Subi: ...

Anonymous: o-o; I don't think Subi's in a good mood, So I'll say it this time: We're sorry for being so incredibly late on this chapter, and there's a "more" important note from me at the bottom. Thank all of you who have thus-far read Karahrr Chronicles II, though we haven't even started I yet (meep!), and hope you can re-find the story when it gets reposted under my account.

20. Screaming Silence

Something wasn't right. My optics narrowed at the large crater in front of us while Topspin stood further behind me, a curious look on his face. The mercenary had put Karahrr down a little further away to make sure he didn't end up dropping her in as he looked over the edge. Supposedly, there was a mid-sized spire that was in the center of the crater, level to the ground we were walking on. Supposedly, it said we were two and a half sectors away from Autobot City.


But it wasn't there.

"What the Pitt is going on?" I muttered aloud, peering down at the depths of the hole, noting it went deeper than I cared to go discover. Topspin tilted his head to the side, "Do I want t'know?"

"Probably not," I answered, then realized how far we would have to go off track in order to get around the crater. I swore, "Of all the times that we have to come across a fragging, quarter-sector wide, cybernetic bite of a..."

"What's the problem, Stars?"

"Do NOT call me that!" I nearly shrieked, spinning around so fast that Topspin had to duck and take a step back to avoid getting hit in the face by my right wing. My optics flashed furiously as he looked at me uneasily.

"Geez, if you had a rule 'bout nicknames, y'shoulda said so," The mercenary backed away as I advanced on him. "Uh... Star Convoy? You do realize we have a potentially dangerous cat demon nearby that coul' wake up, decide we're too noisey fer her liking, kill us, and be off on her way, righ'?"

"May she have fun ripping what's left of you apart then," I growled.

"Star-!" My hand flashed out, slamming him into the deformed metal structure behind him. My left wing turned into a blade in my right hand, and I brought it close to his neck. He struggled as he tried to keep the blade away, resulting in him hitting his head against the metal behind him.

"Ow!... Don't hurt me!" I twitched slightly.

"... 'Don't hurt you'?"

"Would you get off me and put that thing away?"

"I'll consider when you show some respect."

"Alrigh', would you please get off me and put yer sword away?"

"..." I leapt off of him and transformed. "Put Karahrr in my cockpit, I'll fly her over. You can go around this crater quickly, right?"

"Well, yeah..." He answered, carefully scooping up the sleeping cat demon and placing her on the soft fabric-seat inside my cockpit.

"Then get moving," I said, taking off, closing my glass canopy after Karahrr was safely inside. My sensors detected her tail twitch slightly, and it informed me that she'd relaxed in a matter of astroseconds due to my internal heaters running. Must have been cold, I concluded, seeing that there was the soft hint of a carefree smile on her face. The memory of Shiori putting Karahrr close to her spark and hurrying off somewhere a few months ago flashed through my mind, and I quickly clamped down on the 'fuzzy feeling' that threatened to take over my systems.

Dear Primus! The last thing I need is a fluffy cat following me for who-knows-how-long when we get to Autobot City! I thought wildly, then calmed myself. Then again, the last thing I need is to crash right now and have Shiori or her sister chew me out for being careless- much less with a (and here I shuddered) fuzzypassenger. Especially after the last time I came back from a crash...

I quickly checked my sensors guiltily to make sure neither of the two femmes were nearby to have seen me dip in altitude slightly. But no, the only other transformer was fifty astrometers away, half bouncing, and half rolling along his curved path around the crater I was flying over. I scowled internally, What's the purpose of being a spherical object as an alternate mode anyway? Not like it does anything useful-- unless there's a very bored catmech to entertain...

That thought made me grin mischievously; I'd seen Karahrr batting Topspin around like a toy back at the Decepticon base a few cycles ago, and recalled the damage done to all of the annoying 'Cons there. Now that I remembered (again), she'd sustained some damage as well. I quickly scanned her for injuries, and felt a little relieved that she only had a cracked rib that was well on its way to healing as she slept. Must be those 'herb' things she said she ate earlier, I decided.

I checked my scanner again, and realized I'd crossed over the far end of the crater a few minutes ago. I double-checked for Topspin, and found him bouncing along on the ground underneath me. I guess that's a bonus to his alt mode, I mused. Don't have to worry about anything getting in the way of that... I dived slightly and leveled out near the ground next to the mercenary.

"Want to keep going this way to save time?"

"I..." -bounce- "...guess..." -bounce- "" -bounce-

That has to get annoying after awhile, I thought before gaining altitude again...

There was only half a sector to go until we reached Autobot City, and for that I was glad. Karahrr was awake for a full half-hour, practically frying my audio sensors in an attempt to leave. Amidst the annoyance, there was a blissful pause, but the reason was far from the type of silence. Smoke was billowing in pitch black plumes, rivaling even Topspin's paint. "Something's burning…" She stated, interrupting herself; sadly, losing the train of thought was impossible in this scenario. "And while you're at it, can you set me down?"

"No. Now quit complaining." I repeated for the umpteenth time after she had unfortunately become conscious. I ignored her indignant huff and went even faster in an insuppressible anxiety that wouldn't leave me, and I'm sure it wasn't her nagging. Perhaps it played a role in it, however.

"I would stop complaining if you just landed and let me out!" That was my last nerve, and I had to restrain myself from doing a barrel roll to knock some literal sense into her.

"Just shut it already or I'll hand you off to Topspin!" His chipper voice sounded through at the suggestion.

"Why I'd be happy t--" Only to be stopped by what we thought was a small battle, but now far from that. There were only the charred skeletons of architecture, and a massive fuel fire still blazing as a welcome mat. Deactivated mechs of both factions were scattered, and toppled with debris of what was to remain of the buildings.

My optics took in the scene with disbelief. Taking no heed of the cat's safety, I transformed, tossing her out of the cockpit and into Topspin's cautious arms as he too gaped at the scene. But sight-seeing time was over, and the worry was killing me. Shiori…Did you? No, you can't be, you're smarter than that…I mentally panicked, tossing aside the scrap metal for the hope that it would all be fine, and that she made it out okay. Every pile, piece of building, tossed over or tilted, none of it escaped me, and in the end I was filled with the emptiness and joy that there was no proof of her damaged. But I have to see for myself. Where could she have gone?.! I transformed once again, leaving them in a trail of exhaust. I think you can survive without me, mercenary, I have far better things to attend to...

"Why am I not surprised?" I blandly commented, coughing from the amount of dust Star Convoy left behind as he shot off. Looking once again at the smoking scene in front of me, I couldn't believe it; much less how Topspin could still manage to hold me back when I knew that he was feeling the same way. "Topspin, you're squeezing me way too hard." I gasped, putting a show of making my voice breathless. At that point, I was gladly put on the ground glaring.

"Sorry 'bout that but--don't hurt me!" he squealed, ducking as I picked up my staff that the seeker dropped on his way. Yeah, I think there's something wrong with him now. I dryly thought.

"Well, maybe you'll learn to listen to me, perhaps?" came my inquiry as I discreetly picked up a decent sized rock.

"But I didn't do anythin--" It finally hit where I wanted and he fell flat, out for the moment.

"Maybe that'll do something." Sighing, I decided to visit my old quarters while he was offline. There was nothing there, predictably, but I couldn't help but wonder what they turned it into after I left. Were they foolish enough to leave it for me? I questioned, peering around. There was now machinery parts where there used to be bedding, underneath the rubble. "Thank Primus they didn't." I muttered quietly, taking in the damage that once used to be a bustling peaceful city. "Though to make sure that it doesn't all go to waste, I suppose I should see this 'Optimus Prime' that is to…help me…" My words skipped over some. It annoyed me, that 'h' word. It meant that you couldn't do anything yourself, so you made others do it for you. I turned back sharply in annoyance at the thought, weaving through the fallen debris.

When I came back to where Topspin was, I found him online and clutching his head with a small groan. "What hit me?" He asked, getting up with a few creaks of protest from his joints.

"Common sense, hopefully." I fired back, just wanting to leave. "How're you feeling now?"

"Other than a splitting headache, I feel like something loose got plugged back in." was his reply. With the mech functionable, I stalked off on my merry way, him watching my retreating back.

"Good, 'cause I'm going to Iacon. Follow if you want, I don't care." And with that, I was trailed by a walking metal porcupine. Goody, I didn't think he'd actually go with me. I droned in my head, wishing that I hadn't suggested the alternative of what Starscream did. It looked like I was going to know all the secrets of the mercenary trade by the time I got there.

Subi: ...

Anonymous: (shiftily glances back and forth uneasily) This doesnt have anything to do with last night, does it?

Subi: don't remind me. -.-

Anonymous: o-o; Alright then... We don't really care if you review any more, I'm rewriting the story, along with a "prologue" story to post under my account anyway, so We'd like to thank all of you who have read it thus far, and if you read the newer one (when I get it up), hope you like the improvements in it.