Autobot in Shining Armor
Disclaimer: I don't own Transformers, Beast Wars, or any of the characters affiliated with either series. This'll be my second attempt at this genre so please bare with me. And a huge thank you to my beta Blackwing.Rose for her help. She's got a wonderful Transformers story called How We Seared the Sky, which is a must read for all you fans out there. Thank you and please enjoy.
Chapter 1: One of Those Days
It was raining outside. This would not have been such a big deal, had the roof of her apartment not been leaking again. She had told the landlord about it twice already, and on both occasions the swine of a man had sworn that he would get to it. And yet here she was, some two weeks later, with a dripping roof. One would think, with the work she did, that she would be able to afford somewhere better than this, but unfortunately her government salary only allowed her to live alone if she did so in a less developed part of the city. If the crappiness of her apartment wasn't bad enough, her neighbors were worse. The couple that lived on her right came in at odd hours and started shouting matches, whilst the family that lived to her left were recent immigrants from Mexico and none of them spoke English. This was a problem, since their baby was always waking her up every two hours with its wailing.
"I need a vacation," she murmured, running a hand through her haphazardly drawn up blond hair. She had been trying to crack a frustratingly complex code that surrounded the information that had been recovered after Megatron half-destroyed the Hoover Dam facility - working on it for three days straight with little sleep and few food breaks. If this wasn't bad enough, her boss expected her to crack the code within the next few days or he'd be putting a new analyst on the job. She was hungry, tired, and frustrated. She did not think that any of those other idiots could get any further than she had, and she had been the one to discover the Decepticon's frequency during the war. "Idiots probably wouldn't be able to read it anyway, it's all in Cybertronian," she continued, stretching her arms over her head until she heard several satisfying pops resound from her back and shoulders. "Alright, Maggie, you can do this."
Maggie Madsen was one of the smartest people the Pentagon had working for them, and they knew it. No one else could decode the Cybertronian language and bypass the safety measures surrounding the networks of information. To her knowledge, none of the others could even read Cybertronian, let alone be expected to hack their way through massively advanced firewalls. She could give that spastic little creep Frenzy credit for that feat - he was a talented hacker. Granted, he was also a member of a race of super-intelligent, sentient robots, but still. Blue-green eyes burned as she tried to focus back on her laptop's screen, willing herself to get back to work. After nearly an hour of trying, however, she finally gave up and threw her hands into the air. "That's it, I'm getting out of here. I need some fresh air anyway, maybe it'll help clear my head."
She noticed wearily that the sun was getting ready to set as she left the confines of her apartment complex. It meant that she would not be out for too long. With winter fast approaching, the days had grown distinctly shorter, and she wouldn't be caught dead out in this part of town after dark. Holding her umbrella securely over her head, Maggie hailed a cab, wanting to escape this little corner of hell she called home for the past few days. Of course, when the cabbie stopped to get her, he sloshed muddy water all over her - leaving her standing there, cold and wet. "Thanks a lot fella."
She got the distinct sensation that today was going to be one of those days.
(Two hours and a cab ride later)
It was dark out now, and she was still miles from her apartment. She hadn't dared hail another cab; not after the incident earlier. Besides, it wasn't that far to walk and she needed the exercise. She clutched her purse tightly, knowing that this wasn't a great part of town to be out in after dark, especially if you were a woman. She'd heard tales of lone women being abducted and raped or even killed during the night. It sent a cold shiver down her spine, but that could just be her reaction from still being mildly wet after the cabbie had soaked her thoroughly. She sighed loudly, looking up at the barely visible moon from where it peaked out between the dispersing clouds. At least it wasn't raining anymore, since her umbrella had turned inside out during the storm while she'd been walking in the park. "Stupid Maggie, just stupid."
She made it back to her apartment with no incident, but as she drew closer to her door a feeling of cold dread settled into her body. The door was open, the hinges clear of the frame. Someone was in her apartment, perhaps even someone that was after the code she'd been working on. She was just about to call the cops, even had the phone up to her ear, when the person that had broken into her apartment came out carrying her computer. Maggie's eyes went wide in her head, staring at the mountain of a man as he stood there contemplating her. "So not my day." She managed to murmur before turning around and taking off down the stairs.
'So glad I wore blue jeans today!' She thought, going down the flights of stairs as quickly as her slender body would take her. She heard the booming of footsteps behind her but didn't stop, knowing that if she did he'd catch her and god only knew what would happen then. She had the cell phone to her ear again, but couldn't stop long enough to dial the number. The dial tone blared in her ear, and she finally just used the only voice command she had programmed into her phone. "Emergency!"
It rang for what seemed like eternity, longer than she wanted to wait. Another voice came on the line just as she was ready to give up, a voice that sounded calm and full of an authority she couldn't begin to figure out the origin of. Stupid Witwicky boy, giving her this bogus number. It was her last shot, however, and she took it. "My name is Maggie Madsen. Sam gave me this number, told me to…" She huffed loudly as she rounded down to another flight of stairs. "Use this line if I was ever in need of help." She paused again, listening to the heavy footsteps as they neared her location. Did this guy ever give up?
"What is the nature of your emergency, Miss Madsen?" The other person finally answered, and she thought he sounded mildly annoyed this time. Great, just what she didn't need right now.
"There's a freakin' monster chasing me and you ask the nature of my emergency!" She snapped back, finally loosing her temper with whoever was on the other side of the line. "Just call the cops for me or something, you insensitive prick!"
The man caught up to her then, catching her around the waist and throwing her against the concrete wall inside the stairwell with enough force that she knew something had to have bruised at least. The cell phone went flying, falling over the railing and to its untimely death at the bottom of the still seven story drop. "Oh God…" She breathed out as she tried to remain calm after her last hope escaped her grasp. "What do you want from me?"
Her attacker simply smiled, a cruel expression that drew a shudder out of her. He'd kill her, she knew that look. She'd seen that same cruel look on a different face, though still knew it. He kept her pinned up hard to the wall, applying pressure to her arms until she felt something start to give. "I want you to answer some questions for me."
It had been such an unusual call, and one that he didn't recognize the origin of. He was doubly surprised when the caller, Margaret Madsen his files told him, chewed him out. It wasn't as if he wasn't already en route to aid her, so why had she gotten angry? He put the question through his processors several times, trying to figure out what he'd said that could have set her off. The conclusion he finally came up with was that she was simply distressed and that he should therefore ignore her angry outburst. Granted the he had probably sounded mildly annoyed when he answered her, since he'd broken communications with Ironhide just before the call came in. His weapons expert was having a disagreement with the Lennox family again, and he'd had to order him to remain where he was yet again.
The large Autobot sighed, a soft wheezing sound that vibrated his vehicle mode just slightly. He remembered Margaret Madsen. She was the young woman that had managed to break the coding of their language and translate it into her own, but she was also one of the few humans alive that could crack through the protective layers of coding and firewalls that usually accompanied one of Frenzy's projects. She was the analyst that had discovered the hacking signal during the beginning of the war on earth. She was a smart femme for a human, though he'd never gotten the chance to meet her with all that had gone on during and since they'd destroyed Megatron at Mission City. Perhaps this would turn out to be a better day that he'd first thought.
As he neared the location of her last transmission an eerie feeling settled into his systems. Something about this didn't seem right, though he couldn't place the how or why of it. The neighborhood he found himself in was less than ideal for a single person, and he wondered exactly why she'd chosen to live here. Tranquility wasn't so overcrowded that she couldn't have just found somewhere else, so why? He put the thought aside for the time being as he saw a flash of blond hair as it was stuffed unceremoniously into the back of a black Nissan.
He pulled around in front of them so that they'd be trapped against the building, not wanting to reveal himself if he didn't absolutely have to. "I would suggest you release Miss Madsen." He rumbled, allowing his voice processors to bring the sound out almost booming. The human that had shoved her into the car stopped what he was doing and stared at him as if trying to figure out who was speaking to him.
"Ya' should learn ta mind your own damn business. This don' concern you." The man told him simply, and it took his processors a moment to figure out what the man was saying before he was able to form a response.
"Then perhaps you shouldn't try to kidnap helpless women from their homes."
The man threw himself into the car then, shouting at the other man in the front seat. "Just drive, man, he'll move!" Of course he had no intention of moving, and let out a loud grunt when the smaller vehicle rammed into his side. Ratchet was going to have a fit over this one, but there were more important things to deal with right now. Like dealing with these two.
He was a reasonable bot, he really was, but these two crossed the line. After assuring himself that no one was around that could see him he transformed, waiting for the overly long shift from one form to the other to finish before leaning over and grabbing the top of the Nissan. With one hard pull he ripped the roof off the black car, revealing the two men and the struggling Miss Madsen. "That was a bad idea."
The two men started screaming, one raising a semi automatic weapon of some sort and attempting to destroy him with it. The bullets simply bounced off his armor, sending sparks back at the men since he was now leaning over the car so that he was eye level with the felons. He waited for them to run out of ammo before relieving them of their weapons, still glaring at them angrily. "Get out of vehicle, gentlemen." He told them calmly, keeping his optics trained on them in case they tried something stupid.
They did as he asked then promptly took off, both screaming about the giant robot that had attacked them. It wasn't likely that they'd be believed, but still. He turned his optics back to the woman that had requested his aid. She sat in the back seat in most unnatural angle, rolled onto her back and staring up at him with wide eyes. She seemed no the worse for wear, though his scanners told him that she had fractures in both of her arms and a large amount of bruising along her neck and spine. He'd take her to see Ratchet, see what could be done for her before he took her back home. "Margaret Madsen, I am Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots. You called for aid."
The femme's response was for her eyes to roll back into her head as she fainted, leaving a very concerned Optimus to try and figure out what had caused it. He reached into the ruined Nissan with both hands, carefully removing her from the remains and holding her close to his body so that she'd be protected. He knew he couldn't remain out in the open like this for long, to do so could expose his people to danger. He remained in a crouch for a long moment, then set the unconscious woman back in the Nissan and transformed back into his alternate mode. Optimus sighed again. He supposed this could be counted as an emergency. After all, a life was in danger. He'd get her to aid as quickly as possible, even if that meant using his still-experimental holoform. He did wonder, as he concentrated on moving her without doing her more harm, why these people had been after her in the first place.
That's it for this chapter.
I hope you like it.
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