Taylor took a seat at the monitor center the entire flight. The other monitors had intense work to complete, and didn’t have time to speak to Taylor. Thus, she sat in silence, listening intently at her team’s conversations. It was strange not having Bumblebee there with her. For the last few months, they were inseparable. It reminded her of their time back on Cybertron, after Bumblebee’s accident. She never left his side. It was the first time where she truly experienced the constant fear of losing someone, and she wasn’t going to lose her best friend.
“So, how long have you been a Doctor, Miss Davis?” asked Hamilton in a low, smooth voice.
“Pardon me, sir?” Marie replied in a mousy tone.
“I mean, you look pretty young to be a Doctor.”
“Erh, two months. I was a nurse in Afghanistan. Then somebody saw my credentials and recruited me for this job.”
“Was it frightening? I mean, we must look monstrous to you” said Wadewatch softly and quietly.
“No, no! I mean…Perhaps at first, but I realize now you’re very similar to us, only bigger and…robotic.”
There was silence over the intercoms for nearly thirty minutes. Then Roadshot spoke to Iris Janis:
“Captain Knightingale said you were an ‘agent’. What were you an ‘agent’ of?”
“What did you do?”
“I am not at liberty to say.”
“Assassin” announced Nightshock, baritone and prompt, “Some class of assassin, are you not?”
There was no answer from Iris, then Nightshock added: “Your reserved and silent nature presents itself in an obvious manner.”
Once again, there was silence for quite some time.
“Everything alright Lieutenant?” Taylor finally asked, addressing her friend more professionally.
“Everything normal Captain. We’re approaching the landing site now” Bumblebee replied.
“Affirmative. Just checking in.”
It was 3am when the aircraft arrived in a clearing, right in the middle of Carlsbad Cavern National Park. It was a rough and rocky landing, for the Carlsbad Park was full of stony cliffs and earth. The door opened and the team silently stepped out. The sky was clear and clustered with white dotted stars. Everyone equipped themselves with night vision goggles, while the Autobots enhanced their vision to be able to see in the dark.
“We’ll wait here. If you require assistance, we’ll come running” Wadewatch announced.
Bumblebee nodded. He pressed a button on his audio receptors.
“Knightingale, we’ve landed.”
Taylor’s voice came through statically.
“Affirmative. The dark energon signatures are coming from the east tunnels in the Lechuguilla Cave system” she informed.
“Could they be looking for some energy sources to mine for?” Bumblebee asked.
“Or have they found one already?” Nightshock added.
“That’s not possible. The Lechuguilla Caves don’t have any valuable minerals, at least not any to create energy from” Hamilton objected, “It’s merely a bunch of stataclites and stalagmites!”
“I guess we’ll just have to see” Bumblebee sighed.
“Remember Bumblebee, you are there to merely observe what the Decepticons are up to. Do not engage unless I say so” Taylor reminded.
“Don’t worry, ‘Gale. We’ll be fine” Bumblebee assured.
About five minutes later, Red Delta entered the caves. It was dark and musty. However the monuments of different mineral compactions were exquisite. Many gave off the appearance of white firework explosions frozen in time, or giant, ripply coral that didn’t require water to live in.
“It’s beautiful” Roadshot commented. “Did you have anything like this on Cybertron?” Hamilton inquired.
“We had more crystal caves than sulfur.”
The team continued in silence for a long time. Their weapons were equipped in their hands, stepping cautiously. The Autobots especially had to avoid all the different deposits sticking out of the ceilings, walls, and even the floor.
Finally, Taylor announced, “You’re getting closer now. Just a little further up ahead.”
“This is pretty deep down. I still don’t know what the Decepticons could want down here. I mean, it’s pretty, but I don’t think the Decepticons are into sightseeing” Roadshot commented. Just then, Major Lennox’s voice spoke:
“You’re almost to the end. You still haven’t found the Decepticons yet?”
“Negative Major” Taylor replied.
“Hmm…Curiouser and curiouser. You see that? They’re right about off the map.”
Suddenly, Nightshock hissed, “Get down!”
The entire team ducked and had their hands on the triggers of their guns. They were reaching a cliff that dipped suddenly in to a large chamber.
“Decepticons” Nightshock whispered.
Just then they began to hear distance conversing in their enemy’s dialect: all familiar voices.
“Nightshock, can you get a little closer to make out what they’re saying?” Bumblebee asked.
Nightshock nodded. Carefully, she crept closer to the edge, straining her audio receptors to hear.
“This is so tedious!” groaned a drone trooper, “Isn’t there a faster way to get this done?”
“Ooh! Ooh! What about the transporter?” One with a high-pitched voice eagerly recommended.
“Transport beams can’t go through rock idiot!” Shouted another, shortly after a punching sound, “Besides, you can’t just simply find energon in the surface! If they did, those humans would’ve had their grubby little hands all over it!”
The Autobots were shocked.
“Energon? Here!?” Roadshot hissed. “That can’t be possible! Energon is the lifeblood of Primus! You can’t find that anywhere else, can you?”
Nightshock peeked from her hiding place. Sure enough, she could see bright glowing spikes of clear blue crystals emanating from the other side of the room.
“They’re right. That is definitely Energon” she announced.
“There were claims that Energon could be found in the neighboring systems of Cybertron…” Taylor stated, “But so many of the reports were falsified, it was hard to deduce if it was ever true or not. Philosophers believed that Energon was directly from Primus and only from him.”
“Well, it’s here now,” said Hamilton, “So what do we do?”
“Those Decepticons are probably trying to mine it and use it to make more dark Energon for themselves” Bumblebee observed with a slight growl, “Knightingale, if that’s real Energon, then Optimus and the others need it way more than the ‘cons!”
“Hold on, I’m going to patch Preceptor through and see what he makes of this. Nightshock, I’m going to need you to send a screenshot of the Energon spikes so Perceptor can analyze it.”
Nightshock’s iris’ widened as she zoomed in on the Energon and blinked. She kinetically sent the image through the secure network and to Taylor and Lennox back at N.E.S.T.
“I’m here. Is something wrong Captain?” Preceptor’s voice inquired.
“Nightshock is sending you an image of what we found. It appears that it is Energon.”
“What!? That’s impossible!” Preceptor gasped.
“Well, not impossible now. What do you recommend?”
Bumblebee was beginning to feel anxious. He scooted forward and peeked to see the drills whirring and clicking away at the shining crystals.
“Energon is our lifeblood as well as Primus’,” Perceptor concluded, “We were born from him. No matter what energy substitute I come up with, it requires at least a minimum amount of Energon to work. Bumblebee’s right. We need however much we can get out of that cave.”
“Something’s fishy about this whole thing as well,” Lennox added, “We didn’t know this type of energy was located on Earth, let alone the concept of Energon even existing! So how was this able to slip past us?”
Taylor scoffed. “That’s a question I unfortunately can’t answer, Major. Life is just full of surprises.”
“How can Energon smell like fish?” Roadshot asked.
Bumblebee scoffed. “Yeah, I don’t get Earth phrases either.”
Taylor continued with, “I guess we’ll have to find a solution to put the ‘Cons out of the way to get to the deposit. How many do you think there are Nightshock?”
“Five to a dozen at the most Captain.”
“I don’t see it possible to take them all out without alerting them to our presence…”
“Could we scatter them?”
“That’s very risky. It would take no time or effort for just one of those ‘cons to alert Megatron and his goonies.”
“We can do it!” Bumblebee decided, “Nightshock and Iris can snipe them out, therefore causing a distraction so we can bust in and surprise them!”
“I can position myself more perspicaciously,” Iris added, “Decepticons think humans are helpless flesh creatures, correct? Overconfidence that they can easily overtake me will cause them to stumble.”
“You’re certain about the risk?” Nightshock inquired.
Iris scoffed. “I’ve been in worse situations than this.”
“‘Gale? What do you think?” Bumblebee asked.
There was silence on the line as Taylor thought for a moment.
“Okay, do it. Just be very careful!” She replied.
Bumblebee grinned. “Copy that. Alright team, let’s have some target practice!”