Danny Phillips is convinced the Transformers are peaceful ambassadors of love and understanding.
Yeah, this is going to be a rude awakening.
Danny Phillips becomes obsessed with the Transformers after being rescued from a fire by Inferno. He is convinced (despite all evidence to the contrary) that they came to Earth to promote peace and understanding and is possessed by the idea of finding them. Hoping to distract her son from his fixation, Jennifer Phillips booked them a vacation in the town of Charlston.
Meanwhile, Optimus Prime continues to doubt the Aerialbots, so he orders Jetfire to take over the unit and undermine the Aerialbots on their mission investigating Decepticon activity in Charlston to see how they hold up. Jetfire thinks this is sucky, but does as he's ordered.
While taking a walk, Danny Phillips finds the Charlston Power Plant seemingly abandoned. Wandering through the buildings, he discovers this is because the Decepticons Skywarp, Starscream and Thundercracker have locked the plant personnel in an energy cage and are converting its output into energon cubes with a power siphon. Skywarp grabs Danny and squeezes—just as the Aerialbots, goaded into overriding Skydive's recommended cautious approach, attack. Skydive accidentally overloads the energon cubes, and Jetfire orders Fireflight (the team's worst flyer) to take Danny to safety. Fireflight drops Danny on the beach near Charlston, where the employees have gathered to watch the distant battle, but his poor flying, combined with the earlier abuse at Skywarp's hands has caused Danny to black out, so the humans think he has harmed the boy.
As the battle takes to the sky, Jetfire is shot down by Starscream, and the Aerialbots form Superion. However, Superion is so crippled by the Aerialbots' various phobias, complexes, insecurities and conflicts that he can only focus on one thing at a time. He grabs Starscream and throws him to the ground—into the (thankfully empty) Charlston Hotel. Heedless of the damage he is causing, Superion begins digging through the wreckage of the hotel to finish Starscream off when Danny, outraged by the utter pointlessness of this battle between the robots he thought were here to make the world a better place, screams at him to stop and look what he's doing. Starscream escapes as Superion struggles to understand...and fails.
Jetfire, having been shot down for most of the battle, did not witness most of the Aerialbots' failings and tells Prime that they only need experience, leaving them to struggle with their dangerous problems on their own. For his part, Danny is bitter to discover that the robots are no better than humans with all their fighting and squabbling, and he throws his scrapbook out into the sea before returning home.
Items of note
- Thundercracker is not named in this story. But seriously, who else would it be?
- This is possibly one of the bleakest Transformers stories ever published. The Aerialbots resent one another's weaknesses, Jetfire is forced to play the bad guy to the new guys (the only Autobots who don't already consider him a "renegade Decepticon"), and Danny's lionisation of and search for the Transformers (with the eventual disappointment, realisation and rejection) is couched entirely in terms evoking Danny's relationship to an absent, never-mentioned father. In the end, Jetfire fails to see the truth, and so the Aerialbots are left to suffer in silence, while Danny does see the truth and is forced to accept that there is no meaning in suffering—it simply is.