Transformers Prime: Ordeal

Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by Jayhan, May 24, 2012.

  1. Jayhan

    Jayhan Heatbreaker

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    Wow, this is my first fanfiction posted here on TFW2005, so I'll give it my best shot and try not to disappoint you guys. I guess it's obvious, but this one here is set in the Transformers: Prime Universe. XP
    Okay, here goes:

    Summary: Rachel Hawkins will learn at a terrible price that, once involved, nothing will ever be the same. How can the Autobots and their latest recruit, Prowl, help her overcome the challenges that lie ahead when they're too busy solving problems of their own?


    Transformers Prime: Ordeal​


    ~Prologue~​

    You want to know something about stories? Almost all the time, they start with one or a bunch of characters who embark on this grand adventure, and as they journey through life, they encounter huge amounts of problems, obstacles and challenges... All those factors amass into an epic climax, embroiled with danger, misconceptions and tensions, before it spirals down to a calm, collective and happy ending.
    This story isn't a happy one. It doesn't have a happy ending, like you'd expect it to. At least I don't see it. My life isn't coming to an end, but I feel as though I'm hosting a decaying soul, devoid of all the joy that makes me the person that I am. To me, I've lost all reasons to live.
    Many people have told of their own greatest discoveries, whether it be the unraveling of a theory or that hidden talent they were unaware of. But none of their jubilant breakthrough can top what I have to reveal: together with my best friend, we have practically discovered the existence of an alien race of mechanical, sentient beings known as Cybertronians, or as some of us like to call them, Transformers. They say we are part of the very lucky few to have befriended the Autobots, a group of warriors who hide in plain sight, but who fight and defend us in the name of peace and justice from a threat that most of us do not even know of. Unfortunately, being friends with the Autobots, I have crossed paths with the enemy known as the Decepticons, harbingers of destruction. One of them has grown very fond of me because of one little incident, one little accident, and I understand now that he will hunt me down until I either breathe my very last breath, or until he fires his last missile.
    I... I can't get my thoughts together. There are too many of them, one as painful as the other, expanding, multiplying as they begin to take too much space for my head to contain. My vision is blurred by the tears that I have shed for the past hour. I can't stop crying. I can't control my trembling, sobbing body.
    My story won't have a happy ending, because today... I have just lost my best friend.

    ***​


    Author's note: This is a fanfiction turning into an audiobook project. The prologue's already up, so check it out and tell me what you think:

    Transformers Prime: Ordeal ~ Prologue ~ - YouTube
     
  2. Jazzfan0217

    Jazzfan0217 Just chillin'

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    this sounds like a good one can't wait to read more :popcorn 
     
  3. Jayhan

    Jayhan Heatbreaker

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    Thanks! I'm posting chapter one right up! ;) 
     
  4. Jayhan

    Jayhan Heatbreaker

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    ~Act I, Chapter I~​



    "Michelangelo! If I ever catch you falling asleep in class again, I promise you'll have to catch up with so much homework, you won't even sleep at night!"

    Hearing her seethe those words as she yelled after me gave me a good reason to run out of class as fast as possible when the school bell rang. Yeah, I already had my daily dose of scolding from my History teacher, so I didn't think I needed to hear another lecture from her about some little accident that happens to every student at least once in their life.

    I was a little too much on my computer yesterday night, and by the time I went to bed, it was 3:00 am. Guilty as charged, I won't deny that. But I won't deny that I haven't tried as hard as I possibly could to stay awake in class. When it comes to the cranky, shriveled Miss Dawson's History lessons, unless you had your coffee, you're guaranteed to at least get distracted by the birds outside. I don't even remember the last thing she talked about before I fell asleep. Yeah, it was that boring. The only thing I learned today in History was that if President Lincoln was my History teacher and caught me taking a nap in class, he would have sent me out to work in the fields, to make up for the time I wasted on sleeping.

    Well, if it means not ever coming back to her lessons, then hell yeah! Sign me up any time soon!

    So, as you can clearly see, I had a great day until Miss Screw-you-I'm-Your-Teacher caught me dozing off in class and had me involved the last 15 minutes in an argument. I think that was a lot more interesting than what she had to teach. Sure, what I did was wrong, but I can't help it if she doesn't know how to teach history.

    I barged out of the doors of our school after hearing another dissing remark from the janitor, telling us students the golden rule of NOT running in the halls. Pff, still can't believe that people like him treat us like 5th graders, even though we're all in high-school by now. But I didn't waste more time thinking about it, because nothing felt better than breathing that fresh air of freedom after a long day's work.

    As I ran down the stairs, I looked eagerly around me. I was searching for my friend and we would usually meet up after class. It didn't take me long until I spotted a group of girls near the sidewalk. I knew I had found her, since Native-American girls with wavy, shoulder-length hair like hers is very hard to miss in this school. I slung my bag over my shoulders, put the most charming smirk on my face and walked up to the clique... Like a boss. "Hey, ladies."

    The girls in the group giggled and laughed, and I even spotted one blushing. I still had the moves.

    The Native-American girl turned around, her face showing a mix of amusement or annoyance. "Hey there, slacker."

    Wow, she didn't miss a beat. That was one way to ruin my image.

    I gasped, playing it up a little dramatically. "Rachel, I'm offended. Is that how you treat your oldest friend?"

    She waved goodbye to her school friends as they left, and she had that mocking smile plastered on her face when she looked over to me. "I'd treat you better if stopped showing off in front of my friends."

    "Oh, come on, they like it when I do that!"

    "Yeah, because it looks funny."

    "That's what you say, but you know I'm right." I stated, "Did you see Alice? I could tell, she was digging me."

    Rachel thought differently, seeing as she was moaning in exasperation. "Oh, Mike... You should really focus more on your schoolwork. You DO know we have an exam next week, right?"

    I scoffed at her remark, raising my fist. "Exam? You think I'm iffy because of some sheets? I've dealt with worse."

    No joke, the exams looked like nothing compared to what I had been up against. I wasn't even referring to the History teacher, though she could remotely scarier than the exams. Just by looking at Rachel, she knew what I was talking about, showing discomfort as she pushed the strands of hair out of her face, anxiously looking around her.

    A blaring honk made us jump, and we both spun our heads to a police car that just drove up the sidewalk. Other students were pointing their fingers in amazement, gossiping about who was in trouble with the law enforcement. It took me a couple of seconds to realize that a huge grin had spread across my face. I showed it off to Rachel. "I really enjoy this conversation we're having, you know, with you giving great advice and a heads-up for what I already know, but I gotta run. Gotta meet up with some... friends, and I don't wanna be rude and make them wait."

    She rolled her eyes, sighing. "Always making up excuses to get away. Fine. Go ahead, I'm not holding you back."

    "Thanks, Rach', you're the best."

    "Heck yeah." she muttered.

    I opened the door to the police car, but didn't go in just yet. There was something I wanted to try one last time. "You don't know what you're missing. These guys... They're really awesome. I'm sure you'd like them a lot. You should give them a chance."

    She gave me an apologetic smile. "Mike, we've been over this. I'm sure they're as great as you tell me, but... That world... I don't want any part of it."

    I was a little disappointed, hoping for a different answer. I returned an understanding smile as I nodded my head. "All right. I'm not gonna force you; I'm just letting you know that if you ever change your mind, you're more than welcome to crash the party."

    "And I appreciate the thought, thanks. I anyway don't have time for anything else. I'm too busy preparing for the school concert. Can you believe that the band's expecting me to learn three new songs by the end of this week?"

    Right. There was this concert coming up a couple of months from now to celebrate the inauguration of this unfortunate building. "That doesn't sound like much."

    "And that's why you'll never know what it's like to work as a musician." she said, mocking me, "Just go already. I'll see you around. And don't get too side-tracked as usual, Mike."

    I could hardly say goodbye as she rushed off into the school, probably going to the music room where other musicians were practicing. The band was supervised by one of the school's music teacher, so he probably had a strict rule about punctuality.

    Teachers... In the end, they're just monsters in disguise.

    Another honk reminded me that someone was waiting. I scoffed in disbelief. I was holding onto the door handle, I was inches from being inside the car. And he still honked at me.

    I shook my head and finally slid into the front seat, slamming the door shut. The engine immediately roared to life, and I was barely given enough time to strap myself as the car drove off, speeding down the street.

    I glanced at the policeman sitting in the drivers seat, nodding my head. "Hey, Prowl. 'Sup?"

    He fell silent, briefly glancing at me indifferently before focusing on the street. "I'm late for duty because of you."

    Wow. Looks like teachers aren't the only ones getting edgy over punctuality.

    "It's nice to see you too." I stated dryly, "By now, I figured you'd know how to greet people."

    The man sighed heavily. "How was school?"

    "I'll survive, thanks for asking. See, that wasn't so hard, was it?"

    "It's a matter of being bothersome, not hard."

    "Oh, so now you're telling me there's a difference?"

    "Yes, there is. Being hard implies that the task is difficult to complete. Bothersome, on the other hand, indicates that it's too much of a bother to be looked into, but it doesn't mean it's impossible to do it."

    It was my turn to fall silent. "And you plan on handling a team with THAT kind of attitude? You know, now I'm not the least bit surprised that Optimus promoted you to be my guardian."

    With a strong, sudden jerk, my body lurched against the seat belt as the car ground to a screeching halt. "The hell, Prowl!" I hissed and grunted at him. When I looked out the window, I realized he had pulled up in front of my house. "Hey, what gives? I thought we were going to HQ."

    "You are going home. I am on patrol duty for at least another two hours."

    "I don't mind waiting in the car." I retorted.

    "I do. The last thing I need is you as a distraction while I'm on duty."

    I groaned and shook my head in disapproval. "You kiddin' me? Prowl, if you're expecting that we both get somewhere in this partnership, then you're gonna have to make more effort. The very least you can do is pretend to appreciate my company instead of getting rid of me."

    The policeman glanced at me, his face expressionless, and stayed quiet. He turned back his attention to the road and, seconds later, the engine roared to life, tires spurting smoke as the car drove off. I talked to him, tried to bring him to say something, but he never gave into my attempt of conversation. He was known to be patient, never giving into the demands of others, no matter how much he was being nagged about it.

    Freakin' unsociable robot doesn't even want to have fun every once in a while.

    Yeah, you heard me right. I'm dealing with a robot here. The man next to me? A hologram, created by the car, which is actually Prowl. I'm not kidding. In reality, he's a robot capable of transforming into a police car and the other way around. The vehicle form is used as a camouflage in order to blend into our society. With that disguise, he comes off as an ordinary police car to anyone.

    And guess what? He's my guardian, now. Pretty cool, huh?

    Well, since Prowl's on patrol and he's not willing to put the effort into talking, I guess it's time you heard my story. This is how it all happened.

    A couple of months ago, Rachel and I were on our way home. I was riding my bike, and I was trying to persuade her to hop on because, let's face it, it's fun and helps you get home faster. And she didn't want to, for reasons beyond my understanding.

    We passed by the local junkyard, a familiar place we'd sometimes hang out at. For a tinkerer like me, that place is paradise. It's where I can find spare parts for any innovative plans I had in mind, ranging from constructing my own custom-made bike to upgrading any vehicles, or just making a little do-hickey as a last resort. I enjoyed creating my own things, and for a passionate genius like me, money falls short. In that junkyard, things were price-wise cheaper than on the market. The guy in charge of the place, Chris, a middle-aged man in his late 40s, would put up a reasonable price for the parts we found there. So, Rachel and I would go there quite often. She is, after all, my best friend.

    You can say we know that junkyard very well, what we could find, how expensive things were and when the junkyard was open. We know for a fact that it was closed on Thursdays, because Chris would take the day off to get himself wasted to some spirits in a bar. So, in the middle of our argument, Rach' and I heard some rattling coming from inside the junkyard, and when we looked, we caught sight of a flare that only lasted a moment before it faded into the early evening. It was an unusual thing, and it was strange because that day was Thursday, and nobody was supposed to be there. I was curious by nature and investigated whenever something appeared in the corner of my eyes, or when my ears picked up something I judged to be unusual. So naturally, I was going to check it out.

    Rachel held me back at first, telling me that it was a bad idea. She was always cautious, but she should have known by now that nothing could stop me once I got curious. Seeing as I wasn't even listening to her anymore and started moving towards the junkyard's fence, she let me go and followed me instead.

    I placed my bike against the chain-link fence and started climbing, earning some angry, quiet ramblings from Rachel. I didn't even need to tell her anything before she copied my moves and went up the fence. Once I helped her down, we heard some voices in the distance. There was a conversation going on and we felt the ground tremble beneath our feet almost simultaneously. This was getting exciting for me, and I grew more anxious as I sneaked further into the junkyard, past stacks of scrapped cars with Rachel sticking to me like glue. Obviously, she didn't share my excitement. Along the way, she insisted with sharp whispers that we should get out, coming up with what I thought were lame excuses, channeled by childish fears. Maybe she was afraid, but I should know better than to question the judgment of my best friend, who has always been the voice of reason. I chose to ignore her and drew myself nearer to large piles of scraps and garbage. We hid ourselves there, looking in between those piles to see the open area ahead of us, and what was going on.

    I don't know what the hell was happening, but I was wondering what the hell I was looking at. And I swear to you, this was the one time where I had no idea what to say.

    Assembled in the heart of the area were a group of three freakin' ginormous robots. The shortest one was a blue-colored female robot. You could tell that much by looking at her body, if you know what I mean. The second was fairly tall, its metal plating consisting of a white and black paint job, and it had a visor on its face. Oh, I also remember seeing sirens attached to its back. And there was the final one, the tallest of the three, which was a massive robot with bulky, heavy-weight features. Altogether, they were huge, making lampposts look like freakin' midgets, at least the latter of the two did. They were talking to each other... in English, but I don't think even Rachel could understand what they were talking about. What mattered to us was how threateningly intimidating they looked to us, especially to Rachel who tugged at the back of my shirt.

    I was too mesmerized by these robots to hear Rachel's panic-stricken voice or to even think what to do next, and she noticed that very quickly. She tried to snap me out of it by pulling me away from the incredible display of robots. Unfortunately, in doing so, I tripped over or kicked something, I don't remember which it was, but I knew that I had messed up when I heard some subsequent rattling coming from one of those scrapheaps.

    One pile shook and tipped forward before finally crashing onto the ground with loud cracking and clunky sounds of used objects. I screwed up bad. With a grimace on my face, I looked at the rendered pile before me, then slowly lifted my head up, realizing that we weren't hidden anymore. The ice cold eyes of the robots were looking straight at us, and the green robot, one of the biggest, bulkiest robot I've ever seen, took one step towards us. The tremors of the ground forced our senses to kick in, and that was when we ran for our lives.

    I don't think I've ever run as fast as I did that day, but we both sped towards the exit like there was no tomorrow, dashing past piles of scraps and stacks of wrecked cars. The fence, our way of exit, was in our view when a sudden shadow loomed to our right. A shriek made made me stop in my tracks, and as I turned around, I watched Rachel struggle in the grip of a new robot.

    Usually, I'm a good judge of character, because I trust my instincts. When I saw the robots from before, somehow, I didn't feel like they were all that bad. With this new robot, something was different. I felt this strange vibe coming from it, a slender, gray and silver robot, who was now holding Rachel in his thin, sharp, claw-like hands. He was smirking, his crimson eyes glowing in the dark of the early evening, and he gave out a low, menacing order.

    New robots appeared out of nowhere, and as I started to ask myself how they got here without being obvious, I saw a vehicle transform into a robot for the first time. Their paint job was of purple color, and each of them was identical to the other. Three of them came to me, their arms morphing into firearms.

    I was just able to see the flare inside their barrels, charging up and ready to disintegrate me into dust when bolts of lasers tore through the air. Their attention was drawn by the three first robots I've seen, and in a matter of seconds, two of those robots were hit as they propelled from their spots. The blue, female robot was fast and agile, assaulting the third robot with several punches and a roundhouse kick in the face in just a matter of seconds. She was tough for a small one, hitting him hard until she pinned him to the ground and took him out with one final shot through the head. She then provided me with cover, firing with in-built weapons as she shielded me with her towering height from enemy fire. That was how I learned that there were two factions fighting against each other, and the blue robot that seemed to be protecting me was on my side, at least that's what I believed back then.

    Knowing that I was more or less safe for the time being, I became worried about Rach'. I was hoping, begging that she was all right, but I couldn't see anything beyond the intimidating size of the robot that was protecting me. Moments later, a terrifying screech made my blood run cold. I had to know what was going on, so I jumped aside to get a clearer view. The gray robot was holding his face, covering his left eye as purple liquids streamed through his fingers. He had dropped Rachel to the ground, and she staggered to her feet and ran. The robot, in all his fury, screamed out to her when he himself was shot by the white and black-painted robot. The purple robot soldiers were distracted by the agonizing outburst of their leader that it caused them to be in complete disarray. The towering robot before me shrunk so quick, it took me time to realize she had transformed into a motorcycle. She zoomed towards that silver robot and reverted to her robotic form, battling him with guns, blades and metal fists. All the while, Rach' came running towards me, dodging fire and crumpling robot bodies.

    And then, a massive explosion engulfed the area she was in, spurting clouds of dust. I held my breath, and shouted her name. She didn't answer.

    A police car leaped out of that thick cloud and screeched to a halt before me, its door slinging open. Rachel was in there.

    "Get in."

    I was taken aback, unable to move a muscle, because I didn't see anybody else in there besides Rachel. I realized the car was one of them.

    A nearby explosion shook the ground, forcing me out of my thoughts.

    "If you don't want to die, then I suggest you get in right now!" that same voice urged as the car revved.

    I had no other choice but to obey. Rachel was in there, and that car was our ticket out of here so I hopped in. The car screeched and tore off into the heat of battle. Explosions erupted from around us, adding another layer of mist that I could hardly see the robots battling each other. The car sped through that thick, brown cloud with debris and rubble being thrown against the windshield. It even rammed into several of robots before it burst through the barred entrance of the junkyard. I turned around, watching the area, having become a battlefield, disappear from my view as we distanced ourselves.

    In a couple of minutes, the car ground to a halt, its doors popping open. Rachel and I barely got out when the car began to transform before our very eyes, rising to tower over us. It was one of the three first robots we saw, and I understood what the purpose of those sirens on his back were. I crawled over to Rachel, checking to see if she was all right, who nodded as her whole body shook. Her eyes were wide with shock and horror, unable to speak. I watched then the robot just stand there, sometimes observing us, other times looking elsewhere, waiting for something, quiet as the dead.

    Introducing Prowl, my soon-to-be-guardian, the unsociable extraordinaire.

    We were in the abandoned parking lot, which was around about 200 yards from where the junkyard was. Rach' and I barely exchanged words, unsure if we were safe enough or captured. Sometimes I would stare at the robot in amazement, sometimes in dismay.

    The robot had suddenly brought his left hand to the side of his head and began talking to himself. I figured he was communicating with someone, and when he was done talking, he turned to us. "The battle's over and both of you are now safe. However, the Commander would like to have a word with you before you return to your abode."

    A mix of curiosity and courage invaded me, and I got up to my feet and started my first conversation with a robot. That was how I learned who he was. He hardly introduced himself before falling silent again. Even with time, some things never change.

    Minutes later, more vehicles sped our way, lead by a semi red and blue painted truck. When it stopped, it underwent a jaw-dropping transforming sequence, wheels shifting to the side, a head popping out of its chest as it rose to its feet. The other robots did same.

    He knelt down and began to introduce himself: Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots. Following next were Bulkhead and Arcee, the robots from the group, and another new face called Bumblebee. From the looks of things, they're a group of robotic aliens from another planet, but have become refugees here on Earth; their home world, Cybertron, was destroyed as a result of the war they waged against their enemies, the Decepticons, those guys from before who invited themselves to a festive brawl. And by accident, we had become involved. Leading that assault was Starscream, a Decepticon rogue who was trying to create his own league of armies, those who disfavored the current Decepticon leader called Megatron.

    I was so absorbed by his story-telling, and that was unusual for me. Could have been his smooth, authoritative, baritone voice, could have been his intimidating size that forced my curiosity to pay attention to everything that was being told... Or it could have been the fact that I was so used to listening to my History teacher that everybody else except her made their story sound more interesting. Joke aside, seeing how small I was in comparison to them and having seen them fight so fiercely with their 2-ton fists and super-advanced weapons of complete annihilation, I should have been more afraid, but I wasn't. My entire body trembled, but it wasn't because I feared them. I was more amazed than afraid, because all of this was so exciting! The idea of meeting a whole new species from outer space, a bunch of robots with emotions and kick-ass moves was just... Overwhelming. I was hyped as hell!

    Optimus Prime was continuing his story-telling about the war, going into details when he was suddenly interrupted by Rachel's scream. That made me jump, and I was ready to argue with her when I noticed that she was about to break into tears. She said she wanted to go home and didn't want to get involved in any of this.

    I was shocked back then. How can someone NOT want to know more about this? I tried to reason with her, but she was in such a state, screaming at me and flinching as I tried to get close. Me, her best friend.

    The leader of the Autobots drew his head closer to us, less than a feet away from our faces, his eyes searching as if he was trying to get a good look at us. I admit I was a little taken aback when I realized how HUGE he really was, but I couldn't help but feel more mesmerized by his metal-plated face, especially that azure, luminescent gleam of his gaze. I was so hypnotized by them that it took me 10 seconds or so to realize that Rachel had run off. The commander's voice brought me back down to Earth when he told me that, as a friend, I should see to it that she was all right. I agreed completely, and so I rushed after her and out of the parking lot. I didn't like the idea of postponing life-changing events, but I was loyal to the people I cared about. It was my duty as a friend to be there for her, even if I had to risk never meeting those robots again.

    When I finally caught up with her, I watched her wiping her tears from her eyes, avoiding my gaze. I tried to slow her down by grabbing her arm, trying to understand why she was behaving like this, but she would rip out of my grip. With no other choice, I confronted her, blocking her way, demanding an explanation. I'll never forget how she reacted that day:

    "What's there to explain, Mikey? We were nearly crushed and obliterated by rampaging killing machines, or did you forget that already? Did it cross your mind that in that type of battle, we're nothing more than collateral damage? We're just a bunch of insects that could have been easily step on, by accident no less! Did you ever think about that? No, of course not, and that's your major problem, Mike. You could never tell the difference between safe and dangerous because you're so stupid and irresponsible! If you want to go on with your big robot adventure, fine by me! I don't care what you do, but whatever trouble you get into, you will NOT drag me into it! I'm sick to the pit of my stomach of your recklessness! I don't want to deal with that or these damn robots ever again, do you hear me? NEVER!"

    I watched her tread away from me, picking up the pace as she began to run. I was dumbfounded and paralyzed, struck by her words, offended by what she told me... She had never raised her voice against me in this way, nor did she ever say how she really felt about me.

    My thoughts were interrupted by a loud honk, forcing me to turn around. Optimus Prime had caught up with me in his vehicle form, halting right next to me. I was too upset to find the right words to engage him in a conversation, but I didn't need to as he was first to speak. He told me that I shouldn't be offended by her strong reaction, as if he found out what had happened. In fact, he did; thanks to his super-advanced range of hearing, he overheard us. He stated that she had been emotionally compromised by the battles that had taken place, and may have been still distraught by them and the existence of gigantic species. As his words sunk in, I tried recalling not what she had said, but her face.

    She was in tears. She was upset. It was a face that I've never seen before, and if I didn't know any better, I'd say she was... terrified, scared to death. And it hit me.

    I am so stupid. I let her words get to me instead of trying to understand the humane reaction that I should have had too.

    The leader explained that it would be best if I headed home to make sure that Rachel was all right and that I take time to recover from these events. He would find me, he said, giving me enough time until then to meet up once again. And with those last words, he drove off, the rest of the other vehicles driving up behind him. With one last wave of goodbye I headed out, trying to catch up with Rachel. She was quite fast, having already disappeared from my sight. Fortunately, the way home was past the junkyard, the place where I had left my bike. I rushed to the entrance, took my bike and pedaled as hard as I could.

    I was half-way home when I finally caught up with Rachel. She told me to buzz off; it was a nice try. I kept up with her pace, pedaling as slowly as I could.

    That ride home felt like one of the longest ones I've ever had. For a while, we just walked and stayed quiet. I was trying to come up with something to say, but honestly, after all that had happened back there... I couldn't find the words to express my thoughts. I was speechless. My mind was filled with the images of the battle, and it felt like reality had only caught up with me now, making me realize a terrible thought.

    We really could have died.

    My train of thought was interrupted by Rachel as she apologized for the harsh words brought up by her reaction. I still remember up to this day how that conversation went.

    "Rach', you don't have to excuse yourself. You're right, we nearly died out there; I just didn't see that back there, and you know how long it takes for me to catch on. Can you forgive your stupid, reckless friend?"

    "You are more than just stupid and reckless, but I forgive you because that's what friends do. I just... I want to live a normal life. I don't doubt that they're awesome, but I just have this bad feeling that if I involve myself too much in it, it could... change my life. It's also a huge responsibility to keep a secret like this one, and I already have enough responsibilities to take care of. You should think about that too, Mike. Do you really want to be with them? If you do, nothing could be the same ever again."

    "I'm counting on it. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and you know I wouldn't want to miss out on something like that."

    "But... What if you get hurt, Mike? What if you-"

    "Rach', I don't want to hear it!"

    This statement came out stronger than I expected, silencing her and leaving me perplexed. With a sigh, I continued. "We just discovered that we aren't the only living beings in the universe. This is a big thing for me, and I know that if I just pretend that nothing has ever happened, I'll live to regret it. I want every moment in my life to be worth living, no matter what happens. If I end up getting hurt because of it, then I'll put a huge smile on my face because I did something others didn't do."

    I was really proud with what I said back then, and Rachel, for once, didn't contradict my decision. I was up to the challenge of a lifetime, and she understood, though she was surprised at first before putting up a nice smile on her face. She stayed with her own decision, keeping herself away from this adventure. And as we went home, we fell right back into the argument we had earlier, almost as if nothing had happened at the junkyard. After ten minutes or so, she arrived at her place, and I went to mine across the street. It was a little past nine, and I did get Mom and Dad a tad worried there. But once I explained that I was together with Rachel, they were immediately relieved. They trusted her as much as they trusted me; she was like the daughter they never had. They knew that as long as I was with her, I wouldn't get into trouble.

    Hah. As if.

    I recall being so excited that night that I could hardly sleep. My mind swirled with the thoughts of the robots. How could they find me? Would I meet them ever again?

    The next day, after school, I walked Rachel home and, having dropped her off, was just in front of my house when a police car pulled up next to me, and a police officer sitting inside told me to get in. I quickly found out that the man was Prowl, and went in without any second thoughts. He drove me out of town, and when everything was clear, an iridescent, turquoise ring had flashed into existence a yard or two ahead of us. It was a portal, and as we went through it, we popped up in a completely different place.

    I had arrived at their secret base. I got out of the car, recognizing the familiar faces of Arcee and Bulkhead, and standing before me was their leader, Optimus Prime, welcoming me. He introduced me to the rest of the team: Ratchet, the team's medic, and... three other teenagers. Huh. Looks like I'm not the only one who found out about the Autobots.

    Meet Jack, Miko and Raf, high schoolers from Jasper, Nevada.

    I returned my attention to Optimus Prime, who was asking about Rachel. He couldn't hide his disappointment when I explained that she decided not to come, nor could I. Regardless of that, he was glad to have me there, and so were the others, with the exception of the medical officer who just scoffed exasperatedly. Then, the unpredictable happened.

    Optimus Prime appointed Prowl to be my guardian.

    We both stared at each other before protesting almost simultaneously, though I did it out of sheer surprise. Prowl had the oddest ways of saying how we didn't fit together, from "compatibility" to "illogical", and to some extent, I had to agree with him. He really looked like a bore and seemed complicated enough to get along with.

    Nonetheless, once an order by a Prime is given, it had to be followed to the end, and Prowl was loyal to the Autobot commander, or at least that's what I've seen. So he accepted the role as guardian, and has been since then watching over me.

    In the following months, I spent my days with the Autobots, getting to know this whole new family. They're loads of fun, especially the three other guys. Miko is one crazy nutcase, but she makes sure that that it doesn't get too boring at the Autobot HQ. The little squirt, Raf, is one hell of a smart kid, able to hack into servers and do some high-tech reprogramming. And he's good with video games, which is why we play a lot together. Now Jack is the oldest and probably the only one who is levelheaded, but we both get along well. You can talk to him about anything. He's a good friend.

    When it comes to the Autobots, they're on a whole new level. I don't know them as well as the other guys do, but I do know for a fact that the medic called Ratchet is a grouchy bot always looking for reasons to nag somebody, and that I can't understand a word Bumblebee says. And Arcee... She looks tough for a femmebot. That's all I know.

    The only ones I could get more or less to know are Bulkhead, Prowl and Optimus Prime. I hang out most of the time with Miko and her guardian when mine isn't busy with whatever he does as the team's military strategist. One thing's for certain: Bulkhead is an awesome 'Bot who promises epic moments.

    I don't see the Autobot Commander that often, but there are times when I meet him on the rooftop of the base, outside, staring out into the horizon. He offers me his hand, allowing me to climb on it, and lifts me up to show what he's looking at. The view from there is unlike anything I've ever seen, especially when the sun's going down; you don't have this kind of sunset in my town. The time I've spent with him has been more than just a rewarding experience as we get into a conversation and talk about what's on our minds.

    And then there's Prowl, my guardian. His apathetic behavior towards others makes him incredibly obnoxious, and secluding himself in his own room, doing his own business related to missions, doesn't render him any nicer. He's always up to something in there, but keeps it all to himself, which makes me more than often pissed about it. However, despite his faults, there are times when we get along. We can agree on some battle tactics and strategies (hours of playing strategy games finally pay off), and he likes showing off his strategic thinking without being too much of a jerk. He sets his priorities on the mission and any task that's been given to him, and sees to it that they are all complete. That makes him not only a busy robot, but also an easily unlikable teammate. What others actually don't see is that his loyalty doesn't only lie in the mission, but also in his friends. There was this one time when I caught him off guard while he was having some personal issue, and that was when I discovered his true colors. Ever since then, I've seen him from a different perspective, and he's a lot more awesome than I ever dreamed of expecting.

    If you can't socialize with him, you can give him credit for his reliability and accountability. And I can relate to that.

    So, that's the story. What prevents this story from being great is the fact that Rachel isn't included. With all the good that's come from meeting those guys, I know that it'd be a lot more fun if she was around. Somehow, I can't blame her. I haven't noticed that much of a difference in my life just yet, but she is a lot more sensitive than I am. And when things get overwhelming, she just can't take it.

    So now I'm stuck in this car, waiting for the patrol to come to an end. An hour and a half had gone by, and the ride felt painfully longer than I had imagined it to be. That was Prowl's intention, demonstrating how 'exciting' patrolling can be.

    He could try all he wanted, but he wasn't going to get rid of me that easily.

    I was deep in thought when the cellphone in my pocket vibrated to life as it played one of my favorite rock songs. I reached deep into my pocket, pulled out the gadget, its screen blinking with the initials of my best friend. I couldn't hide my surprise.

    "Hmm, I wonder what she has to tell me."

    ***​
     
  5. Jazzfan0217

    Jazzfan0217 Just chillin'

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    great start :thumb  can't wait to read the next part :popcorn 
     
  6. Jayhan

    Jayhan Heatbreaker

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    ~Act I, Chapter II~​


    I scoffed in disappointed as clouds of gray threatened to cloak the sun and cast a large shadow over the small city. I had hoped for the sun to keep filling this town with its warm radiant beams, as I had plans on buying ice cream and sitting on a bench in a park. That's what I usually did after band practice.

    Now I had to switch over to plan B, in other words, window-shopping. It was a one-way method that helped me stray away from worries, such as the upcoming school exams or the concert that my school was organizing. The slightest thought of any of these things put me under pressure; everyone had high expectations of me, ranging from teachers and parents to friends and the school community, and the last thing I wanted was to disappoint any of them. I didn't need to be reminded of those fears, which is why window-shopping was helpful. That activity kept my mind busy, filling it with wishes and desires until my responsibilities and obligations were forgotten, at least for the time being.

    Strolling down the streets of the city, I stopped in my tracks when a cosmetics store lured me in. I walked into the store, combing down isles of beauty esthetics, searching for the appropriate eye-shadow, inspecting the different shades and colors. My mind drifted away from schoolwork, but it didn't leave out the thoughts concerning Mikey and the development of his new, adventurous life. I sighed almost in exasperation, but opted for a more gentle thought. His curiosity had always made him reckless, indulging him to seize whatever rare opportunity he could to satisfy his longing for excitement. In some ways, I envy him. He is optimistic and daring, even when things seem to be taking a turn for the worse, and me...

    I cannot help but recollect the events that have had an impact in my life. The day when we went to the junkyard and found a whole bunch of robots talking to each other made me realize that, in the end, we weren't as alone as we thought we were in the universe. But unlike Mikey, I was skeptical, always thinking of the risks of our involvement instead of the benefits of that extraordinary discovery. We could be harmed, or, in the worst case scenario, dead. When I think back, I remember how terrified I was when seeing these robots. That's why I had urged Mike that we leave the place before they noticed us. And in those anxious moments, I became clumsy, pushing Mike too much and causing a pile of garbage to tumble and fall. What we tried to avoid, we made it happen in an instant. We made our presence known, and at the first sign of the robots approaching us, we ran like hell.

    When trying to run away, all I could think of was what would happen to us if we were caught, and I feared for the worst outcome. That's when I went for my phone and dialed 911. As I put the phone to my ear, it rang momentarily before nothing but static was heard. We couldn't count on any help. Maybe we didn't need any; I believed that we maybe had the chance of getting away, because the exit was only a couple of feet away. All those futile hopes were gone in just a moment as I was roughly scooped up from the ground by what I thought was the edgiest bars I've ever held onto. Only later did I realize that those bars were the fingers of another robot. His crimson eyes looked at me and he made no effort to hide the malicious glee on his face.

    “Well, what do we have here? One of the Autobots' pets?” He sneered, examining me like some sort of tool.

    I didn't understand what that meant, nor did I care much about it. I just knew I was going to hurt or die if nothing was being done. I remember hearing Mike's yell as he called my name, but it felt so faint as I was completely terrorized by the robotic monster holding me. He, on the other hand, glanced down at Mike, but returned his attention to me when his smile had widened into a malevolent grin. From then on, I noticed the presence of more purple-painted robots, and that was when he muttered his order:

    “Exterminate the other Fleshling. We don't need the extra leverage.”

    Horrified, I looked down at Mike, who now had guns pointed at him. I knew sneaking into the junkyard spelled trouble, but I couldn't believe the mess we had gotten ourselves into. Was this how I was going to live my last moments, watching my friend disintegrate, burning until nothing but ash remained? I had my phone in my hands, the number dialed, my finger on the call button. Even if it didn't work before, I had the chance of trying again. But I didn't. My finger was immobile, frozen in place. I couldn't scream, despite the possibility of someone hearing me. I was too scared, stiff like a fragile porcelain statue, moments before being crushed in the rough, metallic grip of the robot. With nothing else to do, I watched the other robots take aim at Mike and, trembling, listened to the whir of charging weapons.

    The order was thankfully interrupted by the resounding detonations and zipping gunshots. The soldiers averted their guns and fired at the robots we first. They came running towards us like a stampede, relentless and unstoppable. The silver robot growled, tightening his grip as a groan escaped my mouth.

    “You spoiled our surprise-attack!” he snarled at me, but his frown quickly twitched into smirk. “No matter. I could always have great use of you.”

    His low sneer and piercing stare had triggered an overwhelming sense of terror like I've never experienced before. I didn't want any of this. I didn't want to get hurt, and as his face drew closer, I... I'm not entirely sure what happened. I felt like I was caught in a surreal world where everything but the robot seemed nonexistent and devoid of all importance. In those everlasting moments, when facing the Chimera of my nightmare, I shut my eyes and threw my phone at him. What I didn't expect was that it would actually hit his left eye.

    His screech forced my eyes open, and by mere accident, for someone like me who is incapable of inflicting harm on others, I had seen the terrible damage I had done. The silver-winged robot slouched and cried, as if overtaken by the most excruciating pain I've ever seen, and he clutched onto the left side of his face with his left hand, trying to contain the liquid and sparks that spat out of his socket.

    “You filthy-”

    He was immediately cut off by another robot that had assaulted him, and during the clash, I slipped from his grip and dropped hard to the ground. I heard Mike's cry again and jumped to my feet, running towards him as fast as I could. And in the pandemonium, all hell broke loose as explosions emerged from everywhere. And then blackness.
    It was momentarily, though. Something had picked me up and I found myself in a matter of seconds in a car seat. I was too shocked and confused to the bone to react or to even care. I didn't even notice Mike was in the car until we had to get out. My astonishment didn't end there as the car unfolded and refolded itself to build up into one of the robots from earlier.

    And that was how I met these robotic aliens. They claimed to be friendly, and I do owe one of them my life for saving me. But I wasn't ready for this kind of adventure, and I don't think I'll ever be. This whole event was nothing more than a traumatizing mishap, and I felt I was charged with the burden of a war that promised misery beyond what I could imagine. I was also too scared of them. Even if those Autobots – if I recall correctly – were genuinely good, I was still frightened by them. The truck-transforming leader scared the hell out of me, and his face approaching me didn't make it any easier for me to deny that emotion, especially after I facing the cruelty of machine-like warriors and the fierceness of the war-driven battle. I don't even know or understand how Mikey can't see how dangerous such a life is. Maybe his naivety prevents him from seeing the full picture that I was seeing. He even thinks that I aimed and blinded that monster on purpose.

    Like earlier today, he keeps asking me whether or not I want to hang out with the Autobots and get to know them better. I know he means all well; deep down in his heart, he wants to share that amazement he feels when being with those alien robots. He also wants me to have a good time and make sure I'm not being left out, missing out on all the fun as he would say. But for someone like me who was raised to be the best in whatever I do and to be as responsible, I knew that being with them would require an extra responsibility, and I didn't need any of that when I already have a ton of them weighing on my back. On top of that, one battle was enough for me to understand the serious dangers of the war that is being waged.

    It's just too much for me.

    I don't hate my saviors, on the contrary, I am eternally grateful to them. But involving myself in their lives meant involving myself in their battles, and I am not as courageous as Mike. I am satisfied with my life, despite its ups and down, and I don't want to change that.

    Saving lives is for heroes, not a schoolgirl who took a wrong aim and got lucky.

    I stopped contemplating while holding onto a box of eye-shadow. I sensed a slight tremble. I lifted my head up and looked over to another customer. Eye brows creased in confusion, she, too, seemed to have felt the anomaly at work here. The tremble grew into a series of strong quakes, the whole store shaking as cosmetics fell and clattered, dancing to rhythm of the tremors. People sunk to their knees and covered their heads, following the precautionary measures for earthquakes. I did same and went to the ground. Earthquakes weren't frequent, but happened every once in a while. We all knew that it was a matter of time until the cataclysm stopped.

    Oh, how wrong we all were. As we hoped for the quakes to end, explosions suddenly erupted from outside as cars raced through. However faint, the discharge of guns resonated across the street and the screams of civilians reached our ears. I had the sudden feeling of déjà-vu, and that's when I understood that the area had suddenly become a battle zone. I made connections, figuring out who was behind the attack, and then came a strange sound. In that one precise moment, I began to relive the memory.

    A sequence of crunching noises and locomotive sounds, a mayhem of explosive proportions almost as an aftereffect. I knew the answer, and I couldn't believe it was happening all over again.

    “Decepticons! This city is ours for the taking!”

    I was terrified in place, and watched as everybody ran out of the shop. There, I realized I had committed my greatest stupidity. The customers weren't warned of the dangers I knew of. It was too late though, and in shame and fear, I hid behind the isle of body-lotions and shampoos and covered my head, shutting my eyes, praying that I was sleeping in my bed and having nightmares that I would eventually wake up from. No matter how hard I tried to avoid it, the past caught up with the present once again as history began to repeat itself. Only this time, it was worse than I could have ever dreamed of.

    Among the echoing series of gunshots and explosions came the terrifying screams of the dying. Tears streamed out of my eyes, my fears coming to life. After every thunderous footstep of the destructive robots, more and more products tumbled and fell on me, and I shielded myself while trying to keep still. I didn't even dare to take a breath. More screams of men and women made me quiver uncontrollably and I jolted from my place when the store's windows were blown apart, shards of glass shattering on the ground. In my mind, I was begging for these terrible events to stop.

    I don't remember how long I waited until things quieted down, but it felt like eternity to me. The detonations had grown fainter, distant. I took a deep breath and dared to see how it looked like outside. I crawled closer to the end of the isle and took a quick peek. Past the broken windows, I watched as a quietness so deadly roamed the streets, with the exception cars that occasionally burst on fire. I had already spotted the first victim, and pulled my head back in shock. It was a kid. Younger than me by at least five years. And he was...

    I felt so nauseous at that moment. There was an urge that came from the pit of my stomach, fueled by extreme shock, but I resisted. Not now, Rachel, I told myself, keep it together and get help.

    An unexpected, clangorous stomp nearly obstructed my heart to beat. As a form of reflex, I peeked once again from the corner. A sole, black robot had appeared and he treated over the wreckage of the streets. He tilted his head to the already dead child I had seen. He let out a low, gnarling laugh, and fired at him.

    With a mix of anger, disgust and fear, I retracted my head and covered my wet face. Those ungodly, spiteful monsters... How could they be so heartless and...

    I tried to breathe steadily, but my heart was racing and my limbs trembled hectically. I had to calm down and get help. If that one found me here, I would...

    I fumbled clumsily into my pocket and pulled out my mobile-phone. I couldn't control my shaking hands, even my fingers felt as though they were too weak to press on any button. There was only one person who could help me out, and if I wasn't mistaken, he was hanging out with the ones who could take care of these murdering monsters.

    With the numbers finally dialed, I waited. It rang once. Twice. Three times. I lost count as more explosions resumed, sending tremors throughout the area.

    Finally, he picked up. “Y'ello?”

    “Mikey? It's me.” I whispered, unable to hide the edge in my voice.

    “Rachel! Hey, what's-” An explosion was heard on the other line. “Uhh, Rach', I'm gonna
    have to call you back. Prowl and I are downtown, and looks like we just got into HUGE trouble.”

    I could never understand how he could be calm AND amused at such a situation. Panic and frustration overwhelmed me. “MIKEY! I AM downtown! These robots are just outside my door, killing anyone and anything that moves!”

    “What?! What the hell are you-” His sudden change of attitude expressed his way of serious concern, but he still managed to keep his calm. “Okay, which shop?”

    “I'm at-” I stopped when the line went all of a sudden static. “Hello? Mikey?” The static grew louder, and then a voice came through.

    “Surrender, fleshling.”

    Paralyzed, my strength bereft, I dropped the phone. The clunking footfalls grew louder, and with the little strength I had recovered, I peeked again.
    The robot outside was heading for the shop.

    Submerged by panic, I scurried to my feet and dashed through isles, boxes and glasses shattering across the floor as I hustled for the back door of the shop. The door led me to a narrow alleyway that connected two streets. I hurried down a small flight of stairs when I heard a blaring honk. Luck seemed to be on my side this time. I breathed a sigh of relief when I spotted a familiar police car rolling towards me.

    “Oh God, am I glad to see you. Look, these robots are everywhere! They even picked up my phone call, and I think they know where I...”

    Words were stuck in my throat as I watched the vehicle transform. The parts snapped and shifted out of their place and were roughly shoved elsewhere, disappearing into the mass of machinery with metal-grinding, ear-splitting noise. It wasn't anything like the robot I knew, whose name I couldn't remember. This transformation showed too many signs of hostility; it raised its fists and immediately brought them back down, pounding just a couple of feet before me. I stumbled back and recalled his name. Prowl. It wasn't Prowl. A quick, rough grab and I was within the robot's grasp. I watched in horror as this machine continued transforming. I gasped. I had spotted a marking on its chest, and delving into my nightmares I remembered seeing a similar insignia on the chest of my former captor.

    A head popped out of the chest, glaring at me with sick, vicious eyes. “Rachel Hawkins.”

    His low, animalistic chuckle compelled me to hold my breath, and I stared at him with horrified eyes. How did he know my name? What else did he know about me? What did he want with me? Whatever it would be, only by looking into his face could I tell that his intent was of pure malice and sadistic delight.

    Sensing that danger, I struggled in his grip, trying to pull myself out or slip through his fingers. I had to get out of this mess and get as far away as I could. In my most desperate moments, the strength seemed nonetheless so faint as my arms trembled in fright. My effort was fruitless, for his grip was too tight and too powerful to budge. My struggle obliged him to clench me in his edgy fingers to which I groaned in pain.

    “Oh, don't even try, Fleshling.” he snarled as he walked down the alley, “You've made quite a name of yourself since your encounter with Starscream.”

    My mouth fell agape. Memories surfaced at the mention of that name, which had been engraved in my mind, but buried until it was forgotten. In a flash, I remembered his dreaded name. Starscream, the mechanical, winged beast who threatened my life and whose left eye I unintentionally blinded.

    “I-It was an accident!” I stammered, moaning as his fingers ached my limbs, “I never meant to blind him! I just threw my phone, I didn't even aim for his eye!”
    He had no trouble squeezing the truth out of me, because I didn't know what kind of pain I would be submitted to if I lied. A sick laughter ensued, twisted by his disturbing gnarl.

    “Oh, that is rich. This is even more humiliating than I thought! It doesn't surprise me that he wants you alive.”

    I stared at him with bewildered, wide eyes. “Wha-? What do you mean?”

    “He has been telling us soldiers that if we ever saw you on the battlefield, we'd have to bring you to him, alive and unspoilt.”

    “Why?”

    He gave a piercing glare, displaying his irritation. “You'll find out for yourself, Fleshling. Until then, shut it. You have no idea how much I HATE chatterboxes. If I weren't following Starscream's orders, I'd already have your innards popping out of your mouth with one single squeeze.”

    I believed his every word as I writhed in agony, grunting and groaning as he scrambled me in his grip. My ribs were forcefully squeezed inwards, ready to snap at any moment. I panicked and cried, eyes stinging, and fell into a pant as my lungs were constricted by the lack of space.

    “You're weak and pathetic, Fleshling.” I heard him grumble, “All the more reason why he will enjoy 'playing' with you-”

    A blast rang, and the robot monster roared, stumbling backwards and dropping me at once. My scream mingled with the tearing of more shots, and when I thought I was going to hit ground, to my utter surprise, I landed in the arms of Mikey.

    “Jeez, you're heavy.” he grunted, “Lay off on any dessert for a while, will ya?”

    I barely had time to express my sense of relief when he set me down and began pulling me into one direction, both of us running away from the robot who himself was suffering from bullet wounds.

    “Ugh... You Pit-Spawns! Come back here!”

    I really believed the alien robot would come after us, but another blast resounded. Up ahead was the one I had been expecting to meet in the alley.
    The Autobot police car in robot-form was clutching onto a fuming gun, aiming at the foe behind us. “Michelangelo! Get Rachel and yourself out of here! Call up Ratchet and he'll tell you where he'll open up the ground bridge!”

    “Got it!” Mike shouted, pulling me harder. As we passed up the robot, he looked back. “Be careful, Prowl.”

    Nothing more was said as we both ran for our lives again, leaving the one called Prowl behind. While we were on the run, Mikey pulled out an odd device that looked like a communicator, and he held it to his ear. “Ratchet? Come in! Mike here! Yeah, the whole city's under attack! The 'Cons are everywhere!”

    Gunshots filled the air once more, this time accompanied by the powerful revs of engines. We turned our heads to see purple vehicles racing towards us. “Ratchet, they're on our tail!” Mike shouted in the speaker, panting as he then listened to the other line. “Where? Okay! We're heading there right now!”

    He pulled the device away from his ear and caught my puzzled stare. “That was one of the good guys. See that street down there? We gotta take a left and a right, and then meet up the rest of the gang in an alley. You can bet that once we reach them, we'll be safe!”

    “Are you sure? Last time I checked, the whole city was a battle zone! How can we be safe from any of those monsters, especially those chasing after us right now?!”

    “You're gonna have to trust me, Rach'! Come on!”

    Mere seconds later, I witnessed other vehicles emerging from the left corner of the street. I had slowed down, nearly halting, but Mike's firm grip said to do otherwise. I focused on those vehicles and only then did I recognize the yellow muscle-car and the blue motorcycle from the day I met the Autobots. They sped past us, transforming into robots as they leaped into the air.

    I sensed Mike's exhilaration as he put up a large grin on his face. I couldn't believe this guy. How could he smile when we're chased by blood-thirsty robots in wrecked city? After contemplating, I understood that he was confident enough that we'd make it. It was the only reason that could explain his hyped self. I didn't allow myself to smile, but I believed his intuition.

    We were going to get out of this mess unharmed. We were going to live.

    We were about to turn left at the end of the street when we heard gunshots zipping past us.

    “ARGH!”

    In the middle of our run, Mikey suddenly collapsed, dragging me down with him. I hit the floor hard, skidding across the concrete ground, my right cheek scraping against it. My limbs trembling but uninjured, I pushed myself off the ground and held my now bleeding cheek. With much confusion invading my thoughts, my eyes wandered the area until recognized the silhouette of Mike's body a feet or two beside me. I held my breath in alarm. Mikey wheezed and moaned in pain, flinching as he clutched onto his leg.
    Christ. He had been hit.

    “Mikey!” I shouted, kneeling beside him as I inspected his wounds. The bullet had perforated his leg , blood oozing from the torn flesh. My mind raced, filling with dreaded worries for his health as I tried to comfort him in his moments of agony.

    “It's- It's going to be all right, Mikey. Just a bullet-wound. You'll be fine!”

    “Y-Yeah?” he wheezed, “Tell me that when I got my wound treated! Ugh...”

    He moved his leg as he tried to get up, but that attempt resulted in an agonized outcry, nearly bringing me to burst into tears. I watched him crumble, overwhelmed by his ache. I had no idea how to help him without hurting him. I didn't know how to treat those wounds. He needed help.

    The best option I had was to carry him by the shoulder and drag him to the meeting point, away from the battlefield that had taken over the city and claimed already hundreds of lives. We would be slow, but at least we would be safe.

    However, as I considered that option, my heart stopped as I heard a loud rumble. I tilted my head towards the route we needed to take, and gaped at my bête noire which had manifested itself a couple of yards before me. He growled and mumbled, his single eye searching the area.

    Our eyes met and we recognized each other in a daunting instant.

    Starscream.

    “You!”

    The intense, flaring glare of his crimson eye were proof that the vengeance he harbored was going to be the end of me. I jumped to my feet, staggering at the tremors caused by his thunderous pace. Unbalanced, I turned around and ran.

    I was terrified, convinced that if he caught me, I would never see the light of day. Gasping, panting, I kicked those legs, hoping to flee whatever torture I would be subjected to.

    I swerved into an alley, anything to get away from the open and to prevent myself from being an easy target. I screamed as an explosion from behind shot debris all over the place, Starscream's arm piercing through the cloud of dust as he tried to claw his way through. He glowered and bawled, vehement hatred present in his voice. “COME BACK HERE!”

    I halted in my steps when I looked ahead of me. At the other end of the alley, out on the streets, another group of robots were brawling, their guns discharging red beams at whoever they were attacking. I couldn't go on nor could I go back. I was trapped.

    Yet to my luck, there were the fire stairs. Without any second thought, I climbed the ladder and broke a window in order to get into the apartment. I hissed and looked down at my hand. It stung sorely, bleeding as shards pricked at my flesh. I couldn't linger too long on that small dilemma as I felt the quake of the approaching robot, so I dashed out of the room as fast as I could. The wall behind me had been blown apart by the rampaging robot monster, his angry growl pushing me to run for my life. I burst out of the apartment door, having no choice but to go upstairs as explosions resonated from downstairs. I was out of breath and exhausted, but arduously kept on climbing up the stairs until I rammed the door of the roof open.

    When I got my bearings, catching my breath at the same time, I was dominated by trepidation. Barely able to walk, I went for the edge of the roof and, in frightful disbelief, realized that I was really trapped this time. The houses were too far apart from each other. I couldn't make the jump.

    “What's the matter, 'Rachel'? Run out of rooftops?”

    Still shaking, I pivoted hesitantly at the cruel, throaty laughter, before shock and horror overwhelmed me as I crumbled to the ground. And with that came my scream of terror.
     
  7. nobleboivin

    nobleboivin The Cheesemonger

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    Fanfic

    Plan on reading more.
     
  8. optimegatron

    optimegatron Not over, not finished.

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    Quite nice. Looking forward for more.
     
  9. Jayhan

    Jayhan Heatbreaker

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    ~Act I, Chapter III~​


    “Be careful, Prowl.”


    Mike's concern resonated in my audio receptors, yet I didn't allow myself to glance back nor to answer him. Though the feeling was mutual, there was only one primary concern running through my processor, and it involved that Decepticon who had just dodged my acid discharge by rolling aside. Usually, most Decepticons relied on their brute strength than their speed. But he was faster, slightly more agile than most Decepticons I had encountered before. Judging from his buffed, heavy armor, even he wouldn't be able to keep up with such speed for a longer period of time. This detail was something I knew, because I recalled seeing him beforehand. All he had to do was lift up his head for me to confirm his identity.

    “Barricade, the Decepticon infiltrator.”

    He appeared to be amazed when he heard his name. His astonishment, coupled with amusement, brought him to chortle. “Well, if it ain't Prowl. Nice to see you again.”

    I raised an optic ridge, unable to mask my mild perplexity. I never knew him personally; I have only read reports and scoured Teletraan 1's database to get more information about him. This was our first encounter, or so I believed up until now.

    This little minor confusion didn't go unnoticed, bringing a blood-lust smile to the Decepticon's face. “Oh, we've met once, a long time ago, way before the war began. Back then, you were nothing more than a regular officer deployed in Iacon, but no, that is not how I know you personally...”

    As I began to ponder over what he was implying, more Decepticon soldiers poured in from every corner, aiming at me with their loaded weapons. A whirring sound alerted me that a soldier was going to fire. However, the sound dimmed down as that Decepticon soldier was suddenly knocked down by Barricade.“You aft! This Autobot's mine! Get the Fleshlings and bring them to Lord Starscream unharmed. GO!”

    All soldiers transformed and zoomed past me in their vehicle forms. I stood my ground instead of blocking their path, focusing on my opponent who was surprised by my decision.

    “You're not going to stop them?”

    “I won't need to when my backup intercepts your personal brigade.”

    In a matter of nanoclicks, loud detonations resounded from behind me. I heard the Decepticons cry out as they were assaulted by the remainder of the Autobots.

    “You notified your team while you assaulted me...” Barricade growled, his delight intact, “Well played. Worthy of your title as Autobot strategist. Tell me, since you've no doubt made a solid background check about me, why don't you fill me in with what you know?”

    He was without a doubt fond of discussions, either to taunt me, to disorientate me or to show off. Ironic, considering the fact that, from what he said to the human girl before, he 'loathes chatterboxes'.

    “I've read and analyzed all files available on Teleltraan 1's database based on reports and intel. According to what I've seen, you originated from Kaon City and were in charge of Megatron's gladiatorial fights. There were even insinuations of you being implicated in the bombings of the headquarters of Fort Scyk. The only inaccurate, ambiguous intel I've received was you being permanently offlined when Omega Supreme awoke.”

    “You know your stuff... Accurate for the most part, but incomplete. You don't even know HALF of me and I do have to say that I'm disappointed.”

    “I only take interest if it pertains to the success of the mission. Everything else is trivial, including your tiring babble.”

    He snarled, offended. “If that's the way you think, then let's see how 'trivial' I am to you in combat!”

    I wasted no cycle drawing out my weapons and instantly fired my first rounds at him, who dodged aside as he charged at me. His servos transformed into his guns and returned fire, the discharge grazing the left side of my faceplate. I dashed aside, leaping here and there as the ground of my previous position simmered with acid discharge. His aim wasn't perfect, but he knew how to handle a gun, especially while charging at me with such speed. If I weren't that agile, he would have hit me by now.

    Opting for another tactical approach, I ran towards him and leaped in the air, transforming into a vehicle, accelerating in speed as an attempt to ram him. At the same time, I brought forth my guns and fired at him. The chance of avoiding being hit by fire and or by the vehicle were close to possible, but if he managed so far, the counter-strike that followed could terminate him.

    All the while he dodged the missiles, jumping aside, he anticipated my move and jumped up high. I saw that as an opportunity and transformed, skidding underneath him and pulling out one of my guns. He was quick; he brought down his Energon scimitar to which I produced with the other servo my Blight Baton, the friction of our blade and rod causing faint sparks to spurt.

    I transformed my weapon back into a servo to support my rod-holding servo. His brute strength surpassed mine, something he had probably gained from cycles of gladiatorial training in Kaon. He was powerful enough to remove one servo from the handle and keep the same stance as he went for his gun.

    I immediately leaped backwards just in time to avoid being shot to smithereens at point blank, bits of scattered, searing debris springing out at me. My sensors alerted me of a sudden rise in radioactivity. I grimly recollected the data of my memory banks. There was only one gun capable of discharging radioactive rounds: a Super Blaster, a deadly, destructive Decepticon weapon built eons ago before its Decepticon creator was scrapped. Only three of its kind had ever been fabricated, but were confiscated and brought to a weapons' storage facility in Iacon until it was destroyed by a Decepticon aerial assault. Nothing of the place was left to salvage.

    How did he get a hold of that powerful weapon?

    As the analysis went through my processor, I countered his offense by throwing multiple Energon stars at him. He wafted them away with his crooked blade, his speed never relenting. Strength couldn't be used here. However, he was slower than me, a talker displaying arrogance and impetuosity, faults that I could use to my advantage.

    “So why did Megatron send you here? To do his dirty work?”

    “Megatron?” he laughed, “Get your facts straight, Autobot. Megatron didn't know what kind of warrior he had until he lost it. Now, I am second in command to Starscream, who recognizes my potential as an asset to this new league of Decepticons!”

    “Unless you're the leader, Barricade, you'll always be considered a two-time, pathetic lackey, no matter how many times you change in factions or Decepticon ranks.”

    His vocoder emitted a furious growl. “I'll make you eat those words, you piece of slag!”

    With a raging fury he charged at me, blade scraping against the floor, as I had predicted. As he drew closer, I charged at him and, nanoclicks before collision, loaded a particular round into my gun before shooting at him. The discharge hit the Decepticon, forcing him to the ground as he roared in pain. The purpose of Photon Displacer rounds was to temporarily not only to blind an enemy, but to incapacitate him for a couple of megacycles before the effects wore off, courtesy of Fireflight. The Decepticon wasn't immobile just yet as he tried fight off the effects as they took over him, swinging his blade around and yelling and screaming in a mix of anguish and anger. Once behind him, I leaped at him and had his face pinned to the ground. The success of incapacitating him was short-lived as Vehicons came forth to aid their comrade.

    “U-Using my anger to disorienta-ate me... C-Clever.” he grumbled in amusement, his speech pattern impeded as a known repercussion, “T-T-Too bad yo-your luck's just r-ru-un o-out.”

    We were both encircled by new Decepticon soldiers, who might have come at their lieutenant's request.
    “Step away, slagger.” one of the soldiers commanded, his gun pointing at me.

    Despite being outnumbered and outgunned, I ignored his directive and kept the Decepticon lieutenant immobile on the ground. Barricade and his soldiers had already lost this battle.

    Barely a cycle had passed when the Vehicon who gave out the command was shot down. The back-up I had requested earlier had arrived.

    Part of the Prime team had converged to my location, with Bulkhead leading the assault as he fired his weapons before whacking the soldiers away with his wrecking-ball fist. Following him was Arcee, who attacked another soldier while Bumblebee was occupied dealing with a three-on-one combat. Given the circumstance, victory was assured in this battle, and thus I was allowed myself to concentrate on Barricade.

    “Luck has nothing to do with tactical advantage, Barricade. You lost the moment you let your guard down. Now, you and I can have our own personal chat.”

    I dragged the chassis of the Decepticon by his shoulder to a quiet corner down the street. His body waggled meagerly as he attempted to fight for his freedom, a futile effort considering his condition. I hauled him up before slamming him with full force against the wall. “I'll get straight to the point: what are you Decepticons up to?”

    I produced my Blight Baton from a compartment on my leg and activated it, releasing electrical charges as I had it placed by his neck. Upon touch, his body convulsed violently as the charge coursed throughout his body. Judging it enough, I removed the batons, hearing him grunt, awaiting a reply. He only laughed.“T-This is really fun... To think you have no idea... Wha-what's really going on.”

    Silent and discordant with his poor answer, I repeated my interrogation procedure. “Why are you attacking the city?”

    His grunts turned into groans as he shook violently. But once again, his response consisted only of laughter, strained this time with twinge. “Hgn...
    What's the matter? Afraid we might mess up this place like Crystal City and the Helix Gardens?”

    I stared at him, watching him burst into masochistic laughter. “I know a lot about you, Prowl. Just couldn't handle losing those battles, could ya?”

    He was smart and cunning, I'll give him that. The fact that he knew how attached I was to both Cybertronian locations meant he knew of my other weakness.

    I used my Blight Baton once again, watching his body fall into a series of uncontrollable jolts as the volume of his roar increased. It was a nice try on his account, but I've learned long ago to never let my emotions get the better of me on the battlefield.

    “Last chance. Why are you attacking the city?”

    As he tried to utter words, his speech patterns still impeded by electrical shock, my audio sensors all of a sudden picked up a shrill cry. I recognized it, but tried to pry the information from my captive before concerning myself with it. “What are you 'Cons up to?!”

    “C-Come on, Prowl... You're wasting your time... And the more ya waste it, the more Starscream gets to enjoy playing with the girl's corpse.”

    As I feared, the scream came from Rachel Hawkins, Mike's closest friend.

    “Prowl, you heard that?! Rach's in trouble!”

    After hearing Bulkhead's concerned yelled, I withdrew myself from the Decepticon, leading him to believe that I would give him a momentary rest. If he knew me well enough, he should have known that I wasn't that forgiving if I wasn't satisfied. I produced my other Baton and, crossing it with the other, thrust them both to his neck. With one last shock and a final bellow, Barricade crumpled to his knees and fell into stasis. He won't be up for at least another three Earth cycles, “hours” as humans would call it.

    Offlining him would be a waste if he could provide valuable information. Anything coming from him could serve as a deterrent to the war, especially with what he knows about the Super Blaster he's using. Additionally, I am curious of what other things he knows about me.

    “Prowl, we gotta do something about Rachel!”

    I glanced over to Bulkhead, who looked at me with bewildered, concerned optics. Averting his optics from the battlefield was a terrible mistake he committed. I dropped my batons into the compartments built on each side of my legs and transformed my hand into a gun, just in time to shoot in Bulkhead's direction. The bullet hit the Decepticon that nearly assaulted Bulkhead with a blade. Understanding what I had done, the former Wrecker permitted himself a cheeky grin. “Hey, thanks.”

    I didn't return the mutual feeling. “If you want to live long enough to see us win this war, then I suggest you keep your emotions under check, especially on the battlefield. Now cover me and keep those 'Cons at bay!”

    With that yell I dashed towards the building, dodging fire while the approaching enemies were shot down by Bulkhead. Even with his lucky aim, he still managed to miss a few up ahead. His lack of targeting precision would never have him qualified as a Targetmaster.

    My servo weapons shot up from the compartments and I retracted my plasma-gun back to grab hold of my Blight batons. Activating the rods, they gleamed in crimson color, and I swung them at the approaching 'Cons, tearing through them, smiting them in half whenever it was required to get through.

    I located the former second in command Starscream on a rooftop, and as I increased my visual perception on him approaching the human girl, I ascertained that the attack on her was imminent. I calculated my chance of reaching her in time, and went through it twice. Disheartened, I deducted the outcome.

    I won't make it in time.


    ***


    My arms could barely support the whole weight of my body as they wobbled, but I still managed to get back on my feet. The fearful, one-eyed robot came closer with treading steps, and all I could do was stare in terror at his towering height. Maybe if I tried talking to him, I could convince him to let me go or, in the worst case scenario, stall for time. I couldn't gather any reasonable thoughts to help me out of this mess, as they all were fed by fear and terror. I pulled my hand up, taking a few, slow steps backwards. “Don't hurt me, please! I didn't mean to-”

    “What, carve out my left optic?!” His screech was so shrill, so vengeful that they forced me into petrified silence. “Not a cycle goes by when I'm reminded of that fateful day you destroyed my left optic. Do you know why that is? Because everyone who looks at my face will know that I've been had by an inferior lifeform! Do you know how humiliating that is?! My stature has been violated and degraded by you, a bug that only got lucky! Now everybody looks down on me, including my own soldiers who doubt my potential, and bit by bit I lose more of my pride and dignity as a ruthless and feared Decepticon leader!”

    “But I-”

    “SILENCE, YOU DISGUSTING VERMIN!” he screamed, earning a shriek from me. He hissed vehemently, panting from his outburst. ”No matter how much you plead for mercy, you will die today, Fleshling. I'll make your final moments as stretching and as agonizing as possible, and I will make you scream until you choke on your very own blood! Oh, I swear to you, I will enjoy every passing cycle as I watch you hurt, for no one, not even someone as puny as you, will soil my very name, the Great Air Commander Starscream, and get away with it!”

    Once he concluded his firm statement, he brought down one feet before me, cracks and fissures tracing across the surface of the rooftop. I crumpled to the ground, my legs unable to support the weight of my body. This is it. He's going to kill me.

    His snicker only confirmed my fears. “Yes, cower before me! That is all you can do before I start ripping off both of your arms for what you've done to my optic!”

    As his hand reached out for me, my jaw trembled as tears streamed out of my eyes. It can't end like this...

    “No...” I muttered in shock. Turbulent thoughts invaded my mind. I don't want to die, I don't want to be in pain. My mind screamed at me to move, but it was too late before he grabbed me.

    I desperately tried to fight out of his grip, clinging at the same time onto hope that somebody was around to save me.

    I took a deep breath and screamed at the top of my lungs. “NOO! SOMEBODY HELP ME!”

    He gruelingly smiled at my desperate cry for help, followed by a sinister, cruel chuckle. He eyed me viciously, but suddenly spun his head to the side as a rev grew stronger in sound. I followed his stare. A police car leaped over a roof and rammed directly into my captor. He let out a shrill cry, tossing me out of his clutches before being pinned to the ground, not anymore by a car but by another robot.

    Flung aside, I used my hands to soften the impact. Little did it help as I heard a loud crack when I hit the ground hard, pain instantly shooting through my wrist. I cried in pain, still rolling aside uncontrollably until I stopped. My head spun as the world turned around me, but the pain in my wrist forced me back to reality. Just as I became aware once more of my surroundings, I spotted Prowl on top of an enraged Starscream. “Get off of me, Autobot scum!”

    Prowl struggled hard to keep the squirming Decepticon down. “There's something you should really consider, Starscream: if you plan on hurting or killing someone, do it before you waste your time monologuing about it.”

    “Ngh, this isn't over!” he seethed, “I will have my revenge!”

    His optic had turned into a flamboyant red color, and fueled by his vengeful fury, he fought back harder and thrust Prowl off of him with a growling shout. The Autobot coiled back, skidding to a halt and rushing at my side just to pick me up. As he made a grab for me, the screech of the Decepticon tore through the air. “No! That female is MINE!”

    Starscream's order went over deaf ears as Prowl transformed into a vehicle. I found myself in the back seat, dazed by how fast he had changed. I was barely buckled in my seat when he gunned the pedal, zooming towards the ledge of the roof. “Hold on tight!”

    I could not believe how calm he sounded as we leaped off the roof. I didn't have the strength in me to scream, as I already felt my throat becoming sore, but I was overwhelmed by dreariness, caused by the vertigo as gravity pulled us down. In mid-air, my surroundings swirled once more when I found myself again in the grip of the robot. I watched him collide against the wall of the opposing house, and he immediately kicked himself back and landed on the ground. My stomach lurched here and there during his performance. I was lucky that I had a strong stomach, but not the same could be same for the nauseous feeling that had invaded me. As I struggled with my dizziness, Prowl had already begun running and transformed back into that police car, speeding with incredible velocity down the broken streets.

    “Prowl to Autobots, requesting immediate assistance! Rachel Hawkins has become a target, I repeat, the human girl has become a target!”

    I trembled in my seat, covering my face as tears suddenly streamed out of my eyes. The chaos and terror of this event took my previous encounter to a whole new level, tripling the amount of conflict within my heart and head. I wanted it all to come to an end, begging for everything that was happening to stop.

    But a car rammed unexpectedly into the right side of the vehicle, forcing Prowl to veer and take a turn to the left. Another police car had clung onto the door frame of this car, a claw-like hand punching the window open and sending shards of glass scattering across the interior.

    “Come here, Fleshling!” he growled.

    I instantly recognized Barricade's voice, and I crawled with shaky limbs to the other side of the car, far away from him and his sharp fingers as possible.

    “S-Stay away! Don't hurt me, please!”

    Prowl took a sudden, sharp turn to the right, drifting as the car attached to him was thrown aside and into a building, unable to cling onto Prowl. At the same time, I was flung to the right side as well, hitting my arm and head against the door. The impact forced me to scream in tears; the sudden move caused more pain to my most-likely broken wrist, and the shards had embedded themselves in my already bloody hand from the window I had broken earlier on.

    I held my hand, crying as I endured the agony. Prowl didn't seem to be paying any attention to my dilemma as he drove on, kicking dirt when a shadow loomed over the car. Explosions detonated around us. I didn't want to look out of the window to see who it was, but my heart raced as I predicted the attacker. A jet flew over us and transformed, landing with a resounding tremor before us.

    Starscream had caught up with us.

    “Your mainframe must be fried if you think you can outrun a jet, Autobot!” Starscream sneered, welcoming us with sharp claws.
    I waited for Prowl to screech to a halt and back up, but instead of slowing down, he accelerated. “I don't need to outrun you if I can outsmart you.” he shot back.

    Starscream seemed to be taken aback, who was most likely as confused as I was of Prowl's reaction. “Prowl, are you nuts?!” I screamed at the driver's seat in front of me, imagining him sitting there, “What the hell are you doing?!”

    He remained silent and sped only faster, heading for the Decepticon that awaited us with a cold, grueling smile and a barrage of missiles pointed at us. As I wondered in panic what was going through Prowl's mind, I heard him suddenly make a calm remark to himself that would never reach Starscream's ears:

    “He's all yours, Prime.”

    As if on cue, gunfire rained down on Starscream. Surprised, he looked up, and I watched him back away as another robot landed on the ground, barely giving him a second of break before the assault continued.

    The leader of the Autobots was attacking Starscream.

    “Prowl, secure the humans and meet up with Ratchet!” he commanded, grabbing the Decepticon, “I will handle Starscream.”

    Obeying his direct orders, Prowl dashed past both combating robots, the leader tossing Starscream aside so that we could pass through. I turned around to see that Starscream had picked himself up and that both of these robots were in some sort of showdown.

    “Rachel, where's Michelangelo?”

    In response to Prowl's words, emptiness overcame me, depriving me of the pain in my hand and preventing me to understand what the Autobot was talking about. Yet barely a second later, those words struck at me like a blade straight into the gut. I gasped in utter shock, covering my mouth with my unharmed hand as it slowly, painfully dawned upon me.

    “Rachel, where is he?” he repeated. My mind raced too much, I couldn't find the words to express myself.

    Mikey had been shot. When Starscream came after me, I was so scared that I had forgotten all about it and ran off like a gutless coward.

    I've abandoned the only friend close enough to be family when he needed me most.

    “Oh God... What have I done?”

    ***


    A.N.: Phew, that was a tough one, but I'm glad I got it done! So, what do you guys think? Let me know in the comments below, and thanks for reading this! ;D
     
  10. Jazzfan0217

    Jazzfan0217 Just chillin'

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    Dude this is seriously EPIC :thumb  Can't wait to see what happens when they find Mikey :popcorn 
     
  11. Jayhan

    Jayhan Heatbreaker

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    ~Act I, Chapter IV~


    The clash with the seeker had been thunderous. After having hauled him into a building, providing Prowl and the children with a free path, I brought forth my Energon Axe and battled Starscream. He sought out methods to subdue me, opting for evasive tactics than engaging in close combat. He was persistent, but he knew he could not win this fight. The glare of his single optic is what betrayed his thoughts. His strengths never lay in servo-to-servo combat, but it made his assault all the more questionable. Decepticons, especially someone as conniving as Starscream, would never risk exposing their existence to humanity, not unless there was something at stake. Yet according to Prowl's intel, the Decepticons fired at will, destroying anything that came their way, without any particular goal.

    Incapable of hiding my curiosity, I lowered my Energon Axe and sought out answers. "Starscream, your onslaught is uncoordinated and meaningless, and you of all Cybertronians should know that you cannot succeed. What could you possibly gain from deliberately destroying this city at the risk of revealing yourself and losing soldiers?"

    The Decepticon allowed himself a moment of repulsive mirth. "Are you so confused, so desperate that you will resort to negotiations in a time like this, Optimus Prime?"

    "I am not negotiating with you after all the destruction and deaths you've wrought on this city." My statement was firm and unwavering. "I am ordering you to stand down, to comply and to answer for your crimes. I will end your rampage, one way or the other."

    "Hah, neither your threats nor your bravado mean anything to me!" the Decepticon spat back, "There is no promise you can make that I can't break!"

    The Decepticon conformed to his jet mode and took off into the skies. I converted into my vehicular form as he spiraled his way back down and initiated the Maximum Overdrive, bolting down the streets as missiles rained down from behind. Detritus and rubble erupted from my surroundings after every missed aim. Escape was futile, yet retreat was never my intention.

    I engaged the brakes, tires grinding to a screeching halt as another round of explosions detonated nearby and billowed a thick, gray shroud my way. Rendering my vision unclear, I shut off my optics and increased the volume of my audio receptors. I remained in my place and focused on the sound of my surroundings: the spurts of water escaping the broken hydrant, the crackling of fire that ate away at a burning Earth vehicle... And then, the screech of a jet booming as it drew closer. I waited for the right moment, and as soon as I heard it soar over me, I brought forth my Ion Blaster and fired. I dashed out of the smoke and, reactivating my optics, watched as the thrusters of the jet caught on flames. I understood that the damage was exponential, which would at least deprive him of flight capability until repaired. I did not hide my relief; flight was Starscream's greatest asset, and without it, confronting him was less of a challenge.

    The broiling jet dove uncontrollably towards the west section of the city, the sound fading and the form disappearing behind buildings until the impact of the crash thundered throughout the entire area. I chased after him in vehicle mode and zoomed through streets in the hopes of reaching Starscream before he made any more irreversible damage. However, as I drove by a courthouse, I immediately hit the brakes as my internal scans picked up multiple heat signatures from within the crumbling building. Little orange and red forms appeared in my visors, human civilians who desperately struggled to the exit the building and down the tiled stairs. After a loud rumble resounded, the entrance suddenly caved in, trapping the remaining civilians from within.

    I assumed my protoform and dashed up the insignificantly small steps, but as I drew nearer, I detected that the fissuring pillars were slowly tilting forward towards the stairs that led to the streets.

    The building was falling apart.

    I launched myself at the entrance and removed blocks and debris one after the other. The cracks grew louder, and as bits and dust of the crumbling building rained on me, I hastened even more. Once the doors were visible, I ripped them open and placed my servos above the entrance, steadying the building. Many eyes stared up at me, and in fear, the humans were paralyzed in place.

    Another loud crack sounded off, and I averted my optics from the civilians and ran for the pillars. I grabbed hold of one of them in time to prevent it from falling out of its place and bringing the whole building down. I couldn't hold long; fissures ran up every pillar, and it was a matter of time until the rest of the courthouse collapse in on itself.

    "Hurry, humans! The building is about to collapse. Out, NOW!"

    Those words violently burst out of my vocoder and, from the fierceness of it, instantly knocked the humans out of their paralyzed state. Most humans screamed as they ran out of the building and down the stairs, pushing others aside to get away from any harm. As I struggled to keep the building from caving in just yet, I felt a slight hit on my feet. I looked aside. A woman had fallen down, and as she looked up with those terror-filled eyes, she scurried away from me before finally running away.

    There no was doubt that they misinterpreted my actions, judging me to be their enemy when I was only helping them. I couldn't linger on those thoughts, for every ounce of concentration was needed to keep this building steady. Their lives depended on me, whether they were aware of it or not.

    Shrill screams of terror suddenly joined in on this chaotic incident when a Vehicon appeared from the corner of the street and released a barrage of lasers upon the fleeting humans. I steadied the pillar with my one arm and brought forth my Ion Blaster and aimed carefully. He hadn't detected me yet. Once he was still, I discharged my first round into his left leg. He stumbled backwards with a loud, pained yell, and now wary of my presence now, was ready to retaliate, a chance which I didn't give him. I repeatedly fired at him, watching him dodge until another bullet pierced through his armor near his spark chamber. The trooper crumpled and dropped to the ground. Moments later, I knew the extent of the damage of my gun when his chest exploded, engulfing him in a fiery, deathly embrace.

    I averted my optics, unable to witness the sometimes cruel death of soldiers during war. The struggle of keeping the pillar standing kept me from drifting asunder and I noticed then the humans nearest to me staring at me once more, their facial features marked by amazement instead of disdain and terror.

    I seized the opportunity as I caught their attention. "Do not waste anymore time and evacuate the area. Tell the others to move discreetly to the East, and I promise you that you'll find safety there. You have my word for it."

    I was complacent with how well the civilians within hearing range followed my instructions and descended the broken stairs, alerting others to head East. Once I knew that human heat signatures had disappeared from the area, I leapt aside and rolled away to a safe distance. The pillars collapsed on each other and the frontal part of the building tilted forward, the brunt force shattering the stairs and some of the fragmented pillars bowling down to the streets. In a matter of nanoclicks, the courthouse was reduced to a pile of broken rocks.

    As I rose to my feet, I realized that I had found myself near the destroyed Vehicon. I walked up to the burning carcass and stared at the magnitude of my damage. The fire which had died down scorched his chassis, and his chest had burst open, revealing the Energon that had oozed from his wounds and filled his empty, lifeless Spark chamber.

    Many of my fellow allies have questioned me about my inexplicable sympathies to the enemy, who have killed more friends than I can count. What they seem to forget is that the fallen enemies fought for ideals – misguided, but often about acquiring satisfaction in their life. I have had several confessions from close ones who had lived in Kaon, some of which had momentarily joined the Decepticons before switching their allegiance. The residents of Kaon were considered to be of the lower castes, a guild that had been set up by the High Council throughout all of Cybertron. No other Cybertronian suffered as much as the Kaonians have, who were mostly labor workers thrown into harsh, unjust conditions. Their lives depended on that strife, and I can't blame them for being resentful, for having this twisted perception of the corrupted guild and wanting to take matters into their own hands. That is what gave rise to the nameless gladiator, later to be known as Megatronus. Kaonians and other Cybertronians witnessed the birthing of a powerful hero, inspiring them – inspiring me – to make a difference...

    Alas, Megatron only knew how to make a difference through violence and war while I opted for peaceful negotiations.

    With one last glance and a respectful nod to the fallen enemy, I quickly resumed my mission and transformed into what humans referred to as "the truck". I chased through every street, following the directions from the estimated coordinates of Starscream's crash site before I arrived at the designated place. The absence of seeker in the crater created by the impact caused me to be very alert for any movement, and so I moved diligently and cautiously with the Ion Blaster at my ready. It had begun to rain, but the smoke of debris and ashes still emanated from the streets. Death lingered; this area had been savagely destroyed, and it may have even been prior to Starscream's crash-landing.

    I looked around me, taking in my surroundings, observing and inspecting the broken streets and the shattered homes. So much destruction... I always question myself the purpose of the Decepticons' warmongering. What is so versatile, so thrilling in seeing the agony of others? I almost hesitate to activate my organic life form scanners, but I finally give in.

    46... That was the numbers of victims my sensors had picked up in this area alone. As I trod throughout the street, the death toll increasing in my scanners, I trembled at the sight of the many corpses cluttered on the street. Every once in a while, I stopped and briefly inspected the victims' cause of death. Time and time again, I needed to remind myself what horrific, volatile means the Decepticons used to execute anyone who crossed their paths, regardless of their size. My Spark pulsed and churned violently, grief coursing throughout every circuitry of my system as I found the most harmless and youngest of human children among the victims. I can only pray to Primus that their pain was momentary.

    Watching the havoc and destruction wrought was like reliving the war in the past. Housings and relics of the Golden Age, destroyed in less than a nanoclick, empty shells of Cybertronians, my brethren, strewn on the shredded, rusty streets of our home planet. I've seen soldiers whose spirits were broken and violated by the atrocities of arduous skirmishes, friends who were brought to the brink of desperation and madness.

    Those are only few of the horrors that I've witnessed on Cybertron, and yet I see them reemerging as shadows of the past on another planet, whose inhabitants endeavored to deal with their own share of worries and problems. They proved to be a strong, surviving race, but they could not have predicted the unexpected terror-strike that befell this city, nor find a counter-attack quick enough before innocent civilians paid the price.

    Why must this war go on? Why do the Decepticons relish in the pain and destruction of others? Why must things be conquered violently and not negotiated peacefully? And how, by the All Spark, can any Cybertronian lack so much empathy?

    All I know is that while this planet is not Cybertron, it is our home. Whether the humans choose to accept us or to reject us, we will defend them and their planet. Megatron and the likes of him will be – must be stopped, no matter the cost.

    I cast my thoughts and emotions aside as I recalled how invaluable every cycle was in war. I heightened my senses, raising the volume of my audio receptors in the hopes of either locating Starscream, or having the chance, the miracle of saving a life in an already death-lingering area.

    A quiet rattle caught my attention, accompanied by a faint cry. I hurried towards the source while answering an incoming transmission from Arcee, who informed me that they had taken out a large amount of the Decepticons while others had retreated. She was ready to pursue them if need be.

    "Arcee, our priority now is to find survivors." I advised, "There are many who are harmed, but alive, and they will require our immediate assistance, whether they want it or not. We need to locate them, check their conditions and ensure their safety."

    A short while after I had ended the transmission, I followed the noise into an alley. Two lifeforms were crouched in a corner. A blonde, young mother, clutching onto her own wailing infant of barely a year of age, attempted to crawl back, but found her foot stuck under some rubble. She was wounded, bleeding from the side of her head, and her face was covered with dirt, blood and horror.

    As I reached out my servo to her, she began screaming.

    "Remain calm, human. I am not here to harm you."

    It was a poor attempt, as I reminded myself that humans saw us no different from any other Decepticon. Unwavering at her desperate plea, I grabbed for the chunk of debris and tossed it aside. Her scream had abated and ended when she felt her foot being freed.

    "Can you walk?" I asked.

    Her face was blank, eyes creased in disbelief. She stood up, staggering with her infant. I prodded my finger at her, catching her fall as she rested her arm on it. She looked at me and pushed herself up with her free arm.

    "Y-Yeah, I... I can walk..." she whispered, her eyes never parting. Her child had stopped crying; what surprised me was that it laughed, its hands reaching out to me.

    Though appreciative and smiling behind my battle mask, I nodded in relief. "Then you must listen carefully. The West section of this city is still under attack, so I cannot guarantee your safety if you remain here. Retreat to the East and stay out of sight. Do you understand?"

    She nodded, her whole body trembling along with it. Though slightly injured, her face brightened to a warm smile. Contentment was an expression that was rarely seen in war, and it did soothe my Spark. She opened her mouth to say something, but nothing ever came out. Eyes widened in horror, she lifted her shaking hand and pointed her finger at me.

    Me? Or maybe-


    As it dawned upon me, in alarm, I immediately spun around only to feel the impact of a missile exploding on my chest-plate, propelling me into the building to the right. The powerful blow to the chest as well as the hit against the wall left me momentarily dazed and in pain. I pulled myself up, hearing the clattering of shards from my broken windshields hit the ground. I grew aware of tremors that had brought the ground to quake, and I understood then that the building I had been projected into was about to collapse. I leapt to the woman and her child, scooped them up and scuttled out of the narrow alley in the opposite direction from where I had come from. I placed my servo on top of the other, shielding the humans in my palm as bricks and debris fell from the building and bounced off my plating and my armor.

    It was with great, hasty effort that I rolled out of the alley, and after a series of subsequent, rumbling cracks followed, the building came down behind me. A strong gust of dust blew from the crumbled housing, multiple-sized rubble hitting the tips of my feet. The silence that ensued was short-lived as the clicks of footsteps grew louder. I lowered my servos, allowing the femme to jump off.

    "Run." I urged, grunts following thereafter. The pain wasn't all too significant, but I needed a while to grow accustomed to it. The woman hesitated, her eyes displaying concern for someone unbeknownst to her.

    I nodded my head, appreciating her hesitation. "I'll be fine. Just go."

    I watched the mother run away with the child and rose to my feet once more, shifting my head in the direction of the assailant. If he truly believed that his sneak attack was going to be a hindrance, then he was sorely mistaken. I had already taken missiles with my bare servos in previous fights, and it will take more than some minor damage to the chest-plate to defeat me.

    As expected, Starscream emerged from the thick cloud. "Your sympathy for those wretched worms has always been your greatest flaw, Optimus Prime!" he stated in a flat, mocking tone. He strode his way through the debris of the broken building, steadily cocking his weapon. "You may have rendered me flightless, but your vulnerability has just cost you the battle! Now, beg for mercy as I extinguish your Spark!"

    "You're wrong, Starscream. It's your arrogance and overconfidence that just cost you the battle."

    I picked up a chunk of debris that had rolled to my feet and chucked it towards the one-optic Decepticon, who dodged aside as per my intention. I sprinted and fired my weapon at him, clipping at his right wing before one of my shots hit him straight on the chest. He clumped and staggered backwards, and landing him a definitive punch on his face brought his entire body down to the ground. He tried to get up and run off as he usually did, but his plans to escape was thwarted as I instantly set my foot down on his chest. Being too weak, he could only squirm as my foot kept him down and immobile.

    "You've brought this upon yourself, Starscream. You chose the path of destruction, and in the name of Cybertron and humanity, by destruction you will be undone."

    I aimed my Ion Blaster at his head. His optic flared in desperation while a throaty screech escaped his mouth. "No! No, please! Have mercy on me!"

    I charged my cannon, firm and determined to see this through. He and his soldiers had destroyed homes and houses, killed humans, some of who were unfortunate enough to be tortured before meeting their end. Even those as harmless as infants, children younger than Rafael, weren't given any of that mercy which Starscream was now pleading for.

    He deserves to die.

    My Spark pulsated as daunting feelings accompanied the beat. I retracted my cannon in response. "Killing you would be too easy." I conceded, my adamant voice maintained, "While Autobots and Decepticons will never mend their ways, we Autobots will never give into your ideals by finishing off already-defeated opponents."

    His expression softened into a pleading, relieved smile... But there was a malicious glee tucked in the corner of his mouth. Suddenly, a throaty cackle escaped his mouth. On cue, the sound of a discharged cannon resounded the area. An agonized yell burst from my vocoder as a hit to my shoulder sent me sprawling, wheeling beyond control until I lay on my back.

    "Predictable, Optimus!" Starscream sneered, staggering to his feet, "You throw away your chance to offline me all because you believe I was defenseless. Do you really think I would have confronted you without having my own back-up?"

    The laughter of Starscream was forced and pained, but he reveled in his amusement as long as he believed to have the upper servo, a fact that I was going to prove him wrong. I sat up and groaned in anguish as immediate pain shot at my left shoulder. My arm hung by only a few cables and circuits, the damage of the discharge having melted through the armor. Lubricants flowed out of what would have been the intersection of my arm and shoulder, the entanglement and exposure of them all causing them to erupt in sparks. I wheezed and cringed; the searing pain was vivid, and while the damage rendered my arm limp and useless, it did not become a hindrance to my thoughts and vision.

    My sensors detected a fluctuation in radiation, which explained the melted plating. As I stood up, legs wobbling, I watched a police-vehicle speed down the road and transform into another Decepticon.

    "Meet my loyal second in command, Barricade." Starscream announced as his soldier walked up to him, "He's a great asset to the cause, an infiltrator capable of providing me with invaluable intel."

    I forced myself to my knees, hearing the grunting laughter of the new second in command. "Huh, so that's how the Prime looks like now. Sure nice to see you again, Orion Pax."

    Barricade... It had been more than Giga-cycles since I had last seen him. He was, after all, the one who welcomed when I went to meet Megatron for the first time in Kaon, long before the civil war had begun.

    "Barricade... I see you've switched your allegiance to Starscream."

    "Times change, Orion, and so do loyalties."

    I cast away his unearthing of past events, clutching onto my arm. "Barricade, look around you. All this war has ever done is cause more grief and destruction than victory on either side, and it has cost us all Cybertron. All of this can be avoided if we choose to cast aside our differences and live a life of peace."

    "That's something you never understood about us... You think we WANT to live in peace? Hah! We enjoy the war and the battles. Personally, I get quite a thrill when I kill, and it's more exhilarating to make a sport out of it."

    I was revolted by his sick pleasure. "Your methods disgust me."

    "You're the one to talk!" he spat back in anger, "I still remember the day you walked up to the doorsteps of Kaon, and I could hardly believe it when I heard the news that you, a weak, flimsy clerk, had become the next Prime. I'm still convinced you wouldn't have been able beat me back then, but..." He produced his gun. "As I've said, times change, and now I won't take my chances."

    Anticipating his attack, I jumped aside as he missed his shot. "You are terribly mistaken if you believe that this wound will change anything." I responded as I returned fire, "I'm made of more sterner stuff."

    The Seeker allowed himself to laugh in mockery as he displaced himself. "Ah yes, I don't doubt that... But no matter the outcome of this battle, in the end, I win."

    There he was again, taunting me with the confusion he was creating, reminding me that his unknown plans were still in motion. The certainty imprinting his vocoder and his optic gleaming with conviction led to me worry about his true intentions. He mildly succeeded in placing me under stress.

    What have I overlooked?


    After a short moment of pondering silence, the grin on the Decepticon's faceplate indicated that he had read my mind. "You still haven't figured it out, have you? Well, I wouldn't be surprised. Large-scale assaults do tend to hide the true nature of smartly concocted schemes."

    "You can't mean to tell me that this assault was a ruse to solely get your servos on Rachel?"

    The Decepticon scoffed incredulously. "What? Don't be absurd! You think I lack that much ambition? Discovering that she was hiding in this little city was nothing more than dumb luck. While there's no denying that I wouldn't let such an opportunity fly by, plans come before vendettas, so I do have to stick to my schedule." He inspected the tips of his needle-pointed fingers. "Oh, but I'm still wondering what I should do with her when I find her. Should I immediately kill her as I have attempted before, or should I capture her and keep her as my human pet? I find the latter more intriguing... Imagine the countless possibilities one can do with a bag of flesh..."

    There was no need to imagine how Decepticons treated their pets. The mass of corpses layered on the streets spoke out more truths about the enemy than mere words. A defenseless human such as Rachel would not withstand the horrors, the suffering and the tortures that the vile Decepticon would subject her to, no matter how long he planned on keeping her alive. It was his enjoyment, and I did not doubt him incapable of depraved means.

    A Cybertronian instinct took over as my right arm produced my Energon Axe. "As long as Energon courses throughout every circuitry within my system, you will never get to her, Starscream. You will have to get through me first."

    Barricade charged up his cannon as he cackled in a playful manner. "That's what I want to hear! Come on, Prime, I'm up for this little game! Show me what you've got!"

    He came at me with his vibro-blade, an attack I countered with my Energon Axe. The other arm was no use, the control of it entirely disconnected and hanging limply at my side, but as long as I kept my will resolute, I would succeed. Barricade was strong, hammering his blade at my axe, bits of the friction grazing my face. I swung once, twice, three times from left to right and back again, then thrust the butt of my axe into his chest. He reeled backwards, but pounced back in immediate rage. He was slower, if not more weary than I remembered him to be. He was worn out, as if he had been implicated in a previous fight before battling me.

    The flailing attack of his blade had become less of a challenge to dodge, and as the speed of his movements decelerated and the strength of the blades' impact decreased, I seized the moment and rammed my fist into his face. He was disoriented to many faults, unable to come around quick enough before I grabbed him by his shoulder, hauled him over me and slammed him back first to the ground. As he was down, I allowed myself the time to recuperate. The brusque movements I had made caused all the more agony of my nearly-detached arm to my body. Time was of the essence, for I knew that longer this battle dragged on, the more likely my defeat was.

    I suddenly noticed from the corner of my optic that Starscream was behind me, and as the firing of a missile resounded, I sprung aside in time before the spot I was previously on detonated and burst into flames, sending shrapnel all around. I wound up on my knee, instinctively holding my arm which had become excruciatingly afflictive. I watched Starscream snicker as he aimed his missile-equipped arm at me.

    "And so falls the Prime..."

    An unexpected series of fire bursts fulminated before Starscream, forcing himself to dance and to back away. I was momentarily stunned; both Starscream and I turned our heads to the assailant, which was none other than the newly-designated second in command.

    "Barricade, what is the meaning of this?!" the leader shrieked, restraining himself from showing panic.

    "Pax is mine, Starscream!" Barricade yelled back, "Stay out of this fight and let me enjoy it."

    I discerned only then how much Barricade truly had changed. He had always been loyal to Megatron, but now he seemed to be loyal only when he wants to – needs to be. His defiance was remarkable for a soldier serving under a leader, and what's even more extraordinary was that very fact that he had demonstrated a few nanoclicks before.

    Barricade is capable of offlining Starscream without any trouble... But if that's the case, then why does he play the loyal soldier?

    What are his actual motives?


    I surmounted the ache and pulled out my Ion Blaster, ready to resume the fight. On my feet, I took a few steps when I stopped in my tracks. On the spur of a moment, a high-pitched, anguished cry pierced through my concentration and drew me away from the battle. Startled, I twisted my head towards the back with widened optics.

    "Rachel."

    Although faint, her voice was distinct and recognizable, and it led me to worry about her whereabouts. She was located nearby, but why was she still here in the city? What was Prowl doing?

    Movements in the background sucked me back into the heat of battle, and I evaded Barricade's surprise attack and caught him off guard as I grabbed hold of his arm. "You underestimate me, Barricade." I tugged his arm strongly and as he lurched towards me, I swung a few powerful kicks across his face and kneed him in the abdomen. I brought forth my Energon Axe and took a swing, but he flipped backwards, far enough to be out of my reach. I transformed my servo back into the Ion Blaster and fired as much as I could. With every passing moment, I feared for the worst for Rachel, for Michelangelo and for Prowl. This battle had to end now.

    In the middle of our battle, as I vaulted aside to avoid the pellet of his Super Blaster, a portal had suddenly appeared behind Starscream. The Decepticon leader did not hide his anticipation or his great sense of relief. "Barricade, it's time. Let's move!"

    I lowered my weapon. Barricade, his faceplate dented and leaking lubricants, hissed. "Wait! I ain't done with you-"

    "Don't be a fool, Barricade! I order you to move out, or I'll leave you behind to deal with Optimus and his lackeys on your own!"

    The second in command growled furiously and pounded his fist against the wall of a building. "This ain't over, Orion. You can bet your Spark that we'll fight again. Count on it!"

    The Decepticon transformed and darted after his master into the ground bridge. There was no point chasing after them, not when I wasn't certain about the humans and Prowl. Sensing a foreboding dread, I turned my back on the escaping Decepticons and attempted to establish contact with Prowl when another voice broke into the communication.

    "Prime, do you read?"


    "Loud and clear, Ratchet." I replied, "What's the situation?"

    "Optimus... I... I don't know where to begin..."

    I halted, digesting in shock the grave news. Desperation and denial overwhelmed my senses, and I found myself running, listening to the words uttered by my old, trustworthy friend, suppressing the pain in my arm that had rendered me unable to transform. The precipitation was now accompanied by rolling thunder, the booming sound rumbling in the skies. The ground, wet, had become slippery enough to trip and fall or to cascade through the streets.

    I arrived at the location directed to me by Ratchet. It was with a daunting horror that I discovered the realization of my dread.

    ***

    The skies showed no mercy as the clouds emptied their tears on all of us. The pounding footsteps made me tilt my head to the end of the street, with Optimus Prime rushing his way onto the scene in protoform. As he drew nearer, I found myself baffled by his physical condition. The joint between his arm and his shoulder was completely destroyed, connected by only a few cables and leaking lubricants and Energon. His chest displayed the scorched marks of a missile that had impacted there, having broken the windshields as a result. He had dealt with both Starscream and Barricade; the sudden spike in radiation confirmed it. Despite his wounds, he seemed to be holding on his own. I only wished I could show greater concern, but I couldn't. I lacked the strength to do anything else but utter a single word.

    "Prime..."

    He trod with hesitant steps towards me. Our optics met, but I looked away in shame, focusing instead on the ground. In my vision I see Rachel who, in all her grief, held a bloodied Michelangelo in her arms. Her face displayed so much anguish, tattered by her tears and by his own blood as she held him close, her head resting on his.

    My servos tremble as they hang loose at my sides. I ran calculations through my motherboard while reflecting the course of the mission. This boy was mine to protect. I was his guardian, and thus responsible for his safety. That was my mission, which was far more important than initiating and taking part in the counter-attack of the Decepticon assault. But what did I do? I neglected and misplaced all of my priorities; against Prime's direct orders, instead of escorting the humans to safety, I focused on the mission of eliminating the Decepticons and left Michelangelo and Rachel to run on their own and to find their own way back.

    How could I, the team's tactical strategist, have not foreseen the countless possibilities of hazard to their safety during this full-scale assault? How could I not have foreseen this?

    Rachel's sobs and laments bring my whole chassis to shudder, the boom of thunder resounding up above us. These agonized cries heard in battle reminded us of the precious things we fight for and what we risk of losing as a collateral damage. I should have gotten used to experiencing this, but even with time... It's impossible.

    We Cybertronians had waged war against each other for eons, but this planet called Earth is far different than Cybertron. Humanity is a young race full of faults, naive most of the time, but innocent nonetheless, enforcing us all the more to protect them...

    ... To ensure that the events that occurred on Cybertron would never replicate here on Earth.

    I can't bring myself to say the truth out loud, but my processors keep reminding me of the cold and hard facts. And as a military strategist, I must acknowledge them and take them into account, even if they are accompanied by burdening, irreversible, agonizing mistakes.

    I log into Teletraan 1's database via comlink and demand the files pertaining to the list of members and allies of Team Prime. The data displayed on my visor, I access the list of names that have been recently registered and select the most recent entry.

    As I watch the rain fully drench the wailing girl and the silent boy, I tremble even more and heave out a hesitant, heavy sigh.

    I update the latest entry.

    Michelangelo Sullivan, age 19: deceased.
     
  12. Jayhan

    Jayhan Heatbreaker

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    ~Prologue to Act II~​



    If you're looking to be “friends” with me, then I'll tell you immediately to drop it; in fact, you should follow the other Autobots and stay away from me. I have no interest in socializing with others if it doesn't pertain to our primary objectives, and no matter how well you perform on any mission, I will always criticize you and never commend you as long as the war is happening. If you're asking for praise, then you're addressing yourself to the wrong person: that is Prime's job.

    My job is to make sure that everyone is working hard. Prime issues the orders, I reinforce them and I oversee the tasks. Whatever the orders are, I expect any soldier to give me not a 100%, but 200% and above. There is no time for slacking around, especially when we're inhabiting a planet that isn't ours.

    After stationing here for Megacycles, I know that the members of Team Prime have grown accustomed and too comfortable with planet Earth and its inhabitants. At times, I wonder if they remember what we have been fighting for. Although we do take pride, even the sickening pleasure in battling our enemies for freedom and the rights of others, I wonder if the vision of our cause within the team is impaired and thus derogatory. Some of us spend their time – let me correct that – waste their time with the humans they are meant to guard and forget why we are here to begin with.

    We're here because the war destroyed Cybertron. Cultures and cities annihilated by eons of combat, civilizations obliterated by Megatron and his army of Decepticons... An impending catastrophe we couldn't comprehend until we saw what it ultimately resulted in: our home had become inhabitable, now constituting of barren wastelands lacking resources and deprived of life, and it forced us to depart in exodus. It was a painful, but necessary measure that would give the planet the time to repair itself for the massive damage we had inflicted upon it.

    In the present time, the planet still needs millions of giga-cycles of healing, and before we even consider returning to it, we need to eliminate the incumbent problem:

    Megatron.

    As long as Megatron is around, at best, history would repeat itself. At worst, Cybertron would awaken to the tyrannical rule of his Iron fist, its population bent, broken and suffering from his will. But it wouldn't end there; he would lay the foundations of a terrible empire upon Cybertron and let it spread across the universe like wildfire. No one and nothing would be spared, not even planet Earth.

    That is why our mission is about defeating the Decepticons, not about settling down on another planet and socializing with new life forms, most of which wouldn't be ready to accept us. Our priority is and should always be the mission.

    As long as there are Decepticons online, this war would never see the end of it.

    As long as this war is ongoing, we will never have a home.

    Acting as Team Prime's strategist, there are variables of the war's outcome that I've considered and deduced, and most of them look grim. When this war comes to an end, our chances of us being victorious are below average. Megatron has a large army to commandeer, either soldiers to fight the war or miners to dig and scavenge Energon from Energon depots. While I do not doubt the powerhouse of our own team, we cannot stand up against the Decepticons when they have the upper hand. If the war rages on, then I know that most of us will die knowing that all they've ever done was fight and destroy for the sake of survival and desperate hope for a future. It's a frail dream that I currently fail to envision.

    It's fortunate that our commander seems to have no problem imagining it, despite desperate times and unmeasurable losses. If it weren't for him, this team would be as deprived of hope as I am. With that said, being hopeless does anything but make me unwilling to carry on this battle. I want to fight this battle as much as any other Autobot. That is all I ever want to do right now. Above anything else, I want to see an end to this war. However, deep in my Spark, I know that this dream will always be squandered by the hard, depressing facts of war that I can never allow to be omitted or denied.

    No bot can understand how much I envy our leader's light.

    My thoughts emotive, a tingling, unbearable sensation crawled up the back of my head. It was more of an automatic, self-conscious reflex that brought my servo to my head.

    It's only in its early stages. I might as well do it now than later.


    My optics swayed from left to right, and my body spun around gently as I scanned the room. Having confirmed that I really was alone, my servos reached for my chest and, with a clack and a puff of pressurized air, it popped open. The interior of my chassis was layered with hard-wired circuitry, cords and lines which allowed the Energon to travel and to guarantee the body's functionality. In the middle of it all was the Spark chamber which housed the very essence of my being, but protecting that was a spiked crystal shard, glowing in its translucent blue light. Opposing tips were partly broken off or damaged, scratches were clearly visible on its surface, yet this perfectly asymmetrical artifact remained a beautiful work of scientific art, finely and acutely crafted. If tilted correctly, the arrays within the crystal would come together at its center and display the very image of the place which it hailed from.

    I found myself once again in the past, immersing myself into the world of memories. The place was so beautiful, bathing my Spark into a serene state. It was a short-lived sensation that spanned up until a new set of images from my data-banks trampled on it, accompanied by devastation and shock, fueling the rage that would linger forevermore within my Spark.

    And I see it again. The crumbling of the towers. The gardens set aflame, its only relic picked up and held within my servos. The complete annihilation of the dreams and beauty which I clung onto for dear life. And then...

    It was then I knew that tingling sensation had increased in strength, now placing an unbearable weight upon my back, the display on my visor fizzing only once. I took out the shard and set it down on the counter of Teletraan 1. This moment was mine alone, a time where me weakness could be revealed, where I was allowed to be emotionally compromised. I gently tapped the artifact and it vibrated to life. Its core brightened, it levitated and floated vertically, and as it begun to spin on itself, it emitted an eerie, yet soothing sound. Resting both servos onto the counter, I shut off my optics and concentrated on the sound. I sensed the shard's light brightening my faceplate, and the sound brought that serenity needed to calm the emotions that raged within me. The uncomfortable feeling had gone from unbearable to bearable, and then faded away until it disappeared entirely. That was when I knew I was at peace, and the tranquility offered me the time to meditate.

    I knew it had only been at least 10 megacycles before Prime called me forth, but it was sufficient enough to grant me time to empty my mind and to recuperate. And it was sufficient enough to make me at the top of my game and devoid of any emotional distractions. I took my leave and went to Prime.
    It was a meeting that lasted only a megacycle, and with a busy mainframe I returned to my office. I didn't pay immediately attention, but I noticed that the door to my office was wide open. And as I got a good look into my room, shock immediately filled my systems, momentarily paralyzing me in place.
    I had left my most precious treasure exposed by leaving it floating above the counter. And the one marveling it and reaching his servo towards it was none other than Michelangelo.

    “DON'T YOU DARE TOUCH IT!” came the explosive yell from my mouth. I barely gave the human the time to back away as I rushed in and grabbed the crystal artifact from his prying eyes, verifying whether the shard had been damaged or not.

    “P-Prowl! Get a grip, man! I didn't touch anything!”

    His reactive shout had only reached me moments later and interrupted my thoughts, drawing me back into reality. I looked up from the shard, stared at the human boy and took the time to read his face. The body on the floor, hands held up high, the blood drained from his face. His short, rapid intakes of air clearly indicated shock and fear. Like a virus, that shock propagated and instantly infected me as I began to register my actions. I was taken aback by the sudden eruption of my own emotions that I failed to fill the silence with words.

    What has gotten into me?

    To regard me as unsociable was one thing, but to witness even the slightest hint of fear and terror in your own ally's optics – to watch them view you as the monster - was degrading. I averted my optics from the human in shame and stared at the crystal within my servos. For what felt like long cycles, I listened with intent audio receptors as they took in the combined quiet hum of the crystal and the raspy pants of the boy.

    “I... I apologize, Michelangelo.” I fell silent again. I contemplated, scouring through my databanks to find the right utterances. “I didn't mean to scare you. This crystal... You can't understand how precious it is to me.”

    The boy, too, was quiet. I only focused on the faintly luminescent shard, but I knew that, despite the overwhelming surprise, he had found the strength to pick himself off the ground. “I've never seen you so worked up over anything.” he said, “It's got to be one hell of a treasure if it makes you go crazy like that.”

    I glanced over to him, optics narrowed in skepticism. “I don't go crazy. This erratic behavior was nothing more than a... reaction.”

    “That's what you call it? A reaction? Prowl, you just scared me shitless! I thought you were going to...” The teenager stopped and shut his eyes. He shook his head, obviously unconvinced and interrupting his sentence. I knew what he was going to say, but it was a bombshell that shook me to the core and nearly left me lifeless.

    I thought you were going to kill me.

    My optics widened as I stared at the boy. Did I really appear so frightening to him that he feared for his own life? I tried to analyze the situation, to imagine myself in the human's place, watching as an emotionally compromised robot fifteen times the size of him stampeded towards him. I felt my Spark pulse before constricting in on itself. This unpredictable backlash had endangered his safety, and it left me both shocked and disgraced.

    Moments passed as Michelangelo tried to regain control of his irregular breathing, his pulse decreasing as he calmed himself. “What is this thing that makes you so reactive, as you would put it?”

    As if it wasn't enough, his query was an additional poignant stab to the Spark, bringing forth the turbulent emotions that welled up from within. He meant no harm; his relentless curiosity was the essence of his being, especially after my out-of-the-ordinary behavior. He may have known that he was asking me to unearth the past, but he couldn't understand the pain that, little by little, undid that sense of contentment that I had collected along the way. I hesitated, clutching with a firm, unnerving grip onto the crystal, pulling it further away from his view. This was a memorabilia that stemmed from my darkest, personal secrets. What gave him the right to learn about this?

    He is nothing more than a child! Revealing this secret would do nothing more than discredit me and endanger the efficiency of all conducted missions.

    But the orders of Prime resonated in my mainframe, producing clear processors of events past. The leader had asked to speak with me alone after having appointed me this new task, mostly to give me proper instructions. I recall that meeting so well, because it was the only time where I had so many hesitations and doubts.

    “Prowl... I asked you here to reconfirm your role as Michelangelo's guardian. You haven't been on Earth as long as the others have, which is all the more significant that you acquaint yourself with this new world, and this guardianship will aid you with it. As such, his safety goes beyond the priority of any other mission; watch over him and build up your relationship with him, learn of his culture, but also teach him of ours. You may be surprised with what invaluable results it could bring.”

    While I accepted this task without hesitation and without any retort, I found myself struggling with my own reluctance and disagreements. I am a bot whose entire life had been about following orders, and never would I go against them unless there were some tactical strategies that needed to be considered. That child lacked all competence that could provide us with the edge and advantage to win this war, and for that, I question Prime's judgment. How can this guardianship bring results?

    I still had no answer to that question. This guardianship was as new as it was unfamiliar, and so far, he had been the result of cycles of frustration because of his unpredictability and hastiness. But I've surprisingly grown to enjoy his mildly annoying presence. He was interested in the work I did, trying to understand why I picked and developed some of these strategies for battles. No one in the team, aside from Prime, was as curious as he was, and I did enjoy it. At times, just retelling the plans that had been laid out helped me pinpoint some of the frailties which would endanger any mission. He also asked obvious questions which actually ended up being the very essential questions I had overlooked. He even indulged me in one of his strategy games called chess. From there, I could see that he had some intellectual potential; while I've never lost a game against him, he succeeded in putting me in sticky situations, and I have a great respect for that. We managed to keep it a steady, mutual and friendly relationship, even gaining some respect for one another, but we've had our ups and downs here and there. This outburst was overstepping it, exposing every possible risk of an immediate termination to this guardianship, including the undoing of the trust we had established with one another so far.

    For the sake of both of us, I must follow through Prime's orders and prove that I can handle any task efficiently, even at the expense of upholding my own standards.

    My auxiliary port vented some pressurized air. “This object is one of the only surviving artifacts from the Crystal City on Cybertron.”

    “Crystal City?”

    I nodded in approval. “Crystal City was a place that brimmed with ingenuity and innovations; the area itself, entirely made of pure crystal, was created by the greatest architects and constructors Cybertron had ever known. The gleams reached to any neighboring community, even cities as far as Praxus, my own place of origin. All you needed to do was to look into the distance and find that glimmer resting on the horizon. The city was the very utopia that provided the time and space for experimentation. Dreams became a reality there, resulting in incredible, cutting-edge, revolutionary science and ideologies. Great minds hailed from there, and to me, Crystal City was one of the most beautiful places on Cybertron.”

    I looked down at the crystal. “I'm not very fond of science, but more of the scientific art that came from Crystal City. The Helix Gardens, for example, a place of meditation, peace and tranquility, was created by the very same Cybertronians from Crystal City, and had been used as an area to present ideas and inventions, scientific breakthroughs, philosophical ideologies and other amazing art.”

    I brought forth the oval, spiked artifact and tapped it as I set it down. It began to increase its glow, floating and slowly spinning on itself as it began to emit a soft frequency that, once again, allowed my mind to reflect in tranquility. “This crystal artifact is one of those amazing arts. Along with many others in the Helix Gardens, those crystals were used as a meditative method thanks to the soothing frequency it emitted. If you look closely, you'll see that all the lines would meet and assemble to form an image. That image is Crystal City.”

    “Incredible... That tower in the middle...

    ”Many towers, actually, but because they're so close to one another, it gives that illusion of being a single tower. It was a common mistake that many Cybertronians made. Those towers are the Sensor Towers, observatories that contained instruments for scientific research. It also housed the Spectrum of energy, which, once activated, would reflect and mirror all its light and arrays and become that translucid, glimmering beacon of Cybertron.”

    I had noticed then that I had been nearly carried away by my emotions, a smile on my faceplate which began to fade away.

    “You liked that place a lot.”

    It was a blatant observation, one which made me reflect about the crystal I was holding. “No, I didn't like it.” I was momentarily silent, selecting the appropriate words from my mainframe. “The sentiment I had for the city and its creation, the Helix Gardens, went beyond adulation and fascination. I've always idolized with great passion the acute art expertly crafted by calculative minds. In some ways, watching from the borders of Praxus that glimmer resting on the horizon gave me hope for a future far better than the one we struggled living in. And whenever I wasn't assigned with tasks in my caste, I would spend my time meditating in the Gardens, listening to the combined sounds of many crystals such as this one. It was the only time I felt serene, cycles of which granted me healing and clarity.”

    Nothing but hum of the crystal was heard in this quiet moment. Michelangelo shuffled his feet; he always felt uneasy when there was a lack of noise.

    “What happened?”

    The tone of his voice was gentle and slightly elevated, marked by that curiosity of his. “The civil war happened.” My reply to him was cold and my frown disapproving, “As the war broke out, many locations fell to the Decepticons' warmongering, their lust for tyranny culminating to territorial expanse or complete annihilation. In their terms, what couldn't be conquered was destroyed.”

    Another heavy silence. “They attacked Crystal City, and I watched from Praxus as the Sensor Towers collapsed during the assault, crumbling and crushing anything and anyone that stood beneath it.”

    This was the one time – the only time – where I looked into Michelangelo's optics and I couldn't discern what emotions mine were emitting. “You can't imagine the despair and horror that filled our Sparks that day. I still remember the sound of shattering crystals as the Towers collapsed, gone with all the dreams for the future.”

    I couldn't hold my stare for too long, and looked away, gripping tightly onto the shard. “In the aftermath of Crystal City's destruction, while I was coordinating some missions back at HQ, I overheard a conversation some Autobots were having. They said that the collapse was one of the most beautiful things they had ever seen; the arrays and lights colliding, gleaming in unimaginative, violent colors as the explosion erupted from beneath the crumbling tower...”

    I took time to rest my servos on the table, vivid images of the past flooding my mainframe. I saw the stunning tower, the barbarous attack and, in a fraction of time, a beauty rendered to ashes and dust. With a sudden violent urge, I brought my fist up and slammed it onto the table. ”How d-dare make this abject comparison? What in their sick, twi-isted mind gives them the right to compare eons of cultural beauty with a blissful moment that vanished in less than a cycle? The city itself was meant to be everlasting, reminding us of Cybertron's Golden Age, the era we longed to return to.”
    I sensed an overwhelming amount of emotions as they gripped at my Spark and brought my memory banks to dance. And as I unwillingly reveled in the past, I continued my story. “It didn't end there. No, the war propagated, reaching my city, Praxus. I wasn't there when Crystal City was destroyed, but I was there when the Helix Gardens were invaded by the rampaging Decepticons, who trampled and obliterated all the aesthetic brilliance until it was burned to the ground. Tha-at was the next greatest... L-loss... that had scar-scarred my memory ba-a-anks. The-the-the me-eeeeeere thought-ought of ii-iii-iiit...”

    My vocoder fell into a sudden distortion, mixing with blaring noises and electronic sounds. I rested my servos on the counter as I felt a flicker in my head, which grew into a weighing throb and slowly propagated, flooding my mainframe. A series of short sparks danced uncontrollably on my head, emanating as multiple processors and databanks collided with each other. The image feed on my visor fizzed, distorted and fused with images of reality and past, forcing me into an unbearable, chaotic ache as I lowered my heavy head.

    “Prowl! Prowl, what's going on?!” Michelangelo yelled, his voice becoming distorted, “Hey, are you okay?!”

    Overload... imminent...


    I only raised my hand in response, signaling him to calm down and wait. With trembling servos I reached for the shard on the table and gently tapped it once, twice, three times. The levitating crystal swirled quickly on itself, and though its sound increased in volume, it was still very soothing. I focused on its melody which lulled the embittered, angered and powerful emotions of my Spark into a slumber. Slowly drifting away, the culmination of processors and databanks decreasing, the chaotic dance came to an end, and I found myself entirely composed and in control once again.

    The human had no restraints of his emotions as he voiced his concern. “What the hell just happened?!”

    “I nearly short-circuited.” I replied, my vocoder lacking all strain and distortion that had previously impeded my speech, “Short-circuitry occurs when my motherboard is overwhelmed by multiple processors, data and memory banks, and thus causes my circuit board to overload and my systems to crash and shut down.”

    From his puzzled look and the lack of response, I rephrased my previous statement. “Being too emotionally compromised is what causes me to short-circuit, and traumatic events are agents that reinforce that probability. The only way to prevent this from happening is by calming myself and casting these emotions aside, and this crystal helps a lot. It emits a frequency that allows me to tap into my own mind, to bring every burdening thought and memory to rest and gain once again control over my system. By no means is short-circuiting fatal, but it causes me to be temporarily in stasis. That is why I stray away from emotions in general.”

    “Wow... How long do you stay in stasis?”

    “That really depends. It can be hours or days, all of which are hindrances that I want to avoid at all costs. Though I have an unlimited amount of patience, I don't want to waste any moment that I have.” I grabbed the crystal, clutching it tightly in my servo. “This crystal is what's left of Crystal City and the Helix Gardens. It doesn't only serve as a memorabilia of a once wondrous city or the aesthetic beauty of the Gardens. It's a reminder of what's been lost, and to whom it was lost. It defines me as the Autobot who will carry out the missions and bring us closer to our ultimate objective, which is the restoration of Cybertron. I can't forget – I will never forget – my homeworld and its many wonders.”

    “Hold on. I thought your home was destroyed.”

    “Cybertron still exists, but without Energon, the planet can't sustain life. Before we even think about how we can restore Cybertron, this war needs to end. We've been at war for so long that I'm beginning to doubt that there will be an end to it. If Megatron falls, anyone who is a Decepticon at Spark will take his place, and the war continues.”

    I shut off my optics for a moment, recollecting. “The alertness... The bloodshed... The destruction, the sacrifices and the struggles... For millions of years, war has become a daily routine, and I've grown tired of it. We've had so many dark moments during the war, and the only one who remained hopeful was Optimus. His sight goes beyond our own, and in those darkest moments, I fail to understand what he's seeing. We've already lost so much. Our Energon reserves are dwindling, and we've always been outnumbered and outgunned by the Decepticons. We are against all odds.”

    My optics flashed back on, I gripped tightly onto the shard and opened my chest. “Despite that, Optimus reminds us that as long as we're alive, there will be a future for us. We've succeeded so far because of our sheer willpower, our determination and our teamwork. Those are key factors that bring us the results we need. One day, this war will end and we can go home. That's what I have to believe in, or else I have no purpose in life.”

    I placed the shard back into my chest, careful so as not to damage it. My utterances hung heavy in this silence, and I looked down at the human. His eyes showed his bafflement, but also the lack of picturing this war and my situation. What else could I expect? What was I thinking, telling him the reality of wars and death that went beyond his own understanding? He was lucky to revel in this naivety and innocence.

    I envy you, Michelangelo.

    Those words resonated among my processors, and I turned to my computer to work. I tapped buttons, accessed files, read assignments and distributed tasks via comm-link while anticipating the 'Cons next move. The human boy stayed, and he was silent. It was unusual not seeing him react or say anything, which is opposite from what he usually does.

    After over five minutes (in Earth terms) of burdening silence, the young adult said something very unusual.

    ”Prowl... Thanks.”

    The ridges of my optics were creased in puzzlement, and I turned around to analyze his facial features.

    “What are you thanking me for?”

    “You opened up to me. That's something you never do, not even to your own team. Look, I know there's nothing I can say or do that will change the past. What my old folks usually tell me is that we should learn from it, move on and live without regret. It's always easier said than done, but if it helps, you can count on me to support you all the way.”

    I was stunned beyond words, incapable of speech as Michelangelo continued. “I still think you're an unsociable workaholic and the prick extraordinaire from Team Prime, but you're an unsung hero, and that's pretty cool in my books. Just one word of advice: if you keep on pushing people hard, you'll push them away.”

    “Duly noted.” I answered, interrupting my work as I distanced myself from the computer console. “I really appreciate your words, and I know what you're implying. No one can know about this secret.”

    “But Prowl, don't you think that people would treat you more seriously if you just... explained everything?”

    “Sentimentalism doesn't work in my favor, Michelangelo. Emotion is what slows down the mission – you've seen what kind of symptoms I have that derive from it, and whether I'm patient or not, I just can't wait that long anymore. I want this secret kept under wraps, no matter how I'm regarded by others; everyone has their duty to fulfill, and mine is to be the reminder, not the distraction.”

    The boy folded his arms, shaking his head. “I don't like that idea, but... Fine. It's your choice. If you're going to be my guardian, then I might as well be your confidant... Under one condition.”

    I was a little reluctant, but unsure what he was demanding. “Name it.”

    “Just call me Mike, or Mikey. I like my nicknames.”

    I stared into his face, momentarily surprised. “Mike...”

    “Yeah, that it's! Glad you finally got that right. Now, how about you get me down here so I can go back home before I get into trouble?” He tapped on his watch. “You know, because it's late...”

    He jumped onto the palm of once my servo was close enough, immediately hopping off as soon as my servo was close to the ground. As I watched him run off in a hurry, he spun around and began running backwards. “Nice talking to ya, Prowl! Keep it up, and we'll get somewhere!”

    He ran through the open door and disappeared into the hall. I gazed after him, reflecting on the discussion we had, then returned to the console and stared into the monitor. Despite my attempt to fully concentrate on my tasks, the deep contemplation persisted, and it was in the midst of it all that I noticed something odd about myself.

    I felt... light, as if a weight had been lifted off my shoulders.

    I looked back at the door, momentarily contemplating. That young adult calling himself 'Mike'... For an annoying human, he was more than meets the eye. He was a loyal confidant... And an invaluable, trustworthy friend.
    With that thought, I returned my focus to the screen and resumed my work. All the while, a smile etched onto my faceplate with a lingering sense of gratefulness, a favor which I was sure to return one day.

    File 940522DBF: transmission terminated.


    That's when it stopped. The video feed playing on my visor, accompanied by recorded processors and sentiments, reached its end. It's a video file which I kept safely stored in my data banks during all this time, because this memory is among those I cherish the most.

    And as the memory fades into reality, I see him again. But all that's left, in front of me on a steel bed, is the pale, lifeless shell of a boy, disappearing behind a sheet.

    Mikey's gone.
     
  13. Jayhan

    Jayhan Heatbreaker

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    ~Act II, Chapter I~​


    My optics fixated the dim screen of Teletraan 1's monitor, displaying the many images of recorded video-feeds and pictures taken during the assault. The computer was programmed to collect all possible data, aiding me into analyzing the tactics of the attack and defining the purpose for it. However, as image feeds came pooling in, I was met with confusion and doubt, burdened with more questions than answers. Whatever their strategy was, it was unsubtle; humans were attacked and buildings were destroyed, acting as playthings of angry Sparklings.

    I witnessed one of the many sick pleasures of the Decepticons as one group of Terrorcons assembled many humans in a Decepticon-conquered zone of the city. Their gestures revealed their intentions as the Decepticons unmistakably placed bets, turned to their captives and, to the surprise of the humans, released them. The humans were too confused to understand the reasons, but they wasted no cycle scrambling to safety. Little did they know that the Terrorcons aimed at the Earthlings with a simple goal in their processor unit:

    Whichever Decepticon kills the most, wins.


    And without any scruple, they fired, cheering as they competed with each other, their laughter joining in choir the screams of the targets they hit. I will not consort to details about how each human met their fate, but I will say that out of 15 people, two children managed to escape intact.

    I averted my vision from the video feed, my optics attracted to the results that flashed at the corner of the screen.

    Estimated amount of human casualties: 459... and counting.


    For a small city, this was a considerable, shocking amount. As a result of this devastation, the United States Government had begun pointing fingers at other countries and terror cells who had orchestrated the attack, influencing the global media as they tried to cover up and erase the true assailants of the attack.

    This full-scale assault out in the public bugged my processors to no end. What was the purpose of it? Their attacks were uncoordinated and pertained to nothing more than the blood lust pleasure of competition and battle. That much could be seen from the video feeds.

    I looked them over again, scouring through everything in the hopes of finding a detail that I had overlooked. Vehicons had smashed buildings apart, but extracted nothing from it. They had raced through streets only to reduce screaming civilians to ashes. There was even one video-feed that showed two soldiers lobbing with each other, using any human they picked up as the lob.

    Bottom line, the assault itself was deeply flawed. There were no tactics whatsoever. That lead to two assumptions: Starscream's soldiers were either not listening to him and did as they pleased, or they were doing exactly what he instructed them to do. Starscream's leadership, from the intel I'd received, was considerably lacking in faith and the expectations of his followers were extremely low, but that would not leave Starscream unable to maintain a certain control over them; any Decepticon leader, Megatron and Starscream alike, would reaffirm their leadership by force if necessary. The presence of the former Air force commander in the city made the second hypothesis more likely, seeing as he showed no sign of annoyance or rage except when finding out that Rachel was around, too.

    I placed my servos on the counter, my vents pushing out the pressurized air as the name brought forth recollections from the event 5 Earth hours ago.

    Once we had made our escape from the clutches of the jet, Rachel had suddenly screamed at me, urging me to go back because Mike was still out there and he had been wounded when they tried to escape. I had immediately made contact with Ratchet via comm-link, hoping that the girl's judgment was influenced by her panic and that the boy had arrived safely at HQ. I recall screeching to a halt as I received a negative, and with a tire-burning drift I sped back. Ratchet, too, hurried his way through the groundbridge he had left open for Mikey, asking one of the children – Jack, I believe – to close it behind him and to remain there until he or any other Autobot needed to get back to HQ. I ordered Ratchet to call me as soon as he found him.

    In the meantime, Decepticons had suddenly begun appearing on my radar, leaping out of their hiding places and immediately discharged their weapons at me. I veered from exploded craters and evaded enemy fire as more Vehicons chased after me while some tried to block my passage up ahead. With a determined Spark, I switched from defensive to offensive maneuvers, weapons popping out from my hood, and I fired back. I tore through the area, shot down my pursuers, rammed into any Decepticon in my path, rendering them all either useless and harmless or turning them into piles of sparking, flame-erupting scraps. They wanted a rampage, and that's what I was going to give them.

    When I checked on Rachel, she had her eyes shut tight and draped her face with her hands. Her heart-rate had increased. She couldn't bear her the mayhem that surrounded her any longer.

    I had swerved just around the corner when I spotted Ratchet's back in the distance, on his knees near a busted wall of a building. I sped faster, alerting him as he turned his head towards us. As our optics met, I discerned that the strength of his stare had weakened.

    I screeched to a sudden halt. I had flung my door open, urging Rachel to get out. She was confused, but she obeyed nonetheless. Gears shifted and ground with one another as I forced to speed up my transformation sequence. In war, the look of a comrade told a story. The weakness in their eyes revealed their emotionally vulnerable state.

    Ratchet had that stare.

    My processing-unit was racing, sending and exchanging information, mingling with emotive processors. The chief medical officer's movements were slow as he rose up, confirming my daunting predicaments. He turned to me, that weakness marking a grim feature on his face. I halted.

    “Prowl... I'm sorry.” were the only words he could whisper, his voice breaking. He stepped aside to reveal the body of Michelangelo.

    The shock that flooded my systems disabled my vocoder. I didn't have to turn on my scanners to understand that he died, but I did anyway. Ratchet had discovered him behind a busted wall of a building and had him extracted from the debris. His leg suffered from a bullet wound, but the horrific discovery was the rest of his entire body was in shambles; his spinal cord was fragmented, his skull bashed in and many of his organs – including lungs and the ribcage surrounding them – crushed.

    My processors couldn't wrap around this information as quickly as they normally should. My audio-receptors shut off and my peripheral vision seemed to suddenly have slowed down. In the deafening moment of silence, my circuitry harnessed all data related to Mike and shoved them all at once into my motherboard, the overload of all information pulsating into my spark and forcing it into life-ending agony.

    The quick footfalls suddenly came to my attention, and I watched as Rachel came running towards me. She knew he was there. I placed myself in her view, hiding in shame and guilt the dreadful finding and blocked her passage with my feet. I had wanted to spare her from the sight.

    “Let me through, you Goddamn robot! He's my friend! I need to see him!” she yelled, her voice cracking as she was on the verge of tears. She knew, but with all her might, she tried to deny the reality.

    She had forced her way through, stumbling onto the ground when she lifted her head to see the body before her. A shocked gasp filled her lungs with air, and for a moment, she didn't exhale. She crawled to the body, her eyes welling up as she called out his name. “Mike.”

    She sat upright near her friend, looking down into the face of her best friend. She was quiet, unable to breathe out properly. Her hair fell into her face as her head sunk.

    “This can't be happening...” her words hung heavily in the air, “Mike, remember what you said... You said we'd graduate together. You said you'd be there to watch me perform on our graduation day. Don't do this to me, Mikey. Stop messing around and wake up!”

    She barely had the strength to shake him hard enough. She had already given up, and her words began to turn into quiet sobs. “You got what you wished for... You got that adventure you wanted. You became a part of their lives, but look where that's gotten you. Where's that goddamn smile of yours now, huh?!”

    Her angered yell burst out of her mouth, her tears and saliva tainting Mikey's still face. She gritted her teeth and shut her eyes tight, fighting so hard to not drown into her tears. “Oh God, Mikey... I'm so sorry... I was scared... I didn't mean to... I tried...”

    Her strength faded, unable retain the sorrow any longer. Her sentences remained unfinished and the sobs swallowed her whole. “No... No no no...”

    With all my Spark, I had wished that I was witnessing an illusion concocted by my fears, but a sudden, anguished cry erupted from her throat, her voice so shrill and so broken that I couldn't escape from reality. It left me shaken and horrified, and I watched with mournful, weakened optics as the young human rested her forehead onto Mikey's stomach. A wail of despair ensued and she screamed the name of her deceased childhood friend.

    My processor-unit terminated the echoes of the past as my attention was pulled towards the blinking monitor. More video feeds had been added to Teletraan 1's archive, originating from an area I had been hoping and yet feared to see. A tingling sensation crawled at the back of my head. I selected one of them and played it.

    The camera had been set up at least 14 feet above ground, by human terms. It had caught two individuals running along a street, heading towards the location of the gadget. Mikey and Rachel, without a doubt. In the middle of their great escape, Mike went down first, pulling Rachel along with him. That was where he had been hit by a bullet. Rachel tended to him, but her trembling movements and her head spinning in all directions showed that she had no knowledge of how to proceed, therefore she was looking for someone nearby to help her. Suddenly, as her back faced the camera, she froze. She had seen something that paralyzed her. The image feed displayed a dark silhouette of a Cybertronian up ahead, and that made her jump to her feet and run away. Mike's face was marked with surprise as he called after her, but his face scrunched in pain as he tried to move too much. The Cybertronian sped towards the camera until the blurry silhouette became the recognizable form of the jet commander, Starscream. As he got closer to Mike, who had managed to get on his feet, he smacked the human boy away with the back of his servo, the Decepticon's entire arm smashing against the wall of a building. The Decepticon didn't need to slow down to see that it got the job done.

    The camera's peripheral vision wasn't large enough to captivate the building which Mike was smashed into. Nothing else happened, and I watched as a trail of dust emanate from the destroyed wall as the area fell into a deathly stillness.

    I paused the video, covering my faceplate with my servo. Useless. This feed was insufficient to form a concrete deduction, leaving my analysis incomplete. With an angry yell I brought my fist down onto the computer's dashboard.

    By the Allspark... I don't even know if his death was instant or if he had to suffer before the overwhelming pain of his shattered bones ended him.

    The tingling had increased in strength, influencing my circuitry as my whole body shook. With trembling servos I reached for my chest, opening it and fumbling at the shard. An image of Mikey suddenly popped onto my visor, affecting my focus. I set the shard clumsily on the counter, tapping it as it began to hum. I listened carefully, setting my motherboard to captivate the sound waves and insert them into my data banks to prevent them from going haywire.

    And for the first time, it didn't work.

    The tingling sensation intensified and exploded into a sparking migraine. Processor after processor flooded my mainframe and summoned images, video feeds and all types of data onto my visor, including flashing warnings and error messages. My vocoder released a disgruntled, multiple-layered groan in response to this surging pain of imminent overload, forcing me to sink onto my knee. I shut off my optics and increased my the volume of my audio receptors, this time collecting every ounce of strength left in my body to aid me.

    I don't know how long I had struggled with it, but it was a long battle before my motherboard and all processors were put to rest, and it left me weary. I was very close to short-circuiting; there was no denying that the intensity of my harbored emotions would overwhelm very soon, causing immediate shut-down of all my systems for Primus knows how long, but now was not the right time for it. Too many tasks needed to be done, starting with Starscream's goals behind the attack.

    The mission goes on, no matter what happens.

    I took the shard and placed it back in my chest, casting all unimportant processors aside, and resumed my duty as the team's strategist. I looked back at the screen, remembering where I had left off before I was sidetracked by Rachel.

    Starscream. In summary, he lead the assault purposefully against the city, his soldiers having no specific targets or missions. The fact that he had encountered Rachel was nothing more than a coincidence, an opportunity for Starscream to end her, but there was nothing more to it. From all of the feeds and information that had been gathered, nothing had been taken and no human had been abducted. The Decepticons made a big show only to terrorize, kill and destroy. Why?

    In that moment of silence, a sudden realization dawned upon me as I processed three words. A big show. What if they lead an assault only to draw our attention away from something else?

    It was a sound analysis; the purpose of this assault was to get us to focus on them while they operated in the background on something else. And whatever they wanted, they got it now, because they ceased all attack and retreated on Starscream's orders.

    As I processed that new information, the doors shifted open and in came the leader of the Autobots.

    “Commander. You've come at the right time, sir. I believe we've been duped. The assault on the city was nothing more than a-”

    “A distraction.” he completed my phrase. He noticed my surprise.“I've been contacted by Agent Fowler. While we were busy fending off the attacks on the city, Starscream sent an infiltration squad to a heavily-guarded compound and acquired a rare, Earth material in the form of crystals.”

    Prime had accessed the computer and displayed the results he received from the humans in charge of studying the crystals. They had found these crystals only recently, in deep caverns they had excavated. They acquired approximately 30 units of it – 30 kilograms in Earth terms. As I analyzed the data, my optics widened.

    “Do you know it?” the leader asked.

    “Korlonium.” I uttered, “These crystals are not unknown to us, sir. A small quantity of it possesses an infinite amount of energy, but they've only ever been harnessed and used by Decepticons. I've heard from scouts that the Decepticons had received shipments of these minerals from another planet during the war; they're extremely lethal to electronics and machinery, meaning that any Cybertronian exposed to it would explode. It's an extremely rare mineral and hard to come by, and thus only used on the battlefield as missiles and rockets for strategic purposes. If the humans have found it in caverns here on Earth, that means these crystals hail from here.”

    “It seems ever more evident that Cybertron and this planet are connected, whether it is because of Dark Energon, Unicron or Cybertronian relics.” the Commander observed.

    I nodded my head, then pondered shortly thereafter. “Now we know what Starscream distracted us from, but something doesn't add up. Judging by the reports, Starscream led this huge assault only to have his infiltration squad steal 30 units of Korlonium crystals. That's a scarce amount to make anything devastating. We're missing something.”

    “I see your point.” the leader noted, “We've only scratched the surface of Starscream's plans.”

    I rested my servos on the computer's dashboard. “I have to say I underestimated him. I know how deceiving he can be, but this attack was the biggest charade I've ever seen him perform.”

    “... A charade that resulted in incalculable losses.” Optimus Prime stated.

    I glanced at Prime. He was lost in his own processors, undoubtedly calculating the amount of damage done on that day.

    “How is the human female?” My question was abrupt; it was incredibly challenging to get those words out, which is why I had to force them out of my voice box.

    The leader remained delved in his processors, but he responded nonetheless. “My initial plan was to see her first before coming here. Unfortunately, I've been told by Jack that she had requested to be alone on the landing pad up above.”

    I stared at the screen, a video feed of her sitting near Cliffjumper's memorial ground popping up in the right-servo corner of the monitor. Her face buried in the legs she had been hugging, the trembles she fought hard to resist so apparent on the feed...

    I had imagined that she was in the room we provided for her, but I should have known better... I would have heard something from a room so close by; cries, screams or angry yells resonating down the corridor and the halls of this base, anything that would help her cope with her loss.

    I furrowed my optics. Unfortunately, losing Mike was only the beginning of a greater ordeal.

    I became aware that the leader was watching me, and I lifted my head to meet his gaze. “I'm not here because of Rachel or for any strategic counsel.” he said, “I'm here to see how you're doing, especially after what happened to Michelangelo.”

    His statement had caught me off guard, but I hid my surprise and sadness behind my indifferent stare.“I am fine, sir, but with all due respect, I can't waste my time on this and be distracted by the turn of events when we're in complete disarray. As a strategist, it is my job to pick up the pace and find out what the-”

    “Enough.” he stated strongly, his tone lacerating, “I am speaking to you as a friend, not as a commander. Our allies are always above the mission; how else can we achieve our goals if we do not help one another and give others the chance to recover properly from our losses? You're an excellent soldier and an exceptional strategist dedicated to the cause, and I find your respect and loyalty to the higher ranked soldiers beyond admirable. However, the way you deal with mourning and tragedies is ineffective and will hinder you at the worst moment possible if you allow it to go on like this.”

    After a moment of silence, he resumed. “It is unwise to resume your work when you, of all the Autobots, constantly choose to repress your emotions. Speak your mind.”

    I clenched my servos, sensing a tingle at the back of my head. “What good will it do when it can't undo the damage that's been done?”

    Rage suddenly overwhelmed my processors, and in a short moment, I realized I had embedded my fist in a steeled wall nearby, pressurized air venting from my ports. “The center and west section of the city have been reduced to debris and ashes. There have been over 460 casualties and 67 unaccounted for. But the most... unforgivable act that I've allowed to happen was for Michelangelo to be among the victims. My job was to protect him at all costs, but I carelessly left him to run for his life. Look at the price he's had to pay for my mistakes!”

    As I violently retracted my fist from the wall, a command was prompted onto my visor, displaying a single image of the boy with his most cheerful grin from the day we had our discussion. It had caught me off guard, leaving me momentarily immobile as my Spark pulsed so violently, so achingly. I relocated the image, ignored the tingling as it increased in strength. “He had to pay the price for my mistakes.” I repeated in horrified disbelief, “Primus, how could I have let that happen? I am a military strategist, and I left him on his own in a city under attack all because I was so absorbed by the mission of defeating the Decepticons.”

    What I thought would be a sigh turned out to be a hesitant vent. “The reality is that there's nothing any of us can say or do that will undo the past, Optimus. I've failed you, this team... And Michelang-” I halted and tilted my head, correcting myself. “I've failed Mike.”

    The Autobot commander was quiet, no doubt observing me, maybe even judging my vulnerability. He marched towards me, and as I faced the wall, I felt his servo rest on my shoulder. “You've lost a great friend.”

    As I felt a sharp stab in my Spark, I turned to the commander, his servo slipping off my shoulder, and stared at him incredulously. “Friend?! This boy was the most tiresome human I've ever encountered! He had no discipline and stirred up so much trouble, I had to postpone my daily routines and all of my work for the next day or two!”

    The tingling had increased into a terrible migraine, close to the one I experienced not too long ago. It resulted in the trembling of my whole chassis and I used the counter to steady myself as I felt the migraine slowly overwhelm my body. “Mikey was naive and had enormous dreams and great ambitions. He never backed down from anything, even when all odds were against him. He was smart and could be very strategic if he wanted to. For someone as loyal as he was, he was one of the very few I trusted my secrets with.”

    I sensed the short-circuiting overwhelming me, igniting sparks that ran all over my body. I reached for my chest. “He, ugh, waa-a-asn't my fri-en-end. He was... My partneeeeeeeeeeerrrrrrrrrr...”

    My vocoder parted into three different tones and my speech pattern slowed down until it was unable to produce anymore sound. An agonizing electric surge forced me to my knees and Optimus, alarmed, knelt beside me, calling Ratchet on the comm-link. My whole frame trembled violently, recollection and reality merging together as I saw from one moment to the next Cybertron, the Helix Gardens, a dark silhouette, and then Optimus Prime calling out to me. He faded away quickly, replaced by the child with whom I shared a profound bond.

    He smiled and his face shone with vigor. Then he paled, eyes shutting forevermore, silence carving a lifeless frown on his face.

    :::WARNING! WARNING! OVERLOAD IMM-:::

    Mikey's gone.


    My speech incapacitated, unable to express my anguish, I watched as a final surge overwhelmed my body and, in a flash, I was gone.
     
  14. ARCTrooperAlpha

    ARCTrooperAlpha Well-Known Member

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    Most excellent character dialogues : )

    Seriously, if this were a movie. you'd have ppl cry. VERY WELL DONE !
     
  15. Jayhan

    Jayhan Heatbreaker

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    Oh, thank you so much! I think it'd be really interesting and heart-wrenching to see this kind of focus in the movieverse. ;D
    Your comment is greatly appreciated! It's good enough to guarantee a good night's sleep. I actually quickly posted this because I was (and still am) sick, so I'm glad I got a quick response. Thanks again! :) 
     

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