With little Vectors eighth birthday at hand, Jack and Arcee are happy and excited. But fear starts to keep into their hearts. And one Decepticon has been a little distracted lately.
The new Autobot base was abuzz with commotion as usual. Music echoed and bounced off the metal walls as Miko had come for a visit and Bulkhead was more than happy to keep the task of keeping her busy.
Wheeljack, who rarely stayed in one place for long, came to help of all bots, Ratchet on a project, but not without much direction from the old soldier.
“Now, now care Wheeljack. This machine can be very sensitive.” Ratchet crooned out.
Wheeljack rolled his optics. “It’s not the only one.”
“What was that?” Ratchet asked grabbing a tool near by.
Meanwhile in the gym, Brightshine ducked as a fire blast came straight towards her. The gray and pink female ran for a near by boulder and took cover behind it. She peeked her head up just seeing the silver trooper in the distance.
She narrowed her aqua green optics. “I’ve got this in one shot. Just have to adjust my angle and-” Before she could fire another shot came from behind and skimmed her shoulder. The young gray bot fell holding her shoulder.
“Hey!” She spotted another trooper not far on the other side of her. “That actually hurt this time.” Another shot hit the ground next to her.
Brightshine got up quickly and ran a few yards the sound shots firing over her head. “This is not as easy as I thought.” The teen complained as she ran dodging just rocks and laser fire.
“Brightshine?!” The young bots name echoed in the gym, and Brightshine lost sight of where she was headed and ran smack into a wall.
“This, really hurts.” Came her muffled voice as the training program ended and the gym was now empty again and Jack walked in with company.
“Aw, are you ok sweetheart?” Brightshine sat in front of her father looking tired. “I told you training was going to be a serious thing. If you’re going to have a weapon, you have to train for it.” He put his hand on her cheek.
Brightshine leaned into her fathers warm hand. “I know Daddy.”
“Brightshine look at you.”
The girls attention then turned to the second person who entered the room.
“Really Jack, must she do this every day. I don’t want my granddaughter getting hurt.” June reached out and inspected the girl for an physical damage.
Brightshine put on a weak smile. “I’ll be okay Grandma June.”
“Besides-” Jack added. “Brightshine knows the responsibility of training since she had her weapon installed without me knowing.”
Brightshine knew her father was still not thrilled about her getting her weapon installed without their permission. She smiled weakly.
“Yes Grandma, it’s fine.” Then she smiled trying to lighten the mood. “It’s good to see you.” Brightshine hugged her.
“I haven’t seen my Grand kids in a while. I had to come.” She narrowed her eyes a moment at Jack.
Jack put his hands up. “It’s been real busy around here. Honest. Just ask Optimus.”
June smiled and put her hands behind her back and looked around the room. “I could believe that. But not too busy for my Grandsons eighth birthday party?” She smiled.
Jack smiled. “Of course. Arcee made sure of that. The gang will be setting things up soon.” Jack turned to his daughter. “Brightshine why don’t you go rest up and we’ll let you know when things are ready.”
Brightshine smiled. “Okay Daddy. Bye Grandma June, see you later.”
And with that, the girl got up and walked out of the room.
Suddenly June turned to her son. “So where is the birthday boy?” She smiled.
The winds whipped past his windshield, the air warm with the summer sun. Smokescreen loved a long open road, the perfect opportunity to test his engines. “Okay Bee, two outta three.”
If Bee had been in robot mode, he would have rolled his eyes. “What is with you lately. I’m the sports car, but you’re the one driving like a maniac.”
“What? I’m an indie 500 race car, what do you expect. Guy has to blow off a little steam. Especially after nearly getting whacked by a bunch of Megatrons goons the other day.”
Bee blew air through his pipes. “Well let’s start heading back. Optimus will probably need us for something.”
“Oh, alright. But if there’s no commercial streets, I’m flooring it.”
“Yay! You’re so much fun.”
Smokescreens tires nearly caught fire as he screeched to a halt.
“What in the All Spark!”
Bee halted as well. “Vector?” Bee Transformed.
The small red-orange bot came climbing out of the back seat of Smokescreens cabin. He playfully drummed his small hands on the back of Smokescreens front seat. “Vroom, vroom. Let’s go Uncle Smokescreen.”
Smokescreen was annoyed. “Vector, what are you doing in my back seat?!”
The boy stayed quiet a moment, put off by his loud tone of voice. Bee waved his hands. “Easy Smokie.” Bee leaned down and peered in the window. “Hey there buddy. You really scared us. We don’t want anything to happen to you. Your dad would get really angry.”
“Not to mention your Mom.” Smokescreen added more calm. “And believe me, I’ve seen her angry. Jack’s a brave man.”
“I just wanted to go for a ride. I like your vehicle modes, and I don’t have one. Mommy and Brightshine have, but I don’t.”
Bee smiled. “You will, when you’re old enough. But right now you’re still very young. But don’t worry, you’ll get one before you know it.”
Vector smiled. “Yay, I can’t wait.”
“Yes you can. Enjoy being a sparkling kid, it goes by fast.” Smokescreen added.
Bee eyed the race car. “Come on Vector. You can ride with me this time.”
“Okay.” The small bot climbed out after Smokescreen opened his door.
Bee transformed back into vehicle mode. “All aboard, next stop, Prime headquarters.”
“Besides-” Smokescreen started. “The birthday boy can’t be late for his own party.” Vector smiled at that.
A few minutes down the road, Smokescreen picked up strange readings on his sensors. “Uh, Bee. Is this a good time to tell you I think there’s cons near by.”
“I don’t think so Smoke. We can’t get into an altercation while Vector is with us. Whatever they’re up to, we’ll have to ignore them.” Bee answered.
“We can’t.” Smoke protested.
“Yes we can. Unless you want your tailpipe handed to you by Arcee?”
Smokescreen thought about it. “Yeah, you’re right. Let’s get the heck outta here before they spot us.”
The doors of the med bay slid open and Hard-Wire walked in slowly. He young beetle held his shoulder. “I really hate Starscream. I wish I could just tare his head off. But somehow the skinny freak is stronger than me.”
Hard-Wire noticed some tools on the tables and Knockout was standing there, staring off into space it seemed. “Knockout? Do you need help with anything? Knockout?”
The boy only received silence in return. Hard-Wire took a med patch from a drawer and applied it to his shoulder. He saw Knockout deep in thought. That was a little unlike him.
“Knockout, are you okay?” He asked again.
Knockout finally came around when he felt a clawed hand on his shoulder.
“Hard-Wire. Sorry kid, I must have been lost a moment.” The red Doctor looked at the young beetle, an eyebrow lowering. “You alright? Don’t tell me, Starscream again.” Knockout looked the boy over.
“Just the usual. I’m going to really give it to him one of these days.”
Knockout smiled. “I hope that you do.” Then he turned to some work in front of him. “I’d do it myself, but I’d hate to ruin my finish.” He waved a hand.
Hard-Wire smiled. Then he remembered Knockout deep in thought just before.
“Hey Knockout, are you sure every thing is okay. I mean you were miles away before.” Hard-Wire asked, the spikes on his back moving slowly.
“I’m fine, just get to your work.” Knockout answered.
Hard-Wire knew something was bothering the good doctor. “I know some thing has been bothering you for a while, please tell me.”
“Look, it’s nothing you need to be concerned about. Just do as you’re told.” And with that, Knockout started with his work in silence.
Hard-Wire breathed out. He knew the good doctor cared about him. But he wished Knockout could see how much he cared for him in return. It was a strange thing to be this way. A young beetle with a heart and mind unlike the others of his kind. To be rejected by his own kind led him to take comfort in the presence of the red doctor, the one con who showed any manner of feeling for him. In essence the ‘father’ he never knew.
“Alright, well I just thought-” The young beetle fidgeted his back spikes then turned and was about to leave the med bay. “I’ll just rest for a while. See you later.” Hard-Wire made his way towards the doors.
Knockout felt something tug at him. Darn it, that feeling again. He breathed out, setting his hands on the console in front of him.
“I’ve just been having these strange dreams lately. Almost like visions. I didn’t think it was something I needed to bother you with, alright.” Came Knockouts voice in the silent room. Hard-Wire turned. “It’s strange. Images of a small reddish-orange bot keep coming to me. So small he’d still be a sparkling.” Knockout put a hand to his head. “I told you it’s strange. Too many hours without power down, that’s all. No need to worry.” Hard-Wire stared at the red doctors back a moment. “But the worst part is the feeling I get when I see him.” He slammed his hand down on the console. “No, I’m just over worked. A long drive should clear my head.”
Hard-Wire stood there. “Yes, Perhaps it should help.” Hard-Wire put a hand to his chin in thought. Something strange here. Why did a reddish-orange bot sound familiar?
The sun shined over head as three decepticon workers walked around, scanning the area for energon. Nothing seemed to come up.
“Maybe the ships sensors are on the fritz.” One of them said.
Just then, another worker looked over the cliff side and spotted two familiar looking race cars on a road down below. “Check it out. Autobots. Think their tracking an energon signal?”
“Maybe.” Said the third worker. “Let’s find out.”
The three chuckled.
“Wheeljack! Careful. If you break that, it will take me days to repair it.” Ratchet cried out.
June saw the commotion and smiled. “Okay everyone. Let’s get this place cleaned and ready for my Grandsons party. I ditched two shifts at the hospital to be here.”
Miko smiled as she jumped up from Bulkheads shoulder. “Ah right. Let’s get this party started. Bulk and I will be in charge of the music.” She struck a chord on her guitar.
Jack shook his head smiling. “Of course you are.”
“Jack!” Came Arcees voice from the back room. She rushed into the room, Jack stared at her worried.
“Arcee, what’s wrong?” He came to her.
Brightshine walked in the room. “What’s going on?”
“I can’t find Vector.” Arcee nearly cried.
Smokescreen dodged a shot. “Scrap! Where’s it coming from?!”
Bee pulled up a virtual map. “Above us, we gotta move.”
The two race cars, true to their models accelerated their engines. “Hang tight Vector. We’re going fast.”
“What’s going on? Who are those bots?” The small boy asked.
“They’re bad bots Vector. And we need to get you home.” Bee answered. “Optimus, we need a ground bridge quick.” Smokescreen just dodged another shot.
“Why does it seem like their aim is getting better?” The car swung around to a stop.
“Smoke, what are you doing?” Bee asked.
“I’ll hold them off while you get Vector home.”
Vector stared out Bees side window. “No Uncle Smokescreen.”
Two more shots came down, one nearly hitting Bees hood. “Whoa, we’re outta here. Be careful Smoke, I owe you one.”
“Why isn’t anyone answering?” Bee saw Smokescreen transform into biped mode through his rear view mirror.
“You want some. Come on, I could use the exercise.” Smokescreen taunted.
“Why are they attacking us?” Vector asked.
“Long story kid. Let’s just get you home. There must some kind of interference around here. I’ll have to keep driving.”
“We can’t leave Uncle Smokescreen.” Vector said sadly.
“He’ll be okay.” Bee told the boy.
Suddenly, not far down the road, Bee was struck, the yellow car flipped into the air. Bee transformed in mid air and held Vector close. He landed near by a pile of rocks.
“Oh great. Just what we didn’t need.” Bee said as saw the third worker coming towards them. Bee could feel that Vector was scared. He didn’t want the young bot to see them fight but he may not have a choice. He grabbed Vector and tucked him behind some rocks. “Stay here.”
Bee ran off and led the worker as far from Vector as possible before defending himself.
Knockout stretched his arms. “You can keep an eye on things for a while. I should be back in an hour or so.”
Hard-Wire nodded. “I will. Hope you feel better.” Knockout was about to transform into his vehicle. The red doctor smiled and patted the young beetle on the arm. “Thanks.”
Then Knockout took off through a ground bridge.
Hard-Wire stood there. A small redish-orange bot. He turned the information over in his head.
“Hard-Wire! Where are you! You’re due for another practice session.”
Hard-Wire jumped when he saw Starscream coming towards him.
“I searched everywhere.” Arcee said as Jack held her hand as she sat on the floor beside him. “He knows to come out when I call him.”
“Don’t worry-” Came Miko. “Bulk and I will drive out and look for him.”
“Me too.” Added Wheeljack. “I think the docs had enough of me anyway.”
“Ratchet, check the scanners and see if he’s anywhere near by.” Jack spoke up.
“Of course, right away.”
June put a hand to Arcees arm. “Let’s search the base again. Sometimes kids like to hide, Jack did it when was little. I couldn’t find him for hours.”
Jack looked his mother. “Really Mom.”
“Just trying to make a point.” She smiled sheepishly.
Knockout felt the breeze over his hood and he had to admit, he was starting to feel a little more at ease. His sensors beeped. “Now what?”
“Oh great. What are they doing out here?” He spotted in the distance Smokescreen fighting with two workers. “Why are they out here? There’s no energon deposits out here.” Knockout drove on. “Well, good luck, I’m not getting my finish ruined.”
A few miles away Knockout spotted the yellow sports cars. “Ah, there goes a worthy opponent. Wait, it’s not worth it. I need the road time to clear my head. If I make one more mistake in the lab, Megatron will have my head.”
Suddenly, Knockout spotted something and he froze. He felt like an iceberg had caught him. He visibly started to shake as he spotted in the far distance, a tiny pair of aqua green optics peeking out over a pile of rocks.
The tiny reddish orange bot stared with scared eyes at the fight. Knockout felt a cold blanket over him as flashes to the night of the ion storm and the cave came back to him. He saw him set an unconscious Arcee down. He remembered feeling bad for her although they were enemies. He remembered feeling crazed trying to figure out how to save her from dieing. And amazed at himself for wanting to save her. Autobots and deceptions were enemies. Megatron had made it that way. A flash of him touching her unconscious face and wondering why in the All Spark did he think she was quite the most lovely looking femme he had seen in a long time. The memories were flashing before him. The thunder and lightening, her bio readings were none existent. His shaky hands as he opened her chest plating. The warm light of her weak spark. The bright light as he leaned closer to her and joined her spark with his, the strange feeling he had. The strange feelings that washed over him as their sparks melded together. It couldn’t be. The boys image flashed before him.
Knockout transformed and fell to his knees putting a hand to his chest as if someone had kicked him. “It’s not possible. I couldn’t have. It has not been done since the Golden Age of Cybertron.”
Knockout could see the boys reddish-orange finish and yellow markings, similar to his own. Then spotted the ears as he put a hand to one of his own.
“That boy, is my son.”
Knockout felt so many strange things he was over run with emotion. Emotion he wasn’t use to. He had a SON.
He watched Bee fighting the worker and started to worry. Then he shook himself. “Why should I worry. It’s not like I planned this. No matter how he got here, I’m sure that femme bot is taking good care of him.”
He glanced at the fight. “Although he’s not so safe right now.” Knockout stood up. I have to do something. I mean, that boys finish is almost as lustrous as mine. It would be a shame if it got ruined.”
Hard-Wire searched the computer files. Knockouts passwords were a pain in the tailpipe to get past, but Hard-Wire was able to get it.
Hard-Wires visor flashed. “I knew it. Eight years ago, Knockout stormed out during an ion storm after an argument with Megatron. He says he met the Autobot Arcee and both were in danger from Predacons. He says he could not understand why he would want to help her, but he did. He says he used an ancient method to save the femme bots life but was surprised at the change it had on himself. He felt strange and says he would not care to use that method again.”
“Brightshines’ little brother is Knockouts’ son. I knew it. Poor Knockout. No wonder he’s been feeling strange lately. He has a son he never knew about.” Then Hard-Wire felt strange. “If Knockout finds out about the boy, where does that leave me?” Hard-Wire felt sad a moment. “No, I’m a beetle. I’m tough. I can handle this. But I should go find Knockout.”
Bee sent the worker flying and he hit a rock wall. Smokescreen walked up to him dusting himself off. His right arm ached. “That was a good workout.” He glanced back seeing the two bots he fought, barely getting their balance rubbing their heads.
Smokescreen turned at the sound of a car engine. The red car transformed and Knockout stood there clapping his hands.
Bee and Smoke readied themselves. “Knockout!”
Knockout raised his hands. “I’m not here to fight. Wouldn’t dream of it. I just came to collect my idiot coworkers.” He glanced back at them. He turned to the two bots. “Since when do you go out on an energon runs without prior authorization. Megatron will here of this.” The two worker bots shook.
“Since when does Megatron send you to collect anybody. It’s die or don’t die. That’s Megatrons philosophy.”
Knockout shook a finger knowingly. “Not since our numbers have dramatically decreased. As the Chief medical officer it’s my job to make sure every bot stays in top functioning order.”
Vector peered out from behind the rocks. “That bot looks like me. That’s strange.”
Smoke aimed his canon at the red doctor. “How do we know you’re telling the truth. And not stalling us for another attack.”
Knockout saw the young bot in the distance. His chest felt strange. He burned the image of the boy in his minds eye. Then he turned putting his hands behind his back walking off. He grabbed the two workers by their collar plating. “Let’s go.”
Suddenly a message came in. --Bee, Smoke. By any chance is Vector with you?-- Came Jacks voice.
Knockouts ears perked at the name. Vector is his name. Not bad Arcee. Not bad. Knockout thought to himself.
“Jack? Yes, he’s here.”
Just then a ground bridge opened up. --Sorry for the delay, there must have been interference around your area.--
Bee saw that Knockout and the others were gone.
The lights from the ground bridge flashed and Jack and Arcee came running through. “Vector!”
Vector saw his mother and father running. “Mommy, Daddy.” He made his way out from behind the rocks. Bee scooped him up and placed him on his feet on the ground. Arcee fell to her knees hugging the small bot. “Vector my little one, why did you leave the base.”
Jack held him too. “You know that’s not allowed.” He rubbed the boys head. I was so worried about you.”
Vector closed his eyes at the gentle touch of his father. “I’m sorry Daddy. I just wanted to feel the excitement of speed.”
Jack looked at Bee and Smokescreen. The two waved their hands.
“I’m just glad you’re safe.” Arcee said holding her son tight. “Come on, let’s go home.”
As the ground bridge closed, Knockout stood by a tree watching. “He’s a good kid Arcee.” Just then he heard the familiar sound of wings beating the air as Hard-Wire landed beside him. “What are you doing here?” He asked without looking at him.
“I-I just wanted to be sure you were okay.” Hard-Wire said quietly.
“Let’s get back before we’re missed.” Knockout said before walking off.
Later at the base, the music played and everyone enjoyed celebration of Vectors entrance into the world. Arcee hugged him before June smiled and put her arms out. “Hey, it’s my turn. Let me have my grandson.” Vector giggled at the attention.
Brightshine laughed, she enjoyed having a little brother. It meant she wasn’t alone. She smiled to herself. She couldn’t believe her baby brother was growing up so fast. “Pretty soon I’ll be training you Vector.” She told him.
Arcee narrowed her eyes, with a slight smile. “No you don’t. My baby boy has a long way to go before any of that.”
June put a hand to his round face. “My grandbaby doesn’t need to fight.”
“Hey Grandma June, could you talk to Daddy. Maybe you could get him to lighten my training schedule.”
Jack and Arcee smiled.
“Okay everybody, enough talk, let’s bust some moves.” Miko shouted.
Jack shook his head with a smile. “She never changes.”
Everyone laughed as Bulkhead and Wheeljack started dancing in sequence.
Wheeljack slapped Ratchet on the arm. “Come on doc. I know you’ve got some moves in there somewhere.”
Ratchet stared at them, a serious expression on his face. Suddenly the old soldier waved his arms similar to Raf and Bee and everyone enjoyed the show.
The night sky was quiet. Knockout sat in the cargo bay. The moon light shining on his finish. “A son. Never thought-” He shook his head. “I won’t let this distract me. Cybertronians were never much for lineage anyway.”
Then he heard the surprisingly soft footfalls of Hard-Wire coming up behind him. The beetle stood there a moment and looked at the doctor. “I hope you’re not too angry I followed you.”
Knockout waved a hand. “Forget it.”
A long silence passed between them.
“You knew, didn’t you.” Came Knockouts voice. “It’s alright, I kept Megatron and Aeracnid a secret from you, so we’re even.” Knockout saw a slightly hurt expression on the young beetles face. “What?”
“I was just scared that-” Hard-Wire started.
“What is it?” Knockout encouraged him to continue.
“That if you knew about the boy you would-”
Knockout saw Hard-Wire turn his face from him. He raised his eyebrows realizing how the boy felt. He smiled. “Don’t worry kid, you’ll always have me. And I plan on training you real hard.” Knockout playfully hit him on the shoulder.
Hard-Wire smiled. He realized the doctor really did care about him. He saw the doctor stand up. “Funny though, the kid even has yellow rims like me.”
Hard-Wire stood up as well. “Ach, don’t worry kid. You’re a flyer. And as hard as it is to admit it, flyers still have an advantage over ground based vehicles.”
Hard-Wire stared at him confused.
“You’re stuck with me kid. Now let’s go. You could use some rest, and so could I. Before Starscream comes looking for you.”
“Yeah, you’re right.” And with that, Hard-Wire ran off to safety.
Knockout watched the young beetle turn a corner then shook his head with a smile. He turned his attention to the night sky once more.
“We made a beautiful kid Arcee. Take care of him for me.”
Then he walked off and the cargo bay doors closed the stars shining in the night sky.
That was Vectors eighth birthday.