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"Warped", Chapter Eleven

Doo-de-doo...

I have discovered that when he's off his meds, Deuce is really hard to write. :\ (No, it's not in this chapter, as a FYI, but it will be sooner rather than later.)

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Warped
Chapter Eleven

When Pulsar finally began to return to the world of the living, her vision came back online to such a complete wall of unbroken silvery-blue she at first assumed her remaining semi-functional optic had finally packed in altogether. Then she noticed the weight across her shoulders, and as lucidity returned she realised that the reason she recognised the bluish colour was because it was Thundercracker.

She startled, alarmed, and leaped away from him; his arm – which had been propped across her shoulders – dropped back against his side with a low, heavy clunk. This was clearly another of Siphon’s crude ideas of a joke, to leave her snuggled against her fellow captive when he knew she didn’t want to be so close to anyone. At least Slipstream looked safe – albeit completely offline on Thundercracker’s other side, a little dark blur tucked into the corner formed by the Seeker’s wing-stump and his flank. She hoped he was still unharmed.

…the longer she looked, the more she realised there was something wrong with the blue Seeker. She strained to get her failing vision to focus, but the blurs remained as blurs. It felt like a small eternity (although it was probably actually only a few seconds) before she worked out he looked off because his legs were the wrong colour – not their normal blue with a black trim, just plain black all over.

She shifted, uneasily; circulating coolant suddenly felt too cold. It was almost as if Siphon was trying to make him look like Skyw-… she forced the idea out of her mind. Wasn’t going to think what implications that had, because there was only one reason she could imagine that the sociopath would need a duplicate Skywarp for. No, stop thinking about it. We’re going to be out of here before any of that happens.

After a quarter-breem or so of dithering, she dared to inch closer. “TC? Thundercracker? Wake up?” she whispered, grasping his shoulder vent and giving him a little shake, to which his head lolled slowly sideways but his optics failed to light. “Come on, TC. Please? Don’t leave me alone here with them…”

“I wouldn’t bother,” a voice said, softly, and she glanced up to find Deuce silhouetted in the doorway. “That narcotic will take his firewalls another ten or twenty breems to purge off his mainframe.” He released the security field and let himself inside for just long enough to put down two murky cubes, then slipped back out into the corridor and reactivated the field. “Siphon doesn’t want him waking up before the enamel is completely dry.” He gave her the briefest of glances. “To be honest I’m surprised you woke up so soon. Maybe you’re getting tolerant of the sedatives.”

“I just didn’t have much,” she corrected, quietly. “Can’t keep a lot of fluid down at the moment.”

“Hm.” The truck glanced briefly down the corridor, and counselled, unexpectedly; “Best not tell Siphon, if you want to keep your wits about yourself – he might go back to personally giving you your rations if he thinks your dosage is getting too low.”

She tensed at the idea; it had been long enough since she’d last had Siphon’s spidery hands probing through her intakes that she’d almost begun to forget the sensation, but the reminder brought it back with a painfully stark clarity. “If you’re that worried, can’t you get us out of here?” she wondered, faintly, trying to appeal to the better nature she hoped he had hidden in there somewhere. “When Siphon’s not about, all you have to do is leave the door open-…”

Deuce shifted, awkwardly. “Aside from the fact he won’t forgive me for that sort of stupidity, you won’t get very far with the collars on,” he reminded, quietly. “I’m not sure I could get all three off you before he noticed. Maybe one of you, but all three, no.”

“Then… maybe just… Deuce, if you do nothing else, can’t you get Seem out of here?” she implored, getting as close as she could to him. “You don’t have to tell anyone anything other than where they can collect him from, you don’t have to let anyone know where this place is, Siphon can keep me here and I won’t even fight, just please-”

“I can’t.” The truck averted his gaze, guiltily. “I can’t, Siphon will know it was me, and I’m already on dangerous ground with him. You know the collars you wear?” He lifted his hand and demonstrated a similar looking ‘bangle’ on his wrist. “He didn’t take kindly to me doing a runner the other day. If I cross the line once more, I lose my hand.”

“How is it fair to dump a sparkling at the centre of this?” she pleaded. “It’s not him that Siphon wants, it’s me!”

“It’s none of you that Siphon really wants,” Deuce corrected, quietly. “He wants Skywarp, and he’ll use whatever means he needs to get him – and if that includes abusing his sparkling, so be it. First to punish him, then to use him as a bargaining chip to get Cali out once he’s finished with him.”

“You know they won’t honour that sort of bargain-!” Pulsar reminded, trying to ignore the slow, creeping dismay that was crawling like cold fingers up the back of her helm. “There’s no way they’ll let her out.”

“No, and neither will Siphon honour his side of things. If he gets his hands on Skywarp? Then your Seeker friend is dead.”

“Can’t you just… sedate him? Sneak something into his energon?” she pleaded. “You know where it’s kept. That’d solve all our problems.”

“Don’t you think I haven’t already tried?” Deuce shook his head. “I can’t get to any of the liquids in this place, except what he gives me. He doesn’t trust me not to use his energon for myself, and if I could have got to where he keeps my medicines? I’d have been gone long before now...”

“So you say. For all I know, you’re playing your own game with me,” she accused, shakily. “Acting all friendly, trying to get me to let things slip so you can squeak about it to Siphon…”

His look darkened - his optics flickered with heat, and he snapped, grimly; “of course, you’ve caught me out, femme. Because I was a crazed homicidal sociopath when I was almost blind from Blue, to such a degree I didn’t know where I was or even what age it was, half the time, that must be what I’m like normally.”

He sounded genuinely hurt, and she noticed his hands were shaking. She ducked her head and backed down, sinking to the sandy floor, defeated. “I'm sorry, I didn't-... didn't mean to hurt-...” She averted her gaze under his suddenly hostile green glare. “Why did you come back?” she asked, at last, softly.

Deuce fidgeted, and rubbed his arms. “Ran out of my medication,” he husked. “Humans got scared and tried to kill me...”

0o0o0o0o0

While Deuce endured having anxious prisoners preying shamelessly on his unstable conscience, Siphon endured guests of quite a different kind.

While Vallory remained outside, in their truck, Mitchell (who the tanker had been hoping never to have to see again) had gone into the disguised emplacement in the cliffside. Alone – because there was no way Vallory was going to follow him in there. Before he’d even got into their truck, he’d gone around kicking its tyres to ensure it was their truck, not a doppelganger-truck-robot-guy, before he’d been willing to get in. He hadn’t much liked the big aliens from the start, so when that dark blue one went from anxious and depressed to anxious and depressed and crazy, he’d put his foot down and said he wasn’t going near ’em again until they turned back into normal people. Whatever “normal people” was, for giant frickin’ alien death-bots…

Mitchell had come up from el-Hagg Qandil to try and barter for the additional compensation he believed he was due. He at first tried to claim his reason for coming back was to make sure Deuce had got back safely without getting waylaid, because the truck had stayed with them in the little Egyptian town for a day or two before his medications had worn off and he’d gone “a little off the rails”, but eventually, the human admitted he was actually here because he was on the scrounge. There was significant interest in the Seeker’s weapons, but no-one had yet approached them with a good price (seemed to think that because they were small-scale arms dealers, they’d be a pushover when it came to price), and he wanted to see if Siphon had smaller things he could flog more easily while he was waiting.

“You are wasting this opportunity!” Mitchell insisted, pursuing Siphon down the corridor, frustratedly. “You’re sitting on a fortune, because you’re obsessed with this… this stupid, petty scheme of revenge you’re indulging yourself in! You could sell the blue one for trillions, on the international arms market. There’s people who’d pay you a small fortune just for parts of him!”

“What need do I have for human monetary compensation?” Siphon hissed, scornfully, glaring down at the human, his thin staticky vocalisations echoing and amplifying itself through his pipes. “I don’t plan on being here any longer than I absolutely have to be.”

“And what if it takes longer than you anticipate, huh?” Mitchell was unfazed by the irascible alien. “Where are you gonna get supplies from? Fuel, power, sundries? You won’t be able to nick ‘em all because someone will catch you, eventually.”

“That’s what I have Deuce for.” Siphon leaned right down close to the human’s level, so closely that Mitchell could smell the high stink of low-grade fuel, vaporising off his faulty temperature gauge; judging by the way he leaned away and flapped a hand in front of his face, the human didn’t much care for it. “He’s expendable, in the grand scheme of things. If they catch him, so what?”

“Right, so what’ll you do once you’ve lost your runner, huh?”

Siphon narrowed his optics and turned away, silently; the human had made an excellent point, but he wasn’t about to qualify it.

“You’ll have to go out and do it yourself, won’t you?” Mitchell chased, allowing the tanker to extend the gap between them until he couldn’t smell him any more. “Orr, of course… you could employ a couple of your loyal human allies to go get things for you.”

Siphon glanced back, maintaining his glare but pursing his lips, very slightly, curious.

“Pay us well enough, and we’ll do almost anything you need us to do. You won’t even have to betray your presence here,” Mitchell added, persuasively. “All we ask is that we get a cut.”

Siphon grumbled, at last, and backed down. “All right, hyoo-mun. I’ll consider it. But don’t allow yourself to think that means an agreement, yet!”

Mitchell spread his hands, and couldn’t quite hold back his smirk. “I wouldn’t dream of it.”

0o0o0o0o0

With the instruction to “go amuse yourself for a cycle or two”, Footloose had been turfed out of the medical suite by Ratchet, whose amusement at her attempts to help had turned into irritation that she now wouldn’t leave his delicate analytical machines alone. He’d given her the boot before she could break anything. It didn’t bother her too badly – there hadn’t been a whole lot that had grabbed her attention in the infirmary, anyway, for a change. She was a preoccupied, wanting to find someone to grill for information about whether or not they’d found Day yet (or to be more correct, she wanted to find Jas and ask him), but no-one she found was really very safe to ask, just yet.

The Airlybots – or whatever their names were – had got back some time ago, and were still in high spirits. She heard Day’s name mentioned, and had sneaked close to try and overhear, but she didn’t understand a lot of what they were saying, and some of it seemed very impolite! She guessed she could probably ask them some sneaky questions without letting on why she wanted to know, but she didn’t really want to have to go and talk to them – these mechs were all big and loud and excitable and she felt rather leery of them. The biggest one, who was talking to Jas, had a patient, genial look about him, though, and she felt maybe he would be safe to talk to, especially if Jas was there with him.

That decided, she sneaked closer, and tugged on his dark fingers, attracting his attention.

“Well, hello there, little one,” Silverbolt greeted, correctly interpreting the outstretched arms to mean ‘up’ and scooping her up off the deck. “What can I do for you?”

“Silverbole find Skawar?” she questioned, earnestly.

“Indeed we did! Skulking around a human airbase, but we chased him off before he could hurt anyone.”

She hrm-ed, and fidgeted. “Silverbole not hurt?” she wondered, softly, giving him a concerned little head-cocked look.

“No, not hurt,” he confirmed, with a smile. “Not even got a scratch on me!”

She shook her head; that hadn’t been what she meant. “Not hurt Skawar?” she chased.

The Aerialbot commander’s smile faltered. “…I… beg your pardon?”

She frowned in effort. “Silverbole not make shot at Skawar?”

“I’m not sure I-… Jazz?” Silverbolt cast a pleading glance at Jazz, who was lurking nearby. “Do you understand what she means?”

“What do you think she means?” Jazz wondered, quietly.

Silverbolt gave the little femme in his arms a much closer, more serious look. She looked back, fingers in her mouth. “Why would you be worried,” he wondered, carefully, “if we had hurt Skywarp or not?”

Footloose didn’t answer vocally, but her little wing-buds had already sagged a fraction lower on her shoulders.

“Jazz? Are you telling me,” Silverbolt wondered, at last – carefully, anxiously, “that this… is… his sparkling?” He didn’t seem to be able to actually get their long-time enemy’s name through his vocaliser, for once.

“You don’t see the family resemblance?”

Silverbolt laughed, uneasily. “Come on, Jazz. Jokes like that aren’t very funny!”

“Warning! Warning!” Teletraan-1 interrupted their awkward conversation with a blare of uncomfortable noise. “Decepticons approaching. Decepticons approaching.”

“All right.” Jazz gave the Aerialbot a serious look. “Silverbolt, you best get the little one back down to the medical suite. This could be anything about to drop on our doorstep…”

“Of course, Jazz,” Silverbolt inclined his head in agreement. “Shall we go and see Ratchet, little one?”

“Be safe from Meg’tron in firmary?” Jazz heard Footloose asking, as the big jet moved away down the corridor. “But Atchet say am in way, to go amooz self?”

“I think he’ll forgive us for hiding from Decepticons…”

Prowl and Optimus had already converged on the video surveillance when Jazz turned back. Judging by their expressions, they were expecting to see the entire phalanx of Megatron’s inner circle descending like glowing doom (maybe to finally demand they hand over little Footloose)… but there was just one unsteady pip on the radar.

When they (and half the base) went out to check what was going on, they found a filthy, scorched-looking Skywarp sitting in the dirt outside, his hands in his lap, legs crossed, looking the most forlorn and pathetic they’d ever seen him look. In spite of that – or perhaps because of it – he didn’t flinch in the face of all the heavy weapons pointing his way. “I’m unarmed,” he rasped, lifting his hands to show his arms were bare. “And I wouldn’t have the energy to shoot at you even if I wasn’t.”

The guns in his direction wavered, but didn’t go down just yet.

“So you’re fed up of stealing fuel, then?” a voice from the back of the crowd challenged.

“Honestly?” Skywarp wanted to snipe back, but couldn’t find the energy for it. “Yeah. Their energon is making me sick.”

“Ah, suddenly it all makes sense,” a different voice – sounded like one of the twins? – added “You’re done stealing off humans, because they learned how to kick your aft, and now you’re going to try steal off us, right? Well, you won’t find us such easy pickings, either, Decepticon!”

There was a ripple of quiet, jeering outrage in agreement.

Skywarp pursed his lips, irritably. “Actually I wanted to ask for-…” What was that term Screamer used? Oh, yeah. The words were difficult to force out of his vocaliser, and he actually winced before he got them out. “…political asylum.”

There was a murmur of confused sound that spread through the assembled Autobots, and one or two of the heavy weapons actually went down. They seemed to be arguing over whether or not it was just another filthy Decepticon trick. Well, so long as it meant they weren’t shooting at him, Skywarp didn’t care what it meant.

Ironhide was not one for the suffering of fools lightly. Optimus might have the final say in whether they seriously considered the Decepticon’s request or just sent him packing with a firm kick up the afterburners, but he wasn’t about to let the vulture just sit unchallenged on their doorstep until such a time as the boss made his mind up. “Unarmed, you say?” he challenged, pushing between the bristling front of Autobot weaponry.

Skywarp stood, unsteadily, and backed off a step or two, in a half-crouch, fists up. “Might not have any guns but I’ll still kick your aft if you come any nearer, Auto-dork,” he threatened.

The weapons specialist was familiar enough with bluster when he saw it. “Yeah? Then get on with it, Decepticreep, I don’t have all day,” he said, still advancing, calling the teleport’s bluff.

Skywarp backed off another step. “I’ll do it! I swear! Don’t you come any closer, you rusty old bag of spare parts, you’ll regret it!”

“That’s a risk I’m willing to take.” Ironhide spread his hands. “Look. I’m unarmed, too. We got ourselves an even playing field! So where’s the hold up, oh fearless enemy?”

“I’m not gonna hurt my chances by killing an old guy like you,” Skywarp defended his position, but had got his legs up against an outcrop and couldn’t go any further backwards, was having to work his way sideways instead.

“Well, either you throw the first punch, or I do,” Ironhide threatened. “Because I tell you, you ain’t getting past me without paint from my knuckles on yer faceplates.”

Skywarp dithered for a fraction of a second too long, and next thing he saw was the back of a set of knuckles, coming very very quickly towards his face. “Oh shi-!”

“Tch. You turkeys are all noise an’ no substance,” Ironhide pointed out, dryly, standing over the groaning dark shape in the dirt by his feet. “All right, playtime’s over, I figure. Gonna walk, or do I have to carry you?”

“…my nose is never gonna be the same again…”

“Fine. I figure it’s going to have to be ‘carry’, then.”

Impolite snickers and an array of pointing fingers followed them all the way down the Ark’s main corridor. It was hugely undignified and Skywarp’s optics blazed a furious crimson at the humiliation of being slung like a naughty sparkling over the big Autobot’s shoulder, but he knew he wouldn’t be able to get himself free and was forced to resort to ineffectual fist-swinging and name calling.

“Put me down! You hear me, you outmoded old mobile scrapheap?! Put me down!” Skywarp battered his fists against Ironhide’s back, flailing his thrusters, but the old Autobot ignored his violence.

“Aw, hush your yap, Decepticon,” Ironhide drawled, unimpressed, passing the threshold into their sullenly orange-coloured brig. “You wanted asylum, you’re gonna get it – under our terms.”

“That’s not how it’s supposed to work…! Lemme down, now!”

“Suits me.” Ironhide simply dropped his shoulder, and Skywarp tumbled off into the cell, landing on his aft in an ungainly heap. “You can cool your afterburners there for a while,” the big Autobot instructed, coldly, palming the control panel and activating the bars; they fizzed briefly violet as the field came up. “We’ll decide what to do with your worthless carcass later, when we find a spare breem or two.”

“Wait, wait! You can’t leave me in here…” Skywarp staggered to the bars, but Ironhide had already turned away. “You can’t leave me in here! I asked for asylum, you can’t just leave me in here!!” He leaned just a fraction too closely up to the bars in his effort to see where Ironhide was going, and the field that enveloped them sizzled painfully against his derma, shoved him backwards like a physical blow to the spark-casing.

“The fact you asked doesn’t mean we’re gonna give it, creep,” Ironhide’s voice filtered back over his shoulder, dismissively. “So you can either shush or be shushed. Got it?”

“Yeah, I got it,” Skywarp husked to himself, plopping his weight hard down onto his berth. Smooth move, Warp. You’ve just gone from one cell to another, and this one’s even smaller.

Once their medic had satisfied himself their unexpected ‘guest’ wasn’t significantly the worse for Ironhide’s violence, they left him mostly to his own devices. There was a steady trickle of curious Autobots for the first cycle or so, including the twin terrors on several occasions (it seemed they just wanted to remind him they were there), but even that soon stopped when they worked out he was too tired to manage a suitably spirited response to their baiting.

They still hadn’t given him any energon – their medic said he’d need his fuel-handling system thoroughly cleaned out, first, or the purified fuel would probably crystallise in his pumps and jam them up completely – but then Skywarp wasn’t bothered. The luxury of a well-built hookup into their electrical grid was all he wanted. It was dry, in here, the temperature was good and stable, there was a ready supply of good clean power, and he actually – Primus above – in spite of the cell, he felt kinda safe.

After destroying part of his wall, to get just enough extra cable on the charging hookups to allow him to move freely around his cell, he settled down. He parked himself as close to the bars as he could get, slotting his wing out between them and into the main area, having already satisfied himself the security field was fairly localised around the bars themselves, and made himself comfortable. Optimus could take all the time he liked making his decision, so long as they left him in peace. He engaged his recharge protocols, and felt systems slowly tick over and offline.

Voices drifted to him from a distance, as consciousness dwindled down and faded out, and he smiled bitterly at the way his cortex was spitting sensor ghosts at him.

“…Day! Day, Ausep!”

“Now, didn’t I tell you he was here, Button?

“We go see? Say hellos?”

“He’s very tired right now, Lucy. We’ll come back and see him once he’s had time to get a bit of power back into his relays.”

“But-… want to see him now.”

“And I told you, no. Do you like it when people climb on you when you’re tired? No?... then let’s give him some peace for now…”

The voices dwindled away into metallic echoes, distorted beyond the point of understanding. Pay ‘em all back, if it’s the last thing I do, Skywarp resolved, distractedly, before the tether linking his conscious mind with his body was finally snipped, and he sank into a dreamless silence.

0o0o0o0o0

Still traipsing his slow way through the woods, Starscream had found a variety of roads, on his travels, but none until now had provided him with the sort of traffic he wanted. The thoroughfare he now lurked alongside looked to be some sort of logging road – not busy, but well-kept and served by a steady stream of noisy lorries, loaded down with trailers full of treetrunks. Three had passed him in the space of five breems, all bearing the same scuffed company livery, and he could see the approaching headlights of a fourth already twinkling in the distance.

He stepped out into the middle of the road, and held up his hand, boldly. “Halt!”

The unfortunate driver looked torn between attempting to run him off the road and veering out of the way, and finally made his decision to try and get out of the way when it was far too late to safely navigate around the Seeker blocking the road. He swerved sideways and straight into a ditch, coming to rest against a cluster of stout trees.

“Please don’t hurt me, oh please don’t hurt me, I ain’t never done anything to any of yers, please don’t hurt me-!” the driver pleaded, frantically, watching as the pale legs limped into his field of view.

“Silence, human!” Starscream bent down in front of the vehicle’s cab, ensuring his elbows remained bent and his weaponry pointing away, and stared in at the driver. “I will not harm you,” he explained, using his best no-nonsense tone of voice, “provided you assist me.”

“Wh-… wh-… what-…” Although the human’s vocal processor seemed to have got stuck, his cigarette was still neatly trapped between his lips. Strange priorities, these biologicals had.

“Is that understood?” the damaged Seeker coaxed.

“Yuh-you want me to huh-help you?” the driver stammered.

“That is correct. I require transport.”

“Buh-but I don’t have-… I can’t, I don’t have-”

“The trailer for your vehicle is an adequate size for my use. I simply need a driver.”

“But I’ve got to get these logs to-”

Starscream was losing patience. How the Autobots could interact normally with these snivelling little wet pink bits of squish was becoming increasingly incomprehensible. “If you value your continued functioning, human, you will assist me,” he ground out, narrowing his optics; the human cowered under the crimson glow. “Is this also understood?”

The human gave one single convulsive nod, and finally dropped the cigarette into his lap. “Yessir, yessir-!” he yelped, scrabbling for the hot ember that was making a valiant effort at burning his thigh. “Just please don’t hurt me-!”

“Provided you don't attempt to play me false, human, you have nothing to fear from me right now.” Starscream backed away, ensuring the truck remained in the ditch and the door closed so the shaken human couldn’t think of making a dash for freedom while his back was turned.

The lorry’s trailer was full of logs, but they were all precariously held in place by a couple of lengths of chain. A quick dab of heat from his cannons melted out a link, and the logs all subsided with a groaning rumble into the ditch. Getting the truck out of the ditch took more work – it left him groaning with effort, applying the front of his shoulder to the cab and heaving hard enough that his own structure creaked in sympathy, but eventually they were all back on the smooth asphalt of the forest road.

“So, uh… where d’you wuh-wanna go?” the driver asked, shakily, leaning out of the window to peer back at his unwanted passenger. The engine was miraculously undamaged after the cab’s rough meeting with the tree, and the lorry purred sweetly when he gently revved it.

“Anywhere with a radio transmitter,” Starscream instructed, settling himself awkwardly on the flat trailer, linking one of the least damaged bits of chain carefully across his waist to form a loose but effective ‘seatbelt’. “Where exactly that is I will leave up to you, human, but the closer it is to here, the sooner we will be out of each other’s lives.”

0o0o0o0o0

It was purely a felicitous coincidence, but Skywarp was disturbed out of recharge by a spike in the electrical system just in time to hear something that dramatically lifted his mood. He first grumbled at the discomfort the excess charge had caused to his systems, folding his arms and hunching his shoulders and trying to slouch into a more comfortable position against his wall, but before he could key his dormancy protocols back in, he heard something that made him jerk his head back up.

Somewhere in the distance, he could hear voices. They were too far away to discern any of the words without upping the sensitivity on his hearing, but that wasn’t what attracted his attention – it hadn’t taken him very long at all to notice there were aaalways Autobots muttering and whining in the background. No, what snagged his attention was the tone of voice.

…One had a sort of gruff femininity about it, thunderous and sort of scolding, at the moment. The other was higher, thinner, squeakily irritable, and there was the warning pip of a siren – a sort of let-me-have-my-way-or-I’ll-shout-my-sirens-properly pip.

…Lucy.

Recharging forgotten, charging cables discarded without a second thought, Skywarp hurled himself at the bars. Apparently, Autobot prisons were even less well-built than Decepticon ones, because they didn’t seem to enjoy having several tons of frantic Seeker repeatedly crashing into them. The first impact and return kick from the security field hurled Skywarp clean across his cell, but he was not one for simply giving up (or perhaps just too fraught to consider it). On the second impact, a bar fractured, and the power went out; whooping alarms took its place instead. On the fourth assault, the bars gave up altogether, spilling the teleport out onto the floor. He was already running for the doors before he was even all the way back onto his feet, leaving a trail of sparks as his thrusters skidded against the floor underneath him.

His escape hadn’t gone unnoticed, especially with the raucous drilling of the alarm, but the Autobots looked to be having difficulty coming to an appropriate response. He bolted past the gormless cluster heading in his direction down the corridor like a streak of black lightning.

“Hey!”

“How did he get out?!”

“Stop him!”

Skywarp ignored the voices and fled down the corridor, homing in on the sounds. If he was right, if this wasn’t just more sensor ghosts-… if he was right, this could mean Screamer and TC were still alive too! Frag, they could all be alive! Everyone!

“Day?” a tiny, distant voice wondered.

Skywarp skidded around a corner and smack into Ironhide.

“Hey, hey, who let you out?” the old Autobot wondered, sufficiently startled to be momentarily incapable of a reaction as Skywarp literally climbed over him in his urgency.

“Just grabhim, ’Hide…!”

At last, enough of them had recovered their wits to actually do something about the rampaging Seeker. As Ironhide made a convulsive snatch for a trailing thruster, another three of Skywarp’s pursuers caught up with him and piled on.

“Keep hold of him-!”

“Don’t let him near them-”

“Surgeon, what are you doing? Get back!”

“Primus, if he gets hold of the little one-”

“Can’t let him, he’ll take her straight to Megatron!”

“Jazz, keep them back!”

Words swirled together into a maelstrom of unfriendly noise – keep him down, keep him back, keep him restrained and useless, hard words flavoured with incomprehensible Autobot slang, which only served to heighten the Decepticon’s struggling.

It was like trying to keep hold of an eel. Skywarp kept up his energetic struggle until he had almost three times his own weight in Autobots pinning him down, crushing him down against the Ark’s painfully-solid floor.

“Ow ow ow,” he yelped, trying to get his arm out of where it had got jammed in a painful fold under his wing, but no luck. He clawed his free hand over the deck, succeeding only in drawing a set of vibrant purple finger-gouges through the sullen orange alloy. “Get off, that hurt-… ow!

“Quick, get that on him-”

“Why, what’ll it-”

“Just do it! Before he manages to teleport out from under here-!”

He felt a sharp pain in the back of his neck, like clawed fingers digging into his main transmission column, but it rapidly faded… and along with it went all the power in his body. He was just about aware of his knees bowing inwards, and his fingers sagging flat against the deck…

His last sight before his vision greyed into static and then went out altogether was of a small figure approaching at a trot, completely unafraid, arms outstretched.

“…Day!” a tiny voice chirped, excitedly.

Skywarp managed the faintest of smiles and felt her tiny fingers close on his hand, before the very last erg of power left his system and his head connected with the floor.

--------

NB: Last call for cards! They should arrive on Monday, and I want to get them back out ASAP so I don't miss the last posting date for Christmas. :)

Comments

( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
jill_dragon
Dec. 8th, 2008 02:58 am (UTC)
Awwww, poor 'Warp. *pets*
caravanka
Dec. 8th, 2008 03:23 pm (UTC)
Oh... things are going to get better, right?? (Yay for hitchhiker!Starscream, by the way ))) I just hear this motto "Don't panic!" said in his voice :D)
It is a bit awkward thing for me to say, but I am kinda glad that you don't make it too easy for anyone XD (Though you keep scaring me with these talks on parts and profits... And I wonder if Megatron hears about Skywarp detected way too far away from his latest known location(if Autobots remove that tracking device and Thunder gets spotted in his new paintjob...))
Nice touch that your Autobots didn't (at least at once?) go all nice and accomodating and fixing and feeding a pwoor stray 'Con who dropped at their doorstep ^^

The last scene in this chapter is just... oooh!! I wonder it would be a totally hilarious riot if Lucy 'ported and then trotted up to her "Day" :)
_silverfox
Dec. 8th, 2008 09:44 pm (UTC)
*cuddles Skywarp and glares at Ironhide* ;)
caravanka
Dec. 9th, 2008 11:02 pm (UTC)
Can't (am too lazy) mention all the moments and images I liked, but I've the urge to say this "vibrant purple" vs. "sullen orange" is a such a neat flip-over ))
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )

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