Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers. All recognizable characters are the property of HasTak. All unrecognizable ones are the intellectual property of yours truly; their theft is punishable by severe voodoo-induced pain in any and all sensitive organs of the body, followed by eternal damnation.

Because, you know, stealing is wrong.


Title: Schism

Summary: Sparkbearer Saga: Part II. Alien invasions, possessed vehicles, language barriers, government conspiracies, family drama, supermarket tabloids, and tomato wars... Welcome to Earth.

Rating: T

Warnings: mild cursing, mild gore


Transformers: Schism

Chapter Eleven


In the debating chamber of his mind a dozen emotions got to their feet and started shouting. Relief was in full spate when Shock cut in on a point of order and then Bewilderment, Terror and Loss started a fight which was ended only when Shame slunk in from next door to see what all the row was about.
– The Light Fantastic, Terry Pratchett


I didn't know they could do that.

She stared, frozen, unable to process what she was seeing.

That's impossible.

How can they do that?

The jet hovered motionless above them, several hundred feet above the forest… over where they had been just moments ago. Had she raised her hand, she could have blocked it from her vision with her palm, and yet she could feel it looming above her like a thunderstorm, just waiting to explode.

Not that she dared move at all. She sat frozen, barely breathing, eyes locked on the silhouette overhead.

No sound came from Mirage, but she could feel the faint thrum of his systems all around her. She could almost picture him as a cat crouched and awaiting the opportune moment to bolt.

The jet transformed.

The mechanical shriek echoed through the woods, startling birds into flight, and suddenly it was no longer a jet but a giant black and purple mech that hovered above the trees, peering this way and that with optics that gleamed blood-red. The heels of his feet were jet turbines, blazing white, and he balanced upon them in midair as he made a slow circuit, scanning his surroundings.

Oh, she thought distantly. They do look like high heels…

The mech's turbines cut off, and he dropped into the forest with a thunderous roar that shook the ground and bounced Mirage on his tires. Evelyn squeaked and clamped a hand over her mouth. Trees shuddered and snapped as the black and purple mech forced himself through them, and faintly, so faintly, Evelyn could hear him cursing in Cybertronian.

"Stupid, fragging, useless—ugh, get out of the way, you piece of—" A particularly stubborn tree shattered with a sound like a rifle shot, and the mech stepped into the road. It made little difference.

He was massive. Evelyn had thought that Sunstreaker and Sideswipe made the likes of Jazz and Prowl appear small, but this mech dwarfed them all. The jet's wings jutted out from his shoulders, making him seem all the larger and making it nearly impossible for him to maneuver among the trees. He swatted at the branches that clung to crevases in his armor, snarling.

Invisible, Evelyn thought, half in realization and half as reassurance. We're invisible. He can't see us. We're invisible. He can't see us.

He paused for a moment, vents humming with exertion, and he scuffed one foot along the road. The asphalt crumbled like dried mud.

"Primus-forsaken mudball," he grumbled. "Guys, there's nothing out here!"

He paused, head tilted as though listening, and then said, "Um, yeah, I'm sure. Just more of these stupid poofy pole things." He shoved a nearby tree over. This one did not snap, but its roots tore free of the earth as it fell. The mech glowered at it. "Yeah, trees, whatever. I'm saying, there is zilch over here… Yes, I've scanned."

He grumbled. With a lazy flick of his hand, he snatched a branch from another tree and proceeded to shred it with quick, frustrated motions.

"Oh, for Primus' sake!" He tossed down the remnants of the branch and snarled, "If you want to look, come over here and look! I am in the middle of squishy, organic nowhere. I told you I shouldn't 'port that far! Yes, I'm at the right coordinates!"

Another pause. The mech stomped on the road, peeling up slabs of asphalt with his toe and flicking them into the undergrowth. One piece slid along the ground to thunk against one of Mirage's tires. Evelyn's heart stopped.

"Yeah. Yeah. Well, sure. What!" The force of the shriek sent a spike of agony through Evelyn's skull, and the mech's optics flared. "I can't 'port back! I nearly fried a circuit getting here! Oh, ha ha, you're such a funny mech… Fine. Fine. I'll meet you halfway. Fine. Yeah, whatever. Ugh."

Invisible. He can't see us…

The mech shook his head once, spitting another curse, and he leapt into the air, jets flashing on and propelling him upward even as he transformed. For a moment, and black and purple jet balanced nose-upward in the air, and then he was gone in a roar of engines and a rush of superheated air. Dry leaves burst into flame beneath the onslaught, branches and dirt and rocks flung all directions, pelting Mirage's chassis. Evelyn cringed away, feeling the heat through the glass even at a distance.

The jet dwindled away into the sky, a blot and then a speck.

Oh, my god.

Evelyn's heart thundered in her chest, racing so fast that it felt as though it would burst. She placed her hand over it, daring to breathe for the first time in… God, had it only been a few minutes?

"Mirage?" she whispered.

The mech did not reply. He did not move.

Evelyn shivered.

"Mirage, are you alright?"

"Be quiet."

She cringed.

"But…"

"Up."

She looked up.

There was a tiny speck, high in the sky, circling.

"… what is he…"

The speck grew larger.

She stared.

Larger.

It was not longer a speck but a jet, tiny but recognizable. She could see the glint of light on its cockpit.

Larger.

She could see which parts were purple and which parts were black.

"What…?"

In a whip-quick motion, the jet pulled up. For the briefest moment, she could see the details of his underside, the purple insignia upon his wings. There was the impression of something falling from him, and then he was gone.

Mirage spat something that might have been a curse, but it was lost as the forest around them exploded in noise and heat and light.

Mirage must have rolled, because Evelyn remembered pressing her hands against the canopy as the world turned upon its head, but somehow they were upright again – whether through sheer luck or some maneuver on Mirage's part, she did not know. There was an impression of branches all around, and the sound of Cybertronian curses, and the sound of wood cracking and a dull hum that might have been Mirage's engine.

When her vision cleared, they were moving, Mirage racing down tiny, twisting road that were never meant for speed. Her entire body was tossed from side to side as he took turns that would have put a human sports car into a barrel-roll into the forest. She braced herself as best as she was able, swallowing back nausea, her head throbbing.

She had the strangest impression of sunset, and she glanced back, curious of the golden-red glow, and behind her, sheets of flame roared upward from the trees, billowing clouds of black smoke choking out the pale sky.

She couldn't breathe.

Houses. They were passing houses and cars and my god, my god…

She choked out a soft, "Mirage…"

"Be quiet."

There was no sign of the jet above them, but the sky was growing dark from smoke, and every now and then, a curve in the road would reveal the glowing hell that had once been tranquil forest.

Mirage swerved around the last turn onto the highway, and Evelyn could only lean back in the seat and pray as the world around them became nothing more than multicolored blurs sweeping past, the blue and white mech pushing himself to speeds Evelyn had never before experienced. She clenched her hands in her lap, every muscle tense and aching. Her breath came in quick, hiccupy pants, and with a full-body shudder, she curled in on herself, pressing fists against her eyes.

I'm sorry, she thought, over and over in a hopeless mantra. Oh, god. I'm so, so sorry.

Behind them, the sky grew steadily darker as smoke billowed upward, tainting the pale winter sky as the world burned.


End Chapter Eleven