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Prime Directives

Chapter Text

How?

We rarely ask such a question anymore. The Great War, as it's been dubbed by scholars like Alpha Trion and Vector Prime, is to me not much of a war now as it is an understood backdrop in which we as Cybertronians exist. We are predisposed to it. We accept it as a thing we can’t not partake in. But what is the war really about? Not what drove us to it—not the why—but rather what has kept it going? How does it persist? Many have covered the origins of the war from Megatronus I’s rise to power against an oppressive senate in the south, Nova Prime and his nation’s simultaneous colonial expansion across the planet from the north, the eventual formation of the Decepticon Empire based in Kolkular, and the Autobots’ collection of nation states dubbed Iacon.* Nations fell, states were annexed, lives were lost. And yet, we persist with such action.

It is easy to discuss the origins of the conflict. It is even easier to discuss the galactic conquests due to it, in part due to how extensive that history is—between the Great War’s beginnings and fighting on our home planet, and the large swathes of the galaxy that we have made our theater, the length of time of the former is overshadowed greatly by the latter.1 The galactic wars that our people have undertaken, the civilizations we have encountered, the planets we have razed, the writings of this material presuppose both an understanding of the contexts and precursors that led to such travesties, and paradoxically the supposed truth that such understanding not be needed in order to throw oneself into the miasma that our war has set over the galaxy.

If such origins are chapter one of some eventual complete history of our people and the galactic stage chapter three, I would like to contribute a potential chapter two. Thinking on the war as a single entity with only two participating parties has always made me weary. Thus, it is my goal in writing this interval of time between the Great War’s beginnings and its conquest of other worlds to examine not the why of the matter, but the how. How did the Autobots and Decepticons operate when those power blocs were forced to coexist alongside equally powerful and integral governments and societies on Cybertron? The history of these now-tertiary historical powers has been vastly overlooked and misunderstood when at all acknowledged by modern scholars, most especially the situation in the middle east. The Torus States of Uraya, Polyhex, Kalis, and Altihex became the four major powers of the region; their leaders, advisors, military generals, and foreign diplomats and aids worked with and against one another in various local conquests and conflicts. Of course, the attack by Uraya on Iacon in Stellar Cycle 9052 is well known, but less so are the events and factors that led to it and to the restart of armed Autobot and Decepticon conflict after the perhaps-ironically-named Great Shutdown. (Such shutdown was never long-lasting in the context of the planetary stage and hardly at all great when one considers just how many machinations the Autobot and Decepticon governments pulled in conducting the Torus States’ affairs.) Such an attack requires understanding not just the why of the matter, but again, the how of what came before, how the Torus States were often so overlooked and undervalued next to such superpowers as the Iacon States so that just one of their number—the weakest one politically at the time—was able to launch a surprise attack on those states that, among other things, exposed for all to see the rift that had steadily formed between the various branches of Autobot government and in turn spurred the Decepticons to take advantageous actions that would formally reignite active warfare across the planet.

This book examines the history of how tensions in the Torus States led to multiple armed conflicts in the region and how such conflict was energized by Autobot and Decepticon meddling. While officially the Autobots and Decepticons both had agreed to hold back on interfering in the Torus States’ political affairs under the Tyrest Accord, it was an open secret that no such agreement was being at all enforced or honored—deals were cut, legal loopholes and precedences were found, and no one had to work very hard for such meals. The Autobot and Decepticon nation states, Iacon and Kaon respectively, had long been in conflict with one another, and the Great Shutdown and their participation in the middle east conflict came about due to fevered intelligence gathering on both sides and a desire to keep their larger resources closer to home. The Autobots were still recovering from multiple failed campaigns launched against the Decepticon south, the civilian blowback of which had caused Delta Magnus to resign his position as Autobot Supreme Commander and turn the position over to the far more pragmatic Ultra Magnus. The Decepticons themselves were in the midst of a deep financial recession, necessitating the installation of a new head of state, Deathsaurus. A vicious combatant, Deathsaurus was also seen by the Kolkular populace as the answer to their financial woes, someone who would make the state and armies lay low so as to consolidate and replenish their forces. The deals made with the Torus States reinfused the Kolkular economy in great ways. With these two leaders came the withdrawal of fleets and forces from the frontlines, and the resulting cold war allowed for redeployment of smaller forces into the middle east.

Tracing the entirety of this account is complex, there are many rivers of story that lead either nowhere or to a completely irrelevant part of our history in this context, and plenty more that are relevant and require context. Thus, I have chosen to group my findings into three parts. Part one focuses on a brief history of Kalis and its War of Independence from Uraya; Uraya’s history with its main rival Altihex and the latter’s attempt to take advantage of the revolt and push for territorial advancement into Polyhex in Stellar Cycle 9033; Autobot involvement in the region, particularly in Uraya and Tyrest, and the schism formed between Autobot Foreign Intelligence and Autobot High Command; Tyrest’s dealings with its southwestern refugee crisis, lasting until 9036; and the first attempted annexation of Stanix into the Decepticon Empire in Stellar Cycle 9038. Part two discusses Decepticon occupation of Stanix from Stellar Cycle 9040-9044; Uraya’s second turnover of government and its retaliation against Altihex in 9045; and Polyhex opening up diplomatic relations with both of its neighbors in an attempt to address Kalis’ growing consolidation of power. Part three looks at the war that erupted in 9046 between a united Kalis, Tyrest, Baltax, and Altihex, and an uneasy alliance between Polyhex, Stanix, and Uraya and the resulting fallout that ultimately left Uraya, in 9050, politically weak but vengeful enough to strike at the Iacon States under Autobot rule.

I have a responsibility to my people to put down in writing these events, if nothing else for posterity, though I aim first to illustrate through what has already transpired what we should avoid doing in the future or perhaps illuminate how we have repeated ourselves on a cosmic scale. Such circular nature is, I believe, a folly that those of other worlds, the Galactic Council, and our new allies on Earth have every right to criticize. Thus, this account serves to shed light on an oft-ignored portion of our history and what its ultimate relevance is beyond that Polyhex attack, how the Autobot/Decepticon conflict had to contend with existing international contexts and how dangerous a dialectic view of our race and our history can be.

Orion Pax

Stellar Cycle 9090GE*

Chapter Text

They landed on Earth on September 17, 1984.

You can make arguments for other dates of arrival, precursors to this date, or more significant dates that followed shortly thereafter. But generally speaking, 1984 is understood to be the year that the Cybertronian race, colloquially known as the Transformers, made direct contact with the human population of Earth. There have been many books written on our own history with the Cybertronians, how they’ve shaped our technological revolutions and sociopolitical landscapes, and how we in turn have shaped them, in culture and (admittedly far less so) in technological advancements. But for all that they’ve shared with us, for how pervasive their presence has been in the last 35 years on Earth and in the wider galactic political stage, few details about their own history have been available to any public, much less translated into non-Cybertronian languages.

This is no surprise. The Council of Worlds has banned much of Cybertronian literature,1 and even if that were not the case, galactic society in general prejudices Cybertronians’ inability to learn from their mistakes and document their failures. As Theodore Galloway notes in his book Falling Backward, “[The Autobot/Decepticon conflict] pits the race’s supposed powers of literal physical change against the stagnant perpetuity of their two dominant cultures. Perhaps it is for the best that other species, in their efforts to progress and maintain forward momentum, have decided for their own safety to shun Cybertronian society.”2 Such prejudice probably perpetuated a lapse in Cybertronian literature, history, art, for if the eyes of the galaxy see you as they wish for long enough, well, it’s hard to not buckle under that kind of weight and resign yourself to how others see you. Justifications for such prejudice are begrudgingly well-founded: the Autobot/Decepticon war is indeed pervasive, damaging, ideologically and politically dangerous; the circuitous nature of the war, the seeming endlessness of it, these factors do make it very easy for the mind concerned with other matters to blacklist this topic entirely, and it can be argued that this has made many of the worlds under the purview of the Council safer; Galloway’s urge that Earth do the same has not gone unnoticed by world authorities.

But I would argue that such efforts, however well-intended, offer little in the way of actual protection and merely serve to further xenophobic and isolationist views—ironic considering the scale on which we now have to measure, with diversity on a galactic scale. In translating this text, I’ve learned that the history of Cybertron is not nearly as black and white as many would like it to be. As easy as it is to blacklist this area of study, even more sinister is it to funnel Cybertronian history, society, culture, and the people who have shaped and continue to shape it into a dualistic understanding. So dominant has the two-sided war become that it is all that anyone thinks about when Cybertron or Cybertronians comes to mind; the Autobots and Decepticons as sole governments of their planet has so eclipsed the truly cobwebbed political history of Cybertron as to make that history seem unimportant or not worth learning about. It is worth studying, if nothing else than to learn where these aliens started out, what led them down this road, and what many of their own number think about the war.

I met Orion Pax, the author of this work, in late 1996. I had no intention of becoming embroiled in the Cybertron/Human political landscape as deeply as I eventually was. But that’s how things were back in the late 1980s and early 1990s—how things still are today, it can be argued. If you were a scholar or you lived in Washington DC, the Earth Defense Command is where you wanted to be. And for most historians, linguists, and scientists, an interview with the Cybertronian brass was something of a pipedream, a chance to learn all there was to learn from them, how we might better ourselves. For me, that dream extended well past learning what Cybertronians could do for humanity; I wanted to read their history, learn their language, treat them as peers instead of as things for us to leach off of. That objective must have shined through because in 1996, having been published only sporadically, my work caught the attention of EDC Director Marissa Faireborn and finally that of Orion Pax himself. His monograph, Prime Directives, offers a unique perspective into the Autobot/Decepticon conflict, focusing on the planet-wide political landscape rather than on the more popular galaxy-spanning conflict.

The decision to translate this, to get it into human hands, was not mine but Marissa’s, beginning as a public-relations move more than anything else. But as I began working on it, interviewing Orion Pax, digging into previously undisclosed datatracks, the project became a passion of mine. Over the last twenty years—a wink of an optic sensor in relative Cybertronian time—I have been able to amass a relatively accurate and characteristic translation of this seminal work by one of Cybertron’s prime historians and scholars. The desire to get this book out into non-Cybertronian culture, to have their voices heard, was also a strong reason that Pax and others in the Cybertronian detachment to Earth backed this project. In this was a chance for Cybertron to speak, and more importantly an acknowledgement that some people are willing to listen to what they have to say.

A work that has been translated from one language to another has the threat of losing much of its meaning in that translation. This is true for human-to-human translation as much as it is for alien-to-human translation; idioms are lost, context can fall away, and so forth. Particularly in the case of Cybertronian languages and humanity’s overall view of them, the temptation to blanket over vital minutiae with regard to the language itself, never mind the cultural context, is constant. The scarce study of Cybertronian linguistics by outsiders, especially non-linguists, has tended to mirror that of the culture in which the languages themselves exist, as singular or on occasion dualistic by means of the two dominant nations (Autobots and Decepticons) that use them. And it is true that Neocybex is the lingua franca of the Cybertronian species. But even so, no translation of Cybertronian literature is proper without at least knowing three or four of their languages; as with the languages on Earth, Cybertronian linguistics folds in on itself, it feeds and influences further iterations of communication, and Neocybex has just as much owed to, say Predonesix, as it does to, for example, Chirolinguistics.3

I use Jamie Bertor’s dictionary Cybertronix, Neocybex, and More: An Incomplete History of Cybertronian Speech and Letters, Samuel Mafurn’s Cybertronian Linguistics and Glyphs companion, and Garrison Blackrock’s posthumously published notes that discuss his time with the Autobots. Original written and verbal material from the author of this volume, Orion Pax, culled from personal interviews and joint-translations I have done with him has been invaluable as well; I also draw on my own study of the language, history, and context that I’ve amassed over my career. Nonetheless, this first English translation of such a particular point in Cybertronian history should be read with the understanding that future versions will likely be more accurate to Pax’s original meaning of the work. And this is by no means a crutch on which I have intentionally leaned. Quite the contrary; as with their physical forms being able to change shape, I argue here in direct opposition to critics like Galloway that such a vaunted skill is reflected in Cybertronian languages and culture; so too should such change be expected of future works that seek to discuss or directly translate Cybertronian history.

Finally, this volume serves perhaps too grandiosely as a direct refutation of the Council of Worlds’ anti-Cybertron doctrine. As of 2019, no nation on Earth nor the EDC has formally declared itself allied to the Council, nor has the Council made any move to annex our planet since 2001.4 A tenuous relationship, certainly, and make no mistake, there is considerable blowback to be had should this book reach certain persons. But such is the case with any political commentary, and as with previous contentious literature, the gains stemming from this book will likely far outweigh any potential consequences.

Verity Carlo

October 12, 2019

Chapter Text

The siege lasted for just over ten mega-cycles.1

When the mob finally broke into the Iacon embassy building, Bumblebee and Thunderclash were huddled with about sixty other foreign delegates and representatives in what had been the information vault but was now more akin to a hotbox.

“We’re going to burn here,” Bumblebee said, and even Thunderclash, normally collected and optimistic, had at this point resigned himself to the probability that they were not going to get out of this alive.2 The building’s document-scrubbing system had been fried in the initial assault, so the party trapped in the vault room were not only busy trying to defend their position, but also having to shred the physical copies of their classified data they had on hand. The act was a symbolic gesture at most, but it kept Bumblebee’s attention away from the distant sounds of gunfire and peppered shouts of anti-Autobot sentiment. In the corner of the room, two data clerks and one medical aid tended to the Chief of Station, Cheetor, who had taken fire from a stray proton bullet.

It was a brisk winter on Solar Cycle 5, Orbital Cycle Bahneon, Stellar Cycle 9032,* and Kalis was in its first stellar cycle of independence. A rough beginning to say the least. Riots were frequent. There was a government in place, but it faced frequent criticism by the public and from within, with many rebel factions flittering around it. Its leader, Bludgeon, had instituted a new state religion, the Way of Flame, a faith originating in the far-north state of Caminus and polytheist in its architecture. This overturn was not taken well. The faith that had for so long been rooted in Kalis culture and its original sovereign Uraya’s had been the Faith of Zone which focused intently on the individual’s power and self-worth. Throwing this out, especially after many Kalins believed this faith and their practice of it had been what had seen them through the war, did not sit well with the majority of the newly independent state. That this faith was shared by those in Iacon did not help matters. The Iacon embassy was a frequent target of derision, seen by many as an occupying force in the region, and finally now had become a target for violent dissidents.

Bumblebee was Autobot Foreign Intelligence handler of the region. He had been here for about eight orbital cycles. He was transferred from the more aggressive Autobot Foreign Infiltrations Division after failing to secure a Decepticon informant. His unit was strafed, his commander killed, and Bumblebee himself badly injured. His reassignment was understood to be a quiet retirement, a means to heal while still being symbolically of use to Ultra Magnus in Autobot activity abroad. Bumblebee did not like it much here, but things were usually quiet and the travel itch that had made him enlist in the Autobot ranks in the first place was flaring with this assignment, so he accepted what he could get. Public life suited him fine, he supposed; far less paperwork than covert operations, and what covert missions he oversaw were minor in terms of import to the Autobots back home, so focused were they on the Decepticon threat that Ultra Magnus’ people were sure hadn’t gone away. This was the first time he’d seen action in almost two stellar cycles.

Thunderclash was Iacon’s local contact in Bludgeon’s government, and believed by many of the Kalin populace to be the cause of Bludgeon’s sudden conversion to the Way of Flame. This was not the case—Bludgeon had converted to the faith independent of any involvement from his colleagues—but Thunderclash did often make it a frequent topic of conversation, likely due to how little common ground there was between the two bots otherwise. Bludgeon had picked Thunderclash as his foreign policy aid for his demeanor and knowledge of global politics—stressing Bludgeon’s habit of putting strategy over personal relations. It was an inspired choice. Thunderclash was not native to the region of Kalis, in fact he had been in the same training academy as Uraya’s eventual military commander, Megazarak. But this cross-pollinated education—theologically aligned with the Caminus faith, trainee at Uraya’s combat academy, and familiar with and involved in the politics of both Uraya and Kalis—gave Thunderclash immense leverage when it came time for Bludgeon to decide who should be the face of Kalis to the outside world.

His resume had so far payed off. Kalis’ relations to its neighbors were, on their face, surprisingly cordial. The local rebellions notwithstanding, Kalis’ reputation thanks to Thunderclash’s efforts was relatively well-renowned, especially for a newly-independent nation, and one that held a faith that had historically been tolerated by people in the region. But the local rumblings were still a problem. Thunderclash opened talks with Autobot Foreign Intelligence to see if he’d be able to purchase from them new arms and ammunition to better defend themselves in the event of a foreign attack. In exchange, Iacon would receive their own intelligence on Decepticon movement in the Torus States, particularly Stanix and Altihex. The war had left Kalis financially strong but militarily weak, thanks to the treaty hammered out between them and Uraya at the end of Stellar Cycle 9031.3 Officially, the Autobots had refused Thunderclash’s offer—the agency’s objective here was to observe and report back the goings on in the newly drawn region, not to influence affairs or fund an arms race, no matter how close the leader was to Iacon’s own political or religious views. But unofficially, such relations and commonalities made the proposal ideal, all the easier to accept due to Thunderclash’s attractively optimistic and cordial attitude. Prowl’s Foreign Intelligence Division required a big symbolic push in foreign relations activity in order for Ultra Magnus and the senate to grant them further funding, and the deal was likely to get Autobot High Command’s attention regardless. So, the deal was made.

The official account—after an unfortunate leak to the Iacon press—was that this was a routine foreign aid mission, delivering medical and civilian supplies to a struggling new country.4 The shipments of arms had begun around the time Bumblebee was transferred to the Kalis Iacon outpost, with Bumblebee delivering in person to Thunderclash new arms and supplies. In exchange, the Autobots would receive a modest sum of 1.2 million Shanix an orbital cycle, plus active intelligence from within Bludgeon’s government. The Autobot outposts had a few local contacts, but none as useful or as powerful as Thunderclash.5 Ultra Magnus’ official story of foreign aid was met with skepticism from the international community, but for now tensions were set on an acceptable boil.

It was the local Kalin rebellion that responded with force, masterminded and led by the rebel leader and Zonist extremist Mindwipe. He was looking for those new weapons, or pushing for that effect.

Their armaments were initially crude but effective—the rebels had graduated from small-scale shock-and-awe tactics to more aggressive and long-lasting standoffs in the stellar cycle since independence. They’d first targeted small weapons depots and some manufacturing centers. But Mindwipe had wanted them to expand, to make a mark in history that Kalis would not be a Camien outpost but a safe haven for Zonists and its parallels. Thus, Mindwipe had decided to strike at what he saw as the heart of Camien influence in the region, the Iacon embassy.

The embassy building sat inconspicuously on the fringe of the city. Mindwipe’s forces converged at its entrance at 08:00 mega-cycles, dawn, just after Bumblebee had settled in for the day’s work. They had no weapons visible at the start; their chants and raised fists were enough to get people’s attention. As the sun cut across the sky, fifteen hundred anti-Camien insurgents swarmed the perimeter. Their mood was restless, and the air reverberant with harrowed voices. Civilians began to gather at the sight of the large number of bots encircling this nondescript building. Finally, at 8:42 mega-cycles, one protester shifted his arm into a snub-nosed blaster and raised it high. Civilians were quick to notice and soon panic shot through the square like glacial runoff.

On-site security was headed by Tankor. A burly bot with a squat face and stocky legs, his standing orders were to fire only to save civilian lives. This meant that security could do little in the face of overwhelming numbers except corral the crowds, setting up crude barricades to try and mitigate the threat that pulsed around them.6 Even fired upon, the security couldn’t fire back lest they risk further casualties, so their numbers dwindled substantially in the initial wave of attack. Further resistance on the roof of the building was dispatched hastily too: one rebel fired in manic arcs that took out several Autobot and Kalin forces plus a few upper-story windows. Inside, in one of the top-story offices, Thunderclash was in a meeting with one of Tyrest’s foreign aids. The shouts from outside didn’t faze them, but the gunfire did. Thunderclash and his guest took cover under the desk. It was evident at this point that these armaments were military-grade, likely leftover from the revolutionary war; some within the Iacon embassy argued that this was grounds to consider these protestors enemy combatants,7 and so the request was again sent up through the chain of command to fire back. And again, the order came down from the Chief of Station not to return fire. According to Tankor, Cheetor was standing by protocol, and “the desire to avoid an international incident, especially a shootout, is understandable. But still, having our people, and Bumblebee’s people, mowed down like that, I’m not sure he made the right call.”8

The rebels breached the outer gate in roughly two mega-cycles. At around 10:00 mega-cycles, the crowds had dispersed but the rioters’ numbers began to swell. Further personnel pulled up, with alternate forms ranging from heavy delivery and industrial development vehicles to civilian transport and single-seater speeders.9 This was as much a visual statement as much as this was a numbers boost; Mindwipe desired for his forces to look as diverse as their ideology espoused.10 Inside, Bumblebee and a handful of other intelligence agents grabbed standard plasma rifles and set up positions outside their offices, harbors if need be but more importantly rooms where some Autobot and Kalin intelligence was kept; defending this was top priority for Bumblebee and his men. The building’s automated defense system finally kicked in at 10:30 mega-cycles—the delay was allegedly due to a lagging signal along the embassy’s power base that was due for repair that solar cycle.11 With the force field up, most of the rebels went back to chants and encircling the building. But Mindwipe had prepared for such resistance. “Smelt the ground,” he commanded. A contingent broke off from the chant and approached the base of the force field, transforming into ground and aerial flamethrowers, roasting the force field’s exterior. It was 10:45 mega-cycles. The force field took the heat, but the building it surrounded was under threat of being cooked.

Tankor had his people secure the exits and entrances to the building and ordered that they call reinforcements of their own. Bumblebee radioed Windsweeper, the Kalin commander of the region, to see about getting aide to the building; local military had no such impediments about firing on these guerillas. But again, delays plagued the embassy. A portion of Windsweeper’s main garrison, itself already relatively small, was caught in a hit-and-run ambush during a training exercise and he had ordered a grounding of all personnel and transports for a minimum of twelve mega-cycles as was standard protocol. For now, the Autobots and Kalin personnel at the embassy were on their own.

 

Mindwipe’s forces had continued to rack up their presence outside the embassy building, and inside, Bumblebee was getting nervous. “They’d resorted to starving us,” he recalled. “This was a siege.”12 It was a siege, and as far as sieges had gone, this began as a relatively aggressive one. The advances on the building had for the moment been halted by the force field, though the downside to this was that no evacuation could happen either. Such was Mindwipe’s strategy, to force them to lower the force field so as to escape the heat of the surrounding fires. They’d need to turn it off for increments at a time to allow their 142 embassy personnel to evacuate. But this would in turn allow enemy forces to enter the building. When Bumblebee suggested this as a means of escape, Cheetor shot the suggestion down immediately. Not only would enemy forces be allowed in, those going out would be facing a full mob of angry protestors. But Bumblebee pushed forward with his plan. He suggested they escape via the aerial port to avoid the ground forces, have fliers escort them away by air. This was considered longer by his colleagues, and eventually they agreed. A good thing too. Outside, the day was becoming thick with smoke from Mindwipe’s smelting efforts.

Tankor backed Bumblebee when he considered his revised plan, and eventually Cheetor acquiesced as well. The team began making preparations to lower the force field for fifteen kliks.<sup?* The force field generator itself was located in the eighth basement floor of the building. Bumblebee would be the one to go down and manually disengage the force field, while Tankor led a contingent of his security down to the front entrance to take up positions against the double doors. The embassy lobby was a circular dome-like structure, open enough to be a strategic pain to cover well, with rings of catwalk platforms dotting the ridge of the wall, while the reception desks angled to either side of the doors. Barricades were set up against the windows, while snipers took positions from the catwalks and behind the desks. Security also covered the back exits while the flight-capable occupants of the building made their way to the roof followed by an equal number of civilians and embassy personnel.

The command to drop the force field came in at 13:45 mega-cycles. Mindwipe ordered his push instantly, beginning with a host of two-wheelers in vehicle mode to break through the doors. Sniper fire rained down on the bikes from above. After the bikes, Tankor saw several fliers burst through the upper-lobby windows, taking out three Autobot snipers before exiting. The bikes had by this point shot through the lobby and were in the stairwells. Further fire from outside the building threw down the barricades and eventually forced the remaining security into retreat from the lobby. Tankor himself had taken a bullet to his left forearm.

The first force field drop allowed for six personnel in total to escape by air.13

“Hostiles are in the building,” Tankor reported. Security now consisted of four Autobots, and 23 Kalin security officers including himself. Though damaged, he could not allow those intruders to roam free. He and a pair of security officers began a search while the rest of the bots were ordered to hold position for the next drop.14 The lobby had proven an ineffective choke point, so Tankor moved his forces to the elevators, the stairs, and to the first basement level access points, while keeping the rear ground exits covered and stationing the remainder of his forces throughout the first eight levels of the building. Mindwipe’s plot was afoot. Those who entered the building were to try and locate the force field generator and the weapons that the Autobots had trafficked here if they could.15

The next drop happened half a mega-cycle after the first. Much like the first, protestors entered the building. Anticipating the move this time, security took more aggressive measures, Cheetor’s initial orders be damned. The protestors’ numbers were greater and their coordination smoother too—about sixteen entered before the force field came back up. They remained in vehicle mode, as Mindwipe had instructed them to not engage the security forces in hand-to-hand.16 Tankor, now on the tenth story in his security sweep of the building, took out two wings and a crane outfitted with crude rocket launchers, though not before the crane had let fire a volley of rockets, destroying a window office and forcing further evacuations of the westernmost part of the floor. With these three in tow, Tankor made for the eleventh floor now, keeping an optic out for the initial duo that was still roaming free. The newer insurgents met harsher fates; two were killed on site by snipers and security, and six more died due to faulty weapon installation into their vehicle modes.

By the sixth force field drop, it was well into the afternoon. Only a third of the building’s occupants had managed to fly to safety. Mindwipe had fliers circling the roof now. When the force field went down, a brief gunfight broke out on the terrace and launchpad. No one managed to take off this time. Several embassy officials were killed. Despite this information, Bumblebee suggested they try it again, but Cheetor overruled him and ordered everyone into the vault, Bumblebee included. It was 16:45 mega-cycles. Tankor had not yet completed his sweep of the building, but Cheetor’s order stood nonetheless. He and some Autobot security had set up a command post just outside the vault, it was said, and their best bet for survival was to regroup at the lower levels of the building. Reluctantly, Tankor made his way back down to the basement floor. He had still not managed to find the two bikes that had infiltrated the building.

The vault room was hermetically sealed, and could withstand most any in-built weapon, military or otherwise. If the protestors did overtake the building, the vault would provide a good choke point before they could get to the small cache of weapons that they had received. In truth, most the weapons that Mindwipe and his people were so incensed over weren’t even housed here: they’d been dispersed throughout many of Kalis’ weapons facilities and then carted over national borders to their outposts in neighboring territories. But Mindwipe’s objective wasn’t to find a full stock of weaponry that he could obtain, but rather to make a statement that the Kalin government and their Autobot partners were making black book deals that hampered instead of aided their already rocky relations with Uraya and other nations. The embassy could take that hit.

The heat, though, that was something that the embassy and its vault could do little about. Cheetor’s move to the vault meant that the chokepoint doubled as a kill zone and a furnace besides. When asked about this, Tankor defended his commander’s actions: “When you’re in command, your first priority is safety. For Cheetor, that meant getting everyone out of the building before the mob overtook it. When that didn’t work, he had to keep his people safe, and if that meant hiding out in a panic room until the mob dispersed or the flames died down, then those are the orders I’d follow.”17 He made his way to the vault with his three prisoners, clamped and cuffed by crude means. It was just before 17:00 mega-cycles. The prisoners had surrendered easily enough and without any rallying cry or faction-identifying remarks. They had no branding. Their weapons were military-grade, though. He’d tried to lock their arms away via the transformation dampers that his security had on hand, but these were meant for civilian accoutrements to the body—drills, hammers, scanners, and so forth—not for advanced arms. Still, for the moment his captors raised no alarms.

The bots on the roof and in the upper stories of the building began making their way down to the vault as well, led by Thunderclash. The fire, they could see, was slowly but surely overtaking the base of the force field, and the heat from it prevented them from using the quicker alternate-mode ramps and lifts that hugged the walls of the building.* The emergency lift, dubbed “the chute” was, like the force field, due for maintenance and repair and had been grounded for the last two mega-cycles. They had to pick up the pace and use the stairwells if they were to make it to the lobby at least. Midway down the well, on the twentieth floor, they found the stairs had been destroyed by crude means, not enough to cut off foot traffic completely, but enough to raise significant safety and stability concerns from the civilian party. Debris likewise blocked their way. This means of descent would not work for them, so Thunderclash led them into the twentieth-story office space, aiming to access the stairwell on the other side of the building.

As he entered, he heard the soft hum of an engine nearby. He signaled for the civilians to hold their positions. Advancing slowly up the corridor, Thunderclash drew his blaster. Peaking around the corridor’s end, he saw them, two two-wheelers, vehicle-mode weapons deployed. Behind them was the next stairwell that led down. They revved their engines and charged, weapons firing. Thunderclash dodged the first assaulter, but the second crashed into him at full speed, ramming him into the wall at his back before veering away and out in front of the exit door again. The bike’s partner joined him; the two trained their weapons on the downed Kalin foreign policy aide. Their fire didn’t riddle Thunderclash; two civilians took the hit for him, force fielding him with their vehicle modes.

Enraged, Thunderclash rose, shook off the debris, and again stood between the remaining civilians and the two protestors. Executing a firefight in such tight a space risked further civilian casualties, so Thunderclash holstered his weapon and instead transformed. “I had to get these people to safety, to rendezvous with the others in the vault, and I could better take these two speedsters on in vehicle mode.”18 Thunderclash’s alternate mode is famously aggressive in its speed and the short time it takes to ramp up to it. Dubbed a “turbocharger,” his vehicle mode engine treats him “more like a weapon than a ground-based vehicle…I often use my vehicle mode as a battering ram.”19 Such was the case here. In vehicle mode, Thunderclash sprung forward in a fury, ramming the first bike and sending him curtailing into the far corner of the room, unconscious. The remaining protestor managed to transform into robot mode—a small frame dotted with purple and gold highlights—and scuttle nearer to where the company of civilians was stationed. Thunderclash moved back to the center of the room and transformed too. The two eyed each other, waiting for one to make a move. “He just looks at me,” Thunderclash recalled later. “Then he pulls out this device. It’s not military, but home-grown. And my optics go wide. The civilians are right there. I’m right there!”20

Typical combat transformation occurs in about two kliks. Thunderclash in that moment transformed in half a klik. He punched forward and caught the surprised bomber in center mass, ramming him past the civilians and out the east window. The heat from the fire rushed into the room then, briefly halting Thunderclash’s advance, and as the bomber fell, he detonated. “I saw him fall, then saw the fireball. Then, we all felt the building shudder.” The bomber hadn’t taken out Thunderclash nor had he located any weaponry. But he had crippled the Autobots’ seat of power in Kalis. The bomb caused immediate structural damage to the eighth story, compounded due to the force field refracting the full force of the explosion back onto the building. This caused further damage and a fire to start on the floor as well.21

“There was no way down,” Thunderclash reported later. “I had to improvise.”22

The emergency elevator may have been grounded, but its shaft was still accessible. Thunderclash accounted for his civilian party, then began leading them down the stairwell as planned. Reaching the sixteenth floor, he stopped. The heat from both the outside fire and the fire on the eighth floor was now bordering on extreme. “You could feel it; even through all the concrete and brick and metal reinforcements, you could feel it,” said Thunderclash. He again led them to the office proper, and then to the center of the room in which stood the floor’s access to the emergency chute. Thunderclash’s plan was to have them repel down, let gravity take them quickly past the enflamed eighth floor and down to the cart, which was docked on the lobby level. “There was some resistance,” he admitted. The fliers in the group especially balked at the idea. “We’re not used to falling,” Airazor said later, laughing.23 Nonetheless, eventually the group agreed, and Thunderclash deployed his winch armament to lower the first of his convoy.

The flames were mostly quelled by the sprinkler systems, but the exposure to the outside had managed to heat the floor enough to make it still risky to pass through. “The air was black,” recalled Tigatron, one of the first of their number to descend. “I shot down through the emergency shaft and I went down blind. I thought it was going to be just this quick drop. I dropped as fast as gravity would take me. The eighth floor went by like a blur, but the heat, the smoke, that clung to me all the way down. And it burned. By Primus, it burned.”24 Upon reaching the top of the elevator cart, Tigatron managed to unbolt the top hatch, drop inside, and force the entrance doors open. The muzzle of a security blaster touched his forehead immediately. “Friendlies,” he shouted, and the security team began to escort them through the lobby and down to the basement floor. Thunderclash arrived last, and he heard from above the building’s upper stories groan.

Upon reaching the vault, Tankor, Bumblebee, Thunderclash, and their security forces began setting up their choke point. The force field was holding, though Thunderclash noticed thin wisps of smoke curling in from small ventilation ports. The wounded went into the vault first, then the civilians. Security stationed themselves at the entrance and just outside of it. Tankor declined medical treatment.

“This is a kill box,” Thunderclash said, incredulous. “The floors above us are under strain; we’ll be buried alive in here!”

“The vault is our best bet at survival,” Tankor shot back. He was only partly right. The vault itself would protect them from most conventional weaponry and could take the weight of the rest of the building falling on it.25 But it also served as an effective oven; if nothing else, the people trapped inside would experience a lack of environmental stability for their organic components and endoskeleton, a brutal tactic that had not been used in combat since the Age of Wrath, around Stellar Cycle 80.26 When Bumblebee pointed out the risk to Cheetor, he hedged his bets, saying that “the mob will most likely disperse before the bulk of our number dies.”27

Harsh numbers to be sure, and Cheetor’s reasoning is skeptical, especially for such a green commander who was now being treated for a lethal blaster wound. The bot had risen through the Urayan and later Kalin ranks by means of commanding successful missions for both militaries, but these missions typically included at least one daredevil stunt by him and those under his command. But flashy tactics could only learn you so much, and his handling of this situation, in retrospect, is proof of that. His strategy only extended about four steps into the future; Mindwipe’s had the full timetable at its disposal.

The decision, however flawed, was made. In the vault, Bumblebee and Thunderclash began shredding what documents they could. “How many have we lost?” Tankor asked, looking around at the meagre group of people now squatting in the cramped box. Bumblebee shook his head. He couldn’t say. The temperature in the box cranked upward, the forcefield absorbing only so much of the heat. They waited, sweltering. Inbuilt cooling systems could only do so much to keep the heat off of them. Bumblebee heard the noises from outside increase. Then, explosions and the shattering of glass. The mob had broken in.

 

Power to the Iacon embassy was cut at 17:30 mega-cycles.28 The insurgents who hadn’t been captured included in their number Mindwipe himself. He had entered in his stealth vehicle mode through the roof during the final force field drop, and had managed to slip past the increasingly disorganized security forces of the embassy and down into the basement levels of the building. It was not only their disorganization that Mindwipe had taken advantage of, but their minds as well.

To orchestrate such a large-scale assault required time, but it also required information and personnel who would be instrumental in taking advantage of such information. Mindwipe did this through what he referred to as “mind manipulation;” according to him, he drew on the ancient mystical powers of the Thirteen Primes and channeled their power through him to take control of other people and their actions.29 In truth, he’d modified his inbuilt systems to hack other Cybertronian’s higher cognitive functions, a process illegal under penalty of deactivation.30 He’d used this to devastating effect, culling a small army to resist Bludgeon’s rule, and then used it to give him full advantage over the Autobot embassy building’s security. Two orbital cycles ago, on Solar Cycle 2, Orbital Cycle Rokuneon, Stellar Cycle 9032, Mindwipe had captured one of the bots in charge of the repairs and maintenance schedules for the region. In his schedule were mapped out all the repairs and spot-checks to be done on the embassy building for the next five orbital cycles, two of which were to vital systems: the force field generator, and the emergency chute. These two repairs were not originally scheduled to occur on the same solar cycle, in fact they were scheduled over an orbital cycle apart from each other. Mindwipe, however, convinced the scheduler to rearrange the dates so that the two repairs could happen on the same solar cycle. And so, the rearrangements were pushed through and the crews reassigned. He’d tried to extract schematics for the building itself as well, but those were classified secret. A good thing, too, as access to such material would have meant a much quicker downfall of the embassy building. As it was, however, Mindwipe got the force field generator and deactivated it late into the assault, only after he had dealt significant damage to the morale of those inside the building, trapping them inside their own force field and forcing them to play by his rules. This was a major blow to Tankor’s security detail—his orders held that they keep their entrances and exits guarded, so slipping up this badly demanded serious explanation. The eighth-floor security detail had been killed instantly by the explosion, and that left the remaining forces scrambling to cover their bases. Mindwipe took advantage of their systems easily, having them ignore his push deeper into the building.31 When he deactivated the force field, his invasion plan began.

Flames licked at the ground floor of the building as Mindwipe’s fliers burst through upper stories. Those on the ground became more unified in their chanting, a great chorus of anti-Camien slurs ringing throughout the halls. Mindwipe made his way to the lobby entrance, meeting up with smaller cells there. But, while he had relative control over his subordinates, there were only so many minds he could override before he himself ceased to function. Thus, it was in this way that all hell broke loose.

Security officer Blurr had fallen under Mindwipe’s spell, but after the insurgent leader had passed, so had his mind effects worn off. Blur had taken up position up in one of the catwalks, waiting for Mindwipe to return. And return he did. Blur took aim and fired, sniping Mindwipe square in the chest.32 Though not a kill, it was enough to incapacitate the insurgent and break his control over his subjects and the remaining security personnel still in the building. Ununified, the rebels began to enact their own tasks, setting fire to the inside of the building being the most threatening course of action and the least intelligent. Smoke soon engulfed the structure, and flames shot high into the upper echelons of the building. The sniper had to move to a more secure location. The lobby was ablaze and growing hotter. He ran. Fast.

At 17:50 mega-cycles, under pressure from Autobot Foreign Intelligence, Bludgeon finally enacted emergency powers and lifted his ban on flight. He had Windsweeper deploy two Tomahawk-class attack ships to survey the Autobot embassy. As the ships crested the horizon, smoke masked their visuals.33 Then the ships went away. Behind them, the building and its surroundings burned bright in the afternoon sun. Bludgeon’s spokesperson notified the Autobots that the smoke had made it impossible to get a good a visual read of the situation. Autobot sources within Windsweeper’s battalion told a different story. They said that Windsweeper had called the mission off in haste. He’d made the unilateral decision that the damage was so pervasive that no one in the building had survived. And, not wanting to risk further casualties and provide these terrorists with further political ammunition, they’d decided to not engage in a domestic shootout this early in Kalis’ infancy as a nation.34

Blurr joined a small group of security and a handful of civilians who had taken refuge in one of the basement rooms adjacent to the vault, the latter having been closed off before they could make their way down. So, they’d holed up here, in a room with access to the outside from a hatch on the ceiling that led, after a brief corridor, up onto ground. They’d tried to get at it earlier, they said, but the rioters had discovered it from above early in the attack. One of the embassy’s number, a surveillance specialist, suspected that the rioters were still there, waiting for the building’s occupants to come out and be ambushed. But Blurr now listened, and he heard little in the way of disturbances coming from the ceiling. Cautiously, his gun held steady at the hatch, he ordered that it be opened. When no one from above came down, he and a group of three other security personnel made their way up through the narrow corridor. They didn’t have room to convert to their alternate forms, and none of them were fliers anyway, so they had to crawl. At the ground entrance, Blurr tensed, then flung the hatch upward, rubble and dust spilling down onto them.

In the vault, Cheetor had died of his wounds. Tankor was now in charge, but that hardly mattered. Bumblebee heard rumblings near the vault door, and he and the rest surged towards the entrance. Be they friend or foe on the other side, he didn’t care. He just needed to get out. They all did. The locks spun, and then the door swung open. Autobot security forces met them at gunpoint, Bumblebee signaled that all was well, and his party emerged from the vault. The Autobot and Kalin security forces had set up makeshift ladders for them to get ground-level—the stairwells had been demolished in the final sparks of the attack. The lobby was deserted, and Bumblebee rushed into the cool evening air. He’d expected a shootout. Instead he found the grounds deserted as well, save for a few fires and a handful of protestors, sitting on the ground, their signs by their sides. They had no weapons that he could see. In the last half mega-cycle, it seemed, with Mindwipe having lost control of his battalion, the mob had degenerated into looting nearby buildings, then had scuttled off in retreat. Blurr had sent his people back into the building to rescue Bumblebee and the others. Behind him, Thunderclash emerged from the building carrying Cheetor’s body, followed by Tankor and the remaining civilians. They congregated at the base of the building, and looked up at the charred metal and billowing smoke that had once been the Iacon foreign embassy to Kalis. It was 18:15 mega-cycles.

 

Condemnations by Bludgeon’s spokespeople were swift but flaccid. “We understand tensions are high in this trying time as the people of the newly built Kalis adjust to their new home and circumstances. We would like to reassure everyone that these hostilities on our soil are reprehensible and will not go unpunished. Happily, we report too that the Autobot and Kalin officials trapped in the embassy have made it to safety and were rescued thanks to the brave forces of the Kalin military and local law enforcement.”35 Similar statements were made by the Iacon reporters back home. “We are pleased to announce that our people in the Kalis embassy have been taken to safety, thanks to the Kalin military, and are receiving the best of care. We would like to thank our Kalin allies for responding to this crisis with urgency and promptness.”36 In private, Ultra Magnus took the call from Bludgeon in stride, thanking him for his government’s assist in evacuating their people. Bludgeon expressed his deepest condolences and regrets at the loss of life. Rodimus, national security advisor to Ultra Magnus, hurriedly summoned Autobot Foreign Intelligence representative to the Magnus, Tailgate, along with Windblade, Prowl, and Cosmos to discuss what types of patterns could be found from the context of Mindwipe’s recent attacks, if any, and the threat they posed to Autobot security abroad and domestic. “It’s difficult to say if such tactics constitute a strategic pattern, or if this should be treated a random act of anti-Camien terrorism, as have the other minor instances of insurgency into Kalis,” Rodimus later admitted.

The riot on the embassy emboldened many other anti-Camien sympathizers around Kalis and beyond. A report from Tyrest made mention of a domestic cell’s declaration that “This attack on foreign invaders brings us great joy.” It’s leader, Vorath, also said, “We must weed out the Camien sympathizers and get back to a culture of Zone freedom and self-expression. The belief that superpowers of this magnitude and their influences on us cannot be touched or hampered is false, and we are the ones to prove it.”37 Bludgeon himself had actually sponsored such rhetoric prior to assuming rule over Kalis. The rioters’ strong anti-Camien beliefs did not obviously align with Bludgeon and his recent conversion to the faith. But their support during the War for Independence had made them a valuable ally, one that, should he ever disown or turn against directly, would strike back in such a way as to cripple his alliance with his neighbors and with those further west. Their support now meant a strong defense of their border with Uraya, and a means of protection as the government itself was still getting to its feet. Certainly, this attack was not an action that had ever been in Bludgeon’s brief to them. But repudiations on the part of the Kalin government could not be made completely. And the Iacon government, for all that its foothold in Kalis was valuable, had bigger issues on hand to deal with; conflicts in state religion seemed to be the least of their concerns.

The night fell on the burning Iacon embassy just as rescue arrived. Rescue workers found several dead Kalin employees of the embassy, their exoskeletons burned. The fire had not only spread throughout the building, but had engulfed many of the living compounds nearby. Several of the Iacon and Kalin personnel no longer had quarters in Kalis. In the wreckage of the compounds, they found an Iacon navy pilot, bludgeoned to death with a piece of pipe that had come loose in his quarters. The living Kalin civilians were taken to temporary shelters that night. Those who had escaped by the air had been picked up by Windsweeper’s forces a few mega-cycles after the attack had subsided; they too were taken to shelters.38 Iacon representatives were put up in quarters in the city. They’d have to wait two solar cycles for transportation to arrive to ship them back to Iacon.

Inventory of the building and the compound found that many of the physical copies of classified information were destroyed in the fire and that none of the rioters had bothered to try and hack their digital files, so those were safe. Damage costs to the area were estimated to be about 680 million Shanix. The Iacon treasury deployed its foreign representative, Rattrap, into the tumult in the hopes that he could reassure Kalin and Urayan investors that Iacon would remain a staunch ally of their businesses.

The rioters who had retreated popped up a few solar cycles later, caught in their attempt to raid an Urayan Energon mining facility close to the Urayan/Kalin border. A joint task force of Urayan and Kalin soldiers managed to rout them in a four-solar cycle gunfight. No final death tolls were reported; estimates ranged from 200 to 600 lives lost. Kalin Secretary of the Interior, Jolt, continued to downplay the severity of these insurgencies, calling them “light banter between religious opposites,” and reassured Urayan and his own Kalin political peers that “this resistance beers no political or economic clout whatsoever. Their weapons are pitiful, their numbers spurious, and what attacks they have managed to push [in reference to the Iacon embassy attack] have been thwarted with haste.”39

The Autobot Foreign Intelligence personnel left in Kalis felt embittered by much of what had been made of their situation, and voiced such frustrations to themselves and to their superiors back home. Their colleagues’ deaths were being treated as an afterthought by all governments involved, they felt. Kalin military had been ambushed, but even local search and rescue had taken seven mega-cycles to respond to such a crisis. And when the troops did show up, it was only after a significant number of their own resources and assets had died in the fire and assault. Indeed, protocol seemed to be the focus in reaction to this catastrophe rather than Cybertronian life. Windsweeper received high praise from Bludgeon himself as well as the local press for “responding to the crisis with haste;” the loss of life was mentioned only in passing.

Bumblebee met with his Kalin contacts a few solar cycles after the attack. He wasn’t going anywhere, they said; they needed him and others like him to keep an optic on how the Kalin state was developing and what its relationship with Tyrest was in particular. Tyrest had been a secondary enemy of Uraya, and now that Kalis was its neighbor, Autobot High Command and Autobot Logistics predicted that the relationship would begin to defrost significantly, a problem because they suspected that Decepticon activity was taking place in Tyrest.40 Bumblebee accepted his new assignment with a noticeable amount of grit. He packed up what little possessions he still had, and moved to the Kalin/Tyrest border.


 

Notes

1 It should be noted that for translation purposes, mega-cycles are the Cybertronian equivalent of Earth hours, but such a unit is on the order of an hour, not a 1:1 comparison. One Cybertronian day has 32 mega-cycles.

2 Interview with Bumblebee, 14 Orbital Cycle Chokoneon, Stellar Cycle 9059; 18 Zetcaneon, Stellar Cycle 9032 after-action report by Prowl, declassified 9 Zetcaneon Stellar Cycle 9043.

* Translator’s note: This is the standard dating system of Cybertron’s Gregevorian ten-orbital cycle (ten-month) calendar. The months, in order, are Ferruneon, Navitaneon, Primaneon, Inrituneon, Chokoneon, Zetcaneon, Boltaneon, Rokuneon, Heptaneon, and Bahneon.

3 Border Treaty of 9031, Section 8.

4 Sideswipe, “Autobot Forces Abroad Push for Further Funding,” FrontLine!, 28 Orbital Cycle Ferruneon, Stellar Cycle 9032.

5 Interviews with Ultra Magnus, Prowl, and Bludgeon, Stellar Cycle 9056.

6 Interview with embassy personnel, Stellar Cycle 9054.

7 Personal accounts from such personnel as Rhinox and Rattrap suggest the debate was a heated one, with several bots taking out protestors prior to confirmation of orders.

8 Interview with Tankor, 20 Orbital Cycle Heptaneon, Stellar Cycle 9053.

9 Declassified security footage provided by Prowl, 2 Orbital Cycle Ferruneon, Stellar Cycle 9054.

10 Interviews with captured protesters Skullcruncher, Rollbar, Scavenger, and Needlenose, Stellar Cycle 9042.

11 Interview with Bumblebee; receipts for electrical and construction repair, Constructicon General p. 79.

12 Interview with Bumblebee.

* Translator’s note: this is roughly twenty seconds.

13 This number comes from a variety of eyewitness accounts and after-action reports from Thunderclash and Tankor.

14 Official Kalis military after-action report, 5 Orbital Cycle Bahneon, Stellar Cycle 9032, declassified 9053.

15 Confession by those captured after the assault.

16 Ibid.

17 Interview with Tankor. It should be noted that Airazor, one of the foreign diplomatic and logistics staff who had been assigned to shepherd others out via the aerial port, likewise backed this decision once she learned about it: “The launch pad just wasn’t a safe zone anymore, not with that force field down. The third time that thing dropped, the suppression fire was so great that when it went back up, the pad and the outer portion of the hanger were ruined; no one could fly out of there, not safely anyway.”

* Translator’s note: Buildings on Cybertron (and off-world buildings constructed by and/or for Cybertronian operation) typically included both robot-mode and alternate-mode access points and means of movement throughout the structure. For government buildings such as the Kalin Autobot Embassy building, the alternate mode access points and lanes were constructed along the inner walls of the building, with an emergency lift running down through the center of it.

18 Thunderclash’s after-action report, 6 Orbital Cycle Bahneon, Stellar Cycle 9032.

19 Interview with Thunderclash, 15 Orbital Cycle Chokoneon, Stellar Cycle 9050.

20 Ibid.

21 The explosive, it was later discovered, packed a punch far in excess of even high-grade explosives of similar size—the bomb had been misassembled, Thunderclash was told, and given all the movement this particular bomber was doing that day—crashing through a plated window, engaging another vehicle in combat—it was something of a minor miracle that such a device hadn’t detonated earlier.

22 Thunderclash’s after-action report.

23 Interview with Airazor, 14 Orbital Cycle Chokoneon, Stellar Cycle 9050.

24 Interview with Tigatron, 14 Orbital Cycle Chokoneon, Stellar Cycle 9050.

25 The vault’s schematics were imported from the Autobot Defense Mainframe’s own technical specifications. That compound’s strength was built to withstand Decepticon incursions and even assaults from the immense Trypticon Dreadnought which boasted a weight of X tons, more than double the weight of the Autobot embassy building.

26 Such a military tactic was outlawed with the First World Treaty in Stellar Cycle 203. For further reading on the tactics used in the Age of Wrath, see Alpha Trion Wars Within and Without: The Dark Ages and the Age of Wrath.

27 The conversation outside the Vault has been derived from a variety of sources including Bumblebee, Thunderclash, Tankor, and recollections from civilians like Tigatron and Airazor.

28 Official Kalis military after-action report.

29 From Mindwipe’s manifesto Towards a Pure Kalis.

30 Declassified medical report on Mindwipe, sourced from Pharma, head medical chief of western Tyrest.

31 After-action report by Tankor.

32 Security after-action report, 5 Orbital Cycle Bahneon, Stellar Cycle 9032.

33 Report to Autobot Foreign Intelligence, 5 Orbital Cycle Bahneon, Stellar Cycle 9032, declassified 9045.

34 Interview with Autobot Foreign Intelligence aides to Bludgeon’s cabinet.

35 Official report to the Kalin press, 6 Orbital Cycle Bahneon, Stellar Cycle 9032.

36 Official statement to the Magnus press pool, 7 Orbital Cycle Bahneon, Stellar Cycle 9032.

37 World broadcast “The Summary of Events, 9032,” distributed worldwide 2 Ferruneon SC 9033.

38 Fisitron, ALTernityToday , 7 Orbital Cycle Bahneon, Stellar Cycle 9032.

39 Memorandum to the Kalin and Urayan State Interiors offices, 10 Orbital Cycle Bahneon, Stellar Cycle 9032.

40 See Chapter 4 for further details.