Taylor swung a bullet-proof vest onto her shoulders and attempted to tighten it. She grunted as she struggled. She sighed. She almost couldn’t believe it. She was going back into the field. The anticipation made her a little frightful. With the exception of the Battle of Chicago, and a few training exercises, it had been a long time since she had been in combat. Optimus Prime’s last commands echoed in her mind. She greatly admired her leader, and she understood his reasoning. She didn’t want to go against his orders. Then, she remembered her own reasoning.
“What other choice do we have?”
“Having some trouble?”
Taylor looked up. It was Dr. Glau, now wearing a black jacket and leggings, carrying a silver case in her hand.
“What do you need, Glau?” she asked, slightly irritated.
“Nothing in particular. I’m leaving for a new assignment” Dr. Glau responded.
Taylor paused, and straightened.
“Oh really? Does it have anything to do with all that Cybertronian tech you’ve ominously been digging up?”
Dr. Glau couldn’t help but chuckle dryly. “Unfortunately, that’s classified.”
Taylor started struggling with her vest again. Then Dr. Glau added:
“Before I leave, I have some equipment you might find useful, especially for this mission.”
Taylor paused again as Dr. Glau opened the box. Inside were multiple pieces of metallic armor pieces: Two were padded shoulder pieces, two gauntlets with black gloves, a chest piece (in two parts) which doubled as a breastplate, plackart, and fauld (down in the lower region of the human body), high boots (called poleyns and greaves) with extra protection, and finally, blue tinted glasses. Taylor ran her hand tenderly over the top of the breastplate, which had a shiny autobot insignia engraved on it. Then, she picked it up.
“Wow, this is really light” she observed.
Dr. Glau nodded. “This armor is intended for nimble movements, but maximum protection. It also has a few other surprises, but I’ll let you figure them out.” She looked up. “You are an incredible life-form, half-human and half-cybertronian, which means you could possibly have heightened abilities you are not yet aware of. I highly recommend that you take the time to figure them out.”
Taylor raised an eyebrow. It was almost like she knew something Taylor didn’t. Then, Taylor closed the case and took it from her.
“Thank you, Dr. Glau. I wish you wisdom to make good choices.”
Dr. Glau nodded. “Likewise. Now, I bid you farewell. Goodbye, Captain Knightingale.” And with that, the doctor departed and toward a chopper about to take off. Taylor turned back to the case of armor, and began to eagerly take off her complex military garments and into the shiny new armor.
The armor winded and locked smoothly over her. She squirmed slightly but soon, Taylor was comfortable in the new armor. It was surprisingly very movable, with very little hindrance. Once she finished, she saw Bumblebee come up to the floor. He was looking around, searching for something. Taylor frowned. He was looking for her. With a deep breath, she approached him.
“Hey, Bee” She said.
Bumblebee spotted her.
“There you are! I was worried I couldn’t find you anywhere.” he stated, “Nice suit.” Taylor chuckled nervously, then cleared her throat. Bumblebee was quick to pick up why she had disappeared on him.
“Look, Bee,” said Taylor, “I’m sorry that I gave you the wrong impression. I didn’t mean to ‘ball on you’ as it were. I was just…really worried when you guys were stuck under.”
Bumblebee frowned. “No, I’m sorry. I let my emotions get the better of me, and that’s not what a leader is supposed to do.”
“Well, you gotta vent to someone. That’s nature.”
The two smiled.
“Can we still be friends?” Taylor asked.
Bumblebee grinned. “We were always friends.”
Taylor chuckled. The two shook hands, and the bond was repaired once more.
Night fell on the U.S. Military cargo plane. Red Delta and Lennox’s team Alpha were prepared and ready. It would be a more tricky fight than usual. All the humans were wearing deep-sea diving suits and underwater firearms. All except for Taylor, who discovered her suit could withstand the crush depth and only required a deep-sea air tank. As they were approaching the location of the Dark Energon signatures, Bumblebee reminded:
“Remember, we Autobots are heavy enough to touch the bottom of the sea Major, so if any of your team requires assistance, as you humans would say, ‘just holler’!”
Some of the soldiers snickered.
“I’m flying back to Salalah as soon as you’re clear. Don’t want the Decepticons finding out we’re here” called the pilot.
“Copy that!” Taylor replied.
Then the drop door began to open. The air howled through the back of the plane, and the sea rippled and rushed below them. The human counterparts of Red Delta were magnetically strapped to their Autobot companions, so they would be able to land at the same time.
“Ugh, this is gonna be rough” Hamilton groaned silently.
“Ah, you kidding me? I haven’t done this in so long!” Roadshot cried excitedly, “It’s gonna be great!”
Hotline was shaking with terror.
“Never jumped out of a plane before?” Dakota inquired.
Hotline laughed nervously, then squealed in panic, “You’re not supposed to jump out of a plane!”
Dakota chuckled. “Just don’t think too hard about it. Relax, and don’t close your eyes.”
Hotline scoffed. “You want the impossible!”
“On my command Red Delta!” Taylor commanded, “3…2…1!”
One by one, Red Delta lept from the plane. Taylor and Bumblebee lept first.
“Woohoo!” Bumblebee exclaimed as they fell.
Roadshot and Sargeant Hamilton jumped out second. Roadshot was beaming with sheer delight, while Hamilton remained concentrated on breathing. Nightshock and Iris lept out third, unphased and focused. Hotline moaned as he took a step forward, then a step backward.
“Hotline! Just jump!” Dakota cried.
“It’s so far!” Hotline argued.
Dakota groaned and rolled her eyes.
“You have a flipping parachute! Jump!”
With great effort, Hotline reluctantly hopped out of the plane. He spiraled down, shouting in fear.
“We’re going too fast!” Dakota hollered, “Spread out your legs and arms like a star!” Hotline grunted. With great difficulty from battling the howling wind, Hotline obeyed and they slowed in the air. The other’s parachutes released, and Hotline scrambled to do the same. Soon, Red Delta impacted the ocean. They released the parachutes, and began to sink deep into the black.
Everyone enabled night vision in their optics and goggles. They sunk lower and lower, until finally, they slowly, and gently lowered. The humans released the magnets keeping them on their Autobot partners, and began to look around.
“Squishy” Roadshot observed.
“What’s that!?” Hotline hissed.
Dakota went to look and sighed. “It’s an anemone. There are tons of them in the Midnight zone.”
Hotline gulped. “Is that was they call this place?”
“Hotline, I’m afraid I’m going to have to ask you to rein your focus back to the mission at hand. You can ask questions about sea life later” said Taylor.
“Sorry Captain!” Hotline hissed, embarrassed.
Major Lennox soon caught up with them. “The energy signatures are about two miles away. Look sharp, let’s move!”
“Captain, what if the Nemesis’ sensors detect us?” Roadshot inquired.
“We’ll just have to pray they’re damaged. Otherwise this will be increasingly difficult.”
It was difficult to navigate in the dark ocean, as well as not step on any creatures on the way. Finally, as Wadewatch squinted, he announced:
“There! I see a giant mass straight ahead!”
Sure enough, once they peered to see, everyone observed the giant structure, standing at over a mile high, and stretched farther than a football field. It stood menacingly up against the blackness of the sea, sharp pillars spiking all around the exterior.
“I’ve heard stories of the Nemesis. I never imagined I’d actually see it with my own optics” Hotline commented.
“Yeah, that was the ship that nearly ripped the Ark in half” Bumblebee added.
Taylor shivered. “Unpleasant memories to say the least.”
“It’s quiet,” said Hamilton, “Do you suppose they’ve seen us?”
Nightshock scanned the structure using the short-range sensors in her optics.
“Negative. I only detect normal Decepticon security. However, I can only see the outlining hallways.”
“I hope not,” said Taylor.
She glanced at Nightshock.
“Nightshock. You have your orders. Get to the Decepticon database and look for formulas relating to converting energon. We’ll be here for backup if slag hits the fan.”
Nightshock, under the cover of darkness, crept up to the walls of the Nemesis. She stared at the wall for a few moments, then looking up, observing the intensity of its height. Then, she clenched her fist and went:
“BANG BANG BANG!”
She didn’t move until she saw the door a few feet away from her open. Then, she fled. Two decepticon drones stepped out, guns drawn and looked around. The rest of the team were nowhere to be seen.
“Must be one of those nasty aquatic creatures with the big teeth” said one.
The other groaned. “And I thought humans were disgusting vermin.”
Then, Nightshock suddenly vanished from thin air. The Decepticon drones went back into the ship, and the door shut behind them. The rest of the team moved away out of sight.
“Woah! That was cool!” Marie hissed, “How did she do that?”
“Cloaking technology, one of Nightshock’s specialties” said Wadewatch.
“Yeah, but her cloaking is limited. It only works for five earth minutes.”
“Ten, actually. She managed give it an update it.”
“Well, let’s hope she gets to the database in time. Otherwise, we’ll have to make sure she gets out in one piece and run as fast as we can. I doubt we’ll be able to take everyone in there.”