by Birgit Staebler
Soundwave had decided to stay on Cybertron, like many of the Decepticons since Charr had been devastated by the Tji. He enjoyed being back on the planet of his birth and there was a lot to do here. The Council appreciated every bit of help and since he had also found someone again whom he had thought lost, Soundwave had not been hard pressed to stay. Hifi had been slightly apprehensive first and Blaster had been outright hostile to the idea of his sister spending her time with a Decepticon. They had been on opposite sides for a very long time. Soundwave appreciated her in many ways, mainly because she had the same understanding about the deeper meaning of sound; not just music -- loud music -- like Blaster, but the subtle nuances, the sounds no one else heard, and the manipulation of these nuances to a degree even Soundwave wasn't better at.
Right now they were going through old, recently rediscovered files, most of them history files, some of them nothing but accountant work, some personal diaries. Hifi was fascinated by the files, Soundwave merely interested. There was nothing fascinating about them at all. They were simple files. He had had a break from the review when Optimus had approached him about a code breaking job. It had taken him quite a time to find the password inside the complicated system and it had been an interesting challenge. But the job had been completed two days ago and now he was down here in the library rooms again.
Strangely enough, he started to enjoy this work, though Rumble and Frenzy had protested loudly about the inactivity and gone to find something more interesting to do. As far as he knew, they had joined the demolition teams in the other sector. Ravage was prowling around South Port, though he had decided to join them an hour ago, lying on the floor, and the avian cassettes were inside him.
Suddenly the door opened and Hifi looked up from her work. He felt her surprise through their Cyberspace link and turned as well. Ravage, who had been resting on the floor, gave a whine of recognition.
The whitish-blonde woman looked up and smiled, revealing a pair of sharp canines. "Soundwave."
She had changed -- a lot! This was not the woman he remembered, at least not down to every detail. She had not featured metal,
bat-like wings, equally metal but clawed fingers and feet, and a tail. She had also not featured reptilian eyes and pointed ears, and her hair had a surreal look to it now. All in all Samantha looked like a female humanoid in battle armor, though the metal appeared flexible and when she folded her wings, he knew it was. But it was still Samantha.
"You have changed," Soundwave said neutraly.
She laughed and it was still the same laugh. "Nicely put."
"You know her?" Hifi asked, perplexed.
"Someone with her name and a slightly different look," Soundwave said and shot Samantha a questioning look.
"It's still me, Soundwave. Just the appearance changed."
"Back to normal?" he hazarded.
She grinned. "In a way."
Hifi looked from one to another. "How do you two know each other? And how did you get in here in the first place?"
"I used the door," Samantha joked. "No, I arrived with a shuttle and decided to pay Soundwave a short visit as long as I'm here. As to how we met: it's a long story," Samantha said truthfully, raising one white eyebrow at Soundwave.
He nodded. "It is."
"Then how about someone telling it?" Hifi said, looking expectant.
It had been a battle that should have been quick and easy:
one Autobot facing an overwhelming number of Decepticons, but it hadn't
been easy. Soundwave had underestimated the situation, which should not
have happened. He had been hit by several blasts and one had taken out
his jet controls. He had tumbled out of control
Until his fuel had run out.
He had crashed hard somewhere remote and lonely, somewhere far away from human civilization. What had not been damaged by the Autobot's shots had fallen victim to the impact. Several sharp tree trunks had practically slit open his outer armor; he had bounced off several boulders and the rocky ground he had landed on had ripped apart his main body control circuitry at the neck. Soundwave was unable to move.
His body screamed in pain and his circuits were sending out agonizing impulses, doubled by what he received from his cassettes. Finally his mind was unable to take it anymore. He lost consciousness.
* * *
He had heard a crash. Something heavy had come down with an impact and it had been close. He didn't know why, but he went out to investigate. He was simply curious.
* * *
He woke later. Much later. His internal timer was still
working and told him he had been here several Earth hours. But that was
about all that really worked, except maybe for the damage report, which
he hated to access. He did it nevertheless and it was a very much sobering
experience. The radio was down, as was every other means of communication;
his motion control system was severely damaged and his eject mode down;
he was losing energon in a steady, though small flow, but even small leaks
were dangerous. In other words he was paralyzed and dying; he had no way
to call for help and he also had no way to send out one of the cassettes.
They were stuck.
His body was hidden under several high trees and a rocky overhang which made it almost impossible for any Decepticon search party to find him. But then Galvatron never searched for fallen comrades. The only thing Galvatron was interested in was galactic conquest and destruction. Which meant that Soundwave was on his own.
The communications expert checked on his cassettes and was sobered even more. He felt Laserbeak, Frenzy and Ratbat getting on-line after the crash had caused a blackout in Soundwave's chest compartment, but there was no beep out of Ravage.
Hours passed and dusk fell. The sun stood deep over the mountain, delivering a beautiful sunset, but Soundwave paid no attention to it. He had calculated the chances of his survival -- they were close to zero. He would run out of energy in less than two weeks according to human standard time -- which also meant sure termination for Laserbeak, Ratbat, Frenzy and Ravage. That was when Soundwave began to worry.
* * *
It was one of those giant robots.
Hatred welled up inside of him and he squelched it. It was so automatic that it sometimes scared him, but then the feeling of terrible loneliness came and the hatred was justified once more.
The robot had crashed badly and there were deep, open wounds and tears in his blue armor. Fluids leaked out of the openings and the light in the visor was dim.
Jay Davison wondered what had happened and what he should do. He knew all there was to know about the robot race, the Transformers, and he recognized it as a Decepticon. He didn't know its name because he had never started to learn any names of those aliens. He knew the facts necessary for him, that was enough. He knew he hated them all.
This one must have been involved in a fight, though Jay had not heard any sounds of battle close by. Then again, it might have happened further away and this one had simply crashed here. Jay didn't care. It had once more been Decepticons against Autobots and he couldn't say he had favors for any of the two groups. Too much had happened in his own life, too many memories plagued him.
The robot hadn't seen him yet and he intended to keep it this way. Davison turned and walked away. He didn't care who or what this robot was. He didn't care whether or not it died here. He only hoped it would a slow and agonizing death.
It started to rain.
Something approached the fallen robot and studied it for
a long time. Rain poured off it, building more puddle on the muddy ground,
but the strange figure still seemed dry.
"It's time," it said softly, barely loud enough to be heard over the beating of rain on the tree tops. "Time to start the healing and the change."
Then the shadowy figure spread enormous wings and flew off.
* * *
Soundwave woke rather abruptly. It had started to rain
and the water running through the opened armor was causing painful short
circuits. Since crashing down, he had tried to conserve as much energy
as possible by switching off most of the systems he could access and those
he didn't think were necessary for his survival. His internal repair system
was still off-line and Soundwave doubted that it would ever function again
without outside help.
The cassettes in his chest pocket, still stuck and unable to transform, were frightened. Soundwave could sense it and he could feel them starving slowly. Ravage was completely unresponsive, Ratbat simply quiet, Frenzy panicky to the hilt and Laserbeak's mind was filled with the claustrophobic fear of an avian stuck in a tight space and knowing he couldn't get out on his own.
Help will come soon, he soothed them.
It didn't help them very much, but as long as he had a link to each one of them, they were able to focus on something. The problem was that they were also linked among each other. And Ravage was in a really bad state. They all felt it and it gave them an idea of what they could expect their fate to be.
The raindrops fell heavily onto the metal skin of his face and for anyone who would have passed by that moment, it might have looked as if the Decepticon was crying. But Soundwave was alone and Cybertronians did not cry. Only the flesh creatures were capable of displaying their feelings this way.
The communications specialist looked into the slate gray sky. No one would come. He would die out here alone.
* * *
Jay looked up from his typing and smiled at the blonde woman standing in the doorway. "Hi, Sam," he greeted her.
Samantha frowned. "Where you been? I've been here this morning and you were gone. Don't tell me you went fishing."
His face grew neutral. "Taking a walk."
"I see." She walked over to him. "Any interesting landmarks?"
His eyes narrowed. "What's that supposed to mean?"
Sam shrugged. "Nothing. So?"
He growled something. How did she always know? How did she know anything?! Samantha was a mystery to him, just like she was the best friend he had ever had. He had known her for the past six years now and all he had learned about her was that she apparently had no first name, worked odd-hour job and was a chocoholic. Chocolate was something she couldn't resist, but it didn't show in her figure. Jay had met her shortly after a personal tragedy and without her, he might not be here today -- he might have committed suicide to escape the emotional pain and open wounds inside him.
Samantha had a great timing, always coming to his summer residence, as he called the timber-work hut he owned up in these mountains, when he had another bout of depression or hatred building up inside of him. Jay suspected she had a psychological background, but he had yet to find out. For now he was simply glad she was such a good friend.
"So what?" he growled, not intent to give in.
"So what's for dinner?" she asked cheerfully.
He sighed, rolled his eyes and waved haphazardly toward the kitchen area. "Whatever you find in the freezer or the fridge."
Sam shrugged. "Then let's see what I can whip up for dinner!"
He watched her disappear in the kitchen and then stared out of the window. It was raining like mad outside and his thoughts returned to the robot in the wilderness. The water would seep into the open wounds and damage him pretty badly.
* * *
The night in these mountains had been a rather interesting
experience to Soundwave who had tried to keep his mind off the dangerous
loss of liquids he was still experiencing and had instead studied the nightlife.
Not many animals approached him due to the sharp and alien smell he omitted
for their noses, but those he had been able to see with his failing night
vision he had catalogued. Drawing up information about them from inside
his archive had kept him from doing more than the necessary mental tasks
concerning himself and his weakening condition. Once he had thought he
saw a shadowy figure standing between the trees, but his sensors no longer
worked with perfection and he had not been able to distinguish it. Then
it had disappeared.
The first rays of sunlight heralded the morning and the animals of the night disappeared, making way for those who were active throughout the day.
The sun rose high up into the sky.
And then he saw the shape again, this time not standing between the trees but walking out into the artificial, Soundwave-shaped clearing. It was a male human with sandy-brown hair and dressed in casual clothes. Cold, pale blue eyes regarded him and Soundwave could only stare back. He was still trying to work on his voice box, but repairs used up so much energon that he couldn't always pursue them. He had to be careful with his last reserves. The human simply stood there and watched. Soundwave had no idea what he was seeing except for a crashed robot, and he also wondered why the human wasn't running either away or for help, or was simply taking advantage of the situation. He only watched.
Soundwave couldn't say how long the human had stood there -- his chronometer had finally quit --, but finally he turned and left him again. The Decepticon waited for him to return, either with help or someone to help him plunder the helpless robot for parts to sell, but nothing happened.
Night fell again.
Days came and went. At night Soundwave thought he saw
the shadow among the trees once in a while, but he still couldn't make
out who or what it was. He knew only one thing for sure: it wasn't the
human he had seen before.
Soundwave had come to expect and even anticipate the arrival of the human. In a way, it was the only connection to reality for him. He missed his links to Cyberspace and sometimes he thought that the silence would drive him crazy. Reality had come to turn into a green forest with animal life, the change of daylight into nightly blackness, the clouds in the sky and the occasional slight storm or drizzle of rain. Reality was the pain inside of him, the dying cassettes, his own weakness and inability to change his fate; his dependency on a simple human presence to remind him he had not yet passed on and that this was the other side of existence.
Today was no difference. The human arrived and even though there was nothing but hatred in those blue eyes, he appreciated this 'companion', as long as he was here. Soundwave had no idea why the human hated him so fiercely. Maybe he simply hated Decepticons, maybe he hated robots as such, maybe it was something personal, though the communications expert had never seen this human before. Then again, he didn't keep files of all the humans he met, only the important ones.
Hatred was also a human emotion he had only lately learned to really read. He had understood it before, had even experienced it in many nuances, but he had never learned how to recognize it. Humans displayed various emotions towards robots and/or Decepticons in particular, but hatred was among them. Only this hatred was much fiercer, much more a part of this particular human. Why, was anyone's guess and Soundwave was no judge of human emotions anyway. Soundwave was, among other things, an expert in interrogation and espionage. So far, he had always got what he wanted out of the brains of his victims. His telepathic abilities were feared and valued in one, but he had never thought that the encounter with these human minds would affect him. He had been in contact with various human minds while on Earth, drawing information for Megatron and the Decepticon Cause, and it had not left him unscathed. He had started to change -- subtly, slowly -- because of one thing he had not been able to tune out while reading minds: human emotions. They washed over him, through him, and they stuck. They were so incredibly different from Cybertronian emotions that he had been shocked and later on repulsed, but he had still followed Megatron's orders and interrogated the humans. The influence had spread.
He remembered several incidences where he had been in contact with a human who had left him changed somehow. One had been the human Chip Chase, a teenage computer wizard. Soundwave had been impressed by the genius of the young mind and also by the revulsion, the anger, the rage, and the fear. Megatron had ordered him to get rid of the human, but at the time his mind had still been reeling with the human emotions still echoing through his memory core, something he couldn't erase at all. Something he didn't want to erase because they might come in handy later. And because he had not erased them, they had worked away at his emotion chips.
Then there had been the girl, Astoria. He had never really touched her mind, but he had been confronted with her emotions in a way as well. Together with the already stored experiences, they crashed upon him and he was glad he had such an unreadable face and that his voice was always level and monotonous.
Soundwave sighed deeply.
The human arrived almost on time, around early midday, and as always he simply sat there and stared at him, undisguised hatred on his features. By now Soundwave had managed to get most of his vocal unit back on-line and when the human didn't say anything, as always, he ventured forth.
"Who are you?"
The human flinched and stared at him. His eyes were wide, his face slightly pale. "You talk." It wasn't a question, just a statement.
"Why didn't you talk before?"
"Extensive damage to the voice system made it impossible."
The human frowned at him. "Why haven't your friends arrived yet to get you, Decepticon?"
Well, that answered one of Soundwave's questions: the human knew his affiliation. But it still didn't answer any of the others. "I have no means of further communication."
The human seemed satisfied.
"Who are you?" Soundwave repeated his first question.
The name didn't ring a bell and Soundwave had really no idea who he was facing.
"You have not called anyone about my discovery," Soundwave stated now.
The human was silent for a moment, then his cold features hardened even more. "Because I want to see you die here," he answered with an icy voice. With that he rose from his place and walked off again.
Soundwave watched him until he had disappeared between the trees. To see him die..... He felt a shiver run through him. Well, maybe this wish would soon be fulfilled. He was dangerously low on energon now, unable to do anything but run the most essential programs. It wouldn't be long until he ceased functioning. And if his dying form would not be found soon after shut-down, his mind would die as well.
Laserbeak sent a weak call through the link and Soundwave soothed him almost automatically. He had long since lost his connection to Ravage altogether.
Two days passed and Soundwave had weakened further. His
mind was shutting down one section after another and sometimes he thought
he was delirious, then his mind was as clear as before. The human had not
returned for the last two days and the Decepticon somehow missed him. Then,
on the third day, he was back. And as always he simply stood there, watching.
"Why do you hate me?" Soundwave asked in a hoarse whisper, desperately hanging on to lucidity.
Jay Davison stared at him with undisguised disgust. "You," he said slowly, voice dripping icicles, "are a cold-blooded murderer."
Soundwave thought about it. True, humans had died through Decepticon attacks, but he had never actively killed someone with his own hands, planning the kill, wanting the kill. He had accepted the fact that those small creatures died in this war against the Autobots, mainly because they sided with the enemy or got in the way.
"Who did I kill?" he now wanted to know, puzzled and intrigued.
Jay's eyes lost all emotions except one: rage fueled by hatred. "My family!"
The human snarled. "Of course you have no idea what it is! You are an emotionless machine, unable to feel any relationship to one of your kind! You couldn't possibly know!"
"I have emotions."
Jay laughed humorlessly. "Sure!"
Soundwave knew that he appeared even more emotionless than some of his kind because his voice was rather monotonous and his features gave no room for any display of feelings. But he felt. He had relationships of different intensity and degrees.
"My appearance may be deceiving though," Soundwave added, still trying to find an explanation for the term family. He knew the definition, it was in his data banks. But that was about it. "What is family?" he then asked.
Jay shot him a dark look, but there was also something in his eyes which Soundwave would define as pain. "It's the people belonging to you, not in terms of possession but in terms of companionship, relationship, friends."
"And I killed those friends?" The Decepticon still couldn't remember anything like this happening. "Was it an accident?" he mused.
"Yes, you did kill them!" Davison shot angrily. "You killed them in cold blood! Your kind! And maybe it was an accident in your definition, but it was murder in my eyes!"
"How did it happen?"
Jay hesitated, then whirled away, pacing up and down in front of the large form. "Your leader destroyed a mall," he whispered. "Many could get out and the Autobots tried to find those buried alive under the tons of stone and metal, but none of my family survived." His voice was soft, almost as monotonous as Soundwave's. "I wasn't with them because the car needed repairs and I was at the garage not far away while my wife and kids went shopping." He looked at Soundwave with burning eyes. "There was no reason for you to destroy the mall! None at all!"
Soundwave tried to recall the destruction of a mall and remembered such an incident. Galvatron had been discovered by the Autobots while pursuing his aims on Earth and he had launched an attack on the civil building to insure he would get away. They had gotten away ....
"I remember," he confessed.
Jay's eyes narrowed.
"But I never murdered your family."
The human gave a growl. "No? You attacked the mall -- without any reason! The building collapsed and buried dozens of humans. Many died. My family included!"
The Decepticon nodded. "That is true, but it was not my doing. You are generalizing."
"Oh, you want me to wait until your leader crashes down here? No, sorry, pal! You are going to pay for what the others did, just like my family paid a price for something they never did!"
Soundwave had no argument to that. He knew the human was right -- in a way, but he couldn't say he understood completely. He understood revenge. He understood hatred. What he didn't understand was that this human had no reason to see him die. He hated Galvatron and was generalizing, which was, in Soundwave's opinion, wrong. He wasn't Galvatron.
Jay simply shook his head. "You have no idea what it means to lose family!" he hissed. "You machines don't know anything about it!"
Soundwave thought again. "I have family," he said slowly.
"Oh, yeah? Nails, screws and bolts?" the human said sarcastically.
"No, I have children, in a way."
Soundwave nodded at his chest. His arms were still useless, though his repair systems had managed to get one arm functional again, but he didn't have the strength to move it much.
"My children are inside me," he said slowly.
"Inside?" Jay asked, still sarcastic. "Yeah, right."
"They are smaller; they are part of me." They are dying, he added. Her could feel the life force of the individual cassettes dwindling. Ravage was nearly gone, Laserbeak weak, Frenzy a bit stronger and Ratbat still able to send back impulses to confirm his presence, something they did on a subliminal level, something Soundwave normally never really felt. Rumble was back on Charr; he had not been with them at the time of the attack.
Jay shook his head and he simply walked away. "Try something else," he muttered and then he was gone.
Soundwave was alone again.
* * *
"So you're going to let him die."
Jay looked up and stared at Sam, who looked back neutraly. It hadn't been a question, just a statement.
How does she know? How does she know anything at all about me and what I do and where I go?!
He closed his eyes, then opened them again. "Yes."
He didn't want to lie and ask what she was talking about, pretending to be completely puzzled about the question.
Davison narrowed his eyes. "You know." With that he turned and walked over to the couch, sitting down and grabbing the remote.
"That's no reason."
He glared at her with hatred, a hatred he felt toward the robot lying in the forest; the robot dying slowly, and painfully.
"He killed my family, Sam! That's reason enough!"
"He didn't." She hadn't moved, but somehow Jay thought he felt her presence close to him.
"So it was another one of his kind! I don't care! He's going to pay for it!"
Sam tilted her head a bit. "So if someone is killed by a stranger, the family of the victim is allowed to kill everyone of the killer's race or group of belief or skin color or eye color or hair style?"
"No, that's not what I mean, and you know it! He's a Decepticon!"
Jay threw the remote onto the couch, rising. "And they are killers!"
Sam didn't evade the icy blue eyes. "How do you know? Is it a trait in their race? You can't judge an individual by what another one did or how his race acts."
Davison paced the small space in front of the TV. "My family died because of them!" he hissed.
"And so did many others. But do you think you are any better if you let this robot die?"
"Don't start with that crap, Sam!" he snarled. "I'm not falling for it."
The blonde woman smiled. "I don't want you to fall for it, Jay. I want you to think. Not with your heart, but with the rational mind I know you have locked away behind those walls of hatred."
He inhaled deeply. "And there it will stay," he growled and then left the cottage.
Sam watched him go. "Maybe," she said, "but then again, maybe not. Your wall has too many cracks already, my friend."
* * *
It had been another day of nothing but trying to stay
alive and Soundwave was barely able to scratch enough of his mind together
to have a certain awareness of his surroundings. Vision had gone from color
to black-and-white and it was turning grainy. Impulses of pain traveled
along his circuits and nervous system, but it was a welcome pain. As long
as he felt it, he was still alive.
The cassettes had nearly shut down and it pained Soundwave more than the physical agony of his multiple injuries. He remembered what Jay Davison had told him about losing his family, about the pain and the hatred he had felt because of it. Now Soundwave was the recipient of part of those emotions. He was about to experience the death of his children, those created by him, and he was agonized over it and very much in emotional pain.
Something inside of him convulsed and Ravage's link was ablaze with pain. Soundwave flinched violently and then the darkness came.
Jay had been on his way to the crash site, as always,
when heard the scream. His mind was awhirl with Samantha's statements and
he knew that partially she was right. He hated the robots -- all of them
-- because what one of them did. It wasn't fair, but no one had ever said
life was supposed to be fair. One of them had killed his family; not in
a personal act but in a senseless shoot-out, and with it he had destroyed
Jay Davison's life. Until that day, which he would remember for all eternity
as if it had happened just yesterday, he had been a family man, with a
secure job, a regular income, a loving wife and great kids. For him it
had been perfect. They had even thought about having a third child.
He closed his eyes in pain.
Now the ones he loved were gone and his life had been so empty afterwards. Margie, Lisa's sister, had tried to help him and she had stayed with him until he had settled everything with the officials. He had declined further help, even from his own parents and parents-in-law. They were in pain themselves over the loss of a daughter-in-law and daughter, as well as the grandkids, and he had not wanted to burden them with his pain. He had bought the cottage from what he had made out of the sale of their family home, had moved into a small apartment in the city, and finally had quit his job. He was now doing consultation work on a freelance basis and though it didn't rake in regular amounts of money, it was enough to live by. He still visited the family and to them he looked like he had finally managed the pain, but he hadn't. And he never would. Every Transformer, either on TV, in the papers or in real life, reminded him of the fateful day. And his hatred grew.
Then Jay had met Samantha. She had been at the local shop, a small building close to the main road leading up into the forest. A lot of people spent the summer and even the winter up here and through them, a small business town had developed at the foot of the mountain. Everyone knew Jay around here and everyone knew why he was here. No one bothered him much and he liked it this way. Until Samantha came into his life. Their relationship was purely platonic and she had never struck him as a woman out to hunt for a man. She was someone who helped. Louis, the owner of the shop, had told him she was around each summer, helping out, lending an open ear, and he had found it was pretty easy to talk to her. They had become friends quickly and now, after six years, she was like part of the family.
And she was partially right!
Without conscious thought he had taken the way to the crash site and now he had heard the scream. He shivered. It wasn't human, but relayed all the pain and desperation a human might cry out at the death of his loved ones. He saw Soundwave's visor flicker, his fingers twitching. With almost pain-staking slowness the giant robot managed to lift one arm toward his chest plate, the place behind which the cassettes lay -- dying. The fingers curled with what had to be a last burst of energy running through the systems for only this single task. Jay winced as he saw the deep indentions his fingers left on his skin.
Another scream could be heard, this one higher and coming from inside the robot. Jay made a decision and ran toward the dying machine. Soundwave shot him a confused and pain-filled look as he ran over to him. Jay stared into the red visor.
"Stop this," he said coldly as he climbed up and got out a laser cutter from the backpack he always carried around. Soundwave looked at him with incomprehension, visor aflame with pain. "This will hurt."
With that Jay activated the cutter and went to work. He felt Soundwave tense as the hot laser touched him, scorching exposed and sensitive circuits, but there was no sound coming out of him. Jay forced the lid open and stared into the chest compartment. He saw the cassettes and some of them showed singes or burns. Liquids were covering the top cassettes and something he identified as energon trickled out of a tear. He reached carefully inside and tried to loosen one of them, but it stuck. His hands were covered by the liquids as he pulled them out.
"Damn!" he growled.
"The lever," Soundwave whispered hoarsely, voice unstable, the monotony wavering.
"Left side," was the weak answer.
Jay peered into the chest compartment and saw a lever, a small one. He reached inside and pulled. There was a snapping sound, followed by a hiss, then the gray cassette on top shot out. It hit Jay and he tumbled, sliding down the chest and coming to rest against Soundwave's left leg. He cursed loudly, anger lighting up his eyes.
"You did that on purpose!" he yelled.
There was no reply. Jay looked up and saw only the dead visor. Soundwave had lost consciousness -- or maybe he had really died --, but the chest compartment was open. Jay sighed deeply, scolded himself for being so stupid to do this and climbed back up again. The next cassette was easier to free and Jay worked them all out of the chest. He placed the cassettes onto the ground and pondered what to do. He had no idea how much they were still active and Soundwave had shut down.
Suddenly one of the cassettes shuddered faintly, then it exploded into life, transforming and rising up into the air. Jay staggered away from the strange form. It looked faintly like a bat, a metal bat, but it was also bulky in a few places. A second cassette transformed as well and this one was a dark red and gray colored bipedal robot. Both cassettes appeared confused, the bat landing haphazardly on a rock, the humanoid one stumbling, then catching itself. Confused red optics looked at Jay. Then another cassette went back into its second mode, this one looking like a bird, and it didn't get any higher than a near-by bush, which it flattened under its weight. They were all too weak.
"Who...." the humanoid one whispered. "What happened? Who are you?"
Jay wished he had a weapon.
The bat squawked and the other cassette turned, staring at his brothers or/and sisters on the ground, then at the giant form of Soundwave.
"What did you do to him?" he demanded.
"Nothing!" Jay shot back angrily. "He crashed!"
The red-and-gray robot approached him. He was taller than Jay and even though he was weak, he was still stronger than a human. "Who are you?" he demanded.
Jay moved back -- toward Soundwave. "A human, as you can see!" he growled.
The robot reached for him, but Jay jumped away, coming up hard against Soundwave's outstretched leg. The smaller robot tried to get him again, but suddenly a large hand came between him and Jay.
"No," Soundwave said, voice shaking badly. "He is a friend."
Jay was completely surprised by this statement. A friend? He? But the small robot backed off.
"What happened?" he wanted to know from Soundwave.
"I was damaged throughout the fight and crashed. Communication is down, motion impossible, energon reserves low. You and every other cassette is damaged as well." Soundwave was having big-time trouble keeping his vocal unit from collapsing and his voice shook.
The robot looked at himself, then his optics flickered. "Communication down as well, flight impossible...... oh...."
Jay looked over at the bat, which had not moved and which's wings were hanging at its sides. It's optics were weak, red orbs. Like it's bipedal brother it was low on energon and the short burst of activity it had shown had drained it. The other cassettes had not moved.
"We have to contact Galvatron!"
"Yes, but it is impossible," Soundwave said calmly.
"Then use the human!"
Jay shot him an acid look. "No one uses this human for anything, robot! I won't contact your friends."
"The name is Frenzy," the robot shot back and approached him threateningly. "And if I tell you to contact Galvatron, you will."
"You can't make me!"
Frenzy stepped even closer, but Jay stared back at him unflinchingly. "Then finish with your life, human!"
"I already have, robot," Jay told him calmly. "You can't threaten me with this."
Frenzy hesitated and suddenly staggered. Soundwave looked at him.
"Leave him alone," he ordered.
"But he can save us!" Frenzy protested.
The bat squawked softly. It sounded like a question.
"He already did more than he had to," Soundwave stated calmly.
Jay shot him a surprised look, but said nothing.
"But we'll die!" Frenzy protested weakly, staggering again and finally sitting down hard. He could no longer keep on his legs.
Suddenly Soundwave shuddered and his visor flared with pain. Frenzy's expression became one of panic.
"Soundwave?" he asked, voice shaking.
Laserbeak gave a soft whimper. Soundwave didn't answer and his one mobile hand was clenched into a tight fist as he fought down agonizing pain.
Jay closed his eyes as a thought crossed his mind. Maybe.... no! They were the killers of his family! But then again, they weren't. They were soldiers in a war and the one pulling the trigger had been their superior; he had killed his wife and children. Still, they were Decepticons.....
You can't judge an individual by what another one did or how his race acts.
Sam's words rang through him.
"Can you work with diesel fuel?" Jay asked neutraly.
Soundwave looked at him, his visor displaying a question as well as a lot of physical pain.
"Can you?" Jay demanded, not willing to answer any questions himself.
"Yes. At least for a time."
"Okay." Jay left, walking back the path leading to his house.
I'm out of my mind, right? he thought darkly. Completely.
The Watcher was pleased. It had taken not quite as long
as expected, but still long enough. It had nearly been too late.
"I knew you could do it," it said and there was no telling whom it had addressed.
It disappeared into the forest.
* * *
Soundwave watched the human with interest. Jay Davison
had managed to get a small, portable energy generator up here, as well
as an older model of the same type. After getting the generator working,
he had gone and hauled several canisters of diesel fuel to them. Soundwave
couldn't draw the necessary energon out of it, but it was energy, and energy
was life. Right now, Davison was busy hooking both generators together
while Laserbeak and Ratbat were eyeing the canisters. They were hungry.
Jay looked at them as he straightened. "What are you waiting for? I won't feed it to you, you know." His voice was still cold.
Ratbat squawked and hopped over to the canisters. Frenzy crawled over as well and seconds later Laserbeak followed. The three had them emptied seconds later and Jay almost smiled when he saw Frenzy's expression of relief. The fuel might be like some badly cooked stew to him, but it was nourishment. He returned his attention to the larger robot.
Soundwave continued watching the human as he climbed onto him and stared down the opened chest pocket. "What a mess. Now what?" he muttered.
"Connect the power cables," Soundwave whispered, voice fading.
"Oh, very good idea," Jay said sarcastically. "But where?"
Soundwave would have smiled if he could have, then he described the right sockets to get the connections to and Jay complied. Davison slid down the metal body and walked over to the generators. He flicked the switch and they hummed into life. Soundwave felt a jolt race through him and he gasped before he could suppress it. Jay's head whipped up.
"You okay?" he asked and Soundwave thought he heard worry.
The Decepticon tried to relax, but the energy racing through him paralyzed his voice box. Circuits he had shut down were revived and they screamed in pain. After what seemed to be an eternity, everything finally went back to normal. He shuddered. His energy levels were rising slowly, but he was still unable to move.
The voice got his attention and he looked down. Jay stared at him with now very obvious worry.
"Oh, so you're still alive," the human said and grimaced. "And here I thought I might have achieved what I had been waiting for all those days."
"Sorry to disappoint you," Soundwave rasped but the monotony had returned. He looked over to where Frenzy sat with his back against a boulder, apparently in repair mode, while Ratbat and Laserbeak had chosen a tree as their safe haven for now. Ravage was still in cassette mode. "Help Ravage," he said softly.
Jay looked at the gray cassette. "I have no repair skills concerning electronics."
"Then employ me," a female voice said.
Soundwave turned his head and he discovered a slender, blonde woman in black standing not far away from them.
"Sam!" Jay exclaimed.
The woman smiled. "I was getting worried what might have happened when you didn't return." She walked over to them, looking up at Soundwave. "So, you are the crashed robot. Nice to meet you."
Soundwave nodded slowly. He couldn't move very much anyway.
"So what do you want me to repair?" Sam asked.
Jay looked at her, slightly speechless, then he caught himself. "Uhm, the gray cassette."
Samantha glanced at the cassette in question. "Okay......" She walked over to it and then set down her small backpack, getting out what looked like a repair kit.
"Who is she?" Soundwave asked weakly.
"A friend," Jay answered. "Now, what about you?"
"I thought you said you had no repair skills."
Icy blue eyes met his visor. "Either you want my help or I'll just remember that I'm supposed to hate you," Jay said coolly. "Now where do you want me to start?"
Samantha watched Jay's progress with a mixture of amusement
and satisfaction. Even though the sandy-haired man had really no repair
skills whatsoever, Soundwave's instructions helped guide him -- with some
Jay looked up from where he was working on an open plating at Soundwave's hip. "I did what you told me," he growled. He was covered in dirt, sweat and grease.
"You connected the wrong circuits," the Decepticon said slowly.
Jay peered at the circuit board. "Oh, yes," he muttered and undid the connection.
Soundwave looked down on his helper and Samantha could have sworn he was smiling. Someone approached and she looked up at Frenzy, who was walking carefully over to the clearing. His repair systems were now fully back on-line, but the major damage could only be fixed by a skilled medic. Laserbeak and Ratbat had improved as well, though Ratbat couldn't fly and Laserbeak's guidance system was still down. Ravage couldn't move at all and spent most of his time simply lying in the cottage where Samantha had placed him. She had carried all cassettes back to Jay's cottage after they had transformed into their alternate mode. She was fascinated by their ability to shunt material into subspace and shrink, also downsizing on the weight. Now only Ravage remained inside while the others took turns guarding Soundwave as best as they could. Laserbeak and Ratbat hd declared the surrounding trees their territory and Frenzy alternated between the cottage and the clearing.
"You shouldn't run around too much," Sam told the taller robot.
Frenzy shrugged and it nearly got him off balance. "Since the communication is still down, talking face-to-face is the only way." He stumbled into the clearing and approached Soundwave.
Sam watched them and then returned to the cottage to see after Ravage.
Another two days later Soundwave was at least able to
move his upper body as well as initiate all internal repair systems. Laserbeak's
guidance system had started to operate, though on a minimum level, and
Ravage was back on his feet. It also meant that Laserbeak could fly for
help. Jay stood in the clearing, Soundwave propped up behind him, and stared
into the sky.
"You better go," Soundwave said into the silence.
"Yeah, I guess so. Wouldn't do to be found with you. Bad for my image." He turned and looked at the large robot. "Sam and I will drive into town for a week. By then you should be back with your friends."
Soundwave nodded. "Thank you," he then said.
Jay looked uncomfortable. "I can't say it was my pleasure and you sure as hell weren't welcome......" He hesitated and evaded the red visored optics. "I just hope you won't get into too much trouble with your friends." With that he turned and left.
Soundwave watched him disappear, then simply activated what sensors he had.
Ravage lifted his head when Samantha entered and gave
a whine of recognition that was rather uncommon for a cat -- and he was
a feline, she knew. He lay on the floor and sat up when she approached.
She patted his head and he gave a soft purr. Sam laughed.
"Hey, tune down the sound, Rave!"
Right now, Ravage and Laserbeak were the only ones present. Frenzy normally spent his time playing with Jay's computer, which was, sadly enough, not linked to any phone lines, but he was currently with Soundwave; as was Ratbat. Sam planned to get Jay's computer connected over the next few months.
"Okay, what do we have in here?" she muttered and opened the fridge. Several Tupperware boxes of food from yesterday or two days ago greeted her. She took out some stuff, then raided the freezer and continued to cobble something edible together.
Jay came in an hour later, face neutral and nearly all emotionless. He looked at the three cassette and almost absent-mindedly stroked Ravage's head. His pale eyes fixed on Laserbeak.
"You better fly off and start searching for help from your friends now," he said.
Laserbeak squawked and ignited his thrusters, circling around the room once, then leaving through an open window. Sam stopped chopping vegetables. Jay simply walked over to the couch and flopped down, switching on the TV. Ravage exchanged a look with Samantha, who gave him an encouraging look, then growled something and followed Laserbeak.
The cottage felt pretty empty afterwards. Sam simply sat down beside Jay and both continued to watch TV in silence for some time. Then she started to pack.
Night was falling when the rescue team arrived and got
him out of the woods that had been his home for nearly two standard weeks.
All cassettes were with him and Ravage had told him that Jay Davison had
cleared out of here with Samantha. Soundwave felt relieved, then surrendered
himself to the rescue team.
Another two days later he was back on his own two feet again and back on Charr as well. His life continued nearly as smoothly as it had before the crash, but some things had changed -- subtly. And he was changing as well.
* * *
Soundwave returned to the mountains and Jay Davison's
cottage every year. Years were long in human terms, but for him they were
quite short. Jay returned to the cottage every year at the same time as
well and even though Soundwave had gotten to know him very well throughout
their first meeting, he learned more and more about humans in general and
Jay specifically. None of his cassettes missed coming along and none had
ever lost a word about it to the other Decepticons. If Galvatron ever found
out what had really occurred all those years ago, he would kill first Jay
and then maybe take out his rage on Soundwave. He might kill him as well.
Jay in turn had learned more about the robots, specifically about the Decepticons and Soundwave. He had never developed an understanding for their cause, just like he had never been drawn to the Autobots' side. He was more or less neutral, nurturing a for him strange friendship, which should have been a feeling of animosity, not companionship.
Soundwave told him what his life was like, especially the changes, though he never surrendered too many details. Then Megatron returned to the Decepticons and Galvatron perished forever. More changed and Soundwave approved of the changes. He still had to make his visits a secret he had to keep from both his own kind and the Autobots, but he enjoyed the brief time with Jay. Raven found out about those yearly trips soon after she joined the Decepticons, but she never lost a word about them to Galvatron. When she left to pursue her own destiny, she took this secret with her.
Today was something like a fifteenth anniversary for their friendship and Soundwave knew it was a long time for a human. To him it was very short in years, but when he thought about what the friendship had changed for him, it had been a lot more.
No one was home. Soundwave looked around, puzzled, and sent out Laserbeak and Ravage to search the premises. They came back empty. Jay Davison was not home. Suddenly Ravage growled. Soundwave turned and discovered the white haired woman he only knew as Samantha. She had not changed a bit throughout those fifteen years and he knew this was not normal. Humans aged; Jay had aged, his sandy hair turning gray at the temples, small, barely perceptible lines appearing on his face.
"He's not home," she said without a greeting.
"Where did he go?"
"Hospital." Samantha's voice was level, but somewhere deep inside he heard pain.
"An accident," Samantha told him neutraly.
Soundwave tilted his head. "Accident?"
Samantha sat down on a rock. "There was a raid from your Decepticon friends. Jay was there when it happened and he was run over by the biggest of them. It looks bad."
Soundwave stared at her. He knew that the Stunticons had raided a town several miles away from here and that they had done a lot of damage. He hadn't known that they had .....
"Where is he?" he asked.
"County hospital," Samantha answered. "You want directions?" A smile played around her lips.
Soundwave touched the eject button on his shoulder and the lid on his chest opened. "Laserbeak, transform," he ordered without answering her question. "Operation: reconnaissance."
Laserbeak transformed and squawked once, then shot away. Soundwave looked down at Samantha. She returned the look and she saw that he was worried. Samantha smiled once more, then she walked into the house. Soundwave remained where he was, waiting for Laserbeak's return.
* * *
Jay Davison's condition was critical. He was in a coma
and his body was losing the fight against death. He had lost too much blood
and his spine was broken in two places. Even if he would survive, he wouldn't
be able to move -- ever again. Not even an exo-skeleton was an option.
Ravage knew all of this and he knew that the human would most likely not survive at all. In a lot of ways it hurt. He had grown accustomed to Davison throughout the visits Soundwave had paid him in the last decade. Ravage had learned to see more in humans than targets, enemies sometimes, flesh creatures most of the times. Jay Davison had become a friend. And now this friend was dying, badly shot in a failed Decepticon raid. Soundwave had been hit quite hard through it, but no one could see it. He wore his usual mask. But the cassettes knew and each of them, including Rumble who had met Jay later than the others, were quite aware of it. Soundwave had ordered his 'children' to keep watch over their human friend.
"We owe him," he had only said.
Ravage knew what he meant and he felt the same. Suddenly the door opened and a nurse entered. She checked on the comatose patient, then looked over the room. She frowned. Ravage was in his cassette form, which should give him enough cover, but apparently the nurse thought this was something suspicious. She approached and lifted him, turning him in her hand.
"What's this doing here?" she muttered.
She took him with her as she left the room and placed him onto the nurses' desk. Then she went to the file cabinet and pulled open one drawer. Ravage used the distraction of the nurse to transform and land lightly on his paws. He noiselessly ran back to the room of Jay Davison, the corridor thankfully empty
Ravage looked around wildly and discovered a human, screaming in terror at his sight. The screaming alerted more humans and Ravage did what he had been told: don't engage! He moved back into Jay's room. Several humans stormed his way, but they stopped when they saw the robot standing next to the patient.
"Call for help," one of them ordered the others. Some of them disappeared, others stayed.
Ravage stood where he was; he was save as long as he was in this room. And he was fulfilling his duties.
* * *
"Hospital?" Rodimus was a bit confused. "And he didn't
"Correct," Blaster confirmed. "We have Tracks and Raoul close to the hospital and I could send back-up ....."
"Do it," Rodimus decided. "Try to remove him with care."
When Blaster was gone, Rodimus frowned a bit. Ravage? At a hospital? Hiding out in a patient's room? And not fleeing?! What was going on here?
Rodimus called up some information and read the name of the patient in question. Jay Davison. No one he knew. He compared the name to the files he had on humans; those working for the Autobots, those involved with Decepticon operations, those somehow connected to Cybertron and others. No Jay Davison.
Who was he?
What did the Decepticons want?
* * *
Sam arrived at the hospital to find a scene of hectic
and slightly simmering anxiety. One of the spectators told her that a Decepticon
had been sighted and that every visitor had been complimented out of the
building. One floor was closed and all patients who could be moved had
been moved to other rooms, away from the threat. Sam frowned. A Decepticon?
She knew that Soundwave's cassettes were around, but they wouldn't......
Maybe there had been some kind of accident. Maybe one of the nurses had
discovered one of them.
Damn, she thought.
The officer at the entrance of the building stopped her, telling her she had to wait. No arguing helped and Sam's annoyance grew. The annoyance turned into fear when she saw several Autobots arrive. One of them was with a human. They transformed and then talked to several people from the hospital. Sam decided she had to do something and approached them.
"Excuse me?" she called.
The human, a dark-haired and dark-skinned man in his mid-forties, turned and looked at her. The Autobots simply looked down.
"I think I can help you," she told them.
"Come again?" the tallest of the three robots asked, a blue colored one with a red face and something like small wings on the back.
"I can help you with the Decepticon trouble you have. I know how to get him out of there without a problem."
The man frowned. "And you are....?"
"Okay, Samantha, what makes you think you can convince a Decepticon to leave."
"I most likely know him."
"Most likely?" the tall blue one asked.
"It's a cassette, right?"
Sam smiled winningly. "Then I'm your peace talker."
"You know Ravage?" another of the robots asked. He was small, almost her size.
"Yes. Now will you let me go in there and help?"
The dark-haired human shrugged. "It's worth a try and Eject could go with her."
"No way!" the tall one protested. "Way too dangerous." Sam put her hands on her hips. "All right," he then said slowly.
"I won't sue you if something happens," she joked, then walked toward the entrance. Eject followed her.
Ravage was surprised when he discovered the female human.
Samantha, his memories told him. He cocked his head as she walked fearlessly
into the room. Behind her stood the Autobot Eject, but he wasn't carrying
a gun and he also made no threatening moves.
"Hi, Rave," Samantha said and smiled. "You made quite a mess here."
Ravage growled a bit.
"I know. You are worried and so am I, but you won't help Jay by restricting the medical personnel's access. He needs treatment."
Ravage looked at the injured, dying human, then at Samantha, and whined softly. Sam's face grew sad.
"Yes." Her voice was soft. "I know. But you have to go."
He looked at the Autobot, then moved away from the bed. Sam opened the window and he left.
She turned back to the Autobot. "Easy, see?"
Eject stared at her. "That was all? What was it all about? You know him, right?"
"Yes, but I guess we can discuss this somewhere else, right?" She nodded at the injured man in the bed.
Eject nodded and they left the room.
* * *
Rodimus Prime stared at the human standing in front of
him as if she had just grown a second head, and in a way she had. Tracks
had dragged the strange woman along, though after talking to her, Rodimus
got the distinct impression that if she hadn't wanted to come along, no
one could have made her. The young Autobot second-in-command didn't know
why he had this impression because Samantha didn't look either dangerous
or strong, but she was no ordinairy human either.
"This sounds.... outrageous!" And that was mildly put.
"I know," Samantha said. "But it's the truth. None of the cassettes mean any harm. Their relationship to Jay and me is one of friendship and they are just as worried and sad as we humans are. You have to understand that this relationship came a long way in the last ten years. We all know that Jay won't most likely survive this and it is all they can do to repay him for what he did many years ago. Neither of them is a danger!"
Rodimus shook his head. After some coaxing and after he had sent everyone out to talk to her alone, Sam had told him all about how Soundwave had crashed, how Jay had first wanted to let him die, then had taken care of him, at least enough to insure his survival until help arrived. It was just too much to work through in this short time.
"So they will return?"
"And you want us to leave them alone."
Sam nodded seriously. "Yes, nothing more, nothing less. I swear they won't harm anyone."
Rodimus looked at the small human. "How can you insure this?"
"Not at all," Samantha answered truthfully. "But I got to know Soundwave quite thoroughly in the last fifteen years ...... he won't do anything to harm Jay."
They looked at each other for a very long time, then Rodimus nodded with a deep sigh. "I don't know why, but I trust you." He smiled wryly.
She smiled as well. "Thank you."
* * *
Soundwave had managed to sneak into the hospital room,
even though it was heavily guarded. Well, he had had help in form of Samantha
who had disguised herself as a nurse and managed to get past every security
measure there was. He still puzzled about it, mainly because all the nurses
had recognized her as one of their own, one of their shift, and had not
sounded an alarm. She had walked into the room, placed the tape player
he had transformed into on the nightstand, then walked out again. Soundwave
listened to the sounds of the hospital around him, but there were only
few people walking through the corridors at night and the nurse responsible
for Jay's room this night was Sam, however she had managed this.
The communications expert activated the small mind probe and it slid out of a compartment at his side, attaching itself to Jay's left temple. Soundwave activated it.
There was a flurry of white flakes.
A birthday party. People having fun. Someone singing.
More strange flurries.
A dark-haired woman. Two children.
Names assaulted him and memories of a life he didn't know.
Soundwave flinched away from the memories, but they pressed on.
The mall. A car. Saying good-bye until later. The car needs repairs. Don't spend all the money.
Fire. Destruction. The lights of rescue teams.
Pain. Agony. Desperation.
Hatred. Flaming, never-ending hatred.
It seared through Soundwave like a being with a life of its own, and in a way, it was alive. Brought to life by events out of control of everyone. Blame, guilt .... survivor's guilt ..... more hatred.
The memories turned into flurries again and whisked away. Instead he was in what had to be the central part of Jay's mind. He had never been so far inside a human mind because it usually needed no more than the surface memories to get everything he needed. This time he had not wanted information; this time he wanted to find the one inside a shell of memories.
"You?" a weak voice whispered.
It was definitely Jay, but he sounded tired and far away.
There was a short silence. "Why?" Jay then asked.
Soundwave hesitated. "Do you know what happened?" He heard his mind voice in Jay's mind and was surprised and a little bit afraid because the monotony that was like a shield for him was gone.
"Yes, I do," Jay whispered. "Your friends attacked. I was in the way. Ironic, isn't it?"
Soundwave sighed. "It is. I'm sorry." Sadness rushed through him. There was no hiding anything in mind space; it was impossible.
"Don't be. It's not your fault." Jay had come a long way from the man filled with hatred to what he was today. "Why are you here?" he repeated his first question.
"Because there will be no other chance to talk to you." Soundwave wanted to be honest.
"I am dying," Jay stated flatly.
"I knew it, in a way. You came to say good-bye?" He sounded amused and a little bit sarcastic.
"Yes. You changed a lot for me. Thank you." Soundwave was very sincere.
Jay was stunned. "Changed you?" he echoed, his voice sounding a bit weaker than before.
Soundwave strengthened his hold on the fading mind. "You made me see past what I always believed. You made me see .... your way."
The human chuckled and it wasn't more than a breath of sound. "Looks like we both learned something," he told the Decepticon.
Soundwave saw and felt him slip further away and he channeled even more energy into the mind link.
"No," Jay said softly. "Don't."
Soundwave hesitated. He didn't have any illusions about Jay's condition. His body was too weak to sustain him any longer and even if he would survive, he would be handicapped for life, maybe unable to move and talk, trapped in a lifeless body. He pondered whether a mind transfer would work, but Davison's voice broke into his thoughts.
"Don't," he said again. "I'm human, not a robot. I wouldn't be able to live like this. Thank you for the offer, though." A smile fluttered though the growing emptiness everywhere around of what was Soundwave's presence. "Good-bye, Soundwave."
Soundwave slowly opened his hold on Jay's mind. It dissolved into a myriad of sparks, swirling all around him; beautiful life. Then the sparks faded.
Soundwave was hit by emptiness, by absolute blackness and an icy cold. He screamed in emotional agony and the cry echoed in Cyberspace for a long time.
Samantha watched the doctor trying to reanimate Jay but
she knew he had no chance. Davison was dead and no force in the world could
bring him back. The doctors didn't see her, though she stood brightly visible
in the corner of the room, but every time someone looked into her direction,
their eyes slipped off her. She was holding Soundwave in her hands, feeling
tremors running through the tape player he was transformed into.
Finally the doctor stood back and shook his head. The nurses carried the equipment away and Jay's body was wheeled out of the room. Samantha detached herself from the wall and walked out as well. She passed by the nurses' desk, still practically a blind spot in everyone's eye, and left the hospital. When she was a block away from the large building, the turned a corner and was in a narrow alley. She set Soundwave down and he transformed. Laserbeak and Ravage appeared as well and disappeared into his chest compartment.
"Thank you," he simply said, then took off.
Samantha watched him go and a strange smile played around her lips. "You are welcome."
Then she walked out of the alley and disappeared.
* * *
Soundwave was a column of motionlessness in a green and
lively world. His outward appearance was one of usual calmness, but inside
of him, memories churned, knowledge woke. His mind was filled with facts
about humans, death and what had happened in the last fifteen years. He
had returned to the mountains where he had first met Jay to say a final
good-bye -- to a world he would never have seen like this if not for one
individual. And now this individual was dead.
"You wanna spend the whole day here?" Rumble asked in a whine.
Frenzy elbowed him viciously.
"Possible," Soundwave answered without looking at him.
There was a period of silence where Rumble fidgeted and glared at his brother, who was making 'cut-it-out' gestures.
"Don't you have anything to do?" Soundwave asked.
Rumble looked caught. "Uhm, well...."
"You really want to be alone?" Frenzy asked.
"I am alone." He hesitated, then added, "I just want to be alone by myself."
The two cassettes looked at each other, then shrugged and took off. Laserbeak, Ratbat and Ravage, who had been hiding out in the woods, followed.
And Soundwave was alone.
* * *
Smokescreen flexed his fingers. "This is stupid," he muttered.
"There is a Decepticon there and we are just watching!"
"Yes, we are just watching," Rodimus said calmly, intrigued by what he was witnessing. Soundwave paying a visit to a graveyard, accompanied by all his cassettes -- and doing nothing but really standing there as if mourning.......
Samantha had joined them, her face expressing incredible sadness. Rodimus had no idea where she had come from; she was simply there. "It should not have happened," she said, almost as if to herself.
"You want to tell me there was a genuine friendship there?" Rodimus asked. The proof was right in front of his eyes.
She looked up and met his optics. "They were each other's favorite enemy -- and best friends." With that she walked over to the grave.
Rodimus tried to make sense of it and failed. He only knew that they had been alerted to a Decepticon presence, had reacted, and had found a human telling them to back off and give Soundwave the privacy he wanted.
The young commander shook his head. He had no idea what was going on, but adding this grave yard scene to what had happened at the hospital, he really wanted to know what Soundwave's interest in a 'squishy', as the Decepticons called the humans, was. And he knew that this Samantha character held all the answers. There was .... had been more than just a simple friendship out of thankfulness. Soundwave could have disappeared without a word after he had been repaired, but he had come back.
Rodimus shook his head. He might never find out.
* * *
Soundwave knew it would happen some day, but still it
felt ..... strange. It was a feeling of emptiness and cold; loneliness.
Jay Davison, the only human he would ever apply the term 'friend' to, was
dead. A small gravestone marked his last resting place and Soundwave wondered
if he could have done anything to prevent this.
He knew he couldn't.
It had been fate.
Ravage growled sadly and Laserbeak gave a squawk. Both felt the same loss, though most likely not as acutely as their master. The other cassettes were present as well, keeping back, being silent. Soundwave had touched Jay's mind; he had felt his loss and pain; he knew what had happened to him as if it had happened to himself. For a short moment he had been Jay Davison and a part of him had died when the human had. And a part of him still was and would always be Jay Davison. Jay had opened his eyes to many things and he saw the world differently now.
Someone joined them and since none of his 'children' was alarmed, Soundwave knew the stranger was in effect a friend. He looked down and wasn't the least surprised to discover Samantha. She was dressed in her usual somber black colors, this time they were fitting though. They stood together for a very long time.
"The Autobots know about it," she then said. "Two of them are close by."
"Affirmative," he answered. He tilted his head. "Correction: only one Autobot."
Samantha smiled. "Just wanted to warn you."
"It hurts, right?"
Soundwave analyzed the question and all the likely answers. "Yes," was all he said.
"It will never stop, only grow less intense," Samantha told him softly.
He looked down on her, wondering once more who she really was. She was Samantha, Jay's friend and someone he couldn't define. Something told him she wasn't human, at least not in any way the word 'human' was defined. She was something else. His scans had come up empty and he was none the wiser concerning both her heritage and her last name or relationship to Davison.
"Who are you?" he asked, a question he had posed many times and which had been answered the same way each and every time. She had simply said she is Samantha.
"A friend and someone you both needed, in different ways," she now said, smiling. "Jay learned to cope with a loss and how to forgive. My work is done."
Soundwave still looked at her. "And I?"
"You learned to understand," she told him and turned, walking away. He watched her until she had disappeared.
A few months later, the alliance between Autobots and
Decepticons was formed.
Soundwave never missed a visit to the grave yard in the
following years. He only came when no one else was around and he was always
accompanied by the cassettes. The part that was Jay had long since merged
with everything inside Soundwave and no longer stood out, but it was still
In a strange way he missed the human.
And he still mourned.
Hifi looked at Soundwave, her face a mixture of different
emotions. Sadness was the dominant one. This was new to her, so totally
new. Soundwave had touched a human mind and learned what it meant to be
so small and mortal, to be on the receiving end of a Decepticon attack.
Soundwave returned her look with the usual neutrality.
"I told you it would hurt," Samantha now said. "Always." She was patting Ravage who lay at her side, clearly enjoying it.
She smiled. "Yes, you do." She gave Ravage a last pat on the head. "I think I should go now. I still have a lot to do."
"Helping others?" Soundwave asked.
She nodded. "In a way."
Hifi shot her a curious look. "Who are you?"
"Samantha." With that she turned and left.
Hifi looked at Soundwave. The Decepticon was silent, then turned to her.
"She is Samantha," he only said.
* * *
Soundwave stood outside the library complex, staring at
nothing specific. He had his hands clasped behind his back, his mind flashing
back to what he had told Hifi. He had tried to shake it off, to forget
most of the emotional painful memories, but it had been impossible. He
would always remember the human Jay Davison; he would remember what had
happened, what he had done and what been done to him. He had never felt
emotions of revenge rise toward the Stunticons, but he had been mourning
for a long, long time. Jay had shown him what had always been developing
inside: understanding and a little bit of rebellion.
Now he no longer had to rebel because since the alliance, he had been able to study the filed away emotions and the humans he encountered quite frequently here. They didn't look at him with hatred; the didn't fear him; they accepted and worked with him which was a new experience.
Soundwave watched a shuttle leave South Port. He wished he had seen a lot of things earlier; that Jay had lived long enough to see the changes he had evoked. Now it was too late for that, but not too late to continue on a path he had left lying unwalked for so long.
The Decepticon communications expert walked into the building behind him again and back to Hifi, who was still working with the files.