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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."

"Yes?"

"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.

Comments

random_xtras
Dec. 2nd, 2007 12:54 am (UTC)
After the surgery
Ratchet gently steers Endeavour down the hall and over to the smaller couch, since Jazz and Bee have the larger one as per usual. He makes sure that she's seated next to a sullen Ironhide, then walks over and leans on the end of the larger couch, absently patting Rap on the shoulder as the big sparkling leans against his father. "Alright, Jazz. We're here. Oh, and I spoke to Secretary Keller as you asked."

There's a grim note to his voice as he says this.
dajazzmech
Dec. 2nd, 2007 12:58 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
Jazz nod and looks at his sparkling. "Kids? Can you go on and play in the yard a bit? Rap'll be the boss today."

He kisses them all, including Optimus and Columbia.
nottabeater
Dec. 2nd, 2007 01:03 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
It takes a little to sooth Columbia's ruffled feathers at the kiss, but the kids are soon intent on their latest hole, which is reaching foxhole proportions by now.

Bee sighs and she and Ratchet return to their positions on the couch, then leans back and regards her sparkmate seriously. Something tells her there's going to be a lot of bad news here.
dajazzmech
Dec. 2nd, 2007 01:12 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
Jazz sighs and leans foreward to address them all. "Elita told me that Starscream is camping at the wormhole mouth. I think he's the one who messed her up so bad."
random_xtras
Dec. 2nd, 2007 01:17 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
"Was she alone?" asks Ratchet quietly, as though he knows the answer. Bumblebee looks at him with quick dismay.
dajazzmech
Dec. 2nd, 2007 01:23 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
"She was when she made it to the Nexus but...she said Screamer took out her companion."
random_xtras
Dec. 2nd, 2007 01:28 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
"She say who it was?" asks Chromia quietly from where she's slouched next to Dev with her arms crossed.
dajazzmech
Dec. 2nd, 2007 01:38 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
Jazz's horns tilt forward and he frowns. "Argentia. I didn't know her well."
random_xtras
Dec. 2nd, 2007 01:41 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
"Tia...." She mutters, drooping.

"So, when are we heading up there?" asks Bee.
dajazzmech
Dec. 2nd, 2007 01:53 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
"Once Elita is feeling better. I wanna take a balanced force with us, since our main flyer is a noncombatant. I'm not as quick as Op or Prowl when it comes to tactical strikes." Jazz leans forward. "I also want no distractions from protectin' the base for the ones we leave gaurding."
random_xtras
Dec. 2nd, 2007 01:57 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
Ratchet can't help it. He looks at Endeavour and chuckles.
go_endeavour
Dec. 2nd, 2007 02:44 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
She leans forward and grins. "It's true that I've never been in a conflict situation before. But I wouldn't go so far as to label me a noncombatant."

It's with surprising confidence that she looks at her friends. "Since my arrival I've been training with a friend of Uzu's. I also possess an integrated weapons system, and a cloaking device. I think I'll be able to serve two purposes for our cause." Endeavour isn't bragging or anything like that; she's just aware that not everyone may be up to speeds with her particular capabilities.

Not like one needs to show off their plasma cannon in the workshop, anyway.
dajazzmech
Dec. 2nd, 2007 03:09 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
Jazz laughs sharply and sinks back into the couch. "That simplifies matters, but still, we wait till Elita's conscious. Start deciding on where ya wanna be. We need people to protect the kids more than people for the strike force."

He looks at all of them. Wait.... "Where's Starforge and Arcee?"
random_xtras
Dec. 2nd, 2007 03:13 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
Ratchet sighs and sobers. "I'm afraid waiting may not be a viable option."

Bee looks at him with a frown of concern.
dajazzmech
Dec. 2nd, 2007 03:46 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
"Why's that? Elita in trouble?" Jazz's horns lay back. "Don't be vauge Ratch."
random_xtras
Dec. 2nd, 2007 03:54 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
"She was very near to complete systems failure before surgery, and is now on complete life support. I've sedated her to give her spark relief from trying to keep her body running." Ratchet looks at his sparkmate and moves over to lean on her couch instead as his voice drops. "She has a chance of healing, but she's going to need time."
dajazzmech
Dec. 2nd, 2007 04:29 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
"I see." Jazz crosses his arms and leans back. "Give her a day to make sure she's stable then."

After a moment he stands up. "Okay, here's the deal, I don't care who volunteers for the mission to get Starscream. The more important thing is gonna be who get's left with the kids. Starscream is powerful, and bigger than all of us except maybe Dev, but he's still only one, and easy enough to chase off if we can't take him out. What I don't want is one of his trickier buddies findin' the kids."
random_xtras
Dec. 2nd, 2007 04:39 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
Ratchet nods, then points out, "You're not space worthy."

"I'll stay," says Bumblebee.

"I gotta go, don't I?" says Starforge from the door where he's standing with Arcee in his arms.
dajazzmech
Dec. 2nd, 2007 04:46 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
Jazz turns to the two newcomers and frowns. "And where have you two been?"
random_xtras
Dec. 2nd, 2007 05:11 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
The young mech straightens to attention, holding the sleeping femme protectively. "Gettin' married, sir."

Ratchet growls but doesn't speak.

And Bumblebee looks guilty.
dajazzmech
Dec. 2nd, 2007 05:16 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
Jazz's horns twitch. "You..you...screw loose."

He turns and gives a hollow smile to the others. "Gimme a moment." Jazz marches over into his room and shut the door.

"EFHdkjdhgsihrgjkrehglkldjgproewljflfhgkfjgs;djgkjfgiutenvw!!!"
random_xtras
Dec. 2nd, 2007 05:24 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
Ironhide growls and starts for his son, but Ratchet stops him, then jerks his head at Starforge. "Put her to bed and come back out here. We have important things to discuss."

Then he looks at Bumblebee. "You knew."

She nods slowly.

"Ya mean you didn'?" asks Chromia.

"I didn't say that." Ratchet's voice holds the tone it often does before someone gets seriously dressed down. But it's not his place to yell at these two, so he just puts a hand on Dev's shoulder and counts backward from twentyseven million.

"I knew they wanted to," says Bee quietly. "I didn't know they were gone now."

Edited at 2007-12-02 05:28 am (UTC)
go_endeavour
Dec. 2nd, 2007 05:39 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
Endeavour just looks around with a mildly confused look on her face, but doesn't otherwise say anything.

Although she can definitely ascertain that Ratchet is teetering on the edge of throwing decorum out the window.

She opens her mouth to add to the conversation, but decides better of it and cuts off her vocal processors, leaning back and shaking her head slightly.
dajazzmech
Dec. 2nd, 2007 05:49 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
Jazz finally returns after cooling down. "Alright. I can't deal with think up punishment right now if they even really deserve more than a good yelling at." He rubs his optics and sits back down next to Bee with a heavy sigh. "Alright, So me and Bee are stayin' behind. Dev is going as well as 'Forge if you've given him a clean bill o' health Doc, if not 'Hide, you have to go. Ratch, Do you think Dev can hand repairs well enough that you can stay for the sick ones? If not I need to make a few calls."
random_xtras
Dec. 2nd, 2007 06:00 am (UTC)
Re: After the surgery
"He's fit," says Ratchet, at the same time as Ironhide growls about the kid needing to shut the pit slagged wormhole.

"I wanna go," says Chromia quietly.

And Ratchet looks at Endeavour to see what she'll say. This is going to be her first battle. He'll come if she needs him. "We could get Jeimu or Uzulee to come and monitor Elita 1."
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