I guess I don't blame Optimus Prime for forgetting about me.

We scrambled like crazy to assemble a crew to search for energy. There was no time to search the star charts for the most likely planet to provide a useful power supply, no time to hand-pick a team specially designed to locate and harvest and retrieve the natural resources in question. Rather, Optimus Prime had brought with him an improbably large group of soldiers, each specializing in a different discipline. No matter what type of terrain we encountered, there would be an Autobot who could traverse it. No matter what form the energy source took, there would be an Autobot who knew how to extract it.

In the confusion, they forgot to add me to the crew manifest. I was a last-minute addition, so the computer file was never updated. I figured I could always do it later. Besides, it was just supposed to be a quick scouting mission—a quick stop or two and we'd all be back home. Who would have thought that we'd be stranded for half a lifetime?

I'd forgotten to do some pre-flight modifications to the propulstion systems. When the attack came, I was waist-deep in energon conduits, wedged halfway inside the crawl space halfway between the control room and the engineering room. It all happened so fast that I never even had a chance to get back to the bridge and help the crew fend off Megatron and his troops. Shots from the Nemesis hit the hull of our mighty flagship, and the energy conduits in my grasp came alive. Nearly killed me. Looking back, I wish it had.

The Ark was disabled beyond repair and fell to the planet below. Everything went dead. When we crashed, most of us automatically went into shutdown mode from the trauma. Not me. Never did figure out why. Maybe the energy overload from the turbine coils fried my emergency protocols. Not really sure. In any event, I was fully aware of the passage of time. The crawl space had collapsed in the crash, so I was stuck there. I was functional, but unable to move. Unable to call for help. Unable to do much more than think. I did a lot of thinking.

Millions of years passed. I felt my processing circuitry begin to degrade. I tried desperately to retain memories that I knew were beginning to fade. I brought to mind images of my girlfriend back home, Spoiler. Of my best friends, Bumblebee and Cliffjumper. I wondered if I'd ever see any of them again. I still remember the feeling of shock and amazement when Optimus Prime selected the three of us—Bumblebee, Cliffjumper, and me. What an honor, to be cherry-picked by Optimus Prime out of thousands of potential candidates. He remembered me on that day, but he soon forgot all about me.

Remarkably, the Ark computer was reactivated, and one at a time, all the Autobots and Decepticons on the bridge were brought back to life. I should have been there, with them. I was a member of the bridge crew, too. I can hear all their radio transmissions, but I'm unable to transmit. I have no way of letting them know I'm still in here.

Only about half the crew was restored on that day, however. The engineering crew had been cut off from the rest of the ship, and the millions of years wedged halfway inside a volcano caused limestone deposits to grow in and over and around the craft. They were sealed off completely. It took nearly a year until Sideswipe accidentally opened up a hidden chamber with his piledriver arms, and the bridge crew finally located and unearthed the rest of their missing brothers. Aerial warriors like Cosmos and Powerglide and Tracks could once again join the fight. Maybe they'd have remembered me if I had wings, too.

There were 33 Autobots on board the Ark when it crashed, but only 32 of them were recovered. I was left trapped between worlds—neither alive nor dead, neither of Cybertron nor Earth, neither a part of the ship nor separate from it. Surely they would have done a head count eventually and realized they were still coming up one short. Wouldn't they know I was still missing? With the crew manifest incomplete, though, maybe not. Nobody ever remembers poor Bumper.


It takes 20 more years, which is practically the blink of an eye after being entomed for an eternity. At first the rumbling is faint, as if coming from a great distance away, but then it gets louder...and closer. My energon pump skips a beat as I realized that it might finally be an excavation attempt. Sure enough, I hear that familiar sound of crumbling stone, just as it was when the ship embedded itself in the rock. I surmise that it must be a fairly large piece of construction equipment, judging by how the sounds seem to be coming from all around the volcano.

Then I hear the voice of my savior, the apparent operator of this gigantic construction machine. I eagerly anticipate my imminent release from this horrible existence.


They didn't forget about me after all!



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This  Story Written June 2010