((Disclaimer: I don't own the Transformers, I'm just borrowing them.))

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Arcee's optics flickered slightly as she came online.

She could make out blurry shapes overhead and around her, but nothing was clear enough to identify.

She felt as if her systems were running at a fraction of their usual strength. Dull, muted pain wrenched at every circuit in her body, but oddly enough, she felt... nothing... at the same time.

Gears whined in protest as she lifted her head off the surface her frame was lying on (something flat, hard, and metallic) and she quickly settled back down.

She had been sent to Egypt to protect the humans... she had been exchanging shots with Decepticons in Egypt... Arcee recalled those events easily enough. However, it didn't explain why she was lying on a cool metal table in a noticably quieter, more peaceful room.

Had she been taken prisoner?

Unlikely... she wasn't restrained in any way.

Stop. Think. What's the last thing I remember?

Lots of sand. Uncomfortable heat. Ruins. Outnumbered by Decepticons. Shots exchanged. The human boy and his prospective mate running towards them.

There had to be more than that...

Arcee shuttered her optics, a frown tugging at her mouth as she struggled to remember. It was like two-thirds of her memories were missing, and once they hit a certain point, there was nothing. There was a large, empty gap where two days' worth of events should have fit.

Most interesting, she mused, pulling herself carefully into a sitting position and adjusting her optics until her vision was as sharp and clear as it had been before her memory lapse.

She instantly recognized Ratchet's repair bay in the NEST base. If the assortment of medial equipment and repair berths weren't a dead giveaway, the large chartreuse mech tinkering with one of his patients was.

Evidently, she had been damaged during the firefight in Egypt.

A shadow fell over her, abruptly pulling her out of her ponderings. Arcee looked up, perhaps a little too quickly, as something in her neck painfully tweaked against a loose cable. She winced.

Now... why exactly were we in Egypt? Arcee wondered, the prickly tingling of a medical scanner fading into the back of her consciousness. I know we were sent to defend the human boy who claimed that he...

Her train of thought derailed and tumbled down into a ravine far below.

"Lie down," a gruff but slightly gentle voice commanded. "I didn't say you could sit up and start whipping your head back and forth."

Arcee did so obediently, though she was beginning to feel sick with worry.

"The boy," she began hesitantly. "Did he make it? And what of Prime? Is he still... offline?"

Ratchet grunted softly, prodding at a hinge in her knee that stung at his touch. "The humans are safe, and they are en route to their respective homes. As for Prime, he is recovering. He is in recharge right now, but we spoke briefly several hours ago." He pointed off to the left.

True enough, Optimus Prime was recharging a couple berths over, his impressive blue and red frame still battered but a lot less damaged than it had been in Egypt. Every now and then he would shift slightly as if he was trying to find a more comfortable position. One of his arms was hanging over the side of the berth, fingers trailing against the edge of a tarp that was covering something sizeable and rather lumpy.

She listened intently as Ratchet filled in all of the details of the battle in Egypt, the sickening worry that had been plaguing her quickly replaced by shame. Even though Samuel was very much alive, she had still failed him by allowing him to die. If he hadn't been miraculously resurrected...

...Arcee didn't want to think about that.

"I'm still amazed that we suffered no losses," Ratchet continued softly, his rough demeanor's edges frayed and worn by hidden concern that had finally broken free of its concealment. "For a while, you didn't look like you'd make it."

An awkward silence descended. Arcee turned her head away from him to stare blankly at the other side of the repair bay.

"Were we really that damaged?" she asked dryly; a poor stab at humor which failed to penetrate the serious atmosphere.

Of course, she knew what the answer was going to be. It was common knowledge that if you came online to see the tender, worried side of Ratchet, you were probably much closer to offlining than you thought you were.

Ratchet sighed.

"Yes."

She smiled good-naturedly, although the smile was as fragile as she felt. "Just a simple 'yes' for an answer? No tools to the head? No threats of being reassembled into household implements?"

There were a series of whirs and clicks as Ratchet's tools vanished into their compartments set in his arms. "Not today, Arcee. Try and sit up now."

He extended a hand, offering to help her up.

Arcee lightly batted his hand away and eased herself upright. Nothing protested, nothing hurt. She flexed her arms and shoulders experimentally, and found that everything was in good working order.

She was about to slide down to the ground when a sudden realization hit her with more force than a missile from an enraged Decepticon.

She was blue.

Not that it was anything to be alarmed about - one of her components was electric blue.

However, small things that had been nagging at her slowly added up and compounded.

She usually onlined in her pink module.

Two thirds of her memory had vanished.

She couldn't feel her other two modules.

The tarp near Prime was obviously hiding something.

Ratchet was usually a little more friendly and caring towards her than the other Autobots, but not to this extent.

Her optics narrowed to slits as she turned towards the medic, grim curiousity written on her faceplates.

"What's under the tarp?"

It was another question that she already knew the answer to.

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((A/N: I told my friends that I'd write an Arcee fic, poor femmebot barely got any spotlight in RotF. However I'm a bit of a beginner when it comes to the movieverse, so please tell me if I've got some continuity errors or something.

I'm going with the idea that Arcee is a "tripartite Cybertronian" (like the camera guy from G1) for this fic, in case anyone's wondering. I'll explain things in greater depth when I get to later chapters.))