Transformers: Vapour Trails
Author's Note: After quite a long hiatus from fanfiction, and writing in general, I'm back! This piece had been sitting on my hard drive, collecting virtual dust, for quite some time. Since before Revenge of the Fallen came out, actually. After that ... "gem" of a movie, I have to admit, my enthusiasm for Transformers kind of went down. A lot. Although I started this chapter as a parody of RotF, I just couldn't really finish it. I was also feeling discouraged by the lack of interest in my story, which I described in my author's note at the beginning of my revamped chapter 1. Plus, I had other things on my mind: I was in the later years of university, which demanded quite a bit of my time, and I started playing a little game called World of Warcraft. Perhaps you've heard of it? :P
Anyway, I saw Dark of the Moon a couple weeks ago. While it wasn't up to the quality of the first movie, it was definitely better than the second, and, more importantly, it got the gears grinding again. I went back to Vapour Trails, blew the virtual dust off it, and got back to work. Be assured, however, that my story now takes place in an alternate universe where RoTF and DoTM don't happen, though I may borrow some of the better ideas from those two movies (there were a few. Not many, but a few). Also, I have now graduated from university (yay!), so I have a lot more time on my hands in order to write, while looking for full time employment.
To any loyal readers I might have left, I apologize for the wait, and I hope you enjoy this chapter! To new readers, thanks for reading Vapour Trails, and I assure you, the wait for Chapter 6 won't be nearly so long.
Thanks to my fiancé, for always believing in me, even when I didn't, and to my TF writing buddies Lady Tecuma and Litahatchee.
This chapter is rated T for naughty language on the behalf of teenagers and Decepticons, and for the mention (though not the use) of drugs.
Background song: Alien Ant Farm's rendition of "Smooth Criminal", though the Michael Jackson version works as well.
Chapter 5: Smooth Criminal
"Do not worry! I, Leader-1, will save the day! Guardian Gobots Go!"
Primus, this movie sucks. How long had it been now? About two orns – twelve Earth days – of stalking Bumblebee and the little yellow slagger still had not led Barricade to the Autobot base. Just day after day of the same thing – driving his human pets to and from school, then up to Mission City to be part of the cleanup crew, then back to Tranquility again. The only variation was yesterday, when Bumblebee had led him on a six-hour turbofox chase, just to end up grabbing yet another human youngling in an annoyingly bright and flashy city called "Las Vegas", before coming back again. And now, he had been stuck for an hour and a half on the outskirts of strange though rather convenient human establishment called a "drive-in movie theatre", as Bumblebee's pets were apparently entertained by the explosion-happy melodrama playing on the screen.
"Knowing that little Bee-otch, he probably likes this slag too," Barricade muttered, finding the various human curses Frenzy had learned surprisingly appropriate for describing the one Autobot he hated above all others. "I'm beginning to doubt they have a base at all. They're probably all just parked in some squishy-built garage."
"Bzzt, bzzz, bzzt," was the reply from his back seat.
"A lot of help you are."
"At least I can have a somewhat decent conversation with Frenzy." Barricade snapped. He loathed admitting it, but he almost missed his usual partner's constant jabbering on about whatever came to the little silver terror's hyperactive processor. "All you do is buzz. I don't know how your glitch of a master can stand it!"
Barricade just growled to himself and tried unsuccessfully to ignore both the annoying symbiote and the latest round of explosions, bad CGI and even worse acting that graced the screen. He focused his vehicle-mode sensors on the yellow and black-striped Camaro. Here he was, just a few mechanometers away from the infuriating little yellow Autobot, from the slagging pest who had such an annoying way of making him fail at what should be the simplest of missions, like getting a lousy set of lenses off the stupid carbon-based pus sack which was even now polluting Bumblebee's interior with its disgusting presence. Over six billion of the slagging things decorated the surface of an otherwise perfectly good, energy-rich planet, and the only positive things they had ever done was build mediocre, if somewhat useful transport networks and alt mode models, and invent some interesting expletives. He could not decide who he hated more, Bumblebee or his pets.
"You want to know something, bug?" He asked rhetorically.
"It's because of stupid, ugly little organic vermin like these that I was shipped off to Chaar when I was just a sparkling, and my Creator was slagged by the Autobots' idiotic Senate. Best thing Megatron ever did was rip all their pompous, squishy-lovin' sparks out. I just wish I could have been there for the fun."
"But we can have some fun now, can't we?"
"Bzz … bzzt?"
Allowing a smirk to cross his holoavatar's lips, Barricade started his engine, the powerful Mustang growl timed with the next on-screen explosion, and started to inch slowly towards the Autobot scout.
It did not take a CPU hacker to figure out what Barricade was thinking. Even to a symbiote of Waspinator's dubious processing power, it must have been obvious, as the insectoid started to flutter around his cab, buzzing his protests at a speed that would make Frenzy jealous.
"You want to meet the Unmaker next?" Barricade hissed.
"… bzzt, bzzz." Waspinator froze, and settled down relatively quietly on the back seat, though his wings still flapped nervously.
"Then mute it." Revenge was long overdue.
"'Bee, I'm so sorry. I had no idea the movie would be this bad," Sam groaned and laid his forehead against his friend's steering wheel. "Miles has been going on about it since the trailer came out online last year and I just thought, well, it's about robots – well, not real robots like you, but, I don't know, I thought you'd like it."
Beside him in the passenger seat, Mikalea barely looked up from her issue of Popular Mechanics, hidden within the pages of Cosmopolitan. "You know that's like saying that we'd like The Littlest Pet Shop just because it's got humans in it."
"That's not other half of the double feature, is it?"
"…maybe." Mikalea smiled mischievously, as Sam groaned again and the Camaro's radio switched to a commercial for the aforementioned children's toy.
The Littlest Pet Shop, That's Who!
"No, Mikalea, please no. Think of 'Bee! Do you have any idea what that … that girly stuff would do to his mind, or computer, or whatever he has? Bad enough he's been subjected to that." Sam pointed at the screen, where the effeminate protagonist and his entirely too-hot girlfriend were being introduced to what looked like some sort of Vespa.
It's alright, Sam. Bumblebee's still-scratchy, but clearly English-accented voice sounded quietly over the radio, his calmness a contrast to the next set of explosions to grace the movie screen. I am honoured that you wanted to include me in your social activities.
"Well, you're my friend, right? I just thought you'd get bored hanging out in my Dad's garage all the time. You know you don't have to do that, right? You can go hang with the other Autobots. There's got to be more room for you with them, for one."
Bumblebee answered using the radio. My format, Guardian. To Mend and Defend. To defend my newfound friends, their hopes and dreams. To defend them from their enemies.
Mikaela smiled. "I used to love that show."
"Don't mention it to Miles," Sam warned. "He really thinks the inside of his computer's like that."
"It's … it's Miles. He says 'warning: incoming game' whenever he starts up Starcraft."
Mikaela looked over the top of her nested magazines, at the chaotic mass of shoulder-length blond hair leaning against Bumblebee's front bumper, and the bright red set of pigtails next to him. "Is that where he met his girlfriend, playing Starcraft?" she asked.
"Nah, he met her on some nerdy internet message board, I think. Writing fan fiction or something like that. I still find it hard to believe he has a girlfriend." Sam said, finding the popcorn fight between Miles and his date far more entertaining than the movie. "I mean, when he said he had a Canadian girlfriend, I thought he had, you know, a Canadian girlfriend – as in, imaginary."
I wish you could meet my girlfriend!
My girlfriend who lives in Canada!
She couldn't be sweeter,
I wish you could meet her,
My girlfriend who lives in Canada!
"Okay Bee, as much as we all like Avenue Q, we don't need to hear the rest of that song, right now" Sam complained. "Look, the point is, you've got to have better things to do than babysitting a bunch of humans. You're an Autobot, we've got to be like ants compared to you. We're nothing, nadda, just little specks inhabiting a dirtball planet."
Optimus Prime does not think so, Sam, and neither do I.
"Even when I drag you to terrible drive-in movies?"
"You're sure about that? You're not just humouring me?"
Yes, I'm sure.
"Bee and Optimus really do like you, and no, I'm not dating you because of your car. Now quit being so insecure or I'll make you do one of the 'self-help' quizzes in here." Mikaela said, indicating her cover Cosmo.
Sam grinned. "You wouldn't."
In response to the threat, Sam opened Bumblebee's driver side door, and leaned casually out. "Hey Miles, Batman could kick Spiderman's ass anyday!" His grin widened as that comment caused the expected, "no way, bro!" from Miles, and a loud, drawn-out groan from Mikaela.
"Not this again!" she buried her face behind her magazines.
"Boys are idiots; don't worry Mickey. Besides, Catwoman could kick both their butts." Sam heard an increasingly familiar voice from the outside the passenger side window, which was cracked open to allow the drive-in's ancient audio system to fill their eardrums with the occasional bit of dialogue from the movie, between explosions, of course.
"You're just as bad as they are." Mikaela mumbled.
"Yeah, and you're the picture of femininity." A dark-skinned hand reached through the window and grabbed the Cosmo, revealing the "forbidden" Popular Mechanics underneath. Sam had to keep from laughing, as Mikalea reacted as though the other girl had ripped her clothes off, yelling "Hey!" and blushing beet red.
Miles, on the other hand, made absolutely no effort to keep from laughing. "I knew it! The 'little bunny' isn't quite the bunny after all!" Sam had to duck as Mikaela threw an empty soda cupat Miles, now standing beside the open driver side door, as he used the hated nickname given to her by her ogre of an ex-boyfriend, Trent. "Nice one, Sari!"
"Meh, you didn't have me fooled for a second." The red-haired, pigtailed teenager opened the passenger door and wiggled behind Mikaela into the back seat. "I don't blame you for bringing some reading material, this movie sucks. I was so looking forward to it too!"
"It doesn't suck that bad, I mean, Leader-1 looks awesome! They got the original voice actor and everything!" Miles said, trying unsuccessfully to get behind Sam into the driver's side back seat, spilling half a bag of popcorn as he did so.
Sam felt an annoyed shudder go through Bumblebee's frame. "Dude, I told you, no popcorn in the car!" While Bumblebee did not mind driving Sam and his friends all over half of Nevada, and even tolerated them having a few cups of coffee or soda as long as they didn't spill anything, the yellow Camero had made it quite clear to Sam that he did not want any food in his interior. At all. Clear as in still refusing to let Mojo back in, even weeks after Sam had dropped half a doggy treat and its crumbs on Bumblebee's floor. Sam could not help groaning himself, thinking of the chewing out he was going to get later for those little puffs of popcorn he just knew were lying under his seat now.
It was Sari who unexpectedly came to his rescue. "Pick up your damn popcorn, Miles," She said, "This is way too nice a car to mess up ... that reminds me. How the hell did you get your hands on a brand new Camero anyway? Didn't they just start making them?"
"Ohhh, ohhh, let me tell the story!" Miles interrupted, before Sam could tell her.
"Tell her while you're picking up the popcorn."
"Okay, fine." Miles bent down and started to fish kernels out from under the chair. "You've met Sam's folks, right?"
"Yeah, yesterday after my plane came in, remember? Sam's mom kept going on about how 'cute' my pigtails are," Sari said, and made a face.
"Oh yeah! Anyway – you won't believe this – the feds thought that Sam's parents, of all people, were running a grow-op!"
"They thought Sam's mom was like, growin' the wacky tobaccy, was smokin' the -"
Sam leaned his head against Bumblebee's steering wheel again. Of course, there had to be a cover story to explain to the neighbours just why a million cops had stormed Sam's house looking for "non-biological entities", as Sector Seven had uncreatively called the Cybertronians (Sam preferred Sergeant Epps' nickname for them, "Transformers"). He just wished Miles didn't get such a kick out of telling it.
"Anyway, the cops trashed the whole place, including Sam's old rustbucket (at this, Sam subtly leaned forward and turned down Bumblebee's radio's volume, before he could "comment"), and when it turned out that they weren't running a grow-op, Sam's dad threatened to sue the county for everything they'd got. They settled out of court, but part of the deal was the county had to replace Sam's car, with nothing less than another yellow and black-striped Camero."
"His old one was a '72." Mikalea added, finally dropping the "girly" act.
"Yeah. A '72 rustbucket. The thing is, they looked all over the state, and no other used car lots had any yellow Cameroes, or any Cameroes at all. So they actually had to call up GM and order a new one!"
"They do realize how much the new Cameroes go for, right?" Sari asked.
"Cheaper than what Sam's dad would have sued them for. So my bro here," at this, Miles punched Sam's shoulder, "got a sweet new set of wheels because of his mom's 'habit'!"
Sam punched him back. "It's all because of that crazy old cat lady up the street who can't find anything better to do with her retirement than spy on her neighbours. If anyone's smoking anything, it's her." As Miles pretended to roll an imaginary joint of catnip, meowing the whole time, Sam had to smile slightly.
It was times like these he could just pretend he was a normal teenager again. A normal teenager with an awesome car and an even better, unbelievable girlfriend, but normal in that he was not constantly looking up at the night sky, wondering when the Decepticons would come back and rain holy hell on his poor, insignificant dirtball planet. He could not admit it, to Bumblebee or even Mikaela, but he was scared, more than scared, terrified of the day that would happen. Optimus' call to the other Autobots had so far gone unanswered. If Starscream returned first with whatever Decepticon army he had flown off to get, what chance would only four Autobots have?
Sure, Optimus kept saying that humans like him and Major Lennox were the deciding factors, but Sam was not really convinced. Beating Megatron had been a fluke, nothing more – he had spent most of Mission City running for his life and scared out of his tree. The more he thought about it, the more it seemed like the Allspark had thrust itself into Megatron's spark, with his hands just happening to be holding on to it, as if they had been glued in place. Hell, Mikaela had been more useful than he had, at least she had the brains to hook Bee up to that towtruck. No, he wasn't the hero that Optimus thought he was. Why such a wise, valiant creature like Optimus Prime would ever think he was in the first place was something Sam still had trouble believing, that and why Bumblebee would ever want to be his Guardian. If the Autobots absolutely insisted upon a human sidekick, Mikaela, Miles, even Sari would make a far better choice than him.
Sam was interrupted from his musings with the sound of more shrieky girl laughter from Sari. "Hey, check it out! That must be one bored cop!"
"Yeah, behind us, like a couple parking spaces back. Man, Tranquility's more boring than I thought if the cops have nothing better to do than go to lousy drive-in movies. Or is there a Timmys around here?"
As Miles began to argue that there weren't any "Timmys", whatever they were, in Nevada, only Dunkin' Donuts, Sam glanced in the rear view mirror ... and felt his heart skip a beat. Starring back at him, seemingly right through him, were the same mirrored sunglasses, the round police helmet, the cruel moustache, that he had seen coldly flicker out, right before one of the most terrifying moments of his life. He could still hear the horrifying, gruff, metallic voice, demanding his ebay auction, a little, worthless family heirloom that was the key to so much more ...
Get ahold of yourself, Sam! Didn't Optimus run him off the road? It couldn't be him. Sam took a breath, barely noticing the concerned look Mikaela was giving him. It was probably just some bored or off-duty cop, like Sari said.
Then he saw a metallic, insectoid head, like a giant silver fly or wasp, poke out, almost curiously, from behind the cop's seat.
"BUMBLEBEE!" Sam yelled.
Miles' question of "What? Where? In the car?" and Sari's "Dude, it's only a bug, calm down!" were luckily ignored, as door slammed shut (pushing the still popcorn-picking Miles inside), seatbelts clamped down over all four teenagers, and 'Bee immediately sped forward, the wires from the drive-in's sound system ripping out. Good thing he did too, as a explosion erupted from right where the Camero had been parked, one that was definitely not part of the movie.
"Dude, what the hel-oh shit! What is that!" Sam couldn't answer Miles' scream even if he had wanted to, as he saw the now-unmistakable form of the Decepticon shift and convert in the rear view mirror, the bug-bot flying out as his partner transformed, and making a beeline for Bumblebee, its buzzing audible even over the explosions from the movie.
Bumblebee jackknifed just in time, as one of the 'Con-Cop's spinning bladed things landed mere inches from his bumper. Hold on! The Autobot's voice sounded more clearly than ever before, commanding even, as he sped towards the drive-in's exit, then up the dirt road leading away from the theatre, with Barricade – transformed back into police car mode – and his new wasp buddy, closely following.
"I know this is going to sound crazy, but just listen for a second! My car's really an alien robot, but a good kind, and that cop car's another, but a bad robot that's trying to kill us!"
"...are you sure your family's not a bunch of junkies?"
"Miles, his car just talked to us, and in case you didn't notice, Sam's not steering!" Sari yelled, and pointed at the steering wheel, which was moving on its own. "If he's stoned, we all are!"
Bumblebee switched to his own, metallic-sounding, native language, as Sam guessed he was calling for backup, but after a couple seconds he went silent. Eeriely silent.
"'Bee, what's wrong?"
Buzzing .. interference ... Bee's voice got more scratchy, before he switched to the radio again. I can't do that, Dave.
"...oh no." Mikaela's voice sunk. "Bee can't reach the other Autobots!"
"Later Miles! Let's get out of here!" Sari screeched.
"I think that's what 'Bee's got in mind." Sam unnecessarily said, as the yellow Camaro sped down the dirt road at speeds that would be suicidal for any being to whom driving was equivalent to walking. As fast as Bumblebee was, however, Barricade's blaring sirens were never far behind. Even the metallic wasp was able to keep up, peppering Bumblebee's sides with some sort of laser fire. Between the panicked screams of the Autobot's occupants – himself included – Sam could smell burning not-quite-rubber as the Wasp aimed for Bumblebee's tires.
Bumblebee swerved off the road and into the desert. As sagebrushes crushed under Bee's tires, Sam could barely make out the silhouette of one of the rare clumps of trees able to survive the Mojave Desert's harsh environment – probably California Juniper or Pingyon Pine. Sam had no time to further wonder why random biology facts from grade school would enter his brain at that particular moment, as Bumblebee raced for a barely-car-sized gap between the trees. The Wasp, intent upon his prey, dodged the first few prickly branches, only to slam into the hardy trunk of another tree. There was a metallic clang as some part of him bounced off Bumblebee's back bumper. 'Bee burst triumphantly out of the grove, only to barely avoid skidding to a stop inches away from Barricade's flank, the police car Decepticon having sped around the trees to the other side. The harshness of the stop, mixed with the previous laser fire and the unforgiving Nevada landscape, proved too much for one of Bumblebee's tires. Sam and the others felt the pop, felt Bumblebee sink lower on the flat, just as Barricade transformed again.
Get out. The Austrian-accented radio order was more than Sam needed, but as he tried to open the door, he found he couldn't. Barricade's harsh, grinding laughter at the situation did not do much to lessen the sense of panic now surging through Autobot and teenager alike.
"Wouldn't you know, the bug turned out handy after all? Waspinator, I mean. Not you." Barricade evidently thought the situation was funny enough to warrant sharing his thoughts with the humans, speaking in English. "Stuck with those little parasites inside you – disgusting." The Decepticon waved one of his gyroblades, almost casually, pointing the weapon squarely at Bumblebee's windshield. "Well, you know that's no reason for us not to fight. Transform, you little yellow slaghead. You know you want to."
"I ... I can't." Bumblebee managed to squeak out.
"Sure you can. You'll just need a solvent soak after – assuming you survive your well-earned beating. In fact, I'll make sure you do, just so I'll have the pleasure of watching you wash what remains of your pets off you, before your spark joins your vocalizer, that is.
I won't! The area around Bumblebee's headlights Transformed into his Stinger cannons, but before he could get a shot off at Barricade, the Decepticon's gyroblades slammed down, slicing through the weapon's barrels.
Barricade wagged one clawed finger at Bumblebee, before ripping into Bumblebee's hood with thehis other set of claws. Suit yourself, he growled, between Bumblebee's first agonized screams. The Decepticon was clearly enjoying torturing his prey, slowly rending tears in Bumblebee's hood and sides with his claws. "Maybe I'll rip open your roof next ... make you watch as I crush your pets myself. One. By. One." He dragged a claw along 'Bee's roof with each punctuation, then pointed his claws downwards, through the relatively thin skin of the roof, coming less than an inch away from stabbing the teens in the head.
"'Bee, this isn't worth it! We're not worth it!" Sam shouted.
"Don't listen! Of course I'm worth it!" Yelled Miles.
"Sam! What are you saying!" Sari said, her panic barely contained.
"The world needs the Autobots, they don't need us!" Sam yelled. "If Bee Transforms, we're crushed, but if he doesn't we're dead anyway and he's dead too!"
Slowly, Mikaela nodded. "He's right. You can take this asshole, 'Bee, you've done it before. Forget us."
NO! Bumblebee's resolute shout was louder than any of the screeches of pain Barricade had been able to get out of him. The driver's side door began to shake, the screech of metal tearing grinding on the humans' ears, as the door popped open violently, tearing off its hinges. Sam's mouth gaped open. The Autobot had torn a piece off his own body for the humans to escape!
Managing to push his amazement aside, Sam jumped through the opening where 'Bee's door used to be, the other teens following. Seconds afterwards, he heard the familiar sound of Bumblebee's Transformation.
Bumblebee looked like hell. Several large gashes were carved in his recognizably car-derived parts, especially the arm plating where his hood would be in car-mode, with a glowing, purplish fluid bleeding from the wounds. Only one of the wing-like car doors stuck out behind him – the other lying in the dirt nearby - and its edges were jagged and torn from his Transformation forcefully breaking Waspinator's welding. He staggered, almost fell, before rising determinedly to his full height, his insect-like battle mask slamming down over his usually gentle, blue eyes.
"That's more like it!" Barricade shouted. He dove towards the Autobot for a hand-to-hand outright brawl, as the now-forgotten humans ran to the relative safety of the trees.
"Here Sam!" Sari rummaged through her pockets, and threw her cell phone to him. "You said there's more of these guys, call them!"
Sam had already dialled by the time she finished that sentence. "Optimus! Optimus!" he yelled into the phone, but the line was dead.
"That bug's buzzing must have somehow fried our cell phones, along with 'Bee's communications." Mikaela stated the obvious.
Sam felt even more helpless than he did at Mission City, as he heard Bee's screams, a splash of that purplish fluid landing just a few feet away from the grove. "We have to do something."
"Like what! In case you didn't notice two giant fighting robots are trying to kill each other over there!" Miles yelled. "We can't do sh-"
"'Bee wasn't going to leave us to die, and I won't leave him either!" Sam picked up a rock from the desert floor. "Mikaela, get Sari and Miles out of here. I'm going to help."
"You can't help, man!" Miles screamed.
"I'm sick of running." Turning only to make sure his friends were, in fact, running away – Mikaela and Sari were pulling a screaming Miles by his arms – Sam threw the rock as hard as he could at Barricade. It bounced harmlessly off his armour, but the impact was enough to make the Decepticon turn his head in surprise, giving Bumblebee an opening to punch him.
The Decepticon roared in rage and backhanded Bumblebee, hard, sending him flying backwards. In only a couple steps he had stalked over and scooped Sam up in his clawed hands. Sam screamed as the 'Con squeezed him, at the sharp pain as he felt more than a few ribs crack under the pressure.
"Brave, but stupid. Very stupid." Sam felt Barricade's clawed thumb under his neck, ready to flick off his head, he heard Bumblebee's anguished cry. "Say goodbye to your pet, Autobot!" In a second that felt like an eternity, he felt Barricade's thumb claw start to dig into his neck ...
Only for the Decepticon to suddenly lose his balance, as a neon greenish-yellow, H2 emergency Hummer barrelled right into the Decepticon's legs. Sam was thrown towards the ground, but caught by Bumblebee as the Autobot dived like a baseball player sliding into home.
A very angry Ratchet let loose a string of Cybertronian that Sam knew just could not be polite at the Decepticon he had just slammed about fifty feet backwards. Barricade, knowing when he was outgunned, Transformed back into his police car mode and sped away, leaving behind one of his gyroblades, an injured little yellow Autobot and his human, and a seriously pissed off Autobot medic.
Ratchet looked at Bumblebee's door, lying in the dirt near the trees, at the yellow Autobot, and at the laboriously breathing human teenager. "You stupid slaggers, both of you!"
Sam would have laughed, but his chest hurt too much. "Nice to see you too." He did manage to smile as he saw a familiar blue-with-red-flames Peterbilt roll up, his friends safely inside the cab, and a black pickup truck leading a small group of military vehicles, a real ambulance thankfully among them. The pickup tore off from the group in the direction in which the cop car Decepticon had hightailed, and Sam very much hoped Barricade soon became quite acquainted with Ironhide's cannons.
"Sam ... why?" It was all Bumblebee could say before his damaged vocalizer gave out from the stress.
"'Cause you're my friend." Sam answered, as the military medics loaded him into the ambulance. He laughed softly, despite the pain. "This guardian thing works both ways."
Bumblebee's mask slid up, and sky-blue eyes, optics, whatever, starred into Sam's. Sam still wondered just how useful he was to the Autobots, but Bumblebee evidently thought he was worth dying for. Not just because he was a tool in order to get some magical artifact, but because he was a friend, a real friend. As long as the Autobots were on Earth, Sam knew they would need some human help, probably from people like Lennox, people more capable than he was, but it was reassuring to know that they wanted human friendship as well. The Autobots weren't like the Decepticons – they didn't see humans as pests, as vermin to get rid of, and Sam suspected they didn't quite see them as pets either, at least Bumblebee didn't. Sam just knew that, whatever happened, Bumblebee was really, truly his friend, just because he wanted to be. Sam would do whatever it took to prove himself worthy of that friendship, though maybe today, he already had.