Well, this is it. Last chapter. I want to thank everyone who hung around for this story despite how slow updates have been. Enjoy!
Sideswipe really wanted to cry.
It seemed to work well for humans when they wanted to purge emotions of frustration and agony and he wondered vaguely if Wheeljack would go for installing tear ducts in his optics. Of course with his luck his optics would end up exploding after such a procedure. Actually letting Wheeljack anywhere near his person would probably be a bad idea. (Like the time he was assigned to help Wheeljack as a lab assistant as some weird form of punishment. Thermite had been involved. Prowl and Wheeljack got a verbal whipping courtesy of a livid Ratchet at some point along the way. It was a long story.)
Still Sideswipe was at his breaking point. He was agitated, injured, and pushed beyond the limits of sanity; more so than any Cybertronian should've had to endure. He just wanted to go home. He missed his brother. His missed the other Autobots. Hell, even Gears would be a welcome face.
Honestly it couldn't get much worse.
The universe had an odd sense of comedic timing because at that moment the sky was split with a crack of lightening and it began to rain.
Sideswipe just gawked at the sky. There was just no way. That was just way too clichéd; way too hokey even for his cornball existence as an Autobot, and that way saying something.
Really. Rain. Just as he thought he couldn't feel more dejected then he already was.
"Well," Sideswipe started rather caustically, addressing the unseen cosmos that was the universe with a dark undertone in his voice. "This is just getting plain ridiculous. How did (what should've been) a short road trip turn into all of this? Is this some sort of karmic volley because of something I did in a past life? Was I an underling of Unicron? Did I eat puppies? What did I do to deserve this?"
It just rained harder.
Frankly it shouldn't have surprised him all that much that it was raining given the location. The state of Oregon wasn't exactly known for its sunny disposition. In fact, there seemed to be a perpetual overcast. Unfortunately, his mind was starting to wander down the dangerous path of Red Alert rationality. The still sane part of his psyche was a little worried about how reasonable everything the Security Director had said in the past about conspiracies and paranoia was at that moment. That yes; the universe was indeed out to get them. Or at least it had a vendetta against Sideswipe for some reason.
"Alright. I get it. Obviously Primus is trying to send me some kind of signal in the form of an endless supply of fleshy antagonism and a nice, soggy rain storm to top it all off," Sideswipe spoke to the sky with a strained laugh. "I've got to say the crappy weather is lacking in imagination though. Why not just drop a meteor on my head and be done with it? Honestly at least it gives me bragging rights. Death by human induced trauma? That sounds pretty lame. Taken out by a fireball dropping out of the sky? Awesome. Grimlock would be jealous."
Suddenly the area was very, very gray, as if the rain washed away all of the color. As Sideswipe stood in the torrential downpour observing the suddenly black and white world around him he began to contemplate and wonder when exactly his life turned into a film noir.
Maybe not film noir. Maybe really bad daytime TV.
He plopped on the muddy ground in a half lotus and rested his face in his palm. He was purposefully ignoring the fact that he was sitting about twenty feet from the side of the highway and that several people were slowing their vehicles as they passed him. They were trying to discern whether or not he was really an Autobot or some weird promotional stunt for the recently opened car dealer just down the road.
He was beyond caring about his appearance at this point, something that would be blasphemous to Sunstreaker. Instead he was pathetically trying to rationalize where he was and how he had gotten to this point.
His mind buzzed in rewind, zipping past the hell that had been his existence for the last 48 hours and suddenly paused as soon as the memory of his battle with Skywarp popped up.
This was all Skywarp's fault. Skywarp and his stupid teleporting.
Sideswipe vaguely remembered overhearing a conversation back at the Ark. Some mechs had been stringing together the similarities between the black and purple seeker and Sideswipe. They were talking about how, from what they heard, Skywarp was a bit of a prankster himself and was known to be laidback about things, enjoying himself a good time, not unlike Sideswipe. One of the alleged Autobots involved in the conversation even had the gall to joke that if there hadn't been a war Sideswipe and Skywarp probably would've been friends. Ya know, given the likeness of the two's personalities.
They were wrong. So very, very wrong. It was incomprehensible the level of their wrongness. That's how off the mark they had been.
The simple truth was that even if there was no war Sideswipe couldn't see himself as Skywarp's friend. It just didn't compute for him. In fact, in hindsight Sideswipe should've been angrier about the baseless speculations regarding himself and the idiot jet. There were absolutely no similarities between them. None whatsoever. For starters Skywarp was a complete and utter moron. He made Sludge look smart (Well, maybe that wasn't completely true but still). Second, even though Sideswipe did pull the occasional (keyword being occasional) joke on his comrades, they were in good fun. From what he heard Skywarp's pranks were borderline first degree murder half the time. Cripes, he put the "fun" in fundamental homicide.
And the more he thought about it the angrier he got. He had the sudden urge to punch whoever had said the two could be friends in the teeth. Because they had been wrong. Severely, devastatingly wrong.
Because at that moment Sideswipe never hated anyone as much as he hated Skywarp. Because if Skywarp hadn't been a malicious idiot, if he hadn't teleported him to Gods know where, he'd probably be back at his base giving his brother a hard time as the brotherly code ordained.
He conveniently wasn't acknowledging the fact that he had technically started the fight with his jet judo. It was common knowledge that that wasn't exactly the most mature way to go into battle.
It was his moping party and he could blame who he wanted to.
The jet should've faced him like a real mech! Not teleport him away hoping the problem would disappear. Stupid son of a Cessna. Stupid teleporting.
A crack of lightening punctuated his remark.
He made a list in his head. It was labeled "things I need to do when I get back". The top priorities were the following:
1. Hug Sunstreaker
2. Take a shower
3. Sleep. Sleep forever
4. Get repaired
5. Fix jetpack
6. Kill Skywarp until he's dead. Rinse, repeat.
Not necessarily in that order.
But he wouldn't be able to accomplish any of that until he actually got himself back to the Ark. He couldn't give up now. He was so close.
In fact, thinking about all of that gave him a second wind, a second burst of energy. Theoretically anyway since technically he was only at a twelve percent total energy capacity. Also his systems were starting to overheat so much that most of the raindrops that hit his armor evaporated into steam on contact with a sizzle.
Still with his newfound motivation and delirium he transformed and made his way back to the road.
But in his brand new haste to get back he probably broke the speed limit by 20 mph.
No one in Skyfire felt like talking.
It just wasn't sinking in very well. Sideswipe? Dead? It didn't compute. The young mech had just been so full of life, so sure of himself in battle. He had always been a mech who was approachable but untouchable.
Hearing that he had been destroyed by Skywarp of all mechs? It was devastating to Ratchet. It was like the universe imploded around him. There was no sense in it. Because it had been Sideswipe.
Sideswipe. The most enduring of his patients. To know that he would never again work on the young soldier, to know that he would never fix damaged components while they both volleyed banter off each other, it just didn't make sense.
And so Ratchet fixated himself on the living twin if just so he wouldn't have to comprehend the enormity of what had happened.
Sunstreaker was still completely catatonic. On some level it seemed like he was awake but he just didn't comprehend what was going on around him. It was like he was completely detached from reality. Then again he had only had his head bashed in like three times in the last forty eight hours so it was somewhat expected.
A selfish part of Ratchet hoped he just wouldn't wake up. He didn't have the heart to tell Sunstreaker the fate of his brother. It would absolutely crush the golden twin.
It was crushing the medic.
Ratchet didn't have to think more on it. He and everyone else in the shuttle slammed into a wall as Skyfire violently flipped to his side. The jet wobbled before he could right himself again.
There was chaos, cursing and some grumbling from Gears.
Prime tried untangling himself from the bottom of the Autobot pile. "Skyfire! What's going on?"
There was another impact that almost caused Skyfire to nosedive.
"They followed us! I'm taking fire! Real fire!" Skyfire rattled again as he was hit."Whatever it was got my thrusters! I have to land."
And so he did. It wasn't the most graceful of landings but everyone made it out in one piece. They landed in the mountainous desert only miles away from Portland.
Ratchet and Inferno were the last to leave dragging Sunstreaker out before Skyfire transformed. The large jet winced as he did so. He was covered in several burns. He was a sturdy mech but whatever had attacked did quite some damage.
"Autobots! Take cover!" Optimus ordered. They didn't need to be told twice.
The Aerialbots, deciding that flying was probably not the best of options at the moment hastily landed and The Autobots dove for cover.
Ratchet made sure to stay close to Sunstreaker, given that the zonked out warrior was in no condition to defend himself. He scanned the sky.
Skywarp and Thundercracker were present, as was a strangely bright green seeker. However none of them were paying much attention to the Autobots . Their attention was rather focused on…
…the ball of fire in the sky.
Ok. Upon further inspection Ratchet realized that it wasn't a ball of fire. It was a seeker on fire. Only the seeker seemed to be totally with cool with being a living Zippo, and not at all in agonizing burning pain. Ya know, as one would usually be when on fire.
Skywarp, the mech Ratchet hated more than anything else at that given moment, appeared to be cautiously addressing the burning seeker. "Hey, Sunstorm. Nice Sunstorm. You want an energon snack? I'll give you an energon snack if you come back to base with us. Doesn't that sound like a great idea?"
Apparently it did not. Sunstorm as he was now designated responded by hurling a giant wad of fire at Skywarp. The black jet teleported away from it and reappeared next to Thundercracker.
"Jeez. Why are you all hating on energon snacks today?"
From what Ratchet had observed in the past, Thundercracker was probably the most soft spoken and rationale of the Decepticons.
At the moment he looked like he wanted to wring Skywarp's neck. "Skywarp just stop! You'll just piss him off more!"
"Well do you have any ideas, oh great and wise Cracker of Thunder?" He gesticulated at the fiery mech. "How do you plan to get him back! He's insane!"
"Not by treating him like a dog! Does he look like a dog to you?"
"I know he's not a dog! He doesn't have scales!"
Thundercracker looked at his companion with complete horror. "Primus, there is just no way you're that stupid, Skywarp. Please tell me you're not that stupid. I need to know this."
"Um can we not argue right now?" Acid Storm was looking distressed. This was reasonable since Sunstorm was lobbing balls of fire at him now, instead of at the Autobots he had been chasing. His fellow seekers ignored him and continued to squabble.
"ENOUGH!" Sunstorm's deep voice boomed. "I've had had enough of such pathetic wretches as yourselves! You dare stand in the way of Primus' divine will? Then you will be struck down with a terrible vengeance! Your souls shall burn for eternity!"
"Hey creamsicle!" Skywarp turned on the seeker. "Could you wait a second! My buddy and I are having words."
"You know what a creamsicle is," Thundercracker grated slowly, "But you don't know what a dog is!"
"Why does it matter? All organics look the same anyways! On the inside at least."
Ratchet watched as Acid Storm wiped his hand down his face and then covered his optics with a sigh. He seemed to be contemplating whether or not it was too late to join the Autobots.
That jolted Ratchet and all of the others. Suddenly Sunstorm was addressing the Autobots. "Inferior, defective ground dwellers such as yourselves don't deserve to be in the sanctity of the great creator's embrace! It is the will of Primus that you all be incinerated before his righteous gaze!"
Prime stared. And he stared. And he wondered why Megatron was so set on Sunstreaker. Because it appeared that the war lord already had a homicidal, yellow lunatic of his own. Why would he need Prime's? This mech was one fry short of a happy meal, it should've been more than enough to deal with.
Nobody else seemed to be having any luck rationalizing the lunacy that was before them.
"Oh, Primus. Is he serious?" Air Raid asked flatly. "Is anyone else not able to take this seriously right now?"
It was like someone threw lighter fluid on the yellow Seeker because his righteous fire exploded in size. "How dare you use the great almighty creator's name in vain!" he roared, holy vengeance in his voice.
"Way to go Raid." Slingshot glared at his gestalt mate. "Way to flipping go. You made the pilot light madder."
Air Raid eyed the mech. "I could take him."
"You will all burn for your blasphemy!"
And that's when it started raining fire. Air Raid was decidedly eating his words.
"…and as it were a great mountain, raging with fire, it arose from the sea!" Sunstorm snarled as he pitched a particularly big ball of consecrated fire toward the Aerialbots.
It was difficult to tell if the estranged yellow seeker was just babbling and quoting random snippets of scripture, or if he was actually referring to himself.
Meanwhile, Skywarp was watching the Autobots scramble for cover in glee. Thundercracker watched with a listless boredom. Acid Storm was contemplating giving Megatron his two weeks' notice.
"Well," Thundercracker began apathetically. "Maybe he'll tire himself out at least."
"Is anyone else really, really, reeeellly wishing Trailbreaker was here right now? I could use a good force field right about now!" Bluestreak yelped and dove away, narrowly avoiding being incinerated by radioactive, holy fire.
"Well he's not here so it doesn't matter. I knew I shouldn't have gone on this trip. Being melted into slag is on my top three list of how I didn't want to go," Gears grumbled standing with his arms folded. Miraculously he wasn't being hit by any fire.
"Could someone just shoot that crackpot firebug out of the sky already?" Inferno roared.
"I'm trying! I'm trying!" And Bluestreak was but he could never be in the same spot long enough to get a good shot before he was fleeing for his life.
It was like they were being assaulted be a meteor shower. A holy, crazy meteor shower.
"Silence!" Sunstorm's fire flared. "Foolish mortals such as yourselves could not even fathom the depths that Primus's will flows through me! You will never escape my wrath!"
"Pfft. Yeah." Inferno scoffed. "He's about as deep as a dried puddle in the desert."
That seemed to make the seeker even angrier than he had been.
Ratchet really wished his comrades knew how to shut up sometimes.
Soooo Sideswipe was running away from the police.
He was doing it in the most literal sense of the term too. He was actually on two legs, fleeing from a swarm of cop cars that were dodging traffic behind him.
Because when he had been simply driving away from the police he hadn't counted on them placing a spike strip on the highway.
At least it wasn't raining anymore.
His tires were blown out and he almost fishtailed into a ditch but he had managed to transform and the chase was being taken on foot.
Apparently the evil blob lady from the impound lot had put out a notice and a warrant for his arrest. Since there weren't many bright red Lamborghini Countach's with large Autobot symbols on their hoods driving around. They had found him pretty easily.
For being a robot in disguise, he was pretty bad at the whole disguise part.
In his hysteria to get back to base he hadn't even noticed that the fuzz had been hot on his trail for several miles
You know, until he actually hit the spike strip.
So he swerved, transformed, righted himself and kept on running. He had a one track mind now. Get back. Get back. That was the mantra in his head. Usually he wouldn't have allowed himself to get caught in this situation. Usually he was too clever and fast but he was at his wit's end. His energy was low, and rationality was leaving him. In his mind, as irrational as it sounded, he believed that if he was caught by the police and put back in that impound lot he'd never get back to the Ark.
From the corner of his optics he saw a highway sign that said he was in Salem Oregon.
He was so close. So close. All he need was an extra hour or so and he'd be on the home stretch. He was so close to Portland he could almost taste the Voodoo Donuts.
There was a road block ahead. Sideswipe growled and picked up speed. These police officers were the last thing standing between him and his base. He coiled and jumped clearing the blockade like a hurdle.
It was at that moment his systems decided to fritz. Midair he completely blanked long enough to forget completely about his landing. He crashed and rolled across the asphalt. Several police officers yelped and dove for cover as the large red mech tumbled across the road. The impact was so jarring that Sideswipe's broken jetpack was literally ripped out of subspace and went sprawling with its owner. They both stopped several yards away from the cops.
Sideswipe was face down and he did not feel like getting up any time soon. He wanted to bury his head in the sand like an ostrich. If he couldn't see them then they couldn't see him right?
Blearily he peaked up. Nope, all the officers were staring at him terrified with weapons raised.
He got on his forearms, then on his knees. Weakly, with little energy left he fell back into a sit.
"Autobot!" one of the humans spoke. He had more pins on his jacket then the other fellows. He was probably the one with the highest rank.
Sideswipe looked at the head cop dude blankly, and fixed his broken jetpack to his back so he'd have free use of his arms.
"Why didn't you pull over?"
"Well," Sideswipe began with an odd sense of calm, and a bizarrely rational tone in his voice, "I didn't know you wanted me to."
The cop sputtered. "You were running away!"
"Well I obviously couldn't drive anymore what with that spike strip and all. I really need to get back to my base. Like really. Like now," He insisted.
"We did that so you would stop. Do you know how fast you were going?"
"Nope," he said indifferently, "Ya see, my speedometer went offline hours ago. To conserve energy. I sort of have to guess now. I suppose I was off."
"You were going twenty five miles over the speed limit."
"Well now I know. And knowing is half the battle. Can I go now?"
The police officer was going to respond but he was cut off by something that sounded a lot like a car backfiring. The loud pop jolted Sideswipe and several cops hit the deck thinking it was a gun shot.
"Lay down your arms!" the officer's voice was an octave higher than it probably usually was.
"I don't have any!" Sideswipe yelled back and then paused because he remembered that he actually did have weapons on him. In fact, he had a lot of weapons on him. However he didn't have much time to ponder the devastation that could be caused by his hidden arsenal because there was another even louder pop. This time Sideswipe felt heat run down his back.
Sideswipe careened his head back to take a look at what was happening back there and to his horror found that the jetpack he had just fixed to his back was starting to smoke from its thrusters.
"You have got to be kidding me."
It had been rendered offline by both energy drain and Sideswipe's spectacular dive into the desert. It apparently wasn't as dead as he thought and in fact recharged much of its battery power.
Almost in the exact same way his jet pack had died, there was a snap, a crackle, and a pop, and it began to rattle to life.
Sideswipe was getting an odd sense of Déjà vu.
Even though the jet pack was no longer broken, it was still, well, broken. Just because it was no longer offline, didn't necessarily mean that it was working as should be. So to Sideswipe's horror not only was the once dead contraption roaring to life, not only was fire bursting from the thrusters, it was doing all of this despite the fact that he had not activated it.
Sideswipe felt himself get slowly dragged across the pavement as his jetpack charged and gained purchase.
"Frag me," Sideswipe muttered dryly.
The jetpack exploded to life and Sideswipe was sent hurtling backwards and away from the police at a bone-shatteringly fast speed.
It was a good thing he didn't have bones.
Bluestreak paused in his task of trying to riddle Sunstorm with bullet holes long enough to say, "Did I just hear a sonic boom?"
Various mechs paused and listened. Even Sunstorm temporarily halted his fiery reign of terror. A deep guttural noise reverberated in the distance. Pebbles and loose dirt on the ground vibrated briefly. As soon as it happened it stopped.
Several sets of optics went to Thundercracker.
"It wasn't me," he shrugged.
A dark speck silhouetted against the bright afternoon sky appeared on the horizon miles away. It was fast approaching this speck and upon closer inspection you could see a halo of light back dropping the object.
The closer this high-speed, sporadically flying object hurtled toward the warring factions the more noticeable the noise it was making became. It sounded vaguely like a single jet turbine working over time, and somebody screaming in terror.
Sunstorm paused his ranting and squinted at the object wonder what in the name a Primus it was.
It was going faster than he had previously guessed because in almost an instant the object plowed right into him knocking the seeker clear out of the sky.
There was an explosion and cataclysmic confetti rained on earth. Sunstorm and the object hit the dirt at a high velocity. A mushroom cloud of desert dust swirled and erupted from the point of impact.
The Autobots stared dumbly at the powder wondering what in the name of Primus just happened there.
With bated breath they watched as the dust slowly cleared. The silhouette of a mech shakily getting to a stand was visible through the haze.
The mech was not Sunstorm.
It was Sideswipe.
It was Sideswipe who came out relatively unscathed from the high speed collision. Sunstorm on the other hand was off to the side unconscious and smoldering like a radioactive campfire. They were in the desert so his fire wasn't spreading anywhere. The sand under him was turning into glass though.
Meanwhile, Sideswipe stared blandly at his fellow Autobots. There was no wide grin on his face or a contagious laugh in his voice. He made no witty or sarcastic quips, or joking remarks.
In fact he looked downright awful.
If you told a passerby that Sideswipe was a red and white mech they probably wouldn't believe you. He was caked with so much mud, soot and sand that it looked like he was wearing desert army camouflage. His armor was ripped up and scratched, particularly around the bottoms of his shin guards. Shrubs, brambles and other kinds of pointy, dry desert foliage were crammed in every crevice and cranny he had. Golden and blue sparks were raining intermittently from various joints, and junctions in his body. There appeared to be a nervous twitch causing his left optic to jump slightly every so often.
He looked to be a fortune cookie short of a Chinese dinner.
But the Autobots, and the seekers (Skywarp in particular because he had been pretty sure that this Autobot had been dead), were just too in awe by the fact that he appeared to be functioning and that he was just there, to be overly concerned with his appearance.
That would later be seen as a very big mistake.
"Ground control to Major Tom," Sideswipe said unevenly saluting Prime with the wrong hand. His leader just eyed him dumbly like he was seeing a ghost.
Everyone else was just as shell-shocked, none of them quite believed what they were seeing.
But that was what Bluestreak was for; because Bluestreak always had something to say about everything. "Sideswipe? Sideswipe! You're alive!"
It took a moment but Sideswipe turned his head in Bluestreak's direction and addressed him.
"Well. Obviously yeah. Or I wouldn't be standing here." He paused seemingly in deep contemplation. "Or maybe I'm a ghost. But if I was a ghost there'd be funner people to haunt then you guys. People like Skids. I don't think we pay enough attention to Skids. He'd appreciate a good haunting," Sideswipe stated with an odd sort of irrational clarity. "But I don't think I'm a ghost. Ghosts don't get headaches, and I'm getting a headache. They don't feel anything. I mean, that's just sense. And if they did, well snap, they'd be getting the raw end of the deal."
"Huh?" Bluestreak tried comprehending the strangeness that had come from Sideswipe's vocals.
"They should join a union," Sideswipe continued on with complete enthusiastic seriousness. "To make sure that their ghosty integrity and their right to not feel anything is kept intact."
Sunstreaker, up to that point, had been borderline comatose. However just hearing his brother's voice was doing the trick of rousing him from the land of head trauma induced hibernation. "Sideswipe?" he muttered barely above a whisper.
Sideswipe didn't seem to notice his brother right off the bat. That in its self should have raised the red flags.
Ratchet plowed right through the danger signs. "Primus on a fraggin' pogo stick! Where the hell have you been you little monster?" he raged.
He was relieved, oh how he was relieved to see the mech functioning. In fact joy was bubbling up from the cold depths of his spark like a geyser at the sight of the front-liner. However Sideswipe had made Ratchet worry. That alone was a worthy enough transgression that deserved scowl and a vicious verbal thrashing
Sideswipe's processer seemed to be on a delay. It took him a good three seconds to drop his salute and reply. "What? Oh. Hi, Ratchet."
He said it in a thoughtful tone which was alarming. There was no sarcasm, or obnoxious joy in his voice. There was just acknowledgement.
The other Autobots cowered away, not wanting to be any closer to the volcano that was Ratchet then they had to be.
"Shut your trap, Bucko. I don't want to hear it right now!" Ratchet bitterly spat.
Sideswipe just fixated on Ratchet, only half comprehending what was going on. He was a little distracted by the sharp pain that was starting to lance squarely through the middle of his forehead. Still something in his basic programming was aware of the fact that ignoring Ratchet was a very bad thing to do. "But I-" He was sharply cut off.
"You, Dumbass! While you were gallivanting off doing Primus knows what, we were stuck at the Ark wasting time and resources to find you! We thought you were dead Sideswipe. DEAD! Sunstreaker risked his life because of you! To SAVE you! And here is your moronic self perfectly ok!"
Understanding started to dawn on the red mach. He was getting yelled at. Why was he getting yelled at? He didn't do anything that warranted it. Nothing that had happened was his fault (Maybe the towing incident. The evidence was inconclusive in his opinion.)
Sideswipe had dealt with so much in so little time, and he wasn't sure he could handle the Ratchet cherry topping off the crap sundae that was his life at the moment.
"You don't understand," Sideswipe pleaded desperately. The ache in his head only grew. The pressure was getting to be too much. Everything was feeling hot and suffocating.
"What should stop me from giving you a full-scale beat down? Do you have any idea what we've gone through in order to find your lazy ungrateful aft?"
That was about all Sideswipe could take. At that moment he had had only one foot firmly grounded in sanity. He had been one incident short of shorting out then and there and Ratchet's words had been the straw that broke the camel's back. Lazy? Ungrateful?
Sideswipe reached his mental threshold and fell quite squarely into Crazyville.
Complete mental break down commencing in three, two, one…
A horrifying sound erupted from Sideswipe's vocals. A terrifying mixture of rage, frustration and confusion all rolled up into one spark wrenching cry.
And as soon as it happened it stopped. Sideswipe's face went scarily blank.
Nobody moved. Nobody said anything. Even Ratchet was too in shock to continue his berating.
Sideswipe decidedly felt it was his duty to annihilate the silence. So he did. "Halt die fresse! Halt den Mund! Ich hasse euch alle ihr Gott verdammten Hurensöhne!"
The mechs stood in an icy fear motionless, soundless, as if the slightest twitch might set off Sideswipe into a homicidal rampage. Other then Sideswipe's haranguing no one said anything.
Once again, that's what Bluestreak was for. "What's he saying?"
"He's cursing in German," an unexpected voice piped through the crowd. Sunstreaker was still not all there but the abrupt presence of his brother seemed to be pulling him out of his catatonic funk. "He feels English isn't angry sounding enough."
"That doesn't sound like German."
"He just switched to Norwegian. That's why," he continued somewhat airily.
Sideswipe proceeded to curse out everyone on the field using every language that he knew. It ranged from Cybertronian, to several Earthen languages like Icelandic and Basque, to several off world languages that would even leave Soundwave somewhat perplexed. The Autobots were of the opinion that Sideswipe was just starting to make words up.
Inferno covered Blustreak's audios much to the displeasure of the young gunner as Sideswipe's verbal castigating got more explicit.
After running down the line Sideswipe finished spectacularly in the one language everyone on the field knew. "DO ANY OF YOU PRIMUS FRAGGIN JERKS KNOW WHAT I'VE BEEN THROUGH?"
"Woah. Where did he have the time to learn all of that?" Someone asked in awe at the red mechs unexpected language skills.
"Odds are, he just learned the curse words. That's what I do when I go somewhere new."
"Yeah… Wait. Why am I talking to a Decepticon? Shut up, Skywarp. Go die."
"Back at ya, Groundling."
"Oh, Sideswipe," Sunstreaker said blearily, finally snapping out of his delirium. He rolled to his knees and rose. "When did you get here?" He asked rather calmly.
"Sideswipe, please compose yourself. You're acting irrational," Prime tried placating the Lamborghini.
Sideswipe whipped his head toward his leader and gave him a downright nasty look. No salutes for Prime this time. "Shut up."
"What?" Optimus couldn't have heard that right. He looked to Ratchet for confirmation. The medic was just as thunderstruck as the rest of them were.
"Sideswipe. Are you alright?" Optimus asked out of complete concern.
"Shut up!" Sideswipe's voice was taking on a tone of warning.
"Sideswipe. Calm down. Do you realize-"
"SHUT UP, PRIME!"
Everyone on the field went dead silent. Well, more dead silent then they already had been. Even the wind in the desert stopped blowing.
Like a drunkard Sideswipe turned quickly from his leader and stumbled to his brother. Sunstreaker was finally somewhat aware of what was going on around him. On his face there was a slightly panicked look that read as "I should probably get out of here now. Right now." Even though he was obviously aware of the fact that he probably chose a really bad time to be conscious, he couldn't move. It was his brother after all.
His deranged, half mad brother.
And so Sideswipe shuffled over to his twin, slapped one hand on the golden mech's shoulder and said, "Sunstreaker." A look of stone cold seriousness was on his face. "I need a hug."
"What the hell?" Sunstreaker sneered.
Not moments ago he had been irrationally concerned about his sibling. So what if he was extremely relieved and happy that his brother was alive? That didn't mean he wanted to get all mushy about their odd reunion. This wasn't a soap opera. There'd be no sappy confessions of brotherly love and concern if he could help it. That and quite frankly he didn't want Sideswipe's grime getting on him.
He laid down the law. "I'm not hugging you."
The pitiful woes-I look on Sideswipe's face morphed into one of raw wide-eyed fury. His fingers dug in Sunstreaker's shoulder guard denting the metal. "Hug me dammit or, so help me, I'll shoot you."
Sunstreaker threw an arm awkwardly over his raving brother's shoulder and pulled him in for a discomfited hug. Sideswipe sighed and dropped his head so it rested against his brother's shoulder.
They stood there for a few seconds of uncomfortable silence. Smartly no one commented on the odd scene of one-sided brotherly affection but Sunstreaker's self-consciousness was nearing a plateau anyway. "Sides? Sides. This is ridiculous. And you feel really warm."
"I hate boots," was the muffled reply. "And humanity."
Alarmed Sunstreaker held his brother away at arm's length. "Primus, you feel really warm." His brother's armor was more than warm. It was boiling.
Sideswipe broke away from the hug without much resistance from Sunstreaker and drunkenly swayed toward Optimus Prime. The awe inspiring commander of the Autobot forces tried to channel Prowl so he could come up with some logical response/escape plan. He tried to move but his treacherous legs failed him. All he could do was stand there like a gaping fish as the train wreck known as Sideswipe closed the distance between them.
Stopping just short of being in Prime's personal bubble Sideswipe gave his commanding officer a pitiful look. Kicked puppy pitiful. It hurt to look at. "Prime?"
He tread with caution. "Yes, Sideswipe?"
"I need a license."
"A license of what nature?"
"A driver's license."
"Sideswipe, you…have…a license." Each word came out awkwardly and sounded like Prime was extraordinarily confused. He really wished Prowl were here.
Sideswipe stared, optics glazing over with a slightly demented look. "What?"
"I acquired registered driver's licenses for us all so we'd comply with Earthen road law." Prime was still put off by the unhinged look on Sideswipe's face. "You didn't read the memo. You never read the memos."
Then again Optimus wasn't entirely sure his second in command could handle this level of absurdity. Odds were it would break Prowl pretty good.
That's when Sideswipe started to laugh hysterically. He doubled over, held his sides and he laughed, and he laughed until it actually looked like his own mirth was causing him pain. Then abruptly his hysterics transformed into what sounded like sobbing which made absolutely no sense since Cybertronians could not cry in the conditional sense of the term.
It was highly uncharacteristic of Prime, but he looked like he desperately wanted to ditch everyone to save his own hide. None of the other mechs were faring any better either but then again none of them had a Lamborghini having a total breakdown at their feet.
So Sideswipe sobbed and he sobbed, and when he could sob no more he went back to fits of laughter. "I gotta- gotta tell Subitron this!" Sideswipe gasped out, succumbing to hilarity again. Optimus could only watch his young soldier in horror.
"Subitron?" Prime was a hair past worried at this point. "Ratchet. Ratchet, get over here now please."
By then Sideswipe had sauntered over to Skydive. Before the Aerialbot could flee Sideswipe had grabbed him firmly by the shoulders and reeled him in so they were almost touching foreheads. Impressive given that Skydive was way taller.
The look on Sideswipe's face was one of heavy solemnity. The one on Skydive's face was brick-shitting fear.
"Wheeljack." Sideswipe gave Skydive (who was clearly not Wheeljack) a little shake for emphasis. Then with the utmost gravity in his voice said, "I want Hydraulic locks."
"Eh, what? Sideswipe. I'm not Wheeljack."
That little bit of information obviously didn't stop Sideswipe from believing what he wanted to believe. If he thought Skydive was Wheeljack, then Skydive was Wheeljack. End of story.
"Hydraulic locks. On my alt form," he elaborated. "Really difficult ones to break. And flame throwers in my doors. Ones that go off when anyone but me tries to open them. Yeah that sounds good."
"Well," Skydive wasn't sure if he should be negotiating with what appeared to be a clinically insane melee warrior, but saying nothing didn't appear to be an option. He decided to go along with Sideswipe's delusion. "I'll see what I can do."
"No!" Sideswipe abruptly yanked him closer so their foreheads clanked together.
Skydive let out a very unmechly yelp.
"You won't try. You will. Make it. Happen." Sideswipe punctuated each word by giving Skydive a little shake.
"Uh-alrighty then. I guess I'll go get started on that. Right away. So could you, ya know, let me go so I can do that, uh, thing for you?"
Sideswipe stared at him for another good ten seconds before giving him another shake. "Hydraulic locks. Don't forget."
"Only I can activate them."
"I got that, so-"
"And flamethrowers. I want flamethrowers. In my doors. My doors."
"I know, Sideswipe."
"Make sure you remember."
"Don't worry. I'll remember."
"Seriously." Shake. Jostle. "Don't forget."
"I promise. I won't forget."
"You better not forget." The look on Sideswipe's face was still serious though somewhat hazy and removed. "The flamethrowers. Or the locks. Cuz, ya know, I'll break you otherwise."
The way he said it, what with the blandness and lack of any sort of anger or threatening quality, made that statement absolutely terrifying.
"D-Don't worry. I'll get everything right."
"Okay." Pause. "Cool. Thanks, Wheeljack. You're a pal."
Ratchet had been trying to sneak up on Sideswipe, a powerful sedative in hand, as the warrior had been distracted with trying to shake apart Skydive.
Unfortunately the moment Ratchet decided to lunge at Sideswipe was when Sideswipe decided to relinquish his grip on Skydive. The Aerialbot dropped like a lead brick and scooted back as far as he could as fast as possible.
Erratically Sideswipe swung around and caught Ratchet by the wrist before the medic had a chance to jam the powerful sedative into a port in his neck. Ratchet looked like a deer in the headlights. He had clearly not expected the warrior's reflexes to be that good in the state he was in.
"Ratchet," Sideswipe said rather serenely. "I was stolen, I have a traumatic stain in my CPU that needs a severe bleaching, I was towed and impounded, I smell like hobo, and I have just endured 48 hours of cross country hell, a good fraction of the way with a swarm of cop cars after me. So do not mess with me right now."
Sideswipe let go and pivoted again so he was facing the rest of his Autobot comrades.
He looked like hell warmed over, and yet his face was strangely calm as he raised both of his arms into the air and announced, "And that's our show, ladies and gentleman! Remember don't drink and drive! Without a license! You'll get impounded! Oh and Skywarp, I am going to kick your ass later and whatever is left of you is going through a paper shredder. Good night Portland!"
And then the last forty eight hours finally took its toll. Sideswipe conked out and dropped to the ground with a heavy thud.
It took a good ten minutes of people trying to figure out what the hell had just happened before anyone moved. It took another ten before anyone was brave enough to find out if Sideswipe was still alive.
The Seekers at that point decided that all of the insanity that had gone on was about all they could handle. If this was the sort of thing that happened when the Autobot twins were involved they were probably not worth the trouble. So Acid Storm was made to gather up Sunstorm before Skywarp had a chance to roast marshmallows over him and they left soon after.
Whatever Megatron decided to dish out to them for the failure didn't even matter to them at that point. Nothing was worth this insanity.
In the end Prime did get to keep his one sociopath. His neurotic sibling was a bonus.
"I am in total shock that Sunstreaker doesn't have some kind of cerebral cortex damage after all of this. He must've been hit over the head several times in the last couple of days," Ratchet noted. The golden mech was in a deep recharge, this time without the aid of anesthetics. He was deemed perfectly healthy (for Sunstreaker anyway) by Ratchet giving the medic time to focus on his unquestionably less put together twin.
"You know what. Why did we interfere? Sunstreaker was this close to actually doing something none of us have been able to do." Gears queried.
"You mean getting his aft kicked by the Decepticons?" Ratchet groused. "How is that something we haven't managed to do? I say we accomplish that pretty damn regularly."
"He took out a whole fleet of seekers. Byhimself."
"Look Sunny's good but he's not that good. If he went one on one against Megatron he woulda gotten ripped in two. You know that," Inferno interjected.
"He took out a fleet of Seekers. By himself."
"It's not that impressive. They're just seekers. Most of 'em are just background noise," Inferno noted.
"Yeah. I sort of forget that most of them exist," Bluestreak added. "I honestly thought that Starscream's trine was it. Really when did they all get here? When exactly did that happen? They're like mushrooms. You get rid of one and two sprout in its place. Like that green seeker from earlier. Where did he come from? Or the one on fire. How could we have not noticed the fact that Megatron has a seeker that's on fire?"
"Alright, that's it," Ratchet started somewhat irritated. "I've had enough of the peanut gallery. Everyone who's not a patient or Prime get the hell out of my Medbay. Unless you're volunteering yourself for spare parts. If that's the case by all means feel free to stay."
Inferno and Gears left in a hurry.
Bluestreak blinked. "What about my chemical burns?" He pointed to the fine charred layer on his side, courtesy of the green seeker he had tackled.
"Just go see First Aid. Over there." Somewhere away where Ratchet wasn't working on repairing Sideswipe's superficial damage. He didn't mind Bluestreak all that much but he didn't want to deal with the inevitable prattle while he was working on a blacked out Sideswipe.
Bluestreak sighed and complied. Seconds later they heard him chattering to First Aid off in the distance.
"So," Prime ventured.
"So?" Ratchet didn't look up as he extracted another gnarly twig from one of Sideswipe's peds. He looked at it in disdain before dropping it in the growing pile next to the berth. There were enough scrubs and branches accumulated in the mound to make a decent sized bonfire.
"Is he going to be all right, Ratchet?" Optimus inquired with mild concern.
"Yeah, our red nitwit will be ok." Ratchet yanked a particularly stubborn branch from a joint.
"Why was he acting, you know, like-"
"Like a raving lunatic?" Ratchet flicked the wood and it landed in the growing pile of kindling. "Sideswipe, in the literalist sense of the term, was having a complete meltdown. All the stress he's had to deal with for the past couple of days, together with his dangerous lack of energy put a massive strain on his systems until they finally didn't know what to do anymore. His internal heating system crashed which caused a spike in his internal temperature. That basically fried his circuits and is most likely why he started acting psychotic. He'll be completely normal when he wakes up." A pause. "Well normal for him anyway. Right now he just needs a nice long recharge more than anything."
"Well it's good to hear that Sideswipe will be back to being…well, Sideswipe. How long until he comes out of recharge?"
"It's hard to say. He's already woken up twice. It was kind of annoying actually. He kept saying over, and over that he wanted to see-"
"No. His jetpack."