A Transformers: Armada Story
By William Rendfeld
“Something wrong, sir?”
Jetfire looked up and said, “Nothing, Sideswipe. Just distracted, is all.” With the apparent return of Unicron, the oncoming treaty with Earth, the escalating situation with Megatron, and the recovery of these ‘Keys’, coupled with Vector Prime’s swift departure, Jetfire had plenty to be distracted over. “Any news?”
“We’ve picked up space bridge signals coming from Altihex and the Tagon Heights,” Sideswipe replied. “The Dinobots and the Wreckers have been dispatched, but we’ve got nothing so far.”
“Keep me informed,” Jetfire ordered. “But I’ve got a bad feeling we’ve already lost this round. Also, have Scattorshot prep comm.-lines to the colonial governments on Velocitron and Animatros. I’ve got a few calls I need to make.”
“Understood sir,” Sideswipe nervously noted as he walked out of the office. As he left, Jetfire silently looked to the skies of Cybertron and said, “I hope things are going a little more smoothly on your end, Optimus.”
“You mean you guys are really going to meet the President?” Rad asked in disbelief.
“Yes,” Jolt replied. “At least, Optimus, Scavenger and Vector Prime are. They’ll be handling the negotiations. Diana and Colonel Franklin will be there to support them, but I don’t think there’ll be too much trouble.”
“Wow, meeting the president,” Carlos mused. “Guess this means you guys really are gonna be here for a while.”
“Secretly, one would hope,” Alexis was quick to note. “But why is this ‘Vector Prime’ going to be there?”
“He’s one of the oldest Cybertronians in existence,” High Wire explained. “He was online before the Quintessons even came to our world, and helped to ensure our freedom from them. He’s also the one who entrusted the Matrix to Optimus Prime. He is to us what a high priest would be to humanity.”
“So he’s Cybertron’s spiritual leader?” Alexis asked. “Wow.”
“Unfortunately, he only leaves the chamber of Vector Sigma rarely, in cases of extreme emergency,” Sureshock noted. “And he wouldn’t come all the way here just to be social with Optimus and an Earth politician. There’s something else going on, mark my words.”
“You’re worrying too much,” Rad chided the orange Mini-Con.
“Don’t count on that,” Grindor was quick to note.
“Space Bridge Transfer complete,” Starscream announced.
“Excellent,” Megatron noted. “Let’s all be sociable, gentlemen; we have ourselves a few new houseguests.”
The hatch to the space bridge unit opened, allowing the four new arrivals to step into view of their fellow Decepticons. Two were of similar make and model to Starscream; one of the two was deep blue and black, the other mostly black and light purple with some slight structural differences. The third was immense, with armor colored in varying shades of blue and giving off a sense of immensity. The fourth was smaller than the others, his armor painted black and gold, a large gash through his chest plate.
“Welcome, Decepticons,” Megatron declared. “I’m pleased to see that the four of you made it intact.”
“It pleases us to be here, Megatron,” Skywarp was quick to note. “And it honors us to be chosen for this assignment.”
“Excellent, yes,” Megatron noted. With an appraising eye, Megatron turned to Starscream and noted, “Most impressive choices, Starscream. I approve, especially of our newest recruit. I’m certain you can whip him into shape, yes?”
“Of course,” Starscream noted.
“Good,” Megatron replied. “I’ll be briefing him personally. Do as you will with the rest. Wheeljack, come with me.”
Wheeljack nodded, and silently walked out of the room, following Megatron as he exited.
“That kid’s got an asteroid-sized reality check coming,” Thundercracker quickly noted. “Think he’ll be a problem?”
“Don’t quite know yet,” Starscream noted. “However, I think we may have a chance. Thanks for coming.”
“It’s not easy to deny a favor from Bludgeon,” Mudflap was quick to note in an odd accent. “What’s our status?”
“Come with me,” Starscream replied. “I’ll explain on the way.”
“I’ll assume you’ve been prepared for the current campaign,” Megatron noted.
“Earthen alternate mode taken, all logs and cultural data analyzed,” Wheeljack replied. “Just give me a chance, sir.”
“Very well,” Megatron noted. “But I expect results, Wheeljack. Don’t disappoint me.”
“Hot Shot?” Red Alert asked in surprise. “Why are you here?”
Hot Shot turned towards the isolation bay where Smokescreen was recovering, and said, “Just checking up on Smokescreen is all. Is he going to be okay?”
“Given time, and assuming something else doesn’t happen in the meantime, he should be fine,” Red Alert replied, taking up position next to the younger Transformer. “Why the overwhelming concern for Smokescreen, however?”
Hot Shot looked towards the monitor, and asked, “Do you have any brothers, Red Alert?”
“Not really,” Red Alert replied. “Not anymore. Why?”
“I was one of two Autobots brought online in Vector Sigma,” Hot Shot explained. “The other was Wheeljack; he and I were close, did everything together. We studied in the same courses at the Cybertron War Academy and everything. We were a team, Red.” His optics dimmed, and he noted, “Then it happened. On one of our early exercises, there was an attack. Wheeljack was trapped in some rubble...I went to get help, but the arriving commander told me to just give up. One recruit was an acceptable loss. I went back to get him out myself, but by then, the building...”
“Had been destroyed,” Red finished for him. “I read the report. The unit commander recommended that you be pulled from the academy. Disobeying orders from a superior officer is hardly something they take lightly.”
“Wheeljack and I were brothers,” Hot Shot replied. “I couldn’t just abandon him. Better him alive and me out of the Autobot Militia than him dead.”
“I’m not arguing with you,” Red Alert replied. “As a medic, I know better than anyone the value of a life. Besides, I’ve read those same reports, as have Optimus and Scavenger. We’ve all agreed; you did the right thing.”
“I still feel terrible about it,” Hot Shot replied. “They couldn’t even find his superstructure in the wreckage afterwards. I left him, Red; I’m responsible for what’s happened to him. That’s why I’m so worried about Smokescreen; I don’t want to lose another friend.”
Red Alert looked towards the young warrior and noted, “You’re being a little hard on yourself, Hot Shot.” As the young warrior turned to face him, Red continued, “As a medic, I may succeed or fail in saving the lives of one of my patients. Despite all of my efforts, sometimes I fail. It’s a hard fact to swallow, but it’s still the truth. I only get by because I remember that despite all my failures, I’ve had many successes. That’s the best advice I can offer.”
Hot Shot turned to his superior and said, “No offense, sir, but that doesn’t help much.”
“I never said it was good advice,” Red Alert retorted. “Now get going; with the conference and Smokescreen’s injuries, we’re understaffed. If something happens to him, you’ll know about it.”
“Sir,” Hot Shot replied as he slowly exited the repair bay. As he exited the room, Red turned to the isolation chamber and noted, “I almost hope Wheeljack is dead; I’d hate to think of how it’d be if he was alive.”
Elsewhere in Portland, an armored car slowly rolled into a warehouse on the outskirts of the city. Waiting within were several armed guards, large vehicles, and two individuals with varying degrees of nervousness.
“You look a little green around the gills,” Colonel Matthew Franklin was quick to note.
“I am,” Diana Masters replied. “I voted for the other guy.”
Franklin looked at her with a raised eyebrow and asked, “Why? The space program? The War on Terror? Domestic Issues?”
“No, just thought the war could’ve been run better,” Diana replied as the car stopped. “You study history long enough, you figure out what works and what doesn’t when it comes to warfare. I don’t think he’s quite got it.”
“He’s not responsible for every action the military takes,” Franklin replied. “And while I don’t quite agree with everything that’s happened since he was in charge, he is the Commander-in-Chief.”
As Franklin and the other soldiers stood at attention, Diana lightly dusted off her clothes seconds before the current President of the United States climbed out of the armored car and saluted the gathered soldiers. As he turned to approach them, Franklin quickly sounded off, “Colonel Michael Franklin, United States Air Force. It’s an honor to meet you sir.”
“Relax, soldier, this isn’t a review,” the President noted at last. He turned to Diana and offered his hand. “You must be Dr. Masters.”
“Eventually, with luck,” Diana replied, accepting the offered hand. “But I’m flattered, Mr. President. It’s an honor to meet you.”
“The feeling is mutual,” the President assured her. “Now, I’m told I have a few unique individuals to speak to. I’m going to assume you aren’t them.”
“No, merely a go-between,” Diana noted as the doors to the warehouse closed. “They’re the ones who wish to speak with you.”
Suddenly, two of the vehicles within the chamber seemed to spring to life. Smaller vehicles disconnected from them as a third came into view, unlike anything the President had seen in his entire life. Where a semi cab, a bulldozer, and a vehicle which looked like something out of Star Wars once rested, stood three massive mechanical forms, each of equal stature. Standing at their feet, around human-sized, were three smaller mechanoids.
“Good afternoon, Mister President,” one of the larger robots, a gray plate covering much of his face, said pleasantly. “My name is Optimus Prime. We have much to talk about.”
“The situation with Earth is becoming far more delicate,” Starscream noted as he led the three new arrivals through the halls of the Nemesis. “The Autobots have two of the five Core Weapons, and Megatron has been gradually pressing for more and more hard measures in obtaining them.”
“Then does that mean we have little time?” Skywarp asked.
“Perhaps,” Starscream replied. “Perhaps not. Right now, however, we need to wait and gauge the situation. We don’t want to make things worse by doing something stupid.”
“Perhaps,” Mudflap noted. “But maybe we need to take action now, before anything else happens.”
“That may well be our only option in the end,” Starscream noted as the four entered the Nemesis’s command deck.
“Starscream, at last,” Megatron noted as the four entered, the remaining Decepticons gathered in the chamber. “Thank you for joining us. Now then, as everyone is well aware, we have a few arrivals. As a result of this, and our declining Energon resources, we need to perform another of our little supply runs. Thanks to Starscream’s research on the subject, we’ve managed to find a suitable facility.”
“According to our files, numerous hydroelectric facilities are on a small island in the northern ocean of Earth,” Thrust noted as a display came up. “Considering the last time we took energy from a hydroelectric facility, this should provide us with enough for some time.”
“Something like this will definitely attract Autobot attention,” Starscream noted.
“Agreed,” Megatron replied. “But this time, we shall be ready for them.”
“The computer systems were wiped after transfer,” a large, blue and white Autobot reported to Jetfire as the smaller Transformer looked over his report. “Whirl and Stockade searched the area, but we found no sign of any departing Decepticons. Most likely automated.”
A smaller, lithe robot with grey and gold armor nodded his agreement, adding, “Nothing seen from Swoop’s perspective, either. Obviously well-planned.”
“Not surprising,” Jetfire replied. “Grimlock, Magnus, keep your teams on standby. I’ve got a bad feeling this won’t be the only thing we see.”
The two Autobot commanders nodded, and walked out of the office. As the doors closed behind them, Grimlock was quick to note, “Jetfire hiding something.”
“It’s not that hard to notice,” Ultra Magnus noted. “Optimus has been off-planet for weeks; the Council’s had closed-door discussions for a while, all this coming and going. Atlas has been raising chaos over all this for some time. Then again, that’s him.”
“Me not fond of this either,” Grimlock noted. “Team ready; if Megatron causing trouble, between Wreckers and Dinobots, he never cause trouble again.”
“Give it time, Grimlock,” Ultra Magnus assured his friend. “We’ll be called in soon enough.”
“Let me see if I understand this,” the President noted after hearing the full details from Optimus Prime. “A small terrorist faction from your world has set up operations on our moon, and it’s due to them and their search for these Mini-Cons that we’ve had so much trouble in the last month.”
“Exactly,” Optimus replied. “The only reason that more chaos hasn’t been caused is that we’ve been actively trying to stay out of sight; Megatron is many things, but he’s hardly foolish. If he attacked directly, he knows that he’d be outgunned.”
“And no one would complain too terribly about launching a nuclear attack on your moon against a very real threat,” Scavenger added.
“Given recent events, we felt that we could no longer stand by and simply leave your world defenseless,” Optimus continued. “Which is why we’re here, and hoping to negotiate for a treaty between our peoples.”
The President looked at them sternly, and asked, “What exactly are you asking for?”
“With the permission of your government, we’d like to construct a permanent base facility here on Earth,” Optimus explained. “We’d also like to enlist the aid of your military in locating the remaining Mini-Con pods, and potentially the ship which brought them to this system in the first place.”
The President nodded, then asked, “Alliances ideally work both ways. What can we expect out of this?”
“We thought you’d ask that question,” Optimus noted as Sparkplug stepped forward, a small computer pad in his hands. “Naturally, we can’t give you any technology that could be used primarily for military purposes. However, we’ve noted several fields where our technology could be useful in the civilian market.”
“I’ve examined their findings, Mister President,” Franklin was quick to note. “And many are promising. With Cybertronian technology, we could revolutionize several fields. Clean energy sources, medical technology...we could potentially land a man on Mars in half the time than it’d take now.”
The President slowly looked through the list, and noted, “All this for a base and a little help looking for lost robots.” He gave the pad back to Sparkplug and noted, “I’d like to believe all this.”
“I’ll be the first to admit, Mister President,” Diana noted, “all this is a bit on the overwhelming side. But they’re real, and the Autobots are on our side, not to mention doing their damnedest not to cause a panic. That’s the major reason why they’re doing this rather than directly appealing to the public; a low profile is what they need, but they’d rather have help than not.”
“And there’s nothing in the law saying that you can’t give them support,” Franklin noted. “Congress ratifies treaties; you just negotiate and sign them.”
“We don’t intend to remain hidden from humanity forever, Mister President,” Optimus noted. “However, we won’t reveal ourselves until the threat from Megatron’s faction is eliminated and there is no threat to Earth’s population. We only ask for this because this world is yours, not ours; it’s only right that you know the danger you face.”
The President looked at the pad, then towards Optimus Prime, and said, “I’ll have to discuss this with my advisors.”
“Take all the time you need,” Optimus Prime replied.
To say that Iceland is cold in winter is an understatement; it is very cold, even on the mainland. Bearable, but cold nonetheless. On one of the island’s many hydroelectric facilities, the workers milled about, doing their jobs peacefully.
Little did they suspect they’d have company, even as three aircraft blasted over the base at supersonic speeds.
“Hardly seems sporting,” Skywarp noted, flying in formation with his fellow Decepticons. “A defenseless facility, only civilians present. Better that we scare them away than harm any of them.”
“Agreed,” Thundercracker replied. “But I’d rather it not happen at all.”
“Let’s just make sure we don’t have anyone underfoot before we begin our Energon collecting,” Starscream reminded them. “Stay sharp, and keep focused.” He discreetly opened a communications line and said, “Starscream to Megatron; we’ve sighted the human energy facility. Locals are evacuating the area. You may move in.”
“Acknowledged, Starscream,” Megatron replied. “Out.”
As alarm klaxons sounded throughout the Ark, Hot Shot rushed to the command center and asked, “What’s up?”
“The Decepticons are attacking another hydroelectric plant,” Blurr reported. “It’s on an island in the North Atlantic, Iceland. Looks like they called in reinforcements.”
“Wonderful,” Hot Shot noted. “Any word from Optimus?”
“He’s completed preliminary negotiations,” Blurr explained. “I’ve sent word to him; he, Scavenger, and Vector Prime are on their way, and want us to meet them there.”
“Alright,” Hot Shot said. “I’ll tell Red and meet you in the warp chamber with Jolt and Incinerator. I’ve got a good feeling we’ll need them.”
“On my way to the command deck,” Red Alert replied as he received word from Hot Shot. “Watch yourselves out there, bots. I don’t want more work in the medical bay than necessary.”
“Understood, Red Alert,” Hot Shot responded as the line clicked off.
With one firm look towards Smokescreen’s unconscious form, Red Alert walked out of the medical bay, the door sliding shut behind him. As soon as he was out of eyeshot, however, Smokescreen’s optics flickered to life...
“Cyclonus, Thrust, continue aerial reconnaissance of the area,” Megatron ordered. “Starscream and Mudflap will be handling the Energon extraction. Remaining Decepticons will maintain defensive positions; is that clear?”
A chorus of confirmations erupted over the comm.-line before Megatron clicked off and turned to Wheeljack. “You are prepared?”
“Yes,” Wheeljack replied. “I’m ready.”
“Good,” Megatron noted with a smile.
Hot Shot and Blurr quickly emerged in the area near the hydroelectric plant, their respective Mini-Con partners accompanying them. The two Autobots quickly transformed to robot mode.
“They’re nearby,” Hot Shot realized, his visor sliding down. “I’m reading high Energon readings from nearby. They’ve probably begun the siphoning process.”
“Not surprising,” Incinerator noted. “What now?”
Two nearby missile impacts answered the Mini-Con’s question as Cyclonus called down from above, “Now you Autobots are gonna give us a little fun!”
“Have fun with this!” Hot Shot called as Jolt linked up with him, activating his overhead cannon. A missile fired off, streaking through the air and hitting Cyclonus directly in a missile port, forcing him to transform and pull back, the four Mini-Cons linked up with him activating auxiliary weapons as he did so.
Blurr readied his cannons as Incinerator linked up, and declared, “I can take this loudmouth, Hot Shot. Go and make sure the Decepticons are softened up for Prime and the others.”
Hot Shot looked to Blurr as he opened fire, then at the oncoming Cyclonus, and nodded his assent. He transformed to vehicle mode, Jolt shifting positions as he did so, and sped off.
High above, a black, angular aircraft flew overhead, undetected by those below, and noted, “Interesting...”
As Hot Shot sped towards the hydroelectric facility, his sensors picked up something familiar. He slowed and stopped, transforming as Jolt detached. “Hot Shot? What’s wrong?”
“Something’s up, Jolt,” Hot Shot explained. “I’m reading something...someone...familiar. But it can’t be.”
“It can,” a familiar voice said. “And it is.”
Hot Shot turned, and looked in surprise as a familiar form stepped into the light. He stood aghast and asked, “Wheeljack?”
“Hello, Hot Shot,” Wheeljack coldly noted, two long stun batons in his hands. “Been a long time.”
With those words, he rushed forwards, both batons at the ready, and struck Hot Shot, sending electric arcs through the Autobot’s body.
“What are you-?!” Jolt exclaimed before being knocked aside.
“You left me to die, Hot Shot,” Wheeljack coldly continued, attacking Hot Shot with a stun baton with each sentence. “To be buried in that rubble, burned in the flame. You have no idea how helpless I felt. How alone I was, how afraid I was. You said you’d come back for me, Hot Shot. You didn’t.”
Hot Shot crumpled to the ground as a helpless Jolt watched before passing out, Wheeljack tentatively tapping his two stun batons together, light arcs of electricity leaping from one to another. “And now, you’re going to pay the price for abandoning me.”
Hot Shot struggled to his knees and said, “Fine. Just stop wasting time and do it.”
Wheeljack’s optics widened in surprise; Hot Shot actually wasn’t going to put up a fight. But...why? Wheeljack knew Hot Shot; he was a fighter, he wouldn’t surrender without a fight, even after something like this. It was almost like he wanted to die.
As Wheeljack puzzled over this, the loud roar of an engine sounded from nearby. As Hot Shot collapsed to the ground, an orange utility truck roared towards him. On reflex, he swatted at the truck with one of his batons, sending an electric charge through it and knocking the large vehicle off course...only to have it transform and crumple to the ground, sparks arcing through his armor.
“Lucky...shot...” Smokescreen grumbled before collapsing to the ground, his optics going dark.
Wheeljack’s optics widened in shock as he looked at the prone Smokescreen, then at the unconscious Hot Shot. He dropped his batons just as a comm.-line opened up. “Wheeljack, report status.”
“Two Autobots defeated,” Wheeljack noted, trying his best to keep his voice neutral. “I’m reading stasis lock on both.”
“Make certain they’re destroyed, Wheeljack,” Megatron replied. “I’m expecting company any minute. Out.”
The line cut off, and Wheeljack carefully picked up his batons, almost as if they were tainted by something. He looked to Smokescreen’s prone form and said, “Sorry.” He then turned to the prone form of Hot Shot and stepped forward. “Farewell old friend. I think you’re better off this way.” His two batons gained a white-hot glow, and he turned them over, pointing them downwards, and prepared to drive them home through Hot Shot’s back.
The killing blow never came as twin laser bursts rocked the ground nearby. Wheeljack rolled aside, uncertain of where the attack came from.
“I know a sign when I see one,” Wheeljack noted as he transformed to vehicle mode and drove away.
As Wheeljack got out of sight, a purple motorcycle with a lone rider drove up to the two Autobots. The rider climbed off, and the motorcycle shifted forms, becoming a lean robot with purple and yellow armor. His blue optic bar glowed briefly in anticipation.
“Not bad,” the robot noted.
“Starscream, report status,” Megatron ordered.
“Twelve Energon cubes filled,” Starscream reported. “More than enough for our purposes right now. We’d better pull out before company shows up.”
“Company’s already shown, Starscream,” Megatron replied with grim satisfaction. Before Starscream could question him, he shut off the comm.-line and opened another, “Wheeljack, report status.”
“Two Autobots heavily damaged,” Wheeljack replied.
“Heavily damaged?” Megatron asked. “Your orders were to make certain they were damaged beyond recovery, Wheeljack. What happened?”
“Laser bolts,” Wheeljack reported. “Came out of...”
“That’s no excuse, Wheeljack,” Megatron bellowed. “Go back and...!”
Blasts of fire issued out of the sky as a green-colored portal closed in the sky over his head, an unusual-looking aircraft and a familiar looking semi truck and bulldozer appearing.
With a growl in his voice, Megatron spat, “Never mind. Recall to beam-out point and call back to base. We’ve overstayed our welcome.”
“Understood,” Wheeljack replied as the comm.-line went out.
“Hot Shot, Blurr, report in!” Scavenger called. “Hot Shot! Slag, no response.”
“Keep trying,” Optimus said as he slammed into the ground. “Red Alert, report in. What have you got?”
“More bad news,” Red Alert replied via comm.-line. “Smokescreen’s gone missing from med bay.”
“Optimus, this is Blurr,” word finally came in. “Decepticons were here; I just spent the last five minutes trading blaster bolts with Cyclonus and a quartet of Mini-Cons. Hot Shot went on ahead, and I’m reading his spark signature, Jolt’s...and Smokescreen’s. Someone else is with them.”
“Send us coordinates, Blurr,” Optimus ordered. “We’ll meet you there, just head there immediately.”
Jolt’s optics quickly came back online, his systems automatically running diagnostics. He slowly transformed and got to his feet, carefully looking around. The first things he noticed were the motionless forms of Hot Shot and Smokescreen lying on the ground, electric burns on their armor in addition to the injuries Smokescreen already had. The next thing was an unfamiliar robot kneeling next to Smokescreen’s body.
“Your friend here’s in bad shape,” he said at last. “Massive cumulative damage. Should take better care of himself. The other guy’s not in much better shape, though.”
Jolt managed a flabbergasted “Who...?” before Blurr flew in and transformed, both his guns at the ready.
“All right, back off,” Blurr ordered, both guns at the ready.
“I didn’t do this,” the robot noted. “Both of them were hit with stun batons at high settings, most likely modified.”
“He’s right,” Jolt realized, his memories of the seconds before being knocked out flooding his mind. “It was another Transformer; Hot Shot called him ‘Wheeljack’.”
Blurr looked at the Mini-Con; he didn’t have reason to lie. He then looked to the new robot and noted, “Why are you here then?”
“A ‘bot can’t show concern for one of his fellows?” the unknown robot asked. “Listen; both of them are in stasis lock. They need a medic. I suggest you contact whoever’s in charge and get them out of here as soon as possible.”
Blurr continued to eye the newcomer warily, but put away one of his guns and logged in. “Optimus, I’ve found them. We’ve got a newcomer too, says they’re in bad shape.”
“We’re almost there, stay with them,” Optimus ordered.
The line clicked off, leaving Blurr to ask, “Can I at least get a name? Why you’re here?”
“The name is Sideways,” the robot answered. “I’m here because I came.”
“Power has been restored throughout northern Iceland, but investigators are still baffled at the temporary loss,” the news report chimed in.
“A successful raid,” Thrust noted proudly as the monitor switched off. “We’ve enough Energon to last us several months now.”
“The mission was partially successful at best,” Megatron grumbled.
“Two Autobots are disabled, Megatron,” Thrust reasoned. “That has to count for something.”
“Disabled, yes, but not for long,” Megatron noted. “And they still have access to two of the Core Weapons. This won’t last, Thrust; even with our apparent advantage.” He rose from his throne and declared, “I’m going to have a word with our newest recruit. Make certain Starscream doesn’t stir anything up.”
“Both Hot Shot and Smokescreen have experienced severe electrical shock,” Red Alert reported. “They’re lucky they went into stasis lock when they did. Their sparks are stable, but I don’t know how long it will last.”
“Is there anything you can do?” Optimus asked.
“I’ll do everything I can,” Red Alert promised. “But it may not be enough.”
Optimus’s optics narrowed somberly, and he asked, “Keep me informed, Red.” The screen clicked off, and Optimus turned to the newcomer. “Now then, Sideways, is it?” Optimus Prime asked. “We appreciate your help. But what are you doing here on Earth?”
The two, along with Vector Prime, stood within the confines of Optimus Prime’s personal chamber on the Ark.
“Not much to tell, really,” Sideways explained. “I’m a free trader, mostly in ancient artifacts. My ship’s in need of repairs, so I’m hiding out here on Earth for the time being. Just getting scrap here and there to convert into bits and pieces of replacement parts, nothing serious. You’d be surprised what these people throw away.”
“And your ship?” Vector Prime asked. “Where does it lay?”
“Around the Earth’s northern magnetic pole,” Sideways explained. “With the unusual properties in that area, I thought it’d be a perfect hiding place.”
“That does make sense,” Optimus noted. “Buy why were you in Iceland?”
“Curiosity,” Sideways explained. “I detected Cybertronians in the area, figured I’d check it out. Converting human scrap into useable parts is a difficult process, and if I could get proper spare parts the old fashioned way, so much the better.”
The two Primes looked to one another, in a moment of silent conference. They turned their attention back to Sideways as Optimus noted, “We’ll see what we can do. Unfortunately, we’re currently involved in a minor conflict due to Megatron.”
“The Mini-Cons, yeah,” Sideways noted. “I saw one back there. So Megatron’s after them again?”
“Yes,” Vector Prime replied. “Which is why we’d like you to remain here for the time being. It’s far too dangerous for one of us to be alone.”
“Until we can get your ship prepared, consider yourself a guest,” Optimus noted. “We’ll assign temporary quarters for you as soon as we can.”
“Thanks,” Sideways replied. “I appreciate it.”
Sideways exited the chamber, leaving the two Primes alone. “I’m assuming you’re getting the same feeling that I am,” Optimus noted.
“Yes,” Vector Prime noted. “I have been in existence for almost ten million stellar cycles. I was there to watch when every Transformer born of Cybertron was given life. He was not among them.”
“He could have been created elsewhere,” Optimus suggested. “But it’s unusual that a free trader would be this far out of the normal routes,” Optimus Prime noted. “Either coincidence is striking out with a vengeance, or there’s something else going on here.” He crossed his hands, his fingers interlocking, and leaned against them, noting, “And with Hot Shot and Smokescreen both left in the medical bay, we’re not exactly in good shape. Let’s just hope we’re worrying over nothing.”
“Yes,” Sideways noted, somehow aware of their conversation. His optics glowed red for a second as he noted, “You do that.”