Transformers: Human at Heart

Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by weeklyhero, Dec 13, 2007.

  1. weeklyhero

    weeklyhero Prototytan

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    This is the first chapter of the first draft of a fanfic I started working on about 5 years ago. It's about a team of humans that build their own transformers and pretend to be a third faction from Cybertron. This first draft turned out a lot less serious than I would have liked, while I was putting in as many easter eggs from the cartoon and comic as possible. The next version is going to be more serious and streamlined, while still having a ton of references to the previous continuities.

    Anyway, here's the first chapter, character profiles to follow.

    Chapter 1
    The Final Piece

    The sunset over the western treeline always made him somewhat glad they accidentally came to this planet. He found that he missed his own planet Cybertron less everytime he got to see one. He continued watching the sun sink over the horizon with a fascination he'd never felt at home.

    The small yellow Autobot stood up after the sky had gone a brilliant violet and strolled back to the road. None of his friends had ever found this spot and he was thankful for the isolation. He sometimes thought that a few of them knew about it but had the courtesy to leave him his own little spot of Earth. The burden of the war with the Decepticons left its strain on all of the Autobots, even a smaller one like Bumblebee; he sometimes felt the need to get away from everyone to try to forget it for a while. Not often of course, who knows when Megatron will launch his next lunatic attack.

    Bumblebee huffed. He reached the desolate road and transformed. The shiny yellow Beetle zoomed down the street, bouncing along the backwoods pavement. His minded drifted as it always did while he drove alone. For some unknown reason, he felt a melancholy mood surround him and he searched his processors for a source. It was not often he felt this way, so that night he worried about what it could mean.

    He passed a car sitting on the side of the road, broken down and abandoned. Just past it, what used to be a small roadside market stood; only burnt and broken timbers remained. What a mess, Bumblebee thought. Why don't people take better care of their planet? The question struck a nerve within him. Humans. Bumblebee realized what had been gnawing at him all evening.

    The Autobot’s last encounter with Megatron and his forces had spilled into a local city. Even thought e Decepticons were defeated and inhabitants unharmed, the city sustained a massive amount of damage. The townspeople felt the blame of the incident rested on the Autobots’ hulls and filed suit in the humans’ court of law. The judge dismissed the case, citing the city was spared further damage by the Decepticons by their interference, but the whole ordeal still left a bad taste in Bumblebee’s audio processor. He himself was named in the suit, having destroyed a store when diving through it to protect a pedestrian couple from stray laserfire. He couldn’t wrap his central processor around how humans couldn’t just be happy with their freedom intact. Since that night weeks ago, Bumblebee had felt a massive pang of guilt and anger and both feelings made him ashamed of himself.

    hough the races of humans and Transformers have had their similarities, Bumblebee had never come close to understanding the enigmatic species. He had his help though, his best friend Spike Witwicky. From the beginning, Spike, and his father Sparkplug, had accepted the Autobots with nary a question. Bumblebee wished the rest of them were so trusting.

    The road ahead turned sharply around a hill. Bumblebee took it tight and nearly ran into two people standing in the road. He slammed on the brakes quickly and skidded off the road into a ditch. He transformed in an instant, concern for whoever he almost hit making his fuel pump beat uncontrollably in his torso. The two people stood in the street still, both with their arms behind them, looking in the direction Bumblebee came. They never moved and appeared as if they never noticed the beetle almost run them over.

    Bumblebee paused for a moment, assessing the situation, but his concern for the humans won out and he rushed to see if they were safe. "Uh, guys?" he asked approaching them, "You okay? I'm really sorry about the accident."

    Neither of them moved.

    "Guys?"

    Silence.

    Bumblebee began to step away when his sensors exploded in his head. Multiple vectors appeared out of the thickets lining the road. Both of the men on the road disappeared as a giant military vehicle took their position. Bumblebee leapt back but not before two harpoons launched from the vehicle. Massive coils of wire trailed them and wrapped around the tiny yellow mechination. Another vehicle drove behind the Autobot and shot its own two harpoons. With his arms and legs lassoed, Bumblebee struggled to free himself, but only managed to pull a number of servos in his joints.

    "Who are you people?" Bumblebee shouted, still struggling. He tried hailing the rest of the Autobots on his radio, but found his connection blocked by the vehicles. His melancholy mood quickly shifted to terrified

    A man strolled around the back of the first vehicle and approached Bumblebee. He held his hands behind his back and moved in a generally relaxed manner. The man's face, however, was very stern and unrelenting. His clothes, while not a conventional military uniform, had a similar design; very clean, dignified and demanding of respect. He stopped just out of Bumblebee's reach and took a deep breath. "Bumblebee. The Autobot's spirit.” The man’s face took on an endearing quality. “I apologize for the constraints, but I very well doubt you would come with me willingly."

    "Who are you?" Bumblebee demanded, though more fear made it out of his voice processor than anger.

    The man smirked. "I'm just a human. I’m sure you know all about us. And soon we’ll know all about you."

    Bumblebee seethed. He swiped at the man, yanking the vehicle restraining him a few feet closer. His metal fingers stopped just feet from the man, yet he never flinched.

    One of the men that were standing in the road jumped at Bumblebee, leveling a heavily modified rifle in the mech's face. Just before pulling the trigger, the older man smacked the gun from his hands. He punched the gunman in the face, knocking him out against the asphalt. "You idiot! The robot must not be harmed under any circumstances!" He turned to his other troops and waved his arm angrily. "Do you all understand that?"

    Some of the troops murmured among themselves, but none actually replied. "Now get him into the transport. We've got much to do."

    Bumblebee panicked but could do nothing more. The last thing he saw for a very long time was a troop holding a can of spray paint over his optics. Then all went black.

    *****

    "Are you glad you came along?" the older man in the quasi-military uniform asked, with a slight smirk. His question was directed to three people in casual civilian attire. The two on the right were both stocky men, one with a red crewcut, the other with longer brown hair and a short but full beard. The redhead appeared ten years the bearded man's junior and half a foot shorter.

    The female on the left was just an inch taller than the bearded man with long black hair that stretched almost to her buttocks. She looked at what the old man was pointing at and pushed her thin-framed glasses up the bridge of her nose.
    Behind the old man, four very large green vehicles surrounded a giant blue, white and red robot. A fifth vehicle lay upside down and smoldering in a crater just in front of it. A loose coil of wire trailed from the damaged vehicle around the mech's ankle. Various people in gray and black armored uniforms circled the robot, most nervously holding rifles and pistols they knew to be useless against the metal hulk.

    The robot shot a volley of laser fire that scattered the men, making them dive for cover. Each laser blast called forth a brief series of counter fire. The bullets bounced off the metal frame with weak pinging sounds, evoking a deep laugh from the mech.

    The woman had read a file earlier detailing the mechanoid, though she had already known of "Thundercracker" from news reports. It was an ambitious target, considering the only other mission was for a diminutive Autobot just a few weeks before. "This isn't going as smoothly as the previous capture, sir."

    "Technicalities, my dear Aletha, " the old man said, still smirking. "Just technicalities."

    “How exactly did we manage to lure this Decepticon here?” the redhead asked, watching the spectacle in delight.

    “We’ve been surveying Transformer activity in the area for quite some time.” The man in the uniform motioned towards a large hangar at the edge of an expansive flightline. “The Decepticon seekers frequent it quite a bit, using the aircraft here for replacement parts. We used a beacon we found from Bumblebee and amped it up, drawing the solo flier here.” He points a thumb over his shoulder to them giant robot. “He thinks he’s ambushing a lone Autobot, but imagine his shock when he himself is victim,” he chuckled.

    Behind the pseudo-general, another of the vehicles exploded as a concussion missile slammed into it. The anchor took the brunt of the blast, but a full wave of men was knocked down. "You blasted fleshbags! You think you can stand up to the Decepticons? Megatron will have your heads for this!" the mech shouted in a deep guttural voice as he yanked his left hand free and launched himself into the air. The thrusters in his boot lit up the night, scorching the pavement of the abandoned flightline.

    The man in the uniform grabbed a loudspeaker and shouted at the troops, "Use the cables, people. Use the goddamn energy sinks!"

    The last remaining vehicle attached to Thundercracker seemed to cackle then a huge blue bolt shot up through the cable. It struck the robot with a mammoth surge of sparks. Thundercracker screamed and faltered in the air before crashing down to the earth. The remaining vehicles launched another volley of harpoons and pinned the giant to the ground.

    The redheaded man ran forward inline with the armed troops. "This is fantastic!" he shouts, watching the final surges dissipate through the wires. "I want this weapon!"

    "I'll make sure you get it, Lance," the quasi-general said with what sounded like a chuckle to the two other people near him.

    "It looks like you've already made some discoveries from our other captive," the bearded man said, regarding the cables' energetic property. "But have we gleamed any bigger secrets from Bumblebee?"

    The old man's wry smirk vanished as he turned to face his accomplice. "There have been some great advancements already. Make no mistake, we are progressing beyond anything you've expected."

    "You'll excuse me for wanting to see more than an energy siphon before I'm ready to sign on, McCorim. The government was on the verge of that long before you even dreamed of dissecting a Transformer."

    The man in the uniform grunted and crossed his arms. "Ricking, I can give you your prove." He turned to the troops loading the mech into a helicarrier and picked up his loudspeaker. "We're moving on to the base, get Thundercracker back as soon as possible."

    The three closest troops replied with a nod and the others echoed their acknowledgements. One man saluted and quickly returned to work. The man in the uniform glared at the man while making a mental note to fire him. You’re not in the army anymore, he thought, and I’m no general.

    The four loaded into the back of a military-type utility vehicle and left the makeshift battle site. Inside, the uniformed man handed out folders to his guests. "Are there any others that have doubts in my endeavor?"

    The redhead feverently shook his head, but the woman made no response at all.

    "Whatever the case," he said, noting her silence, "I guarantee you I can change your minds."

    The rest of the drive was disappointingly quiet to McCorim. All three people thumbed through the folders, looking at Xeroxes of wiring schematics and 3-D images of various electronic and hydraulic components. Not one of them raised any questions, something McCorim was hoping to use to further show off his handwork.

    Ricking closed his binder quickly, considering all the drawings and sketches unremarkable and mostly childish, no matter how technical. He resigned himself to sitting with his arms crossed and figuring out exactly how he can tell his ex-employer he wasn't interested in his games, even if those had been successful so far. He certainly couldn't see the once-decorated general doing anything after that, though. But he'd at least see it through and humor his old boss out of respect. He casually tossed the binder onto the car seat as they exited the vehicle at an ominously vacant looking warehouse. He followed the others inside and suddenly forgot every single word of his refusal speech.

    The silence in the hangar was enough to make the general want to applaud himself. The three spectators from the recent capture stood speechless, staring at the wonder before them. The redheaded man was the first to speak but only uttered a quiet "Wow".

    "You can tell it's not totally finished," McCorim said wryly. "We have quite a bit of work left on it, but you an see my point.”

    Before the three people stood a hulking skinless robot. Though they had just watched another robot get captured without great enthusiasm, this mechanoid proved so much more impressive because it had never been seen before. Neither Autobot nor Decepticon, this steel creature was completely man-made. Dozens of technicians swarmed around the form, cranking wrenches and applying various electrical implements. In the center of the frame was a void, with a mass of wires running to every inch of its border. Huge hydraulic pistons fitted the arms and legs, with vast wires and cables spanning the distance between them. Sensors and panels randomly lit up in a brilliant display of technological wonder.

    The redheaded man ran up to the construct and mingled among the technicians. He quickly made his way from one workstation to the next, trying to comprehend the technology.

    "So are you going to tell us what this robot's alternate mode is?" Aletha asked, looking through her folder but finding no answers.

    The man in the uniform smirked, "Why don't I just keep that a secret for now."
    Ricking rubbed his chin, staring at the large metal beast. “It’s an impressive amount of progress you’ve made in just two weeks.”

    McCorim kept looking at the robot with more than a little pride in his eyes. “We’ve actually had this much built for a while now, before we ever captured Bumblebee.”

    The woman looked shocked. “You actually built this on your own?”

    “Yes. Hard to believe, isn’t it? The mechanics of it all have been in the testing stage for a few years now; I’ve just been able to put it all together for once. But we weren’t even close to replicating a Transformer yet. The main purpose of the captures was discerning how the actual transformations work. That and communication; see what different modes they have to talk to each other and how we can work around them.”

    The woman and the man looked at each other, eyebrows furrowed. The man spoke up first. “Why did you capture Thundercracker after you already had Bumblebee then? Isn’t it a bit redundant?”

    “The first answer is obvious. ‘Are there any differences between Autobots and Decepticons, technically speaking? Mechanically, electronically, etc.”

    Aletha cut in. “Doubtful. And the second reason?”

    He turned to face her and Ricking. “Did you know that some Transformers have
    special abilities?”

    The woman answered, “Yes, the first to come to mind is a smaller Decepticon, Rumble. Can create localized tremors.”

    “That’s right.” McCorim circled the two people while continuing his explanation. “My team suspects that every Transformer we’ve seen has a special ability.” He pointed to a large window on the wall of the hangar. Lab technicians paced around behind the window, mostly between large yellow metal plates and components tacked on the far wall. “We’ve found out that particular Autobot has visual sensors that we think far surpass many of the others. They extend so far beyond any of the cameras and sensors we have that it’s laughable. He’s also capable of aquatic operations. His armor is waterproof and all his interior workings are triple-insulated.”

    The woman looked as interested as she did perturbed. “Once again, why did we need to capture another Transformer if we were able to find out about the powers from the first one?”

    “Bumblebee’s abilities are all passive; they don’t require and conscious decision to use them. Thundercracker’s, on the other hand, needed to be turned on, selected. He can create massive sonic booms. Impressive really, although totally underused. Our surveillance only turned it up through Decepticon communications, not through demonstrations.” He pulled a sheet of paper from a folder on a table near them. He handed it to Ricking. “My technicians theorize a certain chip or program in each of them controls their ability. I don’t understand the whole idea, though, sounds a little far-fetched to me.”

    The redheaded man had come back in the middle of the discussion and now stood directly behind the man in the uniform. “Are you saying we’re all going to have special powers?”

    “Oh most undoubtedly.”

    *****

    For years, the woman had never been able to come to a conclusion about the Transformers. She knew they were robots, just mechanics and computers; she was surrounded by parts and pieces of one of them in the laboratory. But seeing them on television and more recently in McCorim's briefings, she could not shake the feeling that they were more than just metal constructs. They were alive. Her own experience with one of them convinced her of the fact. Just how alive, though, would have to be proved.

    The tall thin redhead had paced around the lab for a number of hours since hearing the capture would happen some time that night. She was determined to see him come in, if only for a brief moment. It had been three years since the last time and she dreaded he would look much different to her this time. She continued her laps near the door, irritating some of the technicians with her squeaky boots.

    She looked out the window of the lab into the hangar, watching McCorim put up his creation for display. Only one of the people with him looked familiar to her, though she doubted it would be long before she knew them all intimately. She watched the former general showcase his incomplete giant and felt a wave of disgust wash over her imagining McCorim put his newest acquirement up for display. Most Decepticons didn't deserve more than that, but this one did. She turned away from the window and resumed her waiting.

    Across the lab, another woman was much more involved in the contents of the room. The short woman buzezed around all the technicians, looking over their shoulders as they performed tests on the components that littered the counters. She found one piece unattended and promptly picked it up, flipping it over in her hands to perform a thorough examination.

    "Please do not touch any of the items," a technician said sternly while grabbing her arm. "Mr. McCorim specifically ordered that none of the pieces are damaged or altered in any way. They must remain in the exact condition as they were removed."

    She reluctantly replaced the item, resisting the urge to grab another. "What does it matter what condition they are in if you've already figured out what they're for?"

    The technician scoffed as he moved on to the next workstation, "For when we reconstruct the Transformer, obviously."

    The woman looked around at the mess of electronic and mechanical elements in disbelief. "Good luck with all of that," she laughed behind his back, slowishing she could slip a small momento into her pocket. She strolled over to the other woman, whistling an innocent melody.

    "So you're one of McCorim's recruits?" she asked the redhead.
    The taller woman glanced at her, then back out the window at McCorim's show. "I worked with him at Edwards Air Force Base for just under a year about three years ago."

    "Test pilot?"

    The taller woman smiled a little. "Yeah, though nothing i flew ever made it past that step." She held out her hand. "Hillary Bargol."

    The shorter woman took it and squeezed gently. "Charlene Mason, but please, call me Charlie."

    "Have you ever worked with the general?"

    Charlie waved her hand. "Naw, just know him from what I've heard. Apparently, he just knows me that same way, so I wonder what he wants with me."

    "You must have been doing something right."

    "Guess so," she replied, unable to look at her because of her red cheeks.

    Hillary thumbed towards the lab technicians. "I saw you among the techs over there. Were you into electronics or something?"

    "Well, I just love the stuff: computers, robots, anything technology." She grinned and her cheeks flushed a little more. "Basically, I’m just a huge nerd. But officially, I'm in communications. Top secret encryptions, broadcast jammings, that kind of stuff."

    "From McCorim's recruitment show, sounds like communications would be pretty important."

    Charlie grimaced. "Recruitment? I came here on orders. Before I actually arrived here, I thought I was being kicked out of the Air Force. I wish the general could have been more a little more open about all this, I would have gladly come given a choice."

    Hillary chuckled. "You really must have been doing something right then to get that kind of attention."

    Before Charlie could respond, a half dozen red lights started flashing in the laboratory. The technicians in the room quickly set about setting up the room for Thundercracker's arrival. The room's large sliding doors opened in a hush, and two armed guards rushed into the room.

    One guard pushed Hillary and Charlie back against a wall out of the way. Charlie almost slipped over her feet backing up from the soldier. As the guard radioed to his team that the room was clear, Hillary felt her heart come to a stop. She placed a hand on Charlie's shoulder for support. Charlie instinctively out her hand over Hillary's and squeezed in gently.

    A massive metal conveyor wheeled in to the room surrounded by a group of soldiers. Lying on top of the table, Thundercracker laid inert, his red optic sensors dim. Technicians rushed to his sides and hooked up a ceiling-mounted hoist. Massive magnet plates clamped onto the Transformer's chassis, jerking him off of the slab. All of the soldiers readied their rifles, all equipped with miniature energy siphons similar to the vehicles that took the robot down.

    Hillary felt her eyes water and two tears rolled down her cheeks. Charlie glanced at her and patted the hand clenched on her shoulder. "Are you okay?" she asked Hillary, not knowing what could be causing her distress or what to do to help it.
    The taller woman sniffed and nodded.

    As the hoists started to haul the robot to the dissection table, Thundercracker's optics flashed a bright red and the sensors behind them flashed around the room. The hoists stopped suddenly, swinging the robot through the air above the startled technicians. He limply swiped at the magnets, unable to divorce himself from them. Dropping his arms, he knocked a piece of Bumblebee's armor off a table, exposing the yellow Autobot's head. "I like what you've done with the place," Thundercracker meekly laughed.

    The guards fired their rifles, the harpoons lashing into the robot's metal skin. Each cable lit up with a surge of electricity and a burst of sparks. Thundercracker screamed and arched his back, almost knocking himself free of the magnets. His eyes slowly faded to the dull red they were when he was brought in the room, but before his consciousness left him, his optics found Hillary and stayed on her. "I remember you," he muttered, before drawing another shock from the guards' weapons. Thundercracker went limp and was quickly latched down on the examining table.

    Hillary ran out of the room, bursting into tears for a creature she knew could never appreciate them.

    *****

    "Ladies and gentleman, I have summoned you here for a purpose." The former general stood before the round table in his military-esque uniform, new medals glinting in the stage lights shining on him. His smile almost burst off his face, so proud to show off his final product.

    Many of the people seated around the table huffed at the showmanship. "Can we get on with this, Erik?" Ricking finally blurted out.

    McCorim cleared his throat and straightened out his jacket, the wind knocked out of his sails. "Of course. If you'll all please pay attention to the slides." A projector lowered from the ceiling and displayed a blue screen on the wall behind McCorim. He pressed a button on a remote and the scene changed to a random picture of a large red Transformer fighting a silvery-gray one.

    "The Transformers have been on Earth for a few years now. Autobots, the supposedly heroic half of the race, fighting against the inherently evil Decepticons. We've seen them do battle all over the world: from here in America all the way to India and Japan. They've caused countless dollars in damages and even more than a few lives in their ceaseless war." As he goes through his speech, the scenes on the wall change from one picture to another, all of Transformers locked in battle. Many of the photos show excessive collateral damage to their surroundings; buildings crumbled, forests scorched, mountains leveled.

    The projector clicked as another slide was replaced, the new one focusing on the large red robot in the first frame. "Optimus Prime - leader of the Autobots and basic hero. Strongest, wisest, most powerful of them all. Almost makes all the other Autobots obsolete. The other Autobots are incompetent in battle without him."

    McCorim shuffled the projector through another half a dozen slides of other various Autobots while naming off each one along with any special abilities. He skipped over the slide of Bumblebee quickly, drawing a few whispers from the audience. "We'll cover all of these in detail at a later date. For now--," he switched the slide to a photo of the silver robot in the first picture. "--Megatron."

    In the back of the room, leaning back in his chair, a squat but muscular man coughed. "Sir, how long is this going to go on for?"

    McCorim halted in his rehearsed speech as if he just remembered other people were in the room. "What was that?"

    "We already know all of this just from watching the national news," he replied.

    "And this stuff’s just as boring." A gaunt man older than McCorim tossed a file folder on the table and copies of the slides spilled out over the table.

    Ricking stood up at the head of the table and addressed McCorim. "Nate and Bradley are right, all of us have already been briefed about the Transformers. Can you get to the point?"

    McCorim glared at both of the men, then glanced around the room.

    Most people nodded, but only Lance spoke up. “I want to see the robots!” Three of the twelve agreed, the loudest being the man that interrupted McCorim in the first place. Aletha dropped her head in embarrassment.

    The former general missed the days when his rank demanded respect. "Alright, let's get down to what you're really interested in." He thumbed the remote quickly, skipping a good number of slides, most of them showcasing familiar Decepticons. He stopped on a slide that has the lone word 'Prototytans' in the center. "I'll ask all of you to refrain from using your real names from here on out. Please use your flying names from the Air force or the ones assigned to you at this briefing."

    He advanced the projector once to a slide of the skinless robot he previewed for Ricking and the others a month before. "We've come a long way since this day. From this prototype, as well as the information gleamed from our captures, we have been able to create our own Transformers. You twelve former airmen will pilot you own robot, each suited to your specialty. Each robot, or Prototytans as I have dubbed them, also has its own special ability, just like the original Transformers.” Lance’s eyes almost seemed to tear over hearing that.

    “Each of these has been tested in the hangar here and on the grounds. My technicians have made sure everything performs in top working order. We have yet to perform an active field test; that will be your job. But I'll get to that later"
    He switched to the next slide, showing the completed robot. The mechination was primarily silver with white and dark blue stripes alone the side and chest. Two round metal half-pipes rested over the arms like a sort of steel cape. Technical data pointed out design statistics and in the lower right corner was a picture of its alternate mode; a tanker truck.

    The over-all construction and design brought awe from all seated around the table. Many of the pilots’ faces were covered with large smiles or eyes wide open. Charlie looked about to cry and a large black man in the back slammed his hand on the table saying, “That’s what I’m talking about!”

    "Dropline," McCorim called. A slightly overweight black man stood up. McCorim tossed him a folder from a stand next to him. "This is your Prototytan. Higher-than-average strength, but lower speed and agility. It can become virtually unmovable to outside forces by launching stakes into the ground from its feet, affectively planting it in the earth." As McCorim explained the robot's powers, he continued to flip through photos of them in use. "Also, the tank splits in robot mode and can fold around the torso to make a shield. For weaponry, can shoot a spray of liquid nitrogen from the vehicle’s hose."

    “Thank you, sir.” The black man nodded and sat down. He rummaged through the file, flipping through page after page of technical stats in wide-eyed excitement. The slide advanced again. McCorim went through all twelve of the Prototytans, explaining strengths and weaknesses, weapons and powers. He issued each of the pilots a folder showing schematics and photos of the completed robots. Every pilot eagerly thumbed through each document, and some even traded folders to show off their robots. Lance and Dietrich got in a small argument about whose was the better robot, which was escalating fast, like much of their time together. Ricking interjected quickly, but not before Lance’s folder was thrown across the room.

    McCorim seemed to not notice the altercation being too enthralled in the total amount of captivation in his work. After giving them all a few moments to read, McCorim strolled to the meeting room door and opened it. "Now if you'll all follow me," he said, leading them to a large room next to the laboratory. Inside, twelve large pods lined the walls, each about the size of photo-booth. Most of them had a massive amount of connectors and slides on the outside, but two were completely square with no signs of external connections except for a large bundle of wires leading up the wall and into the main hangar room. "These are the pods you will be in while piloting your Prototytans. Each of them will be completely sealed into your robot and supplied with anything you need for extended stays inside during missions. You will be disconnected with anything outside the pod, so the inside will have multiple displays and audio connections.

    “The pods are also shielded against any bio-scans the Transformers can do. Not one of them will be able to find out humans are piloting these robots. They will think they’re dealing with other Transformers, just ones they’ve never met.” McCorim smiled for an instant, then dropped it into a solemn grimace. “The shielding is always on in robot mode, but can be switched off in vehicle mode. That way, and only in emergencies, you can hide completely in vehicle mode in the general populace. But like I said, only in extreme circumstances, I don’t want the illusion ruined unless absolutely necessary.”

    He pointed to the two square pods. "Twilight and Makeshift, these are your pods. Neither of your Prototytans are large enough to fit a pod like the others inside, so you'll be controlling them by remote." Both of the square pods lacked a closable door, leaving the interior exposed. The groups gathered around it to see the amount of controls fitted inside.

    Two men went to the pods and sat down inside them, trying out the controls and checking out the monitors. The darker skinned of the two, a native-American with long hair began toggling switches on the many control panels.

    "Please don't play with the controls," McCorim said, sounding more like an order than a suggestion. "Anyway, due to their specialties, you will be my eyes and ears during missions, relaying all important events to me."

    "About that," Ricking interjected, "what missions do you have planned exactly? You mentioned a field test earlier and I'll admit more than just a curiosity. More like a worry."

    "Of course, Rocksplitter, I was about to get to that,” McCorim said, a particularly evil looking smirk taking over his face. "Your Prototytans' first real test is to return Bumblebee to the Ark."

    *****

    "You've got to be kidding me!" Ricking rushed into the office after McCorim while the others were marveling over the Prototytans.

    McCorim sat down at his desk nonchalantly. "Something the matter, Rocksplitter?"

    "Don't give me this Rocksplitter crap. I know you're just using these names to get the others excited. We're not a bunch of kids, Erik!"

    "What's got you all upset?" McCorim sat back in his chair. "I thought you'd be happy doing something. You're finally leading your own troops."

    Ricking looked out the office window and watched as each of the others showed off their robotic counterparts. "The Ark? You're sending them to the Autobot's base for their first mission? They don't have any training or anything!"

    "They're almost all trained pilots! There's a total of over eighty years of flying time in this whole team." He got up from his desk and stood next to Ricking at the window. "I know some will need further training with their robots, but I think you'll be ready before too long."

    "Sir, two of them have no flying experience whatsoever and three of the pilots haven't even had any combat flying.”

    McCorim interjected quickly, pointing outside the window. “You know Charlie’s a technical genius, she could learn piloting these things in a day if she wanted to, and I know she does. And Bradley, I know he’s old and has been retired for years, but I’ve had him in here training on these things for a few months now. He’s getting the hang of it quicker than I would have expected.

    Ricking sighed. “I know they can learn quickly, you've gathered a great group of people, but aren't you setting their sights too high?"

    McCorim took a stack of papers from a folder in the cabinet next to his desk. "Sit down, I'll show you the briefings for the mission." He flipped through a few pictures from the stack. Most were topography maps of Mt. Saint Helena. Dark red dots spotted the map with a large blotch of them at the center of the mountain. "This is Autobot headquarters the week before Bumblebee's capture. No Decepticon activity around that time, so the Ark was full of Optimus's troops."
    A second map showed the same area, but missing many of the red spots. Only two remained in the mountain with another outside. "This is yesterday. Since our capture, the Autobots have been out searching for him non-stop. Only a few are left there to guard the base, but there's been no known Decepticon sightings lately, so the Autobots there are some of the weaker ones."

    Ricking sat down in a chair across from McCorim's desk. "Still some of the smaller Autobots have some impressive powers, Windcharger alone could crush us all."

    "True," McCorim answered, sitting down at his desk. "But the mission is just infiltration. Mainly, it will be Makeshift and Twilight's mission, sneak into the Ark, drop of Bumblebee, get out. The rest will go for protection, of course."

    “Any explanation for the lack of Decepticon activity?”

    McCorim frowned. “I wish. With the Autobots, I wouldn’t worry. They’re predictable, not to mention -“ He flexed the ring and index fingers on both his hands “- good. But the Decepticons, there’s no way of knowing what they could be up to. I wish I could send someone to check them out, but honestly, I wouldn’t know where to start looking. They change their bases every other week almost. Last I heard from surveillance, they’ve been seen flying into the Pacific somewhere. Like they have an underwater city or something. Nonsense.”

    Ricking looked over his former commander’s office, admiring the enormous amount of accomplishments he had made. Many of the walls were covered in plaques and paintings commemorating decades of service. Small keepsakes and awards cluttered his desk. McCorim had been in the service just a few years more than him, but this collection made him look like he had served for centuries. Ricking put his hand in his palm, then looked McCorim straight in the eyes.

    “Why are you doing this, Erik?”

    “Did you see those slides, Ricking? Look at all the damage those robots have caused since being here, all the pain set upon the humans that had nothing to do with it.” McCorim almost jumped out of his seat, glaring at his guest as if he had caused all destruction himself. “I’m trying to protect us all from these monstrosities.”

    Biting his cheek to contain himself, Ricking replied seething with sarcasm. “Humanity’s defender? Bull. I’ve worked with you for nearly twenty-five years. I know you better than anyone else you brought in. You don’t care about saving this planet any more than most of us do.”

    McCorim laughed, slumping back down in his chair. “Of course you’re right. These things show up on our planet one day and all of the sudden, they’re the strongest force we’ve ever seen. Nothing less than an atom bomb could hurt them. But I want to show them they’re not invincible. And I want to do it by their rules.” McCorim spun his chair around and faced the back wall with a poster of the American flag with two F-16’s flying behind it. “Then we’ll take back our place as kings of this earth.”
     
  2. DarkScreamer

    DarkScreamer Active Member

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    great story so far i can't wait to see wha appens to Thundercracker and Bumblebee.
     

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