Dirty Little Secrets 15
A Transformers Prime Fanfiction
:Warning: Violence and sexual content, disturbing descriptions of abuse, human trafficking, death, and rape
Also Warning: Important spoilers for my other FanFic "Dying Embers"
Silence was the rule of the day on the bridge of the Nemesis. When their lord and master stood at the helm the troops wisely held their peace, not wanting to attract the attention of the powerful and capricious leader. The only noises was the flicking of servos over consuls and the faint beeping that seemed to always emanate from Soundwave.
Megatron surveyed his crew with satisfaction; his crew, his ship, his mission. The pleasant chain of thought was broken suddenly by something. His gaze flicked unnoticed around the bridge, finally coming to rest on Soundwave. The communications officer had made no move, made no noise; rather it was a sudden lack of noise that had drawn the tyrant's attention. The steady beeping had faded and the dark mech was standing stiffly. With a frown Megatron moved to stand over his soldier. Within seconds the smaller Decepticon relaxed. Soundwave did not turn to face his master, but rather sent a data packet directly over a narrow frequency. His superior accepted it without comment and returned to the center of the bridge to process it.
A look of confusion began to slowly spread over the scared faceplates as he analyzed the information. All of it was data gleaned from the primitive insects of this world. At first he wondered why Soundwave had even thought it worthy of his attention, but then the pattern began to emerge; reports of strange creatures wrecking destruction across the planet, creatures that sounded suspiciously like Autobots.
"Soundwave, maintain present course," Megatron growled.
He strode to the upper deck of the Nemesis and transformed into jet mode. The nearest location was mere moments away for him and he didn't even bother landing on the barren speck of rock. It was clear from the air that the damage to the human compound had been caused by Cybertronians. He could even clearly identify pedprint of Optimus, unmistakable to the tyrant after eons of fighting the Prime. A cluster of terrified humans crouched around a fire chattering uneasily. Similar sights met him at each of the locations he visited. The tyrant mused over the information as he slowly flew back to the Nemesis.
"So Brother," he murmured to himself, "your alliance with the insects on this planet grows weak does it?" but even as he posed the question the Decepticon knew that was not the answer.
From the information Soundwave had provided him with these were criminal organizations with few ties to the governments Optimus had allied with. While the humans may have requested the Prime's assistance in dealing with the criminals, never in their long battle across the stars had Megatron witnessed the Autobot leader willingly interfere in the governance of the worlds they interacted with. Still, the tyrant mused, they Autobots had never gotten so attached to their organic pets before either. To say the least this was an interesting development; one that required further study. Megatron ordered Soundwave to monitor the human communications network closely.
In the middle of the Autobot base Jack faced his mother and friend with a shy grin.
"A surprise for me?" Miko inquired alertly.
"Yes, I thought."
The young man was interrupted as the proximity alarms began to blare. Ratchet came out of the medbay growling and examined the readout.
"It's Fowler," he said a bit warily.
"Eh, don't stress it Doc Bot," Miko offered. "He probably just has some last minute paperwork for me or June to fill out."
"That is a possible explanation," Optimus's voice sounded as he and Bumblebee came out of the back storage area, but there was an odd tone in the statement, something firm, almost belligerent.
"Where's Bulk?" Miko demanded suddenly.
"What were you doing in the medbay?" she demanded as he walked into the main silo.
"Oh Ratchet was patching up some scratches I got last night," the green mech stated dismissively.
"You tangled with Cons? Cool, where?"
"Uh," Bulkhead glanced around nervously. "Hey look Agent Fowler's here!"
"What?" Miko demanded suspiciously, but any further questions were forestalled by the elevator rumbling to a halt.
"Prime!" Fowler called out gleefully. "Hey I just stopped by to pick up a file I must have dropped when I was here yesterday. Seen it?"
Miko glared at the man suspiciously as Optimus dutifully handed over a manila envelope, tiny in his massive servos.
"What gives?" she whispered to Jack.
"I think Fowler wants to tell you himself."
Sure enough the agent was practically skipping down the stairs. The exorbitantly good mood was a bit unnerving Jack had to admit.
"Miko! I've got some great news for you. The coordinated international actions against the cartel were a success. Over ninety percent of their assets are frozen, there were dozens of successful busts by the IJF, and their American and Canadian operations have been completely shut down. For once the international laws have done it." The man pumped his fist enthusiastically at the end.
The girl rolled her eyes and snorted.
"That's great, really. But you know as good as I do that they are just going to regroup on their cashes."
"Funny thing about that," Fowler said with a fierce grin. "According to our best sources all of their cashes were destroyed in mysterious raids last night. No coherent reports of what happened but the estimates of damage are in the trillions."
"But I thought the cashes were all in untouchable territory," Miko said in confusion.
"Oh they are," Fowler stated unable to hide his smug grin completely. "Uncle Sam and his friends can't go anywhere near them. We have absolutely no idea who could have done this. It's a mystery all right!" At this point his grin was so wide it threatened to unhinge his jaw.
Miko glanced over at Optimus in astonishment. The red and blue mech was paying rapt attention to the monitor. Ratchet had disappeared entirely and she caught a glimpse of Bumblebee sneaking back into the storage area. Arcee was simply leaning against the wall not even bothering to hide her smirk. The girl turned her attention on Bulkhead. She opened her mouth to speak but the words seemed to catch at a knot in her throat.
"And about that rat Gunter," Fowler was continuing. "He was deported to West Kalimantan. After his plane landed the convoy taking him to the prison hospital was attacked. He was apparently captured by a rival cartel."
"So what happens now" June asked.
"Gunter belonged to the largest and most powerful cartel in the islands. We didn't shut them down completely by a long shot, but with the big shark's blood in the water so to speak all the little sharks are closing in. With luck they will all be weakened in the infighting, allowing the honest portion of the governments a chance to reassert the rule of law. Everything that's going on now; there is no way anyone's going to be interested in finding Miko. For you," Fowler looked her straight in the eyes and smiled, "this is over Miko. You are safe."
Bulkhead let out a laugh and swept the girl up into a hug.
"Did ya hear that Miko!"
"Yeah!" she laughed along with him as the mech spun her around. "This is, this is…I'm finally free," she whispered into his broad chest plates. "Why do you smell like the beach?"
"Um, gotta go get something from the back," the mech said quickly setting the girl down. "Didn't Jack want to show you something?"
"That's right," the girl said suddenly remembering. "My surprise!"
"Optimus?" Jack called out hefting his backpack and moving towards the groundbridge.
The Prime nodded and activated the swirling green portal. Miko pointed two fingers at her eyes and then a Bulkhead with a smirk, letting him know he wasn't getting off that easy before following Jack through the event horizon.
"Agent Fowler," Optimus started, "the women we encountered on the island that were evacuated by your navy?"
"The SEALs turned them over to the local IJF branch jus t a few hours ago Prime," Fowler assured him. "After making sure they had a hot meal and a good night's rest. They will be given medical attention and if they want training for a real job and a new life."
"That's good to hear," Bulkhead murmured an image of the frightened girl rising before his optics. "Real good."
They came out in a small clearing on a high plateau. June followed them through with a bucket of gardening tools she had acquired from somewhere. The setting sun cast long shadows and a small spring glowed gold in the light.
"This is the memorial," the girl said as she recognized the place.
"Yes," Jack said softly as he moved towards one end of the clearing.
Miko followed him silently. Tucked under a beautiful deep red fen were three golden colored jasper headstones. A name and date were carved into each one with Cybertronian script underneath. Jack knelt down on one knee and pulled off his back pack. His fingers traced the three names for a moment before her turned to the girl. There was a deep sadness in his eyes and he seemed somehow older.
"If you don't want to do this here or now I understand," he started softly, "and I hope I'm not being presumptuous, but I made these. Ratchet loaned me his line welders."
The raven haired youth reached into the bag and with a grunt pulled out a dark red block of Jasper. Black veins spiraled across the semi-precious stone interspaced with silvery threads.
Miko let out a small pained cry and reached out to run her fingers over the words etched in the surface.
Beloved Daughter and Sister
Forever Her Mother's Hope
"Jack," she whispered water pooling in her eyes.
"I have another for Hikari. If you want, I was planning to set them by the sparklings' stones," the young man stated hesitantly, "but they can go anywhere really."
The girl let out a laugh through the tears and reached out to grasp his work damaged hands.
"What mom wouldn't want her kids to have such wonderful friends?" she whispered. "But how could you afford these?"
"The mine manages is a friend of Mom's. He let me dig through the slag pile."
"That huge pile of scrap? It must have taken you forever to find these."
Miko suddenly glanced down at Jack's hands as understanding hit her. The slag pile at the main jasper mine was off limits for a reason. There were nice pieces of small stone in it but it could shift and slide at any moment. Fresh bruises and scratches covered the young man's hands; one fingernail was turning purple where it had no doubt been smashed between two rocks. In order to find two matched stones of this size Jack must have been on the shifting mass for hours.
"Thank you," she whispered.
Jack smiled and drew out the second stone.
Beloved Daughter and Sister
Forever Her Mother's Light
The two of them spent some time arranging the blocks next to the lighter colored three. The girl knew this couldn't be easy for him. His own pain was still fresh. By the time he was done his own tears were mingling with Miko's in the sandy soil.
"I was so jealous," Miko suddenly whispered as she sat back on her knees.
"What?" Jack asked, wiping his forehead.
"At first, before I knew that the sparklings weren't going to make it. I was so jealous. They weren't even yours, you didn't even take the risk of getting pregnant, and yet you got to be a parent. I was nice for the sparklings sake but those first days I resented you so bad." Jack was giving the girl his full attention now and she continued without looking up. "After Optimus told Raf and me. I, I wanted to tell you so bad, to let you know I understood, that you weren't alone, but I was afraid. There was nothing shameful about how you got your kids, but mine," a choked sob escaped her and Jack had to fight down a wave of rage.
He reached out to grip her shoulders and before he realized what he was doing he was holding her tightly to his chest. She clung to him and wept silently.
"Miko you had nothing to be ashamed of; not from before I met you and not from when the sparklings died"
"I didn't want to lose what we had. I didn't want our friendship to change."
"Life is change Miko, and a friendship is a living thing. I am not the same person I was before I loved and lost Skyfire, Cometflare, and Stormbreaker. You are not the same person you were before your two daughters. I hope we are both better for the trials we survived." He pulled back a bit and gently reached up his thumb to brush away the tears that were spilling down her cheeks. "Our friendship can never again be what it was before, but it can grow into something better. I thought I knew you before, I thought I understood where you came from, but I was so very wrong. I may never truly understand the things that shaped you and the things that we don't share but now we both know the joy and grief we do share. I do understand what it is to feel a life you are responsible for end and we can be there for each other when the pain returns."
Miko nodded in understanding, unable to speak. The voice was that of her young friend, but in it there was something that reminded her powerfully of Optimus and for a moment she felt as safe as if it were the mighty Prime holding her. Jack leaned forward and for a time the two simply rested there with foreheads lightly touching. A soft sound finally drew their attention and they turned to see June standing over them with a hand full of earth hosting a pretty pink flower with round, dark green leaves and a bucket of water beside her.
"Pussytoes," Jack said to Miko, "to plant between the stones."
The girl nodded and the three of them silently planted the small flowers.
"Why are they called Pussytoes?" Miko asked as she fingered the silky pink petals.
"When they go to seed they form little round heads," June explained. "They look and feel like kitten toes."
"Will I need to come water them?"
"No," Jack put in. "They are native to the area so just a little water now and they will be good for the rest of their lives."
"Did you plant that?" she asked pointing to the overarching red fern.
"No," Jack replied with a frown. "That's a mystery. We didn't plant it and it is not in any native plant book I have been able to find, but it is more beautiful than any of the flowers we did plant and seems to thrive here. And speaking of flowers," he continued digging back into his pack. "I have something here for you."
He pulled out a large yellow rose. It wasn't a perfect hothouse flower; rather it looked like it came from a personal garden. The petals were loose and the ones on the edges bore browning spots and even a few holes, but the scent seemed to fill the entire clearing. Instead of a long ramrod straight stem the amber head sat atop a crooked and curving green base. There, halfway down, almost hidden by the leaves that surrounded them protectively, were two unopened buds one markedly larger than the other.
"Happy Mother's Day Miko."