Today’s news and commentary, some of which Barry is responsible for:
- “The Israeli Rumor Mill”
- “Iraqi Christian refugees in legal limbo”
- “Are you eating dinner on a piece of rainforest?”
- “Ecuador invites world to save its forest”
- “Legal row on vaccine, autism link” (This lawsuit is an utter disgrace. There is not a shred of evidence linking autism with the MMR vaccine. The allegation for causation is due to vaccination happening around the same time as autism is diagnosed. The allegation is baseless since vaccinated children are no more likely to develop autism than unvaccinated children. Legal proceedings are supposed to be evidence-based, and since there is no evidence, there is no case whatsoever and no basis for a lawsuit. I can sympathize with parents who are distraught over having an autistic child and needing financial support to deal with the problem, but blaming people who are clearly innocent is grossly unjustified, and this panic is only causing pain and suffering due to parents not getting their children vaccinated.)
- “Robot Reptile "Released" Into Wild to Aid Breeding Research”
- “Divest from Teheran - now”
- “These Satellite Images Document an Atrocity”
Transformers: Identity Crisis
- Week 1: Bumblebee/Loki (2007-05-22)
- Week 2: Jazz/Meister (2007-05-29)
- Week 3: Ratchet/Schaltklinke (2007-06-05)
- Week 4: Elita One/Freya (2007-06-12)
- Week 5: Generation Two (2007-06-19)
- Week 6: Ironhide/Eisenhaut (2007-06-26)
- Week 7: Optimus Prime/Konvoi (2007-07-01)
- Epilog: Microtron’s review
Week 4: Elita One/Freya
Greetings, people of Earth.
The controversy over Optimus Prime’s spying continues. According to the latest news reports, Marissa Faireborn, the former Air Force officer connected with the Autobot, has finally admitted knowing him. She claims to have worked with him in the past but not to have had any contact with him since she left the Air Force several months ago. Faireborn was stationed in Nevada, the details of her work having yet to be made public. Moving on from her previous job, she currently is working as an engineer for the aerospace industry and is spending more time with her family and her boyfriend. As of yet, there is no evidence that Optimus Prime was authorized to be monitoring humans. Several public figures, including activist Ralph Nader, have called for an investigation, but so far nothing has been done. Formal charges have yet to be filed, allegedly in part because the legal status of Autobots under these circumstances has yet to be determined, and because it is unclear whether this behavior constitutes an unlawful invasion of privacy.
In today’s communication we will discuss Elita One, a “female” Autobot, and this we expect to lead to a number of inevitable questions. (That discussing “male” Autobots does not lead to these questions in humans we find disturbing, but that is a digression.) There has been much speculation about certain issues about the Autobots, much of which they have allowed unanswered or even encouraged, none of which is true. We apologize for shocking or disappointing you if you are so affected.
An entirely fictitious artist’s depiction of Elita One
Contrary to her appearance, Elita One is not a female Autobot. There are no female Autobots. There are also no male Autobots. There are also no male and female “Decepticons” either. This is because we are not chemical organisms, but robots.
Many reading this now will be thoroughly confused, so we shall explain further. We call ourselves “Transformers” not because we can turn ourselves into vehicles or other devices, but because we can adapt ourselves quickly to working with other species. This is because our original function was to act as ambassadors, for which the Quintessons created us with adaptable bodies to facilitate our interactions. When the Autobots first arrived in Germany, one of their first tasks was to adapt themselves. Following the usual pattern for our kind, they made themselves into versions of the local vehicles which turned into versions of the local inhabitants; this would allow them to better explore as well as relate to the locals. Thus it was with the first five who met with the Nazis.
The initial contact apparently happened some time in 1937 at the Berghof, Adolf Hitler’s home in the Bavarian Alps. Those present are believed to be Optimus Prime, Bumblebee, Ironhide, Jazz, and Elita One, all of whom had undergone reformatting to transform into local vehicles. The first reformattings were crude, based on whichever vehicles they had stolen up to that point. Many of these were blocky and poorly proportioned in humanoid mode. The results of this can still be seen in some Autobots using the same or similar transformations, such as in Bumblebee’s oversized feet. Like Bumblebee, Elita had been modified to resemble a Tatra T87, but using a very different transformation scheme. The result for Elita was relatively well proportioned by human standards and more curvy than the others, which suggested something different to the Nazis than the other forms.
Elita One as a Tatra T87 during the Third Reich
According to our sources, these Autobots raised their right fists 45 degrees above the horizontal, said “Hail Victory!” and waited for a response. The usual protocol historically used involves being very open to the reactions of the locals and shaping what one does accordingly. The humans must have been drawn to Optimus Prime (who had taken the vehicle form of an Opel Blitz truck), reading his height as indicating he was the leader, the other, shorter Autobots as his subordinates. However, they apparently had interesting responses to Elita, who stayed close to Optimus and said little. Although the Nazis present did not address her directly the way they spoke to the others, they reportedly made sneaking glances and spoke to each other in hushed tones while looking at her, making stupid grins.
Based on their initial studies, the Autobots must have understood something of human sex differences but probably did not fully understand all the implications; the important visual aspects or the cultural implications were not well known at the time. Rather than challenge the classification, they embraced the roles they stumbled into and exploited them. Over several months as Elita understood more, she had her appearance refined to reflect this role, even more like the local ideal of a human woman, just as Optimus was modified to appear larger and bulkier, his initially humanlike face partly covered with a “battle mask” and “helmet” to suggest a male human warrior.
While the “male” Autobots would discuss practical matters with the Nazi high command, Elita would often be present, either clinging to Optimus or staying in the background. At social functions she would often converse with important men in the Nazi hierarchy, pretending to be simple and often obtaining far more information than they intended to reveal. Reichsmarschall Herman Göring was known to be particularly taken with her, giving her the nickname “Freya” after a traditional goddess. These activities were not arbitrary or social, but a part of her function within the Autobot leadership as the head of intelligence. Through the information she collected, both personally and from those under her direction, the Autobots were preparing for the Axis powers’ defeat long before the Axis powers were. The “femininity manipulation” worked so well that the only ones known to realize what she was doing were human women. Eva Braun, Adolf Hitler’s mistress, hated Elita passionately and was convinced she was spying for the Soviet Union; her pleas for Hitler to restrict her were regularly dismissed.
During their stay on James McMullen, XXIII’s estate, Elita continued to serve the Autobot cause. The elder McMullen was less prejudiced than the Nazis and happily married, and for him Elita was properly regarded as much of a robot as the other Autobots. The adolescent “Jimmy” McMullen was for a time infatuated with her, but that ended quickly when he discovered women of his own species. She was insistent that they update their appearances regularly so they could do espionage, not only for themselves but also on behalf of the Military Armament Research Syndicate (MARS), a weapons manufacturing and distribution company owned by the McMullen family. True to its name, MARS was in the business of developing and selling weapons, and over the years it would become increasingly important in supplying arms in a number of conflicts. By sending out Autobot spies, they could collect accurate firsthand information to assess not only the demand for MARS’s products, but also on the state of the planet they were now compelled to live on. Additionally, as they ultimately regarded humans as vermin they would dominate within a few centuries, they had no compunctions about manipulating or even sometimes assassinating them for their own benefit. Several human conflicts may have been purposely exacerbated by the Autobots to increase MARS’s sales. It would be through this work that MARS would make its largest contract.
Among the Autobots, Elita has been one of the most secretive. In attempting to function best as a spymaster, she has deliberately avoided as much publicity as possible to the point that she has not used the “femininity manipulation” on humans in decades because so few are even aware of her existence. Never transforming in public, her vehicular form has reportedly been very plain and common cars without any faction symbol. This photograph depicts a recent incident in Denver, Colorado where two of our agents, Deputies Laserbeak and Ravage, approached an apparent vehicle emitting radio signals suggesting it was an Autobot. (Deputy Reflector, out of frame, took the picture and the readings.) Moments after it was recorded, what appeared to be a Chevrolet PT Cruiser transformed into an unlabeled Transformer, who then fought off the deputies before reinforcements arrived. Based on comparisons with existing recordings, it appears this unassuming vehicle was actually Elita One.
Deputies Laserbeak and Ravage encounter Elita One
While on the topic of Autobot espionage, we should mention the disguise technology currently in use by the them. Although the original reformattings were relatively crude, the art improved rapidly. Today joints between surfaces where there should be no joints have been reduced to hairline cracks which can only be seen upon close examination. This has made visual detection of unlabeled Autobots difficult, and getting close enough to look for improper joints on a car or other device may be dangerous. As such, we offer the following guidelines for detecting Autobots who may be spying on you:
- Do not assume that Autobots are only formatted as wheeled vehicles. Aside from a number of Autobots formatted as other kinds of vehicles (including airplanes, hovercraft, ships, and even spacecraft), they may be disguised as a number of objects. Those we have confirmed include a leather-covered couch, an electric pencil-sharpener, a boom box, a television set, a microscope, an antique oak desk, a tree house, a soda machine, and a coffee-maker. There are also unsubstantiated claims of a paper-shredder, a filing cabinet, an abstract sculpture, and even a tiny Autobot hidden within an eggshell who worked as an assassin. Objects prone to move frequently without being handled should be considered suspect.
- Many vehicle-formatted Autobots do not have actual cabs, the space being filled with vital machinery; those who do have cabs, of course, do not require drivers and usually resent carrying actual humans. Although experiments have been made using holograms on the windows, the results so far have been unimpressive. Cars or trucks with heavily tinted windows or containing dummies (especially in the driver’s seat) may be Autobots.
- Autobots in vehicular mode may be missing important details. The most common missing feature is a radio antenna, though others such as rear-view mirrors, windshield wipers, logos, and chrome lettering have also been lacking. The undersides of cars are generally not disguised at all, and observant individuals may note the lack of undercarriage or parts usually more visible in humanoid mode. Autobots in the espionage corps have generally been better detailed in this regard than “publicity” Autobots.
- Whereas Autobots who make public appearances often take forms of expensive or unusual vehicles, those within the espionage corps are usually formatted as common or plain vehicles. The particular formatting depends, of course, on where the espionage takes place. In the United States, the most common vehicular form among those we have captured is the Honda Accord, while “Blue,” believed to be one of the most successful Autobot spies we have managed to catch, was formatted as a Geo Prizm. The use of eye-catching colors is also generally avoided. There have been occasions where less-common cars have been used, particularly when the targets themselves have been unusually wealthy and upper-class neighborhoods are entered. Also on a few occasions Arcee (who is formatted as a pink concept car) has been used as a distraction to allow lengthy operations to proceed uninterrupted. For the most part, the more ordinary the car and the duller the paint job, the more likely it is to be an Autobot.
- Like any electronic device, Autobots emit electromagnetic radiation. Generally they are well shielded, but occasionally the shielding is imperfect, and the Autobot’s presence may be detected using an electromagnetic scanner or even an ordinary radio or television. Optimus Prime’s recent embarrassing incident was uncovered due to imperfect shielding, probably damaged in an arrest attempt.
- Unlike cars, the Autobots are powered by electricity. (The “energon” substance often mentioned in the media is pure fiction.) As such, they are naturally much quieter than internal-combustion vehicles, necessitating that they simulate the relevant engine sounds. These sounds can be turned off when the Autobot has need to be quiet; sometimes they forget to turn them back on. Similarly, Autobots do not regularly emit exhaust fumes.
- The stresses the bodies of Autobots withstand would crumple the usual materials cars are made of. Their bodies proper involve materials not in wide use or even produced by humans, most of which human scientists have yet to recreate artificially. Originally the external plates used for disguises were made of steel and glass (in fact, Ratchet stole several vehicles from an automobile sales lot and dissected them for the first reformattings), but since being in the United States other, more durable materials have been commonly used. Titanium especially is currently very popular for being strong and lightweight, while various plastics (usually polycarbonate) now often substitute for glass. A properly formatted Autobot should be visually almost indistinguishable from a normal vehicle; however, in a car crash the Autobot should prove unusually sturdy. Vehicles that suffer little damage in serious crashes, especially if the vehicle immediately departs, should be considered to be Autobots. Similarly, vehicles that do not wear appropriately may be suspect. The Autobot spy Sneak Freak was detected when, disguised as a Dodge Neon, he went several weeks without even the paint flaking off his bumper.
Up to this point we have mainly considered those Autobots initially present when they contacted the Third Reich, those who called themselves “Generation One.” In the next communication we will consider those Autobots who were created later. Until then, we wish you well.
Soundwave, Cybertonian Communicator.