A/N: Well, here it is. Last chapter. I hope you enjoy it. I'm working out a plot for the sequel but am not sure if I should go the Beast Hunter's route we know season 3 is going or take things in a different direction. Ah well. I hope to start posting new chapters of it by this weekend. Maybe sooner. :) Thanks again for sticking with me this month. I am truly humbled and amazed by everyone's response to this story. You all are wonderful.
June closed her eyes as the sensation spread. Her whole body was warm, tingling with what reminded her of an electric charge. The light from the Matrix seemed to encompass her whole self, permeating it, but not obliterating her own consciousness. No, it was like having a warm blanket of information wrapped around her. Something seemed off though. She felt so heavy. Heavy yes, put there was a power she'd never had, a strength that was utterly foreign but also carefully contained. Not by her, she was aware of that much.
I can sense you, June.
This is . . . Odd.
I have to agree with that sentiment. Are you well?
Yes, I'm fine. We saw what happened on the TV. Are you alright.
For the moment. Though I do not know how I am going to be able to leave this place.
Ratchet and Wheeljack are working on a new ground bridge. If you can get free we could send one for you.
I will do what I can.
I'm glad you are alright.
Thank you. I have to admit, these last few days have been rather trying.
Well don't worry. We'll have you back soon.
Yes, everyone is here. We have relocated to a new facility since the Decepticons found the other one.
June got the sense that he was unhappy about something. What's wrong?
You can't hide things from me now, mister. I can feel your emotions like they were my own.
That startled him and June smiled to herself. This was definitely going to be interesting and she wondered how long the effects would last. It was one thing to be friends with a giant alien robot, it was another to be mentally linked with one.
I'm not sure this is a good idea.
Hey, it wasn't my idea. Talk to the Matrix about it.
She could tell his attention turned elsewhere. She had her own issues to deal with where she was. Someone was shaking her, calling her name. She blinked several times and looked up into Jack's face.
"Mom! Are you alright."
"Yes, I'm just fine. I was talking to Optimus."
"You were . . . How is that possible?" Jack helped her to her feet.
"I'm not really sure. The connection has been getting stronger ever since I touched the Matrix."
"That is so weird."
"Well, you got to be the one to help him get his memories back." June smiled at Jack before looking up at the surrounding Autobots. "He's alright. Tired and worried, but alright."
There was a collective sigh of relief.
"Its been like a game of pinball with him lately."
"A game where the ball gets knocked around and could end up anywhere."
"Sounds about right." Ratchet knelt down beside June running his scanner over her. "You seem fine. Though I am very curious about your link with Optimus. It sounds almost like a binary bond."
"Well we can figure that out later, right now you and Wheeljack need to get that ground bridge working. We have to save Optimus."
Once the two scientists had left Jack turned back to his mother. "Are you sure you are alright. You've been through a lot this week."
"Enough for a lifetime."
"Menendez, how are you?"
"I'm good ma'am. I overheard that you are going to rescue Optimus, I'd like to volunteer to help."
"Ah . . . Well, as much as I appreciate that, Optimus is quite adamant about not involving humans any more than absolutely necessary."
"I understand that, but this Megatron has attacked our home too and we will stand and fight along side the Autobots. Agent Fowler is already retrofitting our weapons with tech obtained from M.E.C.H. We won't be defenseless."
June looked at the woman for a long moment trying to weigh all the options. Humans might be small, but they'd been crucial allies for the Autobots, sometimes even turning the tide in events. Was she ready to be responsible if people died? It was inevitable that there would be deaths. She had the feeling that the casualties would be even greater if she and the others didn't help the Autobots. Megatron had shown that he was willing to wipe out their entire world just to satisfy himself. He wasn't going to spare humans in this fight now that it was known that they were on the earth.
"It is our home and we will defend it. Optimus will understand." She was certain of this. He might not have wanted to involve humans in their war before this, but Megatron had forced the situation.
"Thank you ma'am. I'll let my commander know."
"Menendez," June stopped the woman. "Thank you."
"My pleasure ma'ma."
When the light finally faded Megatron gritted his denta. Alpha Trion was gone, Starscream was out cold on the floor, the four guards sparking and twitching around him. Optimus was still where he'd been restrained. Something seemed different about him though. A subtle change in his stance and the glint in his optics. This was not supposed to happen. One way or another he would deal with it. It seemed now that he was going to have to kill Optimus after all. He hadn't wanted to turn the Autobot leader into a martyr for their cause, but it couldn't be helped now. It infuriated him to have had the Matrix literally within his grasp only to have those would-be gods interfere.
He would show them. They might be able to delay his plans but they would never stop him. He would rule Earth and Cybertron. He ordered Knockout to see to Starscream. Soundwave alerted him to an incoming message. He grinned seeing the contents.
"Optimus, it seems you shall get to keep the Matrix for now. It won't do you much good in the coming battles. I know your numbers are dwindling, you cannot hope to continue this war with only five of you."
"There are six."
"There won't be after today. I'll let you live long enough to see my newest project."
He loved to see the apprehension flicker across Optimus' face before he got himself under control. It was always nice to provoke a response on the normally impassive face.
"No matter what weapon you bring to bear, we will meet it. We always have, Megatron."
Megatron resumed his position on his throne. "None with much success, I might add."
A claxon began to go off, the few guards still functional, rushing out the door.
"What is going on?" Megatron demanded. Soundwave quicly brought up a security camera view of a corridor. Four Autobots were making their way toward the throne room, a squad of humans with them.
"What is this?" Megatron was more intrigued that anything. Did they really think an infiltration to rescue their leader would succeed. They were even weaker than he'd thought, having to rely on humans. This was absurd and almost insulting that they would think they could mount a rescue with such an insignificant force. True they had gone to tremendous lengths to get him back after the incident with Unicron. But there had only been one human involved then, not seven. It was ridiculous.
"Soundwave. Knockout. Get rid of the intruders."
He watched on the monitor as they broke off into teams, no doubt to search for Optimus. Two humans with each bot, except for the wrecker who only had one. It wouldn't make a difference. He smirked looking over at Optimus.
"It seems I won't have to hunt for them after all. They've graciously come to me to surrender."
Optimus kept silent and Megatron had the unsettling feeling that the Prime wasn't even listening to him. He grunted and turned back to the monitor just in time to see two Eradicons shot and immobilized by the humans.
"What? What is that?! Soundwave, Knockout! Report."
"Sir, they have some sort of technology that induces stasis."
"No . . . This can't be."
"You are always quick to underestimate those you feel beneath you Megatron. It's cost you more than you know."
"Keep quiet!" Megatron watched with growing concern as the various teams worked their way through his fortress. Wheeljack and his human had made it the farthest and where facing off against Soundwave. The wrecker seemed to be enjoying himself, taunting the communications officer relentlessly. A light drew his attention from the monitor. Optics widened as he saw the ground bridge materialize. Out of it walked the remaining Autobots and another squad of humans. Megatron growled and trans-readied his cannon.
"How dare you!"
"How dare you try to destroy one of the Thirteen!" Ratchet bellowed. "Is nothing sacred to you?!"
"I chose the name Megatron for a reason." He growled back blocking Arcee's blaster bolts. The humans were swarming Optimus, among them he recognized the woman who had been a stowaway on his ship. He swung around to target them before they could free the prime. Ratchet blocked his shot with his scalpel blade.
"Quickly Arcee, get Optimus free!"
With his free hand Megatron sent the medic sprawling, a dent in his side. "You dare think you can defeat me in my own fortress."
"Turn about is fair play." Arcee kicked him with enough force to send him reeling. "You destroyed our base, we trash yours."
More humans and Autobots were spilling into the throne room as were Eradicons and Vehicons. Most fell victim to the stasis weapon before they could mount any kind of organized attack. Standing on the dias, Megatron took aim, shooting every human he could get a clear shot at. If he knew anything about Autobots it was that they would do anything to protect the humans. Soundwave flew in overhead and took the opportunity to attack the humans working to free Prime. Most of them took refuge under the Prime, leaving him to take the brunt of the attack. The human woman was screaming, the sound grating on his audio sensors. He aimed at her, ready to put her out of his misery. He blinked as the shot was blocked by a familiar blade. Optimus was free.
That seemed to be a signal of sorts. All the humans and Autobots fled for the still open ground bridge.
Then they were gone, the only evidence they'd been there the smears of blood and energon on the floor.
June sat curled up against Optimus' chest as he lounged in their temparary headquarters. An underground missle silo was currently being retrofitted for them. For now they were crowded into a large bunker. June had just returned with the others from the funerals for the three service men who'd been killed in the attack on the fortress. It had been very emotional for her. Menendez had been one of the ones killed. Her family had been there of course and June had tried to explain the sacrifice their daughter had made. It didn't ease their pain, but it helped them understand that she had been fighting for their freedom in a very real way.
"Why is it so hard Optimus?" She asked even though she could feel his quiet presence in the back of her mind.
"Because we care, June and we know that sacrifices must be made."
He laid a hand over her, trying to comfort her physically, even as he sent waves of solace through their bond. It was like melting into a giant warm down comforter. She would lose herself if she was not careful. She held on to the hurt and pain examining it, feeling how it stung and knowing that with time it would not retain the sharp edges but it would still be there no matter how long she lived. She sent back a pulse of gratitude and was rewarded with a smile.
"You have a nice smile."
It got bigger. "Really?"
"Yes. So . . . How long is this going to last?" She gestured between the two of them indicating the bond.
"I don't know. I remember ancient passages mentioning something like this, but never anything about how it was accomplished or what was involved in being bonded."
"Actually, I might be able to help with that." Ratchet walked up, averting his eyes from June as she got down to allow Optimus to sit up fully. She shared a moment of amusement with Optimus at the medic's embarrassment. "I found some references in an old medical research paper. Binary bonding is very rare, but not unheard of. It typically happens between a bot and an organic with the organic becoming a necessary component in a transformation."
"Umm . . . What?"
"Yes, please explain Ratchet."
"I'm afraid that's all I know. I've never seen such a bonding, it's completely different from the combiners. There is no loss of personality or sentience. You both retain full cognitive functions, you just . . . Compliment each other."
"I see." June and Optimus said in unison which prompted June to start laughing. Optimus smiled and thanked Ratchet.
"Go get some rest and tend to Wheeljack. Bulkhead won't leave him alone."
"He better! Wheeljack is still recovering!"
June smiled as Ratchet stomped off to go check on his charge. "Those two do make a cute couple."
"Hmm?" Optimus looked down at her.
"Wheeljack and Ratchet. They seem to like each other a bit more than just friends."
"Ah . . . That would be . . . Interesting."
"What? That's all you have to say?"
Optimus shrugged. "I'm not going to comment on another 'bot's choice of companionship."
"Oh, well who did you have in mind for Ratchet then?"
"I . . . Don't follow."
"Oh for Primus sake, don't you guys have the concept of romance and romantic love?" She pouted for a moment at the blank look. "I'll take that as either a no or you have no idea what I'm talking about."
"Yes. I don't."
"We need to go rent some movies. I think we've earned the downtime for now."