Marvel Universe Transformed Presents: And They All Fade Away
The history of Earth has been a sordid one. Since its beginning, Earth has been visited by extraterrestrial beings. Beings that wielded great power, great courage, and infinite greed. This is one of those tales.
Issue #1: "Lost, and Found, and Lost Again"
Written By: Wes A.
The sleek Cybertronian shuttle soared through the cold void of space effortlessly. For the past few hours, the shuttle had been tracking the ion trails of two ships. The trails had taken the shuttle past various suns, planets, and one large asteroid field. Now it was nearing its final destination.
Inside the shuttle, the Decepticon scientist and tactician Shockwave was at the controls, his single yellow eye glowing eerily. It had been over an entire stellar cycle since the Decepticon flagship Nemesis and her crew were declared destroyed. The Nemesis' last mission was to seek and destroy the Ark. The Decepticon leader Megatron had been commanding the mighty vessel himself.
Shockwave was also aboard the Nemesis during the attack on the Ark. Unlike many of his solid tactical decisions, Megatron made the foolish order to board the Ark. He wanted to destroy the Autobot leader Optimus Prime with his own hands. Shockwave predicted it was a foolish act, but Megatron didn't listen. When the two ships began to veer out of control into a planet, Shockwave escaped from the Nemesis via a shuttle. The two Transformer flagships crashed on an unknown planet.
Damaged in the escape, Shockwave went into stasis lock in the shuttle. The shuttle's autopilot kicked in, taking him back to Cybertron. There, he reported to the other Decepticons. Instead of mourning, the news of Megatron's apparent destruction was met with joy. Now that Megatron and the rest of the Nemesis crew were declared destroyed, the other Decepticon adjutants were making their bids for power.
The two prime candidates were Straxus and Scorponok. Although Scorponok could have clearly taken leadership through his military influence, he stepped down for the more politically inclined Straxus to rule. Shockwave believed that Scorponok stepped aside merely to watch Straxus fail at leading the Decepticons, guaranteeing the military master an unopposed rule.
With Straxus in command, no rescue team was sent to retrieve Nemesis. Why would there be, Straxus finally had command of the Empire, so there was no need for Megatron anymore. At least, that was the case in Straxus' eyes.
While Megatron was in command, the Autobots were nearing total defeat every day. However, Straxus' chances of beating the Autobots were considerably less. Unlike Megatron, Straxus' main objective was not the betterment of the Empire, just his own play for power. Objectives such as these were flawed, they only lead to defeat. As long as Straxus held the throne, the chances of the Autobots winning the war remained strong. Others in the Empire didn't see it, but they did not have the foresight that Shockwave possessed.
Because of his abilities, Shockwave predicted that he would be the best to lead the Empire. But he knew that Straxus and Scorponok would not let go of their positions of power. Therefore, Shockwave needed the support of the Decepticon troops themselves to lead. He needed to prove that he was a leader. And what better way to prove that, then to present the head of Optimus Prime and the Matrix of Leadership to his peers. So Shockwave launched in his personal shuttle to track down the Ark and capture his role as a leader.
"Sensors indicate quantum anomaly twenty degrees off starboard." reported the shuttle's computer.
"Log anomaly's coordinates and continue on original coarse." replied the stout Decepticon in his near-monotone voice.
The anomaly wasn't like anything Shockwave had seen before. It warranted further investigation, but at a later time. The ion trail of the Nemesis was nearing its end. The trail ended in the atmosphere of a blue planet.
"Fact: ion trails of both ships lead into the planets' atmosphere. Conclusion: both ships crash landed on the planet. Chances of Megaton's survival decreased to 14.019%. Probability of finding and locating the body of Optimus Prime is 73%. Logical course of action is further investigation."
Shockwave steered the shuttle towards the most southern continent of the planet.
On board the Ark, the inactive bodies of Autobots and Decepticons littered the ship's bridge. Optimus Prime's inactive form sat at the command chair, where he would remain for several more million years. Although damaged, the Ark's computer Teletran-1 was still active, barely. It wasn't until the ship's scanners detected a shuttle entering the planets' orbit that it became fully active.
Long-range scanners have detected Decepticon shuttle entering planets' orbit. Scans of ship indicate that Decepticon unit Shockwave is on board.
Autobot crew is in stasis-lock. Teletran-1 now initiating emergency protocol measures.
Phase 1: Launch probe to retrieve alternate forms for combat.
Phase 2: Scan terrain for most dominate mechanical lifeforms and download schematics for new transformation modes.
...Error: No mechanical lifeforms detected. Only organic lifeforms detected.
Proceeding to secondary option: scan organic lifeforms for new transformation modes.
...Scan complete. Five transformation schematics ready.
Phase 3: Select Autobots for new transformation modes.
...Selection completed. Autobot units: Grimlock, Slag, Sludge, Swoop, and Snarl selected for new transformation modes.
Phase 4: Begin direct download to Autobot units. Teletran-1's auto-repair systems will be used to reformat and revive designates.
...Beginning reformatting now.
Shockwave landed his shuttle in a tropical region of the southern continent. What made this area special was that the continent was an arctic one. This tropical valley should not exist here. Yet, here it was. There was teeming plantlife, warm climate, and various animal life. Large reptilian animals mainly dominated the landscape. One day, this lush paradise would later be called the Savage Land.
Shockwave stepped out of his shuttle and began scanning the landscape with a portable scanner. Before Shockwave left the shuttle, he mounted a mini shoulder cannon on his right shoulder, just in case this planet held and danger. His sensors found some odd findings to say the least.
"Unusually large energon deposits being located all over the planet. So much that scanner's are having difficulty locking on to the Arks' location. Fact: energon deposits are far above those naturally found on planets, this energon is not naturally formed. Conclusion: these energon deposits were put here purposely. Whoever put these deposits here is very powerful. Question: who put them here, and why?"
Shockwave decided to test this energon. He began to scan for the nearest deposit.
Teletran-1 had worked for half an hour at reformatting General Grimlock and his Elite. The General and the Elite were some of the biggest and most powerful soldiers in the Autobot Army, Teletran-1 computed that they would be the best candidates to neutralize Shockwave and protect the Ark. Finally, they were repaired and they had their new forms in their data-tracks.
"Uhhh, what happened?" asked Swoop as he and the rest went on-line.
"Last thing I remember is fighting Megatron and his Decepticons," said Snarl.
"Hey boss, you ok?" Slag asked Grimlock.
The General was surveying the inactive Autobots and Decepticons around him. He walked over to the inert form of Optimus Prime. Grimlock gave the Autobot leader a look-over.
"Yeah, I'm fine."
"What happened?" asked Snarl, "Were we the only ones that made it?"
"Not sure. Swoop, use Teletran-1 to check up on our comrades," ordered Grimlock.
Grimlock stood motionless in the center of the bridge. Swoop walked over to Teletran-1 and used the computer to scan their fellow Transformers lying on the bridge. Swoop had a sad smile on his faceplate.
"Crash, Burn, and Roll didn't make it. The rest aren't gone, just in stasis lock thanks to the crash."
"Crash?!" exclaimed Sludge, "What crash? I don't remember crashing."
Grimlock turned to Sludge. "Megatron and his troops got on board the ship, there was a fight. We got knocked off course and crashed into a planet. Swoop, what's the Ark's status?"
Swoop pulled up various sensor and intelligence reports compiled by Teletran-1. "The Ark crashed into the side of a volcano. Everybody made it in one piece, more or less, but the Ark's in pretty bad shape."
"Will it fly again?"
Swoop surveyed a damage report provided by the Autobot supercomputer. "Maybe. It would involve digging the Ark out of and it would need many system and structural repairs, but I think it can be done."
As Swoop read the damage report, the rest of the Elite looked over the bodies lying everywhere, friend and foe alike. Slag came upon the motionless form of Soundwave, withdrew his gun and aimed it at the Decepticon. He was about to fire when Grimlock's powerful hand grabbed the gun from him.
"Grimlock, what're you doing?! They all deserve it!" exclaimed Slag.
"No," said Grimlock firmly, "They'll get what's coming to them, just not yet. Teletran-1 brought us back on-line for a reason, we need to know why."
Grimlock handed the gun back to the angry Autobot warrior. He put his hand on Slag's shoulder. "Don't worry my friend, they will pay dearly for this. I promise you that they will"
Slag nodded to his leader. He knew there would be time for revenge later. Grimlock turned toward the Elite's aerial specialist.
"Swoop, what can you tell us about our activation?"
Thanks to Teletran-1, the Elite was brought up to speed about the planet and Shockwave's arrival on the planet. They knew they had to stop Shockwave before he attacked the Ark, or worse, got off-planet and brought more Decepticons.
"Ok everyone," ordered Grimlock, "We're heading out. We'll take one of the Ark's shuttles to Shockwave's location. Once we're done with him, we'll head back here and revive the rest of our comrades."
As Grimlock lead his troops to the shuttle bay, Sludge had a puzzled look on his face. "Hey boss, why not just use our personal flight systems to get there? We're few of the Autobots with them, let's use them."
The Elite piled into one of the two shuttles in the Ark's shuttle bay. Grimlock kept leading his troops as he answered Sludge.
"If we use our personal flight systems, it'll take too long. We need to get to Shockwave immediately. Swoop, you take the flight controls. As Prime would say, let's roll!"
Shockwave located a hefty energon deposit near the cliff formation that bordered the
Savage Land. He landed his shuttle at a nearby cave. The Decepticon brought a portable energon converter with him, so that he may administer the energon directly into his power systems. After removing a fair sized energon crystal, Shockwave inserted it into the converter, which was attached directly to the energy conduit on his arm.
"Now to administer the energon."
Shockwave inserted the crystal into the converter and waited the results. After a few seconds, Shockwave felt the effects. He suddenly felt strong, stronger than he ever had before. Weapons, sensors, logistics, and every other system were at full power.
"Interesting. This energon is more potent than any other on record. This find will prove extremely beneficial to the Decepticon Empire."
"I doubt that very much, Shockwave."
Shockwave turned around to find Grimlock and the Elite standing before him. This was impossible, thought Shockwave, their chances of finding him were less than 20%. Obviously his logistic systems need to be recalibrated.
"So, you survived the crash." stated Shockwave.
"Yes," said Grimlock coolly, "we did. Now, power down you weapons and you won't be damaged."
"I don't think so." said Shockwave, powering his mini shoulder cannon.
"Have it you way."
The Elite transformed to their new battle modes. Grimlock into a Tyrannosaurus Rex, Slag a Triceratops, Sluge a Brontosaurus, Swoop a Pterodactyl, and Slag a Stegosaurus. Grimlock and his troops like their new forms, much more powerful than their previous attack vehicle modes.
The five Autobots attacked as one. Shockwave fired his shoulder cannon, scoring a direct hit on Sludge and knocking the powerful Autobot to the ground. Clearly, the energon Shockwave absorbed was working in his favor.
"Even with my systems at peak efficiency, my chances of winning this conflict are 18.41%." thought Shockwave.
Shockwave's calculations were correct. Just after the hit on Sludge, Swoop and Snarl double-teamed Shockwave. Swoop dove in from above and hit with a wing missile, and Snarl used his tail-blasters for a frontal assault. The double team hit Shockwave hard, but the tactician didn't get the chance to recover. Grimlock came at Shockwave from the left. The General used his powerful jaw to clamp down onto the Decepticon's left forearm. Grimlock's teeth dug into Shockwave's arm, chewing at the outmost armor and circuitry.
"You got him good, boss!" whooped Swoop.
As Shockwave attempted to free his arm from Grimlock's jaw, Snarl opened his mouth wide and shot a fireball at the Decepticon's chestplate. Shockwave was knocked like a rag doll, the only thing keeping him vertical was Grimlock's unyielding hold. By now Sludge had recovered from Shockwave's attack and had used his jaw to latch onto Shockwave's left forearm.
"All right Autobot's, we got him now." said Slag.
Snarl ran towards the back of Shockwave. He swung his powerful tail and viciously smashed the Decepticon's back. Shockwave knew that at this rate, he would be nothing but a scrap pile. He knew that he had to initiate a desperate plan. Shockwave accessed a recent addition to his weapons cache, an energy dispersion field. Given enough power, it should be enough to at least buy some time. Shockwave gave the field full power and initiated.
For a radius of 20 meters around Shockwave, an energy field was released. The Elite was thrown off of Shockwave and tumbled backwards. Unfortunately, the fight that had taken place was near one of the cliffs. Grimlock, Slag, Sludge, and Snarl were thrown down the cliff and landed on the hard ground below.
"Ugghhh, what in the Pit was that?" asked Slag as he got up.
The rest of the four Elite were likewise getting to their feet, although not at full strength. Slag looked around to notice that they were trapped in a large crater, half of which was sunk in a tar pit. It was fortunate that none of them landed in it, for they might not have gotten out.
Swoop was in the air and caught the outermost area of the field. Shockwave used this opportunity to his advantage. He reached out and grabbed the disoriented Swoop by his feet. With all his might, Shockwave threw Swoop down into the crater, directly into the black tar pit.
"Swoop!" yelled Grimlock.
Swoop realized where he was and tried desperately to get out, but it was no use. The tar was too strong and the more Swoop struggled, the quicker he sank into the tar pit. Blind with rage, Grimlock ran at Shockwave. But what the General forgot in his rage was that Shockwave was at the top of the crater, while they were far down below. Shockwave confidently strode towards the edge of the crater, aiming his shoulder cannon at his prey.
"Logic would dictate that you are out of options."
With that, Shockwave began blasting his cannon at the defenseless Elite down below. Sludge was the first to be hit, the force of the cannon's blasts knocking him into the tar pit along with Swoop, where he too began to sink to certain doom. Grimlock and Slag tried shooting fireballs at Shockwave, but the Decepticon merely dodged the blasts and continued firing.
"You won't get away with this!" roared Grimlock.
Unlike his teammates, Snarl didn't waste time firing. Instead, he had another plan. If the Elite were to go down, Shockwave would go with them. "No, boss, he won't."
Snarl brought his powerful tail back, then with all his might he smashed it against the side of the crater. Then again, and again. The entire crater and cliffs around it began to break into landslide. Giant boulders first came tumbling down onto the Elite inside the crater. Grimlock, Snarl, and Slag were all knocked into the tar pit, sharing the same fate as their comrades. Shockwave was about to celebrate his success when he saw the cliffs above him began to landslide as well.
"That fool! What has he done-"
Large boulders began to fall onto Shockwave as well. Just a milli-second before the rocks hit though, Shockwave activated his self-preservation program. All of his systems shut down, his consciousness itself going off-line. Shockwave's primary function was self-preservation, and he knew he would survive this.
And so the cliffs collapsed burying Shockwave, the Elite, and their memories with them. Nearby, Shockwave's shuttle was also overcome by the landslide's, burying all evidence that the Decepticon ever visited the planet Earth.
Place: Unknown location in Antarctica, 1941.
The men had been digging for weeks. They were tired, sore, and homesick. Franklin, the leader of the dig, knew that time was running out. The leader thought of this expedition as a waste of the Empire's resources. Franklin knew that if he didn't bring results to the leader, and soon, that his future in the new Empire would be very short-lived.
"[Franklin, over here!]" cried one of the workers, "[We have found something!]*" (*translated from German-Wes.)
With hope in his eyes, Franklin ran down the cliffs. Around one of the craters that they had dug up, nearly every man was gathered. When they saw Franklin coming, they moved aside.
"[Excuse me, pardon me.]" Franklin made it down the crater via a ladder. When he reached the bottom, one of the diggers was standing beside a large purple metallic object. Franklin ran his hands over the object, studying each detail.
"[Is-is it what we've been looking for?]" asked the digger.
Franklin had an ear-to-ear smile on his face. "[Yes, yes I believe it is. Tell the men to take an hour break. Get something to eat, take a nap, whatever. After the break, we'll radio for more heavy equipment and dig it up. With luck, we'll have this in Germany by the end of the week.]"
The digger nodded, then climbed up the ladder to tell the rest of the crew. Franklin took off his glove and ran his hand over the object cold metal surface. His smile grew even bigger.
"[Yes, the Fuhrer will be most pleased. Most pleased indeed.]"
Franklin dusted off the object, uncovering a large plate that could be a face of some sort. What was odd was that there were no facial features, just a single yellow eye.
To be continued