Hey guys! Yes I know it has been quite a bit since I last said that I was going to get these chapters rewritten and updated, but I have very good news for you all! For one thing, I have finally come up with an AWESOME plot that I am honestly and truly happy with, so hopefully these chapters will be leaving you on the edge of your seats~! Second of all, I'm completely changing some scenarios around so that they, while seeming similar to what I had written before, have a completely different kettle of fish inside them, so don't miss out, or you'll be lost in the sauce! Third, I've changed the roles of quite a few characters around, so you'll be seeing them in different places instead of just other campers. Fourth…wait, did I even have a fourth one?
Ah scrap, forget it. XD Anyway, I really hope that you guys enjoy this latest—and quite hopefully last—revamp of "A Camping Trip with the Beast Warriors", because this is going to be much more intense than anything I've ever written before. Oh, and can anyone find the little Easter Egg I hid in the story? I betcha you guys won't get it. XP And Cheetor, don't you dare give them the answer. .
Cheetor: *lowers hand and shuts mouth, not wanting to get sprayed with the squirt bottle*
Me: *leers at him for a moment* Anyway, I don't own Transformers, Hasbro does. So please read on and enjoy this chapter while I proceed to run for my life from Megatron. * yelps and flees as a plasma shot hits the camera and makes it go into static*
Chapter 1: A Thousand Miles
There was a low groan as the hand slumped over the old fashioned alarm clock dragged it under the covers, a quiet sigh rising up before the room stilled once more. A faint rustle could be heard from downstairs, plates clinking together and the smell of salty bacon wafting through the house. Moments later, the covers were thrown off as a young boy with messy brown hair sat up, the alarm clock clenched in his hands as he stared at the numbers in shock. "Wha-? Oh man, we overslept!" he yelped as he rubbed his eyes, swinging his legs over the side of the bed. "Lauren, wake uu-aahhp!"
"Uggh," he groaned as he lay sprawled out on the floor, his hands clutching at the back of his head and his screwed shut in pain. "Why does that always happen?"
"Sam?" a tired voice mumbled as another form sat up. In the darkness her shoulder-length blond hair fell over her eyes, leaving her to brush it away to rub the sleep away. Blinking down at the boy on the floor, she glanced above her for a moment before looking back down at him. "Did you flip off the bunk bed again?"
Though still dazed, Sam managed to sit up and rubbed his aching head. "Yeah, I did," he told her as he looked at his hand, relieved to see it clean of blood. "At least I missed the side table."
"Isn't that—" she paused for a moment as a yawn broke through, trying vainly to conceal it behind her hand, "—the third time you've done that this month?"
"No, that's only happened twice. I'm not that bad," he grumbled in embarrassment as he stood up, thankful that the darkness hid his flushed face. Shaking his head, he immediately rushed over to the dresser to try and grab his clothes, he said, "Come on, get dressed or we're going to be late!"
"Late for what?"
He stopped digging for a shirt and blinked, not sure if she was being serious or pulling his leg. "Wait…don't you remember what we talked about yesterday?" he asked. When she shook her head in confusion, he said, "We were supposed to head over to the airport today…for Colorado." Seeing as she still had no idea what he was talking about, he tried one last thing: "You know…camping?"
Sam struck gold on that last one, a light bulb clicking in her head as she finally got the message. "Oooh yeah I remember now," she hummed softly with a thoughtful nod. A few seconds later, her eyes bugged out when his words finally registered in her mind. "Oh…oh slag! What time is it?! Primus, we're gonna be late!"
"That's what I just said!" Sam half-laughed half-sighed as he grabbed his pants and shoes, rushing for the bathroom while she slammed the bedroom door behind him. It was a mad scramble for time as the two hurried to get dressed, struggling to get their shoes on and be the first to breakfast. Stampeding down the stairs, the two nearly slipped and fell as they slid into the kitchen and dove for their respective chairs. "Mine!" Sam called out as he sat down, reaching out and snatching a slice of bacon from the plate in the center. "I'm sat down first, so I get the first slice of bacon!"
"Hey, no fair! You got the first slice last time, so it's my turn now," she pouted at him, a mock glare and pout on her face.
"Nu-uh," Sam said, holding the slice out of reach when she tried to swipe it. "You know the rules: first come, first serve!"
"Sorry, kids," an older man named William said with a warm chuckle as he held up his own slice. "But I've got the first slice this time."
A unified groan escaped the two as they watched him crunch down on the slice. Huffing a little, Sam glanced between her and the bacon in his hands before he sighed and smiled. "Well, since Dad got the first slice," he started, holding it out to her. "You can have the next one. I don't mind third place."
Lauren blinked at him in surprise before she returned the smile, accepting the crispy meat. "Thanks, Sam," she said, breaking it as evenly as she could before handing half of it to him. "Here, let's share it. So we can both be second-place winners!"
"Sounds good to me!"
'Kids,' William thought with a slight chuckle, sipping his coffee.
"So, are you ready for summer camp?"
"Uh huh," Lauren said with a nod, peering out of the window at the passing scenery. "I'm a little nervous though…why can't Sam come with me?"
"Because your brother has to go to summer school since he failed his science and math classes," came the response as they passed the sign leading into the airport. "He needs to pull his grades back up so he can continue on to the next grade, so until then, he'll just have to wait until next summer to go camping with you."
She said nothing as she glanced over at her brother, who seemed to be pouting at being reminded of that. Even though Sam wasn't exactly a science wiz or a math genius, he always managed to make good grades and always tried his hardest. It had been hard to hear that he would not be going, but what was strange that most of his grades on paper were pretty good. Not wanting him to think about the situation anymore, she held her pinkie out to him and said, "Okay, here's the deal: if you do your best in those classes and show them that you can make awesome grades…I'll make sure to write everything that happens there so that you won't feel left out. I'll send letters to you every day, so it'll be like you're right there next to me. Deal?"
He stared at her for a moment in surprise gave a determined nod, reaching out to wrap his pinky around hers. "Deal," he agreed, both of them sealing the pinky swear with a shake of their entwined digits.
"We're here," their father announced as he pulled the truck up alongside the drop-off area. "Grab the bags kids, and then we can head on over to the security gate."
Even though it was still relatively early, the airport was far from being empty as people shuffled back and forth between the small food shops and newsstands. Suitcases rattled on by from wear as businessmen and women hurried to catch their flight while first time flyers gazed about the complex in an attempt to make sense of the signs. William, however, kept his children on the right track and led them towards the security checkpoint. "Now I know this will be your first time traveling alone, but once you're through the checkpoint, I want you to go straight to the gate and stay there, okay?" he said firmly as he looked her in the eye. "Don't leave your bag alone or with a stranger, don't go anywhere with anyone you don't know, don't let anyone borrow money from you, don't talk to strangers—"
"Do other kids my age count as strangers, Dad?" she interrupted him curiously.
He faltered for a moment, thrown off by the innocent question. Then, with a quiet sigh, he said, "Kids are fine, Lauren. But…just don't go anywhere with one until you're at the camp with adult supervisors around, okay?"
She nodded in understanding, stepping closer to wrap her arms around his waist. "I'll miss you guys," she told them as he returned the hug.
"We'll miss you too, Goldie," Ron said with a smile, running his fingers through her dark blond hair.
"Don't I get a hug too?" Sam asked with a mock pout, earning a laugh as she obliged him. "Stay safe, okay? I'm not gonna be there to protect my lil' sis from those big bad creepy-crawlies and mean ol' spiders." A moment later he let out a yelp of pain, rubbing his arm where her fist had popped him. "I'm not a baby anymore, Spike," she said as she leered at him, fist raised in a playful warning. Her face softened into an affectionate smile as she said, "I'll be fine. Besides…I learned from the best."
Chuckling softly at her comment, the two shared one last hug before she started off towards the security gate. "Go get'em tiger!" Ron called out when she got through, earning a wave of acknowledgement from her.
By the time she reached her assigned gate, there weren't that many people there yet save for a couple of passengers either reading or sprawled out on several chairs fast asleep. Deciding to go with one of the chairs near the window, she sat there with her bag nestled in her lap and watched the board flick through the flights arrival and departure times as well as their destination. *A young girl around her age with short brown hair wearing a red shirt and white pants drew her attention as she went to the board, and she could see her point out Nevada before she nodded and went to find her own gate. Before she could begin to wonder what that state was like, an older man sat down next to her and offered a kind smile. "Hey there," he started with a cheerful note in his voice. "What're you doing here all by yourself? Are you waiting for your parents?"
She said nothing, drawing a confused look from the stranger. "You okay?" he asked in concern. "You're not mute are you?"
"…I'm not supposed to talk to strangers."
His expression grew thoughtful as he nodded, his smile returning. "Your papa taught you that, huh?" he commented with an amused roll of his eyes and shake of the head, as though it were either the most ridiculous thing he'd ever heard or something. "But to tell you the truth, I'm not really a stranger. I'm a cop, you know? See? Here's my badge."
She caught a brief glimpse of gold as he opened up a leather holder, the man closing it again and tucking it back into his pocket. "Really?" she asked in surprise. "Why aren't you in uniform?"
"Because-" he paused to look around, as though he were wary of someone listening in before he leaned over to whisper, "I'm under cover. I'm not authorized to wear my uniform, or I won't be able to blend in. A cop in uniform sticks out like a sore thumb in a crowd of civilians, so we gotta be extra careful. We're working a case to make sure that no one is trying to sneak something they shouldn't out to another state."
Lauren's eyes scanned his form curiously, as though trying to imagine him in uniform. "Still, I'm not supposed to talk to strangers," she finally told him. "My uncle told me not to trust anyone that says they're a cop outside of uniform."
"Well now, that's a little harsh, don't you think?" he asked in a disappointed tone. "Cops are always honest in or out of uniform," he added in a reassuring tone, sliding his arm around her shoulders as she frowned at the close proximity. "And in my honest opinion, you looked rather lonely just sitting here all by yourself, and I wouldn't be able to live with myself if something had happened to you and I didn't step in to stop it. So how about I make you a deal? How about we head over to one of the vendors and I'll buy you an ice cream cone? A little sugar always makes everything better, and I know that it will help bring out that pretty little smile I know you're hiding from the world. So what do you say? Would you like that? It'll be our little secret…"
She was beginning to feel anxious now, not liking how this man was acting towards her and how he kept a firm grip on her shoulder. When a glimmer of light caught her attention, however, she turned to look up at the police officer that was marching towards them, brilliant blue eyes locked onto the man next to her. The uniform was not that of airport security, yet there with a familiar red crest that decorated the badge on his hat and an all too familiar red symbol on the gold surface. A gold name tape on the left side of his uniform had the words "P. Rowl" engraved on the surface. Stopping in front of them, the officer said in a dark tone, "Sir, I would advise that you take your hands off of her right this minute before I am forced to take immediate action."
Tilting his head to the side, the man took his arm off of her shoulders—much to her relief—and stood up to address the officer. "Hey. I'm sorry, but this is all a big misunderstanding," he said calmly, once again putting on his charming smile as he kept eye contact with the officer. Lowering his voice to where he didn't think she could hear him, he said, "You see, this is my daughter's first time flying on an airplane, and I was just trying to reassure her that everything was alright. I apologize if it seemed like there was something wrong going on."
Officer Rowl's inhumanly ice blue eyes stared at the man with a dark expression, as though he was thinking something over. He glanced over at her and asked, "Is this man bothering you, Lauren?" The man's expression became one of dread when she nodded, realizing that he had just been caught in a lie as the officer leveled his icy gaze on him once more. "Since you complied with my previous order, I'll let that lie 'slide' as they say…for now. I have one more question for you though." He looked the man up and down, noticing how even after being caught in a lie the man seemed to be keeping some semblance of calm about him. "You're Carl Johansen, aren't you," he stated rather bluntly.
All color seemed to drain from his face, leaving him a virtual ghost as the man stammered, "Uh…yes. How…did you know that?"
"You are a registered sex offender and child molester in the state county," came the response, an underlying tone of malice in the officer's voice as his gaze darkened. "You are currently in violation of your parole from the court of justice and antagonizing an innocent youngling…who is currently under my protection by order of Optimus Prime." Leaning towards the terrified man, the officer ground out, "What you do is a very despicable offense, Mr. Johansen…and we do not take kindly to such acts upon any child, human or otherwise. So I would suggest that you rethink your next course of action right this minute and choose carefully."
Pale with fright, Carl gave a pitiful attempt at a smile as he sidestepped. He stumbled a little before he righted himself, trying to walk backwards and holding his hands up to show he was unarmed. "Uh…y-yes, Mr. O-Officer, sir. I swear I won't go anywhere near another child for as long as I live!"
Just before he was out of earshot, Officer Rowl called out, "Oh, and Mr. Johansen?" Seeing the man look over his shoulder, he said, "No matter where you go now…I'll know where you are and what you are doing. Consider this a friendly 'warning'." Carl's blood drained from his face as he gave a numb nod, trembling as he stumbled out of sight. There was a muffled crash, and several passersby yelped in panic as they rushed to see what was going on. Seeing the airport staff rush in to give aid, Officer Rowl turned to look at her and asked in a calmer voice, "Are you alright? Did that man hurt you?"
Lauren shook her head, grateful that he had come when he did and glad to be free from the other's grasp. "I'm okay, Prowl…was…all that stuff you said true?" she asked curiously. "What you said about that man?"
"Unfortunately…yes," he sighed, sounding reluctant to admit it. "We were worried about you being here without Sparkplug and Spike around, so Prime ordered me to keep watch over you until your flight leaves…and I'm glad he did too. Once I return to base, I'll file a report to the local authorities and have Teletraan-1 keep tabs on that man. He won't be able to sneeze without me knowing it." Seeing her expression grow worried, he softened his expression and said, "But don't let what happened bother you anymore. This is a big step for you, and we all want you to have a good time." He knelt down in front of her, ice blue eyes now a calmer blue shade than their previous chilly appearance. "You just need to focus on having fun and making friends at camp. So chin up…you know what Jazz would do if he saw your face right now."
She smiled, knowing very well what the musician would do. "There you go," Prowl said with a small smirk of his own. Reaching out with one of his hands, he cupped her cheek in his palm—small sparkles of energy escaping as the hologram phased through her skin. "I have a message from Optimus Prime for you. He says, 'Whatever happens from here on out…don't ever lose your smile'."
"All passengers boarding the flight to Colorado, please head to the main gate. We are now boarding the plane."
"There's your cue," he said as he straightened up, motioning his head towards the entrance gate where the other humans were starting to gather with their carry-on bags. "Remember to stay safe. And if you ever need anything, do not hesitate to contact us on your communicator. We'll all come running."
"I will," she told him, wishing she could hug the hologram form of her friend but knowing that she would just fall to the floor. "Bye, Prowl. Tell the others I love them, okay?"
He nodded as he watched her scamper over to get in line, flickering out of existence. Had anyone been looking out the window where she'd been sitting, they would have seen the familiar shape of a police cruiser driving away. Plopping down on her seat near the window, she settled in as best as she could in the small seat and set her bag under the chair in front of her. This was the first time she had ever flown in a commercial airplane, so it was understandable that she was just a little nervous about it. She wondered for a moment just who would be her seating partner before a young boy with black-tipped blond hair came up, slightly hunched over as though to try and fit inside the plane before he stopped next to her. "Ah, hi there," he greeted her, giving a small wave. "Is this seat taken? I had to give mine up for someone so they could sit next to their friend."
"Oh, no go ahead," she told him as she gestured to the seat, trying to suppress a giggle when he made a show of what looked like he was trying to squeeze into the seat. "What's your name?"
"Cheeee….uh, Chris," he stammered, shaking his head before giving a nervous chuckle at her expression. "Sorry. Had a long night and I didn't get much rest before the flight, so I'm not functioning at full capacity yet. What's your name?"
Her confusion changed to sympathy as she nodded in understanding. "Lauren. And I know how that is. I couldn't fall asleep last night because of nerves," she told him. "When my brother fell out of bed this morning, I was so tired that I forgot what all the fuss was about!"
Emerald eyes glittered in amusement as he chuckled, shaking his head as he asked, "Don't you hate when that happens?" Following the instructions of the flight attendants as the plane started getting ready to take off, he looked at her in curiosity as he asked, "So what're you gonna do in Colorado?"
"I'm going to a summer camp," she said. "It's my first time away from home without my family, so I'm a little nervous."
"Understandable," he said as the plane's speed pushed them back into their seats, feeling the gravity shift down as the plane rose up into the air. "I'm heading for summer camp too. It's called 'Camp Maxicon'."
Lauren's eyes widened as she looked at him in amazement, a wide smile spreading across her face as she said, "Oh wow, that's where I'm heading too!"
"Ultra gear!" he said excitedly, his smile nearly splitting his face in half at the coincidence. His emerald eyes grew confused when she paused for a moment, as though listening to something before she turned away from him. When she waved at the window, he frowned and tilted his head to the side. "Ah…what are you doing?"
"Waving goodbye to my family," she responded, gesturing for him to come over and take a peek. "See? All those cars on that large near the gate."
Peering out of the window, the two could see several brightly colored vehicles gathered in what appeared to be a formation. A pair of figures stepped out of a yellow Volkswagen, waving their arms at the plane before each vehicle shifted into tall metal beings. "Wow," Chris breathed in awe as he watched the group wave at the plane, hardly able to believe his eyes. "I can't believe it…it's the real Autobots."
(Several Hours Later)
"So how long have you known them?"
"Uh…pretty much my whole life. They've been part of our family for so long, I couldn't imagine life without them."
Chris whistled in amazement as they walked through the Colorado airport, having stopped to grab a snack shortly after landing before they were to go and meet their chaperones. Strangely enough he didn't really eat or drink anything save a few sips of water, but he claimed he'd already ate before he got on the plane. "So I guess things never get boring for you, huh?" he commented offhand as he held his bag close, which looked oddly light for a summer of camping in the woods. "I've always heard great stories about them, but that's nothing compared to seeing the real thing. Who's your favorite Autobot?"
A snort escaped her as she shook her head, earning a look of confusion from him as she said, "Okay, now you're just asking me to play favorites with them. If I had to choose though…I think it'd be a tie between Jazz and Jack-Jack."
She felt a hard blush cross her face at that, embarrassed that she'd said that out loud. "Uh, yeah…that…was the nickname I gave Wheeljack when I was younger," she explained, avoiding his gaze so he wouldn't make fun of her. "Jazz said that he and the others were trying to teach me how to say their names when I was a baby, and for some reason I was able to say part of Wheeljack's name…ever since then I've always called him 'Jack-Jack'."
"Heh…you know, that's actually kinda cute. I like that," he told her, surprising her before something caught his eye. "Oh hey, that must be our group." Up ahead was a small group of kids carrying baggage, chattering excitedly to one another while a man and a woman, both of them wearing what looked like a red uniform with badges on sashes, tried to calm them down and get their attention. "I think those must be the chaperones," he commented as they moved closer, settling in the back of the group next to a tall boy with an unusual shade of light black/dark grey. The boy gave them a nod in greeting, his stormy blue-grey eyes warm and friendly before he turned his attention back to the man in the center of the group.
"Alright children, now settle down," the man was saying, his voice gentle and even. Strangely enough she felt calm just listening to him, his presence and voice having a calming effect on the other children as they quieted down and looked towards him. Satisfied that he'd gotten their attention, he accepted the clipboard from the woman standing next to him and said, "Once we've done roll-call and gotten everyone here, we'll head out to the bus shortly. When I call your name, please raise your hand and say 'here'. Wilson Walker?"
"Present," the tall boy next to Chris said. For a moment she caught a glimpse of what looked like yellow eyes when he turned to glance at them, but the image faded away to a golden-brown when he turned away.
"Here!" her friend chirped as he raised his hand.
"Here," she called back as she raised her hand, lowering it a little sheepishly when several of the other kids began whispering. Many people around Oregon and the states surrounding it knew about how the Witwicky's were friends with the Autobots, which meant that a lot of kids more often than not only wanted to be friends with them just to be able to spend time with their robotic friends. The man seemed to smile at her momentarily, as though he understood what she was feeling before he went back to the list.
Once everyone but one person had their named called out, he tucked the clipboard under his arm and gestured at his female partner and himself. "My name is Mr. David Sabor, and this is my comrade Miss Shannon Aviana," he introduced them, the short brown-haired woman nodding at them. "We will be your chaperones as well as your camp counselors during your stay, so if you need help with anything, come find us and we will do our best to assist you. Once we reach the campsite, we'll get you all assigned to your cabins."
"If you'll follow us to the bus, we'll get on our way," Miss Aviana said as she led them outside towards the large bus. "Put your bags in the compartments and fill in the seats from the back to the front. There should be no one sitting by themselves."
Several kids yelped in protest as they were shoved out of the way, Lauren's heart sinking when she recognized something very familiar about that voice as she turned away to avoid eye-contact. "Oh jeez, not her… Primus, please…please let it be anyone but her…" she hissed quietly, heart pounding in her chest so fast that she became winded. She panicked when she saw Chris try to peek over her shoulder and hissed at him. "No, no don't look Chris or she'll see you!"
"Well, well, if it isn't the little xeno-girl herself."
"…slag," she cursed under her breath, drawing a shocked look from her friend as she turned to face the music. "Hello, Anna."
Already she knew that this was going to be a painful experience as the girl sneered at her, blue eyes seething with unfathomable disdain at the blond haired girl in front of her. "I thought they would have kept freaks like you and your family locked away in a science lab over the summer," Anna said with a sniff, brushing a few strands of black hair out of her face. "Had I known that you were gonna be here, I'd of brought my freak-repellant. I don't need to catch whatever diseases those giant monsters are giving you and your brother. Speaking of which…" She looked around with a critical eye, noticing the lack of the latter person. "I noticed he isn't here. What's the matter? Did he finally get some sense knocked into him, or did one of your Autodork friends step on him for being a pest?"
Lauren felt a flare of anger rush through her veins, but she bit back the words she wanted to say and sighed. "You know, Anna, as much as I'm sure that you would like that, he's very much alive," she told the uptight girl, noting that she was dressed a little too fancy for camping. "He had to stay home for summer school."
Her reaction to the news, rather than simply dropping it and moving on like she'd hoped, was to simply burst into a fit of high-pitched guffaws. "Summer school?" she cackled wildly, as though it were the most hilarious thing in the world. "That is just too rich! I guess knowing those walking-tin-cans doesn't grant you guys any intelligence at all! What a riot, hahahaha!"
"At least he's smart enough to know he's not perfect," she retorted in annoyance. "Unlike certain little spoiled brats."
"Why you little-!"
Mr. Sabor—having heard enough—stepped between them and blocked their view of one another, effectively stopping their argument. "So, you must be Anna Nogrene," he said as he looked at the checklist, marking off one of the names that hadn't been called out. Tucking the pen behind his ear, he gave her a pointed look and asked, "Would you care to explain why you were almost late for the bus? And why you are antagonizing a fellow camper?"
"Oh, I'm sorry sir," she apologized to him, sounding as though she were talking to a respected teacher and not wanting to get in trouble. "My Daddy's private jet came in a little late, so I had to rush over here. It won't happen again, though, I promise. As for her-" she threw a dark glare at Lauren, the searing heat of the glares between the two almost hot enough to see sparks clash, "-my Daddy told me to never associate with the likes of her and her family because of the Autobots. It's because of the likes of them that everything's getting destroyed, and her family is only going to keep encouraging it until there's nothing left of Earth!"
"You take that back!" Lauren snapped as she started towards her, only to be blocked by Mr. Sabor's arm. "The Autobots are trying to save everyone from the Decepticons and actually care about humans. They just want peace!"
"If they want peace so bad, then they should just go away and mind their own business! We don't need them taking over our government's protection just because they're bigger than us!"
"Now that's enough!" Mr. Sabor ordered, looking between the two seething girls. "I don't know what sort of history you two have with one another, but it ends right here, right now." The two girls turned away from one another with twin huffs, earning a heavy sigh from the councilor as he shook his head. "We'll get this figured out once we arrive at the campsite. For now, let's just load up on the bus and be on our way."
Anna's face scrunched up in disgust as she said, "No way! I'm not riding in the same vehicle as that xeno-girl! I'd rather ride with any of these other losers than go anywhere with her."
Knowing that this was a tricky situation, Mr. Sabor turned to look at Miss Aviana and received a nod from her. "Alright, here's what we'll do," he started slowly. "I'll stay behind with Miss Witwicky and follow the bus in another vehicle. Shannon will be in charge of everyone else in the meantime, so all I ask is that you all listen to her and do as she says. We're trying to have fun this summer, so let's all make it enjoyable for each other, okay?"
Though obviously disgruntled at the fact that she really would be riding with the rest of the kids, Anna still gave a triumphant smirk at Lauren and stuck her tongue out. Lauren, however, said nothing as she stood next to Mr. Sabor and watched the other kids load up on the bus, some pausing to wave at her with eager smiles as they went by. She didn't wave back, her expression sullen as she drifted in her thoughts. By the time the rest of the campers had loaded onto the bus, Chris and the boy named Garen were the only ones left. "Hey…you gonna be okay?" Chris asked her in concern, having noticed her silence after the argument.
Remembering Optimus' words, she put on a smile and said, "I'll be fine, Chris. Don't worry about me…we're all going to the same place anyway, so we'll still see each other there. Okay?"
Chris didn't look too convinced by her words, yet a head-shake from Mr. Sabor told him not to press the issue. Knowing that he was concerned about her, Garen stepped forward and said, "I'll go with her, my friend. You can help Miss Aviana keep the other children in line should they overstep their boundaries or get out of hand. Does that sound like a plan?"
"Well…I…guess it's okay," Chris said uncertainly, glancing between them. It was obvious he wanted to stay, but he understood that she may need some space as he turned to step on the bus. "Just be careful, okay?"
"Don't worry, we'll be fine," Mr. Sabor said reassuringly. Looking down at her with those soft green eyes, he said, "Come. Let us go get a vehicle and be on our way."
It took at least ten or fifteen minutes for them to get a rental car before they set off on the road behind the bus, Lauren sitting in the passenger seat while Garen sat in the back. An uncomfortable silence seemed to fill the air as she stared out at her hands in her lap, musing over Anna's words while Mr. Sabor glanced at Garen in the rearview mirror. Reaching out to the console, Mr. David touched his finger against the radio. The music that played snapped her out of her thoughts as she stared at the radio, the sounds of the forest and soft flute music surrounding them like water. This was something that she'd never heard any radio station play before, and she looked at him in amazement as he gave a soft chuckle of amusement. "There," he said with a warm smile at her surprised expression. "A little music will make this trip more relaxing for us. Two hours is too long a drive for silence."
She stared at him in confusion, wondering for a moment just how he had been able to find this radio channel before she looked down at her lap once more. "That sounds like something Jazz would say," she uttered, voice quiet with longing as she sighed.
"…you shouldn't let anything that girl bother you," he said as he switched lanes. "I'm sure your brother is an intelligent young man, and I know that the Autobots would never do anything to hurt you two."
"But it's always been like that," she said after a moment of silence, resting her head against the glass and watching the other vehicles pass by. "Ever since my brother and I met her as kids, she's always treated us like we were trash. My brother Sam…he'd always have to protect me whenever the bullying got out of hand. She's even gotten other kids to believe that the Autobots are the real bad guys just because her own father hates them."
"He sounds like a terrible man," Garen commented off hand in the back.
"Actually…I don't think anyone has even seen her dad. Everyone just assumes it's because he's the head of the Norgrene Corporation, and that's why he's never around. And separating me from her and the other kids is pretty much just proving her point…"
"Which is?" Mr. Sabor pressed when she didn't elaborate.
"That I'm different from everyone else…and that my family and I aren't even considered worthy of being called 'humans' anymore because of our association with the Autobots. We may as well be our own species with how some people treat us…"
Garen made a sound akin to a wolf growl, but the sound faded away before she could really catch it. Taking a deep breath, the boy leaned forward so that he was resting his elbows on his knees and could get a better look at her face. "Despite all that she said to you back there, and even in the past," he started in a gentle tone, measuring his words carefully, "it is actually fear that is making her speak those words. It's an emotion that can often make humans—and even Transformers—say and do things that they will sooner or later come to regret because they are unwilling to open their minds to the idea that there is something…bigger out there. Something different…and there's no shame in that, nor should you feel like you should be ashamed for being different from others." Reaching out to touch her shoulder in reassurance, he said, "She just…needs a chance to get to know you. And once she realizes who you really are and that you are not a 'freak', then I am sure that her views towards you and your family will change."
She twisted her head around to look at him, not quite sure what to say. "You really think so?" she finally asked him, sounding hopeful.
"I know so," he told her with a firm nod, seeing a wave of relief wash over her. "So then…tell me about your family. What are they really like?"
The next two hours passed quickly as the two talked, each exchanging stories with one another about their friends and loved ones—even stopping at an ice cream shop on the way for a treat. Garen apparently had a girl that he really liked that would be attending camp, but she was considered a 'bad girl' by his friends and called a 'she-spider' because of her attitude. Yet he still held out on the hope that one day he could convince her that being good was well worth the rewards. Though she found his words to be a little corny, she couldn't help but feel that he was rather sweet and charming in his own way. By the time they reached the campsite, the other campers were already unloading their stuff and gathering around Miss Aviana and another boy with short brown hair and what looked like an overbite of buck teeth, who seemed to be directing them towards a building with a male attendant wearing a hardhat. "Come," Mr. Sabor said as he gestured for them to follow, guiding them over to where a tall man with nearly chocolate brown skin and black hair stood with his arms crossed next to another building. "I was told to bring you two over to Scoutmaster Jason's office to get you registered to a cabin. I'll fetch a few of the others while he gets you two ready to move in."
Glancing around the camp, she could see that it looked a little like someone made the buildings with machine-like precision, a strange and somewhat ominous-looking radio tower centered in the middle of the campsite with megaphones built into the dish. The tower was soon out of her mind as she and Garen were ushered past the scowling man, his gaze causing her to duck her head a little and scurry past her new friend in a hurry. Inside she saw a burly-looking man standing in front of a desk, his figure as intimidating as the man guarding the door, yet his gaze was warm and inviting as he held out his arms in greeting. "Welcome," he said in a gentle tone. "I'm glad to see everyone made it here safely. I am Scoutmaster Jason, and I'll be the troop leader for you and the other future Maximals."
"Maximal?" she repeated in confusion, not having read that in the brochure. "What's that?"
"Maximals are part of the theme we have here at camp Maxicon," he explained. "You see, the Maximals are part of one troop in competition with the other troop called the 'Predacons'. Each side will be set against each other in a figurative 'war' to see who can collect the most points for their faction. Things like tug-of-war and capture the flag will be only a few of the competitions that we will have, and the faction that wins each battle will receive an item that will come in handy for the next challenge. The goal of our camp is for everyone to have fun as well as challenge themselves in a friendly, safe environment."
"Oh wow, that sounds like it'd be fun!" she chirped excitedly, unaware of the look on Garen's face as he looked at Mr. Sabor. "Will we be able to go swimming?"
He nodded an affirmative, earning a wide smile as he raised his hand and began counting off on his fingers. "We'll have swimming, hiking, canoeing, and rock climbing. We may add a few things here and there, but the point is to make sure you're all having fun while you're here." Gesturing to his desk, he said, "Now, why don't we go ahead and get you assigned to a cabin? My associate Mr. Sabor will return shortly with the other campers."
"…well that's just Prime," he sighed as the sound of thunder rolled closer, raindrops starting to hit the glass like tiny fingers.
(Later That Night)
When all the campers had been tucked safely into their cabins, the downpour of rain ensured that none of the children would be out running about. This reassurance brought all the staff together in the main building, the room dark to prevent any eavesdroppers from seeing who all was present inside. All they would see were orbs of varied colored lights, several blinking like human eyes. One of the figures, his 'eyes' a light red sheen, stood at the head with a pair of pink eyes and spoke. "So what did you learn while you three were with her?" the voice asked.
A pair of gold, red, and green eyes glanced at one another before the green eyes stepped closer. "She seems really nice," a younger voice started out. "But other than that, I don't think she knows anything about what we're looking for."
The first voice hummed quietly at this, turning to face one of the others as he said, "What about you, Silverbolt? Did you learn anything?"
Golden-amber orbs blinked as they bobbed up and down—a sign that he was nodding before he glanced over at the shuttered blinds, the moonlight reflecting the raindrops against the glass. "Yes. Ever since that other human antagonized her at the airport, she seemed to grow…distant. It almost seemed as though she were ashamed at the fact that her family was associated with the Autobots, and yet she speaks highly of them and acts as though they were actually an extension of her family."
"Yeah," the second voice chimed in agreement. "She told me at one point that a lot of other kids in the past only wanted to meet the Autobots rather than be friends with her or her brother. It happened at one of their birthdays before. That's why they don't talk about them when meeting new people, since that's all they wanna talk about."
A snort drew their attention as the pink-eyed figure shook his head, the deep voice muttering, "How pathetic. Next I suppose you'll say that she has tea-time with the Decepticons?"
"Can you honestly blame her for acting that way? She just wants to be a normal child," a fourth voice spoke up as the red optics from the trio glared at pink-eyes, the tone sounding concerned. "That's why she came here…to feel normal."
Red orbs narrowed slightly in contemplation, the first voice looking between the three standing before him. Finally he said, "We'll have to keep an eye on both her and this 'Anna' girl. If there are any issues between them, I wanna know about it. Time is running short, and we can't afford any mistakes at this point…not when we're so close. Failure is not an option."
"As much as I loathe having to keep up this 'truce'," pink-eyes muttered. "I can't say I disagree either."
Orange orbs suddenly blinked open, startling the amber eyes as they appeared next to them. "Well, if it's a matter of knockin' dat broad's ego down a peg 'r two, then I'm da rat for the job," the short figure said, a smug smirk nearly audible in his voice. "I'll keep 'er off the kid's back."
"…just please make sure that it's not going to come back to haunt us."
"Nah, don't you worry 'bout a thing, big guy. It'll just the occasional gum in the hair, water balloons…da works. Guaranteed to keep her off da kid's back for a few days or so to nurse dat big ego."
"Fine." Glancing at the window himself, the first voice heaved a sigh as he closed his eyes. "It's getting late for all of us…and you'd better get back to the cabin before she starts wondering where you are."
"Sure thing, Big Bot," the young voice chirped, green eyes scrunching up in what could only be a grimace of pain. "Yelch…I hate going out in the rain."
How goes the weather up there? It was fine down here before it started raining. It was an early shower, so it caught everyone that was standing outside with the downpour. The scoutmaster said that the weather should pass by tomorrow, so we'll be able to get introduced to the campsite itself without having to wear ponchos. So far it looks nice, although it's a little smaller than I expected. The buildings are bigger than the actual campsite itself, and the doors look like Bumblebee and Brawn could fit through them! Still, not complaining. The cabins are surprisingly cozy, and there's plenty of room to run around even when it rains. Oh, and you won't like this, but guess who else came to camp? I'll give you three guesses, and no, it's not Mirage…although I'm still looking over my shoulder just in case he tried to follow me to my new home, and I don't think they'll let me keep an Autobot here. Anyway, you give up? Here's a hint: she's got black hair, and has a bigger mouth than Starscream himself…
Yup…it's Anna the Brat. Don't ask me why she's here because I have no idea either. Things already started off bad when she arrived because she couldn't keep her big mouth shut. Camp Councilor Sabor said that he and the other staff would make sure that she doesn't try and cause me any trouble while we're here, but you just know she'll try anyway. Le sigh…
Anyway, on a happier note (please don't tell Dad, and if he's there listening to you right now, then tell him not to send Ironhide or the twins…I swear, nothing happened!): I met these two really nice boys. The first one was on the plane ride here, and his name is Chris. In a way he almost reminds me of you, only with a little bit of Sideswipe's silliness! He's actually one of my cabin mates, and right now we're waiting for our other cabin mate to get in. And the other boy I met is called Garen, and to be honest I don't quite know how to really describe him. He sounds overly polite at times, like one of those knights that Dad would always read to us when we were younger. But he is really smart and sweet, and he told me why he thought Anna has been acting the way she has towards us. I'm not sure how much his idea will actually work out, but I'll give it a shot. Besides, what's the worst that cou—
Actually, I'm not about to finish that sentence. We've already learned what happens when someone asks that question, and I'm not about to repeat the process here.
I really miss you guys already, but maybe I'll forget being homesick by having fun with my new friends during these competitions. Oh hey, speak of the Con, Chris just walked in! He had to stay behind and talk to the scoutmaster about something, but he won't tell me what it is. Hopefully it's nothing bad, because I'd hate to lose a friend so soon if he had to head home again. And there's another boy trailing after him too. It looks like he's got a…pet snake? Okay, now this will require investigating…I shall send another letter soon once I find out who my new bunkmate is! In the meantime, you just focus on passing those classes and kicking Decepticon tail!
Love and miss you all,
P.S.-How much you wanna bet that Anna will be heading home in a week because she can't take the bugs and dirt anymore? Ten bucks says she gets sent home because the staff can't take her whining anymore!
P.S.S.-I'm being serious about Dad not sending uncle Ironhide or the twins. They're really nice, I swear!
*-Okay, so if any of you have paid any attention to the other Transformer series and have seen the humans, then I'm pretty sure the outfit and appearance of this particular human should be very familiar to you all. Don't worry, it's not the actual character herself and is just an alternate reality version…but you may see the actual character in future installments if I manage to figure out how to actually work it out. 03o It's still up for debate in my noodle…
EDIT: Had to rewrite some names. I thought I had gotten them all changed, but I must've missed some. =3=
Well guys, this is the first revamped chapter knocked out and ready for your review to tell me how it turned out. :3 Anywho~! I hope you guys enjoy the little letter that Lauren is sending her brother, because you'll be seeing more of those in later chapters—and there is indeed a reason for it other than getting her inner thoughts and for comedy reasons!
Anyway, please leave a nice little review to let me know how I did, and if there is anything at all that needs to be changed, don't hesitate to give me some constructive creative criticism! That's how writers learn and grow! :D I shall get these chapters out as quickly as my schedule and plot bunnies will allow me. They're already nibbling like crazy...I just hope I can keep up with them! XP
Love you all my pretties, and thank you all for sticking by me even after so many delays from the thing known as life and school and work. ;v; And heads up, the rating may change a little in future installments when things get a little darker.