Transformers: Asterisk - Destiny

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

  1. Falcadore

    Falcadore Touring Car Autobot

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    Writing this chapter has been the most exquisite form of torture I've attempted. I want to try a different format idea, which I've since been told actually is a writing style used in fanfic - called Songfic - but rarely used for something as ambitious as I am attempting. I thought it would be relatively simple but along the way the scale of what I was attempting started to do my head in. I got blocked three times. But now, finally its done.

    Thanks to all of you for being patient.

    When this started the song was fresh on the music scene. Now it isn't and oooh, I am soooo over it. But picture for yourselves guitars, drums and a prominent horn section, sing along if you like, for what I hoped to be the rollercoaster end of the second act of Asterisk: Destiny...

    Chapter 16 - Evacuation

    "Control, Agent Six. The Autobots are loose. Fighting has broken out in the Tartarus Pits. Units Two, Five and Seven are down."

    "All personnel, Silo Tower begin final launch procedures. White Tower 3 countdown commencing, 300 and counting. Secure LOX fuel. Communications to switch to Hub Two. Unit Three weapons free and release to defence. All personnel not involved in facility defence to evacuate immediately. All Watchtower personal abandon positions immediately and report to evacuation stations. God speed to us all. We serve a higher purpose this day, we must be bold 'ere that the meek may finally inherit the Earth. The penitent will achieve salvation. Amen."

    "Control, Agent One, Agent Eight is compromised. We have lost control of Unit Eight."

    "Control, Agent One respond."

    "CONTROL!?"



    Unnamed Mountain
    Rocky Mountain Range, Colorado
    Outer chamber of unfinished Air Force base
    The 'Tartarus Pits'


    If you take a life do you know what you'll give?

    The blue Honda Integra frame turned to look more closely while the American Indian featured Agent screeched, clutching the side of her helmet, here eyes bulging frantically. A look of concentration flashed across the face that looked so much like their lost colleague Prowl, and the Agent dropped to the floor in a nerveless pile of limbs. The ever fragile thread of life severed, bringing momentary shame to the tall armoured figure. As precious as life was, there were priorities. He would mourn later the human who had walked across his mind.

    Odds are, you won't like what it is

    A look of distaste momentarily crossed those features and he turned to look at Smokescreen. The female Asterisk Agents were all looking at their colleague, the attention of their attendant units wavering as they comprehended the sudden horror of their potential vulnerability. Smokescreen looked up at those features and a flash of inspiration memories of the Autobot most determined to learn by observation Smokescreen's ability to play the edge of probability. He mouthed the detectives name silently and the blue Honda inclined his head in affirmation.

    When the storm arrives, would you be seen with me?

    Smokescreen gave a feral grin as the air on his shoulder distorted. With the yellow Viper, the black Subaru and the hulking figure in red distracted the rally car called his missile launcher into the reality of this artificial world beneath the rock. Nudging Grimlock with an elbow as hard as he dared Smokescreen fired the missile into the sunken pit beyond the gallery containing the macabre equipment bolted to what was left of Dead End.

    By the merciless eyes of deceit?

    "Watch those Autobot fools!" The demon within Dead End's frame yelled a warning, far too late as the facility rocked to the shattering force of the missile's explosion. Two of the young helmeted women gasped with pain as two of the Unit frames that had been powered down for storage crashed to the floor of their cages. Golden globes of energy coalesced around the Decepticons fists.

    I've seen angels fall from blinding heights

    Grimlock was up and moving faster than Smokescreen would have given him credit for. The blank featured Mustang crash tackled the black Subaru, taking down both of its guns before it was ready to properly respond. The yellow Viper turned and began to track fire at the prisoners, for the moment erratic fire, as Junko struggled to come to terms with what was happening around her.

    But you yourself are nothing so divine

    The hulking red figure carrying the helm of their legendary former commander was moving belatedly, reaching outwards with the enormously calibered pistol it carried. Silverstreak needed all of the speed Blustreak was famed for to get two hands raised to block the path of the blaster. The distress on his face stood out. Beside him Tracks was on his feet, heading towards the abandoned pile of their weapons.

    Just next in line

    Sideswipe was moving as quickly as Grimlock, with less warning, but still had farther to travel to reach the ghostly apparition from his past made solid and real and the weapons fire struck one of Smokescreen's arms. A black and yellow leg flashed out and caught Sideswipe across the chin, crashing the scarlet warrior to the deck short of his intended target while the golden figure pirouetted on its other leg, copying the spin kick imitated by Shirakami's tiny figure behind the tall Unit frame.

    Arm yourself because no-one else here will save you

    Stretched full length, the lame Subaru had reached the pile of discarded weapons, scattered after Tracks had made his raid and grabbed and tossed as he could. Silverstreak's rifle fell into his open grasp. His confidence with weapons returning in his desperation to keep the huge figure from over running him. Grimacing with reluctance, Silverstreak brought the butt of his newly acquired rifle across the faceplate of the behemoth. Sideswipe's sub-rifle fell and clattered while Sideswipe himself pushed himself to his knees. His golden hued copy was distracted for a moment as another mech was moving from the direction of the spark transference equipment.

    The odds will betray you

    A cluster of the female agents scattered as their sanctuary unfolded and stood. The grey squared off people mover becoming a red highlighted Skids like figure. His small firearm flashed and the blue detective was hit as he sought to come to Sideswipe's aid. Nightbeat crashed to the floor, twisting he looked to see the azure Corvette turning to point his twin barrelled blaster at Dead End. He fired and a ragged, smoking hole opened in Dead End's chest armour.

    "Tracks! There!"

    "What? Who the frak are you?" The Chevrolet was partially distracted, now trying to load a missile to one of his over-shoulder racks.

    "It's Nightbeat. Stop Blaster!"

    "Blast... how do you... argh." Tracks credulity stretched to breaking point had paused too long and the grey Scion singled him out for attack.

    And I will replace you

    "I have yet to determine your identity," Turning away from the Corvette now that he knew where the threat came from, Nightbeat spoke to himself but referred to the bright red frame, abandoned and inanimate propped up against the wall, open for anyone to shoot. "For the moment it would be safer for you to be away from the firing line."

    A hand under each shoulder the Honda Integra unceremoniously dragged the mech-husk under cover, before standing to move to find who needed most assistance. Keeping a low profile after his initial outburst, Dead End's eyes blazed with Decepticharge's greed at the sudden proximity of that which the terrorist most desired. Stretching the extra-sensory abilities granted to him by the faux heart of Cybertron, Decepticharge used loose cables, and animated them. The empty Binaltech frame was dragged towards the Frankenstien apparatus under cover of the fighting.

    You can't deny the prize it may never fulfill you

    Smokescreen had his rifle up and tracking towards the yellow Dodge Viper frame recovering to its feet only to see Sideswipe sprint across his view, obscuring the shot.

    "Leave him be!" Even though the warrior had his back to Smokescreen, the Subaru could feel the red Viper radiating a rage as hot as the colour of his livery.

    "It's not Sunstreaker," the diversionist pleaded. "This is not the time for..."

    "Smokescreen, halt," Nightbeat stopped by the crippled rally car. Each of these mechs are like me. The process, I do not completely understand, but that one," the Honda had integrated with Smokescreen's sensor array and indicated with a marker one of the fallen humans, no longer attended by a retinue of Control Agents, suddenly motivated by their own survival instincts.

    "That one held me in thrall, controlling my actions and dancing to the tune of her master. The proverbial puppet on a string."

    It longs to kill you

    Sideswipe staggered backwards as his golden opponent followed through on a wicked right cross. To Nightbeat's eyes the two performed a bizarre ballet as two perfect warriors moved with such deadly style and grace. Nightbeat could only admire the performance of the human who was making the canary figure move.

    "Are you saying that IS Sunstreaker?"

    "That is leaping to conclusions. Just because it looks like you would expect Sunstreaker to look like, does not mean it has does not have someone else's spark within. That having been said, Sunstreaker was not on the shuttle."

    "Shuttle? But Of course! The Navy's submerged ghost that Jazz went chasing. How did you get here?"

    "We were ambushed in the upper atmosphere by an on-board saboteur, then we and the shuttle were disabled by an electromagnetic pulse. How we got through the atmosphere I do not know, we all would have been off line, even Prime."

    "Rodimus is a pretty tough customer."

    "No, not Hot Rod. Optimus Prime. He lives again."

    Are you willing to die?

    "How did you free yourself?" The Diversionist and the Detective's minds raced in a brief moment of respite in the conflict around them as the pair updated each other. Nightbeat estimated he himself would have to leave this conversation in just over a second to relieve a mech he had identified with 86% certainty was Grimlock in his fight with another mech he believed (48%) to be Ricochet.

    "I'm not proud of that. You can see the end result. There has to be a better answer, I'm going to have to examine this equipment for more answers."

    "You be really careful of that black frame, that's Wildrider powered up by a bad copy of the Heart of Cybertron."

    "Fascinating. Why not kill him?"

    "Because Wildrider has inhabited the body of a friend to bring himself back from the dead."

    "A friend who wears a Decepticon logo?"

    "Yes, the last Decepticon on Earth, Dead End."

    "Truly this place is a twisted tale," the detective shook his head and smiled ruefully, standing as Grimlock crashed backwards on his back beside them. "Excuse me." The blue Honda stood to meet the on rushing black Subaru as Grimlock's assailant moved towards one of its dropped rifles.

    The coldest blood runs through my veins

    Now that he was unnoticed again after Nightbeat's sudden departure, Decepticharge again began hauling the red mech frame gradually into the vacant couch. While several glances were thrown in the direction of the strange device imprisoning Dead End, it was mostly Autobots making sure that Dead End stayed unmoving. Decepticharge hardened the features of his former team mate, concentrating on the task of saving himself, no matter what else occurred in this pit.

    Behind deactivated visual sensors, Decepticharge did his best to track the course of the emerging battle, in particular the Autobot nearest him. Left lame by damaged feet, Smokescreen could not contribute much, but he kept himself occupied, since Nightbeat and Grimlock had stood to take care of the black Subaru he had propped himself against a back wall, spreading his damaged legs apart for balance and held his rifle out in front of him with both hands, tracking at the various battle. He helped Tracks, firing away at the grey Scion based mech as the Corvette moved close intending to grapple.

    Until Nightbeat's head poked itself over the edge of the pit.

    Nightbeat's head was not liveried grey, blue and gold.

    "Oh frak another one, who in the Pit is this?"

    You know my name

    "So you are Blaster? Maybe I can find a way to communicate with you." Muttering to himself Tracks fine tuned the sighting on one missile. Realising his covering fire from behind had stopped, Tracks sent the urgent command and the rocket motor blazed to life, the docking clamp releasing its hold, allowing the small white missile to flash across the short distance, detonating thunderously against the metal plating over the grey and red figure.

    If you come inside things will not be the same

    Tracks had a brief moment to glance through a short file from Smokescreen, reporting on some of the information provided by Nightbeat which had been uploaded across the Autobot team by the tactician. It made for interesting reading. Tracks altered his tactics. Blaster's weak point, was not Blaster himself, but something below and to the right.

    When you return to the night

    "Aaaaaaaaahhhh." Tracks, shouting as he ran, attempting the human practice of unsettling your opponent with an emotional cry of rage and defiance, picking up on the clues that it was not Blaster, but a human controlling Blaster, as he pounded the decking the last few steps before he reached his goal. Ducking from flying and falling debris, the grey Binaltech frame did not respond in time and collapsed backwards under the weight of the flying Corvette.

    And if you think you've won, you never saw me change

    Lumina Hoshii uttered a short scream as the chunks of steel and rock, easily ignorable by her Unit Three, but deadly to her, crashed around her, providing a physical reminder of her vulnerability with the battle pressed to point blank range. Hoshii looked up at Unit Three and raised the figures arms to meet the onrushing alien. Control had been very specific about the alien nature of their assailants. Distracted by a terrible electronic howl, Hoshii could not defend herself in time. One by one the overheads lights were blotted out, the shadows grew darker and larger.

    And there was no time left.

    The game that we all been playing

    Elsewhere in the facility something else thundered to life. With all gantries retracted and a hatch open to the darkening sky beyond rocket motors mixed and ignited the constant flow of liquid oxygen and fuel creating a barely controlled explosion, directing the force as downward pointing thrust. On a pillar of smoke and fire, the converted missile carried its over-calibre payload towards the night, and the heavens beyond, shrinking until it became just another star among many others.

    I've seen diamonds cut through harder men

    Nigthbeat crashed backwards to the decking. His unfamiliarity with his new frame had left him clumsy and vulnerable compared to the smooth confidence being exuded from the white helmed black frame, its every move conveying the ability to inflict violence.

    But he had bought Grimlock the time he needed to recover and the big mech stepped forward once more and crashed towards the white highlighted figure and the pair bounced off the wall and crashed to the floor. Nightbeat turned his head to see what Smokescreen was exclaiming about. He was pouring weapons fire trying to keep a grey twin of Nightbeat's own frame from climbing into the battle. In the background beyond the target of Smokescreen's fire, two closed cages were being cracked open. He could see Tracks and the figure he thought was Blaster fighting, and the two brightly coloured Viper frames, but there was another tussle...

    Than you yourself, but if you must pretend

    What is a gunner without a gun? Silverstreak had little time to work on this conundrum. Having used his rifle as a club and on occasion a staff the defend himself, using his lightning reflexes to place the gun between himself and the assault of the scarlet and black behemoth bearing the helm of his once beloved and lost leader, the weapon had been pounded into uselessness. He had been on the defensive since his fight began. He knew he was fighting for his life, but new information from Smokescreen suggested he could no more hurt his opponent as hurt himself.

    You may meet your end

    Silverstreak found his beliefs shaken to the core. He knew he could not meekly place himself beneath the sickle of Death, but fighting back was abhorrent as fighting at all. And all he could do was place his rifle in harms way instead. The parody, or more precisely the puppet of Optimus had begun the sense this and on more than one occasion had broken off to assist the yellow figure attacking Sideswipe, or turn to fire the massive blaster at one of the more distant fights, once even turning its back on Silverstreak.

    There was an arrogance on display here, it was as if Optimus was playing with Silverstreak but at the same time unwilling to finish him off to help his fellows. It was like Optimus only helped the others when he had to.

    Arm yourself because no-one else here will save you

    "Grimlock!"

    The former Dinobot finally had a moments respite to clamber to his feet away from the flame motifed figure. He turned at the sound of Smokescreen's call to see his double blaster sailing through the air towards him.

    "This better."

    The black figure was unable to do anything to capitalise on Grimlock's distraction as Nightbeat had clumsily leapt to his aid once more to buy Smokescreen the time to get Grimlock his gun.

    The odds will betray you

    A red flash appeared out of the dark and Nightbeat was blasted to the floor, hit by apparently a stray shot from elsewhere on the battles being fought on the wide parapet above the sunken pit. The black figure took the time to stoop and retrieve one of his own rifles as Grimlock attempted to return fire. Peppering the red figure standing by the seemingly helpless Silverstreak with small rapid fire rounds from the alternating barrels.

    And I will replace you

    With the fight gradually moving away from the imprisoned Decepticharge, the figure now felt more able to move with impunity and dragged the lifeless frame quickly towards the vacant couch before re-arranging the cables. Like a strange combination of giant squid and Meccano set the red Ford GT frame was dragged upwards into the couch. Decepticharge paused, he needed to know he was unobserved before he committed to the transference because he suspected he would lose consciousness in the attempt. No-one moved to intercept so he retracted the cabling and set about making all the connections.

    You can't deny the prize it may never fulfil you

    With both Smokescreen and Nightbeat ignoring everything around them the pair found guns and assaulted the dark figure now identified as Ricochet. The Subaru staggered backwards trying to defend itself, before spinning around from one shot collecting firmly on the right headlight.

    Grimlock finally had a pin on Ricochet.

    "Now finish you." Stepping forward in a rush he drove both arms underneath the armpits and locked fingers behind Ricochet's head, pinning the figure in a headlock. Nightbeat casually stepped forward and reached into a gap in Ricochet's armour and pulled at something.

    "NOOOOOO-eeeeeEEEEEE!!!!"

    The human scream shrilled through the atmosphere of the room as the black Subaru slumped forward in the ex-Dinobots arms. Smoke curled upwards from the helmet of an unmoving human female on the floor, her position now betrayed by the small trial of floating microscopic ash.

    Then there was another sound and Smokescreen stretched for a nearby weapon.

    It longs to kill you

    Just as Smokescreen reached for Grimlock's energo sword, a dark figure rounded a corner and entered the antechamber above the Tartarus Pits with all the speed its four feet could muster. Pounding down the short slope the beast like figure uttered a mechanical snarl that chilled the diversionist to his chassis. Smokescreen flung the hilt into the air with all the speed his arms could muster, racing to keep the weapon ahead of the demonic figure he thought he had seen killed on the plateaus of Guatemala.

    Are you willing to die?

    The giant black jaguar raced down the short slope, running directly at the silver Mustang and leapt. Something had warned the Dinobot and the silver figure half spun, dropping the dead weight of Ricochet, taking in the racing beast machine and the flying orange hilt. Continuing the spin he presented his back to the onrushing ghost from his recent past as he grabbed the sword hilt with his right hand while he raised his left arm to block the jaguar, striking just below the neck where it met the chest as the two Binaltech frames collided, momentum from the swinging arm helping to counteract the force from the collision.

    The coldest blood runs through my veins

    Tightening his spin, Grimlock activated the sword and brought it across his body, under the jutting Mustang breast. The fire-bright ethereal blade formed in the air and raced to its tip just as Grimlock extended his arm, pushing outwards away from the spin and plunging the blade downwards into the reaching teeth-rimmed snout of the Jaguar. The former cassetticon convulsed as the blade entered and plunged down his throat, a gurgling rattle emanating from somewhere on the Decepticon as Grimlock's forearm followed the blade. Buried deep in the Decepticon the energy field of the sword found purchase in one of the grooves that surrounded the once smooth, now creased and battered spark core, puncturing the spark chamber. Yellow bright eyes dimmed in an instant and the mech once known as Ravage fell off Grimlock's arm and crashed lifeless to the floor.

    "For Prowl. Me Grimlock say you stay dead now."

    Try to hide your hand, Forget how to feel

    Beyond in the pits a white and black Subaru frame was mobile and climbing to be free and join the battle. Ignoring the pain throbbing from his injured feet Smokescreen did the one thing he could to give himself mobility. Gasping from the excruciating sensation, he drew his legs in, twisted his torso, folded his arms into his chest and closed his wing doors.

    Life is gone with just a spin of the wheel

    The badly damaged Subaru WRX rally car lit up his tyres and launched across the small distance, leaping over the collapsed and bullet ridden figure of the grey Honda Integra that might be Camshaft, smashing through the red rimmed copy of Silverstreak as it peeked over the edge and crashing beyond into the orange Jeep Wrangler frame now standing as well.

    Arm yourself because no-one else here will save you

    The entire room shook and Sideswipe, Silverstreak and Grimlock all crashed to the floor caught completely unaware. The voice within Dead End howled with fury as electronics sparked, bolts of electricity arced around him and the red frame beside him jerked in an obscene parody of flesh life subjected to current.

    The odds will betray you

    With the battle starting to turn a new mech had entered the game, its huge piledrivers smashing repeatedly into the floor just beyond the entrance to the huge pits. The force of the vibrations travelling through every surface. Those few Agents still standing joined the Autobots on the floor, their Units frames however retained their footing for the moment but ceased fighting.

    And I will replace you

    Jerking to life, the scarlet coloured frame stood away from its socket and walked, stiffly at first towards the downed Autobots, drawing its two short blasters. The blue Honda lurched forwards, an energon baton swinging downwards towards the creation he had sought to prevent. Nightbeat, away that something was wrong with the machinery before him had looked it over and puzzled out its intent. The suddenly alive Ford GT frame scared him for its unknown possibilities. The detective suddenly checked short, stopped mid-flight, and crashed off balance to the floor. The very air shimmered, an object solidifying from the ether. Standing side by side the new red frame was its sapphire hued twin.

    You can't deny the prize it may never fulfil you

    The red GT looked across at the blue GT for a moment, then ferociously attacked it. Grimlock, trying to stand was aware of the new horror of Decepticharge returned to life and felt around for his dropped energo sword. The imitation of the middle aged hunter crumbled before the frenzied attack and was pushed to one side as it collapsed. Raising its two blasters it ripped fire across the gantry at the Honda Civic pounding away at the entrance felling it quickly.

    "YEEEEEEE-HAAAAAAAAAH! Hot Rod's back in town! Hey, what's happ'n Grim one?"

    It longs to kill you

    Fully involved in directing Unit One, Junko never became aware of the danger she was in. The strangely behaving Autobot was in Unit One's sights now. Even though this Autobot would fight its own fellow, seemingly trying to protect her Unit One, it was still a threat to Control. The red figure moved directly into the centre of her head up display.

    And then a shadow blocked out the overhead lights. Far too late Junko Shirakami realised why the red Autobot had stepped away from Unit One and yet into her sights. Descending rapidly from above away was a large grey never ending mass of metal. Finally her mind made the connection, and decided it was a foot.

    Her mind started to scream but it ran out of time to get to her throat.

    Are you willing to die?

    Sideswipe stepped away from the remains of the human and raised his sub-rifle and pointed it rock steady at the dark Viper frame still entombed within the structure of the human machinery.

    "Shoot me already. Go on, shoot me," the voice was no longer the multi-layered horror that had taken so many Autobot lives. The yellow tint had faded, the eyes once more glinted yellow. Dead End now stared back at the surviving twin.

    The coldest blood runs through my veins

    "I want you to know this feeling. Feel your impending doom."

    "I have felt that feeling since the moment your vengeance began Sideswipe. Finish it. Let your brother rest."

    "I am Death itself. The allspark opens beneath to greet you. For Sunstreaker."

    "Let him be Sides. He's not worth it. Not for me. Much as I appreciate the gesture."

    You know my name

    Sideswipe still stared at Dead End but his finger, once bow taut, now trembled and he no longer saw the ex-Stunticon in front of him. His facial expression softened into blankness. The scarlet warrior felt a hand grip his right shoulder. He stood as still as he dared, and as still as his body twitching with tiny spikes of spark energy, suddenly afraid that any wrong movement might shatter the illusion.

    "Sunny?" Sideswipe's voice was barely above a whisper, scared stiff the answer would be something else, but scared that it would be, bringing to an end thirty months of spark-destroying bloody vendetta.

    "Yeah Sides, how ya doin' bro?" Sideswipe turned now, looking into the blue eyes, no longer cold and dead, now moving with the small almost imperceptible movements of life, real life. Not human remote controlled. The sub-rifle fell forgotten and Sideswipe gripped Sunstreaker's upper arms for a half moment before drawing him into a tight embrace and found himself laughing and sobbing uncontrollably.

    You know my name

    "Jazz!" Smokescreen turned at the cry, noticing for the first time that Wheeljack and another unfamiliar mech had arrived from the lower chambers. The strange figure, a blackened version of the Dodge Ram frame carrying the helm of Optimus Prime was holding a third mech in its arms. The grievously damaged third figure was the once charismatic figure of Jazz, his side badly gashed open and crusted with dry and drying coolant and mech fluid. Wheeljack, the Subaru noticed was maintaining a wary distance from the newcomer and briefly locked optics with the diversionist. In the saddest gesture he had ever seen the engineer slowly shook his head.

    You know my name

    "Primus forgive me I killed him," the new mech spoke. The voice was instantly and shockingly familiar. The silver Mustang was moving towards the two, while the red liveried Dodge Ram frame shakily climbed to its feet.

    "There is no hope, no hope at all," Smokescreen had never heard the voice filled with such despair before. "Grimlock I killed Jazz. He was our brother and I killed him."

    You know my name

    The silver mustang stepped up to the dark Prime.

    "You... Ultra Magnus?" The dark figure had spotted the other Ram and turned away from Grimlock, still carrying his sparkless load.

    YOU KNOW MY NAME

    The dark figure collapsed to his knees in front of his scarlet shaded twin and looked upwards pleadingly, his voice aching with grief.

    "Optimus forgive me. He was your protégé and I killed him. I buried a sword in his side and let him exhaust his fluids while my weakness argued with itself."

    YOU KNOW MY NAME

    "Jazz... Magnus..." the baritone voice was just as familiar and to all in the room belonged to a leader and friend they believed long dead. The voice came from a frame they believed a parody of their fallen icon. The red Ram laid a hand on the shoulder of the black one as his head fell, no longer able to meet his eyes.

    YOU KNOW MY NAME
     
  2. vector

    vector City Commander

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    I love it Falc. How does it feel to be such a sought after writer???
     
  3. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm Wreck n’ rule

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    such a shame you killed jazz off, he seemed to be one of those characters you put alot of development into.

    great works though and i'm interested to know what exactly has happened to Wildrider
     
  4. Motor_Master

    Motor_Master Lets the balls touch

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    Very nice. I had forgotten how much I was enjoying this story
     
  5. wavelength

    wavelength Well-Known Member

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    ravage and rumble were killed off quite quickly, weren't they?
     
  6. DarkScreamer

    DarkScreamer Active Member

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    Your story is so totally sweet i love transformers and in reading your story you made me love it a whole lot more. Thanks for that dude
     
  7. MrFX

    MrFX Collecting never ends...

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    Nice update! I remembered this story while I was in traffic today. Glad I checked in. Great work!
     
  8. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm Wreck n’ rule

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    is thatit for now or is there anymore in the works Falcadore?
     
  9. wavelength

    wavelength Well-Known Member

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    this is like peteymores g1 2.0. long gaps which are utimately worth it between the sweet, juicy updates
     
  10. Falcadore

    Falcadore Touring Car Autobot

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    It's been a while and for that, I am sorry. More to come, quite quickly actually.

    A small disclaimer - the opinion of the character I have created here is not my opinion, but it is intended as a representation of a extremist of a different kind. If the following offends anyone then I apologise, but it should also be pointed out that this character does not hold a balanced view.


    Chapter 17 - Declaration

    "Control, Communications. All transmitters are on stand by. Relay satellites are in position. Jammers have responded to inquiries."

    "All Watchtower staff, Control. Today we stand on the edge of destiny. We are in a unique position, not even the holy crusades of antiquity and all the power of the papacy in the middle ages have the ability to bring the lost children home as we do now. All of our sacrifices and our penitence are about to be rewarded. Our lord God watches over us and approves. Defence, stand ready we need you to protect us, those who do not yet see his glory and power may respond quickly. Communications, activate the jamming devices and swamp their television transmitters. Activate satellite relays and open transmission frequencies. Visualisations, begin the music."

    "Peoples of Earth, please attend carefully. The message that follows is vital to the future of you all. I speak to you today of our new world, of a foundation of the new world as you will come to know it."



    Watchtower Space Station
    High Earth Orbit
    Four hours later


    Peoples of Earth, please attend carefully. The message that follows is vital to the future of you all. I speak to you today of our new world, of a foundation of the new world as you will come to know it.

    Over the past two decades the world has been held to ransom by Islamic extremism. Whatever nobility the sons of Mohammed once had has been erased by those wanting to take us back to a stone age where women are reduced to sexual enslavement and men are ranked according to their knowledge of old texts and how to corrupt them to their own advantage. The dignity of their religion vanished in a haze of semtex and burnt flesh, its falseness exposed as a few men with inferiority complexes tried to make up for past slights more imagined than real.

    I came of age in a nation brought to its knees by the folly of imperial conquest, by attempting to conquer those better equipped than ourselves by the belief of a few that they knew the world better. The Americans taught us a lesson in humility as they eviscerated our Emperor. In this world I found God's word and sought through his truth to teach myself how to conquer the new false gods of greed, globalisation and capitalism. The word of Islam taught me a new lesson. It is not enough to be worthy of the intentions of our Lord and master when the infidels may deprive you of enlightenment by selfishly sending their followers into the afterlife they falsely believe will be a paradise because they seek to murder God's children.

    Then came the robots, the godless destroyers, the transformers, and they have taught us a lesson as well. Built from the technology they wielded, the Watchtower I dedicate in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost, God now has an instrument through which those who would harm his disciples and followers will feel the wrath of his vengeance. This Watchtower wields the energy weapons created by the robots, the weapons of the godless now serving his most holy purpose.

    Now begins the first holy crusade of Christ's second millenium. We shall begin with the training camps used by the so-called freedom fighters whose actual mission is to suppress freedom. Those in the Middle East, then those in the Northern Africa, then the sub-continent and the Himalayan foothills. Those who would destroy, will now be destroyed.

    You may protest these actions. You may choose to blame the American military. We are not associated with the American military so attacking them will not dissuade us. We do not represent any government, but draw affirmation from a higher authority, that of the Lord our God. He sees each of us, his children, in detail and calls each of us to his sacred cause. He does not recognise nations but summons us, his children in the world, to put on his full armor and take up his sword against the enemy.

    "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms." Our struggle is not merely against these terrorists wrapped in the guise of freedom fighters, but against this false god Allah in whose name the sons of Mohammed strive to destroy freedom itself.
     
  11. Falcadore

    Falcadore Touring Car Autobot

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    Chapter 18 - Elevation

    "Control, SBL Control. Targets One through Eight have been prosecuted. We are repositioning to strike new target as requested in Florida."

    "Control, Sensor station. Armed shuttle has retreated. It is still in missile range but is now outside the projected range of the weapons we believe it has available."

    "Control, Station command. That orbitter must have already been in orbit, either they knew we were here before hand or more if not they are on a test flight and are likely to be carrying a light weapons load."

    "Station command, Control. It is the latter. All stations: cancel combat alert but maintain general quarters. Sensors keep missile attack solutions on that shuttle live. If they move into an aggressive position alert all stations. SBL Control, continue with reciprocity strike.



    Unnamed Mountain
    Rocky Mountain Range, Colorado
    Outside of facility


    They had all found him quickly. Some had made demands, some requests, some had begged. But Optimus Prime had no answers for any of them.

    Truth be told, he felt unworthy of the attentions the various national heads of state of Earth were giving him. Many he suspected got in contact with him, hoping for some form of magic wand. They had to wait for the moment while he gathered his shattered command.

    It seemed just moments before, he had been racing towards Earth to rescue the remnants of a task force half-forgotten by events halfway across the galaxy as another crisis had enveloped the homeworld. There were so many friends here he had hoped to see again. He knew of the those who had died while he regenerated, and of those that had for the moment been spared the embrace of the Allspark. In particular he had longed to see Prowl and Jazz, his Lieutenants from the exiled years on Earth. Two mechs he had come to respect, one for his meticulous strategies, the other for his tactical brilliance. The illusion he had used to keep two toes ahead of Megatron. One to puzzle out the would be dictator, the other to find the response.

    Jazz and Prowl.

    Prowl's sparkless frame now lay interred not less than 2000 kilometres from where he stood while a now unfamiliar Jazz still lay in the arms of Optimus oldest brother-in-arms. Ultra Magnus, for all his intelligence, could not yet let go of his burden, such was the guilt he felt. In a moment of selfish weakness he glanced across at the twins, noting Sideswipe's joy at being by Sunstreaker's side again. From what he had gathered Sideswipe had buried himself in his grief and his anger for most of the last three years. Optimus allowed a brief moment of pain for himself as he wondered whether he would get a chance himself to grieve. The pain of Ironhide's loss was still fresh.

    Prowl. Jazz. Ratchet. Hound. Windcharger. Brawn.

    Prowl's killer at least was something he could vent some feeling towards. The feline Decepticon lay back in the chaotic ruin within the Mountain behind them. He could sense the pride Grimlock felt for having slain Prowl's murderer, but Optimus could not fathom how Grimlock had developed any feeling of kinship with Prowl when once Grimlock had felt something akin to hatred for the Strategist.

    Until Magnus worked off his guilt Grimlock would have to do for an adjutant. Smokescreen, for all his injuries, helped considerably. He refused to leave the impromptu briefing Grimlock gave Prime. The arrival of Skids, along with a G.I.Joe team meant that Smokescreen could at least have his wounds tended by the harried theoretician. Skids brought with him the news that Swerve had been stabilised, and would recover. Given time.

    Time was a commodity Optimus Prime had little of. No time to grieve. No time to allow his warriors to come together after having been attempting the murder each other, and half of them from the scars of mental subjugation.

    No time to find a magic wand for the humans.

    Thousands of kilometres away, the Middle East was ablaze. Like a long untended pressure cooker the explosion had been real. While violet energy continued to flash down from the sky, several nations had used the threat as a pretext to build up armed forces to strike against whomever they chose. Israel had massed its own troops towards Gaza in the South and the Lebanese border in the North only to have redistribute their response Eastwards when Syria massed what could only described as an invasion force. The nations of west Asia were helpless to strike against the foe that struck against them, so they instead struck against what foes they could.

    Everybody blamed the United States. The US President was now holding his third press conference denying all involvement. The break he had taken after the second press conference had been the talk to Optimus Prime over radio and blame him.

    The President had ordered the military shuttle Independence to launch, and he did so publicly causing certain Pentagon officials to have some semi-public conniption fits. Some sudden promotions soon followed, but with an influx of officers in new positions the military response to the crisis was more confused than it should have been.

    What did not help anyone was the next violet strike from the sky instead incinerated the shuttle launch pad at Cape Canaveral. Shuttle Independence however did not launch from the Kennedy Space Centre, a slightly too public place for something so secret. Or at least something that used to be so secret.

    "Prime, human pretend soldier want talk," Grimlock interrupted the reverie. The female human by his side seemed if anything grumpier than Grimlock. Despite the gravity of the situation, Prime was briefly glad of his faceplate which hid the smile that thought triggered.

    "General Barbera." The soldier introduced herself.

    "General? You command the Joes?"

    "Yes."

    "Hawk has retired?"

    "Dead. Killed by a Decepticon." Another old friend to grieve. Would it stop? Would he be continued to be compromised in his old professional relationships? The universe had moved on while he had... slept. Literally he had slept through the turning of the war. When he had had his final fight with Megatron the Autobots had just started to move from the defensive to the offensive. When Rodimus had revived him the Decepticons had been all but pacified and were fighting rear guard actions, using at times, guerilla tactics.

    "The attack failed," Barbera spoke with bitterness. Failure came very hard to this soldier. She was not even directly involved, and yet seemed to want to claim some of the burden.

    "How? Is there anything we can learn from it?"

    "With an absence of other data it was thought this station might be vulnerable to a lateral attack as its main offensive weapon is designed for orbittal bombardment. The station, however, is defended by conventional missiles."

    "By conventional you mean, human developed." Optimus hardened his tone. This was not Hawk. Hawk would either tell Optimus all there was to tell, or he would lie to an extent the Optimus would not be able to penetrate. There was no level of relationship with Barbera. There was only what she said, and what Optimus' limited understanding of human body behaviour could tell him. Optimus looked more deeply into Barbera's expression. The flag officer did not flinch from his unblinking gaze or the implied insult.

    "Yes."

    "Me Grimlock say humans need more brave." Optimus sensed a strong tone of anger in Grimlock's words. There had always been anger present in the Dinobot, but now it seemed amplified somehow. The why would have to wait until he could talk to Grimlock privately. Barbera bristled visibly.

    "They are using your tech to kill us by the hundreds."

    "There will be time enough for blame afterwards..."

    "That's crap Optimus..."

    "Optimus wrong..." Grimlock and Barbera both stopped when they found themselves simultaneously interrupting Optimus with the same objection. The silence dragged for a few seconds, during which Optimus noted they had attracted an audience. Several Autobots had moved closer to the debate.

    "Blame here won't wait for some other time," Barbera eventually offered. "If we can determine the nature of these terrorists, their motivation, we can determine likely targets and possibility of negotiation."

    "Or offence tactic," added Grimlock. Optimus looked hard at Barbera, who had nodded, or at least considering the massive height difference between them, Optimus assumed an acknowledgement of Grimlock's point.

    "I thought Government did not negotiate with terrorists?"

    "Don't be naive Optimus. What the politicians tell the public only reflects public policy, not the actuality of warfare. Politicians may decide when a war starts, but they do not do the fighting. If they are smart."

    "The end object is still the same, defeating the station." The quiet voice startled everybody. It was Optimus' General, his now shaded twin.

    "Magnus, you need time..." Optimus was deeply concerned for his brother-in-arms, for the depression that had overwhelmed him. Ultra Magnus had finally put Jazz down. It had been almost twelve hours he had carried the corpse. Hopefully he could start to come out of his mood. His strategic ability, almost the equal of Prowl, but with the added flexibility of superior tactical nous that Prowl had lacked, just that little bit of Jazz, honed by vorns of underground guerilla fighting, had made him a deadly opponent for the Decepticons. Depression though had stalked Magnus for years, first as the leader who had presided over the near extinction of the Autobots during Shockwave's famine war, and again during and after the Unicron War where his experience of warfare had not prepared him sufficiently for the superior position of being the General who had resources. Thankfully Galvatron's insanity gave Magnus the flexibility to learn the complete skills of a true General. Optimus spark chamber pained to see Magnus reduced to the mech he had come to know in the short gap between the opening of the space bridge to Cybertron, and the Battle of Autobot City.

    "No Optimus, I will grieve later."

    "That is what you said when we retook Cybertron's second moon. You cannot bottle this up forever. You may never return to the mech you were."

    "I may not want to Prime. I have a feeling I may have to determine my own future away from the Autobots." Magnus was expressionless but the other Autobots displayed varying levels of surprise or astonishment, although not Grimlock or Sunstreaker. Or Barbera. The three seemed not to care. Optimus wanted, wanted very badly, to pursue Magnus' line of thought, but he had to fail his old friend.

    The situation demanded it.

    Being a friend of the Autobot Prime was not good for mech's long term health.

    "What do we know about the station?" Optimus hoped his voice was all business.

    "The primary weapon is a space based laser emitter, large, and if Mr. Inoue's, that's who he claimed to be, Inoue's claim is correct, Cybertronian in origin. Apart from its power, well above anything we have seen before, it's only distinguishing characteristic is its violet colour."

    "Shockwave." Wheeljack's voice held a tone a reproachment. There was plenty of that going around.

    "Explain," Barbera's voice held a tone of command Optimus felt he should be exuding.

    "Jazz and I found Shockwave's body inside the power generation room in there," Wheeljack gestured at the mountain behind them.

    "How did they get that out of the vault?" asked Smokescreen. The diversionist was not immediately present but was being tended by Skids some distance away but with Blaster's help was keeping track of the conference remotely.

    "Not his Binaltech frame, his original frame. His arms were missing." The implication hung over all present, although Barbera might not know.

    "General," translated Optimus, "Shockwave's previous alternate mode was that of an artillery platform. His arms formed the bulk of the componentry of that laser weapon. It would have the capability this Watchtower is displaying. Shockwave was involved in security, it is hard to believe these people got past his internal security."

    "A side issue." Barbera was keen to press on.

    "Not if they had assistance, and not if that assistance is continuing." Of all mechs, this was Sunstreaker. The Joes had found a cache of Autobot weapons in the Mountain and Sunstreaker had stripped down his old blaster and was cleaning it. Beside him Sideswipe was doing the same, completing the reassembly of his old rocket thruster pack. Sunstreaker was not looking at the others and his tone merely tossed the comment into the mix. That everyone was now looking at him seemed not to matter. Or maybe it did. There was a touch of sociopath with Sunstreaker, and wanting the attentions of others was something he sought. He stopped, perhaps sensing he had everyone's attention and looked up.

    "I was the first attempt that succeeded in their ability to take control of us. But I wasn't the first attempt. The human I was bonded to witnessed them activating a Binaltech style unit that was purple with one eye. It transformed into a Mazda RX8 after trashing the place. Obviously the attempt to take control of purple one-eyed boy just woke him up. Either he was conscious and they had his co-operation, or else someone else gave them the information they needed. Shockwave never did have any taste. A Mazda? Urgh. No self respect."

    "Rodimus, I need to know right now," this was Nightbeat. "Do you have even the vaguest impression of somebody else in your frame."

    "We all have the fingerprints that those girls left on us man," Blaster offered the statement. "Gives me the chills just thinking about it. That girl was a complete nerd. A nerd! Do you know what those people are like? She liked paperclips!"

    "Rodimus was not bonded with one of the Agents. His body was intended to be a vessel for Wildrider." Nightbeat's gaze bored in at Rodimus.

    "Nothing Nightbeat," the Cavalier looked slightly puzzled.

    "You are sure?"

    "Yeah," Rodimus was looking a little self-conscious from the detective's enquiry.

    "It does not matter we need an angle on attacking the station." Barbera was getting exasperated. Optimus wondered how often she did that.

    "I have one," Optimus remembered a day, a day so many years ago, when he had taken to the skies using Sideswipe's rocket pack, attempting the bring down the fleeing Decepticons. He had failed then, although Mirage had saved the day. He would not fail this time.

    "Sideswipe, give me the rocket pack." Sideswipe looked up, while next to him, Sunstreaker sighed, a too human reaction. As Sideswipe stood he was felled in a moment, a right cross from his brother flooring the Viper. Sunstreaker bent down and tweaked something on Sideswipe's frame and he switched off. Sunstreaker grabbed the rocket pack, looked briefly at his still partially dissaembled blaster, and picked up his new Binaltech sub-rifle.

    "Sunstreaker this is mutiny."

    "No Prime, believe it or not this is leadership. You're a pompous bleeding heart Prime. If you went up there you would try and reason with them. The time for reason is well past. They need killing and there is no-one better for that job than me."

    "Give me the rockets Sunstreaker. That is an order."

    "After all this time, you still don't get it do you Optimus? Heroics are for the brave, but it's also for the disposable. You don't qualify. If I die so be it, the cause won't die with me. I was dead for most of the last year, at least this time no-one will be giving me a bad name in the afterlife. I'll see you in the Matrix." Sunstreaker paused, looking down at Sideswipes reclining form in Skids arms as the makeshift medic had run quickly to tend to him. "Take care of Sides for me; the boy is far too reckless for his own good. As the humans say, live fast, die young and leave a damn good looking corpse."

    "Sunstreaker!" Optimus Prime was getting mad now. Sunstreaker no longer cared if Prime was feeling guilty ahead of time for his death. One of Jazz' darker humanisms came to mind at that point.

    "Fark you."

    With those final words Sideswipe's rocket pack ignited and the golden figure leapt for the heavens. Optimus watched the fiery figure retreat in his vision and could only wish the best for a soldier he had never really liked, but could never doubt his effectiveness. Optimus knew Sunstreaker was wrong. As long as he could fight he would always fight for life, for a future, for hope.

    Vengeance for vengeance sake was wrong.

    "SUNSTREAKER!" A plaintive voice rent the air. Sideswipe had revived in time to see the figure retreat in the skies above. Half cradled in Skids arms with his left arm out-stretched towards the shrinking glow he added in a desperate pained whisper; "Take me with you."
     
  12. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm Wreck n’ rule

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    Poor Sideswipe, without his brother he feels as though he is nothing.
     
  13. Motor_Master

    Motor_Master Lets the balls touch

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    If only we could get a new TF cartoon this good.
     
  14. vector

    vector City Commander

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    Dude...I do not know how but Chapters 17 and 18 got past me. But I printed them out and will read them as soon as I can.
     
  15. Falcadore

    Falcadore Touring Car Autobot

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    They had only been up for a few days after months of downtime, so no reason to feel guilty at all.

    Sideswipe allowed his vengeance to consume him. He defined himself by his pursuit of the Stunticons and everything else in his life went by the wayside. If he had killed them all he would have been left with the decision, what do I do now and have no real answer. To have Sunstreaker returned and then taken away again... Either way Sideswipe will need therapy.
     
  16. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm Wreck n’ rule

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    i guess it's a good thing smokescreen is still around then
     
  17. MrFX

    MrFX Collecting never ends...

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    NICE! I liked Sunstreaker's response and Grimlock's interaction with Barbera. Great stuff. I just randomly checked this hoping that there would be a new chapter, but there were two.

    Thanks again, Falcodore. As usual, you amaze me.
     
  18. vector

    vector City Commander

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    Gimme more, GIMME MORE....HA HA HA HA....!!!
     
  19. Rotorstorm

    Rotorstorm Wreck n’ rule

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    i agree. we do need more of this
     
  20. Falcadore

    Falcadore Touring Car Autobot

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    This has been delayed more than I intended, but it's lucky to be here at all. Five weeks ago I lost the memory stick that had all my fiction on it. Since then, with my ever wonderful partner for help we pieced together fragments from the lost chapter, but it was still a long way short of the near complete chapter that had been lost. I was quite depressed about the possibility of being able to re-write it. Yesterday I was finally able to return to the place where the thumb drive had been lost, and I found it instantly. I backed it up right away then with a surge of inspiration, finished the chapter.

    And you should all know, there is but one chapter, and an epilogue, remaining.

    And sadly that will likely be the end of my tale of the Alternators. After this I have a new story already under way from a different toy line that is likewise under-represented with stories, plus I have two chapters of A Tale Anew nearing completion too. In the meantime - enjoy.

    Chapter 19 - Elevation

    "Control, SBL Control. Targets One through Eight have been prosecuted. We are repositioning to strike new target as requested in Florida."

    "Control, Sensor station. Armed shuttle has retreated. It is still in missile range but is now outside the projected range of the weapons we believe it has available."

    "Control, Station command. That orbitter must have already been in orbit, Either they knew we were here before hand or more likely they are on a test flight and are likely to be carrying a light weapons load."

    "Station command, Control. It is the latter. All stations: cancel combat alert but maintain general quarters. Sensors keep missile attack solutions on that shuttle live. If they move into an aggressive position alert all stations. SBL Control, continue with reciprocity strikes.



    Lower Atmosphere
    Minutes later


    The sky gradually turned dark around Sunstreaker as he ascended on his pillar of fire, for once ignoring the damage to his livery as the rocket exhaust scorched, blistered and peeled his much loved paintwork. Sunstreaker knew he was vain about his looks, and he did not particularly care what others thought about that, but he was also a warrior born. He knew where priorities lay even if at times he did not show it. There was value in making an opponent underestimate you. Sunstreaker loved staging very nasty surprises for his opponents.

    But this time there was a cost he did care about. Sunstreaker felt touched by the lengths Sideswipe had gone to, creating bloody vengeance in his name. It was as fitting an epitaph as he had ever desired, but what it had done to Sideswipe gave Sunstreaker significant pause. The personality of the mech he had known all his life had changed substantially in the almost two cycles he had spent missing and buried beneath the thoughts of an adolescent human. Returning to his side would have been a first step in Sideswipe's recovery but now...

    He had called himself disposable to Optimus Prime for good reason. This was almost certainly a one way trip. The rocket pack had enough fuel to get him into orbit, with plenty to spare, but certainly not enough to make a successful re-entry and landing, even supposing his human constructed body could take the friction.

    But as he had told Prime, it was a job that needed doing. And with extreme prejudice.

    Certainly Sunstreaker did not mind indulging in the selfishness of the personal revenge for how he had been violated by these people. His mind and spark ripped from its frame and dumped into something more malleable. There were still echoes of Junko Shirakami in his brain case. The child soldier, the adolescent sniper, bound to the preaching’s of this, Takahashi Inoue. This religious prophet who believed his particular version of belief system was more valid than anyone else’s. Humans were intensely parochial about their notions of religion, and there were many who if in conflict with another such 'visionary' would simply further splinter an already splintered view of history. And it was not as though they had digital recordings of ancient generations. Human history had been recorded in an unreliable analogue format, and like even digital copying, the message degrades and corrupts over time. Multiply that level of corruption by a hundred generations. The wildly empirical end result was hardly surprising.

    He almost wished Unicron would show up. Almost.

    Patched into surveillance systems by a helpful Blaster, he was aware the Watchtower would fall almost neatly into an interception course. The satellite had recently made a second pass over West Asia, vaporising ground targets as it passed overhead. If their sensor arrays were finely tuneable enough to pick up Sunstreaker there could well be problems. If there was, he imagined he would never know it. He would just cease to be.

    As the station came over the relative horizon, whipping towards him from left to right in its orbit at hundreds of kilometres an hour, he altered his trajectory to intercept then trained his sub-rifle out ahead of himself and started firing. A blast of azure energy lanced downwards suddenly, reaching for a target on the ground. It was firing on North America now? Hopefully not at the Autobots clustered as they were in one spot somewhere underneath his feet. Refocussing he continued to fire, hoping that any small hit at the station would help.

    For Sunstreaker's plan was far from subtle.


    Lower Atmosphere
    US Air Force Assault Shuttle Independence
    Same Time


    The biggest problem facing US Space Command in recent times had been paint. Space represents a unique battleground. Conventional camouflage simply does not work. Space, for the most part is black. Anything else is space is brightly coloured. The Earth is mostly white from its cloud formations, the Moon light grey, and every object floating between a myriad of the lighter industrial colours. Every object represents total contrast in colours. For Space Command's Assault Shuttle Independence, the world's first space fighter a new solution had been needed, and adaptive camouflage had been applied. It was the single greatest secret of the space program. Powered by batteries recharged by a thin and efficient layer of solar cells which covered Independence's wing surfaces, light waves were bent magnetically by a myriad of projectors arrayed in the spaces between the cells. These tiny projectors had not been developed by NASA or the USAF, but copied. Secure in a vault in Space Commands limited research facilities at NASA was a long section of blue and white metal which ended in a great white metal gauntlet, many times larger than the largest hand to ever see action in the NBA, its fingers blocky, square and smooth, unlike any seen on human hands. On one blue panelled side of the 'arm' sat three-quarters of an incongruous advertisement for a brand of French tobacco. Given the right electrical impulses, that arm could fade from sight. The Independence had been armed with this stolen technology.

    Space Command originally had been created to run the CIA and NSA's growing fleet of surveillance satellites. In time it took over some of the functions of the now disbanded Strategic Air Command which had once run the US Air Force's nuclear deterrent. Specifically Space Command had taken over SAC's fleet of Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, but as with any agency granted great power, it developed agendas of its own. Most technology utilised in NASA's fleet of Space Shuttles, which once had been a genuine fleet, but now consisted of only the three youngest orbitters, Discovery, Atlantis and Endeavour, was old, mainly 1970's technology. Their major role as cargo haulers was also superfluous to the intentions of Space Command, but the expensive research and development program being organised for the creation of the scramjet spaceplane America was too ambitious for Space Command. So while the space programs public face NASA fought the good fight to get spaceplane America flying while still funding the Constellation program, and the rumour chasers were diverted with specially planted leaks about the construction of a cruiser based on alien technology called the Prometheus, Space Command utilised mostly existing technology and the proven design of the Columbia class orbitters to create the Independence.

    Without the burden of hauling tonnes of cargo into space, Independence was smaller than Discovery and her sister vessels. It travelled aloft with basically the same launch system as the Columbia class vessels, two solid fuel boosters and a large fuel tank to feed Independence's internal engines, but scaled down to suit the much reduced launch weight of the unarmed Independence. Because of the risk of carrying live weapons into space, the Independence’s armaments were launched separately in cargo modules and the space fighter was loaded with its cargo of missiles once in orbit.

    Independence's first military action had not been a success. With only two test missiles aboard it had moved in to attack the station with a couple of G.I.Joe space troopers to act as boarders once they had closed on the station. The station was surprisingly well armed, and both of Independence missiles were intercepted and destroyed by anti-missile missiles. When another missile was fired at Independence they beat a hasty retreat, unable to close to within range of the rotary cannon and left with questions as to how they could see the Independence with their adaptive camouflage deployed.

    "Do you think it's like stealth fighters, with the bomb bay doors open the AC fails because you can see the missiles and the interior of the bay?"

    "Maybe, but it's supposed to be active, like a force-field, wait. Did something hit the station? A flash of light. Blue-ish."

    "What? Where?" Independence’s two pilots were former astronauts who had been seconded back to the Air Force and had spent some time flying F-117 Nighthawks and B-2 Spirits as well as performing development work on F-22 Raptors and F-35 Joint Strike Fighters.

    "Are we anywhere near Kazakhstan?" One of the garishly space suited G.I.Joes was inside the cockpit of Independence as well. The three humans looked out of shrunken cockpit window at the strange sight beyond. Floating in zero gee the Joe propelled her upwards across the cabin, so much smaller than what she had trained on in the Atlantis. Kazakhstan was where the bulk of the Russian space program was based, from the Baikonur Cosmodrome, to the more secretive Sary Shagan test range where Russia's laser weapons facility was located and had once fired on shuttle Challenger. To the alarm of the astronauts, the space trooper trained her rifle out of the canopy of the Independence, using her rifle sights to bring the scene closer. Another burst of light flashed upwards at sharp angle from the planet, hitting and shaking the station. Debris sprayed slowly free from the white refuge from the harshness of vacuum.

    "No, we're over North America. And the angle is too steep; it has to be from someone already in space. Who could be firing that?"

    "I've no idea." More bursts of blue light flashed upwards at more frequent intervals. Rotating lights erupted all over the station.


    Watchtower Control Room
    Same Time


    Klaxons sounded all over the station, having howled into life moments after the first hit. Inoue looked up from a collection of after-action images of the damage caused by the Watchtowers first pass across the Middle East. Inoue was actually sitting behind a desk at the uppermost part of the largest of the cylinders that made up the Watchtower. The triumph of Japanese industry; more importantly it was a temple through which the words and wishes of God may be broadcast, to faithful and infidels alike. There had been much negativity since his announcement of the new world order, none though unanticipated and countermeasures had been put in place. The imminent destruction of launch pad LC39A at Cape Canaveral would give the Americans pause in their efforts against Inoue's initiative.

    "What is it? The Americans are too late to stop us. We have beaten their little toy shuttle. They have no more with which to threaten us." His tone was dismissive. They had reached the endgame intact; there was only the glory to be won in His Name.

    "Control. There is something ascending from Earth on direct intercept course."

    "Shoot it down." Inoue believed in a firmness of resolve could conquer many obstacles.

    "Control, we do not have a weapon we can target it with. Weapons is trying to deploy a missile downwards instead of..."

    "Shoot it down."

    "Yes Control."

    There was a sudden crash throughout the station, the vibration shook everything. Fittings jolted partially free and loose objects were dropped, floating free in the cramped confines of the station.

    "Control, lower module is compromised; the SBL is out of alignment and can no longer be targeted accurately."

    "It looks like it's an Autobot ascending the gravity well." That comment triggered much murmuring across the communications network, a network in which all microphones were always open, rather than triggered when someone had a comment. Inoue believed in a system of total honesty. A system where every comment deserved to be heard.

    "It is not an Autobot," said Inoue dismissively. "Autobots are cars and Decepticons fly, those are the rules. And there are no Decepticons left."

    The comment was left floating in the air and talk amongst the staff paused. While Inoue may have believed, it was becoming clear that his disciples were wavering. The situation needed clear commands to stop their thoughts wandering. Recomposed Inoue barked at the microphone as the station shuddered again.

    "Control to SBL control, leave the systems on automatic targeting and evacuate the lower module." There was no response from the laser control station.

    "Control, Damage Control, the Lower Module is open to space and has been sealed off from the station." Inoue looked across at the weapons station.

    "Have you destroyed the shuttle launch pad yet?"

    "Watchtower is not yet in position, but I believe"

    "Control, We have visual identification, it is Unit One." A monitor image relayed what the external cameras had picked up.

    "Agent One, why are you firing on the station?" Despite his intentions, anger was slipping into Inoue's tone. Several faces turned to look at the person they had come to believe in. "Agent Shirakami! Cease this action at once! Junko, do not betray the path we have trod in his..."

    "The girl is dead. Will you shut up and die already? I am sick to the sump of your voice." Realisation sunk in as he recognised the weak and feeble voice that had spoken a few times as a shattered yellow body had been brought into their the Colorado base. The voice of... Inoue suddenly lost it, leaping from his station, and diving head first for the SBL controls. Pushing aside the desks operator, he began slapping at the firing controls.


    US Air Force Assault Shuttle Independence
    Same Time


    The space based laser fired, a thick purple beam of coherent light flashing downwards from the flattened octagon shape formed by the casing. The beam disappeared below, to fast to track and with no idea what it might have hit.

    "The laser!" cried Independence's pilot unnecessarily. Blue fire continued to track in from below. Whatever they had tried to hit it seemed they had missed. The damage to the station must have affected targeting.

    "Look!" The USAF co-pilot pointed and the commando saw the gushing atmosphere blowing out of the stations lower habitable module. The terminator at that point swept past and in the sudden light of the Sun, the damage from the unknown energy weapon became apparent. The silver and purple squashed octagon shape of the space based laser emitter was badly out of skew and punctured. For the first time the crew could plainly see the pitted and faded Decepticon logo on the SBL's outer casing. Sparks flashed around the unit and the internal lights through the porthole had gone out. Below the ascending figure crossed the terminator and a large vaguely humanoid figure in yellow and black wearing the ever distinctive dark red Autobrand prominently on its breast plate became visible moving quickly upwards as the G.I. Joe commando watched the flying figure through her rifle sights.

    "It's an Autobot," said the commando, her voice filled with the quiet awe of astonishment. The firing stopped and moments later a small puff of propellant appeared as the figure adjusted its trajectory, racing forwards from the planet on collision course. The yellow figure, struck the station in the main module just above the damage his weapon had caused.

    The figure had recovered from the impact and was now physically tearing his way into the station. The damage was quickly catastrophic and the atmospheric venting of the main module soon ceased. Lights went out all over the structure. This was the first time the Joe had seen one of the amazing mechanical aliens in action. She found herself split between a semi-stunned reverie, her military training assessing the marvellous potential of these warriors from afar, but at the same time terrified that the thought of such power belonging to an authority and even a morality she could not trust. Despite three generations of Japanese animation of mech warriors, the reality was not of advancing military technology, but of an alien race, cleaved in two by their own civil war which for 20 years had threatened to engulf Earth. Now, with that threat at seemingly the lowest ebb since 1984, a religious extremist had found a way to exploit what had been left behind, and the threat interplanetary war was real once again.

    The odd, blocky shaped shuttle drifted free of the station. Small puffs of propellant exhaust sprinkled across the side facing them as the ship tried to get clear. The Autobot turned its head and saw some of its prey attempting to flee. Discarding the cold lifeless hulk of the Watchtower that moments before had held the world to ransom, a pair of rocket motors on the Autobots motor fired. The main engines of the shuttle fired and the spacecraft and the alien retreated rapidly away.

    The Joe and the two pilots exchanged glances for long moments before the senior pilot activated a radio.

    "Houston, we have a problem. Oh bloody hell we have a problem."