CHAPTER ONE: In the Belly of The Beast
Ratchet tried to expect the unexpected, but what he found on the other side of the groundbridge was simply...unexpected.
He ran through the groundbridge and out into open air.
But that wasn't the worst of it all; directly below him, and rising at him with alarming speed, were the raging, black waves of an ocean.
He plummeted like a rock into the cold, swirling waters. At first he panicked. He's never really had to worry about water back in Nevada, since the entire state was
basically a desert. All he could see was solid black. Even when he looked up to the surface, which seemed to be rising farther away by the second, he could hardly tell
the difference between the sky and the water that now enveloped him.
It wasn't the fear of drowning. It's not like Cybertronians depended on air anyways. No, it was the fear of being lost forever in a dark, cold, lonely, and seemingly
never-ending prison of crushing water. It seemed that there was no light at the end of this tunnel.
Something large in Ratchet's left periphials swam deeper into the darkness, leaving a trail of disturbed water. Before he could stop himself, Ratchet turned to see what
monstrous thing had just been recently swimming beside him -the thought made him shiver- but instead of staring into the eyes of a cold-blooded hunter of the ocean,
Ratchet was looking at a column of bright purple light, only maybe a hundred feet away from him.
It looked like it went on all the way down to the very bottom of the ocean, and it rose all the way to the surface....
...to meet with the underbelly of a very familiar Decepticon warship.
An access tunnel, leading from the Decepticon base to the bottom of the ocean. Obviously, they were looking for something...but what?
Ratchet would have loved to ponder over this intriguing question, if he wasn't sinking slowly to his doom.
That's when he had another intriguing question pop into his head; Would you rather sink until the water pressure crushed you like tin foil or try to sneak onto the Decepticon
Ratchet chose the latter. And though the idea wasn't exactly thrilling, it beat being dead. Though, in Ratchet's mind, the two choices were about equal.
He only hoped that the tunnel wasn't solid and instead was one he could pass through.
He made an effort to swim towards the access tunnel, flailing his arms wildly and kicking out randomly. He had pushed himself a little closer to the tunnel, but at this rate,
he might as well waited to sink all the way to the bottom of the sea before he even attempted to reach the tunnel.
He kicked again, trying once again to push himself through the water.
His foot hit something solid.
He jerk his head around, his optics so wide he might as well lit up the entire ocean. But he didn't need to light up the ocean to see what was staring right back at him.
He wasn't sure how to describe it, except maybe; huge teeth; huge mouth; huge head. The eyes were so beady and black, the only reason Ratchet could see them was
because they reflected the light coming off of Ratchet's optics like little mirrors.
Ratchet would've punched it, but the water would have sludged his arm movements enough for the creature to think that Ratchet was offering his arm as a meal. And
though Ratchet knew that this thing couldn't possibly find walking metal very tasty, it would certainly have fun trying to rip him to shreds.
With a quick swish of it's tail, the creature rammed square into Ratchet's chest.
The experience was a mixed blessing. While Ratchet was terrified out of his mind to have this ferocious thing trying to rip out his energon, the force of the impact was pushing
Ratchet closer towards the access tunnel.
The creature finally gave up trying to break through Ratchet's chest with it's face and jerked it's snout up to Ratchet's face, it's mouth open and ready to swallow a medic's head.
Ratchet's hands were quick enough to grab onto the creature's slick nose, and using all his willpower, was straining to keep the thing's thrashing teeth as far away as
Ratchet was finally getting the thing off of himself when the lighting around him changed drastically. Instead of being surrounding by complete darkness, an almost blinding
purplish light flared around him; he was inside the access tunnel. Thankfully, it wasn't solid.
Unfortunatley, he dragged the thing in with him. The inside of the tunnel was anti-gravity, so the creature was left flailing in mid-air, its life source suddenly not present.
At first, Ratchet felt pity. He was about to push the creature back into the water surrounding the access tunnel when he began to notice that the tunnel seemed to
be moving downwards.
Or that he was floating upwards, along with the creature. The occupants of the tunnel were being summoned back to the ship.
And as Ratchet would've guessed, he wasn't supposed to be apart of the arriving party.
He tried to think as fast as he was rising. What would he do once he was inside the warship? Run through the halls until they eventually cornered and trapped him?
Ratchet considered creating a distraction, but with what? He didn't have any bombs or even guns for that matter...
The answer to that question slapped him in the face. Literally.
The creature's tail, along with the creature itself, was still flailing about, trying to stay alive as long as possible. Ratchet then had a great idea.
Inside the warship, Megatron and Knock-Out were waiting for their search party to arrive back onto the ship. They knew that they'd have to wait a long while; it was
quite a long trip to the bottom of the ocean and back again. So you can guess how surprised they were to have someone arrive early, and even more surprised to find
that it wasn't even a Decepticon.
It was a shark.
It rose from the anti-gravitational access tunnel and rolled onto the floor, it's body still thrashing about but with less enthusiasm.
"It probably swam into the tunnel by accident." Knock-Out explained.
Megatron nodded, then without looking at his fellow Decepticon, said simply, "Dispose of it."
This brought a look of disgust from Knock-Out, "Um...Lord Megatron, I realize how risky it could be to question your decisions, but..." He got the expected glare from Megatron,
"..but...I can't pick that thing up!"
"It's almost dead, anyways. Don't tell me you're afraid of a mere Earth creature." Megatron taunted.
"Mere? That thing's half my size! In fact, that thing IS my size!"
"Yes..." Megatron sighed, "If it wasn't for you vast intellect, docter, I'm afraid you're size would've compromised you by now." He walked over to the shark and lifted the
nearly dead creature by it's limp tail.
"I'm not sure whether to take that as a compliment or as an insult." Knock-Out muttered dryly.
"Take this." And Megatron dropped the dead shark into Knock-Out arms. The docter shrieked, much like a femme, and dropped the shark onto the floor. The whole thing
made Megatron laugh, much to Knock-Out's embarrassment. In subdued anger, Knock-Out leaned over to try and lift the shark by himself, and to try and regain some
of his dignity back.
He turned with the shark barely in his arms to walk down a hallway. "I was just WORRIED that if I had dropped it, it's guts would spill out onto the floor."
"Docter.." Megatron purred, "What do you mean "if"? You DID drop it." He broke out in roaring laughter.
Knock-Out turned to briefly glare at Megatron when something moved in his periphials. He almost dropped the shark again as he spun around to look down the hallway
where he saw something run.
"Did you see that?" Knock-Out whispered. "Something just ran into that hallway! It looked like...a red devil!"
"Not another one of your hallucinations, docter. You can't possibly forget that we're in the heart of the human's "Bermuda Triangle", where 'mysterious forces lurk'. Pah!
Mysterious forces.." Megatron shook his head. "The humans have no idea what these waters are housing! Now, docter, get that rotting hunk of flesh off my ship."
As Ratchet listened carefully for the exiting footsteps to disappear altogether, he made sure to make a mental note of where he was; the Bermuda Triangle. A
mysterious place for the humans, where unknown creatures lurked the waters, ghost ships sailed silently though the dark nights and lonesome days and where humans
themselves have disappeared. Ratchet wasn't one to believe in mysterious forces, but the Bermuda was a nearly impossible mystery to crack.
Unless, as Megatron had suggested, that there was something here the humans did not know of...but the Decepticon's did.
Yet another mystery for Ratchet to ponder over.
One at a time, he thought to himself. Where did Bumble-bee go?
Back at base, before Ratchet had lept into the swirling maw of the Bermuda Triangle's ocean, the team was discussing the fact that they could not get through to
Bumble-bee via comlink, or even locate his Energon signal, after he had bridged to the Decepticon warship to steal back some much-needed Energon. He had convinced
Optimus that it was a quick in-and-out operation, and even if it did stress the Prime to let the young scout go alone, he knew that Energon was something they most
definatly needed, and needed to make a few risks for. So Bumble-bee bleeped his goodbyes, and stepped through the groundbridge.
Only to have his Energon signal and comlink lost a few moments later. They couldn't even get his coordinates, which was why they chose to type in the same coordinates
they had used only minutes ago to let Ratchet through.
Ratchet guessed that the reason he didn't have any solid ground to land on was because the Decepticon base had moved since Bumblebee had bridged onto it.
Now it was up to Ratchet to find out if Bumblebee really was dead.
He decided to let the team at home know that he had made it undetected.
The line was dead.
He tried to comlink once more, but only static played back.
Ratchet grew curious. He checked his gauntlet computer and switched it to the screen that checked for energon signals.
It said that there was nobody on the ship. It also said that Ratchet was not on the ship either.
*The humans have no idea what these waters are housing*
There were so many mysteries.
CHAPTER TWO: Loud Noises
The vent was small. It was also slightly damp. And the way that Bumblebee was hunched in the tight space was beginning to make his back ache painfully.
He also had some cubes of Energon lined up around him. He would've grabbed many more, if the team back at home had sent a groundbridge in time. Or rather, if
Bumblebee's comlink was working. He tried it again, praying for someone to break the familiar static that filled his audio-receptors, but no one did.
He began to wonder how much longer he would have to wait alone in the Decepticon ship's vent. He had a feeling that it would be a while before anyone would come
to his rescue.
He tried to find confort in the fact that he had managed to swipe so many cubes for his team from right under the 'con's noses. But he feared that by the time help
arrived, he'd have taken them all for himself to survive.
The fear was as constricting as the claustrophobic vent around him. Bumblebee rested his head against his knees, trying to shield the glow of the Energon cubes from his
optics as he tried to get some sleep.
It was going to be a long night.
Meanwhile, Ratchet was sneaking through the hallways, shaking off as much water as possible all the while trying to conceal his watery tracks. His mind wandered,
as he thought through past events. He had expected to walk into the halls of the Decepticon ship -completely dry- to find Bumblebee trying to hold off an army of
Vehicons. Then he'd bust out the blades, rip through a few 'cons all the while providing cover for an exhausted and frightened Bumblebee.
And then we all live happily ever after, Ratchet thought sourly.
Ratchet was mad at himself for thinking that Bumblebee would ever need anyone as lame as Ratchet the Medic for help on a battlefield. The only reason Ratchet was
sent was because Optimus was injured and that Arcee and Bulkhead were already on a scouting mission of their own. Ratchet's mission wasn't even to kick butt
and save the day; He was just there to investigate, find Bumblebee -or what was left of him- and bring him home.
Ratchet laughed inwardly. As if he could kick butt and save the day. That only happened when he was high on Synthetic Energon, and that wasn' ever going to happen
The sound of clanking metal echoed from the end of the hallway Ratchet had snuck into; The search team of Vehicons had finally reached the Decepticon base.
Ratchet was far enough down the hallway for no one to see him, but that didn't mean they wouldn't eventually find him if he didn't hide. He took inventory of his
surroundings for a storage closet, an empty room, anything!
He looked down the end of a leading off hallway. It was a dead end...with a loose vent in the back wall. He rushed over. The cover of the vent had been hastily ripped
open and had the appearance of someone trying to make it appear that it was supposed to look that way.
Could be a trap...but highly unlikely, Ratchet thought.
He kneeled down and tried to fit his shoulders through, only to stop short as his wide shoulders clanked noisily against the small opening of the vent. There was no way he
was going to fit it there.
The footsteps were getting louder. Ratchet had to think and fast.
Bumblebee jerked his head up to attention as a loud clang rang through the vent. He didn't dare move, fear choking his throat as he imagined the Decepticon's trying to
find whoever it was hiding in the small vent. He slowly closed his optics, trying to regain control and slow his panicking chest. As long as he was quiet, no one would
know that he's here...
Ratchet placed the vent cover over its opening and bolted to the nearest door. It opened obediantly with a soft woosh to reveal what was in fact a sort of storage closet.
He prayed to Primus that he wasn't too big for this hiding place and squeezed his was inside. The doors closed silently behind him as Ratchet tried not to move a single
joint as he listened for the approaching footsteps to pass.
CLANK. CLANK. CLANK.
The footsteps were slowing and growing louder, until they stop altogether on the loudest step. They were right outside the door.
Ratchet tried his best to not curse Primus.
He waited for the doors to swish open and reveal the unemote faces of Vehicons staring back at him like the creature had beneath the ocean waves. But nothing happened.
Ratchet knew they were right outside, so close that they could basically hear his attempts to slow his breathing. And though it was probably Ratchet's silence that was
keeping him alive at the moment, the suspense was tugging at him to scream at the top of his lungs.
He heard the sound of someone ripping off the vent's cover and throwing it to the ground. More silence.
"Those steps are huge. No way a 'bot that size could fit in there." A 'Con said. More sounds of clanking metal; they were placing the cover back where it fit.
The 'Con that had kneeled down to rip the vent cover off stood -Ratchet could hear him- but the next sound confused him.
It sounded as if the 'con had slipped and fell.
"Scrap!" The Vehicon cursed. "Whoever it was, they sure were wet!"
He leaned against the wall of Ratchet's hiding place, the 'con's servos only inches away from the storage room's door.
Obediant as they were for the Autobot, the storage room doors opened for the Vehicons, revealing the hiding 'bot on the other side.
There was a moment of awkward silence.
"Um...how's the weather?" Ratchet said uneasily.
The Vehicon's raised their weapons.
CHAPTER THREE: Side missions
"That was too close." Bulkhead wheezed.
He and Arcee were hiding behind one of the large boulders of a vast desert landscape. Only meters away from their hiding spot was the mouth of a
humongous cave, a.k.a the recently discovered Energon mine.
Arcee cursed under her breath in frustration, kicking at the dirt with a boot.
"Hey, hey, you'll give away our position!" Bulkhead warned.
"We were THIS close, Bulkhead!" Arcee held her digits only inches apart to demonstrate. "THIS close to getting enough Energon to keep our team supplied for months!
And I chickened out!" She punched the boulder.
Bulkhead shook his head sympathectically, "It's not called 'chickening out', Arcee." He placed a hand on her shoulder and gently turned her to face him. "It's called having
sense. If we didn't retreat, we could've died."
"I would've rather died for my team than live knowing that I've failed them."
"Or you could realize that YOU being alive would be more important to our team than a few cubes of Energon."
Arcee was silent. Bulkhead picked his hand off her shoulder and motioned towards the mine. "We could always find another mine. We can't find another Arcee."
There was more silence. Bulkhead was hoping that Arcee was taking the speech to heart rather than trying to come up with another argument. She sighed, and looked up
to Bulkhead with a renewed fire in her optics.
"Let's not find another mine. We don't have the time anyways- we can take this one."
Bulkhead was slightly consfused, "Um..I'm glad that you're enthusiasm is back, but we almost just DIED in there."
Arcee only shook her head, "On the way in, there were a lot of guards. Also on the way out."
"What's your point?"
Bulkhead peered around the boulder with extreme caution at the cave entrance. When they had first arrived, Bulkhead and Arcee had to expertly sneak past the wall of
Vehicon's guarding the entrance. Now there were only two milling across the mouth of the cave.
"They could have been needed farther into the cave." Bulkhead said. "Or it could be an invitation to a trap."
"Bulkhead," Arcee said, "Consider this idea. They saw how beat we were when we were RUNNING FOR OUR LIVES out of the cave. They saw us drive off into the
horizon...but they didn't see us circle around and come back. They think we're gone and aren't coming back for a long while. And look!"
Bulkhead looked again. A green light was brightening the insides of the cave. At first he thought it was the Energon cubes, but energon cubes glowed blue, not green.
"They're opening a groundbridge." He said. "To send troops back?"
"Possibly. Listen, let me go scout exactly what's going on in there, and when I get back, we can take them by surprise. It can work!"
Bulkhead knew that it was probably the smart thing to do. It was also a risky thing to do.
"Alright." He said, "Be careful."
"As always, Bulkhead." Arcee put her digits to her helm in a salute, and ran to another boulder farther to their left. She continued this move until she was up against the
left wall of the cave, so close to the entrance that if she had made one wrong move, the Vehicon guards would've heard and found her.
Bulkhead felt a bit wrong for sending Arcee basically into the belly of the beast right after he told her that losing her would be more of a loss than losing cubes of Energon.
Arcee, though, knew that she wouldn't allow herself to be lost.