AN: ...Right. After lurking in this fandom, I've decided to give this a shot. Much much love to Karategal and TheMoonlessNight for letting me nab a few of their ideas, seriously, go read their stuff, okay?
This takes place a year and a half after Mission City in the movie. And what can I say...Daddy Ironhide amuses me greatly. Also, I read someplace a megacyle is TF equiv of an hour.
Also: Nightfire belongs to me-and I don't own TF.
Sparks and Plasma
For all intents and purposes, it seemed to be a normal day as possible on the Ark. Well, as normal as possible when the massive ship was hidden beneath the Nevada desert and its occupants currently working on expanding their living quarters. Permission had been given from the U.S. government for the Autobots to build a base in addition to having the Ark, and so the newly dubbed 'Autobot City' was currently under construction. But for Ratchet, all that mattered was getting his medical labs in order. To that end, any Autobot who wanted to stay in one piece kept far away from the medical wing.
Very far away.
"Perceptor! Where in the Pit did you put the stockpile reports!" The white-yellow Autobot winced at the sound of Ratchet's bellow, opting instead to duck behind a cupboard. Red Alert gave out a crack of laughter, poking at Perceptor with a foot.
"Your master summons you."
"Depart at once you fiend!" The scientist Autobot hissed back. "I have no desire to be caught by that medical manic!"
"Well, you have to admit, getting the labs and everything in order has put him on a tear." Red Alert said thoughtfully. "But if it makes you feel any better, First Aid and Wheeljack responded to the last communication and are en route. So he'll have another whipping 'bot soon enough."
"PERCEPTOR!" Red Alert rolled his optics, holding out a red and white hand.
"Give them to me and I'll go and diffuse him for you."
"You have my eternal gratitude." Perceptor gratefully responded. He subspaced several chips and gave them to the medic. "Now if anyone needs me, I believe I heard something about a chemical scare on my radio." Mechanics clicked and hummed as he turned into his alt mode, a HAZMAT van before speeding out of the room and down the hallway. Red Alert shook his head, subspacing the chips again before shuddering into his own alt mode, a red ambulance. Gunning his engine, he took off, sirens blasting away.
Chromia couldn't help herself, she cast her optics left and right as she approached Ratchet's office. Bad enough that well…the yellow Autobot had all but re-earned his nickname of 'Hatchet' over the past several orns, but what she wanted to talk to him about…well…
It is official. I have been around humans entirely too much. Chromia gave herself a little shake. What she wanted to ask Ratchet about…well, more specifically request him to do was normal, and it was something her spark had been yearning for ever since she had bonded with Ironhide. So why was she so agitated? Steeling herself, she entered the office, struggling not to raise an eye ridge at the amount of chaos that was present. Chips, papers, medical tools and other items were all over the place, and in the middle of it all…
"-fraggin little Unicron-spawned bit-brained, aft-headed little…"
Was Ratchet, muttering like a demon. Chromia cleared her vocalizer.
"Ratchet?" The yellow Autobot looked up from his work, blinking blue optics.
"Oh? Chromia. Is something the matter?"
"I would…" Blast it to Pit and back, here she was getting agitated again! "I need to request something of you."
"Join the line." Ratchet snapped. "Wheeljack saw fit to transmit me a 'wish list' of the items he wants in his labs, Perceptor's- since the human word adequately describes him- nerdy aft has gone into hiding someplace, Red Alert's ducking his shifts, if I see those Pit-spawned twins ONE more time I will offline them, that bit-brain you call a sparkmate is-"
"I want you to make a body for a sparkling." Chromia kept herself from fidgeting as Ratchet ground to a halt, dead silence filling the room. Ratchet didn't reply, but just blinked his optics and stared at her.
"I want you to make a body for a sparkling." The silver-blue femme replied. The CMO blinked again.
"And who pray tell is creating said sparkling?"
"Ironhide and I. We want a sparkling." Primus, has he lost CPU functions or something? Chromia thought in annoyance. "Things are quiet enough now and just…" She trailed off. "He and I want a family. We kept putting it off on Cybertron because of the war, but since it seems as long as we're around, the Decepticons will also exist, and so why not? We got a second chance to be together, and we both want to make the most of it." Again no response and Ratchet was still staring at her.
"…Making a little spark?"
"Oh for the love of Primus, all you have to do is create the body and bring it online!" Chromia snapped. "Leave the spark-making to us!"
"GAH! MY PROCESSORS! I DIDN'T NEED THAT MENTAL HOLOGRAM!"
"YOU PIT-SLAGGING SON OF A GLITCH! I ASK YOU FOR ONE SIMPLE FAVOR AND YOU GO ON THE FRITZ!" Ratchet threw out his hands.
"No no no, I understand but…Ironhide?!" He spluttered out. "You want him to pass on his depraved processes to the next generation?!"
"What is wrong with Ironhide's processes? They're just fine!" Chromia protested. Ratchet moaned and dropped his head onto his desk.
"Primus save us. We still can't figure out what you see in him, still can't process the fact you sparkbonded with him, and now you want to reproduce with him?!" The female Autobot bristled.
"See here, you piece of-" A hand went up.
"Stop." The CMO rose, a small smile on his faceplate. "All jokes and arguments aside…you and him are sure you want to do this?" Chromia nodded.
"Yes. We do." Ratchet sighed.
"Primus, I hope the little one takes after you. Please make sure it takes after you." Chromia giggled, shaking her head at that. "I'll be honest though. I may not have enough metal to make a proper frame."
"That's alright." The femme responded. "If you could just make it tall enough to hit our knees… and since sparklings don't move around much anyway on their own power, we can wait until you have enough supplies to build a proper body." Ratchet nodded.
"We should be having some incoming…if not with this group, the next set of arrivals. I have just enough for your little bundle of joy here." He made shooing motions with his hands. "Out. Give me two orns to prepare the frame. You and Ironhide…" He shuddered. "Primus. Just bring it to me."
"Thank you Ratchet." Chromia replied, her optics gleaming with unspoken emotions. "You don't know how much this means to Ironhide and I."
"It's no problem." The femme turned to leave, but jerked back around.
"Oh! Could we err..keep this…"
"I have no desire to broadcast it all over the Ark that I'm helping create Ironhide's spawn." The medic ducked as Chromia threw a tool at him. "If anything, he wants to spring it on Prime after the deed is done." Another shudder. Chromia couldn't resist, she broke into gales of laughter and left the office. Another smile twitched Ratchet's faceplate, the idea of a little sparkling…
Optimus was right. There is hope after all.
It hadn't been hard assembling the sparkling's first body. Ratchet had felt a thrill of excitement as he'd worked on putting it together, he'd been privy to 'first onlines' before and even helped in making a youngling's frame, but this… What even made it more special was that this little youngling would be the first of a new generation, one that many Autobots had feared that might not ever come into being. Even better was the hope that- Primus forbid if the Decepticons ever found out- that maybe a miracle like this could heal the rift between the two factions of Transformers, or at the most, start the process.
In this case though, considering one of it's' creators, pray it doesn't grow up with a taste for blasting everything in sight. Ironhide had a very deep fondness for blowing Decepticons to bits with the twin monsters he equipped, Primus help the Autobots if his sparkling took after him in that regard.
The chassis was ready in two orns- days for humans- as he had promised, light glinting off the dark-blue that was the paintjob. Chromia and Ironhide hadn't gotten specific about the color they wanted their youngling to be, and Ratchet had settled for a compromise between the two sparkmates' colors. The other Autobots were currently away from the Ark- well, to be more specific, keeping an eye on the shipment of supplies that had been thoughtfully provided by the U.S. Government in the construction of Autobot City, and it hadn't been hard for the trio to make up excuses to stay behind.
"Ratchet?" The yellow Autobot turned, Ironhide and Chromia were standing in the door, Chromia gently cradling something wrapped in a metallic blanket. "Ah, we're…"
"Inside." The CMO ordered. However he couldn't keep the smirk off his faceplates as Ironhide approached. "Ironhide."
"Stop smirking, son of a glitch." The weapons specialist rumbled. Ratchet fought for an impassive expression.
"I'm not. I just find myself very proud that you're starting to take on such a massive responsibility. Not many mechs your age are willing to-" A growl and Ratchet found himself staring at the business end of one of his friend's massive cannons.
"Ironhide!" Chromia snapped. "Stop that."
"Any more of your snark medic, and I will…"
"Why don't you see if the body is to your liking." Ratchet interrupted, gently removing the blanket from Chromia's hands. "And then we'll start."
"It's just fine." The femme replied. Ironhide gave a curt nod, his optics never leaving the precious bundle in his friend's hands. Ratchet bobbed his head in reply, gently setting the blanket down on a side table and unfolding it.
"Here we go." He murmured, blinking at the small blue flashes the spark was giving off. "Let's just get you in here…" He moved over to the newly-created frame, opening the chest panel to reveal an open pump box with an empty spark chamber. With a delicate touch he gently removed the spark from the blanket, intending to insert it in…
And all but jumped out of his armor when the spark practically leapt from his fingers into its new home, wires and tubing wrapping around it, fusing into the metal shard. The chamber box slammed shut, leaving Ratchet staring at the innards of the pump box.
"What? What is it?" Ironhide snapped. "Did something happen?"
"Is it-" Chromia got out fearfully.
"No no, everything's fine." Ratchet chuckled. Little one, you can't wait to come online, can you? "Someone's taking after her father already."
"Her?" Ironhide and Chromia said at the same time.
"Yes. Congratulations, you have a little femme on your hands." I was able to tell that much before it went flying into the spark-chamber. And Primus, I'm probably going to have a full med bay once the news finally breaks, Ironhide, half creator of a femme sparkling? Ratchet bit back another grin as he closed the pump box, turning his attention to the recharge bed's computer to bring the little sparkling's systems online. The programs responded instantly, lights flickering and then flashing in the little 'bot's circuits as core systems booted up and started to function. Closing the chest panel, Ratchet quietly stepped to the side as the concerned parents crowded in, three sets of blue optics locked on the slowly twitching body.
"Sparkling?" Chromia whispered. Tiny fingers twitched, and optic shutters moved slightly before lifting, revealing another pair of blue orbs. Processing the somewhat-familiar sound, the sparkling turned to the femme, releasing several quiet clicks from its voice capticator. That was enough for Chromia, who all but melted into a parental puddle. Ironhide on the other hand was simply staring at the baby, awe all over his faceplates.
"Hey…" He said, reaching out one hand. Chroma did the same, and the sparkling gently rested her head in the curve, clicking again and looking up at her 'mother'. "Hey…you…" Ratchet felt his own spark lurch and his optics threatening to release fluid at the image of the newly-formed family before him.
"Ratchet?" Chromia's voice, now husky with emotion. "Is she…" The CMO gave himself a little shake, and then stepped forward, scanning the sparkling.
"Everything reads all green." He said. The sparkling blinked its optics at him, and then crawled into Chromia's arms, seeking the sound of her pump. "She'll let you know when she's hungry or sleepy-but you can't just call her 'sparkling' all the time."
"Nightfire." Chromia murmured, shooting Ironhide a glance. "Let's call her Nightfire, 'Hide." The black mech nodded, holding out one hand and letting the sparkling grab it, clicking.
"Hi Nightfire." He whispered. The sparkling clicked at him, snuggling more into Chromia. "You're a small one, aren't ya?"
"I'll just leave you be." Ratchet murmured. He made to duck into his office, but was suddenly stopped by an arm on his shoulder joint. "Ironhide? What is…" The weapons specialist stopped, trying to phrase what he wanted to say.
"I…I…" The CMO shook his head.
"It was my pleasure." He gave Ironhide a clap on the shoulder. "You go enjoy your family. Make sure you hold little Nightfire, she needs to bond with you so she knows you're her creator as well." The black mech nodded, turning away to face Chromia, who was cooing at the clicking sparkling. Gratefully Ratchet ducked back into his office, pausing only to wipe away some fluid that had suddenly appeared at his optics, and wouldn't stop…
Primus…thank youSeeing that little sparkling online had lifted some sort of weight inside him, and for the first time in a long time, Ratchet felt that he could truly hope for a peaceful resolution to the conflict that had torn their species apart. And there wasn't anyone around to mock his sudden weakness…
Several megacycles passed, and Ratchet found himself elbow deep in gathering information that Ironhide and Chromia could find useful to help with their sparkling, in addition trying to anticipate any problems that could result of the Earth-powered energon the Autobots now used as fuel. The little sparkling's diet would consist entirely of energon (Low-Grade of course) until her processor could handle Earth fuels safely. Not to mention he'd have to install more firewalls and guards against Nightfire downloading too much information from the Internet, sparklings and younglings could only handle so much data at one time.
"Ninety-nine cubes of Energon on the wall-"
Ratchet spit out his own Energon.
"Ninety-nine cubes of Energon-"
"You take one down, you pass it around, ninety-eight cubes of Energon on the wall!"
The Twins! Ratchet tore out of his seat, out the door and down the hallway to the main entrance, loud cursing and laughter filling his audio sensors. Blast them to Pit and back, if they wake up the sparkling- Another crash and now a small explosion.
"…hic…damn, Sunny! Watch where you point that thing!"
"hic…hich..my bad, Jazz."
"The lot of you be quiet right now!" Ratchet snarled, stopping in the doorway. Several pairs of bleary optics looked his way, Optimus was supporting a very limp Jazz, Prowl was poking a giggling Sidewipe with his gun, Sunstreaker had opted to sprawl out on the floor and was looking at the CMO upside down, Bluestreak and Hound were propped against each other snorting…all of them save for the Autobot leader were clearly very much overenergized.
"Was up, 'Hatchet?" Jazz greeted the yellow Autobot cheerfully. "Pit of a party man, Pit of a party…"
"Silence!" The medic hissed, hearing the familiar footfalls of a certain weapons specialist behind him. "All of you, go dump yourselves into recharge right now! Prime, I need to-"
"NINETY-EIGHT CUBES OF ENERGON ON THE WALL, NINETY EIGHT CUBES OF ENERGON-"
"YOU TAKE ONE DOWN, YOU PASS IT AROUND-"
"WHAT IN THE PIT IS GOING ON HERE?!" Ironhide had arrived.
"NINETY-SEVEN CUBES OF EN-"
"AAAAAHHHHHH!!" The scream had every single Autobot ducking for cover or whipping out weapons, Ironhide had turned tail and was tearing down the hallway, Ratchet close behind. "AHHAAAHHHH!!"
In the rec room, Chromia was struggling to soothe an upset Nightfire, who was screaming and wriggling in her 'mother's grip. The Twins' boisterous singing had awoken her out of recharge far too early, and she was making her displeasure known.
"Nightfire, little one…" The sparkling wriggled, screaming harder, optics shut and fluid trickling down her faceplate. "Nightfire, shh…" A pair of black armored-hands plucked her out of Chromia's grip, and the sparking screamed again.
"Hush baby, Ironhide's here…" The weapons specialist crooned. The familiar voice and pump-beat snapped Nightfire out of her temper tantrum and she looked up at her 'father' with wet optics. "Sssh. There, see? It's all quiet now."
"Thank Primus." Ratchet muttered, running his own scans. "I'm sorry 'Hide. That lot came in and I couldn't get them to shut up…"
"Ratchet, what was that noise?" Heavy footfalls, and then Optimus Prime entered the room. "That sounded like a…" His optics widened and his voice trailed off at the foursome, Ironhide giving back a dark-blue bundle of wires and metal to Chromia, little blue optics blinked at him before settling back into the femme's arms, and the sound of clicking was heard. Chromia looked halfway between concerned and angry, Ratchet was worried, and Ironhide… Prime found himself stepping back as his friend onlined his twin plasma cannons."'Hide?" And to top off the situation, a overenergized Sunstreaker wobbled up, propped himself against the door, and squinted green optics at the bundle in Chromia's arms.
"…the frag is that piece of scrap?" Ratchet's own optics widened.