Chapter One

Location: Somewhere in the United States

Timedate: 21st February 2015

Deep in the glow of the night, a vast forest surrounding a long stretch of road remained still and silent, not even a slight breath of wind would be enough to disrupt the tranquility of nature. However, this peace would come to a temporary halt as a thick streak of light went down from the skies before landing with a slam and a flash. As mud and dust flew out on all directions and smoke erupted from the impact, the trees brushed back and any sign of animal life, large, small or in between, scurried and fled the scene.

As the dust and smoke soon cleared, half-buried into the centre of the crater itself stood a metallic oval pod, perfectly smooth and sterile. A faint whirring sound started buzzing from inside the pod before growing faster and louder until the pod spilt open right down the middle, revealing a hint of light within, and soon spread apart. Gradually emerging from within the pod was a small greyish-blue robot with a yellow glowing visor, carrying a long lance staff on his back.

Looking about at the area surrounding him, the little robot fully stepped free from the pod, slightly shivering to the mildly chilling air that he would have to adapt to soon enough. Slowly taking his first proper step on planet Earth, he could hear a quiet crunching sound of twigs and branches right beneath his left foot. Taking his second step, he heard very similar sounds underneath his right foot as well.

Gradually, his pace built from tediously slow to rhythmic and steady as he soon left behind the very pod he was housed in across for an amount of time that would've been vague enough for him to even remember how long it took. Looking up, he could see an array of countless distant stars, so far away and yet they somehow felt almost close enough to reach out for. Gazing long and deeply, he knew that near one of those stars was his home, his native planet. But for now, he found himself here, upon a strange and almost primitive world that seemed just as full of life and yet seemingly just as devoid as well.

Picking up the pace further, the lone robot kept on dashing forth through the forest and in between its various trees, unsure of which direction he might be going or even what location he could heading to. The steps of his feet, a quicker yet still equally steady rhythm, slightly stumbling every now and then. Soon enough, he found himself coming onto and facing the side of a long, smooth, black, straight, and seemingly endless road that stretched on to his left view and to his right.

Closely observing the road itself, the mini-con could notice the materials such a road could be made of: tarmac, concrete and bitumen macadam. Eventually, after a moment or two of hesitating, he turned to the left again and chose to walk down along that route. Huffing a hint or two of ventilated breath, the mini robot soon slowed down before stepping down to a halt upon seeing something close and right in front of him.

In the middle of a T-shaped intersection of road, he saw a traffic stoplight standing ever so perfectly still just by the road. It seemed just as alone as he was, unable to move. He swiftly scanned it and then, once fully processed, he transformed into his new mode, standing right on the opposite side of the road from the very original. As he remained in his new alternate mode for the time being, the three lights went on with red, amber, and green, very much like the original traffic light he scanned, and he kept just as still and silent for the rest of the night.

Location: Crown City

Timedate: 23rd February 2015

Some time had passed, and soon the morning sun rose once more, streaked through the windows of the glistening buildings of Crown City. In one such house, somewhere in the outskirts of the city, the rays of sunlight found their way into the room of one peculiar human girl. The otherwise ambient silence would then be disrupted by the buzzing of a phone's alarm ringtone, causing the light-brunette-haired girl to quietly groan before she picked up the vibrating phone, switched it off, and placed it back down. Yawning and rubbing her sandy-brown eyes, the young girl lifted her head from her soft pillow and stretched her arms with a hint of ease.

She pushed back the thin duvet and moved herself up from the bed, feeling the carpet floor under her bare feet. The girl wore a T-shirt and pyjamas of matching bright indigo. Walking over to her desk as she hastily brushed back her hair to behind her shoulders as usual, she opened a drawer and took out a yellow Alice-headband and two small red pearl earrings. The girl slipped the Alice band on her hair and clipped the earrings in her lobes. With that, the young girl soon walked out of her bedroom and went for the bathroom, in which she brushed her teeth for about a minute or two.

After all that, she then made her way down the stairs, slowly step by step as she ran her hand along the wooden railing. As she approached the main hall and ground floor, she expected the typical morning routine within the household; a little greeting from her parents, some chatter on the nearby radio, the smell of cooked butter, and eventually getting together her usual full breakfast. However this today would be different, for when she turned on her way towards the living room, something or somebody would catch her right off-guard.

"Surprise!" The girl's ears were penetrated by the unison of familiar voices cheering. "Happy Birthday, Hank!"

The girl, Henrietta "Hank" Bailey, suddenly remembered as she saw her cheerful parents standing next to a significant stack of wrapped presents in various shapes and size.

Then she took a step back and turned her head to see the nearby calendar on a kitchen wall, focusing on the particular days, including this one, then finally two and two were put back together.

"Woah, really? Today already?" Hank quickly and openly realised. "I almost forgot I even had a birthday to begin with".

"Almost forgot, huh? At least you didn't fully forget," Hank's dad joked as expected before coming over to get his daughter into a tight hug. "Fifteen years old, eh? A decade and a half, my little girl is now a big girl".

"Okay, I wouldn't exactly say that just yet," Hank's mum stepped in as she too partook in the brief family cuddle.

After a few seconds along with a chuckle and wheeze, the family eased on their hug and parted.

"Anyways, we got you a nice Birthday Breakfast," Hank's dad said to her as he led her to the dining table where on a plate laid a few crepe pancakes that emitted a subtle scent of lemon along with a bit syrup that spelt the number of '15', and next to the plate stood a little fairy cake with two candles numbered '15' as well. "Even you know you can't resist a bit of pancake, and by bit, I mean a lot".

"Thanks, mum and dad," Hank greeted back as she took a seat and blew at the candles on the fairy cake.

"Have you made a wish, Hank?" Hank's mum asked.

"When I not made a secret wish?" Hank smirked before she started eating the crepes and fairy cake.

"While you're eating, you wanna open some of your presents already?" Hank's mum offered.

"Sure, might as well," Hank answered in between munching and swallowing.

"Allrighty, let's start with the smallest," Hank's dad said as he went over to the stack of presents and looked over the whole bunch. After a careful look and decision, he went for one of the smaller box-shaped presents on the top of the pile. "I think this one here is from your friend, Butch". He then went back and handed the present over to Hank.

"Thanks," Hank noted, still eating a bit of pancake as she took the present and carefully unwrapped it open, revealing a box with a peculiar action figure within. One that Hank instantly recognised. "Woah, he got me a GoBot," Hank said astonished. "And not just any GoBot, it's the latest deluxe Leader-1 figure!"

"We'll be sure to send Butch your regards," Hank's mum acknowledged. "Now how about this one right here?" She then picked another one of the smaller presents in the pile, this one more oval-shaped, and gave it to Hank.

As Hank set aside her GoBot figure and nearly finished up her last crepe, she took hold of the next present. She ripped it open just as carefully as the previous gift, until she realised what this one may be as well. A white ellipsoid-shaped ball with a few brown stripes running along it and the name 'Giblet' in all caps.

"Woah cool, a rugby ball," Hank spoke, twice as astonished, before looking at her parents with a widened smile. "Cheers".

"You're welcome, we all know how much you like those sports," Hank's mum greeted back.

"Well yeah," Hank admitted to the obvious. She looked closely at the ball with the smile still on her wide-eyed face, taking in such a wonderful thing with its smooth polyester feel against her hands and fingers, and that fine fresh rubbery scent it emitted.

"Wanna try it out in the back garden?" Hank's dad suggested. "It looks like a nice morning out there". And a very nice morning it would be indeed as Hank glimpsed at a window to see the outside bathed in sunlight.

"Okay then," Hank lightly nodded.

With that, she finally eaten the last bit of her fairy cake and pancake crepes before leaving the table with ball in hand and headed off with her father. They both went for the back door, unlocking it open and exiting out of the house and into the back garden.

To be continued...