Chrome and Ice

A/N: Thanks so much for all of your wonderful feedback, favorites, and follows! This chapter should be a bit of a relief. I do get carried away when I write action and suspense because I find it the most fun; but a little romance here and there never hurt anyone. Once more, this chapter was so long I had to split it in half. Enjoy! Give me critique please! Good or bad!

Disclaimer: Transformers belongs to Hasbro.

You probably thought I wouldn't get this far

You probably thought that I'd never escape

I'd be a rat in a cage; I'd be enslaved in this place

I am the one that you need and fear

All your judgments that you placed on me was a reflection of discovery

You will crawl out of your hiding place

Take a look on the mirror; see the truth on your face

I am the doll you created

You love me for everything you hate me for

-In this Moment, "Whore"

Chapter 4: Uninvited

In all of his years on the battlefield and in the med bay combined, Ratchet had never encountered something as strange as this. The girl lay a few meters away under heavy sedation, connected to numerous beeping monitors. At a first glance one would never notice anything off about her, save for an eerie violet glow emanating from the titanium cavity inside her chest. It sickened the medic. Human bodies held hearts. Sparks were supposed to be blue. What pit-bound slagger had devised something like this for a human child?

"How are things with the human, Ratchet?" Optimus stepped into the med bay, his faceplates stoic. He folded his servos behind his back, watching the other work with unwavering patience. Despite his demeanor, Ratchet could sense the anxiety stirring beneath the surface of his leader. They all wanted to know what had inspired this gruesome little Decepticon 'science' project.

He approached the girl, scanning her systems for any damage. Aside from the bullet wound and surface scratches, she would remain fine for the time being. Later, however, her state would pose a different threat; when her body absorbed the dark energon completely, it would need more.

"She's stable," the medic murmured, "For now."

Like Cybertronians any other race, humans proved themselves more than capable of inflicting horrible things on one another and other species; he would have expected something like this from an organization like M.E.C.H. Though the Decepticons were not above cross-species experimentation, why go as far as to create smaller Cybertronian-esque beings with a race they despised? It made no sense—alongside slaughtering innocent beings, it wasted precious materials and a good amount of energon supply.

"For the time being, let us consider that a…positive thing," Optimus noted carefully. "She is safe, disarmed, and in capable hands."

"I wish I could say so, Optimus. The Cons addicted her body to dark energon. Within the next twenty four to forty eight hours, she'll go into rather violent withdrawal symptoms, no matter what we give her," Ratchet commented.

Optimus's optics dimmed in careful thought. "Then finding the proper treatment is the best course of action from here, until we can learn more of how her systems operate. What is the magnitude of her…loss?"

"From the way things look, there is no way of making her fully human again. Her organs, her natural bone structure…it's all been altered," the medic replied solemnly. "All we can do for now is try to keep her alive. The sooner we wake her and get some answers, the faster we can treat her."

"Perhaps brining in Jack, Raf, and Miko would help; seeing other human faces may give her some sense of security," Optimus suggested.

"Don't bring them near the med bay," Ratchet warned, "Human or not—we have no idea what she is capable of. She may be programmed to attack on sight. There were dozens of bodies on sight today, Optimus. Dozens. Ever since that last Decepticon attack on the school north of here…it's best if we don't take our chances."

"She was following orders. Now, I am not excusing what she did, but at the same time, we must take into account that her encounters with Cybertronians have been less than pleasant. Seeing us could trigger a defense response as much as seeing a human target."

"Optimus—"

"I would not endanger the lives of our human friends. See to it that she is properly restrained when she wakes up, but comfortable enough. We must act quickly."

With a defeated sigh, Ratchet turned to the unconscious form on the med berth. "Yes, Sir."

Primus, Alexis was really sick of waking up on medical tables.

Sounds, voices, lights, noises—it all blended together and pounded into her brain with a vengeance. Fragments of conversation filtered through her ears.

"…systems mostly stable…"

"… looks like one of those freaky alien experiments from…!"

"…attack on the high school last month…."

"….dark energon withdrawal could cause…."

Everything had happened in a blur—the attack, the explosions, the absence of sanity—as everything tangible drained away to leave her in the dark with nothing. Nothing remained left to hold onto, nothing to inspire the false hope that she was still human, that she was still Alexis. Many things loosely defined "humanity", but knowing that you were still you at the end of the day counted more than anything. Right? Right?

"There is nothing to be afraid of. You are safe now," a gentle voice coaxed above the others. "It is best if you wake. We can help you…"

Despite the luring pull of exhaustion, the minicon willed her eyes to open. Five pairs of optics and four pairs of human eyes stared back at her, watching her with mixed expressions of curiosity and caution. Alexis gawked back at all of them, unaware of what to say. After nearly two months without human contact, the sight of a human face appeared strange to her—especially a human around her age.

She quickly found herself at a los for words. Glancing down, the minicon noticed her limbs had been restrained, tightly enough to prevent movement but loose enough for some comfort; although in a medical recovery room, clearly there was a limited level of trust here.

The bot known as Optimus Prime opened his mouth to speak, but a pink and black haired girl of Asian descent piped up first, "Is it true you can turn into a mini-Cybertronian? Like, with armor, weapons, and everything? That would be so cool if you had lasers and plasma canons! How do you transform? Can you show me?!"

"Uh…"

"Miko, save it for later," a dark-haired woman said gently.

Optimus cut in before Miko could reply, "These are our human friends, Miko, Jack, Raf, and Ms. Darby. I am Optimus Prime, leader of the Autobots. With introductions aside, I understand this is quite a bit to take in for you; however, they have been quite curious to see you and wished to say hello. Ratchet and Ms. Darby will provide you with the best of care here. Given recent evens, I am sure it has been a while since you have seen a human face. What is your name?"

"MC-302," she spoke up, before quickly correcting herself, "Alexis. Alexis Parker. Sorry. It's been a…long time since I've had someone ask me my real name. I almost forgot what it was." She strained a laugh to try and lighten the mood, but it only came out as an empty cackle.

"I bet," Miko said with a spunky grin, "What was it like being stuck with the 'Cons for so long? Did you see a lot of epic battles or get to kick some Decepti-creep butt?"

"Miko," Optimus glanced down at her, "Perhaps it would be best to reserve such questions for a later time…"

"But if you never ask you'll never know! Besides, it could help her get some of her memory back," the girl chimed in reply.

"There's not a lot of stuff I want to remember," Alexis mumbled. "There is one thing I want to know. Where am I, and why am I not in a hospital?"

"Due to the extent of…change your body has experienced, you require special treatment," a red and white Autobot—Ratchet—answered, phrasing his words carefully.

"Is this the part where you say you'll do everything in your power to change me back?" she asked solemnly.

Silence came as her only reply. His lack of answer said it all. There was nothing left inside her to change back.

His previous words hit her like bricks, each one piling on until the weight felt unbearable. 'Special treatment' was just another way to say 'you'll never be normal again.' Human doctors had no current knowledge to reverse alien technology; even if they could theoretically make her human again, she would age well into her eighties waiting on all of the organ donors. Alexis simply had to accept it—she was stuck this way, an abnormal, inhuman freak.

The leader trained his kind optics on her. "Preparations will be made for you shortly. You are not alone in this."

Tears threatened in her vision, brimming in the inner corners of her eyes as Ms. Darby placed a comforting hand on her shoulder. That simple act of kindness nearly unraveled her at the seams—how long had it truly been since she'd felt human contact? Starscream's hologram did not count at all; he only used it to taunt her. These people truly cared for her. At least, she wanted to believe that they did.

Don't cry…shit. Don't cry. You're better than this. You've been through worse…she chanted over and over in her mind. Self-loathing tightened in her chest at the fact she had nearly broken over one obstacle. She was still Alexis Parker; she could remember her name and retain her personality and past. That had to count for something, right?

Many of the minicons had long since morphed into senseless drones.

Time would only tell how long until she followed suit.

A/N: Sorry about the lack of eventfulness in the chapter. More is to come! Stay tuned, please! Winter break is coming up, and I'll be writing more! Please leave me a review! I always enjoy your feedback, be it positive or negative!

-KM

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