Chapter 8. Doors Open
"This is intolerable," Starscream's voice was low and harsh opposed to the high screechy one he used when thoroughly pissed off.
The management team was completely confused to them they had made a deal with them and taken Andrew for a while, it was hard to understand why now that he had come for him if he already had him. "Sir, you took him." It was the man in the suit that went by Forester than spoke up.
"I assure you I did nothing of the sort." He said in protest, his hands posted harshly on his hip plating imitating a dismayed human.
"Sir, one very much like you in Black and Purple came with one that was almost all Blue, but he had no wings, he was the one that Transformed and we took him in the center. He looked like a micro cassette player.
"Soundwave." Starscream scowled. He had not meant to say the name, and it would not really mean much to these humans, but it told Starscream would exactly had happened. There was no damage to the building so Soundwave had taken him without a struggle. "The black and purple one he flew away?"
"No sir. He" Forester did not know how to really explain it. "Just sort of vanished and a bright purple flash."
That meant that Skywarp had defiantly been there. All the signs were there. Soundwave's manipulations were notorious, and Skywarp was not one to keep secrets from Megatron. "Do you have anything ready for me?" He said glaring at them expectantly.
"No sir." Forester cleared his throat. "Andrew was to start work on your next project, but he is not here."
"Then why haven't you put someone else on it, MR. Forester?" The tone that Starscream used dripped with sarcasm.
"I have sir, but he has not done anything on it. He was only transferred over a week ago, he is still prepping his lab." Which was true, they had given them two weeks to bring Andrew back but when that passed Forester knew that things would still have to move forward. "He was not as familiar with some of the requirements that it will take to create such a thing."
Starscream growled, "I suggest you get someone to help him. I want it done. It wound be rather awful if your funding was suddenly removed wouldn't it?"
"Yes sir, I will see that he gets any help he can use." Forester nodded. "It would be unfortunate indeed."
"Good, I shall expect results next time I arrive." Starscream took a few steps that was in the direction of his cave then Transformed lighting his jets as he did so, taking off into the air easily.
She tossed and turned, having a nightmare was hard work, worse yet when you have not woke up yet. Nicole's body had not got used to the extra attachments that had been on her. The pack was not heavy, nor did it limit her movement, but it made it uncomfortable to sleep on, and odd when she backed into things and felt the cold wall when it touched. So far she had not got anything caught, but the first time she wanted to shower she realized that she would have to cut off the clothes she had been wearing to get them off. Putting on clean clothes was something else, it had to go over the pack on her back now, and not under. The first time she got into the suit then got out, she noticed that pack itself was starting to fuse to her as well, that was too much she then asked if there was something that could be done to keep it from doing so. Perceptor was not actually sure, each time it became more of a part of her, the more responsive the suit became. So he really did not want remove it, but did so at her asking. He created a bit of a vest that would keep it from having skin contact to her, and the results began to plateau. The suit was doing everything that was asked, the only thing that was really effected by the lack of contact was the transformation ability that gave it the little wheeled rover that helped her and then Spike keep up while the Autobots themselves were in car modes. Before the pack was removed from its place on her back she was able to control and go in and out of it with ease. Now that it was removed there was a slowness to it, hesitation as she had to will it into place.
She woke up with a start and a sudden exhale of air. The lights dimmed on just a little as she had programmed them so she could see to get around but not enough to blind her. She got up and headed to the bathroom to wash her face. The lights over the mirror were a lot brighter and when the blinked on her hands suddenly rose to shield her from the brightness.
She got the towel and turned on the water till it was warm then placed the towel under the stream then applied it to her face. It was nice, and it helped to calm her nerves. She did not actually recall what she had dreamt about, but she felt as if she had been exerting herself rather harshly. Climbing or something as her arms were tired as well as her legs. At first she did not notice anything different, but as she began to actually wake from the deep sleep that her body had been she noticed that the pack had managed to become fused again while she slept. That was a first. She took in a deep breath and tried to calm herself, having the pack removed the first time was a pain in the ass, it had hurt not just her but on the pack side. There was no real way to numb it, on the pack side. Each time Perceptor had taken the scalpel to it was as if he was just cutting into her skin, no pain killer, no nothing just cuts. Nicole turned around and looked at it, the wounds had not even healed yet, but it had fused in the spots that had not be covered. She shook her head and leaned back against the wall and moved the pack. Tensing real fast she stopped, she even felt a small trickle of blood that ran down her left side where the wound had reopened . She did her best to reattach the bandage that had been on it and stop the bleeding. After a few moments of working around the mirror, Nicole managed to get it done and the bleeding had stopped. She stood there her shirt with small spots of blood here and there. She went to her room and grabbed another changed shirts carefully so that she did not aggravate it any more than she already had. And then turned the water on again. She liked this particular shirt, she was not going to let it get blood stained. She filled the sink and put the shirt in it, and then headed back into her room.
The clock told her that it was only three thirty am. She laid down on the bed gingerly, trying to get comfortable without putting any pressure on the wound. The only way she managed to do so was lay flat on her front, and that was not a spot she was used to sleeping in.
Dawn broke, and the lights in her room told her so as she yawned yet again without having fallen back asleep. There was nothing for her to do here, other than practice with the suit, and that was not something Nicole wanted to do until she had shown Perceptor what had happened again and told him why. She turned over and felt the ache of the incisions then turned back, she was done trying it was time to walk about and do something with her time. She fixed the bandages again, just to make sure that it would not mess her clothes and then dawned them. She went into the hall and let her 'watch' guide her to the control room where she knew Blaster would be sitting, probably bopping his head to the unheard music. In just a but she crossed the threshold that transitioned the hall into the control room and there just as predicted was Blaster.
"Hey Blaster?" She placed her hand softly on his leg to get his attention.
He looked down on her with a smile that faded quickly as he saw the kind of condition she was in. "What's up little lady?" Blaster's voice still kept that light tone to it.
"I couldn't sleep, and this pack isn't helping." She rubbed the palm of her hand on her eye and then looked up at him.
"What's the matter?" He put his hand down for her to climb on to it.
Rather than do any real work she sat down on the hand, and let her legs dangle over the edge, she was too tired really to be scared of falling like she had been in the past. "I had a nightmare I think, I don't remember what I was dreaming about, when I woke up I felt as though I had been climbing all night. Arms, legs, both tired, even breathing hard." She took that second to yawn again. "I got up to wash my face, mom used to tell me that all you ever had to do was wash the nightmare from your eyes and it would forever be gone, and that's always worked."
Blaster filed that away for later, humans always seemed to have their own little odd traditions, but as far as he could see it worked much like a medical placebo, if they thought it worked, it sometimes actually did. "And then what happened?" The fact that she kept yawning bothered him, he had hung out with several humans on many occasions and he knew that it meant they had needed to rest.
"I hadn't noticed it at first, you know because I was looking at my face, not it. What I noticed though is when I moved it didn't slide as easily as it should have." She shook her head, it has not slid as easily as she had hopped after its removal, but that was not the point.
The larger boom box type transformer looked at her seriously, his work still going in the background of his mind but he looked like he was giving her all his attention.
"So naturally I looked. It had reattached itself to me." She lifted the back of her shirt up just a little so he could see. "I wasn't in the suit, I'm not sure why it did that or if it was related to my dream or ." She trailed off for a second. "I know what I am doing could help you out a lot, but I would be lying to say I wasn't scared of what I might become."
"Perceptor gets caught up in his work some times, but the man would never do anything to hurt you." He almost chuckled at the thought. "Perceptor is just trying to better us all."
"I know, and that's why I agreed, but right now look at me. I hardly slept, I feel like I might drift off at any second, but the pack and the incisions are too much. Each time I turn over or move they light up as if a Christmas Tree." She did not know if he would get that analogy or not, but it was the best one she could think of.
"Heh, you're probably the only human that has ever experienced how we feel." Blaster smiled. "Each time we get something replaced makes it sore, and hard to recharge. The welds are sensitive." He smirked a little to see if she had caught on to what he was meaning.
"You guys feel like that huh?" That made her think. She was not sure she had wanted to be one of them, not exactly, but that is what seemed to be happening.
"Something like that, it isn't all fun and games that's for sure." He looked up at the console, and adjusted his search. "Think about it, we're just like you only metal, it hurts."
"Not just like me, I can't interchange my arm for another one if it gets broken." She smiled.
"Ah true, true, but there are parts we just can't exchange. And by the looks of things with you, you might be able to do something similar if that synthetic is clinging to you Perceptor might be able to create parts out of it for you." It did not seem like a bad idea if it were possible, but the look on Nicole's face told him that it was not something she wanted.
"If I can keep from losing something I'd rather not." She rubbed her arms together at the thought of losing one.
"No worries there little lady I know exactly what you mean. I don't like losing mine either." Blaster was now curious what the rest of the pack looked like now. "Hey mind if I had a gander?"
For a second she had not really realized what Blaster was talking about but then she turned around and lifted the back of the tee shirt so he could see it. "Na, go for it, at least it's on my back and not my front that would have been a little awkward."
He chuckled as he looked, there was a great deal of things working on it, and the level of its energon seemed to be full. He was curious if that had anything to do with how it was reacting to her. The energon that the pack would produce would be unlike most energon that they had been accustomed to, it would have a high healing capacity, due to a humans natural immune system. There were several ports on it and a few switches, but he did not know exactly what Perceptor was doing so he did not want to change anything. He placed his finger against the side of it opposite where she had opened the wound the night before, luckily. Being, a being of sound, he wanted to feel if there was vibration coming from it, obviously it was mechanical, and most of them had a unique hum that he had come to associate with each one of his Autobot team mates. Sure enough there was a signature sound vibration that he sensed coming from it. From that point on he would be able to search that sound out and find her, well the pack using his own abilities.
"Blaster." She turned her head to look at him. "Blaster?"
"Yeah?" He stopped listening to the vibration for a second.
"You're finger is cold." She let her shirt drop, though his hand and finger kept it from going all the way.
"Oh sorry." He smiled and let go. It was odd. The Autobots were essentially, what humans would call a warm blooded species, their bodies kept an inner temperature when the outer temperature fluctuated, and did not need sun light to help warm them. The outer appendages just like on humans though would cool easily, and since the Transformers could with stand a much greater temperature difference than a human they tended to remain cool most of the time. "Hang on a sec." He put the tip of his finger back in the place he had just removed it from. "Listen see if you hear this." As one of his abilities he was able to centralize sound waves in just about any spot. That's what he was doing now, focusing them at his finger and sending them into the metal casing of the pack.
Nicole ignored the cool touch a little longer and listened as he asked. She felt the vibrations on the pack and tired to tune into them. She felt the pulse of the beat first, then tried to hone in on what it was he was playing. "Turn it up a little."
Blaster nodded, and increased the volume a little still keeping it out of actual ear volume.
After another moment Nicole smiled, she heard the music that he was playing, and began to bop her head to the beat a little. "I hear it."
Again Blaster chuckled to himself. "After Perceptor is done with his little project why don't you come see me I'll hook you up with some good tunes."
"I'll have to take you up on that." She turned from him disconnecting the music, and taking a much more serious tone. "Right now I'd settle for a few hours sleep."
"I think I might have one thing that can help you with that." He turned to the console and worked for a few moments while Nicole tried her best to act interested. A few seconds later he turned back to her, take this and play it in your room it will relax you might help you sleep more soundly instead of moving around."
She took the small chip and nodded. "Thanks." Then hopped back into his hand so he could put her down. "I'll try it."
The Decepticon leader was never one to be patient. He understood what had gone on with the amplifier, and it still irritated him that it had pushed his schedule back the few days it had taken to remanufacture the needed fine tuning instrument. He had expected Scrapper to help or even do most of the work, only it was much faster and easier to let the human Andrew do it. The problem with that was he need rest on a regular basis. Last time he had asked for a progress report he had got the update from the human himself, it had amused Megatron somewhat just how proud the human was that he was getting things done a head of his own schedule. The tuner, was rather a lot more complicated than Megatron suspected a human was capable of, but this human seemed to know what he was doing. That alone was nothing short of amazing on a planet full of humans that could not tell their heads from their afts as Megatron would say it. Currently he was headed on his way to the labs to see if they were going to finish the tuner. It was just so happened that the turner is what made the difference in turning the generator into the amplifier.
Upon entering the lab her could hear the hum of the generator, which pleased him greatly. He enter the room and watched for a moment before approaching and demanding the progress report.
Scrapper stood back his arms cross his chest while Andrew adjusted the tuner and listened. He could see the material on the inside slowly flexing and lengthening out making more of a flat surface on the inside. The thought of using something like this to their advantage seemed rather morbid, but was right up Scrapper's ally. He preferred to create his things out of those that he had killed in battle. He noticed that it was creating power, self sustaining, but only just.
It was a little nerve racking to be working with just his clothes, the company had made several rules about safety equipment but he had not listed it when he had sent his list to Soundwave thus he did not get it, he knew that had been his own fault really. He looked at his notes and kept adjusting, watching closely on how the generator reacted. He made the last adjustment and watched it as it hummed. All the gauges were set just like he had tested it the last time, but the digital ones here were much better, and were not melting. If only he had access to things like this in the lab, though he thought about that and considered what that would mean, and well he would rather not have to deal with the Decepticon Leader's demands if he did not have to. He had not been started when he saw Megatron enter; he had actually prepared himself to give explanation on what was going on, as he had not yet completed the process. He flipped the switch and turned it off, to which each of the transformers present looked directly at him.
"I know it looks bad, but it didn't have the other abilities until Jimmy suggested reversing the polarity." It was obvious that he needed to say something before he got yelled at.
"Impossible." Scrapper said shaking his head. "It cannot handle anything like that."
"It did Scrapper. That's why they came and took it." Andrew did not want to point a finger at who had taken it because he did not actually know.
"I do not see how." Scrapper protested more.
Andrew went about changing the necessary links to complete the process of changing it over. "Give me a minute here and I'll turn it back on and we'll see what happens."
Looking on with interest Megatron shifted his weight to the other foot so he could lean slightly and see just what it was that Andrew was doing.
Finishing the switch Andrew stepped back, "So if it explodes and kills me then what?"
Scrapper looked at Megatron for an answer. He himself did not really care but the fact that they had gone though the trouble of getting the human might mean that Megatron would still want him despite the failure, to fix whatever it was that had not been right.
The Lead took and grabbed a rather large piece of sheet metal that had been on a nearby table and placed it between the generator and Andrew. "It would be a shame to lose your talents so soon."
Andrew looked at the wall then his control box. He noticed that Megatron had managed to get the only one that had a small slot in it, he looked through it and then went about powering up the generator once more.
The machine hummed to life slowly, the wiring going back to its thin state then stretching thinner. The new apparatus that Scrapper attached to the top was a collector. It would siphon off any excess energy that it produced that was not used to power the machine itself. While in the process he had made itself sustaining once it had engaged what Andrew considered full speed. The hum changed, as it engaged and warmed up to speed. Megatron watched with interest at the top part of the siphon began to glow.
Taking an empty cube which they used to collect their energon in Scrapper placed it next to the amplifier and connected the wire to it. It filled near instantly, and he exchanged it for another, then another. Until they had successfully filled twenty cubes. The power was turned off and Andrew stepped out from behind the wall. "I think that is a good test." He remarked proud of himself once more.
"Excellent test."Megatron nearly purred. "Now what is the possibility of creating something that will be of more use to us?"
For an instant Andrew was not sure what he had meant, but then it popped into his mind that other than him only Rumble and Maybe Frenzy were small enough to get in work on the device. "I suppose it depends on how much more of that wiring you have." Andrew shrugged a little, it was not like he was trying to aggravate anyone.
Standing or a moment looking over the amplifier, Megatron stayed silent. He could see how Starscream could have used this to his advantage, and been able to sway the Decepticons into following him. That however was not going to happen. It made him sneer a little more at the fact that his Air Commander had not yet been caught. Somehow he had managed to mask his energy signature from all their computers. One thing he was certain of was he was Decepticon Leader and always would be. "I find whatever materials you require, I would want one more test amplifier created before I put them into full production. If this works, then we will no longer need an outside power source."
Scrapper nodded. First they were going to have to find where and how Starscream made the material the properties were just slightly altered to one they used currently as a medical bandage. Everything else he would see was up and running or provided so that it would be ready when they had the metal.
Something bothered Optimus. It had been several weeks since he had seen or heard of any raids by the Decepticons. It was unlike Megatron to sit around idle, which mean that he was up to something. What was the next question. He kept up on Perceptor's reports of how Nicole was doing in the project. He himself had not known anything to attach itself to an organic like this had. He had talked to her several times as well and though she seemed rather bright and cheerful it was obvious she was frightened that it would be permanent. The fusion had not taken place on any muscle tissue or even down to the bone. It just seemed to be sticking to her, the thing that bothered him about this the most was that she felt it. The way the energy was being transferred augmented her senses. If this was going to work and she were indeed attached to him or one of his fellow Autobots and they sustained an injury would she too feel it then with the packs systems linked to theirs? It was something he would have to speak to Perceptor about, it that was a possibility, the he would have to shut down the project once more until that could be cleared up. A human body could only tolerate so much, and in the optics of Optimus it was not something he wanted to be responsible for. He picked up and read the daily report once more. It was all quiet. He sent out a little over half his squad to see if they could find any suspicious activity. Thus far nothing had been reported at all.
Nicole had come to visit him and talk about what was going to happen if the project worked. Optimus was curious himself as he had a freedom policy, if she had wished to leave she had every right to do so, but if she had wanted to stay what would that mean? He told her that he would discuss it with Prowl and Jazz his two most trusted officers and get back to her on it. If she had decided that she had indeed wanted to stay that would make her a working part of the Autobot unit, and in that would give her other rights and things she would be privileged to. Something that Spike had not even been given. After the meeting and a little longer in thought he had called her back and she had returned. It was said that if she decided to stay that she would have to choose a partner. Someone else that would take the augmentation on and she could attach to. Knowing that she looked a little dishearten, but agreed. She stated that thus far she really did not know any of them well enough to do that with. Out of that came the question, what kind of link would be possible. She informed him of how Blaster was able to send sound though it, once she was connected to an Autobot would other signals would she be able to receive? That seemed to open whole other can of worms as Optimus too wondered just what might happen.
Of course that was the next test. Nicole found herself wondering about the base, who would bother to link to her she had no clue. Bumblebee would be an obvious choice, but there were issues with that. For instance his friend ship with Spike, not to mention that his smaller size would make it rather hard regardless. Wheeljack had been another thought, but he tended to blow himself up, and Nicole was not really ready for that. Ratchet was too cranky and had already told Preceptor that he did not want that involved with it. She was walking absently not watching her map since she had no real destination. Perceptor was not one to go into battle as often as the others, he was the one that made it possible for them to come back and be cleaned up, or well that is how she thought about it. So that meant to really get the most use out of it she would have to be connected to one of the more warrior types. She thought about that for a while turning on orange corner and headed down the hall. It would be kind of cool to be partners with Optimus, but she figured that would be out of the question since he had to deal with Megatron, and just the thought of the name gave her a chill. She had heard lots of stories from the Autobots on just how bad he was. The stories of death and merciless killing seemed to have no end and really it made her wonder of it was even possible they were all true. That's when Nicole asked Optimus, who had brought out a holo crystal, and shown her some of the historic battles that he himself had been in. It was shocking, yet somehow not. She found herself at the door to Optimus' office again, though she did not step close enough to activate it. She had not wanted to bother the leader, but she seemed drawn here by something. Maybe she would ask him if he had an Autobot in mind that would be suit able for the project.
There was not much left to do for now, Andrew had to wait until the Decepticons found the materials that were needed to create a second bigger more powerful amplifier, so here he sat in his room away from them toying with the computer and its limited access. It had humans internet, but was for the most part locked out when it came to Decepticon functions. Surfed the news, played a few games checked an email, that's when it dawned on him how long he had been gone. He had a few emails that were overdue bills, he quickly logged in and paid everything, which confused him once more. He had not been to work, and was not even sure if the Company knew where he was or what he was doing; thus he figured he would be fired, and his account should not have had very much left in it. He logged into his bank account only to see that it had still been receiving his paycheck along with a rather large lump sum which had no tag attached to see where it came from. Once everything was settled, and he did not feel like once the Decepticons were done with him he was going to be out on the street he surfed a little more. One thing he noticed was there had been a missing persons report filed on him, it came up as part of his email, the contact number was nothing he remembered, which made him wonder who had reported it. He took out his phone and noticed he had no reception. Okay that was stupid, of course he would not have any reception this far under the surface of the Ocean. Instead he replied to the email, and when the address showed up he realized who had been looking for him. Jimmy. He composed his light hearted note and sent it off hoping that Jimmy would see that he was fine, and in good spirits and stop worrying. He checked his little haunts and other things he did while at home then sat back and wondered a little longer. He had expected to have several emails wondering what happened to him. But the only thing he could find was the missing persons note. He decided to send a mass email out to family, after all if the missing persons thing they might get worried and call the cops or even send out people looking for him. It was almost an amusing idea, people wondering the streets and cops having descriptions of him driving their patrol cars. Though they could never find him. It was not something he wanted, but thought was amusing. He got up and stretched then sat back down. The room was just fine, actually felt more like home then his home had. Andrew was not exactly confined, no one told him he had to stay in his room nor did they tell him he was barred from wondering about. Problem was they were not exactly helpful and his first attempt had him stuck wondering around for several hours. He got back into his internet mode and decided he was going to try to do some more research on finding out about these Decepticons now that he had a better understanding on them.