He was hurting, Primus, but he was hurting

He was hurting, Primus, but he was hurting. There wasn't enough energon available to re-rout power to his optics. Audio receptors were functioning but only at half capacity. Without being able to bring his optics online, he could not engage his HUD to determine the full extent of his battle damage. He didn't need those systems to tell that his condition was critical though, since he could feel energon leaking from multiple points throughout his chassis. That he was also leaking other vital fluids was a minor inconvenience by comparison. What was more disturbing to him was the fact that he could hear and more importantly FEEL something crawling around on him, poking and probing into vital areas of his frame. Unable to move or even see what was happening to him, Barricade was terrified for the first time in his existence.

He heard and felt the scrape of a metal object against his primary energon conduit, and tried to scream in agony. That no sound emerged told him that his vocal processor was also offline. Then he heard a voice cussing quite spectacularly.

"GOD DAMNIT! Bastard son of an AIDS sucking bitch! Go suck on a hemorrhoid, you over grown chunk of anal fungus!"

Barricade tried to scream again as he felt the leaking energon conduit get twisted and crimped to stop the leak.

"HAH! Leak now BITCH!"

He had no idea who or more accurately, WHAT was attempting to make repairs on his damaged systems but they could at least have the decency to deactivate his pain receptors while doing so. With the largest and most spark threatening leak sealed albeit crudely, he was able to bring ONE of his optical receptors partially online. To his utter horror, he saw an overweight but still somewhat stout human male trying to make some improvised repairs. The human was splattered with energon that had obviously originated from HIM!

"Ok, now that that one is taken care of lets see about the others."

Barricade had no clue as to how long he had been rendered offline, but it must have been quite a while as he was able to see a disturbingly large pool of spreading and sparking energon around him. This human must be insane to risk energon electrocution around that much liquid power! Barricade thought to himself. He was forced to watch helplessly as the human continued to conduct makeshift and improvised repairs on his systems. Having one optic functioning, he tried to activate his HUD, dreading what he would find out.

By some miracle, his HUD was undamaged and the results that it displayed were FAR worse than he dared to dream.

The human finally finished sealing off the primary energon leak and had turned his attention to something else.

"OH SHIT!"

He heard from the human as he found gasoline leaking from his ruptured fuel line. The fuel leak worried Barricade a LOT. While energon was not particularly volatile in and of it self, it COULD however be detonated by burning fuel. Such explosions could and have reduced even the toughest and strongest mechs into scattered piles of mangled, twisted and sparkless scrap.

Barricade tried to scream again as the human dealt with the ruptured fuel line in the same manner as he had the primary energon conduit.

"OK, well the hell was I? Oh yeah, stoppin' that blue shit from leakin' out."

Barricade was forced to continue watching as the human ruthlessly but effectively crimped off all of the remaining energon leaks.

Now that he was no longer losing energon, more power would slowly become available to try to bring other systems online. Although most of his diagnostic systems were damaged, they still told a very grim story. Almost every actuator and motivator in his chassis was either damaged or completely offline. The only movement that would be available to him was part of his right foot, IF he still had an intact energon conduit, but there was no such luck.

How did I get hurt this badly? Barricade wondered to himself. He tried to access his most recent memories, but apparently that too was damaged and in need of repair.

Why can't I remember anything before waking up with this human on top of me? Did the human do this to me? Barricade tried to asses the sum of what he did know. My name is Barricade. I am a soldier of war. I do my job well and take great pride in that. I am one of the best at hunting and killing the enemy. Here Barricade was forced to stop in confusion. Who is the enemy that I am so good at killing? If I am so good at it, then how did this happen to me? Was it the humans? Are they the enemy that I am supposed to eliminate? No, that can't be right. They are small and ineffectual organic creatures with limited technology. They could not have done this to me without assistance of some kind. Then who or what is my true enemy? Barricade knew that he didn't have the answers to these questions, but maybe the human did.

The human had apparently finished what he needed to do because he climbed off Barricade's frame and left. Barricade began to wonder if his unknown enemy had returned and scared the human away when he heard the sound of a diesel engine starting up.

Is he just going to leave me here to die slowly?Barricade thought. When he heard the vehicle begin moving closer to his position, he felt a sense of relief. He heard the human doing something but with the damage to his audios, he was unable to determine what. The human return with a device that began vacuuming up the massive pool of energon that was on the ground. Good. I'll need that later. Barricade thought.

The human then took the vacuum away somewhere, and Barricade heard the whine of a powerful but aged electric motor along with some older sounding hydraulics. Next was a rather large thump that was more felt then heard through the concrete that he was lying on. Now he heard the rattle and clank of heavy chains. The human then moved back into his limited field of vision and began wrapping some fairly thick chains around Barricade's torso section.

Did the humans do this to me after all? Are they my enemy? Am I now to be a helpless prisoner?

These along with a hundred other questions raced through Barricades processor as the human engaged the winch. As his body began to be pulled onto the bed of the wrecker Barricade felt such a surge of agonizing pain flow through his entire chassis that he was forced offline to avoid permanent shutdown.

The human didn't know where the hell this thing came from, but he did know that he had to get it under cover and FAST! A giant robot would not go unnoticed for long. He finished winching the robot carcass on to his flat bed wrecker and started putting tarps on it to hide what it was. As soon as he had the mech secured, he jumped in the truck and drove like mad to his salvage lot outside Mission city.

During the entire drive he kept looking in his rearview mirror to see if the other one was coming back to finish the job it started. The human looked down at the camcorder lying in the seat next to him, and shuddered in apprehension wondering if he had really gotten the entire fight on tape. He couldn't help but recall the events of the past hour as he drove home. He had been getting the empty construction site on camera to gain some new ideas for his shop, when a squad car pulled in to the lot and began to flip out before it impossibly stood up! As he stood there frozen in absolute shock staring at the 20 ft mech, a huge silver jet from some kind of sci-fi flick came roaring out of the sky and did the same thing as it landed on its feet!

Then amazingly, impossibly the huge silver robot spoke in English. The voice was harsh and metallic, with far more cruelty in it than would be humanly possible.

"Speak Barricade. Why did you call me here when my hour of victory is at hand?"

"Lord Megatron, we should enslave the humans rather than exterminating them. They will prove to be very useful in the reconstruction of Cybertron."

"NO! After being experimented on, and taken apart by these worthless fleshlings, I will reclaim the All Spark and use its power to exterminate the entire PLANET!"

"But most of them are not even military, and have no combat skills."

"Then they will be just that much easier to kill, and eliminate!"

"They are civilians! NOT SOLDIERS! When I swore to fight this war for you, it was on the condition that I would never be forced, or even ordered to make war on civilians, and you agreed!"

"NO MORE BARRICADE! IF YOU WILL NOT JOIN ME IN EXTERMINATING THESE HUMANS, THEN YOU WILL JOIN THEM IN OBLIVION!"

With that last comment the silver one had somehow fused his arms, (at least the human thought that they were arms) together and fired off some kind of energy blast. Again and again the huge mech had fired on the smaller one until all that remained was a smoking pile of twitching scrap metal leaking that weird glowing bluish silver fluid everywhere. He had waited until the silver one had left before running over to the beaten robot.

Barricade, that was its name, Barricade. The human had no idea as to exactly what was going on but it wasn't good whatever it was, and as far as he knew this beaten pile of scrap was Earths only chance at getting out of this mess.

The human had taken one look at the mech and knew that whatever that stuff was it had to be vital. So he had started with those leaks first. The first one he had tried to shut off had sprayed all over him, and the stuff was starting to burn by now, and for all he knew it was most likely radioactive. OK if it kills me then it kills me, at least I'll go out trying to save someone or someTHING that can save the world! The human thought to himself. Pulling up to the only gate into his salvage yard the human jumped out and opened it up. Pulling the wrecker in, the human decided that some privacy was in order. Closing the gate and setting the cables he turned on the juice to the modified electric fence. While the power level wouldn't actually kill someone, the poor fool that got nailed by it, wouldn't be getting up without help from EMS.

The human's mind raced trying to think of what tools he would need to try to fix a giant robot from who knew where. The human pulled straight into his shop and hit the remote to close the bay doors. Then he hit the release on the winch and started tilting the flatbed up to drop the large mech onto the lift of the oil-changing bay. Killing the truck, he jumped out and grabbed the shop vac, whatever that stuff was the mech was going to need it back. He started rummaging through his shelves looking for one thing in particular. There it was the ⅛ micron filtration system that he had bought at a clearance sale for a scientific company. That should do it! He thought! He poured the strange liquid into the filter and started it up. Then he grabbed some wire strippers and electrical tape, along with a large roll of copper tubing. Dropping all of these things next to the mech, he then ran and grabbed a soldering iron, cutting torch, two-pound sledgehammer, and a crow bar. He was going to need all of these things to even have a slim chance of getting the thing working well enough to figure out how to fix it.

The human started by splicing the severed and sparking wiring and taping that up good and sealing it with a hot glue gun.

About three and a half hours later, the human knew that it was time to try and fix that plumbing problem with the glowing sludge in it. Making one last visual check of the wiring in what he considered to be the upper chest area the human discovered one last set of damaged wires that were sparking in time to that pulsing blue glow in its chest, whatever it was. Reaching in to deal with the problem, the human slipped and his arm came in to contact with Barricades spark. Normally, when a transformer is badly damaged the spark automatically repulses any and all attempts at any type of bond, this time was different. The human was still coated in what Barricades automatic systems identified as its own energon and therefore misidentified the human as a severed part of Barricades chassis. The human felt a very strange pulling sensation in his chest as he came into contact with the strange glowing blue object, just before he passed into unconsciousness.

Unbeknownst to either of the two unconscious souls, both human and decepticon, Barricade's spark was in full bond mode attempting to reintegrate the human in to Barricade's systems. The humans living energy was being pulled in to the spark of the fallen mech, even as that energy was being replaced with the enduring energy from the spark, forming a complete circuit, the energy flowed from one to the other and back again, in essence linking their souls and forging them, fusing them into a single soul split between two bodies. Among the Autobots such bonds had many titles depending on the depth and strength of the bond, also dependant was whether or not the bonded individuals were of same or opposite gender, and Brother Bonds were rare but not unknown among the Autobots but were almost unheard of among the decepticons. Spark Mates were more common between both groups.

Ironhide was rolling quietly down the street less than 100 meters from the entrance to a run down salvage yard. This location was definitely the source of the intermittent sub-space static. Ironhide made a visual check of the other Autobots who were providing backup for this op. Bumblebee was directly opposite him approaching from the other direction. Optimus was slowly making a stealth approach from a side street. All three Autobots transformed as silently as possible knowing that this could well be a decepticon trap.

Optimus ordered Ironhide to lead the way using visual combat signals in order to maintain transmission silence. Ironhide easily stepped over the five-foot barbed wire fence, which appeared to be electrified by some means judging by the insulators that the strands were mounted to. Proceeding through the salvage yard in silence was difficult to say the least; junk, scrap, and rusted chunks of various metals were scattered everywhere on top of pea gravel, making stealth almost impossible. Ironhide was therefore forced to watch where he put his feet. Bumblebee was finding it just as tough to avoid using the only trail through the junk yard as it winded its way around the yard several times before arriving at the shop in the center of the yard. Optimus was having much less trouble thanks to his advantage in size; he was still forced to be careful though as stuff was haphazardly piled everywhere. If I didn't know better, I'd swear this stuff was placed like this deliberately to delay intruders and provide an alert in case of an invasion. Optimus thought to himself as he studied the strewn piles of scrap.

Bumblebee was the first one to reach the side of the structure at the center of the salvage yard. The scout took a quick visual through a dirty window and the scene inside the building nearly made his spark freeze. Inside the shop there was a mech laid out on the floor with out a single plate of intact armor. Most of the chassis was so twisted, melted and mangled that Bumblebee was unable to determine just who it was, or from the appearance, who it had been. What was worse was the sight of some human on top of the fallen mech wedged in the spark chamber, and judging by the energon glow surrounding both the human and the mech; it was likely that both were beyond hope.

Seeing that stealth was obviously no longer needed, Bumblebee called out to Optimus.

"Sir! We need Ratchet out here NOW!"

"Yo, what's up Bee?"Ironhide asked as he started overcharging his plasma cannons.

Seeing that his scout had abandoned even a pretense of stealth, Optimus quickly made his way to the nearest window to appraise the situation himself while questioning his scout.

"What is the problem? Are you damaged?" Then as both reached a position to see for themselves.

"PITS OF CYBERTRON!" Ironhide shouted, he was so shocked that he actually forgot to maintain the charge on his cannons and they lost all power shutting down completely.

"Primus preserve us all!"Optimus was so stunned by what he saw that his remark was a mere whisper.

Optimus quickly contacted Ratchet over subspace. "Old friend, I know that what you are trying to do is important to all of us, but there is someone here that won't survive without immediate help."

"Well who is it this time, and are they dead?"Ratchet queried in his typical grumpy style.

"To be honest Ratchet I don't know. I can't even tell if it's Autobot or Decepticon."

"Well then what can you tell me?"

"Only that by some impossible miracle of Primus, it's still alive."

Ratchet heard the horrified tones contained in Primes vocal processor, and snorted through his vents.

"Surely, it can't be that bad Optimus?"

The reply that he received from his long time friend and leader shocked Ratchet into action. "We may all very well wish that its spark had extinguished before being found, before this is over, my friend."Optimus replied gravely.

Ratchet knew then, that however bad he thought it could be, the situation was far worse. Ratchet quickly grabbed what few tools had been provided by the sector seven personnel, and stowing them in his various compartments rolled out at his top speed. There were times when resembling a human emergency response vehicle came in handy, and this was definitely one of them. With lights flashing and siren blaring at an ear shattering 130 decibels, Ratchet made his way to Mission City at an astonishing 178-mph!

Back at the salvage yard Optimus pulled up the bay door in order to get a better look at the shredded transformer. As he ducked down to enter he spotted nine one-gallon jars filled with energon and another sitting under some sort of filtration device that was still being filled with energon that was being processed.

Horrified that one could lose that much energon and still retain their spark Optimus looked over at the torn mech. That is when he saw the human lying on top of it. The he realized that the human was in contact with the fallen mechs actual spark itself! Knowing better than to interfere, Optimus radioed Ratchet again.

"Ratchet there is an unconscious human in contact with the spark of whoever it is."

"PRIMUS! Get that human out of there NOW! Don't try to touch either of them directly, use some type of nonconductive material like a board, or wooden pole. If they are somehow spark bonding, then the energy discharge caused by anyone that tries to interfere may well kill BOTH of them! Just try to separate the actual contact point, as soon as direct contact is lost the process will cease, and you can safely move one of them."

Having heard Ratchets orders through the open link, Bumblebee quickly looked around for something that might suffice. Spotting a small stack of 2x4s he snatched up two of them and prepared to use them like oversized chopsticks to move the humans arm out of contact with the transformers spark. Both Optimus and Ironhide watched with great concern as Bumblebee performed the delicate task. All of the Autobots present knew when he had succeeded because the obvious glow of energon died down the instant that contact was broken.

All three Autobots performed scans of both the human and the mech to see the results. That both were unconscious did not surprise any of them. That the spark pulse of the melted and mangled mech was weak but as stable and steady as granite did. They first looked at each other, then back at the mech in question, and conducted the most detailed scans their sensors were capable of making. As the results of their scans revealed the crude, and obviously makeshift repairs using what were clearly human materials, the Autobots could not believe their sensors! Optimus quickly scanned the human's facial patterns and began scouring the Internet to determine just who he was. When he received the results, he was even more surprised. He was not a member of sector seven, he wasn't even a certified mechanic, or certified ANYTHING unless you counted his mental issues as insane!

Optimus went over and gently picked up the unconscious human and carried him over to a somewhat clean area and laid him down where Ratchet might work on him without causing further damage to the Cybertonian nightmare in the center of the floor. Hearing the impossibly loud sirens Ironhide knew that Ratchet was getting close, and ran outside to try and clear a path for him. Flinging scrap and rusted metal out of his way Ironhide quickly blazed a trail to the gate just as Ratchet reached it.

"Where are they?" Ratchet demanded as Ironhide met him at the entrance. Not bothering to slow down below 50-mph Ratchet headed into the building and skidded to a stop just inside the door. Transforming he saw the human and gave him a cursory scan, he was unconscious, suffering from a moderate case of energon poisoning, but otherwise in no immediate need of attention. Ratchet now turned his attention to…

"Sweet merciful Primus!"Ratchet whispered as he reset both his optics and sensors. In all his 17,260 vorns, Ratchet had never even heard of anyone surviving a third of this much damage.

Spotting the tools and materials nearby Ratchet realized what the human was about to attempt. Scanning the unknown transformer for the first time Ratchet saw what the human had done and instantly knew that somehow the human had been there when the damage was done, and was intelligent enough to stem the flow of energon almost immediately. Ratchet wanted desperately to wake the human and question him, but there wasn't enough time. "Sweet merciful Primus!"He repeated as he realized that the poor sparks pain receptors were still active. None of the others dared ask any of the questions that were burning their processors just yet, but they knew it wasn't good at all. Ratchet deactivated the pain receptors and started to turn his attention else where when he heard the human groan as he started regaining consciousness. Seeing that the mech was stable for the time being Ratchet decided that it would be best to gain some insight along with answers from the human.

When he came to, he was lying on the floor of his shop. What the hell am I doing on the floor; last thing I remember is workin' on that robot. He thoughtThen he looked around to get some clue as to what had happened and spotted the four mechs inside his shop. Three of them were able to stand in what he had considered a huge workshop, but the fourth was clearly kneeling by necessity of size. One of them was approaching him as he labored to his feet. Seeing the small by comparison, but still large robot coming towards him, and having no clue as to which side they were on he decided to fight first and question later as he grabbed a large three-foot long Gorilla bar from a shelf nearby and gave it a twirl to get a feel for the balance. He then moved to meet the mech.

Seeing the human grab, what he obviously intended to use as a melee weapon and approach him in an extremely hostile manner, Ratchet was forced to reset his optics in disbelief for the second time that day. Being quick on his feet and even faster with his hands, Bumblebee raced over and grabbed the crowbar before the obviously deranged human could employ his improvised weapon against Ratchet.

"That's not being very friendly, you know?" Bumblebee queried to the human as he stepped back with the weapon firmly in his grasp.

"How the hell do I know you're friendly, you overgrown bucket of walking bolts!" The human quipped in reply.

Optimus looked over to the human and responded. "We do not harm humans, and we are here to help. The one you were about to attack is Ratchet, our Chief Medical Officer, he came in response to my summons to help whoever it is that you were also trying to save."

Unnoticed by all an aged Wolf/German Shepard mix chose that moment to wake up, and spotting Ironhide walked over to him and began checking his scent. Detecting the hybrid Ironhide immediately powered up his cannons and said "If you dare lubricate my foot I will terminate your miserable existence!"

Now the human was pissed! Snatching his crowbar back from the mech that had taken it, his move was so sudden and unexpected that Bumblebee didn't have a chance to tighten his grip. The human stalked toward Ironhide with immeasurable rage clearly visible in his every move. "TOUCH ONE DAMNED HAIR ON HIS BODY, AND I WILL BUST YOUR CREAKY, OUTDATED, OBSOLETE, RUST PACKING ASS INTO SPARE PARTS! DO YOU HEAR ME YOU BASTARD SON OF A VIRUS RIDDLED MICROCHIP? I WILL BUST YOUR ASS UP!"

Hearing the human start shouting at what had to be maximum volume, Ironhide couldn't help but redirect his attention back to the human in question. Giving the human a quick scan revealed that respiration, and pulse were dangerously high. A deeper scan revealed that his blood pressure had shot up to 190 over 160! This organic was, as they say PISSED! Seeing what was about to happen, Optimus rapidly intervened. "Ironhide stand down, Ratchet tend to the human. Ironhide I said stand down NOW!"

Optimus wasn't one to raise his voice often, and the Autobot that had heard him do so was hard to find. The fact that he had just yelled at Ironhide shocked him into doing as Optimus demanded, just as the cause of the predicament lifted his leg and let fly before returning to his pallet in the corner of the shop and slowly getting down onto his side and promptly went back to sleep.

"Touch him and I WILL be using your remains to fix my busted friend over there!" The human growled in a tone so menacing that even Optimus was taken aback by it.

Mostly out of curiosity Ratchet scanned the hybrid that had caused the current standoff. "Leave the canine alone Ironhide, its spark only last a few more years, and it was completely unable to hear your warning." Turning back to the human Ratchet queried "why have you not had the creatures joints recalibrated? They are in dire need of such treatment."

That question threw the human for a loop. "Say WHAT?" he asked.

Hearing the rise in volume Optimus intervened again. "Perhaps we should introduce ourselves. I am Optimus Prime, I have told you of Ratchet, behind you is Bumblebee, my reconnaissance officer, the one you threatened is Ironhide my weapons specialist. We are Autonomous Robotic Life forms from the planet Cybertron, Autobots for short, and we are friends. May I ask your name in return?"

Looking at the oversized bot crouched down to fit inside his shop, the human didn't need to be told that this was the leader of the strange group, and hearing the calm and somewhat reserved tones that Optimus typically employed went a long way toward calming him down a bit. What the hell, why not, even if they are teamed up with that other one maybe I can get them to fix what's his name. "Name's Daniel Hurst, I run this here junk yard, and that old hybrid over there in the corner is Chinook."

From Ironhide, "He lubricated on my leg."

"Yeah well, take it as a compliment, and one you probably don't deserve at that, he usually turns trespassers in to his personal chew toys, so you got lucky. Oh and one more thing, never mind the wolf, beware the owner." He warned.

With hostilities now somewhat in check Ratchet decided that now would be a good time to get back to his patient.

"Do you happen to know what his name is, and how this happened? The reason I ask is because I have never seen anyone receive such extensive damage and survive as long as he has." His attention snapped back to his project at hand, Daniel walked over to where Barricade was stretched out on the floor of his shop still offline.

Remembering what had occurred at the construction zone, Daniel wasn't about to be as trusting as these bots expected. "First, how do I know that you aren't really here to wipe us out? You got some way to prove you're friendly?"

Optimus was about to respond to that question when Bumblebee interjected.

"Would members of your own military vouching for us satisfy your doubts?"

"HMPF! What ya gonna call in the Marines?" He asked with more than a little sarcasm.

"As a matter of fact they are US Army, not Marines, formerly stationed at SOCCENT Air force base in Qatar."

At this all four Autobots would have sworn that the human had just reset his optics, along with all of the rest of his cranial functions, as he turned to face Bumblebee. "You gotta be shittin me! You're really gonna call in the Troops?"

"Yes, they are currently holding position a short distance away in case their help was needed." Bee replied calmly.

Less than convinced but willing to call the bluff Daniel said "OK Call 'em, just let me kill power to the fence first. "

"Don't bother! We're already here." came a voice from the doorway. Five heads, four Autobot and one human swiveled in unison toward the doorway to see Capt William Lennox and Sgt. Epps casually leaning against the frame on either side of the garage bay door. Daniel started snickering upon seeing them standing there as if they owned the place.

"Ok, you got past my electric fence, trip wires, pea gravel and my scrap pile alarms without getting zapped or making noise, yep, you guys are DEFINATELY US Soldiers!"

"He's the only one that's a Joe, I'm in the Air Force." Sgt. Epps piped up.

With a shake of his head after spotting the uncounterfeitable military ID's Daniel replied "Still if you guys say their cool, it's fine by me."

Sgt. Epps spoke up before Capt Lennox could even open his mouth "Now these guys are cool, but those other ones ain't good for nothin but target practice if you ask me."

"Cool" Daniel replied before turning back to Ratchet. "I don't know if it's actually his name, but a big assed bastard that he called Megatron addressed him as Barricade just before busting him all to hell and back again with some kind of BFG for about a good twenty minutes for refusing to wipe us out with some All Spark thingy, what ever the hell it is. So I decided to fix him up as best I can 'cuz as far as I knew then, he was the only thing trying to stand between us and extinction."

Hearing a strange sound to his left Daniel turned to see Ironhide, cannons fully powered up taking aim at Barricade. So fast that no one had a chance to say anything, and even before Ironhide himself could even fire his precious cannons, Daniel leapt towards him and using the Gorilla bar that he was still holding, wedged the long curved end into Ironhide's right knee. Viciously throwing his entire body weight to the left, Daniel managed to partly separate the hydraulics in Ironhide's leg causing him to roar in pain as he fell over. That is when all hell broke loose. Three Autobots reacted simultaneously, Bumblebee tackled Ironhide scrambling desperately for those massive cannons, knowing that he now wanted to kill both the hybrid, the human, AND Barricade. Ratchet was trying to immobilize the human without injury and without further exacerbating the situation. Optimus was once again yelling, only this time it was for EVERYONE to stand down. Still in the doorway, Capt. Lennox and Sgt. Epps could only stare in total shock at the chaos before them. Bumblebee finally succeeded in pinning Ironhide's cannons to the ground making sure that they were pointing in a safe direction, just in case the cannon happy mech decided to fire anyway. Ratchet was not finding his task nearly as easy. Daniel had such a grip on the crow bar that it almost seemed as if his hand had fused to it, and considering how fast the human had taken Ironhide down, Ratchet considered this a distinct possibility. Seeing that their friend needed a little help Sgt. Epps stepped in and grabbed the guy in a full nelson, Thinking that would render him harmless, only to learn otherwise when he felt the crowbar knock him upside the head. Even though he couldn't put any real power behind his swings, he still came close to knocking Epps out cold due to the sheer size and weight of the crow bar in question. Before Sgt. Epps could get hit a second time Ratchet finally managed to get a solid grip on the salvage operator's weapon of choice.

"IRONHIDE DEACTIVATE THOSE CANNONS AND STAND DOWN NOW!" Optimus thundered for the fourth time. "AND YOU, LET GO OF THAT WEAPON AND STAND DOWN AS WELL! EVERYONE NEEDS TO CALM DOWN!"

"Optimus you can't be planning to stick up for that Decepticon scum after what happened to Jazz can you?" Ironhide asked in exasperation.

Optimus didn't even hesitate before quietly asking. "Are we now to become our enemies the Decepticons by killing prisoners who are so helpless that they can't even speak to say nothing of defending themselves?" Appalled by the tones of disappointment in his leaders voice Ironhide responded in the only way he could that would provide a satisfactory answer, he deactivated his precious cannons and put them away. Upon seeing that the others weren't going to let the oversized gun-wielding maniac go Terminator on Barricade, Daniel released his death like grip on the crow bar.

Realizing that he was now in sole possession of the weapon of enraged destruction Ratchet took the opportunity to examine the oddly shaped tool. "What is the designed purpose of this?" He asked of Daniel, after Sgt. Epps had released him and was rubbing a small knot on the side of his head.

"It's a high tensile strength pry bar, that's been designed to give maximum leverage." Here he snickered. "ESPECIALLY when you put your weight behind it." Glancing at the downed Ironhide to emphasize his point.

With far more humility than was usually heard from him, Ironhide spoke up and asked "Well now that you know WHAT he used to disable my hydraulic system, do you think you can find a way to FIX it?" The tone was still grumpy but not nearly his usual self.

"NO! Not only am I going to leave you that way for a while, But I may just take some extra time to recharge before getting around to you. Serves you right for trying to kill a patient under my care! You just better thank Primus that the human got to you before I did, or I would have reformatted you into a salvage processor, AFTER dismantling every cannon in your impressive arsenal." Ratchet replied in his typical grouchy attitude when dealing with a patient.

"You better thank these guys for grabbing me when they did, cuz I was gonna pry on yer head until it popped off like a friggin cork! And don't think I can't do it either, I can see how you guys are put together, which means I can tell EXACTLY where your vulnerable points are. Case in point, you ARE on the ground where I can get to your head." Daniel responded glaring at Ironhide throughout his tirade although the last was stated with a malevolent grin.

Finally realizing just what had happened, and that Ironhide truly was unable to get up, Capt, Lennox asked Daniel "Where were you when we were fighting several guys even bigger than him three days ago during the attack on Mission City?"

"Huh? When did this happen? How bad was it, and why the hell haven't I heard anything about it before now?"

From Sgt. Epps was heard "What do you mean? It's been all over the news, TV, cable, even the radio. Man they haven't talked about much else, where have you been?" At this point Daniels stomach interrupted with a VERY loud and obviously unhappy gurgle of hunger.

"Dude, I watch TV like nobody's business and my radio is almost always on, and I haven't heard squat about ANY of this." He said walking over to his truck and grabbing his order from What A Burger that he had picked up for lunch. Grabbing his strawberry shake and taking a large gulp from it, he quickly spit it out, gagging horrendously. "What the FUCK?!" he yelled when he was finally able to speak again after catching his breath from nearly puking. Opening the bag containing his food, he saw that the fries were dried and hard. Pulling out the burger and unwrapping it he saw that it was growing some VERY nasty looking fuzz of several different colors ranging from black to grey and even green.

With a look of complete and utter revulsion mixed with disgust, Sgt Epps asked "DAMN man, how long has that shit been in your truck?"

Looking for all the world as if he had just lost what was left of his mind Daniel replied "I just bought it a few hours ago before picking up a camcorder at the pawn shop on South Main, and then I went to the construction zone where they are putting in those new condos. That's when I saw the fight from some sci-fi flick go down, grabbed him, brought him here and then the next thing I know, I'm pickin my ass up off the floor and you guys are here."

At this explanation, he received several strange looks from both the military personnel and Ratchet. Quietly Sgt. Epps said "Man that shop was totaled in the fight, and that was three days ago." Concerned Ratchet now conducted a detailed and thorough scan of the human, his findings indicated that the human had been rendered unconscious for slightly over three days while in continuous contact with Barricades spark, and he informed Daniel of such.

Upon hearing Ratchets detailed explanation of spark bonding and the ramifications of the process Daniel needless to say had quite a few questions to be answered.

"Wait a damned minute here. Do you mean to tell me that I been having sex with a robot from who knows where in outer space for the last three days and I didn't even get a damned lube job or a fuckin thank you when it was over?! Oh, fuck And now I am supposed to be some kind of soul brother to a robot from space? So does this mean that if he dies I'll die too? And if we are as tightly linked as you say then why didn't he wake up when I did? Why is he still out cold? And WHAT THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO DO NOW??"

Before Ratchet could answer, they all heard the whine of straining servomotors originating from Barricade, Needless to say, all attention was now focused on Barricade. With the damaged wiring to his vocal processor now, temporarily repaired Barricade was now able to speak. "I am online and have been so since you awoke earlier, although I am at a loss as to how to appraise this situation, I do however find it disturbing to say the least." Barricade spoke in a rasping and lisping voice indicating that there was other damage to his vocal processor. "I would like for someone to tell me why I have no knowledge of ANY event prior to reactivating with that squishy human on top of me, making his excruciating repairs, and NOW I find out that I am a spark brother to this disgusting fleshling?"

"Squishy? SQUISHY?? I know for a fact that there are some bones in my beefy fat assed carcass that will go crunch! My skull happens to be hard as a rock and according to some people may even be SOLID rock, so I KNOW that that alone would at least make SOME kind of loud crunching sound!" Daniel replied in his typical manner. At this Barricade was forced to chuckle, and much to his surprise, he was finding that he was beginning to like this human in spite of his shortcomings and fragile organic flesh.

"Optimus, we need to get him back to Hoover Dam so that I can begin repairs on him, I would not be able to work on him here, the tools are primitive and inadequate and it is too cluttered and COMPLETELY unsanitary! Besides This location will not be safe for much longer since he was broadcasting that static pulse from this spot for three days, so the rest of the Decepticons could be sneaking up on us as we speak, and with Ironhide down we might be hard pressed to hold off whatever reinforcements Starscream may have been able to recruit." This statement immediately brought outraged replies from both Ironhide and Daniel. Surprisingly Ironhide's angry protests that he could still fight were drowned out by the human. The sheer volume coming out of his vocal orifice was such that even Bumblebee was forced to widen his optics in appreciation at the number decibels.

"WHAT THE HELL DO YOU MEAN PRIMITIVE? I HAVE DAMN NEAR ANY TYPE OF TOOL YOU COULD ASK FOR, AND AS FAR AS PARTS GO, IF I AIN'T GOT IT, I CAN DAMNED SURE MAKE IT FROM SCRATCH! NOT ONLY DO I HAVE THE RAW MATERIALS BUT I HAVE THE TOOLS AS WELL, NOW YOU SHOW ME ANOTHER REPAIR BAY THAT WOULD BE ABLE TO CLEAN THAT GLOWING CRAP THAT CAME POURING OUT OF HIM AND DUMPED ALL OVER THE GROUND! COME ON, SHOW ME ONE, I DARE YOU! CUZ I KNOW DAMN GOOD AND WELL THAT YOU CAN'T! SO YOU KNOW DAMN GOOD AND WELL THAT YOU OWE ME AND MY SHOP AN APOLOGY! SO LET'S HAVE IT RIGHT NOW DAMNIT!" Daniel roared at the top of his lungs.

Taking a good look around the shop for the first time since his arrival, Ratchet noted the abundant supply of tools, ranging from common sockets to the more exotic 60 inch crescent wrench normally only found on oil rig sites, then on one shelf Ratchet spotted the King Scan Brinnel hardness rating unit. Realizing that this was a highly specialized piece of equipment designed to measure the tensile strength of metals and alloys, Ratchet was forced to admit that the shop was no where near as primitive as it appeared at first glance.

"Hmm, it would seem that you are right about the available equipment. However, it is STILL unsanitary, and is therefore no place to treat a patient, and with Barricades sub space transmitter pulsing static from this location for the last three days, it is also not safe."

Upon seeing that this grudging admission was going to be as close to an apology as he was likely to get from the grumpy mech, Daniel decide to change the topic.

"OK, so where we gonna take him, and what do you plan on doing with him? " gesturing at Ironhide.

Ratchet scanned Ironhide's knee joint and saw that he could safely transform but would still be immobilized in his alternate form by the hydraulic damage.

"He can transform into his vehicle mode but will need to be towed. Barricade will need to be transported in a supine position due to his injuries. This means that we will need to call in additional transport."

"Vehicle mode? What the hell is that? What you mean all of you guys turn into something else? So what do all of you turn into?" Daniel asked curiously.

Bumblebee decided to answer that question. "Well, Ironhide there, The one you don't seem able to get along with is a GMC Topkick 6500, Ratchet is modeled after an ambulance manufactured by Hummer.

Our leader Optimus Prime is an '88 Peterbuilt, I am a 2009 concept Camero, and Barricade is a police issue Saleen modified Ford Mustang"

As the black and yellow Mech began to run down the list of who changed in to what, a grin appeared on Daniels face, and as the mech continued his eyes and grin got wider and wider.

"OK hold on just a sec, I got a souped up hot rod of a squad car for a brother, and picked a fight with ONE HELL of a big ass truck. OK." The he looked at Optimus and said with a chuckle "Well, I can see that you're built like a Mack truck, I just didn't know that it was LITERALY!"

Then to Ratchet he said, "OK, so we need to get out of Dodge like now! I get it. So if you guys can pick up Barricade and put him on the bed of that wrecker I can strap him down and cover him with some tarps. Then I can drop the tow bar and load up Ol' Tackleberry over there. . . "

At this comment Bumblebee started laughing so hard that he had to sit down before he fell over, and seeing this reaction Daniel asked him in disbelief "What? You telling me that you've seen Police Academy?" Bumblebee still laughing could only nod his head in reply. At this Daniel looked around at each of the four functioning mechs and then at the two soldiers and was obviously about to ask several questions when he shook his head and mumbled under his breath "I don't even want to know."

Finally getting control of his laughter, Bumblebee Looked over at Daniel and asked "Wouldn't people question a tarp covered cargo?"

"Nah!" Daniel replied "Wreckers routinely cover up cars that are so badly twisted, and smashed up that it's obvious no one survived, like when the poor sap inside has to be scraped and cut out of the wreckage, which means they never get all of the remains out, so salvage yards are always having to hose the things down under high pressure to wash out what's left of the occupants. It can get pretty gruesome so no one really wants to know exactly what's under wraps in a situation like that. Plus as low as Barricade's profile will be under those tarps, folks are gonna think it was nailed by either a freight train, or a semi, in which case they'd get pukin' sick if they DID see it. So no, ain't nobody gonna ask any questions about it."

Capt. Lennox was quick to agree "I have to admit that he's right, once they see how smashed down those tarps are no one's going to want to know what under there."

Ironhide however balked at the idea of being treated like scrapped refuse "NO! Ain't no way am I gonna be towed anywhere by him, It'd be just like him to ram me into one of those freight trains he was talkin about."

"Hey! Let's get one thing straight from the jump! You don't like me ,and I don't like you either, especially with you coming in to MY house and starting shit, and as far as I'm concerned you are nothing more than a trigger happy gun crazed psychopath who needs some serious lessons in manners. YOU are the one who came barging in to MY home uninvited and started waving your big assed guns around trying to shoot anything and everything that caught your eye or whatever the hell it is that you use for one. And that is not only EXTREMELY rude, It's also illegal, and it's the kind of behavior that's liable to you and your friends killed real quick!" With it presented in those terms Ironhide reluctantly conceded the point

"It didn't have to lubricate on my leg" he said more than a little sullenly.

"You don't know much about dogs do ya? He was claiming you as part of HIS territory, and he will aggressively defend what he has claimed as his, from both people and other dogs."

As Ironhide began to transform mumbling something about being lubricated by every canine on the planet, Ratchet and Bumblebee were trying to gently load Barricade onto the flat bed wrecker without causing any more damage than necessary. Fed up with Ironhide's incessant complaining Ratchet told him, "You really do have cannons on the CPU! That creature just swore an oath to defend you, and you respond by trying to terminate him in his own home no less! I have half a processor to reformat those weapons of yours into medical scanners! Now stop complaining and let me work!"

Once Barricade loaded and strapped down Ratchet placed him into stasis lock. Getting in the cab, Daniel cranked up the truck and backed over to Ironhide and began hooking him up to the tow bar. Seeing that everyone was ready to leave Optimus suggested that everyone follow him.

"Just a second" Daniel said as he went to collect his wolf from the corner and loaded him into the back seat.

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