”

    Alpha Trion gazed forlornly into Orion Pax’s eyes.

    “You didn’t come here to tell us that,” Pax said.

    “Indeed. Sentinel Prime foresaw Megatron’s attack and left this in my quarters.” With one hand, Alpha Trion produced something that made Orion Pax’s jaw drop in awe. The Matrix of Leadership was a hollow golden sphere with a hole cut out of the front. A silver oval ring encircled the Matrix, with four holes in thicker parts on either side. From inside the hole, a brilliant blue crystal shimmered and sparkled, bathing the room in dancing blue light. It hung from a chain around the ancient’s neck.

    “The Matrix of Leadership has brought my apprentice and I to its next holder; it has chosen you, Optimus Prime.”

    “Optimus Prime?” Pax said. He held out his hand in refusal and shook his head. “I couldn’t possibly… This must be some sort of mistake. I’m… just an archaeologist.”

    “And Sentinel Prime was but a custodian at the Senate,” Alpha Trion said.

    Pax retracted his hand. “Even if it is true, I’m not ready.”

    “Very well,” Alpha Trion said, replacing the Matrix inside his cloak. “But you must accompany Emirate Xaaron and I to the Senate. Megatron may very well now be declaring me a traitor.”

    Pax agreed, saying goodbye to Ariel, and then walking with Alpha Trion and Emirate Xaaron through the airlock door, to the building transport. Pax pressed a button, and the titanium doors slid open, revealing a small, plain room. After the three were safely inside the room, Pax pressed another button inside the room, and the doors shut, and he could feel himself moving down, then sideways, then down again, before finally coming to a stop. The door opened, revealing the bustling city streets.

    As they walked, they passed many nervous citizens making their way to their jobs on foot. Pax said, “I still don’t understand what makes you think Megatron killed Sentinel Prime.”

    “According to Senator Cerebros, Megatron believes that the Matrix of Leadership can lead him to the Creation Matrix,” Alpha Trion explained. “I was told that Megatron suggested that to him along with the Senators Emirate Xeon of Kaon and Tomaandi of Tyger Pax. The Senator from Uraya was fiercely opposed to any measures to secure the Creation Matrix, due to his city’s dependence on the Energon refining industry.”

    “I still don’t see Megatron being a murderer,” Pax protested.

    Alpha Trion sighed. “I know you wish to believe that your friend Megatron is still the same idealist that attended Iacon University with you, but the truth is that Megatron no longer exists. He has been consumed by his obsession with the Creation Matrix, and his search has taken him into the realm of extremism. He believes that with the Creation Matrix back in the possession of Cybertron, our race could expand and imperialize.”

    “That sounds too much like the Quintessons. Megatron was disgusted by them, you know that.”

    “Indeed. But some become that which they have fought against for so long. The Quintesson War began five thousand years ago and only ended a few months ago. Their power, organization, and influence have intoxicated him, and he wishes to hold similar power under his fingers.”

    “We’ll see,” Pax said, as they arrived at their destination and entered through the ornate double-doors of the Senate. Guards on either side parted and nodded curtly to the Cybertron High Priest and his apprentice, as well as their guest.

    Orion Pax gazed at the structure around him, scanning every detail, every line, every corner, and every nick. The entire building was constructed of gold, with silver trim here and there. Ornate statues of every Matrix Bearer since Prima himself stood in the main hallway encircling the inner chamber, where the Senators sat at shining desks bearing the symbol of their represented city. Arches on both ground-level and raised higher allowed entrance to the Senate chamber, with elegant silver staircases giving access to the higher entrances. The whitish-gray daylight bending through the majestically-decorated glass doors and windows was enough to illuminate the hall, so no interior lights were on.

    Besides, Pax thought, every light in the inner chamber was sure to be shining brightly.

    They passed beneath a golden arch leading to the inner chamber, entering the small area reserved for Cerebros, the Senator of Iacon. A silver u-shaped desk encircled the space, with several seats inside it, arranged in three rows of three. The gray and black senator sat in the upper right seat. Alpha Trion sat in the seat directly to Cerebros’s, and gestured for Pax to take the next seat. He did as instructed, and Emirate Xaaron sat directly behind his master.

    The senators from every city on Cybertron sat at similar desks arranged in circles on varying levels. Directly opposite from Cerebros’s desk, Megatron had taken a podium within the circle of Senators, and was gesticulating grandly, as he always did when making important political speeches. Imperial Guard Commander Starscream sat smugly next to him, arms crossed.

    “Megatron has just declared you a traitor, Alpha Trion,” Cerebros said grimly. “He says you stole the Matrix of Leadership and killed Sentinel Prime in an effort to gain control over the government. He is now trying to convince the Senate to send a small army to your temple to burn it to the ground and execute each of your monks for treason.”

    Alpha Trion sighed glumly. “The lights are going out all across Cybertron. I shall not see them lit again in my lifetime.”

    “It is natural,” Megatron declared, “nay, our duty, to avenge the loss of Sentinel Prime. I beg of you, friends, to prohibit this injustice to continue. If Alpha Trion is allowed to continue on his perverse path, he will bring our children, and our children’s children with him.” Many senators stood and clapped, showing their agreement. “With the Matrix of Leadership he stole, we may find the lost Creation Matrix, and restore Cybertron to its former glory!” Many more senators joined the first group, applauding enthusiastically.

    Megatron’s head suddenly jerked toward the Iacon desk with efficiency. “And here he is!” Megatron shouted, “The traitor himself! Orion, my friend, stand and execute him where he stands! End this cycle of treachery!”

    Orion Pax stood, unbelieving. He shook his head, confused. He looked at Megatron, holding his hand upward in a dramatic pose. He looked at Alpha Trion sitting calmly next to him. He could feel the pull of the Matrix of Leadership from inside the ancient’s cloak. He felt his spark throb. Not a word was spoken for what seemed like hours, but it could have only been a few seconds when Megatron continued: “Well?” he growled impatiently.

    Pax turned to his friend. “No.”

    “WHAT?” Megatron snarled indignantly.

    “I said no,” Pax replied coolly.

    “Who are you, Orion Pax, to defy me? To defy the one who is, at least for now, the one and only ruler of Cybertron?”

    “I am not Orion Pax,” Orion replied.

    “Then who are you?” Megatron questioned.

    Pax let out a calming burst of air, and then turned and quickly reached into Alpha Trion’s cloak, grabbed the Matrix, and ripped it from its chains.

    Immediately, Pax’s entire body began to glow a bright blue light, forcing all in the room to avert their eyes. Megatron held his arm in front of his face, blocking most of the rays, but watching in fear and awe as Orion Pax transformed. Pax’s body expanded, growing taller and wider. Cylinders extended from his shoulders. His head became more streamlined, gaining tall, thin ear-like appendages. His chest flattened and split in the center, coming together at an angle and forming clear panels that revealed the workings of the systems just inside his chest. The glow faded, revealing the extent of Pax’s transformation. Several senators gasped, and Starscream leaned forward at the edge of his seat curiously.

    Pax’s chest opened at hinges located on the sides of his body, swinging outward. Another, gray panel swung downward, revealing a chamber that was the perfect size and shape for the Matrix of Leadership to be contained within. He inserted the Matrix into the chamber, and the panels shut and immediately, he could feel the energy of the Matrix coursing through his circuitry. He held the wisdom his forebears possessed. And he could hear each and every one of their voices calling to him from within the golden sphere: “Stop Megatron at all costs!”

    “I am Optimus Prime, fifteenth Bearer of the Matrix of Leadership,” Pax declared, taking a step forward, “and I ask that you step down, Megatron.”

    “Well, Optimus Prime,” Megatron mocked, “I’m impressed by the transformation, but I’m afraid I must refuse.”

    “Then, as my duty as Matrix Bearer, I must enact the will of Primus. Megatron, I will stop this before it begins,” Optimus Prime said.

    Megatron smashed the desk aside and launched himself forward, tackling Prime and sending the seats behind him scattering.

    Prime extended his legs quickly, kicking Megatron back onto the floor. He stood, as Cerebros, Alpha Trion, and Emirate Xaaron scrambled to the hallway.

    “Make no mistake, senators!” Optimus declared. “It was your beloved Megatron who killed Sentinel Prime!” Several senators gasped at the revelation.

    “It was my right!” Megatron retorted. “The Primes have kept this world from its true glory! With the Creation Matrix, I will lead Cybertron in expanding its empire across the galaxy!”

    “No, Megatron. The Originals followed Primus’s orders when they got rid of the thing. You know that.”

    “That’s only a legend! Primus would not damn his children to such a sub-par existence!”

    “Sub-par?” Prime said incredulously. “Look around you, Megatron. This entire building is constructed of two of the most valuable metals in all existence! Look at the buildings in our cities, and see how far they reach into the sky! Watch the Energon rivers flow across our planet! This planet is the perfect place for us to exist! We have everything we could possibly need and more.”

    “But look at what can be accomplished with such energy. Look at the Quintessons, and how much they achieved for their own race. The same can become reality for us, for our entire race!”

    “You would wish such torture on other planets for our own gain? And, in doing so, you would truly disobey the word of Primus, which is our law?” Prime said, unbelieving.

    “The word of Primus? Don’t make me laugh, Optimus Prime. The word of Primus to Prima was to ensure our prosperity so that we may succeed in the face of our ultimate destiny, whatever that may be.”

    “And our prosperity was hindered by the greed inspired in individuals of our race by the Creation Matrix. It was launched for the good of Cybertron.”

    “Don’t give me your ‘greater good’ lecture. The Creation Matrix will bring about the good of all, not just the majority.”

    “You don’t know that, Megatron. I can see flashes of it coming from within the Matrix of Leadership, of the war that it brought about.”

    “With proper safeguarding, the Creation Matrix can be withheld from those who would use it for such selfish purposes.”

    “Megatron, you have proven that you would use it for such selfish purposes.”

    “It seems our debate will continue to infinity. Let us resolve this as they do in Kaon- in battle!”

    “No, Megatron! War is not a proper resolution to this issue. We are above this!”

    “Apparently not,” Megatron said coldly, before shoving Starscream from his seat and tossing the chair at Optimus.

    Prime reached over his shoulder, grabbing one of the two silver cylinders there and producing a large battle axe. The long thin shaft gleamed silver, and the massive blade immediately heated up, glowing orange. Optimus Prime sliced through the metal chair expertly and effortlessly, the two halves gliding lightly to either side of him.

    Megatron laughed menacingly. “I see you have already found your weapon. Every Prime has one.” Megatron’s own arm began to shift, each of the millions of parts folding, rotating, and contracting to reveal an elongated sphere covered in spikes. “It took Sentinel a while to find this.” The flail fell from Megatron’s wrist, suspended by a chain. As the flail also began to heat up, it began to issue a purple light, once majestic but corrupted by Megatron’s influence.

    Optimus took a step back. “You- you stole Sentinel Prime’s flail?”

    “Yes,” Megatron growled. “Sometime overnight. It installed fairly simply and easily.”

    “You really have become a monster,” Prime gasped.

    “Maybe in your eyes,” Megatron retorted, “but in reality, I am this planet’s savior!” Megatron jumped gracefully forward, flipping and bringing the flail down hard. Optimus Prime dodged nimbly, and the flail smashed into the floor, sending shrapnel flying, piercing slightly into several nearby senators’ exoskeletons.

    Megatron ripped the flail from the floor, and brought it down again for another blow, but it was blocked by Prime’s axe. Megatron tried again, chrome chain clinking, but this attempt yielded the same result.

    As the two struggled against each other, Prime lashed out with his foot, striking Megatron in the side and sending him cart wheeling into the chamber floor. The chamber was filled with the alarmed chattering of the frightened senators as they pushed past one another through the arches into the exterior hall.

    Optimus leaped onto the floor, as his axe’s blade folded in several places and he replaced it on his shoulder. “Megatron, please, forget your extremist ideas and abandon this play for power!” Prime said, chest heavy. “Step down, and you will be pardoned, I promise you.”

    Megatron glared at Optimus for a moment as he climbed back to his feet, mulling it over. “No.” He lunged forward, ramming Optimus with his head. Optimus stumbled backwards and fell on his back.

    Megatron raised his arm, before slamming the flail down hard just as Optimus rolled under and spun laterally, knocking Megatron off his feet. Megatron grunted as he hit the ground and slammed his elbow into the side of Prime’s face.

    Prime rolled away and was instantly standing back on his feet, Megatron mirroring his quick movements.

    Megatron dove forward, tackling Prime, and the two collapsed on the ground. Optimus tried to kick Megatron away, but Megatron dodged the blow and wrapped his taloned hands around Prime’s leg and spun, swinging Optimus in circles before letting go and sending him crashing into an upper level senator box.

    Optimus climbed back up to his feet and jumped out at Megatron, but Megatron caught Prime, stoutly holding his ground, and redirected his momentum, flipping him over into another box.

    Megatron pounced on Prime, slashing at his armored exoskeleton with the claws on his fingers fully extended. Prime smashed his fist into Megatron’s face, shattering several of the former Duumvir’s teeth. Megatron spat them out coolly, and slapped Prime across his face, leaving scratches across his mouthplate. Optimus grunted, lifting the hefty Megatron and tossing him back onto the floor.

    Optimus jumped to his feet, and agilely leapt, extending one foot forward ahead of his body, as Megatron stood, slamming his foot into Megatron’s chest. Megatron staggered backwards at the blow, sparking at the shoulders. Prime followed up with a fist to Megatron’s torso, causing him to double over.

    “Let it end now, Megatron, please,” Prime pleaded. “I do not wish to extinguish your spark.”

    Megatron laughed, and, as Prime bent concernedly over his old friend, clasped his hands together and clubbed Prime in the face. Prime stumbled backward, but maintained his balance.

    Megatron rushed forward, not noticing the blue glow emanating from between the panels of Prime’s armor, not hearing the high-pitched buzzing, and Optimus Prime delivered an expertly-placed kick to Megatron’s torso, then a knee to his face, then an elbow to his back, and another kick to the side of the head, sending Megatron rolling across the floor, where he came to rest in front of the collected Starscream.

    Megatron gasped, struggling to stand, but couldn’t find the strength, and he fell back onto his front, lying sprawled out on the ground. Starscream smirked as he picked his leader up and, grunting with the effort, positioned him over his shoulder, and turned and exited through an archway.

    The glowing flickered and died, and Prime sank to his knees. He gazed at his hands, opening them and closing them, rotating them at the wrist, analyzing every square inch on both sides. He sighed, and stood, following Megatron’s second.

    He passed numerous frightened senators clustered against the wall in groups of four or five, shaking in fear of this new Prime.

    Cerebros shouted from somewhere down the hall, “Optimus! You can still catch them!”

    Prime nodded and began running toward the nearest exit, shoving through the doors, just in time to see Starscream dump Megatron into the massive purple Astrotrain’s passenger compartment, which was large enough for two large Cybertronians. “Astrotrain, take off!” Starscream commanded, pounding his clenched fist into the side of the doorway. A panel promptly rose and then gave off a hissing at it sealed itself.

    “Kaon or bust!” Astrotrain declared, as his thrusters activated, sending the transport-bot and its two passengers rolling swiftly down the street before rising into the air.

    Feeling a hand on his shoulder, Prime craned his neck to find Alpha Trion smiling comfortingly. “It’s not an easy thing- being Prime.”

    Prime said nothing, only gazing off mournfully after Astrotrain, and Megatron.


    “Wow,” Spike said. “Megatron sounds like our Hitler.”

    “That is not an inaccurate comparison,” Ratchet said.

    “Oh God, Optimus. I’m so sorry,” Carly said.

    “Do not be. This occurred over twenty-five thousand years ago,” Prime replied. “The Megatron who was my friend died long before that. He was corrupted by madness, but he refused to see it. It is now our mission to see him destroyed.”

    “That must be awful, having to fight your best friend like that,” Chip said, glancing at Spike, who returned his glance.

    “It is the duty of the Prime to carry out the will of Primus,” Optimus answered gravely. “Ever since Prima was first granted the Matrix of Leadership.”

    “Hey, Optimus,” Sparkplug said, “What’s a ‘Creation Matrix’?”

    “The Creation Matrix was our original source of Energon, protected by the Original Thirteen Cybertronians. According to legend, one of the Originals, who had been assigned to oversee the destruction of the old to make way for the new, was corrupted by the concept of chaos and destruction, similar to Megatron, and began a war for the Creation Matrix. Because, at the time, Prima was carrying out a sacred duty set upon him by Primus, Vector Prime, overseer of time and space, was charged with leading the loyalist armies against his brother, who became known as the Fallen. When the Fallen was defeated, Prima returned, his mission completed, and, at Primus’s command, launched the Creation Matrix into space, and then left the planet to build a prison on another planet, where the Fallen would be held for his crimes,” Optimus explained.

    “Energon is our lifeblood,” Ratchet added.

    “Okay, that answers another question,” Sparkplug said, “but who’s Primus?”

    “We do not know his origins, only that he is far older than anything we have found, and that he is our creator. He provided our ancestors with everything they required for life.”

    “Wow. He must be one hell of a supercomputer,” Sparkplug said, astonished.

    “Primus is more than that. On Earth, your machines are incredibly simplistic and primitive. On Cybertron, everything mechanical is living and breathing, we grow and develop our own personalities. Each of us here is male, but there are females on Cybertron, as well,” Ratchet said.

    “You- you reproduce?” Chip asked.

    “Yes, in a similar way to your species,” Ratchet answered.

    “Fascinating,” Chip responded. Spike turned to him, one eyebrow raised. "It's not like that, I swear!" Chip said, rubbing the back of his head nervously.

    Suddenly, a man, approximately six feet tall, no older than twenty-eight, with short, unstyled brown hair, wearing a plain white T-shirt and denim jeans, walked down the ramp out of Prime’s trailer. “Optimus, Teletraan-1 and I detect several military units moving our way.” The humans gazed at him, confused, but Prime addressed his familiarly.

    “How close, Roller?” Now, they could all hear a large group of vehicles approaching close by, and even the thumping of a helicopter.

    “Not far,” Roller replied blankly.

    “Whoa, whoa, wait. Didn’t you just say you didn’t want to involve us in your conflict?” Spike said, taking a step forward.

    “Roller is a special case. He has volunteered to be our envoy on occasions such as now,” Prime answered.

    “Well, they didn’t kill him, so I guess they really are the good guys,” Sparkplug said, receiving dull glances from the other humans.

    A loud clang erupted as the military vehicles passed through the junkyard gates. “Roller, why couldn’t ya’ve told us earlier?” Ironhide groaned.

    “I had to verify that they were converging on our location,” Roller answered, joining the other humans, who turned to see eight military jeeps and humvees rumble around a junk pile, and come to a stop. Several soldiers disembarked from their vehicles, and approached cautiously, low to the ground, weapons at the ready. A few more holding rocket launchers stood to the back. A Blackhawk circled overhead.

    One especially cautious man came forward, light brown hair blowing in the stirred wind from the helicopter’s blades. He squinted his dark brown eyes in the sunlight. He approached Spike, holding a hand out.

    Spike watched the man’s hand tentatively poke at his chest, brows furrowed. Satisfied, the man grabbed Spike around the shoulder and began to drag him away from the Autobots.

    “Who are you?” Spike asked, struggling against the man’s firm grip. The man paused, staring intently at Spike’s mouth.

    “What?” he said, awkwardly.

    Spike said it again, this time exaggerating each syllable: “Who are you?”

    The man pointed to the name on his jacket. It read, “White, Bradley J., Capt.”

    Over the thumping of the helicopter blades, Spike could hear Optimus command, “Autobots, drop your weapons,” and then some mumbled complaints from Ironhide.

    Spike managed to break away from White’s grip. He turned, seeing Roller effortlessly evade the man trying to drag him away, and the other being dragged away as well. He stumbled confusedly to his father, helped him break free, and then Bumblebee dropped to his knees, rolled forward, and scared the soldiers back, two others releasing Carly and Chip. Together, the five humans formed a line between the Autobots and the military, and spread their arms out wide, yelling, “No, no, they’re on our side!”

    White turned to his soldiers and gestured, and they all lowered their weapons.

    White approached Spike again. “One of those things killed my troops!”

    “No! Not these!” Spike replied, continuing to exaggerate each syllable.


    “Yes, friendly!”

    White waved at the helicopter, which immediately began climbing and moving away from the scene.

    White sighed in thought. Obviously, these monsters hadn’t harmed the civilians. And the green one wasn’t with them. Maybe they were friendly.

    “Green one?” White asked.

    “Enemy. Dead.” Spike replied.

    “What are they?”

    “Aliens. Enemy leader is here somewhere, more enemies looking for it.”

    With the helicopter almost inaudible, White could just barely make out the basic sounds of the boy’s words, making it easier to understand.


    Spike turned to Chip, and Chip immediately handed him the laptop. He knelt down, holding the computer on his knees, as it started. White knelt beside him.

    “Check the recent files,” Chip suggested.

    “Thanks,” Spike said, nodding his head. Seconds later, the Blackrock Industries file displayed on the screen. He turned to White. “Due in Los Angeles on Tuesday. Tomorrow.”

    White nodded, standing and walking to his vehicle. A few moments later, he returned. “Okay. The Department of Defense cleared it. We will meet with reinforcements outside of town and escort you.”

    “You mean to make sure we don’t stir up any trouble,” Bumblebee said, crossing his arms, but White didn’t hear anything.

    “Yo Bumblebee,” called Jazz, “look at it this way: least we don’t have to worry now. Dig?”

    Bumblebee sighed. “I guess.”

    Spike turned to Optimus. “We’re coming, too.” The others nodded in agreement.

    “I do not wish you to be harmed,” Optimus protested.

    “But you need us. What if you guys need help keeping the military on your side?”

    Prime sighed. “Bumblebee, can you protect them?”

    Bumblebee shot up immediately to his feet. “You bet!”

    Optimus chuckled. “Then if it is your wish, Spike Witwicky, you may join us.”

    “All right!” Bumblebee said, converting into his vehicular form, startling several soldiers. The doors opened. “Get in!” Bumblebee said, cheerily.

    Spike helped Chip into the back seat, and Sparkplug folded the wheelchair and placed it in Bumblebee’s trunk before taking his seat. Carly slid into the front passenger’s seat, and Spike hopped in the driver’s seat. The rest of the Autobots followed suit and the soldiers reentered their vehicles.

    Roller climbed into Optimus Prime’s trailer, which rolled to attach to Optimus’s hitch, before Prime gave the command: “Autobots, roll out!” Immediately, the Autobots merged into a group with the military vehicles before rolling single-file through the gate and through the streets of Archer.


    Starscream sat patiently, watching the blood red sky darken, from his perch on the side of a mountain, waiting for Lockdown’s report. The other Decepticons were hidden in an abandoned hangar below. Warm, dry air blew across the barren fields, stirring spirals of dust. A bird ran swiftly across the desert floor, chased by a ravenous coyote.

    Starscream watched coldly as the predator gained more and more ground on its prey, until the bird ducked into a hole amongst the roots of a cactus, leaving the mammal no time to stop. It yelped in pain as it smacked head-first into the thorny green plant, recoiling and turning away, disappointed. The bird stuck its head out of the hole, seemingly mocking the predator.

    The Decepticon Air Commander chuckled to himself at the mammal’s misfortune.

    Suddenly, he heard the bounty hunter’s rough voice. “Starscream.”

    Starscream activated the holographic communicator on his arm. “Have you succeeded, Lockdown?”

    “Ugh… No. There are Autobots here, but I’ll give it another try… but I’ll need my payment in advance,” Lockdown said.

    “You… failed?” Starscream said, calmly.

    “You’re taking it well. Yeah, I did. First time for everything it seems. But I can get you your information, if I get my flamethrowers first. Call it a test-drive.”


    “Yeesh,” Lockdown cringed. “I won’t fail this time, Starscream.”

    “THAT’S LORD STARSCREAM TO YOU! AND THERE WON’T BE A NEXT TIME! CALL IT A FAILURE!” With that, Starscream disconnected the transmission.

    Starscream paced back and forth several meters, holding his arms behind his back. “What to do… Where to go… If word gets out about this…” Starscream growled in frustration, pulverizing a boulder with his fist.

    Finally, he gave in. He looked up into the sky. “Soundwave.”

    “Soundwave acknowledges,” Soundwave replied coldly.

    “We have a problem. Lockdown was defeated by some Autobots, and failed to deliver the information we seek.”

    “Lockdown: inferior. Decepticons: superior. Soundwave will resolve.”



    Drifting in space, Soundwave, still rooted to the communications satellite, opened a compartment on his chest.

    “Frenzy, Rumble, Ravage, Ratbat, Laserbeak, eject. Operation: reconnaissance,” Soundwave commanded.

    Immediately, five forms emerged from the compartment, each forming into flying Cybertronic vehicles, barely visible in the black expanse. The five fell into formation, dropping swiftly, silently, and intently toward the planet.
  18. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    Chapter 11
    The sun sank mellowly over the western horizon. Sparkplug snored, leaning on Bumblebee’s back door, head rolling limply in sleep. Spike looked over at Carly and flashed a grin; she smiled back. Chip tapped away at the keyboard on his laptop.

    A voice came up over the radio: “Captain White suggests we stop for the night, to allow his troops and our companions to rest.” It was Optimus.

    Sparkplug snorted and jolted awake as Bumblebee slowed quickly. Chip gripped his laptop tightly, frowning as the computer’s inertia faded. Spike looked up through the windshield at the military convoy surrounding them, each vehicle carefully pulling off the road onto a sandy field littered with patches of grass. The six Autobots followed tentatively, cautiously rolling onto the field, wary of the lower traction.

    Carly immediately climbed out of Bumblebee and dropped to her stomach and rolled over. Spike watched curiously as she crawled beneath the small yellow Autobot. Spike opened his own door and stepped out, falling to his hands and knees to see what she was doing.

    “Oh wow, this is too cool!” Spike heard her say. “Everything’s here!”

    “Yup,” Bumblebee replied.

    Ratchet converted to his true form and stepped forward. “When we choose our disguises, we replicate every aspect of the subject in question. Every physical aspect, at least. We still possess the same top speed and other capabilities as on Cybertron,” he explained.

    Spike looked up at the Autobot medic, who smiled kindly. “We look like your vehicles, but we’re still more advanced.”

    “So how did you guys learn English? And I think Optimus was speaking Spanish or something at first. I mean, it’s not like you guys would speak English back on Cybertron, right?”

    “You are correct, Spike. We have our own language, most of which is entirely different from the patterns of Earth languages. Originally, the Cybertronian language consisted largely of what you call clicks and beeps, but this evolved into a more guttural and vocal style early on, perhaps before the end of the First Golden Age, and then returned to its more computerized origins.”

    “This is so cool,” Carly said, still looking at Bumblebee’s chassis.

    Spike sighed and turned back toward Carly and Bumblebee. “Hey Carly, we should probably find out about dinner or something.”

    “Oh, you go ahead, Spike. I want to check out Bumblebee some more. Then maybe Optimus,” Carly replied, still lying beneath Bumblebee’s vehicular form.

    Spike sighed again, and then began looking around the site for Captain White or maybe one of his seconds here. Spotting him gesturing and directing the setting up of tents and locking down of weaponry, Spike hurried toward him, and tapped on his shoulder.

    “What is it?” White asked.

    “What are we going to have to eat?” Spike said.

    “Say again?” White said, staring intently at the movements of Spike’s mouth.

    “What are we going to eat?”

    “Oh.” White reached into a pocket, fumbled around for a moment, and produced several granola bars. “Enjoy, kid.”

    Spike took the bars and turned and ran back to Bumblebee and dropped them in the passenger seat. He took a deep breath, standing still for a moment. Sparkplug and Chip both gave him confused looks, but before either could speak, Spike shot off to Optimus Prime’s trailer, up the ramp, and into the hold.

    Roller sat at a large computer console, typing rapidly. In fact, he was typing so quickly that Spike at first thought his fingers had split into multiple digits, each stroking the individual keys elegantly and with purpose. Roller looked away from the monitor and shifted his gaze toward Spike. His fingers slowed and then stopped, and Roller placed his hands in his lap. “Yes?”

    “I was just wondering what was in here. I mean you don’t discover an alien race every day,” Spike replied, taking in everything inside the steel rectangle.

    “Just be careful and don’t touch anything. You might accidently trigger the trailer’s defense systems.”

    Spike nodded, and continued to stare. Three massive beams connected by rotating joints and surrounded by mazes of piping and wires occupied the majority of the space. At the end of this structure was a large teardrop-shaped object, which each wire and pipe seemed to converge on. The end of this object was a circular hole, although it was too high for Spike to see inside. It resembled a spotlight used in concerts and at dances.

    Then Spike felt as if a light bulb were shining above his head. “That’s it!” he declared, turning and running out of the trailer.


    G.B. Blackrock sat nervously in his chair in his office at the Blackrock Industries Main Headquarters building. It was a large and extravagantly-furnished room, with large oak bookshelves, housing everything from essays on advanced robotics and quantum mechanics to thousand-page-plus books about the advent of the nuclear age. Satin curtains hung over the large window behind him. Two chairs on the opposite side of Blackrock’s impressive oak desk were carved of cherry wood. In one corner, a small fern waved gently in the air conditioning. Agent Korosky sat in a chair opposite him, gathering papers bearing information classified above top secret.

    “According to my intelligence agents among Captain Bradley White’s troops, the specimen your company discovered is known as Megatron, and these newer arrivals are his enemies. They have come to destroy this ‘Megatron’ and end a civil war that has been raging on their home planet for thousands of years,” Korosky said.

    “With everything that’s happened so far…” Blackrock trailed off. And then: “I’m so relieved that they’ve come to try and help clean up.”

    “They won’t be helping. They’ll be doing. All we can do is provide support. Our arms, to our knowledge, can do no serious or permanent damage. The only thing that we have that would definitely be effective is the atomic bomb. Mr. Blackrock, you had better pray that these Autobots are enough to stop whatever of Megatron’s soldiers have come for him.”

    “Well why wouldn’t they be?” Blackrock asked.

    “Because the Autobots sounded afraid of Megatron. Not necessarily his army as a whole, but they fear Megatron like we fear dictators who double as mass murderers. If I’m not mistaken, that’s exactly what he was.”

    Blackrock turned to the window gravely, gazing out at the darkening sky. “Send word, however you can, that my company will provide whatever support we are able.”

    Korosky nodded, rose, and left the room.

    “What have I unleashed?” Blackrock said somberly.


    Optimus Prime chuckled. “When Elita and I were courting, I took her to the Great Rift, to watch the Energon falls when the light of Cybertron’s two moons passes through them, creating the most beautiful sight in all the world.”

    Ratchet nodded. “I have measured the boy’s pheromone levels, and they are far above normal levels.”

    Ironhide snorted. “Me ‘n Chromia didn’t have none of that. We met at Maccadam’s, there was a bar fight… the rest is history.”

    Prowl simply grunted and tapped his foot impatiently, begrudgingly shining the headlights on his chest onto the same spot as Bumblebee, who sat calmly, waiting for Spike to bring Carly along.

    A large bat gave out its screeching cry above, drawing Prowl’s attention. He glared at the animal, analyzing its body, but was unable to ascertain its identity in the darkness. An answering cry from a bird far away increased the former Decepticon’s impatience and agitation.

    Prowl signaled with two fingers to Roller, who sat on the trailer’s ramp. Roller nodded, understanding, stood, and retreated into the hold.

    At last, Spike led Carly into the light, with his hand over her eyes. “Spike, where are we going? Can you uncover my eyes now?”

    Spike flashed a big grin. “Yeah.” He let his hand drop to his side.

    “What is this?” Carly asked. The six Autobots were groups around them in a circle. Some of the soldiers watched, while some continued to patrol the area, and some slept soundly in their tents.

    “I know you wanted so bad to go to the dance. So, I’m bringing the dance to you,” Spike said, smiling.

    “Oh, Spike, you didn’t have to do this,” Carly said.

    “I wanted to.”

    “Yo, this is DJ Jazz here, and I’m gonna take care of you tonight!” Jazz said, vaulting over Bumblebee and landing lightly on the ground inside the lit circle.

    Soft music began playing from Jazz’s speakers, and Spike held one hand out to Carly. She took it, tentatively, in hers, and Spike pulled her in close, taking her other hand in his, and the two began moving in unison, taking long, slow strides, turning, and continuing in a line.

    Sparkplug and Chip peeked out from behind Ironhide’s leg. “I didn’t know Spike knew how to dance,” Chip said.

    Sparkplug chuckled and said, “He didn’t. Amazing what fifteen minutes can do.”

    Carly laughed as Spike dipped her low and spun. “I don’t think I’ve ever been dancing beneath the stars before,” she said.

    “And I don’t think I’ve ever been dancing beneath the stars with aliens watching,” Spike said, smiling widely.

    “Good point,” Carly laughed.

    Spike swung low again, pulling Carly along with him, then spun.

    “Young love,” Sparkplug sighed. “It takes me back.”

    Spike spun around Carly, who turned with him. She stared deeply into his eyes, and he stared back. Their hands parted, and Spike scratched the back of his head nervously. Carly stepped closer. Spike leaned in…

    The song ended and Jazz switched his radio off. “We have a request from Bumblebee. Bee, take it!”

    Spike looked back to Carly, and their eyes met again. They both leaned in this time…

    “WAKE UP IN THE MORNIN’ FEELIN’ LIKE P. DIDDY!” Bumblebee’s radio blared abruptly, startling Spike and Carly.

    Bumblebee transformed, letting his headlights dim, and began dancing along with the song.

    “Bumblebee…” Spike began, but the yellow Autobot didn’t hear.

    “Bumblebee!” Spike shouted.

    Bumblebee lowered the volume on his radio. “Huh?”

    “Switch the station,” Spike said.

    “Okay,” Bumblebee said.


    “Just turn it off,” Spike said, turning to see Carly walk over to Optimus’s trailer.

    “Aw,” Bumblebee groaned, switching the radio off.

    Spike started toward the trailer to follow Carly, when she and Roller suddenly appeared in the doorway. Their faces looked grim.

    “Optimus… Teletraan-1 has detected five Decepticon spark signatures approaching our area,” Roller said gravely.

    “Roller, are you sure?” Optimus asked.

    “Yes. They have been identified as Rumble, Frenzy, Ravage, Ratbat, and Laserbeak, five of Soundwave’s minions.”

    “Then we are found,” Prowl said. “I had a hunch. Ratbat was right over us, but I didn’t act. Let’s get out of here before they can show up.”

    “Too late!” a soldier shouted from somewhere behind Optimus. Immediately, two missiles tore into the ground, sending three military jeeps flying through the air. One bore down on Spike, but Bumblebee launched himself forward and knocked it away.

    “Come with me if you want to live!” Bumblebee shouted. Spike and Carly dove inside the Autobot as he transformed again.

    The piercing cry of a raptor sliced through the air as it descended into the campsite, black and red. It smashed the roof of another vehicle, grabbing it with taloned claws.

    Soldiers scrambled into their vehicles, firing shots at the attacking mechanical bird.

    “Ironhide, get Captain White and call for help!” Optimus commanded, transforming and hooking up to his trailer. Roller leapt inside, rolled, and came up at the Teletraan console.

    Ironhide nodded and transformed, rolling off amongst the soldiers. As Bumblebee sped off, Spike saw someone get in but wasn’t sure if it was White or not. Sparkplug shoved Chip inside Ratchet’s medical bay and climbed in after him, and Ratchet took off after Bumblebee.

    Two more robots slammed into the ground, revealing themselves; they were identical aside from coloration. The blue one growled at his red and black brother: “Come on, Frenzy, let’s slam these punks!” With that, both Decepticons’ arms shifted into pile drivers, smashing into the ground and releasing shock waves that uprooted trees and tossed vehicles around like toys. Ironhide rolled over once, but was quickly back on his wheels, pulling onto the highway.

    A lavender bat attached itself to Prowl’s neck with metal fangs, and the former Decepticon could feel his energy being drained. “Get off, batty!” Prowl shouted, ripping Ratbat away and tossing him.

    “Hey, no one treats Ratbat like old hat!” Frenzy declared, sending a shock wave Prowl’s way. As the wave hit him, Prowl leapt into the air, using it to send himself higher.

    Coming down fast, Prowl swatted the blue one with one hand and the red one with the other, touching down lightly. “You midgets aren’t worth the metal you’re made of.”

    A missile from beneath Laserbeak’s wing knocked Prowl backwards, skidding across the sand into a tree. Prowl quickly recovered and took off after the other Autobots. The campsite was now empty save for trashed tents and the wreckages of three jeeps. A fourth crashed down just as Prowl moved out of the way. He converted into his vehicle mode, and sped off onto the highway, followed by the four minions.

    He heard the roar of a jungle cat as a black feline Decepticon launched out of a grove of trees on one side of the highway, tearing two jeeps in half. “Ravage…” Prowl hissed to himself.

    Laserbeak soared above him, powered by jets in his aft side. The bird squawked, almost mocking Prowl. Prowl transformed and leapt gracefully into the air, swatting Laserbeak out of the air. The bird crashed to the ground with a loud thump.

    Prowl ran after the convoy, watching in horror as two missiles fired from the launchers on Ravage’s hips, destroying several jeeps. The feline Decepticon ran swiftly, faster than even Prowl. He wouldn’t be able to keep up.

    Ratbat came from above, preparing to dive, as he was caught in the chest by a missile. A squad of three F-22s roared overhead, one firing another missile. Ravage effortlessly dodged this missile, as it exploded just off the road in a gap between Prowl and the convoy.

    Ratbat fluttered his wings, and rose to the level of the Raptors. Before the pilots could react, it latched itself to one. Quickly, the engines faded and quit as the energy from the fighter drained into the small bat-like Decepticon. As it fell, Ratbat unlatched itself, and the jet crashed into a field, sending up a ball of fire and a plume of smoke.

    Laserbeak smashed through another one, completely obliterating it. The pilot screamed as he fell with his seat, and Laserbeak slashed at him with his talons. The screaming fell silent.

    Prowl launched himself into the air, landing a perfectly-placed kick to Laserbeak’s back, and the bird fell from the sky, as Prowl leaped to Ratbat, who fell beneath the weight of the much larger Autobot.


    Spike glanced back at the carnage, chains of explosions going up behind him in Bumblebee. He could just barely see the newest one, the feline as it tore through the military towards them. He saw the laptop Chip had left in the… Chip had left the laptop in the back seat! “Oh no…” Spike whispered to himself…


    Frenzy and Rumble rocketed by in their alternate forms, speeding past the downed Laserbeak and Ratbat, and even past Ravage. The converted back into their true forms, Rumble landing on Bumblebee’s hood and Frenzy on his trunk.

    Carly screamed as the two converted their arms into the pile drivers. “Hold on, Spike and Carly!” Optimus cried over the radio. Suddenly, Bumblebee lurched forward, and there was a loud crashing as Optimus bumped into Bumblebee from behind.

    Frenzy cried out, lost his balance, and fell. He rolled out of the way just as Optimus’s tires rolled over the spot he’d just been. Ravage knocked the red Decepticon out of the way, continuing his pursuit of the laptop.

    The final Raptor roared overhead, and Ravage jumped up toward it, activating the thrusters in the back of his launchers, latching his clawed feet into the exterior. With one incredibly strong swipe of a forepaw, he severed the wing and let go. The F-22 rolled out of control, veered off to the right, and crashed. Ravage alighted and hit the ground running.

    On Bumblebee’s hood, Rumble said, “First we crack the shell, then we crack the nuts insi-” Bumblebee swerved into the next lane and screeched to a stop, throwing Rumble onto the road, where he bounced twice before skidding to a halt. Bumblebee accelerated again, gunning his engine. Spike and Carly cheered.

    “We’re not out of the woods just yet, Spike!” he said.


    Prowl transformed back into his vehicular form, gunned his engine, and shot forward, slamming into Ravage. Ravage snarled viciously, holding fast to the scar in Prowl’s hood.

    “Get off!” Prowl growled, swerving left, then right, but Ravage couldn’t be thrown off.

    Ravage jumped from Prowl’s hood, and butted into his passenger door, knocking Prowl off the road. Prowl transformed, rolling into a grove of trees, and cursed in Cybertronian.

    Ravage continued toward the front of the shrunken convoy, firing missiles at each of the military vehicles, annihilating them all. White looked on with horror through Ironhide’s windows, unbelieving.

    “I’m sorry,” Ironhide said. “Having to go through losing all of your troops not once, but twice must be a heavy burden.” These words also played across each of Ironhide’s windows.

    White said nothing in reply, perhaps not hearing or seeing.

    Ravage bounded, almost gliding, over the wreckage of the military vehicles, snarling and glaring intently at the small yellow sports car at the front of what was now simply a line of Autobots.


    Spike and Carly screamed as Ravage leapt over the entire length of Optimus Prime’s vehicle form, landing on the same place where Frenzy had. A quick swipe of Ravage’s forepaw opened the door behind Spike.

    Spike turned in the driver’s seat and reached back for the laptop, but Ravage lunged forward and snatched the computer with deadly delicacy in his mouth, let the door shut, and climbed to the front of the vehicle. Ravage was now close enough that they could see a single red optic hanging from Ravage’s jaw, along with the laptop.

    Spike, Carly, and Bumblebee screamed as Ravage lifted one paw, preparing to smash through Bumblebee’s windshield and slaughter the both of them.

    Suddenly, a shell exploded with precision in front of Bumblebee. Ravage yowled and leapt from Bumblebee’s hood. “BANG!” yelled a voice from nearby, loud enough for the six Autobots to hear. Bumblebee, Optimus, Ratchet, Ironhide, and Jazz all screeched to a stop, and Prowl came sprinting after.

    Ironhide, Ratchet and Bumblebee let their human counterparts climb out before the vehicular Autobots transformed. Roller smiled at the Teletraan console, and, as the group watched, a red tank rumbled over a small hill. The Autobot sigil adorned the front of either tread guard, as well as the top of the turret.

    On the top of the turret, the hatch opened, and a man crawled out. As this man came forward, they could make out his graying hair and drooping features.

    “Aren’t you the news guy?” Spike asked.

    The man held out his hand. “Walter R. Path, BANG, here, at your service!”

    A moment passed in silence, and Sparkplug voiced the humans’ thoughts: “What is going on here?”

    Ironhide grinned. “Heh, Warpath, old buddy, you can cut the act. They’re with us.”

    Walter Path distorted and faded, and the red tank began to shift its own shape. This new Autobot was thickly built, almost like a football player, and the short cannon from the turret stood straight from his chest. There were treads on both legs. The stocky Autobot introduced itself: “The name’s, CRASH, Warpath!”

    “What, do you have robo-tourette’s or something?” Chip asked.

    “Actually, that is not inaccurate,” Ratchet said. “Ever since he was a hatchling, Warpath was known for shouting onomatopoeia mixed with words when speaking.”

    “That’s, WHOMP, right!”

    “How did you get here, Warpath?” Bumblebee asked.

    “I agree with Bumblebee. I was afraid you might have died on the jump,” Optimus said.

    “Well, it was back when we were, CRASH, leaving, you remember? When Perceptor opened the, ZOOM, spacebridge, Optimus, you wanted to go last, but I, KABOOM, insisted to go last, in case there were any, SMASH, Deceptichumps trying to get through.”

    “Yes, I remember. What happened afterward?” Optimus said.

    “When you, SHAZOOM, went through, the whole space bridge went, SLAM, BANG, KABOOM, haywire! I hurried through, but the coordinates, for some odd reason, BOOM, changed when you went through, Optimus. I saw the, BLAM, Matrix, and ended up here. So while you were all, ZING, spacebridge hopping, I came directly, SHAZAM, here. And I’ve been, CLANG, here for years, posing as a, SHOOM, reporter,” Warpath explained.

    “So that’s why you’d always see a red tank whenever you were reporting!” Chip said.

    “BANG! You’re a clever one,” Warpath said.

    “I’m beginning to wonder how both you and Megatron ended up on this planet after being transported through a spacebridge, even though the one Megatron was sent through was a first version. I am also beginning to wonder if it was as accidental as we thought,” Optimus said.

    “It probably has something to do with the Matrix. I mean, think, Prime, both times the Matrix was nearby. Either way, Megatron is here now, and the Decepticons want him. We have to quit playing around and destroy them all as soon as possible,” Prowl said.

    “Prowl, you may be correct about a connection with the Matrix, but we are not playing here. It is essential to maintain a healthy relationship with this planet’s military forces and governments,” Ratchet argued.

    “No, Prowl is right. By associating ourselves with human military forces, we have placed them in the Decepticons’ sights,” Prime said.

    “That’s ridiculous, Optimus,” Prowl said. “The Decepticons had military targets from the beginning, or Soundwave would’ve ordered Lockdown not to engage Captain White’s troops in the desert. Whatever happens, we cannot lose sight of our goal: to stop the Decepticons. If we don’t, this planet, and many more along with it, are doomed,” Prowl said.

    “Indeed.” Optimus paused for a moment, before issuing his command: “Autobots, transform and roll out. We should arrive in Los Angeles tomorrow afternoon.”
  19. Prime_Directive

    Prime_Directive less than meets the eye

    Feb 28, 2010
    News Credits:
    Trophy Points:
    Chapter 12
    Tendrils slithered, writhing from the deep holes bored in the satellite. Identical to Laserbeak in all but name and black and yellow coloration, Buzzsaw perched on the shoulder of Soundwave as the Decepticon detached itself from the human machine. Slowly, Soundwave relinquished his hold on the satellite, retracting the controlling tendrils back into his body. At last, the Decepticon Communications Master parted from the infected vessel. Buzzsaw obediently leapt from his master's shoulder onto the machine, taking control in Soundwave's stead.

    Up here, Soundwave possessed control over the entirety of human civilization. He could direct it subtly, allowing his comrades to take advantage of the confusion, or he could spark outright nuclear warfare. But now it was his turn to contribute to the recovery of Megatron.

    He descended slowly at first, gazing coldly at the blue planet beneath him. As he continued downward, he gained momentum and velocity, falling faster and faster, bracing himself for the impact as he fell.

    Any other Decepticon would have had to worry about local defenses, but not Soundwave. With Buzzsaw firmly in control of Earth's communications networks, there would be no defensive counterattack aside that from the Autobots, and there were only six to his knowledge.

    He could see it now, their battlefield. Soundwave smashed into the ground, tossing up columns of dirt and mud, and revealed himself. Soundwave stood just under thirty feet tall. Much of his body was dark blue, which blended in almost perfectly with the darkness of the upper atmosphere. A white mouthplate covered the entirety of his face aside from a glowing red visor that served as his optical sensor. The Decepticon insignia was displayed prominently on the hinged plate over the compartment in which his minions stayed until called. Three clawed toes dug into the ground. Five slender fingers, skilled at probing machinery, hung from his hands.

    Soundwave scanned the battlefield in the light early-morning sun. Trees lay splintered, scattered haphazardly. The wreckage of multiple vehicles sat tossed about like a child's toys. On the road lay the damaged bodies of Ratbat and Laserbeak. Soundwave approached them and picked them up tenderly, almost as a father would.

    Laserbeak squawked weakly as Soundwave placed him inside his chest compartment. Ratbat made no sound.

    The Decepticon continued in the direction of the passed chase, discovering Frenzy lying against the trunk of a tree. One foot was crushed. Soundwave grabbed him with both hands, sliding each digit gingerly beneath the red Decepticon's body. Frenzy groaned as Soundwave calmly placed him inside the compartment.

    Several meters further along lied Rumble, battered and bruised and dented. "Soundwave! You came to get us!" he rasped.

    "Megatron leaves no loyal Decepticon behind; neither does Soundwave," Soundwave replied, placing Rumble inside the compartment with his brethren.

    Ravage tentatively peeked out from a bush, and then, spotting his master, rushed down the road almost joyfully. He leapt into Soundwave's arms, purring happily. Soundwave grasped the feline Decepticon with one hand and held out his open palm. Ravage obediently released the stolen laptop.

    "Ravage, you have done well," Soundwave said, opening his chest compartment a final time. Ravage eagerly converted into a storage mode, compressing himself to occupy as little space as possible, and was placed inside.

    Soundwave cautiously pointed his index finger at an access point on the side of the computer. A tendril slithered out, scanning the port and adjusting its shape to match. Soundwave grunted as the download began, by his standards only a small amount of information could be contained on such a primitive machine, but it was not the quantity Soundwave was interested in- it was the value.

    A purple glow emanated from Soundwave's internal circuitry, leaking out from crevices in his exoskeletal armor, and the tendril began to integrate with the laptop's circuitry, assimilating it into Soundwave's own systems. The computer immediately began to shift shape, folding, rotating, and submitting to Soundwave's will, as all unsentient machines one day would. The individual pieces of the computer separated, integrating into Soundwave's arm and disappearing.

    Satisfied, Soundwave looked eastward. Though the sky was beautiful shades of light blue and pink and yellow, the entire view appeared in grayscale to the Decepticon. He leapt into the air, changing shape into his mobile spy satellite form, and blasting eastward, toward Starscream.


    G. B. Blackrock downed a mug of coffee and wiped his mouth on the sleeve of his black suit. "We have a lot of work to do today, Mr. Korosky," he said. "It's only 7:30, but that truck will be here in a few hours, and the Decepticons with it. We'll need air support, we'll need ground troops, and we'll need artillery units before noon."

    "I'll contact Edwards AFB and Fort MacArthur. They're the closest military installations," Korosky replied. "Actually, I've already sent contacts there. It's simply a matter of signaling them."

    "And how are you going to signal them?"

    Korosky simply smiled.

    "You found something that works? Of course! Why didn't I think of that last night? What is it?"

    "Short-wave radio is unaffected by the communications blackout," Korosky said.

    "Excellent, excellent. We need only now to get people to cover," Blackrock said. "But we can't cause a panic until it is necessary. I'll see if the mayor will have the bomb sirens activated before the truck gets here."

    "Let's do it," Korosky said. Blackrock turned to leave, but Korosky grabbed his arm and Blackrock stopped.

    "Sir, it's been an honor working with you." Blackrock nodded in reply, and hurried out the door.


    Harsh, hot wind tore at the ground, sending streams of sand undulating through the air, smothering all plant life in its oppressive heat. The green LED digits on Bumblebee's radio read "9:55".

    Optimus Prime slowed at the head of his convoy, coming to a rest before turning onto a side road leading to a white building shining like a mirror in the desert-like conditions. The Autobots respectfully followed, and each let its passengers disembark and transformed upon arrival.

    "You can't defeat me, Prime!" Megatron's final works echoed through Optimus's mind.

    "What's wrong, Optimus?" Bumblebee asked.

    Optimus sighed sadly, letting his head fall to his chest. "We are not far from facing the Decepticons," Prime said.

    Spike yawned and rubbed his eyes, tired. "So?"

    "We cannot allow Earth to suffer the same fate as Cybertron. This would be the Decepticons' ultimate victory, and our greatest loss," Optimus said.

    "Then we won't let them win," Carly said, taking a step forward.

    "You honor us with your bravery and determination. All of you," Optimus said.

    "Look, I don't know what's wrong, but I can assure you, you have the military's support. You have my support," White said.

    "And look at what Mr. Police Officer did to those little guys back there. He thoroughly trashed them," Sparkplug said.

    "Prowl is a great warrior," Optimus agreed, "but the larger Decepticons are much more formidable, and Starscream would have only brought his best warriors."

    "But no Decepticon could ever stand up to you, Optimus," Bumblebee said. Ironhide, Jazz, Ratchet, and Warpath nodded in agreement.

    "Optimus, we all know how the 'Bots roll," Jazz said. "We can and will protect the humans."

    Optimus smiled at Jazz. "Jazz, I named you as my successor long ago. If I am unable to defeat Megatron, I want you to retreat, and strike back when the time is right."

    "Listen, OP, I know what Megatron told you, but he kicked the bucket. There's no way he's still alive," Jazz replied.

    "And with the support of the humans, the Autobots will not be defeated," Ironhide said.

    "That's, BANG, right! There's no way any, BLAST, Decepticons can, WOMP, stand against that alliance," said Warpath.

    "I'm beginning to doubt that is true," Optimus said.

    "They possess the technology, whether they know it or not, to mortally wound our kind," Ratchet said.

    "That is not the only thing pressing on my mind. Megatron was my greatest friend before he was my greatest foe. We were like brothers. I fear that, when the time comes, I might not be able to finish him."

    "No, Optimus," Spike said, "Megatron wasn't your best friend. Megatron was Optimus Prime's enemy. He was Orion Pax's best friend."

    Optimus stood in silence for almost a minute, pondering the human's thought. Finally, his body lifted and he said, "Thank you, Spike Witwicky. You are wise beyond your years, and whether you acknowledge it or not. I envision you as becoming a great leader one day."

    Sparkplug patted his son on the back. "You're welcome, Optimus," Spike said. "And thank you."

    Roller simply smiled, standing on the trailer's ramp.

    Optimus nodded. "Autobots, whatever happens, it has been an honor serving with you all. It pains me to think that the faces I see before me now may, at the end of this day, disappear."

    Prowl stepped forward. "It is a necessary sacrifice, to protect this world and its inhabitants from our war." The other Autobots nodded and voiced their agreements.

    "Autobots and our new human allies, no, our new human friends," Optimus said, "our time of reckoning is come. The Battle of Los Angeles begins in but a few hours. Both of our species may suffer loss, but our fates are now intertwined. I feel the words of each of my predecessors within the Matrix of Leadership inside my chest, that this is the single most important day in the Great War. I thank each and every one of you for offering your best, and for allowing me to lead you all. At last, I feel, our twenty-five-thousand year-long War is ending. Autobots, transform, and roll out."

    "We roll," Jazz said, vaulting over his comrades and landing lightly in his alternate form. Bumblebee attempted to mimic him, jumping over Prowl, but his foot caught beneath Prowl's chest, and the two collapsed to the ground.

    "Slag, Bumblebee!" Prowl scolded. "Why are you wasting time playing around when we need to get to Los Angeles?!"

    "Sorry, Prowl," Bumblebee said, transforming into his vehicular form and allowing his human passengers to climb inside. The other Autobots followed suit, White climbing inside Ironhide.

    Prowl raced to the front of the convoy, activating his sirens and flashing lights. As the Autobots pulled onto the highway, passing cars pulled over and stopped. As he thought about it, the hair on the back of Spike's neck stood on end in his anxiety.

    The Autobots continued down the highway toward Los Angeles, shining golden in the reflection of the sunlight, like the gods of old pulling with them the sun, and with that, life itself.

    Deep inside the mind of Optimus Prime, it still echoed: "You can't defeat me, Prime!"


    The sun rose higher over the tense air. Thunder rumbled over the plains from far in the distance. Starscream could feel the coming battle. A dry, hot wind brushed against the half-dead and dying bushes and trees and tall grasses, which undulated like the ocean beneath the wind. Soundwave approached quickly in his alternate mode, bearing down on Starscream's position.

    Soundwave transformed, alighting gently on the mountainside. Starscream grimaced, analyzing him. "Data: obtained," Soundwave said. Starscream couldn't help but flash a toothy grin.

    "And Lockdown terminated."

    Starscream grinned even wider. "Really? How did it go?"

    "Ravage totally bit the dude's face in half!" Rumble shouted from within Soundwave's compartment.

    "Minions: repaired," Soundwave noted.

    "Now, I shall mobilize the Decepticons, once you hand over the coordinates," Starscream said.

    Soundwave nodded. "Transmitting now."

    Data flashed before Starscream's very eyes, scrolling upwards and out of view, multitudes of symbols translated into Cybertronian. Starscream smiled evilly as he picked the data apart, finding the necessary coordinates.

    "So, Megatron will be in North Los Angeles in a few hours? Good thing I positioned Blitzwing and Triggerhappy at the human Air Force installation nearby. Wreckage and Ransack should be at the Army installation, as well, but there's no telling where Ransack would've gone. This will be a piece of cake."

    "Decepticons will return to Cybertron with Megatron. Decepticons will be victorious!" Soundwave declared.

    "Or we will return to Cybertron with Megatron's corpse," Starscream suggested.

    "Megatron lives. Soundwave knows it," Soundwave said, transforming.

    "You keep telling yourself that," Starscream said, as Soundwave lifted off, firing into the clouds above.

    "You scammed me!" shouted a gruff voice from behind. Starscream turned, but a heavy weight knocked him to the ground.

    "What?" Starscream said.

    Lockdown gazed angrily into Starscream's optics. "I said, 'You scammed me.'"

    "And you failed!" Starscream retorted, kicking the bounty hunter away. "I see Soundwave's too incompetent to deal with you. Well, if you want something done, you gotta do it yourself.

    "You 'Cons took an eye. Your little cat buddy. Well, I want yours," Lockdown growled, pointing at an empty eye socket with his remaining hand.

    "So Ravage did get to you? Oh well, he wasn't good enough!" Starscream taunted.

    Frustrated, Lockdown growled and charged, tackling Starscream again. The two tumbled down the mountainside several meters before Starscream knocked Lockdown away and regained his footing.

    Lockdown stumbled to his feet as Starscream's hand converted into a launcher, loaded with six missiles. Lockdown leapt, dodging the blast from the first. The second erupted directly under Lockdown, and the third caught him in the chest, damaging his armor and sending him flying backwards.

    Lockdown grunted as he skidded to a stop and clambered back to his feet. He immediately dropped to his stomach, hiding himself amongst the shrubs and trees. He could hear the muted thumping of Starscream's footsteps, could hear the cogs meshing, the gears whirring, within the former Decepticon Air Commander.

    "Come out, come out, wherever you are!" Starscream taunted.

    Lockdown produced his severed hook from a compartment on his leg, and let out a cry, lunging at Starscream.

    Starscream turned in time to see Lockdown plunge the hook into his shoulder. Starscream cried out in pain, swatting the smaller Cybertronian away.

    Lockdown landed hard on his back. He groaned, picking himself up.

    "How DARE you?" Starscream shouted.

    "Like this," Lockdown said, summoning the last of his energy. In one smooth motion, he launched himself into the air, one foot ahead of the other.

    Starscream's missile launcher spun, reloading, and an explosion blasted through Lockdown's chest. The dead weight of Lockdown's body smashed into Starscream's body, and the two collapsed to the ground again.

    Starscream pushed the bounty hunter off of him. "Well I must say, I'm impressed you survived that long. It must be a new record," he sneered, as the light faded from Lockdown's optics. Starscream aimed one last missile at Lockdown's head, and fired, blasting it into scrap.

    The launcher reverted into Starscream's hand, and he worked his fingers individually. He reached up and, wincing, wrenched the hook from his shoulder.

    Tapping a panel on his wrist, he activated his communicator. He transformed, accelerating high into the sky, soaring far above the plains below, transmitted the coordinates and gave his command. "This is Starscream; ALL Decepticons, mobilize."


    A light-brown and purple jet immediately launched from Edwards Air Force Base, followed by a gunmetal helicopter. The two vehicles smashed through a hangar door. Scrambled pilots dove for cover, dodging shrapnel.

    "Blitzwing en-route," the jet answered.

    "Triggerhappy... in-flight," the helicopter echoed.


    A desert-camouflaged tank smashed down a fence, leaving behind Fort MacArthur. Machine gun fire erupted behind it, bouncing off the armor with no effect. "Wreckage rolling," it announced.

    A tan mine-protected vehicle's tires squealed as it followed at top speed, swerving and avoiding the humans' fire. "Ransack reporting!"


    Reconnecting with the communications satellite miles above Earth, Soundwave listened coldly, yet almost with a perverse giddiness, as each Decepticon made its presence known and acknowledged Starscream's order. Buzzsaw obediently transformed into his storage mode and took his place inside Soundwave's storage compartment.

    "All hail Megatron," Soundwave said in his cold, computerized voice.


    The citizens of Los Angeles crowded sidewalks and clogged arteries of traffic, going about their business as usual. Occasionally, they looked up in passing curiosity at the squadron of F-22s roaring overhead, high above the tallest skyscrapers of the city. It was normal, though. Probably just an exercise out of Edwards AFB.

    Across the city, people took mild interest in the tanks rumbling into the city, separated by jeeps packed with soldiers. No one really wondered what was going on; they all had more important issues at hand, like their haircut that they were already five minutes late for. There was simply no time to think about why the military would be on an exercise within the city. It just didn't matter.
  20. jetfire4321

    jetfire4321 Banned

    Jan 30, 2010
    Trophy Points:
    this story is amazing!!!!

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