Allie Rivers sighed and flipped her thick brown braid over her shoulder, shielding her face from the bright Tennessee sun. Her eyes narrowed as she took in her surroundings.
To put it literally (and politely) it a junkyard.
About a mile from the podunk town she lived in was the skeletal junkyard that made up her personal getaway. As an artist, she frequented the junkyard's piles every weekend for art supplies. She wanted to go to art school, but that kind of thing wasn't possible for her unless she had an amazing portfolio.
Living in backwaters Tennessee didn't leave much opportunity for things that didn't involve small town life. Her Uncle (and guardian) ran the one liquor store in town. It sat right in between the one post office and the one drug store.
Thank god for Bacon.
Bacon Waves was the best dog, a black and white sheltie that was gifted to her by the farmer down the road. The dog followed her everywhere except for church.
Allie's parents were artists. They died when she was just a kid, in one of the alien attacks. They were on a trip to see their paintings put up in a museum. The museum was crushed along with half the other stuff in the city. Remember Chicago and all that - the posters were everywhere.
Allie kicked a rusty can across the dirt ground of the junkyard, walking along the piles and scanning for useful things. Bacon Waves tagged along at her heels, panting in the heat. He growled at the can if it clanged too loudly.
At nineteen, Allie was pretty tall, taller than the other country blondes at the community college two towns over. She was the only one in her class with thick brown curls and luminous eyes. From what she remembered, she took after her mother, but that had been a while ago.
Something shiny caught her eyes, hidden behind a large and dented garbage can. She had been by this certain can quite a few times before, but nothing had been behind it last she checked. There was a flash of yellow peeking out from underneath a molding tarp.
She climbed over the dumpster, gasping when she saw what lay behind. In this dusty crater of a junkyard, in a spot she had seen many times before, lay a car. Not just any car, but a beaten, old, dirty, ragged Chevy Camaro. Black detailing to boot. Definitely hadn't been there last week, but who was she to complain? She didn't have a car of her own, so if she could salvage this baby, she would be golden. Sliding off the back of the can, she ran to go look in the windows. Inside, it was remarkably clean looking. She tried the door.
Barely able to hold back her squeals of laughter, she opened the door to the car and dove in, shrieking with joy. Bacon Waves whined as he tried to find a way to come to her, but she ignored him rooting around in the junk on the other side of the dumpster.
The first thing she noticed was that the car had an odd logo on the steering wheel... Instead of the usual Chevy insignia, it had a little helmet. She traced it with my fingertips, wondering what kind of whack-job would go to all the trouble just to put a little helmet on the wheel...
The interior was impeccably clean compared to the outside. Everything was in great shape. Only one problem remained.
Her heart and hopes fell as she searched around. Of course there weren't any, who leaves the keys in a perfectly good car in the middle of a dump? Bacon Waves nosed my hand, having found a way to her at last. He jumped in the open door and trotted across her lap so he was riding shotgun.
Allie growled as my dog's poky paws used my stomach as a springboard. She ruffled his head anyways, reaching over to the glovebox. Bacon Waves whined.
She opened the glovebox, surprised when a bunch of papers fell out. She gathered them, laying them in a pile by Bacon Waves. No keys were to be found. She frowned. A letter floating near the top of the paper pile caught her eye as she leaned back in my seat. Her heart began to pound as she read the initials on the letter.
Allie's eyes darted to the symbol on the wheel, breath escalating. On the yellowed envelope were four letters even she knew the acronym for. Everyone had known after Chicago.
N.E.S.T. was the government branch that dealt with Autobots; Good and Bad.
But how would she know what side this car was on? The car she was sitting in, weaponless and powerless to stop it from crushing her... A mechanical thrum began to sound from somewhere in the car, and her blood froze.
Allie let out a slow breath, holding as still as possible. The car thrummed with life, engine revving seemingly of its own accord. She willed herself not to panic.
Suddenly, she was thrown sideways out of the car. She crashed into a pile of old refrigerator parts and lay there stunned, the wind knocked out of her. The bright sun obscured her vision until something very large stood overshadowed her. She squinted up at the transforming shape, unsure of what she was really seeing.
The transformer took a few experimental steps, shaking the ground. Allie let out a cry of pain as several refrigerator parts ground into her back and sides. She was still blinded by the sun overhead, but she could have sworn that it had heard her, was looking at her...
All of a sudden, she was in the air, being lifted several dozen feet off the ground. Allie screamed as the earth fell away. It was going to throw her away like a bug and squish her under its foot. This was how she was going to die. Bacon Waves was barking his head off.
Her ascent paused, and Allie turned to see the giant machine's face peering at her. She opened her mouth to scream, to insult it, to beg it to put her down, but nothing came out. She just stared into its mechanical blue eyes. It stared back.
"In your eyes.. the light, the heat... your eyes... I'm complete." Genesis began playing from somewhere inside the transformer.
The giant robot shook his head like he was breaking out of some revrie and punched itself in the chest, silencing the music.
"Sorry, doll. Things just don't work like they used to."
He began lowering Allie to the ground.
"You can talk?" Allie said, feeling very dizzy all of a sudden.
"I'm a lean, mean, talkin' machine." It sounded like the transformer was using bits from the radio to communicate with her. He set her down.
"Are you dangerous?" Allie asked. "Are you like those bad robots that attacked the earth before?"
The robot slammed its fist into the ground, causing the earth to shift under her feet. Allie fell on her back, knocking the wind out of her again.
"The only real enemy is humanity." He "said".
"That's not true. Robots like you blew up Chicago, Tokyo, New York, all over. Thousands of lives were lost!"
The robot looked like he was going to crush her like a bug for what she was saying, but was interrupted by something soaring out of the sky and exploding on his right shoulder. The heat from the missile singed the ends of her hair as she was pressed into the dirt. Before she knew what was going on, she felt herself being lifted and moved very quickly. She shut her eyes.
Then, she was sitting in a car. The robot had grabbed her and transformed.
"What are you doing? Let me out! I have to go home! Bacon! My dog!"
There was no radio response this time, the Camaro just accelerated. Allie looked over her shoulder, seeing mushroom clouds of smoke blooming from the dump.
Forty-five minutes later, the Camaro showed no signs of stopping. They had long since left her hometown behind and were somewhere out in the middle of endless fields of wheat and corn.
Allie gulped, tears still drying on her cheeks. She'd never left her town before; her house, the high school, the dump basically made up her entire world. She could feel bruises blooming on her back and shoulders from the refrigerator, and her heart hurt with the fresh realization that she probably wouldn't be seeing Bacon Waves again.
"Where are you taking me?"
Still no answer. Allie sighed, a couple more tears slipping down her tan cheeks. She leaned her head back on the window and felt herself drifting off to sleep, the Camaro's continuously revving engine lulling her.
When Allie awoke, the car was completely dark. And still. She sat up and rubbed some condensation off her side window. She couldn't see anything in the pitch black darkness.
"Where are we? Why did we stop?" She asked quietly, feeling her heart rate pick up.
"Just stay calm, doll. We're meeting the big shots now." The radio replied. Allie peered out into the dark. She didn't see anything.
They waited for a minute, then a light appeared a few feet away. Allie could just barely see the outline of something large moving not far from where they were parked. The ground shook as it walked closer.
"What..." She breathed, squinting out the window into the darkness. The ground stopped shaking.
"Bumblebee, what is the meaning of this?" A thunderous mechanical voice said outside the car.
Allie felt the familiar vertigo sensation as the Camaro transformed, and suddenly she was standing on solid ground, looking up at three giant transformers.
"Look, boss. She's got something we need." Bumblebee "said".
"What...? What do I have?"
"She looks just as pathetic and scrawny as the rest." Allie squinted. She could barely make out the shape of two huge transformers, bigger than bumblebee. The one talking was silver and black and the other was red and blue.
"Easy, Ironhide." the taller red one said. She got the feeling he was the leader. He carefully knelt down to look at her on her level.
"My name is Optimus Prime. We have become aware of you through the World Wide Web. You, Allie, possess hidden knowledge of a place, a person. Someone we need for the upcoming battle."
"Battle? What battle?"
"In order to help you understand, I have to show you."
Optimus Prime hit a switch on his helmet, and a projection illuminated the space around her.