With Botcon, the annual Transformers convention, happening this weekend I thought I’d break out another piece from my late Transformers site.
Back when I was still part of the alt.toys.transformers Usenet group I made a few Transformers fanfics. You may have caught the last one I posted. Well, this was different. While I wrote another parody that I’m saving for the week before ConnectiCon because it’s in parts I had planned for a huge serious one. Tentatively titled “FanFic: The Series”, it would be a series of fanfiction series with my own take on Transformers, spun-off from the original television show. I only had time to make one, the “unsold pilot” to the first series, Transformers: Vortex. Originally I wrote it in script form.
For this BW posting, however, I did some tweaking. It’s now regular prose (but if I missed a tense change you know why) and because it’s so long without any pictures to attach to it I’m going to make it a multiple page posting. I worked hard on this one in the past and in reformatting it now so I hope you enjoy it.
Autobot deep space station Astromax was the way station for Autobot exploration to the furthest reaches of the galaxy in search of Energon, or something that could be converted into an artificial version of the fuel they needed to survive. One of the ships docked there, getting supplies for their next mission, was the starship Star Fury, secretly a base-class Autobot Transformer much like Metroplex or Fortress Maximus, only designed as a defensive base rather than a civilian city and general headquarters, as her alternate mode. Within the station, her “crew” was preparing for a voyage to a new Autobot colony.
In the cargo bay of the station, Autobot squad leader Breakfire was going over the supply list with supreme Autobot commander Optimus Prime. “Well, it seems we have all we need. Energon supplies should more than easily get us to the mining colony, and the provisions for the human and Nebulan passengers should be more than sufficient as well. We should be ready to leave in a few cycles.”
“That’s good news“, replied the Autobot leader. “We need Star Fury in place to guard the new fuel source against the Decepticons, at least until we’ve established a proper defense system. They will surely make another attempt for the new Energon we are creating from the ore there.”
“Don’t worry, Optimus. We’ll be there in no time. But this new Transwarp drive bothers me. Are we sure it will work?”
“Not as yet, Breakfire, but that is another reason for colony Zone. It is devoid of life, sentient or otherwise. Not even any animals. It is far from other inhabited worlds, so it is safe for some of the more dangerous experiments, like the Transwarp drive. But the Decepticons are developing their own drive. They have been for a few years now, and may even have progressed further than we have. Fortunately, their exile to Char allows them little access to the materials to resume, so we have time to catch up. I hope.”
“Don’t worry, Optimus“, the mission commander assured his leader. “We will take good care of the drive. Now I must assemble my troops. Good luck on your trip back to Cybertron.”
Optimus returned Breakfire’s salute. “Good luck on your journey. And as the Earthlings say, Godspeed, Breakfire.”
In the target practice area Stormfeather, another of Breakfire’s team, and Hot Rod were just finishing up. The two had been friends since what humans would call “boot camp” and hadn’t seen each other in many Earth years. They wouldn’t see each other again for a while longer.
“Gee, you should have held on to the Matrix a little longer, Roddy. Maybe one of those leaders’ memories in there could have taught you how to shoot.” He laughs, as the final score confirmed he did far better than the former Autobot commander.
Hot Rod grumbled back “Yeah, laugh it up, Stormy. You just wait. I’ll beat that stupid little score!”
Stormfeather picked up on something in Hot Rod’s expression as soon as he mentioned the Matrix. “What’s with you? You almost sound like you really do miss that thing. I thought you hated being ‘Rodimus Prime‘.”
Hot Rod became defensive. “I didn’t hate it. I just want to enjoy life a little. Plus I wonder if I’m going to be good enough when the time comes.”
“Hey, look at the bright side. You actually know what you’re future holds. You’re destined to be Prime (again) someday. And now you’ve got time to have fun and learn how to be a leader. I bet when the time comes, you’ll be a great leader. Heck you weren’t so bad last time, once you stopped comparing yourself to old Op.” He put a hand on his friend’s shoulder. “You don’t need to be Optimus to be Prime.”
“That’s what he told me, too. Something to think about back on Nebulos, I guess. Like Kup says, Optimus didn’t become Optimus overnight.” He broke a small smile “I think Alpha Trion did it in the daytime. Hahahaha.”
Stormfeather joined Hot Rod in chuckling at the joke. “There you go. Think positive. You’ll be a good Prime. Of course, I’d make a better Prime.”
Hot Rod shot back “You as Prime? That would be the best thing that ever happened…..to the Decepticons!”
The two friends laughter was broken by a summons over the loudspeaker. They said their goodbyes and Stormfeather headed for Star Fury’s launch area.
Later, in the control room of Star Fury, second in command Headcase was in computer mode, hard at work calculating their course to Zone. Nearby, the 2 humans, Jane “Trigger” Austin and her husband Jake “Hammer” Austin, plus the two Nebulans, Charger and Team Multitrax group leader Id were preparing the ship/Autobot for take off. Breakfire and Stormfeather entered along with Micromaster Repair Squad members Wrencher and Lugnut, and chief medical officer Medicina.
Headcase resumed robot mode and reported “Commander Breakfire, we are all set to launch. Just give the word“.
“Consider it given,” responded Breakfire. “Take off, Star Fury.”
Star Fury’s voice echoed around the bridge as she acknowledged the command. “Roger, commander. Launching now.” Star Fury pulled away from Astromax Station, and took Headcase’s course for the colony.
Somewhere in deep space, the crew settled in. Breakfire was going over the general data concerning the colony while Headcase went over the scientific data at the science station.
Trigger broke the silence. “So what do we know about this colony? I hear it’s mostly like Cybertron.”
Charger responded. Having been around the humans for so long she had picked up a bit of their Southern drawl. “Well, they’re creating some nature areas, but it was a lot easier to turn a dead planet into a machine world than a nature planet.”
“I don’t know. Sounds pretty boring.”
Id understood his colleague‘s preference for nature over machine worlds like Cybertron. Considering his own experiences with the Hive during Nebulos’ own civil war he shared Trigger’s preference. He was sometimes still surprised how easily he and his sister had gotten used to Transformers and the binary-bonding process that could combine humanoids and mechanoids into an effective fighting force. “Creating the natural areas is part of the reason we’re here. Multitrax is needed to coordinate the project. And due to our connection to Multitrax……”
“We know all that, Id.” Hammer was used to his friend stating the obvious like a comic book character but it still bugged him when it was information he already had. “My dear wife was just hoping for some flowers. We’ve been on Cybertron for a month now, then a week at Astromax prepping for this little trip. Even I think it would be nice to see some trees, grass, flowers; you know, the stuff we were designed for.”
Breakfire overheard his organic crewmates and chimed in lightly while still looking at his reports, “You’ll see that soon enough.”
Stormfeather, however, had other concerns. “You’ve been quiet the whole trip, Headcase. What’s wrong?”
Headcase had stopped reading data from the colony as something had started showing up on his scanner. “I’m not sure, Stormy. There seem to be some odd readings ahead.”
Breakfire was worried about anything delaying their trip and knew Decepticons would love to disrupt their trip to planet Zone. “What readings?”
“I’m not sure,” replied Headcase. “It appears to be some form of anomaly, but it’s nothing I can lock on to. It just…came out of nowhere. I suggest we alter our course to avoid it. It could be dangerous.”
Breakfire was in agreement. “Star Fury, alter course around the anomaly.”
“Will do, commander.” She replied. Everyone could feel the ship attempting to change course, but relief would never come as she struggled against the anomaly, as if some force was dragging her to it like a tractor beam.
Breakfire yelled to make himself heard over Star Fury‘s struggling engines. “Headcase, what’s going on? What’s drawing us in?”
“Not sure. No magnetic force detected. No black hole. I can’t even detect the source.”
Stormfeather fired back, only somewhat sarcastically “Um, couldn’t it have something to do with the anomaly, perhaps!”
Headcase shook his head in confusion. “I’m not detecting anything radiating from the anomaly. And we’re almost on top of it!”
“Well, we’re on top of it now, and I can’t move!”. Star Fury’s voice denied none of her concern. “And I’ve got my boosters and thrusters at maximum!”
Charger checked Star Fury’s engineering readout and confirmed “we’re stuck tight. There’s no way to get out, and engine’s going red!”
“Orders, commander?” yelled Headcase, trying to scream louder than the engines. As if on cue, the ship began to shake violently, as if being pulled at from numerous directions. Breakfire considered the situation quickly and weighed all options. He needed to get the ship to Zone but it would do nobody any good if Star Fury was torn apart for either her or the crew. Finally he came to a decision, but the look on his face plate shows he’s not happy about the choice. The others look on with a mixture of concern and dread.
“We use…..the Transwarp drive.”
The others looked on with shock. Charger spoke for the team. “Um…are you sure. I mean it’s all connected and all, but….”
“…what if that thing explodes or something!” Stormfeather chimed in. “Have you lost your mind?” “Plus, I’m not sure about these reading. It could do more harm…….” Added Headcase. Star Fury was the most urgent “Well do something! I feel like I’m being torn apart here!”
Breakfire quieted everyone down with a sternly voiced order. “We have no choice! Prepare the Transwarp drive!”
The others accepted the decision and become a silent machine, working to prep the Transwarp drive to activate as they had trained in simulation. Soon it was prepared and the crew was ready to initiate. Everyone looked on with concern as Charger begins the countdown.
“” We’re at go in 10…9…8…7…6…5…4…3…2…1…0!”
At Breakfire’s command Star Fury’s Transwarp drive roared to life. As it began to take effect, it opened a rift in space, tearing open the anomaly and sucking the base/ship Transformer into it. The crew felt as if the universe itself has ripped open and struck them like a sledgehammer! The humans and Nebulans fell into unconsciousness, while the Autobots went into stasis lock. Sometime later, the crew awakens, finding themselves on the ceiling. It takes time to realize what’s happened, but Star Fury said it anyway. “I’m upside down! My nosecone seems to be buried in the ground!”
Breakfire was next to speak. “Everyone else, what’s your status?”
Stormfeather was the first to respond :”Alive, thank Primus!” Headcase was next “Functioning. (If you can call it that.)” Trigger added “Headache. Definitely headache.” Wrencher followed. “I’ll be better when the room stops spinning. Finally Lugnut spoke. “Could you stop that ringing while you’re at it?”
Moments later Medicina inspected her Autobot comrades She was also versed in the medical requirements of the organic beings, in this case the humans and Nebulans, making her perfect for this unit. “Everyone appears fine, commander.”
Relieved, Breakfire gave his next order. “Let’s get outside and find out where we are?”
The Autobots and humanoids made their way outside the ship. Indeed Star Fury was upside down. Part of her was underground. It appears only the breaking thrusters on the side stopped her from going further, more by blocking her from going further into the earth since she hadn‘t used them.. But what caught the Autobots’ attention next were their surroundings. They appeared to be on a small island in the middle of a lake, connected to the “mainland” by four land bridges. The lake itself wasn’t water, but a strange glowing gold-ish liquid. The grass around the island was a blue-ish green. The sky itself is a “normal” sky color, but while it appeared to be a sunny day, there is no sun in the sky. There weren’t even any clouds. And it appeared to be getting darker, like night. Breakfire pulled himself away to check on his largest crew member.
“Star Fury, can you transform? Do you need help?”
“I think I can do it.”
Indeed Star Fury transformed to robot mode and pull herself up. She wasn’t comfortable standing on the ground, preferring her ship or base modes but managed to stabilize herself, shaking off the effects of the crash. She looks around as stunned as the others.
Suddenly they all heard a cry for help. Breakfire turned in the direction and called out “Stormfeather! Medicina! Check on that!”
Responding immediately Stormfeather transformed into a jet fighter, painted to resemble a bird, something he had picked up from Earth television. Medicina transformed into a rescue copter. Both modes were native Cybertron shapes. They flew off, followed by Breakfire in his Cybertron-ish fire truck mode while the Micromasters and humanoids begin to look over Star Fury.
The three Autobots arrived at the source of the cry. A metal dragon was attacking a small boy with blue skin but otherwise no different from the pink-skinned humans or green-skinned Nebulans. While even Breakfire was taken aback by this odd sight training and the Autobot desire to help the innocent took over. Breakfire and Stormfeather transformed into robot mode and open fire on the dragon. He seems stunned and angry. He begins to spit fireballs at the heroes.
“Lead him away from the boy, Stormfeather. Medicina, take care of him.”
The duo transformed back to vehicle mode and headed off, the dragon turning his attention to the vehicles than he did the boy. Medicina transformed into robot mode and landed near the boy, who looks on in fear for a moment before realizing this one didn’t seem interested in hurting him, and the other two had actually protected him. Curiosity set in next.
“Don’t worry little one. I won’t hurt you. My name’s Medicina. What’s yours?
Meanwhile, the dragon was still in pursuit of the Autobots. Waiting for an opening, Stormfeather used his VTOL engines to make a risky 180 and fired back, a lucky shot scorching the dragon‘s wing and forcing him to the ground.. Then Breakfire spun around and laid down fire-retardant foam. The dragon slipped on the foam and fell. He tried to stand up, but only gets a mouth full of foam for his troubles. Finally he is able to get up and after testing his wings headed skyward. He was about to turn and attack when he finds his flame had been put out by the foam in his mouth. Then Star Fury could be seen in the distance. Had there been a sun to cast a shadow it would have already started enveloping the three metal beings. Outnumbered and overpowered, the dragon flew off at top speed.
“I’ll get him!”
Breakfire sighed. There was more to learn about whatever happened and he wasn‘t sure the strange beast held any answers. Not now at least. “Let him..her..it go, Stormfeather. Let’s check on Medicina and the kid. And good timing, Star Fury,” he yelled up to the robot who was just now within hearing distance of her smaller comrades.
“We’ll, someone had to save your tailpipes. So what do you want me to do?”
“Head back to where we landed and go to base mode. It’s a good enough place to HQ for now. At least until we find out what’s going on.”
As Star Fury followed her commander‘s order, the others returned to where they left Medicina and the boy, where they seemed to be communicating. Medicina notices their approach and looks up, radioing information so they wouldn‘t have to spend as much time altering their translation system as she did.
“Commander Breakfire. Stormfeather. I’d like you to meet Kriz. He’s a native to this world. Kriz, this is Breakfire, my commander.”
The boy, “Kriz” Breakfire reminded himself, was still nervous about these new arrivals. “Umm…hello.”
“Hello, little one,” replied Breakfire. “Are you all right?”
“I-I guess so. But I don’t know if I can find my way home in the dark.”
Breakfire had noticed that, despite any sun, moon, or even stars in the sky, that it appeared to be dusk. “Well, you’re welcome to stay with us until morning. Then we can take you home.”
Stormfeather tried to comfort the boy as well. “We have a nice soft bed, and enough food. Medicina can figure out with a quick scan what you‘d be able to eat. I‘m sure we can find something”
Kriz wondered if the giant metal man could hear his stomach rumbling but the prospect of food did relax him a bit. “OK. I just hope my dad doesn’t go crazy in the meantime.”
The Autobots take Kriz back to the lake, the young humanoid astonished at what he saw next.. They had arrived just as Star Fury went into her third mode into her castle mode, with the jetpack on her back transforming into a fort wall. Then he notices the lake.
“ I knew it! Ma-jix energy!” The boy was ecstatic. “I knew there had to be some in this area!
Stormfeather at first thought his translation system was on the blink. “Ma-what?”
Kriz looked back at his new friend. “You don’t know what Ma-jix energy is?”
Breakfire responded “We’re rather new here. Maybe you can tell us more about your world and this Ma-jix.”
“Deal!” The youngster smiled, getting to be the teacher instead of the student. His attention was then drawn to the four beings who looked more like him, but with odd skin coloring. Introductions were made until the grumbling of Hammer’s stomach seemed to be in rhythm with Kriz’s.
At dinner Kriz told them about this land they lived in, which the locals called Zar. As he talked about his village and his people Breakfire started to wonder what dangers awaited his crew. Only time will tell.
But one of those dangers had made its way to his home in the “Dark Lands”. The metal dragon walked into the great chamber weak but surprisingly not out of breath for his long travel. Within a shadowy figure sat on a high throne. The only signs of life of the figure were the dark red eyes that glowed as bright as the jewel-like objects on his elbows and knees. The dragon then transformed into his robot. It is then that the purple symbol on his chest was visible. The creature on the throne, Demonok, turned towards the machine and spoke.
“I see you lack the child. Then you have failed us, Scorch. If you have returned, we assume you found a way to save your miserable existence?”
“Please forgive me, lord Demonok, but it is not my fault. I…was attacked!” The dragon, Scorch, was apologetic to his master, but something else had him worried.
If Demonok had notice that he gave no evidence. He seemed more incredulous. “Really. We doubt that these pathetic Zarans were enough to………
“Not Zarans,” Scorch interrupted suddenly. “Autobots!”
Demonok finally rose at the name, and quicker than any assembled in that room had seen since their arrival. His eyes flashed an even brighter red!
“Autobots!” he roared. “Here in Zar! This cannot be. After all this time they once again interfere with our destiny!” Soon his eyes resumed their previous luminance and he sat back down, his voice resuming his previous manner as well. “Very well. We shall check your claim. And if the Autobots have indeed come here, we Decepticons may yet be…victorious.”
I had most of the whole series planned out. Each Autobot would have some personal issue they had to overcome while the Decepticons had this “dark fantasy” vibe and some of them would have character growth as well. There was also the mystery of Zar, the vortex that brought everyone here, and the secret of the “Ma-Jix” energy that would have a profound impact on the Autobots but may be more dangerous to the Decepticons based on how they were using it. I’m sure the files are on a floppy disk (yes, I still use floppy disks) around here somewhere. If I find it I may post some of that as well. Unless you folks want me to continue the story directly. I’m open to that, as well.
[…] Transformers: Vortex: Back when I had the Transformers fansite and was a regular poster to alt.toys.transformers, I considered doing a series of fanfic I was going to call “Fanfic: The Series”. Vortex would have been the first installment, but it also ended up being the last installment. This year I took the script-like layout I wrote so very long ago and re-wrote it with a more traditional prose style and improving some things I wrote back then. If I ever find my notes I may try to finally complete this series. […]
[…] work better as a novel series than a comic, I’ve never thought of myself as a prose author. While I’ve tried it now and then I don’t feel I’m very good at setting a scene in someone’s head […]