Authors' note: Welcome to the post-DOTM Botosphere. (For an official statement on how DotM will impact our fanon, please see our profile.) :)
This fic was started by Ish on the way to Eowyn's house so they could ride up to the midnight showing. It was subsequently passed around the entire Botosphere and then left alone for a couple of weeks. No spoilers are contained therein, but this is The Daily Buzz origins fic to explain "What crack were you smoking when you came up with this?"
I'm not the most outgoing person. Sure, I keep some good friends close, but sixteen years of being judged by my looks and then my juvie record have taught me to approach with caution with some people.
Forget Sam's speech about getting in the car; giving Bumblebee my cell number was practically handing him the keys to my house. And he'd respected that. Even though I'd had to have some conversations with him about human needs for sleep, he'd been a good bot to talk to. He could even keep a secret and that wasn't something I took for granted. So I told him he could use me the same way.
So when he sent me a sound clip of "Can we talk?"I put down my math book and turned my full attention to him.
"Don't you wanna go for a ride?" I texted back, knowing he'd appreciate the song lyrics.
can you keep it
swear this one you'll save
gotta lock it in your pocket
carry this one to the grave."
Wow, this was different. If he wasn't reading Sam in on this, it was either a clever plan for an upcoming holiday or something he was nervous about confiding. I hadn't run into that one in weeks.
"That bad, huh?"
At this point, a text came through, which was his equivalent of a stage whisper. ET phone home.
He could send an intergalactic bat signal when he wanted to, so I suggested. Reach out and touch someone?
He sent back a sound clip of a canned laugh track. You've got mail.
That's a good idea. You can get Rosetta Stone, play the stock market and check the weather. Send them an email.
With love, from me to you.
I was starting to get lost. If he needed tech support, I wasn't the one to call. Text. Whatever.
You know, you can send group emails.
No, no, too obvious.
Write on their Wall? To come to think of it, I'd never had them try to friend me on Facebook. Maybe they hadn't gotten as far as social network.
He quoted himself this time—Too obvious—and a different idea struck me. Maybe he wasn't worried about how to do it, but how to keep it on the down-low. There was only one way that I could think of him broadcasting to everyone and no one at all, which would let him keep touch without having to draw too much attention to himself. Even better, if he was feeling a little lonely, it might be a good way for him to get it out before he blew a gasket.
I opened a new text and pitched my craziest idea so far: Ever heard of a blog?
The next morning, second-period World Civ was interrupted by a buzz from over the intercom from the school secretary. "Mr. Frederick, please send Ms. Baines to the office." Everyone – including Sam – stared at me. I blushed to the ears but held my chin high as I gathered my books and headed for the door. My mind was racing, but I couldn't think of why I was in trouble.
The secretary looked at me expectantly when I walked into the office. "Um...hi," I tried.
"You're good to go," she answered.
"Good to go?" I repeated.
She sighed theatrically. "Yes, Ms. Baines. Or maybe you forgot about your dental appointment?" When I still gave her a blank look, she glanced back at her computer. "Your dad emailed us this morning and said you had a dentist appointment and that you should meet your mom in the yellow car out front."
For the sake of the annoyed grown-up, I facepalmed and said, "Oh, thatappointment!" Somebody was spoofing my mom...or my dad. I'd put money on 'Bee being behind this.
Outside, I was relieved to see a familiar yellow Camaro in the parking lot. Checking for suspicious police cars or tanks or something, I crossed the parking lot and slid into his open door.
"What's going on?"
Bee let out a sly laugh. "So...usernames."
"You're kidding. You sprung me from public education to talk up your blog?"
"Cool, huh!" He rocked on his axles in glee.
I delicately snorted. "Okay, yeah, but don't make a habit of it. And just make it my mom in the emails. Sooner or later, someone will notice that 'hey, her dad's in jail.' And we'd better actually roll, because I wouldn't put it past the attendance secretary to check."
"Got it" He turned on the engine and pulled out of the parking lot, "...so...?"
"I don't know, 'Bee. I mean, my email address is mikaela(.)baines()hotmail(.)com."*
"Not...your...little bunny?" he suggested and I choked.
"No. Absolutely not. No references to Decepticons or other creeps!"
"Sleep on it," he advised.
"Alright, then, I will."
He immediately blared a young girl singing sort of tonelessly.
Doncha be a grumpy
When the road gets bumpy
smile and be happy.
"Optimust?" I counterproposed.
"Got it," I said approvingly. "Any other ideas?"
"You know Billy, what worries me is how your mother is going to take this."
A sound byte of a polite cough. He wasn't done yet.
"Nurse Ratched, Nurse Ratched!"
It was my turn to politely cough. "You need to get out more," I pointed out.
"Now on Netflix..."he explained.
"Forget Netflix," I snorted. "I'm getting you a penpal."
We started throwing usernames out, each one more absurd than the last. Bee pulled into a park and I grabbed my lunch. May as well play up the whole "dental appointment" and give it a decent length. We toned down the banter at the park as there were a couple of parents with ankle biters in tow and I didn't want to come off as crazy.
When I climbed back into the driver's seat I reluctantly acknowledged the necessity of returning to school.
"I'm sure we could go on like this all day but I have to get back to class. In the meantime, though, you keep brainstorming usernames. As a mod, I am reserving the right to assign loginIDs and youget to help me. And while we're talking names, you need a title for the blog, too."
"But," I said as he drove me back to the school, "I wouldn't mind you skipping me out of school like this again-but not too often," I warned.
I laughed and grabbed my bag, climbing out of the car and heading back into the school. I was now feeling rather giddy and got a strange look from Sam when I slid into my desk in our English class. I shook my head and he shrugged.
I didn't really pay much attention to the lesson, my mind wandering somewhat as I doodled possible usernames instead of my notes. I realized I was actually rather bad at coming up with fun or clever names. Hopefully Bee would be better at it than me. I scratched out "EastwoodFE" for Ironhide and hastily opened my text book when I realized everyone around me had them open.
Sam whispered "176." I smiled gratefully and resigned myself to actually paying attention for the next half hour.
I sighed with relief when the bell rang. As I was heading to my locker my phone buzzed. I opened it up and found a text from Bee.
Mikaela = BeeFF
For reasons I couldn't quite put my finger on, I found myself getting choked up. Honestly, I was getting close to having the sniffles.
"You okay?" Sam asked, his eyebrows shooting towards his hairline.
I sniffed and grinned knowingly at him. "Pollen allergies."
All I can say is I was apparently naïve. I thought that, since our Autobot friends learned English from the internet, no one would bat an eyelash at them wanting to branch out a little more. Blogging was not my idea of 'going native,' but hey, whatever worked, worked.
And then one day, Will Lennox called the school and pulled me out of fifth-period French.
"I need you to conference in with my boss," he said after the usual "Hey-how-are-you-how's-the-tropical-weather."
"Trouble?" I asked immediately.
There had been rumors of more Decepticon crap going on, but I'd always assumed they would call Sam if they needed him to be on the alert for danger.
Unless, of course, Sam was the one in danger.
"Where's Sam?" I blurted out before Lennox could continue.
"No such luck," he said after a guffaw. "He's not taking the blame for this."
What the hell I was being blamed for he wasn't saying, but at least he was in a good mood. That ruled out Armageddon in Annapolis or something apocalyptic like that.
"Hold on," he said. "I'm bringing him on."
A few seconds later, a gruff, almost resentful voice muttered, "Morshower."
"General," Will said almost pompously, "I've made contact with the brains behind the operation."
I knew Morshower's name—we'd read about his appointment last year in American History-but I had no idea how to talk to someone who sent men into a battle on the President's orders.
I brilliantly settled for "Uh, hello, sir. Mikaela Baines."
Sam would probably bust something laughing and maybe he was on the other end of the phone call, but I was pretty sure he wouldn't have done any better.
"You can call me Mikaela."
"Thank you, but no," he said politely. "What's this about a blog?"
I wasn't sure whether I should turn red or apologize for the idea. Instead, I decided to be honest. "He needs a creative outlet."
It was one of those things that my guidance counselor used to say to encourage my interest in cars. Morshower hmmed for a moment.
"He meaning one of the non-biological entities?"
"Sorry, sir, but you might want to call them Autobots," I suggested. "It's less of a mouthful."
"The Autobots, then," he amended. "They're as large as my house, alien and they need a creative outlet?"
"Wouldn't you?" I asked. It came out a little too defensively and I switched the receiver to my other hand to stall for time and to calm down. "I mean to say, sir, that they have come to our aid, far from home and with really long odds on ever seeing more of their kind again."
"So, you're saying that you set up a blog on an IP address flagged by the National Security Agency as secured because the...Autobots are homesick?"
The NSA was freaking? I was surprised they hadn't sent the FBI to pull me out of French. Crap.
"I'm sorry for any problems it's caused, sir," I said honestly. "If you care to read the posts, none of them have discussed sensitive information."
It wasn't like 'Bee was trying to vent about his bad day at work. So far, he was just talking about the peculiarities of us humans. Given the differences between us, that could keep him in blog posts until my granddaughter was old enough to read.
"That is not the point," Morshower sighed. "I'm more lenient than you might think and I have no problem with the idea itself. Having aliens on blogspot(.)com is not the way, however."
"What then?" I asked. "U-S dot Army dot Mil forward slash Area51?"
I heard something from Will Lennox that might have been a snigger. It was good to know that he was still listening in, even if he seemed to be standing back and watching the drama.
"Sir," Will interrupted, "one of our people is a tech head. She could easily make this password protected, secured and encrypted if you want. As long as the JCS don't object to the blog itself, we can make this work."
"That was our thinking as well."
"So, you're not here to shut us down?" I asked once I'd acquired a reckless urge to speak again. "You'll allow the blog?"
"We will," Morshower said, sounding even more disgruntled than he had at the beginning of the call. "Who's your...more technically-minded team member?"
"She's not technically part of the team," he amended, "but she comes highly recommended."
"How highly?" he challenged.
A moment before he responded, I finally caught on that he was outsourcing this. "Secretary of Defense Keller?"
Morshower snorted. "Did the man even know how to turn on a computer?"
"Probably not," Will admitted, "but she's the one who cracked the signal from the Soccent attack in Qatar. She's been in on this from the start."
Like most of our conversations with anyone who didn't ride with the 'bots, Lennox was leaving some things out. Such as how the NSA, FBI and Sector Seven had ripped her a new one for illegally leaking the signal to a fat nerd named Glen for the sake of a second opinion.
"Run her background by my aide," Morshower ordered. "I don't care if she was vetted by Bill Gates. I don't want anyone who's more trouble than they're worth."
And yet he was letting aliens run a blog. I wasn't about to point this out for fear of him deciding that he was being a little too tolerant of the 11th-grade civilian and permabanning me from my brainchild.
"There are a few conditions," he continued. "First, this goes through the cyber crimes unit for security analysis forty-eight hours before it goes live."
"Check," I said in what I hoped was an accommodating voice.
"Second, this will be highly regulated."
"How highly?" we echoed in unison.
"Me," he grunted.
There was a moment of silence. That explained the resentment. Not only was he dealing with the NSA freakout, but on top of his freedom-fighting and army-commanding, he was going to have to make sure that Ironhide didn't get in a flame war with Ratchet and blow their cover.
"And you," he added.
"Sir," Lennox interrupted, sounding more alarmed than ever. "I'm not sure it's wise for me to divide my attention..."
"Not you," Morshower snapped. "Ms. Baines."
Another silence. This was starting to get predictable. Scary even. Finally, I asked, "Why? Sir?"
"They want someone on the ground, so to speak," Morshower explained. "They'll put up with my restrictions on principle, but from what I've heard, they'll listen to you out of respect."
I was starting to wonder who had vetted me. Either they'd been making me into some kind of Ghandi action hero against my will or they were taking me way too seriously.
"Is that all?"
"We approve who gets access," Morshower concluded. "I'll want profiles on everyone who even thinks of signing on."
"And we'll discuss appropriate compensation at your next performance review."
"You're going to give me performance reviews?" Will asked blankly. "Isn't that out of the chain of..."
"For this, twice a year. And a Christmas card that sucks up a lot."
"Yes, sir," Will said meekly.
"I'm not in the chain of command," I pointed out. "Do you need me to..."
"Lennox will bring you up to speed," he said. "Morshower out."
With that, his end of the line clicked off. I waited a few seconds and then asked another question.
"Is he always that..." All my adjectives fell short.
"I don't have a word for it either," Will commiserated, "but yeah."
"He'll be the perfect mod," I said approvingly.
"So will you, Baines," he commented. "And one final thing."
"If this gives you an ulcer, you'll sic Sarah on me?" I guessed.
"If Qatar and Mission City didn't, it's not gonna happen."
"Don't let Sam know," he said, surprising me. "Bumblebee's orders."
It made a certain amount of sense. Bee could have a semi-open way to ask for advice, vent and not worry about Sam taking it the wrong way.
"It'll be our little secret," I promised.
I usually met Sam at the car and I was already signed out on a 'family emergency' by my Uncle William, so I headed for the leather seats and air conditioning. Bee was even a gentleman and held the door for me.
"Thanks," I commented.
"Tell me more
Tell me more"
He usually didn't press for details when I ditched class. "You were eavesdropping?" I asked, too used to having him around to be offended.
"I ain't droppin' no eaves, sir."
"Take me to your leader."
"Don't tempt me," I laughed. "I just spent ten minutes getting the TOS from Major Lennox's boss. IF you really want me to call him for you..."
"No. Nonono. NonoNONONO..."
"Okay, okay," I cut him off before he could get through all fourteen no's. We sat there in silence for a minute before I let a small smile cross my face. "Soooo...usernames for the newbies?"
'Bee let out an evil "Muahahaha!" and I remembered that the newbies would be Will Lennox and General Morshower. They would have a spitting contest to see who would be less of a newbie.
"SirYesSir for Morshower?"
"We've got two of those in stock..." Then he quoted a line from MASH or something. "I'll see your captain and raise you a general!"
"This is Will Lennox. He's one of the guys. Make it a reference to beer or tanks."
"You mean I have to choose one?" he teased.
"We'll get back to the boys later. What about the missus? Will Sarah be in on this? She knows about the blog after Arcee spilled the beans the last time we were on DG."
"This I tell you, brother, y'can't have one without the other."
"Okay, then...AnnieOakley? Stayathomehellraiser?"
He broke out in a laugh-track at that. "DenMomOfSix?"
I counted on my fingers, double-checking his numbers. Optimus, Ironhide, Ratchet, Bumblebee, Arcee, and Annabelle. "I don't know how Sarah would take being called Optimus' mom. For one thing, he's like a zillion years old, right?"
"Millions...and millions..." He estimated. "Yeah, yeah, you're probably right." We fell into silence for a few seconds before he blurted out, "By George, I've got it...her family name is...spitfire."
DenMomofSix aside, the car was a genius. "Spitfire it is. We should get them his and hers names. Spitfire and..."
"I will survive
As long as I know how to love
I know I'll stay alive."
"Survivor," I finished. "She's the one you can't cross and he's the one you can't beat."
Kids started trickling out of the doors as school got out. I knew we had to wrap this up. "Back to Morshower."
"Your idea...he gets enough of that at the office."
"You mean that's not how his mom talked to him?" I snarked.
"Ha. Ha...get in good with the boss...appeal to his vanity."
I frowned, stumped on how you appeal to the vanity of an overweight general with receding hair who wore a uniform most of his life. "Um...how?"
In the cheesy-overly dramatic voice of some 1980's wildlife show, he intoned, "The Bald Eagle, symbol of our country for more than two hundred years..." Then he pulled out another military-movie quote, "some high-ranking brass."
"Still not following you, 'Bee." I noticed Sam crossing the parking lot.
I gave that some thought, though with my boyfriend on the way, I couldn't exactly write a report about it. "Okay," I agreed. "It won't show disrespect and it won't give him away. I think he can live with that."
Sam patted 'Bee's hood and the Autobot played an urgent "shush!" to me.
"I know. Classified."
"Huh?" Sam asked as he let himself in on the driver's side.
I gave him my best "who me?" innocent eyes. "Nothing."
"Some grown up girl bonding time," Bee quoted.
"I don't want to know," Sam said quickly.
He was easily mortified by the idea of what we might bond over and it was adorable. In this case, though, he spoke the truth.
"You really don't," I assured him.
He shyly reached for my hand as 'Bee put himself in gear and headed out of the parking lot. I twined my fingers with his and grinned as I reached out the open window, letting my free hand ride the air streaming past us. My boy and my 'bot - it didn't any better than this.
Authors' Endnote: Please do NOT attempt to email Mikaela's address here. We do not own it, nor do we know who, if anyone, does.