Sam and the Autobots watched Barricade take off down the road at an alarming speed, Sam laughing when a small pebble beaned Ratchet right in the head causing the mech to blink a few times.
The medic gave Sam a disgruntled glare, his voice carrying no humor, “What is it you find so funny?”
Sam shook his head as he tried to control his laughter, “Nothing Ratch,” he said before he turned more serious, “I suppose we should chase Barricade down, right?” he asked.
The boy tried to hide a grin as he looked up at the mech. Car chases were awesome. Say it with him, aw-e-some. Plus, there were all those flashing lights. There had been more than one occasion where Sam had considered asking Bumblebee if he wanted to be something a little more … official. Official as in can race across town and no one will have an ill thought towards it. The only reason he held back was because part of his mind kept thinking that Bumblebee would end up looking like Barricade.
The Autobot Commander shook his head, saying gently “Absolutely not, Sam. Let her be,”
‘Kill joy,’ thought Sam.
“She will be even more dangerous with a Sparkling. We will only provoke her if we chase her down.” added the commander when he noticed the boy’s confusion.
Sam frowned, “If she’s going to be a danger to society, then why not capture her and bring her back to base? At least she won’t kill anyone there.” Besides, it wasn’t like he knew anything about femmes and Sparklings. He was never told in the first place, still wanting a car chase.
“No, I feel that if we were to do that, then who knows what she would do to protect herself and the sparkling. There is no right or wrong in what to do in this situation, we can only wait and see. Barricade will most likely find a place to hide. Femmes are extremely protective over their Sparklings and being on an unknown planet increase that feeling 10 fold.”
Ratchet nodded before he transformed, followed by Optimus. Sam hopped in the medic’s cab as the door slammed with its own power, Sam asked, “Are you guys gonna report this to the other Autobots?”
“Of course, Sam,” Ratchet replied as pulled out into the main road.
When they finally made it back to base, dust following close behind their treads, they found William standing with Ironhide discussing the difference in US and Cybertronian military strategies.
Both stopped however when they spotted the others arriving. “Hey Ratchet, Optimus,” Will waved from the other side of the hangar, which served as a makeshift base until something more had been established. Ratchet stopped and allowed Sam out before he transformed, Optimus having already done so as he was not so impeded.
“So what was so important?” the Captain asked curiously as he shielded his eyes from the afternoon sun, looking upward at the towering figure.
Optimus wandered over to the two, as Bumblebee quickly joined them a few seconds later to find out the scoop. He instantly picked up Sam while watching his commander expectantly. Optimus shifted on his feet, his voice echoing over the expanse as he spoke, “I have new orders for all of you.”
Ironhide looked up from polishing one of his cannons, “New order? And what would those new orders be Optimus?”
“For one, Barricade is to be left alone. Under no circumstance is that bot to be bothered.”
“What?” cried Ironhide as he leaned forward, polishing forgotten. “But Prime, I thought we were supposed to catch the glitch,” Ironhide protested.
“Not anymore. Ratchet has found out some extremely important information concerning Barricade. It turns out that what Sam had come across last night was a spark-birth,” said Optimus, uncertain if he should be happy or worried about that information.
Shock caused air to catch in Ironhide’s vents, and the mech seemed to be frozen for a moment, “A WHAT?!” Ironhide dropped his rag in surprise.
“You… you mean Barricade is a –” Will stopped his train of thought, apparently derailed at the news, “now wait a damned minute. Optimus, I thought Barricade was a mech?” Will asked, surprised as well.
“Affirmative, and apparently so did everyone else, Captain,” Optimus nodded at the Captain, “Ratchet saw the Sparkling earlier while Barricade tried to chase him away.”
“Yes … as it seems, Barricade is, in actuality, a femme,” Ratchet with a wave of his hand, stating that there’d be no more questions on Barricade’s gender.
Ironhide leaned back against the wall, accepting the medic’s glare as an answer, before continuing, “A femme, you say? She’s gonna be a danger to the humans on this planet if what you say is true,” Ironhide groused.
“Bringing her in will only cause her distress, and if she feels threatened by us, she very well may destroy the Sparkling. I’m not sure how Decepticon femmes are.” Ratchet cautioned. He hated to admit it, but he had never, in all his long years, heard of a ‘Con femme giving spark-birth. It was new territory to him.
“Well that’s just stupid,” commented the Weapon Specialist as he snagged his rag off the ground.
“So wait… when I fought with her at that plant, she was double Sparked?” Bumblebee asked, feeling guilt rise in his chest at the realization that he could have done some major damage and not even have known it. His face showed his distress at the idea that he could have caused her Spark to expel the Sparkling before it was fully developed.
Optimus nodded at the scout, “Indeed.”
“You know Optimus, since Barricade is a femme, that means the species won’t be extinct due to the Allspark’s loss. Here we were worried about looking for femmes but one has already made herself known,” Ironhide noted offhandedly, “even if it was inadvertently.”
“Yeah, I dare you to try to catch her for that,” Sam laughed from Bumblebee’s hand, “That Decepticon is full of piss and vinegar, I know firsthand. Remember, he – she chased me down under that bridge after she caught me in that garage.” Sam wrinkled his nose, “Y’know, its kinda creepy finding out that Decepticon is actually a girl – femme. Because if she would have killed me… man that would have been totally embarrassing.”
Ironhide took a moment to look up the phrase, “Well we might have to,” he insisted. “She’s the last femme, and it’s only natural for us to hunt her down for that reason alone. She would have to accept, being the last of her kind,”
“If she’s the last of her kind,” Ratchet said with a frown as he glared at the Weapon Specialist.
“So you guys are saying that he’s a she and she has an infant?” Will asked, still a bit shocked at hearing the news, “Why do you keep saying she may well be ‘the last’ of the females? Are femmes rare or something?”
Optimus turned to the Captain, a saddened look taking on his faceplates and his optics dimmed. There was a moment of haunting silence before the mech decided to speak, “Will, when the war started… Megatron… did something … terrible. He decided to go after all of the Sparkling care centers, ordering a mass femme and sparkling genocide. He even went so far as to kill off the Decepticon femmes.”
“What?! What the hell was wrong with him?” Sam burst out, nearly falling off of perch as a surprised Bumblebee fumbled to catch him.
“He was deranged. Apparently, thinking that killing off all of the sparklings and femmes, there would be no more Autobots for him to have to deal with being that we were the only side gain troops because the Allspark had been hidden at the time,” Ratchet explained.
“That is why we will need Barricade. If she is indeed the last femme, then we will need her to produce more sparklings,” Ironhide said with a huff, “And with any luck, more femmes will be born and we won’t need her… uh… assistance.”
“Dude, she won’t have to do anything. I doubt she would let an Autobot anywhere near her for such an… act,” Sam chuckled after thinking about it, then quickly tried to dismiss the thoughts that ran through his head. For a brief moment he wondered how exactly the Cybertronians did… it, but shook his head furiously to drive away the thoughts. He would have to ask Ratchet or Bumblebee one of these days.
“If she is the last femme, then we need to capture her. Not because she’s a Decepticon, but for the sake of our species! She should know that her job is to keep the species going,” Ironhide growled.
“Ironhide,” Optimus said in a no-nonsense tone, “We are not like the Decepticons. We may need her for our species, but I will not allow any Autobot to force her into mating. It should be her choice and her choice alone.”
“How else do you think we will get more sparklings? Hope and pray that Primus will drop one out of the sky?”
“Wow, is that all you think about, Ironhide?” Ratchet suddenly growled, cuffing the Weapon Specialist upside the head with a snort. Ironhide glared at the medic with one of those ‘I dare you to try that again’ glares. Ratchet only glared back, daring him to try something.
Ironhide suddenly grinned evilly, “It is my wish, dear friend, that you shall be chased down the streets by a bunch of escaped whip-bearing lunatics, you cheap medical harpy!”
Ratchet’s jaw about hit the floor, and yet he hadn’t taken his optics off of Ironhide, “I think on the way here, some alien zapped you with a stupid ray… Twice,”
Ironhide snorted, his cannons coming out and he rolled them a few times in aggravation. If anything, Ratchet grated his nerves more than anything.
The stare-down continued until Optimus broke it with a wave of his hand.
“Ironhide,” he suddenly called out, the Weapon Specialist snapping his attention back to his Commander, “we are not going to force her into anything. Besides, right now she is delicate. Going after her would only make things worse.”
Optimus put his hand up, shaking his head, showing that what he said was firm. Ironhide groaned.
As the discussion continued at the Autobot’s base, Barricade was busy hunting for another place to hide out and care for her newly sparked infant. She knew she couldn’t go to the Autobots, so her selections were now extremely limited since they seemed to lurk around every corner. How only four of them could pull that off, she didn’t know.
Making her way through towns in her hunt, she decided that being around humans was also out of the question. At least she hoped she could find a place where humans were scarce, because they seemed to be everywhere. So she continued through the towns, hunting for something similar as to what she had claimed before, but as of yet, found nothing. The buildings that looked even remotely possible were either full of people or too many people went near it, which would give her no privacy. She was becoming increasingly annoyed with that fact as well.
She was also becoming tired and had to find her way around these silly towns as such. Why couldn’t things be just a little simple? She revved her engine in frustration at a stoplight, waiting for it to turn green, tempted to slam the car in front of her, but thought better of it. It was best not to bring attention to herself because she was pissed off.
Not that her irritated mood was out of sorts: if she didn’t find a place soon, she felt she would go into recharge on the spot.
Ha, wouldn’t that surprise the humans?
She was becoming sluggish and it showed in the sounds of her engine and how she turned. Her driving became slow and questionable as time went on, and a few times she would swerve. If another cop was behind her, they would swear she was beyond drunk. Finally, after another grueling hour of searching she knew she could no longer go on. Her engine sputtered and wanted to die and she knew she had to park and do it now. Barricade knew her body was acting this way because she was still weak from her spark-birth and her systems were way overtaxed. Warnings had already starting to flash in her HUD.
In the end, Barricade found a garage that was in an alleyway, where she decided to turn in. It seemed somewhat abandoned and she didn’t care who owned the building or whatnot as she pulled forward and backed in.
For the first time since the birthing, she didn’t care who was in or around the garage. Right now, all that mattered right now was the time it would take for her to recharge and gain her strength and alloy back, which was slowly being replaced. Obviously another reason she was becoming so tired. She rested down on her tires and shut off her lights, content to recharge right where she was. She took a long look at the Sparkling curled up in her interior, studying it for the first time now that she was relaxed.
She had to admit the little thing was cute. And coming from her that was saying a lot.
She noted that it had a small pointy chevron on its head, which was silver but had a black streak through it like a lightning bolt out each side. Its arms and legs were nimble yet had the strong piston like grip that Barricade had, giving it deadly strength like its mother and the agility that was apparently taken after its father. The legs were a dead giveaway, because they were digigrade, unlike her own and more like it was meant to be a flier. Its little back was barely developed and shone mostly sliver with black highlights along the edges. Though there were currently only metal points protruding out as it had no alt mode as of right now, Barricade figured that they might become door wings later on. Its little chest was broad with black coloring containing minute detail and silver markings. The bits of armor over its arms and legs were black but were adorned with silver in various places. Its little hands had 4 finger like appendages, all the ‘knuckles’ adorned with sharp edges and the ends were adorned with claws like both parents boasted.
Decepticon indeed. She smiled internally at how it was curled there, protected by her armor. Nothing would get to it – nothing would harm it. She would make sure of that. Even if it were at the cost of her own spark.
After admiring her little one like a dotting hen, Barricade sat and began powering down immediately after another quick check once again on her little one in the front seat to make sure it was comfortable. It didn’t take her long to go into a light recharge. Her sensors stayed active on the Sparkling as she slept, watching to make sure the critter was all right.
She kept a few sensors active on her surroundings as well. Primus help the idiot that got too close to her. It wasn’t because she was a Decepticon and hated mankind to begin with, it was protecting her young one that mattered now, and she wouldn’t let any human anywhere near it.
After a few hours, Barricade finally booted out of her recharge cycle and into full wakefulness. The Sparkling was still out cold and she watched it for a few moments. Clearly, it hadn’t been a dream. It was fascinating to her how she watched it almost all the time now. How her feelings towards it became so strong. Decepticons weren’t supposed to be so close to others. But it didn’t matter to her. All she cared about was the well being of the sparkling.
The Sparkling was currently curled into a little ball now on the floor of her alt mode. How it had gotten there was anyone’s guess. She figured it may have woken up and crawled down there to hide itself out of instinct.
Seeing her Sparkling secure, her thoughts wandered aimlessly as to how she had become double-sparked in the first place. It was well known throughout Decepticon history that Decepticon femmes did not procreate.
And that’s when it hit her. She couldn’t believe it, but sure enough, now that she thought about it, it made complete sense. She had only been in close proximity with a mech for such an extraordinary occurrence to happen and come to think of it, it had been with none other than the Air Commander of the Decepticons himself when they first landed. It also explained the digigrade legs on the Sparkling.
So he was the reason she now had a Sparkling. Ha! Wouldn’t he be surprised? It was on the heels of this thought that she decided that she wasn’t going to tell him. She had no idea what Seekers did to their young, and knew damned well that Starscream may end up doing something to it in his own crazed way. So to protect the Sparkling and herself, she would keep the information quiet, and avoid the Seeker like the plague.
On the other side of things, she had no idea that the male creator could also feel the sparkling they helped to produce. And this would probably make itself known later.
While she sat in the garage, content to stay here as her new temporary nest, she took note of the few humans who did go by, some looking at her curiously but not curious enough to stop and question her presence. Obviously they didn’t expect to see a police car sitting in this garage and that was fine to her. As long as they stayed away from her, she was perfectly happy to stay parked here.
Her optics stayed trained on whoever happened to walk by. Then, one of them, stupid as they were, must have taken a liking to her alt mode and approached her. They got within a couple of feet of her and her engine burst to life with a loud un-carlike roar and her tires squealed as she charged at them, the hooks from her headlights coming out to try to impale the human, but it didn’t work.
The sight of a car suddenly coming to life and sprouting things from its front end had the person reeling back out of her reach.
She grunted as they fumbled and fell, wide eyed at seeing a car move on its own and high tailed it out of there, running for their lives.
No one would believe them even if they did try to say that a cop car drove itself and nearly ran them over anyway, she figured she was safe.
Stupid and oblivious humans, the more oblivious the better.
The Sparkling woke up a little while after, uncurling from its soft bed and perked up, clicking and beeping madly. Apparently it had no idea where it was. Barricade immediately rumbled softly in reply, letting it know where it was and the young one soothed immediately. Curious about its surroundings, it crawled to the seat and peeked out the windows, it’s little red optics glancing at everything as it twittered and warbled to its creator, eager to learn about its new life. Barricade continued to click at it, telling it things as it asked a barrage of questions; its little processors were like a sponge.