Monday, May 19, 2008

Upgrade

When digging through some old computer files this weekend, I uncovered this little bit of Transformers fiction I wrote a couple of years ago. This piece takes its inspiration from a series of short fiction pieces Dave Van Domelen does on his web site called "Tales of the Intermezzo." Usually, these are little character pieces that take place in some area of Transformers continuity that that hasn't been adequately covered, and otherwise deals with characters or situations inspired by toys that Hasbro has made, but for which no one has written fiction before.

I expect that, when I put this one together, I was looking at a piece of my Generation Two collection, and was wondering "how did this character get to this form from what he used to look like? How might he have felt about that change?"

Read on to see how I answered those questions. Transformers fans might enjoy seeing what continuity references I threw in (and figuring out which references I made up wholesale, but for which no official story has ever been told!).

Upgrade

The worst part of it all was having to be conscious all of the time.

There were advantages, to be sure. He was certainly faster than he used to be. He now had an alternate mode that served an active purpose. And he no longer had to worry about his latest mission immediately after being brought out of storage before he’d even gotten a chance to figure out just where he was and what was going on.

But the fact of the matter was, he missed being able to just "turn off" after a job well done. To be able to transform into his storage mode and wait within Soundwave until called upon for his next mission.

Of course, even if he could get his old cassette mode back, it would do him little good unless Soundwave was also reconfigured back into his old form. And Soundwave seemed perfectly content to drive down the highways at will in his new form, obviously glad to be free of the burdens that came with carrying a group of underlings within him.

And there really wasn’t much need for it these days, anyway. Laserbeak and Buzzsaw had both disappeared a long time ago. There were rumors that they’d volunteered for experiments in bio-engineering, but no one had ever found out for sure. Ravage had disappeared under mysterious circumstances, as well. But since Ravage preferred to work alone, anyway, everyone just assumed that he was out enjoying himself for the longest time. It was only during that incident with the Logotrions that anyone realized that there was a real problem. Ravage was aloof, but he was also loyal to a fault. There was simply no way he would have missed coming to the Decepticons' aid in such a time of dire need. Ratbat had been destroyed in that encounter with Scorponok, and nobody really seemed to care about reviving him. And then there was Rumble, who had been killed years ago, ironically caught in that rock slide he created to destroy the Autobots’ Nebulan partners. His sacrifice had worked, the weaponless Autobots fell easily to the Decepticon forces that soon overtook them. But still....

There were a few other cassette-form Decepticons out there, but he didn’t know them all that well. So when the Decepticon scientists started talking about upgrades into new forms, there didn’t seem to be any reason not to. Soundwave was all for it, and the old ways were dying anyway... so Frenzy volunteered.

The experiment was certainly a success. Resembling a fleshling vehicle called a "porch" (or something like that. Frenzy didn’t bother wondering why they’d name a car after the front of one of their homes), Frenzy was finally able to operate on his own for a change. Using his new-found speed, combined with his retained power to disrupt enemy circuits, Frenzy could do damage to Autobot forces in a way he could never imagine while merely a cassette lackey of Soundwave. His Decepticon friends certainly appreciated Frenzy’s increased contributions to the cause.

But what should he do when not in battle? Frenzy quickly grew bored. How did the other Decepticons manage to find ways to fill all that time? All these new powers and independence might have appealed to some, but the fact remained that he would trade it all back gladly, just for the ability to shut himself off and let someone call him out when he was needed.

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