Disclaimer: I do not own Transformers. All recognizable characters are the property of HasTak. All unrecognizable ones are the intellectual property of yours truly; their theft is punishable by severe voodoo-induced pain in any and all sensitive organs of the body, followed by eternal damnation.

Because, you know, stealing is wrong.


Title: Descant

Summary: G1/Jux compliant. Requiem sequel. Prowl doubted that his desired image of Respected Superior Officer came across very well with a half-scrapped mech clinging to his hand, but he loomed as best as he was able and glared.

Rating: T

Warnings: mild mech gore

Author Notes: Cafei made me do it! I have a stamp to prove it. XD


Descant

Part One


Dr. Rodney McKay: I'm not sure I can fix this.
Dr. Peter Grodin:
You can fix anything.
Dr. Rodney McKay:
Who told you that?
Dr. Peter Grodin:
You did. On several occasions.
- Stargate: Atlantis


Prowl doubted that his desired image of Respected Superior Officer came across very well with a half-scrapped mech clinging to his hand, but he loomed as best as he was able and glared. The local stationed medic shrank back slightly, but the anti-grav litter acting as barrier between them (currently occupied by the aforementioned half-scrapped mech) seemed to give him a sense of security.

"I'm telling you, I can't." The dark blue mech gestured fiercely to the rows upon rows of other litters set up within the scattered bits of shelter that were all that remained of the Autobot base. "We're all working triple-shifts, some of us are still working on triage, and senior medic or no, I do not have the time for repairs this extensive! He's stable; he can wait."

The air was heavy with the scents of smoke and stale energon, and the distant sounds of ongoing battle thundered from over the northeast ridge. With the recent debilitating attack made by the Decepticons upon the local Autobot outpost, Bernabier 2 had become a fierce hotspot in the ongoing Autobot-Decepticon conflict, and when things got hot, the Council sent in the best mechs available to deal with it.

Another rumbling boom, accompanied by an impressive octarine glow against the pale violet sky, caused Prowl to suspect that sending in the Wreckers for this particular mission was even moreso overkill than sending in a Prime's unit had been.

The white mech glanced down at the mangled ruins of the downed mech's optics and torso and felt his systems heat with ire. "Stable he may be, but his entire sensor net has been offlined or dulled to the point of no use. Leaving him like this is paramount to torture."

"Believe me, there's worse torture than being numb, and the shape he's in, it's probably a blessing." The medic's systems vented with a loud, growling noise. "You are keeping me from patients who may die without treatment."

Prowl's sensory panels flicked in irritation before he forced them to assume their usual upright positions. As much as it grated, the other mech was correct.

"Very well," he said at last. "My apologies."

The medic would not meet his gaze. "I'll put him on the priority list when these are stable," he said, a hint of an apology of his own in his voice. "An orn... maybe two, at the most."

"Don't bother." Prowl was already opening a communications link with the Imperion-class battlecruiser currently high in orbit, relaying the proper codes to gain access to the system and logging on to the officer's channel. He pinged the ship's CMO and waited for a response. "I'll make arrangments."

The minibot who had first helped Prowl navigate the litter through the rubble-strewn remnants of the Decepticon base leapt forward to help again when Prowl used his free hand to pull the litter toward one of the open lanes of ground not occupied by supplies or wounded. The small mech was painted an obnoxiously bright shade, not that Prowl's paintjob all that subtle, but while the minibot was clearly too young to have attended Academy on Iacon, he was intelligent and willing enough that it was only he out of a crowd of other nearby mechs who had possessed the presence of mind to help Prowl with the retrieval of the injured mech. The tactician made a note to mention the young mech to Prime.

"Where to, sir?" inquired the minibot --Wasp or Hornet or whatever his name was.

"Landing fields," said Prowl. He sent another inquiring ping, and a channel was opened at last.

:What now?: The CMO's reply was heavily laden with annoyance and a definite undertone of 'this-had-better-be-important-or-else'. Prowl was fairly certain at this point that this was the medic's normal tone.

:I've got a patient for you: replied the tactician. :Stable for now, but he's carrying information that Optimus will want to see, and he needs repairs.:

:Perfect. As if I don't have enough to do trying to piece together Ironhide and the rest of this Primus-forsaken suicide squad.:

:Consider it a way to keep your skills sharp: replied Prowl. :We're on the next shuttle up.:

:Fine, fine. I'll clear a berth.:


"Primus blast you and your slagging sense of composure to the flaming Pit!"

Prowl narrowly dodged the soldering iron that the white and red medic had sent spinning with deadly accuracy toward his head. Said medic was in fine form and high fury, optics blazing nearly white.

"Repairs? He needs 'repairs'? The poor slagger practically needs a full overhaul, not even considering the mangle they've made of his processing systems! And you didn't think to give me a little warning?!"

Prowl ducked an electro-spanner and thought that perhaps Optimus did not fully appreciate the temperament of the mech he had so recently promoted as Chief Medical Officer of his unit.

"Ratchet--"

"Get the slag out of my 'bay!"

"I can't." He recieved a spool of wire to his chevron, and it took a moment for the sensors in his helm to stop sending error messages to his CPU. He shook his head, rebooted several jarred programs, and sent a quelling glare at the other mech. "Ratchet, he won't let go."

"He what?"

Prowl lifted his trapped hand, dragging up the arm of the quiescent mech with it. Black fingers, scratched and worn, were wrapped tightly around Prowl's white ones with surprising force. Ratchet, wrench still in hand but forgotten for the moment, came over to the berth and peered at the situation. He gave Prowl an unamused look.

"So? I doubt someone used a perma-bonding agent on you."

Prowl narrowed his optics. Grasping the downed mech's wrist in his free hand, he wrenched his hand away.

The shell upon the medical berth shuddered violently, and a thin, static-laden moan came from the mech's vocalizer as his hand stretched toward Prowl. The ultrasonic keen of a suffering mech cut through the air and made both Prowl and Ratchet shiver as their sensors tingled unpleasantly, and the tactician clasped the searching hand firmly once more, sending a defiant glance toward the medic. The noise subsided a moment later, and the injured mech stilled.

"Alright, fine," said Ratchet at last, his voice, subdued though it was, seeming loud in the sudden silence. "I'll offline him, and then you can get the slag out of my 'bay."


"Prowl, get your aft down to the medbay."

The white mech's sensory panels twitched faintly in irritation. The message had come loud and clear over the shipwide comms, and the bridge crew were all exchanging furtive looks of glee to see that even mechs like Prowl got the same treatment as they when it came to the newly promoted CMO. A quelling glare returned the errant mechs to their work, and Prowl restrained the urge to growl.

It had been less than half an orn since he had left the medic to his work. Prowl had been back down to the planetoid's surface twice: once to return to the ruined Decepticon base and finish his original mission (aiding in the decryption of files retrieved from the Decepticon computers) and then again to aid Optimus Prime in planning a final assault to push the last of the Decepticon forces from the planet. The assault had been a success, and he had since returned to the ship to help direct the flow of supplies and personnel to and from the ship.

"Can it wait, Ratchet?"

The open channel crackled with static, and then there was a loud shuffle and a crash. Prowl frowned, optics narrowing in consternation.

"Ratchet?"

"No, it slagging well can not wait," snarled the other mech, the word 'not' punctuated with a muffled klang! and the overall tone suggesting that the medic was working himself into one fine show of temper."You. 'Bay. Now."

The channel cut off with a click.

A faint snigger drifted over from one of the far workstations. Prowl focused his glare in that direction, holding it there momentarily before turning to glance toward a brown and red mech off to his right. "Sawtooth, you're in command. Call me if anything happens."

When the bridge doors had closed behind him, he magnaminously decided to ignore the muffled roar of laughter that erupted after his exit.


"I really wish you would make up your mind," said Prowl as he stepped into the medbay.

At least, that was what he had been intending to say. He got as far as 'I rea--' before he saw the multitudes of tools and parts scattered across the floor and the spattered trail of energon, already fading from its brilliant pink color to a more pastel shade, leading away from one of the empty berths toward the back of the room. What few injured mechs that remained in the 'bay were offline, thankfully, as Ratchet tried cautiously to edge nearer to the pathetic specimen of a Cybertronian that had wedged himself into a back corner of the medbay.

"Ratchet?" demanded Prowl incredulously.

"Took your slagging time, did you?" snarled the medic, not bothering to look away from his errant patient. "Get over here. I don't care if you have to hug him, but help me get him back on that berth before he rips more than just a few circulatory lines!"

"Where's Wheeljack?" Prowl strode forward immediately, and as he rounded the last berth between himself and the unfolding drama, he saw the reason for Ratchet's caution: the injured mech had acquired a laser scalpel and was holding it before himself in a decidedly aggressive (if shaky) manner. "Isn't he supposed to help with things like this? Or security?"

"Wheeljack is currently going through the cargo to find parts that actually fit this model, thank you very much," replied the medic acidly, "and even if there were any security mechs left on board that weren't currently in multiple pieces, do you think I'd sic them on a mech in as bad shape as this one?"

Prowl had a sudden mental image of the minibot Brawn trying to 'gently' restrain the mech in question.

"Ah," he said.

The injured mech had only the barest remnants of armor upon his frame, wires and tubing exposed at particularly critical --and painful-- junctures. Energon dripped from the side of his neck, where a transfusion shunt would have been attached. He had, perhaps, once been black and white, but entire sections of living metal were graying from lack of adequate energy to sustain them, and he was so battered and scratched and dented and dirty that it was a wonder that Ratchet had been able to determine his model at all. It was also a wonder that he was able to stand or move; his systems throbbed and chuttered unhealthily, vents working far too hard, but Prowl suspected that the wall behind him was more than halfway responsible for his continued upright position.

Uncertain as to what exactly it was that he was supposed to do that Ratchet or any other mech could not, Prowl nonetheless took up a position to the medic's right and put his battle computer to work trying to calculate the best way to defuse the situation.

And as Prowl stepped closer, the injured mech shivered, turning his head blindly toward the tactician. Prowl's systems surged at the sight of the ugly gaps where optics should have been, but then an unhealthy static-laden hissing and growling came from the unnamed mech's vocalizer, and it took a moment for Prowl to realize that it was not merely a glitch but a word.

"Rrwl?"

Ratchet's systems let out a surprised rev. "Did he just...?"

Prowl stepped forward, reaching out with careful slowness to touch the trembling black hand that held the laser-scalpel. The mech jumped, shuddering, but made no resistance when Prowl carefully pulled the tool free and passed it back to Ratchet.

"I'll be damned," said the medic, sounding awed.

He subspaced the scalpel and came forward to help Prowl move the unsteady mech back toward the berth. Ratchet's touch caused another unsteady shudder in the mech's systems but nothing more than that. Between them, they managed to lift the too-light frame back atop the table.

His hand was once more trapped in a grip that was tighter than should have been possible, but he resigned himself to being held 'captive' until Ratchet had the situation more in hand. However, when Ratchet first reached out and touched the injury in the side of the mech's neck, the patient jerked away, prompting a vicious curse from the medic as more spatters of pink fluid fell upon the table.

"Hold still, Primus fraggit," hissed the medic, regardless of the fact that the mech could not hear or see him, but his movements remained carefully gentle despite his tone.

With a quiet grumble of his systems, Prowl pulled his hand free of the injured mech's grip, keeping a hold of his wrist, and grabbed Ratchet's hand. He pushed the black and red hands together and held them there firmly, ignoring Ratchet's startled growl. After a moment, the frantic cycling of the injured mech's systems slowed, and he wrapped his trembling fingers around the medic's hand and squeezed.

"Yes, yes," murmured Ratchet uncomfortably. "Nice to meet you, too."

He eased his hand free and returned to tinkering at the side of the mech's neck, this time with no interference.

"How far have you gotten?" asked Prowl.

"How far have I gotten, he asks," muttered the medic. One red hand was flipping and twisting into a complicated tool. "As if treating torture victims was as simple as a coolant flush. Do you have any idea what you've brought in here for me to work on?"

Prowl tried to keep his gaze implacable, and after a long moment, Ratchet merely narrowed his optics and growled, turning his attention to his patient.

"Repaired the life-threatening damage." The medic's voice was distracted as he carefully sealed the broken circulatory lines, retrieved and untangled the energon shunt tubes that still dangled from the medical apparatus above the berth, and reattached the energon shunt to the appropriate lines in the patient's neck. The procedure prompted an uncomfortable twitch, but the mech otherwise lay still. "Brought most of his tactile sensors back online. Did the medics on the planet not even do a diagnostic? He wasn't numb; he was in agony. As soon as a sensor was damaged, it came back online."

"I... see. The medic was... distracted," said Prowl, but the dark tone remained in Ratchet's voice as he continued.

"Took a while to root out that little programming glitch," growled Ratchet, looking at the side of the once-black helm, apparently examining the uplink ports located there, "and if I ever get my hands on the mech that thought it up, I'll make spark isolation look like a hot cleanser bath compared to what I'll do to him."

Prowl had no doubt that the mech could, and would, follow through with that threat given a chance.

"And about the time I was getting past the foreign firewalls in his systems, he jumps up and makes like a petrorabbit straight into the wall." The darkness in his voice faded, replaced by disgruntlement. "Yanked the fragging cord straight out."

The tactician made a small noise of sympathy. Getting tossed out of an uplink like that was not an experience that anyone ever wanted to repeat twice; he had once heard someone describe it as an instant high-grade hangover, only without the fun of the overcharge first.

The medic's systems vented, and he reached around to the back of his helm to pull out the uplink cord again.

"Well, it's another symptom, if nothing else," he said, sounding weary. "Lowered stasis requirements. Need to fix that, too. But first..." He plugged the cord into the port at the side of the other mech's helm, moving with care that belied his earlier shows of temper. The medic's eyes dimmed and began to flicker.

"Do you require assistance?" asked Prowl.

"No, no, just... stay where you are. Hah." A faint smirk tugged at the corner of the medic's mouth. "He says you 'feel' different. Cute. Now, let's see if we can get those firewalls down..."


End Part One


Descant - a melody or counterpoint accompanying a simple musical theme and usually written above it.