Hello gentle readers, just a few points from the author:
1) Obviously, intellectual property disclaimers apply. I hope that those reading this are savvy enough to realise who owns what.
2) I'm not a fan of massforming, hence the size differentials are more in line with Bayformers (yes I know even they weren't that accurate).
3) This is the first time I've written anything in quite a considerable period of time, so please forgive the rustiness.
4) There are obvious tropes and references to other films, it is intentional and in keeping with TFP I feel.
That being said, I hope you enjoy my first TFP brain fart, constructive reviews and so forth welcome.
Transformers Prime: Chimera 01
It was around three am local time when the lightshow began, a faint green shimmer in the night sky followed by a series of scintillating pinpricks. Observed only by keen-eyed astronomers and red-eyed late night revellers, it would grist to the conspiracy theorist mill for some considerable time.
Had a casual observer been able to survive hard vacuum and been so inclined, the flash was the incandescent green maelstrom of an ancient technology, designed to transport ships over the immense distances of intergalactic space. From it an angular silver shuttle emerged, shark-like, scorched and sparking in several areas from gouges and rents in the hull. Mobbing it were several smaller purple vessels, energy beams lancing across the surface. Turrets desperately tried to track and acquire the nimbler pursuers, occasionally obliterating a hapless drone sending its remains to join the other debris circulating around the planet.
"Frag it! A turret's down to 50% capacity, B's at 40%." An angular crimson mech spat from the engineer's post, "Hull integrity's okay for now, but we can't take too many more of these hits colonel."
"Understood soldier, just do the best you can with what you have. Primus knows, if I still had my own ship we wouldn't be in this scrap." A statuesque, rose accented white femme replied curtly from the pilot's position. "What is so important that the 'Cons have committed most of the outpost force?" Her compatriot only chuckled hoarsely.
"Something funny?" she asked, as she tried to manoeuvre the shuttle out of the reach of yet another volley. Groans of protest from the superstructure and another flurry of alerts gave testament to the strain the beleaguered shuttle was undergoing.
"Just pulled up the manifest, looks like our friends have been grave robbing, oh and there's energon in one of the holds."
"How much energon, exactly?" the pilot responded, mouth set in a grim line as she wrestled with the sluggish vessel.
"Enough to make us contestants on 'Does Primus Exist?'" the mech shot back, optics flickering as he lined up another volley of fire. The turrets homed in on their targets, spitting coruscating energy. "A turret down to 45%, B now at 35%, these piles of scrap weren't designed for a long firefight."
"I had to ask." She sighed before coming to a decision, "Brace yourself soldier, I'm going for re-entry. We'll see if we can lose them planet side."
Several miles below and blissfully unaware of the events unfolding in the firmament above him, a teenage boy lay spread-eagled in bed, snoring gently. He was rudely interrupted from his slumber by the strident blare of his smartphone. Groaning he fumbled for the offending item, knocking it onto the bedroom floor. Finally after some effort and muttered curses he finally managed to retrieve the article and thumb the accept call button.
"Saddle up partner, we're bridging to the base in five." A female voice ordered curtly as soon as he picked up.
"Arcee what is so important you have to wake me," the teenager peered blearily at the display, "at 3.30 in the morning?"
"It'll become clear back at base, just be in here in five or I'll come and find you." The line went dead and Jack Darby suddenly found himself very much wide awake. Desperately trying to extricate himself from the knotted bedding, he managed instead to have a swift, intimate and painful liaison with the bedroom floor.
Minutes later Jack stood in the garage, looking as though he'd been dragged through a hedge backwards and clutching a mug of coffee as though his life depended on it. To make matters worse his partner was desperately trying not to laugh herself sick, but the telltale shaking of her front forks was a dead giveaway.
"Next time you're halfway through your recharge cycle, I'll wake you up and see how you like it." Jack huffed, taking a swig of the draft bitumen loosely masquerading as coffee that his mother had left in the percolator.
"Providing you have a cube of warm stimu-grade, extra foamy with crystal frosting I'd probably let you live." She quipped back, nudging her human companion affectionately as the ground bridge snapped into existence with the faintest whiff of ozone.
Arcee waited until she was past the event horizon before reverting to her primary mode. Although diminutive compared to the other Autobots she still towered over Jack by almost half a body length. Looking down on her teenage charge, her mouth curled into a familiar smirk.
"Anyone ever told you that you're cute first thing in the morning?" She teased, ruffling his hair. She was rewarded by Jack going a fetching shade of scarlet and almost choking on a mouthful of coffee.
"Arcee!" he spluttered, coughed then recovered, "Great, just snorted some of Mom's best crude!" Although in the past two years, he'd probably seen and experienced more than some humans would in a lifetime, she still knew ways to make him feel like an awkward self-conscious teenager.
"When the pair of you have quite finished, I am attempting some delicate calibration here!" An ill-tempered voice greeted them as they walked into the base.
"Nice to see you too Ratchet!" Arcee snapped back, wondering whether to continue her banter with Jack just to raise the curmudgeonly medibot's energon pressure a few bars. She finally decided against it, as despite everything she really didn't want him popping a fuel line.
The rest of the Autobots were assembled around the main viewscreen, maintaining a respectful distance from Ratchet who appeared to be attempting to home in on an audio transmission. So far it was eluding him and as a result his already low tolerance levels were becoming paper thin.
On the gantry above a small cluster of humans stood in a loose huddle awaiting the outcome of Ratchet's efforts. June Darby looked pensive, as she nursed her own mug of coffee presumably from the same batch. Agent Fowler as usual had the demeanour of a grizzly bear prematurely awoken from hibernation. Miko on the other hand was leant against the gentry railing, chin propped in her hands with a look of abject boredom on her face. Finally Raf the youngest of the humans present was frantically hammering on his laptop, with a look of intense concentration on his features. After several tense moments, he smiled and pushed his thick horn-rimmed glasses up his nose.
"Okay Ratchet I've found the mismatch and corrected it." He stated with no small amount of pride, "Go ahead and try again."
"Thank-you Raf." The medic replied as yet again he tried to lock in on the transmission. He was rewarded after several tense minutes by the viewscreen's spectrum analysis replaying an eerie chittering static. Ratchet looked at the young human and nodded, his appreciation for Raf's efforts implied.
"OK so you've discovered Autotuned white noise, so what's the big deal?" Miko piped up from the gantry. The events were eating into her precious weekend and she wanted nothing more than to get a solid eight hours sleep.
"That is our native language Miko." The stentorian rumble of Optimus Prime cut short any potential argument, "We did not arrive on your world with the capacity to communicate as a native; it was something we acquired after studying humanity's culture extensively."
"For once Miko's observation is not far from the truth." Ratchet expounded, "Cybertronian is a highly complex language, which the human ear and brain are woefully ill-equipped to process, furthermore…"
"There is a time and a place for explanations old friend." Optimus chided gently, knowing well his chief medical officer's tendencies to go off at a tangent and ramble. "Are you able to send our allies the cultural and linguistic assimilation packs?"
"Of course." The medic replied smugly, fingers dancing smoothly over the interface icons. After a few minutes the spectrum analyser reverted to genuine static, before a cheerful female cut-glass British accent announced.
"Good morning! I hope the locals can understand us now, it appears we're in a bit of a sticky situation."
"It is a good morning indeed." Optimus replied, "It warms my spark to know that you are still online colonel, what 'sticky situation' have you found yourself in this time?" A faint smile tugged at the corner of the Prime's mouth, knowing full well her capability for getting into difficult scenarios. A capability equally matched by her ability to emerge from such situations unscathed.
"Oh shush Optimus! Any more talk like that and you'll have me all hot and bothered." The voice replied with a chuckle. "I'll give you the highlights. That bodyguard you assigned to me, can't think of a better 'Bot in a firefight but he's a bloody abysmal navigator. We found ourselves bouncing into a 'Con outpost instead of the way station we were aiming for."
"Oi! Don't blame yours truly for outdated intel!" A second voice interrupted, sounding like an East-End leg breaker with a 40 a day Marlboro habit. Had anyone been observing Ratchet they would've noticed an almost imperceptible shudder run through his frame.
"What in Primus' name did I do to deserve this?" The medic muttered under his breath to no-one in particular.
"Just pulling your cam-chain Sideswipe!" the voice answered breezily before continuing, "Had to commandeer a 'Con shuttle after we had our afts shot out from under us. I don't think they were best pleased."
"Too fraggin' right Elita!" Sideswipe chipped in before he suddenly turned more serious, "Scrap! Got more inbound, signatures look different to Vehicons. Looks like we've got ourselves a welcoming party colonel."
"Understood." Elita's voice suddenly became hard-edged, "Optimus you mentioned an alliance with the locals on this planet, I'd appreciate it greatly if you'd ask them to stand down."
"Already on it Prime." Fowler said brusquely as he reached for his phone and started stabbing buttons with a vengeance. Pacing back and forth across the gantry, he began a distinctly one-sided conversation with the unfortunate soul who had the rotten luck to answer.
"Airman I don't give a damn what your procedures are! I need to know what you have over Nevada right now or I guarantee you, the next thing you'll be flying will be a mail cart!" he bellowed over the line. After a few tense moments he nodded, his face becoming even more fulminous, "Nothing? Then I suggest you get some of Groom Lake's finest in the air P.D.Q!"
He thumbed the end call button viciously and turned to address both Optimus and Elita. "Groom Lake reports that they have nothing in the area, have you a visual on the inbound?"
"Working on it." Sideswipe replied curtly, trying to train the sensor array on the intercepting aircraft. Eventually some grainy footage appeared of black, facetted, aircraft, which were devoid of any markings, running weapons hot and bearing for the shuttle.
"Ratchet there's a signal being broadcast on known Cybertronian frequencies." Raf's timid voice suddenly broke the silence that had fallen.
"Non-terrestrial transport, you are to power down all weapons and be escorted. Your technology is now the property of M.E.C.H. Any attempts to evade capture or retaliate will potentially be met with lethal force." A sinister voice intoned.
"Silas! Why can't that asshole just stay dead?" Jack ground out, surprising the group with the amount of venom in his voice. Arcee glanced at her partner with concern, wishing not for the first time that their paths had never crossed. June swiftly descended from the gantry to be with her son, wrapping an arm around his shoulder, giving him support in a way that Arcee couldn't allow herself to.
"I take it that the incoming aren't friendly then." Elita stated bluntly over the link as she tapped into the terrorist frequency, "Gentlemen, I'm afraid I'll have to decline your kind offer. Catch me if you can you sump-sucking bastards!"
"Sump-sucking bastards?" Half a world away a black clad aide turned to a battle scarred, barrel-chested crag of a man who was watching the view screen with detached amusement.
"She has spirit, I'll grant her that." He chuckled darkly, before issuing orders to the pursuing aircraft, "Flights Gamma and Sigma, prepare Directional High-Energy Radio Pulse units. If they refuse to capitulate, knock them out of the sky."
Silas turned to address his assembled minions, "This is where thorough preparation pays off. It isn't glamorous but know this, for all those long hours in the field studying the movement patterns of the N.T.M.O.'s, now we are reaping the rewards." He turned back to one of the advisors, "What intellectual assets do we have on the ground in Nevada?"
"Dr. Herbert West and Dr. Amber McLaren from the Bishop Institute." Replied one of the masked figures, "Assigned to Project Babel, sir."
"Excellent, it's about time they found out who's been funding their research." Silas replied, "Bring them in, the abandoned mining facilities outside Ely should suffice."
On board the shuttle matters were taking a turn for the worse, the shuttle had never been designed for escape and evade, especially in atmospheric conditions. Only Elita's piloting skills were preventing them from becoming a permanent feature of the barren Nevada landscape.
"Now's not the time to cease firing soldier." Elita barked as she forced the craft into a physics defying kulbit. Unprepared for the tight mid-air somersault, the interceptors shot past the shuttle to be met with devastating volleys of fire from the turrets. Two of the M.E.C.H. aircraft exploded in a blazing shower of shrapnel.
"Trying to keep my energon down!" Sideswipe gritted as his vision cleared, "A turret's now out. B's down to 10%, 5%, dry. Fraggin' shame we can't just disappear!"
"Wishful thinking, wait what did you just say?" Elita narrowly avoided impact with a mesa as one of her processor cores started formulating a plan.
"I said fraggin' shame we can't just disappear!" Sideswipe reiterated as Elita threaded the shuttle between the unforgiving scenery.
"Heard you the first time. 'Con craft are usually fitted with active E.M. stealth systems; I can't believe I didn't think of that of sooner." She berated herself.
"'Appens to the best of us colonel, didn't think of that either." Sideswipe quipped as he tried to access the necessary systems. "Right, got good news and bad news."
"You know me, always the bad news first." Elita ground out.
"Stealth systems are still off-line after the last 'Con hit." Sideswipe sighed and unbuckled himself from the engineer's post, wearily making his way to one of the emergency airlocks.
"So what's the good news and where in the Pit do you think you're going?" Elita's tone of voice brooked no interference as she turned in the pilot's chair to glare at him.
"Got a full tank of energon and my jump-pack's good. Reckon I can buy you some time, at least until the shuttle's auto-repair can get its fraggin' scrap together." Sideswipe locked optics with his commanding officer, his voice low, "Colonel, just find me a half decent drop zone and let me do my fraggin' job."
"Primus speed Sideswipe." Elita acquiesced as Sideswipe opened the first blast door.
"Give my regards to Optimus; it's been an honour Elita." He replied, as the reinforced cybertanium doors slammed shut.
"Sir, Gamma 2 has reported a bailout from the N.T.M.O. craft." The M.E.C.H. communication officer reported, interrupting Silas' reverie.
"A simple diversionary tactic," he stated contemptuously, "however a lone individual will be simpler to capture. No doubt the authorities will have been alerted to our presence, we must secure a 'sample' with haste."
"C-130 with onboard ground-units already inbound to the location, with orders to drop at Ely sir." The officer replied, still monitoring the stream of comm. chatter and intel that was being fed to his station.
"Well it's best that I made my presence felt then." Silas said smugly, "As you were." He turned smartly and marched across the grilled floor to the exit, boots clanking hollowly. Shortly before the reinforced doorway his outline glitched then faded to nothing. No-one present even batted an eyelid.
Inside outpost Omega One all eyes were on Agent Fowler, who seemed to be on the verge of an apoplectic seizure. In the space of a few minutes, his hopes of a quiet weekend spent with his long-suffering wife and children had devolved into the nightmarish prospect of presidential conference calls, with a side-order of paperwork the size of small third world country.
"What in the name of Ulysses S. Grant's beard has just happened!" he demanded of the assembled Autobots, "Can't any of you arrive here without tearing up the goddamn scenery?"
"Agent Fowler, the manner in which we arrive on your world is something we have little control over." Optimus replied, attempting to placate him. "Believe me, if we could simply bridge in without drawing attention to ourselves, we would."
"So who's the new 'Bots?" Miko suddenly inquired eyes alight with mischief, attempting to derail a potential Fowler tirade before he had the chance to work up a full head of steam. Jack glanced up at the Japanese exchange student, mouthing a silent thank-you.
"Elita-1 is Optimus' XO; she headed up Autobot special operations and was my commanding officer before the Exodus." Arcee replied somewhat wistfully. "As for Sideswipe, a Kaon ex-gladiator who had the chance to join the 'Cons but told Megatron where to shove it."
"Cool! Was he a Wrecker like Bulk and Jackie?" Miko was positively bubbling with excitement.
"Err no Miko," Bulkhead answered a little uncertainly, "some 'Bots work better solo, Sides is one of them."
"Long story, best not to get into it right now." Arcee interrupted, looking pointedly at Ratchet who muttered something unintelligible before returning to his station.
"What is your status colonel?" Optimus brought any further discussion to a close with his question.
"Turrets are out, stealth systems are on the fritz and Sideswipe's stepped outside to have a 'chat' with those fellows from M.E.C.H. All in all we're a bit buggered really." Elita replied, her natural good-humour belying the gravity of the situation. "Just like old-times isn't it?"
"Any chance of bridging her out?" Jack inquired.
"Highly unlikely, remember the problem I had with bridging to that moving train?" Ratchet snapped without turning to address him, "This would be an order of magnitude more difficult again."
"We can only hope that Sideswipe's gamble will pay off." Optimus concluded as the room fell silent once more.
Sideswipe literally hit the ground running, wheeled legs pumping like a speed skater; he bounced precariously along the dirt track, trying to evade the weapons' locks he was positive the aircraft had on him now. An arm-blade digging in to the soil to act as a pivot he leant into a tight turn, proximity sensors screaming warnings at him. The surface was too rough for him to use his alt mode and even if he could, his pursuers still had the edge on speed.
"N.T.M.O. you are to surrender immediately or be terminated." Sideswipe's optics locked on to a section of clearer track ahead. Performing a fluid 180 he turned to face his attackers, arm-blade smoothly transitioning into an energon cannon. His other arm extending two clawed digits into a time-honoured longbowman's salute at the interceptors.
"Come and 'ave a go, if yer think yer 'ard enough!" he bellowed at them, loosing a devastating volley of fire that turned another aircraft into a blossoming flower of shrapnel and flame.
In the distance he saw the shuttle shimmer before disappearing from view. Momentarily distracted, he was lining up another shot when he saw the air in front of the last combatant ripple, before everything went black.