Chapter 9

"Ow! Red! That hurt!" Red Alert sighed and gently rubbed the thin mech's arm from giving Bluestreak a minor booster shot to help his weak immune systems.

"I'm sorry little one, but you know it helps you stay healthy." The femme had cared for Ultra Magnus' sparkling since he was barely a megacycle old. Of course, back then she was a young medic, and seeing such a small and prematurely sparked little one pulled at her own spark and motherly instincts. The complications that the mech had to deal with because of how he was sparked kept Red Alert busy. Between his weak ventilation systems, his fragile frame and the fact that a strong enough common virus could kill him meant that both Ultra Magnus and Red Alert kept on their toes to keep the little one strong.

"I know, doesn't mean I have to like it," the steel blue youngling muttered with a pathetic pout gracing the gray face. Red Alert shook her head and gently kissed his forehead, caring for the youngling as if he were her own brother, and knew that her brother Mach Alert would do just the same. Bluestreak's nearly white-blue optics brightened and he grinned widely.

"I know you've got me wrapped around your little digit, Bluestreak, but that doesn't mean that you're getting out of your checkups and boosters." Red Alert put her hands on her hips and smiled at the young mech.

"Ooh kaaaay," Bluestreak sighed melodramatically, looking up at the medic and waiting for more scans to be done. Content that the little one wouldn't be putting up any more fights about the procedures, Red Alert picked up several scanners, gently laying Bluestreak down on the berth. She worked quickly and relatively quietly as the silver blue mech stared up at the ceiling and tried to keep himself still and occupied. The medic was proud to see the young mech controlling his usually bad habit of fidgeting and moving when bored. It made her job a lot easier after all.

"All right, we're all done, Blue," Red Alert said, connecting the scanner to the computer to upload it's data. Bluestreak grinned and swung his legs around to the side of the berth, getting up and stretching.

"Awesome! So am I good to go then?" The femme smiled and got a package of energon goodies and handed it to the young mech.

"Yeah, here, just make sure Ultra Magnus doesn't know they came from me," she said chuckling and winking at the little one. Bluestreak's optics lit up and he immediately put them into a subspace pocket.

"You got it! Thanks, Red Alert!" Bluestreak hurried out of the medical bay and back to his work schedule. Red Alert chuckled and shook her head before turning to the computer and her own work. She carefully followed the instructions that Ultra Magnus had given her, and encrypted the information with his security clearance only. She updated Bluestreak's file swiftly, trying not to catch any attention from the overly paranoid information department. Finishing her report she sent it off to the Magnus, leaning back and closing the system down, as well as cleaning the scanner of information. She hoped that the barely teenaged equivalent mech would keep out of trouble; but if she was honest with herself, she knew that it was more likely than not.

Swoop shifted slightly and flipped another page on the data pad as Axel continued to run scans and repairs. He paused though, hearing a soft humming coming from the front cockpit and realized it had been several hours since Axel had last called for his assistance. Putting the data pad down and swinging his long legs off of the berth, Swoop stood; slightly crouched and walked toward the front of the shuttle. He tilted his head slightly and smiled as he saw Axel sleeping soundly in the pilot's chair, his head rested on his folded arms.

"You work too hard," Swoop said softly walking over and looking at the screen. The Dinobot shook his head and gently gathered up the small mech into his arms, Axel barely stirring at the soft jostling. Ducking out of the shuttle and walking carefully to the ship's door, Swoop carried the white and gold mech out into the cool night.

"Him fall asleep, huh?" Grimlock asked from his post near the door, standing protectively in robot mode.

"Yeah, him work too hard sometimes, me think. Me take him back to Autobots to get rest. Swoop will be back soon." Grimlock nodded his consent to the flier as he opened up small thrusters on his back and flew almost silently into the night sky. Grimlock turned his gaze upward and frowned, growling softly under his breath as he watched satellites zoom from horizon to horizon.

"I'm worried. Axel hasn't come back yet." Jazz looked up into the tree where Prowl was perched, staring into the distance toward Lake Erie. The white mech stretched as he got up and gracefully swung into the strong branches joining his lover.

"I'm sure he's fine. He's got a one track mind when it comes to computers, but I suppose you know that. Knowing the kid, he probably is still working on the shuttle or even toying around with his side projects. Axel's one hell of a multitask-er," Jazz chuckled slightly and leaned against the truck of the tree smiling. Prowl sighed and tried to hide the tug of a smile on his face.

"Still doesn't mean I can't worry about him. I practically raised him after our creators were arrested. He's my little brother, and I don't want to lose him or see him get hurt." Prowl leaned into Jazz, frowning and bowing his head slightly.

"He's clumsy; adorable, but clumsy. He always seems to want to prove himself to me. He tried joining the Ninja Corps, but he ended up smacking himself with a bow staff as soon as he met with the Grand Master, Yoketron. Then he tried getting into the military aspect of the Elite Guard, and nearly destroyed half the barracks when he was told to clean the weapons cache." Prowl shook his head with a deep sigh and looked up to Jazz. "He bites off more than he can chew, as the saying goes. Even though Camshaft is still online, Axel is the only family I have regular contact with." Jazz wrapped his arms around the dark ninja and kissed his helm gently.

"I know. But y'know, sooner or later, hopefully sooner, we can head back to Cybertron as free mechs, and get your sire freed. I know he'd want to hear all about the crazy stunts you two pulled. I know that you'll be able to take that visor off and show your handsome optics to every cat back home." Prowl smiled and chuckled glancing up at the night sky, seeing a shadow silently glide across the starlit sky.

"Looks like Swoop," Prowl said softly before pulling away from Jazz and leaping to the ground and heading outside where the Dinobot was landing. The white bot followed slowly, having a feeling that everything was all right. His instinct was proven correct when he saw Swoop walk into the base carrying Axel, sound asleep in his arms.

"Him fall asleep in shuttle. Me Swoop figure it better for him to sleep at home than sitting in chair." Prowl chuckled and nodded, carefully taking his brother from the Dinobot's grip.

"Thank you Swoop," he said with a slight grunt, realizing that no matter how old his brother got, he would still end up carrying him to bed at one point or another. He couldn't help but smile a bit though at the thought.

"You welcome Prowl." Swoop smiled and waved to Jazz before turning to leave. The white mech walked up to Prowl and chuckled.

"Here, Axel cannot be easy for you to carry like that." Prowl shrugged and smiled, but let his mate take his younger brother.

"It's not that bad. He's a good work out when he's in recharge like this," Prowl laughed softly and followed Jazz as he walked to Axel's room, and put him down into the berth. Jazz chuckled and went to leave, pausing when Prowl gently leaned down and kissed Axel's forehead lovingly. It was another rather bitter reminder to Jazz that the brothers only had each other for now, but at least he was there for them too. Smiling, Jazz wrapped his arm around Prowl and walked back to their quarters for the evening.

"Sir, we've just entered the orbit of the planet Jupiter," the navigator for The Obelisk said turning to Sentinel Prime. The blue mech nodded and turned to Jetfire.

"All right, let's send out our ETA to Optimus' group on Earth and navigate the asteroid belt." The orange twin grinned and immediately began to send out the information as the ship began it's careful navigation through the asteroid belt.

"Okie for dokie Mister Sentinel prime sir!" Sentinel rolled his optics slightly at the young mech, trying to hide the slight smile as well.

"Jetstorm I need you to scan for any ships of Cybertronian design leaving Earth." Sentinel frowned as he began to think over what it was that they would expect. The Prime frowned and looked at the screen again as the twins continued to work. Would Optimus defend Prowl and Axel? He could only plan for the worst, and hope for the best. "Strickline," Sentinel ordered to the pilot, looking at the young neon green and white pilot. "Increase our speed, I want us to earth in less than two days." Sentinel ordered frowning. He needed to see his former friend as a possible enemy, and pressing the speed of the ship would give them the element of surprise.

"They're coming." Ratchet frowned and looked at the others. "The message was delayed because of a solar radiation spike, they're three days out. Optimus, we need to make a decision. Do we send Prowl and Axel out or do we try to reason with Sentinel?"

The day had started on the wrong foot. After the repairs done to the shuttle and double checks on the systems, the communications from The Obelisk came through. With the delay in the communications, and the direction they were incoming, launching the shuttle would be obvious, on the other hand, it would be dangerous to attempt a launch after The Obelisk had landed, especially if the two had to scramble to to shuttle.

"We have to try to reason with Sentinel. If we can give them ANY chance to stay here, then I'm taking it." Optimus was firm in his stance as he walked over to the computer. "Axel, can you boost the signal to reach The Obelisk?" The Prime looked over at the young mech, hoping for the best.

"I should be able to, but...there's a chance that they could recognize my techniques if there's someone on board who I worked with." Axel walked over to the computer and frowned. "But it doesn't matter much they're still two days away, which means if it doesn't work then we'll have to try something else." Axel took off a panel of the make shift communications computer and hooked into it. With a swift movement of his head, the black visor slipped down over his optics.

Jazz and Prowl stood nearby, waiting patiently, if nervously, for the conversation to take place. Every Autobot was practically holding their breath as Axel lifted his visor and nodded to Optimus.

"Sentinel Prime of The Obelisk, this is Optimus Prime stationed on Earth. Sentinel, we need to talk." Optimus said, looking at the screen, hoping that the other would pick up the comm.

"This is being Jetfire of The Obelisk." The bright orange and cream mech on the screen looked almost sadly toward Optimus. "I am afraid we are under strict orders to not engage in communications via the long distance unless necessary." The mech frowned. "I am very sorry. The Obelisk out."

"Dammit!" Optimus glared at the screen as the connection was cut. "Sentinel's locked us out completely." He looked to the others.

"I can't even get a lock back on their comms. They've scrambled their signals. He must have recognized my signature." Axel disconnected from the computer.

"I'm not giving up yet, we have at least three days before they arrive."

"Optimus, with all due respect, waiting for Sentinel to arrive is only going to put us in more danger," Prowl said stepping forward. "I know what you're trying to do, but if Axel and I leave now, we can save lives. The shuttle is ready to fly in a day and a half once the fuel cells have been charged from the remaining power of the Ark. It's our only option now."

Optimus frowned and nodded slowly. "You're right. We're put all of our efforts into getting you guys completely set for the drop off on Omicron." The leader looked at Axel, Prowl and Jazz with worried optics. They were his friends, his family, and this was only the second most permanent goodbye. "Promise me that you will be careful. One day, we'll all meet up again, and be a team." Optimus smiled sadly and put his hands on the brothers' shoulders.

"We will Optimus."