Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers. All recognizable characters are the property of HasTak. All unrecognizable ones are the intellectual property of yours truly; their theft is punishable by severe voodoo-induced pain in any and all sensitive organs of the body, followed by eternal damnation.
Because, you know, stealing is wrong.
Title: Earth Studies 101
Summary: Transformers AU. Sparkbearer sidestory. Professor Evelyn Hughes of Mason City College is accustomed to teaching linguistics, but when one is friends with a crew of giant alien robots, one must be prepared to teach lessons of a very different sort. Drabbles and oneshots.
Warnings: mild cursing
Author Notes: A special request from Cafei that it only took, oh… a year and a half to complete? Ha ha.
Earth Studies 101
Transportation: Traffic Laws: Speeding
Col. Sandurz: Prepare ship for light speed!
Dark Helmet: No, no, no, light speed is too slow!
Col. Sandurz: Light speed, too slow?!
Dark Helmet: Yes, we're gonna have to go right to...ludicrous speed!
Jacob Hart would have noticed the car even had it not been doing ninety-five in a seventy miles-per-hour zone. He was no car nut, but the scarlet vehicle screamed EXPENSIVE so loud that his dead mother-in-law would have heard it. Dropping the radar gun in the passenger seat, he flicked on his lights and siren and pulled onto the interstate in pursuit.
For a minute or so, he thought that a simple speeding violation would turn into one of those hour-long, eight-car chases that always seemed to find their way onto World's Wildest Police Videos. He took a certain guilty pleasure in pushing the Charger's engine nearly to the hundred mark on the speedometer – there was something to be said for being one of the first on the force to get one of the new patrol cars – and gained slowly but surely on the red speed-demon weaving in and out of the few cars on the road. The other cars had the sense to slow down and get out of the policeman's way, making his job just that much easier, and he eased up directly behind the red sports car's bumper.
The back end jerked a little bit – less of a fishtail than a wriggle – and the brake lights flashed as it slowed and pulled to the side.
"You… You… You rust-ridden piece of junkyard scrap! I ought to have left you for dead on the side of the road when I had the chance!"
"… Well, that's not very nice."
"Please, I wasn't even running over a hundred! And I could have outrun him, you know."
"Yes, because red Lamborghini Countachs are so common in northeast Georgia!"
Jacob glanced up once more at the vehicle parked before him on the side of the interstate even as he ran through all the standard jargon and queries and checks and double-checks over the radio, though with decidedly less eloquence than normal.
"It's a red… something."
"Yeah. Uh, kind of like that car on Back to the Future, you know? I don't see a name anywhere. License number Sierra-Sierra-Whiskey-India-Papa-Echo One."
Jacob lowered the radio and squinted at the car's back-end, all straight lines and sharp angles with detailing down either side like rows of scales. Even within the patrol car and with the noise of cars zipping past every two seconds, he could still hear the engine purring like some gigantic cat.
Might try to run soon as I get out of the car, he mused suspiciously.
"Database shows license number Sierra-Sierra-Whiskey-India-Papa-Echo One registered to Evelyn Meredith Hughes. No priors, no outstandings. And it's a Lamborghini."
He let out a low whistle. "Lamborghini? Damn ugly to be that pricey."
"Can't buy taste, Hart."
Perhaps it was his imagination, but the purr of the other car's engine seemed to deepen for a moment before evening out once more.
"I'm going to kill you."
"You keep saying that."
"Because it's true. I'm going to kill you. And then I'm going to disassemble you. And then I'm going to let your psycho brother make metal-art out of your mangled remains. And then I'll sell it, and I'll buy a car that does what I tell it to instead of trying to break the sound-barrier going down I-85!"
"I'll stop by Chick-Fil-A on the way back."
"What the hell does that have to do with anything?"
"You always get cranky when you miss a refueling."
"Oh, blow it out your exhaust. Here he comes. Play dead."
The speeder did not try to flee, to Jacob's mild surprise, though the engine continued to run. The windows were heavily tinted, moreso than was allowed by law, he was certain, and he made a note of it on his pad as he approached the driver's side. He had a vague impression of movement within, and the window slid downwards.
Some rich businessman, perhaps, or a spoiled college kid on his way back from siphoning funds from mommy and daddy… He had expected practically anyone for a driver except a rather nondescript young woman clad in a baggy gray sweatshirt and much-abused jeans. Too-pale skin suggested that she spent less time outside than was healthy, and though she smiled, it was the strained smile of someone who knew they were in Trouble and were not quite certain how to handle that fact, rather like a straight-A student who had just been informed that they were to report to the principal's office for a paddling.
"Ma'am, do you know how fast you were going?"
"Try ninety-five, ma'am."
"Oh." Her smile faltered, and she swallowed heavily. "I'm sorry."
"I'm sure you are. License and registration please?"
"S-sure. Um… just a second." A moment's fumbling produced a license from a battered quilted purse, and then she glanced around the car as though at a loss. "… oh, god, do Lamborghinis even have dashboard compartments…?"
The last was muttered so that Jacob barely heard. He blinked. "Excuse me?"
"Um, just… talking to myself."
On the passenger side of the car's dash, a small panel popped open.
"Oh, good!" said the woman. She leaned across and reached into the too-dark space.
The woman's arm vanished into the compartment, nearly past her elbow. That… is a very spacious dashboard.
She handed him a crisp insurance card and registration sheet, not so much as one wrinkle or smear marring either.
"Alright, ma'am, this'll just take a minute. You can cut off your engine, you know."
"No, no." She laughed, sounding nervous. "You know how stubborn foreign cars can be. Never know if they'll crank when you need them."
The engine sputtered then, sounding on the verge of dying completely.
The woman leveled an affronted glare at the steering wheel. "Case in point."
"… I'll be back in a second."
He retreated to the familiar normalcy of his patrol car.
"What exactly was that?"
"Must have had some bad energon."
"Oh, I'm sure. Can't you restrain yourself for five minutes? That's all I ask. Five measly minutes!"
"I dunno. You know how stubborn foreign cars can be."
"Yeah, especially those pesky extraterrestrial models."
"She's clean, Jake. Not even a parking ticket."
"You're sure?" Jacob eyed the radio dubiously, as though the dispatcher could see the expression.
"Absolutely. I ran it twice. But there is something pretty interesting. About six months ago, she acquired her own car collection."
"A Porsche, two Datsuns – Fairlady Z's, says here, – a Jeep of some kind, two Lamborghinis–"
"You heard me. Two. Dos. A matched pair, Lamborghini Countachs, and something called a Ligier Juliet-Sierra-One-One, whatever that is."
"That's a formula one racing car!"
"If you say so, Jake."
"What the hell is a middle-aged no one doing with Porsches and Lamborginis and a Ligier?"
"You can ask her, I suppose, but it's all kosher on my end. Give her the ticket and tell her to drive safe and ease off the gas pedal."
"Maybe she has a rich uncle that just croaked. What do we know? You can't arrest a woman for owning a Lamborghini." There was a pause, then, "Or two."
"Do you want to get taken to the impound?"
"The police impound. They put a metal shackle on your tire so you can't roll anywhere, and you're locked in with a bunch of other cars, and you're stuck there until someone decides to come and pay the police to free you. And let me tell you, wiseaft, if you get me arrested, it will be a cold day in the Inferno when I come to spring you from the cops. Compute?"
"Primus, are you menstruating already? I thought I had at least another orn before that came around again…"
"Just because I want to hurt you does not mean that I'm hormonal!"
As he approached the driver's side window again, Jake had the suspicion that the woman was muttering to herself, but by the time he reached the window, she was silent and gazing up at him with a tense little smile and wide eyes.
"Your license and registration, ma'am."
"Quite a car." He eyed the Lamborghini, a dull sort of resentment within him. His Charger suddenly seemed a lot less appealing. He remembered hearing once that police in Italy drove around in Lamborghini's, and for the briefest moment, the idea of moving overseas called to him.
The woman laughed, a short, unamused sound.
"Yeah, he's… new. Takes a little getting used to."
"I see." He finished filling out the ticket and settled into the familiar routine of 'You Have Broken The Law And Must Now Be Punished.' "Since you have no priors, I'm going to bump down your speed to eighty-nine instead of ninety-five, okay? A bit of a break. Twenty miles over is a big deal, Ms. Hughes. You have until the court date to pay the fine. You can mail it, drop it off at the Department of Motor Vehicles – Gwinnett County – or you can come to court to pay it in person or to contest it. Understand?"
"Good. Here you are." He tore out the ticket and handed her the various papers that went with the fine. "You're free to go, but don't let me catch you speeding again. You won't get off as easily next time, especially not in a monster like this."
An odd grin crossed the woman's face. "Monster. I like that."
Jacob bit back a sigh. "Drive safely, ma'am."
He turned to head back to his own car, watching out of the corner of his eye as the woman looked down at the ticket and did a visible double-take. He smirked to himself as he settled behind the wheel and pulled back out onto the interstate.
Twenty miles over the limit, hm? he thought. We'll see if you try that again.
"Well. That went well."
"… Two hundred… and thirty-seven dollars."
"It could have been worse."
"Two hundred. And thirty-seven. Dollars."
"Hey, at least you weren't arrested!"
"Erm… okay. Okay, we're going to head back to base now. Alright? Nice and easy. Evelyn? Please stop looking at me like that. It's kind of creepy. I mean… wait. Who are you calling? Evelyn?"
"Hello, Prowl? Could you come pick me up, please? ... Well, yes, as a matter of fact, I am with Sideswipe… It's a very interesting story…"
"… frag me."