An aging trucker befriends a Mini-con fleeing the war on Cybertron.
Writer: David Bischoff
Originally published: In the Transformers Legends anthology, November 2004
On approach, QuickFire notices the distressed thought-pattern of a human telepath Jake Williams and, attracted to Jake's vintage 57 Ford pickup, lands near him. Though RipTide falls into stasis-lock after reconfiguring himself into a Streamliner truck (drawn from the former-trucker Jake's memories), QuickFire, linked to his Autobot partner, is able to control him.
QuickFire uses electromagnetic therapy to revitalize the aged Jake, and make him an attractive offer; return to trucking, to better conceal them from Decepticon detection while he attempts to revive RipTide. Jake accepts.
For seven months, Jake and QuickFire crisscross the country, taking freight. Jake will drive until he's sleepy, then QuickFire takes over. This, combined with QuickFire's finessing of the weigh-stations with anti-gravity has them living very comfortably while RipTide, though not yet awake, makes steady progress.
But, discovering that a fight between the Autobots and the Decepticons in Yellowstone National Park threatens to create a mega-volcano that would devastate the American west coast, they reluctantly break cover to inform Optimus Prime. RipTide awakens on the way, and when Megatron threatens to destroy Optimus, he attacks the Decepticon leader directly. When Megatron rips QuickFire (who transforms into RipTide's engine block) out, Jake launches his pickup off a cliff into Megatron, causing him to lose the Mini-Con. He follows this injury with insult- a pair of shotgun shells.
After the battle, Optimus Prime promises to retrieve and restore Jake's pickup, but surprises everyone by not wanting RipTide and QuickFire to remain with the Autobots. Rather than be targets for Megatron's plans to capture Mini-Cons, he orders them to return to their happy life hauling cargo across America's wide highways.
Lonesome Diesel takes the place in its own unique continuity, a hydrid of elements from Armada and Generation One (generally favoring Armada.) Distinguishing elements include: Shockwave among the Decepticons, Hot Shot among the Autobots, Iacon and portions of the Primus mythology otherwise only found in Generation One, not Armada continuities. The Autobot and Decepticon presence on Earth was the stuff of conspiracy theories up until a few years prior to the present of Lonesome Diesel's 2004 publication, but is now widely known.
This is, specifically, a result of the author's lack of Transformers knowledge, all of which appears to have been derived from a reading of Dorling Kindersley's Transformers: The Ultimate Guide. The intent basically appears to be place the action in the Armada universe, but the landmarks of Cybertron listed in the story (the Sonic Canyons and the Well of All Sparks) are some of those specifically listed in the map of Cybertron in the guide's G1 section, and the members of the Decepticon ranks listed alongside Megatron - Starscream, Shockwave and Skywarp - are specifically those who are given profiles on the G1 "Decepticons" page of the guide.
- Jake's shotgun goes from being cradled in his hands, to stowed in the back of his truck, then back into his hands. Whups!
- The earliest encounters with Autobots and Decepticons in this continuity apparently took place in Japan.
- Mini-Cons appear vanishingly rare in this continuity; neither side has any.
- Unlike the real world, Lonesome Diesel's Yellowstone National Park is a dangerous tectonic hot zone on the edge of disaster. This difference may be a result of the Mini-Cons buried long ago under the park.
- "Oh, John Wesley Harding on crutches!" - Jake Williams, swearing in amazement
- "I'll get you human, and your little dog too!" - Megatron, just been pee'd on by Yeller