Summary: When the Autobots, along with Sam Witwicky and Captain William Lennox, drive up to "The Seattle Movie Motor Convention" to investigate a Cybertronian signal, they encounter an young old arrival in a surreal situation. Sam could not be more excited.
Quantum Pony Express
"I don't care if it goes by quantum Pony Express! Try it!" – Captain Samuel L. Walker, Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday, Alan Dean Foster
"So let me get this straight," Sam began as Bumblebee circled the crowded parking lot, "You guys think you've picked up an Autobot signal? Isn't that a good thing? We can play welcome committee, throw a party, blow kazoos, all that." Sam was confused over the stony silences that had surrounded the Autobots since this search had begun. Optimus Prime had sent that message out welcoming other Autobots to Earth, hadn't he? Finding one should be great news!
"We have received no Autobot signals since well before arriving on Earth." Bumblebee lulled in the lane, waiting for a white pick-up to move away from the curb. "Because of concerns about potential attacks from the unaccounted for Decepticons Scorponok, Barricade, and Starscream, your government requested our assistance in locating them. We have been working with Maggie and Glen these past few months on upgrading human satellites already in orbit to search for and detect them. In a recent sweep of this area, the satellites detected a Cybertronian life sign. The 'bot has not responded to any communications."
"So we've driven all the way up here to find this wayward 'bot and talk face to face. So to speak." Bumblebee gave a little chirp from the radio. Sam sighed. "Well, this is an odd place for a Decepticon to hang out, so hopefully the guy'll be friendly…We'll call you guys if anything bad happens."
"We will remain as close as possible," Bumblebee replied before dumping Sam on the curb and being promptly ushered away by a traffic controller. Sam dashed under the roof gables, waiting several minutes for Ironhide to similarly leave Captain Lennox behind, before they both made a dash for the ticket lines.
"Miserable weather they have up here," Will mumbled, trying to open his umbrella, "as if driving through the rain for two days wasn't bad enough…"
The two shuffled through the line, acquired entry passes, got their hands stamped, and finally entered the show hall. The high-ceilinged room stretched out before them, smelling of wet clothes, pressing with convention attendees, and, most importantly, overshadowed with dozens of custom vehicles.
"You've gotta admit, if there was any place to hide a giant transforming robot, 'The Seattle Movie Motor Convention' would be it," Sam said, looking at a map of attractions as Will pulled out something that looked vaguely like a GPS radio.
"Ironhide said that the signal seemed to be coming from the west, so we'll head that direction and as we go along check the cars…and other things… with this." Will held up the device. The pair pushed their way through the crowd towards the nearest exhibit, a whole host of James Bond vehicles. Will held up the detector at each BMW, motorcycle, and even a submarine, but whatever he was waiting for didn't happen, so the two moved on. Finally, after shoving their way past dozens of movie and TV franchise set-ups with no luck, the pair reached the west end of the show building.
"Well, now what?" Will asked nobody. "I seriously hope this things workin' right, otherwise we might have to go through all that again…but there's nothing left in this direction. Damn it." He frowned at the faux GPS.
"Not true sir!" A man coming into the building through a pair of doors said to the pair. After making sure he had both Will and Sam's attentions, the man continued, "Out these doors is the fan lot. Some of them have pretty cool mimic custom work, right Johnny?" The boy seated on the man's shoulders nodded enthusiastically.
"Oh, well, maybe we'll check it out then. You two don't have an umbrella; did it stopped raining?" Sam asked, looking at Will expectantly.
"Oh, yeah, it's great weather out now," The man said as he wandered off into the crowd. Sam and Will looked at each other, Sam shrugged, and they pushed their way out of the doors. The sight that they encountered was even stranger than that inside the building: a vast sea of cars, some obviously matching those used in movies, while others more of the strange 'art car' variety, and once again the multitudes of people tramping through the puddle riddled lot.
"Is that car covered in doll heads?" Sam pointed at the offending van, blinking. "And what is this? I thought that guy said it'd stopped raining!" he said, holding his hand out under the drizzle.
"C'mon, let's do this as fast as possible," Will said, sighing, and headed off for the first row of cars on the left. Sam made a face at the sky, then trotted after him, and they continued to make their checks of the vehicles.
"Whoa, I'm gettin' something." The Captain waved his device from left to right, watching the line on the screen react. He pointed, "Over thattaway." The two ended up in front of a small and boxy silver car, covered with strange tubing, and what appeared to be a blender strapped to the back.
"A DeLorean?!" Sam cried. They stood gawking at it for a couple minutes. Sam looked around, and asked a man standing in front of the car on their left, "Hey, do you know who's with this car?"
"Hmm? Oh, it's me." The burly man lumbered over. Will eyed him: Late thirties at the youngest, very tall, with dull brown hair, brown eyes, and paunch below his chin. A Gore-tex raincoat ended over a pair of rain-pants that tucked into a pair of waterproof boots. So, a native, Will thought.
"Sir, I'm going to have to ask you a few questions about your car." Will flashed a badge given to him for situations when working around civilians smoothly was necessary. "When did you acquire the vehicle?"
Now the man's pudgy face gained a nervous crinkle, but he answered dutifully enough. "I bought this 'bout sixteen years ago from a used car place. After people realized they looked ridiculous, but before people really started to snatch them up for nostalgia, you know?" The man was a babbler. "Funny enough, it already looked pretty close to the one used in the movies. The salesman didn't know anything about the car or its previous owner, little sketchy, but I figured hey, even if it don't run it'll be worth it. I've had it ever since."
"Sixteen years ago?" Sam looked at Will nervously. Will hmmed, running the sensor over the car from bumper to bumper. He looked up at Sam when he'd finished, nodded, and turned back to the owner of the car.
Before he could say anything, the DeLorean's engine burst to life, its tires sent up a shower of wet grit, and it tore out of there like the devil was after it. The owner's jaw nearly hit the pavement as Will and Sam desperately began pursuit.
"Bee! We found him! He's a fuckin' DeLorean!" Sam shouted into his phone as he raced over the parking lot. "He just tore off, and he's coming out the west exit!" he said just as the Cybertronian broke through a pay station's striped gate. The attendant shrieked at them as they ran by, futilely trying to keep up with the alien automobile.
Bumblebee pulled up, threw open his doors, and they jumped in. With tires squealing, he took off again after their target. Sam pretended to drive, clamping his hands on the wheel as they made an impossible turn onto a busier boulevard. The turn threw Will against the right window, as he tried to chuck his umbrella and the despised Autobot sensor device into Bumblebee's backseat.
Buckling in, he looked at the radio dials and tartly asked "Status report?"
Optimus Prime's voice came out of the Camaro's speakers, surrounding the passengers. "We have matched the Cybertronian signal to the vehicle you described. He does not seem intent to attack; merely to flee. Ratchet and Ironhide will flank him, as you and Bumblebee follow from behind. We will try to direct him to a location at which we may coerce him to converse more freely. We must confirm his identity."
The Autobot scout and his human passengers trailed the DeLorean for some time further and further east of Seattle, leaving the city proper and traveling on shrinking highways out into farm country. Finally, the DeLorean apparently became worn down, and pulled off the road into a muddy parking lot ringed by trees. Bumblebee entered the lot first, followed by Ratchet and Ironhid, and lastly Optimus, ringing the unnamed DeLorean next to the wall of faux firs. At four thirty on a misty day, dusk was well on its way in, but the Autobots opted for caution even in this remote area, and silently awaited the cover of darkness.
Sam felt the atmosphere inside the Camaro palpably, although he couldn't be sure this was from pent up emotion or the persistent dampness in the air. What the heck is wrong with you?, Sam thought to himself, This guy's done nothing. He looked over at the Army Captain seated in the passenger's seat, staring intently at the 80's monstrosity in front of them. He's focused, Sam admitted, but obviously not worried. So why've I got so many goosebumps?
Bumblebee popped open his doors. Well, now's the time. Sam and Will climbed out and waited patiently. The Autobots never disappointed; even after seeing them transform dozens of times, the two humans couldn't pry their eyes away from the multitude of shifting panels, turning gears, and the glinting suggestions of dangerous weaponry. A few moments passed, filled only with the sound of water dripping off the Autobot's armor. The DeLorean stood up.
"I am Optimus Prime, commander of the Autobots. What is your designation?"
A pause. The mech tensed, locked his joints, and stared intensely at Optimus. "Call me Dragonfly." When nothing seemed to happen, he tentatively relaxed. He (squealed? shrieked?) said something at Optimus in Cybertronian, launching all of the mechanoids into a heated discussion that flew over the poor human's heads.
He does rather look like a Dragonfly, Sam thought, contemplating the new bot's appearance. He stood about Bumblebee's height, perhaps a foot or two taller, but was much slimmer. His doors had split straight down the middle, and now twitched behind him like thin, silvery wings. The overall appearance certainly brought a dragonfly to mind, Just like how Bee looks a kinda like, well, a bee.
"Hey, English, people, English!" Will shouted next to him, jarring Sam from his thoughts. "What's the story here? I've got to tell my superior's something, and I can only do that if I know what the hell is going on." Will stood arms akimbo, scowling up at the huge forms, awaiting their explanation.
"My apologies, Captain," Optimus said. He turned to face the two humans and kneeled on one knee, crouching, before continuing, "Dragonfly has not spoken to another Cybertronian for some time."
"The guy who claimed to own him said he'd had him for, what, sixteen years? I didn't think any of you guys came to Earth that early." Will's face relaxed into a more amicable expression, turning to look up at the newcomer. Meanwhile, Dragonfly, closely watching Optimus' movements, had carefully mimicked his hunched, kneeling position.
"He told the truth; he's known me for about 16 years. I got damaged arriving here, so I sold myself at a used car dealership like Bumblebee did when he became Sam's guardian." The bot spoke slowly, and his metal face showed what Sam guessed to be a look of concentration. Once again, when he finished, he stiffened a moment.
"Waittaminute." Sam quirked an eyebrow. "How do you know that Bumblebee sold himself to me at a used car dealership? …How did you know about it 16 years ago?!" Now six faces blankly awaited Dragonfly's explanation. His optics darted between their stony expressions, and as he shifted his weight nervously Sam could hear the pneumatics in his joints hiss.
"Well, I, um…" He turned his face to the ground. He said something unintelligible to the dirt; Sam hadn't thought robots could mumble, but there you go.
"What?" Will's voice cut sarcastically through the Autobot's shocked silence. "Sorry, us puny human's couldn't hear a damn thing you just said."
"I'm from the future." He said more clearly, once again facing the humans. "Very far in the future. I, well, I accidentally traveled from my time, the future, to about seventeen years ago, the past. I don't really know, I've got no idea, really, how I did it, or how it happened, or, you know… I don't think I should tell you much more than that. Nobody's ever time traveled before, as far as I know, but there's all sorts of ideas about what'd it'd be like, and the general consensus is bad bad bad news. It's not good to know too much about your own destiny." Now he stood straight and turned to look at the Autobots. "Now I need your help to get back to the year…well, back to the future."
Sam tried to wrap his mind around the surreal turn his day had taken. Now that sentient cars that transformed into giant alien robots was the norm, life dumped this on him. Will was a bit more skeptical.
"Let me get this straight: You're some Autobot from the distant future, who accidentally traveled through time to 17 years in the past. You change into a custom silver DeLorean, and, just like in the fucking movies, you need our help to go back to the future?!"
"...Yes?" Will had experience intimidating Ironhide, and Sam felt a twinge of sympathy for the bot under his complete and utter shock. In the dripping silence that surrounded the 'adults' analyzing the impossible situation, as his mind bent itself to accommodate all the absurdity, an irresistible urge gripped Sam right under his diaphragm, tightening and tightening until he couldn't stand it any longer. He spread his legs, gripped his hair, and, staring wide-eyed up at Bumblebee, shouted:
Notes: I probably will not continue this fic. I have a general idea of a backstory for the character, but good stories require good plots, which I'm having more difficulty with.
The idea for this came out of a line on the transformers wiki that said they based Bumblebee's movements on Michael J. Fox in Back to the Future. So then I had to go watch the films again, because they're just so great and funny, and I got to thinking: It'd be pretty funny if there was a transformer that actually was a DeLorean (the epitome of 80's cars; so ridiculous). And then I got to thinking: What would the reactions of the humans be if they encountered this guy and he could actually travel through time? And, well, this was born. Crack on a stick.
On putting it in Seattle: I'm from Portland. I find the fact that in G1 they crash land in "Mt. St. Hilary," Oregon, fucking hilarious. Also, people from this part of the country enjoy some major schadenfreude at the reactions to the weather of those from southern California/Nevada . Read this for a summary of northwest rain culture: www dot portlandstories dot org/northeast/rainwalker