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Transformers: Ghosts of Yesterday
By Alan Dean Foster
As the world watched Apollo 11 launch for the moon (1969 for you young’uns), they missed out on Sector Seven’s (SS) launch of their prototype starship, Ghost One. Ghost One was developed using tech reverse engineered from the “Ice Man” (IM). Its mission is to investigate the possibility of IM’s friends staging an invasion fleet forming behind Jupiter. Slingshot around the sun, flyby to Jupiter and slingshot home, easy.
SS’s Artic Base has received orders to transport IM down to a new facility south of Las Vegas. SSAB’s C.O. (Kinnear) argued against the move to the “Old Man” and insisted on bringing “The Cube” to his facility. Kinnear is told it’s easier to move IM then to move the Cube (?).
Ghost One begins it slingshot around the Sun when the engines outperform the system specifications. Their acceleration opened a wormhole (think Back to the Future) and disappeared from SSAB’s sensors.
The Nemesis Transport (not Warship) drifts through deep space, commanded by Starscream, acting leader of the Decepticons. Crew: Barricade, Blackout, Frenzy, and Bonecrusher. Their standing orders: Locate Megatron, Aquire the Allspark. If the Decepticons locate Megatron, Starscream loses his command and that’s not going happen as long as he has anything to do about it (Starscream is more G1 than G1 Starscream!). As he is about to secure his leadership by ordering the plunder of a local system, the first new acquisition since Megs disappearance, Barricade receives a weak Decepticon signal on the deep field array. Barricade and Blackout argue that it might be Megs. Starscream hopes not as he succumbs to checking the signal.
The Ark, Autobot Transport and long time mobile home, exits a wormhole near a star cluster that is showing signs of containing the Allspark (beacon pulse once every thousand years). Optimus wonders if Megs will make an appearance when they find the Allspark. Ratchet is ordered to keep the Ark outside the system while Prime, Bumblebee, Jazz and Ironhide meet in the Docking Bay. They exit and transform into their Cometary mode and head off for their individual worlds to search. Ratchet stops them cold as he picks up a weird Signal from not to far off.
The Decepticons reach the signal and find Ghost One. Scans showed no Megs, but confused by its design, an investigation is ordered. And cut short as the Ark dropped out of a wormhole near Ghost One. Starscream orders a surprise attack before the Autobots even notice they are there.
The Ark’s sensors also confirm no Megs, but Prime believes it to be a Decepticon trap. A debate as to whether the Decepticons would use such a primitive vessel were heard when it was noticed that Ghost One had deployed a mounted weapon.
Back on Earth, Kinnear is trying to find out where Ghost One disappeared to when he received a call that there might be a Russian spy in SS. The IM transport team is just about ready to leave when an artic blizzard kicks up.
The Nemesis is in hiding behind the planet’s moon. The Decepticons are arguing, again (not in a bad way, but defining how they don’t trust Starscream). Starscream says he’s going to put a stop to this by destroying Ghost One and then the Ark.
The Autobots determine that Ghost One’s weapons will be less than ineffective against them in combat. They also note how instead of attacking like Decepticons, they are slowly shifting planet side. Prime dispatches Bumblebee to make contact with the animals inside. After Bumblebee leaves, the Ark picks up Starscream also heading towards Ghost One.
Ghost One finds a nice little place to hide planet side and the crew discusses there options. IM’s friends are around but not sure what they want. They don’t know where Earth is or where they are or even if they can get home if they knew where they were. No communication from SSAB. The most alone a Human can be.
Bumblebee makes his way to Ghost One when Jazz radios saying that they have detected the Nemesis and Starscream, who was heading his way.
On the Nemesis, Blackout (Megs Supporter) revives the anti-Starscream commentary. Barricade (leader loyalist, not necessarily Starscream) opposes Blackout’s plan to assault the Ark while Starscream is gone, but Bonecrusher and Scorponok are ready for action.
Ghost One tries to send a message home stating, simply, were lost, can you help and, oh yeah, we ran into some of IM’s friends. Ships sensors pick up something big moving in on them.
Kinnear received a call from “Old Man”. Wanting updates on the operations, Kinnear tells him the good news, IM is almost ready to go. The bad news, we lost Ghost One. “Old Man” wasn’t too surprised but had news of his own, new course for IM’s road trip and Kinnear is going with because he understands that if IM wakes, it’ll be worse then if the Russians captured it.
Planet side, Bumblebee tries to approach Ghost One in as unthreatening a way as possible for a giant alien robot. Then Starscream ambushes him. Bumblebee’s only option is to run. He transforms into a wheeled vehicle (predefined secondary alt? no cars on this world) and races off bobbing and weaving through spires of rock while Starscream shoots for the kill.
SSAB: Kinnear meets with Jenson (IM road trip manager) and they discuss how to keep IM frozen, deal with the storm and navigate a new course. As they ready to leave, Nolan (Ghost One manager, him and Kinnear served in Black Ops together) stops Kinnear and reports word from Ghost One. They discuss how to handle the message.
Starscream returns to Ghost One after chasing off Bumblebee. He studies the vessel and after downloading everything, makes contact via a form of Instant Messenger. “Greetings, it is fortunate that I arrived when I did. The other creature you encountered would have surely destroyed you and your ship." (Told you he was slick.)
On the Ark, the Autobots ready themselves for the coming Decepticons. Prime, Ironhide and Jazz leave the ship to do battle with Blackout, Bonecrusher and Frenzy. Hell breaks loose (read it, this combat is incredibly well written). The Decepticons call a retreat. When the Autobots board the Ark, they receive word from Bumblebee about his encounter with Starscream.
Bumblebee takes cover by some peculiar outcroppings only to find himself dragged down a sinkhole into a natural underground labyrinth. As he finds the direction out, he also finds that the planet is not entirely devoid of life.
At SSAB, Nolan gets the tech to send a message back to Ghost One: “Glad to hear you’re alive, try to keep it that way, we’re working on a way to get you home”. To all their surprise, they got a real time response. Ghost One and SSAB traded updates and bad news. Bottom line that Ghost One received was that they are on there own. That did not boost morale.
Starscream talks to the “Humans” and convinces them that he is good, Autobots are evil and Prime is the vilest killer in the universe. Also, if Ghost One would be so kind as to help him with destroying the Autobots, he will help them get back home. (Your boss told you you’re lost and as good as dead, how bad do you want to get home?)
Ratchet points out that they haven’t heard from Bumblebee since just before he fell down the hole. Prime decides to go find him while the others stay and defend the Ark if the Decepticons return. If things start to turn for the worse, take the Ark, ditch the Nemesis somewhere and come back for him and Bumblebee. Prime heads planet side.
Kinnear and Jenson talk business as they plow through the snowstorm taking IM to his new home. The roads are treacherous, iced and visibility is like 10 feet. So when the lead truck spins out, the entire convoy piles up and the mission is officially halted. Also Kinnear gets his femur pulverized in the wreck.
Bumblebee hides against a wall as these Giant (Bumblebee’s size and bigger) Leech /Snake /Worms (Buggers) come barreling into the chamber and more hell breaks loose.
Prime pretty much follows Bumblebee’s footsteps to the letter, including the sinkhole and reaching the chamber where he finds battle in progress. Prime and Bumblebee retreat to preserve their sparks from the impressively tough Buggers. System checks indicate that it won’t be easy to get out, not to mention that they can hear the Buggers regrouping. It sounds like there are more now.
The crew of Ghost One is at ends with each other over how to handle the fact that if they go home without the destruction of the evil Autobots, they would just be leaving a trail for them to make there way to earth. After much conversation, they decide to help Starscream hoping that when it’s safe, he will take them home.
Starscream receives word from the Nemesis that Prime is planet side. Starscream orders the Decepticons to take out the Ark while Prime is gone. He turns his attention to Ghost One and explains the situation to the crew. They offer to help and Starscream accepts and leads them to the sinkhole.
Kinnear is woken up by Jenson who gives him the bad news, IM’s storage unit is damaged and loosing its cool. They set up a base camp and are trying to get the vehicles operational again.
Barricade brings the Nemesis to bear and the other Decepticons launch for their assault on the Ark. The Autobots are preparing, Ratchet stays behind to run the Ark (he has a little Wheeljack in him) while Ironhide and Jazz launch to face off with the Decepticons.
(Note: It is clarified that both the Ark and the Nemesis are purposely designed as weak attack vessels because the Cybertronians are far more powerful and efficient fighting bot to bot. In Fact, as best I can tell, the only reason they need the ships is for repairs and traveling through wormholes.)
Kinnear awakes yet again to find himself in a med tent and finds out that the lead driver is missing, as the search order is given, the driver is drug in half frozen. He’s Russian and he has alerted his comrades it is time to collect their prize. Instead of killing him, Kinnear strips him to his skivvies and has him placed in another tent. Fears of IM waking are beginning to manifest as reports of heat signatures and twitchy fingers come in. Kinnear’s clearly dying at this point.
Prime and Bumblebee find a way out but Starscream is waiting. They BS for a minute when Prime had enough he grabbed Bumblebee, hit his thrusters and raced through the opening towards Starscream. Starscream and Ghost One opened fire on Prime who pulled a 180 and went back underground. Starscream collapsed the opening on top of them.
Nolan at SSAB receives a call from “Old Man” who informs him that there has been an incident with the convoy. He was told to take the Rangers training there with and go fix the problem. Nolan was reluctant but set it up. He left a desk jockey in charge to find a way to get Ghost One back.
Ghost One is following Starscream after having taken out Prime and Bumblebee. They fake a malfunction to buy some time to talk about what just happened. Starscream buys the malfunction story (both Autobots and Decepticons couldn’t help but talk bad about how terribly primitive this vessel was) and anxiously waits. The crew discusses how weird it was that this most terrible of beings chose to speak with Starscream instead of fighting. Not to mention that he didn’t fire on any of them. They lie to Starscream and say they are going to be out of commission for a while. Starscream tells them that he will be back after he helps destroy the Ark. After he leaves, Ghost One tries to run when the Ship gets stuck in a sinkhole and before long they find themselves buried in a tin tomb on the ass end of the galaxy. Also, they’re not alone down there.
Prime and Bumblebee ducked from chamber to chamber trying to avoid another confrontation with the Buggers. In the next chamber, the more injured Prime pulls the less injured Bumblebee behind him and articulates his weapon in a stand off with Ghost One. This act eventually convinces the crew that Starscream twisted the truth and they lowered their weapon. Prime followed suit and Bumblebee initiated contact. They make friends and tell Prime that IM/Megs is on Earth. Prime must warn Earth of the danger it is in.
At SSAB, Nolan and his artic rangers prepared to leave to find Kinnear’s convoy. Nolan defends his current shape to the lead ranger and talk about “Old Man”.
In Orbit, Jazz’s plan wasn’t working out as well as he and Ironhide hoped (This battle sequence was very cool). Jazz is messed up real good and then Starscream shows up to knock the scales of the table. Not looking pleasant.
Prime finds a weak spot that can be blown open to allow for them to escape. Then the Buggers attack and screw up the plans. Prime gets a complex idea that can not only open a door and not kill the Humans, but take out the Buggers as well. With Bumblebee and Ghost One clear, Prime’s escape is delayed when he is caught by a hidden Bugger.
Kinnear wakes up and demands a stimulant, can’t lead if he’s asleep. As Kinnear ‘wakes up’, the Russians attack. Kinnear orders a perimeter and IM cannot be taken. They also begin to start firing the flares. Nolan and the Rangers see a flare in the distance.
Jazz and Ironhide have been successful at staying alive with Ratchet at the turrets, but Starscream, Bonecrusher, Blackout and Frenzy have a very large advantage. As the Autobots near the Ark, the Decepticons slow pursuit to avoid the turrets. That’s when Jazz and Ironhide made a mad dash for the Ark. Once behind the shields, they argue whether to follow orders and split or to stay and wait for Prime.
Starscream insists on finishing the Autobots before they escape, but the others won’t hear it. They want to know what is the deal with Ghost One (Starscream hasn’t told them a thing, in fact he’s been avoiding the subject). Starscream swears that if the Ark gets away he’ll take them all out. Blackout tells him that Scorponok is onboard already, destroying their engines. Blackout now demands to know about how Prime and Bumblebee died. Starscream says their dead because he says so. It’s on! Blackout opens fire on Starscream and a brawl ensues (I just realized Brawl wasn’t in the book, hmm). The other Decepticons just watch the fun.
At SSAB, that desk jockey calls up Ghost One to tell them that they are ordered to stay there if there is any chance for IM’s friends to find a way to Earth. The crew talks seriously about what has happened and decide that if they are going to die out here, they are going to do it as heroes. Prime reluctantly accepted their assistance after they explained their new situation.
As they made Orbit, they found the Decepticons infighting. Prime called everyone out of the Ark for the final showdown before they lose their advantage.
Jenson sees Kinnear and informs him that the perimeter is falling and the IM re-freezing has pretty much stopped. Then gunfire rang out, it was the rangers. Relieved, Kinnear gives Jenson his seal of approval as he heads out to defend the IM. Kinnear is next visited by the Russian Driver with a nasty knife. Kinnear, not being able to walk, is having a bad day. Nolan and his rangers arrive at the outskirts of the battleground. The rangers deploy on foot and Nolan drives the Sno-Cat.
Starscream and Blackout go at it pretty rough until Starscream all but kills Blackout. Having asserted himself as unquestionable, he sends Bonecrusher to take the remains to the Nemesis with Barricade while he and the others go to finish off the Ark. Before they could move, Barricade warns them of the approaching Prime, Bumblebee and Ghost One. Thought they were all dead, Starscream?
Kinnear was dying and crippled, the Russian was frost bitten and sick. A cripple fight is the best analogy here. The Russian pierced one of Kinnear’s lungs before he was slit ear to ear. As Kinnear laid there ready to die, he heard tearing metal and loud thumping from where the convoy’s direction. Nolan comes rolling up in time to see IM swaying on his feet, so he ‘ghost rides’ the Sno-Cat into IM, knocking him into an exploding truck which bounces him a little bit. Nolan looks to see that Kinnear has dragged his ass out into the battle to help with the IM. He was all that mattered now.
Aboard Ghost One, desk jockey tells the crew that their wormhole is still open, barely. They should come home regardless of the order to stay away. Conflicts flare between just going home and making sure home is safe. The Capt. puts an end to it all by ordering that they all stay and do what is right. They call SSAB and declare their intentions and sign off. Attack positions people.
How does the final battle end?
What happens to Ghost One?
How do they get the “Ice Man” back under control?
Do you get to hear the ‘squishy’ sound?
What goes down between the Decepticons and Starscream?
Did Scorponok complete his mission?
Do Kinnear and Nolan have a Brokeback Mountain moment on the artic tundra?
The last answer is NO.
I'll answer any questions EXCEPT those listed above.
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