In 1961, a Cybertronian spacecraft known as the Ark crash lands on the far side of the moon after escaping a war-devastated Cybertron. Piloted by Sentinel Prime, it carried the Pillars, technology that could have won the war for the Autobots. On Earth, the crash of the Ark is detected by NASA, and President John F. Kennedy authorizes a mission to put a man on the moon as a cover. In 1969, the crew of Apollo 11 lands on the surface of the Moon to investigate the Ark.
In the present day, the Autobots have forged a military alliance with the United States, assisting in human conflict to prevent humans from destroying themselves. During a mission in Chernobyl, Optimus Prime discovers a fuel cell from the Ark (which awakened Shockwave) that the Soviet Union attempted to use as a power source, resulting in the Chernobyl disaster. Knowing this, Optimus launches his own mission to retrieve the Pillars and revive Sentinel Prime. Just five Pillars remain on-board the vessel, which the Autobots describe as being the means to establish a mobile space bridge between two points and transport matter through. U.S. National Intelligence Director Charlotte Mearing is horrified at this revelation as they could be used to bring an invading army to Earth.