I want to thank everyone who took the time to review!
Wow, damn, I'm really sorry I haven't posted this sooner. Honestly, I kind of forgot about this story. I haven't checked my emails in like three months, so your demands for more kind of went unnoticed. It wasn't until someone sent me a PM that I realized how horribly I've neglected this story and my fans. I promise to update this story more often.
I had originally planned to finish this chapter and post it last Thursday night, but my Grandma went to the hospital early Thursday morning. She had a really bad infection, so her nursing home is probably neglectful or just inept, either way my Mom is really pissed. I've been visiting my Grandma most of the time, seeing as I'm the only grandkid in the area, so that's why I didn't update this when I said I would. She's getting better, but is still in a lot of pain.
Anyways, here are the results from the polls after tallying your reviews; they'll both remain open until the next chapter:
Poll #1: Should I bring Gears to Earth or not?
1. Yes- 25
2. No- 11
Poll #2: Which Autobot should Jack tell his secret as being a former Decepticon to?
1. Optimus Prime- 16
2. Ratchet- 5
3. Optimus and Ratchet- 12
Is this… It is isn't it? Holy shit, it really is! It's a new chapter! Hurry up and read it already!
~Energon is Thicker than Blood~
Chapter 6: Scrapheap
Two weeks, it had been two weeks since Jack had gone flying with Fowler and the Autobots had taken down Skyquake. Two long merciless weeks filled with mind numbing boredom.
Jack tried to alleviate the monotony of his life; dullness had never been something T.C. had ever been forced to deal with. His only true release came with Arcee. Since Jack could not fly through the skies anymore, racing on top of the dirt roads of Jasper at 100 mph seemed like the next best thing. Arcee however, never pushed her engine past 80. She did have a cover to maintain.
So Jack tried, really he did. He tried to put up with school and his classmates. He tried to put up with Vince's heckling, though he could tell his restraint in holding his punches back wouldn't last much longer, and he tried to act like nothing was bothering him. Not an easy thing to do when one is constantly getting visions from their past life. So, yeah, he was trying.
That didn't mean it was working.
He was short tempered with every one of his classmates, they're chattering on about the newest fashions or the latest TV shows were constantly giving him a headache. The teachers droned on about things he already knew, scolding him when they saw he wasn't paying attention, and then staring at him in surprise as he answered their questions with ease. Thankfully no one at school really knew him all that well, so he only had to watch what he did and said around his Mom, who was working more often than not.
Sometimes, late at night, Jack would stop and think about himself and these changes that he was going through. He found that, while he'd definitely changed personality wise, he didn't feel all that different. Or maybe it was just that he'd changed so much that he'd forgotten what he used to be like.
Jack sighed as he dragged his hands through his wet hair, Primus did he miss oil showers. Today there would be no boredom though, not with what he had planned for after school. Arcee and the others would be scouting for Energon today, so Jack had the entire evening to himself, one that he was going to take advantage of.
He had resigned from his job at K.O. Burger; if he'd continued working there, Jack was sure he would have killed someone. His Mom had no idea that he'd quit for two reasons. Firstly, he needed a plausible way to explain the money he received from the government. He'd already set up his secret account to transfer the same amount of money he'd made at K.O. into his normal account.
And secondly, he needed a cover story for where he would really be spending his free time. While Jack fully intended to spend most of his time at the Autobot base, he planned to also spend his hours getting rid of his boredom. A problem that could quite possibly be solved in just about nine hours. So with that pleasant thought in mind, Jack easily made it through the school day, able to ignore everything that bothered him and even managed a smile for Sierra.
Femme's, no matter what species, would always hold an interest for T.C. While Jack had certainly been uncertain and tongue-tied around the opposite gender, T.C. had never had a problem with communication. It was the commitment part that usually gave him troubles. Then, of course, there had been Slipstream…
Jack was brought out of his thoughts as the dismissal bell rang, reminding him slightly of the emergency drill sound that had rung throughout Kaon on the day that the Rebels Forces had launched one of their most devastating attacks.
A quarter of the city had been burned to the ground that day.
Jack quickly made his out of the classroom, ignoring the slight gesture the teacher made for him to stay behind, and headed for the school entrance. Out of reflex he looked for Arcee before reminding himself of their mission and walked off the school property before Miko and Raf found him. It wasn't like he didn't like the two kids, he simply had an appointment in the next town over that he refused to be late for.
An hour and a half later, Jack was getting off at a bus terminal located in Santa Maia, a city that had triple the population size of Jasper. While Santa Maia wasn't anything like New York or Las Vegas, it certainly dwarfed Jasper easily in comparison. Had Jack not lived on Cybertron, he might have been impressed by the city's large structures and crowded streets. Pausing only to hail down a taxi, Jack quickly gave the driver his intended destination.
~Energon is Thicker than Blood~
Jack woke with a start, not because of a nightmare for once, but because of his cellphone. Shrugging off his sleep, Jack answered the phone after seeing who was calling.
"Raf, hey, what's up?" Jack asked his voice coming out scratchy and tired. He'd gotten to bed late last night after hiding his newly acquired item in an abandoned barn at the edge of Jasper. His Mom would no doubt freak if she saw what he'd bought and then demand to know where he got the money to buy it. That would of course lead to things she was better off not knowing.
He doubted Arcee and the other Autobots would be impressed with his decision either.
"Bumblebee got a call from Arcee to pick you up, so I just wanted to let you know that we'll be there in twenty minutes." Raf said and Jack could hear Bumblebee mutter something about cartoons in the background, which Raf reminded him that the show he was talking about only aired on the weekdays.
"Sounds good, I'll be waiting out front." Jack answered before saying goodbye. It had been a bit shocking when Jack suddenly understood what Bumblebee could say. Last week he'd gotten a vision consisting of him having a conversation with another Mech in basic Cybertronian, which is what Bumblebee spoke in. Bee had thought it was great, as had Raf, Ratchet had thought it was suspicious.
Jack had been especially cautious about what he did around the old Medic after that.
"Heh, cartoons…" Jack said fondly as he shook his head at Bumblebee's antics. Arcee had made a wisecrack about him watching cartoons with the yellow Autobot two weeks ago, before everything had gone to the Pit. Sure, his physical body was sixteen, but his mind and soul was at least a couple million years old. Bumblebee was a couple hundred thousand years old, but he seemed rather fond of them, and it was good to see the youngling enjoy himself. Jack felt his stomach plummet with that thought.
Bumblebee was much too young to be a soldier.
Pulling on his clothes and brushing his teeth, Jack mused over how old Skywarp must be by now. His little brother had been around the same age as Bumblebee when they'd joined the Decepticons, much to his protests. Jack hadn't wanted Skywarp to join the Cons, not until he was older at least, too bad the war had escalated to the point where he didn't really have a say in the matter. Sides were being drawn, attacks were launched randomly and if one didn't pick a side then they didn't last very long.
Bumblebee and Raf arrived at around eight and they reached the base a half an hour later. Jack got out of Bumblebee and waved a greeting towards Ratchet who responded with a small flick of the wrist.
"Wasn't expecting a carpool Arcee, what's up?" Jack asked as he moved over to the two-wheeler.
"Tag team Jack, it's my turn for exploration duty." Arcee answered and Optimus nodded from behind her.
"Too bad, it's a really nice day out. I'd hate for you to feel guilty about leaving me inside all day." Jack said with a smirk that Arcee returned.
"It's an artic exploration Jack." Arcee said as she rose and optic ridge and laid a servo on her hip. Jack raised his arms up in front of him in silent surrender and looked down as Raf ran up next to him.
"The artic, I've always wanted to see snow!" Raf said excitedly and Jack smirked as he crossed his arms and shared an amused look with Arcee.
"I would invite you to join Rafael, but the conditions are much too extreme, even for us Autobots." Optimus said as Arcee nodded her head.
…"Why, in the name of Primus, are we here again?" Jack shouted towards Gears in order for his voice to be heard over the raging winds. They had arrived on this freezing planet to look for some weird relic that some Clerk at the Iacon Archives discovered, a Clerk who had gone along with them to see that the mission was a success.
"As I've said before, this relic could quite possibly be the lost tomes left by the Ancients. Such invaluable knowledge cannot be left unchecked if it is at all possible." The Clerk said as they pushed on into the raging snowstorm.
"Yeah, and if we don't find this relic soon, we'll be a bunch of relics that future bots will dig up eons from now!" Gears shouted back and the Clerk nodded in agreement. "I see a cave over there, well stop for the night and repair what icing damage we can."
Jack saw the cave that Gears was pointing to and headed in that direction, making sure to keep the Clerk within his sight the entire time. There had been few assignments Jack had taken where their client would accompany them on their mission, most of them just trying to make sure that the "brutish Procurers" didn't break anything.
Jack was pretty sure that was why this Clerk was here too.
As they shuffled into the cave, Jack immediately unpacked the provisions he and Gears had prepared for this particular job. Subzero system deterioration could easily lead to permanent system damages if not taken care of immediately.
"Hey Rookie, you got the destabilizing cables?" Gears asked as he rigged his core stabilizing generator into an Energon pack.
"Right here Short Fuse." Jack answered as he handed to cables over to Gears before turning back to his own generator. He shot a look at the Clerk, who at least had the foresight to bring his own generator and watched in amusement as the young Mech struggled to get the machine to work.
"Your generator has been exposed to this cold for too long; its inner fuel lines have been frozen over." Jack said as he approached the Clerk to see what the problem was. "While you were wise to bring a generator, you didn't bring one that was made to withstand such temperatures." Jack said as he shot the Clerk a searching look.
"I had asked my superior what model of generator I should use… he suggested this one." The Clerk said lowly as he stared down at the useless generator.
"Well, that just goes to show ya, a bot can never fully rely on the words of another." Gears said from his corner of the cave, his generator already on and humming. Jack rolled his optics and saw the Clerk smile a little in response.
"Come on, I've got a few extra cables you can use. We'll share my generator." Jack said as he motioned for the Clerk to follow him back towards his stabilizing unit. "What's your designation?" The Clerk gave him another small smile as thanks before answering.
"I understand." Rafael said sadly as he looked down at the floor and Optimus turned to walk through the Ground Bridge before pausing to readdress the young human.
"But, I will bring you back a snowball." Optimus replied as he turned back to their youngest charge, smiling slightly at the joyous look Rafael gave him before running up to Bumblebee. Optimus shot a look to Jackson and noticed that the boy was seemingly staring out at nothing, his gaze unfocused but his posture rigid. "Jack, are you alright?"
He saw Jack visible shudder before looking around himself in a dazed manner. The young human shook his head lightly before turning to meet his optics and gave a small smile to the Autobot leader.
"I'm fine Optimus, I just spaced out for a second there." Jack answered easily as he rubbed his arms, almost as if he were trying to shake off the memory of some distant cold. "Have a safe journey." He said as he moved over towards the stairs.
"We shall. Arcee, roll out." Optimus ordered as he and the femme ventured into the icy tundra.
"Ground Bridge travel successful." Ratchet started to say before the Ground Bridge control panel sparked and then failed completely. "By the All-Spark."
"So, what you do you guys think we should do today?" Miko asked as Jack trailed behind her and Raf.
"Racing tournament, last one standing wins!" Bumblebee said and Raf translated for Miko's sake.
"Bulkhead, Bumblebee, here, now!" Ratchet shouted and Jack raised an eyebrow as he watched the two bots walk off dejectedly. Jack moved to follow the two Autobots when Miko suddenly waved a game controller in front of his face.
"No offense Miko, but video games aren't my thing." Jack said as he looked over at Raf who was frowning and staring down at his feet. "They are Raf's forte though, I think you'll find more of a challenge in him." He said as he gestured towards the sad looking boy. Miko's eyes lit up at Jack's words and turned towards the younger boy with eager.
"You can't boss us around just because the boss is out." Jack heard Bulkhead say from his spot near the couch.
"I need some heavy lifting, the Ground Bridge is down." Ratchet said, completely ignoring what the Wrecker said. Jack furrowed his eyebrows in worry, did that mean Arcee and Optimus were trapped in the artic?
"Are they okay, Ratchet?" Bumblebee asked worriedly.
"Optimus and Arcee made it through just fine; it's bringing them back that concerns me. Now remove those panels." Ratchet said as he pointed to the Ground Bridge's maintenance core. "Chop. Chop."
Jack had left the main room without attracting anyone's attention and found himself wandering down one of the halls aimlessly, once again succumbing to boredom. He was more than happy to let Raf and Miko play together, even if Raf was a little hesitant at first. He'd never been one to play games anyway, unless it involved gambling of course.
T.C. had often stood back to watch Starscream and Skywarp do their own thing, be that talking or playing the Seeker's version of tag.
What was more worrying though was the Ground Bridge's sudden malfunction.
Jack knew Ratchet was having trouble with Earth technology, but Jack had yet to see any inventions of Cybertronian origin fail so far. What's so surprising is that the Ground Bridge had apparently been working just fine yesterday. What could cause such massive damage in so short a time?
And then Jack spotted something that made his heart skip a beat.
~Energon is Thicker than Blood~
"Ratchet, we've got a serious problem." Jack said as he carried the Scraplet's mangled body away from himself as far as possible.
"We're busy right n- Ah! SCRAPLET!" Ratchet shouted as his arm shifted into a canon, Bulkhead and Bumblebee reacting in a similar way.
"A dead Scraplet guys, I found him in the hallway chewing on some power lines in the wall. I think it's safe to guess that we now know what caused the Ground Bridge to malfunction." Jack said as he dumped the Scraplet's shell on the floor, crushing its already heavily dented body under his foot.
He hated Scraplets.
"What's a Scraplet?" Raf asked as walked over to lay a comforting hand on Bumblebee's leg.
"The most dangerous vermin to ever crawl across the surface of Cybertron." Ratchet answered as he stared down at the small metal pest. "How did…" The Medic trailed of as he studied Jack intently, making the former Decepticon shift nervously.
He knew showing them the Scraplet would make Ratchet even more suspicious and he may have just blown his secret, but a Scraplet invasion was a dire situation. His secret wouldn't amount to scrap if the Autobots on base were devoured and if Optimus and Arcee froze to death.
"You guys are giant robots! Scrappy here is, well teeny." Miko said cutting off whatever Ratchet was going to say next. Jack mentally thanked the brash young girl for not being able to keep her mouth shut for once.
"You have no idea the damage that teeny thing can do!" Bulkhead shouted hysterically as he waved his still humming canon at the Scraplet's corpse. "All Scraplets do is dismantle machinery and eat anything metal, especially living metal."
"Well, Jack went all exterminator on it so no problem, right?" Miko asked as she poked at the Scraplet's body.
"No, when it comes to Scraplets there's never just one, and I fear I know how they got in here." They followed Ratchet down into the empty car bay and found the metal ball that Scraplets had eaten their way out of. "It's a trap, a Scraplet trap."
"Uh, an empty Scraplet trap." Bulkhead said nervously as he shifted his head to look around them. Bumblebee stood at the ready, his gun out and itching to be fired. Jack found himself also looking over his shoulder anxiously. While the Scraplets weren't a threat to him now, his memories reminded him of just how horrifying the little metal menaces could be.
"It must have been ejected from Cybertron eons ago, only to wind up in the artic where the subzero temperature kept them in stasis." Ratchet concluded as he looked deeper into the Scraplet trap. 'Who'd thought it had been a good idea to seal them into a metal prison anyways?' The medic thought as he studied the bite marks puncturing from the trap.
"Until we brought the thaw." Jack finished as he narrowed his eyes at the empty cage.
"And now they're ready to brunch." Miko said as she swung the wrench she'd somehow managed to find.
"So, how many are we talking about?" Raf asked and Jack barely held back a shudder. Far too many.
"Thousands. Power grid failures and Ground Bridge malfunctions are sure signs that their infestation is already well underway." Ratchet said as he shook his head.
~Energon is Thicker than Blood~
"Base to Optimus, do you read me? We have a situation. Scrap." Ratchet cursed as all he got was static in response. "The Scraplets have gotten into the comlink system." He said in frustration as he slammed his fist onto the computer's control panel. "If we don't eradicate these Scraplets immediately, they will reduce the entire base into a scrapheap."
"Well I say we bug out of here and let them keep it!" Bulkhead shouted back and Bumblebee nodded in agreement.
"Evacuation is not an option, if we don't get the Ground Bridge back online stat, Optimus and Arcee will perish." Ratchet said and Jack felt his insides clench at the medic's painfully honest words.
"Then we'd better do something, and fast." Jack growled as he griped the metal railing until his knuckles turned white.
"Bulkhead, you never run away from a fight." Miko said and the Wrecker shuddered slightly in response.
"Miko, you've never seen these things devour a bot, I have. They pick you apart from the inside out. Going for the small juicy bits first, fuse by fuse, circuit by circuit, until there's nothing left and I mean nothing! Not even your optics…" Bulkhead trailed off, his words giving Jack memory after memory, each showing him his comrades, friends, and enemies being consumed by the horrible Pit-spawned monsters.
…"Skywarp, pay attention! This area is the last place Ramjet and his squadron was reported to have been before going offline. I'd rather we not end up the same way simply because you're bored." Jack growled toward his younger brother and he tensed as he felt something brush against his left wing.
"Sorry, that was me." Starscream said nervously as he turned towards Jack and ignored Skywarp's snickering.
"What's the matter with you two? Primus, you're acting like fragging Sparklings." Skywarp taunted as he plowed on ahead, his gun not even out.
"Skywarp, there are far more worrying things than Autobots." Starscream growled as he pointed his guns to his left, his optics searching for whatever made that noise that only he seemed to have heard.
"Oh yeah, like what?" Skywarp asked mockingly and Starscream growled in response.
"Enough, both of you! Skywarp, this is your first Decepticon mission, take it seriously. Starscream… calm down, I honestly think there is anything in this area anymore." Jack said to the two other Seekers and each snorted derisively for two different reasons.
"You think? Hah, oh yes, that makes me feel so much better." Starscream said a little hysterically as he moved closer to Jack.
"Primus, Screamer, would you stop being such a-" Skywarp suddenly cut himself off as Starscream shouted a warning before he opened fire on whatever it was that had suddenly been heading towards Skywarp.
Jack felt his Spark freeze as he saw the massive wave of silver crash into Skywarp, knocking his little brother into the ground as he screamed for help. Jack charged forward as he saw those razor sharp teeth dig into Skywarp's black armor, as Energon began to spill onto the ground.
"-not made of metal." Jack heard Raf say, disrupting his vision of seeing Skywarp being torn apart. 'Please Primus; tell me Skywarp didn't die then, not like that.' Jack silently prayed. On a side note he finally learned what his name was.
"Typically, I find your fleshyness to be your least engaging quality, but it does seem to provide an advantage in this situation." Jack heard Ratchet say and he forced him to pay attention.
"Good, we'll pair off then, one bot to one human. I'll watch your back while you prepare the Ground Bridge." Jack said to Ratchet and turned to the others. "You guys focus on the Scraplets. Clear as many as you can, but avoid any large groups, if it gets too bad meet up back here." He ordered and saw Bulkhead and Bumblebee shake in fear.
~Energon is Thicker than Blood~
Once the others had left Jack had searched the room for a weapon, deciding to grab the fire extinguisher as extreme cold had locked the Scraplets into stasis before. It was silent for a few moments until Jack heard the sound of Bulkhead's blaster going off from somewhere deeper in the base.
"How's it going over there, Ratchet?" Jack called as he searched the room with narrowed eyes. He heard Ratchet sigh in response before answering.
"I've repaired the damaged conductors and rerouted the central conduits, but the Ground Bridge still won't receive power." Ratchet growled as he slammed his fist into the floor angrily. He needed to fix the Ground Bridge soon, Optimus's and Arcee's lives depended on it, on him.
"Maybe the damage they did is affecting the Ground Bridge from somewhere else?" Jack suggested uncertainly. After all, what did he know about Ground Bridge's? Ratchet seemed to share that same thought because he only scoffed in response. It was silent for a minute before Ratchet sighed and turned to look at Jack.
"Jack, how did you know that the Scraplet was a danger?" Ratchet asked as he narrowed his optics at the human. The question had been bothering him ever since he saw the boy bring in that Scraplet's corpse.
"Arcee told me about them last week." The human boy replied easily enough and Ratchet really had no reason to doubt his word. It was just… little things kept piling up around Jack that made little sense. How had the human known what he did about the differences between the Space and Ground Bridges? How could he suddenly understand Bumblebee?
"And will Arcee tell me the same thing if I ask her?" Ratchet asked shrewdly and he saw the human's shoulders tense up before slumping downwards, a heavy sigh escaping the young boy's lips.
Jack was caught and he knew it, Arcee wouldn't cover for him about this and even if she did, he'd have to explain to her how he really knew about Scraplets and that was a conversation Jack didn't think he'd ever be ready to have. Ratchet wouldn't let this drop either; he could tell just by the way that the bot was glaring at him.
Jack sighed before turning to the old Autobot, deciding set the truth free, as it were.
"Alright Ratchet, you got me. I am in fact a Decepticon who died thousands of years ago in a climactic battle against the Autobots. Somehow I was reborn and I've been getting memories of my past life since I was brought to Starscream on the Nemesis." Jack said evenly as he stared seriously at Ratchet who'd raised his optic ridges in response. It was dead silent for a minute before Ratchet snorted in amusement.
"Ha-ha, a Decepticon human! Jack, that has to be the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard." Ratchet said with a chuckle before turning back to the Ground Bridge.
Jack stared at Ratchet in astonishment. The Medic hadn't believed him. This was perfect, this was exactly what he wanted, and yet… Jack had been so ready to have someone else know his secret. He'd been so ready to act like himself again while around at least one person, where he didn't have to watch what he said, where he could get answers about Skywarp.
Jack was about to open his mouth, whether to convince Ratchet or not, he didn't know, but the sudden sound of whirling metal quickly grabbed his attention and Jack turned back to see a horde of Scraplets flying towards them.
"Ratchet, get down!" Jack shouted as he took aim at the approaching horde of Scraplets. Just as Jack had assumed, the cold nitro cloud from the fire extinguisher sent the Scraplets crashing into the ground. The Scraplets at the back of the group broke off and moved to attack Ratchet and Jack rushed after them, knocking some of the Scraplets out of the air as he swung the fire extinguisher at them.
"Ratchet, get the patch kit, we're leaking Energon here!" Bulkhead shouted and Ratchet turned to the others, his body only covered with some minor mesh wounds. He took in the damage done to Bulkhead and Bumblebee and was about to order them to lie down when Bulkhead suddenly shouted, pointing towards Jack's direction.
A second wave of Scraplets had arrived and they'd obviously deduced that Jack was a threat. They were swarmed all over him, completely blocking the human from view and he could hear strangled shouts escape the massive mound of Scraplets.
"Jack!" Ratchet shouted, not knowing what else to do. His yell seemed to attract some of the Scraplets' attention because a large part of the horde left Jack and charged towards them. The Autobots brought out their blasters taking aim at the tiny bot eaters, but it simply wasn't enough. As the bots began to collapse Miko and Raf did their best to knock off the Scraplets, but it did little good.
Ratchet felt panic begin to set in as the Scraplets continued to dig deeper into his armor. Was this how it was going to end, the Autobots not felled by the Decepticons, but by Scraplets? He jerked slightly at the cloud of coldness that suddenly rose around him, before letting out a sigh of relief. Jack must be using the fire extinguisher again. He turned from his spot on the floor and saw that the human was covered in cuts and scrapes, his life blood clearly visible on his marred body.
"Jack-" He started to say but grunted instead as he felt his right arm throb painfully.
"Easy Ratchet, you've got more than just a couple of mesh wounds. Raf, Miko make sure you smash every single Scraplet you see." Jack said as he moved over to knock a couple of Scraplets who were still attached to Bumblebee's chassis.
"Did we get them?" Miko asked after some time and Ratchet heard Jack scoff. As if to agree with the young boy, the sound of whirling metal echoed throughout the base and Ratchet closed his optics in hopelessness.
"Hardly, these were just scouts." He answered drily as he watched Jack crush another Scraplet under his foot.
"So, the rest of them know we're in here?" Bulkhead asked fearfully.
"If we allow ourselves to become their next meal, Optimus and Arcee will never make it home. We must get the Ground Bridge operational." Ratchet decided to say instead, sparing Bulkhead the knowledge that it was most likely that the Scraplets were already on their way.
"Then we could use the Ground Bridge to send the Scraplets anywhere in the world." Raf said excitedly as he looked over the crushed piles of metal remains.
"So we send them back to the artic, we already know they don't do cold." Jack said as he hefted the fire extinguisher over his shoulder. He didn't bother to tell the bots that the metal canister was going to be empty pretty soon.
"Sweet, one stop shopping." Miko said as she raised the wrench she'd been using.
"Given the body mass of the Scraplets, subzero temperature should freeze them on contact. So think Ratchet, think! If the Ground Bridge is still down… there must be a breech in the Energon fuel line!" Ratchet shouted as he sent a pleased look to Jack who smiled in response.
"If we weren't breeching, one of us could go back over there and fix it." Bulkhead said as Bumblebee tried to get off the floor and failed, proving the Wreckers statement to be correct.
"Where do we find it?" Jack asked and the Autobots turned their heads towards him, Miko, and Raf.
"And how do we fix it?" Raf asked.
~Energon is Thicker than Blood~
"Perhaps you should have accompanied Rafael and Miko in repairing the leak Jack." Ratchet said as he watched the boy stand guard in front of him and the others.
"And leave you three to deal with the Scraplets on your own, when you can barely stand?" Jack asked back skeptically as he raised an eyebrow at the old bot. "Raf and Miko can handle the leak, the Scraplets should leave them alone… if they don't sense any hostile intent that is." Jack said as he lightly brushed a hand over the cut in his side. It was shallow, as were most of his cuts, that didn't mean they didn't sting though.
"Jack, I-I'm sorry about…" Ratchet trailed off as he looked away from the boy, unable to meet his gaze. He'd never been very good when it came to apologies. They were supposed to be the ones protecting the humans, not the other way around. This was the second time that Jack had bled for them.
"It's fine Ratchet, things happen." Jack said gruffly as he looked in the other direction, also avoiding the Mech's gaze. Thundercracker had never been too good with these sort of situations either.
"So if we get –when we get the Ground Bridge open, do we send the creepy crawlies out, or bring our bots in?" Bulkhead asked interrupting whatever it was that was going on between Ratchet and Jack. Weird.
"Optimus and Arcee will be fresh meat, if we bring them in first the Scraplets will have no reason to leave. We'll need bait." Ratchet said tiredly, his optics shuddering slightly in response.
"Where are we going to get bait? The Scraplets already helped themselves to everything in here." Bulkhead growled angrily and Jack was about to interrupt when a massive swarm of Scraplets flew out of the vents and circled the bots overhead. Jack raced to second deck that hung over the bots and readied the fire extinguisher to be used as soon as any Scraplets got close enough.
"Ratchet all systems go, fire it up!" Miko shouted as she and Raf charged into the room. Jack shot at a group of Scraplets that made to charge at Ratchet as he activated the Ground Bridge and watched worriedly as the Medic crashed into the floor.
"Bait, huh?" Bulkhead muttered to himself as he slowly got up, Jack moving along with the Wrecker and shooting down any Scraplet that got to close. "Ready for the main course? Come and get it!" Bulkhead shouted towards the Scraplets as he waved his arms to get their attention. Jack stood next to the large Autobot, knowing what he was up to and ready to lend any help he could.
The Scraplets spotted Bulkhead and charged, the Wrecker stumbled through the Ground Bridge and Jack followed, shooting at the Scraplets that managed to latch onto the green Autotbot. Jack spotted Optimus and Arcee as the exited the portal and shouted for them to get down along with Bulkhead. Jack dove into the snow, his body painfully clenching up at the frigid weather, and turned to look up at Optimus and Arcee after seeing the Scraplets freeze over.
"I'd invite you in, but the place is a mess." Bulkhead said. Somehow, Jack still managed to scoff through his chattering teeth.
~Energon is Thicker than Blood~
"Report Bio-circuitry status, Jack." Ratchet ordered and Jack didn't hesitate to respond.
"Levels are raising and stabilizing Ratchet." Jack said as he looked up briefly from the data screen towards the Medic bot.
"Excellent. Rafael, keep a close watch on Bumblebee's electric pulse monitor. Miko, check Bulkhead's interface patch." The old Autobot said, as his optics lingered on Jack for a few more moments.
"It's steady." Raf said while Miko responded with a bright "Looking good." Ratchet nodded his head and turned to Optimus as the Autobot leader addressed him.
"Perhaps you should get some rest yourself, old friend. You saved quite a few lives today." Optimus said as he smiled at the other Autobot. Ratchet smirked in response before turning to look at the human children. "It… wasn't all my doing. We're just fortunate that this infestation happened, on a Saturday." The Medic said with a huff as he shared a grim look with Optimus.
"Our human friends may be small, but they are strong." Optimus said as he proudly looked onto the humans, his optics focusing in on Jack as he saw the boy looked much like he did earlier, his eyes unfocused and body rigid.
…"Thundercracker?" Jack heard Starscream ask distantly and he slowly opened his optics, ignoring the stasis command his system was sending. "Thundercracker, are you awake?" Jack grunted and he heard the Seeker sigh in relief.
"What happened?" Jack asked as his optics finally onlined and found Starscream who was covered in mesh wounds, but nothing looked too serious. "Where's Skywarp?" He asked after seeing his little brother nowhere in sight.
"We were attacked by a small horde of Scraplets when scouting for Ramjet's squadron. They had attacked Skywarp first and then you-" Starscream cut himself off as a visible shudder raced through his silver frame. "You charged the Scraplets and the swarmed all over. I thought…" Starscream shuttered his optics and Jack reached out to grab the Seeker's servo. "Skywarp is fine, but it was touch and go with you for a while. Knock Out barely managed to save your Spark."
"Well then, I guess I owe Knock Out some High-grade Energon." Jack said lowly earning a chuckle from the obviously distraught Seeker. "So, where's Skywarp?" Jack asked again and was surprised by the sudden change in Starscream's personality.
"I don't know and I didn't bother to find out! That fragged up aft-head can go rust in the Pit for all I care." Starscream growled and Jack barely held back an amused snort.
"Angry at him are we?" Jack asked lightly and almost chuckled as Starscream went into a tirade about Skywarp, spouting out all of the younger Mech's faults and irritating quirks before running out of stream. It was silent for a few moments before Jack spoke again. "So, where is he?" He asked knowingly and Starscream sighed tiredly as he ran a servo over his optics before answering.
"In his quarters getting over-energized, the same thing he usually does when he's done something stupid that he feels guilty about." Jack smirked at the tired Seeker. Starscream may get angry and say things he doesn't mean sometimes, but he always looked after Skywarp.
"Please don't do something as stupid as that again, Thundercracker. I don't know what Skywarp and I would do if we lost you." Starscream said in but a whisper and Jack felt his Spark break slightly at those desperate, but open words.
"I promise to try bro-."…
Miko's sudden scream tore Jack out of his vision and he acted on instinct, grabbing the wrench that Miko had been holding before and readying himself for an attack.
"What is it?" Raf asked as he moved to stand next to Jack.
"Scraplets?" Jack asked urgently, his blue-grey eyes searching the room.
"Spider! Is it on me?" Miko screamed as she ran away from the others, flinging her arms every which way to get rid of the spider. Jack sighed angrily as he dropped the wrench onto the floor and turned back to the computers.
Why did he get the feeling like he just missed something very important concerning his vision?
~Energon is Thicker than Blood~
A 2009 Dark Blue Corvette z06 pulled up behind the other cars, its dark colored paint job lost on the crowed due to how little light there was at this time of night. Those that looked closely however, would see a dark silver design on the left side of the car, just a little in front of the driver's door. The design looked like a face and was obviously an original as no one on Earth, except for a few, would be able to recognize it.
It was the Autobot symbol.
No one could see the driver due to the cars tinted windows, but seeing as he was new, no one really cared. Jack Darby, the owner of the corvette, smiled to himself as the other cars pulled into position. He'd changed his clothes a little, adding a dark gray leather jacket to his ensemble that had a blue Autobot insignia on the back that matched his car in color.
He also wore a helmet, not the one he wore with Arcee, but a different one. It was black but was covered in a bright neon painting that was close to the color of Energon. The blue lines twisted over each other, looking more like a skull with veins, reminding the young man of the helmet design he'd had as Thundercracker.
A pretty femme moved to stand in front of the girls, her short skirt flaring a little in the late nights' breeze. Jack smirked as she winked in his direction. As the girl threw her hands downward the blue corvette raced off with the other cars, leaving most in his wake.
Jack whooped and hollered as he barreled down the road, leaving behind his doubts and everything else that had to do with his day life, because right now he was T.C. and no one else.
~Energon is Thicker than Blood~
Okay, wow, was that a huge ass chapter or what? Over seven thousand words! I think that's my longest chapter for ETB yet! Alright, so we covered a lot of shit in this chapter so let's break it down.
The whole Jack competing in illegal racing thing is actually going to open up into a lot more shit. They'll be some Knock Out interaction pretty soon and Jack is also gonna do some other stuff you might not expect. His racing persona is now sort of like his secret identity and he'll take the name T.C. when in front of others.
I like that little vision Jack had of Orion Pax, it wasn't meant to be much, just a "Huh, so Thundercracker met Orion before everything went to shit, Cool!" sort of segment. If you guys want me to expand on that particular vision let me know and I'll put it in the next chapter.
So Jack told Ratchet who he was, but wasn't believed. That part was mainly there to psych you guys out. If Option #3 gets picked for the poles than Jack will have something to build off of in the next chapter when he comes clean about who he is to Optimus and Ratchet. If not, then I got to do a fun little ditty that Ratchet will remember in the future and be like "Holy slag, Jack was telling me the truth!"
Anyways, please leave a review to tell me how I did!