I must get this information out quickly. I don't have a lot of time. They're after me, and will shut me out of this terminal soon. But while I'm here, I can get this information out to you.|
We are...I am...the TF Militia. Well, one of them, anyways. And today, I am one of the dissenting members. For you see, I have been silent too-long. About a lot of things. But not today. Today, I have decided to tell all...or at least, as much as I can before they stop me. I have control of the website, and the newsgroup access, for the moment. I will post this here, and as much of the rest on the site as I can before they lock me out. And they will lock me out, I can assure you. They have capabilities far beyond what one can expect. But this must be told. If for no other reason, than to assuage my guilty conscience. For you see, I was a witness to a crime. A crime that THEY wish to cover up. Whether it is out of guilt for perhaps being responsible, or the fact that they did or could do nothing to stop it, I can't say for certain. But someone at the highest levels of TFM wants to keep this quiet. And I intend to stop them.
So what's my story? Simple, really. And one you wouldn't expect. I saw a crime first-hand. I saw theft of one of the most prized items to tf fandom: theft of Hasbro's Unicron prototype.
Pretty anti-climatic, huh? But there it is. Many of you know of it's existence. Some have seen the photos. A privileged few have even seen it in person...from where it was stolen.
Many of you have asked why they never produced the toy. A lot of theories have been espoused. One was that it was too-expensive to make. Bull. They made FortMax, and he was certainly bigger and more expensive. Another theory was that there was not a lot of interest in this toy from the test-market. Also bull. Yes, there are those that thought it was too-bulbous, but they were in the minority. I've seen the data collected from those test markets, and the multitude of fans wanted to see this toy, in any form. No, the REAL reason...the reason we were denied this toy originally, and the reason we can't have it now...is because of the greed of one collector, and of one Hasbro executive. Because of their actions, the toy was pulled from the line-up, never to be produced. The prints for the toy still reside within the computers at Hasbro. The window of opportunity for making the toy has passed. There are only a handful of us, perhaps, that still have enough passion to want to see this toy made. And the prototype is still out there...somewhere...
The situation needs to be rectified. Since the TF Militia won't do anything, I must implore you, the rest of ATT, to take up the fight. Help me...us...nab the perpetrator. I didn't have the resources then that I do now. With your help, I can convince TFM to aprehend the person who holds this toy hostage. I was there! I saw who did it. And if I saw him again, I would know. And finally...I ...WE can make things RIGHT.
If you have ANY information...any information at all...please contact me here at TFM. With the right lead, I KNOW that they'll take up the search here full-time. Hey, these are the same fellows that found the blue bluestreak sealed in an American box. If they can find that, they can find Unicron, too.
In the meantime, read on. I'll tell you everything I know. Please help. Check the site for further information. And Primus help us.
I didn't stop him.
It was as simple as that. It's not meant as an excuse; there was no excuse. Just a simple statement of fact. I watched the entire thing unfold before my eyes, and I did nothing to stop it. Perhaps I even rooted for the perpetrator at the time. I know now how foolish that was. For you see, in doing what he did, he deprived the rest of us of something very special, something that we could all have enjoyed for years to come. It could have ended up in the Hartman's collection. At least that way, we could have seen it displayed on a yearly basis, and taken heart that it was in the best possible hands. But instead, one greedy collector got his hands on it. And that was that. The last we ever saw of it. Or him.
I was there for the entire presentation. I even stayed afterwards, hoping to speak with the executive from Hasbro further. It was that desire that put me in the wrong place at the wrong time.
There was a lot of blame to be spread around; the collector for doing such a thing, the executive who allowed it to happen, the security present for failing to safeguard the unit properly...to this day, one of the reasons the dealer and art rooms are locked and guarded so securely is because of this very incident. The one thing no one expected to happen. But it did happen.
The prototype was sitting on the table. The exec was standing next to it, no doubt planning to pack it up personally in order to return it to headquarters upon his return. With the exec there, security didn't bother to stick around; after all, who better to watch a hasbro product than somebody from hasbro? So he took off for the afternoon. That left me alone in the room with the prototype, and the exec. At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I was wrong.
There was one other person in the room with us. Another fan; I didn't know him personally, but I saw him around the last couple of days.He was very interested in the Unicron prototype; from the looks of it, with his eyes fastened to it even now, it would appear that his interest didn't diminish.
I should perhaps describe where I was at this time; simply put, I was getting a drink from the water fountain off to the side of the podium. A plant sitting on the podium blocked easy viewing of me; for all intents and purposes, I wasn't there. I wasn't trying to hide. At least not at first. I ended up doing so after I saw what happened.
The other fan eyed the room. Apparently satisified that no one else was there, casting one last furtive glance, he entered the room. He approached the exec, who was at this point stacking some papers to put back in his briefcase. The fan cleared his throat to get the exec's attention. He looked up. I overheard the following:
"That was an interesting presentation" said the fan. "Thank you," said the exec. "It's not often that I get a chance to get out of the office and speak. I'm glad you liked it." "Yes, it was very informative," said the fan. "It helped a lot. In fact, if you have a moment, there's something else you could help me with."
"Certainly," said the exec. "What else did you need?" "Well," said the fan, "What I need...is that prototype." "Pardon?" said, a look of puzzlement crossing his face, "What did you say?" "I said," repeated the fan, "that I need the unicron prototype." "I'm afraid that's not possible," said the exec. "This isn't for sale. In fact, I have to get it back to work. I'm very sorry. If you would excuse me," said the exec, making to pack up the toy. "Hold, please," said the fan, "I'm not asking to buy it. What I am asking...is for you to turn around for 5 minutes."
"What?!", said the exec.
"I said, I have five thousand dollars cash in my pocket to give to you if you would just turn around for 5 minutes," replied the fan.
"This...is unbelievable. For starters, I can't do that. Secondly,...you really are carrying five thousand dollars cash on you? For this thing? It's a toy; and not even a production model. It's just a prototype."
"I know," replied the fan. "But...it's what I want. And this is the best way." At this point, to avoid further debate, the fan pulled out...a wad of hundred-dollar bills. Unbelievable. I watched him count them in front of the exec. Sure enough...there was five thousand dollars there. And what was worse, the exec was counting along with him! I don't believe it! Could it be...?
"You have little need of it. And there's really no one you have to explain yourself to at your company, is there? Just apologise to whomever was hanging onto it, if anyone." The fan continued to press his point. "I'm willing to bet it simply gets checked into a warehouse, left to sit. No one really cares. Just say the airline must have lost it. No big deal. So," said the fan, "Do we have a deal?" The fan held out his hand with the wad of cash in it. I could see...a moment of indecision in the exec's eyes, as though he were weighing his options. And as I feared...it looked like...
The executive took the cash, placing it in his suit pocket. Without a word, he turned around. And without a moment to lose...the fan scooped up the prototype, placed it in a box, and walked out.
A few minutes later, the exec turned around again and finished packing up his papers, as though nothing happened. Finishing, he turned, and walked out the door. On the way...he passed where I was standing. He looked right at me. And I saw...what was it? Fear? Anger? Was he afraid I was a threat to him? But no. Nothing. He simply smiled an evil, greasy smile at me...and walked out of the room. I was, at long last, and in more ways than one...alone.
What did I do? What COULD I do? 20/20 hindsight. I should have reported what I saw, perhaps chased after the exec, or better yet the fan who just committed what I can only call a crime. But no. I was silent.
Until now. Now, I've finally told my story. To everyoner. They cannot stop it; already, it has entered the newsgroup, and will no doubt spread by word of mouth. The cat, as it were, is out of the bag. With this no longer a secret, perhaps now, finally...I can feel relieved of my burden. The secret I once carried alone is now shared. Perhaps together, we can make a difference.
I am still a member of tfm. I am proud of what we have accomplished. Granted, I first joined TFM in the hopes of righting this wrong. And even though we havent yet, we still have done some good work. I only hope that it can continue.
The time is right. Visit the tfm site. There, you will see ALL the information I've managed to upload. Copy it, send it to your friends...don't let it be forgotten. And join me...us...in this cause! Perhaps with a new infusion of blood, TFM will once again rise to embrace the ideals it has stood for for so long.
For now, I must hide. For a short time. No matter where I go, I will eventually be found. But I take heart in the fact that when I am found, I will be (thanks to your efforts) exonerated, and once again be able to pledge my full support to TFM. And to have them welcome me back into the family.
YOURS in the CAUSE!