Common Ground 10
A Transformers Prime Fanfiction Commission for ScreamtotheStars
"Nightstalkers," Sal growled. "Nothing to do but wait for the rescue party to show up now. We should huddle."
"Those are creatures of the darkness. They hate light with a passion. You transform and sit nose to tail with me and our headlights can cover our rears."
Optimus nodded and transformed. He wasn't quite able to suppress a grunt of pain and the other semi pressed up against him reassuringly as they took up their positions and illuminated the perpetual night. Around the circle the dust danced.
"They know you're injured, stupid MECH," a pause, "just so were clear I wouldn't really care if you hurt MECH people. I really only care about my own family and the Clan humans."
"That is somewhat comforting," Optimus said dubiously.
"Hey, I'm not an expert on these things by any means but I know their kind tend to hate uplifting music. Can you sing?"
"I have been known to."
"Good, you know any earth songs?"
"I have a few but perhaps we should alternate."
"No, two voices or more work best."
"In that case if you want to lead off I will follow."
The circle was suddenly filled with deep sonorous notes. Optimus was pleasantly surprised by the other truck's singing. The song was a fairly simple ballad and he soon joined in on the chorus. The creatures did seem to retreat at the music, at least their dust drew back further from the burning fir cones. But Optimus could not help noticing that the fires were dying. As if sensing his concern Sal nudged him reassuringly.
"We should be fine as long as we can keep this up."
Slowly the time ticked by. Sal was capable of harmonizing with several Cybertronian songs they discovered, which worked just as well to drive the things back. By now however the last of the burning cones had been extinguished and the dust puffs were growing closer to the circle of light. Optimus was beginning to question the current stratagem when Sal suddenly stiffened.
"They're coming!" he shouted eagerly.
"Your clan mates?"
"Yup!" Can't you see the light?" Sal pointed towards what appeared to Optimus to be a patch of darkness identical to those all around it.
"I am afraid not."
"Sheesh! You voidwalkers really are half blind. They are coming hard and fast. They must see the nightstalkers and…Denali! The nightstalkers see them! Hold on Optimus Prime! They are throwing their nets!"
The grey semi threw what must have been every tie strap it had around the Autobot and cinched them tight. Suddenly there was a tearing sensation over his mesh and some force was dragging him backwards. He surged forward against the pull and the direction of force shifted; using his own momentum to pull him to the edge of the ring. Salcha was ready however and threw his own powerful engine into gear, dragging them back to the center. Each time the force shifted one or the other of the semis moved to counteract it, working in perfect tandem.
The painful tug-of-war went on until there was a blinding flash of light. In the brilliant glow Optimus saw for a split second a panorama of crawling creatures of every size and shape spread out around them. None of them he would have assumed to be friendly. Then the flash was gone and his optics were struggling to adjust. He felt the tie straps disengage and Sal rolled forward eagerly calling out to their rescuers. Optimus could just make out several human shaped figures glowing dimly in the air; one significantly brighter than the others. Something in him stirred and seemed to call out to that light.
"Come on Ops!" the other cheerfully called out.
"How do you propose we get up there?"
"You can't even see the road?" Salcha demanded in exasperation.
"No I am afraid not."
"Oh well, I'll just have to return the favor of that tow after all," the grey truck said. If there was a touch of smugness in his tone Optimus couldn't blame him.
He willingly allowed Salcha to hitch him up for towing and watched the circle of stone recede as they pulled away. They were soon rising up into the air. Some form of solid energy buzzed beneath his wheels. The sensation of approaching the light grew stronger as they rose. Then they were bursting out of the darkness into a cold, rain soaked night. Harsh flood lights burned welcomingly into his optics and wave after wave of radio signals washed over his sensors. A small crowd of people were milling around them in rain gear. A familiar form rushed up to him and pressed his hands against his grille. Warmth spread out from the human's touch filling his frame.
"Optimus!" Jack whispered, eagerly leaning into him for reassurance.
The Prime's spark gave that odd surging hum that it did occasionally in the human's presence. A resonance that had increased since the young man had carried the matrix. The moment was interrupted when Sal somewhat carelessly lowered Optimus from the tow and gave a low but not unfriendly growl. The gathered humans scattered laughing and calling out to the grey rig and the human who was anxiously examining him.
"I told you I was fine. I'm just a little low on fuel is all. Please tell me there's a bio-diesel station around here somewhere!"
"Optimus, are you okay?" Jack asked eying the pooling energon on the ground nervously.
"All from superficial wounds I assure you Jack. They will self heal soon enough. Is everyone safe?"
"Oh yeah, worried sick, but safe."
"How long have I been gone?"
"I am sorry that you were concerned," the Prime offered regretfully.
"Hey we're just glad to have you back in one piece,"
"Hey Red Warrior! We gotta scoot. There's a Burgerville with a couple of buckets of French-fry grease with my name on em down the road."
"Then I bid you farewell for now."
"Say um," the grey rig shifted a bit nervously, "so before I go I just gotta ask. You think we can be friends someday right?"
"Sal," Optimus said with a hint of amusement in his voice, "we just spent the last three days traveling together, fighting powerful enemies together, and bonding. That makes us friends by any Cybertronian definition."
"Really?" an eager tremor seemed to run the length of the semi. "See Zech! See!" The grey semi grabbed the larger human in his tie straps and gave a happy squeeze. "I made a friend all on my own! Not a human and not a clan member!"
"Air!" the young man gasped out.
Sal dropped him and rolled forward to give Optimus one more friendly bump.
"See you later Red Warrior! Call as soon as you clear the interference range! Take care of your human!"
Zech said his goodbyes to Jack and Optimus and climbed into the other semi. Jack jumped up on the Autobot's running board and was welcomed into the warm cab. The Prime sensed him shivering and directed the hot air over his body. They rolled along in companionable silence. When they hit a main highway the interference cleared and the Prime was able to get their location. They were almost to the western coast of the continent, in the state of Oregon. He wondered at that. The distance he had traveled on the strange road was not nearly enough to account for that much displacement. Shaking it off the Autobot contacted the base. Ratchet was franticly glad to hear from him and one groundbridge later he was safely home. Explanations would be tricky he knew, but the mild discomfort that would bring was well worth a new ally and friend.