Hard Facts, Simple Truths

Ch 3: What's in a Name?

Klik (Second)

Breem (Minute) 100 kliks

Joor (Hour) 60 breems

Orn (Day) 30 joors - 15 for a day cycle, 15 for a night cycle

Deca-orn (Week) 10 orns

Groon (Month) 3 deca-orns/30 orns

Vorn (Year) 14 groons/42 decaorns/420 orns


Chapter 3 - What’s in a Name

“So, this is your new ride, huh? Funny, I almost mistook it for your old one!” Hank grinned as his best friend rolled his eyes.

“Ha, ha, hilarious. Do you want to see it or not?” Springer grumped, hoping up inside his personal helicopter, which was done over in a fresh coat of green and yellow paint, the same shades and pattern of the truck he’d had before the Cons blew it up outside of Hillitrex.

It had been almost two deca-orns since the recruits received their assignments, and in that time Hank had barely seen any of his friends. More often than not, he was working alongside Bluestreak, Smokescreen, the Security Director Red Alert, or the Communications officer Blaster and his quartet of nieces and nephews: Rewind, Steeljaw, Ramhorn, and Eject, also known as the Casseti Kids. Hank was still able to catch glimpses of the others around base, or even have meals with them once in a while, but his schedule was apparently different enough from the rest that they saw each other more often than he did.

Becoming an officer-in-training at the time had seemed like an honor - now, Hank was kind of wishing it had been held in reserve so that he could spend more time with people he actually knew.

The two of them had finally arranged to spend a joint morning off at the little airfield where Springer spent most of his time learning under Blades, the only other helicopter pilot stationed in the valley. He’d already expressed numerous time the sheer toughness of the woman and how much it could both scare and inspire him. Hank, having talked to First Aid a few more times since his initial med bay visit, mentioned that she and Blades were sisters, with three older brothers.

“I think Aid’s so nice because she’s the baby of the family, while her sister’s the one who’d wrestle with their brothers.” He explained as they sat aboard Springer’s copter.

“Makes sense.” The other trainee agreed. “So, I was thinking next that we’d-”

Whatever plans the young man had been considering, they were lost as a klaxon began to ring out over the entire Ark Valley. Instantly, figures started racing around between buildings, especially in and out of the Command center.

“What’s going on?” Springer asked, startled as Hank swore and leapt to his feet.

“That’s the third level emergency alert - Cons are attacking someplace with limited or no defences, and we’re the closest ones to intervene.” He explained. “I don’t know if they’re going to want us to join in or not, but-”

“Hot Rod!” A familiar figure was racing towards them. Blurr slid to a stop beside the copter, dust clinging to his blue and grey body suit. “Smokescreen said that Prime wants the six of us in Springer’s helicopter, hovering over the battle and keeping an eye on what the Decepticons do.” Coming up the path behind him were Arcee, Warpath and Cliffjumper. The cousins were looking out of breath, weighed down as they were by some added pieces of red armor, while the girl stayed close to make sure that they didn’t get left behind. All of the trainees had their weapons with them, and the modified versions of their usual outfits that lent some protection from energy blasts and shrapnel.

“Well, let’s get going then.” As Springer started up his engines and Hank helped the others aboard, Autobots all throughout the valley were getting into their own vehicles to drive out the hidden entrance and make for the target. Once the others were seated, Hank joined his friend in the cockpit, grabbing the extra headset as he strapped himself into the co-pilot’s seat.

*-ee Seeker flights bearing down on the Huckasee Dam and Power Station from the west, with a further four ground-bound groups approaching from the southern road. I want the usual formations in place to divert the Decepticons’ attention from the Dam, while our Rescue Teams work to get the civilians out of harm’s way. Top priority is protecting the structures, as the station provides power for Iacon and half a dozen smaller settlements in the foothills.* Once Prowl’s voice cut out, others started clamoring over the airways to get their units into motion. Springer stayed silent as he lifted his copter into the air, circling the valley once to allow the team of Aerials time to clear out, before following Blades’ orange aircraft on the flight path.

“Do you want us looking out the windows?” Arcee called up to the cockpit.

“Only once we actually get there, and then I might even have you guys open up the side hatch in order to shoot.” Springer responded, keeping his eyes on the instruments and the view out his windshield. Hank noticed how tight his friend’s grip was on the steering handles, and reached over a hand to poke at his shoulder.

“What?”

“Relax, dude. First big fight, do you really think that the veterans are really going to leave us to our own devices.” Hank assured him with a cocky grin. “I’ll bet that they go out of their way to make sure we don’t get in over our heads.”

Springer gave him a flat look. “The last time I followed your advice, we ended up running for our lives through a forest getting shot at, followed very shortly by my truck being blown up.”

“Yeah, but I’m older and wiser now.” The other trainee snorted, but returned to his piloting duties wearing a small grin.

No one was smiling by the time they reached the target.

The Seeker flights had already made at least one strafing run, if the damages to the dam were any indication. On the ground, a stream of civilian workers were fleeing in a chaotic stream, trying to clear the structure before the Decepticon ground forces reached them. A trio of enemy jets zoomed down from the cloud cover, aiming to open fire on the helpless people below. Just in the nick of time, the Aerials came soaring out of nowhere and caught the Seekers in a crossfire, destroying one and forcing the other two to return to the clouds.

Below, the fastest of the Autobots arrived on the scene and immediately started trying to impose some order over the panicked civilians. Others started setting up a perimeter where they’d hold off the incoming enemy soldiers, and a handful more headed up to the dam itself to try and do some emergency repairs. As the pair of copters circled over the area, Hank strained himself to try and take note of all the details going on, before turning his attention to the dark shapes moving rapidly up the road towards the Autobots’ position.

A sudden beeping from the sensor displays reclaimed his attention.

“Uh-oh,” Springer muttered, turning them mid air so he could get a visual to confirm. “Guys, we’ve got incoming!”

“What, someone more than expected?” An annoyed voice called from the compartment behind them.

“Yeah, a couple of Con choppers inbound - they must have been hiding in the cliffs!” Sure enough, Hank could see a pair of airborne helicopters heading straight for them. One was a glossy black with purple markings while the other-

“Uhh, Springy, isn’t that the ride of one of the Cons who chased you into my mom’s eatery?” The pilot narrowed his eyes behind the visor of his helmet, and swore rather impressively.

“I thought you shot that crazy woman out of the sky!”

“I did! Clearly, they got her copter fixed up and flight worthy again!”

Ignoring the glare he was receiving, Springer reached over and pulled on the lever that would open the side door. “Warpath, Arcee, can you guys shoot at those two from here?”

“We can try!” Their friends quickly unstrapped themselves, grabbed up rifle and cannon respectively, and moved to the opening. Out of the windshield, Hank could see the light blue of the energon blasts shooting out towards the enemy copters. Almost immediately, Warpath’s larger weapon managed to score a hit on the panelling of the grey and blue one, forcing the pilot to swerve away for safer airspace. Arcee’s rifle, while not having the damage capability of the cannon, was able to force the other copter to dodge her shots. However, the enemy soon started to return fire from a pair of blasters mounted on the underside of the aircraft, and it was Springer’s turn to try and avoid being hit - while preventing his unsecured passengers from falling out to their deaths.

“Hank, can you-” The request hadn’t even been finished before he was leaving the co-pilot’s seat behind, grabbing up his crossbow and moving to join Warpath and Arcee.

“If each of us shoots for a different spot around him, we can force this guy to take at least one hit!” The girl shouted at them over the sound of the rotors and force of the wind. “I’ve got lower left, Hot Rod takes lower right, and Warpath aims for the top!”

“Got it!” Both boys answered, taking aim as best they could. Springer banked and suddenly slowed, catching the other pilot by surprise and giving the shooters a perfect window of opportunity.

The three fired at once, and sure enough, in an effort to avoid Arcee and Warpath’s blasts, the enemy copter swerved right into Hot Rod’s. His explosive bolt lodged in the mechanics of one of the side-mounted guns, the blew up with enough force to rip apart the side of the aircraft. Unfortunately, the shockwave rattled their copter as well, and Springer nearly lost control of the steering. Warpath was blown back into the seating compartment, knocking Hot Rod on his way, who in turn bumped into Arcee - and sent her out the door into the open air below.

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