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((Co-written teh_rest))
Ratchet checked on his sleeping wife, feeling glad that the meeting with Captain Lennox was over. Finding her quiet and Columbia intent on a story from Ironhide, he turned and slipped into the workshop, then dialed the telephone and waited for the pickup. "Mr. Secretary, were you able to find a place for them?"

Keller's voice crackled slightly over the line. "Yes, we did. Mr. Chang-Oboa will fly one of my Cessnas; Mrs. Chang-Oboa has been offered a permanent part-time research position at the avionics department at NASA."

The yellow mech frowned slightly, concern coming into his deep voice. "In different states, sir?"

A sigh could be heard over the phone. "For now, yes, considering that they've both stated their intent to live coastal. Otherwise I would have Mrs. Chang-Oboa work in Virginia. Or I would assign them to you."

Ratchet nodded. "I see. Well it they're satisfied then I have no right to say anything. Thank you for going through so much trouble on their behalf."

Keller's smile was almost audible. "Of course. It's not a problem, especially if they're friends of yours."

"Jeimu has become a very dear friend to my wife, and I owe her my life," said Ratchet simply.

"I see. Is she adept, then, at medical procedures for your kind?"

"Not as such, but she's a brilliant engineer." Ratchet absently lifted Mischief and dropped him gently back onto the floor.

Keller chuckled as he heard Mischief's unearthly yowl over the line. "Fair enough. Do you know if she's involved in any research at present?"

"I believe she's finished all her latest projects." Ratchet aimed a soft blast of air from his intakes at the cat.

"Ah, I see. I was simply going to find her lab space if she'd required it, but since she doesn't, then..."

"Sir, when it comes to Mrs. Chang-Oboa lab space is never amiss," said Ratchet gravely, glancing under the table to the arrangement that the tiny human had set up under there.

"We do have grant money that was never claimed. But she needs to have a project proposal to get it."

"Really?" Ratchet's browplates rose with interest, then dropped with dismay as he caught sight of a familiar small form in the doorway.

"That is," Keller said with mild amusement, "how we operate here."

"I'll inform her of the situation when next I see her." He shot the woman in question a stern and forbidding look.

Jeimu stopped in her tracks and stared at Ratchet. "What?" she mouthed.

He ignored her, not knowing the details of when and where she'd written the test and not wanting to let on that she was where she might not logically be. "There's another matter that I was asked to speak to you about, sir."

"Oh? And what is that?"

"Were you able to do anything regarding the matter of Optimus Prime's employer?"

"And the immigration situation? Yes, we managed to get that cleared up. Vanessa reopened the investigation there directly, and it's been smoothed over. His record has been cleared and all his employees permitted to return to work."

"I'm sure Optimus will be glad to hear that when he returns." Ratchet's voice didn't give away his smile.

"Well, we're glad to help. You may also be interested to note that we have leads in the other investigation."

"Optimus said something about Sector 7?" He leaned forward, suddenly fully focused.

"That's correct. More to the point, one Agent Simmons had been spearheading the campaign. He is in custody now, but you'll have to remain on the alert, as we do not know how far this has gone. There is some evidence that... ah... private contractors were given orders."

"Simmons??" growled Ratchet with disbelief.

A sigh. "That's correct."

"I... see," he said with difficulty.

"I realize this must be shocking, if he attempted to... normalize relations with you and your family."

Jeimu hovered in the doorway of the workshop, rolling her eyes and folding her arms across her chest.

"He presented himself as a friend and helper." Ratchet turned a shoulder toward her, listening for the cat. "And seemed quite sincere."

Keller sighed. "I'm truly sorry," he said. "But as I said before, we are trying to ascertain how far this goes. So far we've turned up nothing that we cannot trace, and we've arrested six people already."

The cat was meowing in the corner, doing a very good job at not shutting up.

Ratchet turned back to Jeimu, pointing from the cat to the living room and giving her a pleading look. "We know that one of Technical Sergent Epps' men was involved."

Jeimu nodded and scooped the yowling Mischief up into her arms, taking him (though he protested, loudly) to the living room and closing the door behind her.

"Yes, from what the records show he was a relative newcomer to that unit... he was actually a former S7 agent, reintegrated into his former line of work."

"And rather unstable, to judge from his reaction when Bumblebee and Arcee became damaged from the tainted fuel."

The sound of Keller clearing his throat could be heard. "Yes, that too."

Ratchet sighed before realizing what he'd done. "Thankfully Jeimu and Jav can't be told from the rest of the population."

"This is very true," Keller said. "But until we close the case, they too must tread lightly and just be cautious."

"They will. Being members of minority races on their home worlds has made them adpt at it." He glanced toward the closed door, then peered through, noting that Jav was there... playing Guitar Hero with very peculiar flair.

"That's good to know. Is there anything else you need?"

"Not to my knowledge... but you're going to need to register another newcomer." Ratchet's happiness suddenly showed plainly in his voice.

"Pardon me?"

"Another Autobot arrived three days ago." He grinned, knowing that there would have been no report of anyone arriving.

Keller's confusion was plain. "There was no indication of anyone new showing up." After all, there were more than a couple of spy satellites being used to assist the Autobots in monitoring for newcomers.

"Because she didn't arrive from space." He couldn't contain his pride.

"Ah. I see. That kind of new arrival... she's yours, isn't she?" Keller was grinning on the other end as well, and it could once again, almost be heard. "How is she doing?"

"Yes. She's doing well, asking questions and learning about the world around her." Ratchet cleared away static. "Columbia is her name."

Keller couldn't help but chuckle. "An apt name. Was it Endeavour's idea?"

"Actually, it was my own suggestion," said the medic quietly. "As you say, it seemed fitting. Endeavour loved her sister a great deal."

"I see. Well, we'll open up a file on her as soon as possible."

"Ah." He winced at a sudden incoherent com message. "There is one more thing, sir."


"Arcee and Starforge wish to be married, but with Optimus away we have to go to an outside source for the officiant. Bumblebee knows the local chaplain, but he's been ordered to stay away from us." Ratchet's voice made it clear that he didn't understand such orders when he himself had met the man and was inclined to trust him.

There was a sigh on the line. "I'll send a direct order, if you prefer to have this particular chaplain oversee the service."

"Arcee and Starforge aren't inclined to wait," Ratchet's growl of irritation nearly escaped as he was commed again.

Laughter. "Well, I am certainly not ordained to perform any such services."

"Nor are any of the remaining team here." Ratchet shook his head, then remembered one last thing. "How is your sparkling?"

"Oh, PB is doing fine. He's taken an interest in my stapler and seems to want to teach it how to transform, I think."

"Adorable." Ratchet chuckled.

"Indeed. I haven't the heart to try to explain to him that the stapler is just a stapler."

The medic's voice rumbled with sympathy for the tiny youngster. "Has he started talking yet?"

"Not really," Keller said. "He just kind of babbles on in what I assume to be your native language."

"Hmm, he could be like Honey, who seems to be developing nicely, but who hasn't spoken a word since she was put into her shell." Ratchet frowned, and then blinked as all heck seemed to break out in the living room. "I had better go. It was good to speak to you again, sir."

"Very well," Keller said. "Again, if there's anything else, please let me know."

"We will, sir. Thank you." Ratchet hung up gently and went to see if he couldn't referee, hoping that Jazz got home from the Nexus run soon.


Nov. 28th, 2007 10:51 pm (UTC)
Jazz PINpoints in with Elita-One draped over his shoulder. His horns twitching as he entered the living room. "Hatchet? I gotta VIP here for you!"
Dec. 2nd, 2007 12:33 am (UTC)
"What's all the noise? Endeavour is trying to sleep." The medic steps past the fervently cursing Chromia to frown at him, but then blinks. "Who is it?"
Dec. 2nd, 2007 12:35 am (UTC)
"Elita! I found her in the Nexus. Said somethin' about Starscream camping at the wormhole." He holds Elita-1 out to the medic. "She's run down man."
Dec. 2nd, 2007 12:38 am (UTC)
Ratchet shows his surprise and concern as he takes the tiny femme into his arms. "I'll have to repair her immediately. Will there be a meeting afterward?"

He's already turning toward his workshop as he scans her, his spark dropping at what he reads.
Dec. 2nd, 2007 12:41 am (UTC)
"Slag yeah, there will be a meeting." Jazz groans. "Blast it."
Dec. 2nd, 2007 12:44 am (UTC)
"Cuddle with your wife and children," Ratchet throws over his shoulder as he vanishes into the workshop. "Medic's orders."
Dec. 2nd, 2007 12:48 am (UTC)
Jazz sighs. "Thank you, Hatchet. Tell me when Boss Lady gets in the clear."

He wanders over to flop on the couch and snuggle up with Bee.