AN: Okay now I'm just procrastinating -_-; Anyway, chapter title is a spoof on the German word Gesundheit, which is frequently used like 'God bless you' when a person sneezes. For that is what this chapter is, one giant sneeze. It's about to get messy people.
"I swear I'll never get used to that!"
Fowler and Jack had just stepped out of the ground bridge, near the start of the Panorama Trail, in Yosemite National Forest, California. The trail was already living up to its name, as they stood before a backdrop of trees and snow covered mountains. The air was warm, but markedly cooler than the desert at this time of day, it was only just a little past noon. There were also clouds hanging low and threatening rain at any time.
The two men were further back in the forest and could see the path before them, there was no one in sight.
"Where is everybody?" The agent wondered looking around, knowing there should be other people about so near the start of the trail.
Jack walked forwards and saw the sign that marked where the path began and noted that there were yellow hazard posts on either side of the way.
"Looks like the path is closed, probably because of the weather." He said.
"Right, we'll need to exercise caution through here, then, don't need either of us walking home with a cast." Fowler warned and reached for his headset.
"This is agent Fowler to base, come in base. Do you copy?" The comm crackled, then came to life.
"Go ahead agent, we're reading you loud and clear." Ratchet's voice came over.
"We've arrived at our destination, safe and sound." The government man informed assuring the ones listening that there was no trouble, yet.
"What's it like over there?" That was Raf from one of the smaller terminals asking.
"Like a vacation postcard." Fowler stated sarcastically and Jack rolled his eyes.
"The view is nice, and it's a little cooler than at home. Maybe we could come up here some other time when we're not busy." The teen suggested.
"Any danger?" Came the question from the medic.
"Weather's threatening to drop buckets of rain on our heads, the path's clear of people, and there's some hazard signs around, but no appearances from any cons yet." The agent continued to survey the landscape.
"Can we bridge to your location?" Arcee demanded.
"Negative." The dark man denied, "Hazard signs won't keep the more adventurous hikers out, and we're too near the trail starting point, so there's bound to be somebody else around."
"Alright, keep us updated, and watch for Starscream, he can be especially unpredictable. If the weather makes things difficult, call us and we'll take over the search." Ratchet advised.
"Will do, Fowler out." The line clicked off.
"Well, shall we get this trip over with? I'd like to get there before the cons do." The agent turned to the teen beside him.
"Yeah, let's go." Jack nodded and set off down the trail with the darker man flanking him.
"You sure you'll recognize the place when we find it? We don't have enough supplies to be out here for too long." Fowler asked all professional.
"Trust me, I'll know it." The teen replied with certainty, "I just hope what we're looking for is still there after all this time."
"You and me both." The older man agreed.
The two walked for some ways before they ran into their first bit of trouble. As the path crested a hill, they saw a park official heading in their direction, while herding a small family back to the entrance of the Panorama.
"Uh oh." Jack muttered, as the ranger caught them in his sights. If they were stopped here it'd be hard to explain how they got into the park, especially without a park pass.
"Relax, and let me do the talking." Fowler instructed, as they drew close.
"I really don't see why taking a few pictures would do any harm. We don't plan to be out here long and we have a permit!" The wife of the family was arguing.
"I'm sorry, Mrs. Witwicky, but standard procedure clearly states that no one is allowed on the path with the weather this threatening." The official stated.
"Ah, Judy, dear," Her husband cut her off, "He's just doing his job, calm down."
"Ronald, we came all this way, we may not get another opportunity, and I won't leave without something to show for it!" The woman, Judy, turned her frustration on her husband.
"Mom, just let it go! There'll be other things to take pictures of, you can always photoshop a postcard if you have to." The mother's son told her.
"Now you know better than that, Sam Witwicky. No sacrifice, no victory!" Ronald admonished.
It was amazing how well acoustics carried across the space between the two parties, as Fowler and Jack heard this exchange, before the park ranger addressed them.
"Hold it you two. This path is closed until further notice." The official cut them off and Fowler straightened himself to his full height.
"I am special agent William Fowler, of the United States secret service. This is my associate Mr. Smith." He said importantly flashing his badge, "We are on a mission to locate a very dangerous man. A political mass murderer escaped not two days ago from prison, we believe he has been seen somewhere in this area, he is armed and will kill anyone, and I do mean anyone, who gets in his way."
As he was speaking the faces of the people in front of them were growing increasingly pale.
"Oh, God. Ron, let's go now!" Judy pushed, panicky.
"Hold on, honey." Her husband soothed, "What do you want us to do, sir?" He asked the agent.
"I need you to do as your wife says and get yourself and your family out of the area, ASAP!" Turning to the park official Fowler demanded, "As for you...what's your name?"
"Bob." The ranger bit out shakily.
"Bob, right." The dark man pulled out a card from an inside pocket of his jacket.
"I need you, Bob, to get in contact with park management and have them call this number." He handed the card over, "Tell them to drop my name and state that you have a code BC under section Alpha. Think you can remember all of that?"
"Yes, sir!" Bob the ranger confirmed and quickly ushered the Witwickys down the trail.
Throughout all of this, Jack was watching with the utmost fascination, while trying to keep a smirk of amusement off his face, as the agent skillfully wove his deception. However, as soon as the four were out of sight and earshot he couldn't help but ask.
"BC?" The teen turned to the man beside him wondering.
"Bot/Con." Fowler clarified.
"Oh, I thought it might have meant something else." The boy mused.
"Stands for bull crap, too." The agent stated with a completely straight face.
Jack just lost it then, and his laughter echoed over the valley.
On board the Nemesis...
Soundwave stood before the Decepticon leader on the command deck walkway. An audio stream, from the Autobot communications line, had just finished playing across his visor. Megatron listened with rapt attention his red optics gleaming.
"Hm, what could the Autobots possibly be searching for so soon after our last encounter?" The warlord pondered with frustration as the rest of his officers observed from their places by the command entrance.
"I find it even more surprising that they let that former pet of yours do the searching, with only that agent around to protect him." Knockout brought up.
"Yes, you would think they'd be reluctant to let the little human out of their sight, with how protective they normally are." Airachnid commented beside him.
Megatron growled and gazed at them menacingly, shutting them up, while at the same time giving the idea thought. He paced back and forth across the deck.
"The Autobot Ratchet mentioned Starscream, clearly they are expecting his presence, but the location doesn't make sense, unless..." The silver mech trailed off and turned back to his communications officer.
"Soundwave, bring up the background information on the human, Jackson Darby." He ordered.
Information scrolled across the spy's monitor and displayed itself across the main screen. There was a government file and photo, with pages of documents. It mentioned all the boy's general stats, background education, family members, and where he lived...as well as used to live. Megatron's optics narrowed.
"Ah, I see it now." He mused to himself.
"My lord, as interesting as this information is, why exactly is it important?" Airachnid questioned silkily.
"Yesterday, while you were so busy imitating a scrap pile, Starscream dared to steal a vital document from my quarters. A human notebook that had contained information, recorded by my pet himself, about his powers. Unfortunately, I did not get the chance to peruse the book myself, but it seems my traitorous former second in command has done the work for me." He informed them.
"And the boy used to live where those coordinates are, ooh, I get it now." Knockout said in realization.
"Someone care to share?" The spider femme requested looking between her fellow Decepticons.
"Lord Megatron is saying that both the human youngling and Starscream being in the same area is no coincidence. Whatever Screamer found in the book, most likely pertains to how the boy got his abilities, and that something is what the Autoobots are searching for." Breakdown, who had been silent, filled her in.
"Yes, it was an oversight on my part that I was not more curious about the human's powers. I will not make that mistake again!" Megatron declared.
"My Lord, allow me to hunt them. I'll follow them to the device and ensure it is collected for your use, I'll even bring your pet back if you wish." Airachnid offered.
Megatron scrutinized her, knowing how full of treachery the femme could be. He had not forgotten her attempted coup when he was fighting Unicron.
"Very well, Airachnid. Take some Decepticons to accompany you." The warlord ordered.
"I work best alone. On a mission such as this they'd only be in the way." The spider stated scornfully.
"Then you may do as you wish, Airachnid. Do not disappoint me, and if you could retrieve Starscream as well, I may decide to reward you further. I have yet to repay that seeker for his trespassing." The femme bowed to her leader, and as soon as she left the deck, Meagatron turned to Soundwave.
"Follow her and see to it she does not destroy our plans. For if I'm right, there is only one device with that kind of power and it could easily upset the balance of this war, in the proper hands." The silver mech chuckled darkly.
Yes, and he would use that power to destroy the Autobots once and for all!
Starscream dragged himself from the close confines of the rocky crag he'd been searching and cursed.
"Slag! How many crevices are there in this pit spawned place?" He exclaimed as he pulled an old tent support rod out of one of his joints.
"Grr, you'd think these pathetic flesh creatures would be more thorough keeping their little nature getaways clean. Bah!" He tossed the rod away and then transformed and cruised over the scenery muttering to himself.
"I've been out here for hours, searching through more crevices serving as garbage dumps than I can take. Where is that blasted device? If I weren't low on energon I'd blast this stupid reserve until it burned!" The silver jet growled to himself as he scanned the ground.
"If that human had put the slightest bit more detail in his book, I would have been done long before now. I could have already thrown Megatron and those wretched Autobots on the scrap pile, and still had time to conquer this planet!" He complained and was just working himself up into a good rant when a signal came over his meager scanners.
"What the-" If he'd had optics in his jet mode they would have blinked as he tried to comprehend what he was detecting.
"Someone is targeting me? Me? How dare they!" Almost as soon as he finished, a bright beam launched into the sky and nearly clipped him, causing him to roll over with a yelp in surprise.
"Oho, and they're very accurate, too!" He wailed and dodged as a salvo of energy was launched at him.
He banked right, then left, and in all kinds of crazy directions. Anyone watching the spectacle would have been wondering why they were seeing a jet doing cartwheels, and whether the pilot had had one too many beers. He managed to survive, as the proverbial duck in the hunt, until one laser struck him in his stabilizers, sending him spiraling out of control, and he crashed loudly to the ground.
He transformed back into his natural form as he bounced along and spat dirt out of his mouth after he'd stopped skidding. He laid there a few seconds to collect himself, before sitting up to see the damage and felt pain travel through him. It was mostly surface damage from the laser's scouring, more painful than deadly. Fortunately for him he hadn't been too high, so had escaped the crash mostly unscathed, but unless he could repair it he wouldn't be flying anytime soon.
"Scrap! Why is it me who always gets shot?" Starscream wondered as he exclaimed, bemoaning the misfortunes that routinely befell him ever since he left the Decepticons.
"I should have never left the Nemesis!" He cried then shook his helm in horror, "What am I saying?"
He heard the sound of vehicles approaching through the trees their engines causing more fright for the seeker than relief.
"The Autobots! I must get away!" He panicked.
The silver mech stood up and ran off in a random direction away from the noise of fuel burning through pistons. He ducked around trees and crashed through the underbrush, upsetting some wildlife, as he disappeared from the scene. A moment later, MECH drove up in their all terrain heavy armor trucks and formed a perimeter, while some choppers flew overhead.
Silas stood up in one vehicle as his men efficiently checked the area.
"Sir, we've found bits of scorched metal, scanners confirm, we definitely hit one of them." An armored soldier informed him. The leader of MECH scanned the surroundings and saw the crushed bushes their quarry had stepped on.
"Hm, but not hard enough to knock you out, eh?" The scarred man mused to himself then addressed the rest of his troops.
"Maintain pursuit of our target, choppers scout ahead and locate him, let's move out!" He ordered.
They raced after the fleeing Cybertronian.
Jack and Fowler made their way steadily along the Panorama.
After their encounter with the Witwickys and Bob the ranger, the trail remained blessedly clear, but for one or two tents tucked out of sight. The agent helpfully sent their owners on their way with the same story of an escaped mass murderer. Ah, the wonders of government props and good acting.
They'd been on the trail for four hours, arriving at a more rocky landscape, and the sky was still threatening that rain, but being stubborn to release it. The journey was mostly silent with a few scattered conversations, as the tension continued to build, and Jack was beginning to get that feeling of foreboding again.
"So, what was the deal with that skeleton you encountered, did anyone tell you?" Fowler interrupted his thoughts.
"Um, I did ask, when a park ranger came by, after I awoke. He said that they believed it was some case back in the 90s where they never found a hiker who got lost. They weren't positive what killed him though, because he still had some old containers of food." The teen explained.
"What about the symbols? Didn't the rangers notice them when they rescued you?" The dark man wondered curiously.
"They said there was nothing on the wall when they found me. That's why I wonder if it's still there." The younger man stated worriedly.
"Great, if I find out we're out here on a wild goose chase, then somebody behind the red tape is going to get a whole lot of it shoved up their-"
"What was that!" Jack exclaimed cutting off the agent's diatribe.
Something had screamed like a missile and then boomed in the distance. The next second, flocks of birds took off from their perches and scattered, frightened. The two men stopped to listen in the following silence. A few small rocks fell from above them and Jack glanced up, and though he didn't see anything, he got the distinct impression they were being watched.
"I think we better keep moving." Fowler said lowly anxious as he discretely scanned the terrain.
"Yeah, let's go." The teen agreed nervously looking around warily.
"Hey, wait a second..." Jack trailed off as he spotted a particular stack of boulders.
"You spot something?" The agent asked and slowly reached into his coat for a sidearm he brought with, ready to draw it at the first sign of trouble.
"I recognize this place." The young man double checked the environment before nodding, "Yeah, we're not far now."
"Alright, then I'll get the bots on the line, I'd rather not handle this without backup." The dark man reached for his headset when something slammed into him and pinned him to the ground.
"Fowler!" Jack shouted alarmed before he was pinned in the same manner.
The two struggled with the sticky webbing that held them as Airachnid revealed herself from where she was stalking them and loomed over her catches.
"I'm afraid I can't have either of you calling the Autobots and spoiling my plans." She tore off their radios, their only communications with the base, and crushed them.
"Airachnid!" Jack snarled and the enemy femme glanced at him.
"Hello, Jack." She smirked at him.
"I regret I hadn't the chance to play with you back on the Nemesis, but I'm sure we'll have plenty of time for that later, after I retrieve the device." The spider ran a sharp claw down his cheek threateningly and the teen fought to repress the shiver that followed.
"Hey con!" Fowler shouted drawing the Decepticon's attention, "How about you stuff it and kiss my aft!"
Airachnid laughed at him, "How amusing, such spirit in a helpless creature."
"Oh yeah!" The agent struggled with his bonds, "Let me up and I'll show you why us humans could kick your rusted tin can from here to Timbuktu!"
While Fowler distracted the femme, Jack worked at his own bindings, but couldn't reach the pocket with his swiss knife. He wanted to palm his face a moment later as an idea came to him.
'Smooth, Jack, real smooth. Do you have powers or don't you? I can break out easily just have to concentrate!'
Ice began to freeze the webbing, drying it out, until it cracked. Airachnid, by this point, was becoming irritated with Fowler and had moved to strike him, when she heard something shatter behind her. She looked back and saw Jack stand to his feet, her broken webbing falling to the ground. The teen had snow swirling around him as he glared at her.
"Stay away from my friends!" He growled.
Airachnid hissed and moved to pounce on the ticked off human when he unleashed a huge wave of ice. The cold element enveloped the spider femme and froze her into a solid block, temporarily immobilized. Jack breathed out and hurried to the agent's side, whipping out his knife, to cut the webbing still holding him in place.
Fowler whistled, "When your mother said you had power she wasn't kidding!" He exclaimed and the teen blushed embarrassed.
"We should hurry, that won't hold her for long." The boy avoided the subject.
Indeed, there was already an ominous creaking from the ice block as the Decepticon struggled inside.
"Don't need to tell me twice!" The man stated as he took the younger male's hand and got to his feet.
A crack appeared and spread over the icy surface to the horror of the two humans.
"Run!" They both shouted and turned tail to flee as the block shattered behind them.
"You'll pay for that!" They heard Airachnid screech, but didn't stop to look as they rushed down the trail, the sound of the femme's many limbs scrabbling over the rocks chasing them.
The two men ran as the path sloped downward into a small valley studded with boulders. Jack was snapping off crackling lightning while Fowler fired his sidearm when the Decepticon came too close. They ducked and dodged her webbing and jumped when she fired the occasional blaster bolt at them.
The agent tackled the teen to the ground behind a rock, protecting him, when a bolt passed by the space they just vacated, nearly striking them.
"We have to find some way to contact Optimus!" Fowler yelled over the roar of the blaster's discharge as he covered their heads from raining shrapnel.
"Yeah, but how? She scrapped our radios!" Jack shouted back.
He could see the wheels in the agent's head turning, as he tried to think of a plan, when silence fell.
"Come now, Jack, let's not play this game again." Airachnid spoke beyond their shelter.
"I'll go easy on you and the agent if you surrender." The two stayed silent not daring to move.
"You have until I count to three to come out...before I come and get you." The spider threatened and the men glanced at each other.
"One..." There was seductive amusement in her voice.
"Two..." They held their breaths as they heard her approaching.
Suddenly, the sounds of several helicopters broke the quiet air, cutting off Airachnid's countdown and distracting her as she turned to the noise. Jack and Fowler looked at each other before getting into a crouch and peering over the boulder. In the distance, where trees and brush shaded the valley floor, choppers flew overhead in a pursuit pattern. Below, the bushes rustled as something big moved through them, and a moment later, Starscream tore out of them like scraplets were after him. He skidded to a halt as he spotted his fellow Decepticon and the two stared at one another.
"Airachnid?" The seeker exclaimed with surprise.
"Starscream?" The femme blinked at him.
"What are you doing here!?" They both demanded and pointed their weapons at the other.
"I am on a mission for Lord Megatron." The spider stated haughtily, "Which I might add includes your capture."
"Oh, really? Well, tell him I'm a little busy at the moment trying to find ways to destroy him!" The silver mech replied sarcastically.
Airachnid glanced at the approaching helicopters, "It seems more like you're busy running from a pack of humans." She chuckled and Starscream's wings twitched in annoyance.
"That is...it's not...you try dealing with them when the vermin are armed and swarming everywhere!" The seeker shouted defensively.
The femme fired at a chopper that flew too close. It dodged, but was clipped on the rudder, destabilizing it, and it spun out of control. The aircraft crashed to the ground, but was undamaged enough that the pilot and his passengers could escape and take cover among the rocks. The other helos retreated to a safer distance.
The Decepticon femme smirked at her gaping counterpart.
"You were saying?" She mocked.
Starscream was about to let loose with a scathing remark when a few dozen armored vehicles crashed through the trees behind him and fired on the two cons. They shot rounds that were much more painful than the usual bee stings that humans typically used and, overwhelmed, the Cybertronians ducked behind shelter.
The sounds of blaster bolts joined in the cacophony of armor piercing sabot shells as the humans drove behind rocks to better protect their vehicles. Several disembarked and spread out into positions around what was quickly becoming a fierce battlefield. Soon the choppers returned to release their missiles and the explosions made the ground tremble.
Throughout all this, Fowler kept Jack's head down and protected the boy with his own body, as bullets whizzed over them and dirt rained down, from the fight raging around them. The teen curled under him instinctively, with fright, never having been involved so closely with such a massive shoot out before.
The agent took stock of their surroundings and saw where they could get better cover, and he dragged the young man with him, and they crawled quickly, but carefully, to safety. He deposited the boy among the pile of boulders before pulling himself in, just in time to avoid being shot full of lead. From where they were now situated, the two had cover from all sides and could see much of the battle, if they dared to glance out of their shelter.
"This is crazy!" Jack cried as he looked out and Fowler forced him back.
"Stay down, you'll get your head blown off like that!" He ordered then he scooted until his eye could see around the corner and quickly pulled back as he assessed the fight.
"Scrap, it's MECH! We'll get chewed to pieces out there, unless we can contact the bots!" The agent smacked a fist into the rock against his back in frustration.
"Frag it! I should've called for extra gear!" He shouted berating himself.
"Do we have anything at all we can use?" Jack asked.
"No, I only stocked us with water, food, and standard hiking tools, other than our climbing gear, that's all we got. We're SOL, we don't even have a tent!" The dark man exclaimed, "Stupid, stupid, stupid!"
"SOL?" The teen wondered.
"Scrap out of luck." The government agent told him.
"What about MECH, can we use their radios?" The young man tried.
Outside, the fire fight grew more intense and there was a particular whistling sound that was getting closer by the second.
"Get down!" Fowler screamed and he grabbed Jack and flung them both to the ground.
There was a flash of light very near their shelter, as the elder covered the boy, then a large boom, followed by an intense heat. The two carefully raised their heads after it passed and Jack found his hair was a bit singed. He heard cursing from the agent beside him as though from far away and realized his ears were ringing.
"Jack, are you okay?" The older man touched his shoulder.
"Yeah, just a little shaken up." The teen reassured him.
"Don't blame you, that was too close." The agent peered out of hiding for a split second and ducked back in when bullets ricocheted off the rock.
"F-frag it!" The agent quickly checked his language knowing the teen's mother would kill him, and she would find out, mother's were scary like that.
"At this rate, they'll tear each other apart and us with them! We can't move from here without getting blown to bits!" He yelled over the roaring guns.
"It can't get any worse can it?" Jack pointed out.
The next moment, Fowler was glaring at him as the sky finally opened up with the sound of thunder and rain began pouring down, drenching them, and making the ground a miserable muddy mess.
"You just had to say it!" He pulled his hood up in exasperation and looked out again.
"I can barely see in this soup." The agent reported.
"What if we try for the chopper using the rain and the rocks as cover? We could use it's radio to call the base." The teen suggested.
"Still won't do us any good. One, we can still get hit by stray shots and these jackets don't give us any kind of protection. Two, Silas's men are more likely to shoot us first and ask questions later in all this chaos. And three, we have no idea if the chopper's radio is still working!" The dark man ticked off the flaws in that plan on his fingers.
"There has to be a way!" Jack was now beginning to get frustrated himself as he realized how pinned down they were.
Fowler moved to the other side of their shelter and leaned out, scanning MECH's resources through the gloom and spotted some vehicles, that were clustered closer together, in a horseshoe pattern at the rear of the battle. It was surrounded on three sides by supportive units, two on either slope and a line in front. The chopper Airachnid had downed earlier sat behind them further up the incline, leaning on a rock of its own. He motioned Jack beside him and the teen crawled next to him while keeping his head down.
He pointed out the vehicles, "That's likely where they've got extra supplies. There any chance you could float some to us?"
"Without a way to tell what I'm grabbing?" The boy shook his head.
The agent turned and rifled through his pack and brought out a pair of high powered military issue binoculars. Jack gazed at them in awe, as he noticed they came with more features than the civilian pair he had at home, and shifted through his own bag to find a matching pair.
"Use the thermal sight, you won't see anything with night vision." Fowler instructed.
With the use of their specs the two scanned MECH's vehicles for anything useful. The agent could just make out some soldiers dragging out a box with what looked like spare armor.
"See the truck by the one on the left, near the center?" He nudged the teen beside him who turned his glasses that direction.
"Got it." The boy confirmed.
"They're loaded with spare armor, nab some." The dark man ordered.
Jack stretched his hand out, focusing, and Fowler saw the box the soldiers just dragged out snap shut and fly up in the air, startling them, before it flew to where the two men hid. It landed beside them with a squelch sinking slightly in the mud. The agent pulled it in, as they drew back into shelter, and opened it. Two full armored suits lay with an extra three incomplete ones.
"Nice of them to include helmets, even." Fowler commented as he lifted one out and handed it to Jack.
"I'll say this, I never thought I'd be glad to have MECH around." The young man joked.
"You and me both." The agent agreed.
The two switched out of their jackets and heavy jeans exchanging them for the more protective gear and helmets, but kept their boots and packs. They stowed the rest back in the box and looked at each other. Jack thought they looked rather ridiculous, and he could see that Fowler shared his sentiments, as his suit was too large on him while the agent's was too tight round the middle.
"It's a good thing its raining, we stick out like a pair of ninja at a tea party." The teen said with a wry laugh.
"A ninja wouldn't be seen." The government man pointed out.
"But, never mind that." He turned and stared out at the chopper.
Gunfire was still flying and blaster bolts lit up the field to their right, the chopper lay to their front, but at the angle they sat they'd have to skirt around the battlefield's perimeter in order to reach it. The agent checked the clip in his sidearm, and the three extra with him, before he stared at his companion seriously.
"Alright, this is what we'll do. I'll take point and you'll follow. You stay behind me inside of cover and when I give you the signal to move. you move, if I signal you to stay, you stay. Got it?" Fowler gazed into Jack's eyes, which filled with fear as he understood what they would be attempting, until the teen swallowed and nodded.
"When we get to the chopper you get to the radio and see if you can raise the bots." He set his hand on the young man's shoulder reassuringly, "Don't worry, I've got your back."
"O-okay." Jack stated nervously, as he tried to force the apprehension in his gut down, he couldn't afford to hesitate here.
Fowler nodded and turned to glance out of their shelter until he saw his opportunity to move.
"Wait here." He ordered and then rushed out and ducked behind another boulder.
He stayed there, until there was a lull in the fight and then motioned with his hand and Jack joined him shortly after, running out of hiding with his head low. The two continued in this way as they steadily moved around the battle.
MECH soldiers were firing their high powered rifles and anti-tank guns, at Starscream and Airachnid, while helicopters circled around them, cutting loose with mounted chain guns and missiles. Occasionally, there was a discharge of electricity and laser fire, from some weapons mounted on the vehicles and aircraft, that Jack had never seen before. Clearly their forces were more prepared for the Cybertronians this time.
The two cons, meanwhile, had joined up and were working together. Starscream must have been low on energon for he was avoiding using his blaster, except to fire at one of the copters, while swiping at soldiers that came too close, before ducking back into cover. He leaped out at one cluster of goons, and swept them into the air, before the rest trained their weapons on him and blasted the seeker, who dove back behind shelter.
Airachnid fired her webbing and blasters, and transformed into her own chopper mode and chased down the ones flying around. She hit one and it crashed to the ground in a fiery blaze, causing MECH soldiers to scatter everywhere to avoid being caught beneath the falling wreck and the explosion, as its gas tank blew. She took pot shots at the scurrying men, chuckling in amusement, until the other copters ganged up on her, firing their electric generators, and she was forced to the ground again.
It was a small war stuffed into the narrow valley.
Every sound, from the thunder overhead to human cries, made Jack flinch, jumpy, as he followed Fowler to their destination. The rain made their boots sink into the mud and the terrain slick, more than once, causing them both to stumble. Ahead of him, the teen saw the agent slip falling onto his back in the open, when a laser beam cut through the space he just stood in, and Jack felt his heart catch in his throat from the near miss. Fowler quickly scrambled for cover and the boy could see him breathing heavily at his own brush with death.
'That was too close.' Jack thought as he caught his own breath.
The older man gathered himself before signaling for the teen to move. They drew closer to MECH's central vehicles, as soon as they swung around them they'd have a clear shot at the chopper. It sat diagonally from their position a little higher on the slope, largely ignored. The dark man saw where the mountain trail continued above the downed bird and had a sudden thought.
"How far are we from the device?" Fowler asked as soon as Jack joined him.
"Just up the mountain about half a mile." The psionic teen replied.
The agent glanced at the path and saw how it wound around out of sight, it was a bit more exposed than he liked.
"Okay, we'll wait after we call the bots before we tackle it, however, if for any reason something goes wrong, I want you to take off. Head up the trail, until you find the spot and sit tight, but if you've got pursuers keep going. The last thing we want is the cons, or worse, MECH getting their hands on whatever the thing is." He told the young man seriously.
Jack nodded, "Right."
Fowler turned back towards the helicopter and the trucks that stood in their way. There was no viable shelter between them and the vehicles, and the units to their left flanking the forces made going that direction ill advised. If they wanted to get to their goal they'd have to run straight through the firing zone.
"Get ready, we'll have to sprint to the ATVs, use them for cover, then sneak around for the chopper." He said.
"Wait, what? You want us to run through that!?" Jack blanched as he gestured to the currant firestorm taking place in front of them.
"It's our only chance, just stay by my side and you'll be fine." The teen swallowed heart pounding.
"A-alright." He shakily agreed and they both tensed on the balls of their feet ready to rush out into danger.
It was like one of those slow motion scenes out of a movie. Jack's senses sharpened as adrenaline pumped through his veins and for a second he could see everything with a clarity that was startling.
Soldiers fired their guns, the bullets slicing through the air all around, leaving trails of smoke behind them. He saw one ATV on the front line get sliced in half by Airachnid, the two pieces, plus its former passengers, were tossed every which way as the truck exploded. A laser, fired from another on their left, streamed over their heads and hit Starscream who cried out in pain before raising his blaster and shooting at it. The shot struck a weapons cache and both the car and the soldiers positioned with it were thrown into the air. The truck sailed over them, then fell to the ground in a flaming ball, as if hellfire had fallen to the earth, as the seeker gloated triumphantly over his kill.
And then, time sped up and Jack and the agent were sprinting through the mud, jumping over small stones, in an effort to reach the relative safety of MECH's armored trucks. They aimed for the side of the outer most vehicle and made it without being noticed, the discharge of its electric weapon loud in their ears, then moved to the next one. They could hear the soldiers shouting to each other and Silas screaming into his radio as they came closer to the center. Then they were beside the car in the middle of the pattern and that's when things started to go wrong.
Jack and Fowler were thrown forward off their feet as an enormous blast swept over them. The momentum carried them into the side of the central truck just a few feet in front of them with a thump. They looked back, as the two recovered their senses, the ATV they had just left had been blown to so much scrap after an accurate shot from Airachnid struck its weapons payload, adding force behind the explosion.
"All weapons fire on that spider bot, bring her down!" They heard Silas order above them and saw the Decepticon femme get pummeled in a wave of explosive vengeance while Starscream decided to cut his losses and run.
"You two!" They looked up, and saw MECH's leader pointing at them, and stiffened.
"Grab some Raytheon launchers and get suppressive fire on that robot." He commanded not yet having recognized them and Jack and Fowler glanced at each other.
"Now soldiers!" Silas yelled impatiently, glaring at them.
"New contact, incoming!" Someone screamed before the two disguised men could move.
All three men whirled just in time to see another chopper get its tail blown off and spin out of control. A small blue drone reminiscent of a Star Wars X-Wing zoomed passed as a larger spy drone transformed and landed behind MECH's defensive lines. It was Soundwave.
"All units, stop that machine!"
The rogue organization moved desperately to obey their leader's orders as the Deception spy began tearing up their forces. The silent mech grabbed nearby vehicles and soldiers and threw them into distant units. He drew out his arm blade and gutted an ATV as his partner, Laserbeak, took on the aerial craft confusing their fire. While Soundwave distracted Silas, Fowler motioned the teen beside him to start moving.
"Come on, this is getting out of hand, fast." He stated and headed for the chopper.
Jack followed after the agent, but couldn't help glancing back.
From out of the rain and smoke, high in the air, a flaming pile of debris was about to crush him!
AN: A little less mind power and more gun blazing action, here.