Title: Nurture vs. Nature

Author: Tirya King

Category: General/Drama

Timeframe: When the twins are wee pups.

Summary: G1. Are 'junkyard dogs' born or made? A glimpse at the beginnings of two of the most dangerous and misunderstood mechs ever created.

Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers. Triggerpinch, Circuitweaver, Triage, Flattop, and any other OC's however are mine.

A/N: Ok, a couple words before we start this fun romp. I know not many are fond of OC's so I'm going to keep their involvement on a necessity basis. The first chapter must unfortunately be choc full of them as our boys are not 'born' yet. This is a Mary Sue free zone so you can take off your hard hats and relax. It focuses on the beginnings of Sideswipe and Sunstreaker, so any insight or ideas you may have are more than welcome. I have a vague idea of where this will go, but much of it will be touch and go. Enjoy!

Nurture vs. Nature

Part One: Hard Day's Night

A single light flickered as the stout mech worked on. He paid the sputtering bulb no heed, for his skilled, well-practiced hands could continue working with or without visual aid. And as he continued making adjustments on his newest creation, his young assistant worked silently on the other.

They were nearly finished. It wouldn't be another day before his children would be ready to be given life.

"Circuitweaver," he addressed the pale blue femme working behind him. Her head snapped up in surprise. The engineer rarely ever spoke when he worked. He was so absorbed in what he was doing, it was like she didn't even exist.

"Yes, sir?" she asked, closing a yellow panel and moving on to the next. She knew better than to stop. Her black and navy blue employer had made it clear that in their final hours of work, nothing could allow them to delay or distract.

"Go on home, I'll finish up here."

"Sir?" Now she did stop, laying down her small fuser. "I thought you said we…"

"You've fumbled twice already," he answered, highly displeased with her work. "I need you fully recharged for tomorrow afternoon when I put in their sparks. Grab me a cube of energon and go home."

His dark blue optics stared hard into her light ones. Weaver knew better than to argue with him or try to convince him to recharge as well. When it came to the creation of his children, Triggerpinch seemed to have eternal stores of energy. He wouldn't have fumbled, no matter how exhausted.

Closing the open panels and fusing one last unfinished wire, Circuitweaver did as she was told. The young femme lay his cube on his workbench next to the red fledgling and quietly took her leave.

She doubted he noticed at all, for as she gazed back into the dim workroom, Triggerpinch was hunched back over his child's chestplate, the cube untouched. Transforming into her motorbike form, the blue and white femme sped away, looking forward to a hard-earned recharge and a few cubes of energon.

Contrary to the assistant engineer's belief, Triggerpinch was very much aware of her exit. And he sighed in relief as he heard her squeal away into the night. The young femme tried, he gave her that. She tried hard. But in his line of work, there was no trying. One succeeded or failed. That was all. And at the moment, he couldn't risk his fledglings' birth to a mere girl who couldn't stay awake.

Pinch stepped back for a moment, closing his child's red chestplate. He picked up the cube of energon and sipped it as he walked around the pair laying dormant in their berths. So close. He was so close. A few more megacycles to go and months of work would finally pay off as two pairs of optics shined to life for the first time.

His critical, sharp optics scrutinized every detail of his twin children. The slightest miscalculation could spell ruin for them all. There would be some hiccups for the first week or so, that was to be expected, and he would deal with them as they came. But his initial design must be as flawless as possible to produce maximum results.

After all, it wasn't for the sake of having children that he put forth so much effort after all.

The Primes up at the top would be pleased with his children, Pinch decided with pride. They had commissioned a team of brothers, fierce and powerful, for their warrior division. Recruited civilians and assembly line bots just weren't getting the job done.

An old friend of his from the Engineering Academy, Grapple, had been more than happy to offer his suggestions on the designing process. And he had to admit to his friend's designing instinct as he gazed from one primary colored brother to the other. You wouldn't be able to find a more beautiful pair of brothers. Or a more deadly pair, once their training was complete.

He chuckled to himself, taking another sip. His optics traced the lines of his children's faces. Their enemies would be slain by angels, it seemed. They wouldn't even see it coming.

Triggerpinch walked between them, continuing his mental inventory of what else needed to be done. Occasionally he adjusted something obvious that couldn't wait. A screw here. A joint clip there. They would stand at least two or three heads taller than he, and with enough power to take out someone twice their size. Weapons he would install later after preliminary rearing and training was complete. It was not wise to give firearms to an infant too inexperienced to know better.

Traces of their Creator could be found here and there on the twins. As artists put themselves in their work and organic beings passed genes to their progeny, so did Transformers often pass down traits of themselves to their creations. The yellow child had Pinch's chestplate likeness, as well as shin design and audio panels. The red one's basic head design took after his Creator too as did most of his basic structure.

In gratitude for her help in getting the commission, Pinch had allowed Circuitweaver, the progeny of one of the higher Primes, to add a bit of herself to the twins as well. A high honor to one who wasn't the registered Creator. The yellow one's face had a distant resemblance to the pretty femme's. And when the scarlet brother smiled, Pinch had no doubt it would be with her mischievous tilt. The shade of their optics, instead of a deep blue like their Creator's would instead reflect the pale glacier ice of her own plating.

He finished off the cube of energon, tossing it aside carelessly. "Now then, little ones," he addressed the prone twins. "Let's see what else you need." Grabbing a few more tools, he moved on to the red child.

"That girl," he cursed quietly as he inspected inside his chest. "Had I activated you as she left you, you'd have self-destructed on the spot. And your brother… just this morning I stopped her from connecting his circuitry wrong. You wouldn't even have a brother if I hadn't been there."

Reconnecting the wires correctly, he quickly fell back into the rhythm he had before. The megacycles swiftly flew by as each connection or adjustment brought him that much closer to completion.

The first of Cybertron's dual suns had just peeked over the horizon when Triggerpinch finally put away his tools. Exhausted, but thoroughly delighted with himself, the engineer collapsed into a chair near the feet of his red child.

"Well, my little ones," Pinch sighed. "That's it. Today is the moment of truth. Where we make or break all."

Until then, however, he could not afford to waste time recharging. Not just yet.

"Flattop," he called, pressing his communiqué button at his computer. "Flattop, respond."

There was no answer right away, dispelling the good mood he was in. Where was the boy? Before he could grow more irritated, a sleepy voice finally chimed in. "Flattop here. Who is it?" Then a muffled yawn.

"It's Triggerpinch, you scrap pile. Why aren't you here?"

"Nice to hear from you too, Pinch," his eldest progeny returned, the harsh words not even phasing him. He had been online long enough to blow them aside as the billows of hot steam they were.

"Don't give me that. Where is my print out you were supposed to pick up for me?" He barked out. He knew the young Intelligence officer was better than this. He did build him after all.

"Don't you know what fragging time it is?" Flattop asked incredulously. When his Creator didn't answer, having truly not realized that not everyone commonly pulled all-nighters, the navy blue and red fledgling sighed. "No, of course you don't. So how are my baby brothers coming along?"

Pinch fought the urge to yell at his eldest who was apparently awake enough to show cheek. "The new commissions are completely built. But I can't insert their sparks until I receive the print out of the government permit. The permit you were supposed to bring me!"

"Look, Pinch, I'll have your permit; don't get your servos in a twist. For now, though, this pup needs his sleep."

"Flattop, don't you dare hang up on…"

"Wake me when the second sun is all the way up, not a nanoclick before. Flattop out."

"That insolent little…" he shut off the comm. angrily and stood up. Well, there was nothing to be done now that construction was complete and his eldest decided to be his usual lazy self. He may as well head off to recharge for a few megacycles before Circuitweaver arrived to help prep the two sparks held in their electromagnetic field containers.

OoOoOo

Flattop rapped on the door again in annoyance. The dual suns were directly overhead and for some reason his Creator had not only not woken him up, but now he wasn't answering his door.

"Maybe he's recharging?" suggested the short femme next to him, shrugging.

"That mech? Please," the Intell. officer snorted. "I'd be surprised if he even had a recharge berth at all."

She smiled indulgently. "He has to sometime, you know. And he's been overworking himself for weeks now. You know how he gets when he's into a new project."

The screech of tires cut their conversation off. Circuitweaver transformed, looking cautiously from one newcomer to the other. Both progenies of her employer and neither expected.

"Circuitweaver," Flattop greeted evenly, nodding his head in acknowledgement. He had briefly met his Creator's newest assistant once, and he'd heard enough about her. She was flighty and still too raw from the Engineering Academy, Pinch had told him, and tolerated only for the high connections she brought him.

"Flattop," she nodded. "Triage. Is Triggerpinch not in?"

"He's not answering," said the small white and yellow femme at Flattop's side. "Today is the day, isn't it?"

"Yeah," Circuitweaver answered coming closer. "I wonder where he could be."

"Well, let's find out," the blue and red mech decided. Overriding his Creator's door lock, he forced his way into the small apartment that doubled as Pinch's work place.

Triage looked at the elder mech with amusement. "He said he'd deactivate you if you did that again," she pointed out.

The young Intelligence officer waved it off uncaring. "He says a lot of things. So, where are our baby brothers?" he asked of the engineer assistant.

Weaver wondered at his odd terminology before remembering her employer mentioning that his eldest spent a lot of time working with organics. No doubt he had picked up some phrases here and there.

"In the back work bay," she answered leading the way. There was still no sign of Triggerpinch and it had her slightly worried. There were many who would like to get a hold of the two commissioned bots and Pinch wasn't known for his alertness nor his combat skills. He'd stand little chance against an aggressor.

Everything in the work area seemed normal enough, even the two new mechs were untouched. Both lay in completion with their sparks waiting in electromagnetic fields for Triggerpinch to place them into their bodies for the first time. Yet something was wrong with one, it kept flickering unhealthily and darkening to dark blues and browns. Triage moved forward to inspect the sickly spark in alarm. "Flattop…" she called over to her elder.

"What is it, Tri?" he asked, coming up to stand next to the apprentice medic.

"This one isn't functioning properly. Look."

"Oh, Primus," he breathed. "Pinch isn't gonna be happy 'bout this."

"I'm not going to be happy about what?" the engineer himself walked in at the sound of his name.

"Sir," Circuitweaver greeted jumping slightly, startled. She had been appraising the completed fledglings, unwilling to touch anything lest she do something by accident. "Where were you? We were calling for you…"

"Can't a mech recharge for a megacycle without being interrogated for it?" he growled crankily. The extra sleep seemed to have done nothing for his mood. "What aren't I going to be happy about, Flattop?"

"This spark," his eldest motioned. "Looks like Vector Sigma spat out a bad one."

"What?" Triggerpinch demanded, rushing over to see the sickly spark sputter. "Well don't just stand there, you two! Help me!" He dislodged the spark to put in its own field so it wouldn't affect the healthy one.

"But what can we do?" Triage asked her Creator.

"You're a medic, aren't you?" he demanded.

"We haven't learned anything about sparks yet," she shook her pale golden head in distress. "Only superficial things."

"Well you can damn well do better than Flattop here. Now get over here and help. You, make room."

Bristling in indignation, the young Intell officer stepped back and allowed his younger sister to take his place next to Pinch. She did as she was told, but looked completely lost. As this all was happening, the wounded spark flickered more and more helplessly, threatening to give out any nanoclick. Together, the veteran engineer and medical student worked to bring it back from death.

Boosting it with another electrical jolt, Pinch quickly talked things through with his youngest, explaining all he knew about sparks. It wasn't much, but it was enough for her to gain confidence which was what he hoped for. For all his harshness toward his creations, Triggerpinch was most patient with Triage. She was the only one he created purely for himself. Flattop was created as a favor to a friend in the military. There had been a shortage in Intelligence officers and he had asked if Triggerpinch wouldn't mind making one for him. Custom-made bots rather than assembly line were always preferable and usually in short supply.

Triage, however, he made simply to have another intelligent mind to talk with. During her time as an infant, the young femme was taught nearly everything her Creator knew. She was eager to learn all he had to offer, causing her to get into one of the finest medical schools on the planet at an age younger than most. Eventually she too left him to pursue her own life, but of Triggerpinch's two children, she was the undisputed favorite.

Nothing the pair tried seemed to work as the cycles wore on. Even when Circuitweaver and Flattop edged in to offer their assistance, the sickly spark continued to flicker with greater intensity. They were losing it and there was nothing they could do.

"Sir," the blue femme ventured. "I don't think we can…"

"Quiet!" he snapped, reaching over to jolt it again. "It'll be fine."

"Pinch," Triage shook her head gently. She let go of the influx controls at last and put an ivory hand on her Creator's arm. He would listen to her. "She's right, it's gone. There's nothing we can do."

Flattop said nothing, waiting for the engineer to give further orders. His dark blue optics were fixed on the spark as it sputtered its last and finally died.

End Part One

A/N: Well, I've talked about ol' Pinch a few times before, now we get to see him in action. The next chapter will have the twins in it. Once again, if you have any thoughts on how newborn TF's (especially those two) should be, I would appreciate hearing them. I basically know where it's going, but I'm open to new ideas to work on when I leave. Oh btw, in case anyone was wondering, I have a teaching position at a summer camp starting the 26th that will last about 9 weeks. There aren't any computers there so I have to write by hand and update when I get back.