Author: Koi Lungfish
Disclaimer: Based on characters and situations from The Transformers ((c) 1986 Hasbro, Ltd). Used without permission. Text (c) 2007, Koi Lung Fish (Mark of Lung. All Rights Reserved.)
Continuity: G1 cartoon, Season 1.
Thundercracker, having lived with Skywarp for many millions of years, considered himself used to surprises, so when he almost tripped over a supine and unconscious Ravage in the middle of a corridor, it registered more as bemusal than as alarm.
He quickly looked around. There were no marks on the walls or floor that would indicate a firefight, no sign of tampering on the wall vents or floor panels. The air was as damp and as salty as was normal for the undersea base, without the familiar gunshot scent of ozone and hot metal.
Thundercracker signaled the base computer to go to alert-1, and then gingerly prodded the saboteur with his toe. Nothing. Ravage didn't wobble, didn't twitch, he didn't even growl. Thundercracker leaned over and looked at the cassette more closely. There were no marks on him that would indicate a fight, no burns, no scratches.
(Thundercracker to Soundwave,) he radioed. (I just found Ravage unconscious in a corridor. No sign of an intruder.)
(Suggestion; repair bay,) was the terse reply.
Suggestion; remove the rebar from up your thrusters, Thundercracker thought, carefully picking Ravage up. The saboteur was locked into position, limbs sticking up in the air, head back, mouth open. What happened to you? He looked closely at the saboteur. None of his panels were disarranged, no signs of anything having been jimmied open, no residue of poison or shock chemicals. As Thundercracker carried Ravage towards the repair bay, a thought came to him. (Skywarp, I just found Ravage unconscious in a corridor.)
(I didn't do it,) Skywarp responded immediately. (I've been in the control centre all morning and Megatron can vouch for it!)
(Huh. Well, tell Megatron and see what he says. I've already called an alert-1.) He continued walking, passing one of the hydrox plants busy turning water into energy, the deep machine-hum and the smell of big machinery at work a sudden breath of homeliness. A few seconds later the base computer signaled an alert-2.
Skywarp appeared at the end of the corridor ahead of him. "Megatron signaled alert-2 until we find out what happened."
"I hadn't noticed," Thundercracker said dryly, looking down at the saboteur, rigid and unresponsive in his arms. "No ideas on board."
"Think he just ... ran out of fuel?" asked Skywarp, leaning over to peer at the cassette.
"He was lying on his back with his legs in the air," Thundercracker said, giving Skywarp the look meant to signal that Skywarp wasn't using the brains Vector Sigma gave him. As usual, Skywarp missed it completely.
"Well, maybe he was trying to scratch his back and broke something," the black jet suggested as they continued on towards repair bay.
"Not likely," Thundercracker grumbled. He shook Ravage gently. Still nothing, not even a rattle. "It's like he's totally deactivated."
"Blew a breaker?"
"What, just walking down a corridor?" Thundercracker raised his voice. "Skywarp, this is Ravage. He doesn't just do stupid things in the middle of corridors. Not everybody is you."
"Aww, come on!" Skywarp protested, waving his hands. "When was the last time I did something stupid in the middle of a corridor?"
Thundercracker looked at him pointedly. Skywarp looked back with as much guileless innocence as he could muster. Thundercracker looked even more pointedly down at Skywarp's feet.
Skywarp shrugged. "It was an accident."
"You teleported your feet into the floor."
"I was experimenting!" Skywarp wailed, waving his hands. "And anyway, that was over a million years ago!"
"One of these days you're going to get us both killed," Thundercracker groused.
"What, with my feet?" Skywarp asked, exasperation melting as a hint of a laugh came into his voice.
Thundercracker couldn't help but laugh, making Ravage jiggle in his arms. "Dents, if he wakes up like that, he's gonna rip my throat out."
"Turn him the other way up?" Skywarp suggested, leaning closer as he always did when something was declared dangerous.
Thundercracker rolled Ravage over in his arms. The saboteur's legs pointed down stiffly and his tail dug into Thundercracker's elbow. Thundercracker looked at Skywarp.
Skywarp shrugged. "It was just an idea."
"I oughta get the Constructicons to take your idea circuits out," Thundercracker grumbled, turning Ravage the other way up.
There was a honk from behind. Thundercracker turned around with a jump and found Long Haul had snuck up behind them in vehicle mode. His bed was full of drums, all with bright labels on them.
"Can you two walk any slower?" Long Haul asked, wiggling on his shock absorbers and making his drums rattle. "I've got a cargo of sodium and there's an alert-2 on."
"We noticed," Skywarp said cheerily.
"Here's the alert-2," Thundercracker continued, holding Ravage out for Long Haul to see.
"Lower," the transporter ordered. Thundercracker bent down and held Ravage near Long Haul's grill. "Huh. Blown a breaker?"
"In the middle of a corridor?" Thundercracker repeated.
"Okay, maybe not," Long Haul admitted. "Get him to - hey! Stop that!"
Skywarp paused in the act of opening Long Haul's cab door. "What?"
"Leave my cab alone!"
"But it wasn't locked!" cried the life-long prier into things he shouldn't get into.
Thundercracker glared at his partner. "Look, if we put Ravage in your cab, you can take him to repair bay -"
"Carry, carry, carry!" Long Haul snapped. "What, don't you think I could repair him?"
"With all that sodium on board?" Thundercracker wondered aloud.
"I could transform!" Long Haul yelled. "Why not give him to Skywarp? He could get Ravage to repair bay faster than I could."
"What?" Skywarp sounded amazed. "I'm not teleporting him anywhere, he's dangerous!"
"He's unconscious," Thundercracker pointed out, holding the saboteur out.
"That's why he's dangerous!" Skywarp cried. "I'm not teleporting someone who's gone offline for no reason! He might explode! Or I might catch it!"
"You'll catch one when I get a free hand," Thundercracker rumbled, stick a foot out to stop Long Haul as he tried to drive past. "Ow!"
"Serves you right!" Long Haul chuckled, making to drive off.
"Oh no you don't!" Skywarp said, jumping on Long Haul. The transporter yelped, braking, and Thundercracker hopped up onto him too. "Forward, bold dump truck!" Skywarp cried, pointing dramatically as he seated himself securely atop Long Haul's cab.
"I hate you all!" Long Haul shouted, accelerating towards the repair bay.
Long Haul drove into repair bay and stopped dead. "Move your lazy jet afts!"
Thundercracker and Skywarp slipped down. Skywarp leant down and gave Long Haul a pat on the cab roof. "Good transporter! Conserving fuel and doing your bit for the Decepticon Empire!"
"Bolt you," Long Haul grumbled, driving off, barrels rattling. "Bolt you and your buddy."
"Hey, we need Ravage fixed!" Thundercracker shouted at him as he went.
"Fixed?" came the voice of an unseen Constructicon. Thundercracker turned around and saw Mixmaster coming out of the cleanroom, wiping his hands on a sterilizing pad. "That'll be what the alert-2 is about, right? Right?"
"Right," Thundercracker said, holding out Ravage.
"Right," said Skywarp, looking around for something to fiddle with.
"Right!" Mixmaster beamed, pointing Thundercracker towards a repair plinth. Thundercracker scowled, but set the saboteur down as directed. "Right right right ... wrong." He poked Ravage in the side.
"He hasn't moved since I found him," Thundercracker volunteered.
"Not surprising," Mixmaster said with a cheery smile, touching a control on the side of the repair plinth. Two drawers of tools slid out from the sides of the plinth. Mixmaster picked over them by touch as he leant over Ravage, sniffing at him. "He smells interesting!" He looked up at Thundercracker. "Where did you find him?"
"Uh..." Thundercracker gave him the geo-positioning coordinates rather than play 'no, not that corridor, that one' with Mixmaster.
"Hmph!" Mixmaster said thoughtfully, and started running his hands over Ravage. "Skywarp, that is not a good thing to play with."
"What?" Skywarp said guiltily. "Me?"
"Yes, you," Thundercracker said, not turning around. "Put it down."
There was a quiet clink of something being put down. Skywarp wandered over and stood by Thundercracker. "So what's wrong with him?" he asked.
"Did you hear Mixmaster tell me?" Thundercracker responded.
"That tell you something?"
"Oh," Skywarp said. "Megatron told me to stay with Ravage until there was some information."
"Information schminformation," Mixmaster said loudly, chucking his sterilizing pad at Skywarp. "Play with that. What we need here is a shot of energon!"
"Don't we all?" Thundercracker said, raising his gaze to the ceiling.
"He ran out of fuel?" Skywarp asked half-interestedly, pulling the pad around and watching how it clung to his fingers.
"In a manner of speaking," Mixmaster snickered, attaching a siphon to Ravage's throat. "He ran and ran and ran and ran..." He trailed off into giggling.
Ravage's legs twitched. His optics began to glow. He paddled the air for a second, then rolled over and lay splayed out on the repair plinth, head down.
"Feeling bright and cheerful today?" Mixmaster asked, chuckling softly.
(I hurt. Even my missiles hurt,) Ravage groaned. (I am going to kill Soundwave.)
"Soundwave did that to you?" Skywarp asked, starting to tear the sterilizing pad into strips.
(Soundwave...) Ravage groaned and shut his optics off. Mixmaster fussed over him busily, humming softly as he attached what Thundercracker recognized easily as a nanoil injector to the saboteur's side. (Last night. Soundwave over-energized. Badly. I was ... inside.)
"I didn't know you could siphon his fuel supplies in there," Thundercracker said, trying to ignore both Skywarp's thoughtful expression and the rain of little fluffy pieces of sterilizing pad collecting around his feet.
(Can't. He dumped fuel into his tape pack. I was swimming in it,) Ravage complained.
"That's disgusting," Thundercracker said, recoiling at the thought.
"And so you got a nice bath of partly-processed high-grade oil-energon admixture," Mixmaster continued around his chuckles. "All the joys of over-energizing without all that nasty horrible enjoying the taste part." Ravage's only response was to put a paw over one of his optics. "And then, since you were overloaded with high-energy substances, you crawled off to find a quiet corner to burn out in."
"Only you ended up in the middle of a corridor," Skywarp said, dropping the sad skeletal remains of the pad. "What happened?"
('What happened?' You fool! Argh! I'll kill Soundwave when I can stand up!)
"Skywarp, you idiot," was all Thundercracker could say.
"What?" Skywarp asked, tugging on Thundercracker's arm. "What?"
"Skywarp!" Thundercracker groaned. "He passed out in the corridor!"
Skywarp stared at him, then blinked, then looked at Ravage, sprawling embarrassed and agonized, and at Mixmaster giggling quietly over him, then back at Thundercracker. "You mean I've got to go and tell Megatron we went to alert-2 because Ravage was over-energized?"
"No," Thundercracker replied, "you've got to go and tell Megatron we went to alert-2 because Soundwave was over-energized and gave Ravage his burnout!"
"Oh," Skywarp said thoughtfully. "So ... what about the others?"
"Others?" Thundercracker wondered with a sinking feeling.
"The other cassettes. If Soundwave was drinking, were they..."
(Over-energized,) groaned Ravage, (as the proverbial Emirate.)
Skywarp looked to Thundercracker, his expression pained. "Don't tell me we're going to have to scour the base looking for the little runts. They can get anywhere..."
"Of course not," Thundercracker assured him, patting his shoulder, "that's going to be Soundwave's job."
Author's notes & addenda:
Feedback always welcomed.