DISCLAIMER - I don't own Transformers. 'Nuff said on that score. I did create Artemis and Silica, though. And readers be forewarned that this story will get upsetting and disturbing in later chapters.


PROLOGUE
-----------------------

Artemis made the final few circuit connections, and shut the small access panel on the console. He
converted the small circuit welder back into his right hand, flipped off his head-mounted light and threw the
last of a series of switches. It had been this switch's failure to function, unlike the other four in the sequence,
that had resulted in Artemis's need to perform a quick bit of spot welding, fixing up a damaged circuit
board. This time, however, when he shifted the metal shaft to the 'on' position, the machinery hummed with
life and the entire bank of controls on the console lit up. With a contented hum, Artemis turned to the large
robot standing with him.
"Is everything in readiness?" the large red and blue robot asked Artemis.
"Yes, Prime," Artemis said, saluting. He wouldn't say that he and this robot of superior rank were friends,
as such, more casual acquaintances, really. They had known each other for some time, ever since Artemis
had started working on the giant spacecraft the Autobots were calling 'The Ark', but they had never had
really sat down and talked about their lives, their loves, and whatnot. But, Artemis supposed, it wouldn't do
for him to take up the time of the great Optimus Prime. Artemis gestured at the glowing controls. "We're
on-line and ready. You may join your forces on the Ark when you're ready."
Optimus Prime returned the salute. "Good work, Artemis," he said.
"And good luck to you, Prime," Artemis said.
"Thank you, my friend," Prime replied.
"Friend?" Artemis asked, surprised, before he even realised what he was saying. Optimus Prime considered
him a friend? "I... uh... I mean, what I meant to say was, ah..."
Prime chuckled. "I know what you mean, Artemis." The Autobot commander extended his hand to
Artemis. "Whatever comes of this mission, I'll always remember you."
Somewhat dumbly, Artemis took Prime's hand, and shook it, firmly. "Same here," he finally said. "Now,
go on, you'd better get moving, sir!"
Prime shook Artemis's hand once more, then released it. "Yes, I had. Goodbye, Artemis. Give my regards
to Silica." Then, Prime spun on his heel, and walked into the elevator. As the metal doors closed behind him,
Artemis was again feeling rather shocked. Optimus Prime new the name of his mate, too! Obviously, he had
though of Artemis as more of a friend that Artemis had thought of him. Shaking his head, Artemis moved
back to the console, and began tapping buttons. Looking out through the huge window, he saw the gigantic
golden craft that was the Ark resting on the launch pad. He watched as Optimus exited the control tower,
and marched towards the behemoth ship. Just as Optimus was almost out of view, Artemis saw another
robot run up to him. Pink in colour, with... Artemis squinted... yes, she looked to be one of the female
Autobots. Oh, he knew her... what was her name? Alita? Aelita? Elita? Artemis never could remember which
way it went. Any way, it was hard not to know of Elita One... yes, Artemis settled on that version, Elita
One... as she was the leader of the female Autobot warriors. Artemis wondered what she wanted with Prime.
Maybe there was something between them. It was times like this when Artemis wished he had taken the time
to get to know Prime a little better after all. After a couple more minutes, Elita One ran from the launch pad,
as Prime boarded the Ark. Artemis scratched his head, wondering what it was all about. Then, Prime's voice
crackled through a radio in the tower.
"Commence countdown," he said.
"Yes, sir," Artemis responded, striking a series of buttons on the console. With the obligatory ten second
countdown, the Ark's engines were primed, and it roared free of the launch pad, streaking through the
Cybertronian air, into the ebony void of space. Artemis watched it go, until it was nothing more than a
golden speck against overwhelming blackness.

- - -

Just gettin' started! Tell me what ya think!