Skorponok was in heaven.

He splashed his tail in the warm soapy water, leaning into the brush scrubbing out the gritty crevices in his armor. He stretched, twirling his digging claws happily. Blackout laughed at his antics.

Not only did the maintenance feel good in and of itself, but it was also rather pleasant to have someone take care of him like this. Blackout's gentle touch reminded him of just how much he loved his master.

The chopper hadn't been his first master, though. He'd been designed for a different mech, and sent to dig in the dangerous areas of the mines where no sane mech wanted to go. Skorponok hadn't known anything about the war raging above-ground; his world consisted of deep holes and only the most fleeting contact with anyone else.

He'd been confused when one day he'd brought his cart to the rendezvous point, and no one had come to meet him. He waited through the entire shift, but no one appeared to take the ore. When the second shift drew to a close and still nothing, Skorponok left the cart and went back to his recharger. His confusion mounted as he realized that no power was coming through. Maybe he'd been forgotten. His owner had forgot him before, like the time when he'd been buried in a cave-in. He'd dug himself out after three days, and made it back to the surface. Maybe that was it...

Pushing his cart to the surface, Skorponok peered uncertainly out the entrance. There were mechs outside, mechs he'd never seen before. A corpse lay just outside the mine entrance.

Skorponok chirred anxiously, edging towards the body. Up close, he recognized the body as one of the miners – he was the one who liked to step on Skorponok's tail. He poked the body curiously. The head flopped. He poked it again.

A shadow fell across him, and he looked up at the biggest mech he'd ever seen. He scuttled back, away from the looming figure, but Blackout had snagged him with ease, picking him up and carrying him away from the mines.

Skorponok found out later that Blackout had been considering having a symbiot made for him when Skorponok had scurried right into his lap. Blackout had shaken his head at the state of the smaller mech, carefully examining the digging claws and tail blade. Then he'd packed the confused Skorponok off and dumped him in a tub of cleaners for his very first bath and maintenance check of his life.

Skorponok swished his tail, allowing himself to be draped across Blackout's lap and his claws checked. He relaxed to the rhythmic rasping as his chopper sharpened a digging claw, perfectly content with the change from miner to fighter.

Killing was a small price to pay for Blackout's affection, after all. If killing was all it took to make Blackout happy, he'd kill every last Autobot in existence, and never regret the cost.