By Matt TALON Kirkby

    Matthew Kirkby stepped into a snail laboratory, located in an otherwise empty section of the Camelot research facility, and carefully sealed the door behind him. "Doctor Arkeville?" he called to the seemingly deserted room. High-tech equipment filled most of the room's central floor, with more machinery lining the walls: computer consoles and inactive construction robots, along with stacks of metal plates and circuit boards, coils of wire, and containers of coolant and lubricants. Shadows filled the room's almost concealed a Transformer bodyshell, standing headless by the wall. "Doctor?" he called again, more impatiently. He didn't have the time to waste on any foolish-
    "Yes?" a German accented-voice replied suddenly. "Is zat you, Mister Director?"
    "Who else would it be?"
    "Temper, temper, my young friend." Ernst Arkeville chuckled as he emerged from behind one of the computer consoles...his white hair standing up like it always did. "The news reports are most entertaining today." His wrinkled face was set into a grin as he rubbed his hands together.
    "Our Headmasters are working out better than anticipated," Kirkby agreed, not deigning to complain about the breached secrecy that said news reports were causing. If he had to listen to any more of General Edwards’ complaints.... "But the Decepticons have already conquered so much territory.. .it'11 be a long time before they're finally defeated," 'If ever' a voice muttered in his mind.
    The elderly scientist stared up at the lifeless bodyshell with a pleased smile. "Ach indeed. Ah, if only I vas younger then I too might have volunteered to undergo the Bonding process myself." He brushed his hand across the metal leg. "The thrill of combat is certainly exciting.. .though my particular talents have always lurked more around the methods of assisting those who fight, rather than actually carrying a gun myself."
    "On that note-" Kirkby prompted.
    "I thought that vas what you vanted." Arkeville smiled and stuffed both of his hands deep into the pockets of his lab coat. "I am already fully prepared to conduct the experiment." At that moment, the whine of distant jet engines passing high overhead could just be heard faintly. "I suspect that our time here is growing somevhat short."
    "Very much so," Kirkby agreed. "Most of the non-essential staff have already departed." He shrugged. "Hell, almost everybody has left by now...except for the military." Ha shook his head. "Blackrock's going to getting some pretty decent insurance money pretty soon I think." The Decepticons ware closing on their location...and closing fast despite the efforts and early success by the Bonded.
    "Than I trust that ve vill be continuing these experiments in another location?" Arkeville prompted.
    "If we survive that long." Kirkby had undone his tie and now he stuffed it into his jacket pocket. "In the meantime," ha sailed, "we have our own special project to complete, I hope you had no trouble obtaining the necessary programming or equipment?" Kirkby paused in taking off his jacket.
    Arkeville nodded, turning towards the main computer console. "The equipment in this small lab, the programming datachips, everything vas laid out for me. My requests for additional material were granted immediately," He slipped a datachip out of his lab coat and held it up so that light glittered along its edge. "I've not had such easy access to materials since working for Herr-veil, that vas a long time ago. Another time, another var entirely."
    "Let's just get on with it." Kirkby had finished stripping and now he walked gingerly towards one of the multi-armed robots standing near the main computer console. "This thing had better be programmed properly," he muttered as he eyed the motionless arms and their assorted welders and pincers with some nervousness. "And fast-this floor is freezing!" A pity no one had thought of laying carpet in the labs…bare feet and rough concrete did not go together.
    "It is, it is." Arkeville typed a command onto a keyboard, then slid the datachip into a waiting slot. "There, Director, everything is ready for your...transformation." He chuckled at the small joke.
    Kirkby took a deep breath. "Then proceed."
    "Jahowol!" Grinning, Arkeville straightened to military attention ...and clicked his heals together. Then he turned and tapped a final control. "Prepare to be reborn!" Machinery hummed to life. "Ve have ignition!" Robotic arms began to move creaking and clicking as servos responded to preprogrammed commands. Arkeville watched the display carefully and intently.
    The laboratory was completely silent as the machinery and equipment inside it ,shut down and became immobile.
    "Vell?" Arkeville was practically hopping up ar.d down with excitement. "Veil, Mister Director? How do you feel?"
    "I feel very odd," Kirkby took a step, swaying slightly as his foot hit the floor with a loud clank. "How do I look?"
    "Like a knight," Arkeville replied with mild awe. "Like Sir Mordred himself." He eyed the blue-and-black body armour now encasing the Project's director. "You look vary machine-like."
    "Then that part of the experiment apparently worked."
    "Vas there ever any doubt?"
    Rather than reply aloud, Kirkby clenched a gauntleted fist, "I feal…very strange." His voice sounded hollow under his helmet and his eyes glinted behind polarized lenses. "I sense things...memories and information hovering at the edge of my consciousness." He took another step, moving more fluidly then he had before. "I feel... alive!"
    A distant rumble interrupted them.
    "That doesn't sound good," Kirkby said. He could hear alarms starting to wail nearby. "Those are the air raid warnings! The Decepticons must have broken through the outer defenses."
    "Yes, velll ve have our own methods of dealing vith them. Ze military should have the situation in hand. Now, try to combine vith your new body," Arkeville prompted.
    "Don't order me, Doctor. I am the Director of this facility." Ignoring the impending attack, the new HeadMaster was calm as he felt the information in his mind prompt him with orders and commands. He turned towards the modified bodyshell standing in a corner. "Yes, it's all so simple." Jumping into the air-the amour helping him jump higher than would normally be humanly possible-he felt his body twist and contort, limbs bending in impossible directions, until he resembled a robotic head. He settled into place atop the body,
    "Mister Director?" Arkevilla watched as the robot's blue optics flared with light. "It's alive!" he crowed, throwing his fists info the air triumphantly. "It's alive!" Rubbing his hands together, the old scientist asked: "Can you hear me?"
    "Yes, I hear you." The metallic voice was close to Kirkby's usual tone. "We hear you."
    "Ve?" Arkeville repeated. "Who is this 've'? Director, are you sure you're fealing-"
    "You will address us as 'Talon'." A black metal hand closed around the elderly scientist and lifted him, protesting, into the air, closer to the silvery face. "We thank you for your assistance, Doctor, now that we are fully functional, we will take our leave of you."
    "But, our deal!" Arkaville raised his voice, "Director, you promised to ensure the safety of my daughter!"
    "True, but now we no longer have any need to keep such a deal. Your assistance is no longer required." Talon took a step towards the far wall. "No need at all," His hand fell back to his side and he 1et the elderly scientist slip unnoticed from his fingers. "We have an entire world to bring to its knees."
    "Director!" Arkeville called out, desperately from where he had landed atop a stack of crates. "Kirkby!"
    Without replying, Talon raised one arm and its missile launcher fired. The wall exploded outwards,
    Stepping through the rubble, Talon transformed and then took the sky, heading north. Inside his mind, two voices fought and argued...a young Human protested that he should be in total control, and the original Decepticon personality simply laughed at him.