Author's notes: Please take note that I wrote this story before the 2nd and 3rd movies came out. So events that happened in those movies will not be reflected in this story.
"I am sending this signal to other Autobots who may have taken refuge across the stars. We are here... we are waiting..."
By: Ghost of the Dawn
The moon sank low with the late hour and the air was chilled from lack of the sun's warmth. A fiery, custom-painted semi without a trailer waited silently; far off the main roads. No one was about, for it was even too late for the summer bonfires and the party seeking teenagers to be out. Too early for the working class to even think about getting up. The magic hour. The only time they had freedom to show their true forms.
For it was as they had decided when they all had agreed to stay on this organic planet. To not live with its inhabitants, but among them. To carry on in secret; save for the few who knew of their existence. Such was the reason why a meeting like this was required.
Off a dirt road, a yellow emergency vehicle pulled up; lights off, siren silent. It rolled almost nose to nose with the semi and then both vehicles quietly scanned for any intelligent life forms in the area. When the premises seemed to be clear, a strange noise of rotating joints and gears and the twisting of heavy metal filled the countryside and silenced the night wildlife. The two vehicles fell apart piece by piece and, just as quickly, reassembled into new, humanoid shaped forms.
"Sneaking around every night," Ratchet grumbled, his metallic voice doing nothing to hide his displeasure.
Even then, with the shelter of the tall trees and the distance from the city, Optimus Prime's voice stayed low. "A necessary precaution, my friend. Human discovery may not be the only thing we'll have to be wary of soon."
Ratchet nodded but his visible attitude didn't change.
"So tell me again what you've discovered," Optimus urged.
To this, Ratchet's earlier annoyed shoulders slumped and he heaved something close to a robotic sigh. "As near as I can tell, the data doesn't lie, Prime. My sensors have picked up the energy signatures of at least two Autobots who have now come to Earth. That was over a month ago. I expected them to have found us by now. But still... nothing."
"You're sure they're not Decepticons?" Optimus questioned.
"Negative. I ran it all by Ironhide as well. We analyzed it every which way we had available. It appears to be of Autobot origin by all angles."
Optimus Prime fell silent and then looked towards the sky. "Then why aren't they looking for us?"
Ratchet crossed his arms thoughtfully. "Hard to say. Perhaps their locating equipment was damaged upon planet entry. Perhaps they themselves are so damaged they are unable to travel the distance. Or perhaps a few of our enemies came down with them and have captured them or worse. There are myriad possibilities, Prime, but we won't find any answers if we don't observe for ourselves."
Optimus looked skyward again. He always did that when he was thinking. The stars were all he had seen through his thousands of years of galaxy travel. He was so used to them now. It was almost hard to think without them. Leaving their current surroundings may not be the best idea. The battle in Mission City wasn't all that long ago and new reports were still being aired about the giant robots which tore it all apart and then suddenly disappeared. However...
"If Starscream does come back," Optimus spoke. "He'll return with reinforcements. We'll need all the help we can get." He looked down at the medic. "Contact the Autobots. We will leave at the crack of dawn."
The middle of the night was the perfect time for what she was about to do. Ferrari Turner would be turning twenty-three before Christmas but she was still refusing to leave the wild nights she spent as a teenager alone. There were too many thrills to experience; too much to enjoy to let it all go. And she was still young; she still had time and she was going to take it for all it was worth.
Summer nights like this were made to be taken. They called to Ferrari in such a clear voice it would drive her crazy to ignore it. Which was why she was out there now, sitting behind the wheel of a shiny red Lamborghini and driving down the back roads leading to the abandoned outskirts of Detroit. There were several people and vehicles already there waiting among the refused of dilapidated buildings and scrap yards. Some were pulled to the side, content to observe the excitement off the course. Others were lined up at the starting point; adrenaline pumping and eager to begin.
When Ferrari pulled up, many heads swiveled her way. Some appeared curious, others looked darkly in her direction. No one was happy to see her or the yellow companion car that pulled up behind her. Only one person from the entire crowd walked over towards the two Lamborghinis. Ferrari stepped out of her vehicle to meet him.
He was moderately tall and very thin with a sharp nose and slick black hair. He went by the name of "Snake" though Ferrari knew his real name was James Baker. Snake was one of those people who gave himself his own nickname instead of earning one properly. Though Ferrari liked to think he got it from the fact that his eyes were too far apart and his complexion always seemed so dry.
The two stood in the middle of the road, looking at each other in a silent game of intimidation. It was a game men always played to try and establish their dominance before the conversation even started. But Ferrari was no man and was never one to drag out a confrontation.
"I'm here to race," she announced sternly, sharp blue eyes watched from under blonde curls.. "My friend, too." She tipped her head back to indicate the yellow vehicle behind her. It was the same make and model as the one she had been driving.
Snake squinted over at the yellow Lamborghini. There was a human shaped shadow in the front seat, but he couldn't make out any distinguishing features of the driver.
"Who is he? I've never seen these cars around before. Where'd you get them Ferrari?"
"They belong to my friend over there," Ferrari said without skipping a beat. "His family's rich. His dad's a politician so you can understand why he doesn't want anyone to know who he is. He just wants to race."
Snake continued to glare at the yellow car.
"So you gonna let us in or what?" Ferrari demanded, placing Snake's attention back on her. "Or are you going to keep it to just your little boy's club?" She looked meaningful over at the other drivers watching them, making a show of looking unimpressed.
Snake's thin mouth spread out into a cold smile. "Sure Ferrari, you know the boys and I are always open to a little competition as long as you pay the entrance fee."
Ferrari pulled a wad of cash out of her back pocket. "Two hundred dollars," she announced as she presented it."
"Uh huh," Snake countered. "It's two fifty. EACH."
"WHAT?! That's bullshit!" Ferrari shrieked, catching even more attention from the crowd. She quickly lowered her voice. "What are you trying to pull, Snake? This isn't fair and you know it."
"Price goes up for newbies," Snake replied with a smug grin.
"I'm not new!" Ferrari spat. "You know me, Snake. Are you afraid a GIRL is going to beat all of you tough guys?"
"You're bringing in a new car, that make's you new. No one's ever seen you drive it before," Snake insisted. "As for your friend..." He glared suspiciously at the yellow Lamborghini again. "I don't trust anyone who doesn't show me his face. Something here doesn't smell right. Two hundred and fifty dollars each or you can both stay with your fancy cars on the sidelines. And don't think you can bully me out of it just because your daddy's a cop, Ferrari."
Ferrari glared at him.
"Unless there's another way you want to pay me," Snake grinned, eying her up and down in a way that made Ferrari's skin crawl.
"Fine," she snapped and reached down the front of her shirt to fish out more money from her bra. Knowing Snake, she expected it of him. But she still hated being conned. The only thing that would help her sleep well after this was to defeat him thoroughly and complete.
"Two fifty each." She slapped five hundred dollars in Snake's sweaty palm and paraded back to her car.
Snake could hear her grumble to herself as she got back into the red Lamborghini. But he cared not as he took the money over to one of his buddies that was holding the night's cash pool.
"Dude, you really want to let her in?" his friend asked in a hushed voice. "I've heard there's been two cars just like these cleaning up at all the tracks in the district. What if they win?"
Snake looked dubious. "Are you kidding me? It's Ferrari. We've both seen her drive; she ain't THAT good. Either someone's scammin' you or you heard about the wrong cars. There's no way she and that rich bastard she's with can beat us. Right?"
"If you say so Snake," his friend relented. "You go show them up, huh?"
Snake gave him a thumbs up and got into his car.
The winner of the race won the entire amount collected and it was a bit higher than normal with the two extra entrants. Snake was confident it would all be his. It wouldn't be long before he crossed the finish line first and then headed out to treat all his friends to beers and get a few loose women drunk for a night of fun. He doubted Ferrari would be one of those women who would join when she lost. But Snake still entertained the thought of spending the night with the attractive blonde if he ever got the chance.
With all the racers now present and accounted for, the cars were lined up at the starting point. Also per the "rules", Snake also insisted new drivers had to start in the back. The two Lamborghinis were at the rear of the pack, revving their engines with an impatient sound.
Several scouts over the course of the track radioed in that the track was free of cops and other vehicles. A young women looking slightly stoned and wearing very little stepped out with a flag. She raised it high above her head, snapped her gum a few times and then lowered it as a sign to begin the race. With the growling of well kept engines, several cars sped out on either side of her and off onto the crudely made track.
It wasn't a real track by any stretch of the imagination. More like a series of back roads in an old, forgotten part of the city. Once industrial, now sitting in decay. Full of half torn down buildings covered in graffiti, streets full of holes and debris that would not be removed for the race. The course was strange and dangerous and was good for getting the excitement of bored drivers pumping.
Snake, who had a position in front at the beginning of the race, was still leading. Even his friends had to admit that he was slimy and shady at times, but he was still one hell of a driver. He certainly didn't get his place at the starting line simply by organizing the event. More often than not, he would go home with the prize money. Tonight seemed no different to him.
As the track wound around old buildings and he dodged debris, Snake began pulling away from the pack. He knew this course well; all the twists and turns and all the road hazards. This course was cake with how many times he had raced it. He could see some of his friends in his rear view mirror. He identified the models by the shape and size of the headlights. His boys were getting good, too. They also knew the track well. But they couldn't beat him.
The course was about half way over when Snake noticed extra head lights in his rear view mirror. More cars were catching up to his friends behind him. A sharp turn came up. Snake drifted easily around the corner and for a moment, the lights were gone from his mirror. When they appeared again, the two new cars were in front with the familiar lights of his friend's cars behind.
"No," Snake muttered to himself. "It can't be them. That CAN'T be Ferrari... She's not that good."
But despite what he thought he knew, the two cars were still gaining fast.
I have to stay ahead. The course is almost over, I just have to stay ahead.
The most deadly part of the course was almost upon them. This was the stretch that separated the real driver's from the novices. And Snake knew it like the back of his hand. Going into this part of the course, he knew it was near impossible for a car to pass him up while dodging all the hazards. He still had the race won.
The first set of obstacles were upon him. Snake artfully dodged and swerved around debris, totaled cars and potholes. However, to his dismay, not only were the two Lamborghinis keeping up with him, but they were gaining ground at an alarming rate. They seemed hardly affected by the difficulties. But it wasn't over yet.
Around the next corner, Snake knew, was the worst part of the course. It was a sharp, ninety degree angle turn around a large warehouse in which several old scaffolds jutted out right next to the building that couldn't be seen until one turned the corner. There were no street lights in this area either, making the turn that much more hazardous. Many drivers had fallen victim to this hidden trap over the years; some even severely injured. If a newbie like Ferrari tried it, the same thing would happen to her. Even if she did miss that obstacle, there was still a second ninety degree turn around the other side of the building which was most likely slow her down as well. There wasn't a single man in the Detroit area that did right angle turns better than Snake.
The first right angle was upon him and Snake started his drift. It was perfect. As close as he could get to the building without hitting the poles and boards sticking out of the side. Just as he thought, he saw the lead Lamborghini initiating its turn far closer to the building than he was. Normally, it would be a good idea to turn tighter as a way to get the lead in a race. However with all the debris in the way, one would crash right into it.
Or so he thought. Practically side by side with him, Snake saw the red Lamborghini turn into a drift with him and, hardly even slowing down, raced straight towards the hazard. The red one was Ferrari's car and she had just doomed herself. Though no crash came as the Lamborghini, even in the darkness, ran its tires perfectly over the wood and metal and arced over the wreckage. Using the highest part as a spring board, it jumped off and over Snake's head to land in front.
At the speed it was going, the red Lamborghini still should have crashed. However, right before Snake's eyes, the car executed the most perfect turn Snake had ever seen and sped off around the side of the building for the last part of the course.
Shaken by what he just witnessed, Snake tired to keep it together so he wouldn't crash himself. He slowed his speed to maneuver the second ninety degree turn himself when the second Lamborghini sped past him, pulling the same perfect turn without slowing down. Snake's jaw was somewhere around his ankles as he watched the two cars speed off into the night.
Though Snake came in third, the two Lamborghinis were already parked at the finish line when he pulled up. As he killed the engine, Snake just sat there, his knuckles white on the steering wheel. What was that? How could someone so unskilled as Ferrari pull that off? What was going on?
One of his buddies ran up to Snake's window and knocked on it, stop watch in hand.
"Dude! Those Lamborghinis just beat the course record!" he bellowed the second Snake rolled down his window. "I bet you saw it all! That must have been crazy!"
That comment put Snake in action. He flung open the door, nearing hitting the guy talking to him, and stalked dangerously towards the two waiting Lamborghinis, his blood beginning to boil. Behind him, the other racers were crossing the finish line.
Ferrari got out of her car and walked towards him. The driver in the yellow Lamborghini did nothing.
"So I believe that prize is mine," Ferrari gloated.
That comment just made Snake angrier as he rushed forward and grabbed her shoulder roughly.
"What the hell was that Ferrari?!" he demanded. "I don't know how you did it, but there's no way in hell you're that good. You cheated some how."
Ferrari calmly pulled herself from his enraged grip and took a step back. "And just how did I do that?" she said flatly.
By then, other drivers and observers were approaching them, including the young man who had been holding the cash pool.
"I don't know," Snake continued to insist. "But there's no way you got THAT good at driving so fast. NO ONE could be that good."
"That small minded thinking will never get you anywhere, James," Ferrari retorted, keeping her calm. "Now I do believe I won first place." She looked meaningfully at the person holding the cash.
The young man looked around, unsure. Snake usually called the shots and he wasn't looking too happy. But Ferrari did win whether Snake liked it or not. When no one voiced anything against it, he slowly handed Ferrari the money.
"Better luck next time," Ferrari gloated in Snake's direction.
That last comment did it.
"Leave the car."
"What?" Ferrari demanded.
"The red one," Snake continued. "You and your rich boyfriend can go, but leave the car."
"You're stealing my car?"
Snake's slimy smile returned. "Nah, I'm just going to have a look at it. If everything is satisfactory, I'll give it back. If I find out you did something to this car to help you cheat, then we'll be back for a talk."
Ferrari glared at him. She knew even if he didn't find anything amiss, Ferrari would be sure to get the red Lamborghini back in less than top conditions due to Snake's personal "inspection". She opened her mouth to argue, but Snake's friends were mobilizing and they were surrounding her. There were too many of them, most likely several had weapons upon their person as well. Ferrari froze. She wanted to fight, but the likelihood she would win was not looking good.
Deciding for her, the yellow Lamborghini revved loudly and the passenger door opened.
"Go on Ferrari," Snake grinned in triumph. "Tell your rich boyfriend we'll give it back when we're done."
Defeated, Ferrari took one last look at the red Lamborghini then retreated into the yellow one and drove off.
A few hours later, Snake drove through town in Ferrari's smooth, cherry red Lamborghini. After hanging around with his cronies, chewing the fat by the track, he finally decided to check the car out for himself. He couldn't put his finger on it, but there was something about that machine that slightly put him on edge. It sat there silently the entire time, just like any other car would. But for some reason, Snake kept finding himself looking back at it as if someone were watching him.
It must had just been his imagination. Perhaps he was still a bit unsteady from the race. Finally, he decided to drive the red Lamborghini himself and took his girlfriend Lanisha for the ride.
As they pulled away from the track into the better kept roads of the city, Snake had to admit that the car handled just about as smooth as any car should. Breaks and steering were tight. Shocks were top notch and it sped up like a dream. Snake had never been rich enough to afford a car like this. Maybe if he had one running this well he could have pulled off those same stunts.
"Careful, Snake!" Lanisha barked as he swerved tightly to miss a pothole. "I almost spilled my beer!" To further her point, she quickly put on her seat belt.
Snake raised an annoyed brow at her. "So now you don't think I can drive safe, huh? I was just checking out the car's reaction time, babe. That's all."
"Still, better safe than sorry," Lanisha insisted.
Snake was suddenly sick of her presence.
"Well, it seems to drive fine. After I drop you off, I'm going to take it down to the garage. We'll strip the engine and–"
The Lamborghini suddenly slammed on its breaks. Lanisha was held in tight by her seat belt, but Snake's face flew right into the steering wheel.
"Sonofabitch!" he swore as he grabbed his broken, bleeding nose.
"What the hell was that, Snake!? Are you crazy?!" Lanisha demanded.
"It wasn't me, it was the car! It stopped on its own."
His girlfriend stared at him. "What's your damage? A car doesn't stop by itself. If you just want me out of the car then–" she reached for the door handle, but the door locked itself.
She turned and glared him. "Now you're just being a dick."
But Snake wasn't looking at her. His door had locked as well and he was frantically yanking at the handle to get out.
"What the hell is wrong with this car?!"
Without hands on the steering wheel or a foot on the pedal, the red Lamborghini squealed its tires as it took off.
"Snake, what's going on?" Lanisha screamed.
The car sped through the night traffic, swerving wildly past the few vehicles that were on the road.
"How the hell should I know?" Snake demanded, his voice just has high with fear.
"Lord, we're going to die! We're going to die!" Lanisha screamed.
The Lamborghini swerved and sped and dodged, all the time its passengers screaming for their lives. Finally, it kicked violently to a stop, doors flying open. Both passengers were flung from the car. They clung to each other as the car doors closed by themselves and then the driverless Lamborghini sped off into the night.
"Ferrari," Officer Turner said to his daughter as she walked in the door. "It's six in the morning. Where have you been all night?"
Ferrari sighed as she walked into the kitchen where her father and little brother were sharing a breakfast of cold cereal.
"Dad, we've been over this. I'm twenty-two. I don't have to tell you about every little thing I do any more."
"You do when you're still living under my roof," her father warned.
"The only reason I still live here is to take care of the Booger," Ferrari insisted lightly, ignoring her father's tone. She gave her ten year old brother a kiss on the head before ruffling his hair.
The young boy said nothing as he continued to eat his cereal.
"You're not doing it too well," Officer Turner insisted, still irritated. "Being out all night doing God knows what. Have you even found a job yet, Ferrari?"
"I'm working on it. I'm doing a few things on the side," she insisted with boredom.
"Those better be legal things," Officer Turner informed her. "If I see one of my boys bring you in for drugs or prostitution–"
"Dad!" Ferrari squawked. "I would never! I can't believe you would even suggest–"
"I'm just letting you know," her father clarified. "I'll put up with you being out all night with your friends that I've never met, but that's where I draw the line."
"Your shift start soon, Daddy. You should get going," was all Ferrari said.
Officer Turner put his dishes in the sink and grabbed his keys. "Lock up if you leave the house and make sure Clinton catches the bus."
"Yes Daddy," Ferrari said as she followed him to the door.
"And get yourself a real job," Officer Turned told his daughter in a lower voice. "I'm sick of you bringing home cash that I don't know where it came from."
"I'll see what I can do, Daddy," Ferrari said in that tone her father knew meant she wasn't going to try all that hard.
But there was no more time to argue. Officer Turner was due on patrol. He kissed his daughter good-bye and Ferrari waved him off. Then she went inside to get her little brother off to summer classes so she could go to sleep.
Sam Witwicky groaned. This was a total rip off. His few and glorious summer mornings to sleep in were upon him and he was alert at the crack of dawn. Why couldn't he go back to sleep? Why was it so hot in his room?
Sighing heavily, Sam wandered downstairs in his boxers and t-shirt to get a drink of water. The days had been smoldering lately. Even this early in the morning, Sam was parched. He poured some water from the tap and drank it slowly.
So early in the morning, the neighborhood was silent. The rumbling of several vehicles, including one pulling away from his house, caught his ears.
Sam lowered his glass to confirm what he heard. His heart started beating faster.
"No..." he breathed. "NO!"
He dropped the plastic cup, splattering the floor with water as he raced barefoot out of his house.
A line of vehicles led by a red and blue semi were pulling away from the Witwicky home when the leader had to slam on his breaks as a hysteric seventeen-year-old threw himself on front of him.
"What are you doing?!" Sam screeched.
There was an audible groan from the semi.
"What's going on?" came a voice from down the line.
"It's the boy," rumbled another.
"Slag. Doesn't he ever sleep?"
Sam streaked down the line of cars.
"WAIT!" He threw himself on the hood of the yellow Camero at the end of the line. "You can't take Bumblebee! My life depends on it! Do you hate me?"
"Do something Optimus, we have to go," Ironhide growled.
Despite the fading darkness, Optimus transformed into his robot mode and stepped over his comrades to the frantic teenager.
"We don't have time for this," he said, delicately picking Sam off Bumblebee by the back of the shirt.
The young man seemed hardly intimidated by being dangled face to face in front of the giant robot.
"Optimus, please," he begged. "I need this car. The popular kids have stopped throwing things at me and I told Mikaela I would take her to the lake tonight. How am I going to take her without a car? Huh! Answer me that!"
Optimus glanced meaningfully at the pink bike in the yard with the flower basket.
Sam's eyes went wide.
"No! No, Optimus!" he barked as if disciplining a dog. "This is going to ruin my life! Not to mention what my parents are going to do to me! Do you not realize how difficult it was just to explain all this to my parents?" He gestured to the giant robots. "They are going to flip out if we just suddenly go missing."
"There is no we," Optimus insisted. "Bumblebee is going. You are staying here."
Sam hung there, mouth open as if trying to process the very odd and foreign concept of being separated from his guardian.
"Sir," came a small voice from the Camero. "Let me speak with him."
"Yes, yes," Sam agreed as Optimus put him on the ground. "Bumblebee and I will figure something out. Give me an hour to–" Optimus glared. "Half an hour," Sam corrected himself. "Just thirty minutes to figure this out. That's all I'm asking. Just some time to think, okay?"
"Fifteen," Optimus informed him.
"Twenty-five," Sam insisted.
"Twenty minutes, then we must go," Optimus said with finality. He turned his back to end the conversation and trudge back to the front of the line.
"Prime, why do we always do what that human boy says?" Ironhide growled, still in vehicle mode.
Optimus transformed back into his own vehicle mode. "His talking creates such a buzzing in my diodes," he muttered tiredly. "Where does he get all that energy?" To his team he said "Autobots, we'll fall back for twenty minutes and then we'll go."
As the sunlight spilled into the sleepy neighborhood, the Autobots hid themselves, parked on various streets out of the way. True to the agreement, after twenty minutes, the yellow Camero pulled away from the Witwicky home without being noticed.
"Good 'ol Bumblebee," Ironhide said in approval. "That little guy always comes through."
"Alright Autobots," Optimus Prime relayed through their radios. "Let's roll out. Ratchet, lead us as far as that signal will take us."
"Sure thing, Prime. Follow me."
As the convoy organized and filed out of the neighborhood towards the interstate, a young woman jogged past them going the opposite way. She had earbuds on and paid the group of vehicles little mind. However, after they had turned the corner, she stopped to check her pulse and clicked a small button on her the device at her hip.
"Hummingbird, this is 07," she said in a low voice. "The entire team has mobilized and they appear to be heading out of the city."
"Any civilians with them?" a voice crackled on her headset.
"None that I could see. They appeared adamant about leaving the boy."
"Do you know their destination?"
"Negative. We weren't expecting this."
"Understood 07. Track them. Don't let them find you and report back when you know where they're going."
The woman looked in the direction the vehicles had gone. "Roger. We'll keep an eye on them until we can figure out what they're up to."