"Alright, so let me get this straight," Agent Fowler sighed, sitting opposite Jane while the Autobots, who weren't otherwise occupied by their charges, watched on, "Are you telling me you have relations with this Silas whackjob?" he demanded, sounding angered and almost betrayed if his tone was anything to go by,
"No, but I do know him," she admitted, looking to the other for support. She had already relayed her encounter with Optimus as well as the familiarity he had with her, he had urged her to approach William concerning the matter, that her knowledge may prove useful in rooting out this threat,
"And how is it that you know him?" he asked, watching as her expression turned grim,
"My mother did," the eerie silence taking the base wasn't helping her resolve as all eyes and optics were on her,
"You never mentioned your mother before now," Cliffjumper pipped in, missing the look of loss on her face. Fowler reached over and held her hand, a sign that both Ratchet and Optimus noticed,
"Take your time Jane," Fowler sighed, already knowing what she was experiencing,
"I," she began, collecting herself, "There were only a few times where I remember him," she began, peeking to the others as she spoke, "I can distinctly remember one when I was really young, like almost a baby...she was holding me, and speaking to him like he was a friend, I don't remember much since it comes to me like a dream, there and yet just out of grasp,"
"But a name? Anything to tell us who he really is?" Fowler urged, hoping to change the touchy subject,
"It was...a unique name, that much I know," she added, "I can't recall his first name but...Bishop, yeah! Bishop was his surname!" she smiled, glad she could remember something helpful, "And...he was in the army, but not just some regular soldier, I remember peeking into the lounge when he was arguing with mum and dad and he..." she paused as she remembered something else,
"What is it, Jane?" Arcee asked, she was as hopeful as the others,
"He...was a family friend...with mum, but he didn't like dad and he...he broke dad's arm when they fought last. Mum was so angry, she was screaming," Fowler watched her closely as she delved into the memory but like the others, he saw how it affected her, "She told him to leave them alone...that she didn't love him...she said his name too...Le,Lee-something," she sighed, wiping the tears from her eyes,
"Don't push yourself Jane, that is enough," Fowler sighed, it was as good a lead as any, a surname and a partical first name was good, along with the suspect advanced train he undoubtedly had, "I'll get back to HQ and see what I can dig up, for now it's operations as normal," he ordered, much to her relief as she quickly jumped from the chair and returned to her station. The overlooking bots thought it strange how, on the subject of family, was such a delicate subject with her. "I'd recommend against speaking of this again unless she initiates it," Fowler warned,
"It is plain to see she is distressed over the matter," Ratchet added, watching the oblivious Agent, "No doubt something traumatic had occured,"
"For that reason alone, we will heed your warning Agent Fowler," Optimus replied, "But if her mental well-being comes into question, she may need to voice such concerns in order to progress past them," he was slightly surprised but how Agent Fowler shook his head,
"Trust me Optimus, she's been carrying that baggage for some time," he said nothing more as he left and the bots witnessing the exchange said nothing either.
But the tone of the base soon changed when Bulkhead returned with Miko, once again discussing her need to perform in school and avoid detention in favor of a sucessful future. Jane sighed as she watched Miko scale the steps to the designated 'Human Rec Area' while arguing with Bulkhead over College and her future.
"Look Miko, before I became a Warrior, I was a Labourer – Constuction – I can build stuff, I can break stuff, and that's it," Bulkhead tried to reason with the...ambitious would probably be putting it lightly but true nevertheless,
"I love breaking stuff, I want to be just like you Bulk!" she smiled, practically giddy of the idea of making a living breaking something,
"Well, you better get studying sister," Jane piped in, her demeanor changing for the better, "My dad is a labourer as well, same industry too, and he had to go to college to get the education and experience, you won't get far without it,"
"Oh not you too?!" Miko whined,
"It's the make of this world Miko, training and experience is needed in today's society," Jane explained, "And some of those machines aren't as easy to use as you would think,"
"Oh, and how would you know?!" Miko demanded, staring at Jane and seemingly mocked by her grin,
"3 years working as a warehouse receptionist, I had to help the guys out when we were understaffed, got a forklift license to prove it," Jane smirked, "and like I said, they are not easy to use," her expression then turn serious as she approached the young girl, "You're smart Miko, I know it and I can see it, you're not giving yourself enough credit,"
"Yeah, that coming from someone who was probably a geek in high school," Miko snipped, usually Jane would snap back at her insults, so finding her silent was cause enough for Miko to look at her. She came to face a picture of a younger Jane, and to her surprise, her hair was dyed black and in pigtails, streaks and clutches of rainbows littered her hair and face painted with dark makeup. Her clothes were punked and she even had a tattoo,
"Call it a rebellious stage," she smiled, pulling back her phone, "People were too scared to call me a geek," but the sound of beeping paused their conversation as Ratchet worked at the monitor,
"I'm detecting a fresh energon pulse...from the nation called Greece," he announced, revealing the map, "An ancient city, quite historic I believe," turning to Jane for confirmation,
"You got it Ratchet, Greece was one of the first Civilizations of the Human race, because of them we have modern day sciences, medicine, astronomy, economics...they are basically the birth of civilized society," she smiled, looking at the small country on the map, "I did a study of Greek culture back at school, it was one of my favourites,"
"Ancient Greece, huh?" Bulkhead thought before an idea snapped into his processor, "Oh, field trip!" he beamed, looking down at Miko,
"Knowing our young Miss Nadakai, she won't get anything done as you envision...if it isn't a bother, agent Dalton," but before Ratchet could even ask, Jane was already grabbing her phone/comlink and sunglasses,
"I thought you'd never ask," she beamed, leaving Miko to moan her displeasure.
Positively excited over the idea of travelling overseas without the hassel of flying on a plane made the arrival all the more anticipated once Bulkhead cleared the Ground Bridge, opening his doors the 2 girls,
"Here we are!" Bulkhead's cheery voice heightened Jane's excitement as she ran up to the ruins,
"Awesome!" she beamed, touching an old column in marvel while Miko trained behind,
"Yeah...joy," she snipped, "And how is this supposed to be helping me with my future? It's just a punch of old rocks and pictures," she whined, very tempted to follow Bulkhead as he scanned the surrounding area,
"If one does not learn from the past, they are liable to repeat it in the future," Jane recited, turning back to Miko, "Besides, the whole point of the report is to show not only your knowledge of the subject but your recongition, point taking and structure, they is extremely important...that and there are a lot of interesting facts about history you probably won't find in any book," Jane smiled, inticing the curious girl,
"Such as?" while they talked, and laughed uncontroably from Jane's weird Greek facts, Bulkhead was just happy they were getting along again, though it still confused him how they could be friends one moment then be at each other's throats the next. Looking over the site, he found that the humans in the area were escavating the site, hitting energon they didn't even know about,
"Woah!" looking down he found Miko and Jane by his pedes,
"Looks like these were knewly found ruins, an archaelogical find," Jane smiled, spying over the site, "They found some carvings as well," looking to where she was pointing, Bulkhead realised the importance of such a discovery,
"Woah," he gasped, "That's Cybertronian!"
"What? How can you be sure?" Jane asked, not having much luck seeing from their distance,
"It is alright, but why would Ancient Greeks paint an energon harvester?" he asked, turning to Jane and Miko for answers,
"Well...I remember reading about something like that, the Orb of Zeus. The greeks were a primitive people by our standards and probably thought the harvester was a tool of their Gods," she explained, making out some of the markings as vivid as they were to her from here,
"Wow, Bulk, you're smarter than you let on," Miko smiled, pulling out her phone and snapping a shot of the carving, showing it to Jane. Thinking it was a good idea, she too took a detailed picture of the mural,
"But dumber than he looks," came an unknown voice. Spinning around, on the ledge above them was another bot; blue armor and a red face, his gold optics looked down on the 3. Not taking any chances, Jane pushed Miko behind her in case the need to flee was in order,
"Breakdown," Bulkhead hissed, enough reasoning for Jane's move. She could feel Miko grab her hand, feeling a little nervous being between the 2 behemoths. So much for being fearless.
"Miss me?" Breakdown chuckled, spying the 2 girls by Bulkhead,
"Like rust in my undercarriage," Bulkhead glared as he took a step closer to Jane and Miko, preparing to defend them. His tone wasn't bringing any ease to them either, Jane could practically feel the tension along with an unneeded headache.
"You know this lunk head?" Miko asked, stepped next to Jane, feeling a bit more confident with Bulkhead so close by but she never released Jane's hand,
"We have a history," he replied, never taking his optics off of Breakdown,
"And you have pets, how cute," Breakdown scoffed, but raised an eyebrow when Jane stepped forward,
"We're not pets, you tin can rustbucket! Unless you want your engine rearranged so badly it'll take your god to put back right," she hissed, surprising Miko and Bulkhead with such an icy threat, but only caused Breakdown to laugh heartly and loudly,
"Oh I like that one! Maybe I'll take her off you hands, Bulky," he smirked, "But I gotta ask? Do they play catch?" Grabbing one of the pillars from his height, Breakdown hefted the stone column up and threw it at Miko and Jane,
"RUN!" she scream, pulling Miko with her. Ducking out of the way as Bulkhead took the hit, warning them to stay down. But before he could anticipate Breakdown's next move, his 'aquaintance' was already on the move, grappling with him before hurling the surprised Autobot into the mural,
"Oops, hope the pretty picture wasn't too important," Breakdown smirked, but he flinched as a small stone bounced off his helm. Looking back, he saw Jane glaring at him, Miko not too far behind her,
"That's centuries old history you hunk of scrap!" Jane yelled, angered by such disregard but it only seemed to make the bots smirk grow,
"Spunky, careful that won't get you killed," he then turned to transform, speeding off as the girls ran to Bulkhead. Climbing out of the rubble, their little stunt didn't go unnoticed,
"Since when did you become Miko?" he asked, but Jane didn't reply as they decided to head back to base, their photos proof enough to mobilize the others.
Breifing the bots was one thing, but getting a hold of Fowler was another, apparently he was on a training retreat and was unable to give any help,
"I hate talking to machines," Ratchet grumbled, glaring at the monitor,
"Without Agent Fowler's direct aid, we will have to confiscate the harvester on our own," Optimus sighed, noting Jack's flustered responce,
"Hold on! Confiscate? As in stealing museum property?" Jack gasped,
"That sounds...illegal," Raf whimpered, the thought of having such a mark would not bode well for anyone,
"I do not wish to break Human law, but once the Decepticons learn of the harvester's location, they will not hesitate to obtain it by any means necessary," Optimus replied,
"I might be able to remedy that," Jane smiled, ending a call with someone, "I just spoke with the curator of the museum, convincing him that the orb is a target for theft. He's allowed that we take the orb into federal protection until the thieves are dealt with," she smiled,
"That should give me enough time to rig up a copy," Ratchet added, "I'll get to work on it now," moving to collect his tools and some materials for the replica,
"I'll set up a time after hours for the security guard to let us in," Jane was about to move off to make the call when Jack and Miko stopped her,
"You're going to need our help too," he stated,
"But he might see somethings up if I bring 2 prepubesent teenagers and a young boy with me," looking over Miko and Raf,
"You could...say we're interning, some kind of youth outreach program the FBI is setting up," Raf suggested, truely showing his eagerness to help. Jane pondered a moment, truely thinking against the idea but seeing their hopeful faces caused her to cave,
"Fine. But you have to think up your own back story to your parents, got it?" she watched as all 3 nodded in agreement, but she had the sneaking feeling Miko had her fingers crossed. But their was no arguing about it now that it was decided, she stepped aside to make the arrangements while Ratchet worked quickly to finish the replica...until:
"BULKHEAD! I NEEDED THAT!"
Night finally came, and their plan was put into motion. Optimus was too the front as Arcee, Bumblebee and Bulkhead covered the building. Stepping into the back entrance, Jane and the kids were greeted by the security guard, thankfully he was gulible enough to believe their intern story and allowed them through.
Operating the Cherry picker, Raf and Miko clambered onto the statue while Jack and Jane helped guide the orb into the cherry picker. But just as they managed to get the orb off and started getting the new replacement in place when a loud resounding crack echoed in the main room. Looking to the front entrance, the humans gasped at the sight of 2 other mech – one Miko and Jane recognised – fighting with the Autobots...and winning!
"It's cons!" Raf gasped,
"No time for that now, come on!" Jane snapped, finally setting the new orb in place before lowering the cherry picker again, "Ratchet, you there?!" Jane opened her com as she jumped out of the lift and guided them around to the access roller doors,
"I'm here Jane, what's going on?" his voice filtered through, giving some hope to this mission,
"The cons are here, earlier than we thought. We need a space bridge outside of the museum, Fast!" she stressed, moving around the corner to see the guard had already fled, idiot.
"It will take a moment to triangluate, get ready," he replied as Jane manned the controls to the roller doors, but a large spindly arm forced the door up the rest of the way, a cold blank screen leering down at her envoked fear to rise within her and the kids,
"Soundwave," Jack gulped, frozen much like the others, but Soundwave remained transfixed on Jane, tilting his head like a confused child before he moved to take the orb,
"Jake! Back it up!" she order, but it was too late and Soundwave had gotten away with the Energon harvester, "Shit!" she snapped, letting her self control go with the wind. This was not good.
It had taken a number of hours but their was a silver lining to the resent theft of the Energon Harvester. While the other Autobots patroled Earth for its location, Bulkhead knew exactly where to find it. Unfortunately, he had gone alone and against Optimus' orders but was commended for removing the harvester from Decepticon control, in other words – destoyed it.
Right now, Jane was returning the kids home, apologising to their families for keeping them away for a school project and peer session. Once they were all home, Cliffjumper returned her home, but just she she was getting out, he locked his doors,
"Ah, Cliff? Something up?" she asked, looking down at the radio,
"Jane, you're my friend," he stated, his tone wasn't exactly inviting, "So I'm gonna give ya some tough love, what is up you going all blubbery this morning?"
"Cliff, like you said we're friends," he was concerned when her tone also changed, "But that, is a no go zone, and friends are not exempt, now let me out," she demanded, trying to pry open the door, but he kept his doors closed and drove around to the back of the house, giving him a chance to talk.
There was a large rock behind her new home that would allowing him to stand at full height and, if she stood at the top, they'd be on equal ground. Transforming around her, he plopped her down ontop of the rock and stood there,
"No way, if you're getting upset about this and keeping it bottled up, it's not good for you or the people around you," he stated, watching as she stood and completely ignored him, trying to figure out a way down on her own merits, "Jane!"
"NO! Cliff!" she snapped, refusing to look at him, "You have no right to demand anything of me! To ask something like that!"
"I do when it's obviously hurting you! I don't care if Optimus told us not to, I care about you and I want to help!" he snapped again, preventing her from escaping her elevated platform, fuming at his arrogant and stubborn nature,
"I...can't," she whimpered, sitting with her back to him, "You wouldn't understand,"
"Come on Ruby," he sighed, losing his hard edge and opting for a softer approach, "I've seen it all, this war...a lot of bad things happen, and generally when it's out of control,"
"Have you ever watched a person you love die?" she asked, still not looking,
"Of course, but I look on and keep my head high. Mourning and mopping about it won't help anyone," he replied,
"What if you were the reason they died?" that caused him to stop, looking down at her. The reason...did she mean...with her mother? He watched her as she simply slide down the rocky slope and walked to the house, "I'll...find my own way tomorrow Cliff," she added before walking in, "I need...time to think,"
"I'm here for ya Ruby," he pushed, "We all are, you can talk to us,"
"I know that...I just know I can't," she didn't further the conversation as she closed the door and locked it. Cliff knew he couldn't do any more, considering this hadn't gone the way he had planned, she just left it and drove off back to base, leaving his human friend crying and weeping on her bed,
The fool thinks he understands She didn't even stop to register the strange presence anymore, lying limp on her bed while phantom fingers played with her dishevelled hair, Soon, they all will.
As promised, Jane managed to call Bumblebee for a lift after he picked up Raf. She didn't tell why she wanted him to so it wasn't pushed. She came into the base with a 'buisness as usual' vibe and got stuck into it.
She decided to listen to a few radio stations, a little peeved by the number of illegal street races were popping around lately, thinking them all idiots for risking their own hides let alone the lives of others.
But once she heard Jack had no less participated in such a jount, even though just between him and another school mate, she was really laying it on him,
"I mean what in God's name were you thinking?!" she snapped, causing even Miko to flinch,
"Look Jane, relax nothing happened," Jack tried to defend himself but she wasn't going to have any of it,
"Now maybe, but what if some does the next time you use your ego instead of your brain?" she glared, "And to impress some popular Cheerleader lout? I though you had more dignity than that,"
"Hey, Sierra is not a lout," he snapped back,
"Oh really? Tell me, does she even know your name? or did you have to correct her?" Jane asked, not liking the way he stalled, "See!"
"Well, I don't see why you're getting into such a tiff about this, it was just one race to put that jerk Vince in his place!" Jack snapped again, really getting sick of her scolding,
"You don't play a bully's game!" she groaned, "It only give him more of an incentive to dig you a deeper grave! You want him to stop? Give him a reason not to bully you,"
"I was!" now they were glaring eachother down, but neither was backing away,
"No, you were just being immature, how Arcee let this happen I don't know," she didn't dare look to Arcee as her comment held no anger, "The only thing you'll get from acting like that is either a one way trip to the ER or a one way trip 6 feet under,"
"What the hell is with you! This isn't about the race is it?" now Jack struck something, Jane froze. Even their Autobot on lookers had paused to gauge her reaction, "Your concern is noted Jane but this is my life! Besides you never acted like this before," he could see just from the relaxing for her shoulders that she was giving up, not until she turned to face him again,
"Race again, on your own or with the bots, and I'll make sure your mother knows before the flag drops," with that, she merely walked away, clutching her head as another headache was coming on. She didn't bother staying at her station as she disconnected the laptop and moved somewhere else private to work wirelessly.
"Wow, I think you broke her," Miko pipped in, watching the older woman leave,
"What is with her lately?" Bulkhead asked, not liking the way she was acting,
"Thank Cliff," Arcee pipped, punching said bot's arm, "He tried to get her to talk about the...issue yesterday,"
"Cliffjumper, it was made adamant that such a subject would be left to Agent Dalton's discression," Optimus stepped in, not liking how Cliffjumper's actions brought such a tension within the base,
"Look, she was upset and I just wanted to help," he defended, looking to where she left,
"Be that as it may, her wellbeing, tying into to her actions on base, could have adverse effects as a whole," Optimus stated, but leaving it at that and letting the day pan out, hopefully time would ease the tension.
It had, to some degree. Jane had calmed somewhat but refused to apologise to Jack. In any case, she recieved a request from HQ regarding the number of illegal street races taking place, their traking had lead them to Jasper, Nevada and she was the only agent available on site. Accepting, she made numerous calls to the local police departments to aid in apprehending those involved.
Excusing herself from Optimus, she was making her way out to meet with the Sherif when she passed the kids, talking in hushed tones with Bumblebee and Bulkhead looking over. They froze a moment while she walked by, but she had too much to do to worry about that; the game console and TV were on, they were probably talking about games.
Arriving at the precinct, she discussed with the Sherif and attending officers what they were going to do; since these races were generally involving teens and young adolences, SWAT wasn't necessary, noting that they never carried guns in these races. Once night came, they began to set up. It wasn't long till the teens began to show up; custom muscle cars were littering the flood basin, one in particular caught her eye, a large red Aston Martin Vanquish v12 with custom designs.
She had stepped in to coast the gathering, but couldn't help to steal a moment to admire this artistic perfection of a car,
"Now this is a car," she whispered to herself, the car reving at her compliment, no doubt the driver heard her. Before she could question him, the cars were gathering; after scopping out the tracks, they devised a plan to catch the drivers at the finish line while her team caught the on lookers.
Stepping back, she spied another yet familiar car; a custom yellow and black striped camero. The windows weren't tinted as dark as the Aston so she could almost see clearly inside,
"Jack?!" The banner dropped by a young girl signaled the roar of the engines as they sped off. Now Jane was pissed. She warned him! She signaled the police to move in and apprehend the on lookers while she borrowed a police motorbike to catch up with Jack and Bee, hopefuly to get them before the police did.
Jack and Bumblebee were having troubles of their own. Knockout was in the race and decided to try and shoot Bee off the road. Calling to base for back up, Bumblebee managed to lose Knockout with an oil sleek and quick hiding,
"I think we lost him Bee," Jack sighed, looking up at the bridge they were under as Knockout sped away, but the headlights of another car blinded him as it stopped in front of Bee. None other than Vince, the School bully, stepped out, "Oh you've got to be kidding?!" but then, a second engine revved as a motorcycle slid under the bridge,
"JACKSON DARBY!" came a shreik, now he kinda wished it was just Vince, Jane had slid off of the police bike and marched over to the pair but Vince didn't back away,
"Hey, get lost lady, he's mine!" Vince growled, hoping she would back off but instead she did something Jack never thought she would; Punch Vince in the face. Laying on the ground recovering with a bloodied nose,
"Lady! Who the hell do you think you are?!" he demanded, before getting another subsequence face beating,. Now Jack was scared, Jane never acted like this. And though he couldn't understand Bumblebee's sounds like Raf or Jane could, he could tell even the young bot was concerned,
"I'm the fucking FBI, you knat," she snapped, shoving her badge into his face, "SO unless you want to be locked away from the world for the rest of eternity. Get. Lost," he didn't need to be told twice as he stumbled to his car and drove off. Unfortunately that turned her anger to Jack, but seeing his large doe eyes, staring in fear, something clicked and her rage left her...what the hell did she do?
"Jack...I~" she screamed as a metal hand wrapped around her, lifting her off of the ground and before she knew it, she was in a car interior. Seat belts snapped around her securely and tightened as she struggled, "No! Let go!" she demanded,
"And here I thought you were an admirer," came a smooth voice, she didn't need to be told twice that she was, without a doubt, inside a transformer. A small prob suddenly appeared from the dashboard, sparking a moment before it zapped her, knocking her out. This night wasn't exactly going to plan.
AN: here's another chapter. Sorry it took me so long but I've just been working through a few chapters and trying to get as many done as I can. The next chapter will so a bit more of Jane's instability as well as I'll be skipping a few episodes as a result. Stay tuned.