Arc One

Chapter One

Teaching Module: M-7.3a is eighty-seven percent complete.

Chromia released atmosphere from her output vents in a noisy huff. Images of a laser scalpel preforming various duties were downloading into her CPU at an especially sluggish rate today. Despite her antsy demeanor, the information continued streaming into carefully prepared files. This was her Primus designed purpose, after all. To become a medical specialist. Blue optics flickered to the reflection of her form in the blinding finish of the metal before her. She was tall for a femme, easily standing shoulder to shoulder with small reconnaissance and saboteur mechs. Her hips were wide to accommodate tools that would be fashioned onto her proto form at the completion of her training. Even her upper body was created to house increased hydraulic lift capabilities: she could more easily maneuver her patients with increased strength.

Teaching Module: M-7.3a is ninety-four percent complete. Please prepare Teaching Module: M-7.3b for insertion. Thank you.

She was drawn from her self inspection by the crisp, clinical voice. Nimble fingers sprung into motion, rifling through the stack of Training Chips on the desk before her. Easily finding the one she was seeking, the femme prepared to slip it into her data intake port at the base of her cranial unit.

Teaching Module: M-7a is one hundred percent complete. You have successfully uploaded: Introduction to Laser Scalpel Applications. Congratulations. Please insert--

The unsuspecting femme didn't even have time for confusion to seep into her CPU when her entire frame of vision tilted on its axis. Her optics fizzled and crackled with interference, temporarily off-lining her sight as a horrible screech slammed her audio receptors. Metal was squealing and rending around her as the scream of missile fire filled her awareness. Primus! She couldn't believe it. Was this an attack? She was neutral! She was in the capital!

Warnings began to flash boldly in her internal visor, leaving her no time to dwell. Boiling heat was overtaking her quarters, a frantic glance revealed that her street-facing wall was buckling and melting. The reinforced pane of her window was warping so badly that everything beyond her room looked abstract and surreal. A siren began to wail overhead and the structure tried to stabilize herself. Desperate calculations were dancing across her CPU, informing her that the chances of the building remaining upright with an exterior wall failing were slim to none.

All at once, her emergency cooling system kicked in, poring over her overheated circuitry and spurring her into action. She faintly realized that training she only half remembered storing told her to gather whatever medical equipment she could. Her optics watched numbly as her hands moved on ingrained logic, scooping the nearest scalpel and portable welder into her subspace. Chromia finally came back to herself as she turned to punch the tab that opened her door of her living space to the common hall of the complex beyond.

Outside there was utter chaos. Femmes and sparklings were screaming and crying while mechs thundered past, carrying the injured and elderly. She wasted no time in slipping out into the confusion, heading toward the street. The sudden weight of a hand on her unarmored shoulder made the femme's legs lock up in fright. Emergency protocol overrode her natural fear, making her spin to face the danger. Her wide optics met familiar ones when she did. Mayday, a femme who lived with her sparkmate only doors down from Chromia, stared back at her.

The acquaintance's tone was tight with worry and desperation as she pleaded, "Take my sparkling! Please! Take him! I have to find Firefight!" The young medic watched in shock as the older femme doubled over, grasping her chassis. She dully realized what was paining Mayday: her spark. Her mate must have been injured. Her vocalizer was disabled with all the emotions and circumstances baring down on her, but the other femme didn't hesitate any longer. Before Chromia knew it, a tiny body had been thrust into her arms and she was watching the older femme as she sprinted back toward the crumpling building, transforming into a small jet midway.

Another explosion rattled the atmosphere, followed by a plume of fire and super heated alloy vapor bursting from the direction that the missile had made landfall. Chromia just curled around the little being that was keening against her chestplates. The astrosecond that the shuddering stopped, the femme was up and running. She had to get away from the city center. Primus only knew how long the buildings would hold. Her thinly plated feet clanged over debris and burning scrap as she streaked toward the outlying reaches of the capital. Her CPU was displaying high elevation in her internal temperature. Cursing silently, Chromia ducked beneath an undisturbed overhang and tried to let her cooling system catch up. She simply wasn't built for stamina and speed.

In the slight respite, little fingers had found the seams of her chassis, seeking the comfort of a spark. Gasping and trying to focus on a happy video file, Chromia projected kindness and comfort to the sparkling. For the first time since she'd had the youngling thrust into her care, it quieted. Her audio receptors were thankful for that at least. As cool fluid began to rush steadily through her system and the temperature spike abated, Chromia carefully peeked out from her hiding space. Her only warning was the high frequency whistle of a bomb falling through the upper atmosphere before it impacted the middle floors of the building she was crouched within. She had to move!

Weaving sharply and tightening her grip on her cargo, Chromia only narrowly dodged a falling hunk of metal as she made a break for the relative safety of the streets once more. She wasn't fast enough to escape the firey backlash, however, and the superheated gust of particles caught her back as the structure crumbled. A strangled sound escaped her vocalizer, sending the youngling into hysterics once more. Over his screech, she could just make out the roar of boosters and the distinctive sound of a transformation. Her optics snapped upward in time to see Mayday trailing thick smoke and a partially mech form Firefight baring down on her position.

Chromia's dental plates clanked together as Firefight finished his change and touched down, the sickening sound of scraping internal components accompanying him. He was obviously injured on his left side, his leg seemed to be unable to completely revert from his jet form and threw a near constant shower of sparks. His sparkmate touched down beside him, her metamorphosis much smoother. Mayday wasn't without damage either, though, the young femme noted. Thick, sickly black smoke was streaming from her exhaust vents and she appeared to be having difficulty drawing through her intake ones as well.

Mayday simple extended her arms for her sparkling, her mate keeping an eye on the situation overhead. Chromia straightened painfully, trying to ignore the readings she was receiving from her scorched back. It felt like her exterior paint was peeling off. Painfully. She had just handed over the tiny form when the whir of transformation came again, followed by a mech's roar and a deafening crash. Both she and Mayday looked to find Firefight pinned by a smaller, silver mech. Her sparkmate was struggling to bring his cannon up, grappling one handed as his attacker tore at every wire and energon line he could find. Mayday whimpered, the sound hardly audible over the fray as her mate fought. Suddenly the silver mech was air borne, launched by a frenzied kick. Before he had even made contact with the ground, Firefight was on his feet and firing.

His opponents took two hits, one in the shoulder and another at the side of his abdomen. Niether were critical, but he was engraged. In a screeching tone, he howled, "Autobot scum! I'll destroy you!"

Chromia's optics widened as she realized what she was caught up in. The pair before her had sided! They were Autobots and this attacking mech must have been a Decepticon. Slag! Chromia had remained carefully neutral, half hoping that the whispers of war would fade. But now they were attacking the cities! It wasn't a private matter between two groups anymore, she realized as her spark began to sink in its casing. The Decepticons were outright attacking Autobots and neutrals alike. She had just begun to back away when the battle turned once again. The Decepticon, Starscream she'd heard Firefight growl, had drawn his own weapon. The hiss of a missile firing filled her audio and the world exploded. Autobot and neutral alike had been too close to the blast to even hope to escape. The last thing she internalized before she slipped off-line was the rumble of a structure collapsing.

As her optics flickered back online a hand full of astroseconds later, Chromia felt the crippling weight of something crushing down on her left hand. Dim visual trickled into her processor as she squinted at the limb in question. A monsterous chunk of scrap had just missed her torso, but her hand had not been spared. Sensory relays began to arrive in her CPU and Chromia couldn't muffle her scream of pain. Unthinkingly, her remaining hand reached over, tearing at the gap in her plating at her elbow joint. She had to find the node that would disable her pain readings below that point. She was nearly overloaded with agony and her body was threatening to fall off-line once more. At last her fingers found what they sought. The pain abated immediately as she jabbed the correct place, thank Primus.

She calmed slowly and she laid her aching head to the cool metal below her. In the near silence, she noticed something her previous distress had distracted her from. A high, tinny wail. Her spark beat nearly stopped. Oh Primus! The sparkling. Femme instinct took over as she made to stand, only to be tugged back to the ground. Chromia looked desperately between her trapped hand and the direction of the youngling. She hardly hesitated as she drew her laser scalpel from subspace. A determined look overcame her faceplates as she fired up the tool. She had to do this. She had to.

The lessons she'd recently downloaded poured into her processor and she carefully picked the one she needed. Chromia flipped the tool on, watching as the red beam flared to life. The cut had to be clean and on an undamaged joint if she wanted an easy rebuild later on. Running a clinical scan of her disabled limb, she settled on severing it below the crook of her arm. Before she made the first incision, she carefully retrieved her welder and placed it within easy reach. She was going to need it once she was free. There was a serious energon line that she was going to have to seal. And quickly.

A deep intake of atmosphere and the low hum of splitting metal and hissing welds and Chromia was free. Her processor felt strangely silent, as though she was far removed from the procedure she'd just preformed. And she simply couldn't let her optics rest on the remnant of her frame that she had left behind. She didn't waste much time on that, however, instead she shoved the tools back into storage and awkwardly scaled the rubble above her. Once she had gained a little in the way of altitude, she quickly surveyed her surroundings.

It wasn't quite as bad as she had originally feared. A huge crater had been blasted into the street where Firefight had stood, but only the upper stories of the nearest building had collapsed toward it in the aftershock. The battle between the two mechs was still raging, it seemed, as she looked skyward. They were engaged in a breathtaking dogfight, though the Autobot seemed to be sustaining much greater damage. With slight panic, Chromia scanned the scene once more. She couldn't find Mayday or her sparkling. But if Firefight was still alive...his mate had to be here somewhere.

The deafening sound of a jet engine warming up answered her question. Before she could really process the turn of events, Mayday had leaped from the rubble nearby, transforming as she went. Her smaller build lent her speed that the mechs couldn't rival, Chromia observed. For a shining astrosecond, it seemed like the tide had turned. The Decepticon fell back only to prime another round in less time than seemed possible. The shot seemed to travel in slow motion in Chromia's perception as it flew on a direct line for Mayday's chassis. As it found purchase and bloomed flames and sickening blue light, time sped back up. Two cries: one the high pitch of an injured femme, the other a thunderous roar of a furious mech added to the havoc of sound and light.

Two bodies crashed onto the ravaged ground, the larger of the pair wrapped protectively around the lesser. Chromia felt her spark ache. Firefight had shielded his femme even as they joined The Matrix. All was still until Starscream landed, only an arm's length from the fallen mates. His gritty laughter fell from his vocalizer at the tragic sight and he raised his arm again, scanning the destruction for the sparkling he knew was present. Chromia felt her energon pump begin to work overtime: she had to save the youngling. A war cry tore from her as she dropped from her perch, onto the unprepared Decepticon's back.

He bellowed and grasped her injured arm, tossing her bodily into the pile of scrap he had been searching. She landed poorly, and her CPU buzzed with accounts of the damage to her already compromised rear armor. A keen of pain slipped from her even as she stood. She knew where the sparkling was. Her internal processes had triangulated it from the instant she heard its call. Perhaps she could lead him away from here and pray to Primus that reinforcements arrived. But even as she planned ahead, running diagnostics and referring to what records of the street layouts that she had, everything went to the Pit.

A small form, the sparkling, had breached the debris it had been hidden beneath. Its hands were clumsily shoving away what it could while it wailed at a frequency that made the Decepticon mech towering over Chromia wince. As he brought his Pit-spawned launcher to the fore once again, the femme was left with only one option. Before even her CPU could warn her of the dangers and advise alternate courses of action, she had moved. In the astrosecond that must have passed as she threw herself bodily over the youngling, Chromia only felt the heat of a round nearing her and recorded the pale blue optics of the little being she was sacrificing herself for staring up at her. She was off-line and all was black before the pain had a chance to reach her CPU.

The spartan halls of the Autobot base were bustling with activity. A large, black mech was pacing toward the control room with more than a little annoyance evident on his faceplates. His arms twitched with the urge to draw his cannons, though his CPU advised strongly against it. His processor had dredged up a video file of Optimus, lecturing in length about the correct times and places for drawing weaponry. Ironhide didn't feel like sitting through another orn of 'protocol this' and 'propriety that.' So instead he ground an intimidating frequency from his vocalizer to scatter the bots unfortunate enough to be in his path and strode on. He had just been pulled from the first scheduled recharge cycle he'd had in what felt like a joor and he wasn't happy about it.

Soon enough he had reached his destination. The central control room was just as hectic as the hallways beyond: mechs of every size were jogging to and fro, comparing data and furiously scanning readings from multiple screens. The weapons specialist felt worry begin to weigh on his spark. It looked as if Decepticons were involved and they were either planning something big...or something terrible had already happened. His processor was just beginning to analyze the stray fragments of conversation drifting to his audio receptors when his Commander's voice boomed over the chaos.

He was at Optimus' side in an astrosecond, and the look of faint distress and sheer anger on the Prime's face set Ironhide on edge. Without wasting any time, the enormous blue and red mech informed him, "There has been a Decepticon attack." When the weapon specialist swivelled to glance out the viewing windows to the outlying Autobot stronghold, Optimus shook his head solemnly. "Not here. In the capital, on neutrals. Megatron has brought our war to the general masses. He killed innocent Cybertronians: mechs, femmes...even sparklings."

A low whine split the tense atmosphere as Ironhide's cannons began to charge. "When do we mobilize?"

The Commander's tone was strained with tense anger as he replied, "You will roll out in an orn. I need you to help transport the injured away from the scene." Optimus watched gravely as his personal guard's optics flared. He gave the information a moment to settle into Ironhide's CPU before he explained, "It was a planned bombing raid, the Decepticon air forces flew over and levelled everything in sight. They are, without a doubt, now cowering behind their battlements. Direct conflict between your team and their forces is unlikely." A rattling burst of static sounded from his vocalizer as the stress began to overload circuitry. "Ratchet and his team of medics are on the scene. I called you here now because I feel that you need to be ready for a swell in our ranks. This senseless violence will enforce the fact we all knew into the minds of the public."

Looking directly into his subordinate's optics, Optimus Prime rumbled, "The true war between ourselves and the Decepticons has begun."

End Chapter One.

This story will be a Chromia-centric fanfic that explains my take on her decision in joining the Autobot cause. It will span from the origin of the war on Cybertron through to the movieverse and beyond to her life on Earth. I hope to focus on her character and how she evolved into the cannon-slinging femme bot that is Ironhide's sparkmate. On another note, I know that I may not have the lingo for this setting down to a perfect science just yet, but I'm learning. I apologize for any mistakes.

If you enjoyed the chapter, please leave a review. Thanks for reading!