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Discussion in 'Transformers Fan Fiction' started by Meta777, Mar 11, 2013.

  1. Meta777

    Meta777 Dr Pepper Fan

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    Ratchet must have gone through a dozen different ideas during the few seconds he had before the jet reached them. He could simply make a run for it, deeper into the forest, but then the Decepticon could free Nighttrace, and he's have two enemies hunting him. He could prep his weapons and try and shoot it down, but his weapons were not at all designed for attacking high-speed flyers; the Decepticon would win the draw in that case.

    "Oh, what do I do, what do I do?!"

    He was honestly panicking now. He was in no position to outrun the enemy, not suitable to shoot it down, no time to call his comrades and even the Decepticon he had managed to overcome still got the last laugh.

    What did the humans call it? Out of the frying pan and into the fire.

    In the end, only one idea was deemed to hold the solution to this problem; quickly, the Hummer seized Nighttrace by the back of her neck, hoisting her up and holding her in front of him, a tiny part of his processor idly noting she was surprisingly light, and he quickly muttered: "Sorry about this."

    With that said, the Decepticon merely flicking her antenna in response, he assumed a defensive posture just as the sudden clanging of transformation sounded.

    With a howl of thrusters and a powerful impact upon landing, the Decepticon Air Commander Starscream stood before the medic and the UAV.

    Ratchet had never encountered Starscream before in a battlefield scenario; he had heard of the jet, heard of his skills in the air, his pragmatic cruelty and his over-energised ego, but he'd never actually met him. Perhaps spending so much time in the med-bays had been a disadvantage in that regard. In any case, Ratchet felt fear hiss at him as he stood before the larger Cybertronian. Starscream was bigger than he was, possibly stronger, definitely faster, with superior weaponry and capabilities, and the crimson optics flashed with devious eagerness.

    All in all, even with a hostage, Ratchet figured this was going to suck.

    "Well, if it isn't the oh so renowned Autobot medic. What was your name again? Oh right, it was Ratchet the archives designated you as. Sounds a bit like hatchet, but I suppose I can cope with the letter switch."

    The Hummer tensed, being sure to keep as much of Nighttrace in front of him as he could, at least without the gel on her wings touching him. Starscream was certainly enjoying this, this casual banter to a clearly overmatched opponent, especially such a well-regarded medic as this one, but yet, Ratchet was sure there was a touch of cold calculation in the bright red of his foe's optics.

    Starscream may be a self-serving treacherous egotist, but he was clearly deducing what strategies he could use to ensure Nighttrace's safety. After all, one must never underestimate the enemy’s ability to kill, especially if they were cornered and desperate and holding a hostage.

    A tad secure in this advantage, Ratchet replied: "And you are Starscream. I've heard a lot about you, particularly the whole aspect of enjoying stabbing bots in the back."

    Starscream waved his hand with a dismissive air: "Exaggerations, I assure you. It's much more fun to stab them in the front, knowing the last thing they see is my charming smile."

    He flashed said charming smile at the medic, who was suddenly gripped with a thrill that he might just find a knife spontaneously appear through his chest. He gripped Nighttrace a little tighter, and revved his engine apprehensively.

    "Nevertheless, I suppose we should get down to business." The jet continued smoothly, folding his arms with an almost tangible aura of superiority. "Kindly release my soldier, and surrender yourself as my prisoner. I've no mind to needlessly slaughter a medic of your standard, nor am I willing to lose as valued a Decepticon as the one you hold, so let's all relax and go back to my ship in one piece, shall we?"

    "Right." Ratchet grunted, uncomfortably tense and a tad defiant. "Give up my only advantage in this situation and hand myself over to Decepticons. What a concept."

    Starscream shook his head in a patronising fashion: "Ah, Autobot, you're so naive. Even with your prisoner, you must understand you could not possibly hope to overcome me."

    "I don't need to overcome you. I just need to arrange a new deal."

    "Oh? What deal of yours could be better then my offer?"

    "Allow me to elaborate." Ratchet stated, and with that, his free hand suddenly folded down and replaced itself with a lethal laser scalpel, the smooth blade glowing red-hot with energy. He swivelled the blade around so the heated edge was almost touching Nighttrace's throat.

    If Nighttrace was terrified at the thought of losing her life in such a manner, she did not show it, and if Starscream was concerned at the sudden turn of events, he did not show it. The medic promptly elaborated, in as threatening a tone as he could manage: "Here's our new deal, Decepticon. You will fly up into the sky, well out of range, and you will return in one minute, by which time I'll be gone and you can reclaim your soldier. But if you don't agree to that, if you try to take me anyway, I'll kill her."

    This was a grand ultimatum, and Starscream seemed almost impressed with the deadly promise in the medic's tone.

    Emphasis on almost.

    "Ah, what a shame. You know, Ratchet, I'd always heard that you were a very moral individual. A Cybertronian of impressive standards and noble ideals. You never killed if you could help it, only as the ultimate last resort, when all other options were unavailable. And yet here you are threatening to murder my poor soldier. I must admit, I'm disappointed."

    "Don't play processor-analyst with me, Starscream." The Hummer growled, though his threatening tone wavered. "I'm giving you a chance to allow all of us to go free. For your soldier's sake, I would take it."

    "And what if I don't?" The jet sneered, stepping forward with a challenge, the Hummer tensing further at the movement. "What if I refuse your deal? Will you cut her open just to spite me?"

    "I said-"

    "You don't have it in you, Autobot!" Starscream laughed, diabolical, triumphant even before any kind of victory, the medic's posture faltering. "If you had the ability to kill so callously, you would have done it already, many times before this in fact! Oh, I don't need to play processor-analyst with you, Ratchet; I figured you out just from reading your file."

    Ratchet desperately tried to reclaim control of the situation, tried to prevent Starscream's taunt affecting him: "If you don't leave right now, I will kill her!"

    "Then do it, Autobot! Cut open a helpless prisoner for just a few more seconds of sweet life!" Starscream snarled, his previous triumph now replaced with aggression. "Do it, you pathetic coward, and sacrifice every last moral conundrum you have to spite me!"

    The laser scalpel glowed brightly, uncomfortably hot next to the more sensitive plating of the UAV's neck, and Ratchet gripped her tighter still, Nighttrace's antenna flickering in discomfort. The whole situation suddenly seemed brutally intense, a palpable air of grim uncertainty and cruel tension, Autobot and Decepticon facing off with Nighttrace's life hanging between them. Starscream leaned in, optics flashing aggressively, almost daring, almost taunting, and Ratchet-

    Ratchet's optics dimmed, an expression of dawning horror on his face, and he lowered the scalpel, the blade simmering down as its energy flow was shut off.

    The battle of wills was over. He'd lost before it had even started.

    Starscream nodded in agreement to whatever thoughts he could read on the Hummer's face, and calmly stated: "I thought so. You could never do that, could you? Not due to cowardly inability, but simply moral restraint. That's why I like bots like you, Ratchet; you're incapable of maintaining the upper hand."

    Ratchet did not reply, too caught up in the weight of what could have been a lethal outcome. How could he? How could he have honestly contemplated this idea to even this meagre length? Murdering a stasis-cuffed prisoner out of fearful self-preservation; the very thought made him feel viral, a dreadful feeling that hissed at every neural in his body.

    Starscream continued, either unaware or uncaring of Ratchet’s inner plight: "Still, I am disappointed, Ratchet. That was an uncharacteristic thing you just did, threatening to kill my soldier. A coward's act, driven by desperation and fear. Pathetic. Let her go, Autobot, and preserve whatever dignity you have left."

    He obeyed meekly, setting Nighttrace down gently the tree he had first leaned her against before Starscream had arrived; the UAV stared at him with a rather contemplative expression, perhaps amused by an Autobot medic attempting to use her life to secure an edge.

    As Ratchet staggered backwards a few steps, still reeling from his own actions, Starscream moved forward and knelt by his soldier, inspecting her for any damages: "Good, good, no wounds or marks I can see. Other than that grisly gel on your wings, you're in decent shape, Nighttrace. Which is more than I can say for your captor."

    He turned to fix a vehement glare at the Autobot, yet was met with surprise; Ratchet had gone.

    "Oh, he's made a runner." The jet said in bemusement, before removing the stasis cuffs from Nighttrace with a flick of his claws. "Call a Seeker to get that stuff off so you can return to the ship. I'll find our little runaway."

    With that, he stood up tall, crouched down, flared his thrusters and was gone into the sky. Nighttrace watched him go, before shaking some feeling back into her limbs and activating her com-link: "Need a Seeker please."

    Meanwhile, Ratchet was running as fast as he could through the foliage, desperately hoping that maybe Starscream's assessment of Nighttrace might buy him enough time to get away from the Decepticons, get back to the road, get back to the ship. But paranoia hissed at him, informed him he had no hope of outrunning Starscream. Starscream was an infamous hunter, definitely worthy of the Seeker title that he bestowed on his personal drone units.

    Still, he had to try. He couldn't bear the thought of being captured and imprisoned by the Decepticons, couldn't bear leaving his comrades and his apprentice in such a fashion! But then, what if he deserved to be taken by Decepticons? What he could have done to Nighttrace was abominable, and he felt nothing but utter horror at himself for trying to exploit the UAV in such a fashion. Perhaps such a punishment was justified.

    Starscream was right. He'd been a desperate coward-

    A shriek of engines, and Starscream landed in front of him, terrifyingly huge up close. Ratchet grinded to a halt in shock, as the jet sneered: "Going somewhere, Autobot? You didn't think you could leave so quickly, not with demeaning my soldier and insulting my expectations, could you?"

    Ratchet tried to back away, but the larger Cybertronian darted forward and seized him by the shoulders, holding him in place and silencing his futile struggles as the jet leaned in and coldly stated: "But you're lucky, Ratchet. I'm feeling a bit merciful today, so here's our third deal; I'll give you a chance to redeem yourself from that gruesome display. I'll give you a chance to fight me, one-on-one, hand-to-hand. If you win, you go free, and if I win, you will surrender and accept your capture. Sound fair?"

    Ratchet was silent for a moment, comprehending this; a one-on-one battle for his freedom might seem like a brief ray of hope to some, but honestly, he had no hope of winning this fight, and Starscream knew it. The jet simply wanted to humiliate the medic for daring to defy him, and what better to do it than to offer him a possible chance to escape and then pummel him senseless?

    This really had been the worst day to take a drive; if only he'd dealt with his frustrations better and stayed in the safety of the Zeta-1. But a bitter voice in the back of his head noted that he really had no other option at this point, and thus he replied: "I.... I accept your terms."

    "Excellent!" Starscream replied cheerfully, before releasing Ratchet and moving back a few steps, flexing his long arms. "I'm so glad you're listening to reason, Ratchet."

    If he was scared, which he was, he did not show it outwardly. He wouldn't grant the Decepticon that pleasure. So, the medic brought his fists up, defensive, like a human boxer, narrows his green optics in both grim acceptance and defiance. If he was going to lose, he may as well give the Decepticon as hard a job as he could: "No more talk, Decepticon. Come at me-"

    Starscream hit him with all the force of a Raptor before he could even blink. His fist slipped through his arms and slammed into his chest, his torso armour ringing from the blow, as the Hummer was knocked back to the floor, ripping up dirt with the ferocity of his impact.

    The jet laughed in amusement as Ratchet struggled back to his feet, before moving forward and seizing the medic and casually flinging him aside. The Hummer recovered faster this time, managing to roll from the toss into an upright position, and as Starscream moved to deliver more punishment, Ratchet lunged forward, slamming himself into the taller Cybertronian's abdomen and bringing them crashing to the ground.

    Struggling to capitalise on this brief advantage, Ratchet planted himself atop the jet and punched his face as hard as he could, the Decepticon's head jolting from the hit. A second time, and a third, Ratchet punched his foe, but his fourth punch was seized by the jet's claws, and Starscream callously laughed, before wrenching the Hummer off of him.

    The two lurched back to their feet, and again Ratchet lunged, this time aiming a punch at Starscream's hip, but the jet simply slapped the offending appendage off-course, his other hand lashing out and catching the side of Ratchet's head in a sharp blow that staggered the Autobot.

    Before he had a hope of recovering or retaliating, Ratchet's body arched in pain as Starscream's fist dug into his back, before the jet seized the Hummer and bodily threw him up and over, the Autobot crashing through a tree and rolling to a stop at the foot of another, breaking its foundation and bringing it crashing down atop him.

    "Come on, Ratchet, where's the sport in this?" The jet hollered tauntingly. "Have you spent too many years in the med-bay? At least provide a challenge before I drag you back to my ship's brig!"

    Ratchet struggled back to his feet, frame aching, but he muttered defiantly: "You want a challenge? Try this!"

    He seized the fallen tree and as hard as he could, rammed it into Starscream's abdomen, the wood cracking and crumbling against the superior Cybertanium armour. Despite being hunched slightly by the blow, the jet laughed again: "Ha, you think a tree can hurt me?!"

    "It doesn't have to hurt you-" Ratchet replied, before suddenly wrenching it downwards and swinging it back, crashing it into the jet's knee, knocking him off-balance. "-Just needs to set you up for this!"

    Casting the shattered plant aside, Ratchet lunged forward and brought his fists together, slamming Starscream's head between them in a ringing blow that shuddered his whole frame and jiggled his optics in their sockets. But yet, it wasn't enough; Starscream reacted by bringing his own arms around, claws digging into Ratchet, earning a cry of pain, before shoving him away, giving the jet space to get back to his feet.

    "Very good, Ratchet." He declared, no longer quite as smug, but nevertheless a tad pleased. "Pragmatic and brutal. Maybe you aren't as soft as I thought. So maybe I shouldn't be soft either."

    Ratchet had barely regained his bearings when Starscream was upon him. The jet knew no mercy now; every blow was intended to hurt, to weaken, to show just why he was the commander of the Darksyde. Again and again fists slung across Ratchet's face, jerking him this way and that with the ferocity and power behind the blows.

    Starscream then shifted targets, claws digging into his abdomen and drawing Energon before folding back into fists and punching at his chest armour, cracking the windshield and denting his armour. All attempts to defend himself or fight back were easily foiled, as the jet relentlessly pummelled him.

    Finally, Starscream jerked his head forward into a fearsome head-butt that had Ratchet staggering back, before bringing his leg up and delivering a powerful thrust kick, amplified by a burst of flame from the foot's thruster.

    The Hummer went crashing into the ground, engine revving wildly in pain, processor dizzy from the multiple blows. Perhaps Starscream has gone against the whole prisoner idea and had simply decided to go for a good fashioned beat-you-to-death streak.

    The thought terrified him, more so than being hunted by Nighttrace, more so than even threatening to kill her. How could it have all turned around so fast? A drive transforming into a fight to the death, a fight he was losing; it all wreaked of a very, very unlucky day.

    Maybe he could plead for mercy, but what good would it do other than bring gleeful amusement to the sadistic Decepticon? Not that he'd want to resort to that. He'd already faced desperation's consequences today, and he wouldn't indulge in it again. Pained and defeated, he shut his optics and waited.

    Starscream, satisfied with his victory, strode over to the downed Autobot and sneered: "Well, this has been quite fun, Ratchet, but I suppose I've entertained myself long enough. I have business to attend to, so I'll just finish this with my usual flair."

    With that, he seized the unfortunate Autobot and, with a rev of effort, hoisted his victim above him, holding to the sky as if presenting a sacrifice, declaring: "Now, Autobot, let's see if I can improve your design!"

    And with all the force at his disposal, he brought his victim down and crashed his hip against his readied knee. The result was as brutal as it was degrading; Ratchet's armour crumpled and cracked in a surge of torn metal and ruined neurals, sparks and spilt Energon flying as he gave a howl of agony, the right side of his hip bent and ruined under the force of the impact.

    With a sneer, Starscream tossed the Autobot to the ground, and gleefully observed his finisher's effect. One didn't need to be a medic to see Ratchet's hips were brutally damaged, sparking and crumpled; such damage would certainly render his legs useless with the connection of processor and appendages severed, and certainly misplace key valves and neurals in that area.

    In short, broken. His prisoner wasn't going anywhere.

    "Oh, I love how you Autobots break." Starscream noted cheerfully, Ratchet's groans of pain dying down into pathetic miniscule whimpers. "Humilated and crippled is a good look on you. Well, the duel's over, and I win. I'll just call down the shuttle to pick us up then, shall I?.... What's that? Oh, sorry, I can't discern your reply over the sound of your anguished groans due to your broken hip! Hahahaha!"

    "Discern this."

    Starscream didn't have time to question who had spoken the question nor where it had come from, but he certainly didn't question the intention of the missile that crashed into his back in a fiery blast, sending him staggering forwards, tripping over the prone Hummer and landing face-first into the dirt.

    Sputtering and swearing, Starscream forced himself back onto his feet and spun round, glaring intently for whatever had dared to shoot him. And that whatever proved to be none other than Autobot Chief Scout Hound, staring down the jet from the trees with intense hatred, his shoulder missle launcher smoking slightly from the recent projectile, an energy pistol clutched tightly in one hand, and next to him stood none other than the Lieutenant himself, pistols fused into sword mode and visor gleaming with lethal intent.

    "Ah, the Lieutenant, and his lackey, the oh so prominent hologrammer." Starscream sneered, flexing his arms as he faced off against this new threat. "I'm surprised you found us, given my reconnaissance unit has been jamming your friend's communications. Still, it matters not; I will enjoy crushing you with the same ease I crushed your medic."

    "The feeling's mutual, Decepticon." Jazz replied coldly. "And I think my comrades share that sentiment too."

    Starscream understood the moment he noted the plural term in which Jazz spoke, but he was too slow to react; the attack came from the side, latching onto his leg, and Bumblebee, his arm having deployed the crackling electric stunner, declared: "Time for the bee to sting!"

    Before the jet could shake him off, Bumblebee drove the sharp weapon into the Decepticon's joint, electricity flaring intensely as it shocked the joint, Starscream's leg losing control and causing him to fall to one knee, giving Jazz time to rush in and leap for the kill, his sword aimed right at Starscream's chest-

    But though the dual attack had promise, Starscream was far from hampered. With a snarl, his arm lashed out and caught Jazz mid-leap, his other arm seizing the other attacker and pulling him off his leg, before he violently tossed both Autobots at Hound, who ducked under the mismatched projectiles and fired his pistol at the jet, who snarled again as the annoying lasers peppered his armour, forced to block off his more vulnerable cockpit and head with his arms.

    Jazz and Bumblebee were back on their feet and promptly rejoined Hound's side as the jet regained his footing, baring their weapons proudly, ready to fight for the sake of the injured medic who lay hapless between the combatants.

    Starscream assessed his new foes with a frustrated glare, before it dissolved into malicious cheer, a sadistic smile spreading as he stated: "Well, four Autobots for the price of one-"

    His arms unfolded his signature null rays, glowing pink with deadly promise, and his claws flexed menacingly as his smile widened.

    "-This day just keeps getting better."

    ---

    Kaon Medical Centre

    When her systems come back online, she briefly wonders if she's dead. But it seems that isn't the case; the scenery around her is far too bright in places, dark in others and drab in-between for it, the sure sign of the berth of a med-bay, to be the Allspark.

    Unless the Allspark was exactly like a med-bay. Who knows?

    Her data chip assures her that her systems are stable, and damages are repaired, save for one error, and on nervous query, it also assures her that her spark and body are very much functional and she is not dead, not dead at all. That was a relief.

    But on the downside, at least death would have spared her the shame of living with how she had failed. Cowering like a pathetic little fool under some scrap, all but sitting there and waiting for a wayward force to kill her, the very thought of the memory filled her with a dread unlike any other. Who could she have been so cowardly, especially after she had insisted so persistently that such conflict was exactly what she was prepared for?

    Her systems groaned, her processor ached, her neurals fizzled, her left arm in particular felt unresponsive, and she found herself wishing that the Autobot had done its job better.

    The sound of footsteps, and a Decepticon peered over the berth, the bright green optics of a medic clearly scanning her for any anomalies, before noting: "Excellent, the patient is online and appears to be reasonably functional. Quite astounding, really; the physical damages weren't quite at lethal levels, yet her spark nearly went offline for sheer overexertion! Funny what trauma can do to some bots. So, how do you feel, rookie?"

    She wonders if she should stay quiet, maybe pretend damages from the battle had ruined her vocal processor, rendering her mute, but she doubted that; the medic's scanners would reveal the lie in an instant.

    So, dejectedly, she mutters: "Like the Pit."

    "I wouldn't doubt that. Would you, Commander?"

    "No."

    She would have sat up straight at the sound of that voice, were it not for the fact her left arm didn't assist her right arm in propping her up. Still, her functional appendage managed to haul her up enough for her to see the huge form of Blackout, sat at the end of the berth, staring at her with sombre crimson optics.

    On noting her expression of horror, he added: "I wouldn't doubt that at all."

    A million thoughts race through her mind; fear of his shame or punishment, desperation to appease or apologise, a sudden urge to just drop dead and never again face such a magnitude of failure, and she stutters "C-Commander, I-"

    "Words aren't necessary." He said simply. "Brawl informed me of what happened."

    She trembled slightly, optics briefly flickering at the medic for any help, though he had none to give, and again she attempted to speak: "Sir, I, I'm sorry, I didn't-"

    "Words aren't necessary." He repeated, stronger this time, and she fell silent under his stoic authority. The huge mech stood up, and his height seemed more prominent in her prone position. "And neither are apologies, Slipstream. I do not hold this against you."

    What.

    She stared at him in shock, and for the briefest moment, there seemed to be a flicker of amusement in his optics. Then he was sombre again, and he continued: "You were not ready, and your mistake has been capitalised; I will add no further consequences then what has already been received. Besides, I myself am partly to blame for allowing you to go. It is the commander's duty to ensure the best possible chance of survival for his subordinates, and I failed in that regard."

    The medic seemed to mutter something under his breath, possibly something about sentiments and foolhardy rookies, but Slipstream barely heard him, stunned by this declaration and lack of anger or disappointment from her commander, who instead softly noted: "And now we both bear witness to the marking of our mistakes."

    His gaze was now at her left side, and she followed it, only to be met with another thrill of horror.

    Her left arm was still missing. All that remained was the patched-up stub of her upper arm, the only remnant of her damaged appendage.

    "Yes, I was going to replace that." The medic said, shaking his head in annoyance as he answered the silent and horrified question. "But Shockwave cleaned out the storage for some new project Lord Megatron's arranging before your battle even started. Not a finger in sight; he took every spare part for whatever thing they're working on. Can't expect a new shipment anytime soon either."

    "So..." Slipstream murmured, thunderstruck by the ramifications of that statement: "I.... I won't have a left arm anymore?"

    Whatever the medic was going to say, Blackout interrupted: "Don't worry. I may have a solution. When I received Brawl's report, I deduced that Shockwave's mission may not benefit you, so I paid a brief visit to Scalpel."

    And with that, he held out something in his right hand; an Energon repair ray, gleaming bright silver.

    Slipstream stared at it in surprise, before looking up at Blackout, and feeling yet more surprised at the sincerity his optics now glowed with: "You.... want me to have that as my new arm?"

    "I let you go on this mission because you are persistent and determined. But perhaps those admirable qualities were applied to the wrong context, in a manner of speaking. Outright conflict does not seem to be your fortitude, Slipstream. The fear that gripped you now may grip you again. So, I propose this to you; find another context with which that persistence and determination may thrive."

    She stared at him, then at the ray, then at the medic, who just shrugged, then at the wall, contemplating Blackout's statement and what he intended. The Energon repair ray gleamed in his hands under the lighting, gleaming with a promise.

    She remembered the blackness. The blackness, the touch of death that so nearly pulled her into oblivion. That blackness would be with her forever. She knew that. But yet, it never reached her. Because of a medic, perhaps the very one that stood with them.

    She murmurs to herself, quiet enough that they can't hear: "If the blackness can't reach you, if I can stop it reaching anyone...."

    That thought was all it took. So, she spoke her ultimatum: "Context found, sir."

    Blackout never smiled. She doubted he'd ever smiled once in his life. But there's a definite gleam in his optics, and she instantly knows what it is.

    Pride.


    ---

    Soundwave is silent for a moment, and when he does not reply, she adds: "And it turns out he was right. Flying had been my build, but healing became my pride. Bit odd, I know, changing my career after one failed battle, but you know what? I never regretted the change. Never have, and I hope I never will."

    She hesitates, before smiling softly and stating: "Thank you, Soundwave. Thank you for listening."

    "It was a revelation." He admits. "I never expected such circumstances to befall and change you as they did."

    "Neither did I. We never know what path might present itself in time."

    He nods in agreement, before asking: "Are you okay, Slipstream?"

    "I'm better, actually. It feels.... good, to let it all out sometimes."

    And indeed, she seems to be displaying her usual confidence now, the confidence that defines her so, and her smile widens. The Communications officer is satisfied with the success of his support and thus, with a final reassuring pat on her ray arm, he makes to leave the med-bay.

    But as he reaches the door, the car paused, before turning and noting: "That blackness you mentioned. Is that why you're scared of the dark?"

    "I don't know what you're talking about." The medic replies with as much dignity as she can force into one sentence.

    Soundwave simply chuckles, and makes his leave.



    Note: Starscream just pulled a Bane. Damn.

    Ratchet makes me wonder; was he justified in holding Nighttrace hostage like that, especially against someone like Starscream, or was it simple impulsive cowardice/desperation/fear? Either way, I can imagine this'll bite at Ratchet for some time.

    Assuming he survives this mess, of course ;) 
     
  2. lobius

    lobius Prince of Fiends

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    wow simply spectacular keep it up plz im gripping my seat waiting for the next installment
     
  3. Jamocha101

    Jamocha101 Well-Known Member

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    Ay, ay, ay. Ratchet. Ratchet, Ratchet, Ratchet. Your profession certainly is not on the battlefield.

    His conflictions are actually ligetimately a good topic of debate; while I can understand his perspective, I don't feel as though he deserves all of the blows he's given to himself. It was self-defense; even if it was desperation, it's a natural instinctive function to resort to virtually anything to stay alive. And, this is war. Crazy bull honkey does happen. But, Ratchet is upset because his strategy of defense was at the potential expense of someone else. And does the war rationalization really justify that? Gee, I just don't know...

    Slipstream, I like you. I like you a lot. You're cool. I like Blackout a lot too, which is funny, because he's inevitably a flashback character and we'll probably never see him again except for maybe in, well, flashbacks. But anyway, Slipstream's history and how she reached her position was really well thought out, and I feel like I can empathize with her a lot. It's really nice to know a character's history like that.

    I was so excited to find the other Autobots came to the rescue! Hopefully Jazz, Hound, and Bumblebee can overcome Starscream and save their friend!

    Also, sardonic Starscream. He's too awesome oh my gosh. For once, his character isn't treated like a joke. He's got his quirks, but he's not nearly as bad as Tom Kenny, Chris Latta, or Steve Blum Starscream. His laughably egotism is just a character trait, not an overall characterization. That's how you do it, Hasbro. >_>

    Will the next update be the last for the episode? I can't wait!
     
  4. Ømnidrive

    Ømnidrive Stop.....think......fart.....and keep on going

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    WOW.......................Ratchet got Bat-Maned :lolol 

    Nighttrace will most likely hold this against Starscream................Pit have no fury like a femme's scorn!!! XD

    Soundwave has proven to be a good friend and listener :thumb 

    This explains alot bout Slipstream.............I wonder what would happen if her and Blackout where to meet again? :inquisiti 

    CONTINUE!!! :popcorn 
     
  5. Wars

    Wars I Ate The WHOLE Plate

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    Poor Ratchet. I think his actions can be justified to a degree. Obviously, they were morally wrong and he shows remorse for that, which is good. I think it's safe to say he was acting on pure instinct though, doing what he thought would keep him alive if only for a little longer.

    Starscream, on the other hand, is just plain crazy. But we love him for it.

    I like the way you portray Soundwave and Slipstream. They're not you're traditional Deceptions, in that they care about each other to an extent. Although I suppose in that regard, all of your Decepticons are nontraditional, even Starscream.
     
  6. Meta777

    Meta777 Dr Pepper Fan

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    Bumblebee had only even been in one fight in his whole life, which was against the crimson Decepticon alongside Wheeljack. Coincidentally, that fight had also taken place in this forest, but more to the point was, that first fight had been nothing short of true exhilaration. The thrills of actually honestly fighting a Decepticon, punching and tiring the enemy with all his might!

    Okay, granted, he'd had Wheeljack helping him, and his attempt at taking down the foe had resulted in his leg getting clawed up, but still, the thrill that had been shooting through his neurals had been unlike any other sensation ever! It sent energy coursing through his valves, made his spark pulse faster and brightened his optics till they shined like little blue stars!

    So why was it then that this fight did not thrill him as the previous one had? Where was the energy, where was the faster pulse, where were the little blue stars?

    Maybe because Starscream was much less fun to fight than that car he'd tired.

    Energy crackling around his arms, its after-effects warded off by his specialised insulating systems, Bumblebee brought his stunners forward and unleashed a blast of electricity that struck Starscream right in the cockpit, the bolt dispersing and crackling over the jet's grey armour. But alas, though he moved back a step from the force of the hit, the jet was hardly affected by the paralysing effect of the scout's attack.

    In fact, he just laughed it off and sneered: "I think I'm a bit too big for that trick to work, little Bot!"

    And then he levelled his Null Ray at the Beetle and blasted the ground at his wheels, uprooting the smaller Cybertronian in a shower of dirt and remnants of pink energy. The jet didn't even have the common courtesy to blast him directly. Wasn't he threatening enough to warrant being shot?! That hurt him in prideful places.

    Still, he lamented his foolishness in assuming his stunners could take Starscream down just like that. He'd never considered that maybe larger Cybertronians were better able to shrug off its disabling effects, but it made sense, really; Starscream's size and armour prevented the electricity from permeating his whole frame, granting him a level of resistance to it.

    But then, the scout noted, the jet's less armoured sections, his joints and chinks, were vulnerable to his stunners. Thing was, he had to actually get close to Starscream to pull that off, and the jet was simply too overwhelming in power and weaponry for him to do that.

    No wonder this second fight lacked the thrill of the first. Starscream was just unfair!

    Jazz, thankfully, was yielding better results in his tactics. He effortlessly rolled under a blast from the jet and brought his sniper rifle up to bear, returning fire in a precise blue beam that struck Starscream's shoulder in a ping of energy. As the jet snarled in annoyance and readied another blast, Hound charged in and rammed the Decepticon's leg, bringing him down to one knee, before leaping up, clutching tightly at Starscream's torso and forcing himself to fall back down, dragging Starscream down with him with an audible impact as they crashed into the ground.

    Despite his bulk, Starscream recovered first, rolling over onto his front and propping himself up in time to dodge Jazz's additional shots, before kicking the recovering Hound as hard as he could, sending the jeep crashing through the undergrowth.

    "Hound!" Bumblebee cried, concern and shock rippling through him as the other Autobot finally rolled to a stop, groaning slightly from the blow, before he gave a rev of anger and charged at Starscream, stunners again charging up power, intending to make the jet pay for kicking his mentor!

    Jazz had the same idea, moving forward with impressive speed, and Starscream, while fast in his own right, just wasn't able to deflect both of them; a blast from his Null Ray delayed Jazz's approach, but Bumblebee managed to jump up and latch onto his leg, before climbing further up the larger Cybertronian like some sort of furious spider, jamming the sharp points of his stunners in any chink in the armour he could find.

    The Decepticon was furious with such impudence, struggling violently in his attempt to grab the small Autobot that was climbing over him and repeatedly stinging him, but while distracted with his efforts to remove Bumblebee, Jazz deployed his grappling line and fired it, the claw at the end latching onto Starscream's shoulder.

    Bumblebee saw this coming and promptly leapt off the jet, as Jazz retracted his line and was hauled towards Starscream, bringing his legs up and planting an awesome double-kick on the jet; such was the momentum of the Lieutenant's endeavour, Starscream was literally knocked off his feet, crashing into the ground with a tremendous fount of dirt and grass being flung up.

    On top of the stunned jet, Jazz brought his rifle round to bear, but alas, as he had done before with Ratchet, Starscream simply grabbed the Autobot and wrenched him off of him, and, getting back to his feet, lunged after the Solstice, who effortlessly recovered from the throw with a well-timed roll and darted out of the jet's path.

    As he split the sniper into the dual pistols, the Lieutenant ordered: "Bumblebee, make sure Hound and Ratchet are okay! I'll hold him off!"

    "Yes, Lieutenant, remove your annoying little minions." Starscream taunted, claws flexing eagerly as he faced off against his smaller rival. "We have our unfinished business, don't we?"

    "Absolutely. I never did properly pay you back for ambushing my ship."

    "Don't be so sure of whatever triumph you're imagining. There won't be any helicopter to save you this time when you're cowering at my feet. It's just you and me now."

    "No, Decepticon. It's just me."

    With that, he brought his pistols together into sword mode, as Starscream deployed his Energon knife, and the two lunged at each other, blades swinging for the other's frame; Starscream's size meant his blade came into range first, but Jazz expertly twirled and deflected the attack, sliding under the larger jet and, for good measure, swiping at one of his legs, the vicious searing of metal sound as his blade cut a light wound into Starscream's unlucky appendage.

    "Ah! You cut me, you impudent fool!" Starscream snapped, spinning around in a fury. "When I've beaten you all half to death, I spend the other half cutting you!"

    He lunged forward, and Jazz just barely dodged his huge fist crashing into him. But unfortunately, Starscream's knife hand darted forward, and managed to strike a glancing blow on the Solstice's abdomen, drawing Energon and earning a hiss of pain.

    The jet reared up and flung his foot forward, kicking Jazz as he had kicked Hound, knocking the Lieutenant straight through a tree, the Autobot's sword flying helplessly away from its owner. But as he moved forward to finish off his victim, Starscream was promptly hampered by blasts darting on his armour, forcing him to avoid the repeated firing of the other Autobot's weaponry.

    "Get away from him, you jerk!" Bumblebee hollered, blasting at the enemy with multiple sparks of electricity, Hound emphasizing the statement with a particularly well-aimed shot of the pistol that grazed the side of Starscream's head.

    "Impudent annoyances." Starscream snarled, frustrated by their interference and their stinging weapons. "Waspinator, deploy and destroy these pitiful fools!"

    Panels on his back slid open, and the jet ejected his insectoid drone, which gave a lethal hiss as its wings revved in action, the stinger folding inwards and replacing itself with a blaster, and Waspinator darted forward to engage the Autobots, who were forced to dodge the flurry of blasts it sent at them.

    As the wasp darted this way and that way through the air to achieve multiple firing angles on its evasive targets, Starscream returned his attention to the Lieutenant, who was struggling to his feet, and raised his knife, sneering: "After I've killed you, Lieutenant, I'll parade your corpse across Cybertron, and all Autobots will tremble at the name of your conqueror; Starscream!"

    With that, he brought the knife down. But Jazz was not as weakened as the jet had thought; he darted out of the blade's way, and lurched back, his leg swinging upwards then downwards, and it crashed right onto Starscream's wrist, cracking the joint's armour in a flare of sparks.

    The jet howled in pain and jerked his hand back, knife still embedded in the floor, clutching his cracked wrist in agony as he staggered backwards, but Jazz wasn't finished, darting forwards, jumping up, and locking his legs around the jet's own stumbling appendage; the sudden weight on his limb threw Starscream off balance, and for yet another time today, he ended up toppling to the floor.

    Sensing opportunity, Jazz swung around and wrenched the jet's discarded knife out of the ground; it was bigger than his own blade, but not unwieldy, and he moved forward, intending to end the flyer once and for all.

    As the respective commanders were waging their battle, Bumblebee darted backwards, forwards and side-to-side to his efforts to avoid the blasts the drone was all too happily firing at him, occasionally swooping down in an attempt to latch onto him with all those sharp claws. The two were evenly matched in speed, and just as evenly matched in evasion; for all Bumblebee's dodging, he could land a hit on his foe either.

    Hound, lacking his protégé’s speed, had opted to avoid the fray against Waspinator, knowing his apprentice could avoid any attack it tried, and thus shouted: "Keep it busy, Bumblebee, I need to make sure Ratchet's okay!"

    Hearing the smaller scout's affirmative, his attention focussed on Ratchet, who lay prone and helpless a few metres away, as he had remained throughout the entire battle. Well aware that Starscream or his drone could easily take advantage of this, Hound nevertheless dropped to Ratchet's side, raising up the other Autobot slightly: "Ratchet, are you online? Say something!"

    The Hummer merely mumbled something, pain permeating his tone; online but gravely injured. Hound was no medic himself, but he didn't need a second glance at the crushed hip section to know Ratchet's neural systems in that area had been trashed and non-functional. He wasn't going to be able to walk anytime soon, never mind transform.

    Hound looked back at Bumblebee; the Beetle was still holding his own against the wasp, the agile little bots consistently avoiding each other's shots. Satisfied, Hound moved around and moved his arms under Ratchet's, ready to drag the Hummer out of the battle's range.

    Meanwhile, Jazz prepared to finish off his opponent, but Starscream, even when downed, was hardly defenceless; detecting the Autobot's approach, he brought his feet up and powered up the thrusters upon them, unleashing a stream of fire that forced Jazz into retreat, pain hissing at him as the searing heat danced over his frame.

    "You just don't die, do you?!" Starscream snarled, ripping up the ground as he got back up, crimson optics almost burning with pure fury and aggravation. "Why won't you just roll over and die, Autobot?!"

    "Because you can't make me." Jazz taunted, both wincing from the lingering of the heat and quite amused at the jet's raging. Nothing quite demeaning the opposition to make a fight more interesting; the anger it spawned made them careless, and thus made the rest of the fight easier.

    Every furious neural in Starscream's frame demanded him to rip the damn car apart, his pride demanded glorious retribution for those cursed taunts, his claws ached to tear into that smug little face. But then, an even juicier target presented itself in his peripheral vision, and suddenly, his rage focussed into a triumphant malice.

    "Ha, maybe I can't make you die as easily I want to, but I can't say the same for your medic!" Starscream sneered, and he raised his Null Ray and aimed it at the prone form of the injured Ratchet.

    Jazz saw it coming, but he had no hope of stopping Starscream. In the space he attempted to move forward, the space he cried out Ratchet's name in vain, Starscream fired a precise piercing blast of pink energy. There was no way he could miss-

    The blast flickered through Ratchet as if passing through a ghost, and obliterated an unlucky bush.

    Disbelief immediately surfaced in both of them, but Starscream's was interrupted by yet another missile crashing into him, the jet lurching back in pain as the explosion dented his armour and cracked his cockpit, staining the grey black with remnant smoke. Clutching at his damaged chest, Starscream sputtered: "How?! HOW?!"

    Hound, waving away the smoke from the barrel of his rocket launcher, simply replied: "Hologram, Starscream. A simple enough trick to distract you."

    With that said, he shut down his holographic generator, and the image of Ratchet faded into nothing, as the jeep promptly levelled his energy pistol at the Decepticon and opened fire. As Starscream screeched in anger, raising his own weapons to shoot back, Bumblebee finally managed to score the decisive blow against Waspinator; a lucky blast of electricity caught the insectoid's wings, dropping it out of the sky. The Beetle, sensing a gorgeous two-for-one opportunity, grabbed the slightly smaller bot by the abdomen and declared: "Bees one, wasps none!"

    With all the strength he could muster, Bumblebee hefted up the struggling drone and started to swing the bug around in a circle, wheels ripping up dirt as he span faster and faster, dizzying the unfortunate drone, before, with a cry of excitement, he threw the bug straight at its owner; with the most resounding clang, Waspinator struck Starscream right in the face, jerking the jet backwards in shock and pain as the drone hit the ground, struggling to flip itself back onto its scrabbling legs.

    And for the finale, Jazz whipped out his grappling line, hooked it around the hilt of Starscream's knife and swung it right at the Decepticon, declaring: "And here's this back too!"

    The knife was flung straight and true, and plunged into Starscream's abdomen with a squeal of ruptured metal and a brief burst of spilt Energon. The jet howled in agony as he staggered backwards, smashing through trees and crushing shrubs as he struggled to remain upright.

    Side by side, the Autobots faced off against the injured Decepticons, Hound's pistol ready, Bumblebee's stunners charged up and Jazz simply prepping his fists. It was fairly obvious who the winner was at this point; three battle-ready Autobots against two weakened Decepticons, Jazz's team had it in the bag.

    As Waspinator clambered up the leg of its owner in a panic, given its wings were still disabled, Starscream wrenched his knife out of him, shaking with pain and deranged fury, optics flashing maniacally in his anger, and he swore in an audio-rending shriek: "You! You, you, you DAMN FRAGGING AUTOBOT FILTH!"

    In his rage, compartments on his back opened, and his missile pods were deployed, instantly unleashing a violent storm of rockets that soared upwards in flares of fire, before twirling through the air and powering themselves back down to Earth, straight towards the Autobots.

    Jazz commanded the Autobots to dodge them, and the three instantly dispersed into evasive manoeuvres, leaping to safety as the missiles impacted around them in a storm of fire and noise, Bumblebee shrieking with terror as one came dangerously close to catching him in the blast radius.

    Injured as he was, Starscream was in no condition to continue a three-on-one fight despite this efficient distraction; as Waspinator settled itself into his back, the enraged jet's thrusters activated and flung him skywards; even he rearranged his form into the Raptor, he roared a final curse and blasted off into the sky, breaking the sound barrier in barely a second as the jet disappeared into the clouds.

    For a moment, there was silence.

    Jazz finally had the chance to retrieve his downed sword, splitting apart into the pistols and sheathing them into his thigh compartments, noting: "Well done, Autobots. We did good."

    "That was intense!" Bumblebee squeaked, still cowering on the ground. "He went absolutely nuts, and fired missiles everywhere! Whoa! That was crazy! I can't believe I just helped fight Starscream! I even threw a giant bug at him! Wow!"

    As he nattered on and on, clearly yet to come down from the energised rush, Jazz noted: "Nice hologram decoy, Hound. But where'd you put the real Ratchet?"

    Hound tilted his head towards a nearby ditch and answered: "I managed to drag him there while you were fighting Starscream. Saw you were having a bit of trouble with the egotist, so I chipped in a little deception."

    "And am I glad for it. C'mon, we need to check he's still okay."

    The three Autobots made their way to the ditch, where Ratchet lay, propped up slightly on the raised portion of the ground, and gathered around him, Bumblebee letting out a shocked little squeak when he saw the damage done to the medic's hip.

    "Damn." Jazz muttered, kneeling beside the injured Hummer and assessing the injury. "Hip connections are shattered, neural net is busted and valves are misaligned. He's not going anywhere, which is pretty unfortunate, since we should definitely get out of here before Starscream brings back reinforcements."

    "I'll call in Evac for an air-lift." Hound said. "I'll go with them when he gets here; a hologram ought to stop anyone wondering why a helicopter is lugging around a robot."

    "Thanks, Hound." The Solstice replied gratefully, and as the jeep turned away to contact the ship, he then spoke to the prone Hummer: "Ratchet, are you with me? Help's on its way, Ratchet, don't worry-"

    Ratchet suddenly sputtered violently, optics lighting up in shock and pain, the sudden motion causing Jazz and Bumblebee to jerk back slightly in surprise, before he slumped and gave out a long groan. As Jazz cautiously leaned forward, Ratchet's bleary optics finally seemed to regain focus, and they locked onto the silver car, staring at him intensely, before the medic muttered: "J-Jazz...."

    "I'm here, Ratchet." The Lieutenant murmured soothingly. "I'm here, we're fine. We're okay, we're okay-"

    "H-how did you know.... that I-"

    "Was in trouble? Well, the ship picked up a botched communication from you. You didn't finish whatever you were gonna say, but we knew you needed us. Got here as fast as we could. Are you, um, are you okay?"

    "B-better than okay..." Ratchet muttered, and lo and behold, Jazz was stunned to see the medic managed a small smile, despite whatever agony his hip may be putting him through. "I've.... I've figured it out..."

    "What? Figured what out?"

    "The s-solution.... to our problem!" Ratchet huffed, before groaning again as his injury gave out an audio-cringing creak, his optics flickering slightly from the pain. Quickly, Jazz motioned for Bumblebee, who was looking rather viral at the sight of the injured Ratchet forcing himself to speak, to come closer. The Beetle obeyed, and Jazz promptly requested he use his stunners to disable whatever active neurals in the hip section were hurting Ratchet.

    Bumblebee brought his stunners up and deliver a low jolt of electricity to the injury; the energy sparked over the wound for a moment, before Ratchet gave another groan and relaxed slightly; the makeshift painkiller had worked.

    "B-better..." The Hummer mumbled, as Hound confirmed Evac was on his way. "Much better...."

    "What were you saying, Ratchet?" Jazz asked softly, brushing some dirt off of the medic's white armour. "A solution to our problem?"

    "Yes... I think I know.... what we can do!"

    But before he could go further, Ratchet's engine wheezed pitifully, and he slumped again, optics blinking off. Bumblebee was horrified at this, and promptly asked if the medic had just totally died, which Hound disconfirmed; his injury had put him into stasis lock. Evidently he was suffering from internal leakage, but they couldn't be sure; none of the three were particularly well versed in medical care.

    Nevertheless, it was a small mercy Evac came so quickly, particularly before any Decepticon reinforcements arrived. The helicopter was certainly shocked at his mentor's condition, but managed to act professional; securing a regenerative patch around the injury and locking up Ratchet's lower systems to keep them from jolting, he transformed and attached a magnetic holster to the Hummer, Hound clambering atop the damaged Ratchet to hitch a lift with the helicopter, which promptly ascended and headed off back to the Zeta-1, Hound's hologram generator surrounding the departing Autobots in an effective cloud camouflage.

    Jazz and Bumblebee watched them go, before they made their way through the forest, heading back towards the road. As they travelled, Bumblebee asked: "So, what do you think Ratchet's solution might be? It must be pretty crazy for him to have thought of it while lying there all messed up and stuff."

    The Lieutenant shrugged: "I have no idea, Bee, but what really matters is that he's okay. He'll need a lot of fixing up, but he survived, and that's all I could have asked for."

    "Yeah! And we managed to teach that crazy mean flyer and his dumb bug an important lesson; don't mess with our buddy!"

    "Absolutely, Bee. Absolutely."

    ---

    "AAAAAARRRRGGGGGHHHH! Damnable Autobots! I hate them, I HATE THEM! Those pathetic little scraplets dared to defy me! Those crude piles of slag have the neurals to distract me, throw my own drone at me, and STAB ME WITH MY OWN KNIFE! I'll kill them all if it's the last thing I do! I'll rip off their heads and throw their corpses into the Sun!"

    Starscream was definitely in a frightful mood; he lurched around the control room, arms flailing, optics flashing, thrusters heated up and engine revving violently. He hadn't even gone to the med-bay yet, such was his desire to rant, and thus he still bared the wounds of the fight, most prominently the still-leaking knife injury in his abdomen.

    Regardless, his rage was not to be contained nor trifled with; even the defiant Barricade and the collected Soundwave had made it their utmost priority to get the Pit out of the room when the jet had burst in, and he seemed intent on lashing his arms out at everything around him, as if the room was full of invisible Autobots he was ripping apart, and he'd made an impressive fist shaped-dent on the main console when he'd required a target that was a bit more tangible.

    Nighttrace, however, had always been quite unfazed by the jet's rage; the UAV was hovering by one of the side consoles, Waspinator idly settled on the console itself, and observing the commander's tantrum with patient optics, waiting for him to finish. If there was any bitterness or anger over the jet daring that Autobot to kill her, she didn't show it.

    "It's so unfair! Four Autobots, all but lined up for me to kill, and not a single one died today! Damn them to the Pit! I should have slaughtered that medic when I had the chance, I should have torn ALL OF THEM APART WITH MY BARE HANDS! Why didn't they just let me kill them like good Autobots do?!"

    Normally, he could go on in this fashion for a while, but it seemed Starscream had burnt through his rage, or at least a small portion of it; he leaned against the main console, thrusters and engine rumbling with exertion, scraping the metal surface of the device as he flexed his claws against it. Sensing an opportunity, Nighttrace fluttered over and tilted her head in a silent question.

    "Oh, don't bother me with that slag." He snapped. "I'm in no mood for the med-bay! In fact, I'm in no mood for anything other than cursing every last miserable Autobot to the depths of the Pit! Argh, four of them, so eager to die, and yet they all got away with their sparks intact! It makes me so ANGRY-"

    Nighttrace smacked him.

    He paused for a moment as Waspinator buzzed in alarm, considering the slight sting on his face, before stating, surprisingly and disturbingly calm: "Yes, I needed that. Thank you."

    She nodded politely and flicker her antenna at him, and thus Starscream stated: "Well, I suppose you have a point. While no Autobots died, I did at least remove one from the field for however long it takes for him to recover. And hey, it's not like our plans depended on this detour. Would have been convenient, yes, if we'd killed them, but overall, Operation Harvest continues smoothly."

    He flexed his arms slightly, his temper finally simmering away with his having considered the positive factors, and asked: "Have the rest of the Earth materials been converted yet?"

    She nodded again with an affirmative, before tapping a button on the main console. A holographic image of their current stock of Cybertanium was shown, highlighted in bright blue, then the UAV typed in some instructions, and a feasible list of constructs that could be created from their stock was brought up before the commander.

    Starscream contemplated the list, idly wiping away some Energon leaking out of his wound, before noting: "Good options, but I think we can expand on them. Earth has plenty of supplies for us, Nighttrace, so a few more scavenging missions will definitely provide us with what we need for a truly glorious harvest."

    She considered his bigger picture, before shrugging and removing the display, and again flicked her antenna at him.

    "Oh, I'll go to the med-bay later." He replied with a rather petty huff. "I'm just in a thinking mood right now. I've got lots of planning to do to make sure the Autobots don't interfere with our mission. You're free to go if you want."

    She gave him a somewhat concerned look, before dipping her head obediently and hovering towards the door. But just as she was about to exit, he suddenly asked her name and she turned in curiosity. The jet was fiddling with his claws slightly, looking a tad unsure, before he then asked: "You're.... you're not angry at me over my goading the medic, are you?"

    She tilted her head, bemused, before simply replying: "You and I have different perceptions of angry."

    With that said, and an amused flick of the antenna, she exited the room, leaving behind the stunned Raptor.

    He stared after her for a moment, before turning to Waspinator and dully noting: "Females. Why can't they just be blunt instead of speaking in riddles?"

    Waspinator simply twittered.

    ---

    Slipstream was currently occupying herself with a bit of maintenance, fixing up a rather loose joint on one of the medical appendages, specifically the laser cutter; given how vital it was for a variety of functions, most infamously amputation, fixing the loose section was of a high priority. The Seekers normally took care of most menial tasks around the ship, but Slipstream preferred to maintain her own tools herself.

    It was nice, at least; tweaking the bolt on the appendage was both easy to do and lengthy enough to provide some time to muse. And currently, she was musing on her conversation with Soundwave. Truth be told, she hadn't extensively told her story to anyone before, let alone the sardonic Communications officer, but now that she had told it, she felt quite relieved, actually, that someone other than herself and Blackout knew the full details.

    It was a bit odd, though, that all it had taken for her to spill the bolts was to get angered by Barricade. Funny how the one comment he didn't truly intend to be malicious was the one that had stung the most. Things like that were kind of funny in a sort of hindsight based fashion.

    But it reminded her; how long had it been since she'd last spoken to her old commander. Primus, it'd been years since their last conversation; since the war had intensified, Blackout had been deployed off Cybertron to lead an entire fleet to engage Autobot defended sectors of Cybertron's old empire, and she herself had been hard at work with the constant supply of wounded. There just hadn't been time, really, to call Blackout, see how he was.

    Humans would say that he was a father figure to her, and they wouldn't be wrong. Blackout had favoured her as the best of his recruits, and his faith in her abilities had always been a strong support throughout the War. Ironic in a fashion, though, since she'd never known him before the War even began.

    That hindsight based humour was felt again-

    "Slipstream?"

    Now there was a surprise. She looked up, and narrowed her optics on noting Barricade standing at the entrance, doing his best to look as uncaring as ever, yet failing to hide the slight awkward spinning of his wheels.

    "Barricade. What do you want?"

    He paused, probably asking himself the same thing, before revving slightly and replying: "Well, when I was sitting around a while ago, hating on Starscream, I kinda wondered about what Soundwave had said, that you were, like, upset or something. Not that I give a scrap, but you know, it was something to think about."

    She tilted her head, a sense of bemusement building up in her processor and diminishing her previous prejudice against the car, as he awkwardly continued: "So, after my whole thinking, I figured I might as well check to see if Soundwave was right or not, so, um, here I am, I guess. You're alright, right? Soundwave wrong as always, the dumb fragger he is? You know I hate it when-"

    He fell silent as she stood up to her full height and gazed down at him with bright amused optics, placing her right hand on her hip and cheerfully noting: "Barricade. Are you actually apologising to me?"

    "NO. Only dumb scraplets apologise for stupid things." He snapped instantly, engine revving in indignant aggravation. "I'm only confirming whether or not Soundwave is even more of a dumb fragger than he already is!"

    "Aw, Barricade. I accept your apology."

    "I'm not apologising, you obnoxious fuel-hogger!"

    "I know. But if you were, I would gladly accept it."

    "Really? Awesome- I mean, whatever! Sure, accept what you want, I don't care. I've got better things to do right now anyway, so, um, yeah, go fix up tools or whatever dumb stuff you do!"

    He revved his engine again, before darting out of the room as fast he could. Slipstream laughed to herself slightly; now that had been actually quite sweet of him, to try his hand at an actual apology. For all the taunts and snaps and snide comments he threw around, he at least understood when one went too far. Maybe he wasn't such an ignorant pile of rust as she assumed.

    It had been very entertaining though, to watch him try and maintain his oh so prideful reputation whilst trying to apologise, definitely something she'd be telling the others about later. Only Barricade could turn an apology in a crude little rant, but hey, it was just one of those quirks she liked about him.

    As she knelt down to resume her work, she happily giggled to herself: "Well, there's a thin line between bravado and stupidity. I bet he trips over it every day."

    ---

    "Well, when I wanted to get into the med-bay, I didn't really want to get into it following a messed up Autobot."

    Wheeljack was always both awkward and blunt about these subjects, and Jazz did not object to Hound smacking the tow truck over the head about it. He'd rather not deal with statements like that, especially in such a unstable situation as this.

    Evac had set Ratchet down on the berths, and was currently working on his mentor's injury with a focus and determination Jazz had never seen in the young Autobot before, not even when he was learning to fly for the first time. Ratchet was like a father to Evac, and the helicopter would sooner throw himself into the depths of a black hole before he let down the Hummer, especially when he needed him so greatly right now.

    Evac had removed a fair amount of plating from the older medic's hip, exposing inner circuits, valves, metallic supports and hydraulics. From what Jazz could see, these delicate innards were horribly damaged, bent and broken out of shape. It looked much less horrible when the plating had been covering the innards.

    The Lieutenant revved slightly. He never really liked med-bays much; too many reminders of what the War did to all Cybertronians.

    "It'll be really tough." Evac muttered sadly, as he rearranged some damaged neurals. "Everything's all crumpled and smashed together, so I need to, um, un-crumple it and straighten it out and stuff. I'm not really good at all the delicate stuff, so it'll be a while before Ratchet can walk and transform again. But it's not permanent or anything; if I work fast and work hard, this might be finished in a week or so."

    "That's good, Evac." Jazz said, relieved that his comrade had a good chance of completely recovering from this incident a relief echoed by Hound and Wheeljack. "That's really good. When can he come back online?"

    The helicopter considered that, before replying: "Maybe tomorrow. It's best if we keep him in stasis lock for now, so his systems can devote more energy to his regenerative processes. When I've sorted out the worst bits, he can stay online longer without hurting and stuff."

    "You're very brave to handle this on such short notice, Evac." Hound said gratefully. "Ratchet taught you well."

    Evac clacked his rotors together slightly, whether from pride or embarrassment: "Well, he hasn't taught me everything yet. He could have fixed this kind of injury much faster than I could."

    "For what it's worth, Evac, I think you're perfect for the job. The rest of us wouldn't have a clue of what to do without you."

    Evac's optics brightened, before he revved sadly and said: "Well, I need to get started now. If he regenerates too quickly now, some systems might get locked in the wrong place."

    "Of course, Evac." Jazz replied. "We'll see you later."

    "Bye."

    As the three Autobots exited the med-bay, leaving the helicopter to begin the weekly process of restoring his mentor, Hound asked Wheeljack: "So, what junk did you need from the med-bay for anyway?"

    "My latest project, Hound! When it's complete, it'll be great!"

    "Sure. So long as it isn't a repeat of the whole grenade-attached-to-sword shenanigans-"

    "You are never gonna let me live that down, are you?"

    "No, no I'm not."

    Jazz interjected at this point: "I do hope Evac can let Ratchet back online soon. I need to ask him about that solution he was talking about."

    Hound nodded, remembering that part of the injured Autobot's brief talk back at the forest, while Wheeljack exclaimed: "Wait, solution? As in, a solution to our whole energy dilemma?"

    "Pretty much." Jazz replied, as the trio entered the control room, the Solstice promptly heading to the main console and bringing up the holographic display of all of Earth's power supplies, ranging from dams to solar farms. "If Ratchet's got one, one that can work, our lives just got a whole lot easier."

    "Too bad he's in stasis lock right now. Typical, the guy who has the answer ends up being injured and scrap like that."

    Hound nodded in agreement: "Absolutely. It's never as easy as we want it to be, is it?"

    "Speaking of easy-" Wheeljack mused, turning to Jazz with a curious and amused glint in his optics. "-How exactly do you plan to deal with Grimlock when he finds out you let Bumblebee help fight freaking Starscream?"

    "With any luck, Bumblebee just won't tell him-"

    Almost instantly as he said it, a furious roar echoed throughout the ship, followed by the sounds of loud angry footfalls and what sounded like Bumblebee trying to dissuade brutal carnage. Wheeljack and Hound exchanged horrified glances, and then glanced at Jazz, who had only this to say:

    "-Aw frag my life."

    Episode 3: Medical Memoirs. Complete
     
  7. Wars

    Wars I Ate The WHOLE Plate

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    Well, safe to say Jazz is a dead man.. :lol 
     
  8. Ømnidrive

    Ømnidrive Stop.....think......fart.....and keep on going

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    HERE LIES JAZZ!!!! :lol 

    Starscream...............we'll never know the answer to that question!!!
     
  9. Jamocha101

    Jamocha101 Well-Known Member

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    Ratchet. :c I hope he's back and functioning well pretty soon. I'm actually wondering if the "solution" has anything to do with energy harvesting like Jazz thinks it does, or if Ratchet even remembers it when he wakes up. I keep feeling like you're going to throw some teasing plot twist at us. But, maybe I'm wrong, we'll see. Maybe Ratchet has thought of something that can really help the bots get through their situation.

    Action in this chapter was great, along with Starscream's silly banter. My favorite scene might have had to of been when Barricade "apologizes" to Slipstream. He's such a d-bag, I reiterate. And yet I love him. ;W;

    Ha ha, Grimlock isn't happy. Jazz was silly to think that Bumblebee wouldn't go blabbering stuff to him.

    Moving on to next episode? Oboy, I'm excited!
     
  10. Meta777

    Meta777 Dr Pepper Fan

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    Episode 4: Cloak and Stinger

    Synopsis: Barricade and Soundwave prepare the next phase of the Decepticon's plan, as Bumblebee seeks to prove himself to the Autobot cause.


    Well, Joseph Stone had to admit, it was a fantastic car. The Ford Mustang was a deep crimson in colour, the sides pitch black, and there was a metallic gleam to it even in the dark conditions of the night (cloudy, without even a hint of stars or the moon). And it did appear to have to have some substance to its flash; the bumpers and tires seemed very hardy, there was a sense of intense power to the idling engine, and to top it off, it had a black spoiler at the rear, smooth and thin and perfectly befitting of a racing vehicle.

    But while it looked the part, and while the driver did seem to wish to join, his list did not have any sort of Mustang booked for tonight. Even a street race required some semblance of order, and his list said that only three cars were participating tonight in the race around town, all three of which had already arrived, their drivers making some last-minute checks before the race started, and occasionally glancing at this curious newcomer.

    Shame, really. He would have loved to see this car in action; its appearance alone easily outclassed the other three, and the rumble of its engine hinted at impressive power. Whoever drove it was probably the type of guy who was either a literal hulk with scars everywhere, or some puffed up fool who thought a hardcore car automatically made him a hardcore badass.

    Sighing slightly, and rather hoping the guy was the latter, given the reactions of previous rejects, he tapped at the tinted window, dark enough he had no hope of seeing behind, and said "Sorry, buddy, this is a reserve race; you gotta have signed up beforehand to join, and you're haven't signed up. Maybe next time, huh?"

    Maybe it was his imagination, but he could have sworn the engine seemed to rev up slightly, like some sort of predatory animal snarling at an enemy, and for a brief second, he honestly thought the driver might just jump out of the vehicle and beat the snot out of him. But thankfully, no such snot-beating happened; in fact, the driver lowered the window, perhaps intending to negotiate.

    Well, he might as well see what deal the guy might offer, as he leaned in to better see into the vehicle; he supposed he could put the Mustang in the race if the bargain was good enough-

    His jaw dropped.

    The driver wasn't a literal hulk, or a puffed up fool. The driver wasn't even a guy. It was quite possibly the most gorgeous babe he'd ever seen in his entire life! Every inch of her was utterly flawless, from the smooth feminine curves of her lovely face to the full red lips and the intense eyes, a deep brown that seemed almost crimson, that may as well pierce his very soul, and her hair was pitch-black, cropped short and spiked up, adding to the sense of danger her eyes portrayed.

    And that was just her face; her body, clad in a skin-tight black jumpsuit decorated by dark purple lines, could easily land her a job as a supermodel, such was its curves, the subtle muscles underneath, that chest-

    Her voice, cold as a knife and twice as sharp, hissed, snapping him out of his stunned reverie: "I appreciate your devotion to the rules-" Her tone completely said otherwise. "-But I really need to trash some fraggers right now. Believe me, if you knew how much of a complete cog my boss is, you'd want to rip up some road too."

    He stuttered meekly: "But, you didn't-"

    "I don't care for whatever prize you're offering, I'm just here for a fragging race and some fragging glory." She snapped, and her odd curse word briefly reminded him of a cartoon he watched when he was younger. But alas, he could not find it in himself to further impede her; something about her tone, something about her dark eyes, something about the car itself was ringing warning bells in his head, that she was a legitimate threat and he'd best avoid provoking her.

    Even roses had their thorns.

    So he meekly nodded, gestured for her to continue, and the window instantly snapped shut, cutting off his view of the driver, and the Mustang rumbled forward behind the other cars, into position and impatiently waiting for them to start. The other racers just shrugged off any questions they had, got into their cars, started up the engines, and with that, Joseph Stone scuttled over to the front of the cars, raised his raggedy flag and brought it down.

    The race was on!

    And the other three cars never had a chance; the split second their wheels began to spin, the Mustang roared into action, surging through the gap between the front two racers and leaving them all in the dust. They drove on, desperate to catch up, but even a fool could tell they had no hope of catching up to the fourth car, no hope at all.

    The crimson car roared as it zoomed along the designated course, effortlessly swerving around the corners, effortlessly dodging any cars that were active in the late night whilst ignoring their protesting horns, all while leaving its competitors far behind it, choking on the powerful vehicle's exhaust.

    Joseph Stone didn't have to wait long for the Mustang to complete the circuit and drive by in a triumphant roar, whipping up dust in its passing, enough to all but cover the poor sap in a fresh coat of the stuff. He spun on the spot, utterly shocked by the sheer speed of its passing; the chick's driving was as blunt and violent as her demeanour!

    Regaining his bearings and staring blankly after the long-gone Mustang and the gorgeous yet dangerous woman who drove it, he promptly wondered if he'd ever see her again. And then decided it might just be for the best that he didn't.

    The Mustang continued on its path, uncaring of whatever people it disturbed with its high-strung engine and blaring speed, until it noticed it had a tail; a navy blue Lamborghini Aventador was following it, maintaining pace with the race car with ease, headlights flickering slightly in a silent signal to slow down.

    With a rev of frustration, the Mustang nevertheless complied, decelerating enough for the Lamborghini to draw up beside it, the blue vehicle much sleeker and more refined than its counterpart, particularly emphasized when the Mustang spoke;

    "What do you want?! Can't you see I'm trying to relax, you invasive scraplet?!"

    The Lamborghini hesitated in whatever he was about to say, before he finally asked: "Why is your voice that of a human female?"

    "Ah frag!" The Mustang snarled, and for a brief second, there was a flicker of static, before he said, his voice again the brutal snarl of Barricade rather than the cold cut of that female voice; "My damn vocal alteration component glitched. Probably should see Slipstream about that."

    "Why were you even talking like a human female?"

    "Ah, needed to sweet-talk past a list or some slag like that. I hear human females are better at that than the males."

    "Right. Speaking of which; street racing, Barricade? Surely you have better things to do then to partake in such a vulgar practice. Do you know how many accidents such a sport causes? It is crude in purpose and design, and you should honestly look very hard at yourself if that is your idea of entertainment-"

    "Don't lecture me, Soundwave, you incoherent piece of scrap! I do whatever I want to do! You think I'd prefer to hang out with you and the other bores and do whatever boring scrap you bots do? No way!"

    Soundwave revved in annoyance: "So you waste your time playing with the primates. Beings of our superior positioning in the cosmos surely have higher standards than their illegal little drive arounds."

    "Pit below, it was only my first race! Can't I find a fragging hobby without scraplets like you beeping down my neck?!"

    Whatever Soundwave was going to say in response to that, both of their com-links suddenly beeped, and they were promptly regaled by none other than Starscream.

    "Barricade, Soundwave! I trust you are remaining inconspicuous?

    "Of course, sir, as inconspicuous as a chameleon" Soundwave replied coolly, ignoring Barricade's attempts to hit him with his door, the car revving angrily at further interruption to his night out. "What do you require?"

    "While I know I gave you two some time off to enjoy yourselves, I must pain myself with the awful duty of telling you that I have a new mission for you that I want you to begin straight away!"

    "WHAT?!" Barricade hollered, enraged and indignant, and Soundwave promptly cut him off from the communications, so that Starscream's innocent audio receptors would be spared the immediate string of violent curses towards Starscream and any and all family he had. Soundwave himself was a tad annoyed at the news, but nevertheless replied: "What mission is that, Starscream?"

    "We need more Cybertanium for Operation Harvest, of course, and order to ensure our best chance of success, I will need a consistent distraction to keep the Autobots occupied while we gather appropriate resources. So, as long you two are down there, you will set up a new decoy for the Autobots to follow!"

    Soundwave considered this proposal. The last time they'd played decoy hadn't exactly turned out well, at least for Barricade. But then again, it had kept most of the Autobots busy enough for the Darksyde to gather scrap in peace (Not that they could detect it anyway, given the ship's cloaking features). All they had to do, really, was just lead the Autobots around on a wild goose chase and let Starscream handle the rest.

    Fair enough!

    "Very well, Starscream, we accept. Do you require the shuttle back?"

    "No, keep it, in case you need a quick escape off the rock. Do our cause proud, Soundwave- Oh! And tell Barricade if he ever exclaims such rudeness in response to my orders again, I'll pull out every last damn valve in his frame!.... Ta ta for now."

    The com-link went dead, and the Communications officer idly noted Barricade was still cursing and swearing. When he got going, he really got going, and he didn't stop until his vocal processors broke or something distracted him. Deciding to be the distraction, the Lamborghini declared: "Well, since you missed out on that, our new task is to distract the Autobots."

    "What?! Is that obnoxious fuel-hogging thruster-face serious?! The last time we distracted the Autobots, I got set on fire!"

    "And I laugh every time I remember that." Soundwave noted cheerfully, avoiding another swipe from the other car's door, before taking on his more mechanical business tone. "But nevertheless, we have a job to do. We need to find a way to lure those Autobots astray."

    "Heh. That rhymed."

    "I know right? But seriously, think; how will we lure them out? We can't use the shuttle, since it would be more productive to keep it under wraps, and I doubt Starscream is lending us any Seekers this time around."

    Barricade contemplated the question for a moment, before his engine revved sadistically: "Ha, don't worry, Soundwave. I, with all my magnificent intelligence, have the perfect idea to bring out those damnable scraplets. And if I'm lucky, Hound will be with them this time, and I can finally rip that fragger apart!"

    ---

    The Zeta-1, despite having two battles rather close by, had not yet moved from its resting place by the human town. Whether confident the Decepticons would never find it, or playing reverse procology in that the Decepticons might think it had moved from this general location, no-one knew. Regardless, it remained where it was.

    Within the control room, three Autobots were currently engaged in some important matters of much importance! Sat around the main console, these three Autobots were undertaking this grand task with much focus and enthusiasm! What is this grand task? Let's find out!

    "What an amazing concept." Hound mused cheerfully, examining the holographic image of a Portuguese man-o-war jellyfish, the display highlighting different parts of the organism's frame. "A creature composed of thousands of tiny little organisms, all joined together in a unified machine! So great is this connection, that those tiny things are incapable of independent survival! Biology can produce so many wonderful things!"

    "Absolutely!" Bumblebee nattered happily, pointing to the creature's tentacles: "And check these out! It uses them to sting stuff, and then it eats whatever it just stung, and that gives it more energy to sting more stuff and eat that stuff too! It's a never-ending cycle of eating and stinging!"

    "Indeed." Hound chuckled. "Ah, if only the War wasn't going on. This planet would have been fantastic for biological study."

    "Grimlock agrees with you there." The tanker truck noted, idly wondering whether or not the creature's venomous tentacles could be a potential combat upgrade in the future. "Much life to study, much life to muse on."

    Hound seemed surprised that Grimlock was agreeing with him, or even showing some kind of appreciation for a peaceful scientific understanding, while Bumblebee cheerfully added: "Yep, lots and lots and lots of life! This planet has trillions of things, all doing their organic stuff! It's awesome!"

    "It is interesting how the jellyfish, despite lacking any kind of a processing organ, can nevertheless react to its environment. I mean, I doubt any of us could handle being without our processor, but this creature, and many others similar to it, get along just fine."

    "Can hardly be difficult. They just need to float around until some dumb swimmer gets caught in the tentacles. Grimlock has to question the observational capabilities of its prey if they can fall victim to an inanimate coalition of tiny.... tiny things."

    "All the tiny things, working together to make a big thing that can do all that stinging and eating! It's really awesome!"

    "Speaking of awesome-" The jeep suddenly noted, shifting the topic as he stroked his chin in slight curiosity. "-Isn't Evac letting Ratchet back online today? If he is, then we can finally find out what solution he had planned."

    "Grimlock believe so." Grimlock huffed, flicking his tail slightly in disregard. "Jazz has been sat outside the med-bay for hours now. Must be very intent to find out whatever plan the medic has, given he's hardly been capable of doing it himself."

    "Let's not be demeaning now." Hound warned. "He's at least put more thought into it than you have."

    Grimlock flared exhaust out of his pipes in instant anger: "Grimlock came up with a plan faster than any of you. You simply refused to acknowledge-"

    "Refuse to acknowledge?!" Hound snapped back, riled up by the accusation. "You're the one who thought that-"

    He must have crossed a line, because the berserker suddenly seemed highly determined to make him shut up; the larger Autobot lunged forward and snapped his jaws aggressively, inches from Hound's face, the lieutenant managing to avoid the attack and darting out of range of any further snaps.

    Bumblebee, shocked at such sudden aggression, quickly darted forward and positioned himself in front of Hound, hollering: "Grimlock, stop it! Both of you, stop it! Stop it, stop it, stop it!"

    Despite Hound's brief horror that the tanker truck wouldn't listen, that he'd continue in his sudden desire to bite their heads off, Grimlock paused, rumbled heavily and reluctantly shifted back to his original position, optics still glaring vehemently at Hound, but nevertheless heeding the rookie's plea.

    "Oh, we always have to fight about stuff!" Bumblebee complained, wheeling over to his friend and tapping at his neck in small reprimand for his impulsiveness. "It's not good, not good at all to just keeping snapping at each other!"

    "You're right, Bee." Hound said, maintaining a sense of dignity. "We apologise for overreacting. We might as well hear what Ratchet has to say before we get worked up over it. There's no point fighting without a battlefield."

    "Right!" The smaller scout agreed, perking up with much eagerness at the defusing of the argument. "Good point! I'm gonna add that to my list of Hound quotes!"

    "You keep a list of my quotes?"

    "Yep!"

    Grimlock, silent throughout this exchange, simply continued to glare at Hound, not quite willing to further press his point, not with the potential risk it could bring. But of course, even if he had continued, the foolish pacifist would just whine and complain at him and completely ignore his suggestion because it wasn't oh so moral enough for him. He spat out some fire and thus returned his attention to his small friend's words as the Beetle returned the topic to jellyfish.

    Better jellyfish than what might have been revealed....

    Meanwhile, Jazz was impatiently pacing outside the door to the med-bay, arms folded behind his back and visor glinting now and then as he awaited the upcoming revelation. Evac had told him an hour ago that he'd nearly finished sorting out the major neural aspects of the injury and that Ratchet would be able to come back online for a while.

    But alas, time had passed slowly since he got that message, and thus the Solstice was feeling pretty darn bored. He'd been waiting out here for quite a while, waiting for any sign that Evac could call him in to talk to the Hummer, but alas, nothing so far.

    The boredom was starting to get to him. He'd taken to just standing by the wall, lightly tapping his head about and wondering if his processor was degrading from the action. Or maybe he just spin in a circle, flicking out the doors on his arm and spinning his wheels. All in all, he was very bored with this waiting.

    But it would be worth it if Ratchet had the solution!

    Unless he'd forgotten it or something. Urgh.

    He could hear some loud clangs and some choice curse words coming from Wheeljack's lab, but figured he was better off not knowing. Besides, if he went to see the tow truck, he might miss out on Evac telling him Ratchet was back online, and no way was he gonna miss that-

    The door slid open, and Evac, looking rather worn out, poked his head out, noted Jazz in the corridor, and declared: "Hey Jazz! I can reboot Ratchet now!"

    "Oh, thank Primus!" He hollered, and promptly darted in after the helicopter, free of the damnable waiting and more than ready to have the question in his processor answered!

    Ratchet was offline, lying on the berth and still as a statue, with only the tiniest little whirrs of internal activity signalling he was still amongst the living, a tube connected to his head leading a monitor that was displaying his vital statistics. Evac moved over to inspect this monitor, as Jazz went to look at the injury.

    Ratchet's hip at least looked better than it had yesterday; Evac had secured some structural support around it, and the wiring and valves looked less crumpled. The majority of it still seemed crushed, but at least it wasn't as awful as it had been. All in all, for a rookie, the helicopter knew his stuff.

    Evac, satisfied with the readings, moved to stand beside Jazz, and said: "His systems are much more stable than they were yesterday. I fixed this support structure thing to help keep his frame secure while I sort out the other stuff, and I've realigned most of his neurals, so it shouldn't hurt that much. I disable the sensory input from that area anyway, just in case, but you get the idea!"

    "You've done good, Evac. Can we have him online now?"

    "Oh, sure! Lemme just get his processor powered up and we'll be good to roll!"

    Evac pulled over a board attached to the monitor and tapped multiple buttons upon it, nattering medical stuff to himself as he did. The tube glowed slightly, followed by the sound of systems whirring into life, and all of a sudden, Ratchet jerked violently, optics brightening into life as he let out a surprised screech:

    "ARGH! DEATH LOOKS LIKE A MED-BAY!"

    "Oh wow." Evac noted, looking very shocked at this outburst. "I didn't know bots go crazy when you wake them up."

    "Not crazy, just Ratchet." Jazz noted, and promptly declared: "Ratchet, you're not dead. You're in the Zeta-1, you didn't die and you're on the mend, okay?"

    The Hummer hesitated, staring frantically around him, before noting Evac and Jazz standing nearby and thus he revved in utmost relief.

    "Oh thank Primus. For a moment there, I thought I was one with the Allspark. I saw my life flash before my optics!"

    "That's nice, Ratchet." The Lieutenant noted, feeling he should be a tad more sympathetic yet a bit too impatient to really want to bother with life-and-death sentiment. "But I need you to pay attention, okay?"

    The Hummer promptly revved in annoyance: "I am paying attention. It's just that not all of us have functional hips right now, you jerk!"

    "Don't worry, I'll fix it soon enough!" Evac chipped in, sounding both happy and cautious at the same time, with an added touch of bemusement. "I've been working hard to unscramble your wiring and fixing your inner structure and stuff!"

    Ratchet blinked in astounded surprise, before he revved slightly and smiled: "And I have to say, you've done very well, considering I'm not screaming in agony nor feeling my valves bleed profusely within me. Wait till I tell Moonracer how-"

    As Evac beamed with pride, Jazz snapped: "Okay, okay, you'll be fixed in no time, awesome, now can we please move to the prime topic at hand?!"

    "Fine, fine. What is it?"

    "The solution to our dilemma! You mentioned it in the forest, you said you had a solution to our whole energy-gaining problem! That's what I've been waiting for, for like a whole day!”

    "..... Solution? I, um... don't.... solution?"

    "Yes a solution! The- Oh Primus, please tell me you haven't forgot- Evac, has he forgotten anything?!"

    Oh, this could not be happening, no way, not in the Pit itself! He could not have been so close to hearing an idea that could have sorted out the Autobot's problems and then been denied it so suddenly, just because Ratchet couldn't remember!

    The helicopter seemed rather shocked at Jazz's zealous demands, raising his hands defensively despite his significant size advantage: "No, his memory core is intact; he didn't take any damage to it. I'll check its status though, just in case."

    Ratchet seemed a tad uncomfortable as Jazz revved in frustration, Evac quickly going over data on the monitor. The Solstice seemed pretty worked up over whatever solution he had apparently mentioned, but honestly, the medic could not for the life of him remember what he had-

    "Ah-ha!" Evac declared happily. "Found the problem! Some of his memory components haven't rebooted yet! I'll just divert some Energon for that!"

    A quick diversion, a fresh boost of power, a sudden increase of porcessor activity, all that jazz-

    Aaaaaaaand now Ratchet could remember.

    "Yes, you're right!" He hollered suddenly, again surprising the other two, yet nevertheless relieving the Solstice. "I did say that! I do have a solution to our problem!-"

    "Don't exert yourself, your systems still aren't fully recuperated and stuff."

    "-I got the idea when that troglodyte Starscream was about to break my hip! I remember him saying he was going to improve my design, which he failed at miserably, and that's when it hit me! Well, that and his knee. That's when I got the idea to what we can do to fulfil our mission!"

    "Which is?" Jazz asked eagerly.

    "We improve their designs! The Earth power plants, their dams, their solar farms! We could add Cybertronian technology to them, increase their energy output, and harvest the extra energy to ship back to Cybertron! The humans won't ever notice it, not if we're siphoning out the extra juice, and we get to benefit their race in the process in a subtle and efficient manner!"

    He stopped at last and looked very pleased with himself, green optics twinkling excitedly. Evac seemed impressed, and Jazz-

    Jazz was awestruck, finding himself being filled with a glorious sensation of hope, success and joy! That plan was, was actually pretty great! It could work! It had to work! If they made modifications to human power supplies, they could easily harvest the additional energy! Primus, how come he didn't think of that?! It was so simple, yet so effective! They'd succeed in their mission, and benefit the War effort back at Cybertron!

    Panels flickering in extreme satisfaction, the Lieutenant gave out a cheer and pumped his fists into the air, excited determination flowing through every neural in his frame. They had a goal, they had a solution, they had all that jazz and it was going to pay off in their favour!

    "Awesome! That can work! That can actually work! Quick, Evac, how much Solanor do we have stored?!"

    "None. We never stocked any, I think-"

    "Whatever, we'll make some! Ratchet, you've done it! You solved our dilemma!"

    "I know, I'm very ingenious like that-"

    But before any further ego satiation could take place, Wheeljack suddenly ran into the room, screaming his head off in deranged panic, holding up his right hand, which appeared to be covered in blue goop that appeared to be melting his plating in a violent hissing fray of bubbles and sparks.

    "Oh my Primus, Wheeljack, what the frag-"

    "Scrap out my bumper-"

    "HELP! I've got over-energised Energon burning me! IT BURNS!"

    "It's melting right through!"

    "I KNOW! THAT'S WHY I'M BURNING!

    "Wheeljack!" Evac cried, shutting everyone up with the volume of his voice and stomping forward to assess the situation: "Quickly! Shut off all neurals and valves to that area!"

    "I did it! IT'S STILL BURNING ME! What happens now?!"

    Evac promptly disengaged his main rotor, seized it a specialised grip that extended from his arm, flicked out the blades and neatly sliced off Wheeljack's compromised limb, the injured hand landing on the floor with a clack of metal.

    "Oh my Primus, Evac, what the frag-"

    "MY ARM! YOU CUT OFF MY ARM, YOU CRAZY FRAGGER! JAZZ, HE CUT OFF MY ARM!"

    "HE CUT OFF YOUR ARM!"

    "Only to stop the Energon burning through and infecting him and killing him and stuff! Besides, that was kinda fun! I actually amputated someone!"

    "YOU PROCOTIC MONSTER-"

    Hound burst in: "WHAT ARE WE ALL SHOUTING ABOUT- OH MY PRIMUS, SOMEONE CUT OFF YOUR ARM!"

    Meanwhile, in the control room, Grimlock was cheerfully listening to the sound of carnage, chuckling to himself as Bumblebee noted: "You know, they could probably be dying horrible deaths in there, and we're just standing here not doing anything."

    "That's half the fun, Bee."

    "What's the other half?"

    "Laughing about it."

    "Oh."

    Grimlock chuckled again and returned his attention to the display, this time featuring a serpentine creature: "So, what was this thing again?"

    "Electric eel! It's a fish that looks like a snake but is really a fish, and it has the power to shoot electricity to kill things and eat them! It's kinda like that jellyfish, except it uses electricity rather than stingers."

    "Intriguing. Grimlock wouldn't have guessed an organic creature could utilise electricity in such an offensive manner."

    "It's crazy, right, they can just sort of build it up in their muscles and stuff and then when it sees some food it just zaps it! ZAP! And then it eats it! I bet if I made a few adjustments to my own stunners, I could zap things as awesomely as this eel can!"

    "Grimlock would hardly recommend it." The truck huffed, rather sudden in his change in demeanour, sternly gazing at the smaller Autobot. "The last thing Grimlock needs is you running off into conflict just because you had an upgrade."

    Bumblebee seemed surprised at this, before he revved his engine in annoyance and groaned: "Oh, are you still mad about me helping them fight Starscream? You weren't mad when I helped Wheeljack fight that crimson Con!"

    "That Con was pitiful. Starscream is of a much higher league than you currently stand; such a danger is not for you, not yet."

    "But I did help them! I did pretty awesome!" The scout protested, childishly folding his arms and huffing at the larger Autobot. "I didn't get killed or anything-"

    "You told Grimlock he could have shot you, but just shot the dirt instead."

    This shook Bumblebee's resolve. He'd forgotten he'd told Grimlock about that particular detail; the jet had neglected to directly fire at him, too dismissive of the scout to even outright blast him, too focussed on the other Autobots to pay him much heed.

    Nevertheless, he tried to recover from that: "Well, yeah, but-"

    "No buts, Bumblebee. If he had wanted to, Starscream could have killed you. You're lucky he was too focussed on the others to bother. So Grimlock does not want you to get ideas into your processor about fighting every single Decepticon in your way. You're not nearly ready for that yet."

    Bumblebee hesitated, struggling to find an appropriate retort, a defiant response, an assertive declaration, but he had nothing. Grimlock's logic, brutal as ever, had defeated whatever response he could have formulated, defeated any hope of defending his efforts against Starscream.

    You know, maybe he'd only ever been in two fights in his life, but he liked to think he had done well, done his best, and had fought eagerly to make his comrades proud, make them think he was less of the youngling they hung out with and more of a fellow Autobot soldiers! But yet, here was his best friend in the whole universe outright telling him that he wasn't ready to fight, wasn't able to help even against an egotist like Starscream!

    The rookie slumped slightly in dejection, and the tanker truck hesitated, perturbed by how easily he had upset the little scout, before leaning forward and gentling nudging his shoulder with his nose, attempting to cheer up the Beetle;

    "C'mon, Bumblebee, don't get down. Let's look at some more awesome stuff, shall we?"

    The youngster wheeled away from his touch, engine revving in a building conflict, before moving away from the console towards the door, wheels dejectedly clicking and muttered: "You can. I'm going for a drive."

    Grimlock huffed in frustration and moved to follow him, growling: "Bumblebee, Grimlock doesn't think that-"

    "You know, Grimlock!-" Bumblebee snapped, spinning around and fixing the larger Autobot with as defiant and cold a glare as he could manage, which was rather pitiful in comparison to what the other Autobots could do. "You're, you're supposed to be my best buddy, not.... Not another Ratchet!"

    The tanker truck was instantly struck by this as if flash frozen, struck by the sudden hostility, by the awful comparison, by the sudden revelation of insecurity under the happy aura, but before he could recover, before he could say or do anything, Bumblebee wheeled through the door and was gone.

    He stood there for a moment, still frozen, unable to comprehend what had just happened, how quickly it had been; how had Bumblebee ever gotten the implication he considered him unable to assist in combat? He'd said he wasn't ready to take on higher tiers like Starscream, not that he was incapable of being a help! But Bumblebee was young, and perhaps he'd convinced himself that the older Autobots looked down upon him-

    He shook his head free of his stunned reverie and rumbled heavily in defiance of anyone ever looking down on his friend, shaking with the powerful sound, before his tail snapped against the console, turning off the display, and he promptly stomped after the scout.

    He had no hope of catching him; Bumblebee was faster than he could ever be. But Pit if he didn't try.



    Notes: Ha, vocal alteration component. Wouldn't it be great if it stayed glitched? :p 

    At long last, we've been introduced to Barricade and Soundwave's vehicle modes. Took them long enough!
     
  11. Meta777

    Meta777 Dr Pepper Fan

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    Huzzah, I hope you enjoyed episode 4's first chapter! Now is time for additional notes and some questions! :D 

    Notes: Over-energised Energon is exactly what it says on the tin. When used wisely, it provides energy boosts beyond normal Energon, but it's unstable and can have bad effects on a Cybertronian's outer/inner frame, as poor Jackie found out.

    No need to explain what inspired Barricade's shenanigans at the beginning :p 

    Questions;
    1: Who is your favourite character(s)/least favourite character(s) so far?
    2: What voice can you imagine a character speaking in?


    Thanks muchly! :D 
     
  12. Jamocha101

    Jamocha101 Well-Known Member

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    Shizznit. I have to leave and don't have time to read. I'll be back by this afternoon, mark my words!
     
  13. Wars

    Wars I Ate The WHOLE Plate

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    Haha, Barricade racing was great. Mostly because of that glitch..

    Poor Bumblebee. So insecure. You wouldn't have seen that one coming..

    My favourite character so far? Tough choice. They're all so well written! Argh! Let me get back to you... :p 

    I imagine Starscream sounding a bit like Tom Kenny's iteration of the character. Bumblebee I imagine would have a really high pitched squeeky voice...
     
  14. LegoShokwave123

    LegoShokwave123 YOU CLOD!!!

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    Favorite character, hmmm. Probably Slipstream.
    Least favorite, Barricade.

    As for voices:

    Jazz- Animated Jazz
    Bumblebee- Animated Bumblebee
    Ratchet- Prime Ratchet
    Evac- Build-A-Bot (From the Transformers 2007's Autobot DS video game)
    Grimlock- Animated Grimlock
    Wheeljack- Prime Wheeljack
    Moonracer- Botanica

    Starscream- Transformers 2007 DS Starscream
    Barricade- War For Cybertron Barricade
    Soundwave- War For Cybertron Soundwave
    Slipstream- Prime Arcee
    Nighttrace- GLaDOS
    Blackout- Transformers 2007 DS Blackout
     
  15. Jamocha101

    Jamocha101 Well-Known Member

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    Okay. Back, lol.

    An episode that stars both Bumblebee and Barricade? Do you know the kind of pain I went through all day, waiting to get home so that I could read through this chapter? And was I disappointed? Nope. I feel sorry for Bumblebee, but at the same time, very excited to see how this different side of his character plays out as the episode goes on. Any number of things could happen, needless to say, which makes me excited--he could spring headfirst into danger, he could unwittingly "run into" danger and refuse to ask for help, or this could play out like Plight of the Bumblebee where he helps a couple of kids win a street race just to rev out his woes. :'D But then of course, none of the above could also happen.

    Barricade's consistent cursing amuses me, pretty much like everything else about him does. He reminds me so much of Ninja Turtles's Raphael; angry, hot-headed, hateful most of the time, but deep inside, you know there's some part of him that cares for something. By the by, I suspected it was him from the very beginning. I was thrown off by the female hologram, but there's no other female characters besides Slipstream and Nighttrace, and neither of them are cars, so. And oH MY GOSH YOU MADE BARRICADE A MUSTANG DO YOU KNOW HOW PERFECT THAT IS I LOVE MUSTANGS SDFWOIEURGWIEOURGIWUONGWRG.

    Favorite characters:
    I don't know any more, lol. Honestly, the favorite character position is pretty much a tug between Bumblebee and Hound, I love both of them so much. Then you know my feelings toward Barricade. If he doesn't join those two to make a three-way tie, then he comes at an extremely close second.

    As for voices, you pretty much know all about where I stand on that. But I think I've decided more clearly on Soundwave with this chapter, especially now that we've heard more dialogue. And I know this'll sound really weird, but I almost imagine him speaking with a Shia Lebouf-like voice. A little more grown up, I guess, but sort of like a deeply-pitched, but still relatively generic adult male voice. I don't imagine these guys having the same outrageous raspy, gruff, mean, bravado cartoony voices like they've had in the past. Since you've shown us a different interpretation of the cons, they just sound more...I dunno, "normal" to me.

    So in the end, hope Bumblebee turns out okay. Wondering if Grimlock or anybody else will track him by the end of the episode. And, Jazz thinks that they're all good with Ratchet's new solution! Too bad they (nor we for that matter) know about Operation: Harvest. O_O

    Get out.

    Omg yes.

    EDIT: Oh, and forgot to mention. Nice little reference there with Grimlock getting angry at Hound for almost revealing that little fib. I was thinking that it would be brought back.
     
  16. LegoShokwave123

    LegoShokwave123 YOU CLOD!!!

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    I like all the characters, Its just that Barricade is the one I like least.
     
  17. Jamocha101

    Jamocha101 Well-Known Member

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    Okay.

    I'll let you off the hook.

    For now.
     
  18. LegoShokwave123

    LegoShokwave123 YOU CLOD!!!

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    Meta, check the front page. The new Generations Legends Starscream comes with a Waspinator target master.
    :jawdropper: 

    Edit: Screams an F-22 (or something really simalar) as well!
     
  19. Meta777

    Meta777 Dr Pepper Fan

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    Haha, fantastic :lol 

    With that awesomeness received, time for the next chapter!


    "Let us never speak of that again."

    "One-hundred percent agreed."

    After the disastrous turn of events in the med-bay, featuring panic, over-energised Energon and a freshly amputated Wheeljack, Jazz and Hound had retreated to the control room, both to relieve themselves of the tow truck continually whining of his unfortunate circumstance (and the traumatic sights that had accompanied it) and to discuss their newest plan of action.

    It was good to actually have a plan in this regard. With the Decepticons still remaining invisible to their scanners and some previous conflict emerging over their disagreements, to have a solid goal in mind was a welcome change to the insecurity of how to complete their mission.

    Entering the control room, the door sliding shut behind them, Hound and Jazz moved to the main console, where the lieutenant tapped a button and once more brought up the display of Earth's power stations. Before, they had gazed at it and spoke about it in mere attempts to deduce a strategy, but now, with Ratchet's plan in mind, they had conviction and confidence in their discussion.

    "Alright, so Ratchet's idea is to upgrade Earth power supplies and harvest the additional output." Hound recounted, as he typed commands into the console, bringing up an additional display that listed possible methods of performing said upgrades. "Given the fact they like to utilise solar power as well, I believe we should start with the human's solar farms, or photovoltaic power stations if you want to be formal about it."

    "We'll stick with solar farms." Jazz replied, an amused glint in his visor. "Be easy enough to upgrade them; all we need to do with them is to add some Solanor to their panelling structure."

    "Thing is, though, we don't any Solanor."

    "Well, we might as well take a unit out of the Decepticon's datapad and see if we find some Earth scrap to convert in the forge." He paused then, considering, before adding: "Or I could call Iacon to send us a lump. We both know how easily Solanor can fill a frame from just a small nugget."

    "True, but I thought Autobot supplies were on strict lockdown. You're sure you could actually just phone them up and ask for some?"

    The Solstice folded his arms and grinned smugly at the jeep: "There are benefits to being the Lieutenant. Besides, it'll be quicker than lugging scrap back to the ship."

    "Of course. Still, there's the other problem of actually storing and transporting the Energon from the solar farms to the ship. We can't keep flying over for pick-ups, the Decepticons would track our exhaust, and we can't just leave converting systems lying around where humans could find them."

    The Solstice considered this, before replying: "Well, maybe we could have the extra output siphoned out of their systems via some tubing that could lead to a secret location or something. Like, a cave where we could hide the Energon underground before shipping it out."

    "Hmmm, that could work. Means a lot of digging, and a whole lot of wires, though."

    "We can manage it. So, why don't you highlight the nearest solar farms, and maybe some nice spots to hide a converter, while I go call Iacon to see if they've got some spare Solanor lying around."

    "Sure, no problem." Hound replied, promptly typing in grid calculations into the console as the display highlighted solar farms in bright yellow, identifying the ones within convenient range, before something struck him, and he asked: "Hey, Jazz, were you aware that Bumblebee and Grimlock have left the ship?"

    The Lieutenant turned, wearing a look of confused caution, seeing that Hound had brought up two Autobot signals on the display, one moving much faster than the other, before he shrugged and replied: "They must have gone for a drive, or a race. I suppose talking about the whole energy gathering thing doesn't quite appeal to them."

    "Particularly Grimlock." Hound muttered, staring at the signals with unsure contemplation. "He lost his temper at me earlier; no idea what set him off so quickly."

    "What doesn't set off Grimlock quickly?" Jazz snorted, before turning and leaving the room, leaving Hound behind to wonder on the berserker's reasoning and to apprehensively worry about where his protege was going. Under normal circumstances, he didn't prefer his apprentice going out alone with the tanker truck, but even so, he preferred Bumblebee going out alone without the tanker truck even less, considering the Decepticon presence on this planet.

    Besides, it wasn't like Bumblebee to leave Grimlock, or anyone, in the dust and head off by themselves. What was he up to? What had Hound missed that had caused both of them to leave the ship?

    And more importantly, why couldn't he message Bumblebee?!

    ---

    The gates were rather rusted, and thus they split apart easily as the Mustang casually drove through them, uncaring to the prominent KEEP OUT sign standing just before said gates; in fact, a swing of its door had knocked over said sign in petty disregard. Clearly, whoever was driving such a vehicle held much contempt for even basic privacy and rules.

    And they certainly wouldn't be wrong, given Barricade's callous nature and hatred of the pathetic attempts to keep him in line, even on this pitiful planet. Humans and their stupid multitude of rules. As if Barricade cared.

    Soundwave was a bit more hesitant, as the Lamborghini followed after the crimson racer, environmental sensors scanning the area dubiously, and he asked: "This is where your grand plan is to take place? An abandoned factory? I suppose I can respect the fact you've chosen a location outside of basic human residence, but I don't see how this place is supposed to help us in our task."

    "That's because you're stupid." Barricade replied smugly, parking just outside one the dirtied grey buildings, admiring the awful integrity of the structures. "What I have planned is pretty simple, Soundwave. We're gonna boot up some of the old machinery in this piece of scrap, and the Autobots will come running, thinking we're trying to turn this place in some sort of power plant or some slag like that."

    The navy-blue sports car settled next to his comrade and noted: "That's actually very good, Barricade. I honestly never expected such an intelligent endeavour from you."

    "Go melt your face in acid."

    He ignored the hissy insult and continued: "Still, we need more than active machinery to attract Autobot attention. In case you haven't noticed, there are many factories upon this continent, and the Autobots have neglected to investigate those ones."

    "Well, if you were actually reasonably clever instead of being a dumb fragger, you'd know that we're gonna power up this scrap with Energon! It'll be like leaving a screamer for a Driller; the second they pick up the signature, they'll come running, running right into their grisly demise! Hahahaha!"

    "You're starting to sound like Starscream." Soundwave noted.

    "Whatever. Let's go power up some stuff!"

    With that said, the Mustang transformed, the front of the car splitting apart and extending into powerful double-jointed legs, claws folding from behind the bumper into the feet, as arms extending from the back shoved the vehicle upwards, the spoiler splitting in half onto the shoulders as the torso rotated around, the roof and hood snapping into the hips to secure his frame, the head emerging and red optics activating in a flare of light.

    Soundwave's transformation was similar, but more controlled and smooth than the other car, his arms emerging from his underside the car's front and hood folded down into his chest, doors shifting onto his back as his rear half rotated around, splitting apart into the legs as the car's panelling clipped into his abdomen. Stretching himself out slightly, Soundwave promptly followed Barricade to one of the larger structures, which was sure to contain the devices they needed.

    The shock trooper idly kicked down a hefty chunk of the wall, forming an entrance in a cloud of dust and rubble, and entered the dark building, the rear lights on his chest blinking into life and highlighting the shady innards with a rather eerie red glow, Soundwave right behind him.

    This factory appeared to have been one that forged human information datapads that the Internet designated as newspapers, given the large printing machines arranged throughout the building. The Lamborghini supposed newspapers may become a thing of humanity's past, given their increasing reliance on more technological devices.

    Barricade was not so contemplative, gleefully stating: "Ah, these things will do! Let's slip a bit of Energon in them and we'll good to go!"

    He hesitated, then asked: "Do you have any Energon on you?"

    "No." Soundwave replied, stepping over to the Mustang, yellow visor repeatedly switching optical modes, from analysing dots to the full band. "But I know where I can get some."

    Before the other Decepticon could ask, Soundwave simply darted his hand out and jabbed a sharp claw into Barricade's side, earning a yelp of pain, shock and anger from the Mustang and drawing out a thick globule of displaced Energon. Satisfied, and ignoring Barricade's indignant curses and snarls, Soundwave flicked open a panel on the machine and idly brought up the droplet on his finger to the printer's innards. The Energon slithered into the device, and he snapped the panel shut, before scanning around intently and finding the on switch for the machine.

    He clicked it, and instantly, the Energon was permeated around the printer, activating in a rumble of old mechanics. Another scan, and the Communications officer was pleased to note that the printer was giving off the distinct signal of processing Energon.

    "Perfect." He said to Barricade, who was angrily inspecting the claw wound in his side. "This will attract the Autobots soon enough. Good plan, Barricade."

    "Go frag yourself, you scrap-absorbing jerk!"

    Soundwave shifted the light of his visor in the classic fashion of rolling one's optics, before scanning the machine for a third time: "How quaint. This human technology is so inferior that even a meagre droplet has all but restored its full functionality."

    "Yeah, MY meagre droplet, you fragger!"

    "Oh shut up, you've had worse injuries."

    "I'll give YOU worse injuries!"

    Promptly deciding it was better to abandon this current conversation, the Communications officer stepped out of the building, noting: "Well, we'd better get into position. I suspect the Lieutenant will lead their recon mission, given his speed and competence."

    "So long as Hound comes with them." Barricade growled eagerly, opening a compartment on his back and drawing out a lethally sharp scythe blade, fondly running the tip of his claw over the deadly metal. "Ooooh, it'll be my greatest pleasure to cut him into pieces!"

    "Why do you hate that scout so much?"

    "Believe me, Soundwave, it's a brutal affair, my history with that hologram-spamming cowardly piece of fragging scrap. But I'm not telling stories right now, I'm too busy imagining the look on his stupid face when I'm pulling out his neural net! Hahaha!"

    "How pleasant."

    ---

    It wasn't fair, you know. He'd been helpful so far, right? He was the one who activated the ship's cannons when the Decepticons had ambushed them over the Atlantic, he'd been the one who assisted Wheeljack in fighting that crimson Con, he'd been the one who helped defeat Starscream and he had definitely been the one to defeat that crazy wasp drone!

    So why was it then that Grimlock, his own best buddy, arguably his bestest buddy in the universe, had been the one to insinuate that he wasn't good at helping?

    The Beetle was still driving along in his haze of insecurity, hurt and misunderstanding, alert enough to avoid crashing into things, appease the speed camera things and avoid annoying the light traffic devices, yet utterly swept up in a rather sudden and zealous sadness that permeated his whole frame, to the point he'd even shut off his communications systems when he'd had enough of Grimlock's repeated requests to turn around and come back to the ship.

    Okay, so maybe Starscream could have easily just blasted him, and okay, maybe that other Con had clawed up his leg, but that didn't mean he was useless, right? Everyone made mistakes, even Hound and Jazz and Grimlock himself, so it wasn't too big a deal, but why was it then that the tanker truck had vehemently disagreed with his desire to improve himself?

    All he wanted was to be a great scout, like Hound, and also a great warrior, like Grimlock and Jazz and all the other soldiers he'd heard stories about. An Autobot who could fight for what's right, and strike fear into the sparks of Decepticons and defeat even the nastiest and toughest of their faction, and end the war once and for all! They were huge dreams, certainly, but Bumblebee was determined to make them reality.

    But how could he when even his own friends didn't believe he could?

    Caught up in negative thoughts, the Beetle finally gave up on driving and pulled into an empty space along the curb of some human town he'd just been passing through, shutting off his engine in a dying whimper. Be easier to think when staying still at least.

    "And I was helpful as well." He muttered to himself, windscreen wipers twitching slightly with his indignant frustration. "I zapped Starscream right in the knee, and I hit him with his own bug, and I tired that other Con! Okay, maybe I'm not the best fighter in the universe, but I gotta learn sometimes, Hound always says its better to learn by experience than by discussion, I mean, it's crazy-"

    A small touch of rationale in his currently upset processor noted that, to be fair, Grimlock had only been concerned that he could get overconfident if he got upgraded weaponry and make mistakes. He remembered a story Evac had told him about this bot, called Blurr or something, who'd received an experimental speed-boosting device that made him pretty awesome. Problem was, he got so overconfident with it that he ended up using it too much, and burned out his power supply right in the middle of a Decepticon assault.

    Evac had said that what they managed to recover from that disaster wasn't big enough to fill a scrap-box.

    But this touch of rationale, and the story that emphasized said rationale, went ignored by the majority of Bumblebee's mind that was too focussed on his own perceived demeaning of his usefulness, to the point of exaggerating the supposed demeaning in order to justify his sudden change in temper, most prominently assuming the other Autobots shared Grimlock's viewpoint.

    "-Sure, I'm not as big or strong as other Autobots, but I'm really fast, and I wheel around all day, and they could never catch me, but nope, everyone says I'm not tough enough to fight Decepticons, that I'm not tough enough to even help them, and that's not fair, and it's no good, no good at all-"

    Grimlock was supposed to always stand up for him and support him, not tell him he couldn't even handle a mean old egotistical drama lover like Starscream! He'd always stuck by his friend no matter what, even if he was mad or sad or grumpy, but now he couldn't expect that same loyalty in return? Outrageous!

    He was supposed to be Grimlock, his buddy, not another Ratchet would grumble and get paranoid and say that rookies couldn't help and make poor Evac go to the decontamination chamber over some salt water! What a betrayal, what an awful concept!

    That touch of rationale again chirped up, noting he was probably overthinking things and acting like a silly sparkling, but he didn't care right now. All he wanted was a chance to vent some feelings, not to listen to the misgivings about his, well, misgivings!

    "-But I can be useful and I will be useful and I'll show them that Bumblebee can be as great as, as..... as Optimus Prime even! And they'll say sorry they ever doubted me, and I will forgive them, because even older bots make mistakes, and by then I'll be as great as Optimus Prime anyway, and Optimus Prime forgives people, so I will too! And then-"

    His scanning systems suddenly beeped into life, and Bumblebee, instantly distracted from his ranting monologue, was stunned to discover that there was a fresh Energon signal in the air! Not that Energon-nitrate stuff, actual Energon! It was very small, and located in a more remote area not far from here, but it was there!

    What could have caused it? Had Energon been seeded on Earth to Cybertronians to collect later? Or was it Decepticons, hoping to prepare a new plan or something? Either way, he could go find out! If it was the former, he would bring it back to the Zeta-1, and if it was the latter, he could find out their evil plots and bring in back-up-

    -Or he could stop them by himself! That'd show the other Autobots!

    "I could do it!" Bumblebee excitedly chattered to himself as he locked the signal into his geographical scanners in order to track it on the road. "I could go and find out what it is, and then they'd have to take back what they said! Yes! Go, Bumblebee, go!"

    His engine revved into life, his wheels squealed eagerly against the tarmac, and the yellow car was off as fast as it could go!

    Within appropriate human speed limits of course.

    ---

    "Huh. An Energon signature just popped up." Slipstream mused, examining the highlighted area on the holographic display of the Earth before her, idly tapping her chin with a thoughtful finger. "That's odd. This planet doesn't have any reserve storages of Energon."

    "Perhaps the Autobots are attempting their own harvest and have botched in their cloaking methods." A Seeker suggested.

    "No, the Lieutenant wouldn't make such an error." Slipstream replied. "I suspect it might be Soundwave and Barricade, initating their decoy plan. Why else would such a signal be broadcasted so obviously? They're gonna lure the Autobots into an ambush."

    The Seeker nodded in agreement, before adding: "Should we send assistance to them? In case the Autobot presence exceeds their capabilities?"

    The medic considered that, gazing at the display with slight unsurity and a touch of imagined concern, before shaking her head and stating: "No, better we concentrate our efforts on Starscream's agenda; sooner we get more materials for Operation Harvest, the better. Besides, they can handle themselves, I'm sure."

    "And if they can't?"

    Slipstream revved slightly and flexed her tailfins as she turned to exit the room. "Then I'll just have to scrape up what's left and think of a good eulogy for them. The Memoirs of Soundwave and the guy who swore a lot, I would call it."

    "Poetic."

    "I know! I impress myself sometimes, Seeker."
     
  20. Wars

    Wars I Ate The WHOLE Plate

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    Bumblebee's gonna regret heading out there all on his own, big time..