"Hel-lo! I'm talking to you! Do you speak English? Parlez-vous
anglais?" Phantom scowled up at the towering red robot.
Prime gave himself a mental shake. "Forgive me. It was
not my intention to ignore you. Are you all right? Have any
of you been injured?"
"Naw, we whipped those tin cans easily. No sweat,"
Jubilee bragged. A white robot with flashing panels on the sides
of his head stepped toward her. "Eep!" she cried out
and dodged behind Phantom.
Phantom gazed at her scornfully, then turned back to the enormous
figure before her. "Despite Jubilee's conceit, she speaks
the truth. We're perfectly fine."
"How can this be?" drawled another red robot, smaller
in stature than the first. "Ah've nevah seen a Decepticreep
run away from a fight without shakin' up some poor flesh creature."
"Flesh creature?" Phantom said in a dangerous tone.
"Look, Rambo-bot, I don't give a damn how big you are or
how many 'flesh creatures' you can squish, I don't have to take
your bullshit. Now go away and leave us alone. Your kind has
caused enough damage for one day."
"Aw, Ah'm sorry, missy." Seeing her glare at that word,
Ironhide hurriedly continued. "Ah didn't mean nuthin' by
"We only came to save you," a small yellow robot interjected.
Phantom was rather intrigued, for he was not much bigger than
she was, but still remained unmollified.
"Save us? As if!" she sneered. "We've done very
well on our own, thank you very much."
Rogue shook her head. "Aw, don't be rough on them, sugah.
They're only tryin' to help. Ah'm impressed to see such manners.
Listen up, fellas -- that means you, Gambit -- y'all might learn
a thing or two."
"Stick it in your gumbo, swamp rat," Rogue laughed.
Meanwhile, the largest robot had been busy surveying the area.
"That does not resemble any Decepticon aircraft I know,"
he said, gesturing toward the Blackbird.
Cyclops replied, "No, that's our.... No! The Blackbird!"
Everyone turned to see what his outburst was about. Jubilee
let out a wail of despair. Wolverine growled angrily and unsheathed
his claws. Before them lay their means of transportation, one
wing sheared off and the tail completely vaporized.
Storm shook her head sadly. "Merciful goddess, what will
we do? We cannot just leave the Blackbird here, nor can we return
to the mansion until we are sure that this area is secure."
Cyclops turned back to the robots before them. "Is there
any way you can help us?" he asked respectfully.
"Who ARE you guys, anyway?" Jubilee wondered.
The largest robot addressed her question. "I see that I
am in error again. Please accept my apologies. We are Autobots,
from the planet Cybertron. The robots that just left here are
known as the Decepticons, led by Megatron. It is our sworn duty
to protect this planet."
Phantom rolled her eyes. She'd heard pretty speeches before
and wasn't impressed.
"I am Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots," he continued.
He gestured to the robots behind him. "This is Ironhide..."
he said as he gestured to the other red robot that had unintentionally
offended the humans, "...Wheeljack...," who was the
white robot with the flashing panels on his head, "...Bumblebee...,"
the small yellow robot, "Ratchet, and Hoist." The last
two, a white robot with red hospital crosses on his shoulders,
and a green robot, gazed thoughtfully at the damaged plane.
"See what you can do," Prime instructed them. The
duo walked over to the plane. They murmured softly to each other
as they inspected the wreckage.
"Very impressive," Hoist remarked. "I didn't
think the humans possessed such technology."
Phantom sighed in exasperation. "Never mind that, can you
fix it? I'd prefer not to fly home."
"Are you sure? Skyfire or Powerglide can easily transport
you wherever you need to go," Bumblebee replied.
She shook her head. "I meant that I didn't want to fly
back under my own power. I'd be flying into the wind, and I'm
not sure that I have enough energy to fly across the continent."
Bumblebee looked puzzled. "I thought humans couldn't fly."
"It's a long story. Ask Cyclops, he loves giving explanations
and feeling important."
Ratchet and Hoist headed over to their leader to give their report.
"We believe that we can repair the damage," the green
tow truck stated, "but it may take some time. We are not
familiar with the technology used to construct this aircraft."
Ratchet nodded in agreement. "I believe that we should
take it back to the base for repairs. We have more equipment
there, and this area is too exposed."
Prime stood silently for a few moments, contemplating the next
move. "All right," he consented. "But where will
you stay?" he asked the X-Men.
They looked at each other, wondering the same thing. "We
don't have the money for a hotel room," Cyclops announced,
"and I don't feel right about asking the Professor to wire
Phantom frowned. "I've got plenty of money, but my dad
will hit the roof if I pay for everyone."
"There's plenty of room at the base," Wheeljack suggested.
"Spike and Sparkplug can give us a hand and explain their
needs more fully."
"Far out! This is way cool!" Jubilee exclaimed exuberantly.
"I get to bunk with aliens from another planet! Hey!"
She frowned suspiciously. "If you're from another planet,
how come you speak English?"
"It's simple, really," Bumblebee explained. "We
use a universal translator that decodes most languages into Cybertronian
so that we can understand them. Over time, when the language
becomes familiar to us, the language is downloaded into our language
databanks, and a translation is no longer needed. We have become
fluent in your Terran languages in this way."
"Oh, okay," Jubilee replied, pretending to understand.
"Let's get going to this base then. I'm way psyched to
see where you guys chill!"
"Chill? Is it going to snow?" Bumblebee asked.
Jubilee laughed. "No, you numb!"
While she and Bumblebee chatted, Jean was helping Ratchet and
Hoist prepare the Blackbird for towing. She secured the loose
articles in the cockpit, then when she heard the "okay"
from outside, switched on the cloaking device. She heard murmurs
of amazement from outside as the plane appeared to disappear (not
a pun). She exited the craft with a navy backpack over her shoulder.
"I believe this belongs to you," she said, handing
it over to Phantom.
"Hey, thanks," Phantom replied. "This has all
my important stuff in it."
Hoist, in tow truck mode with the hook attached somewhere to
the invisible plane, started his engine. At the command "Autobots,
transform and roll out!" the others contorted their forms
into various vehicles.
"No way!" Jubilee gaped. "This is the second
time I'm seeing it, and I still don't believe it!"
"Hop in!" Bumblebee invited, opening the driver-side
"All right! I get to sit in the driver's seat!" Jubilee
was in heaven.
Bumblebee chucked. "Just remember who's driving!"
The rest of the X-Men climbed into the various automobiles awaiting
them. Phantom headed for the large tractor-trailer and jumped
up into the cab. She was determined to learn everything she could
about these weird robots.