It was raining, but Gears didn't care.
More to the point, right now at this time, he couldn't afford to care.
Just three days ago, if he had been laying on one of the grassy hills that
surrounded Autobot City while lying in the rain, he would have spilled out
a string of adjectives to describe just how miserable he was. Right now,
he simply couldn't. Right now, a part of an unusual trio of Autobots to be
simply lying in the rain, there were other things on his mind.
He sighed inwardly. To his left, staring into the bleak clouds over their
heads, were Bluestreak and Sunstreaker. Gears couldn't remember the last
time he was near the two warriors for any length of time. In fact, Gears
wasn't even sure that Bluestreak and Sunstreaker were often together
outside of missions for the last several years. And never once had he
heard them simply socialize. Of course, none of them were socializing now
either. All three of them simply stared straight into the grayness above
them, all but oblivious of the downpour that continued to erupt from the
Gears was finding it difficult to think. He was numb. The events of the
last couple of days, the trauma that they had endured, enveloped him like a
steel glove, not allowing any outside forces penetrate it. Where could he
possible start? Every time they found someone alive, someone else was
found torn to pieces. Grapple was dug out of the rubble of one of the
command towers, where he had been manning a laser turret. Despite
everything, the Autobots were elated that one of the architects of the City
was alive and in relatively good shape. Three minutes later, reports came
through on the outskirts of the city that Huffer, another of the city's
builders, was found eviscerated by laser fire. Twenty years on Earth, and
only one single serious casualty. Two days of fighting and there were at
least eight Autobots dead in their city alone. Casualties on Cybertron and
their moon bases were still unavailable, but considering the force of
nature that just occurred out there.
Gears turned towards Bluestreak, lying beside him, trying not think about
Cybertron's fate and those of his fellow Autobots. The gray warrior's face
was unreadable, almost stoic. But Gears knew better. He knew the dual
thoughts that were razing his consciousness. The first one, the one that
was not very well known, was the fact that this was the second city he was
a citizen of to fall into the hands of Megatron. Maybe he was thinking
about his first home, about being the sole survivor. Maybe, just maybe, he
was thinking about how this time the city was salvageable, that others had
survived as well. Bluestreak tended to sickeningly optimistic like that.
It was a front sometimes, especially when he was reminded of his former
home, but still very much a part of his personality.
The other thought was focused intently on the shuttle. It was the first
domino to fall, but one of the last to be discovered. Discovered by
Bluestreak. While Bluestreak was not close to Sunstreaker, he was close to
both Prowl and Ironhide. They were, of course, aboard the shuttle and this
fact was one of the reasons that Bluestreak went with Inferno to try to dig
them out. Gears went as well. It was simple enough to find where the
shuttle went down. Digging it out of rubble was difficult part. Four
Autobots worked for furiously for two days digging through the wreckage.
While Inferno, Snarl, and Gears rested, Bluestreak continued digging. He
simply would not stop until he had them out. He was sure that they had
survived. He was positive. Gears closed his optics for a moment as he
remembered Bluestreak's words after he finally broke through the wreckage:
"Inferno, over here. I think I found. oh Primus. no."
Gears opened his optics again and saw Bluestreak looking back at him. His
blue eyes, so dark and solemn moments before, were brighter. A hint of a
smile formed on the warrior's face for a moment before vanishing again.
Gears simply nodded, understanding. This form of nonverbal communication
was becoming prevalent all across Autobot City. They had all suffered
losses. While emotions varied upon the individual, they all knew, on some
level, how the others felt.
As Bluestreak turned again to study the sky above, Gears glimpsed
Sunstreaker. 'Well, almost everybody,' Gears amended. Sunstreaker was a
special case. While there were certainly Autobots that had died that
Sunstreaker mourned for, Ratchet being the foremost example, the one
individual that the warrior's life revolved around was already gravely
injured. Upon hearing of the attack on Autobot City, Sunstreaker jumped a
shuttle and prepared to lift off. No one ordered him to come, and no one
was going to deter him from coming. Sideswipe was, after all, still lying
unconscious in the medical wing of the city. Even if Optimus had not
wanted the warrior's expertise in the battle on Earth, none of them would
have swayed Sunstreaker's resolve.
Because the medical bay was buried deeply and safely in the heart of the
city, Sideswipe came away further unscathed. The data log resting
precariously on the table beside his recharging berth had not moved a
micron, despite the damage to most of the rest of the city. Another of the
marvels that Grapple and his crew had built into the city. In spite of
this, Gears could not gauge how Sunstreaker truly felt. He simply wasn't
intuitive like that, not with Sunstreaker. Perhaps Ratchet might have been
able to ferret out how the yellow warrior felt. Certainly Smokescreen
could have. But Ratchet was dead and Smokescreen was among the missing
somewhere on Cybertron. But Gears was certainly not alone in this regard.
The only words Sunstreaker seemed to acknowledge were orders. He worked
and worked, pulling more survivors from toppled towers and crushed roadways
then any other Autobot. He was a model of efficiency. In fact, the only
time Gears saw concentration like that from the warrior was on the
battlefield. For three days, he did not stop except to check on Sideswipe
as he brought injured Autobots to the infirmary. He did not stop until he
followed Bluestreak and Gears up the hill that overlooked the city. And
there he lay, the only other Autobot to grouse more about what Earth's
weather did to his armor more than Gears, motionless in the rain, not
speaking a word.
Gears turned again to look back into the sky and heard his neck joint creak
as if it were complaining about the rain. Gears opened his mouth to
verbalize his feelings and then stopped. He thought instead about the
lifetime of death that Bluestreak had experienced in his life. He thought
about Sunstreaker, who could do nothing as a being that meant more to him
than his own life lay in a living death. He looked at them again,
tormented minds hidden only by stern faces. Emotions so close to being
stripped bare for the universe to see.
'They are the strong ones,' he thought. 'Now it's my turn to be strong.
For them. For. my friends.'
Gears looked into the dark sky and said nothing. He simply tried to be a
stabilizing force, a familiar figure that stayed by their side. He stayed