Human Resources (Transformers: Renegade Rhetoric)
The following was posted on Facebook on February 1, 2016. 
Dear Cy-Kill, You've told us many a tale of the Master Renegade, but what of the Last Engineer?
Cy-Kill: What of him? He settled on the colony world of New Earth, the fourth planet in the Orion 6 system. We did have occasion to cross swords with him on there once or twice. The second time was quite memorable.
It began with the Guardians, racing to New Earth. They had lost all contact with the planet, and were understandably concerned. "It must be the Renegades," observed Leader-1, fretfully and inaccurately.
Simultaneously, I raced to the the colony world in my Thruster, drawn by enormous spikes of cosmic radiation originating from its local. "It must be the Guardians," I incorrectly observed.
We both arrived, simultaneously, to the colony world, and a battle ensued. My Renegades were doing quite well, until Scooter used a hologram of Courageous to drive us off. "My, the Last Engineer's invention sure does come in handy," he noted. "Say, I sure hope he's all right down there."
"I'm sure he'll be just fine," reassured Turbo.
Matt Hunter was skeptical. "I hope so, but I wouldn't be quite as optimistic if I were you."
"Why do you say that, Matt," asked Small Foot, genuinely curious.
"A new colony is a dangerous place. There's a lot that can go wrong," explained Matt.
"Like what, Matt?" asked Leader-1.
"Crops can fail, disease can strike, you can run out of water," he rattled off.
"Man, I never thought about that," admitted Turbo. "Sometimes I'm glad I'm a GoBot and don't have to worry about stuff like that."
While this saccharine exchange occurred, Cop-Tur, Crasher, Fitor, and I had not gone far. We had withdrawn to our Thruster and activated the Stealth Device. I was determined to discover the mystery of New Earth, and, if possible, use it to Renegade advantage.
The Guardians landed their Command Center on the planet, finding it eerily deserted. There were signs of a battle, which seemed to have as its epicenter the Last Engineer's laboratory. As they approached the front door, they heard whispering coming from a nearby purple bush. They diverted to investigate, only to find one of the officers of the colony, Lieutenant Kelly Jeffries. "Good to see you again, Lieutenant," noted Leader-1, but she cautioned him to keep quiet. "Why?" asked Turbo, in a still rather booming tone, and she whispered that 'he' could be around. "Who?" asked Small Foot, only to be rewarded with the Master Renegade emerging from the lab, carrying an enormous weapon. "Me!" he proudly proclaimed, and fired directly into where I would place a camera were I recording this adventure for posterity.
The Guardians scattered, dodging the shot. "Gulp... be careful, guys, that blaster is giving off some strange readings," cautioned Scooter. "It's not a blaster at all, that's my husband's polymorphic inducer!" "Your husband? I would have sworn that's GoBotic technology," mused Small Foot, even as they dodged. "It is," said Jeffries, "my husband is the Last Engineer."
"We can dispense congratulations later," Leader-1 admonished sternly, "right now we need to stop this madman."
"That shouldn't be too hard," noted Turbo, "there's one of him and four of us."
Never let it be said that I don't know how to make an entrance. My Renegades and I had been observing the battle, and chose that moment to join. Suddenly Leader-1 and his band found himself caught between the Master Renegade and myself. "Master Renegade, help me to defeat Leader-1 and all will be forgiven between you and I," I offered magnanimously, though of course I had no intention of honoring the bargain once Leader-1 was disposed of.
"Agreed," he declared. "Drive them into the open so I can get a clear shot."
My Renegades did exactly that, forcing the four Guardians back. Leader-1 put up a force field to protect his men, but the Master Renegade's polymorphic inducer passed right through it. The Guardians glowed an impossible incandescence, and then their silhouettes seemed to shrink. When the light faded, where stood four Guardians, now stood four humans!
"What a weapon," I applauded, impressed despite myself. I now towered above Leader-1, two and a half times his size. He flinched as I reached for him and tried to dodge, but I snared him easily. I brought him to eye level, smirking. "I'm going to enjoy smashing your puny organic body to pieces, Leader-1!"
The Master Renegade ran towards me, waving his left arm. "No, no, Cy-Kill, I want him alive. I have enslaved this entire colony, and still don't have the labor to make my schemes a reality. I need every body."
I looked from Leader-1 to the Master Renegade and made my decision. Our alliance was always fated to end in treachery sooner or later, it might as well be sooner. "No, I think our brief alliance has served its purpose. "I kicked the Master Renegade, and he flew backward.
I lifted my arm, preparing to hurl Leader-1 into an outcropping of rocks, when the Master Renegade stood. "Big mistake, Cy-Kill." He took aim at me and my Renegades and fired the beam, and the next thing I knew I was looking at unfamiliar pink fingers.
"You fink! Change me back at once!" I charged at the Master Renegade, but his eye irised and a blast lanced out, knocking me prone.
The human Fitor helped me to my feet, but the Master Renegade was already advancing menacingly. Human Turbo pointed a fist at the Master Renegade and waved, but of course nothing happened. "Awww, nuts, I don't have any blasters." Human Cop-Tur laughed, thinking this quite hilarious, and then jumped into the air... only to fall back down on his face. Humans don't have flight circuits. Human Scooter said he'd cover their retreat and waved his arms, but no holograms manifested. Human Crasher stamped her foot, but only succeeded in stepping on a sharp rock that pierced her boots and howling in pain.
"Pssst... quick, this way," beckoned Jeffries to the human Guardians. Human Leader-1 looked askance, but Matt said that they should get away while they could and argue about it later. He agreed, and the human Guardians and Matt beat a hasty retreat.
The Master Renegade had my human Renegades dead to rights, and ordered us to surrender. My troopers looked to me, and I reluctantly nodded. He had us beat... for now.
Matt, Jeffries, and the human Guardians regrouped inside a damaged supply shed. Human Small Foot was rubbing her shin, and asked Matt when she could expect her automatic repair systems to get it 'fixed.' "Oh, about a week, give or take," he informed her. All of the human Guardians had taken minor injuries in the scuffle, and simultaneously exclaimed "a week?!?!" Matt shrugged. "Humans aren't as robust as GoBots are."
Meanwhile, my Renegades and I were taken to the Master Renegade's factory, where the colonists were being put to work putting the finishing touches on a polymorphic amplifier, one that could reach all the way to GoBotron. He was nothing if not ambitious, I'll give him that. Hanging in a cage in the factory was a parrot with an eye patch and a cybernetic wing, which chirped "I'll get you, aaaawk," prompting the Master Renegade to flick at the bars and send it fluttering.
Jeffries filled them in on what had happened. She and the Last Engineer had fallen in love and married. The colony was doing well, but there were still certain species of plants and animals that were difficult to import all the way to Orion 6. The Last Engineer had developed the polymorphic inducer as a way to compensate for this. Then the Master Renegade returned, and stole the device. He turned the Last Engineer into a parrot, which he kept in a cage, and enslaved the rest of the colony. Only Jeffries had escaped. Human Leader-1 apologized that they'd be unable to rescue her husband. Jeffries pressed him as to why, and he said that in their human bodies they'd be helpless. "There's nothing humans can do that GoBots can't do better." The human Guardians all nodded, dejected.
Matt scoffed and stood. "Sure, you may not have your GoBot bodies, but that doesn't make you helpless. Nick, A.J., and I have accompanied you into a hundred or more battles, and we've always emerged triumphant before. Surely the six of us can take out one Master Renegade. Just look around you at all this gear... shovels, pickaxes, cable, solar panels, dynamite... surely we can come up with a plan!" This fired up their spirits, and they began to prepare in earnest.
The next day, the Master Renegade stood overseeing our breakfast. Human Cop-Tur was complaining that he couldn't get used to needing to sleep, and human Crasher piped up that it was eating that was taking her the longest to get used to, even as she shoveled food into her gullet. Human Fitor observed that she'd certainly seemed to get the hang of it quickly enough, earning him a well-deserved elbow to the ribs. Suddenly the doors blew open, and human Turbo stood in the opening beckoning. "Time to go," he said, and all of the laborers except my human Renegades bolted. My mind calculating, I told us to hold, for whatever was happening represented our best opportunity to return to GoBot form.
The Master Renegade fired his eye beam at human Turbo, who dodged and then ran. "Get back here, you halfwitted hot rod," he shouted, but it looked like he was going to hold his ground and not take the Guardian's bait. I decided he needed a little goading. "Well, it looks like the so-called Master Renegade has no recourse to a single human Guardian freeing all his slaves." My troops laughed dutifully, and the Master Renegade was shamed into pursuit. As soon as he was gone, I muttered, "quickly, now," and led my troops to his office, to reverse our transformation.
The Master Renegade followed human Turbo into the open streets of the town, only to find himself surrounded by three human Guardians and their two human allies. "Didn't think this one through, huh?" asked Small Foot.
"I could say the same about you," sneered the Master Renegade, and opened fire with his eye beam... only for each of them to pull out a solar panel. His beam reflected, and human Leader-1 and human Turbo tackled him, allowing human Small Foot and Matt to bind him with cables.
"Looks like all that's left is to find the polymorphic inducer and reverse it," said human Small Foot.
"Guess again, Guardian germs," I taunted, as my four Renegades proudly emerged from the factory in our original bodies. I crushed the polymorphic inducer in my hands and laughed.
Cop-Tur joined in the fun. "Now you three will be stuck as humans forever. Mwa huh huh huh ha ha ha!"
"Wait a minute," I said, with an edge of panic, "three? Where's Scooter? Oh, no."
Sadly, my surmise was correct. Human Scooter had gone to the factory and completed the polymorphic amplifier. Its powerful beam spread out and restored each of the Guardians to their original forms, and the Last Engineer as well. Leader-1 wasted no time in blasting me directly in the chest. "Fitor, get me out of here!" I cried, and he and Crasher flew me back to Thruster. We activated the Stealth Device and withdrew so that I could be repaired.
Our retreat was made easier by the Master Renegade slipping free of his bonds at that moment. "I'm not beaten yet! I'll use the polymorphic amplifier to turn the entire universe into my plaything!" He ran back inside the fortress... only to come face to face with the Last Engineer. "You," he practically spat.
The Last Engineer grinned. "I've waited a long time for this." He pulled back his mechanical fist and unleashed a powerful blow, catching the Master Renegade on the chin and knocking him sprawling to the ground.
He stood over his ancient adversary. "At last, you'll face justice." He turned to the Guardians. "Thank you for saving my home, Leader-1, and removing the threat of the Master Renegade forever. We'll see that he never causes any more mischief. I am once again in your debt."
"Don't thank me," he replied with humility, "thank Matt. He taught us what it really means to be human."
He strode forward and put his cybernetic hand on Matt's shoulder. "Thank you, Matt. Hmmm... " He as lost in thought for a moment and absentmindedly put his arms around his wife. "Matthew might make an excellent name for our son."
"Son!" exclaimed each of the Guardians simultaneously.
"That's right," said Jeffries.
"Huh," said Leader-1, "I guess there are some thing humans do that GoBots can't do better after all."
So, the Last Engineer married a human and fathered a child. How positively revolting. On the other hand, Bladez and Creepy were nowhere to be seen, no doubt off on some other mission of misfortune. With the Master Renegade imprisoned on New Earth, I should have a better shot at recruiting them, the next time they rear their hideous heads.
Charles Ellis: What did the human-GoBots (GoHumans?) look like as humans? I bet you were a handsome chapCy-Kill: I think I cut a rather dashing figure.
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