It was late
when Chris pulled into his driveway. He shut the engine off and
slowly climbed out of the Ram. He really hated working so late,
especially on a Friday, but he'd wanted to get a jump start on the
new case that they would start on Monday.
his suitcase and his jacket before shutting the heavy door behind
him. Court today had been a real bitch, he thought, as he dragged
his feet on his way to the house. That damn defense attorney had to
be a minion of Satan. Chris sighed. If the gunrunner got off now it
wasn't because of him. He'd done his job, his whole team had – all
of them had done one hell a job.
squealed in the corral and Chris glanced over at them. A strange
mechanical noise had him cocking his head and slowly turning around.
He blinked and then blinked again as he watched his truck start to
move on it's own. The first thing he thought was that he forgot to
put the emergency brake on. But then, the truck started shifting,
moving, -transforming?- What?
a few halting steps back as he stared at the spot where his truck
had been. In it's place now stood... something...- he looked up and
up-... a robot? What?! Chris's eyes widened as he watched the thing
staring down at him. It was 20 maybe 22 feet tall.
eyed each other for a long tense moment.
Finally, it spoke, its voice mechanical sounding, “Larabee, Christopher K., please do
not be afraid.”
his head hard, his mouth open.
down as it stepped forward. “Please, do not fear me. My name is –
Ramgage. I'm an Autobot from the planet Cybertron. I'm here looking
for the Allspark and it is my hope that you can help
breathed out. He ran a shaking hand over his face. “I haven't even
had anything to drink tonight,” he mumbled under his breath as he
shook his head.
slightly so he was kneeling on one knee, Ramgage held his hand out.
“Your grandfather, Christopher W. Larabee was one of the Seven who
found the Allspark, the cube, our life giving
“The... what?” Chris shook
his head, dumbfounded.
“The Cube. Surely you know
of it,” Ramgage said impatiently. “Your grandfather led the group
that found it. From what we have ascertained from our research on
your planet's World Wide Web, we have reason to believe that your
country's government has the Allspark in its possession. But we do
not know where, and it is imperative that we find it before the
Decepticons do. We also have reason
to believe that Megatron, the leader of the Decepticons, is hiding
on this planet, maybe deactivated, but most likely not. If Megatron,
or the Decepticons, find the Allspark before we Autobots do then all
hope is lost for our civilization, and for
sighed deeply as he closed his eyes and shook his head. “You're not
a dream, are you?” he asked as he opened his eyes and looked up at
shook his head. “I am afraid not, Christopher K.
smiled slightly. “You can call me Chris.”
cocked an eyebrow. “Chris?”
“Yeah. Chris. And I think
it's time that you met the rest of the
“I am only authorized to
show my true form to you, Christoph-... Chris. Are these other...
humans... trustworthy?” Ramgage asked.
“I'd trust them with my
life,” Chris confirmed.
“And so you shall.”
Ramgage told him grimly.
know how long the phone had been ringing when he finally pulled the
pillow off his head and grabbed for the cell.
“...yeah?” Buck's voice
cracked and he cleared it loudly. “Wilmington,” he said more clearly
into the phone.
“Chris? Do you know what
time it is?” Buck asked sleepily. He looked at the bedside clock. It
was late... or early, depending on how you looked at it. “Is
something wrong? Are you okay? Did something happen to JD and Vin on
their trip?” He asked, increasingly
“JD and Vin are fine.
I'm... fine.” Chris cleared his throat, sounding uncomfortable. His
voice was softer when he continued, “Can you... can you come out
“Come out...? Chris, are
you sure you're okay?”
“Buck. Please, don't ask
questions. Just, please, come out here.”
silence filled the air. Something *was* wrong, Buck could tell.
Normally, Chris just told him what he wanted him to do. He didn't
ask him. And he sure as heck didn't say 'please.' Buck finally
spoke, “Sure, Chris. I'll be there soon as I can.”
“Thanks,” Chris said and
then the call was ended.
at his phone for a long moment. Shaking his head, he grabbed for the
jeans that he'd left beside the bed.
up and parked pretty close to Chris' Ram. When he hopped out of his
truck he saw Chris sitting out on a boulder next to the driveway.
The night was crystal clear, the stars about as bright as Buck could
ever remember seeing them.
over to Chris, his hands in his pockets, his look casual. All the
while his mind was screaming at him: something's wrong, something's
happened. As soon as Buck had seen Chris' face, he'd known...
something was wrong. He stopped in front of Chris and raised his
eyebrows. Before he could speak, Chris shook his
“You're gonna need to sit
down for this,” Chris told him.
balked. “Are you sure JD's okay? Vin?”
him a sad smile. “I swear, Buck. This has nothing to do with them.
It's... my... problem...” his voice drifted off and he stared over
at his Ram.
glanced over at the big black truck and then back. “Uh... okay.” He
blew out a long breath before he plopped down beside his oldest
friend. “Lay it on me.”
But all he
got was silence. Chris wasn't talking.
away, uncomfortable, slightly embarrassed. “Uh.. Chris? It's hard
for me to know what your problem is, and help, if you don't ah...
like... tell me what it-”
“My truck transformed into
a giant robot... thing,” Chris blurted out, each word jumbled into
“Your... what?” Buck's
voice cracked as he whipped his head around and stared at his boss.
Not so much from what he'd said... that was bad enough... but how
he'd said it, the tone, was what had him giving himself whiplash.
His boss, his oldest friend, Chris 'I can smite you to hell with one
look' Larabee did not *ever* sound like that.
his eyebrows. “Your truck transformed into a giant... robot?
Right...” he drew the word out. “Is it time for your Psych
evaluation, Chris?” He laughed. He looked hard into Larabee's eyes,
looking for tomfoolery, a prank, but what he saw there was a
seriousness and weariness he hadn't seen in years. Chris' pale face
was lined with deep creases.
“Chris?” Buck sighed.
“What's going on?” He paused, as he shook his head and sighed again,
a long, sad sound. “Are you drinking, Chris? Are you
puffed up at that, color returning to his face. His skin reddened
from his collar up to his hair line. He jumped up. “Do I look drunk
to you, Buck?! Look into my eyes!” he snorted out harshly. “Do I
smell drunk?” He pulled Buck up by his shirt lapels and held his
oldest friend eye to eye. “I am not drunk, Buck. I'm...” And then he
tossed Buck away and plopped down tiredly on the boulder, dropping
his head into his hands.
his footing and fell down on the boulder, landing next to Chris,
shoulder to shoulder. He swallowed hard.
scratched his hands over his hair hard, and then dropped his arms
out in front of him. He shook his head. “Dammit, Buck.” He help his
palms up. “I'm sorry as hell for that.”
him, Buck just raised his eyebrows. “Well...” he said, his voice
soft, a hint of a smile in it. “I think we've concluded that you
are, indeed, not drunk.” He grinned slightly.
looked over at him and then also broke out into a grin. “Well, hell,
Buck. I can't fault you for thinking so. For wondering if maybe I've
lost my marbles.”
“You didn't have any
marbles to begin with.” Buck's grin was huge. He shrugged his
shoulders comically. “But, hell, neither did I... so... why don't we
start again?” He bobbed his eyebrows. “Now, as I recall, you were
telling me that your... truck... ah... turned into a
him off with a wave of his hand and a curt, “You know, I think this
would be better if... Hell,” and then Chris spoke directly to his
big black Dodge Ram. “Ramgage, I need you to do
from Chris over to the truck and then back. His jovial mood
disappeared in a millisecond. 'Oh, shit.' His boss really had gone
crazy. “Ah...” he smiled brightly at Chris. “You know, I was
thinking maybe it would be a good idea to go inside and call Nathan.
Yeah...” he started to stand.
pulled him down again and Buck fell beside him, half on the boulder
and half off. “No,” Chris told him, but was still looking at the
truck. “Ramgage, please,” Chris said, and his voice sounded half
pleading half 'do it now or I'll kill you.'
his head, watching his oldest friend with concern. But, now, he
couldn't help it, he was also watching the damn truck with...
curiosity? Hell, he'd admit it, he was intrigued. He knew that
Larabee was not an idiot, not one to pull some sort of crazy
Vin-prank on him in the middle of the night, the middle of the
morning, or ever. So, he watched the truck, even as he wondered what
it would be like to visit Chris in the 'home' that Larabee would be
living in from now on.
“Ramgage! You said you
needed my help. Well, I need yours! Do it!” Chris
shrunk back from that no nonsense tone. That SEAL commander's
There was a
long pause and then...
Buck couldn't believe his
eyes. The truck did some sort of whole body shake. And, Buck knew
this was crazy, but the first thing he thought was that the truck
was saying, 'No. Don't want to!' Okay, he said it was crazy...
“Do. It. *Now!*” Chris
ordered, even louder.
over at Chris. “Well, old war dog, I don't think your- HOLY SHIT!”
He jumped a foot into the air.
There was a
sound, like metal moving, and more... like a whirring, mechanical
sort of sound and then, the truck was moving, shifting,
-transforming?-. And in it's place now stood a giant, towering
hard from his unceremonious excursion into the air. He scooted back
on the big rock so fast that he fell off the back, his legs going
up, falling ass over teakettle. He landed hard, sprawled out on the
grass on the other side.
head up carefully from behind the protection of the big boulder,
Buck looked up and up and... up, until he saw the giant thing's face
looking down at him. And, dammit, he couldn't help but notice that
the thing looked... amused. Well, he sure as hell wasn't going to
have a giant robot -thing- laughing at him. So he stood up, grass
and a few twigs and at least one leaf falling off of
grinning at him. Flat out grinning. And Buck could hear his oldest
friend's laughter getting louder and louder until it was a full out
spoke, its voice sounding a bit like the computer from the old movie
'War Games' but more human, more... real. “You did say that that was
going to happen, Chris. You are right, he is a very amusing
creature,” it said as it looked down at Buck.
up at the thing's glowing blue eyes. He watched those eyes crinkle
in laughter and then he heard a rumbling come from the thing's
“Please, friend of
Christopher K. Larabee, do not be afraid of me,” it implored as it
hunkered down to look less threatening. “I am here seeking help from
Christoph-, from Chris, and he has told me that you are a comrade in
arms to him. A compatriot. So, then, are you a compatriot of mine. A
comrade of the Autobots. A friend.” It
mouthed, his eyes wide and unblinking, Buck stared up at the thing
and then he glanced over at Chris, blinking a few times and then
closing his mouth. “Wh... what...?”
smiled slightly and then shrugged, slightly abashed looking. “I told
you my truck transformed into a giant robot...
twice, Buck worked some saliva back into his mouth and then he shook
his head, amazed. “You know, Chris,” he said, grinning ever so very
slightly, “you did. You did tell me that.” He smiled outright. “But
I didn't think you meant that your truck actually *transformed* into
a giant robot thing. I thought,” he shrugged, “that you meant... oh,
like, say... you had a stroke and you were hallucinating. Or you
were hitting the good old Jack Daniels just a little too hard...
or... you...” his voice drifted off and he laughed softly as he
shook his head in awe. “I didn't think you meant that you actually
had a truck that like... made a giant... like *robot*.” He laughed,
just crazy enough to find the mad humor in all of
“Buck,” Chris said with a
flourish, “meet Ramgage.”
“I am sorry that you
thought your.. friend... had the misfortune of having crossed a few
of his wires,” Ramgage told Buck seriously. “It was not my
intention.” He dropped one shoulder. “From our extensive research,
not only into Christopher K. Larabee, but also into his grandfather,
Christopher W. Larabee, we have found that his family line is above
reproach, faultless in its want to protect its country, its people,
its friends. Christopher W. Larabee was the leader of the Seven, the
first to find the Allspark, our life giving cube, which had crash
landed here on your planet – Earth. We need to find it before the
interrupted him with a snort. “Yeah, yeah. Got that. But...
research? You did *research* on Chris? How the hell...?” Buck shook
his head, his brow furrowed.
“Yeah,” Chris stepped
forward. He motioned towards Ramgage. “They Googled
laugh then, a full out guffaw. “Oh, Damn, Chris. I just...” and he
had to sit then, holding his belly as he shook, “I just don't think
I can take this any more!” He chortled loudly. Wiping away tears, he
smiled happily. “Don't tell me they found your 'My Space' page.” He
laughed, knowing humor was the only thing that would get him through
laughed then too. “No...” he smiled. “It seems to me that they found
classified, top secret, government pages that had classified, top
secret, government secrets on them.” He paused. “And *then* they
went to 'My Space.'” He laughed.
Buck stood then. “Well, there's a story here.
I'm sure. But I need coffee, and...” he smiled crazily, “maybe some
Crack, to get me through it.” He glanced up at the robot which was
still watching him with an amused look. “Hey,
“It's Ramgage,” the thing
told him with a long suffering sigh.
“Ram-whatever, why don't
you just hang tight out here while me and my 'compatriot' go inside
for some coffee crack and then we'll be back out and we can talk to
you about all of this top secret... Allspark dohicky... stuff.”
Before he took three steps, he turned back. “Oh, and don't even
think about hitting on my pretty little Sally over there.” He
pointed to his Chevy truck. “I just don't think she's your type.
*And* I don't want to support any mutant robot... kids.” He laughed
all the way into the house.
watching his friend go. He looked up at Ramgage. “Told you he'd be
an asset to the cause.”
dropped a shoulder in agreement as he nodded once. “You are right,
Chris. He does bring a lot of... humor... into the
laughed. Smiling fondly in the direction that Buck had walked away
in, he shook his head. “You can always count on Buck.” He