The Sidhe Chronicles 2
Dark of the Moon
(A.N. Transformers belongs to Hasbro and whoever they have allowed the rights to it, which certainly doesn't include me. No money has been made from this fanfic and no copyright infringement is intended. All I own are my OCs.
This is an adaptation of Dark of the Moon. My sources are both the movie and the Peter David novelization. Direct quotes are in bold type. Events from the movie not mentioned within this story can be assumed to have happened more or less the same as in canon, with the exception that in this AU, Wheeljack was not executed. I left out scenes that did not affect my OC for the sake of brevity. Some familiarity with the movie or novelization will be necessary to understand what's going on here. It is a sequel to "Swords and Jewels"
::Silent speech (Internal radio or through a bond)::
Scene Break: -DOTM-
Thanks to my beta, Vivienne Grainger, without whose assistance this story would not exist. Any remaining mistakes are mine. /A.N.)
It was too fine a morning to sit indoors. For once, Diarwen had the place to herself. Her friend Betony, who owned the farm where they lived, was off to Chicago with a friend who drove a truck. She wouldn't be back for several days. Their bandmate Jordan Wallace had family issues in Florida. She had already fed the cat and done all the other small tasks that needed done around the house this morning.
She decided she had might as well earn some money and maybe, if she were fortunate, find inspiration for a new ballad in the bustle of the city. She decided that a generic bohemian look would do well today, peasant blouse, long flowing skirt that, with a glamour, could hide her sword, a scarf tied around her waist, hair in a simple braid. A stronger glamour hid her bow and quiver, slung over her shoulder. Her belt pouch, tucked under her scarf against pickpockets, held her money, a fake ID in the name of Diana Smith, and her transit passes. Last of all she wore a pair of leather gloves, necessary lest she burn herself on iron or steel a dozen times a day. The only instrument she carried today was her tambourine. She might explore for a while, and had nowhere safe to leave her harp while she did so. The tambourine had been bought from a vendor at a Faire and could as easily be replaced.
It was a long walk to the nearest bus stop. It took her to the train station, and the train took her into the city. Her destination was a small park on the banks of the Potomac which was a street musicians' hangout, but she had a walk to get there from the nearest bus stop.
A bike messenger nearly ran Diarwen over. She danced out of the way and landed on his handlebars for a short ride, intrigued by his dark eyes and smile. A few blocks later, she left him with a smile of her own and a kiss on the cheek. Looking back at her, he nearly ran into the back of a garbage truck, much to the amusement of its crew.
Diarwen spied her favorite hot dog vendor at the entrance of the park and decided it was late enough in the morning for an early lunch. A few minutes later, she had a footer, a bag of chips and a can of soda. Junk food had become a vice, but as a sword master, she got enough exercise to deal with the calories. She had to be careful not to eat very much processed food, though, the chemicals could make her very ill. As a matter of fact, a stop at the organic market would be a good idea.
She had just finished her not-so-healthy but delicious lunch, when an odd assortment of vehicles sped by. First came a fire truck and a yellow Camaro, followed after about half a minute by a black truck, a couple of military hummers, and a silver Lamborghini.
It wasn't their outward appearance that caught her interest, but an energy that she knew of old. She tossed her trash into a nearby container and headed down the street after that odd little parade.
They had apparently turned into the back lot of one of DC's ubiquitous government office buildings. Not one to let walls, gates and guards get in the way of satisfying her curiosity, she crossed the street and climbed a tree.
Sometimes some random action taken on a split second's whim can create a fork in the road and take destiny in an entirely different direction. Diarwen took a look into the parking lot and saw a large red robot about to shoot a somewhat shorter black one in the back. The red one had picked his moment well, no one was looking his way.
Diarwen had fired an arrow and shouted a warning before she really had time to think about what she was doing. Her arrow flew true, striking between the red one's finger plates to bite deep into his servo. He would have ignored a human-made arrow, but this was something else again. It burst into white flame, doing little damage but certainly creating a distraction. Sentinel's shot went astray, hitting a shipping container instead of the weapons specialist.
That was all Ironhide needed to dive for cover and spin up his weapons, roaring every Cybertronian synonym for coward of questionable lineage that he had in his vocabulary. The Sidhe didn't understand a word of it, but she got the gist.
Will Lennox reacted by grabbing a shoulder-fired rocket from his hummer and blasting away at the traitor. Sentinel was just fast enough to get his shield in the way, but the impact still knocked him into the wall with a loud crash. Concrete shards went flying.
Ironhide's fusion cannon would have done a lot worse than that if it hit. Sideswipe and Bumblebee were getting themselves organized and the NEST agents had followed their commander's lead without hesitation. Dozens of rounds impacted the red armor, but instead of ricocheting off like a normal bullet would have, they exploded. None had any serious effect, but it was only a matter of time until one of them hit something not so well armored. To top it all off, Sentinel wasn't sure exactly where Optimus Prime was, and the need to fight him, Ironhide and Sideswipe at the same time was precisely what the failed sneak attack had been meant to prevent. Sentinel vaulted the wall, causing a few cars on the street to spin out of control then take off up the street as fast as they could go.
Diarwen drew her sword and called spellfire to ignite its mithril blade. That had been the last sight of many a Fomor that blackguard's size. She dropped ten feet to a lower branch then jumped the rest of the way to the ground, landing with a dancer's grace.
Sentinel did not know who or what she was, but he could very well sense the energy flowing around that sword. He swung his primax blade at her, but clearly he wasn't used to fighting enemies her size.
Diarwen knew that probably saved her life as she vaulted over the blade. She had fought enemies before who were better swordsmen or more powerful witches. That in and of itself did not frighten her. But there was something about this adversary that gave her an ice cold chill.
By then Ironhide had got to the top of the wall. One blast melted half Sentinel's shield, and another just missed his helm.
He gave them a look of pure fury, and for a moment Diarwen thought they were going to have to fight him to the death right there. His plans apparently did not include a street brawl. The threat of his rust gun forced them to take cover. He backed off a few long paces, covering them, then transformed and got out of there. Ironhide clearly thought about sending a few cannon rounds after him, but there were too many innocent bystanders to risk it.
Thanking the spirits of Fire, Diarwen extinguished and sheathed her blade. For a moment, she knelt in the street, breathing hard and grounding the energy she had drawn up.
A shadow fell across her and she looked up at the large black warrior.
"Are you injured?"
"No, not at all. Yourself?"
"No, and I am in your debt for that. Come with me before the police get here."
She balanced on the hand he offered, holding to a forearm plate as he went back over the wall. The adrenaline rush burnt itself out and left her fighting the shakes. At least, if anyone asked her, she was going to blame it on the adrenaline.
A smaller blue robot, still at least three times her size, was spraying something on the remains of the shipping container, while the rest of the crowd milled around. There was a lot of angry shouting and cursing in several languages. A green bot came over and asked her permission to scan her for injuries. She didn't know what he meant but he clearly meant no harm, so she allowed it.
Whatever his scan revealed was enough to startle him, but he kept it to himself as a woman came marching out of the building. "You can't just bring all these civilians in here! This is a restricted area for good reason, they've all got to go!"
Ironhide thundered, "I owe this 'civilian' a life debt, and I'll be damned if you'll treat her, or Sam or his femme, with disrespect in my hearing!"
Diarwen leapt lightly from Ironhide's palm to the pavement in front of the newcomer and swept a theatrical bow. "No civilian have I been since long before you had a concern in it, milady. I am Diarwen, sword-matron and bard. May I have the honor of your name e'er you insult me again?"
"What is this, an SCA convention? I'm Charlotte Mearing, and I was still the Director of NEST the last time I looked."
"Well, milady, since I have no idea what that is, and you are clearly unaware of what I might be, shall we discuss this like rational adults, or settle questions of precedence more directly?"
A lot of the soldiers were willing to release the tension in laughter when someone in the back shouted, "Catfight!"
A commanding voice from the back of the crowd stated, "No one is going anywhere until I find out what in the Pit just happened here."
Everyone in the whole place snapped to attention, with the exception of Mearing, who turned to the newcomer with a certain respect. Diarwen recognized the tall warrior's blue and red patterns and bowed, with less flourish and more formality than she had shown Mearing. "Well met, warrior."
The story got told, along with a great number of expressions of outraged honor. Diarwen told her part in it, more interested in giving Optimus the facts he needed than in whether or not Mearing believed a word of it. She didn't let on that she knew Will, because she wasn't sure how Mearing would take it, but the NEST commander himself didn't try to hide anything. He obviously wanted to know more about the Sidhe part of it, but as far as he was concerned if Ironhide said he owed her, Will did as well.
Optimus said, in a command tone he had never used before with her, "Director Mearing, Sam, Carly and Diarwen are welcome here. If that is going to be a problem for you, then we need to discuss it with the President. Immediately."
She considered. They already knew too much, and the Witwicky kid always managed to get himself into everything the Autobots were in-right up to his eyeballs. More importantly, she wasn't going to learn anything about Diarwen if she kicked her out. "They're your responsibility," she said.
Optimus acknowledged that with a nod. "The important consideration now is Sentinel."
The bot who changed into a yellow Camaro looked at Optimus. From the way the bots reacted it was obvious to Diarwen that he had just asked a question, though she had heard nothing. Optimus replied, "I don't know yet, Bee. I don't know why Sentinel did this."
Arcee asked, "Could the 'Cons have infected him with a virus? He's been out on his own for a few days."
Ratchet said, "Are you suggesting that they might have captured him before he could have alerted us that something was happening? I find that hard to believe. I'd be more inclined to think he got glitched when the Ark crashed. The Matrix would have repaired any physical damage, but if his programming got corrupted, I don't know that it would have been restored. But even that wouldn't have explained this."
Optimus said, "Megatron must have done something to him."
That seemed to be the consensus, but Diarwen had her doubts. She said, "You may not believe it to look at me, but I have been a warrior for many, many turnings of the Wheel. The Sidhe are long lived, as long as your kind unless some accident or the fates of warfare intervene. I have fought many battles, and survived them as much by trusting my skill at reading my enemy as by any ability at arms or wizardry. That one is one who commands, not one who is commanded."
Will said, "If you're right about that, we're in for the fight of our lives."
Sam and Carly did have to leave. They both had work. But this time, Optimus sent Bumblebee with them. The rest went into the building.
The office building exterior was just a facade. Inside, it was mostly one long huge hall. There was technology everywhere, but the trappings aside, Diarwen knew this place. It was the great hall of any dun or longhouse, human or Sidhe, in her day. Here a clan worked by day and slept by night, each family's sleeping areas along the walls where they kept their belongings, and the central common area. At one end, the high table where the clan leadership met—here, that was a high walkway where the humans and bots could speak at eye level. Yes, she was well familiar with this.
This particular clan had just been the victim of a cattle raid, and their pride was smarting. At least, thank the gods and ancestors, they were not a clan in mourning.
Mearing came over. "How did you meet these people? You room with Lennox' sister, you and Optimus Prime know each other somehow. What's your connection?"
"A fair question, that. Might we sit somewhere, and I'll tell the tale over something to drink?"
Mearing nodded, and led the way to the office that she had been told was hers. "I think my common courtesy flew out the window in all the confusion. We, all of NEST, are greatly in your debt. If you hadn't been there—"
"But I was, milady. Best not to think of what might have been, had luck failed us."
"True." Mearing moved a box from a chair, and opened another box to find a bottle of bourbon and two shot glasses. "I hope Jim Beam will do."
"If that's what you're having, it's fine," Diarwen smiled. Once they were seated with their drinks in hand, she asked, "How long ago would you have my tale begin?"
"I need to know that you aren't a security risk to my people. But beyond that, I'm trying to wrap my head around the concept that all my grandmother's stories about the Fair Folk have a basis in truth."
"I am glad that you said 'a basis.' Much of the lore has been filtered through the lens of the medieval Church, which tried to commit genocide on my folk. We fared no better than the heretics and the Jews in those days. We are a warrior people, but we were outnumbered hundreds to one. In the end, rather than fight a war that would have led to devastation for both sides, my Queen ordered our retreat to the lands of our ancestors, that which has entered your legends as Tir nan Og, the lands to the west. Now, I think you would call it another dimension. When the last had gone, I destroyed the portal so that none could pursue. This is your world now."
Mearing had the grace to be ashamed.
Diarwen said, "I am the only one left alive with blood on my hands from that war. It is long past. I have since found welcome and friendship among generations of your kind. For hundreds of your years, I dedicated myself to protecting others from the excesses of the Inquisition. If there was revenge to be had, I had it, until I'd taken more than my fill of it, during the wars of the Reformation. When European settlement of this land began, I came here to begin anew. For what it is worth, I probably am an American, since I was living here when this nation was founded and I fought for its independence. I was a scout and a spy for General Marion in those days."
"Would you like to make that official?"
"I would like not to be deported when this crisis is past," Diarwen replied. "Though, for all that, you would be welcome to try."
"At the very least, I have the contacts at INS to keep that from happening."
"And the Autobots?"
"I can't exactly pass them off as Irish immigrants," Mearing pointed out.
Diarwen laughed. "I suppose not. In any case, I've done many things over the years. I've been a governess and bodyguard for the daughter of a president. I've sung in dance halls throughout the west. I've fought in every war save the Indian Wars, I'd have no hand in that barbarity."
"Every one? Including the Gulf?"
"Most recently in Afghanistan."
"Where? You weren't in Kandahar, were you? I was there a lot."
"I helped hunt Osama, though more is the pity I was not there when they found him. I had friends in the North Tower."
"I had a few in the Pentagon. I'm certain we know a lot of the same people."
"Most likely. I scouted for the Steel Tiger."
Mearing raised her glass. "Colonel, now General, Tigran. Shall I give him a call?"
"To his health! Please do, and convey my regards."
That call quickly established Diarwen's bona fides as far as Mearing was concerned.
"How did you end up here?"
"A leg full of steel shot from a roadside bomb," she said. "It nearly burned my leg off before my partner got it all out. I was months healing that, and even longer working my way back to fighting condition. I amused myself and earned pocket money that summer busking and singing at the Faires. That was where I met Betony Lennox. We formed a band together with another friend. Two years ago, I met Optimus Prime by way of Betony. That was a...surprise. Even so, I'd known that her brother was a Ranger, but I never suspected anything like all of this."
"Betony and Jordan are both out of town. There is a park not far from here where street musicians play. I meant to earn some coin today, not get into a battle royale with the likes of that."
"You rose to the occasion," Mearing said, raising her shot glass.
"I've battled Fomori lords and dragons who did not have such terrifying auras," Diarwen admitted, one warrior to another. She tossed back the last of her glass, and Mearing poured her another. "I could not just stand by—"
Mearing said, "To those who cannot just stand by—may they increase and prosper."
Diarwen drank to that.
"Wait a minute. There are dragons? And...Fomor? What's a Fomor?"
"Yes, there are dragons. Few today, but they do exist. The ones who have learned to get along with the governments where they live. The Fomor are the ancient enemies of the Sidhe. We are kin to humans. Most of us had a human ancestor or two, and many humans have Sidhe blood. The Fomor are another people entirely. They are the root of your legends of bloodthirsty ettins and giants and ogres. A few of them still live in the wild places of Europe and Asia. They are not the threat that they once were, but if you hear of a mountain place where those who venture do not return, take heed."
Mearing remembered a lonely mountain pass in Afghanistan where more than one agent had disappeared without a clue, and she wondered what might have been living in that awful, barren place. She had been there alone at night herself. Had something recognized a fellow hunter and sought an easier meal—or had it just not been hungry that night?
Diarwen said, "I need to get a neighbor to take care of Betony's place. Is there a particular tale you'd have me spin to explain my absence?"
"We have an agent at Walter Reed who handles calls confirming sick friends. I'll get you the details." She typed into her laptop, and then wrote a phone number and a few details about the sick friend on a sticky note. "You don't have a cell. Would you like one of ours?"
"Complete with tracking device, I should imagine?"
Mearing spoke to her secretary, who soon came in with the phone. Diarwen politely excused herself to make the call, though she was certain that it was being monitored.
Li asked, "Shall I arrange for someone to take you back to Ms. Lennox' place to get your things?"
Diarwen considered. She did have some things at the farm that she would have liked to have had, her harp for one and her armor for another. She had a feeling, though, that she was exactly where she needed to be right now. It was a long way up there and back. "That shouldn't be necessary, if your quartermaster can supply the basics. My needs are few."
"Director, with your permission I'll take Ms. Diarwen down to supply to get geared up."
"Yes, of course. Find her a place to stay while you're at it."
"Yes, Director. This way, ma'am."
Diarwen followed the secretary down to the NEST supply room. Li turned her over to a sergeant named Houston. He quickly supplied her with BDUs, boots and a personal kit. "I'm not authorized to issue you weapons, ma'am."
Diarwen examined the equipment that she had been issued along with the uniform. She would leave most of it behind. It was too much weight for her fighting style. "That's quite all right, I have my own. Could I have a few of those small kit bags for my webbing, and some web belts that you don't mind me cutting up?"
Houston produced the requested items, as well as a lighter that Diarwen could use to sear the cut ends of the webbing. She soon had her own gear and weapons arranged in easy reach. Except for her long white-blonde braid and lack of insignia, with her sword and bow under a glamour she blended in a lot better. She could have been any civilian contractor.
Li returned and showed her to her quarters, half an otherwise-unoccupied room for two junior officers. Diarwen changed into her uniform and stowed her civilian clothes. By the time she finished that, Mearing and Tigran had arranged papers for her. She was free to wander out into the main area.
Ironhide was working on his weapons at a bench nearby. She knew little of that, but from what she could tell, it looked like he was loading for bear. There was a small blue bot with him, one that she hadn't seen before. This one turned to Diarwen, and bowed deeply. "Lady, I have no words to thank you."
"I was fortunately in a place to cry an alarm."
Ironhide said, "True, but you drew your sword instead of running for cover."
"Well, I've no use for a back-stabbing coward," she scowled.
"I won't argue that. This is Chromia, my bondmate. You may not know, but your actions today saved her life as well as mine."
"Well met, milady. Knowing that, I am doubly glad I was able to help. I am called Diarwen."
Chromia nodded. She said, "My sisters and I were with Prime at Andrews when it all happened. I still can't believe—"
"Neither can I," Ironhide said. "I've fought beside that glitch since I was a raw recruit. I trusted him like anyone else here. Can't believe I was such a fool."
Diarwen said, "I saw many things in my Queen's court, but only once such treason. Her own seneschal tried to poison her. I'd have eaten anything he gave me. No one ever knew why he did it."
Ironhide growled, "Unless Sentinel didn't have a choice, I don't care why."
Chromia put her servo on his arm. He covered it with his own, but then turned back to his workbench. His bondmate knew him well enough to know when to leave him be. He wasn't intentionally snubbing them, he just needed to lose himself in his work for a while to come to terms with all that had happened today.
And, at least, he wasn't blowing things up.
Chromia let their bond speak for her, then turned to Diarwen. "Come with me, I'll introduce you around."
The Sidhe followed her out into the commons. The green bot was Ratchet, their healer. There were two sets of twins, the silver Lamborghini Sideswipe and his golden brother Sunstreaker, and a smaller set, Mudflap and Skids, who transformed respectively into a red Chevrolet Trax and green Chevrolet Beat. The yellow Camaro was Bumblebee. Chromia had two sisters, Flareup and Arcee. The three of them transformed into motorcycles and could also combine into one larger bot, though in practice they were usually more effective separately. The old blue one was Wheeljack, also known as Que. A red one with an Italian accent, a better-than-you attitude and two axe weapons was Mirage. A gray and blue Chevy Volt was named Jolt; Chromia explained that he was Ratchet's apprentice. "That's all of us who are here right now. Sam has a couple of minibots, Wheelie and Brains, at his place."
Diarwen struggled to keep track of all the names, something out of the ordinary for a bard who lived by her rote memory. "My apologies, Chromia. I find myself quite tired."
"After the day you've had, I shouldn't be surprised," her guide said sympathetically. "You must have had the fright of your life when that glitch took a swing at you! Ironhide said you jumped over his blade!"
"I do know how to fight a foe of that size, but it isn't size alone that makes that one dangerous. I am truly thankful that Ironhide convinced him he would be better off elsewhere."
"I'd like to know where he went and what he's up to. Nothing good, I'll bet."
"Very likely," Diarwen said. "We will be better prepared when next we face him, I hope."
"With any luck, he'll have us all to answer to next time," Chromia replied. "The humans are getting ready for their evening meal, you should hurry before they eat it all!"
Tonight the cook had fixed a southern-style chicken dinner. She joined the others in line for supper.
(Continued in Part 2)