I said I would work on another old story until it was finished, and this was the one that won my poll. It honestly took my this long to reread what I had and get in the mood to work on something so old. I don't try to sound over zealous, but I feel my writing has progressed a lot since I wrote these first few stories, and rereading them is almost physically painful. Someday when I get over my College-days-laziness, perhaps I'll revamp these older stories for better grammar and syntax. But for now, I suppose those who have made it this far into the story already made it past that part. Well, I hope that the next half of the story will be an easier read. Or maybe it isn't as painful for you all to read as it was for me. I don't know. I just know that this chapter makes the story worth my while again.
Continuing in Bumblebee's point of view, I give you the next chapter. Once again, I assure you that this one- and the monster of a story I'm perpetually working on -are my top priorities. For other priorities, see the note at the end of the story. I hope you enjoy the chapter.
The plane's crew was still getting ready when we arrived on the scene. Any normal plane only meant for taking soldiers off base would require a single pilot and copilot, but for any plane that would take us anywhere, there could be no less than five personnel. The additional three members of the crew would each have a gun and flight training, with one in passing knowledge of Cybertronian mechanics in the occasion that we had to evacuate the plane and whoever of us were injured. It isn't just paranoia; Ratchet's decreed this to be a staple of any flight in which one of us is a part of. On several occasions, Jazz and or Ironhide had been injured during flight from a Decepticon attack, trying to get the soldiers all parachuting out to safety, but by the time they made it out, they were without proper safety precautions and already damaged enough to sustain significant injuries on landing.
I think the fact that this is all I could think about as I watched the plane be prepared had a lot to say on my mood.
"These planes aren't identical." I pulled the man in charge of each of the three jets aside. He was clearly nervous speaking one-on-one with me, but he toughed it out and raised his chin.
"We don't have three identical planes, sir. Unless they watch you board, they won't know which one to go after anyways."
"How thick is the armor on ours?" I wondered, looking over to the one with a lighter colored hull.
"Tough enough to take anything straight up to a direct hit. She hasn't gone down yet."
"Bee." Sam spoke up, giving me a look. "Leave him alone."
I gave the man another cautious look, before nodding and standing upright again. Alright, fine. Only because those are the first words Sam's spoken in over an hour. I gladly turned my attention to the boy still perched on my shoulder, who is as distracted as he'd been when he'd nearly thrown a fit over going to see Ratchet. Something's on his mind, and he isn't talking.
"Are you ready to tell me what you're thinking about?" I questioned, taking him down off my shoulder. He didn't even notice, just looking back towards the base behind us again.
"I'm not thinking anything."
"Right, and I just found you yesterday. If you're worried about the others facing Megatron again..."
"No." He shook his head. "That's not it, Prime's got a handle on that. Unless they've got some storage of Energon we don't know about, Megatron isn't going to be strong enough to be much of a threat."
"Then why do you look like you know something bad is going to happen?"
"I don't know. Sometimes you just get bad feelings about stuff, right?" He looked up at me. "I've got a bad feeling about all of this, but I'm sure I'm not the only one. I mean, Megatron just came back from the dead." He laughed nervously.
"People get that feeling all the time." I agreed. "But they don't always have a slightly-omniscient entity in their head. Is it something to do with the Allspark? You should trust it, and if it's giving you any-"
"It isn't the Allspark." He insisted, snapping slightly. "Alright? I've just got a bad feeling."
I was quiet a moment, trying to analyze him. I ran a low grade scan and tried to compare his expression with those I'd seen on his face before, but I just can't figure out what he's thinking. Finally, I gave up and nodded. "Yeah, I got that feeling too."
After the engines had finally started and the planes were all ready, we boarded and I transformed to allow for a safer takeoff. The pilots always get nervous when we're in our bipedal forms after we're in the air, but I didn't intend to stay like this the whole time. I waited until we were at cruising heights before transforming again. They all gave me weary looks, but I opted into ignoring them. We've got two hours until we reach the in between base, and then a couple more hours to the South Atlantic base. It isn't used often, and it's perhaps the only one we know for sure to still be secret.
Sam was looking out the window at the base behind us, instead of clinging to my side like he had been the last few hours. Whenever he's more independent, I'm always happy for him, but right now I'm worried it's not for the reasons I prefer.
"What's wrong?" I questioned, crawling closer to where he stood. The ceiling in here is so low I can barely sit upright.
"Does it feel to you like..." He trailed off, unable to find the right words.
"Something's off?" I tried to help fill in the words. He shook his head. "Something bad is going to happen?" We've already had this conversation.
"No. Like someone' here."
I almost came back with a smart-aleck comment about how there's actually seven people on this plane, but held my tongue. "What do you mean?"
"You know that sort of presence you get, when Optimus walks into the room? He's not just big, but he's... great."
I laughed slightly and nodded. "He's a Prime. That's a bit more than just a title. We're sort of programmed to recognize that he's a leader, whether he's ours or not."
"Yeah. He's a pretty significant presence to be around. It's kinda like that." He mused, not looking away from the window.
"Sam, you're kind of freaking me out. Are you saying there's another Prime around?" I tilted my head. "I'm pretty sure there are no other Primes. There's only ever one at a time. Well, except way back when with the originals... but Optimus is the only Prime right now."
"Yeah." He nodded slowly.
I watched him for another minute, shifting to get more comfortable. "You don't want to leave, do you?"
He shook his head.
"We're just trying to keep you safe. That's pretty much my one goal here, you know."
"Yeah. Make sure you keep Witwicky alive. What would you do without your favorite human?" He laughed, but it sounded more bitter and sarcastic than joking around.
"Sam?" I'm kind of worried now.
"And of course you can't chance losing the Allspark again. So keep it locked up away from everything and everyone." He went on like he didn't even hear me. "I should be back there helping them. The Allspark can help, I shouldn't be hiding, Bee! I should be back there with Prime and the others, helping."
"You'd only be a distraction. Worrying about being careful to keep you alive would take away from whatever battle is to come. They said the Decepticons were enroute already."
"Yeah, but..." Sam moaned, banging his forehead against the window, making me snort.
"They'll have the situation taken care of in no time."
"There's something bigger going on! Why did they bring Megatron back now? Why wait so long? What were they looking for? And who's here?"
"I don't think anyone's here. We're in the middle of nowhere..." I ran a quick scan on our surroundings, quickly identifying something off about our direction. "Wait a moment." I ran a more thorough scan to find that we were, indeed, headed twenty degrees too far north to be headed for the right base.
"What?" Sam questioned, finally looking back at me.
"Hold on a minute." I turned and scooted toward the head of the hull, back to where the five human members of this plane were all crowded. The cockpit was too small to hold them all, and just outside it opened up into a narrow area where human passengers sit, with storage space on either side behind the seating. I stopped at the edge of this, not even attempting to squeeze in between to get any closer, but the fact they were all trying to squish into the cockpit confirmed my suspicions.
One of them looked back at me, pale and nervous. He was practically shaking, clearly terrified of me.
"Where are we going?" I asked, ignoring his fear. It's foolish, you'd think they'd realize there's no reason to be afraid of us by now.
"I- I don't know, sir." He answered. Gerald, I think his name is. Gerald was shaking like a leaf.
"What do you mean?" I tried to lean to one side, to see the pilot.
There was whispering to low for me to catch, and Gerald poked his head back into the crowded space behind him. Then, he turned back to me and Sam- who was just now pushing past me to stand in the human area of the plane.
"I mean, ah... well, we've... ahm..."
"Spit it out." Sam insisted, getting more irritated than I was.
"We've lost control of the plane." He finally stated, formally and lowering his chin. Gerald's eyes darted between Sam and myself, clearly not sure which of us to give his attention to.
"What does that mean?" I stayed patient; it's hard to get a flustered soldier to talk.
"Well, ah... Agent McHahon is still flying, and he's keeping us stable, but we've lost all navigation control. We can't turn around." Gerald pointed towards the pilot.
"Agent McHahon." I addressed the pilot in question.
"When did you lose navigation?" I asked patiently.
"Right after takeoff, sir."
"Have you notified NEST yet?"
"No, sir. Our communications have also been cut."
I sighed in irritation, leaning back and away from the group. Sam looked back to me, before walking closer to the humans. He's never liked being even as close to them as he is now, but he's clearly disturbed right now and not much can shake him when he's like this.
"Why didn't you tell us? We could have contacted Optimus independently by now. What are you doing to try and fix the situation?" The boy demanded, taking out his pent up frustrations that had been brewing just moments ago.
"We're trying to disable the auto-pilot manually and override any outside interference with the flight's navigation systems." Gerald explained, shifting to one side to reveal another of the soldiers under the copiolet's dash, messing with wiring.
"So we're flying in response from an outside signal? Can you identify it?" He demanded.
"No, ah... we're only assuming it's an outside signal. We think it's someone influencing the autopilot remotely, even though that feature's disabled for this particular flight."
"Obviously not disabled enough! You're implying that the Decepticons have identified which plane we're on, and they're now taking us towards some Pit-knows-where location?!" Sam was about to explode. I quickly ended my conversation with Prime and pulled Sam back, putting him on the other side of me so he couldn't make the humans any more nervous than they already are.
"Let me have a look it." I insisted, getting into position to at least reach my arm down the way. They quickly scrambled out of the way to give me plenty of space. Even though I know next to nothing about the technology of planes, I'm rather familiar with Decepticon interference. So I quickly went to find the transmission node and tried to identify any remote signals coming in. "I just spoke with Prime, and he's already en route to meet us wherever we land. He and a few of the others are on their way. I'm going to block the signal and try to allow you to safely land this vehicle, but if I can't do that, we're going to evacuate."
"I've never jumped out of a plane for real before." One of the men mused to himself.
"I just need everyone to stay calm, alright?" I encouraged, glancing back to Sam as I felt around in the copilot's dash. He had fallen silent again, only this time with a more peeved expression. That expression I can identify; that one I know.
Sure enough, there's a Decepticon signal that's completely taken over the plane's navigation systems. They must have started to integrate before we ever took off, because even if I were to cut the signal, we'd still be enroute to wherever we are now. By the time I ever had a hope of cleansing the navigation systems, we'd probably already be in a Decepticon ambush.
I withdrew and moved farther back to the highest point in the ceiling so I could sit up properly.
"Did you get it? McHahon, turn this thing around already!" The same soldier that had been attempting to fix things before me insisted. I believe his name to be Carl. The other agent, the copilot's name is Katie, and the third soldier I'm sure is Erin. I'm glad to know their names, because I'm going to need their cooperation now.
"I can't." Agent McHahon objected, clearly sweating bullets.
"They've corrupted the systems before we left the ground. We're going to have to evacuate the plane now. Stay calm, and does everyone remember how to work the parachute?"
Everyone stared at me as if I were insane. But, no one objected as they went into motion to don their safety gear. Everyone except for Charles McHahon.
"Charles, I don't think the plane is going to veer off course if you let go of that." I encouraged.
He nodded, slowly getting up and walking back towards the human seating area. This is actually going very well so far. Now, for the hardest part.
"Sam?" I started to reach toward the boy.
He quickly shook his head. "I don't know how to use one of those things."
"I believe one of the soldiers can get you suited up and explain the procedure to you. I need you to stay calm-"
"Can't we just go down like we had before?" He interrupted me, reluctant to step back into the human half of this plane.
"I've already scrubbed the landing form from my matrix. And falling to the Earth from this height in a Camaro with nothing but a seat belt isn't the safest thing. I'll be right behind you."
"You're joking, right?" Sam gasped. "Do you realize how easy it would be to separate us like this? This is what they want! The Decepticons want us separated like this."
"Sam." I suddenly changed my tone. We don't have time to argue. I picked him up and dropped him beside Katie Brown. "Put a parachute on."
She nodded to me and turned to Sam, starting to explain how to safely work the parachute as she grabbed another one. Others, who were already finished putting theirs on began to open the cargo doors, looking at the ground with expressions of determination. But for some reason here, they revered me as senior officer here and waited for my go. I only waited until Samuel was prepared and glaring at me before I gave the go-ahead. So we can all land somewhat nearby. If the Decepticons are here, I'm not taking any chances. Three of them have guns, but that's no promises that they're all ready for a fight.
McHahon went down, then Katie, then Erin, then Gerald, then Carl. Finally, Sam stepped up to the edge and glared back at me. He started to say something, but I pushed him over the edge and he went down screaming. I quickly jumped off with him, ready with my own crude forms of a 'parachute' prepared for us. These are only loaded when we board, so there's always the exact right amount for how many of us will be on the plane. They're far from par with Ratchet's standards of safety precautions, but they at least slow our descend enough to negate any substantial damage. Thankfully, however, the war's given us enough shock-absorbent armor to insure this.
I did a thorough analysis of the surroundings as I fell. Keeping a constant optic on Sam below me and the other five even farther down- but all behind -I also estimated the distance we've gone from the base. We hadn't made it too far, but we're still a couple miles away. It will take a while for the others to reach us, and until then I have to make sure everyone here stays together, and alive. While I tried to get a track on Optimus's and the others' location, I tried to identify any threats in the vicinity where we were headed to land. The Decepticons didn't have to be near to sabotage us like that, but they still had to be somewhat close by. And without any doubt in my mind, I know that they're nearby to ambush anyways.
Parachutes were pulled without incident- except for Sam pulling his a little earlier than need be and thus flying up higher than me -and one by one we started to land. Sam was the last, and I the first. I landed with a powerful crash, disorienting my sensory motors momentarily, but they were quickly back online. I turned my attention back to the others, identifying where they were landing as they fell, and I met up with each one as quickly as I could. We mostly landed in a clear area alongside the highway, but far enough away from the vehicles going by that surely they couldn't see us that well. Hopefully.
We were headed to meet up with Carl, who had just landed, when I finally identified the Decepticon I knew to be nearby. I didn't see him, and I didn't hear him. Instead, I saw a projectile launch high over our heads and catch Samuel's parachute, missing him by inches. A heat of anger flooded through me as I watched Samuel fly off course. He's going to land in the midst of those trees at the base of the valley, where I'm sure the Decepticon (or Decepticons) would attack.
"You five, wait by the road. The others are almost here." I insisted, not even making sure they agreed before taking off towards where Sam disappeared. My only assurance was the fact the projectile had to have come from the opposite direction he landed. I have a chance of reaching him before they did.
Well, what did you think? Good? Was it worth the four year wait? Four years... wow. I'm really sorry, but... I did say I'd always finish a story unless I state from the beginning it won't be completed. Therefore, this story will see a close!
I've gotten a lot of feedback about 'Sixteen' and 'Blind'. I have been fond of both of them for a long time, and they were two of my more eager stories to publish after I finished 'Twenty Years Later'. I am interested in a sequel to 'Blind', but I'm not taking on such a task until I check one more of these older stories off (probably this one). Until then, such a sequel will remain a non-serious story I might work on whenever my interest is brought back around to it. As for 'Sixteen', I had never really intended to continue it. I have a number of oneshot cliffhangers that set up a story but don't elaborate more on it because I find those fun to write. Especially during math class. This was one of those. I suppose that should my fancy drift back towards it, or if I get struck by some brilliant plot for it, I may write a continuance of 'Sixteen', but as of right now, I don't really have any idea on how it would go. At all. Honestly, if anyone else has an idea, I'm more than willing to give the story to someone else, but I somehow find it unlikely that this would happen. So, sorry.
If you don't read either of those stories, then I guess ignore the entire thing. And I have the sneaking suspicion that most that do read those stories don't read this one, so I'm probably preaching to empty space on that matter. Oh well. The next update of this story wont take nearly as long, and it won't have nearly as long of authors notes either. I've just got a lot to say right now, I guess.
Please, review and make the next update even faster!