Chapter 55: Renovamen
(Latin: greening, reappearance, rebirth, regeneration, renaissance, renascence, renewal, resurgence, revitalization, revival)
AN: It's been fun, guys! Definitely no sequel - Alex's story has been told and that was the point of the story; not ending the war. She's grown up and discovered her place, so her story (even though it looks like it's just starting) for this chapter of her life is now over.
Hope you've all enjoyed the ride; I know I have.
Oh jeez, I think I'm sort of choking up now. Alex, my baby girl, you're finally all grown up and moving on with your life! (Please ignore my Romancing the Stone spasms of writer-dom - those tend to happen on a regular basis.)
Thanks to icanhascamaro for all the late night chatter and plotting. :) Very appreciated and fun.
And apparently, I can't do epilogues very well - this thing ended up being a lot more intricate than my plans indicated for. But I like it. A lot.
-Six Months Later-
I stared at the twins. My two bonded mechs.
::We're… leaving Earth? How?::
Empathy radiated from Sideswipe. ::Yeah, Optimus thinks that since Bucket Head and Soundwave left, and we've destroyed the other Decepticons, the Ark can pick us up now.::
::But…:: I hesitated.
Jace had been in the hospital for three months. He'd been recovering from the chest wound and multiple breaks, and contracted an infection in the hospital. Now, he was back on the base, nearly completely healed.
He still didn't talk to me.
If I left now… If I left without talking to my brother. Oh Primus, if I left, I'd likely never see him again. Ever.
Sunstreaker nudged me. ::We can leave him a communicator,:: he said lowly.
::Will he even want it?:: I asked sadly. ::What if he doesn't ever want to talk? I'm going to be alive a lot longer than him.::
::You'll have done all you can,:: Sunstreaker said softly.
::Besides, you Wells are curious creatures,:: Sideswipe added mischievously. ::I'd be surprised if he didn't at least try it out.::
That was true.
::And with us gone, they should be much safer. We'll also be leaving some way for the humans to contact us to let us know if 'cons show up again.::
I stared downward, hands clenching and swirling in circles.
::Everything's changed so much,:: I whispered, or perhaps one of the other two did. Sometimes I wasn't sure who spoke.
::Everything happens so fast with humans in the picture.::
Sunstreaker nudged me through the bond. ::Be strong.::
I nodded slowly, playing with the magnetic mods. ::I am. I just want... ::
::He's family,:: Sunny said.
I looked up into his optics - way up, since he was twice my height, and sighed. I'd finally figured out the coding for sighing, although I still managed to rattle once in a while.
I had a fleeting thought about how attractive he was, with the sunshine yellow paint and black outlining. He was beautiful, even on a purely physical level.
A brief flicker of smugness from Sunny, and a pout from Sideswipe.
::I'm not attractive, baby?::
::You ham. You know I think you're attractive too.::
He preened, but his attempt at distracting me failed.
::We're sure we got them all?::
::As sure as we can be with Blaster and Mirage here.:: Those two had landed on Earth about two months ago, once the Ark had made it to Earth. Soundwave had blocked outgoing communications, but Blaster had managed to work out our location despite Soundwave's meddling.
Mirage had managed to find out the location of the remaining Decepticons. There had been three raids. I'd gone on two of them.
::What if they come back?:: Jace was going to be working for NEST for a while longer, and likely would work there even after his contract was up.
::We'll be alerted and we'll come back, to protect them.::
Sideswipe chimed in. ::Maggie and Glen have a crude working Cybertronian dictionary, they'll be helping to watch for signals.::
I'd helped with that.
::So we're taking the fight back out?::
::Yep,:: Sideswipe chirped.
::No more dirt,:: Sunstreaker said, a touch of happiness in his mental voice. He was leaning against the wall, looking cool and collected, arm transformed into a gun. He was cleaning the barrel with a cloth.
::When are we leaving?:: I asked.
::Three joors,:: Sideswipe said.
::What's it like?:: I asked, picturing the photos of space that I'd seen, and the fantasies Jace had shown me, when he was geeking out about space.
::You'll see,:: Sunstreaker said ambiguously.
::Oh, it's just a lot of blackness and waiting,:: Sideswipe said easily. I had flashes of one of them - both of them - going a little stir crazy after a long time cooped up on a ship.
Man I loved having them back in my head again.
::How can we leave the planet?::
::Optimus spoke to the humans, and they made us a ship to get us out to orbit since none of us can fly.::
::Wow. I'm really going to be leaving Earth…::
I looked up at Jolt. He was about five feet taller than me still. I twirled a hand, as had become my habit.
"Will you… can you talk to Jace?" I asked slowly, playing with the magnetic mods as I asked, alternating from looking up at him and down. Jace liked Jolt. I'd even seen Jace sitting on Jolt's shoulders as he clicked at something on a laptop. Jolt had been connected to the laptop by a cord, and electric blue had traced the logo on the backside.
He hesitated. "About you?"
I nodded, helm fins spiking enthusiastically.
"He really likes you," I said quickly. "And my brother isn't known for liking any of us."
There was a moment where I was flustered at how easily 'us' had slipped from me. As if I really were a Cybertronian.
Jolt looked at me intently.
"Jace is stubborn." A hint of a grin. "A trait he shares with the other member of his family. Keep at it, Alex," he encouraged.
"So you won't talk to him?" I hedged, not liking that he wasn't going to help me.
Jolt hesitated again. "It must be you. Jace wouldn't appreciate anyone ganging up on him; it will just make him more resistant to any change."
I huffed, my engine rumbling slightly. "Moron." Meaning Jace.
Jolt laughed a little, a purely Cybertronian laugh that I hadn't been able to completely appreciate before gaining a new frame.
"Some consider stubbornness to be a strength."
"Not when I want to talk to him!" I grumbled. Jolt laughed again.
"Funny girl," Jolt said.
I thought about it, and snickered myself. Both stubborn people, determined to win. I could see Jolt's point, about being stubborn.
I nudged Jolt with one elbow, and turned to go.
"I'll try," he said gently. "Just don't expect it to change much. Jace is very strong-willed."
"And we don't have much time," I added.
"Leave a communicator for him," Jolt suggested. I nodded, then paused.
"Wait, you guys have communicators that can reach him from anywhere in the world?"
Jolt paused, thinking over his answer. "Not everywhere. Some places are blocked from anything but quantum bonds - like what you have with Sunstreaker and Sideswipe," he added.
::You're talking to Jolt again?:: Sideswipe butted in. He sounded irritated.
::Be nice,:: I scolded.
::I don't like him,:: Sideswipe moped. I could tell he was fighting with himself over whether they should come 'rescue' me from the 'big bad' Jolt. I honestly didn't even know why they didn't like him. Jealousy, maybe. It was the only thing I could think of.
::I do,:: I said. ::And I can talk to whoever I want,:: I finished.
::But you could be talking to the most awesome mech alive instead!:: he whined. I got the message that he was the best.
::Hush, you,:: I said mildly.
I'd gone on two of the Decepticon raids, and been completely awful at it. I had helped a little bit, managing to use my hard-earned-Ironhide skills to evade a strike to my head, ducking down and whirling, magnetics activating as I sprung up the mech like a monkey, bouncing higher.
Sideswipe and Sunny had been worried, watching me while simultaneously ripping through a mech together. Then they came for me.
I balanced on his shoulders, unsure what I should do next. Instantly, the twins were shooting strategies at me.
Instinctively listening, I swirled, and yanked one arm backward, hauling the mech's arm backward and making him stagger. Sideswipe nailed him in the chest, leaping forward and hitting the mech in the chest with both of his six foot long blades. the metal punctured like tin, the pop of blue energy staining the blade.
Sideswipe grinned widely, a streak of energon on his side.
::Nice one, baby!::
::Magnetic mods only work when your hands aren't transformed?:: Sunstreaker wanted to know.
I sent a quick affirmative as the twins moved around me, carefully shepherding me to the plane.
::You need more training,:: Sunstreaker said quickly.
It felt that was all I'd been doing for the last six months - although in their terms that was still nothing. Absolutely nothing.
I had discovered that Jazz contained some seriously rocking mods, that I'd instantly set about learning.
Now, I was crouching, and hiding my thoughts from the twins. The slim blade was tucked into a subspace at my wrist, the tiny pouch only capable of holding the small blade.
::Oh baby, come out, come out wherever you are!:: Sideswipe sang, glee radiating through his mind. I blocked him more firmly.
Sunstreaker smacked his twin for not taking it seriously. I grinned, and pinpointed Sideswipe, visor dimmed to blackness.
I fell from the heavens, jumping off the building to land smack on Sideswipe's gleaming red shoulders. He responded in a flash, whirling hard to throw me off - but my magnetic hands were stuck like glue to his shoulders. I slid my hand under his chin, knife snicking out.
"Gotcha," I sang, pleased as punch with my success.
::You got me, now what are you going to do with me?:: Sideswipe teased.
::Anything I want,:: I grinned. I planted a human smooch on his head, and leaped backward, landing as gracefully as a ballerina.
Something wrapped around me from behind, a barrel at my chin.
::Too slow,:: Sunstreaker said.
::Aw, man, Sunny, I was doing so well!::
::You got lucky with the stealth mods,:: Sunstreaker reprimanded. ::I found you.::
::After Sides was toast!:: I argued.
Sideswipe plunked a heavy hand on my head, the metal clattering on my flattened helm fins. "Try again. Next time, get us both. You've got natural assassination mods; use them."
I nodded, soaking in the information.
::Won't they ask me to do assassination missions?::
Sunstreaker growled heavily, engine rumbling loudly. ::I dare them.::
Sideswipe's engine joined his. ::They won't - if they do, all three of us go down.::
I blinked. ::Isn't it a bad idea then?:: I meant about the bond; it would be dangerous to have three mechs bonded, right?
::I wasn't going to ask permission; you're ours,:: Sideswipe said deeply. Sunstreaker's agreement was easily felt. The thought process followed that since I was clearly the weakest member of the three, I needed to...
"Try again," Sideswipe said.
I nodded quickly, flicking all the mods on as quickly as I could, and bolting. Jazz had signature modifiers, silencers and spark concealers. Together with the magnetics and the knife, I had some advantages the average 'bot did not.
Sideswipe gave chase. He was much faster, so I leapt for the wall, clambering up as fast as I could. I scaled the wall in less than three astroseconds, popping to the roof and bolting. I knew my footsteps and shadows were giving me away, so I raced for the other side, and bolted across before Sideswipe got there. I was also out of line of sight for Sunstreaker.
This was going to take some work. I had to assume they were talking together - it was silly to assume any other way.
I'd go for Sideswipe first. His speed at tracking me down was more a hindrance than Sunstreaker's bulk.
Or perhaps I should take out the bigger one first.
(This was all assuming that I could take out both.)
::I'd forgotten how fun this was!:: Sideswipe laughed. ::What'cha gunna do, baby?::
I didn't answer, focusing on keeping myself quiet. No noise.
Sideswipe was moving around the other building. Slowly, I pulled my gun out of subspace. Target practice was up.
Sideswipe paused, tilted his head, and whirled around, both arms transformed into guns. Paintball guns, of course.
He fired, and I held perfectly still. He didn't know where I was; he was guessing. I knew that from his wild aiming.
I hit him in the shoulder because he moved a little, and I instantly cussed, before firing again. It was no good - he dodged and came at me.
I squeaked, and scrambled across the roof. He was waiting on the other side, managing to put a paintball pellet in the middle of my darkened visor.
I clambered down, jumping and landing on Sideswipe's back. He grinned at Sunstreaker, skating forward. The speed was awesome.
"Try again," I sighed. Sunstreaker was looking at me assessingly.
::Sniping,:: he suggested.
I looked at him. "For now," he finished.
Sideswipe hummed. "Until her skills improve?" he said quickly, and Sunny nodded once.
Sideswipe started thinking about it, thoughts racing at a hundred miles an hour.
::You can climb up to vantage points, but then we can't protect you if Seekers come after you, and they will because it's a tactical advantage. We need to keep her on the ground, Sunny.::
I poked his head from my position on his back. ::I get a say here too!::
::We want you safe, and you're not very strong yet,:: Sideswipe said quickly. ::No way we're losing you.::
::You can't watch me forever,:: I said.
::Oh we're going to try, baby,:: Sideswipe said cheekily. There was a serious tone to his voice that was hidden with his flippant words.
::Prime won't put her into a battle without training, but we might not have that luxury.::
I grinned at Sunstreaker. Important little squishy got her training, I got it.
"Shall we go again?"
Ratchet eyed me, optics flickering assessingly up my frame.
"Ready for what?" I asked, scrubbing the thin blade with care. Ratchet had just given it to me, from the mechs that had been killed on the raid. That I had helped with. I'd held the mech when he died. In a sense.
My fingers curled around the blade. It wasn't magnetic. I could use it with the mods, for sure.
"Ratchet, do you know where those extra HDMI cables are?"
I froze at the voice, turning to Jace. He must know the Cybertronians were leaving. Wasn't he curious? Why didn't he even want to try talking to me?
"You know they're in the bottom shelving, second box to the left," Ratchet said swiftly, still watching me.
"Jace," I started. He cut me off.
And Jace was gone, clambering back up to his little nest with the captured HDMI cable.
I looked away, my shoulders clattering slightly. It hurt.
Ratchet huffed. "I'm activating your alt mode. You might need it before we head into space. And here you'll have space to practice."
My visor flicked up and down slightly.
"You think I'm ready?" I asked, ignoring Jace.
Ratchet grumbled. "If I didn't think you were ready, I wouldn't be turning it on, now would I?" He gestured to my wrist. "Give me your wrist."
I passed my hand over.
Sideswipe spoke. ::You're getting an alt mode?:: he sounded wildly excited.
::Yup,:: I said.
::This is going to be so much fun!:: Sideswipe enthused. ::And you're going to look so great,:: he added lasciviously.
Something in my back twinged with my embarrassment and I smacked him through the bond.
Sunstreaker was thinking about painting. Painting me and Sideswipe, in particular.
Ratchet flipped something, leading me down the pathway to show me how to activate it.
It seemed to be a much more complex version of the hand-gun transformation that I did nearly all the time.
Although I wasn't likely to get it that easily - it seemed much more scary than just changing a body part.
::I'll show you,:: one of the twins said.
Ratchet grumbled, then booted me out.
Two joors left. Sideswipe had dragged me down to the landing strip, and along with Sunstreaker, was making me practice.
It had been three hours, and I'd done basically nothing. I'd managed to transform my leg, but then the sensation of being taken over was too much and I'd aborted the motion. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker looked askance; this was something they'd never had trouble with. Transforming was part of their very souls.
"Do you want our help?" Sideswipe asked, gently.
I shook my head, determined to get this.
I shut off my visor, darkening everything and calming my thoughts. Focussing on the coding, I sunk into it as much as I could. I could feel Sideswipe and Sunstreaker, trying to help in mellowing my emotions.
I activated the coding, determined to relax and just let the natural change happen. It wasn't even that Jazz had never transformed; I had a car to change to and I had all the schematics.
Pieces started shifting and roiling, whirling about and collapsing. At one point, I was standing on my hands, then I was sitting on my shoulders and calves. It felt so, so wrong.
My primary optics could see the pavement.
I waddled through the coding, finding the optics area and turning them all on, isolating them down to ones for my back and front, and one for the roof. Three sets of sensory information were quite enough.
How did I move? Sideswipe jumped in. ::Try thinking about moving forward.::
::Try the specific wheels,:: Sunstreaker suggested.
I spun out sideways, one wheel spinning forward, one turning sideways and the back two pulling me backwards. I squeaked over the bond, staring at the hangar from a new angle. Smoke rose from the surface, wafting past my optic.
Somehow, the windshield wipers were going off, and the radio was blasting Queen at top volume.
"We are the champions! No time for losers 'cuz we are the champions!"
Sideswipe started snickering, his Lamborghini form whirling around me in well controlled donuts.
I huffed at him mentally, rolling my eyes at his childish behaviour.
::Just because I've never transformed before, you need to show off.::
::Sideswipe enjoys showing off at any provocation,:: Sunstreaker said drily.
I snickered, and Sideswipe smacked his twin in the head. Sunstreaker returned the gesture, and I went back to trying to figure out how to move.
Carefully, backtracked the controls I'd done and found the ones that controlled each wheel. It was totally different thinking involved, following the little threads that led to movement.
One inch at a time, I moved forward. Sideswipe was buzzing around me like a giant red fly, cheering and whistling loudly. I ignored him and kept practicing, although the little thrill of happiness from his encouragement remained.
Everything was so different, again.
At least I couldn't fall over unless I really worked at it.
My feet were apparently my trunk now, and I did not turn when I thought I would. They were completely different controls. I kept on popping my tiny little trunk open and slamming it closed.
It took hours of practice to even get slightly good at driving myself, and I practiced transforming all night. There was one joor left.
My twins had stayed with me all night, working and practicing with me, and cheering my every accomplishment on. I needed to recharge and defrag quite badly, but this was my last time on Earth, for a while.
And I wanted to go for a drive before I left. A real, honest to goodness drive.
Now that I could transform, and we were to be leaving soon - so damn soon - I wanted to leave the base, just for a few hours.
Sideswipe spun his back tires casually. ::I think we can do that; I'm going to check with Prime.::
Within thirty seconds, we were cleared and I was speeding off at top speed. Which, they were quick to tell me, was not even close to what I could really accomplish.
::I'm not keen on killing any humans,:: I said drily.
::Fine, play it safe. Ruin my fun,:: Sideswipe pouted.
We drove all over the countryside, getting Nevada's red dirt all over my wheels and sides, sliding and whirling around as hard as I could, nearly flinging myself over a few times.
Sideswipe joined me with reckless abandon, and flung himself over sideways, whirling through the air and landing back on his wheels.
Sunstreaker was still on the road, watching our backs. He didn't want to get dirt on his perfect, cleaned paint nanites.
I kicked up a rooster tail of dirt, snickering and giggling wildly.
::Time to head back. We're leaving,:: Sunstreaker said, content with watching, but wary for danger.
I transformed back, carefully and slowly. Still needed more practice at transforming, clearly.
Sideswipe and I scrubbed each other off, Sunstreaker joining in to get those infinitesimal bits of dirt that might possibly be lurking on his plating somewhere.
Packing was easy. I tucked some of my blankets into the biggest subspace I had, smiling fondly at the blankets. Neither twin had anything to pack.
Sideswipe's fond shove through the bond at me made me smile. I poked him back.
I left a communicator with my specific frequency on Jace's computer stand. Just in case.
Ratchet and Jolt had met with the human IT section - including Jace - and had a quick meeting on how to use the comms, as well as when, delivered with Ratchet's customary snark. It had gone along the lines of, "Unless it is a Decepticon, don't waste my time. We have no interest in an Earthen international squabble when we're fighting our own war."
He'd received sharp nods, and now, now we were all loading into the ship. I was freaking out, because it was actually hitting me now, that I was leaving. Leaving Earth. Something I'd never even considered as a possibility.
We walked to the rocket, standing up proud under the bright Nevada sun, and gleaming white. Soldiers were saluting us, and I found it silly for me, a little human who hadn't actually done anything, was getting a proud send off.
The soldiers were all part of NEST, and I knew ninety percent of them. Optimus Prime had done a speech, and we had listened as well, but I couldn't focus on him. It was something about how we would always consider humanity as friends, and hoped to come back in the future to continue being friends, or some such other comments. Optimus Prime was good at those comments.
We'd entered the rocket single file, entering little slots with space for three. Each space was designated for one of us to prevent a lopsided launch from uneven weight distribution. Sideswipe nudged me. All of us were strapped in, which neither twin liked at all. Their nervousness was making me jumpy. There were no windows, only red lights. Jolt and Arcee had worked with the human scientists to make the rocket strong enough to get us to space, since we were so heavy compared to the normal cargo.
My HUD kept insisting that I recharge, but I was too wired to recharge.
I delved into the bond, nervous and wanting reassurement. We'd been strapped in tightly to keep us from moving. The restraints were electrical so we could loosen them once turbulence was gone.
Which would happen once we were in space. Where I would be staying.
Oh Primus. What.
Sideswipe was there, reassuring me. ::It'll be okay. Sunny and I don't like being tied down at all.::
::I just… I don't want anything to happen to Jace,:: I said slowly. ::What if something happens to him?::
::He'll be fine,:: Sideswipe said.
::But I can't know that,:: I said.
::Can't watch him forever,:: Sunstreaker said.
::Hypocrite,:: I said. Sunstreaker would watch over Sideswipe until he died.
::You're part of that too. I don't think Jace would appreciate you looking as closely over him as we intend to for you,:: Sideswipe said wryly.
I smirked a little, although that translated to something rumbling in my chest.
::Probably not,:: I conceded.
My heart-spark fluttered as the rockets fired.
::Relax, done this a hundred times,:: Sideswipe soothed.
::But this is my first time doing this!:: I said shakily as there was massive downward thrust, shoving us down on our feet. Sideswipe easily balanced, despite having wheels for feet.
Sunstreaker smacked his twin in the head preemptively. ::Don't even think of it.::
::Ouch! Sunny, what was that for?!::
::You know, moron. Don't call me that.::
Sides grumbled, but subsided. I was nervous, and the force pushing me down was massively powerful, shoving hard. Internal calculating put the force around four G's. I was much sturdier than that; I'd pulled more G's messing around with Sideswipe in the desert.
It felt much different though - when I was turning, I felt like I was doing something and working to get that pressure, but now, I wasn't actually doing anything. Just sitting, putting my life into the hands of Arcee and Jolt.
Then, nothing. We were floating. Ratchet unhooked his harness, followed swiftly by Sideswipe and Sunstreaker, who burst from their harnesses with relieved sighs.
::I hate being strapped in,:: Sideswipe muttered.
I worked out how to disconnect myself as the others released themselvs. There was just enough space for all of us. Blaster chuckled, remaining in his alt mode.
I'd boggled when I had seen it - he was a decent sized mech, with cassettes like Soundwave - four of them - and he transformed into a CD player. Amazing subspacing happening there.
Ironhide picked Blaster up, and he had to actually try. I recalled that just because Blaster was a CD player, he was still as heavy as his mech form. Which was staggering. Physics was broken when it came to mechs, clearly.
::Now comes the fun part. Meeting everyone else,:: Sideswipe said.
Sunstreaker grunted. ::Only you find it fun,:: he growled.
::I think it's going to be hard to remember to call myself Pulse,:: I added. ::And how many mechs are we talking about here?::
::Eh, three hundred or so.::
::What?!:: That was a hell of a lot. ::And they all fit on one ship?::
::Big ship,:: Sideswipe said slyly.
::They won't harm you,:: Sunstreaker said, meaning that he was going to be watching me carefully. A warm glow started in my chest as I looked at him, the sunshine yellow turned orange with the red lighting. Sideswipe just glowed fire-engine red.
I smirked to myself. Never in a million years would have predicted this.
Sideswipe caught me checking him out.
::You like what you see?::
::You ham,:: I said softly. My knees were pointing at the ceiling, and I was floating upside down to make more space.
Sideswipe gave me a hug, holding me close.
::How'd we luck out in getting you?:: It was nearly a whisper of a thought, but I hugged them both mentally as hard as I could.
::I think I did pretty good for myself too!:: I protested.
Sideswipe grinned at me, and poked my head through the bond. He and Sunstreaker turned to Prime, who I could tell had commed them.
I wondered why I had been involved with the AllSpark, but in the end, I supposed it didn't matter. I'd fixed the bond between my two and was now on a rocket orbiting Earth, about to depart to continue fighting an alien war. My conversation with Jolt washed through my head.
-Ratchet? I have a question.-
-Shoot,- he said.
-What happens now that the AllSpark is gone?-
-We continue on, to destroy Megatron and hope to Primus that the Primes have a plan.-
I stared at the floor. -Oh.- That didn't sound too positive.
Ratchet bleeted static at me until I looked back up at him.
-Have faith in the Primes; they have a plan, Alex.-
I nodded slowly.
It didn't really sound like Ratchet had the answers either.
The Ark was huge. Massively huge. Large enough for all the mechs that had been on Earth, the remains of the cons, and the two hundred-some mechs already on Prime had sent me a file on the identities of all the 'bots on the ship, their rank and function.
I imagined mine to read something like, "Pulse, floor scrubber."
Boarding had been simple. We'd been sucked into the hold, and then the rocket was opened.
The rooms were small - and strangely orange. We'd been assigned a room.
The twins and I had insisted on sharing a room, which gained us a slightly larger room, and we had shoved the three recharge cots together. I pulled my blankets out, and voila, home. Although I sort of wanted art on the walls. I looked at Sunstreaker, and he had grumbled at me.
Interesting how a blanket and pair of people could make it home. From my subspace, I pulled a little potted ivy plant, putting it on the table. The air quality was nothing like Earth, but hopefully had enough carbon dioxide to keep the plant growing. And there was definitely enough light; the strip above the recharge berths was a bright white light for the plant.
Sideswipe nudged me through the bond, fondness in every touch.
We had shelving all along one side, a desk (for whatever purpose) and chair, and some compartments for storage. Sunstreaker pulled out a stack of clothes and set them in one of the orange compartments.
We didn't have much else. Everything important was kept in subspace, just in case something happened.
::Is there a window somewhere?:: I asked, hoping for a shot of Earth to keep in my memory until I could visit my planet again. Because I would.
I would see my home again; smell the dirt and touch the plants, talk to the humans and see my brother again.
::Follow me,:: Sunstreaker said. I trotted after him, much more comfortable as a biped than with four wheels.
::You should work on that too,:: Sideswipe commented, thinking of many instances where speed in transforming had saved his life.
I nodded mentally, still gaping at all the sights as I followed Sunny. Mechs everywhere, of all shapes and sizes and colours. Amazing.
Sunstreaker paused beside an open viewport.
I looked out, and back, and my chest fluttered. Earth was like a large blue gem, sparkling with tints of white and green. It was already so far away. I watched it with optics focused tightly.
This sucked. I didn't want to leave Earth yet; I'd just figured out how to live on Earth as a Cybertronian and now everything was adjusting again.
Earth was getting rapidly smaller; it was now the size of a marble, a little white and blue marble.
I watched until I could barely see it anymore. Sunstreaker stayed with me, a mental and physical presence. Sideswipe was with me as well, but he wasn't as good at supporting someone who was centimeters from bursting out with tears. Even though in a Cybertronian body, I would be crying by rattling pieces, inside, it felt the same.
Sunstreaker just stood there.
The Earth shrunk to the size of a pinhead, and disappeared.
I stood there a moment longer, triple-enforcing the memory of the planet, making sure I wouldn't delete the footage. Sunstreaker looked out the window, watching the stars.
I pulled myself together. I'd see it again, I swore to myself fiercely.
::So should we go meet everyone?:: I asked, sort of eager to meet more Cybertronians, and distract myself from the whole leaving-Earth-as-I-stood-here. And the Earth was gone from the viewport. Sadness and melancholy tried to reign, but Sideswipe and Sunstreaker nudged into my mind and silently supported me.
"Lets," Sideswipe said, throwing a hand on my shoulder. I put a hand on his hip, slightly magnetized to keep it there. I liked touching them, whenever I could.
-One Year After Leaving Earth-
My comm. line buzzed. I answered it swiftly, wondering who it would be. Surely not Red Alert again, telling me that my nanites were too bright or something. Which was silly - so many other mechs kept their bright silver metal.
Perhaps he was upset about the painting Sunstreaker had done on the side of the wall, of an Earthen meadow.
Or perhaps it was Bluestreak; I'd told him to comm. me once he was done his shift.
My engine stuttered at the voice on the end of the line.
I hesitated. -Jace?-
Sideswipe crowed. ::I told you he'd call!::
-'Lex?- His voice was small and hesitant.
-Jace?- I answered, moving from the rec room to a hallway, seeking some privacy, even though no one could hear the communication.
His voice dropped into more professional terms, even as Sideswipe insistently poked me. ::Earth is calling the Ark,:: he said insistently. I swayed a little. Was Jace calling me because something was going horribly wrong with Earth? Was it another attack? My processor was oh-so-helpfully supplying me with thousands of horrible ideas. At least I knew that Jace was okay at the moment, because he was still on the line with me.
Sideswipe sounded disgusted. ::Simmons is on the line, asking for you.::
-Pulse, come to the control room,- Optimus Prime commed me.
-Okay,- I said quickly, walking forward and comming Jace again. -What's going on? Are you okay?-
-I'm fine, but,- and he was gone.
I hustled to the control room, nervous and scared. Why would I need to be the one in the control room? Talking to Simmons of all people? Optimus, Red Alert and Ratchet were there, and I wasn't sure how to interpret the look on their faces. Other than Red Alert. Red Alert was looking paranoid like always.
-Girl? You there?- Simmons asked, in English. I almost never used English anymore. Other than when talking to Sideswipe and Sunstreaker, once in a long while.
-I'm here,- I said swiftly.
-Prove to me you're Alexandra Wells,- he instructed, and I stared at the others in the room blankly.
-And how do you want me to do that?- I asked.
Jace's voice came on the line. -What's this supposed to prove?- he asked waspishly.
I sharply sucked in air, causing my engine to choke weirdly. -Jace?- I asked again, my spark jumping in my chest. Then he was gone, and Simmons was back.
-You remember that thing I told you? Ages ago, about being a uterus?-
Sunstreaker growled. I glared at the monitor. -I remember.-
-Well before you get all huffy, remember why I said that. Yeah? I'm jogging your memory? Come on sweetcheeks, I don't have all day.-
::Sweetcheeks?:: Sideswipe echoed, angry and unable to do anything about it.
AllSpark, I remembered. Something about being the AllSpark and popping out new sparks. Asshole.
-I remember,- I said blankly.
-Yeah, well, it's back, okay? It's back.-
I wondered why they were speaking in code until the realization that this line could likely be hacked by Decepticons washed over me.
No wonder - there was no way that the Autobots would want the Decepticons to know the AllSpark was back on the planet. Somehow?
How had that even happened?
-What?- I asked blankly.
Optimus Prime looked at me.
"The AllSpark," I supplied blankly. "He says that it's back."
"That's impossible," Ratchet refuted.
I shrugged easily, the quantum bond between myself and my twins humming as Sideswipe and Sunstreaker theorized on how that was even possible.
"Get more information," Red Alert said, watching me intently.
I nodded once. -How'd you find out?-
-Your wonder boy figured it out,- Simmons snarked. I took that to mean Jace.
-Boy genius figured out how to scan for that frequency, and got a response. Thought it was a 'con but we were wrong,- Simmons snapped.
I looked at Optimus Prime. "He says Jace found it."
"Figures," Ratchet grumbled. "You Wells are always getting into trouble."
-Found it, how?- I asked.
-Secure the line,- he said briskly. I looked at Red, who was deep into the bowels of the computer system, trying to get the line to the most secure it could be.
"Got it, we've got one hundred astroseconds, Blaster's helping. Go."
-We're secure, go,- I said quickly.
-Wells is able to located the thing, you know, the thing.-
-Where is it?-
-Under that lab,- he said quickly. -Deep.-
-The lab?- I asked, clarifying. Was he meaning to say the lab where I'd died? Sideswipe growled loudly, and Sunstreaker was intent on me.
Jace jumped in. -My sister died, and it disappeared. But it's just energy, right? So I thought that it might not have been completely destroyed because you can't destroy energy, you can just transform it, and I was just working off a hunch I had, that it was simply dispersed very finely, like flour on the floor, - he rambled.
My visor flickered at the weird visual of flour. I hadn't thought about flour in a long time. I had no reason to.
But it was resonating with me. Perhaps he was right - it was quite possible that the energy wasn't gone.
::We can't afford to get our hopes up,:: Sunstreaker warned.
I looked at Optimus, who was at the control panel. Setting a direct course for Earth.
-We're enroute,- I said swiftly.
"Not secure," Red Alert said quickly.
I nodded, then relayed that down the line.
-Whatever,- Simmons said darkly, and was gone.
I looked to Prime.
"Megatron is going to find out, you know," I said, trying to keep myself from getting too excited about the idea of the AllSpark being okay. And on Earth, weirdly.
We were going back to Earth, this time to get the AllSpark, then to Cybertron.
::You just can't stay away from that filthy planet, can you?::Sunstreaker grumbled. I poked him mentally and grinned.
I'd get to see Jace again! And Earth!
Doing a hot reentry was scary as hell. I discovered that falling from that height, nearly unable to steer and formed into a lump of metal was freaking terrifying. Sideswipe loved the hot reentries, whooping over the bond and grinning widely. The Earth approached at a startling speed, rocketing toward me and promising to deny a soft landing.
I wanted to stop, but I couldn't. The ground loomed, red and brown, and looked as hard as a rock. Was made up of rocks, actually. Nevada wasn't known for soft green grass.
One hundred meters.
I smashed into the ground, bouncing and whirling before plowing a furrow into the dirt.
It actually didn't hurt as bad as I was expecting. It really wasn't that bad at all.
Earth was just as splendid as I remembered. Wild rock formations, blowing wind and the smell of dirt and smoke ripe in the air. I transformed, flipping down into my Solstice form to further enjoy the ground. Oh, to be around such organic life filled me with joy.
Jace was ahead of me. I spun my wheels, racing toward my brother who I hadn't seen in over a year.
I slid to a stop, crisp and neat, sunlight (I'd missed the sunshine) shining over my gleaming silver plating.
"Jace!" I cried out, using English.
I transformed and stood up, crouching down on one knee easily. He blanched, and took a step back. I transformed back into the little silver Solstice, concerned that I had scared him.
"Sorry," I said hastily. "I didn't mean to startle you."
"You didn't," he tried to correct. "You're just bad at walking and I didn't want you to fall on me."
I grinned widely. That sounded like Jace blustering.
"Oh?" I whirled back to my feet, shiny and silver. Sideswipe came sliding past me, perfectly red armour and a wide grin emblazoned on his face.
"Brother-in-law!" he grinned widely at the startled man as he plucked him up and cradled him in his big hands.
Jace got this strange, pinched face, like he'd just sucked a lemon and didn't know how it had gotten there. "What?"
"Bet you never guessed your sister landed two perfect specimens such as ourselves!" he continued glibly, gleefully aware of the shock on Jace's face.
I poked him through the bond. ::You are just terrible,:: I chided.
Sunstreaker was upset about Sideswipe having human oils on his armour after so long of being clean.
::Not like Jace is going to pee on him,:: I said with amusement.
Sunstreaker reacted with horror, even as Sideswipe considered the idea, just for the sake of having that dubious honor.
I smacked him mentally. ::Don't even try it,:: I growled.
He shivered, gently setting Jace back down. "She's so sexy," he informed my brother.
Poor Jace looked like he wasn't sure whether he'd rather jump under Sunstreaker's foot or continue sucking on the lemon. I didn't blame him. Sideswipe was giddy - likely reacting to my own mood at being back on my home planet after a year.
I nosed forward, wheels gently easing my frame. "Do you believe me?"
Jace stared at me, dark hair wavering slightly and his eyes focused tightly on me. "Yes," he said finally, after moments of watching each other, thoughts and ideas washing past his face.
I expelled a huge gust of air, rocking downward on my tires.
It felt so good.
Optimus Prime rolled forward, blue and red semi bellowing smoke. Ratchet followed, lime green and proud.
"Let's check the signal out," Ratchet grumbled. As we had been flying in, Ark sitting in orbit around the Earth, we'd been scanning the Earth for any trace of the AllSpark. Nothing.
Wherever it was, it was extremely well hidden. How had Jace located it?
Maggie Madsen stepped forward; I hadn't even seen her past Jace.
"It's a very faint signal; Jace wasn't even sure what he'd found. Luckily, with some collaboration-" Was I crazy for noting the lingering look she gave him? "- we managed to figure out it was the Cube from Mission City."
"Where is it?" Ratchet asked.
"That's the thing," Jace said, stepping forward, close enough that I could have rolled a foot forward and touched him. "We can't pin down the location. Perhaps your advanced scanners can do the trick."
Bumblebee rolled forward.
"That's why I'm here," Bee said. "I've got the best scanners," he clarified. "Show me where it was," Bee requested. He slid a door open, and a man squawked loudly.
"Bee!" A young man cried, barrelling over Jace and landing in the Camaro's seat. "I missed you so much!"
"It feels like the first time! The very first time!" Bee sang in excitement.
"Communicator just isn't the same," the dark haired girl I sort-of-remembered said. Did they even know about me?
She rubbed a hand up Bee's hood, a big smile on her face. "Missed you, Bee."
I watched as Jace and Maggie jumped into Hound. I remembered her quizzing me when all I spoke was Cybertronian, and smiled to myself a little bit. Hopefully that had helped her in creating that crude lexicon.
The two peeled off, and the rest of us followed, some of the humans getting into Prime. Not many humans had come to see us.
Perhaps NEST wasn't as large now. Or maybe they were spread thinly across the globe to watch for alien signs.
Sideswipe roared in his Lamborghini form. ::I forgot how much open space Earth has,:: he beamed. ::I like your brother; he's funny,:: he said, changing topics abruptly.
::I have dirt on my treads,:: Sunstreaker grumbled.
::Yeah, I'm sure he likes that assessment,:: I huffed, ignoring Sunny's moaning, and smiling inside. Of course, he saw that. ::Sunny, I know how to get rid of that dirt,:: I said slyly.
Sideswipe started laughing, nearly drowning out Sunstreaker's muttered, ::Don't call me that, squishy.::
We peeled out, following Prime. We'd landed quite close, and it was just a short drive. Especially at the speeds we were hitting. I'd only gone this fast once before, when Sideswipe, Sunstreaker and I were messing around in the dirt.
Well, mainly Sides and I.
The lab was nearly rebuilt into a warehouse now, and my spark flipped nervously as I came near the place I'd died. Sides and Sunny became grimmer, moving closer until they were nearly rubbing my flanks as we drove. I liked that they were so close; it gave me some peace.
Unexpectedly, I thought of the Ark, and how I wished to be there right now. I wanted to be safe there.
::It's going to be okay, baby,:: Sideswipe said, pressing close.
::We killed him,:: Sunstreaker reiterated.
Bee commed the group of us. -Got it! Definitely the AllSpark, Prime.- A short snippet of an old song blared. "Don't stop believing!"
I smirked. It had been fun to listen to Bee on the Ark while he used songs from Earth and none of the other Cybertronians understood his references.
He'd winked at me, and the twins had bristled. He'd been the victim of a prank involving glue and glitter to his doorwings. Sideswipe had gloated for weeks.
-The AllSpark?- I asked.
-Definitely,- Bee affirmed.
We had to dig, for quite a while. I didn't know why that was, or why the rediscovered AllSpark was the size of a soda can - it looked tiny in Bee's hand and glowed like a tiny, electric blue lantern. It lit up his hand.
He reverently, carefully gave it to Prime. If Cybertronians could weep, Bee was inches from doing so.
Optimus Prime looked around him, at the seven bots that had come to Earth with him. The three who had come with him originally and the three bonded ones who refused to be parted. And having some extra frontliners would be useful if Decepticons showed up.
They shouldn't - security on this had been as tight as it possibly could have been, with only eight bots knowing anything about this.
Even that was quite a few. Three extra were unavoidable with a bonded triad though.
He carefully tucked the AllSpark into his cab. The AllSpark wasn't able to be subspaced, not without causing irreparable damage to the mech holding it.
"I got a feelin' whoo hoo that tonight's gunna be a good night, that tonights gunna be a good night!"
Bee was dancing, alternating with the young man and girl and staring at the electric blue glow from Prime's cab.
Sideswipe and Sunstreaker were ignoring it, and watching me. Ratchet caught my gaze. -I told you.-
-You did,- I agreed. -I just don't understand how this happened at all.-
-Primus isn't meant to be understood,- he chuckled, light hearted after our find.
A thin, reedy voice that I'd never expected to ever hear again washed through my head. I see you've made me proud.
I wasn't aware that I was trying to, I responded. Sunstreaker fastened on me.
Of course you were! Jazz had glowing recommendations, it laughed, a high, thin sound.
You know Jazz? I wondered if I was crazy. ::You two are hearing this too, right?::
::Nope,:: Sideswipe said glibly. Sunstreaker tensed.
::Oh, good,:: I muttered. I relayed to them what it had said.
Of course I do! He's right here, with me.
I was really concerned for a moment that I was going insane.
No, you're not. I promise.
Fat lot of good your promise means.
Another thin laugh. Alex, you really helped me. I thank you. On behalf of Cybertron, I thank you.
What did I do? Voice was still being all cryptic.
I used your life force to reform myself. Your human life force is not the same as your soul.
Why me? How had I been chosen? Had it just been chance?
I admit, it was selfish of me. But I did give you compensation, no? Be upset with me or not, the deed is done.
You used me? Made sure I cared for the twins so you could suck my life out and fix yourself? To fix your planet? I wasn't really sure how to feel about this. Sunstreaker and Sideswipe were bristling.
I didn't mean to, Voice insisted. You were fixing them before, and then you touched me. I only wanted to help.
I remembered being drawn to the shard, sucking the AllSpark's energy in.
I only wanted to help.
I believed it.
::It killed you!::
::No, it was the combination.:: I decided. ::That, and Shockwave.::
The twins were considering smashing the AllSpark in retribution. ::No smashing the AllSpark!::
I tried to fix it. I gave you a body that was as nice as I could make it.
True. Jazz's body was absolutely fun.
I'm sorry, the Voice said, voice small. Live well, Alexandra Wells. I will see you again.
Um. Was that going to be when I died, and went to the Well?
Another laugh. No. I have spoken to the last Prime. He will know what I mean. Thank you, Alexandra Wells.
The voice faded away, leaving my mind overrun with concerned twins. They clung close to me, reassuring themselves that the voice wasn't going to hurt me.
Jace poked my leg. Instantly, my attention was on him. "So, you're married to two guys? 'Lex, what a player!"
I poked his shoulder as gently as I could, finger light. "Excuse me for taking the two hottest guys I could," I teased, still shook up over the Voice talking to me.
His face scrunched up in a juvenile expression of disgust. "Ew, 'Lex, did not need to know that."
Sideswipe cackled, while Sunstreaker moved outside the building to watch the skies and ground as a buttery yellow Lamborghini.
"You're terrible," I scolded.
::That's what you tell me!:: Sideswipe chuckled.
::Where do you think I learned the perfect frowning face?:: I asked.
::Ah, but you're so adorable when you do use it,:: Sides sighed, and Sunstreaker rumbled in slight amusement.
"And you're a giant alien robot."
Way to be subtle, Jace.
"Yeah, I guess I am," I said honestly. I transformed down to my Solstice form, glittery silver.
I popped open a door, wiggling it invitingly. Sideswipe dropped into his Lamborghini form to join Sunny.
Jace slid into the seat, and I was quite sure both of us had funny ideas about him being 'inside' me. Neither of us mentioned it.
::Don't you dare,:: I warned Sideswipe. He just snickered.
Jace was quiet; I wondered what he was thinking about.
Jace stared at his screens, before looking at the communicator he kept on his desk. Just in case.
He was going through the files of S7, after months of searching. Months of looking for something that seemed to have disappeared off the face of the earth.
A familiar face popped up on the screen, and Jace could have kicked himself for how poorly he reacted. He choked on his energy drink, spat it all over his screen, and coughed wildly, pounding himself on the chest.
That brat kid who had been 'Lex's best friend, Liam. That douche. Had been part of S7, and was presumed to be dead now. All activity from S7 had been completely halted, like they had been disbanded. But that couldn't be the case. They'd been harder to uproot than a thistle, spreading roots deeply through the ground.
Liam had been part of the group who'd wanted his little sister killed? Who wanted to kill all the mechs? That he'd unwittingly (sort of) been a part of?
Should he tell her? Liam had been used against her once before; to hear that he'd been part of S7 might just be cruel. There was no reason for her to know. No.
He wasn't going to tell her. Not ever.
It would just hurt her. And after not talking to her for a year and seven months, hurting her more was the last thing on his list.
"So you guys are leaving again?"
The little screen in the middle of the dash showed her human face, unscarred or marred. It sent a little pang through his heart as she smiled, bittersweet.
"Yes. We have the AllSpark; now we need to end the war. Kill Megatron and all that."
"I'll keep in touch," he said, not wanting her to leave now that he actually thought it was her. "You're not allowed to die again, you hear me?"
She chuckled, a strange sound that had the seat moving around. It was very disconcerting.
"Sure thing, Jace. I'll do my best to work on that."
"Promise me," he said fiercely. She'd be fighting in a war, for heaven's sakes!
"I'll be fine. Besides, Sides and Sunny won't let anything bad happen to me."
"That's so weird," he grumbled. "You having two guys. Well, robots."
"I like it," she said, sort of shyly.
He poked the seat, elbowing the soft leather. "Yeah, yeah, it's still two guys."
"Whatever," she grumbled, following the big rig out of the warehouse. It was dark out, stars littering the sky.
Jace sighed. "So for family dinners is going to be me, you and the pair of trash cans?"
She snickered. "Better not let Sunny hear you call him that. But yes." Her voice was soft when she was talking about them. "Although I'm not sure when we'll be coming back to Earth," she confessed.
It could be never. Or, long after he was dead. It was easily possible. One year for them was about the span of an average man's life, after all.
"Try, okay?" he said, instead.
Both of them knew it could be never.
Red Alert sent down a return pod for us. I wasn't sure how I felt in leaving again. Jace kept on eyeballing Maggie Madsen when he thought I wasn't looking, and I grinned at him widely. He scowled and drew a finger across his throat. I wiggled my visor at him.
Looks like some things never changed.
I spoke to Prime before we left. "What did the AllSpark tell you about me?" I asked.
He turned to face me fully. "The AllSpark requested that you are offered to be part of those chosen to watch over it. Not as a warrior, but to assist in bringing new sparks into the universe once the war has ended."
I boggled. "What?" Why me?
I asked something like that, and Optimus Prime laughed lightly. "Because it trusts you. This is not something to be taken lightly. Do not feel obligated to agree, however do know the offer exists."
I just stared at him, humbled and wondering what the heck the AllSpark smoked to think that I would be a good choice. Crazy.
As I bundled into the pod, crowded by my twins, I pulled in a last deep cycle of fresh Earthen air. Air on the Ark was nothing like this.
However, everything was going to be okay. We had the AllSpark, Earth was safe, my brother was talking to me again, and I had my twins.
And really, I was a creature of simple tastes. What more could I want?
Sideswipe tucked me into his side as Sunstreaker whipped a cloth out of subspace, already determined to get the grit and dirt off himself.
I was right where I was supposed to be. The rest would work out. And I'd come back to Earth. Somehow. Some way. I'd be back.
Have faith, Ratchet had said. Have faith in Primus.
I'd take that to my spark, and believe. I was exactly where I was supposed to be.
AN: I've got another story plotted out and some written for it. So look for Tasha's story coming out if you want? xD First chapter should be out soon.
Again, I don't own any of the songs that Bee uses.
Oh man, it's been such a ride, hasn't it? Thank you all for sticking with me and the overwhelming support from everyone.
I've loved every single one of your comments; thank you all so much for supporting this long story over the two years. Thank you thank you thank you. :D
Hope to see a lot of you again in the future!