Bishop#4 - "Knowledge is power"
By Mike M
From the outside a car and a bike travelling along the freeway, it looks perfectly normal. It looks normal, at least, until you discover that the Car and its driver are robot aliens from outer space, and the rider of the bike is a mutant.
"Just when are we supposed to get to this "Ark" of yours, anyway?" Called Bishop, straining to be heard over the wind.
"It's just past that big army base over there" Relayed Jazz, the Autobot who had met Bishop just 1 day previously.
Bishop's feelings of strangeness over talking to a Porsche were overcome suddenly at the mention of those words.
"An ARMY BASE! Why didn't you tell me about this before?"
"What's the big deal? Don't they like Superheroes or something?"
"Not when those heroes are mutants. I thought you were studying our culture!"
"I am, it's just that I'm more into the musical side of things, you dig?"
Bishop groaned as Jazz started to play "Weird al Yankovic" music at the top of his speakers' volume.
"What do you see in our music anyway?"
"You mean you don't like this stuff?"
"No, I don't. I don't see how you can call that crap.........."
"Let’s stick to the matter at hand, yes?" Death's Head interjected.
"Right. Look, do you guys carry any authority to get me into this base?"
"Well, all of your army people talk directly to Prowl when they want to talk to us."
"Great. I guess we’ll just have to see what this "Prowl" says then."
They drew up at the gates of the base. Bishop noticed a blackened patch of ground that looked like it had suffered heavy laser fire.
"Looks like I’m not the only visitor that they disagree with" muttered Bishop.
"It remains to be seen as to whether they will allow your presence, so be more optimistic, yes?"
A soldier walked up in front of them. "Halt! Identify yourselves!" He took one look at Bishop’s X-men uniform and said "we don’t want any trouble mutant, so get out of here now and there won’t be any"
As Death’s Head stepped out of Jazz however, Jazz transformed, shocking the soldier. Having been posted on guard duty for most of his time in sector 17, he had not seen a transformer actually transform yet.
"I’m sorry, I didn’t realize it was your kind of business. I’ll call the general right away."
After a brief conversation over the radio, the gates were opened, and the trio walked through into the base. Once inside, Bishop let loose an involuntary gasp of surprise. He had assumed that the large golden structure was just something that the Military had built, but now he realized what it was. It was a colossal Spaceship, crashed into the side of the mountain.
"And I thought Greymalkin (Cable’s lost ship, not the place) was big......."
A large white and black robot that looked like a police car version of Jazz walked out to meet them.
"Greetings. I’m Prowl, acting commander of the Autobots on your planet. I assume Jazz has filled you in on what has happened to us?"
"Yeah, he has (this happened between issues. See AWT 1-4 for the full story). So what happened outside? That soldier didn’t seem to happy that I’m a mutant."
"Yes, I must apologize for that. There have been several Transformer and Mutant related incident that have occurred nearby (See Neo-Knights #5 and Bishop #2). I believe that you have been involved in some of them."
"You mean Decepticons? Yes, I’ve met them. If they act like that to everyone, then I’m not
surprised you guys don’t get along."
"Indeed. Anyway, If you’d like to accompany me to the Ark, I can explain our situation on your planet in more detail."
"Damned mutants! We spend forever trying to get one group away from this place, when another is just let in the front gate!"
Elsewhere, 2 figures were watching this meeting with mixed feelings.
"Patience, brother of mine" said Archeville, as he stepped out of the shadow towards the monitor. "There’s nothing we can do about this. Anyway, it was bound to happen sooner or later. These ‘Autobots’ were inevitably going to make contact with people on this planet sooner or later. Besides, I don’t think that we’ve got a major security leak on our hands. The only knowledge of us was divulged by you, when you morphed whilst those mutants were here."
"I still don’t like him being there. It’s a US Military base Archie, not a damned Holiday resort!" Angered, Col. Chris Sesimen, otherwise known as Gotterdamerung, slammed his armoured fist into the briefing table. The table split in half with a crack, and Archeville had to look away in disgust.
"Look, Chris, you needn’t get so worked up about this. Everything is still within the parameters that the Overseer has specified for the project."
"Maybe so," said Sesimen, calming down, "But he’s still there........"
"So that’s our predicament. Any other questions?"
Bishop was unsure what to say. He’d not realized that what Jazz had told him was just the tip of the proverbial iceberg. For the last 3 hours, Prowl had utilized the Autobot’s advanced 3D imaging technology to show him holographic representations of all the major players and powers of their war. Now he was at a loss for words.
"Just one. What’s the state of play between the Autobots and the American Government?"
Prowl took a moment to digest the colloquialism, an them answered;
"Relations between us and your government are good at the moment, fortunately. We have some advisors staying with us on the base, and anything that we need to say to them or acquire from them is done through a human called Ambassador Cullen."
"I mean, are they keeping any kind of surveillance on you? Hidden cameras, microphones, etc?"
"Yes, but we’ve managed to disable them. Don’t worry, only we will know all that has transpired in this room. My question remains - will you aid us fight our ancient enemy? Your help, and the help of others like you would be very much appreciated."
"Well, I appreciate the reassurance Prowl, but as much as I’d like to help you in your fight against the Deceptions, I have my own problems to sort out first. Before fate decided to throw me in your direction, I was looking for a man supplying weapons that seem to be derived from your technology to the criminal underworld. His name is Downshift..."
At the mention of that name, Prowl and Jazz made an involuntary movement backwards in surprise.
"He doesn’t mean...."
"You don’t think....."
Bishop struggled to hear snatches of the conversation between the two giant robots. Attempting interject as best he could, he spoke;
"Uh, the name seems to have some kind of significance to you. Is there anything that I should know about this?"
Prowl and Jazz looked at each other, obviously communicating without any audible noise. Finally, Prowl spoke.
"When we awoke from our dormancy aboard the Ark, some of our crew compliment was missing. Aside from Crash, Roll, Burn and Commander Grimlock and his elite there were 3 others, known as the Omnibots, missing. Their names were Camshaft, Overdrive," Prowl paused a moment, letting the information sink in. "And Downshift."
"You think that this might be him?"
"It is doubtful. To deal with your criminals is not the Autobot way. However, if he was damaged in the crash, yet still functional, it is possible that his self-preservation processes may have taken control over his established persona. It is one of our top priorities to recover our missing items and comrades. To this end, we have had teams searching for other transformers, and for potential allies. This has resulted in many useful finds, but very little by way of our original aims. This is the closest thing that we have had to a positive lead so far. Even if it is only a human using Downshift’s name, we would like an Autobot to accompany you."
"Not too much of a problem. However, I’d prefer if it was one of you who has a less ostentatious vehicle mode. Jazz would be ok, I suppose, with a little repaint."
Prowl looked across to Jazz. Jazz nodded his agreement.
"Consider it done. Is there anything else that we could do to aid your search?"
"No, thank you. All I ask is that we can depart soon."
Death's head watched the goings on, almost unnoticed, from the corner of the room. He made what could be described as a robotic sigh, and left the Ark, the Autobots letting him leave without argument. He left the camp unnoticed, to seek other allies in his quest..
3 hours later, Bishop stood outside the Ark. Though he wasn’t all that excited with Jazz’s new colors, it made the Autobot look less gaudy than before, which was a serious boost to his credibility as Bishop’s vehicle. Jazz walked up behind Bishop and transformed into his re-colored Porsche mode, now all black, with a slight flame decal at the front.
"You ready to rumble?" said Jazz, using his custom stereo to communicate with Bishop. Bishop got inside the Autobot, and shut the door.
"Indeed. Let’s go," he said, as he wondered whether he was ready for any of what lay ahead.
he know that what lays ahead is more, much more than meets the eye...............