A/N- This one is in no way related to the 28 Red Alerts. Set somewhere around TF:TM.
Warnings: Dark, violence, no happy endings
The Decepticons had planned the attack well, timing it with perfect efficiency.
Red Alert had been outside, working on replacing the wiring in the old security system. The old moon base had been abandoned for vorns, and much of the infrastructure had to be replaced.
His sensors gave him a bare moment of warning. "Decepticons!"
Then the radios went to static. The Decepticons were on him before he could do more than pull his gun, coming out of the darkness like the monsters they were. One of them, a tank-former by the look of him, shrugged off Red Alert's shot, casually backhanding him to the ground. A second kicked away his gun.
Red Alert struggled as they bound him, but he wasn't built for front-line combat. The Decepticon tank just laughed, easily hoisting him off the ground.
Then suddenly, Inferno was there, calling his name and fighting his way towards Red like a hero out of the ancient legends. For a moment, Red Alert almost thought he could make it-
A shot caught Inferno in the lower abdomen, staggering him. It was all the opening the Decepticons needed, pummeling him to the ground. Red Alert fought against his captor's grip, but the tank merely laughed at him.
He's alive, Red Alert told himself. He is. They're tying him, so he's still alive. There's still hope. He ignored the pessimistic part of him that pointed out that they were going to be dead long before the Autobots realized that there was a problem, much less dispatched a shuttle to investigate.
Instead, he turned his attention outward, desperately searching for some opening or opportunity. Maybe the others- the sight of a body lying near the outer wall and the blasted-open doors stopped that hope cold. The Decepticons were calm, relaxed, tossing crude comments back and forth as they dragged Inferno and Red Alert inside. They've already gotten to the others, he realized dully.
More Decepticons leered at the captives as they went by. This isn't the way to the brig – where are they taking us? The control room? Why?
"I won't tell you anything," a voice declared. The young Autobot officer that had been slated to become commander of the outpost was standing between a pair of Decepticon soldiers, staring down the Decepticon team leader without flinching.
The Decepticon commander glanced over as the tank dropped Red Alert on the floor. Inferno hit the ground beside him, groaning a bit. "I don't really need you to," he said dismissively. "We have the Security Director, why would we ask a mere junior officer?" He gestured to the soldiers. "Kill him."
Red Alert looked away as the soldiers grinned. The sickening crunch and choked-off cry of pain made him flinch, unable to suppress the shudder running through his frame.
Then rough hands were pulling him to his feet. Looking him over critically, the Decepticon officer smirked.
"Do what you want to me," Red Alert told him, avoiding looking at the mangled body on the floor. "I won't betray the Autobots."
"Do what I want to you?" the Decepticon purred, deliberately stepping too close to Red Alert for comfort. "I was going to anyway, but it's always nice to have permission. But don't worry," he continued briskly, turning away. "Hurting you actually wasn't the plan."
Red Alert stared at him in surprise, at loss for words.
The Decepticon smiled. "If you don't cooperate, we're going to hurt him," he said calmly, flicking a hand towards Inferno. "Either you give us the access code to the computer, or we'll rip him apart, piece by piece. Do as we say, and we let you both live. Simple as that."
"Red... Don't tell them," Inferno rasped out, managing to lift his head. "It's not-" The tank stomped down on his shoulders, shoving Inferno's face back into the floor.
"Time's running out, Red," the commander mocked.
Desperate, Red Alert looked from Inferno to the Decepticon commander to the computers and back again. Inferno... But I can't just... He took a hesitant step towards the computers.
"Don't! Red!" He could here Inferno struggling behind him. The Decepticon commander smirked.
Red Alert stared down at the keyboard, trying to think. Logically, he knew what he should do. He'd planted a virus in the system when he first put up the security system; letting it loose would destroy everything on the system. If he didn't, the Decepticons would have access to all of the Autobot encryptions but the very highest – it would take the Autobots orns to get them all changed and the new keys to the outposts, once they realized what had happened. They'd have all the troop logistics, patrol routes, security codes... The damage to the Autobot cause would be horrendous.
But I can't just let Inferno die! Red Alert clenched his fists, desperately trying to come up with a solution.
The Decepticons shifted restlessly behind him. Red Alert's hand hovered over the keypad. Two command codes, and no matter which one he entered, someone was going to die who didn't deserve to.
"Please Red, don't do it," Inferno begged, his vocalizer rasping.
"I... I'm sorry, Inferno," Red Alert whispered over his shoulder.
Then he entered the code.
Inferno groaned, waking to a dull ache. Everything hurt... Well, make that everything but my legs, he thought with dark humor. I can't feel them at all.
At least he wasn't tied up this time...
The thought was followed by a memory, and Inferno onlined his optics, trying to sit up.
"Easy, Inferno!" First Aid pushed him back down. "You'll tear the welds."
"What happened?" he demanded. I'm alive? "Where's Red?"
First Aid's visor dimmed. "He... we couldn't help him, Inferno. He was already gone-"
The Decepticon leader's smirk of triumph turning to rage. Red Alert staring back at him, so serene in his determination -
A bolt of plasma hitting Red Alert square in the back, sending him stumbling into the computer...
Pushing First Aid away, Inferno sat up, more carefully this time.
"He... the computer system was completely wiped. His actions probably saved us all. I'm sorry, Inferno," First Aid said quietly, laying a hand on his arm. "He died a hero."
Red, slumping motionless to the ground...
A flash of light and pain, then nothing.
Inferno stared blankly at the wall for a long moment. "No," he corrected First Aid. "He was always a hero."