First off, this is not a story for the faint of heart. This is a story about doubt, lies, betrayal, violence and war. It contains very detailed gore, graphic language and abuse. It might mess with your head, it might even make you cry. It will probably have you on the edge of your seat.
Anyway, should you decide to keep reading, you might find this story to be unlike anything you've encountered. In any case, it is unlike anything I have ever written and my biggest literary project up to now.
It may not leave you feeling happy, but it will be worth it- and that's all the warnings you're gonna get.
This is the remastered version, so there will be less grammar and spelling mistakes. Also, I "sobered it up" in a few places.
In that sense, have fun reading ;)
Transformers belongs to Hasbro/ Takara.
The Dark Horizon
Chapter1: If only...
If only I had known what I was getting myself into. If only I hadn't been so naïve. If only I hadn't listened to him, to this deep baritone telling me to trust him. If only I hadn't gotten into the car.
Now I was sitting here on a cold metal table, alien fingers probing and examining a body that wasn't mine. A cage, I was living in one. A big, cold cage, with only one single exit: death. I closed my optics and sobbed. The fingers stopped.
"What's the matter, kid?" the voice of my friend, my only friend, inquired. I shook my head, looking down.
"It's nothing." That wasn't true. It was everything. I knew it. He knew it, but said nothing. He squeezed my shoulder lightly, resuming his work. I thought back. Back to a time when I had admired those warriors of metal, had looked up to them, had believed them. Those times, short and blissful as they had been, were gone. Forever.
It was on a December morning that it all started I think, it must have been winter- it was cold outside, cold and windy. Autumn leaves had long since collected in wet heaps in the outside corners of the school building, yet there was no snow. It was the second class of the day I think and I was sitting there, bored, letting my physics teacher blabber away while letting my mind wander, looking out of the window. The time just didn't seem to pass and every second I was spending in this facility just seemed so very pointless.
Just two more years. Two more years and I'd be out of here. No more physics, no more math, no more anything I didn't like or need. Only me and my gift, what I wanted to do, what I was meant to do. And even if studying art meant I had to pass the hardest entrance examination in the world, I knew that if I couldn't do it, no one could. I desperately longed for a bigger world than the one my parents lived in, the only one they knew.
I wanted adventure, no day would be like the next. I would be traveling to foreign countries, meeting new people every day, excitement waiting for me at every turn... I was certain that, should I lead a normal life, working in an office maybe, I would suffocate. I wanted unexpected things to happen.
And so, when I heard the sound of screeching tires, of roaring engines and missiles hitting the building, it was a mix of horror and curiosity that I felt. This was most unexpected. My friend Malissa, who was sitting beside me grabbed my arm anxiously, she was scared, as anyone in their right mind would have been. My classmates started screaming, the girls' high pitched voices making my eardrums ache.
Suddenly a huge pair of metallic feet crunched down in front of the classroom's windows and only seconds later the window side of the room was being torn off by the biggest pair of silver hands that I had ever seen. In a daze I realized that the other pupils had already stood up and were storming out of the room, retreating further into the building, I started to follow them hastily- but then he called my name.
"Joelle Dahl?" I turned around, shocked. This wasn't possible. I had heard about him. Seen him in comics, cartoons, movies. But this was real. I couldn't believe it. There he was, Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, kneeling in front of my school, calling my name. Not even in my wildest dreams had I imagined that this creature, this part of, well, mainstream entertainment would come into my life, but there he was right in front of me.
About 30 feet tall, moving and talking. Talking to me, at that. For a moment I wondered if this creature might have been man- made after all and if this was nothing but the most expensive trick in the world, but no. I was certain humans couldn't build something like this. This was no machine. It was alive.
"Y...yes?" He blinked the covers over his blue optics, eyeballing me with these glowing visual sensors. Malissa, who had already fled the room now returned, grabbing me by the arm once again, trying to pull me out of there. I wouldn't let her. My feet were firmly planted onto the linoleum on the floor, my body not moving a single inch, no matter how hard she tried.
"Come on, Joelle! We gotta get out of here!" She screamed at me. I didn't listen. All of my attention belonged to the giant red, blue and silver robot in front of me.
"Joelle Dahl, you are in great danger. There is no time to explain now. Please come with me." he said, that beautiful deep voice lulling me into some kind of trance. The next words were the ones that I should have never believed.
"Trust me." He extended his hand. I looked past his massive thigh, where other, somehow familiar robots were fighting, demolishing the whole parking lot and the surrounding buildings. I smelled smoke. The school was burning. Machine guns were rattling, glass was being shattered, cars were being crunched down to mere metal heaps, shredded beyond recognition. He promised safety. In a weird way.
'I'd probably be safer if I kept away from him', I thought, 'but that was what I wanted, wasn't it? An exiting, special life? And what would be a greater chance for such a life than him?' Besides... was it actually an option to refuse him? His hand was still outstretched to me. He was waiting for me. After taking a deep breath, I approached the hand, to the shock of my friend.
"JOELLE!"Malissa screamed. I climbed onto his flat palm, clinging to his thick fingers. I turned around one last time. While Optimus was standing up, I caught a last glimpse of my friend, who was trying to reach out for me, tears in her eyes and terror written all over her face, shouting for me to come back.
Once he had reached his full height, I could see the complete extent of the battle for the first time. Four huge mechs, two of them winged, were trying to approach the large bot who was holding me in his hand safely, but a whole bunch of others (I counted at least nine of them) were keeping them at a safe distance. A sturdy black mech, big, but not as big as Optimus, ran towards us, panting.
"Got her?" he asked his leader, gazing into his hand curiously and scanning me.
"Yes. Hold them back a little longer, then retreat." The other robot nodded.
The soft leather seats were warm, somewhat snuggling into the curves of my body, holding me in place securely and comfortably while Optimus' motor was roaring, pushing his huge, transformed body forward at top speed untiringly. He had told me where we were going: their base. We had been driving for over an hour now, the other Transformers I had seen fighting at my school were following closely, a few others had even joined the convoy on the way. I looked to my left, where a holographic, tall man with a short brown beard was sitting in the drivers' seat, pretending to steer the vehicle. I cleared my throat. I wanted some answers and I wanted them now.
"So it's true. You guys are real."
"We are." He said, frowning at me. I then realized I had been tracing patterns on the inside of the passenger door absent- mindedly. I stopped immediately. Maybe I should try to keep my hands to myself, I thought, I was sitting inside someone and not something after all.
"Just like... in the movies and all? How come there are movies about you?"
"An Autobot deserter. He had been hiding on earth for quite a while. At some point, he revealed himself to some humans, did business with them. He told them stories about our kind, about the war. They sold it as fiction and made a fortune."
"What happened to Sideways?" His expression tightened.
"What happens to all traitors when they finally get caught. He is dead."
"So... everything from the stories is reality? All the characters, your planet... all of that is true?" The hologram looked straight into my eyes, nodding. It unnerved me how he wasn't watching the road ahead anymore, but I had to remind myself that the hologram certainly didn't need to.
"Mostly, yes. Cybertron, the war, a lot of the Cybertronians involved, Autobots and Decepticons, good versus evil. There are some things that the humans don't know about us, and some things that they just dreamed up, but still." I shook my head. This was crazy.
"But what do I have to do with this? I mean, I'm just an ordinary human. I'm not a military person, I don't know about any top secret stuff... I can't be of any importance to you, can I?"
"Tell me, miss Dahl, in the past years, did you ever break a bone? Did you ever fall sick? Did it ever occur that you were not 100% healthy?" I looked at my lap, thinking.
"Now that you mention it, no." The hologram nodded.
"And what do you think, why could that be?" I shrugged.
"Good immune system and a careful lifestyle?" He chuckled and shook his head, his brown strands moving way too naturally.
"No. Let me tell you another story. Three years ago a 13 year old girl went missing on her way home. The police conducted a search, but there was no trace of her. After a whole week, she appeared on her parents' doorstep, seemingly unharmed, not even remembering anything out of the ordinary had occurred. Obviously, as there was no clue as to what had happened, neither from the girl nor otherwise, the case had to be dropped.
What they never even noticed was that the girl who returned home wasn't actually the same girl. It was an individual we call a "pretender", albeit a highly unusual one. A disguise if you will, designed to enable one of our kind to as another species. One of ours whom we have been searching for a long time. We have been suspecting you to be that individual for several months now, but we have only recently been able to confirm it."
I waited for the hint that would tell me he was joking. It never came. I shook my head, frowning. This was ridiculous.
"This can't be. I remember a time before I was 13 and I remember being human. You must have kidnapped the wrong girl."
"Mnemotransplantation. The memories of an individual are extracted and implanted in another brain. Or, in this case, processor. Believe me when I say we are absolutely positive on that matter. You're the one." I wasn't sure if I could believe this. There still was a possibility he was merely bullshitting. But… what if he wasn't?
"So everything I remember... actually didn't happen?"
"It did happen, just not to you." He looked out of the windshield and up into the sky, watching. Searching. A very uncomfortable thought befell me. If he was telling the truth and I wasn't actually Joelle Dahle…
"What happened to her? To the human girl I mean?"
"Her body was never found. However, when we captured the bot responsible for all this mess, we also discovered her laboratory aboard her ship. We have reasons to believe the human has been used for creating your shell before it was disposed of."
A cold shiver ran down my back. Disposed of. Like some gadget you didn't need anymore.
"Okay. Let's assume I'm the kid you've been looking for. What now?" He sighed.
"You are the last living female of our species we know of." I blushed and looked out of the window quickly. That was what he was after. It was just hard to believe. The fact that I was not my parents' daughter made me cringe. My stomach felt like it would wander up into my throat, cutting off my breath. My whole life, all my memories, were a lie? Forgotten were the adventures, forgotten were glory and excitement. Putting one and one together wasn't that difficult now.
"You want me to help you save your species. In other words, you want me to have children."
"Alright, I'm out. Pull over please." I said and moved to take off my seatbelt. Only the belt didn't budge. In fact, it felt like it was getting tighter. Just like the hologram's grip on the steering wheel.
"I will do no such thing. I am taking you to our base. You belong with your people."
"I belong with whomever the fuck I choose! Let me out!" I couldn't open the door either. He controlled every single inch of the truck. He was the truck. "I'm not going to be your… your breeding hen!"
"What even makes you think you have a say in this?"
Enraged, I did something quite dumb then. I kicked his dashboard. His reaction came quicker than I would have thought possible. I yelped in pain as he grabbed my arm so hard he was leaving bruises, twisting it while yanking my head back by my hair. The truck's engine growled threateningly.
"This will be your only warning, youngling. Do not ever attack me."
By now, I would have been an idiot to not be scared. This was no dream. It was becoming a nightmare. There was a stranger holding me, infinitely more powerful than I was, planning to do god knew what to me and demonstrating he was clearly not above inflicting violence. I tried not to cry, I really did, but I was terrified. Tears formed at the corners of my eyes.
"Now," he started while his grip loosened, but he was still uncomfortably close. "If you're going to be a good little femme, the rest of our drive will be rather comfortable. If not…"
There was no need for him to explain further. Clearly, getting off was not an option. I also knew there was no way I could free myself now and if I kept struggling, things would only get worse.
"Are you going to be good?" He asked.
I didn't even know what to say. I had made a huge mistake going with him.
As expected, the base was enormous. Of course, since those guys were simply huge, they needed a shelter that equaled their size. I had to admit I didn't know where we were exactly for I had fallen asleep for a few hours, but it was located in the desert, a sealed military area. Area 51 maybe? Couldn't be sure. Nervously, I looked over to the hologram again. I wondered if, if I really did have to stay here for a longer time, I would be allowed to visit my family and my friends. After all, even if I had left them in a rush without really thinking about it, I still cared about them. I didn't dare ask though.
The hologram disappeared, the door on my side of his cab opened. Slowly, I stepped out. When I had left the vehicle, Optimus transformed. I watched him, intimidated. This shifting of body parts, creation of new connections, the bombastic metallic sounds accompanying it. When he was finished I took in my surroundings nervously. Thirteen Autobots, of which I could identify some, were standing around me, next to a bunch of human soldiers. They were all staring at me. The green mech to my left stepped forward and lifted me up by the back of my jacket, ignoring my shouts of protest. Ratchet, the chief medical officer. He eyed me up and down, obviously running scans as I struggled. He didn't seem like he intended to harm me, but still the position was highly uncomfortable. Finally he lay me down on his palm and stroked my back with his other hand like I was some sort of pet one could just pick up to play with. I didn't want to be treated like an animal. I kicked his finger. He shook his head.
"A fascinating creation", he said, "probably one of the most advanced disguises I've come across. And you even managed to bring her here undamaged. I'm impressed."
Optimus nodded. "Retrieving her was rather uncomplicated. I'm leaving her in your care. She is to be examined and treated so she can be of use to us. I trust you to find a way to get her development restarted."
"I'm confident I'll figure it out, sir." he responded.
"You may leave and start your work."
Ratchet started making his way out of the hangar, securely holding me in place between his hands. The other mechs were still staring at me, not daring to say a word. It was strange, having all those familiar yet unknown aliens watch me so intently. After we had left, I could hear them talking quietly in the distance.