I can't help, but feel as though I'm wasting time on this as perhaps my readers are no longer interested in this story and would prefer I continue another one, I mean I've updated this story twice in the past few days and only recieved one readers comments on the matter.
I also am beginning to wonder if there is some hidden flaw in my writing style that needs correcting - perhaps in the reaction/descriptive side of things... Who can say, I certainly can't detect if there is something lacking in my style. That's what constructive criticism is for from other parties.
Ah well, I digress, and lament the apparent waste of time working on this series is to the world of fan fiction readers at large. Still, I have worked effortlessly on a fourth chapter for The Veiled Threat - and I'll probably skip over to Adventures in Absentia after this one in order to link that new chapter to this one in some way. Seeing as how we are finally given a brief glimpse at something I hinted at when I first introduced Hot Rod. Incidentally I hope his vehicle mode is ok, I didn't want to go with the obvious route, but since he's a character focused on in the other sequel we shall cease discussing him.
Yes: I couldn't resist, I incorporated another aspect of Hasbro's Toyline for the First Transformers film in this story, in this very chapter, ladies and gentlemen, I give you TECH. (Acronym Explained in Chapter.)
Xander was bored – this ordinarily wouldn’t have been a bad thing, but boredom and Xander on a top secret military base surrounded by high-tech gadgetry is not something anyone should allow to happen – ever! Especially not after he exhibited the ability to bring any machine to life with a simple touch.
While Flamewar and Kaminara tested out the egghead’s gadget and his Real Gears were preoccupied with their newest member – henceforth dubbed Power Up VT6 by the collective group – explaining the ins and outs of what it meant to be a Real Gear. Xander found himself absently wandering around the lab.
There were of course other scientists on the base – occasionally one of them would come in for a tool or to use one of the recording devices that Kaminara had stored in her area as she was apparently the big muckety muck – the grand poobah – the one that all other scientist types deferred to.
A rather overweight looking African-American dude came in at one point glancing around for something – or perhaps someone – Xander didn’t recognize him, but his nametag read Whitman.
Xander found himself somehow drawn to one forgotten corner of the room. It was here he discovered a pile of half-finished inventions and devices that were set for recycling – at least according to the clipboard he found sitting nearby. Apparently they were early prototypes at weapons designed for human use based on Cybertronian technology. For whatever reason – the weapons refused to work – Xander glanced at them briefly.
From what he could ascertain some of them had been meant to become melee weapons for close quarters fighting – one note at the back of the clipboard jokingly referred to them as TECH, Transformers Electronic Combat Hardware and listed goofy names. Digital Dagger. Quick Bow. Flash Bang. It was definitely someone’s attempt at either a joke or someone who was obsessed with comic books.
Xander put the clipboard down and studied one of the devices – careful not to touch it as he didn’t want to bring it to life – he barely heard the conversation between Kaminara and Flamewar. Although occasionally he heard his name being mentioned and whispered giggles.
Xander sighed. “Now they’re bonding,” he muttered. Turning away from the forgotten equipment briefly he absently started fiddling with something in his hands – his carpentry skills were getting rusty the longer he was cooped up in places where he couldn’t work with his hands – slowly and without realizing it he began to repair one of the forgotten TECH devices. Almost as though he could see what had made it not work in the first place so he could correct it.
“Has he considered replacing that eye?” Kaminara asked Flamewar briefly as she once again recalibrated the experimental EMP weapon. Hopefully this time it would actually do more than just tingle against the femme’s circuitry.
“Xander takes pride in his war wounds,” Flamewar said. “Typical of most macho type men. Although Xander isn’t boastful or braggart enough to act that way. I think it’s because it reminds him of how he failed some of his friends and those who trusted him when he was put in charge of their safety. Indirectly of course,” she explained to the Japanese scientist.
“Most honorable of him,” Kaminara remarked absently. “Do you suppose he would let me attempt creating a replacement based on Cybertronian designs? I am quite curious as to whether or not it would work, also it would help out a lot of people who have lost the gift of sight or even a limb,” she added.
Flamewar shrugged. “You could try I suppose. I don’t think it would be very viable though, considering everything he touches with a mechanical bent comes to life,” she observed.
Kaminara frowned slightly. “Perhaps if we housed the mechanism in a plastic non-conductive casing,” she mused to herself. “We perfected a very useful plastic-like polymer which we were using to create a series of weaponry and equipment capable of being wielded in the field by our agents. Unfortunately the project hit a snag when we discovered the complexities involved in creating transformable devices… Similar in nature to his Real Gears I would surmise, only instead of converting into robotic sentient units they were meant to switch between working electronic devices such as a camera and a flashlight and a secondary weapon form. Not very practical against the larger Decepticons, but for units of Frenzy’s size and relative stature it would be highly useful. The guards on Air Force One were most insistent that we provide some form of arsenal that could protect them against further intrusions,” she explained finally finished with her work.
Flamewar frowned slightly. “So these devices didn’t work?” she asked.
“No. Something about incompatibility in the Cybertronian transforming technology and the human operating protocols. We could make a flashlight that was ten times brighter than most conventional bulbs, but we couldn’t get it to convert into a laser based weapon for hand-held use,” Kaminara said. “Now, if you’d stand over here this time please, Flamewar,” she requested politely.
“Xander,” Flamewar called out. “We’re ready for another test. Be prepared with your healing touch, lover,” she said in her typical teasing sultry tone.
“Uh-huh,” Xander replied absently – having moved on to the next device on the table he started working with it as his mind began to wander – he began to feel almost as though he were somewhere else. Zooming along on four tires the wind slapping his grill another vehicle nearby matching his speed despite the cumbersome look of it. He smiled a goofy little smile as he marveled at these new sensations and his fingers danced rapidly over the discarded devices – he was quick to move from one than the other.
Kaminara finished charging up the weapon – the charge time was beginning to pick up between shots, but it still wasn’t to her exact specifications. Frowning slightly she took careful aim on Flamewar and depressed the trigger.
A burst of Electromagnetic Energy – barely noticeable to a human’s eye – shot forth from the wand-like tip of the experimental weapon. It streaked across the short span of distance separating the two and struck Flamewar in the right leg.
“Oh my!” Flamewar exclaimed as her systems finally registered some form of attack. Collapsing to her good knee she let out a mock gasp.
Kaminara beamed pleasantly at the results. “I believe we have finally discovered the successful programming for this thrice damned invention of mine,” she informed pleasantly.
“I can almost guarantee that,” Flamewar returned as the tingling sensation in her leg continued to affect her motor functions. “Doctor.”
“Please, call me Kami,” Kaminara requested.
“Kami, then,” Flamewar returned with a soft smile. “Your weapon finally works, but it doesn’t seem to be doing more than hindering my motor functions at the moment and I can already feel my self-repair systems working to correct this.” She shook aside an offer of assistance and slowly climbed back up – testing her weight on a wobbly leg. “With enough power backing it I think it’s safe to say that your weapon would be most effectual in slowing down one of my larger brethren,” she stated matter of factly.
“Just as I hoped,” Kaminara said. “Thank you for your assistance, Flamewar,” she returned reaching up to briefly lay her hand on the short robot’s shoulder. This was proven quite the feet as Kaminara was not a tall woman by any means.
“So, you got the doohickey to work?” Xander asked as he came back from where he’d been standing – his hands were still moving rapidly as he worked on one of the discarded and forgotten devices – his mind still partially miles away thinking he was some kind of car racing down a long stretch of highway.
Both women turned to face him and as one let out a startled gasp.
“Xander,” Flamewar said.
“What are you doing?” Kaminara demanded marching up to the taller Californian and snatching the device out of his hands.
Xander’s focus snapped back to the present and in sudden growing horror he stared down at the device formerly resting in his hands. “Hell no!” he cursed. “Please tell me I just didn’t create another robotic terror,” he pleaded.
“You did not just create another robotic terror,” Kaminara replied simply.
Xander sighed in relief.
“You just made a device that no one on this base could get functional, functional, within a matter of minutes,” Kaminara stated as she pressed a switch on the flashlight and watched as it converted into a dangerous looking laser weapon.
“Huh?” Xander said in his oh so eloquent manner of speaking.
“It would appear that you have somehow adopted more properties of the AllSpark then merely bringing things to life,” Flamewar observed with a tell tale smirk. “Were you handling any more of these?” she asked.
Xander shot her a sheepish look and his cheeks flushed slightly. “I think so,” he said hesitantly.
“I must examine them at once,” Kaminara said rushing back into the recesses of the lab.
Xander sighed. “Did I do a bad thing?” he asked Flamewar.
Flamewar shook her head. “That depends,” she replied.
“Depends on what?” Xander hesitated not sure if he wanted to know the answer to that.
“On whether or not you want to be mass producing weapons for NEST’s use,” Flamewar finished with a broad smile. She tousled his hair briefly in a playful gesture and sashayed in the direction of Kaminara’s departure.
Xander let out a groan. “Terrific,” he said tossing his arms skyward in an over theatrical gesture of despair. “If I’m not bringing Real Gears to life I’m fixing broken TECH weapons left lying around,” he complained. “Somebody up there must really like messing me over and I have a sneaking suspicion it ain’t my old pal Murphy this time.” Xander glared with his only eye up at the ceiling.
“Want to send a messenger to him?” Whistler questioned.
The Powers shared knowing looks and each of them shook their heads.
“Don’t be insane, Whistler,” the Voice told him. “You want that kind of wrath to be out to skewer you and then beat you with a shovel?” she asked.
Whistler blanched slightly. “Forget I said anything,” he told the collective Powers. “Just thought we could warn him what’s coming down the pike for him, that’s all,” he added.
“Speaking of Pike, whatever happened to that guy?” the Heart wondered suspiciously as though recalling a long forgotten event.
The Voice shrugged. “Who can say, Sister dear,” she replied with a cryptic smile. “Perhaps we may have messed with his chronological placement.”
“Are you suggesting that Pike somehow became Spike?” the Heart demanded of her sister.
Shaking her head the Voice shot her sister a disarming smile. “Of course not, how could those two possibly be the same person?” she asked.
Whistler tuned out the growing argument about to take place and glanced back in on Xander Harris briefly. “Good luck avoiding certain death at the hands of giant alien robots, kid,” he told the human before he once again vanished into limbo until he was needed.
Major Lennox was debriefing the ‘suits’ in charge. They were ordinarily a great group, but ever since Defense Secretary John Keller was re-assigned as liaison with NEST operations Lennox kept getting into fights with the new prick in charge.
“That’s when target two was neutralized,” the Major finished reporting over the secure communications channel.
“Very well. And your team used their alien forms to do this?” the suit questioned.
“We had an incident of that on the bridge, sir, but it was empty of civil,” Major Lennox reported.
The suit on the other end interrupted Major Lennox with an obnoxious sound of clearing his throat. “Not quite, Major, you were given strict orders to not reveal those modes while on this mission. If the enemy did then so be it, but your team was ordered not to. We can’t risk disclosure in a major city. Not again,” he informed coldly.
“We had no choice! The Decepticon engaged us and we took caution in how we responded! Sir, Mission City’s the past. It’s time to move on there’s a very real threat out there now,” Major Lennox insisted.
“Civilians aren’t used to seeing robots, Major, or jets flying in major cities,” the suit on the other end stated in a smarmy toned voice.
“Sir, that’s one of the enemies and proof as to why we need the Autobots working on our side. Some of these things can’t be helped, but we’re working on that. Barring that incident today’s operation was a success.” The Major stared into the eyes of the man on the other end.
“We’ll have to see how the cover-up goes,” the man said unfazed by the Major’s stare. “For the record, I’m not sold on the idea, Major. We granted authorization for this operation, now we expect the rules to be followed. You operate to fix problems, not create new ones. Is that understood?” he questioned callously.
“Yes, sir,” Lennox replied somberly. His gaze was intense and it was clear he wanted to reach into the picture on the screen and strangle the jackass on the other end.
“Excellent. I’ll pass my comments on to the committee. In the meantime your team should look closely at today’s events and learn from them. We’re done here, Major,” the man finished before the connection terminated.
“Damn!” Lennox cursed slamming his fist onto the desk. “That guy’s impossible sometimes.”
“It appears that our team will have to work harder,” Optimus said trying to console the Major.
“Yeah. But I don’t think that the problem is with us! It’s them and the fact that there are some that still don’t trust you. I mean what do we have to do?” Lennox demanded frustratedly.
“We have to succeed,” Optimus said in response.
Major Lennox glanced up at him. But he didn’t want to continue this discussion for the moment – instead he decided to focus on a more immediate problem. “Where’s Harris?” he asked one of the techs.
The woman shrugged. “Don’t know, Sir,” she replied. “I think Glenn said something about seeing him still in the lab with Miss Ishihari,” she added.
“Thanks, Maggie,” Lennox returned with a brief smile. Turning back to face Optimus he sighed. “Come on, Prime, let’s go see what sort of damage control we need to be worried about.”
Optimus studied Lennox confused as they two began making their way over to the elevator – he was uncertain as to how there would be any sort of need to use ‘damage control’ as the Major put it. After all Xander Harris was many things, but he was not capable of damaging any of the delicate equipment on site and he wasn’t about to touch any machine when he knowingly understood the dangers of it all. Perhaps the Major meant the possibility of the interactions between Doctor Ishihari and Xander, human interaction rituals between males and females tended to still confuse the Autobot leader. Despite numerous levels of study on the situation.
Australia – the Outback – a distant place for some. But for the Decepticons it – much like most of this perceived beautiful planet of the humans – is simply another stop in the long road to ultimate victory.
The three forms of Trample, Tread and Kickback arrived in the relatively isolated area of a long abandoned construction site – floods and other natural disasters had driven the humans from the area – the Decepticons were not so easily deterred.
Although rusted out and under extreme disrepair the vehicles were still viable as scans for alternative modes.
Tread and Trample – the twin units – changed from their protoform modes into identical multi-armed excavators.
Kickback – the much larger and more imposing of the trio – adopted the form of a half-sunken bulldozer lying forgotten in the sinking sands of the marshy pit which was once a construction site.
All three of them were here for a purpose.
“Scans indicate that there is a rich deposit of Uranium located several miles in that direction,” Tread informed pointing one of his new excavator arms to the West.
“Prime source of energy for our needs,” Trample agreed.
Kickback spat black smoke out of his exhaust and began to rumble along the ground his treads digging into the dangerous and rough terrain – he may have weighed a considerable amount, but he was built well for traction. “Then what are we waiting for? While ‘Lord’ Starscream is preoccupied with retrieving the AllSpark shard from the Autobots we must prepare a suitable energy deposit for the resurrection of our true leader,” he said.
Trample and Tread followed along at a slightly slower pace.
“All hail,” Trample said.
“Megatron!” Tread finished shouting the name across the vast emptiness of the Australian Outback. The echoing alien cry stirred many of the local life forms filling them with unnamed terror.
Fracture sat idle in an empty field overlooking the city of Rome, Italy – she was still searching for her target – only now she was currently separated from Gunbarrel and Reverb as the two military vehicles were ill suited for reconnaissance of the city.
Retaining a low profile was necessary. Still it wasn’t typical or customary for the local natives to find a Formula One racer in their city either. Not unless a race was going on such as the Europa Ten Thousand.
Still Fracture was at least marginally less inconspicuous than if a massive tank went rumbling down the narrow Roman streets smashing up precious historical buildings – or a military grade helicopter hovering above the downtown Roman traffic.
“Our search continues,” Fracture muttered pulling into gear and heading into the city proper.
“If we could pinpoint a source for any residual AllSpark energy,” Gunbarrel interjected over their two way communication line.
“There is too much interference,” Fracture complained. “The destruction of the cube resulted in a saturation of AllSpark energy across this planet – until it dissipates to more nominal levels we must continue a sector by sector search pattern,” she reminded.
“A tedious ineffectual waste of our time,” Reverb said. “We should rely on the Seekers to do this task.”
“Most of the Seekers were sent to this planet stellar cycles ago, they sought the Matrix, we seek a means to restore Megatron, per The Fallen’s instructions,” Fracture reminded as she rolled further along down the Roman road. “Such narrow streets, a perfect ambush spot for the larger members of the Autobot army,” she mused.
“This sector has nothing special in it,” Jetstorm reported from his current global position.
“Continue your search patterns,” Fracture instructed.
“Fracture, what about Dead End?” Dropkick wondered.
“You and Incinerator will just have to retrieve him before he is sliced up into smaller chunks,” Fracture informed with a snide tone. “We may have use for him at a future date,” she added as an afterthought.
“Great, already got tabs on him, hear that, Incinerator?” Dropkick said turning to his partner.
The hulking Decepticon grinned triumphantly and converted into his Osprey mode. “A chance to cause some mayhem and mindless destruction, always welcome in my books,” he said with a chuckle.
“The rest of you, maintain radio silence,” Fracture ordered. “We do not want the Autobots to learn of our presence here too quickly,” she added with a soft laugh.
“Understood, Fracture,” Jetstorm returned.
“Roger that,” Reverb chimed in.
“Possible lead, will contact shortly,” Overcast spoke up breaking into the conversation.
Fracture would have nodded were she in her robotic form – as it stood she allowed her holographic simulacrum’s head to serve as a suitable replacement – the readings were chaotic, but she was confident they would find the Autobots’ hiding place for the surviving AllSpark shard.
Barricade rolled to a stop outside of the house in Cleveland that Starscream had ordered him to check up on – he was unfamiliar with the area and didn’t trust Starscream’s motivations for getting involved with the fleshlings living here, but he had precious little else to do – outside of taking care of a certain nuisance once his current assignment was over.
Converting his roof into an eavesdropping device he zeroed in on the occupants of the building and began recording.
“I’ve told you a hundred times this week, Kennedy, I don’t know where Willow is,” a young female’s voice was saying.
“Bull, Dawn, I know you two are close,” the one called Kennedy snapped.
“Look!” the human named Dawn shouted loudly at her irritating friend. “Buffy’s been missing for three months and we finally got a lead on where she was last spotted! On top of that Xander has issues with his… friends… And now Giles is telling me that the signs are all indicating that some massive shit is going to go down with Angel in L.A.! I don’t have time for your Emo Lesbian problems,” she finished berating the irritating woman known as Kennedy. A loud crash could be heard as the sound of a door opening and then slamming shut almost disrupted Barricade’s devices.
“Damn bitch,” the woman called Kennedy cursed.
Barricade could now see her walking past the front door her head low and an almost visible cloud of frustration following after her. Barricade chuckled to himself at the flesh creature’s misfortune – at least there was someone else on this miserable planet suffering as much – or perhaps more – than he was.
“Thanks for taking care of that, Little D,” a new woman’s voice could be heard.
“Kennedy has issues, Faith, plus I needed the chance to vent a little,” Dawn said.
“I’m sure B’s alright, Dawn, I mean it’s B we’re talking about here and it isn’t like she’s with Xander,” Faith pointed out.
“I know, I know, but I can’t help feeling as if something’s happened to her, Faith, and there’s nothing I can do to help her,” Dawn said breaking down into tears judging by the sounds she was now making.
In disgust Barricade ended his brief reconnaissance mission and rolled away from the house – he’d have to come back later to continue spying on these humans – and he still wasn’t too sure why. It was almost as if Starscream knew something that he wasn’t telling anyone else. Typical Starscream behavior.
It would have been easier if Frenzy hadn’t gotten himself slagged – he could have left the annoying little scraplet behind to do the legwork while he focused on taking care of the nuisance that was Bumblebee – as well as seeing to it that Samuel James Witwicky never interfered in this war again.
Unfortunately Frenzy had gotten himself slagged – and there was no hope of repairing him as Starscream had lost his remains somewhere outside of Nevada while he was fighting Wreckage – Barricade hadn’t had opportunity to retrieve his remains as there were too many Sector Seven and Autobot jerks running around the area after the fact.
Not that it would have mattered anyway. Barricade continued down the street heading for the interstate – it was time to send the signal – Starscream would probably be able to get more out of what he’d just heard anyway since apparently he knew so much about these people in that house.
Sending the signal he sped up – it was time to pay a visit to Ladiesman217.To Be Continued…