Author's note: Again, thanks to LoveRobin for reviewing material, any mistakes are all my fault.
Bumblebee raced after the Bebes. Inside, Joss and Sari braced themselves as best they could as he swerved to dodge a car. In vehicle mode, the Autobot could drive as fast as the robots could run encumbered with their prisoner. Plus, he had intimate knowledge of the area around Sumdac Towers. However, the Bebe's were smaller and nimbler; even carrying Mr. Sumdac they could squeeze into gaps in traffic which Bumblebee was too large to fit through.
After being jostled a couple of times, the girls glanced at each other as Bumblebee took a turn so fast that human-made tires would have left skid marks. "Helmets!" they said, in unison. Nanoprobes flowed up Joss' face and the back of her head, forming a solid helmet. The pieces of Sari's helmet, disguised as bits of her body armor, moved into position to cover her head.
Bebe #17 glanced back. The other two units did not bother, knowing their sister unit would tell them what they needed to know. "We are still being pursued," Number 17 announced.
"I can't hit them if we can't catch up with them," complained Sari. The energy blades on her forearms pulsed with her anger.
"I lost my shootin' iron upstairs, don't you got anything that actually fires?" asked Joss.
"Hold on, I'm going to try something," Bumblebee said over the car speakers. He transformed, changing back to a giant humanoid figure. Joss eeped as she found herself dangling in mid air. Before she could hit ground, Bumblebee managed to scoop the two girls with his left arm. His right extended, hand morphed into a cone-shaped weapon. He fired a blast of energy at one of the blue robots.
Bebe #12 fell, the electrical overload temporarily paralyzing her as her internal systems fought to compensate. Bebe #17 and #19 did not stop. Instead, they continued running along, carrying their portly captive. Behind them, Unit #12 began struggling upright, her body twitching as her CPU sought to bypass the damaged circuitry.
"You ain't getting away!" Joss swore. She leaped out of Bumblebee's grasp, throwing her Smart Rope at the Bebe. The metallic lariat came to life as it touched the blue woman-shaped robot, wrapping tight around arms and legs. Taking advantage of the Bebe's partially paralyzed state, it soon had it immobilized in a hog tie, with arms and legs tight behind its back.
"We got to get my dad!" Sari screamed. Bumblebee took aim, but the last two Bebes had started weaving back and forth, making it impossible for him to get off a clear shot without risking hurting Sumdac.
"Roll out!" the Autobot announced, transforming back into car form with Sari inside. He drove off as Joss approached the helpless robot.
"Bebe cannot allow herself to be captured," it announced.
"Look like you don't have much choice," Joss said, cautiously.
"You are correct," Bebe #12 said. "Bebes will be victorious."
The blue female-form robot began to jerk again, spastically. At first, Joss thought she was trying to break free of the Smart Rope. However when smoke began pouring out of its ears, Joss realized the truth. She rushed forward as the now burned out unit's head collapsed to the ground.
"DAMN IT!" the redhead swore, kicking the now senseless piece of metal.
"Hurry!" said Sari. "They're almost out of the city!"
"No sweat!" said Bumblebee. "Once we're out of all this traffic, I'm sure I can catch them on the open road."
"Once we're out of the city, they don't have to stay on the road!" pointed out the girl.
Sure enough, the Bebes had just reached the edge of the city. Without any pause to consider direction, they charged off the side of the road, Mr. Sumdac still held between them.
Despite the yellow Autobot's best efforts, he was unable to keep up as the robots hit rough ground, steadily opening the lead between them and eventually vanishing from sight.
"SLAG IT!" said Sari, slamming a fist into the dashboard.
"Watch it!" said Bumblebee. "That hurt."
"I'm sorry," she said contritely. "But... I lost my dad once already."
"We'll get him back," said Bumblebee, confidently. "Um... what do we do now?"
"Go pick up that Joss girl," Sari declared, deactivating her headgear. "She's got some explaining to do."
Joss was walking back to the Sumdac Towers, where she had left her uncle, when she heard a horn beep. She turned to see the yellow car next to him, the passenger side window rolled down.
"Need a lift?" Sari asked.
"Sure," said Joss. She held up the decapitated head of Bebe #12. "I was hoping we could get a heads up on where they're takin' yore dad." Bumblebee stopped and Joss climbed in, tossing the head into the back seat.
"So...," said Sari. "You're more then meets the eye also?"
"Yup," the other admitted. "How about you? Cyborg? Smart armor?"
"I'm part Cybertronian," said Sari. "I'm like Bumblebee, except where he turns into a car, I turn into a human."
Joss tilted her head. "What about your dad? If he can transform, why did he go with the Bebes?"
"He's fully human," said Sari. "He found my protoform and touched it, and it grew into me."
"Oh, so when did you find out?"
"About two years ago," admitted Sari. "It was a big shock, especially since my dad was missing at the time. How about you?"
"Android, and I found out about a week ago when MY dad got kidnapped," Joss explained. "We should see about forming a 'My dad lied to me about being human' support club later. Now, we need t'go find my uncle."
"So, your cousin Kim...," started Sari. "I've seen a lot about her..."
"Human," said Joss. "At least as far as I know. Come t'think about it, her being the same as me would answer a lot. Still, it's her friend Ron who's the real hero, in my 'pinion."
"I'm in here!" James' voice carried. He had convinced the security patrol to help him drag the four destroyed Bebes into Sumdac's lab, where he was now trying to discover what he could from the bodies.
"We got another one for you," Joss tossed the head onto the lab table, next to one James had open.
The rocket scientist looked at his niece, then Sari, then back. "It, ah, appears you two may have a lot in common."
"Yeah, starting with the fact that we're both missing our dads to the Bebes," growled the redhead. "I'm going to go find muh gun."
Sari nodded to the security guards next to James, "It's ok, guys... we got it." The guards nodded and headed back downstairs.
James turned to look at Sari, studying her suit closely. "Based on classified reports I've read, I'm going to guess... Cybertronian, and not the Terran-variety cybertronic. Correct?"
"Yes," she confirmed with a nod, hopping up on the lab table, looking at where James had several cables running from one Bebe body to a computer station. "What are you doing?"
"I'm hoping that I can analyze their memories to figure out where the Bebes are operating from. The problem is all of the Bebes have taken a lot of damage, so I'm having to jury rig and work around the damaged circuitry. I should be able to at least get started downloading in about twenty minutes," said James, then glanced at his watch. "Actually, we may have another problem in a few minutes."
"Why, what happens in the next few minutes?" Sari asked.
Before he could answer, he was interrupted by Joss's shriek of surprise, coming from out in the hallway.
Sari rushed out of the office. "What's wrong? Are the Bebes back?" she asked, then spotted the other girl.
The brownish-red-haired girl was crouched down, arms wrapped around her torso. There was no sign of the liquid metal armor she had been wearing earlier.
"What happened?" Sari asked.
"Joss's battle armor is composed of nanoprobes," explained James. "Which can only function for a certain period of time before they have to recharge, or fall apart."
Sari transformed, turning back into a human looking good wearing a yellow dress. Her shoes and socks had been destroyed in the transformation, but the rest of her outfit was unharmed. "What about the clothes she was wearing earlier?"
"The nanoprobes ate 'em," growled Joss. "Now could you two stop staring and get me something to wear that AIN'T going to disolve on me?"
"We're about the same size...," said Sari. "I can loan you a dress."
Joss looked as if she'd bitten into a lemon. "A dress?" she said, both her farm girl and tom-boy sensibilities clearly offended. "You can't rope cattle in a dress!"
"Well, last time I checked, there weren't any cattle in the city," said Sari. "So it's the dress or nothing."
"Clearly y'didn't see how ah hog-tied tha' Bebe...," Joss muttered under her breath
James cleared his throat, facing away from his now naked niece. "I'm going to see if I can access anything from the Bebe's head, as it appears less damaged than the others," he said. "Why don't you take Joss somewhere where she can change."
Fortunately, Sari's room was on the same level as her father's lab and office; as a result, she was able to lead Joss there without being seen by anyone else. As soon as Sari opened the bedroom door, the other girl hurried over to the bed, pulled off the top sheet and wrapping it about her body.
"You know, the only people who can see you right now are you and me," pointed out Sari. "Don't you think it's kind of silly to be a robot AND body conscious?"
"Leave me 'lone, Ah only foun' out ah ain't human 'bout a week ago!" growled Joss. "I suppose you go traipsing around naked all the time?"
"Well, I'm lucky enough that whatever I'm wearing tends to transform when I do," said Sari. "It's just... you know, ironic."
Sari opened up her closet, choosing a dress and underwear for Joss. The bottom of the closet was crammed full of boots; her dad buying them in bulk ever since discovering her transformation sequence ignored whatever she had on hands and feet. "Here, do you need a training bra?" asked Sari.
"What's that supposed to mean?"
"Well, you are kind of... um, flat," Sari gestured.
"Hey, you're not exactly Miss Fanservice, y'self," grumbled Joss. She pulled on the offered cream yellow panties, then slid the dress over her head. The material clung to her body, long sleeved with a flowing skirt which reached down to her knees. "Don't you have anything that's not yellow?"
"Hey, some of us LIKE yellow!"
Joss jerked in surprise. "Bumblebee?"
"That's my name, don't wear it out."
Joss was able to spot a cellphone like device from where Bumblebee's voice was coming from. "Can you, um, see us?"
"No, but I can listen in as long as Sari doesn't forget to keep her commlink charged or turns it off."
"Come on," said Sari, interrupting. "Let's go see how your uncle is doing with those Bebes."
All four... well, four and a quarter... Bebes were laid out now in Mr. Sumdac's lab, with a mass of multicolored cables connecting bits of them with Sundac's main computer. A large LCD monitor the size of a garage door was showing rows and rows of numbers, letters, and symbols.
"Any idea on where these Bebes came from or where they're taking my dad?" Sari asked.
"Not yet," admitted James. He was staring at the monitor while gesturing absently at the electronic gibberish. "The Bebes use a custom operating system and data encryption scheme. It could take years for me to crack it. Fortunately, I was able to call an expert who should be here in a few hours. With your permission, we'll work here."
"Sure, if it means getting my dad back. What do you need?"