Author's Note – This is the last chapter for this story in the series. I'd like to thank everyone who reviewed. I hope all of you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Thank you!

Cherchez la Femme

Chapter 7

Synergy fled the laboratory and never looked back. She later learned that there had been no explosion; someone had pulled the failsafe, halting the countdown mid-sequence. She suspected it had been Airwing. Of course the computer would have sent a missive to the Director noting that the security in his private laboratory had been breached. It didn't matter anyway. X was long gone.

She stayed locked in her unit for three whole solar cycles. She didn't come out and she didn't contact anyone, except for her progenitor to let him know that everything was alright and that she was just taking a 'break' from work. It would only be a matter of time before Airwing would come for her. Synergy knew he must suspect that she had something to do with the break-in and X's subsequent escape. She supposed she could go on the run, but in a way she didn't want to. She had let that thing out, she had gotten Longshot killed; she should have to pay for what she did.

He never showed up though. There were no squads of Peace Marshalls or government officials crawling all over her unit, ready to drag her off to the Stockade. There wasn't even so much as a call demanding to know why she hadn't shown up for work. It wasn't until the fourth solar cycle that this changed.

There was a quiet knock on her door.

For a moment she froze and thought, 'This is it.' It only took a click before she realized how stupid that was. Peace Marshalls wouldn't have just politely knocked on her door if they knew the things she did. What did she think they would do? Invite her over for a nice cup of energon? Rolling her optics at her own paranoia, Synergy quickly keyed the door open. Carillon stood in her doorway, his huge bulk blocking any light from shining through. Of course it would be him.

She waved him inside and he stooped down low to squeeze through. "So, what's happened?" Synergy demanded. "Are they coming for me or not?" She refused to sound afraid in front of him.

Carillon shook his head. "The Council doesn't want any of this to get out. They're making sure that it is all swept under the rug and any evidence destroyed. Airwing has taken an indefinite leave of absence for 'stress' and one of the other department heads has stepped up as the new Director. I've covered for your absence in the meantime, though everything's been in such chaos that I doubt they would have even noticed you were missing." Carillon took a seat; his huge form looked ridiculous perched on top of the small chair. He looked Synergy square in the optics, silently demanding she tell him the truth. "What did happen at the Center that night?"

Synergy sighed and dug out the datachip that she had prepared to send off to all the major news networks on Cybertron for when the Peace Marshalls came for her. Now that she knew she was safe, however, she wasn't sure if she was going to send it; on the one servo the people had a right to know, but on the other if she did go public with Project X then she would be a target. But she trusted Carillon in a strange way. They were in this together, after all. "This is everything that I've got," she answered. "Everything that's been going on. It's got specs on the way they manipulated my software, their insane theories, it's… It's disgusting is what it is."

Carillon took the data chip from her and nodded his head. "I'll look over it. It's going to be okay."

Synergy shook her head. "No, it won't. You'll understand when you read through the files."

Synergy stared blearily at the holographic screen in her living room as the reporter droned on about a massacre in the Predacon district. Over fifty bots had been killed in one single building – a place the authorities suspected of being the center of an illegal smuggling operation – their chest plates had been pried open and their sparks gone. The Predacons were claiming that a monster was prowling their neighborhoods, devouring the sparks of anyone it caught in its claws. The Maximal Peace Marshalls insisted that it was simply inter-Predacon violence, just one gang trying to wipe out the competition and using scare tactics to terrorize the people.

Synergy tried to squash the wave of guilt that rolled over her.

She sighed in relief when the screen began blinking, letting her know that she had an incoming call. She quickly switched the console over to communications and found herself face-to-face with Carillon. "I'm guessing you've read over the files?" She asked.

"Yes." The word sounded fuzzy and the image of Carillon crackled in front of her.

"Where are you calling from?" She demanded. "The signal is terrible. I'm getting a lot of static."

He gave her a strange smile, partly mocking and partly pitying. "I'm on Corsicon," he replied.

"Corsicon?" Synergy racked her processor, trying to place the name. "Where is that? Is it near Omicron?"

"No, it's in the Predacon quadrant, near Gamma Colony and Synthesia."

For a moment Synergy couldn't think- which was surprising because she was always thinking. Her progenitor used to laugh and say that she always two steps ahead of everyone else. But… this doesn't make any sense. Carillon is… "You're the Predacon spy," Synergy gasped. "The one Longshot had been tracking. The one he accused me of being."

Carillon nodded his head, pleased that she had figured it out. "I want to thank you for your help. We knew that the Maximals were developing weapons of war, we just had no idea it would be anything like Protoform X. Oh, don't worry, we won't be creating any immortal sparks," he assured at the look of horror on Synergy's face. "I think we've all learned our lesson about that. But your software certainly has some interesting capabilities. I think if given enough time and effort we might be able to create a structure that could withstand almost anything."

"Not if I contact the Peace Marshalls," Synergy hissed out. "I'll tell them what you are and what you've got. Do you think they'll ever stop hunting you then? They'll do anything to keep this quiet. You idiot, you even told me your exact location. They'll be on you within a cycle."

Carillon laughed at that. "Go ahead. Do you think they won't arrest you too? You're the one who gave me the datachip. You knew the information was top secret, you broke into Airwing's private laboratory to obtain it, you released a violet and unstoppable killer, and a Peace Marshall was killed during all of this. You will be executed as a traitor, same as me. We're in this together, remember?"

Synergy bit her glossa. He was right. Of course, he was. He had played her like a fool.

Carillon gave that same half-mocking, half-pitying smile. "Don't worry. I don't turn my back on those who've helped me. I'm the only one left who can implicate you in any of this and so long as you don't go after me I won't tell a single spark."

Synergy frowned at that. "What do you mean you're the only one left?"

"Oh, I killed Airwing." He said it so simply, like it was no big deal. Nice weather we're having, and, oh, I've killed Airwing, Synergy shivered at the thought. "He was in hiding, terrified of what X might do to him if he ever found him. But he didn't think anything of letting his old pal Carillon inside his little hideout. There were a few others – some security guards, a scientist – who suspected you might have had something to do with the break-in. They were easy to take care of. Congratulations, Synergy. You're free. You've got nothing to fear."

Then he hung up.

"Your record is very impressive," the gray and silver colored mech said as he looked over her file. "Top of your class, an internship at the Center, and I've seen you've recently taken up martial arts. What made you decide to sign up for this mission?"

Synergy smiled charmingly up at the captain of the Axalon. "I needed to a change of pace. Besides, this is an exploratory mission. I'm a scientist. It made sense."

Optimus shook his head in bewilderment. "This is an exploratory mission in search of new organic life. You're primarily a tech scientist."

"So? I also invented the software you'll be using to acquire organic alt modes. I have many interests."

Optimus was still frowning, glancing over the words that scrolled over his datapad. Synergy sighed in exasperation. "What's the problem?" She asked.

"It's just…" he hesitated for a moment, then plowed on. "It's unexpected. You were on the fast track at the Center and then you just… gave it up. And then, out of the blue, you sign up for this mission. I don't see anything here that would indicate you had a previous interest in exploration. Is there something going on that I need to know about?"

Synergy bared her dentals in an approximation of a smile. She knew exactly what kind of 'mission' the Axalon was going on and it had nothing to do with exploration. She had mistakes to atone for and by Primus nothing was going to stop her. "I've done some bad things. I want to be a better person."

"What could you have possibly done that was so horrible?" Optimus asked, his voice incredulous at the thought of such a small and harmless looking femme doing something wrong.

Synergy laughed. "What can I say? Even when I'm good, I'm still bad."

Blackarachnia woke up with a new purpose in life: to find Rampage and kick his aft.