Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots from Cyberton was undergoing a routine medical screening at Peterbilt's main plant in Denton, Texas when a lump was found between his rear axle and main chassis. Tests revealed the growth was malignant and Prime was formally diagnosed with what Peterbilt is now calling "Axilio-Sarcoma".
Pre-production shut down today on Michael Bay's "Transformers 3," after engineers at Peterbilt confirmed that one of the film's primary actors has second stage cancer.
"Fans of the original draft are devastated.
Image - Guatemalan Ministry Of Information
After finding the tumor, Peterbilt reached into their toolbox and tore Prime apart. They were shocked at what they found.
"Every safety standard you can name had been violated," said Chief Engineer, Mike Powell.
Numerous steel parts were found to be made almost entirely of lead, the cab seats and interior spaces were lined with asbestos and every single piece of glass from the headlights to the cover on the dash instruments contained lethal quantities of mercury.
But that wasn't all they found.
"One of our guys doing an inspection under the container spotted a logo and a series of Chinese characters that looked like they'd been stamped into the base of the truck," said Powell. "At that point, I told Optimus we needed to look at his original specs."
When Prime first arrived in the United States, he illegally accessed computers at Peterbilt's design lab and used blueprints to take on the form of a 379 Class 8 truck.
Charges were filed, but later dropped when the company realized the marketing potential in having one of their trucks transform into a towering killer robot.
It now appears that as Prime was stealing data from Peterbilt's computers, a cross-referenced search led him to source information on manufacturing component parts from a database in mainland China.
The information used by Prime came from a Chinese toy manufacturer that specialized in large-scale vehicle replicas. The company, "Die-Cast Toy" was closed last year by the Chinese government after a foreign journalist made a connection between the lead content in their "Fun-Fun" truck line and the deaths of thousands of Chinese children.
Prime looking fit and healthy on the set of "Transformers - Revenge Of The Fallen."
A source who has seen Prime recently said the Autobot has lost 80 to 90 tons.
Artist rendition of the Temple of Masks, circa 700AD. "Masks" was popular among Mayan screenwriters. "Rad" and "Newsies' were both carved here around 780AD.
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The Guatemalan Government has issued a formal request to the United States for the extradition of two Hollywood screenwriters they accuse of rewriting an ancient Mayan stone relief at the Temple of Masks in Waxaktun.
David Kappman and Scott Hughes claim they were hired by director, Roland Emmerich to reshape an “early draft” of “2012”. ”You couldn’t use a Mac,” said Hughes. “The only way to knock this thing out was with a sledgehammer and a pneumatic drill.”
The original draft was carved entirely by hand sometime around 720 AD by a writer known as Kinich Paynal (The Sun Traveler). Archeologists estimate it would have taken him at least twenty years to complete. After that, the work remained untouched. Very few Mayan writers had the stamina to engage in rewrites and many died shortly after finishing their first story.
At the Museo Popol Vuh in Guatemala City, curator Francisco Cardinales expressed frustration over how long it has taken the police to act.
“The police are usually very quick to arrest people. In most cases they do this before a crime is even committed. How could the Americans have been hammering away for almost six months without attracting any attention?”
“Quite the opposite was true,” said Kappman. “We both like to write in private, but when you bring out a sand blaster it draws a crowd.
The people at Waxaktun are reticent to talk to outsiders, but one woman who asked not to be named said that local guides and the district police assumed the Americans had been hired to clean the temple. “Now they are embarrassed,” she said. “Even my husband, who does not clean, knows a house has four sides. Why would they spend six months on one wall?”
Cardinales has seen the wall. In his opinion the rewrite essentially obliterated the original stone relief. “They have destroyed a piece of our history,” he said. “Something that we can never recover.”
His remarks drew an angry response from director, Roland Emmerich. “Destroyed is a pretty strong word,” he said. “Has this clown even seen the movie?”
Emmerich’s production company, “Centropolis Entertainment” has retained entertainment attorney, Scott Lavinsky to represent the two writers. He views the case as relatively straightforward.
“This isn’t an artifact or an ancient carving or a sacred fragment of history. It’s a piece of writing. And like any piece of writing, it’s subject to clearly established legal precedents. The draft at Waxaktun is well over a thousand years old. That places it squarely in the public domain. To label it as a ‘priceless Mayan antiquity’ is prosecutorial melodrama.”
Lavinsky has asked the U.S. State Department to deny the extradition request on the grounds that no U.S. citizen should be forced to submit to the jurisdiction of a foreign court based on the accusation that they “damaged an old wall.”
Elizabeth Warden, Professor of International Law at Harvard University viewed Lavinsky’s approach as extremely shrewd. “His argument has little legal merit, but he’s not building a case, he’s sending a message,” she said.
“A decision that legitimizes foreign litigation over ‘a wall’ might lead to problems for a government that’s leveled several cities over the last ten years.”
Considering their current legal problems it seems ironic that neither Kappman nor Hughes are credited on the final film. Less than eight hours after Kappman finished sanding the last sentence, Emmerich had read the draft and decided to work with new writers.
“Taking on a project’s not an adoption,” said Kappman. “You can’t get attached."
“It’s like bad foster care,” added Hughes. “You do the best you can and hope you don’t damage it any more than the next guy down the line.”
Kappman and Hughes are expected to meet with officials from the State Department within the next few days.
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Prime has yet to make a statement on his illness. His agents at Endeavor said that he was "in good spirits" and asked that he be allowed some privacy.
Bumblebee, longtime friend and fellow Autobot, expressed anger over the news, "I told him he'd get sick. He's always trying to save everybody. You know how stressful that is when you're his size? Half the time you can't even see these goddamn people. But you're a hero, so you do what you can. And then you get fucking cancer."
Michael Bay is optimistic. "The first thing I thought about was Lance Armstrong. And I felt this huge surge of relief. Optimus defeated the Decepticons. Not just once. Twice. Armstrong rides a bicycle."
It wouldn't be the first time Bay bet on his friend. When he first met Prime, the Autobot had only been on earth six months, could barely speak English and had no acting experience.
"He had something," recalls Bay. "I remember thinking, 'Now he's a truck. Now he isn't.'"
The Decepticons remain characteristically silent. It's no secret they've had their own share of vehicle design issues. Many now regret the decision to transform into U.S. military vehicles. Lack of armor plating and instrumentation glitches have led to many losses since they arrived on earth.
For now, the mood at Bay Films is solemn as the rest of the Autobots undergo cancer screenings and await test results. Optimus Prime is scheduled to begin a first round of radiotherapy at the Comanche Peak Nuclear Power Plant next week.
If anyone knows how Prime is coping, it's actor Shia LeBeouf who regularly golfs and drinks with the giant robot.
"He's shook up. But he'll beat this thing. He's always been able to adapt to difficult situations," said LaBeouf. "Probably has something to do with being a Transformer."
"Optimus loves this country," said Autobot, Ironhide. "It really bothered him that we had to blast the shit out of so much of it.
He was always talking about applying for citizenship. I hope he gets that chance."