Before I get someone reviewing me to comment on it, no, you're not going insane nor is it a misprint. The gun that Tara's running around with is referred to as both a M4 and a M1014. The M4 is the civilian version, which has a physical limiter to max the weapon out at seven shells to comply with American laws, while the M1014 is the military version which can hold a total of nine shells. So while Tara sees the weapon as an M4 because that's what she'd be familiar with it being called at a gun store, the military men know it's an M1014. Oh, and if you wanna know what Arcee looks like? Look right. Click for bigger version.
Staring up at Ironhide and the female-sounding bot he'd called 'Chromia', Mikaela shook her head. Centuries old alien robot men were just as hopeless as human men. Go figure. Speaking of hopeless human men… Mikaela looked back over her shoulder, watching as Sam ran towards Bumblebee's broken form, shouting at the top of his lungs. Looking down, her eyes widened. Sam had ditched the All Spark - which was supposedly capable of ending their world - to go check on his car. Car girl that she was… what the hell was that? Bending down, she picked up the metal cube. "Never should have gotten in that damn car."
"I d-dunno. I've been having fun since I got in mine." Mikaela paused, looking up at the white-haired girl who had turned to smile at her. "Well, except for the overnight race to get here with no bathroom break. A-and I'm kinda hungry."
Mikaela straightened up, brushing her hair back over her shoulders with one hand as she hugged the All Spark to her chest with her other arm. "You've had it easy, then. I almost got killed by a psycho robot cop car. Oh, and then this creepy little spidery robot. Met a few more robots, including one who was talking about how Sam wants to 'mate' with me. Then we had to sneak into Sam's house to get these ancient glasses that the aliens wanted, got grabbed by the government, the Autobots took care of them, and then they got loose and grabbed us again. Idiots dragged us to Hoover Dam, where it turned out they were keeping the thing the aliens are after and the head alien after it right fucking next to each other and so we end up grabbing that All Spark thing and making a run for it. Now I'm in downtown Vegas getting missiles shot at me, Sam can't think about anything other than his car, and…" Mikaela stopped her rant, eyes widening as she realized just who she was talking to. "You saved us. You were shouting something, your hair changed colors, and then you saved us."
Shrugging nonchalantly, the girl reached up to play with her white hair… which had been a blondish color for those first few seconds, if Mikaela remembered correctly. How the hell had she done that and was it something that could be taught? Because that was one awesome trick. "It's why I'm here. People who can help are supposed to. It's why they're given the power to help. Well, that and Arcee's my ride to California, so I go where she goes." She was silent for a moment before extending a hand. "Oh. And I'm Tara. Nice to m-meet you."
Mikaela took the offered hand, smiling faintly as she shook it. This girl had some sort of amazing power that let her create force fields that blocked explosions, and Tara was shy enough to stutter in her presence. After a day of giant robots and pissy military men, it was rather comforting to be in the presence of someone so human. "Mikaela. And I'm glad you have power, then, if it means you were here to help." Suddenly, something exploded frighteningly close to them and Mikaela whirled about, trying to find the source. "Now what the fuck is going on?"
"Decepticon." Chromia growled as she turned, the cannons on her back whirring softly as they spun to life, the massive guns on each arm doing likewise. Carefully stepping around the pair of girls to take up position between them and the tank rolling down the street, she planted her feet a shoulder's width apart and pointed both arms at her target. "Brawl!"
The tank stopped, turret swiveling towards them, and Mikaela flinched as Chromia's left arm cannon let loose with a thunderous blast. "My liaison…" A second blast rattled the few remaining intact windows as Chromia's right arm cannon reported in. "…was making…" Her left shoulder cannon fired. "…a friend!" A blast from the right added to the growing inferno surrounding Brawl. "So wait your turn!" Chromia shifted one leg back a step to brace herself and that was Mikaela's only warning, the dark-haired girl bringing her hands up to clamp over her ears as all four cannons fired at once.
Chuckling lowly, Ironhide thumped over to them and waited until Chromia's shoulder cannons slipped back into storage position before wrapping one arm around her shoulders. "That's my girl. Has the biggest damn cannons in the entire Autobot army, she does."
Tara opened her mouth… and then closed it. Mikaela could empathize. Hanging out with talking robot car people was going to take some getting used to. Things that were innuendos among humans were literal with them. Like big cannons. And references to headlights, and possibly having junk in the trunk. Speaking of junk… Mikaela looked from Tara to the glyph-covered metal cube in her hands. "What should we do with this?"
"S-soldiers, maybe? Or…" Raising her hand, Tara tapped her headset. "Tara to Chromia. What do you want us to do w-with the All Spark?" Mikaela blinked, wondering why she was using a radio to communicate with a robot right there with them… when Tara began nodding her head. Oh. Chromia didn't need to vocalize the answers. Made sense. As advanced as Earth's technology seemed to her, it was probably pitifully primitive to the Autobots and talking over some radio frequency was just as easy as speaking aloud. "Alright. Give me a few minutes."
Before Mikaela could ask what was going on, Tara turned away and began leading her over to where the combined Sector Seven, Army, and Air Force group was checking on their vehicles and readying weapons. As they walked, Tara's hand dipped into a satchel she had slung over one shoulder and pulled out a pair of shooting glasses with green lenses. Slipping them on, Tara looked over at the flaming crater and frowned. "He's s-still operational? Hmmph. Not for long." The next thing out of her bag was a shotgun shell and Tara held it up as they came to a stop in front of the soldiers. "Does anyone here have a spare twelve g-gauge? I r-really don't want to have to go and loot that pawn shop Arcee and I passed."
"Depends, miss." The leader of the genuine military group… Lennox, if Mikaela remembered right, held a hand out and accepted a shotgun from one of the others in the same camo fatigues as his but didn't offer it up to Tara. "Wanna tell us what you're planning to do with it? And what you're even doing in a combat zone?"
Tara scowled, jerking a thumb in Sam's direction. "M-more than he's doing." Mikaela looked over and shook her head; the boy she'd allowed to rope her into this was alternating between begging Bumblebee to get up and harassing Ratchet to come fix Bumblebee. She felt for the poor car and all; he had saved them from the crazy cop car 'bot the first time around, but seriously… big picture thinking time. Like the other killer robots on the loose, the cube capable of ending the world, and so forth and so on.
Holding up the shell she'd pulled out of her purse, Tara waved it back and forth to capture the men's attention. "Arcee… the Prius I came with… she has mortars. These are twelve gauge saboted t-tracker shells. If you loan me a g-gun, I'll be able to punch these into the Decepticons and the A-Autobots can use the data stream for targeting. Unless you want Arcee accidentally lobbing rounds into the sides of buildings?"
Lennox shook his head, shoving the shotgun into Tara's hands. "My name is Captain Lennox. Congratulations, you just got drafted into the Las Vegas Defense Force."
"Tara Maclay. And hello there. Come to mama." Mikaela watched in amusement as Tara stroked her hand up and down the barrel of the shotgun reverently. "A Benelli M4… Dad was going to buy one of these once he saved up a bit more money. Liked it so much, he didn't even care it wasn't made in America." Pointing the gun skyward, she cycled the action and let the shell fall to the pavement at her feet. After eight more repetitions, the weapon was empty and she opened the breech, loading the shell she'd tucked between her teeth during the emptying of the gun. Flipping it over, her hand was almost a blur as she plucked more shells out of her bag, deftly feeding them into the shotgun's internal magazine. When she was done, she flipped it right side up again and peered through the scope for a moment before nodding in satisfaction. It was only then that Tara noticed the odd looks she was getting from the soldiers. "What? Never seen a g-girl with a g-gun before?" Turning away, she tapped her headset. "Tara to Chromia. Ready when you are."
Shifting down into truck form, Chromia revved her engine and began pushing her way through the destruction towards Brawl. Tara's head tilted to one side as she listened before nodding and looking over at Lennox. "The other Decepticons are circling and leaving Brawl to fight alone. We're gonna hit him h-hard and hit him f-fast, before the others think to try and make this a fair fight." Tara turned to Mikaela, shrugging her bag off her shoulder and holding it out. "Can you hang on to t-this? My mother made it for me and it's one of the l-last things I have from her."
Mikaela nodded. What the hell was she gonna say? No? Slipping the strap over her head, she threaded one arm through the strap and let the bag bump against her hip. "You really know how to use that thing?"
"There was a little airport near my house growing up. When I was fifteen, I got a job shooting off b-bird bombs to clear the runway before someone landed. I had a little golf car with a flashing orange light and I'd drive down and pow-pow-pow to scare the birds away so the poor things didn't get run over. It was fun." And with that, she jogged off after Chromia, the truck halting just long enough for Tara to drop the tailgate and clamber in before setting off again.
Watching her go, Mikaela shook her head in amused disbelief. And here she'd thought that she had an interesting childhood.
Technical Sergeant Robert Epps watched as the girl his friend had turned the M1014 over to took off down the street riding in the bed of the black Tacoma. "Is anyone else freaked out by the fact we just handed over a shotgun to a Kentucky fried college girl who's going to use it to help an alien robot Prius shell an alien robot that looks like one of our tanks?" Around him, hands slowly went up. "Okay, so it's not just me then?"
One of the Sector Seven troopers who had joined them chuckled. "Did you see the way she was rubbing that gun? Man, if we can get her to sign up for S7 after this, I can cancel my subscription to GunGirls.com…"
"Alright, that's enough! We know how to put the hurt on the NBEs, we have the means to do it… and we're hiding while some Prius driving hippy girl and her robot friends do the work for us? Don't know about you ladies, but that's not what the Army pays me for." Hoisting the MGL he'd taken from the armory at Hoover Dam, Lennox pointed to where the Autobots were converging on the tank bot. "Move out! Let's go! Let's go! Move!"
Hanging on for dear life, Tara kept one hand on the shotgun and one hand on Chromia's rollbar as the truck weaved back and forth, avoiding the incoming missiles. Why had she signed on for this again? Oh, right, free ride to California after they were done. And helping people. Hmmph. Maybe the bus company would have helped her out if she'd talked to them? And she could have planted a few trees or something if she really wanted to get her Mother Earth, saving the world vibe on while she waited for the next bus going to California…
"Out, out, out!" Chromia screeched to a stop and Tara threw herself out of the bed, wincing as her tailbone hit the fender with jarring force. Her feet hit the ground and she was moving, getting clear as Chromia whirred and stretched upward, shifting into her robot form. "Tracker!"
Tara looked up… way up… at the robot that dwarfed even Ironhide and that garish yellow Hummer Autobot she'd yet to be introduced to yet. Sweet merciful poop, that was one big bot. Then she narrowed her eyes and raised the gun. The girls were counting on her and so was the world. Overriding the bad habits she'd acquired from the times her father had forced her to come hunting, Tara did her best not to pull up and to one side instead of aiming at center mass.
She pulled the trigger.
The shotgun kicked against her shoulder and Tara wasn't sure she'd hit until a new blip appeared on the left lens of her glasses, right where she'd aimed. She stared at it, the pretty green numbers streaming across the HUD created on the inside of her glasses, before a voice in her ear made her dive instinctively to the ground. Rolling over, Tara watched as rounds of several incredibly large calibers shot past overhead, slamming into Brawl again and again. Then a pair of - unsurprisingly enough - pink rounds came dropping out of the sky, detonating against Brawl's chest and tossing him back onto his butt several yards away.
Tara had no time to celebrate, though. Even as she was rising to her feet, a truly ugly jet roared past overhead. Even though she had no real desire to know, the HUD supplied her with the information: Megatron. And if he was here, the rest of the Decepticons probably weren't far behind.
She definitely should have stayed in Kansas planting trees.