Chapter 14 The End

Soft winds blew through the lush jungle trees, rustling the leaves and casting shade across the blue armor of a large mech. Soundwave was recharging peacefully under the shade of a large palm tree, his chest rising and falling in a steady rhythm. There was a bird call far off into the jungle, momentarily rousing him from his recharge, before a loud shout caught his attention.

"Round-house kick!"

"Ha! Gotta do better than that, Dirge!"

He smirked as he watched the two hatchlings spar with each other by the river some fifty feet away. They were easily fifteen feet tall now, growing quickly as all hatchlings did, and were quickly becoming a handful. At fourteen Earth years old, they were rowdy and rambunctious, disturbing the entire settlement during one of their many sparing matches. The Decepticons would laugh about it, give them a cuff over the head, and send them off to be destructive somewhere else. The Autobots that were living with them often were in a state of panic, thinking that they had to rush in and tear the two apart before they killed each other. More than once the two "brothers" would look at them in confusion and ask what they were doing wrong.

Sitting up and resting an arm on his knee, Soundwave observed the two Seekers as they exchanged blow for blow. By the looks of it, they were seeing who could push the other one into the river first. They didn't seem to be doing any real damage to each other, just minor dings that could be straightened out afterwards. If it started to get to rough, he'd intervene. Until then, he didn't see the harm in letting them sort themselves out. They had to know which one of them would end up having more rank when they were adults since all three hatchlings would probably end up forming a trine of their own.

With a holler, Ramjet lunged at Dirge, fist pulled back to box him around the audios. Dirge side-stepped him and tripped him into the river. The white hatchling let out a shout of shock as he floundered in the water for a minute before glaring up at Dirge. The blue hatchling grinned down at him and waved, sticking his glossa out to mock him.

"That's cheating, Dirge!" Ramjet shouted before hauling himself out of the river.

"No it's not!" Dirge replied.

"Yes it is!" Ramjet snapped before lunging for him.

"Enough," Soundwave stated calmly as he stood up, towering over the two mechs. "Winner; Dirge."

Dirge shot his brother a grin before walking off, his head tilted back with a slag-eating grin on his face. Ramjet let out a holler before charging after him, shouting about getting him next time. Dirge took off running and shouted over his shoulder that he was better than him. Soundwave chuckled and shook his head, wondering where those two got all their energy from. He headed down the river, walking along the bank carefully since it was notorious for giving way underfoot, and back towards the human base.

Not long after Optimus had allowed them to live there, the humans had built a base to keep an eye on them. A few of the younger Autobots were assigned there as well, informed that the Decepticons ultimately had final say in anything that happened there concerning their hatchlings and to not provoke them unnecessarily. The young 'Bots were good with keeping their opinions to themselves, only needing to be roughed up once or twice for doing something they really shouldn't have. When it came down to it, they were a good lot to have around, always relating some funny story about a fight that the Decepticons had lost on a raid.

He glanced up and smirked as black armor shimmered in the high noon sunlight, reflecting the sunlight back at a forty degree angle. Carnage was well over twenty feet tall now and had matured rapidly under the pressure of raising hatchlings. She was one of the few Decepticons that the Autobots respected enough not to bother; of course, the fact that she almost tore Ironhide's arm off when he had tried to grab Dirge when they had been resting probably had a bigger impact on them. She was as protective as ever over the hatchlings, even though they were quickly becoming more than able to defend themselves. There was a flash of red armor before Thrust rolled over and started sunning his front beside his mother.

"Aren't you two getting oddly lazy?" he asked before he leant over Carnage's body, earning a grumble as she tilted her head to the side to glare at him.

"No, it's called sunbathing; I'm saving you all a little energon," she replied before yawning. "And it's only noon; I've got another hour before I'm needed for anything."

He smirked before shaking his head and easily picking her up. She let out a shout of protest before glaring at him and wiggling out of his grip. She landed on all fours and gave herself a rough shake, grumbling about over-glorified satellites before straightening up. She flicked her tail and Thrust got up quickly, his growing wings twitching before he stood beside her and looked up at him curiously.

"Why'd you make us move?" he asked.

Soundwave shook his head before tilting his head to the side and letting the jungle noises sweep over him. He could hear the bird calls from earlier, the sound of the river rushing behind him towards the ocean many miles away, and the wind caressing the trees. Those were not the noises that interested him though; he was looking for something much different. He found the noise he was looking for fast enough and grinned behind his facemask; jet engines, moving fast and coming in low.

"Your father is homebound," he replied before turning and walking down the riverbank.

"That means he has new humans!" Thrust trilled before chasing after him. "Are these ones going to become Cybertronians too? Are they, Soundwave?"

"Perhaps," he replied. "It is hard to tell at first glance."

"I hope they are," he went on. "It would be nice to see new faces. And maybe they'll be Decepticons this time. I'd like to meet more of them than the Autobot ones."

"Sam and Mikaela have never done you any harm," Carnage scolded as she walked beside him, looking down at him with narrowed optics. "Nor has Miles or Valkyrie."

"I know," he replied before giving her his spark-melting optics. "But they don't like the way I play. Mikalea always yells at me when I try to get Moonracer to spar with me."

"I should think so!" Carnage replied before shaking her head. "Fighting with your brothers is fine, but fighting with a sparkling? Thrust, use your head!"

He blinked at her in shock, obviously expecting her to baby him, before frowning and looking at his feet. "She isn't that helpless," he grumbled.

Sighing, Carnage reached over and stroked his head. "Still, Thrust, remember how defensive I got whenever you sparred with your father or Soundwave," she murmured. "You probably almost gave Mikaela a heart-attack. She only has Flare-up's memories to go on and she was an Autobot."

Thrust nodded before lifting his head to look at her. "I'll stick to fighting my brothers," he stated before grinning widely. "Unless Sam wants to fight!"

"Sam's a wuss," she laughed before purring in amusement. "I so much as flick my tail and he's cowering in the corner."

Soundwave chuckled softly before he turned to look at the airbase sitting innocently in the middle of the jungle. Numerous jets and helicopters were strewn about, human rushing around in routine check-ups. A few glanced over and waved at them, alerting the higher-ups of their presence with their movements. Lennox glanced over from where he was talking with one of the newer recruits and nodded respectfully before going back to the young man in front of him. The young man was gawking at them enough that Lennox actually laughed and waved to them.

"Hey, Soundwave, Carnage, could you come here for a second?" he called.

Soundwave turned and walked over to him, mentally laughing as the young man took a step backwards in fear. Carnage went streaking past him on all fours, sliding to a halt in front of the young man with her face pressing in close to him. He leapt backwards with a shout of shock, his hand flying for his gun before she sat back with a laugh.

"Where'd you pick this guy up?" she asked before flicking her tail from one side to the other as some of the older soldiers that had been on base longer laughed. "Jumpier than a hare!"

"This is Gilbert Henderson," Lennox introduced before beckoning the young man closer. "Carnage won't hurt you; she use to be a human."

"Oh!" Henderson yelped before looking at her curiously. "Who was her guardian?"

"Soundwave," she replied, pointing at him. "I never had one of those push-overs as a guardian; what kinda girl do you take me for?"

Henderson blinked at her several times before Lennox motioned towards Soundwave. "This is Soundwave; he's almost top dog around here," he explained. "Stay on his good side and he will save you if you piss off Starscream. Get on his bad side...he'll squish you before Screamer gets a chance to."

Carnage purred her amusement before Thrust clicked nervously, shuffling behind Soundwave. Soundwave reached back and stroked his head gently before Lennox chuckled.

"And this is Thrust; he's one of the youngest hatchlings on base," Lennox stated. "He Starscream's and Carnage's; no, they did not make him together. However, both will equally rip you open if you try to hurt him."

"He's fifteen feet tall; I'm not messing with that!"

"Good answer," Soundwave snorted before glancing around. "Lennox, if this human is new, where is Starscream?"

"He flew off to track down Sam; he wandered off again and got lost," he replied.

"He needs to start using a map," Carnage grumbled before flicking her tail around.

Loud engines roared across the airfield before two Pontiac Solstices came tearing across the tarmac. Henderson jumped in surprise while the rest of them let out hollers for them to go faster. The grey one revved its engine before they both swung their bumpers around to do donuts. Smoke rose from around their tires before the metal started to shift. In a manner of seconds, two femmes were break-dancing on the tarmac, earning cheers from the soldiers. Both femmes leant on each other and grinned at each other, panting heavily before doubling over with laughter.


"Three seconds off the last record!"

"You two are keeping track?" Carnage laughed before walking over. "Nice synchronizing though."

Both femmes laughed before they leant on each other's shoulder, grinning widely. Jazz winked at her before hugging the other femme tightly, earning a soft squeak. It was not very often that Jazz came to visit, almost all of her old duties piled on her head the moment she returned to the Autobots. Even though she was technically supposed to assist Barricade raise Smokescreen, she hardly ever got any time to see him. The other femme looked similar to Prowl and Barricade, sporting a grey and red paintjob, with small doorwings on her back.

"Hey Caraden," she greeted before pulling away from Jazz to look adoringly at Thrust. "Hey Thrust, how're feeling?"

"Fine, Auntie," he replied with a smile. "It's good to see you too, Jazz."

Jazz laughed before walking over and hugging the red mech. "Aw, you really are a darling," she laughed before grinning at Soundwave. "Bet you learnt that from Big Blue, huh?"

Thrust grinned before the other femme and Carnage hugged. "It's good to see you, Valkyrie," she stated before she looked at the sky. "I don't suppose Camren...?"

"He's chasing after Starscream in search of Sam," she replied before giggling. "It's funny really; you'd think he'd have a better idea where everything is after being here for three years."

They laughed before jet engines attracted their attention. They looked up as three F-22 Raptors flew by overhead, circling once before heading for the ground. Humans darted out of the way as the three jets transformed and Starscream, Thundercracker, and Skywarp landed on the ground, shaking themselves off while muttering amongst themselves. Helicopter blades beat the air before a small search and rescue chopper landed, unfolding to reveal a mech that looked almost identical to what Blackout did. The mech crossed his arms over his chest, shaking his head as a red Camaro with black racing stripes drove up and transformed.

"Do us a favour, Sam," the chopper snorted, "get a damn map of the place."

Sam bowed his head and rubbed the back of it in embarrassment. A loud cry of relief rose up before a red and grey femme came tearing across the tarmac and threw herself onto Sam, a sparkling squealing and clicking angrily in her arms. The Decepticons sneered at her back before getting tackled by their own hatchlings, smiling as they nuzzled and clicked to them. The hatchlings demanded to know what they were doing now that Sam was found and the Elite Trine looked at each other with smirks before taking off. Carnage shouted after them that they had better not drop the hatchlings before sighing and shaking her head.

"Seekers," she grumbled.

Soundwave chuckled at her before he noticed a few of the humans stepping back again, waving their arms over their head in deliberate patterns. He tipped his head back and watched the small convoy of helicopters head slowly for them, their blades spinning loose leaves around as they skimmed over the treetops. The humans backed up more as the helicopters turned and wiggled their way down to land, sending winds whipping up high enough to tickle the bottom of his chin. The blades stopped spinning as several figures in suits jumped out, flashing papers to the other humans before they made their way over to Lennox.

Starscream landed not far away and gave the humans curious looks as a couple raced over to Sam and Mikaela wailing about something or other. Carnage shook her head at the antics before Lennox motioned for her attention, his face hard as rock.

"Alright, we have a slight problem," he started to say before Starscream cut him off.

"Spar us the semantics, human," he snapped before glaring at the suited humans. "What are they doing here?"

Lennox shook his head at Starscream's lack of patience before sighing. "We've got a problem with the government."

"Surprise, surprise," Carnage grumbled before shifting around, her tail blade snapping up to rest on her shoulder so that the humans could see it and the subtle threat that it posed. "What's the problem with them this time?"

"Considering that this airbase is property of the United States Military, we are concerned about your loyalties," one man stated, sneering up at her over his glasses.

"We're loyal to the Autobots," Valkyrie stated. "You know that."

"You are; they are not," the man replied, pointing at Starscream.

"Well no shit there, Sherlock," Carnage muttered before leaning on Soundwave's hip. "What do you expect?"

The man glared at her before Lennox stepped forward and gave him a warning look. She smirked triumphantly as the man stepped back with a grumble, his beady eyes darting from one Decepticon to the other.

"Excuse my colleague," an old man stated before stepping forward. "Keller, Secretary of Defence." Carnage dipped her head respectfully to him while Soundwave merely let out a low hum of acknowledgement. "We're just worried that by giving you asylum down here that we are actually letting a potential danger to Earth prosper."

Soundwave and Starscream exchanged worried glances. This question had been plaguing them both for the last ten years, ever since they had arrived. They still held the name "Decepticon" but were they really that anymore? They accepted help from the Autobots, let the humans; a horribly inferior species; control where they went, and were not at war with anyone. Were they even Decepticons anymore? Was Megatron searching for them with a warrant for their deaths? Considering the Autobots told them nothing in terms of the war, it was impossible to know.

"Worry; unneeded," he droned out. "Decepticons; inactive."

"That doesn't mean that we can trust you!" the spectacled man snapped.

Carnage snarled at him while Starscream leant over the group and let out a low snarl. Everyone but Lennox flinched backwards, military men lifting their guns up to ward the large Seeker off. Starscream spat on the ground beside the spectacled man before drawing back, running a claw over Thrust's helm as he poked his head around his leg curiously. Ramjet and Dirge clicked beside Thrust, looking at each other and whispering quietly amongst themselves.

"What are they saying?" the spectacled man demanded.

"Just wondering who you are," Valkyrie replied before smiling. "They really are curious little things. And aren't they just adorable? Honestly, I don't think humans could ever make offspring this cute. I can think that because I was human once. A really long time ago. Well not really a long time ago, but long enough to make a difference. Haven't had to eat human food for so long; pizza use to be my favourite but now I get sick at the sight of it and...."

"Val, you're rambling," Jazz teased before punching her shoulder.

Valkyrie clapped her hands over her mouth to stop the verbal vomit, even though her jaw continued to flap for a moment. She narrowed her optics in annoyance before grumbling an apology, looking away quickly. Thundercracker reached over and gave her helm a gentle pat, smiling at her before he returned his attention to the humans. Dirge was gazing at the two of them curiously, his mouth opened as if to ask a question, but Thundercracker let out a hiss to silence him. He ducked his head with a squeak before the humans drew their attention again.

"Uh, yeah, down here," the spectacled man snapped before pointing at them. "Where do your loyalties lie?"

"With ourselves, of course," Starscream replied. "We are not Autobots; we are loyal to our own species first and foremost."

"But are you a threat?" Keller asked.

"No," Starscream replied after a moment. "Not to humans; at least for now."

Soundwave nodded and the two government officials looked at each other for a moment, whispering in low voices. Dirge took that moment to scuttle over and looked nervously over his shoulder as his father followed his movements with his optics. He leant in close to Carnage and shot him a nervous glance out of the corner of his optic.

" you think that father will take Valkyrie as a mate?" he asked.

Carnage jumped slightly, looking over at the two in question. They were standing close together and they always did seem to find some way to wind up in the same locations. After a moment of thinking, Soundwave realized that the two were almost always together one way or another. He smirked behind his facemask and chuckled softly as his Cassetteicons let out hoots of laughter within him. Thundercracker had been the least likely one of the Trine to ever take a mate mainly because he was so stand-offish, but to think that he had taken a liking in Valkyrie? It was a curveball if they had ever encountered one before.

"He might," Carnage replied before smirking. "I think it'd be cute."

Thundercracker must have caught her remark because he shot her a nasty glare before snorting. Skywarp and Starscream shared a glance before snickering, earning another glare from their trinemate as he spun on them. They quickly reigned themselves in as the humans looked up at them questioningly, stepping away from each other to address them again.

"Well, if you aren't a threat, you won't mind helping us," the spectacled man proclaimed.

'He keeps talking like that I'm just gonna step on him,' Carnage grumbled down the bond.

'Agreed,' Soundwave snorted.

Starscream slammed his fist down beside the man and leered over him. "We will not be ordered around by humans!" he snarled.

The man leapt backwards in surprise, his eyes flying open as a loud yelp left him. Lennox flinched slightly but ordered the armed men to stand down. He turned to the spectacled man and told him that he should have worded his request better, throwing a casual look over his shoulder as he mentioned that Starscream was the touchiest of them all. Starscream sneered at him before drawing away, muttering about humans' stupidity, before Keller stepped forward.

"If you won't mind helping us, we would be very grateful," he stated. "Think of it as payment for letting you stay here unharmed."

Starscream's wings twitched as he sneered again. "We do not kill the humans on this base; is that not payment enough?" he asked bitterly.

"Well, yes," Keller replied before shaking his head. "But we could really use your help."

Starscream and Soundwave exchanged a look before Starscream nodded to him. "We're listening."

Keller nodded before pressing his hands together. "We need surveillance in some remote areas of the globe, areas that NASA satellites and high-tech equipment cannot find," he stated. "It's too dangerous for us to send in our military because we don't know what to expect."

"So, basically, you want us to run kamikaze missions for you," Valkyrie commented before looking at Carnage in disgust. "Don't you just love our government?"

"That's not it, exactly," Keller stated. "The enemy does not have the weapons necessary to harm you; you can withstand even our strongest missiles without so much as a scratch. We want you to go in, gather information for us, and then hand it over to the United States Military."

They all shared a look, muttering back and forth in a mix of Cybertronian and English. The hatchlings wanted to go and Thrust was loudly boasting that he would get more information that his brothers combined. Valkyrie confessed that she had wanted to see the world before she died, which was quickly followed by Thundercracker admitting that he was getting cabin fever and needed to go somewhere farther than the coast. Starscream grumbled that he missed flying around without humans watching every move he made and Skywarp started singing of wide open spaces. Carnage threatened to cuff him over the head if he didn't stop before she agreed with Starscream that she missed being able to go everywhere.

"Then it is unanimous," Soundwave stated before turning to look down at Keller, "we will assist you."

Keller looked relieved and smiled his thanks. "Forgive me for being demanding, but we would like you to help immediately," he explained.

Sam appeared over Valkyrie's shoulder and cleared his voice. "Where to?"

"Iraq," Keller replied.

"Great...I had better not get shot in the ass," Carnage sighed before flicking her tail.

Thrust, Dirge, and Ramjet started begging for an alt mode and, after years of refusing, Starscream let them scan one of the smaller Earth jets that he had stored away in his memory banks. They gazed at their lengthened wings in admiration before jumping into the air and transforming.

"They'll be no living with them now," Thundercracker observed as the hatchlings chased each other around.

They laughed before Sam hugged Mikaela and Moonracer good-bye, planning on accompanying them. Jazz swung her way up onto Soundwave's shoulder and sat there pumping her fist into the air; she was coming too whether they liked it or not. Skywarp asked her what Prowl would think of that and she politely flipped him off, telling him that her bonded had no real say in anything she did.

Soundwave reached up and stroked his sister's head before Keller gave Starscream the coordinates. He explained that they had to get there themselves; no one could know that they were working for the United States government. Valkyrie joked about undercover spy work, laughing as she posed back to back with Carnage in "Charlie's Angels" stances. The others rolled their optics before the Seekers transformed and allowed the femmes to climb up onto them.

"I miss you being smaller," Starscream grumbled as Carnage flattened herself out on top of him. "You were so much lighter back then."

"Are you calling me fat?"

"Yes I am, now shut up and hold on."

Soundwave smirked to himself before he transformed into his satellite mode and managed to blast himself after them. Sam was hanging on tightly to Skywarp's underside while Jazz perched on top, laughing at the ex-human's shouts to slow down.

Times were changing swiftly again for them all, but this wouldn't faze them for long. Fate had an odd way of playing with their lives and making miracles happen. He wasn't sure what would happen now, but he knew one thing; as long as he was needed, by Carnage, his cassettes, or by the other Decepticons, he was going to stick around. After all, he needed them as much as they needed him.

Author's note: The end. I hope you enjoyed this story that was supposed to be a one-shot that blew into all of this. Hopefully you laughed lots and didn't mind the path chosen for Caraden. I know you all would have kept her human or something, but really, how long do humans last when something as big as a Transformer is stomping around your backyard?

I'll be updating Time Jumping next; there are a few chapters left for it and then I'll be working on the entire It Takes a Girl trilogy. If anyone has any suggestions for the title to the sequel (Energon-based), please send them my way; I really suck at titles for stories _

Thank you everyone for your support and reviews; I enjoy reading each and every one of them.