Should be working on Jets-fic, but the Jets in question is refusing to sit still. ((zaps Jetfire)) Takes place after 'Power Cut', but can work as a stand alone. More chapters coming when I get my lazy butt in gear. Starscream studies the various anomalies in Autobot behavior. Naturally, whilst being as annoying as possible.

Disclaimer: Neither the most excellent Starscream or His Magnificence, Red Alert, belong to me. Sigh.

Tactical Analysis

"Get on the table."

Red Alert's voice was flat and contained not one iota of compassion. Starscream glared. The effect was spoiled by the shower of sparks that his mangled wings chose at that moment to throw off.


There was no one else in the med-bay at that moment. If there had been, they would have been fascinated to watch the effects of unstoppable force meeting Red Alert.

The seeker had slunk into the medic's domain in search of a welding tool or three. Self-repair in the Decepticon army was a talent learned quickly or not at all, but the fact remained that seekers were at a disadvantage when it came to the most precious part of their shells. Some of the larger shuttle-types were specially equipped with arms long and flexible enough to fix wounded wings, or otherwise were lucky enough to have theirs stuck on somewhere accessible. Basic seeker-types, however, were at the mercy of CR chambers or whatever willing wingmates they could find.

Vain and adverse to the help of others as he was, Starscream had become proficient in matters involving his wings. It helped that one of them was removable, although the right was far more difficult. In his Cybertronian form (now gone and much mourned) he'd been able to pull-off a complicated half-transformation that brought his right wing close enough to effect basic repairs. He doubted that it would have worked as well in his new Earthen form (more awkward and much detested) but with CR chambers no longer close at hand and no long-suffering Thundercracker around to tend to him he had little choice.

Damn Autobots and their damn inferior technology.

"It's not just your wings. There's damage done to your middle back and cannons as well. Get on the table."

Just how have these people remained alive for this long? No CR chambers and no survival instincts whatsoever, it seems…

Starscream glared harder and growled a little, in the hopes that this would make the unnerving obstacle move from his path. No luck. Curses. The blue apparition crossed his arms and looked more like a large rock than ever.

"What do you want?" he muttered after a few second's silence. Despite the carefully modulated aggression he'd injected into his vocals, the words sounded more sullen than he had intended.

"To examine your middle back. I doubt you can reach your wings by yourself and I'm sure you can't get in between those cannons. It looks like there's some circuitry poisoning there. I can have it patched up in five minutes."


Hah! Foxed you, Autobot.

Yet again Starscream found himself cursing one of his former comrades. Demolisher had been the one to send hellfire and brimstone into his unguarded back, whilst he scanned the battlefield for Megatron's carcass.

Stupid, he reprimanded himself. Optimus Prime had warned him at one point that he was in range of the shorter Decepticon, but Starscream was swiftly learning how to block out the sound of his…moment to maintain self-control needed here… 'commander's' (aarghshamehumiliationaarghaargh) voice.

"I can get Swindle to do it", he said quickly, taking a moment to feel proud of this piece of fakery. Swindle had some knowledge of internal repairs and was handy when it came to welding cracks, but damaged flight mechanisms were beyond him and Starscream's cannons were so out of his league they were visible only by laser pulse. Besides, Starscream didn't trust the grinning mechanoid quite enough to let him that close to his vital systems.

The seeker's hopes crashed down as the other shook his head. Predictably, Red Alert's voice did not rise once from his typical soft monotone, irritating the seeker further.

"Unless Swindle's taken some advanced courses somewhere along the line, I don't think he's going to be able to help much. You can't reach back there yourself so why don't you let me do my job?"

Because I'd sooner leave my bonding wiring in the hands of Cyclonus with a chainsaw, Autobot.

He suspected this argument wouldn't hold sway with the adamant Third In Command, so he tried a different tactic; charm.

"Surely you don't need to bother with me", he said in a reasoning voice. "I can see you're quite busy-"

Actually, the med-bay was completely empty, lacking, for once, any sign of removed panels, lain out tools or things that could otherwise have occupied Red Alert's attention. The room, for the first time since Starscream had seen it, was absolutely pristine. It was, he decided, just his luck.

"-and, really, it's nothing important, honestly. I'm certain you've got plenty of other things to attend to, so why don't I just-…"

"It's not nothing", interrupted Red Alert, causing Starscream's jaw to drop. Not at the fact that someone had the audacity to interrupt him- powerful figure or not, until the acquiring of Swindle, Cyclonus and Demolisher had made him their personal verbal target. And as for Megatron…

Someone having the audacity to interrupt him wasn't so surprising as the fact that it was a medic doing so. Decepticon medics were a terrifying collection of individuals, but even they tended to give Starscream space.

"You've got enough sparks coming out of you to light up a stadium, you're outer layer is extensively injured and you've probably cut at least three fuel lines. I don't have anything else to attend to. And I'm not busy."

Starscream had had enough. Scanning the room desperately as the medic talked, his gaze landed on the equipment platform closest to Red Alert. His spark sung as he saw upon it-success!- a welder. It looked a little bit smaller than would be ideal, but it would have to do. He tightened his motor cables, readying himself.

"Well" he sighed in feigned submission as Red Alert finished. "If that's the case, then I suppose I'll have to-…"

He lunged.


Caught by surprise, Red Alert threw himself sideways as Starscream's hand reached the required implement. Snatching it up, he turned and fled from the med-bay as fast as he could.

Free! I'm free! Mwahahahahahaha!

He grinned to himself, then winced as his middle back flared again. He'd have to get the Sonar and his team to work on it, he thought. They were all capable repairmen and could be trusted so far as to not steal parts of his person as they worked. Or, failing that, there was always Jetfire…

Red Alert watched the seeker depart in silence. He looked thoughtfully at the table where the welding tool had lain just seconds ago. Then he activated the com-link on his arm.

"Optimus here. Any problems?"

"It's Red Alert, sir. No problems, but I've just had Starscream in the bay."

"…I see."

"He's taken another of my tools, sir."

"Still won't let you operate on him?"

"Not even to get his wings patched up. If you find him dead in a corridor somewhere, let me know."

A sigh sounded over the link.

"Alright. These things take time. I'll see what I can do about getting your equipment back."

"Thank you, sir. This is the fifth time in a month."

"I understand."

"It was better than last time. Remember? He tore some of the cables in his leg."

"Yes. You tried to fix it and he…"

"Bit me. Yes, sir."

"It'll get better, I promise."

"If you say so, sir. Red Alert out."