Well After Two
Title: Well After Two
Part: The Third (Well After Eleven PM)
Fandom: Transformers (2007 Movie)
Disclaimer: No implied ownership, no financial gain, only fanwork.
Characters/Pairings: Sam, Bee, Clocker, Cast.
Summary: Waiting is the worst part. Especially when the enemy is two steps ahead.
Notes: This unofficially takes place in the 'Target Exclusive' alter-continuity of the movie-verse (where Jazz lives and is sporting a sexy G1 redeco, the Decepticons have ties to corporate America, and scouts are everywhere).
"'Bee?" Sam asked about when they crossed the border into Tennessee. "Why was Arcee's approving of me so important?"
Bumblebee was quiet for a moment before having his hologram glance over.
"If anything happened to me, I believe she would be a good guardian for you."
Sam froze, processing and re-processing that statement.
"Nothing's going to happen to you, Bumblebee," Sam said in one breath, immediately rubbing the seat beneath him in hopes it would be comforting somehow. "Don't even think like that."
"War is war," 'Bee replied before switching on the radio and quickly shuffling through stations. He landed on a Moby song and left it.
As much as Sam didn't want to think about life without any of his friends, deep inside he knew that it could happen. But he decided not to push the issue - not with Bumblebee, at least. He'd almost lost 'Bee once before and just the memory of that was enough to make him feel a little ill.
"Mind if I catch some sleep?" Sam asked after a minute of Moby explaining the greatest truth of the universe.
"If I could hand you a blanket, I would," Bumblebee said, waving an arm through the seat as if to emphasize his inability to actually touch anything in holographic form.
"Hey," Sam questioned as he shifted and reached back to grab the blanket from where it was half stuffed into his bag. "How come Arcee could knock on your window, then?"
"I'm not sure, Sam. She must have had opportunity to learn."
"Yeah..." Sam pulled the blanket over himself, wishing it was big enough to actually cover all of him. He shifted a bit until he was leaning half against the passenger window with his jacket as a pillow. For a moment he just watched Bumblebee's hologram as it drove along, not blinking or smiling, simply being - enough to satisfy any oncoming traffic.
Once, when the slowed down in a patch of construction, Sam opened his eyes and thought he saw 'Bee smiling at him. But at the same time, the radio was droning on with an older, mostly obscene Nine Inch Nails song. Closing his eyes seemed like the smart thing to do and after that, he wasn't entirely sure he hadn't dreamed it.
The sun was low in the sky when Sam and Bumblebee slid through a fast food drive-thru just outside of Bowling Green, Kentucky. Somehow Sam had expected the entire event to be eat-n-go but instead 'Bee took him off to a nearby park where most of the rest of the group was waiting.
"What's up?" Sam asked as he climbed back over to the passenger seat. "Why did we stop?"
"We're staying here until Optimus returns," 'Bee replied, causing Sam to look around and count cars. Sure enough, there was one missing.
"Where did he go?"
"Exactly? I don't know," Bumblebee admitted. He made his hologram blush a bit, probably trying to look embarrassed. "He wanted to go alone."
Sam frowned but started eating his burger anyway. Yet another thing that probably wasn't much of his business, anyway. And certainly, any sort of covert meeting was suddenly less covert when the Autobots involved. For a moment Sam wondered how Optimus Prime had even managed to convince them not to follow him. Even if it was an order, he was fairly sure Ironhide and the twins were having a difficult time not sneaking away.
"Mind if I get out for a bit?" Sam asked as he spied a picnic table with a playground not far beyond. As much as he truly liked riding around with everyone, he was sick to death of sitting down.
'Bee popped the door without replying.
Grabbing his drink and the fast food bag that still had a mostly-uneaten carton of fries in it, Sam crawled out of the car and stumbled a few steps before his legs wanted to work.
From the picnic table, Sam could watch everyone without trouble. Clocker was still with them, even though Arcee was not, but he was sitting still without a holographic driver in sight. Sam wondered if the scout was hard at work or simply resting. He had yet to see Clocker's 'driver', but he wasn't going to go potentially wake the 'bot up to ask, either.
Beside Clocker, Camshaft was engaged in some sort of conversation with Ratchet, obvious only by their bumpers being a little closer than need-be. Sideswipe and Sunstreaker had adopted hologram form, attempting to mirror or annoy one another, Sam wasn't sure which. They didn't stray far from their physical bodies and weren't really making noise (oddly enough, for them).
Finishing his dinner, Sam stretched and chucked his garbage into a can nearby before beginning to walk around the playground. It was a nice playground, filled with old metal jungle-gyms and metal animals with springs beneath them. But it wasn't as fun as he remembered, now that he could touch his tiptoes on the woodchips below while hanging from the highest bars.
Hanging there, his sneakers dragging against the ground, Sam did not feel like he'd saved the world once and was trying to help save it again. He just felt like a big kid far from home. In a way, he was a little scared and a little lonely.
He found himself thinking of Miles and how Miles would have been hanging upside down from the top of the next set of bars, acting like an utter monkey regardless of who was watching. But Miles was still in Tranquility, likely washing his dog or attempting some random feat of geekdom that only Miles was capable of.
Laughing and closing his eyes to simply feel the breeze as it was, Sam missed 'Bee's blond hologram appearing outside of the Camaro and slowly walking over to him.
Sam opened his eyes, a little surprised and half-expecting to see a yellow Camaro in front of him, not the hologram. They both smiled and Sam patted the spot at the table beside him.
"I... don't know," Bumblebee said carefully as he tried to reconfigure himself into a sitting position without passing limbs through wood and metal.
"Not bad," Sam commented as he glanced back at the parking lot. "You're... way over here."
"I thought it might... want to talk." There was a brief moment of silence before Sam understood exactly what 'Bee was saying.
"We could sit over by..."
"With everyone around?" 'Bee interjected, gesturing to where Sideswipe and Sunstreaker were chasing each other around themselves, learning to leap and land and, apparently, sense the others' holo-presence. Jazz was apparently sleeping on his own hood, headphones covering his ears and sunglasses covering his eyes as the setting sun painted both car and driver in new colors.
"You have a point," Sam admitted as he looked back at Bumblebee. "But... I don't mind how I talk to you. You're all... you."
"I'm glad you feel that way, Sam," 'Bee replied. "I was just hoping that you didn't find this scenario to be... creepy."
"No!" Sam said quickly. "Not at all. I mean, it was good for talking to Arcee, so... good for talking to anyone." Really, he hadn't meant it quite so bluntly but he didn't try to backtrack.
"Then I suppose I should tell you stories." Bumblebee didn't seem to have taken the comment negatively, causing Sam to let out a soft sigh of relief. The last thing he wanted to do was offend his friend - his giant robot friend.
Sometimes he stopped and wondered how, out of billions of people on the planet, he'd ended up in, well, his own shoes. But instead of wondering that, as he kicked out his legs and tried to find a bit of depth in false eyes, Sam simply listened to everything that Bumblebee had to say.
Sam had long-since returned to Bumblebee's passenger seat and fallen mostly asleep when he opened his eyes to an almost-unfamiliar noise.
'Bee was talking to someone - just not a familiar voice. A few holographic display panels popped up on Bumblebee's dashboard, flashing through screen after screen of the world wide web. After a couple of seconds and a half-lidded glance out the window, Sam realized that Clocker had shoved his way next to Bumblebee and was the one initiating conversation.
"Sam, are you awake?" 'Bee asked as he manifested his own hologram to reach over and jokingly poke even though he really couldn't touch anything.
"Kinda," Sam admitted. "What time is it?"
"Well after eleven," Clocker interjected as Sam sat up and shifted to look at the displays.
"What's all this?" Sam asked. It looked frighteningly like MySpace.
"Apparently," Bumblebee said as he shifted one of the displays over to be right in front of Sam, "the Decepticons have found ways of deceiving the more technilogically-inclined amongst your kind."
"No," Sam said as he read over the page. "Clocker, you remember those fourteen year old girls. This... 'Thundercracker' guy has thousands of friends on here and most of their usernames sound like Miles' little sister."
"This is only one page of many," Clocker replied. "While we've been waiting, I have extended my searching to find more than a hundred unique pages or sites supporting the Decepticons if not being wholly run by them."
"Wait, and you can log onto those?" Sam asked, a little panicked. "Can't they tell?"
"Most of your current computer technology is archaic to our kind," Clocker replied. "I believe all current data involved exists on actual server machines and I have been accessing it via a local unlocked wireless network that just reaches this park."
"So what are they planning?" Bumblebee was the one to ask, finally, after scanning through what looked like a good hundred MySpace pages at incredible speed. He didn't look away from the panel in front of him and it took Sam a couple of seconds to remember that his hologram was just sitting there and it was the robot that made up the car that was doing the actual work.
Maybe the holograms weren't a good idea. And Clocker... had to be using the radio. Sam hadn't even thought about it.
"I don't know," Clocker admitted. "Even on their own potential pages, there isn't much actual information. Yet people are drawn to it."
"Everyone wants in on the next big thing," Sam commented as he actually started looking at the photos and vague bits of information that Thundercracker's MySpace presented. Shadowy black and white snapshot of a twenty-something handsome hologram or photomanip... And the girls seemed to comment wildly about his not wanting to hurt them.
Looking away, Sam shook his head.
"How are we supposed to fight this?" Sam asked. "I thought you guys just blasted the daylights out of one another and that was it."
"Apparently, revenge on this world and on us requires slightly different tactics," Bumblebee said, sounding his true age for just a few seconds. Sam shivered even though the night was far from cold.
Clocker was apparently about to say something when headlights lit up the parking lot.
"About time," Sam said as a familiar semi came to a stop, taking up the better part of four parking spaces in the next row out. "I wonder where he was. Where would he go alone?"
One by one, the display panels flickered off, leaving only the lights on Bee's dashboard and the running lights of the others as light. Optimus even turned off his own headlights and without thinking, Sam got out of the Camaro and walked over.
"We've gotta talk to you," Sam said as he approached the truck. He didn't quite know how to explain MySpace, but he could probably say 'Wikipedia' and send Optimus in the right direction.
"I have to talk to all of you as well," Optimus replied almost softly. Sam nearly missed the sound of the driver's door latch yet he knew once he heard it that he was supposed to climb up and open it. Almost hesitantly, he put a foot up on the bottom step of Optimus' cab and grabbed at the door for support.
Swinging it open, Sam found himself at an utter loss for words. Behind him, Clocker had transformed and was peering in as well. Bumblebee followed suit in the silence, and within seconds, every Autobot in the lot had transformed to try to see what exactly Optimus had brought back that had rendered Sam speechless.
Long, blonde hair nestled around the girl's face as she slept with her head on her hands, she was wearing only a black tank top and plaid miniskirt that was mostly out of place from her sleeping sprawled across the bench-seat of Optimus' cab.
Apparently just the act of staring was enough - somehow she knew all eyes (and optics) were on her and she stretched cautiously, revealing blue eyes and tiny skeleton earrings precariously dangling from each ear.
"Oh," she said softly, "did I fall asleep?"
And then she saw Sam.
"Hi," she said as she shifted and sat up, flashing the briefest bit of white panties. "Nice to meet you. You must be Sam."
Sam blinked once and would have stepped back if there wasn't a metal leg pressed against him.
The girl smiled, reaching for her own bag that was decorated with three neon pink skulls on black canvas.
"Y...yeah," Sam said. "Hi. Um... I think there's been some sort of mistake." He cleared his throat. "Optimus... you gotta give her back."
"Give me back?" the girl asked with a laugh as she dug around in her bag, which she'd pulled onto her lap. "I'm not going anywhere."
"Here it is!" she exclaimed a moment later as she pulled something black out of her bag and handed it to Sam. "You've heard of us, at least."
Sam thought it was a wallet at first, but instead it was a badge - one he remembered all too clearly.
"Not good for much, anymore," the girl continued even as Sam realized that despite her appearance she was someone with some sort of amazing, unique skill. He hoped. "Mmm... Back up, would you all?"
The group obeyed, giving her room to slip down to the ground and stand clear as Optimus transformed.
"I'm sorry to keep everyone waiting but there was a delay in picking up our newest ally," Optimus said. "More road construction."
"The roads on this planet are poorly manufactured," Ironhide agreed, even though Sam couldn't imagine road construction stopping Ironhide if Ironhide really wanted to get somewhere.
"I'd like you all to meet former Sector Seven agent and our current liason with the American government," Optimus continued. Sam didn't look up - he was just staring at the badge he'd been handed, a little unsure what he was supposed to be thinking. "Melissa."
Drink Lemonade! Tip Your Waitress!