A/N: Thanks for the reviews. I hope you all read my latest chapter for Curse of the Prime. Just saw episode 2 last night, and it left me wanting more! Like any show should! I'd also like to say that I do not wish to impose my religious beliefs on anyone. What happened with Julie's parents was just something that seemed like a plausible reason for Jack to make a deal with Mephisto.
Jack woke up early in the morning to find Arcee, in her human form, lying on top of him. He could only think of how Miko would milk this if she knew. He gently placed her aside and covered her in the blanket as he went to take a shower. Thankfully, there were water settings in the wash room. He grabbed a towel and all the other items he would need to take a shower.
He brought s chair with him so he could sit down and think about the events of the last few days. Since Optimus lost his memories, the Autobots have been desperately trying to get him back. Which is what led them to convince Jack to use the Key to Vector Sigma; and boy did he not like the answer. The Key 'told' him that in order to restore Optimus' memories, he would have to rely on the power of the Ghost Rider.
The Spirit of Vengeance never struck Jack as a glimmer of hope, but as sign of destruction. He showed no mercy in battle (not that it was ever much of a battle) and no remorse for his actions. Once he seared the soul of his target, he would go on a rampage. No one was safe from the Rider's wrath, not even those Jack cared about. He sat in the shower as the water poured on him, his thoughts shifting to Primus.
He had said that Zarathos (who or what ever he was) was created by Unicron, the Chaos Bringer, as well as the reason the 'Bots lost Optimus. The Creator of the Transformers promised to rid Jack of his curse if he restored Optimus' memories, not that he knew how the Rider was supposed to do that. He didn't have much time to think it over due Ratchet and Bulkhead's obsession with getting Optimus' back. Jack could understand that they needed their leader back, but they needed to understand how dangerous the Ghost Rider was. Jack continued to sit in silence until he felt two arms wrap around him and something press against his back.
"Morning partner," Arcee greeted warmly.
"Arcee," Jack said nervously, "Are wearing any clothes?"
"It's a shower Jack," she replied, "Why would I wear clothes, especially since this is my wash room." She rested her head on his shoulder and pressed her cheek against his, "Besides, it's not every day that you and I can share something like this."
"Anyone ever tell you your idea of quality time is a little perverted?" Jack said, his face turning red as Arcee chest pressed against his. He could only imagine the water sliding off her body. He was half tempted to pin her against a wall and frag her senseless.
"I thought you could use someone to vent your thoughts on," she said, "Primus knows I do that to you more often than not."
"You say that like it's a bad thing."
"Sometimes it is," she sighed, "I know it can't be easy hearing me blather on about a life I don't have any more. About people who aren't here anymore."
"You shouldn't feel guilty about missing the people you cared about," Jack said, "In quiet moments, I wonder how Julie is doing." Julie Widowski was the love of Jack's life, the very reason he became the Ghost Rider. When she fell ill and her parents refused treatment due to their religious beliefs, Jack didn't know what to do. When he came to him with the promise of her recovery, Jack jumped at the chance to make a deal, not caring what he had to "hold" for this man. That would be the greatest mistake of his life.
Julie had forgotten him and the love they shared and now she was in the arms of another man. Even if her memories were recovered, Jack wouldn't pursue her. He knew the new man in her life would never hurt her and so he wouldn't put her in the difficult position of making a choice.
"I think we've spent enough time in here," Arcee said, "Don't you think?"
Jack rose from his seat," I suppose." They walked out of the wash room and put on some new clothes that June had left out for them. Jack now wore a black, long-sleeved collar shirt with a red undershirt. He had on black pants and shoes. Arcee wore a blue long-sleeve and pants that hugged her thighs. They walked down the corridor together.
"I suppose we should get you back in your body," Jack mused.
"Can't," Arcee said, "I talk to Ratchet after you went to sleep. He did some research on the Rider. Apparently whatever he deems as his 'ride' becomes connected to him and changes when he does."
Jack flinched, "I'm sorry."
"Don't be," she smiled, "Besides, it gives us a chance to spend more time together." She winked at Jack, who blushed in response. Host to a demon or not, Jack was still a teenage boy. They entered the command center where Bulkhead was waiting for them.
"Hey Jack," the Wrecker said, a look of guilt on his face, "I just wanted to apologize."
"Apologize?" Jack raised an eyebrow.
"I know we've been pushing you kinda hard to use this Ghost Rider power of yours without considering your feelings," Bulk sighed, "But you gotta understand that we just want to get Optimus back before Megatron has him do some serious damage. Like you said, if Optimus spills innocent blood, the Rider will go after him."
"If that happened," Arcee said, "Optimus wouldn't fight back. He sooner offline himself before harming an innocent life." The blaring of the alarm caught their attention. Ratchet walked over to it and examined the monitor.
"It's a high frequency message," the medic explained, optics wide.
"From Optimus?" Bulkhead asked hopefully. Ratchet began to decipher it and an image appeared.
"Starscream," Arcee growled, giving Jack's arm a squeeze.
"He says to bring medical tools and come alone," Ratchet said, "'I information regarding your leader.'"
In the middle of a forest, the former Decepticon SIC, Starscream, sat against a rock formation. Having been shot down by Megatron's troops left his leg injured. He expected as much given the fact he deserted the Decepticons months ago, having grown tired of playing servant to Megatron's master. He knew being a neutral wouldn't be easy, especially since both sides hated him with a passion. After months of tracking the Nemesis, Starscream managed to sneak on board and take some energon cubes (not that he knew how was going to get off with them).
When he heard others approaching, he quickly hid in the nearest room where he discovered the last mech he ever expected on the ship; Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots. In that moment, Starscream instantly thought he could earn Megatron's favor again by killing the Prime once and for all, but it seemed that was not the case. The Prime had somehow lost his memories and thought himself someone by the name: Orion Pax. He apparently had been deceived by Megatron into joining the Decepticons. When Starscream was about to explain some of the 'secrets' Megatron kept from him, the troopers stormed in and attacked.
Though he managed to escape the ship, he was shot down by a trooper and fell into the forest below, the crash leaving a deep gash in his leg. He was losing energon and quickly. Without many options, he decided to contact the Autobots for help. A crazy idea, yes, but he knew they would want to about their missing leader. He was pulled from his thoughts when a ground bridge opened.
He prepared himself just in case it was the 'Cons, but to relief, it was Ratchet. However, relief gave way to panic when the Wrecker Bulkhead and two humans came out with him.
"I told you to come alone!" the Seeker hissed.
"Like we'd ever listen to you." The one called Jack, he remembered, said.
"Now why did you bring us out here," the female with blue hair said. Something about her voice was familiar. Starscream closed his optics for a second to register it.
"You!" he shrieked, "You're that femme who tried to kill me! "
"That' my girl," Jack smirked, earning a smile from Arcee.
"Enough," Ratchet, "What do you know about Optimus?"
"Very well," the Seeker sighed, "It seems your leader has taken leave of his senses. He now goes by the name: Orion Pax and it seems Megatron has deceived him into thinking he is a Decepticon." He smiled deviously, waiting for their faces to twist into shock and horror.
"Tell us something we don't know," Bulkhead replied.
"What!" Starscream gasped. They knew? But how?
"Let's go," Ratchet turned back to the bridge, "Unless you know where they are, you're know use to us."
"Wait!" Starscream cried, "That's all I know! You can't just leave me here!"
"Eat slag and die," Arcee replied as they left, "Unless you've got information, like if where the Nemesis is, you can rust for all we care."
"I might know," Starscream smirked, "If I recall every few mega-cycles, Megatron stops in a secret location to refuel the ship. And it just so happens to be that time."
They all turned around and looked at the Seeker in suspicion. Jack walked up to him, "Where is it?"
"Due to the severity of my injury, it seems I have forgotten." Starscream smiled smugly, "If it treated, I might remember." Jack's eyes glowed with fire as his hand withered away to bone, fire surrounding it. He jumped onto Starscream's leg.
"Where is it?" he growled.
"Impudent human!" the seeker roared, "You dare think you intimidate me, Starscream?" Jack gave another growl as he placed his boney hand into Starscream's wound, a burning sensation taking over. Starscream began thrashing around in pain, thanking Primus that fire didn't ignite. Jack removed his hand, but kept it close.
"I won't ask again," he hissed, "Where is it?"
In the command center, everyone gathered to listen to Ratchet's plan for getting Optimus back. After 'persuading' Starscream to give them information, Ratchet treated the Seeker's wound and they returned. Arcee still hung on Jack's arm, impressed by Jack's interrogation of the Seeker.
"Thanks to some reliable information from Starscream," Ratchet said, "We've pinpointed the location of the Nemesis. It is in an energon mine deep underground."
"A perfect place to refuel the ship," Arcee said, "But at the same time, Megatron is vulnerable."
"Exactly," Ratchet said, "We'll never have a better chance at getting Optmus back than now." He turned to Jack, a look of hope on his faceplate, "Jack. I realize that we have been pushing you rather hard, but we must ask that you use the Ghost Rider's power to save Optimus."
Jack nodded, "Ratchet, I know more than anyone what it's like when someone you care about forgets about you. I'll do everything in power to keep the Rider at bay and focused on the mission."
"Excellent," Ratchet allowed a brief smile on his face before he continued, "We will all be going on this mission just in case we require the human's small anatomy to get around."
"But how do you know this will work?" Bumblebee beeped.
"Rafael climbed to the top of the rope in gym class. We can get back our leader." Raf smiled at Ratchet while the rest of them looked confused.
"What does gym class have to do with any of this?" Miko asked.
"Before we head out," Jack said, "There's something I have to do." Jack stepped off the platform and closed his eyes. He could feel the inner fire of the Rider stirring inside of him. He wanted out and wanted it now.
"Jack," Primus' voice called, "I will keep him at bay so you can take control." Indeed, Jack could feel that same calming feeling take over him again. He took in a deep breath and transformed, the flames shooting through him, changing his clothes to the Rider's leather jacket and black pants and boots. His head was once again a skull on fire as he looked toward the others, worry and fear evident on their faces. June stepped off the platform and approached him.
"Jack?" she asked, "Is that you?"
"Yes," he replied, feeling the power surge through as if it were the first time. He gave a whistle and Arcee's body, still in vehicle mode sped out of med bay. It's wheels were on fire and the black highlights were back. He hopped on and revved the engine. Arcee quickly hopped herself.
"Don't think I'm gonna let you have all the fun," she smiled, "I don't want you messing up my body."
"Okay, 'Miko'" he snickered, earning a huff from both girls. He revved the engine again and looked at the 'Bots, "Roll out."
A/N: Hope you all enjoyed this chapter. Next time: The 'Bots looked to get their leader back. Don't worry, Silas and Mephisto will be playing a roll later on.