Hard Facts, Simple Truths

Ch1: Prologue to Adventure, Part 2

In hindsight, Hank had acted without thinking. Again. When dawn broke, he and Spencer had clambered down from the tree where they’d spent the night cycle in fitful sleep, eager to get started. The latter still had his knapsack with several orns worth of food contained within, but Hank still needed to snag some of his own things from home.

The two of them managed to work their way back around town towards the eatery, which was thankfully still standing. Checking to make sure the coast was clear, Hank took a running start and jumped up to grasp the bottom of the second story balcony. He pulled himself up and quickly ducked in through the sliding door to his bedroom. Within a few breems, he had pulled out a messenger bag and filled it with several spare changes of clothes, a few datapads with useful things downloaded into them like maps and camping guides, and his private stash of late night snacks.

Then, he made his first idiotic decision of the morning. Deciding that leaving a note for his mother to find was too impersonal, Hank silently exited the room and made his way downstairs to the eatery. He’d planned just to briefly explain where he was going, hug her and take off again, but as usual, things didn’t go according to plan. Hank’s first clue that something was wrong came in the form of several loud voices in the kitchen.

Knowing full well that no townspeople would be up and visiting this early, the youth slowed his pace, creeping down the short hall and peering around the doorway. What he saw made his blood boil.

All five of the Decepticon bullies had invaded the pantry and refrigeration unit, helping themselves to most of the food and leaving the rest out to spoil. Mrs. Veer was standing off to one side, wringing her hands anxiously as the supplies meant to last them a further few deca-orns vanished down greedy gullets. The Cons took no notice of her or the mess they were making, merely enjoying gorging themselves.

As Hank pulled back, he had to forcibly make himself resist running in there and causing a repeat of the night before. Trying to find something to distract himself with, the young man’s eyes came upon five travel packs lying haphazardly against the wall, an assortment of weapons attached to each: three plasma cannons, four mid-size blasters, two shock gauntlets, and half a dozen energon blades of varying sizes.

A wicked grin snuck its way onto his face as an idea took hold.

Meanwhile, waiting outside was driving Spencer’s nerves to the edge of their limits. The last three orns of fleeing from this group of Cons, and numerous others for the groon before that, had worn most of his usual patience away. Now, while he would be glad to have someone else to travel and be on guard with, Spencer was convinced that the longer his new friend took, the more likely it was they would be caught and killed.

So when a small hand tapped him from behind, the Roamer had to muffle a scream as he whirled around in panic. A curly haired boy holding a fishing pole was looking up at him with confusion and curiosity.

“Ah, geez kid, don’t sneak up on people like that!” Spencer whisper-yelled, trying to slow his racing pulse.

“Are you waiting for Hank too?” The boy asked, head tilting to one side slightly.

“Um... Yes?”

“Does that mean you’re coming fishing with us? You’re going to have to borrow Hank’s rod, then.”

“Uh, no, no I’m not - and he’s not either. Listen, kid, there’s a bunch of Decepticons around here somewhere, and as soon as Hank comes out, he and I are leaving this town-”

“There’s more Cons? Like the ones in Ma’am Veer’s store?”

“...What?”

It was just then that the back door was knocked open, and Hank hurtled out of it, making a beeline for Spencer’s position. He had one bag bouncing behind him with its strap slung across his chest, and two more ragged-looking ones fit to burst clutched in his arms.

Spencer felt like groaning. “Dude, don’t you know the meaning of ‘travel light’?”

“No time - and these aren’t mine!” He gasped, skidding to a halt beside them and ducking behind the corner of the building behind his mom’s eatery. “Oh, hi Daniel. Sorry, I can’t make it to the fishing trip today.”

“I know. He said so.”

“Yeah, I’m sorry - hey, have you sent that letter to your dad yet?”

“No. Mom wanted to put it with a care package.”

“Good! Can you tell him that me and a Roamer are leaving Hillitrex, and see if he’ll arrange a letter of introduction with the Autobots for us?” The kid’s eyes grew really wide, and he grinned up at the young man, nodding vigorously. “Great. I dunno when we’ll see each other again, but thanks for being a good friend Daniel.”

“You’re welcome Hank! And be careful! Say hi to Dad for me if you see him!” Daniel wrapped his short arms around Hank awkwardly in a quick hug, then took off down the dirt path behind the buildings with his fishing pole bouncing cheerfully.

“...What was that about?” Spencer finally asked.

“Huh? Oh, Daniel’s dad Sam Witwicky works as a courier for the Autobot Army - I haven’t seen him in vorns, but if he passed along a voucher for us, we could probably skip all that preliminary interview stuff or whatever it is those guys do to avoid spies getting in their ranks.”

“That... That’s a surprisingly smart thing for you to do, Veer. So, what all’s in the bags?” Hank dropped one into his arms, and opened it to reveal the bulky and crammed-in weaponry. “...I spoke too soon. You’re an idiot.”

“Are you kidding? Those Decepti-creeps are way less dangerous without these!”

A sudden burst of blaster fire just over their heads caused both young men to flinch and drop to the ground. In the face of the torqued off Decepticon lady wielding a wide barrelled cannon and standing in the back doorway of the Veer eatery, Spencer turned his glare onto Hank. “And it never occurred to you that they might be carrying extras?”

“Hurry, Onslaught! Swindle! Blast Off! Vortex! The punks are back here!” The Con yelled back through the open door, prompting Hank and Spencer to scramble to their feet and start running.

“Remind me to kill you for this later!” The Roamer berated him as they raced back towards the treeline.

“Less complaining, more fleeing!”

The two of them continued ducking and dodging the gunfire, Hank cursing himself for being so short-sighted again. Things were hardly any better once they entered the forest - the fleeing youths had to drop their speed to avoid crashing, while three of the Decepticons continued after them, firing all the while.

Then there was a turn for the worst - Hank picked up the distinctive sound of a helicopter approaching, and realized the other two Cons must have gone to get their vehicles.

“We are so slagged.” He moaned.

“Not just yet!” Spencer grabbed his arm and dragged the other out of a round of blaster fire, leading him towards what looked to be a mound of green bushes. With a sudden burst of strength, the Roamer leapt upward, hauling Hank with him to land squarely in the leafy pile.

Or rather... To land on the green vehicle hidden by the leafy pile.

“You’re going to want to hold on now.” Spencer informed his companion as he dropped into an open driver’s cockpit, throwing pieces of shrubs and branches out of his way. Hank managed to find a handlebar to grip just as the vehicle was turned on, and launched forward with an exhilarating burst of power.

“Waaaa-hooooo!” Spencer howled, steering his truck along some unseen pathway through the trees, avoiding both the natural obstacles and the barrage of plasma fire coming down from the copter above. Holding on for dear life, Hank yelled right along with him, alternating between utter terror and pure exhilaration.

At one point, when they zoomed through a small clearing, he managed to pull out one of the stolen blasters and fire wildly into the air. Somehow, someway, on of his shots collided with the rear propeller of the Decepticon above them, sending the dark grey and blue copter spiralling.

“Holy Primus,” Hank breathed in awe of his newfound skill. “Hey! Spencer! Did you see?! I actually managed to- WHOA!” With the sudden slamming of the brakes, Hank found himself propelled forward, landing awkwardly in the cockpit beside the driver’s seat. Spencer was glaring ahead of them, where a massive, Primus-forsaken tank was pushing through the trees towards them, the Decepticon sigil prominently displayed on its battle scarred hood.

“I think you were right before.” Hank chose to say after a moment, wincing from his new uncomfortable position. “Now is when we are so slagged.”

“In most cases, I’d agree with you.” The Roamer said dryly as his hand hovered over a red switch on the dashboard. “But this happens to be my grandmother’s truck.”

Hank was about to ask why that made a difference when the tank ahead of them lowered its front cannon and opened fire. Mere kliks before the artillery shell reached them, Spencer flipped the switch.

Inside his armored vehicle, the man called Onslaught by his allies and enemies alike smiled with grim satisfaction as the Roamer’s green and yellow truck exploded, various pieces hurled upwards and outwards.

“Got ‘em.” He said into his team’s comm frequency. “That’ll teach the punks to mess with our outfit - if there’s anything left of them, that is.” The Combaticons shared a cheer, even Vortex, who was attempting to jerry-rig her helicopter’s busted propeller in order to fly it out of the trees.

“Swindle, Brawl, Blast Off, go get your trucks and we’ll head on out.” Onslaught ordered. “V, can ya get the chopper up and running or do I need to come haul your sorry aft outta here?”

Over Vortex’s grumbled curses, the others were complaining about not getting to return to the town and blow some of it up. “Think of all the goods we could get!” Swindle in particular begged.

“No deal, we need to report back to Hivus City on the double. Chasing down that Roamer brat took long enough already, I don’t want us wasting any more time.” Slowly but surely, he browbeat his teammates into loading up and driving or flying out.

Onslaught never did think to check to see where some of the green truck’s pieces ended up.

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