Transformers: Asterisk - Destiny

Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by Falcadore, Nov 9, 2005.

  1. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm Wreck n’ rule

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    yes yes it does, i suppose you might go into bumble bee and spike (as well as brawns) deaths at somepoint
     
  2. Falcadore

    Falcadore Touring Car Autobot

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    I think the original movie covered Brawn's death quite adequately. Bumblebee and Spike's death hold additional power methinks because the details aren't known. I know how it happened in my own mind but I want to hold it back for emotional impact for a scene, if I use it at all. Frustrating I know. We're nasty people writers :p 

    Xaxis: thanks for the interred tip - will update
     
  3. Falcadore

    Falcadore Touring Car Autobot

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    Chapter 4 - Accusation

    "Agent One; Control. Unit Seven successful. Proceed with Phase II and commit Units One, Four and Five. Agent Six stand by to commence Phase III."

    "Control; Agent Five. Access has been gained but we have been compromised."

    "Proceed as planned Agent Five. Agent Six, commit Units Two and Six to Phase III. All agents expedite timing, set schedule to condition two."




    Autobot Barracks
    Binaltech Facility, Nevada
    Two Days Later

    "I need to speak to Grimlock immediately, I need for him to deploy."

    "Thank you for taking the time to contact us this morning General. It is a beautiful morning is it not? How is it for you in California?" The viewscreen image of General Barbera looked like she could tear her hair out at any moment.

    "Look Bluestreak..."

    "It's Silverstreak Ma'am, if you..."

    "I'll call you Susanna-May if I so choose, where is Grimlock?"

    "General I sense a great amount of stress in your voice; I believe you need to calm yourself. Are you in regular communion with your inner self General? I feel sure you could benefit from some relaxing meditation. If you would be so willing I could mentor you..."

    "If you say one more word I will see to it that you are maimed in a manner not easily repairable." There was an uneasy silence for a minute before Grimlock arrived. He nodded at Silverstreak, who stayed seated at the communications console.

    "Grimlock I do not want this imbecile to operate the communications station again."

    "Me Grimlock want you not use Autobot frequency. Neither get what want. State purpose."

    "Sacramento lost all electrical power an hour ago and it has not been restored."

    "Why I care?"

    "Civilian agencies report the hydro-electrical facility supplying Sacramento is being occupied by Transformers. I have a team of Joes heading for the facility and will arrive momentarily but we need Autobot help to attack these Decepticons."

    "There no Decepticons on Earth."

    "Reports I'm getting suggest otherwise. Now haul ass and get yourself to Sacramento."

    "Take eight hours. Autobots not have air transport." Barbera looked dumbfounded.

    "What? But you always..." Barbera face seemed to pause, as if her expectations had betrayed her somehow.

    "Jazz not lie about us. You need update. Me assemble team but we get there far too late." Grimlock strode out of the communications room tapping Silverstreak's shoulder as he left.

    "Forgive me General but I have to go now," said Silverstreak. "Can I contact you about arranging a course of stress management through meditation?" Barbera looked thunderous but deactivated the teleconference without further comment.



    The Vault
    Binaltech Facility, Nevada
    Same Time

    Gloom pervaded the musty atmosphere of the room. Such lighting as there was created spots on the floor of the cavern like chamber. Lonely spotlights searching for a stand-up comic and a brick wall. This however was not a room for incisive but humorous observations of human behaviour.

    Skids looked across the room where another figure was crouched. In the near dark at the far end of the room, close by the entrance, a white figure sat in front of two large open cabinets. Wheeljack knelt on the floor of the underground chamber in front of one of the cabinets. Skids heard his own footsteps echoing softly as he moved from one cabinet to the next. The stale and still air and the lack of light had a certain effect. This was not a room for humans.

    This was the Autobot Masoleum.

    Skids looked back towards Wheeljack again. Within those two cabinets each sat the sparkless hull of the two frames Hound had worn on Earth. Skids turned back with a mounting sense of sadness. Before him stood another sparkless hull. To this one Skids had devoted five years of his life trying to restore its bearer to a life worth living. By Grimlock's account in his last moments he achieved that, despite the crucible of pain he had been forced to endure. Skids took comfort in that but now here before the former theoretician, standing upright but with no comforting glow coming from his pale blue optics, mocking life in its own way, stood Prowl. Mercifully Prowl had not been disturbed. But he knew that was not the case with all of the former Autobots here. Or the Decepticons Skids had to remind himself. Stored at the very back of the chamber were the hulls of Ravage, Swindle and Wildrider. The Combaticon had not been touched but the Stunticon and the Casseticon had been.

    Skids found he missed his former friends and colleagues. Back in the days of the war on Cybertron you got used to casualties and your personality tended to armour itself against the loss of others. Something had changed during the years Skids spent on Earth. Those around him did not die on a daily or weekly basis and real friendships formed. Skids had found his personality unfolding and opening up. All that had changed on a remote Central American mountain top. Now, more than ever he felt alone and lonely for the companionship of others. Skids turned towards Wheeljack.

    The engineer had some of Hound's internals in front of him. He showed no distaste, nor did Skids; both had performed post-mortem examinations before.

    "What have you got?" he said without looking up as Skids approached, the glow of his sensor projections casting a cold, blue tinged light in the immediate surroundings, eerily lighting up Hound's Binaltech frame.

    "Several of the frames have been... violated." Wheeljack looked up at Skids momentarily, with as far as Skids could determine from behind Wheeljacks face plate, a look of concern. Skids was reminded then of something Ratchet had said when he had been conducting medical lectures that all the scientific corps had been forced to attend.

    "Mourn for the dead when there is time, but save your concern for the living. No matter how much you worry and work, the dead will still be dead." Skids remembered the veteran white helmeted medic fondly, a good friend and one of the few who had ever gotten a personal reaction from Skids.

    "Which ones?"

    "Yours," Wheeljack turned his head to look straight at Skids with that revelation. "Grimlock, Jazz, Smokescreen, Swerve, Tracks, Windcharger’s original frame, although it's impossible to tell from what's left of his Binlatech frame if that was tampered with, Motormaster, Ravage and Wildrider."

    "In both cases Hound's abdomen had been disturbed as well." Wheeljack paused before continuing. "What do those frames offer that the ones they left did not?"

    "That may not be a simple answer, but it does suggest they knew what they were looking for and had a list."

    "Yeah." Again Wheeljack paused, looking at the parts before for a moment, as if hoping one would suddenly come to life and explain the entire mystery. Wheeljack suddenly unfolded his legs and climbed to his feet. "C'mon, Chip says he has something."



    Testing Facility
    Binaltech Facility, Nevada
    Five Minutes Later

    The four Autobots still at the Binaltech facility arrived at Grimlock's former cell more or less simultaneously. Grimlock grumbled the situation as described to him by General Barbera, while Wheeljack explained the findings of his and Skids' investigation.

    "That is disturbing Wheeljack," said Doctor Chase from his elevated platform. "But I think I can add something to the puzzle. Joe Willard and his security team have been going over footage reels from the Vault and found some footage that had been damaged. One of the tech teams have been helping out with the footage and at the same time correlated the security records for this portion of footage against who had passed the security points."

    The projector in the back of the room came to life and grainy black and white footage appeared of the ante-room outside the Vault. A tough looking well built man had been standing beside Dr. Chase's wheelchair. Wearing one of the security uniforms that made him look like any other security staff in any minor building maintenance position, the way the shirt hung on his frame indicated power and fitness of someone whose work was well beyond that of a night watchman. The name badge on his lapel said simply 'WILLARD'.

    "Security records indicate that Sideswipe accessed the building at approximately this time. However Sideswipe has not been seen on the grounds since returning from Central America last year." The picture cleared slightly but was still a haze of static. A Cybertronian frame was visible moving about as it moved from one camera to the next.

    "It certainly looks like Sideswipe," said Wheeljack, giving voice to many concerns. The last time Sideswipe had been seen was just after the formal ceremony to remember recent deceased, included in that number as Sideswipe's 'brother' Sunstreaker. Sideswipe had not handled his death well. He went on a personal rampage of revenge, one by one hunting down his brother’s killers, the Stunticons, until Dead End remained. By which time Dead End had become an ally of the Autobots. Seeing his brother’s murderer actually protected by his friends was too much for sideswipe and he had not been seen since. From time to time when Tracks, who also felt disenchanted with the Binaltech Autobots, checked in with Grimlock he would report on what Sideswipe had been up to, but not always. The final camera shot showed the figure entering the Vault. It was a high angle shot, and for the first time a silhouette of the figures head appeared in shot. Willard used the remote control to freeze the picture at that point. It was not Sideswipe.

    "Dead End!" whispered Silverstreak.

    "Me Grimlock need explanation now."

    "We don't have one, yet," said Chase. "You had better get to Sacramento. Dead End will still be at sea when you return. Question is; do we tell Jazz?"

    "No," said Grimlock. "Autobots, transform, roll." With the ever familiar crunching sound of shifting plates, two Ford Mustangs, a Subaru Impreza and a Scion XB left the room for the wide Autobot tunnel to the surface, leaving behind the two humans looking at each other with concern.
     
  4. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm Wreck n’ rule

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    oohh. Dead end or sunstreaker
     
  5. Crimson87

    Crimson87 Senior Member

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    Looks like the BTAs may have needed parts... Please keep up the story! I was getting worried a few days before this post. Worried that you had givin up the story. It's too good of writing to l;et it go here.
     
  6. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm Wreck n’ rule

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    i can't wait to see sideswipe and deadends reactions to sunstreaker when they eventually encounter him
     
  7. Falcadore

    Falcadore Touring Car Autobot

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    Who said it's Sunstreaker? Don't assume. It may not be. Have a look at the end of Isolation again.

    Sorry for the pause - I've just finished a short collaborative tale in someone else's G1 continuity at the Allspark.
     
  8. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm Wreck n’ rule

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    come on with the update alreaady
     
  9. Falcadore

    Falcadore Touring Car Autobot

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    Won't be one for a bit - extraordinarily busy playing race cars for the next week or so.
     
  10. Xaxis

    Xaxis Well-Known Member

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    Hey Falcadore! I finally had a chance to catch up with that last chapter. The story's getting interesting!

    Have fun with the race cars, and don't keep us waitint too long! :wink: 
     
  11. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm Wreck n’ rule

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    you started it and we're waiting for a finish
     
  12. Crimson87

    Crimson87 Senior Member

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    At the risk of sounding too impatient...... AGREED.

    You should be happy! You now have your own club of whining fanboys frothing at the mouth to hear more.
     
  13. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm Wreck n’ rule

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    it's what happens you start a fan fic and people get into it they'll demand for more.
     
  14. Falcadore

    Falcadore Touring Car Autobot

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    Sorry everyone. Feels like I'm in trouble :( 

    :) 


    Chapter 5 - Question

    "Control; Agent Five. Juliet units are inbound, Agent Seven confirms."

    "Agent Five: Control. Any Alpha Units?"

    "Control. Unit Five indicates negative at this time."

    "All Agents; Control, assimilate what materials gained and evacuate for rally point Zulu with Unit Three. Agent Three advises primary objective achieved."



    Dam on Sacramento River
    California
    Five hours later


    The four vehicle convoy pulled up towards the edge of a cordon around the edge of the massive hydro-electric facility but could get no closer to the facility as a crowd of people had gathered and with none of the four vehicles looking in anyway official, the spectators were not parting to let them through.

    "Humans move!"

    "Grimlock," urged Wheeljack over a radio frequency. "Watch your language around the humans. We are supposed to be acting covert."

    "Covert may no longer be as much a concern as before," offered Silverstreak slowly. "Some of the humans here are mentioning Transformers being involved. It could be that our cover has been compromised."

    "Then we hang tight until he can attract someone's attention," said Wheeljack. "Skids you've got the good sensor suite here, can you detect any of the Joes?"

    "Several FBI agents are present, but no paramilitary operatives I can discern. How much does the FBI know of our renewed presence on Earth?"

    "Not enough."

    "Call Barbera human, get her fix thing." Grimlock's voice was impatient.

    "I can not attract the Joes attention on their communications frequency, there is considerable signal traffic." While Scions were about as interesting as wallpaper and Subaru Imprezas were as common as rocks, the pair of Mustang GTs at the front of the small group was attracting the attention of some of the humans.

    "Grubby humans take paws off metal," Grimlock vocalised at two gawking onlookers, bored with the seemingly solid appearance of a dam.

    "Grimlock!"

    "Not care Wheeljack. Go tell to Megatron."

    "It spoke. It's one of them!" One of the two young men who had been slavering over Grimlock and Wheeljack unexpectedly put two and two together. The crowd turned to look at the four vehicles, only now noticing the lack of drivers. A couple of screams rang out and suddenly the crowd was running in all directions, stampeding, clambering over each other.

    The original human who figured out their cover, now held a couple of rocks and started to pelt Grimlock's left side panels while the leering friend produced a pistol, which he then aimed at Wheeljack in gangsta fashion.

    "Attention any Joe units, Autobots under attack!" Silverstreak urgent call went out over the airwaves.

    "Wait Grimlock it's only a pistol, I'll be fine, let him shoot me."

    "No. No pathetic human shoot Autobot." With that statement, the silver Mustang's roofline spilt at the back near the edge of the hatch and the rear of the car rotated at it's base, upwards forming two legs which Grimlock got underneath himself as his arms unfolded from beneath his engine bay, pushing himself upright as the cars undertray rotated around his midsection, disgorging the massive Energo Sword as it did so. The front of the bonnet hinged upwards allowing Grimlock's head to appear from the rear of the bonnet, and to the terrified onlookers, Grimlock now stood, grasping the massive flaming sword in one had, while in the other his ersatz V8 engine reconfigured into a twin barrelled sub-rifle.

    "Humans get back and let Autobots fix problem."

    The now weaponless rock thrower fled from the giant silver and black figure, but the pistoleer started firing at Grimlock in a panic. He got five rounds off before the fire bright energo sword thudded into the ground in front of him. The boy dropped the pistol in fright and fled at a dead run, a suited FBI agent in his wake.

    "Help! Doctor! Get a Doctor here now!"

    One human had collapsed, her lifeblood leaking into the tarmac of the nearby roadway. Grimlock stared at the scene as another human attempted to nurse the wounded human, no doubt hit by a ricochet off Grimlock's armour plating.

    "Dammit Grimlock, what the hell are you doing exposing yourself," This was the voice of Barbera, screaming down the radio waves from the Joe's command position up near the dam itself. "Get away from there and let the Bureau deal with the civilians before you hurt any more of them with your ignorance." The anger in Barbera's voice was something Grimlock could deal with. Resuming his Ford Mustang alt mode Grimlock kept the anger in check for the moment.

    The four cars set off along the access road, no longer blocked by spectators. Silverstreak muttered nervously to himself, a vestige of his former personality that escaped past his veneer of serenity. Skids had retreated, the sight of the wounded human, momentarily confusing him. Conscripted aeons ago into the medical corps like so many of the Autobot science corps. Skids however was still the theoretician at spark, most at home working with research, statistics, equations and computations. His time as an Autobot medic on Earth had been as a nurse and psychologist as much as doctor. His commitment to the Binaltech team now wavered. Wheeljack superseded his abilities as a medic, and there was no use for a theoretician at what was effectively an unsupported outpost. What was Skids roll in this place?

    "You’re not helping yourself Grimlock," was Barbera's terse greeting when the four vehicles arrived at Barbera's command post. The armoured truck sat with one side open and hinged upwards, allowing Barbera to address more easily those outside from within the vehicle. Gaudily dressed Joe troops mingled amongst the Khaki of regular soldiers and the suits of the FBI agents.

    "The authorities have a hard enough time keeping most Americans from attacking up the first Muslim they can find and sending Molotov Cocktails into Mosques. You want to give them an excuse for them to start randomly burning cars? The sooner Jazz gets back here the better.”

    “Jazz is stuck out there at your request,” said Skids, feeling as though someone should stand up for the Autobots if Grimlock and Wheeljack were not willing.

    “The Navy’s request, not that it actually matters. As it happens the four of the are airborne and should arrive back in California within a few hours by airlift. Since you came to sift through the wreckage I have something for you. I need your opinion of the security footage recorded during the assault..."

    "All you have for Me Grimlock is TV? Where 'cons go? We follow."

    "We don't even know that Dececpticons were responsible for this. The footage is... inconclusive. Your motley imitation of a military rabble is the closest thing we have to experts on the subject. You couldn't get here in time to repel your Decepticons, so when you are too slow to respond the next time we will be better able to protect the American citizens your alien activities have threatened."

    Wheeljack failed to understand why Grimlock's temper had not erupted at the human General. Was Grimlock developing a sense of responsibility beyond the immediate? Barbera's truck transmitted the footage to the four mechanised warriors. Wheeljack’s sensors lingered on Grimlock and Barbera for a moment before opening the digital video file.



    Security Compound
    Binaltech Facility, Nevada
    Same Time


    “As you can see here Doctor Chase, there was just enough of a light source here to add some colourisation.” Chase peered into the monitor of the station the analyst was working at. Over Chase’s shoulder was the large physical presence of Willard while a second analyst was also present in the darkened room where the analysis of the Vault security videos had been continuing.

    "As you can see the results are not what we expected." Dead End's dark coloured frame was anything but. Lighter colours featuring prominently.

    "Any thoughts Doctor?" This was Willard, injecting his voice into the discussion. "Can this be Sideswipe trying to make us think he is his brother?"

    "That would match the security records wouldn't it?" Chase sat back in his chair. "Could it be Sideswipe actually believes he is Sunstreaker, such is his desire to return him to life?" For a few moments there was no further comment.

    "Mr. Willard, I want to talk to Tracks as soon as we can arrange it. We have to know what Sideswipe is doing, preferably without him knowing it."

    "Sideswipe is estranged enough from Binaltech as it is, do we really want to push him further away?"

    "Sideswipe's feelings have to take a lower priority for the moment. And don't tell Grimlock yet. I want to know more about this affair before I speak to him. Dead End will be stuck at sea for a while so there shouldn't be any harm."
     
  15. KnightSaberAmi

    KnightSaberAmi Nyan Nyan

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    some of the threads are coming together...........
     
  16. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm Wreck n’ rule

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    shorter chapters than the others but i'm glad it's going again. :thumb 
     
  17. Xaxis

    Xaxis Well-Known Member

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    Nice installment, Falcs. Glad to see you getting back to this! :D 
     
  18. MrFX

    MrFX Collecting never ends...

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    Great story so far!

    Take your time and do it right....I'm enjoying it!
     
  19. ashe5k

    ashe5k Well-Known Member

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    Very nice follow-up to the other story. I like how you're handling it. These are both some of the better TF stories I've read in awhile.
     
  20. Falcadore

    Falcadore Touring Car Autobot

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    sorry about the wait...

    Chapter 6 - Confrontation

    "Control; Agent Seven."

    "Go ahead Seven."

    "Unit Seven proceeding to secondary acquisition, experiencing no opposition at this time. Inclear system operating optimally."

    "Acknowledged Agent Seven. Be advised alert status at destination has been heightened.

    "Acknowledged Control, proceeding with caution"




    Security Compound
    Binaltech Facility, Nevada
    Late Evening, Same Day


    "I'm not sure what you're asking of me Chip," Tracks' proud voice crackled slightly over the distance of the transmission, and through the meshing of Cybertronian and Human radio technologies, which never quite seemed to merge seamlessly, even on such simple levels. "But I do not like the implications."

    Chip Chase pulled his thin framed spectacles from his face with one hand while massaging his tired features with the other, rubbing at eyes sore from too long a time spent away from his bed, more of a cot really, in his office. It may not have been much, and his real bed may have been untouched in several months, but he longed for the office cot all the same. Chase out of habit checked his watch. He had long gotten into the habit of checking it regularly and ran the math of how long it had been since he had allowed his nerveless lower body to vent. He would have to keep the call short, less he need to get his chair cleaned again. Some scientists could afford the luxury of scattered brained absent mindedness. Chase had that luxury broken some forty years ago, along with his back. He no longer remembered the accident, but he always remembered the discipline he had needed since. He wished the subjects he worked with could maintain the same sort of discipline.

    "Tracks you need to see this from our perspective. This figure looks like Dead End but the colouring is all wrong. I've speculated that Sideswipe's mental state could easily have become fragile and I want to explore the possibility that Sideswipe has actually tried to become his brother in order to restore Sunstreaker to life. I need you to contact him since he won't answer us."

    "I haven't seen him in a few months but he was red then. He was still mad, but not unhinged. He's just maintained the same level of being pissed, but we still talk."

    "Just not for three months." The silence following Chip's assertion spoke volumes. "Tracks, I know you hated it when Jazz put you in a position you did not like but we have to know. Because if it is not Sideswipe..."

    "You are correct Doctor Chase," said Tracks, all inflection in his voice dropping away. "But I will do what you ask."



    Dam on Sacramento River
    California
    Five hours later


    "Jackie boy!" Wheeljack turned at the unlikely voice. A convoy of four cars had approached in the small hours of the morning as clearing the aftermath of the incident continued. The last gawking spectator had left some time ago, and the Autobots had felt less constrained in their movements. Grimlock and Silverstreak were helping with some of the physical grunt-work while Skids worked with the FBI technicians to clear up the security video images into something usable. Wheeljack was helping to co-ordinate vehicle movements at the site, using his height to keep track of everything moving as well as interfacing with the Joe's command and control systems. Wheeljack had noted the four vehicles approach but not until they cleared to perimeter and the two news crews in attendance that he turned to pay them attention.

    "Jazz! Come on up I'll clear you through. Auto Two to Joe Seventeen, allow access to four sports cars at your position. Attention Grimlock and General Barbera, Jazz and crew have arrived."

    "Good, Me Grimlock want Dead End now." After Grimlock's voice the radio crackled briefly before a new human voice intruded.

    "Grimlock, Wheeljack, Jazz and Dead End report to the command vehicle and report to the General."

    "Silverstreak," Wheeljack turned his head to look towards where the former gunner had been using his fists to reduce some of the large debris into human manageable chunks. "Could you find some work for Smokey and Swerve? All Joe units, Auto Two is standing down." Wheeljack 's bonnet shifted upwards and his head slid backwards and underneath as his arms folded upwards into the engine bay, the torso and floor pan twisted at the waist before closing and aligning with his legs as they folded inwards, leaving a white Ford Mustang read to greet the white Mazda RX8 and black Dodge Viper as the climbed the hill towards the top of the structure.

    Grimlock sat in his hated car mode alongside the command truck waiting as the others arrived.

    "Hey Grims baby, you gettin' any better at handlin' rubber?"

    "Jazz," was Grimlock's monosyllabic reply. He said nothing further. The silence was suddenly deafening. Dead End did his usual silent act. Wheeljack knew the hammer was about to fall on the Decepticon, but he did not know how he felt about it.

    After the incident in Central America, Wheeljack had developed some sympathy for the plight of the Stunticon, the former Stunticon. The Stunticons got something of a bad wrap as an adversary, mainly from the antics of Motormaster and Breakdown whose grasp on sanity was bad even for Decepticons. The evolution of Wildrider into Decepticharge was something that had taken everyone by surprise, but had only altered the perception of Wildrider, not the Stunticons as a whole. It was a lot easier to feel sympathy for an enemy that was perceived to be incompetent. Problem was if he was on Wheeljack's side now, then he was Wheeljack's incompetent now. The engineer briefly wondered how Motormaster had dealt with him, only to conclude that he probably hadn't dealt with him at all.

    Plus while it was easy for him to feel sympathy towards Dead End, he knew that Grimlock felt differently. While describing Dead End as a friend to Grimlock might be an exaggeration, he had certainly become the former Dinobots confident. The concept of Grimlock developing a conscience, or even the remotest hint of self-doubt was subtly frightening. For a while Jazz and Wheeljack had tried the keep this relationship under wraps, but conversing with Smokescreen was like playing the human game of chess. He could lead in a certain direction and then suddenly have you confessing your deepest secrets without being aware of it. Wheeljack regularly thanked the gods he no longer believed in that Red Alert had never discovered Smokey's conversational techniques. Once Smokescreen knew there was no point. There were only eight of them now, ten if you included the two rebels. Jazz had since decided that keeping secrets was pointless

    Well they had a secret now. And it had been Jazz they were keeping it from. But Barbera had wanted first digs.

    A Humvee raced rapidly toward the command van, in company with a blue civilian people mover covered with flame motifs. While neither vehicle would look out of place in the Joe's garages and hangars, neither vehicle belonged to the shadowy human force. The Humvee belonged to the regular Army, while Skids did not belong to anyone. Barbera alighted from the Humvee before it finished pulling up. An adjutant appeared in the rear doorway of the Command Car.

    "Ya car's a bit drab there General," called Jazz cheerfully. The General paused in her march towards the command car.

    "Jazz, while some of the troops under my command may have a somewhat liberal attitude towards uniforms and the concept of gaudily coloured combat vehicles, I am a General officer in the United States Army and a different standard is held up for senior commanders. Perhaps if your military unit looked less like a psychedelic rabble you would be more effective."

    "How we work if we all look dull green cargo hauler? We stick out at Venice Beach." Barbera paused, turning away from Jazz to look at the silver Mustang, but said nothing further. If it was possible to stand more erect she did so and motioned to the adjutant who held up a palm pilot and tapped at the screen.

    "Jazz, Dead End, earlier today this hydro electric facility was taken by Decepticons and held for a few hours. Just as we were assembling a response and with Grimlock's team still several hours away they departed. We found the remnants of energon cube making equipment, and this collection of debris to distract us from pursuit. The tactics were right out of Megatron's mid 80's playbook."

    "There are no Decepticons left on Earth," Jazz reply was automatic.

    "That's the same unsatisfactory statement Grimlock provided," Barbera's clipped tone bit across Jazz good humour.

    "They got away clean?" Jazz was on the job now, all trace of cheeriness hardened.

    "They were heading out before we could assemble enough forces to contemplate a cordon. Either they had good vision or good information. This footage was captured by security cameras." The footage was beamed to the two newcomers.

    "Light is a real problem. Any way of cleaning up the images?" asked Jazz.

    "They are cleaned up," proffered Skids. "In so far as I can in the time allowed. Our technologies can work together but not well. I believe their own technicians could perform a superior job, but that will take some time. Of course the camera angles were set to capture the images of humans."

    "There's a shadow here..."

    "We are running all shapes against known Transformer silhouettes."

    "What do you expect me to provide?" Dead End spoke for the first time.

    "You here to explain this," at Grimlock's words the images changed to some sharper images. The image paused at a familiar figure.

    "And you believe that is me?"

    "This footage was taken several weeks ago," Wheeljack took control of the discussion now. "Someone was able to access The Vault at Binaltech. That's keycard access for humans. It was an inside job."



    They think it’s your fault. Menasor’s voice rang in Dead End's thoughts. He swept his sensors across the Autobots present. While he did that Grimlock, then Skids and Wheeljack transformed and stood.

    They’re going to kill you, right here and now!

    "Shut up!"

    "Take it easy Dead End, no-one's accusing you of anything, we just need to confirm a few your movements." The persistent voice got through Dead End's calm demeanour, but he had not been aware he had spoken aloud. Concentrating for a moment he split his fenders apart, forming legs while he unfolded his arms from beneath the rear of the car and pushed himself to his feet and twisted to face the three Autobots. He could sense, but not see, Jazz beside him was now also standing.

    "What gives man, he's one of us now!"

    "Jazz you know if it was you in the footage we'd be having this conversation too," Wheeljack's voice

    Wheeljack's full of slag, you've always known it. Menasor’s voice distracted Dead End's thoughts as he tried to discern what the engineers intent was. Don't trust Grimlock, he will shoot you. Jazz too.

    "Menasor shut the frak up a minute!"

    "Menasor?" Grimlock and Wheeljack spoke almost in unison.

    "You ok Dead End my man?" This was the re-assuring voice of Jazz beside him. Grimlock suddenly produced his twin-rifle.

    “Jazz stand back now,” said Grimlock’s firm voice.

    “Why?”

    It's Grimlock. Shoot him first! Kill him now, then Jazz and Wheeljack and run!

    "Take him down," this was the shrill voice of Barbera. Everyone ignored her. "You hear me? Restrain that bloody Decepticon now."

    SHOOT GRIMLOCK!

    "FRAKKING..." Dead End's sudden exclamation died suddenly away. In The corner of his vision he suddenly became aware Skids was moving, raising his arms suddenly and something was thrown. Feeling like he'd been punched in the torso Dead End crashed downwards on his butt and fell backwards, his limbs no longer obeying his commands.

    "Draining binders?" Jazz voice sounded upset. "Was that really necessary?"

    "Must find truth. Strange things happening." Grimlock's voice was quiet. Dead End could still take in his surroundings but could not move anything. Menasor at least had disappeared, but the former Stunticon was left feeling betrayed and disappointed by the Autobot he thought he had befriended.

    "Me Grimlock sorry for Dead End, but can not take chance," the silver and black figure continued. "Dumb human ever call Autobots rabble again, you need pressure hose to retrieve remains from Me Grimlock's foot."



    Office 12B
    Binaltech Facility, Nevada
    Early Afternoon, Same Day


    "Doctor Chase, you need to come with us now." Chip was sitting up when the door to his office burst open, revealing Willard, wearing his combat armour, but it was not over either fatigues or his more formal work uniform, but instead appeared to be a simple jumpsuit underneath the flak jacket and webbing. Willard stepped towards Chase' cot where in the early morning he had finally released himself to the respite of sleep. Willard had ordered Chase not to set his alarm. It had not been needed as Chase had wakened the moment the alert klaxons had sounded, some fifteen minutes ago. Somewhere in the distance he could hear sirens in the spaces between the klaxons shout.

    The security chief slung his squared off special forces issue rifle and lifted Chase from the cot into his chair, before stepping behind to grasp the handles. He quickly started to push the lightly dressed scientists into the corridor, where he was greeted by a security team who were wearing fatigues underneath their armour.

    "What is so urgent Chief?" Willard turned the chair down the passage and the team began to fan out along the far wall and held their rifles at the ready, jogging to keep pace with Willard's speed.

    "Sideswipe's here." It had been twelve hours since Chase and Willard had spoken to Tracks. Tracks plainly had not wasted any time contacting the errant Autobot. "He's demanding to see you. He's caused some damage." The team slowed reaching an intersection and cautiously covered the angles around the corner. Beyond Chip remembered was the Autobot Corridor.

    Willard release Chip, who put his hands down against the rubber wheels to prevent the chair from moving. Flickering light danced on the wall opposite the junction. Willard strode up to the soldier guarding the corner who had stuck enough of his body around the corner to train his rifle down the corridor out of Chip's sight. Willard tapped the troopers shoulder and he immediately ceded the position to Willard. The Chief looked down the corridor for a moment before stepping out in the open. Several troops ran behind and knelt against the far wall to give covering fire while Willard slung his rifle and held his hands apart.

    "Sideswipe!"

    "Where is he human?" The familiar voice echoed down the painted concrete tunnel.

    "He's here. But I need to know he's in no danger."

    "I only want an explanation; I'm not going to kill anyone, unless you force it on me." Chip felt another soldier behind him grasp the push handles of his chair. Willard signalled without taking his eyes off whatever he was looking at. Rounding the corner, Chip's eyes were dragged towards Sideswipe, presently facing away, looking back along the tunnel to the surface, but he was already turning back to face him. The Autobot warrior clutched his sub-rifle with a firm grip.

    "Show me." The mech’s voice thundered, suddenly louder than before. Chase looked around the corridor, taking in the debris from chunks of concrete that had been blown out, presumably by Sideswipe's weapon. "I want to see what you told Tracks about, now!"

    Chip had no idea what Tracks had told Sideswipe, but plainly Tracks, or Sideswipe, had inferred a little too much into his explanation.

    "Willard, where's Tracks?"

    "He's outside being cared for. He tried to defend the complex." Willards reply, while a whisper was clear and firm.

    "Trooper, Sideswipe needs me. I will come to no harm. I'll push myself." Without looking behind him Chase started pushing his wheels, heading towards the Autobot, who now spun around again checking back towards the passage to the surface. Willard nodded at Chip, but nonetheless hung back.

    As Chase pushed his chair towards the tall red figure, crouched down in the tighter confines of the corridor, he noticed water in pools across the floor, and some charring. There must have been a small fire at one point. Sideswipe had positioned himself beside the huge testing room that had once been Grimlock's prison months ago. Chip produced his own palm pilot now, and allowed himself to freewheel for a few moments while he access the projector controls for the room beyond. He had the footage installed in the projector as it was still being reviewed by the techs, looking for some vital clue. Chip keyed the pas to set the projector to run it for standard Autobot settings, the opposite wall, and scaled up to fill as much space as possible. The projector had warmed up and the standard windows screen gave way to the grainy colourised camera footage. Sideswipe turned and gave the footage his full attention, forgetting the human troops in his sudden excitement.

    When the moment came, Chase hit the pause button, freezing the yellow frame in the light cast by the roof mounted spotlight. Static briefly crawled across the image and stopped, freezing the Dodge Viper binaltech frame in view. Sideswipe stared at the image intently, almost as if he was trying to look through the image, revealing its truth through sheer force of will.

    The sub-rifle clattered to the floor.

    Chip heard Willard's voice in the background and human troops were running towards Chip and Sideswipe, but Sideswipe no longer seemed to care.

    "Willard tell you men to stand down, I don't think there will be any further problems." Chip pushed himself forward, following Sideswipe into the Autobot sized antechamber before the soldiers could get there.

    "Sideswipe? What is it? We... thought this might be someone faking his appearance," The Autobot turned to look downwards at the crippled scientist. There was the strangest look on his face that Chip could not identify.

    "It's him, it's really him, he's alive," the Autobot’s voice rose from a near whisper to an exultant shout.

    "Sideswipe we don't want to get carried away here..."

    "You think I don't know my own brother? He's alive! Sunstreaker's alive!" Chip himself turned to look at the eyes on the screen. The bright blue eyes. In the background Sideswipes joyous laughter echoed down the tunnel.