Issue #1: Shockwave is awoken by a small mining probe of some kind. He discovers the world he is on–a place known to its inhabitants as “Earth”–is now teeming with sentient life... before he can act, a helicopter shows up and stuns him with an Electromagnetic Pulse, rendering him inert once more.
Issue #2: Sam Witwicky is a young college graduate starting his life. He has a beautiful girlfriend named Alice and together with his friend Kirk has been hired at their first real job, a biotechnology firm called Cyberterreca LXL. Sam is excited by the prospect of this position–it means economic freedom from his parents and the chance to do something meaningful.
As he’s leaving work from his orientation, a man in a car calls to him for help. Once inside, the man disappears and the car roars off with him inside! Worse off, someone is pursuing the car, opening fire on it...
The next minutes were a blur for him as Sam huddled down as tight as he could. Another burst of bullets struck the back of his car but nothing got as far as the driver’s seat he occupied.
His heart was thundering in his chest and all he could think about was how he was going to die at any instant.
He glanced at the dashboard, focusing on the digital displays before him.
What had he gotten himself into here? Who were these people and why were they trying to kill him. And what was the deal with this car? How it could be driving itself?
He thought of Alice, Kirk–and his Dad. Would he ever see them again? Or would this car end up being his tomb.
Something exploded behind him and he glanced instinctively into the rear mirror. One of his pursuers had flipped and crashed to the curb. The car seemed like it had taken some serious damage. Part of him hoped the occupants were okay despite everything.
The other two Cadillacs spun suddenly and he noted more flashes about them, no doubt from weapons fire. Had someone seen what happened and called the cops?
His car sped up faster and dashed right abruptly down an adjacent street, cutting off his view of the attackers. There was no way to know what was going on now...
The Camaro thundered down the street, filling in the distance between them and his attackers. No one pursued them any longer as far as Sam could determine from his quick glances out the tattered rear window.
The car jerked abruptly then and he heard something metallic simultaneously. He began veering toward the right. A light pole filled the view in front of the speeding automobile. Sam felt his heart race and he instinctively grabbed the steering wheel, pulling on it as he did. The car slipped back to the left and out of imminent danger.
He experimented a moment, moving right then left, realizing for the first time he had control of the car’s direction. He tapped the pedal and discovered he could control its speed as well.
He knew he had to get out of here–and fast. His pursuers were gone for the moment but were they out of commission? He had no way of being certain. It was best to put as much distance between him and this place as he could. If he could drive the car a while longer, he could take it in the general direction of home. Perhaps ditch it some safe distance away...
His mind made up, he gripped the wheel confidently and stepped on the pedal, determined to make it back to the relative safety of home.
Despite its damage, the car moved at a decent clip, showing no signs of impairment in its handling. In what seemed like little time, he was already closing in on his neighborhood.
He’d cast a look back from time to time, scanning for any signs of pursuit but nothing seemed out of place. There was some traffic but nobody followed him consistently and it appeared he had indeed escaped harm.
He was five streets away from his house now and he knew he should pull over somewhere, leave the car where it was. There was always the chance that even on the far side of town someone might discover the Camaro if they searched long and hard enough. Better safe then sorry...
He turned the corner at 77th Avenue, rolling the car slowly as he sought out an opening to park. He was in luck. Most of the people that lived around here either weren’t back from work yet or had chosen to park around back instead.
He eased the car alongside the curb and shifted it into “P”. He moved instinctively to switch the key off, belatedly realizing there was none.
He dipped down, examining the spot where it should’ve been and found no ignition. There was no push-button start either.
“H-Help me, Sam...please...”
He jerked upright and glanced about him, but there was nobody else there.
“Don’t...l-leave me now...”
Was the car speaking to him? This had gone too far and been too intense to be some kind of practical joke. Certainly someone wouldn’t have tried to kill him in the name of screwing with him.
“What’s going on here,” he demanded. “Who are you?”
“Helllpppp....” the voice slurred deeply, like a speaker that had suddenly lost power.
The panel LEDs went dark an instant before surging back to their original glory. It felt as if the car was in its death throws--as an absurd a notion as that sounded when one considered it.
Was the car alive somehow?
No, that was stupid. He always personified inanimate objects in his head. This was just the same thing he always did. Sure, the cars had become more computerized in recent years but they weren’t to the point of self-awareness.
Okay, perhaps the car had been some sort of sophisticated prototype A.I. and had escaped its masters. They would stop at nothing to get it back safely, right?
He pushed the idea out of his head as fantasy. This was real life. Things like that simply didn’t happen in the real world! There had to be a more logical explanation, even if he couldn’t think of one at that particular moment.
Maybe he should take the car home. Let his Dad look at it and see if he could find anything amiss. If there was one thing Ron Witwicky did well, it was fix cars. After all, they didn’t call him “Sparkplug” for nothing.
He sighed, putting the car back into “Drive” then slowly eased it away from the curb.
The drive home was swift. Even in its bizarre condition the Camaro made the short journey in no time.
The garage door was already open. Ron’s F-150 occupied one side of the slab, its hood propped wide. Sam eased the car into the open stall and shifted back to “Park”. He pulled on the door handle and exited the battered wreck easily.
He gazed up to see his Dad emerge from the back of the garage, a tattered towel occupying his stained hands.
“You’re not going to believe this, Dad,” he started.
Ron inspected the car visually from where he stood, noting the various damaged bits.
“I found it in a lot adjacent to work,” Sam replied. “It already had damaged but, well...”
The older man turned his attention on his son. He could feel his father’s stern disapproving gaze. Ron wanted answers and now! He was getting irritated at Sam’s beating around the bush and had no problem conveying that message.
“Okay. This is exactly what happened...”
Sam spun his tale, starting at the beginning and the parking lot where he’d found the battered Camaro, leaving nothing out as he spoke. His father, for his part, remained silent the entire time, absorbing the new information as it was given to him. If he felt surprise at the events that had occurred, his face certainly didn’t portray them.
Ron mumbled a concerned sound after Sam had finished.
“You do believe me right, Dad?”
The elder man peeled off his cap and nodded gingerly. “I don’t see why you’d have any reason to lie about it,” he said. “It sounds far-fetched, I’ll admit, but the proof’s right here.”
He moved closer to the yellow and black automobile, noting the shattered glass of the rear window, as well as poking at a couple of jagged round holes in the metallic canopy that Sam noticed for the first time.
Satisfied with his cursory inspection, he opened the driver’s side door and sat cross-wise on the drivers seat. He fished his hand under the dash and yanked on the plastic panel that served as the hood release.
“Let’s see what we can find under the hood,” he said. “A car’s engine will always tell you its story. I suspect this car won’t be any different.”
He moved around front and snaked his hand into the opening, pulling the latch aside. A perplexed expression crossed his face as he examined the engine.
“What is it?”
Sam moved to join him.
“This engine is like nothing I’ve ever seen.” Ron ran his fingers along the tope of a burnt plastic box inside. “And I’ve seen them all.”
“Could it be–I dunno–some kind of custom job?”
Ron examined it closely, taking every detail in. “Maybe. Somebody went to a lot of trouble to get it this way. Could be some kind of prototype engine system.”
“Is there anything you can do?”
Ron examined the engine compartment. “It’s going to take a little time to get my bearings but I should be able to, yeah.”
Sam found his spirits lifted at the mention of saving the car. It was just an inanimate object–presumably, anyway–but he felt bad for its current condition and hoped they would be able to salvage something after this mad debacle.
He pat the cars roof.
“Hang in there, buddy,” he found himself saying. “Everything’s going to be just fine...”
His phone chimed just then. He drew it from his pocket, knowing instantly from the sound that he’d gotten a text message.
R Wii STL ON 2KNT? :)
In all the excitement he’d almost forgotten his dinner date with Alice! He tapped out a reply:
CAN’T WAIT! :D
“Is that Alice?” his dad asked as he fiddled with some of the engine wiring.
“Yep. We were going to go out tonight and celebrate my first day.” He paused. “Er, if that’s okay with you.”
“You kids have fun.”
His phone chimed again.
PCK U UP @ 6. ♡♡♡
“Have you told her about this car?” Ron asked as he finished replying.
“No, not yet. Why?”
His father looked thoughtful. “Maybe just keep this between us for now. To be on the safe side.”
“We can trust Alice. We love each other, Dad!”
“We don’t know what this car is or why somebody wants it bad enough to kill. The fewer people who know about it, the better.” The older man cautioned. “I’m sure she means well but what if she accidentally talks to the wrong person, says the wrong thing. It could endanger our lives and hers. Do you want that on your conscience?”
Sam considered his words. He was right, of course. The thought of putting Alice in danger was terrifying and he knew if something went wrong it would be his fault. Staying quiet was likely the best option even though a part of his burned to tell her about all the excitement he’d experienced today. But no. He’d best do the right thing and follow the older man’s advice this occasion.
“You’re right, Dad,” he replied. “I won’t say anything about this all until we can find out what’s going on.”
Ron smiled and slapped his shoulder.
“Good boy. Now, go get cleaned up and ready for your date. You don’t want to keep that young lady waiting.”
* * *
The screen displayed a lone car racing along ahead of the camera. It was tattered, damaged by its pursuers.
Several flashes erupted below the camera angle. The car beyond swung out of the way, narrowly avoiding the bullets that came its way.
The camera abruptly jerked and spun, twisting the perspective so that everything was cockeyed and upside down. Then the video cut to black.
The screen switched to another view, further back from the initial car. The image jostled abruptly, creating digital artifacts in the video. The car attached to it spun about, the image briefly showing the car’s counterpart as it did, before the two came face to face with two new cars.
There was some fleeting weapons fire before the camera image sparked and also went black. The words “no input” displayed across the screen.
The man watching the images tapped the tablet he held, changing the large screen before him to the alternate car’s viewpoint. The results were nearly identical and he switched off the display in disgust. He exhaled sharply, trying to keep his frustration in-check.
There was no way around it. His employer would not be pleased...
He turned and moved for an adjacent corridor. The doors slid shut behind him and he moved with purpose down the hallway. It was silent as he strode down toward the end, his foot falls echoing loudly against the dark tile in the Spartan space.
As he reached the end, the double doors parted to allow him entry. The building systems were prepared for his arrival even before he himself knew his actions. But that was par for the course here.
He emerged into a large office space. At the end of the chamber, a man sat behind a black slab desk, his back turned to him as his attention was immersed in the array of LCD screens sprawled out on the wall beyond.
The screens displayed everything. Stock quotes, daily news, weather in various parts of the world plus a few items he wasn’t even certain of the origin to. His employer valued information above all else.
“You have something to report?” the man’s voice was firm, commanding.
“I have analyzed the footage from the Vehicons as requested,” he replied. “Unfortunately, our agents were taken out before the spy could be apprehended.”
“Did the spy retrieve anything of value?”
“That doesn’t appear to be the case, no.” He paused. “Although he must have had his suspicions in the first case since he was investigating our operation.”
“That does seem like a logical assumption.” The employer studied his face. “Is there something further?”
“It seems like the spy may have recruited a human ally. There was definite movement in the driver’s seat although the Vehicon footage isn’t clear enough to make an identification.”
“Enhancement techniques proved insufficient?”
He nodded. “There simply isn’t a good enough angle to see the human clearly no matter what I tried.”
His employer was silent a beat, contemplating.
“This is a troubling turn of events,” he spoke finally. “We have come too far now to risk discovery. Still, I suppose there is little that can be done for the time being.”
The man nodded.
“Very well. Make certain the Vehicon debris is cleared up before the authorities stumble upon it. As far as the spy goes, we will simply have to wait and stay vigilant.”
* * *
Alice was a vision.
Clad in a strapless black dress that hugged her lithe form, she was something to behold. Sam thought again about how lucky he was to have found her. He didn’t deserve someone as wonderful as she was and he knew it.
He just prayed she never realized it.
They’d gone to Drake’s. An upscale dinery on the west end. It was a bit on the pricey side but it seemed only fitting they celebrate his first day on the job right.
“So, how did you like your first day?” Alice smiled that amazing smile at him.
“It’s great so far,” Sam replied. “Of course, it’s only beginning. It’s going to be quite a while before I really get into the rhythm of things and really get a bead on the place.”
“You’re going to love it. Believe me!”
He met her gaze, taking in her beautiful blue eyes. “I believe everything you say, love. You know I can’t say no to you...”
“I hope you still think that way when I’ve had three kids and gotten wrinkles...”
“You’re like a fine wine, Alice. You’ll only get better with age.”
She grasped his hand with her fine delicate fingers.
“You’re such a charmer, Sam. I don’t know what I’d do without you.”
He grinned. “Now, who’s the charmer?”
She moved over to him then, placing her lips against his.
She felt so good in his arms. Everything was just right when she was with him.
And yet, he couldn’t put what his Dad said out of his mind. He couldn’t lose her. He just couldn’t. Had he done the right thing bringing that car to his home, he wondered.
What if they found it somehow? What if he’d unwittingly put Alice and his father in danger?
“Is everything okay?” she asked. “You seem a bit distracted.”
“Not really,” he told her. “I just–I’ve had it so good lately. I met you, I graduated and now I have this position with Cyberterreca. It’s a wonderful change of pace and I just, well, I wish things would stay the same forever.”
She smiled and stroked his cheek.
“Life is about change, silly. If nothing ever changed life would be boring. You need to get out there and experience new things.”
“You have to live life to the fullest, love. Get out there and seize it by the horns while you can. No regrets.”
He decided she was right. Not only was she sweet and beautiful but there was wisdom in that young head of hers.
He pulled her close and kissed her.
“No regrets,” he agreed.
* * *
Mari Johns, Steven Jhames and Reginald Santos waited patiently as the elevator ride came to its conclusion. It had been a steep descent but the mine was vast and they’d been summoned to its deepest depths.
The two steel doors slid open, revealing a dark cavern with sporadic LED discs strung about the ceiling. The walls were wet with midnight powder while the floor was splayed about with planks that served as temporary flooring.
Things had been going well. Especially lately. Despite the depths and the difficulty, production was high, profits were up and her men were happy and healthy despite their daily rigors.
But all that had changed. Her men were opening up a new section of the mine and had encountered something unexpected in its dark recesses. The call had been vague: a message that they had to come down in person and see it for themselves.
She hoped it really was serious enough to merit their attention. She had more important things to do then come here if some minor perceived problem had clogged the works of their operation.
“Ma’am! Sir!” A worker met them nearby.
“Doug, right?” She asked, noting his nod. “What seems to be the problem down here? Is it something serious?”
“W-we found something...” he replied cryptically. “I’m not sure what we’re dealing with exactly but you have to take a look.”
She shrugged. “Lead the way...”
Doug lead them away, turning a natural corner in the stony maze they occupied then downward further.
He lead them to a catwalk that spanned a vast abyss. It looked newly constructed and somewhere at the back of her mind she wondered how stable it was.
Doug reached a control panel at the nearby end of the walkway and flipped a switch, flooding the pit with bright luminescence.
She gazed into the pit, gasping in shock.
Below, what looked like an enormous metallic hand sprawled upward as if it had been frozen in time while grasping for some unknown object. The hand was inert: all of its mass clad in long streaks of rust and dirt.
“What is it–?” Reginald gasped.
She shook her head.