A/N: And here we have it. The last chapter of Barricade Surprise. I certainly hope everyone has enjoyed this story. I know i had a ball writing it. Thank you to all the reviewers and helpers I had along the way (And trust me, I had lots of help, couldn't have done it without you all!)
Everyone outside of the med bay instantly stilled. The humans present didn't even breathe when they heard Starscream cry for Barricade. All of them stared at the medical bay doors in not only curiousness, but horror.
Ratchet saw the twitch and immediately checked Barricade over again. Immediately she registered a failing Spark pulse and other anomalies. He quickly rolled her and opened her up, pushing Starscream away from where he had been hovering to give him room to work. His intakes hitched, "Get me water, 'Jack, hurry! She's on slagging fire!"
Starscream was horror-struck. This couldn't be happening… just... no… he hadn't come all this way for her to die on him now. There was just no way Primus or even Unicron couldn't possibly be that cruel to him.
Ratchet reached under the femme's armor and flicked the auto release as he turned her. Flipping her torso back open, his medical scanners immediately picked up her very dim and dying light. "Her reactor is overheating, it's taking her converters," Wheeljack handed Ratchet the requested water and he dumped it over where it was burning, listening to her sizzle and hiss. "Get me a laser stabilizer." Ratchet found that Barricade's Spark chamber and other nearby systems had gone beyond safe levels. There were scorch marks on her core mixers as well, one of which was keeping her Spark level and cool. He knew the signs immediately. There were singe marks along the edges of her Spark, which was sadly giving up.
"Stubborn femme. You won't die today. Not on my watch." Ratchet muttered, Wheeljack coming in closer to see for himself with the tool, readouts on his HUD telling him what had happened. He wrinkled his nose. This wasn't good.
Starscream had crawled back to her; a strong feeling he could not define came over him. He looked worriedly down on her and getting his own readings from her Spark. "Save her…" he whispered, "Save her, Ratchet!" He then nearly yelled with fear. He didn't want to interrupt, but he also wanted to help in some way.
"What in the Pit do you think I'm doing?" Ratchet looked around quickly. Her dim Spark started to pulse less and less as he searched his mind for an answer. He couldn't use his own Spark and work on her, and the med lab was completely destroyed. There wasn't a functioning machine that he needed right now. Ratchet looked up toward the Seeker, knowing immediately how to sustain her; they were Star-Mates, "She needs your Spark!"
"What?" Starscream asked stupidly.
The CMO, frustrated and scared of losing Barricade, yelled at Starscream in desperation, "Your Spark, for the love of – your Spark! She needs your Spark, Starscream; give her your slagging Spark now!"
Confused by the medic's demands, Starscream backed away, "What do you mean 'she needs my Spark'? I can't just hand it to her!"
Ratchet continued to fiddle and fix things, mumbling. "Open your chamber and merge her, you dolt, she's going to die if you don't! Listen to me!"
Trusting in the medic, he moved into a position out of Ratchet's way. "Alright," Starscream muttered, his chest parted and his chamber opened. The Seeker leaned slightly, so he was still out of Ratchet's way. His Spark instantly went out for Barricade's. The jar of separation and power loss made Starscream falter and he yelped in pain when they collided. He felt her draining on his own systems but it wasn't enough to hurt either of them. "Why… am I doing this?" he asked, flinching at the pain and energy that went between him and his mate, "She's going to eviscerate my Spark if she ends up expectant again! And I'm gonna eviscerate you if it harms my Sparklings!"
"Oh, calm yourself, it's far too soon," Ratchet grumbled as he reached down into the femme's chest, "And, no, it won't hurt your Sparklings."
"You don't know her luck and you haven't seen her mad yet Medic!" Starscream snarled before another pain jolted through him, causing him to shudder. He moved back slightly, hissing in as his body threatened to collapse from the various system overloads and failures.
The medic's fingers work meticulously over the femme, "I have seen her mad, you forget you brought her to me for her first exam?" He watched Starscream move so it would be easier for him to work, "Keep her with you. You can sustain her until I am done."
Starscream lifted his head and shut his optics from the surges, dealing with it if only for her, "Hurry it up doc, I don't know how much longer I can… do this,"
"You're fine." Wheeljack muttered, leaning in to help where Ratchet needed. "Her Spark chamber was damaged."
After another few minutes, the Seeker flinched. "Primus this hurts." Starscream said in exasperation, "How much longer?"
Wheeljack leaned down, offering his assistance to Ratchet as he worked on Barricade, "Would you shut up already and let him work?"
"You're a jerk. I don't like you." Starscream squeezed his optics closed as his head went up, dealing with the now becoming excruciating pain. "Remind me to shoot you when we are done." He hoped that the Sparklings were going to be all right through all of this.
Ratchet continued to work as he used Starscream's Spark as an energy source for Barricade's. His optics darted as his fingers systematically changed to suit his needs while he went along repairing where everything wrong. It was mostly around her chamber, having exerted too much energy. He wasn't surprised at the findings.
Starscream could feel the femme's life-beat within his own. Softly he tried to comfort her through the merge as Ratchet worked. He winced a time or two as backlashes snapped him as he kept her afloat, "Yo, this is… NOT… the most com… -fortable thing in the… world here,"
Wheeljack, annoyed at the Seeker's bitching finally got tired of hearing it. "Shut up before I shut up your vocal processors. Quit your complaining. No one ever said birthing triplets was painless or not dangerous. In fact, I have never heard of triplets before. Deal with it."
"Hey… no one was expecting… the extra one!" Starscream growled to the Engineer, "Where… did it come from?"
"How in the Pit am I supposed to know?" Wheeljack threw up a hand, just as confused, "It's not like femmes randomly popped out extra Sparklings before!"
"You wouldn't know anyway… you're a damned Engineer, what am I asking you for?" Starscream muttered, then leaned to Ratchet slightly with suspicious side glances, wincing, "Where did it… come from Medic?"
Ratchet, finishing up around the femme's Spark chamber, glanced at Starscream quickly, "Does it look like I know?"
"And you… you call yourself a medic! You're supposed to know everything… about birthing!" Starscream hissed.
"You studied under Perceptor! You're supposed to know everything about… everything!" Ratchet paused looking for something else to say, and when nothing came to mind, he finished with, "…Period!"
Starscream went to retort and found nothing to top what Ratchet had said, because the damned 'Bot was right, "Touché, medic,"
Ratchet muttered a few words as he continued on Barricade. Starscream winced again as he felt another backlash. He then felt her Spark becoming stronger, "Here she comes," he said gently. He looked down at her as her optics began to brighten while her Spark began separating from him.
What he hadn't expected was for her to instantly reach up and fling him off her with her arms, causing a surge from hell to hit him from the sudden Spark separation, sending him back on his aft and against the wall. "You are such a pervert!" the femme suddenly snapped. Apparently, she didn't feel that, "Can't even wait until I am done birthing! What is wrong with you!"
How could she not feel that? "Owww," The Seeker groaned as he put his hand over his exposed chamber while it closed. "No sense, no feeling, I swear it."
Ratchet reeled back in surprise, while Wheeljack fumbled, landing on his aft. They both just stared at the femme as she hissed at Starscream, who was trying to scramble further along the wall away from her in fear… wait, fear? Was he actually afraid of her? Now that was laughable. The Great Decepticon Supreme Commander himself, afraid of a femme. Ha! They both smirked as they listened to the Seeker defend himself.
"What do you mean, 'pervert'? You were dying!" He got his footing and leaned forward, glaring at Barricade, "You sure are an unappreciative femme,"
"I bet I was dying," the femme muttered dryly, however the hint of amusement wasn't unheard.
"I think you forget you gave birth to an extra Sparkling and your Spark was apparently not ready for it or had the proper outage to support it and you blew vital circuits birthing it, hello?"
She certainly knew what was going on, she felt every second of it, and so shall he, "Uh huh, sure… Right,"
"Barricade, it was the only way to save you!"
"Whatever…" the femme shrugged.
Ratchet moved to a kneeling position, "Suffice it to say she will be fine," he muttered then stood, "Where are the Sparklings?"
Starscream looked up and made his way fully to his feet, still looking at Barricade; certainly, this femme was anything but fine. There was something wrong with her since the day she had been born.
"Yes, where are they?" Barricade hadn't known Starscream was supposed to take them, keep them warm and protect them as they unfolded, since Blacklight didn't have him there in the first place.
"I have them," Starscream went to the medic, watching Barricade warily. She was apparently still out of it a little and he believed she needed to calm down before he would allow her near them. He stopped before he got to Ratchet, looking down at his chest in surprise.
"What? What is it?" of course, worried glances went to the Seeker.
Starscream's vents opened to allow excess warm air to escape in a gust, "I… I feel them. I can feel the last one unfolding," In all of the excitement, he hadn't felt the other two.
Barricade looked over at him, watching his expression. He went from determined to awestruck. She chose not to comment, still getting up.
"Okay, let me check them," Ratchet ordered.
Barricade moved between Ratchet and Starscream defiantly, though she still felt dazed, she wanted to see them first and had the urge to feed them, something she hadn't recognized before with Blacklight. It was evident when she began leaking extra Energon, "I want to see them. They need to feed."
Ratchet backed away when he realized what was going on. Two creators with their newborn offspring. He and Wheeljack would wait until the two were done. They both smiled at the sight of the two.
Starscream turned to Barricade and the first hold opened, revealing a small black Sparkling. Barricade reached for it and pulled it from Starscream so they both could get a look at it. Starscream recognized it was a little Seeker and it too had a chevron. Both Barricade and Starscream had gone into some kinda of chirping and beeping fest while they looked at it. He lightly handed it to Barricade. It chirped back and squirmed weakly while Barricade lightly trailed her fingers down its chest, getting it to open for her and she peeked. Sure enough, it was a little mech. A hold opened, ready for the Sparkling to connect to her. It clicked and reached for her chest and she moved her hand slowly, careful not to hurt him and closed it up behind him. She immediately sent heat towards him to keep him warm as he began siphoning from her, "This little mech is fine and healthy," she suddenly stated.
Ratchet only nodded to himself, having already run scans over it.
Starscream opened his second hold, revealing a little copper and silver Sparkling. The infant clicked at Barricade and blinked at her before fumbling into her hand. She took the little one with such finesse it seemed impossible and again ran her fingers over its torso. Barricade smirked when she saw it was a little femme. Starscream only watched with a grin as Barricade set his little femme in the other hold.
Ratchet and Wheeljack both approached when Starscream opened his third hold, curious. The Sparkling scrabbled out and into his hand. Suddenly everyone's optics were on it. It was white with lines of blue and red going down its new form. Starscream's optics narrowed when he saw it had the strangest markings all down its legs and arms that were bronze in color, its back also had the runic markings.
"What are those markings?" Wheeljack asked, leaning closer for a better look.
"They look … like Allspark runes." Starscream said gently as his optics furrowed slightly. "But that… that's impossible."
The Sparkling clicked to Barricade while the mechs spoke between themselves. Both Barricade and the Sparkling tuned them out while she looked it over. This one was different and she wanted to make sure it was healthy.
Engineer, Scientist and Medic were stumped. "Allspark? How is that –" Ratchet's words stopped when his optics went to his demolished desk, "The shard…"
"What? What do you mean?" Starscream followed his line of sight, wondering what he was speaking of.
"The Allspark shard!" the CMO announced, moving quickly to the desk, he looked over the mess and to where the drawer was bent and black, lying there empty. There was no shard. Quickly he picked things up around where it may have fallen. "Where is it?"
"It was supposed to be in there, you don't even let Optimus see it!" Wheeljack headed to the same spot to look through the mess.
"It's gone, Wheeljack!" Ratchet kept looking, "I can't find it anywhere."
Wheeljack flicked a piece of shrapnel to the side. "Well it would possibly explain Jazz' sudden and unexpected surprise," he suddenly stated with a chuckle.
"Wait." Starscream stated, getting the 'Bots' attention, "You men to tell me that an Allspark shard you had that I had no idea about, first of all, is gone?"
"Then where did it go?" The Seeker asked dubiously, "Allsparks don't just up and disappear you know!" He was really hoping they had an answer for this, because he wasn't sure he liked where it was going.
While everyone else tried to figure out that part, Barricade was busy with her infant. She ran her fingers over the little one's chest while she clicked at it. It grabbed for her fingers, playing with them. Barricade gave a rare smile… It was another femme.
Everyone who had been bickering before turned and looked down at the little Sparkling as she started reaching for Barricade's holds. Barricade complied, letting her into her last hold next to the other two, then looked up at the others, having not heard them, "What?"
"You don't think…" Ratchet watched the hold close, his mind going a mile a minute.
The Engineer followed Ratchet's chain of thought. "Impossible! The Allspark was a cube! As far as I know it couldn't do what you're thinking," Wheeljack didn't divert his optics either. "Could it?"
Starscream followed their looks. They had to go there, didn't they?
Annoyed, the femme scowled at the staring mechs, "What are all of you babbling about? And why are you staring at me?"
There was a long silence. Starscream looked to the medic, who looked to the engineer. Starscream shrugged, Wheeljack shrugged, leaving it up to the medic to tell her. "That Sparkling… It's possible that it was conceived with both of your Sparks and the Allspark," Ratchet suddenly stated.
It took a moment for the femme to register what they had said. Her optics then narrowed at them angrily. "WHAT?!" Barricade growled, "What is wrong with you three? You're supposed to be intelligent! That's impossible! The Allspark was destroyed!"
Ratchet nodded, "As far as you knew. Optimus had a shard that was left."
"Gee… wise one, what do you suppose the chances of that happening?" Barricade muttered bitterly, "I hate this planet."
"Well at least it couldn't possibly get any weirder,"
"Oh really?" Barricade glared, "Weirder? I'll give you weird… Let's start off with something like the supposed astronomical chances of running into my Star-Mate?" Starscream knew the truth to that one… he wasn't gonna tell her right now. He'd let her rant. "Or, how's this one…? I ended up with triplets instead of already rare twins!"
"You forgot about Jazz." Starscream mumbled.
'Jazz?' She didn't hear that did she? "What about Jazz?" Barricade asked with a suspicious tone.
"Jazz is walking around outside."
Barricade only grunted. She didn't want to know how right now, but she did know that Ratchet wanted the unexpected infant from the look he was giving. The femme considered the idea of allowing the medic to examine the white one then snorted, "And before you even ask, no! You can't study her!"
"I am a medic," Ratchet instantly tried to argue.
"You're an Autobot." The femme nodded.
"He has wrenches." Wheeljack suddenly stated.
"Don't care. I'm a Decepticon. We are supposed to hate each other."
"Oh, right." Wheeljack said in afterthought.
"That means no touching my Sparklings unless I say!"
"But she might have other abnormalities and should have a fu-"
"You know what?" Barricade cut him off, getting a glare from the medic. She ignored the glare, daring to challenge him. "I think I have had enough abnormalities and surprises since I arrived on this damned mud ball," She gave a pointed look to Starscream before looking back to the medic, "I think I can handle one more, thank you,"
"But nothing," Barricade put up her hand, "Decepticon femme with Sparklings… I may end up killing them if I feel you're a threat for Primus' sake." she said in mock, remembering what Mikaela had told her, "I suddenly feel a horrible threat upon me; away with you all before I maim them!" She shooed them all out the door including Starscream.
Ratchet looked to Starscream who looked back and shrugged when they stepped out. "What?" the Seeker suddenly barked, "I ain't gonna argue with her, be my guest!" He looked back at Barricade, who looked completely exhausted, but she needed a moment to gather herself. He would check on her in a moment.
The doors slammed shut behind them.
"Tell your medic that when the next moment arrives, I want you fixed, 'Screamer!" the femme's voice suddenly came from the shut doors.
"But… he isn't…" First Aid peeked at the ones who were still standing there. Starscream was still covered in dried Energon perhaps he was in fact injured in some way by all of the sounds from the bay earlier, "…is he damaged?" the medic asked, looking to Ratchet.
"I don't mean that kind of fixed!" Barricade yelled, having heard him.
Jazz snickered. In fact, most of the base snickered. Even Optimus. Mikaela, Miles and Sam, who all stood staring at Jazz before, all got the interpretation and nearly fell laughing, making everyone else laugh save for one. He was only growling at them.
"Never a dull moment, I tell you what…" the Seeker muttered to himself. Life just did not get any weirder than this. Just when he was starting to figure things out, along came Soundwave's announcement. And if that wasn't enough, there was Thundercracker and Skywarp's… issue. At least he now realized the similarities in the blue Seeker and Barricade. TC had a lot of explaining to do… still.
…Then, Jazz comes back to life. He still wanted to know how that one occurred. But the one that really topped it was the unexpected Sparkling. From the day they had conceived, there were only two. Always two. Where had the third one come from? That was probably the million-dollar question, which would probably be too complicated to explain.
Inside of the medical bay, Barricade was finally starting to relax, the last of her energy nearly spent. She really didn't know what was going on anymore, nor did she care at this particular time. All she did know and care about is that she had three new Sparklings and she was tired. She propped against a nearby wall looking across the disaster in front of her. Pushing things away from her, she gave herself more room to move. Even though her systems were warning her of low energy, the femme didn't want to recharge yet. Instead, she wanted to hold her Sparklings.
She knew they were still awake. At least one of them was.
She reached into her hold and withdrew the little mech first. She looked him up and down as he fumbled around in her hand tiredly. "You look just like 'Screamer. I feel for you." The Sparkling chirped at her as she set him down on her leg. "Radar," She stated, deciding the little mech's name.
Next was Radar's actual twin. The coppery and chrome color was unexpected in the little femme, but she was cute. She didn't look as much like a Seeker, but that didn't matter. Blacklight didn't either. "You will be called Sonar." She stated. She set her next to her brother who had climbed his way feebly up Barricade's abdomen.
Barricade reached in gently, plucking the last squirming Sparkling from its hold and she held her up to look at her. The Sparkling moved around slowly in the femme's hand. Barricade took another look at her little body. The runes and other colors were interesting, but she would figure it out later. "Typhoon. That's your designation."
She glared at the door, just as she heard them opening. A low growl in warning emitted from her. She stopped as soon as she saw it was Miles, Mikaela and Blacklight. "Is it okay if we come in, 'Cade?" the girl asked, her eyes lighting up, seeing the Sparklings crawling on the femme. She did a double take at the fact there were three. "Thought twins meant two?"
Barricade nodded, "Shut the door behind you."
Blacklight was at her side in an instant, looking at the three Sparklings. He pointed to each one, "I count three. Was there supposed to be three?"
"No, but there is now." Barricade murmured, all the while chirping to the newborns quietly. The triplets played around and held onto her when she brushed her hand over them or helped them move. Curiosity over recharge took them over.
Mikaela made her way to the femme, looking with a smile, "Look'it them! You did well, 'Cade. They're all beautiful." Barricade gave a small proud smile, too exhausted to do anything more. It reminded the girl of the day she had actually met Barricade in a way.
Blacklight moved closer to the three, watching them curiously. He even put his hand out to touch them and began chirping to them. Barricade watched, knowing he would be gentle. He stopped at the white femme. "This one looks different."
"She does." Barricade replied softly.
Soon after, Starscream entered the medical bay. Instantly a smile graced his features at the sight before him. He shut the door behind him, walked to the femme, and looked down at her, wondering how she was handling the situation. So far, so good. He knelt down and put his hand out, softly touching each one of his newborns. "They're perfect."
"Yeah, except the mech looks just like you. Pity." The femme mumbled good-naturedly.
Starscream smiled at her, "At least he'll be handsome. Get some rest, Barricade." He softly reached to her head and ran his hand over her affectionately. He then stood up, watching while Barricade set the Sparklings back in their holds and nodded to Blacklight, Miles and Mikaela, "I'm sure she won't mind you sticking around to keep her company." He told them. They nodded, still getting to know the triplets. He turned to leave to deal with all of the other new surprises. "I'll be back shortly to check on everything."
Some minutes later, Soundwave, who had been close by, but not inside the base had been waiting for Starscream. Looking down toward Rumble and Laserbeak, only one question came to mind while thinking about the new arrivals. "You think it would be safe to admit that we aren't just your 'symbiots' or 'pets' now?" Laserbeak asked. "Barricade probably should have realized it sooner since Sparklings can only be surrogated between femmes,"
"Is that so…?" came a sudden voice. All of them froze and turned, seeing none other than Starscream standing there, and he did not look happy. Soundwave sighed, not even realizing that he had gotten so close.
"Busted!" cried Ravage.
"Um… hide!" Laserbeak and Buzzsaw both took off for the air as Ravage slinked backwards away from the leader. Skorponok leapt off of Soundwave and into the ground. He surely didn't wanna stick around for this.
"This has disaster written all over it, man, I'm so outta here!" Rumble mumbled as he shrunk down from the heated stare of the leader and bolted for the base with the others.
Everyone, who was still talking amongst themselves inside the base, turned to the sound of a horde headed toward them. Something had to have been real bad if they were running away from Soundwave like that. Skorponok rose slightly out of the ground just outside of the main doors. Ravage slid to a stop next to him and turned. The bird-like 'Cons landed on Skorponok as he rose the rest of the way up. Rumbled clung to Ravage. "Think he's mad?"
"No…" Ravage replied sarcastically, "not at all."
Out where the two were unseen and unheard, Soundwave, from lack of being able to enunciate anything, simply stared at Starscream, who looked pretty irritated then muttered two words: "Oh no…" It wasn't supposed to happen like this.
The Seeker looked at Soundwave a long moment as if debating just how pissed he was. "I was having a pretty damn good day until I came out here, Soundwave. Turns out I have three new Sparklings instead of just two… Apparently, Jazz decided to come back to life as well." He frowned at the telepath, "So… why don't you go ahead and continue to ruin my good day by telling me again what I thought I heard?"
Soundwave remained silent a long moment. When the stare-down didn't work this time, the telepath spoke with finality, "You know what you heard."
Starscream frowned. "This had better be good, Soundwave…" he pointed to the telepath sharply, "And I do mean fucking epic!"
"Surprise," Soundwave droned almost too casually.
Cause and effect – chain of events
All of the chaos makes perfect sense
When you're spinning round, things come undone…
Welcome to Earth, 3rd rock from the Sun…
Yes. Soundwave is one sly 'Con! A quantum psychic. Go ahead, try to figure it out ;) So yes... Seems Soundwave had one last surprise for everyone.
Poor Starscream :D
Eventually there will be a back story to Soundwave, TC and Skywarp, maybe a few others and how they played parts, since there's a lot of unanswered questions :)
Thank you all!