For The Race

Interlude

About a year and a half previously.

"Mrs Witwicky, if you would follow me, I have your weapon waiting for you in my armoury, as promised." Ironhide told Judy as she went into the base. He beckoned her, and she said to Ron "I'll be with you in a moment."

Ron well remembered that Ironhide had promised to make Judy Witwicky a duranium-alloy "whacking stick" to replace the baseball bat that Sector Seven had taken off her back in July. When she had called to find out how it was going, she had been incensed to find out that Ironhide had been making a joke. She had, by all accounts, given him a stiff talking-to fit to make his audio receivers curl, and Ironhide had promptly asked her to go to the base. He had taken fingerprints and hand casts, found out, with Ratchet's aid, how much strength she possessed in her upper arms, and had called her earlier that day to tell her that it was ready.

"Where's Sam?" she asked the big mech, who, since the phone call, seemed oddly compliant when faced with Sam's human mother.

"Sam is out on a drive with Bumblebee." he said. "She should be in soon, we are expecting her return within the hour." Judy shook her head.

"It's still odd for me to call my son 'she'. I'm never going to properly get used to it." she said.

As they turned into the armoury, Ironhide reached down and put one of his big hands down to allow Judy to step into it. She did so, without a qualm, and Ironhide's already significant respect for this small, but vocal and brave human woman went up another notch. He carefully lifted her to a point where she could walk off his hand and onto his weapons table, which only contained a carefully-crafted, ergonomically designed club, built with a handle specifically shaped for Judy's hands. She picked it up, and gave it a couple of experimental swings.

"It's heavier than I thought it would be." she said.

"With practice, your arms will strengthen, it is of an appropriate weight that your arm strength and it's own momentum will combine to make it as effective as possible, and hit with a good amount of force. If you want, I can set up a practice area with statues and models and structures for you to attack with it."

"Why, thank you, Mr Ironhide." she said.

"You are very welcome, Mrs Witwicky." Ironhide said. "May I suggest-" Whatever Ironhide was about to suggest went unsaid as his optics briefly dimmed.

"Sam!" he cried in alarm.

"What is it? Tell me, I'm his mother!" she said.

"Bumblebee has just called, they're heading for the base, but they are being pursued by Starscream!" he said.

"Then what are we waiting for?" Judy said, stepping back into his hand. "Let's go!"

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Both Sam and Bumblebee were in car form, and heading for the Autobot base at a speed well above the legal limit, but it was useless: Starscream's top speed was Mach 3, and it was easy for him to catch them up, transform, and take a vicious swipe at Bumblebee. The yellow Camaro was flipped twice before Bumblebee's survival instinct prompted him to transform, and by then, Starscream had gone after Sam and had done the same thing, flipping the pale blue Aveo. She, too rolled a bit and transformed into robot form, which was just what Starscream was waiting for: he was hovering above Sam in robot form himself, and grabbed one of Sam's lower arms, just below the elbows, in each hand, holding her arms out so she could not bring her cannons to bear on him.

"Got you!" he sneered, angling upwards. Sam was unable to use her cannons, and Starscream's hands were just above the level of her blades, but Sam knew she could not let Starscream get away with her. She only had one weapon left to her, and at this height it could prove fatal to her, but as far as Sam was concerned, death was preferable to the alternative.

She activated her EMP generator.

It didn't knock Starscream out completely, neither did it make him release Sam, but it did make him lose altitude, until they were only about thirty feet from the ground, and it did seem to be affecting his equilibrium: Starscream wavered dangerously. Sam was about to give him another blast when a blur of red and a blur of yellow leaped from the ground and managed to tackle him to the ground: this did make Starscream release Sam, who fell into a protective roll and came to his feet, scared and shaken, but unharmed.

"Didn't your parental units ever teach you about respecting femmes?" said Sideswipe, who was kneeling hard on Starscream's left wing/shoulder, holding down his left arm.

"You're messing with our Sam, and we can't let you do that, Screamer, can we?" asked Sunstreaker, who was sat on his right wing/shoulder and holding down the corresponding arm. "So, how are we going to punish you this time? I see the ants didn't teach you enough, I wonder if we can obtain a big hornet's nest?"

"No, no, no more organic things up my tailpipes!" pleaded Starscream.

"What about my cannons? I'll blow your aft to the Pit myself!" snarled Ironhide, who had reached where the Twins had managed to ground Starscream, which wasn't too far from the Autobot base. Ironhide put Judy down and went over to Sam. "Are you all right?" he asked.

"Yes, I am." said Sam. "So's Bumblebee, by the looks of things." said Sam as a battered but functional and severely torqued Bumblebee came into view. As he saw Starscream being held down by the Twins, he dropped his battle mask and activated his cannon. Starscream saw and began struggling again, but to no avail.

"Don't even think about it! Keep him pinned down you two, but he's mine!" came a commanding human female voice. Judy Witwicky, brandishing her new weapon, came over.

Starscream took one look at the diminutive human femme and laughed.

"You? You can't hurt me! I am Starscream, leader of the Decepticons, and who might you be, fleshling worm?" he demanded, laughing.

"I'm Sam's mother." she said. "You are the most bedraggled, miserable excuse for a Cybertronian I have ever seen! You are the worst piece of flying scrap metal I have ever had the misfortune to lay my eyes on! You're not fit to lead a kindergarten class!" Starscream's laughter had began to fade in the face of Judy's fury. She hadn't finished, either.

"You have got to be the biggest fragging sparkling of a glitch I have ever encountered, and I am going to beat the scrap out of you, you flying rust-pile!" Hold him, you two, I'm coming up!" She stalked purposefully towards Starscream's shoulders.

Bumblebee was shocked. "Where did she learn that sort of language from? Has she been hanging around Ratchet recently? Or the Twins?" he asked.

Ironhide, trying to conceal a grin said "Whoops! I must learn to keep my vocal processor shut around any life-form less than twenty thousand years old." However, Ironhide looked far from repentant.

Sideswipe lifted Judy up onto Starscream's back, and put her down carefully.

"He's restrained, and ready for you." he told her.

"Wonderful!" she said, brandishing her new weapon. "Hey, Ironhide, it's time I tested this, don't you think?" she asked. Ironhide grinned.

"I think it's the perfect time for you to give it a try, Mrs Witwicky."

"Right!" said Judy, and raised the "whacking stick" over her head.

With a resounding clang, she brought it down hard on Starscream's head. The plating actually dented, and Starscream yelled.

"Ow! That hurt!"

"Good! It was meant to!" she said, and repeated her strike on a slightly different area. Starscream cried out again. "Try to rape and kidnap my daughter would you? Take that! And that as well!" She hit him again, and he screamed, but Judy just kept on attacking him. She didn't just confine her strikes to his head, but hit his neck, his wings, his back and his aft. Each hit raised a cry from Starscream. After twenty minutes, he was screaming and pleading to be released, begging the Autobots to get this mad human femme off him.

It was Sam who called a halt to it. She stooped. "Mom, that's enough. Let him go."

"Why should I?" she snarled. "I still have plenty of energy and anger left!"

"Because if you let him go back to the others, perhaps his condition, and the tale he'll tell, will deter any of the others from coming after me, but if we kill him, whoever becomes the next leader may try again!" she said. "Please, Mom."

Judy sagged. "Okay, Sam, take me back to the base." Sam put out his hands and clasped his mother to him, and they all walked back in. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker made sure everyone else was in, before releasing Starscream, who flew off, crying out and wavering in the air as his badly-dented wings took the strain of his weight. The Twins went into the base too.

"Starscream obviously doesn't know that the most dangerous thing you can do in the presence of a femme is to threaten its sparkling, no matter how grown-up that sparkling is." chuckled Ironhide.

Mrs Witwicky?" said Sideswipe.

"Yes?" she said, raising her whacking-stick a little.

"Remind me never to get on your wrong side." Sideswipe said. Judy just gave him a wolfish smile.

"So, Mrs Witwicky, is your weapon satisfactory?" Ironhide asked her. Judy smiled even more wolfishly.

"Oh yes, Ironhide, most satisfactory." she said, hefting it again.