AN: I can never settle on one story. I know. I live in Canada, come kill me. You'll make the headline news for about 2 weeks. Do eeeeet.
I don't think there's anything useful that can go in this author's note. Let's frame it: I am writing a sequel. There, done. Please read Same Side, the original Stargate/Transformers crossover. Trust me, you'll get lost if you don't. In any case, it's about time to toss a tiny bit of SG1 in here, and I'm not just talking about Jack O'Neill. The random character clashes it's like...licking a 9 volt battery. If you've ever licked a battery, I want you to slap yourself on the arm. Hard. No, harder than that. I want to see a bruise, dammit!
Introducing a whole new brand of clever chapter titles!
Chapter One: One Spree Kill
Lieutenant Colonel John Sheppard had never been the type to take a stroll just for the sake of strolling. Keeping in mind that 'strolling' was just a fancy word for walking around with absolutely nothing important to do, he was the kind of guy who preferred doing things more productive, like reading. Watching a movie. Rescuing his teammates. That sort of thing.
So on a particularly deadbeat Monday morning, he found himself wandering around the halls of Atlantis while eating a slightly overripe apple. Strolling. Okay, so maybe it wasn't strolling as it was 'elongated pacing'. The same thought kept mulling around his head; what the hell was wrong with the I.O.A? Ever since the desperate attack by Todd's friends and Storm Jet's Decepticon allies. they'd been purposely splitting up the newborn Compound Alliance, forbidding offworld excursions or joint research teams. They sent the Witwicky kid home, grounded him (much to his extreme dislike) and Major Lennox in Atlantis, trapped half his team back in Alabama and on top of it all, refused to move the city to the Indian Ocean as had been planned for weeks before the invasion.
Apparently, they didn't need Galloway to make things difficult for the shaky alliance. The I.O.A. (minus Mr. Woolsey) had a collective consciousness, and their 'idiot dial' was cranked all the way to ten.
Sheppard's strolling came to a sudden and untimely end when a familiar face rounded the corner of the corridor. He came to a swaggering stop. "Hey, there."
"Fifteen minutes," Major Lennox said sharply, ignoring the greeting and emphasizing his point with a jab of his hand. "That's how long I've been looking for the nearest gate-transporter-closet thing. Do you know what—it was you who took the last piece of fruit?"
The colonel cast a harmless glance down at his half-eaten apple, took one more bite and extended it towards the NEST leader while chewing slowly. Lennox shook his head and said,"One, that's just gross. Two, you told me the Puddlejumper bay was easily accessible through the second hallway after climbing the southwest stairs from the Gate room."
"I did," Sheppard agreed matter-of-factly, sinking his teeth into the apple again. With a mouth half-full of food, he added, "You didn't count the intersection on the west side of the stairs as the first hallway on the left."
Lennox's expression made it clear that he hadn't. He leaned against a center pillar with one hand. "This is because I made fun of the name 'Puddlejumper', isn't it?"
"Did you do that?" asked the colonel innocently. "I thought that was Epps. You two can be hard to tell apart sometimes, you guys should really think about different haircuts or something."
"Okay, you know, I think I know what's been keeping the Wraith away for five years."
The comment was half drowned out by a voice over Sheppard's radio, but he heard it enough to smirk victoriously before answering the call on his earpiece."Go ahead."
"Colonel, the Daedalus is ready to beam Dr. Jackson down to the Gate room,," came Chuck's voice.
"The Gate room?" Sheppard furled his brow. "I thought we were meeting in the Jumper bay?"
"Yeah, Colonel O'Neill forbade us from beaming him directly into the Autobot hangar." The way he said it suggested that a pretty weighty 'or else' had been part of that direct order.
John didn't really know that much about Daniel Jackson, other than that he was about as gung-ho about other civilizations and cultures as McKay was with the technology of other civilizations and cultures. During the short meetings in which they'd shared thoughts and exchanged words, he'd had little time to get to know the guy personally. But yes, beaming him directly into the middle of advanced robotic aliens without some kind of nerd-buffer might cause some diplomatic grief. Maybe.
"All right," he said. "I'm on my way. Care to join me, Major?"
As haphazard as their alliance had been at the start, Stargate Command and the U.S.A. government had (intentionally or not) permanently fused together NEST and the Atlantis expedition into a single entity. Since they weren't really based from the Compound in Montgomery, Alabama anymore due to the extensive repairs and renovations needed, the name 'Compound Alliance' lost its temporary luster. As joint leaders of the newly named Galactic Defense Alliance, Lennox and Sheppard were spending half their time butting heads and the other half watching each other's backs. And not just from Wraith, Depecticons and hybrids, but from the suffocating politics that gave Earth a bad name.
Two weeks of red tape and headaches followed the Wraith attack on Earth. The only good thing that came out it was that Earth's inhabitants still remained blissfully (or perhaps painfully determined to be) oblivious to aliens and the Stargate program.
Atlantis was living with her skeleton crew of fifty or sixty personnel these days. They didn't encounter anyone on the way back to the Gate room, whereas four weeks ago the corridors would have been busy with lab technicians and off duty marines. By the time Sheppard and Lennox reached the control tower, they had encountered three people, including Chuck. The gate technician was waiting for them.
"We're just about ready to receive Dr. Jackson," the Canadian tech told him. He said it falteringly, and Sheppard guessed that O'Neill might have been waiting for them to arrive somewhere far away. Waiting to pass on the good archaeologist, no surprise there.
Sheppard answered that with a nod and trotted down the steps towards the Stargate, tailed by a straight-faced Major Lennox. As a practice of security they tried to keep all transit activity to the Gate room, even for guests like Dr. Jackson. Anyone not an official member of the expedition—what remained of it—followed the same rules.
"Beam him down, Scotty," the colonel ordered, rubbing his hands together. That order was relayed. A few seconds later, a pillar of light and a blinding glow filled the Gate room, and Dr. Daniel Jackson appeared in front of Gate.
"Dr. Jackson, welcome back to Atlantis. Again," Sheppard added plainly.
Daniel's face went from looking distant behind his wire-rimmed glasses, to anxiously quizzical. "Where are they?"
"Have you had lunch yet? We could get you something tasty, maybe a cup of coffee-"
"I mean the Autobots," Dr. Jackson said, more abruptly than the colonel expected. Apparently he realized he was being brusque, and the formerly ascended member of SG1 pushed his glasses up nervously. "I'm...sorry, I'm just feeling a bit rushed today, Colonel. Major Lennox too, wasn't it? We haven't met. I'm Daniel Jackson, the new liaison of Stargate Command to the Autobots."
That unexpected introduction made Sheppard pause and ask,"Wait a second, liaison to who? Don't we already have one of those? A.K.A, someone tall, ruggedly handsome and in charge?"
"Actually, that's the reason I'm here. Now that the GDA is an official branch of both NEST and the Stargate Program, it falls under the jurisdiction of Homeworld Security, and since Jack—General O'Neill fronts Homeworld Security, he sent me. The I.O.A. felt you lacked the certain diplomatic experience to... anyway, they want me to report back ever last detail about the GDA's missions, even going so as far as to give me their personal e-mail," Dr. Jackson explained, slowing down that last sentence and drawing out the word 'e-mail', as though searching for a nice way to complete it.
Sheppard broke the odd moment with an arched brow, "And you're not actually going to, y'know, use that e-mail, are you?"
"Okay." The colonel spread his hands and shot Lennox a look, who was trying to appear interested in the conversation and slipping. "Let's go see Optimus. Oh, and your stuff-"
"Already beamed down," said the archaeologist.
"Gotta love that Asgard technology."
The trio were a sight to see; Lennox hadn't shaven in five days after being catapulted between Diego Garcia, Atlantis and the Compound and Sheppard was in clean civilians dress. A side effect of the graveyard treatment around the mobile city was the shocking amount of downtime the lieutenant colonel had on his hands. He'd spent more than half his time out of uniform since they returned home. It was almost embarrassing when comparing himself to the much more harassed Major.
The Jumper hangar had not long since been converted into an Autobot asylum, but that didn't stop Sheppard from being impressed. As soon as it came into view, that impression suddenly became a twinge of annoyance.
"Please, Sheppard, this one time spare me your colourful method of ragging my decision to be useful, while everyone else plutzes around watching Seinfeld reruns. Oh," McKay said, going from annoyed and defensive to bemused in zero seconds flat. He was standing in the little makeshift lap that had been set apart in one of the old Jumper spots. "Dr. Jackson, I didn't realize you were here so soon."
"First of all," the colonel said, pointing at him. "I wasn't going to say what you think I was going to say. And second of all, 'plutzes'?"
Ever since their shared abduction by rogue Asgard last year, McKay's treatment of the well-known archaeologist was bordering brotherly, or whatever passed as such for the astrophysicist. Sheppard just figured Rodney had some respect for the guy deep down, before the imminent danger thing came along, and being threatened by the classic 'work or die' ultimatum just brought that respect to the surface.
"Hello, Rodney," said Dr. Jackson with equal bemusement, but his impatience was evident in the way he stood. "Keeping busy, I take it?"
It was like asking if the world spun on its axis, or if tigers had stripes, but only if you were asking the planet or the tiger (who would scoff and get annoyed). In Rodney's case, he didn't scoff but annoyance was pretty much a permanent state of being. "You could say that," he replied tartly. "Repairs on the Compound shields, integrating Wraith tech sensors into the Atlantis mainframe, calibrating the Stargate for analysis of the impact of Energon on naquadah, and my all-time favourite, creating a new line of defense against a whole new breed of Replicators. You can start applauding anytime now."
"Actually, I'd rather get to work myself, but uh, good job. Keep it the good work," Dr. Jackson responded with slightly forced enthusiasm. He cleared his throat and looked directly at Sheppard. "Where is Optimus Prime?"
"Well, the big guy can't quite fit in here comfortably, so only the smaller Autobots ever come into the Jumper bay. Sometimes to help Dr. McKay with the Replicators, sometimes just to chat, but mostly they stick to the warship hangar," Lennox explained, breaking his almost brooding silence for the first time in a while. Perhaps it was because a place this big shouldn't be hard to find, and he'd still managed to get lost for quarter of an hour. Feeling a bit undermined, he gestured and said,"The big hangar is this way."
There was an additional airlock and blast door between the warship hangar and the Jumper bay. Within eight minutes, the two Alliance leaders and the new GDA liaison watched the hangar doors open on a scene that struck one of them with momentary awe.
One of the three figures standing near the medical station was Optimus, one Ratchet and the other a white-and-gold Autobot that Sheppard hadn't had the pleasure of meeting yet. Though the new 'bot and Ratchet were about the same size, the Prime towered above even them, and the roof of the hangar was easily four of his body lengths above head. To sum it up, the hangar was big; the Autobots were big, but their new base was a lot bigger.
Daniel Jackson, who was used to witnessing all sorts of things the universe had to offer, let out a faintly flabbergasted, "Wow."
Optimus took notice of their arrival—in no small part due to the doors opening than to noticing their bodily presence, tiny as they were in comparison. Ratchet and the new Autobot followed him as his strode steadily towards the airlock doors to greet them.
"It is good to see you both, Colonel Sheppard, Major Lennox," the leader of the Autobots said, mimicking one of many human traits he had assimilated and nodding his great head. "I suppose you must be Dr. Daniel Jackson, the cultural scientist. General O'Neill spoke highly of you when he mentioned your imminent arrival, Doctor."
"I have no doubt he spoke of me, but I think 'highly' is stretching things a bit far. He and I have this sort of...history." Realizing he was digressing, Dr. Jackson quickly backpedaled. "It's good to finally meet you, actually. I've heard quite a few things myself, about the Autobots and the war against these Decepticons. I've been trying to find out, because no one really seems to know—if this is a civil war, does that mean there's a dominant governing body on your homeworld mediating the two sides, or is it an infrastructure kind of conflict, like Korea?"
To that, Optimus Prime regarded the human archaeologist with yet another unreadable expression, but rather than the patient tolerance Lennox had become accustomed to over the years, he responded with thoughtful interest instead, "You are undoubtedly the correct choice for a cultural liason between our two races," he said. "No other human has inquired about the detailed workings of our government. I have no doubt you and Ratchet will have much to discuss."
"Good," grunted the third Autobot suddenly. "Someone else to listen to his pointless old war stories. Maybe this will get them all out of his system. Grant us a little peace."
Unlike his companions, this Autobot had a sleek design with larger, flat pieces that were clearly meant to form into something more aerodynamic than a truck or car. He also sounded younger, but not as young as most of the Autobots his size and definitely not as young as Trailbreaker, or the Twins. Optimus regarded him a moment, once again resorting to a resounding patient tone. "This is Skydive," he introduced. "One of the few remaining Protectors. His predecessor was one of my most loyal generals, who died bravely during our final battle before leaving Cybertron. He is also an expert on aerial combat. Though his manners may be lacking, he will be invaluable to our fight against the Decepticons."
"Among other enemies," Sheppard added just for the sake of speaking out.
"If only your unqiue talents balanced out your pungent attitude circuitry," Ratchet said, addressing Skydive more directly, making it clear that the two had little in common. "It is bad enough to have Sideswipe's vanity grinding at my sensors. Primus give me patience before the war is over."
Normally, Lennox only heard this kind of sniping and informality when he was alone in the Autobot's presence or with Epps, but the fact even Ratchet was feeling the tension of the calm before the storm was unnerving. Only stress would make the old Autobot medical officer loosen his grip on his desire for privacy and control.
But perhaps, like everyone else, he just wanted the war to end. On Earth, war never ended; every day was a discomforting reminder of this. Lennox liked the Autobots. They deserved to win this thing, but this planet didn't have a track record for ending conflicts using logic or reasoning.
A sudden feeling came over him. It was a feeling he was growing used to, an overwhelming gut instinct that told him something huge was about to happen, and he would play a sizable role in its making whether he wanted to or not. It was like waking up, and realizing you're stuck in a tornado. Only this tornado was big enough to annihilate the entire human race and then some.
He shared a look with Sheppard and mentally asked himself the same question he'd been asking since the first encounter with the robots: were they really, really screwed, or just extremely lucky?
Compound Headquarters, CAR hangar, Georgia
A voice filled the nearly empty hangar inside of the Georgian military base, the soft wailing of a small town country star whose wavering, warbling vocals added to the heat delirium. In a twist of matter quite opposite of irony, Heatwave assaulted the Compound on one of the worst days of the local heat wave.
It wasn't the assault itself that shattered the glass edges of the platform holding the Compound Alliance up. For days leading up to today, tensions had been weakening and wearing down the relations between men and robots, NEST and the Stargate division. A lone Decepticon attack just hit the fissure at its dead center and split the mud-caked treaty into lumps of uncoordinated resistance.
Overhead, the roof to the CAR building groaned, and then started to collapse. The corner of the enclosure fell inwards, crushing the table and the sweetly crooning radio with it. A very irritated Ironhide rolled away from the debris, bright sun glinting from his black armor and halfway coated in dust. In his his natural form, he dove away just before one of his enemy's shells pierced the metal sheeting and exploded. Three more punctured the roof and ripped apart the concrete nearby. The engine of a Mutt jeep was drowned as it sped past Ironhide's left flank, almost getting crushed underfoot as the weapons specialist stumbled. Sergeant Epps and three other uniforms leaped out and took positions in cover as soot and lightweight debris rained around them.
The ambush had lasted eight minutes so far. It was early; the Decepticons had apparently learned to take advantage of humans' sleep cycles, so just moments after the sun rose, hell broke out in shades of gunfire and panic. Ironhide was the only Autobot close enough to the Compound to repel the intruder. Reinforcements were inbound, but not likely to arrive before the entire facility was in ruins.
"Raise the CAR barrier!" Epps shouted into his radio. "Do not let this asshole breach the Autobot's energy supplies, lieutenant. I don't care if you gotta unplug the damn Stargate, just put some juice into this force field or we're f—!" The last word was drowned out by the sound of a metal bar crashing to the ground behind his team.
Three months ago, Epps couldn't have dreamed up something like a force field or a Stargate, but here we was barking orders like he was some kind of alien professional. This was hot, too hot for an early Monday morning.
But thank sweet God those science geeks installed those shields in the Autobot hangar, because if not, the highly volatile and reactive canisters of homemade Energon might make more than just a part of Georgia go 'boom'. Right now Epps was really hoping that 'boom' was off today's combat menu.
Ironhide was not a sparkling and didn't waste time firing through ceiling of the CAR building, in the bare hope he might strike his enemy. Instead, he fired a rocket-propelled explosive at the newly repaired metal bars that supported the roof. The already weakened supports melted in the heat of the explosion and great sheets of metal and debris crumpled inwards. Deafening crashes shook the ground, and the glimmering metal silhouette of a flailing Decepticon joined the wreckage on the ground.
Heatwave, far from defeat, propelled himself to his feet while firing every flamethrower on his body. The flames, hot enough to soften the alloy of an Autobot, ignited every flammable surface within twenty yards, including himself. The Decepticon was built to withstand the ferocious man-eating heat, but the walls of the hangar were not, for they began to glow, wobble and groan under the intense pressure. Heatwave launched himself at Ironhide just as the southeastern corner of the building toppled over in an eruption of flying embers.
A younger Autobot, or perhaps one who regarded personal defenses as a joke may have quickly succumbed to the sweltering heat of Heatwave's flames. Ironhide's armour was too thick and too resistant, reducing the inferno to a simple annoyance. He grappled with his enemy, using his superior mass to drag the slagging scrap metal away from the burning debris. Finally, with his feet on solid concrete, the weapons' specialist bashed out one of the Decepticon's legs, and launched him into the air with his upper body. Heatwave soared through the open door to the CAR and struck the shield before slamming to the ground.
The impact with the shield was his undoing. It would have momentarily disrupted his circuits, like an electric shock. The Decepticon bellowed defiantly through broken vocal transmitters, but three humans had already manned the special turrets the guarded the CAR hangar doors. Red hot sabot rounds ripped through his body at his weakest points, crippling three limbs and rendering movement impossible.
"Hold your fire!" Epps had long abandoned the Mutt jeep, which had caught fire and was instructing from the sidelines. He charged through the smoke, stopping to avoid breathing in any fumes. Shouting the order into his radio repeatedly, he finally stopped when the turrets whined to a halt eight seconds later, casting a shroud of quiet upon the Compound.
Through the misty gray smoke, Ironhide strode towards the impaired Decepticon. Epps and his team brought up the rear and two more heavily armed jeeps sped towards them from the other side of the Compound. Without any parting words, the black armoured Autobot lifted his arm cannon and decimated Heatwave's torso with a final, killing shot. The Decepticon was now just an empty husk, his own flames licking the battle-scarred remains and slowly dying out.
One of Epps' men was patting down his leg, he realized, coming out of the post-conflict stupor. He let out a surprised curse; his goddamn leg was on fire! Another nearby marine joined in the fun, and after a few seconds the stubborn line of flame was snuffed out. His knee felt blistered and painful, though. Dammit.
"You alright, Ironhide?" Epps called above the background noise, a mixture of people shouting to put out the fire and pieces of building falling apart. It was stupid question.
"That victory was far too easy," the towering giant responded, not hiding his disappointment as he turned his back on the defeated one. Almost sulkingly, he transformed his weapons back into his hands, then picked some mangled debris from his shoulder. "From now on, I vote that we leave the Decepticon battles to me if there is but one opponent. You can have the runts; I owed Heatwave a much longer parting gift."
"Yeah huh, and I bet we both know what Optimus would say about that," Epps replied, valiantly ignoring the burns on his leg as he limped towards the door.
It took at least fifteen seconds to power up the turrets, but fifteen seconds plus reaction time wasn't enough. Epps was the first to see it; a flicker of movement behind Ironhide's back. Now way in hell, that's impossible, was his first thought. No way in hell!
But Heatwave, as alive as he had been five minutes ago, moved like wildfire. His chest was still an empty, smoking ruin, leaking coolant and oil like a picture from a robot horror movie. In three lunges, the revived Decepticon drew back the four-pronged spear on his arm.
"Ironhide!" Like shouting his name would help at that distance. Epps raised his gun and opened fire, but the spray of bullets couldn't hurt was was coming.
A phantom returned from the dead, Heatwave dove upon the Autobot's back and drove his arm through the gap between his head and shoulder, slicing through circuits, servos and spark chamber.
And then everything became very, very hot.