Wednesday, 16 May 2018

Fallen Kingdom

-Drew Merkel

The engines rumbled, and the mid-sized cargo plane jostled with each current of tropical air that pounded its wings. It was loud.

     “Are we there yet?” Bluestreak shouted over the noise for the fourteenth time.

     “NO!” Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, Bumblebee, and Tracks all shook their heads while pondering over their hands of oversized playing cards. Swipe returned to whistling “Poker Face.”

     “A few more hours.” Sunny eventually replied, hoping maybe this time Blue would relax and maybe let him think about what needed to happen once they landed at Isla Nublar. They had joined the Dinosaur Protection Group (DPG) because it was a good thing to do and an even better thing for publicity. Sunny was also pretty hyped to break out his oversized Australian bushman’s hat and start herding some of those “three horns”. There was more turbulence.

     “Okay that one was pretty bad,” Bee stated with a quiver in his voice. Sideswipe patted his shoulder, his metal fingertips making a tink tink sound.

     “It’s gonna be fine little guy” Swipe’s chiseled jaw was juxtaposed to his to warm smile. His smile faded as he checked the hand of cards Sunny had just finished dealing him. Bee flashed back with a crooked grin feeling slightly safer, remembering who he was with; Founders of Jet Judo, Sideswipe and Sunstreaker; Bluestreak, the best shot in all of Praxis; and Tracks, whose flying Corvette mode could save them all if the plane and/or parachutes failed. “Yes, safe as houses.” he thought. Then he thought about that phrase and how many houses he’d unintentionally demolished during the Great War... he shook off a cold chill.

     Tracks had worked his way from the porthole window to the front of the cargo hold where it met the cockpit. He sat on the floor and leaned his head back toward the pilot seat. “What’s the scoop, Kid?”

     “If the turbulence doesn’t knock us out of the sky the ash might” Raoul replied, tucking a lock of salt and pepper chin-length hair behind his ear.  “It’s as thick as a Prince bass line up ahead.” The years of riding around in Tracks’ flying car mode had prompted Raoul to learn to fly solo. He was now in his mid-forties with crow’s feet at his eyes, and despite this, he hadn’t lost his tough street kid charm.

     “You got this,” Tracks told his best friend, “and if for some reason you don’t have it, I’ve got you.”  He leaned back towards the cargo area to hear the conversation.

     The guys were talking about the song they were going to write about this trip when they all heard Raoul cry out.

    “Swoops!” Raoul shrieked. “Hundreds of them!”

     The pterodactyls dived territorially at the cargo plane. Raoul banked hard to try and miss them but it was no use. The engines were out and they were going down.

     “ABANDON SHIP!” Bluestreak yelled as he hit a big red button, causing the cargo bay door to explode away from the fuselage with a massive kaboom! He grabbed a nearby railing and motioned for the others to head his way. Sunny and Swipe did a quick fist bump, transformed into their Countach alt-modes, and burned rubber towards the gaping hole now in the back of the plane.

Bee somersaulted out of the plane like a gymnast.

Tracks waved Bluestreak on as he turned to help Raoul into the cargo bay. Blue stuck his thumb out of the hole pantomiming checking the air velocity. Then, turned his back to the exit, closed his eyes, and threw up a peace sign as he fell backwards like one does in a trust exercise.

“Baaaan Zaaaai!”


Tracks smiled at this and briefly pondered his jump cry. Then he immediately realized he had wings and facepalmed. He transformed into flying car mode, and just like so many years ago he said to Raoul, “Don’t just stand there slack jawed, get in!

   When Swipe came to, he was hanging from a large tree. Straight in front of him about 20 meters away, his twin Sunny was in exactly the same predicament.

     “I guess our cargo plane escaping needs a little work.” Sunny yelled across the distance.

     “Oh?” Swipe yelled back. “What makes you say that?” He winked. “Now the fun part...” he quipped.

     “Getting down.” Sunny hated what that meant; scratches, and maybe dings too.

     Swipe released the straps from his shoulders by pulling a cord. He fell, landing with a dull thud.  Before he could get up and dust off he saw Sunny riding Tracks like a surfboard. Swipe rolled his optics. “Sure, take the easy way out.”

     Tracks replied to this with distaste “Sure, easy for him. I get all his weight and all the scratches.”

     Now at ground level they could see Bee sitting, dazed by the hit he took from a similar tree dismount procedure. They ran to check on him.

     “Now we gotta find Blue.” Swipe looked up at the smoke and lava spewing to the south. “Before that gets worse.” He pointed.

     Bluestreak had come prepared. Foot thrusters, wings and a rocket pack transformed out of him as he plummeted toward the surface. Looking like a “Rocketeer” movie poster, he pulled his arms in tight to his chassis then blasted up and to the north to survey the side of the island they had been tasked to evacuate.

     “Bluestreak to Close Countach.” He spoke into his coms, “Do you read me?” Silence. “Well that’s just Prime.”

As the group entered the clearing, Sunny caught sight of Bluestreak, the grey and red blob flying around above them. “Look” he laughed as he pointed to the sky. He retrieved a flare gun from a storage compartment in his leg.

“No, you look!” Swipe replied pointing at the herd of Ankylosaurs. Sunny shot the flare, then stopped and helped Raoul up on to his shoulder so he could see the animals better.

“Amazing.” He said, the awe very evident in his voice. Bluestreak landed behind them.

“That’s not the most amazing thing.” Blue stated excitedly pointing to the landscape around them.

“Oh wow!” Bee said focusing his optics and studying the skyline.

“Wait, what?” Tracks said looking quite confused.

With a hand flourish and a slight bow, Blue mustered up his best announcer’s voice.

“Welcome, to Dinobot Island.”

Swipe’s eyes got all wide and crazy. “Wow.” He stated, then again, “wow, mind blown!” He made a hand motion of something leaving the side of his head then flickering and expanding.

“Tiny Explosion.” Sunny said dryly.

“No, think about the level of this coincidence.” Swipe was talking with his hands vigorously and was starting to look like the “Aliens” meme guy. “Jurassic Park was built off the bones of Dinobot Island.” Swipe scratched his chin.

Blue chimed in, “Which might even mean Mr. DNA lied to us. There was no dinosaur DNA in a mosquito trapped in amber, because, and let's face it, that was kind of far-fetched and...” Sunny, Tracks, Bee, and Raoul stopped walking and left Blue and Swipe to conspiratorially ramble.

Sunny turned to the others. “This gives me an idea for a plan B, should the evacuation go south. We’ll need a scientist. Somebody get me Perceptor, Wheeljack, Jocelyn Burrnell, or Rodney McKay on the phone.”

“You know he’s fictional, right?” Bee asked sarcastically.

“It’s hard to keep up.” Sunny chuckled.

Sunny and Swipe had planned for the rugged terrain. They raised their suspensions and added some rally car tires. They had found an old service road from the original park and were running a flock of Gallimimus toward the shoreline. Amplifying a T-Rex roar through Close Countach practice speakers mounted to their hoods had proven a bit too effective. After about a half-mile, the chasers had become the chased! The T-Rex appeared to be rather angry at having been tricked.

“I can’t tell...” Swipe mused

“Tell what?” Sunny asked.

“Does it want to eat us or marry us?” There were a few seconds of speechlessness as Sunny contemplated this thought.

“Drive Faster!” he yelled.

A few hours later the gang had rounded up a few herds of herbivores, an Allosaur, and a mother and baby T-Rex to the beach. Energon holding pens they had salvaged from the downed plane were keeping the animals from stampeding

Time was definitely running out. Between the increasingly volatile volcano and having to keep the INGen ships and helicopters at bay, there was no way to get an airlift. Seaspray had been on call for a “beachside pick-up,” but he’d been barraged at every entry to the port and simply couldn’t get to shore.

Sunny opened his wrist communicator. On the screen were Wheeljack and Neil Degrasse Tyson.

“I know it’s not ideal Neil but it’s our only option!” Wheeljack was loud, but not angry.

“I can’t be a party to it, Wheels. It’s crazy. What if sending them back causes hybrids that survive to modern times, wiping out the human race?” Tyson, on the other hand, did sound upset.

“Can you do it though?” Sunny asked impatiently.

“Well of course.” Wheeljack replied. Humility was never in his wheelhouse. That’s part of why Sunny liked him so much. On his screen, he could see Tyson leaving the room and hear Wheeljack call after him.

“We’re still on for lunch next week right Doc?... right, RIGHT?” No reply.

Bluestreak’s dead-on shooting was successful at holding back the INGen amphibious troop carriers and boats. But that wasn’t going to last much longer.

Swipe and Tracks were building a device while looking at instructions on an AutoPad, a massive iPad with an Autobot symbol on the back. A few adjustments and the team ran toward the forest to be out of the device’s reach.

Bee didn’t seem happy about any of this. “You know we are still sending them to their deaths, right?”

Sunny grimaced, “We are sending them back 50 or so years before the event. They’ll die of old age, not cosmic ash. I’m having to call it a win.”

“Not a big win,” Swipe added ”but still a win.”

“Yeah, I guess.” Bee conceded reluctantly.

On the com, Wheeljack’s voice broke the awkward silence.

“Initiating, logging destination”

“Dynotherms engaged,” Blue added.

“Initiating time circuits.” Swipe chimed in.

Wheeljack cleared his vocal processor “ahem” and continued “and 5 4 3 2 1.”

The earth shook and hurricane-like winds blew, but only for a few moments. Then the temporal anomaly that created Dinobot Island had replaced some of the creatures it had stolen from time 30 years ago.

Sunny looked around. “Um, guys where’s Bee?”

Attached to a branch, where Bee had been standing, was a note which read:

*Sorry Guys, I couldn’t do it. The risk to the animals. The risk to the timeline. If I don’t die back there, I’ll see you around?

Fantastic Beats and where to drop them -Bee *

“Whoah” Swipe exclaimed

“That’s heavy, Doc” Added Blue in his best Micheal J. Fox impression.

“Nothing to do now but fight off these INGen goons and find our Bee.” Sunny stated as if simply saying it aloud would make it so. They wouldn’t get the chance to fight INGen.

Trypticon rose from the ocean with a mighty roar. His emergence caused a massive Tsunami type wave which beached most of the boats and armored amphibious vehicles. Trypticon batted down helicopters and picked the blades off some like flower petals. When he finished his snack he turned toward the beach. Sunny, Swipe, Blue, and Tracks prepared to fight.

The massive reptilian robot transformed as he stepped onto the beach, his city mode taking up 90% of the real estate. His ramp opened and out came Bee! He had rust and some dents, walked with a limp, and had a hand carved walking stick.

The INGen security officers Trypticon had “eaten” also emerged from the massive city’s ramp.

“D’Ya’ miss me?” Bee exclaimed cheerfully.

Everyone was aghast and speechless, so Bee set about telling the rest of the story.

“I went back with the dinosaurs and then I rode the time quake thing back to 1984. Trypticon has lived here since 2006 on and off. He tried to kill me at first, but I finally convinced him that the Great War would end in 2011.”

“And you’ve been here all those years?” Raoul asked.

“Yep,” Bee replied, still cheerful. “I had to be sure that the dinosaurs would be okay as well as the timeline.”

The ground rumbled, and the volcano erupted again.

“We’ve got to go.” Sunny stated. “Also, nice work little buddy, you’re the best of all of us.” The team boarded Trypticon and he blasted off leaving Isla Dinobot Nublar behind for good.

You can follow Drew on Twitter @DrewciferxXx

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