A Transformers: Armada Story
By William Rendfeld
The Earth, a shimmering sphere in the void of space. A shining blue world, teaming with life and energy. Unbeknownst to the majority of its inhabitants, the human race, they are no longer alone. The Transformers have arrived.
In the Oregon mountain ranges, hidden beneath a cloaking field, lay the [i]Ark[/i], the grand vessel and transport for the Autobots. As they waited within their craft, a Laserbeak unit flew through the skies, returning with collected data on local vehicles. It clicked into a specialized slot on the [i]Ark[/i]’s hull, relaying its data to the ship’s computer, Teletran 1.
Within the ship, six massive CR Chambers stood, their status displays reading the information sent by the Laserbeak unit. At their feet and surrounding a small console were Alexis, Carlos, and the Autobot-aligned Mini-Cons.
“Scanning and replication process commencing,” Teletran 1 reported. “Process will complete in ten cycles.”
“I don’t get why they’d need to scan local vehicles,” Carlos noted. “I mean, they turn into vehicles, don’t they?”
“Advanced vehicles, Carlos,” Grindor reminded him. “You humans may be pretty well on your way, but you don’t have hover vehicles and such yet. Replicating Earth vehicles will allow us to conceal ourselves from human eyes, and maybe the Decepticons.”
In a secluded corner of the room, Rad leaned against the wall, lost among his thoughts.
“Rad? Hey, Rad!” Alexis called, heading towards him, “you okay?”
“Yeah, just thinking,” Rad replied. “That maybe all of this is my fault.”
“Your fault?” Alexis replied, incredulously.
“I touched the panel, remember?” Rad pointed out. “It’s my fault that the Decepticons are even here.”
“Yeah, but that same signal brought the Autobots,” Alexis pointed out. “Besides, it’s also my fault in a way. I should’ve warned you and Carlos about touching anything in the pod when we went in. I guess I need to learn to not assume things as much.”
“Maybe, but you didn’t actually touch the console,” Rad reminded her. “I did what I did, so it’s pretty much my fault what happened next. We wouldn’t be in this mess if it wasn’t for me.”
Alexis gave a downcast look, unsure of how to respond to that, before another voice added, “I wouldn’t say that.” As the two humans looked to the source of the voice, High Wire continued, “It was only a matter of time before any pod here on Earth was found. Someone would’ve caused the Autobots and Decepticons to come to us anyway. Perhaps it’s best that it was here and now, rather than later.” Her optics seeming to convey a kindly look, she noted, “Besides, you did give us a fighting chance, getting us out of there. I’m grateful for it. And I think Prime is too.”
Rad smiled slightly, then replied, “Thanks, High Wire.”
“Any time,” High Wire replied.
Suddenly, a chime sounded, alerting those within that the CR Chambers had completed their work. As Rad, Alexis and High Wire moved to get a better view, Sparkplug announced, “They’re done.”
With those words, the first of the six CR Chambers opened, and Hot Shot slowly rolled out in his new vehicle mode, a modified sports car.
“Whoa, would you look at me!” Hot Shot exclaimed as he transformed. Examining his new robot mode, he noted, “Nice.”
As another chamber opened, Blurr rolled out in his vehicle mode, a gray sports car of different make than Hot Shot, and noted, “Don’t be too impressed with yourself, Hot Shot.” He transformed, and noted, “I could probably still beat you on the Iacon Race Circuit, in either mode.”
“Wanna make a bet, Blurr?” Hot Shot shot back.
“Knock it off you two,” another voice intoned as the third chamber opened, allowing Smokescreen in his new vehicle mode, that of a utility truck, to exit and transform. “There’s no use fighting among ourselves, not now and not ever.”
“Smokescreen’s right,” Scavenger noted as he emerged from his chamber, still transformed into his new vehicle mode, a bulldozer. He transformed to robot mode and said, “We have bigger concerns.”
“My apologies, sir,” Hot Shot noted. “I did start the argument.”
“Don’t be hard on him, Scavenger,” Red Alert noted, driving out of his chamber in his new vehicle mode, that of an SUV. He transformed to robot mode and noted, “He’s been cooped up in this ship for the past few hours. I’d be a little rough about things too if I were him.”
Scavenger smiled slightly, and noted, “Don’t worry, Red. I won’t be too hard on them.” Turning to the kids and kneeling down, he asked, “So, you kids like the ship?”
“Yeah, it’s pretty cool,” Carlos admitted. “A little overwhelming, but cool.”
“Try to enjoy it,” Rollbar suggested. “You kids are the first humans to step inside an Autobot vessel. And for now at least, you’re probably going to be the only ones.”
“Hopefully, however, they won’t be the only ones ever,” Optimus Prime noted as he rolled out of his chamber. His cab disconnected from his trailer, and Optimus transformed into his primary robot mode. Looking at his comrades, he noted, “I’m glad to see that everyone’s adjusted to their new vehicle modes. We’ll need them to help camouflage ourselves.” Turning to the tree human children, he then asked, “So, how do we look?”
“Well, you don’t look exactly like them,” Rad admitted, “but you do look pretty close.”
“Yeah, why can’t you totally replicate Earth vehicles?” Carlos asked.
“There’s only so much that Teletran-1 can do,” Red Alert explained. “It converted us as best it could without interfering with the technology already built into us. If it had totally converted our vehicle modes, we’d be left without the few advantages we have over the Decepticons.”
“Speaking of whom, they’re still out there somewhere,” Smokescreen noted. “And until we find their base, you kids are vulnerable.”
“Vulnerable?” Alexis asked.
“Smokescreen’s right,” Scavenger noted, rising to his full height. “Both Megatron and Thrust saw you kids with the Mini-Cons. By now, each of the Decepticons near Earth probably knows about you kids. For all they know, you may know where the rest of the Mini-Cons are.”
“But we don’t,” Rad protested.
“We realize that, Rad,” Optimus Prime noted. “The Decepticons, however, don’t. Which means it would be wise to have someone with you three as much as possible.”
“Optimus,” High Wire spoke up, Grindor and Sureshock taking up positions around her. “We’d like to volunteer. Their vehicles were destroyed by Megatron, and as far as we know, those were their only means of transport. They’ll need something to replace them, and someone to help keep them safe.”
Optimus nodded in understanding, and replied, “Then it’s settled. The Street Action Team will watch over the kids for now. In the meantime, it would probably be best if you kids went home.”
“I’ll take them, Optimus,” Hot Shot volunteered. “It’ll give me and Jolt the chance to do some reconnaissance in the area, in case it’s needed.”
“Agreed,” Optimus replied. “Report back as soon as you can.”
“Understood, sir,” Hot Shot replied, transforming to vehicle mode. “C’mon kids, hop in.”
Elsewhere, on the Moon, the Decepticons had also completed their conversion for combat on Earth.
“Hey, look at me, guys!” Cyclonus noted excitedly. “I bet my new vehicle mode oughta take a few chunks out of that brat Autobot!”
“Cool your circuits, Cyclonus,” Demolishor noted as he transformed from his modified tank mode. “We’re lucky Starscream even considered these new modes. If he hadn’t, the Autobots would be after us like Sharkticons to titanium.”
“Your statement is correct, Demolishor,” Thrust added, examining himself as his comrades had. “Admittedly, I’m a little irritated having lost actual hands, but I’ll manage.”
“We had all best manage,” Megatron boomed as he rolled into the chamber in his new tank mode, Starscream following him in his robot mode. Megatron transformed, and noted, “If we are to find the Mini-Cons and claim as many of them as we can before the Autobots, then we shall need to manage these new forms as best we can. Although, Starscream, these vehicle modes do look more like Cybertronian vehicles than human ones.”
“I was forced to adapt the designs a bit, to help accommodate for our own internal systems and built-in weapons,” Starscream replied. “In the meantime, I think it’s best that we get an idea of what these vehicle modes are capable of. We’ll be able to formulate strategies against the Autobots better with that information available to us.”
“A very true thought, Starscream, yes,” Megatron noted. “Decepticons, transform to vehicle mode and exit the ship. We have weapons to test.”
As the other Decepticons transformed to vehicle mode, Starscream noted, “I’ll be a little late to the tests.”
“Why for, Starscream?” Megatron asked. “Are we somehow embarrassed by our choice of vehicle mode?”
“No, I simply want to make certain that the scanners begin a complete scan of Earth before we leave,” Starscream replied. “With luck, they’ll have found another Mini-Con stasis unit by the time we return from the exercises.”
“Ah, excellent,” Megatron said before transforming. “Just be certain to join us within five cycles, is that clear?”
“Of course, Megatron,” Starscream replied as the Decepticons moved out, Thrust and Cyclonus moving with the assistance of miniature thrusters studded throughout their bodies.
As they exited, Starscream walked to a small console and quickly typed in some data. “Arrogant fool,” Starscream noted. “He’s insane to think we have a right to control the Mini-Cons.” Finishing his scanning program, he then wired in a small transmission. “This is Starscream. Have arrived on Earth. Autobots have so far found six Mini-Cons, Megatron none. Future updates will be erratic. Do not fear, apprise others of situation. Signing off.” He sent the small transmission, deleted it from the ship’s files, then transformed into his modified jet mode and, assisted by small thrusters, flew off.
After a short thirty-minute drive, Hot Shot finally drove into the kids’ hometown, the Street Action Team Powerlinked to his spoiler. As he drove, Jolt flew overhead, taking detailed scans of the area.
“Here’s my stop, Hot Shot,” Rad said as the Autobot pulled up in front of a small suburban house. Rad climbed out and gave his good-byes to Alexis and Carlos as High Wire disengaged herself from Hot Shot.
“Take care, Rad!” Hot Shot called as he drove off.
Rad quickly took hold of High Wire’s handlebars and guided her towards the garage of his home, leaving her within as he went inside.
“Hey Mom, I’m...!” Rad called as he entered his home’s living room. He stopped in surprise and said in absolute astonishment, “...Home.”
“Bradley, you’re home early,” Rad’s mother noted. “I wasn’t expecting you for another half hour.”
“Don’t be too hard on her, Rad,” Ms. Masters, Rad’s social studies teacher, noted from her perch on the sofa. “She wasn’t expecting me either.”
“Uh, neither was I,” Rad replied. “What are you doing here, Ms. Masters?”
With a chuckle, Ms. Masters replied, “Relax, Rad, I wasn’t saying anything bad about you. At least, not on purpose.”
“Ms. Masters was just telling me that you were doing fine in school,” Rad’s mother assured her son, “despite a few minor problems.”
“Which I was just getting to when you came in,” Ms. Masters added. Returning her attention to Rad’s mother, she continued, “For the past few weeks, two students have been harassing Rad both in and around school. It hasn’t been major, but I’m a little concerned that it may turn into something physical. And considering this isn’t exactly the smartest of school systems that he’s in, he’s more likely to take the brunt of the pain than the other kids.”
“Somehow, I’m not surprised,” Rad’s mother replied. She turned to her son and noted, “Well, go on, take a seat.”
Rad, still a little surprised and nervous by his teacher being in his living room, slowly sat down.
“Anyway, I am surprised that you’d come and talk about this,” Rad’s mother continued.
Ms. Masters gave a sympathetic smile, and noted, “I got my share of teasing when I was a kid, too, Mrs. Robinson. It stopped once I grew a bit, but even then, life wasn’t easy. I know what he’s going through, and I want to help as much as I can.”
Rad blinked, then said, “Wow. Uh, thanks.”
Ms. Masters turned to him and noted, “Like I said, I know what you’re going through.” Rising from her seat, she added, “Well, I’d better get going. If anything happens that I hear about, you’ll know it.”
“Thank you, Ms. Masters,” Mrs. Robinson replied. “I appreciate hearing about this.”
“It was no trouble,” Ms. Masters said. She turned to Rad and noted, “Enjoy the weekend, Rad.”
“Thanks, I will,” Rad replied as Ms. Masters exited, still a little astounded.
As Ms. Masters exited the Robinson home and climbed into her car, she thought on Rad and his problems with Billy and Fred. She remembered how she had felt, dealing with the kids who had teased her. Sadly for Rad, he did not have genetics to bail him out.
She took one last look at the house before driving off, then noted, “I hope you’ll be okay, Rad. I’d hate to see Crossroads turned into another Columbine because of Billy. I’d hate to see that kind of war zone.”
Suddenly, she noticed something in the open garage. Rad’s bicycle had apparently changed colors and shape since the morning.
With a sigh, Ms. Masters noted to herself, “Diana, you’ve been working too hard. You’re starting to go crazy.”
She drove off. High Wire transformed to robot mode and noted, “It seems that humans have had quite a taste of what we’ve been through.”
Back at the [i]Ark[/i], Red Alert and Smokescreen drove along the side of Mt. Saint Hilary, taking scans of the mountainside. As they neared the area where the Mini-Con stasis unit had been found, they transformed and stopped.
“Well Smokescreen, this is where we earn our Energon,” Red Alert noted. “Let’s start scanning. Maybe we’ll get lucky and find another Mini-Con stasis unit in the area.”
“At least we’ll see whether this volcano will blow anytime soon or not,” Smokescreen added.
A small scanner dish deployed on Smokescreen’s left arm, allowing him to perform a deep scan of the mountainside. Red Alert, meanwhile, simply used his primary sensors to scan the mountainside.
“So, what do you think of Earth so far?” Smokescreen asked.
“It’s not half bad,” Red Alert noted. “It can’t hold much of a candle to Cybertron, but it does have a certain charm. What do you think of those kids?”
“They’re something,” Smokescreen replied. “A lot like Hot Shot and Blurr, really. A bit more energetic, though. Whatever their equivalent to Energon is, they must take a lot of it.” His scans finished, and he reported, “No sign of another Mini-Con stasis unit from this end, Red. Although from the looks of things, we won’t have to worry about this guy blowing its top on us.”
“I’m reading the same,” Red Alert noted. “At least we won’t have to worry about any lava baths.”
“And we have some good news for Prime,” Smokescreen noted. “C’mon, let’s get back to base.”
Inside the [i]Ark[/i] itself, Scavenger silently worked on the consoles, checking the ship’s energy supplies.
“Any good news, Scavenger?” Optimus Prime asked.
“Yes, thankfully,” Scavenger replied. “Our Energon reserves should last about point-three stellar cycles before they run out, and our sensors have determined about six or seven possible Mini-Con stasis unit signatures.”
“That is good news,” Optimus noted. “Any thoughts on dealing with the Energon?”
“Well, we have two options,” Scavenger replied. “Either ask for more from home, or find some way to collect some from here.”
“We can’t risk the Decepticons picking up on our ship’s signal with a long-distance warp gate,” Optimus noted. “Any ideas about gathering energy here, under the human radar?”
“None, but Red and Smokescreen will most likely think of something,” Scavenger replied. A small panel beeped, and he reported, “It’s Hot Shot and Jolt, they’re back from taking the kids home.”
“That’s good to hear,” Optimus replied.
Standing near the main hatch as Hot Shot and Jolt arrived was Blurr, keeping an eye out with one gun at the ready.
“So, how’d it go?” Blurr asked.
“No problems,” Hot Shot replied. “A few minor bumps, but nothing special. How are things back here?”
“Like you said, no problems,” Blurr said.
“Glad to hear it,” Hot Shot noted. He began walking into the base, but stopped, and noted, “Listen, Blurr, I’m sorry about earlier. Truth be told, you probably would beat me on the Iacon Race Circuit. You’re more aerodynamic than I am, anyway.”
“Yeah, you’ve got a point,” Blurr noted. “Although, you do have Jolt. And my weapons pods do ruin the airflow a bit. I guess we’d probably be evenly matched as it stands.” Rising to his full height, he noted, “Right now, though, our main priority is the mission. We’re here to save the Mini-Cons, not fight amongst ourselves, like Scavenger said.” One optic slightly larger than the other, he finished, “Just don’t get a big head. I wouldn’t be a proper partner if I let you get yourself terminated, now would I?”
A slight grin growing on his face, Hot Shot noted, “I guess not. Thanks, Blurr.”
“No problem,” Blurr replied as the two continued walking into the base.
Standing a slight ways behind them, Jolt watched the bonding display with a slight bit of pride. “Nice to see those two get along,” he noted to himself before following behind them.
Elsewhere on the moon stood the remains of a lunar lander, one of the last traces of the Earth’s early pushes into space. A lunar rover, an American flag, and several pieces of wreckage remained, telling the story of humanity’s claiming of the moon. Kept unharmed in the untouched environment of the moon, they would remain as symbols of humanity’s determination long after other such symbols would be reduced to trash.
At least, until they themselves became trash.
Within seconds, the remaining portions of the lunar lander were destroyed in a barrage of fire from Demolishor’s cannons and missiles.
“Well, that’s not half bad,” Demolishor admitted.
Standing with him were the other Decepticons. Starscream carried a small computation pad with him, and was already in the process of making calculations.
“Analysis, Starscream,” Megatron commanded.
“Unaided by a Mini-Con and hampered by normal Earth gravity and atmosphere, I would say that Demolishor’s projectile weapons would have an accurate range of approximately two-point-oh-one parsecs,” Starscream reported. “Thus far, he’s second with Thrust first and Cyclonus third.”
“Beaten by only a couple micro-parsecs,” Cyclonus noted. “Just great.”
“Don’t count yourself out too much, Cyclonus,” Thrust added. “You forget, he can’t fly in vehicle mode. You can.”
“A point well noted, Thrust,” Megatron noted. “Well then, Starscream, where is the next firing range the humans have so graciously prepared for us?”
“A few clicks from our position,” Starscream said, pointing in their desired direction. “That way.”
“Very well then,” Megatron noted, transforming to his tank mode and trundling off, Demolishor following suit. Thrust, Cyclonus, and Starscream followed after them silently on foot.
After dinner, a long speech from his parents, and dealing with his homework for the weekend, Rad silently made his way into the garage, where High Wire stood waiting for him in her alternate mode.
“What a day,” he noted to himself, slumping down on the floor as High Wire transformed to robot mode.
“Rad, tell me, that woman who left shortly after we arrived, was she your...” High Wire began, looking for the right words, “...maternal care unit?”
“You mean my mother?” Rad replied. “No. That was Ms. Masters, one of my teachers at school. She’s worried about me. Why?”
“She mentioned something as she left, hoping that something called ‘Crossroads’ would not become like something else, called ‘Columbine’,” High Wire noted. “Crossroads is apparently the name of your learning facility, considering she is a teacher. But what was Columbine? Another school?”
“Yeah, one that a lot of people still think about,” Rad answered. “A few years ago, these two kids went into it and killed themselves and thirteen other students. They had been harassed for years before that by other students, with very few people doing anything about it.”
A slight smile to her optics, High Wire noted, “She shouldn’t be that worried. You do not seem the type to do anything that extreme. Climb a volcano, yes, but not kill someone. Besides, those who cause such events are easily put in their place by others who are far more vicious than they are. As you humans say, there is always a bigger fish.”
“Yeah, I guess so,” Rad replied. “So, do you think anything will happen? To me, or anyone?”
“Not even the wisest can tell the future, Rad,” High Wire noted. “Only this is certain. The war for my people, and perhaps yours, has begun.”
That same evening, a lone figure looked over the area of Mt. Saint Hilary as twilight began to settle in.
“So it begins,” he noted to himself.
With those words, he walked away from the Ark, disappearing into the night. On the ground, just outside the Ark itself, Optimus Prime and Sparkplug stood, looking into the sky.
“So it begins,” Optimus noted.
Sparkplug silently nodded in agreement.
Megatron stood at the rim of a lunar crater, looking towards the Earth.
“So it begins,” he said to himself with a slight chuckle.
Unbeknownst to him, Starscream watched from a distance. “Indeed it does,” he noted silently. “Indeed it does.”