Hey there! I don't know if you remember me, but my name's Clumsy Peg. I'm an author here on , I love Transformers, and-
Wait, so you do remember me? Awesome! I don't deserve such wonderful readers. ^.^
But you know what's amazing? I started this story over a year ago. This is so cool for me. Because I've averaged more than one chapter a month! :D
Well, here it is. Chapter 17. Hope you enjoy!
"She shouldn't be here."
Sunstreaker glared at Artemis, who was hiding behind Jazz for safety.
"If you would just give her a chance to explain you might get it through that thick helm of yours that she is still on our side!" Jazz snapped back.
"Don't tell me you believe that lie-"
"How do you know she's lying?"
"How do you know she isn't?"
Optimus sighed as he rubbed his forehelm. Sunstreaker was known for his temper, though it took a bit more to get Jazz heated like this...but when he starts up, its hard to get him to stop. And without Sideswipe to hold back his brother, as he had stormed off earlier, the golden Stingray would be equally unstoppable. Optimus knew the only way for those two to cool down would be to let them argue for a while. And as long as it remained non-violent, he was okay with that.
Ratchet, however, was not okay with the arguing.
"Will you two shut your mouths already? We haven't even heard all of what Artemis has to say!" the medic growled, stepping between the yelling mechs.
"Stay out of this, Jetfire!" Ratchet snapped, pointing threateningly at him. The Seeker wisely backed down.
"At least let her finish before you start wildly making accusations." A rather large wrench was in the medic's hand, which didn't go unnoticed by the two Autobots.
Jazz finally crossed his arms and nodded, while Sunstreaker merely continued to glare at the girl.
Artemis took a deep breath before speaking.
"After the explosion, there...there was nothing left. I saw it myself. Megatron took me and Will out there to prove to us that you were gone. And the torture...it was unbearable. I would have died if I hadn't given in. I may look healthy now...but I was a mess a year ago. I had no other choice but to pretend to join them!"
"Not true. You could have just died."
When the room fell silent again, Optimus asked, "And what of Major Lennox?"
"He's alive. But he hasn't given in yet..." Artemis paused, and then gasped. "Oh, no! I was supposed to see him over an hour ago!" she yelled frantically. "I really need to go-"
"I knew it! You're going to sell us out to Megatron!" the golden corvette accused. He made to grab Artemis.
"Sunstreaker!" Optimus yelled, reaching out to stop the mech from doing so.
Jazz got there first.
"Move just one nanometer closer to her, and I swear I'll fire," the saboteur said, voice deadly calm. His crescent cannon was stuck right beneath Sunstreaker's chin.
"You wouldn't dare," Sunstreaker growled.
"Jazz, calm down!" Prowl said, stepping forward. "You know we would never let anything happen to Artemis."
Jazz didn't reply, except to shove his weapon deeper into Sunstreaker's throat.
The cave was tense while Prowl continued to reason with Jazz.
"Let him go. We'll send him to search for Sideswipe, so he won't be anywhere near Artemis."
"Someone better go with him. Or he could turn around and come back."
"I'll go with him," Prowl replied. "He won't try anything. Will you, Sunstreaker?"
Begrudgingly, the corvette replied. "No, I won't."
With a final growl of frustration, Jazz relented and pulled his crescent cannon away.
Prowl didn't waste any time getting Sunstreaker away, gesturing for the golden twin to follow him down a corridor.
Artemis, who was resting safely in Optimus's hands, spoke up once Sunstreaker was out of sight.
"I'm really sorry, but I have to go. Not only do I need to see Will, but Megatron will wonder where I've been."
"Why is it so important for you to see Major Lennox?"
"I'm the only reason he's still alive. And he hasn't eaten in days, so I need to get to him now."
Optimus closed his optics for a moment. This would be a hard decision. He knew that, although the Autobots did trust Artemis, they were holding some doubt to her motives too. But if she was telling the truth, then he would have to let her go, or face the possibility of Major Lennox's death. And that was not something he wanted to risk.
Coming to a decision, Optimus spoke. "If we allow you to leave, you must be escorted. Ratchet and Jazz will follow you from a distance."
Artemis nodded. "That's fine."
Optimus added a silent message to the medic. "Make sure Jazz doesn't do anything he will regret."
Graham watched silently as his troops filed back in, obviously defeated. "It could be worse," he told himself. "If it wasn't for our informant Blitz Gear, we'd probably all be dead."
"Get some rest, men," Graham said aloud. "You did well today, despite our loss."
"Yes sir, thank you, Major Chapman, sir!"
Graham sighed. He could see the morale of the resistance starting to fade, despite their attempts to hide it.
"We need a miracle."
"Sideswipe? Where are you?" Prowl called out.
"Why don't you just use a com link?" Sunstreaker spat, following behind.
"If you had tried to reach him, you would have realized he has his blocked. Why have you not tried to contact him through your bond?" the tactician countered.
"Ugh, fine," the golden Autobot said, rolling his optics.
With impeccable timing, Sideswipe cut off his brother's message.
"Sunny! You gotta come see this!"
Sunstreaker stopped, taken aback by Sideswipe's sudden outburst.
"Where are you?"
"Just up ahead. I can feel you're close!"
Prowl, who had been watching Sunstreaker have his silent conversation with his brother, asked, "Have you found him?"
"Yeah. He's close by. And he says he's found something."
Sunstreaker led the way, and a few minutes later Sideswipe came into view.
"Sunny! Prowl! Look what I found!" Sideswipe yelled, excited. All traces of his earlier anger had disappeared.
"So?" Sunstreaker said, crossing his arms. "It's a pile of rocks."
"But watch this!" the silver twin said excitedly. He dove straight into the rock pile. But instead of crashing into it, he simply disappeared.
"It's a hologram!" Sideswipe mentioned matter-of-factually from the other side.
"Interesting," Prowl commented, stepping through. "But what's a hologram doing in the middle of an abandoned cave?"
"Well, its not that abandoned."
The tactician turned to look at Sunstreaker. "How do you know?"
The golden twin pointed to the many soldiers with guns pointed at them.
"Red Alert, there's something we think you should see," Graham said, looking up at the Autobot.
"What is it?"
"Well...its hard to explain. Follow me."
The security mech followed the soldier into a room where Prowl, Sunstreaker, and Sideswipe were being interrogated.
"I swear, I'm not a Decepticon!" Sideswipe pleaded, pointing to the Autobot emblem on his chest. "None of us are! Why do you think we haven't tried to attack yet?"
"Major Chapman, Red Alert," a soldier said, welcoming the pair in the room.
Red Alert was speechless. He recognized those mechs. But it had been two years since he last saw them.
"Wait, did that guy say Red Alert?" Sunstreaker asked, staring intently at the much-changed mech.
"He did!" Sideswipe answered, frantically trying to get Red's attention. "Red! Over here! You're alive! It's a miracle-! You remember me, right? And my unfortunately colored twin over here-"
"-You look like you've had some work done! And see? I told you blue was your color!"
Graham looked up at the confused mech. "Is it really them?"
"-you shouldn't have gotten so mad at us if you were eventually going to permanently color yourself blue, I mean really, it only took a few orns for the paint to wear off-"
The security mech looked from Sideswipe, who continued to ramble on, to Sunstreaker, sulking in the corner, to Prowl, who shook his helm with a sigh.
Red Alert couldn't help but grin, despite the thousands of questions swirling around his processor. "Its them."
Megatron didn't look up from the large screen he was studying when Artemis entered. "Where have you been?"
"Just at the forest outside of town," she answered nonchalantly. It was partially true, anyway.
"For this long? I didn't think fleshlings liked dirt and grime and little...toothpicks with disgusting green filth gushing out of them so much."
"I fell asleep, out of boredom."
When Megatron provided no more conversation, Artemis snuck down to where Will was being kept. On her way she stopped by a secret compartment she made and pulled out a backpack of supplies. It was just small enough to not register as a security breach by the monitoring system.
Artemis slowly opened the door to the hostage room and silently climbed the ladder to the platform.
"I was starting to think you weren't coming today."
"I'm sorry, I got a little held up," she replied, dropping the bag and opening it. Artemis pulled out a duplicate key to the lock on Will's cuffs and released them, allowing him to relax for a few short moments.
"How are your arms?" Artemis asked, pulling out a piece of cloth and some healing ointment.
"Sore, but what's new?" Will replied, obviously exhausted. He gritted his teeth as Artemis applied the ointment to his various cuts, causing them to sting. When she was done, Artemis then grabbed a sandwich and a bottle of water, which was met with a huge sigh of relief.
"Food," was all Will could seem to get out, reaching for the rare treat. Artemis couldn't always smuggle food into the base, and when she did it had to be in small quantities. Add that to the Decepticons either forgetting or not caring enough to feed him for quite some time, and Major Lennox almost always went days without food.
Artemis simply sat and watched Will devour his food, her head resting on her hands. Up until now he was the one and only reason she remained on NEST's side. Will was the one who told her right from day one of their capture what to do, and when to do it so Megatron believed it was real.
"But what am I supposed to do with the fleshlings, master?"
"Just throw them somewhere they can't escape from! Seriously, Starscream, must you be so useless?"
Grumbling, the Seeker pulled out a metal container and dropped Artemis and Will inside.
"Starscream! Get over here!"
"Yes Lord Megatron!"
Will crawled over to Artemis, who was curled up into a ball, crying.
"Its my fault! Its all my fault!" she sobbed, hugging her knees to her chest.
"No its not. I need you to listen to me," Will continued calmly.
"Yes you can."
Fighting back her tears, Artemis finally looked up. "What?"
"I need you to do everything I say, okay?"
"Now listen closely...I don't know when they're coming back so we'll have to hurry. If Megatron is half the egomaniac I think he is, he will try to convince us to join the Decepticons, as a final insult to the Autobots. What I need you to do is join them-"
"I'm not finished yet," Will said, keeping his voice low. "I need you to pretend to join them. But its going to take a lot to convince Megatron you're really on his side. If you join right away he won't believe you. I'm sure the Decepticons will try to torture information out of us while convincing us to join them. I need you to hold out for a few months, a year if you can handle it. That should be enough time to convince Megatron."
Artemis nodded, determined despite her fear.
"There's bound to be a resistance group. I'll also need you to get in touch with them once Megatron thinks you're on his side. But don't let them know who you are, it will be safer for everyone that way."
Wiping her eyes, Artemis asked, "And what about you? What are you going to do?"
"I'll be a prisoner."
"What? Can't you pretend to join too?"
"No. It will be too suspicious. They won't think anything of you, but I'm a soldier. I've been trained to handle high amounts of pain, so I'll be okay."
"But nothing. Its the way things have to be."
"But what if I mess up?"
"You won't," Will answered. He put his arm around Artemis's shoulders and pulled her in for a hug. "I know you can do it. I trust you."
It was tough, but Artemis managed to follow Will's instructions to the letter. A year after her capture she "broke down" and joined the Decepticons, and shortly after made contact with the resistance, under the codename Blitz Gear. Artemis worked hard to keep to delicate balance of information intact, and so far it had been working well.
A few months after "joining", Artemis was finally able to sneak off and visit Will. It was that day she vowed to get him to freedom, no matter how long it took her. And it seemed like today was the day she'd keep that promise.
"Will, you almost done?"
"Yeah," he answered, swallowing his last bite. "Why? I thought the Decepticons weren't coming in tonight."
"They aren't," Artemis said, standing up. "I'm getting you out of here today."
"Let's just say I have some friends nearby." Artemis packed up her supplies. "Are you strong enough to walk?"
Will pushed himself to a standing position with a grunt, and tried to take a few steps. He immediately fell over, where Artemis caught him.
"That's fine. I'll help you out."
"Are you sure this is a good idea? Maybe we should wait-"
"No time. We're leaving now."
Will didn't get much of a choice; Artemis was already half-carrying him down the ladder. No turning back now.
"So, who are these friends of yours?" Will asked quietly. "Its not NEST, is it? Its too dangerous to have them this close to the base!"
"No, its not them," Artemis answered, keeping her voice low.
"Who is it, then?"
"Some long, long lost friends."
Will gave up trying to get any more information out of her. He'd have to wait and see them himself.
Artemis slowly opened the human-sized door to the corridor. No Decepticons in sight.
The pair made their way through the maze of hallways as quickly as possible, heading for the back exit.
"Almost there," Artemis panted, tired from helping Will stay upright. "Just around this corner-"
Unfortunately, just around the corner was Ravage, who quickly realized what was going on.
"I knew it was too good to be true, getting through here without one Decepticon encounter..." Will muttered.
Ravage wasted no more time launching himself at the duo. Artemis hastily shoved Will aside and tumbled backwards with the feline's impact, kicking out as she hit the floor. Ravage was thrown off by his momentum, and skidded to a halt before facing the girl once more.
"Oh, I've waited so long for a rematch, stupid cat," Artemis almost growled. She sank into a defensive stance and awaited the next attack. It didn't take long.
This time when Ravage came at her, Artemis dodged to the side and placed a well-aimed kick to one of his cannon mounts, disabling it. The metallic feline quickly retaliated and pinned Artemis to the ground, resulting in a short wrestling match between the two enemies.
Finally, Artemis managed to gain the upper hand and pinned Ravage for a split second, which was all she needed to shoot him with a point-blank cannon blast to the head.
"Nice work," Will commented from the side.
Artemis wasted no time reveling in victory, however.
"We've gotta get the hell out of here," she said, not bothering to keep her voice down anymore. "Someone was bound to hear that."
Will could already hear a few mechs making their way to the corridor. "You're right, lets get out of here."
Together the two humans nearly sprinted the last length to the exit and beyond into the outdoors.
"Jazz? Ratchet? Where the hell are you two!" Artemis yelled. "Aren't you supposed to be following me?"
"Wait, what?" Will asked, confused.
Before Artemis could answer, two very familiar vehicles sped into view.
"You've got to be kidding me."
Artemis helped will into the silver car before diving in the other side.
"Let's go, Jazz. The Decepticons will know about this any second now, if not already."
"You got it," came the reply from the speakers.
"Can someone please tell me what's going on?"
Artemis took a deep breath. "So, you know how I was late today? Well...long story short, the Autobots aren't as wiped-out as we thought they were."
She left Will to take in this revelation in silence, trying not to smile at the look on his face.
"You mean everyone else is here too?" Red Alert asked, hopeful.
"Yes. Everyone but you and Jolt made it to the cave, with minor injuries. I'm sure they'll be excited to see you," Prowl answered with a rare smile.
"Major Chapman, will you be joining us?"
"I'd love to, but there's a lot of work to do here," he replied.
Red Alert nodded once. "Then let's go."
Several minutes later, the four mechs reached the main room of the cave.
"Ah, Sunstreaker, Sideswipe, nice to see you two have cooled off," Optimus said, raising his helm at the noise of their approach. "I hope they didn't give you too much trouble, Prowl..." The Autobot leader's voice trailed off as he saw the fourth mech.
"Optimus, sir," Red Alert said, inclining his head slightly. It took a lot of self control for the security mech to hold himself back upon seeing the rest of the Autobots truly alive.
The Autobot leader, as well as the other mechs, remained silent as they tried to comprehend the sight before them.
Finally, Optimus managed speak.
"Red Alert?" he asked uncertainly.
This time, Red couldn't hold back his grin. "Yes, sir," he replied, holding out his hand.
Optimus took it, returning the smile. "Nice to have you back, old friend," he laughed, slapping Red Alert lightly on his shoulder.
"Its good to see another Wheeljack experiment work!"
"Don't expect it to happen again any time soon, Ratchet's already threatened my life," the scientist said sheepishly, mouth twitching into a smile.
"Wait...where's Jolt? Is he with you?" Perceptor asked, noticing the smaller blue Autobot was missing.
"Oh...no, he didn't make it," came the reply from Red.
The happiness in the room was instantly subdued.
"There was nothing I could do," he continued. "I barely made it myself, and he was in much worse condition than I was..."
"It's not your fault," Jetfire mentioned.
A rather uncomfortable silence followed, which was soon broken by the return of Jazz and Ratchet.
"You've returned quickly, Artemis," Optimus observed as the girl stepped out.
"Yeah, because we have a slight problem," she replied, running around to the other door to help Will out.
Optimus couldn't take much more of this. First Artemis, then Red Alert, and now him?
"Quickly, bring him over here," Ratchet called out, preparing the makeshift medbay for the half-dead human.
While Artemis was helping Ratchet, the conversation between the other mechs continued.
"Red!" Jazz shouted joyfully, punching said mech. "Nice body work. I always knew blue was your true color!"
"Hah, thanks Jazz," the security mech replied, distracted. "Hey...you know Artemis is a Decepticon now, right?"
The room tensed as Jazz was about to retort.
"Chill out, Red. She's still on our side."
The saboteur's angry words died in his throat. Of all mechs to defend her, it was Sunstreaker?
"I mean, come on," the golden twin continued, crossing his arms. "She obviously didn't have an easy time getting Major Lennox out of Decepticon hands. Didn't you see her? She looks like she's been fighting. And it doesn't look staged."
When the Autobots continued to stare, Sunstreaker rolled his optics. "What? Aren't I allowed to change my mind?" he snapped.
Finished helping Ratchet, Artemis came over.
"Hey, Red Alert," she said, looking down. "I, um, like your new look."
Taken aback, he replied, "How do you know who I am?"
"Oh, sorry," Artemis said quickly. "I've been your informant for the past few months. Blitz Gear, that's me. I recognized your voice."
"Yeah," Artemis replied, shifting uncomfortably. "Sorry about earlier today, I tried to give you as much warning as I could without it being too suspicious."
"Wait, what's going on now?" Jazz asked, confused. "You never said anything about being Red's informant!"
"Sorry Jazz," Artemis said again, feeling more and more uncomfortable. "Will said to keep it a secret, but now that's pretty useless, so...yeah."
Sensing the suffocating silence that was about to ensue, Sideswipe intervened with a bright idea.
"So, Red! You never told us about your new look! Out to impress some femmes, eh?" he said, winking.
"Well, this is kind of embarrassing..."
"Come on, Red! Tell us!"
"You know you want to!"
Sighing in defeat, Red Alert began his story. And, of course, he was teased.
Optimus sighed, watching his team have a rare moment of enjoyment. Ratchet had joined in as well, after reporting that Major Lennox would make a full recovery. The Autobot commander smiled.
These were the moments he fought for.
Well, I sincerely hope it will not take this long for any subsequent chapters to be posted. No Ironhide in this chapter, but I have some big plans for him in chapter 18!
Well, that's about it. Hopefully this chapter was good!
(And even though I don't deserve any reviews for making you wait so long, I'd still appreciate them ^.^)