Title: Half-Life (5/?)
Author: Darkfireblade aka Hellsfirescythe
Fandom: Transformers 2007 movie
Rating: PG-13 for violence and language
Characters/Pairings: Jazz, Ensemble
Summary: Re-awakening Jazz with the remaining piece of the Allspark had been the easy part. Dealing with its consequences and the aftermath of Mission City would open a whole new can of worms.
Notes/Warnings: post-movie, contains spoilers. I have a feeling that this story is going to be finishing up pretty darn soon.


Chapter Five: Resistance

He had run. Dangit, he should have just locked himself back into the OR of the med-bay. But, upon seeing Sam and Mikaela outside and feeling Megatron scrabbling in his prison, he panicked and ran.

Jazz panicked and Megatron took full advantage of that fact, using the lieutenant's worry to force his way back into the forefront of control over this body. A shudder passed through Jazz's form, the remnants of the Autobot's consciousness convulsed at the feel of Megatron's utter rapture with his freedom.

But Megatron wasn't going to be staying in control for long. Not without a good fight.

o00o

Autobot med-bay in Headquarters, outskirts of Tranquility, Nevada

"At this time, it is unknown who perpetrators of this high speed chase are and who it is they are chasing. Eyewitnesses to the chase have claimed to seeing these exotic vehicles driving around town numerous times. They have never caused any trouble, it seems, until now. It also looks like local police force have involved themselves in the chase. We shall keep you updated on this strange occurrence over the hour, until then—"

The monitor blinked shut, quieting the reporter in mid-sentence and leaving the control room in a heavy blanket of silence.

Optimus Prime was the first to speak. "Sam, Mikaela, I want the two of you to remain here and watch the base. I'm going to lend a hand getting Jazz back here."

The two humans slid quickly off their seats and scrambled after Optimus, dodging his huge footsteps as the attempted to keep up with him. "Wait a minute! You're leaving us here?" shouted Sam skidding to a stop in front of the Autobot leader.

"Is there any way we can help, Optimus?" came Mikaela's confident tone, much too close to the Prime's feet for comfort.

"With all due respect, Sam, Mikaela, there's nothing you can do here. Perhaps if this were an issue involving Bumblebee–but this isn't. Jazz is an...unstable mech right now. We already have Ratchet and Ironhide on the case, I shall be as well and soon shall Bumblebee. With all units away from base, we need someone here to make sure no one gets in without our noticing. Can I trust you two with this?"

For a moment it looked as if the two were going to protest, but much to Optimus's surprise and relief, they nodded.

"Stay safe and don't worry. Everything will be fine," said Optimus. Whether he was trying to reassure the humans or himself, he wasn't quite sure. "If anything does happen back here, just call me or the others. We'll send someone back to help."

"Yeah, sure. We gotcha, Optimus," murmured Sam. Optimus could only imagine that the male's tone of voice was of a slightly dejected nature. Younglings, they never quite understood.

// Bumblebee, a delay in your mission. We have other issues to take care of that I'm sure you're already aware of. I am sending you coordinates of the chase. //

// Understood, Optimus. Changing course immediately. // He could almost hear Bumblebee's sigh of relief on the other end. Of course the spy would know, the news was all over the human's broadcasting stations. But Optimus knew that the scout had the self-control not to go speeding after the chase without specific instruction, especially with Ratchet and Ironhide already covering it.

// Best of luck then, and take care. //

//You too, Optimus. //

o00o

Streets of Tranquility, Nevada

Water sprayed liberally over the Solstice's form as it went careening through a puddle. The streets of Tranquility were surprisingly empty, a fortunate thing for its residents as the white and blue sports car swerved dangerously to and fro, fish-tailing and oversteering as it rounded corners and jolted over curbs. It was a picture of chaos that barely mirrored what was going on within that shaking chassis.

"Resistance if futile, Autobot. Though your persistence is admirable, it is foolish."

Back in the void in the midst of a full on mental war, Jazz spun wildly, squeezing off shots with his photon rifle as he made to dodge any of Megatron's heavy swipes.

"No words, Jazz? Sure this 'little glitch' of yours isn't warranting so much of your attention?" came Megatron's mocking voice. But Jazz could notice the fitful grimaces the Decepticon warlord made as some of his shots made connection with Megatron's armor. Jazz sprung at this opportunity, scrambling to seize control—which he had for a few klicks before Megatron shook him off again and wrested it back.

Another few blasts and some fancy footwork, a full on optic and audio assault and control was belonged to Jazz again. If only for a few precious moments.

// Ratchet! I don't think I can keep this up any longer//

// Don't give up on me now, Jazz. After all those times you never stood down, don't tell me you're giving up now. //

Jazz turned a corner, trying to hone in on Ratchet's signal. Almost there, almost there. // I'll try to hold him off a little longer. You've got somethin' for me, right? Somethin' to help//

// Putting it together as fast as I can, Jazz...Jazz//

// Nothing you put together can stop me, Autobot Ratchet. Jazz is mine!//

o00o

Autobot base, outskirts of Tranquility, Nevada

"Sam, stop pacing. It's doing nothing to help them," sighed Mikaela.

"I know, I know. It's just that I can't help but worry," Sam muttered. "I can't help that I feel so–"

"Useless?"

Their eyes met for a moment and Sam finally stopped in his mission to wear a rut on the Autobot's metal counter-tops. Quietly, Mikaela scooted over in her chair to make space for Sam. The monitor displaying the various camera feeds around base were still quite normal. Nothing funky was going down here. It seemed that all the action was going on anywhere but here.

"Don't you think we should do something? I mean, we're doing nothing here, zip. We gotta help Jazz some how and..."

Sam's rant dissolved into silence as he found himself on the receiving end of a rather soft kiss. "You're a good guy, Sam. You know that?" The only response Mikaela received was a shocked cough and an squeaked attempt at a response. "We're already doing something. As much as sitting here guarding base sucks, Optimus is right. We can't just leave the base open to anyone to come in."

"All we need to do is to get these guys to understand the concept of a door..." muttered Sam, but there was a slight smile on his face. Mikaela laughed and shoved her boyfriend over a bit. Sam Witwicky, boyfriend, who'd have thought, right?

"We'll work on that as soon as Optimus and the others get back then."

"Yeah, that sounds about–"

Simultaneously, Mikaela and Sam stopped in their banter and turned back to the monitors. "Did you see that, Mikaela?"

Hands sought each other out as a silver form disappeared in and out of different screens. "I'm seeing it, Sam." They looked at each other and nodded.

"Med-bay."

oooo

Too easy, too easy. First for the Jazz-bot, and now for the Allspark. Stupid Autobots, it takes all of them to chase down their little friend? If this had been a Decepticon chase, Megatron would have had all their heads over this incompetence. Megatron will have all the Autobot heads now because of their incompetence. Barricade wouldn't be happy, no. He wanted to tear Bumblebee's chassis apart himself. All the more reason to get this retrieval mission over quickly. Barricade was waiting and this time, not very patiently.

Frenzy slunk around one corner, eye-stalks waving as he checked for any presences in the hall. No one. That's to be expected. These Autobots were too sure of themselves. They weren't the ones that checked for bodies, it was the humans. But the humans couldn't get their grubby paws on bodies that were still alive, no they couldn't. Stupid humans. Not everyone needed a head to survive. But, it had been days in Barricade (after some tricky work by the large infiltrator) before his sliced off pieces patched themselves back onto his body.

But now Megatron was back, Megatron in a bot's body. Boy, did Barricade's engine rumble when they first received readings of Megatron's presence on this planet days ago. Their leader would never be done away with so easily by a puny human. Never.

There, the Allspark's signature! Frenzy tip-toed quickly across another hallway and found himself in front of familiar med-bay doors. Only this time, there would be no Jazz-Megatron conglomeration needing his help. This time, all he needed was that Allspark shard. Another step closer to the doors and they whooshed open. He could see it now, the shard and—heat signatures?

A strangled yelp filled the med-bay as Frenzy dodged a clumsy blow to his head. The head, they were always aiming for his head. Another heavy blow came down, this time effectively batting his body across the room, further from the Allspark. Shaking like a live-wire, Frenzy focused his sights on the two humans stalking towards him. So the Autobots weren't so stupid to leave the base fully open. They were still idiots for leaving these to squishies behind to deal with a mech's business. But no time to play with the humans, Barricade was waiting.

Frenzy heard and reveled in the humans' shocked noises as he launched himself over their heads. Closer and closer was the Allspark, another jump up to the counter top and towards its wall container. With a quick punch, the glass separating the Allspark from the world was shattered. All he had to do now was reach inside and—

An alarm flared through the base. At this time Frenzy would have snatched the shard away and scampered out of the base. But there was one problem. Energon bonds snaked around his form, freezing him in place. Tricky Ratchet, that annoying medic-engineer. Frenzy could hear the triumphant cries of the humans down below. Oh they won't be capturing him so easily.

CD blades went spinning across the room, turning those cries of triumph into cries of terror as the humans went sprawling in order to avoid them. But the machinery couldn't dodge. Another shot with his weapons and the blades found something vital to his trap. His bonds flickered away and with an easy grab, the Allspark was his. Take that, Ratchet.

Frenzy leaped off the counter and skidded to a stop before the door. With one last look at the stunned humans, he flipped a birdie and ran. Won't Barricade be pleased now?

o00o

Junk yard, outskirts of Tranquility, Nevada

// Optimus! Optimus//

// What is it Sam? Has something gone wrong//

// Something has most definitely gone wrong, big-bot. Frenzy came barging in and got his picky hands on the Allspark piece. Mikaela and I are on his and Barricade's tail. //

// Fall back immediately , Sam! I won't risk the two of you getting hurt in this. //

// Don't worry about us, we'll be alright. Sam and Mikaela signing out, Optimus//

// Sam! Mikaela! Wait– //

A frustrated rumble made its way out of the Prime, but he had to put his worries for the humans aside as his captive made an attempt to twist out of his grasp once again.

"Hold him steady, Optimus. I'm almost done here," murmured Ratchet, optics aglow as he continued plugging away at an counter-program. "If we lose him here, there's no telling if we'd be able to find him at all amidst this junk." A junk yard. They were in the middle of a junk yard. According to some of Bumblebee's previous reports, this was the same place where he had first beamed the Autobots down to Earth.

"Easier said than done, Ratchet. You know how slippery his armor is," Optimus tightened his grip, frowning as Jazz's plating creaked beneath the immense pressure. Nearby, Bumblebee shifted in his stance. The younger bot was clearly distressed by the situation, but he handled his emotions well. Ironhide stood between the two, his attention fixated on Jazz's body writhing away in Optimus's arms.

"The humans are approaching, Optimus," murmured Bumblebee.

Ironhide's cannons clicked, mirroring the veteran's anxiety and irritation. "Your orders, Prime?"

Optimus sighed. Human reporters and their insatiable appetites for news, even if said news would take them to the maws of death. At this rate, news the Autobots on Earth would be spread, despite what measures the US government and Sector 7 (before it had been disbanded) had taken in order to hush up the happenings at Mission City.

"Keep them out of the area. Barricade the entrances and exits and distract them however you can. Just try and remain under cover," Optimus paused and glanced over at Ironhide. "No harming the humans." Ironhide just snorted back before jogging after Bumblebee.

"Optimus, your sentimentality is pathetic," hissed Jazz–no, hissed Megatron. "There's nothing you can do. Nothing short of destroying your little friend, but even then I'm still around. I win, Optimus, either way."

"No, Megatron. You don't. Fight him, Jazz. Keep fighting him."

Jazz's body spasmed and went limp for a few moment. "Just finish me off, Optimus. I can't hold on much longer."

"Quit thinking that way, Jazz. We'll find a way to cure you–"

"Cure me? As far as I can tell, Megatron's about to be me. Look, I don't want that fragger parading around in my body," Jazz's gaze flickered. "I'm losing things, Optimus. I'm losing data of old times. Memories. He's growing."

"Jazz..."

"Kill me now, Optimus, before he gets to me first."

Before Optimus could respond, a green hand reached in and plugged something into Jazz's neck. Ratchet glared furiously at the figures rolling across the screen of his datapad as the lieutenant wisely shut his mouth.

"We have to get him back to base, Prime. What I put into Jazz's systems will probably only distract Megatron for a few cycles. I'm going to need all my equipment, for this," demanded Ratchet. "We don't have much time, but I want to make the most of it."

"Optimus!"

Ironhide's shout sent heads turning. Optimus, with Jazz still in his arms and accompanied by Ratchet, picked his way over to the arms specialist.

"What's going on, Ironhide? Bumblebee? We are supposed to remain unnoticed here. Why the yelling?" hissed Optimus.

"No need for hiding any longer, Prime. Barricade's got the humans under his gun. He's demanding your presence," grumbled Ironhide. His displeasure at the Decepticon and his demands evident.

"He also has Sam and Mikaela," said Bumblebee quietly, the scout stood at the wall, not even bothering to hide himself any longer as he stared out in what was most likely the direction that Barricade was with Bumblebee's two charges.

Optimus released his hold on Jazz and rose up. Where Bumblebee had only a few feet clearance over the fence, Optimus had a couple meters. He stood, gaze fixed on Barricade as the Decepticon maintained his ground, gun aimed causally at the human reporters with one hand, Sam and Mikaela struggling in another. Frenzy perched easily on his partner's shoulder, the Allspark shard glinting in his hold.

"Let the humans go and state your business, Decepticon!" boomed Optimus.

"You're in no position to be demanding anything, Optimus Prime. I have the humans and the Allspark, I shall be making the demands here," Barricade practically purred.

"You have the Allspark, what else do you want, bolthead?" spat Ironhide.

A series of screams went up from the corralled humans as Barricade cocked his gun and its charging whine could be heard. "I'd suggest that you tell your attack dog to stand down."

"Ironhide...do as he says."

"Blasted con, he wouldn't be so confident if he didn't have those hostages of his," growled Ironhide. But he moved back, standing shoulder to shoulder with Ratchet.

"My offer to you is simple, Optimus Prime. Your lieutenant in exchange for the safety and well-being of these humans," began Barricade. Optimus could hear the noise of outrage from both Ratchet and Ironhide behind him. Jazz remained silent. "You have nothing to hide, Prime. All we want is our leader back and we'll return your humans unharmed."

"Jazz is not Megatron."

"Not for long, Prime, not for long. So what will it be?" Barricade shrugged and shifted in his stance. "I'll give you and hour, Prime. Don't start boring me. I might have to take some entertainment." With that, the Decepticon settled back.

An hour. He had only an hour to decide the fate of the humans and that of his lieutenant. But it seemed that Jazz had already come to some sort of decision. A hand lighted firmly on Optimus's wrist guard and Jazz looked resolutely at his leader.

"Optimus, I'll go."


Author's note: Okay, school's starting up and this is the fastest I've churned out a chapter in a long while. As I said before, the story's close to its end. I'll try to update and finish up the last chatper(s) quickly and not leave you all hanging. Thanks for sticking with me this long in the ride and your comments and reviews are always appreciated greatly. May your new year be wonderful. - Darkfire