Transformers: Human in Disguise – Book II: Battlefield Earth
By Philip S.

Disclaimer: Transformers, GI Joe, and associated characters are the property of Hasbro, no infringement is intended.
Please Note: This story is a sequel to my previous story "Transformers: Human in Disguise" and will only make sense if you've read that one first.
Continuity Notes: No specific Transformers continuity, though strong influences from Generation 1 and the War for Cybertron video game. And while numerous characters from GI Joe will be appearing in this story, this is not a GI Joe crossover in any way, shape or form. Given that Marissa Fairborn is established in canon to be the daughter of Flint and Lady Jaye, it just made sense to use these existing characters, along with some others.
Rating: PG-13

NOTE: This is just the prologue for now, a teaser if you will. I'm still busy outlining this story (I know the beginning, the end, and several key scenes, but I still have put in the rest), so it'll take some time before chapter 1 comes along. Please be patient with me.

Prologue: Home

Home of Dashiell Fairborn (US Army, ret.) & Alison Fairborn (US Army, ret.)
San Francisco, USA
November 24, 2013

Just like every morning Dash Fairborn rose at the crack of dawn and did his morning workout in the living room of his home. Alison always gave him an amused smile when she rose much later in the day, considering that they were both retired now and didn't need to get up this early. Still, the habits of a long military career were hard to break and so Dash always got up at the same time and worked out.

Twenty minutes later a faint sheen of sweat covered him as he headed towards the kitchen to turn on the coffee machine. He wasn't really into the stuff that much, but he knew his wife was fully capable of killing people if she didn't get her cup of java first thing after rising. Passing the hallway mirror he briefly considered his receding hairline and the large amount of grey now present in what was left of his hair. He had aged considerably these last few years. Small wonder.

A picture hung next to the mirror and he paused, as he did most mornings. It showed him and his wife, framing a young woman wearing the uniform of the US Air Force. She had been twenty-three then, he remembered, and his own hair had still been dark. They'd teased her relentlessly for joining the 'chair force' instead of the Army, but that hadn't lessened their pride one bit. Swallowing, he continued on into the kitchen. So many years now...

He had just turned on the coffee maker when there was a knock on the door. Frowning, he headed out into the living room and grabbed a towel to dab the remaining droplets of sweat from his face. Who could be visiting them so early in the morning and on a Sunday no less? If it was some kind of salesman he would get pretty cranky, that was for sure.

He opened the door, a rebuke at the ready, but it died on his lips. Because right there on his front porch stood someone who couldn't possibly be there. Eight years, he remembered. Eight years since he had received a letter containing the worst news any parent could possibly receive. Eight years since they had buried an empty coffin with full military honours. Eight years since they had received a folded flag and been told that their daughter had died in the service of her country on a top secret mission they could not be told about. Eight years.

Marissa, his daughter who had died eight years ago, stood right before him. Her hair was longer than he remembered and a streak of grey stood out prominently. Her face had acquired quite a few lines and she was extremely pale, even more apparent for the complete lack of make-up.

It was the most beautiful sight he had ever seen. But it had to be a dream. He was still in bed and dreaming, that had to be it. He'd had this particular dream quite a few times after that dreadful letter, though not for at least a year now, he figured. Still, any moment now he'd wake up. Any moment now...

"Hi daddy," the apparition in front of him said, smiling slightly. "I'm home!"

A moment later she was in his arms and he didn't know if he had moved first or she had, but it didn't matter. She was here. She was real. This was not a dream. His little girl had not died on some top secret mission eight years ago, never to come home again. She lived and she was safely in his arms. Nothing else mattered.

"Oh my god," he muttered, tears running freely down his cheeks. "We thought we'd lost you."

"I'm sorry I took so long," she said, crying as well. "But I made it, daddy! I'm home again!"

Finally convincing himself that this was indeed real, Dash reluctantly relaxed his hold on his daughter just enough so he could turn his head and look back into the house.

"Alison!" he bellowed. "Get down here now!"

It took a minute or so until his wife came down the stairs, still looking rumpled from sleep and less than happy at being summoned this way.

"Dash, this better be good, or I swear you'll..."

Her voice trailed off as Dash stepped aside to unveil what had appeared on their doorstep. Alison stood frozen for an endless moment, unable to believe what she was seeing, but then she jumped down the remaining steps and Dash found himself unceremoniously shoved aside as his wife hugged her long-lost daughter. He was still crying and he didn't care.

"Oh baby," Allison sobbed. "You're home. Thank God, you're home."

"I'm so sorry, mom," Marissa said. "I wish there'd been some way to let you know. I promise I came here as soon as I could."

With no clear idea how it had happened they were inside in the living room and sitting down on the couch. Marissa was sandwiched between her parents, both of them afraid to let go for fear this might all turn out to be a dream after all.

"They told us you died," Dash finally managed. "What happened, Marissa?"

"I'm so very sorry you had to go through this," she replied, her eyes still shiny with tears. "I feared... I'm just so happy to see you both alive and well."

Dash frowned. "You feared for us?" he asked, incredulously. "You were the one who was... I mean, they told us... what in blazes happened, girl?"

Marissa sighed, settling deeper into the couch.

"It's a long story, dad. And you'll believe I've gone bonkers at first. I have proof with me, though. We don't have much time, I fear, so I need you to listen and then I need you to contact Uncle Clay for me."

Dash frowned again. "Uncle Clay", better known to the world at large as General Clayton "Hawk" Abernathy was his old commander, now one of the joint chiefs. He was an old family friend and certainly near the top of the list of people he'd tell about Marissa's miraculous return from the dead, but why him specifically?

"I assume they told you that I died on some top secret mission or other, right?" she asked, receiving nods from her parents. "Well, don't be angry with them. To the best of their knowledge, that was exactly what happened. I didn't die, though. I simply ended up stranded somewhere else."

It was only now that Dash noticed that Marissa was wearing gloves despite it being nowhere near cold enough. She took off her right one and... what in blazes? Her hand... it looked like it was made from... metal? Dash looked on in amazement as Marissa opened the palm of her right hand and suddenly a three-dimensional image appeared in the air above it, displaying... what the hell was that? Some kind of techno-globe?

"I ended up on an alien world called Cybertron."

Allison and Dash stared at her with wide eyes.

"You were certainly right about the bonkers thing," Allison just muttered.

End Prologue