It’s Christmas! Well, almost. And here’s a little extra gift for Transformers fans from my recently dredged Dreamwave archive of unpublished tidbits. Not a lot of people know this, but in the final months of Dreamwave (not that we were aware they were the final months at the time), circa November 2004, I was asked to prepare a one-issue fill in for Dreamwave’s G1 book (issue #14 to be precise). Regular G1 writers James McDonough and Adam Patyk had stepped away from the book. (Being closer to the heart of things, Dreamwave-wise, they clearly saw the writing on the wall, so to speak, and stopped pouring work into the rapidly expanding black hole that was Dreamwave.) In the splendid isolation of this sceptered isle, I just carried on regardless. Though it was shaped to stand alone, I wanted the story to both pick up on what James and Adam has already established and tie G1 and my War Within series tighter together. The outline (it was never scripted) for ‘The Enemy Within’ (yeah, I know, but it fitted) follows. Enjoy!
“I got out.”
The words echo in Jetfire’s cerebellum as consciousness slowly returns. He has no sense of where he is, or how long he’s been down here, just a numbing, overpowering feeling of dread. And familiarity. There’s something here with him… and it knows him! The last he remembers… he was battling Sunstorm (in G1 #6) high above planet Earth, an explosion… and then nothing. Jetfire’s rational mind refuses to believe he’s dead. But where exactly is he?
Finally, from the thick, viscous darkness, hard edges form, shapes emerge. Slowly, with mounting horror, Jetfire realises he’s back… in the Well of All Sparks! Only he can’t be! The chamber (deep within Cybertron) was sealed eons ago (at the end of War Within — The Dark Ages). Its location was lost, like their minds couldn’t or wouldn’t retain it for any span of time. Once more, its secrets became the stuff of myth and legend. But Jetfire remembers… like it was only yesterday: the final showdown with The Fallen. The seal broke, and… that’s where Jetfire’s rational mind shut down, and events unfolded from a surreal second person perspective. He watched as from the pit a being that couldn’t exist arose — and with a gesture deconstructed The Fallen! Primus: the sentient heart of Cybertron.
Now, Jetfire stands on the edge of that same pit, staring into it. The existence of Primus and all that he/it represents flies in the face of Jetfire’s deepest held scientific convictions. He… just can’t believe. He can’t. “Which is why you will fail,” says The Fallen, materializing like some dread reaper, “And I will rise once more!” Jetfire stares awestruck as The Fallen advances. Finally though, he unfreezes, raising and firing blasters. The Fallen shrugs off the attack and strikes Jetfire, blasting him off his feet. But when Jetfire crashes back to the ground, he’s somewhere else. Surface Cybertron… but far less evolved, more streamlined, functional… and spacegoing? The stars around him are in motion, a blur. And ahead, something huge and monstrous waits.
He barely has time to flinch aside as The Fallen attacks again, but this time Jetfire is not the target. Another Transformer, some ancient ancestor (bearing a passing resemblance to Optimus Prime), meets The Fallen’s attack. They clash, explosively, and following a titanic battle the Prime-like being falls. The Fallen turns, as if noticing Jetfire for the first time… and attacks, plunging them both into a burning ruin of Cybertron… different again (much more contemporary). Autobots and Decepticons lie three deep, dead or dying, and The Fallen strides among them, finishing off any with the will or means left to fight.
Jetfire leaps to their defense, attacking The Fallen… only to find that he is fighting himself! The two Jetfires, one cast in red and white, the other in red and black, fight to a standstill, and Jetfire realises that once again it’s The Fallen he’s facing. The Fallen laughs, and suddenly they’re back in the Well of All Sparks.
There, Jetfire watches as Shockwave enters, alone. Shockwave descends into the pit, using a drill/siphon to leech energy directly from the Well. “I got out!” The Fallen says, from directly behind Jetfire, and finally Jetfire understands. Shockwave broke the seal, both on the entrance to the chamber and the Well itself. He took what he needed to pursue his cloning experiments (see: War Within — The Age of Wrath) and in doing so unbound the beast within. Sunstorm spoke of a “crusade defiled by chaos,” and Jetfire realises Sunstorm sensed that his purity of purpose was tainted by the dark essence of The Fallen, and in the end it drove him mad. And when Sunstorm was destroyed? What then?
The scene fades, and reality at last reveals itself: Jetfire finds himself entombed in the polar ice on Earth, buried deep. And he’s not alone. The Fallen is within. Within him! When Sunstorm was destroyed, the Fallen’s undying life essence found a new home — in Jetfire’s spark!
Above, the earthbound Autobots (having followed a recently activated emergency signal) arrive, preparing to dig. Jetfire tries to scream a warning, an entreaty to leave him be, to leave him buried, but of course it goes unheard. And (as the ice cracks) within, in the recesses of Jetfire’s mind, The Fallen whispers a single word. “Out!”