Myths and Legends
A Transformers: Armada Story
By William Rendfeld
Earth. A mostly harmless blue-green orb silently floating in space. Billions of years old, and home to billions of indigenous, sentient life forms. All alone in the night.
It is alone no longer. The Transformers have arrived, and everything has changed...
“Is this absolutely necessary?” Crosswise asked as medical scanners combed every inch of his armor.
“If we’re going to find out the cause of that unusual glow, then yes,” Red Alert firmly noted as results from the scans scrawled over the screen. “Both you and Overhaul were casting similar energy fields after the Omega Lock was activated. They have to mean something.”
“And if you can’t find anything?” Crosswise asked. “What then?”
“Then you check over your systems and make certain that everything is running properly,” Red Alert instructed.
Rolling his optics, Crosswise complied as Optimus Prime entered the Ark’s medical bay, Vector Prime in tow.
“Anything yet, Red Alert?” Optimus asked.
“Unfortunately, no,” Red Alert noted. “I’ve examined Overhaul, and so far I haven’t found any correlation between his results and those from Crosswise. I have no idea where that aura of theirs came from, beyond the apparent connection to the Omega Lock.”
“The connection is more than apparent,” Vector Prime noted. “When the three artifacts were in proximity, something occurred. A signal was released.”
“But to what?” Optimus asked.
“Hold on an astrosecond,” Crosswise noted. “I’ve got something. A few of my systems; they used to be dormant. They’re online all of a sudden.”
Vector Prime narrowed his optics, then asked, “Red Alert, could you project a schematic of Crosswise’s systems, highlighting all previously-dormant ones?”
Red Alert complied, bringing a hologram online. Before them were projected images of Crosswise’s internal systems. Highlighted in blue were several circuit relays running up the armor on his back, separate from other systems but clearly connected to something. “Is that what I think it is?” Red Alert asked.
“A Cyber Key Port,” Vector Prime said. “Since the Quintessons were expelled from our world, Autobots and Decepticons have been altered during the implantation of their Sparks to include this technology. But this is the first time that such technology has been active, aside from my own.”
“Which means that Transformers throughout the Cybertron Alliance now have access to this technology,” Optimus realized as the medical scanner shut down, allowing Crosswise to step forward. “Including at least two here on Earth. Is there any way to find out how many?”
“There are too many to count,” Vector Prime noted. “But there are more beyond Crosswise and Overhaul, that much is certain.”
“So, what do you think?” Mudflap asked.
Starscream looked over the display showing his comrade’s schematics. “It looks as if dormant systems in your body have come online. I’m not entirely certain how or why, but I’ll do my best to find out. In the meantime, keep this to yourself as long as possible.”
“I’ll do what I can, but I won’t make any promises,” Mudflap promised. “Speaking of, what about the situation on Earth? Whatever it was that caused this came from down there, no question.”
“I’ll contact Prime later,” Starscream said in assurance. “I’ve an odd feeling that he knows something about this.”
Elsewhere, the Decepticon Scourge walked through the jungles of Animatros, every step from his dragon form shaking the Earth as he walked. His destination became closer with each step; Dragon’s Mountain, an volcano just on the outskirts of the main settlement. Scourge rarely concerned himself with the mountain; he only needed to know that it was there, and the one he wished to see had taken up residence in its halls.
As he approached a cave, Scourge transformed into his robotic form, and slowly made his way inside, lit torches guiding his way.
“I had a feeling you would be dropping in, young one,” a familiar voice said, catching Scourge’s attention as he reached his destination: a large, Transformer-made arch. “Please, enter.”
“My thanks, Sensei,” Scourge said at last, passing beneath the archway into the domicile of his master, the one who led Animatros before him.
The chamber wasn’t large, but it was comfortable. Light came from several small torches and a nearby lava flow, casting an eerie glow around the entire room. Ceremonial wreaths and various bits of technology stood at points around the chamber, but one thing stood out most; a meditation rug, upon which rested a small, squat Autobot in deep meditation. The Autobot smiled, and his optics came alive. “Welcome, Scourge. It is good to see you.”
“It is good to see you as well, Sensei Backstop,” Scourge said with reverence, extending his right hand to help his old teacher to his feet.
Backstop took the offered hand, and rose to his full height. “I have a small cask of high-grade liquid Energon. Would you like some?”
“Yes, please,” Scourge noted. As Backstop busied himself retrieving a pair of mugs and his cask, Scourge sighed and said, “My apologies, Sensei, however I’m not here on personal business.”
“I thought as much,” Backstop said, pouring drinks. “Tell me, who else has received the signal?”
“Snarl, as well as Brimstone, Wreckloose, and Undermine,” Scourge replied. “That’s all that I know of here on Animatros. And based on what you’ve said, it sounds as if you have as well.”
“As have you, Scourge,” Backstop noted, handing his student a mug. “I don’t know the source of this signal either, but I know that it was projected here for a reason.”
Scourge took a sip of his drink, then said, “I’m still not at ease, Sensei. The Ravager is still missing, and if Optimus Prime is correct...”
“Then it shall be dealt with,” Backstop assured his student. “Remember what I have taught you; do not take action until you are certain of the facts. When you have the information, then apply yourself as best you can. Now, as for the current facts, please, tell me what you know.”
Scourge sighed again, and took another sip. “It is a very involved story, Sensei.”
“You’re kidding!” Alexis cried out. “You mean that old myth about Atlantis is true?”
“It’s starting to look that way,” Diana Masters noted to her former students as they stood outside the Ark. “At least, in part. I’m no expert on the legends myself, but I know they didn’t say anything about transforming robots.”
“Does it matter?” Rad asked. “I mean come on! An ancient Cybertronian ship, here on Earth! Isn’t that cool?”
“It is fairly interesting,” Diana admitted. “But it raises some concerns, not to mention a few questions here and there. What reason would they have for bringing that ship here, of all places?”
“Why not ask Vector Prime?” Carlos asked. “I mean, he was around then, wasn’t he?”
“He was, but I’ve already asked,” Diana explained. “According to him, the ships’ controllers simply picked directions at random and went, three one way, the last one another. For all we know, Atlantis may have just stopped here simply because it was convenient. But whatever the reason, this could be big. How do we know that whoever was onboard didn’t influence our development?”
“I knew that comment would come back to bite me,” Carlos groaned.
“At any rate, finding this thing’s going to be important,” Diana noted. “I’ve already gotten some research in, so hopefully we’ll find a lead. I just hope this isn’t a wild goose chase.”
Elsewhere, Ironhide tentatively flexed his joints, testing out his recently-formatted body. He transformed into vehicle mode, carefully swiveling his cannons from side to side.
“No offense meant, Ironhide, but I think you could’ve been a little smarter about your vehicle mode choice.”
Startled, Ironhide transformed back to robot mode and said, “Hot Shot! Sorry, I...”
“It’s alright, Ironhide, I was just joking around,” Hot Shot assured the less experienced Autobot. “You made a good choice. From what I heard about where we’re going to build that base, it’s going to be fairly rocky terrain. That vehicle mode’s probably among the best suited for the area.”
“Thanks,” Ironhide said, a nervous note in his voice. “Uh, Hot Shot, if you don’t mind me asking...what was it like?”
“Sorry?” Hot Shot asked.
“Nearly dying,” Ironhide explained. “What did you see? What do you remember from it?”
“It wasn’t really ‘dying’, Ironhide,” Hot Shot said. “More like a vision, or a dream. All I really saw was a glimpse at things gone by. But I felt like I was close to something; something big and terrifying. Between that feeling and what Vector Prime’s told me, I think it was genuine.”
As Hot Shot spoke, Blurr, who had been hiding in the shadows, snuck away, trying his best to not be noticed. Hot Shot barely caught him out of the corner of one optic, and wondered what he was doing there.
“So what you saw was real?” Ironhide asked. “If that’s true, what does it mean?”
Hot Shot returned his attention to Ironhide and said, “I’m not sure. But I don’t think it’s anything good.”
As the sun overhead glistened down upon the raceways of Velocitron, Override charged down the track, winds ripping around her red and ivory armor. She loved every minute of it; the air sliding over her armor, the exhilaration at being the fastest thing on four wheels...every second was a thrill.
“Override!” her comm.-system relayed. “Override, do you hear me?”
“Be with you in a second, Brakedown!” the young Autobot assured him before kicking on her afterburners and charging forward. “Yeah!”
Brakedown sighed in aggravation. “So young,” he said sadly.
“I still don’t get why she was chosen to lead in your place,” Dirt Boss said with disapproval as he looked at the comm.-panel. “She’s irresponsible, hotheaded, over-charged...”
“A lot of young Transformers are like that,” Brakedown reminded the large Decepticon. “In fact, I remember one Decepticon in particular. Stubborn, hotheaded, always eager to prove himself whatever the odds. I think he turned out alright.”
Dirt Boss grimaced, and relented. “I still say she’s got a lot to learn.”
“She’ll grow out of it,” Brakedown assured him. “Give her time.”
With split-second timing, Override transformed to robot mode and skidded to a halt, stretching her arms a bit as she asked, “How was that, Clocker?”
“You broke your old record, Override!” Clocker, a small blue and white Autobot, enthusiastically announced from a computer station. “That was the fastest I’ve seen anyone move! You were incredible!”
“Thanks,” Override said, her mind not entirely on the results of her practice.
Noticing that Override seemed a bit distracted, the small Autobot asked, “Is something wrong?”
“Nothing,” she replied. “It’s nothing.”
In the silence of the Ark’s security bay, Vector Prime silently looked upon the Omega Lock. “After so long, we found it at last. I wonder now, Safeguard; did we make the right choice, hiding this away upon the Exodus?”
“At the time, we thought it was the safest decision,” Safeguard noted. “Get it to safety, away from Megatron. Now it looks like we made a mistake. Thank Primus we’ve been able to correct it in time.”
“Agreed,” Vector Prime noted. He silently reached out a hand and ran his fingers down one edge of the Lock, remembering old times. “With luck, perhaps we will be able to find the four Keys as well. If Diana’s theory is correct, and one of them is on Earth, then perhaps our odds will improve.”
“One can hope,” Safeguard noted.
“The energy surge that Mudflap experienced was simply a fluke, nothing more,” Starscream assured Megatron. “He’ll have no lasting damage.”
“Fine,” Megatron noted. “Now go. I have a few things to take care of.”
Starscream nodded his assent, then exited. Megatron smiled smugly; Starscream was hiding something from him; that was certain. Things were becoming quite interesting, yes...
“Autobots, Mini-Cons, trusted friends,” Optimus Prime said at last, calling the meeting to attention. “Our situation has changed a great deal over the last few days, due in part to the recovery of the Omega Lock and the arrival of our reinforcements. I feel that it’s time that all of us were briefed on this information.”
Gathered around him within the Ark’s command center were the other Autobots, their numerous allied Mini-Cons, and their human allies.
“The Omega Lock is not the only artifact of its kind,” Vector Prime continued from where Optimus left off. “It is one of seven similar artifacts created millions of years ago by Primus, for the express purpose of defending Cybertron against Unicron. They were entrusted to seven of the first Thirteen; myself, Draco Prime, Sentinel Prime, Accellas Prime, Gaeus Prime, Methius Prime, and Iunct Prime. When Unicron attacked, several of the Thirteen were lost, including Sentinel and Iunct. It was after this event that Primus created four starships, one each for four artifacts, and sent them and their keepers to safety elsewhere. Only I remained with the three remaining ones. It was Safeguard who placed the Omega Lock aboard the Exodus, hoping to keep it safe from Unicron’s interference.”
“You say there are seven artifacts,” Colonel Franklin asked. “What about the other six, where are they?”
“Two are here with the Omega Lock,” Vector Prime answered as he withdrew the ChronoSaber. “This is one, the ChronoSaber. The second is the Matrix of Leadership, carried by Optimus Prime. For now, they remain safe. The remaining four are the Keys of Wisdom, Power, Velocity, and Unity; they were each carried upon the four starships to unknown destinations. With the Omega Lock we can locate them, but it will take time.”
“Then how are we supposed to find them?” Scavenger asked. “We don’t exactly have a map.”
“Unfortunately, no,” Vector Prime noted. “However, Diana has a theory concerning the location of at least one of the four starships.”
“More like speculation,” Diana admitted as she stepped up onto a control console. “Each of the ships had a name according to Vector Prime; Pangaea, Lemuria, Mu, and Atlantis. Each of those names corresponds to a theoretical landmass here on Earth; Pangaea was a supercontinent from during the time of the dinosaurs, and has since broken up into the continents we’re familiar with today. Mu and Lemuria were theoretical lost civilizations based on continents here on Earth, with theories about them only coming into prominence during the last two hundred years. Atlantis, however, has existed within Western civilization for thousands of years. It was first written about by Plato back around 360 BC, and described as an island measuring around seven hundred kilometers across, mostly mountainous to the north and along the coasts but featuring plains measuring six hundred KM by four hundred KM. According to the account, nine thousand years prior and following a war with various civilizations throughout the Mediterranean, Atlantis sank beneath the ocean forever.”
“The dimensions given in the account roughly match with the dimensions of the ship itself, leading us to suspect that the Atlantis starship may well have inspired the legends,” Vector Prime added. “Carried upon it was the Key of Wisdom. Crosswise projected an aura similar to it when the Omega Lock was activated, giving us further evidence of its presence.”
“That doesn’t explain the account about the war however,” Jetfire noted. “I mean, there was only one Cybertronian there.”
“The keys had powers similar to that of the Matrix,” Vector Prime explained. “Methius Prime may well have created a crew to aid him in the upkeep of Atlantis itself. Some may have rebelled, leading to the war described in the legends.”
“Plato probably exaggerated a few details, however,” Diana was quick to note. “No way could anyone from eleven thousand years ago be able to fight off Transformers, at least not without serious help.”
“This is interesting and all, but it doesn’t give us any real evidence about where the ship is,” Landmine noted.
“Unfortunately, we don’t have much to go on there,” Diana admitted. “According to Plato, Atlantis rested somewhere beyond the Pillars of Hercules. That place we know about; it’s known today as the Strait of Gibraltar, a small body of water connecting the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. Beyond that is just speculation; hundreds of efforts have been made to locate Atlantis itself, and theories have sprung up for centuries. Everywhere from the North Sea to Antarctica has been suggested, but there’s little real evidence for any of them.”
“We at least have something to start with,” Optimus noted. “What of the other ships?”
“Mu and Lemuria traveled with Atlantis as part of their journey, and Pangaea went a separate course,” Vector Prime explained. “As there are legends about Mu and Lemuria in a similar vein to Atlantis, it’s possible that both ships came to Earth as well, and departed not long afterwards.”
Optimus nodded. “Diana, Vector Prime, thank you. For the time being, however, I think we’d best keep Atlantis to the sidelines until we can get additional information, and concentrate on other priorities. Which brings us to another topic.” A massive holographic display started up as Optimus explained, “Thanks to the retrieval of data from the Exodus, we’ve been able to pinpoint the locations of the remaining Mini-Con pods. And thanks to Colonel Franklin, we have a set location for our permanent facility on Earth. Until we have additional information concerning Atlantis, Mini-Con retrieval and base construction will remain our top priorities. We’ll split into four teams in order to maximize our efforts. Team One will consist of Ironhide, Scavenger, Landmine, Hoist and the Adventure Team; they will handle the initial stages of construction and excavation at the base site. Teams Two and Three will be the Mini-Con Retrieval units; Hot Shot, Crosswise and Blurr will be Team Two, and Jetfire, Beachcomber and Overhaul will be Team Three. I’d like the Race and Air Defense Teams available to them if needed. Vector Prime, Red Alert, Sideswipe, the remaining Mini-Cons and I will remain at the Ark to coordinate the three teams.”
“You’re building a base facility?” Rad asked. “Where?”
“The Colorado Rockies,” Optimus replied. “I’m sorry, kids, but the Ark will only last so long. We need a permanent facility, and that’s the best place for it that won’t attract too much attention.”
Alexis put a comforting hand to Rad’s shoulder. “We knew they’d leave eventually. At least they aren’t too far away, right?”
“I suppose,” Rad noted.
“We aren’t leaving yet, however,” Optimus said firmly. “The base still needs to be constructed, and that will take some time. For now, however, we all have our assignments. Recharge and be ready, Autobots; we’ve got a big job ahead of us.”