Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers. All recognizable characters are the property of HasTak. All unrecognizable ones are the intellectual property of yours truly; their theft is punishable by severe voodoo-induced pain in any and all sensitive organs of the body, followed by eternal damnation.

Because, you know, stealing is wrong.

Title: On The Care And Feeding Of Humans

Summary: Transformers AU. Juxtaposition side story. So you think you're ready for a human all your own, but do you know how to care for one? ... Ratchet and Wheeljack are doing their best to figure it out.

Rating: PG

Warnings: mild cursing

Author Notes: Number nine: no matter how many precautions you take, there is still a chance your human may become ill.

Timeframe: After Sunstreaker and Jazz go MIA on the human sitting roster. (During Ch. 28: Worse)


On The Care And Feeding Of Humans

(Un)common Health Problems

Kaylee: Well, Shepherd told us a funny story about bein' a preacher, now you tell us a funny story about bein' a doctor.
Simon: Ah, a funny story.
Jayne: Yeah, 'cause sick people are hi-larious.
- Firefly

Ratchet was in a temper.

Wheeljack's vents whuffled softly as he peered through the doorway of the medic's office. The CMO sat at his desk, splayed fingers of one hand drumming loudly upon the desktop, other hand gripping a datapad hard enough for the tempered metal frame to creak.

"Bluestreak just took her up to the rec room," said the inventor, easing into the room cautiously. Odds were that it was safe to do so, but Ratchet in a temper also equalled Ratchet throwing things, and no one onboard Metellus was unaquainted with the good doctor's notorious throwing arm.

"I know," replied the medic tersely, free hand rising to tap the side of his helm pointedly.

Ah, the medbay sensors. Or is he using shipwide sensors now?

"You're running a constant uplink?" asked Wheeljack, somewhat startled but then realizing what a stupid question that had been. "For how long?"

"Half an orn."


"Don't start, 'Jack."

"You're going to stress your systems if you keep that up. You weren't designed for constant data-streaming like Prowl."

The medic gave a humorless little rumble. "Believe me, I am well aware of that fact." Pale blue eyes glanced up from the datapad. "And don't tell me you wouldn't do the same."

"Well, yes, but that's not the point," replied Wheeljack with a quiet rev of his systems. "When was the last time you refueled?"

"Last shift change."

"And the last time you recharged? A full recharge, mind you, not standby mode."

"Don't you have something to be tinkering with?" came the growled reply, and Wheeljack's optics narrowed.

Avoiding the question. Bad sign.

"Ratchet, you're the medic. You know better than anyone how much recharge your body requires to function."

"Exactly. So I know how far I can push it. 'Jack, I'm busy."

"With what?" The inventor waved his newly-rebuilt arm back at the empty, spotless 'bay behind him. "No one's had so much as a ding since Teyonu, and I can take over the uplink long enough for you to recharge and defrag."

"Have you looked at Evelyn's data lately?"

"Not... lately." He tilted his head curiously, eyeing the datapad the medic held. "Is something wrong?"

Ratchet extended the 'pad toward his friend, and Wheeljack took it, scanning the contents swiftly. A faint surge of alarm along his circuits set his tactile sensors tingling.

Fuel intake: decreased.
Body mass: decreased.
Temperature: increased.
Internal fluid pressure: increased.
Pump rate: increased.

"Oh," he said faintly.

"And," said Ratchet, tired and irritated and concerned all at once, "her recharge cycles are getting longer and her online periods shorter. It takes her longer to switch between the two, and Jazz has reported her 'drifting off' more than once in the rec room. I've advised him to let her be, but she's always disoriented when she onlines if we move her back here when that happens."

"By the snarling of your systems, I assume there's more."

"Oh, of course. More headaches. More 'nosebleeds'. Activity in her nervous-system circuits has increased, and I don't know if it's because Sideswipe's spark is caving to the stress or her system is trying to eject him somehow... or both. From everything that the human literature says, the human body is very sensitive to outside invaders of any sort; if anything, what's surprising is how long her body has tolerated the spark." The medic's optics darkened briefly. "And all of this is just adding more stress on her systems which makes the symptoms more severe which adds more stress... It's the feedback loop from the Pit."

"And the only way to counter it is to return Sideswipe's spark to his shell."

Ratchet grunted a sullen agreement.

"And you're waiting for the retrieval team to return to begin reconstructing the shell."

Another grunt.

Wheeljack set the 'pad gently atop the metal desk. He stood for a moment in silence, processors running down several venues of thought at once.

"Well," he said at last, "if we have to wait..."

The shipwide comm activated with a faint crackle of static, and Prowl's voice came through, characteristically solemn.

"Prowl to Ratchet. Shuttle is approaching. Patching through shuttle communications now."

Ratchet had risen to his feet, optics narrowed, frame tense. Another crackle of static rang out in the small office, and Jazz's drawl, uncharacteristically solemn, emerged from the speakers.

"Jazz here, Ratchet. We've got th' shell."

"Understood," replied the medic, the tone of his voice turning the lone word into a question: what aren't you telling me?

"... doc, it ain't pretty."

End (Un)common Health Problems