Author's Note: Yes, I am still alive. I apologize for the delay, but it couldn't be helped. I had to write an essay for my English class, and I suck at writing essays. I also went up to Halifax to visit my cousins and see their new house, so I couldn't write while I was up there. Then there was Halloween. Yes, I went out trick-or-treating. And now I've finally gotten my hands on a computer so I can start typing this story.

This story is the sequel to Unexpected Encounters. I apologize for taking so long to start it, but I had my reasons (see above). The final chapter of this story will be an extended Author's Note containing a timeline for all of the fics in the Ultra Rodimus series, showing which order the fics belong in.

Disclaimer: Earth: Final Conflict and its characters do not belong to me. If they did I would be very rich, but, alas, I am not. Raven is the universal story name for Sandoval's skrill, if you're wondering where the name came from. The Transformers don't belong to me either. Ultra Rodimus, Falcon, several Autobots who may or may not appear in this story, and several humans who will inevitably show up are my own characters, so keep your paws to yourself. The only person I said could borrow Ultra Rodimus was Foxey, who wants to do a chapter of her Interviews With The Transformers story on him, but that chapter has yet to be written. Uhm... am I babbling again?

Encounters of the Weird Kind

Chapter 1: Sabotage and Dimension Shift

The shuttle bay of the Taelon mother ship was quiet. It was late in the evening, nearly 11:30, and most of the humans on the ship were asleep. No shuttles were scheduled to arrive until the next morning, so the only sentient being in the bay was the Taelon dockmaster, and he wasn't noticing much of anything.

The Taelon, like the rest of his kind, was used to the presence of humans on board the ship, and conversed with many when they contacted him for their docking assignments. So he paid no attention to the human man who walked past his station, heading into the darkened bay. While it was very late for a human to be up and around, it wasn't unusual for someone to go in and do some maintenance work on one of the shuttles before it went out. For that reason, the Taelon assumed that the man was a maintenance worker, and ignored him.

But he was wrong.

The man was definitely not a maintenance worker. In fact, he did not even belong on the ship. He was not part of the ship's crew, nor was he one of the countless Volunteers and implants who served the Taelons. He hated the Taelons. He wanted them all dead and gone.

He was a member of the Resistance.

The man snuck a glance back at the Taelon, but the alien didn't even move. A small smile crossed the man's face. Then he turned his attention to his target, the shuttle that had been prepared to fly Da'an, the North American Companion, and Zo'or, the Synod leader, to one of the thousands of conferences, grand openings, and other social events the Taelons attended every year. The shuttle stood alone on its pad, cockpit open and ready.

All the better for him.

The Resistance agent climbed into the shuttle, weaving through the seats for the pilot and the passengers and kneeling before the engine access panel. Swiftly, he pried it loose and peered into the mass of components that was the shuttle's interdimensional drive system. He couldn't make heads nor tails of that tangle of conduits and circuitry, but, fortunately, he didn't have to. All he had to do was place a specially-built object in the right place, reseal the panel, and leave.

He reached into the pocket of his stolen equipment belt and pulled out the device. It didn't look like much, just a featureless cube of a black material. But its appearance was very deceiving. That device's function was to disrupt the drives, triggering a total systems failure and finally a powerful explosion. There would be no survivors.

With a cold grin, he reached into the panel and placed the object where it would do the most damage. Then he resealed the panel, patted it, and left.

As he entered the shuttle bay, Major Liam Kincaid, protector to the North American Companion, glanced at the dockmaster. The Taelon, one he didn't know by name, didn't even look up. It simply pointed in the direction of the shuttle. Liam thanked it and headed in that direction.

As he approached, Agent Ronald Sandoval, Zo'or's protector and lapdog, looked up at him. The two Taelons followed his gaze.

"It is about time you arrived," Zo'or growled at him.

Liam shot the Taelon a look. "Unlike you, we humans have a great deal to do in the morning before we are ready to work. We can't be rushed. If we are, the results are never pretty."

With that, he brushed past Zo'or and took the pilot's chair. The Taelon glared at him, but Da'an cut off whatever he was about to say by stepping into the shuttle and taking his seat.

"If you stand there and glare at the Major, we will most certainly be late," Da'an pointed out mildly. Zo'or stalked on board and sat down, clearly fuming.

As Sandoval passed Liam, the Major noted the expression on the agent's face, and that Sandoval was rubbing his skrill arm.

"What does Raven have to say about this?" Liam asked.

Ever since Ultra Rodimus, a being from another reality, had wound up in their universe, awakening Sandoval to the fact that his skrill was a sentient being, Raven had made his opinions known to his host at every opportunity. From what Liam had noticed, Raven could be quite the chatterbox, and Liam was privately glad that he didn't have a skrill.

"Raven hates mornings," Sandoval grumped.

"And he's complaining about it," Liam guessed.

"Loud and clear."

Liam winced in sympathy, waiting for Sandoval to take his seat. Once the other man had sat down, Liam started the preflight sequence, running through all of the standard checks before lifting off. Finally, the insect-shaped craft rose from its berth and flew out of the ship.

"Prepare to enter interdimensional," he called back out of habit. Then he sent the shuttle into interdimensional space.

At first, everything was fine. Then the shuttle rocked suddenly, and warnings appeared on the virtual glass in front of Liam. He fought the controls, trying to keep the shuttle on course.

"What is going on, Major?" Zo'or demanded, clinging to his chair.

"Damned if I know! Sandoval! Check the engines! I'm dropping out of interdimensional!"

The agent rose from his chair and was almost thrown right into the Major. The shuttle rocked alarmingly under his feet, and then the audio alarms came on, screaming dire warnings. Grabbing hold of chairs to keep his balance, Sandoval fought his way to the rear of the shuttle, where the access panel was located. Reaching it, he pried the panel off and looked inside, instantly spotting the offending object.

"We've been sabotaged!" he yelled, pulling out the box. Then he set it on the deck and let Raven vaporize it. But the damage had already been done.

Liam managed to force the ship back into real space, but the instant they emerged from interdimensional, it was clear that they were not where they should have been. Not even close.

The ground below was the uniform grey of metal, pitted and scarred. Half-melted buildings and the shattered arcs of highways dotted the landscape. Off to one side was the ruins of a city. There was no sunlight, only the cold reflected light of the stars. Three moons were visible in the dark sky.

"Where are we?" Sandoval asked.

"Don't know," Liam replied, looking at the sensor readings. "Some of the constellations look familiar, but the majority don't exist in Earth's sky. I can't get a bearing."

"How are the engines?"

"Shot to hell," was the response. Liam struggled with the controls, but the shuttle would not take anymore. The engines failed miserably. Black smoke billowed out into the atmosphere, which, from the readings, was thinner than Earth's but still breathable.

The ground curved closer.

"Brace for impact!" Liam yelled.

The ground rushed up to meet them.

To be continued...

There. One chapter down, and Primus knows how many to go. So now it's your turn. Send me reviews telling me what you think of this story so far. Good? Bad? Garbage? Click on that review button and tell me what you think!