/You're the sound of redemption, The faith that I've lost, The answers I'm seeking no matter the cost, You opened the window, Now I can see, And you taught me forgiveness by giving your love back to me.\\/Yeah, all the things that you are, Beautifully broken, alive in my heart, And know that you are everything, Let your heart sing and tonight, we light up the stars, All that you are. \\
All That You Are by the Goo Goo Dolls
Author's notes: I've not forgotten by favorite couple. I apologize for the long wait for an update. RL just has away of stomping on my muse. Alas, here's an update. We pick up just a couple of days after the race. Apologies again. Please enjoy.
Warning: cybertronian curses.
Ch 12: Getting to Know You Part 1
It's truly a remarkable feat of engineering and ingenuity. And it's the miracle I'd been praying for since we had fled Cybertron after our civil war basically killed our home. It also gave hope to an ancient mech such as myself for the young ones aboard the Axalon who only have heard about or seen pictures of Cybertron will get to experience some of our cultures architecture even if it's on another world.
Prime did well by honoring as many of various cultures from Cybertron with the construction of Autobot City. I found myself having to explain a few of the architectural structures to mechs like the Axalon's engineer Wreckgar who'd been sparked on a foreign world never having set foot on Cybertron.
I glanced over, chuckling to myself as even now Wreckgar was annoying Springer with question after question. The mechanical engineer had an unquenchable thirst for knowledge. In front of them, First Aid was also learning more by reading datapads Ratchet had given. Behind me I can hear Blaster humming strange new tunes he no doubt acquired from his cousin.
Which brings me to the next blessing I'm so grateful to Primus for – the many happy reunions between family, friends, and loved ones.
I've never seen Marshall's smile so bright in all our time on the Axalon. I never thought our Ariel unit would settle and not be so wild until they were reunited with their eldest brother and leader, Silverbolt. Even Jetfire struts around differently with more humility now that he's in the presence of his cousin and our Prime.
And while I've no one to be reunited with except a few old friends, simply seeing the joy in others had brought its own joy to myself. For the first time in a long time I was content and optimistically hopeful of our future.
"We're not even on Earth a full three days and they've started up," Marshall chuckled taking a seat beside me.
"Who else? Seems the usual group of mechs got wind that Kaceystar was in charge of running one of the orientation groups. Someone hacked the rosters and did some rearranging. So, Hot Rod and several other mechs conveniently ended up assigned to her orientation group."
I glanced over at Blaster, raising an optic ridge.
"I'd nothing to do with it," Blaster remarked. "Besides I just got this promotion to Head Communications officer, I'm not gonna slag it up. Hot Rod understands that and wouldn't have asked me anyways. Plus, I was with Jazz catching up on old times."
Marshall and I shared a look. We both knew Blaster was telling the truth. All the young mechs were honest even though they were mischievous.
"It could have been anyone," Springer chimed in from his seat to my right, eager to escape from Wreckgar's questioning. "Hot Rod could sweet talk a drone if it was going to get him what he wanted."
"I take it that's why Prowl's late?" I asked.
"Prowl created the roster for each of the orientation groups," Marshall explained. "He had been going over it one last time when he caught the discrepancies. Magnus and I were called in to discuss what punishment was to be handed out."
"I did warn Hot Rod about Prowl, that he's a mech to not be trifled with," I chuckled, shaking my head. "Stubborn kid always has to learn things the hard way."
"So it would seem," Marshall agreed. "I thought you were making headway in that department, Springer."
Springer snorted, "You kidding me? My philosophy is to let them learn the hard way. It sinks in faster. Besides, not all of us had everything we wanted growing up. Some of us had to scrape by to barely survive like Hot Rod. So learning things the hard way is natural for him and I'm not gonna change that. It will make him a better mech in the long run, one I know I can count on in battle."
I turned and gave Springer a hard look wondering why he was in more of a sour mood than usual. Primus, I hope he didn't have another fight over Arcee. I heard about her date with Orion and was tempted to warn Prime.
"What techno bug crawled up your tail pipe this morning?" Marshall asked, voicing my thoughts.
"He got booted from the targeting range early this morning," Blaster snickered. "Seems Ironhide decided to challenge Kacey to a shoot off and it was the only time they both had today to do it."
Springer grumbled a few curses and crossed his arms.
"She did apologize to you, Springer," Blaster added. "And you could have continued your target practice. It was only a small group and they weren't too rambunctious."
"Oh, I don't deny she's very polite and well mannered. I just doubt her abilities in battle when she always gets her way all the time."
"Have you even read her service record?" I asked.
"Its glorified slag…"
"Written by the SIC…" I countered only to get cut off.
"Who is one of her closest 'uncles' that treats her like a daughter from what I've heard," Springer growled. "She's a spoiled little pretty femme…"
"That is Prime's first born, you are talking about!" I snapped.
"Kup, sit down," Marshall insisted calmly, placing a hand on my shoulder. "You know how Springer gets from time to time. He'll see to reason or learn the hard way."
"From what Ratchet has told me, Prime's first born has more than earned her place in our ranks," First Aid commented, looking confused about Springer's animosity toward the young femme. "Considering the kind of mech Ratchet is that is high praise."
"I've yet to see her fight and refuse to go by hearsay on her fighting abilities. And I especially don't believe that bullslag Jerik tries to pawn off about her being our 'savior'. All I've seen so far is a spoiled brat that gets whatever she wants."
"Oh slag! The princess is pissed!" Jetfire giggled as he rushed in and grabbed a seat, interrupting Marshall.
"What…" I was about to ask when I heard Kacey's distinct voice echoing loudly into the room from the hallway.
"For frag sake, Prowl, you're worse than my father at times! I can handle them!"
"Of that I have no doubt," Prowl replied calmly as they came to a stop in the doorway. "I however, cannot let them go unpunished. So I will be conducting their orientation. I'll leave the Axalon officers in your capable hands as I know you will handle them with respect and consideration."
The young femme growled, arms folded across her chest, doorwings in the distinct 'I'm pissed off' V position.
"Please, see it from my perspective, Kacey?" Prowl asked and I heard Springer snort harshly.
He and I were going to have a talk. I was unsure where Springer's animosity towards young Kaceystar came from but I needed to find out and get it sorted. From what I understood, he was going to have to work with her from time to time as they're both triple changers with the rare ability to fight from the sky and the ground.
"Fine," she huffed taking the offered datapad from Prowl.
"Excellent," he replied then stepped into the room and addressed us. "As I'm sure you know by now a few overly exuberant mechs have manipulated the orientation roster. Rather than punish them by having them spend time in the brig, which according to Marshall would be of no use for these mechs, I will be conducting their orientation."
"I fail to see how that is punishment," Wreckgar remarked.
"Trust me, it's a punishment," Kaceystar replied. "I've had to endure a few too many of Prowl's lectures."
"Even Prime dreads them from what I've heard," I chuckled.
"Very true," Prowl said, doorwings held proud. "Now, since I cannot be in two places at once and rescheduling is out of the question, Kacey will conduct your orientation. I can think of no other bot more suited for this task, except perhaps my bondmate, Jazz who is already conducting his own orientation class. Kacey has a wealth of knowledge when it comes to Earth and its people. You will find her very helpful with linguistics as well Blaster as she is fluent in all the modern languages. Furthermore, do not hesitate to question her. With that said, I leave you in her capable servos."
"Hang on, I'm going with you," Springer called out, getting to his peds.
I noticed Kaceystar instantly tensed up when the mech directed a brief glare at her.
"Springer, I highly recommend you stay here for your orientation. It is mandatory. Plus, Kacey's presentation will be far more stimulating than mine."
"If I wanted stimulating I'd find a pleasure bot or go to the firing range. I'm going with you because some one needs to keep an optic on Hot Rod and his buddies."
"Trust me, I have had amble experience dealing with mechs such as Hot Rod."
"I don't care. I'm going."
I noticed one of Prowl's doorwings twitching, a clear sign that he was irritated but restraining himself. Kaceystar's doorwings flicked in a nervous gesture as the two mechs stared off at each other. The tension began to rise the longer they stared.
"Prowl, let him go," I said over a private comlink. "I'll explain later."
"Very well," Prowl replied, standing aside to let Springer pass. The SIC made a quick optic contact with me before leaving but beeped my comlink. "I will trust your judgment in this matter for now. I expect an explanation as soon as orientation is over. I still have to reprimand him. I will not allow my authority to be undermined by even an officer of Springer's background."
"You will have your explanation and I will be there when you reprimand him. Kup out."
"Don't mind him, Princess," Jetfire smiled. "Springer's had a bug up his aft lately with Arcee ditching him. Nothing you can do about that."
"Jet, please refrain from calling me that," she grumbled but I saw the mirth in her optics and knew she adored Jetfire. As annoying as he could be because of his youthful exuberance, Jetfire was a good mech with a charming personality that most femmes found attractive. And from what I've heard and saw when I was introduced to Prime's family Kaceystar and Jetfire were already the best of friends and rumor has it, terrors in the sky. "Arcee…she's the femme Orion had a date with?"
Kacey immediately looked worried.
"Don't worry about it kid," I told her. "Springer will not harm Orion out of jealously."
"Very well. Just make certain he knows father and mother aren't the only protective ones in the family," she smiled. "Now, let's discuss alt modes for you mechs. I've only glanced at what each of you have chosen…and…well…Kup, I think you are the only one who needs my help in choosing one appropriate for the current time period."
The mechs laughed, even I laughed.
"On this matter I will defer to your judgment then," I grinned.
"Good, after class I will show you some pictures of preferred and modern vehicle modes I believe you will like. Now let us begin," she said and jumped into the orientation with the grace and wit of her mother and the charisma and confidence of her father.
"She is rather…unique," Marshall whispered to me at one point.
I nodded in agreement, observing that any nervousness generated by Springer was completely gone from the femme's frame. And I found myself wishing I was a young mech again but quickly pushed those thoughts aside as I knew her father all too well. I've seen Optimus' temper and it can be a frightening sight to behold when he lets it loose and I have no desire to be dismantled.
Regardless, I was curious to see how events would unfold in the upcoming days. With some of the growing tensions I had a feeling sparks were gonna fly. I just hope no bot is seriously injured when they do.
A couple of weeks had gone by quickly. My medical bay had been busier than I wanted it to be. There had been numerous incidents amongst the crew. Minor scuffles, nothing major, resulting in a few scrapes and dents being repaired. It was more of a headache for Marshall and Magnus who had to fill out the incident reports, turn them in to Prowl, and then attend any disciplinary meeting with the SIC and decide what kind of punishment was to be inflicted up the mechs or femmes involved.
However, most surprising was the frequency of visits by the same mechs during those two weeks.
Blurr had dropped by two times a day the first couple of days. Rox three times a day, nearly every day. Blaster one in one day. And finally Hot Rod, four times a day everyday for the past two weeks.
All four mechs with similar injuries.
All I can say was I'm grateful Prowl screens which reports that reach Optimus' desk and which do not. I know as a father I wouldn't want mechs hounding my baby girl the way these four have been hounding Kacey. On the other hand, I'd be glad if my baby girl was capable of handling herself like Kacey can.
Maybe I should have Kayla take lessons on the chance that I'm not there to protect her virtue from certain mechs.
Primus, he has the gall to come into my medical bay every day once in the morning and once in the afternoon looking for Kayla. I've caught him a couple of times hovering a bit too close to Kayla for my comfort. Moonracer tells me I'm being too hard on the mech. Honestly, I can't put enough dents in his head with a wrench for him to get the idea I don't want him near Kayla. I especially don't like the way he looks at my Kayla when he thinks no one's looking at him.
"I'm not," I scowled.
Moonracer gave me that 'you're so full of slag' look and she came and sat on my lap.
"Alright but tell me you're not a little wary about Jetfire and the way he looks at Kayla."
"I feel as protective of Kayla as you…"
"Let me finish," she warned. "She is on the verge of becoming a fully mature femme…a time when we must reluctantly let her make her own decisions and trust that we taught her to be the best mechanism that she can be. And is Jetfire really so bad? He's a bit of a free spirit, gets lost in the moment from time to time. But he's also highly intelligent…"
I snorted interrupting her which only made her smile as she reached up to caress my face.
"I checked with Marshall and Kup. Jetfire is every bit the scientist his creators were and more. He's just uses his intelligence for more…creative activities."
"Yes, I've heard about some of those activities," I chimed in trying to block the images that came forth. "He loves the femmes and doesn't settle on one…"
"He's young. Tell me you didn't berth hop a few times before settling down with me," she countered. "Besides, you are not seeing he's strongest quality…his loyalty. It's unwavering. He would lay his life on the life for Optimus and his family or anyone of us…including Kayla."
I growled. She was right.
"Doesn't mean I have to like him," I mumbled.
"I wouldn't expect you to be anything less than you are my love," she purred, kissing the end of my nose. "Just remember our daughter's feelings are what matter most. If she chose him, then it is her choice, not ours."
"Hmm, I'll think about it," I murmured, kissing her fully, pulling her closer against me.
Before I could even contemplate taking it further I heard Sockets clearing his vocal processor from the doorway of my office.
"What now?" I grumbled, looking over Moonracer's shoulder, wishing I had the good sense to close the door the moment she'd come in.
"I'm sorry to disturb you, Sir. But we've two patients that require your attention," he smirked.
"You're not too sorry. Go before I dismantle you!"
"They're in exam room three," Sockets chuckled and then hurried away. I couldn't stay angry with him too long. He wass one of my best medics.
"We'll continue this later," Moonracer smiled, caressing my face as she removed herself from my lap much to my disappointment.
I growled watching her go, then grabbed my favorite wrench off the desk. Whichever officer, I say officer only because whenever I'm on duty I deal with the officers injuries personally, dared to come into my medical bay right now was going to get a wallop to the cranium whether they deserved it or not.
Of course when I walked into exam room three I wasn't at all expecting to find Prowl scraped and dented with his doorwings dislocated chuckling right along with an equally damaged Kacey who grabbed her back as she laughed and winced.
"What the frag happened?" I growled, forcing each of them to lay on the exam tables and started running the diagnostics.
"We were sparring," Prowl calmly answered. "I told her not to hold back."
"And I told him I wouldn't hold back if he didn't hold back," Kacey grimaced.
"So you tried to kill each other?"
"Kacey pointed out that it's been a long while since I've been out in the field. Training and drones only do so much to prepare for real time combat simulation…OW! What the frag!" Prowl yelped, rubbing his helm where I dented it and gave Kacey a good one too before she could think of escaping.
"That's for being slagging idiots!" I growled as the medical scanners collected information on Prowl's injuries. Almost instantly the data told me a different story. "Kacey I'd expect this from but you?"
"What?" Prowl countered, stone faced as ever.
"Mind telling me what you two were really doing?" I asked. "The degree of metal burn you have is not consistent with sparring or any of Kacey's weaponry."
"We were sparring," Prowl reiterated. "At least that's the only story you're to tell Jazz."
"We were racing," Kacey said quietly.
"I should have known," I snorted, rolling my optics. "I can't believe you let her talk you into racing, Prowl."
"I didn't have much of a choice."
"It's for his surprise bonding present to Jazz," Kacey smiled. "Jazz has been trying for centuries to get Prowl to race with him. He never does. Jazz is under the impression that he's the faster bot on wheels between the pair of them. I know differently. So at my charity race in two weeks, Prowl is going to race Jazz and a few others. Only no one will know its Prowl."
"Not until it's over. Then I reveal myself. Although I still don't see how it's going to work. Jazz will recognize my energy signature right away even if I keep my end of the bond silent or I'm using this new alt form you have for me."
"Stop worrying," Kacey smirked. "I got it all taken care of. You're gonna look sexy for him. Trust me."
"You couldn't take your bondmate to Costa Rica or do something…normal?" I inquired.
"This is my bondmate. I know what turns him on better than any…OW! What the frag!"
"That was for scarring my processor!" I snarled, threatening to give Prowl another good dent. "Primus in a pit bucket! Is that all you young bots think about!"
"Oh, like you're any different," Kacey snorted. "Might want to sound proof your office, Ratch. I've got a recording that puts my parents to shame. It might make its way into the twins hands…unless…"
"Fine, you're secret is safe with me," I grumbled. "Jazz will never know."
"See, I told you he'd do it," Kacey smirked. "Ratchet is such a softy."
"On the inside, of course," the young femme added, making me shake my head.
Try as I might, I could never stay mad at the kid for too long. I love her as if she were my own daughter. There are even some days I look at Kacey and can't believe she's no longer the little youngling femme who told me off for taking her thrusters offline.
Primus how time passes so quickly.
Up next: We have Hot Rod and Bumblebee's POVs!