A WOLF IN BOT'S CLOTHING, PART 2

A Transformers Prime tale
written by Stephen R. Sobotka / © 2012

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DISCLAIMER : This story is based on the creation of Tankara/Toei Animation & the Hub / Hasbro Inc. series "Transformers Prime"; all characters - with the exception of the original ones I created for this story and those cheerfully 'donated' by Shanna McLaughlin - are the property of said licenses, and are used here without knowledge or permission of same. This story is an original prose, and is the rightful property of the author; all original characters and the plot depicted within are protected by copyright law.

This story was produced to entertain fans of the original show, and is in no way, shape or form intended to be published for monetary gain. Please do not sue.

AUTHOR'S NOTE : A departure from my G1 Fiction, but no less proving to be just as fun to write. I want to thank my dear 'lil' sister', for being the muse behind this tale. And with that said, on with the show! - SRS

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Outpost Omega-One, Just Outside of Jasper, Nevada . . . .

Tapping his metallic fingers against the surface of his control pad, Ratchet looked at the readouts on his work-station and sighed. "Why aren't they reporting in? It shouldn't take this long to find an energon deposit." He rubbed his face plate. "Why does everyone insist on making me wait for results?"

"And yet, 'They also serve, who only stand and wait' . . . it's from John Milton," June Darby said, stepping up to where the observation platform met the near-edge of Ratchet's work-station. "It means-."

"Believe me, Mrs. Darby, I am aware of the sentiment behind those words," Ratchet said testily. He then added with a less harsh tone, "I, ah . . . listen in when the children are studying here at the base. Jack's literature class."

June nodded. Glancing behind them, she saw that her son, Jack, and his two friends were seated in what had become know as "The Corner"; busy with one of the video-game consoles they'd squirreled into the base. "It never ceases to amaze me . . . how well Jack and his friends are able to be themselves around all of you."

Ratchet nodded, his attention half-on the readouts and on her words. "Mm-hmm."

"I mean, if someone told me my son would be friends with huge robots from another planet-." She paused and looked back at Ratchet. "Ratchet, does it ever . . . bother all of you, to have us around like this?"

"Eh, what?" The tall medic turned away from his readouts to stare down at the brunette woman with some alarm. "Why, ah . . . no, not in the least!"

June crossed her arms and cocked her head at Ratchet. "Really."

Ratchet closed his eyes and groaned under his breath - sounding like the snarl of a diesel-block engine - before he replied. "Mrs. Darby, at times I will admit that . . . having Jack, Miko and Rafael can be, well . . . a bit trying on the transistors." He glanced over at the trio, who were enthusiastically egging each other on as they played their game. "Still, if ever there were any true allies to our cause, it is them. Oh, and you, of course."

"Naturally," June said archly. Her expression softened a bit, as she added, "Well, this isn't exactly the sort of activities I imagined Jack would get into. Yet, at least I know he and the others are in good hands."

"Believe me," Ratchet said gently, "Optimus holds the safety of your son and his companions in the highest regard."

"That's always good to know." The dark-haired trauma nurse cleared her throat. "So . . . has there been any word on new sources of energon for your team?"

Ratchet sighed. "So far, nothing. Arcee returned not long ago, with nothing to report on the site she investigated. I'm still waiting on Bulkhead and Bumblebee, as well as Coppertop and Tech-Dech's findings."

Just then, the command board came to life; as a ping-ping-warble sound preceded a voice transmission: "Coppertop to Base . . . Come in, Ratchet. We need to speak to Optimus."

Ratchet turned and tapped a accept-key. "Base here, Coppertop. What is your status?"

"Got a situation here, Ratchet. Can't tell you more, without input from Optimus," Coppertop replied.

June frowned. "Could it be serious?"

Ratchet shrugged. "Where Coppertop is concerned . . . I cannot say. But, she would not request our leader's input without good reason." He turned and called out across the chamber, "We're getting a transmission from Coppertop, Optimus. They're requesting you specifically to respond."

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Location: 15 kilometers East of Fredericton, New Brunswick, Canada . . . .

Looking down at the fallen drone, Coppertop listened as the voice of their leader filtered back through her com link: "Are you certain this worker-unit is alone, Coppertop? I find it highly unlikely that Megatron would just leave one of his short-range units out in the field."

Coppertop replied, "That's just the point, Optimus. This unit's clearly not set for long range work, and I've had Tech scan the local area for nearly two-hundred clicks in all directions." She paused to look over at her companion, who was standing apart from her and the downed drone with a high-intensity sweep-beam scanner deployed.

Tech stopped and snapped his scanner closed. "Nothing. No signs of energon emissions or 'Con operational signatures for miles."

"Confirmed, Optimus," Coppertop said, "We've got nothing else showing up anywhere nearby." She glanced down once more, taking in the drone, Wolfe, and his human 'friend', Chelle. "Just a relatively untouched energon deposit . . . and a mystery here."

Silence filled the com link, then Optimus' voice came back through again: "Understood. What do you intend to do?"

"About the deposit?" Coppertop asked. "Pfft. No brain-strain there. We'll tag it and come back with excavator units to draw up as much energon as we can haul for your stores." She swept her eyes over the exposed Engeron node that was sticking through the earth nearby. "I'd wager you've got a good supply here. Possibly yielding a couple thousand astro-litres."

"Indeed. Yet, what about the drone?" Optimus asked.

Tech smacked one metal fist into the other. "We could scrap it." He flinched at the harsh look Coppertop shot his way. "Just sayin'."

Coppertop sighed, then she said to Optimus, "If it's all the same, I think we'd better return to base with the drone. He's got a lot of damage."

"Are you certain of this course of action, Coppertop?" Optimus' voice was slightly pitched in disbelief. "We cannot say for certain, but this might be some ploy of Megatron's, meant to seek out our location so he could seek us out, and destroy us all."

Tech said, "Prime's got a point, Top."

Coppertop sighed, before she shook herself and said, "Believe me, the thought did cross my mind . . . just as you mentioned it, Optimus. But, the drone's . . . well, there's a human here, defending him. We know for a fact what Megatron thinks of Earth's inhabitants." She paused. "Besides, we cannot just leave this drone out here. If he is one of Megatron's lost ones, he might just tip Lord Bucket-head to the location of this energon vein."

Another silence filled the comm link. "Very well," Optimus said. "We shall prepare for your arrival with the drone. Get ready for an immediate ground-bridge . . . and let us hope that you are not wrong, Coppertop."

"Trust me, Optimus," Coppertop said, "I just have a . . . well, what Jack would call a 'gut' feeling. We'll wrap up our injured drone here and await transit." She clicked off her comm link and turned to Tech. "Okay, let's load him up. We've got a ride back to base on the way."

Tech scowled. "You're not even serious!" He jabbed a thumb at his chest plate. "There is no slottin' way I'm gonna carry THAT back to the base!"

At that moment, Chelle shot to her feet with a growl. "Wolfe is not a thing, and no one is to be taking him anywhere!"

Tech gave Coppertop a half-smirk. "See? I can agree with a human, once in a while."

"Tech, just lock your lips for ten clicks!" Coppertop turned and moved to kneel next to Wolfe's prone body, in front of Chelle. "Listen, friend-."

"You are not my friend!" Chelle protested.

"Fine, okay . . . point taken. But, you need to understand this: your friend, Wolfe, is badly hurt."

"I can take care of Wolfe, by myself," Chelle shot back.

"Maybe if all he needed was a few good shots of energon," Coppertop said with a nod. "But, look at him. He's injured and badly in need of repair. I have a medic who can fix him up, and we have a recharge chamber that can put him back to rights in no time." She added gently, "It was my partner's fault he's been hurt. Allow us to make up for his mistake, please?"

"My mistake!" Tech said with a squawk.

"Your, mistake." Coppertop's tone fell into an icy-no-compromise flavor, as she glared back at him for a second. "We don't have time for full-blown debate here, Tech." She looked at Chelle and said, "Please, if you really value your friend's spark, he'll have to come with us."

Chelle looked down for a moment, then up to where Wolfe's face was still locked in an unmoving rictus of pain. Indecision flickered across her features, before settling into an expression of resolve. "Fine." She faced both Coppertop and Tech, standing up to her full height. "I will go with you."

Tech said, "Woah, that's not part of the whole-!"

"I will go where Wolfe goes!" Chelle chopped the air with a cross gesture, before she pointed a finger like a gun at Tech's head. "You cannot change my mind, robot. Try to stop me, and I will be taking you apart, piece by piece!" She looked back down at Wolfe. "He is my friend and I will not abandon him. Not when he needs me."

Coppertop rose, just as the first flickering swirls of the Ground-Bridge vortex began to appear in the air nearby. "Okay, this argument is over. We're taking Wolfe AND the girl back with us, Tech, and I don't want to hear anything else on the subject. Now, transform and rig for cargo-transport. Your alt-form is the only one between us that can handle this sort of load."

Tech glared at the shorter femme for a second, before he sighed with resignation. "Don't think that Optimus is going to hear about this later, Top." With that, he stepped back and triggered his transformation; converting into a stylized, futuristic-looking pick-up truck. The flatbed converted further, until its relative area doubled in size.

Coppertop turned to face Chelle. "Move back, I'll need room to put your . . . friend on Tech-Dech for transport back to our base."

Chelle stared at her with some distrust.

"Don't worry, you're coming too," Coppertop said with a smile. "You're going to have to speak to our leader, and tell him just how you came to find Wolfe . . . and I have a feeling it's a story well worth the telling."

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Outpost Omega-One. Just Minutes Prior . . . .

Standing by the Ground-Bridge controls, Optimus stared into the swirling whirlpool-tunnel with some trepidation. In seconds, Arcee motored into view, her riderless alt-form coasting to a slow crawl before she converted back to her slim, robot mode. "I got the recall signal, Optimus," she said as she stepped clear of the threshold. "What's going on?"

"A moment, Arcee." Optimus switched the Ground-Bridge off briefly, before recalibrating the controls. "We need to recall Bulkhead and Bumblebee from their patrol as well. A situation has occurred with our allies, and I require all my warriors back on station."

Arcee blinked, asking as she watched him switch the Ground-Bridge back on, "A situation? With Mister Grouch and Little Miss Hot-Bot?"

Optimus barely cracked a smile at Arcee's description of their recently-added team mates. "Coppertop and Tech-Dech went to investigate a new energon reading. They found a viable deposit . . . and something more."

"Oh?" Arcee cocked her head. "What exactly did they find?"

"I will explain when-." Optimus paused when the sound of engines filled the space of the Ground-Bridge. A second later, the boxy form of Bulkhead's vehicle mode emerged, followed by the sleek racing-car form of his companion, Bumblebee. As Arcee had done, they converted to robot-mode on the edge of the threshold and marched up to where their leader stood..

"Got the call, Optimus," Bulkhead said. Bumblebee warbled a string of vocalizations in concert.

"I have recalled you, because Coppertop is bringing in an injured Decepticon drone."

All three of the other 'Bots blinked in alarm. "An injured drone! Why in the name of the All-Spark is she doing that for?" Bulkhead asked.

"She did not elaborate. Yet, she did state it was imperative that she bring the drone back to our base," Optimus said.

Arcee bristled. "Did she say she was bringing Megatron, too? Because that's just what will happen if that drone still has an active recall-beacon."

Bulkhead growled. "Yeah, It'll guide him here easier than a sharkticon sniffin' energon in the water!"

Bumblebee mumbled and beeped, making an interrogative and a negative gesture with his hands.

"Bee's gotta point, Prime," Bulkhead said. "It smells just like the sort of stinkin' trap Megatron would use."

"Perhaps, but if there is one thing I've learned about Coppertop in all the short time she has been with us, she never acts unless she is certain of the outcome," Optimus said. "Or the consequences of such actions." He turned and worked the controls of the Ground-Bridge. "In any case, we will be on guard and prepare for anything, once they arrive."

Bulkhead made a fist. "Yeah, you can bet your cast-iron brake pads we will!"

"Just hope this isn't going to be a critical mistake," Arcee said.

"I hope so as well, Arcee." Optimus said. He looked over his shoulder, calling out to Ratchet as the medic appeared at the entrance to the chamber. "Ratchet? Is your repair bay ready?"

"I just made a last check of my equipment, Optimus . . . but, I'm not too thrilled about this whole situation. The idea of a Decepticon coming into our base-!"

"What! You're bringing a 'Con in here!"

At that, everyone looked down. Raf, Miko, Jack and June were all clustered together, standing just outside of the Autobot's group.

"What's the deal, Optimus?" Jack asked. "I thought you guys had a hard-rule about the Decepticons not learning the location of your base?"

"Isn't this very dangerous, bringing one of them here?" June added.

"From what Coppertop has reported, the Decepticon drone has been badly injured." Optimus said. "Still, we are taking every possible precaution to avoid any negative outcome from its arrival."

Miko frowned. "Well, it better not start any trouble! If it does, I'm sure you guys can kick its backside into metal-kibble!"

Jack groaned. "The big thing I'm worried about is this 'Con sending word back to Megatron on where we are."

Raf adjusted his glasses before saying, "Wait, we all know the base is shielded from anyone sending transmissions from inside the base walls. And, as long as Optimus and the others are on point, there shouldn't be any problems, right?"

Bumblebee warbled, giving Raf a concerned look.

"I agree with Bee," Arcee said. "Even if this 'Con can't send word out, there's a lot of other things he can do to hurt us."

Ratchet raised both hands and said, "Now, let's not get into speculation here. Even as much as I would like to agree, we're not doing ourselves anything good by discussing this into the ground."

"Agreed, old friend," Optimus said. "As we are aware of the dangers, we shall take all precautions that are necessary." Pressing the activation level on the Ground-Bridge down, he added, "Besides, Coppertop is a member of our team. As such, we should support her judgment . . . but we shall still be prepared for whatever is about to come through the Ground-Bridge." As the threshold came alive with a new vortex-tunnel, Optimus turned towards it, "Autobots, prepare for eminent arrival."

Bulkhead and Bumblebee moved to flank the Ground-Bridge, while Ratchet moved to stand next to Optimus.

Arcee looked at June and the kids. "Better get on the platform, and if anything goes wrong-?"

"We'll find cover immediately," June said, motioning to the trio to come with her.

"Yeah, well if that 'Con does so much as twitch," Miko said to Arcee, "kick 'im in the skid plate once for me!"

Arcee smirked. "I'll keep that in mind." She stepped away, taking position at a point where she could cover the interface of the Ground-Bridge from a height.

At that point, two shapes emerged from the swirling tunnel of energy: the long, futuristic-looking truck that was Tech-Dech, followed by the sleeker, red-and-orange muscle car that was Coppertop's vehicle mode. When the Autobots saw the prone, unmoving form of a Cybertronian body draped across Tech's flatbed, Bumblebee, Bulkhead and Arcee snapped their weapons out, letting them come up to full battle-charge.

Tech-Dech and Coppertop rolled to a stop, as the Ground-Bridge shut down. "Well," Coppertop's voice issued from her vehicle-mode's open passenger space, "Good to see you guys were serious about this."

Optimus said, "Considering the situation, it was prudent to be prepared."

From the base of the observation platform, June muttered, "Seems a bit overkill for them both to be in vehicle-mode for this?"

"Maybe Coppertop wanted to rest her feet?" Miko offered.

"Actually, I think she brought someone with her, look!" Raf said, pointing to where a tall, dark-haired woman was uncoiling from inside Coppertop's interior.

Both Jack and Miko couldn't suppress the "Woah!" that erupted from their mouths as the woman stepped away from Coppertop before the warrior-femme converted to her robot form. "Geez! Where did they pick up that Amazon!" Miko asked.

At that point, Coppertop addressed Optimus. "Well, like I said, we found ourselves a bit of a mystery here."

Optimus nodded, and gave the prone Decepticon drone on the back of Tech's flatbed. "So, this is the drone you recovered?"

Before Coppertop could reply, the dark-haired girl walked up in front of him, put two fingers to her mouth and let out a strident whistle. "That is no drone," she said archly. "His name is Wolfe, and I would like to know what you plan to do to him!"

From the side, Arcee relaxed her aim and muttered, "Little spitfire, isn't she?"

Optimus dropped slowly to one knee, and stared down at Chelle. "What we plan to do with . . . Wolfe, is yet to be determined, Miss . . .?"

"My name, is Marusya Shivanova. My friend calls me Michelle, since he cannot pronounce good Russian," she said. "I am also called Chelle. Who am I addressing?"

"I am Optimus Prime," Optimus said. Motioning with his hand, he added, "These are my fellow Autobots: Arcee, Ratchet, Bulkhead and Bumblebee. You have already met Coppertop and Tech-Dech, I presume."

"You do," Chelle said, crossing her arms as she gave Tech an icy stare. "I will admit to not liking him very much."

Tech growled low - sounding like a heavy-block diesel engine - before he said, "The feeling's all mutual, human. Now, can someone get this 'Con off of me! His weight's murder on my shocks!"

Optimus said, "Autobots, weapons down." As the other three complied, he ordered, "Secure . . . Wolfe, for repair."

Ratchet spoke up, "Ah-ah, wait! I need to perform a cursory scan of the . . . I mean, of Wolfe's systems." He stepped up and removed a portable scanner from a hip-compartment, and slowly ran it over the unconscious Deception. At length, he gasped. "Great, Suffering-! This . . . how in the Name of the All-Spark is-?"

"Is there something wrong, Doc?" Bulkhead asked, about to trigger his blasters back online.

Shaking his head, Ratchet said, "I don't know how this drone is even functioning . . . because, from my scans, it shouldn't even be possible! He's cross wired, patched up and pretty much hot-fixed in nearly every viable system!" He held out his scanner for the others to see the readings on it.

Bumblebee made a low, droning sound, his brows coming together in an expression of disbelief.

Arcee nodded. "Mercy! That looks . . . ."

"Scrapped up six-ways from the Abyss and back!" Bulkhead said.

"Is it that bad, Ratchet?" Raf asked.

"Bad enough that blasting the poor mech didn't help him in the least!" The medic looked down at Chelle. "My scans show a lot of human-tech inside. Did you do this to him?"

Chelle said, "Well, da. I am something of a proficient mechanic. He was suffering something terrible, with as badly damaged as he was. I couldn't let him die."

"I certainly would have," Tech muttered.

With a grunt, Ratchet gave Tech a hard stare. "Be that as it may, unless we want this, this drone to expire, I'll need to get him into the repair bay immediately! Bulkhead! Bumblebee! Give me a hand with this."

Bumblebee stepped forward, but the larger warrior wave him aside. "I got this, Bee." Reaching down, Bulkhead carefully slipped his hands underneath Wolfe's body and lifted him off of Tech's flat-bed. Grunting, he said, "Big mech! Ugh! Must've been munchin' manifolds for breakfast!"

"Just take him straight into the bay!" Ratchet turned to Optimus. "Unless they are required elsewhere, I'll need Bulkhead and Arcee to stand watch while I work."

"You shall have their assistance, Ratchet. Any other activities that arise will be handled by our remaining team members," Optimus said.

Ratchet nodded, and motioned to Arcee to precede him out of the chamber. "Let's go, Bulkhead, and try not to drop him!"

"Sure thing, Doc . . . umph! Just tell me where you want him!"

As Bulkhead helped carry the still-unconscious Wolfe towards Ratchet's repair bay, Chelle started to follow him, limping a bit in their wake. Only the sudden appearance of June, who put a firm hand on her shoulder stopped her further progress.

"Hold on, young lady. They can look after your . . . friend. Meanwhile, I'll need to check you out. That limp looks pretty bad."

Chelle stared down at June with a scowl. "I am fine. There is no need-."

"Believe me, Mrs. Darby," Coppertop said archly, grinning as Tech-Dech converted to robot-mode, "After what she tried to do to Tech, I doubt she's suffering anything worse than muscle strain."

"Wait, what did she do to you?" Jack asked Tech.

He growled and crossed his arms. "Nothing you need to know about!"

"Oh, stop playing the 'big-britches Bot', Tech." Coppertop smirked. "If I hadn't peeled her off your chest plate, you'd be drinking energon through a pipe-straw."

At that, both Miko and Raf broke out in giggles. "Wait! You mean you got your tail pipe kicked in . . . by a GIRL!"

Tech frowned, the sound of his teeth gnashing in ire sounded like ball bearings grinding together.

Optimus interrupted them with an even tone in his voice. "That is not important. What is right now, is to debrief you two on the energon deposit you found." He looked at both Coppertop and Tech. "If we are to secure it before the Decepticons, I want to know everything you can tell us."

"Not a problem, Optimus," Coppertop said.

Tech nodded, thankful for the change of subject. "Between the two of us, we got a pretty good look at it."

"Come with me then," Optimus said, turning towards the command computer. "We'll record the data and will formulate a plan of action to take."

"And, you, Miss Shivanova, can come with us," June said, getting Chelle's attention once more. "As much as you don't think so, you may have caused yourself more injury than you realize."

"Yeah, going toe-to-toe with a 'Bot like Tech-Dech . . . ?" Miko grinned. "That's so hardcore!"

Jack shook his head. "Miko!"

Chelle started to protest, but June didn't give her a chance as she pointed her towards the observation platform. "Go, young lady. This will only take as long as it needs to be. Then you can go check on your . . . well, your friend."

Chelle sighed. "Da. Fine. I will comply with your . . . examination, Madame." She looked off to where the Autobots had carried Wolfe away. "But, I will not stand for anything these robots are to be doing, if it harms my friend . . . !"

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To Be Continued . . . .