Uncle Whiskey Breath was dumbfounded.
He was parked on the highway, next to the plane at the General Mitchell Airport. As was usual in these public situations, the Cloak of Cow was deployed. After all, a giant Cybertonian Tractor would draw undue attention(on the other hand, a cow sitting in such a public place...).The coded signal had been given, but the entrance didn't open. Nor were his hails on the inter-autobot radio being answered. How odd. Uncle transformed, and accessed the manual controls at the base of the plane.
The power indicators remained black.
Uncle tried typing again, with no result. Frustrated, he ripped off the panel, and accessed the manual override switch, pulling the lever downward. Coiled on springs, the plane rose up, revealing the elevator. Uncle Whiskey Breath jammed his fingers in-between the doors, forcing them open.
No elevator car. Just an empty shaft.
Sighing, Uncle took a step into the shaft, and grabbed onto the powerful cable suspended in the center, slowing his fall, and pulling the entrance closed above him. Dangling in the darkness, he counted to three, and let go of the cable. He plummeted down the shaft, falling for several hundred feet, crashing onto the disabled elevator car below. The sound reverberated for miles under and around the airport. Luckily, such noises are easily masked. And Uncle remained undamaged.
Removing the top of the elevator car, he dropped down a few more feet, and turned to face the open doors leading into the rest of the base.
No power down the cooridors either. In fact, according to sensors, there were absolutely no power signatures registering in the entire Base. No lights. No motorcars.
"Primitive as can be", thought Uncle. Stepping into the cooridor, he activated his floodlights, and proceeded to the Control Center. Hopefully, answers would be found there.
Even corpses have a use.
Necrotron wiped his brow; scrapings of Hotspot's ablative armor would prove useful even if the rest of the remains were a total loss. All it would take is one sample. Unfortunately, the fire was thorough; even under an intense scan, a single flake was proving elusive. Still, it warranted a search. Better to be working on a non-living entity. The scientists examing the other 'samples' in the labs had a much harder time of it. They were charged with examining living beings....and eventually dissecting them.
It would be one thing if they were non-conscious, lower lifeforms. However, these were fellow Cybertonians that they'd been asked to examine.
And why did the Leader want this one restored? Did he realise what little there was to work with?
Completely empty. Uncle had expected his sensors were out of adjustment....or maybe they were working, and there would be deactivated bodies, or at least a shutdown powercore....some indication of the tragedy that must have befallen the Base for the short time he'd been out.
But he found nothing. Literally. No personnel. No research projects. No power. And no powercore. And no command center. In point of fact, there was literally nothing here but empty space.
What could have happened? What force could be responsible for removing both the people and the projects from this base, leaving only an empty shell behind? And so quickly?
For a fleeting moment, Uncle Whiskey Breath entertained the thought that he might have somehow gone forward in time, slipped to the future in a freak accident. But a quick linkup with Windchill in orbit confirmed that no such thing had happened. The time was as always. It was the place that had somehow changed.
Uncle thought for a moment, then contacted Windchill again. Figuring the best way to get to the bottom of this mess was to contact other operatives on the planet, he transmitted an all-call (thru Windchill) across the entire planet, bouncing the signal from satellite to satellite until he had global coverage.
"UWB001 to any Autobots who can hear this summons. Uplink and respond. Priority Code 1." Uncle anticipated that the priority one call would be most likely to be answered; besides, if the sudden disappearance of an entire squadron of Cybertonians didn't count as an emergency, he didn't know what did.
"T.A.I responding, hongkong base, copy."
"Teletran 001, copy."
Other calls poured in. In all, 8 major responses from bases were recieved; all present and accounted for.
Excepting Milwaukee Base.
"Dis is UWB001 Milwaukee Base to all other units. Base has been removed. No personnell or equipment present. Please advise." With any luck, one of the other contigents of Autobots on-planet would be able to explain to him what happened. Windchill recieved the responses, processed them, and shot them back to Uncle. The answers he recieved were even more confusing....
"Teletran 1 responding. No record of base matching description on file."
"T.A.I. responding. No record of a base matching your description on our files. Who is this?"
Crap. Uncle had forgotten; Electrum Beast had *said* this was a secret research facility. Apparently, that meant no one outside of Optimus Prime(which one, Uncle wondered) knew of the bases' existance. Which was a problem, since apparently, Milwaukee Base actually *didn't* exist at the moment....
Instructing Windchill to disconnect from the global link, Uncle pondered the problem. He was on his own, cut off from supplies and support. His friends were missing, and apparently no one else on the planet could help him. He *could* just report in and get reassigned, but....
Uncle decided that he needed to find his friends. Where to start looking was going to be the problem. Exiting the base(from a different way than where he came in, thankfully), Uncle transformed, and
The shot came out of nowhere. But it hit its mark, catching Uncle completely unawares. The blast had smashed the roadway directly behind him. Had it been any closer, Uncle would have been fried. He needed a plan...and he needed one now.
To Be Continued.