Notes: I don't own Transformers. Kinda wish I did. These are all chars from a great cartoon!
It was amazing... It truly was...
The dessert landscape stretched out in front of him like a blanket of reds and browns that mixed together in the most amazing images. Images that where entirely alien to him the first time he saw them. He had pushed those images aside for the longest time upon reactivating in this strange world... But eventually, Thundercracker just had to stop and take notice...
Cybertron didn't have days like these.. Hell it barely even had days... The day and night blended into each other in the fact that the night was just a bit colder than the day and the stars shown a little more clearly, where in the day they tended to blur out into an inky blue. What the humans would call predawn... But it lasted until nightfall...
Even from the height and speed he was traveling he could feel the air and ground quake beneath him... A sonic boom ripped through the air behind him sending the animals of Earth's fields and streams scattering as the bleak dessert landscape shifted to farms and fields then finely to the wooded areas surrounding the Rockies...
He was actually a little sorry for that... But at the moment he really didn't have time to slow down. He was a jet on a mission! That realization made him chuckle softly to himself as he dropped altitude a bit, just skimming his way over an otherwise still as glass lake. The lake's lone occupants... Two humans on a dingy with fishing poles dove for cover as their dog barked furiously at the way to low jet. For an insane moment the blue colored jet considered barking right back. Though that would require turning around and flying back over the lake...
Pity... The look on the faces of the humans would have been rather well worth it. He lifted himself up as the cool water left him behind, just skimming the tops of the trees as he climbed his way to a height a bit more reasonable for a jet.
He snatched briefly to the side as a powerful undercurrent ripped him off his trajectory, nearly sending him into a nose dive. He corrected himself quickly, silently cursing himself for not paying attention. That wasn't something a jet should do... A pilot for that matter. Pay attention... If not you just might go splat.
It was several more minutes before that familiar chill crept its way up the tip of his nose across the canopy of his cockpit and through wings before finely seeming to settle in the pit of his fuel tanks. He had just entered the Autobot security zone... The wooded area he had just passed was breaking up into the littered landscape part wooded and part dessert.
He slowed considerably the sonic boom he had been creating dying down to nothing as he briefly contemplated pulling an air born U-Turn and getting the pit out of there... But no... Megatron would have him for scrap metal. He was a jet on a mission after all... Somehow it wasn't so funny now.
He would have swallowed hard if he could have in this form and silently dropped altitude preparing to land. In front of him Mount St. Helen loomed like some hulking beast just waiting to pluck little blue jets out of the clear blue sky and pull them down into the sweltering pits below. The knowledge that it was a volcano he was flying towards only added to that belief and, possibly any other time, amusing irony.
The jet shuddered violently at the thought that there was probably at the moment a cannon trained on him. There probably was... Though his only comfort was that the Autobots where not quite as trigger happy as the Decepticons. If he where an Autobot approaching the Decepticon base he probably would have already been shot down. But as it was he knew for the moment at least he was safe. They would at least let him land and see what he wanted so long as he didn't move to quickly.
He circled briefly overhead the vast clearing that had been created near the front of the Ark. Mostly due to the many battles there he noted absently. He had strict orders... And none of them included shooting up the landscape. Hell he wasn't even armed. Megatron had told him to leave his rifle at the base. He still had a few rockets but they had been taken off line. It would be hell to bring them up again.
"Attention Autobots!" He shuddered quietly as his own voice wavered across the lines to Teletram One. Primus his voice was shaking! He silently cursed himself and forced himself to calm down as he continued this time sounding as if he wasn't scared out of his wits. "This is Thundercracker, a seeker of the Decepticon Army approaching under neutral colors. Requesting permission to land."
Now it was up to them. Megatron had told him that if they denied him access that he was to return to base as quickly as possible and it was simply the Autobot's loss the Decepticon's gain. Simple as that. Though he already knew what the answer would be. They where the Autobots after all.
"Permission granted. Uploading coordinates to you now." Came the crisp tones of whatever Bot had been wrangled into security duty that day. Though he already knew Optimus Prime was probably hoovering just behind and was now on his way to those coordinates... Which he now had to land on.. . Slag...
He shuddered and started his decent, keeping a careful note not to transform. It was an age old custom that had been started just after the fall of the Golden Age. He was coming in peace.
He flinched as his tires touched the hard ground, sending up billows of dust as he locked his breaks, forced to spin around as he hit the ground. They obviously didn't have any jets in their troops... He needed more room than that to land. He would have to taxi out to a more appropriate landing strip. That is if they let him leave...
That thought was just a bit haunting as the dust cleared, letting him see just what was there to greet him. A good two dozen Autobots circled the spot he had landed, their rifles all trained on one jet. The thought idly crossed his CPU that this was truly the meaning of having a bad day... He twitched briefly, his wings fanning out before the flaps would pull back in, seeming almost to tuck in closer to him. He bowed briefly on his landing gear, his nose pointing towards the dirt.
Where his Decepticon symbol normally was, a black patch had been stamped over, covering it from view. It nearly screamed that he was not here as a Decepticon.
"What do you want?" The voice was crisp and deep. He instantly identified it as Prowl's. He had heard it a few times in battle. He tried to make it a point to know the people he was shooting at.
"I come bearing a message. To be given to Optimus Prime and only Optimus Prime." He stated simply.
He shuddered as he felt that tingle again... Though this time it wasn't because he was passing into an Autobot Security zone. It was because he was being very thoroughly scanned... He felt a little on display... He twitched his wings, a longing glance shot up in the direction of the sky, his engines hissing softly as they cooled. He longed to be back up there... Where he knew what he was doing. Where he wasn't afraid of the Autobots because he was in his element...
"Very well Decepticon." Prowl stated simply, backing off a bit. The others stayed. Thundercracker shuddered, having to hold back the retort that his name was Thundercracker... Names where so important...
It was only a few seconds before Optimus Prime hurried out, apparently having already been on his way. Only a glance was shot his way and it already had the jet cowering, wings drooping just a bit where they connected to his body. If he had been in robot form he would have been shuffling uneasily from foot to foot. However, as it was he would only remain still and silent.
Optimus Prime stood before him for several minutes before the other Autobots began to fall back. Apparently at a silent signal from their leader. For that small thing, Thundercracker was greatful.
"Megatron sends a message." He would state simply, the canopy of his cockpit swishing back to reveal a simple digipad. Optimus looked a little surprised but silently reached out and took it in one hand, then hesitated before a calming hand was laid on Thundercracker's nose. The jet froze, tensing as he was given a light pat, the Autobot leader silently nodding. "Thank you Thundercracker."
The jet tilted to his side as Optimus scanned over the pad, silently reading what was written. Probably a good thing. Thundercracker knew he must look absolutely ridiculous with his one wing tipped down until it brushed the dirt. Like some oversized and very confused dog... He imagined if he had ears they would definitively be perked in that sickeningly cute way Earth dogs had of doing.
The leader of the Autobots knew his name? Had called him by name? He wasn't even entirely sure most of the Decepticons knew his name... Had actually been a little surprised when Megatron had called for him specifically with this little task... Though he already knew the reason. No other Decepticon save for possibly Soundwave would have ever understood this move...
Thundercracker watched as surprise flickered its way across Optimus's features as he read. "Megatron sends his apology that he could not come here himself. He also wishes to note and acknowledge that Starscream went to far this time... He understands that. He apologizes for the actions of his soldier. He also thanks you for your help in the matter. He would also wish to state, possibly without reason that this changes nothing in the ongoing war. However, he does understand that a line was crossed." Thundercracker stated slowly. He didn't need to. It was all written down there. However, Megatron had let him read what was written. Told him that it helped to hear it spoken. Told him to use his own judgement and see if he could smooth things over without a fight. The war wasn't about Earth. It was about the Decepticon cause. Starscream went to far. That was the bottom line. He went way to far.
Prime slowly lowered the digital pad and leveled his steady gaze on Thundercracker. "Let your leader know that apologies are accepted and that I agree this changes nothing. We are where we began before Starscream decided to take this into his own hands and attempted global genocide."
Thundercracker nodded slowly, dipping nose down until it almost touched the dirt again. "As a matter of fact... Wait here just a moment." Prime stated firmly, silently gesturing for Prowl to step up again. Thundercracker was left for several moments alone with Prowl and the knowledge that the others where just out of his range of vision though he didn't dare scan for them. Prime was back in a moment, silently placing another digipad in Thundercracker's cockpit where the other had been only moments ago.
"Take that to Megatron if you will." Prime stated simply, the brief glint of his optics suggesting he had at least shot Thundercracker a smile for his troubles from behind his battle mask.
Thundercracker gave a brief shudder as he dipped his nose once more in a nod then paused. He could go now. He already knew that. "I'm... Going to need to taxi out." He stated softly, gaining a puzzled look from Optimus. Of course... He wasn't a jet. He wouldn't know that there wasn't enough room.
"I need more space to take off in jet form. There was barely enough room to land."
That brought a look of understanding and a nod. "You may transform if you wish."
Thundercracker heaved a sigh of relief, a grateful tip of his wings given before he abruptly transformed. He knew this made the air much tenser than it had been as he gave a crisp nod and just as abruptly took to the sky, engines humming as they rocketed him upward. He waited until he had cleared the top of the mountain before transforming again and letting his engines surge. The tingle died down as he moved further away from the ark, still the center of their attention but not longer actively scanned. Within' moments he was out of their security zone the steady tingle warning him that he was behind enemy lines long gone. He opened up his engines, a sonic boom ringing out as he shattered the sound barrier. The mountain was gone in a matter of seconds, only then the jet able to let the tension slip out of his frame.
That wasn't as bad as he thought it was going to be...
He had expected to wind up a pile of scrap metal or worse. That wasn't what he had expected at all.
He didn't take the round about way he had gone to get to the Autobot base. He didn't need to. He had been traveling from a small outbase the Autobots didn't know about yet when he had been sent out. Now he was going back to the base in the Pacific. A forty five minute flight at most. With the wind with him as it was it would probably take less time than that. He couldn't wait to get back to base. Not that it was at all comforting or even welcoming... It was familiar. It was home... Despite the speed at which he traveled it the evening dusk was just beginning to settle down on the Earth. He hadn't realized he had been flying that long. The day was darkening into night as he dipped his wing to circle around a specific section of ocean, sending out a silent signal. Within' a moment or two the familiar hulking metal shape burst it's way from the ocean floor, waves and sea foam, falling from it in constant waterfalls as gravity pulled the water back down to settle. Suction of the water briefly pulled around the metal shape in a sharp undertow before settling into as calm a force as the ocean could ever be.
Normally his fellow seekers would be waiting, or Soundwave. The seekers because they wanted to see one of their own back with them again. Soundwave because it was his job. To scan each soldier coming in and make sure they where not compromised. Tonight however only a lone silvery shape stood on the landing strip. Thundercracker, lowered his landing gear and silently began his decent, quietly loving the feel of not having to skid to a stop and try very hard to avoid Autobots in the sand.
Megatron nodded silently as he approached the jet, his crimson gaze questioning. "Well?"
"It's done mighty Megatron." Thundercracker offered, silently drawing back the canopy of his cockpit. "A message for you."
A surprised look crossed Megatron's face though was gone in a flash as the Decepticon reached out and took the digipad Prime had sent with him. He scanned over it for a moment, a frown crossing his features as he read it. "Prime agrees. This changes nothing. Though he accepts the gesture. You are as you where before this happened."
Megatron gave a thoughtful nod and the pad disappeared into subspace. "Thank you Thundercracker. You have done well."
As his leader turned to go, the jet worked up what courage he could to call out to him. "Megatron?"
The Decepticon leader silently turned around, one optic ridge quirked in a look that stated 'this had better be good.'
"May I ask you a question my leader?" Thundercracker prompted.
A thoughtful look crossed Megatron's features before he stepped back, returning to the jet. "Yes Thundercracker. What is on your processor?"
"Why? Why offer an apology for something that was not your doing? Why to an enemy? Why take credit for something that Starscream has done?" Thundercracker questioned, that burning at him the entire flight. Why? "I'm not questioning you sir!" He quickly put in, before it could be assumed. "I would just like to know..."
Megatron seemed to consider that for a moment before he nodded, silently returning to the jet and laid a hand on his nose. Not unlike Prime had done not to long ago Thundercracker noted with some amount of amusement. Though this time he wasn't terror stricken.
"It's difficult to explain Thundercracker. There is a line in war that is not to be crossed. Starscream crossed it."
"He blasted through it." Thundercracker muttered, before falling silent, a flinch given as he caught himself. Though to his surprise Megatron only chuckled. "A bit of an understatement. Yes. He blasted through it. What he did was beyond this war. So it had to be put right beyond this war. Do you understand?"
"I think so my leader..." Thundercracker mused, drawing a nod from Megatron.
"Besides. We would not want the hatred of what is clearly a line crossed to interfear with the cause."
"Of course not my leader." Thundercracker commented. Megatron chuckled softly and silently let his gaze travel over the black patch across his nose. "You've done well Thundercracker. Take the rest of the night off." Megatron stated quietly, silently pulling away the black patch to reveal the Decepticon symbol underneath.
"Thank you." Thundercracker offered in response, silently transforming and offering a quick salute which Megatron returned with a nod, before the Decepticon leader silently turned and walked back into the base.
Thundercracker turned his gaze to the stars for a long moment before silently following. Somewhere in the base Starscream was locked in a brig where he would be for several months... He was to valuable to terminate. He was in no threat of that. However, time first in the medical bay then in the brig would possibly drive into his processor...
Some lines where not meant to be crossed.