Chapter 104: The Sound of Your Voice

While Axletron and Echo were becoming fast friends, Cliffjumper continued his transmissions with Sunstreaker. The artist had managed to get in with a Decepticon smuggling ring, and had been making new contacts all over the Decepticon Empire. They knew about the bounty on Optimus' head and the continued search for Megatron, but Galvatron had remained hidden from them.

That night, when Axletron was in bed and Cliffjumper was working in his office, he got a call from the twin. One he had not been expecting. Worried that the mech had been discovered, maybe even in need of extraction, the mini answered immediately.

"CJ!" Sunstreaker exclaimed as soon as the screen cleared.

"Sunny, what's going on? Are you alright?" the mini asked frantically, looking the mech up and own for injuries, which was difficult when he was moving frantically around the room, picking stuff up and throwing it into his subspace.

"Yeah I'm fine! Listen, I have a lead, but I act to act fast!" The twin explained quickly. "Swindle was hired to look for Megatron, and called in the bounty hunter Lockdown. I'm sending you the transmission now. I'm going after him."

"After Swindle? But why?" Cliffjumper questioned, not seeing the logic of the move. Lockdown was one of the best bounty hunters in the business, why Swindle would need to follow after him was a mystery as well.

"Listen to the tape, it'll explain everything!" Pausing in his packing for a moment, Sunstreaker came to the screen, took off his masking visor and told the mini, "Cliff, Galvatron is alive. No doubt." Looking away from the screen, apparently hearing something.

"What?" The mini whispered back, completely stunned.

Smirking and somehow making it look sweet and sad at the same time, Sunstreaker gave the minibot a small nod, "His ship is about to head out, I need to follow. See 'ya hothead."

The transmission cut out.

Cliffjumper was numb. He felt limbless and light, like he was floating around in space and could be blown away by a cosmic wind in an instant. Had he heard right? He vaguely noticed the alarm in his head telling him his filtration system had stunted. He wasn't breathing.

Forcing himself to take some deep calm breaths, he got up to check the locks on his door one more time. Nervous and worried, he activated the video Sunstreaker had sent him. With no warning, Galvatron's face filled the screen, looking cool and regal. Cliffjumper's spark felt like it'd tried to fly out of his throat!

Apparently Sunstreaker had started recording late. Galvatron's long unheard voice hit him in the middle of a sentence, "-of Lockdown's progress?"

Laughing scornfully at himself for jumping, Cliffjumper took in Galvatron's appearance as Swindle answered him.

"He's narrowed down the search area pretty well. Heading out towards a promising local. I'm heading off to join him, see what I can pick up on the way."

Galvatron's optics were very bright, his face drawn and worried. His paint looked a bit dull, but that could have been the dim lighting of the room he was in. Cliffjumper couldn't even tell what the background was made of. "Are his Generals still looking as well?" Galvatron asked.

Realizing they were talking about Megatron, Cliffjumper's own whispered "Yes." coincided with Swindle's.

"I'll touch base with them after our meeting, see if they need anything." Swindle added, a smile evident in his voice.

It made Galvatron smirk for some reason, and Cliffjumper couldn't keep the scowl off his faceplate. He was torn. He liked the softening in Galvatron's face, but not the fact that it was Swindle that put it there. Tweaking his horn, he scolded himself, forcing himself to focus on the rest of the transmission.

"Thank you Swindle." Galvatron replied. "Report back with your findings. Be careful out there."

"I always am. Swindle out."

And just as abruptly as the video started, it cut off, leaving Cliffjumper in the dark, his processor trying to catching up with what he'd just seen.

Galvatron was ALIVE!

A giggle inexplicably escaped from him. And another. And suddenly he was smiling wide enough to split his faceplate and laughing and he could stay seated any longer! He leap from his chair and hopped in excitement, laughing hysterically and smiling, his servos and knee shaking until they could no longer support him. Folding to the ground, he clutched his head in his servos and realized he's started crying at some point, thick tears of relief and joy.

He's alive!

It was so wonderful to hear his voice. Cliffjumper didn't even realize he'd missed it so desperately until now. Galvatron's deep, rhythmic voice was still making his audios ring and his spark seemed to swell at the memory of his voice. It was ridiculous. Galvatron hadn't said anything remotely romantic or soft or sweet, but just hearing him did something to Cliffjumper. And just hearing him, knowing he was alive and giving orders out there, lifted something off the mini's shoulders and made the ano-cycles he'd spent searching for Galvatron worth it.

Because Cliffjumper's spark had been right. Galvatron was still functioning. Axletron's father wasn't dead!

Biting his derma, Cliffjumper rewound the tape to the very last part, replaying Galvatron saying "be careful out there" imagining that he was speaking to him and praying that Galvatron would be careful as well, wherever he was.

His optics suddenly blinked rapidly. Wait. Swindle said he had a meeting with Galvatron! Sunstreaker was following Swindle! Sunstreaker may be headed straight to Galvatron!

End Chapter 104