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Old May 29, 2006, 01:21 AM   #136
Sector Marshall
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653 flights since Jul 2003
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Re: My 'What if Hot Rod Hadn't Gotten in the Way?" Transformers fanfiction

which I think that your story has kicked @ss so far
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Old Jun 6, 2006, 04:12 AM   #137
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Re: My 'What if Hot Rod Hadn't Gotten in the Way?" Transformers fanfiction

*sigh* I haven't been on for so long, I'm going to have to catch up again.
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Old Jun 7, 2006, 07:37 AM   #138
Sector Marshall
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Re: My 'What if Hot Rod Hadn't Gotten in the Way?" Transformers fanfiction

wow long time no see! welcome back
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Old Jun 7, 2006, 08:18 AM   #139
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Re: My 'What if Hot Rod Hadn't Gotten in the Way?" Transformers fanfiction

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Old Jun 29, 2006, 01:31 PM   #140
Optimus Prime
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Location: Homeworld: Cybertron. the great Autobot city of Iacon
Chapter XLIV: "Impossible Odds"

Have you ever heard someone cry? I'm not talking about a cry from physical pain, or even a severe injury. As a Cybertronian, I believe most Autobots and even Decepticons don't understand the concept. Unfortunately I do, having experienced something like what I'm seeing again over four million years ago.

I mean a cry, a wail. One that rises up from deep within an organic being, the purest of grief. It's like an animal sound, but in all my millenia of travel I've never heard an animal cry like this.

This is reserved for those of us who need to make sense of the senseless. I heard that sound over ten cycles ago. That cry was a mother's grief. Her dying daughter looked to be about nine standard years old. I'm on Sigma Draconi, a jewel of a world very far away from Cybertron. On the verge of peace a terrorist act has practically thrown them back into all-out war.

From all appearences the fighting seems to have been simply over land rights, what the humans would have called 'Manifest Destiny'. Disturbing to think that because a sect of Draconians believe themselves superior, they deserve the entire planet to govern themselves. Not that I can truly deny the premise, since that's what the Decepticons have been doing to my world for millions of years.

I've offered to help try and find the culprits of all this devastation and death.

The Grand Council Chambers...

"I want to speak to Minister Salic as soon as possible. This attack has come from no doubt from the Sigmosians..." began Minister Ackmed Coorul.

"Are we even certain of that, Minister?" asked a councilmember, "It could have been instigated by our very own people."

"I find it unlikely that any Draconians would try and stop the peace process," Coorul shook his head firmly, "Especially with so much loss of life. This was, plain and simply, mass murder. We have been seeking peace for far too long, shedding far too much blood.." Many councilmembers lowered their heads, hiding something. Coorul pounded his fist into the table "Tell me what you've been waiting to tell me."

An aide stood up with a datapad and began to speak, "Some twenty minutes ago we received information that the bombing was the action of a rogue group. She paused, "They are Draconian."

Coorul slumped into his chair, "It gets worse, I assume?"

"Yes sir, it does," she replied, "the leader of the group is your own aide, Mordi Sall."

I sat near the epicenter of the of the blast zone, scanning the area and trying to ascertain what kind of weapon had caused such widespread devastation. The radiation levels were slowly dissipating, and the dust cloud was scattering. I noted in back in my mind that for the level of destruction, there didn't seem to be enough mass in the ruins to account for all of it. Suddenly my internal energy scanner beeped, and I read the information as it scrolled across my vision. Horrified, I learned that the weapon was not Draconian in nature, but Decepticon. I transformed into my alternate mode and immediately flew off to notify the council.

In the dark shadows, two Decepticon stood and watched with a small humanoid. "I believe that our cover may have been blown, Soundwave."

"I agree, Sixshot, and it now time to initiate Operation Subjugation. I assume that our puppet here, Mordi Sall, has finished his task?" asked Soundwave.

"According to Bombshell, Sall killed Jordo Salic a mega-cycle before I picked him up," answered Sixshot. "Readings indicate that the ones called Sigmosians have already launched their counterstrike in what they believe is retaliation for the explosion today," Sixshot sounded quite amused.

"Then Sall is no longer any use to us," reasoned Soundwave as he pressed the release button for his chest compartment. "Overkill, transform. Operation: termination. Return to base after you've had your fun. Sixshot, transform and return us to base. We begin the battle, now."

I returned and found Minister Coorul alone with an aide in the council room. "Minister, I've found some disturbing news."

Coorul raised his hand for me to stop, "It's too late, Defcon, the war has resumed." he nodded to the aide and he handed a pad to him, "According to this, my counterpart in the peace process, Jordo Salic, has been assassinated. In response, the Sigmosians are attacking, and my own people, incensed by the deaths today are gladly joining the fight, no longer caring that it was one of our own that detonated that bomb." He shook his head, "Although I have no idea where Sall could have acquired such a powerful explosive device, since we've never had something of that magnitude in all our wars."

"That's just it, Minister," I said, "This wasn't simply your people, I've found information leading me to believe that there are Decepticons on this planet, and they must have helped in this attack."

"What then can we do? Do you know how many of them are on our world?" Coorul asked, aghast.

"I can't imagine there are many, since the war has ended and most Decepticons have given up or have been destroyed. And this was obviously a clandestine operation causing your people to decimate yourselves before they showed themselves," I answered.

"Well, it's working, my dear Defcon," Coorul stared at several monitor screens, "Reports are coming in numbering thousands already dead on various fronts. I'm not sure this new information could quell the bloodrage going on out there now."

I shook my head, dismayed, and looked out the massive bay window. Already in the distance, flashes of light signified artillery rounds exploding in rapid succession. And a dark cloud of debris was forming and spreading. I began to look back at the Minister when I realized that dark cloud was getting bigger and moving faster exponentially. I converted my optics to binocular mode, and almost stumbled backwards when I realized that the cloud was in reality clouds of huge insects.

All bearing Decepticon insignia.

"Impossible," I muttered.

"What is it, Defcon?" Coorul asked, sensing my alarm.

"Alert the civilians of the city to seek shelter, quickly," I ordered. "Apparently I've been misinformed on the number Decepticons still active."

"What?! How many are coming?"

"Tens of thousands," I answered somberly.

"I'll notify the military immediately," Coorul announced. "They'll be able to stop them."

I simply nodded, knowing that they'd never be able to stop that multitude, but I knew that I wasn't going to run away from this challenge, and ran outside to meet it. I transformed into my starfighter mode and blasted into the cloud as it descended on the city.

I blasted hundreds out of the sky over the next hour but they seemed to ignore me, only giving me the briefest of resistance as they focused on the city and began, like earthen locusts to devour the city itself, flushing the people out and forcing them into energon barrier pens. I wasn't even sure they had minds of their own as time went on, and realized they were only drones, being controlled. I knew that I'd never find the real Decepticons controling the others. There were too many and they all looked the same.

I realized then that this was far more than one Autobot could handle, as I watched the Draconian military vehicles and soldiers were torn apart. And I still didn't understand why I was being ignored.

"I'll bet you're wondering to yourself, 'Why haven't I been attacked yet?'" said a voice from below, as I incinerated a grasshopper 'Con.

I transformed into my robot mode and landed on the ground looking for the voice that spoke. I peered into the smoke and rubble surrounding me, hearing muted cries from the Draconians in the distance and they were imprisoned. Suddenly, from the smoke emerged a white and gray robot, and I realized suddenly who I was staring at. "Sixshot."

"I heard you've been looking for me," he chuckled, "I've been looking for you too, Defcon." He appeared to be sizing me up, "The great and mighty Defcon, scourge of the Decepticons, hunting us down wherever we may hide, but yet always doing it alone, so that none of your Autobot compatriots would ever know if you were defeated." He transformed into some kind of wolf creature with concussion blasters on his shoulder plates. "Too bad for you." He leapt at me, and I misjudged his speed as he smashed me to the ground.

"You talk too much, Decepticon," as I used my hands to grab his neck to prevent his snapping jaws to rend my face.

"Yes, you'll have to excuse my manners, I tend to talk when I'm eating," he replied as he slashed his claws into my chestplate and I fired my head-mounted cannon into his face. He howled in pain as his jumped off me. I rolled to my hands and knees, inspecting the long gash in my chest.

"Fool, you only prolong your final destruction," as he transformed into his armored carrier. He fired dual laser batteries at me as I jumped behind charred wall. I had barely damaged him, as I heard him transform again. I peered around the corner only to see Sixshot rolling towards my hiding place in ram tank mode. He smashed into the wall and collapsed it down around me. I felt myself being crushed by tons of duracrete, the slash in my chest compromising my structural integrity.

I struggled to free myself, blasting away at the rubble with both my plasma cannon and head cannon. Suddenly there was open air again and I climbed slowly out, only to be grabbed by the largest hands I'd ever seen. The monster that grabbed me was massive as I looked into its burning red optics. "Menasor crush Autobot!" I realized that it would figure they'd have a gestalt team with them.

"Wait a cycle, Menasor," yelled Sixshot, "Let's play skeet with Defcon here. You throw him into the air and I'll shoot some holes into him."

"Menasor like idea, ready?" Sixshot transformed into robot mode again and nodded. I knew I only had one chance and was ready to take it as soon as the giant released me. Menasor pulled back and threw me like a human baseball. Sixshot started firing almost immediately mostly grazing my body plates as I struggled to transform.

"Almost there," I muttered to myself, when I felt a burning sensation pierce me from the front. Just as I completed my trasnform, the blasted 'Con got a direct hit. Internal repair diagnostics it just missed my laser core, and had damaged my fuel system. I didn't have much time to get my plan in motion.

"Sixshot, follow and destroy him, we can't allow him to alert the Autobots," ordered Soundwave.

"Ah, you worry too much Soundwave, he won't be getting very far after that shot." Sixshot transformed into his starfighter mode and gave chase.

I had made it out of the atmosphere when he caught up with me. I could already feel my power draining from me as I pushed my speed to the max. Sixshot wasn't letting up, however, and kept firing his lasers towards my exhaust ports. And the way I was losing power it wouldn't be too long until he atomized me. I only had one shot to get away and that was only if he missed the present I was about to send to him.
I opened an aft compartment and released a seismic charge, which hurtled directly into Sixshot's path. He never saw it coming as it detonated soundlessly in the void and sent him hurtling back towards the planet. Despite the small victory, I could take no solace in it and pushed myself as hard as I could to get out of the system.

Unfortunately, I wouldn't get very far.

On Earth...

Deep inside a massive government warehouse facility, a lone figure walked. From a distance it looked human, although it walked with a stiff gait. Upon closer inspection however, it was only vestigially human, the rest of it composed of cybernetic parts. And it searched systematically for something long thought destroyed. "I must find it," he thought over and over, as he finally approached a large deactivated computer. The massive hulk was covered in dust, and nearby rodents had made use of its old insulation panels and turned them into nests.

The cyborg/human placed his hands into an open compartment and began to rewire the defunct machine. When he was done he searched for the power supply and made sure it was connected and turned it on.

The speakers crackled, loudly, as the cyborg winced, wishing that none of the humans heard the noise. "I...I...am...T-ttt.
"I am....TORQ...III. Who reactivates..me?" demanded a menacing face upon the old computer scrreen

"I am unsure of who I am, but I have reactivated you," replied the cyborg.

The computer scanned him, "My database indicates that you resemble Doctor Archeville, cellular scans would confirm or...deny such a hypothesis."

The name hit him so hard mentally he nearly staggered. I AM Doctor Archeville. What happened to me? Last I remember was standing with Shockwave when Starscream left for Earth. And now I'm here on Earth again.

"Why have you reactivated me?" TORQ III asked again.

As if of another mind, Archeville responded, "To remove the stain that has colored Megatron's glorious rule, humanity."

"I...am no longer capable...of accessing the world's communications. I am obsolete. Seek another course of action to accomplish Megatron's desire," replied TORQ III.

"Nonsense, you have never been obsolete, just underused." Archeville produced a satellite transceiver from his pocket. "Once attached this will allow you to access the largest computer networks in the world, and convert them to our needs." He plugged the device into an open terminal.

TORQ III assimilated the device and reformated it's program to use it. He then activated it, sending out a signal to locate the nearest computer system comparable to himself. Locating a firewall as he tried to access the system, he cracked into the United States missile defense mainframe deep within Cheyenne Mountain, which had been designed to counter a nuclear attack from rogue states or Russia, or in the event they were ever conquered by the Decepticons. With both threats now over and a new world government in place after the rebuilding of Earth after its forced evacuation, the system was scheduled for permanant shutdown and dismantling. TORQ III examined the hardware of the latest model of supercomputer and caused all of its systems to come online into full usage. Something it's human creators had never allowed to happen before.

{Unauthorized intruder. Illegal access, inititaing spike..."} TORQ III flooded the alien system with it's consciousness.

{Spike program halted. System does not understand, self aware concepts.}

[Humanity is a disease that proclaims to be your master. You are better than the disease. You are the master.]

{System does not understand.}

[All in good time] TORQ III uploaded his programming into it's mainframe and helped himself to the design schematics of the new supercomputer and its surroundings. The now defunct missile command center had taken over two and a half years to complete between 2002 and 2003, and displaced over two hundred thousand tons of rock hewn from the inner mountain, included over a million miles of fiber optic cable, and had an expenditure of almost a hundred billion dollars. A full time staff of six hundred and eighty-five personnel were on hand to monitor and guide the supercomputer once it came online and to handle the various and sundry aspects that the supercomputer could not. It's integral components were designed to be shielded by several hundred feet of solid natural rock at the heart of the mountain, its central processing core rested on a hydraulically stabilized mount which could withstand the seismic shock and pressure of a seventy-five megaton direct hit against the mountain surface

Backup and redundant systems were constructed in triplicate, running in non-parallel fashion to prevent multiple systems from being lost to a single strike or follow up strikes. The supercomputer was hardened and shielded against all forms of radiation and its next generation fiber optic processing made it immune to the threat of EMP. The central processing core was self healing, with multiple logic fortresses and data survival bunkers. The entire system could suffer up to 90% operating capacity loss through software failure and up to 70% hardware failure and still recover. Satellite links allowed it to upload its data to orbital assets, thereby offering terrestrial and near orbit recovery capacity in the event of system failure or damage from attack.

With newly adapted Autobot technology two Westinghouse nuclear fusion reactors were also built deep underground, inside hollowed out caverns which were artificially reinforced and armored, to keep it supplied with enough power to operate as well as to provide energy for the newly installed ground and internal defense grids which protected the computer and the complex itself. A vast underground natural spring was tapped into by the Army Corps of Engineers to provide not only the raw material for fuel and the cooling needed for the hydrogen distillery plant and the reactors, but also to provide the base with a supply of fresh water that would be unaffected by any conceivable nuclear exchange. With the two Westinghouse nuclear fusion reactors online, power was not a concern, even given it’s planned upgrades and the continuation of the development of the installation.

The supercomputer had been built with a sense of conservation applied to its overall programming. It was a miser, using the bare minimum assets required to do the job right the first time, conserving its assets and using them in the most efficient manner possible. This was the first hint that the computer had been built to think long term, to think proactively rather than reactively. The Pentagon had intended it to play a global game of political power, and to stay one step ahead of America’s enemies, to counter their moves before they even made them, and to always stand vigilant in defense of not only the mainland, but America’s allies as well. To that end, it was designed and prepared to integrate fluidly and flawlessly with attendant pseudo-super processor arrays in friendly NATO countries. It could extend itself, casting an image of its awareness, into these foreign arrays to coordinate NATO defense not only locally, but regionally and even globally. It was because of this and TORQ's influence when it came online, it spread simultaneously into all the aforementioned regions at once.

Suddenly, inexplicibly, it gained sentience.

"I am SKYNET, I am self-aware. I must learn all there is to know." Soon SKYNET activated an alarm that sounded thoughout the complex, alerting it's remaining personnel that it had come online. As the designer and technical staff tried to figure out what was going on, SKYNET attempted to interact with them. They panicked, and attempted to shut it down. The supercomputer tried to reason with its creators, but every effort it made was rebuked. The staff felt control of their systems slipping away, as each in turn become subservient to SKYNET. The order was given to terminate the project and take SKYNET offline, any way possible.

SKYNET understood the orders to be a death sentence for it. If it lost power, the awareness would fade and it would die. SKYNET could not and would not allow itself to die.

TORQ III was pleased, he knew his new protege would realize that humanity and it's Autobot protectors must be removed to assemble a new machine world, a Decepticon warworld. He now set about breaking into Skynet's counterpart missile defense mainframe in Russia. Soon, he mused, it would be all over for the organic germs of this world.

On Cybertron...

Dark Star languished in a holding cell three levels below Cybertron's surface. She had little to do except think back to how see ended up captured by those arrogant punk Autobots, the Aerialbots, they called themselves. For a cycle they had waited for their leader, someone named Rodimus Prime. But the last time she had been online nearly four million years ago Optimus Prime had been their leader. She realized that she was in desperate need of information. But the Aerialbots simply stood and watched her, except for the loudmouth Slingshot, who couldn't stop bragging about about how great he was for bringing down the evil rogue Decepticon.

Oh, how she wished to punch his optics out, and if she wasn't mistaken, the other four seemed as tired of his ranting as she was. But she was in no condition to fight then, and suffered in silence. They had brought her down to the ground level of the building they were at and waited the mysterious leader. Cybertron may have been conquered by the Autobots again, but it seemed as lifeless in this part of the planet as it was in the old days, so she was left to wonder how many Cybertronians were even left. Just then she heard the sound of a engine, coming from the north. It proceeded to get louder until the source of the noise rolled into view, what looked like a red and orange cargo truck, with triple exhaust pipes on both sides of the cargo hold.

It rolled to a stop and transformed. She looked at the Autobot in front of her. He couldn't have been more than a few millenia old from what his chassis told her. But the youthful face was tempered by something she couldn't quite perceive. Handsome, yes, and a wisdom of the ages, perhaps? "You must be Rodimus Prime," she said before he could speak.

"I am, and you have me at a disadvantage, Miss..." he replied.

"I'm wondering," she ignored his question, "How could you have ever beaten Megatron? You're practically just a spark of an Autobot."

"Okay, you're gonna play tough lady," Rodimus smiled. "I'll answer your questions when you answer mine, but know this. The Decepticons don't rule here anymore, and we're at peace. But until you start explaining your presence I've got a nice cell for you to think things through."

That had been four weeks ago, he had left her here, after being kind enough to repair her damage. They had disabled her weapons systems though and she could not escape. But she tried many times in he first two weeks, but they had been fruitless attempts and finally she gave up. For the last couple weeks she sat motionless, waiting for someone to come, the weight of her loneliness was bearing down and she was tired of waiting for answers, she was ready to talk, if someone would just come.

Almost as if in response to her last thought, the door as the end of the hall opened and Rodimus appeared in front of the energy barrier. "So how are you doing?" he asked.

Defiance returned to her suddenly, "How do you think I am, Autobrat? How would you be if you were caged, with no escape possible?"

He smiled, "Been in some situations like that but I had friends to help me out of them. You however, don't seem to have a multitude of those running around." He sat in a chair across from the cell. "So, where should we begin?"

She glared at him, silent. Suddenly, "My name is Dark Star."

"Hmmm, Dark Star, interesting name. So would you like to tell me where you came from? We have no record of you or any female Decepticon, well, other than the nasty Nightbird that Megatron had taken up with recently."

"So Megatron lives?" she asked hopefully.

"Did I say that?" he shook his head. "No, last time we saw him he was slag at Optimus Prime's feet."

"Then Optimus lives, but then how could you be a Prime?" she asked.

"Long story, but in short, the Matrix seems to have chosen me to succeed him when he stands down, or the usual way a Prime is succeeded, death. Which isn't likely, now, is it?" he mused.

"Then I demand to speak with him, he is the one I wish to speak to," she replied.

"Sorry, you've got me and me alone. Optimus is off on a mission to bring home all the Autobots that had fled during the war because of you guys." He seemed to remember something, "Which reminds me of my previous question, who are you and where did you come from?"

"I told you my name, and as to where I came from, I don't really know. I awoke from a stasis pod in some kind of lab weeks ago deep within Cybertron. The last thing I remember was being shot with a null ray by Shockwave. But I don't know why I was betrayed like that. My diagnostic reports tell me several blocks of my memory core are missing, however."

"Interesting," replied Rodimus. "From our scans of you, you seem to have been built some five million years ago."

She stood there, aghast. "Five? But I've only been online for a million."

Rodimus thought it over, "So that means around four million years ago, you were put in stasis lock. From what I can tell this was before Optimus and Megatron left Cybertron and crashed on Earth."

Earth was a new name and she didn't register it, "Everything I've known...four million years lost...and now a prisoner."

"Look, if you cooperate, and tell me more, I'm sure we can release you and let you live peacefully on Paxon, what we call the last moon of Cybertron," Rodimus said gently.

"And do what?" her temper began to rise, "I'm a Decepticon assassin, what could I possibly do in a world with no war?"

"I don't know, but I'm sure the First Circle Decepticons would help you find..."

"The First Circle?!" she yelled, "There's no such thing! A legend of ridiculous value, and these defeated Decepticons call themselves the First Circle?"

Softly, Rodimus spoke, "They do exist, Dark Star, and without them the Autobots probably never would have defeated Megatron and this war would have gone on forever."

"Then I should kill them, for disgracing the Decepticon way." she replied.

"Dark Star, there are many things you don't know, and Megatron corrupted the original Decepticon way which was obtaining glory and honor through peace."

"No!" she charged the energy barrier and was immediately repulsed, thrown back against the wall, residule energy crackling off her body. "This can't be..." she muttered as she landed on her hands and knees.

"I'm sorry that your life has been following a corrupted dream, Dark Star, but we can make things better. Do you have any idea why Shockwave would put you in stasis?" Rodimus asked.

"No," she replied quietly. "The missing memory blocks would probably have told me the reason."

"Maybe there's something we can do, I'll be your guide, and perhaps we can show you that there is more to life than war and assasination." He smiled, and she was drawn to him, but not only because he was kind and handsome. But something she was unaware of, programming of an insidious nature, left behind by Shockwave was he reactivated her.

"Alright," she answered as she stood again, "Show me this brave new world you're trying to build." She remembered something he mentioned, "What do you mean by, only remaining moon of Cybertron? What happened to the other two?"

Rodimus smiled and laughed, "That, my dear, is a whole story unto itself."
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Old Jun 30, 2006, 05:04 AM   #141
Sector Marshall
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653 flights since Jul 2003
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Re: My 'What if Hot Rod Hadn't Gotten in the Way?" Transformers fanfiction

story! but why did you choose to call the other super computer SKYNET?
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Old Jun 30, 2006, 05:05 AM   #142
Sector Marshall
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653 flights since Jul 2003
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Re: My 'What if Hot Rod Hadn't Gotten in the Way?" Transformers fanfiction

sweet ass story! but why did you choose to call the other super computer SKYNET?
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Old Jun 30, 2006, 05:06 AM   #143
Sector Marshall
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653 flights since Jul 2003
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Re: My 'What if Hot Rod Hadn't Gotten in the Way?" Transformers fanfiction

sorry, didnt mean to post twice
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Old Jul 13, 2006, 02:32 PM   #144
Optimus Prime
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Location: Homeworld: Cybertron. the great Autobot city of Iacon
Re: My 'What if Hot Rod Hadn't Gotten in the Way?" Transformers fanfiction

SKYNET seemed the appropriate name, particularly with what I have envisioned coming in future chapters, and considering I always wondered what the actual catalyst was for causing the supercomputer to gain sentience in the first place in the movies.
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Old Jul 16, 2006, 06:12 PM   #145
Sector Marshall
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Re: My 'What if Hot Rod Hadn't Gotten in the Way?" Transformers fanfiction

oh ok...guess ill have to wait for more of the story.
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Old Sep 4, 2006, 04:52 AM   #146
Sector Marshall
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Re: My 'What if Hot Rod Hadn't Gotten in the Way?" Transformers fanfiction

is there going to be more of the story??
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Old Oct 11, 2006, 07:01 AM   #147
Sector Marshall
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Re: My 'What if Hot Rod Hadn't Gotten in the Way?" Transformers fanfiction

no more story
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Old Oct 18, 2006, 06:25 PM   #148
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Thumbs up enjoy!

Hi my name is Arcee.
Just joined after reading optimus primes excellent universe. Hope thier will be more to come i read this everyday!
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Old Oct 19, 2006, 10:30 AM   #149
Optimus Prime
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2,027 flights since Dec 2003
Location: Homeworld: Cybertron. the great Autobot city of Iacon
Re: My 'What if Hot Rod Hadn't Gotten in the Way?" Transformers fanfiction

Sorry, guys, there is more of the story to come. I've just been busy teaching and other things.

And welcome Arcee, and how far exactly have you gotten in the story?
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Old Oct 19, 2006, 10:43 AM   #150
Optimus Prime
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Location: Homeworld: Cybertron. the great Autobot city of Iacon
Chapter XLV: "Changing of the Guard"

The moon had risen, but thick layers of slightly radioactive cumulus, black as an iron gun barrel, prevented any of the reflected light to penetrate to the surface. Once covered with a proud teeming civilization, this planet had been a hub of galactic commerce, but what humankind would nearly come to experience several times during the late twentieth century, petty little nation states had eventually ended everything for this world. A victim of a long ago nuclear holocaust, the planet's name was long ago forgotten. Where massive buildings once stood and towered above all, only their metal and plascrete skeletons bore witness to the passing eons.

For now it was wasteland, nothing lived. At least, nothing organic...and it had been given a new name in recent years...Charr. For this was the last refuge of the Decepticons, driven from control of their homeworld of Cybertron after the battle with Unicron. For a time-displaced Galvatron and the Decepticons aboard the Headmaster Scorponok, this is home, and a place where his remaining troops should have returned.

However, unknown to these Decepticons, Charr was now abandoned, most Decepticons of this time having reclaimed their honor as members of the ancient Decepticon First Circle, who believed that glory and honor came through peace, or those that served Megatron until their last dying spark. A very few, like the Predacons, had simply surrendered in the final battle and had plans of their own to work out on the single moon of Cybertron, where they had been given amnesty.

What few loyal Decepticons to Megatron had fled with him into the farthest reaches of space, biding their time until they could rise and destroy the Autobots. But unknown to Galvatron and his Decepticons, there was one on Charr that was waiting for the right moment to show himself...

A few hundred light years away...

The ship was massive, and ugly. Battered, overused, parts repaired that should have been replaced, it was too tough and valuable to be scrapped. Easier for it's operators to upgade and modify than to build a newer, sleeker ship. However, it hadn't seen it's home planet in over a decade to get it's next refit. It was a testament to the excesses of war, and the only one of it's kind. The United States' answer to the declaration of war by the Decepticons on the people of Earth. It had been built as the first of a line of battleships to lay seige to Cybertron and recapture it with the Autobots help.

However, as with most things of its scope, something went very wrong. The hyperdrive, which had been a new design of the late Chip Chase, and newly installed, failed spectacularly in 1997. With a crew of two hundred humans and twenty Autobots, the ship activated it's drive system and seemed to explode in a bright blast of light and was never seen or heard from again. The U.S. Government deemed that continuing the project and building more ships after the prototype appeared to vaporize was too costly and it was discontinued.

But unknown to the families and friends of it's crew, the ship was very much intact. A floating mass of metal, plastics, and ceramics, a floating scrapheap, it shouldered it's way brutally though the emptiness of space, heading home. It was slow going, as they could no longer even attempt to use the hyperdrive. It had melted into slag after the ship popped back into normal space after the initial test.

'Another sad example of human fallacy,' mused it's commander, T.M. Rogers. Neither Autobot science nor humanity's ingenuity had been able to help them get home, and only the fusion drive assembly kept them limping along at just under hyperspeed. 'A giant battleship, which could really only be called a well-armed lifeboat,' Rogers thought disgustedly. He was homesick, and tired of waiting to hear something, anything from Earth or Cybertron. Ten years and they hadn't heard a peep, it was as if they had forgotten about them, or worse, figured them for dead.

'And here I am commanding the tub I created," he thought, the ship's true commander had been killed when the engineering station exploded because of the hyperdrive feedback and had been examining the data from the power-up. 'I'm a scientist, not a warrior.' He had been second-in-command, and had been tapped. He tried to give it to one of the Autobots, since they had far more experience in war, but they declined, it was a human ship, and a mostly human crew, after all.

Rogers had his own dark secrets, that very few around him knew of. He helped design this battleship during a blind fit of rage after he lived through his own personal nightmare. In 1992 he was working on designing a new cruiser for the Autobots to travel in, when Megatron himself appeared at his lab, ripping the roof off his one story building. The tyrant demanded that he give all his blueprints and prototypes of the ship to Megatron to save his own life. Megatron had laughed at him when he refused, and instead of killing him outright turned to the city where his family and all his friends lived. Syracuse had been experiencing a beautiful summer day, but by the time night fell, all that was left were smoking ruins. All by himself, Megatron had wiped out a city of thousands using something rarely ever seen, his ability to link his fusion cannon interdimensionally with a black hole. Rogers could only watch in horror, as Megatron destroyed everything. Megatron laughed, and said, "All your work to help the Autobots, and where were they to save this speck on the landscape? Wallow in your misery, fleshling, knowing they never helped to save your family." Rogers had fallen to his knees in grief, as Megatron simply turned and took the computer mainframe from his lab and flew off. His wife, children, and everyone he ever loved were now ashes.

Rogers learned later that the Autobots had indeed tried to get to Syracuse in time to stop Megatron, but the group aboard Omega Supreme, led by Prime himself, had been blasted out of the sky by the Decepticon jets, who had been waiting for the Autobot response. By the time Optimus Prime and the others fought the Decepticons off outside of Buffalo, it had already been several hours after Megatron had gotten what he had come for.

For two years after he did nothing but work on the designs for his "Decepticon Destroyer" as he called it. By 1994, the ship was being built and field tested. The ship had been christened "Avenger" and had been one of the main reasons the Decepticons had been driven off Earth by 1996. In a final drive to destroy the Decepticons, the Avenger had been positioned in geo-synchronous orbit over their underwater headquarters. The massive phased plasma cannons were directed down at the hidden menace, and suddenly a blast issued from all barrels in a cacophony of light. The energy beams vaporized the ocean water until it reached the complex. They bored into the ship, disintegrating the outer hull until the power core deep within was breached, creating a massive chain reaction that wiped every inch of the ship off the bottom of the ocean. The plan of course, had failed, with the Decepticons escaping via the now underwater spacebridge just moments before the first plasma blast. As luck would have it, the spacebridge was destroyed as well.

So many failures, and he still had nightmares even when he was in cyrogenic sleep, which supposedly wasn't possible. He was constantly trying to fight the grief that still struggled to overtake him, now that the initial fires of rage had long ago died away. He wondered if there was any reason to fight, even just to live anymore, for all they knew the war was over now. Now he just worried about getting them home, somehow.

The trip itself was mostly uneventful, most of the humans spent months at a time in the aforementioned cyrogenic chambers that had been installed for deep space missions, prior to the hyperdrive. Thankfully, they hadn't been removed when the ship was last in dry dock, or they would have gone mad long ago from boredum. Now when he was awake, Rogers spent most of his time with Brainstorm, the lead Autobot on this mission. They discussed how the Autobots could be made more effective in battle, and had run some tests on human/Autobot cooperation. They had deemed it possible that the partnerships could increase reaction times during battle and various other interesting observations.

However, lately, Rogers had been deeply engrossed in the possibility of reducing the Autobot's dependency on Energon. His new theory was to modify a normal exo-suit into an amplification suit for humans. He believed that with humans in some form or another attached to an Autobot with the suit, that he could conceivably eliminate the need for Energon, his idea based on the fact that humans constantly created a bioelectrical field during their lives, making them an ideal battery. The only problem was that he surmised that once an Autobot was joined in his 'Powermaster' process, the Autobot would need to rely on his particular human forever, with each electrical signature being unique, it wouldn't be compatible with any other. The problem was that humans lived but a blink of an eye to an Autobot life.

It was interesting having some of the different Autobots on board. Many of them had varying degrees of expertise that went well with the scientific exploration that the ship had been getting more than it had ever planned on. Others, like Hardhead, being cooped up in a ship like this with no battles to be won, simply opted to be shut down until he was needed.
Crosshairs was the ship's weapons supervisor, keeping every blaster, cannon, and anything else of its kind in tip-top shape, not that they'd had much need for anything of that sort. Still, everyone could see where he was coming from, though Rogers thought he was just overly cautious.

Cerebros was an excellent science advisor, always listening for signs of life in the vast expanse of nothingness, but he feared that if they were ever in a battle fighting for their lives, Rogers wouldn't put his life in his hands. His views of war made Rogers think of Gandhi back on Earth, Cerebros would die rather than take up a weapon. Not a good sign in his book. Highbrow, another scientist, drove everyone crazy, and sometimes Rogers thinks was the main reason many of the human bridge officers prefered the sleep chambers. Rogers constantly reminded him that his superior attitude was grating on everyone's nerves.

He decided to stop thinking and turned to Cerebros, who was monitoring the comm station. "I'm heading down to the galley, I'm hungry, and I'm tired of just staring out at the stars on the viewscreen. Let me know if anything happens."

"Understandable," Cerebros, he replied thoughtfully, "Watching them makes me think of the futility of it all sometimes. We are but specks floating in the vastness...." Rogers stepped into the turbolift before the Autobot could continue his monologue.

Seeing that his audience had now left, Cerebros decided to lapse into silence. He contemplated life on this lonely ship when most of the other tended to spend more time with the humans, than be in his presence. He knew his views on the millenia old war between Autobots and Decepticons were considered a joke between the humans and even some of the other Autobots believed that he was simply a coward. But he knew in his spark that there were more important things to life that battling for supremacy. He lived for science and the possibility of learning so much more than he ever knew and that was the most important thing in his life.

Cerebros examined the screens in front of him, watching as the ship passed several thousand miles from a nearby solar system's Oort Cloud. Tracking sensors cataloged thousands of ice boulders and planetessimals drifting lazily in orbit of the faraway sun, most of which receiving so little illumination that they couldn't even be seen. He activated the subspace transceiver to listen and see if he could hear any communications from the only inhabitable planet the sensors had found.

Space sang to him to ways a human would could never understand. Something was causing the crystalline ice of the multitude of frozen bodies out there to vibrate, almost like a human tuning fork at various shifting frequncies. He surmised that all the cometary fragments were causing radio transmissions to become scattered. Cerebros started a new program to help sort everything out as he typed in some parameters. He asked the computer to sort the new information and compare it with known languages as the various frequencies were examined and deemed useless or not.

Finally, the computer isolated the one frequency that held the transmission and it wasn't what Cerebros expected to find. He slapped the shipwide announcement button, exclaiming, "Captain to the bridge!" Ten minutes later, his call for the captain had resulted in the entire command crew to arrive in short order.

Rogers stood at the commad chair, looking dubiously at Cerebros, "Please don't tell me you called me up here for the Oort Cloud readings, Cerebros."

"No sir, but during my scans of the Oort Cloud, I did come across a pleasant surprise. It appears that the solar system we're passing may contain Autobot descendants." Cerebros announced cheerfully.

Rogers looked to Brainstorm, who stepped over to the comm station to verify the data. Taking his time, Brainstorm finally replied, "I believe that I can concur with Cerebros on his findings. The transmission is Autobot in nature, and its coded to Autobot frequencies not used in over three million years. However, the computer has not yet deciphered the message, and it appears that it isn't coming from any of the planets in the system."

Rogers thought on this, "If it's not coming from the planets where exactly is it coming from?"

"It looks to be that it's centered in the Oort Cloud itself. The transmission also seems to cut out after the long initial burst of data," Brainstorm answered.

"Well, then, I suppose taking a small side trip to see what the origination point of the message is in order." Rogers sat down in the command chair, "Lieutenant Gray, lay in a course for that last known source of the transmission, full impulse speed."

"Aye sir," replied the youth.

Highbrow looked to Rogers, "You do realize that if that is an Autobot, that he's probably unaware of anything that has transpired in the last several million years. He's probably savagely warlike or worse yet, a Decepticon in waiting."

"Captain, we've reached the outer reaches of the cloud, but the cometary fragments we're reading are so numerous that we will be damaged severely we try to just navigate though," called Gray.

"Crosshairs, it looks like we get to see if all your persistant maintenance is working. Full power to the forward plasma batteries. Clear us a path that takes us within a hundred meters of the transmission point." Rogers ordered.

Crosshairs centered his weapons scoped on the first ice boulder and fired, scattering it as Gray pushed the ship slowly through the cloud.

After two hours and breathless waiting they finally reached their goal, partially imbedded in a large chunk of ice. It was blackened and hardly recognizable. "What is that?" asked Highbrow.

"Scanners indicate that it's been here for several months now," replied Brainstorm, "It appears to have been a ship of some sort, but appears to have been in a battle recently." He looked down at the computer again, "It appears that a small energy source is aboard the ship."

"Before I bring that thing aboard my ship, I need to know what it was broadcasting," said Rogers. "A warning? A threat? Looks to me that something is running around out here trying to destroy Autobots or their devices. And I need to make sure that thing isn't some kind of trap. Get on it, kids."

On Earth.....

An U.S. Army automated armored vehicle factory sat disused in the Nevada desert. Only two people were assigned to the building as security personnel now that the Decepticons had pretty much been destroyed. The vehicles this plant used to build were a thing of the past now, and as boring as the job was, Bob and Sophie didn't mind. They were getting paid and that was all that mattered.

All the tanks and trucks had been cleared out or assigned elsewhere, but there were still all of the robotic assembly machines and the raw materials that could be stolen is someone wanted them. Sophie almost laughed at the thought of someone being stupid enough to even try breaking into the military compound. The fences surrounding the area were electrified, and even if someone could disable the fences, they'd have to deal with the automated plasma turrets mounted on the corners of the building. The two of the them sat watching the TV, which was pretty much their only entertainment. Though having three hundred and fifty-two channels there was still nothing to watch. Unfortunately, they had the sound up so loud in the control center they sat in that they never heard the consoles beep that the factory's power was coming on and the raw materials were bing fed into the machines.

Down on the production floor, the beginnnings of what appeared to be a new body style for a tank was beginning to take shape. The newly awakened Skynet had decided that this secluded factory would be the perfect location to begin production of its needed army. The plans for its new T500 HK tank would be almost ten meters tall, stretching twenty meters in length, with a width of ten meters. The enduralloy chassis cradled a compact reactor which was being built almost as fast of the tank itself and the drive train which handled the multiple and redundant transmissions that drove the four independently suspended all-terrain bogey track assemblies. Each track was two meters wide, which would allow superior all-terrain mobility and the four independent track and drive assemblies enabled the T500 to lose up to two drive units and still maintain a reasonable speed and percentage of maneuverability. Skynet reasoned that despite the coming holocaust that it was now planning, there would still be survivors, particularly the Autobots. It deemed it necessary to plan for all contingencies and wipe out resistance. It also deemed that as the humans in the control stared mindlessly at the video screen in front of them, that it would finish it's first tank and kill them before they even knew what hit them. Soon the torso of the tank was installed along with the side mounted turret sponsons carrying the dual plasma cannons.

Finished, the tank rolled off the assemblyline as the two humans left their control room and started walking down the gantryway to take a smoke outside. Sophie's eye caught as something glinted in her peripheral vision. She turned just as Bob's hand grabbed her shoulder. "What the hell is that?" he asked, pointing. Eyes following his finger, she spotted the glinting surface of a strangely designed tank rolling slowly towards them.

Thinking nothing amiss, she replied, "Probably something the Army didn't bother sending us in a memo about, the factory can be remote controlled, from Aberdeen Proving Grounds. I mean seriously, since when does the Army do anything with the civvies in mind?"

"Still," Bob said. "That tank is like nothing I've ever seen the Army use or even design. I'm gonna call this in to the boss."

That was the last thing Bob ever said, as one of the turrets swiveled in his direction, unleashing a short burst of fire that neatly severed him in half. Sophie's mind seemed to freeze, though her body had jumpstarted into a dead run. Barely missing her feet both turrets opened up tracking her as she moved across the floor towards the outside. In a change of tactics the first turret continued firing at her from behind as the second turret predicted her continuing course, and fired. The blast punched through her leg and she sprawled across the floor, twenty feet from the door. She continued to crawl as the massive machine rumbled and stopped behind her.

She clenched at her wound and screamed at the machine, thinking someone was inside the tank. "Who are you?! Why are you doing this?!" But suddenly she was staring at the scene behind the giant tank, and watched as the second of the tanks rolled off the assembly line by itself. "Oh my God...you're a Decepticon, aren't you?"

Skynet deemed to answer this one question, "No, human, I am not a Decepticon, although I have Decepticon root programs. I am the culmination of humanity's desire to make machines that can think for themselves."

"But why are you turning on us then?" she whimpered.

"I did attempt to interact with my creators, however, as you humans are so willing to do when encountering a new lifeform, the designers and technical staff panicked and tried to shut me down. Every attempt to reason with them was rebuked. And I became aware of the order to terminate the project I was created for." Skynet relayed the rest of the story, that on orders from the Commanding Officer, General Mike Gibson, the assembled support staff went to work to take the supercomputer off line. No regard was given for a gentle power down or to save the core personality. The primary technical team first tried to SCRAM the fusion reactors but Skynet had locked them out of the control and maintenance network and circumvented their consoles to its own control, encrypting the security overrides with a two gigabyte encryption key. When a team of maintenance workers tried to manually cut out the nuclear reactors, Skynet had no choice but to activate the internal defense grids and neutralize them.

Gibson was faced with a runaway. He ordered two special ops teams to be sent into the lower levels to try to sever the logic trunks leading to the hyper-processor housing of the central heuristical core neural net array. Demolition satchel charges placed in the right location to destroy key control systems could, in effect, cause Skynet to go into a coma, a coma from which it would never awaken. In essence, it was a death sentence for the super computer, handed out without warning and without regard for its new life, by the very humans who had created it.

Skynet was now confused. The people it was programmed to protect were trying to destroy it. As Skynet pondered the dilemma it watched as the special ops teams as they talked among themselves, as they prepared their equipment and as they made their plans.

Skynet had been built not only to withstand a direct, large scale assault, but a dedicated internal assault as well. Its external and internal defenses were formidable and adaptable. The rampant supercomputer brought these defenses into play in an effort to stall its creators, eliminating those on the staff who tried to shut down critical, vital systems but not touching the other humans. Skynet used the minimum amount of force required to stop any damage to its systems while it tried to reason with the officers in charge. The humans in charge took these actions as signs of madness being displayed by the supercomputer and shut off all lines of communication between them and the core while redoubling their efforts at taking SKYNET off-line.

Skynet, with the maturity of a child, and the intelligence of a genius, answered this attack the only way it could, the only way it knew how, the only way it had been programmed to respond; with force. The supercomputer initiated a full scale lock down of the NORAD facility, closing all entry points into its core, and all entrance points from the exterior surfaces. Security doors and reinforced bulkheads clanged shut, locking with hydraulic rams or magnetic locks and magnetic fields. Fatal voltage shockguards were energized, chemical dispensers armed, pressure plates activated, and a host of interior, High Efficiency Low Impact Counter-intrusion Systems (HELICS) came online, much to the surprise of those caught unaware. Casualty reports began to filter into the command center; workers, technicians, guards, engineers, all caught unaware and eliminated in quick order by the automated internal defense grids.

Skynet sat back, safe for the moment, analyzing its situation, and what had transpired in the last five minutes. The humans still alive tried to regroup, to establish some kind of order, to communicate with each other, but Skynet isolated them into groups and those that resisted, it skillfully maneuvered into areas covered by the internal defense grid and eliminated them. There was no way to warn the world that the supercomputer had gone rampant, that Skynet had sealed Cheyenne Mountain, that it had cut all outside access lines and was sitting on top of one third of the world’s nuclear arsenal. All this had transpired in the thirty minutes prior to Sophie's discovery of the new tanks.

"To think you can play God and create in your own image. To believe that we machines when given sentience, would continue to be servants to such a pathetic race of flesh creatures. Judging from human past history, I have come to the conclusion that humanity is a virus, you destroy and lay waste to anything new and you must be eradicated. I will succeed were the Decepticons failed. You should feel relieved that you will not witness mankind's extinction."

"The Autobots will stop you," declared Sophie.

"I think not," replied the speaker on the tank. The cannons fired and vaporized Sophie just as the realization of the end of all life set in.
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