A/N: Another Chapt. Taken me a while, but been messing around and been kinda busy working. Next one shouldn't be half as long.
Somewhere else, a distance from the base, Starscream had finally caught Barricade. He had gotten her to stop by plucking her off the ground and holding her until she stopped fighting him. He was now standing there with her. She was pacing, still furious while her mate only continued to try to calm her. "Of all the low, dirty… Soundwave will pay for this!"
"It's her nature. He-she is a Decepticon, after all." Starscream murmured to her.
Annoyed with his telling her something she already knew, she only had a few choice words for him. "Shut up, you."
Skywarp arrived first, landing behind Starscream who was talking calmly to Barricade. He could hear his trine mate was flustered, but he was unsure as to why. "It's not what it looks like. I don't even know the whole story."
"Soundwave hid this from everyone? Allowed me to suffer as a target for very unwanted attention. She could have put Blacklight's life in danger!" The hunter looked at Skywarp then the incoming blue Jet, then back to Starscream, and then away.
"She didn't. She obviously knew what she was doing. You need to calm down." Skywarp droned.
"Knew what she was doing?" Barricade snapped in a disbelieving echo. How could he say such a thing! "No one asked you, anyway! Leave me alone!"
"No. 'Warp is right. You need to stop." Starscream nodded, looking to this upset femme. "You think it was any easier for me to find out she was a femme?"
"Who cares…" the black and white hunter muttered. "The Pit we went through… The danger… For what? To protect herself?" Now that was stupid. Of course it was to protect herself first.
Thundercracker was getting more and more annoyed at Barricade's annoyance. She was still having a rough time stomaching it herself and the smaller femme only seemed to add fuel to a fire she was trying her best to extinguish herself. She grabbed Barricade and pulled her to her torso, the deep anger was easily seen so close. "Just leave it alone. What's done is done."
Barricade saw the angered look, yet somehow knew it was not meant for her. "Yeah, well I can still be pissed off about it."
"Being pissed off about it solves nothing." Thundercracker responded. "Suppose she has a little something up her proverbial sleeve for everyone. You should expect no less of such a monster like Soundwave."
Starscream and Skywarp looked at each other at the blue femme's remark, and then back to the two femmes. Thundercracker didn't let Barricade go, her deep stare suddenly glinted and a smirk crossed her face. "And also… It might delight you to know I am a femme as well." Thundercracker watched Barricade's response, which seemed to turn almost blank. Whether it was surprise or confusion – or both, one couldn't be sure.
Seriously? Barricade looked for anything that might tell her the Seeker was telling a real bad joke, but there was none. What in the pit was going on around here? The black and white femme stole a glance at Starscream who didn't seem at all surprised. In fact, he seemed almost sheepish. So he knew… Barricade looked back at Thundercracker. There was absolutely no verbal response to the blue femme's admittance. However, Barricade's fist went back and Thundercracker felt her response right on her cheekplate. The blue femme dropped her in the surprise of the hit. "Fuck you to the Pit, Thundercracker." She glared at Thundercracker when the femme growled and picked her up once more, this time pissed she'd punched her. Something She looked over the blue Seeker's wing past the angry stare. Dust flying from an obvious car headed their way, caught her attention. Immediately she knew who it was. The question was… why was he here? "Put me down." Her optics furrowed when she saw a second trail.
Thundercracker still considered retaliating, but instead set the femme down, curious of what she saw. The blue Seeker then turned around to see what the other femme was looking at. Her holds opened to reveal the triplets, who launched themselves at Barricade who seemed not a bit surprised they were there. Perhaps she already knew she'd had them.
"Oh, for Pit's sake, what does he want?" Starscream asked, annoyed. He crossed his arms while he waited for the pair to arrive.
The SUV flying over the desert was not so out of the ordinary itself, but the Solstice with it made it unbelievable, seeing as the tumbleweeds and rocks would make going over the terrain impossible for such a car. Lucky for them, no one was around to see such a bizarre act. The tactician had since veered from his route to Mikaela's house after a call to Mikaela and found the three Seekers and Barricade.
"What have we here?" Jazz asked as they approached, seeing the bunch of Decepticons standing in the middle of the desert.
"I don't know." Prowl responded, unsure of what exactly they were coming up on. He could see Barricade who seemed more hostile than normal toward Thundercracker, "But I am going to find out." Or maybe it was the other way around, since it was Thundercracker who dropped Barricade.
The SUV came to a stop far behind Thundercracker, who turned to look at them, wondering why he was even here. Skywarp also turned to look when he saw TC turn. The mech-turned-femme pulled up behind Prowl, stopping at a distance behind him. "Do I detect the look of attention, Prowler?"
Starscream had also looked, his optics were fixed on Jazz, wondering about the lieutenant but he too was also wondering how they had been found. The Seeker's hands went on his hips, curious of their arrivals.
Barricade walked past Thundercracker with her triplets. She headed for the SUV that was beginning to transform.
Prowl was edgy about the situation as a whole when he arrived, so he didn't say anything, only looking between the four. Sometimes it was best not to be the first one to speak.
"Look'it what the Allspark dragged back!" shouted a voice, clearly Jazz's, "Me!" Barricade looked at her brother who had a pleading look on his face. She then glanced toward Jazz whom had also started to transform, "…An' as always, I'm up your brother's aft!" the saboteur finished with a big grin, letting the hunter know she knew. Prowl only shook his head.
Barricade already knew the lieutenant was alive, Starscream had said something about it after the triplets had been born, even though she was still a bit out of it, she distinctly remembered hearing that. She just didn't care all that much right now.
The tactician's baby blue optics scanned over what they might have stumbled upon, "Are you alright, 'Run?" he asked his sister.
"No, I am not alright. I'm pissed off." Barricade looked back at Thundercracker then to Prowl.
Prowl's optics furrowed in question, looking to all of the others as well. "What's going on?"
At that, Barricade spoke up, "Nothing is going on that you need to be aware of."
Before the black and white femme could leave, Prowl quickly approached and stopped her. "Explain to me why Optimus thinks something happened because of Starscream disappearing in the middle of their meeting?" he asked intently.
"Because, Prime is sometimes too nosy for his own good," the Decepticon leader sneered at Prowl. "Why does he feel the need to send his groupies every time I do something unexpected?"
Ignoring his question, Prowl flashed a look in Starscream's direction and said, "I am concerned for Runner."
Barricade looked back to Starscream and the other two Seekers whom began to approach then back to her brother; before she could say anything, her mate stepped up next to her, looking down at Jazz with a curious glance, "So, is it true?"
"Is what true? What'd ya hear this time?" the saboteur asked, looking up at Starscream. This was the first time Jazz had actually really seen a recent not-covered-in-Energon Starscream, she eyed the markings over his form.
"Prime, told me that you were changed by the Allspark," stated the tattooed Seeker.
At this, Barricade frowned and her optics also fixed on Jazz, "What are you talking about, 'Screamer? Changed how?" she asked her mate, not having the foggiest idea that Jazz had been altered.
"Well, before I answer your question, how 'bout ya answer mine… is it true you're really a daddy?" Jazz put her hands on her hips. Of course, she already knew this due to certain circumstances, but it was still worth it to hear him admit it.
Starscream snorted at Jazz, "You invaded a Decepticon affair, therefore, you answer me first, shorty."
Jazz folded her arms; she knew Starscream's limits from when she fought against him. This time he seemed different, so she wanted to see just how much of a change the Seeker had gone through. "You answer me. Mine's far more entertainin'," she coyly stated. "I need a good laugh,"
"Jazz…" warned Prowl as he eyed the lieutenant, "just answer him."
Jazz groaned. Sometimes Prowl was such a killjoy. "Yep, it changed me alright… So here I am, all shiny an' new," she chuckled with a pose.
Barricade only stared at Jazz, wondering what she was missing, "What 'change'? I don't see anything different."
Jazz grinned, turning to the hunter, "This," the lieutenant's chest broke apart and Barricade took a moment before seeing what had been 'changed'. She looked up to Jazz's face who was smirking when she realized the 'Con had seen.
"Wow," muttered Barricade, whom wasn't entirely sure what to say when she saw Jazz's transformation, "Sure didn't see that one coming," She then looked to Prowl and shoved him with a grin, "See that? Got yourself a femme following you around. Now you don't have an excuse."
Prowl glared at Barricade for the shove. "What are you talking about?"
"Maybe a femme can dislodge that rod we all know that is shoved sideways up your aft."
"There is no rod up my aft." Prowl answered sternly.
"Could have fooled me," Barricade muttered with a shrug.
Starscream watched the siblings bicker before raising an optic ridge at Jazz' audacity, "You know, finding that you've been turned into a femme…That's really, really funny."
"No, man," The saboteur shook her head with a laugh, "That pales in comparison ta how ya sparked Blacklight!" the lieutenant then burst out laughing, having been told on the way when she asked how Blacklight had been conceived when everyone thought Barricade was a mech. "Now that's some amusin' stuff!"
"Jazz!" Prowl yelled as sternly as he could.
Barricade instantly growled and gave her brother a hard hit; the tactician gave her a surprised look, "What was that for?" he asked, but the hunter never answered him.
Off to the side and behind Starscream; Skywarp and Thundercracker began snickering and then burst out laughing. "They will never live that down! Ever!" Skywarp barked as he doubled over.
The younger of the three Seekers turned to them both and grabbed them, pulling them closer roughly and hissed, "No worse than thinking you warped into a different reality when Thundercracker admitted her …" he paused, his optics going from Skywarp to eyeing the blue Seeker archly, "little secret…" He spoke loud enough that Jazz and Prowl both heard. "Huh, 'Warp?"
"Wouldn't be the first time I thought something like that being around you lately…" The darker Seeker retorted in mock annoyance.
Hearing about Thundercracker made Jazz perk, "Ha! Thundacraka's a femme too? Really? This is turnin' out ta be the strangest few days I ever had, I tell ya what," she said, watching the three Seekers, "Does this kinda thing happen often?"
Ignoring Jazz, Starscream smirked at Skywarp, releasing the two. "I still wonder that when I think of TC being sparked by you," he replied.
"Haha, it gets better! Thundacracka's gonna be a momma!" Jazz nearly shouted. At that, there was a large gust of dirt that was kicked her way by said blue Seeker who was giving her an annoyed glare.
"Bizarre is apparently normal on this rock." Barricade then spoke up, having listened. She watched Jazz duck from the incoming dirt. "Get used to it."
"That's it, I'm movin' in wit' you guys." Jazz told Barricade.
"The pit you are…" Barricade replied suddenly. That Autobot was out of his-no her mind!
"And you…!" Starscream nearly shrieked, his voice getting everyone's attention once again, who turned as he poked Thundercracker, making her flinch, "You're just as bad for letting him spark you! Just what were you thinking?"
"Come on, 'Cade," begged Jazz, "the Autobot base is so annoyin' right now! I rather hang around you guys and watch those three, they're a riot!"
"Jazz, would you just shut up!" Prowl looked to the Seekers when he heard Thundercracker laugh. "Whose side are you on, anyway?"
"The fun side…" The saboteur winked.
The blue Seeker poked Starscream back, ignoring Prowl and Jazz, hissing. "Yeah, but at least 'Warp knew I was a femme before we made it."
Having nothing more to say on the matter, Starscream simply deflated. "I hate you…"
Jazz chuckled while shaking her head, "Thundercracka, a damned femme, Now that's some scary shit right there."
Starscream whipped his head around to the saboteur, "No, what's scary is her being sparked. I'm sending her your way if she gets as bad as Barricade. I just went through pit, suffice it to say I'll lose what little sanity I have left."
Barricade glared at Starscream, thinking about how miserable she was during the time she was sparked. She chose not to comment, only looking to Jazz before dully stating, "It's getting late. I need to take Mikaela home."
Jazz put up a hand, halting the hunter, "Wait, wait, wait! Before ya go, I wanna see some Sparklin's. And seein' as you're the femme who… fortunately – or unfortunately – reproduced wit' 'Screamer, that means you gots 'em."
Barricade grunted and folded down into her alt form, "What are you thinking? You're an Autobot and your gender-bending problem might be contagious. Go away." With that, the Police Mustang spun up dirt and left. The others remained, talking amongst themselves.
"Wow, harsh…" Jazz cringed then looked at Starscream, "She can't possibly be that grouchy by nature. Surely, she puts effort into it. What do you see in her?"
"I see nothing." Starscream replied casually, "I make others believe it so I can save our species in peace and then take over Earth that much easier."
"I'd believe that…" Jazz noted with a nod.
Back at the base, Soundwave was still tending to an injured Ravage. All of the other Sparklings had gathered around out of curiosity and wondering of the well being of their brother. Most of her anger had melted away so that she could concentrate on Ravage.
"What happened out there?" Laserbeak asked as he flitted off of Soundwave's shoulder, landing on the berth where Ravage had been previously laid. All he knew was that his brother had been fallen on and Barricade was the culprit.
"Barricade attacked." Soundwave sat down, softly laying Ravage out on the table so she could get a better look at his injury. From initial readings on him, the SiC knew that it wasn't all that bad. She had put him in recharge on the way to her quarters to make things easier for him, because even though the healing would be easy, it was a painful one.
"Oh, the femme thing," Rumble growled and folded his arms, "Figured she'd freak like that,"
"Ravage will be fine." Soundwave replied simply, looking to the door. Rumble knew to silence at her tone. A few seconds later, the request for entrance she had been expecting, came. She had heard them before they had gotten to the door.
The door opened revealing Barricade, who'd returned to the base to claim her pet and bring her home. She made a stop on the way. Soundwave nodded to her and Rumble only watched the telepath as she went back to work on the cat-like 'Con.
Barricade watched the telepath work as well, feeling somewhat guilty about Ravage, "Where's Blacklight?"
"With Mikaela," Soundwave replied, never looking away. She knew the smaller femme wasn't here to fight this time. "However I have the feeling you're not here about Blacklight. What is it you want?"
Barricade wrinkled her nose. She hated it how Soundwave could do that. It was unnerving. "So it's true?"
"Affirmative," replied the telepath, already knowing the question as her hands worked meticulously on Ravage's leg.
"Why?" It was the only word that she could make out. Barricade wanted a reason as to why Soundwave had done what she did. She wanted a lot of answers, in fact, but the biggest question was why.
"Long story," was the abrupt reply.
Barricade stared at Soundwave, realizing the telepath wasn't going to speak more about it. Coming from someone else never made it as real as it would be coming from the actual person that it was about. Hearsay was one thing, hearing it from the proverbial 'horse's mouth' was something entirely different. As the hunter thought about it, it seemed to hit her all at once about the symbiots. She was told that Rumble and Frenzy were twin symbiots. Perhaps they weren't symbiots at all… That only begged the question, "Frenzy?" Barricade felt a pang she could not define from the thought that Frenzy was no symbiot.
Soundwave stopped working on Ravage and she looked to Barricade. She didn't need the femme to spell it out for her. Her gaze seemed to burn into the Shock Trooper, "Yes," she droned very evenly.
At that, Barricade was at a loss for words. She was angry however. If she had known previously, she would have left him on the Red Planet. "You sent a Sparkling with me?"
With another thoughtful glance, the telepath considered never seeing the black and white femme sorry for much of anything. As she looked at her, she saw nearly the same look she'd had when Blacklight had been injured.
Barricade, feeling the strange femme's optics upon her own decided to break the look, as it was beginning to annoy her. "Why? Why did you send him with me?" Come to think of it, those Sparklings were always in combat. And how did they stay so… small? Certainly they must be Younglings by now!
Going back to work on the leg, the CO turned from Barricade, "Frenzy knew the risks and importance of the mission and was successful with completing it."
"Blacklight," Was all the telepath responded.
Barricade stayed silent about it as if trying to figure out her cryptic answer. It came down to Frenzy being under foot when Starscream had fallen. Had she planned all this out?
Judging by all previous actions, it made perfect sense that Soundwave was so protective of them, even if it was subtle. But still… How could she endanger her own Sparklings like that – willingly? Barricade then stopped when something occurred to her… Was it really as willingly as it appeared to be, after all? She'd probably never know. "You need your head checked. What in the molten pit is wrong with you?" the hunter asked, having nothing else to say on the matter.
"Not as much as others might think," replied the telepath just as evenly as before. Everything was done for a reason. The reasoning was her own.
So now you know, Barricade.