Chapter 1: Chapter One
“So… How are your classes?”
“You like your teachers?”
“… you want to hang up on me right now, don’t you?”
“Oh, absolutely. I have no patience for anyone today, plus I have work tonight,” Dallas Parquor sighed, running a hand through his short cropped raven hair. He leaned back against the pillows of his bed, before realizing what the woman on the other end of the webcam call had said.
“Job? You got a job? Where? Do you like it?” Dallas asked, excitedly.
Jaqueline Parquor’s expression, though grainy through the computer screen, twisted. A scowl crossed her wine red colored lips, “Damn… I shouldn’t have said that.”
“Ah!” Dallas grinned and lurched forward, “You gotta tell me now, Jackie!”
“My name is Jaqueline,” Jaqueline said, in exasperation. “I… got a job as a bartender, just a couple miles off campus. Considering my schedule here this semester, I can work a few nights a week, plus the weekend. Oh, yeah, Trent got a job there too.”
Dallas nodded, shoulders slumping slightly in relief, “Well, good. At least there’s someone there to make sure you-“ He cut off, flinching at the dark glare he received, “I, ah…”
“I gotta go, bro,” Jaqueline said, coldly. “We can talk next week.”
The screen went black as the call ended. Dallas groaned, shutting his laptop closed and flopping backwards on his bed. A knock sounded on his door, prompting him to bite out an irritated, “What?”
“Ha! Dallas, my man, it sounds like you could use a little fun!” The door opened, and a young man with short red hair skipped in. He sported a wide grin as he slid up the dark sunglasses he wore on to his head, revealing bright blue eyes, sparkling with mischief, “What do you say? Want to help me pull a prank on the Prowler-“
“Why are siblings so hard to deal with?” Dallas moaned, and pulled a pillow over his head, muffling his voice, “I just want to make sure she’s happy and safe, and then she snaps at me! Is it so hard for her to see I just want to be there for her?!”
There was a moment of silence, followed by a heavy sigh, “Yeah, Sunny and I were like that with each other, at times. I know what you mean.”
Dallas instantly sat up, brown eyes wide, “Ah, shit- ‘Sides, I’m sorry, I shouldn’t have-“
“Nah, it’s cool,” Sideswipe, one of the many Autobots on the NEST base, waved a hand. “So, you talked to Jackie? How is she?”
“Same old, same old,” Dallas sighed, crossing his legs and setting his elbows on the side of his knees. He dropped his chin into the palms of his hands, “Still trying to make sure no one tries to get too close. Oh, but she got a job as a bartender not far from school, so I guess that’s good.”
“Nice,” Sideswipe grinned. “What about that DeMarco youngling she’s always with?”
“Oh, yeah. He got a job with her at the same place,” Dallas nodded. He smirked, “Wait until I tell Sam that.”
Sideswipe laughed, the sound fading out to silence.
“Speaking of siblings…” Dallas bit his lower lip, “Any more word on yours?”
Sideswipe sighed, and shook his head, “No… I can sense his presence, here on Earth, but… it’s weak. I’m not sure he’s fairing too well, and every time I try to reach out through our bond, it…” Sideswipe waved a hand, “There’s backlash. He’s cut me off from being able track him or feel what it is he’s feeling.”
“He can do that?” Dallas asked, tilting his head, “How?”
“Depending on how you look at it, it can either be a pro or con to being twins,” Sideswipe shrugged. His smile turned a little sad, “He always was a little more… reckless, out of the two of us. Never would miss a chance to go after a Con.”
“I’m sure that when we find him, he’ll be a good addition to the team,” Dallas nodded, before standing up. He smirked, eyes gleaming as he poked Sideswipe, “Enough sulking, Swipes. You came in here saying something about a prank?”
“Let me guess… you talked to your brother?”
Jaqueline Parquor groaned, “Is it that obvious?” Trent DeMarco let out a small laugh, “Yeah. A little.” He threw the rag he held into the air, caught it, then crossed his arms and leaned against the bar countertop, “So- what did Dallas say this time to tick you off?”
“He… was just being himself,” Jaqueline sighed, picking at her acrylic nails. The light of the bar reflected off the dark paint, “Implied I can’t properly socialize without a chaperone of sorts.”
Trent bit back a smile, and shrugged, “Ah, siblings. What can you do?”
Jaqueline gave him a small smile, “True.” She yawned, stretching her arms over head, “You can handle shutting the bar down, right? I want to take a walk before I go back to campus.”
“Sure thing,” Trent nodded. “Don’t forget we have our Sociology midterm tomorrow morning.”
“I’m ready,” Jaqueline smirked. She stood by the back door, swinging her leather jacket on, “Are you, jock?”
Trent grinned, “Oh, get out of here, you crazy witch!”
Jaqueline laughed, the door swinging shut behind her as she stepped out into the back parking lot. She inhaled deeply, standing tall, before letting the air escape her and slumping down in faux relief. She started across the parking lot, passing Trent’s car as she did. She eyed the black and orange Lamborghini Centenario, before chuckling softly and reaching out to pat the hood.
“I have no clue how Trent could afford you, but damn you are a piece of work,” Jaqueline mumbled. “Limited time specially made car… I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t jealous.”
Jaqueline patted the car one last time before continuing out onto the sidewalk, the slightly cooler night air of Miami blowing over skin, bringing with it the smell of saltwater. The night had been long, and it was nearing closer and closer to two in the morning. Jaqueline knew she should get back to her dorm room, but the woman was current too full of energy to think much about sleep.
… Even with the nine am class she had the next morning.
Ugh, midterms, Jaqueline thought, distastefully. Why do they exist?
Jaqueline sighed, running a hand through her shoulder length raven hair. Impulsively, she turned and twisted through the wire fence of the car yard she was passing by. She kicked a rock, watching moodily as it soared through the air and bounced off the frame of a rusting car.
… Okay, that doesn’t look right, Jaqueline thought with a frown. She approached said car, taking a better look.
Despite the dents in the frame, the scratches of the gold-yellow paint, Jaqueline easily recognized the car as a Mustang GT, the build telling her it was most likely from the late sixties. It was missing the left rear wheel, the driver’s side was concaved in as though it had been the victim of a t-boning, the windshield was shattered, and the hood looked like it was ready to snap in half.
Jaqueline bent over, taking note that the engine was still, mostly, intact. She straightened, murmuring to herself, “Huh… This is more cosmetic damage than anything. Almost nearly a simple thing to fix.” Jaqueline tapped her index finger against her lips, thinking for a long moment. Then, with a small smile, she knocked her knuckles lightly against the top of the car.
“I’m coming back for you tomorrow, Sunshine,” Jaqueline chuckled, feeling a sense of giddiness rise up in her that hadn’t felt in a long time. “I’ll fix you up and get you back out on the road again in no time.”
Chapter 2: Chapter Two
Sunstreaker does some introspection. Dallas does some guilt tripping. And Trent schemes.
Jaqueline is blissfully oblivious to all.
Sunstreaker blamed the Primus damned Decepticons for his situation. If it weren't for them, he wouldn't be without his communications- which were utterly destroyed, Sunstreaker was going to rip Knock Out apart the next time he saw the slagging glitch. The last thing he had gotten before Knock Out had destroyed them was Prime's call from this disgusting, organic, Pits damned planet called Earth. What did Optimus see in it?
Sunstreaker swore to himself on getting revenge on Barricade too, for putting him in a situation where he was unable to travel. If Sunstreaker had been in tip top shape- but no, thanks to that fragging Deceptiscum medic- he had no doubt he could have taken the Con out. It had been pure luck that he had been able to lose the Con and find an alt mode that worked for him.
Though, now that was at least two decacycles ago and Sunstreaker was slowly going out of his processor.
It'd be easier if you opened your spark bond with your twin, a tiny part of his processor sang.
No, Sunstreaker shot that idea down, shifting and wincing at the pain that the action caused. If I can spare him any less pain than he's no doubt already in, I'll do it.
The added insult to injury in this entire situation was the organic femme that had found him and decided to take him on as some type of pet project...
She'd probably run if she knew just how much of a threat I really was to her, Sunstreaker grumbled.
But... she had come back, as she had promised. Currently, she was speaking with an older male squishy, while the one closer to her age inspected Sunstreaker's form.
"Man, Mikaela would love you," the boy muttered. "Jackie's right- you are easily fixable, it'll just take time to repair the frame and fix the paint..."
Jackie must be the femme, Sunstreaker concluded.
The boy pulled open the driver's door, both he and Sunstreaker cringing as it creaked open with force. He pushed his sunglasses up and slid into the leather seat, glancing around before his eyes landed on the steering wheel. He froze, eyes widening at the Autobot symbol stamped into the leather.
Before Sunstreaker could process why, the girl ran up with an excited squeal.
"Trent, guess what?! Sunshine's free!"
Sunstreaker, Sunstreaker thought, bitterly. He growled lowly, but the boy jammed his elbow into the seat, hissing a warning.
"Really?" Trent asked, "How'd that happen?"
"He doesn't remember Sunny-" Okay, that was better, at least that name brought back good memories, "Being put on the lot, doesn't even know if has the keys, but that's an easy fix. But! He said if I pay for the repairs, I can use his shop to fix Sunshine up!"
"Well, I can help with that, if you need it," Trent said. "Where'd the old man go?"
"Getting the tow truck, so we can haul this soon to be beauty to the shop. Ooh, I'm gonna go call Dallas!" Jackie smiled and skipped away, pulling a device of some sort from her pocket.
Trent exhaled, then knocked his knuckles on the steering wheel, "I know you're online. Can you talk?"
Sunstreaker paused, mostly out of shock, before answering.
"Yes, squishy," Sunstreaker grumbled. "How do you know about my kind?"
"The name Hot Rod ring a bell?" Trent asked, crossing his arms.
"Primus, yes. How do you know him?"
"He's my guardian. Now, let me guess... did the Decepticons do this to you?"
Sunstreaker sighed, "Yeah, they did. Slagging scum..."
"Sorry about your luck. What's your designation, so that I can tell Prime?"
"Name's Sunstreaker, squishy. How do you know Optimus?"
"That is a story best served to only be told once, so I'll let that be told on a later date. Why haven't you sent out a distress signal to let the Autobots know where you are?"
"Decepticon known as Knock Out destroyed my communications," Sunstreaker hissed.
"Hm. Seems like something for Ratchet to look at then..."
"Oh, slag, you know the Hatchet too?!"
Trent had pulled his phone out, frowning at something. His eyes widened, "I thought your name was familiar! You're Sideswipe's brother!"
"Sideswipe? You know my brother?"
"I know most of the Bots here on Earth, especially after Bumblebee saved me from Megatron..." Trent confirmed. "Sideswipe is Jaqueline's brother's guardian." He glanced out the window, and lowered his voice, "Word of advice... Jackie doesn't know about the existence of you guys. Her brother has... kept her pretty sheltered to stuff she should know. Think you can keep a low profile?"
"Will you let Optimus know that I am here?" Sunstreaker returned.
"You bet," Trent patted Sunstreaker's dash. "Don't worry. Jackie's nice. She'll take care of you and fix you up. As soon as you're fixed up... well... we'll cross that bridge when we get to it. You rest up. Something tells me you've been through hell and back."
Squishies have weird sayings, Sunstreaker thought, settling on to his axles. He cringed as Trent slammed his door shut, before he began to slip into recharge. But... maybe they aren't all that bad.
Sunstreaker would make a solid decision about that later.
"Sunstreaker's what?!" Sideswipe's yell echoed off the high ceilings of the hangar.
"What do humans know about fixing Cybertronians..." Ratchet, Chief Medical Officer for the Autobots, grumbled.
On the catwalk, Mikaela Banes whistled, "Excuse you?"
Next to her, Sam Witwhicky snickered, "Yeah, Hatch, didn't you take my girlfriend on as your apprentice?"
Ratchet sighed, "I just don't see why we can't retrieve our comrade and give him the proper care he needs! By someone who knows what they're doing!"
"Are you really wanting to have both sets of twins under the same roof, Ratchet?" Prowl asked, "Surely you remember the multitude of pranks Sunstreaker and Sideswipe pulled back on Cybertron?"
"Responding to Ratchet's earlier statement," Dallas Parquor called, from where he was leaning against the catwalk rail. "My sister called, and told me about this car she's found. Even if it is Sunstreaker, an Autobot warrior, this is the happiest I've heard my sister since our parents died."
Nearly everyone winced as they recalled the damage and chases from four years earlier in Philadelphia, near Princeton University. When the casualties had been counted, and two names familiar to the young Captain had shown up on the list, Dallas had decided to skip the trip to Egypt and instead go break the news of his parents deaths to his sister himself.
It went without saying, a few of the Bots still held a bit of guilt over that particular fact.
"There's also the fact my sister has no idea of the Autobots or Decepticons existence," Dallas continued. "I'd like to keep it that way, if possible. If we were to descend on Miami and take Sunstreaker away, I know it'd crush her, and I'm not willing to steal her happiness. She's repaired cars with Mikaela, and our dad before he died. Besides, Hot Rod and Trent are with her... What's the worst that could happen?"
"Hey," Trent yelped, and banged his head on the hood as he straightened up sharply. "Oi! Watch it! You just fixed that!"
Trent glared at the Mustang, wrench in hand, "Oh, funny. I can put that dent right back in if I so chose to, Sunny."
"Sunstreaker- get it right, you squishy!"
"My name is Trent, not squishy!"
"I'll call you by your name, when you get mine right!"
"Back at you!"
"Am I interrupting something?" A voice cut in.
Startling, again, Trent turned to see a black haired man about his age with bright blue eyes and dressed in a tank top and khaki shorts in the doorway.
"Hot Rod," Trent exhaled. "Jeez, man don't sneak up on me like that."
"Sorry. But I heard the raised voices and figured I'd come make sure no one gets killed," Hot Rod smirked. He walked out of the sun, and into the garage, "Hey, Sunny! How you feeling?"
"... Better than I was," Sunstreaker admitted. "Organics are surprisingly... adept, to knowing their way around our kind."
"Was that a compliment I heard?" Hot Rod teased.
"Watch it, Hot Rod..."
"Please, no maiming each other..." Trent grumbled, as his phone beeped. He pulled it from his pocket, frowning at the message, "Jackie's about five minutes out. Says she got caught up in class."
"Bet you're relieved that today was your last test, huh?" Hot Rod chuckled.
"Ecstatic," Trent grinned. "Means we got eleven days straight to work on Sunny."
"Ratchet wants to know the progress, by the way," Hot Rod crossed his arms.
"I say that we can have Sunny on the streets by maybe next Saturday? Provided Cons don't show up," Trent shrugged.
"When I get my servos on Barricade and Knock Out..." Sunstreaker hissed.
"Knock Out?" Hot Rod exclaimed, "Knock Out's here?!"
"Who do you think I was being held captive by, genius?!"
"Ah, frag, I gotta call Optimus, and let him know-"
"No!" Trent and, surprisingly, Sunstreaker both shouted. Both Trent and Hot Rod stared at Sunstreaker, before Trent on with, "If Optimus finds out about Decepticon activity, he'll bring the Bots and NEST here, and then Sunstreaker will be taken away and- and-"
"As much as I love my twin," Sunstreaker interrupted. "He will want to come with Optimus, if it means I'm in danger. I would for him, too. But now is not the time."
"Okay, but-" Hot Rod cut himself off, stiffening. "Scrap. Jackie's here. We'll talk later!"
Hot Rod's holoform shimmered out of existence, right as Jaqueline walked into view, "Hey, Trent! How's it going?"
Trent gently rapped the wrench in his hand against Sunstreaker's front bumper in a silent warning, "We're getting there. I say that if we work through the next week and a half, we'll be good to go."
Jaqueline smiled, "Awesome. I can't wait to drive him!" She hummed as she walked to the toolbox, a skip in her step.
An idea popped into Trent's head.
"Say... Jackie," Trent called, lips curling. "You've been calling your car Sunshine. I got one better."
"Oh?" Jaqueline turned, raising an eyebrow.
"Yeah. How does Sunstreaker sound?"
Jaqueline paused, tilting her head. She eyed Sunstreaker, thoughtfully, "Sunstreaker, huh...?" Jaqueline mused, "Huh. I can see it. Get some yellow paint, nice and bright and flashy... Yeah. Yeah! I like it!"
Perfect. Step one, done.
So yeah. For reasons, Sunstreaker is currently a Mustang GT, 1968. Don't worry, he'll eventually become a Corvette like Sideswipe.
Trent is still a bit of a conniving bastard, but not as big of a bully as he was in the first movie.
Also, I hope Sunstreaker was in character. I'm not quite used to his character yet, to be honest.
Hope you enjoyed this chapter! I'll see y'all in a few days with Chapter Three!
Chapter 3: Chapter Three
Secrets are revealed. Decepticons appear. Jaqueline can only handle so much.
Edit: Fixed a few details for this chapter.
.:Hot Rod to Optimus:.
.:What is it, Hot Rod?:.
.:We have a situation, here in Miami:.
Optimus shifted on his axles, the waning rays of the evening's sunset reflecting off of his alt form. Loathe he was to admit it, but he had been nearly hoping that he could have another few weeks without incident, since the Decepticon activity had been at it's lowest in the last five years than it had ever been.
.:Report:. Optimus ordered, .:What type of situation?:.
.:We have Cons here. According to Sunny, Knock Out has arrived on Earth, and both he and Barricade were the reasons as to Sunstreaker's damage. I've been searching for Decepticon signals since. I've got several. Not anywhere close to Sunstreaker's location, but there's one that's been uncomfortably close to Miami Dade College, where Trent and Jackie attend classes. I'm not quite sure who it is yet, though:.
Optimus heaved a sigh. Of course. He should have known it was too good to be true that the Decepticons weren't attacking. More like they were coming up with schemes of some sort.
.:I will tell Major Lennox:. Optimus nodded inwardly .:Is there anything else I should be aware of?:.
.:Trent and Jackie estimate that Sunstreaker will be functional within nine Earth days:.
Optimus couldn't hide his surprise, .:So soon?:.
.:They've been working hard. Jackie more than Trent. She's not been getting the rest she needs, and to be honest, it is quite worrying. Trent is concerned as well, but I don't think he's decided that Jackie has reached a critical level quite yet. Jackie is nothing if not determined, it seems:.
.:Has he made contact with Jaqueline yet?:.
.:Nope. Trent ordered him to keep a low profile and so far... he's doing so. Bit strange if you ask me:.
.:Perhaps Sunstreaker has matured in the centuries since we've last seen him:. Optimus commented, .:A welcome change, for Prowl and Ratchet, when he comes her to the base:.
.:You can say that again. So, when and who can I expect to show up here to help handle the Cons?:.
.:Mirage:. Optimus said, .:I will send Mirage, and have him do some recon before I decide the next course of action. Keep me updated, Hot Rod, and stay alert:.
.:You got it, boss bot. Hot Rod out:.
The signal cut off as Hot Rod ended the call. Optimus sat heavily on the axles of his alt form for a long moment, before he turned towards the hangar, rolling in quietly.
"Hey Optimus!" Major William Lennox called, "What's up?"
"I just received a call from Hot Rod," Optimus began. "I will be sending Mirage to his location for recon. Hot Rod has picked up several Decepticon signals, including Barricade and the Decepticon medic, Knock Out."
Next to the sandy haired man, Robert Epps let out a sigh, "Man, I knew it was too good to be true. Only a matter of time before the Cons decided to show up."
A bright red Ferrari Italia rolled up beside Optimus, Mirage's voice filtering through the car's speakers, "May I ask what is exactly I will be doing, Optimus?"
"For now, I'd like you to observe and, if it comes to it, assist Hot Rod should something go wrong. Hot Rod has told me that the humans estimate it to be close to ten earth days before Sunstreaker is repaired," Optimus replied.
"That quickly huh?" The silver Corvette Stingray that was Sideswipe edged closer, "So what's the plan for when they finish?"
It was hard to miss the tension in his voice.
"I can arrange for a team to head towards Miami, by then," Will spoke up. "I'll just need to know who's going. I have no doubt Dallas and Sideswipe will want to."
"You assume correctly," Sideswipe snorted, engine revving slightly. "No way in the Pits am I missing a chance to see my brother again."
"For now, I believe it would be best for Mirage to prepare for the flight ahead," Optimus rumbled. "When I have received more information on the situation, will I get back to you, Major Lennox."
Will nodded, "Alright big guy." He turned away, barking orders to his men about getting a jet ready for transport, Epps following after him.
"Did Hot Rod say anything else about Sunny?" Sideswipe asked, quietly, "He's still cutting me off through our bond."
"He did suggest that the reason behind Sunstreaker's damage was because of Knock Out and Barricade," Optimus vented a sigh. "And before you ask- no, you can not go with Mirage. You will wait until the rest of us are to leave."
Grumbling, Sideswipe rolled away, "Fragging Cons... my servos on them... aft kicking..."
"May I ask if there is anything particular you are wishing for me to find, Optimus?" Mirage asked.
"Simple observance, Mirage," Optimus stated. "But do not hesitate to engage should the Decepticons attempt an attack on our comrades, Autobot and human alike."
"Let's see... Aha! Try that now, Sunstreaker," Hot Rod's holoform straightened from Sunstreaker's hood, his voice tight with anticpation. There was a beat of silence on the golden twin's part, and Hot Rod sighed, ready to admit defeat when-
.:Sunstreaker to Hot Rod:.
.:Hah! It worked! Wait, can you hear me?:.
Hot Rod's holoform grinned, "Great! Now, let me just upload those communication numbers..." Using the newly formed connection with his teammate, Hot Rod did just that, "Now, try to get in contact with one of the other Bots. I'd suggest Optimus or Mirage, first."
There was the sound of static at first, before the regal rumble of Optimus Prime's voice filtered through the open group channel. .:Sunstreaker?:.
.:Reporting for duty, sir:. Sunstreaker affirmed, .:My apologies for not arriving sooner. Cons got a hold of me:.
.:Sunny!:. Sidewipe was nothing short of excited, .:You're okay! Jeez, bro, I was worried about you! Why haven't you opened our bond yet?:.
Before Hot Rod, Sunstreaker shifted on his wheels. Hot Rod could practically feel his unease.
.:What do you mean? I haven't sensed you try to do anything, other than confirm you're here on this organic planet. Though, I haven't reached out to you yet:.
There was few kliks of silence, before Ratchet spoke up. .:As soon as possible, I'd like to have a look at you two. Sunstreaker, how are you feeling?:.
.:A lot better, thanks to the femme and Hot Rod's charge. Do you think Knockout did something to me?:.
.:It's possible. Until I can see and scan you for myself, I'm not going to say anything definite. Optimus, I suggest that we get him here as soon as possible:.
.:At ease Ratchet. I've already spoken with Major Lennox, and he has told me that we will be rolling out at twenty hundred hours:.
Hot Rod's attention was brought away from the group channel as his comm lines got a new message, this one from Trent.
Jaqueline and I are getting out of the movies in fifteen minutes. I suggest you head back here. How's Sunny?
I managed to get his communications lines back up. Optimus said that Lennox and the team will be headed this way in a few hours.
K. See you in a bit.
.:Alright, as much as I'd love to stick around, Sunshine, I gotta go. Trent and Jackie are calling and I gotta play chaperone:.
.:Sunshine?:. Sideswipe snickered.
Hot Rod grinned, .:Oh yeah, Jaqueline's nickname for your brother:.
Sideswipe's amusement was palpable, even as Sunstreaker growled in warning at him.
Well, Hot Rod thought. I have no doubt that things will be back to normal in no time.
"So, almost three weeks of hard work, late nights, and lots of coffee later... you got your car. You have the keys. New tires itching to take on the pavement. So what's stopping you?"
Jaqueline lifted her eyes from where she was staring at Sunstreaker's newly painted hood, to meet Trent's curious gaze. She gave him a watery smile, "I just wish my dad could see this."
Trent's expression softened, "I'm sure he is Jackie. In spirit, he's always watching you."
Hot Rod's holoform, standing next to Sunstreaker's passenger door, watched the exchange with a soft sigh. He set his elbow on the hood of Sunstreaker's alternative form, ignoring the prickle of annoyance he felt come from the other Bot.
.:How ya doing Sunny?:.
.:Much better. As I've said before, these... organics, have a surprising adept knowledge on how our kind works:.
Hot Rod grinned, .:Is that a compliment I hear?:.
Sunstreaker growled, nearly revving his engine. After a moment of forcing himself to cool down, he asked, .:Is... the femme alright? She seems... upset:.
Hot Rod was silent for a moment, his gaze growing distant. Finally, he sighed, .:I wasn't here yet when it happened, but... her creators died, about five years ago in the city known as Philidelphia. Her heart- er, spark, still hurts from it:.
"Hey, Rod!" Trent called, snapping the two Autobots from their silent conversation. Hot Rod was met with a devious smile from his charge, "Wanna race these two, see just how fast little ole Sunstreaker is?"
Sunstreaker's annoyance shot up, .:Little?:.
Hot Rod coughed to cover a laugh.
"Oh, please!" Jaqueline trilled, "American muscle will beat you foreigners any day!"
"Excuse you?!" Hot Rod spluttered, "Oh, that does it, you're on!"
.:Sunstreaker so help me, you better follow her lead and not tip her off!:.
.:You honestly think so little of me?:.
"Awesome!" Jaqueline whooped, circling around to the driver's side, "Then let's hit highway ninety five, then MacArthur Causeway, and take this race all the way down to CJ's Crab Shack off of fifth for lunch!"
"Loser buys the winner lunch?" Trent smirked.
"Oh yeah! Just watch, DeMarco! You'll be paying for this challenge!"
"What the fuck are those things?!"
Sunstreaker inwardly cringed at the pitch of the femme's screech. Who knew that organics could be so loud? He was snapped from his thoughts as two of the half formed Dreadicons came up on either side of him, coming in closer and closer.
Oh slag no!
Sunstreaker's breaks squealed as he shifted into reverse, watching with glee as the two Cons slammed into each other instead of him.
"They're called decepticons, squishy," Sunstreaker spoke, taking a little joy when Jaqueline startled. "And they're currently here after myself and Hot Rod."
"What?! Who- Oh my God, my car can talk- what the fuck?!"
Sunstreaker laughed, darkly, "Name's Sunstreaker, femme. Hot Rod! Where are you?"
Hot Rod's voice came through Sunstreaker's speakers, "Here! I'm patching into Optimus and the others!"
A crackle of static later, and Optimus' deep voice came through, "Sunstreaker! Hot Rod! We've locked on to your signals, and we are an estimated eight kliks away. Keep us informed of the situation!"
"You got it, boss bot!" Hot Rod said, "Oh, and ah, the jig's up. Jaqueline knows."
"All for the better," Prowl voiced.
"Let's lose these Deceptiscum!" Sunstreaker snarled. Tires burning, Sunstreaker sped around the Dreads, taking off down the open road. In the rearview mirror, Jaqueline watched as Hot Rod followed. Seconds later, the flashing lights of the police SUVs raced after them.
"If... you're not a Decepticon," Jaqueline prided herself on her voice not shaking. Her hands curled tight around the steering wheel she no longer had control of, "What are you?"
"We're Autobots, in short terms," Sunstreaker answered, weaving between cars with practiced ease. He pushed himself faster, "From the planet Cybertron."
Trent's voice caught Jaqueline's attention, "It's a story best saved for when we're not about to be killed! And yes, Jackie, before you ask, I knew! So did Sam and Mikaela!"
Jaqueline nodded numbly, "My car can talk." Then, she scowled, "Christ's sake, Trent- my name is Jaqueline!"
A new voice cut through, "Wow, Dallas wasn't kidding when he said she's sensitive about the nicknames. Reminds me of you, Sunny!"
"Primus' sake, Sideswipe, it's Sunstreaker!"
"Whatever you say, Sunshine."
Jaqueline whimpered and sank into the driver's seat, "Why didn't I just stay in bed today? Why?!"
"Look out, Sunstreaker!" Hot Rod shouted.
Sunstreaker cursed, swerving as an energy blast arced over his hood. The pavement exploded, a crater appearing in the middle of the interstate. Barely avoiding it, Sunstreaker whipped around cars that were coming to dead halts, horns and alarms going off in a crescendo of noise.
"We need to get off the main road," Jaqueline muttered. "There's too many civilians- too many people can get hurt."
"Well, what do you suggest, femme?!"
Jaqueline fumbled with her seatbelt, scrambling over into the passenger seat to stare out the window. Her eyes brightened when she recognized the scenery of Maurice Park, "Sunny! How good are you on sharp turns?"
"Who do you think you're talking to? Some half processed scrapling?! What's your plan?"
"Turn a hard right up ahead! There's an exit, but it goes in the opposite direction. You better be ready to avoid any head on collisions!"
"... Is there not another option?" Hot Rod asked.
"Would you rather take this fight out over open water?"
"No," Both Autobots said.
"Then it's our only chance!"
"Did you get that, Optimus?" Hot Rod asked, voice becoming background noise as Jaqueline focused on getting back into the driver's seat.
Sunstreaker accelerated sharply, once the girl was settled. He kept his sensors open, searching for the exit Jaqueline had spoken of. Once he found it, he prepared to turn sharply to the right, only to curse as a Dreadicon came up beside him.
"Hold on!" He shouted, going faster and under the overpass. He crossed over two lanes of traffic to the left, before slamming on his brakes. His rear bumper came soaring around in a half circle, before he shifted his gears and accelerated again. In surprise, the Dreadicon turned its head, trying to turn on the dime while transformed. Distracted, it slammed into the overpass, exploding into a mess of metal shrapnel and sparks.
"Hah!" Hot Rod cheered, turning sharply as the two Autobots gunned it down the ramp, swerving to avoid incoming cars, "Nice one, Sunstreaker! Optimus! We're down to just three Cons to deal with!"
"Cut across the road!" Jaqueline snapped, "Now!"
Ignoring the honks of infuriated drivers, Hot Rod and Sunstreaker cut across four lanes of traffic.
"Take the next right!" Jaqueline exclaimed as the golden Mustang did just that, drifting around the turn and through the next stoplight, which was thankfully green.
"We still got Cons on our tail!" Hot Rod called.
"Hot Rod, Sunstreaker- continue on the road you are on," a voice that Jaqueline didn't recognize came from the radio. "You will meet up with us in approximately a quarter of a mile."
"You got it 'Hide!" Hot Rod said.
"Who's 'Hide?" Jaqueline found herself asking.
"Ironhide," Sunstreaker answered, shortly. He weaved between the cars on the road with a practiced ease, even with the fact that behind him, the Cons were quickly gaining, "He's our weapons specialist."
"Oh, good, lots of firepower," Jaqueline mumbled, squinting out the windshield. She exhaled sharply, dropping her face into her hands, "I should have stayed in bed today. I should have stayed in bed..."
Jaqueline yelped, jerking forward as Sunstreaker abruptly halted. Crashing against the steering wheel, she peered up and out with wide eyes at the convoy before her. A huge, blur and red flame decaled Peterbuilt semi-truck stood right before Sunstreaker. Pulling up beside it was a black GMC Topkick, a green Hummer rescue vehicle, a dark colored cop car, a yellow and black striped Chevy Camaro, a silver Stingray Corvette, and a silver Pontiac Solstice. The icing on the proverbial cake was when a regular looking military truck pulled into view.
For a moment, there was silence.
Then, Hot Rod whooped.
"Prime! There you are!" Hot Rod exclaimed, as Trent popped out of the driver's seat.
Jaqueline continued to stare, only snapping out of her trance when she noticed a familiar face among the approaching military men.
"Dallas!" Jaqueline gasped, hands fumbling for the door handle. They were shaking too much for her to get a grip, causing her to curse, "Sunny- Sunstreaker!"
"Major Lennox," Jaqueline heard a voice- one she vaguely recognized as Prime's- speak. "Please, get yourself, your men, and the civillians to safety. We will deal with the Decepticons."
"Easy, squishy," Sunstreaker opened his door. "Your sparkrate is elevated and beating quite fast. You're also having trouble breathing, it seems."
"Dallas!" Jaqueline croaked, catching her brother's attention, "Dal- Dallas!"
"Jackie!" The black haired man rushed over, "Oh, God, sis, are you-"
Whatever he said, Jacqueline missed it. The adrenaline of the chase had faded, and shock had set in. Her eyes rolled up into the back of her head, and she pitched forward to the ground in a dead faint.
I was off work yesterday, so I managed to get this chapter done! Hope you enjoyed it!
Chapter 4: Chapter Four
Jaqueline finally meets the Autobots
Jaqueline woke up slowly, to the sound of a machine beeping. She squeezed her eyes shut tighter against the bright lights, before admitting defeat with a low groan as she opened them.
"Jackie?" A familiar voice asked.
Squinting against the light, Jaqueline saw her brother rise from a chair beside her bed. A quick glance around the room revealed Trent DeMarco, Sam Witwicky, and Mikaela Banes also in the room.
"... what-" Jaqueline croaked, only to dissolve into a coughing fit.
"Shh, shh, hold on. Here. Drink some water," Dallas handed her a glass, holding it to her lips as Jaqueline greedily drank. "Trent- go get Ratchet. Tell him Jackie's awake."
"Jaqueline," Jaqueline wheezed, as Trent left the room. She groaned and flopped back on the hospital bed, "What... happened?"
"Well, what do you remember?" Sam asked, approaching the end of the bed.
"... the interstate chase," Jaqueline mumbled. "That's it."
"Nothing else? Before or after?" Dallas frowned.
"You mean the fact that apparently there are aliens on Earth? And that you knew about them? And that you didn't tell me?! Am I supposed to remember anything else after nearly getting killed by robots?!"
"It would be reasonable that your memory may have gaps in it," A voice stated.
Jaqueline looked up to see a group of men in the doorway. She frowned, studying them.
The man who had spoken stepped up to the bed. He wore a doctor's coat, over a white shirt with a green tie, and dark pants. He had salt and pepper hair, blue eyes and dark framed glasses, "I expect your memory will come back to you in time."
"Uh, who are you?" Jaqueline blinked.
"My name is Ratchet, Ms. Parquor. I suppose I should commend you on a job will done, in regards to your repairs on Sunstreaker," Ratchet spoke, gently. "I believe that without your assistance, things would be very different right now."
"Watch it Hatchet," one of the men that had taken residence against the wall snarled.
Jaqueline's eyes slid to the man, eyeing him critically. This one had blonde hair, tan skin, and ocean blue eyes. He wore a black leather jacket over a yellow shirt with a black tribal print of some sort on it. Dark jeans and black boots complete the ensemble.
"Aw, come on, Sunny!" The redhead next to the blonde swung an arm over the other's shoulders. The redhead slid his sunglasses up on to his head, blue eyes glittering in mischief. He was a mirror image of the blonde, minus the hair color, "Hey- Jackie, right? Dallas' little sister?"
"It's Jaqueline!" Jaqueline snapped, "Get it right!"
The blonde snickered as the redhead's eyebrows went up.
"Well, Jaqueline," the redhead went on. "I just wanted to say thanks for saving my brother's life. I owe you one now."
"And," the blonde gritted his teeth. "So do I.... Thank you."
Jaqueline blinked, still stunned. She squinted at the blonde, before her eyes widened in realization, "... Sunstreaker?!"
"Took you long enough, femme," the blonde smirked.
"And I'm Sideswipe, his twin!" The redhead waved with a wide smile.
"Wait... wait... aren't you supposed to be, like..." Jaqueline waved her hands, "Robots, or something?"
"The forms you see now," Ratchet cleared his throat. "Are our holoforms, so that we can interact with you humans without the worry of potentially harming you."
"Ratchet, how soon do you think Jaqueline will be able to leave the infirmary?" Next to the door, the man with the sandy hair, dressed in camouflage pants, dark boots and a black shirt, tucked in, spoke up. He was looking at Jaqueline with a kind glimmer in his eyes.
"I believe by this evening, Commander," Ratchet answered. He frowned as he made a note on the tablet he held, "Though, Ms Parquor, are you aware that you are nearly fifteen pounds underweight for a woman of your age? My scans also indicate that you have not been getting the rest you need."
"Jackie," Dallas groaned. "I thought you said you were taking care of yourself!" Then, he turned and glared at Trent, "And I thought you said you'd make sure she would!"
"Jaqueline! Get it through your thick skull- my name is Jaqueline!" Jaqueline yelled, before she whipped her head around to glare at Ratchet, "And I am taking care of myself! I just... got distracted with midterms and Sunstreaker... I'll gain the weight back in no time, just like I always do, damn it!"
Dallas frowned, but said nothing.
"You still have that temper, huh, Jackal?" Mikaela finally spoke up, smiling at Jaqueline, "Good to know some things never change."
"Hm," Jaqueline crossed her arms and sunk back into the pillows. "If it's all the same, can I be alone until the doc bot clears me to get out of here?"
There was an extended beat of silence.
"Of course, Ms Parquor. I'll check back in with you later," Ratchet nodded. "Everyone, let's respect her wishes and leave her alone."
When Ratchet cleared Jaqueline that evening, she was joined by the man from earlier- whom she learned was Commander William Lennox- take her on a tour of the base.
"It's so big," Jaqueline marveled. "How do you not get lost?"
Will chuckled, "At first, it is a bit disorienting. But you get used to it." He turned as they came to the end of the hallway, "So, are you ready to meet the Autobots?"
"Am I?" Jaqueline squeaked, embarrassingly.
Will grinned, "Trust me... no one ever is."
With that, Will opened the door, and the following sight left Jaqueline utterly speechless.
"Hey, yo! It's anotha human, yo!" Jaqueline was snapped from her stupor at the shout. Peering over the rail of the catwalk, she saw a hefty looking green colored robot blinking up at her.
"Who are you?" She asked, curiously.
"The name's Skids! Wha's you's?"
"I'm Jaqueline," Jaqueline looked up as a shadow fell over her and Will. She stepped back, eyes wide at the tallest of the Autobots leaned towards her. He was colored blue, with red flames. His expression, oddly enough, was open and sincere, despite being made of metal, "Woah..."
"Jaqueline Parquor," The giant bot rumbled. "I would like to thank you, for your service in assisting my friend Sunstreaker, in his time of need."
"It was nothing," Jaqueline ducked her head. "Really. I... honestly didn't know anything until the other day..."
"Regardless, we Autobots are in your debt. Whatever favor you wish for, it will be yours."
"... What's your name?" Jaqueline asked, changing the subject.
"Optimus Prime. I am the leader of the Autobots. However, you may call me Optimus," Optimus stated. He held out a large metal hand, laying it palm up next to Jaqueline, "I would like you to meet my team, if you so wish."
Jaqueline stared at the offered appendage, before glancing over at Will. He nodded, smiling, silently assuring her. With a deep breath, Jaqueline climbed into Optimus' hand, wrapping her arms around a huge metal finger, gripping tightly as Optimus turned to the open hangar.
"You've already met our Chief Medical Officer," Optimus turned to the green and white medically decorated robot. "Ratchet."
"Yep," Jaqueline nodded. "We've met."
"I am glad to see you on your feet," Ratchet said. "How are you feeling, Jaqueline?"
"Better now, thank you," Jaqueline replied.
"This is my second in command, Prowl," Optimus turned to a black and white Autobot. Upon a small wave from Jaqueline, the mech gave a small smile back.
"I have heard of your bravery, Jaqueline. While reckless, I am impressed. You make a fine warrior," Prowl stated.
"My third in command, Jazz," Optimus gestured to the silver saboteur.
Jaqueline's eyes were drawn to the bot's chest, tilting her head. Her voice was soft when she spoke, "What happened to you?"
"Got into a minor scrap with a Con," Jazz chuckled, ruefully.
"Minor?!" Ratchet hissed, "You were lucky I managed to repair your body, and that Samuel found the Matrix of Leadership!"
"... I'm missing something, aren't I?"
"A story best told later, if you wish to hear it," Optimus rumbled. A large, bulky black Autobot stepped up, "This is Commander Lennox's guardian, and our resident weapons specialist, Ironhide."
On cue, the black mech's cannons whirred to life, glowing with energy. Ironhide's grin though revealed no harmful intent, "Feeling lucky, punk?"
Jaqueline blinked at the bot, tilting her head. She frowned, then tilted her head to the other side. Just to make sure she wasn't seeing things, she carefully changed her position in Optimus' hand, standing on her tip toes to get a better look in the light.
"Who did that horrible paintjob on you?" She muttered, loud enough to be heard, "It's not even covering the rust damage to your form! Who was it? I'll teach 'em how to respect a car's form! Any person, even without an artist's eye, can see the unevenness- it's like someone just applied the paint to the rust and built it up more and more and didn't even bother to sand it down and make it look smooth!"
There was a beat of silence, before Will chuckled from the catwalk. He leaned against the rail, looking amused, "You Parquor's certainly have the eyes for details, don't you?"
"Now I see just how you earned Sunstreaker's respect," Ironhide rumbled, canons disappearing back into his arms. "It is a pleasure to make your acquaintance, Jaqueline."
"Likewise," Jaqueline mumbled.
"You know Hot Rod, I believe?" Optimus mused, turning to the black and orange highlighted robot, "Though, perhaps better in his holoform under the name, Rod?"
"Hey, Jackie- er, Jaqueline," Hot Rod waved. "I heard you blew up earlier on the Hatchet!"
"It's Ratchet!" Ratchet growled, and Jaqueline watched in awe as a wrench appeared in hand and the medic promptly waved it threateningly at Hot Rod, "Unless you'd like your check up a full month earlier, I suggest you learn to call me by my name!"
Jaqueline grinned, and pointed at the medic, "You. I like you. You and I are going to get along splendidly."
A mix of whirls and beeps and whistles caught Jaqueline's attention, and she turned to see a yellow bot with wide blue optics staring at her. He held an air of innocence about him.
"This is Bumblebee," Optimus said. "He is our resident scout."
"Hi," Jaqueline crouched in Optimus' hand. "Can you not talk?"
"His, as you humans may say," Ratchet spoke up. "Voice box has been severely damaged, even before we arrived here on Earth. A fight with the Decepticon's leader, Megatron."
"So he can't speak, period?"
"He can, but it causes more harm than good. And despite knowing that, he occasionally still uses his voice," Ratchet leveled the yellow scout with a glare. "He uses alternative means to speak, until I can repair his vocal communicator."
"Eh, doc, what can I say?" A voice clip filtered through Bumblebee's speakers, as he shrugged.
"Sweet," Jaqueline smiled. "I'd prefer that over having to actually talk, to be honest. Make a guessing game out of it, little trivia games."
"I like it like that," Bumblebee chirped.
"Bumblebee is Sam and Mikaela's guardian," Optimus continued. "He has been since I believe, your senior year of high school."
Jaqueline paused, "That's... seven, almost eight years."
"Bumblebee has been here even longer," Prowl said. "The approximate, since your Earth's 80's."
"Sweet," Jaqueline repeated. She stood back up, balancing in Optimus' servo.
"You've met Skids, this is his twin, Mudflaps," Optimus turned to the similarly looking Bots, one red and one green.
"Eh, yo, anotha squishy! You lookin' fine girl!" The red one cheered.
"Tell me you understand that how you speak is not exactly the best dialect there is on Earth," Jaqueline frowned.
"They don't exactly care," Ironhide muttered. "Troublemakers, those two. Even worse than the original twins."
"Original?" Jaqueline's eyebrows shot up, "Who are they?"
As if being summoned, two nearly identical Stingray Corvettes came roaring into the hangar. One was a bright red, and the other was yellow. They came to a screeching halt before the group, pausing for a moment.
"I believe you already know them, or at least... one of them," Optimus said, with a smile.
Jaqueline watched with wide eyes as the two cars began to transform before her eyes. The sounds of grinding gears, slight whistles and creaks of metal filled the hangar, before two Autobots, looking near identical in everything but color, stood before her.
"Oh, hey, look who's up and out!" The red one cheered, and Jaqueline peered down to see that instead of feet, like the other Bots had, he had wheels, "Nice to see you, Jackie!"
"Jaqueline," Jaqueline said, reflexively, though without much heat. She spun around in Optimus' hand, watching the red bot with interest, "Oh, wow you must be one of the front liners, right? With agility and speed like that, you can get out tight spots easily-" She cut off, leaning between Optimus' fingers to get a better look, "Oh wait, are those swords?! Oh, jeez, those things are wicked cool- ah!"
Jaqueline's grip on Optimus slipped, and she let out a yelp as she began to freefall straight towards the concrete floor. Dimly, she heard Will shout her name, but just as fast as she had fallen, she was caught.
"Easy there, femme," the yellow bot said, lifting the sprawled girl up to face level. "Wouldn't want you to get hurt again."
Jaqueline blinked, once, twice, then grinned, "Sunshine!"
"Sunshine?" The red bot snickered.
Sunstreaker turned his head to glare at the other Bot, "What about it, Swipes?"
Sideswipe laughed, "You'll rip anyone else's head off if they call you anything but your name, but then Jackie-"
"-Comes along, with a nickname like Sunshine, and you let her have at it! This is hilarious!"
"I can see why you're my brother's guardian," Jaqueline sighed, climbing to her feet. She turned to Optimus, who was watching her, "So, is this everyone?"
"No," Optimus rumbled. We have one more on our team- Mirage is currently away on a mission, right now. We are hoping that eventually, though, more of our comrades will arrive here on Earth."
Jaqueline smiled, "Well, in that case... I can't wait to meet them."
I'm still getting a feel for Skids and Mudflaps speech patterns, so if anything seems off here, I apologize.
Jaqueline meets Charlotte Mearing. She officially gains her guardian.
"Would you hold still, you insuffereable slagger?!"
"You're the one that's being insufferable, Hatchet-"
Jaqueline winced at the echo of metal on metal, watching as Sunstreaker rubbed his helm from where Ratchet had brought a wrench down on it. "Isn't that defeating the purpose of being a medic?" She asked, from where she was perched up on the Cybertronian sized desk, "I mean, aren't you just putting him in the medbay longer if you beat his head in?"
Ratchet grumbled, and Sideswipe laughed.
"Ah, no worry, Jacks!" Sideswipe grinned, perched up on his own berth, "We're used to the Hatchet's bedside manner! We know he cares!"
"Really," Jaqueline deadpanned. "I couldn't tell."
"Now let me do my scans, would you?" Ratchet asked the twins, "I need to see what damage Knockout caused you, if any!"
"I told you- I'm fine! The only issue is, is with the fact that even though we're in the same room as each other, it feels like Sides and I are galaxies apart," Sunstreaker grumbled.
"Has been since he arrived on Earth, to be honest," Sideswipe admitted. "I knew he was here, it was just... very weak. I've got my side of our bond open now, and I feel like he's light years away."
"Agreed," Sunstreaker vented out a sigh.
Ratchet mumbled and grumbled.
Jaqueline frowned, scratching her jaw with a pointed nail. After a moment, she spoke up, "Hey, Ratch- could it be because they were separated for so long... that their bond kind of just..." She waved her hands in the air, "Got weaker? I mean, I know I don't know anything about sparks or hell, even Cybertronians, much right now but I mean... just a suggestion."
There was a pause from the three Autobots, before Ratchet turned on Jaqueline, "Repeat that?"
"Elaborate on your reasoning for their bond to be weakened because of time apart from each other."
Jaqueline grimaced, biting her lower lip. After a moment, she answered, "The best way I can describe it is... it's like when you wean an animal off it's mom? They know they're supposed to be there, cause the child needs the mom and the mom needs the child, but the longer you keep them apart the less and less they are to call out for each other until they get to the point where they simply stop. Eventually you can turn them back with each other, and that bond won't be there anymore. It's... faded. Gone."
Ratchet turned and pointed at the twins, "I'm going to run a few scans, but Jaqueline may be on to something. I want you two to spend as much time with each other as possible. Share a room, even. Under no circumstances unless an emergency do I want you separated from each other for more than three hours a day, got it?"
Sideswipe grinned, "Absolutely! Sunny-"
"This is going to be so much fun!"
Sunstreaker's optics landed on a blank looking Jaqueline. With a scowl that clearly said 'I blame you', he said, "Yes. Fun."
Jaqueline blinked, before meeting Sunstreaker's gaze. She gave him a sympathetic smile, then shrugged.
"If it's any consolation," Jaqueline said. "I know exactly how you feel."
"Hey, Will? When can I make a trip to the mainland?"
Will glanced up from his computer, before focusing on the person in the doorway.
"Oh, Jaqueline. What do you need?" Will asked.
"I want to head to the mainland," Jaqueline asked. "Plus... I need to go back to Miami, and pick up some things of mine. So does Trent. I was wondering if I couldn't just kill two birds with one stone, and maybe get everything I need-" She cut off as Will grimaced, "Will?"
"Ah, yeah. You're not going to be able to go back to Miami. Politics and such... well, your stuff is going to be packed and shipped here, and then your schooling is going to be paid by the government, you'll have to do all your classes online, and... trust me, I've been in this job for ten years now. There's no way around it. 'Civilians', by order of Director Mearing, have to stay on base, since they know the secret."
Jaqueline stared at Will.
Will stared at Jaqueline.
"... Tell me you're joking?" Jaqueline finally asked, "I mean, Trent knew before I did and he was going to college!"
"Trent was a special case- your best friend, coerced by your brother to watch over you," Ignoring Jaqueline's outraged curse, he continued. "And I wished I were joking," Will sighed. "I really do. On the plus side, Mearing isn't so heartless that she doesn't allow our families to come here for the holidays- or, in my case, let my daughter and wife come here over school breaks."
Jaqueline's eyes softened, "You have a family?"
Will grinned, "My wife and daughter- Sarah and Annabelle. She's seven, now." He reached out across his desk, and turned around a framed picture to show a woman of Will's age and a little girl smiling at the camera, "Ironhide loves her. Honestly, most of the Bots do."
"She's beautiful," Jaqueline mused, and picked up the photo to stare at it for a moment. "Is it worth it? Being the head of this whole operation?"
"If it means keeping my family and friends safe?" Will gave Jaqueline a look, "Any soldier here, including your own brother, will say the same thing."
Jaqueline raised an eyebrow, handing the photo back over. She watched as Will stared at the women in the pictures, before he met her gaze with a smirk.
"You're damn right it is."
It was four in the morning, and Jaqueline had gotten maybe three hours of sleep. Her mind was spinning from the information overload she had recieved in the last few days, as well as trying to adapt to the new life that she had been pushed into. With a heavy sigh, Jaqueline launched to her feet and rummaged through the box of clothes Mikaela had given her.
"We'll get online and order you some stuff later, so you can at least have some clothes of your own," Mikaela said, when presenting the box to Jaqueline. "Until then, you can borrow some of mine. Thankfully we're the same size."
Finding a pair of jean shorts and t-shirt, Jaqueline slipped into them and her shoes. She stepped into her bathroom to brush her teeth and hair. She regarded herself in the mirror as she pulled her shoulder blade length hair into a ponytail.
Nothing I can do now until I can get my orders in, Jaqueline thought with a sigh. She pushed herself away from the mirror, through her room, and out into the chilled hallway. She hummed a tune as she walked down the near barren halls. She passed the occasional solider, nodding in greeting at them.
You'd think a military base would be a bit more active, even at night, Jaqueline thought, as she entered the main hangar.
"Hi. It's Jaqueline, right?" A voice said, and the raven haired woman turned to see a blonde woman stand from the row of screens. Jaqueline blinked, "Uh... yeah. Who are you?"
"Maggie Madsen, one of the tech specialists. If you want to get technical on how I got involved here, I'm also Secretary Keller's advisor," Maggie smirked. "Isn't that right, Glen?" There was a pause, as both Maggie and Jaqueline looked at the person asleep in the chair next to Maggie. Jaqueline chuckled as Maggie frowned and whacked him upside the head, "Glen!"
"Ah!" The African American yelped and waved his arms around, nearly falling out of his chair, "What?!"
"You know we can't sleep on the job, you idiot!" As Maggie began to chew the other man out, Jaqueline turned to the stairs leading down to the hangar floor.
Wonder if Sunny's up, Jaqueline wondered, making her way over to said yellow Corvette.
"Sunshine?" She whispered, gently tapping her knuckles on the newly transformed Autobot, "You awake?"
When there was no answer, Jaqueline shrugged and began to turn away. Maybe she could go to the gym... Didn't Will say it was on the west end of the building?
Sunstreaker's headlights flashed on, startling Jaqueline. She turned back to stare as the car rolled forward a bit.
"What do you want, femme?" Sunstreaker asked, sounding irritated.
"I need to get out," Jaqueline answered. "Wanna go for a ride? Maybe down on the beach?"
"Oh, slag no," Sunstreaker scoffed, engine hitching. "I'm not losing this paint job! I just got this look!"
"If it's the looks that worry you, I'll give you a wash when we get back," Jaqueline crossed her arms.
There was a beat of silence, before Sunstreaker rolled around Jaqueline, and popped open his passenger door, "I'm holding you to that, Jackie."
"Wouldn't think anything less, Sunshine," Jaqueline teased, and she slid into the seat.
It was just after ten in the morning when they arrived back in the hangar, and unlike when they left, it was far more active and with soldiers rushing around. Even the Autobots were transformed, towering over the humans.
"Is... it just me or does everyone seem... nervous?" Jaqueline asked, peering out the darkened window.
"Prime says someone of great importance in your country's government has arrived and is waiting to meet the new recruits... I suppose he means myself and you, femme," Sunstreaker settled on his axles. He seemed tense and unsettled.
"Well, big guy," Jaqueline yawned. She patted his dash, "Play nice, and don't make a bad impression."
"Why not?" Sunstreaker nearly whined.
"Save it for the Cons!" Jaqueline grinned, savagely, "Let them know just how badly they pissed you off."
Sunstreaker's engine revved, and he let out a dark chuckle, "That can be arranged."
Jaqueline hummed, and then opened up Sunstreaker's door. She stepped out of the car, stretching her arms over her head. She had barely stepped away from the Autobot, before his door snapped shut and with the sound of grinding gears, Sunstreaker transformed.
"Jaqueline!" Will called from the upper deck, "Care to come up here for a minute? I want you to meet someone!"
Jaqueline squinted up at the upper deck- along with Will, she saw Epps, Sam, Mikaela, Trent, two more men she didn't recognize, plus a strict looking woman with blonde hair and glasses. Jaqueline eyed the flight of stairs to the upper deck, vaguely cursing her past self out for not getting coffee before her early morning venture, and then turned to Sunstreaker.
"Stairs suck. Can I get a lift?"
Jaqueline swore she saw amusement in Sunstreaker's optics as he held a servo down to her. The ravenette climbed into his offered hand, shaking off her sudden vertigo as he lifted her up to the catwalk. She hopped down, landing on both feet before the gathered people. Almost immediately, one of the men, this one dressed in a suit, stalked up to her. His dark eyes, bright like he had a fever, gave her a once over before he started speaking.
"So, another civilian added to the mix, huh? What kind of background have you got- how'd you come across the Autobots- it's awfully convenient that up until last week that you knew nothing about this- you certainly took it a lot easier than Witwicky-" The man barely seemed to breath between questions.
Over his shoulder, Jaqueline saw Sam, Mikaela, Trent, and the other man give her sympathetic looks.
The blonde woman simply stared her down.
Aha. A test. Well then, I'm not studying psychology for nothing, Jaqueline thought, and forced herself to square her shoulders.
Jaqueline stepped back, groaning, "I haven't had my daily dose of caffeine yet, but you certainly have. Can't I wake up a bit before you start bombarding a woman? Don't you know the meaning of personal space?"
"Ah, got a little fire, do we?" The man smirked, "What's your name kid?"
"First of all," Jaqueline grumbled. "I'm twenty four. Far from being a kid. Second of all, I'm sure you already know my name, so why waste your breath asking? Third of all, why do you care?"
The man spluttered, and Jaqueline shoved right by him. She saw the smirks that her friends and the other young man were attempting to hide, even heard her brother cough to cover a laugh, but her eyes were on the woman. They eyed each other, the air thick with tension between them.
"Director Mearing," Will cleared his throat. He seemed uncomfortable and tense, "I'd like you to meet Jaqueline Parquor. She's Captain Parquor's younger sister. She and Trent were the ones to find our newest Autobot ally, Sunstreaker."
Mearing eyed Jaqueline.
Jaqueline eyed Mearing.
Mearing turned to Optimus Prime, and Jaqueline instantly tuned the Director out, having caught sight of a table against the wall that held a coffee machine and even a bowl of fruit on it.
Coffee, coffee, coffee, coffee, Jaqueline inwardly chanted, making a beeline for the heaven sent liquid. As she poured herself a cup, something Mearing said caught her attention.
"- has brought even more trouble with him, has he not? Why should we offer him sanctuary?"
"Why you-" Sunstreaker started, and Jaqueline grimaced as she heard the sounds of cannons whirling to life, and blades being unsheathed. Soldiers and Optimus called out, ordering Sunstreaker and even Sideswipe to stand down.
"You'd really rather have a loose cannon out there in the world somewhere?" Jaqueline called over her shoulder. She took a sip of her coffee, sighing in bliss and listening as the chaos died down. She turned around, "Director Mearing, was it?"
"Yes," the blonde woman answered shortly. "What exactly are you implying?"
"I'm implying that you're putting thousands of lives at risk, if you enforce the order of kicking Sunstreaker out. Ah, let me finish," Jaqueline cut Mearing off when she opened her mouth. "Sure, Sunstreaker may have come to Earth with Decepticons on his tail, but honestly- aren't you expecting more to just show up anyways? With or without new Autobots arriving?"
"I'm not finished," Jaqueline ignored Mearing's sharp look. "My point, as you so asked, is this: If you kick Sunstreaker out, he's going to have Decepticons on his tail again. You also risk losing another Autobot, because I can about bet everything I own that Sideswipe would follow his brother. That's two less Autobots- less firepower for whenever the Cons decide their next attack. Also, should said Cons decide to hypothetically attack Sunstreaker and Sideswipe if you were to hypothetically kick Sunstreaker out, you had just better pray they aren't in any populated area. That goes back to my point of possible thousands getting injured- innocent civillians."
"And what if the Cons were to somehow- and I have no clue if this is possible, I'm just guessing here- brainwash Sunny into joining them? He's a fighter, a loyal one to the Autobot cause. I've seen how he fights, and I have to tell you, he's got moves," Okay, that was a lie, but Mearing didn't need to know that. "Wouldn't you rather have that level of loyalty serving your country, rather than your enemy?"
Mearing tilted her head, just a little, and gazed at Jaqueline in consideration. Jaqueline took another sip of her still steaming coffee, before throwing caution to the wind and downing the whole thing in just a few gulps.
"What the hell? Did she not feel that?" Epps distantly wondered.
"Very well," Mearing finally said. She turned to Will, "Shall we continue our discussion in your office, Commander?"
"Uh," Will blinked, looking startled. "Uh, yes, ma'am-" He shook his head at the look Mearing gave him, "I mean, yes, Director. Right this way, please."
Jaqueline watched as the group of suits and uniforms walk out of the hangar, and she smirked. Before she could move though, the air on either side of her shimmered and she ended up in a bone crushing hug between two Autobots.
"Can we keep her?!" Sideswipe begged, "Optimus, please!"
"Yeah!" The dark skinned man with dreadlocks and a sunglasses exclaimed. His voice was Jazz's, "C'mon! She jus' pulled off in ah few minutes what any of us can't in ah full day! Even with ta Prowler's help!"
"Release me," Jaqueline deadpanned. When neither Autobot did, she groaned, "Please?"
That got them to release her, and Sideswipe grinned at her, "You just went head to head with the Director! None of us like her, and you just- that was awesome!"
"What's the big deal?" Jaqueline muttered, tossing her empty cup into the nearby trashcan, "You're acting like you're scared of her."
"Even Will doesn't like her," Sam said. "I certainly don't."
"Plus, the Director position here is like the Defense Against the Dark Arts position in Harry Potter series," the young man that hadn't gone with Will or Mearing spoke up. "It's cursed."
"Leo- there is no such thing as curses," Sam sighed.
"Dude, you don't know that! If giant alien robots exist, why can't magic?!"
Jaqueline stared as Sam and Leo began to argue, much to Mikaela's look of exasperation. She frowned, "Is this a common occurrence?"
"Leo is Sam's room mate from Princeton," Mikaela said. "He's always been a bit... nerdy. So has Sam, but you already knew that."
Jaqueline hummed in response, catching the tail end of Trent's conversation with Optimus.
"-enlist Sunstreaker as Jaqueline's guardian? I mean, they've already connected, and it doesn't exactly make sense to separate them, does it?"
Jaqueline blinked, then whirled around, "Trent! Stop talking about me like I'm not standing here!"
"I agree with you, Trent, but only if it's alright with Jaqueline and Sunstreaker," Optimus said, as Jaqueline stormed up next to her friend.
"If what's alright with me?" Jaqueline scowled at a smirking Trent, "What did you do?"
"Trent was only suggesting that you need a guardian, now that you're one of us," Mikaela walked up beside Jaqueline. "And since you've already come to know him pretty well, why not Sunstreaker?"
Jaqueline tilted her head, "Really? But... can he? I mean, doesn't he need to be cleared by Ratchet and then there's the whole bond thingy between him and Sideswipe and then the Decepticons-"
"Breathe, Jaqueline," Dallas reminded his sister. "Yes, there's all of those factors, but keep in mind, it's more for whenever you're on the mainland, in case Cons attack you or something similar."
"What the hell is similar to evil robots attacking?"
"Humans," Dallas, Trent, Sam, Leo, and Mikaela all chorused.
"There are some humans out there who know about the Autobots' existence and... well, they don't exactly approve. They would rather see them scrap metal than even give them the chance to hear their story. Experiment on them..." Sam shuddered, and Bumblebee leaned over, chirping in worry, "I'm fine, Bee. Really."
"Simmons, the guy who got in your face earlier, was a member of a group who did said experiments," Mikaela nodded. "Sector Seven- and, before you ask, no. He's not a part of that group anymore. He's one of us now."
"Huh," Jaqueline mused. She turned, waving, "Hey, Sunshine! What do you say- care to be my guardian?"
Sunstreaker's smirk was answer enough.
As I've stated before, anything after DotM is not to be referenced in this fic. That being said, I know very well some people in the fandom may not like Mearing, but I do. I felt like towards the end of DotM, she had a few redeeming qualities. That being said, she's still the Director of Intelligence here in this fic.
I want to say thank you for all the comments, kudos, bookmarks, etc! Hope you enjoyed this chapter!