Child

By: Sinead

Part One

The Transmetal 2 Dinobot was furious. The computer, when he had asked for a search upon the technique that had been used to bring him to life, was not responding. He tapped his talons on the desk, waiting, waiting . . .

Then, suddenly, a familiar . . . no . . . not that familiar . . . but . . . a face . . .

Dinobot squinted, looking at the hologram, trying to place the crimson optics, the black scowl . . . and he could. But . . . he just didn't want to.

The royal blue skin of the other's face was tense with hatred, as his mouth was slightly open with a sneer. His optics were narrowed and dangerous with the lust for battle.

The Transmetal 2 Predacon flipped through more of the pictures, seeing more of this past warrior. Who was he? Why did this face look so much like . . . like his own? There . . . There! Finally! A history!

Dinobot read the first line, and nearly fell off of his seat, growling his anger and disbelief. "What?!"

Megatron watched the monitors, and sighed. "Of all the . . ." With flick of his finger, he turned the comm-link on, and bellowed, "Rampage! See me NOW!"

The crab jumped, and looked up from where he had been cornering Waspinator in . . . a corner. Inventive, isn't it? "Was I doing anything?"

NOW!

Rampage looked back at the corner, to the cringing Waspinator, and growled. "Fine."

As soon as Megatron was sure that the allegedly immortal Predacon was coming, he disconnected the link, and then called another one of his minions. "Megatron to Dinobot."

There was no immediate answer. Then, in a tired, distrusting voice, What.

Megatron wasn't prepared for that tone. He frowned. "Ahm, if you would attend to me, yes, I'd be quite grateful."

Dinobot glared at the hologram, then turned it off, after another pause. "Very well."

Good! Megatron out.

Dinobot strove to control his temper, which had flared out of nowhere towards his leader. What was this? Why was it only showing now?

He walked out of his quarters, and stormed down the hall, passing Waspinator, who cowered against the wall as he walked by. He paid the action no attention, as he was still trying to figure out his emotions, which were not letting him gain any control over them. Finally, he reached the throne room, and stood before his commander, who was glaring at Rampage. The tyrant turned to look at the clone. "Good. If you would . . .?"

Dinobot glared. "If I would what."

"The Spark, you fetid pile of refuse!"

An inner voice said quietly, almost in a voice he recognized, Why do you listen to him?

I don't know, he replied silently, wishing he could give a reason.

Then disobey. Rampage will be a useful and powerful ally, if you gain his trust.

Who are you?

Ask that later, when I have time to explain.

Dinobot snorted. "Why should I do that to him?"

Megatron watched the clone. "Are you having a malfunction, Dinobot?"

Dinobot didn't answer.

Megatron sighed. Why was this happening? The other clone, although denied the luxury of transforming, was loyal to the end, it appeared. Why was this one behaving differently? He rubbed his optics wearily with the fingertips of one hand, clearly irritated. "I'll overlook this for now, both of you. Dismissed."

As the door was closed, and they took a few steps down the hall, Rampage turned to look at the warrior beside him. "Why did you do that?"

Dinobot looked up at him in an almost-irate way. "Do what?"

"Refuse Megs like that."

Dinobot looked away. "Do I suddenly have to have a reason for every action I make?"

"You usually torture me without question. I should kill you for that fact alone. Not that I haven't already considered that, to regain the half of the Spark that you currently use for powering that weakling form of yours."

Dinobot leered upward. "Weak to you, perhaps. But you won't kill me, since you know that I do not fear you. Nor do I believe that Megatron is right in ordering me to use my life-force against you to make you obey."

"You're starting to sound like . . ."

"Like what?" Dinobot snarled upwards. "Or perhaps, who?"

Rampage sighed, showing an unusual feeling for him, which Dinobot had never seen him portray before: Regret. "You found out, didn't you. About . . . him."

"Yes."

"What are you going to do about it?"

Dinobot didn't reply for a moment. He hadn't usually talked with his "half-brother," as Megatron had put it, but he seemed to need someone to talk to, and he knew that Rampage hated the tyrant as much as the small voice did. And that small voice didn't seem willing to speak at the moment.

"He joined the Maximals, then died while in their service."

"I helped kill him."

"Hn."

"Had I let him, though, he could have ripped me into enough pieces that I wouldn't have been able to repair myself."

Dinobot looked straight down the corridor, then over to the side, as if weary or ashamed. "I have to regenerate my energy."

Rampage caught his drift, and grinned. "I think I'll torment Inferno now. Then I'll go after Waspinator again. So much fear from that one . . . it's intoxicating. Try it sometime."

Dinobot chuckled evilly, and the two separated, each off to do what they had in mind.

Rattrap yawned, and started another game of cards against the computer. Silverbolt looked over his shoulder, then walked to the edge of the platform, looking at the ancient relic whose golden hulk rested in the caverns of the dormant volcano. He sighed, and returned to the communications board, and sat, listening to Rattrap's grumbling. The computer was winning by a long streak.

Before he could comment on this, something beeped. He looked at the screen, and a text message was there.

"Rattrap . . ." he said, his voice wary.

The rodent hadn't heard that voice in a while, save for a few times when there was something going on that he didn't like and/or understand. "Eh? What's dat?"

He walked over. The message read: I am in need of assistance. Please reply.

Silverbolt and Rattrap exchanged glances. The younger bot called Optimus to the command center. Within a minute, they heard his monstrous footfalls, and they soon saw him. He walked over, read the message, then nodded. "Do it."

Blackarachnia jogged up behind the hulking leader, climbed up to the platform, and looked over her lover's shoulder, as he replied: We are here. Who are you?

There was a pause, then: If I tell you who I am, will you scorn me?

Apparently you're a Predacon? Silverbolt typed.

Yes.

Rattrap groaned. "We're all gonna die. Who's da Pred?"

Optimus considered this. "Calm down, Rattrap. We don't know who we're talking to. Yet, anyway. We're Maximals, as well. Tell him that we'll not consider his faction or identity as anything to judge by."

Rattrap groaned, as Silverbolt typed: We will not scorn you.

I am Dinobot.

"Da CLONE?! Jeesh, Ops! I ain't gonna help 'im!"

Optimus watched his old friend sadly, as he walked back to his game of cards. The other two didn't look, as they knew that he would shed tears over the loss of his friend, and the injustice that he had been cloned. The Maximal leader turned back to Silverbolt, his voice defeated. "Ask him what he needs."

The Fuzor did so, and the reply was there, but cryptic.

I am having trouble with myself.

Blackarachnia gently shoved her lover to one side, as she typed, showing a rare feminine quality of an almost-maternal instinct: We're listening. We're here.

Dinobot sighed, and looked at his hands, hideous and useful only in killing. He typed in return: If it does not anger you, I wish to visit one place on your territory.

He could almost hear the argument erupting in their base. He could sense Rattrap objecting, while others still wanting to know what was going on. How he knew, he did not understand fully. Only, he knew perfectly.

Then the reply.

Where do you wish to go?

The valley.

Rhinox came in, and read the conversation, up to his current reply. He moved Blackarachnia over easily, and typed: Why do you wish to go there?

I am struggling. I do not know where my path lies. I only wish to see the valley.

Optimus' shoulders slumped. "Suggest an escort."

Rhinox did so, and Dinobot replied. I do not wish to be hovered over every second.

Blackarachnia laughed. "How typical of a male! Move over, willya Rhinox?"

Rhinox did so, eyes laughing, and she replied: What if they only stood on the edge of the valley, watching? We're only protective of that place, you must try to understand.

Very well.

Dinobot sighed in relief. I thank you.

The reply was warming. Whatever path you decide, keep your head up.

When will I be able to look at the valley?

When you want to.

Will tonight bother you? Dinobot typed. He wanted to find out as much of this warrior he was cloned after as fast as he could. In many ways, he was still a child, searching for a past he never knew, and never heard of until now.

Optimus shook his head, smiling. "Tell him that's fine. So. Cheetor's asleep, but he'll have his watch soon. Rhinox is working on a device that will help with the aiming of the defense cannons. Blackarachnia, you and Silverbolt have watch over the door. And I have to see if we can limit our energy that we're taking from the Ark. That leaves Rattrap and Depth Charge."

"I'm not babysitting over some spawn, who shares a Spark with Rampage."

Optimus groaned inwardly. He didn't want to send Rattrap to the Valley. He turned to face Depth Charge. "Is that your only reason?"

"Send the mouse. He has nothing to do, since his watch was over ten cycles ago."

Optimus looked at the rodent, who had turned to look at him, his optics sad and pleading not to be sent. It would be pure torture. Optimus bowed his head. "Depth Charge, that's an order. Go to the Valley."

"Not happening, Primal. Do it yourself."

Rattrap turned off the game, and walked to the edge of the platform. "What? 'Ya scared?"

"You are," Depth Charge replied.

Rattrap didn't reply, as he looked down. Optimus turned away from the obstinate Manta Ray, and looked at Rattrap, asking quietly, "Will you?"

"I don't want ta see anyone else hurt," Rattrap muttered quietly. "Fine. I'll do it."

"You don't have to."

"I'm gonna."

Optimus looked at Silverbolt. "Is the link still there?"

"Yes," Silverbolt replied, turning around, ready to type out what his leader said.

An escort is leaving now.

Dinobot looked at the screen, then replied. I thank you.

Don't get used to this.

The small voice laughed. That's Rattrap for you.

What am I to do about the others? How will I deal with them?

Don't. Just leave things to fate.