Sam recoiled in horror at the roar of missle fire booming through the speaker, of chaos and then, nothing. The transmission was severed, and faltered into the static whine before going dead. Sam stared with huge eyes as the intercom as Michaela curled him to her side.
Bumblebee wailed beneath them, and shuddered.
"Bee, can you get back the signal?" Sam asked numbly, as Bumblebee chirped, shrill and wounded. The signal was beyond ressurection on Ironhide's end. There was nothing to get back.
"It sounded like a war zone." Michaela whispered hoarsely. Twisting around, she turned to Sam, eyes shimmering. "We need to get going before they find us."
Sam shook his head, numbly. "Are you crazy? We have to go back! We can't just leave them to die like-"
"Sam." Michaela silenced him with a hand on his face. "We can't do anything to help them but what Ironhide asked us to do, okay?"
He met her searing eyes, and she whispered, soft with understanding. "I know, Sam. I know. But if we go back, we're trashing their one chance to live. Is that what you want to do?"
Bumblebee abruptly snarled beneath them, and bucked his seats. Sam and Michaela heard the sharp click of car doors locking, of seatbelts slithering forward, and the low growl of warning from the engine before Bumblebee shot forward.
Sam yelped in surprise to find himself hurdled backwards in the car seat.
"Bee? What the hell are you doing?"
Michaela hitched her shoulders as she ran a hand over the dashboard. "He's doing what we should have been doing all along, Sam. Taking us to the Seeker."
Time and speed. Bumblebee needed both, but he was already out of one, and failing to achieve the other. His wounded joints groaned in protest as he diverted the flow of energon from the non-essential-lights, radio, air conditioning- to his engine. He winced in pain as he forced his gears forward, and shot off, neither knowing or caring what the humans thought. He wished to Primus he could speak. He wished to Primus that he could tell Sam he was sorry, explain that Ironhide knew what he was doing and that going back to the battle would have been nothing less than suicide. Was Sam blind to the fact that Bumblebee had heard the horrible roar of the cannon blast? That it was his comerads and family who could be dying now?
Time and speed. He had little of one left, and the other was almost gone.
Bumblebee found himself skittering away from the last thing he called home with two human children. His neural sensors could detect the humans' fear. Sam's rigid tremble, his fingers dug like claws into Bumblebee's seat. Michaela's hitching breath as she tried to force that wanning smile.
Bumblebee chirped bright reassurance as he continued his erratic hurdle towards the museam. The Seeker's trace was old and faint as distant starlight. Were it not for Ironhide's foresight in uploading all the information, it would have been missed. Bumblebee had wasted no time time in questioning orders, worrying about the futility of the whole plan, or even what was to be done once he found the Seeker. There simply wasn't time.
He remembered that the Seeker's trace had been as sharp as a cannon blast when he finally rolled into the empty streets. He forced himself to slow, wary of attracting unwanted attention.
"Bee? Where are we going?" Sam's question was the only sound as Bumblebee focused on the signal. At the Base, it had been almost non-existant. Now, the stench of old energon and the Seeker's trace felt close enough to touch.
Here. It was here! Bumblebee chirped loud, and flung open his doors, the demand to exit to clear. Dubiously, the humans exchanged glances, as Michaela emerged first. Sam soon flanked her, staring wide-eyed at the air museum. After taking a moment to ensure that the humans were at a safe distance, Bumblebee transformed.
It was slow, halting, and painful. Sam watched warily as Bumblebee slid his gears into place, the wheels slowly disappearing under the malestrom of shifting parts.
It had taken longer, but it was finally finished. Starscream's cannon blasts had left his wounds mercifully small.
Chirping in demand, Bumblebee gestured the humans to follow, as he scanned the area for any enemies. Bumblebee paused to stare at the dark gleam of the glass doors, and stared at his battered reflection. Peering over one shoulder to make sure that the humans were clear, Bumblebee knotted his digits into a fist, and then plunged it through the door. The glass crumbled to shards, and left glittering chaos over the concrete.
The humans trailed behing, clutching each other and clearly afraid, as Bumblebee strode into the massive air museam. He tilted his optics skyward, and stared, disbelieving at the old war planes and military machines that hung suspended, forever frozen in time. It was strange to think that the human's entire history of flight was so brief that it could be lodged in one building.
Bumblebee pivoted sharply, and did not turn to hear the human footsteps stop behind him. He chirped loudly for attention. Michaela stared, disbelieving at the obsidion war plane, that gleamed dully in the skylight.
"This is the Seeker?" Michaela asked doubtfully. Sam hitched a shoulder as he edged closer, and finally tapped a wing blade. The metal clanged lifelessly.
"Hello? Hey!" Sam tapped the wing more forcefully. Uncertainly, he turned back to Bumblebee. "What do we do, Bee?"
Bumblebee said nothing, but only stepped forward, palm extended, as his wrist gears shifted to reveal the piece of Shard.
Flickers of awareness. Bright fragments of memory, light and life suddenly being poured back into the battered shell that still remained in stasis. Awareness flickered, as the Shard arched high, cut deep, and sent the shockwave of life through the ancient gears. Life trickled down through Jetfire's systems, slithered across his old cables, ghosted in his engine, and reverberated back to his optics.
Sensations came roaring back. The familiar cold tile beneath his wheels. The glare of halogen lights, the hum of electricity on the powerlines outside. Blue sky shimmering down on his optics from the overhead skylight.
Jetfire shuddered with the disorientation and the shock, as his various systems lurched painfully back into functioning. His stasis had been broken. He was awake, just as the Primes predicted.
His wheels scuttered across the floor, as Bumblebee shot backwards and shielded the humans. His ancient parts, already ravaged by time, and disuse, finally groaned into obedience as he instinctively transformed from the Blackbird to the Autobot.
Jetfire heard a human female shriek in terror, followed by the snatches of words. Bewildered, his optics flared red as he finally righted himself.
"It's a Decepticon! Look at its wing!"
Shrieking fleshling children. "Fleshlings." He snarled in irritation as he continued his lurching attempts to force his joints into obedience.
He heard a sharp, metalic chirp, and the familiar sound of an Autobot cannon being rolled into combat position. Jetfire tottered forward, cursing his age and his limited mobility as he flared his wings backwards, in the futile hope that they would see he meant them no harm. The small, yellow Autobot chirped in warning as he shoved the humans behind, shielding them with his own frail body.
Jetfire squinted at that, as he languidly shook off the aftermath of the long stasis.
"I'll have you know that I'm no Decepticon!" Jetfire's voice was gruff from being filtered through so many old vents, but it was still intelligble. The humans paled.
Jetfire sighed. Human diplomacy was never a skill he had aquired, and he was woefully inadequate at communicating. "I'll have you know that I mean you no harm."
The human female glanced at the human male, and stepped forward. "Hey."
Jetfire stared at her dubiously.