Welcome readers! This is what I've decided to dub, a PILOT CHAPTER. I got so many favourites (and a few reviews) from the Prime Suspect Oneshot, that I've decided to extend the story into something more complex.
This isn't directly related to the Oneshot, it's more like a "stretched out" version. It takes place about a year and a half after the ending of Transformers 1 (that's roughly about 6 months before the start of Transformers 2, just so you know), and will probably contain spoilers for all 3 movies at some point.
This is a test chapter, I want to see how it's received. So everyone PLEASE, I'm looking for REVIEWS on this chapter, not just Favourites or Alert listings. If you like the chapter, and would like to see this turn into a proper story, Review it and let me know! I want to know what you like, dislike, want to see, EVERYTHING.
Otherwise I will probably just take it down and keep it as a Oneshot.
If you want the gist of who the character Tessa is, go and read Prime Suspect.
Disclaimer: I own nothing except Tessa and her obsession for Skittles.
Her employment agent hadn't said anything about this! Sitting in the back of a military issue vehicle between two burly men in army greens, with guns mind you, had not been a part of what the job agency told her. She'd been told it was a tight lipped company, who very rarely did job interviews of any sort, but she hadn't been told that they would escort her from the designated interview location at her local cafe, put her into said military vehicle, blindfold her and tell her to keep quiet. This had better be one damned good career opportunity!
Blindfold still covering her eyes; she let loose a very long sigh as she tapped her fingers agitatedly on her knees. Quite subtly she tried to reach up to peek out from the blindfold, but her attempt was quickly reprimanded by the barrel of a gun snapping firmly against her knuckles in a warning.
"Location is classified. Don't try it." Came a stern, strictly militant voice to her left.
Figures…she thought glumly, returning to tapping her fingers again.
Suddenly she started breathing in deeply through her nose; severe, drawn out intakes. The inhalation of air in such a manner would no doubt have gotten the two escorts' attention, because her over dramatic breathing was the only noise in the car. Hell, they hadn't even offered to put the radio on for her. And oh boy…the things she could do when she was bored!
"You army guys should close your legs…" she stated bluntly, "It smells like fish in here." There was a strangled noise from next to her, although whether it was from amusement or disbelief she was unable to tell through the blindfold.
"What did you just-?"
"-Can I have my Skittles back please?" she chimed, completely moving from one topic to another. "Seeing as you guys cheated me out of my lunch interview, I'm sort of…you know…hungry." When her she saw her employment agent next, his ass was going to be thoroughly introduced to her foot. The interview had been organized at a café. She wasn't quite sure how it had turned into this, but as she felt the car pulling to a stop she guessed that she was about to find out what the hell was going on. To her relief, she felt one of the soldiers, obviously the one who'd snatched her Skittles off her in the first place when she'd tried to eat them in the vehicle, return the packet of fruit flavoured lollies into her hand.
They guided her, still blindfolded, into what she had to assume to be some sort of high security warehouse at least; that's what it sounded like. She heard a lot of talking, the sound of army vehicles being driven and most attention grabbing, a male voice being directed at her.
The blindfold was removed and she resisted the urge to hiss at the harsh, midday light burning holes into her retina. She shot up her free hand to cover them as a distinctly pissed off snarl escaped her throat. She'd had just about enough of this covert bull-crap.
"This better be one fucking hell of an interview." She muttered under her breathe as she blinked rapidly, her eyes finally beginning to adjust to the light. Standing before her at the entrance to the building, dressed in rugged army greens was a man no older than about 25 years with a short, standard issue short back and sides haircut, broad-set shoulders, handsome features and a rifle strapped to his back .Standing next to him was a dark skinned African American who was about a head shorter than his comrade, dressed in the same khaki patterns. He was bald, and his eyes were very expressive; he looked a little more neutral than the taller Caucasian male whose face was marred by what appeared to be concern. The bald one clapped the taller man on the shoulder, said something then smiled and left; obviously having something else he was supposed to be doing.
Said white guy addressed her once more, seeing as she hadn't answered yet. Her mind had been too preoccupied with taking in her surrounding environment.
"Teresa Jackson?" he stated, a little more bluntly. Tess was snapped out of her observations with a quick shake of her head.
"Oh. Uh, yeah; Tessa actually. Sorry, I was…kind of blinded for a second there." She didn't hold out her hand to him, still wary and unsure of what she had been dragged here for, "And I'm addressing….?"
"Captain Will Lennox." He stated, extending his hand to shake hers. Although he did so without hesitation, Tessa had caught his previously furrowed brow and the downturned corners of his lips. There was something that was clearly bothering him, but she wasn't quite sure what it was. Clasping her hand in his she shook it firmly, not forgetting for a second that this was still apparently some sort of job interview. She hated interviews, she'd been going to them for months but nobody would hire her due to the fact that she was a female. Apparently garage men tended to feel a bit emasculated when a woman could fix a machine better than they could; sexist pigs that they were. Hell, she'd even dressed nice for her interview today. Well…her version of nice. Her outfit consisted of a pair of brown denim jeans, a black button up office shirt, and a pair of mid-calf, black Doc Martins. Her long, copper brown hair had been pulled up into a bun, her side bangs left free to do as they please. Her ears were pierced several times with tiny, silver hoops and she also wore no make-up; she was a mechanic, not a cosmetics retailer.
"I would say that it's a pleasure to meet you, sir…but I don't exactly know where I am or why I'm here: unless the G.I. Joes who escorted me into a truck intended to play "pin-the-career-on-the-job-interview" if you get what I mean." She pointed her thumb at the two who had been sitting in the truck with her.
Lennox furrowed his brow again, nodding. "Yeah, I apologise about that but we can't be too careful. You were recommended to my superior by your employment agency, and they've asked me to…interview you." He looked clearly wary of her presence, and it had to make Tess wonder just how secret this place was supposed to be. That aside, she was confused as to why it apparently had to be her as the candidate for this job, not that she was complaining; hell she had to pay her rent somehow.
"The…army…?" she asked, questioning whether or not "army" was the right term to use for fear of actually offending the Captain who easily towered over her, "…doesn't have its own mechanics? Surely someone you guys actually trusted would be better, if you're so clearly worried about having to hire an outsider."
Lennox's face softened a little more; evidently relieved that she understood the situation. He turned to enter the building, motioning for her to follow. She noticed that her armed chaperones had not moved to follow them; clearly they had already been informed of what they were supposed to be doing. With a shrug she quickly jogged to catch up with Lennox as he made his way through the warehouse into the main hangar. He navigated a few side orders to some men who were slacking off, then turned to Tessa as she reached his side, quickening her step so that her shorter legs could keep pace with his.
"The reason they want to offer the job to you is because they've looked very closely into your work. We do our research here, and they seem pretty certain that there are very few people with you set of skills. You designed and developed new function engines right?"
"Yes, sir." She replied, nodding the affirmation. She didn't know anything about military protocol, hell the closest she'd come to a war was a paintballing with her cousins on their farm, so she was trying as best she could to show him the respect he obviously deserved.
"And you've done a lot of custom work with vehicles of all varieties, is that true?"
"Y…yeah…but how did you-?"
"What kind of engine work was the custom?"
A sigh escaped Tess and she pulled a few Skittles from the red packaging and popped them into her mouth; hoping to sugar away the stress she was feeling. One of them was lemon, her least favourite of the flavours, and she tried not to screw up her nose in disappointment. Instead she looked up at Lennox as they walked to answer his question, shifting the Skittles into her back teeth to be chomped on. "I created a lot of hybrid engines. You know, fusing parts together that wouldn't normally be used for what I used them for; sometimes I would even weld a part from scratch, something a normal engine isn't designed to have. I guess the way I build engines is kind of like trying to piece together a Picasso."
Lennox was careful to guide her down a corridor of the building, with many indoor windows, obviously being other rooms of the facility. They were tinted black, clearly for the privacy and confidentiality of the people inside. She could very faintly see large squares of illumination; obviously some types of computer screens for whatever "top secret" show they were running. Did she really want a job in a place like this?
"That's why they recommended you. The vehicles that are a part of this operation are…different than the ones you're probably used to working on." Lennox bit his lip as they stopped outside a heavy duty, thick steel door at the end of the corridor. There were no other rooms this far down, and there was a very complex looking computer based lock system on the wall next to it. This in and of itself piqued her interest. He turned to her and exhaled deeply before looking her straight in the eye, trying to convey the seriousness of his next words. "I don't mean this in an offensive way, Miss Jackson, but…if it were up to me I wouldn't be hiring anyone outside N.E.S.T's own militia. But our current medi…I mean, our current mechanic can't always attend to the cars; it's too big a workload. I don't want to hire you, not because of anything personal against you; it's just that this operation is…being beyond classified makes it difficult to-"
Tessa raised her hand politely to get his attention, her forearm lifting rigidly against her bicep as she smiled; seeing the issue he was trying to express. "Captain Lennox? I understand what you're trying to say. I'm new, I'm an unknown factor; a loose bolt in an already up and running engine. But let me just make it simple for you, and the guys of your team…N.E.S.T right?" Lennox nodded in response, "Anything you don't want me to see…consider it not seen."
This caught captain off guard. "What…what do you mean by that?"
She smirked and ran her finger and thumb across her mouth like a zipper. "Sworn to silence."
It was in this moment that she noticed the metaphorical coil that Lennox had seemed to have tensed in his shoulders loosened, his face softening a small bit. She was no threat, and he could see that. Giving a small nod to himself more so than her, he turned to the keypad and typed in a number too quickly for Tessa to see. He then pressed his thumb to the print pad, letting it scan before typing in another, slightly longer code; then the door gave a loud, almost screeching beep and opened for them. Lennox went through first, his hand raised for her to wait. He was looking out at something, or someone she couldn't see before calling out "Unauthorized on site! You know the drill!" there was a loud, mechanical whirring noise filled with metal clanking, and the sound of hydraulics conjoining from far outside the door that made her eyes widen in curiosity, before the usual base racket was all that could be heard. What in Hell's name kind of show were they running here? Then Lennox turned to her and motioned for her to move forward. "All clear, you can come in now."
Once walking through the door, Tess realised that they were up on a raised metal walkway; more than likely added after the base's construction. Men and women in uniforms were bustling about doing various jobs, barking orders and a few were sitting at a metal cafeteria folding table playing a card game of some sort. She suddenly felt incredibly out of place. Everyone here knew the protocol; knew the order and rank of how things worked. They were all brave, courageous members of an obviously military formation; and Tessa was the scruffy, outsider little grease monkey who created freak engines by fusing metal together. In that small moment she felt tiny; almost insignificant.
Then…she saw them.
A commute of automotive beauties, vehicles of drastically varying types congregated in the hangar; beautiful even though they were marred with many dents, scratches and…was that a gash? Her heart twisted at the sight of them, and by pure instinct she snapped her hand up to grip Lennox's sleeve, causing him to stop his stride and look at her. He followed her gaze and realized that she'd seen the vehicles. It was then he noticed her wide-eyed expression, and her mouth agape.
"Is something wrong?"
She took in a breath, trying to still the itch that tingled in her fingers, the desire to just…tinker with them. "They're gorgeous. Are these…the vehicles you use in the military?" she turned her face up to look at him, and Lennox noticed the glimmer in her eye. He began to see why she had been the one recommended for this job; she possessed a passion for what she did. Maybe he'd been wrong in thinking that this was a bad idea.
"Kind of…" he smiled, his face turning up in a very secretive smirk, "These vehicles are highly confidential special issue; let's just say the technology used on them is so advanced that it's…almost alien." Tessa, however, didn't pick up on the subtlety of his remark; instead her mind went awhirl at the possibilities in the technology advancements.
"You mean…they're like…spy cars?"
Lennox shrugged nonchalantly at her, clearly avoiding her question before making his way down the metal stairs, his standard issue boots thumping heavily against the frame as he descended. She followed close behind, now more than willing to get onto the ground floor to see the magnificent creations of metal. He led her over to them with an apprehensive smile "Time for the interview to really begin. Consider this a trial. Show me what you know."
She snapped her head back to face him so quickly that for a brief second the captain feared she'd self-induced a case of whiplash. Her eyes were wide, anticipating and entirely void of anything but the excitement of a child. "You mean, I get to work on them; right now?"
"No. You get to inspect the exterior; which means no hood popping, then inform me of the damage and tell me what you plan to do to fix it." Lennox replied, watching with mild amusement as her expression faded into one of slight disappointment before masking itself in seriousness. Her stance changed, her shoulders squared; she was in mechanic mode.
"Sounds good." She turned to look at the array of incredible vehicles, her eyes settling on the closest one being the black Topkick, damaged and bent in its framework. In fact, all of the automotive vehicles were severely damaged in some way. "Must have been some battle these went into…" she murmured, just loud enough for Lennox to hear. However he ignored the statement, deciding to just let her inspect the vehicles. On his part, this was probably a good idea because Tess hadn't actually been addressing him; she was lost in her mechanical thoughts and tended to converse with herself while she was. She stepped closer to the Topkick and ran her fingers gently over the bent and dented metal. Taking a few seconds, she just felt and listened to the truck. Engine and body work was what she did for a living, it was what she breathed and it was easier to understand something she had her hands on.
She tapped, touched and inspected the metal, explaining step-by-step what she would do and use to repair the damage before moving on to the Corvette Stingray next to it. To this she did the same, but she almost had a heart attack when she felt it tremble as her fingertips gently grazing the side doors. She turned to Lennox with an astonished look in her eyes. "What on earth was that?" she exclaimed, turning back to look at the battered, silver sports car that was now sitting completely still.
He gave her a smile, clearly trying not to laugh at something, before say it in a strained tone, "Sometimes it's like these cars have a mind of their own. I did tell you the technology was advanced."
Her eyebrows scrunched together in something akin to confusion as she regarded what he said. "Well…if there's a bug in the system somewhere, whatever weird computers you guys use in these things; I'll find it." She stated, before reeling back to where the cars were.
"I don't doubt that."
However she was back to work, ignoring what Lennox was saying; tuned completely into her task as she checked and rechecked the damage on the vehicles, all the while giving a detail report of what the visible damage was, and how exactly she could fix them. Her last objective was the Peterbilt semi parked a little ways behind the rest of the cars, it's custom blue and red paint job easily visible despite the insanely numerous dents, scratches and twisted pieces of metal marring its overall appearance. She had to pause to look at it, taking in its spectacular, almost regal air. Turning to Lennox, who had been following her closely; she clearly displayed that wistful, dreamy look she had when first spotting the vehicles. He knew exactly what that look was from.
"Nice truck huh?" he smirked, loud enough for a certain truck to hear, should they have been listening in the immediate vicinity. He folded his arms over his chest and watched as she gently pressed her outstretched fingers onto the mangled grill, her eyes falling on the symbol at its tip, running her thumb almost lovingly over the indentation of the brand. She looked back at him with an upturned lip, a hint of a smile.
"This is the most gorgeous piece of machinery I've ever seen," she stated, before her smirk turned into a sly, almost cheeky grin. "It's…definitely a sexy truck."
Captain William Lennox almost died trying to contain his laughter; his eyes watering and his chest burning from the strain before he coughed in an attempt to compose himself.
"Well, he's never quite got that reaction before, I'm sure he appreciates the compliment." Lennox replied with a contained smirk. He clearly knew something she didn't, but she couldn't put her finger on it.
"He? You refer to the cars with a gender?" she asked curiously, smiling back at him despite her lack of insight to his secret, "I…used to do that when I was a kid…but every place I've worked at, they'd give me shit for admitting that." Reaching out her hand hopefully she looked him dead in the eye. "If you're willing to take me on, sir; I would be honoured to work for N.E.S.T as their mechanic."
Impressed by her composure he gave a nod and clasped his hand into hers, shaking it firmly.
"Welcome aboard, Miss Jackson."