Hard Facts, Simple Truths

Ch 4: Volatile

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 4 - Volatile

“I’m so glad you guys are finally starting the demolitions unit.” Wheeljack said cheerfully as he led the six trainees out to where his lab/bunker was located at the edge of the valley. “I always have such fun explaining about the various materials we use, and of course it’s of the utmost importance to be able to observe your target and determine where the best weak points to place the explosives are.”

“Isn’t this the guy that Jazz said caused things to blow up no matter how supposedly non-volatile they were?” Springer whispered.

“Yeah, I think so.” Hank muttered back. “Why?”

“Is he really the best person to be teaching us how to handle explosive compounds, then, if there’s a good chance he could cause them to go off at any time?”

His friend paused for half a beat. “Fair point. Let’s keep the cousins in between us and the bombs, then.”

“Oh, brilliant strategy.” Hank had to dodge the swat that Springer aimed at him. “I can totally see why they decided that you were officer material.”

“Really? And here I thought it was my charms and good looks.” The pair continued to quietly banter all the way up to the door of the bunker, which Wheeljack led the group of trainees through.

“I hope it goes without saying, but please make sure you don’t touch anything unless we say so.” The engineer cheerfully told them, as he worked his way around to crowded tables to an equally disorganized series of shelving units in the back of the main room. “Hey Percy! I’ve got the newcomers out here!”

“Ah.” A voice returned flatly from one of the doors leading to a personal workspace. “Have they come to finally help you arrange your clutter into some form of order?”

“Clutter! I’ll have you know that I’m perfectly aware of where every item is in this place! Now, where did I put those thermite bombs...”

“Of course you are,” the spectacled scientist appeared in the doorway, wiping his hands on a rag and looking bemusedly at his companion. “That’s why you know the devices you are looking for are, in fact, on the opposite shelf.”

Wheeljack turned around, and let out a cheer of triumph when he came nose to label with the bombs. “Thanks Perce! Dunno what I’d do without you.”

“Die a fiery death with no warning, and condemn others to the same fate as you never label or organize your creations.”

“True.” The engineer never lost his grin during this morbid agreement, a fact that had Hank and Springer exchanging nervous looks.

Evidently, they weren’t the only nervous ones either, as Blurr was trying to subtly edge away as Wheeljack got closer and closer with his box of explosives. “So, um, when you say ‘die a fiery death with no warning,’ does that just apply to working in here-or-are-we-going-to-have-to- be-really-careful-out-there-too?” Cliffjumper blinked at the speed at which the younger teen launched out his words.

“Nah, we’ve got nothing to worry about with these!” Wheeljack either didn’t notice or ignored the derisive snort Perceptor unleashed. “Now let’s get going!”

Reluctantly, the recruits followed him back out and around the bunker to a large section of scorched ground, devoid of any plant life whatsoever. At the far end of it were some targets looking rather worse for wear, while much closer were a line of blast shields in much the same condition.

“Now,” Wheeljack gestured for them all to come listen as he set the box down. “The first thing to bear in mind when handling sensitive material is safety. I know I’ve got a bit of a reputation to the contrary, but it’s true.” He began to carefully pull out six bombs.

“Uh, I hate to be rude, but shouldn’t we be learning about these things first and then using them?” Springer asked nervously, but the engineer waved the question off.

“I tend to be one of those ‘learning on the job’ type of guys.” He informed them. “So! Everybody take a bomb, come on now, don’t be shy. I’ll show you how to activate them, and then it’s just a matter of getting the timing right for the the throw and release-”

“Still takin’ the quick ‘n dirty method of teachin’ your students, so I see.” A cheerful voice called out from further down the slope. Nearly as one, the recruits all turned to look, and quickly spotted the group of five people approaching them.

Meanwhile, Wheeljack groaned. “Aw, not the party poopers again.”

Hank noted that three of the newcomers had firefighting gear - an older man and younger woman with similar features along with a lighter skinned guy - while the other two had other assorted tools as though ready to launch themselves into any emergency.

“Hi there, folks!” The tall fellow who’d announced their presence a moment before grinned. “Hope we weren’t interruptin’ anything.”

“Of course you were, but when’s that ever stopped you, ‘Ferno?” Wheeljack replied, getting to his feet.

“Very rarely, I’ll admit.”

“Hn. Trainees, these here are Inferno and his niece Firestar, our top firefighters. And these three ugly mugs you’ll know as Aid and Blades’ big brothers: Hot Spot, Streetwise and Groove.”

“‘Sup?” The shortest of the sibling trio said, the one who looked most like First Aid. “Thought you guys might feel a bit better ‘bout this lesson if there were some Rescue Crew members on hand - just in case, of course.”

“Of course,” Wheeljack said dryly, but not without a hint of amusement.

“Aw, we’re not here ‘cause we think you need the supervision, ‘Jack, it’s just fer the new lot’s peace of mind.” Firestar smiled at him. “Personally, I’d rather be spending our first orn back in the Valley relaxin’ or spendin’ some time with the Twins-”

“Why you went and made friends with them I will never know.” Inferno shook his head.

“I good say th’ exact same thing about you and Red, y’know.” His niece retorted, which caused the other three to snicker. The man just took it good-naturedly, and gestured for Wheeljack to continue with his demonstration.

“Well! As I was saying, everyone go ahead and take a bomb...”
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