Joined: Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:21 am
After today, Jasmine and I decided to share another one of our pieces, this is the written piece we made for the Auto Assembly 2011 written competition judged by David Wise, as such, it cannot be entered into any further competition.
The creation of this story, effectively came with playing with the toys and discovering a gimmick with Animated Lockdown's EMP Generator.
We looked at the toys, as well as out most recent Botcon Fisitron and Autotrooper, the results now speak for themselves.
It was kept to a 2000 word count, to which I think we actually not only got the story within, we played around with it to the ridiculous point of being exactly 2000 with title and all, at least according to Word.
I hope it's enjoyable enough, at least for a laugh here or there, but I know we'd both certainly appreciate your thoughts wherever spared.
Without further ado:
************ *********** ************ **************
"Alright, an Autobot, Decepticon and Minicon go into a bar... the service droid looks at the Minicon and says, 'which one are you with?'
"And the Minicon says, 'I go both ways!'"
Even if the joke was bad the laughs were genuine, it didn't take much to have a good mood in Maccadam's Old Oil House.
Although Ratchet sat alone, he could enjoy the atmosphere all around as bots milled around in batches, topping up on whatever oil or energon was their pleasure.
All was quiet since Omega had returned them to Cybertron with Megatron in tow, but life went on, Prime taking Bumblebee to the Elite Guard, Bulkhead took Sari out to the Energon farms... and Prowl, well, Ratchet only had to turn his head to look at the statue erected in Circuit Square to his memory.
Who needed a medic in peace time? He just looked after Omega, that big body and all those parts required regular maintenance, so where Omega stayed, he stayed.
It left a lot of downtime to be passed while Omega recharged in stasis, but there was no prettier sector than Iacon for the job.
Every structure connected to the next, from the smallest factory to Maccadam's or even the mighty Metroplex, everything fit together like a massive circuit and patterns of light flowed back and forth along the energon conduits, bathing the whole city in a radiant neon glow.
It was quiet here, but the good kind of quiet.
"Think. The. Good. Times. Will. Last?" The Service droid floating there caught Ratchet's attention with some disjointed conversation subroutine, its single optic on him.
He tried to dismiss it by reaching for his drink "Eh, can't imagine why not, now the 'cons are gone for good."
The service droid's optic remained on him.
"...Course I have been wrong on one or two occasions."
Ratchet rushed outside just before a set of cybertronian vehicles barrelled past the bar, two twin cars tearing a path through the street and laughing all the while.
"Make way Autosnots!"
"Decepticons rule the road!"
"What's this pair's damage?" Ratchet barked.
"Runamuck and-a Runabout," a pipe-armed orange bot replied, "Decepticon wannabes pull this-a stunt every ten solar cycles."
"Well?" Ratchet extended his magnets from his arms and glared at the onlookers behind him, "What are we waiting for?"
The small bot piped up, "Hold-a your horsepower, we don't need no heroes a-here!"
Ratchet would have pushed the question, but a shrill siren rang from the other end of the street as two identical white vehicles suddenly appeared, blocking the street and sending the errant cars skidding.
"The Autotroopers can-a handle this!"
From the other side of the street two more cybertronian vehicles appeared, blocking it off, transforming into two imposing identical security guards, the Autotrooper Enforcer badge prominent on their Autobot insignias.
"Scrap!" The black car cursed, transforming in mid-skid, grabbing the street with his digits and sliding to a halt, weapon armed, "Runamuck, let's throttle them!"
Suddenly Ratchet felt a vibration in the air; the neon lights around them crackled and burst; and from a panel on one of the Autotroopers' arms had extended a very familiar device.
"An EMP Generator?!" Ratchet felt his systems seize.
Ratchet's body was built to withstand the effect, but the Decepticon had no such shielding, the black car jerked and spat sparks before dropping limp, the red tint of his optics fading to black.
"Runabout!" The white car skidded round, but before he could transform, a blast came from the other end of the street, Ratchet turned to see one of the vehicle mode Autotroopers had deployed another EMP Generator from its undercarriage.
It was over as quick as it had began, Ratchet's arms went slack and he stared on at the unconscious bots, before looking accusingly at the weapon on the Autotroopers arm.
Ratchet tightened his fists as the flashbacks came vividly: the Decepticon bounty hunter standing over him, the hole where his EMP Generator had been, Lockdown turning the device on his friends.
Ratchet had been walking for a while, vehicle mode might have been faster but he needed time to process his thoughts.
He'd seen the EMP generator used as a weapon before. There'd even been the time he had to use it as a weapon himself; he felt a discharge of static in his arm just remembering it.
The Autobots would never go this low; he had to get to the bottom of this quickly. That meant going to the Bot who knew the Autotroopers best, their inventor.
Ratchet looked over the building, it had seen better days, just a ramshackle hut held together by so many sheets of soldered metal, topped with a sign that coughed in drab letters, "Ironworks: Give Us The Tools, We'll Get the Job Done."
"Well," Ratchet sighed as he entered, "Here goes nothing."
The outside was nothing compared to inside: scraps lay everywhere; errant tools lay off their proper housings, a myriad of models and designs decorated it; and in the middle sat one orange and green Bot hunched over a workbench.
Arms folded impatiently, Ratchet made a noise less like a cough and more like an exhaust backfiring, "Excuse me...?"
"With you in a sec," The bot groaned with his goggles down, a pointer pen grafting a set of shapes in mid-air and attaching them one by one onto a hologram, "This isn't working out properly."
Ratchet looked from the model the bot was working on to the many shelves of inventions on display, narrowing upon a miniature Autotrooper model, "Word is you designed the Autotroopers?"
"The tertiary layer isn't connecting to the torso..."
Ratchet disliked being ignored, but as he looked at the workbench he noticed an errant wire bandaged in electric tape, he extended his magnet on his right arm, an arc of energy caught the wire, shoving it into place.
"Hey!" Ironfist pulled back as the model suddenly flickered before settling again.
The bot looked at Ratchet and then adjusted his goggles to further examine his model, "...Huh, better.
"Sorry for the silence... The name's Ironfist. What can I-" He removed his goggles to see Ratchet and promptly froze, his voicebox emitted several bursts of white noise and his digits twitched back and forth as they neared his faceplate.
Ironfist was an identical build to the Autotroopers; only a pale set of blue optics in place of a visor and one very sizable crack in the side of his helmet set him apart.
"Ratchet?" He finally vocalised properly, in an expression that Ratchet could only approximate from being humans as 'squeeing', "THE Ratchet, in MY workshop?!"
Ironfist shot up, grabbing the medic's hands and shaking them vigorously, "It's an honor, a REAL honor to meet you, Sir!
"I've been following Team Prime for cycles now and I'm a big fan, a massive fan!"
"I even moderate your Autopedia page!"
"Oh! And the Headmaster incident! Brainstorm hasn't stopped babbling since-"
"Knock it off!" Ratchet threw Ironfist back and the engineer looked scolded. A now disgruntled Ratchet pushed forward, EMP Generator rising out of his arm as he held the device in front of the inventor, "What do you know about this?"
Ironfist looked at the device and seemed to relax a little examining a machine, servo tapping his faceplate as he examined it, "Standard EMP Generator. This is one of First Aid's... variable controls... did you reverse the polarity on this recently?"
Ratchet took the arm back, but not before shoving the other accusingly at Ironfist, "Now maybe you'll tell me why every Autotrooper in the city has one?"
Ironfist's optics blinked, "Its standard issue on the 256-OZU-004 model now. Deactivates Decepticons until they can reboot, it's been a real success, saved a lot of troopers' skidplates!"
"More than you know," Ratchet's voice hissed static, "This isn't a weapon; it's a medical device! It's designed to relieve a bot's pain; do you even have a concept for how wrong this is?
"If using it on 'cons was a good idea, don't you think we'd have tried that already?"
"But... it's the perfect weapon, it's safe, it stops cons in their tracks without harming them-"
"What glitched out gearhead would even give the go-ahead for this?"
Ratchet stopped him there, " ...Well, that makes sense."
Ironfist wilted as he sat there, "I thought you of all bots would be pleased with this."
Ratchet's optics glowed so fierce they could have burnt a hole through Ironfist, "I saw what happened when ONE Decepticon got his servos on an EMP generator, you wanna imagine what they'll do when they find hundreds? They should've called you IronHEAD!
"Does that crack go all the way to your central circuits?" Ratchet moved to smack Ironfist's helmet, when the engineer sudden ducked out of the way.
As angry as he was, Ratchet was a medic first, looking over Ironfist carefully, "You alright, kid?"
"No... I mean, yeah, sorry..." Ironfist moved back, still covering the mark, "Just my lucky helmet... I don't like people touching it."
"That scar got a story to it?"
"Heh... kinda..." Ironfist slowly removed his hand, displaying the damage again, "My first campaign in the Manganese Mountains, a Decepticon Targetmaster marks me, but I move and he catches the side of my helmet."
"Lucky helmet alright."
"Heh... yeah..." Ironfist laughed mirthlessly, turning sadly to his workbench.
"That was my only battle.
"I... haven't really left my lab since then," He reached over to his pen, adding more detail to the model in front of him, "A doc called Rung pops by to check I'm okay, but to tell you the truth, I prefer to stay inside, listen to the stories instead of being in them nowadays.
"Autobot Personality Fisitron, hero of Autopedia, that's me."
A silence fell over the room and Ratchet looked at the engineer buried in his work, the 'Bot who had been running on full cylinders now just a shadow of himself.
Ironfist had given him the name he needed, there wasn't anything left for Ratchet, but still, looking at that cracked helmet, he touched the cracked crest on his own. Aeons after Lockdown had dented it he still never let anyone fix it. During this long war every bot gathered scars, some were visible, but the ones that ran far deeper he was more familiar than most.
There were plenty of Bots who dodged the Big Breakdown and were never the same; while that bullet hadn't killed Ironfist, it had left him too scared to even step outside his door. When Ironfist said he hadn't been out in a while, he meant it.
Ratchet had Sentinel's name, but that fight could wait, he had found something that needed fixing right here.
Ratchet's joints groaned as he sat down, "So… you enjoyed those stories from Earth, huh?"
Ironfist glanced back momentarily, but worked on his model hesitantly, "Yeah, you guys had some pretty wild adventures."
Ratchet laughed as he picked up one of the troopers from the shelf, testing it, "Well… whaddya say we crack open some oil, I tell you some stories you won't find on those datatracks?"
Ironfist stopped, turning round with optics bright, "Seriously?"
Ratchet held up an Autotrooper figure in surrender, "If you show me how to transform this?"
"Heh…" Ironfist flicked a switch on the workbench; the model of an armored suit faded to black and Ironfist pulled his seat over to Ratchet, "Sentinel's Powermaster project can probably wait.
"First you need to fold the head down and pull the arms to the sides…"
"Wasn't this your old exo-structure? Protoforms could get this in a nanosec!"
"You'd have to BE a protoform to play around with these; feels like I'm gonna break it!"
"Nah, they're easy enough to put back together."
Ratchet agreed, sometimes it was hard, but knowing just how to fix a bot made it all the easier.