by Philip S.

Disclaimer: All things Transformers belong to Hasbro and Takara-Tomy. I own nothing but the plot.
Setting: No particular TF continuity, though there are strong influences from G1 and the recent War for Cybertron / Fall of Cybertron video games.
Rating: If you can watch the TF movies, then you can read this story

Prologue: New Posting


Office of General Sven Eisenhardt
NATO Base near Tromso, Norway
October 12, 2005

"Captain Marissa Fairborn reporting as ordered, sir!"

General Eisenhardt of the Norwegian military, currently assigned to a joint NATO task force, looked up from the seemingly never-ending mountain of paperwork that always cluttered his desk to look at the new arrival. A crisp and spotless United States Air Force uniform was the first thing he saw, the rank insignia of a captain along with several ribbons decorating the chest. Further up he saw the face of a good-looking woman in her mid-thirties, red-brown hair cut to regulation length. Her salute was text book perfect and didn't waver in the slightest as she waited for his acknowledgment.

"At ease, Captain", he said, speaking English with but the faintest trace of a Scandinavian accent. "Please sit down."

She took the seat in front of him and waited as he rummaged through one of the piles on his desk until he finally found her file. Opening it, he gave the contents another glance, though it was more for show than anything else. He had long since memorized the important parts.

"So, Captain," he began, "degrees in advanced engineering and aeronautics, certified for several types of combat aircraft, saw some aerial combat in Afghanistan, and recently applied for the United States space program."

Looking up, he smiled. "I'm certain you are wondering why you've been assigned to the middle of frozen nowhere instead, and in a foreign country to boot."

"The thought crossed my mind, sir," she replied evenly.

Tromso in Norway was about as far north as you could get in Europe while still having solid land under your feet instead of just ice. The official reason for having a NATO base here at all was to serve as a training ground for joint combat operations in subzero conditions. Of course polar combat wasn't rated nearly as important as it had been before the collapse of the Soviet Union, but there were still the occasional joint forces exercises in these parts.

It wasn't the real reason for this base's existence, of course.

"Then I don't want to keep you in suspense any longer than necessary, Captain," the general said, rising. "Now there will be a rather lengthy briefing where you'll get all the important and not so important details regarding your new posting and the responsibilities that go with it, but it has been my experience that the best and fastest way of bringing new personnel up to speed is a simple... how do you Americans call it... show and tell. Please follow me."

Captain Fairborn dutifully rose and followed the general as they left his office behind and walked down several flights of stairs into a large subbasement. Eisenhardt couldn't quite suppress a smirk as he saw Fairborn unconsciously rub her arms. Even the best heating couldn't quite keep out the chill of the permafrost this far north. Most Norwegian officers were used to it to certain degrees, but Captain Fairborn was, as he knew from her file, from the American Mid-West. Certainly not her kind of climate.

"This here is one of the longest running joint NATO operations you'll ever hear conspiracy theories about, Captain", he told her as they walked. "It was first put together in 1978 and has been in operation ever since. We don't have an official name as such, only a very long file number, but most of the people here like to refer to us as Project: Utgard."

"Utgard?" Fairborn asked.

"Home of the Ice Giants in Norse mythology. Literally it means 'Outside the World', everything that is not part of the lands populated by men and gods. Which is quite fitting, all things considered."

They arrived in front of a huge set of armoured gates and the general stopped. He'd done this a few times since taking over command of this place and he did like to draw out the suspense at least a little bit. Being the commanding officer of a base in a place where the sun was mostly conspicuous by its absence, he had to appreciate the small pleasures.

"What you're about to see, Captain Fairborn, was found in 1977 several hundred kilometres north of here, frozen inside a piece of glacier that had broken off from the polar ice shelf. The Norwegian military originally believed it to be some kind of new Soviet weapon system, so they called in NATO for a joint analysis. As it turned out, though, the Soviets had had nothing to do with it."

"It?" Fairborn asked.

The general smiled and entered the necessary combination into the wall-mounted keypad. The gates began to open. Behind it was a huge room, the ceiling at least ten meters above them, and its centre stood... something huge.

"Captain Fairborn, allow me to introduce you to your new best buddy. His official designation is N.B.E. 1, but we like to call him... Thrymir, our very own Ice Giant."

Captain Fairborn just looked up... and up... and further up. Her mouth fell open.

End Prologue