A/N 'Murphy's Law' states that "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong."
Once again, bold type sentences indicate databurst/commed speech.
What do you mean, you think you've found a way? Sam commed back to Ratchet nervously. Don't you know? He asked as he followed Ratchet, the other two falling into step behind him.
We can't really test it, for a start there's a good chance we'll only get one shot at it before one of the components melts, and it took long enough for us to make that one! All my simulations suggest that the worst that'll happen is nothing. Ratchet told Sam.
Sam just hoped that Ratchet's simulations would be accurate. Murphy's Law suggested that this was all too simple, that the one scenario that Ratchet's simulations had not picked up would be the messiest, most awkward, and most likely thing to happen. Sam knew, however, that Ratchet would have done his best to reduce any risk.
Sam just had to hope Murphy was looking the other way at the time.
As they entered the med bay, Sam could see Cliffjumper standing to one side wielding a refueling wand. Yes, they had been promised a chance to refuel, that was right. Sam stepped over and indicated to Cliffjumper where his refueling vent was: Cliffjumper inserted the wand without comment.
Sam had only once had a full tank in Starscream's body, it was a pleasant sensation and one he reveled in as Cliffjumper finished and he stepped away. He swiftly cleared the space to allow Thundercracker to receive the same treatment, then waited as first the blue Seeker and the green were themselves refueled. As he waited, Ratchet scanned him and pronounced Sam fit and well looked after. Thundercracker and Skywarp were in a similarly good condition, and Ratchet gave Cliffjumper permission to take them off to enjoy the recreational facilities, before waving Sam through to the small secondary med bay.
It was mainly taken up by a weird clutter of wiring and machinery that could only be the switchover device Ratchet had mentioned, as well as a human-sized bed and a Seeker-sized pallet, both within reach of some of the trailing wires. Starscream, in Sam's own body, was sat on the human-sized bed bouncing up and down with impatience.
"Well, hurry up and switch me back, I've had enough of being in this disgustingly meaty form, even if I have learned how to balance in it by now!" he said.
"Hold on, Starscream, Sam needs to appraise you of what's going on in your Base and you need to tell him what's going on in his life first." Ratchet said. Starscream gave an irritated scowl: either the Decepticon leader had practiced in a mirror or had used the expression in Sam's body enough that it was second nature to him by now.
"Get him to databurst the information to you, and I'll summarize his situation, it's not that interesting that I can't get it over with in five minutes. Once I'm back in my body, you can databurst the relevant information to me." Starscream told Ratchet "If he explains the ins and outs of my troops and what they have been doing, we'll be here all night!"
Sam was forced to agree with Starscream on that last statement: there was never a dull moment in the Decepticon base, not with the grudges, political in-fighting and one-upmanship Sam had noted during his time there. He also realized the Cybertronian memory was a far more efficient system than the human one as he found the relevant memories, converted them to a transferable form, and put them in a file: all this took just a few seconds. Then he sent the file to Ratchet.
"Okay." Said Sam to Starscream, sitting on the floor to bring his head down closer. "What's been going on in my life?"
"Okay, first of all, I'd better tell you about these." Starscream said, showing Sam both the Autobot symbol on the one arm and the Camaro on the other, the latter with glyphs that Sam recognized as the Cybertronian for Bumblebee's name under it.
"Bumblebee said you might be annoyed." Starscream said.
"No, it's cool, but you do realize that you, the Decepticon leader, are wearing the Autobot symbol?" Sam giggled. "I guess I'm lucky you took my preferences into account." He looked again. "Yeah, I like."
"All the more reason to get me back in the body I belong in!" snapped Starscream. Sam noticed that Starscream was more waspish than he expected, and suspected the sky-hunger was wearing down on him again.
"So, how's school going? Assignments?" he asked.
"You have four, I've done your math one already, simple really. And oh yeah, you've been…what's the words again…that's it, you've been 'suspended' till Thursday?"
"What?" yelped Sam. "You got me suspended? What for, what did you do?" he asked.
"Some squishy called 'Trent' annoyed me, and then had the temerity to threaten me. I…I believe the expression Miles used when talking about it was that I "punched his lights out?" Humans don't have much stamina do they? A couple of light taps and he temporarily went offline."
"You punched out Trent?" Sam asked, a broad grin spreading over his face. "I wish I'd been there to see that! I think that would be worth a three day suspension!" he said.
" I believe Bumblebee may have recorded it, I'm sure he'll play back the holos for you." Starscream said. "Your parents and Mikaela are fine and I believe Mikaela said that your skinny little pet Mojo is well as well. Anything else you want to know or can we just get ON with the switchover?" Starscream's voice was acerbic.
"Okay, I guess we should, it's only fair." Sam said, getting up and lying down on the Seeker-sized pallet, although he felt a twinge of disappointment at missing out on the promised fun with Thundercracker and Skywarp. Ratchet moved over, setting several wires on the machine to the head of Starscream's body using magnetic clamps, then handing Starscream a helmet which he wedged on the head of Sam's body.
"Sam, I hope Starscream will be able to open this file because I can't." Ratchet said as he checked the positioning of the clamps.
"That's because it requires Starscream's personal code to open Ratchet. "Sam told him. "I figured he'd want at least some portions kept private, don't worry, there's nothing in there that'll compromise the Autobots or Earth in there."
He looked at Ratchet. "I was always taught that you don't read other people's diaries or their mail without their permission."
Although Ratchet's expression didn't change, Sam had the oddest feeling that if the medic could have gone red, he would have.
"Okay, are you both ready?" he asked as Starscream lay down on the human bed. Both Sam and Starscream answered in the affirmative.
Ratchet went over to the machinery, flicked some switches and turned a dial. The machine hummed louder and louder and a crackling could be heard. Sam felt a jolt run through his body, powerful enough to lift him from the surface he was on, much like the unpleasant jolt he sometimes encountered when he was suddenly woken while dozing off by a restless leg, but not painful. Then there was an incandescent blaze of sparks as something inside the mechanism burned out.
"Sam?" said Ratchet, bending over the human, who dragged a hand over his eyes.
"Uuugh…yes Ratchet? It's me." Sam groaned. "I'm back and it's odd seeing you so big again."
Starscream unshuttered his optics and began pulling the magnetic clamps from his helm.
"Okay, Ratchet, send that file, I want to know what's been going on." Starscream said, standing a bit unsteadily and stretching. Ratchet's optics dimmed as he sent, and Starscream took ten seconds to analyse the contents. He turned his red optics on Sam.
"I see you've been having a lot of fun playing me. It seems you did not disappoint my wingbrothers expectations. I am glad of that." he said.
Sam felt his now-human cheeks go red.
"Some warning might have been nice?" he said. Starscream's only response was to chuckle. Then he nodded and refocused, once again gazing at Sam, though the look had changed from amused to…respectful?
"I like the way you handled Swindle, Sam, and kept him away from my squishy, Miles." Sam blinked, not missing the possessive. Starscream chuckled again. "Spare parts…I must remember that threat." He crouched to bring his face closer to Sam and pointed at him with one sharp finger. "You have a devious mind, Sam, we'll make a Decepticon of you yet. Now, if you don't mind, I need to fly and…well I'll need my wingbrothers for the other." Starscream got up, leaving Sam a bit dazed, more than a bit jealous, and not sure if the Seeker had just complimented or insulted him.
He didn't know if it was a side effect of the transfer or whether Starscream had been pushing his body to its limits, but Sam now felt exhausted. He took off the tight helmet, rolled over on the bed, and dropped into an exhausted sleep.
When he awoke, he was disappointed to find it was all over. The negotiations had taken place, the Seekers had, by all accounts, performed a beautiful but explicit dance in the air, then they had refuelled, talked with Optimus, and left, carrying all the fuel they could, although Skywarp had made four trips thanks to his warping capability. The ceasefire was still in place for another twelve days, and Sam could relax, knowing that, in theory at least, he was safe for the next twelve days and maybe more. After all, who said there only had to be one ceasefire?
He smiled sadly as he recalled the glorious dreams of flying he'd had. They were lovely dreams, but they made his heart ache, for it was an ability he had had, and now that ability was gone…
Pushing the thought aside he got up and went to find Mikaela. It didn't matter, he was human again, if humans had been meant to fly themselves, they would have had wings. He was sure the dreams, and the painful feelings they caused, would fade with time.
Unbeknownst to Sam, the feeling was just the first symptom that his problems had only just begun.
A/N Keep an eye out for the sequel, "Sky Hunger" coming soon.