Joy woke up early the next morning and considered trying to go back to sleep, but decided to see if she could get out to the barn before Lockdown started complaining, not that he wouldn’t find something else to complain about. She couldn’t really blame him for being grouchy though, Sunfire said it was a miracle he hadn’t offlined already and one wrong move could offline him. So he was stuck, sitting in the barn with nothing to do but wait for Joy to get him stabilized enough that his self repair systems could handle the rest without taking weeks for him to be able to move.
When Joy got to the barn it was so quite she thought maybe they were still recharging. As she peaked in she found she was half right, Sunfire was laying at the far end of the barn, his eyes still dark in sleep. At the end of the barn near the door, Lockdown was awake, checking the stitching of the wound on Star’s chest, while the other three steeljaws looked to be asleep, laying around him, leaning against his sides or legs.
“She may be painfully slow at welding, but she certainly knows how to stitch up organics, doesn’t she?” he said quietly, petting Star as she pressed her head into his hand.
Joy silently sat down, keeping herself hidden from Lockdown’s view, behind the stairs that were just inside the door, that lead to the upper floor of the barn. As each steeljaw woke up they were treated to the same inspection of wounds and petting as Star had received, until all four were standing, crowded around Lockdown as he pet them. With his face split in half Joy couldn’t be sure, but she could have sworn he was smiling.
A little while later Joy noticed that Sunfire had woken up and was watching her. As soon as he knew he had her attention he grinned, gave a barely noticeable nod towards Lockdown then shifted slightly as if he were just waking up. In a split second Lockdown made a barely audible noise and all the steeljaws were sitting stiffly at his sides. Joy quickly, but quietly slipped out of the barn, a hand clamped over her mouth to keep herself from laughing.
A few minutes later Joy walked into the barn, “It’s about time you got out here, it’s bad enough you work so slowly, then you have to take forever to get out here in the morning,” Lockdown said.
Joy just grinned at him, “Good morning to you too,” she said as she walked up to Star and started petting her, “You poor things, having to put up with this grouchy bot all the time.” Star leaned into her, nearly knocking her over, “As for you, Mr. Grumpy,” she said turning her attention back to Lockdown, “I think getting almost half of your spine put back together was pretty good considering I’ve never welded anything before in my life. But if you want me to work faster I can try, just don’t complain to me if any of those wires running along your spine get melted.”
“Just get to work,” Lockdown ordered.
“Yes sir, Captain Cuddles,” Joy said saluting before heading to get the welding supplies.
“What did you call me?” Lockdown demanded.
“Captain Cuddles, I use to have a black cat that hated all the other cats and wouldn’t let any of them get near him, as a joke we called him Cuddles. You remind me of him,” Joy explained, leaving out the fact that when her brother’s pet rabbit had gotten out of it’s cage they’d found it unharmed, cuddled up with Cuddles, which was the real reason he’d gotten the name. Joy noticed Sunfire who seemed to be trying not to laugh until he noticed her looking at him and he grinned at her.
By that evening Joy had gotten the rest of Lockdown’s spine welded back together and was getting ready to start working on his head, “Will I need to reattach all these wires in his head?” she asked Sunfire.
“No, once you get his head put back together the wires should reconnect on their own within a couple days, then you can just check to make sure everything went back together right,” Sunfire told her.
“Okay, well I’ll get started on that first thing in the morning,” Joy said.
“It’s not even dark out yet, there’s no reason you can’t keep working at least a couple more hours,” Lockdown said.
“I’ve been at this all day, this is exhausting work, I’m so tired I can barely stay awake,” Joy told him.
“You humans are so pathetic,” Lockdown said.
“I guess I could try to work a little longer, but you’ll have to talk to me to keep me awake enough to not mess anything up.”
“Fine, and what do you want to talk about?” Lockdown demanded irritably, “And don’t you dare start in on that stupid idea of your’s.”
Joy couldn’t help smiling, he was so easy to manipulate sometimes, “Okay. You’ve traveled all over the universe, right?”
“Yes,” Lockdown replied.
“Tell me about the other planets you’ve been to, what they’re like, what type of life is out there. Are all sentient beings flesh and blood organics or are they completely different from anything on earth?” Joy asked.
“Each galaxy seems to have a basic dominate type of sentient organisms, you’re galaxy is flesh and blood, but that’s where the similarities end, some sentient species on other planets in this galaxy resemble earth animals, while others are unlike anything on earth. They also range in size from no bigger than a mouse to bigger than me. Most aren’t capable of space travel yet, but there are a few that have mastered it well enough to have visited earth, which is where some of your planets stories of UFOs come from, although most are from other, more advanced galaxies.
“Other galaxies are dominated by a wide array of species, their basic composition ranging from plant, liquid, rock metal, energy and some that there’s really no substance on earth to even compare them too,” he told her.
“You’re so lucky, you’ve gotten to see so much. I’ve always wanted to travel and explore, but I’ve never even been out of the country. What are the other planets like?” Joy asked.
Lockdown continued to tell her more details about some of the planets he’d been to and the life forms on them while she worked. A few hours later she had finished welding the back of his head together and hoping he was so wrapped up in the story he was telling that he wouldn’t realize she had stopped she quietly set the supplies aside. She climbed down and silently sat next to one of the steeljaws, just out of Lockdown’s line of site.
It didn’t take long for Lockdown to stop and look for her, “You’re quitting already?” he asked.
“Better to quit than to doze off and accidentally melt all those wires in your head, you can finish telling me about that planet though,” she replied.
“Why should I if you’re not going to keep working?”
“Oh alright, you can finish tomorrow, one quick question though,” Joy said.
“What now?” Lockdown asked.
“You said there’s a galaxy where the sentient species are made of metal, which galaxy is that? Is it the same galaxy that Cybertron is in?” Joy asked.
“If you need sleep go sleep, now,” Lockdown told her, the fact that he was glaring at her was much more obvious now that the back of head was holding the two halves of his face closer together.
Joy got up and started to head towards the door then stopped, “You know I’m right, you just don’t want to admit that you’re wrong,” she said, ducking out the door just in time to avoid a bail of hay that came flying her way.
“Be careful, you don’t want to hurt her, we still need her help,” she heard Sunfire say.
“Why do you think I threw the hay instead of the tractor?” Lockdown said.
“It still could have hurt her,” Sunfire told him.
Joy was just about to head to the house when she heard Sunfire almost hesitantly say, “You know she’s made some good points, what if she’s right? I mean at one time even you-”
“Don’t,” Lockdown said, somehow putting enough force into the single word to silence whatever Sunfire was going to say.
Joy couldn’t help smiling as she headed into the house, Lockdown was stubborn, but she could be just as stubborn and determined, now if she could just come up with a way to talk to Sunfire alone and find out what he had been talking about.