Not much to stay today, so enjoy a longer chapter!
Some time had gone by after Ratchet's arrival and the bots plus Rafael, had worked on getting the ships systems in order. The power was now functional and the lights were on.
"Mainframe's up and running," the boy stated, happy with their progress, "but I'll need help hacking the operating codes."
Ratchet's demeanour was not so positive, "Even if the ground bridge proves functional, it'll be next to worthless without a means of pinpointing the current locations of our compatriots."
Sitting down, leaning against the wall, Violetwind spoke wistfully, "Isn't there a way we could find them or something?"
'Yeah, can't we just scan for their signals?' chirped the scout.
"Tsk, use your head!," snapped the medic, "If the Decepticons had the ability to track Autobot signals we'd all have been at Megatron's mercy here on Earth a long ago."
Raf sighed in disappointment, "Back where we started..."
This time it was Ratchet who was holding a slight hopefulness. "But not if I can reconfigure these Decepticon frequencies. At the very least we might be able to access their comm link."
"You really think so?" The femme questioned.
"We shall see..."
It was not long before Ratchet had accomplished just that. He had hacked into the Decepticons own comm link frequencies, much to the delight of the femme. Rafael and Bumblebee were currently keeping watch and so were not there to join in the accomplishment.
"Who do we contact first?" Violetwind asked excitedly, practically bouncing on her pedes beside the console.
"I believe our first action should be to contact Agent Fowler. With everyone scattered he is our point of call," Ratchet concluded. "Though we must be careful not to talk long lest the Decepticons notice that we are using their own communications."
The medic quickly dialled up their liaison, a the telephone rang a few times before the call was answered.
::What is it this time 'Lord' Megatron?:: answered the agent, not sounding at all happy.
"Agent Fowler, it's Ratchet," he replied quickly.
"And Violetwind!" the femme added.
A female voice on the other side of the line, sounded frantic, ::Ratchet? Where's Jack? Is he with you?::
"No, he is not," the mech replied bluntly, yet with a hint of sadness.
"Don't worry, June, he's with Arcee and she'll take care of him. I'm sure they're fine," she tried to comfort the worried mother.
::You're right and I know she can. I just don't like this.::
"Listen we don't have much time," Ratchet broke in before their talk went on further. "I have taken a tremendous yet calculated risk in contacting you. Hopefully the Decepticons are not monitoring their own frequencies as closely as they no doubt are those of the humans. I am transmitting our current coordinates."
Bumblebee unexpectedly leaped into the room, pointing outside and beeping hurriedly. 'Something's coming! Looks like a space vessel!'
The mech turned to look at him in shock, "What?!"
Agent Fowler tried to question him further, ::Ratchet, have you heard from anyone else? What about Prime?!::
But he had ended the call before answering, instead headed outside to investigate, Violetwind hot on his heels.
A large aircraft was flying their way. It was mostly blue with some red points and not at all like any human made aircraft. In particular, it's shape was very different; a central module made up its main form and was flanked by large thrusters.
Not certain of its intent, Bumblebee paused to put a hand in front of Raf to stop the boy. 'Wait here. It could be dangerous.'
Dust had kicked up as it got closer to the ground, the young human already having to hold his arms up because of the wind. He nodded, staying back as the others went forward.
Nervously, the purple femme brought out her guns, prepared in case they were attacked, but she too soon found the winds and dust too much, raising an arm over her helm. To her left and mirroring her action were the two mechs. Neither one seemed as nervous as she was about the new arrival though. One of them seemingly recognising it.
"It's one of ours," Ratchet uttered in amazement.
Violetwind looked over at him, "You mean it's an Autobot?"
"Yes," he returned, trying not to take his optics off the ship as it landed in front of them.
Touching down on the ground, a section of the ship started to lower. Descending from the platform were some familiar faces. Miko and Jack stood at the front, the former looking as smug as always. With them were Bulkhead, Arcee and a white mech with red and green on his chest. There may have been someone else but the purple femme could not see them properly.
Her attention was taken off the new bots as Miko cried out happily, "Raf!" and raced toward the younger boy.
Reaching him, she scooped him up in a tight hug and whirled around. Rafael did not mind though smiling widely and chuckling in slight awkwardness but mostly filled with delight, just glad to know they were alive and safe.
Jack had trailed behind her at a more leisurely pace, smirking at the sight, "Girl's got a grip doesn't she?" Extending a hand the boys slapped palms with one another, Jack then bent down for a hug as well.
The scene in front of her brought warmth to Violetwind's spark. It was a touching reunion between friends. Though, her gaze quickly turned to the other Autobots as they too stepped forward, ready for a reunion themselves.
"You're alive," Ratchet said breathlessly, some of the weight on his spark dropping away. Not able to have contact with them he had worried him more than he liked to let on.
As the arrivals walked over they revealed the bot that Violetwind had thought she saw hidden behind them. The mech was very tall, and mostly blue but also carried red in his colour scheme. Something she also noted was that he looked extremely serious.
Ratchet was surprised to see the mech, "Ultra Magnus..."
"Doctor," the other acknowledged with a slight nod.
"Bee, who are those guys?" the femme whispered.
"Violet!" Bulkhead yelled, running over and scooping the femme up in a tight hug, much like his human partner did to Rafael.
"Hi, Bulk," she squeezed out. Reaching out her arms as best she could to return his hug.
"Careful, Bulk. You don't want to break her," chided Arcee with a smirk.
The mech continued to hug her for a few more seconds before he released Violetwind and she stumbled briefly, taking a few deep vents.
"I'm fine," she assured them. "Hey, Arcee."
"Hey, I didn't know you had another femme on your team," the unfamiliar white mech commented as he walked over.
"Jacky, this is Violetwind. She arrived on Earth not long back. Violet, meet Wheeljack," the green mech introduced.
"Ah, the Wrecker," she nodded recognising his voice from earlier, when he called in during the attack on the base.
He grinned, pleased that she knew of them, "Pleased to meet ya. So what's going on around here?"
'We've been getting the Harbinger's systems up and running,' the scout informed them.
Violetwind glanced nervously at Bumblebee but decided that telling them the truth about what she was could wait. They had better things, more important things in her optics, to discuss than a human having been incorporated into a Cybertronian mind.
Noticing her discomfort, the scout started to show off his new colours, hoping no one else would catch the femme's unease. He whirred at the others, 'So what do you think of my new looks?'
"New paint job looks good, Bee," Bulkhead complimented, taking in the mech's new colouration.
"At least you had something to work with. If I reversed my colours, I'd be pink," Arcee remarked.
"Pink's not such a bad colour," Violetwind muttered, quite liking the colour herself.
Bumblebee chirped playfully towards the blue femme, 'I don't think you'd look to bad in pink.'
The conversation went on without the purple femme, her mind elsewhere. While glancing around she noticed Ratchet talking with the mech he had called Ultra Magnus. Realising she had not been introduced to him yet, she left the others to wander over, listening to the mechs converse.
"... The communications link needs further calibration to be compatible with Autobot frequencies. The ground bridge, however, is fully operational," Ratchet was telling the tall mech.
The children had walked over that way as well. Upon hearing that news, Miko interrupted the bots, her hands placed on her hip as she looked up at them, "That would have come in handy when robo dragon was trying to eat us for breakfast."
Jack had tried to stop the girl, waving his hand at his side, but of course it had not worked.
Ratchet could only gaze at the girl with horror, but Violetwind could not work out the reasons behind the two acting the way they did. Miko was acting like Miko, interruptions were part of her character.
Ultra Magnus is a very by the book commander, Windy supplied. He's very particular about they way things are to be addressed and dislikes anything out of protocol.
Ah, I see.
"The indigenous population of this planet, do they all display the same disregard for authority?" he questioned.
The medic shook his helm, gesturing to the girl. "No, mostly just Miko."
"Wait," the femme turned to the girl just realising something about what she had said, "A robo dragon?"
"Oh yeah!" Miko was excited, throwing her arms about in the air as she talked. "You shoulda seen it! It was huge and could breath fire! We even brought down a mountain on top of it and it still kept going!"
Rafael's eyes were wide with shock from what she told them. "A real dragon?"
The femme quickly questioned, "Where did it come from?"
"What's a dragon?" Ratchet raised an optic ridge in confusion.
"A giant, flying, fire breathing lizard," Miko offered as an explanation to the 'Bot.
Jack nodded, "It was pretty impressive but I don't know where it came from."
Sounds like... Sounds like one of Shockwaves' creations.
"So it was from the 'Cons..." she muttered.
"What was that?" Ultra Magnus asked the femme.
She jumped in fright, not expecting to be addressed. Glancing up at his optics she felt rather intimidated. "N-nothing."
"Nothing, Sir," he stated warningly.
Holding in the shake that threatened to take over her legs, she replied, "Y-y-yes... Sir."
"Ultra Magnus, this is Violetwind," Ratchet introduced before the situation could get more awkward.
"Violetwind, I believe I recognise that designation. You were assigned to Elite One were you not?"
Slowly she nodded, "Yes, Sir. Well... Sort of. Um. Well you see, there's more to me... Um..."
The commanding mech raised an optic ridge.
"Violetwind has suffered some memory loss and so cannot recall much of her past," Ratchet explained to the mech, doing his best to smooth over her strange behaviour.
Just then a plane came in over the horizon bringing their conversation to a halt. Ultra Magnus sprang into action. A gun revealed itself from each arm as he moved forward to attack.
Realising who it was, the medic called out in alarm, "No!"
Bulkhead and Arcee also tried to stop him, jumping in front of the mech, arms outstretched.
"Don't shoot!" cried out the femme.
The green mech added, "It's Fowler! He's with us!"
The human had promptly received their coordinates and hurried to meet with them. The plane landed and Mrs. Darby and Agent Fowler climbed out. The woman and children quickly involved in a hug-filled reunion.
Ignoring the others for now, Violetwind went to the medic and whispered, "I thought you were starting to believe me..."
"I don't think now's the time to be talking about your condition," he replied. Seeing how hurt she looked, he sighed, "Listen I'm trying. Belief is hard for something I am still finding hard to wrap my processor around. "
"I wouldn't have believed dragons were real until today," she countered, "But I believe Miko because she said she saw it."
He took in a deep intake of air. "Just give me some time."
They did not get to talk further as Agent Fowler approached eager to discuss the situation with them. "This everyone? Where's Prime?"
"The only signals Ultra Magnus was able to isolate are standing right here," Arcee told him, mostly able to hide the disappointment in her voice.
Wheeljack grumbled in a low tone so the commander's audios would not hear, "Maybe his scanner's faulty."
"So the kid's also unaccounted for," Bulkhead summarised. He had liked Smokescreen too despite all the trouble he caused. To have lost him, along with Optimus, it affected him more than he let on.
"Smokescreen..." The femme whispered in fear. The news cutting her spark deeper than anyone else. To have lost both her best friend and caring leader, it was not something she wanted to comprehend.
"Smokescreen bridged out unaccompanied to another part of the continent and Optimus remained behind to destroy the ground bridge to... Ensure that everyone else made it to safety," Ratchet informed them sadly.
Agent Fowler looked strained from the news. "I... Watched the base go down. No one or thing walked outta there."
"Not that we could see," June added, walking up beside the man.
"Even if Prime survived, I'm not sure we can afford to wait for him to show up. Not with Megatron holding our planet hostage from his high and mighty perch at Darkmount," the liaison continued.
Ultra Magnus spoke up, "I would be inclined to agree with the native life form. We must stop Megatron, with, or without Optimus Prime."
Silence settled over the group taking in the implications of it all. Things looked bleak, the unknown fates of their team mates weighed heavily on their minds but so did the fate of the Earth if they did nothing. As they looked at one another they came to a consensus. They knew they would fight with all that they could against the Decepticon's tyranny.
"We must do everything in our power to ensure Megatron's downfall but we will need to be smart about it," the tall blue mech declared.
Wheeljack protested as he seemed to take over, "Woah, who put shoulder-pads in command?"
Standing beside him, Arcee shrugged.
"Temporary command," Jack reminded them, hopeful that Optimus was still alive and would return.
"Ultra Magnus is the only logical choice. He's trained by Optimus and served as his commanding officer throughout the war for cybertron," Ratchet explained, mostly for the benefit of those who had not been around during the war and were unaware of the mech's reputation.
"Now, unless there is any further objections, soldier, please follow me," Ultra Magnus looked pointedly at the white mech. After a pause, he turned around and headed into his ship.
The rest of the group trailed after him, Wheeljack doing so grudgingly. "Aye, aye, Cap'n."
Aboard the ship the commander turned to them, "Autobots," he pressed a button which slid open a panel revealing a well stocked arsenal, "take your pick."
The previously grumpy white mech now carried a grin on his face. He was clearly pleased, optics gazing upon the new toys. "Now you're speaking my language... Sir..."
Ultra Magnus let out a soft grunt but did not otherwise respond.
Poking at the black and yellow scout, Violetwind whispered, "Are we really thinking about assaulting the ginormous, heavily guarded, well armed Decepticon tower?"
"Ok then. Just checking..."
The femme let out a soft groan. Great...
A short while later they were gathered on the Harbinger ready to discuss their options on how they would go about taking down Darkmount.
"Autobots, we remain vastly outnumbered and despite our munitions, do not currently posses the fire-power necessary to compromise the Decepticon citadel," Ultra Magnus stated plainly.
Agent Fowler replied, "Uncle Sam's military does. I just can't let 'em make a move as long as Megatron's ray guns are pointed at Washington."
"Then we must infiltrate Darkmount in order to nullify its fusion cannons," the commander declared.
The medic looked grim. "Unfortunately, it seems the fortress is heavily shielded against unauthorised ground bridges, even those originating from Decepticon technology." He glanced over at the screen showing the schematic of Darkmount.
Wheeljack did not appear to mind, almost pleased. "Guess, we'll have to sneak past enemy lines, Wrecker-style."
Ultra Magnus narrowed his optics in displeasure. "I couldn't deal with 'Wrecker-style' back on Cybertron and I refuse to deal with it here."
The white mech let his optics angrily drift away, his jaw clenched as he groaned but did not otherwise respond.
"Now, we require a means of thinning the Decepticon ranks to even the odds if we're going to have any hope of completing this mission. Or even surviving it."
They started to discuss plans for doing just that, the talk going on without Violetwind. She had no ideas and was dreading, oh so dreading, the fight to come. The last two had not exactly turned out very well, after all.
Hey, I think I might have an idea. Windy quickly relayed her plan to the femme.
Violetwind's optics widened. It was incredibly risky and even more dangerous. I could never do it... They'll never believe me and what if Starscream does know...
Sure you can. I'll be with you the whole time and be coaching you the whole way. Just tell the others. And we'll worry about that stupid seeker when we get there.
She nervously cleared her vocalisers. Breaking into the discussion she called out.,"Um, guys, I might have an idea." Everyone's gaze rested on her making her even more nervous and a little more inclined to ramble on. "Well, it's- it's not my idea exactly... It, uh... Well it..."
"Don't tell me it's from...?" Ratchet asked not sure he wanted to know the answer.
The femme gave him a slight nod, leaving the rest of the bots and humans confused except for two. Rafael and Bumblebee shared a glance but kept quiet.
The medic merely placed a hand over his face. "Well go on anyway."
She repeated the clearing of her vocalisers before explaining it to them. "You see, the idea was for me to approach the citadel and turn myself over to the 'Cons. I know for certain Megatron still wants the knowledge I carry. And... If I was to go and say I wished to join them, they might be more receptive to me and I could help infiltrate the place..."
Wringing her fingers she waited for their response.
"No," Arcee jumped in quickly. "It's far too dangerous, especially for you. You don't have enough experience to go in alone. And you will be alone. We can't get to you if something goes wrong."
'Arcee's right, you're not ready for this.' The scout chirped with concern.
"Vi, I'm sure there's a much better way to go about it," Bulkhead added, a rare moment of worry on his face.
Even Ratchet refused to send her, "No. You can't go. That plan is crazy and risky and reckless and..." He paused, closing his optics and letting out a sigh. "And just what Violetwind would do..."
Seeing at his change in demeanour, Violetwind realised the reason for it, her optics filling with hope. "Sooo...?"
He let out a deep vent, a small smile slipping onto his face."Yes, I do think I finally believe you."
This earned and excited smile from the femme, some of the tenseness of the situation momentarily forgotten.
Though the mech had remained quiet during the strange interaction, Ultra Magnus suddenly broke in demanding answers. "Just what is going on here?"
Ratchet turned to the commander, a little unsure of how to explain it. "Violetwind... is not a normal being."
'She's pretty unique indeed!' whirred the voiceless mech encouragingly.
Arcee raised an optic arch. "Since when did she get so 'special.' Don't tell me Smokescreen's gotten into you're head."
"Um, no, not Smokescreen, he's not gotten in there. But um, something else did. And well, actually it happened the day I crashed to Earth or, well, the 'real' Violetwind did."
"Real Violetwind? What are you talking about? Who are you really? What did you do with her?" Miko narrowed her eyes and pointed her finger out at the femme suspiciously.
She raised her hands defensively. "Woah, um, it's nothing like that."
"Then what is it?" Arcee queried, arms folded and optic ridge raised suspiciously.
Violetwind glanced around at the 'Bots nervously. This wasn't exactly getting off to a good start. Her gaze rested on Raf, the boy waving at her to get closer. Moving her hand over to him, the boy climbed on and smiled up at her, making her feel better. Most importantly his care and presence helped to calm her nerves.
"Go on," he encouraged softly.
Carefully holding the human child she took a deep intake and started to explain. "I'm not fully Cybertronian. Well, physically I am, but not mentally. You see I was once a human. Violetwind crash landed on Earth and had seriously injured me to the point where I was dying from my wounds. She felt so bad for me that she decided to do the only thing that would save me."
"And she what, swapped bodies or something?" Miko interrupted, arms folded.
"Not exactly. More like she downloaded my brain into her body. It had a few unintended side affects, like me being the one in control of her body and her being locked away with both our memories. But she's alive and can talk to me. And... it was her idea to surrender to Megatron..." The purple femme gazed down at the boy, too afraid to look upon the other's faces.
"You're kidding, aren't you?" Arcee did not believe her audios.
"Wow that's rad! What were you like, Vi? How old were you? Where did you live? How did she do it?" Miko bombarded her with questions in her usual Miko way.
Meanwhile Bulkhead muttered raising a hand to his helm, "This has been some day..."
"I can't tell you much," she told the girl, "Like I said, I don't have access to my past memories and I can't tell you anything about how Windy did it. She's vowed never to tell me. We don't want anyone else to know how it's done because it would be very dangerous."
The teen pouted in silence before blurting out, "Who's Windy?"
"Windy is the name I use to refer to the real Violetwind, since I needed to call her something." Looking over at Miko, the femme added, "But I do know this much. My name was Victoria and I was from Australia and I was twenty-three years of age."
"Hey is this why you like human movies?" Jack wondered, seeming to accept the idea.
Thinking for a moment, she nodded. "It could be. Makes sense why I seemed to know a little about them too."
Arcee was shocked. "Wait, you're actually buying this?"
"Ratchet, what is your take on the situation?" Ultra Magnus asked for the medic's advice.
"Hmm, well, I admit I was skeptical at first but I have come to believe her story. Two separate consciences does explain the anomalies in her brain scans."
Agent Fowler spoke up for the first time since she had explained things. "You're telling me that that ship we cleaned up killed someone?"
"Yes but I'm not really dead though... Just my human body..."
The man raised his hand to his face. "And what did you, er, she do with the body?"
"She buried it. I can't tell you where but she could direct me if we went back there."
"Once this is over we'll have to consider that. We'll need to do something for your family. You do have a family don't you?"
"Yes. Um, actually we were hoping you could help with that and do something to explain my absence..."
Fowler groaned. This was all too much for him. Giant robots attacking was one thing but when they had the ability to actually steal human minds that was another thing entirely. How was he going to explain this to the higher ups? And now he had to track down her parents and tell them she would not be coming home as well.
"Violetwind," the gentle feminine voice drew her attention to June. "Don't you worry about anything. We're here for you." The woman had initially rejected the femme's story, just like the others, but woman' s intuition told her that Violetwind was being truthful and that some of the lack of belief from her fellow bots was hurting her. So the mother wished to offer some comfort, realising that it could not be easy adjusting to a new life like that.
"Thank you, June..." she smiled gratefully at the woman, her tense door wings relaxing a little. Looking back up at Ultra Magnus and Ratchet she asked, "About the idea, um, Sir. Am I to infiltrate Darkmount?"
Having been silently taking it all in, Wheeljack finally moved, slapping the purple femme on the back and startling her. If she had not automatically lifted her other hand over Rafael she may have accidentally dropped him. "If you do send her, you'll be sending in two for the price of one, Sir."
"Violetwind, are you up for the task?" The commander looked down at her with his stern gaze.
Honestly, she was doubtful. Her acting skills were not great and neither were her fighting skills if she ran into trouble. Could she really be of any use if she got inside?
Hey. We can do this. Get me in there and I can tell you just what to do. I won't let you down. Those slagging 'Cons must be stopped.
Standing up straighter, the femme did her best to sound confident. "Yes, Sir. Just tell me what to do."
Anyone catch the almost 'more than meets the eye' reference? It's transformers, come on, how can one resist. XD