Yay for chapter two! Gotta love Optimus. :D
Conscious thought was not yet known to the being, for it only handled everything in pre-programmed computations. And yet, for all it was young and not quite achieving that high level of thought, there was still data being processed in its memory banks, things that could passably be called "thoughts" did indeed run through its processor.
And a lot of them, at that.
--Hurthungryhungryhungryhungry...hurt...-- It huddled beneath a table, clicking quietly to itself. For it was hungry, and its entire frame was indeed sore, as if the pain could not decide where it wanted to be and thus settled for simply making everything ache.
And there was no others around, nothing the being recognized in its young processors as "friendly" or "family". Where were the others? There should always be others - tall, shining figures that were kind and gentle and could ease all the hunger and pain. There weren't any, and there should be. This belief was held unwavering, and so the being send out a wordless call every once in a while, a desperate plea for existence. Surely the others would hear him, and once they came, everything would be soothed away.
The being knew this, so he continued to curl up under his "shelter", clicking quietly to calm his processors, and repeating that thin, wavering call.
And then, there was a rumbling - earth shaking under impressive mass. It was a sign, and the being looked up from his shelter, watching and waiting. Things he could not yet recognize as sensors pinged, informing him of something very big and very familiar making its way towards him.
Despite his first instincts, he did not run out and begin searching for the other being. Something, a sliver of programming far too old and wary for his age held him back, telling him to wait until he saw what was causing the vibrations. It was another of his kind, the big ones, certainly...but he had to wait. He must see if it was friendly and would help him first.
And then the figure came into view, searching the cavernous room his shelter was in. The piece of old programming screeched at the coloration - red and blue, whimsical designs melding on the armor. The programming did not recognize this one as friendly.
However, the sparkling's own programming immediately told him this was a Big One, a benefactor, one who would take care of him and would ease the low energy warnings and the pain sensors. The pain, hunger, and youthful need for his own kind overrode the scrap of programming, washing it away in a flood of data. This one would take care of them, and that was all that mattered.
He leaped out from his shelter and ran, making excited bursts of clicking. This one really was big!
--Bigbigbigblueandredflamesbigbig-- The scrambled too-young-for-thoughts ran through his processors, as he ignored the other's startled cry and immediately scrambled up his frame, dodging large hands trying to pull him off, until he settled himself on the upper back, cuddling into the larger being with a contented click.
He looked around himself - at least four other big ones were around, meaning he had a stable environment to be in. Good. He wasn't sure why they were all staring up at him, but that could be ignored.
With a stream of happy clicks towards his new caretaker, he turned his attention back to more important matters, and began searching out the connections and ports he needed. He was hungry.
It was supposed to be a normal mission, Ironhide mused. Normal. Track the large spike of energy that had been released in this area, hope to put a few rounds into Starscream's aft, and hopefully retrieve the sliver of Allspark the fragger had stolen. It was supposed to be normal.
Of course, this meant he was watching, bemused, as Optimus Prime did an undignified, ungainly little dance, trying to reach and/or dislodge the creature that had set up camp on his back.
A sparkling. A honest-to-Primus sparkling.
And a Seeker one too, at that, Ironhide realized as Optimus turned, allowing him to catch a glimpse of the wings - jetless and turbineless at this young age, but still present. He frowned - had the Decepticon Air Commander actually figured out a way to create new life from that tiny shard? This would be a great breakthrough...so long as they figured out how he had done it, and prevented him from making any more Decepticons.
Of course, Ratchet had to disrupt his musings with reality.
"It's Starscream." Said the medic wonderingly, following the sparkling around as Optimus twisted and turned. "Or, well, his spark is the same. Obviously there's a body discrepancy, but the core spark itself is Starscream. And wiped of all memory, too, if his clinging to Optimus is any indication."
"Whoa whoa whoa." Jazz held up his hands. "You mean that little scrap of youngling is Starscream?"
"One and the same."
Ironhide stared at the sparkling as well. A sparkling that was Starscream, with no memory, so essentially just a new Seeker sparkling who had attached himself to Optimus.
...Which meant he couldn't blow him up. Frag it all.
"Speculation is nice and all, but if someone could help me get him off...?" Optimus ground out through clenched faceplates, obviously not pleased at having a hitchhiker. Ironhide was suddenly filled with a gloating evil. If he couldn't blow him up, he could relieve his frustration another way.
"Aw, I don't know, Prime, he's kind of cute. He looks like a little jetpack on you."
The flat gaze turned his way would have made mechs of lesser stuff quiet down and seek other activities that would not incur the wrath of their leader.
Ironhide merely grinned right back. This was too good to pass up.
Optimus Prime continued glaring at his weapons specialist for a few moments, the stockier bot still grinning and refusing to back down.
Well obviously help wasn't coming from that direction. Optimus turned his attentions to the rest of the group.
Bumblebee was blatantly staring at him, both antennae and door-wings raised in intense fascination. However, the scout - barely more than a youngling himself - was hanging back, obviously content to observe Optimus's new back accessory from afar.
Jazz had placed his hands on his hips and was grinning as irrepressibly as Ironhide. When he noticed his leader's gaze on him, the grin grew wider, and he spread out his hands. Optimus could have sworn his optics were bright enough to light up his whole visor.
"Sorry, old leader. You know the sparklings attach themselves to the first thing they see, and it's slag trying to get them off. I ain't touching this one."
...So much for Jazz. Optimus forced air through his exhausts in an imitation of a human sigh, and turned his head to look over his shoulder.
Ratchet stood behind him, attention captivated by the sparkling that had once been the scourge of Cybertron's skies. By now the sparkling had fallen into recharge, oblivious to the disruption he was causing.
And to think, Optimus had been having such a peaceful day so far.
Ratchet finally pulled himself from the grip of enthrallment, blinking his optics up at his leader. "Well, I ran all the scans I could with him attached to you and no other equipment. It is Starscream, no doubt about it, but without memory and having been reformatted into this sparkling protoform for some reason. Offhand, I'd say that shard of the Allspark he stole most likely has something to do with it., but I can't be sure without access to either the shard or Startscream's previous memory banks, neither of which are seemingly within reach right now."
Well, that was that. Without any way to either return Starscream to his former body, or restore at leats his memory banks, there was nothing they could do - right now he was just a helpless sparkling, one ignorant of his past crimes, and they'd be every bit the murderers and hypocrites the Decepticons claimed they were if they took advantage of this moment and destroyed Starscream. He was no different from thousands of other sparklings right now.
Jazz's voice, clearly too amused, drifted from across the abandoned airplane hanger Starscream had set up camp in. The teasing words he spoke immediately smashed through the slightly solemn air Optimus had acquired while pondering the sparkling.
"So, do we decide who's the daddy now or later? After all, a spark can't just get by with only mommy Optimus. I vote for Ratchet. Or maybe we can make Ratchet mommy, he fusses enough."
It was with no small pleasure that Optimus watched Ratchet tackle the smaller silver bot and proceed to give him a beating. It was made even better when the medic somehow had gotten to Jazz's vocal processor and the silver bot was unable to speak in anything but dirty limericks for the rest of the day. In a little human girl's voice. Bumblebee wouldn't be able to look at Jazz without giggling for a week.
"Mommy Optimus", indeed. Now, if only he could get the sparkling off of his back...
Oh boy. :o Seeker sparkling in the base!