Chapter Twelve

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Kita awoke to Ryan gently shaking her. "Wha-What is it?" Kita saw Ryan and came fully awake. "What's wrong? What happened? Is Arcee ok?"

"Whoa," said Ryan, "slow down. Nothing's wrong. We were able to pull Arcee's system cores. They're damaged—"

Kita's heart leaped into her throat.

"—But Ratchet thinks he can make new ones and transfer her to them."

Kita relaxed some. It wasn't great news, but it wasn't bad either. Arcee was still in limbo. "What do we need to do to make new ones?"

"Ratchet, and I think we've devised a way to do it. The system cores are made of glass, and their programming is etched into them on the quantum level. We have a list of what we need to do it, but we have to make another trip into the city."

"Let me get ready, and I can go."

"I'll be coming," said Ryan.

"But, you've been up all night. You should sleep."

"I can sleep while we're on the road. I have to go to make sure we get the right stuff."

Kita shrugged, stood up, and grabbed her jacket. "You're going to need to get real sleep soon."

"Isn't that what being young is all about? Burning the candle at both ends?"

"It's how mistakes are made," said Kita tersely. "And it's my...friend on the line."

"Ratchet is doing most of the work. I'm just watching. It'll be fine."

"Ok. Give me a few minutes. You should take some too and get cleaned up."

"Yeah, I guess I should check on my hair. Arcee's lesson is sinking in," Ryan said in a teasing voice.

Kita wrinkled her nose. "I want to look good for her when she wakes up."

Ryan raised an eyebrow but didn't say anything as he followed Kita to the restrooms.

***

Kita watched traffic as Ratchet drove through the valley back toward the lab. They had spent three hours at Fry's as Ryan and Ratchet worked out plans with what parts were available and then another hour buying what they selected. The receipt totaled seven hundred dollars. The one-inch glass cubes had been one hundred dollars each—ground and polished to sparkle like diamonds.

Kita wasn't sure how a dozen Blu-ray writable drives, three Raspberry Pis, and four variable power source were going to etch circuits into the glass cubes. But, Ratchet and Ryan had a plan, and they seemed confident. She wanted them to succeed. It was her...friend whose life was on the line. But, doubt lingers...

"Ratchet," said Kita quietly.

"Hmm, what do you want? I didn't think you could stay quiet the whole trip."

Kita made a grumpy face. "You don't have to be mean, you know."

"You're here so Ryan can get some sleep."

"I paid for your toys, too."

"I believe Arcee found the money."

"No, I did. She helped me bust the lock."

"I have a feeling you won't relent until I give you what you want. So, what do you want?"

Kita sighed. "I'm worried about Arcee."

"Why are you worried about her?"

"What if you can't fix her?"

"Then I cannot fix her. I will take her system cores back home, and they will be returned to the forge, and a new Autobot will be forged from her."

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