Chapter Seven

The atmosphere was tense that night. Veris was reluctant to let Rae leave the base, but she needed the fresh air. Harbinger had kept her inside until the others had returned from their various missions. Now he kept an eye on the girl as she ran back and forth through the woods, trying to outwit Bracket, who was chasing her. She was doing pretty good too. The girl recognized that she wasn't as fast as the Decepticon or as strong, so she used her agility to keep a safe distance between them. Sooner or later she would run out of energy, and then one of the larger mechs would have to carry the girl back inside the base.

It didn't bother them. She was their youngling, after all.

"Do you know what Starscream will do?" Veris asked quietly. Harbinger shrugged.

"Knowing him, any number of things." he said bluntly. "He'll use the information as it best suits him. But if he says he'll hold it back to make Megatron fail, then that's exactly what he'll do."

Silver chuckled. "Primus bless his psychopathic little spark."

Greystreak nodded. "If his pride will keep Rae out of trouble, I say let's kick back with the energon and see what happens." he said darkly. "I don't want her to get hurt."

"None of us do." Sheol added emphatically. Harbinger snorted in amusement.

"So you two glitch-heads finally decide to agree on something." he said sarcastically. "Tell me, how long will this last before you both start bickering again and we have to piece you back together?"

"Leave them alone." Case murmured, his optics trained on the child. "We need to figure out what the Decepticons want with Rae, not on what Starscream will do. He is not our primary concern. That should be Soundwave." Veris nodded agreement.

"For now, we'll have to resign ourselves to not knowing." he murmured. "But I do want Greystreak to monitor Decepticon communications. See if you can find anything pertaining to Rae or that just flat-out sounds suspicious. If they come anywhere near our base, I want to know about it immediately. We'll drive them off if we have to."

"We'll send them back to the crypt where they belong." Greystreak muttered. "You've got it, Veris."

They fell silent for a while, content to watch their youngling play her game with Bracket. Suddenly, she tripped over a root and skidded across the ground a ways. She was instantly back on her feet, muttering something in a language familiar to the mechs that she shouldn't have known.

Sheol looked rather smug. "Did I mention Silver and I have been teaching her Cybertronian?" he said offhandedly. Veris smiled.

"That will come in handy, no doubt." he said, reverting back to his native tongue. "After all, no one will expect her to know it. If she ever finds herself in a bind, she'll be able to gather information they wouldn't expect her to know."

Silver shrugged. "We just thought it was fun." he commented. "She already has a fairly decent grasp on the language. It won't be long before she can speak it as fluently as the rest of us."

"That's good." Harbinger murmured. He watched intently as Rae ran another few feet, yawned, and plopped down on her bottom. Her eyes were slowly drifting closed, and he couldn't help but chuckle as he stood up to retrieve the youngling. She curled up gratefully in the crook of his arm and was almost instantly asleep. Bracket chuckled as he hopped onto Harbinger's shoulder.

"Little Rae must've been more tired than she said." he observed. Harbinger laughed.

"She rarely ever says when she is." he pointed out. Bracket nodded.

"True, but Bracket figured she had at least another half-hour in her."

That got a laugh from everybody.

/---/

Back at the Decepticon base, Starscream and Soundwave met with a few other mechs – Barricade, Bonecrusher, and Skywarp. Soundwave was the temporary leader, so everyone had to listen to him. For now. Starscream, for one, more than looked forward to the day when he could kill both Soundwave and Megatron. Then he would become the undisputed ruler of the Decepticons.

Soundwave turned to Starscream. "You said you never found the base."

"That's right."

A smirk. "Why don't I believe you?"

"Whether you believe me or not is irrelevant." Starscream pointed out dryly. "After all, only Megatron can authorize you to use your powers against another Decepticon. Anything you did on your own would exile you."

The smirk faded. "You are a worthless heap of scrap metal." Soundwave said quietly. "I know that girl is there. Veris said as much to me. It seems they are very protective of their adopted youngling."

Barricade shrugged. "Aren't we all?" he said.

Bonecrusher nodded agreement. "We can't really expect anything else. If we're going to get the girl now, we're going to need one heck of a backup."

Skywarp glared at the other two. "But we're not going after the girl now. Are we, Soundwave?" he asked pointedly.

Soundwave shook his head. "No. We're going to wait until Megatron arrives. The few Autobots that are here don't even know about the base, much less the significance of the girl raised on that base. We can wait the eight years it will take our leader to arrive. It will give Veris time to complete his little project. It will be harder to destroy the girl then."

"So we wait." Starscream said.

"Exactly. We wait, but when the time comes, that girl will be ours!"

The End

AN: Wow. This story wasn't as long as I thought it would be. Then again, Drive is going to be that much longer. Probably around twenty chapters, but it could be even longer than that. As always, review, and until next time, I remain yours truly,

Shadowblade-tara.