So today Ratchet finally let me out of the medical bay. I thought I was ready to get out yesterday, since all I really needed was my legs reattached, but Ratchet wanted to run a few more tests. I guess he's worried about that weapon Megatron used -- he thought maybe some residual energy from it was still in my systems and he didn't want it causing problems. And I'm supposed to check back every day for the next couple of weeks, just to be on the safe side. Sideswipe says he has to do the same, and he keeps complaining that Ratchet's taking lessons from Red Alert in being paranoid. That's kinda funny (but I don't say that around Ratchet, of course), but I think he's just being careful. I'd rather visit Ratchet and be in full repair than visit him with a system crash or something like that.
Prime's still worried about the battle, but not because of Megatron's weapon, though that's got to be a worry too since we didn't get a chance to destroy it this time. I think he's worried about those humans that drove up in the middle of it and got out of their cars to watch. Ironhide yelled at them to get out of the fight zone, but I guess they didn't hear him or just didn't care. They just kept taking pictures and cheering us on. It wasn't until the Decepticons were retreating that they finally got back in their cars and drove off. Prowl didn't get a chance to talk to them, otherwise I'm sure he would have had something to say. I guess this has happened a lot lately, and Prime's really worried about it.
Sunstreaker says why are we bothering to help the humans in the first place when they're too stupid to get out of the way of a fight. I don't agree with him, but at the same time, I wonder what they find so interesting about watching us shoot at each other anyhow...
A Dangerous New Hobby - 'Battle-watchers' On The Rise, Say Experts
by Christine Bledsoe
The Oregonian - Oregon Living - January 27
PORTLAND, Or. - Their parents took up birdwatching. Today's teenagers and young adults prefer a more extreme hobby - the new and unsettling phenomenon commonly called 'battle-watching,' where enthusiasts gather at the site of Autobot/Decepticon battles to witness the fighting.
"It's amazing," says Jason Osborne, 23, of Salem, Oregon. "It's nothing like watching it on the news. It's like seeing an animal in a zoo vs. seeing it in the wild -- there's something primal and awe-inspiring about seeing it up close."
Jason has been a self-proclaimed battle-watcher since last spring, when he and a friend were vacationing in New York City during the Decepticons' attempted takeover of the United Nations building.
"The timing was just perfect. There I was, two giant robots duking it out not even ten feet away from my car. The adrenaline was just through the roof. Never had a thrill like that before. It was awesome."
To say Jason is dedicated to his new hobby is an understatement. He receives alerts on his cellphone via the battle-watching website Battletracker.net, giving him the location of an ongoing battle as soon as it's reported to the site. He has quit two jobs on short notice in order to catch a flight to the site of a battle, and has recorded hours of footage of said battles, some of which he sells to TV news stations and some of which he posts on YouTube and his personal website. He also co-moderates Battletracker.net's message board and is working on a book dedicated to his hobby, which he hopes will inspire and educate others who want to follow in his footsteps.
Jason is not alone in his unusual new hobby -- since the Autobots' arrival to the Portland area in 1984, battles between Autobots and Decepticons have drawn curious spectators, though only in the past two years has the 'sport' gained popularity. Some are photographers or filmmakers hoping for pictures or footage, while others are simply attracted to the thrill of witnessing the fighting. While it's not known if battle-watchers have an official organization, websites such as Battletracker.net and GiantRobotBeatdown.com host message boards and blogs for hardcore enthusiasts, as well as records of previous battles, video footage, and even a system that will alert members via IM or Twitter when a new battle is reported.
The Autobots are less than enthusiastic about this newfound hobby, and are concerned for the battle-watchers' safety.
"It's only a matter of time before one of these spectators is caught in the crossfire," Autobot Security Officer Red Alert tells reporters. "We have repeatedly requested that humans stay at least five miles, preferably more, from any ongoing battle. These thrill-seekers who insist on watching the fighting up close are blatantly putting themselves in harm's way."
"Good rule of thumb is that if you can see the fighting, you're too close," Autobot Intelligence Officer Jazz adds. "Keeping the humans safe is our first priority, and we appreciate it when the humans help us do our job."
Lawmakers echo the Autobots' concerns, and legislation is underway to create a mandatory "safety gap" between human spectators and Autobots engaged in battle.
"We understand that sometimes people might find themselves close to a battle through no fault of their own," Senator Brad Weiner of Oregon, D., tells reporters. "But people need to understand that this is war, not an extreme sport, and certainly not a spectator sport. You are literally putting yourself in the line of death if you willingly approach a battle in progress."
Despite concerns from both Autobots and lawmakers, hard-core battle-watchers such as Marcie Jenson are undeterred.
"These are the same people who want to ban tag and dodgeball from schools because they're supposedly dangerous," says Marcie, 17, of Bend, Oregon. "They're freaking out over the littlest things. I've seen half a dozen fights up close and I've never come close to being hit. Watching a NASCAR race is probably more dangerous."
Jason Osborne agrees with Marcie.
"It's a risk you take in order to get a thrill. No risk, no thrill. I've almost been stepped on a couple times, almost got fried by lasers, but I know the risks, and I'm okay with them."
BATTLE ALERT FROM BATTLEWATCHERS.NET
FIGHT'S ON! Dalles Dam, The Dalles, OR, ground and water battle, started 6:34 AM. Bring raingear, weather's bad.
Optimus Prime's Journal
How could this have happened?
Our victory over the Decepticons yesterday was marred by tragedy -- tragedy that, regrettably, could have been prevented. This is not the first time there have been human casualties of a battle, but somehow this is different. This is something I fear will jeopardize all the goodwill we have worked so hard to maintain on this planet.
We were on the verge of driving the Decepticons back, having destroyed their superweapon and foiled their plan to take over the hydroelectric dam at The Dalles. The weather was on our side, the heavy rains and lightning serving to keep the Seekers grounded. Devastator had assembled and attempted an attack, but a few well-placed blasts by Perceptor and Warpath sank him to the bottom of the Columbia River. Megatron had yet to call a retreat, but we all could see the expression on his faceplate -- he knew he had lost, and it was only a matter of moments before he fled to fight another day.
It was in those final frantic moments of battle that someone's missile went astray. We have yet to discover whose shot it was, or even which faction had fired it, but whether it was friendly or enemy fire, the effect was the same. We Autobots watched in horror as the missile veered off course, toward the humans who were gathered on the banks of the river to watch the battle. Some got away in time, but others...
It's a sight that will be forever branded in my optical sensors. The missile struck a vehicle, vaporizing it and its occupants instantly. The vehicles on either side of it suffered heavy damage and are past repair. Several humans are injured, and though we have yet to determine the number of casualties, we know at least two were killed in the blast.
The entire base is devastated. No one can quite believe that this happened. The human media besiege us and demand answers, answers we cannot give them until we discover them for ourselves. We have no idea how this could have happened.
Primus, what have we done?
3 Dead, 7 Injured In Decepticon Attack On Dalles Dam
The Oregonian - Local News - February 3
THE DALLES, Ore. - A surprise attack by the Decepticons on the Dalles Dam yesterday resulted in three deaths, says dam officials and Autobot reports. At least seven more were injured in the attack.
Witnesses claim that sometime during the battle, a missile was blown off course by a wind gust, striking a Ford Taurus parked near the fighting. Two teenagers and an adult who were in the vehicle, presumably watching the battle, were killed instantly. The explosion and flying shrapnel destroyed two more cars and wounded other spectators. Four remain hospitalized in serious condition, while three were treated and released.
"It was horrifying," says dam worker Tony Baldwin. "Like something out of a movie, except this is real. It took me a few minutes to realize that, my God, this really happened."
The victims inside the Ford Taurus have been identified as Marcie Jenson, 17, and Syrena Watts, 16, of Bend, Or.; and Ashton Savage, 20, of Meridian, Idaho. Names of the survivors have not been released.
Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots, could not be reached for comment...
This is monstrously unfair! Thanks to this current scourge the humans call the media, the base has been on full lockdown for days! I can't even leave to make my usual rounds in Portland, or contact Raoul. Why am I being punished for something I didn't even do? Slag, I wasn't even at the battle where this whole mess got started -- I was patrolling along the coast at the time.
Somehow the humans have gotten it into their heads that we're responsible for this. As if we purposefully aimed at the humans and took shots at them. It's their own fault -- they were warned to stay clear of the battle, and they chose not to listen. They have no one to blame but themselves, really. I hear there's talk of the family of one of the girls that died taking legal action against us. Is that even possible? I know human culture more than I know their law system, granted, but seeing as we're not even citizens of this planet, don't we have some sort of diplomatic immunity or something?
The officers are concerned that it was one of our missiles that hit that vehicle, and not a Decepticon missile. I shudder to think that a fellow Autobot could be responsible for this...
I can't recharge at night anymore. The nightmares keep forcing me back online, and I can't even get a full cycle of defrag in. My systems feel all messed up and I know I need to go see Ratchet, but I can't. I just get the feeling that if I go see him, he'll find out... if he doesn't already know...
Primus, what if Prime finds out? How could I face him again? How could I face anyone again? It's bad enough now, me feeling like everyone's got their optics on me -- how much worse will it be if I tell?
I feel sick and guilty, because I know this whole mess with the humans is my fault! If only I hadn't fired that last missile... but Starscream was right there and I was sure I had a clean shot at him... I didn't know the missile would go wild like that... I didn't know the humans were right there...
Oh Primus, it feels like this secret's a dead weight on my spark, and it's going to crush the life right out of me. I feel like I've got rocks in my fuel tank, and no matter how hard I try not to think about it, I can't help it and it just makes the whole sick feeling worse. Primus, I wish I could tell somebody... but how can I tell any of the Autobots? They'll hate me! And if I tell Spike or Sparkplug they'll take the humans' side in all this and call me a menace or something...
I don't know what to do. I know I need to do something, but what? What?
Me Swoop worried about him Bluestreak. Him been out of sorts since last battle. Me Swoop try to talk to him at energon break today and him only say a few words back. That not normal for him Bluestreak.
Me Swoop wonder if them squishies getting fried other day have something to do with this. Him Bluestreak not crazy about them humans like him Tracks or him Jazz, but him not want to hurt them humans either. Maybe him Bluestreak see it up close and it creep him Bluestreak out. Him kind of sensitive about stuff like that.
Me Swoop try talking to him after medbay shift today. Me hope him Bluestreak talk more and not just say one word like lately...
Autobots Take Responsibility for Dalles Deaths: Report Confirms That Autobot Missile Took Lives
The Oregonian - Local News - February 7
PORTLAND, Ore. - In a shocking turn of events, Autobot Leader Optimus Prime has confirmed that the missile that killed four and injured six at the Dalles Dam on February 2 was fired by an Autobot.
"It is with deepest regrets and apologies that we confess that one of our soldiers accidentally took human lives that day," he told a press conference at City Hall this morning. "This is a terrible blow for us as well as for the deceased's families, and we express our solemn apologies."
Optimus Prime also assured the press that the deaths were accidental, and that the Autobots would take all possible precautions to prevent further deaths in the future. Prime also granted permission for law enforcement agencies to investigate the incident.
"The Autobots haven't lied to us before, but still, we just want to confirm what he says," Detective James Bookman told reporters. "We just want to be sure this was truly an accident, and make sure no one can point fingers at the Autobots when this is all over. Above all, we want people to feel safe."
Tensions between the Autobots and the local, state, and national government have been running high since the February 2 battle that killed three and injured seven. Last night the death toll rose to four when Selma Valdez, 32, of Mesa, AZ, passed away at the hospital as a result of injuries sustained in the battle. Two other victims remain hospitalized, though they are expected to recover.
The name of the Autobot who fired the missile has not been released at this time. Optimus Prime has assured the public that the Autobot responsible will be confined to the "Ark" base in Mount St. Hilary until the situation has been fully investigated and resolved. Charges have not been filed at this time...
Victims Of Dalles Attack Deserve Justice
The Oregonian - Letters to the Editor - February 9
Earlier this month, my daughter Marcie was excitedly contemplating her upcoming birthday, high school graduation, and enrollment in college. She adored the outdoors and enjoyed horseback riding, boating, hiking, and wildlife photography. She hoped to get a job with the parks service this summer and pursue a career in forest management. And above all she was a delight to have in our home, bursting with energy and laughter, brightening our lives.
In a moment, a careless being snuffed that light and energy out forever.
Instead of planning for our daughter's college enrollment, we're planning a funeral. Instead of vacationing to the coast in honor of her graduation, we will be traveling there to scatter her ashes. On her birthday this year, instead of celebrating the day she entered our lives, we will be mourning the day she left it.
And our family is not alone -- two other families have lost loved ones. Others have suffered serious injury, and one is even crippled forever. Untold damage has been done, and what is being done in response? Nothing. The Autobots, responsible for all this pain and loss, go unpunished.
If a human takes a life, the price is prison. If these Autobots are truly intelligent, sentient beings as they continue to tell us, why do they not take responsibility for their actions, and why does our government do nothing to give those they harmed justice? They enjoy the privileges living on our world gives them -- let them also live under our laws and suffer the consequences of breaking those laws.
I'm not seeking vengeance -- I'm seeking justice. And I'm seeking protection, for if we don't send the message now that the taking of human life is unacceptable, then who's to say that more innocents won't die further down the road?
The situation with the humans grows tenser with the passage of time -- they are quick to take offense, it seems, but reluctant to forgive. I suppose I can't fault them, for if the situation were reversed -- if a human had somehow taken Autobot lives -- it isn't a stretch of logic to believe we would harbor a similar grudge. But this sudden suspicion and demand for "justice" is growing ridiculous. This was a freak accident, despite the humans' efforts to prove otherwise. Had Bluestreak fired upon the humans intentionally and in cold oil, it would be a different matter altogether, but at most he is guilty of what the humans call manslaughter, not murder. What more do they want of us? His catalyc data assembly on a pike?
Ever since his confession to Swoop, who then relayed the matter to Optimus Prime, Bluestreak has refused to come out of his quarters. I informed him that such measures were unnecessary, as he was merely confined to the base and not his room, but he seems determined to cut off all communication with his comrades. He only allows Hound in to deliver his daily energy, and even then they exchange no conversation. We have grown so used to his constant chatter that his complete silence now is disturbing.
Swoop has been acting out of sorts lately as well, and he has confessed that he feels guilty for "ratting Bluestreak out." Ratchet is trying to convince him that he acted responsibly given the situation, but I'm unsure if that will help. Before this incident Bluestreak and the Dinobot had been friends; now Swoop is concerned that his actions have terminated said friendship.
To make matters worse, a lawyer representing the family of one of the deceased humans stopped by the Ark this morning. Our citizenship status on this planet has never been fully clarified, so we are unsure whether diplomatic immunity covers this situation or not... but regardless of our status here, the family demands that Bluestreak stand trial for the death of Marcie Jenson.
I cannot help but be concerned about this new sequence of events unfolding. The last time the Autobots were put on trial... to say it didn't go well would be an understatement. Since then we have hired a lawyer to tend to our legal affairs on this planet, so we are somewhat better prepared at least. Let us hope history doesn't decide to repeat itself...
Numb. That's the best way to describe how I feel now. I feel numb. I can't bring myself to feel fear or dread about my upcoming court date. I guess that's good -- maybe I'm less apt to get emotional and screw up in front of a judge.
Hound keeps trying to get me to talk, and says that I can't keep holding it in. He says it'll only end up hurting me worse. But what's to let out? Everyone already knows all there is to know, thanks to Swoop spilling it. And everyone calls ME the chatterbox... I thought I could trust him, and now... now I feel like he betrayed me. Why couldn't he wait for me to tell? I would have sooner or later...
This is almost worse than when the Decepticons destroyed Neucron. At least then, despite losing everything I'd ever known, I knew it wasn't my fault. True, I felt guilty for surviving when everyone else had deactivated for a long time afterward, but at least I knew that I wasn't responsible for what happened. This time, I know it's my fault, and that's the most horrible feeling.
Prime says we meet with the court at the end of the month, to try and get this whole mess sorted out. I almost don't care anymore...
A Weed in the City of Roses - Thoughts on being a transplanted New Yorker on the wrong coast
A blog by Tyler Marshall
Before pulling up my roots in Brooklyn, I was under the assumption that there could be nobody tougher than a New York cop. Just as it takes a special breed of person to thrive in the Big Applesauce, it takes a special breed of cop to keep NYC's crime at a somewhat manageable level. When you live in a city where the pedestrians can walk by a bleeding corpse on the sidewalk without blinking an eye and dodging crackheads and taxicabs (and even taxicabs driven by crackheads) is just part of your morning commute, you expect the police force to be one of a kind.
Then I made my great journey west -- about a hundred and seventy years too late to join the historic wagon trains, sadly, but what can one do? -- and I realized that New York cops have got nothing on the noble men and women of the Portland Police Department. Not only do these brave troopers have to put up with the normal lunacy a big city throws at them on a daily basis, but they find themselves pulling over giant alien robots to write them up for speeding, reckless driving, or playing keep-away with a stolen fire hydrant. (Not making that last up, by the way...) And doing so with a completely straight face no less, which is probably more than most of us could do.
Which brings me to the topic of today's blog. I'm sure most of the Internet has already heard about this, but for those of you who just crawled out from under your rock, there was a big battle at the Dalles Dam in Oregon earlier this month that ended up killing four people. This isn't the first time humans have died as a result of a big robot battle, but this does mark the first time that an Autobot was found responsible for the deaths. (Which Autobot, you ask? I haven't a clue -- apparently the Prime is keeping his mouth shut about that.)
Needless to say, a lot of the world is pitching a fit about this, especially here in Portland. The media's pretty much camped out in front of their base, and the legislation calling for a mandatory safety distance between battle sites and humans, once pretty much stalled, has received a huge publicity campaign now. And the family of one of the victims apparently wants to take the Autobots to court now.
I don't envy the cops who have to arrest an Autobot for manslaughter. Do they make handcuffs big enough for them? Maybe the Portland Zoo has some kind of elephant restraints they can donate. Once they get him in prison -- if they can find a cell strong enough for him -- I don't envy his cellmate. That guy's going to have no elbow room whatsoever. And if they manage to get the giant robot to fit in the courtroom, will they make him swear on the Bible? I don't know if Autobots have a religion. Maybe a computer manual can stand in for the Bible, I don't know...
Okay, I'll stop. It's really not that funny. But let's be honest -- this whole thing is just as ridiculous as it sounds. Taking the Autobot to court over this is not only a rather dumb idea, it's a waste of time for everyone involved. It's not like the Autobot deliberately took aim and fired into the crowd, right? It was a complete accident.
At least, a complete accident on the robot's part. The humans who were stupid enough to get close and watch the battle can only blame themselves for what happened to them. Seriously, most of us are smart enough to back the hell off when we see bullets flying between humans. So wouldn't it make sense to do the same when it's giant robots that are shooting at each other and stomping all over the place? Do the math, people -- if that gun's powerful enough to take down a Decepticon, it's probably going to reduce you to a greasy smear in the dirt.
If I were in charge of this case, I'd say find the Autobot guilty of manslaughter at the very worst, and make the Autobots pay a fine or do community service. And push that bill through that'll make it illegal to knowingly approach a battle in progress. Maybe we can stop this tragedy from happening again -- by encouraging people to use common sense. If they don't care about risking their own lives, maybe they'll start caring when said risking lands them with hefty fines or jail time.
And though this may sound harsh, I say give the people blown up in the battle a Darwin Award. Seriously, if humanity's going to survive having giant robots in our midst, it'll do us good to get the "likes to watch giant robots fight" gene weeded out as quickly as we can.
This is getting fragging ridiculous! I can't even go outside anymore without getting pelted with rocks and garbage by the stupid humans! It's almost as bad as that time when Megatron framed us for attacking the oil fields.
Okay, so technically I wasn't supposed to be outside, but a mech's gotta have fresh air, ya know? I get fidgety being locked inside the base all day. I just wanted to take a drive, stretch my servos, get away from the lunatics. We're all getting stir-crazy, and a mech's gotta get out and about before he explodes.
Anyhow, I'd barely even made it downtown before the humans noticed me, and they freakin' flipped out! One of them shouted "Hey, it's an Autobot!" and they started yelling at me for no reason. They kept shouting stuff like "E.T. go home!" and "Get out of our city, murderer!" and worse. What the frag, dude? I hadn't even done anything! If I'm going to get yelled at by anybody, I fraggin' well better deserve it.
I probably should have kept my yap shut, but I told them to frag off and I had as much right to be here as they did. And they started chucking stuff at me! Some guy hurled his beer and it landed on my seats -- I'll never get the smell out, I'm sure -- and I've got a crack in my windshield and dings in my hood from where cans and bottles and rocks hit me. I had to turn around and hightail it out of there before they came after me with crowbars and who know what else. And then three blocks later I get pulled over for making an illegal U-Turn! Excuse me, I was trying to save my chassis! What was I supposed to do, sit there and let them pummel me?
Gah... stupid humans. Makes me wonder how they managed to evolve this far sometimes.
Bluestreak's court date's coming up soon. Wonder if he even knows about it -- ever since that battle he's pretty much become a hermit, locking himself in his room. I'd blame him for this whole mess, but I feel sorry for him really. He's punished himself enough for accidentally killing the humans, and he doesn't really need any more slag about it. Just hope the judge thinks the same when they get to court...
EMERGENCY PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT
Authorities are encouraging residents of Portland and the surrounding area to be on the lookout for a fugitive Autobot, reported at large since 3:30 this morning. He was last seen in Gresham, Oregon at 7:30 this morning, heading east toward the Columbia River.
Residents are strongly encouraged to remain indoors and avoid strange vehicles until the suspect is apprehended. The suspect is approximately twenty-five feet tall, silver with black and red details, and a prominent red "chevron" on his forehead. In vehicle mode, he is a silver Datsun Fairlady-Z with Oregon license plates and an Autobot insignia on the hood. The suspect is under investigation for manslaughter, and is assumed to be armed and dangerous.
If you have any information regarding this Autobot, please call the Autobot Information Hotline or the Multnomah County Sheriff's Department using the numbers on the screen.
This alert covers the Multnomah, Clackamas, Columbia, Washington, and Yamhill Counties of Oregon, and the Clark and Skamania Counties of Washington. Further updates will be provided as more information comes in.
10:46 AM -- FEBRUARY 22
OPERATOR: 911 dispatch, state the nature of your emergency.
CALLER: I just saw that Autobot that was on the news!
OPERATOR: Can you give me a location, ma'am?
CALLER: I'm at The Dalles right now. The Autobot just passed me on the freeway!
OPERATOR: Calm down, ma'am. How long ago was this?
CALLER: Just now! I dialed as soon as I saw him!
OPERATOR: What mile marker did you just pass, ma'am? We need a location...
CALLER: I don't know... wait, he's taking the exit at The Dalles... I'm following him...
OPERATOR: Ma'am, I must advise you to keep your distance from the Autobot. We have police en route right now. For your own safety, please stop following...
CALLER: He's heading for the dam! Oh God, he's returning to the scene of the crime...
OPERATOR: Ma'am, for your own safety, please pull over immediately. Do not keep following the Autobot.
CALLER: I'm not, I just pulled into the rest area by the dam. He's transforming now... he's walking out to the dam...
OPERATOR: Does the suspect appear to be armed, ma'am?
CALLER: I don't know... he's not carrying a gun, but I think there's some kind of missiles on his shoulders... he's actually on the dam now...
OPERATOR: If you could stay on the line until help arrives, ma'am, we would greatly appreciate it. An Autobot and military task force is on its way.
CALLER: He's standing on the dam now.
OPERATOR: Does he appear to be causing damage to any structures?
CALLER: No, he's just standing there. Kind of looking out at the water... I can't see his face very well from this distance, but he looks kind of... oh my God, I think he's going to jump!
OPERATOR: Have the police arrived yet?
CALLER: Yes, I see a few of their cars... and a helicopter, did they send a helicopter? Tell them to hurry, I really think he's going to jump...
OPERATOR: Thank you for your help, ma'am. You can disconnect now. Please continue on your way and don't approach the scene.
CALLER: Okay. You've been wonderful, thank you.
Man, Bluestreak scared the daylights outta us today. Not to mention the humans, but that was for different reasons.
Hound woke the officers up at some Pit-forsaken hour this morning to report that Bluestreak had up and vanished. Don't think any of us wanted to believe him, but Red Alert checked the cams and found out Blue'd snuck out of the base entirely. None of us had any idea why he'd taken off, but seeing as he's been so depressed lately, Prime said it was best if we went after him and brought him back before he did something stupid.
Think it might have been a mistake telling the humans we'd lost track of him, but at the same time, if we hadn't told them, they'd have pitched a fit. Or a bigger fit than they did anyhow, I'm guessing. To make a long story short, once they found out he was gone they sent the military out to help us find him. I thought it was overkill, but you try telling General Ripper that. (Nah, that ain't the human's name, but he might as well have been called that -- guy was all set to go blowing up poor Blue and every other silver car in the state just to make sure the job was done.)
Sometime this afternoon we finally got a call saying some lady had called 911 by the dam, saying Bluestreak was up on the dam and looked ready to jump off. They were making a big deal out of it too, though it was really kinda silly that they were -- a fall off the dam wouldn't have killed a Cybertronian, and he wouldn't have drowned or nothing. Short-circuited, maybe, but that ain't fatal. Guess these humans tend to forget that for all we have some things in common, we ain't human.
Took us a spell to get there, but thank Primus nobody'd done anything stupid before we got there. Bluestreak was still standing on the edge of the dam, looking like he was searching for something. And the humans were making a circus of it -- cop cars and army trucks everywhere, sirens and bullhorns going, people yelling at Blue and each other. All they needed was a tent and a ringmaster.
Prime finally told the humans to scoot, we had it handled now. General Ripper tried to argue, but Prime pointed out that Blue hadn't done no harm, and they were just gonna make things worse if they got in the way. Don't think the general liked that, but don't really think he was in a position to argue either.
While they were talking, I went out on the dam and joined Bluestreak. He acted like he didn't even hear me, just kept staring off in the distance.
"Oh... hey Jazz." He sounded kinda distracted.
"You gave us a scare, man. Why doncha tell someone next time you wander off?"
"I had to come here," he told me, not answering the question. "I had to think."
"Oh... stuff." He kept looking off in the distance.
"Blue, I know you feel bad about th' human," I told him. "An' I don't wanna push ya t' talk if y' don't feel like it. But ya gotta stop being so vague, too. Tell us what's goin' on. Or at least come on back home and talk there."
Blue didn't say anything for awhile. Then he spoke up. "I don't want to go back, Jazz."
"Because I've ruined everything for the Autobots now. The humans hate us now, and it's all my fault. I heard what they did to Sideswipe, and saw the dents... Maybe things would be better for the Autobots if I left the planet. If I wasn't around to screw everything up."
"Now don't talk like that, Blue. You didn't ruin anything. Th' humans got their wires in a twist right now, but they'll cool down. An' everyone knows it was an accident... well, everyone important, anyhow."
"Don't the Autobots hate me now? For turning the humans against them?"
"Blue, we couldn't hate you. Matter of fact, we're worried about ya. We'd miss ya if ya left... slag, we miss ya now! Much as people like to complain 'bout th' resident chatterbox, they missed it in a hurry when our chatterbox went quiet. Prime's worried about ya, Prowl's worried, Ratchet's worried, Hound's worried, and Swoop's been downright miserable. Don't think he's forgiven himself for what happened..."
"Swoop?" Bluestreak turned to face me.
"He made a mistake too," I pressed on, "but don't we all, Blue? No one's perfect, an' sometimes our mistakes have big consequences. But moping about 'em don't do any good. All we can do is pick ourselves up again an' do what we can t' make it better."
"How can I make it better? Jazz, I killed the humans! How do I make THAT better?"
"Well... sometimes we can't make it all better. But we do th' best we can, don't we?"
Blue hesitated. "W-what do I do, then?"
"Well, for starters, come back home with us. An' try talkin' t' someone about it. We all wanna help ya, Blue, believe it or not. Have a little faith in us."
Bluestreak seemed to ponder that a spell. Then he turned and followed me off the dam. Took some more arguing with the general before the army was satisfied things were under control, but in the end they finally packed up and left as well.
Blue's still not better, of course -- he's still kinda shaken and moody. But he's at least talking again, and that's a start. Think, given some time, he'll finally be the Bluestreak we all know and love, and things'll be back to normal.
Still got the court date to worry about, though, and that'll probably decide just how long things take to go back to normal.
Autobot Bluestreak Pleads Guilty To Involuntary Manslaughter
The Oregonian - Local News - March 2
PORTLAND, Ore. -- Autobot Bluestreak entered a guilty plea for four counts of involuntary manslaughter on Monday, confirming his identity as the Autobot responsible for the February 2nd deaths of Marcie Jenson, Syrena Watts, Ashton Savage, and Selma Valdez and injured six others. Charges for the injuries have been dropped in return for the guilty plea.
Bluestreak testified before the court that the missile he fired in the battle was aimed at a Decepticon fighter, but that a sudden wind gust blew it off course and toward the humans gathered to watch the fighting. Autobot scientists confirm that there was no way to alter the course of the missile once it changed its trajectory, and that there was no malice toward the humans intended. Given this evidence, the court concluded that the deaths were neither premeditated nor the result of negligence on the part of the Autobots.
"I've seen enough evidence to determine this was nothing more than a terrible accident, and that the Autobots are not at fault," Judge Robert Wolff told reporters this morning.
Prosecuting attorney Tony Muller, representing the family of Marcie Jenson, attempted to raise the charges to criminally negligent homicide, but was unable to provide sufficient evidence of criminal negligence on the part of Bluestreak. He and the Jenson family were unavailable for comment.
"We're simply relieved that this is over, and that we have proven that we mean no harm to humankind," Autobot Tactician Prowl told reporters. "Greater care will be taken on our part to keep humans out of the crossfire, of course, but we hope to maintain humanity's trust in us, and prevent this tragedy from happening again."
Another court date will be set to determine Bluestreak's sentence, if any, and whether restitution will be paid to the survivors and the families of the victims. No date has been released at this time...
I guess the only reason I didn't have to serve any kind of jail sentence is because there's not a prison on this planet that can hold a Cybertronian. So I got a couple years' probation instead. It basically means I'm stuck in the Portland area unless I'm with Prime or another officer, and I can't carry a firearm unless I'm in battle. And I have to wear a GPS unit wherever I go so they can keep track of where I am. I know it's only for a couple years Earth time, but still, it's going to make things a little more complicated for us.
That and I guess the Autobots are paying a fine, which'll go to helping the families of the people hurt during the battle. I hope they use it wisely. And I hope it's enough, because I know a few of those families have a lot of medical bills and not enough money of their own to pay them...
I still worry that it's not enough to make up for what happened. Even if the judge feels it was an accident, and even though everyone here says it's not my fault, I still feel terrible about it. At least it's not weighing down my spark like it used to.
Like when Neucron was destroyed, I don't think I'll ever get completely over this. But I guess that's a good thing. One of the things that scares us Autobots the most is becoming just as much of monsters as the Decepticons, and with the war still going strong it'll be really easy for that to happen. If I could just shrug this off and let it go, it would mean I'm becoming that monster. Maybe the pain is a good thing -- its letting me know I can still feel and care, and haven't crossed that line yet.
I hear the humans passed a new law today -- Marcie's Law, they're calling it, in honor of one of the humans who died. It's going to make it illegal to knowingly approach a battle, or to refuse to evacuate an area where there's fighting going on. I guess I'm glad something good came from all this, though it's sad that something bad had to happen for the humans to finally get the law in action. Swoop says humans are funny like that, not wanting to fix a problem until it ends up hurting someone really badly...
Well, I gotta run. Swoop and Jazz and I were going to head out to the dam today and visit the little memorial there. It's not official or anything, just a wooden cross a few of the humans set up and decorated with flowers, but it's still pretty nice. Hope nobody minds if a few Autobots stop by to pay their respects...